Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Only A Week To Go

This move has been hard on my sleep schedule! I'm glad it will be done in a week. Today we got over to the new place and turned in our signed lease. The movers will be here on Friday to pack, though we won't be moving in until Tuesday. This weekend will probably feel pretty long without all of our stuff to fool around with. I was reading over the terms of our lease and found it funny that they mention avoiding buying second hand furniture. They're trying to avoid bedbug outbreaks, of course, but I still found it amusing as I was reading. I purchase plenty of second hand items, no furniture as yet, but clothes for sure. I suppose they'd frown upon that too. Speaking of second hand...I think I'll be hitting the thrift stores after the holidays to find some new bits and pieces to make the new place feel like home. I'm mostly going to be looking for frames and glassware, stuff for shelves. I don't want to assume I'm going to be able to make purchases, of course, because I really don't know what our financial situation will be. If the hubs hasn't found work yet, even if I've managed to find something, our income will be meager. Ideally, if he does find work, I'd like to put together a nice set (of mismatched,hehe, is that really a set?) white dinnerware. Oh, and speaking of jobs, I'm going to HAVE (yay!) to hit the goodwill for some interview clothes. As it stands now, I've got nothing but jeans, t's and workout gear.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

2 Weeks Plus a Few Days

That's how long until we move to the new apartment. Every time we move I forget. I forget that no matter how ready you think you are to move, you just aren't. Financially, emotionally, physically. At least I'm not. Ever. It's funny, because I always believe that I've got everything under control. And then along comes that moment when I realize I was just kidding myself. I had that moment a couple of days ago. Even though everything is moving forward, I'm just not ready. This move is the same as all of the others in many ways and it's so different in others. This move signifies the end Dave's military career. 20 years and now it's done. It signifies a choice that we made, not the Navy, to decide where we live. There's unlikely to be an opportunity in a few years for us to pick up and start again. This. Is. It. I'm terrified. Fortunately, he's not. Which is good, because one of us needs to be able to remain rational. It can't be my job, I can't handle it. He's going back to school and will be looking for work. I, too, will have to look for work. I've been a stay at home mom for 11 years. I didn't work during my pregnancy either. 12 years since I've worked. I worry. My oldest is autistic and being available to him, the school, his teachers has always been my goal. This will be difficult now. Not impossible, of course, but more difficult just the same. Both kids will (next year) have the same schedule, but for the remainder of this year it's different and neither gets bused. Right now we live close enough to walk one and drive the other. At the new apartment we will drive both to different schools, next year to the same school with the same hours. This will hopefully make it easier to find work. Not having to work around the hours of 2 different school schedules. I hope. On the plus side, I think I'll be having another yard sale. I need to get rid of a few more things that just won't fit at the new place and I really don't want to get a storage locker. So, I think maybe the weekend after this one coming I'll give another one a try. It's also giving me a really great opportunity to really purge the house. Closets, garage, everything! This is good because I can certainly tend to be a bit of a pack rat. I want the new place to be as free from clutter as possible. That would be ideal, so going in with less is the best way to start. Frugality is going to be a necessary part of every day life now, which is good. Having everyone on board with that is really exciting to me. In the past, I've felt like I've been only half on board with being as frugal and thrifty as I want to be, so that will be a nice change of pace. That will also make it easier for me to blog about being thrifty (and organized!) since it will be necessary, not just kind of a hobby. The one thing that breaks my heart the most though, is that the move is costing way more, up front, than we realized. It's pretty much going to eat through everything we have and that means the holidays are going to be very, very rough. :( I'm hoping the kids can enjoy the spirit of the holiday (which they always have) even when they know presents will be lean. It's tough, but they're good boys and I have faith that they'll understand.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Product Review! Glade Fragrance Mist and Oil Diffuser!

Through BzzAgent, I was able to try out a new product by Glade for free.  (BzzAgent.. check them out!  www.bzzagent.com )  Here are my thoughts on it, I know you're just dying to know!  ;)

I always find myself looking for something to make the house smell nice (I have 10 and 11 year old boys in the home!).  Be it sprays, reed diffusers, candles, whatever.  So, it was no big leap for me to try out these two Glade Expressions products.

First, I want to say that overall, my impression of supermarket scents isn't this good.  Glade, in the past, has been my favorite.  I prefer it over Febreeze, Renuzit, etc.  That being said, it still wasn't my favorite way to buy scents.  There, that's out of the way.  :)

Okay!  So I first got my hands on the Fragrance Mist.  I opted for the Fugi Apple and Cardamom Spice and I love, love, love the scent.  It smells just like fresh apples.  It doesn't feel overpowering at all, which sometimes happens with sprays.  In the beginning I was feeling as though the scent was fading faster than it should which was disappointing, however, I later found that I was wrong!  The problem wasn't the spray, it was that I had just gotten used to it.  After leaving the house for a period of time and coming back, I was absolutely able to smell the lovely apple scent.  Score!

On to the design of the mister.  I was a bit back and forth on this.  It's pretty enough to look at, sleek, white, and it can be placed anywhere without it totally interfering with your decor, though, it's still plenty obvious that it's an air fragrance.  I felt that when I started using it, every time I would squeeze to spray, it felt more difficult then it should have.  I wanted it to be easier and I wanted the mist to be more even.  I found myself getting a small dribble on my hand each time.  All that said..I can tell you this.  A few adjustments with regard to my hand placement and boom! problem solved.  :)  Yay!  I should also note that replacing the canister is a breeze.

On to the Oil Diffuser.  For this one I chose the Lavender and Juniper Berry Scent.  I should first tell you that I am not a huge fan of floral scents.  Never have been.  I wasn't able to find any other scents though, and really wanted to give this diffuser a try.

Got it out of the box and was immediately able to smell the fragrance.  The instructions were clear and the diffuser was very easy to put together.

For the first few days the smell was a bit overpowering for my nose, actually giving me a headache if I was near it too long.  This could be a combination of the diffuser soaking up the scent and the fact that I'm just not a fan of the florals.  Now, though, it's had time to be absorbed and it's not nearly as strong.  It's more of a "just right" feeling.  I have it placed on my tv stand and it looks cute, with its little cut out design and the way it's positioned in my place it allows the scent to fill the small entryway, part of the kitchen and the living room.

Overall, my experience with both the Mist and the Diffuser was great and I'll certainly be buying both products again.  I will, however, be staying away from the Lavender and Juniper Berry scent!  ;)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Smashing Pumpkins!

Friday night, when Dave got home from work, he informed me that we were going to see the Smashing Pumpkins on Saturday night. It was a total surprise! He bought the tickets and got a sitter all by himself. Awwww!

Unfortunately yesterday wasn't my best food day. I wound up sharing noodles and curry with Dave, going to the concert and then hitting up Taco Bell afterwards. Eeek! As disappointed in my choices as I am, I'm not going to dwell on it. I'm back on track (mostly) today and feeling good about the great time I had last night.

Anyhow, last night was the first time Dave and I have ever left our boys (who are 10 and 11) with a sitter that wasn't my parents. We see them once a year, so that should give you an idea of how often we go out. :P It was so refreshing to reconnect with him doing something fun and that we were excited about. I felt quite a bit like a kid again. We were both giddy and relaxed.

The show was great! Anberlin opened and though I'd never heard them before, I completely enjoyed their energy. They were fun, gracious, energetic..just perfect to get everyone warmed up.

After a short break, Smashing Pumpkins came out and did the whole Oceania album. Loved it. They then did a cover of Ziggy Stardusts Ground Control to Major Tom. It was wonderful! They made it their own but were able to maintain the integrity of the original. It was a really nice segue into their older early 90's stuff. Fan. Tas. Tic! Seriously.. I totally felt like a teenager again. Until this exchange happened on stage....

Billy Corgan (after a brief chat with the crowd): I'd like to play a depressing song now.
Crowd: roars
Billy Corgan: Oh! You like depressing music?
Crowd: more cheering
Corgan: Yeah..me too. It's been working out for me for the past 20 years.

My internal voice screamed at me.... "When did you get old enough to have been listening to anything for 20 years!!!?"

Wow...really gave me a huge dose of reality. Lol. Just the same, I was thrilled to be there listening to something I listened to 20 years ago.

My favorite moment of the night? (Apart from the kick ass music?) The band really didn't do too much talking and that is just fine by me, I'm there to see them perform, but they did take a short time to interact with the crowd.. here's how that went...

Jeff Schroeder: It's Saturday night, these people need to get out and party all night.

Billy Corgan: (sings a la Black Eyed Peas) Tonight's gonna be a good night...yeah tonight's gonna be a good, good night!

Crowd: roars with laughter and cheers

Corgan: (sings it one more time). Yeah. You guys know that's the club you're going to be at later.

It was hysterical. It likely doesn't translate to text very well, one of those "you had to be there moments". But seriously, if I hadn't enjoyed any other moment (which I totally enjoyed every other moment) that alone would have been worth the price of admission!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Did It!

I had my yard sale!!  Third time was a charm.  I planned it for one Saturday and just wasn't ready, planned for the next one and wound up in the ER (with a kidney infection) on Friday night with bed rest prescribed for the remainder of that weekend.  Needless to say, when last Saturday arrived I was SO ready!  I woke up the hubs at 6:30.  He kept mumbling something that sounded an awful lot like "crazy lady".  Hehe, I've been called worse.  I also dragged the kids out of bed too.

Since this was my first experience with hosting a yard sale, I had tried to do plenty of reading on what to expect.  No amount of reading really actually gets you ready though, does it?  The hubby and I carried out the futon we were selling and immediately people started pulling over.  It was the only thing we had out!  I couldn't believe how fast it happens.  We had most of the items we wanted to sell stored away in the garage so we didn't have to keep running in and out of the house.  That was really good.  I seriously could not have guessed that people would be so receptive.  

Anyhow, we managed to pull things out of the garage and for the first 30 minutes or so, it seemed like every time we pulled something out, it sold within minutes.  Once that first half hour was over, it was a nice steady stream of people milling around, haggling and making small purchases.  My darling hubby thinks I was far too quick to agree to reducing prices.  I figured, we want to get ride of it and I tried to price everything with the knowledge that people would ask for a lower price, so I didn't mind.  

We got rid of nearly everything we had hoped to.  The only thing that remained (that would have been nice to see go) were 4 kitchen table chairs.  They were all the same style but 3 were one color and the 4th was different.  This put so many people off.  I was shocked.  Not a single person asked for a reduction in price nor did they attempt to break the set.   That's the way it goes, hardly a big deal since we cleared out so much space!

Some things that I learned...You'll never be able to get everything out before people start walking into your garage and looking around.  Hehe.  Being prepared with plenty of change is essential!  I went to the bank on Friday and had nothing but 1's and 5's.  It was the smartest thing I did with regard to this whole experience.  I couldn't believe how many folks showed up and wanted to buy something for a buck and had only 20's.  Being friendly is a huge benefit!  A smile and a hello makes a world of difference in the way people view you and respond to you.  (That is kind of true in all aspects of life though, isn't it!?)  Just when you think no one else is coming, another wave of people comes along.  This happened more than a few times.  I would just be saying.."I guess we should close up shop" and boom!  3 or 4 groups would show up.  Keep things off the ground if you can!  I notice quite often around here that a lot of our neighbors who have hosted yard sales drop everything into piles on blankets on the ground.  I was able to put most of my things laid out on tables and it seemed to keep people browsing longer, as things were bought (some of the tables for instance) and things were moved lower, peoples interest in those items waned.  
I'm sure there's more to tell but I'll spare you the details.  Hehe.  I had a great time, cleared out a lot of the items I needed to and put a few bucks in my pocket.  All in all, that's a success in my book.  

It looks like I'm going to move shortly before Thanksgiving...who knows, maybe if I find enough stuff that I don't want as I'm packing I'll give this another try?!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Countdown Begins

After thinking for  a few months that we knew where we were planning to move, this past weekend we decided to take a look at a couple of other places.  One of them we looked at intentionally and the other was one we'd been intentionally avoiding.  I don't have to tell you that the one we'd been avoiding is the one we fell in love with.  All four of us, actually.  I think it winds up being slightly more expensive than what we'd looked at previously but it feels very comfortable and has some pretty good reviews.  The parking situation seems a bit better than at the other place, too, which is nice.  I'd love to get it at a slightly lower price, but I'm not going to bank on that happening.  The leasing agent tells us (as did all of the leasing agents at all of the different apartments) that the pricing changes every 24 hours.  I will keep my fingers crossed that it will wind up working in our favor.

What does all this mean?  Well, it means that Dave would like to move as soon as we can.  My timeline for...everything just got moved up.  I've been moving slow on the whole yard sale thing.  I think now I'm committed to having it this Saturday.  I'm going to need to spend my entire week preparing for it.  I'm totally not ready.

It also means I have to find a new commitment to decluttering.  Fast!  After getting a glimpse of these gorgeous apartments I feel like I have WAY too much stuff.  Doen't get me wrong, I know that they're made up perfectly for viewing and that no family of 4 has closets with nothing but fancy hat boxes in them, but still.  I want to go in with as little excess as possible.  The less I drag over there with me the less I have to look at when we're moved in.  My biggest challenge in all of this will be to release a lot of the paperwork and to not allow it to accumulate again.  I have piles of papers everywhere.  It's the most difficult thing for me to deal with. 

I'll be losing a large laundry room when we leave this house, so staying on top of the laundry as each load is done will be so important to making sure things stay looking good in the apt.  The new place has a room for the washer and dryer but nothing else, no table, cabinets, etc.  One wash in , dried and folded.  Period.

*Sigh*  I really need to get a move on!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Color Me Rad

I posted this blog about my experience with the Color Me Rad Run with my kiddo on another site not so long ago and I've decided to share it here as well. 

I didn't have the opportunity to post about our Color Me Rad experience on the 11th since my folks were still here.

We had a fantastic time!

Deac was very worried, we'd trained together for almost 7 weeks and about halfway through he peaked. Then his brain kicked into overtime and he started worrying every time we ran. He fretted about disappointing me, his dad, his grandparents. What if I can't finish, what if we have to walk part of it? I felt bad for him, this was intended to be something fun for he and I to do together. Two days before the run, he was doing better, but still not able to run a full 5k. I think it was taking us 40 minutes to run/walk 2.6 miles.

We talked about his fears and I told him to give it his best and not to worry about the rest. If we had to stop or walk, it was fine. I let him set the pace all through our training and told him I intended to do the same at Color Me Rad. He was still worried and Dave sat down with him too. He gave him a pep talk and gave him this advice.. don't stop running, slow your run if you need to, but don't stop, it's so much harder to start again. I worried.

Race day...clean white shirts, excited at the start line. 6:15 am. He was really happy and excited!! So was I. Lots of music, folks in costumes. By 6:50 Deac was near tears. He was afraid. Dad, Nate, Nana and Granddad would all be at the finish line and he was terrified he'd be disappointing them. I told him that the change of scenery, the energy of the crowd and his excitement would carry him.

At go, we started running, his fear faded. At 5 minutes in, grown adults around him were slowing down, walking and stopping. He kept going. I asked him over and over if he was okay, he was great. He. Never. Stopped. No slowing down, nothing. We crossed the finish line 30 minutes after we started. My 10 year old, who had been in fear for the last 2-3 weeks, set our pace and finished us at 30 minutes. He was a rock star and my hero! I was brimming with pride, but more importantly, so was he. He gained so much in those 30 minutes. I can't wait to do it again with him!

We rode the trolley home looking like this!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Little Weekend Decluttering

Since I had some free time today I decided to tackle a couple of cabinets and drawers.  It wasn't a whole lot of work and I only remembered to take pics after I was done with the hall closets, but I still feel good about doing something.

After playing Munchkin with the kids, I enlisted their help to clear out some books from one of the cabinets in the hall.  We filled two large bags we purchased for Costco trips(nice sturdy bags!).  Oddly, the cabinet is still totally full.  I think everything we fit into those bags was just overflow.  I'll have the hubs sort through his.  I know he'll give me the freedom to get rid of most, if not all of his books.  Since he got his Kindle and then replaced it with his Kindle Fire the books are just collecting dust.  I think I'll be the one with the most difficulty, I parted with a lot, but I can't bring myself to get rid of my cookbooks.  And I have a lot more than I remember.  Not too long ago, I forced myself to whittle down my collection of cooking magazines.  Dating back to 2005.  I spent a week looking through them, pulling out the ones I couldn't imagine getting rid of and ripping out recipes I wanted for the rest.  Then I scanned all of those.  I keep telling myself I'll be happy when we move and I don't have all of this stuff (junk) weighing me down.  It may not surprise you to find out that when the hubs saw the pile I was keeping he was shocked.  That I was keeping so many.  *wince*  I pared it down a bit more, but I still have plenty.

While I was in the area, I took a moment and pulled a couple of holiday plates out of another cabinet.  I think getting rid of a lot of the holiday stuff is going to be key in making this move work.

Moving on to the junk drawer.  Every kitchen has one.  Sometimes more.  I cleaned one of 2 and took on one of the lower cabinets.

Before:  As you can see, my junk drawer, is very junky.  Tangled wires, picture hangers, batteries, fast food condiment packets (loads of those >.<), paperwork and more.  Pretty much, a nightmare.

After:  I brought all the paperwork together and bound it with a rubber band I found in there.  There was also a bag of zip ties floating around so I used a few of those for the cords.  Birthday candles found their way into a sandwich bag and I neatened the rest of it up.  All of the collected condiments got rolled in the bag and stuck on top of a spare kitchen towel.  It's not perfect, but it's a heck of a lot better than it was!
Looking at the two picures now, I wonder why I didn't take the first one from a slightly wider angle...shame, most likely.  hehe.

 Since that took just a few minutes I went ahead and did another cabinet.

Before:  In this spot are all of my cake pans and cookie cutters, icing tips, cake plate and other baking miscellany.  I also have some spare plates, magic bullet and other crap stored away.  What a mess.  You want a little bit of truth on this one?  When I opened the cabinet, that round cake pan came crashing out.  D'oh!

After:  I made a couple of cuts.  Two Wilton pans will be landing in the yardsale bin, I tossed a try that was chipped, but mostly I just took a few minutes to neaten it up.  Much better!

That's about all the hard work I think I'm willing to put in today.  Haha!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What's That You Say? Two Posts, One Day?

Sorry for the lame title, hehe. 

I had to share a little score that I just encountered.  I went to Target to grab some K-Cups for the hubs.  He was out of them (for his Keurig).  Anyhow, even though I'd promised my kids it would be a fast trip, I wanted to check the clearance.  Just the aisle near where I was getting the coffee, not the whole store, I promise!  

From where I stood, there wasn't much to see, but I still felt compelled to check it out.  In fact, from where I was, the four shelves looked almost empty.  Anyhow, upon arrival I found my Brew Over Ice Perfect Black Tea K-Cups (which I ran out of about 3 days ago) sitting there, staring me in the face!  16 cup packs on clearance for 50% off!  5.48 per pack!!  And guess what I had...?  2dollar coupons!  (Remember when I talked about being a Bzz Agent and taking part in some Bzz Campaigns? Well, Brew Over Ice was one of them, and even after sharing my coupons with the folks I bzzed to, I still had some left for me...today they were put to good use!)  I scored 5 16 count boxes. Originally priced 10.99.  Clearance priced 5.48.  Less 2 dollar coupon...3.48 per box. (I'm doing the happy dance. Be thankful you can't see, I have no rhythm.)  I drink one of these a day maybe 3-4 times a week.  I think they're a nice little treat and this stash of 80 should last me a good long time!  Expiration is still 8 months away.  I'm absolutely thrilled!  Love a deal.  Now if I could do so well with the hubs coffee.  Fingers crossed.

Meatless Meals to Save ?

A while ago the hubs and I watched a Ted Talk that had to do with going meatless during the week. We talked about it a few times, wondered if it was something we could do, wanted to do, etc.

Last night, after discussing a few things, our current situation, our future (his military retirement is so close!), money and our health, the idea of being meatless during the week came up again. We've decided to give it a whirl. We'll aim for 5 meatless dinners a week (I'm not ready to do 5 meatless days, I'm already struggling with menu planning, tyvm!) and if we miss our mark, no big deal, we just try again.

Part of the reason is that meat can get expensive, another part is we'd like to eat better overall (we eat pretty healthily most of the time, but we've noticed an eating out trend recently.. not very thrifty!). I have some concerns though...mostly one. How do I make creative, tasty meals that are not one gigantic carb-fest? I'm not interested in meat replacements either. Once in a while would be okay, I suppose, but really those can be as pricy as the meat. I was searching the web for meals that moved me and I found some. Lots, actually, but so many had such a high concentration of carbs that I felt a bit worried. Should I not worry? I mean, I can just make sure breakfast and lunch are lower in carbs and higher in proteins I guess.

My only other concern is that my 10 year old isn't a huge fan of beans and I found lots of great recipes that take advantage of beans. I mean, he likes some beans, but I can't see him being thrilled about beans 5 nights a week. ;)

If you have any recipes, tips, tricks, hints or general ideas on this, I'm all ears!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Couple of Thrifted Finds

While my mom was visiting we took a day to spend together, just the two of us girls. It started at The Good Will Store, headed to a consignment store and then an Antique Mall. We had lunch and hit up Marshall's and Old Navy. Apart from just having a fantastic time shopping and goofing off with my mom, I found a couple of good deals. Sadly, my skill at picture taking hasn't really improved much. Heh. I have been wanting (for a couple of years now) this shirt from Target, it's a One Star, long sleeve, button down top. Simple, but cute. Initially I wanted it in blue. I am pretty confident that it was 29.99 when I first decided I loved it. Now, it's 22.99. I can't explain why, but the price just rubbed me the wrong way. And that was before I began thrifting. Well, my hesitation paid off, I found one at the Good Will in my size, but in a different color than I'd have initally chosen. I didn't even care! It's a very light pink, I can wear it on its own or unbuttoned with a tank under it. I love it!
I was also able to find a 3/4 sleeve striped top from Banana Republic. It's a soft tee shirt with tiny button details on the sleeve. Very casual and easy to wear in the fall. It's got a wide neck, cutting almost to the shoulders, boat neck? Is that what it's called? I don't know. It's cute, it fit and I like it. :D

 I know, it's all wrinkly in the picture because I was too anxious to get the pic after I'd washed it.  I'm lazy like that.  Might explain the disappointing photography skills, eh?

My last great find of the day was a little LeSportSac make up bag.  This little bag is 20 bucks new and I got it for less than 3.  It's practically brand new.  In fact, I'd guess it had been used once.  Love it.  It's funny, because when I saw it, I hemmed and hawed.  I need a new make up bag, mine isn't really coming clean anymore and I've been turning my nose up at the $10 + pricetags of the new ones.  But for some reason, I couldn't commit to this initially.  Finally though, I did.  And I'm glad!

At this point we moved on to a local consignment shop.  I wasn't impressed with much of what they had.  It felt as though very little of it had been cleaned prior to being brought in.  Very disappointing.  Left with nothing.

The antique mall was fantastic and I would have left with about anything in the store, loved it all.  But since I'm moving soon, I would like to wait before picking up any of those fantastic items.  Gorgeous chairs, handmade doilies, cake plates, crystal items.  Looove!  Favorite thing there?  !940-50's style short white gloves with teeny button details.  If I could have them, I promise I'd wear a dress and do my hair every day!  ;)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Prepping for a Yardsale

The time has come for me to start getting very serious about having this yard sale. School starts up in about 2 weeks. I'd kind of like to have the sale before then, but it's warm enough here for me to do it well into September. Initially I wanted to do it while my folks were in town visiting, but I didn't want them to feel like they had to do the work. My mom did give me some ideas about pricing and offered her opinion on what was worth keeping and what was worth getting rid of. My biggest issue is that I have a couch and loveseat that are structurally perfect, but the leather is cracked and peeled on the arms and the seat of the sofa has a hole. I figured I'd have to toss them, but Mom says to stick them out there and sell them as is. The hubs also thinks I should try and sell one of the kids bikes, which is a bit rusted and has a broken chain. I know that there are plenty of crafty types out there, but I feel weird having so much "fixer upper" stuff. I gave the kids the opportunity to go through their stuff and sort out what would be worth selling for them. Not surprisingly, they had a very difficult time with this. Everything was something they swore they'd be using soon, even after not using some of it for years. Some of it was emotional (trying to keep things they've had for years, but offering to sell things that were nearly brand new that they'd been desperate to have) and some of it was just pack rattish in nature. I feel their pain. Knowing that we're sizing down is hard. We're not just going to a smaller house, we're going from a house to an apartment. No more extra bedroom, no more back yard, no more garage. This is a huge amount of space to lose. I'm guessing we'll be renting a small storage unit for those few things we're totally unwilling to part with (in the hopes of having space for them in the future), boxing bag, chest freezer, trampoline, folding table. Holiday items are also giving me a little trouble. How much to I keep, just enough to add a few touches, I suppose. Do people buy holiday items in August...from yard sales? I would if I had the extra dough, I guess, but I wonder if anyone else does. So, I'm open to any and all suggestions here, how to do this yard sale thing right. Pricing, haggling, how long to stay out, is it okay to broken things out? I need to get rid of lots of stuff, is it tacky to put out things I think are trash (open rolls or wrapping paper, etc)...so much to consider.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: Bic Soleil Savvy Razor

So, I'm a member of the BzzAgent Community.  If you're not familiar with it, hit up www.bzzagent.com and check it out.  This community allows companies to spread buzz about products by word of mouth.  They take into account different aspects of your life (products you use, places you shop, etc) to match you up with products to try, review and generally talk about with the people in your life.  It's fantastic.

Recently I was sent (by bzzagent.com) a pack of Bic Soliel Savvy Razors.  I used them and I loved them.  Here's my review, do with it what you will.  ;)  Seriously, though, great product, I'll be making them my regular razor.  It's not a huge leap for me, I was already using the Soleil line, but these are superior to the ones I was using before.

I found myself very pleased with the Soleil Savvy razor! A couple of bits of background for you, I'm one of those lucky girls who has super sensitive sking, so shaving stinks in general. I also have a large scar on my leg that is raised and opens up nearly every time I shave. Lastly on the list of things that are important to know is that my hair grows crazy fast. Those things having been said, I shall relate my experience with the Soleil Savvy. Point one-sensitive skin. I had zero issues with this since I began using the Savvy. No nicks and cuts, which I almost always get with a brand new razor. No razor burn, either. This is looking good already. Point two-that nasty scar. I dread the moment when I get close to my scar when shaving. I have to navigate the area so delicately and even then, it rarely ends well. I wind up with a bandaid that needs to be changed over and over because the lightest touch with a razor opens it up and the bleeding refuses to end. Not so with the Savvy! I gave it an honest try and didn't give in to the urge to just avoid that area entirely. I was so pleased to go over it with no issues at all. I'm really liking this razor at this point. Point three-fast growing hair. For years, shaving daily is just how it goes for me. I don't love it, but I'm used to it. Imagine my surprise the day after I first used the Savvy, when I jumped in the shower and found I didn't have to shave! I had to pinch myself. ;) Ladies and Gentlemen, I've found myself a new razor! Seriously, I'll never buy another one. I was already a user of the Soleil line, but I won't go back to the rest of the series after trying the Savvy. It's THE razor for me. As a bonus, the Savvy takes up very little space too, since you're just storing the replacement heads and not a stack of disposable razors. Heads are all used up, toss the whole thing and grab a new pack. Love it!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Unplanned Hiatus...Oops

Honest.  I hadn't planned to stop my journey.  Thrifting and decluttering are things I'm still thinking about daily.  It's funny that I think about it all the time, but I manage to forget to do the actual blogging.  Go figure.

I've decided to broaden my focus here.  I'm going to thrift, declutter and find my personal style (both on my person and in my home), but I'm also going to share my opinions on things I try.  Be it visits to local places or products I've tried.  Seems like that will give me a bit more opportunity to blog.  Sometimes I don't have a chance to go searching around the thrift stores or I'm not up for decluttering.

We're moving soon.  In the next 2-5 months.  Needless to say, that means some major decluttering going on.  I'm trying to plan a yard sale.  It's hard though.  I've never had one before, been to plenty, but never held my own.  I don't know what my old stuff will be worth to anyone, if anyone wants it at all.  I don't want to overvalue it and not sell anything nor do I want to undervalue it and cheat myself out of a few bucks.  I read that 70% off of the initial value is a good starting point.  I assume that's for stuff in great condition.  I have items here that are still perfectly usable, but not as pretty as they once were.  I'd still like to see if I can get a couple of bucks for those things.  Not surprisingly, I'm also worried about selling something and finding out later that I needed it.  Wouldn't that be a pain in the rear.  I'm fortunate to live in pretty much the perfect spot for a yard sale, so if I can make it past the planning stages, I know I can at least get people to stop by.

Hmm.  For now, I guess that's all I've got.  Promising myself I'll be diligent about blogging moving forward.  Yay me!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Finish This Before You Start That!

The last two weeks have been something of a black hole for me.  The time is vanishing and I've found myself feeling overwhelmed by many things.  In this time, though, I've noticed something about myself that directly contributes to my lack of organization. 

I'm an absolute scatterbrain.  I have a half dozen jobs that I started and never finished.  I start a job (laundry, for instance) and find something else to distract me along the way.  In the instance of laundry, it goes something like this. 

Gather laundry, walk to laundry room, get laundry started.  Notice dishes aren't done.  Begin dishes and then wonder if anyone left dishes in other rooms.  Walk down the hall to collect dishes, notice the floor could use a sweep, grab broom, sweep floor, forget dishes, forget laundry.  Now I have 3 half done jobs.  Laundry was started but abandoned part way through (I manage to complete the load I started...at least to the point of getting it dried).  I gathered the dishes and put them in the sink, but abandoned it to grab the broom and I've swept, but not mopped. 

I need to finish the jobs I start before moving on.  Some how everything seems so pressing when I see it, so I do that instead.  It's a funny thing, really, because I preach to my boys that they need to finish one playing with one toy before grabbing another.  I insist that they finish one page of homework before moving on to the next one.  So, why, I wonder, can't I practice what I preach?

I'm going to make it a goal this weekend to only do jobs from start to finish.  No half done tasks.  If this means that only one thing gets done, so be it.  I'd rather have one thing completed than 3 undone.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Thrifting

Today was my haircut day, which on its own its always a good thing.  The thing that makes it better is that the thrift store is right around the corner.  Yay!  My appointment finished up right as the thrift store was opening, so I had a few minutes to poke around on my own.  Right away I found a cute little Converse One Star denim jacket.  So I grabbed it.  $6.29

 The picture really doesn't do it any justice, but it is so cute!
 Close up of the top.
Pocket detail.

Next I ran into a very cute top.  not something I would normally pick, not because I didn't love it, but because it's a bit more girly then I tend towards.  i.n.c. international concepts.  100% silk, sleeveless.  $3.59

 Here it is!
And the print, which you can barely see in the other picture.

My last find was a NWT pair of jeans from The Loft.  Bootcut, love em. $8.99

There were a couple of misses, unfortunately.  A green top that was cute on the hanger, but a bit to juvenile when I put it on.  A NWT pair of grey Old Navy cords.  They fit very strangely in the seat.  :\  I hemmed and hawed over another pair of jeans as well, but I decided that I'm not going to buy anything I don't love.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Goodbye New Kitchen Table and Chairs....or not?

The hubs and I started saving for new furniture.  It's time.  After our last move, things started ... disintegrating.  Patches peeling from the arms of the couch (hidden under pillows) a crack in the leg of our kitchen table, the movers lost a couple of pieces of the hardware from our bedframe (but we didn't see it till 2 years later when we took the bed apart to have the carpet cleaned) and their "fix" has compromised the integrity of the frame.  *sigh*

We were fortunate in that we found ourselves in a place to be able to start saving for it.  Until about 2 weeks ago.  My oldest son needs some extensive dental work.  NOW.  Nearly 2 grand worth.  (That's the part that's not covered by our insurance!)  Very unexpected.

Goodbye furniture fund.

Feeling a bit deflated by the loss of my new kitchen table dream ( I want REAL furniture, grown up stuff!) I engaged in a pity party.  It was small, I promise...my kiddos dental health is far more important to me!  I started looking around online and for some reason, I decided to look on Craigs List.  I don't know why it didn't occur to me <before> I didn't have money to spend, but it didn't.  In the past week, I've found at least 6 different things I'm in love with.  3 dining room table sets (one that I've seen at the store costing well over 1500 bucks) for $150.00.  In beautiful condition.   I've seen others in the same price range that aren't my style,  but with a bit of sanding and some stain could easily be pieces I love.  I've been drooling over 2 dining room hutches for roughly the same price and one that was stunning, as is, for 50 bucks.

Obviously, I can't afford anything right now, but I know where I'll be looking as soon as I can.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Daily Declutter

This weekend I spent some time thinking about the things in my closet.  Things I love, things I want to love, but can't, things that don't love me.

Today I decided to take a (small) step and unburden myself of two items.  I bought both of them on clearance and I loved them both when I bought them.  The first one is a dress.  It's an adorable Columbia dress, great for the summer, light weight, breathable and yet, I'm giving it up.  Why?  Well, when I first bought it, it looked great on, but somewhere along the way, my body shape changed (my health/weight journey) and it made me look frumpy.  I'm sad, but it's in good condition and I'll find a new home for it.  It's going into my consign/yardsale  bag.

Pretty summery print in tan and orange on a white base.

Regrettably, the second piece I'm parting with I loved from the start, but it never loved me back.  I wanted it the second I saw it and I grabbed it for an absolute steal.  Light green, hooded, with cute detailing.  Columbia, long sleeve hooded tee.  Not once have I worn this and felt like it was flattering.  I keep trying and keep getting disappointed.  I think the combination of the not well defined shoulders on the top plus my own rounded shoulders allows for it to slip into some ugly positions.  Add to that the small v-opening at the neck which gives it a chance to slide up constantly and ugh.  No good.  So, with a heavy heart, I'll release this piece from my closet as well.  Of to the consignment bag it goes.

 Wrinkly but in great condition
See the cute detail on the back?!  Waaah!  :o(

It leaves me wondering...am I not meant to wear Columbia clothes?  I have a Columbia jacket which I adore and it fits well and is comfortable and well made, but maybe the pants and shirts and dresses just aren't for my body type?  I wonder if I should keep trying them out.  Perhaps if I find them in the thrift stores or on sale for a price I just can't pass up.  For now, I guess I won't go running out to buy any (unless it's outerwear).

Monday, January 16, 2012

Intro to my (lack of) style

Eventually it had to come.  The day I'd try to blog about my style.  The truth is this...I live in jeans and tee shirts.  That's it.  Short sleeved tees.  Long sleeved tees.  Boot cut jeans, skinny jeans, jean capris.  I pretty much only wore my Chuck Taylors or Running shoes up until recently.  I bought a couple of pair of ballet flats and a single pair of boots.

I've promised myself that over the course of this year, I'll transform myself into someone who has a casual style that doesn't revolve solely around tee shirts.  (I'm not throwing away my Animal or Smokey the Bear tees--forget about it!)

When I hit the thrift store last week I found two shirts and I love them both.  I didn't take pictures in the grey one, but I will.  Each of the shirts are a jersey/tee fabric, but neither is quite as basic.  (Thank goodness)  Today I wore the black one.  Originally I had it on alone, but it was showing quite a bit more than I had intended so I wound up tossing a burgandy cami on under it (layering by accident?).  The black top has kind of puffy sleeves and a bit of stitched detailing under the chest.  Put it on with my capris and boots.  There you have it.

Oh.  Right and a necklace.  Because I'm trying to fancy it up.  I think this is one of two necklaces that I own.  And I don't like the other one.  So, yeah.  Hehe.

Forgive my modeling skills.  I've spent many years hiding from cameras so this will take some getting used to!

T-shirt--Design History- thrifted
Boots--Union Bay--NEX

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Daily Declutter and Discard

It has occurred to me that calling this my daily declutter/discard may seem a bit misleading, but I promise, though I'm not photographing every single thing I discard, I am faithfully getting rid of something each day.

I ran to Target (I've got my eye on some clearance stuff, I'm waiting for it to get one more markdown!) and as I passed the Dollar Spot I spied some little plastic baskets with handles.  I'm pretty sure I've seen them in some of the local dollar stores, but always in colors I'm not so fond of, so I pass on them.  This time though, they had black.  I grabbed two of them for use under my kitchen sink.  Yay!

I collected all of my cleaning supplies (the ones in the kitchen, at least) and stuck 'em into the basket.  It's not particularly rigid, so I was able to comfortably fit what I had in there.  I ended up only needing one, so I've got one free to use as I see fit somewhere else.  I'm toying with the idea of sticking plastic grocery bags in the other one, since those seem to multiply and take over my under the sink cabinet space.

(In the basket, Magic Eraser, feather duster, glass cleaner, Simple Green, air freshener and a Sham Wow {hubby made that purchase!}.)

My discard for today is a dog waterer.  I bought this one gallon waterer for the little princess after her big sister passed away a few months ago.  For some reason, she's terrified of it.  It's been sitting there since I bought it.  I wash it and put fresh water in it and she won't touch it.  She drinks out of a tiny plastic leftover bowl instead.

I'm adding this to my box of items to consign or yardsale.  It's nice to have a designated place for things I don't need/want/use anymore.  It feels liberating to trash the stuff that's taking over and to know that I'll be finding a new home for the better stuff that we just don't want or need.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thrifted Styles for Kids?

As I've mentioned, I have two boys.  They're 9 and 10 and don't care a lick about fashion.  Still, buying clothes for them can be a challenge and it gets pricy.  They grow fast, they're tough on clothes and they may not care too much about fashion, but I still want them to look decent.

Generally speaking, I get them jeans from Old Navy when they do their $10 kids denim sale that happens in August.  They begin their life as new school clothes and what happens from there... who knows.  This year, my oldest got all 12's in August.  He tried them on, they fit, well.  We were happy.  By November they were snug, but still wearable.   December?  Not so much.  We were seeing sock on a daily basis.  With no sales on jeans that I could find and not being thrilled with the lower priced choices, I wondered if kids clothes in the higher sizes made it to the thrift stores.

I'm guessing that those of you more familiar with thrifting already know the answer.  It's yes!  I had some good luck finding 2 pair of jeans in a size 14, that were stylish and in great condition.  Seams in tact, zippers working, no wear at the knees or scuffs at the leg openings.  Sold!  Washed up and ready to wear, no more high waters for my kiddo.  Each pair was 3.59.
See that little lump under the covers?  That's my pooch, deciding her comfort was more important than my picture.  She's a princess.

Anyhow, the color in the pic is a bit odd, but the bottom pair is nice and light with fading and a boot cut.  The top pair is more charcoal than that washed out black that the pic shows.  They're a straight leg and a slimmer fit.

I wasn't looking for shirts, we have plenty, but I took a peek, just in case.  The store I was shopping had almost nothing in larger kids sizes (strictly speaking of shirts now).  Tons of toddler sizes though.  I will, of course, check again the next time I'm there.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thrifty Thursday!

Today was a busy day for me.  I dropped the hubs off at work (we share a car and I wanted it today) and got the kids off to school.  I feel like my whole morning was spent waiting to get to the thrift store.  My dentist visit was painfully long!  As my x-rays were being done and the cleaning was happening I kept thinking of what goodies I might find when I finally got down to shopping.  Hehe.  My teeth look great though.  Totally worth the wait.

I'm mostly looking for cardigans and sadly there were none to be found today.  It's okay though!  I scoured the whole store and kept an open mind.  I did find a khaki twill peacoat that I loved, but it felt a little funny buttoned.  I think the button placement gave my chest an odd look, so I passed on it.  I also found a cute short sleeved tapered jacket with a darling kick pleat in the back.  But it was too big.  *sniffle*  I tried it on with the hopes that it might be workable, but no luck there.

Enough about what I didn't get!  As I was checking out the skirts I came across a cute black running skirt.  I've been wanting one, but I really don't want to pay full price.  I was pretty excited to find it, but I felt a minor bit of hesitation regarding used workout wear.  Don't ask me why, I'm not sure.  I decided it was worth it and started to check out the seams and do you know what I found?  Tags!  Yay!  Brand new running skirt for less than 6 bucks (TekGear-$5.29).  Can't beat that.

I tried to be a bit more adventurous with tops, but I'm afraid it didn't really happen.  I wound up getting a black top(Design History $3.59) and a grey one(Old Navy $3.59).  *ahem*  I had a couple of light multi-colored button downs in hand and I chickened out!  I should have grabbed one of them, but there's always next time.

I'm supposed to be working on my personal style, I'm hoping that perhaps I'll be inspired by some accessories or layering pieces somewhere so that I can do something less basic with them.  I'm open to ideas (hint, hint).  :D

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First Real Declutter

I decided to make the hall closet my first decluttering project.  I took some pictures of the before. They're scary and I'm ashamed! 

That closet is literally right beside the front door when you walk in.  Every time one of us walks in, we close the front door and open that one.  Shoes get kicked off, yoga mat gets tossed in, sometimes the boys throw their socks in.  Gross!  I'm just tickled that all of the coats get hung up.

I'm not sure if you can tell, but under that pile of shoes is an actual shoe shelf.  Fat lot of good it's done.  On the left side of the closet, a hanging shoe bag.  Empty.  Completely empty.  *sigh*

After about an hour or sorting and cleaning, I can happily say, it's nice and tidy.  Ta Da!
Obviously, you can see in the pictures, I didn't add anything.  No cute baskets or tags.  My guys won't notice or use that stuff, so basic is best around here.  I took advantage of the hanging shoe bag and put everyone's flip flops, my ballet flats and lawn mowing shoes in there.  That cleared up a TON of floor space.  The remaining shoes are those that are being worn at least a couple of times a week.  Yoga mats and blocks made it up to the top shelf, dumb bells tucked away on the floor to the left, easy to access, stretch bands on hooks above the weights.  My coats on the left, his on the right, the boys keep theirs hung up in their room.

This decluttering resulted in some trash (as I'm sure you guessed from those before pics).  I pulled both of my sons ponchos.  Both were ripped at the neck enough that it was kind of a waste to keep them(that's the blue and beige you see in the pic).   To the pile of things headed for the trash, I added a pair of my youngest sons ripped jeans and a stained shirt belonging to my oldest.  Sadly, last week our Keurig died after more than 2 years of dedicated service to us.  That, too, joined the pile of things to go. 
It felt great to get this done and I'm pretty happy overall with the accomplishment.  It's small, but it's a start.

After all was said and done, I did some laundry and found a few items that, while in great condition, just don't fit my kids anymore.  I pulled those aside for either consigning or donating.  When I cleaned the closet  I also pulled a small tote bag that had a Happy Bunny graphic on it.  It was cute, but I never used it.  Not once.  In 4+ years.   That was also added to this pile.
So, there you have it.  My first decluttering!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Allow Me to Introduce Myself!

Okay, I'm new to blogging, thrifting, organizing and style!  Kind of a recipe for disaster, since this blog is about about organizing and style (by way of thrifting), don't ya think?  ;)

So, the basics, right?  Well, my name is Nicci and I'm a SAHM to two sons(9 and 10).  My husband of nearly 12 years is in the service and is a year away from retirement.  We're deciding where to live when it's all said and done.  Very exciting!  I'm a bit of a pack rat and clutter is my nemesis.  I recently lost 70 pounds and now I'm trying to figure out my personal style.  Before the weight loss, my style goal was pretty much to hide and blend into the background as much as possible.  My nature is shy, but I'm trying to find my way into being a bit more present in my life.

Chances are you won't see fantastic before and afters of my sprawling well decorated home because, well, it's neither sprawling nor well decorated.  My goal this year is to declutter on a daily basis.  I'd like to get rid of one thing (toss, donate, sell?) each day.  I don't know if it's a realistic goal or not, but we'll find out!

Additionally, I'm going to start thrifting.  I had made this decision sometime in December and thought it would be a good goal for the new year.  As much clutter as I have, I still don't have everything I need.  Be it clothes, kitchen ware, things for my boys or maybe even some creative organizational ideas, I'm hoping to find it via thrifting.  Or bargain hunting, I'm okay with that too!  ;)

Thanks for taking the time to read along and I'm looking forward to starting (and documenting) this journey!