Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Shocked at the Library, Y'all: Be a Friend

Did you know that a huge portion of the library's budget goes to buildings and staff salaries? I never actually realized this, but maintaining these wonderful, air conditioned oases of book paradise comes at a cost. We know that maintenance and paying personnel are crucial...if there are no buildings or staff, how could our library system work? It couldn't.
With that said, did you know that the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library groups have a HUGE impact on the programming, displays and more that you see in your library EVERY DAY? I didn't know this before I heard about a Friends board meeting from a librarian. The libraries and the Friends group are encouraging new memberships.

At one local branch Friends meeting, I found out that the Friends had paid for the following at this particular location:
automatic entry doors
landscaping and maintenance of their nice landscaping (seriously..go compare library landscapes...the libraries with active and involved Friends look a lot nicer)
E-readers for the branch
I could go on and on. I was shocked! I just assumed that the costs of all these items was just automatically provided by the city.

Fund Requests Included:
Supplies for baby time
Book stands
Fixtures for CD's to be housed in the library (the ones they have are not efficient and need to be upgraded badly)
Summer performances for children's programming! (I had NO idea the Friends helped with this)
There were other items too, but these give you an idea.

Keep in mind that everything has to be proposed and VOTED ON by the Friends! I WAS THE ONLY MOM OF SMALL CHILDREN THERE, VOTING. The Do you really want me and a HANDFUL of other people you don't know deciding where the Friend's budget goes? Really?
re was one other mom, who had older children, but was not a Friend (officially) and could not vote (don't worry she signed up after the meeting).
Well, you need to get involved! For only $15 per year, you can become a Friend of the library for a year and VOTE in these meetings. The time commitment is MINIMAL.  I will also say, the group of Friends is aging, and they will tell you this themselves. They have been in the Friends groups for  decades, and they would love to see the groups grow.
I would not be suggesting this if it was not important to the vitality and growth of the programming for our children.

How you can help:
Become a FRIEND.
Donate to the Friends.
Shop at the Book Cart (at some branches there is a cart where you can buy books) 
Sign up to volunteer at the library

And if you become a Friend, you can help and shop first at your branch's book sale! Wink Wink.

Resources for YOU!
Monthly Library Director's Reports. These are very interesting and you might find out about a branch, program or general library news. Also includes circulation numbers, which I personally find fascinating.

Fiscal Year 2015 Library Budget Proposal

Friends of the San Antonio Public Library (also check out the treasurers reports!)

SAPLINGS the Bi-monthly Friends newsletter, I actually really learned a lot about current events at the libraries.

If you enjoy the library and its programming, and are able, you would enjoy being part of the Friends group at your branch. It's up to US to change, support and help the library. We can show older and younger generations that late twenty and thirty-somethings care and can make a difference.

*In no way is this post meant to be negative* This is a great way for those who can to support our city, our librarians, and other members of our community and I wanted to share it with you. =)

Friday, April 3, 2015

April Goodwill Haul

...so far. April is shaping up to be a great thrifting month, I think spring cleaning must be happening in a lot of homes because the Goodwill stores here in San Antonio are packed once again like they were in January. I was given a $25 gift card to Goodwill for the items used in this post.

Here is what I found:

Vintage baby shirt for $1.99, Brand new Peter Rabbit photo album, 99 cents

Crazy 8 Seersucker dress for $1.99, Baby jeans (seriously, what is cuter than jeans for babies?!), $1.99

Check out this awesome coffee grinder I got for $6.99! And it works!

Banana Republic sweater, big splurge here for $3.99. I absolutely love the print but would not have been brave enough to spend more than $10 on something so bold in a regular store.

My number one tip for getting the best deals at Goodwill? Shop the color of the week! Certain color tags are HALF OFF, the color changes each Sunday and you can get amazing deals. Not only do you get a great price, but if you are short on time, just look for that color tag and don't worry about any other colors.
Happy Thrifting. Now I'm off to Goodwill to buy some Easter baskets! Better late than never.

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. Ahhh...now 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!