Category Archives: Money

Thrift Store Score: 80s galore

Before I even share my latest secondhand acquisitions, I must preface with the fact that I’m well aware not everyone will necessarily “get” it. As the post title suggests, these objects are distinctly 80s and not exactly mainstream, but I love them and am more than happy to give them a brand new life in our home. A little kitschy, they may be, but they’re MY kitsch.


With that out of the way, I will first introduce you to my new ice bucket. I’ve been hankering for a new ice bucket to add to our living room bar cart for, really, the past year. I wanted something sort of mid-century and definitely unique. I think I was able to succeed with this padded handled, faux wood grain number.


I am a big fan of wood grain in general, whether fake or real, so as soon as I saw this little guy sitting forlornly at the bottom of a shelf at Goodwill, I had to snatch him up. And when you factor in the $3.50 price tag, it simply couldn’t be beat. With a thorough rub down with multiple dish soap baths, it was good as new and party ready.


Now here’s where things get a little dicey. I know that many of you will be all “Say whattt??” when you see my new piece of art in the master bedroom, but I’m over the moon giddy about it. This massive decidedly 80s print is perfect in my book. Nice thin brass frame, abstract imagery, TONS of color – It’s got our taste written all over it. And, again, costing only $3.50 made it impossible not to take home. I figure, if our style changes, or we get tired of it, the oversized brass frame alone made it worthy of forking over the cash.



In hindsight after running a quick Google search of the artist (the print is signed in the bottom right hand corner), I’m especially glad that I decided to go for it.




Why? Well it turns out that my thrift store Carlton Sturges Abbott print actually could be valued at 30 TIMES what I paid for it (one lithograph print is estimated at $100-$200). Although Abbott’s work isn’t exactly “Picasso” priceless, I’m excited at the thought that I have an authentic print, done by an authentic artist. I consider this one an investment well made.



What era of art and accessories do you consider your guilty pleasure?


My island shopping haul

I promise this will be my last post about our Hilton Head vacation…Okay, maybe that’s more like a soft promise, but for the MOST part I’ve already told all that there is to tell. All except for a companion piece to my HomeGoods tale – plus a few extra beach shop goodies thrown in for good measure.

As you saw last week, my mom and I had a blast browsing the island’s HomeGoods store (twice, in fact). We laid eyes on TONS of fabulous treasures during our multiple tours of the store, but could sadly only bring home a few armloads each. So what did I end up grabbing for myself? The cat is finally out of the (shopping) bag – Scroll on.



The first thing I just haaad to have was the ikat patterned Cynthia Rowley box for $9.99. The price was too good to be true, plus the on-trend pattern in a classically bohemian color palette was irresistible. You may have caught sight of it in yesterday’s studio redesign reveal (thanks for all of the love and support on that, by the way!)




To continue our “Where’s Waldo?” (or should I say, “Where’s The HomeGoods Treasure?”) in yesterday’s reveal post, one other piece ended up making the cut in the final design. The $12.99 burlap basket you see above filled with my growing everday wrapping paper collection was yet another HomeGoods steal (figuratively) that serves as great storage for the multi-functional space. Oh, and if you’re thinking it looks a little boring now, I definitely plan on adding some kind of paint treatment to the burlap down the line…



But let’s take a break from the studio for a moment and move on to a couple of kitchen-y items. That yellow patterned drying mat (for only $4.99) was just what our sink had been begging for. The old one had seen much better days, plus we could use the upgraded color and pattern – I so love when I can find utilitarian pieces in fun and perky colors/patterns, don’t you?




Okay, so the can of dog biscuits shown above didn’t actually come from HomeGoods…But I DID buy it during our trip – just at a local beach shop rather than my go-to chain home accessory mecca. I loved the color and the old school pattern seemed like the perfect fit for our retro-filled kitchen.




The glass bowl shown above is another departure from HomeGoods specific souvenirs, although it DID come from T.J.Maxx, which feels like it’s at least related. If you can’t tell from the bag of beach-scooped rocks beneath it, I plan on turning the pint sized bowl into a mini terrarium. More on that project soon!






The two pieces pictured above, the agate pendant and silver horse, both came from another of our favorite beach shops on the island. As seen in this post from 2 years ago, we always make a point to stop in at Black Market Minerals, and this trip was no different. It was a struggle to leave with just those 2 pieces in hand…


Remember how I was describing an idea for one of the inexpensive table cloths in my HomeGoods recap? Well I plan on doing exactly as announced – in other words, add velcro to the edges of the summery vinyl tablecloth pictured above, and then wrap it around the dingy glass tabletop of our outdoor dining set. I’m hoping it will act as a slip cover of sorts. We’ll all see how that turns out soon enough.




I also mentioned this sculptural gold and white frame in my original store recap last week – At just $7.99, I just had to have it. I could stand to start upgrading my frame collection, and this metallic beauty fit my style too perfectly to leave it behind.



While hardly functional in the normal sense of the word, my new $9.99 gold filled hour glass is one of those really cool signature styling pieces that I’m more than happy to welcome into our collection. The “sand” in this particular hour glass is actually tiny fine beads, making the sound a little more unique in comparison to others like it – it’s sort of dull and heavy, rather than soft and whispery.


Last but certainly not least, we have my favorite take of the day – This Moroccan style side table. At $49.99, it was the most expensive piece I bought that day, but I have some pretty grand plans for it, as I’ve hinted before. A big name brand has claimed it for a specially hosted project and review, and I can’t wait to share more in the coming weeks. So mysterious…

Have a great weekend everyone!

P.S. I’ve announced the winner of the SIGG Active Top bottle – Click here to see if it’s you!

P.P.S. In today’s Friday Feature Round Up, we’ve got 2 posts over on Le Papier Studio – a “Pin of the Day” post focused on picnicking, and an “Inspired by…” post central to the new “Children of the World” collection that was recently released. Over on Glitter Guide, I designed and wrote a feature all about 4 ways to add pink to your home. Enjoy!


Pinspiration Monday: Umbrella Stand

It may seem a bit funny, but I’ve always loved the idea of a good umbrella stand. Something so utilitarian doesn’t really need to to be cute, stylish or whimsical, but I sure do love that someone decided that it should be for no other reason than making us smile.

Here are just a few that I’ve come across throughout my virtual Pinterest travels…



Screen shot 2013-05-24 at 6.45.32 AM




Amazingly though, I had yet to pull the trigger. They cost too much money, I had no real, desperate need per se (although that hardly ever stops me in normal circumstances) – whatever the reason, our version of an umbrella stand was the floor of the coat closet or, on particularly rainy days, looped over the edge of the bar cart right inside the front door.

That is, until I met my new favorite entryway accessory…




Clocking in at just $39.99, this oh-so-sculptural, oh-so-ORANGE piece fit the bill (and then some!) of my dream umbrella stand. It hardly bears describing, but it even came with its very own coat rack to boot! While I really love the look of our new multi-tasking home accessory by itself (which was snagged from Ross, by the way, one random day during my lunch break), it even looks pretty swanky filled with the usual suspects – coats, hats, scarves, the dog leash and, of course, the umbrella.



No, it’s certainly no designer umbrella stand, and its not an owl (or a pair of porcelain boots) but I love the color, I love the swirly shapes and the peppy “conversation” it has with the rest of the entryway is undeniable – Although it’s nothing like I had pictured, it fits juuuuuuust right.

What odd ball treasures have you unearthed lately?

P.S. Happy Memorial Day!! I’m excited to be spending a little extra time with family today, and I hope you are able to do the same.

P.P.S. If you didn’t hear the news, I’m giving away a brand new SIGG Active Top bottle – Contest ends Friday, so be sure to click here to get your name in the mix before it’s too late! 


The Options: Deck or Entry

Deck or Entry

Option 1: The Porch Company | Option 2: Better Homes and Gardens

It’s times like these, when the weather is starting to warm up and the grass is ESPECIALLY green, that I long for a yard. Our little townhouse has only a small patch of grass out front, so small that even a birdbath would look badly proportionate, and a tiny back deck with no greenery to speak of.I recommend contacting pressure washing service once in a while to have the outsides of your house clean. Also, if you’re planning to renovate your house, installing stumps is a good idea. Just look for to see affordable house raising and restumping services carried by qualified restumping specialists. So this will be yet another spring season where I live vicariously through inspiration images like the ones above…

Option 1: Ever since starting work as a professional blogger and website designer (WOOHOO!) for a local exterior renovation/construction company, I’ve been losing myself in outdoor-focused blogs. This one in particular based out of Tennessee is such a great resource for beautiful porch renovations. The idea of creating a covered oasis that’s still immersed in the elements is such a fantastic way to add value to your home – and your life! Also, considering the use of surveillance cameras on your property is essential so that you’ll have peace of mind. Go to Security to see a variety of security system installation or you can contact (786) 800-2609.

Option 2: That said, the entryway of a home has MAJOR influence on the sell-ability (and personality) of a home. This one, with its bold color, modern lines and approachable greenery seems like a great use of budget. I can’t help but lean a little more towards a well executed entry, mostly because I want my guests and neighbors to feel as welcome as I do in our hypothetical future home. Curb appeal is everything, right?? Or is it…

Cast your vote!

Thrift Store Score: Mid-Century Couch

It’s finally (finally!) time to reveal what we’ve been up to in our finished basement, or what I’m now referring to as our den because I hate the stigma of a “finished basement.” I’ve teased tons of photos through Instagram, but if you haven’t caught wind of the project, John and I decided to flip this particular living space upside down – figuratively, of course.

The room as it was before (which I’m not even going to bother sharing in photo form, because it was that bad) was full of mismatched cheap pieces of furniture. It was KIND of functional as a TV room, but for the most part just served to give me nightmares at night. It was time to fix things. So we Craigslisted all the furniture, making nearly enough money to buy all NEW pieces! You’ve seen the awkward nook in the corner transform into a desk, but it’s time to see the rest of the space…

Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 5.14.53 PM

The first thing we needed was a new sofa. I make it a point to check Craigslist at least once a week, searching for furniture listings under the “mid-century,” “midcentury” and “mid century” labels (I get different hits for each unique term). And my prayers were answered a couple of weeks ago with my most incredible “Thrift Store Score” to date. That big beautiful VINTAGE mid-century couch was not only within price range (in full disclosure, we ended up getting it for $440) but also within our own zip code. After following the lister’s directions, we discovered that she lived only about 3 miles away. Easiest. Pickup. Ever.

Oh, and before I forget to mention it – For any locals loving this couch, the matching side chair is still for sale. Click that link for details!

We brought the new-to-us couch home, set it up in the cleared out space and knew that we had landed on some kind of magic. It was perfect…But, of course, the new couch upped the art ante and I started dreaming big. What to hang? Once I narrowed my vision down to an eclectic gallery wall, I realized that I had an accidentally perfect collection sitting in storage in my studio. After hanging the art (for FREE) in less than 20 minutes, and setting up a new arc lamp (scored from the Yellow Brick Home curated sale on Joss & Main), we stepped back and called this half of the room officially “done.”





Please forgive the highly fluorescent photography…There are no windows and therefore no pretty natural sunlight to use to my advantage. Oh, and for anyone curious, the two gray pillows came from The Everygirl curated Joss & Main sale (more on those scores here), the geo lumbar pillow is from Target and the shag rug is from Lowe’s. The wooden box to the side of the couch and the foot stool are vintage.

We still have a few things to do to the rest of the space, but I’m sick of sharing teasers while I hurry to perfect it. The reality that I have to face (yet again) is that these things take time and it will evolve slowly – And frankly, that’s exactly how it should be. That said, here is our progress in the rest of the room thus far…




Quick interjection: That white dresser above is another Thrift Store Score worth noting. Believe it or not, it spawned the entire room. We knew we wanted to upgrade our old TV cabinet (a rickety particle board book shelf from Wal Mart), however we always had in mind a nice wooden piece with legs. But when we glimpsed this white lacquer Lane dresser at Estate Specialist downtown, our vision started to shift. It’s definitely a vintage vibe, but more of a 1970’s space age feel than the Danish piece we had envisioned. In the end, we love the sleek lines and cool, quiet look.




I’m so excited to have all of you along for the ride as we transform this space! Thanks for all of the support so far – You must know that it means the world to me.

Enjoy your day!

{Must Have Shoes} “Flatwear”

Happy Friday, everyone! What are you up to this weekend? Got spring shopping on the brain? I have been out and about this week filling my arms with fun new patterned additions to my wardrobe. Don’t worry – I didn’t blow my New Year’s resolution. These shopping excursions were made possible by a check from consigning my old clothes (which I ALWAYS put back into my closet – seems only fair) and a little Easter money from my sweet mom-in-law specifically meant for the upcoming dress season. I was able to get a bunch of new pieces for my wardrobe and spent only about $115. The loot? 3 dresses, 2 tank tops and a belt. Not bad, huh?

Thankfully, shoes are NOT part of my resolution and are fair game for my meager freelancer’s budget. I am always in the market for new flats and, after a quick trip to my best friend’s family-owned store Must Have Shoes, I met my new favorite pair…The OKA b. Taylor Flats (seen below on the left).

Jelly Flats

OKA b. Taylor Flats | Tory Burch Jelly Bow Ballet Flats

I ADORE the pretty coral color and the fact that these (machine washable!!) flats are a grown up throwback to my girlhood jelly shoes, but of course the best part for my budget-conscious brain is the value. At around $40 and some change, I can enjoy this spunky springtime look AND be able to afford groceries. What really sealed the deal for me was that quick comparison above. I’m loving the fact that I was able to stay on trend AND keep $80+ in my pocket.


If you’re wishing the OKA b. flats came with a little embellishment like the Tory Burch pair, you’re in luck – There are a couple of other styles in the store that feature glittery appliques crowning the front of each shoe. I want one of every color please! (please forgive the quality of my iPhone photos below)


Locals, you MUST go try a pair out in person. While living in D.C. for a couple of months right after college I developed a righteous fear of blister-inducing shoes – These form fitting flats though feel instantly worn in, and I could tell right away that blisters wouldn’t be an issue. In fact, I slipped the shoes on and then proceeded to wear them the entire duration of our visit to the shop. I didn’t even take them off to pay for them!

Speaking of the shop…Here’s a little virtual tour for those of you not in Lynchburg.


Oh and just so you know, although this sounds like a bonafide advertisement, I am not being paid or perked to write this little post up. Of course, I’m always looking to help out my best friend and her entrepreneurial family, but I also just genuinely love these shoes. I hope you find YOUR flats soulmate this season – But if you’re having trouble finding “the one,” you know where I’m going to send you…

Enjoy your weekend!

P.S. Since it’s becoming a bit of a tradition…Here’s yet another installment of “Friday Feature Roundup,” where I gather up links to my other Internet projects/collaborations from the week. We’ve got two new weekly features over on Le Papier Studio (read up on my new internship with the designer silhouette line at the bottom of this post). The first is a mood board inspired by the Floral Wreath Silhouette Print, and the other is a “Pin of the Day” feature where I mulled over the concept of a “Little White Dress.” Enjoy and, as always, thanks for the support!


“Perfect Pairs”: A bridal shower gift basket


As you may already know, our good friends Nathan and Ashley are getting hitched! And, with the wedding coming up in May, it was time to celebrate the bride with a special shower just for her. So us women folk gathered this past weekend to do just that, with tasty finger foods, a delicious cake and lovely floral arrangements put together by the enormously talented mother of the bride.

Mady, Ashley’s sister, was the mastermind behind the entire event and she nailed it. I wish I had more photos to share with you, but imagine handmade bunting with the letters for “Miss to Mrs” handpainted on each flag, rustic burlap table runners and springtime raffia with yellow blooms wrapped around the cake. It was perfection and felt SO “Ashley.”

But of course no bridal shower is complete without the gifts and, as I’m sure you could guess, I felt the need to get creative with mine. I really wanted to put together something unique for Ashley and eventually (after a night of tossing and turning to brainstorm) I finally came up with the idea of “Perfect Pairs,” inspired by the most perfect pair of all – Ashley and Nathan!!



The idea was to pick up useful things for the home that naturally went together – Things like a fork and spoon (a salad fork and spoon set), pen and paper (nice pens and a package of note cards) and a chip and dip (I don’t think that one needs explaining!). In order to bring the point home, I put together little tags in InDesign and Photoshop using colors to match the overall theme of the gifts – blue and green. Once printed and cut out, I was able to attach each to their respective pair using Scotch tape.







As for the wrapping, I decided to skip a paper gift bag and went with a utilitarian rubber bucket instead. It actually cost about the same as a large gift bag, but will last through whatever project Ashley puts it to.


The final step was adding one last paper cut out to the front of the bucket that simply read “Perfect Pairs inspired by Ashley & Nathan.” I think Ashley got a kick out of the gift and I hope she and her hubby-to-be enjoy all of their new housewares! We had a blast watching her eyes light up as she unwrapped things like her gorgeous new dishes, Anthropology kitchen utensils, teal Keurig, serving ware and even a stunning gold Kate Spade bracelet. Bridal showers are so much fun…And Ashley deserves every bit of love!





If you want to try this gift idea for your OWN special bride, grab a free printable of the “Perfect Pair” tags by saving the image below to your desktop and printing it on thick cardstock paper. If you would like the front tag, email me at so that I can customize the names for you. And please don’t hesitate to actually do that – If you don’t have time to write a long email, just send me a quick message with “Perfect Pairs” in the subject line and the two names in the body of the email.

Bridal Shower Gift Printable

UPDATE: Due to popular demand via the emails I’ve gotten for custom tags, I’m also including a free printable for “Salt & Pepper” below. If you can think of any other perfect pairs and want a customized tag, just let me know!

Salt and Pepper

P.S. Before I leave you for the weekend, it’s time for a quick “Friday Feature Round Up” – If you happened to miss any of the things I put together for The Glitter Guide or GalTime (my newest freelance contributor gig!) click on through – I made a DIY Gold Sequin Hair Bow (that my tom boy sister pricelessly modeled for me), chatted about incorporating florals into the home for the new season, and gathered my favorite Easter Egg Projects to try out this holiday weekend. Enjoy!

gold hair bow