Saturday, June 3, 2017

How I Like to Shop

For years, I have been buying things from expensive stores for....a lack of better word.. cheap.  I refuse to pay full price and sometimes I refuse to pay the sale price.  Sounds crazy, right?  Well, it really isn't.  For many, many, many years, I worked in retail.  At the time, I was able to get the inside scoop on when sales were happening and when the best time was to buy practically everything in the store.  So my love for shopping for next to nothing started back in the mid 90's.  Fast forward to 2017, I now have items in my home that others have paid more than they should have.  How do I do it?  Well, there are a few ways to do this.  It can be tricky and time consuming.  So if you have patience, this is the best thing for you.  If not, then thank you for visiting 😄 .  But, no really.  I find it takes a lot of time to look for the very best deal possible.  There were months I would stay up until midnight just waiting to see what the sales were going to be for that day.  I know...hardcore.  I would even have my coupons, gift cards, and rewards all ready just in case the sale was that great.  But, there are times I do miss out on something because of my frugalness (is that even a word?  Spell check says no, but I think it works).  Yet when I do find what I'm looking for, you better believe I'm a happy camper!  So let's talk about one of my favorite stores.  Pottery Barn.  When my husband hears that name, his insides cringe haha.  Not because he hates the products.  No, he hates the price.  At one time I did as well.  I used to look at the catalogs that would come in the mail and dream about having something from Pottery Barn.  There was a baby boats set from Pottery Barn Kids that I wanted my son to have when he was a baby.  But at the time, I didn't think I could afford it.  If  back then I had the knowledge I have now, he would have been sailing away to sleep with that nursery set.  But now, if I really wanted to, I could easily find it on eBay.  However, now that he's almost 12, I doubt he would want to have that in his room.  I did, however, find the quilt and plan to have his name and birth date embroidered on it.
  So going back to my frugalness (I'm using that word from now on).  I have found some ways to get what I want for a fraction of the cost.  Credit card.  Don't let this word scare you.  If you use it correctly, it can become your bestest friend in the whole wide world!  The trick is to pay it off as soon as you use it.  We were doing this for a while until there were some big ticket items we couldn't pass on....but that's a whole other story!  Using the credit card can be ever so useful!  They have a rewards program that does add up very quickly.  For every $250 you spend, you get $25 back.  Sometimes throughout the year, they have double points.  So instead of getting $25 in rewards, you get $50.  You can also receive other perks with this card.  The last one I got was $25 off of a purchase of $50 or more.  This happens 2-3 times a year.  One year I got one of these every quarter.
  If you're not comfortable with the credit card, then go for the email.  Periodically, they will send you coupon codes where you can get 20% off your order online or in the store, but most of the time it is 15% off.  Use them!  The 15% you get when you sign up can be used for ANYTHING.  NO EXCLUSIONS!  Did you see that? NO EXCLUSIONS!!!!  You can use it on furniture, clearance, sale items, your first born...okay maybe not that.  But you can use it on everything they sell.  Now here's the catch.  If you're an online shopper like me, because the nearest store is over 2 hrs away.....(ahem, bring a store down this way please so I can work for you), you have to be careful in how you use these.  I personally use these codes ONLY with free shipping items, and preferably when they are on sale.  Because you can only use your email code or their code on the website.  Never more than one.  If there is no free shipping, then all you're saving on is that cost in most cases. But with the rewards they send you, you can use those along with the coupon codes.  Those are used like gift cards.  Which is SWEET!
  If I can, I like to use all of these perks at one time.  Sometimes if what I want is already in the free shipping category, it works like a charm.  But there are other times there's a promotion going on along with free shipping.  So there is no need to use the email code at all.  I will give you an example of how I used my rewards.  Last year at Christmas, they had free shipping almost for the whole season.  It was beautiful!  A while back, we had bought my son his new bed from PB Teen.  His old bed had been in our family for over 30 years and needed a lot of work (which now those beds are going into my mom's new house! YAY!).  Anyhoo, we had gotten some rewards from that.  I also had a gift card from a different points program, that no longer has gift cards for these stores.  I'm still not happy about that.  But that's neither here nor there right now...Moving on! I had about $100 in gift cards and rewards.  I wanted to get a Christmas bedding ensemble for my daughter, since my son already had one.

Pottery Barn Kids
 Fun, right??  I was afraid that when it first came out, I was going to miss out because those things go lightening fast.  But I think everyone else was holding out for the sale of the century like I was.  Because it was still there until PBK had a 20% sale off of everything including sale and clearance items.  And it just so happened that this bedding set was part of that sale.  I bought a duvet cover, 2 pillow shams, and a sheet set.  The total cost after all the discounts?  $124.00.  What did I spend?  $24.00.  Yup!  I did end up buying the quilt later at a really great price too.

 Another example is this beautiful urn.
Pottery Barn

 I bought the smaller one when I was in the store during one of my family visits.  Of course I paid full price, only because it was sold out online.  I didn't want to risk losing out on getting it.  Silly me, I should have known it would have been in stock later! Oh well, lesson learned.  Anyway, I watched this one like a hawk and then one beautiful day...it was on sale AND! there was free shipping!  At this time, I had the other rewards perks from being a card member and I think I had a gift card from My Points as well (I used to use My Points quite frequently until I found out about ebates).  This was on sale for $79.  I paid a whopping $9.17.  It's sitting nicely in my living room as I type.
  These are just a few examples of how I saved online.  I have been able to do the same at the store, too.  Our family room used to house my old coffee table and the kids played on it constantly.  You can tell it has some wear and tear on it, poor thing.  After all, it is over 13 years old.  But it was one of the furniture pieces Target used to carry that was made out of real wood.  Soon, it will be getting a much needed makeover.  Over Christmas break last year, we were at my sister-in-law's house.  I noticed she had an activity table for her kids.  My husband and I thought it would be a great idea to get one for our little munchkins.  So we did.  They had just opened up a pop-up warehouse close to her house, and we went a huntin.  The table they had was the wrong color, but the carts weren't!  We almost passed them up because we were told the wrong price.  Thankfully we had enough sense to ask another employee about the price.  They ended up being $80 for the set when it was all said and done.  Since they didn't have the table at the outlet, we were able to call the store and get one held for us.  We bought a $219 activity table with short and tall legs for $139 (they had an awesome sale going on).  How much did we pay???  Only $80 for the carts.
  The thing is, it is so easy to shop at these stores.  Especially if you are patient and have the rewards.  Right now, I have 150 in rewards as we speak.  Throughout the year I buy small things, on sale, with coupon codes, and rack up the points that way.  Most of the time I buy my items from the outlets and am still able to get points from there.  I could go on and on about what I have in my home that is from the outlets or eBay.  But I won't because this is long enough hehe.  In all seriousness, though, I wrote this because I know how intimidating shopping at places like this can be.  I used to be one of those people who thought because I wasn't rich, I didn't belong in places like that.  Not true.  I know this was a long blog, but if it helped one person...then this was totally worth it!  I believe EVERYONE has the right to have nice things in their home, no matter where they come from.  Shoot, I could even talk about Target!  I have gotten so many things from there for a fraction of the cost too.  If I can save money, you can too.  If you would like more tips or more information, leave a comment or send me an email!  You can also follow me on Instagram: msliss96_77.  I look forward to hearing from you all!

I am not affiliated with Williams-Sonoma or any other store.  I just love to shop and save money 😁.

Today is the day....

I finally decided that I was done being fat.  For far too long, I have allowed myself to become an out of shape, not what I used to be, big fat slob.  And I hate it.  I hated it when I saw the pounds coming on.  I hated it when I was rejected by dates in the past.  I hated it when I would just sit on my couch making excuse after excuse.  I hated it when people would silently judge me.  Some time ago, friends of mine joined the BeachBody revolution.  They tried so hard to get me to join with them.  I would tell them, "Oh, I'll just go to the gym.  I don't do well with at home workouts."  Which I did go to the gym, however, something always seemed to come up.  Then I wouldn't go for another week to a month; and then start the cycle all over again.  In my mind I knew why I wasn't seeing any results.  Yet, I still couldn't believe that the effort I was putting in wasn't showing a thing.  My clothes were fitting tighter and tighter, to which I was forced to buy a size bigger than the last time.  Slowly but surely....myself as I knew it was no more.  I was no longer the size 8-12 I used to be.  Instead I am now the 22-24 that I absolutely hate with a passion.  It has crushed me in more ways that I can even describe.   Friends who knew me from before look at me as if I have a third leg sometimes.  And others look at me like they just want to give me a sympathy hug.  Some just act like nothing has changed, but the looks on their faces tell a different story.  I see right through every.single.look.

I'm done.

I'm done feeling lousy about myself.
I'm done making excuses
I'm done feeling like the odd ball at family functions
I'm done putting myself last.

I'm simply done.

So today, I did something I normally wouldn't do.  I bought a dress.  Yes, you read that right.  I bought a dress that I want to fit into in the near future.  I'm sure this is something that is frowned upon.  But at this point, I don't friggin care.  When I laid eyes on this dress there was something in me that clicked.  Now, I have blogged and talked about losing weight before  and talked with family and friends.  But today, on this day June 2, 2017, something clicked like never before.  I really wanted to wear that dress and could see myself in it.  I mean really see myself in it!  You ever had one of those flashes of how your life could be in the future if you just put forth the effort?  Yup, that was me in that instant.   I sent my husband a text with a picture of the dress; telling him I found my weight loss inspiration dress.  Part of me was hoping he would say, "Why not wait until next month to get it".  And then I knew I'd be off the hook to really do something about my ever growing body.  But when he told me to get it, I almost burst into tears.  It was then I knew the time had come.  Would you believe that when I went back into the store, my heart was racing and my forehead started to sweat?  I mean, I've bought clothes I wanted to fit into before.  But not like this.  THIS was epic to me.  Because I knew....I just KNEW! That this was the beginning of no more excuses.  No more sitting on the computer wasting away my day.  No more letting my kids be the reason I didn't do what I should have done.  This wasn't just any dress.  No way.  This was the beginning of the end.  It is kind of funny that the dress is black.  So I guess you could say that when I do get to wear it, I will be going to the funeral of who I used to be...and celebrating who I have become.  Hopefully the next time I come here to talk about my weight loss journey, I will have actually lost some.

Here's to the tough road ahead.  May every day be one step closer to the greater goal!

Happy Friday everyone!

Side note...I wrote this yesterday and forgot to publish it.  Ha, oops!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

It's been a while

  For months I have thought about blogging, but haven't because...well...life.  We are still in the process of remodeling our home, and let me tell you...it's been interesting!  The latest project has been our bathrooms.  Just last month after we returned from our wonderful vacation in South Carolina, we got right back to work; switching bedrooms and living rooms with my mom.  Right after that fun move, my hubby and I got started with painting our bathrooms.  Yes that's right.  Bathroomssssssss.  We have two separate master bathrooms IN our bedroom. Go ahead...read that again (devilish smirk).  He painted his a grey (that is in our kitchen but will soon be changed..that's for another blog) and I painted mine a dark blue.  
    Ladies, have you ever wanted to have a room that was all yours and no one else's?  This is what that bathroom is for me.  That and the closet are the only spaces in the house that's completely mine.  ALL MINE!!!!  So I went for it with the color.  I'm not sure when it happened, but the gold fixtures have grown on me.  Soon, I was looking at everything gold.  However, I didn't take the plunge.  Now I wish I would have. I still have a chance with the faucet, but that won't happen for a while.  Don't get me wrong, I love silver.  It has that classic feel to it.  But there's something about the brass/gold that says "bold" to me.  Maybe next time I will trust all of my instincts.  Thankfully in a couple of years we are going to gut our bedroom, bathrooms, and closet and put actual dry wall in; never having to deal with that icky vinyl crap they put in these homes. So maybe at that time I will go with all brass ☺!  Ooooooo I can't wait!  But until then, it feels good to have it painted. I no longer have those leaves looking at me.  Why these companies think we want "wallpaper" like this in these homes just boggles my mind!  I mean, seriously.  There is nothing comforting about crappy vinyl walls with even crappier designs.
   I know there is a stigma when it comes to buying a single-wide or double-wide home.  But let's be real.  Unless we have tons of money in the bank, many of us cannot afford to buy those beautiful homes we long for.  I'm not putting anyone down who can.  Kudos to you if you do and can! For those of us who can't or just don't want to have the hefty mortgage to go along with it, we try to spend our money the best way we can.  Sometimes it's in a home that is smaller than we need, and sometimes it's in a home that is a manufactured home.  I will be completely honest.  At first, I didn't want to buy my parent's home.  I wanted something that was new and almost state-of-the-art.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that living here was not the end of the world.  It was our chance to put our own spin on the house, make it ours.  Now that I have been here for almost three years, I can't imagine living anywhere else.  I joke about moving, but only because I miss shopping.  I mean, you can only do so much online shopping ha.  But really, we have beautiful views of the bluffs in our back yard.  The front is lively with green grass and trees to go with it.  Later on in life we will have the opportunity to get our house lifted and put a basement underneath, along with adding a second garage. The existing garage will be my husband's work area, which he is very excited about! Wanna know the most exciting thing about this??    Of course you do!  By the time we do these wonderful things, our house will be more than partially paid off.  In my book, that's not too shabby for a couple living on one income (for now).  Now if I'm able to go back to work within the next year, many things will happen sooner than later.  But for now, I'm happy with the progress.  Another plus is my mother is putting her house on the land and will be right next door to us.  Our kids will literally just be able to walk across the lawn and go over to her house.  


  So going back to the bathroom...!  One of the things I love is that it doesn't feel like a manufactured home.  The strips are still in there (for now), but it feels like....home.  Even this living room I'm sitting in feels like home.  Just real quick, we took the strips out and painted this living room for my mom.  It was before we made the bedroom switch with her.  She wanted it painted a sage green, so we did.  There's a fireplace in here as well and she put up "shiplap".  The only thing that really needs to be changed is that doggone mantle.  It is hideous to me.  Again, thankfully that will be taken care of in a matter of months or years.  ANYWAY...Sitting in here is just so cozy.  My hubby recently put up the curtain rods we got from our wedding registry and I proudly put up my Pottery  Barn (got them on sale) curtains.  It really pulls the room together.  The only thing I'm missing is my cup of green tea.  So I guess what I was trying to say in the midst of all of this rambling is this.  The more work we put into this house, the less it feels like a manufactured home.  I'm very excited to see what else transpires with our other projects!  So! Until then, here are some pictures of the house so far. These aren't the best pictures, but that's okay.  I was just so happy to take them.  I promise better pictures when everything is all said and done!!  Hope you enjoy!


My bathroom





My hubby's bathroom


The cozy Living Room

The lanterns are there because I'm getting ready to decorate for Summer.

Product and color list:

My bathroom

Color: Archipelego - Sherwin Williams at Lowe's
 Mirror: Target
Light: Wayfair
All Fixtures: Gatco Latitude 2 - Lowe's
Towels: Kohl's from many years ago

Hubby's Bathroom

Color: Pussywillow - Sherwin Williams
All fixtures: Caldwell - Lowe's

Living Room

Color: Soften Green - Sherwin Williams
Curtains: Pottery Barn Cameron (no longer available in Ivory)
Curtain Rod: Target
Lantern: Pottery Barn (got it on clearance!!!)
Mantle:
Picture: Pottery Barn (honestly another steal)
Candlesticks: Kirkland's
Lanterns: Pottery Barn Outlet (but still available on their website)
Cone: Hobby Lobby


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Back in business!

Tonight I finally got to do something crafty.  It has been waaaaaaay too long!  Last month, my husband and I were involved in a craft fair in our hometown.  It was his second time and my first.  Let me tell you, it was definitely an eye opener! I saw first hand what it was I needed to be prepared for, what to bring, what not to bring (a very curious toddler).  But it was a lot of fun!  So I have a plan for next year.  Each month I am going to devote my time to one craft and one craft only.  Hopefully it'll work out!  But going back to tonight, I started looking at Pinterest while I rested.  Yesterday my husband and I traveled a couple of hours with our toddler to return some things.  I didn't want to wait until after Christmas to do so....since I will be going shopping then :D.  So, even though the trip was successful, today I was extremely tired!  Anyhoo!  I saw a lot of fun ideas for pictures for the holidays; Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Valentine's Day. Yup Valentine's Day!  Most of what I found was either done on the Cricut or Silhouette.  I own a Silhouette but still am quite the amateur when it comes to operating it.  So I decided to go old school.  Ya buddy! I broke out the Microsoft Word.  I have to say, I'm quite pleased with the result.  Now, I don't have a tutorial on how to make it, but I'm sure if you all really wanted to know I would be able to tell you :).

They aren't quite done, but I'm proud of them nonetheless.  I will be so glad when I get the hang of my silhouette.  I really wish there were classes I could take.  But that's alright.  We will be better acquainted soon :D! 

So now that my children and my hubby are asleep, I guess it's my turn!  Goodnight all! Happy Crafting :).

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Daughter's Room Reno

I just wrote about my son's new room.  Now I get to write about my daughter's!  I have to be completely honest.  When we learned we were having a girl, I had no idea how I wanted to decorate.  My son is almost 10 so I've had nothing but boy stuff for the last 9 years.  Doing a girl's room was just foreign to me.  I knew what I liked, but it wasn't necessarily "in" for little girls.  I was lucky enough to find a bedding set on Craigslist for $45.  That was a bumper, three sheets, crib skirt, a bunch of changing table covers and a huge safety pin...which I still don't know what to do with.   So again, I relied on Pinterest....except I was let down.  It took me many months of shopping around, returning things, and shopping around some more.  But finally! After a trip to Hobby Lobby, I found some fabric.  By that time, Emma was here and we had just moved into my mom's house.  All she had for room was furniture and bedding.

I just have to say, I have always loved Potter Barn Kids but never took the plunge and bought anything big from there.  This time I decided "why not".  I first bought her the light pink twill curtains and was very excited.  However, after having them up for over a month I realized it wasn't the color I wanted.  There needed to be more of a pink color in her room.  Sadly, the ones I wanted to exchange them for were all gone...sad face.  So I looked at the fabric I had gotten from Hobby Lobby months ago and thought...hmm those would make great curtains.  AND! they go with her bedding!  Six yards later, along with blackout panels, her curtains were made.
Isn't this fabric lovely?
Voila! Blackout Curtains!!
The other thing I struggled with were decorations.  I couldn't find anything that didn't have elephants, owls, or any other animal in a picture for a girl.  I did love the idea of kites and hot air balloons.  That's where I found this.  I had already bought a couple of pictures from Hobby Lobby.  While I loved the colors, it just seemed too ornate to me.  I needed to keep her room sweet and simple.  Again, while looking on Pinterest, I stumbled upon Caravan Shoppe.  Immediately, I bought the prints, got them printed at Staples, and bought some picture frames from Target.  Love, love, love!!


Another place I love to shop is Ebay.  Oh yes, Ebay is my friend.  Not only have I scored a lot of Pottery Barn/Kids items, but it hasn't hurt our budget one bit!  That's where I found her letters.  We didn't take the strips off of her walls this time.  I wanted to get her room done and at that time, she wasn't sleeping through the night.  When she's older, we will go back in and take them down.


Again, I apologize for my lack of photography skills.  I'm starting to learn again.  

I knew there was more I wanted to do in her room, but wasn't sure what.  I saw a saying that fit her perfectly.  Though she be but little she is fierce.  And I also had a lot of left over fabric.  So I put it to good use.  This was my first time using the silhouette, but I'm still proud of it :).


Now we have a huge wall that has nothing on it, but soon will have some shelves.  When those get put up, she'll have these.

Every girl needs some flowers, right?  I did have a picture frame on the night stand, but took it off.  There isn't a picture in there yet.


So there's another room almost done!  Like my son's room, we have shelves to put up and then they will be completely done for now.  Later on, we plan on putting up new trim, baseboards, and new flooring in their rooms.  Until then, I'm very happy with what we have done thus far.  Next up?  The main bathroom!


Where everything came from

Fabric and canvas: Hobby Lobby

Bed and Dresser: Given to us, but can be found at Pottery Barn Kids

Letters: Ebay

Pictures: Caravan Shoppe "Fly Away"

Picture Frames: Target

Bedding: Craigslist (Pottery Barn Kids Sophie from 2009 or earlier)

Lamp shade and Base: Pottery Barn Kids

Flowers: Michael's



Son's Room Remodel Take 1 Update


Here is the update for my son's room.  I wanted to give him more of a soon-to-be teen room, or I guess a "tween" room (I'm so behind the times).  Since he'll be 10 in a couple of months, I wanted to do a more "grown up" room, so we went with a sport's theme.  I gotta say, I'm lovin it so far!  And bonus, most of his things were on clearance or given to us.  So that helped with the budget.
 



His room isn't very big, so we had to come up with something creative.  Pinterest is my best friend.  We spend many hours together!  It was there I found this from Shanty 2 Chic.  I used the same storage bins they used.  Those can be found at Ikea for $4 each. You can find the plans here and the bins here.

  As you can see, the storage bin isn't finished.  My hubby made this during the summer heatwave and we decided we will stain it when the weather cools off!  So until then, we have a blanket on the top to protect the wood.

Here is the updated closet! I'm loving all of the storage.  Sorry, I don't have any plans for that.  He pretty much put the measurements together and went from there.



So there you have it! The lovely update, with still so much more to do.  Maybe one day I'll have a room completely finished :D.

Disclaimer:  I am aware that my photography isn't the best, but that's okay :).  And I didn't try to make the room look like it just came out of magazine on purpose.  It is well lived in and it shows :D.  That's just how we roll!


Project Details:

St. Louis Cardinals Wall Art: Target

Baymax, curtain rods, colored storage bins: Target

Bedding, curtains, and basketball hoop: Pottery Barn Kids

Basketball Lamp: Pottery Barn Teen

White storage bins: Ikea


Feel free to leave a comment! I would love to hear some feedback.






Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Memories!!

So I just have to express my excitement from today.  I took my oldest to the library to get his own library card and some books.  While he was trying to find his favorite book, which happens to be Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I found some of my favorite books growing up.  The Babysitter's Club!  Yes, you read that right....and now I am showing my age :D.  I almost brought some home to read, but I didn't.  Only because I'm in the middle of reading a book from one of my favorite authors, Sandra Brown.  Now, I can't promise that when we go back that I won't get one of the books I haven't read.  I think I ended up stopping at #40.  So I guess it's time for me to catch up hehe.  Man, I forgot how much I loved going to the library!  That might be my new hangout this summer.