Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why You Should Pass on Le Tote Subscription Service

So back in August I decided to try out this subscription service called Le Tote. The concept is that you create your closet full of items that you like, then your stylist picks 5 items - 3 clothing pieces and 2 accessories and sends them to you. You can wear them, purchase the item and keep it if you like it, or return it. No washing on your end either! You would receive as many boxes as you could during a 1 month time frame. The idea of getting to try some new things and not have to do additional laundry was really appealing to me. Plus I waited so long on deciding they kept sending me percentage off offers so I only spent about $30 for their $60 a month subscription service.

My first box was ok.

I think I didn't wear the gold necklace because I had nothing to go with it. The pink sweater was about 2 sizes too small and turned out to be SUPER itchy.

My second box was a complete failure.

I couldn't get either of the black shirts over my boobs. The bag was "meh," and while the blue shirt fit it was crappy quality and had weird leather shoulders. I realized I needed to do better at looking at the picture details from that one. I sent this box back the next day.

As soon as I rated all of the second boxes items poorly I immediately had an email from Le Tote telling me they were working on it and they would include an extra item in my next tote to make up for it. I was impressed by their customer service at least.

Here was my 3rd tote.

I debated keeping the green sweater, but could tell the quality wasn't great and that it would pill quickly. The green tank was nice, but kind of expensive for a tank top (you get a slight discount on purchases). I didn't wear the scarf because it was way too hot in Texas at that time and didn't use the purse because I'm too lazy to switch bags. I kept the blue necklace. It was my ONLY purchase and has actually become a favorite. The aqua shirt was a huge miss. It was this weird faux wrap what just did not work for me at all. I again made note to take a closer look at the pictures.

My final tote that month was a hit aside from the pink shirt. It had a few tiny holes and a couple of spots on it where something had bled onto it. I actually debated purchasing everything else in here, but decided the pricing was a bit more than I wanted to spend.

I decided to go ahead and do another month because this last box was so great. If only I had known what was to come.

The next box had some things I didn't quite like. I think one was a jean cropped vest. Who the hell wears jean vests anymore? I know I switched it out and something else. Well it turns out that neither of those items were available so they subbed in two items in their place. You basically get an email upon shipping telling you this and they throw in an extra item for you. Except what they don't tell you is that you only get 1 extra per tote. So I had purchased an item (there's a lag of 1 tote) so I already had an extra item coming. So much for the bonus.

The green top was really cute and I debated keeping it. It was more emerald color in real life which I loved. The tunic (one of the substitutions) was really nice as well, but a little big. The other items were all ok, the scarf wasn't quite the same colors as pictured, but the kicker was the red sweater which was another sub. It was awful. It was also orange and not that tomatoey red pictured here.

When you create your profile you put styles you like, things you don't, colors you don't want to receive. Orange items, dresses, and rings were all on my no list. In this box they sent me an ugly (there was weird ruching on the sleeves and the back) orange sweater. Not cool guys. Everything else in here was alright though so I wasn't that upset.

Then my next box came.

You're probably thinking, Faith you're crazy. Look how cute it all is. It was. At least until you had the items in had. The first shirt was such poor quality. It was this super faded t-shirt material. Nothing like pictured. It was also too big. The blue sweater was two sizes too big. The necklace I had gotten before and liked. The blue shirt? Too small. The other necklace was ok, but goes with nothing I own. I had hoped to pair it with the items in the box, but seeing as how none of them fit, that wasn't happening. Then that last one. Do you know what it is? It's kind of hard to tell. It was a substitution to the box. It's an ORANGE DRESS. Yep. A combo of 2 of the 3 things I had specifically not asked for. This box went right back into the mail.

I again received an email saying sorry we messed up. I explained that I was really unhappy with the service with the following email:

At this point I'd actually just like a refund. I asked for no orange in my boxes and this is the second time in a row I've received it. I also asked for no dresses and I received an orange dress of all things. The sizing I've received has been all over the place. I got a stained item with holes in it. Yes, customer service has been great in dealing with all these things, but receiving a free item in my next box just isn't cutting it. Especially when one item is something I would have never agreed to, but I only got it because what I wanted wasn't available. Then another item doesn't fit. So I'm left with 1 maybe 2 that I only kind of like.

The response I received was an apology and an extension of my subscription for another 10 days. I was told if I wanted a refund I'd need to call.

Life happened, I couldn't call, and I thought what the hell. One more chance before I'm done. I received the following.

Again, they all look cute right? I've even gotten the green tank before and liked it. That scarf was super cute, and it was finally in the upper 70s around here. I could probably wear it. Except for one thing. These clothes REEKED. I'm not one that is very sensitive to smells either. I opened this box and was immediately hit with the smell of whatever these had been washed in. I packed them all back up and sent them on their merry way.

I immediately sent the following email:

I had decided to give it one more chance, and the clothes I received were alright, but they REEKED of whatever it was they were washed in. I'm still extremely unhappy and will be calling to request a full refund. Unfortunately the rating system that is used does not allow for any verbal type of feedback.

I received the following response:

Hi Faith,
Thank you for following up, and for giving us another go! We look forward to sending a new tote your way, and to make this up to you!
Please let me know if there is anything I can do to ensure that your experience with us is nothing but perfect. Have a great day!
LE TOTE, Customer Loyalty
Hey Paige? Do you even read? I received a questionairre the next day or two wanting to know how the service was regarding my email. I pointed out that Paige obviously can't read and still would like a refund. 
I went online and put my subscription on hold because I did not want to deal with another charge. When I finally called to ask for a refund I was told no because I had received 4 boxes that month. Umm....well, it was actually 3. Seeing as how you can't read I'm not surprised you can't count either. I pointed out that with my final two boxes I didn't even wear a single item in there, but no. Sorry. We can't refund you, but I'm happy to cancel your subscription. I thanked her for wasting my $60 and hung up.
Thinking about Le Tote? Well I'd think again. Save your $60 and buy something you'd actually like.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

14 month update

I get asked a lot if I'm going to continue doing updates on you Bud. Considering that this is the closest you'll ever get to a baby book, yes. I plan to. Probably not with as much frequency, especially since we would have technically missed a month.

Since you're first birthday a lot has gone on:

You took your first plane trip and pretty much rocked it. Everyone commented on how cute and good you were. I'm sure they were happy about it because it turns out half our flight out was on the same flight with us back.

You took your first major trip - to San Francisco and Sonoma.

San Francisco & Sonoma

You now have a total of 11 teeth. That's 5 teeth in 2 months dude. I'd like a repreve on that and I'm sure you would too.

Your vocabulary has grown. A few of your new words:
Uh Oh (it's a favorite)
More (you also sign for more)

You also took off running after your first birthday. You are always on the go. You can even walk up and down steps if you hold onto the wall.

You give people high fives, pounds, and blow kisses. You also wave Hi and Bye Bye to people.

You love to explore. You will wander the backyard, chasing chickens, closing up their coop, and picking up acorns. Every time we leave the house or come home you are walking to the neighbors yard to chase deer or to say hi to their doggie.


You have gotten so great at following directions and I really thank daycare for that. You help pick up toys, you wipe your hands, you blow your nose, you know when it's time to go and will head to the door. If I move to slow you bang on the door to let me know to hurry up. You will come when we call you, unless you're being mischievous which is really about half of the time.

You are also a great eater. You pretty much eat anything though it's funny when you sometimes refuse typical kids foods. You were so mad at us for giving you hot dogs and french fries the other night. The dogs pretty much ate everything on your plate. You can eat with a fork and are really good at stabbing your food and putting it in your mouth. We didn't know you had learned this at school and were shocked at how good you were at home. You still have a preference for fruit over any other food.

You went to your first Trunk or Treat and you were a pro:


Other stats - you weigh in around 23.5 pounds. I have no idea how tall you are because you won't sit still long enough. You are wearing 18-24 month clothes and the regular 18 month clothes are getting a little snug. You wear a size 5 in shoes.

Happy 14 months Bud!

Monday, October 06, 2014

First Year Birthday

For Bud's first birthday I had to talk myself down a bit. I wanted this huge party and then realized a few things. One, that I didn't really have it in me to throw a huge party. Two, he'd never remember it. Three, anything I did would really be for other people/kids and see number 1. I decided in the end to keep it simple and I wanted to play upon it being the end of summer, so I went with a summer lemonade party.

We had picnic style food, sandwiches, snacks, and lemonade served out of mason jars with paper straws.

First Birthday

First Birthday

The most time was spent creating his cake smash area - because really that's what everyone comes to see at a first birthday right?

First Birthday

First Birthday

He even had his own little Lemonade Stand.

First Birthday

Who wouldn't want to buy lemonade from this sweet little face?

First Birthday

First Birthday

We kept it casual. People visited, ate, and then it was cake time.

First Birthday

First Birthday

First Birthday

Oh wait? You're all here for me?

First Birthday

He was a little hesitant at first and then just went for it!

First Birthday

He loved it!

First Birthday

After we hosed him off it was time for presents!

First Birthday

First Birthday

and then of course we had to try some of them out!

First Birthday

We have a future drummer on our hands!

First Birthday

Happy Birthday my sweet boy!

First Birthday

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blogger Baby Shower

Last year a wonderful group of bloggers got together and threw six of us expecting mamas a baby shower. It was wonderful and I felt incredibly blessed to be a part of a group that would show such an outpouring of love to me and five other mamas.

I was hugely pregnant and never got around to doing a recap post, but just know it was awesome, and that I love these ladies. The recap post is in fact still in drafts in my archives.

This year we have another group of expecting bloggers - including one blogger dad and his wife so I wanted to return the love. Together with some of our amazing blogging ladies we put together a book shower at the Twig bookshop.



Everyone brought or purchased books for our mamas to go home with.


We also had a onsie making station so everyone got a personalized gift.

PicMonkey Collage

You can't have a baby shower without delicious food.



Miss Anastasia was there to entertain the littles. If you've never been to one of her story times you really need make it to one. Entertaining for the kids and the grownups.


All of our moms went home with some awesome goodies as well as the books brought by our bloggers:


Belly Balm from Handmade Mood


Some earth Mama Angel Baby tea from Kiwi Baby Shop


Dr. Smith's hooked everyone up with some of their awesome spray diaper cream.


and one mama received a chew bead necklace and a gift card to Go Baby Go.


Congrats again to all our new moms and moms and dads to be!

Photos courtesy of Lisa Branam, Colleen Pence, and Stacy Teet.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

12 Months Old!


You're 12 months old!

12 Months

I know I say something about it every month, but I honestly couldn't tell you where this year has gone. This has been the fastest year to have ever gone by. It's had it's ups and downs, and we've had our good and bad moments, but we all survived. More than that, we all thrived together.

Stats-wise you weigh in at 22 pounds 2 ounces and you are 30.5 inches long. You're wearing 12-18 month and 18 month clothes and size 4 diapers. You have 6 teeth and 2 molars that are taking their time in making their appearance. These pictures were also near impossible to take this month. I had to employ your dad's assistance and no amount of bribing or promising that you have ensured that any future siblings will not have to endure this type of monthly torture would persuade you to sit still for a minute.

This month your personality really started to shine. You are energetic, but yet so chill. You really have such an easy laid back personality, but once you are going, you're going! You are starting to walk more and more, I think the most steps you've taken at once is around 12, but you're trying harder and harder to walk more. You get such a proud look on your face whenever you accomplish anything new and take more than a few steps. We love to see you accomplish these things and love that you recognize your own development.

While it's technically after this update, on your first birthday you decided to take off walking and have been running around ever since. You kind of look like a mix of the Marshmallow Man and Frankenstein, but it's pretty adorable to watch. You'll follow us around the house, but usually show up a little late.

12 Months

You're also such a little cheeseball. You think you are hilarious and find both of us to be as well. We love to come up with new little games to play with you - like daddy hiding his hand under the sheets and trying to get you. We recently added in a slap your hands game where you try to get my hand before you move it away. Again, you find this highly amusing.

One of your current obsessions is putting things onto your head. You're finally letting us put hats on you for more than 1 second. We're up to about 5 seconds, but you have to start somewhere. You love to take hats off other people's heads, put them on you, and then back on them. You like blanket forts and more than once I have found you putting clothes and blankets over your head when I'm trying to sort laundry.

You have also started pointing at things. It really started with daddy doing the whole "I'm watching you" bit with two fingers pointing at his eyes and then pointing at you. You think this game is hilarious, but then will point back. In no time I'm sure you're start pointing to things you want.

You love to have us read to you. Your dad and I both have a rule that we will stop what we are doing and read to you if you bring us a book. You definitely have favorites - Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? From Head to Toe, and Baby Mickey Finds a Friend. Now if we could just get you to stop from chewing up all your books we'd be set.

12 Months

This month you moved to a new classroom at school. I was so nervous for you. I probably freaked out much more than I should have (ok I did), but you handled it like a champ! Suddenly you became this little person that slept on a mat for 2 and a half hours (average was 30 minutes before) and sat at a table to eat food. Your teachers all said you handled the transition the best and again, your laid back personality has shined through in that room.

You're talking more and more, mostly just babble, but you will babble back to us. You will say bye bye, mama, dada, ok, yeah, that, and ball. Gigigi is also your form of cussing at us. We know you're unhappy with us or about something when you let out a string of gigigigi-s. We're working really hard on book since you love to read with us. You also know, or I should say have your own versions of milk, all done, and more in sign language.

For a full recap of this year:

You grew 10.5 inches
You gained 14 pounds and 9 ounces
You are walking
You say 7 words
Your eyes still have a greyish hue to them, but are turning more brown
You are still breastfeeding
You still cosleep
You have 6 teeth
Your favorite foods are peaches, strawberries, and blueberries. I'd also put cheese and yogurt in there.
You love the dogs despite their lack of interest in you
You love music and will dance and drum
You have 5 grandparents and got to meet your 1 great-grandpa
You have 7 aunts and uncles and 7 cousins (and 1 on the way)
You love to have us read to you
You think you're pretty awesome and hilarious - we think so too

Happy first birthday Bud. I can't wait to see what this next year has in store for us.

Love you.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Toddler Room


The Toddler Room.

Those three words have caused me more anxiety in the past two weeks than First Birthday ever could.

First Birthday? It's 19 days away. I've got that. Cake smash session? On the books. Outfit? Done. Invitations? Ordered. It'll be a simple affair because I just don't feel up to planning a party for older kids. We'll do that down the road when he remembers. We'll have beverages and watch him demolish a cake. Sounds like a perfect first birthday.

Thinking about him moving to The Toddler Room? It's caused the tears to flow. Sleepless nights have occurred. I had a breakdown similar to when I walked into work and told my boss I was starting maternity leave early. Phone calls have been made to amazing coworkers who have tolerated my first time mom questions and assured me that my daycare is not doing anything different and aren't evil people that make babies grow up too fast. (Though I'm still unsure on that last part.) I've already let my boss know to expect lots of tears and that I may need to take the day off.

Then on Friday they went and bumped the move to The Toddler Room up on me. I was supposed to have 3 weeks! Now it's just 2. In 12 days my baby will be thrown until the world of shoes, sippy cups, sitting at tables to eat, 1 scheduled nap per day, and on a nap mat to boot. Bottles? They're a thing of the past! He's going cold turkey and I don't know how it's going to work.

I suddenly have a school shopping list! Nap mat. Blanket. Where does one find a toddler sized blanket? Sippy cups. Shoes!? He's not even walking! Why does he need shoes to wear outside if he can't walk, and therefore can't play on the playground, and will only eat rocks if you even try to take him outside?

On the plus side all his friends are moving with him. They'll all be going through this transition together. (Which honestly seems horrible for the teachers.) While he's not walking (neither is one other), he is eating more solids than than the others and feeds himself (Yay baby led weaning!). They'll all be going off the bottle together, learning to sleep on mats together, and to eat at the table. (But wouldn't this make it harder for them to learn these things?)

I'm just so nervous for him! Turning 1 doesn't mean some switch is turned and they start doing all these things all the sudden. Right? If so, I certainly didn't get the memo and I'm not sure all these babies did either.

I also worry about what scheduled feedings will do to breastfeeding. I'm not changing him to cow milk and plan to continue pumping and sending milk to daycare. He only gets milk with meals and snack though. I don't want to mess with his awesome sleep schedule, but that means we miss breakfast at school. He recently dropped his 8:30am feeding so I don't know how that's going to work. Waffle in one hand, sippy of milk in the other on the way to school? That just adds one more bit of craziness to our already hurried morning. I see long nights of reverse cycling ahead of me. Shouldn't we be getting more sleep by now?

Please tell me it'll be ok. Please tell me your baby went through this and turned out just fine and is now a high functioning adult that never had issues from going cold turkey off the bottle. Or that therapy is at least helping to resolve those issues. Tell me this isn't going to totally screw up breastfeeding for us. Convince me that his caretakers aren't trying to make him grow up too fast. Just a little faster than this mom prefers. And if you see me, give me a hug and don't judge if I start crying on your shoulder.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

11 months old!


You're 11 months old!

11 Months

If I could pause time I would. I cannot believe that next month I will be writing your 12 month update, and we will be celebrating your first birthday. You're at this really fun stage where yes you're into EVERYTHING, but you're also discovering new things. Your dad and I have so much fun watching you process and discover new things. You definitely have a "thinking" face that you make.

You weigh in at 22 pounds and you are 29ish inches long. You wouldn't lay still for me to measure you properly so it's really just a guess. You're almost out of 12 month clothes and are wearing 12-18 and 18 month clothes. You wear size 4 diapers. You still have just the 6 teeth, and I'm enjoying a tiny break from teething at the moment. I think you're going to have more popping through at any minute though.

11 Months

You started this month cruising around on things. You got pretty good at transferring between objects so you could pretty much get anywhere as long as there are enough objects. Then you started standing on your own without assistance. You'd be sitting one minute, standing the next, and you can hold your balance really well. Just two days before you turned 11 months you finally took your first steps. Well, technically, you did it on a Friday when I picked you up from daycare. You took 2 steps but I didn't want to tell daddy about it because he wasn't there. Your teacher and I cheered you on though. I thought for sure you'd do it over the weekend, but you held out until Tuesday night to show daddy. You took 3 steps for us, but again you're refusing to repeat it for us so we can catch it on video.

You have become a drummer. You have two sets of drum sticks in different parts of the house and will crawl around with them and just beat on everything you can. If daddy and your cousins are playing guitar, you're beating away with those drum sticks. You turn pretty much everything into a drum. You've gotten pretty good at it and will even repeat patterns that we drum out for you.

11 Months

You learned a few new words this month, one of which is Debora. Debora is one of your teachers at school. You started saying it first and now your two buddies all say Debora with you. It's funny to see the three of you all yelling, "Debora!" You also say ball and will identify any ball. I think it's the first word where you have really learned the meaning and you say it very deliberately. You still say mama, dada, and bye bye. I think you also say the words yeah, huh, and sometimes ok.

You love food, especially yogurt. You go crazy any time you see me start to make you a yogurt pouch. Yogurt is probably the only soft or baby like food you've had. Otherwise you pretty much just eat what we do. You eat just anything and get upset if we eat something and don't share with you. You could have just nursed and still want our food. If we could only stop you from rubbing messy foods into your hair we'd be set. Oh, and eating cardboard. I'd love it if you laid off the paper products.

Happy 11 months Bud!

Love you.

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