Women's cropped brown leather bomber jacket

Thrift Haul: September 2016

It’s been a week into Fall and I’m thoroughly enjoying the transition into cooler weather. It’s time for boots…but too early to bust out layers of puffer jackets, ya know? Over the weekend, I hit up my neighborhood Village Discount  during their half-off everything sale with an hour to kill and budget of $20 to buy some cute stuff for fall. I walked out with 5 items and had $5 left over.

Roll over each photo for the description to pop up! 

COZY Long cardigan, $3.00
(retail $54.95)

  • Cardigans have been a staple in my cavernous closet since, like 2001, but patterned long cardis are expensive or not neutral enough to go with stuff I already have. I found this cardigan haphazardly draped over a rack by the mirror and decided to pick it up and try it on. It’s acrylic, but there was hardly any pilling around the arms or sides. And the seams are perfectly aligned with minimal fraying where the yarn colors were switched. My biggest pet-peeve with striped clothing is when they don’t line up at seams. The neutral, muted color palate and simple fair-aisle pattern also sealed the deal.

FLORAL Long-sleeve tee, $2.00
(retail $18.00)

  • Even when I lived in the burbs, I hardly shopped at Kohl’s. So Sonoma is a brand I’m not entirely familiar with. I also don’t have a lot of long-sleeve shirts, so this shirt’s great, though because I have a thing for florals. Florals and cardigans.

CROPPED faux leather jacket, $3.00
(retail $45.00)

  • Okay, so yes. I know that Liz Lange is totes maternity wear. And my eggo is not preggo. But, truth be told, maternity cut clothing works for my body type. Cue sad-face emoji. In addition to being short, I am incredibly short-waisted and the cropped clothing and empire waist lets me wear short jacket hems without it cutting me at my widest.

LEATHER jacket, $6.00
(resell market ~$74.00)

  • I must confess, when I saw this buttery-soft jacket, the price tag was obscuring the label. I saw “HUGO B…” and then thought, “OMG it’s Hugo m*thaf*ckin’ Boss!” I tried it on. It fit. The shoulder pads  gave me a split-second puase. But bought it anyways. AND THEN, when I went to take the tag off while taking pictures of my haul…I saw Buscati. And I was like, “Who the eff is Hugo Buscati?” After an unreasonably difficult Google search, I’ll tell you who this Italian sounding mofo is…a brand created and trademarked by Victoria Secret. LOL. In retrospect, the style and proportions of the jacket are reminiscent of 90’s glamazon catwalkers. And I definitely wouldn’t have bought it. But it’s mine now, and I’ll figure it out.

SMOKING slippers, $1.00
(retail $37.99)

  • I have been really slow getting onboard the smoking slipper loafer bandwagon. When a women’s cut surfaced a few years ago, I tried it and hated how it looked on my foot. But I also thought the same thing about pointy toe heels and flats, and now they are also a closet staple. On a whim, I tried these on and was pleasantly surprised. Suede, comfortably broken in, and ONE DOLLAR? Sold. What I also like about these shoes is the slight wedge, which eases foot and knee pain for this old broad. Thanks Easy Spirit! Now that I am firmly entrenched in my mid-thirties, I am incredibly comfortable admitting that I have a pair.

I’m super stoked (and impressed with myself) that I scored some great finds this month! I spent $15.00 and got over $229.00 worth of clothing. The next half-price sale is October 10. Maybe I can cobble together a Halloween costume?

Check out my $50 18-piece thrift haul from Labor Day!  

Almost Holding Hands Q&A with Brittany Flynn

Part of the reason I wanted to start a blog back up was to interview and plug all the awesome women I have met over the years who are doing incredible things as writers, performers, entrepreneurs, comedians, humanitarians, well… you get the gist.

And what a happy coincidence that my friend and former co-worker, Brittany Flynn, has a show opening tonight at the Second City’s Beat Lounge. Flynn, an Uptown resident and Vermont-native, has been slinging drinks and pouring beers in Chicago for four years. When she’s not bartending, crafting or throwing dinner parties, she’s half of musical duo, Evan and Mary Jane. If you’re a fan of feel good, moderately depraved, adult pop comedy music and sentimental beautifully harmonized covers, then stop what you’re doing and buy tickets to their show now!

From she and Evan Mill’s first drunken karaoke duet to now, they have  spent the past couple years performing original songs and covers around the city. You may have caught brief three-song sets at variety shows, showcases, opening for other improv groups, or their run as half of Hey Peter, Bye Peter: A Funny-Ass Rock Show at the Annoyance last April. Almost Holding Hands is their first solo show and opportunity to really showcase their musical talent and comedic writing skills. Whenever I need a good laugh, I dig through the cloud to find my 45 second snippet of these two singing a mash-up of Milkshake by Kelis and My Neck, My Back by Khia. It’s EVERYTHING.

And if my endorsement means nothing to you, it’s completely understandable. But when it makes the RedEye’s list of comedy shows to see this weekend, I mean… c’mon. A show about two overcommitted best friends who are killing the platonic friendship game? Relationship Goals, amirite?

And if I, nor the RedEye, still don’t have you entirely convinced, Brittany just has this to say about why you should check it out.

“Hot performers. Sexy music. Charlie Kaplan on the keys. Evan and I both worked really hard on this show. We spent a lot of time together. Like, a lot. And neither of us murdered the other one, so it was a victory. I love this show.”

Sounds like good advice! Care to share any other wisdom nuggets?

Q: What is something you like to do in the city that is inexpensive?

“Go to all of the parks! There are so many and most of them have beautiful fountains and slides in them! Also, did I mention you can eat all of the food???”

Q: You have a rare night free and $50 to spend. Where are your go-to places for cheap drinks/eats in the city and what do you order?

“The Annoyance Theater. Mick and Jen are f-ing great. Every person who works there is so supportive and fun and stupid and it’s an incredible place to make and keep friends. Also, that bartender Evan is hot.

Also, on Mondays, Fish Bar does an industry night and us industry kids like to hit them up.”

Q: What is the coolest thing you own that was $20 or less?

“I am a collector of weird free crap, so it’s hard to say. I’d go with the clothespin doll my friend Hunter made of me, the Elvis wiener dog I found on the street, or my Bernie Sanders action figure. Or Shelby Pig! She’s a pocket sized pig I carry around and take pictures of living her life.”

Q: What is the weirdest compliment you ever received?

“That was such a great song! You should send it to someone famous to sing!”

Q: What are your thoughts about the state of women in comedy?

“The world is a scary place for women and the ones who can stand up in it and throw it back in your face and make you laugh; you’re champions.”

Q: If 30-something you could give 20-something you any advice, what would it be?

“You’re the most important person in your own life, but other people are just looking for a little love too, so take care of yourself and give the world back some love.”

Q: What do you want for Christmas?

“A bedframe. Better health insurance. Lots of money. A boat…how long can I make this list? I’m very greeeedy.”

Yeesh. I’ll work on the boat thing, but how about I come to opening night?
I’ll be there at 9 p.m., Friday September 9 at the Beat Lounge,  230 W. North Avenue – 2nd Floor. Tickets are $13 and the show runs every Friday night until September 30.

 

layered gold necklace

Thrift Haul: Labor Day 2016

I celebrated Labor Day this year spending my cash at the Village Discount in Andersonville…and it was hella worth it. This store has half-price sales on the reg, and with a keen eye, elbow grease and patience, there are some excellent deals out there.

Since moving to Chicago, my thrifting game has tightened up quite a bit. I used to buy things with perceived “minor” imperfections like loose threads, pilling, stains, wonky fit, cheap material or embellishments because it was, like, two dollars.  Or I would find something high-end in decent shape and just buy it for the sake of being a label whore. Oh. And it was, like…two dollars. OR…just because it was like, 10 things for two dollars.

Though I will spend hours trying on anything and everything that remotely strikes my fancy, I exercise much more discretion when it comes to what I actually buy. That being said, I bought: two shirts, two blouses, a button-up flannel, a sweater, two cardigans, two skirts, a dress, a blazer, two coats, two necklaces, and a pair of shoes for $55. Whoa! I spent too much money at a thrift store, you say? Well, it would have been $110 if I hadn’t gone during the half-price sale. So I actually saved $55. (Yes. My rationalization game is very loosey-goosey.)

Behold! The 18 items I found at a thrift store that are totally practical, wearable, and even a little fashion-forward for Fall 2016:

Scroll over the bottom of each thumbnail for brand and price. Linger a bit, and a brief caption will pop out. Click on any image to open the gallery with bigger images, full caption, and descriptions with more details and ways to wear each style.

 

After buying all this stuff, I was starting to feel a tinge of buyers remorse. I don’t live anywhere near malls or stores. I don’t flip through fashion mags anymore. What if I bought all this stuff and it’s très passé? So I did a little googling and rest assured, I still have a little fashion sense!

Who knew that these colors would be trending for Fall?

dusty-pink-yellow-trend

photo cred: elle.com

elle_fw16trends_pinkandyellow

photo cred: tomandlorenzo.com

Floral prints are still cool in the crisp Fall air

fall-florals-trend

photo cred: stylecaster.com

03-holding-interior-motives1

photo cred: vogue.com

Plaids are still obvi a Fall staple

translating-th-trends-fall-2016-plaid-fashion-accessories-bags-shoes-tom-lorenzo-site-2

photo cred: tomandlorenzo.com

Chokers are ba-ack!

chokers-trend

photo cred: stylecaster.com

elle-trends-fall-2016-statement-choker

photo cred: elle.com

And the Metal is in the details!

elle_fw16trends_metal

photo cred: elle.com

elle_newtrends_tinsel

photo cred: elle.com

So here are a few outfits I came up with…

thrift-haul-sept-2016-22-of-28thrift-haul-sept-2016-24-of-28thrift-haul-sept-2016-25-of-28thrift-haul-sept-2016-26-of-28

Not too shabby, eh? Village Discount’s next half-price sale is September 25 and 26.

What are your thifting tips and tricks? What’s the best thing you’ve ever found at a thrift store or garage sale? Leave a comment below 🙂

 

Chicago Food Swap – March 15, 2015

So my good friend, Mandy, first introduced me to the foodie frenzy that is the Chicago Food Swap. Basically, a bunch of people get together on a Sunday afternoon and bring their culinary A-game. I’m talking jars of kimchi, artisan bread, locally-raised duck and chicken eggs, french pastries, infusions, savory soups, and even gelato. Everything is homemade and everyone is encouraged to set out samples.

This swapper brought a plethora of sweets and had the best grapefruit maloort sandwich cookies.

This swapper brought a plethora of sweets and had the best grapefruit and malort creme sandwich cookies.

The duck eggs were probably the most coveted item at this swap - aside from my sister and brother-in-law's mini eggrolls.

The duck eggs were probably the most coveted item at this swap – aside from my sister and brother-in-law’s mini egg rolls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first part of the event is devoted to set-up. Next, everyone walks around and samples the food. You like what you taste? Write your name down along with what you’ve got to trade. Finally comes the fun. Everyone reviews their lists and the swapping begins. No money ever changes hands. Nobody is obligated to trade with everyone who is interested. This happened to us several times when my sister wanted to trade egg rolls for food made by people who were vegetarians. There also isn’t a set amount of portions you’re required to bring. Some people only bring a few jars of food. Others bring a ton. Some people bring one type of item, and others bring a variety.

Our first swap was almost a year ago and I made a dozen bottles of mint simple syrup – honestly NOT my best work. I had to change the tag to say “hint of mint” simple syrup.

My first (and only) attempt at making simple syrup

My first (and only) attempt at making simple syrup

I still managed to come away with a decent haul

A delicious almond gallette, jam, pickled veggies, assorted salads, and mexican hot chocolate mix.

A delicious almond galette, jam, pickled veggies, assorted salads, and Mexican hot chocolate mix.

I convinced my sister and her husband to participate and they brought Filipino lumpia. A lot of it. Crazy good and stupid popular, the demand for their egg rolls filled up two swapping sheets.

Egg Rolls - a guaranteed crown pleaser

Egg Rolls – a guaranteed crown pleaser

They ended up with considerably more loot. Good thing we lived together! Combined, the amount of food we shlepped home was insane. One caveat to making and trading a lot of food is that a lot of it is very perishable. We weren’t able to eat everything before some if it went bad.

Oh man. Those cheese straws were on point.

Oh man. Those cheese straws were on point.

 

Wanna participate? Spots will fill up quickly. The next swap is at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 15 at the Chopping Block in the Merchandise Mart.  It’s $5 to register (this covers advertising cost, space rental, and helps deter ‘no-shows’) and is totally worth it.

For more information: www.chicagofoodswap.com