Monday, February 28, 2011

Handwriting meme

About a week ago my friend, Elizabeth, did a handwriting meme. I meant to do it as well, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. On my lunch break on Saturday, however, I finally got around to doing it.
Here are the questions:

1. What's your name/your blogger name?
2. What's your blog's name/URL?
3. Write "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog".
4. Favorite quote?
5. Favorite song?
6. Favorite band/singers?
7. Anything else you want to say?
8. Tag three to five other people.

And here are my answers! If you want to see it closer, click the picture.

Now it's your turn!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Oh the things at Goodwill!

It should be no secret to you that I love all things free and cheap. Preferably free. However, for all my love of the cheap, I have typically steered clear of goodwill stores because, lets face it, they aren't really very attractive. Every other goodwill I have been in has been...dirty, and it is just not some place I would like to spend my time...until I discovered my favorite thrift store* ever!

*Side note: I think the key difference is thrift vs. goodwill. For some reason thrift stores are just a little cleaner, a little nicer, and a lot less crowded than the goodwills I have been in. This could be only my experience, of course, so don't take my word for it!

Anyway, I thought I would share with you a few of the things I have found at my local thrift store!

The first was an idea from my friend (who knows nothing about me) The Non-Consumer Advocate. Katy said that she had bought a set of cheap flatware at goodwill to send with her kid's lunches. This prevents waste, but also saves her good flatware from being accidentally tossed. I thought this was an excellent idea, especially since I have been packing my lunch religiously (being in a carpooling situation where I don't have the car helps that a lot!) and have been going through plastic forks and spoons (snagged from restaurants like Quiznos) like they're going out of style. So, I took a leaf out of Katy's book and snagged a set of flatware when I saw it at Goodwill!

As an aside, do you know how difficult it is to take pictures of shiny silverware? Especially for a photographer amateur! Anyway, I think the set of silverware was $5 and the bucket they are in was from the dollar section at Target!

I have a bad habit of putting things where they don't belong when there is an empty surface. Please tell me I'm not the only one who has this problem! Anyway, we have a 3-drawer surface that holds our to-go containers very nicely, but tends to collect things that have homes elsewhere! At the same time we have a small pantry/closet that I am having trouble keeping clean and organized. One of the issues in that pantry/closet was our boxes of tea. So, I decided to poke through the numerous baskets at my thrift store and found one I thought would hold our tea perfectly!

The best part about this basket is it looks nice, so I can get away with keeping it outside of the pantry/closet, a bonus I didn't anticipate!

Since I tend to have issues with empty surfaces, I also decided that there was one surface in our den that needed help. It is a hope chest that we inherited from Geoff's grandmother, and it's right next to the door heading out to the garage, or into the house from the garage, depending on the time of day. Needless to say, it collects a lot of stuff.

Ah, yes. This is much better. Now I have baskets that are not only taking up space so I don't put other things on it, but it also has baskets that I can put stuff in! Keeps things neat and organized and I'm honestly relieved.
Sadly, I couldn't find such wonderful (matching) baskets at my thrift store, so these came from Michael's. They were 50% off, however, so I got both for $17!

Last, but not least, are my favorite recent thrift store find:

My red shoes! Impractical? Perhaps. Fun and exciting? Definitely! Cheap? Oh yes, these were only $3! I've worn them at least half a dozen times, and I'm pretty sure they've paid for themselves already.

Do you thrift? What have you found lately?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm Grateful Wednesday

Every Wednesday (well, almost every Wednesday!) I try to do a post on things I'm grateful for over the past week. This helps keep my mood up...especially in the winter. Give it a try, it helps!

Oh, friends. I feel as if I have failed you in the blogging sense. I looked back at my blog and I have had nothing exciting or unusual to say in far too long. I have allowed the business of life get in the way of what I love to do...write! I will try to be better this week.

Anyway, this week I'm grateful for my job. There are so many out there without one, or with jobs they hate or had to settle on (even me, sometimes) but the fact that I have a job, any job, is important and refreshing.

I'm grateful for the gas station attendant next door to work who knows me and gives me the occasional free coffee! Hey, it's the little things.

I'm grateful for my brand new iPhone, which I have been waiting a long time for. Loyal to Verizon, I had to wait until it came to my phone company, and this month it did!

I'm grateful for the light dusting of snow that made everything pretty, but not a nuisance this morning.

I would have more to be grateful for, but remember that job? Well, I must go do it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm Grateful Wednesday

Every Wednesday (well, almost every Wednesday!) I try to do a post on things I'm grateful for over the past week. This helps keep my mood up...especially in the winter. Give it a try, it helps!

I have to be honest with you all; I'm having a very hard time being grateful today and lately. I'm just feeling run-down, tired, ungrateful and having a pity party for myself. This winter has been unusually hard for both Geoff and I. It has been a winter of sickness for us, and we normally have a very strong immune system! I don't think there has been a time when either one or both of us hasn't been sick since the end of October. So that, combined with several other small factors has served to make me ungrateful lately. So I suppose this week's I'm grateful Wednesday is even more important.

  • I'm grateful for my wonderful husband, who went along with my idea of 14 small gifts leading up to Valentine's Day. While I actually gave him small gifts, my wonderful husband gave me numerous small gifts along with flowers delivered to my work and a board game that I love to play! I'm so lucky.
  • I'm grateful that I will be seeing my best friend, Kristin in April! We have just finalized the details and I can't wait to see her. It's been way too long.
  • I'm grateful that I will also see my family at my sister's graduation in May! It's also been too long since I've seen them, and I look forward to spending time, even if it's only a few days, with my parents and sister.
  • As always, I'm grateful that I have a job. Geoff and I have established financial goals for ourselves recently, and we are working diligently towards those goals. Well, we are working towards them. Silly temptations keep getting in our way.
  • I'm grateful that this week we are going to be ordering iPhones! I've waited a long time for Verizon to come out with the iPhone and I am so glad they finally did, and that we are able to get them too.
OK, that wasn't so it's your turn! What are you grateful for this week?

Friday, February 11, 2011

6 letters down, 46 to go

I have good news and bad news. The good news is I wrote two letters this week! The bad news is, I haven't mailed either of them! Oops. They will go out with tomorrow's mail, however, so it will all work out. This week I wrote a letter to my friend and pen pal Lydia. We have been exchanging letters since early last fall and I've really enjoyed it. The other letter I wrote was to my grandmother. She wrote to me first, and since I really miss seeing her (and her scones and tea!) I wrote back. It wasn't anything exciting, just about what's going on in our lives, but I think she'll appreciate it all the same.

This week's letter isn't going to be mailed, because it's a special, hand-delivered letter. It is going to my husband, and it's going to be a Valentine's love letter. I haven't written it yet, but I am eager to. That will be a Sunday or Monday project for me (these things take time!)

If you joined in the letter-writing challenge, how are you doing this week?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Swagbucks can do for you!

I love Swagbucks. Have you heard of it? It's actually one of those online sites where you click and earn "swagbucks" and then trade those in for fun and exciting prizes. Except, this one actually works!
I'm not sure who turned me onto Swagbucks, but I decided to try it out. Plus, there was a 50 SB bonus if you joined, so that was enough to convince me! Hey, I'm easily convinced.
Anyway, I joined in November and have earned about $25 worth of cards already. I get a $5 card about every 4-5 weeks, just for doing nothing, which I think is really pretty awesome! Obviously you can always earn more SB, but since I don't want to spend hours a day doing it, I'm content to just earn between 10 and 15 SB a day.

So, how do you use Swagbucks?? I'm glad you asked! I learned a couple tricks from a blog and since then I've become a little obsessed with doing them once a day.
There are a few things that earn you 1 SB a day, but that adds up to about 90 SB a month. Hey, I never said you'd get rich this way, but every bit helps!

Polls, 1SB

So first, along the top of the page is a row of drop down menus. The ones you want are Earn. The first place I usually go is to the polls. This is always a silly question. Yesterday's was, "do you watch the Superbowl?" and todays was "how often do you wash your hair?" Once you vote, you get one SB and to see who answered what on the polls. Not overly exciting, but it gets you one SB a day.

Surveys, 2SB
All you have to do to earn these SB is to click on the trusted surveys tab, and you earn 1 SB! Simple as that! If you want, you can also do a survey, but I find that I rarely qualify for them, so I typically don't bother. Although once I did get 50 SB for doing a survey, but it doesn't pay out often enough for me to want to try it often.

This used to be worth only 1SB, but for some reason it recently became two! This is very exciting to me. Anyway, this one, abbreviated, stands for No Obligation Special Offers, and it's very simple to earn those 2 SB. Click through the offers, always selecting next, or skip until you get to the end, where your Swagbucks are waiting! Simple, right?

Search ??? SB
Doing a search through Swagbucks is the last thing I typically do. I honestly don't really like the search tool, I prefer Google, but this is an easy way to earn SB. I usually do a few random searches and come up with 7-10 SB. (The other day I got 22 though!)

There are other things you can do on the site, and if you have the patience you can watch videos and do special offers, but usually this is all I do. Obviously if you do more things then you will earn more SB, but I spend very little time on the site and find it to work quiet well.

So, have you tried Swagbucks? What do you think?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's time for another miscellaneous post!

Otherwise known as, I have a few different things to say, but nothing interesting enough to put into a whole blog post.

This weekend we are having friends stay with us while they go to a concert tonight, and on Sunday we are hosting a very, very small Superbowl party! I say small because it's only going to be two couples, and one of them isn't coming until halftime because they have another party to attend!

Since we are hosting this party and wanted to make a warm Rotel dip, (minus the sausage, ew) we decided that we needed a small, one quart crock pot. (I mean really, who doesn't need one of those?) Since I saw two (sans lids) at my favorite thrift store, I dragged Geoff there. We ended up finding one with a lid (score!) for only $5.99. We also found several other very exciting items that are going to be featured in a "Why I like to Thrift and Exciting Things I've Found" post that I am hoping will come together this week. I'd have it sooner (like right now) except I want to take pictures to enhance the post. Because all posts are more interesting with pictures.

I bought a Groupon for a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card (for only $10!) recently, thinking that I would give it to my mom who just got an ereader for her birthday...only to remember after purchase that she got a Kindle. Oh well, I'm quite sure I will find something to do with that card.

Speaking of ereaders, Geoff and I are very seriously considering getting ourselves one. (One each, of course, because I don't want to share!) We are torn between the Nook and the Kindle, but I am leaning towards Kindle myself. This is a huge deal for me, because as a librarian I was very against them for a long time. However, I think I've been won over. One of the reasons I'm not stressing about the B&N gift card is that if Geoff gets a Nook (which he's been considering) he can use it to buy books!
Also speaking of Barnes and Noble, where do you think they came up with that name?

And on that pivotal question, I must get to work. It is, after all, a Saturday and I have a lot to catch up on, since I took a sick day this week. (Which also happens to be why this week lacked a Grateful Wednesday post. Even though I just realized my sick day was Tuesday so that's no real excuse. Oh well.)

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

52 Letters, 52 Weeks, week 5

I'm a week or so behind in posting but, thankfully, not behind in writing! The letter from two weeks ago was to a good friend from college. When we were in school we used to go to Great Harvest Bread and pick up their coloring pages which were always seasonal. Then we would take them back, color them, and write letters on the back to friends far away. I once wrote a letter to my grandparents and when they wrote back they commented on how nice my picture was! Why thank you, I hope so, considering I'm in college!
Anyway, I had an old coloring page from Sunday School (I say old because it was two kids with a cake that said Happy Birthday Jesus!) which I had colored while my kids played with legos at the end of the lesson. I found it, pulled it out, and wrote a letter on the back, just like old times. Though I haven't heard from my friend yet, I hope she's received it already!
Last week's letter went to my sister. In searching for a silly Valentine's card for my best friend, I came across an adorable, but simple card that I thought my sister would appreciate. So I penned out a letter, filling both sides of the card, and mailed it off to LA, where she is staying for the semester.
This week's letter is still to be determined. I don't have stationary that is condusive to long letter-writing, though that is what I have wanted to do, recently! I was considering typing up a letter, but since that isn't very exciting either, I think I will just use one of the blank cards I already have. Though I'm not sure who will get this week's letter, I have a few ideas, so when inspiration strikes I should be ready (and hopefully inspiration strikes soon, since it's already Thursday!)

If you're doing this challenge, how are you doing?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Last night Geoff and I were watching How I Met Your Mother (which is an excellent show, and if you have neither heard of it nor watched it you should really rectify the situation immediately) and it was the one where Lily and Marshall get married. Now, I may have a soft spot for Lily because she's played by Alyson Hannigan, who I originally fell in love with in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (judge all you want, I'm not ashamed!) but I absolutely LOVE the relationship between Lily and Marshall.
Anyway, I digress, slightly. In this episode Lily and Marshall were at their reception, and it was just crazy. They couldn't eat anything because they kept getting distracted and blocked by people who wanted to hug and say congratulations. Anyway, when they finally left they went to a fast food restaurant where they ordered a couple hotdogs because they were so hungry. Lily had eaten nothing but a few strawberries and champagne, and as Marshall was ordering, the guy behind the counter commented that, "Your wife just threw up in the trash." Marshall turns toward Lily, smiles, and says, "My wife," with so much love in his voice.

When Geoff and I first got married, we did that a lot. We'd just look at each other for the first month or so, and say, "you're my wife!" or "We're married!" or we'd point at our wedding bands and just smile. Now that it's been just over a year, we don't do this anymore, but it doesn't mean we're any less in love, it's just sunk in by now that we're in it for the long haul!

My family isn't a touchy-feely family at all. Though we love each other, growing up I don't remember saying it a lot. This didn't mean that we don't love each other, of course, it was more that we just...didn't say it to each other. We also didn't hug a lot, but now that I'm a little older, I think this could be partly my fault, because I don't like to be touched too much!
Anyway, I digress again. When Geoff and I first said I love you to each other, we said it a lot, especially when we said goodbye. I got into the habit of saying, "I love you! Bye," when we ended our phone calls. After a bit, something interesting happened. I started saying this to my family, too. My sister had moved out to go to college, and I was back living with my parents while I worked full time. My sister and I had just begun to get closer to each other, and we talked on the phone often. I'm so grateful that I started saying I love you when I got off the phone, because I no longer feel funny saying it, whether it's to my sister or parents.

I think it's important to say I love you, and you shouldn't have to stumble over the words awkwardly, like I used to. Because, at the end of the day, you have no idea what's going to happen tomorrow, and I'd hate for something to happen to my parents or sister, or anyone else I love, only to leave me regretting that I didn't say I love you enough. So, love your friends and family today, because tomorrow may change your whole life. You don't know what tomorrow will bring, so say I love you today.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Small decorations

It's the little things in the house that make me happy. It is one of my goals to replace the switch plate covers in all the rooms in our house. Sadly, it only went as far as my bedroom and bathroom for several months. However, I found a couple more Etsy sites that I liked (I had different ideas for each room, which is why I went with different sellers) and was able to find switch plates I liked for our front room, hall and kitchen!

The front room (living room) and hallway are painted's a difficult color to describe, but we like it a lot. I wanted something classy for those covers, and since I would need to get three, I also knew I'd need them to be something I was really happy with! It took a while, but I finally settled on one that I liked a lot...especially when I got them on the wall!

The picture really doesn't show the colors well, but I was lazy (an on a picture-taking roll) and was taking them at night.
I happen to love our hallway, by the way. I found these frames at Bed Bath and Beyond, and it was $10 for all 4. I know I might have been able to to better at my favorite thrift store, but this was prior to discovering it, so these worked for me!

Since we've combined families, I wanted to have a tribute to both sides, so there are wedding pictures with Geoff and I alone with our families, a picture of my brother and sister-in-law, and one of all 4 "kids" (but not my sister). I really like the way it looks!

Anyway, back to the switch plate covers. In the kitchen we have yellow walls that I love, with a little brick above the stove and red curtains over the sink. We also have a wall with 4 coffee pictures. You know the kind, the ones you buy as a set at Target. Nothing overly exciting, but I do love the look of coffee decor, so I knew that's what I wanted in the kitchen. These just arrived this weekend so I was thrilled to put them up! And they match the walls so well!

It's difficult to see with the walls, but again, I was taking the pictures at night, so bear with it! In the kitchen I replaced two switch plates, but also a plug cover because we had a decorative cover there that I wanted to match everything else.
The best part of all is that I now have 5 decorative covers that are listed on Craigslist! If they don't sell, I will try either Freecycle or just donate them, but I figured I'd try to make a little cash first.

What do you think?

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