September 2014 | Live Pretty on a Penny

Creative Spotlight: Simply LKJ

When leaving blog comments, you just never know who you will be fortunate enough to "meet." By meet, I mean interact with through social media, but hey, in the blogging world, that's pretty much the same. In my case, I always saw these sweet comments left on many blogs that I visit and I was just too curious as to who this person was. I stopped by to visit her blog and absolutely loved it! It also makes it better that she lives in a nearby Atlanta suburb as well. I am talking about Lauren who blogs over at Simply LKJ.

Though we have never met, I feel like we have!! I can just tell through her commenting, and our social media interactions that she is super sweet and very genuine. Oh and she cooks scrumptious meals often and posts the recipes to her blog! I look forward to meeting Lauren very soon, but until then...let's get to know a little more about what makes her the special person that she is:)

Tell us 3 interesting facts about you?

1.      Despite my heavy Southern accent, I was actually born in New York and lived there until age 10.

2.      I was the first girl on my dad’s side of the family to be born in a 38 -year period.

3.      I am left-handed, and gave birth to two lefties! Go Southpaws!!

How long have you been blogging, and why did you start?

I have been blogging since Mother’s Day, May 9, 2010.  I had been a part of an online Mommy Group years ago and have so many lasting friendships from that time.  Blogging was a way for me to connect with other like- minded women, and share bits and pieces of my life.

Why did you select your blog name?

I chose Simply LKJ (my initials) as the blog was simply me, being me.  My oldest designed my header and felt the tag line…simplify, organize, eat, design summed up what my blog was all about.

What has been the most rewarding experience from blogging?

A fellow blogger’s sweet grandson, CJK, had fallen extremely ill.  Diana had asked for prayers for him. She had also posted some of his symptoms.  After reading her post one night, I could not get CJK out of my mind and felt God nudging me.  “Lauren, you know what this is!”  And, then it dawned on me…another fellow blogger, Kristin of My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia had posted about her son’s battle with Kawasaki Disease…it clicked, CJK had the very same symptoms right down to the cherry red lips.  I sent a message to Diana and she relayed the information on to his doctors.  CJK was diagnosed and treated the very next day.  Because it was caught early, he did not suffer the permanent heart damage that so many do.  You can read about CJK here (http://the

What has been your most challenging?

Consistency.  I have good intentions on blogging daily, but life gets in the way.  I also am not one to put up a post just to have content on the blog.  I want it to be useful information.

What has been your ABSOLUTE favorite project you completed, and why?

This should read the most tedious, backbreaking, but oh so rewarding project.  Hubby and I installed hardwood floors throughout our entire upstairs together. It is my favorite project because despite the difficulty, we completed it, they look amazing and we managed to stay out of divorce court. LOL

Any networking ideas?  How do you like to meet other bloggers/readers?

I am probably the last hold out on Face Book.  I find new blogs to read via comments left on blogs I currently follow or their recommendations.  I have been fortunate to meet several of my fellow bloggers in person as well.

What is your favorite quote to live by?

I am a quote person, so this changes quite often.  However, the one I cling to these days is “I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow.”


 I am sure that laying a wood floor without ending up in divorce court gives us all hope! In all seriousness, check out her blog. Her style is lovely and classic and her back porch and backyard are both to die for!! Be prepared to be in awe.

Thanks so much for participating and sharing a glimpse into your life, Lauren. It was fun to get to know a little more about you.

Until next time!

My Four Thrift Shopping Tips

One of my favorite past times is to check out the aisles of thrift stores. I don't shop there for clothing, mainly because I think that sometimes it can be overpriced, especially for some of the bargain brands. I do, however, love checking out there books, housewares, and other miscellaneous items. I am not anywhere near a master "thrift-er," but I do have several tips that work for me and keep me focused on what I am in search of when I do visit a thrift store. This way, I can keep my eye on things that will work with what I have in mind for my home, and stay away from a cart full of junk and clutter

1) Enter With a Focus...

Most of the time when I visit a thrift store, I try to remain focused on what it is that I am really looking for. Lately I have been  hoarding accumulating as many white serving dishes as possible! It's crazy. I have totally been on a white dish kick, and found that the thrift stores have the best variety for cheap.  When  the search for a white dish strikes me, I head to Goodwill or something,  walk straight to the area where the dishes are held and look for the white ones. Once I locate one that I think that I like, I make sure that it is in good condition, priced very reasonably, and will work for a variety of serving needs. And though I don't buy them as a set, I still make sure that they flow with the past items that I have purchased. White dishes are so classic and look so elegant for serving.

2) Just Because The Price is Right Doesn't Mean That It Needs to Come Home With You...

When you are looking through a thrift store, sometimes you go on a day where everywhere you turn, there is some interesting tchotchke or whatever that you feel needs to come home with you because it looks okay, but the price looks even better. NAH! These things become clutter and dust collectors. Just one more thing to clean. Try to be very specific in what items you bring home. Those that bring interest, function, personality, and style to your space. So before you purchase, think and through and figure out if this item really brings value or just more "stuff" to your space.

3) Think About It's Purpose or Re-Purpose...

You will see many items in a thrift store that may be outdated, slightly damaged, the wrong color, or in need of some TLC. Keep and open mind. Don't ever be afraid to venture out and try a good makeover. It is amazing what a little love could do to a piece. "Love" could be as simple as some paint, stain, a new pillow, a good cleaning, or a beautiful throw. Try to be imaginative with the possibilities, and if your mind won't take you there then good ol' Pinterest is sure to help:) Always research the proper way to attack your makeover and you can't go wrong.

Check out my cabinet before and after. Although this was purchased on Craigslist and not from a thrift store. The concept is the same. 

4) Check out Multiple Thrift Stores in Various Areas...
No two thrift stores are the same. Since each thrift store carries different items, you have to be willing to search various ones to find what you may be looking for, especially if your mind is set on a particular item. Frequenting different stores I believe will lead to finding some very interesting and worthwhile pieces to add to your home. Try stores off the beaten path, or find out what day of the week that new items may be hitting the sales floor. I have also also learned that people who are consistent and visit stores multiple times a week in different areas tend to find really some good things!

Are you ready to give it a try? To find your nearest thrift stores visit this thrift shop locater site.

Good luck to you and may you have many successful thrifting days ahead!

Until next time.

Thrifting Finds Lately

For the past several weeks, I have been perusing various thrift stores during lunch, on my way home from work, or on the weekend. I have mainly been searching for white serving dishes. The larger stores tend  to charge way outside my budget, and I knew as long as they were pure white, that I could mix and match from pieces. I also have been looking to collect special pieces that I could re-purpose for my future living room makeover.

I found this set (total of 11) of white plates for $6.00 at Goodwill. I think will continue gather white plates until I have enough to replace my black ones that we currently use. White is so elegant and classic.

I purchased the two dishes on the left for $1.91 for the smaller one, and $2.92 for the larger one. The pitcher was $2.92.

I found these two small blue and white bowls for $.99 each at Goodwill that I will probably use for jewelry or to gather small things around the house. Right now, one is sitting on the green cabinet in the dining room.

I purchased this tray from a local thrift store for $1.91. I thought the style and diamond shapes in the tray were beautiful. It will definitely find somewhere to live in my home. Trays have endless use!

A couple of months ago, I purchased these items for a total of $17.91 from the Salvation Army. Shout out to the Salvation Army employee who was determined to photo bomb my picture. 

I also purchased this for $5.95 from Goodwill. I thought this table was the cutest, and I loved its legs.  It will be perfect after a makeover and will probably find a home in my soon to be made over living room. Oh, and sorry for this terrible pic. It looked good on the camera, but sucked after downloaded.

Lastly, this find was not at the Goodwill, but instead I found this chair on the curb waiting to be picked up with the trash. Besides being dirty, the chair is in good condition! It will get a nice makeover and used in my living room makeover as well.

That's pretty much it for now! I will be back soon with my tips for shopping at thrift stores, or heck, even curbside. It can be so rewarding, and the mix of pieces is what gives your home flare. If you have any questions about my finds, leave it in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time.

DIY Painted Pillow Covers

I had recently been looking for a way to update my family room, without breaking the bank. Since I had limited funds to work with, I decided that I could provide a quick update for fall by changing out my pillows that live on my couch. The only problem is that a nice, down-filled pillow cost way more than I wanted to spend, even at discount retailers. I then decided that I would make my own, but I just never thought about how. After being approached by the generous folks over at ScotchBlue TM about trying out their new ScotchBlue TM Painter's Tape Multi-Surface with Advanced Edge- Lock TM Paint Line Protector, a light bulb went off in my head and I decided that I would just paint some covers to achieve a simple striped look. I love how stripes are so crisp and timeless!

Since Ikea is literally five minutes from my job, I swung by there after work to grab two of there inexpensive 20x20 white Gurli pillow covers and Fjadrar pillow inserts. Each cover was $3.99 and each insert was $5.99. Not bad considering one down pillow could cost $29.99 or more. I then purchased gold fabric paint from Hobby Lobby for $2.00 after I used the 40% off coupon. To apply the fabric paint I used a disposable plate and good quality paint brush.

I started this project by ironing the pillows covers after taking them out the pack. They were pretty wrinkled!

I then eyeballed the placement of my stripes and placed the ScotchBlue TM Painter's Tape Multi-Surface with Advanced Edge- Lock TM Paint Line Protector accordingly.

As you can see, my placement was not perfect, however I pressed the tape down to ensure that it was secure to the fabric. What makes this tape so special is its ability to deliver sharp lines, without any bleed through. That is important when working on a project, such as this one, where proficiency is key!

After applying the tape and ensuring it was secure, I just lightly stroked in the areas that were not taped off.

After painting all of the stripes, I removed the tape, as I feel it is better to remove the tape prior to the paint drying to ensure a crisper line. Once the tape was removed, I allowed the fabric paint to dry for another four hours, then turned the pillow cover inside out, and ironed it again. 

Here is what I was left with. Beautiful, modern, crisp stripes and a nice addition to my existing floral pillows.

This entire project from start to finish, not including dry time, takes less than an hour. Such a small investment of time, for a pretty impact.

I hope to soon get around to doing  full reveal of my family. I just have a few more touches to add.

I received the ScotchBlue TM Painter's Tape Multi-Surface with Advanced Edge- Lock TM Paint Line Protector to use and review based on any project of my choice. All opinions are my own.

While we are on the subject of pillows, the winner of the Burlap Pillow Cover from SassafrasHome is Darnetha with ChippaSunshine. Congrats Darnetha, and you should receive an email from me soon!

Until next time!

Giveaway Time!!! Featuring SassafrasHome

Happy Tuesday! I am so excited about this giveaway today, and I know that you will be too! I received a pillow from a very sweet and professional small business owner who runs an Etsy shop called SassafrasHome. Patrice, who is the shops owner was nice enough to send over this gorgeous, burlap monogrammed pillow cover, that has been personally marked with the Marshall brand. Pillows can quickly change the look of any space and I love the personalized look that it adds to my sofa.

I don't know Patrice personally but just in our communication, her generous spirit and personality shines clearly, which is very comforting. She is also nice to enough to gift one of her most popular items, a 16x16 personalized monogram burlap pillow cover to one of you guys, my fabulous blog friends.

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