Wednesday, March 31

Thrift Therapy

With a forty-five minute commute to and from work, it's likely that any given day of the week will end up with traffic slowing to a crawl.  Sometimes I'm stuck miles away from any exit that would get me to where I'm going.  Other times, I'm close enough that I can navigate on a few back roads to at least get out of the scary bumper-to-bumper traffic on the interstate.  One day last week was one of those lucky days that I noticed the line of cars far enough ahead that I could swing onto an exit ramp that would get me home quicker.  And then, of course, my new quick-route home turned into another slow crawl when the "Great Bridge Bridge" opened up (if you haven't seen it, it's not such a "great" bridge; it's a little small, actually).  It didn't take long before I'd lost my patience with the traffic and decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to stop off at the thrift store, browse around, and wait til traffic cleared up a little.
So as soon as my little car could squeeze by the monster in front of me, I made the right turn into the parking lot and let the therapy begin....

Only an hour and half later did I bring my armloads of great finds up to the counter.  I felt like one of those silly t.v. characters, walking around with their arms full, dropping things behind them and tripping over what fell off the pile!  As I released everything onto the counter, and struggled to find my hands, still clenching the three plastic bags full of vintage sewing patterns I'd found, I looked at the saleslady, flashed her my sweetest smile, and asked in my nicest words if we could open the plastic bags so I could pull out only the patterns I really want from the bulk bags.  I looked at the three bags marked $5.  Each contained roughly 10-15 patterns, of which I only wanted 2 or 3.  Surely she would see the sense in switching out the patterns to pay $5 for 10 patterns I want, rather than $15 for 20 patterns I don't! 
She coldly denied my request.  In the words of my deceased Grandma, "Bugger."
I sadly put the bags away.  The visions (while they fought hard to stay alive) of what those designs would look like, in the fabrics of my choosing, on my body, slowly died away as the saleslady rang up the remainder of my pile.  As usual, I bypassed watching the numbers go up as she typed in every new purchase to explore the contents of the showcase below the counter.  I checked the jewelry first, "Anything popping out as extraordinary?" I would ask myself, then let the little angel on my shoulder assure me that there's nothing in there that I can't live without.  The next showcase over was a little harder to ignore, though.  This is where they keep other expensive non-jewelry items.  In this case, I was tempted by the vintage camera staring at me.  The little devil on my shoulder exclaimed, "It's only $25!! That's such a steal!!  Buy it!  BUY IT!!!"
In the end, the angel won again, this time with only two questions: "How many cameras do you already own?  How much dust have they collected lately?"

I was just coming to the conclusion that buying an old Canon wouldn't be beneficial to me after all when the saleslady called out my total.
"What?!  How did I spend $40 at the thrift store?!?"
I'm not sure who it was this time, the little angel or the little devil, that got me to hand over my credit card.  Perhaps it was both.  While all this is selfishly going into my closet to be worn, likely, only one or two times before I've had my fill with it, the money spent on it benefits the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters.  Win-win.

It wasn't until last night that all my purchases had finally made it through the wash and I got to try them on again.  My little game of dress up took a funny turn when I tried on the skirt, the shirt, the hat, and the scarf all at the same time!  Take a look:

"If only I could figure out how to incorporate the dress too!"

I think it'll be fun to recreate all my new items.  I already have so many ideas for the pink skirt!  And then there's this:
Size 24W.  Big enough that when I realized I took my laundry basket back to my room with the first load, I was able to open this up and turn it into a duffel bag to carry the rest of my clothes!  Large enough that the short-sleeves cover my elbows and the final button on the button-down front is just a few inches from my knees!  This is one case where I really want to emphasize that size doesn't (always) matter.  It was such a fun, floral print, I couldn't pass it up for a few spring outfits!!  Keep an eye out for these finds in my later posts!

I realized I didn't really get a good view of the best part of my dress on Monday (Ah! And I forgot to list where my clothes came from! What a bad fashion blogger I am!)
Dress: ModCloth, Christmas gift (thanks Mom!)
Leggings (shown in Monday's post): Express, another gift via Mom!

Monday, March 29

Rain Day

It's been a solid sixteen days since my last post, and let me tell you, it feels good to be back in the blogging game (at least for today!).  The last two weeks have been so full, I just don't know how I got anything done!  After Dan's visit, my aunt and uncle came into town, then came a trip of my own up to Richmond to visit some friends (SUCH a blast!).  This past weekend was my sister's birthday, and I was lucky enough to reap the benefits of her wanting a day of pampering at the spa!  Somehow we managed to make it the whole birthday without taking any pictures.  So FINALLY after two weeks, I've managed to cross off most everything on my backed-up To-Do list, and even made a little time to take some outfit pictures!

The first thunderstorm of the season started last night.  I love waking up in the night to hear thunder and squint my eyes open to watch for the flashes of lightning.  It was especially nice to wake up to today, since I knew I had plenty of things I wanted to get done, and, as much as I love sunny days, I can do so much more when it's raining! 
After a few hours of making phone calls, doing laundry, putting away all those winter clothes that have been piled on my floor since I moved them out of my closet, and doing an impromptu bathroom-drawer cleanup, I felt like I deserved a nice little break.  I got my latest library book and got cozy in the sunroom so I could hear the rain coming down:

I really love the pear tree in the background - I don't want it to turn green just yet!

Saturday, March 13

follow that fish

I can't begin to describe how wonderful this past week has been!  Dan came to visit, so instead of my usual Monday-Tuesday weekend, I took Tuesday, Wednesday, AND Thursday off.  We managed to go see Alice in Wonderland, check out a few (smelly) apartments, drive down to the Outer Banks, visit some old friends, and take a few long walks on the beach - all before I had to be back at work on Friday!
While we were in the Outer Banks, we went to the Elizabethan Gardens.  It was such a great day for it, too!  It was my first warm day of the year, and I couldn't have thought of a better way to spend it:

I set my camera on a self-timer and set it to take 3 consecutive pictures.  The first pic (the one in color) actually turned out to be a candid shot!  Funny what a camera can catch when you don't realize it's snapping pictures yet...
For the second picture, I couldn't let myself crop out the beautiful brick pathway!  I think changing to B&W really made it stand out more too.

Once we left the gardens, we thought we'd stop by the aquarium.  Lucky for us, a little construction gave us a discounted admission!  It was refreshing to be in the aquarium practically alone, I can't recall the last time that's happened.  I loved being able to stand with my nose pressed against the glass like a little kid, and then NOT have a little kid shove in front of me to do the same!
I wish the sharks didn't swim so fast... I wanted to get a picture of his big sea-green eyes!

And the prize picture of the week (in my opinion at least!), goes to Dan, who captured this mesmerizing moment in time:

I love that you can see all the trails from the sharks and fish!

Wednesday, March 3

blue skies

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
-Albert Camus

The above quote is actually posted in a small bathroom where I work.  Before I moved into the greenhouse, I used said bathroom all the time, and, sorry to say it Albert, I contemplated these words often while I peed.  Maybe I never noticed the "me" in the quote, or maybe my online source is different than the paper hanging in the bathroom, but I never interpreted it as a personal feeling or experience.  Instead, I always pictured summertime perennials blossoming out of the ground, hands on hips, looking down at the old, brown, dead wintertime debris saying "Hah!!  I told you I'd be back!!"
And every time, just as I'm lathering soap into my hands, I reread the first part of the quote "In the depths of winter..." giving me just enough time to dry my hands and realize summertime flowers wouldn't be popping up out of the ground in the depths of winter.  So I would always leave the bathroom trying to re-interpret the quote before I became too distraced...

My outfit on Monday made me think of this quote more so because of my usual interpretation.  Sure, the temperature hadn't even made it to the 50's yet, but the bright, sunny sky can still hover over all the hibernating gardens and say "I'm still here!  I'm still going!  Look at me!! Feel my sun's warmth!"
Alright, so I still have to wear warm clothes, but by george, I'm going to pull my summertime out and force it upon my wintertime!!

If you look closely, you might be able to see the purple coming through the grey of my tights!  But if you really can't see it.. maybe this will help:

It felt so good to have the sun shine on my cheeks:

And just to show off, the sky painted a picture in shadows on the driveway.  I wanted to reach out and touch it:

How do you interpret Albert Camus' quote?
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