Thursday, October 30, 2014

One Year Ago

This day a year ago started out as any other ordinary day. I went to work and then went home. I went on a run and my then boyfriend M asked if I wanted to go to dinner since he was on my side of town.

I had no idea that he was planning anything and I was completely surprised.
 
 
 
You can go back and read the whole story if you'd like. Let's just say it involved a turkey hat (pictured below) and a Target parking lot. One year ago today M asked me to marry him.
 
 
It's been a whirlwind of a year but I've loved every minute of it. Happy Engagiversary, M! (Yes, and if you are doing the math, we planned a wedding and got married in 6 months. Whoo hoo!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Tips & Last Minute Costume Ideas

Halloween is in 2 days!

While I've not always been the biggest Halloween fan, I do enjoy dressing up and handing out candy. Over the years, I've had a few re-post worthy blog posts about Halloween on TSF as well. Here are a few Halloween tips and some last minute costume ideas...in case my Grumpy Cat idea from Monday wasn't your cup of tea...

If you are planning to hand out candy...

1. Don't be the janky Halloween candy house.
2. Turn your porch light on...duh.
3. Do not hide on your front porch to try and scare the trick-or-treaters. More people are carrying concealed weapons these days so you just mind find yourself in trouble.
4. Commit to handing out candy to kids. If you just put a bowl on your porch and leave it will be emptied in about 2 seconds and then kids will trek up to your door only to find an empty bowl. This could even result in some Halloween mischief with older kids.


If you haven't figured out your costume...

Click here and here to see some Halloween costume ideas that you can put together from things you might already have. If those don't suit you, this Buzzfeed article has some great ideas!


If you are NOT planning to hand out candy...

DO NOT turn your porch light on. Seriously. The more lit your house is, the more likely you'll get a stray visitor or two. Make the front of your house as dark as possible so there is no question. I've learned this lesson the hard way and got 3 random people at my house. I didn't have candy for them and the look on the kids' faces...devastation.

Final word of advice: under no circumstances should you ever dress up your child like this.

 
Yes, that is me on the left. And that is literally the scariest costume ensemble I've ever seen. For the sake of all that is holy, put DOWN the clown costumes for your children. Or photos like these will haunt your dreams.
 
And yes, I blurred the face of the girl on the left because..she probably doesn't want evidence that witnessed that terrifying costume.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2014

2014 Halloween Costume

This weekend I went to a Halloween party at a friend's house. This year I had a hard time coming up with a costume. I don't like to spend a lot of money and I don't want to be something basic like a witch or a vampire. I like being costumes that make people laugh, smile or both! In the past, I've enjoyed being inanimate objects, double entendrees, animals and a celebrity. This year I was pretty set on this one costume idea and even went as far as borrowing the outfit for it. But on Thursday afternoon, I thought about it and wasn't really feeling it. I browsed around on Pinterest, my favorite inspiration source for Halloween costume ideas, and was inspired to be...

 
 
Here's a side-by-side comparison of me with the actual Grumpy Cat "aka" Tardar Sauce.

 
 
Like last year's costume, this one was more about the makeup than anything else. I just wore a black shirt, jeans and a faux fur vest that I had that just happened to be sort of Grumpy Cat colored. I bought the cat ears and a cat tail from a party store. So, for less than $20, I had a great costume!
 
The makeup was inspired by this picture on Pinterest. The makeup is some white costume/Halloween makeup plus lots and lot of bronzer and brown eyeshadows. The pink on the nose and the accentuation of the frown were all done with a little blush. The whiskers were the white makeup drawn on with a thin liner makeup brush. At the last minute, I decided to add a little sign to emphasize the grumpiness of my costume and I think it went over well. It says "I Hate Halloween. And you."

I loved being Grumpy Cat. But it was hard to try and stay grumpy or frown the whole night...so I just did it for pictures. HA!

After a doe last year and Grumpy Cat this year, who knows what sort of animal I'll decide on for next year! :)

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2014

I Pledge to Not Shop on Thanksgiving


A blog friend wrote a great post this week about shopping on what is now being dubbed as "Black Thursday". I'm taking excerpts from her original post and adding some of my own thoughts in today's post. :)

First of all, I will cut whoever invented the name "Black Thursday". No. Just no. It's Thanksgiving. Not Black Thursday. That irks me to no end because it's completely removing the meaning/spirit behind the holiday that symbolizes thankfulness, family and humility and replacing it with a consumeristic term that is equated with greed, materialism and anxiety.

It's been a going trend over the last few years for stores to open earlier and earlier for "Black Friday" which is now just being open on Thanksgiving. This is so not cool. Why? Because Thanksgiving is a holiday meant to be celebrated with friends and family. It's a day to rest, relax and refresh...AND...stuff yourself with food. But if you're shopping on Thanksgiving, that means someone is working on Thanksgiving. Someone is not able to spend time with their loved ones because they are ringing up your blu-ray player that you are buying for $20 or those boots that you just HAD to have.

I whole-heartedly agree with Steph on this:

I like shopping as much as the next person. And I love love love a good deal. Do I need the good deal so badly that I'd sacrifice my lazy Thanksgiving night in my pajamas with my family? Not on your life. Even in years when money was tight, I wouldn't consider it - because time with my people is worth more than a material gift. As for those crazy must have kid gifts, they'll live if they don't get it - I did and you did too. I'm sure they'd rather have the memory of a full relaxing day and night with their parents than the gift they'll forget by the time they're 18. And if you're going out after they're in bed, that doesn't mean the lady ringing you up at Toys R Us isn't missing out on a night home with her older kids who are still up.

What's wrong with us as a society? We need to stop being consumers first and humans second. If none of us showed up at the stores, they'd stop opening on Thanksgiving and taking people away from their families.


I know people that work in retail. And I know that for a lot of them, Thanksgiving isn't a special day. It's actually a day that people in retail dread because it brings out droves of people demanding things, pushing and acting anything other than "thankful". And even though people in retail have come to expect to have to work on Thanksgiving now, it wasn't always like this. I can remember the first year that a mall decided to open at 5 am on Black Friday for specials. That was a big deal. Now? Retailers start their "Black Friday Specials" at 3 pm on Thanksgiving. When is it going to stop?

The answer is, it won't. It won't unless we, as consumers, decide to take action. As Steph says...
Vote with your wallet! Stay home on Thanksgiving and enjoy your family and some late night turkey to fortify yourself for the Black Friday shopping you may or may not do. Start shopping now to spread out your spending so you don't need to be out on Thanksgiving doing it. If you need an activity or are alone that night, visit friends, take a walk, binge watch a show you've been wanting to see, or consider volunteering to help those in need. I'd rather vacuum my furniture to give me something to do over going to a store where my presence takes someone away from their family and friends. "So I want to go shopping, so what?" So stop thinking of only yourself.

What's an easy way to vote with your wallet? By shopping at these retailers who have taken a stand against opening on Thanksgiving. (source)

DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
Costco
Nordstrom
Publix
Pier 1 Imports
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
BJ's Wholesale Club
Gordmans
Crate and Barrel
T.J.Maxx
Marshall's
Sierra Trading PostDillard's
HomeGoods
Barnes & Noble
Publix
Burlington Coat Factory
American Girl
REI

And by NOT shopping at retailers who are open on Thanksgiving:

Walmart
Target
Sears
Toys ''R'' Us
Best Buy
Macy's
Big Lots
Shoe Carnival
Kmart
Michaels Stores

I can't think of a better way to close this post than with this quote from Time.com...

Black Thursday is a loser for everyone. Retailers say it dilutes the actual shopping weekend around Black Friday, "cannibalizing" sales that would already take place later in the shopping season. It ruins the holidays for store employees an...d it enables Americans to forget those things they're thankful for and instead lust for material items.
 
ADDENDUM:
I put these comments on FB when I posted this link and felt they also needed to be included with the post for those who are just now reading. Edited to make sense to this post and so as not to appear in response to a comment. (which it originally was)

I understand that working on holidays isn't just limited to retail workers...and some people working on Thanksgiving or any holiday is simply unavoidable. (Healthcare workers, systems/infrastructure employees, military/police, etc.) These people must work to keep things running and to keep people safe. BUT retail shopping is completely unnecessary and avoidable. If there wasn't a demand for a store to open, they wouldn't open. The same with restaurants. Not necessary to sustain life! I realize that my not shopping alone has zero impact on this trend, but I would hope that others who feel the same way might choose to do the same.

I'm not trying to start a grassroots movement here...just sharing my own thoughts for why I will be at home in my yoga pants all day Thursday! :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Coping With My Couponing Obsession

First of all, I've only been couponing for about a month. I'm not anything like the people on Extreme Couponers. I do use coupons and I do have a coupon notebook with clear plastic holders to organize my coupons. But the most of any one thing I've ever bought at a time is 4.

I call it "couponing for normal people". While I'm sure I'll use 27 laundry detergents or 421 toothbrushes in my lifetime, I don't have the room to store all of that stuff right now. So, I buy a few of one item when a deal is great. Or, I'll just buy one of an item and continue to buy it whenever it goes on sale.

With that being said, I have reached a point in my couponing journey that I've developed enough of a stockpile to stop buying certain items. A true couponer would tell you that when your supply of an item gets below like 20 then you should stock up...for me...I usually don't have more than 4-5 of anything at one time.

This works for me. I'm still getting good deals but I'm not overrun with inventory. Anywho...all that to say that now it's become a rush for me to see how much my grocery bill goes down each time after my coupons are scanned. Just last night I hit up my local Harris Teeter to take advantage of the last night of Super Double coupons and my grocery bill went from $75 to $42 just from coupons. Insane! It's kind of like a runner's high. Or what I would imagine a runner's high to be??

Here's a fairly recent picture of my "stockpile", minus a few items I purchased last night. It's not nearly as organized as I'd like it to be...that may be a weekend project. This is one part of my upstairs linen closet. I might get some of those flat board things from The Container Store to put on the shelves so the items don't fall down in between the wire slats. Is that crossing a line? HAHA.



To combat my couponing obsession, I'm only allowed to clip coupons for things that I still need. I currently have about a 1 year supply of laundry detergent, shampoo, toothpaste (hidden to the left of the Tresemme shampoo), deoderant, tissues, lotion, razors (hidden behind the Listerine) and hand/bathroom soap. I have about a 6 month supply of toilet paper, paper towels, Lysol wipes and body wash. So I'm not clipping coupons for any of the items listed above until I use these items. As a wise M said, "you won't save money until you start using all of these items". If I keep buying, I'll never use them and take advantage of the savings from buying them on sale and with coupons (as opposed to paying full price).


Another way I'm coping with my couponing obsession is only clipping coupons for name brand things we use...and still buying generic if it's cheaper. In most cases, a sale + coupons (often doubled) on a namebrand is cheaper than the generic. But if it isn't, I don't buy it. That's not a good enough deal. And then I also only clip coupons for the items we exclusively buy the namebrand of. (Deoderant, toilet paper, etc.)

Has my couponing gotten out of hand? Maybe. But hopefully I'll really get into a groove where I'm savvy enough to know what is and what isn't worth it and when the deals are the absolute best. I've joined a few FB groups/pages that post great deals and coupon matchups with sales. And my new favorite email every week is the Harris Teeter weekly deals email. Either I've become obsessed with couponing/sales or I'm just getting older?

These are some of the ways I cope with my couponing obsession. Do you use coupons?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Current Fashion Obsession: Coatigans

You might call them sweater coats or wrap sweaters...but I call them awesome. I think the official term for them is Coatigan (coat + cardigan) and thank you to my Memaw for informing me of the name!

These are a huge fashion trend this season and are so comfy looking. I can totally picture these with some jeans or leggings and boots. Something about them just makes me want to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate and watch football...or a Christmas movie.:)

What is a coatigan? In essence, a long sweater that may or may not have any front closures on it. They tend to be a chunkier knit and don't have a lot of structure. Pairing these with a more slim fit on the bottom is the best look. (think skinny jeans or leggings/jeggings) Boots, booties or even some really cute loafers would be great with this look. A chunkier knit/loose fit is better with a more substantial shoe...so I wouldn't really do ballet flats with this look.

Are you jumping on the coatigan train?

Here are some great budget-friendly coatigans: Target, Old Navy, Old Navy, Forever 21Forever 21, Forever 21+, Target +

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fashion Finds: Old Navy

Old Navy used to be one of my go-to stores. Now, it's a bit more hit-or-miss. I like to buy work-appropriate clothing there and usually their dresses and skirts are some of my favorites. They have some really cute items right now and a lot of them are on sale. Here are some of my favorites.

 
I feel like this is the "normal person" version of a tulle ballet skirt. (Which I absolutely adore...but know I could never pull it off. It is not for those graced with larger hips.)
 
 
I own one very similar to this that is navy and textured and I'm obsessed with it. This appears to be the same dress but with a different fabric. This dress is universally flattering and could be worn in almost any season. (Tights + boots+ cardigan in cold temps and with sandals like in the picture above in warmer temps.) Bonus...it's a neutral! So I can wear any of my statement necklaces with it! :)
 
 
I'm obsessed with peplum and this shirt looks like the perfect color and fit! It also comes in black and would be so cute under a cardigan for fall.
 
 
 
I LOVE this and it's a nice alternative to the more expensive versions from Banana and JCrew. It's really a very versatile layering piece.
 
 
I love this! It's totally cute for work or with jeans and a tee on the weekend. It also comes in gray.
 
Do you ever shop at Old Navy?
 
 
 

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