Roundup of helpful articles, blog posts, and videos from around the net

This weekend’s weather forecast looks pretty promising and I’m hoping to get some time on the water. I don’t know what happened, but I didn’t go stand up paddleboarding as much as I wanted to last summer (if at all??), so I made sure to go and get a monthly membership at the Newport Aquatic Center again to motivate myself to get down the beach regularly this summer.

I’m also hoping to get some time on the treadmill this weekend to help prepare for an upcoming backpacking trip I’m going on next weekend! I was invited to take part in the 2016 Wild Sage Summit hosted by Alyx of Shoestring Adventures and Liz of Snowqueen & Scout. After reading through the bios for the other women attending this weekend retreat, I know I probably have the least amount of experience so I’m really looking forward to learning from these amazing women. Their skill sets vary and each person brings something different to the table, so I know I’ll be in good hands on this three day trip!

This week’s essential reading

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in Essential Reading

So what do you do on a two week vacation when Teton Sports hands you the keys to a van, a wifi hot spot, and a gas card? You turn to your co-pilot and say, okay, it’s Your Lead!

And then you visit some National Parks, of course.

My #YourLead Road Trip with Teton Sports

Teton Sports Road Trip Adventure - Campfire Chic

In May, I announced I would be heading out on a two week road trip adventure as a part of Teton Sports’ #YourLead campaign. I am lucky my work let me go on such a long vacation, I started a new job in March and my introductory period ends in September…a two week vacation isn’t something a lot of people get take two and a half months into a new job.

During the Your Lead adventure, Alex and I visited Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks. We had a few moments where we considered adding more parks and destinations to our itinerary, but we decided to try and make our trip as relaxing as possible.

Kam of Campfire Chic on the Your Lead Adventure - Campfire Chic

I’m not very good at relaxing, so having only a basic outline of our trip had me a little on edge. In exchange for this road trip, we agreed to “share the stoke” of going on outdoor adventures at some Sportsman’s Warehouse locations along our route. Knowing we had stores to hit and wanting to give them the courtesy of a day to expect us to arrive gave me a good framework for figuring out what parks to visit when and how we’d get there.

Teton Sports YourLead - Campfire Chic

Thankfully, our trip (and Alex’s driving stamina) allowed us to knock out three of the stores on our list during our first full day on the road, so we could spend a long stretch of time at Glacier National Park before heading to the final store on our way to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. How’s that for planning?

A map of our #YourLead adventure

Here’s what our itinerary looked like:

  • June 1 Fly into Salt Lake City, get the van, and head out!
  • June 2 Drive from Lava Hot Springs through Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Missoula, to Glacier National Park
  • June 3-5 Explore Glacier National Park
  • June 6 Drive to Yellowstone National Park via Helena, Montana
  • June 7 – 8 Cruise Yellowstone National Park, Head to Grand Teton National Park
  • June 9 – 10 Hike around Grand Teton National Park, hang out in Jackson, Wyoming, drive to Salt Lake City
  • June 11 Return the van, head to the airport, and fly home! Eat burritos to celebrate.

What was nice about this trip is we were able to adjust our schedule to what we wanted at the time. We decided to spend less time in Yellowstone NP than we planned because we hit a lot of the major things we wanted to see and we wanted to have a little extra time to hang out in Jackson, Wyoming, if we had the chance.

Originally, we were going to leave Grand Teton NP early on Saturday morning and haul ass to Salt Lake City in order to turn over the van and catch our flight, but after being nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes, we decided to drive into the city Friday afternoon to have a big dinner, shower, clean out the van, and repack our bags. It was one of the better choices we made on the trip, and it made our flight home more enjoyable knowing we didn’t have to rush to make it to the airport.

Teton Sports Your Lead Van Road Trip - Campfire Chic

So, let’s talk about this van.

The #YourLead van is a Ford Transit that two of the guys behind Teton Sports kitted out to make it a moving home. You can tell that they put a ton of thought into each part of the build from the workstation at the rear of the cab, the straps to hold your gear in the back of van, and the mounted cot organizers for the bunk beds.

I was nervous to drive the van at first (the last time somebody lent me a van, things didn’t go too smoothly) but the rear-view camera and my experience driving big cars made my transition from chief navigator to driver a smooth one. The ride was smooth and it is very easy to park…Alex really wants to buy one for us to use on weekend (and longer!) adventures.

Teton Sports Van Life Ford Transit Van - Campfire Chic

The very back of the van was like a command center.

This is where the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator was housed (the solar panels were on the roof of the van), and that thing is a powerhouse! We were able to run the interior fan all night without the battery fully draining, which was necessary on warmer nights. We also used the battery to charge our electronics and to power the van’s interior lights.

Knowing what I know now, if Alex and I get to take Betsy out again, I will pack clear totes to better utilize the storage back there like Heidi shows in this photo. The best thing I packed for organization was a collapsible fabric box that we used to keep things handy at the front of the van. I used it to pack some snacks, travel books, and charging cables.

Teton Sports Your Lead Van Interior View - Campfire Chic

It’s a bit of a mess in this photo, but it was home!

It feels like climbing into a tiny cabin when you are inside the van. I loved the wood across the walls and ceiling of the van and the metal above the counter. The sink has a grey water reservoir that you can use to put out your campfires at night.

The drawers housed everything you need for cooking meals and some electronic goodies that we were encouraged to play with on our trip, and we used the extra space to stow our toiletries.

The bunk beds were heavy, but totally manageable for the two of us. Each bunk bed was outfitted with a super comfy camp pad and ridiculously cozy canvas zero degree sleeping bags, so going to bed each night was a treat on our tired muscles.

Road Trip with Teton Sports - Campfire Chic

The mushy side of the Your Lead Adventure

As I follow the @YourLead_Van Instagram account to see where the van is headed next, I can’t help but be thankful for the few days we got to spend driving through new-to-us national parks. Our 1,550+ mile trip showed us parts of the country we haven’t seen before and we got time away from “real life” to talk about our first nine and a half years of adventures and trips we would like to take in the coming years. I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend two weeks with my best friend and favorite travel buddy.

If you’re interested in checking out some of the gear we used while on our trip, be sure to use coupon code KamAltar at checkout for 5% off your purchase when purchasing through the Teton Sports site.

Teton Sports Your Lead Van Adventure - Kam of Campfire Chic
  Here are some of my favorite Teton Sports gear:

  • Camp pad – Because comfort is important!
  • Camping pillow (with cover) I like the small size of these and think they’re a great addition to your car kit
  • Trailrunner Hydration backpack – I like this small pack for stand up paddleboarding, because let’s be honest, I haven’t been a trailrunner since high school
  • Mountain Ultra tents – I have a 1 person tent and a 2 person tent
  • Rock1800 backpack is one of the most heavy duty day packs I’ve ever owned. This is part of the new Blackout line and it’s a great bag for everyday adventures. I like using this back when going climbing outdoors.
  • Mountain Adventurer 4000 backpack is also part of the Blackout collection and was built with input from Teton Sports’ ambassadors, like me!
  • Journey 40 ultralight sleeping bag Is a fleece-lined bag you can take backpacking, use as a sleeping bag liner if you’re borrowing a friend’s bag, and also makes a great blanket for car naps.
  • Escape 4300 internal frame backpack – my current go-to backpack for overnight adventures. I won this beauty during my first time participating in #HikerChat many moons ago (I wonder if they’ll remember that!). Like all Teton Sports gear, this baby is ready for anything so I don’t hesitate lending it out to friends who need to borrow a bag for a weekend.
  • Summit 1500 backpack After winning the bigger bag, I promptly ordered this bag to use as a daypack (it’s 25L) for weekend trips and day hikes.
  • Deerhunter zero degree canvas sleeping bag – these are the heavy duty sleeping bags we used in the van. I wasn’t sure about the canvas at first, but when you’re throwing gear around, it’s nice to know nothing is going to rip easily. We rolled our bags during the day to great a daybed type situation in the van so we could read/lounge comfortably.
  • ComfortLite inflatable pillow – a great options for anybody looking for something other than their clothes shoved into a Buff at the end of the day. I like that the pillow has a soft texture and I can adjust the amount of support it gives by inflating the pillow to fit my needs
  • Cot Organizer – something I wish I had in my college dorm to hang next to my bed! I may or may not be adding one to my standing desk in my crafty work area.

Links to Amazon.com are affiliate links. Purchases made through these links may result in a commission for me. for affiliate-free shopping, visit the Teton Sports website (use coupon code KamAltar for 5% off your order). Their shop website allows you to purchase through some of your favorite websites without going through my affiliate links. I own the products featured in this post and know that Campfire Chic readers will get good use out of them. I would not recommend a product I do not feel would benefit Campfire Chic readers. Teton Sports sponsored my trip through several national parks and I am a member of their ambassador program, which means I may receive gear to help me go on more adventures. I want to thank Teton Sports for their continued support of close-to-home adventurers like me.

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in 2016, Adventure, Microadventure, National Park, National Parks

Finding Comfort While on the Road with Kampgrounds of America - Campfire Chic

Finding Comfort While on the Road with KOA Kampgrounds

I have a confession: I like to be comfortable while traveling.

While on a big two week road trip through Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, I was able to have a few very comfortable nights (indoor plumbing! a mattress! HGTV!) thanks to Kampgrounds of America (yes, KOA!).

If you grew up with a road tripping family, you may remember seeing the big yellow KOA sign off the side of the highway letting you know that you’re about to escape the confines of your car to explore a family-friendly campground. I didn’t grow up going to KOA campgrounds, but my mother-in-law has fond memories of her family bringing their trailer to the campground, swimming in the pools, and playing in playgrounds. When I told her Alex and I would would be staying in a couple of KOAs on our trip, she started looking up KOAs with deluxe cabins for a family weekend trip.

Why KOA?

I was contacted by KOA earlier in the year to see if I would be interested in planning some microadventures around KOA locations. I was unsure at first because I wasn’t familiar with any of the locations except one in Las Vegas…I had no idea that KOA has been around since 1962 and there are nearly 500 campgrounds across the United States and Canada. Each KOA has free wi-fi access, “Kamp K9” pet park, laundry facilities, playgrounds, and a convenience store. Some of the KOAs we visited had pools, ice cream parlors, fudge shoppes, and camper kitchen.

Did you know that there are three different types of KOAs?

When I was on the phone with KOA, they told me about the different types of campgrounds include: Journey, Holiday, and Resort. Journey campgrounds are the types that are close to a highway and ready for you after a long day on the road (like our first day of our trip!). Holiday campgrounds may be a little further from the highway and have more amenities available to campers. Resort campgrounds are destinations in themselves with more activities and overnight accommodation options.

For our trip, Alex and I planned on staying in two KOAs: Lava Hot Springs in Idaho and West Glacier in Montana.

The reservation process for setting up our trip was really easy. The website is easy to navigate and there are a ton of photos and videos available for the different locations. I was able to see the layout of each campground and what the facilities look like before booking, which gave me some peace of mind since I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting myself into.

KOA Lava Hot Springs Idaho - Campground Review on Campfire Chic

Kampgrounds of America – Lava Hot Springs, Idaho 

A few days before flying out to Salt Lake City to begin our trip, I emailed the hosts of the Lava Hot Springs KOA to let them know we may be arriving at camp close to (or after!) the office closed for the evening and wanted to see if there was a protocol for late check-ins. I set a reminder on my calendar to do a follow-up call with them if I didn’t hear from them before I headed to the airport but I didn’t need to make that call. My email was answered quickly and I was briefed on the late check-in process. Around 8:00 in the evening the day we were set to check-in, one of the KOA workers called me to see how I was doing, reviewed the process again, and to let me know she was going to leave the porch light on for me so I wouldn’t be stumbling around in the dark. So sweet!

Lava Hot Springs KOA Deluxe Cabin Campground Review - Campfire Chic

We stayed in a 4-person cabin with bathroom but no linens, one of the cabin options available, since we would only be there for the night and we had sleeping bags and towels of our own. There was a large parking spot, propane barbecue, fire pit, and picnic table outside of the cabin. Inside the cabin, we found a full bed, one set of bunk beds in a separate room, full bathtub and shower, small dining table, microwave, mini-fridge, and coffee maker.

Idaho Campground KOA Lava Hot Springs - Campfire Chic

The campground is snuggled in with older trees and our few neighbors were very quiet. In the morning, we walked by the river that runs through the campground and found the trail that leads into town…right to the famous lava hot springs! Guests get a discount for tube rentals and the KOA staffers have a lot of recommendations for things to do while you’re in town, which is helpful for travelers like us who may not be familiar with the area.

West Glacier KOA in Montana - Campfire Chic

Kampgrounds of America – West Glacier, Montana 

I emailed the West Glacier KOA staff before arriving, just like I did for the Lava Hot Springs KOA, to ask about late check-in since Alex and I had a big driving day between Lava

The West Glacier KOA is considered a Holiday campground but if this isn’t a Resort I don’t know what to expect from a “fancier” KOA! As we pulled into the campground after our 550+ mile day of driving, Alex and I were instantly impressed by the size, variety, and accommodation offerings…I was ready to move in as soon as we opened the door to our cabin. The cabin was incredible and the entire facility was beautiful. The campground is adjacent to a bird sanctuary and is off of the main road enough that you don’t hear any traffic as you feel asleep. There are showers, a laundry facility, family pool, adults-only pool and hot tubs, an ice cream parlor and restaurant (both were closed for the season, we were a little too early), really nice playground, and walking paths.

KOA Campground near Glacier National Park - Campfire Chic

Since we planned on staying in the Glacier National Park area for several days, we booked a Deluxe Cabin with bathroom and linens for part of our stay and a regular campsite for the remainder of our time there. Our cabin was a four person deluxe cabin “studio lodge” and it was probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Splurging for the cabin with linens was worth it! There were plenty of towels for our stay, and the beds were all nice and cozy with extra pillows. Even better…a television so we could watch one of the NBA playoff games! Alex was really happy with that. Like the Lava Hot Springs cabin, we had a coffee maker, mini-fridge, microwave, table, and a fully stocked kitchen so we could enjoy coffee in the morning and warm up leftovers in the evening.

West Glacier KOA Deluxe Cabin Review - Campfire Chic

Not only did our cabin include a full-sized propane barbecue grill, fire pit, and picnic table, it also included a cute set of chairs with a table on our porch. We woke up each morning and enjoyed coffee on the porch as we looked out on the great view of the trees and mountains surrounding the campground. 

It was nice to have a little yard to ourselves and imagine it would be fantastic to have during an extended stay with a young family. The landscaping is beautiful and the staff keeps the area really clean. We don’t have a yard where we live currently, so it was nice to have a temporary one!

Camping near Glacier National Park - KOA West Glacier - Campfire Chic

After a few nights in our cabin, Alex and I moved into one of the regular camping spots so we could enjoy a few nights in our van while checking out the other offerings of the campground. Our camping spot was along the perimeter of the campground, so we had a ton of trees surrounding us on one side and the shower and bathroom on the other side of a wide landscaped area (which was nice, I was a little worried that we’d have a high traffic camping spot, but it was very quiet!). Our campside had a nice tent pad – an area set aside in our campsite specifically for your tent. No pesky rocks! No having to worry about being too close to the fire pit! There was also a nice picnic bench and a wide fire pit with a single bench.

I’ve been camping for years and this bathroom and shower is hands-down the nicest ones I’ve ever seen! It was all fairly new and the tiling is very nice. Each shower is a private room with a small dressing area and a shower with a high shower head (good for tall campers like Alex!). I really appreciated the extra privacy these showers allowed.

We’ll be staying in this campground again if we visit Glacier National Park in the future. The staff was really nice and it was nice to not have to stress about being comfortable while on the road.

Kampgrounds of America – Yellowstone Park / West Entrance

As we left the West Glacier KOA, my mom reminded me that the second week of June is probably a popular time for families to visit Yellowstone National Park, so I shouldn’t assume camping spots would be available in the park. Alex and I were monitoring the Yellowstone National Park website the week earlier to see when campgrounds would fill up and forgot to check the day before leaving…and the campgrounds were filling at 6:0o in the morning! Cue slight panic over not having a place to stay while we were visiting the park…and cue the a-ha! moment when realized we should look up KOA locations near the park and book a spot through the KOA app. We were saved! We reserved a camping spot in the Yellowstone Park/West Entrance KOA before leaving our camping spot at West Glacier…thanks, Internet!

I didn’t take any photos of the campground, but it is much cozier than the other KOAs we stayed in on our trip. It’s a popular campground and we can see what it’s popular. There was an indoor pool, large camp store, and even a fudge shoppe inside! We didn’t spend much time in the campground, we used it to park the van and headed out early each morning and came in late each night. We saw families spending time in the playground and mini golf area, teens gravitated toward the bike rentals, small arcade room, and coffee shack, and dog owners gathered in the K-9 park to let their dogs play off leash for a while.

There is a second KOA in the area, so make sure you know which campground you’re going to before pulling up to the office! I made the mistake of going to the wrong one first and the staff was so nice about my mix up. They gave me directions to the next one and it looked really nice, too. It even had a small pond for fishing!

We saw more and more big yellow KOA signs as we drove through Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, which was comforting to see on the long stretches of road. It’s nice to know that as we travel around the country, we can count on a KOA being nearby.

The next time you’re looking to book accommodations for a road trip, consider Kampgrounds of America as part of your adventure.


I worked with Kampgrounds of America (KOA) to experience two of their campgrounds to provide honest reviews. They provided a gift card to pay for the reservations at Lava Hot Springs KOA  and the cabin at West Glacier KOA so I could see what the campgrounds had to offer. I chose to stay in the West Glacier KOA longer and booked the Yellowstone KOA on my own dime, and wished to include those experiences in the review, too. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and the only influence the review is that I may not have chosen to stay in cabins while on my trip because we had the van to sleep in. I want to thank KOA for allowing us to stay in those cabins and for introducing us to the variety of KOA brand offerings. I only work with brands I feel Campfire Chic readers will enjoy and share reviews that will benefit readers on their microadventures.

 

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in Adventure, Camping, Review, Travel.

Today’s tips are from Beth (and Sprocket) of 3Up AdventuresI met Beth and Sprocket in Salt Lake City a few years ago and she kicked my butt on a group hike. I live at sea level, there’s no way I can keep up with this wonder woman! She regularly checks mountain peaks off of her list…and some of them are 14ers!

Now that it is summer, I wanted to feature some tips for adventuring with your pet to encourage safe practices for both pet and pet owner. Since I don’t have a dog, Beth volunteered to share some tips.

Tips for Taking Your Dog on Outdoor Adventures - Campfire Chic

Beth, you document your adventures with your dog, Sprocket, on your blog and on social media. Can you tell us a bit about your life with Sprocket and the types of adventures you take?

Basically, Sprocket is the best adventure buddy I could ask for. He’s (fairly) understanding of the fact that I need to go to work as a teacher an only starts giving me pitiful “Is it the weekend?” eyes on Thursday and Friday. During the summer and on weekends though, we’re usually out exploring Colorado (and often, the rest of the Mountain West). Our favorite thing to do is hike to mountain peaks; Sprocket is well trained to know that we’re going to go up and then when there is no more up we’re going to go down. He’s so joyful on the trail that it always helps me really settle in to being in nature.

 

In the summer and on school vacations, I usually try to road trip somewhere and Sprocket can always be counted on to non-judgementally listen me sing terribly, be totally excited about random dirt road exploration, and to wait patiently while I do some internet work at coffee shops. When he was just 12 weeks old, he went on his first long road trip so his conception of home is probably the Jeep more than anywhere. Some people might consider me overly attached to my pup but all the time that I’ve spent with him has really helped him develop into a really well behaved dog who is super easy to travel with.

If somebody is new to taking their dog outdoors (long hikes, camping trips, etc.), what 3 tips would you share with them? 

Make sure your dog is ready for your adventure: Build up to mileage, elevation, and intensity: While you might have been going to the gym every day, was Fido’s exercise confined to a couple mile walk around the neighborhood? Another place I see dogs getting into trouble is sore paws; to go from asphalt or grass to mountain scree is a recipe for disaster. Slowly build your dog up to more miles on surfaces that can hurt tender cityslicker pup pads. My pup is really comfortable on anything Class 3 and possibly on some low Class 4 stuff but you have to know your pup! No one can tell you what they’re capable of.

You’re going to plan your day around your dog: Making sure that the temperature in your vehicle is okay for your pup is key when you’re taking creature comfort breaks at restaurants or coffee shops. I usually drive through a town scoping out a spot where I can sit outside since I usually hike in the cool morning hours to avoid high elevation afternoon thundershowers; this approach may or may not work for you depending on how your dog deals with people and other dogs. I’ve also push Sprocket’s evening meal back pretty late in the day so he knows that he’s going to get fed then and we’re not usually out on an adventure at dinner time; I get super hangry and while he’s way more chill than me I don’t want him to feel bad!
Spend lots of time with your dog, it makes all the difference: I feel really lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Sprocket. When he joined my family as a tiny puppy, I was just finishing up grad school and he definitely spent some afternoons under my desk as I finished up my research project and then just a few weeks later we hit the road for a month long adventure. That road trip meant that I had TONS of time to hang out with him, start him out on short (<1 mile) hikes, walk him around towns, and get him used to people and time in the car. After that trip, he’s remained a really really central part of my life and I never leave him behind on adventures that he’s capable of. I truly believe that pays off in terms of his pretty awesome behavior on the trail, around town, and at home.

What is one piece of gear/clothing/equipment/food that Sprocket would consider an essential for his adventures?

Lots of water! Sometimes he’s just not interested in it but he’s a big black dog that uses evaporation to cool himself (aka panting). I usually carry between 2-3L of water for a good day hike (which for us is ~6-12 miles) and I probably get one of it!
Beth and Sprocket of 3UpAdventures share tips for taking your dog on adventures - Interview on Campfire Chic blog

What is one piece of gear/clothing/equipment/food that YOU would consider an essential for your adventures?

Always having food on hand is key for me! I tend to get hungry super quickly out hiking (see my hangry comment above) so I always carry a range of snacks on the trail. A lot of the time I don’t touch them but they’re sort of a security blanket to me when I’m out for a long day.

Any last words of wisdom for adventurous dog owners/pet parents?

Essentially, you’re going to get out of your dog what you put into him or her: they’re going to want to please you when you make their needs central to your activities and travels. Do your part to make sure that your pup is a good hiking citizen to better the situation for adventurous dogs everywhere.
You can follow Beth and Sprocket’s adventures on the 3Up Adventures blog, twitter, instagram, and facebook.

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in Adventure, Blog Friends, From a Beginner, Hiking, Interview

Roundup of helpful articles and blog posts to help get you blogging through the summer slump

If you read Campfire Chic a few years ago, you know I have quite a few blogging-specific blog posts in my archives. I haven’t posted about social media or growing a community in a while because there are plenty of other resources covering those topics. With summer upon us, it’s a good time to dial back a bit and focus on growing your blog and working on blogging through the summer slump.

If you’re not a blogger, don’t go away just yet. These posts may be directed toward bloggers, but many focus on themes like productivity, which may be exactly what you need right now.

This week’s essential reading:

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in Essential Reading

I’m tackling 16 projects in 2016. I originally posted my list in January, but I updated it recently to better reflect what I want out of this year. You can see the updated list here.

I started a new job in March and needed to upgrade my wardrobe to match the new position. Many of my work clothes have been in rotation for 5 years and I noticed I was wearing the same 8 items week in and week out. While a uniform sounds nice, I wasn’t feeling inspired by my options and I knew some of the items were on their last legs. It was time for a refresh!

I’m not great at shopping for myself unless I’m in the market for an oversized tank top and leggings, so I took the plunge and signed up for Stitch Fix.

Stitch Fix Review - Building a Better Work Wardrobe - Campfire Chic

16 Projects in 2016: Build a Better Wardrobe

Stitch Fix is a subscription service that has been around for a few years. I remember when I ton of fashion/lifestyle/mommy bloggers were all blogging about it at the same time to the point where it was a bit of white noise in the blog world (kind of like when everybody was blogging about Blue Apron). I used a friend’s link to sign up so she would receive credit in her account for her next Fix (apparently when a box of clothes arrives at your house, you call it a Fix?) and followed all the directions…

It was super excited to receive my first Fix. I put a ton of stuff on Pinterest, I completed my style profile (a series of questions to help your stylist better understand your current style and what you’re hoping to get out of the service), and stalked the mail like a crazy person. The unboxing experience is fantastic. Your items are wrapped in white tissue paper and sealed with a giant teal sticker with the Stitch Fix logo, there’s a personalized note from your stylist with suggestions on how to wear the items in your Fix, images of each item and ideas on how to wear the item casually and how to wear it in a nicer way (think: from day to night), an envelope for returns, and the invoice.

Stitch Fix Review - Work Appropriate Wardrobe Building with Kam of Campfire Chic

My first Fix was disappointing, to say the least. I knew it may take a second or third Fix for things to really sync, but the box felt like it was packed for somebody else and it didn’t feel like my stylist read my style profile to get an idea of what I would be interested in seeing in my Fix.

Of the 5 items, I kept one –  a chino pencil skirt that I wouldn’t normally reach for when shopping, but it proved to be really cute with some of the tops I have in my closet already. One of the great things about Stitch Fix is you get to try on these pieces with items you already own…something you can’t do when you are in the dressing room at the mall.

I left plenty of feedback and was given a different stylist for my second shipment.

I was cautiously optimistic for my second fix, but I did a few things to better the odds of having a stellar box:

I added specific things to my Pinterest board

  • You can add a link to a Pinterest board to your Stitch Fix profile so your stylist can peek at it as she puts your Fix together. My board started it out with a broad range of outfits that are definitely my style, but I learned that loading up your board with something specific (say, a navy blazer) helps get the point across.
  • I also learned that adding items from the Stitch Fix account or images of things other women have received from Stitch Fix gives your Stylist the go-ahead to send that item (maybe in a different color?) your way.
  • And don’t be afraid to add something from a few months ago, I added a navy blouse from November to my board before my May Fix and that exact blouse showed up in my box! Checked the #stitchfix hashtag on Instagram to see what other women were receiving and Pinned those items

Updated my Style Profile

  • There is an extensive style profile for you to fill out when you sign up for Stitch Fix, and what I learned is to not hesitate to update the profile between Fixes to give my stylist a better idea of what I’m looking for (and, more importantly, what I’m not looking for!)
  • At the end of the style profile, there is a space where you can add more about your style, what you’re looking for in your Fixes, etc. I use this area to remind my stylist that I’m looking to build a wardrobe for my new job and that I prefer navy over black.
  • The Stitch Fix app allowed me to upload a photo of myself to give my stylist a better idea of what I look like and what may flatter me the most. I didn’t see an option to do this on the main website so I’m glad I saw I could download the app and add a full length photo of myself to my profile.

Was more specific in the note to my stylist

  • For my first Fix, I left a note for my stylist that I wanted to have clothes for work at my “business comfortable” workplace. The first Fix didn’t go well, so I was more specific in my note: I work for a government agency and need work-appropriate clothing for an executive assistant. That greatly helped my second Fix
  • I’m expecting my third fix in early July and requested some items I can wear for a bridesmaid brunch and rehearsal dinner I have coming up in late July. When you’re looking for clothes for a specific event, it’s a good idea to let your stylist know!

I opened my second Fix and it was a million times better. Alex asked me if I was able to select things on my own because every item in the box felt like something I would order on my own.

Stitch Fix for Business Attire - Campfire Chic

Of the 5 items in my Fix, I would’ve kept 4 this time around. The elephant blouse looked like pajamas on me, so it was an instant go-back. The black trousers were nice, but I don’t need black pants right now, and the grey blazer was a dream, but I have two blazers like it already (I asked my stylist to keep an eye out for a navy blazer, but I guess there wasn’t one available).

I ended up keeping the navy blouse and the crossbody bag. I have a similar blouse, but the structure of this one and the gold details made it different enough that I needed it in my closet. The purse is something I would pet lovingly at the store but not normally purchase — my bags are usually tan, brown, or black. I loaded up the bag with my wallet and few other things and decided it would be a great purse for work. The lining is a beautiful red and white pattern so things won’t get lost at the bottom, which is a nice bonus!

Style Ideas from Stitch Fix for Work Appropriate Outfits - Campfire Chic

I like that your Fix comes with these casual and dressed up suggestions for your items and my stylist knows what I kept from my previous Fix so she could include something in this Fix that would work well with the previous one…she suggested the navy blouse with the chino skirt from my first Fix, which I appreciate.

What is nice about Stitch Fix is you can set up the deliveries to fit your needs. For example, I don’t need a Fix this month, but like I mentioned earlier, I have special occasions coming up next month so I scheduled my Fix for early July.

If you’re looking to build your wardrobe, give Stitch Fix a try and see where they can take your style. My referral link is: http://bit.ly/StitchFixKam

I was contacted by Stitch Fix to join their Influencer program. I received a $20 credit for my first Fix and am using affiliate links in this post. I chose to hold off on sharing my Stitch Fix review and thoughts on the service until I was comfortable with the subscription and tried it more than once because I didn’t want to prematurely recommend something I wasn’t sure would benefit Campfire Chic readers. I am not a fashion blogger (ha!) and I do not plan on sharing reviews of each Stitch Fix box I receive here, but I may share that information on my Instagram, when appropriate. If you use the links in this post to create an account and request your first Fix, I will receive a commission. 

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in 16 Projects in 2016, About Kam, Review

Ali Edwards hosted Week in the Life May 9 – 15, 2016. I started my week on May 8th and ended on the 14th, which isn’t breaking any rules, Ali encourages you to make this project work for you. Some folks prefer to wait for a week that is ‘average’ but as I showed in my Week in the Life 2015 album, I don’t mind documenting a week with a special event (in that case: a vacation).

For this time around, I decided to make my project even easier than my 2015 album and went with 6×12 pocket pages to include in my 9×12 Project Life album. I haven’t shared any layouts from my Project Life album, but it exists! That album has one two-page layout for each month. These pages will fit in nicely in that album between the May layout pages.

Week in the Life 2016 - Sunday and Monday Pocket Pages

How does Week in the Life differ from week-by-week Project Life? For starters, it is only for one week. That helps give me the confidence that I can complete the project. One week is easier to document than 52 weeks!

This is similar to Ali Edwards’ Day in the Life challenge in that you are encouraged to document your everyday…your morning routine, your commute to work, preparing dinner with your family, whatever you normally do on the weekends. Like Day in the Life, some people focus on each hour of each day they are documenting, but I like setting alarms throughout the day to remind myself to take photos and screenshots.

Week in the Life 2016 - Tuesday and Wednesday

For this week, I wanted to make sure to get photos of my new cubicle, the things Alex and I do together, and one “outside” photo each day. I didn’t necessarily get each of those things each day but I did get at least five photos each day, which is good for me! I had to narrow down the photos in order to fit them into the pocket pages I had available, and I’m really happy with the variety.

One tip for Week in the Life or Day in the Life: Get yourself in the photos! For these photos, I relied on my two go-to favorites — mirrors and a self-timer on my phone. Don’t be afraid to hand your camera to somebody else and ask them to take a photo of you or to simply hold out your phone for a classic selfie.

Week in the Life 2016 - Thursday Friday and Saturday Pocket Pages

I printed out my photos using my canon selphy printer and made labels for most of the photos using some cardstock and a magic marker. The day of the week cards are from 6×6 paper pads and white foam Thickers.

It’s nice to have a simple project like this done and in the books!

These Week in the Life layouts are part of my 16 Projects in 2016 personal challenge.

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in 16 Projects in 2016, About Kam, Memory Keeping, Project Life, Scrapbooking