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

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

I’m going to dedicate this week’s post to all things summer!

This week’s Essential Reading

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in Essential Reading

In February, I met up with some of my longtime “internet friends” for a morning hike at Daley Ranch and burgers in Downtown Escondido, California.

Hike This: Daley Ranch in Escondido, California

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Photo courtesy of Alyx of Shoestring Adventures.

Alex and I met up with some of our friends from the SoCal Hiker Tweetup Camp Out for a 6 1/2ish mile hike in Daly Ranch. Daly Ranch is located in Escondido, with is in North County San Diego. We got to spend time with Josh of California Through My Lens, Jeff and Joan of SoCal Hiker, Chris of The Last Adventurer, Tracy of Walk Simply, Alyx of Shoestring Adventures, Derek of 100 Peaks, and other hikers on this fun microadventure.

It was a warm morning and some of us were lucky to get some parking in the medium sized parking lot at the trailhead. As we drove up the hill to the parking lot, we noticed about two dozen cars parked along the road, so we prepared ourselves for a full lot and a mini-hike to the trailhead. If you are planning on doing this hike on a weekend, get there early, or be prepared to add some extra mileage to your day with a hike up to the trailhead.

After a quick bathroom break (restrooms are located near the lake. Be careful as you cross the street and walk into the park) and group introductions, we headed out. The trails are very similar to other hiking trails in Southern California: wide fire roads with great views. There is very little shade on these trails, to be sure to bring a hat and sunglasses and carry plenty of water.

Jeff planned the outing and put together a loop that included Stanley Peak, the highest point in the ranch. We looped back to the trailhead and saw the historical buildings on the property and the private home that the Daly Family owns.

Alyx of Shoestring Adventures Hiking in San Diego California - Campfire Chic

Daley Ranch Hikes in San Diego - Campfire Chic

For information on this hike, I suggest checking out Derek of 100peaks’s blog post on it: Daly Ranch Hike

The best part of the hike?

The beautiful purple flowers covering the rolling hills. I’m not sure what plant this is, but it’s gorgeous and gave a soft look to the area as we moved higher and higher to the peak. We stopped to admire the beautiful views from time to time and paused at the peak to snack and enjoy the breeze.

Daly Ranch Trail System in Escondido California - Campfire Chic

Hikes in San Diego - Daly Ranch in Escondido California - Campfire Chic

Group photo courtesy of Alyx of Shoestring Adventures. I’m in the first row, third from the left. I’m wearing my go-to outfit of prAna cropped pants and a scoop neck top from Fabletics.

Okay, the actual best part?

Lunch at Burger Bench in downtown Escondido. Derek, of 100peaks, opened Burger Bench in December 2015, and a bunch of us have been dying to check out his restaurant. It was a fantastic post-hike option because we were able to enjoy the beautiful weather, eat great burgers and onion rings, and the beer selection is on point. What’s better than celebrating a great hike with good friends over great food? It’s also nice to be around people who aren’t making faces at you while you take pictures of your food!

Burger Bench in San Diego California - Campfire Chic

Burger Bench in Escondido California - Great Spot After Hiking in Daley Ranch - Campfire Chic

We ordered:

  • The Bench Burger – Thick smoked bacon, blue cheese, Monterey Jack, grilled mushrooms & onions, arugula, hickory BBQ sauce
  • Homemade Black Bean Burger – House-made vegetarian bean patty, grilled mushrooms & onions, arugula, tomato, Monterey Jack, house-made aioli
  • Beer-Battered Onion Rings
  • Modern Times Black House
  • Craft fountain sodas – Derek must be reading my diary, because he has IZZE orange soda in the soda fountain so obviously I need to just move in and live at Burger Bench until the end of time

If you’re in the Escondido area, or are on the hunt for a place with great burgers and beer, stop by Burger Bench. I wish it was around when I was in grad school and living in Oceanside. I know it would’ve been a nice place to meet friends or to at least escape for a few hours to watch a game between study sessions.

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in Active, Adventure, Blog Friends, California, Hiking, Microadventure

I mentioned having my nose buried in travel planning books in my review of A Woman’s Guide to the Wild: Your Complete Outdoor Handbook. I wanted to share those books with you today and give a few reasons why books are a part of my planning strategy in a digital age.

Travel Planning Books in a Digital Age

My dad is the kind of guy who goes to AAA and picks up travel books and maps when he catches wind of my adventures. His love for the outdoors and travel was passed down from my grandparents, who loaded their three young kids into the station wagon every year and spent time in the Sequoias, Yosemite, Tahoe, and (my personal favorite place) Mammoth Lakes. I bet my grandpa went to AAA for trip planning, just like my dad does now.

He passed the stop-at-AAA-before-a-trip gene down to me, because I was paying my car registration a few weeks ago and when I asked for maps of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, the woman helping me joked that younger members don’t usually ask for maps because we all have smartphones. She took a closer look at my membership card and smiled when she saw that I have been a loyal member for 51 years (I’m only 30!) so obviously my parents were the ones who taught me to always get maps.

The maps will be joining me on my #YourLead Van Adventure, but the books that really helped me get a better idea of the parks I’ll be visiting and their surrounding communities are the National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States (eighth edition) and a collection of park-specific books from Lonely Planet.

Travel Planning Books - National Geographic Guide to the National Parks Eighth Edition - Campfire Chic

National Geographic recently released the 8th Edition to the Guide to the National Parks of the United States, which includes updated information for travel planning including itineraries and directions and activities for the whole family. This is my third edition of the book, and so I know it’s a great resource to have on your bookshelf when considering a new-to-me park for a vacation.

Bonus: It’s a great coffee table book because your friends will want to thumb through the book to see what adventures you can go on together!

This guide is available in both Kindle and Paperback formats from Amazon.com.

Lonely Planet National Park Guidebooks are fantastic travel planning books - Campfire Chic

In April, Lonely Planet released a new full-color guide exploring the 59 American National Parks and other areas managed and protected within the national park system. The book includes photos, planning tools, maps, driving tours, itineraries and highlights of the best things to do within each national park. It’s a nice way to get an idea of the U.S. National Parks without going into too much detail on any one park.

Lonely Planet’s USA’s National Parks book is available on Kindle and in Paperback from Amazon.com.

Lonely Planet Guidebooks for Travel Planning - Campfire Chic

Lonely Planet also chose to highlight 11 of the most popular national parks in updated full-color guidebooks. These books include photos, maps, recommended clothing and equipment for different adventures, and more. I used the Banff, Jasper & Glacier (4th edition) and the Yellowstone & Grand Teton (4th edition) books for this trip. There are plenty more books, including ones for the Grand Canyon (4th edition), Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon (4th edition), and Zion & Bryce Canyon (3rd edition).

Why use books instead of relying on blog posts and review sites like Yelp? Because sometimes I don’t even know where to start, and these books help give me an idea of the typical things visitors do in each park. Unlike some bloggers, these books also include things to do in the surrounding area, ideas for places to stay (that may not show up on deal websites), and I know these maps will be available to me even if my phone loses connection or my battery dies.

I challenge you to pick up one of these books, or borrow them from your local library, the next time you plan a trip! Bloggers may not include the information you’re looking for and these resources give a wide variety of activities for visitors.

Thank you to Lonely Planet and National Geographic for sending review copies of these fantastic resources. Although I received these books for free, I am sharing them here because I know Campfire Chic readers may benefit from learning about these resources and because I use them for my own travel planning. The links in this post are Amazon Affiliate links and purchases made through these links will result in a commission for me. If you’re not into affiliate links, simply plug the titles of the books into your favorite search engine. Thank you for your continued support of Campfire Chic.

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in Adventure, Books

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

It’s Friday! If all goes well, this morning, I will be participating in #HikerChat, the weekly Twitter chat hosted by @TetonSports. I love carving out time each week to chat with my internet friends, especially when it has to do with the outdoors! The topic changes each week, so make sure you follow @TetonSports and follow #HikerChat to get in on the conversation. The fun begins at 9 a.m. Pacific time.

This week’s Essential Reading:

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in Essential Reading

I’ve been keeping a secret from you…I’m going on a big adventure!

I am teaming up with Teton Sports to take part of the #YourLead road trip of a lifetime! I am one of the first to take this retrofitted van to share my love for the outdoors and hopefully inspire others to get outdoors. I’ll be visiting some Sportsman’s Warehouses and recycling used gear along the way.

YourLead Van with Teton Sports

From the @YourLead_Van Instagram account

You read that right! That beauty of a van is going to be all mine and I get to spend my vacation time from work taking it around in search of adventure.

I get to live in this van for two weeks as I explore Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Teton National Park. That’s a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time, but I figure this is a preliminary trip to the parks because I’m sure I’ll fall in love and need to visit again sooner rather than later.

Teton Sports YourLead Van

Photo from @YourLead_Van Instagram, taken by @landonfaulknerphotography

I’m looking forward to hiking, visiting new-to-me states, scrapbooking on the road, and soaking in two weeks of 24/7 adventure. I don’t have a full agenda, I am trying to just go-with-the-flow on this trip…something that is totally unlike me, but I need to learn to roll with the punches eventually!

You can get a better idea of the adventure and see the inside of the van in this great video from Shawn and Landon:

There may be some surprises along the way, so be sure to follow along on my Twitter and Instagram. I may be able to post here during the trip, but if I’m not able to get a good connection I have posts scheduled for the next few weeks.

I’ll be returning the van to Salt Lake City, Utah to hand it off to fellow Teton Sports Mountain Adventurer, Heidi Krumm, who will be taking the van on a grand adventure that you can read about here.

Follow the #YourLead adventures on Instagram and Twitter.

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in Active, Adventure, Announcement