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Archive for June, 2009

darling readers, i am off on a grand roadtripping extravaganza for the next week, one that will include bears, bison, cowboys, glaciers, and lots of driving. and since i will be camping throughout, i will not exactly be stylin’ while i’m doing it.

be back soon! don’t miss me. well, maybe miss me a little bit.

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(before you ask, no, it’s not as chronic as all that: i do know which one lipstick is, thank you.)

i am not a “product” person. my hair gets pantene, or whatever is on sale at the store; my skin is moisturized with jergens, not some fancy french product; i don’t wear makeup most days, and if i do, it’s strictly eyeliner and maybe a hint of lip balm. if i had a “routine” it would consist of wash face, pat dry, moisturize, done.

it’s not like i don’t WANT to. i’m fascinated by the idea of makeup. i adore stila products, for some reason, and stock up on their kohl liners and lipshines whenever hautelook has a sale. i even have eye shadows. and for some reason they only come out to play on special occasions, and even then, minimally. am i afraid i’ll look like a clown? who knows.

(as a sidenote, though, i AM legitimately terrified of clowns. a by-product of having watched the movie version of steven king’s ‘it’ as a child. MOST BONE-CHILLINGLY SCARY MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN. possibly because i was a child and therefore easily impressed, but man. i have not been able to read that book, re-watch that movie, or go near a clown ever since. phew, thank you for listening.)

ANYWAY. big digression. the point is, makeup and i were meant to admire each other from afar. that is, until my birthday, when my siblings pooled together and bought me:

a) ooooo. pretty.
b) are my siblings trying to tell me something?

this is my first high-end makeup kit, and frankly, it’s intimidating. it’s so…pristine. everything’s covered in plastic. things are still shiny and new! sigh.

don’t get me wrong. i love it. i take it out every so often and stare at it and pet it lovingly and whisper sweet nothings into its…hinges. i’m just not sure i’ll ever work up the nerve to use it.

now would be an ideal time to tell me to grow a pair.

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i am not the most organized person in the world, but the last thrift store i visited (a brand new one in a different ‘burb, on the way back from sunshine and ice cream by the lake) almost made me break out into a rash. it had an abundant amount of fantastic stock, but it drove us bonkers trying to comb through everything, so boyf and i gave up in record time (for us).

BUT. not before i came back with these, of course. what, did you think i wouldn’t get ANYTHING? you clearly don’t know me well enough. yet.

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i’ll let you in on a secret: i like quality, but i like quality even better when it’s cheap. so when we decided our summer vaycay would involve a roadtrip, i knew camping, even with the additional expense of purchasing equipment, would be cheaper than hotel-hopping in touristy spots in the summer time (believe me, i know – i checked prices). and if we were SMART about our equipment hunting, we would come out winners.

how i did it: craigslist.org. i know, i know – lots of people are a little wary of craigslist, and with good reason. but you just have to know a couple of little tips and tricks before you set out into the wonderful world of meeting up with strangers and buying their stuff. trust me, it’s not so bad! you’ll see.

tent: eureka sunrise 9
amazon.com price: $209.95
what i paid: $30, plus the guy threw in a coleman camping chair (amazon.com value $34.67) and a full-sized air mattress and pump (price varies, but probably around the $25 mark) for free.
savings: $239.62

  • appearances are everything. i am a grammar and spelling snob, and am far more likely to buy from someone who looks like they took some care in putting their ad together – none of this textspeak U want 2 buy my stuff? LOLz nonsense. i also mistrust ads with no pictures – what do you have to hide?
  • communication. you can tell a lot by a seller by how well they communicate with you. do they answer your questions honestly? are they willing to negotiate?
  • find out WHY sellers are giving you such a good deal. sometimes, things are too good to be true, and you could be getting a good deal because the equipment is somehow defective. sometimes, they have a good reason – like this poor man, who was giving up the camping life because his wife-to-be just didn’t enjoy such things.
  • area. thrifting rules apply: if they’re based in an affluent neighborhood, chances are the deal is real (hey, that rhymed!).

camping stove: coleman perfectflow insta-start two-burner stove
amazon price: $69.99
what i paid: $20
savings: $49.99

  • negotiate. we drove all the way out to a ritzy glitzy neighborhood to get to this thing, and on the way i thought, hmm. if they are willing to let go a brand-new-in-box stove that has never been used, then they are probably willing to take less than what they asked for. the whole situation just smacked of ‘i bought this and don’t need it, so please get it off my hands.’ lo and behold, i asked, and the lady gave it to me for $20. which was about $15 less than she originally asked for. never be afraid to haggle.

still not enough? other tips to take with you for the road:

  • ask for the brand and model of the equipment, then dig up some info online to see if you’re getting a good deal. if the price is too high, name one that you feel is more suitable, based on ebay and amazon marketplace prices. if it is too low, ask why. it pays to do your homework.
  • NEVER allow craigslist sellers to know where you live. always meet in a neutral area, or drive to where they are. and always go with someone else, never on your own.

with two huge and expensive pieces of equipment off my checklist, a combination of target/walmart combing, thrifting, and amazon marketplace-ing was enough to outfit the rest of my gear, for hundreds of dollars in savings. and with campground fees so low compared to hotels, i can’t help but pat myself on the back. this vacation is going to ROCK.

have i convinced you to craigslist it yet?

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anybody else got that carpenter’s song stuck in their head?

this chicago summer is toying with my emotions. two days of sunshine, then rain for days. stop jerking me around, you big… jerk! anyway. this morning started out drizzly and dreary and gross, but now the sun is shining and i think i may hit the pool. you should come.

what i wore to splash my way to the bus stop:

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how could i forget? the lovely sarah p., otherwise known as my fellow YLFer, is the winner of the good karma giveaway! i’ll be emailing you with details soon, hon, so that i can send this lovely little dress your way. congratulations!

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if you’ve never been to a thrift store, it can be a daunting place. and like any intrepid explorer, you should take a cue from the boy scouts and BE PREPARED. sure, lots of blogs have told you HOW to thrift — but how many have told you about the special species of people you’ll encounter? none, that’s how many! so i present to you, my intrepid thrift store indiana joneses, with your guide to the people you may or may not meet at thrift stores! remember, don’t feed them or poke them with sticks – they may bite you.

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