Thrift Shop Challenge Part II

When we left off yesterday, I was about to reveal what I bought at the thrift store with my $20 for the Macklemore Thrift Store Challenge.

I had five good options, but in the end I decided to go with one that shined– the brass magazine rack!

The little $12 treasure features two big interior trends in one accessory: campaign hardware and brass. That's what made me feel like it was a good purchase. Plus I am a magazine junkie, and I can always use cute magazine racks.

When I saw it, it reminded me of this awesome brass chest that Emily Henderson was giving away on her blog. Emily is basically the queen of brass so I think of her anytime I see something in brass at the thrift store. 

I also liked the fact that my little rack was a local Texas product.

I did a quick online search and found one very similar to mine (although in much better condition).

Now that I have the magazine rack, there are two questions:

1) What do I do with the inside– paint it? Obviously the waferwood has to go, whatever that is!
2) Where should I put it?

So what do you think? I need ideas!

* Brass Beauty *

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Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge!

When I saw this Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge from Young House Love, I just knew I had to participate! No one has ever had to ask me twice to go visit the thrift store, I'll tell you that. Treasure hunting is definitely my idea of a good time!

via Young House Love

The challenge comes from the lyrics of the song. First you have to put $20 in your pocket and head to the thrift store. Next, find an item from the song. Last, buy something cool with your $20 and share it on your blog!

Not familiar with this rap song? Here you go! (Don't worry, it's the clean version.)

THRIFT SHOP (PG Radio Edit Clean version) - MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS FEAT. WANZ from Garrett Wesley Gibbons on Vimeo.


I dragged my husband to our local thrift store to help me document the trip. Here we go!

I've got $20 in my pocket...

Then I had to find something from the song (big coat, moccasins, keyboard, kneeboard, PJs with socks, luggage, shoes with velcro, etc). The item I found is not necessarily a kneeboard, but we figured it was close enough. Behold, a crazy bright boogie board kneeboard! 

Yikes... thrift store lighting is not the best. 

Once those requirements were met, the hunt was on to find something cool with my $20. I thought it would be fun to show you all the items I considered buying and see if you could pick out what I actually bought. Let's see the options!

Option #1
First up, a giant wooden storage trunk. Clearly made for a little boy's room, but who doesn't need storage? It could easily be painted and even upholstered. They wanted $20, and it was 6 ft long. 

Option #2
Next, I looked at some sets of watercolor china and gold-rimmed china. Both together were under $20 and each included 20+ pieces. I've had great success with buying china at this thrift store, like my gold greek key set!

Option #3
Then I looked at a camera bag with Polaroid camera from 1992, instruction manual and Polaroid greeting cards. Vintage polaroid cameras are selling for $140-$160 at Urban Outfitters right now.

Option #4
I spotted this brass magazine rack and thought it had potential. Brass seems to be all the rage right now, and I've seen it all over Pinterest. Not perfect condition, though. 

Option $5
Right next to the boogie board was a wall full of tennis, racquetball and badminton racquets. I was charmed by these vintage badminton paddles with great color. They would look grey hung on the wall in a group– maybe something like this or this?

So there you have it! 

Wat do you think I bought with my $20? I'll be back tomorrow to show you what I got and what we did with it!

* I'm gonna pop some tags, only got $20 in my pocket... *
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Our Chalkboard Door Goes International

It was time to change up the doodle on my chalkboard door again. Since Valentine's Day is coming up, I decided to copy a picture frame I had with "I love you" written in different languages. Just five minutes of writing gave our entry a brand new look!


Do you decorate for Valentine's Day? I like to add subtle little touches throughout the house without going nuts with the pink and red!

* Who knew a door could be so romantic? *

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Wishlist: Mirrored Accents

Lately I've been noticing really pretty mirrored furniture and home decor items all over the place. There's something so glamorous about a reflective surface on a coffee table, dresser or bench. I read somewhere that it's good to have at least one reflective surface in each room, and I'd have to agree. A little bit of furniture bling never hurt anyone!

I'm not sure about the practicality of these pieces since I've also seen a ton of pieces in the "as-is" section of different stores because the mirror has cracked. Oh well, forget practicality for a minute– I'd love to snatch up any of these gorgeous pieces!

mirrored accents

Clockwise from top left:
Wilton Wide Mirrored 3-Drawer Dresser • Amazon • $399
Jeannette Coffee Table • Joss & Main • $215
Strand Closed Nightstand • Restoration Hardware • $845 (ouch!)
Reflections Empire Console Table • Home Decorators Collection • $229
Mirrored Square Tray • World Market • $30
Sterling Home 93-697 Mirrored Leaves Table Lamp • Amazon • $166
Stacks of Mirrors Table • Wisteria • $254
Faceted Mirror Side Table • West Elm • $199
Alanna Finials • Home Decorators Collection • $239

 Do you own any mirrored furniture? Has it held up well or been fragile? I've always been scared to buy any for fear that I would crack it just on the drive home!

* Reflective *

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How to Declutter & Make Money!

One of my good friends was visiting our house and made the following comment: "You always seem to have new stuff in your house, but it doesn't feel crowded or cluttered," she said. "What do you do with the old stuff?"

The answer is simple. We are constantly getting rid of things. When we buy something new, it's time to get rid of the old. Our new TV is a good example. I was having a crafternoon with my BFF while the husband went grocery shopping at Costco. I was sitting at my dining table when I got the text no frugal wife wants to receive:

Well, he either wants to buy a new TV or a new car, I thought to myself. Turns out Costco was having an "amazing" deal on a 60" LG plasma TV, and the husband was smitten with it.

I should mention that my father is to blame for this whole situation because he made sure to tell Scott that we needed a new TV when he was here visiting for Thanksgiving. Thanks Dad. He didn't know he needed a new TV until you said so! It was only a matter of time after that...

After much discussion, we decided that he could buy himself a new TV as long as he sold our old TV (which was about 5 years old) for a decent amount of money. We've sold a lot of things on Craigslist, so we figured we could sell it on there.

Once we decided to purge the old TV, we looked around to see what else we could get rid of. A week later, we were $900+ richer just by selling our old stuff! The extra money is nice, but so is the extra space. When you have a small house like ours, you can't buy new stuff without getting rid of the existing items. You'll be overrun with clutter in no time!

There are three main ways to declutter your house:

• Sell it.
• Donate it.
• Throw it in the trash.
I believe that if you're willing to put in some effort, you can sell just about anything. For example...

--- It's been two years since we replaced all of the doorknobs in our house, and we've had a box of heavy brass doorknobs sitting in our garage ever since. Over Christmas break, the husband took the box to a metal recycling business, and they gave us $36 for the metal. It doesn't sound like much, but it's $36 more than we had! Plus we don't have that box taking up valuable space in our garage anymore.

--- We also cleaned out our closets. When we're cleaning out clothes, we make three piles for the categories listed above. One pile is for clothes we think we can sell to Plato's Closet, one pile is for donations, and one is for clothes so bad that no one would want them. That last pile gets tossed out with the garbage.

Have you ever been to Plato's Closet? It's the same concept as Buffalo Exchange, but I like Plato's Closet better because they give you cash. (Buffalo Exchange does store credit.) You simply bring in your gently used clothes and shoes, and they decide what they want to buy and how much they want to pay you. The key with Plato's Closet is to bring brand-name clothes, because that's what they want to buy. Their store caters to teenagers, so if you have brand name clothes that would appeal to teens, you've got a good shot of coming home with some extra cash. Here are some of the brands they've bought from us: Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Guess, BCBG, Jessica Simpson, J Crew, Banana Republic, Polo Ralph Lauren, Nike, Perry Ellis.

When we brought our clothes right after December, they took what they wanted and gave us a check for $76. We were pumped! It was much easier than having a garage sale and we probably made more money this way, too. Whatever clothes they didn't buy were donated to the Clothes Closet ministry at our church, which provides clothes to needy families.

--- We're also big Craigslist fans. Obviously you have to be cautious when buying or selling on Craigslist because you can't trust everyone you meet online. (Thanks for the lesson, Manti Te'o!) Here are some of our tips for selling on Craiglist:

Be honest. If the piece of furniture you're selling has some scratches on it, disclose the flaws up front. Take pictures of the scratch and post them in the listing. It's much better than meeting someone to show them the furniture and having them get offended that you didn't tell them about the flaws. If you are selling a rug, make sure to say whether you have pets or allow smoking in your home. Buyers need to know this kind of stuff before they make the effort to meet you. We sold our living room rug for $140, but we made sure to tell the buyer that we have indoor dogs. She was fine with that and still wanted the rug.

We sold two broken iPhones on Craigslist for $140/each. Yes, the buyers already knew they were broken! We explained the problems in detail, and they thought they could fix the phones. They were willing to take the risk and appreciated our honesty about the phones. Now that's a successful Craigslist transaction.

Provide detailed descriptions. Taking the time to provide details in your craigslist ad saves you the hassle of answering a million questions from potential buyers. Provide colors, dimensions, model numbers, etc. If you have the info, put it in the listing. Dovetailed drawers? Include that in your description, along with a photo of the drawers.

Include disclaimers. We always include "Cash only" and "Will not deliver." Yours might say something different. A lot of people like to include the following to help them avoid unnecessary emails: "If this listing is still active, the item is still available." It could help cut down on the "Is this item still available?" inquiries that everyone loves so much.

Take good photos. Your stuff is more desirable when the photos are taken in decent light. This goes without saying, but include photos.  I always shake my head when I see a Craigslist post with no photos. I'm pretty sure that lowers your odds of selling stuff by 90% at least!

• Be polite. I know that I'm more likely to buy from someone who is kind and answers my questions in a courteous manner. We had someone offer below what we were asking for a Roku we were selling. We told him we had gotten a lot of inquiries about it and were going to stick to our asking price. He said, "Well, obviously you can't sell it for that price or you would have sold it already." We never responded to that rude guy again, and we did end up getting our full asking price later that day. Being rude never gets you anywhere!

Be cautious. We don't like people to come to our house to see the stuff, so we choose to meet them at a highly populated location, like the parking lot of our local grocery store. We joke that our local Kroger probably thinks the husband is a drug dealer because he showed up so many times and exchanged cash with so many people during the great Craigslist blitz of December!

We have a rule that I don't handle any Craigslist transactions. The fact is that I'm more naive, trusting and physically vulnerable than my husband, and we don't want to take the risk. The husband wears the Craigslisting pants in this house, and I'm totally fine with that. 

 In the interest of full disclosure, here's what we sold to make $900+ during the last week of December:

• clothes (to Plato's Closet) = $76
• old brass doorknobs (to metal recycling company) = $36
• 6x9 Target rug (Craigslist) = $140
• (two) broken iPhone 4 (Craigslist) = $140/each for a total of $280
• Roku (Craiglist) = $50
• two outdoor ottomans (Craigslist) = $25
• wooden dresser (Craigslist) = $40
• 2008 Samsung 42" TV (Craigslist) = $240
• Upholstered bench with torn corner (Craigslist) = $25

You never know what people will want to buy. Sometimes the things I believe will sell right away don't sell at all, and then the things I don't think anyone will want get snatched up right away! My motto is that it never hurts to try, and the worst that could happen is that no one would respond to your listing.


So, that's the story of how a TV purchase turned into a great big decluttering/selling extravaganza that netted us more than $900! That's also the story of how I can continue to shop and buy things without filling up our small house with way too much stuff!

So tell me, do you sell your stuff on Craigslist? How do you declutter your house as time goes on and you acquire more things? If you have more tips and/or ideas for making money off your old stuff, do tell us in the comments. I always want to learn new tips and strategies!

* Downton Abbey time! *

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Blast from the Past

About four years ago, the future husband and I went to an estate sale in the tiny Texas town where he was going to college. We were hoping to furnish his little rental house for mere pennies. The home turned out to be a time capsule, AKA a treasure trove for lovers of mid century furniture and design. The others at the auction didn't seem to know that mid century stuff was back in style, so no one wanted any of that "ugly" furniture except me!

I think we spent less than $200 that day, and we came home with two sofas, my favorite chair (only $5!), a pool table ($25!), a WWII rifle (for my father in law's collection), a box of art supplies, and a huge box of vintage books and more stuff that I can't even remember.

One of the vintage books was a 1960 edition of Interior Decoration, from the editors of House & Gardens magazine, filled with decorating tips and inspirational images. I thought you might enjoy seeing how current many of these images from 1960 still are today!

Here's some of that bamboo furniture that's back en vogue right now...

This yellow lacquer buffet is pretty awesome.

I love the stripes in this room. This could totally be in House Beautiful right now!

I love this work/play space. Looks like Flor tile! The built in desks are awesome.

Oddly enough, half the book was in color and half was in black and white. These beds are such a statement, and I am in love with them. I'd totally buy them if I stumbled upon them at a flea market or something.

A moravian star pendant! I want one of these so badly!

I love the menswear fabric as upholstery and the great chandelier.

Look at this beautiful outdoor space! There is nothing dated about it whatsoever.

Check out this awesome gallery wall...

And I love these built-in storage units, custom made to include a dollhouse. That is the stuff of my childhood dreams! 

So, what do you think? Which 1960 space is your favorite? Isn't it amazing how something that was decorated more than 50 years ago could still look stylish? 

* Vintage Appeal *

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Wishlist: A New Bed

We've decided we want a new bed– something super cozy and comfortable that makes sleeping feel like the superb luxury that it is. For us, a cozy bed means an upholstered bed. Wood is beautiful, but it just doesn't feel as good to read a book while propped up on a wooden headboard. Wrought iron ones are even more uncomfortable!

I started shopping it around online, and I was consistently drawn to the classic camelback style. It's not too frilly for my husband, but the lines are softer than a rectangular upholstered headboard. Since a bed is obviously a long term investment, we want one in a neutral color that can withstand my my decorator ADD.

Upholstered Camelback Beds

Sources, from top to bottom (all prices are for king size):

Colette Bed • Crate & Barrel • $1,999
Aisling Cream Queen Fabric Platform Bed • Amazon • $741.80
Lehigh Upholstered Bed • Ballard Designs • $1,461
Rochelle Nail Button Bed • Target • $709
Raleigh Upholstered Camelback Bed • Pottery Barn • $1,274
Gray Palermo Wingback Bed • Target • $599
Stewart King Bed • Macy's • 1,299

Right now we have a simple, affordable upholstered headboard from Target, but we want an actual bed with an upholstered platform. Of course we'd love to get a good deal, so I'm leaning toward the affordable ones on this list. The Amazon bed is the same as this Overstock model, which has great reviews. Most reviewers compared it to the much more expensive Colette Bed from Crate & Barrel.

So which is your favorite? I think there are some well-priced options above, as far as king size beds are concerned. I haven't decided which one I like the best, so I'd love to hear what you think!

* For the love of sleep *

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Randoms & Happy Weekend

Are you looking forward to the weekend? I have to work an event my company is hosting here in Dallas, so I don't have anything fun planned. Oh well. Luckily my job doesn't spill over into my weekends very often, so I can't really complain.

The husband got me the cutest camera strap for my new Nikon this Christmas. It's really affordable, too! This company sells them on Amazon for only $9, and they have tons of patterns available. I was torn between this one and the leopard one, but in the end I'm a polka dot girl.

Bluecell AR-001 Black Color with White Dots Digital SLR Camera Camcorder Neck Shoulder Straps Belt for Canon Nikon Samsung Olympus Sony Fujifilm Panasonic


If you live in Dallas, Houston or Austin, you simply must try Tiff's Treats. I'd never heard of this company before (living under a rock?), but they are a delicious cookie delivery service. They guarantee the cookies will be delivered nice and warm! My awesome friend had these delivered to my office the other day, and my coworkers were very happy campers as I passed around this cookie box. Yep, they were warm and gooey. Delightful!

I think this could be the perfect thing for the husband who doesn't really like Valentine's Day gifts but would never turn down a box of warm cookies. Am I the only one with a husband like that?

Are you a monthly planner person? I buy one every year, even though I'm perfectly capable of entering events on my iPhone calendar. There's just something about writing stuff in a planner that excites me. I like having those calendar events to look forward to! I bought this $10 linen planner at Target and it's working perfectly for me. You can view the monthly overview (my favorite) and then write more detailed notes on each day.

As part of my plan to get focused on what really matters this year, I've started having a daily quiet time during my lunch hour at work. I'm doing a Bible reading plan in which you read through the New Testament in a year. I'm using the YouVerse app to help me remember and keep track of where I am, and it's very helpful. I love that it sends me little reminders each day around lunchtime to help me stay on the reading plan. You know how it is– if you fall too far behind, you'll never catch up!

The lunchtime devotional break has been a real blessing so far, helping me take a breather and step back from the stress of the workday to refocus. I used to do my reading before bed, but I was always too tired and sleepy to retain the information. I'm finding that my brain is better at noon than midnight– shocker, I know.

The husband and I are going to Florida for a wedding in February, and we're debating which theme park to visit during our one day in Orlando. What do you think– Disney World, Epcot or Universal Studios? I'd love to get your input!

* Happy Friday *

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Gender-Neutral Safari Baby Shower

My friend had her baby girl this morning, and it reminded me that I never shared the details from her baby shower!

I co-hosted the shower for Baby Goodreau with my friend Kelli. They didn't find out the sex of the baby ahead of time, so they couldn't pick a name. For all of our decor and cards, we just went with Baby Goodreau (their last name). I made a regular diaper cake along with several small ones, plus some simple paper elephant bunting for the mantel. We used the colors from Baby Goodreau's nursery– turquoise, grey and yellow– as the basis for the party decor.

My favorite detail was the "Goodreaux" Butt Paste (a nod to their last name). I just taped a little piece of paper with the "GOOD" on top of the Boudreaux packaging.

I'll let the pictures do the talking!

 elephant bunting made with scrapbook paper

chalkboard art

safari themed diaper cake with "Goodreaux" Boudreaux Butt Paste

mini diaper cakes

safari-themed food with grass skirt

It was a lovely shower, and we're all excited about the arrival of baby Caroline today!

* Boy or Girl? I would have to know! *
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