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February Thrift Haul

1 Mar

I ended up stopping by three different thrift stores during the month of February. First up, a local Goodwill that is very hit or miss, but typically has great prices. Second, my favorite thrift spot (2nd Avenue) in a not-so-great area of town, and third the pricey thrift store (2nd Avenue) right in the middle of Columbia.

I ended up with six great items, but I wanted to remind you that I literally went through each entire store in order to find the *good* stuff. Well, good stuff for me… there were plenty more great items in sizes, styles or fits that didn’t work out for me.

Anyways, if you are thinking about trying out thrifting… don’t get discouraged when you see a bunch of crappy stuff. It takes time and patience to find things that you’ll end up loving!

{Pssst, you can read about my previous thrifting adventures here}

Let’s look at what I found this month:

Chaps jersey dress, size large, $8.99

I really like the dark purple Aubergine color of this dress and I picked up because I don’t have many solid dresses in my collection. It is currently sitting on my sewing table because I think I’m going to chop the length to knee-length and add a tie-belt with the extra fabric. While it is very pretty in its current design, hemming it shorter will make it more work appropriate for me. I can see me wearing this to work with a pretty embellished sweater and patterned flats.

RBX activewear top, size XL, $5.99

I love a good workout/laze around the house top. This one is oversized with a high-low hem and has thumb holes! I thought this would be good as a topper on the way to the gym, or for those chilly work-from-home days with leggings. I’ve already worn it twice and I’m sure I will get my money’s worth for the $6 I paid!

Silver Glitter Vans Sk8-Hi sneakers, size 7.5, $6.99

Yeah, they pretty much HAD me at glitter and high tops… the $7 price tag was just the cherry on top. I love fun shoes and these silver glitter Vans are perfect for me. Depending on the brand/style, I wear anywhere from an 8 to a 9… so I was bummed when I saw that these were a 7.5 I tried them on though and even with my warmer socks on they didn’t feel too tight. I figured I’d give them a try and googled some tips on how to stretch sneakers. Only the left one was a bit tight in the toe-box area, so I tried the ‘put four socks on your foot and shove it in there’ method.

I also aimed the hair dryer at it a few times throughout the day. Last, I stuck a shoe stretcher in there and left it over the weekend. The stretched just enough and are now perfect. These look so cute with leggings and a comfy top for a casual day.

UGG Emalie Waterproof Leather Wedge Bootie, size 8, $24.99

OH my gosh you guys, this is basically the score of the day! I went over to the more expensive thrift store and found these mint condition UGG wedges thrown in with a bunch of cheap plastic boots. I did a bunch of googling and this style was sold at Nordstrom in 2015 for $180 and a very similar pair is still being sold. This particular thrift store usually prices known brands high, so I wasn’t surprised about the mark-up. These are my size, comfortable and in perfect condition… so I was quite happy to get them for $25. I wore them to my sister’s bridal shower over the weekend for about 9 hours and they were actually pretty darn comfy!

Talbots cape $17.99

I was looking in the cardigans section for a striped sweater to replace one of my favorites that is starting to look kinda sad. I saw this striped cape and it is a brand-new with $89.50 tags still on it from Talbots. I wear my Causebox cape all the time and this will be a perfect spring option. You can see a dressing room pic of this cape and the next dress here (click the little arrow).

Loft dress, size large, $14.99

I love the colors in the pattern of this pretty Loft dress. It’s got elbow-length sleeves and a knee-length skirt, which is exactly what I like in a dress for work. I threw it in the wash immediately (washed in cold and then hung dry) so I could wear it to my sister’s bridal shower over the weekend (see it here).

Did you have any luck thrifting this month? Share your scores!

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My Style: Winter Favorites

28 Feb

I put a note on my calendar to revisit the My Style series with a Winter Favorites post at the end of February. But it still kind of feels like we are in the middle of the winter, right? Is spring really coming?? I googled it (as I do) and the first day of Spring is Wednesday, March 20th… so perhaps the end of this cold/snow/ice is in sight?

Anywho, you can check out my last two posts here:

My Style: Fall Favorites

My Style: Summer Favorites

And now for my Winter Favorites… I went through all my posted outfits from December, January and February and picked my 3 favorite looks.

Outfit #1: Give me Sparkles and Lace… but for the Office

I wore this outfit on one of the last days in the office before the holiday break, so I let myself go a little ‘extra’ with it. I found this fun lace skirt at TJ Maxx a couple years ago and it had some really stiff and itchy crinoline as a slip. I ripped that sucker out and now the skirt is so much more comfortable! The sweater was livened up with some fun brooches I found at an antiques shop and I added my mulberry Rothy’s with gold embroidered points because… why not?! I loved this outfit and totally felt in the Christmas spirit at the office!

Outfit #2: Valentine’s Sweetheart… but for the Office

Here’s another holiday look…this time for Valentine’s Day. Apparently I only put in extra effort for holidays? I found this dress on Poshmark in the fall and was excited to wear it on my sister’s wedding cruise. It was an Anthropologie brand – HD in Paris – but from what I can tell, it’s no longer around. If you search “Anthropologie corduroy dress” on Poshmark, I have seen this dress and other colors/patterns come up. The colors are so pretty and vibrant in person and I love this look with my red pointy flats!

Outfit #4: Will Exercise if there are Cute Clothes Involved

Sometimes I have to motivate myself to go to the gym with cute gym clothes. I love these leggings from a previous Trunk Club trunk, even though Travis calls them my zebra legs. I recently ordered a cute tank top from a skincare company called No BS (review coming after I try the products out for a few months) and they sent me this one by accident instead of the one I ordered. It says “Filter Free” and they said I should keep it… which works out great because I love it as a gym top.

So now that I’ve posted my Winter Favs, it’s time for Spring… right?!

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Awkward Prepubescent Valentine’s Day Memories

14 Feb

We don’t really do much for Valentine’s Day in my house and I’m totally cool with that. Typically, my husband will bring home some grocery store flowers and a little candy for us all to share, and that is more than fine by me. I’ve told him before not to waste money on the fancy expensive stuff, including craploads of roses and dinner plans on the big V day. If I want something fancy, I’d prefer to buy it for myself… (in fact, a Rothy’s order is making its way to me right now!).

My best Valentine’s Day was 7 years ago, when I was in the hospital trying to push Jack out of my hooha. Which I do realize isn’t that relaxing of an experience… a massage would have been much nicer. But it certainly was the best gift I’ve ever received.

{awwww}

Anywhoo. It is WAY more fun to talk about those awkward Valentine’s Day experiences from when I was a teenager.

Back in high school. I had a HUGE crush on this boy. I crushed on him for YEARS. Every time he’d sigh in my direction or cut his hair… I would swoon all about it. We were in some of the same activities/classes together, so I would occasionally work up the nerve to speak to him. And then spend the next 4 days dissecting every weird thing I said out loud.

I don’t know if they did this in your school, but for Valentine’s Day at my high school you could buy a carnation to be delivered to someone with a little note.

It was a great chance for awkward students to profess their lust for each other. It cost like $1 and BOOM you’re suddenly someone’s girlfriend/boyfriend.

All day long, when a classroom door would open with a carnation delivery, everyone’s hearts would start pounding as we all anticipated it being a super special gift from a secret (or not so secret) admirer. It was the ULTIMATE status symbol. To receive a carnation. Or OHMYGOD multiple carnations on Valentine’s Day.

SUCH popularity! I could hardly imagine it!

Well, even though my memory totally sucks I remember sitting in class one Valentine’s Day. I was at peak dork, which means it was probably Freshman or Sophomore year when I had a terrible perm and crunchy hairsprayed bangs sticking straight outta my head.

I couldn’t decide which photo to go with in order to give you the TRUE look of what I was dealing with. So…I picked these two. The first one is from my freshman year homecoming and the second was FRESHLY permed wearing a new Christmas outfit. Sigh.

Back to that fateful Valentine’s Day: My crush was in my class with me, and when a carnation delivery student came to the door, I immediately imagined that they were coming to deliver one to me… FROM HIM. I know, it made no sense but I was heavily into rom-coms at that time, so I thought that was how real life would go for me.

Instead, the delivery person called out my crushes name.

OH! Maybe he had it delivered to him in class so that he could give it to me in person?! SQUEEEEEE

As my crush moves forward to take the carnation, my heart starts beating so hard and I’m getting a little shaky. IT. IS. HAPPENING.

No. It is not happening.

Instead, it was a carnation delivery for HIM. From another girl. Who (if my brain serves me right) later became his girlfriend.

Sigh.

Heart. Broken. I remember that stomach sinking feelings like it just happened yesterday.

Maybe that is why I hate carnations?

And perms.

So now it’s your turn! Please add your own embarrassing Valentine’s Day story in the comments! Bonus points for perms, retainers and hairspray!

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Learning About My Strengths

11 Feb

Recently at work I was tasked with taking the StrengthsFinder 2.0 Gallup test. Have any of you done this? Basically it is a short book that comes with a special testing code. You read the first bit about the reasoning behind the test, take the test, and then use the rest of the book to read more about the areas that have been determined to be your strengths.

Source: Amazon.com

If you like this kinda thing, you can find the book on Amazon here. Basically, the goal is that you find your top five talents and then use their strategies for how to apply your strengths in the best possible way.

I thought this quote from the book was rather interesting:

“People who have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.”

I like this one too:

“People have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.”

So, I set aside about 30 minutes so I could take the test uninterrupted and answered each question the best that I could. At the end of the test, I was sent a Strength Insights Report and according to them, these are my top 5 strengths and the general gist of each one:

#1. Strategic – the Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught, but a distinct way of thinking. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity.

My thoughts: Yup, spot on with this one. I tend to describe myself as a ‘problem biter’ meaning that I can see a problem and figure out what bite-sized pieces need to be done to solve it.

#2. Achiever – your Achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero, by the end of the day you must achieve something tangible to feel good about yourself.

My thoughts: This one rings quite true as well. Part of it could be that I’m an oldest child and I’ve always been an independent, over-achiever type. This recently came into play when I was completing my Master’s Program and was disappointed in any grade lower than an A. This also explains my need to make ‘to do’ lists and why it feels SO GOOD to check each item off.

#3. Relator – Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships. The Relator theme pulls you towards people you already know. You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people, but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around close friends.

My thoughts: Yes, this one describes me too. I tend to keep my small group of friends very close and it’s hard to get to that level of friendship with new people.

#4. Communication – You like to explain, the describe, to host, to speak in public and to write. You feel a need to bring ideas to life, to energize them, to make them exciting and vivid.

My thoughts: Ding, ding, ding. This describes me, my job, my everyday life. My undergraduate degree was actually IN communications…

#5. Activator – You are impatient for action. You may concede that analysis has its uses or that debate and discussion can occasionally yield some valuable insights, but deep down you know that only action is real and can make things happen.

My thoughts: Yet another truth bomb. I hate meeting about a meeting to then discuss a meeting. I want to make a plan and check things off my list.

There is tons more information in the book about each strength, including ideas for action and the best ways to work with the different types of people’s strengths. My whole work team completed the StrengthsFinder test and we will have a meeting with a coach in a few weeks to discuss how our different strengths can be used as part of the team.

All in all, I found the exercise interesting. I can see myself in all five of the strengths that were assigned to me. It makes sense to focus on further developing my strengths rather than spending tons of time on fighting against my deficiencies.

Have you done the StrengthsFinder test? Did you find that your strengths rang true for you?

Disclosure: Pocketful of Joules is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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