Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy Goodwills-day!

When I began this blog I made a few promises to myself. One was not to do a specific day of the week post so that I would not be tied to anything in case I have plans. To be honest, things like blogs, journals, and daily accounts of events stress me out because I feel like there is so much pressure. Ok, so what's my point? I decided to do Happy Goodwills-day (like Happy Wednesday but I talk about Goodwill, get it?). Thrifty Thursday was already taken. 

So, let me give a slight insight into my life, if you don't know me so well. I am a thrifter. 

It began when I didn't have enough money to buy new things, then when I had enough money I enjoyed it because I love items that have history and character. Today I love to thrift because I love the hunt for something unique, I love that feeling of finding something amazing, and I love that just by thrifting I am helping the environment. Have you thought of it that way? As consumers we keep throwing away and buying and throwing it away again to only buy it again in two months. Be responsible-Thrift. (Dibs on making that one a t-shirt.) So I've committed myself to sharing with you the treasures you can find at any Goodwill just by looking. Not all thrift stores are nationwide so I'm using Goodwill to inspire. Today I turned down some very tempting lunch plans to go to the Goodwill near my office. Want to see what I found, friend? Ok. 

First, let me start with saying Goodwill isn't what it used to be when I was younger. They weren't very clean and the goods were, well, not so good. There is a slight funk in some stores and some are nicer than others (I'm shaking my disappointed head at you, Destin Goodwill). Also, let me ensure you that I know what I'm talking about- in high school I had my senior pictures taken in some garb from the G-dub and a friend of the family (and Goodwill manager) submitted them to corporate to use as a marketing tool to get a younger crowd shopping for gently used goods. I was named the official Goodwill Ambassador for Wabash, IN that year. So, you are welcome for not charging you for this advice I'm about to lay down for you. 

Where, I say, where can you find such amazing information and titles at such a low price? 
(Goodwill Tip: If books got funk, put them in the freezer for a while and it will draw out the smell)

Nancy Strong's Aerobic Slimnastics. Leotard. Shorty Shorts. Mustache. This book has it all.

Now this book is an oldie but a goodie. My sister had a copy and when we got an awesome magazine rack in the bathroom, this book sat there for years. It was literally in our bathroom for years. 
(Goodwill Bonus: Memories)

Old things they just don't make anymore.
(Goodwill Tip: Never take anything for face value. It can always be painted)

I was in love with this sewing kit. There are amazing posts on top for your thread and a small drawer for needles. Damn Lucky for me, I left my purse in the car. I can just imagine this painted white on my sewing table.

Next up, the greatest gift you could buy someone circa 1977.
(That's right friend, I do love you that much)

Let me preface the next game by saying I tried to take a picture of another game to post but luckily I was pushed out of the way by an overly excited child reaching for a Dora the Explorer Doll. I didn't want her mom to think I was taking her daughter's picture so I kept it moving. Down the line I found something better.

When Kevin's Family Left For Vacation, They Forgot One Minor Detail: Kevin. But Don't Worry... He Cooks. He Cleans. He Kicks Some Butt.

The best thing about Goodwill art is you don't have to like it, you just have to be able to use the frame or canvas for something new. 

Sheer Awesomness. (Hiding in the back of course.)

Don't be a snob. I have found more amazing clothes here than any department store. This would include both my vintage Halston dress circa Studio 54 and vintage Fendi sweater dress with matching scarf circa 1984 called. I also scored a white wool Michael Kors winter coat and Oscar de la Renta suite coat. Boom.

I would have bought this coat and the one below it. Son of a Crapbasket Luckily I left my purse in the car.


There are a large number of items that don't belong in any of the previously mentioned categories. This is just one example.

Darla Dean's Church

How do I know she attends this very tiny church? Read the bottom.
Yes. That's right. Butter Church.

So, that's it for today. I'm sorry there isn't more but there will be next time.

For now may you be lucky, thrifty, and happy.

Also, for the record, I do not approve of buying makeup, delicate lady garments, most gifts, and bread makers from a thrift store. Just don't do it, pal. Don't.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

G-Free for you and me!

Let's talk about bread baby, let's talk about glu-ten free!! That's right, I just went there. I'm back folks and I've got a lot to talk about. Let's begin today with all of the new GF products and we'll then wrap up with a GF bread surprise!!
Ok let us begin. You might wonder where I find these wonderful treasures. I have found that there are a few nature stores in our area but my absolute favorite is Nature's Pharm on US31. 

So my trip to Nature's Pharm was a slight success and a slight test of my new way of life. First, I have to say, they have a massive selection- Two entire aisles!

Holy G-Free Batman!!

First, I saw these and decided to pass, mainly because I couldn't stop giggling... shame on you, Betty Lou!

Let's get serious. The best cookies I've found that are pre-made G-free are Dr. Lucy's. If you know me at all, you can probably guess why I decided to nab these, I mean, they are not only cute but also share a name with my favorite pup.

Next up, I cannot get anywhere without seeing Pop-Chips. So of course I pick up my favorite flavor of chips S&V. Sorry to let you know, folks, but these taste the same way my pup's food smells. Like when you do that first pour into the empty bowl and you forget to hold your breath and inhale a large serving of dog food and that smell takes space in the back of your throat and you have to cough to ensure you don't throw up. Like that.

While I'm failing at finding delicious goodies, let me also tell you I tried a lemon cookie. I've found that even though something is my favorite in normal, gluten filled foods, it might not be my favorite in GF foods. Also a lot of GF foods have a strange aftertaste. This is the case below. I love the Alternative Baking Company and I love how cute the little package is, but I will need to go a different route flavor-wise next time. 

I also bought some cute car shaped GF pasta and some new sauce mixes for pasta sauce. I'll let you know how those go when I make them!

Alright, down to brass tax. The one thing I have missed and not been able to substitute has been bread. Something everyone on a day to day basis takes for granted. I have tried the stuff in the store and it is gross. Plain and simple, it is gross. The whole idea of this is to find foods that don't remind me I am eating on a restricted diet, not foods that slap me in the face with it like jerks. Jerk foods. I hate them. Anyway, I found some bread mix from a trusted source that sells amazing GF cookie mix and I took matters into my own hands. Meet Pamela's.

Pamela, meet my bread machine (also known as B-Mac).

When B-Mac and Pamela get together, this is what happens:


And finally:

Best. Bread. Ever. 
Case Closed. 

So, I went shopping, got really sick for a week, and then ended with a wonderful homemade bread. Sounds like quite a week, but there is more to come, I can feel it. 
Enjoy yourself and your GF products, no matter what it takes. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

I don't feel so good, maybe.

Hello there, friends. 
I wanted to write a tiny post to explain where I've been for the past few days. I have been sick, sadly. Even as I type this I am falling asleep. 
I think I have a sinus infection. I slept until 1, then from 2-7, and now at 9, I'm about ready to sleep again. I'll be headed to the doctor tomorrow. Fingers crossed I get better before this weekend, I'm supposed to have a very, very special guest! Trust me, when I come back with a new blog, it will be full of awesomeness and excitement I've gathered just for you!
Well wishes to you and yours, until we meet again. 

For now, I sleep...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Baby Shower? It's here, it's there, it's everywhere!

I wanted very much to share something special with everyone today. I recently had the pleasure of planning a baby shower for a woman having her first baby (in 13 years). It was my honor to be a part of her day and I was delighted they decided to hire me. I started by sending her some ideas on the direction we could go for the shower and I was so excited when she decided on Dr. Seuss, a personal favorite of mine. Oh the places I could go with this shower! (Pun definitely intended.) So, without further who-sense, I would like to share with you some of the pictures of the very special day.
We were on a shoestring budget which is of course, my specialty. I love the challenge of doing something so grand for so little and finding different, creative ways to make it special. The venue was a small home turned training facility for Mary Kay ladies.

There was a back door so I needed a sign directing all to the front:

Once around the front, everyone was greeted by the small reassurance that they had the right place: 

Once inside, everyone signed the Happy Birthday to You Book:

I made a little Mommy Seuss Chair and Gift Station:

Don't forget all the tasty food!
We had a variety of Seussical Foods of Wonder!!

Gertrude McFuzz Berries

Noodle Eating Poodle Noodles

Sneetch Treats

Green Eggs and Ham

And, of course, the Last Can of Who Hash
To Drink, we had Dr. Seuss Water and Yink Pink Ink Drink!

The game we played was called Name That Baby! We had 14 songs all with the word "Baby" in the title and everyone had to guess either the artist or the song or both! 
And before everyone left, they got a copy of Name That Baby! 
That's all she wrote, folks. I had an amazing time planning and celebrating a new baby! There are plenty more photos, but I am saving those for mommy and her baby book!

*Don't forget to check the blog tomorrow, too! I have some big plans for the first Friday this blog has seen!*

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom: Annie are you ok?

Annie are you ok? Are you ok, Annie?

What a classic song. It’s got the top three traits I consider necessary for an amazing song:
  1. Made in the 80s
  2. Clapping
  3. More than one breakdown
Bonus Traits: MJ, a crescendo, and murder

     In life, when I feel like I’m taking things too seriously (usually prompted by crying in an inappropriate place, a sharp increase in food intake, or using the phrase “life-failure” when referring to myself) I decide to turn to music for some clearing of the mind and soul. Today I choose to walk like an Egyptian down Electric Avenue to the 80s so I can party like it’s 1999.

     For the record, my boss likes to do this thing where he stands patiently and quietly until I notice he is there. Our office is set up to have the computers facing out, so your back is always to the opening of your cubicle.
          Today, I was reenacting the entire breakdown of the Smooth Criminal Lean (while I was sitting in my office chair working) and he, from what I gather, was able to catch the entire show. 
(something, in retrospect, I realize I could have charged admission for, but that is neither here or there) 
          Another time, I was under my desk trying to unplug something and pulled so hard, when it did unplug, I punched myself in the nose. Friends, I am not exaggerating when I say I saw stars. I had to sit back on my heels for a moment and gather my marbles. Then I had that glimmer of hope I’d broke it so I could go home for the day. As I’m checking my nose for breaks and blood through flashes of floating stars, I notice my boss is standing, patiently waiting for me to answer a question. I promise you, I was on the floor for a good five minutes while he waited for me to get it together.

            Why do I bring all of this up to you today, of all days? What’s so special about this Wednesday that I should give you a lecture about facing embarrassment with the best of us? I’ve been moved, folks. I’ve been moved to tell you that life isn’t about you. Life is about the people around and making their lives less hard, more fun, and full of moments they can enjoy. I've enjoyed hearing two people talk in depth about this in the past four days and I figure, since I’m feeling a bit of sophomore slump from my initial blog entry, I should just begin typing and see what develops. I asked in my last entry, “Have you made anyone feel good today?” Well, have you? Do you know why I don’t care that I embarrass myself on a regular basis? Because I find solace in the fact that maybe it made someone smile. Maybe it made someone feel like their life isn’t so bad. In turn, that notion makes me happy, it makes my day better, and it makes my life worth living. Did my boss laugh at me when I punched myself in the face? No, but maybe he told someone about it later and they had a good moment together, laughing, enjoying life. Even if you never know that you made someone’s day better, moment better, life better, doesn’t it make you feel full of worth to think that it’s possible?
            Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect? (I mean the school of thought represented in the chaos theory, not the super-sweet movie). It basically says this:  the phenomenon whereby a small change at one place in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere. 
          So I ask you, why does it sound so impossible that you can change someone’s life by one small gesture, comment, moment? What is a more complex system than the human life? It just takes one small change. So, comrades, I ask you again have you made anyone feel good today?
          I will leave you today, with the chorus of a song. Arguably the second best song of the 80s (sans all songs sang by Madonna, MJ, or Bret Michaels). Try and listen to it with your eyes closed and remember this is how I feel about you. Also know that since you have completed reading the second entry of this blog, there truly is nothing a hundred men or more could do to take me away from you.

Africa by Toto

It's gonna take a lot to take me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never have
[ Lyrics from: ] 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Gluten Free by chance, not by choice

Two weeks ago I met with a doctor. I says to him: Doctor, Doctor! I am sick! HELP! And do you know what he tells me? Stop eating gluten. (Found in? Everything.)

This is when I decided that my thoughts didn't have enough room in my head so I needed to invest in some space here, online. 

After two weeks of eating gluten free and doing my best to strut my new title of “Gluten Intolerant” I have questions. The main questions that stick out to me right now are as follows:
1. Why do GF breads have to be found in the frozen section?
2. What makes sticky rice sticky? (one I haven’t decided I want to know the answer to just yet)
3. Is my, uhm, business in the, uhm, water closet always going to look like that?
Things I know from being GF:
1. If you want something that has a GF stamp on the front, you will pay extra for it.

2. Red Bull is Gluten Free.

3. Lärabars are not going to look how you think they should, no matter what flavor you get. Unless somewhere in the small section of GF foods you can find “Woodsman Stool” flavor. (For the record, I do not get paid by Lärabar, but I do eat one every single day. Even though it looks like the description I’ve given, trust me, they are good.)

So what does all this mean? Not much, just a change in how I see life. That happens for me on almost a daily basis, so it seems small at this point. It’s also something I’m going to write about, so get used to it. I have read a million books, sites, and articles and they are not much help when letting me know what’s actually good. I’d like to read that sticky rice is gross without extra sauce before spending $3.95 on a single serving. I would also like to have known that Ruffles chips are GF so I could feel a little less like an outsider once in a while.
Additional thoughts today:
- Have you read “The Host”? I have. Twice. You should, too.
- I saw a hybrid IndyGo bus today and it made me so happy I wanted to reach out my car window and high five the side of the bus. Nice work, Indy.
- For lunch today I’m having Sugar Free Red Bull, Asian Sticky Rice, and GF Brownies my husband made me last night. (Don’t you judge me; I’m still trying to iron out lunch details).

Have you made anyone feel good today?