Wise Words for the Classroom (or the Home)

felt quote board in classroom

The Problem:

You’ve probably been seeing these cute felt quotation boards everywhere. I love seeing them in gorgeous home decor settings: they’re so cute in home offices and kitchens, and I love it when people put them in their foyers. I recently got one and it’s been sitting on the floor of my office for about 3 weeks now making me feel really bad. I wanted to use it someplace in the house, but where? In my office? Uh, it takes up too much space on my desk and I don’t have a good place on the wall for it, AND, it’s too tall for my bookshelf. Kitchen? Duh, counter space. Foyer? Entryway table’s too small. Living room? Maybe, but I need time to figure out where, not to mention what I’m going to have it say. So much stress!

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The Solution:

So anyway, I always come across great quotes I like to share with students. Sometimes I’ll throw one up on the white board or I’ll stick them into a presentation now and then, but nothing regular. I’ve always loved it when teachers have “official” quotation boards where they put up quotations curated either by themselves or by students, and this is displayed prominently and creatively (and neatly!)  in the classroom. I’ve never done that, but it struck me that I could use THIS cute little quotation board for that purpose! There are at least 3 great spots for this in my classroom that I can think of right now as I sit here in my home office writing this post.

felt quote board in classroom quote


The Logistics:

Placing the letters on the felt board each week will take time, so I’ve tried to find mostly short quotations. Also, I was thinking I will enlist the help of students. My freshmen puff up with pride any time I ask them to do something “extra” for the classroom, like running something to another teacher or to the office, erasing the board, or watering plants. Yes, really! I used to think elementary students would be way more willing to help out than high schoolers, but in my experience anyway, the high schoolers are just as eager to help (despite what their parents tell me — haha!).


The Location:

I experimented with a few locations in my classroom, but the front corner is really where it fits in, can be seen and accessed by students, and won’t get knocked over.

felt display board classroom location

Here it is close up — I was experimenting with a few different accessories.

felt quote display board in classroom

work hard and be nice classroom quote

The Words:

I want to have a good variety of quotes that I will change weekly. Some will be inspirational, while others will be funny. I’ll allow students to submit their quotes as well, so it can be a fun little quotation community project.


My first-ever display board quote is going to be my own personal favorite: “Work hard and be nice.” Here are just a few of the quotes I’ve brainstormed so far that I think will be perfect for my high school students.

Inspirational Classroom Quotes:

  • Whether or not you think you can, you’re right. — Henry Ford
  • You cannot teach anybody anything: you can only make them think. — Socrates
  • Nothing will work unless you do. — Maya Angelou
  • Quality is not an act; it is a habit.  — Aristotle
  • Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. — Confucius

Fun Classroom Quotes:

  • If at first you don’t succeed….so much for skydiving.
  • Always remember you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. — Margaret Mead
  • A day without sunshine is like, you know, night. — Steve Martin
  • If you try to fail and succeed, which have you done?  — George Carlin
  • Don’t lick the desk.


Don’t know why that “Don’t lick the desk” one makes me laugh ever time. It’s probably not quite as funny to Pre-K and early elementary teachers, though. 😀

If you want to see the full list of classroom quotations I’ve started, you can download it in PDF form via the link immediately below. Note: it’s a 2-page PDF, so clicking will allow you to view the 1st page only; if you click the viewable image after the first click, you’ll get access to the full PDF.

Quotes for the Classroom Everyday Teacher Style


I would looooove to be able to add more inspirational and fun quotes to my list. If you have any go-to quotes you’re willing to share, please leave them in a comment below.

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felt quote board in classroom quote

Note: Clicking on ads within this post may result in my earning a small commission. As always, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Reset Your Closet with What Sparks Joy

marie kondo spark joy book

Every year around this time I start to notice more clutter than usual around the house. Christmas is over and as usual we didn’t donate or purge enough to make room for all of the thoughtful gifts we received from family and friends. Among other things, my closet runneth over because I may or may not have….ahem….bought myself a few Christmas gifts during some of the great sales going on in December. Time to pare down. Something that has been a great help to me in deciding what stays and what goes is the book Spark Joy by Marie Kondo.


With that in mind, today I’m sharing a post I wrote back in March 2016 because I don’t know about you, but I want to refresh my skill — and will — in the decluttering department. Here’s that post now — hope it helps you (and me!) get in the organizing and decluttering zone. In the meantime, I’ll be shocking and awe-ing my closet if you need me.


I really enjoyed The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of  Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. The main premise is that you keep only things that spark joy, and you respect the things you choose to keep by taking care of them (finding a permanent home for them, putting them back where they belong after using, etc.). Visualizing your ideal lifestyle can help you identify the things that spark joy in you–and the things that don’t.

Now Marie Kondo has a new book called Spark Joy, “an illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up.” It goes into more detail about how to choose the items that spark joy for you personally, and also how to tidy and organize (and fold!! lots of illustrations!) more effectively. I’ve been reading it this past week on spring break (while drinking lotsa matcha, of course!) and it has given me the kick in the pants I needed to do things the right way around the ‘ole homestead.

If you haven’t read Marie Kondo’s books, I highly recommend them. They’re written in a clean, simple, direct (uncluttered!) style. They’re quietly brilliant, and like watching an episode of Hoarders, they make you want to start decluttering right away.

Want to get started NOW but don’t have a copy of the books? MakeSpace, an on-demand storage company, created this handy KonMari Method Cheat Sheet:

Kon Mari method cheat sheet

Having read both of Kondo’s books on the KonMari Method, these tips are a great reminder of some of the key points and guidelines.


It seems like common sense to keep just what sparks joy, but it sure never occurred to me to think this way. We are pretty good about decluttering and taking a minivan full of donations to our local Goodwill and Salvation Army locations, but according to Kondo you shouldn’t have to keep decluttering over and over again. If you put your house in order the right way, it will stay that way.

According to Kondo, you are really supposed to do a “shock and awe” on your entire house all at once, but I’m trying things out on a smaller scale during spring break. I’m going to tackle the whole house this summer when I have more time.

Since Kondo recommends starting with clothing, I went through every single item in my drawers and closet over the past few days. All of my clothes are in my master bedroom, so I took everything out, piled it all on my bed, and gave each item a thumbs up (keeper: sparks joy) or a thumbs down (donate).


Image: MakeSpace

Once I’d been through everything, I gave the joy-sparkers a permanent home and moved the non-joy sparkers into trash bags to be donated.

Take a look at the results:

organized t-shirt drawer

T-shirt drawer: Is it bugging you as much as it does me that the white T-shirt in the middle column is facing a different direction than everything else in the drawer? How did I miss that?

organized shorts drawer

Shorts drawer: Shoot, now I see several pairs of shorts facing different directions. New rule: everything must face the front! Guess what I’m running upstairs to fix right now….

organized socks and undergarments drawer

Underwear and socks drawer: Never thought my undergarments would be proudly displayed on the Internet–guess this makes me an honorary Kardashian. The socks are not folded KonMari style, though. I prefer the roll-up method so I can dig around and the pairs won’t get separated. Guess if I got rid of a few more pairs of socks I wouldn’t need to dig around. Sorry I let you down on this one, KonMari. 🙁

organized jeans drawer

Jeans drawer: See how nice it is that they are all facing the same direction? And the colors go from dark to light!! When I went back upstairs to fix my t-shirt and shorts drawers, I put them into “gradient” order, too.

Know what? Every time I open one of these drawers and see the clothes (just the ones that spark joy!) all lined up and looking so neat and tidy, that in itself makes me smile.

Next up was my closet, and the bulk of what did not spark joy for me was the tons of sweaters I had crammed in each of the shelves you see below. I was too embarrassed to take a “before” photo–they were packed in , wadded up, and falling out everywhere. Not anymore!

organized sweaters in closet

The sweaters I chose to keep have some breathing room now. Breathe, little sweaters, breathe!

The results of my labor are these two jumbo-sized, bulging bags of non-joy sparking clothes.

donations for goodwill or salvation army

Looks like another Goodwill or Salvation Army drop-off run is in order.

It’s so nice to see clean, empt(ier) spaces containing things that make you happy–and nothing more. Just a few days ago this chair was covered in scarves. I picked up a scarf rack at Ikea, got rid of all of the scarves that didn’t spark joy, and hung the keepers. From now on, whenever a new scarf comes in, an old one must go to make room.

organized scarves

Actually there is still one empty hole so the first new scarf already has a place to hang. Time to go scarf shopping? ?

Now when I look in my drawers and closet, I can see everything I own at once, and this makes it a snap to choose just the right pieces for each outfit. Not only that, but folded items are no longer wrinkled when I take them out.

The way my clothes are stored now makes me feel pretty good. I love Kondo’s philosophy of decluttering once, the right way, and that becoming your lifestyle. I could totally get used to this!


Oh hey, one more January 2018 thought: Have you seen Marie Kondo’s cute new book called The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story? It’s absolutely adorable! It’s actually a fictional graphic novel!! So cool. Here’s the description from Amazon: “Chiaki, a young woman in Tokyo who struggles with a cluttered apartment, messy love life, and lack of direction. After receiving a complaint from her attractive next-door neighbor about the sad state of her balcony, Chiaki gets Kondo to take her on as a client. Through a series of entertaining and insightful lessons, Kondo helps Chiaki get her home–and life–in order. This insightful, illustrated case study is perfect for people looking for a fun introduction to the KonMari Method of tidying up, as well as tried-and-true fans of Marie Kondo eager for a new way to think about what sparks joy. Featuring illustrations by award-winning manga artist Yuko Uramoto, this book also makes a great read for manga and graphic novel lovers of all ages.”   Sounds good, huh! I haven’t read it yet, but thanks to Amazon, it’ll be here in 2 days. 😀



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Note: This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on these links may result on my earning a small commission. As always, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

How I Found My Style with Stitch Fix (+ try it FREE in January!)

finding my style with stitch fix

Happy New Year, friends! To kick off twenty eighteen I’m going to be sharing my own style journey and how it has been shaped by Stitch Fix. What’s more, I want to share how my own style journey has helped me define the character qualities and principles I value. Yep, really!


I know most people make resolutions in January and think about how they will move forward in the new year. I don’t do resolutions, mostly because I am too impatient. If I see something that needs to be tweaked, changed, or done away with, I do it RIGHT NOW rather than waiting for Monday — let alone January 1. But what I do end up doing as one year rolls into the next is thinking about what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown. Each year I get a little better definition of who I am and how that matches up to who I want to be. I was thrilled when Stitch Fix reached out with an opportunity to share about what I’ve gained through the past several years of Stitch Fixing (besides a lot of great clothes! LOL) because believe it or not, Stitch Fix has played a huge role in helping me define my own sense of personal style.

Try Stitch Fix for FREE Through January 2018!

How Does Stitch Fix Work?

You know, I’ve been sharing my Fixes for the last year or so, but I don’t think I’ve ever really explained how Stitch Fix works. I know this because my “real life” friends who read my blog often ask me questions about Stitch Fix when they see me in person. So, before I dive into my own experience with Stitch Fix, I’m going to share more about the process in case you’re new to it (and for my friends who have asked: here you go, guys!).


When you sign up with Stitch Fix, you fill out a thorough questionnaire so your stylist can learn about your style and color preferences. They also ask about your sizes (naturally, so the clothes they send will fit). One thing I didn’t expect was questions about which body parts you are okay featuring and which ones you want to downplay. Turns out these questions really help the SF stylists select items that will look so good on you. The questionnaire also lets you specify your budget — inexpensive clothing or higher end pieces, or a mix. Along with the questionnaire you can add any notes or specific requests, if you have any. For most of my Fixes, I just let the stylist surprise me; that’s how I’ve been able to learn about new style sand brands that work for me. However, sometimes I have a special occasion in mind and I’ll request particular items.


After you’ve filled out the questionnaire and scheduled your first Fix (you pick the time frame that works for you — one time, monthly, seasonally, etc.), you will be charged a styling fee of $20 (***but not if you sign up using THIS LINK in January 2018***) and then your stylist will select 5 items to send to you. Shipping and returns are free and easy, and the $20 styling fee is credited back toward the price of any item you choose to buy.


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stitch fix 38 contents

When your box arrives you have a few days to try on your items to see what, if anything, you want to keep. Another thing I love about Stitch Fix is that along with the 5 items, your stylist will send you tips about different ways you can style your items. Check out this card that came with my 38th Fix:

Stitch Fix Styling Tips Card

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If you keep all 5 items like I did in the Fix I’m featuring today (see below), you get a 25% discount! Any items you don’t want get chucked into a prepaid mailing bag and you just seal it and drop it off at the post office. You check out online, letting your stylist know which items you’re keeping and which you’re returning, and this is also where you give item-by-item feedback your stylist can use to make your next Fix even more perfect for you.


Stitch Fix truly has something for everyone: they carry women’s sizes 0-24W and XS-3X, maternity and petite, and men’s sizes XS-XXL! And in researching for this post I learned that the reason they’re so capable of working with everyone’s size, shape, and budget is because style, size or budget, because Stitch Fix has 1000+ brands including ones people typically know and love, but also new emerging brands and even their own exclusive labels. 

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Style Lessons from Stitch Fix

I never really thought about my style before Stitch Fix. I mostly wore khakis and sweaters or button down chambray shirts (or solid color t-shirts in warmer temps) to teach in. But over the past few years, I feel like through trying on and reflecting about each of the items sent by my stylist, I’m getting a pretty good idea of what “my” style is. Here are some of the insights I’ve gained about style from Stitch Fixes over the years:

  • I would define my style right now as casual-comfortable. Another way to put it would be approachable-professional-mom style. Know what I mean?
  • Your sense of style changes as you go through life. I used to dress up more, with more slacks and twinsets, but now the casual-comfortable thing is key for me.
  • Jeans don’t have to be stressful. I used to avoid jeans (shopping for, wearing, everything!) like the plague, but through Stitch Fix I’ve been introduced to some denim brands that are SO flattering to my (pear-shaped, short-legged) shape. Mavi, Liverpool, Kut from the Kloth, and Warp + Weft all fit me like a glove and come in short inseams that actually work for me.
  • Versatility is key. Every piece of clothing I own can be worn with at least 10 other items. I never want to own something that can only be done one way. Lookin’ at you, parachute pants from 1984.
  • Pattern mixing is a do. I used to wear solid colors from head to tow. Now I’ve learned that I love throwing in one bold (or two complimentary) patterns to add some interest. This is a great way to mix up your basics.
  • Know thyself and be aware of your personal no-no’s. Before Stitch Fix, I wouldn’t have known that I detest low-cut and squared or wide necklines, tops that are so sheer they have to be worn with a cami, and pants that are too long or too big in the waist. My Stitch Fix stylists have helped me uncover these truths, and knowing them sure makes it easier to quickly pick out items when I’m in a store, and definitely easier choosing what to wear the next day because everything in my closet works for me. (Yes, Stitch Fix has helped me purge items that were unflattering, uncomfortable, or just “not me.)
  • Step outside of the box every now and then. I have been surprised at some of the things I’ve loved over the years: Bright floral blouses? ME? But I learned by trying them that they can be fun, they don’t have to be girly-girly (which is NOT my style) when paired with edgier pieces, and they can dress up an otherwise ordinary pair of jeans and sandals. Moto jackets, leopard shoes, and fur? ME? Again, when grounded with more classic pieces, they don’t make me look like an old fool. At least I don’t think they do. 😀
  • Experiment with color.  I learned that I tend to revolve around red-white-blue color schemes and black-white color schemes and they really do work for me. I enjoy those colors and feel comfortable wearing them. Sometimes, however, I need to be pulled out of that rut and it probably wouldn’t happen if my SF stylist didn’t send me something different. I have since learned that I love cozy neutrals, greens and (gasp) pinks, and fun prints.
  • Baggy, slouchy clothes are not necessarily the best way to disguise your flaws. Boy, did this one shock me! I used to watch What Not To Wear, so I had heard Stacy and Clinton talking about how the right cut and drape can be more flattering than covering up. But it never sunk in for me until I SAW how it worked on my own body, especially with jeans which I never used to be comfortable wearing.  The Stitch Fix stylists (especially Kate, who has styled me for the past year or so — thanks, girl!!) are geniuses at knowing what will work for your shape.
  • Add touches of variety and range to your closet. If it hadn’t been for Stitch Fix, my entire closet would be filled with khakis, tees, cardigans, and chambray shirts. Now I have a good foundation of basics plus a few special pieces that give my wardrobe some range for date nights, parent teacher conferences, holiday parties, and more!
  • Comfortable and stylish are NOT mutually exclusive. Thank goodness! I wear more comfy clothes now than I have in my entire life. Used to be I’d pull on the sweats and a hoodie on Saturdays and Sundays and that was pretty much the only time I was comfortable. Now all of my clothes — from teacher outfits to church clothes to weekend looks — are comfortable to wear!


Knowing these things about myself has really helped me dress more confidently, and ultimately, makes me feel more confident when I leave the house. If I feel like I’m put together, stylish, and comfortable, I find I don’t second-guess myself as much and I’m way more likely to take healthy risks, accept challenges, and tackle life head-on rather than retreating to my comfort zones.

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If you’d have asked me years ago whether knowing your personal fashion style was important, I’d have laughed at you…and probably rolled my eyes and had some snarky thoughts about you inside my head. But knowing what makes you comfortable and confident is empowering — and centering. Looking a little deeper, my personal fashion style reflects my values as well: I like to come across as in control and competent; I like to be seen as friendly; I like to dress my age but still seem fun; I like to be seen as responsible and budget-conscious; I like to be seen as interesting and unique; and I like to be seen as healthy and capable of physically moving about the planet how and when I want to. It is these characteristics that I want to exude, and even though character comes from within, I think just maybe it can be reflected in your exterior as well. Personal style can help you point all of your arrows in one direction. Whoa, that’s deep.


Check Out My 38th Fix!

New Fix this week!! Here are my thoughts about the items Kate, my stylist, sent.

1. RD Style Harriette Cowl Neck Sweater ($68)

I had asked my stylist to send a few longer sweaters I could wear with leggings or skinny jeans this winter. This is one of the two she sent, and although it’s not quite long enough to wear with leggings in my opinion (see first few pics), it looks amazing with jeans as well as the skirt they sent in this fix as you’ll see below. It’s comfy, warm, and not itchy!


I love the hemline, but as you can see in the next photo it’s not quite long enough for a 40-plus-year-old teacher in leggings.  Well, at least not THIS 40-plus-year-old teacher in leggings. 🙂


It looks great with the skirt that came with this Fix. I kind of rolled the hemline under.


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2. RD Style “Mondavi” Side Slit V-Neck Pullover Sweater ($68)

This is the other long sweater my stylist sent at my request. Now this one is definitely long enough to wear with leggings as you can see here. It also looks great with jeans and with the pencil skirt. I like that this sweater is long and lean — not bulky at all. I could pair it with a belt or a vest and even wear it like a dress!

Verdict: Kept it!

stitch fix RD Style Mondavi Side Slit V-Neck Pullover Sweater

Yep, definitely enough coverage to wear this sweater with leggings. Woohoo!

stitch fix RD Style Mondavi Side Slit V-Neck Pullover Sweater

And here it is with the pencil skirt. Also a winner!

stitch fix RD Style Mondavi Side Slit V-Neck Pullover Sweater

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3. Liverpool “Bia” Pencil Skirt ($68)

Now I wasn’t in the market for a skirt this time, and I don’t wear skirts all that often, but after trying this stretchy, slim Liverpool skirt on, I was hooked. This skirt almost feels like you are wearing leggings! It looks fab with sweaters and although I didn’t try it, I think it would also look really cool with a graphic tee and a pair of fashion sneakers. It’ll look great with a moto jacket, vest, bomber jacket, an everything else in between. It’s neutral enough to wear with just about anything and at just about any level of dressiness. This is a perfect example of something I NEVER would have pulled off of a store rack to try on, but I love it and can see it becoming a staple in my closet.

Verdict: Kept it!

Stitch Fix Liverpool Bia Pencil Skirt

Here’s another picture of it with the longer black sweater. You can see it with a blazer below.

Stitch Fix Liverpool Bia Pencil Skirt

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4. Warp + Weft “Ayven” Distressed Angled Fray Hem Skinny Jean ($98)

Okay, I really didn’t need another pair of jeans, but this pair was unique enough (check out that angled fray hem!!) and yet classic enough (darker color and very light distressing so I’ll definitely wear them to school) — not to mention UBER-comfortable enough — that I knew they’d make a great addition to my jeans drawer. They’re gloriously stretchy: like with the skirt it feels like I’m workout pants. I always have trouble with jeans being too big in the waist and too long in the inseam, but my stylist made sure that these jeans checked off both of those two boxes. That’s no easy task — most jeans I try just don’t work for me. Somehow Kate is able to find jeans that fit me perfectly (see the brands above that I’ve learned do work with my body style thanks to Stitch Fix!).

Verdict: Kept them!

Stitch Fix Warp + Weft Ayven Distressed Angled Fray Hem Skinny Jean

I like the pocket placement and the midrise, and even though the hem is longer in the back, they’re still not too long for me!

Stitch Fix Warp + Weft Ayven Distressed Angled Fray Hem Skinny Jean

They look great with both sweaters, too. Here they are with the cowl neck one.

Stitch Fix Warp + Weft Ayven Distressed Angled Fray Hem Skinny Jean

They’re also cute with just a tee!

Stitch Fix Warp + Weft Ayven Distressed Angled Fray Hem Skinny Jean

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5. Skies Are Blue “Asa” Knit Blazer ($68)

I used to wear blazers all the time back in the ’90s (you know, with my khakis and a polo shirt….I probably looked like a grade school kid decked out in the school uniform). I have a couple of conservative, dark colored ones in my closet right now, but I sure didn’t have anything comfortable or casual like this one. Guys, this blazer is STRETCHY and cut in a modern, flattering style. I love that I can dress it up with a skirt (like the one from this Fix) or dress it down with some cool jeans. It looks so good with a graphic tee!! Here are some pictures of different ways to wear this with the other items in my Fix…and also with one of my own favorite graphic tees.

Verdict: Kept it!

Looks classy with a skirt and boots!

stitch fix Skies Are Blue Asa Knit Blazer

Here it is with the cowl neck sweater.

stitch fix Skies Are Blue Asa Knit Blazer

Here it’s with the same  cowl neck sweater, but I swapped out the skirt for the jeans.

stitch fix Skies Are Blue Asa Knit Blazer

Check it out with a graphic tee and some leopard sneaks!! This is going to be a go-to look for Fridays at school.

Here it is with the turtleneck sweater.

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Well, there you have it! Today’s post was longer than usual, but I wanted to take the time to share these little golden nuggets of style truth that I’ve gained over the years. Stitch Fix has played an important role in my style evolution, and I plan on continuing to change up my style with their help in the years to come. I’m 46, and I don’t know how my style will change as I move into my 50s, but I know my Stitch Fix stylist will be there to help me keep it casual, comfortable, and cool along the way.

Try Stitch Fix for FREE in January 2018


Stitch Fix Styling Fees are Waived in January!

If you are new to Stitch Fix, or if you’ve checked it out before but not pulled the trigger and scheduled a Fix, now is the PERFECT time for you to try it. If you sign up using THIS LINK in January 2018, they will waive the $20 styling fee, so you get to try it risk-free. There is truly nothing to lose and everything to gain. If you don’t like the items they send, just stick them in the postage-paid bag and drop them back in the mail. Every item I DON’T choose to keep is helpful for me because I can pinpoint what it is I don’t like about it or what doesn’t work for my body. Definitely educational if not closet-building. But you may just find that one special item that you wouldn’t have noticed in the store that truly clicks with you. That’s the magic of Stitch Fix!

Try Stitch Fix for FREE Through January 2018!

everyday teacher style

Note: This post contains affiliate links. I also received a Stitch Fix credit for sharing with my readers my honest experience with Stitch Fix over the past few years. As always, though, you can be sure that all thoughts and opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

finding my style with stitch fix