Saturday, October 9, 2021

Then Again...

Where Were We?

I suppose this post has been a long time coming. But if you're still here, I'm still making firsthand observations on secondhand shopping. I'm still living with my significant other, our goofball dog-son and curmudgeonly turtle-daughter in the exotic lands of New Jersey. I'm an aunt to a pair of adorable nephew nuggets, and I am incredibly lucky to have my family so close by. 

In the time of lockdowns and social distancing, our notion of proximity has become drastically altered. Where we are now, where we have been, where we are going--these philosophical considerations have become quite literal. People have lost their lives, others have lost their livelihoods. Businesses have closed, some permanently. The workforce that remains is tired and in dire straights. Where we choose to spend our time and our dime is important, perhaps now more than ever.

Local businesses need our commerce...and our patience. Having worked within the customer service industry for over two decades, I can safely say that this pandemic has brought out the best in some people, and the overwhelming worst in others. Threats of physical violence, intentional exposure to possible contamination, verbal harassment, hoarding supplies, fights, theft. It was truly a disheartening scene...a scene reenacted...Every.Single.Day. 

As businesses make strides toward recovery, they face low stock due to manufacturing shortages, delivery delays due to fewer drivers, and a skeleton crew of employees on the payroll.  There's no quick fix, no easy answer. Liveable wages and healthcare benefits are the main concerns...but can smaller businesses afford to compete with say, the behemoth that is Amazon? 

Without politicizing and without a dissertation in business management, all I can say is what I've always said: Shop locally, at independently-owned businesses whenever feasible. And wherever you find yourself: shop politely and shop patiently. We all know where we were. Maybe we'll get to whatever "normalcy" means again. But where we are now in this "unprecedented time," we need to be conscientious shoppers and conscientious human beings.

When Were We?

Yesteryear, free-swimming in the warm and welcoming waves of nostalgia. Well, you could be. Just head on out to your local flea market, or scope out the most populated real estate for yard sales. Maybe you're hesitant to make your way back to thrift stores just yet and that's okay. All the old junk, miscellany, bric-a-brac, knick-knacks, and more are waiting for you when you're ready. 

I love unconventional planters. Don't you?

My re-entry to the secondhand scene has been mostly by way of antique malls. Etsy has also been a great comfort when secondhand shopping in-store was no longer possible. Even now, when stores have re-opened, I often find myself too exhausted from the daily grind to visit them as often as I would like. And to that end, has been a valuable resource. I'm eyeing up several auctions as I type this post. 

In a week's time, I'll be on my annual autumn vacation. And hopefully, by then it will feel more like fall so I can go thrifting with a chill in the air and an obligatory Pumpkin Spice Latte in hand. On my thrifting wishlist: Darkwash boyfriend cut jeans, a warm-toned kimono or open cardigan, vintage books on folklore, and maybe a garden gnome. (I know, I know. This list is way too specific, but I can dream).

Until next time, I wish you all a happy and healthy October. Please, please, please get vaccinated. And then get out there and thrift yourself something to celebrate. 

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Friday, January 26, 2018

A Sweet Set Of Drawers With A Fresh Coat Of Paint

I thrifted this little wooden set of drawers at Goodwill a while back. And while I didn't need it at the time, I found a perfectly good use for it once the lid broke off my old jewelry box. In a strange sort of secondhand serendipity, I purchased this pair to replace the box I didn't know would break. 

And while I love, love, love the gold & white crackle paint and the rosette drawer pulls, the box itself needed a little sprucing up. 

One of the outside corners was even inexplicably left unpainted. But I didn't let that minor flaw deter me from seeing its full potential. I took my find to the checkout line, and then took it with me to the craft store. I matched the shade as best I could with this Folk Art brand of acrylic in sky blue, which truth be told ended up just a hair lighter than the original. But after two coats, I really am enjoying the final outcome.

Honestly, this piece fits much better with the rest of my dresser decor than my old jewelry box ever did. It's light. It's feminine. And it's functional--fitting all of my rings, bangles, and brooches neatly inside. And for $6? It's just perfect.

What thrifted treasures have you found lately? 

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Let's Go Thrifting Reviews: The Inkblots By Damion Searls

In an effort to expand my reading interests, I chose a book that was partly biography, partly history of medicine. Psychology has always been a subject of interest for me, so when I heard about The Inkblots, I was intrigued. I knew very little of Hermann Rorschach prior to reading this, and found his knowledge of the field and dedication to a better understanding on how humans "see" themselves and the world around them through his seemingly subjective  test. Containing both advocates and adversaries, the great shame of the situation was Rorschach's untimely death, and him ultimately not experiencing the success and validations of his work during his lifetime. 

However, if you're interested in history and psychology this book is well worth the read, as it has a great deal of both. 

It was actually surprising to see just how much of the narrative, if you will, took place after Rorschach's death. And while I am tempted to be disappointed by this, author Damian Searls makes a compelling case for just how much Hermann Rorschach altered academia, psychology, and even history...all with the symmetry, symbolism, and psychological interpretation of his test.

I received a copy of The Inkblots complimentary from Blogging For Books, for the purpose of providing an honest review. The Inkblots is available on Amazon, and your local book store. 

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thrifting Your Way To A Happy, Healthy & Productive 2018

It's that time of year again...when everyone starts with the best of intentions on the road to self-improvement. Resolutions, personal goals, a "new me." Whatever you choose to call this January endeavor, there's one thing for certain: It can get pretty pricey. 

After the financial crush of the holiday season, even a $20 monthly gym membership can feel like a burden if you're on a strict budget. And with that in mind, I've taken 4 popular choices for New Year resolutions and given them a secondhand spin.

Resolution #1: Get More Exercise
The resolution to end all resolutions. This is the reason that gyms nationwide are at 90% capacity for the first few weeks of January. But the gym scene isn't for everyone. Maybe you're on a budget. Maybe you prefer to exercise in private. Or maybe health concerns demand a low-impact workout. Whatever the reasoning may be, you can make the thrift store be your workout buddy. If you're looking for something choreographed, check the DVD section for exercise programs. Or maybe you just need some supplies, in which case you could look for free weights, yoga mats, or even used cardio equipment. Test any equipment in store prior to purchase, and sanitize any secondhand workout gear you find...and you'll be stretching your dollars and your muscles in no time.

Resolution #2: Take More Fashion Risks
So you've been flipping through fashion magazines, and you're tired of the typical trends. The average mall attire bores you and you're feeling aesthetically...stale. Why not hit up the thrift store for some fashion thriftspiration? You might not find all that you're looking for to amp up your wardrobe right away. But given the right place at the right time, you may just find some wardrobe staples, and some out-of-the-box ensembles that would make any mall shopper envious. The thrift store is an excellent choice to explore and expand upon current trends, or to ditch them entirely. And as opposed to "fast fashion" that is commercially available, you can actually feel good about your choices. You're saving usable items from ending in a landfill. You're making an economically-sound purchase, and your spending often trickles back into the community through whichever charitable organizations your local thrift store supports. Secondhand shopping is  a fun and guilt-free way to explore your style options. 

Resolution #3: Get Organized
Organization is such a broad and loaded term. It could mean prioritizing a workload, and self-reflection on personal and professional goals. Or it could simply mean keeping a clean and sensible space. And when it comes to the latter, thrift shopping could really be of assistance. If you're looking for storage solutions, it seems that going the secondhand route will not leave you short on options. I'm always seeing totes, baskets, crates, etc. at my local thrift stores. If you're looking to organize a specific space, like a bedroom closet, the bathroom, or your home may have to get a little more creative and/or visit secondhand stores more often to find just what you need. But it's out there. I would first advise on organizing your piles/bags/boxes of miscellany into like categories to assess how much you have. Next, I would encourage you to purge the excess, by donating to your local thrift store of course! It will make organizing (and even decorating) your space all the easier. This resolution alone may very well warrant a separate blog post. And I would love to show you how I organized my tiny bathroom into a a more functional space without the clutter. So stay tuned!

Resolution #4: Read More Books 
Admittedly I spend more time (and money) at Barnes and Noble than anywhere else. What can I say? I just love to read. And I will never, ever enter a thrift store without at least perusing the book section. From classic literature and cook books to best-sellers and antiquarian just never know what will turn up. And if one of your New Year resolutions includes reading more, you really can't go wrong with secondhand shopping. Ever wonder why every Goodwill has at least one copy of Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey? With the sheer number of novels sold, it's no wonder why they (hopefully) are donated en masse to the thrift store shelves. And while neither of those titles would make their way into my home library, I have found a number of interesting reads in just the last few months alone. I've gone thrifting specifically looking for vintage books on ghosts, witchcraft, and the occult...topics that I just find interesting. And funny enough, I've found several. You wouldn't think that would be the case given the very specific subject matter. But hey, that's thrifting! You just never know. And if you're really looking to up your reading regimen, try downloading the free Goodreads app. It's a great way to search for topics, titles, authors, recommendations. You can even use it set goals. My goal for 2018 is 35 books. Do you think I can do it?

And there you have it, 4 resolutions and 4 ways the thrift store can help make them happen. And like I've said in my somewhat sappy previous post, whatever personal goal or ambition you have, I wish you all the best in achieving it. 

Maybe you even have a resolution that I didn't mention that might benefit from some thrifting...? Let me know in the comments! 

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