Crib Notes

Here at the Maven, we're not big on planning, so this whole having a baby thing has thrown us for a loop.

When people ask, "Is your nursery finished?" we have to stifle a laugh because, really, aside from the fact that we're putting the little guy in a room that's already painted blue, we haven't even started. We have a few more major house projects to wrap up before we start decorating, but we did get one huge thing out of the way this weekend: the crib.

If you're a first-time parent, every decision seems like it's life-or-death: "Do we really want this fabric on our swing?" "Which Pack-and-Play will he like better?" "Convertible or standard?" "Jogging stroller or travel system?" Our friends who are parenting veterans tell us this all passes, but we (and by "we," we mean "The Maven," are still in the early-obsessed phase.

So the lack of a crib was starting to stress us out. A few weeks back, we decided the baby's room was too small to handle a convertible crib, but we couldn't find a standard crib that we were really psyched about in our price range. And trust us, we looked everywhere — from the big-box stores to specialty stores to small consignment shops. We scoured the Internet. We hit up our friends. And when we were about to give up, we popped into Hands of Hope in Bangor.

Now, this wasn't the obvious choice, for several reasons. Hands of Hope is a thrift store that donates its proceeds to breast cancer research and prevention, as well as other community outreach efforts. The shop is known for its huge selection of new and like-new bridal gowns, which are sold for ridiculously low prices ($99-$199). We had been in there a few times before, and noticed they had an eclectic selection of new furniture from catalog and online retailers, but we hadn't thought much about it.

Fortunately, we popped in there on Friday and discovered that Hands of Hope's furniture section included a few gorgeous cribs from JC Penney. Though the Maven is not much of a Penney's shopper, we had actually thought of ordering one online, but the shipping cost was about half as much as the crib itself.

At Hands of Hope, they had the perfect crib — antique white, hardwood construction, simple lines, gorgeous — at a fraction of the original price (a picture from JC Penney's Web site is included above). It's this season's model, so it's still available online. Plus, with the store's discount card, we got it — and a brand-new Sealy mattress — for a hair over $200. Score! When we returned from Hands of Hope, saw the same crib in one of those "stylish nursery" spreads in a baby magazine. Double score! Plus, all of that money will benefit a good cause. Triple score!

With all the money we saved, we'll be able to decorate the rest of the nursery ... when we get around to it.

Hands of Hope is located at 700 Hogan Road in Bangor. For more information, visit the Web site.


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