Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When Farming, Running, and Hunting Collide...

... You drive a few miles up the road to drop your husband off at a vehicle he had spotted, jog out to take a look at a winter wheat field and then back to the car, while wearing blaze. 

That's how my evening run went today!

I had planned on running when I got home from work. Wednesdays are a great day for running because I typically get home a little earlier. The weather was good when I got home, too. Good as in Not Terribly Windy. I was all gung-ho to take the dog and go.

Then Jeff said he needed me to give him a ride up to the field where he'd parked a rig. He needed to take that vehicle back to his folks' house, then drive his own pickup back home.

Ok. No problem. I changed into my jogging clothes and we three (me, Jeff, Harvey) loaded up. Jeff handed me my blaze orange safety vest and I put it on in the car. Hunting season is open. Better safe and SEEN than sorry. Harvey was suited up also.
All suited up in blaze and ready to run!
We parked and Jeff left and then Harvey and I started our jog.  Soon, Harvey chased a large Antelope doe. I hoped that doe was not in someone's rifle cross hairs as we ran by on the road, or if it was, that the hunter also saw us in our safety vests. No sign of anyone around, though. Nothing to fear.
Who's that handsome hunting, running Vizsla? It's Harvey!
We went out to the edge of one of our fields, then back a ways, then cut North to the only tree on our farm, back to the road, back to the car. Roughly three miles. Not a lot, but still good. Lot's of direction change, varied running surfaces, and visual landmarks made it easy to work in some surges and speed mix-ups.
See the tree?
See the dog?
And, I did stop to take a photo of the winter wheat to show Jeff.
Winter wheat in the furrows. Lookin' good!
Guy should have some winter wheat in the ground. :)
Then back in the car and driving home, Jeff arriving back at the same time. Quick typing out the blog, and then on to dinner!

Headed home. Nice clouds tonight. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Training Harvey to Hunt

Today, I have a special treat for all the dog-lovers out there! I'm excited to announce that I had the great honor of working with Jessie over at The Right Fits on a post about training my dog, Harvey, to hunt game birds. So, really, this post is for the hunters in my reading mix, too! Read below to get started, then click on over to The Right Fits to read the rest of the post on Jessie's blog! 
Photo taken shortly after we got Harvey, September 2010.
I still remember when Jeff announced to me that he knew what kind of puppy we’d be getting. At the time, we were engaged, but not living together, and talking on the phone daily.

He had been rattling on and on without much pause about this type of dog that I had never heard of before. He was excited to tell me that these dogs were energetic but snuggly and affectionate, very intelligent, and were excellent hunters. I could take him running with me if I wanted to, and on the farm where we’d be living he’d have plenty of free space, and Jeff would train him as a bird dog. He wasn’t going to be too big, and he was really clean—with short hair and a habit for licking and cleaning himself…. Jeff kept going naming all the virtues of this mysterious dog breed I had never heard of before.

“Wait—what kind of dog is it?” I had asked.

“A Vizsla!” 

We picked up Harvey as a puppy from a breeder in Iowa, while on a trip there to visit my family. This was about four years ago, in September. Harvey rode all the way home with us as a teeny tiny seven-week old pup with huge ears, blue eyes, and a cute little pot-belly. We loved him from the start. He would be our companion, best friend, running buddy, snuggle-man, and hunting guide from that day on.

For the REST of the story, click on over to THIS POST on The Right Fits! While you're at it, check out some of Jessie's other posts, too. She does a fantastic job! 

Harvey in a barley field, late this past summer.
Pretty handsome guy!
Want to read more about our hunting adventures? Here are a few links to past posts on hunting with Harvey that have appeared on PrairiePonderingsMT.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Jeff's Farmers Union Convention Speech

Jeff and I attended the Montana Farmers Union Annual Convention over the weekend and co-delivered a speech about our experience in the FUE program. I published my speech in the previous post, and below is Jeff's speech. 
Photo courtesy of Carol Bangs. 
Good morning, I’m Jeff Bangs, and as you can tell, I lost the coin flip to see which of us was going to talk first, so now I have the very difficult task of following my wife at the podium.

As I was walking down here this morning, a thought occurred to me. I wondered if we were the first FUE couple from Montana to have to speak about our experience in the FUE couples program with next year’s group of couples, as well as Harley and Irene Danielson, the program’s coordinators, in the audience?

I actually wish I’d thought of that sooner, because up until just a little while ago, I’d not taken into account that Harley and Irene would be here, so bear with me now, I’ve got to take a minute and take all of my “North Dakotan” jokes out of my speech (cross out with pen). Wow, honey you might have to come back up here, I don’t have enough material left to talk for very long!

In all seriousness, Harley and Irene do a fantastic job organizing this program, bringing in a variety of great speakers and trainers, and helping all of us couples get the most out of this great program as possible. So if I could get Harley and Irene to stand for just a moment, I’d like everybody here to help me thank them for all that they do for Farmer’s Union.

While I’m at it, we need to thank Farmer’s Union Enterprises for continuing to provide funding for the Couples Leadership Program. One of the stated goals of the program is to foster leadership among these couples, with the goal that those folks will then take on an active role both in their local communities, and within Farmer’s Union either in their local, state, or the National organization. 

Looking around the room over the past day of the convention, I’ve seen many of the Montana couples that have gone through the program, from the first year 8 years ago up until now. That group of people now includes board members, national convention delegates, committee members, and folks who are very involved in shaping the policies and direction of Montana Farmers Union. I’d say the program is doing exactly what it was created to do, so thank you again to FUE for having the foresight to create this program, and to keep it going with annual funding.

On to our year and a half in the couples program. Katie and I weren’t sure what to expect from a program that promised “leadership training,” but we knew we were interested in getting involved in Montana Farmers Union, and saw this as a great avenue to do so. As we got into our first meeting in Bozeman last summer, and got to know the couples we’d be training with for the upcoming year, we were a little taken aback, to be honest.

The couple from Minnesota, Bryan and Jennifer Klabunde, are a very well-dressed, well-spoken, very sharp couple of people, and Bryan was already very active in his state Farmers Union organization as the president of his home county. Jennifer has been very involved in helping to grow Minnesota’s membership, and has served on several committees relating to their state organization.

The couple from North Dakota, Mark and Mindy Heinz, have a very large operation and are also very involved with their local county chapter of North Dakota Farmers Union, and Mark already had a few years of service on his local co-op elevator board, and Mindy is the education director for the Rolette county local organization.

The Wisconsin couple, Jim and Lisa Soyring, have a good-sized cow-calf ranch that they’d basically built on their own, and Jim is a long-time union organizer and leader at his other full-time job off the farm, while Lisa, in addition to being very involved in their local 4-H organization, also performs the lions share of the day to day operations on their farm.  

So we definitely had a moment of “Holy cow, what are we doing in a group that includes this group of impressive people?”

However, as we went along through the year, it became clear that we all share the same concerns, regardless of our experience level or the size of our operations. We all think about land costs, the cost of our inputs, getting a fair price for what we produce, getting our products shipped in a timely and reasonably-priced fashion, and taking care of our land in a responsible manner.

As a bit of an aside, probably the most satisfying part of this experience for me was getting to know these impressive people, all involved in family farming in their various states, and emerging from our year of training with not only a network of colleagues that we feel like we can discuss farm issues with, but with a bunch of people who we’ll be friends with for the rest of our lives.

The fact that we all basically shared the same concerns, as I’m sure most of us in this room do, led us to many discussions about the importance of an organization like Farmer’s Union to stand up for family agriculture, and to help keep family farming as a viable option as a lifestyle and career.
Every person in our group has passion for the issues that we as an organization have chosen to advocate for, from COOL to the Renewable Fuel Standard to ensuring fair treatment from the railroads that ship our products, and many others.

I think that’s the true value in this Young Couples Leadership program, taking a group of people who are passionate about family agriculture, and giving them some tools to articulate that passion to those in positions of power, be it at the local, state, or national level.

The culmination of our year in the program was getting to participate in the National Farmers Union legislative fly-in in Washington, DC in September. The fly-in actually clarified and helped me to answer a question I’ve had about Farmers Union. I’ve always believed in the values and positions that this organization takes, our commitment to education, and our leadership in cooperatives throughout our ag communities. But when someone would ask me “why Farmer’s Union” or “What can Farmer’s union do for me?” I could never come up with the short, bumper-sticker answer that I sought.

However, at the fly-in, we took policies written by members at the state and county level, and lobbied for them at the USDA and in congress. And the folks back there were interested in what National Farmers Union had to say. So there’s an answer, to the “why farmer’s union?” question: We take policies, written by our membership, and take them to the highest levels of government, where those ideas and policies are heard by those in power. A bit long for a bumper sticker maybe, but it brought home for me what a great grassroots organization this truly is, and what a valuable job we as an organization do for family farmers across the country.

So please, everyone here, stay involved, because what we are all doing here as members of Farmers Union is making a difference in family agriculture all across the country.

I’ll close by saying thank you again to Farmer’s Union Enterprises and to Harley and Irene Danielson for this opportunity, and thanks to all of you for allowing us to share our experience with you this morning. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Farmers Union Convention Speech

This morning, Jeff and I had the great honor of speaking at the annual Montana Farmers Union Convention. We spoke about the FUE Leadership Couples experience we partook in over the past eighteen months, culminating in the Legislative Fly-In this past September. Following is the written copy of my portion of the speech we presented to the gathering. 

Photo courtesy of Carol Bangs.
When I look around this room, I see smiling and welcoming faces of family and friends. I see a room full of farmers, representing Montana’s very diverse Agricultural system looking back at me. But I’m willing to bet that some of us in this room haven’t always been farmers. Personally, I fall into that category. Despite growing up in one of our nation’s top agriculture states, Iowa, and attending one of the best Agriculture Universities, Iowa State University, I knew almost nothing about farming. Even though both my parents grew up on farms, and I had memories of visiting the family farm when I was a very young kid, I had little appreciation for food source. Speaking of my college days, you could argue that during those four-and-a-half years, I was actively trying to avoid farm life, in all its various iterations.

So how did I get to where I am today? That’s what I’m going to speak about this morning. How I went from being a citified Midwesterner to an Agriculture Proud Montanan, and how friends, my husband, family, and Montana Farmers Union helped me along the way.

Even though I grew up in an Ag state, I was more or less a city-kid. I had little connection to family farms on either side of my family. My school contained no FFA or 4-H—I had never even heard of either of those programs until I went to college. The extent of my knowledge of food supply was that my family got food from the grocery store and occasionally the farmers market. In college, I studied Apparel Design and French. My majors had much more to do with an urban way of life, which was reinforced by my internship in New York City and study abroad in Lyon, France—both big cities. I thought my future would be in a metropolis somewhere. 

Later in my college years, I started dating a nice guy from rural Iowa. He had grown up on a sheep farm and had the life-goal of being a mixed-animal vet, living on a farm somewhere away from the city, and also tending a small livestock operation of some sort himself. We stayed together longer than we should have but when we eventually called it off for good, one of the main reasons was because I could not see myself living in the country. By this time, I had spent lots more time in cities. I thought I was a city girl. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with living rurally.
Those of you who know where I live now, should be laughing.

In terms of Agriculture, my life has taken a complete turnaround since my college days. I am now married to Jeff Bangs, and we farm and ranch in about as rural of a place you could imagine. We’re about a half-hour drive from the nearest town, and an hour from the nearest WalMart. (Why proximity to WalMart is a metric for rural living is another societal indication I’m not getting into today!) But I had to learn, over time, how to be OK with letting myself live in such a rural place.

I had decided early in my relationship to Jeff that if I was going to give this farming thing a go, I had better learn what the heck I was getting myself into. Over the years we dated, I visited the farm where I would eventually live many times. We talked at length about what life would be like for us together on the northern Montana prairie. On my visits, I participated in whatever farm-related task he was up to, as often as it was practical (and probably some times when it wasn’t practical—Sorry, Tom!). Jeff was always so very patient in explaining to me why they do the things they do on the farm. Tom and Carol, who are now my in-laws, have answered the same questions from me over and over and over, but always with grace and a smile.The more I learned about farming and the way the Bangs family farmed, and the more I grew to love Jeff, the easier it was to move from acceptance into appreciation of farm life for myself.

Through this family, I learned that farming is never easy. It’s seldom convenient. It’s often messy. Farming can be very dull, sometimes tedious, and always a lot of hard work. But farming is also self-directed. It is liberating, rewarding, and beautiful. Farming is a legacy, and most of all, it is essential. As farmers, we have the privilege of providing food for an expanding world, and we’re lucky enough to do this while also providing for our own families.

This leads me to one of the reasons why I have grown to find another home of sorts in Montana Farmers Union. 

Shortly after that, I heard about the very first ever Montana Farmers Union Women’s Conference. My in-laws had been active members of MFU for many years, so when the pamphlet for this conference came, Carol encouraged me to attend. I am so glad I did. I walked in the doors to the conference having no idea what to expect, but left feeling empowered and encouraged by the other attendees and by Delisa, who had run the show. These people were so warm and inviting, it felt like family already. I promptly signed Jeff and myself up for a two-year membership to MFU.

Shortly after that, Jeff and I received a phone call from MFU President Allan Merrill about something called FUE Leadership Couples. Wanting more information before committing Jeff and I to this year-and-a-half-long shindig, I had talked to Harley Danielson, who’s in charge of the FUE Leadership program (and there’s no saying No to Harley!)Shortly thereafter, we found ourselves undertaking this great FUE experience, which has only solidified our place among the Farmers Union community. 

You may have already noticed that this year’s FUE group is here, attending our Convention for their fall get-together. WE had the great pleasure of meeting and interacting with this group earlier this summer at our combined meeting in Bayfield, WI. They are certainly a memorable group and I encourage everyone to say hello to them, and of course to Harley and Irene.

Our FUE experience has been nothing short of outstanding. We learned so much about Farmers Union, about all three legs of the Triangle—Education, Cooperation, and Legislation. We traveled to some pretty outstanding places, including Bayfield, WI, Bozeman, MT, Santa Fe, NM… and Minot, ND. At each place we visited, we were able to take in some of the local culture and also gained a greater understanding of Agriculture in that area.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention specifically the capstone of the FUE experience, the DC Fly-In. We spent most of a week in Washington, learning about and lobbying for Farmers Union causes. One thing I will always remember about this trip is that almost every person we met in Washington who was involved with Farmers Union wanted to know who we were, where we were from, and what we did before proceeding on with business. They asked us these things and genuinely seemed to care about our responses. Whether it was Education Director Maria Miller or President Roger Johnson or anyone else we met, I felt that they wanted to know who we were, that they cared about us and were truly happy we were there. This to me truly embodies part of what the spirit of Farmers Union is about. 

I won’t forget the time we spent in Washington D.C.  It was this trip that culminated the training we had received, and truly opened our eyes to what we could do for this organization and how we fit into its future.

What truly made the entire FUE experience special was the people. We sometimes refer to our Farmers Union friends as feeling like family. I think Jeff and I agree that the other couples we met in our FUE group do feel like family in many ways. We have a lot in common with the other couples in our group and found right away that we can spend hours in deep discussion after a day of meetings and training. We know that even though we may not see these couples and their families often, we will always have a special connection, will always be a phonecall away to bounce ideas off one another.

Needless to say, we were hooked into Montana Farmers Union, and we’re happy with that. The more events we attend, the more we are affirmed that this is the organization for us, beginning with the first ever MFU Women’s Conference and now having completed the FUE experience. The people we have met through our experiences with MFU feel like family, and in some cases they are family.  I believe there is truly no greater organization advocating for the family farmer in Montana. Even someone who grew up with only a vague sense of Agriculture can come around to the bright side, through a little help from friends, family, and Farmers Union.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Next Farm Family Of The Year?

Someone nominated this photo and our family for the CHS Farm Family of the Year contest--
Entry Photo

The photo was taken during harvest, about two months ago or so.
Front row (L to R): Josh, Harvey, Katie, and Jeff.
Second row, on top of the truck (L to R): Me (in the hat), Stennie, Carol, and Tom.

I don't know who submitted the photo and nominated us for this. I'm guessing it was Carol, but who knows! :)

If you want to give us a vote, CLICK HERE to re-route to the Facebook page that is sponsoring the contest. Last I checked, we were in second place, so we could really use your vote!

If we win, we get a trip to the final home Bobcat game of the season and we get recognized (on the field during the game, maybe?) as the Farm Family of the Year! Pretty cool, huh? Show us some love and click on over to FB and give us a vote! Thanks! :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Run For The Roses 5K Race Review

This past weekend was another Bozeman weekend for me and Jeff as the MSU Bobcats took on the Weber State Wildcats. The Cats scored another win, and we saw lots of family and friends as it was Family Weekend at MSU. It felt a little like the whole HiLine had migrated south for the game! So great to see so many familiar faces from the North Country!

Also, before proceeding, I want to thank everyone who checked out my previous post about my StitchFix haul for October. That post got 260 pageviews in 24 hours! That is definitely an all-time high for me. I hope some of you who tuned in for that will stick around for some more blog posts and learn what PrairiePonderingsMT is all about!

A highlight of the weekend for me was participation in the Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority's annual Run For The Roses 5K. They abbreviate it as R4R, so that's what I'll do here. This was apparently the 18th year for R4R, but only the second time I have participated in the race. I think since the dissemination of info about the race is up to a crew of sorority girls that probably turns over in leadership every year, it's been difficult to find details about the race in the past sometimes. The last time I did this was I think about 4 years ago, but I can't remember for sure. This year, I was able to track down the pertinent details, and again some of my family and friends participated in the event as well! Our crew participating in R4R this year included me, Jeff, Jeff's sister Katie (who's nearly 8 months pregnant!), Katie's husband Josh, my Mother-in-Law Carol, and our friend Amanda.
Our group posing before the race in front of Montana Hall on the MSU campus, which is where the race began.
Josh and Carol are in the back row. Front row, left to right: Amanda, Katie, Me, Jeff.
We did not sign up for the race until race day, but found sign-up to be pretty quick and easy. The registration fee was only $10 to just run and $20 if you also wanted a t-shirt. I'm a fan of race shirts, and this one was a keeper, so Jeff and I both sprung for the tee. It's a nice, soft, basic red cotton tee with, I think, an understated but nice graphic on the front.
Showing off the race tee, post race. 
It seemed like they had at least 100 people participating in the race, either as 1 mile or 5K runners or walkers. A nice crowd, but not overwhelming.  At race time, it was in the upper 30s and sunny, with no wind--beautiful conditions for a fall race in a mountain town.

As we got ready to begin the race, the girl in charge spoke a bit about the AOII philanthropy cause of the race- Arthritis Research. A little boy with Arthritis was there and his mom got a little teary as she spoke about what life was like for the kid. It always inspires me to think about others who are dealing with hardships in their lives, so I had the kid on my mind as I prepared for the race.  Josh and I neared the front of the pack. Jeff started off farther back with Amanda, both as runners, near Carol and Katie, who walked the course. Soon, we were off and running (or walking, as it were)!
I spotted this rose on the sidewalk outside the AOII house after the race.
Hard to tell, but it was actually sparkly! 
The course was gradual downhill for the first two full miles. I kept a pretty quick pace, hoping I'd be able to hold on for what I knew would be some uphill in the last mile. I had my first two miles complete in about 18 minutes. I tried to save splits on my Timex watch, but must have pushed the wrong button at some point, so now I'm just going on what I think I remember for times at mile one and two.

Josh was just a little ahead of me for most of the race, but expanded his lead when we got to the long, deathy uphill in the last mile. Usually, I can mentally power through hills without slowing down too much, but once again, I started to get a bad sideache and ultimately slowed way down. I don't get why that happens, and it's frustrating. Clearly I need to do more research. On the plus side, some of the breathing pattern techniques I've been practicing kept me from having to stop completely to a walk. I completed my last 1.14 miles in ten minutes (frown face!) and finished the race with a time of 28:11.
The race ended outside the AOII house. If you really look hard, you can spot Carol and Katie in this photo.
I was a little disappointed because I felt like without the sideache, I was on pace to shatter my PR of 26:32, but still really happy with the salvaged time being ahead of my average 5K time. That's just how it goes sometimes. Overall, I was really happy that I did the race, and that so many of my family members were there, too, especially Jeff. Jeff, after taking quite a bit of time off of running over the summer, had a pretty good time, and was happy. So, I'm happy and encouraged for him.

The only true disappointment about the race was that the Dry Tailgate advertised for post-race snacks turned out to be an extra fee. It wasn't a big fee, but I had written a check for our race entry and t-shirts and didn't have any cash. So, all we could do was look at the delicious food items on the grill and try not to notice how good they smelled. Oh well! If they're going to do it that way in the future, I wish they would let people buy a ticket or sign up on a list or something during registration so we could pay for it all at once. Oh well!

Overall, it was a good community race, with a nice route and plenty of signage/Sorority Girls cheering and marking the way, and it was a nice way to spend a morning doing something active outdoors with family.
Carol and Katie completing the walk with smiles on their beautiful faces! 
Next up on our race calendar? Probably the Huffing For Stuffing Run in Bozeman, or the Burn The Bird in Great Falls. Both are on Thanksgiving Day, and both events offer a 10K, which I am strongly considering. Which race Jeff and I do will just depend on where we are for Thanksgiving. Until next time, runners and readers!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

StitchFix October 2014 Review

It's here! It came today! My second Stitchfix box!

I'm joining the blogging masses in doing an actual StitchFix review this time. Last time, my box arrived the night before we were headed out to Washington D.C. and I just didn't have time. I wasn't sure in the long run whether or not I wanted to do a review on the blog anyway, but in the end decided that I find it very helpful to see what other people are getting in their boxes, so I can do the same.

Here's where the obligatory informational paragraph about Stitchfix comes in. Only I'm not going to do it. There are a million blog posts out there with descriptions about how it works. I'm just going to jump right in to photos and info about what I got in my box this time and whether or not I kept anything.

So, here goes!

Kut From The Kloth Sonja Straight Leg Jean:
Ok, so let's start by just putting it out there that my photos leave much to be desired. This is supremely unflattering of me, and doesn't really show the product that well either.

Now that that's out of the way.

I wanted to like these jeans. But. Actually, I should say... BUTT! haha. I have a curvy, athletic, rounded ghetto-booty. I have always had trouble finding jeans that fit over the badonkadonk and fit close in the waist. I could have taken inches out of the waist, even though these fit well through the booty and thunder-thighs, #athleteprobs Jeans are something I don't spend money on unless they fit perfect because I know I ultimately won't wear them if they aren't just right. Sidenote: I kept the jeans on while trying the remaining items in my box, in case you want to try to sneak another peak at them.
Verdict: Sent Back. 

Market and Spruce Genesis Ruffle Hem Top:
Wow. Again, with the terrible photography. Patches of light right on the product.

I really, really liked this top. Jeff complimented me right away when I put it on. Everyone knows compliments from the hubs usually seal the deal. I had cheated and looked up my order before it arrived and was really hoping this top would turn out to be as awesome as it looked like it would be. It was. It actually surpassed expectations with the cute bow detail at the back neck. Love it! Already planning outfits in my mind around this one.
Verdict: Kept! 

Market and Spruce Bernadette Lace Overlay Raglan Top:
Hey! At least I thought of a different spot for the photo without so much weird lighting!

This top was cute and I did like it, but it didn't WOW me enough to keep it for the price.  Overall, though the fit is good, the colors are good colors for me, and the material was soft. With an unlimited budget, probably would have kept it. Just not this time.
Verdict: Sent Back. 

Market and Spruce Alan Cowl Neck Asymmetrical Cardigan:
I had seen this cardigan on many other StitchFix review blog posts, and when I saw that I was getting it, I felt like... "oh great... you're sending me the same thing you send everyone else! What fun is that!?" But then I tried it on, and I really liked it! Even Jeff was underwhelmed when I unpacked it from the box, but once I put it on, he put in his positive vote, too. The color is not something I would normally pick, but I think it looks nice on me, and is a good neutral that I can wear with a lot. Super soft, too. Pleasantly surprised with this top. 
Verdict: Kept!

41Hawthorn Aspen Boat Neck Striped Cotton Tee:
 I knew right away that I would not be keeping this top. I bought something almost identical to this recently from Banana Republic. If it had come down to keeping everything but this in my box, I would have kept it and sent it to my Mom (we have really similar taste, and I think she would like this), but alas. With two other no's, there was no pressure to keep this one. It's pretty basic, but it does fit me great and the fabric was super soft and flattering. My stylist nailed my taste-- just don't need two of the same thing! 
Verdict: Sent Back.

So, there you have it. I kept two out of five items. The ones I sent back were pretty much my taste, but didn't fit right (jeans), were too expensive (lace-front top), or were nearly identical to something I already own (stripe top). My stylist, who was actually different this time than in my first fix, did a great job!

What do you think? What did you like or dislike? What would you have kept or sent back?

If you're interested in trying out Stitchfix, I get a bonus when you sign up through my referral link and when your first box ships. If you feel so inspired, help a girl out! Here's my referral link: Click here to sign up for your first StitchFix Box!

Until next time, readers!