Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Thrifting Tips - Only Get It if You Love It

This is Part Four in my How-to-Shop-Cheap series. If you missed my first Thrifting Tip, you can check it out here. For the second, click here. The third is here.

The corollary to Try it On is this: Only Get it if You Love It.

Didn't love it.
There are so many gems to be found at thrift stores, but if you bought every single item that looked halfway decent, you would have no bank account, and your personal style would be all over the map. I've never been one to embrace a wholly unified look – sometimes I look like a lost flower child, while other days I prefer to be a classy business lady – but there's something to be said for unity.

(Now, if that's not your thing, by all means have a blast. One of my best friends from college dressed like a low-budget Olsen twin. Her closet was a mishmash of things she found in the bargain bin at Marshall's and things that had been in her closet since she was in the sixth grade. Sometimes, she looked like a homeless woman. But you know what? She adored her personal style, and no matter how much we teased her, she wouldn't change herself for anything. Her style is her own, and she OWNS it.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordy Wednesday: Teacher Thing

Okay, okay - one more Wordy Wednesday. It's for a good cause, I promise. 

You guys know I tutor kids in reading and writing, but now I'm going to tell you something you don't know.

Last summer, I had been with my tutoring company for about two months when I realized a girl from my high school was working with Teach for America. Facebook told me. I went to her page and discovered a blog she kept during her first year in her school, and stayed-up til three reading all her entries. In essence, I stalked her teaching career, and I cried and laughed as I caught-up with her journey.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Impromptu Dinner Party

When Katie was in town a couple weeks ago, we wet to Kroger. It began as an innocuous trip to the store, but ended as the best things often do: with cheese, bacon, and wine.

Hey, Katie!

And hey, Max!

See, we saw the cheese display at the front of the store. When two ladies who only see each other once every couple years are in the same room, there rises a natural desire to nibble fancy cheeses. We are not ones to squash our impulses, so we indulged.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Make-it-Monday: Prettify a Planner

It's the last week of the show, y'all! This morning's performance was in my last neighborhood, Ansley Park. Can I tell you how much I loved living out here? It was excellent. Just coming back for a few hours reduced my blood pressure. I'm gonna make it a point to hang out here at least once a month - make a few pilgrimages to the park.

Speaking of stress, I still need to file my taxes. I use Turbo Tax, so it's a pretty easy process, but it requires a good bit of time and math. Which is not my favorite subject. However, I've developed a system to keep my 2013 taxes as painless as possible; I started keeping track of *professional things* in a planner You know, gas mileage, audition dates, how much money I spend on headshots, etc. Last month, I went to Barnes & Noble to get one. There were none left.

No, that's not quite true - this was left:

And while I'm not a Mom (let alone a Do it All Mom), I really needed a planner...and this one was on sale for seven bucks...and I had a 15%-off coupon...

So I bought the Do-it-All Mom planner. Uugh.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fashionable Friday: Still Chill


I took the coat off for the photo shoot, because I'm classy

Are y'all as pissed as I am? This is exactly the kind of madness that drove me from the north. I know it's comparatively warm here, but I'm still mightily displeased; I should be in flip-flops by now.

Brr, now no sweater

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Bridesmaids, or Identical Twins?

Our friend Katie has been visiting this week from Cincinnati, and it has been lovely. She and Roomie are BOTH engaged now (yay, congrats!), so we've been talking a lot about weddings. In their honor, I'm introducing a new series called "Bridesmaids or Identical Twins?"

Sometimes, when thrifting, I find duplicates. Generally, it's beyond me why someone would buy even one of these garments - let alone two. So I assume they were purchased for either identical twins, or furious bridesmaids.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordy Wednesday: Elephant in the Room

I've been feeling some awkwardness lately, so I'm going to address it: I don't think Wordy Wednesdays are working. 

Sorry if you're a fan, I've soured on the idea. And this is MY HOUSE, so what I say goes! Devoting a whole day to words seems redundant when the rest of the week is pretty verbose. 

Don't fret, chickadees - you'll still get your Midweek Galen Fix. I have a sweet new concept for Hump Day, which I will reveal next week. For now, let's celebrate our last Wordy Wednesday with this article about how Affirmative Action did not keep this white girl out of college. 

And this one about the 5 Most Famous Musicians Who are Thieving Bastards. 

And then check out this blog (ostensibly written by Suri Cruise). That is, if you haven't already seen it (I am, generally, the last person to find out about stuff). 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Chai Latte

Caleb, don't worry - your Juice Opus is on the way. I have not forgotten.

Hello, cherubs. I slept-in today! Early mornings are a little rough for this Night Owl, so a day-off was just what the doctor ordered. And I did not waste the opportunity; I slept til 1:30.

Now it's late afternoon, and I'm wasting away the hours as God intended - sipping tea by the window. When life hands you an unexpected day off, make lemonade.

I like to start my days (whether at 5 am or 2 pm) with a homemade chai latte. That's right - you can make your own amazing chai right from the comfort of your kitchen. No Starbucks needed. All it takes is some loose tea, almond milk, and sugar (if you so please; I always so please).

I suppose you could use a tea bag, but I've never found a bagged chai that has my preferred amount of spice. Instead, I buy mine a tub at a time from the DeKalb Farmer's Market. Thecontainers last me about three months, and they only cost $6.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Make-it-Monday: Homemade Jewelry

Last week, I told you that I occasionally turn single earrings into pendant necklaces. It's pretty much the easiest thing in the world, and I'm going to show you how you can do it, too. All you need is:
  • A McDonald's tray your boyfriend stole in high school (it's your crafting surface)
  • Jump rings

  • A clasp of some kind (I like lobster clasps)
  • Matching chain
  • A charm or pendant
  • Jewelry pliers (You can really use any kind of pliers - or your fingers, if they're strong. Or your teeth, if you hate your dentist.)

All of these materials are available at Wal-Mart, Michael's, JoAnn's, and Hancock Fabrics. They're pretty cheap, and come in packs of multiples, so you can make more than one piece when you buy the supplies. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fashionable Friday: Let's Go To THE MALL

First of all, if you don't know the song I referenced in the title, then our friendship is over. Unless you watch the first two seasons of How I Met Your Mother in the next 24 hours.

Or, you know, the following video.

Now let's talk about my trip to the mall with everyone's favorite Roomie, Mandi!

My number one destination was, of course, Sephora. Guys, the Jasmine line finally came out! It's real! It wasn't just a fever dream! Jasmine has always been my favorite princess, but it seems to me that she always gets the shaft; Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White, and Belle are the go-tos, and our poor desert flower usually only shows-up when at least six princesses are invited to the party. Not in my house, and not in these hallowed black-and-white halls. I'm really impressed with the collection - they really did my gal proud.

I had a tough time deciding how to spend my Christmas money. Luckily, my favorite Roomie was there to offer her advice. It came down to the compact, the large eyeshadow palette, and the body shimmer.

Beautiful compact to reflect a beautiful Galen?

Gorgeous packaging hiding pretty colors?

I'm a child of the 90s (and a teen of the 00s), so I am particularly susceptible to body glitter. But this stuff took me completely by surprise. Don't let the bottle fool you - there is zero liquid in there. It is pure, dry iridescence.

Unfortunately, Very Excellent Boyfriend hates glitter. So to ensure domestic tranquility, I chose the palette. Right now, it is perched on our bookshelf, bringing a touch of Disney whimsy to the bedroom.

It'll keep the Community whimsy company

I'm sure you already noticed the magic lamp decorating her d├ęcolletege (scandalous!), but did you notice Rajah by her feet? Or the Genie? Or what I can only assume is Jafar in snake form?

That's not all I got at Sephora, but I won't bore you with the details. At least, not right now - maybe another time. I'll give you a hint, though: the color emerald is involved.

After my makeup splurge, I didn't intend to spend more money. But Mandi and I stepped into Forever 21, and I momentarily lost control of myself. How could I not?

Y'all, I've only had one run-in with a leather skirt, and it wasn't a very positive experience. But this one and I were fast friends. This is my Dominatrix Catholic Schoolgirl look - let's see if it sticks. 

That's it for this week, folks! March is hitting its stride, and spring is finally rolling into town. Let's all wear our pajamas inside-out tonight and pray for a 70-degree weekend. I'll see you when the flowers are in bloom (and the pollen is a-fallin').

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: The Scene of the Find

A few days ago, I found myself in Dacula with a few hours to kill. Naturally, I decided to return to the scene of The Find. Was it just a one-off? Did I stumble into this store the only time they had a decent selection? Is it unusual for a customer to walk away with 6 perfect dresses?

Nope. This Goodwill is magical.

First of all, it was absolutely packed. Like, Dekalb Farmers Market on a Saturday packed. I was there at 3 PM on a weekday, and so was half the population of Dacula. There were lots of middle-aged women (of course), but they weren't the only ones there; a group of predictable teenagers haunted the mens' tees (one of them already sporting a "KEEP CALM AND SMOKE WEED" shirt). Strangely, I saw more than one teen girl walking around with her mom, happily picking-out T-shirts and jeans - this, in full view of the delinquents. Is this new? Were regular teenagers this comfortable in a thrift shop in the days before Macklemore? Obviously, I was - but I was looking for Asian-inspired dresses and 70s tunics, not cotton shirts.

The selection was wonderful - just like last time. I staggered into a dressing room under about 15 garments. Luckily, it was roughly the size of my apartment in New York.

Ten feet deep, kiddos!

I spent a lovely half-hour dancing to Top 40 hits while I played dress-up. Guys, I had room to kick my legs, Footloose-style (and I did). There were formals, suits, and even a jumper - but you'll read more about that stuff later. 

The best part, by far, were the shoes. I generally wish that my feet were about two sizes larger, and that was especially true the other day. Look at these!

Amazing, right? If they hadn't been $11, I might have bought them and hosted a giveaway. But I'm not made of money. Sorry, y'all. 

I was immediately drawn to these tan lovelies, but even from five feet away I could see that they would be too big for me. 

Here's how I determine if a pair of shoes will fit me: if they seem impossibly small, they might still be a bit too large. Generally, in secondhand shops, I'm lucky if I come across a single pair that will work. Sadly, these wouldn't have.

How about these?

Some gent will look mighty dapper in them. Careful, though - they're sharp. 

Best of all, I found a pair of tap shoes - for an adult!

Aren't they perfect? Also, they are brand new - completely unused. 

Lastly, I found a couple belts. 

Reversible belts. 

I can't wait to wear these as a set all summer. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordy Wednesday: Galen Reccomends

It's been an exhausting few weeks, and I'm not feeling particularly chatty. Luckily, the internet never sleeps. So here are my recommendations for some Wednesday reading. 
  1. Why We Need The Same Innovation for Food Waste that We've Given Energy: Food for thought about the way we shop, store, and dispose of what we (don't) consume.
  2. Punk Rock is Bullshit: This guy is mad at his "scene."
  3. The Jazz Age is Bullshit: If you managed to get through the last one (or even if you didn't), then here's a refreshing companion.
  4. 5 Myths About Celebrity Deaths Everyone Believes: Walt Disney ain't frozen, and Poe wasn't a drunk.
  5. Now that you're sick of reading, overload on GIFs with 42 Things That Prove That Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the Perfect Man
Enjoy your Wednesday! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Three Blind Mice

My new favorite restaurant is OTP. Actually, it's worse than that - it's in Lilburn.

(Outside-Atlanta translation: "My new favorite restaurant is in the suburbs.")

I know a lot of you didn't grow-up in Gwinnett, and neither do you live there now. That's okay - I forgive you your life of privilege in East Cobb. Out here in The Sticks, we had to travel to Bahama Breeze or Pappadeaux for a taste of city life (and let's be real, national chains are great, but they're not exactly City Livin'). Imagine my shock when I was introduced to Three Blind Mice

This place is in a shopping center in front of my old ballet studio. My Lifelong Bestie and I spent many hours in this neck of the woods, toe-dancing for our lives. The studio is still there, but we've long since left the neighborhood. I'm not sure exactly when this place opened, but if I'd known about it last year, I might not have left Snellville in such a hurry. 

Very Excellent and I came here last week with our friend Adam. He hails from these parts, and has returned home after a prolonged absence. Welcome home, Adam!

His parents live about five minutes from the restaurant, and he says they go there all the time. No surprise, since Boyfriend and I were all but licking our plates by the time we finished our entrees. Suffice it to say, I have never had better crabcakes, and I stole nearly half of the beau's steak. 

But then...THEN. Then came the Key Lime Pie. 

Oh, terribly sorry - seems an insane woman possessed me the moment she laid eyes on the dessert. See, the pie (already my favorite sweet) was delivered under a two-inch layer of toasted meringue. 

Not close enough?

Never close enough.

I must cut this post short, as I am now starving. 

The moral of this story: If you thought there were no good restaurants in Lilburn, you were wrong. Mom and Dad, check it out!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Make-it-Monday: One Earring

Is there anything sadder than losing just one earring?

Um, yes.

But losing an earring is a special kind of frustration. It leaves you with one perfectly functional, yes useless, piece of jewelry. I have a graveyard section on my jewelry tree devoted to earrings who lost their mate. But thanks to some creative thinking (and clever suggestions from the Internet) I'm slowly repurposing them.

My favorite way to use an old earring is to turn it into a necklace. It's ridiculously easy to do this with hook earrings. Go to Wal-Mart, Michaels, or JoAnn's, picked-up some silver chain, jump rings, clasps, and a pair of jewelry pliers. It took me all of five minutes to turn my pretty earring into a pretty charm. Voila, new life for an old earring!


Got a solitary post earring? Try using it as a thumbtack for your corkboard.

(Photo by Cup + Penny)

You can also attach a brooch back to an old earring - wear it on your lapel like a champ. Or glue it onto a headband for a little extra sparkle.

Really, just about anything can be bedazzled it with old jewelry. I took a spin through Pinterest, and found some really great ideas. For most of these, all you need are pliers, wire cutters, and metal adhesive.

(Photo by georgiapeachez)

(Photo by georgiapeachez)

(Photo by theresamariejewelry)

(Photo by Ryoan)

(Photo by Ruffles & Stuff)

(Photo by Ruffles & Stuff)

(Photo by Ruffles & Stuff)

"All this is great, Galen, but what if I just don't want to lose my stuff in the first place?" Well, if your earring comes off while you're at home, you can try to find it using the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Put a pair of pantyhose over the nozzle and run it over the floor. When you get to the earring, the pantyhose will trap the sucker for you (this also works for contact lenses). Thank the lovely Gillian for this tip - she's the one who taught it to me!

I once heard someone say that for post earrings, you can put a dab of eyelash glue on the backing. It'll give you a boost of holding power. You'll have to clean your earrings every time you wear them, though - be sanitary, ladies!

UPDATE: Tune-in next week when I show you how to make your own necklace in less than ten minutes. I guarantee you'll spend more time assembling your lunch than your jewelry.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fashionable Friday: Is it Spring Yet?

March isn't really living-up to its reputation. Isn't this the month that ushers-in spring? Instead, it's colder than ever. This week Atlanta saw snow flurries for two days straight. I guess that beats last constant rain, but I'm antsy for a 70-days and picnics in Piedmont Park.

Flowers or something! Spring!
I'm forecasting warm weather with this floral print. Yes, Mom, I wear plenty of coats when I go outside - I cast them aside for one minute to take these pictures. This dress was a birthday present from me to myself (via the sale rack at Anthropologie), and I've worn the tar out of it since January. It's corduroy, fits like a tailored suit from Ann Taylor (holla!), and has a built-in slip. What more could a girl want?

Dress:Anthropologie Sweater: Target Tights:(see story below) Boots:Rag-o-Rama

Last summer, I was going through some boxes in my bedroom at my parents' house. I was doing a deep purge of all the "keepsakes" in my closet; for a pack rat like me, everything has sentimental value, and I need to sort things three or four times before I'm rid of all the junk. I opened a box marked, "WIZARD," and found a bunch of things from when I did Wizard of Oz at the Fox. I was 13, and I played a citizen of the Emerald City. I did a ribbon dance with a group of five other girls, and didn't have to be a poppy for the Act I finale (whew!). My whole church youth group came to a performance, and they cheered and screamed when I exited the stagedoor. I'd saved a few things from the show, including a program, a name badge, and these mustard tights.


Hilariously, they still fit. This ancient legwear has become a wardrobe staple. Thanks, Theatre of the Stars, for predicting the fashion trends of the twenty-teens.

Give me a ribbon - I'll do my old routine!