Saturday, May 23, 2015

{HOW TO THRIFT}: The Top 10 Secrets to Finding DEALS

At the Rose Bowl Flea Market 

For as little as $20 - $40, you can practically replenish your closet with bags of clothing found at thrift or vintage stores and even flea markets. Discovering bargains is thrilling, certainly not as difficult or overwhelming as you might think if you're willing to take the time. With the abundance of thrift, vintage, and discount stores to chose from these days, there is no excuse to pay full price for clothing . . . and I rarely do.

Before the days of the web with all information known to man at your fingertips, my mom and I actually took a two hour class on "thrifting," where we received a map of the best thrift stores around, among other good tips. Now, you can just google the location of your nearest Goodwill to begin your treasure hunt. Since I grew up with the thrift store queen and learned from the best (a.k.a. my mom, of course) thrifting is second nature to me. My friends, it's time to pass along the wisdom, so listen up if you want to find a deal!


Mom, the thrift store queen
  1. Go with no expectations and be open minded. 
  2. Look for racks with colors or textures of clothing you like.
  3. Wear leggings and a tank top in the event there is no changing room, so you can try clothes on over what you are wearing.
  4. Be willing to try on lots of clothes. What might look one way on the hanger might look entirely different (and better!) on you. You can’t judge a shirt on the hanger.
  5. Ask sales people about the color tag discount of the day, new shipment arrivals, or other store coupons.
  6. Keep in mind that sometimes a thrift store price is not the best deal. For example, you can find brand new dresses for as low as $6 at Ross, whereas used ones at Goodwill start at $8 or higher.
  7. Go to thrift stores in good neighborhoods because items donated are usually of better quality and more in style.
  8. Check with friends, family, and neighbors to find out by word of mouth which thrift and vintage stores are the best in the area.
  9. Be brave enough to haggle, especially there is a stain, hole, or discoloration (but the item is worth it and you think you can fix it). 
  10. Check on the labels to see how to wash the item. For dry clean only items, assess whether the cleaning price is worth buying the item.
Go home and wash all of your items before wearing them and enjoy some fabulous new outfits. No one will ever know they are from thrift stores . . . unless you brag about all the great deals you got like I do!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spring Cleaning for the Soul



Before the kids get out of school and the schedule evolves into a blur of summer fun, out of town guests, vacationing, and other sunny activities, take some time for a little last-minute spring cleaning . . . of the personal kind. Check in with yourself and do a spring cleaning of your soul.

Taking a personal growth inventory is about what’s working and what isn’t. Reflect on what worked when life was working and find ways to do those things again. Examine and journal your negative thought patterns and turn them into positive thoughts by thinking or writing down the opposite thought in order to move out of a funk and clear the path for good summer times ahead. Grab your journal, sneak off to a quiet place, and use these questions as a springboard to sweep away the emotional grime and muck that may be holding you back from reaching your full potential.

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is currently working and not working in your life?
  • What changes do you need to make so you can do more of what works? How can you start with a baby step today?
  • What are some negative thoughts that you habitually think that you could turn into positive thoughts? 
  • What are some areas of your life that cause continual frustration, areas where you might need to establish some boundaries?
  • In your ideal world, what kinds of boundaries would you set up? What boundaries would be realistic at this time? Start with establishing one boundary.
  • What areas of your life that are important to you but keep getting sacrificed? 
  • Where are you wasting time and could eliminate something to make room for doing what you really want? How can you start today?

Now that you have gotten more in tune with yourself, make a date with a trusted friend to establish some accountability, which is proven to help most people implement significant changes. Share a few areas you discovered from journaling where you would like to take some manageable steps of change into a positive direction. After all that deep-digging soul work, sit back and enjoy a well-deserved latte and scone for dunking purposes, thank you very much! The house may not be spring cleaned yet, but rest assured that taking the time to polish up your personal life will freshen up your outlook. Dust bunnies, step aside. You’ll be ready to tackle your world!  

"Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold. Happiness dwells in the soul." ~Democritus 

Linking to:  Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Best Mother's Day Gift?

Reina's sweet Mother's Day
card knocked my socks off!
Can't wait to frame it. 
I’m not going to lie. These past few years of raising a teen have taken me on some crazy twists and turns I did not expect. On numerous occasions, I have fallen into self-pity’s trap door, especially during those times I felt unappreciated. But through the process of prayer, reliance on God, and venting to some awesome friends, I’ve become stronger. Dare I say I’ve even grown up a little? One thing is for certain; I can readily appreciate this beautiful breakthrough. I see my daughter’s path unfolding, and now I know that the struggle so far has been worthwhile.

Although I like to receive presents as much as the next mom, I don’t truly need a gift on Mother’s Day because my daughter is the best gift God has given me. Likewise, motherhood—although painful at times—continues to shape me into a better person. Yet, as a single mom, I tend to push myself beyond my limits in an effort to do, achieve, or complete one more thing. Doing this only creates unnecessary stress that rubs off on Reina. So, what do I truly want this Mother’s Day? To slow down, let some things go, and focus on taking care of myself. Being present is the best gift I can give to me and my daughter, not only for this year but also the years to come.


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Saturday, May 9, 2015

{May Makeover} Color Up Your Everyday Life!



Lately, I’ve been feeling an awful lot like Dorothy in Kansas, living in a black and white world of routine, responsibility, and restlessness. No doubt, this is a result of working 6 days a week since March. Once again, I bit off a little more than I could chew when I signed up to teach 2 back-to-back six-week tutor training class sessions. Did I mention that was in addition to my 40 hour a week job? I don’t know about you, but I feel a bogged down by adult life and need some inspiration. Like Dorothy, I need a shot of technicolor.
Did you know that color connects to happiness and particular colors can influence moods? Color theory suggests that red stimulates appetite, blue and lavender evoke calmness, and bright oranges, greens, and pinks rouse energy. Take a look at today’s home d├ęcor magazines, and you’ll see modern living rooms painted in loud, tropical colors (step aside, 70’s avocado green!). Seriously though, there’s something positive to be said about the return of 80’s neon popping up on clothing racks these days that inspires enthusiasm in shoppers. If color took Dorothy to Kansas and back,  let’s add some pops of color to everyday life and inspire our world this spring!

  1. The super easy way to paint up your world? Start with nail polish! These days, you can find any shade of nail polish under the rainbow. Paint your nails with a bright color you wouldn’t normally use and shock your coworkers (just a bit).
  2. Next, pick out unique color combinations or lively prints from clothing pieces in your closet. Don’t be afraid to mix, rather than match. Use multi-colored jewelry and accessories to add pops of color to khaki work pants or plain pencil skirts.
  3. Find colorful inspiration at your local thrift or vintage store—for a bargain. Shop for vibrant ethnic prints to add a little excitement to your everyday wardrobe. I’m sorry, Mr. Zebra, but you’ll have to make room for Ms. Peacock.
  4. Next, buy an inexpensive bouquet of spring flowers as a quick way to color up your living room. Then hunt for bright turquoise, purple, or orange pillows at discount department stores to throw on your couch for a perky pick-me-up.
  5. This $5 frugal find from Ikea brightens up my pastel bedroom. 
    5. Look for dark or shabby corners of your home where you can add some zest. Buy bright, inexpensive pictures to hang in a dark hallway or brighten up a pastel bedroom. Replace white lamp shades with tropical florals or sunny yellows.
  6. Don’t forget about your workspace! Find frugal office supplies in brilliant yellow or orange hues to add pops of color to your work environment. Use bright markers and highlighters when taking notes or writing in your journal to add some cheer to the daily grind.
  7. For a mega dose of inspiration, check out my three favorite and most colorful blogs: Artist Alisha BurkeOh Joy!A Beautiful Mess

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thrifty Chicks Frugal Find {$5 Infinity Scarf!}


My infinity scarf paired with a lace blouse

This year's Thrifty Chicks Challenge is to find frugal accessories you can use to makeover your existing clothing items into "new" outfits. Although I am typically an underbuyer and saver when it comes to most things, my weakness is clothing, jewelry, and accessories. However, I am the queen of thrift (my mother taught me well!), so the good news is I don't spend much on my little habit. The problem is I have no space left in my closet, and I end up wearing the same outfits over and over because everything is squished together. Truth be told, I really don't need more clothes and it's clear I have no more room for them anyway, so that's why I thought it would be great if we focus on finding frugal accessories when we are tempted to buy. Accessories take up less room and can help us use some creativity in matching up the pieces we currently do have to create unique outfit combinations.
I found this lace infinity scarf at a vintage store for $5!

Here's a nerdy selfie of me in my new scarf . . .
but, hey, I got complements when I wore it!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

REINA'S ARTWORK {A Proud Single Mom Moment}

Reina's first impressionist art piece
Apologies aside, I have to take a moment to brag about my daughter's accomplishments lately. Although I won't lie that the teenage years can be rough at times, I am also so proud to see Reina blossoming in her artistic talents, among other skills she continues to develop. She inspires me. Just last week, she submitted an amazing 1,000 word short fiction piece for her English class, last night she made a gorgeous collage to represent the characters in her book report, and all day Sunday she finished her first impressionist piece for art class. True confessions . . . sometimes I get a little jealous because I don't have as much time as I WISH I did to be creative, but I'm definitely filled with joy to see my daughter is clearly on her path in becoming the person God has her to be!!! 

We set up a "studio" in the middle of the living room
on Sunday since she knew she would be working
 on her painting all day.
Any art store coupons will be appreciated as I am spending more
and more $ these days on art supplies! 
Her art teacher had the students paint their pieces
based on pictures from travel magazines or calendars. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Using Your "Vintage" Items to Display & Organize Jewelry


To my dismay, my jewelry organizer got too heavy and broke the other day. The wooden hanger holding it up simply snapped, and that was the end of it. Because my accessory collection won't stop
growing in spite of this minor incident, and in the theme of creatively using items I already have around the house, I unpacked my vintage tea cups from Mom and Grandma to organize my small jewelry items like earrings and bracelets. Then I dug up an antique looking hook rack I also found packed away in a box to hang my necklaces. My larger earrings and short necklaces were untouched and hanging happily on the vintage looking jewelry holder I made from a magazine rack I bought for a dollar a few years ago. (See my previous blog post on how to make your own Easy DYI "Vintage" Jewelry Rack). The jewelry display came together nicely, and it cheers me up to look at my dresser every morning and see the vintage tea cups being put to good use. What items do you have around your home that you could use to creatively organize and display your jewelry?

The vintage jewelry rack I made from a wire magazine holder

Linking to: Today's Creative Blog DYI Furniture and Home Party

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