Sunday, March 12, 2023

Frugal Friends

By now you've seen we can be quite successful finding great pieces thrifting, either online or in person. But I haven't shared all my tips yet to coming home with amazing pieces you'll love and at the right price. 

By far, the best tip for in-person shopping is to go with a friend who knows your style. Thrift store racks can be chaos, and it can be easy to miss a gem by moving too fast. You and your shopping buddy can keep an eye out for each other's tastes. My dear friend T knows that I love anything with bold print (especially animals!) and I know that she prefers anything in 100% cotton and handbags that are iridescent. She's been the person to find over half of my in-person purchases.

This week, we went to Capitol Hill Goodwill, and she spotted this patterned sleeveless blouse for me. Is it circles? Is it diamonds? Yes. 

The double layers keep it from being sheer. I will like this sleeveless for warmer days, or layered with a flowy sweater for cooler days.

And, of course, the price needs to be right. This Rose + Olive blouse was in excellent condition for $15. It was hard to find an exact "new" price, but similar blouses by the brand on Poshmark have reference prices ranging from $35-50, so I'm pretty pleased.

On the same outing, at Lifelong Thrift, I was super excited to find this adorable little llama planter by Kikkerland.

Originally sold for $18, this little guy was priced at $5 and its color tag was on discount, so he came home with me for just $4. He's now with my growing collection of plants and will eventually hold a succulent.

So, if you're having a bit of a dry spell seeking those special finds, gather your treasure hunting buddies and try again!

Sunday, March 5, 2023

From Carrot Scraps to Pesto

Have you ever purchased whole carrots, or received them in your produce delivery, tops and all, looking like a Bugs Bunny cartoon? 

I routinely do, and when scanning through Cooking Scrappy by Joel Gamoran, decided to try his recipe for Radiatore with Carrot Top Pesto.

The recipe calls for both carrot tops (stems and leaves) and basil (stems too!), as well as almonds (in lieu of pricey pine nuts), and garlic. 

You pulse all of these in a food processor until well chopped.

You then slowly drizzle in olive oil, pulsing a few more times, and season with salt to taste. That is the basis of the pesto. 

Then, when you go to make it a pasta sauce, you thin the pesto with pasta water. This is well known trick for pasta chefs; the starch in the water will help create a smooth sauce. 

You will also add a healthy handful of parmesan. Fresh grated not only tastes great and blends into the sauce better, but buying a block of cheese leaves you with just a small plastic wrapper vs a large shaker container. And if you get a rotary cheese grater, you can feel like you're at an Italian restaurant. :) 

This Zyliss grater quickly delivers fresh grated parmesan on demand. 

The verdict: I'm glad I tried this recipe,  and I'll make it again. Small bunches of basil can get quite pricey, where the carrot tops are free and would have otherwise gone to waste. I wouldn't do much more than 50% carrot tops vs basil or the flavor is a bit grassy.

Overall we saved the following waste:
  • Carrots tops
  • Basil stems
  • Pasta water
  • Parmesan cheese container 

Sunday, February 26, 2023

DIY Digest - 21 Thoughtful DIY's Throughout the Years

After several years of making tiny changes, its easy to forget how far we've come, and how those little changes add up. This year, I'll be doing a few posts to remind us of the posts of the past, and all the cool ways we've learned to save money, save the planet, all while having fun and looking fabulous. 

Today, let's look back at the awesome DIY projects we've done, from crafts, to mending, and more. 

1. Corks are great for crafting - we made trivets.  

2. Seasonal shopping bags make great wall art. 

3. We acquired secondhand fabric for sewing gift bags from Re-Creative. 

4. We propagated many new succulents from a single plant. (The offspring are still around 3 1/2 years later!)

5. A stained old concert tee gets a second life as a reusable shopping bag

6. Cut up TP tubes become festive snowflake and poinsettia ornaments

7. A quick-sew project converts an old bed sheet into a laundry hamper liner

8. Leftover cardboard (coffee sleeves, TP tubes, and a box) made the best gift for my cat

9. And old t-shirts made great rope toys for my dog.  

10. Scrap cardboard made a birthday cake piñata for Mom's birthday.

11. The family came together for a group DIY, turning scrap lumber and paint into cornhole boards for family weekends.  

12. A quick coat of paint gave us a refreshed doormat for the next year.

13. We turned a mason jar and some scrap fabric into a cute sewing kit.  

14. A balloon from one holiday becomes wrapping paper for the next.  

15-18. There have been several years of upcycled Halloween costumes: 

    2017: Ursula

    2019: Rock Lobster

    2020: Tacocat

     2022: Klimt painting Adele Bloch-Bauer 

19. Mending (visible or hidden) allows you to extend the life of your clothing. 

20. We repaired a cracked bowl with the kintsugi method.

21.And just recently, we made an epic, crazy, oversized snowglobe

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Reused Rugs

Hello lovelies! I've been away the last couple weeks, working on some fun redecorating projects at home. After being in our house for 10 years, it was time for some minor repairs, and while we were at it, some refreshed paint and accents.

A main objective for me was to finally decorate my home office. 3 years into the new COVID world, and the realization has hit that work from home is, in fact, my new normal, and I should make my space more comfortable than just a desk in a corner.

The task at hand? To add vibrant, mood-boosting colors to energize my workdays. 

I was thrilled when I found this rug on Facebook Marketplace for just $40. The lowest "new" price I found was $85 at, including a President's Day sale discount. The original owner was selling this rug in like-new condition because they were moving out of state. Once you sift through all the sponsored ads, Facebook can be a great option for purchasing (and selling!) used housewares.

The bold oranges, hot pinks, yellows, and blues compliment the variety of throw pillows I have, and the gallery wall I was putting together with prints from artists I've encountered over the years.

The best part? The rug was immediately Meeko-approved.

Saving 53%+ on a gently used rug? Pretty sweet. Creating an energizing work space that's comfortable for me and my "co-workers"? Priceless.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Reused Rainbows 🌈

Folks, it's January. In Seattle. And in that winter dreariness, you just look for that rainbow to appear, which means there's a spot of sun through the clouds. T and I were driving around last week, and on our way home, we spotted the lucky double rainbow.

And immediately following that, I spotted this gem of a sweater in my size on thredUP. Soft, fuzzy, and bright, it will keep me happy and cozy for the rest of the winter. 

I love the subtle bell-shape on the sleeves. Between the shape and my short stature, these sleeves can easy double as mittens when I want to be extra cozy.

thredUP routinely has sales, so while this was already a great price at $34.99, it was a steal at just $19.24 (91% off) after discount code. 

Hope you're all staying warm and cheerful this winter!

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Pela: Your Plastic-free Compostable Phone Case

Well, this was the year. The year to finally upgrade my smartphone. At over 4 years old, it had lived twice the lifespan of its planned obsolescence, and was starting to slow down. 

This may be obvious, but the easiest way to save your wallet and the planet is to keep your smart phone as long as you can past its contract period. Smart phones contain rare earth elements that cause eco-destruction through mining, and by keeping your phone 4 years vs 2, you've reduced your impact by 50%. 

Further, make sure to trade in your previous phone. Verizon was willing to give me $800 credit for my old phone towards my $1200 new phone, and they will refurbish or recycle the old one. 

So now that I had a new phone, I needed a new protective case. (Another pet peeve: companies not making devices the same size so they can sell more accessories...)

Pela phone cases are an interesting option: they are made out of bioplastic and flax, and are 100% compostable. I've been following Pela for a few years, but when I purchased my last phone they didn't offer a lot of options, primarily being available for iPhones. They are now available in quite a variety of colors and designs, and for iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and Google Pixel phones. 

Check out this beauty I ordered! 

The case arrived in a minimal paper envelope. Even better, you can send your old case back in the same envelope for proper disposal!

The case itself came with no product packaging. And if you follow the link to, you'll learn all sorts of cool initiatives Pela is involved in (beyond the fact that their case sales to date have saved the equivalent of 63 million plastic bags!).

At $60, these cases are at the high end of the average price range, the same price as OtterBox. You can feel good about free shipping and new visitor discounts. 

Learn more at

Sunday, January 8, 2023

BEAUTYCYCLE those Bottles, Tubes, and Palettes

Did you receive a new eyeshadow palette for the holidays with 2023's hottest new shades, and want to move on from last year's colors? Or are you taking advantage of the new year to clean out your bathroom cupboards for a fresh start? Or perhaps there was that moisturizer you tried that you didn't like, so it just got stale in the back of the drawer?

Beauty products are often super hard to recycle correctly or at all. If you're thinking that your shampoo bottle is entirely plastic, and therefore gets recycled, check again. 

Take a look at both your item's package and review your municipality's rules. Do they limit you to certain markings (ex. #1 and #5 plastic)? Or certain container shapes and sizes (ex. greater than 3" diameter round bottle)? 

You may find that your package isn't just glass or plastic, or it has no recycle marking, or is too small. And if you threw it in the recycling, you were Wishcycling. Or like me: you've given up on anything without a marking and threw it straight in the trash.  

Nordstrom wants to help. They've created BEAUTYCYCLE, a program that involves take back boxes for your empty makeup, hair care, and skin care packages. Then they do the hard work of sorting, cleaning, and separating to make sure the materials get recycled. You'll find these boxes in the beauty departments of Nordstrom stores, and you may also find them at the entrance of your local Nordstrom Rack.

The boxes are labeled with what all they take, so do one last check before depositing your empties in the box. (Yes, please get your containers mostly empty first.)

As examples, this type of eyeshadow palette could go in! (A mix of plastic and metal and too small for traditional recycling.)

Or this small primer tube. (Multi-layer plastic and foil.)

Or even this larger moisturizer pot. (Large enough for standard recycling, but thick multi-layers and no marking.)

They are taking aggressive goals to take back 100 tons by 2025, and per Nordstrom Cares, they've made good progress as of 2021:

Why does it all matter? Because over 120 Billion (yes with a "B") of beauty units are made every year. 

So best possible option? Choose products that come in cardboard packaging; this may mean switching to products like solid shampoo and soap bars. 

Have a favorite brand that you don't want to switch from? Message the company to appeal to them to switch out their packaging. If they don't hear from customers, they don't know if matters to you. We're starting to see more and more brands switch to updated options like "less plastic" and "refillable", and it's because of consumer appetite for better options.

In the interim? Bring your glass, plastic, and metal, and mixed material packages to a Nordstrom near you and BEAUTYCYCLE. Learn more here.