Got it at Goodwill: Steve Madden Shoes

As I mentioned Friday, I decided to walk to Goodwill so that I wouldn’t be tempted to buy too much. I could only take home what I could carry, although I was reminded on Twitter that you can carry a lot if you really want to! Several items did tempt me, like this awesome chair.

I know the fabric is dated, but it was super comfortable and in great shape, and only $30.
I’m not sure what this thing is, but it’s definitely cool! 
At first I thought it was a plant stand, but now I wonder if it’s a stand for a gigantic globe? It looks too fancy for plants!

I almost carried this home for $4. It’s a vintage diagram of helicopter systems. I sent Brian a picture of it and asked him if he wanted it. He asked me how big it was, and we decided it was too big to carry home. Besides, we’re hesitant to get too much more stuff, since we plan to move in September. 

But the shoes I could not resist. 

 I tried on a black pencil skirt and three pairs of black heels. One pair of heels were too big, one was too high, and one was just right!

This sunny floral dress caught my eye.

I decided against it, since it was a few sizes too big. At the time, I didn’t feel up to another dress re-make, especially trying to navigate making the fitted bodice fit. Once I got home and looked at this picture of it, I kicked myself for not getting it. The fabric is awesome! It would have made a great skirt, or at least some really darling pillows!

Since I’m the “puppet master” for our church’s summer Bible program, I bought some assorted toddler clothes for the puppets. Those clothes and the shoes were all I had to carry home.

Kopek approves. 

I paid $5.99 for these. I’m pleased!

What’s the latest greatest thing you’ve found from thrifting? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Check out other thrifting sprees at Simple Design. 

My Thrifty Dress Re-Make

I’m famous! Well, at least, I feel like it!

Saturday, the lovely Marisa from New Dress A Day featured my dress re-model. I took it from this $5 Goodwill dress:

To this summery frock:

Check out the full post for how I did it, and while you’re there, check out all of Marisa’s amazing creations! With $365, she creates 365 outfits. You’ll love her thrifty finds and her sense of humor!

Hmm, this might just be the perfect dress to wear to a Memorial Day barbecue this evening! Brian and I  are planning to spend the evening with some friends of ours, so the guys can talk and we ladies can scrapbook.

While I’m all for enjoying the day off, remember that Memorial Day is more than sales and good food. Take time today to thank those who have served, remember those that have given their lives, and pray for those who are in harms way.

pleated poppy

Treasure Hunt: Goodwill Shopping Haul

I went to find three skirts and two pairs of jeans; four hours later, I almost left with Kenneth Cole shoes and a chandelier. And I did leave with $342.96 in estimated savings. 
This was my most epic Goodwill trip yet. You might remember my other posts about Goodwill shopping when we lived in an apartment with a Goodwill just down the street. I was really sad when we moved away, but last November, a brand-new Goodwill opened just down the street from our house! Saturday was the first time I’d had a chance to check it out. 
I was looking for three skirts in denim or khaki to wear on the missions trip to Mexico I’m planning to go on in March. They have a dress code, and my only denim skirt isn’t long enough, and skinny jeans aren’t allowed, hence the two pairs of jeans. 

Once I filled my cart with skirts, I headed to the dressing room. On the way, a few shirts and shoes caught my eye, so I took them along with me.

None of the skirts really worked for me, unfortunately. But check out these nude heels!

I looked online, and Kenneth Cole leather heels range around $178 new. These were in excellent condition, no scuffs or scratches, but used, and were $5. Unfortunately, they didn’t fit me. So I put them back. 

These actually did fit me, and they were very comfortable. They looked unworn, and I recognized the brand, ecco, but I didn’t know how much they were worth. I kinda wish I’d bought them, because I looked them up online, and ecco tennis shoes are around $120 new. 

On my way back to the skirt aisle, I spotted the chandelier. It was metal, no crystals, but a beautiful elegant leaf design. It just needed a coat of white paint and some distressing, and it would be good to go. For $12, I almost bought it. But, I decided that since we live in a rental house with no where to put it, it probably wasn’t the best idea. Brian agreed.

But enough about what I didn’t buy. After I filled my cart for the second time, I was more successful. Here’s what I did get:

This scarf first caught my attention because it felt higher quality than many of the others. Then I noticed the signature.
I hadn’t heard of “Ralfeaux” before, but a little sticker left on the scarf from a garage sale said “Designer.” 

For 99 cents, it was definitely worth it. I looked up Ralfeaux, and found out that this scarf is probably a vintage designer scarf worth around $15. 

I finally found a skirt! I looked it up and found an identical one at Target for $24.99. I paid $4.99.

If you know me, you might have notice how much I love stripes. I caught a glimpse of this tee in passing, and when I saw it was my size and since yellow tags were half off, it was in my cart before you could blink.
Similar Old Navy Tee, $14. Price for this Old Navy tee, $2.50
At first I thought these would make good work jeans for our projects during the mission trip. But now I’m not so sure. 
These army green pants were SO comfortable, they’re flared and a little loose fitting. And, they are New York and Company brand, and while I couldn’t find any similar pants online, New York and Company sale jeans go for around $30. These were half off, so I paid about $3.50.
Ok, here’s the REALLY exciting part. Speaking of New York and Company, I also bought this blazer.

 It’s in excellent condition, and fit me well. I’ve been looking for a well-fitting blazer for quite some time.

It is a New York and Company blazer, and I actually found the identical one online, for $69.95. I paid $7.99!

I couldn’t decide between that blazer and this one, so I bought them both. It’s a little wrinkled in this picture.

I first noticed the unique stitching and buttons, and then I noticed that the sizes were in European and American. I knew that was a good sign.

And then I saw the brand. It’s a Zara blazer. I was first introduced to this brand by Wendy’s Lookbook fashion blog, and when I looked online, Zara’s black blazers cost between $89 and $99. This one had a yellow tag, so it was half off. I got it for $4.

I also scored a pair of GAP 1969 “Essential” jeans. I looked them up online too, and they sell for $69.99. I paid $7.99. 

And then, THEN. I spotted this little basket!

Blogger still likes to randomly put my pictures sideways

 So cute! I knew it would be perfect for my friend’s wedding next summer. She liked the idea of a little suitcase type box for the wedding cards.

It’s a picnic basket!
The dishes are white plastic, and they’re cute too. I found a similar one on Etsy, with green plaid inside, for $65.95.  I paid $10 for this one.
So let’s summarize all this goodness. 
Vintage Designer Scarf, paid $0.99                Valued: $15
Denim Skirt from Target, paid $4.99              Valued at $24.99
Old Navy Tee, paid $2.50                             Valued at $14
New York and Company pants, paid $3.50   Valued at $30
New York and Company blazer, paid $7.99  Valued at $69.99
Zara blazer, paid $4.00                                  Valued at $95
GAP jeans, paid $7.99                                   Valued at $69.99
Picnic basket, paid $10.00                              Valued at $65.95
Total spent: $41.96     Total value: $384.92

Now, that’s what I call epic!!! 

I told Brian after I finally checked out, “I think I could make a nice income finding designer and high quality items at Goodwill and selling them for more on ebay.”

“Well, why don’t you then?” He asked.

What do you think? If I sold the Zara blazer for even half of a comparable Zara blazer, for maybe $50, I’d still make quite a bit from it, considering that I bought it for $4. What do you think? Should I go into business? If anything, maybe it could fund my penchant for shoe collecting!

A penny for your thoughts? To leave a comment, click on “Links to this Post” below.

How To Shop Savvy

In a poll on the Scribbles From Emily facebook page, the majority of you said that your biggest hangup when it comes to fashion is that it’s too expensive. Agreed. When I saw that this sweet little silk dress costs a whopping $1,169, I almost choked. But that’s the sale price, it’s 65% off the original $3,340.

Floral-print plissé silk-chiffon dress by Luisa Beccaria
Luisa Beccaria Floral Print Dress on The Outnet

So yes, fashion can be very, very, VERY expensive. But it doesn’t have to be.

You just have to be a savvy shopper.

Today I’m going to share with you my top tips for shopping savvy, both online and in store. 
1EbayI just recently discovered the addicting joys of eBay shopping! After a few attempts, I won an auction of 12 new with tags or new without tags Old Navy tops for $30. Through Groupon, I got a $15 eBay gift card for $7 a week or so earlier, so with the shipping included, the final price came to $24, $2 per shirt! There is SO MUCH on there that it can be overwhelming, so here’s a couple excellent how to posts that will get you started. 

    • How to Shop on eBay from Already Pretty. I read this post before I got started, and it helped tremendously. Especially the tip about making sure you don’t bid more than you can pay, especially if you’re bidding on more than one item at a time!
    • How to Bid, Win, and Save on Ebay from Haute Lunch. I read this post after I’d started eBay shopping, and Tara shares some great reasons to use eBay, as well as some new tips that I’ve found to be very helpful. 

2. Ebates. I first heard of ebates through the Frugal Living blog community. When you navigate to stores through the links on the ebates site, you can earn “cash back” on your purchases. If you’re going to buy something online anyway, it makes sense! It’s easy to sign up, and almost every store imaginable is on there, including eBay! I haven’t used it much, and so far I only have 9 cents coming to me. But I’ve heard from a lot of other bloggers who have saved big time using it. In addition to cash back, ebates also lets you know of sales and special coupon offers for around 1,200 stores.

3. Store Websites. I have found that sometimes stores put merchandise on sale that you won’t find in the the store. Also, many times they offer special discounts and web exclusive sales. So if there’s a store I really enjoy going to, I always visit their website.

4. Email Lists. If I really like a store, I sign up for their emails. Yes, it’s one more thing cluttering up my inbox, but some stores offer exclusive email coupons, such as 50% off at Modcloth, or 40% off your entire order at LOFT. And my favorite, free jewelry with any purchase from Charlotte Russe. I love the emails from Francesca’s Collections, not only because they always have big coupon discounts, but because they’re so pretty! They’re almost like scrapbook pages.

5. Amazon. Did you know there’s actually a lot of clothing for sale on I didn’t until I started reading fashion blogs, and over and over, people mentioned getting items on Amazon. The bonus of shopping here over eBay is that you don’t have to bid (even though on eBay you sometimes have a “Buy it Now” option too). Since there’s a lot to sort through, make your search as specific as you can. I’ve used Amazon to find a particular color of tank that I just can’t find in stores. Plus, if you use Swagbucks, you can earn $5 Amazon gift cards just by searching with the swagbuck search bar. 

In Store
1. Goodwill. Ok, so you all know that I’m a big fan of Goodwill. Sometimes I approach Goodwill as a hunter: I look for specific things, such as a ladle or spice rack. But other times I go as a gatherer: I browse the housewares looking for unique objects, I browse accessories and shoes, and I dig through jewelry looking for vintage finds. Now I always look through the dresses, and sometimes other clothing items catch my eye. I do not walk each row and sort through all the tops and bottoms. That’s just overwhelming to me. I only venture in there if I’m hunting for a specific top or bottom. Many Goodwills have weekly sales on a certain color of tag or a certain week number, and sometimes everything in the store is 50% off on Saturdays. Keep an open mind when you go, and you’ll be amazed at what you find. 

2. Consignment stores. Sometimes these are similar to Goodwills, but usually they sell nicer items, and sometimes they sell brand names only. To find shops in your area, look through your phone book, or try One of the benefits to shopping at consignment stores is that you can also sell your clothes there. That way you can make a little shopping money.

Here’s a great post on shopping at thrift stores: 
Rebecca Van Ommen/Lifesize/Getty Images
3. Estate sales/Garage Sales. Here in Arizona it seems that garage sales run year round, except when it’s really hot in the summer. I have yet to go to a garage or estate sale when I actually have money to spend, but I hope to soon. I’ve heard so many stories from other bloggers about the amazing vintage finds they get at estate sales. Garage sales often run cheaper than Goodwill, and many times they are a great place to buy children’s clothes or maternity clothes. 

4. End of season sales. When the first daffodils are finally blooming, who really feels like shopping for sweaters? Not me. But, that’s when I find the lowest prices!  Each season, stores come out with their new lines, and the old ones go on sale. The longer you wait, the lower the price. I watch the store emails I get, since they always announce their new seasons, and then I know it’s time. Sometimes I might not get to wear it until next year, but then it’s always a nice surprise to get it out and wear it for the first time. I’ve bought a few Anthropologie sweaters this way; I’ve paid $20 for sweaters that would otherwise cost upwards of $80. While it can be hard to feel in the mood for buying off season clothes, get in the mindset of gathering, not hunting, and I think you’ll be very pleased with the prices you’ll find. 

I know this is just scratching the surface of being a thrifty shopper, so feel free to share your best tips in the comments, or even share links to posts on the subject. How do you save money on your shopping? What’s the best bargain you’ve bought recently?

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Dresses from Shabby Apple

Before and After: Re-decorating My Apartment

When I said re-decorate, I thought we could maybe hang a few more pictures. I had the living room at a happier, more matching place than it had been in for a while. But, deep down I knew I didn’t like it. The colors in our couches are navy, green, gold, and a purple-ish burgundy. Deep in my soul, I craved serene and calming colors, like blue.

When my mom and sister visited, they didn’t stop at hanging a few pictures. They overhauled the living room, dining room, and the bedrooms. And, they re-decorated my living room with blue and white! 

Way Before
This is how I had my fireplace decorated originally, after we first moved in. 
Then I got this trike at Goodwill, the blue pot from Anthropologie, and the stems from the Dollar store.
This is one side of the fireplace. Both of those picture frames were empty for a long, long time.

This is the fireplace decorated for Christmas.
Mom used the wooden letters I bought at Goodwill, and a picture collage I hadn’t found a place for and replaced the butterfly. 
Then we took down the Valentine’s Day banner, the things in the corners, and got rid of the old bottle I was using for my green twigs. Then we took down the Christmas lights and replaced the twigs. We moved some flowers from the guest room to the trike, and got some plate stands. This is how it looked after we were done: 
The light-up orchid branches make up the Christmas lights!
Every time I took at it, it makes me so happy! I love those branches, and the vase. The branches came from a decor store just down the street, and the vase came from Pier 1. 
This was before we took down the Christmas lights, so pretend they aren’t there. 
I’d like to add some greenery to the corners, something like these topiaries from Simply Designing.
Simply Designing
This is our coffee table. The glass decanter is from Pier 1, the red beads inside are from the dollar store, the marble bust is a Christmas present from my parents, and the rose was a Valentine’s Day present from Brian. I used a recycled bottle for a vase. The candle and candle holder are both from the dollar store.
These blue and white balls came from Pier 1 and were $3 each. The tray was a wedding present, and the pebbles were leftover from wedding decorations. I picked out the reed diffuser for Mom and Evi because they needed something to reach $30 at Pier 1 so they could use a $10 off coupon. I picked it because it was blue and on clearance for $3 and mom decided it looked good on my coffee table. The scent is Bombay Blue, and it fits so well!
This is one of the desks we got off Craig’s List. I eventually moved that picture closer to the one from my in-laws, like the picture of the couch below shows. 
Guess where we found this blue toile slipcover? Goodwill! 
We also got a pillow there for $1 and slid it underneath to make the seat more comfortable. 
This is an old picture actually, because I moved the picture thats on top of the black bookshelf to the guest room, and put the simplicity cement saying there instead. And I had finally put pictures in the frames. 
This is how it looked after we moved some things from the fireplace over and added a little greenery. Much better!
Here’s our couch, with matching purple lamps. Above the couch is our Wedding/Graduation present from my in-laws, a beautiful painting of a couple by the ISU campanile, and then two wedding photos. 

This was perfect, because the butterfly got to stay in the living room. It looks nice with the couch too. 
The blue jay painting was painted by Brian’s great-grandmother.

This painting is of an amusement park in Iowa, Arnold’s Park. It’s by the same artist as the campanile painting that was in the living room, P. Buckley Moss. 
Adding three things to this wall has a lot more impact and looks more put together than one lone picture. 

Now both pictures by the same artist are together! And, the big campanile picture fills the wall better. The green mat looks nice with our bedspread and curtains too.

Great-gram’s painting is above the dresser now, as is the brown clock I got at Goodwill. And yes, there are two clocks, because the brown one matches, but it runs half and hour behind no matter what. This still needs some work, but it’s getting there. 
I think mom and Evi did a fantastic job. We actually didn’t buy a lot of new stuff, just the things from Pier 1. Mostly we decorated with what I already had. If you’d like to do the same, I wrote a post with 12 ways to decorate with what you already have!
Have you ever majorly re-decorated? Have you ever asked for help with decorating? How did that turn out?

Got it at Goodwill: Three Thrifty Outfits for $10 Each

I was window shopping online, and completely captivated by the lovely vintage and oh-so feminine dresses at Modcloth. It’s one of my favorite places to window shop. Now, their dresses are reasonably priced, especially when they’re on sale, and I had $30 of my spending money saved up. I debated between dresses, and suddenly, inspiration struck.

Why not go to Goodwill, pick out a real vintage dress there, and modernize and remodel it to fit me, New Dress A Day style? If you’re not familiar with Marissa’s site, you should go take a look. You’ll get addicted to browsing all the hideous before and adorable after pictures, and her sense of humor! The best part is that she shows you how she makes the transformations. With 365+ tutorials to follow along with, it can’t be too hard for me to do the same, right?

So I took my $30 to Goodwill to see what I could get.

Outfit #1
I found my first outfit almost right away. A coral colored skirt caught my eye. It was the high waisted type that you wear above your belly button with a big belt, so I looked for a suitable top. I found a beautiful pink flowered one and a plain white shirt. I threw both in my cart, but after I tried them on, I decided on the plain white one because it was half off.

As I passed the shoes, these turquoise pumps jumped out at me. Turquoise and coral are one of my favorite combinations. I found a matching belt in new condition, AND a matching silk scarf.

I’m just not quite sure how to wear the scarf, hence the cheesy model pose. 
The white shirt needs to be sewn up the sides to make it a couple sizes smaller, but otherwise, this outfit is good to go. 
  • Shoes-$3.99
  • Belt-$5.99
  • Scarf- $4.99
  • Shirt-$2
  • Skirt-$2.50

Outfit #2
I remembered the real reason I’d come: finding dresses. So I left the separates and headed to the dress racks in the back of the store.

I tried really hard to stay away from the nice dresses. I loaded my cart with some of the most hideous and frumpy dresses you can image, because I was looking through New Dress A Day rose colored glasses. Unfortunately, dresses here are $10 each, not $1 like Marissa’s. $10 is really overpriced when you look at some of these dresses. Seriously.

I only had $30, and with the cost of my accessories, I couldn’t afford to get the dresses that weren’t half off. By the time I went to the dressing room, my cart was heaped high with options. It was really, really, hard to narrow them down, but finally I decided on two. 

There were two yellow dresses I liked, but this one doesn’t really require any remodeling, so it’s the one I chose. I’m wearing it with the turquoise accessories, but I think it would look good with white too for a more Easter-y look. 
Here’s a close up, so you can see the fabric. It’s got a really cute texture. If you have any ideas for dressing it up or adding something to it, let me know! What do you think about adding a few little buttons on the front, right under the high waist? Or maybe a bow, like this dress?
Canary Islands Dress

My price:

  • Yellow Dress-$5.00
I saved $90 by shopping at Goodwill! 

Outfit #3

Project dress. Keep that in mind. 
Drum roll please…
It looks even worse in real life than it does in this picture, trust me. 
The skirt almost touches the ground, but it’s very full and has a nice swing to it. There’s no zipper, which makes it a perfect candidate for me to remodel since I don’t remember how to sew zippers. Get this: It has massive shoulder pads! And large puff sleeves. It’s size huge. 
But the fabric is really cute, it’s got little white hearts on it! 
Here you can see the buttons on the shoulder, and the weird tie thing on the side. The top of the dress has a layer of fabric that ties at the side. It’s kind of interesting, but it’s something to work with. 
I’m going to chop off the skirt and bring in the sides, and cut out the shoulder pads, but I’m torn about what else I should do. Should I cut off the sleeves? Should I keep the tie thingy? Should I cut more of a neckline?
  • Navy Dress -$5.00
Final price for all three outfits: 
  • $24.44
Less than I would have spent on one Modcloth dress! That works for me! My tip is:

Check your neighborhood thrift store first! It could save you a lot!

What do YOU think I should do to the yellow or navy dress? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

works for me wednesday at we are that family