Monday, September 18, 2017

Get Thrifty: Our Thrifty Fall Fashion Week

The arrival of September has my attention turning once again to fashion. It fills my instagram feed, it makes the magazines of the month that much bigger. And much like back to school, I feel like I would like to go clothes shopping! But these days I try and be a little more purposeful about how and where I spend my money. And an easy and fun way I do is by thrifting. 

There are a couple of items that we always seem to be on the lookout for when we go. And some that are especially timely this Fall. I'll break down the things we have been having luck with and what we look for!

1. Denim  This is something we are almost always looking at in one form or another. Sam has found some incredible Levi's that fit in the best way possible. Recently I was pining over a denim duster I found in the Madewell catalog similar to one I had in the 90's. Figuring it didn't make sense to pay close to $200 for something I had been there for the first time around I was happy to see we could copy by taking a denim dress, unbuttoning it and throwing it over like a coat! I think it's a pretty great copy for about $10! 

2. Camo  I have to say I look for this print year round as it's a person favorite. But I find it's a perennial favorite of the fashion crowd and it seems to be cropping up again this year. It's almost a no-brainer to find the coats in the men's section. And Sam found a crazy felt like pair of orange print pants recently that were so much fun! I have a coat that I have considered adding a patch or embroidery, but for now it's great. It's similar to the one in the photo of Sarah Rutson below. And though it wouldn't seem like it, it goes with so much. I really like it paired with stripes. 

3. Handbags  I have found so many fun vintage bags while thrifting I have built a mini collection. The most recent one is a Dooney & Burke one similar to one my sister had when we were growing up. It was less than $25 and is a great little cross-body. A classic leather handbag will never go out of style, go with everything and if taken care of can be passed on. If you like to dress them up you can tie a scarf to them or find the cute little clips with pom-pom on them to give them a little personality! 

4. Shoes I can almost never pass up the shoe racks at any store...can you? And I find the thrift stores to be no exception. I have found two sets of shoes that have been more than surprising. The first is a pair that say they are Hermes. I have no reason to disbelieve them, though I have done no real digging. Either way they are in leopard, a favorite of mine and incredibly comfortable. And as I consider leopard a neutral, they are perfection. 

The other smashing find are a pair of Italian leather J.Crew flats in a crazy sherbet orange that make me all kinds of happy. I had to make it a point to take a photo of them on a festive rug just to do them credit! J. Crew has a hashtag #shinyponies and I think these fit the bill of being a mood-lifting, gorgeous shoe! 

These are some of the usual suspects we look for when we thrift, though we always keep our eyes open for the unusual, never seen before statement pieces. The last time we went we bought Samantha a bright pink prom dress just because we couldn't leave it behind! 

Do you thrift? Is there anything you go looking for? Do you have any questions about it, or anything you want me to keep my eyes open for? I love the hunt! Let me know! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Getting Rid of Stuff

I promise that I will mix some other blog posts in with all these "deep thought" posts soon...I hope to have some fun thrifting, seasonal, and other posts coming. In the meantime I guess I have a lot of things that I want to talk about with you all. Here is the latest. 

This is not going to be a pretty, aspirational post. It was something I didn't even think I wanted to take part in. A garage sale. Steve is the child of a life-long garage sale veteran and while I love going to them I HATE  having them. It just seems to be so awkward having people go thru your stuff, judging you and paying you for the things you want to get rid of. Surprisingly, this day turned out so much better than that. 

Steve talked me into taking part by helping me clean out our storage. This house is small, but has two storage areas down the length of both sides of our upstairs. We were married in the 90's which seems to be the time when it was important to acquire. And we were good at it. And while we stopped using these things, we kept them in storage waiting until we found the time to use them again. But that time never seemed to come.

So we finally decided to get rid of the stuff that no longer has a hold on us. And it feels so freeing. We seemed to change our priorities a while back about how and what we buy, but we never addressed the things we already had. And the way we feel about our "stuff" has changed a lot over the years. We now feel like if we don't use something more that once a year it should probably go. And if it doesn't give us joy, it should probably go. Even if it was a gift, and we don't love it, it should probably go.

And it leaves us feeling less burdened by our stuff. And the stuff we sold will work for us by going toward a trip (like the one we are on above to Arizona from last year). We will continue to pare down and give to Value Village or Goodwill. I hope we will be able to find the point where we have the perfect balance of things. Until then we will keep working at it. I have been keeping the following quote in mind until we get there. 

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

William Morris

Monday, September 4, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Perspective & Connection

Labor Day weekend may seem like a weird time to be sitting down to some deep thoughts. But there is so much going on in the world, both good and bad that I wanted to sit down and talk about perspective and connection. Once of the reasons I started this blog was to have a connection and conversation with others. Hopefully this would hopefully lead to bigger understanding for me and maybe others. 

Years back when I was talking about this new thing I was all into reading called blogs a friend asked why I would read something written by people I don't even know. I didn't have the quick answer at the time but now I do. If I stay in my little group of people that think like me, have experiences like me, where will the change and challenges come from? Since then I have been purposely looking for challenges to my perspective. Following are a few of those steps. 

Read. I have learned so much about our shameful history and have a much bigger understanding of what is going on in our present thanks to reading. There is so much to be said about reading someones firsthand account of what it felt like to walk in their shoes. Or a well written fictional account of a horrific time in our not so distant past. 

Travel. If you have the opportunity to travel I would take it. Steve and I took a trip some time ago and I found it to be an eye opener. It was to Georgia for a peanut tour (funny, right? He worked in peanut butter manufacturing at the time!). We occasionally found ourselves in areas where we were the minority which was a discomfiting feeling at best. It felt like something that was important to experience.

Talk. My girls have educated me so much on the gender changes that have taken place. I still struggle with pronouns but find myself much more sensitive to it with people.  I find my husband to sweetly be trying his best as well. I grew up with guy friends wearing make up and nail polish so it doesn't feel shocking in any way. It's just a change that we are learning to navigate. 

Experience. I love a good trip to a museum. I am alway surprised how changed I can feel when I come a way from a visit. From experiencing sculpture and interactive exhibits to photography, I love experiencing the world thru another persons eyes. And art is one way that comes the closest for me to doing so. Reading what their viewpoint or reasons were, and then seeing it in person is pretty much a charge for me. And then talking about it with almost makes me wish I was back in my college art classes! 

Connect. I have been so incredibly happy at the connections I have made both in real life and thru social media. I have had meaningful conversations thru snapchat with people like Moorea Seal that I admire. I have been gifted with smart words on Brandi Kincaid's instagram just when they were needed. And I have found hazel + scouts blog post full of important steps to take in the war on racism. Most recently I found a list of helpful places to give in the wake of the disaster in Texas on Stephanie Howell's blog

My world feels bigger because of this. And I hope I am a different person because of conversations I am having in real life and because of the things I am reading, experiencing, hearing about and doing. How do you feel about perspective? How do you build a connection to the world at large? I am always working on making mine bigger and would love more pointers! 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Field Trip: Camping with Hipcamp

Are you going camping this coming weekend? We were able to get our one camping trip in this summer thanks to a friend of ours and a new system called Hipcamp! She booked the trip on a Tuesday and we were camping Saturday night! The bummer part was she was unable to join us. The best part was Steve was available to join us. 

I equate Hipcamp with Airbnb. It's a similar idea with camping. You sign up, put in your dates and locations and find your spot. We ended up at a space called Forests, Fields, & Creek - Oh My! near Concrete, WA. 

 It was an organic farm on acreage with a funky, relaxed vibe. Chickens running around, an old dog, and a cat that joined us a dinner time. We were one of several groups camping there that evening. 

Knowing that there was an expectation of rain in the night we set up in one of the areas in the woods. They had casual clearings in various spaces including the woods near the meadow where we set up. If we were feeling like hauling our stuff further they had sites cleared near a creek. We could have chosen to camp directly on the water! 

The day was gorgeous, the water was wonderful to explore. It couldn't have been a more tranquil setting so close to home. It felt like the middle of nowhere. 

We spent as much time as possible at the water. Just taking a deep breath. Making the time count. It's easy to forget the beauty of the area when you get taken in by your routine. 

The cool thing about the website is that you can choose your amenities, area, price and even lodging. There are campsites, yurts, and even treehouses! We brought our own water and were prepared to take our trash with us, though there was a receptacle. Unfortunately there is a burn ban so there was no chance of a fire. And the outhouses were comfortable enough. 

And then there are sweet surprises. There was a honor system table with fresh veggies and eggs available. There were hula hoops and a net available to play badminton. Room to roam and chill. 

We made a typical camping meal including s'mores (cooked over the camping stove!) and a couple of drinks refreshed with the addition of Baileys! 

So, I could leave this social media perfect and end this right here. The reality is that it started raining about 11pm and didn't stop. And though the rain never got into the tent the noise made me ready to pack up and leave by midnight. We held out until 7am, where we were packed and ready to go home by 7:30. 

We are already talking about the next time we will try Hipcamp. Steve got wind of a site on a   sheep camp where they create cheese! Animals and cheese? We are so in! Have you ever tried the site? What have you found if you have? 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Be Right Back!

I will be back next week with a new post! Hope you are careful and enjoy the eclipse if you are watching today! Talk soon! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Field Trip: Garbage & Blondie in Raleigh, North Carolina

It all started with a text..."What are you doing on August 5th?" No plans on my part ending up meaning a BIG adventure with my friend Pam Selle. Flying out on a Friday to go to Raleigh, NC for a concert with Garbage and Blondie! All her treat! Really? 

How does this kind of thing happen? I have known Pam since college. Stood with her during her first marriage. She has hugged on our babies. Shared with my married friends about her dating/lifestyle that looks a lot different than theirs. And that's what I value about her. That we can appreciate our differences. And connect over our similarities. Like our love for music! 

So, off we went on a red eye on Friday evening! Which led to us arriving in Raleigh on Saturday morning. Thankfully we were able to get an early check in after grabbing a coffee and we hit the bed for a "nap!" Then I awoke to Pam telling me that we had an "appointment" with Shirley Manson. I was still groggy and had no idea what she was talking about. 

Turns out she had set us up with an extra VIP experience with Garbage. It started with watching the soundcheck of the band with a small group of others, then we were able to take part in a question and answer session with the band. They were incredibly well spoken and had a lot to say on the state of rock music today, bands they love, and the difficulties they have had as a band. They are warm, funny and easy to connect with. It makes me a bigger fan then ever. And seeing a woman in rock that is my age is inspiring as hell! 

And then photos with the band! There was a lot of teasing and easiness between the fans and the band! And this is where Shirley told Pam she was crazy...which she is. And I am still in shock...! We left the meet and greet with an arm full of goodies. A signed book, a signed set list, a set of drumsticks, and a couple of guitar picks! I'm feeling pretty spoiled at this point. 

But it wasn't over. Because Pam bought us front row seats we were given a wristband that allowed us to stand on the barricade with no one bugging us. We were able to just stand thru the entire show and enjoy unobstructed views. I've been on the barricade before at a crowded show and this was heaven! 

The show was held at the Red Hat Amphitheater and though you would expect it to be hot and humid it was perfect, with a breeze coming thru, the sun going down, and a full moon rising.  The venue just added to the evening. Watching Duke Erikson work his guitar (and catching another guitar pick!) was amazing! 

And then, the Queen. I would never thought I would get the chance to see Debbie Harry in person. Much less up close. She actually waved to us at one point. I think I died a couple of deaths. She sounds amazing! And she is crazy sexy at 72! I can only hope to be so cool. 

Hearing the songs I grew up with...'Hanging on the Telephone,' 'The Tide is High,' and of course 'Heart of Glass' was amazing. I may have screamed and fan-girled a lot! What a rush to see some incredible, women led bands up close. 

Then it was back to the hotel lobby to have a drink and a snack and review the night before we hit the hay to get ready for a day of travel back home. It was a quick and crazy weekend and I have to admit it took me some time to recover. But it was so worth it. And I am so grateful to Pam to taking her love of sharing music with friends and treating me! It was an incredible, inspiring weekend! 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Guest Blogger: Sam on how to Support Your Senior

I'm recovering from a crazy adventure that I will be sharing soon. In the meantime I asked our daughter Sam to do a guest blog post. It was a stretch coming up with a topic that would be interesting for her to write, and meaningful for you guys to read. This is what we came up with! Hope you enjoy! 

Hello y'all! It's your girl Sam here to guest blog...You may have seen me in many previous blog posts but you have yet to hear my voice. So here's a little bit of what I've got to say for you all! We came up with five things we thought would be helpful in this coming senior year. So here we go! 

1. Let's talk curfew and freedom:  

First of all, let's start taking baby steps into the freedom I will be surrounded by when I leave. I understand the need for a curfew and the reasons for it. I'm hoping we can extend it, or include a little more leniency with it. Doesn't it makes sense for me to get used to these freedoms now, knowing there is still a safety net? 

2. Don't be melodramatic

I know that next year is going to be a lot of "lasts" for all of us. I for sure know this, it's in my mind that a lot is going to be changing. I don't need to reminding me. I'm already feeling stressed as it is, without you poking at me. Capture the moments, take the pictures, but lets all enjoy the moments and be present in them. 

3. Be a support when asked

I am not very good at asking for help. When I do ask you, again please don't be melodramatic. Just be there for me. It's a learning curve for all of us. I'm just as new to this as you guys are. Let's communicate clearly what expectations are, and who is dealing with what. 

4. Validate meeeeee!

I'm still shaky on a lot of decisions, so I need even the silliest of my suggestions to be given some weight. Please help me process things out loud. Some thoughts might sound wild, but lets not rule anything out. There is a lot for me to figure out right now, and I need you to inspire a little confidence in my decision making! 

5. Not all work! Some play! 

There is going to be a lot of things coming at me this year! Let me not forget to breathe a little bit. Let's make sure to have fun in the midst of all the big decision making. Help me take a step back when I'm obviously overwhelmed!