Friday, August 15, 2014

Stitch Fix #2 with pictures of course!

Last week we took a quick camping trip with some good friends. I will post about that later but imagine my anxiety when I learned my Stitch Fix arrived while I was gone and I had to wait till I got home to get it. Crazy! But the line, "good things come to those who wait," would apply. Another great box and yes I am excited to show you.

Maybe you are new to the blog or maybe you have no idea what Stitch Fix is? Check out my first "Fix" here complete with an explanation of the program.

As for box #2, it contained a pair of jeans, which I requested, a dress, two shirts and a bracelet. Everything fit which in the world of shopping is monumental in my opinion. First up this comfy and bright faux wrap dress. And as the handy style card suggests, dress it up or down.

It really is the right kind of dress for a girl with chest.And it's flattering too if you ask me. I would probably never pick up this color myself had I been shopping in the store but it came in the box so I tried it on. Love the dress and the color too. And yes, this one is husband approved too. He also commented on the color. 

Next up the peachy cowl neck top. Again probably not something I would have picked up in a store off of a hanger. It is a 3/4 sleeve and it is still really warm outside right now so that makes it a challenge to wear it this month but this will be in the Fall rotation in a few months. 

Also in this picture is a pair of skinny jeans from Level 99.
I requested jeans from my stylist after my last Fix. The fit on the jeans was awesome. They felt good and hit in the waist just right. I don't really have a waist or call it thick if you want but these felt nice. The only problem is they really hugged my entire leg and made feel like I was wearing leggings and not jeans. 

Next up is the white 3/4 sleeve blouse. I love white but rarely wear it. Kids and white don't mix well. Even more exciting is this blouse had no buttons, again another point I mentioned to my stylist after my last fix. Having a chest makes tops with buttons a challenge.  

Love this one. My first reaction was to the quality of this top. It included a white camisole to wear underneath it. Both the cami and the top fit me and my chest and in fact I wore it last night already. 

Lastly there is a cute silver bracelet that looks like a buckle and I didn't get a picture of it before I sent it back. In fact I sent the bracelet back and the jeans. If I am going to pay more than $100 for a pair of jeans, (and I am okay with spending that for good jeans) I want to love them and I just didn't love these that much. Oh well, next time. I did however keep the dress and the two tops. 

Special thanks to my photographer helpers this time around. Husband snapped a few on his way out the door to work. When I realized I needed an additional picture, I enlisted my 4 year old seen below. He snapped the one with the white shirt. Maybe photography is in his future?

So all in all I am pleased with Fix #2. I changed my delivery schedule so now they will come every other month, look for the next reveal in October. Who knows, maybe they will try the jeans again, but this time something with a straight leg or boot cut please. 

Have you signed up for your Stitch Fix yet? Try it today. You can sign up here
Thanks for reading! ~mrs. c

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Soapbox: Marriage, Government and Water

Disclaimer: This is my soapbox today. I am not a psychologist. I am not an expert on marriage or politics. But I am married and I am a voter and I have an observation today. Random and out there? Maybe. But it’s my blog. Some days you get farming and food on this page. Some days you get fashion and family. (Tomorrow will be fashion. I got my 2nd Stitch Fix, stay tuned.) But today you get my random soapbox on the water bond negotiations being discussed in Sacramento right now. By the way, I’m not a water expert either but I know just enough to make this observation and I’m annoyed by it enough to spend my lunch hour penning this.

What is the key to a successful marriage? What is the key to a successful government? Strangely enough it’s the same thing. It is also now apparent why the divorce rate is ridiculously high in this country and why the success rate of our California legislature getting anything remotely helpful done is so low.

Lack of communication and compromise. The process and outcome are the same whether you have an “R” or “D” after your name or husband or wife on your (pre-2008) marriage certificate.

One might argue that there is plenty of communication going on in marriages and in Sacramento these days but this talking is worthless if no one is listening. For decades now, we in agriculture have criticized the legislative majority and special interest groups for not including money for new water storage in previously passed water bonds. Yesterday the Governor’s office came out to tell us about the latest version of a water bond that includes $2.5 billion in continuously appropriated funds for water storage. While this is not the $3 billion “all” of agriculture would like, you must admit that it’s pretty darn close! Better yet the Governor supports it.

Sadly not all of agriculture is happy and they are throwing each other under the bus on social media and in the news. 

So a large group of interests (agriculture included) sat down and came up with a plan (which by the way is still being negotiated) and agreed support. This is called compromise. Is it the perfect solution for agriculture? No, but its more than we had going for us before. And it has a greater chance of getting us where we need to be than ever before.

Do I always get what I want went I ask my husband? No. But we talk about it, discuss the options and come to a compromise that is best for our marriage because that’s what we signed up to do when we got married. I look forward to practicing this model many times over as we prepare to build a house.

Communication and compromise people. Because keeping your position will afford you just that. You’ll have a position and nothing actionable to show for it. Isn't that why we are where we are right now? A drought and not enough water storage to support our population and an annual divorce rate that is greater than the marriage rate in this country. 

Agriculture can't fix divorce but if we in agriculture stop thinking of ourselves as individual industries - almond, walnut, rice, citrus, dairy, cattle - and think of ourselves as just agriculture we might get somewhere and get a little more respect too. 

As a reminder, my blog and my opinions. Thanks for reading. ~mrs. c

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Letter: From the Old Homeowner to the New Homeowner

Big things happened last week. I started this blog back in 2008 to chronicle our journey on raising our kids like our parents raised us - as farm kids. All along, part of the plan would be to sell our home in town, the one where we planned our wedding, began our life together and brought our new babies home from the hospital too.  The goal of course would be to build our new home in the middle of our young walnut orchard on our little piece of dirt in Orland, CA. We have the kids, bought the dirt and planted the orchard. Last week we took the next step in the process and we sold the house and moved. Who knew it would be so hard? Not because we loved that house but only because what that house represented - our family. I wanted the new homeowners to know what that house meant to us so I wrote them a letter.  The letter probably means more to me than it ever will to them but I did it anyway. Today I'm sharing it with all of you. ~mrs. c

August 8, 2014
Dear Mr. and Mrs. New Homeowner,

Congratulations on your new house! We are sure you are eager to make it home.
I’m pretty certain that leaving a note for the new homeowners from the old homeowners is more than likely rare. But knowing what I know about the house and the neighborhood, I felt it might helpful to have a glimpse of what it is at your Denali Drive house that could not be explained in a real estate listing. And frankly, I know I would personally enjoy such a head start on getting to know where I was moving too if I were in your position. So here goes.

We love Amber Grove and we are sure you will too. Where so often it seems these days community is missing, you are sure to find it here. People say hi as they walk down the street. Neighbors chat at the mailbox, and folks wave as they drive by. But what is at your Denali Drive house is what I really want you to know.
Being married to a farmer, it goes without saying that taking care of the yard was more enjoyable than it was work. Rather than try and guess what might be planted out there I wanted to give you a little heads up of what you are going find. Along the west fence, you have three of young cherry trees. The back fence offers an apricot tree and two peach trees and a grape vine that when cared for produces some sweet green grapes. The peach, apricot and cherry trees should produce their first crop next year. In the northwest corner there is a very productive Fuyu persimmon tree. You are sure to get a crop that will more than serve your taste buds and those of the birds too. These persimmons eat just like an apple and were really sweet last year.

Jake has very successfully grown tomatoes, corn, potatoes, onions, zucchini, squash, peppers, herbs and artichokes in the backyard. In fact, don’t be surprised if onions pop up along the east fence. I will guarantee that potatoes will pop-up in the flower bed running along the house closest to the master bedroom. To the left of the white arbor is a small patch of chives growing. And while we were never successful in an actual harvest, you should have asparagus pop up in between the persimmon and the redwood trees.
The maple tree will give you lots of shade in the summer and will provide you those beautifully colored leaves they are known for in the Fall. But don’t blink, last year it seemed like those leaves fell off all in one day! 

The palm tree was a gift from my parents and the redwood trees along the west fence started out as 12 inch saplings. I think you would agree they have come a long way. Also along the back fence, a really tall flowering plant will eventually pop-up.  Those are called Hollyhocks and are one of Jake’s favorite flowers.

The front yard also has a few special surprises in store. If you walk out the front door, the rose bush on the right is called Hot Cocoa and it will be a beast! Jake had a yellow lab a number of years ago and he sat right smack in the middle of that rose bush when it was newly planted. You would have thought that stress would have killed it. Not this rose bush. It grows stronger and taller each year, even after generous annual prunings. In the flower bed to the left of the front door, spring bulbs will pop up under the window. A beautiful Easter lily will bloom hopefully before Easter. Right now you will see a Calla Lilly taking shape. It has grown back now each year for the last five years even after Jake attempted to destroy it. It was not his favorite but I loved it. There are lilacs and daffodils in front of the windows and spring should bring you a variety of gorgeous Iris’ too.
The kitchen hosted many friends and family for our annual clam chowder feast in January. The window above the kitchen sink offers lots of afternoon sun and is a great place to grown a few herbs, a sun loving plant and will also brew the perfect jar of sun tea.

Inside the coat closet on the right wall you are going to find a switch. That switch will make turning on the Christmas lights a breeze. There is electric plug outside the front door up towards the eaves of the house in the entryway that is operated by that switch. There are already hooks all along the front of house that will make hanging lights really easy. And yes, many in the neighborhood will decorate right after Thanksgiving and lots of people will drive by during the holiday season.
So what about the neighbors? Jerry and Valerie Converse live to your East and are wonderful neighbors. We always let Valerie and Jerry know when we would be gone for an extended time and they were sure to watch for anything unusual and throw our paper to the front door so they didn't pile in the driveway. The Smiths live to your West and have two young children and the Monroe’s live directly across the street.

You should also know that Amber Grove is very popular at Halloween. Even though on average we handed out three-five Costco size bags of candy, it is a lot of fun to see the kids and their costumes out walking together with their families. In fact, we will probably bring our boys back to the neighborhood to trick-or-treat this October since we know our way around.
Lastly, if you ever wished ice cream could be delivered to your door, rest assured Schwan’s does deliver every other Tuesday. If you happen to be home, Ken is your driver and he is a really nice man. And if you like French fries, they make the best baked crinkle cut fries.

Baby Cecil's Nursery circa January 2012

We are really excited for you and know that while today it is a house, we are sure it will soon be easy to call it a home. Jake and I started our life together in this house and it will always hold some really fabulous memories for us. Like hosting our wedding rehearsal dinner in the backyard in 2008, decorating the first bedroom as a nursery before our oldest son was born in 2010, keeping a bountiful garden in the backyard each summer to share our love of farming and food with our two boys and too many birthday parties to even count. 
Dalton's 2nd Birthday in March of 2014.
We hope you too will create lots of memories at your Denali Drive house . I know we are rich with memories that are sure to last our lifetime and that of our boys too.

Wishing you all the best,
Jake, Colleen, Clayton and Dalton Cecil

So what's next? We are renting until we can build our new home. Stay tuned for more updates on the growing orchard, growing boys and what it takes to build a new house from the ground up. Thanks for reading!


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