How Stitch Fix gave me back my love of fashion

My bundle of Stitch Fix items, fresh out of the box and all wrapped up in tissue paper.
My pretty little bundle of clothes from Stitch Fix.


I’m a big fan of clothes and fashion, but I’ve grown to hate shopping. I used to love pawing through the endless rows of hangers, looking for just the right pair of jeans or for the perfect purple blouse. And shoes. Don’t even get me started on shoes.

Lately, though, it’s become so much of a challenge that I no longer enjoy shopping at the store. A typical shopping trip involves choosing a date ahead of time and going somewhere with my mom so she can help me find what I’m looking for. That means I need to actually know specifically what I’m looking for; browsing is largely a thing of the past. I usually ended up settling for something that was “good enough” because I was frustrated with the whole process.

I’d considered shopping for clothes online, but I was having trouble warming up to the idea. I like feeling the fabrics and trying things on, and I didn’t want to have to pay to ship any returns back.

Then I heard about Stitch Fix, and I knew immediately I wanted to try it out.

Stitch Fix is a subscription box for clothing and accessories. You fill out a style profile, sharing your sizes and selecting your preferred clothing style and price range. A stylist evaluates your choices with the help of algorithms and sends you five items you may like based on your style profile and any requests you may have made for certain items. Once your items arrive, you take a few days to try them on and decide if you want to keep them or not. If you do want to return something, you return it in a prepaid envelope, and then you check out online. You don’t even need to take the package to the post office, either, because you can arrange for your mail carrier to pick it up. Simple!

I’ve been using Stitch Fix for a few months now, and it’s going pretty well. The more Fixes you get, the more they improve, in theory, because you can provide feedback on all the items, whether you keep them or not.

Now that we got all that stuff out of the way, I want to show you what I got in my most recent Fix!

Liverpool Mira Skinny Jean- Black and Market & Spruce Cammy Deep V-Neck Ribbed Knit Top

Market & Spruce Cammy Deep V-Neck Ribbed Knit Top and Liverpool Mira Skinny Jean- Black
Market & Spruce Cammy Deep V-Neck Ribbed Knit Top and Liverpool Mira Skinny Jean- Black

I loved the top. It was so soft, and it was a great color, so I kept it. The jeans were too snug at the waist, but long enough, which was a small miracle.  Trying to find pants to fit a 35″ inseam is always a challenge, so I was disappointed they sent black jeans. I specifically say in my style profile NO SOLID BLACK. With three long-haired cats, it’s just not worth the struggle. So the pants went back.

Market & Spruce Lawford Knit Top

Cream tab-sleeve blouse with thin black horizontal stripes, paired with black pants.
Market & Spruce Lawford Knit Top

I just didn’t like this top. It didn’t feel like me, and I kept adjusting the neckline. I don’t love that style of neckline, anyway, and I didn’t like the color of the detail at the neckline. This one went back.

Just USA Anjuli Dark Wash Denim Jacket

Dark-wash denim jacket paired with cream v-neck tee and black jeans
Just USA Anjuli Dark Wash Denim Jacket

I liked the dark wash, and I had an old, out-of-style denim jacket I wanted to replace, so I kept this one.

41Hawthorn Rocco Faux Wrap Tank Dress

Navy faux-wrap tank dress
41Hawthorn Rocco Faux Wrap Tank Dress

I really liked this dress, but it was definitely made for a shorter person. The dress wasn’t necessarily too short, but it flared out too early on me with my height and made things look a little disproportionate. This photo doesn’t really show that, but trust me. I sadly sent it back.

I’m enjoying the convenience of great fashion at my doorstep. I love having someone else find things for me she thinks I’ll like, and I love how easy it is to return the things that don’t work out. If you want to give Stitch Fix a try, please use my referral link! I’ll get a $25 credit if you do.

*This post contains referral links.

A silly little drawback to being a non-driver (that’s actually a good thing)

shamrockIt’s St. Patrick’s Day, and I’ve been obsessing all day about having a freaking Reuben sandwich.

But alas, when you live in the ‘burbs, can’t drive a car, and don’t have the stuff to make one already in the fridge, that’s just too bad.

Sure, I could get to the store if I really, really wanted one, but I have to weigh the cost and benefits. Do I want to go to the store badly enough to bug someone to take me, or spend two hours on a solo trip, for just a few things I don’t really need?

The answer usually ends up being, “Nope, not really.”

I really miss the days when I could just hop in the car and go where I please, when I please, and do what I please without some big, elaborate plan. Gone are the days of impulse-buying. I understand this is a great thing thing, practically speaking, because it’s probably saved me lots of money, but all I can think about right now is sauerkraut and rye bread, and it’s leaving little room for logic.


What do you think? How do you manage without driving? If you do drive, how do you think you’d cope with not having a license?

How I vote using the accessible voting machine

I Voted

Today’s the first day of early voting here for the 2016 presidential preference primary, and you can bet I’ve already performed my civic duty.

I used to be able to read the ballot and fill out the little circles myself, with no assistance, but those days are gone. Once I could no longer read a ballot without some serious magnification, I chose to fill out my sample ballot at home and have Jason fill out my actual ballot for me from my sample ballot. Not ideal, but it got the job done.

Then I discovered the accessible voting machines.

It’s done electronically; I put my ballot in the machine and the machine marks it for me. There’s a computer monitor that shows all the text on the ballot, and I can make it larger so it’s easier to read. Though, as you’ll see in the picture below, it’s easier to read than the paper version, but by no means easy to read. When the machine spits the ballot back out, I can see what it marked, just to make sure it marked exactly what I selected.

An approximation of what the accessible voting machine's screen looks like to me.
An approximation of what the accessible voting machine’s screen looks like to me.

I wanted to post an image of what the ballot itself looked like, but since Florida voting is weird it would indicate what party I joined, out of necessity, upon moving to Florida, and I’d rather keep that info to myself! Instead, you get to see the instruction screen.

It’s simple and fast. The accessible machine has always been open when I show up to vote, and I’m usually done before Jason is since it fills in the circles so quickly. Not to mention early voting is awesome because hardly anyone ever goes to our nearest early voting location.

I also have the option to vote by mail, which sounds convenient, but I like seeing my ballot go into that secure-looking machine. Not to mention they don’t give you an awesome sticker when you vote by mail!

The significance of Rare Disease Day, and why it matters to you

Rare Disease Day 2016

Today is Rare Disease Day, and I couldn’t let the day pass without acknowledging it. A disease is considered rare in the United States if it affects fewer than 200,000 people. About 1 in 10,000 people have Stargardt disease, so that means there are approximately 33.000 people with Stargardt disease in the United States. And Stargardt disease is only one of about 7000 rare diseases. Chances are you may know someone with a rare disease, whether you realize it or not.

Some common problems rare diseases face are lack of funding and lack of quality scientific research. Furthermore, it can be difficult to raise awareness of such diseases because so few people have heard of them and, as a result, have trouble relating to the life-altering effects these diseases can have.

It is for these reasons, and many more I will continue to share with you through this blog, that I ask you to consider participating in the national signature fundraising event of the Foundation Fighting Blindness: the VisionWalk. Join a team (my team!); donate money, goods, or services; or volunteer your time. If you’re interested in participating in any way, please reach out to me and I’ll put you in touch with the appropriate people, or visit my individual page.

Please consider helping in any way you can. Here’s the details for the Jacksonville VisionWalk, but if you aren’t local, there are Walks all across the country!


Jacksonville VisionWalk

Date: Saturday, May 14, 2016
Time:  8 AM Registration and Walk Begins at 9 AM
Location: University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL


Living by the IVF calendar isn’t for the faint of heart

One of the most defining aspects of my entire life has been my low vision because it constantly affects my everyday  life. But being blindish is only one part of who I am as a whole; and for that reason, not every post will be about my being blindish. This is going to be one of those posts.

In recent years I’ve added a second big defining aspect to my life: infertility.

I’ll save the backstory for another time, but we’ve been struggling with infertility for several years. I’ve never kept this a secret, but I’ve never shouted it from the rooftops, either. It’s just part of my everyday life now, and, even after years of practice, I’m still learning how to deal with it.

In case you didn’t know, Jason and I recently went through an IVF cycle. I shared brief updates on Facebook to keep my friends and family informed, but once we had the embryo transfer in mid-December, I made it clear that I wouldn’t confirm whether it was successful for several weeks. We chose this way so we wouldn’t find ourselves in an awkward position, because if it worked we wouldn’t want to announce it too early, and if it failed, we wouldn’t want to discuss it for a bit and would want time to plan our next move.

I will tell you now it was unsuccessful.

What I did not share publicly about the IVF cycle was that we purchased a package from our fertility clinic that gives us up to three fresh IVF cycles and any subsequent frozen embryo transfers at one flat rate. Given my history with failed IVF cycles, we decided this was our best option. The catch is that you have to use the cycles within 15 months, which means moving forward at lightning-fast speeds. Three weeks after the failed IVF I began preparing for a frozen embryo transfer.

I  decided I wanted to move quickly with this because I had a health scare recently where the word “cancer” was tossed around a fair amount. It was benign, fortunately, but I was seriously ill regardless, even needing two intravenous iron infusions, and I was told by my doctor it’s very likely I will develop some type of reproductive cancer later on and to get a hysterectomy sometime within the next several years.

What I learned from this is that, while I want kids, waiting for it to happen is taking a toll on my health and so we decided to have this one last push and if it doesn’t work, then this particular path will end and we will move on. It feels strange to write it out like that, but I feel pretty good about the decision. By this time next year I will know what path I’ll be on by then, no linger standing at the fork in the road and waiting for something to happen.

Now that we’re back to the present, here is why all this is relevant: Our frozen embryo transfer is on Thursday, a little less than 34 hours from now. I’ve spent the past six weeks or so preparing for it. I’ve endured four weeks of injections, and have at least another two weeks of intramuscular injections. That means Jason jabs this long needle into a target area my nurse drew on my backside (I mean this literally; she drew circles on me using permanent marker) and it’s painful and makes me sore, so I hobble around like a little old lady. We’ve chosen to transfer four embryos, which is how many we currently have frozen.

I’m kind of freaking out about it right now.

Four embryos is A LOT. My doctor usually transfers one for someone my age and two for someone in her last few childbearing years. It makes me wonder a little bit what he sees in there to think four is a reasonable number, and it’s almost depressing if I think about it too much. And then I think of potentially having quadruplets and I feel my eyes bulge in my head just a smidge.

FOUR babies. Can you imagine? I try not to, but it happens every once in a while and I find myself picturing it with fascinated horror.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the details of an IVF cycle, here’s my calendar for this month. I had a similar one for January, and have a similar one for March. I also included the syringe for my intramuscular injection, you know, just for fun.

My February IVF calendar
My February IVF calendar

The calendar lists when to start and stop which  medications, and it includes dosing changes, which are highlighted, and appointments. I’ve had to cancel plans or forego opportunities so I could stick to my calendar. People often say it will worth it, but I really think that remains to be seen. Will I think that’s true if we come out the other side still child-free? I prefer the pragmatic approach: I’ll just do what I can, wait and see what happens, then handle it.

What does ‘blindish’ mean?

“You don’t look blind!”

Oh, if I had a nickel.

It still amazes me, though, when someone says this to me like I don’t already know it. Sometimes I think this person believes he or she is giving me a compliment, meaning to say I look “normal.” But blindness comes in varying degrees, and most people don’t know that.

I’m legally blind. My visual acuity is 20/260, which means I can see at 20 feet what another person can see at 260 feet. In other words, imagine seeing a person approaching you, and she’s about 20 feet away. If you have normal vision, you can recognize her easily. But now imagine seeing her from 260 feet away (nearly the length of a football field). You might have trouble recognizing her, and you probably wouldn’t be able to clearly see her face. Now imagine lots of other people coming and going, and it suddenly becomes really tough to spot your friend. That’s what my vision is like– as if things are too far away to easily see.

I have a large blind spot in my central vision due to a inherited retinal disease called Stargardt disease, which is a type of macular degeneration. A person needs central vision to see detail, which is why spotting things from a distance can be tricky. They’re either in my blind spot or appear blurry if I try to use the vision just outside of my blind spot.

I’m legally blind. My visual acuity is 20/260, which means I can see at 20 feet what another person can see at 260 feet. In other words, imagine seeing a person approaching you, and she’s about 20 feet away. If you have normal vision, you can recognize her easily. But now imagine seeing her from 260 feet away (nearly the length of a football field). You might have trouble recognizing her, and you probably wouldn’t be able to clearly see her face. Now imagine lots of other people coming and going, and it suddenly becomes really tough to spot your friend. That’s what my vision is like– as if things are too far away to easily see.

This photo gives an idea of what my vision is like. It shows a dessert table at a brunch buffet my husband and I went to recently.

My husband and I went to brunch recently, so I snapped a picture showing what the dessert table looks like to e.
My husband and I went to brunch recently, so I snapped a picture showing what it looks like to e.

As you can see, there’s a dark spot in the center. The area just outside the dark spot is blurred, and the outer edges of the photo remain clear. The red circle in the center indicates where you should focus to get the best idea of what my vision is like, and then you use your peripheral vision to look at the things outside the blind spot. Some items can be hard to identify because they’re too blurry when using peripheral vision. And to add another complication, my eye condition makes me photophobic, or light-sensitive, so I often wear dark glasses, even inside, because too much light can be painful. You can imagine the looks I get, especially when I do something since I don’t use a cane or guide dog. I can practically feel people trying to figure out if I’m actually blind or not.

So, there you have it. While I’m blind in my blind spot, I’m not completely blind. I’m somewhat blind.