Friday, April 30, 2010

Blogger Thank You & A Spring Sale


Happy Friday Ladies! I wanted to remind everyone that today is the last day to enter our current healthy giveaway. It will close tonight at 11pm. Today is also the last day for anyone wanting to add their definition of a classy woman into my new book in the form of a quote. I have enjoyed reading every one so far and look forward to adding them.


I wanted to take a moment to thank a couple of my blogger friends. I have met some wonderful people here in the blogosphere. I love reading everyone's comments, your reader request e-mails, your kind words and I am so taken back when another blogger decides to include me in some way on their blog whether it be adding me to their blog roll or adding me to a post, or adding my blog button to their sidebar.

You might remember that Kristin of My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia was the winner of our Clinique Spring Giveaway last month. She is also a super sweet, positive woman that I've come to know over the past few months. She also regularly has a kind comment to leave on my blog and she is so warm and genuine. She is a Classy Woman all the way!

Not only did she say thank you but she wrote a super sweet e-mail to me and even included me in a post on her blog! She was so excited that she included me in  THIS post after the mailman delivered her package. She also added me to her blogroll months ago so others could find me. :)  I wanted to thank Kristin as her links to my blog brought in more new visitors this past month of April than any other source which I was amazed to learn. Her blog has been very successful in the few short months that she's been blogging about beautiful decor and home transformations on a budget. She recently hit the 500 follower mark and her kitchen has even landed a spot in Better Homes and Gardens' upcoming Kitchens & Bath issue. Good things come to good people. :)


When I started this blog my intention was to provide a positve message, help other women to become who they truly wanted to be and their best self. Kristin thank you for helping me to reach more women to hopefully do just that.


Last month I came across Kirsten's blog titled Gobs of Giveaways. She is also a lovely lady who is a successful blogger that features all kinds of giveaways on her blog. She reviews a lot of great products too. I was so excited when I learned that she offered ad space on her blog for just $5! It fits perfectly into my budget and is super affordable for anyone, this is my second month advertising with her. I hope you'll pop on over and check it out, it could help you drive traffic to your next giveaway. She also wrote a post about this month's giveaway. Thank you Kirsten!


Kirsten has inspired me to implement the same model. I want advertising to be affordable for everyone. If you are interested in a monthly spot  here at Classy & Fabulous, I'll be offering a spring sale here for the next 2 months. If it goes really well, I'll extend it indefinitely. Ad spots will be payable via Paypal at just $5 for a 30-day spot. Check out our Sponsors page for more details.

I also want to thank each and every one of YOU who have blogged, tweeted, or added my blog button to your sidebar. I really appreciate it-love you guys!

Have an amazing weekend!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Deal of the Day


Don't you just love it when you have your eye on something special whether it be a new dining table, curtain panels or a cute new dress and you see that exact item at a steep discount other than where you discovered it to begin with?

As you know, I love yard sale finds. I can generally find cute dresses from stores like Banana Republic, The Gap, J.Crew, etc for around $1-$2 instead of around $60-$80, I love it!

I have another source for great deals. The local goodwill store near my house stocks a lot of new Target items-everything  from clothing, belts and shoes to drapery, bedding and greeting cards. You see, Target donates 5% of it's revenue back into the community which means that a lot of clearance items or overstock is often sent to organizations like Goodwill to be offloaded from their local stores and warehouses.  I don't know if every Goodwill store receives such merchandise but I've been to three different stores in the Orlando area and they all do.

I've been able to pick up some of the best items, many of them new clothes with tags. Last fall Goodwill had a rack filled with .99 cent clothing items. I wound up getting 3 cardigans, 2 pairs of yoga capri pants, a dress and a pair of shorts all for less than $8 and they were all brand new Target brands, when I should have paid about $125 if I had purchased them all from Target itself.

Today's deal of the day is a pair of shoes. I had my eye on these tan colored Merona Maribel Peep Toe Wedges from the moment they first came out in the store. At $26.99 they are really very reasonable but I told myself that they were a 'want' and not a need. I've been trying to be a good steward of my finances and while I had tried them on a couple of times in Target, I ultimately convinced myself that while they were well priced, I didn't need another pair of shoes. Truth be told I don't have any shoes in that color at present, after donating a couple pairs recently I really wanted a comfortable shoe in tan.

Fast forward to two months later. Yesterday I popped into Goodwill after running an errand and the first thing I spotted on a shelf when I walked in were these great wedges!



The best part is they were completely new, never worn, in my size and just $5.99! They only had that one pair, and they fit me perfectly. What are the odds of that happening? I just smiled because I felt like God wanted to bless me with the shoes I had my eye on but at a steep discount-78% off to be exact. I couldn't refuse them this time, I know they were placed there just for me.

They are super comfortable and don't rub on my toes in any way, like some open-toed shoes can. After my last post, I'm sure you've figured out that peep-toe shoes are a favorite of mine. :) These also come in black and 2 other colors. I highly recommend them if you're looking for a comfortable wedge.

How about you? Have you also come across new Target merchandise in your Goodwill stores? What has been your best find yet? I'd love to hear it!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reader Request: A Polished Look


It's been a while since I've posted a reader request. Today's request comes from Tara M. of Atlanta, Georgia and is all about a particular accessory that can polish off your overall look- nail polish.

Here is what she wrote:

Dear Karla,

I've been following your blog for several months and have enjoyed reading your archives. I really agree with everything you write about. I have a question for you about nail polish. There are so many trends swirling around this spring especially in the nail polish department.

One of your older posts included a great neutral color for fingernails. I enjoy getting a french manicure and pedicure done but want to have a little fun and switch it for spring and summer. What are your thoughts on colors for both toes and fingers? Are bright colors considered to be tacky or unclassy or are they part of the summer look?

I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Sincerely,

Tara M.

This is a great question and one that maybe some of you have wondered about also. Here are my thoughts on nail polish and nail hygiene in general.

If you think about it, nails and hands really are a focal point, your hands are seen everyday. Before even addressing nail polish itself it's important that nails are neatly kept. If nail polish starts chipping off, nails are dirty from cleaning or gardening or an artificial nail is missing on a hand full of say acrylic nails, that would be the first order of business. Nail cleanliness is so important and it really gives others a good look into how you value hygiene on your priority list.  Nails are also a breeding ground for germs and bacteria so shorter, natural nails are best. Personally I keep my nails long enough that they still look pretty and feminine but short enough so that they stay clean and I prefer my natural nails so that they stay healthy and strong and can breathe.

In terms of color, I don't think it's a bad thing at all. It all depends on how you apply it and where it is worn. There are shades that, on your finger nails, probably aren't the best for the office but you shouldn't feel as if your only options are clear, french tips or neutral pale colors.

One of the things I love about summer is dressing up my tootsies in fun colors. I'm don't personally wear a lot of color on my hands because I feel some colors are too in your face and with toes, you can easily hide them if a color isn't appropriate for a certain venue, say an important interview where you'd want to be taken seriously. Finger nail polish also begins to chip quickly after the first day or two, so bright or dark colors create a higher level of maintenance. As mentioned above, when you keep your nails shorter and neatly kept, you avoid the 'talon' look so that in and of itself already creates a neater, more classy look as a base for any color. Bright colors on really long nails in  my opinion are not at all classy or elegant. The same holds true for designs on nails. It is exteremly important to make sure that even while growing nails out that they are all the same length.

There are a lot of great colors to choose from right now and I think a vacation spot and the late spring and summer months are the perfect time to show off your bright, new pedicure. While many neon colors reminiscent of the 80's have surfaced  and some many want to relive that decade, use your discretion. Just because they are available doesn't always mean they are beneficial. ;)

There is no hard and fast rule but I think clean, pretty and tasteful always prevails. You also do not need your manicure to match your pedicure so you could go a little more conservative on the finger nails or wear a pretty shimmery pink with just enough punch while being more expressive with your feet.

Tara, I hope this information was helpful. The spring and summer months are here so I hope you will choose to have a little fun with your pedicures and enjoy the warm, sunny weather.



This past weekend I got to enjoy a mani/pedi at one of my favorite spas called the Beauty Spot. I was ready for a punch of bright color myself so I decided to get my pedicure done with OPI's Cajun Shrimp. I purchased my own bottle last year after falling in love with this fun color. It is a deep orange-red with a hint of pink and every salon I've visited deems it as the perfect summer color that they can't seem to keep in stock.

With all of the choices I had available to me I still wound up choosing this color, it is my favorite fun go-to summer color. Here in Florida it feels like summer year round and we are already reaching 90 degree temps on a pretty regular basis so I am in open toe pumps, gladiators or other sandals daily. Some of you might feel more comfortable using such a color when your area becomes a bit warmer. For fun I decided to snap a photo for you in one of my most favorite and comfortable pair of peep-toe heels, because it always looks a bit different in the bottle than on your nails.





Here is a closer look of the color. Sorry, blogger would not let this picture post in it's rotated form.


I have also included my all-time favorite nail color called Madison from the Zoya brand which I'm wearing on my finger nails right now. If you are not familiar, Zoya is a less toxic line that eliminates tolulene and formaldehyde from its line and boasts as a safe choice for pregnant mommies to be. It is just as durable as many of the other brands. I use two thin coats of this and own two bottles of this in my nail polish basket too. I often use this as a spring color on my toes too when I'm transitioning from the deeper, darker plum colors of fall to the brighter colors of summer. It does not show small chips and if your nails are short or growing, it keeps them from standing out while you await your longer nails. On occassion when I'm in the mood I'll also wear darker colors on my hands but because they chip quickly while I'm busy working, it is rare.



What are YOUR favorite nail polish colors? What color do you have on your fingers and toes right now? I'd love to hear about. :)

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Healthy Giveaway


It's that time...for another giveaway that is. In the spirit of staying healthy and springtime growth, I thought I'd give one lucky reader a chance to win a neat book that I recently came across. It's titled The Long Life Equation, we own a copy in our home and it's a neat little book that shares 100 factors that can add or subtract years from your life and why. They are based on hundreds of studies from the top institutions around the world.



Each page presents a new topic with a plus or a minus along with the actual number of years at stake. It is complete with a quiz at the beginning of the book and each page contains illustrations, overall it is a light hearted read with powerful information.

Did you know that living or working in a pleasing environment with a window view of a park, garden or body of water adds 2 extra years to your life? Do you know if daytime naps help or hurt you? Enter to win so you can learn all about the outcome of the choices we make.

My hope is that after reading this book, you'll be inspired to make the necessary changes to ensure that the pluses far outweigh the minuses in your life equation.

**THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED**

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

THE PRIZE: The Long Life Equation Book

HOW TO ENTER: *Become a public follower and leave a comment to let me know you did or already are.

EXTRA ENTRIES: Leave a separate comment for each of the following for multiple chances to win.

1. Blog about this giveaway OR grab my blog button from the sidebar and add it on your blog.
2. Follow me on Twitter.
3. Tweet About this Giveaway.
4. Add Classy & Fabulous to your Blogroll. :)

{ Be sure to provide a way to contact you via your blog or leave an e-mail address. This is so that I can contact the winner}.

GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Friday April.30th at 11:00pm EST.

NUMBER OF WINNERS: One

RULES: The winner will be selected using random.org and announced next weekend!

SHIPPING TO: Worldwide

You have 5 ways to win and it's open to everyone around the globe. Good luck ladies!

Did you miss last month's awesome spring giveaway prize and our winner? Click HERE to check it out.


Don't forget to add your quote on what a classy woman means to you, to be inserted into my upcoming book in just a few weeks. You can also see what other readers' wrote. Please provide a couple sentences as your quote and leave it in comment form along with your name and city at the end of  THIS POST. Alternatively, you can e-mail them to me also. I'll be accepting them for 3 more days. Thank You in advance.

Happy Friday!




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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!



Are you celebrating Earth Day today? It's actually the 40th Anniversary, and while some say that our planet is in greater peril today, I strongly believe that we can begin to turn this ship around. If we all do our part, we can create a brighter future, a greener earth and a better place to live.

Last year I picked up and planted 3 baby trees from a local neighborhood earth festival in Winter Park, they were giving away trees to anyone willing to plant them. I picked up two maple trees and an oak. I thought the maple trees would help remind me of my home Country and they would be great at providing shade, cleaning the air and also providing a little more privacy from the neighbors. I love oak trees and we have a beautiful 50-yr old oak tree on our front property.

I regularly take part in neighborhood and local lake and river clean ups, where we remove trash and undesireable items from waterways so that unsuspecting wildlife don't become entangled in them. It really is such a great feeling to give back knowing that collectively our overall effort makes such a huge difference.

This year however, I have been so busy that I haven't researched what I wanted to do. It will be a litte more low key for me. We started a compost pile a couple years ago and I'm going to work on making it more efficient so the plant matter breaks down quicker. Exciting stuff, I know. LOL. I'm going to be incorporating some shredded newspaper as I realized this was a missing component, and I am going to start writing down the days when I need to turn everything in my calendar, which is once per week. :)



If you haven't thought too much about Earth Day, here are some events you can take part in within your own home town. Just type your zip code in to get the details. Also, you might be thinking about making a greater commitment going forward. Here are some great ideas, many that you can also involve your children in so that they may learn to make the best choices for their generation.

12 Steps to Becoming Greener

1. Use Less Packaging- Buy products with no or very little packaging and those make from recycled materials.

2. Recycle- Be sure to recycle all newspaper, cardboard and paper (includes paper towel and toilet paper rolls, envelopes, cereal boxes), glass, appropriate numbered plastics (without the lids/tops), metal cans and  foil.

3. Commit to creating a Compost pile- Start a compost bin to break down all of your fruit and veggie scraps.

4. Receive Automated bills online- Unsubscribe from all of your current service providers' paper invoices.

5. Bike or Walk vs. Drive-Now that spring is here, vow to walk or bike for small errands vs. drive. It'll keep toxic chemicals out of the air and will require less oil resources so it you money and may even help you stay in shape.

6. Get on the Reusable Bag Bandwagon- Not only are they far more durable, they keep millions of plastic bags out of our landfills, waterways, trees and help keep our planet beautiful and green. Many stores now offer 5-10 cent bag credits per bag each time you shop, like Whole Foods and Target.

7. Banish Chemicals! Start using eco-friendly cleaners that are safe for your skin, your home, the air you breathe as well as our precious fish. Try Method, Seventh Generation, Ecover, Mrs. Meyer's clean day, etc. Here are some of my natural ingredients and tips so you can spring clean the natural way. BTW, did you know that vinegar has over 1001 uses? Check it out HERE.

8. Say No to Receipts when offered-this will not only save paper but it will eliminate the amount of BPA you come in contact with. Receipts are loaded with them!

9. Don't Toss, Post on Craigslist-if you have unwanted, unused items you can keep them out of our landfills by posting them for sale or free on craigslist. Let someone else enjoy them. You can also donate to goodwill and salvation arymy.

10. Keep Electronics out of the Trash-Target as well as several other retailers have recycle bins suitable for not only their plastic bags but also for mercury- filled electronics such as cell phones, PDA's and MP3 players. Mercury is a growing problem, help stop this cycle today.

11. Skip Bottled Water- Eliminate your intake of BPA and your carbon footprint by avoiding bottled water. Instead buy a stainless steel (not Aluminum) bottle and continue to fill it up with filtered water. We use a Brita filter and it is so much cheaper than buying bottled. Brita offers a lot of $5 coupons online too.

12. Save Energy-If you leave a room, flip off the switch or turn off the fan and don't let water run. It's easy to get distracted and leave a room to realize the light has been on for hours. If YOU are not using it, turn it off. It will save you money and the constant drain on our power grid.



One final tip would be to incorporate more natural, organic design into your home too such as organic hemp or cotton fabrics that contain vegetable or soy-based dyes. Don't forget to use low-VOC paint, there are so many brands to choose from. One of the best things you can do is reuse something you already own in another way or find some great pre-owned treasures from a thrift store.



For those of you that live in the Orlando area, there will be a Central Florida Earth Day festival this coming Saturday from 10-6pm at Lake Eola. I will be attending again this year, so maybe I'll even see you there!

With so many great ways to contribute, what will you be doing to celebrate our earth today?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Food, Inc: Watch it for Free on PBS Tonight



Have you heard about the movie Food, Inc? If you have been wanting to see it or just heard about it here for the first time,  it will be airing on PBS tonight for Free. Check your local listings for the exact show time.


Food, Inc., is a fascinating documentary about the food industry in the United States today and how it has changed over the years. It is an eye-opening and thought-provoking movie that changed the way I look at food forever. It will equip you with the knowledge you need to make the best, healthiest choices for you and your family and those that will help preserve out precious planet. Just in time for Earth Day which is tomorrow.

This PBS showing is free tonight only. So, DVR it and if you happen to miss it you can always rent it from Blockbuster. Either way, it's a must-see film.

Here's to Staying Healthy!

Pining For Peonies




Do you have a favorite flower? You know,  the kind that you get excited about everytime you see them in a floral shop window,  a gorgeous wedding bouquet or even a photograph on the web? My favorite happen to be peonies. I love their lush, fluffy appearance. To me they are soft, romantic, playful and feminine. You might recall that I listed them under my favorite things.

I remember exactly when I first fell in love with them. It was about 8 years ago and one of my best friends had picked some up at his friend's parents' farm property for me. I had two clippings- they were both a fuscia color and one was fluffy, in full bloom and the other was still tucked tight into a large ball, just waiting patiently to open up. Later that year, I would discover that the property I rented had a path leading to the backyard where peony bushes would produce some of the most amazing flowers. I especially loved the pale pink ones.



Several years later when I met my husband I had told him about my love for peonies. While we were engaged and soon to be married, I was tying up loose ends at the job that I would be leaving when I decided to move from Canada to the U.S. He sent me the most stunning bouquet of lilies, pale pink peonies and white hydrangea. I could have stared at that bouquet everyday for the rest of my life and never would have tired of it. I wish I had a picture of it.

It would seem fitting that one day (3.5 years ago) when I got married that they would be the chosen flower for my bridal bouquet. However that was not to be. We had a September wedding and they were no longer in season and the cost to have them shipped was outside of our budget. So, instead I had soft blush color roses. Now that I live in Florida, peonies are impossible to find since they cannot withstand extreme heat. I called a local floral shop to see if I could splurge a little and get a couple of stems. When  I found out they were $10 per stem with a minimum of 10 stems, I knew it was out of the question. I do however have the most realistic looking silk peony arrangement in my office and I get to look at it every day. :)


This to me is a dream bouquet!

To share my love of peonies, I thought I'd include some of the images I've found online and saved in a folder for those that adore them as much as me. I have others I enjoy too such as white orchids, stargazer lilies and tulips but these are my absolute favorite.


Perfect sping bouquet, love the tulips. I'd love to have this on my kitchen table right now!







 



This is one of the largest bouquets I've seen, so full and fresh!








Another beautiful bouquet!

What is YOUR favorite type of flower? What makes it so special to you?

Monday, April 19, 2010

I Want YOUR Feedback


Have you ever dreamed of seeing your name in print before? Well, I'm going to give you a chance at just that. As many of you know, my book for real women that desire to live a classy and fabulous life is due out next month. Included in my book will be some quotes from real women like yourself who have defined what a 'Classy Woman' is in their own words.


Many of you have voted in my sidebar poll about what best describes that woman for you. If you would like to participate in having your very own quote on what makes a woman classy, please leave your quote in the form of a comment below, a few sentences will work. If you do not want your quote displayed here, please e-mail me directly via the envelope in my sidebar instead. :)

The number of quotes I use will be determined by the number in total that I receive. I'm looking to include several though with varying definition and detail.

Because I am in the final editing stages, I will accept your personal quotes for one week up until April.30th at 11pm EST.

Please include your first name as well as your city and State or Province so I can post it with your quote. If you would like to include your last name or last name initital, you can. It will look something like this:

 ~Karla D., Orlando, FL.

This is open to ALL ladies worldwide.

I updated this post to remind you all to leave your name and city and I also extended the date to include more quotes. Thank you in advance for participating!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Inspiration



One particular song has been running through my mind. Normally if it's a typical catchy song on the radio, it can be somewhat annoying, but this one is beautiful and powerful. Upon reflection, this song is actually perfect for the current season of my life. I have a lot of new things taking place right now, and while I'm really enjoying everthing I'm working on, some days it feels as if challenges are beating me down or are reminding me of past failures, even if for a brief moment.

The song is called 'Our God is Greater' by the artist Chris Tomlin. Here is the Youtube video which displays the lyrics and some beautiful images too. I hope this song will inspire your day!



When the circumstances of life feel like they are taking over, overwhelming us and pushing us down, we need to remember that they are all but temporary. Our awesome and Almighty God is FOR us, so who then who could ever stop us or stand against? God is greater than ANY of our challenges and problems.



Have a blessed day!



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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yard Sale Treasures






I hope all of you are having a wonderful weekend so far. I wanted to stay true to my promise of sharing my yard sale finds with you all. As soon as I stepped in the door I unloaded my goodies and got started snapping some photos. I've also added some items from my previous yard sale trips, like the one I did back in March and some flea market finds too.

What a morning! I woke up before my alarm at 6:45am (to the sound of our neighbor's dogs barking) and started entering addresses into my GPS to I could get super organized. Although today's sale was a community sale in a pristine little area called Baldwin Park, there was still quite a distance between each stop. I got ready and headed to the bank at 7:30 am. I had taken out some cash yesterday but knowing the sale would be quite large, I didn't want to get caught short if I found something spectacular.

I set my budget today for $30 but brought $100 just in case. I'm always willing to bring extra because I can often refinish an item or sell it for more money, but it has to truly be an investment. It is rare that I bend my budget and today I ended up spending just $24 and I'm really happy with what I found and even picked up a box of  freebies along the way! Check it out....

MY RECENT FINDS



This book retails for $45 US and I picked it up for just $1. It was in excellent condition both inside and out. I really enjoy photography and this book is filled with beautiful details and also chronicles the weddings of many celebrities. I thought this would make a great coffee table book. It now lives on the built-in shelf under our coffee table with two others.



If I ever want a cleaner look or the jacket becomes worn,  this is what it looks like without the cover.
I love white hard cover books.




This is just one of the amazing dresses I picked up  at last month's sale. It is from Banana Republic, it's a very light weight cotton and I don't even think it was ever worn! I visited a home with three ladies that all had designer and expensive clothing for sale and everything was just $1, jeans were $2. Although I didn't try it on, it fits perfect. I wore it to church and then afterwards to a friend's potluck on Easter Sunday. I only buy quality, brand new with tags clothing or very gently worn and wash everything before wearing it. I was able to buy 5 tops and 3 dresses at this sale. I won't bore you by showcasing all of my new clothing finds but I am so happy with all of them. Why the front door pic you ask? I was looking for an interesting, white background for the photo. ;)



I came across these vintage keys about a year ago at a flea market in Mt. Dora. I thought I'd display them for you on my desk as they do not have the perfect home just yet.While I don't own a ton of vintage items, I really like interesting and unique accessories as accents in my home. I happen to like keys because to me they symbolize unlocking the door to your future and success. I picked up all 5 for just $1.50 after negotiating and including a few other items from the same seller. I  hope to go back again soon!




I picked up this tray for just 50 cents and it currently has a time-worn look. I hope to give it a light sanding, paint it white and add a fun letter or number in the center with some black paint. I actually got the idea from Layla of A Lettered Cottage. Click HERE to see her spring mantle project including a similar tray. Hopefully I can share a transformation with you in the coming weeks.




This is my new drum shade. It was listed for $3 and I picked it up for just $2. It is brand new, the material is so soft and airy and it would be perfect in the corner of my office/guest bedroom as a floor lamp, I just need to find the right base for it that I have in mind.





This handbag from Nordstrom's is super cute and perfect for summer and it was just $3. I think the little cream and red bow finishes off this bag. the handles are a dark leather and the interior has a zippered pocket and is lined with the same fabric as the bow. I can't wait to use it!






I got this little black glass urn for just 50 cents. I wasn't exactly sure where I wanted to put it or what I wanted to put in it, or if anything would go in it at all. Until I decide its future purpose, right now it's holding some ivy clippings from the large urns we have outside our front door. I wanted to encourage some new growth for the outdoor planters so I clipped three pieces and now it adds a little color in our kitchen.





A few months ago I found this brand new (in plastic) Gaiam extra long yoga mat at a yard sale, the lady bought it and never used it. I was so thrilled because not only was it such a steal at just $5 (these run for about $22) but it was in one of my most favorite prints-Damask. I had another yoga mat before this one but even after wiping it down after I first bought it, I still kept sliding while doing my poses which is an injury waiting to happen. This one on the other hand had a lot of grip and is exactly what I wanted.


 

At my big March yard sale I came across this yoga mat bag. What are the odds? Really? It matches my yoga mat identically! When it's meant to be, it's meant to be. It was never used, and very clean and was just $3. It has little zippered pockets for your keys, gym card, etc. I have been wanting a mat bag for a while, I had just been toting mine around under my arm until then, not very practical.




Since dumbbells typically run about $1 per pound, I was thrilled to pick up this pair of 5-lb weights for just $1. They have been scrubbed down with soap and a little disinfectant and are a great addition to my other workout tools. I hope to find a 10-lb pair next!




While out with my husband last weekend at a downtown park festival, I spotted a vendor with orchids for sale. In Florida I can typically get them for a great price to start with, an orchid like this would normally run you about $10. They were selling 2 for $10. It took me less than a second to decide I was going to buy them. I love white orchids, they are so classic, timeless and elegant. I love that they'll last so much longer than any freshly cut flowers. This one actually lives on the little tray now on our coffee table and the second one is in my office.





I was able to snag this little acorn decor item for just 10 cents! While the color right now certainly works, I was thinking of painting it white, we shall see. I'm planning on using it on a shelf in our bookcase.





If you've been following my posts for a while, you may remember this little crab from my Tray Chic post which featured a tray makeover. I thought I'd share this for those that haven't seen it. This Potterybarn crab retailed for about $28 a couple of years ago and I picked it up for only $1. He now lives on a small stack of books on that sits atop the tray on our coffee table.


A funny thing happened a few months ago at another community yard sale. I liked the two drum shades a lady was carrying along a sidewalk and I simply asked her where she got them. I thought perhaps the seller might have more or that they might have some other stylish decor items. The woman carrying them was the sister of one of the sellers, the shades were hers. She told I could have them for free!! I asked her if she was sure and told her that I'd be willing to give here some money for them but she said no. Above is one of the two that I paired with this lamp base from Target, these are in our living room.


I stopped by a huge house with an equally huge sale of items but everything was really overpriced for a yard sale. As I was leaving, I spotted a box marked 'Free Glassware'. The box was taped up and I asked if it I could take a peek. She gave me some scissors but everything was wrapped in newspaper and inside a large bag and was hard to access. I grabbed it anyway knowing I could always drop it off at Goodwill if it wasn't my taste. Inside were 2 vases and a set of 10 champagne glasses which I'll be keeping. I already own two identical vases but I know they will get used so I'm keeping everything. :)



So, what unexpected items do I buy at yard sales? Baby girl clothing. No, I'm not pregnant and I didn't buy this for a friend. If you read my 'Getting Personal' post last year, you know how much I dream of  having a little girl. I have already prayed her into my life and envisioned what she will look like, even though she is not here just yet. We already know what her name would be (but it's a secret) and we're hoping she'll arrive sometime next year which means we had better get a move on if she is ever to make her appearance!

 As with the women's clothing I seek out, I only buy brand new, like new and those which are in excellent condition. I have quite the growing collection of little dresses, outfits and shoes. All of the items are washed and stored in the hope chest that my grandparents gave me when I was just 14. I have a few super cute boys items also, but my focus in on girls clothing. I think it would be wonderful to experience being a mother to both. With all this baby talk I'm sure you can tell that my little clock has been ticking a little louder than normal lately. lol.

My hubby smiles when I show him the new outfits I've picked up as he too would really like to have a little girl. I now have enough of the various baby sizes that I won't be buying anything else until we are truly in the expecting stage sometime  in the future. A couple of my girlfriends have done the same thing and have commented on how smart they think it is to pick up quality, designer baby clothes for 50 cents and $1 per piece vs. $10-20 each.

One girlfriend I know paid full price on all of her baby's clothes and insisted on designer as it was her first child. In reflection she told me she wished she'd thought about this idea as kids grow so fast. I don't typically buy onesies or cheaper items, I strive for outfits, sweaters, bathrobes and sets. There, it's out- that's my dirty little secret. Hopefully you don't all think I'm crazy! The dress above was one that I found today for 50 cents-I love the ruffles and polka dots!



My favorite find of the day was two full alphabet sets of these vintage-looking letters painted on metal. My mind was racing with all of the wonderful things I could do with them. They each have little holes at the top so you can also feed ribbon through and hang them as art on the wall. They were listed at 50 cents per letter or $20 for the whole collection. I was originally going to pick up just a few to spell out a word or use for mine and Paul's first and last initials but I just couldn't decide so I bought them all. The seller was nice enough to throw in the pair of Starbucks mugs below for free when I asked.


 

These were originally marked for 25 cents each and all I had were $20 bills so they just threw them in with the letters. These mugs typically retail for about $5+ each so it was certainly a steal, they are in perfect condition. 



Here is a close-up look of one of the letters. You can see the brush marks from the paint which I like and these could easily become further weathered by sanding the edges. I am planning to use a few of them for personal use in our home and then the rest I'm going to make available for sale online to those interested in lettered decor.

The image at the top of this post is of  2 painted cast iron hooks that I purchased at the Mt. Dora flea market. I paid just $7 for the pair. I love them and they are going up as soon as the guestroom is painted.

So, which were your favorite finds? Were there any that you could see yourself buying? Maybe you have a special yard sale treasure that has become a favorite in your home. Leave a comment or link to it, I'd love to hear about it.

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