The qualities of a great watch

If you’ve ever looked for a man’s watch, you know there’s quite a variety out there. While there’s certainly a number of technical terms you can use to differentiate one watch from another, it can be difficult to decide what makes one watch good and another watch worth skipping. If you’re in the market for a good wooden watch, for example, you’ll want to take a moment to figure out what makes any given watch worth buying. Fortunately, you can look to three factors to figure out exactly what makes a specific watch better than others in its category.

Durability

If you remember the old watch commercials, you’ll remember the phrase “it takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin'”. While you don’t necessarily need to have a watch that’s going to stand up to extreme punishment, it is good to have a watch that stands up to daily use. Your day-to-day watch should be something that can stand the average bumps and scrapes of office life without causing you to stop and worry about the watch face or casing. While there are certainly plenty of problems that can befall your typical watch, you want something that’s going to be a tool rather than a distraction.

Reliability

Some people view a watch as a simple fashion accessory, but the truth is that a tense wooden watch is still very much a time-keeping tool. The last thing you want to do is to spend a significant amount of time making sure that your watch actually fulfills its primary purpose. It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles the watch has if it can’t keep time reliably. While every mechanical watch will eventually lose time, you want something that’s going to generally be reliable from day to day. You can’t expect perfection, buit you should be willing to look for the next closest thing.

Look

Finally, grab something that actually complements the clothing you wear. Every watch design works well with something, but even a top-tier watch will look horrible if it doesn’t go with your clothing. The sad truth is that your watch is a mere accessory and it really can’t do the heavy lifting for your style. If you want a watch, make sure that it is a good fit for both your wrist and for the clothing with which you will wear the watch. While a child can get away with wearing any watch with any outfit, you’ll need to put in a bit more thought.

A good watch should be reliable, durable, and should work as a fashion accessory. This should help you pare down the possibilities when you are shopping and give you a chance to find something that works with your life and style. In time, you’ll come to realize that there is only one perfect watch for the way you live your life.

Advances in Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is becoming increasingly popular because it is both easier to clean and more hygienic than carpeting. It is also better suited when dealing with kids and pets. However, it does have some significant downsides. Most notably, it is much harder than carpet, which can be suboptimal for the elderly, those with bad backs or feet, or those who want to sit on the floor. Additionally, it remains more expensive than most modern carpets, because said carpets could be easily mass produced, installed cheaply, and replaced easily. However, the long-term benefits of hardwood, especially the fact that it is more eco-friendly and that it may not need to be replaced for centuries, has lead to increased demand for hardwood flooring. This means that, due to market demand, there are two expanding trends in the hardwood flooring market today: reclaimed wood and the introduction of softer woods.

Reclaimed Wood
The reclaimed wood movement stems largely from a desire to be environmentally friendly, but also to capture rustic or old-world charm. Hardwood floor New York was almost universal until 20th-century advances in the plastics industry made carpets cheap to mass produce. This means that many old structures have excellent hardwood floors in them, and with careful effort, they can be removed and installed elsewhere. This “reclaimed wood” is thus both more environmentally friendly than fresh timber, since it has already been harvested and requires no fresh trees to be cut. It also has an aged look that can’t be achieved with modern techniques, making it very appealing to those who want a more traditional or colonial look. Reclaimed wood is also often less expensive than new timbers of the same type, reflecting the fact that, as a “recycled” product, it is “used” and thus merits a lower price. The lower cost of obtaining and processing it is also a factor in this reduced cost.

The new “softer” hardwood floor
However, it is the “soft floor” movement that has caught on the most and is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to carpet. This is done primarily through the use of bamboo, either as a cover over traditional hardwood flooring or as a complete floor. Bamboo is much more flexible than traditional hardwoods while retaining much of the strength and versatility. Previously, the fact that bamboo grew in thin slats and had a rough, curves surface made it less desirable as a floor covering, since it would be uneven underfoot. But modern automated bamboo processing techniques, originally developed to sate the Chinese market, have enabled bamboo to serve as an effective form of flooring. The best part about such flooring is that it can be softer or harder than traditional flooring, depending on demand, as its hardness is determined by the weave of the bamboo.

How to Increase Your Leads List Without Turning Clients Off

As a real estate agent, you may understand how important your email marketing list is to your business, and you may be focused on growing your list on a daily basis. After all, the larger your list is and the more frequently those leads are touched, the more likely your leads are to contact you when they are ready to move forward with buying, selling or renting plans. However, many agents struggle to find an effective way to maintain and grow this list without turning clients off. By following a few helpful tips, you can more easily accomplish your goal.

Keep Marketing Messages Relevant and Timely
One of the first areas to focus on is to avoid turning off existing leads in your database. It works directly against your goal of growing the list if people regularly opt out of receiving your marketing for realtors material. One of the best ways to retain membership in your list is to keep all content sent to them relevant, informative and helpful. Put yourself in their shoes, and consider the type of information you would want to receive from your real estate agent. More than that, avoid sending too many messages and cluttering up their inbox. In most cases, sending a new message to them once every week or two is plenty.

Add a Share Link to Your Messages
After you have focused on client retention efforts for your email marketing list, your attention may turn to increasing your number of viable leads. One idea is to add a “share” link to the content you distribute. This allows leads to easily forward content that they find interesting or helpful to friends and family members, and you can capture those leads through an opt-in feature.

Create an Opt In Link in Your Email Signature
Another great idea is to add an opt-in link to your email signature. This way, anyone who you contact via email, such as potentially new clients, have the ability to easily opt in to your marketing campaigns. Be sure to make the opt-in feature sound enticing, such as by asking clients to click the link if they want to receive hot real estate buying and selling tips.

Add an Opt In Link on Your Website
A final and important area to focus on is your website. You may drive visitors to your website through organic search engine measures, through the use of yard signs and flyers or via other means, and you want to take full advantage of the efforts you have gone to get these leads to your website. Consider a pop-up feature to request visitors to opt into your email distribution list.

Growing your email distribution list is understandably a prime area of concern that many real estate agents are focused on. By growing this list, you can expand the reach of your marketing efforts. While most agents will grow their list slowly over time, you can speed up the process by following these helpful tips.

Design Obsession: Chevron Pattern

In my earlier post this week you may have caught a glimpse of chevron awesomeness…I am absolutely in love with this zigzag pattern!  So in love in fact, I bough a whole bolt of this lovely brown/natural fabric on clearance from fabric.com.

But you will just have to wait till tomorrow to hear more about that!  In the meantime, here are a few lovely chevron projects from around blogland to inspire you!

Grey, brown, aqua or yellow I love them all!  Do you have chevrons in your home?  Planning any chevron pattern projects?

Guest Posting at Little Blue Chairs Today

I’m so excited to be guest posting at Little Blue Chairs today.  Laurie has a wonderful thrifty blog where the tag line is “Decorating for real life by real people”.  I’m down with that!

If you were wondering what I did with that bolt of chevron pattern fabric I showed you yesterday, head on over to Little Blue Chairs and satisfy your curiosity!

Spring Break Hangover

Ever since I visited my parents house over spring break I am feeling just the wee bit LAY-ZAY.  I sit here surrounded by projects in progress and I haven’t got a one finished to share with you.  So much for quality content eh?

To try to get my mojo back I have been perusing the Craigslist.  Oh boy have I been finding inspiration there:  antique desks for $20 and chests of drawers for $15.  They are just calling to me!  Saaaaraaaah, Saaaarrraaaah!

Too bad my husband suggested that I finish one of my ongoing projects before heaping more furniture into the already crowded garage (isn’t he a party pooper?)  He may be a tad bit concerned that I’m a hoarder in the early stages.  I can’t be the only one who get’s that right? right?

Anyway.  If ya need me I’ll be busy finishing up this coffee table to ottoman transformation so I can get back to hoarding painting furniture!

Since I’m keepin’ it real in this blog post, it’s the perfect time to suggest you hop on over and visit my sister’s fashion blog, Closet Floor Finds.  She always Keeps it Real on Mondays!

Quick Mother’s Day Craft

When I saw this adorable handprint trees wrapped canvas from Come Together Kids I knew I wanted to make my own version to give to my kids’ grandmas for Mother’s Day.

In the original version Laura goes all out thrifty using fabric from worn out clothes on the canvas!  For my version I decided to use scrapbooking paper and a clearance 8×10 frame from from Michaels.  I already had pink scrapbooking paper and a multi-flower punch on hand so my total spent was about $7.00.

I wasn’t sure what to use for the white centers of the flowers so I ended up dabbing some craft glue on them and shaking a little white glitter on top.  It’s hard to see in the picture (it’s nearly impossible to get a good pic of a frame with glass!) but the glitter gives the trees some subtle shimmer.

My Mother-in-law loved the special and personal gift from the kids so that’s good enough for me!  Please click over to Laura’s blog to read the project tutorial.  I could see this craft adapted for a teacher or birthday as well.

Make Mother’s Day Last: Frechetta Simply Inspired Pizza Giveaway

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of FRESCHETTA® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you’re like me the best Mother’s Day gift you can receive is a break from everyday chores like cooking and cleaning.  Well the nice people at Freschetta helped me avoid the dinner grind by giving me a gift certificate to try their new Simply Inspired Pizza.
This new line of pizzas comes in eight delicious-sounding varieties:

  • Harvest Supreme
  • Classic Bruschetta
  • Hawaiian Style
  • Chicken Bianco
  • Farmers Market Veggie
  • Rustic Pepperoni Pomodoro
  • Southern BBQ Recipe Chicken
  • Tuscan Farmhouse

Since my husband was doing the shopping, I let him choose the flavor for us to try.  He came home with the Classic Bruschetta.

The Fresch-Taste Seal Packing is extremely easy to open and uses 30% less packing material.  This pizza isn’t shrink wrapped so there’s no hassle removing the plastic as well as half your toppings!
But what my husband and I really like is the light, crispy crust and flavorful sauce.  It was more like eating a restaurant-style artisan pizza than a frozen one.
And now you can taste for yourself!  Freschetta is kindly offering one of my lucky readers a gift certificate to try  their Simply Inspired line of pizzas as well as a bamboo cutting board!

To enter:
1. Review the flavor varieties at FRESCHETTA® Simply…Inspired™ and leave a comment telling me which flavor you would like to try.
2. Like Freschetta on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and leave me a comment to let me know.
The lucky winner will be chosen on Friday, May 18th, 2011!

Winner, Winner, Pizza Dinner!

Today I’m announcing the winner of the Freschetta Simply Inspired pizza & cutting board giveaway!  Thank you to everyone who entered to win.  The winner is…

Lesley Mitchell from the blog One Cheap Chick 
Lesley send me an email at thethriftress@gmail.com so I can arrange to send you your pizza gift card and cutting board!

First Trip to Lucketts Spring Market

On Sunday I packed up the whole family to check out the Lucketts Spring Market.  As soon as we pulled up to the stoplight near the Old Lucketts Store I started to get excited!  There were so many great items everywhere I looked.

After we parked the cars (we brought two so we could bring home more goodies!) we strolled through the rows and rows of dealer booths.  I wanted to take home one of everything.

The whole time I kept my eyes peeled for Cassie from Primitive & Proper and Marian, AKA Miss Mustard Seed.  I came around the corner of one row and saw a booth that I loved filled with beautiful, colorful pieces.  Then I recognized some of the furniture from Cassie’s blog.

Cassie and I had a great time chatting and she got to meet the whole crazy family.  One of the best blog buddies a girl can have!  You can read more about Cassie & Lucketts here.

Cassie’s booth was next to Wild Rose & Co so I got a chance to chat with Lynette and peruse the goods at my perennial fav Chartreuse & Co.

Finally I spotted Miss Mustard Seed’s booth.  It was difficult to recognize at first because the place was wiped out!  You can see the before and after here.  Marian convinced me to give chalk paint a try (putting an order in soon) and was so very encouraging and supportive!

Now you are probably wondering about the shopping.  While these folks enjoyed hot dogs, funnel cakes & lemonade I got down to business and visited the Lucketts Store, the design house and several booths.
Now my friends: the eye candy!
My favorite part was the design house.  Miss Mustard Seed told me that they change the decor every month – WOW!  My daughter decided this was the princess room.  See there’s her crown on the table!
I went to the market on a mission to find a chest of drawers for my daughter’s room but didn’t have any luck.  Instead I picked up a cute leather cuff for my sister and a cool wrought iron globe.  I couldn’t go home empty handed.
More Lucketts pics on my Facebook page…

Coffee Table to Upholstered Ottoman

This project has been torturing me for a while now.  I just wasn’t sure I could pull it off.  But when I finally hunkered down today and finished the skirt, I was really surprised by the results!  Here’s how this baby started out.

This coffee table has been haunting me for nearly ten years and two houses.  My husband bought it before we were married.  It is a quality, heavy piece of furniture but it never seemed to work with my vision for the family room.   You know me, though, I never wanted to shell out the big bucks for something new so I lived with it.  Then it struck me that upholstering it in drop cloths might be just the makeover the coffee table needed!

I started by removing the feet and giving them a quick shot of black spray paint.  (Like my ingenious styrofoam paint pedestal?  I have used it over and over to paint and I love it.  Don’t throw out your large pieces of styrofoam!)

Next I covered the whole table top and sides with two to three layers of egg crate mattress pads using spray adhesive.  I researched the price for upholstery foam but just could not justify $30/yard!  Two full size egg crates cost me only $30 dollars total at Target and was enough to get the job done.

When I got to the upholstering part that’s when things started to get hairy!  I’m sure I didn’t go about it in the proper fashion and the ottoman may have ended up a little lumpy in places.  But much to my surprise adding the skirt and ribbon along with a ton of staples and hot glue really saved the project!

And see that tray on top?  I fashioned it out of the old coffee table drawers.  Then I painted the interior the same turquoise as my favorite lampand added the same chevron material as the curtains to the bottom. LOVE. IT.

I am having a drawer repurposing moment right now.  Got another project using drawers coming up later in the week.  So stay tuned!

Repurposed Drawers

Remember these old cabinets I removed for my laundry room makeover?

Did you think I just kicked those babies to the curb?  Heck no!  Much to my husband’s consternation I have been hanging on to the upper cabinet and the lower drawers (the lower cabinet fell apart during demo or I would have kept it too).  Mr. Thriftress thoroughly detests just loves old cabinets and drawers strewn about the house!  So to tidy up an bit and keep the whining to a minimum I set to work repurposing the drawers for my son’s room.  With a little paint and some wheels the drawers became these adorable rolling storage carts for the Lego table!

I’ve always wanted one of these awesome Pottery Barn Kids activity tables with the carts that tuck underneath.

Now I’ve got my own for just the cost of 8 small wheels (about $18) available at the home improvement center!  I used the same dark blue paint as my son’s bed frame which I already had on hand and the handles are made from rope we had lying around the garage.  Sweet!  I’m so excited about making something out of nothing and maybe getting the Lego bits & pieces under control.

Here’s the step by step for making your own activity carts.

  1. Find a drawer to repurpose.  Mine are from a laundry room demo.  If you don’t have drawers on hand you can find them at thrift stores likeHabitat for Humanity ReStore or on Freecyle and Craigslist.
  2. Remove the hardware and rough up the surface of the drawer with the sander or sand paper.  My drawers are laminate so I gave them a thoroughsanding to make sure the paint would adhere.
  3. Drill holes for the rope handle or whatever hardware you plan to use.  The laminate tends to chip when drilling holes so I did this before priming & painting.
  4. Prime.
  5. Paint.
  6. Using a screwdriver attach the wheels to each corner of the drawer.
  7. Add the rope handle.  I simply knotted the rope on the inside and outside of the drawer to secure it.

Done!  Now you’ve got yourself a handy toy tote or under bed storage!

What have you repurposed in your home?

Knock Off Decor Feature Today!

Good afternoon!  Just want to let you know that my repurposed drawers project is featured on Knock Off Decor today!

If you have never visited Knock Off Decor before check it out!  Everyday Beckie from Infarrantly Creative features budget friendly projects inspired by the likes of Pottery Barn, Anthropologie and others.  Because after all “imitation is the highest form of flattery”!

How to Celebrate Your Sister’s 30th Birthday

First, cry a little bit because she’s your little sister!  Then get over it and work your magic to make her a glamorous birthday present.

I scored the vintage mirror at a yard sale for just $3!

I wasn’t sure about the urn and flowers detail at the top at first but once the turquoise spray paint (left over Krylon Bahama Sea from my lamp makeover) went on I love those details!

Next get dolled up for the big 30th birthday party and take a few fashion blogger shots with your sis!

Then eat some delish vanilla birthday cake.  Cake that says “30 Never Looked So Fashionable!” and wears a hot pink skinny belt!

Finish off the night dancing at a bar till closing and eating pizza in the wee hours of the morning.  Then catch a few hours of sleep and wish you were only 30 again!

Happy Birthday Melissa!  And remember…

Beachy Mud Room Update

I think all moms dream about an organized mud room with all the shoes and coats neatly lined up.  Something with big beautiful storage like this maybe?

I don’t have space (or $$) for something like that but I do have a nook perfect for a mud room right beside the backdoor. I purchased a clearance shelf from jcp.com and added a white bench that used to be in my daughter’s room. Done! The perfect place to corral shoes and hang up coats!

Except…it wasn’t looking so hot.

The “mud room” became code for the “dumping ground”.   While I love to throw all the shoes on the bottom shelf to get them up off the floor, it just looks unkempt.  And let’s not even talk about the thoughtless arrangement of knick knacks on top of the shelf mkay?

A few weeks ago while browsing at The Container Store I found the perfecttotes to fit inside the bench cubbies.  And they even had beachy stripes with rope handles.  The price wasn’t terrible at $9.99 each so I bought them.  Once I got those totes home I knew I had to give the honey colored baskets a shot of spray paint as well to tie the whole look together.  Here’s what the corner looks like now.

I even managed to pull together a lovely arrangement on the shelf using items I had around the house: black and white framed photos of my kids, a chippy window frame, a canning jar and specimen art I made myself with a frame and pack of sand dollars.

The shoes are hidden and the color palette so much more sophisticated!  The look just makes me feel calm.

Countdown to Vacation

Two weeks from today my husband and I are leaving for a week long vacation in HAWAII!  And the kids are staying with my parents!

We haven’t been on a vacation – other than family trips to the beach – since our honeymoon in 2003.  I am beyond excited.  I never imagined we woud be going on this trip this year.  Normally we are practical people who feel guilty spending money on a reasonable rental in Ocean City.

But our dear friends are getting married in Hawaii so we are going!  I nearly got down on my knees to thank them for their choice of venue.

I think the kids will do great with their grandparents.  My parents live about 5 hours away so they are looking forward to some quality time with the kids – although they might need a Hawaiian vacation when the week is over!  I just hope my husband and I can make it through the week without missing the kiddos too much.

So here’s where I need your help.  If you’ve been to Hawaii (specifically Oahu) I would love to hear your experiences.  What are the must-do activities?  Most importantly, what the heck should I pack?  I’m feeling like pack it all – to heck with baggage fees!  Not so thrifty.  I need help girls!

There’s wi-fi at the house where we are staying so get ready for a week of gorgeous Hawaii photos!

 

Red, White & Blue Cake Bites

Why not make some of these delicious cake bites this 4th of July?  Not sold on the idea?  Let me convince you.

  • This recipe is EASY – So easy the kids can help and you won’t pull your hair out.
  • It’s CHEAP – If you’re an extreme couponer you have the ingredients in your stockpile right now (and you probably got them for free).  If not, cake mix, frosting and chips are pretty reasonable even without coupons.
  • Cake bites are PURE AWESOME – When I made these for a BBQ people devoured them.  Zero cake bites left within 30 minutes.  Your guests will think you are a dessert goddess.

Okay let’s get started!  Gather your ingredients: 1 box cake mix, 1 tub frosting and 1 bag of chocolate chips.

I made two varieties: Lemon cream cheese white chocolate and sugar free vanilla and chocolate.  The lemon cream cheese was the clear winner.  The taste is refreshing and summery.  Perfect for a BBQ.  The sugar free version was also well received.  No one noticed it was a lower calorie alternative!

Step 1: Bake your cake according to the directions.  When it’s cool, call the kids and let them squish it up into crumbs.

Don’t worry, they will clean up all the stray crumbs!

Step 2: Add the tub of frosting to the cake and mix it up to create “dough”.  Chill the dough until it’s cold enough to work with without being too sticky. (1-2 hours)
Step 3: Roll the dough into one inch balls.
Step 4: Chill the cake balls in the freezer on a baking sheet. (1-2 hours) This will make it easier to roll the cake in the chocolate.
Step 5: Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth.
Step 6: Using a spoon roll the cake bite in the melted chocolate.  Shake off excess chocolate and place the cake bites back on the baking sheet.  Immediately add red, white & blue sprinkles before the chocolate dries.
Step 7: EAT!

Have a Happy 4th of July!

Guest Posting at Keller Creative Today!

I’m running around trying to cross all the last minute items off my vacation checklist this week.  But I still managed to find some time to guest post at Keller Creative.  Kim is featuring a series of thrifty guest posts as a run up to The I <3 Thrifting event this weekend.

I’m so excited to be guest posting today talking about one of my favorite thrifty tools.

Click here to learn about how to get started with Freecycle in your area and check out the fabulous items I have found on my local list.  Including this antique dresser I picked up just this weekend…

 

Thrifting on Vacation: Kailua Salvation Army

Hey guys I am back from a wonderful trip to Hawaii!  When you’re on vacation you are supposed to relax and make time for the things you enjoy right?  Well I love thrifting – even in Hawaii!  One day I was out shopping for souvenirs in the trendy beach town of Kailua when I stumbled upon the local Salvation Army.

I grabbed my camera and snapped a few pics of the asian-inspired, vintage 70’s, Hawaiian goodies within for your viewing pleasure.  I think I also got the award for “Weirdest Tourist” while I was in there photographing a thrift store rather than the beautiful Hawaiian scenery.

The racks of second hand Hawaiian muumuus went on for miles.  The local eco-conscious store Muumuu Heaven takes vintage Aloha wear like this and transforms it into fashionable apparel and home decor.  Oh what you could DIY with a sewing machine and a couple of these babies…

The furniture department was a little sparse but I thought these chairs could be adorable with fun paint and fabric.

The bric-a-brac was where it’s at though, folks.  I really wish I could have figured out how to get some of these goodies home safely on the plane.

It was really fun to take a peek at a thrift store in paradise!  What thrift store gems have you found while traveling?

Comic Book Themed Baby Shower

You might be wondering what I have been up to lately…  Well if you’re a fan of my Facebook page you know that I’ve been busy crafting a co-ed baby shower BBQ for one of my husband’s oldest and dearest friends and his wife.

The father-to-be is a serious comic book collector so I used that as my inspiration for the decorations and color scheme.  Typically superhero or comic book themed events are for children’s birthday parties.  I worked hard to keep the decor sophisticated enough for adults without losing the element of fun!  Here’s what I dreamed up.

Guests were greeted by this fun wreath.  Ribbon, card stock and a foam wreath form is all it took to whip it up.

The cityscape backdrop really makes the dessert table come together.  Guests asked if I painted it – but it’s just a Target shower curtain!!  So. Easy.

I knew from the start I wanted a comic book banner.  You may have seen this before at One Charming Party.  I scored these comic books on Freecycle and hot glued them to dollar store ribbon.

Comic book sound effect toppers dressed up the cupcakes.  I simply designed the cupcake toppers using my word processing software and printed them on card stock.  (This party is all about the paper crafts!)

Dessert also included lemon cake pops, red velvet cake (we were celebrating a birthday as well), cherry pound cake, superhero lollipops (printable found here) and caramel corn.  Cityscape table runner also from Target.

The bar area dressed up with streamers and color coordinated accessories from Target.

The onesies were fun and easy to make with printer transfer paper.  The parents-to-be got to take them home as part of their gift too!

Martha’s tissue paper pom-poms over the kitchen table.  So addictive you may find them in every room of my house soon.   You can see the tutorial for yourself here but you have been warned. 🙂

The whole shindig came together more beautifully than I could have dreamed and was a totally fun time with great friends!  Congratulations Dennis & Veronica!