Monday, September 1, 2014

No Shop Recap and New Challenges

Well here we are. Labor Day.  Technically the end of my no shop summer.  How'd I do?  Well I kept up my pledge, but sadly, my goal is still not quite attainable.  I have been thinking and reflecting on this all weekend and trying to figure out where I went wrong.  I think there are multiple factors.

First of all, I said my shopping ban included all clothes, accessories but also bath/body or makeup for myself.  I did cheat here.  I bought a few makeup items and also some facial products to try out in my ever suffering quest to have better skin.  Most of these things were things I didn't truly need.  And I was guilty of "I'm just buying this one small thing here or there".  Small things add up.  Fast. 

Secondly, I didn't include Oliver in my shopping ban.  He's a growing boy, so he did need some new clothes this summer.  I also bought him a few more age appropriate toys.  I tried to do it secondhand when possible, but it still added up.  Nate's theory is maybe I was channeling my energy of not shopping for myself into shopping for him, he may be right.  Either way, it didn't help my cause much!

I also have a significant car loan from purchasing my parent's car in March.  I'm so happy to have it, but I don't want to take advantage of them in any way so I'm trying to get it paid off as soon as I can.

Beyond that, the grocery trips, items for the cats and our various activities do add up.  It's hard to give everything up all together.  I learned a lot about just our daily expenses and it makes me wonder where we'd be if I hadn't given up shopping at all.

So where do I go from here?  Well, I don't have the answers yet.  Sadly I just know we are not ready for me to cut a day from my work schedule yet, I don't think we can afford to lose that day of pay.  I am continuing to count my blessings that I have the type of job I do - an understanding boss, close proximity to my parents so I can at least get my lunch hour with Oliver, I have a nice time off program.  I am going to keep working on not shopping - my closet is full to the brim and there is nothing I truly need.  That being said I am letting myself hit the thrifts later today for 50% off day but I'm going to be very discerning as to anything I choose.  I only want things that will work with other items I already have.  After today though, I'm back to no more shopping.  I have a birthday in two months and Christmas and I plan to ask for gift cards at that time. 

Helping me continue to shop my own closet and remix are three more Instagram style challenges that I'm very excited about - Style Me September, a Patterns challenge and another round of Pinned It Spinned It.  I have been enjoying these Instagram challenges - I may not hit all of them at once again, but between them they give me ideas and options and I like interpreting them my own way.

The other thing I'm going to attempt for the rest of the year is a Project "Use It Up" - I am going to try to not buy any new makeup/bath and body/hair products/etc until I use something up.  If you have seen my bathroom shelf, this could take me awhile.  It's just time.

Beyond that, Nate and I are really going to start working on a budget and figuring out how we can best still enjoy our day to day life while working towards the goal of me being able to stay home a little more.  I still believe we can make it work, just gotta keep on trucking.  I am not going to really say a whole lot more about this for the time being, but I do thank all of you for your support while I have been working on this shopping ban!  We'll see how things shake out as we keep going!
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Friday, August 29, 2014

TIGF - Summer's End

Hosted by Ashley, Nay and Laura

Happy Friday!!  I'm back with my weekly round up of things I'm grateful for this week!  It was a short week and next week will be as well, so that definitely tops my list!  Other things I am grateful for include:

Generous friends -  During one of the Instagram challenges I took part in this summer I met and made friends with a sweet gal from Canada who happens to have a daughter born right around the same time as Ollie.  We've had fun chatting on Instagram together and a couple of weeks ago she very sweetly offered to send me some clothes that she was looking to get rid of.  I wasn't about to turn that generous offer down!  I now have three new to me shirts and a pair of pants.  


Sky after a rainy day - we were walking with Oliver after it had rained a bit on Sunday and came around the corner to this.  God's canvas of art if I ever saw it.  I kept looking for a rainbow too, but this sun beaming from the clouds was just as beautiful to me!

Babies playing together - we had another birthday party for one of Ollie's little friends last weekend and it's just so fun to see him start to interact with other kids, he's starting to understand "oh hey, this person is my size and they're just like me!"

Long weekends with my boys - we're planning to go on a couple of little adventures this weekend just the three of us and I'm really looking forward to it!

Free food - We ordered a pizza last night and it took much longer than the estimated time for it to arrive and they also ended up messing up our order a little bit.  While we were not happy about that, the pizza place agreed to refund our money, so it ended up being free.  And you know something?  Free food tastes pretty good! 

The arrival of Fall -  I know I've been talking about how much I have loved this summer and haven't wanted it to end, but I love Fall.  I can't wait to share some of my favorite Fall activities with Oliver.  It's really my favorite time of the year!  In the meantime though I plan to make the most of this last weekend of summer!   I hope all of you here in the US have a fantastic Labor Day weekend!
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thrift Style Thursday - Fringe benefits

The theme for this week's Thrift Style Thursday is fringe.  I was originally going to sit this week out as I own not a single fringed item - but then I started looking at some DIY projects online late yesterday and I found a tutorial on how to make a fringed scarf.  It was another easy DIY for my spazzy self to handle so I gave it a go and I'm actually really excited about how it turned out!

All you need to make this scarf is an old t-shirt you no longer want to wear.  You cut it off at the armpits so you have a rectangle and then take and make cuts from the bottom - as long as you want the fringe essentially - all around the shirt.  Stretch out your strips and boom.  It could not be easier to make this bad boy!  How's that for resourceful?

I also added one of my favorite pair of Minnetonka Moccasins - not thrifted, but still fringy and also one of my favorite bags that is also not thrifted, but features fringe's close cousin the tassle.  Add that to my favorite flowy maxi dress and suddenly you've got a fun boho look for early fall!  Yes I said fall.  It's coming people. Deal with it.

Dress - Cliche Mpls (from friend), Sweater - Camy Couture
Scarf - DIY by me, Bag - Urban Expressions (Lulu's)
Shoes - Minnetonka Moccasins, Bracelets - S&D 

Oliver loved my scarf too.  He loves when I wear anything that dangles over him when I pick him up or take him out of the car in his carseat.  He grabs on and won't let go.  It's adorable, I think he's learning dangly things are fun by watching the cats or something!

For other fringe-y fun, head to the other Thrift Style Thursday blogs below:
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

NE Minneapolis Beer Tour

We live near an area of Northeast Minneapolis that has exploded with microbreweries/taprooms.  When Nate's relatives were here last week we decided we had to take them on a taproom tour!  Most of them are close enough together that you can almost walk to each one too which is awesome.  Thursday evening was warm, but a perfect night to explore!  My parents kindly babysat Oliver so we could be out and about for awhile.

We started at Sociable Cider Werks - which actually isn't beer, it's all hard ciders.  They opened up like the week Oliver was born or right around then and we were going to try to go sometime this winter, but just never got there as we really hadn't been doing much of this kind of thing until this summer really!  I really enjoyed this place, there are a large variety of ciders that they make!  They don't do flights, but they do offer small pours of their brews, so we ordered one of each and then between the five of us we passed them around and each got a taste of each one!

Nate's cousins and aunt are not huge craft beer drinkers in general (they live in Budweiser land after all) so we figured this was a good place to start the evening.  Everyone had at least one that they really liked, so that worked out well!

Nate, Scott, Linda and Tyler enjoying a cider

Down the road from Sociable Cider Werks are two breweries you can park in between and just walk from one to the other.  Bauhaus Brew Labs and 612 Brew.  Nate and I had just been to Bauhaus on our date night a couple of weeks ago, but decided they would probably like this one a lot as many of the beers they have are nice, light and easy drinking for even the most sensitive pallet.  They also do flights, so we were able to order a couple and share. 

They also had one beer on cask that evening (it's a different way of kegging beer) so we ordered one of those for everyone to try as well!

Nate's sister and her boyfriend also met up with us and they were happy to help us drink the beers too! Another nice thing about each of these breweries is they usually have a food truck on site so we were also able to purchase some food to nosh on as well.  Back at Sociable they had a Japanese style food truck with some of the best potstickers I've had in ages.

Cheers to MN beers!

We walked over to 612 Brew after we finished at Bauhaus.  612 gets it's name from the area code for most of Minneapolis.  They have never been my favorite of the taprooms near us, when we first started going there I used to wonder if they wanted to be a taproom or a dance club with how loud they pump their music (yes I am 90) but this time was much better.  I feel their beer has improved a bit too, though it's still not my most favorite.  We knew they also did beer flights though so we thought it would be another good choice to do some sampling.

Nate's sister will kill me for this pic when she sees it!

They have really nice paddles for their beer flights.  I'd say their most improved brew to me - at least from the last time I had it which was before I even got pregnant with Oliver is one called Mary Ann, it has ginger in it (nice play on Gilligan's Island!) and it was actually quite refreshing on a warm night!  The last time I had it I could barely taste the ginger, but this time it was definitely noticeable!

It was getting pretty late at this point - well late for these parents who needed to go get their baby at some point - so we decided to make just one more stop before heading home for the night and I was really wanting to take them to my favorite of the Northeast breweries for selfish reasons - I still hadn't been there in person since having Ollie.  So we headed to Indeed Brewing Company and ordered a last round there.  Indeed was probably not a great choice for their specific taste in beer, but I just adore this place so much I wanted them to at least see it and give it a try.  They did actually like a couple of their options as well.  And Andrew Zimmern's food truck was there so they thought that was pretty awesome too!

Enjoying a few last brews at Indeed.

Even though they aren't as huge into the craft beers as we are, his cousins and aunt really enjoyed checking all of these places out with us.  We ended up having them over to our house on their last night here and then they sampled Nate's beer and they said his beer was the best they'd ever had!  I thought that was really sweet, one of them even wants to try homebrewing now - so overall I think we taught them pretty well! 

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Inspiration Tuesday - Back to reality

Well I'm finally back at it after a wonderful staycation over the last few days.  We had a blast spending time with our St. Louis relatives and showing them the best of what Minnesota has to offer!  I have many stories to share about our adventures, but given that it's my first day of reality again (and being back to work) I'm keeping it simple on the blog today and am giving you an outfit post.  I loved this look for two birds Inspiration Monday yesterday from Sophia Bush.  Kind of a fun transition to fall kind of look!

My take is pretty casual, wore this outfit to the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardens yesterday.  I love any excuse to pull out my green utility vest these days, I didn't wear it much when I first bought it, but I'm really getting good use out of it now!

Vest - Old Navy, Tank top - Motherhood Nursing
Jeans - Old Navy, Shoes - Target
Bag - Vintage Coach (Rewind) 

It certainly is hard to be back at work today - especially because now the weather is finally to my liking!  I'm still so thankful I was able to take a few days off though, not just to see that extended family, but to have the extra time with my little Ollie is always appreciated!  As I said, I'll share more about our adventures later this week!  For now, I've got emails calling my name to respond to!  I'll be catching up with all of you as well, I've missed you guys these last few days!

For more Inspiration Monday outfits and fun, visit two birds over here.
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