Hope Wissel

Clothes Shopping on a Budget

Today, I am excited to be helping out at St. Paul’s UMC Rummage Sale.  This annual event is HUGE.  People stand in line just to get in the door and grab some deals.  WHY?  Seasons are changing – finally.  Warmer weather is coming and we can always use something new (at least to us)

You know the saying “one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure”, right? I will admit, clothes shopping is not something I really enjoy. Yes, I have lost most of the weight so I can shop off the racks BUT I still see the “fat” person of yester year.

Growing up, we didn’t shop in thrift stores. In fact, I am not even sure they were around in the 60’s and 70’s. I do remember donating items to those who were less fortunate but I don’t think I ever saw where they ended up.

As a single mom, thrift stores were a fun place to go – not just for me but also for my daughter. We checked out rummage sales at the local churches and scoured the thrift stores for goodies. From toys to books to kitchen stuff to clothes. We always found some treasure which would make the day a success.

There are two sides to most thrift stores – you get to help out a charity by donating and then again when buying from them. You get to make a difference in the lives of others. When donating items you no longer need or want the charity is then able to sell it to someone who needs or wants the item. The money raised helps others in need with food or other essentials. A win-win for everyone.

Let me say, I do know there are some “not so good” charities or thrift stores.  The ones who sell items to feed the pockets of their administration staff or some corporate big wig.  I am not talking about those because honestly, the best deals are not usually found at those “stores”.  I am talking about the local church rummage sales or the thrift store whose money goes directly to help those in need.

Here are some myths about thrift store shopping we are going to BUST!

Myth #1: It is shameful to go into a thrift shop.

Remember you are giving to a great cause and getting yourself a bargain at the same time. The items you are getting aren’t dirty but have been carefully sorted. Give your items a quick wash once you’ve bought them and they will be just like new. I even think for a period of time, this was the preferred way to shop.

Myth #2: Sometimes thrift shops can be considered ‘expensive’

I know, kind of crazy, right? The truth is everything is not “cheap” – a dollar or two. Things will be cheaper then buying brand new but there are those occasions when they could be a little bit more expensive than what you expected. Thrift store employees know value too. Their goal is to offer items at a reasonable price while helping raise funds for their cause. So, the designer dress may be cheaper than a brand new one but it is not going to be given away for just a few dollars.

Myth #3: You should just stick to one thrift store

The truth is frequenting the same thrift store on a regular basis is good. Don’t limit yourself to just one – find your favorites and stick with them. How else are you going to bag yourself some amazing bargains? Check in once a week to see what they have new. Every once in awhile, mom and I will spend the day exploring some new thrift stores. We meet some great people, and get some bargains.

Myth #4: You can’t try the stuff on!

Yes, you can actually try the clothes on in most. Don’t see a dressing room, ask if they have one. If they don’t, ask what their return policy is so you can try it on at home and return it if it doesn’t fit. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Just like shopping at the mall. the most important part of all this is to have fun. Thrift store shopping isn’t grimy or dirty. It’s a fun thing to do while grabbing bargains at the same time.

Remember to keep to your budget. It can be just as easy over-shopping in a thrift store as it is at the mall. The idea is to keep within a budget, when the purse strings are a little tight. Don’t go overboard otherwise you’ll defeat the objective of thrift shopping!

Heading out for a day of shopping.  Grab your Thirty One Large Utility Tote to keep all of your treasures in.  You’ll be amazed at how much this classic tote can hold. The structured metal frame keeps it open for bulky items and provides strength for durability. Use it to keep your closet in order, carry toys or groceries while you’re on the go, haul camping gear and so much more. It even collapses for easy storage!  The best part is they are on sale this month!

Let me know what you think about second hand shopping. Share some of your favorite places with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Happy Birthday Mom!

mom1I’m super excited I get to spend the day with mom… the first time in many years we have actually spent the day together on her birthday.  Yup, today is mom’s birthday.  Not to worry, I tell how old you are because honestly, no one would believe me.

Despite the memory gaps as a result of the MS, I actually have some memories of life with mom.

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I will admit I was a spoiled only child.  I could be difficult at times – like when I refused to move to our new house during middle school.  I actually thought it was my mother’s plot to ruin my life.

Despite the heartache and headaches I gave my parents growing up, Mom was always there. She opened our home to my friends without giving it a second thought.  Ours was the house to go to after a basketball game or when there was no place else to go. The house was always stocked with snacks whether I brought 2, 10, 25 or more people.  I was not always thrilled but I was grateful. After my Junior Prom, my parents made breakfast for over 300 kids. Yes, the parade of non-stop kids through the house was a little more than this teenager was ready for but mom stood strong.  Dad cooking, mom cleaning up and making sure everyone was fed.

My college years brought some struggles. Freshman year, my parents divorced and it wasn’t easy. I was in Rhode Island while mom was home holding down the fort. Scrimping pennies to make sure I had a home to come back to. They were tough years but we had fun. She often traveled to Rhode Island for a weekend where we toured the mansions of Newport, shopped in Fall River and she even camped out in my dorm room. After college, when I moved home to work locally, I moved in with mom. We spent endless nights walking the boardwalk in Ocean Grove.

Fast forward to changing jobs and moving to Atlantic County.  The road got a little rough.  Most struggle during their teen years but our struggles came in my late 20’s and 30’s.  It was during these years, my addiction took hold.  I pulled away and mom practiced some tough love but our relationship survived the test. Then along came Belinda.  There were struggles but through it all – mom was there. She helped emotionally, financially and physically. Despite some differences and hiccups in the road – she was there.

When Belinda left for college and I moved to Brick, it was a rough time for both of us. Lives changed – I had a new hubby and the one hour drive to Mays Landing sometimes feels like an eternity. We don’t spend as much time together as I would like but we do try to plan at least once a month mom and me day.

I probably don’t say it a lot and I am sure at times she wonders what I am thinking but the truth is I learned ALOT from my mom. She taught me: how to be strong when life is rough, how to save and budget (okay, a lesson I still struggle with), the importance of family and about being a mom. She reminds me to believe in myself.  She encourages me to reach for my dreams.  I can honestly say my mom is one of my best friends.xmas-2016-2

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do. Thank you for always being there for me. I love you! I hope you have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

The “Unofficial” End of Summer

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YEAH!  Today is Friday and for many, they are looking forward to the LONG Labor Day Weekend.  This weekend is filled with the last hurrah before the kids go back to school.  The “unofficial” end of summer.

Being born and raised at the Jersey Shore, I have learned to look forward to this weekend. It is the weekend when most “shoobies” head home.

images A shoobie (if you are from South Jersey) is some one who wears socks and sandals on the beach, typically coming to the shore for a vacation or long weekend or a day trip.  Of course, if you are from Central or Northern NJ, these visitors are called “bennies” and are usually from NY.  They are what keeps many businesses in our area open and able to sustain during the long cold winter months.  YEAH!

When I was in high school, I longed for the summer.  The boardwalk in Asbury Park got busy and I got more hours at work.   We didn’t mind sitting in traffic or the lack of parking spaces.  Fast forward to living in South Jersey near Ocean City and believe it or not, I didn’t think it was that bad, either.  Yes, there was a little bit more traffic.  Yes, there was a few less parking spaces.  Yes, we had to pay to park.  Given all of that, I loved taking the kids to the boardwalk and people watching.  The crowds never seemed that bad.

Fast forward to NOW!  Living in Central Jersey (Brick) again, I am back to CELEBRATING the exodus of people.  For some reason the crowds seem worse, manners were left at home and oh, did I mention the traffic.  I can go back to driving the highways and enjoy my happy place – the beach/ boardwalk in Ocean Grove.  I no longer have to find the shortest or less traveled distance between any where I want to go.  I can enjoy the boardwalk and we can walk the lake. Will I miss the warmer weather? YES!  Will I miss the seasonal businesses that will close?  YES!

Will I miss the “shoobies” and “bennies”?  NO!  Please no hate mail.  All I ask when you visit is that you bring your manners and remember that for some of us, this is home and not just a vacation spot.  We welcome you into our “HOME” and ask that you treat it as if you were a guest in someone’s (physical) home.

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So, are you excited about or dreading the start of the LONG Labor Day Weekend?  Share your thoughts with us..

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Saturday Spotlight – Taylor Sam’s

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It has been awhile since I focused on the AMAZING Taylor Sam’s located at 1563 Route 88 in Brick, NJ.

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They just recently won – BEST BREAKFAST on 94.3 The Point radio station.  

Here is a little bit about them:

Taylor Sam’s is operated by Executive Chef Scott Spivak. Chef Scott along with his wife Dawn, formerly owned Sixth Avenue Bistro was started in 2006 and soon become the local hotspot for guests who enjoyed their unique flair on comfort food in Toms River. Voted one of the best fine dining rests in Ocean County in 2007 by the Asbury Park Press…..Sixth Avenue had quickly made their mark in Toms River, now with the focus soley on catering, sixth avenue can offer that same experience at your next event.

Now Scott and Dawn have started a new venture in Brick….there goal was to offer a great breakfast and lunch dining experience for the local residents in Brick as well as visitors enjoying the Jersey Shore. They wanted the menu at Taylor Sam’s to be eclectic and homestyle by using quality ingredients as well as offering personal service. They want you to feel at home while not breaking the bank!

Open EVERYDAY from 8AM – 3:30PM. Delivery service available, phone: 732-458-7267.

What started for hubby and I as a “let’s just try it”, has become like a second home.  The staff: Nick, Dan, Rose, Fernando, Kara, Taylor and the rest of the crew are AMAZING!

I think I speak for all of the regular customers when I say that you couldn’t find a better place to eat. The food is FRESH. The staff is friendly. Special requests are no problem – believe me I know since I am always changing things up.

Pancakes and French Toast are AWESOME!

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Their variety of salad combinations always leaves me guessing with combinations that I would have NEVER thought to put together.

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I have probably tried everything on the menu that is NOT meat since I am a vegetarian but I haven’t heard anyone complain about anything there.

If you haven’t tried it, you need to. Having an event, meeting or party – have them do the catering.

Looking forward to hearing what you have to say AFTER you have tried them out.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Happy 80th Birthday Mom!

NYC with mom

I know that you hate pictures but I really LIKE both of these…..YES! I went there and disclosed your age because you DEFINITELY don’t look it.

Let me tell you a little about this AWESOME woman that I get to all mom.DSC_9178

Growing up, Mom was always there. Our home was always open to my friends – I mean we were the house to go to after a basketball game or when there was no place else to go.  The frig was always stocked, the rec room was always ready and sleeping bags were always handy if someone needed to crash for the night.  I may not have always been thrilled but looking back, I am so grateful.   Grateful that I could pick up the phone and say – I am on my way with 2, 10, 25 or more people.  There was never a hesitation even if she was headed to bed.  After my Junior Prom, my parents made breakfast for over 300 kids.  Yes, the parade of non-stop kids through the house was a little more than this teenager was ready for but mom stood strong.  I mean who wants to ALWAYS hang at your own house,right?

As I left for college there were struggles.  Freshman year, my parents divorced and it wasn’t easy.  I was in Rhode Island while mom was home holding down the fort. Scrimping pennies to make sure that I had a home to come back to. They were tough years but we had fun. She would travel to Rhode Island for a weekend where we toured the mansions of Newport, shopped in Fall River and she even camped out in my dorm room.  It was then that things started to change from mother-daughter to friends.  After college, I headed home to work locally, moving back in with mom. We spent endless nights walking the boardwalk in Ocean Grove.  We were a team even though I am sure that I drove her crazy.

When I moved to South Jersey there were many more years of rocky roads.  My years of addiction were tough on Mom and for that I am sorry.  There were arguments and periods of not talking to each other.  I missed her but my addiction had a hold of my life.  Mom practiced tough love during those years but our relationship survived the test of time.  Along came Belinda and more struggles.  Me as a single mom letting pride and my addiction get in the way.  When I got clean – mom was there.  She helped emotionally, financially and physically. Despite some differences and hiccups in the road – she was there.

When Belinda left for college, I moved to Brick and got married.  It has been tough for both of us. Distance makes it hard to “drop in” when I want on my way home from work. No quick calls to have lunch or dinner together.  Most days communication is via email instead of the phone.

Lives changed – I have a part-time weekend job, my own business, and a hubby.  The one hour drive to Mays Landing sometimes feels like an eternity when I thought nothing of it when I was commuting 2 hours one way to work.  We don’t spend as much time together as I would like.  It is on our TO DO list again this year – “plan at least a day per month with mom”.

I probably don’t say it a lot and I am sure at times she wonders what I am thinking but the truth is I learned ALOT from my mom. She taught me: how to be strong when life is rough, how to save and budget (okay, so this course I failed), the importance of family and about being a mom. She reminds me to believe in myself (you would think I would know this by now). I can honestly say that my mom is one of my best friends.

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Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do.  I hope you are enjoying the sunshine in Florida but I do miss spending today with you.  Thank you for always being there for me. I love you!