Monthly Archives: August 2012

Weekend Wardrobe Challenge


I think we’ve had this conversation before, so please forgive me if we have, but this time …  I.  Am.  Serious!

I lost count after six, but I’m pretty sure I changed my clothes at least 10 times this morning before settling on something not so desirable before heading to work this morning.

* sigh *

This does NOT make for a good start to the day people.

I know I cannot be alone in this.

For some time now, I’ve been toying with the notion of settling on a two-color palette for my closet.  Mainly in effort of helping me decide which pieces to eliminate in order to down-size my desperately over-crowded closet.

But I have yet to make myself go there.

However, after this morning’s escapades, I don’t think I can muster enough strength, or time for that matter, to do it again.  And I think I have finally found my inspiration.

Somewhere along my social media stumblings in and around my day, I came across this “10 Piece Wardrobe Challenge” over on Polyvore.

Now THIS is a challenge I can accept!

{ maybe not the red pants for this curvy girl, but something similar? }

What’s even stranger AND sweeter is that these 10 pieces alone can create a minimum of 20 different outfits together! Throw in a few accessories and you easily have a full months worth of combinations!

I know!  RIGHT?!

Sorry.  In case you are unable to sense my excitement, I am elated at this possibility! Do you have any idea what this could mean for my daily dressing routine?!  Not to mention my psyche? Seriously. I am so in love with this idea.

Ok.  Enough gushing.  I’m sure you get it by now.

Check out these other 10 piece possibilities:

I’m pretty sure I already have one or two of these items in my closet.  Those will dictate my direction .. { as long as they fit well …  and fit well today.  Not 10 lbs lighter …  today }.

First thing on my list, is a really nice fitting, tailored, black blazer.  This can be somewhat of a challenge for a girl who was blessed in the upper torso region { if you catch my drift } but the blazer is a necessary and very versatile piece.  And I look forward to spending hard-earned cash on this.

The rest of it I will piece together this weekend as I make the rounds to our five Stuff Etc stores.   THIS is going to happen friends.

And I look forward to the day that I can { enthusiastically } empty my closet of all the other unnecessaries.  You can take that to the bank!  Actually, I will … after I cash the check I get for selling all of my no-longer-in-my-wardrobe-wheelhouse stuff at Stuff.

Happy Happy Weekend!



Happy Birthday Material Girl

I will never forget the day I saw “Lucky Star” .

I was 12.  

It was a Saturday morning, still in my oversized bedtime t-shirt, eating a bowl of Cheerios on the couch, mindlessly watching MTV {early days, circa 1983}.  

And then it happened.  I was mesmerized … this snappy pop song… her bracelets and hair bow … her dance moves …  I couldn’t turn away.  I sat there all day waiting for MTV to play it again …   and again …. and again.  This day changed my love of music forever and began my love affair with Madonna.

I was 14.  Money in my front pocket, I furiously rode my banana bike downtown to the local record store.  I was the first in line, waiting for them to unlock the doors so I could get inside to buy “Like a Virgin” on its release date.  My dad wasn’t too pleased with my choice of how to spend my allowance, but he didn’t dare try to stop me. I spent the next month playing it over and over and over again as I danced in my bedroom …  singing into my hairbrush … in my hair bows, bangles and layers of rosaries.

“True Blue” held my most beloved song to date … “Papa Don’t Preach”.  However, my bestie Kandy, never wasted an opportunity to tell me how inappropriate that song was for a 16-year-old … today I ask, “really Kandy? Really?”  { grin }

“Like a Prayer” wrapped up my high school years with a proverbial bow. The controversy surrounding that video alone made me love her even more.

“Vogue” found me away at college in New Jersey. I found it comforting having my girl with me while away from home … hittin’ the clubs. {bigger grin} Does anybody remember that MTV had a Vogue video contest? Well they did … and we did one … but I never understood why we never saw that video again after submission?

I was lying  in a pool of feverish sweat in my mother’s dark guest room “dying” of strep throat.  Exhausted from her healing efforts, she turned the radio on low, doing her best to provide me some kind of comfort so she could make her escape.  As she was leaving, with a small crack of light peeking through the door, she heard me mumble what she thought was yet another request from her suffering child.  When in fact it was me trying to share my “excitement” that the song playing, barely loud enough for a mouse to hear, HAD to be the new Madonna song … and so it was … and I drifted off happily into a Nyquil-induced coma to the sounds of “Erotica”.

“Ray of Light” followed me to my new grown-up adventures in the Twin Cities.  I loved her new “techno” sound and her ability to re-invent herself yet again .. what a smart business woman!

“Music” comforted me for many weeks in a hospital intensive care waiting room.

And “Hung Up” brought me back to Iowa City to a new life.

My own children became a Madonna fan when “Hard Candy” featured Justin Timberlake and Timbaland in the song “4 Minutes”.  But that’s about as far as their fan-dome took them … sadly.

29 years later … she’s still my icon.

And today,

I am holding a ticket to see Madonna in concert in Chicago on September 20.

My dream.

My #1 on the ol’ bucket list.

Happy Birthday Madonna!

Acts of Kindness

I heard a story this week while driving in to work that literally had me in tears. 

Aaron Collins, a Kentucky man who died at the young age of 30, left an unusual request in his will.  His last request was for his family to “Leave an awesome tip,” he said. “And I don’t mean 25%, I mean $500 on a pizza.” (Read his story here)

Since his passing on July 7th, his family has not only given several $500 tips but has also raised over $55,000 from donors all over the world through this blog to be randomly distributed among hard-working waiters and waitresses around the country {this is where my tears kicked in}.

There was a brief time in my life when someone paid me an unprecedented amount of kindness. When I offered to repay her, her response was ” Someone helped me once when I needed it most and all they asked in return is that some day I do the same for someone else.  That someone is you.  That someday is now. And all I ask is that you do the same for someone else when you can.”

I have never forgotten that.

And I never will.

Her words ring through my head any time one of those opportunities arise and I proceed without hesitation.

I encourage you to take time this weekend to do something kind for someone else.  It doesn’t have to be a $500 tip for your waitress.  It can be as simple as holding the door for someone or letting a tired mom draped with children jump in front of you in the checkout lane.

Before I go …

I want to give a shout out to the team members of Breast Friends walking in the Susan G Komen 3 Day Walk in Chicago this weekend.  These women (some from the Stuff Etc family) started raising money for breast cancer research and tirelessly training for this year’s walk in Chicago as soon they finished their walk in Arizona last year. They’ve all been touched by breast cancer in one way or another in their lives, yet every year, they have no idea whose lives they touch with their “acts of kindness.”

What a wonderful, selfless, other-centered act!


God speed girls!

{ photo courtesy of Maria Fobian 8/10/12 }


Winning Re-purposed Projects

HELLO friends!

First, I find it very necessary to extend an apology for the time between now and our last post.  There is no good excuse for our lack of posting, however, I am puzzled by how fast the days go by lately?!

We hope all is forgiven …  and maybe this will help …

All of our stores tend to have a sales floor full of entertainment centers that no one uses any more once they move up to flat screen TVs.  You remember these:

Unfortunately the resale value on these fellas isn’t very high. But when I saw this re-purposing project, it changed my whole tune to these beasts of burden!

Re-purpose it into a KID’S KITCHEN:

OR re-purpose it into a LAUNDRY ORGANIZER:

how about a DOLL HOUSE or a DRESS UP station:

Seriously!!!  How brilliant are these?

If you’re interested in re-purposing your own entertainment center, here’s the instructions to some of the above:  2nd Kitchen, 3rd Kitchen, Laundry Organizer, Doll house, Dress Up Station.

If you need an entertainment center to re-purpose, stop by our stores and take your pick:

Happy Monday!