One Month THRIFTED

I haven’t purchased retail in ONE MONTH and this me checking in on the process.

Now, let me be clear…I’m not one to stick to things. Diets and workout plans included. I even tried to start making my bed every morning and that lasted about 45 seconds. I am admittedly less than disciplined but a work in progress. SO. As much as I love that this has now become a habit in my life, I have needed to make some lifestyle changes and the hardest part is yet to come my way. 

Here’s some things I’ve done to make the change a little easier. 

  1. The power of the “I could thrift that” mindset. One of my favorite things is to jump on Pinterest or the Vogue runway app and save outfits that I know I could thrift. The cool thing about what’s “on trend” right now (que puff sleeves and mixed patterns) is it can ALL be thrifted. When you see a piece I like, the first thing I do is jump on poshmark or thredup to see if I can find something like it. If not, it goes on my thrift wishlist that I keep in the notes on my phone. This mindset has become a bit of a healthy little challenge for myself.
  2. Avoid swiping up to shop. I KNOW this is like the blogger livelihood but this is how I got myself in big trouble. So I am avoiding it like the plague. 
  3. Delete the Nordstrom App. Out of sight out of mind. Instead of jumping on the Nordstrom app, I jump on ThredUp or Poshmark and scroll for the deals. 
  4. Avoid the abyss that is the Target clearance section. Need I say more?
  5. Surround yourself with supporters. I have been absolutely blessed beyond measure to have friends that are completely supporting (and evening joining in!) on my decision to only shop secondhand. What better Friday night plans than thrifting with fellow trash panda. 

The hardest thing about not shopping retail is yet to come. Blair Eadie is set to launch her second collection (of many collections) with Halogen and Nordstrom in October and I will need all the support I can get not to crack. 

Interested in learning more about why I decided to go strictly secondhand? Check out this post.

I’m Making a Change…

First, Happy National Thrift Store Day! To celebrate, I’m doing something big…I was inspired by Elsie Larson of “A Beautiful Mess” to go 100% secondhand for a whole year. I thought, why not practice what I preach and take the jump too?

This could include Poshmark, thrifted, Thredup, secondhand, vintage, consignment, handmade, remade, rented etc. I’m trying to steer clear of purchasing retail clothing. 

“Every time you spend money, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” – Anna Lappe

Here’s the “WHY”

  1. The planet is screaming and fashion’s carbon footprint is unfathomable. Not to mention some luxury brands burning excess product to maintain brand exclusivity instead of reselling it. Fast fashion just wants us to buy more and more and more. These small changes help slow the cycle and give clothing a longer time to be worn instead of winding up in landfills. 
  2. My bank account is giving me the side eye. I opened a Nordstrom credit card and buy things that I thoughtI had to have because I saw another blogger wearing it…this is the truth of the industry. I realized I am contributing to the cycle and part of the problem. 
  3. I’d say that 80% of my wardrobe is already secondhand. Why not go the full 100%??

Rules and exceptions:

Socks, underwear, spanx, tights, swimwear. Nah girl…

I will be purchasing a Jonas Brothers tour T-shirt. My teenage heart is screaming and I’ve been waiting for this. 

Gifts and gift cards. I don’t want to be rude! 

I will make acceptions for supporting small local businesses and artists. This is something that is really important to me and I will be making an effort to continue to support. 

Now let’s go pop some tags! 

My Favorite Thrift Shops in Madison

Alright…let’s go thrifting Mad City style! I am so excited to dish my favorite thrift shops in the Madison area. I spend more time wandering through the aisles of these thrift shops than I’m willing to admit.

If you ever find yourself in Madison for a day or a weekend, don’t forget to stop and dig for treasures at one of these shops!

St Vincent De Paul Williamson St

1309 Williamson St Madison WI 53703

When people ask what my ALL TIME favorite thrift shop is, this Vinny’s location is what I tell them. When I lived an hour away, I would make the drive just to go thrifting at this location. It is in one of the coolest (hipster) areas of Madison and worth a few hours just to wander around.

Goodwill Middleton

6280 Century Ave, Middleton, WI 53562

It’s one of the newest Goodwill locations in the Madison area and it is BEAUTIFUL. I never thought a thrift store could have so much of a clean department store feel. I was lucky to get a behind the scenes look at this location and it is really an amazing process from donation to the racks.

St. Vincent De Paul Stoughton

1509 US-51, Stoughton, WI 53589

For whatever reason, I always win BIG at this Vinny’s location especially with statement pieces and dresses. I’ve only been a couple of times and every time I leave with a haul of amazing pieces.

Goodwill Verona Rd

4530 Verona Rd, Madison, WI 53711

I furnished most of my apartment with finds from this very Goodwill. When I first moved to Madison, I lived close enough to this location to make weekly visits when I got bored. Its big, clean, and full of treasures.

ReThreads State Street

2023, 410 State St, Madison, WI 53703

While this falls more in the consignment bucket, you’re still going to walk away with some wicked awesome finds at a good price. This shop’s charm lies mostly in its location on Madison’s State Street. Go thrifting, grab yourself some ice cream at Chocolate Shoppe, and stroll up to the Capitol building. What could be better?

St. Vincent De Paul Dig and Save

1900 S Park St, Madison, WI 53713

If you’re looking for a bargain, like a really really good bargain, you’re gonna have to work for it. This Vinny’s is unlike any other thrift shop I’ve ever been in. Everything is priced by weight. So you dig for buried treasure, throw it in a cart, and weight it. I had pretty low expectations on my first trip but I absolutely loved this adventure!

The WHY Behind the Thrift: Earth Day Edition

Let me just spit some facts and figures at you for a minute because today, like everyday, we could use a reminder to be conscious of our footprint.

  • It takes 1,800 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans according to Penn State.
  • Billions of dollars in unsold merchandise is incinerated or destroyed by brands every year to maintain brand exclusivity.
  • The average American throws away 80 pounds of clothing per year per person. Of those, nearly 100% are recyclable.
  • According to Recycle Nation – 28 Billion pounds of textiles are piled into landfills each year.
  • Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world.

We have a problem that we’re all guilty of and we can all take small steps to do better. Will you join me?

Buy less: Fast fashion tells us to hop on trends that are gone in the blink of an eye. We buy more, wear it once, then buy more and more and more.

Buy smart: Choose retailers who recycle unused clothing, not burn or destroy it. Now listen, I’m not here to throw brands under the bus but do your research before you buy that’s all I’m sayin.

Donate: Recycle your unwanted clothes by donating them. DON’T throw them away. Someone can use them or they can be recycled.

Rent: Companies like Rent the Runway are changing the game with fashion. You mean I can rent clothes and return them so someone else can do the same? Sign me up.

Shop secondhand: I am biased because I am a stone cold thrifter. But the benefits of thrifting go beyond saving a buck. Don’t want to go to your local thrift store? Guess what, you can shop second hand online (Poshmark, ThredUp, Relovv, Depop). No human interaction required.

My Thrifting Secrets

I started my first thrift shop fashion blog in 2014 called Three Dollar Fashion. I loved finding a good deal and I loved styling my finds and made my roommate take pictures of me in our dorm room. Most of all, it allowed me to take a lot of pride in what I wear. I felt like I was hunting for treasure.

One of the questions I get the most is “How do you find such cute pieces…I can never find ANYTHING when I go thrifting!” So…I’m here to spill the beans about my thrift game plan and some pro tips to get the most out of your thrift adventure.

First, I get inspired. I go in with an idea of some of the things I’m looking for. Pinterest and instagram are both great resources to get outfit inspo.

Then, I head in with a plan. Stake out the territory. I’ve found my rhythm. So I usually start with dresses and blazers, head to shoes and accessories, then skirts, and finally blouses and pants. Think of it like going easiest to hardest. I can usually win big with dresses where jeans are the hardest for me to thrift. I don’t want to get discouraged right off the bat.

Then, I start the strategic hunt. Instead of sifting through the endless racks one by one: I keep an eye out for things that’ll instantly stick out.

  1. Color – If its bold, I want it.
  2. Patterns – Polka dots, stripes, florals. All of these things are easy to spot in the endless sea.
  3. Basics – There are always things you’ll be able to find at a thrift store. Plain Tee’s, simple cardigans, tanks etc.

My next biggest tip is try EVERYTHING on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the fitting room. I learned so much about what works and what doesn’t work for my body. I used to buy everything that was cute and that fit me. The question I ask myself now is “Is this a hell yes?” If I wouldn’t be sad leaving it, it stays. No need for it to hang out in my closet.

I’m based in Mad City so to round out my thrift toolkit, here are my favorite places to thrift in Madison.

St. Vincent DePaul on Willy St.

St. Vincent DePaul in Stoughton

Goodwill on Verona Rd

ReThreads on State St.

My Basement Studio Space

If you’re looking for a crispy white Pinerest worthy studio space that’s perfectly organized with an abundance of gorgeous natural daylight, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re looking for real life, nitty gritty, true hustler life, THAT I can do for you.

My studio spaces have evolved over the years from bins under my bed in my dorm room to a spare bedroom in my parents basement to a corner space in my tiny loft apartment. That being said, I’ve also picked up several new hobbies over the last couple of years including sewing, scrapbooking, and of course pom earrings so my arsenal of craft crap is halfway to crazy.

So when we moved to the Primary House I was a little nervous about where I’d be able to put everything. Like everything else that didn’t have a place anywhere else in the house (including extra clothes and workout equipment) it found a home in the basement. Cement walls and all. While it’s not the most glamorous space in the world, it’s where all the magic happens – lookin at you atomic poms.

My desk is a folding plastic table, not a crisp write Anthropologie find. My chair is not a pink velvet midcentury beauty, it’s a $10 folding chair from Target. But, the best things started in unlikely places like this. Amazon, Google, Vera Bradley, Mattel, and Disney all started in a garage. This is my beginning and it’ll be a great story to tell. Until then, the cement cellar I go!

Grab your very own pair of atomic poms here. Sign up for my newsletter and get 20% off your purchase!

18 Things I Learned in 2018

2018 has been one hell of a year, let me tell you. It has pushed me outside of my comfort zone in ways I couldn’t even imagine. On NYE last year, I sat at a bar in downtown Milwaukee with some friends and thought about what I’d like to accomplish for the year. I was still living with my parents and at a job that was eating me alive. I felt drained creatively and absolutely positively stuck. I looked at Jake and I said, “If we’re still where we are this time next year, we’ve got some major issues.” So we made the change and created a year full of changes and and teeing up for our best year yet. Its been “End of an Era” and “Out with the old in with the new” year. Here’s 18 things I’ve learned in 2018…

  1. You’re not stuck. If you’re unhappy, make a change. F*** what people think.
  2. Invest in your creativity and self love above everything else.
  3. Living alone will teach you more about yourself than you ever imagined.
  4. Comparison is the most toxic chemical. Period.
  5. Talk about your mental health – I can’t stress this enough.
  6. Quitting a job is the most terrifying and liberating thing in the world.
  7. I can’t do diets or workout plans. Been there, tried that. F*** it.
  8. If your squad isn’t on your same frequency, you need a new squad.
  9. If you don’t ask, the answer is always “NO”
  10. If it’s not a “Hell YES” it’s a “NO”
  11. It’s OK to dish a big unapologetic “NO” if your plate is too full.
  12. Money comes and goes. Pay your bills. Get shit done. Period.
  13. Set aside time to be creative or you will never have time to be creative.
  14. Send more handwritten Thank You cards.
  15. Call your mom – and other people you love for that matter.
  16. The only way to get through loss is to feel your way through it.
  17. Do something everyday that scares you. – Thank you Eleanore Roosevelt.
  18. Never stop hustling. At the end of the day you’re all you’ve got. Push yourself to reach your potential.

Now…for 2019. Bring it on. My montra “Have grace with yourself” because I’m not perfect. I read this amazing quote on Pinterest- “Grace works best on messy people.” The pressure to be perfect is real. Sh*t is gonna hit the fan and that’s ok. I’m gonna mess up and that’s ok too. Get ready for the most pomTASTIC, authentic, and colorful year yet. 2019, I am READY for you!

NYC Weekend Getaway Guide

Start spreading the news…

I’ve been in NYC during every season except Christmas time. Needless to say Rockefellar tree, ice skating, Rockettes Christmas Specktacular, Sacs Light show, I wanted it all. So when I had vacation time to use, we decided to take our first trip together to NYC since I know my way around. Unfortunately, a week before our trip we had to adjust and reschedule our flight so we could attend a funeral. We also had to adjust to a rain soaked Sunday. But we still packed the weekend and checked some things off of our bucket list!

Saturday – The must do NYC staples.

You HAVE to see a show while in NYC. I don’t care if it’s a comedy show, off broadway, or on broadway… go see a show. This time, we saw Kinky Boots and let me tell you this show did not disappoint! We then took the opportunity after the show to do some NYC staples.

  • Times Square
  • Rockefeller tree
  • Sacs Fifth Ave Light Show

Sunday Rain check…It rained ALL DAY.

Sunday was our only full day in the city so we had big plans. But when the rain came rolling in, we needed to make some decisions.

  • Brunch with Madelyn
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Williamsburg hangz – bring on the Chipotle and “What do you Meme”

Mondays are for photoshoots

Brooklyn Bridge – We got there at 7:40 a.m. to try to avoid people. This has been a bucket list item forever and I am so damn jazzed about these pics. Cheers to the best instaboyfriend there ever was. Don’t worry! We shot some pics for his blog too. Check it out!

Washington Square Park – When I lived in NYC I spent a lot of time here so it was important for me to snag some pictures here. Of course, I had to include the best series of photos that happened from this trip while getting dive bombed by pigeons. This photo sequences is one of my all time favorites.

Color Factory – This was one of the highlights of our trip. Jake and I both loved how interactive and fun this was! I would add this to my “must do” list in NYC.

Can’t forget the outfit staple…the POM. Of course I packed a bunch for our trip. You can get yours on my Etsy page HERE.

Our favorite vegan eats:

I am not vegan but Jake is, so when wandering around NYC we needed to find places that were vegan friendly but also delicious. Check out his blog for more on how he traveled for the first time as a vegan!

Things you don’t know you’ll need when heading to NYC:

  • Dr. Schollz shoe inserts. These saved my feet when my dogs were barking.
  • Blister bandaids. I don’t travel anywhere without these anymore.
  • Small travel umbrella because you just never know.
  • Dramamine – Between flights and uber drives, I get super motion sick. I love traveling with this stuff just in case.
  • Venmo – I thought this was a “duh” but apparently Jake didn’t get the memo. It’s so helpful especially when you’re trying to keep things equal.

Things I learned traveling for the first time with Jake

  • I’m an asshole in the morning before coffee. (Sorry babe.)
  • Express your frustrations and your excitement and talk them out.
  • Ask if he’s hungry every hour and pack snacks.
  • I love traveling with an Eagle Scout. He packs like a tetris master and quickly adapts to his surroundings so we ALWAYS knew where we were between the two of us.
  • His patience balances me when I am unnecessarily anxious and frustrated. Thank god.