Archive for the ‘thrift’ Category

Little did I know when joining Corporate America that I would gain so many skills:  data analytics and excel formulas, project management, corporate event planning, process improvement, change management, margarita making, Halloween costuming, arts and crafts…

It is hilarious some of the skills I’ve discovered in the past several years – haha!  I didn’t even realize I liked costuming and crafts until my first week on the job when the annual Halloween costume contest was announced, and my boss (head of sales for our division) informed me in a very serious/competitive manner that we had to win.  “OK then!”  At first I scoffed that somehow I was put in charge of our team’s costumes…and now I’m a bit of a control freak taking charge and get really excited about it!

An application of orange face paint, about 20 styrofoam lollipops constructed, a toy gun set and a few golden tickets later, we had a winning team of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Bad photo – but that’s a chocolate waterfall in the background; some people thought it looked like a large gravestone or a woman’s behind, but thankfully the decorations weren’t the main judging points! (And some of the teammates here weren’t really dressed up but just joined the pic.)

Though our costumes year 2 were much better, I think the judges didn’t want the same team to win every year.

We made that entire UP! house out of cardboard, fabric, paper, and LOTS of hot glue gun sticks.  All the clothes were things we owned, and the only things we bought were the cane, doggie ears, collars (and other pieces to make them look like those in the movie), some white hairspray, bird feathers, and our little boyscout’s supplies.   Then I got to wear my bird costume again last year in return for a free burrito at Chipotle!  (dress like a farm animal –> win a free burrito)  Maybe sometime I’ll be the bird again, and Jon can be the boyscout.  (notice the background – that’s the house at Paradise Falls!)

This past year the theme was Rock ‘N Roll, so we took a twist on that and dressed up as the cast from The Sound of Music.  All costumes except the nun robes, knee socks, boy’s hat and suspenders (we made those by cutting apart a winter scarf and turning it into lederhosen straps) were from GoodWill.  I also scored on that GoodWill trip – the skirt I wore for Sound of Music is actually a Banana Republic seersucker skirt that I wore for real to work yesterday, and I also found another summer skirt and cardigan (not pictured here) from J.Crew that I wore last week.  Awesome!

Maybe one day this will turn into my quasi-dream of being the stage and music director, choreographer, makeup designer AND costumer for a musical…maybe just for my kids’ middle school production, but that would still be so fun!

Does your work do crazy things like this?  Surely it’s not just us…

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Good Stuff

A few things worth your time:

1)  Great article on the value of reading slow books – real literature, with plots and characters and themes.  Blogs and news articles won’t do.  Real literature is good for our brains, emotions, memory, health, our society.  Good stuff.

By playing with language, plot structure, and images, literature challenges us cognitively even as it entertains. It invites us to see the world in a different way, demands that we interpret unusual descriptions, and pushes our memories to recall characters and plot details. In fact…neuroscientists have found plenty of proof that reading fiction stimulates all sorts of cognitive areas—not just language regions but also those responsible for coordinating movement and interpreting smells. Because literary books are so mentally invigorating, and require such engagement, they make us smarter than other kinds of reading material…Researchers found that subjects who read Kafka’s “The Country Doctor”—which includes feverish hallucinations from the narrator and surreal elements—performed better on a subsequent learning task than a control group that read a straightforward summary of the story. (They probably enjoyed themselves a lot more while reading, too.)

2)  Josh Garrels, a musical artist Jon and I love and cannot listen to enough, is working on a film documentary about the creation of his music from the ground up (literally – some of the recordings are captured with the musicians sitting on rocks by the waterfront).  Really creative instrumentation, his unique and  enchanting voice, beautiful lyrics full of truth. 

3)  Garage sales.  Weather is getting warmer, and garage sale season has begun.  Look at your local Craigslist postings for this weekend, and see what treasures you can find!  See some of our favorite finds here.

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Buffalo Everything

One thing I am thankful for is that both Jon and I love buffalo anything:  wings, sandwiches, buffalo pulled pork (made it this week – yum!), homemade pizza with buffalo sauce instead of pizza sauce…

I chastised Jon for buying a gallon of Frank’s hot sauce from Sam’s club a bit ago.  Now, my guilty pleasure is getting a pedicure on a Saturday; Jon’s is going to Sam’s club without me and finding the largest container of anything and bringing it home to show me the deal he got…

…in less than a year we have consumed almost the entire jug.

YUM.  No complaints.  (and zero calories!!)

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Minority Report

The two times since moving to the DC area that I have truly understood what it feels like to be the minority:

Jon and I visit a huge Presbyterian church down the road, not realizing it’s a congregation of thousands (yes, multiple thousands) of Koreans.  The welcome team was on us in a flash.  What, do we stand out?

Jon wants to visit the Asian grocery store next to our gym to look for some funky desserts.  Seriously – I thought I saw one American, but even she was speaking an unrecognizable language.

It’s amazing what a melting pot our nation’s capital is.

BUT let me tell you what’s even more amazing:

TWELVE ounces of beautiful raspberries for $1.99.  That’s the package that’s probably 12×5 inches in size.  That’s huge.  I feel like I’m on Supermarket Sweep.

Large avocados for 79 cents.

Big carton of strawberries for $1.79.

Bags of kumquats for practically nothing. (seriously, a party in your mouth – they’re so tart and delicious)

Will this grocery store full of cheap and fabulous produce take precedence over our once exciting trips to Sam’s club?  Totally blows Sam out of the water.

What a treat we just discovered!

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Treasure Hunt

One of the many things I am learning from my dear husband is how to conserve, reuse, and be a steward of the things God has given us.  Part of that is spending our money wisely, and as a result, we have found a new shared interest – garage saling!  It is amazing how many nice things people practically give away!  I’ve recently lamented the lack of garage sales in the colder weather, so I will just share with you a few of my favorite treasures we found this summer.

Vintage coral pendant necklace – $.50 (yes, that’s 50 cents, but I can’t find the symbol to use)

Vintage mirror tray – $6

Christmas ornaments – $.50 each, but never used (and each had a price tag for $6)

A few others:

Vintage gold belt – $3
Box of fabric pieces (good for using as gift wrap or tying ribbons;  used pieces to make a Christmas wreath – more on that later) – free
Unused gift boxes – free
Large frame (will frame a US map to pin where we’ve traveled) – free because of broken glass, but we didn’t need the glass!
Toys (good as new) for our niece and nephew – usually about $1 each
Bamboo breakfast trays – $2 for 6
Hand-painted wine glasses – $2 for 6
Sterling silver 12″ serving tray and covered vegetable dish – $4 each
Wooden end table (needs refinishing) – $1

And the winning item…

Grill with side burner, multiple heat settings, full tank of gas and lightly used – $15 (we were looking to buy a new one for several hundred, but this one works like a charm!)

What treasures have you found?

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