By 11:18 AM , , ,
Because of the beach, work, and just life being busy in general I am just now getting the chance to post my yard sale findings from two weeks ago. In my opinion there are not many feelings in life that are more exciting than knowing/believing/thinking you got a great deal on something you really need/want. It is for this reason that I LOVE yard sales (this is coming from the girl who also loves scavenger hunts and treasure hunts so really I am combining my two favorite things)! It is also for this reason that I tell myself that even if when I become a millionaire I will continue my yard sale hunts.

On that note, since my poor husband had to work Saturday (he was extra bummed since he too enjoys the thrill of the hunt), my mom, grandmother and I had made plans to spend the morning hunting for treasures. I spent the night at my mom's house so we would be prepared for an extra early start. I woke up at 6am and proceeded to wake up my mom. By 7am we were ready to drive to my g-ma's house and pick her up and start our hunt! There was only one problem. On the way to get my g-ma it started pouring. My mom and I were debating what to do and happened to stop in front of a garage sale sign. My mom suggested we just check out this sale since it was raining anyway.

We pulled up to the house but there was only one car in the drive and there was no one and more importantly, no stuff outside. The house looked closed up and we figured they had decided not to have the sale due to the rain. Just as we were about to pull away an old man came walking out of the house and told us the sale was inside. He was another customer and came out empty handed. Sketch. We looked at each other and decided "heck" let's try it. We walked in the house drenched and looking like scared, wet cats. A man in his thirties was inside and said welcome and told us everything in the house was for sale. The house was still fully set up the way the family was living in it with pictures of the kids around and all. Nothing was priced. We decided to access the situation as quickly as possible. We both spotted a nice patio set out back and asked if it was for sell. "Sure," the man replied. How much? How about $40? Deal. The end tables? Sure I'll sell them. How much? $30 for both. We were liking the way this was going. How about this cute nick-knack decorative piece on the table. Yeah, I'll sell you that. How much? Hm...how about $10? We picked the nick-knack up to check it out and found a Kirkland's price tag on the bottom of it with an original price tag of $10. We all laughed. Ok you name the price the guy told us.

Turns out the guy had been married before and had two kids but was getting remarried to someone else who also had two kids and they were combining families and houses. The new wife did not want any of the old wife's stuff (as you can imagine) so they decided to have a sale in their house and see what they could rid of....anything that didn't sell they planned to pack up and take with them. Also turns out that this happened to be one of the best sales we had ever been to. We called my poor grandmother who was still waiting on us to pick her up and told her she must get over here and quick! A few minutes later she arrived and experienced the same wet and awkward entry as my mom and I. Two hours later our truck was loaded and the owner and his soon to be wife had heavy pockets.

Here are some pictures of the what I got:

$10, looks great in our hallway and is perfect for umbrellas, rain coats, etc.

same item just a different picture (the "T" is from this previous post)

$0.75, books a quarter a piece

$5, probably could have gotten it for less but I was super excited because I had been wanting a star

And my most exciting purchase:

$15, rocking chair and free pillows...it is an antique. I googled it and it is worth at least $200

here is a picture of the rocking chair, pillows, and star in our house...ignore the old school TV

I didn't think to take pictures of what my mom and grandmother got but they came out with even more than I did. All in all it was a successful rainy day of shopping one sale. 

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By 9:27 AM , , , ,
Before I can get you excited over my exciting, FREE find from last week I have to tell you the story on why it was an exciting find... 

So we had been given a patio table and four matching patio chairs last fall by a family member. My sweet and wonderful husband (I made sure to add this since I am about to rat him out) had gone to pick up the patio set and bring it back to our house (just hours before the Halloween party we were throwing at our house). He loaded the table into the back of his truck but apparently did not do a very good job tying it down because on the drive back to our house it flew out of the back of his truck and hit the windshield of the car behind him. Thank goodness no one was injured (except for the windshield who ended up not having the best day) but the incident did make a supposedly free table suddenly become a very expensive table.

Long story short we have been without a table (and just with four chairs) since October. So, as you can imagine, when I came across a free patio table on Freecycle last week I jumped at the chance to be able to dine under the stars again (technically we had never had the chance before since the table never made it home). I called the hubs and told him to stop on the way home and pick up the table (it was a curb side deal which means the first person to the curb gets it). There was no picture on the listing and I had no idea what kind of condition it was in but having been without a table for almost 9 months I knew it was worth the risk.

Luckily it was still there come six o'clock when Josh arrived to pick it up. The amazing news? It was the EXACT table that matched our set of chairs and that had fallen out of Josh's truck and shattered 9 months earlier. It was dirty but nothing a little soap, water, and spray paint couldn't fix. So after making sure he tied it down extremely well this time, he loaded up the table and brought it home. We cleaned it up and WALLA! Better than ever!

Note: For those of you who have not heard of Freecycle before this post you are missing out. The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 5,041 groups with 8,960,179 members around the world. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers and membership is free. To sign up, find your community here.

I am thrilled we again have an outdoor table and just in time for this gorgeous weather we are having!

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AliceMaeDesigns Etsy Store Review and Giveaway

By 9:31 AM , , , ,
This posting is the tenth in a series of posts about my favorite Etsy stores. 

If you are looking for the perfect romantic accent for your home you will find it at AliceMaeDesigns. From gorgeous wreaths to candle holders, this Etsy store is the perfect place to bring that romantic oasis the outdoors offers into your home.

If you like what you see above you will love this Etsy store. I only wish I had found her store before my wedding last year...especially since her arrangements go along so well with my wedding's theme. Oh well. At least I still have this beautiful wreath (one of her wonderful creations) on my front door. 

My favorite part is the bird's nest on the wreath. Here's a better view of it.

A little about the creative store owner...
Mary Alice, the owner and designer for AliceMaeDesigns, spent a number of years climbing the "corporate ladder" and nothing gave her quite the sense of satisfaction she hoped. She had been talking for years about opening up a Tea Room with an antique and gift shop connected. At the peak of her frustration with her job, she quit and began the journey that led her to Alice Mae Designs.

Mary Alice says, "I have always loved making things with my hands but never used artificial flowers because they were so cheap looking. A few years ago I began to fall in love with some of the new products available that are so life-like and beautiful so I tried my hand at making some arrangements and wreaths. I like a variety of styles - my favorites are woodsey and cottage."

Alice Mae was her grandmother and Mary Alice always loved her impeccable taste so she planned to use that as her standard as she opened an Etsy shop. She also sells vintage and antique items with a friend on Vintage Cottage Garden  on Etsy. Her business is small right now but slowly people are finding her on Etsy and liking her work. 

"I love working with flowers and foliage and especially love to put nests in my creations. There is something cozy about a nest!" she told me. 
I'd have to agree with that. 

Some of her other products I really like are below:

Be sure to check out her Etsy store and view the many other beautiful products she offers:

Great News:
Mary Alice is offering my readers 15% off!
Just use this code: married
It will be valid until May 26, 2012!

We are also featuring a $25 giveaway to AliceMaeDesigns so be sure to enter via rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Mano Celebrates Etsy Store Review and Giveaway

By 9:56 PM , , , , ,
This posting is the eighth in a series of posts about my favorite Etsy stores. 

Below is a post on one of my favorite Etsy stores to buy unique, fun, pretty jewelry from...

Mani, the owner of the Etsy store Manocelebrates, loves color and art and her jewerly shows it! Her pieces are full of color and feature lots of wildlife (especially birds) which most of my readers know I love! Here is a sample of a few of her beautiful works:

Mani lives near Disney world in a community housing called Eagles reserve. She loves to live in Orlando because she lives very close to both Disney World and Sea World . Her husband works for Disney so they get to visit often (lucky her right)!

Mani told me that the truth is that she never thought she would be an artist. She finished her college degree in business (same as me!) and started working with a financial institution as a loan consultant. She got sick and had to stay home for few months which is where she started socializing with other area artists. She started drawing and then painting, pottery, knitting, interior decoration, designing and jewelry making. As you can see this girl has talent! 

She usually goes to craft stores for craft shopping. In 2008, she ran into one woman at the store, who told her that there is a handmade website called “Etsy” where you can put your items for sale. She started listing items very slowly and watched how quickly they sold. She would also go on forums and read how to improve traffic and photos etc.

Mani says, "I create jewelry or I should say I design jewelry more than creating it. I love nature, and also vintage things. I try to combine a bit of new material and bit of vintage material together. Since I get bored by doing only one type or style of designing, I divide them into lockets, choker, lariat, bracelets, rings, and hair pins."

Mano is her nick name besides Mani so she decided to add celebrates to her nickname to make it sound joyful and exciting and thus the name for her game (sorry couldn't resist...STORE) was born.

I got the following awesome Robin Egg Bird Nest Vintage Bronze Locket from Mani. The cute necklace is 24" long which is the perfect length in my opinion.  The vintage brass round locket is decorated with wire wrapped turquoise beads forming a nest and is finished with a vintage brass sparrow, vintage bronze chain, and lobster clasp. I think this just might be my favorite necklace I own! She also has matching earrings and a bracelet to go with the locket that I think I might just have to order...ok so maybe not the earrings (I don't have pierced ears...I know...crazy right?!) but the bracelet is adorable! Here are some pictures of this awesome set:

(isn't it awesome?! Loooove it!)

Another couple of pieces she sells that I am coveting are below:

Great News:
You can enter below to win a Robin Egg Bird Nest Vintage Bronze Locket just like mine!
Just enter below using rafflecopter's form.

Make sure you also check out her Etsy store page and leave a comment letting me know what your favorite item is that is for sale:

Mani also writes her own blog. Be sure to check her out:

Follower her:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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How to Make Your Wedding More Personal

By 4:07 PM , , , ,
One of our main goals during wedding planning was to incorporate as many people close to us as possible in our wedding. Josh and I felt that it wasn’t just our day and really wanted our nearest and dearest to be honored and recognized, too, as an important part of our lives.  Some of our favorite ways we went about including others in our special day included:
  • We had my dear cousin read scripture during the ceremony
  • Two close friends played instruments and sang during the ceremony - one sang and played the guitar and one played the violin
  • My husband's cousin did my hair (how awesome is it to have a hairstylist for a cousin?!)
  • I had a plane placed in my bridal bouquet in remembrance of my grandfather who flew airplanes for a living and passed away just a few months before the wedding (we were very close)
  • The minister who married us is a close family friend of my husband's whom he has known since he was very young
Some of our other favorite ways we made our big day more personal included:
  • Our first act together as husband and wife was to take communion together and pray for our newly found marriage
  • Our entire wedding party changed into cowboy boots for the reception
  • We displayed our mothers' wedding gowns in the reception hall
  • We used antique trunks as decor and as a place for our guests to place gifts

     What is the neatest, personalized thing you have ever seen done at a wedding?  Leave your comments below.

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    Vacation for 2

    By 10:20 PM , , , , , , , , , ,
    Well we finally got to take our much needed vacation. Just the hubby and me. It was wonderful

     (I took the above picture our first night at the beach)

    For those of you who read my previous post we did not end up renting via VRBO but instead rented a condo from a family friend. Perfect fix. The hubs especially appreciated the fact that the condo was on a golf course since golf has become his number two obsession (luckily I'm still the first...so glad lucky I married this guy). 

    We have been back home and in the "real world" for 6 days, 20 hours and I just want to say that it is officially 6 days and 20 hours too long. It's amazing how the waves, sand, and an entire week of doing nothing but enjoying each others company and basking in our love can take you to a "whole new world" (sorry....couldn't resit throwing out a quote from one of my favorite Disney movies). 

    We vacationed in Destin, FL which is for one, BEAUTIFUL, and two, the home of one of my roommates from college and her husband.  Her husband is in the Airforce and they recently bought a house down in Navarre Beach so they are really living in the place that everyone else vacations. (The green envy guy was/is flaring). Seriously though it was great to see them and they even let us try out their new paddle boards which was a ton of fun. 

    Another important fact to mention was the amount of marine life we saw while down there. I have grown up vacationing in Destin and have never before seen this much...We saw lots of dolphins (many up close.... Just see the pictures below), TONS of sharks (yes I know...scary...there were even rumors there was a six foot hammerhead the day before we got there swimming right near the beach), MANY sting rays, and LOADS of jellys (even the man-of-war kind). It goes without saying that we did not get in the ocean much. 

    Highlights of the trip? 
    Taking picnic dinners to the bay and watching the sunset. Taking night walks on the beach. Watching the adorable kid who thought he was best friends with us and kept us entertained during the day on the beach. Watching cartoons while drinking Starbucks under a big sheet movie theater type thing at Harbor Walk. Eating seafood (this goes without saying). Watching "The Lucky One" at the movies (although it was no where near as good as "The Vow"). Spending 7 nights and 8 days with the love of my life. 

     Above: paddle boarding on the bay    Below: Eating at the Back Porch

     Above: Dolphins     Below: Jelly Fish

     Above: another dolphin   Below: the umbrella we had to buy because we got super burnt

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    Little Jar of Hearts Etsy Store Review

    By 8:47 PM , ,
    This posting is the ninth in a series of posts about my favorite Etsy stores. 

    A really great Etsy store to get handmade jewelry and gifts from is Little Jar of Hearts.

    I got this really cool anchor bracelet from her which I have worn almost every day since I received it. 

    Little Jar of Hearts is owned and run by Kyri. Kyri is a fairly young jeweler who is currently working on finishing up her Bachelors degree in Entrepreneurship and Fine Art with a concentration in Jewelry and Metalsmithing (now that's a mouthful...you go girl)! From digging through her Grandmother's jewelry boxes, to collecting miscellaneous shells and rocks she refers to as 'gems,' she has had a passion (some may even call it an obsession...but in a good way of course) with jewelry and all things that glitter since she was a little girl.

    Kyri told me, "The moment I found out how to make a bracelet NOT from stretchy string and uncooked noodles, I became obsessed! And of course, the moment I caught wind of Etsy, I fell in love."  

    Kyri first started her Etsy shop in 2010 as a hobby and some place to put all her creations. She was not really expecting anyone to necessarily purchase anything but just wanted to have a digital and electronic inventory of all her pretties. When her first sale did come, she was ecstatic! Kryi says that although it seems like a life time ago that she opened her Etsy store, she is still finding out there is a lot to learn. 

    "I've found over the almost 2 years my shop has been running, that most of my customers are people who appreciate the craftsmanship of a handmade item at an affordable price-- and quick, free shipping! With my new Summer Bracelet line, sales have sky rocketed within the last few months."

    At over 200 sales, Kyri told me she still gets giddy when someone makes a purchase! Her favorite part of running Little Jar of Hearts is when she receives custom orders. From bridal parties, to sorority girls, book clubs, and best friends, she loves hearing their stories and creating something super special for them all to have. 

    What is the next big milestone for someone so young and successful?

    "I think the next big step or milestone for me would be actually seeing my jewelry on a stranger-- now that would be incredible! To know that about 200 people over the span of the U.S., Canada, and parts of Germany have something handmade by me that they treasure in one way or another, warms my heart! Through the busy festivals and vendor events, to the endless nights with tender and cut fingers, I wouldn't have picked another interest. I can't ever see myself at a point in life where handcrafting jewelry isn't present."

    Some of my other favorite pieces she sells are below:

    (This one is currently on sale! OH YEAH!)

    Be sure to check out her Etsy store and view the many other gorgeous products she has to offer and check back often because she is always adding new products :

    Great News:
    Kyri is offering my readers 20% off!
    Just use this code: MFJ20
    It will be valid until June 30th!

    Be sure to follow her on Facebook below:

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