Sunday, August 24, 2014

Have You Ever Shopped on Instagram?

I had never thought of Instagram as a platform to buy, sell, or trade clothing. I came across a few clothing boutiques/shops browsing with my personal IG account about five or six months ago and happened to buy a few vintage pieces I loved from a blogger and YouTuber I follow. Her name is Katie, and her blog is called Thrift Your Heart Out. She's a thrifter after my own heart. She ended up closing her shop, since she didn't have a lot of storage space in her new apartment. 

Once I realized that there was a whole community of buyers, sellers, and traders on IG, I decided for myself that this might be something fun that I'd like to do as a hobby.

Right before the start of summer, I opened my own IG shop called @Hollyssecondhobby. In my shop I sell new and gently used clothes, accessories, and shoes from my own closet and great deals that I have found shopping in retail stores and thrifting. Everything I sell is in excellent to very good new to gently used condition. I don't sell anything I wouldn't be proud to wear myself, and I have high standards!



Screenshot of my store's homepage


I love showcasing my items for sale as outfits in the pictures in my shop. I pair them with items that I have in my closet. Here are a few of the first items I posted in the shop:




Shorts were for sale




Knit vest was for sale




Skirt was for sale




One of my first sold items




My post office ladies know me, my profession, my husband, my husband's profession, that my husband was in a movie, my sister, and they love Bjorn's new look :) I <3 them!!




It has been a super fun 4 months! I have met the sweetest women and made some great friends. I have started my own little business, and I get to share my love for fashion with others! Over the course of this 4 month period, I have sold 97 items and traded 9. I have learned along the way about shipping items, negotiating, and I love interacting with my customers!

Instagram is a great place to find one-of-a-kind pieces for great prices! There are tons of vintage items available. If you love vintage, you know how painstaking it can be to scour racks looking for great pieces in great condition. Many of these ladies with IG shops already do the work for you! Many prices include shipping, so you can see how much you're paying up front. The community is so friendly; you can always ask questions about measurements, condition, and material of a product. 




Tips:


  • Read the shop's store policy before you purchase! Not all of us have the same policies. For example, some stores include shipping in their prices, some don't. 




  • Always pay with paypal and make sure you get an invoice from the seller. Some stores accept concealed cash, where a buyer will send their payment in an envelope to you through the mail. I admittedly have accepted concealed cash in two circumstances, but I do not do this on a regular basis. You never know, but concealed cash could get lost in the mail or stolen.

  •  It is extremely easy to set up a PayPal account if you don't already have one. I usually ask the seller to send me an invoice and do not pay for anything "gifted" unless I know the seller. I like to get an invoice to have a record of what I'm paying for just in case something gets lost in the mail or I need to contact PayPal for any reason.






  • Search hashtags. Many shops use the labels #shopmycloset #instashop #igshop #instaboutique. Or if you're looking for something in particular, you can search a brand or item as a hashtag.



  • If you find a shop that you like, look at the accounts or shops that they follow. Chances are that they also buy items on IG too! I know I do! You may find something else that you like as well.



  • Many of us shops post new items in chunks or multiple items at one time. We try to space them out so that they are not bombarding your feed at one time. If you would prefer not to follow many shops and have multiple posts once a week or once every few weeks show up in your feed, then make a list of your favorite shops and visit them when you are looking to purchase something new!




  • Most items and prices are negotiable unless otherwise stated. Just remember that most shops spend money on cute packaging materials and don't forget to include shipping costs into your item when you negotiate. Shipping for items in my store can range from $1.50-$10 and up depending on the weight of an items and tracking is not always included (depending on how you ship). Tracking adds another $1.02, but most of us shop owners add it to protect your purchase. 

  • If you ask a question or comment on a shop's post, please make sure you eventually comment back. Most of us do this as a side hobby and have full-time jobs. It's okay to change your mind! Just let us know! Sometimes we have other customers waiting to get the same item you inquired about, and we just need to know if you're still interested or not to move on to the next person in line.



I definitely suggest checking out items on IG! Just don't forget to ask questions to make sure you're purchasing the item you want because most shops have a no return or exchange policy.


To come
My Favorite Bought and Traded Pieces
My Favorite IG Shops


If you do try out IG shopping or have in the past, let me know! I'd love to hear if you have!


Love and happiness <3 Holly



Thursday, August 21, 2014

June/July Slantbox Reveal :)

Over the summer, I was paired up for my super, fun-filled teacher swap with Arielle over at Technically a Media Specialist. Her blog is so stinkin' adorable! I love reading about all the cool technology she uses and wish I knew how to do so much! She inspires me to want to bring so much more awesome technology in my classroom! And we both learned that we have so much in common! I have had some amazing swap partners these last few months, who I know I will talk to long after our monthly swap is over :) I am so lucky to meet such lovely ladies through Slantbox exchanges!


Technically A School Media Specialist

Arielle's Blog Button (link)

The theme for the Slantbox Swap in June/July was to send your partner a box full of Sunshine. Arielle packed my box full of bright colored items as well as things that would bring me personal sunshine. Let me just tell you, my box is amazing!!

If you're unfamiliar with the Slantbox Swap, you can check it out here on Jameson's blog Lesson's with Coffee. September sign-ups are open until September 3rd! It's super fun!

So here's what Arielle sent me in my box:



Here's the adorable card she sent. Dr. Suess makes me smile!




We both have dogs, so she knows how to make my puppies smile! They love this toy/treat! They've been taking turns playing with it :)





I am a fashion and jewelry lover, and these earrings are ones that I would've picked out myself! They are so bright and cheerful and too cute to boot! I LOVE them! I've already worn them and know they will get worn a ton more!



I am so excited that Arielle included this book in my box! I have been wanting to read this so much! I know it will have me laughing my tail-feathers off!



I absolutely love this saying. I recently bought a picture of this to hang in my house so that I could see it every morning :) 



These stickers are to brighten mine and my students' days!



And I love these sunny paperclips! They are so adorable! They did NOT stay in the package long! I kept these at home for myself and have been using them for everything! I <3 them!



Arielle, thank you so much for my amazing SLANTbox! I LOVE it! You know me so well! It was so thoughtful! So happy to have been paired up with you and to have gotten to know you over the summer! :)

Educator friends, think about joining the September Slantbox swap!



Love and happiness <3 Holly

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tried It Tuesday :)

It's time for another installment of Tried It Tuesday!! Da-da-da-dum! And, let me just tell you, I am seriously exhausted! The first five days of school have really knocked it out of me! I could fall asleep at any minute, so I apologize in advance if this post sounds a little nutty-nuts! We say my dog is in a "nutty-nut" mood when he wakes up from a nap and has a crazy energy spurt, running around like a mad man. He is, after all, a 2 year old! Sorry, for throwing that in there! I feel a little slap happy :) I don't know what the heck I'm talking about!!




Well, let's keep things moving, because I could run off on a tangent all night! Here are my Tried It Tuesday finds from this past week:



Food

This past weekend Bjorn and I celebrated 16 years of being together. On Saturday, Bjorn took me out for an impromptu date downtown. It was so much fun! First we went to an early dinner at Taste of Belgium, a Beglian-inspired restaurant. 

Taste of Belgium Brunch

I have never been to The Taste of Belgium while they had their brunch menu out. I have only been for dinner. First of all, if you've never been to The Taste of Belgium, you have to go! It is soooo delicious! Their mussels are my favorite with their frites! Last time I was there, I tried the escargot. Oh my goodness! Buttery deliciousness!! So for brunch, I ate their McWaffle. It is their homemade Belgian waffle used as a sandwich bun. Inside is a perfectly fried egg,  Gruyere cheese, and bacon. On the side was maple syrup to drizzle on top. It was perfection!



Bjorn ate their famous chicken and waffles. The chicken is battered and fried with a little kick--not too much, just the right amount of spice. It's served with one of their fresh Belgian waffles and a side salad.





Dojo Gelato

After we ate, we walked around Washington Park in Over the Rhine and got Dojo Gelato for dessert. Holy smokes! It was delicious! Dojo Gelato is a food truck that serves gelati, sorbetti, espresso and coffee and it was parked right next to Washington Park last Saturday. They also have a stand in Findlay Market. I tried Apricot Cinnamon gelati, and Bjorn had Lemongrass sorbetti. They had so many interesting flavors to try! Sooo good!



M&M's

Last week Bjorn picked up the new Birthday Cake flavored M&M's for me as a sweet treat after my first day back at school. I love birthday cake flavored desserts, but only when they are not too sweet. Sometimes I find that the cake-flavored treats can taste like pounds of sugar have been dumped into them. I do, however, enjoy M&M's as a sweet treat because there is one serving size and that's it. I usually don't eat the whole bag and then save some for later. I found the Cake Batter M&M's to be a little sweet, so I didn't eat the whole bag in one sitting. Now don't get me wrong, I can eat a bag of pretzel M&M's in one sitting :) The birthday cake flavor isn't my all time favorite M&M's flavor, but I do like them a lot!




Book

I recently found a young adult book that I cannot wait to read while browsing the book aisle at the thrift store. Scott O'Dell, the author of Island of the Blue Dolphins, wrote it. The Island of the Blue Dolphins was one of my favorite books as a kid. The new book I found is called My Name is Not Angelica. It is about a young girl named Raisha who is stolen from her home in Africa to be sold in the slave trade of the West Indies. She ends up being sold to work as a house slave, and this starts the story of her new life. I cannot wait to read this book!!






Movie

Last week Bjorn and I watched the newest Muppet move Muppets Most Wanted. I have to say, not matter how old I am or young I was, the Muppets always do and always could make me laugh out loud. Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey are hilarious in this movie. I just think it is so "Muppets" that no one can tell the difference between the bad and good Kermit because of a little black mole on one of their faces :) It was great! If you haven't seen it yet, you must! It's out on DVD! Here is the trailer:





Music


I love, love, love this new song from Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj! It makes me want to get up and dance!!! Here's "Bang, Bang":




That's all I've got for this week's Tried It Tuesday! Have a great rest of the week!!


Lots of love <3 Holly

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tried It Tuesday!

It's the night before school starts back for teacher work day <insert small scream here> and this face:




I know once all my little lovelies get to school, I'll feel like this:




I do miss them over the summer :) And I know most of them are excited to come back to school! I love having many of my students for three years! It's fun to watch them grow and get to know their families over the years! I'm excited to have them back. It's just hard to go back. I know you know what I mean, teachers!

So anywho, here are some new finds from this past week!



Food


Has anyone noticed how I always start with food? Well, I did! And I do love some good food!


BBQ Sauce

Bjorn and I like to try new BBQ sauces. We don't eat a lot of it, but in the summer, it's fun to try new flavors. It kills my acid reflux if I eat to much of it! We recently tried Guy Fieri's Bourbon Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce. He has different flavors available, but we tried the Bourbon Brown Sugar flavor. There were only three available at our Kroger. This sauce is delicious! It has a sweet, but not too sweet taste from the molasses and brown sugar and then an awesome, subtle bite from the bourbon! To me, this is the perfect BBQ sauce for me and Bjorn! We always debate over sweet, spicy, and the bite it has, but we both love this one!




Cookies

I came across these delicious cookies by chance while picking up dinner for Bjorn and I last week. Fresh Market boxes some of their thin baked, fresh and natural cookies and sells them in the cookie aisle of their store. They are all natural, and they even have gluten free flavors! I ended up buying the Irresistibly Good Chocolate Chip Cookies. They were seriously that good! One cookie only has 50 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 4 grams of sugar. I decided I don't feel too badly about eating one of them! They have flavors like The Chipless Wonder, Ginger, and Peanut butter among others. 




Cucumber Soup

You know how you have a favorite recipe and you just forget about it for awhile? Then you make it and think, Why did I ever stop making this? Bjorn and I used to make this refreshing cucumber soup all the time in the summer (and winter too--it's that good!). It's cold, creamy, fresh, and delicious! Sometimes when we want a light dinner, we'll eat this soup with crudites or crudites with meats and cheeses. So yummy!

Here's a link to the recipe. 


Chilled Cucumber Soup With Salami, Feta, and Olives


Have fun with your soup!

# Sometimes we do not add jalapeno. Sometimes we'll only add 1/2-1 jalapeno.
# Instead of basil, you can add dill. 
# Don't forget the lime! It really brightens the flavor!
# We don't always seed the cucumbers :) And we leave the skin on. Just blend very well!
# We usually do NOT put scallions. I like it better without.


Music

Bjorn recently saw the movie Guardians of the Galaxy with one of his friends. Alicea, I am so happy our husbands have each other to go with, so we don't have to! Next time, we should do something with your little ones while they go to a movie ;)  Bjorn told me that I had to listen to the soundtrack because I would love it! I have to tell you, it is sooo good! It is such a great mix of awesome 70s and 80s hits. I was singing along to the whole thing! Here's a track list to the soundtrack:


Disc: 1
1. Hooked On a Feeling (Blue Swede)
2. Go All the Way (Raspberries)
3. Spirit in the Sky (Norman Greenbaum)
4. Moonage Daydream (David Bowie)
5. Fooled Around and Fell in Love (Elvin Bishop)
6. I'm Not in Love (10cc)
7. I Want You Back (Jackson 5)
8. Come and Get Your Love (Redbone)
9. Cherry Bomb (The Runaways)
10. Escape (The PiƱa Colada Song) (Rupert Holmes)
11. O-O-H Child (The Five Stairsteps)
12. Ain't No Mountain High Enough (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell)


TV Show

I love the show Impractical Jokers. Does anyone else watch? It is sooo funny! The show stars 4 high school friends who try to get each other to do crazy things in front of other people who don't know that they're filming a comedy show. Here's a clip from the show. It's on TruTV Thursday nights. It cracks me up!


Just to let you know before you watch this: the bride and groom are in on this, but none of their wedding guests are until after the speech. They have no idea who this guy is. 








I also really love Motor City Masters, where contestants compete to be the best car designer for GM. They compete in challenges individually and as teams (designing and updating cars in challenges) each week to win, and someone gets voted off each week. It's such a cool tv show! And I love this judge's, Jean Jenning's, style! You can watch it on TruTV as well. 


\




Ah, a woman after my own heart :)


Have you tried anything new this week?



Lots of love <3 Holly

Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's Okay To Not Be Okay




Over the last seven years or so, I have changed in many ways. I don't believe that I am the same happy-go-lucky person that I used to be. I have a completely different perspective on life. I think a lot of that changed when my dad got sick and then again when my dad passed away. I think it also changed slowly as my migraines progressively got worse over time, and slowly as doctor after doctor tried treatment after treatment to no avail. 

As I look back to my younger, carefree self, I think about how I was always the "glass-half-full" kind of person. I was full of hope; I always saw the positive side to every situation, and I had hope in everything. Everything was going to be alright. Everything would work out for the best. Everything would be okay. 

I remember the time in my life I changed. At the diagnosis of my dad's illness, Glioblastoma Stage IV (brain tumor) stretching across the entire back of his brain, I still held on to the hope that by some miracle he would get better. I believed that he would respond to treatment. I believed that even though my 6'2" dad, who went from 220 pounds to 120 poumds in a matter of months would miraculously stand up and walk again. I believed that his memory would come back, his eye sight would come back, and he would quit telling us that he had to take a trip to Texas, but he could never come back. That was who I was then.


My dad and mom on their wedding day. 


I remember the day when I lost hope. I don't know what changed, but I just knew. I had this feeling inside. I knew my dad wasn't going to make it. It hit me like a ton of bricks, but I knew. That is when I changed. 

After my dad passed away, I was shell shocked for a long time. You never imagine something like that can happen to someone you love. My dad was only 51 years old. He had only lived half of his life. He had lived most of his life with multiple sclerosis so gracefully; it was extremely hard to see him live and die from this horrific disease. 

My heart ached. There was a hole there that took a long time to heal. Today, the hurt is not as bad. I don't feel the pain as raw or as deeply, but I do still get sad thinking about how much I wish he were here with me. I am infinitely in a better place than I was a few years ago, but I will always miss my dad. He is still with me, but it's hard not to have him here physically sharing life's milestones that he should not be missing. 

I have also struggled with my migraines since I was about 15 or 16 years old. Since that time in my life, they have only gotten worse, they have literally taken over a lot of my life. After going to different doctors, taking so many medications that I can't remember the names of them all, and again losing hope in the process, I can again say that I have lost that immediately positive outlook that I have always had. 

I used to, without a second thought, always turn a negative day around with a positive spin. Had a bad day? Well, at least I get to go home and cook dinner with Bjorn. Poured coffee down my shirt? Well, at least I get to see my students today. They make me happy (plus they'll tell me it doesn't look that bad!) 

I've found myself having trouble putting a positive spin on things lately. I think it's just my life experiences getting in the way. I find myself missing that happy-go-lucky, always smiling girl. I don't know where she went, but sure wish I could find her. I feel like she's in there somewhere; I just don't know how to dig her out from the rubble. 





This summer hasn't been tough for me, but it's been just a summer--nothing great and nothing too horrible. Just there, a filler really. I feel like I'm in limbo. I'm at the end of my rope with my migraine treatments. This summer I tried Botox for my migraines, and now I'm just playing the waiting game. My doctor wants me to wait three treatments to see if I get the full effects from it (9 months). That's a long time. I get it, but some days I want to scream, "Can we hurry it up already!" 

I also get sad some days that this is kind of my last serious option besides more medication with more side effects that make me miserable. What if this doesn't work? Am I doomed to have 17 migraines a month forever? How could I take care of a child with that many headaches? I don't do anything fun anymore. I feel miserable most days. I don't know how long I can do this; someone needs to come up with something!




This summer I've found myself feeling sad more than often. I just have realized I'm in uncharted territory. I don't know what's going to happen--good or bad. I'm just waiting. Waiting sucks. Thinking too much about it makes me sad. I had a good week of being hopeful, but that didn't last long. I am trying to find the strength to stay positive, but it's hard when you've had years of pain and treatments that don't work.

So this is what I've decided:

It's okay to not be okay. This is a journey. Thus is life. It has ups and downs. And let me tell you, my life the last few years has been a roller coaster. I can deal with it, but I don't have to be the same person who I was when I was twenty-four, twenty-one, or fifteen. I'm not. I like the happy side of me; right now I've got a lot going on. Uncertainty is hard to deal with, and that's okay. I'm giving myself permission to have okay and not okay days. Who says I can't? I'm going to take each day as it comes. If I'm anxious and dreading getting 31 needles stuck into my head, who cares? That's okay. If I'm missing my dad and want to have a good cry, that's okay too! I'm going to deal with my emotions as they come, but I'm not going to beat myself up about feeling down. Simply put: it's okay. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tried It Tuesday

For this week's Tried It Tuesday, I'll just jump right in! Here's another batch of random favorites from Yours Truly:


Food

First off, I'm going to start with dessert. Bjorn and I tried a new chocolate last week, and it was delicious. The ingredients by first look may not sound or look immediately tempting, but I assure you, it was awesome! 




I bought this chocolate bar at Walgreens on sale, and just as the brand name claims, it was "delish." It had very subtle hints of lemon and black pepper. Honestly, the black pepper doesn't get you until the end. It is not super spicy though. I really like the contrast of the flavors with the chocolate. This one is very well-done. I think it's a good play on the spicy flavor mixed with chocolate that the chili pepper usually gives that's so popular right now. I did get a few pieces of peppercorn stuck in my teeth, but nothing to complain about :)




I picked up these Ice Breakers Sours because I liked the Watermelon-Mint Ice Breakers so much. These are not my favorite. They're okay. They sure do make you pucker! They are pretty darn sour! I think I would have liked them more if they weren't green apple, watermelon, and tangerine. Maybe if they had chosen one flavor and stuck with it? We also bought the Berry Sours; I haven't tried them yet. I'll let you know if I like those better. Bjorn thought maybe I just wasn't a sour fan, but forgot how much I love Sour Patch Kids!! Not a winner in my book :(

Restaurant

On Monday, Bjorn and I went to his hand surgeon appointment and found out he has to have surgery on his elbow and hand. Bad news, but we kind of knew it was coming. He was diagnosed with cubital tunnel in his elbow (like carpal tunnel) almost five years ago, and it's gotten to the point where he can't play his guitar or cross his fingers on his left hand. No good.

Anyways, after the doctor's appointment, Bjorn wanted a drink, so I suggested we go to the Wine Guy's Bistro, which I realized they now call W.G. Kitchen and Bar. Don't know when that changed! We had never been before. There's one at The Banks, in Bridgewater Falls, and in Rookwood. It was fabulous! We went for a late lunch, and their lunch menu and prices are great! I had a glass of Cab and their lunch portion of homemade meatloaf, mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and string beans. Bjorn had the Farmhouse Burger with bacon jam (our favorite!) and a fried egg! 


Here's the meatloaf:



We are definitely going back! Here's a link to the restaurant's website.

Beauty

I've been loving wearing a bright pop of pink on my cheeks lately for the summer. First, I'll use my tried and true favorite, elf's pink passion, on my cheeks.



And then I'll put just a little of Milani's Bella Rosa Baked Powder Blush on the apples of my cheeks. It is super rich and pigmented. If you put too much on your brush and don't blend, it will look like you have a hot pink dot on your face, so blend well! But it looks so great on and really brightens up your face! Just really use a light hand!




Fashion

I found this amazing company, well--I've known about it for awhile, but felt it was about time I shared! It's called The Shine Project. They employ at risk youth. Many are first generation college students. They pay the yputh, who are their employees, fair wages, and many of them use that money to pay their college tuition. They sell bracelets and apparel. They just started selling t-shirts with inspiring quotes from the youth they employee. I love this company! I love who they are and what they stand for! I bought an apple bracelet during teacher appreciate week, and I'm planning on getting this t-shirt:

Strength V Neck

I love this quote from one of the 19 year old employees at The Shine Project. It really touches me. If you want to visit their website click here. I also follow The Shine Project on Instagram. There are links to all of their social media on their website. 


Music

Lastly, here are a few tunes to send you out of Tried It Tuesday for this week:


I love, love, love this song. This video is strange, however. Just warning you.





Last Tuesday, Bjorn and I went to see Sara Bareilles. I love her! She sang a new song she wrote for a musical adaptation of the movie Waitress that should be, hopefully, coming out next year! My favorite movie and one of my favorite musicians! Amazing! If you haven't seen Waitress with Keri Russell, you have to! Love! And this song is soooo good!




Thanks for reading!

Tried anything new lately?


Lots of love <3 Holly