Seventeen items for just about $100. That’s what I walked away with this weekend after my visit to Omaha, one of the best places around to Goodwill shop. The Omaha Goodwill’s are not only categorized by size (which cuts down dramatically on how long you spend there), but clean and stocked full of brand name clothing. You never know what you are going to find there, but I’ve purchased just about anything and everything you can think of at the Goodwill. This weekend’s treasures include:

1) Two pairs of khaki Bermuda shorts. Shorts are always something easy to find at the Goodwill. Shorts hardly ever change in style, you simply just need to find short or long and the right color. And for someone with kids, mine are forever getting some crazy stain on them that will not come out. So finding cheap pairs that I don’t have to worry about is a must. Plus, it is easy to find brand names. The two I came home with were GAP and Eddie Bauer. 2) Cream, silk shorts. These deserve a different category.  I have been seeing these at Ann Taylor this summer and wanted to try them, but not for those prices! $5 though, sure, I’ll risk it.

3) Pants, pants and more pants. Sometimes just having the right pair of pants to wear with a blouse is a hard find. Pants are also a great Goodwill purchase because in general you don’t wear many pants with prints and most are neutral colors. That doesn’t mean you can’t find pants that don’t fall into this category, however. I found a pair of Limited purple plaid pants and a pair of grey and a pair of cinnamon colored corduroys. I think the cinnamon corduroys were actually my favorite purchase of the day. I also bought a pair of winter white dress pants (in perfect condition) and a pair of ankle cropped Ann Taylor brown plaid dress pants.

4) Tops. When it comes to tops, things get a bit harder. I’m pretty picky about my prints and this is really where you see trends, wear, etc. This is what I found on this trip-a pink lace blouse (seems lace is really in this fall), two casual but brightly colored shirts, a faux shearling shrug-like sweater and a red plaid print sweater.

5) Skirts.  These also can be hard to find. Many are outdated and again, I’m picky about prints. But I did find a classic purple and black tweed skirt and a summery brown and white floral printed skirt (so easy to wear for a busy mom).

6) Jackets.  Lastly I found a dressy grey jacket in a silver brocade. Looking forward to wearing this over the fancy dresses I will be wearing at Christmastime.

At close to $6/item, I think I did quite well!

What has just arrived in my mail slot? The InStyle Fall Fashion Guide. Thank goodness, now I know what to buy for fall. I love poring through this magazine, page by page-especially the style section. While most of the shopping is completely beyond my bank account, I can always take their looks and make them my own on my shoestring budget. This magazine is not for wimps, it is approximately 638 pages, taking me usually days from cover to cover. Which is what makes it so great. I save all of the pages from the Instant Style section. I have since 2003. When I can’t figure out what to wear, open up my Instant Style pages and there I’ve got it! When you need to pack for a long vacation, find your pages and you’re set. With categories like “Dinner and Dancing,” “Date Night” and “Day at the Beach,” you will always find what is appropriate for your event. Do I always plan out what to wear every morning? No. Do I have days where I’m not happy with what I have on. Absolutely. But this magazine really helps. Now, let’s see if I have the composure to resist opening until after picking up the kids from school. Nope! Bye!

This is different for me than it is for most people, but the high point of my week is church! As a stay-at-home mom there aren’t many opportunities for me to get out and about (especially in the winter) without spending a lot of money (especially on gas). So I look forward to church, seeing people who care about me and I love to pick out what I’m going to wear. I still have so many work outfits from when I was actually paid to do something for a living that it is nice to have a place to wear them.

Here it is, my biggest beef about church apparel today…no one dresses up! I understand that most people have to wear something nice five days a week to their job and many would point fingers at what I do and say, “Oh, it must be nice to live in jeans and a t-shirt.” But I don’t live in jeans and a t-shirt because what I present to the world says something about how I feel about myself. I have a serious problem with said people that wear their best clothes to church and dress like a street person to church. What does that say to the Lord? I’m not suggesting that you need to wear a ball gown for church on Sunday. And I’m also not suggesting that in order for you to attend church, you can’t be a street person. I’m just saying, out of respect, dress appropriately. For me that means dresses (yes, even in winter) and skirts on communion Sunday and pants when not. In the summer, I wear skirts and dresses almost every Sunday for the simple reason is that it is nice out.

Maybe I sound like a grandma saying this. And I don’t want ANYONE to not attend church because they can’t afford nice clothing. Half of my wardrobe comes from the Goodwill anyway, so I don’t buy that people can’t afford something nice. God doesn’t care what you look like, but YOU should care what you look like to worship God. Would you wear shorts and flip-flops to your grandpa’s funeral? No. So don’t come to church in them.

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