Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thrifty Thursday: Casual Summer Style

Happy Thrifty Thursday!

Today's casual outfit comes from Thrift Town. If it seems like half my thrifty wardrobe hails from Thrift Town, it's probably because it does. I used to live mere minutes from the Carmichael location, so for a long time it was my first-stop, go-to store for clothes and more.

Of all the Thrift Town scores, one of my favorites has to be these cuffed, dark-wash DKNY jeans. But as much as I love the look, quality and like-new condition of the jeans, they are not forgiving to that little more to love I'm carrying around my waist.

To compensate for the tight waist-squeeze, I paired the form-fitting pants with this black flowy tank top that ties in the back, scored at a 99 cent sale. This top is all about comfort. I especially appreciate that despite the black color, it still keeps me cool, even under a hot sun.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Accountability, Take Two: 2015 New Year's Resolutions

As a professional writer, I try to avoid cliches. But sometimes cliches are true, so why try and put it any other way?

Time flies. 

Sure, logically I know time goes by at the same same pace as always. I don't make a habit of denying basic math and science truths. I'm not one of those people.

But I still struggle to wrap my head around the fact that we're halfway into May. The less rational part of my brain (the part that says, "Buy heels. Lots of high heels. You'll wear them, really!") is yelling, "HOW DID THAT HAPPEN!?!"

I feel like this year has been sped up, and I don't have enough to show for the nearly five months of my Year of More.

I've been avoiding checking back in with my New Year's resolutions because I haven't committed to them like I know I should.

Everyday life seems to get in the way of tackling new challenges and finding time for people, places and things out of the ordinary.

I know, I know. If I want a better year, I have to put in the effort. I will try harder.

I held myself accountable for my first five resolutions in April, and now it's time to do the same for the rest of the list.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Thrifty Thursday: Rockabilly Staples

If you snuck a look inside my closets, you'd find a lot of the same colors and prints -- blacks, reds, blues and teals, polka dots and stripes -- but one single style wouldn't be so obvious. I've got DIY punk rock tanks hanging alongside date-night blouses and character screen tees. And cardigans, so many cardigans.

I like what I like, and I'm not easily swayed by trends.

Some days I try and dress a bit more my age: blazers and blouses. And some days I really don't care if my "Muppets" Animal tank top is for a child; it's cute and I'm wearing it.

On the most consistent basis, however, I would say my style is subtle rockabilly. I'm just too low maintenance to go full on victory rolls, eyeliner and heels on a regular basis.

I'm a sneakers and flip flops girl who drools over pretty heels; I just don't love actually wearing them so much.

Finding a pair of cute heels to fit my dainty feet is always a problem. Even with heel grips, I slip right out of the backs. The toe boxes of the same heels I slip out of will rub and squeeze my toes. I just don't believe fashion should hurt so much.

(I have tried stretching out the toe boxes of a pair of heels with socks and rubbing alcohol, and I think it actually worked and is not just in my mind because I want to believe.)

On my recent shoe-shopping excursion, I was hitting store after store without luck. Then, at ATLAS Thrift in Carmichael, I found the pair that screamed my name.

Red. Polka dots. Bows. Lace. Backless.

And they fit.

At $3.99, how could I resist?

For Thrifty Thursday, I paired the heels with a 99 cent sale blouse from Thrift Town and my $11 jeggings from Ross. When it cooled off, I let my hair down and pulled on a light-weight, aqua-colored cardigan, also from a 99 cent Thrift Town sale.

It's a simple, stylish and actually comfortable look that's a staple in my wardrobe. And I put it together for under $20.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

John and Craton's Wedding

Saturday, April 18, 2015 was a special day in our lives; Aaron's best friend finally got hitched.

Aaron and John share a friendship spanning roughly 25 years. I first met John nearly 11 years ago, and I am so happy he has found his perfect match.

John wed his beautiful bride, Craton, in a lush green, backyard ceremony. After a barbecue dinner and many sappy speeches, everyone let loose -- really loose -- on the makeshift dance floor. Sure, a couple ladies had too much to drink, but what's a wedding without a little drama to laugh about years down the line? It's tradition.

Congrats, John and Craton!

And welcome to the Mr. and Mrs. Club.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Accountability: Checking in on My New Year's Resolutions, Part 1

I don't have the best track record of keeping new year's resolutions. But really, who does?

Since we're a third way through the year, I thought I'd share my progress in an attempt to keep myself motivated and accountable.

In January, I proclaimed 2015 "the year of more," and shared 10 resolutions.  I've definitely been working to achieve that more, more, more goal, but alas, I could be doing more. (Shocker, right?)

I also need to add a goal to that list: Be a better advocate for my health and health care. This has always been a new year's resolution, but I was shy to share it. Plus, I already had a perfect list of 10, and 11 goals irks my obsessive-compulsive nature. But it's an important goal, and one I've been neglecting.

Progress on My First Five Resolutions

1. My first goal was to walk the dog five days a week. That definitely has not happened; however, I am walking more often than I did in years past. More importantly, my walks are now double to triple the distance they were at the start of January. I've built up a lot more stamina and really miss walking when I skip a few days. Walking -- rather than driving -- to pick up prescriptions or return a Redbox is becoming the norm. (I just wish I didn't sweat so much while I wait in the pharmacy line at CVS!)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Edible Easter Nests Table Place Settings

Looking to impress your Easter guests? Add some whimsy to your Easter dinner table place settings with these cute and edible birds nests.

This idea comes from the creative brain of my mother, who made these birds nests last Easter. She said they are simple but a bit messy to make, so wear gloves to protect your manicure.

First, create your butterscotch-noodle nests.
  1. Empty 1 bag of butterscotch chips into a saucepan.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of shortening.
  3. Stir the chips and butter together over low heat.
  4. Pour 1 bag of chow mein noodles into the saucepan.
  5. Stir the noodles until they are coated with the butterscotch.
  6. Scoop out the noodles onto wax paper and shape your nests.
You can also vary the recipe by adding chocolate and/or peanut butter into your saucepan on low heat.

Then, hatch your bird family.

Fill the nest with gummy worms, chocolate birds, Peeps, and egg-shaped candies, including nuts, jelly beans and chocolates.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Birthday Shopping Spree Week: Practical Deals

Being a responsible adult means choosing the practical, no frills bra you really need over the cute sundress, or even the oh-em-gee so cute polka-dot Tommy Hilfiger push-up bra with lace trim.

I am a responsible adult. With mad shopping skills.

For my birthday, Kohl's sent me a coupon for $10 off anything, no exclusions. Bless you, Kohl's.

After browsing the bra section and wrinkling my nose at the weak-tea buy one, get one half-off sale, I sauntered over to the clearance intimates section and found a black Bali bra. Normally $40, it was on clearance for $12. After my coupon, I paid $2.16. That's what I call a score.

I still needed a basic white bra, and I was also interested in a sports bra. I only had about $8 left from my original $50 birthday gift.

I comprised between a sports bra and a white wire bra and got a Warner's brand wireless bra with lift, and good, supportive straps from Ross for $12.15 total. I can stomach going $4 over my birthday cash for such a great haul.

So for just under $55 total, my birthday haul included:

1. Thrifted red vintage handbag 2. New black bra 3. New henley polka dot top 4. Thrifted red blazer 5. New white bra 6. Thrifted zebra clutch 7. New black jeggings 8. Thrifted teal sundress 9. New royal blue dressy dress

I also used my $3 CVS Beauty Club Birthday Rewards combined with my $5 CVS Pharmacy Rewards to buy 8 new hair accessories for $1.60 total.

Not too shabby.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Birthday Shopping Spree Week: Thrifted Halter Dress and Red Blazer

When it comes to thrifting, I have my go-to shops, but I'm always looking for new stores to add to my favorites' list.

My mom had scored some mega deals on collectible Sesame Street characters at Mary's Thrift Store on Auburn Boulevard in Citrus Heights, so on a Thursday, I decided to check it out.

If only I had stopped by the day before. Mary's has day-of-the-week sales, and Wednesdays are half-off everything used in the store. The dresses that piqued my interest weren't covered on Thursday's sale, and I wasn't crazy about the sticker prices. The poor organization of the racks also kept me from taking many items back to the dressing room.

I did, however,  walk away with one purchase for $4 and change.

In warm weather, I'm all about the sundress. And I especially love the teal color and comfortable cotton of this Forever 21 halter. The dress is in like-new condition, and I know I'll get a ton of use out of it.

Goodwill is not a store on my favorites' list because lately I've felt that, as a whole, the chain is a bit overpriced. Some Goodwills are definitely better than others, but I don't go out of my way to visit any one location. 

The Goodwill on Manzanita in Carmichael is minutes from my mom's house, so I stopped by on the way to my family birthday dinner with red on the mind. I browsed the store for a specific-style of red cardigan, a red blazer and red heels.

I found a soft, lightweight red blazer I liked, but didn't love the price tag of $6.99. In my mind, the blazer, which is more on the casual side as it's not structured like a suit blazer, should not have been ticketed above $5. It also has the tiniest imperfection in the lining of the left pocket, which I may or may not be able to fix by ironing.

Despite my reservations about the price, I took it to the register, where I received a happy surprise; it rang up half-off at $3.49. That's more like it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Birthday Shopping Spree Week: Shop Your Way Scores

My treat-yo-self birthday shopping spree adventure continues with killer deals from my much touted Shop Your Way Rewards program. I swear SYW isn't paying me for this promo, I just love it that much and really hope Sears doesn't go under; I would mourn the loss of my rewards.

Shop Your Way offered me another free trial of its free shipping program for 90 days, plus an offer to get $10 back in points on a $10 or more online purchase, excluding clearance.

So I signed up and crossed another item off my list: a comfortable top I could see myself wearing regularly.

Normally $14.99, on sale for 11.24, this navy, polka dot, tab-sleeve, henley top cost $12.14 after tax. I got $10.11 back in points for a future purchase.

A few days later, SYW sent me a birthday coupon: $10 off any Sears purchase of $25 or more.

So to Sears I went with my wishlist in mind.

After trying on arm-fulls of black pants, I settled on a pair of petite-sized Canyon River Blues jeggings, normally $40, on clearance for $16. At 5' 3", anytime I can find pants I want in the petite section, I'm a happy shortie.

In the store I did not realize the pants are quite warm, so hopefully this unseasonably warm weather will cool down so I can actually wear them this spring.

My big score came with this royal blue Convington dress, normally $29.99, on sale for $14.99.

After my $10 off and $10.21 in points, I paid $11.64 with tax for the dress and pants. 

I'm going to an outdoor wedding next month, and although I have a closet full of dresses, I really wanted something I hadn't worn before. I specifically envisioned a blue dress that could go with or without tights. I also wanted a dress that would be formal enough to coordinate with my husband's best man tux, without being too over-the-top for a backyard wedding.
When I first bought the dress, I was in love with it; however, it's one of those colors that really changes depending on the lighting. In the store, it presented as a much brighter blue, and in my house the color is more a more muted purplish blue. It even photographed as two different colors outside. I haven't pulled the tags off just yet. I don't dig the purple.

In total, my three items were just under $24 and would have totaled $84 at full price. Not too shabby.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Birthday Shopping Spree Week: Thrifted Handbags

Birthdays are a big deal for me. It's that rare time of year that I will treat myself with the gift money I receive.

I am not someone who will just buy herself what she wants; I wait until I have pharmacy rewards at CVS to buy a new mascara or box of hair dye. I almost only rent from Redbox when I have a discount code. If a store sends me a coupon for $5 off a $5 or more purchase, you better believe I will find something I need between $5 and $6. When a new album comes out I want, again, I wait until Christmas or my birthday to ask for it. And although I have a pretty sizable wardrobe, it's been accumulated over many years, and it's cost me very little.

Some people would call me cheap; I prefer thrifty, of course.

For me, retail therapy is real and thrilling. I get a high out of scoring great deals and finding the items on my list of "need/want when I have the money" that I keep on my little, dated slider phone.

On my wish list: 
  • Red, rectangular vintage handbag with snap or button closure
  • Semi-formal cobalt or royal blue dress
  • Belle dress I saw at Hot Topic
  • Black jeggings or skinny jeans
  • Quality bra
  • Comfortable but cute top
  • Red blazer
  • Belts for dresses

I could also use a few replacements:
  • Black knit tights like my favorite pair that my dog scratched holes in when she couldn't contain her Jack Russell enthusiasm and jumped all over my legs because I came home after hours away. 
  • Sexy red heels that won't cause pain like the pair I currently squeeze my feet into. 
  • Shapewear that won't ride up my butt like a middle school locker room wedgie.

While I don't expect to get everything on my idea list, I've been ticking items off with ease and money to spare.

And thus I bring you, a week of posts celebrating my thrifty, birthday shopping spree.

The Handbags: