Saturday, August 31, 2013

Book Review: A Simple Change by Judith Miller

A Simple Change by Judith Miller is the story of Jancey Rhoder, a young woman who works as a teacher in Kansas City. When her mother's illness takes a turn for the worse, Jancey's parents make the decision to leave their home and business and return to the Amana Colonies. Jancey's parents were members of the Amana Colonies many years ago, so they know what to expect, but Jancey isn't sure what her life will be like if she decides to leave Kansas City. Despite this uncertainty, Jancey leaves her job and life in Kansas City behind to go with her parents and spend additional time with her mother. Jancey is being courted by a young man in Kansas City, Nathan, who is not pleased by her decision. When Jancey arrives in the colonies, she has a hard time adjusting to some of the changes, while she enjoys and appreciates some of the others. As Jancey adjusts to life in the Amana Colonies, she finds herself drawn into unexpected relationships and mysteries - making her life in Amana much more complicated than she anticipates. Only when Jancey gives up trying to control the outcomes of these situations does she find the peace of her simple life in Amana.

I very much enjoyed this book. I found the setting of the Amana Colonies extremely interesting. Amana is similar in some ways to the Amish in terms of the simplicity, but there are many other differences in how their society is run as well. Even though the setting is very different from our society today, I think many of us can relate to Jancey - her desire to stay with and help her mother during her illness, her difficulties finding her way and making decisions, and the way that things begin to fall into place when she begins to pray and rely on God for guidance more than herself. If you like historical fiction books, I would definitely recommend this one.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for this review; all opinions are my own.

Friday, August 30, 2013

August Clothing Budget

Before I start on my August budget, I have a few updates to the July budget! The ThredUp dress I bought last month didn't work out at all, so I sold that on Ebay. I tried to purchase another shirt from eShakti, and that didn't fit, so I am selling that on Ebay, too! If you're keeping track from the July roundup, that makes a total of 5 misses and returns. I think I am planning to stick to Kohl's and Target for my future dress shopping - at least those stores are local so I can return things easily. I also bought this tote from Target for 70% off (no longer available), so that took the place of the floral dress in my July budget. I ended up at around $52.00 for July.

This month, I found some nice items at Goodwill, including a dark olive jacket with some military-inspired details.

I have discovered that proportionate to my budget, I spend too much on scarves and jewelry - they're so pretty and they're only $5!! - and I need to focus more on filling actual gaps in my wardrobe first. I do love scarves though, and found 2 super pretty ones that have already been worn more than once.

August Budget

Here's the breakdown on what I got!
  • Merona Tank and Tee from Target - $8.18 - I needed a white tank and a few solid tees, so I bought these when the clearance was an extra 25% off recently.
  • Christopher and Banks Olive Jacket via Goodwill - $5.64
  • Navy Lands' End Pintucked Shift Dress and Jade Green Worthington Cardigan via Goodwill - $5.42 - Worn here
  • Green and White Print Dress from Kohl's - $4.53 - When I saw this dress in my size for $5, I couldn't pass it up. I even had a 15% off coupon!
  • 3 Stone Bubble Necklace from Caroline G Shop in Purple - $6.96 - I have been looking for a purple necklace, so hopefully this will get a lot of wear.
  • Scarf and Necklace Set from Charming Charlie - $9.00 (Plus my husband purchased a necklace set for me as a gift)
  • Orange, Pink, and Grey Striped Scarf from Meijer - $3.20 - I was excited to find this marked down while grocery shopping. Love the colors!
Total Spent: $42.94

I'm hoping to get some time to shop this weekend, so I might need to write another post if I find anything. I still have $7 left for this month and I have a bit extra (around $10) from selling the Shabby Apple dress that didn't fit, so I might still be able to cross something off my list yet this month. :)

For September, I need try and focus on picking up some of the items that I actually need - not scarves and jewelry. :) I think I need to buy from my list at the beginning of the month, and if I have any money left, I can pick up some "fun" stuff toward the end of the month.

I'm linking up with Budgeting Bloggers at Franish!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What I Wore: Thrifted

I've had some luck with finding a couple of nice pieces from Goodwill lately - and both of them were the 50% off tag color, which almost never happens!

This jade green cardigan was my first find. I love the color and it is in great shape!

Sweater: Worthington (Goodwill), White Blouse: Mossimo, Pants: Merona (Goodwill), Flats: Payless, Bracelet: Shabby Apple

This Lands' End navy blue dress was my second find. I really didn't need a navy dress, but this one is so pretty and well made. There are rows of pintucks down the front and back and other details that make it a great choice. It is sleeveless, so I think it will work with shirts underneath, too. It is a bit shorter than I normally wear, but in the fall, tights and boots will make it comfortable for work.

Dress: Lands' End (Goodwill), Jacket: Emma James (ThredUp), Necklace: Dayspring, Sandals: Born, Bracelet: Shabby Apple

Tee: Merona, Capris: Bandolino Blu, Sandals: Born, Necklace: Not sure! Either Avon or Penney's

I'm linking up!

I Feel Pretty at Get Your Pretty On

Style Sessions

pleated poppy

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August Makeup Look: Colorful Eyes and Bright Pink Lips

As part of being an Avon Makeup Maven, we are periodically given different makeup challenges. This month, we were putting together a look that had either colorful eye liner or bright pink lips - so I combined the two to get the following look!

I tend to favor subtle, neutral colors, but I always like shades of purple and plum for eye makeup, too. I can see recreating this look with a green or olive liner and a peach or neutral lip color. What are your favorite makeup trends you are seeing for late summer and fall?
Products used:
Eyes: True Color Eyeshadow Quad in Romantic Mauves - Mauved on lid, Pink Slip above lid, Glimmersticks Plum Pearl liner with Gold Plum Eyeshadow on top
Lips: Ultra Glazewear in Palm Beach Pink

Monday, August 26, 2013

Late Summer and Early Fall 2013 Wishlist

Fall 2013 Wishlist

Fall 2013 Wishlist by gracenote30 

Back to school time always makes me start looking at and thinking about fall clothes! I've always loved fall clothes, especially sweaters and the darker, richer colors. I've been thinking about what pieces I am going to be looking for in the next couple months and I came up with a mini wishlist. I'd love to find some of these pieces at Goodwill, but time will tell!

1. Black Blazer - I need a black blazer or cardigan. I haven't had one in my wardrobe for awhile and I know it would be worn all the time.  

2. Jewel-Toned Tee - Colored tees are so versatile and I could definitely use one or two new colors.

3. Colored Cardigan - I love cardigans and think I'd get a lot of wear out of a burgundy one.

4.  Solid Colored Skirt - The shape, draping, and color of this skirt are really pretty and seems like it could  be worn in many ways.

5. Olive Skinnies - I'd love black, tan, or olive skinnies to wear with flats and boots!

6. Print Dress - I have been looking for a print dress (unsuccessfully) for a few months. I like the flowers and colors in this one and think it would be easy to wear in four seasons. 

7. Oxford Shoes - I've been looking for oxfords since the spring and am hoping to find a pair this season!

Any items you're looking for this fall? 

I'm linking up!

still being [molly]

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What I Wore: New Accessories

Sometimes a new necklace or a scarf can help perk up basics or inspire a new outfit combination. A couple weekends ago, my friend sent me a text and told me Charming Charlie had 50% off their clearance items. We made a trip over there, and I got a scarf and 2 necklace sets for around $11.00. The scarf is perfect for summer to late fall. It is full of green, plum, pink, and orange on a taupe background and has a bird and butterfly print! I also got an orange necklace set and the black flower necklace set shown in the second photo.

Plum Tee: Merona, Skirt: Merona (Goodwill), Scarf: Charming Charlie, Sandals: Born

Blouse: 212 Collection (Goodwill), Pants: Limited (garage sale), Shoes: Payless, Necklace: Charming Charlie
This snakeskin print blouse is one of my favorite Goodwill finds of the summer. It mixes and matches well with lots of other pieces and will be great with jackets and cardigans this fall and winter.
What are your go to accessories?
I'm linking up!

pleated poppy

Style Elixir

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Back to School Clothing Haul from Kohl's

I've mentioned that I have a girl starting Kindergarten in a couple of weeks! We purchased most of her school supplies already but there are so many cute clothes in the stores right now!

My mom wanted to buy Anna a back to school outfit - a tradition my Grandma did with me for many years. We went to a couple of stores at the mall and found a cute outfit - leggings, skirt, and top - which we purchased. The outfit cost over $35, which we both thought was expensive.

I spent some time looking through my daughter's wardrobe that afternoon and took a bunch of photos of potential school outfits. We're trying to remix her clothes, too, so we identified a few things that she needed (solid leggings and skorts, and a pink tee) to help make some more outfits. I'm still deciding if I'll print out the pictures and put them in an album for her to look at or if having them in a file folder on the computer desktop will work.

We headed out to Kohl's that evening with our $10 off $25 children's apparel coupon in hand. We found exactly what we were looking for at amazingly good prices! We purchased the following 9 pieces which included a full outfit from Grandma and Grandpa:
  • black skort
  • hot pink skort
  • hot pink leggings
  • purple leggings
  • green leggings
  • hot pink tee
  • leopard leggings
  • leopard skort
  • peach tee with leopard design
Total cost after $10 coupon and 15% off? $31.50! You can bet the first outfit will be going back to the store! The best part is, the items all work with pieces she already has and will take lots of her dresses and skirts into fall!

Are you back to school shopping? How do you handle school clothes shopping for your kids?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Avon Color Collection


I've talked about Avon here in the blog in the past. I've been an Avon rep for a long time now...over 8 years! I use quite a few of their color products, so I am really excited about the new Avon color products being released in Campaign 19.

The collection includes new packaging and colors for the eyeshadows, Ultra Color Rich lipsticks, and Ultra Glazewear lipglosses. One of the big features of these new products is the "true color technology" - the colors you see are the colors you get when you put them on your eyes and lips.

I decided to purchase some of the new collection as a preview in my last order and am really pleased with the products! I chose the Romantic Mauves True Color Eyeshadow Quad and Ultra Glazewears in Intense Plum and Creamy Nude. I was looking for some neutral shades that would carry over into fall. I have a pretty simple makeup routine and usually only take about 5 minutes to put on my makeup in the morning.

The eyeshadow colors are beautiful. The numbers on each shade give suggestions about where to put each color (lid, browbone, crease, etc). I have hazel eyes (more green than brown) and I have been wearing these colors constantly. Really pretty! The Intense Plum lipgloss works well with the eyeshadow shades, too! The Cremy Nude is a great basic neutral shade. I always keep a neutral lipgloss in my purse for touch ups or days when I don't have time to put on much makeup.

Keep an eye out for the new Avon Makeup Color Collection - I think you'll be pleased with the colors and prices.

**I am an Avon representative. I was not compensated for this post by Avon and I purchased the makeup I am reviewing myself. I am not linking to my Avon web site or store, but if you'd like more info about Avon products, please feel free to email me!

I'm linking up!

still being [molly]

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What I Wore: Capsule Outfits

I've been wearing outfits put together from the late summer capsule that I put together and posted last week. It's been very cool for August here in Ohio and I've been adding lots of scarves, cardigans, and jackets, especially in the morning and inside. I did wear the black dress from the capsule yesterday, but didn't get a picture of it. On to the outfits!

Olive tee: Target, Skinnies: Elle (Garage sale), Scarf: Charming Charlie, Sandals: Born, Earrings: Avon

Close up of the scarf and earrings - these Avon earrings are really old, but I love all the colors in them!

Grey tee: Sonoma, Green skinnies: Jennifer Lopez, Necklace: JCPenney, Flats: Target

Denim Jacket: Lands' End (This jacket is so old, I'm thinking I need to keep an eye out for a replacement!)

I like wearing blue and green together, so this necklace gets a lot of wear.

Khakis: Lands' End, Flats: Payless, Lilac Tee: Merona (ThredUp), Scarf: Gift, Bracelet and Earrings: Avon

No idea why this one came out so blurry, but the colors were inspired by this pin.
Blouse: LOFT (via Goodwill), Cardigan: Sonoma, Black Dress Pants: Dockers, Shoes: Payless, Necklace and Earrings: Charming Charlie

The capsule has helped me out a lot. I'm coming up with lots of combinations that I might not have ordinarily thought of and incorporating some pieces I haven't worn in awhile. I'm finding new outfits without buying new items. I plan to keep working with these pieces for awhile yet until I stop feeling inspired, then I may put together a new capsule to work with.

Are you still dressing for summer in your neck of the woods or are you starting to incorporate some layers and early fall styles?

I'm linking up!

Dress for the Day at Dear Abby Leigh

pleated poppy

Sunday, August 11, 2013


This is the year our daughter officially starts Kindergarten! We've given our schooling options lots of thought: public, private, and homeschool - even as recently as last week! None of the choices seem perfect for us, but we've decided on the best choice for us this year. In a couple weeks, Anna will be starting Kindergarten at our local public school. She's extremely social and very excited about going to school.

We feel like this decision will work well for us, but as parents, we do have some concerns. We recently had (another) school levy fail for our district, resulting in additional cuts of teachers, staff, and services. One big component of these cuts at the elementary level is that there will be no art, music, or gym classes by the "specials" teachers. The classroom teacher is responsible for teaching these subjects in addition to reading, math, science, social studies, etc.

My husband and I want to be as involved as possible in Anna's education, so I will be looking for opportunities to volunteer in her classroom and for special events at her school. In addition, after reading some information at Simple Mom and other places about "afterschooling", we are in the process of putting together some plans to supplement and enrich the education she will be receiving. We don't want her to have hours of school at home after her school day ends, but we want to be purposeful about some of the activities and books that we will be doing after school. To be honest, I love teaching and I especially love teaching my daughter, so I know I want to continue in some capacity!

Here are a few of our thoughts so far:

Bible/Character: This is an important area for us that will not be a part of her public school education. We're hoping to try:
Reading/Math: When I taught Kindergarten and First Grade, these two subjects got the most daily time, so we are planning mostly to supplement and enrich in these areas. We'll read whatever books she brings home and continue to get lots of books from the library, too. For math, we'll work on whatever math homework they have and do extra practice as needed. We have Singapore Math A and B for Kindergarten from last year that has lots of work remaining, so we can use that, too.

We also really enjoy reading chapter books aloud, and her favorites right now have been the American Girl books. We've read through Kit, Caroline, and McKenna and are reading Samantha right now. I thought we could do some fun activities (crafts, recipes, etc.) that connect to the different time periods in the books.

Science/Social Studies: These are some of my favorite subjects for fun thematic studies! We're thinking of using Magic School Bus DVDs and books to be the foundation for exploring various science themes. We're going to start out with caterpillars, butterflies, and insects and are hoping to visit a local butterfly tagging event when they begin to migrate to Mexico. We can add in some some field trips like to the aquarium, apple picking, concerts, etc.

Art/Music: We're thinking of trying to study great artists and composers for art and music. We might visit the art museum or go to local concerts, too. Piano lessons are also an option. We tried once before and she wasn't ready and we're not sure if she will let my husband teach her or not. He's been playing for many years and is more than qualified...

Dance/Sports: We're gearing up for year 4(!) of dance. Ballet and tumble are the weekly classes and this year we're trying the performance team at our studio. This is not a competitive dance group, so no expensive costumes, entry fees, or travel. The group will learn various dance routines to comprise a show and then perform at local festivals, nursing homes, etc. We're also going to do recreational soccer again.

I know this is a lot, but we won't do everything all at once. We might focus on a composer for awhile, then switch to a science topic and so on. We plan to continue reading aloud and doing devotions daily. I bought a fun journal from Dollar Tree that allows her to draw and write, so we might use that to record various things from our learning.

I know this is a long post and not what I typically write about, but it has been a huge part of our decision-making and thought process this summer, so I wanted to share for myself as well as anyone that might be interested!

What kind of school do your kids attend? Do you consider your schooling options each year, or do you plan to stick to one option throughout your child(ren)'s school career? If your kids are not school-age yet, have you given any thought to school options for them?

I'm linking up!


still being [molly]

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer to Fall Capsule: Part 1

Seasonal transitions have always been difficult for me in terms of getting dressed. I am definitely feeling a shift in the weather here - cool in the mornings and evenings, but still hot and humid during the day. I've been brainstorming a summer to fall transition capsule wardrobe using pieces from my wardrobe. I came up with 18 pieces (not including shoes and accessories) and am hoping to use these items to help me put together a variety of late summer outfits over the next few weeks.

Summer to Fall Transition Capsule Wardrobe

Jackets, Cardigans, and Button Downs:
1. Denim Jacket, 2. Raspberry Cardigan, 3. Emerald Cardigan, 4. Pink Button Down, 5. Floral Chambray
6. Black Dress
7. Grey V-Neck, 8. Black and White Striped 3/4 Sleeve, 9. Olive Tee, 10. Lilac Tee, 11. Snakeskin Blouse, 12. Gold Ruffled Blouse
13. Green Skinnies, 14. Black Dress Pants, 15. Dark Skinny Jeans, 16. Khaki Dress Pants, 17. Olive Dot Skirt, 18. Gray Tweed Ankle Pants
I may add in a blouse, shorts, or skirt if needed, but just putting this capsule together gets me thinking of different combinations without buying new items.
How do you handle seasonal transitions without buying lots of new pieces?

I'm linking up!

Fashion Friday at Musings of a Housewife

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What I Wore: Basics

I don't know if it is the weather (getting cooler) or the end of summer or something else, but I have been reaching for easy basic pieces lately. It reminds me that I need to make sure that I have these core pieces in my wardrobe, because for me they simplify the process of getting dressed and looking polished and put together. You've been warned - nothing fancy this week!

Grey Tee: Kohl's, Necklace: JCPenney, Sandals: Born, Jeans: Elle (Garage Sale)

Striped Sweater: Christopher and Banks, Scarf: Kohl's, Jeans: Elle (Garage Sale), Boat Shoes: Target, Tote: Target ($10.48!), Sunglasses: Firmoo

Side view of the tote. :) I debated this tote for awhile even though it was 70% off. I have a ton of bags that I make and really didn't need another one. I did love the cognac color and style, plus the price tag. I saw a similar tote on Franish's July purchases, and went out and bought this one. I decided to wait and see if I had a reason to use it in the next month, or I would return it. Today we took the ferry to a local island, and I knew this tote would be perfect for snacks, hand sanitizer, sunglasses, plus all my purse items, so I used it - it's a keeper! :)

What are your must-have, often-worn, basic pieces?

I'm linking up!

Dear Abby Leigh

pleated poppy

Monday, August 5, 2013

July Finishes

It's been a hectic and challenging summer, but I've been trying hard to gain some momentum with my sewing. This month, I tried a visual to-do list on my sewing cabinet. You can see my post about it here.

So how did I do? Not as well as I would have liked, but I do have several finishes to report. I completed:
  • a striped knit infinity scarf (seen here)
  • 2 zip pouches (one available in the shop and one coming soon)
  • a black and white knit tee (seen here)
  • 3 lunch napkins for my daughter's school lunch box (not on the original list)
I also took one item off the list (linen-cotton dress) and am adding a couple for this month:
  • pajamas for me
  • 4 more lunch napkins and 4 reusable snack bags
We will see what I get accomplished this month! Any finishes on your end?

I'm linking up!

still being [molly]


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Book Review: Prairie Song by Mona Hodgson

Prairie Song by Mona Hodgson is the first book in the Hearts Seeking Home series. This historical novel is set in 1866, immediately after the Civil War. Anna Goben, her mother, and her grandfather are devastated after the loss of Anna's brother in the Civil War. Anna decides that the best choice for them all is to join a wagon train and head toward California for a new start. Anna doesn't anticipate the difficulties she and her family will have as they travel West and the ways she will grow and change throughout her journey. She also isn't expecting the complication of Caleb Reger - a hand on the Boone's Lick Company Wagon Train.

I enjoyed this novel as I typically like historical fiction novels. The characters in the novel are dealing with many issues in their past as they look forward and try to begin anew. Love, loss, tragedy, and joy are all parts of their lives as they travel across the rural landscape. I feel the book does a good job of explaining and depicting what life would have been like on a journey like this one. I do feel that there are references to characters and situations from previous books, so I think reading some of the previous related books might clarify some of this information. I would definitely recommend this book if you like historical fiction novels!

For more, check out Mona Hodgson's website.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review; all opinions are my own.

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