Dress for Less! Fashion Series (#1)

Dress for Less 4

$10 total outfit- dress from Plato’s Closet for $8.00 (new, with tags still on) and $2.00 for shoes. $16 total outfit- dress from Plato’s Closet for $12, purse from a yard sale for $2, and cowgirl inspired boots were brand new for $2. at a yard sale! $12 total outfit- top was $2.00 from Salvation Army, skirt was $3.00 from Salvation Army, and shoes were a clearance item from Maurices for $6.99

I love fashion. I love looking good and feeling good in what I wear. If I were a multi-millionaire, I’m sure I would enjoy shopping trips on Rodeo Drive and 5th Ave. But, much to my despair, I’m no millionaire. In fact, since I have been a stay at home mom the last few years, I have really had to learn how to cut back on spending. However, I don’t want to wear ugly rags either! Good news! With just a little bit of time and effort on your part, you can find cute clothes at very affordable prices! In fact, I have found that I can buy a TON of clothes, for a fraction of what an average woman would spend a year. Plus, this way, I still get to do something I LOVE…shopping! And I am always getting to buy new things because it never breaks the bank!

Ok, so I know my method may not be for everyone. In fact, when I was younger, I wasn’t so eager to hunt for bargains or pick up items at yard sales and thrift stores. But you know what, I get compliments on my clothing literally everyday so I must be doing something right! And being very aware of germs and such, as I am…I am cautious of what I buy, and where, and of course everything in washed well before ever worn. And yes, I do buy clothing new sometimes, just not very often because you’ll find once you pay very little for beautiful items, it is then hard to pay full retail prices for things ever again lol. Plus, right now I am just focusing on my own clothing finds, but I will also get into how I dress my son in name brand and super cute outfits for less too! So, stay tuned for more blog posts covering that!

So, where do I go most for cute stuff? Well, in my area, there are a few places I like to visit regularly. Most people will have a Good Will or Salvation Army near them. Both are great places to find cute items! In fact, one huge bonus to going to these places verses your local mall, is that you can find more unique pieces that not everyone around you will be wearing. The Good Will near me has amazing deals on Sunday’s, where certain items are as little as 49 cents! The Salvation Army in my area has half off deals every Wednesday. I can not even tell you how many cute dresses, jeans, tops, etc. that I can find for super cheap! And I swear, some people will buy something new, wear it maybe once or twice, and donate it. I seriously have no problem with some girl buying a new Victoria’s Secret “PINK” hoodie, for probably $50 dollars, wearing it once, then I pick it up for let’s say three bucks. I love that savings! Seems stupid to pay more than fifteen times as much for the same item. I’d rather spend the money I can save, on doing things with my son!

I bought this top at Salvation Army this week for $2.00

I bought this top at Salvation Army this week for $2.00

I scored this dress for a fun night out, at Salvation Army for $2.50 and these Nine West boots (in perfect new condition) for $5.00 at a yard sale!

I scored this dress for a fun night out, at Salvation Army for $2.50 and these Nine West boots (in perfect new condition) for $5.00 at a yard sale!

My town also has a consignment store that I like to frequent. This particular shop offers half off anything in the store on Tuesday’s. So, can you guess what day I go? Obvious, right? lol Now here, the tag price is usually a little higher than Good will or Salvation Army, but with the half off deal, you can still get a bargain! Also, this particular store focuses mostly on name brand labels…Nine West, Hollister, Abercrombie, Victoria’s Secret, American Eagle, Apt 9, Michael Kors, etc. And they have shoes and purses too! Want an authentic Coach handbag without spending full retail price? Yep, they have those too! Granted, you won’t be paying almost nothing, but it will definitely beat the full retail price!

Another good example of a consignment store that you might want to check out is Plato’s Closet. They have clothes, shoes, and purses. Even some jewelry. They are always running deals and specials where you can score extra amazing deals! I have found some very cute clothes from the Plato’s Closet near me!

I got this dress on sale at Plato's Closet for $7.00, along with the ring for $1.00. Then the jean jacket I scored for only 49 cents at Good Will, making this whole outfit under $9 bucks!

I got this dress on sale at Plato’s Closet for $7.00, along with the ring for $1.00. Then the jean jacket I scored for only 49 cents at Good Will, making this whole outfit under $9 bucks!

Alright, now onto yard sales! I love them. Call me crazy, but they are fun and interesting! The one good thing about yard sales, is you see where and who the items came from. If anything seems less than clean or to your standards, don’t even stop. But, often a nice house with nice, clean people, will usually yield nice items! Don’t be surprised if you even find things with store tags still in tact. You know it has happened to you…you buy something, hang it in your closet, it’s in there for a while, then you look at it and for whatever reason, realize you will never wear it. In the yard sale it goes! I once found a dress that had a tag from JCPenny’s with the retail price of $64.99. Do you know what I paid for it? $2.00!! Yes, brand new with store tags still on it, and I paid two bucks! It is one of my favorite dresses and I wear it to church all the time.

Now for stores. Yes, I sure do love going to retails stores too! And, even if you only want to buy directly from a store rack, don’t worry, you too can find great deals on clothing! Usually, stores will have a clearance rack and if you know when to go, you can find amazing deals! Towards the end of each season, stores will start to mark down seasonal items to make room for the next shipment. Now, just because they are seasonal, doesn’t always mean if you buy it, it will have to sit in your closet until next year. Often times things that are “seasonal” can still be worn into other times of the year. Even if you just have to add a little sweater or jacket over something. I once bought a cute dress from Kohl’s that was normally $50, for $7.99. I wear it in the spring, summer and fall. I am very tall, so pants and especially jeans are something I am very likely to buy from a store, because I need them in long. But knowing how and where to shop, I bought one of my favorite jeans for $10., which I am fine paying that much for brand new jeans. So, even when I buy new, I pay much less than most people because I hate to pay more, when I could PAY LESS! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed these tips and the glimpse of my wardrobe! If I see good responses on this topic, I will continue to cover it more! Now, get out there and shop!

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

I made these for my family and friends and they turned out great! If you love strawberries, cheesecake, and cupcakes, you’ll love these! Follow my easy steps to make these strawberry cheesecake cupcakes to share with your loved ones…

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Ingredients:

cupcakes

10 strawberries

1 cup sugar

1 2/3 cup flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 unsalted butter

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 plain greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon salt

Frosting

1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

5 oz. of cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons strawberry jam

Instructions:

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender.

3. Melt butter in the microwave for about 40 seconds, then put in a large bowl. Stir in sugar, egg, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract.

4. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt). Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and stir until smooth and free or lumps.

5. Line cupcake tin with liners and pour out 12 cupcakes, only filling up about half of the way. Bake on 350 for 18-22 minutes. You can check if they are done by inserting a toothpick in the middle. If the toothpick comes out clean, they are done.

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6. Take them out of the oven and let them cool completely.

7. Beat butter for the frosting with a mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix until a good light texture is reached. Add vanilla extract, cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam. Mix well.

8. Take a zip lock bag and fill with the frosting, keeping it angled. Twist at the top, directing frosting all to one bottom corner of the bag. Cut the tip, about half an inch. Use this to have more control when frosting the cupcakes. Add any additional toppings you wish, for example, I sprinkled on some red sugar crystals for decoration.

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Enjoy!!

cupcakes!

What to do this summer with your kids? Keeping stay-at-home Moms from going crazy this summer break..

A lot of stay-at-home moms have multiple children, usually with a range of ages. I can’t speak for moms with two, three, or four kids. I have one. Does this make us (the “one and done” moms) less of a mom? Less busy? Less important? …or best question yet, any less likely to go crazy spending day after day trying to keep our kids busy and happy during the summer months? Hardly! And, like most stay-at-home moms, money is a concern. We can’t spend everyday of the summer going to amusement parks, zoos, and other such costly activities (although I try to do those sometimes too!). But here are some ideas of things to do with your child(ren) on a daily basis over the summer, things that are either free, or low cost. Of course where you live and what is available in your own environment is going to be a factor, but don’t forget to think outside of the box! Search around, talk to people in your area, and see what trouble you can get into!

My son and I spending time together..

My son and I spending time together..

baseball game 2014

Baseball Game!

1. Baseball Game. Most cities, even my small town, has a minor league baseball team with weekly games. For approx. $5-8 a ticket, you can expect a few hours of the good ol’ American game!

2. Take a walk and talk about what you see. Don’t forget some of the simple things mean the most. Taking a walk, even around your own neighborhood can be a lot of fun, especially if you take time to talk about nature or other things you see and hear. You can also add elements of a scavenger hunt by trying to find specific things on your walk. Make it a bike ride if you’d prefer!

we like to look for flowers when we take walks!

we like to look for flowers when we take walks!

3. Go out for ice cream!! Yes, because on a hot summer day, sometimes you just NEED some!

Xander summer 2015 1

Yummm!

4. Car shows. My town has several car shows throughout the summer months. These can be free, or a small fee. Not only are the cars fun to check out, but there are also sometimes other things going on…face painting, balloons, snow cones, etc. We have been lucky enough that sometimes a very nice car owner will ask if my son would like to sit in the drivers seat of the car! Have your camera ready

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Car Show, thumbs up!

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5. Festivals. Most towns have all sorts of festivals. In my town just a few are the Rib Fest (yes, where ribs are the number one attraction, so come hungry!), the Lucy Fest (only because we are the hometown of the great comedian Lucille Ball), and the Apple Fest. All of these are very different in what they offer but the Rib Fest for example offers all kinds of foods and goodies, bounce houses, face panting, crafts and shops set up to browse. It was free to get in, food is pricy I will say, but the other things were only minimal costs.

Lucy 2015

At the Rib Fest, this June..with the now famous “scary Lucy” statue. (Lucille Ball Memorial Park)

Xander summer 2015 2

some playgrounds are just such great fun!

6. Playgrounds. Make it a day trip! Many parks will offer bathrooms, pavilions, grills, etc. So bring a cooler, either grill or just pack some snacks and drinks and hang out for the afternoon. I always like to play on the playground with my son, for at least part of the time, but you can also bring a book, magazine, tablet, etc if you rather sit back and enjoy a little “me” time while you let your kids mingle with their peers.

7. Take in a movie. I know, I know, this really isn’t cheap. Especially if popcorn and drinks are a most for you. However, on a rainy day, sometimes it is an option. Our local theater does offer half price popcorn and drinks at certain times and days of the week so don’t be shy to call and check what your local theaters offer.

Went to see the Minions movie today!

Went to see the Minions movie today!

8. Go fishing. Yeah, I don’t really care to fish. My son isn’t very much into it either lol, but everyone is different so it might be something your son or daughter may like! I believe children under 11 do not need a fishing license and the parent doesn’t either if you are just there helping them. (Please check your local laws to make sure what they require)

fishing 2014

fishing…

9. Gardening or lawn care. Kids usually love to help mom. Plants some flowers together, have them pick up sticks around the yard, or find a place to hang a bird feeder.

Xander and Mom 7.12.15 gardening

planting some pretty sunflowers 🙂

10. Arcade. Fish through the couch or your car for some quarters and go to an arcade for a little bit. This is another good rainy day activity. It’s also not something I would personally do with my child on a regular basis, just because I don’t think getting too much into video games is good for my son at his age. (Each parent has their own feelings on this, I’m sure)But he sure does like to pop in a few quarters and have a try and driving around a race track!

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Arcade fun…

Fun place to take the kids; Dinosaur World!

dinoworld1Recently, my family went on vacation in Tennessee. Yes, we drove…good ol’ fashioned road trip! I actually love this method of travel because it allows you the freedom to explore! For example, on our way back home, we were in Kentucky, when I spotted an advertisement for an attraction up ahead. It is a place called Dinosaur World in Cave City, KY. Now, why would I be interested in making an unplanned and sudden stop there you may ask? Well, in case you don’t know, I have a six year old son, Xander. Now what little boy wouldn’t love to see some big dinosaurs?!? So, literally, on a whim, we exited the highway to check it out.

They explain it as being a self-guided outdoor dinosaur museum. I thought “ok, this should be cool, let’s do it!” We were in no major rush to make it back home, so why not enjoy one last adventure! First off, I must say that I appreciated the fact they had a notice out front stating it was “dog friendly” because we had my little Pomeranian, Mr.Foxy Bobo with us. Seeing that it was a fairly hot day, we would not have been able to go had I needed to leave him in the car. So bonus points right there for you animal lovers! You basically follow a path through a slightly wooded area (the paths are concrete so they are stroller/wheelchair accessible) and you come along over 100 life-sized replicas of different types of dinosaurs. There are also plaques by each that give information on each type of dinosaur, including where they typically were located and what they ate. My son had a great time and it definitely was worth the stop! It was fun AND educational…a great experience for kids and adults alike!

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