Friday, December 25, 2015

Vintage Photo Friday: The Christmas of 1961

In this special edition of Vintage Photo Friday, I'd like to present a few recent finds from the Goodwill Outlet. It's rare that I find enough photographs to continue the beloved Vintage Photo Friday segment here on Let's Go Thrifting. So when I found some rather timely snapshots from Christmastime in 1961, I could hardly contain my excitement. 

Kathleen here is such a doll. And speaking of dolls...

It looks like Santa brought one for her on Christmas morning.

Here's hoping Santa brought you everything you asked for. A happy and healthy holiday season's wishes to everyone! 

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Teeny, Tiny Secondhand Treasures: Our $5 Christmas Tree

Small in stature, but quite festive!

I'm not going to lie. This year, I've found it really difficult to get into the Christmas spirit. I'm not being a Scrooge, or at least I'm not trying to be one. You can just chalk it up to poor timing I guess. As the the temperatures in the Philadelphia area are fluctuating between 40-70 degree temperatures, my body is responding in a chaotic fashion. I'm just beginning to feel better following a nasty bout of Bronchitis. But I'm still contending with the muscle spasms and nerve pain from the Fibromyalgia, all the while averaging 3-4 hours of sleep a night. In short, my mind might want to fa-la-la-la-la right up to the 25th of December. But my body is saying bah humbug.

But I'm trying to keep spirits bright. All of the gifts have been purchased---and most of them have been wrapped. I even decided on getting a tree, despite the tight budget from lost time at work when I was sick. During one of my infamous Target trips---an ordeal which my boyfriend, James, can attest is an aimless cart filling of everything from jars of olives and cleaning products, to socks and craft supplies---I found just what I needed. A perfectly sized tree for two people, with no kids, and just a little money to spend. 

At first glance the tree was far too skinny, and rather limp looking. But that was until I realized the branches were bendable. Perfect! And just look at the rustic burlap-wrapped base. 

Who doesn't love garland?

Finding the perfect ornaments was crucial. I got lucky in finding a roll of slender gold colored garland at Five Below, which was the perfect size to wrap around our little Charlie Brown tree. 

And at first I tried using the smallest of the standard-sized ornaments that I could find. But it just wasn't right. So imagine my surprise and delight when I found an unopened box of vintage gift box ornaments at the thrift! Not only are they in perfect proportion to our tree, but the gold ribbon on the gift wrap matches the gold garland I already had. Score!

Vintage gift ornaments = adorable. 

Tree: $3, Target.
Garland: $1, Five Below
Vintage Gift Ornaments: $1, Goodwill 

So what if I spent more on the poinsettia for the kitchen wall cutout than the tree? I'm trying to be festive damn it!

I can't wait until Christmas Eve, when James and I will leave our gifts for each other under the tree. And by "under the tree," I mean we will literally stack the gifts on the dining room table and put the tree on top. Technically, that's under the tree, right?

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Friday, December 11, 2015

How To Stuff Those Stockings With Secondhand Finds

Thrifting for gifts? It can be done!

It'a hard to believe that Christmas day is but a few short weeks away. The malls are packed. Big-box retailers are at maximum capacity. Even supermarket traffic is getting quite congested. And it's no surprise. Holiday shopping is big business. 

It was once believed that there were two types of Christmas shoppers:
  1. The Early Shoppers: Those who buy way ahead of time, or slowly but surely build their gift pile until the big day.
  2. The Frantic Last-Minute Shoppers: Those who take every last cent and every last ounce of energy to cramped malls in hopes of magically finding everything they need just before they need it.
But I'm willing to throw one more type of holiday shopper on the list.  And that type is the Thrift Gifter, a frugal and creative shopper who sees gift-giving potential in secondhand finds. 

It can certainly be a hot topic among the thrift shopping community, but I dare argue that Thrift-Gifting is not only acceptable, but is something to be encouraged.

And this unique secondhand opportunity is something to especially consider for those friends and family members who, like you, long for quality vintage wares,  are hip to being environmentally conscious, or are just appreciative of a gift made more special by being hand-picked in a stroke of secondhand luck instead of mass produced. 

Don't look a thrifted gift horse in the mouth.

To thrift-gift a secondhand find is to truly know someone---that person's taste in movies, music, personal style, home decor, interests and passions. It says, "Hey, I saw this... I immediately thought of  you." 

Naturally, before you get started you may have some hesitations, some questions. And that's okay. After all, you've been taught how---and what to buy---your whole life. But just consider the possibilities. And to get you started, I've developed a few how-to's for a beginning thrift-gifter. 

A Handy Guide To Finding The Perfect Thrift Gift 

  • If you're hitting the thrift store solely because you cannot afford to give a brand new may run into some obstacles. Namely, desperation. Sometimes you find something truly special. Sometimes you don't. That's the nature of the thrift. If financial straits have you panicked prior to even going to Goodwill, you may want to postpone gift-exchanges until a time better suited to your needs. Have a post-Christmas gift exchange gathering. You'll have some piece of mind and your wallet will thank you.
  • If you're thrifting for gift-giving inspiration and ideas, have fun. Look around, but don't be pressured into buying something just because it's there. 
  • Don't forget that candies and homemade baked goods are a hit. If all else fails, grab a  lovely holiday tin and use that to gift your culinary creations. Or maybe a holiday mug filled with candy, wrapped in cellophane and ribbon. This might be the one instance where you'll want to think inside the box---as in, look how pretty this tin/bin/basket/box is...what can I fill it with?
  • Go early and go often. You'll up your chances of finding that special something. 
  • Be sure to check and re-check the quality of any item you may be considering, even more carefully than an item you would buy for yourself. Look for chips/cracks/imperfections in pottery and ceramics. Check all seams and zippers on garments. Give bags and purses the sniff check. (There's nothing worse that a lovely leather satchel...that reeks of decade's old cigarettes). 
  • Trust your gut. If you see something and immediately think that so-and-so would loooooove it, put in your cart for thorough inspection. 
  • And if you're as avid a thrift shopper as I am, you know my mantra. A gift card to my  favorite thrift store(s) is better than cash, because it's the gift that literally could be anything. It's like an invitation to a treasure hunt. And I'll be digging for that buried treasure. 
And if you're looking for specific ideas on things you may find at the thrift about ugly Christmas sweaters, so-bad-it's-good framed artwork, a vase (that you can fill with fresh flowers), unique costume jewelry, a casserole dish/platter to bring a home-cooked addition to the holiday feast, and vintage-vintage-vintage. High quality vintage's nostalgic! (Well, maybe not anything...but you get where I'm going with this). 

So... have I convinced you? Are you sold on the idea of Thrift-Gifting? I'd love to know. 

Would you gift an item that you purchased at the thrift store?

Yes, absolutely.
Yes, but only if the item passed as brand new and they never knew it was bought secondhand.
Maybe. It depends on the person.
Only if it was a rare, unique item not likely to be found elsewhere.
No. Nope. Never.
Please Specify:
Poll Maker

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Let's Go Thrifting Has Been Nominated For a Liebster Award!

I am thrilled to announce that Let's Go Thrifting has been nominated for a Liebster Award from the lovely Sally over at the Passport & Plates blog. Many thanks, Sally! 

And what is the Liebster Award, you ask? The Liebster Award is a nomination-based online only recognition of new or up-and-coming bloggers for their achievements within the blogging community. When you accept this award, you proudly display the Liebster Award logo and nominate 11 blogs of your choosing you receive the award. This is cyclical way of community-building, whereby bloggers can loan their traffic to other bloggers, and readers can discover some fresh blogs to follow. 

I was asked 11 questions over at Passports and Plates.  And here are my answers:

  1. What inspired you to start blogging?   I have contributed to several blogs as a freelance writer, but longed to start one of my own. And a blog about a favorite pastime activity seemed only natural. 
  2. If you could live in any one country of the world, where would it be and why? Though I would love to be a world traveler, if I could only pick one country other than my own to live, it would be Japan without question. I was fortunate enough to spend six weeks in Tokyo studying abroad. It was an amazing experience of traditional Japanese culture mixed with advanced technologies/architecture/media. 
  3. What is your favorite movie? Why?  I don't think I could name any one movie as an all-time favorite. But right now my favorite movie is High Fidelity. I just re-wateched it today and could not stop laughing. I think it captured the tone of the book perfectly, and despite being a comedy...really captures the uncertainty of longtime relationships and new prospects...of music as communication....and Jack Black. I mean come on... his cover of "Let's Get It On." Perfection.
  4. What books/music are you currently reading/listening to? Right now I'm reading 'The Devil In The White City: Murder, Magic, And Madness At The Fair That Changed America' by Erik Larson.  And music... I just found Booker T & The M.G.s on vinyl. It's amazing. 
  5. What's your favorite quote? "Though the sex to which I belong is considered weak, you will nevertheless find me a rock that bends to no wind." ~ Queen Elizabeth I
  6. What is the best advice someone has ever given to you? To be myself without apology. 
  7. What is your biggest goal/dream? To see Let's Go Thrifting become a brand that allows me to work completely for myself as a professional blogger/thrift shopper/writer without need for a supplemental income. And I'm working tirelessly toward that goal.
  8. What impact would you like to have on others?  If my words on donating to thrift stores has kept even one bag of usable items from the landfill, I have done my part. But ultimately I would love to encourage and inspire others to be their best selves.
  9. What book or film has had the biggest impact on your life?  I have always known that I wanted to be a writer. But Stephen King's 'On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft' really solidified that.
  10. What is your dream job? #7 pretty much answers this question. This is my dream job. 
  11. Last meal on earth--what would it be?  I'm going to cheat on this one and say a trip to Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earl, PA with family and friends. 

And here are my 11 Liebster Award nominees! 

Congratulations, bloggers. If you would like to participate in this shared community award, keep the cycle going by answering the 11 questions below on your blog, by nominating 11 bloggers of your choice for Liebster recognition, and by asking 11 of your own questions. And lastly, don't forget to link back to the blogger that nominated you. 
Hey, that's me! 

  1. What has been your biggest reward or achievement since beginning your blog?
  2. What is your hidden talent?
  3. What is the strangest thing you've ever encountered at a thrift store, yard sale, or flea market?
  4. If you could choose an alternate career path, what would that be?
  5. Who is your greatest role model?
  6. If you could go on a five-minute shopping spree at any store, which store would you pick?
  7. What is on your winter survival list?
  8. If you could wake up tomorrow an expert in any one skill/language/trade, what would that be and why?
  9. What is one piece of indispensable wisdom you would give to a beginning blogger?
  10. If you could go back in time and do one thing differently, what would that be?
  11. What future plans do you have for your blog?

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