Archive for ‘These are a few of my favorite things’

July 18, 2011

I can’t believe it’s actually over.

12 years ago, my mom & I were in a bookstore during one of her rare days “home”. Mom had instilled in me a love of reading from a very young age; I could easily devour several children’s novels in a weekend. The one thing I never had to beg for were books to read, & this day was no exception. As we were browsing the shelves, Mom with her new John Grisham novel & me with God-only-knows-what, Mom spotted a book on one of the “feature” tables. She’d heard about it – that it was a good book, the first in what would be a series. She bought it for me, of course.

I was quickly immersed in a world where the only limit was my imagination. Motorcycles flew through the air, piloted by half-giants. Owls delivered the post, to anyone (even without an address), even on Sunday. Frogs were made of chocolate, & “Every Flavor” really meant every flavor (ear wax, anyone?).

Page after page, I voraciously consumed each & every word. Pretty soon, I knew the rules of Quidditch, the name of a three-headed dog, & the sin that was to kill a unicorn. I learned that “the wrong sort” meant very different things to two very different eleven-year-old boys. I found that words overheard could hurt more than a mountain troll’s club, but that friendships are built on trust & loyalty. I learned that everyone has weaknesses, but more importantly, strengths.

Over the next eight years, I anticipated each of the six remaining books. I read book five in only three days (that’s 870 pages, if you’re curious). I eagerly awaited the movie series based on the books, though my heart remained true to the written words. When the seventh & final book was released, it was bittersweet.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know what books I’m referring to. The Boy Who Lived, the one with the lightning-shaped scar, Harry Potter.

These books had shaped me, in ways I probably still don’t understand. They weren’t just magic & spells, Good vs. Evil, a quest for the ages. They were family & friends, hope & love, loyalty, life. They were goosebumps & chills, & the ability to breath fire when certain characters appeared (I’m looking at you, Bellatrix). They were so much more than just words on a page. They were a story. They were people, with hopes & dreams, anger & happiness, laughter & tears. They were rewarding & disappointing, uplifting & crushing. They were everything that we were, everything we hoped to be, & everything we hoped we’d never be.

Strangely enough, at the end of the last book, it didn’t seem like the end. Yes, I knew that it was the last book, but there were still movies to come – they were only just releasing Order of the Phoenix. So as I sat last night in the theater, my eyes welling up with tears, it was the ultimate end. After this, there would be no more. I mean, this isn’t exactly The Land Before Time. As the credits began to roll, I felt… lost. There was no proclamation of, “I can’t wait until they release the next one!” There just… was.

Upstairs, in a box, are my books. Waiting patiently for a bookshelf to reside on, they sit. One day, probably a few years from now, I will open the cover of that first book once again, this time with a little girl laying next to me in the bed. Harry Potter will teach her the lessons he taught me, & help shape her character as he did mine. Hermione will teach her that it’s okay to be smart, & that knowledge is power. Ron will teach her that friends are the greatest possession one has, & that a little laughter never hurt anyone. Neville will teach her that although things might not always go her way, her moment will come & she will shine. Luna will teach her that being different isn’t all that bad, & that true friends don’t mind anyway. She will learn that family isn’t defined by blood, but by heart.

& that no matter what, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

May 19, 2011

The Charlie Sheen of The Internets (WINNING!)

Pinterest.com

If you haven’t checked it out yet, RUN FAR AWAY.

I’m kidding. Sort of.

Pinterest is a really neat website. The basics: You download a button to your toolbar that allows you to “pin” things. You can pin anything you find on the web – craft ideas, meal ideas, music, clothing, anything. Once you sign up (it’s currently invitation-only, I’ll get to that in a minute), you can follow other people’s boards & repin things you like. People can follow you & repin what they like. It’s a giant web (ha! Get it? On the web?!) of people pinning & repinning & finding new things from all over The Internets. Plus, when you pin something, your pin links directly back to the website it came from. So no more, “Where did I see that mega-cool idea again?”

Jill from BabyRabies.com is starting a McLinky for everyone’s Pin of the Week.

My favorite?

Lullabies for Getty.

A gorgeous collection of songs put together to benefit The Getty Owl Foundation. Getty is a little girl with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. They are fighting for a cure. They are fighting against time. Getty recently turned one. Children with SMA aren’t given long life expectancies. So, they are enjoying every moment & fighting for a cure.

The album is $9.99 on iTunes. Go. Buy it. (Click on the image for a direct link)

You won’t regret it. It truly is spectacular.

(Pinterest is currrently by invite only – you can request an invite, I got mine in a couple weeks. OR, you can leave me a comment with your email address – I suggest typing it out as youremail at wherever dot com to avoid the spam bots – & I’ll send you one as quickly as I can.)

P.S. There is a Pinterest APP! Yay! Time suck on-the-go!!

P.P.S. I totally don’t mean to be insulting by calling Pinterest the Charlie Sheen of the Internets. I mean it in a totally awesomesauce way – because they are so clearly WINNING!)

April 21, 2011

Fashion 911

Ok, y’all. I need help. Send out the Bat Signal or whatever – fast.

Setup: Christina’s wedding is in May. I’m the MOH, & all I have left to purchase are my shoes. All of us are wearing different LBDs with colorful shoes. My LBD is a knee-length halter. I have been searching for the perfect blue shoes, but I’m having a really hard time finding shoes I like in my size & the right shade of blue. I don’t really want navy, I’d prefer a cornflower blue or bright(ish) blue, but no patent-leather electric blue. SO, my back-up color is pink.

I’ve put together a list on Pinterest.com, & I’d really love it if you’d help me narrow the choices down. (If it helps any, I’m slender built & “average” height)

Take a looksie.

I’d really like to order these by tomorrow (Friday), so don’t dally!

Thanks!

(P.S. If you have suggestions, I’d be glad to hear them! I’ve looked at Overstock.com, DSW.com, Target, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Aldo, Forever 21, Payless, Piperlime.com, & Zappos.com. I’ve also Googled “blue heels” & every variation I can think of. I’m a size 7 or 7.5, & most of the styles I REALLY like don’t come in my size. I’m a wee bit frustrated, to say the least.)

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!