It’s near January. And I’m expecting my third son any day now. Nursing and postpartum recovery await me, so this New Year is not about getting my best body nor any sort of diet.
Let’s be honest. We’ve all been there, done that, and it’s a bit uninspiring.
But what I am interested in is how food can bring relief to my tired, postpartum body while nourishing my new child and the rest of my family. There are foods that heal, and we needn’t be intimidated by lack of money, time, or ability.
And whether you’re expecting a baby soon or just curious how food can help balance hormones and elevate your mood after the sugar-infused season we just celebrated, Eugene’s newest specialty grocery store is here to help! Be sure to enter the $50 Whole Foods gift card giveaway too!
Their produce department often offers $5 off coupons...and, well, it’s just so pretty.
Look for their private Whole Foods or 365 label on all sorts of products – Whole Foods has these high quality products manufactured by reputable companies so they can offer them at a lower price.
And the Eugene store is designed in a way where it’s also just a fun place to hang out when downtown – think family date with slices of wood-burned oven pizza in their eating area, happy hour at their bar offering local brews,
or trying out one of the local businesses housed within Whole Foods: Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt offering fresh yogurt and smoothies (it’s ridiculously good), or a cup of Wandering Goat coffee.
When you visit, you’ll also find that there are very well educated team members available to answer your questions and make recommendations based on your interests or needs.
Currently, Heng Ou’s book, The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother motivates me. Ou highlights some of those “trendy” foods we’ve been hearing about, such as bone broth and turmeric, that have been nourishing people for centuries but are currently new again to us westerners.
Listed below are a few of Ou’s favorite pantry items, all of which can be affordably found
at Whole Foods. Click on links for detailed recipes, inspired by Ou.
More Whole Foods tips:
And…Whole Foods Eugene is giving away a $50 gift card to a GoMomGo Reader! So awesome!
Comment on this post with what you love about Whole Foods (if you've been there) or what interests you in Whole Foods if you haven't been yet.
You can also enter on our Facebook page & share for more entries.
Giveaway winner will be announced on Sunday, January 1, 2017 at noon. Happy New Year, right?
Okay folks. We're going to get straight to the point today. None of the usual rambling soliloquies about why thrifting is the best (already discussed that) or what you should look for (it's right here). Today we're going to talk about the nitty-gritty of HOW one finds spectacular deals at second hand stores. Guys! This is the exciting part! We're putting the pedal to the metal and all that!
How to find EXACTLY what you're looking for in the giant sea of randomness that is a thrift store:
1. Be realistic. Come to terms with the knowledge that finding exactly what you're looking for is probably NOT going to happen.
---Thrift store shopping is not very useful for finding a very specific thing. At least not right away. It might take a looooong time before you find something if you have a very particular item in mind. For example, we eat a lot of honey. So much honey that I buy it in really giant containers. I have been wanting a small honey pot for-to-the-ever. It would be so easy to hop on Amazon and order one. But! That would cost a lot more money. And who knows - if I wait long enough, maybe I'll decide I don't need one after all. Or find something else that works in it's place. Plus I love the history behind items that have already had homes. I feel like it gives them a warmth, you know? Like they probably should have a name. Is that just me? Hmm.
---Here's what thrifting IS useful for: finding things that will work even if they're not 100% what you had in mind, and finding things that you didn't know you needed in the first place. :)
2. Be selective. Just because it is used doesn't automatically make it a good deal. I don't know if you've noticed, but thrift stores have wised up to the fact that more and more people are shopping second hand. Since there's a bigger market, the prices have gone up. Also, do you want to know what one thing has single handedly ruined thrifting? A little new fangled fad I like to call the interlines. (Get it? Internet+online? I made that gem of a word up accidentally one day after honestly not being able to think of the right word. Parenting makes me tired.) Anywho, the internet has given thrift stores the ability to look up what gets donated and price it accordingly. So that charming little sweater with the European brand? Yeah, they Googled it. They know it retails for $185. So they've priced it at $40. BLAST. This leads me to...
3. Know your stuff. Whatever you're shopping for, know what it costs new. Even better, know what your stuff goes for on Craigslist and those Facebook buy/sell/trade pages. That way you know if you've got a good price.
4. Be selective. I know I already said that. But this is different. Look at items you're considering carefully. Are all the parts there? Count those puzzle pieces! Check that clothing over so very carefully for stains and wear. Test those zippers! Button those buttons! Someone got rid of whatever you're holding for a reason - hopefully it's in perfect condition and they just didn't like it or use it. But maybe there's a small hole, or a part doesn't work, or it smells slightly moldy. Whatever. Just do me a favor and check it out. Really well.
---Two things I've noticed and look for on clothing: cuffs and necklines. Stains hide there.
---Be 100% sure that whatever you're buying is actually what you want. I can't tell you how many times I've found fabulous shoes that are just half a size too small, and I think to
myself, "I don't mind that they're a bit tight! I can make them work! Because they are perfect!" But I actually WILL mind, and realize that they're actually NOT perfect, when they're rubbing my tootsies raw and I'm changing my bandaids every 30 min and my brand-new-to-me shoes have a brand new blood stain on them. Be realistic.
5. Practice makes perfect. Thrift store shopping may take a bit longer than buying new, but it is possible to zip through a little more quickly if you know how. Here's how I do it:
---While looking at clothes, I skim the rack searching for three things: pattern, material, and color. This really helps narrow down the playing field. For instance, since I am super boring, I skip over pretty much anything that's not plain or striped. Apparently I would be really good at being Amish. The material is also super important: No need to wear anything scratchy or pilled or threadbare - pay attention to condition. At most stores, the clothing (except for infants) is arranged by color, so go straight to the shades that appeal to you.
---When looking at toys, check for stuff that is in it's original box or at least in a Ziploc bag. If they're contained, you've got a way better chance of all the pieces being there.
---When looking at shoes, always check the sole for wear, especially the toes and heels. If they are velco, check to be sure that they still fasten. Also, if the shoes are a brand that you don't recognize, try to find a pair of Nikes or another well known brand to compare them to in order to determine if they run true to size.
---Look for brands that you don't recognize. Pay attention to the font that they're written in. Did that sound as weird as I think it did? Hmm. Well, at any rate, I've noticed that I am drawn to clothes and shoes that have a certain type of label font. It probably corresponds to what sort of clothes they are - fussy labels = fussy clothes, simple labels = simple clothes, etc. I sound full blown crazy pants here don't I?
---Typically, you get what you pay for, so clothes that are more expensive brand new generally are in much better condition used, because they started out as high quality items. Also, people who can afford to buy expensive things brand new generally...how might I phrase this...have plenty of things. So if they buy a Columbia windbreaker, but don't really love it, they shrug it off, donate it, and buy a new one. I don't even bother looking at certain brands at thrift stores, because I know that I can buy them brand new for not much more than second hand prices.
6. Know what you're looking for. I keep a list in my phone of what my boys have clothing-wise so that I know not to buy another pair of pajamas because we already have a quadrillion pairs of pajamas for pete's sake but we don't have any shorts so unless he's going to rock fleece feeties in the middle of July I better keep my eyes peeled for the shorts! Or whatever. The most helpful list I have is definitely the shoe list.
All hail the shoe list! The way I figure it, living in Oregon means we only really need two pairs of shoes for our littles. A pair of boots for six months of the year, and a pair of Keens for the other six months. So whenever I see an awesome pair of either of those, I check my handy list to see if I have them already or not, and then buy accordingly.
7. Know your store. This is important folks. By making friends with the employees, you can find out a lot of important little secrets that they don't tell the general public. Okay, maybe they're not secrets - more like handy hints. For example:
---If you qualify for any discounts (senior, military, etc) be sure to ask about those.
---If you donate at St. Vinnie's, they give you a coupon for 20% off one regularly priced item. This is awesome because you can save money as well as be motivated to follow the all important "one thing in the house, one thing out" rule.
---You're likely to find the best selection when the seasons change and after the first of the year. Those are times that people feel like cleaning house, and thrift stores get tons of great donations. So check your calendar. Hey guess what? It's January right this second! Let the shopping commence!
---Different stores may specialize in different things. Some have great selections of appliances, others have really great book sections. Check it out.
---Many stores have big clearances several times a year. For example, I know that SVDP does a 50% all books and clothing (which HELLO that is such a steal) right around most holidays. This sale is always on Sunday and Monday only, and they never announce it until the Saturday before. I've asked if they can tell me when the sales are and they always say no. Way to play it coy, Vinnie's.
---If you are there often, and are friendly with the workers, some of them are kind enough to keep an eye out for stuff that you are looking for. Isn't that the coolest?
---To move inventory through the store, most second hand shops use a colored tag system.
The longer an item has been there, the cheaper it is. SVDP runs on a three week rotation. The first week, the item is full price, then the next week it's 25% off, then 50% off. Find out when the store turns over the tags. SVDP turns on Tuesdays, so we go every Tuesday morning. Which leads me to...
8. Shop often! It's really the best way to find the best stuff. We've turned it into a lovely part of our weekly routine. Also, thrifting is a great thing to do on a rainy afternoon when you just need to get out of the house. It's causal, drop in and out, and potentially free - what could be better if you have to be inside?
9. Be prepared to leave empty handed. Some days the second hand deal fairy smiles down on you, and some days she does not. :)
Wowie! That was so good, right?
Thanks, Megan for showing us your ways!
If you enjoyed these thrifting posts, keep an eye out for more through the year. We love to help you!
First Class Second Hand, Part 1
First Class Second Hand, Part 2
Megan Defferding is the mom to two super fun boys who love to find great stuff to do all around Lane County! Check out her blog series, Happy Adventuring, weekly on GoMomGo.
Okay, so did any of you do any second hand shopping this week? I am seriously so curious - please share your treasures if you did! Last week in this post. I spent some time arguing that shopping second hand could pretty much make you win at life. I am totally convinced that you can have and wear quality things without spending an arm and a leg to do it. Now. In case you're thinking, "Sure Megan, but who has time to dig up all those treasures?" I hear your protests all the way
Thrift stores can be a bit overwhelming. They're like those machines at casinos that you stand in and try to grab the money that's blowing everywhere, except instead of just money, there are slips of paper with "BUMMER" written on them too. You have to sort through the bummers and grab the good stuff, yo. Here's WHAT I look for when I'm shopping second hand:
1. Shoes. Let's just start with the controversial one right off the bat. Some bloggers that I respect greatly for their second hand shopping ways advocate buying shoes new. I disagree. In fact, I can't even think of any of the reasons behind this thinking, although I'm sure the reasons make sense. I just don't see anything wrong with walking a mile in someone else's shoes. (Do you see what I did there?) For the average person needing shoes to fulfill an average purpose - nothing specialized like shoes that a nurse will stand in for 12 hours straight or shoes that a runner will wear to run a marathon - used shoes should work out just fine. My oldest kiddo will turn four in a few weeks, and the only new pairs of shoes he's ever had are ones that have been given to him by grandparents. And he actually has super cute shoes! Next week we'll look at how to pick used shoes. And in the meantime, check out these Chacos that I scored for myself this week:
Aren't they beauts? $24.99, 50% off = a steal. And they are literally unworn! Brand new! Crazy.
2. Books. Brand new books cost a fortune. And it's way more fun to have pre-loved books (bonus reading material: the inscriptions on the front cover - "To Dylan with love on your 5th birthday. Fondly, Grandma Sally") I think St Vincent de Paul has the best selection of books for the best price. They are so well organized, and kids books are just $0.50 each. Here are the books that we picked up on two recent trips to SVDP.
3. Non-toy toys. My preschooler lives for stuff like measuring cups, funnels, and muffin tins.
4. Educational toys. My favorite brands are Learning Resources, Educational Insights, and Ravensburger. These toys are super expensive brand new and are so awesome. Look for them!
5. Quality clothes. Okay, to preface this one, let me just say that I'm sort of picky about how I dress my boys. Since I have to shop for, wash, and put away their clothes, not to mention look at them all day, I figure I have earned the right to be a little choosy about what they wear. So forgive me.
Here are my picky-pants style rules
(also known as how to put the smack down on overly complicated wardrobes for children):
-If everything I buy matches everything else, then my preschooler should be able to pick out his own clothes and have them look reasonably put together. Here's how I work that out:
---I buy all similar colors. Mostly blues, greens, greys, and browns, because that's what makes my eyes happy. :)
---I avoid patterns. Except for stripes. I love alllllll the stripes. #allstripesallthetime
---I don't buy anything with words or characters on it. I know, I know. Just go ahead and label me a no-fun killjoy mom. But here's the deal: my littles are going to be smacked with consumerism craziness for the rest of their lives. I see no reason for them to be walking around with ads on their clothing already. Now that being said, my preschooler has a Lightning McQueen shirt that he would wear Every. Single. Day. if it were up to him. His uncle bought it for him (Lightning t-shirt gift = instant hero uncle status) and sometimes I hide it just so that his preschool teachers know he has other clothes and that I actually do my laundry.
---You know those super cute outfits that have matching tops and bottoms? Or even multiple pieces (like how Gymboree has the shirt, overalls, pants, bib, sweatshirt, vest, hat, socks, and sweater with the matching lady bug or puppy dog design?) So cute right? Especially on somebody else's kid. I don't want to have to worry about matching everything, or about arguing with my preschooler about why he has to/can't wear something in particular.
---Since I'm allergic to ironing (It's a thing. Check with your doctor. You might suffer from it too!) my littles don't have anything with collars or buttons. Okay, I make exceptions for Christmas and Easter. My condition allows me to iron twice a year, but no more.
-So basically my kids end up in the same thing every day: a striped or plain shirt, and a pair of pants. Might sound boring, but in my head it sounds simple and easy.
Shopping second hand is a great chance to look for brands that I love, but can't afford to buy new. Zutano or Hanna Andersson? Oh man! I snap those babies up! At thrift stores you can expect to pay $3-$5 for items of kids clothing.
6. Special occasion clothing. That fluffy Easter dress? That dapper sweater vest? You know some kid only wore that once, grew out of it, and their mom donated it. Don't buy fancy dress up stuff new!
7. Brand new things. You would not believe the stuff that people give away without using. Two of my recent finds - these awesome photo cubes and this book. The photo cubes make FANTASTIC grandparent (or whoever) gifts. And this book! I cannot overstate my excitement for this book!! It's a 3 year journal for you and your kiddo (super optimistic, I know), but what a wonderful concept right? It has zero writing in it. The sales tag inside says it cost $16.95 at Anthropolgie (please oh please let me live in that store).
8. My all time favorite thing to find: One of a kind items. I absolutely love it when my littles are dressed in something that is handcrafted - it shows such love and care, even when the item wasn't originally intended for them. And so unique! I picked up this sweater for my six month old recently. Be still my heart!
So there they are. The top eight things that I think are worth looking for at thrift stores. What did I forget? Probably lots, since I truly believe my babies have sucked most of my worthwhile brain cells right out through my uterus.
Also! Before I forget! Two totally unmentioned yet awesome sources of clothes and toys and all things stuff for your littles are consignment sales and...drumroll please...my all time favorite: hand me downs. BOOM. Hand me downs are always the best. Giant high five for passing things amongst friends. But getting into those topics would open a whole new can of worms. Also, look for a special post around May dealing entirely with how to shop at garage sales. It's an art.
Next week we'll look at HOW to sort through all of the...ahem...less appealing stuff that fills the aisles of thrift stores (and trust me, there is a lot of unappealing stuff) and find the gems and jewels that are just waiting for you to find them and love them and take them home! Sort of like a puppy. But less work and mess.
How awesome was that?
If you're all inspired to get out & find some first class deals Megan listed some great shops to start with at the end of this post. Have fun!
Megan Defferding is the mom to two super fun boys who love to find great stuff to do all around Lane County! Check out her blog series, Happy Adventuring, weekly on GoMomGo.