February 2013 archive

How to Be a Savvy Thrifter- Step Two

Divide and Conquer

I was just thrifting this last weekend.  And I’ll give you my strategic plan.  I was on the lookout for spring basics, something we’re all wishing for right about now.  I was looking for specific colors- mint and peach are big colors for spring.  I was also looking for some ankle jeans, Capri’s and great boyfriend, broken-in, read-for-sand-and-firepit jeans.  Lastly, I wanted to look through the jackets and blazers because you just never know….

By Photo by Neesa Rajbhandari The S.W.A.P. Team [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

First stop, blazers.  And for the second stop, jackets.  These racks you can file through very quickly.  Both of these are easy to try on right at the rack, eliminating the need to fill your shopping cart with things that don’t even fit.  If it is handy, you can even see how you like how they look on your body by making use of a mirror in the store that isn’t in the dressing room.
Second stop, the jeans rack.  All of the items I listed on the pants search list would fall into the jeans category.  And find jeans really can be overwhelming, even for this veteran.  But you have to know a few secrets.  One, if it looks too small on the hanger, most likely it isn’t worth taking it to the dressing room.  Hold it up to your body.  Here is a trick I remember reading- if you take pants and button the button and wrap the waist of the pants around your neck (like a scarf), if the ends touch, then they’ll fit your waist. Essentially, your neck is half the size of your waist.  Saves some time while you’re in the trenches to eliminate “waist.” (Sorry, bad pun.)
Two, labels don’t lie.  If you know you will never, ever love the way you look in Lee jeans, then don’t pick them up.  End of story.  Secondly, each size is different.  While Old Navy tends to run small (I don’t even want to tell you the size I fit into there), somewhere like Banana Republic tends to run pretty generous.  They call it vanity sizing.  I call it, thank you for making my day.  So know your sizes in the labels you like.  And don’t forget that in general, if you pick up something made by Ann Taylor you’ll probably feel a difference between that and No Boundaries.  Not always, but most of the time.
My final stop was the blouses.  This is where time stops in the thrift store.  Jeans have a common theme, but shirts, they can be so different.  And when there are miles to sort through and maybe they haven’t even been sized.  Whew.  You can really get bogged down.  The key here is color.  Know what color of blouse you are in need of- it’ll make going up and down those aisles so much faster.  And if you happen to see something wonderful on the way, that is the treasure in this hunt.
If I don’t get through a thrift store with a pile to try on, something just isn’t right.  So tomorrow’s tips, the dressing room.

How to Be a Savvy Thrifter- Step One

Parting the Sea

At this point in my life, I feel I am a professional thrifter.  Much like watching American Pickers, I’m the picker of clothing.  And I thought I’d pass along to the masses how to be a savvy thrifter.
Today we’ll talk about step one- parting the sea.

Image source Orin Zebest via Flickr.com

First off, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed.  Walking into a Goodwill or Salvation Army or any thrift store can feel like you’ve just been dumped into an ocean of clothing (which is what I love about it).  But I can  understand how it can give others heart palpitations.  You definitely don’t want to be there on a day when you can only shop for twenty minutes and are trying to find a black shell or any other specific item.  Thrifting takes time, patience and an adventurous spirit.  It is not for the faint of heart.
Pinpoint why you are shopping.  Are you shopping for fun?  Are you on the hunt for something?  Are you here only for the dresses?  This will help you narrow down what racks you hit and how much time it’ll take.  If you are only there to see what formalwear they have, you might be in and out.  If you’re looking for lots of spring basics, you’ll need an afternoon.  Etc.
And remember that almost always you can’t hit every rack in one visit.  There are some thrift stores where the items are at least sorted by size.  Or supposed to be.  And then there are those that are also categorized by color.  This helps immensely.  That said, some of the best finds are those that were “misfiled,” if you will.  Poking through racks that are not your size, right by the dressing rooms or towards the cashier can prove to be valuable time spent.
Getting good at thrifting means going often, not only to get accustomed to shopping in the sea of clothing but also to get great deals as they come in.
Tomorrow- thrifting, search and rescue.

Q&A- Mint Jeans

I received the following question-
I am wanting a pair of mint jeans so badly for this spring. Why are they so hard to come by??? I found this pair on Loft…..but they never seem to have my size in stock.

Color Pop Curvy Super Skinny Jeans from Loft $60

Have you come across any others? I have tried on the ones at Target and the fit is not right for me. Other than that I have not really seen them anywhere else, or if I have online…they are never in stock.
Also would like to find a nice fitting denim shirt. Came along one at Ann Taylor. Kinda pricey for me. Any other suggestions?


Thank you for the questions Amy!
First off, I love the mint jeans trend too. It reminds me of the cobalt blue jeans trend. Mint is everywhere these days. It is HUGE for spring and I have to say, I’ve always been a fan of the color. 
Of course there are tons of mint jeans that are expensive but I don’t recommend spending a bunch of money on this trend. So I’ll try to give you a few options in the $100 or less group.
First stop- Dillard’s

Celebrity Pink Colored Skinny Jeans $30

That was the cheapest I found (besides Forever 21) where I thought maybe you could go to a brick and mortar store and try them on.
Here are a few more ideas-

Spring in Every Season Jeans from ModCloth $50 (with free shipping over $50 and returns)

And also these from the Gap-

1969 Always Skinny Skimmer Jeans $55

(I also found a cute pair at Express but their website isn’t cooperating today.)
Now, for your second question, the denim shirt. This trend has been around for a few seasons now too and it’ll probably be around for a lot longer. The thrifter in me says to try and find a really cheap one at thrift stores, but that takes patience and time. And they are everywhere.  I’ve seen a bunch at Target.  Delias and Forever 21 have them in the under $30 price range.  In the $50 and under, you can find them at Asos, JCPenney, Express, American Eagle and the Gap.  I’m confident you’ll find one that you love out of the variety out there for less money than Ann Taylor!
I hope this helps!
Thanks again for the questions!

Oscars 2013

I have a great Oscar story.  Stop me if you’ve heard this one.  I was in labor with my third child and it was the night of the Oscars.  And to appease his suffering wife, the Mr. indulged me in watching the event while I monitored when it was officially time to get the epidural.  Normally this isn’t his cup of tea but I’m sure he thought it would be a nice distraction for his wife.  And it was.  The funny part of the story is, I had my mother, my husband and my mother-in-law all sitting on the tiny little couch in my delivery room engrossed in the dresses, who was going to win what, etc. while my poor midwife sat and rubbed my back and helped me breath through my contractions.  Um, support team?  Did you forget what we’re here for?  It was a funny moment.  And I’ll always remember that special day of my child’s birth in conjunction with the Oscars. 
This year there were some very sparkly and regal dresses.  Here are my lists for best and worst dressed.
Best Dress-
Pretty much if it was black and full of sequins, I was in love.  I’m not sure why this was my theme of choice for the Oscars this year, but after a few “misses” this year at other awards ceremonies, I thought Halle Berry looked fantastic.  She was my best dressed.

Halle Berry in Versace

Nicole Kidman- I loved her dress too.  I wasn’t crazy about the swirls on the bottom of the dress but under those lights, they just disappeared and dazzled.  Wow, what a figure. 

 Nicole Kidman in L’Wren Scott

This girl can do no wrong.  I think George must be crazy not to put a ring on it.

 Stacy Keibler in Naeem Khan

I genuinely liked Jennifer Aniston’s red dress.  I was surprised at how good she looked in this red. 

Jennifer Aniston in Valentino

This dress also got my attention.  Or maybe it just was her hair do.  She normally wears her hair down.  And this was just impressive for her.

Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen

I love Charlize’s new hair.  It white white in the dead of winter, you have to have such beautiful porcelain skin.  Or be a former model.  Or in this case both.

Charlize Theron in Dior Haute Couture

Worst dressed-
Oh Anne.  I was so glad you won your Oscar.  But I HATED this dress.  I felt like you went to the most important event in your career in a ill-fitting bridesmaids dress.  The color wasn’t flattering.  Esh.  What a let down.

 Anne Hathaway in Prada
I love Jen Garner too, but I wasn’t crazy about this dress.  It was her man’s big night and I feel like she’s done better on the red carpet.  I enjoyed the color but didn’t like the way it fit up top and I also didn’t like the crazy back.  She seemed a little like a dinosaur…?

Jennifer Garner in Gucci

I think the last worst dressed of the night was the “show.”  Did anyone else not like the way that this show was presented?  I’m not saying that the host wasn’t cute but it was just a little flat.  I think you need a big star to host these shows.  Someone people can relate to.
What were your favorites?

All images- source- Disney ABC Television Group

Worst Dress-

Q&A- Color-Blocked Shirts

I received the following question-
What do you think about the silk color-blocked shirts. I say they are OUT even before they are IN. (But I’m kind of a stick in the mud!) 🙂

Silk Colorblock Boyshirt
Silk Colorblock Boyshirt from Madewell $118- Currently sold out

I have to agree with you.  While they may be a trend, it is not one that I find attractive.  Color blocking- I enjoy.  Silk shirts- love them.  Together- reminds me of an era of fashion that I’m not ready to revisit again anytime soon.  There is something that is so Ice Ice Baby about these shirts.
So if they are for you, great.  That must mean that you were born after 1985 or perhaps you still have your old one in your closet that you’ve been aching to wear again.
But for the rest of us, we’ll find other blouses that are beautiful, colorful and charming.  And we’ll just look the other way while these are floating around.
Thanks for the question!

SWL- Fun with Flats

I heard this on a show the other day and it made me laugh out loud. 
“She wears heels everyday because she believes flats are for quitters.” – 30 Rock
There are many of us who live in flats because we want to be cute and ready to take on any challenges the day may bring- playing with the kids, taking out the trash, shopping, chasing the dog, etc.
So for those of you who occasionally need to wear flats, Lloyd says these are our must-haves.  Here’s what I can find in my shoe collection-
“Classic loafer- a have a wedge loafer, so I guess that doesn’t count
Sexy slide- nope
Driving moccasin- sorry
Dressy thong sandal- definitely, maybe several
Girly mule- hm, what for sure is girly?
Cute lounging sneaker- I think so
Sparkly slipper- again, I think so…it is definitely a sparkly ballet slipper
Colorful espadrille- check
Casual flip-flop- does ten or so pairs count?
Dressy ballet slipper”- done
Looks like I’m in need of some moccasins.  Better check for sales on Sperry’s!
How many of these do you own?

BSS- Infomercial Testing

Wha???  No, it isn’t Saturday.  But I’m working ahead because there is a little event on Sunday that I’m pretty sure I’m going to want to blog about.  Have you heard of it?  It’s called the Oscars.  So for the rest of the week, we work ahead!
I love being your guinea pig for beauty products.  Because I’ll give you an honest opinion of what I like and what I don’t like and why. 
I’m kind of an infomercial sucker.  I don’t order a whole lot from infomercials but I watch the entire shpeal.  I can’t seem to pull the remote control trigger!
So I’m happy to report that I’m going to be doing some testing of these beauty products.  It’ll be the best and the worst of infomercial beauty.
Any requests?

Pointy Toe Heels

All the buzz lately is about pointy toe heels and how they are the new shoe shape for spring.  What do you think about this piece of news? 

Image courtesy of lovemaegan via Flickr.com

It takes me back about ten years when the same pointy toe heels were very popular.  Then came the round toe which lead to the platform, with a few peep toes thrown in for measure.  You gotta love shoes as much as I do to know that they continue to evolve over the same shapes.  And so those ten year old heels I have that I haven’t worn much but they still look fantastic will be coming back out- pointy toes and all!
Will you be wearing pointy toe heels this spring?

Doxology Rock

I was contact the other day by an awesome website called, Doxology Rock.  They make Christian t-shirts.  I wanted to pass along their website to you.  If you order from them, you can use this code- STICKSROCKS for a 20% discount from now until February 26th.  There is also a special free VIP club you can sign up for on this site. 
My personal favorite is this shirt-

Happy Shopping!

What a Sad Song

I was sorry to hear about the death of country singer, Mindy McCready today. Mostly because I remember her first album being one that played on a consistent basis in my college dorm room. “Ten Thousand Angels” and “Guys Do It All the Time” are part of a soundtrack to my early adult life.   Some of her songs I haven’t listened to in so many years and just hearing them sends me right back to a former life.
It seems such a shame that this life had to end so tragically. Even more depressing are the two little lives left in the wake.
What a sad song sung indeed.

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