Archive for March, 2011

March 26, 2011

Shop-a-holic.

I ❤ consignment sales.

No, really. It’s like an obsession. I’m 99.8% sure that most of my family is tired of hearing how much I paid for any given outfit (usually in relation to my step-daughter). I just can’t help it. Consignment shopping is SO satisfying.

Let me give you an example. I’ve been to two consignment sales this week. One was a major, nationwide “chain” sale & the other was a small, local church sale. I spent a GRAND TOTAL of $60.

What could you get for $60 at, say Old Navy?


(Shorts: $19.50; Shirt: $12.50; Skirt: $14.50; Shoes: $14.50 = $61, before tax)

So that’s two cute outfits for the child, including the shoes. Care to guess how much I got for my $60 at consignment sales?


(Excuse the horrible quality, I took the picture with my phone)

It’s kind of hard to tell, but that’s 5 shirts, 3 shorts, 1 skort, 1 pair of jeans, & a swimsuit for the child, plus 2 pairs of maternity jeans, 1 maternity shirt, & 1 nursing shirt for my sister-in-law (& hopefully me, at some point), PLUS a pair of jeans & a pair of khakis for me. Also not pictured: From the Hips by Rebecca Odes & Ceridwen Morris & 26 Princesses by Dave Horowitz. Everything is in perfect condition. In fact, the swimsuit still has the tags & the sticky paper, & I’m pretty sure the Gymboree jeans have never been worn.

Have I mentioned how much I ❤ consignment sales?! I haven’t paid full price for a piece of clothing for the child in well over 3 years. In fact, I pretty much refuse to, UNLESS she’s in desperate need or it’s something like underwear (which I refuse to buy used, because that’s just icky). I do also shop retail sales & going-out-of-business sales & yard sales (are you sensing a pattern here?) but for the most part, I wait for the twice-a-year bonanza that is consignment season. We have no less than 5 different sales in this area. Each sale has a fall sale & a spring sale. Plus, there are at least 3 year-round consignment shops that I know of (though I think the seasonal sales have slightly better prices – people don’t want to come pick up what doesn’t sell, so I think they are a little more generous in their pricing).

My consignment sale tips?

  • DON’T take your husband or kids with you. You will probably be there for a while, & if your husband is anything like McDreamy, he’ll be bored out of his mind in 0.2 seconds & do nothing but bug you & try to rush you. If you bring the kids, you’ll be distracted from sorting & might miss a really good deal (not to mention how hard it is to do ANYTHING when you are trying to keep your child from re-enacting the trapeze act on the clothes racks).
  • Set a budget – BEFORE you go in. Know how much you want to spend, & what your individual item limit is – for instance, I generally won’t pay more than $7 for a pair of jeans, $5 for a long-sleeved shirt, and $3 for a t-shirt. If it’s your first time, you might not be able to set individual item limits, but know your overall limit. It’s VERY easy to go overboard when you find so many good deals!
  • Touch every piece of clothing in a particular size, otherwise you might miss something. I’ve found some great deals sandwiched between some of the worst deals I’ve ever seen. Consignment shopping is very different from retail shopping – things aren’t organized into neat little groups of like objects. You’re going to find t-shirts hanging out with dresses, tank tops next to sweaters. The only “organization” is by size & gender.
  • Don’t be afraid to look at other sizes! I always look at least one size up because you just never know when you’ll find a gem. Even if your child won’t fit into it now, it can still be worth it. T-shirts can be worn a little large, jeans can be worn throughout the year, & kids always need sneakers.
  • Speaking of shoes – consignment sales are fabulous for shoes! I found a pair of brand new, never been worn Sketchers for $8! The pair she grew out of were Nikes found at a consignment sale for $4 (they had been worn, but were in excellent shape).
  • Most consignment sales have a half-price day (usually the last day). Not all items are eligible (consigners can choose which of their items are), but sometimes being half-off means they aren’t out of your price range anymore. You can also get really good deals on items more suited for “play clothes” – shirts that are faded, jeans with stained knees, etc. You might not be willing to pay $5 for a strange-colored t-shirt, but $2.50 for a strange-colored play shirt that’s going to get muddy wouldn’t be so bad!
  • Sort through your stack before heading to check out. Sometimes it’s tough to remember exactly what you picked up & I’ve found duplicates before. I’ve also caught defects that I missed the first time – stains, loose threads, etc. that made me re-evaluate how much I was willing to pay. This is also a good time to see where you are in relation to your budget.
  • Lastly, if you have any money left in your budget after sorting through the clothes, look at their other offerings. Books, puzzles, games, toys, bedding, strollers, etc. can all be found for awesome prices.

Happy shopping!

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March 17, 2011

I never thought we’d get this far.

*Let me preface this post with a statement. I know that there are many, many couples out there who have tried far longer & far harder to get pregnant that we have. Trust me, I know. I have crossed every crossable for them, cried every time their hopes were dashed, & rejoiced loudly when their day finally came. Some are still waiting for that day, & I cannot wait for that day to come – they will be fantastic Mommies, to beautiful babies. So please, don’t take this post the wrong way.
 
 

Cycle day 1.

Cycle #9.

Month 11.

I never thought it would take this long.

Sure, I had fears that something would be wrong with me, but I always brushed them off as irrational, a side-effect of spending so much time on baby boards where the instance of infertility or trouble TTC was higher than in my usual circle of friends & acquaintances. I was just being silly, worrying about nothing. I’m young & in pretty good health, no major medical issues. McDreamy has already sired a child, so we know his equipment works. We’ll have fun the first couple of months until I see those two pink lines, & then the morning sickness will kick in. I’ve read the books, done the research. I signed up for a charting website, grabbed my thermometer, & dove in.

Leaving my IUD-removal appointment, my OB/GYN lightheartedly said, “Now, call me when you’re a week late, I like to do the pregnancy test here in the office.” I fully expected to be back in his office within a few months, telling him he was wasting his time because I’d already pee’d on 10 sticks that said I was, indeed, pregnant.

When flurries of pregnancy announcements flooded the boards, everyone joked that it must be in the water. This will be the month, I thought. If I buy a premium membership to the charting website, that guarantees I’ll get pregnant this cycle (& thereby not have a chance to use it). Last month, a girl I don’t even know had a dream that I was pregnant (she is friends with Christina, & knows of me through her). Surely, a premonition, right?

But here we are, a mere 6 weeks from the 12-month mark TTC. “They” say that it takes a normal, healthy couple up to a year to get pregnant. & if you haven’t by then, you should talk to your doctor. Factoring in my historically long cycle length, this will be our last cycle before we hit 12 months. At least 2 of my cycles (& maybe 3) have been annovulatory, meaning I didn’t release an egg. One cycle lasted 63 days (though I did ovulate that cycle – finally). Maybe we just haven’t gotten the timing right yet. Maybe it just isn’t our time yet. Maybe it will just take a little longer for us.

I just never thought it would take this long.

& I’m terrified this means it’s going to take a lot longer.

March 13, 2011

Ode to Dyson.

I have a VERY important announcement, people.

Like, this will rival the first loaf of sliced bread. Yes, it’s that BIG.

No, I’m not pregnant (yet, that I know of – more on that later).

I am in love.

With this:

This, my friends, is the Dyson DC25 Animal Ball Vacuum.

AKA, heaven on wheel(s).

Purchased last weekend, this vacuum is everything you have ever heard a vacuum should be. It picks up dirt like nobody’s business. It’s light. It’s maneuverable. & it’s pretty.

We bought it on sale at Sears – they were having a 20% off sale (which equaled about $110 off!). That really is the biggest downside of this vacuum – the price. MSRP is $549.99 which is A TON for a vacuum, & the main reason we hadn’t purchased one. Besides, our old vacuum wasn’t dead yet, & we only have an area rug downstairs, & the carpet upstairs doesn’t get that dirty since we are only up there every other weekend. Those were the things we told ourselves, at least.

I’ve been telling McDreamy for YEARS that if he would buy me a vacuum that actually WORKED, then I would happily vacuum more than… well, once it reached a certain level of “gross”.

You see, model housewife I am not. I definitely am not one that vacuums every day. In fact, I consider it awesome if I vacuum 2x per week. The problem with 2x per week vacuuming is that we have pets. Three dogs, two cats, & a bird to be precise. Plus 4 horses, which means mud gets tracked in, too. We have hardwood & tile downstairs, with an area rug in the living room. The stairs & upstairs are all carpet (except for the bathroom). The area rug is by far vacuumed the most – it’s the primary room we use, & the dogs are constantly wrestling each other on it. I vacuumed it with the Dyson the first day, & I had to empty the canister THREE times.

Let that soak in.

THREE times. Area rug. Not a whole room, an area rug.

I was thoroughly disgusted. It really proved to me that we should have never waited this long to get a Dyson. & that our old vacuum was truly HORRIBLE.

Then today, I vacuumed my step-daughter’s room. It’s been a good month since I had vacuumed it, but she’s only here every other weekend, & the animals aren’t allowed in there for the most part (they tend to steal toys/stuffies/whatever & proceed to eat/destroy them). Her room is roughly 10′ x 12′. I emptied the canister TWICE.

Yuck.

What’s so fabulous about the Dyson – it works. I’m actually excited about vacuuming, which means I WILL VACUUM MORE. That sound you just heard? McDreamy hitting the floor. & the ball is a dream. With a flick of the wrist, I can vacuum around dog toys, little girl shoes, & the cat that is oddly not afraid of vacuums.

Summary:

Pros:

  • It sucks, literally. It pulls up dirt you didn’t even know was there.
  • Maneuverability. The ball is incredible.
  • It’s light, perfect when I have to haul it up & down the stairs.
  • Did I mention it works? Really well? It does.

Cons:

  • Price, obviously. If you can find it on sale, BUY IT.
  • It comes with an upholstery brush (that is awesome, BTW) but there is nowhere to put it on the machine. Minor.
  • On the area rug, it doesn’t like to go across the grain of the carpet. It does fine on the regular carpet.

Bottom line:

You will NOT regret buying this vacuum. If it can inspire ME to clean, it has to have magical powers.

 

*Disclosure: I bought this vacuum of my own free will. I paid for it with money I made at my regular job. Dyson did not ask me to write a review, nor did they contact me at all. I simply love this vacuum & wanted to sing its praises.