Sunday, September 30, 2012

Consignment Events - Tips and Tricks

This one is a doozy, but if you trust me (cue imagery from Disney's Aladdin) then I promise I'll make it worth the read.  If you haven't heard of consignment shopping then click here and skool yo' sef.
Now on to business.  While there are several types of consignment stores (or charity shops) about, a 'consignment event' in the mom community means an event that hosts a feast of frugal frocks and frills for the smallest among us.  Kids often outgrow their clothes and gear before there's much wear, so consigning those items give parents a little padding in the pocketbook whether you're selling or shopping.  
As requested, I just uploaded my Fall Haul on my youtube channel.  If you are interested to see all that I got, head that direction. 
Here are a few insider tricks for those that might be gearing up for their first consignment shopping experience or those that feel overwhelmed by these events.  We're going to tackle it from a shoppers perspective.  Let's go through zee whole process together shall we?

Here's an overview of what we'll cover:
How to find consignment events near you
What to prepare before the event
How to navigate the space
Tricks for a successful trip
What to avoid

  • How to Find Consignment Events Near You
The most common nationally recognized event is called "Just Between Friends" and if you click the link and plug in your zip code, you can see if they host seasonal events in your area.  My friend Christina who is the uncrowned Consingment Queen, let me in on a convenient website called consignmentmommies
Just plug in your regional info and voila!  The hunt is over. 
Once you find an event, make sure to take note of the sale hours closely.  Most events offer special shopping hours to those that are volunteering, consigning their items or first time moms. Those lucky ducks get the first shot at the goods.  If you're interested in joining those ranks, check out how you can volunteer or sell a few of your own things. It's easy peasy!
  • What to Prepare for the Event
Planning on bringing your little one with you?  Check the website and make sure they allow strollers.  Some have tight quarters and will ask you to check your stroller at the door.  Wrangling the wee ones in all of those racks and piles of toys is tricky.  So if possible, leave them at home.
Make a list!  A list will help you cut through the bulk and give you an idea of what you're looking for. Don't freak, I'm not trying to limit you.  In no way do you have to stick to the list. Just use it a guide to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.  Keep it simple, even if you just write a couple of things down, it will help you eagle-eye in on the the best stuff.  Once you take that dive into the treasure trove with a goal you'll find other bits and bobs that catch your eye.
Bring a GIANT bag, laundry basket or tub
 to collect your loot.  Don't worry. You wont be the only one and nobody will look atcha funny, promise!   If they do allow strollers, consider bringing yours even if you have a sitter, it's a great make-shift pack mule on wheels!  Load that bugger up!

Wear comfy clothes with pockets for your list, money and cell phone.  You don't want to have to shop the racks, while dealing with a handbag flonking about every time you move your arm.
Are you shopping for big items like a crib?  Keep a 'Phone-a-Friend' on standby.  Let's say you find the perfect sleigh crib and fall in love but you're not sure if it meets safety guidelines, has been recalled or what the reviews are like.  If you're like me and don't have a smart phone you'll need to call someone that can do a quick Google search on the item for you.
Want to stay on a budget?  Bring cash.  Some sales have a cash only line that will allow you to avoid the massive lines at check out.  By the time you're done, every part of you is wiped out. The last thing you want to do is stand in a 30 minute queue.  But be warned, there's a chance you might find that Pottery Barn bedding set you've been eyeing for a steal.  Budgets can bum a girl out.

  • How to Navigate the Space

The events are divided into sections.  I took a poll on Facebook and it seems most veteran consignment shoppers hit up the same spots first.  If you are expecting, or have a child under a year old then your plan of attack will probably look different from mine.  I'd suggest you search for your big ticket items right outta the gate.  Hit up the pack and plays, high chairs, gliders, breast pumps and bouncers first.  An easy rookie mistake is to leave those things to the end because you don't want to have to lug them around with you.  Problem being, when you return for the item, someone else has snatched it up!  Grab that gorgeous euro-style pram in one arm and a volunteer with the other.  They'll take it to the hold area for you.  Typically they will hold an item for up to two hours.

Here's the game plan I follow for kiddos walking age or older, assuming you already have all your "gear".  I always B-line right to the shoes.  That's one item that I don't want to compromise on quality. Little feetsies and posture are at stake! See the "What To Avoid" section for more on this.  
Next, I shop for any pieces that might be in limited quantity.  Winter coats, holiday clothes or high end clothing like the elusive smocked dress I've been hunting unsuccessfully for will be in high demand. From there I dive into the clothes, then books and finally toys.  The toys are the most likely item at the event to have multiples in stock.  Betcha ten bucks that you see at least 5 little plastic rotary play phones, ya know the ones with the wheels and the smiling faces on them?   Same goes for a lot of the popular brands.  Most consignment shoppers don't go in with toys as their main focus.  It's likely you wont be competing for the goods there.
  • Tricks for a successful trip: 
No matter what age your shopping for I suggest grabbing anything that peaks your interest, even if you're not completely sold on it.  If you leave it on the rack, you're risking the chance it may not be there if you come back.  Hold on to it until you're done shopping and then sort through your haul before you check out.  You might realize later that piece you were unsure of fits perfectly into a cute outfit you've collected in your hunt!  Or maybe you'll find that matching Gymboree cardigan to go with that shirt you saw earlierAfter you've made the rounds to all of the different stations, go through your loot and make final cuts.

Plan your attack!  For clothing or nursery decor, have a color palette in mind.  This might sound kookie but trust me, if you keep certain colors in mind you'll gravitate toward things that will work well together.  Here are few examples from my recent event.  Most of these pieces were sold separately, from different sellers, but I came home with several mix and match outfits!  

  • Things to Avoid
It's easy to get carried away and start tossing anything with that coveted Janie and Jack label into your haul but remember, these items have survived a child before yours.  Give 'em a quick once over first!  If you're looking at pants make sure the waist band is in good condition and the elastic is in tact.  In my haul video I said that I wouldn't have purchased these pink pants had they not been in a set for that very reason.  The waist band is shot!  Had it been in better shape I would have loved these cute little pink skinny jeans.  
Sometimes these problems can be salvaged if the waist band comes with adjustable elastic on the inside (like on the other pink cords I bought), so make sure you take a peeksy.

Other things like loose buttons or strings can be fixed.  If you're looking on shirts run your finger along the inside of the collar. Funny enough, I've had several consignment purchases with peeling tag-less labels printed on the inside. Nobody wants prickly, scratchy plastic poking them in the back.  If it's on a really cute dress I may decide it's worth the extra time at home removing the label.  But if it's on a $1 onsie, I'm not going to bother.  On all items with zippers you'll want to give them a quick trial run.  As long as it's easy up, easy down, toss it in the bag.  When it comes to shoes, I'm really picky.  I only buy shoes with unworn tread on the bottom and no visible shaping to the inner sole.  If you're looking at boots, make sure that there's easy access to get that little foot in there.  I learned that the hard way and have some super darling bookends that were supposed to be wearable boots.  Bad shoes can cause bad problems so be as snooty as you like when it comes to high quality footwear for your wee one.  

Toys can be a crap shoot.  If you're looking at DVDs, it's old technology, so you shouldn't pay more than a few bucks.  At some events they have an area where you can try electronic toys out with fresh batteries.  However, I've only seen that once so you may just have to weigh the risk of buying an item that may not work.  Most people that sell their items at these events are a pretty good sort.
 I usually assume that consigners aren't the type wouldn't sell a broken toy and so far I haven't had one lemon in my loot!  Remember that toys can be subject to recall as well so you may want to keep that phone-a-friend on standby.

Welp.  At this point my bum is numb and my fingertips are all clickity clacked out.  If you've truly read this far then I'm assuming you are just sooo excited for your first event that you're reading/watching anything you can on consignment shopping/hauls.    You've got your battle gear, it's time to get in the game.   *Smacks your tuchus*  Go get 'em champ.

If you have a haul blog or vlog lemmie know!  I'm just as entrenched in the madness as everyone else. Ooh and let me know in the comments if you did read it all.  I promise to be thoroughly   impressed!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Marie's Favorite Things! Sneaky pics

Were you one of those kids at Christmas time, that snuck down to the tree after everyone else went to bed to stealthily unwrap one of your gifts?  Yea, betcha were.  
Well here you go, ya snoop.
Here's a sneak peek into my favorite things that I'll vlog about soon.  
 Like I said there, I've been purchasing a few little bits from the picture below to give away as a thank you for all of the support you've shown us in vlog land and now in blog land as well!  I couldn't buy everything as most of the items retail for around $10.  I gathered what I could slowly so that I collected a nice little stash to give away.   You'll have to wait for the vlog to hear about each item in detail but for now, let's just unwrap a little corner and see what's inside.  
I've divided the pictures into Mama and Baby.  I'll show you the whole stash first and then we'll take a peeksie at what I bought for you.

Marie's Favorite Things 

Giveaway Bits for You!

My Favorite Things For Baby

 Baby bits for the Giveaway!
Okay so unlike Oprah, I'm not able to send everyone home with a brand new car.  But I did try and purchase items I get asked the about the most and when I could, I bought more than one!  
Total Value of Give away items?  - $165 smackers.  

So let's take a final vote - should these all be pieced out so that each winner gets one item or grouped together into a few bigger goodie boxes?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Savoring Summer

Today was another spent entirely outside.  It started with a baseball game and ended with a backyard filled with bubbles, giggles and grandmas.  Autumn officially started today (yay!) and I'm completely ready to put my wellies on and crunch leaves in the crisp air.  But for now, I'm resisting that urge and embracing the lingering bits of summer.  
This afternoon we toasted it farewell with fresh berries and bubbles
     The season change means the days are getting shorter,
 so it's easy for little beebles to outlast the day light.
I always sleep so well when I've spent the whole day out in the fresh air.  Hopefully the same goes for Scarlet.  We came in for bed and waved "buh-byeee" to the sunshine.
 So long Summer!  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Poor Strawberella! A Very Berry Emergency

Scarlet just woke up screaming with tears streaming down her face (which is super rare for her).  When I asked what was wrong, she started sadly singing the straw-ba-ba-ba-berry shortcake theme song (a midst the tears) and saying "movie! movie!" over and over again.  Hearing that tiny voice plead, cry and sing all at once was too much. She was so distraught I caved and brought her back out to the living room. Ryan and I feverishly raced through the DVD's looking for the video while she wept and sang "Straw-ba-ba-ba-buh-bewwy *sniffle* straw-ba-ba-ba-bewweeeey shouwt cake".
 Finally, a flustered Daddy found it and Scarlet spotted it in his hand.
"Der dee is!"  Immediately the crying was replaced with dancing.
Up and down, down and up, bop bop bop, on her tippiest toes.
 "'Ere eee commmes" she sang.
As the theme song started a little girl and her adoring daddy sang it together.  <3
So now here she sits, perched on Daddy's lap, with her little tear stained cheeks.  She's preemptively smiling at her favorite part.  Lucky little first born.

If you saw the wee 'lil video here, you may have seen S had her hand in her mouth.  Me thinks teething be the culprit of tonight's events.

***Psssst - Not every post will be baby related, I promise!
I have my give away picture coming soon and then our home management binder update!***  :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Not cool Nana, not cool

My mom's conversation with Scarlet about her Sesame Street
coloring book and stickers:
"Who's that Scarlet?  Annie Spaghetti? (Abbey Cadabby)
Oh, and is that her friend Kuhlumpadumpalus?" (Snuffleupagus)
Nice Try Nana, but I don't think you're earning your street cred with the 3 and under crowd.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Louise always says...

...britishy old lady phrases.  Have you noticed that? Little bits of advice that I picture someone's very English Nan, who always wears wrist gloves and a crystal brooch saying.  Things like "That'll put the cat amoungst the pigeons!" or "If you do what you've always done, you'll get where you've always got."  She's the cutest little non-old-lady, old-lady phrase user there ever was. If you haven't noticed it before in her vlogs, keep your ears peeled.  It's all part of the glittery charm.  Buuuut that's not actually where I was going with this post!

She also always says that I can pull off a bright red/coral lip. I do adore those vibrant, vintage shades and will rock them on my fingertips any day but every time I put 'em on my face I run into two problems. 1) Getting past the Dooo I look like a cheap hooker? dilemma.  It's the kind of color that when done right looks amazing. However, having the self awareness to see if I have achieved the awesome verses the street walker effect is tricky business.

Once I've overcome that hurdle, a second problem arises.
 2) What do I wear that doesn't clash with my face?  I feel like I need a new wardrobe to pull of the trend.  Can I make it fit with my comfy cotton-based wardrobe?  As far as I can see, not much that I own works without making me revisit problem #1 again.
The end result seems to be hookerfacemombum, which isn't the desired effect.   Help please?  What's your favorite vibrant shade?  Do you feel like you have to chose your outfit around your make up when you wear bright oranges, reds or corals?  How do you fit them into fall?  I'm picturing a lot of navy and peacock blue.

Speaking of my darling, red lip wearing, lovely Lou, THANK YOU ALL for following her here and joining me in this new venture!  xx

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fall Baby Haul - Mix & Match!

Whaaddaya do when you've got nothing but time waiting for your sick baby to wake up? Window shop fall baby clothes on the internet of course! Whaaddaya do when she's still not awake and you've seen all there is to see? Click the purchase button. whoops? And if she's still not awake? blog about it :)
I spent most of the morning drooling over Baby Gap, Gymboree, Hannah Anderson and Matilda Jane but they're all out of my tiny people price range.  
So, I appeased myself with these cute items (that were all on sale!) from Old Navy
I didn't buy any jeans this time since heading into consignment season.  
Why pay $10 bucks when I can get them for $4 there?

These definitely aren't consignment prices but for brand new retail, they're not bad.  The fact that I can mix and match so many different pieces makes the price jump worth it!
With my gift card included, my wallet is $89 dollars lighter 
and my kid is that much cuter. :)
What are your favorite spots to shop for your tot?  Any great bargains I'm missing out on?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Run Awaaaay!

Let's pretend you're me for a second, ok?  I'll set the scene:

You want to send out a semi-important email so you set yourself up and crack open your laptop.  You take a breath, gather your thoughts and juuuust as you begin to clickity clack on the keyboard the three ring circus begins.  
The baby purposefully squishes her entire puree pouch out onto the freshly changed bed sheets.  At that same time, your husband appears from around the corner and starts to give you a history lesson on the French Revolution.  Whhhaaa? Is he new? Has he met me?  Why would he think I care about this right now?  Whatever, you just go with it and pretend to listen while you separate the baby from the sweet potato goo oozing on the bed, which launches her into a long winded squeel/whine.  Is Ryan still talking?  Yes.  Does squealy whiny baby deter him from the lesson?  Nah, he's good.  Just as he wraps up what he's talking about and you've pacified the squealing beeble with a new snack, you hear your name called from your mother's room.  "Maaaaarrriiiiieeeeeeeeeeee".  Good Grief.  
You just need five uninterrupted minutes.
What's the solution?
Email sent and I snuck a little pinterest retreat in there too.
 Thanks to parenthood, I've got a new perspective on the term 'restroom'.
Now I'm off to change the sheets, again.
Anyone else find themselves hiding behind the water heater or in the coat closet
 just to have an undemanded moment?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hold my hand, I'm jumping in! Eeeep!

I feel like we all just stepped into a brand new building.
 Smell the fresh, stark white paint with me and think of the possibilites...  Eeep!  I'm nervous.  
It's the beginning. :)  

First things first, let's get aquainted.
Meet my people.
Technically, that's my people last Autumn, but I promise they're just as cute nearly a year later. Ryan is the husband and Scarlet is our 18 month old Beeble girl.  What's a beeble? Well, Scarlet is. The only other living Beeble on record might be Cee Lo Green.  They're a rare breed of bald-headed delight packaged in a huggable bundle.

What's simmering in the bloggy pot?

Sneak peek into my end of the year "Favorites Things Giveaway".
The "Ten Things You Don't Know About Me" tag with a bit of a twist.
Sharing the "GABI Domestics" challenges we're all doing here.
 Ryan will be a semi-regular guest blogger.  
picture or a blog post every day in 2013? What do you think about that?  Gimmie a yay or nay.
Crafty bits and pinnings, easy recipes and tutorials.
Flashbacks from the blog I wrote in 2008! 

If you're reading this then you're jumping in right at beginning with me.   Thank you! 
 At the moment, I just hear my own voice echoing in this big ole' blank space.  Speak up if you're here too!  Let's pour a cocktail and start putting some color on the walls. 

Are you wondering what the  "Picklebeanbooks" title is all about?  Picklebean is one of the nicknames that Scarlet seemed to be born with (you may have heard it in the vlogs now and then).  I have big plans in the works and my youtube vloggy name just didn't suit those big plans as well as I'd like.  So here we are.