Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Thrifty San Antonio: Book Festival

I love a great deal. And books.
The upcoming San Antonio Book Festival on Saturday, April 11 is FREE!! The event will take place ALL day Saturday downtown by the Central Library.
There are so many awesome readings, discussions, kid's performances, amazing writers will be in town...ahh I can't wait. What better way to show my kids that literacy is alive, vibrant, and theirs to enjoy?
Here are my Book Festival Top 5 Must Do's!

1) Download the App. The app is also FREE and is a great way to plan your day. Warning: You might be overwhelmed with how many things you want to do at the festival.

2) Food! At 10 am, Kate Payne will demo recipes from her new cookbook. This will be in the Central Market Cooking Tent. (Excuse me while I get all crazy fangirl here. Kate has an awesome blog. AND I will be there with bells on for anything that Central Market is involved in. I worked at CM in college and LOVED it. Tidbit: I even guided a dog parade while working there through UIW. Fun times, but sooo off topic)

3) Magik Theater! At 11:10, there will be a performance by the theater in the Children's Reading tent. (The tent is located in the Library Plaza, outside on the library grounds). If you have not seen a Magik performance before, prepare to be impressed. The performers (in amazing costumes) are sure to captivate and entertain in the most energetic, wonderful way.


5) I can't wait to see Xavier Garza, a San Antonio author/illustrator who has a book that sounds awesome, The Great and Mighty Nikko.
"Nikko loves bedtime. That's because his bed turns into a magical wrestling ring for the masked luchadores that he loves. They bounce up and down like crazy. His mom, of course, doesn't believe Nikko. She accuses him of jumping on his bed. But that's just not true at all. She just can't see what Nikko sees..." 
I have a little person who loves comics and would really enjoy this story as well as the amazing illustrations. 
Can you tell I am a LITTLE excited about the festival. Its a whole day of BOOKS AND STORIES and its FREE. I'm off to go play with the app on my phone. See you at the festival!
p.s If you want to get even more super excited, go HERE and see the list of authors who will be attending this year. You're welcome.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Classic Styles for Spring: Stripes and Blue

Stripes and blues for the whole family. What could be more classic than stripes in shades of blue and white? To balance out the stripes, I have solid blues, but have dreams of pairing these stripes with painterly florals that are so in for Spring 2015.

Where did I find this great assortment?
Goodwill here in San Antonio (Goodwill generously gave me a gift card in exchange for this post)

What brands did I find?
JCrew, Topshop, Petit Ami, Longchamp and more.

How much did it all cost?
You might need to sit down...and take a look at the pics. Prepare to be inspired to visit your local thrift store ASAP.

 Top: Jcrew outlet for hubby, $3.99, Lands End kid's skirt $1.99, Petit Ami baby dress, $1.99

Merona chambray tunic top, $3.99, Longchamp canvas tote bag, $3.99, Topshop Skirt, $3.99

Here is a closeup of the skirt. Look at the pocket detail! This is a pencil skirt and is super versatile.

And who doesn't love a sturdy Longchamp bag?

Have you found any great closet staples at the thrift store lately? Let me know in the comments!
Linked up with Living Well, Spending Less: Thrifty Thursday

Friday, February 27, 2015

Treats for Me: Makeup and Jewelry

This blog has mainly highlighted my awesome thrift store finds. I am frugal to no end in some categories, but I do pay retail for a few things: makeup, jewelry and fabric. Of course.
But I don't just like "things" in those categories...I like experiences and information too.

For my makeup/beauty fix I have a Birchbox subscription, which I love! I really don't have lots of time to go to different beauty stores and discover great new items, and I don't read beauty magazines anymore because they are too expensive (I sometimes flip through them at the library but I really would rather read books). Birchbox does the research for me, and every box comes with a card that describes each product and gives retail prices for full sizes...and it COMES IN THE MAIL. I love mail. I have yet to purchase a full size item, because every month I am sent such great goodies! If you are interested in a subscription, click here and sign up through my link (I will get points!) Birchbox has a great Instagram account too!

For my jewelry fix...I have been a Stella and Dot customer for a couple of years now and I LOVE everything that I have bought. Last night I hosted my first Trunk Show and it was really fun, because I had not seen any of the new spring line in person. My stylist is awesome (and a local mama too!) and it was a low key, chatty evening. I like to hear about the pieces, what they do (the Sutton necklace "morphs" into 5 different necklaces and I love it), whats new, and the different ways to wear them. I got to see the Pegasus necklace, the Birdie Necklace (3 in 1!), and the Getaway bag...all of which I had not seen in person before and am seriously crushing on.

 If you want to take a peek, click here. If you do place an order, I get credit for my trunk show.

What are your favorite things to buy? Or are you frugal in every category?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fave Museum Art Storybooks for Kids

My children absolutely love recognizing famous works of art in their picture books. There are great kid's story books with museum art (I specify because most picture books have art- their illustrations)! I noticed that we really seem to gravitate towards a few favorite titles in this category, and I want to share them with yall.

Remember, books are free (or almost free, depending on where you live) with your amazing, magical library card. 

Lucy Micklethwait books are wonderful. She has numerous art books, but these rhyme and are so cute! My toddler and my 5 year old like them.

My older child LOVES the wordless books by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman. I think we are definitely going to have to buy these, because we keep checking them out from the library. I love the detailed lists of artwork featured in the back of the books.

Olivia features Jackson Pollock and Edgar Degas paintings inside. Reading this book to my son is when I first realized he recognized art from book to book. Our local museum has a Degas sculpture and its fun to point it out to the kids now that we are familiar with the artist.

Do you have any favorite books that feature famous works of art? Share them in the comments.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Kid's Backyard Playhouse Decor for Cheap

I was given a $25 gift card to Goodwill San Antonio for this post

Today I am going to highlight a few things in the playhouse and where I found them. More details to come in an upcoming post.

I am absolutely obsessed with our backyard playhouse. We were lucky to have it given to us by our new neighbors, who had no use for it.
First, I painted the walls. I believe the paint is Revere Pewter in the Natura (non VOC) line from Benjamin Moore. I also painted the inside of the door in chalkboard paint.
This special space is beautiful, cozy and is where we like to curl up with books. The house has gone through a few transformations in the year that we have had it. I kept trying to put furniture and toys that were big and we ended up avoiding the playhouse because it felt crowded. Lately, I have been scouring Goodwill for items especially for the playhouse and I have not been disappointed.
The space is 7x8 feet with a 4 foot wide porch on the front. The peaked roof is 9 feet at the highest point, and the house has a loft (which we avoid, because the kids haven't mastered the rolling ladder or getting themselves down).

The two chairs were $3.99 each, wall shelf was $7.99, floor pillows were $2.99 each. All from Goodwill here in San Antonio.

Framed Picasso print $7.99, folding tray table $2.99, small chair $5.99, all from Goodwill.

See the quilts hanging on the ladder? This helps deter climbing and is great storage. 

My daugther has her own Hunter boots, courtesy of Goodwill. They were $2.99!!

 My favorite corner of the playhouse is the "kitchen". Van Gogh print was $4.99, mirror was $4.99, milk glass vase and play kitchen previously found at Goodwill.

Here is the floor cushion area...revised. I found the standard pillow sham (Barbara Barry! for $1.99) and sewed a temporary cover for one of the floor cushions from a thrifted sheet. The Gund dinosaur was 99 cents and in perfect condition. My plan is to eventually find XL men's shirts to sew cushion covers out of. I will be looking for red and chambray.

 Here is a view from the loft.

I am so excited that I am able to decorate this awesome kid's space for cheap, cheap, cheap! I can't wait to share more details of the playhouse next week, stay tuned!
This post linked up at my favorite Thrifty Thursday linkup!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

ConKerr Cancer San Antonio

This past weekend I met a wonderful group of ladies who sew pillowcases for children. These pillowcases are very special, as the recipients are children who are in the hospital. The organization was started by a mom, Cindy Kerr, when her son was diagnosed with cancer, and she made fun pillowcases to brighten stark hospital rooms.
From the ConKerr website :
 Thousands of ConKerr Cancer volunteers in over 120 cities dedicate themselves to brightening these children’s lives through the simple act of sewing a bright, cheery pillowcase. As a result of their love and generosity, ConKerr Cancer has delivered more than 950,000 pillowcases in just seven years to 250 hospitals throughout the country, creating ‘miles of pillowcase smiles’ for the children and their parents.
This San Antonio branch of ConKerr Cancer started in September 2014 and has already made and donated 300 pillowcases...all with just 3 very active members! Right now, the main recipient is Children's Hospital of San Antonio.

The group is new, so it can really use your donations, and here are the many ways to do so:
    If you have any questions, please contact Sandi at
Drop off locations for pillowcases and items are:
Main Church Office at Shepherd of the Hills Church (on Wurzbach Parkway)
Sew Little Time in New Braunfels

The goal is to grow ConKerr Cancer San Antonio chapter to be able to reach more kids in more hospitals all over town. Thanks in advance for your help, San Antonio!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Real Life With Books: Twaddle

I have a real love/hate relationship with "twaddle". If you don't know what I am referring to, it basically means junk food books. Books that go nowhere. Books with ridiculous computer generated illustrations. They most often have LICENSED characters or subject matter. They are annoying to read aloud.

I try and make sure the books that come home from the library for my children are quality and not a lot of twaddle. Because my children are really young and most books we borrow are read aloud it is important that we don't get books that are a waste of time. It is also important that I don't crush my kid's confidence and spirit by not letting any of their twaddle selections make it into the house. I do weed out certain books before we check out from the library, but the kids have always been ok with this (who knows how long this will last). I also don't volunteer to read these certain books aloud, and the kids are happy to look at them during their quiet time, etc.

There was recently a time where I was very very anti-twaddle and checking them out from the library was stressing me out. But then I listened to the Q&A Read Aloud Revival Podcast where Sarah spoke about twaddle. She had a point when she said that it can be useful to the children for speed and accuracy when they become readers. I agree with this! Then I started thinking more about twaddle....
I was raised on twaddle.
I had exactly ONE beautiful nursery rhyme book. The limited amount of picture books I owned were all twaddle. I still have those books. Those books were my prized possessions. Hard earned money went into purchasing those books. My mother read one of those books to me every single night. There was no internet to give her recommendations, there was no example of readers in her life, and the library was 30 minutes away. She did the best with what she had, and with what she knew at the time. I didn't grow up to be a horrible reader or a terrible student. I loved books (and I think that started with being read aloud to!), and once I was in grade school I was let loose in the library for hours. Hours. Nothing I read was screened (yikes! some subject matter...I wish someone would have stopped that) which resulted in an interesting mix of books in my history. The librarians showed me where the Caldecott and other award winners were kept one day and I was so amazed.
But my point is, I am no longer going to stress out
over twaddle. Of course I would prefer the bulk of our reading to be wonderful, beautiful stories, and it will be, I am making up for lost time here! But I won't upset myself over a couple of junk books. Because as long as my children love words on a page, I will be joyful.