thrifting guide for men

not too long ago i shared how i save a buck & shop within our budget for clothing. you can read my affordable style blog post right here

a big part of saving money within our family is thrifting & shopping secondhand. 

on my days off, i love grabbing a cup of coffee & heading to the thrift shop. 

this isn't the case for my husband, though. 

he appreciates my willingness to work within our budget, but he isn't a shopper. he likes looking put-together & he has strong opinions about what he wears, but he would prefer to shop only a couple of times a year for what he needs. 

last weekend, we stopped by goodwill on our way home & found his complete fall wardrobe for under $50. you would be so surprised at what you can find in the men's area at your local thrift shop!

 today i thought i'd share what we found on our goodwill trip & tips on shopping secondhand for the men in your life.

1. shop together! my husband can get overwhelmed with the aisles of disorganized clothing at the thrift store. we make it a date & scan the rows of clothing together. it makes shopping feel more manageable for my husband & it feels like quality time for me. 

2. don't shop brands, shop fit. if you're a newbie thrifter, you will be shocked at the variety of brands you'll find at the thrift store. while shopping for my husband, we found clothing from target to ralph lauren. we purchased button ups from dockers, merona, aeropostale & ralph lauren. it doesn't matter the brand as much as the fit & cut. 

3. shop for basics, too. i often find basics at the thrift store for my husband. while on our trip to goodwill, we purchased two brand spankin' new white hanes tees for $2.50 each. he needs just a couple at a time so it was much more affordable than buying a large pack at the store. i've also found patagonia long underwear, american apparel plain tees & wool socks at the thrift for my hubby.

4. keep a list of needs & sizes in your wallet. this applies for the whole family. always keep a list of needs & your family members' sizes in your wallet. when arriving at the thrift shop, pull out your list & keep an eye out for those key items. this will keep you focused & less forgetful. although some thrift shops don't accept returns, goodwill allows exchanges & store credit. yay!

so, here's our breakdown of cost from our fall shopping trip for him:

7 collared, button-up, long sleeve shirts at $4 each = $28
2 pairs of jeans at $5 each = $10
2 white v-neck tees at $2.50 each = $5
grand total = $43

do you shop secondhand for the men in your life? i'd love to read your tips & tricks for saving a buck at the thrift shop!


girls' weekend fall goodie bags + fall candy mix recipe

this past weekend was & always is the very best weekend. the gals on my mom's side of the family travel to eureka springs for a weekend of craft fair shopping & most importantly, laughing. 

i can't wait to share our girls' war eagle weekend, but today i thought i'd share details on the goodie bags i gifted to my aunt, cousins & mom.

a few weeks ago, my friend, melissa, presented her "worley fall mix" to a group of girls at a fun play date. it's a yummy & colorful mix of pretzels, candy corn, m&m's & peanuts. friends, it's addicting! i just had to make little bags of the fall mix for girls' weekend! 
warning: package your fall mix immediately or you might just eat the entire bowl. 

i also purchased these cute little "happy halloween" signs from the target $1 bin for their goodie bags. target, you've done it again. 

i got the cute kraft boxes at hobby lobby & stuffed them with tissue paper & the treats. i tied the boxes with ribbon & added a cute tag with their initials.

it was the perfect little treat for the weekend & it cost me under $3 each!  

my sweet friend, melissa, said i could share her family fall mix with you today so below you'll find the recipe!  

- 1 bag of pretzels (we used the gluten free pretzels from aldi's! delicious!)
- 2 med. bags or 1 lg. bag of candy corn
- 1 bag of m&m's
- 1 jar of unsalted & roasted peanuts

quantities of ingredients don't matter too much... it's really up to your family's preference!

1. pour all of the ingredients in a giant bowl
2. stir all of the ingredients together until it is well mixed
3. eat & enjoy!

chef's notes: melissa swears that "one pretzel, two peanuts, three m&m's & one candy corn" is the perfect combination & tastes just like a snickers bar! yum!


my not-so-glamorous tuesday

so i had this really great idea yesterday morning to blog about the not-so-glamorous parts of my life. 

the parts that include not wearing makeup (or brushing my hair for that matter) & heading into town for errands. note the rockstar sunglasses (from these awesome people) that make me look famous. 

but you see, these are the parts that make up most of my life.

i really like the crafty, pinterest-worthy pieces that make up my life, but there's a whole lot of grocery shopping, post office waiting, & mundane errand running pieces mixed in, too.

so today i thought i'd share a typical tuesday in my world.

i feel like the post office is my second home. because of you amazing people who support my shops, i get to see them at least twice a week. i know them all by name & we often have long conversations of "would you rather?" while they ship my bags of goodies. 

tuesdays also always include grocery shopping. aldi's is my place. these people are my people. good deals, good values, good people. i like that.

also, don't judge my grocery list. we eat lots of veggies. they just come from the garden. also, the junk? it's for a gift, i swear. yolo. 

sometimes in-between grocery store stops, i reward myself with a little thrifting. the magic above was found on tuesday. 

i also like to text my tribe photos of clothing for approval. this photo was for erin & it was something along the lines of, "i can finally wear shirts like this because my stomach is no longer bloated!"

did i tell you being gluten-free has changed my life?

20 lb. down, haaay!

after a little grocery store shopping & a bank run, i head home with a car full of goodies to put away. the rest of the day will include dinner prep, dirty dishes, farm chores & house cleaning tasks. most of it i won't get done & that's ok.

welcome to my not-so-glamorous tuesday. perhaps it looks a little bit like your days, too?

p.s. there are still a couple of spots left for the holiday craft party! join us for an evening of crafty goodness! more details right here. 

registration is now open for the holiday craft party!

registration is now officially open for the holiday craft party

email me at natalie.j.freeman(at) to register!
space is very limited so register today to make sure you reserve your spot. 

won't you join us for three wonderful hours of crafting handmade holiday goodies? i just cannot wait!


a week of crockpot meal ideas

it's confession time.

are you ready?

i'm not always crazy about cooking dinner.

oh, you too?

you see, we have a rule in this house. you either cook or you wash dishes. i'd rather cook than wash dirty dishes any day so my husband so graciously takes cleaning duty every night.

it's not that i hate cooking; sometimes it is a wonderful creative outlet for me. it's just that after work, going to the gym & dealing with the not-so-glamorous parts of my life all day, i'm a walking zombie come dinner time.

queue the crockpot.

bless the crockpot.

i used to have this weird guilt thing about my crockpot. i thought that if i made dinner in our crockpot, i was actually cheating & the meal wouldn't be as delicious or complete. 

well, i'm here to tell you today that i believe in The Crockpot & it's time saving graces. i've made some delicious meals from our crockpot & this week's dinners are no different.

i thought i'd share my meal plan with you this week just in case you're suffering from the cooking blues & need some inspiration...

side note: i don't always cook a week of crockpot meals. this week just happens to be a busy one so i am relying on my crockpot to make meals ahead of time. i do actually make dinner in the pm hours every once in awhile, hah!

monday: crockpot pinto beans & homemade cornbread - simply add dried pintos to your crockpot & cover them with a generous amount of water. cook on low for 7-9 hours. you'll come home to a pipping hot southern dinner around 5 pm! add toppings, such as cheese, to your pintos & enjoy with cornbread & sautéed veggies.

wednesday: crockpot enchiladas - i use the recipe from simply in season (buy this cookbook if you don't already have it!), but this recipe from skinnytaste is similar (substitute flour tortillas for corn tortillas if you're gluten free)

thursday: crockpot tomato bisque soup with garden fresh salad

friday - saturday: i will be out of town so leftovers will be plentiful for luke. the benefit of crockpot meals is that there are almost always leftovers.

sunday: family dinner night!

supplemental reading: details on how i meal plan & how i save money on our food budget

printables: my meal planning printable comes from here & my grocery list printable comes from here. 

do you use the crockpot regularly? what are some of your favorite crockpot meals? please share!


p.s. don't forget! registration opens TOMORROW for the holiday craft party! you can find more details about the workshop & how to register here.

blog love

thank you to our small businesses, bloggers & makers for supporting natalie creates this month:

if you would like to support my blog, click here. this small fee includes an ad on the sidebar along with an optional giveaway for my readers & ig followers. the holidays are just around the corner & right now is the perfect time to promote your business! 

holiday craft party with natalie creates // november 15th!

friends, it's happening again.

& i am freaking out with excitement (!!!).

i'm hosting a holiday craft party at shindig paperie on november 15th from 5-8 pm!

you see, my heart was filled to the brim when i taught the gals canning at our farm. it was that lightbulb moment in my life that flashed in neon lights saying, 
"natalie you must keep sharing! 
you must keep teaching!"

so even though it's crazy scary & often times i feel like i am not even qualified to teach you amazing people, i am in for this adventure. 

the holiday craft party with natalie creates will be three hours of pure crafty bliss. 

only fifteen participants will be included in the evening's festivities. over wine, good food & chatter, we'll complete three projects for you to take home & decorate your nest for the upcoming holiday season! we'll end the evening with a fabulous swag bag stuffed with goodies from some of my dearest  maker friends.

& just one more secret in case crafts & wine aren't enough for you people...

 erin of tweetpotatopie is flying in to assist at the party(!!!)! i can't even begin to share my excitement! y'all, she's a northern yankee, but oh lawd, she's sweet as pie & as creative as they come. i can't wait for you all to meet her!

so here are the details:

+  the holiday craft party with natalie creates is on november 15th, 2014.
+  location: shindig paperie in fayetteville, arkansas 
+  the party will start at 5 pm & end around 8 pm.
+  the cost is $100 per person.
+  the evening's registration fee includes dinner, dessert & drinks galore!
+  your registration also includes supplies & instruction for three craft projects.
+  a swag bag will be included for each participant. 

registration opens at 9 am cst on tuesday, october 14th. to register, simply email me anytime after 9 am cst on tuesday morning. i will invoice you soon after. the first fifteen to pay in full will be chosen for this intimate & oh so memorable event!

 bring your gal pals & craft with us! 
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