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?

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Pre-Birthday Date Goodwilling

My husband is ridiculously adorable.  For the past two years, he has taken it upon himself to plan a special date day for me right before my birthday (April 28, for those of you who are counting).  My birthday is two days after my younger sister’s, so we have to share our birthdays typically.  My actual birthday is either a weekday, so no real time to go out and celebrate, or taken over with family plans because of the double birthday.  I certainly don’t mind celebrating double birthdays with my family, but it’s so nice to have a great day out with B.

This year, B surprised me with a day out in Portland.  We started off by going to the Goodwill Buy the Pound location, which really says something about how much B loves me.  He detests thrifting because it takes so much time and it’s not organized.  But for me, he made an exception.

For some reason, the bins seemed to be filled with only children’s clothing.  Good for people with kids, but people, I’m only turning 26.  Is this some sort of cosmic sign from our mothers?  Erin, see?  Look at all of the little clothing at Goodwill.  You know you want to create a person to go into them!  Um, not now, universal messages.  I’ve got some clothing to dig through.  This is what I found after some major digging:

Dexter bronze ballet flats: Retail: $22.99

Brand new with tags still on them!  Who says you can’t find new stuff at Goodwill?

Nine West cross-body white leather with gold chain purse: Retail : $69

Nine West chestnut brown satchel: Retail: $89

Nine West chocolate brown tote bag: Retail: $109

Nine West purple purse: Retail:  $69

Estee Lauder camel colored large tote:  Retail: ~$30

Belts! (Two colorful random ones and a Banana Republic leather red one):  Retail: ~$15 + $50 + ~$15 = ~$80

Bonjour colorblocking in that last one!  Love it!

Scarves! Dark purple pashmina, brown printed pashmina, mint green linen infinity scarf, Apt. 9 box blocked scarf:  Retail: ~$15 + ~$15 + ~$15 + ~$20 = ~$65

Mint green!  I found something in that color!  Weeeeee!  The last scarf is super soft and for B.  He’s a very dapper gentleman.

Express navy blue cable knit V-neck sweater:  Retail: $59

I know it seems kind of silly to be getting sweaters right now, but the three that I got were too good to pass up.  You never know, I could still face sweater weather here in Maine before summer actually begins.

Soffe baby blue sports skirt: Retail: $8.99

No brand magenta summer cover-up dress: Retail: ~$20

The tags were all cut out, but with a belt, this dress will be great for summer.  Without a belt, it kind of does a tent number off from my chest.  I’m wondering if I should make the neckline into a V neck.

GAP cream crew neck sweater: Retail: $59

Express red silk mix V-neck sweater: Retail: $59

All told, I think we made out brilliantly.  B also picked up a copy of the Bible to do some reading as he prepares for graduate work.  I suppose some spiritual work may come out of it, too.  So what was the damage?  Well, check this out:

What I would have paid shopping retail:  ~$749.98      What we paid at Goodwill:  $15

DIFFERENCE:  ~$734.98

Beck also got me this awesome blue NAS clutch/purse for Easter.

NAS cobalt blue clutch (style number 370GY):  Paid: $2.49 / Retail: ~$30

PEOPLE!  Why isn’t everyone thrift shopping?  I get to be a name brand snot AND not pay much at all.  You can be really picky about clothing and purse conditions and still get great stuff.

After our Goodwill run, B whisked me away to the Portland Art Museum.  They currently have some great exhibits, my favorite being one where a woman went into the homes of every person she’s friends with on Facebook to photograph them in real life.  The concept between real friends and online friends and how they seem to have replaced each other is fascinating (that may be my psychology minor talking).  The photos were intense.  And, like every single time I go into an art museum, I got yelled at.  What did I do wrong this time?  I wasn’t carrying my purse far enough forward on my body.  Yep.  I get yelled at for dumb stuff in art museums.  Some gelato after totally made up for it.

We also decided that we had enough time to run by the Maine Mall (yes, that really is its name.  Maine doesn’t have a ton of malls.  Live with it.) and I browsed Forever 21 because I had a gift card from a birthday probably three years ago.  I was determined not to spend more than what the card had on it ($10), so I got these two pieces:

Price: $6.80

Price: $1.50

Seriously, who can resist a little neon yellow locket?  I thought it was too cute to pass up – especially after the bracelets ended up being far too big for my gumby hands.

Overall verdict?  Birthday date 2012 was a complete success!  B can plan dates with the best of them.  I plan on going to Goodwill on my birthday this week because I get 25% off on the actual day of my birthday, and I know what I’ll be looking for:  jewelry.  I am on an accessories kick right now.

Have you gone thrifting lately?  What did you find?  If you don’t thrift, what are you waiting for?!  Go, go, go!

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?

Pricey Pricey

I’m cheap.  I always look for the least expensive meal on the menu.  One time, that was beans and rice, and you better believe that’s what I got.  I believe in generic brands for food in the grocery store.  Coupons are phenomenal!  I think the price hike Redbox went through is ridiculous.  $1.20?!  That’s way too much compared to the $1.05 it used to be!  Come on now.  And don’t even get me started on how the Hannaford brownie mix has gone from $0.99 to $1.18.  How is a public school teacher supposed to save money while still making her students reward brownies? 

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It’s amazing how shopping Goodwill and Salvation Army has changed my perspective on what constitutes an “affordable” outfit.  Before I got hooked on thrift shopping, I thought a good deal on a t-shirt was $12.  Pants for $20?  Awesome!  Dresses were a steal for anything under $40.  And shoes?  Oh man, if it’s under $40, I died and went to shoe heaven.

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Now?  Well, now my standards are changed.  It feels too expensive to pay anything over $6 for a shirt or blazer.  If that price tag says $7.99, that color sticker better be on sale.  Jackets are too expensive if they got anywhere over $14, and that’s only for winter-type coats.  Something lighter needs to be lower in price.  I don’t really look at the shoe section because, well, it doesn’t gross me out, but I have size 10 feet.  Those of us with those sized planks wear our shoes into dust because cute shoes are hard to find.  Do you hear me, shoe companies?  MAKE CUTE SHOES FOR BIG-FOOTED WOMEN!  And make reasonable heels, too.  Not all of us need to add five inches to our height.  Thanks.

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Sigh, please make these in my size and affordable!

In reality, I know this won’t always work (but the shoe request should totally work.  Really!).  There are going to be times when I legitimately need to by a specific item (like maybe, someday, maternity clothing… wait!  Don’t get any ideas!  It’s just an example!), and I won’t be able to search thrift stores to my heart’s content.  Right now, I would love love love some great black tall boots, and those aren’t exactly shoes you can just walk into Goodwill and find in your size and style.  There will be times when I will have to play the retail game like a champ.  But right now, I like that I have super high standards for really low prices, not only because I get to save money, but I get to figure out exactly what I want without compromising much.  If I don’t like the striped shirt that’s available, that’s okay.  I can wait for new clothes to be donated.  It’s teaching me patience.  If my wants can survive the hunt week to week, they must be worth it.  If it’s fleeting, I didn’t need those clothes anyway.

What is your clothing price range?  What ranges do you find “too high”?  Come on, I know you can’t all be penny-pinchers like me (or maybe you are, which is SUPER AWESOME!)

I’m with the Band: The Finished Products DIY

Thanks to a couple of snow days in a row (why hello there, five-day weekend!), I finally got two of my headband inspirations done!  Hooray!  I must say, I didn’t really have a plan going into making these headbands, just a lot of inspiration for some sweet new headgear.  All in all, with a little hot glue, a couple of burnt fingers (low temp hot glue gun, yeah right), and a lot of ribbon, I have two new headbands that I will wear out with pride.

To start off, I gathered my materials (the iPad box is totally optional).  I picked up a set of headbands from Walmart for $3.88 in their jewelry section, a package that had more than one width.  It came with two super skinny ones, one medium, and two flat and wide ones.  It was a much better deal than buying the ones that they sold individually in their crafting section.  Who cares if the original headbands had faux leopard print on the plastic?  You’re just going to glue over it anyway (or you could keep one like it is if you really like the print, like I did!).  I also bought a fake flower stem from their craft department for $2.  While the inspiration photos had orchids, I chose the iris because of the colors.  I love blue and purple, and I just thought I could wear this so much more if I chose something in that range.  It was also one of the cheaper fake flower options.  I already had a hot glue gun, glue sticks, and some ribbon at home.

I decided to start off on a basic one.  I chose a flat, wide headband and some bright cobalt blue satin ribbon left over from our wedding, securing one end to the bottom of one side of the headband.  Now, I didn’t measure, mainly because it wasn’t on a spool.  It was just a long scrap I had lying around.  For those of you who would like to try this, though, I would say to measure about 2 feet of ribbon to be on the safe side.  It also depends on how wide your headband is.  Mine was about an inch wide.

Once the bottom piece was secured, I tightly wrapped the ribbon around the headband.  Every three wraps or so, I would use more hot glue on the underside of the headband.  I would put part of the glue on the already wrapped ribbon and the other part on the headband.  This allowed it to bond to both materials.  I repeated this process until I came to the other end of the headband.  I then cut the ribbon, glued the end down to secure it, and waited for it to completely dry before showing it off to B.

Having done a pretty good job on that one, I decided to try something a little more daring:  the flower headband.  I love the way the flower stands out in Leighton Meester’s hair in the inspiration photo.  It’s elegant and more sophisticated than expected.  Because of the sophisticated nature of the look, I chose one of the skinny headbands, no more than a half inch wide.  It’s also shiny black, no need for ribbon.  I pulled the head of the iris off from the body of the fake plant and then took it apart.  Because I didn’t want the flower to stick out of my head, I took out the middle layer of petals and glued together the largest petal layer to the smallest petal layer.  It lies much flatter that way.

Looking in a mirror, I found the level at which I wanted the flower.  Too high will make you look like a three year old, too low will be a pain to your hair and head.  I chose about three inches up from my ear and made a little scratch with a sharp pair of scissors.

Now, for the next step, it’s important to realize that you are indeed working with plastic.  Plastic is slippery.  The first time I tried to glue down the flower, it peeled right off.  You know what makes plastic not so slippery?  Scratching it with scissors.  Not huge scratches, mind you, but little ones that only cover the area in which you will be gluing the flower down.  This makes it stick so much better!  I glued done the outer flower petal that will stick straight up and the middle of the flower where the stem originally stuck through.  Once the glue dried, we were in business!

So there you have my two Leighton Meester-inspired headbands, all for around $1.17 each.  Not too shabby!

What have you made lately?  Have you been hit by any snowstorms this winter?

A Method in the Madness

Ever feel like stores are constantly coming up with new ways to make you want to buy more?  Well, they are, and they have been for years.  I used to get really confused when stores would all of a sudden redesign their floor layout (okay, I still do) and it would make me frustrated just trying to find that one thing I needed (yes Walmart, I’m looking at YOU!).  I never really thought about why their movement would be a good thing for their business; I just knew it turned me off.  But think about it.  The more you walk around, the more likely you are to see things you may want to buy.  Instead of putting the quick in-and-out supplies right near the doors, stores put them in the back so you have to walk by all of the other clothing, food, home supplies, and random knick-knacks they have before getting that tube of toothpaste.  I mean, all I want is Crest, but ooooh!  What’s that?  Something shiny!

I stumbled across this blog post the other day while procrastinating on grading papers, and I think it breaks down the science of placement beautifully.  Specifically, this looks at H&M, a clothing store known for its reasonable prices for up-to-the-minute on-trend fashion picks.  Check it out:

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Crazy!  It makes me think about how Goodwill is set up.  The clothing and newer goods are placed right in the front near the doors, which seems like it might be counter-intuitive.  But, if you think about how most people get introduced to shopping at thrift stores like Goodwill (and it’s not through crazy thrifting friends like me), it’s through their home goods.  People come in just to buy goods for craft projects, home decor DIYs, etc.  So, in order to make a little more money, they put the clothing in front of it.  Interesting.  Very interesting.

Grocery stores do the same thing.  They make you walk through the aisles of processed food to get to the fresh products around the perimeter of the building, all because the processed foods create more revenue for their companies.  People these days are also more likely to become addicted to processed food because of the chemically-created flavanoids scientists are creating in laboratories from raccoons’ gland enzymes.  Yeah, I said it.  I saw it on “Sunday Morning.”  I’m going to go eat a real banana now.

How does store set up affect your shopping?  Have you ever thought about how layout creates a spending need?  Do you get sucked into spending hours in stores like me?