Thrift Shop(ping)

Even before Macklemore, a great thrift shop find delighted me.

I learned about thrift shopping from an English friend. Her family signaled many indications of affluence to me, so I was surprised by a conversation one day in which she shared that she frequented local thrift shops. She told me that she even said a little prayer each time she sat in her car before entering the thrift shop in hope of finding what she needed that day.

I began, following her practice, to seek specific items after looking over our wardrobe needs at home. I was able to find jeans of various sizes for growing kiddos, cute tops for my girls, and even cold weather clothing as our needs changed.

If you or someone you know might like some tips for thrift shopping, here are a few suggestions:

1. Know your wardrobe. If you know your style, what you have at home, and what you need, you can pull together random brands and create ensembles of amazingness–but no one is going to offer you a mannequin to put together a cookie-cutter outfit.

2. Shop for basics. I own several different black skirts. And black shirts. And white shirts. And cream shirts. And various styles of jeans. I have found many of these items thrifting. And I use them regularly to build with prints & stripes & accessories (I adore scarves!) to build an outfit. They are timeless.

3. Don’t be afraid. Thrift stores have a smell to them, don’t they? Who cares? You wash your clothing, right? Carry your hand sanitizer if you must, but go inside and look. Shop. Wash. Wear. Repeat. You are saving the environment, resurrecting retro styles, and helping thrift stores. 🙂

4. Look for “deals” or sales at your local thrift shop. Sometimes, if you ask an employee, they will let you know which items have been in stock longest (many stores have colored tags or other systems of coding items to keep track of shelf life)…& occasionally these items will be discounted even more than the normally low thrift shop prices.

5. Donate. You know that old sweater Great Aunt Marge sent you for Christmas that has been in the back of your closet crowding your clothes for three years? Someone needs it for an ugly sweater party. I promise. Donate it. Share the love. You won’t be sorry. Remember that someone’s trash is another one’s treasure.

6. Ask questions. If you find something you love with a stain or hole along the seam that you could easily fix, ask for an additional discount for your trouble. You may have to wait for a manager, but it could save you some cash.

7. Know your market. Occasionally, you might catch those amazing sales for whatever at the mall. It’s true. And if you can pick up a shirt for a kiddo in your life for less than $1 retail, do it. It’s more economical than thrifting.

8. Go for it!!! If you want to try a new style for you–or a new color–or you wonder if you could pull off a certain something…look for whatever it is at your local thrift shop. That way, if it’s a bomb, you only spent a couple of dollars. But, who knows? You just might ROCK IT!

Best of luck thrift shopping! Do you thrift? Have any fun stories to share? Any fabulous finds? 🙂

It’s not easy being thin…

Try singing those words in your best Kermit-the-Frog-It’s-Not-Easy-Being-Green-voice, if you please.

In case you forgot the tune, here’s Kermit the Frog singing it in all his green felt glory:

I was thinking of this post several days ago after a conversation of a few women I passed in a corridor.  One, remarking about a woman she once knew, said–as best I could hear–something like, “And of course, she’s like a size 2…” and, a little lower in voice, “…one of those women we all hate.”

Maybe she said dislike.

I don’t know, really.  And I know she wasn’t talking about me.  (At least I hope she wasn’t…but I’m sure part of me wonders.)  I am not a size 2.  I’m not sure that I could be if I tried.  But, I am thin.  And, (because of my height and hair length/style), I probably appear thinner than I am.

Here is my question, though.  WHO CARES?????

Who cares what size dress you wear, what your hair looks like, what size your foot is?  Really?  Isn’t that part of growing older and wiser…to be able to look past the surface to see people as they really are?

Then someone very dear to me wrote something recently that she once thought that people who were thin had high self-esteem.

Guess I missed that gift.  Thin body–check.  Tall body–check.  Self-esteem–maybe one day?  (I am working on that facet of existence….)

I’m not writing this as a rant (okay, maybe just a bit…), but I do want for us to pause for a moment to THINK about our perceptions of others.

At my daughter’s school kindergarten end-of-year party several years ago, a female student came up to me (kindergarten, okay?) and said to my daughter, “Wow.  Your mom’s really thin.”

She shared her words with contempt in her voice…a similar tone to what I heard in the corridor among those few “grown-up” women recently.

WOW.

We all make judgements of people when we see them.  And sometimes we share them with others.  But can we PLEASE STOP JUDGING PEOPLE based on exterior value judgements such as size, shape, hair color, sexual orientation, style preference, number of children (or lack thereof) and just remember that we are all individuals (thank heavens) in this life trying to enjoy another day on earth?

Please?

Every person I have ever encountered on this earth has something to offer…no matter what he or she looked like on the surface.  I find that when I allow myself to become overwhelmed with appearances (my own or someone else’s) that I miss opportunities to learn and grow and love.  I’m sure we all need this reminder from time to time, but I’d like to take a moment to send a shout-out to women, who I think may struggle with self-deprecating thoughts a little more often than men do (but I’m open to others’ insight on this subject).

Every woman is beautiful, and I encourage you to take an opportunity to remind a woman in your life today that she is amazing.  See what she does.  Tell her she is beautiful.  Tell her she is important.  Tell her she is valued.  Eventually, no matter what her external features are, she will believe you over the condescending voices around her and within her.  And have her sing the chorus to this song…over and over and over…until the message sinks deep into her soul.

And here is another one, just for smiles. 🙂

Third Time’s the Charm

So, I don’t often work much with clichés or colloquialisms.  In my writing classes in college, we were taught to avoid those types of fall-back phrases in order to explore new ideas and more creative ways to express our thoughts.  In the following cases, though, I have found the phrase “third time’s the charm” to be appropriate. 🙂

First Case in Point:  Dentists

Since our last relocation effort, I have neglected finding a new dentist for my family.  We had insurance issues…and distance issues…and personality issues.  We visited one for a dental emergency that wasn’t the best fit.  We visited another for a cleaning and an attempt to do some work, which also wasn’t the best fit.  Finally, we found a good fit yesterday.  And my child (who had experienced a traumatic dental experience) practically skipped home (figuratively, of course, since we drove), and I have been relieved that all went well.  Third dentist worked!!!!!  Hooray!!!!!

Case the Second:  Boots

Back in this post, I talked about my excitement related to FINALLY ordering brown boots…and how I sent them back.  Well, I ordered another pair of (unmentioned) boots in the meantime, and they were also a no-go.  I was getting a bit frustrated…but, fear not!  The third pair I ordered worked out beautifully!  I wanted heels (not riding boots) in a dark brown color with a more fitted shaft…and not too trendy so they last through several seasons.  I found a pair online that said they were over-the-knee (so I was a little concerned, since I wanted the boots to come just under my knee)…but I guess my legs are long enough that they fit exactly like I wanted them to fit!  Hooray!!!!! No more brown boot shopping for me!  Third pair worked!!!!! (Now, if I can just figure out how to treat suede so that they will be water-resistant…any one?  Any one?)

So, a song from my days of listening to and loving Schoolhouse Rock is playing in my head right now; I guess three really is a magic number.  Do you agree?  What experiences do you have when the third experience worked for you?

Sending hugs!!!!!

Cyber Monday!

Advice Yoda Gives - Black eye from black friday shopping you have? shop cyber monday from home you must

Of course, to follow-up with Friday’s post…it’s Cyber Monday!  And, I’ve written you a little song to celebrate:

Happy Cyber Monday to you!

Happy Cyber Monday to you!

Happy Cyber Monday Middle-of-My-Story-Blog-Readers!

Happy Cyber Monday to you!

Catchy, isn’t it?  🙂

In seriousness, here are a few sites with deals that came through my email that you might like (or you might not, but they are here for the taking):

Lisa Leonard – handmade jewelry and gifts…so gorgeous! (25% off purchase)

Vera Bradley – handbags and more in fun, washable fabrics (hipsters half-off and more deals)

Ruche – fun, vintage-look clothing for women (30% off all new arrivals today)

and, of course, who can forget Amazon and VS for holiday shopping?  Both have some amazing deals going…especially if someone on your list is looking for a Kindle Fire or needs a new bra (or two).

Which brings me to this question…where do you do most of your shopping? (& I’m wondering if you prefer the online route or actually visiting a store….)

Hugs!