Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We Love Thrift Stores!

I'm pretty sure that the 5 people who read this blog know us personally. I'm also pretty sure that you know that we're not millionaires! When you have a finite amount of money with which to furnish your house (like most people) you may need to get creative. There are lots of ways to find great buys- the key is being patient. We went back and forth on the patient part, trust me.

1)  Garage Sales
          Best in the summer. Your local paper should have listings or you can also hop online. I found a website: that lists them but there are several out there. The problem here for us is that they are usually Fridays and Saturdays, which I have been working. My favorite thing about garage sales is that usually everything is laid out. If you're looking for furniture you can drive by slowly and if you don't see it, chances are, they don't have it. Otherwise, you can just hop out of the car, do a quick look and hop back in. If you're willing to get up early on the weekend you can find great deals at garage sales. Sometimes people may be new to them and price their things too high but you can always ask if they are willing to negotiate. Just be respectful and be willing to say no. Remember, they got up even earlier than you did :)

2)  Craigslist
          This can be tricky but also very rewarding. I've found that people on Craigslist are often moving and want to get rid of their stuff quickly. Or, they have bought new furniture and need to get rid of the old furniture. They will usually negotiate on the price if you need to. Here are the tricky parts: personal safety for the buyer and seller, cleanliness of the item, and location. A lot has been made recently of the personal safety aspect. Bottom line- be smart. Don't agree to meet by yourself at midnight wearing a negligee. Got it? If possible, meet in a public place. Obviously, if you're looking at their couch, that may be difficult. If you need to go to their house, have someone go with you or at the very least let someone know the person's name and the address where you were going. Remember, the seller doesn't know you either. Now, the cleanliness of the item. You can't tell just by a quick glance whether something has bugs in or on it. This is the part that kind of creeps me out. I found a great website with recommendations for preventing bed bugs, which can be on other things than beds: .I think it would help the general cleanliness and other bugs as well. Lastly, location. When you email or call the person, you may want to ask where they're located. They could be on the 4th floor of an apartment building. If you're getting an awesome couch for $50 you may not care but, remember, you still have to haul the couch down those stairs so you should at least take it into consideration! We found our coffee table from an ad on Craigslist that turned out to be for a store called Vintage Connection in Vancouver. They are closed until further notice because of rain damage to roof but were open by appointment for us to look at the coffee table.

3)  Thrift/Vintage Stores
          Portland has oodles of thrift stores. Even just searching "vintage" on Yelp will get you 82 entries. That's not even "thrift". These are certainly hit or miss. Be prepared to look around. And look. And look. Do your research online beforehand. We found out by looking on Yelp which thrift stores in the area have loads of furniture and which mostly specialize in clothes. If you're looking for furniture like we were, then you don't want to go to Vintage By the Pound, which you can find out on Yelp is a 50s clothes horse's haven! Unfortunately, not what we needed. We have been to several now.

Our favorite by far is Lounge Lizard. We got a light for my craft room, a chair for our living room, antique ice trays, T's desk, and some decorative antique lock back plates. Right next door is Really Good Stuff, which is just...odd. It is crammed with stuff- some treasures and some junk and it kind of stinks sometimes. We've been twice and will go back. It's the kind of place that I would bet you could find something totally awesome but you would have to look. We haven't gotten anything there yet. House of Vintage on Hawthorne had our living room side tables and a great vase (but they weren't there the first time). For decorations, we found some glass vases at Red Fox Vintage, though their furniture pickin's were slim. We also checked out Reviva but didn't find anything interesting that day. It's close to our house so we may go back at some point. We looked at Goodwill but surprisingly, it was really pricy. While there we also found our bedside tables. They may be posting some more stuff on Craigslist but will reopen at some point in Portland. Lastly, we really liked ReRun but haven't found anything there yet. They have a great selection of furniture but just nothing that fit out needs at the time.

Well, we're going to go do some yard work. Hope everyone is doing well. Miss you all!

old, hated Ikea coffee table
moving around the vase
Yay! Bedside tables!

Penny fits perfectly

Looking crazy

Old timey ice trays

Friday, June 15, 2012

My New Niece

Hey, everyone! Just wanted to put out there how happy I am for my brother, Mike and my sister in law, Amon. They just had their second child, Olivia on Sunday, June 10th at 11:18AM. She weighed 6lbs 15oz and was 20.75in long. I can't wait to see her in person!

Olivia's big sister, Ellie
And, can't make a niece post without showing Alannah, my sister in law Laura's cutie!
 Now we have three nieces to love on!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ikea and Our Mattress

First- let's get the not so great stuff out of the way so we can talk about the fun stuff!

This is our new couch. We didn't want a new couch. We wanted a new cover for our current Kivik couch from Ikea. T surprised me one morning by putting the new cover on. What a doll face :) This is why I love him! I was fast asleep, cuddled in bed and he was hard at work in the living room tugging at the new cover. Unfortunately, it was harder than it should have been. Way harder. In fact, the back frame of the couch splintered down the entire length of the piece. I know what you're thinking, Solidly built, this couch. We agree. T was terrified that I was going to be a raging meanie and punch him in the heart for breaking our couch. Anyone could see that it was not his fault. A couch should not break when you are changing the cover. Unless you are doing it while drunk. With donkeys. Anyway, we called Ikea and they said, "Good news! It's still under warranty! We can probably help you. It doesn't matter that you can't find your receipt because I have all the information in the computer because you had it delivered. We will start a case file and someone will call you within 48 hours."
Sweet! Except they never did. So 72 hours later I called them.
"Yes, we looked it over and you can just bring the entire couch to the Portland Ikea and they will replace it for you."
The entire couch? It's a modular system, so I reiterated that it was just the back. We don't need an entire couch. Surely that's a waste of money.
"No, ma'am. You have to bring the entire couch. We can't do just one part of it."
Um. Okay. I asked what I had to bring with me. I like being prepared.
"Bring a photo ID and the couch. We have your receipt information on file. All you need is the ID and the couch."
Got it. So we rented a Budget pick up truck, took the cover back off the couch, disassembled it and hauled everything the Ikea. We told them the case number, who we talked to and that we were here to exchange the couch. They wanted the receipt. I'm sorry, what? I was told by both people I talked to that I didn't need by receipt. Then they said they weren't sure if they would exchange it. I was told over the phone that all I had to do was bring in the couch and it would be exchanged. The associate called her main manager down and they talked and hemmed and hawed a long time together. So there we were, sitting on the little benches in the waiting area like we were waiting to hear back if we had Mono or something. We may have driven this broken couch (in pieces) in the back of a rented truck to Ikea, only to have to drive it back home. I was about to go off. Luckily, the main manager ended up saying that she would allow the exchange like the people on the phone originally told us. They took our old couch, gave us a new one, and we were off. Trust me when I say, they are glad they took back the faulty couch. We are all glad.

Now for the happy part :) Our mattress! We had been sleeping on my full size bed that I'd had for years. It wasn't bad but it just wasn't quite enough room. Moving to the new house seemed like the perfect time to get a new, bigger bed. We bought our organic latex mattress from Cotton Cloud Futons which isn't just futons. We ended up getting a Queen Latex Green 6in firm. We are normally more medium density people but with latex we needed to go firmer than a regular mattress. If you know much about latex, you have two methods of production, the Dunlop and the Talalay. On the Cotton Cloud Website it goes into detail about the methods, but basically, the Dunlop is more dense and the Talalay is more airy. Ours is made using the Dunlop. Latex is awesome because it's supposedly naturally hypo-allergenic, dust mite & bed bug resistant. Also, it reduces pressure points because it molds to your body. We also got a 3 inch wool topper. We LOVE our bed. We also really liked the people at Cotton Cloud and would go back any time. Plus, they gave me a free pillow because I fell in love with it. Holla!
Just the 6in latex mattress
With the wool topper added
Showing the height with the topper

If you have any questions about mattress just ask. There are definitely some differences between latex and inner spring mattresses but it's nothing all that daunting, I promise.
Love you guys!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Aside from getting our deposit back, we are officially done with things at the apartment. We had cleaned it and turned it over on the 17th and now we have paid the closing utility bills. Feels pretty good!

Travis has been working full time lately because of some staffing issues at his store. We do not like this. He hasn't really been able to use his writing room much or do any hiking because he's been working. If you know T you know how important these things are to him. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon!

I had a great day shopping yesterday. I tried the new Watermelon Splash Fruit Refresher at Jamba Juice that's made with coconut water (with a coupon! And a free energy boost!). It was really, really good. Like their smoothies but not quite as heavy. Not that their smoothies are really all that heavy to begin with but still, it's lighter.
I finally had my engagement ring checked at the jewelers. My prongs have felt sharp for a while and I kept putting of getting it looked at. I wanted to make sure my diamond wasn't going to fall out. Turns out one prong needs to be rebuilt at some point and the tips of the others need to be balled (sp?) to smooth them out. My diamond is not in imminent danger of falling out, though, thank goodness.
Then I headed to Home Goods and found great deals on bathroom decor, kitchen towels, and sheets. Not the organic sheets we were looking for (if you have an organic mattress and pillows wouldn't it make sense to have sheets, too?) but we need some and these were a great deal (and soft, too!) At Best Buy I found a cheap home phone- nothing too exciting there- and then was looking around a bit. I can't help it. I have my grandmother's genes. That woman could spend an entire day in WalMart just looking. Guess what I found?? Season 4 of True Blood! I was super excited until I looked at the price tag. $55. I couldn't exactly justify that right now when we need things for the house. I put it back on the shelf and noticed, however, that the tag under it said $29.99. Could it be? I asked the associate, who told me that the first week it's out they have it on sale. That's right, baby. I giggled like a weirdo and snatched that DVD set up so fast he probably thought I was going to steal it.
Lastly, to wrap up my day of awesome shopping-ness: Target had curtains for our bedroom, misc items for our guests (coming the 16th!), greeting cards and popcorn from the concession area. Have you ever had their popcorn? It's almost like movie theater popcorn. Very yummy!

That's all for now. Travis is home and made butternut squash ravioli with brown butter sage sauce and french bread for dinner. No way I'm missing that. :)