Thursday, March 31, 2011

Free fun: The public library

Just a few things I picked up at the library this past weekend. 

I think far too many people overlook the abounding potential for fun at their local public library. At least I know that I used to be one of them. I mean, I used to buy books instead of just checking them out. And I used to pay to rent movies, not knowing that the library also had movies available for rent, only for free instead. Not to mention the countless CDs I used to buy, only to find out later, that a lot of times the library will have the same albums I have been looking for, except yet again, for FREE! The best part about the library, other than it being free of course, is that you can simply go online to your local library's website and request whatever material you are looking for—whether it be a new novel, a classic film or an album release—and when it becomes available for pickup, they will call you with an alert! And people say you have to pay for convenience?!

But this is only the tip of the iceberg of what your local public library has to offer. I think several also have board games available, use of computers and Internet, classes and seminars to attend, book clubs to join and I know that a lot of our public libraries here in Birmingham have amazing FREE events like the Bards and Brews poetry slam held every first Friday at the Birmingham Public Library downtown. I have been to this event and can attest that it is great free fun—you will be inspired, laugh a little and quite possibly want to cry, a lot. The Hoover Public Library also has a great event lineup, which you can find here. And as much as I enjoy the library, I can only imagine if I were a child or if I had children, because there are TONS of events and services that are geared towards entertaining the kiddos. Seriously y'all, the list goes on and on as to what your library has to offer.

In Birmingham alone, we are lucky to have several fantastic libraries to choose from, but today I'm highlighting one of the newest ones: The Library in the Forest at Vestavia Hills. If you haven't been yet, why haven't you?! It is beyond beautiful and peaceful and modern. And with so many large windows to let the sunlight and the view inside, you can catch up on a great read in one of their little nooks, while feeling like you are in the great outdoors. Or if you prefer, there's great patio seating outside as well! And did I mention they have a cafe too? Seriously, why aren't you at the library already? Or actually, wait until Sunday. For some reason that's one of my favorite Sunday afternoon things to do. And judging by the parking lot last Sunday, I'd say I'm not alone in that thinking!

Exterior of the Library in the Forest.

A sneak peek of the interior of the Library in the Forest.

I am loving the decor of the library. So modern, yet also retro. And just look at that view!

So don't be left behind, check out your local library today to see all the great things it has to offer you.

Here just a few public libraries in the Birmingham area:
Birmingham Public Library - Central Location
• The Library in the Forest at Vestavia Hills
Hoover Public Library
Homewood Public Library
Emmet O'Neal Library at Mountain Brook

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Splurge on: Shorts

With spring just around the corner, I'm more aware than ever of what's currently lacking in my closet: shorts. And it seems that shorts are one of those items that are more difficult to find at a thrift store. Which means I'll have to start looking elsewhere...and now!

So I thought if I had some extra cash, here are a few pair of shorts that I'd splurge on to fill my closet for this spring and summer. Keep in mind that "splurging" for me, a cheapskate, is probably not considered "splurging" by most people :)

1: ModCloth Little Lovin' Shorts
Price: $32.99
Color: Red, Black and White print
I'd style it with: A ruffled black tank top and flats with a cross-the-body bag.
Wear it where? Concert, music festival, thrifting.

2: Forever 21 Nautical Stripe Shorts with Tie Belt
Price: $15.80
Color: Blue and White Striped

I'd style it with: A white eyelet tank top, flat gladiator sandals and a large straw tote.
Wear it where? Boating, picnicking. 

3: Old Navy Frayed Cuffed Denim Shorts

Price: $32.99
Color: Denim
I'd style it with: Plain gray tee or tank, oxford shoes and an oversized studded clutch.
Wear it where? Dog walking, latte-getting, lazy Sundays. 

4: Etsy Seller OneCafeLatte High Waisted Romantic Shorts

Price: $40.00
Color: Hot Orange/Coral
I'd style it with: Tiny polka dotted print sleeveless top, wedges and doctor bag. 
Wear it where? Brunch, shopping.

5: ASOS Pleat Front Tailored Shorts

Price: $62.76
Color: Burnt Orange
I'd style it with: Cream lace top, platforms and large hobo bag.
Wear it where? Weekend working lunches, dinner with family.
Bonus: Take these into fall and winter with thick tights or knee socks. 

6: ShopRuche Anytime You Need Me Belted Shorts

Price: $39.99
Color: Olive
I'd style it with: Plain cotton tank top, flat sandals and small cross-body bag. 
Wear it where? Thrifting, antique shopping, music festival. 
*HURRY! There's only 3 pair left! eek! 

Price: $54.00
Color: Navy
I'd style it with: Anything. Especially yellow. 
Wear it where? Everywhere! I am loving scalloped shorts, I'd probably live in these this summer!

*All photos taken from company's websites. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Small town Saturday

Growing up, I always thought I lived in a small town. I mean, we had to drive over a half hour for the nearest mall, just so we could shop at American Eagle. Yes, American Eagle was all the rage when I was in high school :) Anyways, I only thought I lived in a small town...that is until this weekend when I visited one of my best friends in the town she grew up in. We thought it'd be fun to go to lunch and shop in their "downtown" area and then hit the Goodwill for some thrifting finds. And wow, we definitely found some great items - the good, the bad and most certainly the ugly! But all in all it was a super fun day and made me think that maybe had I only been a little more creative and open minded when I was in high school, I might could have made some great finds in my very own small town!

Here are just a few photos from mine and my friend Ashley's adventures this weekend.

First we stopped for lunch at Miller Drug. So yummy!

A cheeseburger AND fries for only $5.75? Yes please!

We first stopped at Hammer's but that was a bust, so it was on to Bennett's.

At a small town store like Bennett's, you could find some awful overalls like these. 

Or you could find a blazer, a la Ron Burgundy, and could pose with a 1980 Kenny Roger poster.

Or you could score these awesome Alexa Chung type shoes and fancy belt. Total price: $4.73!

Then it was on to the Goodwill where Ashley found this disaster.

But I managed to find this ah-mazing cape 70s dress at the Goodwill.

And this fantastic short black winter dress...oh and a butter yellow shirt - total price: $9.78!

Isn't this collar detail on this dress fantastic?!

So clearly, if you live in a small town and think it has no fashion to offer, think again! Take another look around and see if you can't create something fab out of something that might typically be thought of as drab. And the best part is that because it's in a small town, it should be crazy cheap like our purchases were! 

Happy hunting! 

Friday, March 25, 2011

A cheapskate goes to LA: the follow up

So clearly I am mixing things up this week and thought instead of my usual "Plated" post today, I'd do a quick photo recap of my recent trip to California. My mom and I definitely had an amazing time and I am dying to go back again soon....or, ahem, maybe live there?! Oh one can dream, right?

So here's a quick photo review of the trip.

Our AH-mazing view of the city from the backyard of the place where we stayed.

The Chinese theater

Me fitting my hand perfectly into my fav leading lady's handprint, Miss Judy Garland.
I've been told I look like Hilary Swank (among other celebs, too), so I had to snap a pic of her star.

My first real great view of the Hollywood sign. We were staying up there in those hills!

Me and my mom at the WB studio VIP tour.

A "perk" of the VIP tour: getting to stand on the Central Perk set from FRIENDS. Ha, get it? Perk!

Another bonus? Me standing on Lorelai Gilmore's front porch!

Rodeo Drive is certainly not where a Cheapskate belongs! But it was fun to pretend :) 

The beautiful palm tree lined streets of Beverly Hills.

The most amazing cupcakes. Second to my friend Peaches' cupcakes, which she makes with love.

Griffith Observatory - where the end of Rebel Without a Cause was filmed.

The life changing french toast I had at The Griddle Cafe — they were stuffed with Nutella! Yum!

The ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier. What a fun place! Perfect for family fun, or dare I say a date!

The stunningly gorgeous canals of Venice Beach.

Me at the canals

Venice street sign. I bought the fantastic vintage dress from yesterday's post at a store across the street.
If you know me, you know I love Disney! And now I love their fence posts at the Disney studios, too.
Can you see The Seven Dwarfs acting as columns and holding up the top of the building?

We had a great hike Sunday afternoon at Runyon Canyon.

Finally! We spotted a celebrity — LL Cool J — at Katsuya . He was so incredibly nice to us tourists!
Just one fantastic view from the PCH that we took up the California coast to Monterey.

Another breathtaking view of God's creation via the Pacific Coast Highway to Northern CA.

It was a long drive up the coast, but totally worth it to see my old college roomie Abbe!
Here we are at the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco.
Lombard Street in San Fran - "the crookedest street in the world". Can you see how crazy curvy it is?

Funny little sea lions at the Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.

The "Painted Ladies" in San Fran, or what I like to call the Full House houses!

Hope you enjoyed my virtual tour of California! Happy Friday everyone!