Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thrifty Thursdays: Buying Lingerie Secondhand

Let's talk about lingerie. Thrifted lingerie (also swimsuits).

You're probably freaking-out right now; you're probably having a panic attack. Well take a deep breath and half a Xanex, because this post is HAPPENING.

I'll admit it: I buy lingerie at thrift stores. Definitely more than I buy it from Victoria's Secret. I don't really go in for the padded bras you find at, say, Frederick's of Hollywood. I much prefer unlined pieces - I think they're more flattering to my figure. But good luck finding totally unlined bras in the wild - they're pretty rare these days.

But that's not the the elephant in the room - that would be you, tearing your hair and screaming, "BUT THE GEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRMMMMSSSSSSS!!"

elephant
This is what you look like.
http://theanimals.pics/elephant-baby-pictures/22/picture-mother-baby-elephant-5-mother-and-baby-elephants/

Ahhh, see, you're afraid of catching an STD. Good news - when bacteria is exposed to the air for longer then 24 hours, it dies. Just like you can't get chlamydia from a toilet seat, you also can't get it from a night gown. And consider this: if you've ever tried-on a bra or teddy at Victoria's Secret, you can be nearly guaranteed that someone else has tried it on, too - making it "used." Also remember that you can always remove the little liner inside any bottoms - particularly in swimsuits. But if you're still really, really worried about other-people's-germs, Oxy Clean or vinegar will do the trick. Add a cup of either to your laundry and when your clothes are done spinning, they will be clean and happy.

Plus, guys, you should wash everything you get from a thrift store as soon as you bring it home. ALWAYS. Don't you dare buy something secondhand and then wear it without washing it - I don't care where on the body it belongs. Not because you'll get the AIDS, but because you might get a cold. Cold viruses can live on hard surfaces and fabrics for up to a week. Wash your clothes. Wash everything. MOSTLY YOUR HANDS.

Okay, let's go back to the lacy bits.

If you feel like you can't afford cute lingerie, I'm here to tell you that you're probably wrong. Even if you have a five-dollar lingerie budget, you can buy something like this.

Thrift Store Lingerie

After a little Google searching, I dated this nightgown to 1974. And I think it's just as lovely and romantic today as it was when it was first created. I adore the diamond waistband, and the delicate embroidered flowers along the neckline. It's pretty, simple, and it cost four dollars.

During my Day Camp weeks this summer, I needed a bunch of swimsuit options, and I found two at Goodwill for three dollars each. They fit well, flatter my body, and didn't cost eighty buck like the (admittedly amazing) ones from ModCloth.

Swimsuit

And I get it - most of you are still probably squicked-out by used neglige. That's okay - we all have our limits. But I hope, if nothing else, that you're not afraid that you can catch an STD from a used teddy. Misinformation leads to stigmatization, and no one who has (or once had) an STD needs to be looked down-on. Don't be afraid of the things you needn't fear - be afraid of the truly dangerous stuff.

elephant
Like this psycho killer

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Incredibly Easy Chicken Chili

I like cooking - you know this. You also know (because I've told you) that when I get busy, I just can't find the time to do it. Well no matter how busy I get, there's always time to make a batch of this chili. It makes about 8 hefty servings, which means I can nosh on it for nearly a week before I need to revisit my stove, and that's a major blessing in my life.

Chicken Chili

Here's all you need to make it:

  • 2 cups chicken broth (or 4 cups water and 1 chicken boullion cube)
  • 4 cups canned chicken (I use 2 of the big ol' cans)
  • 2 cans Great Northern beans, rinsed
  • 1 can corn, rinsed
  • 2 cups salsa (basically 1 jar of the stuff)
  • 1 to 2 giant handfuls of kale (depends on how big your hands are)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • Couple squeezes of lime juice
  • Cheese/sour cream/greek yogurt (optional)
Once you have all that stuff, you put it in a pot and boil it, then let it simmer for like, I dunno, 30 minutes? However long you want. Let the liquid reduce down until you get the consistency you want.

Chicken Chili

Then put it in a bowl, garnish wish cheese or sour cream (or greek yogurt, if you want to try to be a little healthier), and go to town.

Super Simple Chicken Chili

Want to mix it up a bit? Use salsa verde instead of the red stuff - BAM, now it's white chicken chili! Don't eat gluten? NEITHER DO IT! Kroger's plain canned vegetables, canned meats, sour creams, shredded cheeses and salsas are all gluten-free. And here's a handy list of gluten-free chicken broths,

Easy meals are my favorite thing on this earth, and this is one of the absolute easiest and most-filling. Enjoy.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Fashionable Friday: DIY Eyebrow Maintenance

My current beauty obsession are the little caterpillars that live on my forehead. I have always loved a good, strong brow, but I rarely have the extra cash to pay for proper waxing. Last year, in a fit of definace, I let my brows run (very) ragged for about six months. I plum gave-up. But then Shrek opened, and this princess was having a tough time getting ready for the show. I finally decided enough was enough - this princess needed neater, stronger, more defined eyebrows.

Because I am a savvy modern woman, I turned to the only reasonable resource at my disposal: YouTube. I ran a simple search (Eyebrow Maintenance) and came up with this perfectly perfect video:


I don't want to overstate my case, but this is quite possibly THE BEST VIDEO IN THE UNIVERSE. If you want to free yourself from the evil grip of salon pricing, Zukreat can show you the way.

Here's how my mini-makeover came out:

Eyebrows

I was - and am - extremely pleased. This is how I've been maintaining my brows for months, and I couldn't be happier. (Real talk), my brows don't grow in symmetrically, but now I have them faked to perfection! I tweeze from the top on my right side, the bottom on my left, and I use a pencil to fill in both sides.

I use Anastasia Brow Wiz in soft brown. This product is amazing - the pencil is very hard, and makes soft, light strokes. Most eyebrow pencils leave thick, crayonish lines, but this one is perfect and subtle. 

Instead of wax strips, I use a tiny brow razor to clean above my brow line. I like to protect my hair follicles for now, since I'm still in the process of perfecting my brows (yeah, it takes THAT long for your hairs to grow-in correctly).

I will admit, eyebrow maintenance is a bit daunting. The hairs grow back almost as quickly as I can pluck them, which means I have to tweeze every. day. I suppose that's the price we pay for beauty, huh? Wouldn't it be great if we could all buck the system? I wish I could walk into an audition with inch-thick brows and still land the part. Unfortunately, the world doesn't work that way. I'd like to be a one-woman revolution, but Mama got bills to pay.

Aaaaaaaand now I will leave you, since I feel like a sell-out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wordy Wednesday: Inside the Mind of the Anxious Professional

Hey everyone. I was doing some computer cleanup this afternoon when I came across something I wrote a couple years ago. I'd say it was a bit of character study for the novel I'm writing...but I'm not writing a novel. This is just a peek inside the head of a very, very anxious young woman. Luckily, I've come a long way since those days. Still, it's interesting to look back to a time in my life when I was completely overwhelmed by the simplest choices, and the mere prospect of "success."

***


Yes, of course she wants to be happy (she's not insane), but she’d like to do it on her own terms. Yes, she wants to be happy – but not enough to think-up new dreams; she’d rather see her old dreams come true. She wants to be right, and if she thinks-up new dreams, that’s like admitting her first ones were wrong. It must be a little bit more important to her to be right than happy. But it doesn't look like she ever will be right, at least not about this. So there's a very good chance that she will never be happy.

She's not good at making plans; she's too inflexible. Other people, they go with the flow – they make a plan and if something interrupts them, they digest it. Not our girl. She comes up with amazing plans – way better than yours. The problem, though, is that like all plans best-laid, they are not destined to come true. They are simply plans.

She's very bad at improvising. Which is funny, because she's actually a great improviser. Oh my God you should've seen her with her college group – it was insane! It was like they had one mind! Sometimes all four of them would make the exact same joke at the exact same time and the audience would scream and cry and yell and the four of them would stand and look at each other in amazement. But that doesn't happen anymore. She's a big girl now, in the Big Girl World, and she can't seem to find her footing.

Her friends who tumble along without too much ambition are doing great. She has so many girlfriends who are so wonderfully happy, and she's thrilled for them – really! She just wants their secrets. She wants to know how to glide through life with no expectations.


She’s a walking wind-up toy, and she’s full of plans. Specific plans.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Buffalo Exchange

Who remembers the difference between thrift and consignment? 

...

That's right! Thrift stores feature donated goods in all manner of conditions, while consignment stores take only gently-used items, and they generally pay the donors. Consignment stores are usually more expensive, but because everything there is in good condition, it can be worth the upcharge. Can be. 

I used to frequent Plato's Closet, but their selection doesn't move me anymore. The clothes are too preppy and label-slavey for my tastes (though it's a great place to get jeans). For years, my favorite consignment shop was the branch of Psycho Sisters on Killian Hill, but it closed when I was in college. Their Little Five location is cool, but the clothes are more outlandish and very expensive. Little Five also features a Rag-O-Rama, which is always worth a visit, but legend has it that they are not great neighbors. Last year, Little Five got a new option: Buffalo Exchange.




Buffalo Exchange
Not all rompers are created equal.

Buffalo Exchange
This one was ADORABLE, and I really regret not buying it. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Buffalo Exchange
I'm a star.

Buffalo Exchange
And you love me.

Buffalo Exchange
Starship Trooper Crawley, reporting for duty.

Buffalo Exchange
This dress is so sweet, but I need another vintage circle-skirted dress
like I need a massive stroke.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fashionable Friday: Your Make-up Is Not Frivolous

Uugh, I am SCREAMING AND CLAPPING AND YELLING over here, because Anais Mathers, one of the best people I have ever found on the internet, has done it again - she's expressed Myself:


"For as long as I could remember, my guilty pleasure was beauty. Haircuts, hair products, moisturizers, eye cream, lipsticks and eye shadow and blush in every color, as far as the eye could see. I loved editorial hair and makeup and I loved the way a well made shirt hung and how a shirt you found thrifting could fit just as well* and the fact that I could put on characters and I could be more myself in looking different or just with mascara on. Even now, I still feel like I’m going to bore my husband by being excited about finding a new lipstick I’m obsessed with, that he’ll suddenly think I’m a vapid idiot, as if loving one thing negates everything else about you. It’s weird how society pushes you towards all these things you’re supposed to like and do as a woman but there’s a shame about it, you should do the things you need to do to be beautiful but you shouldn’t talk about it, you shouldn’t be excited about it, you shouldn’t have any control over it at all. Well, quite simply, no. I don’t do my hair and paint my nails and wear a variety of red lipstick (“but they all look the same,” says my husband when they obviously don’t) for anyone but me. I do it because I like to try things on and express myself and I like to play with the idea that I can be whoever I want on any day I choose. There’s nothing shallow or self-centered about exploring who you are, about feeling good and pretty, that’s just what they want you to think, that caring for yourself, whether that means a perfect cat eye or skipping makeup, is something you should feel guilty about. Fuck that and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for what you love and how you show it, especially all over your goddamn face. Femininity isn’t awful and vapid, society making us think that’s the case is."

*I mean, right?

Your assignment for this February Day: perform a phenomenal Act of Self-Care. Take a shower, get dressed-up, or drink a glass of water every hour on the hour - take your pick. Celebrate your body, because you are your greatest love affair (at least, you should be).

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Get Premium Denim for Nearly Nothing

I want to talk about jeans. Before we begin I will encourage you to take half a Xanex and grab a glass of wine - this is a stressful topic.

I've never met a woman who likes shopping for denim. Actually, everyone I know loathes it. For such a wardrobe staple, that's really pretty strange. Everyone wears jeans (at least every now and then) but they are ridiculously hard to shop for.

When I was a teenager, my go-to brand was Old Navy. They fit me like a glove, and their denim blends were nice and soft - just how I like them. But midway though college, their whole line went through a major restructuring, and suddenly the waistbands all seemed to hit in funny places. Plus, as I was getting older, my ass was getting larger - REAL TALK. The super-ultra-low rise pants of my teen years now showed an unholy amount of buttcrack.

I suffered through a few pairs of okay jeans before I finally found my denim soulmate at Plato's Closet: 7 For All Mankind Kimmie Bootcut, size 26. 

The first time I put them on, I understood how a pair of jeans can make you look like an actual rockstar. Remember Liz Lemon and her "Made in USA" revelation? These jeans became my favorite piece of clothing.

But then disaster struck; only six months later, the fabric split at the crotch. 

I was in shock. I refused to throw them away, choosing instead to wear them with really dark underwear, and only when running errands. I'm not proud, but GUYS THEY ARE SO COMFORTABLE, I JUST COULDN'T BEAR TO GET RID OF THEM. Forget about replacing them - 7 For All Mankind is a premium brand, retailing for almost $200.

For months, I've scoured the racks at my favorite discount stores, hoping to strike gold a second time. It's been futile. When the solution hit me, it seemed so obvious - how had it taken me so long to get there?

EBAY.

If you know your preferred brand, size, and style, eBay is the perfect place to look. I ran several searches on variations of "7 For All Mankind Kimmie Bootcut 26," and within 15 minutes I had two great options - a Buy Now for $15, no shipping, and an auction at $1 with $4 for shipping. When the auction closed the next day, I had agreed to pay $10 for the pants. 

For less than $30, I bought two pairs of jeans - they both arrived with the tags ON.

And, if I do say so myself, they look fantastic.