enjoy life guest post: ellen andrades

I really LOVE thrifting

I have another guest on the blog this month! I have known Ellen Andrades since we were little kids. We have moved multiple times and hadn’t spoken for years but thanks to Facebook, we have been able to reconnect and keep in touch. Ellen recently launched, Thrifty Ells, her wardrobe consulting business. I will let her tell you all about how she enjoys life, specifically through her passion, thrifting.

Ellen AndradesI am so thrilled to be a guest writer on Shannan’s blog and thankful for the opportunity to share the ways I enjoy my life. I would describe myself as very outgoing, family oriented, and a fashion enthusiast.   I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, listening to live music, dining at cool restaurants, and THRIFTING!

Thrifting has become one of the latest trend in fashion,however, I’ve been thrifting for years; including back when it was taboo to tell someone you were wearing second-hand clothing. Some find peace and relaxation through reading, exercising, or golfing, whereas my happy place is found walking up and down the aisles of thrift stores, digging for that one eye catching garment AKA the “Thrill of the Hunt.”

I can shop on a small budget and hit the jackpot by finding high quality pieces for a fraction of the cost in regular retail stores. There is such a diverse assortment of clothing at thrift stores, I’m less likely to find myself wearing the same top or dress as a friend or co-worker and I love the fact that I can always find one-of-a-kind pieces that compliment my unique style and personality. It allows me to tap into my creative side by pairing different patterns and colors together.

My favorite thrifted find is a 100% rabbit fur vintage coat for $8 that I found shopping on my lunch break at a local thrift store. When I tried it on, I immediately felt like a million bucks and ready to step on the red carpet! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to wear it because we didn’t have much of a winter here in Atlanta, but next winter I’m definitely wearing it, even if I have to travel to New York to do it. LOL!

There’s a familiar saying: “It’s not about what you wear, but about how you wear it.” Thrifting gives me that WOW-factor! So many times people come up to me and ask me where I got a certain outfit, and when I proudly tell them it was purchased at a thrift store, their response is always, “WOW!”   And normally this starts dialogue where I share the places that I go and my tips on how to find the best deals.

If you’re a interested in thrifting, here are two tips to begin: (1) Do a full inventory of your closet and create a thrift store wish list to take with you and then set your budget. (2) Take your time. Go on a day when you have a few hours to spend sifting through the racks for those items on your wish list. This will help you feel less overwhelmed and your money will be spent wisely.

Thrifting is my passion and that’s why I started Thrifty Ells, a wardrobe consulting company designed to educate women on how to save tons of money and how to break out of the ordinary by mixing patterns, textures, and colors to create stylish and chic looks. I want to help women discover a new lifestyle of saving money, recycling, and being bold in the way they express themselves through fashion. Yes, I love to go out and hunt for the best thrifted pieces, but I find even more enjoyment when I can show others how to do the same and get that WOW-factor, while thrifting their way to a debt-free lifestyle.

Why spend hundreds of dollars on clothing when you can shop at thrift stores and look fashionable all while saving money that can be put towards enjoying life: traveling, catching up on bills, or putting extra money in your savings account? Without saying a word, your clothes tell a story of who you are. Say something interesting.

You can see more of Ellen’s awesome thrift finds on Facebook and Instagram. Make contact to start your journey of breaking out of the ordinary without breaking the bank and finding that WOW-factor!







what i’m into – that’s keeping me sane {march 2016}

What I'm Into. March 2016

It’s that time again! My monthly What I’m Into post, linking up with Leigh Kramer.

So, I have been very busy this month-but not necessarily busy doing the fun things – I have been busy working my part-time job which, understandably, has taken some of the time that I use to have for the “fun” stuff. This month has been about adjusting and determining the balance that feels right for me, which is going to continue into April, I am sure. Anywho, here goes.

  • My part-time position as Project Coordinator has been a two-fold sanity saver: it’s keeping me sane in that it is providing me an income stream that is helping tremendously with my level of financial anxiety and (2) it’s providing me with a much needed and appreciated sense of competency that being a mom has not yet afforded me.
  • The one thing that working part-time has not taken away from me is my reading time. Yes, I know it’s because I am making it a priority and I really am. I am beginning to make a habit of reading 15 minutes when I wake up as well as an additional 15-30 minutes before I go to bed. This is in addition to whatever I can squeeze in during the day. I have read 14 of my goal for 36 books this year and I am 6 books ahead of schedule. Check out my latest books vanquished here. This is very important to me because I know that the last two months of the year are going to be very difficult for me to read too much of anything and so the further I can get ahead the more relaxing my end-of-the-year will be. I know I am using words like vanquished and not relaxing but I do really enjoy reading and it does keep me sane.
  • What has slowed down for me this month, in proportion to last month, is my half-marathon training and I am petrified at the thought that I will not be as prepared as I wanted to be for it next month. However, while running my 8 mile and 10 mile training runs, I have come to the realization that I don’t LIKE or ENJOY running for two hours straight or longer. The runs were cutting into valuable time with my family  (and, ok, reading), and not something that was worth it in the long run for me at this stage in my life. While this realization is a little sad for me, it is nice to realize that I really enjoy the shorter distances (5K and 10K) and while I plan on completing the half marathon next month, through much pain, I am going to refocus my running on becoming faster, not running longer distances. At least for now.
  • Proud to say that I have stayed out of season long “rabbit holes.” Don’t have as much time as I use to. LOL!
  • Featured my second Enjoy Life Guest Post on the blog. Paula from The Geeky Shopaholic was kind enough to give us 5 Ways to Make Life More Enjoyable, something to check out if life could be more enjoyable for you.:)
  • Posted my second Enjoy Life Interview. I really like doing these! Read the first one with Love Notes creator, Jennifer Belthoff. By the way, Love Notes is starting up again on April 3. One of my favorite things to do; I rave here.  If you’re interested in participating, sign up. Goal is to have a sender from all 50 states and we’re still missing Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota.
  • It’s Spring! The cold is leaving. Yay! I absolutely LOVE the beautiful pastel colors of the trees, especially the purple ones. So pretty.

Not much this month! What did you do? Tell me!

quick lit – next page, please {march 2016}


 I love Quick Lit time – time to post what I have been reading this month.


  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin: Modern Mrs. Darcy (Yes, her again! LOL) recommended this book for someone who has the Meyers-Briggs personality type of ISTJ: capable, logical, reasonable and peaceful, which happens to be close to my type, as the perfect summer read. The only problem was that it took FOREVER to get it from the library. I absolutely LOVED this book and I can see while the Hold list was so long; it has climbed the ladder to be one of my favorite novels of all time. I blew through this during the 3 and ½ hour flight home. So many great quotes. “He feels naked when speaking about things he really loves.” I feel like this too. And “Sometimes books don’t find us until the right time. Also very true, indeed.
  • Wildflower by Drew Barrymore: I really liked reading this series of short stories about Barrymore’s life and what she learned through them. Here she talks about her feelings for her mom; who quite arguably, could have been a better mom. “I want only to say thank you to her, because I love my life and it takes every step to get to where you are, and if you are happy, then God bless the hard times it took you to get there. No life is without them, so what are yours, and what did you do with the lessons? That is the only way to live.” My question to myself has become just that: what I am doing with my lessons?
  • French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano: I started reading Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman and became fascinated by the French mindset of how they enjoy life: living every moment in that moment. I remembered hearing about this book a long time ago and Oprah and decided to pick it up and see what it was about. I finished this one but am still working through Bringing Up Bébé. My two takeaways are from these two quotes: (1) “I also had to cultivate my appreciation for what I was having. In short, …[the] French way of enjoying those foods that can be friend or foe depending on how we treat them. The keys are sensory awareness, portion sense, quality, and an eye to the big picture of overall wellness.” And (2) “If you can’t name your pleasures, chances are you’ve surrendered to many of them. It’s time to start cultivating.” A problem that I have had until recently.
  • Every Day I Fight by Stuart Scott: When I met my basketball-loving Hubby 13 years ago, I started watching ESPN’s Sportscenter with him, which was often anchored by Stuart Scott. I began to feel like I knew him, I saw him so often. When he was first diagnosed with cancer, of course, I was aware and we saw him fight and go into remission a number of times. When he died January 4, 2015, it hit me a little hard. I loved this book because it gave me a perspective into what those who are fighting cancer may feel like in a way I pray selfishly, I will never be able to understand. This perspective is invaluable to me as I am a Chemo Card Angel. More about that here. I loved this quote by Scott:“Nerves are good. What are nerves, after all? They’re just energy.” Sometimes it’s hard working up the nerve to write these blog posts, I gotta tell ya!

Currently Reading:

Paused Reading

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Had to return this one to the library (someone wanted it) and thus will have to get back to it later.
  • Daring Greatly by Brené Brown: Yep, still paused.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: While not my favorite way to read, there is something to be said about reading books digitally, on a Kindle or other mobile device. You can do it while you are traveling at night! Started this while returning from my 10 Year Anniversary Trip. Haven’t been in the dark since and thus my digital loan expired. Not sure if I am going to re-borrow it but I am leaving the door open.

I have read 12 books out of my goal to read 36 books this year; I am 5 books ahead of schedule – a nice cushion for the Holidays when things get hectic.  I don’t want to have to make a big push at the end of the year to make my reading goal.

As usual, I am linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy. Check out what everyone else is reading over there.

What have you been reading?