Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thrifty Thursday: Wedding Anniversary Celebration at Thrift Town and Hagen's Orange Freeze in Carmichael

Some people go out to dinner or to the movies for their anniversary, Aaron and I go thrifting. To celebrate 8 years of marriage, Aaron and I had some thrifting fun at Thrift Town in Carmichael.

For our thrifting date, I wore my new black pencil skirt from Sears so I could try and find another shirt or two to go with it. Plus, when I'm trying on clothes, I like wearing something I can pull off and on easily. Those cramped dressing rooms get hot.

For a new skirt, this was a steal. Shop Your Way Rewards sent me some surprise point money and also extended my membership in its free shipping program. I didn't have time to go to the store and letting free money go to waste is an assault on my thrifty lifestyle. So I did what I often do. I sat at my computer and searched until I found the item at the best price that had the best chance of actually fitting properly. I picked this pencil skirt because it's stretchy with an elastic waistband, has subtle polka dots on it, and with the sale and my points combined, the $30 skirt only cost me $5.80 with tax.

So after making Aaron stand in the hot sun to take these anniversary pictures of me, to Thrift Town we went, armed with a $10 off a $20 purchase VIP coupon.

Aaron bought an exercise weight vest for $12.

I got:

A pair of Old Navy jeans to turn into shorts for $1.99. I rarely find shorts I like in my fit and price range, so I'm all about the cut-offs.

A pair of $2.99 Elle stretchy skinny jeans I initially tried on as possible cut offs. But when I saw how perfectly the jeans fit -- no extra length and the waist hit at just the right spot -- I had to buy them and keep them as is. At 5'3", I had never before found a pair of skinny jeans I didn't have to cuff.

Green, fitted ruche top for $3.99.

I also picked out two belts to wears with dresses, one in red and one in silver for $2.99 and $1.99, respectively.

With our coupon, we walked away with 2 pairs of jeans, 1 blouse, 2 belts and 1 weighted workout vest for $17.

We were hot and thirsty after shopping, so we stopped by a favorite haunt, Hagen's Orange Freeze, to split a strawberry-watermelon squeeze. So yum!

Happy anniversary to us! We have one more, bucket list celebration planned today: Seeing the Beach Boys in concert! We're off to the Sonoma-Marin Fair where the concert and all rides are included in the price of admission!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Anniversary Celebration: Concert, Concert Tee and T-Shirt Surgery with the Mr. T Experience

In our camping chairs at CIP.

Aaron and I are celebrating our 8/11 anniversary. That's 8 years married and 11 years together. Since the two anniversaries are just days apart, it makes for an extended celebration. And don't we deserve it!

This year, our relationship anniversary fell on a Friday, and not just any Friday. It was the Friday that the Mr. T Experience played the free Concert in the Park. The Mr. T Experience is originally a Bay Area pop-punk band from the 90s that through line-up changes is now three-fourths a Sacramento band. If you heard the band, they might "kind of remind you of Green Day." But poppier, nerdier and more laser focused on songs about a girl.

I love seeing MTX in concert, and I definitely have hometown pride that they are now a Sacramento-ish band. And that my friend Bobby Jordan is in the band.

The band played a fun set featuring many fan favorites. I happily ba-ba-ba-ba-bopped along with the adoring crowd, which included my Bay Area friend Marisa. Marisa is awesome. And I'm not just saying that because she bought me the MTX shirt I really wanted. But that didn't hurt.

See, this is not just any shirt. It borrows the old school Sacramento Kings logo. And I'm an OG Kings fan, so I really just needed this shirt in my life. And it's in my favorite color.

The fit of the shirt is not really my style. I favor tank tops and loose-fitting tees. My pits gotta breathe. I knew if I didn't perform some T-shirt surgery stat, I would spend the summer sweating in it, so naturally I took the scissors to it.

Normally I would say I'm a pro at T-shirt surgery, but this fabric was not cutting the way I wanted. I wanted to create a scoop neckline, but I couldn't get an even cut on both sides of the scoop. One half would look perfect and the other would have jagged lines.

Even though I knew I shouldn't, I kept cutting to try and achieve that perfect line. It wasn't happening.

So then I decided to salvage my sanity and cut a wavy design for the neckline. The wavy design put my OCD at ease, but then the cut of the neckline was crazy low and loose at the chest.

Old T-shirt to the rescue. I repurposed fabric from a stained, white Gilmore Girls baby tee. From the back of the T-shirt, I cut a scoop below the neckline and added a wavy design at the top. Then I hand-stitched it in.

Now I have a new favorite tee.

  • Unless you sew the fabric, the fabric will roll. Always leave extra room to allow for the roll, especially when you're cutting off the hem of the shirt. 
  • Trim only a small amount from the back neckline, otherwise the shirt will not stay up. It's also best to keep your cut to more of a relaxed line rather than a true scoop on the back of the shirt. I cut just a tad off, try it on, cut some more. Over time, the shirt will stretch and the back will loosen unless you add a seam.

Like this? You might also like:
T-Shirt Surgery: Off-the-Shoulder with The Dollyrots

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.