Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Fabulous Life - An Unsolicited Review of FabKids

When my boys were infants, they were always dressed in style. From the elegant, handcrafted outfits my mother-in-law created with love and talent for them, to the adorably smocked john-johns and bubble suits bought at specialty boutiques or consignment sales or handed down from friends and relatives, my boys exuded Southern charm and taste.

As they entered pre-school and elementary school, style gave way to practical concerns such as how fast my boys were growing and how messy they could be, given the fact they were boys. Dirty, messy, active boys guaranteed to spill, smudge, tear or otherwise ruin any outfit in 30 minutes or less, especially if it was special.

So, I bid adieu to the fancy boutiques and even department stores like Macy's or Kohl's and resigned myself to Target, which, for the money, can't be beat in terms of both style and affordability, especially when one of your boys constantly wears a hole in the knee of every pair of jeans he puts on - and it's always the left knee. 

I just couldn't justify the cost of shopping anywhere else, especially since the age gap between my kids and their totally disparate builds and personal styles mean that hand-me-downs aren't really happening for us. Yet, that said, I was beginning to grow tired of the Cherokee, Levi's, Champion, and Shaun White offerings and wished I could find an affordable alternative that would give my kids well-made, affordable kiddie style.

Enter FabKids

One day a week or so ago an ad popped up on Facebook offering a free outfit valued at $29.95 for signing up  for a membership with this kids' clothing site. After browsing the selections, I fell in love with a crazy outfit that was right up Beckett's alley! 

This kid has a style that is all his own. He loves to pair a purple shirt with red pants and a top hat. He's a fan of sweater vests, tie-dye, brightly colored pants, and crazy t-shirts. His style is what I call "crazy artiste" because he is definitely that. Since he was 4 he has declared that he will be an artist when he grows up and so far he's on the path.

So the outfit I loved can best be described as "Banana Pants with Andy Warhol tee." 

Adorable! Right? Don't get me wrong. I detest those preppy pants with whales and anchors and preppy shit emblazoned on them. But bananas? That's, well...Bananas! Who wouldn't love that? 

So, I signed up for the membership, which essentially means that I filled out a questionnaire about what my kid's style is or what style I was looking for, his age, his sizes, etc. Then, I was presented with several outfits - all priced at $29.95 for the two pieces (shirt and pants). The introductory offer let me choose one outfit for free and only pay shipping and handling, so I got the above outfit for just $4.95!

Each month I'll be sent a link to a selection of that month's outfits based on Beckett's style profile to choose from. I can choose as many as I want and they will each be priced at $29.95 for 2 pieces. I will have until the 10th of the month to either choose my outfits or skip the month. If I skip, I won't be charged at all. If I buy, obviously I will be charged for what I do purchase. However, if I forget to skip, I'll be charged 29.95 anyway with nothing to show for it. 

Now, I do have a girlfriend who told me she hated FabKids. She felt like it was a bait and switch. The first month or two she loved the outfits and their quality, but felt that they declined in both style and quality over time. With her warning in mind, I was eager to receive my first order so I could compare notes.

It arrived yesterday and I am really impressed! Both I and my son loved the outfit. Older brother was totally jealous I didn't order the pants for him, which was a complete shock because he hates flashy (as he puts it) clothes! 

I was impressed with both how quickly the order came and their packaging. Both items were neatly folded with tissue inside separate inner plastic bags that came inside this cute package: 

That sounds like a lot of packaging, but I was pleased to note that all the plastic wrap was recyclable and the package included a reminder imprinted upon it to do so. 

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and I think these pictures sum up nicely how we feel about our first experience with FabKids:

My little monkey in his banana pants and Andy Warhol tee. 

Monkey boy in motion - doing a happy dance over his new outfit. 

So, if you're looking for options for kids clothes and you like the convenience of online ordering, check FabKids out and let me know what you think!

Oh yeah...The disclaimer! This post was not solicited, sponsored, paid for, or otherwise endorsed by FabKids, their agent, or anyone at all associated with the company. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Build Me Up, Buttercup

I was a little surprised by how much the essay by New York Times writer Pamela Druckerman resonated with my friends. Not that what she says isn't essentially true, but rather because it seemed to really strike them as revelatory, where as to me it was covering old ground. That said, while I've known these things, I've only recently reached the point where I was ready to start living some of these truths, including being ready to accept that some people just will not like me and that's okay.

I've worried before that if I admitted to certain likes or dislikes or pursued specific interests there would be some who would mock me or think less of me. But guess what, I've learned...if they're willing to judge me and would mock me for my beliefs, I probably don't agree with their values and shouldn't be friends with them anyway.

So, all of that is to say, some of you may read the rest of this post and think, "God, that woman is a total flake!" Some of you may read it and think I'm overly judgmental or clueless or that I "just don't get it." And that's okay. You can disagree with me. Just respect my right to believe what I believe and I'll do the same for you.

Alright... So with that out of the way, I really wanted to share some information that I feel is making me and my family happier and healthier.

Recently, I was introduced to Young Living Essential Oils by my cousin, Heather. Technically, she's my husband's cousin, but to me she's family and I love her as if she were my own blood. Heather has been using essential oils to help treat her children's asthma for a while and after seeing the success she had, I was intrigued.

Our family experienced some health issues as the result of side effects from a medicine one of us was treated with...side effects never mentioned by the doctor or the pharmacist or listed on any materials associated with the drug. It was very scary and added to my growing distrust in modern medicine. Between doctors getting paid by pharmaceutical companies to prescribe their drugs, the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA, and the fact that medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in America (behind #1 heart-disease and #2 cancer), I prefer to have options.

I'm never going to be someone who stops seeing the doctor or doesn't vaccinate her kids. That's just not who I am. I do however believe that there are old home remedies and natural remedies that are just as powerful and far safer than prescription drugs and modern interventions. I've often wished I had my grandmother's recipe for a headache tonic. I remember her using it on me when I began having migraines as a kid and now when I get a migraine, I crave the cool, soothing cloth and smell of camphor that always eased me into a pain-free sleep.

So, for me, essential oils make sense. I was willing to give it a shot and I must say, I'm quite glad I have. I have discovered that I can knock out a sinus infection in under 24 hours without the use of antibiotics and all their nasty side effects. I've also found something I can use to alleviate some of the anxiety and stress my son feels without having to resort to using dangerous drugs with God-only-knows what kinds of long-term effects.

It may or may not be for you, but if you're curious and would like to learn more, I'm happy to share what I've learned or direct you to folks who know even more than me.