Day 21: Put on a little lipstick

So far in this series, we’ve talked about getting started and what that looks like for our homes and our families. Now, I’d like to switch gears again and talk about style.

Your personal style should be just that – personal. Special and unique, just like you.

When I was a teenager, I used to spend a lot of time getting ready. Several outfit changes, a full set of makeup, a curling iron and LOTS Of Aqua-Net (do they still make that stuff anymore?) and then I was ready to step outside – even if I was only going to the gas station.

Now that I’m a wife, mom, teacher, employee, volunteer, friend, etc., etc., I don’t have as much time to spend on my looks.

Who am I kidding? At this stage of my life, I consider flossing and shaving to be beauty treatments!

Ahem.

But there is one thing that makes me feel put together, even when I’m not.

And that, my friends, is lipstick.


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Have you ever called your mother looking for some deeply profound wisdom for a seemingly insurmountable situation in your life and all she could come up with was, “Just put on a little lipstick and everything will be alright.”

Ah, mothers.

So that is my deeply profound advice for you today: just put on a little lipstick. 

You choose the shade (nude, pink, plum, red, toffee) and formula (gloss, long-lasting, creamy, sheer, shimmer), but pick one that makes you feel fabulous.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some more tips on vintage style.

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New here? Check out the other posts in this series.

Published in: on October 21, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Day 20: Bring the outdoors in

I’ve always been drawn to textures, especially natural ones.

Having these things in my home just makes me happy.

Here are a few ways that you can decorate your home with nature:

Updated to add: open up the windows and let in some of the fresh crisp fall air. Breathe deeply.
Incorporating a little bit of nature into our homes makes them more interesting. And almost every idea above is either free or very inexpensive if you get creative and use what you already have.
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Can you believe we are more than halfway through our series? All of the other posts can be found here.
Published in: on October 20, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Day 19: Embrace the routine

Some of you are groaning now. I can hear it;) When I think of words like “routine”, “habit” and “discipline”, I groan, too. However, I’m learning that routines aren’t so bad. In fact, they can be quite good.

Let me give you an example.

I clean the bathrooms every Thursday. And inevitably someone will go in there and splash water on the mirror that was clean for all of thirty seconds. I used to grab the supplies and grumble about having to go back and clean the spot from the mirror. Now, I just let it go because I know that the next time Thursday rolls around, the mirror will be cleaned again.

Big messes are cleaned up right away, of course. And I also do a quick clean if I know someone is coming over.

But other than that, I leave the spot alone and get back to more important things. Like reading to my fellas or cooking a healthy and nourishing meal my family will enjoy.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my basic household routine was actually taken from a Little House on the Prairie book of all places! That’s pretty vintage, eh?

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Miss a day? Check out the rest of the series here.

Published in: on October 19, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Day 18: Use the good dishes…

…just because it’s Tuesday.

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How many of us remember our mothers telling us that we can’t use the “good” china? When we asked, “Why?”, the response we got was something like, “Because they’re only to be used on special occasions, dear”.

To that I say, “Hmmmph”.

OK. I do realize that this one is not necessarily a “vintage” idea. But it should be.

To me, two of the basic premises of vintage living are using what you have and making your home as beautiful as possible on as little money as possible.

So I say this one fits;)

Tonight I’m going to set the table using our good china. I may even break out the silver. And to really bring the point home, I may even use a tablecloth and light a small candle. Our centerpiece will be a simple bowl full of lemons from the grocery store.

If you don’t have a good set of dishes, don’t let that stop you. Personally, I think some of the prettiest table settings are the ones that use an eclectic mix of dishes. Remember what the Nester always says, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”

And if you have really small children, maybe you can feed them first (using your best plastic dishes, of course!), put on a video or put them to bed and then have a late dinner with your spouse. Even if you were planning on serving frozen dinners tonight, I say microwave them and then put the hot food on your good dishes. Why not?!

Nothing fancy, just pretty.

And just because it’s Tuesday.

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Are you new to this series? You can find all of the “31 Days to Vintage Living” posts here. Enjoy!

Published in: on October 18, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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Day 17: Sweep your porch

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Take a moment sometime today to sweep off your front porch. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just a quick sweep will do.

If you’re anything like me, we hardly ever enter the house through our front door. Instead, 99 percent of the time we use the back door that has an entrance through the garage. That means our front door can be a pretty neglected area.

And that’s not very welcoming.

But, if you sweep on a somewhat regular basis, you’ll always be ready to welcome a friend or neighbor without worry.

So take a few minutes today and give your front porch a little bit of care:)

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Want more ideas? Check out the rest of the series here.

Published in: on October 17, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Day 16: Share what you have

One of my favorite books is called, “We had everything but money.”

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It’s a compilation of stories from people who lived through the Great Depression from the editors of Reminisce magazine. Perhaps one of the reasons I love it so much is because my papa (grandfather) was born in 1925 and my mother (grandmother) was born in 1932. This book just gives me such a connection to them by getting a little taste of what the world was like while they were growing up.

As I read the book (cover to cover in only two sittings!) I couldn’t help but notice a theme.

No matter how little people had at the time, if someone else had less, they shared. Generously. Not just with relatives and friends but with everyone. There are stories of strangers coming to the door and asking for a sandwich and a cup of coffee. They got one to eat there and one to take with them for later.

For most people, times are definitely tight. However, let’s take a clue from the past and give generously to those in need. Not only will they be blessed, but we will be, too.

One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. Proverbs 11:24 (NIV)

Published in: on October 16, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Day 15: Have another couple over for coffee

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It’s Saturday. Consider calling another couple you haven’t hung out with in a while and inviting them over for coffee or dessert. Or both. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. The emphasis is on the people, not the things.

When I was a child, my parents (actually, my grandparents) never had anyone over socially. I mean ever. The only exception to that rule was having a big family gathering on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Other than that, they never went out. And they never had anybody over. Ever.

I loved my parents, but I don’t want to be like them in that respect. To me, home is so much more enjoyable when there are lots of people and lots of noise with a smidge of chaos thrown in for good measure. That’s when friendships are strengthened and real memories are made. Those informal gatherings with good friends are what I want to remember.

If you are feeling really ambitious, see if anyone is up for a card game. Any card game is fine, from bridge to euchre to Uno.

Then just relax and enjoy yourself and your company.

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Miss a day? You can find more tips on vintage living in a modern world here

Published in: on October 15, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Day 14: Do the dishes by hand

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Right now I can hear you saying, “Did she just suggest I wash the dishes by hand?”

Why yes, I did.

“But why on earth would I do that when I have a dishwasher and am already really busy?”

That’s just my point.

We are all too busy and we need to slow down.

Washing dishes is a pretty mindless activity. So take advantage of the opportunity to let your mind wander. Don’t rush. Just enjoy this simple activity including the chance to clear your head.

And daydream if you want to:)

Published in: on October 14, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Day 13: Do it yourself

Do you like this series so far?

Usually when I ask a question I get this…

<crickets>

so feel free to leave a comment;)

We’ve talked a lot about vintage living, namely getting started and family.

Now I want to focus the next several posts on our homes, hence the title, “do it yourself”. This one really could’ve gone under the ‘getting started’ section because it applies to all aspects of life, but I feel like writing on the topic, so here goes(!)

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Do it yourself. This approach saves us so much money.

For example, when our old washer stopped working, my husband got on the internet to find out what was wrong, bought the part and then proceeded to fix it. It worked like a charm for another year and a half and then finally it just died. I’m so thankful to have a husband that’s handy and willing to at least try to fix things.

Back in July, a storm came through and damaged a small section of our fence. I called and received a quote for nearly $700. Did I mention that all the materials could be salvaged with the exception of one cemented post? It took time, but my husband was able to do it (with the help of a couple of friends) for just under $100.

Here are some other small things you can do yourself (rather than pay someone else to do):

Around the house

  • fix a leaky faucet or a running toilet
  • mow your own lawn
  • tackle a landscape project (planting trees and shrubs, mulching)
  • grow some veggies, herbs and flowers
  • paint (a piece of furniture, your front door if it’s looking shabby or an entire room)
  • change the oil in your cars
  • wash and wax (or even detail) your car
  • install a new light fixture
  • clean your own house
  • make your own household cleaners
  • steam clean your carpets and furniture (we bought a steam cleaner on sale at Amazon and with two kids and a cat it has paid for itself several times over)
  • if you have to buy a new appliance (we’ve had to purchase several!) take a look to see if you can install it yourself
Your clothes
  • dry clean them yourself (we really like Dryel)
  • make your own stain remover
  • shine your shoes
  • recondition a leather belt, wallet, purse or a pair of gloves
  • mend a piece of clothing or teach yourself how to do some simple alterations
Your person
  • learn how to cut hair (it takes practice, but I’ve been giving my sons and husband haircuts for the last three years)
  • color your hair (I just gave away a secret, LOL!)
  • give yourself a facial, manicure or a pedicure
  • forego the gym membership and either go for a walk, follow along on an exercise DVD or both
Your food
  • freezer meals – make extra of whatever you cook for dinner, freeze the rest to throw in the microwave on a busy night
  • breads (sandwich bread, quick bread, pizza with homemade crust)
  • fancy coffee drinks
  • special occasion desserts and cupcakes
  • sauces (pasta sauce, chocolate sauce or even mayonnaise)
Other
  • gifts for baby showers or hostesses
  • clean up your computer to make it run faster (uninstall programs you no longer use, delete temporary files, defrag)
  • file your own taxes (TurboTax rocks)

We have done or regularly do every single one of these and it really saves us a lot of money. In fact, one of the only things we pay someone else to do is fertilize our lawn and we’ve talked about doing that ourselves as well next year (six applications at $40 a pop is hard to swallow these days).

When you do something yourself, you not only save money, you learn something new, get the satisfaction of a job well done and can do it when it is convenient for you.

Now that I’ve maybe inspired you to do some things yourself, let me try to give you some wise advice:

  • Know your limits. There are many, many things that we wouldn’t even consider doing ourselves. Finishing a basement, completely gutting a bathroom or a kitchen or doing a major car repair come to mind. Doing it yourself doesn’t always save money. One small mistake can cost you big time so think it all through before you attempt something you’ve never done before.
  • Start small. If you’ve never even opened up the hood of your car before, please don’t wake up one day and decide that you are going to install a new transmission.
  • Use common sense. The internet is a wonderful tool that puts tons of information at our fingertips. However, not all the information out there is good or accurate. Stick with a trusted, reputable source.
  • Be thankful and encouraging. If your spouse finishes a job, don’t be critical. Sincerely thank him for working so hard. Look for the good.  Remember, you are on the same team.
  • Ask for help. Most people are glad to show you how they do something. Learn from others, then pass that knowledge along to someone else.
Miss a post? You can find more tips on vintage living in a modern world here.
Published in: on October 13, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Day 12: Make plans to see a show

OK, here is a fun one…get out!

As in make plans to go see some type of show, preferably live. With or without your children, your choice. The possibilities are endless.

Take a look in the newspaper (this series is about vintage living, after all, heehee) and think about your options in the next couple of weeks. Then make plans to go out and do something fun – no spur-of-the-moment events allowed;)

Yes, I’m totally kidding!

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • a free concert in your town
  • a poetry reading at the local coffee shop
  • a high school football game
  • a fall carnival
  • an exhibit at a local art museum
  • a comedy show (if you can find a clean one)
  • (your niece’s) dance recital
  • a magic show for the kids
  • a play at a nearby college
If all else fails, go see a movie. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, sign up for a ballroom dancing lesson. Again, this should be something you plan for – and then look forward to.

Here are my grandparents (that raised me), circa 1950:

I was told that they were off to a dance, how romantic!

I love this picture for so many reasons, mainly because they look so very happy.

So, fix yourself up (buy a new dress if it’s in your budget) and then go enjoy yourself!

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Miss a day? All the rest of the 31 Days to Vintage Living are posted here.

Published in: on October 12, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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