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how to pop serious tags (with less than $20 in your pocket)

So. There’s a new thrift store anthem being sung. And chances are, if you’re a second hand tag popper, you’ve heard it. (And while it’s an awesome song, it also says the *F*word a whole lot of of time (and I’m not talkin’ about fart). Also, I don’t swear (out loud). So, you’ve been warned…)

But the song, it’s my culture, my people. I identify completely. Yes, I’ll totally take your grandma’s style and make it my own.


I’m a tag popper. Always have been, probably always will be. Always looking for the next come up.

A few of my most recent popped tags (in detail):

Morning thrift haul: vintage burgundy leather boots (that actually fit!) $7. Vintage chevron crochet throw blanket (that matches my living room!) $4.50

Boots: Vintage late 70’s, Old Maine Trotters. They are a bit roomy in the calf (fancy that!), but otherwise fit fantastically. They are a size 9.5, but I typically take a modern day size 8. Paid = $7.

Blanket: Vintage hand crochet chevron throw blanket. Paid : $4.50
Wasn't going to stop, but decided to give myself 10 minutes. Found: beautiful wool blanket ($4) and authentic Gucci leather belt circa 1985 ($5) #thrifting

Belt: Gucci circa 1980’s. It’s too small (by a whole lot), so I’ll be selling it on Junky Brilliance sometime soon. Paid: $5.

Blanket: Beautiful vintage circa 1960’s wool throw. Tag: Troy Robe. Paid: $4.

Date night! Only 4 different thrifted decades represented in this mish-mash of an ensemble.

I wore this little number on my monthly “date night” out with Michael this past weekend. Nothing spectacular, but it worked nonetheless.

Coat: Vintage LS Ayres (wrote about it over 2 years ago). Also worth noting, it’s still my most expensive thrift store purchase at $18.

Dress: Well, let’s just say momma might have paid a shameful retail price for it, m’kay.

Tights: Anthropologie. But wait, it’s not what you think. I snagged them on DOUBLE DOUBLE TRIPLE DOUBLE CLEARANCE. And while anthro is typically a suckas market, they’re clearance room is where it’s at. Got these bad boys for maybe $9. And they last forever (pending any cat debacle or anything)…

Boots: FREE! I attend a friendly clothing swap once a year. We all bring our wardrobe castoffs, and we trade.  Hors Devours are nom’ed on, wine is typically consumed. Always a good time, and I always come home with a few really fantastic treasures…

5 tips and tricks I “pop tags” by:

1. Carry a smart phone. If I ever wonder if I’m finding something rare or valuable, I whip out my cell phone to find out for sure. I have ebay, etsy (vintage), and amazon as quick go-to reference apps. When in doubt, I do a quick label search to see if the item I’ve found is worth anything substantial. Typically, I only buy things I’m going to keep for myself. But occasionally will buy things for either resale or for friends (see tip #4).

2. Understand vintage sizing. I wear a modern day size 8 boot. But when it comes to vintage? I take around a  size 9.5. Also, I wear a modern day dress size 8, but typically fit into a size 12 when it comes to vintage. Have you ever heard of “vanity sizing“? Well, it’s alive and well. Do not get discouraged by it! Vintage garments that fit you today are always going to be a few sizes larger. Don’t let this discourage you, just go into the shopping hunt armed with this knowledge. Throw sizing out the window and try everything on… YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL REGARDLESS OF THE NUMBER ON THE TAG.

3. Thrift karma is real. Thrifting karma is alive and well. If I stumble upon an item that isn’t right for me, but perfect for a friend, I’ll buy it for them and either gift it to them or sell it to them for the price I paid for it. A $5 pair of frye boots in your size and not mine? Sure! Happy birthday to you, glad we’re friends. I’ve learned what my friends love and collect, and the sizes they need. I completely believe that this keeps me in favor with the re-sale Gods. (kidding, but not really, don’t cross me.)

4. Take a gamble. While I 100% live by the rule of “not buying anything I don’t need or completely love”, I do think there is value in taking a gamble while thrifting. Because when it comes to spending a few bucks on something potentially, spectacular, it’s often times worth the money. I often buy things that I’m not completely sure will meld into my current wardrobe, because at the very worst, I just re-thrift or resell the item. And I often find a friend to gift it to (see #3).

5. Go where no woman has gone before. What I mean by this is, don’t discount a second hand store because the storefront isn’t appealing, or not in the “right” neighborhood. I guarantee you my best finds have been in second hand stores most of my friends would never step into. Get over your pride, pump a few squirts of sanitizer in the palm of your hand, and go for it. Worst case scenario, you leave empty handed. This being said, I mostly avoid the highly trafficked Goodwill (excluding the outlets) because they are too expensive (and now you know my price point) and too picked over.

So there you have it, a few of my best kept tag popping secrets. What have you found lately?Let’s swap thrifting stories!


how not to dress like a rodeo clown, thanks to Robbie Laughlin

There’s a misconception floating around that I only thrift shop, and never buy any new clothes for myself. And while it’s completely true that I do go beyond what “normal people” would feel comfortable buying secondhand, there are plenty of things I’m willing to spend a pretty penny on in order to be the very first owner.

Shoes and purses are a particular weakness for me. Because regardless of what size I am, pregnant, recently postpartum, or just having an “eat my feelings” sort of day, shoes and purses always fit pretty darn great. And while yes you can easily find great looking shoes and purses second hand, I’ve been known to get fixated on a particular pair of shoes (oh hello, Frye boots) or a specific purse (come to me, Liebeskind), and nothing else will do. Most recent shoe purchase?  These beautiful babies. Man, I love me a good moc.

And most recently, I discovered a pair of jeans that I actually loved so much I bought in three different colors. Levi’s Skinny Jeggings (less than $40 a a pair) have my heart, soul, flat a$$ and thighs.

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview E! news style corespondent Robbie Laughlin before a local Macy’s fall fashion show. To say I was nervous would be a gross understatement. Typically speaking, I’m far too awkward to talk to important famous people. Most the time, if given the opportunity to speak, I’ll end up saying something completely inappropriate or very much off color.

Backstage interviewing @robbielaughlin before the @macys fashion show.
(man I look hardcore tired in this photo)

But fortunately for me, at this particular event, I was with my very confident buddy Casey, and when it was our 15 minute time to interview him, we went in it together. Because I begged her to take me with her, so I wouldn’t have to interview him myself.

She made this lovely video, and I my contributing element was nervously laughing while avoiding any and all eye contact. Oh, and I held the camera.

So while the camera was rolling, my “listening ears” were open. I was soaking in the his most excellent fashion advice, hoping to retain a tip or two to bring back home to my closet.

You guys, he’s smart. But he did admit to wearing basketball shorts with uggs to get groceries at Whole Foods, something I feel is my obligation to share with you.

But I learned a ton in about 15 minutes time.

I learned I need to get a good blazer (which I’m totally thrift hunting for). And I learned that a good bra (right Angie?) can be your bff. And he also convinced me my wardrobe desperately needs a pair of nude heels. Which yes, I’ve already purchased.

I learned that I need to find a good tailor, and a trend is only my friend if it looks good on me. (words to live by right there)

But probably the one thing I took away from both the time spent with Robbie and the fashion show that followed is that clothes should be fun, and getting dressed in the morning shouldn’t be the chore that it’s become.

Now someone invite me somewhere fun, so I can test out my new fashion knowledge and put on real clothes. You know, a place proper enough to put on pants that have a button and zipper at the waist, instead of stretchy elastic.

I tossed all my rules out the window and went thrifting

1. I don’t thrift with children. I’ve done that before, and my children fall out of carts and land on their heads.

2. I don’t thrift on 50% off days or any other “special” days.

3. I don’t do Grand Openings.

And I most certainly never EVER EVER EVER:

4. thrift within 48 hours of Halloween. Because I mean business when I shop, and those frat dudes searching for bridesmaid dresses just get in my way and make me crabby.

But then I heard about a new Goodwill opening up here in Indy, and because I’m a glutton for punishment and it being ugly sweater season and all, I decided to load up the boys head out to the new store.

Bundled up in our thrifting best to chuck out the new Avon Goodwill. #gwgrandopening

You guys, it was magical, and I’m not just saying that. I mean, it was completely crowded and I may of hyperventilated a few times, but we totally came home with a huge bag treasures, for only a few bucks.

When I shop secondhand, I always go through the store in a particular order.

Home goods and furniture are always first. I quickly search for vintage pyrex, milk glass, and any other interesting type of mid century serving pieces.

Found the money spot. A whole shelf of milk glass. #gwgrandopening

On this particular trip, I found my mouth hanging open at the selection of milk glass and pyrex. I did witness a tragedy of epic proportions when a little kid with butterfingers dropped a small pyrex bowl on the concrete floor. I think I audibly gasped and had my own little moment of silence right there in the middle of the chaos.

Plus, I was just glad it wasn’t my kid. Bringing Gage down the glass isle is exactly like letting a bull run wild in a china shop.

My big home goods find was a  vintage Bake a Round glass tube, complete with original box and instructions. I’m going to try to fire it up later this week, I’ll let you know how that goes.

Next I hit up the women’s sweaters to see if I can find anything ugly or anything anthro-esque. I did walk away with 5 Christmas sweaters and yes, one sweater (in my size) that I know was sold at Anthro two seasons ago. I’m on the fence if it’s really my style or not, but picked it up anyway and figure I’ll just give it to a friend if I decide against it.

Since I had Gage with me, we hit up the toys next. We found this old school Schilling kids accordion buried deep in the plastic wasteland, and even though I have even more rules about toys that make sounds and how they’re not allowed to enter my house, we threw it in the cart anyway. Because it was far too cool not to.

Favorite find from the @goodwillindy #gwgrandopening a vintage schilling kids accordion.

You guys, I’m changing my grandma ways. Rules are dumb, and this store proved me all wrong. Friends, you can find good stuff on opening day. And you can thrift shop with kids in tow, especially if you bribe them with as many suckers as they can suck.

Enjoying the treasure hunt. #gwgrandopening

Goodwill in Avon, Indiana? We will be back.

Got any burning thrifting questions for me? I’d love to try and answer them. While I’m no expert, I do have a ton of junky hours tucked under my belt.

*I was gifted a small Goodwill gift card as a thank you for attending opening day. I spent it, spent it all! Like a moth to a flame, you cannot keep me away from other people’s cast-offs.

I’m around, and you can call me Matey

Today I realized I haven’t blogged here (emphasis on the here, I’m still busy writing lots of other awesome places) in almost three weeks.

I didn’t mean for it to happen, didn’t set out to “take a break” or anything, it’s just how life went down. Honestly, I thought I blogged at least last week or something. But yeah, almost 3 weeks ago.

I’ve been doing stuff. You know, everyday normal people stuff.

I took a canning class. I really should blog about it, because it was awesome, and now I want to put all the food in all the jars.

Screen shot 2012-09-30 at 8.26.40 PM

I’m shopping often to stock the ugly sweater shop, Junky Brilliance. Yes, the season already starts mid-September (I know). Gage is my sidekick, and sometimes he stages fugly protests when I don’t buy him broken toys.

Staging a thrift store protest. I will win this one.

We took the kids to Disney last week, it was so awesome I’m basically at a loss for words. It really is a magical place and we felt like princess.

And then I gave her a crown.

Starting the morning out right.


Cinderella's castle spooked to the nines.

If you ever decide to go to Disney, I highly recommend being an irresponsible parent and yanking your kids out of school for a week sometime in October. The crowds were completely low (because everyone’s in school, like suckers), the weather very comfortable, and the Halloween festivities are out of this world.

We rented a house with my sister (brother-in-law and nephew) and dragged my mom along for the ride. Renting a huge house is also something I totally would recommend. It’s much cheaper than staying on Disney property, everyone gets a bed(room), you can make meals at “home” where the kids can freely enjoy their post-themepark epic meltdowns, and our particular rental even came with a pool and hot tub. I must admit, there’s something very magical about not having to hide in the dark hotel bathroom while waiting for the kids to fall asleep.

The only non-magical part of the trip was driving 16 hours south (and then another 16 back up north) in the car with 4 small kids. Everyone did ok, except when they didn’t. Nola lost her mind over a dropped marker, and there was that naughty 3 hour stretch of highway somewhere in Georgia that Paul didn’t care for and wanted us all to hear about it.

But we’re home now, sleeping in our own beds, where the bed bugs don’t bite. Acclimating to real life where you don’t get a daily afternoon chocolate dipped ice cream Micky on a stick just for giggles.

R2D2 glow toy entertainment. Be glad this photo doesn't come with sound. #18hourroadtrip

And lastly, Gage learned a new song, thanks to Piper’s new found love of teenie-bopper music. You can call him, Matey. This is only funny if you personally know him. From day one, straight out of the womb he’s talked like a pirate. Like, total leave-me-lone-get-off-my-yard old man growl in full effect. He’s now constantly going round the house singing a tone def off key version of “this crazy, call me Matey”. It’s hilarious, and I really need to make a video of this to remember it always.

Monkey on my back.

So yeah, this blog and I have some catching up to do. I have grand ambitions to get my act together, promise.


A frugal PSA: Sometimes a deal IS indeed too good to be true.

I’m just going to go ahead and cut to the chase, tell you a little tale about how I totally got taken for a stupid sucker. A classic case on how I didn’t do my “smart shopper” due diligence, and now am $18 poorer with a bruised frugal ego.

Ok, so here is my sad and sorry story:

It was around 9:30 in the morning, and my sister calls me to share a “must have” deal on Zulily. If you love deals, you already know how awesome Zulily is, and on this particular morning, they were offering kids Keen rain boots with Boston Terrier dogs on them.

We have a stinky Boston Terrier, thus obviously we needed these rain boots.












They were selling on Zulily for maybe $25 odd dollars (can’t remember the exact amount), but then they don’t have Piper’s size, so I sadly had to pass the deal up.

But now that I know these boots exist, I kinda want them bad. Like, I have to have them. I WOULD NOT BE DEFEATED! Clearly, finding these shoes in Piper’s size had quickly become a challenge for me, one that I would ultimately lose.

And then the very same sister that alerted me to the boots in the first place, sends me another link via email, to a clearance site that was selling the boots for an outstanding price of $13 + shipping! And wouldn’t you know it, they have Piper’s size!


The boots were in my cart and paid for via PayPal within a matter of minutes.

That was about a month ago.

Yesterday, the mailman delivered me a tiny little bubble mailer from China.

China. Hm…. Don’t remember ordering anything from China. Don’t know anybody living in China.What on earth could it be? So exciting! Mystery package!

And inside the randomly delivered tiny bubble mailer, was another even smaller plastic package, labeled LUX touch of  Europe shower cap.

A shower cap. From China. The mystery continues…

So I did what any normal inquisitive person with time on her hands would do, I asked google.














Discount shoes. Scambook. Shower cap. Hey wait, I never got those rain boot I ordered a month ago!

Yep, I was a victim. They took my money, they snatched my pride, and left me with a stupid shower cap, that is anything but LUX.


(identity hidden, to cover the shameface)

I’ve filed a complaint with Paypal, but honestly I’m not going to spend a ton of time trying to get my $18 back, because you know, it wasn’t that much money.

And well, I can’t get my frugal confidence back.

Valuable lesson learned: if you need a disposable a shower cap, order shoes online.

Any of you every been scammed? Come on, share your story so I don’t feel like such an idiot.

tiger lily inspiration (giveaway)

This is one of my favorite photos from early on in my pregnancy with Paul. Casey took it last August, at the Indiana State Fair. I was only 19 week pregnant, but looked and felt all of 35 weeks.










That orange striped shirt in the photo is still one of my favorites, in fact I wore it just yesterday. I love the color, the lightweighty-ness of the fabric, and how I used it as a maternity shirt even though it was never intended to be a maternity shirt.

One year later, I’ve swapped the bulging belly for a six month old fluffy butt. You guys, he’s trying to crawl already.

It’s not fair.













And my wardrobe has changed, but only slightly. Every morning when I get dressed, I have Paul in mind. Six months in, and he’s still breastfeeding like his life depends on it. (OK, maybe his life does depend on it, but you get my drift)

No lie, almost every single day my outfit starts with a Bravado tank. I have it in 3 neutral colors (white, black, brown), and now my new favorite color for summer, tiger lily.

















Bright orange is a fun accent, to my otherwise very neutral closet.

These past few month, I’ve been writing every Friday over at Bravado’s Breastfeeding Diaries. It’s been an amazing outlet and place of breastfeeding support for me, and I hope you join me over there from time to time.

But back to the tank. If you breastfeed, you need this top. And the beautiful orange tiger lily color is a special seasonal item that will be gone before you know it.











But I’m giving one away.

Entering is easy-peasy. Just follow the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I’ve partnered with Bravado to share my breastfeeding journey, but the opinions are always my own, and I haven’t been compensated for this post.