Friday, August 31, 2012

Vintage Photo Friday: Hot For Teacher

You just try not to enjoy Saturday morning detention...

Ya know...  I had just the vintage clipping all laid out for today's Vintage Photo Friday post. It was in perfect keeping with the whole back-to-school theme I have going. But the scanner is on the fritz. And it's a damn shame, too. 

But this saucy lady will do just fine. Do I know for fact that she was a 7th grade algebra teacher? No. She could've been a librarian or even a school nurse. But there's just something...scholarly about her. Don't you think? 

This vintage wonder is from my personal collection of photographs and is also available on the Let's Go Thrifting online photo album for your viewing enjoyment. 

But speaking of academia, are you ready for that shrill ring of the first school bell of the year? If you're not all stocked-up on affordable school supplies, check out my study on back-to-school thrifting! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gettin' Schooled at the Thrift Store

Ready your yearbook poses!

It's almost that time of year again, the time when elementary students and high schoolers must retire their lazy summer schedules and hit the books for the new school year. And if you're a struggling college student, or a parent of a younger student, you know how costly the back-to-school season can be. 

By now, I'd imagine a large percentage of students and parents have already blitzed through the aisles of their local super stores, to stock up on composition books, folders, pens, pencils, folders, binders and more. And even with coupon clipping and shopping the sales, those carts full of school supplies add up quick. And now that the first day of school is right around the corner, many parents don't have time to get picky when it comes to the prices. 

But if you're a last minute back-to-school shopper, you may be in luck!

Now. Right now. This is the time for back to school thrift shopping. Inquiring minds may wonder, "What kind of supplies can I really find at the thrift store?"

Well, I'm glad you asked. 

Go thrifting? I loooove homework!

While students and parents may not be a fan of procrastinating when it comes to the dreaded back-to-school shopping, this may be the one instance where shopping later may be better for your wallet. I was strolling the aisles of Goodwill just the other day and the shelves were literally overflowing with brand new packs of loose paper, multi-subject notebooks, three-ring binders, organizers, index cards and more.

And it makes so much sense. Retailers tend to push inventory ahead of the season. By now, your WalMarts and your Targets are hoping to unload Halloween...and even Christmas merchandise to the shelves. They expect their stock of school supplies to be low this close to the start of school. And if they are way above expected inventory, they may very well unload their wares to local thrift stores. At least this seems to be the case at a few Goodwill thrift stores in my area. 

But even without the retail donations, chances of finding perfectly usable folders, binders and desk supplies are fairly high. I've even spotted a number of lunch kits and backpacks in my travels. 

Just say NO to Cliff's Notes...and drugs.

I remember doing my fair share of book reports in my day, from elementary school to high school. Even in college, those bibliography pages of research papers had to have some depth. Make reading an adventure for your kids by having them choose a few age-approppriate books. Who knows? Maybe those pesky book reports won't wait 'til just before the due date if the kids go on a treasure hunt for the right read.

Extra credit for those who donate the books back to the thrift when they're done!

Dorm Room Decor For Cheap

Bring a little 'You' to your University. 
99 cent sign. Worth every penny on finals week.
Make your dorm feel like Home Sweet Vintage Home.

College students moving into the dorm room will have a whole new life ahead of them. But that doesn't mean they should settle for the bland, barely furnished offerings of the standard dorm room. Spruce up the place with some secondhand decor that speaks to you. Small wall hangs, picture frames, knick-knacks...these can be a really cheap way to make your dorm room a little more livable. 

For thrifty and creative DIY tips to make thrifted wares work for the dorm room, check out this special  savings report that recently aired on ABC news. 

In the meantime, get on out to the thrift and see what secondhand scholastic wares you can find for less. Remember Trapper Keepers? I even spotted one of those bad boys the other day. Need a desk lamp for your dorm room? Done! 

Ah, but how about the back-to-school wardrobe? Well, thrifters, that's for another post in the very near future. So stay tuned. And get ready to hit those thrifted books!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Go North, Young Thrifter.

How lovely!

After wallowing in sadness since the untimely loss of my dog, Penny, I thought the time had to come to post some upbeat business to the blog. My vacation, while punctuated with sickness and depression, was not a total loss. Like I mentioned in my last post, I was fortunate to spend some time with friends up the mountains during my paid leave from work. And in addition to taking photos and trying to scope out the local wildlife, I was also able to do some up-north thrifting. 

On our way to Arrowhead Lake, we happened upon a flea market on Sunday afternoon in Blakeslee, PA. Since it was after 1pm, many of the outdoor vendors were packed up for the day. But the indoor market was still open and packed with merchandise booths. It was a tad pricier than what I'm used to paying. But, what the heck! I figured, "Hey, I'm on vacation. I'm splurging." 

My splurge? 

Mint condition. Great for making loops and mixing. 

I love this series. I have another in the set that's mostly city noise and machinery. I can't wait to rip this onto my iTunes. SONAR? Sperm Whales? Sounds good to me. Since these were antique booth prices, I was surprised at my ability to passively "talk" a vendor down on the price. The record wasn't marked. When I greeted the cashier nearby and asked for a price, he gave it a once-over and said $7. I thanked him and began walking back to return the record to its spot. He then said..."How about $5?" That was a little better. Also, I scooped up this book.

Another quirky art book for my collection. $1 

Six dollars for a book and a record? Eh, not too bad. The next day, we ventured out to the long stretch of road that held all the shops, restaurants and entertainment that the mountains had to offer. Our first stop? 

Mountain thrifting! 

Goodwill seems to outnumber Salvation Army thrift stores in my area back home. So maybe I'm just not used to the arbitrary pricing of clothing at Salvation Army, when compared to the flat fee of the typical $3.50 per shirt from my local Goodwill. I didn't see much anyway....except for this adorable decorative scarf for my sister.

Talk about eye-catching. Vera Neumann silk scarf, $3. 

I paid for the scarf and we hit the road in search of more shopping. Our next stop was The Old Village Trader, a rather strange store with a large miscellany of souvenirs, novelties and secondhand wares. This family-owned business is a must-see for those in the Mount Pocono area. The staff were super friendly and there was just...a ton of stuff. 

Be sure to brave the descent to the basement. 

It's a little creepy. It has the musk of age. But they have a basement literally filled with vintage books. I didn't want to keep my friends waiting while I thumbed through thousands of pulp paperbacks. But I did gladly fork over the $2 for this...

Zombie bonus!
Halloween is right around the corner...

Imagine listening to some of this up the mountains...where there's nothing around for miles but complete darkness. Spooooky. 

Behold. The beauty of nature. 
Well, maybe this wasn't entirely natural. It doesn't take much to amuse me. I tree faces. 

I guess the overall theme for these past few days is trying to adapt to a place without Penny. It's been hard. And I've felt especially guilty about being on vacation when she passed. I know she loved me. And I loved and cared for her. 

So even with the unpreventable loss of my puppy, which I deeply mourn, I tried to make the best of my time off from work. Friends, photography, thrifting. And now blogging about my experiences... It's all I can do for my days  to bare a semblance to normalcy. It's what Penny would have wanted. Well, all that...and a pillow fort with an endless supply of Twizzlers. 

Have you had a thrifty vacation? 

PS. Don't Forget to stop by Apron Thrift Girl for Thrift Share Monday!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Vintage Photo Friday: Lightness, Darkness, Loss

A golden clearing.

This week's Vintage Photo Friday is rather...interpretative. This particular photo that I took a few days ago has a muted tone that I find fascinating. The greens are golden from the sun, giving the entire shot an aged look. This photo was taken on the grounds of the Arrowhead Lake community, where I was fortunate to spend a few days with friends. In the Poconos, the sun was brighter and the air was crisp. The nights--cool and quiet--far from the city lights, were filled with an incredible darkness. 

Darkness falls upon the lake after sunset. 

Sadly, I carried some of that darkness with me back home to Philadelphia. For the last few weeks, Penny, the younger of my two pugs, was seriously ill. After several trips to the vet and endless antibiotics, my family had to make a difficult decision while I was away. And on Monday evening, after exhausting all other resources, my little Penny-pug was put to sleep. I didn't get to say goodbye. Before I left for the mountains, I knew her health had taken a sharp decline. I told my parents that if her next trip to the doctor left no possibility for recovery, not to let her suffer. I said that I would understand. And I do. I do understand. I also feel like my heart is broken into a million pieces at not being able to hold my puppy while she slipped away.

Rest in Peace, little girl. 

I can't stop crying over the fact that I wasn't there for her when she was always there for me. It might sound corny,but that dog always sensed when I was in pain. In our 11 years  together, she has spent many-a-day on the couch cuddling with me when I had a surgery or an illness that had me housebound. She understood pain and she stayed with me. Both of my pugs stayed with me. And now Penny is gone and Pugsley seems a little lost without her here. I know I am.

I keep looking at the couch expecting her to be there. I know that this will take time to grieve her loss and that my being home wouldn't have helped her pain. Maybe it would have helped mine, though. 

In the meantime I'll have to remember her in happier times... Her running through the house stealing everyone's socks. Her dressed up like a banana for Halloween and her insatiable love of Twizzlers. 

But I will never stop missing her. 

My cuddling pugs.

Sorry for the sad story, thrifters. I know you come here for the quirky secondhand scores, not to see me sobbing all over your screen. But this is just where I am right now. 

I will return with thrifty updates soon. I promise.

Until then, this goes out to all the animal lovers: Give your furry, four-legged friends some love today. Love and Twizzlers. 

... For Penny 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy National Thrift Store Day!!

Be patriotic. Go thrifting!

Finally the day has come where the stateside thrifters can celebrate their passion for frugality and claim actual holiday status. Go ahead. Demand a day off from work in honor of the celebration. When your supervisors question which holiday you're speaking of, scream loudly and proudly:

National Thrift Store Day!!!!!

Sure, the thrift stores may be crowded. The lines may be long and the shelves may be bare by the day's end. But this is the one day a year, as Americans, we can wave our secondhand flags proudly, with thrift store receipts so gallantly streaming from the pockets of our Levis. 

And if you're a thrifter from elsewhere in the world, feel free to celebrate with us. Go out and thrift yourselves something nice. And in a special shout-out to those international thrifters, I am curious to know if your country has a day nationally recognized  for such an occasion. Please do comment. I'd love to read of your nationally-sanctioned secondhand holidays as well!

In the meantime, I hope that as Americans we can put aside our differing political ideologies for the day and just...go thrifting. 

Happy hunting, everyone!
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Vintage Photo Friday: All-American Vintage

These colors don't run. They may strut. But they don't run. 

In celebrating this very special occasion, I searched through my collection of vintage clippings and photographs for something special, something patriotic. And what I've found is three happenin' chicks sporting some American-inspired threads. Why the theme, you ask? 

Well thrifters, for the good ol' US of A, this Vintage Photo Friday also happens to be National Thrift Store Day! So put on your thrifting shoes and get to it. 

Be brave, as others before you have been; and declare your independence from the mall. Hit the thrift with pride today ladies and gents!
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Few Far Out Finds, Circa 1970

 "Runaway" as in, women running away as fast as they could?

I found this suggestive title at the Bensalem Goodwill for a dime. And it's worth every penny, if not for the cover photo alone. While categorized as psychology studies by means of non-verbal communication, Body Language (1971 edition) is just a tad pervy. Just one of the many selling points is learning the ability on "making advances without taking chances." And no lie, in just flipping through the book I encountered one account of a man literally following a woman and trying to "read" her walk for signs that she wanted to be approached by a random stranger on the street. Yup!

"A loose woman?"  Oh boy...

And just in case you missed it, here are those questions pertinent to exploring the fine art of body language. But don't worry, ladies. This isn't just a book that gives men a free pass to visually probe your body. Everybody has something to learn. Just check out the back cover.

Personal secrets of strangers, you say? Count me in!

Maybe it's the '70s style to just throw inhibitions to the wind when it comes to gendered sociological studies. Of course you must recall one of the more horrific thrift store finds, Body Watchin' Is Fun by "Chief Watcher" John L. Shirley. I'm tellin' ya, just straight up staring at people must have been all the rage in the '70s.  I'll have to read this "human potential book" and give you some pointers.

In the meantime...

Bust out those glow sticks, thrifters.

I found this vintage wood-encased strobe light with adjustable timing effects for $5 from 2nd Ave Value Store and was psyched to test it in-store and find that it still works like new. Woo woo! Here comes the thrift rave. Well...not entirely. I'm not one for the rave scene, never was. I did however have a specific project in mind with this luminescent little piece o' vintage.

Come in to the light, Carol Anne...

I bought this strobe light to specifically use for a video I'm going to shoot featuring none other than an animatronic clown. I'm also mixing some appropriately creepy music to score the video. It's going to haunt you for the rest of your days...and nights. Oh, yes. 

So there we have it, just a few bizarro thrift store wonders, straight out of the seventies. Ya dig?

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Vintage Photo Friday: Date Night

"Oh, I love my new boyfriend. He's so dreamy"

I hope you'll be getting ready for a hot date on this Vintage Photo Friday. Paint those nails. Curl that hair. Buckle up those girdles, ladies. And gents better shine those shoes and grease those pompadours. Ah, love is in the air!

Don't forget about the $20 Thrift Store Challenge. If you have scored a collection of thrifted wares for < $20 that you'd like to show off, join the link-up!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I Took The $20 Thrift Store Challenge

Last week, I presented fellow  thrifters with the opportunity to make thrifting an Olympic event. I went for the gold when I took $20 and a few friends to three different thrift stores in three different counties.

I stuck to my budget, spent less than $20 and got ALL. THIS. STUFF.

My original goal was to stock-up on clothes, shoes, bags and accessories. But sometimes, scoring  awesome thrift finds and staying within budget is challenge enough.So imagine my surprise when I found a cute shirt at each of my three thrift visits. Fashions, hurray!

I should have known the day would be a huge success when I stumbled onto a surprise sale at my first stop, the Bustleton Goodwill. These never-worn  feather earrings, marked $3.00 were $1.50. And that lovely Asian-inspired shirt that I got for $2? That was originally $3.99. 

So my first stop, earrings and a shirt...were a total of....
Wait for it...

A surprise 50% discount is always a great way to start the day. And with a little pep in our step, we piled back into my SUV for our next destination.

Onward, ho!

I have a newfound obsession for vintage children's albums. I've been ripping them to .mp3 files and sampling them on Garageband as creepy mixes for later use. Be afraid, be very afraid. These would have been 47 cents each...but were on sale, Buy One Get One Free at the Warminster Goodwill. Muhahahaha creepy, thrifty fun. 

But back to the original game plan... Like I said earlier, I scored that v-neck tee in mustard (my new favorite shade) for $3.50. And a deliciously vintage-inspired clutch by Isaac Mizrahi for $2.97? Yes, please! So that's two records, a shirt and a like-new designer bag for how much...?

One more thrift store to go. And about ten more dollars. Are you ready for this play-by-play?

While I didn't turn up any vintage photo albums in my travels, a few vintage yearbooks are the next best thing. $1.25 each? Not bad at all. The only thing missing were the "keep in touch" notes in the back. Maybe they didn't do that sort of thing in '39.

$4.00 seemed fair for this vintage owl planter. But bric a brac was 25% off at the Montgomeryville Impact. Why hello, $3 owls! I practically hooted when I found them perched on the shelf. 

I am about to cross the finish line on this $20 Thrift Store Challenge. Here comes the gold! 

$3.62 + $6.10 + $9.32 = $19.04!!!

Somebody throw me a towel. Hand me a cup of water. Boost me up on your shoulders and parade me around the arena. The $20 Thrift Challenge was a triumphant success, with 96 cents to spare.

Come with me! Do your own victory lap around the the thrift store and take The $20 Thrift Store Challenge. Link up below to share your finds! 
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Friday, August 3, 2012

Vintage Photo Friday: The Creepshow

"Hey there, hot stuff."

This Vintage Photo Friday goes out to all the ladies in the thrift store. Creepers are everywhere. They're browsing the big band records. They're sliding hangers of Mr. Rogers-inspired sweaters while giving you the eye. And their pickup lines are even older than some of the secondhand merchandise. 

Press on, thrifty women. When approached by a thrifting creeper, simply smile and walk away. Don't let the bow-tied weirdo in the plaid sports jacket distract you from the ultimate thrift experience.

And speaking of the ultimate thrift experience, get ready for The $20 Thrift Challenge. Dodging creepers may not be an Olympic event...yet. But competitive thrifting can certainly be gold medal material. The next Let's Go Thrifting post will feature my < $20 finds. If you're game for the challenge, link up with your best $20 thrift scores. And watch out for those creepers, girls. 
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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Are You Ready For The Thrift Olympics?

It's time. Time to stop giving your wallet a workout from retail shopping. Time to stretch those bills, olympic style. Time to go for the secondhand gold. It's time...time to take The $20 Thrift Challenge. 

The goal is simple. Take $20 and hit the thrift. Maybe make a specific goal: Clothes, housewares, electronics. Or just browse the entire store for some swank secondhand finds in any ole department. Do President Jackson proud by sticking to the budget and see how much you can bring home. 

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with friends, scavenging through the aisles of three different thrift stores, in three different counties. I brought home three bags of thriftacular finds and had 96 cents to spare by the day's end. 

For the full post-game coverage of all my < $20 thrifted finds, be sure to check out my next post. And if you want to partake in some Thrift Olympics, join the team through the linkup on the next post. We're all winners when we thrift! 
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