Thursday, October 23, 2014

How To Shop for Cozy Oversized Sweaters at the Thrift Store


Cozy, oversized or "chunky" sweaters are not only fashionable but are almost a necessity if you experience NE Ohio like temperatures. Chunky sweaters can run upwards of $60 at most retail stores but you can easily find racks upon racks of them at local thrift stores. I'm not joking, there are so many thick wool sweaters available that I don't even know where to begin sometimes. If you've ever felt overwhelmed shopping for a cozy sweater at the thrift store, here are a few tips to help steer you in the right direction:

Be inspired. 

image via


A simple "cozy sweater' search on Pinterest will yield hundreds if not thousands of results. Go ahead, try it. Take a screen shot of your favorite one and use that as a guide when you go to the thrift store next time. Although every girl on Pinterest makes styling a cozy sweater look effortless, it can be a little tricky sometimes.  I like to keep my bottoms slim and depending on how big the sweater is, sometimes I prefer platform booties as opposed to flat ones so I'm not drowning in sweater. It all depends on the style you choose. Play around with it until you feel comfortable. Because that's the whole point, cozy sweaters are meant to be comfy.

Be Bold. 

An oversized sweater will serve as the focal point of your outfit so why not go for a cool, unique pattern? The thrift store carries tons of one-of-a-kind textures and prints that can elevate a casual look. Personally, I'm a huge fan of 1980s or Cliff Huxtable chunky sweaters. Some sweaters may look awful on the hanger but don't be afraid to try things on! You will be surprised how different they can feel and look once you style them.



Be Basic. 

Whether or not you're not sold on the Cliff Huxtable look, stock up on a couple oversized cozy sweaters in cream and gray. These neutral colors will work well with practically anything you own. You can throw on a pair of black skinnies, jeans or even tights. 



Be like the Boys. 

Steal your grandpa's style and take a walk over to the men's department for an even bigger variety of cozy sweaters. Pick a style you like and make it your own. 




Thrift shopping tip: Most thrift stores, especially in the Akron and surrounding area organize their sweaters by color which makes it much easier to narrow down your selection. Also, most of these sweaters can be machine washed. I've washed the one pictured above several times. I usually lay them flat to dry. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Easy Chicken & Ranch Pizza


There's something very comforting about making and baking dough. It always seems intimidating but is surprisingly a very simple process.  Because of that this recipe is great for kids; my nephew loves to get his hands dirty and kneads the dough.  I also love making pizza at home because the possibilities are endless! In addition to this white pizza, we made a red sauce pizza with traditional toppings. Next up on my list: replicating Gasoline Alley's ground beef pizza.






What you need


1 packet of fast rising yeast. You can find these at most grocery stores
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbls. olive oil
3 1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp salt
Toppings

1 bag shredded mozzarella 
1 -2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Ranch dressing

Dried Oregano 
Italian Seasoning
Dried Rosemary



What you need to do:

1. Mix water, yeast and sugar in a bowl

2. Cover with a towel and let it rise for 10 minutes


3. Once the yeast rises, mix it with the flour, oil, and salt. 


If you have a Kitchen Aid, use the hook to mix everything together, it will also knead your dough. Knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until it forms into a ball. Make sure it's not sticky.

 If you don't have a Kitchen Aid, knead with your knuckles and form into a ball. Add flour gradually if it's still sticky. Place ball of dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise for 1/2 hour. 

4. While your dough is rising, prepare the chicken in a non-stick skillet.


5. Once your dough rises, punch it to get the air out. Roll out your dough into a square with a rolling pin. 


6. I used a round pizza crisper, but you can use a regular baking sheet. Spread dough evenly, while folding over the edges to form a crust. 


7. Drizzle ranch over dough (this is your pizza sauce) add chicken, toppings, cheese, and dried herbs. 


8. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes



Thursday, October 16, 2014

What Do All Great Thrift Stores Have in Common?

I try to visit as many thrift stores as I can and have an ongoing list of local favorites, but what makes a thrift store a 'good' one? As a long-time thrifter who actually enjoys a bit of chaos and loves to dig to find a good deal, there are some stores that really don't do it for me.  I realized that not everyone, especially non-thrifters and beginners,  understand what I mean when I refer to a thrift store as a good one. If you have ever heard me say 'this thrift store is amazing!' here's what those stores usually have in common:

A mix of new, designer brands, and vintage items
This is by far the most important feature for me. I love thrift stores that cater to all shoppers. There are certain thrift stores in the area that are more vintage heavy and some that carry newer designer brands. This is all fine and dandy because if I'm in the mood to shop vintage I'll just head to the Salvation Army knowing I'll be able to find what I'm looking for. However, stores that carry a variety of styles and housewares really get my adrenaline going and make the thrifting experience very enjoyable because I'm able to shop for everything on my list.

A well-lit bright store
Proper lighting in a thrift store is one of those things that most people overlook but it's extremely important. A bright store is more cheery and makes the second-hand experience feel more like a mainstream retail one.

Wide aisles
Nothing is worse than a thrift store with tight aisles. If two people can't go down the aisle at the same time, there's something wrong with that picture. I don't mind tightly packed racks but tight aisles bother me and will deter a non-seasoned, impatient thrifter from coming back again.

Fitting Rooms
Sounds like a no brainer but many thrift stores don't have fitting rooms.

Extra discounts and rewards
Thrift store prices are already incredible but it's even more exhilarating when they offer additional discounts at check-out, including student and senior discounts, as well as coupons.

What do you look for in a thrift store? 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Plaid Poncho


This poncho has made several appearances on Instagram so forgive me if you're tired of seeing it, but I thought it deserved an exclusive post on the blog. I specifically remember a time about seven years ago when I strongly disliked ponchos so I'm not sure what quite changed over the years. Maybe it's the fact that I'm really digging plaid this season and have never really seen a blanket turned poncho before. I'm totally convinced the person who previously owned this gem took a blanket, cut an opening and sewed in a zipper to turn into a poncho because when I picked this up I thought it was a blanket. I have already worn this to the apple orchard and to an outdoor movie, not to mention I've traveled in it and wear it to lounge around the house.




I think the key to wearing a poncho, cape or shawl is keeping everything else slim so try wearing your skinniest jeans or bottoms. A satchel bag works best considering you can't really use your shoulders.





Poncho | Thrifted | $3
Jeans | Old Navy, Thrifted | $4
Boots | Kohl's | $15
Bag | Vintage, Hartville Flea Market | $1 
Chambray | Gap, Thrifted | $5

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Five Great Cardio Songs


So I've been doing these crazy things called sprints on the treadmill lately.  I guess it means run  until you feel like you're going to die?  I started seeing an insanely fit trainer who recommended I sprint as fast as I possibly can for one minute on and off for a total of 20 minutes to increase my metabolism and burn stupid amounts of calories. It's brutal and I truly dislike running but I've found with the right playlist it's possible. I keep telling myself it's only 60 seconds of my life 10 times and somehow this reasoning works. The songs I select when I'm voluntarily giving myself an early heart attack have to be intense with serious build up and a beat I can run to. Here's what's been in the headphones lately: