If Amazon could they’d come have sex with you at your house as a benefit of Prime.
I have a few kitchen appliances but not a lot by most standards. I like to do – or at least think it’s probably a good idea to do – many tasks by hand, both for the exercise and because it makes me feel more connected to the food. (I’ve mixed and kneaded hundreds of pizza doughs, for example, and the process feels important and satifying). There are kitchen chores though, that aren’t possible without the help of an appliance, like a blender, which of course I have. To save space & money, I bought a food processor attachment for my Oster blender four years ago for $17. Thanks to it I could make fake icecream and things like hummus. I got good use from it.
In the winter the plastic base of the food processor attachment broke. I decided to try gluing it.
That worked for awhile but several times lately, rather than grind in its normal, high-decibel fashion, the food processor attachment, apparently not seated correctly due to the repair job, has made a HORRIBLE sound when I’ve turned it on, not unlike that bad grinding, scraping noise when a car shifts incorrectly. This sound is so alarming I’ve become frightened to use the attachment, even though hurriedly turning the machine off and trying to “reseat” the attachment tends to take care of the problem. I just don’t think my nerves can take it!😦
So, I looked at Amazon. NOW Amazon wants an outrageous $50 for a new one and $34 for a used-like-new one. And it’s thin plastic! And not even high end caliber! $50?! Instead, I looked at other possibilities, keeping cost and “footprint” in mind, as well as ratings. This led me to a small, 4-cup Cuisinart food processor. I can assure you I’ve never owned a Cuisinart anything. Around my kitchen, in addition to Oster, the brand names tend toward Black & Decker, Hamilton Beach, etcetera. Serviceable, unfancy wares. The reason I purchased the little Cuisinart (for under $20) was because it is refurbished through a program called Amazon Renewed. Basically, a supplier fixes up used appliances and they re-sell them (I bought a refurbished Sony CD/cassette player from Amazon in 2017 and its been fine).
Here’s what caught my eye today in the description of Amazon’s refurbished goods:
The products will have minimal to no signs of wear and no visible cosmetic imperfections when held 12 inches away.
12″ huh? I bet they’re just dreamy from oh, 8 feet away. What they’re really saying here is:
You’ll like it better if you don’t look at it too closely.
Are those words to live by or what? As someone who very routinely looks at everything closely, I can see how I’d be well-advised to apply this philosophy to more of my life, not just used kitchen appliances!
It’s time to for a little show-and-tell of interesting things I’ve gotten for free or cheap.
I found this dress/tunic at Ross earlier in the month for $2! I’d seen the style earlier in the season at regular price and thought it was cute. It isn’t all that well-made but for $2?! Why not! I love the colors and they are good on me; this works well with tights or leggings and a pair of boots. The necklace is kinda cheap; I have better options.
Someone gave me this Croton plant last fall. I re-potted it and kept a light on it all winter. If you want colors, like the red, on this particular plant, it needs good light. I am glad it likes life with me which is evident because it just started producing new leaves! (I am proud.)
I found this sturdy step stool abandoned.
Just before Christmas I found this wreath abandoned on the curb. I was happy to have it and before the holiday season no less. (Christmas stuff is usually dumped AFTER.)
This little shelf was left on the curb. I snapped it up and added it to my closet shelves for just a bit more shoe/purse/miscellaneous storage. As noted in previous posts, I store my boots above my clothes which is a bit unorthodox but it all fits better that way and I can SEE what I have. (Why are some of the hangers backwards? I tried a little experiment this winter where if I wore a top once, maybe for just a few hours and if it was fresh & clean, I turned it around on the rod so that I’d be sure to put in the laundry hamper the next time I wore it. This worked out rather well.)
Earlier this month the local yoga studio held a clothing swap. You didn’t need to be a member (I’m not) but only needed to bring one article of women’s clothing to participate. I filled a plastic grocery bag with offerings and went to the studio on a Friday evening. I knew in advance that there’d be a “place to try things on” and a “mirror” but the way that was phrased gave me the idea the two might not be in the same place (which was the case). To go prepared, I wore boy shorts and a sports bra under my clothes so I could easily try things on, figuring chances were I’d be surrounded by other people. I realize not all women would be comfortable with that – undressing in front of other people, strangers no less – but I didn’t mind. It made things a lot easier.
Since it was held at a yoga center I was hoping/figuring that the women donating clothes might be smaller sizes and my guess paid off – I found LOTS of stuff for me. Look at all this!! Among the finds were several pullover sweaters, three Old Navy “go-dry” long-sleeve athletic tops that say “semi-fitted” yet fit snugly like they were made for me, a pair of Levis, two dresses, a pair of “Smart Wool” ankle socks (a good, pricey brand), yoga pants (of course), a delicate scarf, and several other tops. Maybe at some point I’ll get a post up to share all my booty in detail. Going to the swap was well worth my time and it was fun too.
I just got these for free! We have a community “yard sale” group on Facebook and someone offered them. I pounced.
About two weeks ago I saw this planter box on the curb and thought I could use it. When I got closer, in addition to finding it full of weeds, I discovered a small hydrangea in the middle. Who throws out a hydrangea?? I got the weeds out and put it in my yard. I decided to leave it in the planter for now and am curious what the blooms will look like. (I have several hydrangeas and they have wonderful colors.)
I’ve needed apron for awhile but I didn’t want to pay much. And I wanted it to be cute. I landed this apron on Amazon for $3! I love it. It’s “currently unavailable” so don’t get your hopes up, sorry, if you’re in the apron market. The trick to finding bargains like this on Amazon is to do a search with a really low maximum price, such as “aprons $3 and under.” If you don’t find anything, bump the figure to $4. It may take awhile – I look for a list of things at any given time – but eventually I land many good deals.
I made small updates to my bedroom last week, primarily the wall behind the bed.
I wasn’t totally satisfied with the picture I had there seen in this post and have tried a different one since but it wasn’t quite right either. I was trying to use what I have and not buy anything. I think, though, that the wall needs something large and bold. I was hoping I might think of a clever thing to make but that hasn’t happened (yet?). I did make the “headboard” from cast-off IKEA shelves; the bed is a full-size futon and the frame has no headboard or place to attach one so mine is merely nailed to the wall.
My dream artwork is a large, like 4′ wide picture of the woods in summer, whether it’s a framed poster or a photo-on-canvas, either of which would be pricey. Second choice would be the same idea but featuring the ocean. In the meantime I needed an improvement so I used what I have and did another idea entirely.
The mirrors were a set of three I found at Ross a year or so ago for $7. I got the center piece with the moon for $6 also from Ross several years back; previously I hung it from a hook in the corner of the ceiling. (As it’s heavy and I didn’t use a molly bolt or anything I was kind of half expecting the moon to fall down from the ceiling and knock me silly one day.😕)
The long blue tealight holder (featuring a smiling sun & butterflies) on the right was another great $5 Ross deal that I’ve had many years. The white lantern to the left of the bed is new. I bought a hanging lamp cord a couple years ago thinking I could make my own hanging lamp and save money. Well, nothing I tried worked, either the shade got too hot or the bulb was too blinding. I’d occasionally look on Amazon for cheap shades and finally found this pretty 12″ round lace one in August for $3. I love it. The light cast from it is so cheerful and pretty and this winter pick-me-up was a lot less expensive than the pricey SAD lamps I routinely look at online.
I think it’s so important, especially for someone like me, to have a beautiful, comfortable home. I spend a lot of time in my bedroom, and over time it’s become a very decent space that suits both my practical and creative sides. I love to sit in my chair and and look around – walking into the room and being greeted by the bed and its wall as I have it now immediately gives me a kind of calming lift.
1/1/19: I’m editing this post to show another idea I thought of yesterday after posting. I have it plugged into a tap with switch. They are great!
In the fall I wrote about finding great print leggings at Ross. I’ve worn them often since and am so pleased with the purchase. Let me say again that a fabric print is the key to modest (or mostly modest) leggings – something I learned only on finding & wearing the Ross leggings. I saw holiday leggings at Ross about three weeks ago and while normally I don’t even look at any clothes like that – I don’t remember the last time I had a “holiday” garment of any kind – this time I did. I passed by the over-the-top and Santa leggings and bought a more subdued but still fun print. At $5 I thought why not?
I usually hate layering but have been trying to make it work for me. The first layer needs to be close-fitting and not too thick, which is what I did here with both top and bottom. It was cold (you know, like WINTER) so I wore another pair of leggings under the festive reindeer ones. I found the gray, long-sleeved Mossimo shirt for $3 this fall at a big, discount store (Ross eliminated their Mossimo and Merona lines last year and I guess the leftovers have floated out to discount-ier stores). The gray Merona sweater with its festive bead sparkles on the front was a thrift store purchase for a few dollars. The tall boots were $11 on Amazon last year. The beautiful, soft, red scarf I found for a mere dollar last winter at a church thrift store. I put one of my secondhand pins on the unconstructed (i.e. floppy) hat that was also a one dollar church thrift store bargain find.
Here’s a hat closeup and the earrings and ring, which I made.
I consider myself fortunate to have a Ross store nearby, especially since I don’t have a car. I find many bargains there and it rounds out my thrift store/yard sale/Amazon clothes shopping. With fall/winter coming I’ve been shoring up my cool weather clothes. I like leggings and have several solid color pairs but have very few butt-covering tops or “tunics” to match with them so I rarely wear them. Either I can’t find what I want in tunic style tops or they’re too pricey. I know many women wear leggings without long tops, unconcerned with how revealing they are – undie lines, lumps-n-bumps, etcetera – but I’m not one of them! I think I stumbled over a solution: print leggings, dark prints in particular.
Print leggings distract the eye and while still form-fitting, aren’t revealing like solid fabric leggings meaning longer shirts aren’t essential. I figured this out while trying on beautiful print leggings at Ross. The ones I found recently, two for $5.99 (Awesome J brand) and one for $3.99 (Always brand), all feel wonderful to touch and are so pretty.
After I bought them, I tried on a bunch of my fall/spring tops with the blue leggings and found several combinations that work. All but one of these tops are secondhand finds. I think the key to making it work is having a somewhat looser top to offset the leggings’ snug fit and having the top, even if it’s not butt-covering, not too short.
I’ve got this idea now, since I don’t have many winter tops, to layer my spring/fall tops over solid color, fitted long-sleeve shirts when it gets colder. I had 2 such tops and just bought 4 more, three from Ross and one from Amazon warehouse. The Ross tops were each $5.99; two are maternity. NO, I am not pregnant but maternity clothes are a lot cuter than they used to be and nothing about these two Ambience tops screams maternity (AND $5.99!!).
I realize layering in winter isn’t groundbreaking but it is for me. I have long avoided layering; I can’t stand feeling restricted (a theme in my life generally, ahem), being unable to move my arms around freely, and on top of that, feeling frumpy and shapeless. BUT, if the first layer is snug and neither is too thick, my issues with layering are resolved. This is the plan anyway!
Since I knew I was writing this post I thought I’d go ahead and put together a few possible combinations using the blue leggings. I am not afraid of color and in winter, miss it. Why are winter clothes so dreary?! I threw in potential shoes (but the weather will determine what’s best). If this works, it will give me more winter options – and let me keep my pretty warmer weather clothes, some of them at any rate, in circulation.
I have mixed feelings about skirts. I like them but rarely seem to wear them. My lifestyle doesn’t call for it plus most of the skirts I see in my shopping ventures are kinda dowdy and unflattering. At Ross I found these lovely bargain skirts, one for $5.99, the other for $6.99. They are somewhat long but form-fitting which makes all the difference. That said, they aren’t so tight I can’t walk around normally ( I made sure to take a little stroll in the dressing room when I tried them on). I can see me wearing these bare-legged in warmer months or with tights when it gets colder.
Lastly, I got mesh laundry bags on Amazon seven years ago and they will be great for washing these new leggings and skirts unless I hand-wash them. They aren’t high-end clothes but if I take care of them I expect to have them for years. When the weather gets cool/cold and I start wearing my new ideas, I’ll post a complete outfit I wear sometime to let you see it and follow up on if it is successful. As someone who whoppingly prefers warm weather clothes, I’m actually a little excited about cute, inexpensive clothes potential this fall and winter!
I have several great summer dresses that haven’t gotten much play in recent years. I was determined to wear them this summer – and not “wait” for the perfect event. I wore this to the local weekly Farmers Market one hot July day. I found this dress, a Ronni Nicole, at Ross two years ago marked down to a shocking $3.49! I’d have been attracted to this print any time but the price and the fact it fit me clinched it. It’s polyester/spandex but better, it has a long zipper in the back (shift style dresses are notoriously hard to get into – and out of – and a zipper is awesome). The dress is short but not too short for comfort.
I found this great hat on Amazon last March for $4. They key to finding Amazon bargains is taking advantage of the price range option. Supposing I want a hat, I might start with looking at all hats $5 and under. If I don’t see much or nothing I like, I might then bump my range to $6 and under. (A side benefit is that you’re less likely to get/feel overwhelmed by options.)
The rule of thumb when wearing a loud print like this is not to lay on a lot of accessories; basically to let the print, in this case dress, “do the talking.” I wore a few complementary pieces. I found the watch on Amazon last year for $6, the cuff bracelet, a ringer for the green in the dress, was a rummage sale find, and I made the earrings.
Most of my shoes are flats and since I was going to be walking around flats made sense. These sandals, which I found at a thrift store for a couple bucks, are Active Air, a brand I never heard of; I googled the name now and found only Clarks Active Air sandals. Hot diggity! Clarks, which aren’t cheap, have a good rep. No wonder I like them so much.
Since the day I wore this look, I found Crocs sandals on Amazon for $13 which, honestly, is about the most I’ve ever paid for shoes! I’ve never had any Crocs but I like these a lot. They also make me about an inch taller while still having all the virtues of flats. They’d also work well with the dress.
This outfit was easy to pull together and I loved the whole look.