Stitch Fix Review

First things first: I’m not a fashion blogger. I rarely cover fashion topics because A. My personal style is best described by the Target clearance rack and B. That’s a TOUGH market if you’re not a size 2 Mac consultant. That being said, several of my friends and coworkers have been talking about a site called Stitch Fix, which is an online stylizing service that sends personalized clothing to your door. I’d heard pretty mixed reviews, so I decided to investigate for myself.

The following is my honest and *regrettably* unpaid review. If you know someone who works for Stitch Fix, feel free to mention that I’m not above paid posts. Thanks in advance.

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Stitch Fix is an online styling service and personalized shopping experience. First, you fill out an online Style Profile, and then a personal stylist will hand pick pieces to fit your tastes, needs, and budget. They get mailed directly to your door in a little box containing five items of clothing, shoes and/or accessories for you to try on at home. You have three days to decide what you like. You keep what you love and send the rest back in a prepaid USPS envelope. Shipping and returns are free—even for exchanges.

You can make specific requests of your stylist to customize each box. For instance, with my first box, I asked specifically for casual summer clothes because my collection of Disney T-shirts just aren’t cutting it. I also mentioned that I did not want any work clothes, which is why you won’t see any in this post.

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Before you get your first box, you must complete a style profile. The first half is all about the fit. You will be asked to enter your height, weight, body shape, problem areas, shoe size, bra size, etc. The second half centers around your personal taste. You will rank four outfit collections, eliminate styles you hate (goodbye, bootcut), define your budget per item, and tell your stylist which areas of your body you like to hide/show off. I would say the entire profile takes roughly 15 minutes if you complete it thoroughly. My advice is to be as specific as you can. I noticed a lot of my comments were considered in this box.

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After you complete your online style profile and fill out your budget parameters, you will schedule your first box for delivery. The delivery date signifies the date it ships from Stitch Fix, so anticipate an additional 2-3 days for your items to arrive. All five items arrived in a single box, which also includes a prepaid return mailing package, a style sheet with customized tips based around your box, and an itemized price sheet.

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Underneath the descriptions, you’ll find photos of the five items from my Stitch Fix box, paired with items from my closet and staged (rather obviously) around my house. If you’re wondering why they all have Instagram filters, it’s because I’m not as good at photography as I initially thought. Spoiler alert.

Blush Shorts

A super cute pair of blush-colored shorts with a worn look. Extremely stretchy and VERY comfy. I also like that they’re a good length, cute and flirty without being inappropriate.

Status: Kept

Orange Dress

The fit was really flattering on my body type! It was a comfortable dress, and because it was petite there was no need to hem. Because I didn’t love the floral pattern, I decided to return the dress despite the good qualities.

Status: Returned

Gold Earrings

Although these look like standard fringe earrings, the fringe is actually connected to the earning back. It made for a super cool effect when you tried them on! It was a little too punk rock for my style, though, so I sent them back.

Status: Returned

White Top

I fell in love with this airy summer top instantly because it reminds me of Greece for some reason. Unfortunately, it was too short on the stomach and a little tight in the bust. For this reason, I had to return.

Status: Returned

Green Tank

The ornate neckline on this top grabbed me instantly! I also love how comfortable the loose fit is! Although it was a little more than I like to spend on tops, I simply couldn’t send it back.

Status: Kept

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Once you determine which items you love and which you can live without, simply head to the website to pay for the clothes you intend to keep. When completing your return form, you will be asked for feedback on all of the items in your box. How was the fit? Did you agree with the price? Was this your style? It’s good to be as specific as possible because your stylist will consider your feedback when building your next box.

Once your payment is complete, just drop your returns into the pre-paid bag and deliver to any USPS store. Remember, you only have three days to make a decision! Otherwise you will be charged for all of the items. If you want to keep it all, there is a 20% discount that applies even if you need to exchange for a different size. This would be ideal if you had asked your stylist to build a complete outfit, say for a wedding or special event.

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After getting my box, I wore both items I kept the very next day to meet up with a friend! I liked that they were extremely comfortable, perfect for summer, and fit just right. Because the items were priced a little higher than my typical wardrobe, I don’t plan on signing up for scheduled fixes—once a month, once a week, etc. HOWEVER, I definitely plan on scheduling another one-time delivery in the future.

In my opinion, Stitch Fix is a great way to shop for specialized items (like casual summer wear) or get yourself out a shopping rut, but it would likely be too expensive to replace your day-to-day wardrobe. I loved that all of the items were all things I couldn’t buy locally, and I got the opportunity to try on items I never would’ve picked for myself in-store—like the blush shorts! All in all, it’s a great way to treat yo’ self once in a while.

For those of you who have also tried Stitch Fix, what was your experience? Did you end up keeping any of your items, and did you ever order a second box? For those who have specific questions about the process or experience, feel free to ask in the comments below!

A Letter to My Working Mom

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Before we begin, I’d like to say a few things about my mom. First, I adore her. I admire her, cherish her, and ultimately hope to be her. For those of you who have never had the privilege of meeting Debbie, she is kind, creative, brilliant, beautiful, wildly capable, and an absolute riot – in the good way. I think the world of her, but I don’t always get the impression that she feels the same way about herself.

After 25 years, I think she still feels guilty for being a working mom.

To be clear, Debbie is now retired and sailing the high seas as a Carnival junkie. So, I guess she is a former working mother if you want to get technical. Whether it’s a self-imposed burden or some strange, unspoken societal pressure I’ll never know, but I want to make one thing incredibly clear. I am who I am because of my working mother. Plain and simple.

I wouldn’t trade Debbie for five stay-at-home moms.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Stay-at-home moms have an indescribably important and undervalued job, but being a working mother offers its own set of unique experiences too. I think we forget that. Take sick days, for example.

As a kid, I got to go with my mom to work when I wasn’t feeling well. Maybe it’s rosy retrospection, but I remember loving it. I had my own tiny office connected to her, complete with a phone (used frequently to pester her), a Windows 98 computer freshly stocked with Disney PC games, and a hand-drawn name plate for my desk to match hers. Although this disappointedly does not involve Disney PC games (spoiler alert), I remember wanting a career because my mom had one.

I realized I could be a successful, professional woman because my mom was one.

Beyond the sheer capability, there was a passion. I think I noticed this for the first time when my mom spoke at my middle-school career fair. It was a lot of dads – firemen, salesman, etc. – with a few ladies mixed in. The exact words are lost on me, but I remember one thing above all. My mom loved her work, and that made me proud. She didn’t just work to pay the bills; she thrived in her field. She held her own with the best of them.

She took pride in her work, and I took pride in her.

**Note: For the record, my dad also had a cool job and attended his fair share of school functions. That’s a story for another day.**

Of course, it wasn’t always a bed of roses. There were times when I unknowingly and unnecessarily broke her heart with incessant phone calls, begging her to come home simply because my sitter wouldn’t bake me cookies for breakfast (which was a real conversation, FYI). And I’m sure I asked her to play hooky just because I missed her – and, honestly, who wouldn’t want to spend all day with Debbie?

But in the end, I’m really grateful for those caregivers and the time I spent with them. They are now my friends, my extended family so to speak. Somehow, every single one has stuck with me for 25 years. They’ve attended multiple graduations, band concerts, and I was even the flower girl (yes, flower girl) at one of my babysitter’s weddings in 2015. It takes a village, right?

Sitters aside, I never once felt short on time with my mom. Growing up, she used to curl my hair every day before school. She would play Barbie’s after a full day at the office, write napkins notes in my lunch, sew costumes for the school play (not just mine, literally every costume), and magically serve as a serial homeroom mother. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. But now? It’s beyond my comprehension. Sometimes I can barely remember to feed my dog. At any given moment she had approximately two billion better things to do, and yet she chose me.

It’s beyond comprehension because it’s a love beyond comprehension.

As I wrote this post, I struggled with exactly what I wanted to say, what I hoped to accomplish with these words. Why even bother? It’s because I’m willing to bet a lot of working moms feel just like mine, and that breaks my heart. To all of the working mothers out there, but especially my own, I hope you get the opportunity to see yourself the way your kids see you. I hope you know that your kids don’t see the exhaustion because they’re busy having fun with you. They don’t mind the long hours, because they only feel your unconditional love.

Originally, my mom never expected to have children. She wanted to be a career-woman until she had me. I suppose she may have felt torn between two worlds, but I never viewed it this way. I hope she doesn’t either. To me, she will never be anything but perfect. I don’t resent my mom for being a working mother – I admire her for it.

I like to think she had it all because she deserves it all.

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Fixer Upper

It’s been a little over a year since I bought my first house, and what a whirlwind it has been! I’ve learned more about electrical wiring, grout removal, and interior paint than I ever dreamed possible. Although I haven’t fully finished my list of home improvement projects, I have made quite a dent – new countertops, fresh baseboards, and a retiled bathroom, among other things. It’s been an exhausting, expensive, and very rewarding ride, but I can honestly say fixer uppers are not for everyone.

For those of you seeking a new adventure, here are a few pros and cons to buying a fixer upper from a first-time home owner.

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1. Lower Monthly Mortgage Payments

Unlike buying a starter home, fixer uppers obviously have a lower list price – which means lower monthly payments for you. This is more money you can put in your pocket or save towards your renovation list!

2. Complete Customization

In a way, fixer uppers are like building a house from scratch. You have the rare and beautiful opportunity to hand-craft your home from the ground up, and there is a lot to be said for ultimate creative freedom.

3. Work at Your Own Pace

Unlike buying a new home, you can work and pay for a fixer upper at your own pace. You determined when each improvement is done and how much it will cost, which  means you can tailor your home to fit your current lifestyle.

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1. Choices Can Be Overwhelming

Do you want brushed nickel, bronze, silver, or black drawer pulls? Ogee, bevel, or demi bullnose on your countertops? You really don’t realize how many detailed decisions go into creating a cohesive home until you start calling the shots!

2. Require Lots (And Lots) of Time

Fixers uppers are extremely time-consuming. Even if you opt not to DIY the majority of your renovations, you’re looking at hours spent researching options and meeting with vendors. You’ll also be required to take PTO from work during any installations, which can last up to 4+ hours per project.

3. Older Homes = More Repairs

Buying a fixer upper means buying an older home, which comes with a fair share of challenges. Don’t be caught off guard if you encounter faulty plumbing, outdated electrical wiring, or random holes in the wall (don’t ask).

Have more questions about buying an older home? I’d love to offer any guidance I can, so feel free to ask away in the comments section below.

6 Songs When You Just Can’t Adult

No one told you life was gonna be this way. Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A. There is a time for ROTH IRAs and black coffee and tax wizards and sadness, and that time is 100% not today.

Turn your speakers up, kids. It’s time to grow down.

1. Stressed Out

Billing Address: Treehouse in Backyard 👌

 

2. 1985

Sorry to all the tax wizards out there ✌️

3. Grow Up

“I’m a princess, I don’t want to be the queen.” That sounds like a rib tattoo in the making.

4. Dancing Queen

Current Mood: Villager at 2:36

5. Here’s to Never Growing Up

Too much eyeliner ✔️ Teen angst ✔️ Unnecessary necktie ✔️

The gang’s all here.

6. I’ll Be There

I think we can all agree this hasn’t been our day, month, or even our year. #bye2016

If you don’t mind some vulgarity, check out Jenna Marbles’ hit single “I Hate Being a Grown-Up” for a stirring encore performance.

13 Oklahoma Artists, Startups, & Small Businesses You Should Shop This Christmas

During my brief 24 (almost 25!) years on Earth, I’ve had the great fortune of meeting countless wickedly talented self-starters in Oklahoma. These are a collection of friends from high school, fellow artists, former and current colleagues, and even a few of my own business partners. As someone who has dabbled in (way too many) for-profit self-ventures (knitting, novels, design, you name it), I know how invaluable the support of community can be. It’s tough to dig your heels in and build something out of nothing.

That’s why, this Christmas, I’m urging you to do something a little different.

In addition to your normal go-to stores, consider shopping with one of these Oklahoma startups or small businesses. When I say small business, I do mean small! Most of the following are run by an individual, small family, or at most a staff of five. Through personal relationships with each maker, artist, go-getter and business owner on the list, I know with confidence that your purchase will undeniably be appreciated. You can also feel good about keeping a portion of your holiday spending in-state!

So without further ado, I give you 13 (and growing) local startups to shop this year.

Sunshine & Sparkles Boutique

Adorable goodies for just about everyone in the family. Tumblers, thermoses, onesies, and bumper stickers, Allyson makes original pieces and is always up for custom orders! You can message her through the shop’s Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/sparkleandsunshineboutique/

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Honey, I’m Home Door Designs

A burlap wizard, Alison can make pretty anything you throw her way. Trust me, I’ve thrown some wild ideas her way! You can browse her selection on her Facebook page or send her any Pinspirations you might find online.

https://www.facebook.com/honeyimhomedoordesigns/

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Jak’d Up Tees

Based in Edmond, this screen printing company (run by a close family friend) sells at an unbelievably good price. Luckily they have recently expanded online, so you can shop from the comfort of your own home!

http://jakduptees.com

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Respire Photography & Madalyn and Cameron Photography

I have had the privilege of working with both photographers extensively, and each time it was a smashing success due largely to the amazing talent behind the lens. With extremely affordable mini-sessions, both photographers are perfect for holiday photos.

http://www.respirephotography.com/#welcome

http://cameronandmadalyn.com

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Bison Brew Coffee

An absolute favorite in my house! Bison Brew offers five distinct blends, each one mirroring a different ecological region in the state of Oklahoma. You can grab a bag at the Norman farmers market.

https://www.facebook.com/BisonBrewCoffee/

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Me!

Shameless plug warning! Did you really think I could leave myself off the list in good faith? As always, you are invited to indulge in any or all of my creative whimsies, whether it be a book, Puppicon, or custom Christmas cards.

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Crooked Roots Design

Thinking of sending Mom or Grandma a bouquet this year? Let the lovely ladies at Crooked Roots whip up a modern, elegant arrangement you most definitely won’t see at Homeland. Until their website is done, you can contact them on Facebook or Instagram.

https://www.facebook.com/crookedrootsdesign/

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Steven Thorn

A friend of mine from our time spent in Oxford, fellow author Steven Thorn knocks it out of the park with his Phoenix Guardian series. This book (or entire series!) would be an unexpected delight for any young bookworms in your life.

https://www.amazon.com/Steven-Thorn/e/B004X35RLM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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Mixed Madness Apparel

Edgy designs and quality products, Mixed Madness blends a variety of styles in a really cool way, making each piece unique from anything you’d find in stores.

http://www.mixedmadnessapparel.com

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Resume Reactions

I realize no one wants a resume critique as a Christmas present, BUT this startup is still extremely relevant as hundreds of people search for extra work during the holiday season. If that’s you, let Lori brush up your resume first to make sure you get the job!

http://www.resumereactions.com

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The Baron’s Custom Glassware

Whether you’re into merlot or martinis, cabernets or Cokes, Aaron’s got you covered. This custom-cut  glassware makes an excellent drinking cup and a gorgeous votive (for you ladies out there).

https://www.facebook.com/Baronscups

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Decorate the 918

Calling all Tulsans! Among many other creative ventures, Andrea designs and creates stunning nail art for the home (like my amazing Disney quote shown below!). Check out some of her portfolio and give her a shout on Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/decoratethe918/

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Do you know of an Oklahoma artist, entrepreneur, or small business you’d like to add to the list? Shoot me a link in the comments! It’s Christmas time, and that  means the more the merrier.

 

Someday When My Kids Are Grown…

As you all know, I don’t have any children – hey, I’m only 24! Still, as more and more of my peers settle down, I like to imagine the kind of world my own future children will inherit. What will matter to them when they’re my age, 20 or 30-something years from now? What will they enjoy, pursue, fear? Which of my favorite shows will make it to TV Land? What will the world look like someday when my children are grown?

This is a collection of my thoughts. 

Someday when my kids are grown…

I hope they read about civil unrest in books, not the news.

I hope “Adopt Don’t Shop” is the norm.

I hope they never saw me complain about stretch marks or wrinkles.

Someday when my kids are grown…

I hope that my daughter is called by her name, not Mrs. Husband.

I hope that my son changes diapers and vacuums like a boss.

I hope they find a spouse who will watch Friends on TV Land.

Someday when my kids are grown…

I hope I’m there to see it.

I hope my grandkids aren’t little turds.

I hope the world is worth a few more birthdays. 

Someday when my kids are grown…

I hope social media is outdated and cell phones obsolete.

I hope the garter toss is no longer a thing because it’s awkward and just why.

I hope all the teachers haven’t moved to Texas yet.

Someday when my kids are grown…

I hope that in a casual culture they make some things sacred.

I hope they love their body because I probably made it, and I’m good at crafts.

I hope that seeking therapy doesn’t have to be a secret anymore.

Someday when my kids are grown…

I hope they know how to shoot a gun but never need to pull the trigger.

I hope Disney World is still the happiest place on Earth.

I hope tolerance isn’t confused with truth.

Someday when my kids are grown…

I hope they come to visit.

I hope they know the difference between joy and happiness.

I hope they chase meaning.

Someday when my kids are grown…

I hope my children walk with Christ, the reason I hope at all.

5 of Your Favorite 90s Childhood Crafts (That You Can Still Buy for Under $20)

1. Lite Brite

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Right out of the gates, we’re starting strong with my personal favorite on today’s list, king of creativity, the Lite Brite. What couldn’t you make with one of these bad boys? Never mind that the little plastic pegs always slipped out of your chubby toddler fingers. If you could manage to stab one through the board, man. The world was yours, my friend. I’ll bet there’s some legit, professional-level Lite Brite art out there. Hmmmm. Now that’s an interesting thing. Excuse me, I need to Google something.

Yep. Called it!

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P.S. These run for about $18 on eBay.

2. Perler Beads

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Okay, I’m back! Believe it or not, you can still buy complete Perler bead sets at Hobby Lobby. Obviously the price depends on the kit you buy, but I can assure you from recent experience with my boyfriend these are still insanely entertaining. Tip: Retro pixelated designs are pretty much a guaranteed success, if you’re looking for high-reward, low-risk. If you want to make the Mario Piranha Plant above, check out my other post for a tutorial!

3. Beaded Keychains

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Monkeys and lizards and turtles – oh my! If you had one of these on your backpack in elementary school, you probably listened to aTeens on HitClip, rode a scooter everywhere, and pulled a roller BSB backpack to school. Okay, fine, I’m referring to myself. Today, these unopened babies are infinite on eBay and sell for as low as $1. Yes. One single dollar. Have at it, kids.

4. Plastic Looms

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I’m not sure this distinctly 90s, but I have definitely never seem a kid “looming” in 2016. They’re probably too busy writing CSS or learning how to Tumblr. Meawhile, we were off weaving used hairbands together and calling it art. Either way, this loom kit was a staple of my childhood, providing hours of tedious entertainment and literally drawers full of weird, stretchy potholders that my mom politely tolerated and occasionally used in private. If the loom calls to you, you can grab one at Walmart for under $5. Careful. Don’t spend it all in one place.

5. Blow Pens

Oh man. Blow pens. I don’t know about you, but I bugged my parents relentlessly for blow pens thanks to that insanely cool infomercial on Nickelodeon where they made sweatshirts and hats and other commodities far beyond my ten-year-old skill level. You don’t remember it? Here, let me take you back to 2001.

Can we just talk about that invisible ink? THE SECRETS I COULD TELL. You know, after I finish washing the spit off my hands, that is. You probably didn’t have $19.99 plus shipping and handling then, but you sure do now, you high-rolling adult. The complete set you always dreamed of for just $10.99 on eBay.

Just so you know, there are way more than five of these gems out there. I deliberately excluded Floam (because it smells weird and ew) and Marvin’s Magic Doodle Pad (because I literally could not make that amazingly cool fish from the ad to save my life, and yes, I’m still upset). Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your niece/nephew or your own kid, please let us live vicariously by sharing your craft projects below.

So, anyone planning to buy one and/or have used one recently?

What’s Up with All These Disney Remakes?

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The Jungle Book. Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty. Beauty and the Beast. For the past five years, Disney has been in an experimental relationship with live-action fairytales that (as far as I can tell) has no end in sight. In 2015, Cinderella racked in $132 million globally on opening weekend. Try $294 million for The Jungle Book. Needless to say with figures like these, Disney has taken a cute from Queen Bey is about to put a ring on remakes.

But what’s so magical about a remake, anyway?

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In high school, I did a lot of babysitting because I had no money and two X chromosomes. We watched The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Tarzan, the usuals. Every week, I would optimistically offer up suggestions for movies that I had loved growing up. The Aristocats, 101 Dalmatians, Snow White, Pinocchio, even The Jungle Book. After being shot down like Bambi’s mom time and time again, I finally caught on.

“That movie’s too slow.

“It’s a boring one.”

“No, that movie isn’t very funny.”

The next generation is a new audience with new expectations.

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But all hope is not lost. Many animation studios make the bulk of their profit from tentpole films, meaning movies with never-ending sequels like Kung Fu Panda 3, The Avengers, Shrek, etc. With the exception of Marvel and LucasFilms, Disney hasn’t relied too heavily on tentpole films in the past. Lion King 1 1/2 happened against our will, and yes, Pocahontas II disappointed audiences everywhere because apparently Mel Gibson is too good for sequels. But these were just home releases – a small boost, not a blockbuster.

But now the tides are turning. To stay relevant, Disney has three options. Generate new blockbusters (Frozen), reinvent forgotten classics (Pete’s Magic Dragon), or set up new tentpoles (Star Wars). While I believe all three are in the works, there seems to be a strong emphasis on creating forgotten classics with the goal of establishing new tentpoles.

Clear as mud, right?

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Basically, live-action remakes are low risk and high reward because fans already love the story. They’re also an easy (though expensive) way to reinvent old stories for young viewers, which will allow Walt’s legacy to stay relevant in the age of CGI. In short, it’s fish bait for your children. The craziest part? It’s working like magic.

So, what’s next for Disney?

According to US Weekly, “Other projects in the works from Disney, all set for release between 2017 and 2019, include A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava DuVernay; Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; Dumbo, directed by Tim BurtonMaleficent 2, starring Angelina Jolie; and Jungle Book 2, a sequel to the just-released live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling‘s book, starring Neel Sethi,Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba.”

Notice how I put this in quotes because I was too lazy to research it for myself. Regardless, you can see that Disney is preparing for a tidal wave of live-action profit, that will hopefully position the company for years of financial gain and never-ending merchandise opportunitites.

Personally, I think this is excellent news. The possibilities are literally endless, folks! I am thrilled to see old Disney icons like Pongo, Belle, Marry Poppins, and Mowgli meet fresh, young eyes because these characters mean something to me. As they live on, so does a precious sliver of my childhood. Through these films, old dreams drift into the future. They are the Bing Bong to my Riley, the White Rabbit to my Alice.

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What are your thoughts on all of the remakes?

 

We NEED to Talk About the New Beauty and the Beast Trailer

In case you missed it, Disney released a trailer teaser for the new live-action Beauty and the Beast, which is code for “DROP WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING AND WATCH IT RIGHT THIS SECOND.”

Sorry not sorry for the drama, but we’re reliving the birth of the Disney Renaissance, folks. Your undivided attention is a must. As a self-professed Disney princess enthusiast whose favorite film happens to be Beauty and the Beast, I’m basically on sensory overload. That being said, I’ve tried to catalogue my thoughts as coherently as possible! In this post, I’ll mostly be talking about my reaction the trailer, but for a more thorough rundown of the film itself check out The Disney Blog.

From the trailer, it appears we will be treated to a darker retelling – I expect somewhat similar to the 2016 The Jungle Book and less like the 2015 Cinderella. Personally, I’ve always been drawn to the gothic undertones of the story more than the glitz and glam of the Disney princess franchise, so obviously I am thrilled the trailer is more suspenseful than romantic. Here are a few other quick thoughts I had while watching (and re-watching) the clip.

First Thoughts

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  • Unlike the live-action Cinderella, I am ecstatic to see that (so far) the musical score remains true to 1991. We all know Alan Menken is gold, and if you don’t cry during the “Transformation” score you should probably post a listing for your missing heart.
  • Although I never had a single doubt, Emma Watson is perfect. Just perfect.
  • Cogsworth and Lumiere sound pretty much exactly like the original, and this news is just wonderful.
  • I think I stopped breathing for a full 10 seconds as the camera panned over the ballroom. So, when can I move in?
  • In the original film, the only portrait shown is the one Beast scratches, which shows his human self. In the new trailer, we are shown a different portrait with three figures. Could this hint at a long-awaited backstory for Adam?
  • I’m glad our first look at Belle is in the blue dress, not the gold dress. It seems trivial, but I’m a big advocate of blue-dress Belle. After all, she’s only in the gold dress for, what, an hour tops?

Hopes and Dreams

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  • We haven’t yet seen the Beast, and honestly I hope we don’t until the film. It’s good to leave something for the imagination, right?
  • If this resembles Beastly in any way, I’m going to break down in tears.
  • Although I’m not positive the musical aspect is going to fit into this retelling, I am still highly optimistic Emma Watson may sing a number or two.
  • It may be a stretch, but I would love to see a cameo or two from the original cast – Enchanted style.
  • The Beast’s roar sounds a little like a stalled lawn mower, but I don’t hate it. It reminds me of a cat-like purr, almost. After seeing The Jungle Book, I am very optimistic in a realistic, animalistic portrayal of the Beast.

Things I Wish We Had Seen

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  • I’m dying for a look at the costumes. While I am typically a stickler on reinvention, I adored the way Disney updated iconic outfits in Cinderella while staying true to the original.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but I’m dying for some stained glass.
  • Obviously it was just a teaser, but I can’t wait to see Gaston’s unanimated counterpart. I also hope that every inch of him is covered in hair. If you think I’m being creepy, here’s the song.

Things I Hated

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  • Ha! Seriously. Good one, guys.

So, fellow fans, what is your immediate reaction to the trailer?

Q&A: Buying Your First House

So, you want to a buy a house. Well, my friend, you’re in luck! In December, I bought my very first house. Even though it’s only been 6 weeks, I have loved every minute of it except for painting. I did not love that one bit. Anyway, since sharing the news, I’ve had lots of interested buyers ask me about the process. In response, I thought I would do a quick Q&A about the ins-and-outs of buying your first house!

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Me entering the astroturf threshold of my new house for the first time!

Am I an expert on home buying? LOL No. But I am 24 years old and (still) mostly clueless about the world, so I feel that makes me pretty relatable. Fair warning, dear reader: the home-buying process is hard. You will cry and yell and curse your piddly bank account on the regular. But in the end you will literally own property, and that’s pretty cool. So, let’s get started!

Q: What are the pros and cons to buying a house?

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A: On the plus side, a mortgage payment will typically be cheaper than renting an apartment of the same square footage. Unlike renting, you can own pretty much any pet, make major renovations, and potentially use the property for profit as a rental unit.

However, owning a house means paying for all repairs, entering a long-term contract, and paying a billion deposits for things like garbage, water, and so on. It also means routine maintenance, like mowing the grass.

Q: Can you afford to buy a house?

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A: The answer might surprise you! Mortgages are actually very affordable, but the tricky part is clearing the down payment. As a first time homebuyer, you’ll be expected to pay 5% of the sale price upfront. If you can afford the down payment, chances are you will no problem once the house is actually purchased.

Q: Should you get a realtor?

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A: Depends. I had a realtor, and I thought it made the process way easier. A realtor is basically like a spirit guide with really organized binders. However, it’s possible you may not get as good of a deal on your house as the seller will pay your realtor fees. For a first-time buyer, I’d use a realtor. But remember! They will probably advocate a quick bidding process and/or discourage you from negotiating when you absolutely should. As long as you go in prepared, you’ll be fine!

Q: How much should you spend on a house?

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A: While you can always take on roommates to help pay the mortgage, it’s critical that you are able to afford the house on your own if you’re the only one on the deed. For help with the specifics, check out Zillow’s mortgage calculator. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great place to start!

To speed up the process, you can apply for preapproval at your bank. Basically, this is just your bank’s way of saying, “Yeah, as long as you find a house in this price range we’ll spot you.” Remember: Your bank will approve you for a number MUCH higher than what you can afford because they profit from your inability to pay through interest. That being said, look for houses BELOW your preapproval price unless you just like being broke.

Q: What can you expect while touring homes?

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A: It’s best to establish a few deal-breakers to save yourself from touring 600 homes any given weekend. My must-haves were a bathtub, garage, and a fireplace. You’d be surprised how many options that eliminated!

After you tour one or two homes, they will slowly begin to blend together. For that reason, takes notes at each house on the things you love and hate. You may spend a little longer at each house, but you will thank yourself later. Trust me.

Q: You found a house, now what?

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A: You did some shopping and found a home you’d like to bid on. When entering negotiations for the price of a home, there is one guiding question to ask yourself: Would you rather have a lower monthly payment or more money upfront?

If the answer is a lower monthly payment, you will want to lower the sale price of the house. If you’d rather have more money upfront for repairs and/or to help with the down payment, you will ask the buyer to contribute more in closing costs instead of reducing the sale price. In the end, it’s all the same money. But do you want it now or later?

Q: Is it a good time to buy?

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A: Winter is typically the best season for buying a house because the majority of homes are bought in the spring/summer. This means you are competing with fewer potential buyers for your house. However, purchasing a house in the winter means you could be juggling the holidays with packing (which totally sucks) and/or doing all of your decorating in the dark because the sun basically sets at noon. Also it’s really cold.

Q: What happens after a seller accepts my offer?

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A: Paperwork. So. Much. Paperwork. You can try to read everything thoroughly, but if you don’t understand it don’t feel dumb because literally no one does. Not even your dad. The most important thing to do is make sure your closing costs, repair cap, and sale price match on ALL documents. If these numbers align, you’re (probably) in the clear.

Q: What should I expect at my closing?

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A: Once all negotiations are through and your bank approves the loan, your loan officer will set up a meeting with the title company. There, you will sign more papers until your hand literally stops. If you have a cool realtor, you might also get a goody basket.

Some people say that you should expect to spend a few hours at your closing, but mine only took about 45 minutes. I brought my mom along for good measure since I am buying the house alone, and it never hurts to have a second pair of eyes!

Q: What if I don’t like my house after I buy it?

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A: Sell it, rent it, and re-evaluate your decision-making skills.

Hopefully this has been a helpful start to your home-buying journey! I know how crazy and confusing the process can be, so if you have additional questions please feel free to ask away below! Good luck, and happy hunting!