Fall Wish List

School starts in just under a week, and I. AM. PUMPED.  I’m serious!  I am very excited to meet my new students, and I am in pretty in love with my new school so far.  I kind of think my new vice principal wants to be best friends for life (in a completely platonic way).

Going back to school wouldn’t be complete without a little perusing of the fall fashions, and there are a few pieces I would love to get my hands on:

1.  Thick black leggings/jeggings

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My post on not understanding leggings as pants is one of my post popular posts (you all need to lay off looking for photos of people’s bums through see-through leggings…), but this is different.  I have a problem with thin leggings as pants.  Thick ones, as long as you can rock them with confidence, are fine with me.  Really.  I want a pair that I am not afraid to show my bum in, so they have to be thick material.  Anyone have any good places to look?

2.  Black riding boots

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I am in shoe love with riding boots.  My brown ones were definitely worn a LOT last year, and I would love to expand my boot collection with a pair of black or gray boots.

3.  Fall dresses

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Pinterest does two things to me:  makes me hungry and makes me wish I could shop without money being an issue.  I see all of these beautiful fall dresses that inspire me, and I want them all!  Just look at how scrumptious these dresses are.  Don’t you want them, too?  No?  Well, you could always buy them for me then.  Just a thought.

4.  Chambray shirt

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This trend totally got me today.  During my district new teacher orientation, one of the special education directors was wearing a gorgeous tailored chambray shirt.  I was sold.  Please find me one, oh fashion gods.  For next to nothing, if you could.

If only we didn’t need to budget so much and save money… Maybe I’ll find some this weekend when B and I hit the thrift stores in the Boston area this weekend!

What are you loving this fall?

Celebrating in Edited Style

A couple days after my dad’s birthday, there was another birthday to celebrate.  My grandmother was turning the big 8-0, and we knew as a family that we needed to do something more than just a cake and a big happy birthday.  We had started planning months before the big day; we had people involved, we had a location secured, and we had a food plan.  What we hadn’t planned on was my uncle losing the lower half of his left leg in a motorcycle accident on June 10.

It was around 9 PM, and my uncle decided to ride into town on his motorcycle, just two or three miles down the road.  My dad said that if he could have foreseen what would happen, he would have driven to his house and slashed his tires.  On his way back, my uncle’s motorcycle was clipped by a woman in an SUV who apparently didn’t see him (how do you not see an on-coming headlight?!).  I won’t get graphic with the rest of the details, but his lower left leg was severed on scene and everyone considered it a miracle he’s still with us.  After numerous surgeries and a month and a half in the hospital, he was finally able to go home at the beginning of August.  His struggle is anything but over, but going home is at least one little start.

Needless to say, this whole situation put a damper on our family, and as a secondary thought, the party planning.  It certainly took an emotional toll on everyone, so instead of pushing everything along and acting like we’re all in the mood for a large room of people, we decided to have a smaller party, one that would involve my uncle in his new rehab hospital he was in at that point.

So what is a girl to wear to a surprise party at a hospital?  I thought something festive but casual.  Something like this:The tank top is from Gap Outlet for $5 (on sale at the time), and the skirt was from Goodwill for $4.99.  The hair flower was something I had already made for our wedding rehearsal dinner back in 2010.  The colors would work well with the party attitude, and the skirt made it a little more formal.  I paired it with navy blue flip flops to round out the casual vibe.  The party was pretty successful.  Tons of Chinese food and cake were eaten, presents were opened, and my grandmother was surprised.  Was it the party we wanted to give her?  No.  Definitely not when compared to what we originally had planned.  But sometimes life needs to be edited in order to celebrate what you have.  Sometimes you just never know.  So we celebrated a big birthday and celebrated being a family. 

That’s what’s important.

How Do You Shoe?

It is a rare day for me when I can walk into a Goodwill and find shoes that both A) fit me and my size 10 feet and B) are stylish.  Heck, it’s a rare day for me to walk into most stores and find shoes that fit those criteria.  It’s like all the people who share my foot size keep their shoes until they are worn to pieces.  Honestly, I don’t blame them.  Good looking size 10 shoes are hard to come by at a good price.  I wear mine until I just cannot wear them anymore.

But that rare day occurred!  It did!  It really did!  I was stopping by Goodwill to drop off my second load of stuff in our “we’re moving so we need to go through everything to purge when we don’t need” apartment cleaning.  Of course, I had to go in to see if they had a whiteboard for a craft project I am making for B, which of course led me to the shoe department.

Holy mecca of shoes day.  I think I tried on around 8 pairs of shoes, all of which could have been contenders (except for the first pair of Bass shoes I tried on… someone put a pair of 8.5s in the 9.5 section), but money and space are both issues.  I ended up picking two pairs that will look great as my new “school” shoes.  It wouldn’t be a new school year without having something I could point to and say, “These are my new shoes for school!”  You know what I am talking about.

So what are my new school shoes?  Check them out.

These are my soft, purpley-brown Bass shoes.  Bass, like the company that asks you to pay $90 a pair.  Many of their women’s shoe choices are at least $99 each.  My price?  $4.99… that’s it.  And check out the soles.  They are barely worn!

The second pair was a double score.  If you have heard anything about the upcoming fall footwear trends, you may have heard that loafers are making a casual comeback.  To get into the spirit with a cheap pair, I snatched up these AK Anne Klein babies.  They had a gray tag on them, so even though they were marked at a mere $2.99 originally, I scooped them up for $1.50!  Not bad for costing around $79 at a retail store.Look at that little tassel!  So cute!

The shoes I left behind would have been nice, especially those tall black boots made for the snow, but to be fair, we’re moving.  I need to be realistic (and remember that my shoe bin has zero room as it is!).

Have you found any shoes lately?

Off From Lent!

When Easter rolled around, I was SO READY to be done with Lent.  I had given up shopping for clothing, and after watching so many haul videos on YouTube (why do I watch those?!  They are so addicting!), I was ready to see what I could find with some of the current trends.

I went to Goodwill with a gift card I had, and I ended up making out pretty well!  And, because I wanted to try it again (and look dorky), I decided to give the whole YouTube haul video a try again.  Egads.  Good luck watching it!

What have you purchased lately?

The Search Is On!

With Easter finally hopping in tomorrow, Lent is coming to a close.  Thank goodness!  I gave up thrift shopping for Lent because it was something that I loved to do, and to me, I find it important to give up something you really like or love in order to show your sacrifice.  For me, that was thrifting.  But now that it’s over, I feel like I have put thrifting back into perspective.  I can’t afford to shop all the time, and when I do shop, I need to keep it within certain restrictions.

That being said, I do have some trends and pieces that I want to try and find in my next Goodwill excursions.

1.  Mint and coral

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Mint and coral colors are very very in right now, and I would love to jump onto the bandwagon.  I could very easily turn these colors into work appropriate pieces, summer pieces, and generally great-for-any-time pieces.  Sounds like a win!

2.  Handbags

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I have such a craving for different handbags.  I am the type of person who gets stuck in a rut with handbags because I almost never change the one I have every day.  Shame on me…  I really need to get better about that.  I am on the hunt for handbags with color, structure, and just all around appeal.

3.  Dresses

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I want some spring and summer dresses because, well, I want the warm weather we got a little taste of back.  Now, please!  I love the feminine touches dresses bring to a season, and I want some that aren’t incredibly dressy.  I mean, I’m not going to cocktail parties all summer, and even if I was, a girl needs some variety, am I right?

4.  Jewelry

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Like handbags, I am craving some bracelets and necklaces.  I want different pieces that bring a little bit more intrigue to an outfit.  I tend to get compliments on my jewelry the most at work, and I can tell you that most of my collection is super cheap costume jewelry.  Why not see what else I can add to it?

5.  Sunglasses

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It’s getting brighter.  A girl needs glasses.  Enough said.

6.  Sandals

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This, of course, means I need to give myself a pedicure, STAT.  But who doesn’t want to have colorful feet that are cool and comfy?

I guess the longer I stay away from shopping, the more time I have for window shopping.  That may not have been a good thing… Time to go clean out my closet!

What are you on the hunt for lately?

What’s Up, Wife?: Oh, You’re An Adult?

Not a list today, but I thought I would take some time to reflect on fashion and clothing choices in a different way.  You’ll love it… or you won’t.  Either way, it’s all good.

That title?  I get that a lot.  This past weekend, we discovered that one of the judges for the One Act Festival thought I was a student director.  She even renamed me Josephine.  Very pretty, but I am neither a student, nor am I Josephine, though I may make that my new alias. 

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I have almost always had one of those young faces.  People would always look at me twice when I told them how old I was.  I guess I am more mature than my age but don’t appear to be anywhere near my maturity or real age.  Oops.  My sister, who is three years younger than me, started being called the older sister around the time I was 17 and she was 14.  She tends to wear more makeup than I do, which may add to looking older, and her style does come off a little more older-confident.  My clothing growing up was baggy (I was a chubber) and nondescript because of how uncomfortable I was with my size and my body.  My sister could rock anything, and I felt like I was stuck in paper bag-shaped outfits.

Does anyone else feel like when you turn 22, you get lost between the “teen” section and the “35 and older” section in a lot of stores?  You are either wearing the same clothing as your students or the same clothing as your mom (no offense Mom… we have similar style since I tend to give you all of my old clothing anyway…).  Where are the in-between ages supposed to shop?  Sure, there are stores like Ann Taylor Loft, Gap, and I guess Old Navy is pretty good, but prices can get pretty high.  High prices mean less clothing, which leaves a girl searching through and wearing old clothing that makes her look like a high schooler again (but not in the good way).

I think one of the reasons I love thrift shopping and redesigning my style in general is that I finally get to play with who I am.  Clothing is a huge part of looking like an adult, and I feel like I can play up my personality and look more age appropriate without losing myself.  Plus, the prices are so much better.  When you put me in jeans and a t-shirt, I look like my seniors.  That was probably the reason I got mistaken for a student director.  Put me in a dress or shirt and skirt that I thrifted, and I look more put together, more adult-like.  It adds a greater level of confidence.

For now, I’ll stick to working the unique pieces I have from thrifting to bring out my adultness.  One of B’s uncles told me that his niece had to go through a training on how to wear her hair and clothing when she began teaching high school so she would stand out from the students.  Perhaps I should have attended something like that… though I don’t think I want to go high-speed to school marm status. 

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Yikes.

Location, Location, Location: Salvation Army

Next to Goodwill, the Salvation Army is my second favorite thrift store chain in my area, one that I wouldn’t have found if it hadn’t been for my zero dollar budget to dress my drama club kids.  You see, my school isn’t very well funded to begin with, so coming up with money to fund the drama club isn’t always of the highest priority.  Thankfully, I am creative (otherwise, why would I direct drama?).

Salvation Army is a wonderful place to be creative on the cheap.  Their pricing is quite different than Goodwill’s set-up, and there are differences in policies.  Different, however, can be good.

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The Mission

The Salvation Army is a religious, socially driven institution that provides help to those who have fallen victim to disasters, be they personal or weather-related.  They receive funding to support those in need through their seasonal kettle drives (you know you have seen – and hopefully donated to – those people ringing bells with the red kettles during the holiday season), through sponsorship, and through their retail stores.  It’s very similar to Goodwill’s mission, but seems to have more to do with the church.

One point of controversy that can come up when you research the Salvation Army online is their stance on the gay community.  I’m not 100% sure of what their specific stance is, but because of their religious affiliation, I think I can safely assume that while they do not openly support gay rights (which is dumb, and if I lose readers because of this, so be it), they don’t ask people what their sexuality is before trying to assist them.  I could be wrong though.  If you know for sure, please let me know.  As much as I love their retail stores for thrifting, I don’t want to support an organization who does not support the ones I love.  Plain and simple.

The Money

Salvation Army’s pricing structure is different from Goodwill’s, and it took me a little bit to get it.  In all honesty, I still don’t completely understand their schedule, but I will explain it as best as I can.  The basic price structure is pretty simple.  All prices end in .99, and the overall price is typically based on its assumed worth.  For example, a shirt that is in great condition from a big name brand is going to cost more than a shirt that is from a cheaper brand.  While not always true, it is more common than not.  Every price is marked on a colored tag attached to the item for sale.  Unlike Goodwill, there are no common base prices; everything is priced individually.  On the other hand, the price of each item reflects the tax bracket of the area, just as it does at Goodwill.  If you are in a richer area, you can expect to find fewer items marked at $0.99 before sales.

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To go along with the individual prices goes colored tags.  While everything may have a different price, the prices are written on colors that correspond to when the clothing, etc. came into the store.  The tags can be yellow, pink, green, blue, or white.  These tags will help you figure out what clothing is on sale.

Tricks of the Trade

Organization

This is one of the toughest adjustments to make if you are only used to Goodwill.  There is no organization of size at the Salvation Army.  You have to dig to find the size you want.  Think of it as more of an adventure (but make sure you plan to spend more time here).  The organization structure is based on what type of garment it is (shirt, sweater, jacket, jeans, skirt, trouser, etc.) and color.  When they can, the workers organize each clothing type into a rainbow-like assortment.  If you want an orange shirt, there is a section for that.  Want some purple pants?  If they have some, they will be lumped together.  It is very helpful that way.

Sales

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a discount card that SA.  They do, however, have two types of sales:  50% off a color and the $0.99 sale.  They also host family night where families can get a certain deal if they bring in a bag of clothing to donate before shopping that day.  The main two sales, though, are what drew me in.  And when they overlap?  Look out!

The 50% off sale is what it sounds like.  Each week, a certain color tag goes on sale for 50% off.  They have what color it is each week posted somewhere near the front door so you know before you get elbow-deep in browsing.  If it isn’t posted, just ask.  The employees will definitely be able to tell you.

The $0.99 sale is the best thing ever.  Who doesn’t like getting awesome clothing and accessories for $0.99 or lower?  Every week, a separate color from the 50% off sale goes on sale for $0.99.  Everything, no matter how high it is marked, goes on sale for $0.99.  You could score a jacket that was originally marked at $15.99 for $0.99.  Um, yes please!  So what if something is already marked at $0.99 before the sale?  Well, it jumps down to $0.79.  Awwweeesssoommmmeee.  I have gone $0.99 color tag shopping before, and I walked away with ten items for $10. 

Sometimes these two sales happen at the same time.  I usually find that this happens at my local store on Saturdays.  This is completely up to the individual store, though, so I would check the schedule at your local retail shop.  Take advantage of being able to get 50% off and $0.99 pieces.  It’s great and cheaper than Goodwill.

Know the Goods

I like to know what I can find at each thrift store.  In my local area, I know that if I want to buy home goods, I need to skip Salvation Army and go to Goodwill.  The Salvation Army near me doesn’t carry very many home goods, and what they do carry is pretty mundane.  If I’m looking for a better selection of purses or ties, though, I will probably go to Salvation Army.  Take the time to get to know what types of merchandise your local stores carry the most.  This will save you time and frustration in the future.

Have you tried the Salvation Army lately?  What have you found?

Forty Days and Forty Nights

Start the clocks and mark your calendars.  If you happen to be a Christian who observes Lent, you may be giving something up right now.  If you aren’t, that’s okay.  Maybe you don’t know what Lent is.  Simply put, Lent is a period of 40 days and 40 nights where one gives something up to show commitment to God and Jesus.  It begins the day after Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday.  It’s super common in the Catholic church- they even have stricter rules like you can’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent – but we Protestants can observe it as well.  I grew up giving up different things here and there, sometimes chocolate or soda three years in a row (now I can’t drink it at all because the bubbles hurt too much).  Most of the time, it was something like junk food that I shouldn’t eat a lot of anyway.

This year, though, I am giving up something of a different variety.  Lent officially started on February 22, and I hemmed and hawed over what I should do this year.  Chocolate?  No, I’m not that crazy this year.  Junk food?  I don’t eat that much of it to begin with, so that’s kind of cheating.  And then it hit me.  This year, I am giving up shopping for clothing.

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Now, I know what you are probably thinking.  Yeah, you say you can get through 40 days without clothing shopping now… You couldn’t even stick to $10 a month!  Fair.  Totally fair.  However, there is a difference:  Lent has a much shorter time span, whereas a year is too long for an unclear goal.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I also hold myself to my short term goals much more strictly than I do for long term ones (who knows why).  Also, I take Lent pretty seriously.

So what does that mean?  Well, you won’t be seeing tons of hauls on here for now.  Oh, you will see a couple of hauls on things I have picked up from Goodwill and Salvation Army before Lent started, but I won’t be buying anything else until after April 8.  I have plenty of ideas and clothing to work with to keep my blogging somewhat interesting for all of you.  It means shopping from my closet, using creativity and limited resources to create great looks for no money.  New clothing isn’t required to make me look good; creating new outfits with what I have and not spending money for it makes me look good.  Oh, and you can do plenty of projects to revamp clothing without buying anything new!

35.  The number of days I have left.  Not so bad.  So here is to celebrating what you think you need to do.  If you celebrate Lent, keep up your strength.  Let’s be creative together!

What are you giving up?

Sightful Sunday: Are You Seeing the Pattern?

With my week of vacation coming to a close, I have been here, there, and everywhere this week… and I feel like I need another vacation from my vacation.  Doesn’t everyone feel that way, though, after a week filled with activity?  I’m starting to think that’s the pattern our bosses intend to keep us on, just a little taste of getting everything done we need to get done and then BAM!  Welcome back to work.  Oh well, I’m beginning to miss my students anyway.  They’re just too funny!

To welcome myself back to school, I think I’ll break up the monotony with a little pattern.  Color is great, but what about a little change in motif?

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Break free of the pattern, people!  Have a great week!

Ring in the Spring!

Spring trends have totally hit the runway and YouTube, and there are definitely a few I would love to get my hands on.  I can understand everyone’s desire to start wearing the trends now; I would love some spring myself!  And with these weirdo temperatures we’re having in February (hello, 50 degrees!), who could blame a girl for trying out the latest clothing trends to freshen up her wardrobe?  What I don’t understand, though, is how the beauty gurus on YouTube keep calling $19 and up for a t-shirt affordable.  Sure, maybe I was in that camp one too, but no more, I say!  No more!  I decided to find some of the trends I am currently excited about in my local Salvation Army and give them an affordable spin.

TREND:  Little Gray Dresses
Little gray dresses are becoming great pieces that most girls want to have because of their versatility.  While little black dresses can be dressed up and down for the occasion, little gray dresses can do that same AND be unexpected.  Little black dresses are pretty mainstream, so the gray sister can be a new splash at the party.  Dress the up with some great colorful accessories and you will instantly look chic.  I found this amazing gray dress from J. Crew at Goodwill:

J. Crew gray wrap top dress:  PRICE ON TAG: $4.99 / PAID: $4.50 / RETAIL: $198 (Similar to this one, only no bow)

TREND:  Stripes

Stripes certainly don’t plan on dropping off from the trend wagon for a while.  You can go nautical with them by going for white and blue or white and red, classic with black and white, or colorful with any color combination (trust me, there are a lot out there).  I love the classic boatneck look with stripes.  I found this one at Goodwill and had to have it:

H&M boatneck gray and white striped shirt: PRICE ON TAG: $4.99 / PAID: $4.50 / RETAIL: $17.99

TREND:  Pink! (and Other Bright Colors)

I am so so so glad that color is popular.  It has felt like dull and blah have been on the docket for far too long, you know?  I have fully embraced the color trend by finding lots of pieces in pink, another separate but equally hot trend.  You can find jeans, skirts, shorts, t-shirts, bras, nail polish, etc.  I love neon, I love richer shades, I love it all!  You may be able to see that in what I picked up from Goodwill:

Loft hot pink t-shirt:  PRICE ON TAG: $4.99 / PAID: $4.50 / RETAIL: $29.50The neckline detail is pretty adorable, too.Isaac Mizrahi pink pinstripe blazer: PRICE ON TAG: $7.99 / PAID: $3.99 / RETAIL: ~$40

H&M Divided pink jeans: PRICE ON TAG: $4.99 / PAID: $4.50 / RETAIL: $19.95

TREND:  Floral Print

Flowers are almost always super popular during the spring and summer, but I love it when they are combined with some of the color trends, like brighter colors or unexpected stripes.  Yes, as long as it is proportional, you can wear florals and stripes together!  I promise!  Have some fashion guts!  This Express silk skirt is a great option for getting some color, a funky shape and the floral pattern.

Express floral box pleat silk skirt: PRICE ON TAG: $4.99 / PAID: $4.50 / RETAIL: $49.50

TREND:  Color Blocking

Color blocking has also been popular for a while now, but it took me some time to realize just what it was.  Yes, that seems a little dumb of me, but I always thought pairing colored jeans and a different colored t-shirt was just how my husband dressed.  Turns out it’s a trend!  I’m pretty sure he had no idea, though.  Color blocking can be done in a very flashy way (think combining different neon shades if you really want to make a statement) or in a very subdued but classic way.  It’s all about your comfort level.  This Ann Taylor skirt goes along with the subdued yet classic line of color blocking for quite a steal!

Ann Taylor navy and gray box pleat A-line skirt: PRICE ON TAG: $4.99 / PAID: $2.50 / RETAIL: $98So what did I spend to hit all of these spring trends?  Check it out:

TOTALS:  Prices on Tags: $37.93 (without tax) / Paid: $28.99 (without tax) / Retail: $453.94

Savings?  $424.95!  Check and mate! Go check out your local thrift shops for some of your favorite spring trends for a fraction of what you could spend in retail.

What are your favorite spring trends?