Category Archives: Thrifty Nifty

“Gain” A Beautiful Smell

“Gain” A Beautiful Smell

Every time I go and visit my parents up in Washington, I always leave their house with the best smelling laundry. You may think I’m crazy but truth be told, I enjoy doing our laundry up there as I know there is a guarantee of freshness to be had in our suitcase upon arriving home in Oregon.

With a brand new front loader washing machine, I couldn’t figure out why our clothes simply were not smelling fresh, let alone clean. It was beyond me. I was making our own laundry detergent and opted to take a break as I thought this was our culprit. As I bought the most expensive brand on the market, Tide, I was still utterly unsatisfied. I was using laundry softener and still had no success.

My husband works out all the time and sweats like crazy. It’s pretty gross and I will save you the pain of too many details other than he smells like a sewer rat when he’s done. Sick! I love him dearly, but wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole after workouts. It’s almost as if a rat died after walking around in cow dung for days.

Okay, I said I would spare you the pain and I think you get my drift that the odder is very prominent and unwelcomed.

One afternoon I called my mom desperate for some help. I’m not sure if she really helped me as her answer to my question was no good. I asked what detergent she uses and she replied “whatever is on sale.” I immediately countered her response because if that were true, her laundry would not always remain consistently smelling delicious. We proceeded to go around and around in circles with very little information for me to grasp onto other than: “Buy what’s on sale and do not buy tide. It is a waste of money.”

Her comments were helpful but on the other hand they weren’t. I wanted exact information, brand, scent, size, etc. She said she sometimes buys Arm & Hammer, Gain, Purex so on and so forth and she said it so lackadaisical. So with that in mind, I immediately returned Tide since that was my detergent of choice earlier that day. My reasoning was simple: Go big or go home. $20 later I returned Tide to purchase Gain.

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I tried Gain for no other reason except out of all the detergents my mother listed, this is one I had yet to try. Racing home to test the clothes saturated in sweat, I was thrilled upon my discovery. It worked, it really worked. The moment I pulled the clothes out of the drier, my nose was filled with such a refreshing scent. No more sewer rat, no more cow dung. It was a beautiful moment I about wept over the pile laying within my arms. I held my embrace for minutes as I sat overjoyed by this wonderful discovery. It was priceless.

Thankfully I shed no tears over the clean, bountiful, fresh scent. But this my friends was the cure. The cure to our devastation. The cure to the wretched smell that clung so tightly. This was the cure; GAIN. I will shout it from the roof tops. My husbands scent officially removed (well, the bad scent at least).

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Thank you to: crazy-frankenstein.com

Moment of Truth: If you are having a rough time with your clothes, please consider Gain and Downy Original scent fabric softener. These two combined were the end all be all to our troubles.

DIY- 60 Reasons Of Love

A couple months ago we celebrated my dad’s 60th birthday. I am still shocked that he is 60 and has all his children grown, married and with families. He is a wonderful Papa to every grandchild and loves them and protects them just as he did his own three daughters.

For my dad’s 60th, I wanted to do something extra special as I have always looked up to my dad in many facets. He’s been the utmost example of Christ in a family and how to walk with Him and seek Him above all else. He has taught me what true love should look like and lives that out on a daily basis with his wife and children.

I decided a book would be meaningful and worth the time to display his love on 60 different pages. I purchased this book as it is leather bound and is transportable. He can be reminded of the deep riches God has gifted him within every page of this book. Whether kept at his bedside, in his truck, on the coffee table or on his desk, he can carry it with him.

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I must be honest here, the easiest part of the book was writing down the 60 reasons of love. My dad has been an example to many people and continues to live a humble life. 60 reasons was extremely simple but the challenging part was my lack of creativity. I’m not the most creative person nor did I realize the amount of work to “create” sixty different ideas and display them on a page. Definitely not the easiest but I did conquer the task. So– there is hope. If you are not creative like me, you can still make this project a success. If you are creative you will blow my project out of the water. :)

First, pick a theme. I wanted to base the book off of my dad’s love for Christ and how he displays that in all facets of his life. I began the sixty reasons with a cross to display God’s love for us and laying His life down for His children.

photo 1This picture was taken on my wedding day.

My dad loves and accepts his children with only a deep love God has blessed him with, and he continually displays that love with each of us; I am blessed. 

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My father loves and accepts EACH son-in-law as if they were his own. He truly loves them and accepts them no matter what and has displayed this in numerous situations.

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He loves each grandchild with a sweet love only a papa could have. He exemplifies this in every interaction with sweet tender care. His grandchildren look up to him and admire him.

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Finances have never got in the way with this man. No matter the age or situation his children are in, he is there to help no matter the cost and no matter the hardship.

He has always been a provider.

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He was always there to support my dreams and help me succeed with finding my purpose in this life.

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What an example of unconditional love. 37 years of marriage, three children and happier than ever with his family. Life may not be easy, but boy does loving your family make all the difference in the world.

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Lastly, my dad taught me to walk with Jesus. All growing up my dad would put notes on the counter in our bathroom when he would head off to work. Whatever the note held, he always ended it with: “walk with Jesus.” This was something that carried with each of his daughters as he continued to live this out himself.

Our family theme: Walk With Jesus.

By doing so, not only does the memory reside with each daughter, but Christ love also resides while we each walk our own journey with Christ.

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Thank you dad for being an example of love; true love. I appreciate you more than anything and thank you for teaching me life’s deepest lessons; how to walk with Jesus. 
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Once I accomplished my 60 pages and gifted this to him, he was blessed. He is a humble man who deserves to hear what the world sees in him. He is a living example of Christ.

This project was a gift for me as well, realizing how blessed I am with a father who put Christ above all else knowing this world will soon pass away and nothing else will matter.

Make your gift meaningful and show someone what they mean to you.

Drop Your Grocery Budget

Many of us spend too much money grocery shopping. Whether a family of 2 or a family of 6, your budget can be tamed.

Thanks to www.leconcertinvisible.com

Tip #1: Know what you have.

Make a list and scrounge your cupboards for items you are running low on or are completely out of.

Walking into the store with an idea of what you need always leads to trouble. My husband and I made this mistake this past weekend. It was thunderstorms all day Sunday and we had to resort to plan B as walking along the waterfront would not be a safe option now. So, I needed some groceries and ideas on what to make for the week as I was leaving town. I wanted to leave him with some meal options as I would be gone four days prior to him leaving.

While we were at Costco, my mental list of 2 items quickly turned to 14 or so. Although, I tend to spend a lot of money at Costco because I really like their deals, this time was solely my husband. He doesn’t go grocery shopping often as Cooper and I tend to do it during the week; he became a kid in a candy store while sampling all the food and looking at all the books, clothes and frozen snack food. As you know I tend to not purchase a lot of boxed snack foods because I can typically do it for cheaper and healthier. So, needless to say, it’s critical to make your list and stick to your list.

Tip #2: Make your meal plan.

Before you run off to the store, make your meal plan. Know what you have in your house and what you are lacking. Make your meal plan for 7 days. Knowing what you will be making saves on costs as you will not be running back and forth to the store to get last minute items. It will save you time and money.

Tip #3: Look at whats on sale.

Look for what’s on sale when shopping. If you need a couple dinner ideas for the week, use the sale items to become your next meal. IE If hamburger is on sale, purchase hamburger for the versatility of a meal that same week. Many things can be made with hamburger. Again, know what you have for side dishes.

Shopping with sale items will keep your budget lower.

Tip #4: Pantry Items.

I’m big on having a stocked pantry. This has helped keep me from running to-and-fro to purchase little items. Here’s some ideas for stocking up:

Tomato paste, diced tomatoes, black beans, cream of chicken/mushroom, green chilies, olives, chocolate chips, and any baking items on hand.

By doing so, when you go to make your meal plan for the week, you wont have to worry about the small pantry items as you will already have them.


While you are shopping, if you find a product that is such a great deal, buy it. Do not just buy one, stock up. This will help grow your pantry for items as well. If you see a good deal, follow through and keep pantry stocked. (Read more about pantry deals here)

Tip #5: Know which stores to shop.

Before you head to the store, know which stores have the best deal going on. If Safeway as their sales, than maybe consider going there over Fred Meyers. Follow the sale. You can typically find the 1 one get one free or 50% off. It’s important to follow the sale when you head out to conquer your list.

Tip #6: Coupons or Price Match.

If you have local coupons, take them in. Don’t be shy about your coupons, walk with pride knowing you don’t need to pay full price for anything. Couponing can take time, but is worth saving money as well. My best advice with coupons…… DO NOT buy something unless you need it. That’s where coupons become a disaster. You find a coupon for a Gillette shaver, buy one full price shaver and get $2 off. Do you really need a shaver or is the deal so good you can’t resist? These are the questions you must ask yourself. So remember, when couponing, only look for the coupons that match your grocery list or stock your pantry on.

Price match. Most stores will price match for you. If you know Safeway has a deal on milk and you are at Fred Meyers or Walmart, typically they will price match for you if you know what the cost of the milk is at Safeway. You simply have to ask. Something I used to be fearful of but realized it saves me from driving to five different stores just for their deal.

Tip #7 Do not shop while hungry.

This may bring laughter to your soul but there is a sad truth in this. When we are hungry and isle after isle portray a longing of sweets, chocolates, carbs and so on, our brains tell us to purchase items we do not need. There is scientific proof to hungry shopping and purchasing items you typically wouldn’t give a second look had you not been hungry. The other battle is grocery stores strategically place items at eye level to grab your attention. Subconsciously you take in thousands of items that look incredible but are oh so unhealthy for you. Be aware of your own state and take a snack with you before you shop if needed.

If you follow these tips you will tame your grocery budget. It’s worth a try and it’s worth making your own products as well. They are healthier and cheaper!

Movies in the Park

If you want a cheap date night or family night, look for your local movies in the park. In Oregon, you will find them all throughout the Portland-metropolitan area. In our own neighborhood we have them every Friday night, and just one stop further, we have them every Thursday night.

This has been a great past time memory that we have participated in since Cooper was born. And although Cooper hasn’t been old enough to enjoy the movies, he has enjoyed playing in the park and having a picnic. Last night was fabulous. The weather was perfect, overcast skies, and an over zealous baby! He was beyond happy and content pushing his little truck around, playing in the water and most of all…playing with his mama. ;)

We went 2 hours early to the park to enjoy some time playing around and also because I wasn’t sure if Cooper could manage that late of an evening. We got home at 9:30 about 45 minutes after the movie was set to begin. Cooper had a blast and so did I.

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This is a great water park

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Ready-Set-Go

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And he’s off…

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Playing in the Water

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And out of the water

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Trying to wear mama’s shoes

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Taking a breather from playing

Mommy and me

Mommy and me

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Adorable

Getting ready for the show.

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Making himself comfortable

Oh what a night… so many activities took place just while hanging out in the park for one night. Tired little boy slept extremely well! 

Wardrobe Update

From exciting to dull… I have been going through my closet on a ‘what not to wear’ basis. My husband had mentioned that I have so many clothes and don’t wear half of them. Emphasizing the “so many clothes” part, as my husband is a true man with style but does NOT understand a woman and their deep obsession with clothing.

If you have yet to read the initial post about my wardrobe, click here.

So it all began 39 days ago. I have been going 39 days strong…until last weekend where I began contemplating tossing the remainder of my clothes because I simply don’t care for them. “Are they in style” “Do they still fit me” “I don’t like the way this shirt lays” “This one has the wrong color swatch for the days mood” so on and so forth. I could make every excuse in the book and then some. I truly did not like anything in hanging in there. So, I decided it was time to go for a swim and avoid the topic all together. Okay, so maybe I didn’t actually go swimming, but that was a good thought that may take place next time I have this same conversation with myself while looking at my rugged old wardrobe.

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Thanks to theartofsimple.net

So, as promised, I took the vow to wear all of my shirts (weather appropriate) before wearing a top for the second time. If I do not wear it, I will toss it. I’ve only tossed two thus far and have donated two with tags still on to my mom and sister. I enjoyed my outfit today and have thought to myself many times throughout the past 39 days, why I haven’t worn a few shirts more often. Eh, my husband may be right…

The truth hurts my friends. Going through your closet can be refreshing and some shirts are very exciting to wear again. My husband was right, I have many shirts that I barely wear, and all for no good reason.

I will update once I reach the end of the line in the closet and let you all know whether I tossed them, wore them or gave in and quit this dumb ol’ bet.

Tractor Cake

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My sick little baby trying to have a good birthday! :(

My son had his birthday a couple weeks ago and as you all know, we headed to the beach to have our trip be quickly interrupted with an ER visit. Although, the first couple days were great, the last two were horrible. I state that very matter-of-fact as they were legitimately horrible.

For my sons first birthday, I didn’t get the pleasure of making his cake as we had moved 1 week prior and we were hosting dinner at our house. I also had planned a friend birthday party the following day at the zoo with lunch and cake. I had very little time to do much more than that. So, this year I was adamant that I would make my son a cake he would love; tractors!!!

I used two bread pans and baked the cake and manipulated the cake in more ways than one to turn it into a tractor. It was pretty challenging to say the least, but it worked out. I will also state that this is the first time I’ve ever made a cake into something other than a circular pretty cake. Practice makes perfection– so I hope!

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IMG_4811 IMG_4812I used Kit-Kats for the wheels and smoke stack. 
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Moment of Truth: Manipulating a cake isn’t the easiest thing, especially for the first time. You make a mistake and you must keep going. Though there are many imperfections, I was thrilled to have it resemble a tractor that my son would be utterly happy about. :) The older he gets, the better I will become! :)

DIY Wooden Banners

My sisters came up with a great craft day last summer around the 4th of July when we came up to visit. They had already been working on them and wanted to invite me into the fun craft zone. While scrounging around in my dads wood pile one afternoon, my sister decided these random boards needed decorating and a place to call home. After finding many different shapes, sizes and types of wood, we brushed paint lightly on top of them and created our own touch to each piece for our home.

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How to DIY:

You can use any scrap wood you find or go to home depot or a local lumber store and ask for some scraps they have laying around.

Once you have the boards you like, lightly brush craft paint across the board to create a weathered look to the wood.

Once dried, place stencils along the board aligning them how you prefer and tape slightly to hold the stencils in place.

Set aside and let dry!

Use a “twisty screw” as I prefer to call them, but better known as an eye-hook to hang with ribbon or to hold a nail.

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Straight from my Mama’s house

Here are a few of our creations….

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“Splash’in” in the hot tub room.

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For the bedroom

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Our guest room is green and purple

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My sisters Laundry room

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Our Office

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Our laundry room is currently being remolded so I took the liberty to enjoy the sign outside today!

These are cheap and easy to make and can be used all throughout your house. You could purchase these at the store for $25-40 OR Do-It-Yourself for less than $5.

Homemade “Pam” Nonstick Spray

Homemade “Pam” Nonstick Spray. This is an important facet to your cooking that must be addressed. How often do you use nonstick spray? Almost everyday in our household. Do you know what chemicals lay within this simple spray? Do you know what you are blindly putting into your body as well as your families?

I will give you a simple transition to kick the nonstick spray to the trash and make your own. Don’t resort to butter or coconut oil as you will be adding hundreds of calories without even realizing it; directly into your prepared dish.

Instead of using butter or coconut oil you will save time and money by making your own nonstick spray. Don’t buy Pam Spray as you will be purchasing preservatives and chemicals when you can easily make your own at home!

Speaking of chemicals, after reading a couple different articles on the ingredients in Pam cooking spray, come to find out they use an ingredient called Propellant which also resembles propane and nitrous oxide. Neither of these are chemicals I prefer to eat with my eggs and bacon in the morning. Yikes. This actually defeats the purpose of homemade meals when you still have the chemicals floating around in forms such as this.

I reluctantly admit that I used to purchase the store bought product without thinking twice. When I ran out, I started to think about it and if it really was worth purchasing. To be honest nonstick spray works really well. I never had problems with anything sticking so I was a little doubtful about transitioning over. I thought I would start by using butter or coconut oil and wiping down the pan, but when I realized how much I bake and cook, I was using a lot of butter (and calories) just to create a nonstick surface. I began making my own nonstick spray and love it and am happy to see my butter stay put in the fridge rather than adding hundreds of calories to simply keep the food from sticking. :)

Please, any of you out there who have any form of Pam Nonstick Spray, toss that sucker in your trash and make your own today! All you do is take equal parts lemon juice and olive oil (or vegetable oil), whichever you prefer and combine in a mini spray bottle. Label and place in refrigerator. Lemon juice needs to be refrigerated once opened otherwise it will spoil almost immediately.

When you go to use it, shake well. This works like a gem and you can rest easy knowing you are avoiding any propellant in your homemade meals.

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Those 30 seconds it takes to create this product is something worth doing!

Moment of Truth: When preparing homemade meals, stick as close to it’s original form to help avoid preservatives. These days it takes a lot more work to avoid added ingredients but your body and family will thank you!

Little Dirty Secrets

There are many little hidden traps throughout your house that easily get neglected. As I chase three kids around the house and see a dust bunny here, crumbs there, laundry over yonder, I begin to realize some things simply need to be cleaned that are forgotten about for quite some time. Trying to keep the basics cleaned, you realize the deep cleaning is always sitting on the back burner.

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Thanks to: 4littlefergusons.wordpress.com

Here is a list of those little traps that we overlook on a too regular basis:

  • Dishwasher
  • Washing Machine
  • Bathtub
  • Humidifier
  • Coffee Pot
  • Door handles/light switches
  • TV remotes
  • Computer mouse and keyboard

These all get used on a regular basis but how often do we take the time to clean them. Just as a dishwasher and washing machine clean our clothes or dishes, they need to be cleaned themselves. A load here and there doesn’t do the trick. Make sure you wipe around the edges of the dishwasher to remove any mold or mildew that builds up. On the inside place an Affresh cleaner to make your dishwasher sparkling clean again. Same goes for your washing machine, you need to clean it once a month as well to keep clothes smelling clean and not that sweaty, mildew smell as if you left your laundry sitting wet for too long. It can often be from lack of cleaning your washing machine.

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Many of us have little kiddos running around needing a bath on a daily basis. Do you ever see the pink residue begin to form in your tub? That’s disgusting mildew that needs to be removed. Soap and water tend to reside in the bottom of the tub once you drain your bath. It sits there and builds up leaving a film all across the bottom, side and waistline of your tub.

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Humidifiers are often overlooked on a too frequent basis. I try and clean my humidifier once a month and still find mold. I will be purchasing a new humidifier as our current one isn’t easily accessible leaving certain spots with a mold residue that cannot be reached with a scrub brush. Making sure you clean them regularly and use a mold-be-gone for them as well. They have these in the isle where you by Vicks Vapor Steam.

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Coffee pots- Though you may clean the actual pot where your coffee sits, don’t forget the back of the pot when you first fill it with water to brew your delicious coffee. Some coffee pots are clear in the back where you fill it up with water and others are not. I have had both and the clear ones help you spot mildew as it first starts to grow. Dark backs keep you blind to what is growing back there. Almost all coffee pots have a self clean button that alerts you when your pot needs to be cleaned, but my experience with the clear back is the self clean alert isn’t soon enough. Every couple of weeks you should run a pot of water and vinegar (equal parts) through your pot to help give a deep natural clean. Than simply wipe it down.

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How often do you touch a door handle or light switch? Probably a hundred times a day give or take. How often do you clean your light switch or door handles? In our household I try and keep up on it, but it’s something that gets over looked too often. Germs get spread, dirty paws from my little man, sticky food, so on and so forth always get touched. Take a wash cloth with vinegar and water and wipe down really well. Or, if some of you don’t prefer the natural way, take Lysol or a preferred cleaner and walk around and clean every door handle and light switch.

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Most of us probably have a TV remote, keyboard or mouse from the computer that gets touched on an ever so frequent basis. I know we do! This is a trap that gets no attention and breeds germs and dust. Take a moment to clean your household hidden treasures and wipe them clean.

tv remoteTake a minute to not only clean these hidden germs, but to take pride in your own and keep it clean!

 

Wardrobe In Style?

I made this deal with my husband recently as I have continually heard that I have so many clothes in my closet and hardly wear half of them. Same with my shoes, he commented a week ago that I wear sandals all summer long and never wear most of my shoes, so what’s the point of having them? With that in mind I decided I would wear all my shirts in the closet once before repeating a shPostsirt. If I simply refuse to wear it, than I will toss it out. I wanted to show that there is a point to all the hanging clothes and shoes that sit there. They will be worn for that one particular occasion and though it may only be once, it will get worn.

So far I’m on day 12 and it hasn’t been too bad yet. He also points out that there are many items in there still with tags on them. I told him I like to purchase a top and wait awhile before I wear it as it is a nice surprise down the road. :)

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He has asked twice now if one of the tops I’ve worn is new, I hung my head low and said “no, it’s just been awhile.” We are keeping up with this quite well but I know I will hit a low and not want to wear some of them but also will have to commit to my agreement and toss it if I don’t wear it.

I will keep you up to date and would recommend most of you women should probably try this out and see how far you get before you simply don’t want to wear that shirt you bought awhile ago and only worn once.

Moment of Truth: Sometimes you simply don’t like your style after you have a baby and have to re-shop for the latest trends.