Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yard Sale Finds

So, I finally got around to taking a few pictures of my yard sale finds as of late -- including the famed $15 wicker settee for the front porch.

Naturally, I forgot to take a full shot of the settee before I painted it (that would have required too much advance planning), but this close-up should give you an idea of the color it was before -- kind of a light taupe:

After I cleaned it up and removed as much of the old paint as possible, I primed it and repainted it a chocolate brown. I also went ahead and added a new cushion:

And this little side table? Another yard sale find -- $7 -- which I painted to match:

Spray paint, my love for you knows no bounds.

I also mentioned that I've found some decorative accessories for my great room bookshelves. Here's a closer look:

Woven box -- 50 cents:

Cool wood tray -- $1:

Set of decorative plates -- $5:

Adorable little vase -- I love the bird detailing -- $5:

And, I bought four jars full of wine corks for 25 cents each. It probably seems like a bizarre purchase, but I saw someone do a flower arrangement with corks instead of pebbles in the vase. I might use these for that, or I might just stick them in an apothocary jar. Either way, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than buying all that wine and saving the corks myself. :) (That's my youngest playing Vanna White in the back, btw.)

Finally, one of the most unexpected finds. Now, I really had no intention of purchasing shoes at a yard sale. But y'all. These were brand new BCBG Girls ballet flats. For $3. And, I must say, I pink puffy heart them:

I know. I probably crossed the line with the shoes.

But they were so cute.

And, did I mention, they were only $3?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How to Choose a Sunscreen

I have a confession to make.

I only began applying sunscreen daily within the last couple of years.

I have olive skin, which means I tan without even trying. Burning has never been an issue for me. And, for years, I never gave sun damage a second thought.

Until I turned 30 and looked in the mirror.

Ah. There it was. All my hours of sun worship taking up residence on my face in the form of hyper-pigmentation and even a few wrinkles.

All that to say, I’ve been on a bit of a mission to preserve what’s left of my skin. Which brings me to the point of this post: not all sunscreens are created equal. (read more at Chic Critique)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Organizational Help for Moms

Organization has never been my strong suit.

In fact, I've spent most of my adult life in search of an organizational system that will allow me to manage all of the random details of daily life. I've tried everything from the Franklin Planner to the Palm Pilot. Each new system was met with only short-lived success.

When I became a mother, things on the organizational front went from bad to worse. I had trouble managing the details of one life -- now I'm faced with trying to juggle the details of four. My most recent attempt of tracking it all was a large wall calendar, but even that became cluttered and was impossible to carry around (making it difficult to schedule appointments when I was away from home).

But then I read about the momAgenda.

The momAgenda was created for moms by a mom. Creator Nina Restieri put over a year of research into creating an organizational tool for mothers everywhere.

I've been using the momAgenda for a few months now, and I can tell you it's the best format I've ever used. I keep it open on my desk to the week at a view layout.

Not only is there space to record the my own daily appointments, but there are blank spaces below for each child. So, I can track Jilly's school program, Josh's playdate and Grace's doctor appointment, without the day looking like a scribbled mess. (I even have a box left over and, if I'm feeling particularly spry, I can fill in blog post ideas for the week.) At the bottom of the page, there's room to write the dinner menu for each day.

The momAgenda also gives a month at a view, has space for addresses and phone numbers, even sections for party and vacation planning.

See? All the important info in one central place -- that I can also take with me if the need arises.

Organizational perfection. It's what works for me.

For more great ideas to make your life easier, head on over to Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

What I Learned This Week: How to Shop a Yard Sale

It all started with this post.

In an effort to "spruce up" my front porch entryway, I went on a mission to find some wicker seating.

But, I'm cheap.

So, inspired by the likes of her and her, I started looking for front porch wicker in other places, which eventually led me to a yard sale.

Now, I'd never really been to a yard sale. I always figured it was someone else's junk -- why would I want to buy that? But, turns out that a wicker settee was being advertised as part of a local upcoming sale.

I went. I bought the settee for $15 (which I've since repainted and re-cushioned -- it looks awesome). And my eyes were opened.

You can uncover quite a few "treasures" at yard sales.

I'm in the process of re-doing the shelves in my great room. I needed some decorative accessories, and I've found a handful for literally pennies. It's kind of like a big ol' treasure hunt.

And, it's kind of addictive.

Even though I'm a yard sale neophyte, I have learned a thing or two over the past few weeks that might be helpful for the yard sale beginner.

1. Don't drive around looking for signs. Unless you want to waste a lot of time. The best way to find out about yard sales in your area is to check out the classified section of your local paper and also Craig's list.

2. The early bird gets the worm. The old adage holds true. While it doesn't leave you a lot of room for price negotiation, it does guarantee the best selection.

3. Yard sale shopping is NOT like mall shopping. When you see something at the mall that you're not completely sure you're going to buy, you can walk away and think about it. I learned the hard way that that is not the approach you want to take at a yard sale.
I saw two beautiful decorative wall accessories, but I wasn't sure where I would put them. I walked away to "think about it." And, you guessed it. When I came back five minutes later they were gone. Since then, I've thought of, oh, 50 million places I could have hung those.

If you see an item that you may be interested in, pick it up and hold onto it until you make your final decision.

4. Bring small bills. Particularly if you're into price negotiation (which, honestly, I'm not). But, if you're going to negotiate someone down from $10 to $6, don't go ahead and pay the $6 with a $10 bill. That's just tacky.

I'm sure there are some more experienced yard sale shoppers out there. What are your best tips?

And, to find out what other people have learned this week, be sure to head over to Musings of a Housewife!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lacura Skincare: Fountain of Youth at a Bargain Price

I always figured I’d be the kind of woman who would happily embrace the aging process.

You know, the type who insists “age is just a number” and who celebrates every single laugh line as the sign of a life well lived.

But then, I hit my 30s.

That was when Father Time began marching across my face in the form of age spots, fine lines and laugh lines that stick around long after I stop smiling.

And I’ve got to admit, it kind of freaked me out. (read more at Chic Critique)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring Wardrobe Essential: The White Button-Down Shirt

Read any list of the “must-have” pieces every woman should have in her wardrobe and you’ll always find the white button-down shirt near the top.

But until recently, I never owned one.

The reason for this is two-fold.

First, I have young children. Wearing a crisp, white shirt is akin to wearing a sandwich board that screams, “Please, use me as your human hand towel for the day.”

Secondly, I’ve always considered buying a white shirt (and wearing one, for that matter), well…kind of boring. It’s so much more fun to buy a trendy peasant top or a spring sweater in a candy-colored hue. White shirt? Dull in comparison.

But a couple weeks ago, I finally picked one up. (read more at Chic Critique)