Saturday, November 28, 2015

Chopped Challenge: Husband vs. Wife Edition

Remember that time OVER A YEAR AGO when I said I'd post a video of our John vs. Stephanie Chopped challenge?!

Time sure flies when your husband takes his time editing the video. ;)

John and I competed against each other in a Chopped-style competition back in August last year. His sister and brother-in-law chose 5 secret ingredients that were revealed to us seconds before starting the competition timer. We had 30 minutes to make an appetizer dish that incorporated all 5 secret ingredients, which we then shared with the judges, John's family members. At the end of our food battle, the judges revealed the winning dish, much to our shock and surprise!

Who will win this marriage-testing cooking match-up? Watch to find out!

By the way, we call our version of this competition "Schopped", which is a play on the name of the actual show, Chopped, and our last name, which starts with Sch. 

Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mama's MilkBox: A Nursing-Friendly Fashion Subscription Box

You guys, we just hit the 6-month nursing mark . . . can you believe it?!

6 months felt SO FAR AWAY when we were going through all of our early nursing issues. But now, nursing is easy breezy and so, so wonderful. I love it and am thanking my past self for persevering. YOU GO, girl!

To celebrate 6 months of breastfeeding my big boy, I signed up for a mama treat. :)

A few weeks ago, a fellow nursing mama sent me a link to Mama's MilkBox, and I was instantly interested. It's basically Stitch Fix, but for nursing moms. Of course, it's not exactly like Stitch Fix. There are definitely a few differences in how they run things. But the overall idea is the same. You fill out a style profile, a stylist picks out several items for you, they ship them to your home, you try them on, keep what you like, send back what you don't.

Some of the bigger differences include . . .

Your first box is a mega-box. They send you several items (I got 9!) to bulk up your breastfeeding wardrobe.

After that, you receive a regular sized box (3-5 items) every 6 weeks until you decide to cancel. Canceling is easy and can be done at any time. Stitch Fix, on the other hand, always sends 5 items and you can pick how often you get a box.

There's no discount for buying all the items, which I interpret as . . . they don't mark up the cost of the items to account for a possible discount. :)

It costs $39 to purchase a box, but that $39 goes toward any items you purchase. If you send all your items back, the $39 will apply to your next box. Stitch Fix is only $20, but if you send all your items back, you lose that $20 forever.

With Mama's, you have to pay the shipping cost to send the items back, which is around $8. Stitch Fix covers the cost of shipping both ways.

You can't gain referral credits by getting friends to sign up, which again I interpret as . . . they don't mark up the cost of the items to account for referral discounts.

Since Mama's MilkBox is sending nursing friendly items, they only send tops and dresses. Who ever heard of nursing friendly pants, amiright?

AND since the company is a lot smaller than Stitch Fix, I've already found that they're much better at taking my suggestions and sending specific items I ask for. Both Stitch Fix and Mama's MilkBox have Instagram accounts where they post items they sell. Stitch Fix has never once sent me an item I liked, or commented on, or pinned to my fashion Pinterest board. On the other hand, Mama's MilkBox sent me probably 5 items that I commented on or pinned. That's some top-notch service right there, folks.

Curious to see what they sent?

Can you spot what makes them nursing friendly? :)

I've already worn one of them out and about, and let me tell you, nursing-friendly tops and dresses make breastfeeding soooo much easier! I mean, we were doing just fine with me wearing normal tops and just pulling them up to access the milky makers. But these items made just for nursing mamas make it easier to keep nursing more discrete in public. AND I can finally wear dresses again! Most of my old dress wardrobe just doesn't work anymore, since nursing in them means basically taking them completely off to get up to the girls. Not a problem at all with nursing-friendly dresses. Woohoo!

And some of them even double as maternity clothing! God-willing, there'll be another pregnancy in my future, so I can add these gems to my maternity stash as well.

Alright. Let's do a quick piece-by-piece review and I'll show ya how they work.

Mothers En Vogue - $89

This dress is what made me fall in love with Mama's MilkBox. I commented on their Instagram pic of this one and said, "Signing up now and would LOVE this dress." They heard me loud and clear. Actually, I like this one so much, I'm wearing it as I type. I wore it yesterday too. I nursed in public at John Paul's well-check appointment this morning and it was so easy! There are little hidden zippers near my underarm that zip down for nursing. Love it! Plus, it has these over-sized pockets on the sides which fit my cellphone perfectly. A mother's dream!  KEPT.

Mama's MilkBox - $49

It seems like Mama's MilkBox has their own brand! I love the simplicity of this top. The navy blue color is one of my faves. There's a panel on the front that lifts up for easy nursing. So cool! And it'll be a great piece for the fall, especially with a thick cardigan over top. KEPT.

Dote - $89

I definitely pinned this dress on Pinterest. :) Thanks for getting the memo, Mama's MilkBox! This one works similarly to the one above, where there's a panel on the front that lifts for easy nursing. It's super cute in general, but I just wasn't feeling it once I tried it on. Also, you can't tell from the picture above, but space was kind of limited for the girls in this one. Too tight in the bust. Plus, I think the pale pink doesn't really work with my skin tone. Oh well! RETURNED.

Boob - $89

Another one that I pinned and love the look of! And another panel top. But the fit wasn't working for me. Overall, it's too baggy and probably a little too long. The color combo and polka dots have me swooning though. Sigh. RETURNED.

Milk Nursingwear - $45

Actually, I pinned this one too! You probably can't make it out in the picture, but it has a lovely lace detail up top. And I love the length of the sleeves. But it felt just a bit baggy on me. And I'm starting to think I don't like dresses made of the jersey knit material, unless they're really something special. Otherwise, they all start to seem like the same ol' dress to me.  RETURNED.

Bun Maternity - $39 

You can't tell from the picture, but this top has snaps up on the shoulder that make the straps of the shirt easy to pull down for nursing. Actually, each side has two shoulder straps, so even while you're pulling one down to nurse, the other stays up, making nursing super discrete.This tank top would be a great piece for layering, and I love the stripes! But it was wayyyy too tight around my bust and too small overall. RETURNED.

Milk Nursingwear - $55

Another jersey knit dress that makes me go, "meh." RETURNED.

Boob - $59

A plain, teal top with a lacey v-neck and a panel style for nursing. Again, "meh." It would be great for layering and is a lovely staple piece, but I was kinda bored by it. Also, I wasn't digging the lace detail on this one. RETURNED.

Loyal Hana - $79

I pinned this top on my Pinterest board too because . . . SWOON! Isn't it lovely?  I would have never imagined such a fun, fashion-forward nursing-friendly top! At first I wasn't sure since it's a little baggy, but I'm thinking the bagginess totally works with this look. For nursing, there are little zippers hiding near my underarms that zip down the v-shape on the front of the shirt. Sneaky, right? And a huge bonus with this one is that John Paul has some red and black flannel pants that match it perfectly. Mom and baby in matching outfits? Super win! KEPT.


And there you have it! Nursing fashion for the win!

I have to say, I'm pumped to get my next Mama's MilkBox in 6 weeks. Sorry, Stitch Fix, but you're on hold for a while.

Unrelated to this, I also backed a nursing dress kickstarter a few months ago, so I'll be adding those to my nursing wardrobe soon too. :)

You probably noticed that nursing friendly clothes are kinda pricey. Eek! I wasn't exactly expecting that. But I'll probably just keep one or two pieces from each box in the future, and that'll keep things a little more affordable overall.

Now, if someone could point me in the direction of some nursing bras that hold up the girls as high as my favorite non-nursing bras do ... well, that would be a HOME RUN!

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