Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thrifty Thursday: Sick Days

As luck would have it, I've been sick since my last blog post. My throat started hurting Thursday and when I woke up on Friday, it was obvious: I was sick.

Luckily I had recently ordered myself goodies with Christmas gift cards and my first present had just arrived. So I spent the next few days playing Kirby's Epic Yarn on Wii and doing not much else, and that includes getting dressed.

I've basically lived in pajamas the last week, so I don't have any cute, thrifty outfits to share. I've been coughing so hard I've thrown up in the disgustingly full kitchen trash, on my blankets, on my robe, and in the toilet I sure wish was cleaner.

So really, wearing anything other than pajamas has been pointless. I'm a sneezing, snot-dripping, choke-coughing, disgusting body of germs. Although, I am starting to feel better.

Still, there is that old advice that if you shower and get dressed, you'll feel better. I generally find this to be a lie, but after my shower yesterday, I did make the effort to put on "real" clothes.

It didn't make me feel any better, but it did give me at least one cozy outfit with thrifted tops to post.

Star tee: $0.99 Thrift Town

Gray fuzzy sweater w/embroided flowers: $0.99
Thrift Town

Yoga pants: Gift

Those $0.99 sales at Thrift Town are seriously some of my favorite days of the year.

I am feeling marginally better today. And I've lost weight, so yay for that.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thrifty Thursday: Sweater Love

In keeping with my resolution to blog more, I'm instituting Thrifty Thursdays, where I'll show off my thrifted outfits for the past week or any cool, new thrift finds.

Last Thursday, Aaron and I ran a bunch of errands and whilst out, I picked up this red sweater with faux pearl buttons for $0.99 at Thrift Town.

It's actually a truer, darker red in person, and exactly what I've been looking for, although in pretty worn and stretched out condition. I need to take the sleeves in so it looks less frumpy.

I also picked up my first ever pair of jeggings at Ross for $11. They are so comfy and unlike the pairs I tried on at Target, I have no worry of flashing crack.

Friday was date night. We finally made it to see Gone Girl at the $4 theater inside Sunrise Mall. Well worth the wait.

For date night, I wore my new jeggings, paired with this striped, stretchy tank top from The Thrift Store (a couple bucks, I would guess) and my fuzzy cranberry-colored sweater that was a past Christmas gift from Kohl's. My red Bongo tennis shoes were free from Sears with Shop Your Way couponing.

Part of date night was a stop at The Thrift Store on Auburn. They have the best sweater selection. I picked up this pristine, Banana Republic sweater made up of a lightweight silk and cotton blend for just $2.80. The polka dots are a subtle gold color with pretty buttons that remind me of abalone shells. I'm in love. Believe it or not, it's my first polka dot sweater.

Today, I wore the sweater with a black $0.99 blouse from Thrift Town, my jeggings and the same style Bongo shoes, only this time in black. I believe I paid $5 for the shoes.

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year's Resolutions 2015: More, More, More

2014 was not the best year. It wasn't the worst I've faced, but with so many international and national crisis, plus a hard family crisis losing a niece to suicide, not to mention watching my husband struggle daily with his health, 2014 certainly fell in the good riddance pile. 2015 has to be better. Or at least, I resolve to do my best to make it better. And thus, here are my 2015 resolutions, keyword: MORE.

1. Walk the dog more. Goal: 5 days a week. I've only made it 3 days thus far this new year, so as much as I'd like to aim for 7 days a week, I need to be realistic with the weather, my health and my time.

2. Read more. I didn't keep track of what I read last year, but my goal for this year is 20 new books. As part of this resolution, I want to finish Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom, which I read here and there for about half of last year.

3. Blog more. I'm going to start small with a goal of one post per week. I figure if I start small, I might actually stick with it.

4. Beautify more. I resolve to put a little more effort into my appearance. In one way it's good that on a normal day I really don't care if I leave the house without doing anything with my hair or putting on makeup. When I was younger, I thought mascara was a daily necessity, but my husband finally drilled it into my head that I don't need makeup. On the other hand, I could stand to try a little harder, look a little cuter. And that includes putting more effort into taking better care of my skin, especially now that I'm in my 30s. A little more pretty and a little less grubby might just brighten my days.

5. Give more. Hopefully I can write this without sounding like a humble brag, but in all honestly, when it comes to goods and finances, my husband and I give generously. But when it comes to my time, my service, I haven't been so giving lately. Most of my life, I volunteered my time and talents, and I need to get back to that.

6. Demand more of myself, professionally. I've been really lucky in that most of the gigs -- whether for a private client or a well-known publication -- I've pitched for, applied for, I've received. But, and it's a big one, I haven't tried for nearly enough, and lately I've been doing a lot of for-the-money, I-don't-care-what-I'm-writing-about gigs and that needs to change. I need to find my passion for writing again; write about more interesting subjects.

7. Live more. Get out of the house more. Try new things. Try old favorites again. Have out with friends more. Maybe even travel more. Have more fun in life.

8. Study more. I want to have a more well-rounded knowledge bank, and there are definitely some areas in which I'm lacking. Geography, being one. I've already started studying up a little on world geography by doing a map puzzle, but I need to continue studying subjects I may not be that interested in, but should learn about, nonetheless.

9. Pray more. That one's pretty self-explanatory.

10. Romance more. After 10 years of couplehood, I've gotten a little lazy, as has he. I could linger in that kiss a little longer, cuddle more often, definitely fart less around him.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Organizing Craft Supplies on the Cheap

I pulled out my craft supplies to start on holiday projects and groaned for the umpteenth time at the stuffed mess inside my craft storage totes.

Not only did the small bins hold too much stuff, but they also held some of the wrong stuff. I often resorted to tossing small, random items into the bins when I didn't know what else to do with that stuff. And so my two bins have been a mess since before I lived on my own. In other words, for over a decade.

I finally had had enough and tackled the mess. The biggest job was sorting through all the crayons, markers, colored pencils, pens and pencils at the bottom of this bin.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

DIY Napkin Rings with Plastic Wrap Tubes

This idea comes from the creative brain of my mother. She made napkin rings at virtually no cost. In total she spent 65 cents for 1/8 yard of fabric for 12 napkin rings. Wow!

For the ring itself, she used tubes from plastic wrap. They are sturdy and the perfect size to hold cloth napkins and silverware.

She cut up the tubes, covered them in fabric (a combination of scraps she already had and the little bit she purchased), added a little flourish with artificial flowers, and voila! Easy peasy!

She plans to add holly or bells at Christmas.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

We had so much fun making Christmas gifts last year. For my family, we made everyone a totally awesome, super ugly Christmas sweater.

A couple of the sweaters were hand-me-downs and the rest were thrift store purchases. We hit the cheap, ugly sweater goldmine at The Thrift Store on Greenback in Citrus Heights (at least half the price of the ones we found at Goodwill).

For decorations, we bought a bag of Christmas trinkets for $5 at Goodwill and picked up a few stockings at other thrift stores. Fabric paint, bows and ribbons were collected from our hoard of craft supplies.

We incorporated each recipient's name on his or her sweater. A couple of our creations close up:

My mom knew were giving ugly Christmas sweaters as gifts, so she added to the theme with an Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookie Competition. Craft stores sell the kits with everything you need for around $10.

Goodbye Halloween, Hello Christmas

You may think I'm crazy, but I've already begun Christmas shopping. The same day we put away our Halloween decorations, I started looking at Christmas decorations online.

In my old neighborhood, we had one of the best decorated houses for Halloween and Christmas. Actually, we were usually about the only house decorated for Halloween! My childhood neighborhood is far more festive, with some houses even decorating for 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Easter.

Our house totally kicked Halloween butt this year, and the neighborhood kids really loved it, which always makes me happy.

But last Christmas, I felt we were outshone by our next-door neighbors on both sides.

So this year I'm getting an early start so I can make some nearly-free decorations.

On the agenda:

Giant lollipops, like the ones from this blog. I already have most of the materials I will need.

Giant wooden star, inspired by the $5 one on this blog. I might be able to make one from our scrap wood collection as Aaron hoards wood.

And maybe, just maybe, lighted present boxes. 

My DIY decorations will add to my little splurge. At Kmart I found an inflatable decoration I just had to have. My husband agreed, and we don't usually like inflatables that much. Trim A Home Air-Blown Snowman and Dog
Normally $39.99

25% off online Xmas items + Extra 10% off Xmas items sold by Kmart + Free store pick-up

 = $26.99.

But wait!

I had a coupon for spend $30 on, get $10 back in points.

So I added 1 box of 100 ct. mini colored lights, normally $5.99, but with the two sales, $4.04.

So with tax, 1 box of lights + 1 inflatable = $33.51 and now I have $10 back to spend!

And then I used my Amazon points to buy a small Christmas present.

Christmas, let's do this!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween Decorations: How to Stuff a Life-Size Michael Myers

Michael Myers is our grand finale of decorations, the big kahuna.

The Michael Myers tradition started our first year in our first home.

Aaron had the brilliant idea of stuffing Michael and placing him in my office window, which faced the yard. You had to walk right past the window to get to our door. You couldn't miss Michael; even people driving by on the street would slow to check him out.

On Halloween, Michael amused many and frightened some. A few groups wondered out loud if he was real. Suddenly Michael would move (thanks to Aaron hididng in the office) and screams would ensue.

Eventually, Aaron closed the blinds, quickly un-stuffed Michael, stuffed himself inside and hid behind the front door. I would answer and Aaron would creep out or jump out. More screams.

The next day, we had a knock at our door. A group of kids asked Aaron if he could put the costume back on and chase them. But of course!

The group waited outside, expecting Aaron to come out the front door. He snuck out the back gate and the whole neighborhood could hear the kids' screams as he chased them down the block.

From that day, we knew Michael had to be a part of our Halloween decorations every year.

We have stuffed him various ways, usually with a combination of blankets and wood. This year, we found the best method: furniture foam.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Free Visit to the California Automobile Museum

"Free" just makes everything more enticing, doesn't it? As part of its Audience Appreciation Month, The Sacramento Bee hosted a free event at the California Automobile Museum on Thursday night.

I predicted the event would be primarily attended by an older crowd, and I was not wrong. I don't know why more "young people" don't attend these things, but I don't mind trailing behind a group of white hairs. By comparison, I must have looked positively youthful. I found out about the event on the BeeBuzzPoints website, which is a great resource for local events and contests.

The Bee's business writer and car expert, Mark Glover, gave a short talk about his background, which coincidentally, I related to. Glover said he's originally from Dayton, Ohio, and when he meets people from Dayton living in Sacramento, they often came here via transfer to McClellan Air Force Base. Both my grandfathers worked at McClellan, and my dad's family is from Dayton. I grew up visiting McClellan regularly as Grampa (Dad's dad) was the head referee in charge of the games at the base. Small world.

The event also included a raffle, small ice creams from Vic's and a guided tour. While I tried not to drool over the cars, I snapped some photos along the way.

You can visit the California Auto Museum for free on Museum Day, but I can tell you from experience that it can be an extremely crowded visit.

With my love, the 1965 Mustang.  P.S. How cute is my sweater? I got it at Thrift Town's 99 Cent Sale.