Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tips for Thrift Store Shopping: Part 1

I am a lover of all things fair trade, but sometimes that isn't always financially possible. One of the other things I am passionate about is reducing my impact on the environment by purchasing used clothes, keeping them out of landfills and voting with my dollar about what I believe is important. This is where my love of thrift stores and their treasures of clothing goodness comes into play. The clothes I am complimented on the most have come from thrift stores, so I think it is well worth your time to check it out.

Tips for Thrift Store Shopping

Shopping at a thrift store is a gamble because you never know what you will discover or when you will walk away empty handed. It can be an intimidating undertaking, so I've compiled a list of tips to make thrift store shopping easier to navigate.

1. Evaluate your existing wardrobe

Divide your clothes into categories: summer or winter, staple items vs. trendy, pants or dresses, etc. Organize it any way that works for your brain and then see what you have. Are you missing a great pair of jean shorts for the summer? Or a classic black dress for girls night out or date night? What about a maxi dress in a trendy pattern that can transition from summer to fall? By laying it all out in an organized fashion, you will be able to see gaps in your wardrobe.

2. Decide your style objectives

You've organized your closet and have an idea of what you are missing. Now you need to decide what type of wardrobe are you working towards. Are you looking for a trendy mom look? Fashionista fresh out of fashion week? Vintage inspired femininity?  Knowing what your personal style is or what you want it to be will help you look for those pieces when you step inside of any store. Commit to buying items that are flattering to your body shape and fit within the look you are trying to create

3. Compile a list of all gaps in your wardrobe

With an idea of what your style is and what is missing, make a list of all the gaps in your wardrobe. Write down if you are missing a good sports bra or a classic white button up shirt. Every item that you feel is an essential part of getting dressed goes on the list, no matter how small or how expensive. I created my list on a Pinterest board, linking to images of items I want to add or now own to establish my classic wardrobe.That way I don't have to keep track of a piece of paper and can pull it up while I'm shopping.

4. Based on the season and immediate needs, write your shopping list

With your comprehensive list of wardrobe needs, make your shopping list for your thrift store outing. Some items you might want to buy new for durability, like a pair of flattering dark wash jeans and that is O.K. Only include items you feel comfortable being second hand and are needed in the current season you are in.

Now you are ready to hit the thrift stores... almost.

Watch for the next post in the series and we'll discuss where to shop and how to tackle the rows and rows of clothing. Follow me to keep up with the latest posts on The Acting Mom!

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Free tickets to Legoland? Score!

One of the perks of being an actress is knowing people who work in the entertainment area of theme parks. Seriously, the best! So when a friend (thanks you, Francis Fortin!) offers their free passes to Legoland on Facebook I jump at the opportunity, because we all know this family of 6 living on a teacher's salary can't afford tickets to theme parks. What a wonderful blessing to our family this was!

We actually went (thanks to Francis, again) a couple of weeks after we came home from Uganda in 2012 and made some of our first fond memories all together there. Because it was free, we didn't feel the need to stay all day if it became too overwhelming for our two new guys. Thankfully, Andrew and Simon slept a lot of the time due to the drastic time difference between Uganda and Florida, and Asher and Alethea were able to play to their hearts contentment. It was a wonderful time and amazing memories that we all cherish.

Here are some of our favorite photos (all phone pics, sorry for quality) from our first trip.


Francis, the Rock Star, Fortin offered his tickets again just a couple of weeks ago as he was transitioning from working at Legoland to his new job with Disney (CONGRATS!) and we were lucky enough to get to go a second time, a year and a half later. Instead of my thoughts on our trip, I decided to interview the family and let them tell you how they liked it.


What was your favorite part? : Carousal (kids called it a merry-go-round)
What would you do again? : Carousal
What food would you like to eat next time we go? : Pirate burgers
What would you build out of Legos, if you could? : George Washington


What was your favorite part? : Merlin's Ride
What would you do again? : Watch the show
What food would you like to eat next time we go? :  Funnel cakes
What would you build out of Legos, if you could? : Eiffel Tower


What was your favorite part? : Watching the show
What would you do again? : Play at "Pharoah's Revenge" because they shooted balls
What food would you like to eat next time we go? : Burgers
What would you build out of Legos, if you could? : Big dinosaur that shoots water


What was your favorite part? : Merry-go-round
What would you do again? : Merry-go-round because Andrew was smiling
What food would you like to eat next time we go? : Cereal and eggs
What would you build out of Legos, if you could? : Big Lego cooker man


What was your favorite part? : When the girl helped me push the pedal in the car
What would you do again? : Merry-go-round
What food would you like to eat next time we go? : Burgers
What would you build out of Legos, if you could? : Not want to build a donkey


What was your favorite part? : Riding in the car
What would you do again? : Ride the horsey (because he wasn't old enough this time)
What food would you like to eat next time we go? : Pumpkin
What would you build out of Legos, if you could? : Donkey

For our age kids, Legoland is the perfect amount of activity, nature (Cypress Gardens is an amazing place to walk with napping kids in the stroller or to let the kids run around.) and shows. It isn't as overwhelming as Magic Kingdom or Universal Studios and there is plenty of things that all of my little guys can enjoy. If I were to give a good age range for maximum fun, I would say 4-8 years old. This park is MADE for kids that age and all four of my kids have nothing but wonderful memories of their two trips to Legoland.

Here is a side-by-side shot of them from the first trip and our last trip. My, how they've grown!

And they ask every weekend if we can go back!

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