Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

I'm sending warm wishes to all of you a wonderful and safe start to the New Year.

2013 was a challenging year for my family, but I am grateful for every experience and tiny bump, or giant mountain in the road.  I keep pushing forward and tell my sons (always) to do the same, no matter what blessings or setbacks we encounter.

Usually, I'm dancing in the New Year, but his year, I opted for a quite evening at home; changing some things in my home, beautifying my home and preparing anew for the New Year.

There is no fancy NYE dress and bling for me this year.  I did a little shopping, and if I keep my resolution, I will be doing very little shopping in this New Year. **Since I get to dress up often throughout the year, I don't miss this one night of not dressing up**

I am actually imposing a spending moratorium on myself for 2013; I'd like to see how little spending I can do, and how much mileage I can get from my wardrobe without putting out any of the green stuff.  

Yesterday's mini shopping excursion is meant to precede a year of making due with the clothing that I have  and making the most of my wardrobe.  
Hopefully....YOU, my dear readers will agree to help keep me accountable.  
I know this is my responsibility, but would not be at all offended if someone gave me a gentle nudge when I talk about purchasing new-to- me (ask Sheila calls them) clothing.
DANCE doesn't count!  The spending moratorium doesn't apply to dance and dance comps or dresses, shoes and accessories if needed. Dance is the REASON for scaling back!
 One of the primary reasons for scaling back the spending is so that hubby and I can indulge in our hobbies (his is golf) more.  I enjoy EXPERIENCES far more than I do acquiring things.  I love pretty clothes, but I have a closet full of beautiful thrifted clothing and I'm going to make them go to work for me.
I still plan to thrift, because I really enjoy it and its an activity that I can share with my cousin-twin, Rhonda, but I intend to buy only items on my 'hit list' of missing wardrobe items.  At this point, its a pretty short list.
My intention this year is to dance in MORE competitions and take more lessons.  I'm working on moving up the ranks...and will be dancing in a higher category at my next competition!
Here's Barbara Lesser coat I've posted about recently.  It was a lot colder more windy outside than I thought it I wasn't wearing it well enough to show you how pretty and the cut and silhouette is.  BRRRRR......

I paired gold and turquoise Lia Sophia jewelry...

.....with this pale yellow fine gauge turtleneck sweater. Turquoise and hello look great together, don't they?

These earrings are so much fun.  I  the  love the tiny little hoops on the larger hoop.  I really enjoy wearing my LS jewelry and always feel a littler prettier when I wear it.

This  pic was taken at the dance studio after my lesson last Friday....the boys photo bombed me!  I love Jayme's expression and although he wouldn't want to hear this...his "dance line" is fabulous!  Can you see Peyton's head and arm in the foreground?  Photobombers!

Instead of dancing and dressing up for NYE.....I decide to tweak my house, personalize a bit more, give it the character it was lacking.  Mostly, I used things I had and moved them around to make more sense.  I was looking for warmth, romance, character and charm.  
The larger clock was already on the wall, the black faced clock was on another wall and the other two I purchased on clearance at a little shop in my hometown.  This wall is at the top of the stairs of our bi-level and it was begging for some I make a "clock wall".  

I've had these caricature drawings of the boys and I for awhile and finally decided to put them in the black frames that the boys generic school photos were in.  

This chest was hiding in Peyton's closet, but was begging to come out.  I put Target closet cubes that I had in my closet into his to replace the chest of drawers and put this beauty front and center in the living room. 

The stoneware vase that I placed on the chest is filled with these glitter twigs will bells on them.  The delicate twigs add just a touch of dimension and texture.

Since the first day of 2013 is the start of the spending moratorium, I purchased this mirror yesterday as a last hurrah.  I had admired it a few times in the Antique store, but it wasn't really on my radar.  On this trip, it jumped out at me!  I think its perfect on top of this dresser (which was thrifted this past summer and was being used in my 'mom cave to store office supplies).  I put the dresser in my bedroom, topped it with the mirror and the floral arch from another spot in the house and now its a perfect place to display my LS jewelry collection.

Isn't this art deco style girlie (jewelry tree) pretty?  I've had a thing for the glamor of the art deco era for a very long time.  She's so pretty!

In my kitchen I added a 'fake' ladder as a bridge between cabinets.  Yeah...its a dated style...but I like the way it looks...

It still needed a little something, so I our white bell and branch Christmas garland on it.  Its staying year 'round.

So that's how I spent my New Year.....making my house pretty.  Dance can wait one night.

Hugs and Kisses my friends.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Thrifty Haul...its been awhile....

Its been awhile since I've posted my thrift day finds. This haul definitely represents more than one thrifty day.  I primarily shop thrift but I confess that are a few items in this post that I've acquired that as brand new retail pieces; special things that just had to come home with me.  My days of buying brand new are few and far between, but it happens occasionally. Take a peek at the goodies....old and new
This beautiful hand crocheted table cloth is in pristine condition. It cost me only $2.75.  I had to have it; the work is intricate and the stitches are perfect.  I put it in a garment bag and washed on the hand wash cycle and it came out perfectly.

The picture doesn't justice to the vivid color of this top. In person, its a bright peacock blue and the embellishments at the waist are black and gold metallic.  Its festive. Its also really plunge-y in the front, so I will have to wear a camisole under it.  It was only $3.00 for the New York and Company piece!

I love the violet and teal colors of this French Connection sweater.  It was brand new with tags in a privately owned little thrift store and cost only $4.00.  

This Old Navy cotton wrap dress was also brand new with tags!  Its also very plunge-y.  I plan to wear a lightweight black slip underneath.  $6.00

A perfect dance party dress!  This is going to be fun to social dance in; the short sleeves will help keep me cool, the bottom is flirty and flippy.  The hemline is asymmetrical, but its not a "mullet"; the sides are a bit longer than the front and back.   $5.00 at Goodwill.  I'm doing a Happy dance!

I found this Favel Italian leather bag at the consignment shop.  It has rich velvety suede lining inside.  Its the perfect size to throw in a little gym towel, my keys, wallet and phone to take to Zumba class.

There are a couple of very small chips in this piece of pottery, but they are barely visible because the pottery is that reddish clay color underneath the paint and glaze..  The tiny chips give it a slightly worn patina that adds charm to the piece.  See, I don't thrift just clothing!

What a steal!  A dollar apiece for these oven-going individual size what-cha-ma-call-its.  Are they mini casseroles?  I don't know what to call them.  But I'm going to have fun making mini meals for my guys in them.

This is sleeve detail on a pretty black cardigan I purchased for $12.00.   The cardi didn't photograph well, so I excluded it, but I couldn't resist sharing the flirty sleeve.

Brand new, boxed, blank cards that I found for a dollar per box.  I love the laser cut designs and the color schemes.  I still love sending a receiving cards and letters by snail mail, despite the ease of emailing!

Pale, buttery yellow is my favorite color, but I can only wear it in small doses. It tends to wash me out (I can however, wear bright school bus yellow, but I don't think I want to!).  I think this delicate little ballerina cardigan is just the right dose.
By the way....I was really drooling over a pale yellow and gold lace ballroom gown; it was a gorgeous goddess dress, but it looked terrible on me!  Funny, that my favorite color is a color I can't wear.

Ok....I know this 2 piece suit looks kind of blah, bland and nothing...but I'm super excited about it.....
Here's why; its a STRETCH fabric Eileen Fisher suit that I purchased in November for $25.00. I excited about a stretch fabric suit?
Because I have been on the hunt for a black stretch fabric suit that I can use to dance a showcase in!
I want to do a Foxtrot to either Peter Gunn or the Mission Impossible theme.  Of course a black fedora is involved.  I can dance in this suit!!!  The pants are a bit big and need some tailoring, but I wasn't about to pass up this hard to find item for the cost of a few tweaks!!! This is going to be fun.

**Speaking of next big comp is in February at The Indiana Challenge.  I am dancing a LOT of excited!!! The IC is a pretty big four day event.  Its a blast and because its local, many of my friends will be dancing the comp and hanging out there.  Its a very special event and this will be my 6th year competing there.  
No...not wearing the suit for that, but I'm on a mission to lost 12 lbs to better fit my dresses.

Ok....back to the stuff.  This crock is sturdy! It was only $3.00 and I love it for my frequently used utensils.

Now for MY BAD..........
These are not thrifted.  I love wraps and use them often.  The black coat looks plain on the hanger, but on, its beautiful, and defines my waist. It reminds me a bit of the coats that ladies wore on stagecoaches, when they went for calling, or went to tea and wore corsets and gowns.
 Did I post this already?  I can't wait to wear it, but its a bit cold right now

Another great thrift find...this silk J.Jill 'big shirt'.  I'm not sure how to style it, but the color is really pretty and the silk felt so nice against my skin when I tried it on.  Any style ideas?  I can't wear skinnies right now...but maybe a black pencil skirt?

A pretty nice and affordable thrift haul, don't you think?

Please indulge me as I share just a couple of random holiday things:

This was my Christmas gift from my oldest son.  It made me cry.  Its a shadow box framing my Dad's military flag and old family photos.  My son the best gifts.  He puts a lot of thought into his gifts.

I had to share this photo of my little precious grandson.  Christmas is so much fun with a little one around.  I'm not sure what he was saying, but obviously it gave us a giggle.  That's the hubby on the couch in the background.

My husband and I don't really exchange gifts, but he did buy me some additional Lia Sophia pieces to wear and use for my shows.  I'm still working on getting the ball rolling with the LS...but its tough right now with the holidays.  I really want to give it a go and give it some time to develop, but I'm impatient!

I know this post has been rather random and rambling.  My thrift posts sometimes lack cohesiveness, but I love to sharing my thrift finds..even if I ramble to do so.  I would like to inspire others to make a habit of thrifting; to demonstrate that you can look great on a budget and without always buying new things.  I've had great thrifting luck.  I have fun finding pretty things, without knowing what I'm going to stumble upon.  I'm a committed and loyal thrifter.

Thank you, my dears for your patience and your tolerance of my rambling posts.  Thank you for your support and your comments, and for your loyalty to my little blog.
 Enjoy your New Year and please be safe.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Winter Day Trip to Chicago

I would love to wear an outfit like this on a day trip to Chicago.  I'm only 55 minutes from the city and I should make the effort to get up there soon.  Layers are a necessity, so I would layer a couple pairs of socks, tights and wear a warm base layer.  I would choose a cape (as long as the temp is greater than 30) as outerwear because they are very comfortable and unrestrictive.  I  would probably carry and extra wrap scarf in my bag.  Winter Day Trip to Chicago

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My week in pictures.....

Earlier in the week, I attended a volunteer recognition/holiday party for volunteers of one of the guardianship organizations that I volunteer for.  This program is based in one hospital that is part of a network of hospitals, and the event took place in one of the event rooms at the main hospital.  

I really love my thrifted holiday outfit.  I'm wearing one of my many LBS's and a black lace jacket I purchased at my favorite consignment shop for $12.00.  I love the details on the jacket. 
The organization managers have a lot of confidence in me and asked me to volunteer to decorate the event. I had a nice big space to work in and a lovely room, but the walls were off-limits and was basically only allowed to create a tablescape.  I had much bigger plans than to just create tablescapes, but even with the limitations, I'm happy with the end result.  I've posted pictures throughout this post.
Preparing for this took five weeks and was quite labor intensive...I put a lot of time and thought into it!

Sleeve detail on the jacket...

Wrist detail.  I didn't snap a good picture of the bottom of the sleeve at the wrist, but there are several layers of scalloped lace.

Another trusty Lia Sophia necklace.  This one is called "Inked"

I found a star template on the internet, printed it and cut stars from some metallic card stock that I had at home.  I attached silver metallic letters to each star to spell out "Thank You Volunteers".

I placed these centerpieces on the tables at 24 inch intervals.  In the picture, you can barely see the glow from within the white lantern....I place battery operated candles inside each one, we dimmed the lights for a lovely soft glow.

I scattered fake "snow" between each centerpiece and I hand free hand cut a couple hundred these little stars from metallic paper to scatter in the snow.  I had a very strict budget to work with, which explains all of the hand made stars.

Paperbag luminaries lined the pathway into the event; Peyton helped me stamp each bag with snowflakes.

.....and he helped me stamp these tags.  Each tag had a number on the we could...YES! a "white elephant ornament exchange" mixer! Fun!

The program coordinator, LaVonne brought her three daughters to help with set-up. I could not have pulled this off without them.  They were the most wonderful helpers.  The girls; Jayla, Jada and Joy are all very sweet, polite, helpful and graceful.  The two older girls attend a performance based middle school/high school and are beautiful and talented singers.  They were also our entertainment for the evening, singing three Christmas carols.  LOVELY!
The program executive director, Vanessa, loved the tablescape so much that she brought the president of four of the hospitals in the alliance to see the final result; he gave it two thumbs up.

Earlier in the week, I had a cousin date with Rhonda.  It was super cold that day; the first day of the season that was actually cold.  I dressed very simply, in clothing that would be easy to get in and out of if we were going to try on clothes.  The intention of our trip was to do some thrifting in a nearby town whose thrift shops are new to us, but we actually ended up just exploring the quaint boutiques in Valparaiso, IN.
I bought an lightweight Barbara Lesser jacket/coat to wear for dressy events at a boutique called Bangles.   Bangles sells really unique pieces that are like wearable art. The shop's French boutique theme is very charming.
The coat I bought is very flattering; its simple, tailored at the waist and has a Renaissance feel to it. I was practically squealing with giddiness when she told me it was on sale for 30% off.  I rarely buy retail anymore, but this beautiful piece was very worth it.
 I'll be posting pictures as soon as I have the opportunity to wear it.

There are so many uniques places to check out in 'Valpo', we didn't get to visit them all. We did create a hit list of shops for our next visit.  I can't wait.

A couple of weeks ago, Rhonda gave me this big warm L.L. Bean down coat.  I'm really glad she did because it kept me warm while we walked the shopping district in the bitter cold.  I love this thing; I call it my Chicago coat, because just about everyone there wears one when its super cold.
For some reason, the coat looks navy in this picture, but its actually black; my trousers are navy and they look black.
Thank you Rhonda, for the coat and a wonderful day spent with my dear cousin.

Clearly, I love my Lia Sophia jewelry and chose this piece for our shopping day.  I swear I'm not plugging LS on my blog!  I just reach for this jewelry everyday because its so beautiful and practical.  This necklace is called Endeavor and it is the piece that was designed to support "Dress for Success".  LS donates millions  of pieces of jewelry to "Dress for Success" which helps economically challenged women enter the workforce by providing one interview appropriate outfit.

...and now their bracelets come in sizes so I can actually wear bangles!  I've always wanted to wear bangles, but I have super tiny wrists and hands and they would fall off.   Finally, bangles!  I also like that these are not as annoyingly noisy as cheaper bangles.  The still jingle, but its a soft, pleasant jingle.
I haven't had as much luck scheduling Lia Sophia shows (LS is a party based company) as I would like to, but I think starting so close to the holiday has been a bit of a deterrent.  I've done two parties so far, and have one prospect for another, but the hostess hasn't fully committed to a date yet, so I'm uneasy.  I just need to get going!
I know many of you would book shows if we lived closer to one another, right?

To close my blog today, I have to share our wonderful meal with you.  Rhonda and I had lunch at a cafe' called Meditrina.  A tiny 10 table cafe' tucked into the corner of a side street, Meditrina features food of the Mediterranean; Greece, Lebanon and Morocco.
What an exquisite treat!
I'm not very adventurous about food, but I asked our waitress lots of questions about the food and she answered knowledgeably. She was able to articulately describe food tastes, textures and ingredients.

I decided to try an appetizer of dates stuffed with Feta and bacon wrapped dates.  They were so delicious that I picked up dates and Feta on the way home to recreated this.
The main course was Paprika Chicken, Falafel (delicious) pita bread with hummus and a tasty salad.
This was the meal of the year for me.  
It was one of those meals that you savor in memory long after the meal is finished.
I can't wait to go back; I can't wait to introduce friends to this special little place.

Thank you again for indulging me by reading my long winded post.  
Enjoy your weekend and stay safe and warm.