Category Archives: Deals&Savings

Curbing the Closet Chaos

In Texas, everyone has a walk-in closet (even in my tiniest apartment I had one). It felt daunting at first, I didn’t have enough clothes to fill even a quarter of it. Over time it became very easy to fill that “room” to overflowing.

So how do we as women control the chaos that is our closets? (or do we let it run rampid and overwhelm us?)

 

Many years ago I discovered Project 333 and it changed not only the way I organized my closet but also my life. I realized that less IS more and clutter has a very strong hold on our culture. It was stealing my time, energy, and joy. Minimalist living is not something that I have been able to continue to practice in every area of my life, but it has helped my overall viewpoint on “things” and clutter.

Check out my post on Project 333

The last few years I had been able to go the thrift shop on a regular basis (it is still one of my favorite hobbies and personal outlets)  I had a rule, “1 in 1 out” and that kept me and my closet pretty sane for the most part.

 

Check out my post on Thrifting 101

After our last move, most of my personal life went on hold. I was unable to invest time in any of my hobbies and began to neglect my self-care. I was wearing clothing that I disliked and not wearing half of what was in my closet. One month I put off laundry so long that I had 8 loads to bring to the laundry mat (and drag along a 3 yr old).

 

I recently watched Marie Kondo‘s show on Netflix, “Tidying Up”. The first episode moved me to tears. How could something as simple as clutter be pulling this family apart?!

 

When I decided to face the chaos that was my walk-in closet this past week, I remembered what Marie said, “Does this bring you joy?”. I had pieces of clothing that I literally THREW into the get rid of pile. I hated wearing them. They were uncomfortable, I didn’t like the way I looked in them, and it brought me relief to allow them to move on.

There were also a few pieces that were difficult for me to let go of. They held value sentimentally. I had kept them for years, but for all the wrong reasons. Those memories need to be released and I need to move on.

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I then organized my closet by clothing type and realized that I have MORE than enough clothes (even after passing on about half my closet to a friend) the only essentials I still need to find before Summer are a good pair of sandals and a light jacket.

 

 

I used some money given to me for my Birthday to purchase a few new outfits from a discount clothing store. I had forgotten how soft and fresh new clothing feels!

 

I want to encourage you today if you have clutter and chaos in your closet take some time to be alone with your things and decide what brings you joy and what makes you overwhelmed. I think you will find that it brings peace to more than just your closet. ❤

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Meal Planning and Prep (I finally made it work)

I’ve been trying to do meal planning since we got married (7 years almost) and I can never make it work for US. Add in a toddler with sensory issues… I felt pretty hopeless.

 

This month has brought a lot of changes for us, and one of those is what and how we eat. With the mindset of “Intentional”, we began looking for ways to make it WORK FOR US.

The first thing that REALLY helped was checking out Your Ideal Form and signing up for their FREE recipes and Tips for Meal Prep.

Then we decided what WOULD and would NOT work for us.

Leftovers don’t happen in our house. They just die, slowly and sadly. So, we decided on meals that can be repurposed on Day 2 or frozen for a later time. (somehow it feels less like leftovers if I pull it out of the freezer the following week and cook it in the oven)

Start small

“Take chewable bites” is my new mantra when it comes to tackling things I want to do at work (and in life). So we decided for our trial run to only prep for 2 weeks. We chose 3 meals that would have enough for 2 meals each and the leftovers could be frozen or repurposed (ex: the beef I am making tonight can be made into sandwiches tomorrow or frozen).

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Since we choose to stick with one vehicle (#SummerOfSneakers) we decided to check out some Grocery Delivery options. This worked extremely well this time around because it was much easier for me to see exactly what I was getting and ensuring that each item had a purpose in a meal for the next week or so. No random add-ons or sale items that rot or sit in the cupboard forever. I was also able to make my list and then come back and add things throughout the day, then I submitted it when I felt I had remembered everything (ex: Toilet paper, dish soap, and portion bags)  It also helped me see a realistic dollar amount as I shopped, so I knew I wasn’t blowing the budget out of the water. Not to mention it was kind of nice to not have to search the aisles in the middle of the night with a toddler in tow 🙂

While there were several options for Grocery Delivery in our area, I chose Amazon Fresh. We already have a Prime Membership, so it is only an additional $14.99 a month and we received the first month FREE (whereas Wal-Mart was a $9.99 fee per delivery).

I chose my delivery window and they left them outside the door (I couldn’t tell if they knocked, between the puppy and the toddler running around)

 

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Everything arrived FRESH and COLD. I was able to start some prep right away, but I saved most of it until Kiddo had gotten on the bus for PPCD.

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I started dinner in the Crock Pot (by the way – all three recipes I chose are cooked in the crockpot and I love using my crockpot to reheat those frozen leftovers) and then began to wash, chop, and portion out veggies. I didn’t buy fruit this way because it was much more expensive. I will buy fruit and milk as needed when it is on sale. I used the portion bags and containers (that I was also able to buy on-line grocery shopping) to make grab-n-go snacks.

We live in a “get it quick” society. If I am going to make eating healthy work for us, fruits and veggies cannot be in a bag needing to be prepped. So I did all that work today and we have easy access to healthy options all week.

I made sure to use snack size bags, the less in each bag the more likely I am to grab a variety and actually finish it without wasting any.

ABEA89DA-D57E-496B-A630-6972C6295A30The last thing I did was to combine ingredients for the second recipe and place them in a ziplock bag in the freezer (putting the non-cold items in a special cupboard) The third recipe was all already frozen or pantry items, so no prep is needed there until the morning of. Tomorrow I will prep the salads for lunches (I forgot to get the bowls and dressing at work) I choose a simple chicken ceasar salad using the frozen grilled chicken strips for less work.

 

 

 

A few tips I learned along the way:

  • Plan recipes you know you like or will want to eat
  • Base your shopping on those recipes and one or two lunches that you can prep in bulk and snacks that will be easy to grab.
  • Shop On-line
  • Plan a prep time that you will not be interrupted by the kids
  • Do the dishes and take out the trash the night before (you will have enough of both those things after all this is done)
  • Invest in a good knife and cutting board (and crockpot)
  • Have portioning bags/containers and gallon size freezer bags
  • Plan your Work, Work you Plan
  • If it doesn’t work, change one thing

 

 

 

I am really excited to taste these recipes and to see if it works out as amazing as I think it is going to *cross fingers*

Book Review – Lemons are a Girls Best Friend by Janet Hayward

Happy Friyay everyone! I hope you are as ready for the weekend as I am (even though I have to work, I am excited to spend some QT with the kiddo and see friends since the rain is finally gone away) We had a pretty busy week, but I was able to get in some time for myself. I had lunch at Coco’s Tea Room on Thursday (amazing!) and then we walked around the Antique Mall. Today I wore my favorite shade of Pink (makes any day better) and took the dog and kid to the park ( because I needed a work break since I was doing the second half of my day from home)

 

I also received my next book to review in the mail this week! “Lemons are a Girl’s Best Friend” by Janet Hayward talks to us about 30 different superfoods, giving a description of the food’s benefits and then two recipes for each superfood, one for the inside and one for the outside. This book could not have come at a more perfect time for me. I have been slowly detoxifying my beauty routine and using learning how to use foods, herbs, and natural things is just what I needed. I also was inspired by Vegains Food to start eating more colorfully so the “Inside” recipes are amazing places to begin. I am excited to try each of the recipes. This book makes a great gift and is a must-have for my Book Shelf.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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!

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. 

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