Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thifty Find: Clutch Purses

Fashion trends tend to repeat themselves. What's in fashion now is probably going to fashionable again down the road, whether fifteen, thirty, or fifty years from now. I think this is one reason bargain-hunters like me get so addicted to thrift store shopping. If it was popular ten-plus years ago, chances are you can find it in a thrift store.

Right now, popular fashion strikes me as a whole mess of later 20th century revivals. We've got some Mod style from the 60s, maxi dresses and sky-high platforms from the 70s, skinny jeans and high waisted shorts from the 80s, and flannel shirts and floral prints from the 90s.

I'm also seeing a lot of clutch purses.

The clutch purse first appeared as a fashion item in the 1920s and 1930s, but the ones I've been seeing in all the trendy shops like H&M seem very 1980s.

To me that means bold colors, boxy shapes, and fun textures. A few minutes of searching the purse rack at the thrift store and I found two!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

DIY Blues: Closet Your Inner Shopaholic

The title makes it sound like this is a gloomy entry, but stay calm and read on.

There's one place I shop that's even cheaper than the thrift store. And by cheaper I mean free. It's my own closet. It makes me feel like a bit of a hoarder to admit it, but there are plenty of clothes in my closet that I forget about or that I don't wear very often. So sometimes when I get the urge to shop, instead of heading for the thrift store, I head to my own bedroom.

Last time I did this I pulled out these three items:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thrifty Find: Dark Brown Lace Top

This top was one of those things I found when looking for something completely different. I was trying on skirts and found it on the re-stock rack while waiting for the dressing room. It turned out to be the only flattering thing I tried on!

The top was $4.99 at Goodwill. No label to tell me who made it, but it is good quality material, so it could have been from a store like Macys. I wore it over a black shirt and pants for work, but I'm searching for the perfect skirt or dress to pair it with.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Frugal Fourth of July Party

We had a pretty un-festive Independence Day last year, so this year I decided we would make up for it by throwing a party. With a large lawn and huge deck on the roof of the garage, our rental house begs to be used for entertaining. It wasn't long before red, white, and blue decor started catching my eye at the thrift store. This post is about all my finds for our party, and how awesomely little I spent on them.

My first find was at the Salvation Army. Back in April they had crates of little fabric American flags. I got a pack of a dozen medium-sized ones for $3.49 and another pack of 120 mini flags also for $3.49! I used the boyfriend's staple gun to attach the flags to the fence along our lawn.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mid-Century Makeover

A little while ago I came across a sort of holy grail of thrift store finds. It's one of those items that I've always pined for but never found. One of those items that I figured had been snatched up by collectors and re-sold by trendy interior designers to their meticulously stylish clients. In other words, I never dreamed of finding one.

I found a vintage student's chair.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

West Elm Inspired DIY Part 2: Rope Lamps

Finally, the long- awaited second part of my West Elm inspired DIY series. It only took about 7 months! There are a few reasons for that, which I'll explain in a bit.

My inspiration for this West Elm knock-off is their Round Rope lamp. This lamp would have been right at home in some of the seaside houses my family rented on vacation when I was a kid. They make me think of tidy little guest rooms and ocean breezes.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pottery Barn Knock-Off - Faux Spring Flowers

Spring has been in the air since February here in Southern California. That's when the cherry blossoms came and went, and when my seasonal allergies started. But even someone like me who has a love-hate relationship with the first seasonal blooms can appreciate their beauty. What better way to enjoy seemingly perpetual spring than to bring a little of it indoors?

I mentioned in the last post how I work near a shopping district that is full of fashion temptation. Well, that goes for home fashions as well. Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn are all within lunch-break walking distance. And what a temptress Pottery Barn is. There's even a "Friends" episode about it ("The One with the Apothecary Table").

Since February I've been admiring Pottery Barn's faux foliage display. Healthy bunches of blossoms and bright green leaves, simply bursting out of the most adorable vintage French milk pails or what-have-you. The white cherry and the white dogwood were my favorites.

And if I could only take them home with me they'd brighten my home without making me drippy and sneezy. They even showed up in a little catalog mailer at the office to tempt me more. Also featured in the little catalog was the price: about $50 per branch! Even cheaper versions at the craft store were $9, which was steep if I wanted more than one.

Obviously, this blog is about a girl on a budget, so I had to find a way to get my flowers for cheap. Time for an adventure in Pottery Barn knock-off DIY.

Finding the bare branches was easy. I simply walked outside with an old pair of scissors and lopped some nicely shaped branches off the hibiscus bush in the front yard and the oak tree out back.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

DIY Dye: Bootcut Mint Green Jeans

I work in a dangerous area. I don't mean hardhats and power tools dangerous, I mean spending-grocery-money-on-clothes dangerous. That's right, I work in a shopping district. Within two blocks of my office there are Banana Republic, Zara, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and H&M, just to name a few. Lunch breaks can be a time of great temptation.

I'm proud of myself that I usually come back empty-handed. I manage this by using shopping excursions not to buy, but to gather ideas and inspiration. A spring trend that I've seen in many stores (and all over Pinterest) is bright colored jeans. My favorite color I've seen is a very spring-like mint color. Looking at it just makes me think of big deep swimming pools and spoonfuls of mint-chip ice cream. Oh so yummy.

There's only one problem. All these bright minty jeans only seem to come in skinny cut. I love skinny cut, but it isn't the most flattering style on me (wide hips) so I try to avoid it. Also, most of them are pretty pricey.

Here are some examples:

Hudson Collin Mint Jeans an Neiman Marcus $165

Mint Green Insight Beanpole Skinny Jeans at Urban Outfitters $89

GUESS? Brittney Skinny Aqua Wash at Macy's $67

But as I always say, if they don't make it the way you want it, make it yourself. (I totally always say that...I swear.) So I decided to dye my own mint green jeans.

I was off to the thrift store again, this time in search of white jeans to dye. I tried on a few pairs until I found two that fit. I had intended to only buy one, but one pair was 50% off. Usually I try not to be a sucker for a deal, but at the thrift store this means I got a pair of Tommy Hilfiger carpris for $3! A pair of Express bootcut jeans set me back about $6.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Green Clean Test

I'm very good at making up excuses not to clean the bathroom. I'm happy to say that this post is a sign that one of those excuses has been eliminated. I hate the smell of most home cleaning products. So I decided to try some of the home-made green cleaning recipes I've seen around the web.

First up was homemade glass cleaner. I was always a fan of Windex until I found out there were other ways to get a "streak-free shine" that didn't involve industrial chemicals and light-blue dye. We all know (or at least all of us crazy people who have an unusual enthusiasm for cleaning) that consumer glass cleaners can be used on more than just glass, and I've found the same is true for the following homemade glass cleaner recipe from The Frugal Girls.

The recipe specifies Dawn dish soap, but my mixture works just fine with Gain dish soap. Any of you out there who try this, let me know if your dish soap brand makes or breaks the recipe. I also added a few drops of tea tree oil to mine to help with the vinegar stink, which my roommates wrinkle their noses at.

In the interest of keeping the whole experience as green as possible, I used microfiber cloth I got in a pack of three for $4 at Big Lots. I love paper towels, but I'm slowly weaning myself off them.