Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tried It Tuesday!

I have not been sleeping well. I don't know why. I either fall asleep, wake up really early in the morning, and then can't go back to sleep. Or I can't fall asleep and just lie awake forever wishing I could just keep my eyes shut and sleep!

I don't know what's going on! When I got home today, I was so exhausted, I fell asleep on the couch and am now probably going to be awake for a little while. That is the way things go sometimes, no? (I'm French this week.) Anyone else feeling the tiredness hitting them? Teacher friends? I keep thinking it has something to do with the up and down weather of the typical Ohio fall season and my allergies. This hot--> cool weather is driving my sinuses crazy! They need a break! I am soooo over my allergies right now!

I really wanted to get Tried It Tuesday together for this week :) I'm just happy that I woke up before midnight to finish this up and send it off into blogosphere land! Happy Tried It Tuesday! Hope you enjoy :) 



Bjorn and I tend to make simpler things during the week for dinner--huevos  rancheroes, tacos, pasta with fresh tomatoes, meatloaf, bread salad, and some other go-to recipes that we love.

One new recipe we tried is from my mom: chicken tostadas. They are so easy and delicious, made with precooked chicken. They also have fresh fruit on them, which is refreshing and different. On top you add salsa. My mom uses mango salsa, but I felt like trying something different. 

At Kroger I found the best new salsa! It's Martinez Fire Roasted Peach Salsa. I am in love with this stuff! It has a little sweetness from the peaches that is balanced out by the tomatoes and green peppers with just the right amount of heat from the jalapenos. Bjorn and I even bought two jars the next week: one for dinner and one to eat with chips :) You can find it right along the other salsas at Kroger.


Stash White Chai Tea

I love trying new tea. I found this one at Kroger and really love the subtleness of the flavor. Sometimes I am in the mood for a strong, dark tea, but not always. This chai is not too strong and bity. Sometimes I feel that chai can have a very strong bite with all the different spices it has in it. This white chai is very soothing and refreshing. It still has the subtle hint of a chai tea without the punch.



A Mago-Shaped Space

I am almost finished reading this lovely book. I think this is one of my new favorites. A Mango-Shaped Space is a young adult book meant for students/children between the ages of 9-12. In this book we meet a young girl named Mia who lives with synesthesia, a condition where one sense (for example, hearing) is perceived simultaneously with one additional sense (for example, sight). 

In Mia's case, letters, shapes, and numbers have colors. She sees them before her eyes when she reads or does math problems. To some people, certain words have different tastes. Music can also has different colors. In this book, Mia finally reveals her condition to her family after hiding it from them at first because she didn't realize she was different and then for fear of being ridiculed. This book is fabulous! 

I think this topic is so interesting. I had a linguist professor with synesthesia. He couldn't drink coffee or eat anything while he drove or listen to music because the colors he saw were so distracting to him while driving. You can click here to read a story about a women living with synesthesia to find out what life is like with this condition.



I have been having problems lately with my eyelashes breaking off. I recently saw on a vlog I follow on YouTube that Maybelline's The Rocket causes some people to have breakage problems. Well, guess what? That was the mascara that I was using! 

I decided to try a different kind of mascara all together, so I purchased Loreal's Voluminous Butterfly Mascara. I love it! It's my new favorite mascara. My lashes look great! They seem healthier, they look nice and long (not fuller, however), and not brittle at all like they used to. The mascara goes on smoothly with no clumping, and my lashes separate well. I am definitely going to repurchase this product!


I love the song "Budapest" from George Ezra. It was the iTunes single of the week a few week's back. I can't stop listening to it :)

And this just makes me happy:

Happy Tried It Tuesday! Have you tried anything new lately?

Talk to you soon!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Thursday, September 4, 2014

1st Grade Writing Obsession

It's funny the things you realize about yourself in retrospect. Looking back at my young self, as far back as I can remember, I realize that I was born with OCD. My memories and artifacts from my younger life cause light bulbs to continuously flash in my mind, signalling OCD red flags.

It's funny how I think back on the way I looked out the car window on a road trip. I couldn't stop counting the lines between car lanes until I fell asleep because I didn't know when to stop counting. Was 20 okay? 100? 157? I was always afraid that if I stopped counting, something horrendous would happen to my family while we were driving. Hello, OCD!

I was also afraid of eating the little black flecks in my food at eating. I was certain that eating those little black flecks would cause me to die a horrible death. Those flecks could only be there from the pesticides sprayed on my veggies in the 90's.; the news told my little OCD brain so. Later in life I realized that those little black flecks were pepper flakes meant to season those veggies so my ten-year-old self wouldn't need to be bribed to eat them.  

In graduate school I was asked to put together a literacy portfolio--a scrapbook of sorts that shows my development over the course of my life as a literate person. 

Upon gathering mementos to place in my portfolio, I found some very telling evidence that jogged my memory of a little 1st grade OCD me. Over the years I had kept various items from my time in school. I like remembering myself as a writer throughout my life. I always loved writing and kept a lot of my pieces throughout the years for sentimental reasons. 

Going through different artifacts, I found a copy of a 1st grade spelling test that I took so many years ago. On that list my handwriting was perfection. It's funny how certain things like music, smells, noises, a piece of paper, can trigger memories. 

Looking back at that paper and my perfect handwriting made me think of myself as a first grader with OCD. I remember painstakingly pushing down with enough force on my pencil to create the darkest line I could without breaking the lead. That took a lot of practice. I didn't like my pencil lines to be too light or too dark. They had to be somewhere in the middle--a form of grayish black. But only one that my trained eye could recognize.

I did also like them to be pretty dark, and they had to be uniformly dark throughout each stoke of the letter. The harder I pressed, the easier it was to apply pressure, so the more evenly my handwriting came out on paper. How I judged the right shade of darkness of my writing is beyond me at this stage in my life, but I'm sure I had some reasoning that made sense to my first grade self. The point is, OCD, in no way shape or form, ever makes sense.

If my writing didn't look just right to me at the time, I remember feeling this uncontrollable need to erase everything I just wrote and rewrite it from the beginning. If I erased too much--eraser lines were present, or heaven forbid I ripped the paper--I would need to completely start over on a new sheet. 

And that was me. The urge to write everything perfectly was uncontrollable, but I liked writing neatly because as a first grader, it was one thing I could control in my life.

I never realized this was a problem. I remember justifying this obsession in my mind the worry  that I didn't want my teachers or parents or friends to think that I was "sloppy" or "not good enough." All of that, to me, was related to my writing. Ridiculous, I know, but not to a 1st grader. Or a first grader with OCD. 

I don't remember my obsession with perfect handwriting lasting a long time, but I do remember it lasting a few years into my elementary schooling. I know my OCD adapted and changed as I aged and grew into new obsessions and compulsions. Looking back, I realized that OCD has been part of my biology. It's been with me my whole life, and it will continue to be.

Sometimes I wonder how most of my life, left to my own devices, I coped with OCD and anxiety, not knowing that I was different than the other kids. Today I am just happy that I know how to handle it. I am grateful that I am stronger because of it. 

Lots of love <3 Holly

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Thrifting Series Part 1: General Shopping Tips

As most of you know from my blog, I love to thrift. I end up finding the coolest pieces for my home, the most unique fashion finds, and awesome organizational tools (another post to come about this!). I thought I'd wrap this summer up with a mini series on thrifting: tips and suggestions about thrifting, my favorite thrifting finds, and the best items to thrift. 

There are a few places that I love to shop. I know which places have the best prices and are the best for finding certain items. In my area we have some great Goodwills, Salvation Armies, St. Vincent DePauls, and a Valley Thrift that I like to shop at. We also have a few amazing vintage stores. One in particular that I love is called Casablanca Vintage. It's fab! And, of course, we have some great antiquing fairs in the summer!

Click here for an article about Casablanca Vintage from Cincinnati Magazine

Based on the stores that I shop at, here are some tips that have helped me in my thrifting endeavors. Hopefully, they'll be helpful to you as well!

General Tips

Shop the sales. Yes, thrift stores have sales! I know that prices at thrift stores can be low; however, you'd be surprised at some of the prices I've seen at some of the second-hand shops I shop in. And what's even better is to get low thrift store prices at even lower prices! You'd be surprised how many items that you can get for 50 cents or $1 or $2 with a good sale!

For example, Goodwill puts out a monthly calendar that will show all the sales and discounts for the month. They always have days throughout each month (usually more than one) where everything in the store is 50% off. Other days certain items in certain departments (women's clothes, books, purses, etc.) will be a percentage off, or items with specific tag colors. Make sure you check the calendar at your local Goodwill. Sometimes the sales at different Goodwills vary.

Sales are usually posted when you walk in the store on a big white board. Make sure you check there first so you are saving money when you shop!

Salvation Army
There is one Salvation Army in West Chester where every colored tag is 50% off (everything in the store) on Wednesdays. You're getting 50% off your entire purchase that day, and that store, in my opinion, has particularly high prices compared to other Goodwills that I shop. So in that instance, it would be smart to shop the 50% off sale. There's a great one in Norwood too.

St. Vincent DePaul
In Evendale there is a great St. Vincent DePaul where every Tuesday is 75 cent day. Women's clothes with red tags are 75 cents. I mean, seriously! Now this store is small compared to most thrift stores. It's jammed-packed with stuff that you really have to look through. The aisles are super close to each other, but some of my most awesome finds of the summer are from this store :)

Keep these ideas in mind while perusing the inventory of each store:

Thrifting is all about patience. Seriously. If you are not in the mood to sift through a load of junk to find a few gems, don't go thrifting! If you get easily frustrated by looking through racks that are not always organized, don't go thrifting! Thrifting is not your average shopping trip, so don't expect to run in and out with what you went in looking for. You probably won't come out with it, and you'll probably be in the store longer than expected. You also may leave a store with nothing! Don't feel discouraged. Thrift store inventory continuously changes, so check back often!

Shop with a List
Of course it's great to go thrifting and just happen to find great items on the fly when you're not expecting it, but I always have items in mind that I'm looking for while I shop. I keep a note on my phone, a running list, of items for which I'm always on the look out. That way, if I happen to find one, I can snag it up! Having a list to work from and then being surprised by a few purchases is a good way to shop. After all, you do never know what you're going to find when you walk into a thrift store! Being surprised is great, but having a list also keeps you from buying oodles of items that you don't need! It keeps you focused!

Here's my current list:

  • Vintage suitcases (my mom used to have one like this!)

  • Vintage Mary Jane's

  • Slips (to wear under vintage dresses). I have nude, white, and black. Now I'm looking for color!

  • Vintage Cape (and I would seriously loose my mind if I found one!!)

Shop with an Open Mind!
Things at a thrift store are probably dirty. A cup can be cleaned. A shirt can be washed. I buy slips from the thrift store. I just wash them. They are majorly. Yes, this is coming from the OCD person. Don't overlook something just because it needs a little TLC. If you're not willing to get something hemmed, taken in, get a button fixed, etc, don't buy it! You won't get it fixed, and then it will just sit unloved in your house. You'll regret it and end up donating it back to the same place you got it from! If you can see the potential in items though, you'll be surprised at what you can find. And remember, you own soap!

Try Things On
Along with having an open mind, trying clothing items on really helps. This jacket looked a hot mess on the hanger! My sister told me I was crazy picking it up! She told me that it looked like a clown car puked all over it. But for some reason, I had this feeling that it would look differently once I had it on. With a crisp white tee and some neutral pants, I thought this blazer would look snazzy :) If you're not sure about something, try it on! Sizes run differently too in vintage items. If it doesn't work, just put it back!

Don't Buy Something Just Because It's Cheap!
I think this speaks for itself. Don't spend money just because. Think about whether or not you're really going to use it, wear it, love it! If not, put it back. Leave it there for someone else! 

I hope these tips help you in your thrifting journeys!

Do you have any good thrifting tips?

Lots of love <3 Holly