What will 30 dollars get you in a full day of Thrifting??

This morning I managed to have a mini vacation in the form of going thrifting, kid-less and husband- less. That meant I could browse for hours if I wanted to and dig through every dusty nook and cranny the stores had to offer. I have five dollars in cash, and I took my coffee to go. I always keep in mind what I am looking for before I go so I don’t waste any time on things that I don’t need. (It is easy to buy things that will just junk up your house, if you’re not careful). Today, I needed to find some pictures for my upstairs dining room, a picture for the downstairs living room, and I was on the outlook for a new book.

I didn’t get to Goodwill as early as I would have liked, but I pulled into the store at 10 o’clock. Off I went. I always go to house hold/furniture items first because those are the things that people pick through first. It is always iffy for me in this area at Goodwill. I like to come during seasonal transition periods because that is when everyone is cleaning out their houses and throwing their things out. With most things bought secondhand, you need to make sure that you properly check, clean and disinfect the pieces prior to bringing them in your home. Here is a good guide.

My Husband has been in the process of re-doing his office in our home, and he really loves pieces from the website Restoration Hardware. Everything from there is gorgeous, but not exactly budget friendly. I always keep an eye of for worn leather pieces, bar-ware, decanters or drink trays. I stumbled upon a mid century style leather chair for ten dollars that I knew he would like. It had a piece of upholstery torn from the arm but that was the only thing that seemed to be wrong with it. I figured I could drape a throw over it until I could find a way to have it repaired. For 10 dollars, I couldn’t pass it up.
 

Restoration Hardware – $2120.00

                                     

 

I’m so proud I got this for $10!

The picture on the left is the chair that I purchased. On the right is a comparable chair from Restoration Hardware. My find is used and of lesser quality, but my husband gets a similar look for his office. I also won’t feel sick to my stomach if my two-year old decides to hone his artistic skills on the leather. There is also the difference in price. I feel confident that we can use the $2,110.00 dollars difference on something more beneficial, like the bills for a few months.

After I had reserved the chair, (trust me, if you see a piece you want, go ahead and reserve it and have them put a sold sign on it. I have had people buy things right out from under me before, especially with a super cheap and super practical piece of furniture. People can be rude.) I went to see if they had any pictures that I wanted. I found a huge picture, framed and with a good mat and backing for 7 dollars. I wasn’t exactly crazy about the picture, but the frame alone was worth the money. I am still playing with idea of re-staining the frame a darker color. I went ahead and got it, I can always switch prints if I come across something that I like better later.

Before I left, I wanted to check out the coats, because I always like to see what the have. Sometimes I find really good stuff. I have A LOT of coats, way more than I need and I usually end up giving a lot of what I find away. I came across another vintage London Fog trench, but this one was much nicer than my previous one. It is a winter/all weather trench, that has removable fur on the inside for cold days. It was 5 dollars. Again, another steal.

I also picked up two stoneware, hand painted coffee mugs to display on my coffee bar/wine rack upstairs in my kitchen. I enjoy nice coffee mugs, I drink it every single day and I have a good collection of pretty ones that I set out on display. I gave a dollar for two that were matching. Even my husband liked them.

My last stop was Nu2U where I found a beautiful picture for 5 dollars. I had been looking at for a while. Actually, the picture is part of a set, and I first saw them in the ladies restroom at The Windy Corner Market in Lexington. I will have to keep my eye out for the rest of them. By the way, if you ever get a chance to eat there, do, everything is locally grown, and it is a super cute place! I also found a book for a buck that I have already read half of. Jack and Jackie. Of course, it would be a Kennedy book. Kyle laughs at me. It is a guilty pleasure.

 All in all, today was a good day for me. Everything in my house has been re-purposed or bought from a thrift store. As a first-starting-out couple with two kids, it just isn’t practical for us to go out and spend a ton of money on decorating and furniture when we have two rug rats that are just going to dirty it all up!

Mid-century modern armchair ————– $10.00
Large Interior picture ————————–$7.00
London Fog Trench ————————— $5.00
Medium Interior picture ———————- $5.00
(2) Stoneware mugs ————————— $1.00
Paperback ————————————— $1.00
A few hours to renew my sanity ————- Priceless
_________________________________________________________
                                                         TOTAL:  $29.00

Good Luck out there!

So, What’s it like to become a Mom?

My cousin recently gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. When I first found out she was pregnant I was so excited for her, because Karmyn is her first child. I could not wait for her to experience the love, joy and excitement of entering motherhood. As I walked into the hospital room and saw her, face flushed, exhausted but completely doting on her newborn baby girl, my heart was so full that I had tears in my eyes. On the way back home that evening, I began to think about my first experiences as a “green” mom. It seems so long ago to me now, but it was only 2 and a half years ago. Wow, how much my life has changed since then.

Before I became a Mom, I lived my life completely for myself. I am not proud of the person that I was. Selfish, stubborn, sometimes downright mean. I didn’t appreciate my family the way I should have, I took things for granted, I didn’t think anything about my future. I was just focused on the here and now. What party was I going to go to, what was I going to have to do at work that day? How miniscule my existence seems in comparison to now. I had no direction, no purpose. Just being.

When I found out I was pregnant with Greyson, everything changed. First I felt fear, then complete awe. How could I be growing something so extraordinary in my body? I never even felt the need to think of having children. I wasn’t exactly “mom” material. Then I heard those first tiny cries and saw those soft blonde tufts of hair and I knew he was completely mine. I was so proud, so in love and so completely clueless on how to care for this tiny  person that I had created. The first time I had ever held a baby was when the nurse swaddled him and placed him in my arms. I cried.

The first few months were a whirlwind of diaper changes, spit up and cuddles. I learned to live on two hours of sleep, and waking up every hour on the hour to check and make sure my tiny love was still breathing (paranoia hits hard when you become a mom). I could cook a full meal with a baby on my hip, do laundry with him strapped in a swing and mix bottles in my sleep. Routine, routine routine.

I learned to enjoy simple things. Early mornings on the porch swing, baby swaddled and listening to the birds. Toothless smiles and laughs when Mickey Mouse was on. Re-watching classic Disney and loving it because HE loved it. Being more excited to dress up another human instead of yourself. Quiet time during naps, when you can sip hot coffee in silence. All these things I would have never dreamed would give me such happiness.

Somewhere between 21 and 22 I slipped deeply into the next stage of my life that would completely define who I am and what my purpose here is. Something I never wanted became the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Motherhood changed me. It changed me in ways that I didn’t even know were possible. I am more kind, more thoughtful, more loving. My days are more meaningful and I am charged with the task of raising two tiny gentleman that are my entire world.

Now I am a mother of two, and River’s birth was no different from Greyson’s, I still felt that same awe, still felt that same excitement. I became a new Mother all over again. When I saw him for the first time, I couldn’t believe that God had chosen to give me something so beautiful and perfect. I am still sure that I never did anything to be so deserving. I have two perfect sons. Sometimes I can’t even believe it is all real.

I still have my days when I am tired, frustrated, overwhelmed. I snap at my oldest, I cry when my baby is teething, I beg my mom to just come and watch them for an hour so I can take a nap. Motherhood is hard. It is challenging, but it is THE most important thing I will ever do in my life.

I smile and watch them as they grow, and I realize that I am growing up right along beside them. They never stop teaching me things, and never cease to amaze me. When Greyson takes my hand and tells me he loves me, I know that all is right in the world, or at least in my world. When they get old enough I will have to remember to thank them for saving me and for teaching me what really matters in life.

I love you, my boys. -Mom

Book of Summer: What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Love and Friendship. By Carole Radziwill

Every summer, I read a lot of books. I always have. It is just something I enjoy. I will scour every thrift shop around here for dime and dollar treasures and I take them straight home and devour them in days. I love it.

I had been looking for this book for a solid year, and then by some twist of fate I ended up paying a quarter for it at the mission. I was so excited. I first saw it on pinterest when I was nosing through some photographs of The Kennedys. Anyone that knows me, knows that I will read anything about them. I watch all the conspiracy theory shows, I have read all of Jackie’s biographies, I have even read a memoir by Clint Hill, the secret service agent who watched over Jackie and her children. Needless to say, I am hooked.

The book is a memoir about Radziwill’s life. A 19 year old middle class girl from New York who becomes an award winning producer and marries a Polish Prince. Anthony Radziwill was the son of Caroline Lee Bouvier Radziwill, sister to Jackie Kennedy. This made him cousin to John John (JFK JR). Radziwill is thrust into a world of American royalty as well as European nobility, while balancing her spectacular career. She became best friends with JFK JR and his beautiful wife, Carolyn Besette Kennedy. Her life seemed perfect. It was from all accounts. And then her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she lost him and her two best friends within two weeks of each other. One from illness, the other in a plane crash off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.

                                            Anthony and Carole Radziwill on their wedding day.

Some of you may know Carole Radziwill (De Falco) from The Real Housewives. She was also an emmy award winning producer and journalist with ABC news before she married into one of the most famous families in the world. I guess when you marry the nephew of Jackie Onassis, all that doesn’t matter. I probably would not have read the book, if I had known that. But she does a wonderful job. I read it in two days. I laughed. I cried. I thought about it weeks after I had finished it. It made me truly thankful for my health and the health of my husband and my children.

Radziwill touches on two very different types of tragedy. The type of tragedy that you know is inevitable. The kind you can plan for, try to reroute, say your goodbyes and tick things you need to do “before” off the list. She and her husband fought the cancer until the very end. “There is the disease and the person, and though I am living with both, one has robbed me of the other.”

 She also touches on the type of tragedy that takes the wind right out of your sails. The kind that is unplanned, unfathomable, and horrifying. The type of thing that is every person’s worst nightmare. I, myself, can’t imagine. “Afterward I tried to find something to explain what had happened—was it cloudy, were the stars out? But the night was ordinary. It usually is, I think, when your life changes. Most people aren’t doing anything special when the carefully placed pieces of their life break apart.”

                                                                  JFK JR and CBK
                                               
I am not sure which type is worse. I never want to find out. I can’t say that either outweighs the other, they are just as hefty but in different ways. The book has a very melancholy feel to it. I felt sad for a few days after, but I really did enjoy reading it. The author manages to shy away from making it Kennedy centered, which I was surprised by because, of course, everyone likes to revel in the family’s misfortune. She seemed to genuinely adore them and want to capture their essence. Speaking of JFK JR holding his dying cousin’s hand and singing a child hood lullaby. (Brought me to tears) She also spoke of Carolyn and how she gave Anthony a framed picture of her dog to keep in his hospital room, because “[e]veryone should have a dog.”  Radziwill shined light on a famously private couple and painted a beautiful tribute of them, as well as to her life with her Anthony, her husband, while speaking of her early childhood and her career and travels. All in all, a very interesting read. I could not put it down. But please, get a box of tissues, you will need them.

I have included some reviews of What Remains. It was a New York Times Bestseller and actually was not marketed as a “Kennedy” book.

“A moving testimony to the tenuous nature of love and life.”
USA Today
 

“Stunning…Radziwill gets at the essence of what matters — friendship, compassion, destiny.”
— Oprah Winfrey, O, the oprah Magazine
“A riveting and heartbreaking journey.”
— Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle
“A stunning memoir of love and loss…Carole Radziwill is a natural storyteller.”
O, The Oprah Magazine
“One of the best memoirs…a small masterpiece…devastating and beautifully written.”
New York Post
“Powerfully affecting…a highly compelling read.”
Vogue
“Bittersweet and tender.”
The New York Times Book Review

The Art of Thrifting, Antique-ing and Yardsale Pickin.

My Aunts and Grandmother taught me how to thrift when I was about 10 years old. I was hooked. It was like a sport. Finding that special piece, or getting that fab vintage sundress for a buck. Is there any greater feeling?

Now that I am older, I still love doing it. I get my butt up at 8 30 and I hit every yard sale and second hand shop in town. I have actually gotten really good at it, to tell you the truth. I post a lot of what I find on my instagram and facebook and I have had a lot of people ask me how I do it. Well, I will give you my five tips that I use to help me get the best result for my days of thrifting.

1: If you are going thrifting, do not look like you have stepped out of the pages of glamour. If the person selling that gorgeous antique steamer chest sees that you are packing around an expensive purse and wearing top dollar clothing, chances are they are going to start the price out high because they will think you  will pay it. You can’t barter with somebody when you start out like that. They just won’t do it. All they will do is think you are cheap, sorry. Wear jeans and a tee shirt with sneakers or flip flops. Be normal. You don’t need to be all done up for anywhere where you will have to use antibacterial gel after you come out. Dust, people!

2: The early bird get the worm. Seriously. This is so important. Look in the paper or on the internet to see when places open, or when people are having a sale, whatever. First come first serve. Nothing is more of a downer than going somewhere that has been picked over.

3: In places like Goodwill, The Mission, or local second hand stores or peddlers mall, be friendly and have a good relationship with the people who work there or own the place. A lot of times if they get something they think you will be interested in, they will put it back or let you know when they have it so you can come see. They may also let you know when they are putting out new stuff and that is major.

4: Rely on facebook. I know this sounds funny, but a lot of peddlers will post items online when they get them. This, (I think) does take some of the fun out of it, but if you see something you HAVE to have, then you can message them and have them hold it for you. I found Kyle a beautiful Orvis leather briefcase at PJ’s Attic that I HAD to have. I called her and she kept it for me until I could round my kids up to go pick it up. I paid 50 dollars for it, I looked it up online on the Orvis website…..brand new they are almost 700 bucks.  Yep.

5: Take the time to scour the place you are going. Make a day of it. A lot of these places are slapped full of goodies. If you are in a rush, you may miss something amazing. When I go with my Mom, Aunts and Grandma, I get a sitter, tell my husband he will see me when he sees me and we go all out. Pack snacks, pop, take a cooler and enjoy your company. We have the best time. Sometimes we find awesome stuff, sometimes we don’t find a thing. But it is always an adventure, and to me that is what it’s all about.

I love getting vintage books for Greyson and River. I never pay over 25 cents for a book. I found these little golden books for a dime a piece. Greyson loves them, and they are also a cool way to decorate a nursery or kids room, they look beautiful in a bookshelf!

Glassware is also a favorite of mine. I love depression glass, carnival glass, McCoy, Hull, Roseville, Milk Glass and I have an extensive collection of Blue Willow China. The problem with glassware is that either the person (A.) Knows what the have is worth money and they price it pretty expensive or (B.) They just want to get rid of it. You can find a lot of good deals on glassware at Estate Sales, places like Goodwill or the Mission, because a lot of times they don’t know what they have. Beware of antique shops if you are looking for a deal on things like this. I recently went to a shop where they had my Carnival Glass punch bowl for sale for 300 dollars. Nobody wants to pay that. Come on.

When I go thrifting for clothing, I always look for durable, classic pieces that will work well with everything else in my wardrobe. Last year, at Goodwill, I found a vintage (1950)ish London Fog all weather trench coat for 5 bucks. It is identical to the one pictured above. I absolutely love it. I had it dry cleaned and I wear it all the time. It was in perfect condition and was a complete steal, it is one of my favorite things that I have ever found.

I like to look for unique dresses too. Especially in the summer. I love sun dresses, I can just throw them on and go. It is hard, (especially around here) to find something that not everyone else has. I have a collection of vintage sun dresses that I have picked up here and there that I get complements on all the time. I always have mine dry cleaned and pressed, it does make a difference. Sometimes those things have been in attics or not washed in years.

Happy Thrifting, everyone! I hope ya’ll find lots of treasures and pay almost nothing for them!!

The Best 10 Pieces of Parenting Advice I got with my first baby……that I know are true now that I have a second.

When you have a baby, seems like every woman who has ever given birth (and some who have not) want to bombard you with advice about everything. What diapers are best, what bottles reduce colic, what formula helps with spit up. The list is endless. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was not jaded. I welcomed the advice with open ears. I knew nothing about parenting, or babies. I needed the advice!! Now that I consider myself semi well seasoned in the art of caring for children, I too can become one of those annoying, know it all-mothers that offer up advice at the drop of a hat. But honestly, I only do it because I enjoyed the tips. It made my life easier. Don’t get me wrong, the shell shock of having children never completely goes away, but being prepared can lighten the load. Here are the 10 best pieces of advice I got with my first baby, Greyson. Now that I have had River, I know them to be completely true!

1: If you want to breast feed, then breast feed. If you don’t, then don’t. I tried with both of mine, but it just was not a good fit for us. It doesn’t mean I am any less of a mother. I applaud breast feeding, I think it is fantastic, but it isn’t for some people….and that is okay! Some moms really love it and enjoy it, and that is okay too! To each their own. I formula fed both of mine, and they are completely fine!

2: Invest in a “Diaper Genie”. Just do it. They air lock those stinky diapers and keep them contained so your little one doesn’t stink up that beautiful nursery that took you months to decorate. I mean honestly, nobody is going to care how lovely that paint job and chandelier is if all they can smell is baby poo.

3: Look into baby wearing. I honestly said I would never in a million years do it, but come on. Be realistic. You can’t pack that little thing around all day. In a perfect world, the dishes would do themselves and so would the laundry, but that’s all on you, mama. A friend sold me her moby wrap and can I tell you that I strap my big man in there and clean away. God send.

4: Read the damn baby books. Come on. It doesn’t hurt. They have all kinds at the library. I was partial to What to Expect when you’re Expecting, and also, What to Expect: The Toddler Years. In all seriousness, nobody knows before hand what a “mucous plug and bloody show” is before reading these books. Scary, but useful.

5: Do not, repeat, do not buy anything nice for a while. When Kyle and I first got married, we wanted to decorate our new house and go all out. One problem. Our (then) 18 month old was a newly walking terrorist, who would throw sippy cups and sling spaghetti everywhere. That white couch you love?……try getting banana baby food out of it. That antique candy dish that grandma left you…..your child eventually will try to use that as a frisbee. Put all valuble items up and just pray that they won’t destroy what you have.

6: Lavender baby wash for bed time. I swear by this stuff. You can buy it in different brands. Aveeno is good, and so is Johnson and Johnson. I give mine baths with this and put the lotion on before bedtime every night and it helps them fall right to sleep. Plus it smells heavenly.

7: Use Dreft detergent for your babe’s clothes. It is gentle, hypoallergenic and fragrance free. It will not irritate them. I learned this the hard way. Gain can cause a bad rash on a newborn.

8: The old wive’s tale “take the bottle when the sign is in the knees” is legit. My mother in law shared this one with me. We were weaning Greyson from his beloved (and I do mean beloved) bottle and she kept telling me to wait until the moon sign was in the knees. I can’t remember full logistics, but it has something to do with lunar tides and all kinds of crazy stuff. A farmers almanac can tell you when it will be. Do it. It works. No lie. Google it.

9: Teething tablets will become your friends. Teething babies are no joke. It is miserable. For you. For them. Everyone. I use herbal tablets for my boys, they dissolve under the tongue and help calm your baby down and allow them to rest while those teeth are cutting through. They have saved me many times. Many times.

10: Slow down and Enjoy every second with your little ones. This one is age old. Of all the advice I received this one was the most used. “They grow up so quick”. Yep. They do. Take time to love on them, memorize their little baby faces and take lots of pictures so you can have them, always. Let the dishes go unwashed to watch Mickey mouse, forget the laundry so you can cuddle. These days won’t last long and there is no getting them back. This is the time when you are most love, most treasured and most needed. When they are grown, they won’t want you to do those things anymore. Treasure it.

To all you moms out there, cheers to you! Share your advice, be proud of your experiences and never stop helping other mamas who need a well seasoned voice.
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Hey Ya’ll!

 So fun to be trying something new and different! I always post little tidbits about my life with my boys and husband on facebook and they seem to get a lot of laughs. I have had several people tell me I should start a blog, if not for anything else, just for me to enjoy and have something creative to do with my free time. So here goes!

  I am a 24 year old mother of two boys. Greyson Jeffrey and River Scott Hall. They are my entire world wrapped up in two tiny little bodies. Raising boys has been an adventure. I still learn something new everyday and always laugh. Greyson is two and River is almost 6 months old.

I have been married to my husband for nearly two years. He is truly one of the greatest people I have ever been lucky enough to meet, and I can’t believe he choose me to be his wife. He works as an attorney in our small town of Hazard Kentucky. A place where everyone knows everyone and their business. We are best friends, partners in crime and fellow lovers of UK everything, bourbon and Neil Young.

I decided to start this blog to connect with other Moms out there. It can be a lonely job when you stay at home with little ones all day. I also like to share any knowledge that I have about keeping your sanity while trying to maintain your identity and still doing well in the roles of being a wife, mother, home maker, maid, cook, driver, therapist and whatever else that women are expected to do these days. Enjoy!!