January 24, 2015

Tips + Tricks for Buying Vintage

It's no secret that I absolutely love vintage stuff, and decorating my apartment with my favorite finds is the best. What I've realized over the last few years is that there are a lot of strategies you can use when finding one of a kind vintage items. So, I thought I'd share my tips and tricks for the best ways to shop and buy vintage decor.

>> Don't settle. On that note, don't be afraid to haggle with someone, especially at a flea market, yard sale, or smaller antique store. Often times the price on the tag isn't the lowest they accept, especially if it's later in the day at a flea market or yard sale. 

My Remington typewriter, and first edition Sylvia Plath books from the early 60s.
>> Don't shy away from mainstream. Places like Goodwill and Salvation Army are your best friends. Sure, there's a ton of junk to sift through, but if you look hard enough, you can find some really great vintage finds.

I got this  mint condition Disney Cinderella (pre-movie) alarm clock from the early 60s today.
>> You win some, you lose some. Sometimes you go to a thrift store or flea market and you find absolutely... nothing. Other times, you find so much stuff that you can't even carry it all. Understand that it's all, well, a crapshoot. 

I also found this amazing souvenir NYC pennant today for only $2.
>> Do your research. If you see something you love, do a quick Google search on your phone to make sure you're not paying too much, especially if you think the price is a bit high. 

An old school Instamatic I got at a yard sale this summer for a quarter!
>> Go wireless. In this day and age, there are a plethora of sites dedicated to selling vintage or second hand clothing, accessories, and other items, and not all of them are expensive if you know where to look. Sites like Nifty Thrifty, Vinted, Poshmark, and yes, even eBay can have great vintage finds if you're after clothing, shoes, bags, or jewelry.

A Frank Sinatra album, vintage theatrical makeup container, Kodak Brownie camera, and a Big Ben tea pot.
>> Take advantage of travel. If you know you're going to be in a new place, even if it's only a few towns over, take a moment to do a quick Google search of thrift stores and antique shops in the neighborhood. It's a great chance to visit some places that you wouldn't normally be able to, and you never know what you might find!

>> Take your time. Today, for instance, we went to an antique store that went on for ages and ages and ages. It took a while to make it through the entire place, of course, but I'm so glad I did, because my friends and I ended up finding some really great things (including an alarm clock from the 1960s, a Joni Mitchell 45, and some really great jewelry, collectively). 

I love this quirky little pineapple bowl, and I use it to store my jewelry, like these vintage rings I got from my great grandmother.

What are your favorite vintage finds and tips for scoring great deals?

January 15, 2015

#YearOfHappy January Link Up

Hey you,

I want to start this letter by saying how proud I am that you made it through 2014. It started out great, but the latter half of the year was trying, to say the least. But you made it to the other side of 2015, and you didn't completely lose it, so 10 points to Gryffindor.

You should be thankful for 2014, as it showed you exactly how much you can take and how you snap back. Life is tough; but so are you.

But it's in the past, and now it's time to think more about 2015. In fact, you seem to be starting off in a good place. You've adopted a no-nonsense attitude about your daily life, and have made a promise to yourself to not commit to anything you don't completely love. You don't want to get burnt out again.

So, what do you want to accomplish in 2015? Here are some ideas:
  • Be serious - really serious - about blogging
  • Rock the GRE
  • Start your senior thesis
  • Volunteer with another Alternative Break
  • Finish that novel
  • Go on that road trip you've been talking about since 2012
  • Say yes to more things that make you happy, and don't feel guilty saying no to the things that do not
  • Buckle down on that saving vs. spending issue (seriously, girl)
  • Remember to breathe once in a while
  • Don't forget to put your mental health and well being above any commitment
  • Remind yourself daily to choose happiness - it is possible
  • Read more books
  • And lastly, don't forget to be awesome
I firmly believe that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to, especially when you get that kind of scary manic gleam in your eye. But maybe I'm a bit biased.

Stay strong, love yourself, love others, and pet your cat literally every chance you get.

2015 can and will be the best yet.

Love from, 
2015 Lizzie

Now it's your turn! January's #YearOfHappy prompt is to write yourself a love letter - link up your posts down below, and don't forget to share the love with other bloggers! I'm so looking forward to reading your posts!

January 12, 2015

It's Kind of a Funny Story...

When I was 5, I told my mother that when I grew up, I wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a dump truck driver (as you do). 

When I was 12, I was convinced I was going to be a fashion designer, and spent hours sketching haute couture dresses in my journal and watching reruns of Project Runway like they were gospel.

At age 15, I fell in love with my high school theatre company, and decided that I was going to be the next Meryl Streep.

When I graduated high school, I was confused, to be honest. I had been dead set on studying theatre, but time and practicality, and the ever present dread of student loans and failure made me push it away. I told everyone at my open house that I was going to major in English, and cringed when they all inevitably asked, "Oh, so you're going to be an English teacher?" (That would be a big fat "HELL NOPE" but more on that later).

Somewhere between May and August before my first year of college, I decided Journalism sounded nifty. It was writing without the constant questions about which grade I wanted to teach. So I signed up for a Journalism course and, in a weird sort of whirlwind, found myself signing my major with an incredibly dispassionate professor not 6 weeks later.

I threw myself into it as much as I dared, getting a job at the school paper the first week of classes. I wanted to love it like many of my classmates and co-workers did, I wanted to be thrilled and enthused by the thought of deadlines and copy editing and interviews and "getting the scoop" but the fact of the matter is, news journalism exhausts me. I'm sorry, Rory Gilmore, I have failed you, but it's abundantly clear to me now that I fall more on the Carrie Bradshaw side of journalistic integrity than I do Christiane Amanpour. 

Halfway through sophomore year of college, I decided that my constant existential unhappiness was due to the fact that I rejected my "real" dream of pursuing theatre - so again, in a surprising whirlwind of events, I found myself in the office of a professor whom I absolutely adored, signing yet another major. 

And for two glorious semesters, I was surrounded with the smell of hairspray and stage makeup again, engulfed in the weird, bizarre sort of family that theatre companies are made of. And I thought it was good. I really did think it was what I wanted.

And then, slowly but surely, that familiar doubt came creeping back in. I'm not sure if it was a side effect of growing up, or of just admitting something to myself that I hadn't wanted to face before, but the once defiant claims that I was going to be a star, that it didn't matter if I was a starving artist, that I was different, and holy, and untouchable because, dammit, I was a theatre major suddenly became exhausted, weary acknowledgments of the type of life that was ahead of me.

One day I woke up and just knew, without ever really having to say it, that this was not what I wanted the rest of my life to be. I love theatre, and I love acting, but I did not want to spend my life scrimping and saving and fighting for auditions and hounding agents and playwrights and working a soul-sucking day job. 

I reluctantly headed back to Journalism, not altogether thrilled with the prospect of that either. I keep reminding myself that I like the types of jobs I can get with this degree, even if I don't always enjoy the classes.

But somewhere along the way, I decided that I wanted to go to graduate school for writing. Because, in the back of my mind somewhere, I have always wanted to be a writer. But to me, it wasn't something I ever had to think about. Words have always come naturally to me - it was never something I had to try at, so it was never something at the forefront of my mind. But the realization that, yes, over all these years, the one constant love affair in my life had been books and literature and writing hit me like a ton of bricks. And suddenly, I was daring to dream a different future for myself, looking into graduate programs everywhere from Yale to U-Mass. 

And the reason I'm telling you all this? Not even an hour ago, I was filling out a questionnaire form for one of my new professors before the first class. And the last question was, "What are your career goals/aspirations?" And I thought about it for a moment, then just started typing. 

I wrote that my highest dream goal was to get a MFA or even a PhD in writing, then one day be a book reviewer/columnist at the New York Times and an adjunct professor of literature or creative writing at a university like NYU or the New School, as well as a published author. 

And I stopped for a second, and read what I just wrote, and thought "Oh my good god, that is exactly what I want to do."

So, friends, the reason I tell you this now is that, well, I don't know if this is how my life will pan out. I don't even know if I'll still want this future in a year when I graduate. But life is funny like that. You feel a little lost, a little unmoored for a while, and then suddenly, without warning or indication, the thing you've been waiting for smacks you right in the face. It's that moment of enlightenment, that "Oh!" that keeps us going, I think. There could be many in your life, or it could only happen once, but when you know, you know.

Oh and another thing I've learned? Your college major has very little to do with your identity unless you let it. 

So for now, I'm finishing my Journalism degree, as well as working on a Creative Writing certificate program that my university just added. And, well, I'm hopeful. I think that, whatever happens, great things are ahead of me. 

And I think that is true of every single person if they can have the courage to admit to themselves what they really want to do with their lives. Go forth, dreamers.

January 8, 2015

#YearOfHappy January 2015

Hello and welcome to the first installment of the 12-month #YearOfHappy series! Apologies for the lateness of this post. Life got in the way, as it is wont to do at times.

But no matter, we're here now and I can't wait to get started!

The first prompt of the year is as follows:

Write a love letter to yourself. Write all the reasons you're awesome, write down your hopes and dreams for the year ahead, any resolutions, heck, write what you had for  lunch. Share why you're grateful for 2014 and what you want to achieve in 2015. Share whatever you want - it's your letter.

Remember, the linkup post will go live on the 15th, and you will have until the 31st of January to link up your post with before we move on to February! I'm so excited to see what you all have to say, and I can't thank you enough for taking this journey with me. Keep your eyes peeled for my own post, and I'll see the rest of you on the 15th!

You can sign up to for the mailing list to receive monthly reminders when the prompts and the link ups go live. No spam, just encouragement!

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December 16, 2014

DIY Flameless Fire Pit

Lights are an integral part of holiday decorating, that much is true. But beyond the classic lights on the tree, lights on the house, lights on the.... stairway (?) what else is there to do?

For those of you who still have to sort out your last minute holiday decorations (like me, let's be honest) I thought I'd show you a super quick DIY project that will add a little whimsy to your holiday light displays (and let's face it, you're gonna want to leave this up all year).

This project was so easy, and the best part was, the only cost was the $2 strand of lights from Walmart's holiday section!

To start, arrange your stones in a circle of whatever size you'd like your base to be. If for some reason, you feel like you're going to want to move this display, or if you're not building it exactly where you're leaving it, I would suggest constructing it on a piece of plywood for easy handling.

Arrange your lights how you like them within the circle before adding the sticks, as it's way too difficult to do it afterwards (learn from my mistakes, loves).

Next, prop up your sticks in a "teepee" shape like you would a real fire pit. I chose to use a bit of hot glue at the top to secure them in this position so that they would be as stable as possible. And also because I had a hard time convincing my kitty to just stop and admire the beauty of it, instead of crashing wildly through the middle of it in a mad frenzy. Funny, that.

How are you spicing up your holiday lights?