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!

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.


It’s Hey Allie’s FIRST BIRTHDAY!

“Go shorty…it’s ya birthday…!”

Holy Cow. Thank goodness for Facebook memories or I wouldn’t have known…one year ago I launched Hey Allie!

Let’s kick it off with a true #TBT…I started my blogging journey in high school when my dad helped me launch my thrift shop fashion blog, Three Dollar Fashion. Through college, I made my roommate shoot content in my tiny, dark dorm room on my cell phone. After my passion for that blog dwindled, I lost interest in blogging completely until after I graduated college.

To be frank, I totally stumbled upon the name “Hey Allie”. I’d been toying with the idea of relaunching a blog and was searching through available domain names and heyallie.com was available! I fell in love with it and thoughts of a brand swirled in my head. Little did I know, Hey Allie would allow me to morph into my truest, most authentic self. I didn’t meet my goal of blogging once a week….in fact…not even close. But I wouldn’t trade it for the incredible ladies I’ve connected with over the last year who truly inspire me everyday.

All of this to say…from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for supporting my little nebula brand. Thank you for following me, purchasing atomic pom earrings, liking my instagram posts, reaching out, and loving on me. I truly cannot wait for what’s to come on this journey. You can expect a ton of quirk and poms to come…buckle up buttercup. 

To celebrate Hey Allie’s First Birthday, enjoy FREE shipping and 10% off Etsy orders for the next week with code GOSHORTY

Video by Jacob Kujawa!

Create & Cultivate – Windy City Edition

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It’s hard to believe it’s already been almost two weeks since the Create & Cultivate conference in Chicago! Being in a room full hundreds of passionate women was both incredibly humbling and inspiring. Not to mention hearing from #bossladies like Ashley Tisdale, Whitney Port, Alli Webb, Jennifer Hudson, Olivia Rink and sooooo many more! Create & Cultivate certainly knows how to over manage the details from the cocktail hour and the instagramble wall installations down to the stickers on the floors. It was a dream. Start to finish. 

I walked in feeling uncertain about what I really wanted Hey Allie to be and what I thought the brand needed to look like. I left feeling refreshed, inspired, and reassured that I do, in fact, have something to offer. Here are a few of my biggest takeaways from this amazing event: 

“You can never be anyone but your beautiful self.” – Koya Webb, Squad Up Panel Discussion

We hear it all the time. But for several months, I realized I didn’t know what that looked like anymore. I was so consumed with this vision of what I thought I needed to be or what I thought was be acceptable. I forgot to recognize what makes me “me.”

 

First, I picked out the most “Allie” outfit I could possibly come up with – a pair of high waisted pink trousers, a polka dot top, and pom earrings. I was in my truest form, but also so far out of my comfort zone. But then I found myself feeling so confident and getting compliments on my outfit throughout the day. Look good, feel good, do good. Right?

 

Authenticity is everything. Now, I never leave the house without first asking “Ok, is this the most ‘Allie’ that this outfit can possibly be?” I want to make sure I am always projecting my truest self. Polka dots, pink pants, poms and all.

“Start with what you’re passionate about and then focus on what works” – Unknown, How to Monetize panel

I started the conference without a clear direction. I kept asking myself: Should I just focus on  just photography? Do I want to be considered a fashion blogger? What about my art? How does this all fit together? Listen sister…my greatest takeaway was this: Just DO the damn thing. Then you can focus on what’s working.

 

“There’s a reason horses race with blinders on” – Alli Webb, Founder of @Drybar, Keynote 

The only thing standing between you and your dreams is the WORK. Nothing is going to get handed to you. You have to hustle. Focus on YOU and your brand first and foremost. Don’t get hung up on what other people are doing. 

“Collaboration Over Competition” – Create & Cultivate

We met and listened so many incredible powerhouse women this weekend and I wanted to take a second to give a shout out to some of them so you can check out their work too!

Masayo Madison, The Letter Bea, Kaitlin Claywell, Champagne Getaway, Inspo and Co. 

 While you’re at it, grab yourself a copy of “Work Party” by Jaclyn Johnson and “You’re Not Lost” by Maxie McCoy. Super excited about these reads! 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wheels on the Bus…

It’s back to school season and the same quote keeps coming to mind.

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

I haven’t set foot in a classroom for almost 3 years but this couldn’t be a better time to think about all the things that school taught me and all the things I don’t use (looking at you algebra.) Bring in the tamagatchis, pink digital cameras, ipods nanos, Aeropostale bell bottom jeans, and sequin purses. Issa throwback! Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?

First grade: I was the new kid in the middle of the school year and an instant outcast.

Second grade: I was obsessed with Josie and the Pussycats. All I ever wanted was for my mom to flip my hair like hers and wear tiger print pants. I’ve never stopped rocking the winged eyeliner. Cameo by my little brother, Ryan. 

 

Third grade: I got in trouble most days for talking too much in class.

Fourth grade: I switched schools to attend the fine arts academy and was so terrified of having to make new friends again. I wept in the car after orientation and my mom looked at me and said “Well Allie…you just won’t go then” and that was the end of my tears. I was going damnit. Did I mention my mom cut my bangs? No? Ok here’s some proof. 

 

Fifth grade: Awkward phase coming in real hot. I quickly realized that I could NOT sing like the rest of my peers. So I squeezed a tennis ball for a week to prepare for auditions for the traveling puppet team. I made it and I’d never been so jazzed. My mom also reminded me that this was the year we were forced to watch “the birds and the bees” film and I curled up in her lap like a baby because I was traumatized. Cameo by my puppet, Tiffany, and my dad’s booty. 

 

Sixth grade: The glorious trifecta: Braces, glasses, and a middle part. Need I say more?

 

Seventh grade: I thought I was hot shit because I was on the spirit squad and could wear my uniform to school every Friday. I also tried to be emo for a minute. We all went there.

 

Eighth grade: I decided I was going to go to George Washington University Law School and become a senator. That was short lived after realizing I’d rather sweat ice cream than go into politics. I wrote a letter to my highschool self to open on graduation day including all of the things I wanted to accomplish in those 4 years.

 

Enter Highschool: A total blur of dancing, drama, my first serious boyfriend that I knew would be “the one” (thank GOODNESS I was wrong!) On graduation day, I opened the letter to find that I’d done all of the things I wrote in the letter. 

 

Then college happened. My years at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point were some I will never forget. I almost switched my major halfway through college, got my dream job on campus, and spent three months in New York City for an internship. I was allowed to be myself. In fact, being weird was suddenly really cool. I started attracting my tribe. Some of whom are friends that are now like family. I experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows. But I graduated with hope in my heart and excitement to take on the world.

 

So to my younger self on the first day of school,

It’s ok to be different. In fact, it’s the best thing you could ever do for yourself. Hold your head up high and know that the best is yet to come. Take each day, month, and year with strength and grace. Know that people will come and go and that you will always be loved no matter what. Everything will change. Yet somehow, some things never change. Always remember to be true to yourself. Your were made to stand out in the crowd even though you spent most of your life trying to fit in. Amazing things will happen when you are your truest you.

Inevitable Quirk

I find it easiest to break the ice by embarrassing myself in front of people I don’t know. Go big or go home as I always say! So you’re about to read some of the weirdest things about me. I’m all about the quirk. No shame.

I was on a traveling puppet team in elementary school. I took auditions very seriously squeezed a tennis ball for a week to strengthen my hand muscles. Commitment. 

80% of my memory capacity is taken up by song lyrics.

Aaron Carter was the first love of my life. I know how to pick em.

I’m growing a mean cat shirt collection. I’ve got big plans. 

Don’t turn on “Thriller” at a party and expect me to remain calm.

I can’t go a whole day without cleaning my ears. I know it’s bad for me and I’ll probably be deaf by 40.

I can recite the movie Elf effortlessly. I’ve seen it approximately 43,567 times.

I’m either late or I’m not coming. Plain and simple.

My burps often sound like baby pterodactyl barks. She is elegance and grace.

Few things bring me more joy than baby animal videos.

I can’t whistle. Doesn’t matter who tries to teach me. I’ve accepted it.

 

Embrace your quirks because perfect is boring. The world needs your authenticity!

That’s all for now on this premier episode. Tune in next time!

 

*Searched for available corgi puppies and watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s while writing this blog post*

P.S. I’ve watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s three times and I still couldn’t tell you the plot line.

 

“Palms are Sweaty, Knees Weak, Arms Are Heavy…”

I am going to be that girl that celebrates the “First Dateaversary” because I worked pretty damn hard for a long time to snag a date with this hunk. I’d been swooning over Jake for several months….longer than I’m willing to admit on record. I was the girl that sat in the back of class and admired him from afar, a stone cold fan girl. But he still hangs out with me – WIN.

To celebrate two years of adventures, I thought it might be fun to get our perspectives on our first date and share them with you…so here goes nothin’!

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HIS:

Driving to Fort Atkinson, WI for my first date with Allie was full of all kinds of emotions. I was terrified, nervous, cautious, and thrilled. This was the girl I had been talking with for months and the girl I had always wanted get to know. I knew she was fun and I knew I liked her but I couldn’t stop thinking about what could go wrong.

What if she doesn’t like me? What if she doesn’t like the show? What if she notices I completely sweat through my deodorant already?

When I parked my heart was already pounding. I couldn’t wait to see her. We had both driven 45 min for this first date and we hadn’t seen each other in awhile. I got out of my car I could feel myself getting hot and breathing faster. Every step started to shake a little more than the last.

After walking in and enjoying our meal, I found myself lost in conversations and laughter. The whole vibe felt effortless. It was fun, exciting, and all feelings of nervousness and cautiousness melted away. I had to pretend to like the nasty raspberry dessert cheesecake because she lit up when the waitress brought it to us–later to find out she hates cheesecake just as much as I do!

I wasn’t in the best stages of health but she never mentioned it.. She didn’t look at it as a definitive feature of my presence but rather looked straight through it–right to the core. I thought to myself: “This girl is something special.”

As we walked back to our cars I was dreading the goodbye. I didn’t want it to end. One thing will forever stick in my mind though.

While we tried to drag out the farewell as much as possible, I will never forget her squealing in excitement looking at a small hill on the edge of the parking lot that was full with dandelions. I leaned against the hood of my car–trying to act cool like Danny Zuko from Grease– watching this girl dance through the flowers. She twirled and smiled at me. In that moment, I knew that I had just witnessed the beginning of an extraordinary adventure.

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MINE:

Two years ago today, I put on this exact little black dress and my favorite shoes to go on a first date with my dream guy. I’d spent hours picking out the perfect outfit. I tore every dress out of my closet and got a pep talk from my mom.

 

We had this date planned for almost two months. Jake had made all the arrangements at a dinner theater in Fort Atkinson, WI. I didn’t know what to expect. I had never even heard of the show Sister Act so I Googled the plot beforehand.

I sang to Aaron Carter (the first love of my life) at the top of my lungs on the drive there to drown out the nerves. I was absolutely terrified. I have about as much game as a toaster and I hadn’t been on a date in over a year.

He showed up in a suit that was a little too big and it was the sweetest thing. Who wears a suit on the first date?! (Fellas, if you want to impress a girl, you wear a suit on the first date.)

He looked at me with excitement and admiration in a way that nobody had ever looked at me before. He was kind, chivalrous, and had the most calming presence. He made me feel important and valuable. Instead of taking control of conversation, he asked about me and truly cared about the answers. It didn’t feel forced or awkward and there was never a shortage of conversation or laughs.

I don’t remember anything about the show or what was said. But by golly I got the guy…5 months later!

I knew long before our first date that he was my person. This is just the beginning.