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Jul 29, 2010

Thrifty Beach and Bible Study & Flashback Friday

From Beach To Wedding Thrift~Style!

Beach ~ I have never bought a swim suit from a thrift store until this summer.

The top looked new and was a $1.99. I bought the solid black bottoms at Marshalls for $10. For $12.99 I got a great suit!
Flip flops were a dollar at Old Navy. I used an internet coupon and was able to purchase up to 5 pairs of Flip Flops for a dollar each!

Do you ever have a challenge finding a cute skirt cover up for your swim suit? Try a tennis skirt! They usually come in solid colors and are a bit longer than swim suit skirts. This one was not thrifted but was a gift from a friend!

Women's Bible Study outfit ~

Skirt is from The Loft and cost $2.50 at my fave thrift store. It is lined and in perfect condition. It has a fine charcoal stripe.
The eyelet top appealed to me because the sleeves are unique. I think it may be a girl's top. It's sized as a "12." But I really don't think that is a ladies size. The brand is "Lime". I couldn't find anything online about the brand. It has a hidden side zipper. So cute! I wear it a lot.

More to come in my line up of Thrift store fashions
From Beach to Wedding!
Today I spent time in Orlando with a friend I have not seen in quite a while. We were in college together, in a touring choir together and roomed together our senior year.
In spending some up close and personal time with her today, I remembered why I always enjoyed our talks.
She is a gifted communicator. She is funny. She loves Jesus, her family and her friends.
And I was so glad I got myself together and made the drive to see her.
And I am so glad she valued me enough to set aside all other responsibilities to just "be" with me.
Thank you, friend. I love you. (And I HEART your children!)

"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Flashback Friday Meme Here.

Did your family attend church when you were growing up?
Yes, my dad was the pastor ~ we HAD to!

What are your earliest memories of church?
Sitting on the first row, right side because that's the side the organ was on and Mother played the organ. Once I was playing with my gum while Dad was preaching. I wasn't just chewing it, I was stringing it out of my mouth as far as I could without breaking it. Mid-preach, Dad called me out! I still remember how I felt. Hot cheeks and gum now planted firmly on the side of a molar. To this day, I feel like I'm sinning if I chew gum in church. (Just kidding.)

Did you attend VBS (Vacation Bible School) when you were young?
VBS was the highlight of my summer. Most of the time we were on a vacation visiting my Mamaw and extended family in MS. So it was always fun to go to VBS with my cousins at their church. Like Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee, I, too, remember the Kool-Aid. (That sounds bad.) Thanks, Jim Jones, for giving "Kool-aid" a bad rap. But I do remember the Kool-Aid because we never had Kool-Aid at home. We ALWAYS drank sweet tea for dinner and supper! Kool-Aid seemed "exotic." The drink the Kool Kids drank.

Sunday School?  'Gotta love flannel board lessons (I did.), knock-off oreos and watered down Kool-Aid for "snack time." I guess whoever provided that little snacky-snack was on a budget and didn't know how to use coupons to get the good stuff for cheaper than the knock-offs!
Other church activities?
Summer youth camp and camp meetings...Cute boys were there!
In 1973 I was voted "Miss Jr. Youth Camp."  I got a trophy. I still marvel at it, because how did that happen? Maybe it was the big bags of candy I bribed the other campers with!

Was faith a Sunday-only thing or did it impact your life and the things you did?
"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, All day Sunday, Ain't it grand to be a Christian, Ain't it GRAND!"

Seriously...I am so very GRATEFUL for my Christian heritage. I have been very blessed.

Jul 27, 2010

Far Out and Groovy MakeOver

Last week I was on my 3rd mile of my daily 5k when I saw it.

And I may have heard Earth, Wind and Fire's "Got To Get You Into My Life."


On my last few bites of supper, I told One Fine Man about the "far out" 70's stereo cabinet.

To my surprise, he thought going back for a look at it was a groovy idea!

Already in my gown, I took my last two bites with me and stuck my feet into a stray pair of flip flops hanging out at the front door.

As we backed out of our driveway, I think I heard the refrains of
"Take A Chance On Me" from around the corner and up the street!

Yes! It was still there!


We jumped out for a closer look at the stereo. One Fine Man eyed it and ran a hand alongside it, then lifted the lid to see these four letters on a piece of paper:


"If it's F R E E, it's goin' in our pad!"

I glanced at my man in the light of the moon and sighed. That's why I'm "Hopelessly Devoted To You."

Now here are the righteous after pictures.
(click on pics to enlarge)

A place for table runners and placemats...

Andrew's handprint...

My thrifted collection of Made in the USA dishes...Syracuse China and Homer Laughlin...

Wait, can you hear it? I think it's Anne Murray singing,
"You Needed Me."

One Fine Man did ALL the work. I just picked the paint color!

Thanks, Babe!

"You Make Me Feel Like Dancing"!

Jul 23, 2010

A Very Frugal Friday

I'm linking to the Shabby Nest Frugal Friday post.
Date night on a rainy summer evening...

I rarely wear black. Yeeeeeears ago when I was in college and then in an office job {grimace} and then a classroom teacher, I gravitated to "black on the retail rack." After quite a few years of wearing lots of black, I decided I enjoy color! I know black is a color. But it is the color black.
These two "like new" pieces are from my favorite thrift store which means they cost $2.50 each. (I think the top was less than that.)
The pants are Rafaella (sold at Macy's).

The top is sold on mchalet.com and is the vintage print "Bikini Top Ski Girls." It sells for $24.99. Since some of our happiest family memories were made on ski trips, I HEART this shirt.

(I ADORE these children!)

One Fine Man and I ate out tonight and used a gift card and a coupon! I'm ususally cold in a restaurant so I thought I would trade my shorts and tank for pants and a long sleeved t-shirt.

While waiting on a table, we decided to walk across the parking lot to the Borders. I headed straight for the cookbooks! And there propped on a table was this book:

(photo: Amazon)
Turns out that if you sit in the children's section near the window (at my Borders, anyway), the restaurant pager works!
So while I perused The Pioneer Woman Cooks, One Fine Man combed through historical fiction about battles and ships.

And then in the middle of reading the recipe for Creme Brulee, the pager went off!

Once in the restaurant, I had the "prize winning" ribs. They were very tasty.
The Mac & Cheese?  Mine's much better. I really would like to discuss that with the chef.

(My sweet boy, Andrew, and me...big sigh.)

Can you believe this old '70's stereo was put out of someone's house? It's in our garage now. It's the project for this weekend! What would you do with it?

Next week I'm going to share a thrift store wardrobe that covers everything from a beach trip to attending a wedding!
So check back. It'll be fun!

$100 Challenge Update
~ Groceries, Thrift shopping and Drugstore deals ~
I barely came in under my limit for the week at $99.01.
Obviously there are some items I do not purchase at thrift stores. Last week I bought new running socks as it seems I am always searching for a clean pair. I run everyday so I need several pairs.
I found a 3 pack at Marshall's for a reasonable price.

My goal is to hone my money saving ways and inch that $100 goal on down because at this rate I will not have anything in my FUNd envelope.

My blog buddy, Brandi, is taking on the $100 challenge, too! Go visit her at My Cup Runneth Over. She's the sweetest!

Jul 22, 2010

A Rain or Shine Kind of Friend

Go here to read about my friend, Jen.

Mon amie et moi

Las Tres Amigas!

Yeah...I'm not afraid to mix languages.

To read a series on "friendships" by certified life coach, Kathy Cunningham, go here.

A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails. ~Donna Roberts

Jul 20, 2010

Walls Protect

Part 2 ~ I Like Doors.

I have been thinking since I wrote I Like Doors that a little clarification may help the reader. The "wall" is not between myself and a friend. More of an acquaintance but one whom I see on a weekly basis.
I put the wall up to protect myself while in an extremely vulnerable and hurting state. I had to. Sometimes one may go along for years and be the "good girl." But sometimes being a "good girl" makes you feel very bad.

Your "good girl" may look different from my "good girl."
Allow me to describe my "good girl."

The "good girl" holds her tongue and sometimes bites it 'til it bleeds.

The "good girl" sees all sides but sometimes to the detriment of her own emotional health.

The "good girl" mistakenly believes that she is the only one able to "get over it."

The "good girl" is usually the first one to apologize for the sake of "clearing the air."

The "good girl" doesn't want to "rock the boat" or "ruffle feathers."

The "good girl" feels very bad if she messes up and hurts someone.

The "good girl" wants to crawl under a rock if she believes she has disappointed someone. Especially someone she respects.

For years, by my own reckoning, I was a "good girl."

But learning how to set healthy boundaries, identifying my core motivation, and recognizing that some one else's issues are really not all about me has helped me to release some of my "good girl" tendencies.

I realized after writing I Like Doors, then going for a run last night and thinking some things through this morning, that I was slipping back into the old "good girl" mode. But it is a tight fit. And I can no longer move around comfortably in it.

I also remembered that some parts of our lives are made for doors and other places require walls.
Knowing the difference allows for either appropriate access or necessary restraint.

Walls protect.

And right now this reformed "good girl" needs protecting for a little bit longer.

I like doors. But walls are good, too.

Jul 19, 2010

I Like Doors

I don't like to "mess up." But I do. Mess up.
Sometimes I talk too much. Sometimes I am not a good listener ~ especially if I am mid-thought and writing. And especially if what I am writing is coming together in a way that lets me know it might just be meaningful to someone besides me.
Later on when I realize I have talked too much or listened too little, I feel bad about that. I always intend to do better next time.

I am pretty good at tuning things out. My husband says I have a high tolerance for annoyances. Without my realizing it (at first), he tested it a couple of days ago. He was amazed. I wasn't. I have been honing that skill for years.
People are interesting. I think one can learn something from anyone. If you care to. Usually I care to.
But I do have my limits on that one. Right now...I have a limit on someone. And to be honest, I'm not quite sure what to do about it.

I used to get these odd, back-handed compliments? a lot.
They usually went like this:
"You know,  (choose either one here; I've heard it in various ways) I didn't like you or I hated you, or I thought you were so conceited when I first met you. But now I really like you!"

Wow. Thanks. I think. You certainly know how to edify.

It's been a while since I got one of those. But several months ago I got another variation on the theme.

A woman told me I had offended her. I apologized. It had not been my intention to offend.
And then the truth was told regarding the offense.
It went something like this:

You know, I used to be like you. But now I have all these issues in my life. I'm jealous of you. (not a verbatim quote)

Ahhhhhh....if you wait for it, you'll hear the truth.

'Probably not jealous now.

So I'm left with a decision to make. A course of action. I have put it off. You understand why, considering the circumstances of the past several months.
But this thing is a wall to me. And I don't like walls. I like doors.

(photos by Linda Charlene.)

Jul 16, 2010

The $100 Challenge Check-In

Yay! I have a blogger buddy doing the $100 challenge. Brandi at My Cup Runneth Over is taking up the challenge, too!

I started week two yesterday and I have no money left over to put into my FUNd account. So I guess I'll put up the yard sale signs today and have a quicky sale tomorrow morning. Why? Because I need some FUNd $$$ for something FUN I am planning with some other mom~friends and their sons. I have determined that the $$$ for this will not come out of our regular budget. And if my husband is reading this, he is scratching his head and mumbling, "We have a budget? When did that happen?"

My $100 Challenge begins on Thursday mornings with a trip to the ATM for $100 in cash. Prior to that trip I do my Publix weekly ad and coupon match up.
I made a technical error at Publix yesterday and went over my budget by $6.57.
The cashier, Penny, exclaimed, "You saved one hundred six dollars and thirty-five cents!"

That was right before she asked, "Orville Redenbacher's on sale?"
Not the microwave kind. I don't use a microwave. I don't have a microwave. I don't want a microwave.

So, no thrifting for me this week. And no CVS or Wags deals. That's ok. I have a stockpile of shampoo, toothpaste, body wash and laundry detergent. I'll save my "extra care bucks" for next week.

What about you? Find any good deals lately? Do you combine coupons with BOGO's?

And...in case Sarah from Publix is reading this, "You're a sweetheart! Thanks for the help yesterday!"

Jul 9, 2010

The $100 Challenge and Thrifty Finds

Please scroll down a bit for the Frugal Fashionista linkup!

Syracuse China coffee cup ~ .49

Syracuse China is made in the USA since 1871.


Honey Banana Muffin with a schmear served on a Syracuse China saucer. I got 10 of these in mint condition for $1.50.
These muffins have no sugar and no artificial sweetener. They are dense and filling. They have honey and applesauce in them.

Two years ago I bought this end table for $20.

Orange is in my top 3 of favorite colors.
Tommy Hilfiger with attached price tag from Macy's. I paid $2.25.

White House Black Market bias cut dress for $9.00. It's so pretty on. I think my husband and I need a fancy shmancy date night!
Or maybe I could "casualize" it for Costa's Greek Restaurant. I just purchased a certificate from Groupon for Costa's.
Do you "Groupon?"

I went to the White House Black Market website and most of their dresses are over $100.

I'm linking this to Beauty and Bedlam's Frugal Fashionista post.

I started my $100 Challenge Thursday (7/8). I withdrew $100 cash from the bank and am challenging myself to make all weekly grocery, drugstore (CVS, Walgreens) and thrift store purchases for no more than $100 cash. Any $$$ left over goes into my FUNd account!
I'll let you know next Friday how my first week of the $100 Challenge went.

I plan to utilize my best bargain techniques including coupons, CVS extra care bucks, Walgreen register rewards, and delayed gratification. I believe one of the things that separates children from grownups is the ability to delay one's gratification.

If you are interested in your trying your own $100 Challenge, please let me know. Maybe you have more little ones or more big ones around your table and $100 is not feasible for you. Or maybe you are an empty nester and can make it a $75 challenge. I'd like to turn this into a weekly feature with check-ins for participants.
What do you think? Are you up for a challenge?

One last thing: Today I purchased a custom domain name from GoDaddy. My new url is TheBellaMella.com. When the change was made, one glitch with Blogger is that I lost all of my comments. In reading the Blogger forums, it seems this is a common occurence that eventually rectifies itself. I hope. I would probably cry if I didn't have the opportunity to go back and reread some of the encouraging and uplifting comments so many of you left for me...especially during the trying days Andrew and our family went through. So...if the problem does not rectify on its own, I will attempt to give a live voice with Blogger. What a shame. Thankfully, I have many of your comments saved through my email.
Jesus saves. Sometimes I do, too. ; ^ )

Jul 3, 2010

Inhale. Smile. Run. ~ Bonus Add-ons

One of the things I like about running is the aroma; not what you're thinking! After the initial mental ricochet of the first "point two five" I am often in deep thought when I catch it. "It" being the fragrance of jasmine and magnolias in bloom ~ the grace notes of my run.

I inhale. I smile. I run on hoping that before another "point two five" I'll...(go here for the rest of the story.)

Bonus Add~ons

It's a thrift store find...4 grapefruit bowls for $2.

Homer Laughlin...maker of Fiesta Ware and made in the U.S.A.

Birthday Daisies do double duty. From white on turquoise step stool to patriotic table!
 More turquoise ~ Thrift store find ~ Ann Taylor linen skirt for $2.50...still had the original tag on it w/a price of $99. (I was having a very bad, no good "hair" day. Thus the cropped head!)

So I went to the mall this morning (July 3) and it is amazing how organized and non-odorous it is! I had forgotten since I have done the majority of my shopping at thrift stores as of late.
However, I got a very nice postcard last week from  the Helzberg Diamond store. The postcard entitled me to a free bracelet.

And my birthday fun just continues on...
Maybe there are balloons in my future for next week!
It could happen.

So since I was picking up my bracelet, (Did I mention it was FREE?) and since my daughter and I HEART in a mighty BIG way the Soma Intimates store, I felt led to pop in. Actually, Audra said, "Oh I love this place! Let's go in!"
And I'm thinking, "Oh I love this place, too, but they don't have thrift store prices!"
However they did have some unmentionables on sale for $12.99.

And really...I will not be buying unmentionables at the thrift store. Ya know what I mean, Verna?
Soma employee, Mary~ a very lovely woman with a stylin' haircut, helped a girl out. I did not say "girls" because I will not mention such things on a blog that may be read by those who are not of the female persuasion, but I think you will be uplifted to know I purchased a new home for some "girls" today.
After my purchase Mary gave me a card.

Mary mentioned she walks and swims and I mentioned I have a new blog called See My Mom Run! and that she might be interested in reading it. And then I handed Mary my new "businessy" cards from Vistaprints (250 free but you pay for shipping).

There you go! Bonus add~ons because I am sleep deprived and my mind is racing like Eight Belles in the Kentucky Derby.
And tonight I will run the midnight 10k race. So when you roll over in your bed around 1 a.m. tomorrow morning, I should be between miles 5 and 6. Give me a "thumbs up." For Andrew.

I have more fun things to share...check back soon!
In the meantime, Happy Independance Day!
And watch this. I enjoyed it. I think you will, too.