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Spin-Off

November 25, 2013 — 16 Comments

Polka dot sweater + pencil skirt // We So Thrifty

Polka dot sweater + pencil skirt // We So Thrifty

Polka dot sweater + layered necklaces // We So Thrifty

Polka dot sweater + pencil skirt // We So Thrifty

Let’s talk about that last photo for a second. If ever Kevin Williamson (creator of Dawson’s Creek and the Vampire Diaries – two of my more shameful Netflix binges as of late) were to craft a show for me to star in, this is the image they’d use. This particular image looks especially appropriate for a spin-off from a teen drama. Something comparable to J. Love’s ill-fated spin-off to Party of Five (why isn’t that on Netflix?).

This one would be called “Miss PhD”, and it’d be about a sassy doctoral candidate that leaves her small town troubles behind, and heads to the big city to pursue her PhD. Oh! Brainwave! On the original show, she breaks off a stifling engagement, and so on the poster for the spin-off, it would say “this time she’s doing the proposing” GET IT? Because she’ll be making a doctoral proposal? Nailed it. Her love interest would be a dashing young professor named Phil (‘cuz Dr. Philos), and she’d call him Dr. Phi—-ahhhhh that’s not going work. We’ll workshop that part.

I would also definitely be recast as Kristin Bell shortly after filming the pilot episode, but I’d get over that and then watch every episode before its inevitable first-season cancellation.

Either way, I obviously have to go make this poster now. Before that, though, I’ll just tell you that I thrifted this sweater from Talize for $7 and I think it’s great. The end.

…Or maybe it’s JUST THE BEGINNING.

Polka dot sweater + pencil skirt // We So Thrifty

Polka dot sweater // We So Thrifty

Sweater: Talize | $6.99
Necklaces: Salvation Army | $2.99 + Spring Shoes | $10

Skirt: Super old, Ricki’s I think?
Boots: $250.00 | The Boot Shop
Purse: Gift

Trade

November 11, 2013 — 4 Comments

Colour-blocked ponte dress// We So Thrifty

Colour-blocked ponte dress// We So Thrifty

Colour-blocked ponte dress// We So Thrifty

This dress is a gift from Jentine. Followers of hers will have heard the big news by now: Yen is starting a store. This is hugely exciting news all around – Yen is excited because she’s chasin’ dreams, Hamilton is excited because she’s got one of the best eyes for good vintage in town. The thing that sets Yen apart from many’a a shop owner and blogger, though, is not just her own fabulous personal style, but her knack for figuring out the style of others.

Take this dress an example: Have I ever stated my style manifesto to Yen? No. Have I ever given her a measurement or even a ball park size window? Nadda. But is this the third dress she’s hand picked for me that fits my closet and my body? Yep. She’s a magician, and we’re all going to be better dressed in Hamilton because of it.

When Yen sends me those glorious texts (“I found you a dress”) I never question a) that I’ll like it and b) that it will fit.  It always does. So I was grateful to have the opportunity to try to reverse the relationship this month, and attempt to  do something for her that she a) likes and b) fits.  No, no, I didn’t try to find her a dress. That would be like finding sunglasses for Anna Wintour or giving cookies to Santa. Wait a minute… ANYWAYS, what I’m saying is, over the passed few weeks, I’ve been designing the brand (logo, web, tags, cards) for Yen’s store, and I’m happy to say she’s been the easiest client in the history of clients. Basically, it’s gone like this:

Julie: Here’s your logo!
Yen: cats
Julie: Here’s what your blog should look like.
Yen: cats

Did I do an in-depth discovery session with Yen? No. Did she fill out a standard creative brief questionnaire? Nuh-uh. But did I land on something that reflects her vision? Yep! And, as the icing on the cake, I love it too. Fashion is her trade, design is mine, and when we trade them, heart-eyed cat emojis happen.

The details of Yen’s store will be spilling all over the internet in the new few weeks. We’re not at the reveal stage quite yet, but if you stare at the wall in these photos long enough, it’ll put you in a nice trance to pass the time. Meanwhile, I’ll be submitting a small addendum to Jessica’s Hische‘s otherwise flawless Should I Work For Free? Chart: Will you get free dresses that you’ll love forever and ever? Then by all means, get to work.

Colour-blocked ponte dress// We So Thrifty

Colour-blocked ponte dress// We So Thrifty

Dress: Yen
Necklace: Salvation Army | $4
Dickie: Salvation Army | $2

Feelin’ like Gold

October 31, 2013 — 1 Comment

Gold spray painted mason jars for Halloween or Christmas // We So Thrifty

Gold spray painted mason jars for Halloween or Christmas // We So Thrifty

Gold spray painted mason jars for Halloween or Christmas // We So Thrifty

Gold spray painted mason jars for Halloween or Christmas // We So Thrifty

Happy Halloween you Halloweirdos!

I hope you’re all having a glorious day filled with more tiny chocolate bars that you’ll ever admit to a single living soul. While I am currently decked out in a pretty sweet Starfleet uniform today, I’ve been celebrating the season of scary for a good 6 days already. On Friday night, I had my third annual Halloween party, and it was a hootenanny. Before the party, though, I spent a little time doing something I never do – I got kinda crafty, and not in the 1996 Neve Campbell way.

A few weeks back, I read this post from the lovely Meg over at Ginger Snaps, and I feel in love with those shiny little skull heads. I immediately wanted to spray paint all the things gold. I decided to forgo acts of vandalism (although how cool would gold stop signs be!?) and round up the small collection of jars accumulating in my cupboard – Classico jars, jam jars, apple sauce jars and an Arizona Green Tea bottle. I then taped some stripey designs over each of the jars, and paid a visit to Currys, my local arts supply store. A couple of coats later (Ok, just one coat, I’m lazy), and my old jars were transformed. I spray painted a few spiders, bought some tea lights, fresh princess lilies and gourds to finish the scene. Fun fact: that windowed backdrop is from my mom-in-law! She restores old things and makes them pretty again.

ANYSCHWAYS, I set up different various of jars and gourds around my living room for the party, and they perfectly tempered all the other tacky orange and black crap I hung up!

And while I’d like to say my costume was intentionally designed to coordinate to my decor, it was just happenstance that I too was decked out in gold for the party. I went as Vanna White, complete with a functioning wheel (again with the crafts!) and Matt was Pat Sajak. This costume was a stroke of genius because I got to thrift a sparkly dress from Salvation Army for $10, and Matt got to wear a suit. So we both basically went as ourselves.

My guests, though, took things to a whole ‘nother LEVEL. They, too, thrifted the majority of their costumes, and made the “Best Costume” award a particularly tight race this year. Really though? We all got to place dress up and eat candy, so I’d hardly say anyone lost.

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Pledge Season

October 25, 2013 — 8 Comments

Vintage plaid blazer + denim // We So Thrifty

Vintage plaid blazer + denim // We So Thrifty

Vintage Plaid Blazer + Denim // We So Thrifty

Vintage plaid blazer + denim // We So Thrifty

Vintage plaid blazer + fraternity pin // We So Thrifty

I did good at the thrift shop this weekend. Well, I suppose I should say I did well, but either way you say it, I left the store feeling quite satisfied. In one trip, I thrifted most of what I’m wearing today. I found this amazing, unworn vintage wool blazer for $3.50, and this Liz Clairborne denim tunic (okay okay – a dress for the normal-sized among us) for $5. If those prices seem crazy-good, it’s because I used my Salvation Army stamp card – 10 visits to the Salvation Army and your 11th visit is 50% off. I am both proud and horrified by how easy it was for me to amass 10 stamps. Most pleasingly, I think these two items are new closet favourites separately, but also work quite well together. I completed the look with some antique fair jewelery, and my trusty Ralph Lauren leather belt from the Bibles for Missions. The item that gives this outfit its story, though, is the smallest one – the pin on my left.

This pin isn’t from the thrift store. This pin is from my jewellery box. It was, until recently, one of those items I never thought about. However, it caught my eye in a burst of organizational behaviour a few weeks ago, when I pulled it out of the dark corners of my jewellery box to the messy chaos of my coffee table. I hazily recalled it coming from from my grandma’s jewellery box, shortly after she passed away in 2007, but it never came with any details. It sat on the coffee table for a few more days, and I’d occasionally pick it up and twirl it around during commercial breaks. I thought I’d wear it someday and feel like I belonged to the house of Ravenclaw (but that doesn’t make any sense, because we all know I’d be a Gryffindor).

Once I finally l took a closer look, though, I saw a rough-but-clear inscription on the back – “Lambert P. Konyndyk” – my grampa, who passed away nearly 13 years ago. Upon this discovery, I showed the pin to Matt, to see if he had any insights. He then made me feel rather embarrassed for not recognizing this pin for what it so obviously was – a fraternity pin! I didn’t know where my Grandpa went to university, much less his frat house. But I knew my dad grew up (mostly) in the Michigan area, so the University of Michigan was the obvious contender for its origins. I then deciphered the Greek symbols (thanks, Internet!), and discovered that my grandpa was at some point a member of Phi Alpha Kappa at the University of Michigan.

Rather excited by my discovery, I made a call to my Dad, and he filled in all the gaps: Grandpa went to the University of Michigan for his first (of two!) masters degrees. His initially completed his masters in education at Michigan, and later returned to school (in his 50s!) at the University of Ohio for a second masters in economics of education. This, of course, prompted a few more stories from dad about that move to Ohio, alongside other memories about Grandpa and Grandma that I hadn’t heard before. This pin was a little piece in the big story about two people I still miss very much.

I love old things from the thrift store. I love old things from my family even more.

Vintage plaid blazer + denim // We So Thrifty

Vintage plaid blazer + denim // We So Thrifty

Blazer: Salvation Army | $3.50
Denim Tunic: Salvation Army | $5
Necklace: Christie’s Antique Fair | $5
Purse: Talize | $9
Belt: Bibles for Missions | $0.99

Ahoy!

October 4, 2013 — 7 Comments

Nautical dress // We So Thrifty

Nautical dress // We So Thrifty

Nautical dress // We So Thrifty

It’s October!

Remember all that resistance I outlined in previous posts about gettin’ in the Fall spirit? All gone. Bring me all the pumpkin spice you have. All of it. And while you’re at it, please make me this.

Seeing as we’re less than 30 days away from my favourite fright night, Halloween, I thought it’d be cool to showcase different easy, thrifted Halloween costumes. But since I never plan anything that far in advance, this is probably the only one you’ll get. This 100% thrifted ensemble was pulled together for my friend Sandra’s 30th birthday. She lives at an old apartment in Hamilton that actually says “The Anchor” on the front door (maybe it used to be a pub for sailors weary from their travels on Lake Ontario?). Given this appropriate location, and Sandra’s love for the high seas, she hosted a nautical theme party.

Initially, I thought I could easily pull something together from what I already have. I’ve dressed like a sailor by accident and by design on many’an occassion. But my sister also needed some nautical wears, so I gave her my sailor shorts, and headed to the thrift store the day before the party. Risky, I know, but I’m a sailor. Not TWO MINUTES into my trip, I pulled out this vintage dress (with the red belt!) and tried it on. $8 later, I was ready to tighten up the cunningham, despite having no idea what that means. I finished the look with these $2 clip on earrings (because if you can’t wear tacky clip-ons to a theme party, then when can you?), and a scarf from Deja Vu on King Street in Hamilton that I’ve had for years.

The night was a success on all counts: a photobooth, dance party, snacks, and more stripes than a chain gang from O’ Brother Where Art Thou. And since we weren’t actually on a boat, nobody pulled a Rachel:

Nautical dress // We So Thrifty

Nautical dress // We So Thrifty

Dress: Salvation Army | $8
Scarf: Deja Vu | $2
Earrings: Salvation Army | $2
Purse: Clothing Swap | $0.50
Shoes: Talize | $10

Rainy Day Women

September 26, 2013 — 15 Comments

Maxi dress + denim jacket // We So Thrifty

Maxi dress + denim jacket // We So Thrifty

Maxi dress + denim jacket // We So Thrifty

Antique jewellery + denim jacket // We So Thrifty

I haven’t blogged in a while, but that’s a good thing. If I had kept up with a 1-2 entries per week schedule, this would be the third entry that features this maxi.  I scored this Rachel Pally dress at the Salvation Army 4/$15 sale a few weeks ago, and I’ve worn it preeeeeetty much everyday. I wear it on the weekends, I wear it on the weeknights, I’ve worn it to church, I’ve worn it to the grocery store. It is, apparently, the one item my closet was missing, and now my closet is still technically missing it because it’s on my body all the time.

This dress is just another reason why I love thrift shopping. Had I ever heard of Rachel Pally before? No. Would I have? Not likely. But am I grateful to know there exists a woman who has devoted her life to making comfort stylish? Yes, yes I am. Now that I  have a chic maxi dress supplier, all I need is for someone to make cheese sticks healthy and I will no longer want in life.

My enthusiasm over this dress is obvious. So why did I take so long to put it on the blog? Eh, mostly because wearing a tent of jersey makes me want to eat those unhealthy cheese sticks and watch TV. But also because every time I’ve worn it out of the house, it’s rained. Not just piddly-widdly rain: pouring, constant, ain’t-no-outfit-photos-happening-today, rain. Now that this entry has finally come together, though, I hope you’ll agree it was worth the wait.

The first time I attempted outfit photos in this maxi was a few weeks ago at a massive antique fair with Yen. It rained so hard, though, all I got was a lousy selfie. HOWEVER, that rainy-day excursion resulted in the two lovely necklaces you see me wearing today, bought from a soaked antique vendor for $5 each. So, it’s a good thing I waited.

The second time I wore this dress out with the intention of an outfit post was, again, with Yen for a little vintage shopping in Hamilton’s International Village. I wore my two new necklaces from our previous outing, and brought an umbrella. The rain came, and didn’t leave, but we were able to take shelter long enough to get some photos.

…And we had company.

Right before we started snapping, Yen noticed a poor little squirrel who had also decided to take refuge under the bus terminal, but had grossly overestimated his tight-rope abilities. Friends, I have taken a lot of photos in my day, but I don’t think I’m over-stating it when I say this is one of my best.

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jessesquirrel

LOOK AT HIM! HE’S SOOOO CUTE! AND HE LOOKS SO SILLY!

Real talk: all the junk I wrote in this post previously was just to get to this point. This baby squirrel is adorable. I don’t know what his name is but I hope he’s ok. You see, just as Yen heroically grabbed the bag that housed her new (and poofy) vintage purchase to soften his inevitable fall, his little hands (claws?) slipped off the wire and he took a tumble. He missed Yen’s makeshift landing pad by a couple of feet, and scampered off to a corner where he basically just hyperventilated to himself until the weird blonde ladies left him alone. Before we headed back out into the rain, he was feeling good enough to growl at us, which we took as a good sign. I promised Yen he would be OK, and she claims she hasn’t gone back to look for him yet, but I have my doubts.

Funny, huh? When I started this post it was all “quality comfort maxi dresses hooray!” and then it took a crazy twist and now you’re reading about a tight-rope walking squirrel. Who saw that coming? This entry has more twist and turns than next week’s Breaking Bad finale. And now I’m talking about Breaking Bad! Man. Who knows what’s next? Open forum.

Before things get further out of hand (claw?), let’s recap this route of the crazy train and call it a day. Maxi dresses, especially when thrifted, are nice. Rain is not so nice, but rain might lead you to antique necklaces and adorable squirrel photos, and that adorable squirrel might go through some tough times but we all hope he’ll be OK in the end, just like…JESSE PINKMAN.

…I think my squirrel friend has a name now.

Maxi dress + denim jacket // We So Thrifty

Antique jewellery + denim jacket // We So Thrifty

Dress: Salvation Army | $3.75
Necklaces: Christie’s Antique Fair, $5 each
Purse: Talize | $7
Jacket: Talize | $12.99
Shoes: Talize | I forget.

Vintage crop top // We So Thrifty

Vintage crop top // We So Thrifty

Vintage crop top // We So Thrifty

Vintage crop top // We So Thrifty

Have you guys ever done karaoke? That’s a dumb question. Of course you have. It’s, like, the best. Although, my own experiences behind the microphone up until last weekend weren’t particularly memorable. In college, we’d occasionally frequent a pool hall with a group so large, I’d *maybe* join the stage for the chorus of Summer Lovin’. More often, no one would join the stage because the karaoke master would monopolize the microphone, singing songs to keep her country starlet dreams alive.

I’m happy to say, though, that’s all changed. Last weekend, my lovely sister Adele turned 30. So, we celebrated. We went to Toronto for dinner, and a karaoke bar for dessert (figurative dessert: we ate the gift of music?). Memories (and incriminating videos) were made that night, my friends. It was the right group, the right atmosphere, and the right mix of gin and tonic. That said, before I went on stage for my first number, I had to muster up a bit of bravado. I had to realize how bad I’d sound, accept how stupid I might look, and be totally OK with all of it it. The fact that my sisters were alongside with me made that part easy.

It was also easy because I had already mustered up my fair share of courage before I even left the house that day. I know, I know, crop tops aren’t the “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” piece they were two years ago. But it still look me a while to adjust to that teeny strip of tummy. Obviously, that’s a bit silly, because this outfit is comparatively modest to everything else spotted in T.O. that night, but I still had to give myself a pep talk. Vintage crop-top combos aren’t anybody’s usual wear, but a few examples on Pinterest (like here, here, and here) gave me the push I need. So, I committed.

I don’t have any regrets on either front. This outfit is a strong contender for my favourite of the summer, and between the 13 of us at the karaoke bar, we made some inspired selections. My sisters and I relived all the joy of the late 90s with Third Eye Blind, my bro-in-law proved he knows all the words to Ice Ice Baby, my friends did an *actually good* rendition of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, and the birthday girl was sufficiently embarrassed by being forced to sing Jump Around, a song that is not even remotely suited for karaoke. Heck, even my husband sang. Courage was courageous (…and on tap).

I don’t think it will ever be possible re-create the magic mix that happened in Toronto that night, but at least it’s wholly achievable to wear this look again. Hey, I can always sing in the shower.

Vintage crop top // We So Thrifty

Crop-top combo (what do I call this? A suit? Separates? Please advise): Salvation Army | $15 (Thanks to Yen for cropping ma top!)
Necklace: Salvation Army | $3
Purse: Talize I think? | $7
Shoes: Spring Shoes

The Dog Days are Over

September 5, 2013 — 11 Comments

Vintage gingham + seafoam // We So Thrifty

Summer's end // We So Thrifty

Vintage gingham + seafoam // We So Thrifty

Picnic wear // We So Thrifty

Picnic basket // We So Thrifty

Oh, nuts.

I’ve been trying very, very hard to deny the arrival of fall. Usually I’m all “BRING ON THE PUMPKIN FLAVOURED SCARECROW LEAVES!” or something, but for some reason, I can’t muster up the usual cinnamon spiced-enthusiasm. But I think I’m going to have to board the hay ride sooner rather than later, because as I view the photos posted above, I can’t deny the “final days of summer” vibe they’re giving me.

The context largely contributes to that . Yen snapped these photos at a picnic in the park two weeks back. She prepared some Korean sushi, and we brought along our Matts for the final Seven Sundays concert in Gage Park. She knew this was the last chance we’d have to sit in front of that gorgeous seafoam band shell (colour-coordination accidental!), and I now have to admit that it was probably my last picnic of the year. The roses will keep wilting, the sun will set earlier and earlier, and the nights will soon call for sweaters instead of vintage gingham.  Don’t get me wrong: if we do encounter a mid-October heat wave, I’ll break out the cut-offs and margarita mix like it’s July 31, but warm nights like the one in these photos will soon be a rarity rather than the norm.

Since I’ve come to terms with summer’s inevitable demise, I’m glad that I big adieu to it in the right way: I can hardly think of a more “YAY PICNIC! YAY SUMMER!” outfit than the one I’m wearing. I picked up this (reversible) gingham top from New Olds on James Street for $10, this skirt is the summeriest of colours, and I finally got to use this way-too-cute picnic basket my Mom thrifted years ago. It’s like I conducted a mini-purge of my most-summeriest items.

So long, sweet summer. I totally get why Dashboard Confessional got all emo about you. Sing us out, boys.

Vintage gingham // We So Thrifty

Roses are pink // We So Thrifty

Top: New Olds | $10
Skirt: Salvation Army | $5.99
Shoes: Salvation Army | $3.99
Basket: Mom

Kapow!

August 28, 2013 — 14 Comments

Bright lace over bold florals // We So Thrifty

90s Kelly Kapowski dress // We So Thrifty

Bright lace over bold florals // We So Thrifty

The other day, a co-worker of mine suggested that it’s much too early for 90s nostalgia. I wasn’t even a part of the conversation, but very nearly spit cold afternoon coffee all over my desk in my rush to promptly correct him.  l informed him, on behalf of millennials everywhere (and, well, the Internet) that he’s dead wrong. All he’d need to do is spend ten minutes on Buzzfeed or Hello Giggles, and he’d see the appetite for the 90s (and early 2000s, even) is stronger than ever. Stronger than yesterday. Now it’s nothing but my way. My lonliness ain’t….WHOOPS I’M BRITNEY-ING AGAIN. See? The force is strong. Just ask Terri or this chick.

Anyways, If I were to offer an objective suggestion for the rule that would allow one to wax nostalgic about a certain decade, I’d say that once clothing from that decade starts selling in vintage shops, wax away. I picked up this 90s mini from the lovely Girl on the Wing in Hamilton a few months ago, and it’s a straight-up Zack n’ Kelly Dress. What is a Zack n’ Kelly dress? It’s what my sister Laura and I would call our Barbie dresses that were particularly snazzy, worthy of being worn by Kelly and adored by Zack. I have very vivid memories of demanding “MY TURN WITH THE ZACK ‘N KELLY DRESS!”

My own Zack n’ Kelly dress is floral, bright, and, thankfully, not quite short enough to send me to Mr. Belding’s office. But even so, I can say with some certainty that Kelly Kapowski would’ve rocked dress all the way into the college years. I’ve already offered my personal favourite Saved by the Bell moments on this blog back in 2012, so I think I’ll just leave it at that.

Sigh, remember 2012? Good times.

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90s Kelly Kapowski dress // We So Thrifty

Bright lace over bold florals // We So Thrifty

Bright lace over bold florals // We So Thrifty

Dress: Girl on the Wing | $40
Lace Shirt: Salvation Army | $5.99
Shoes: Talize | $9.99
Purse: Clothing Swap | $0.50

Into the Woods

August 16, 2013 — 9 Comments

 

woods

Friends, a few weeks ago, Yen and I had some fun in the woods, and I like the pictures too much to confine them to the 580 pixel limit of this blog. So, I posted a full spread over on my design blog (in all their 710-pixel-glory!), as well as a few thoughts on work, play and striking that delicate balance. Have a look, and have yourself a splendid weekend.