For the Love of Thrift

thrift-shop

Through the years, I’ve been known to visit a thrift store or two in search of a Halloween costume, a good book, a coffee table or a flower vase because the prices are too good to be true. However, it wasn’t until recently that I became obsessed with shopping there on a more regular basis. I still shop at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s — of course, sifting through the sale racks mostly, but nothing compares to finding an adorable antique china plate to then use as a ring dish, for only 96 cents!!! Unbelievable! Or finding a brand new set of mini candles from Archipelago to gift to a friend.

I have scoured our local thrift stores and Good Will locations to find perfectly good gifts for friends and family, home decor for my condo, kitchen items, clothing, and TONS of books. The possibilities are endless for what one can find at a thrift store. I love the hunt and not knowing what you’ll find at each location, since inventory changes daily.  Also, I love donating my gently used items to thrift stores and giving back to the community, knowing that someone else will enjoy these items, too.  So what’s not to love about saving money and finding awesome items at the same time?

Here are my thrifting tips to make sure you don’t leave empty handed:

  • Shop with an open mind.
    • You never know what you’ll find until you’re in the store. For example, my local thrift store recently sold herbs for 50 cents a pop! I don’t have any garden space, nor do I have any flowers in my condo. So I never would have thought that I’d leave the store with a basil plant, but I did! It was such a good deal! (The plant still lives and is easy to take care of and has garnished a few of our dinners.)
  • Ensure that you have plenty of time to shop.
    • I need to have at least 1-hour to roam the aisles and casually stroll through the racks to get a good look at the inventory. So I’ll only go when I know I have sufficient time to leisurely walk through the store and not be pressured by time for another appointment.
  • Pay attention to the tag sales of the day.
    • Usually, when you walk into a thrift store, they have sales on certain items depending upon the day. That way you’ll know that the blue tagged items are 15% off that day and you can expect an extra discount at the counter. Woohoo!
  • Follow stores on social media.
    • I follow my local thrifts online and receive their monthly online newsletters. Not only are these helpful memos about what’s going on at each location, but they almost always have further discounts for your next trip to the store. (i.e. 15% off your next purchase during the month of June.)
  • Get artsy!
    • I have purchased a few items to re-purpose around the house (thanks, Pinterest!) . My coffee table cost $7 from the thrift store and I went to Michael’s Crafts to make my own chalk paint (left over paint, plaster of Paris, water, glass container, paintbrush. Simple!)  I also added a sticker stencil to the top (Keep Calm and Carry On) and it looks great. Also, when I tire of this table, I can either repaint it or donate it and get another thrifted table and not spend a fortune. How great is that? There’s endless possibilities to what you can do to the existing items and what you can create.
  • Most importantly: HAVE FUN! Shopping is always fun and sifting through the many racks of clothes or reading the titles of hundreds of books at a thirft store to find THE ONE, is amazing. And the prices just can’t be beat. If I could make a living out of thrifting, I would.

Happy shopping!

xoxo, A

 

One Year Later

Hello, friends. It’s been almost one full year since my last post. My excuse for the lack of posts: life.

When we last spoke, I was preparing for my wedding. My black and white themed wedding went off without a hitch. I went on not one, but TWO honeymoons. I started a job and ended that very same job — not by choice. I moved in with my husband and officially took his name (such a pain to do!) I started to run and actually ENJOY it — yes, you heard that correctly.  Life indeed happened this past year.

So what am I up to these days?  Although I’m currently seeking employment (again!?,) I’m also planning lots of yummy meals for my husband, reading books from my Goodreads.com list, tanning in the summer sun — with SPF 50, of course!, running in the a.m., thrifting for the perfect kitchen items, gifts, books and home decor, house hunting, catching up with friends who now have babies, blogging for a fashion site dedicated to Kate Middleton (woohoo!,) and spending time with family.

I would say I’m pretty happy.

  • Quote of the Day

Being happy never goes out of style.

– Lilly Pulitzer

xoxo, A

You Can Dance, You Can Jive

I like to make lists; duh, you should know this already!  So in preparation for my upcoming nuptials, I’ve put together a playlist of old and new songs to enjoy on the big day while I’m getting ready with my bridesmaids… I cannot wait to sip some champagne (pronounced sham-pag-na!), dance around the hotel room with my BFFs, and wear my awesome wedding dress (AND of course, spend the rest of my life with my fiance!):

engagement-ring

Wedding Day Bridal Prep Playlist

  • Abba – Dancing Queen
  • Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer
  • The Beatles – All You Need is Love
  • Blondie – The Tide is High
  • Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round
  • The Dixie Cups – Going to the Chapel of Love
  • Etta James – At Last
  • Jimmy Buffett – Margaritaville
  • Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
  • Kellie Pickler – Red High Heels
  • The Kinks – Lola
  • Dixie Chicks – Landslide
  • Lady Gaga – Just Dance
  • Lionel Richie – All Night Long
  • M.I.A. – Paper Planes
  • Madonna – Dress You Up
  • Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
  • Michael Jackson – P.Y.T.
  • Hanson – MMMBop
  • Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagonwheel
  • Michael Buble – Save the Last Dance for Me
  • The Police – Message in a Bottle
  • Taylor Swift – Shake It Off
  • Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline
  • The Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams
  • Oasis – Wonderwall
  • Dionne Warwick – Wishin’ and Hopin’
  • Grease – You Are the One That I Want
  • KC and the Sunshine Band – Get Down Tonight
  • Pharrell Williams – Happy
  • Stevie Wonder – Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours
  • Quote of the Day

Mawwiage. That bwessed awwaingement. That dweam wivvin a dweam. And wuv, twue wuv, wiww fowwow you fowevah and evah.

The Princess Bride

Here’s to you happy, dancing queens!!

xoxo, A

I Am a Bookworm

books

I love reading books, perusing bookstores, and finding the perfect read at my local library.  If I could make a living reading books, I would do that… anyone know how?  This intense desire to always have my nose in a book may be due to the fact that my grandmother is a librarian!! It’s awesome that my fiance loves to read and that almost every weekend, we find time to read and also visit a bookstore; although, he prefers non-fiction while I love fiction books. I would love to own a used book store one day, so that got me thinking: what would I name my bookstore? Here’s my top ten list of name ideas for my future bookstore:

1. Between the Pages Book Society

2. The Crowned Owl

3. Page Turners

4. Under the Oaks Books

5. The Bookery

6. Lost and Found Book Co.

7. Twice as Nice Books

8. Bookends

9. Cherished Books

10. A Novel Idea Booksellers

What would you name your bookstore?

  • Quote of the Day

I love books. I love that moment when you open one and sink into it. You can escape from the world, into a story that’s way more interesting than yours will ever be.

– Elizabeth Scott

Dust off that old book… you never know, you may learn something or you may even visit a place you never knew existed!

xoxo, A

Hummus is Yumm-us!

As mentioned, I ❤ hummus! It’s tasty as a spread on cheese and crackers, a dip for veggies, a dollop on a salad, and a layer on sandwiches, among others.  I first tried this yummy dip in college and ever since then, I’ve been hooked.  This dip has certainly gained popularity in the US for many of its surprising health benefits:

1.  Weight Management — There’s a ton of protein in hummus; thus, your hunger cravings could decrease and the iron content from the chickpeas could boost energy. (http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/weight-loss/eating/weight-loss-foods/)

2.  Lowers Cholesterol — Studies show that people who eat chickpeas (the main ingredient in hummus) reduce their cholesterol levels slightly than those who only attain fiber from wheat products.  (http://www.everydayhealth.com/high-cholesterol-pictures/the-best-snacks-for-lowering-cholesterol.aspx#04)

3.  Increases Vitamin Intake— Folate, vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B-6 are all found within a serving of hummus.  Folate can reduce your risk of colorectal cancers.   (http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-hummus-4608.html)

4.  Part of the Mediterranean Diet — People in the Mediterranean eat lots of beans, whole grains, fish, fruit and healthy fats.  They tend to lead longer, healthier lives than many Americans.  We should follow in the Meditteranean’s footsteps… they also drink wine daily, so what’s not to like?  (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/health/mediterranean-diet-can-cut-heart-disease-study-finds.html?_r=0)

After all this talk of hummus, let’s make some!  Here’s my homemade recipe, sure to be a hit at your next summer BBQ:

Hummus

Ingredients

garlic cloves, as many as desired (I like garlic, so I used about 5 cloves)

2 cups of chickpeas, drained

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/3 cup tahini

juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons water

garnish: paprika and parsley

hummus1

Directions

In the food processor, add your garlic and chop until minced then add remaining ingredients.

hummus2

Most store versions of hummus are smooth, but this recipe comes out a little more chunky, so don’t be alarmed!

hummus3

Once blended to your preferred thickness, place in bowl and top with a sprinkle of paprika and parsley.  The dip will last for about 3-4 days in your refrigerator.  Enjoy!

hummus4

  • Quote of the Day

My diet is the Mediterranean diet, which is good food.  I eat well.

– Penelope Cruz

Wishing you thoughts of a Mediterranean escape, full of sun, sights and yummy food!

xoxo, A

A Gray Monday

It’s Monday and unlike most, I’m not feeling the blues, rather I’m feeling gray (or grey, depending on your preference.)   I have a propensity to view things as mostly black or white, right or wrong, A or Z.  Staying in the lines and within the rules — that’s me to a T.  In the past, rarely did I feel there was an in-between or a gray area to the black and white world I was so accustomed.  However, over the years, I’ve learned that there are other ways to see and do things that I may not have believed in the past — and that area is called GRAY.   I now see it everywhere, from clothing to food to nature to… so many things, the list goes on.  The color itself is masculine and feminine and exudes a calming aura.  To me, living a gray life equals a balanced life. Gray doesn’t always have to be associated with drab and depressing; it can be a good thing, too. Below is some inspiration to remind ourselves that not everything is as black and white as it may seem:

graygray2

  • Quote of the Day

The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.

Arnold Palmer

Happy exploring and enjoying the gray life!

xoxo, A

A Royal Baby

The only news that has me glued to social media and the TV the past few days is the birth of Britain’s new princess!!  I am so excited and happy for William and Kate as they bring home their new addition to the family.  I love the name Charlotte, as it’s perfect for a princess and certainly has much meaning to the family:

  • It’s the feminine version of her grandfather’s name, Charles
  • Her aunt, Pippa, was given this name as her middle name
  • King George III’s wife was named Charlotte

The name is also known for:

  • Princess Charlotte Casiraghi, Grace Kelly’s granddaughter
  • Charlotte the spider from Charlotte’s Web
  • Famous opera singer, Charlotte Church
  • The author of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, women’s civil rights leader

I cannot (well, actually, I can!) believe how well Kate looked in her yellow dress after the birth on the steps of the Lindo Wing, just 11 hours after delivering her daughter — does she ever take a terrible photo?  I don’t think so.  I’d love to know if she even owns a pair of sweatpants!?!

Here’s a photo of her birth certificate, released today via Kensington Palace’s Twitter account:royal-baby-birth-certificateBest of luck to the family.  I sure cannot wait for more updates!

  • Quote of the Day

And though she be but little, she be fierce.

William Shakespeare

xoxo, A