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I may not be a super deal finder or a great haggler, but I like to think I am a fabulous consignment shopper.
Right now, all but four items of Colton’s clothes were either given as gifts, hand-me-downs, or purchased from a consignment store or sale. I purchased maternity clothes and some baby gear this way too.
So, how do I walk away with some super cute clothes at a steal?
The first thing I do is know what I’m looking for. Confession: I have a spreadsheet containing all of Colton’s clothing items, listed by size with a quick description (like red and blue trimmed super baby long sleeved onepiece) that let’s me quickly know what the item is and any predominant colors in it. Yes, I was a little organizing obsessed pre-baby. This list helps me see at a glance what he needs, but so does a quick peek in his drawers.
Once I know what I need, I’m off to the sales! Before I start looking though, I remind myself of what I like. For example, I like my baby boy clothes with classic styling, no recognizable characters (like Pooh, Bob the Builder, etc.), simple, not overly busy but with nice details, a layered look for cooler weather clothes, have crotch snaps, and like them to look like little boy clothes (no graffiti-type things or otherwise older looking). Keeping these things in mind will help me make sure I’m getting clothes I’ll like not only on the hanger, but on my little guy too.
Once there, I’ll find the pertinent section (clothes are most likely organized by size and gender), and do a quick look-through. I don’t scour the racks, just look at the things that catch my eye.
If something that caught my eye seems to fit what I need and what I like, I grab it. You don’t have to look over every inch of it, just go with your gut and grab! This is especially necessary if you are at a large, one-time only sale with a lot of traffic, or in a store that has tightly packed racks.
After I have wandered, looking at what catches my eye, I do a more thorough search through the racks, trying to look at each item. Again, if I see something I like that I think I need, I grab it.
Once I’ve gone through the racks thoroughly (and I might hit some sections twice for a thorough look, or see if anything else catches my eye after my thorough search) it’s time to check out everything I’ve grabbed. To do this, I first find a place to sit and look at everything you’ve pulled. Usually, this is the floor. Sometimes, it’s a very long check-out line.
The first thing I do is look at prices and brands, so it’s very important to know your brands. You don’t necessarily have to know what an item would cost exactly, but it’s good to have a basic knowledge like: Janie and Jack or Polo are upscale, more expensive brands with a slightly higher quality and are worth the few extra bucks. Granimals and Child of Mine are available at Wal-Mart, and will run you between 3 to 6 dollars per piece new. If I know I can get something new for only a few more dollars than I can consignment, I’d prefer to buy it new. If I come across a brand I’m not familiar with, I ask myself “self, will you still love this and love what you paid for it even if you find out you can buy it at a Wal-Mart, Target or TJ Maxx?” If the answer is “yes,” then I go for it.
Once I’ve made sure my prices and brands align and fall into a range I’m comfortable with, I examine each piece of clothing, looking for missing buttons, stains, etc. I also look at the state of wear of each piece; I don’t mind a little wear, but I don’t want tons of piling or a faded look to the clothes. I want baby boy to be dressed well, even though he’s dressed inexpensively. I also reassess the clothes to make sure they fit all my criteria, and are things we really need. It helps me to lay my clothes out and look at them together when I do this. Is there something stylistically doesn’t fit with other things? Do I have things that will mix and match well with each other? Does that shirt look in worse condition than I thought it did when compared with something else? How are things priced? Do I need to get rid of a few things to stay within my budget?
When looking at clothes and prices, don’t forget to consider how many pieces are included in your purchase. I just bought something that was three pieces for seven dollars. A buck-fifty per item? Score! Do you love the shirt, don’t aren’t a fan of the pants that come with it? Skip it! This will ensure you get the maximum number of items that you LOVE at the minimum price. And who doesn’t love that?
Then, it’s off to the register, and home to show off my haul to the Hubby!
What husband would be mad when you told him this entire haul cost less than forty bucks and included a snowsuit? There’s 11 pieces there, bringing my per-piece total in at around $3.5o per item. And I love them all. How great are those elbow patches on the green thermal shirt?
This post also linked to Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.
Lately, I’ve been contemplating lots of different things, like:
- How in the world do I have a 1 month old son!?
- Emotional abuse. Specifically, withholding: Withholding is another form of denying. Withholding includes refusing to listen, refusing to communicate, and emotionally withdrawing as punishment. This is sometimes called the “silent treatment.” I’ve been thinking about how the effects of this kind of abuse continue past when the abuse lessens or stops, and the effects it has on even those who weren’t abused. And how heart-breaking it is to hear someone say “if I did XXX, my father wouldn’t love me; he would disown me and never have anything to do with me.”
- I don’t use cloth diapers, but if I did, I think I would use EnviBums. I especially love their Mom-to-Mom diaper, since you can just rinse off the cover or wipe it down, put in a new insert, and use it over and over.
- My new “Mom” look – jeans, t-shirt, cardigan. Easy, quick, and hopefully it covers some of the not-so-nice bits of my body.
- My daily routine and goals. So far, my personal goal is to shower every morning. I’ve managed to do this every day since we’ve been home! Now, though, I’m thinking of adding put on make-up to my list of things to do for myself. I think I will feel more like my pre-baby self.
- Sewing. Saturday I surprised everyone by storming our upstairs with a cleaning frenzy. Now, just about everything is cleaned and organized and I have a spot to sew! Now, I just have to get the guts to sew again – it’s been too long since my last sewing project.
- My milk supply. I upped my herb intake (3 capsules of one, 2 of another, and 1 of a third, three times a day), and have seen an increase in my milk supply. For the past week, I’m consistently pumping 9 ounces each day. While I’m super happy with this, I’d love to be able to get up to 10 ounces each day. I’m thinking about adding these cookies to my diet also to see if I can get up to that. Of course, the fact that chocolate is involved is making me more eager to try this!
- Communicating with Hubby. I think we have a lovely relationship, but anytime we disagree, we tend to get into a very large argument, not because of the issue at hand, but because we communicate so differently we just can’t understand where the other is coming from. The other day, we discussed something and I thought we were totally on the same page on the issues, only to find out later Hubby didn’t understand what I had going on, and I had no idea he was so clueless!
- The photos I took of Colton recently. Some of them include his bear butt, but I think they’re super cute and tasteful. I’m trying to decide though if I want to post them on his blog. I think at least they’ll make it here!
- Who to get to take photos of Colton. There are two people I’m considering who both charge the same amount and have similar styles. One is a lady I’ve never met who has taken LOTS of photos of babies, the other is a guy I know who doesn’t have a lot of experience with photographing small children. I’ve worked with the guy (he volunteered with my job), and he isn’t my favorite person to work with. But, I’ve never worked with the lady, so I don’t know how she would be. Both give you edited images on CD to print on your own, but while she gives you all the photos, he will only give you up to 45 of the best photos. This is probably plenty, but I don’t know what to do! On the one hand, I want to support him because I know him, but on the other, while I like his pictures, he isn’t my favorite person to work with. What to do, what to do…
- Deadliest Catch. I love, love the show (and miss Captain Phil, my favorite), but I find it hard to just watch without doing something else. Why is this?
Okay, so I am contemplating more than just these things (like will the hydrogen peroxide I’m using in place of bleach get my sheets as white as bleach? Is putting into the ‘bleach’ space in my washer the thing to do?), these are the ones that are in the forefront of my mind.
Linked up to Top Ten Tuesday at Amanda’s, even though this is technically 11 things, I think. I’m not actually sure – I had a really hard time counting this list. Anyway, go check out some Top Ten’s with more point than mine. That actually only list 10 things.
Today is our big 20-week ultrasound! You know, the one where maybe we can find out if Junie is a boy or a girl! I’m excited to find out, but to be honest, I don’t think I’ll be too bummed if we don’t. It just meas I’ll get to go back again sooner for another look, and I can’t complain about that!
In special honor of this day, here are reasons I would be excited if Junie were a boy or a girl:
If Junie were a boy:
1. FOOTBALL. My brother never played football growing up, but I think it would be oh-so-fun to have a little football player. Hubby could coach him!
2. I’ve always imagined boys to be “easier” than girls. I have no idea if its true or not, but at least if I had a boy, I wouldn’t have to worry about my total lack of hair doing skills.
3. Eventually having a teenager around to help with heavy lifting. And grass cutting.
4. Seeing his Daddy teach him to fix things, make thing, and be a man. Be still my heart.
5. I want a “Mama’s Boy.” Hubby has his Daddy’s Girl in our dog, and I want that! (but only for as long as its appropriate)
If Junie were a girl:
1. Have you seen today’s girl clothes? Too. Stinkin. Cute.!!!
2. Enrolling her in dance class. There isn’t much sweeter than a three year old ballerina.
3. Seeing Hubby with his “little princess.”
4. Someone to go shopping with!
5. Dolls, dollhouses, and Girl Scout cookies!
But, in all honestly, I just want Junie to be healthy! I know that no matter if Junie is a boy or a girl, he or she will be (and already is!) their own person. I may have a girl who’s into weight lifting or a boy who’s into dance. And I will still love them. I just want my child to be happy and feel good about who they are. If that’s true, then I think I’ll be happy.
This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday at Oh!Amanda! Check out the other lists and her blog!
Yesterday morning I was thinking about how nice it is to have a handy hubby! Of course, then I thought of all of the things that drive me nuts about having a man who likes to relax by playing with power tools. So, this week’s Top Ten list is split:
Top Five Reasons I Love Having a Handy Hubby
1. When I want to put my Christmas tree on a wall where there’s no outlet, Hubby says “piece of cake!” and a few hours later, I have a new outlet and my Christmas tree right where I wanted it!
2. I don’t have to call a professional every time something (like my dishwasher, dryer or microwave) doesn’t work just right.
3. Its super easy to brag on your Hubby when you can say, “Oh, Hubby made all our deck furniture!”
4. I can throw in my two cents whenever I want, and change the direction of a project if needed. Plus, Hubby doesn’t get offended if I stand and watch over his shoulder!
5. Picking out Christmas and birthday gifts is always easy; tool and Lowes or Home Depot gift cards are a guaranteed hit!
Top Five Reasons My Handy Hubby Drives Me Nuts!
1. Sometimes, its easier and faster to call the professionals.
2. The mess, it never seems to end, and our wonder-dog likes to roll around in shop sawdust. Yuck.
3. All the tools needed for soo many different projects can get expensive.
4. Having a super handy Hubby makes my ability to change light bulbs, hang pictures and re-cover chair cushions seem super uh-handy.
5. I HATE all the loud noises when I’m trying to read or watch TV.
I have always had a soft spot for musicals. When I was 11, my mom took me to see my very first — Oklahoma. I remember my jaw dropping open during the opening number; and thus began my obsession. One Christmas, Oklahoma came on at 5:45 Christmas morning. Guess who just HAD to watch? I recall that as one of the best Christmases ever; my parents were less than thrilled. My love of Oklahoma soon carried over into all things musical. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorites.
1. Oklahoma — Duh. See above.
2. The Producers — The movie was excellent, I adored the Broadway soundtrack (we used to listen to this as a family on car trips), and the movie is fantastic.
3. Rent — I’ve never seen the musical (tear), but I love the movie.
4. Newsies — I think Newsies started my love for musicals, since I had seen it several times before I saw Oklahoma, but Oklahoma was my first live musical. Alas, Newsies has never been anywhere but on the big screen. Even though the movie came out when I was 6, I still know all the words to all the songs.
5. Wicked — Hubby got us tickets to a showing in NC last year, and I think I might love it more than I loved the book.
6. Annie — The Carol Burnett version helped spur my adoration of musicals. I also remember going to see this at my local theater when one of my friends played Pepper.
7. The Sound of Music — Who doesn’t love this musical!?
8. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat — A classic Bible tale set to a wide range of musical styles. Like Rent, this musical is all music — there are no spoken words. Plus, you have to love something with an Elvis-impersonating Pharaoh.
9. Into the Woods — I love the mash-up of fairytale classics. This is an all-around fun musical with a nice moral thrown in for good measure. The balance of classic and quirk make this musical one of my all-time favorites.
10. Fiddler on the Roof — Another classic you can’t help but love (and sing along with!).
Do you love musicals? Do you have any favorites not on my list?
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Its no secret I was an English major, but did you know I was a spastic one? Most of my friends had “specialties” within the major — journalism, creative writing, a particular time period they studied, film, but not me. I took, and enjoyed, classes from all over the spectrum. Consequently, there are a lot of things I’ve read and enjoyed, including poetry. I thought today I would share 10 of my favorite poems, or parts of poems, as some of them are quite long. Enjoy!
1. Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate. –JRR Tolkien
2. Remember my little granite pail?
The handle of it was blue.
Think what’s got away in my life-
Was enough to carry me thru?
3. i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
4. You see, aftermath is easier, opening
again the wound along its numb scare; is the sentence
spoken the second time—truer, perhaps,
with the blunt edge of a practiced tongue.
5. Don’t love me, my sweet.
like your shadow
for shadows fade at evening
and I want to keep you
right up to cockcrow;
nor like pepper
which makes the belly hot
for then I couldn’t take you
when I’m hungry;
nor like a pillow
for we’d be together in the hours of sleep
but scarcely meet by day;
not like rice
for once swallowed you’d think no more of it;
nor like soft speeches
for they quickly vanish;
nor like honey,
sweet indeed but too common
Love me like a beautiful dream,
your life in the night,
my hope in the day;
like a piece of money,
ever with me on earth,
and for the great journey
a faithful comrade;
like a calabash,
intact, for drawing water;
in pieces, bridges for my guitar.
-“Song of a Common Lover” Flavien Ranaivo
6. Here we are all, by day; by night, we’re hurled
By dreams, each one into a several world.
-“Dreams” by Robert Herrick
7. you shall above all things be glad and young
For if you’re young, whatever life you wear
it will become you; and if you are glad
whatever’s living will yourself become.
Girlboys may nothing more than boygirls need:
i can entirely her only love
whose any mystery makes every man’s
flesh put space on; and his mind take off time
that you should ever think,may god forbid
and (in his mercy) your true lover spare:
for that way knowledge lies,the foetal grave
called progress,and negation’s dead undoom.
I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
8. Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in.
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked anything.
“A guest,” I answered, “worth to be here”:
Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
“Who made the eyes but I?”
“Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
“My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and take my meat.”
So I did sit and eat.
-“Love(3)” by George Herbert
9. Dull sublunary lovers’ love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.
But we, by a love so much refined
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.
-from “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” by John Donne
10. Thence, by a soft transition, we repair
From earthly vehicles to these of air.
-From Alexander Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock”
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For our second wedding anniversary, Hubby and I took a trip to Chattanooga, TN. Ever since I moved to Virginia, I’ve been wanting to head west for a visit, and I finally got a chance to last week! I really loved my visit and Hubby and I both thought its a place where we could live and be super happy (we’re not looking to move, but it just had a fun but laid back vibe we loved). On top of that, there were a lot of fun things to do!
Penguins are hands-down my favorite animal, and the Tennessee Aquarium didn’t disappoint. They even had two penguin babies! Hubby thought it was funny because when they came to feed the penguins I yelled and pressed myself up against the glass. So did all the five year olds.
Whatever. I had fun with my new penguin friends.
2. Dippin’ Dots is one of my favorite kinds of ice cream. I was excited to see VENDING machines featuring them,
but sad to see the machine was out of order. Not to worry though, I tracked down a bowl later!
3. Amy Beth recommended dessert at Rembrandt’s, a cool coffee and sandwich shop in the art district. I’m so glad we followed her advice and went! Not only was the atmosphere fun and romantic, but the desserts were tasty and oh-so pretty!
4. Pretend house-hunting is always a vacation favorite of mine, but it was extra fun up in the mountains. I saw a lot of houses I would LOVE to live in, but sadly, I only took a picture of this sweet house in the art district.
To me, this is the perfect mix of classical, modern and whimsical architecture.
5. Hubby picked our activity on day two, so we headed up a mountin to Ruby Falls, an underground waterfall. We took about a hour and a half tour as deep into solid rock as the Empire State Building is tall.
The neatest part? They still don’t know the origin of the falls! The tunnel that feeds into the falls becomes too narrow to travel thought several hundred feet in, so they haven’t been able to determine the exact source of this waterfall.
6. We stayed at the Chatannoga Choo-Choo, a train station turned hotel. Tracks still run through the multiple building complex, and several Victorian-era train cars have been converted into hotel rooms. We got to stay in one, and it was pretty cool!
The room was long and narrow, but updated to contain all the standard conviences we expect in hotels today. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to bathe, shave and sleep while the car was moving.
7. The Aquarium also boasts an IMAX movie theater where we viewed “Under the Sea 3-D,” narrated by Jim Carrey.
I kinda forgot IMAX tends to make me dizzy, and the 3-D didn’t really help, but it was still super fun. Plus, the IMAX gift-shop sells Dippin’ Dots!!
8. Hanging out with Spider Crabs.
I am always up for things you crawl into that put you up close and personal with the animals. It was amazing to me to see such huge crabs, and made me feel closer to my favorite Deadliest Catch fishermen.
9. Near the art district was an art museum I would love to visit that was made up of three different buildings — a more colonial structure, an 80′s modern structure, and a contemporary structure.
The outside was enough to make me want to visit, but the downtown area also had these fun advertisements that made me want to take a second trip just to check it out.
10. Did I mention I loved the pengiuns?
Have a thing for lists? Head over to Oh!Amanda! to join in!
We were out late last night at Hubby’s back-to-back softball games, so I thought today would be the perfect time to share my top ten favorite photos! In no particular order:
A perfect summer night: a wedding, a concert, a quick dip in our school’s fountain.
I love this photo of my brother and I with our grandparents. I love the candid-ness, and the richness of the colors.
Favorite photo from our honeymoon.
My sophomore year roomie took this photo out of the window of our room. Yes — this is straight out of the camera! The sky really was this fantastic color, and I haven’t seen anything like it since!
My sweet, sweet boy. Didn’t like to smile for the camera, but I finally caught him!
Kiss from my PopPop on my wedding day.
Favorite photo from my first trip to Africa (Kenya).
Favorite photo of college girls — taken during dead week, a few days before we graduated!
Current favorite photo of me and Hubby.
Favorite photo Hubby has taken, at a 4th of July fireworks display a month and a half before he proposed.
Love lists? Check out Oh!Amanda! for more, or to get in on the fun yourself!
I love Ballard Designs. Their furniture and accessories just fit my sense of style — classic lines, but not too busy, with a little touch of whimsy and eclecticism. Anytime Hubby and I look into buying a new piece of furniture, I check out Ballard first. Then, we go tooling around town to see if anything lives up to my Ballard expectations. Today, I present to you my top ten favorite Ballard products, some of which I already have in my home, some I’m still dreaming of. Let me just say that picking just ten products was HARD!
1. Tuscan Bookshelf — This was my very first Ballard purchase! I love the color of my Antique Cherry shelves, and the delivery service was FAB! The lovely gentlemen who delivered these put them exactly where I wanted them, and removed all the trash when he left. And, because I have the two flush bookcases, I can put them anywhere, pushed together to form a large bookcase, or separated as two smaller ones.
2. Richmond Pendant — I recently purchased this pendant for my dining room, and love the simplicity and classic design of this fixture. The smaller scale also works great in my smaller room. I was thrilled to learn when I opened my package that this pendant is from the Colonial Williamsburg Collection, which I also love! One product created by two great companies — you can’t go wrong with that!
3. I dream of someday owning a leather chair, and the Continental Leather Twin Sofa makes my heart beat just a little faster. I love the versatility of this chair; it seats two, which means it would be the perfect size for curling up with a great book, and it pulls open into a twin bed for extra guests.
4. Speaking of versatility, I adore the Eastman Secretary! Frankly, I love all secretarys, thanks to their versatility. They can be used in a office as a primary desk, in an entry way or living room for extra storage. I would love to have one in my bedroom for a place to keep my laptop for blogging, but to use the draws for extra clothing and linen storage.
5. I’ve been coveting these Topiary Plaques for over a year now. The white color of these would really balance out the darker brick that dominates our back deck. The silhouette of these are elegant with just a hint of whimsy, and I can’t say “no” to a plant I can’t kill!
6. Avondale Sideboard — I dream of having a nice sideboard in my dining room, and someday, when I have a slightly larger space, I could love to have this in my dining room. I adore the classic lines and styling, as well as the ample storage.
7. Since space really is at a premium in our house, I’d love to add a console table, like the Martin Console, to the entry way space in our living room. The wood tones of this piece would work well with our existing pieces, and the drawers and additional closed storage space would work perfectly for us!
8. Hubby and I disagree on this one, but I LOVE this Lab print! It reminds me of my precious Goober, but Hubby says the painting bears no resemblance to her. It may not be entering our house soon, but I do still love it!
9. I would love to have the Blue Flower pillow for our bedroom (the colors work perfectly), but its quite a bit out of our price range for a pillow for now.
10. These quilted 4-pocked quilted organizers would be great for a dedicated office in need of some extra storage. For us, it would be a great way to keep our magazines organized, and keep track of incoming and outgoing mail.
Love lists? To join in the fun, check out Oh!Amanda!
Until the end of the year, particuarly this summer, Hubby and I have a LOT going on. Here are the ten things I’m looking forward to the most:
1. Going camping!
2. Watching Lindy and Carl get married next month!
3. Finishing the Senior video I’m working on for work.
4. Watching Becky and Matt get married in July!
5. Hopefully seeing my old friend Joanna while at home for Becky and Matt’s wedding.
6. Going to summer camp with the youth. This will be a TON of work, but I think there may be a little fun invovled too!
7. Taking an anniversary trip with Hubby to somewhere I’ve always wanted to go — Tennessee!
8. Throwing Beth a bachelorette party!
9. Watching Beth and Elliott get married and being part of the day. I sooo cannot wait for this!
10. The mind-bending season finale of LOST tomorrow night!
Love lists? To join in the fun, check out Oh Amanda!