-by Liz Sparks
You’ve been stuck inside now for months, with young children who are bored, anxious and ready to play outside. Your house might be a disaster and your wardrobe is probably looking a little tired, and you are thinking that life as a mom has never been more tiring. But summer is on the horizon, and the glorious warm, sunny days that are made for play dates at the park and swimming in the pool are upon us. This is your time as a mom to refresh and relax, and get rejuvenated before the hustle and bustle of the school year starts up again. Consider these summer upgrades to help you feel your best and get the most out of this summer.
Revamp your hairstyle. According to Babble, as the summer days turn your skin darker it will be time for you to turn your hair a shade or two lighter. Platinum blonde is the color of the season, so as a hip mom, you can incorporate this into your new hairdo. When you feel confident and beautiful, you will be more apt to take on the daily challenges that come with being a mom to young children. Sometimes a new hairstyle is all you need to feel fresh and ready for the new summer season. Once you have your new look, you can start making all of those exciting plans.
Indulge in a few new pairs of flats — finally it’s in style to be comfortable again. Mom Agenda states that flats are the new heels, which works out great for those who are chasing tiny tots around the backyard. Throw on your new favorite pair of TOMs to head to the park or a pair of adorable ballet flats for a night out with the girls. Flats go with just about any type of outfit, from a casual ensemble to a flashy outfit designed for a night on the town.
Get a new set of wheels. When you are heading out to the beach, you will want to feel good knowing that you are driving your kids in style this summer. Auto Trader has recently released a new list that identifies the top seven vehicles for moms — allowing those caring for young children to choose a safe, reliable vehicle that is also stylish and something they can be proud of driving.
Tops on the list are 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T, starting at $1990 with 22 city mpg and 33 highway mpg, according to a Phoenix Hiyundai dealer. Next is the 2011 VW Jetta SportWagon TDI, priced at $25,600 and getting 29 city mpg and 29 highway mpg, according to Auto Trader.
Add a touch of green to your wardrobe. This is the color of the season, but don’t be afraid if you don’t want to deck yourself from head to toe in green. Whether you add a mint green accent or you choose a kelly green sundress, this is the perfect choice for any summer get together. Wear green for a barbecue or for an ice cream trip from your family, and you’ll look the park of the chic, stylish mom.
Being a mom is the toughest job in the world, and it can leave you feeling worn down and beaten up by the end of the day. However, recognize how important it is to take care of yourself. It’s easy to make yourself the last priority, but when you take a little time to indulge you will feel much better about your mom duties each day.
Liz has created 50-plus shopping and saving apps for users to download. She loves reviewing apps and mobile solutions.Pin It
It’s been three months since I publicly declared I would only buy used clothes for a year.
I’m checking in and happy to report I’m still stickin’ to it! In fact, just the other day a gal in my work elevator complimented my shoes and wanted to know where I bought them. ‘The Goodwill,” I proudly replied, which was met by uncomfortable silence.
I’ve had a few people ask me since my post in February if the resolution includes underwear.
Abso-effing-lutely not. I will continue to buy new underwear, socks and swimwear.
Today was the first day I was truly tempted. I went to Kohl’s to buy some unmentionables and was greeted by the beautiful wardrobes of Simple Vera Wang and Lauren Conrad. The new line is gorgeous! But I fought temptation and walked out with only the items I needed.
Just yesterday we attended the wedding of a dear friend. “Here’s my moment to shine or fail,” I told myself. I went out to my favorite thrift store in Reno to find a vintage or used dress. If I didn’t find one, I’d simply go to the wedding wearing one of the many dresses I’ve recycled in the wedding parties throughout the years.
Lucky me (and to no surprise) the perfect vintage, big-print dress was waiting for me.
By now you should know about my love for thrifting . So much so that I’ve committed to buying used clothing for myself for one whole year. I’m thrilled to have my friend Auburn Harrison on the blog today. She has the pleasure of not only working in a rewarding job, but she also works above a thrift shop! Below she shares a darling interview with one of the employees there, and some insider tips on the thrifting industry.
Anyone who’s really into thrifting knows that it’s all about the hunt. There’s something empowering about walking into a store with thousands of random, mismatched pieces of clothing, and then stumbling across the perfect outfit. There’s an unmistakable adrenaline rush as you spot the brand name, check to see the item is in good shape, and then finally notice the price tag: $2.00.
For many of us who share in this love for bargain hunting at second hand stores, these moments make you want to call your other thrifty friends and brag. Look. What. I. Found.
But sometimes, thrifting can offer even more benefits than just finding a steal of a deal. Many thrift stores in the Reno-Sparks area are tied into non-profit organizations that are funded by the sales of donated clothing, furniture, shoes and knick knacks. My personal favorite is St. Vincent’s Thrift Shop, the official thrift store for Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada. The store is located at the corner of Fourth Street and Valley Road, and it just might be downtown Reno’s best kept secret. I’m lucky enough to work in an office right above the massive store, in my position as Development Director for Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada.
Not only do I feel lucky that I have such convenient access to a store that allows me to feed my thrifting addiction on a daily basis, but I also feel really proud knowing that every dollar I spend there goes toward feeding, clothing, and assisting our local homeless population through the nine poverty assistance programs of Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada.
Now that is something to call your friends and brag about.
My job has also allowed me to learn a few insider tips about thrift stores that I never knew before, like the fact that some of the greatest items are snagged up in a flash. To confirm my suspicions, I talked to 52-year-old Suzy Jones, a merchandise sorter at St. Vincent’s Thrift Shop.
Suzy has worked at St. Vincent’s for six years, and says if she had to guess, she thinks she’s probably handled millions of donated items, everything from cups and saucers to Legos to fishing equipment. She says even she’s not immune to the draw of getting a great deal on something unique.
“I’d say I buy something almost every day,” she says with a laugh. “You know, it’s just that special item that catches my eye. We get a 25% discount as employees, but only after the item has been on the floor for two days. So sometimes I buy things full price just to make sure it doesn’t get snagged up.” Suzy holds up an embroidered pillow she bought for her brother, and a little antique teacup with strawberries painted on it. “I got this for my mother,” she says, tearing up a little. “She passed away in early December and she loved strawberries.”
Suzy says while she does love to shop for herself, she is able to hold some restraint since she knows that the most valuable items she finds will bring in the most money for poverty services. “As I’m sorting, I’m looking for unique items, you know, something vintage, something really cool, something that will pull in the interest of a shopper. If it’s old, the price automatically goes up.”
Suzy’s job is to sort items to be sold and used for different purposes. Pieces that are stained, broken or in bad shape either go into the Bargain Bin section of St. Vincent’s to be sold quickly and cheaply at a price per pound. If they’re heavy items that can’t be sold, they go to salvage. If they’re good quality items, they are stickered with a price and send out to the sales floor.
“Everyone who shops here comes in looking for specific things, depending on their interests. Bookstore owners want books, antique store owners want furniture, and lots of little old ladies who sew like to come in for fabric and buttons and ribbon.” Suzy says many of these dedicated thrifters even come to St. Vincent’s from out of state, and often spend hundreds of dollars in one visit.
When I asked Suzy for examples of some of the most interesting items that have ever passed through her hands, she said there are way too many to remember. Still though, she says there are some pieces that are more memorable for her than others.
“Once, I was sorting books and I came across a folded newspaper clipping inside one of them. It was the original article that announced JFK’s death. Can you believe that? There it was, just folded up in a book,” she says, squinting her eyes and laughing. “We’re also always looking to see where things were made, which actually makes more of a difference than you might think. Like if it says it was ‘Made in Germany,’ or ‘Made in Japan,’ that’s no big deal, but if it says ‘Made in West Germany’ or ‘Made in Occupied Japan,’ then that’s something really special. It says something about the history of that piece, so we know right away that item is going to be priced a bit higher.” Suzy says vintage clothing is also valued higher, especially beaded clutch purses, wedding dresses and hats from the 1920’s and 1930’s. “Those pieces we put in a special section in the back of the store, and you’ll see people walk in and head straight there,” she says.
What I really wanted to ask Suzy is what every committed thrift store shopper is probably wondering about. What are the best days and times to shop in order to get the best selection and deals? Suzy says while she wishes she had the answer to that often-asked question, it’s truly impossible to say. “The thing is, the selection of merchandise at St. Vincent’s is constantly changing. We have donations coming in all hours of the day, seven days a week, and we do donation pickups three days a week, so the turnover on the sales floor is never ending.” She says that’s why the truly dedicated shoppers—especially business owners looking to resell products—often come in more than once per day.
“You could come in the morning one day, and then come back again in the afternoon and find a completely different selection than you saw earlier. I’m not kidding. It really happens that fast!”
Suzy says regardless of when and why people shop at St. Vincent’s Thrift Shop, all of the money is going toward a worthy cause. “It used to bother me when people would come in and buy from us and then re-sell our items in their own antique stores, but not anymore. I’m just glad the money we bring in here goes toward poverty services. I feel good about that,” she says. After all, Suzy believes thrift store shopping for some people is not just a hobby, but she’d even go so far as to call it a form of personal expression. “Especially during Burning Man,” says Suzy. “We know when Burning Man is close because things get really busy in here. A lot of feathers, a lot of color, and a lot of really interesting people. It’s a fun time.”
St. Vincent’s Thrift Shop is located at 500 E. Fourth Street in Downtown Reno. We are open Mondays through Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Auburn Harrison is a thrifting aficionado and happens to have the pleasure of working above a thrift shop as the Development Director for Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada.Read more about the organization on their website - www.ccsnn.org.Pin It