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Winter Break - MNU Blogs

Renee DeVault

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January 10, 2016

Resolution vs. Solution

January 10, 2016 | By | No Comments

I have always had an issue with the concept of resolutions. Especially around New Years time because it all seems too overdone. No one is expected to really follow through on theirs and it seems to have become a cultural joke.

When I used to make resolutions I always found myself becoming increasingly depressed as I failed at my resolutions and constantly had to start over and fail again. I’m not sure if this is a personal problem or something common but in either case it raises an issue.

Are resolutions worth making if it’s just going to depress me when I don’t fulfill them?

However without resolving to change will I ever?

Is there a better way?

I propose that for real change to happen in a person’s life resolving to change is not enough. Perhaps at least in my life there needs to be less resolution for the future and more solution for the here and now. Some points that I’m exploring…

1, Accountability

I think this is why some people post their resolutions on Facebook. Once it’s public we may feel like we will stick to the goal better. I have seen this work for other people but it does not work for me. Public resolutions may seem like they would keep one more accountable but I think it just adds to the guilt factor when resolutions aren’t being met.

I would propose telling a smaller group of friends or family about what you want to change. The accountability is still there and in times when the plan gets rough you can focus more on getting back on track and less on the guilt of being off track.

Mutual accountability is also a beautiful thing. Finding a few friends who are trying to solve things of their own can be very helpful. Not only can you remind each other of what you want to do but one friend’s success may inspire another’s.

2. Creative Solutions to individual problems

Trying to fit an individualized issue in life into a mass solution may seem at times like fitting a square box into a circular hole. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. When a resolution is made I believe that a creative brainstorming session will almost always be necessary.

Perhaps the popular solution to a problem simply wont work. For example, joining a gym and working out a certain amount of time every day just wont work with a college budget or time table. And if this method is attempted anyway time and time again fails then it can cause resolution depression. The problem may not be with you if the resolution isn’t working out. The problem may be with the method.

Put on your thinking cap. Sit down, make a schedule and look at the realities of your time and resources and try to find a solution which is both possible and fits somewhere naturally in your life.

Ask friends for their help in designing a solution. they may see windows of opportunity or other creative solutions that you can’t. If the first solution or method doesn’t work then go back, be honest, say it doesn’t work and begin brainstorming another solution.

A quest for a solution allows for much more self-given grace than a resolution often does. When you fail or fall short finding a new solution can be more productive than failing the same solution multiple times.

3. Praying

First, I think that before setting out on a quest of self-improvement, God, who knows us best and knows who we were created to be, should be asked to reveal what needs to be changed in order to make us more like him, better able to do his work, and better able to bring praise to him with our lives.

I believe that if we ask God what we should focus energy on changing in order to fulfill these created purposes, he will tell us. Resolving to change and having a God-appointed mission to find a solution are two very different things.

If God calls you to change an aspect of your life or relationship with him then he will give you the tools you need to change it.

Our God seems to care much more about our process than our final product. We put a lot of stock in the product but it is through the relentless, suborn process of trying solution after solution to fully obey God that we develop our character. The difficult process, not the resolution and not the final product, is what equips us to be able to obey a call to change in the next area of our lives that he presents.

 

I do not believe that resolutions are bad. They can be very effective and significantly impact us, our lives, and our likeness of God if the effort goes past the resolution in into a solution. Trust your friends, be willing to try things differently, look for growth in failure, and constantly be asking God for strength and guidance into how to invest the resources that he has given you.

 

 

Renee DeVault

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January 2, 2016

Fo Shizzle Winter Break Update, Yo!

January 2, 2016 | By | No Comments

I kicked off winter break with STAR WARS!!!!! I was insanely excited. I went with Gabe, Josh, Quinn, and Kory to the B&B Theater in Overland Park (My current favorite movie theater) and we sat on the second row of their huge theater. Every few minutes before the movie started I would turn to one of them and excitedly whisper “STAR WARS!” probably driving them nuts, but they still talk to me so it’s cool.

 

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I asked Josh to take a picture of Quinn and I in front of the Star Wars poster sign thing and ended up with about a dozen of these beauties.

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They eventually took our picture and it makes me so happy. I grew up watching borrowed copies of the original three movies on VHS and I once had a Star Wars party where everyone came dressed up and we had a marathon (Thirteen year old me was pretty cool) and I went to Comicon two years ago dressed as a Jedi. I really enjoy Star Wars.

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I was really glad I got to see Star Wars with Quinn because just a few days later I had to drive him to the airport to drop him off for his three week adventure to Nairobi, Kenya. His mother is the Chaplin at Africa Nazarene University there. I was thrilled that he got to see his family but it was still sad dropping him off. I get to go pick him up in less than a week though!

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The time change makes communicating a little crazy. Lucky for me he has Wifi and we can face time but only early in the day or late at night. Midnight on New Years was 3:00PM my time so for a while he was communicating with me from a different year. We made many a time traveler and Doctor Who joke.

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I joked that with Quinn gone I would finally have some time to work on things like my blog, my lines for Mousetrap (February 25-27th in the Black Box theater in Bell Center), edit my book, and write Quinn a one act play for his directing class…but man, it’s hard to be productive when friends and family are so much fun.

I have spent many a day at coffee shops sitting with my laptop writing though. I put in my headphones, listen to the Twenty One Pilots Blurryface album on repeat, drink coffee, and generally feel very connected to my introverted and creative sides.

By the way, Black Dog coffee shop in Lenexa (20 minutes from MNU) will let you purchase a “bottomless coffee” for around $4 which allows for unlimited refills on their brew coffee while you’re in the shop. This is very important know if you decide to spend eight hours editing your book and talking to cool people like Josh who show up to keep you from going insane.

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My Christmas was awesome. My Grandparents came up for about a week. It was wonderful to get to just sit around the house and enjoy being with family. My mom and I got to take fun Christmas pictures together and it was just generally very relaxing and fun.

I very much needed a holiday. It was also great to get to go to my home church for Christmas Eve service.

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It snowed a bit after Christmas here in Olathe. I then just got to sit around with my puppy, read mystery novels, and drink tea and dairy free hot chocolate. Life is good. I very much needed a break.

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Olathe is still snowy but we go about our regular business. I’m setting up a bunch of plans to hang out with old High School friends as well as MNU friends who live in town.

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Enjoy break cool cats.

 

Isaac Walker

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December 11, 2015

It’s OK To Feel Down Sometimes

December 11, 2015 | By | No Comments

Hey friends!

So I wanted to talk about this during mental health awareness week but I obviously missed that chance, but I think that I can tie the subject in pretty well to this upcoming week.

“But Isaac!  What are you even talking about?!”

I’m glad you asked!  I am talking about depression.

depression

“But Isaac!  How does this subject tie into this upcoming week?!”

Ok, calm down I’ll tell you.

Finals week is stressful.  For some people, probably more than you think, it is a make it or break it time.  For some people, these tests are a matter of pass or fail.  This can put a ton of pressure on one person.  This school is a pricey place and failing a class means you have to take it again, and that means paying again.

money-stress

This kind of pressure can mess with a person’s emotions for the worse.  Especially someone who is more prone and susceptible to depressive tendencies.  There are lots of things that can cause or poke at someones depression.

There can be biological or genetic things.  It can run in the family or someone can be on a certain medication that can worsen things.  There can be psychological factors or even environmental things.  And that is how this ties in.  The things I mentioned above are definitely environmental factors.

Something else that can be an external trigger is the work load that tends to pile up on students. I am sure you all know that things can pile up fast.  Especially if you are  a procrastinator like me!  For someone with depression or depressive tendencies, this can cause them to shut down.

Depression is the most common mental disorder in the United States.  Females are more likely to suffer from depression than males are.  As of now, the average age of diagnosis is about thirty two years old, but youth are definitely known to suffer from it.  And I think that as mental health is becoming something more and more people talk about, more people are going to be diagnosed and helped at a sooner age now.

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That leads me on to my next point.

“But Isaac!  How do I know if someone I am close to is suffering from this?!”

Good question.  There are signs you can be aware of.

A lot of the information I am presenting can be found in the website for the Nation Institute of Mental Health.

So back to the signs.  It can be a little tricky because there really are not universal signs.  It affects everyone differently.  But there are some common signs/symptoms.  They include:

  • Feelings of anxiety, sadness, or a hollow feeling that won’t leave.
  • Eating a ton, or losing your appetite.
  • Sleeping a ton, or not being able to sleep.

man in bed with eyes opened suffering insomnia sleep disorder

  • Having a bad memory, and not being able to concentrate.
  • Losing interest in the things you once enjoyed.

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You can view the full list on their website.  But as you can see there, there is a wide range of signs.  Some that are even the opposite of each other.

Well friends!  I am glad I could share this with you.  This is something, for whatever reason, I have been wanting to talk about for a while.

Until next time friends!

Mackenzie Theiler

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December 5, 2015

Fall Semester Is Almost Over 📚

December 5, 2015 | By | No Comments

There are only two weeks left of our fall semester. We call this period of the semester “crunch time.” This is where a lot of students are trying to do anything and everything to get their letter grade from a B to an A; or for those students struggling to pass that tough class, with a C or better. This is when, students start asking their professors for extra credit, or if there is anything else they can do to get their grade up.

A biology professor of mine, ounce said . . .

“Why would I trust and spend my hard earned money on someone who ‘half-worked’ their way through class and cheated on exams, just to get by? This student who, half-work’s their way through their degree only, ‘half-knows’ their field of study. Would you have faith in that person to be able to preform at the highest level of their job?”

An example this professor used, was a doctor . . .

“Lets say, you need surgery or medical attention of some kind, and the doctor YOU receive, ‘half-worked’ his way through school. As he examines you, he has to google, what it is that could possibly be wrong with you; or he has to look up, what and how much medication, he should give you. This doctor probably did not try very hard in his undergraduate and/or graduate classes. Two, he probably only majored in this field of study for the good pay.”

He is simply stating that the field of study you are majoring in, you should known like the back of your hand, without having to look it up. It should be second nature to you. Find something that is exciting to you, that you can wake up every morning 9 times out of 10, and be excited about what you are studying/majoring in, and one day do for work. If you are majoring in something that doesn’t excite you, then, maybe you should find something that does. At the end of the day, your grades really do matter.

Most internships look at your grades, to see what kind of student you are. They want to know how serious you are about your field and if you truly want to preform well in this field. Your grades reflect that. I understand not everyone is perfect, but if it looks like you are giving it your all, it will show.

After you receive your degree and have worked internships, you are now ready, to be hired by the company or facility you want to work for. They look more at your internships, rather than your grades, because they want to see if you have work experience, in that field or in fields related to that. Most students do not realize, and I believe this is the point, my professor was trying to make, if you have good grades, you have a good work ethic, if you have good work ethic, then the your employer can count on you to get things done. If you have okay, but not good grades, you may have a good work ethic, but just not try as hard; so, you may do well but it is harder for you to get things done.

With all this being said, YOUR GRADES are important. The amount of effort and care you put into them reflect, your determination and dedication to your major and field of study. Find something exciting and interesting to learn, that you can be proud about!


 

Facebook: /kenzie.theiler
Twitter: @kenzietheiler
Instagram: @kenzie_theiler

Isaac Walker

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December 4, 2015

The Space Between

December 4, 2015 | By | No Comments

Hey friends!

We are in the home stretch. These next few weeks are going to be tough and stressful for a lot of us.  I know they definitely will be for me!  For me, it’s been a little rough getting back in the groove coming back from Thanksgiving break.  It was like a strange teaser for the moment we all are waiting for…Winter break!   The end of the semester!

All the anticipation and excitement isn’t really helping with trying to study for finals and finish all those long term assignments that have been put off to the very last minute.  And I literally mean the last minute.   I may have turned a paper in at 11:59 that was due at 12:00am…But at least it was on time!

This post kind of relates to my post earlier about stress management.  This is about keeping the motivation strong though.  Wanting to give up and drop out of school is a common thought that runs through my head on the daily.  Remember the end goal.  What you want to do after college.

Set goals when you are studying.  Every hour you can take a break.  Eat a snack!  If you are reading, put little candies on the page that make you want to read more.  I use Junior Mints because I’m a chocolate/mint eating fiend.

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If you’re into a certain show, let’s say the new Netflix series Jessica Jones, after you have reached your goal of reading take a break and watch half of the show then go back to studying when your brain has recovered.  I do this with YouTube videos because they are short and I have no self control when it comes to my favorite shows on Netflix…

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Keep one evening free during the week!  Go out with your friends and do something fun.  Don’t lock yourself up!  Get out and get some social interaction other than the weirdos in the library that are silently sobbing into their textbooks.  Don’t be a textbook sobber.

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Just know that we will make it through this stressful time together!  Christmas is right around the corner.

Until next time friends!  Merry finals week!

Haley Raydo

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January 9, 2015

Christmas Break Wrap Up

January 9, 2015 | By | No Comments

Hello friends

So Christmas break is coming to a close and I definitely have mixed feelings about it.  I am ready to see friends and be back at school… I might not be ready for the “school” part of things.  Anyways I had a great Christmas break and I hope you all did too!

Here are some of the highlights:

I got to meet our pastor’s new baby!

 

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Mayors Christmas tree!

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Quality time at grandmas.

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Crazy outings in freezing cold weather… Not our smartest plan

 

 

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Some more quality time with my church’s college small group– previously known as the Wild Stallions.

 

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Also many coffee dates, late night movies, work (blah), family game nights, Netflix marathons, and a many books read.

It is always nice to have some down time and re-energize before going into a new semester.  Although this next semester is going to be crazy difficult, I trust the Lord will not only get me through, He will use me in my weakness.  And by weakness I mean my current lack of motivation toward education (kidding mostly).

Thanks for stopping by

Haley

Mariah McCommon

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January 1, 2015

Home Sweet Home

January 1, 2015 | By | No Comments

Hey readers! I hope you had a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year and if you didn’t eat lots of food, you didn’t do the holidays quite right but that’s okay.

Break has already been flying by! I love being home and it’s nice to have an entire month to relax and be with family. Leaving my MNU friends was pretty difficult, though. I will admit I cried just a little bit. Actually a lotta bit but let’s not tell anyone. Me and my homies ate at Chick-fil-a right before we all headed home as a last hoo-rah before break which was nice.

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We call ourselves ‘The Blonde Quad’

I can actually say I’ve been somewhat bored over break and I haven’t been able to say that for the last 5 months. It’s like I appreciate being bored more now, but I miss being busy all the time too. Not being around people 24/7 is weird! I miss my roomy and realizing that my friends are all over the United States right now is scary to think about so I try not to think about it. Thank The Lord for cellphones and technology!

I love being home and attacked by my dog, Thor and clawed by my cat, Bella. No really, I missed it. They are soooo cute. If you don’t believe me, here’s proof:

THor
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I love my animals to death and I don’t know what I’d do without them! This Christmas, my sister and I received a lot of Frozen things. I could write a list of how much, but it’d be a long list. We got matching shirts with Anna and Elsa on them. Now, that may sound strange, but believe it or not, my little sis is a redhead just like Anna! Frozen happens to be both of our favorite movies cause it’s only the best movie ever made. I’m a lot like Elsa, and she’s a lot like Anna so it works out perfectly and is probable why we’re so obsessed with it. Unfortunately, I don’t shoot ice from my hands, but wouldn’t that be AWESOME?! Sometimes I pretend I do.

Amanda

We totally could pull off Anna and Elsa

My sister has been given the opportunity to perform in the Alamo Bowl down in Texas. She’s in the band as school and it’s quite the honor to be chosen to perform in the bowl. She is having a blast and I’m so proud of her. She will be playing her French Horn at half time of the K-State/UCLA game tomorrow night so if you’re not doing anything, be sure to check that out!

To wrap up, I just want to say that I hope y’all had the best Christmas and New Year ever. Enjoy the rest of break! Thanks for reading! :)

Katie Linsey

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December 31, 2014

3 Resolutions Everyone Should Have

December 31, 2014 | By | No Comments

“Lose weight.”

“Go to the gym.”

“Floss.”

“Save more money.”

Those are some of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions I’ve heard, and I can definitely say those have made my list in the past years. While those are not bad things to want to accomplish, I’ve always found myself abandoning those resolutions less than a month into the New Year (and I know I’m not alone in that).

2014 was an interesting year. I learned more about myself than I have in any other season of my life. I went part-time at my high school in the beginning of 2014, which allowed for more personal time and opportunities to become more connected in my church, but also created a disconnect with peers at my school. In the summer, I took on a summer staff position at Youthfront Camp West, which taught me more about myself than I ever thought possible. I learned a lot about my leadership style and what it means to be involved in a community of believers that are striving for intentional growth in their relationship with the Lord. In the fall, I started my college experience at MNU and learned even more about myself. Throughout all of those experiences, I grew immensely in my relationship with Christ and also gained a greater sense of passion and desire to live adventurously and boldly.

This past year, I felt more alive than ever before. There are certain practices I took part in that gave life to my soul, which in turn allowed me to encourage and motivate others. I want to continue doing those things and give meaning to every day of 2015. I believe that all of us long to feel alive, but maybe some of us don’t recognize that yet. I’ve put together a short list of my resolutions, which are things that I think everyone should strive to do more of. So, without further ado…

3 Resolutions Everyone Should Have

1. Read more

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Words are powerful and inspiring. They can encourage and discourage, build up and tear down. Books have captivated my heart and led me to deeper understandings of what it means to live. There are books I read in 2014 that I plan to read again (and again), and unread books that I have added to my list. If you want to read inspiring, life-changing books, here’s a short list to get you started:

  • Love Does by Bob Goff
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  • Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  • Radical by David Platt

2. Write more

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In 2014, I had a lot of friends that I didn’t get to see very often because we didn’t go to the same school and were always busy. We didn’t want to lose touch, so we wrote letters to each other (some by snail mail and some by e-mail). Doing this made me fall in love with the idea of writing letters (and also receiving them). It’s fun and encouraging and special. I think everyone should write letters to people, even if it’s a simple random encouragement. Sometimes those are the best.

3. Go out more

Go out more

I’ve lived 30 minutes from Kansas City my whole life, but until 2014, I had never been downtown to explore it. After many Saturday mornings at the City Market and late nights at local restaurants downtown, I quickly fell in love with the city. People always say there’s so much that they want to see in the world and they wish they could travel all the time, which I don’t disagree with, but sometimes I think we forget that there’s a city full of wonder and excitement right down the highway from us. In 2015, I want to go see more places and experience more culture, whether that’s spending a day in Kansas City or a week in (insert state or country).

So, there you have it. I hope you’ll consider reading more, writing more, and going out more in 2015. I promise that you won’t regret taking the time to do these things. Also, make sure to pay attention to what makes you feel most alive, and make sure to do more of those things. Peace and blessings to your 2015.

-KT

(Cover photo courtesy of www.igotitcovered.org)

Luther Okeyo

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December 29, 2014

Happy Holidays…

December 29, 2014 | By | No Comments

 

Hey guys, I hope you guys had a great christmas and you guys are enjoying your holidays. I’m not going to lie, I DEFINITELY AM. It is amazing to be back home. There is only one problem… My mom isn’t here. She went back to Kenya to see the family, this is one of the few times where I’m not able to spend Christmas without my mom. Don’t you worry though I was still able to talk her as much I possibly can. Also as many of you would agree, the best part of the holidays is being able to be with family. Even though I wasn’t able to be with them physically, just being able to talk to them on the phone was enough. Sharing stories with them, knowing that they’re ok was the best gift I could’ve gotten. I miss them so much, but I’ll be able to see them soon. Another great part of Christmas is of course… the presents, DUH!!! My mom definitely stepped up her game this year.

Got a MacBook Pro for Christmas. Adding this bad boy to my growing Apple collection. Thank you so much Mom!!

Got a MacBook Pro for Christmas. Adding this bad boy to my growing Apple collection. Thank you so much Mom!!

Quite the collection huh? All this means that I need to make some last minute adjustments to my gift for her. I’d tell you guys what it is, but I know that mom reads the blog post religiously so I can’t spoil the surprise. Gotcha mom! Not today, you gotta be patient and wait until you come back.

Also I want to give a huge shoutout to the wolf-pack and their families for letting me share Christmas day with them. It was such a cool experience and a huge privilege as well. For them to take me into their homes and make sure that I didn’t spend Christmas alone was awesome of them and they didn’t have to do it. That’s one of the many reasons that these guys will be my friends for life.

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The main core of the wolf-pack. To my left you have Kamaran “Pee Wee” Francis, Cory “Captain America” Ellis, and to my right you have Ryan “Birdman” Ellis. One day I’ll get the whole pack together and relieve the glory days.

 

Katie Linsey

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December 27, 2014

The Dos and Don’ts of Thrift Shopping

December 27, 2014 | By | 2 Comments

Hey guys! The past few years, thrift shopping has become a serious hobby of mine. Here’s a list of my personal DOS and DON’TS when it comes to thrift shopping. :)

DO:

Buy these…

  • Flannel
    • Flannel takes up a significant portion of my closet and none of it was bought new. Thrift stores ALWAYS have plenty of flannel (especially in the men’s section).
Flannel

I wear flannel very often… maybe too much.

  • Mugs
    • I have found the strangest mugs at thrift stores (and yes, I bought them). Goodwill sells all their mugs for 49 cents, which is a steal if you ask me. My philosophy is “a girl can never have too many mugs.” They make great decorations and cheap gifts!

A few of my favorite thrifted mugs… can you tell I love cats?

  • Crewneck Sweatshirts
    • Thrifted crewneck sweatshirts are what I live in during the winter. Also, for all those sorority girls out there, thrift stores are a great place to find plain sweatshirts to sew letters onto. (I’ve had my fair share of thrift shopping with college friends who are in sororities. They go crazy. It’s great.)
  • Baseball Caps
    • There’s always a good selection. Just make sure you wash it before you wear it!
  • Rain Jackets
    • Thrift stores always seem to have a pretty good selection of rain jackets, and a lot of times they’re good quality too. Don’t buy one expecting it to last for years, but if you’re in need of a cheap rain jacket to last you a season or two, thrift stores are good places to look.

KU rain jacket that I thrifted at Goodwill for $5… pretty proud of this one! Love it so much.

  • Movies/CDs
    • Don’t expect to find anything current, but if you’re looking for a good movie or throwback CD to jam out to in the car, you’ll likely find it.
  • PJs
    • Whether you’re looking for an ugly set of PJs or some comfy PJ pants, thrift stores most likely have you covered.

Shop here…

  • Salvation Army 
    • What a beautiful place. Definitely my favorite place to thrift shop at. The one in Overland Park is my favorite (11421 Metcalf Avenue) because it’s HUGE. Also, Salvation Army gives a 10% discount to students who have their Student I.D.
  • Goodwill
    • Great and cheap, two of my favorite things. It will never let you down.
  • Blessings Abound 
    • My mom and I found this place one day while we were driving around. It’s cute and cool. They are SO nice in there. Definitely worth checking out! (9622 Nall Avenue, Overland Park)
Blessings Abound

Photo courtesy of www.yelp.com

  • TurnStyles
    • It’s good and fun.
TurnStyles

Photo courtesy of www.catholiccharitiesks.org

  • Garage Sales
    • My Saturday mornings in the spring are mostly spent at garage sales. I don’t buy a lot, because there’s a lot of junk, but it’s fun and occasionally I’ll find a steal.

DON’T:

Buy these…

  • Scarves
    • I own a lot of scarves, and sadly none of them were thrifted. Every time I go to a thrift store, I check out the scarves and leave disappointed. Either they’re all ugly or I just have bad taste in scarves.
  • Stationary 
    • Okay, listen up. Thrift stores ALWAYS have so much stationary stuff. Cards, craft supplies, whatever you need… but don’t buy it. 99% of the time, it can be found at Dollar Tree or Wal-Mart for cheaper. I write letters all the time, and thrift stores are not the places to buy cards. It’s not any cheaper.
  • Exercise Clothes
    • Nope. Just nope. Don’t do it.
  • Sandals
    • Please don’t buy shoes that don’t require socks, unless you want to try and pull off the socks-with-sandals look, which often doesn’t end well. (And don’t buy the socks from thrift stores either).

Shop here…

  • Savers
    • Everyone loves Savers… and I do too, but only on their 50% off days which happen around holidays usually. Don’t go there to buy clothes if there’s not a sale. The shirts average around $5-10, which isn’t that cheap compared to other thrift stores. But, on the sale days, go crazy! (I do!)

So… there you have it. Feel free to comment with your own personal advice or opinions! I’d love to hear it!

-KT