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 office...you 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 finds...you 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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Monday, January 1, 2018

Pain Of The Past. Gift Of The Present. Hope For The Future.

Take it from this lady and her chihuahua: The past is a collection of lessons learned.

I cannot speak for everyone. But for me personally, the majority of 2017 was one big ol' dumpster fire. Medical mysteries, a prolonged sick leave from work, pain and subsequent depression. Bad news, self-pity, poor finances. It was a real mess. BUT. It wasn't a total loss. 2017 also brought some beautiful and amazing things, and people. Like the day that my little sister got married to a good man whom she loves and who loves her. Or when my dad, the hardest working man I know...and the kind of person who I aspire to be...retired from the Philadelphia Police Dept. Or when I realized how James and I have become a couple who has endured, whose relationship is stronger than ever. When we adopted our furry son, Bernie the Beagle, who makes us laugh every single day. And our respective families, who have been a collective rock during rough times, for whom we are forever thankful for having in our lives. 

So I'm taking everything that happened and placing it on a timeline with everything that will happen. There were things that couldn't be prevented, true. But there is always something to be learned. Just like this sweet little old lady and her canine companion. This is one of my hands down, all-time favorite thrifted finds, and a treasured part of my vintage photo collection. I just imagine this woman relating a story to a friend or family member. She's lived a long life, experienced a lot. And in this moment she could've been bestowing some of her learned wisdom. That's what I like to think, anyway.  

And on the topic of learned wisdom, while any day of the year could (and perhaps should) be a time for change... for many, January 1st is THE day to resolve to self-betterment. And it should be said that I initially began this post as a how-to guide in the vein of resolutions, but it has become something else entirely. 

Some may swear off smoking. Some may want to lose weight. Everybody wants something, despite the so-called experts saying that most "resolutions" are abandoned by January's end. But whatever your goal, your dream, your aspiration may be, I wish you well. 

Change is hard. If it wasn't, I suppose we'd all be the perfect versions of ourselves, without the vices that make us human. We'll never have perfect bodies, perfect minds, perfect finances, perfect...anything. But what we can hope for, and try to be...is the best version of ourselves. 

And I hope that 2018 will see you living your best life. 

Stay happy.
Stay healthy.
Stay thrifty. 
And stay tuned for the original blog post that this was meant to be.

Please do feel free to comment with your thoughts on this past year, and what you hope to gain from 2018. I'd look forward to sharing this time for a little personal exploration into how we can take the past, the present, and a hopeful future with a dose of optimism...together.

Love to all,
Jackie Jardine
Let's Go Thrifting

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Having A Merry Little Christmas With Grafix Shrink Film


I was recently contacted by a representative from the Grafix company about an opportunity to experiment with some new products in the plastic film line. As some of you may recall, Grafix was kind enough to sponsor a previous craft project and product giveaway in which I made a lovely vintage inspired charm bracelet. So as you might imagine, I was pretty excited to give these shrink films a test run.

For those who may not recall the magic of shrink film from their youth, or never had the pleasure of playing with little bits of plastic, let me give you a quick refresher. These sheets of plastic can be printed, painted, drawn on, and cut to your heart's desire. You then bake these bad boys in the oven, or heat them using an embossing gun (my preferred method). They then harden and shrink down to 20% of their original size. It's such a simple concept, yet so much fun to execute. Being a fan of vintage photographs and ephemera, I tend to use scanned images of advertisements/snapshots/post cards/books as inspiration for jewelry and other craft projects. 

So when I received the new metallic shrink film (3 sheets of gold and 3 sheets of silver), I knew just how I was going to use them.




I wanted to utilize an 1800s children's book from my collection as an inspiration for a seasonally themed pair of earrings. I found this piece of sheet music for a song called The Winter Rose in the book. I loved the lyrics and the drawing. And while it obviously cannot be perfectly recreated with an inkjet printer and shrunken plastic, the results are pretty amazing. 



And in addition to this golden little piece of vintage sheet music, I decided to make a style upgrade to my little Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Two years ago, rather than shell out the money for a standard size tree we opted for a small $5 table tree that I dressed up in vintage gift box ornaments and garland. But with golden shrink film at my disposal, I decided to spruce up the little guy. (SPRUCE up! Gotta love a good tree pun). And all it took was a handful of stars and some hot glue to make it happen. Adorable! 


Before   
After 

And so, thanks to the generosity of Grafix, I have created not one, but two fun holiday craft projects.  And if you're looking to get crafty this holiday season, here are the  supplies I used and already had in my home office:
  • a scanner and ink jet printer
  • scissors 
  • an embossing gun (or oven, if you prefer)
  • a hot glue gun
  • earring posts and backings
  • acrylic sealant spray (optional)
  • and Grafix Shrink Film, of course! 
I can't wait to dream up more craft projects using both the metallic and colored shrink film. Thank you Grafix for the opportunity for this product review. It certainly will be a merry little Christmas with this shrink film. 

I know. Again with the puns.

But in all seriousness, I'd like to wish everyone a healthy and happy holiday season. Go thrifting, get crafty, and enjoy your time with family and friends. 

XOXO Jackie Jardine

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