Top Posts of 2016

I can’t believe another year is drawing to a close.

It is true what they say: As you get older, the years seem to go faster.

Feels like I just blinked and we are ready to ring in the New Year.

Before 2017 is fully upon us, here is a look back at the 10 most popular Summertime Melissa posts of the past year.

Enjoy!

10. Gluten Free Multi Grain Bread

Thank you Bulk Barn for your simple bread mix that makes a relatively good loaf (if not small and compact) of (gluten-free) bread.

Gluten Free Multi-Grain Bread

9. Moorea

This was quite possibly the most incredible place I have ever been. I look forward to a day when I can return and maybe never come back…

Moorea

8. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dump Cake

Who doesn’t love a great, easy pumpkin recipe?

Pumpkin cream cheese dump cake

7. Heavenly Salmon Salad

This is quite possibly one of my favorite recipes of the year! So delicious, very healthy and so easy to make.

Heavenly Salmon Salad

6. Kauai

This was the start of our big 3 week holiday and not like many other places we had been. Kauai is laid back and lush…a great combination.

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5. Klosse

Childhood nostalgia (and a mild heart attack) on a plate!

Klosse

4. How To Successfully Shop at Goodwill

This post evolved over a long period of time. We were first going to do a video post, but we filmed it and were instantly embarrassed…so luckily my dear husband is a whiz with computers and made us all the cool gifs to create a great post. Thanks Viv for the fun…not only on that particular shopping trip, but just generally in life.

Yes. No.

3. Chicken, Brie and Fig Jam Sandwiches

This is a post from back in 2014, but it is one of the most read pages on my blog. I forgot how good these sandwiches are…maybe we will be having some next week…

Chicken, Brie and Fig Jam Sandwich

2. Noorish

I had so much fun with my friend Sarah at this restaurant. She has introduced me to the world of all-things-vegan. And though I won’t be giving up meat any time soon, I do love a good vegetarian recipe from one of the Oh She Glows cookbooks she has gifted me. I’m not sure that Andrew is as happy…but he will get used to it.

Bodhi Burger

1. Braided Nutella Bread

This was the most popular page on my blog over the last year…and when I looked at the site, the pictures didn’t even work! This was a delicious little treat. Good thing it is rather time consuming, or I might attempt this more often.

Braided Nutella Bread

How to Successfully Shop at Goodwill

I love a good deal…groceries, clothing…anything really. If it’s a good deal, I am over the moon.

I get that from my mom. She, too, loves a good deal. And from a young age we made regular trips to Value Village to sort through the racks and find some hidden treasures. That treasure-hunting mentality has stuck with me and I go often to Goodwill to see what I can find.

Now what about Value Village you might ask? As much as I loved going when I was younger, I prefer Goodwill to Value Village now…and it is for one simple reason: price. At Value Village, everything is individually priced, so the better stuff is more expensive. Goodwill has set prices for all the clothing. Pants are $8…whether they are from Walmart or J Crew. And that is where the deals can really be found!

If you are willing to put in the time, you can find a lot of great stuff and save a lot of money. I buy almost all my clothes at Goodwill and I think I dress fairly well…and I didn’t have to spend a lot of money doing it.

Let me give you a little example:

goodwill1a

These are all the goodies I got the last time I went…now the game I like to play with myself is “How much WOULD I have spent vs how much DID I spend?”

Here is how it breaks down:

Item:Original Retail Cost:Goodwill Cost:
Point Zero T-shirt$45$6
Joe Tank$19$5
Smart Set Tank$20$5
Revolution T-shirt$20$3
Twik T-shirt$15$3
RW & Co Tank$25$5
Mossimo Shorts$23$2.50
Old Navy Shorts$30$5
AE Shorts$58$5
Areopostale Dress$35$6
Coach Sandals$90$10
Total$380$55.50

How can you not shop at Goodwill?

Here are my tips for a successful trip.

Purge Your Closet Before You Go

I like to go through my closet and get rid of anything I don’t wear anymore before I go to Goodwill. It also gives me a chance to evaluate what, specifically, I am looking for when I go. Goodwill is a HUGE store, with lots of stuff, so you want to have an idea of what you are going in to find.

Also, by taking a bag of clothes, shoes, or housewares you are a) promoting a company that supports Albertans with disabilities and b) you are making room in your closet for more fun stuff!

Choose Your Time and Day Carefully

I like to go to early in the morning…it is a little less crowded and you can get a first look at the new stuff they have put out. Going on a Monday or Tuesday is great too, especially in the summer, because people drop off their garage sale leftovers after their weekend sales end.

You also need to give yourself a good chunk of time when you go to Goodwill. My friend Viv and I can easily spend 2 hours looking around and trying on clothes. To really make it worthwhile, block out some time and dive in.

goodwill_aisle

Avoid a Few Parts of the Store

There are a few parts of Goodwill that I either never go in, or rarely go to unless I am looking for something specific. This helps cut down on the time you are in there…and you can spend A LOT of time in there…

  1. Housewares- unless you need something specific, don’t waste your time here.
  2. Bedding/towels/fabric
  3. Electronics/furniture/books- though we did find a flash that we could use on our digital camera for $5 (including batteries) I don’t spend much time in this area unless I have a specific project I am working on, need books for school or have extra time to wander around.

Know Your Size and Shop There

Pants, tops, sweaters and workout clothes are all sorted by size. So know what size you are, and when you go in, shop your size and the size below and above (since the workers at Goodwill are not always exact with where they put the sizes)

Put in the Time in a Few Key Areas

Dresses, shorts, jackets, skirts and shoes are not sorted by size. They sort these items by color (weird I know). It is worth it to put in the extra time and go through the entire rack to see what is there. Since you saved time on pants, tops, sweaters and workout clothes, you can spare a few extra minutes.

If it Remotely Interests You, Put it in the Cart

Get a cart and fill it up. The more you try on, the more likely you are to walk out with some great pieces. Plus as you shop, you are going to see brands you have never seen before and may never see again. If it interests you, give a try…what harm is there in that?

Put it in the cart

Take a Friend Along

I asked what harm is there in trying lots on…well sometimes you walk out with something you think is amazing…and in the cold light of your closet you realize you made a terrible mistake. It helps to take a friend along who is brutally honest with you. Some stuff at Goodwill is there for a reason…it’s just a little weird. You’ll put it on, look at yourself in the mirror and wonder “Is this weird, or super awesome cutting edge?”

You need someone who will tell you to slowly back away from the strange dress with the cute buttons.

Yes. No.

Look for the Deals

Goodwill already has great deals on clothes, but every month they put one of their “tags” (colored hang tags) on for 50% off. So sometimes you can get pants for $4 instead of $8! If you want to really challenge yourself, try to ONLY shop the sale tag and walk out with even more for even less!

goodwilla

Like any shopping excursion, sometimes you leave with arm loads and sometimes you leave empty handed. But if you like the hunt and love a deal, Goodwill might be the place for you. Just stay out of my sizes ok? I’m not sure I am ready to share yet…