Thrifting 101

I LOVE Thrift Stores. I have been thrifting… forever. Now don’t get me wrong, when I was 12 and had to wear the 2nd hand jeans my mom picked out, I didn’t think it was so cool. As an adult I have found the joy and the benefit of Thrift Stores.

In college I remember spending $100 at a store in the mall one day on clothes, shoes jewelry, etc. I was a little shocked at the tally, but I had gotten A LOT of stuff. Unfortunately it was poor quality and didn’t fit well or look all that good (I’m sure I wore most of it anyway) I made the same mistake the first few years of Thrifting. I would buy stuff because it was cheap or “my size” and in a few months it was back in the Thrift Store (because I  donated it back) or torn and in the trash.

Today I want to share with you my list of “DO’s” and “Don’ts” of Thrifting and details about my trip I took today.

 

 

DO:

  • Make a Plan!
    • Know where you are going, when, for how long, with who, etc. Winging it will not get you the most for you time and money and you will probably end up wasting more time than if you planned it.
  • Know the Store/Sales
    • Know which days, times, locations, etc which stores have sales. Make sure you understand the restrictions and details (color tags, limits, etc)
  • Get there EARLY!
    • I usually get there about 10-15 min before the store opens on the day of the $.99 tags sale. I don’t want to wait too long outside with an active toddler, but I know that within that first hour most of the good stuff is GONE!
  • Dress comfy
    • You’re not going to the Mall, you don’t need makeup or heals. I usually wear leggings or sweat pants (easy to get in and out of when trying on pants) slip on shoes with thin socks (try on shoes in a flash) and a tank top with my favorite bra (so I can try on sweaters and shirts without having to go into the dressing room). I also usually bring a purse with a longer strap that I can cross over my body so I don’t have to worry about it.
  • Know your limit (and your kid’s/spouse’s/friend’s limit)
    • If you (or the person you’re with) gets tired or grumpy in an hour or two, then halfway into that time stop browsing and start trying on and deciding what you want. My trip today was and hour and a half and it was perfect. I got exactly what I wanted. I wasn’t burnt out on searching and kiddo wasn’t to the point of screaming at the top of his lungs…yet.
  • Have a Budget
    • If I did not have a budget today (and I have done this before) I would have bought at least 6 things that were not flattering and or I would have never worn. A budget keeps your choices in check and also stops you from regretting half of you purchases.

 

DON’T

  • Go in WITHOUT a Plan
    • Again, planning will make it a much better experience and you will have more yield for your time and money.
  • Think that you kids will not get bored
    • I brought the Tablet, charged and loaded with games and movies, so that kiddo would have a distraction. It made my time more enjoyable and effective.
  • Get on your phone
    • Silence that thing! If you get distracted by a phone call or text, you will miss out or loose focus.
  • Get distracted by items that are NOT on sale
    • If you want to browse for pretty things, pick a different day and plan to do that with a different budget. SALE DAY is about that specific color TAG and they go fast, so you do too! While you’re flipping through racks looking for that sale color tag, if something REALLY catches your eye throw it in the cart and keep moving. Come back to it later.
  • Fall into the Name Brand trap
    • Just because it is a great Name Brand or in your Size DOES NOT mean you HAVE to get it. If it is going to just take up space in your closet or you are going to be uncomfortable every time you wear it, it isn’t even worth a dollar.
  • Slow Down
    • Pickers (as I like to call them) move fast and often in groups. They are going to have the entire store picked over in about an hour. So you have to move quickly and with purpose. Plan ahead which sections you want to look over and in what order (because that might be the difference in finding something or not). Today I choose to go: Sweaters, purses, jeans, tops, workout gear. Shoes are very scattered at this store so I don’t really focus on them (although I found an amazing pair today by happenstance).

 

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My typical routine once I get in and have my budget and plan is to go section by section (according to what I want to find that trip) and very quickly look through the racks for sale color tags. I then grab any items that are my size and look like something I might wear ( I’m not extremely picky at this point) I continue through the store until I have a very full cart and have looked in my top 4 or 5 sections. If I am not finding a lot of sale tags in a section I will often move on, it may have already been picked over and I don’t want to loose momentum or hope. Next, I find a quiet spot and sort through my findings. This is where I take the time to think “is this my color, my style, will it go with anything else I own, when would I wear this?”. I often try to do this near a full length mirror somewhere in the store. I try on any shirts, jackets, sweaters, purses, shoes, etc (remember I am wearing my favorite bra and a tank top) I do this because Thrift Stores often have very small Dressing Rooms with very small limits (like 6 items). Then I hang up anything I am not IN LOVE with and take the items I definitely want off the hanger and put back into the cart. ( If you don’t love it, you probably aren’t going to wear it enough for it to be worth the space in your closet) Then I go into a fitting room and try on any pants or skirts. Make sure to rotate and check for spots or tears. Lastly, go through one more time and make sure every item you choose it worth its weight in your “limit” or “budget”. (BTW setting a low budget means you will probably come home with better stuff. I usually set it to $10 or 10 items)

 

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I cannot get over how in love I am with every piece I came home with today. I want to walk you through them each real quickly.

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The first shirt was a brand I didn’t recognize. It was good quality and extremely comfy and grey goes with everything. Second shirt was The Limited, very classy for a meeting or night out. Third was Coldwater Creek. Perfect for Texas’ midl fall days.

 

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The bag I picked up was Jessica Simpson. It doesn’t fit my laptop but is perfect for all my other work stuff.

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Cable Knit sweaters are IN and I found a bunch of them that were so adorable, but they just didn’t look stunning on me. This one is bound to be my favorite winter item (Bar III). The blue Ann Taylor sweater is great for work. The Phat Farm sweatshirt still had the tags on it. Someone paid $69 so I could have it for $0.99!

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These jeans cost me a buck, but they make me feel like a million $$$. 7jeans brand ($70 new) Then this Eddie Bauer workout shirt is actually nice enough to wear with a pair of jeans and not look too mom-ish 😉

 

Last, but not least. My Nine West find ❤

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There you have it! I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about how I shop and that your next Thrifting Adventure is as successful as mine was. I would love to hear about great finds you have made, share them below!

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Book Review – Coloring Book: Tokyo Street Style

 

 

Zoe de las Cases did it again with another beautifully illustrated coloring book that captures the culture and fashion of the city. This time it is Tokyo! The bright flexible cover stayed in place with a band so you can enjoy on the go. There is also a ribbon to mark your place.

 

We live in a stressful world, take some time to relax, unwind, and color.

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**I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review**

Closet turned Office

After 2 weeks of being laid up and not working or doing much of anything I had the urge to organize today (let’s hope I don’t regret it soon)

I ended up cleaning and organizing the Laundry Room (it is the size of a closet) that I had made into an Office a few months ago, but unfortunately it had become a collect all 😦 and there was nothing productive happening in there. (I don’t have a before picture, sadly)

I thought I would share with you what my home (apartment) looks like on a good day:22641842_10214082175429395_712139503_o

This is our living room, some sun still shines through the hand print plastered sliding doors. The futon next to the porch folds up to a couch and even has cup holders. The chair in the back corner has freshly cleaned toddler pee and marker stains under that blanket.22546698_10214082176429420_1293752484_o

The other side of the living room is my husband’s office and our wall mounted TV so that a certain someone doesn’t knock it over onto himself (that could be very dangerous and honestly if you have small children get a good wall mount so they don’t climb the TV stand and knock it over onto themselves)

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I paid $0.99 for that clock and no it does not work, but I love how it looks! Our cables are all zipped up with cable keepers, another way to stop the tornado from dangerous stuff.

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Kitchen! In the far back corner behind like 3 other things is a jar with all the sharp objects (he has gotten into them once, but not since) and everything valuable, dangerous, or breakable is in a top cupboard (because he can open all the child safety locks I put on all lower cupboards 😦

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Note beautiful flowers from Hubby (and yes that is an elephant holding random tiny dishes while they dry)

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Dining Room. Behind those bi-fold doors is what would normally be a laundry room (closet)22556022_10214082177069436_1011399477_o22556001_10214082175229390_1630685565_o

My favorite part is that I can close the doors and forget about whatever is in there when I need to, and when I am in there it is almost like being in another room, but I can still see and hear the kiddo. I also love that the locks I installed are up so high he cannot reach them even by standing on a chair so my stuff is safe… ish.

Inside I have my books, journal, board games, paperwork, work stuff, craft stuff, essential oils, electronics, our embarrassingly large for 2017 DVD collection… and there is a power outlet for my laptop and if I want to put a lamp or diffuser in there 😀

Down the hallway and in the rooms are some of my favorite wall art… all free or under a dollar at thrift stores.

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Kiddo’s bathroom (vinyl letters on the wall that remove with no residue or marks) and the only way that I can make the house look like this and have time to sit down and blog… passed out while playing on the tablet.

Toys are locked away in the closet, he asks to go in and can pick out a few toys or buckets at a time (makes life less overwhelming for everyone) I swear he has more books than any other kid. All of these are for at least 5 years from now.

Master Bath has some sweet little wall storage places (since we don’t have a cupboard or shelves in there) The clear drawers are one of my favorite (Amazon)

 

That messy picture is a folding card table with all the stuff I am sorting out for donations and doing laundry (the never ending task). I really try to clear out clutter and things I don’t use or need at the start of every season. Project 333 is my minimalist go to (I am far from a minimalist, but her way of thinking and living help me stay humble and sane…ish)

The photos and art on our bedroom wall are so special to me. I even framed a letter my husband wrote me while we were dating. The Daisy is by Sarah Ann Photography

The shelf above my dresser has specific items representing each of us and then us as a whole.

Curtains… I know they don’t match (not much in my house does) but they are amazing! One is shear and lets the light in and the other is a black out curtain. Both are a MUST if you live in an apartment complex and your bedroom window faces the parking lot on the first floor.

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Last but not least, Master Closet… where laundry goes to die. It is usually quite organized (or at least somewhat organized) this last week we had to get laundry done (at the laundry mat) and I could not lift or bend. So here are all the clean clothes until further notice 😉

 

I hope you enjoyed the humorous tour and were inspired by the Closet Office. Check out my previous post, Closet Nursery, and see how I turned our Laundry Room (Closet) into a nursery for kiddo when he was a newborn in our old apartment.

 

Have an amazing week!

Train Playroom

It was 65° outside yesterday morning ♡ December 17th. 

By the time I took the kids to the playground in the afternoon it was 32 and windy 😦 

We can’t avoid Winter forever. I also can’t avoid Christmas forever. I’ve been slowing getting all of Little Man’s presents in the mail and pilling them in his room along with anything else I want to procrastinate on. After he laid down for a nap, yesterday, I decide it was time to get motivated. I’d gone to At Home and found a wire flatware holder that I planned to repurpose as a train shelf. 

It worked perfectly! 

I put together his Train Table and Gorilla glued the bridge together. The other pieces I left loose so he could rearrange. The top flips over and the other side is a chalk board. 

This wooden sign was given to us by a dear friend when he was born. 

I wanted this to be an uncluttered space where he could play and be creative without being over stimulated. 

I read about Toy Rotation about a year ago, and I love the idea. Last month I went through all his toys and clothes and donated almost 4 boxes worth of stuff. I tried to be purposeful with what toys he kept. In his closet are 2 shelves neatly stacked with toys that he can take out one at a time and play with in the open space on the other side of his room. The closet locks so he can’t just drag everything out and make mayhem. It’s been studied that children do better and are less overwhelmed when they do not have too many stimulating factors around them when they play. So we are implementing toy rotation. Also, the walls are not too busy. 

I picked up a few baskets at the Dollar Tree for his wooden train and blocks. I still need to find some clear contact paper to make the window so you cannot see into it (the parking lot is RIGHT there and my toddler doesn’t always keep his clothes on).

In the other corner of his room I will be installing these wire baskets on the wall along with a few small wall lamps. Then a few oversized throw pillows and his reading corner will be complete (I love how many books he was giving for Christmas. Thank you to family for understanding the power of reading).

The last thing I did was unpackaged all his gifts (make them play ready) and wrap them (STAR WARS wrapping paper found at the Dollar Tree!) 

If you have any creative Play Room ideas, I’d love to heat them! I’ll be sure to update with pictures of the reading corner once it is complete.

Happy Holidays! 

Update:

Today (December 23rd) I finally put the finishing touches on Little Man’s Playroom. His reading corner is set up. 

thThese baskets are from At Home. They are perfect for his board books. Instead of throw pillows I used some of his character pillow cases over new pillows. I put a spot light on the wall for better lighting at night. 

The window treatment I was looking for was $15 and I wasn’t ready to commit. I ended up getting some contact paper from the Dollar Tree that did the job perfectly. 


I decided the leave the final corner of the room empty for his to play and use his puzzles. 

ey

 

Holiday Gift Idea Guide 2015

It is the biggest shopping day of the year. If you are out and about today I hope that it is with friends and family and you are having fun (because that is what Holidays are about, not stressing and yelling to get something that is just… a thing) If you are anything like me you will be Celebrating Cyber Monday in your yoga pants with a warm cup of cocoa, followed by weeks of pouring over Pinterest and making as many gifts as possible.

 

Below I have complied a list of some small business, businesses that give back, made in the USA companies, and just plain old fun gift items. I hope it helps you find some creative and unique gifts that feed into the Holiday spirit of giving and less into the commercialism. 🙂

 

 

10891860_1036928119670888_8865607233591300579_nIf you know a little dancer, Honey Bunny Crafts and Stitchery makes gorgeous tutus, hair pieces, and bags. Small business run by a SAHM.

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Jamberry nail wraps are made in the USA and free of the 5 most harmful chemicals in most nail wraps and polishes. They make great stocking stuffers and teacher gifts.

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31 Bits sell 100% recycled Bead products made by Ugandan women. They empower these women through earning an income enabling them to provide for their families. They care for them holistically through counseling, health education, finance training, and business mentorships. After five years in their program, the beneficiaries are ready to graduate. A graduated beneficiary has her own business and is educated, healthy, and confident. She is empowered.

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The Little Bamboo is a Florida based company specializing in all natural bamboo products. The Little Bamboo has a growing product line from Bamboo Utensils. My family loves their charcoal soap. 

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It Works has tons of great products for those in your life who want to improve their health or already lead a healthy lifestyle. Their Greens help balance your body and Alkalize your blood.

1546463_959593117431773_8682779872435900694_nTree Change Dolls are based out of Australia, but are so amazing to me. She takes old dolls and makes them something that the average kid can identify with. Great for the young girls on your shopping list.

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Do you have a Gamer or Nerd on your shopping list? Treno Nights makes gorgeous tiny clay charms of all types. Earrings, bracelets, key-chains, etc. She is a small business run out of her home in TX.

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Coffee lover in the family? Three Avocados takes their profits and provides clean drinking water and education for those in Uganda.

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Glasstic Water Bottles are great gifts for just about anyone. You can even customize them. I love mine because I know it won’t shatter when my toddler uses it, I can put essential oils in my water, and I waste less plastic cups at work.

 

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Trades of Hope is another Fashion line that helps empower women through your purchases, and they have super cute stuff 🙂

 

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Inspirational Illustrations in Print or on Journals. She has new designs daily on her Facebook. Rose Hill Designs.

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Hand painted wooden signs created by a SAHM. Dezarea’s DeSigns.

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Tripp Tribe has Homemade body products created from simple, natural ingredients you can feel good about! Family Business. They are currently trying to raise enough money to bring their adopted sons home from Russia.

 

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Sassy Doe Soaps are wonderful soaps made from Goat’s milk, olive oil, and essential oils. It was the only thing I could use when pregnant on my face.

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Maple Syrup is one of my favorite Winter comfort foods. Tomapo Farms has Maple Candy as well. They will ship.

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What about the person on your list who has everything…and then some. How about the gift of Simplicity and Organization. Courtney Carver’s Project 333 has been a life saver for me. The Clutter Free Course is also an amazing book.

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Kids on your list? Or maybe that one person who LOVES purses? Abintra Designs has custom made handbags as well as Dino-sores (mini rice packs for hot or cold needs).

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If you have that Fashionista that is difficult to buy for, Chic Origins has vintage wear unique and affordable. Check out her small business on Etsy or Facebook.

 


Gifts That Keep Giving: 

  • Purchase them a class. Dance, Yoga, Zumba, Painting. Better, yet… sign yourself up too so you an spend time with them.
  • Museum passes, season tickets, State Park pass. Add a note saying that you will be joining them on one of their adventures to this place.
  • Donate to an Organization or Charity in their name.

 

P333 Fall 2015 – Working Mom

As a working mom of a toddler living in a one bedroom city apartment, I don’t have room for clutter or time to try on 10 outfits before I rush out the door in the morning. That is one of the many reasons I am grateful for discovering Courtney Carver’s Project 333. (more information at her website) Minimalist living gets rid of STUFF and makes room and time for family in my life. (don’t get me wrong, I still love stuff. I am just learning what stuff is worth having and what takes away from the things that matter in my life)

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Today I am sorting through my closet and getting together my Fall 33 (It is more than 33, I use Courtney’s P333 as a guideline). I love Thrift Shops and Secondhand Stores. I have added 8 new items to my wardrobe this season for under $30. One of my favorites is this scarf I snagged for $4. It can change an outfit in a second and it is very versatile because of its colors. Copy of 12017641_525769387590740_4659812728136200054_o

I love accessories in a minimalist wardrobe. Today I was wearing some active wear around the house, when I decided to run to the library for Story Time. A scarf and some classic earrings… I was good to go (without looking too much like the mom that didn’t want to get off the couch). I’m not strict about how many accessories I have, but I do try to keep it at a reasonable level. If I haven’t worn something in the last 6-9 months…it has got to go! My worst clutter is jewelry. I wear the same 3 pairs of earrings…but I have sooo many. I’ll get there eventually. We all have room to grow. 🙂

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As usual I begin by putting all of my clothes in one spot and start sorting. One pile for this season, one pile for storage (and under the bed storage bag), and one pile to be donated. Then I hang up all the clothes I want for this season and separate by type. Work, short sleeve, long sleeve, sweaters, pants, dress. Then I see if I have way too many of one type (do I really need 12 work shirts when there are only 5 work days in a week?) In the end I always feel better and more organized. It was so nice to see some of my favorite fall clothing and add it to the new items.

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A rule I stick to in every season, in with the new means old must go too! For every new deal I find while Thrift Shopping, I get rid of something that is torn, I never wear, doesn’t fit well, etc. Last month I gave over 3 trash bags of women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing to a local outreach.

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Another great way to change up your look is by doing your nails! I love Jamberry. They are durable, cute, and chemical free. A manicure takes about 15 min to apply, costs about $5, and lasts up to 2 weeks. Check them out! Jamberry.com (if you like what you see, don’t forget to tell them I sent you 🙂

Best and Worst Places to Shop for WIC

If you’re a new mom, you have enough challenges as it is. Now you are walking through the grocery store, sore with leaky breasts, searching frantically for the approved items on your WIC check. With the folder in one hand and trying to sooth your screaming baby with the other, you accidentally pick up the wrong size bread. After an exhausting 30 min of shopping and 15 min of waiting in line to pay, a cashier with a scowl on their face tells you this is not an approved size bread and calls for a CSM. You want to crawl in a hole and die as the impatient man behind you sighs and your baby starts screaming again… sound familiar? I’ve been there, more than once. (we won’t talk about the 2 times I forgot my wallet with a cart full of groceries and a screaming child). My goal today is to help you avoid making the same mistakes I made and to have a peaceful shopping experience.

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Stores I have not shopped at with WIC: Kroger, Aldi, Albertsons (if you have any tips for these stores I gladly welcome them)

Store: Wal-mart

Rating: 1- The lines are usually very long (screaming baby). The cashiers (in my experience) are not knowledgeable in the WIC Program, they almost always have to call a CSM over to approve the transaction (and with all those tired people behind you in line, this always feels awkward to me).

Store: Shaw’s

Rating: 3- Their system is set up to recognize WIC items and only scan approved products. Unfortunately some times it is not up to date and needs an override.

Store: Hannaford

Rating: 5! I love shopping here for WIC. They have awesome carts, (perk for my energetic 1 yr old) the staff is very friendly and helpful, their price tags have WIC printed on them if it is an approved item.  (saves the guessing)

Here is a few snapshots of my last grocery WIC trip to Hannaford.

On the price tags there is a “WIC” symbol if the product is a WIC approved item. This helps with guess work. Cereal is especially hard to me to figure out, this makes it so much easier.

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Here we are in the canned veggies, fruit, and bean section. See that little WIC symbol?20150711_091510 20150711_092105

Again in the cheeses…

The only sections I did not see this symbol was breads (ugh careful to only get the 1lb bags) and eggs. (it may vary by store).

Here is Little Man enjoying the Race Car cart.

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I hope this helps you as a parent to shop easier and stress free with WIC.

Let me know of any tips and tricks you have for shopping and don’t forget to check out my Post

“5 Things you Didn’t Know About EBT (SNAP) “