Saturday, July 23, 2016

Salvo Wednesday: Come Salvo With Me

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to do a Salvo Wednesday with me? Well, wonder no more. This week I have decided to walk you through the experience, step by step.

This week I decided to go to another couple of local Salvation Armies. I started in Greece, because you really need to get there right as it opens there, to have any chance of a shopping cart. The Greece Salvo is competitive! As I expected, I came in and there were no carts. But I got lucky and someone decided they didn't need theirs pretty quickly and I RAN for that sucker. They're priceless.

Before achieving a shopping cart, I headed for the display case first. And saw these:

I have always, always wanted a pair of these (they're Christian Louboutins, if you can't read the sign). And while I know that $350 is a steal for these shoes, I couldn't talk myself into that. If they'd been part of the half off day, I'd probably have had a major crisis over whether to buy them or not. As it was, I walked away fairly easily from expensive shoes that I would probably never have a chance to wear. But! So close.

My next step in this particular Salvo is always the shoes, which totally goes against my norm. This is partly because it's right near the entrance, but also because I'm usually lurking and waiting for a shopping cart. Which is exactly what I did, and about halfway through my browsing, the cart appeared, and as you know, I ran for it.

I didn't find anything of interest in this section, so I moved on to the main event.

Dresses, obviously. Greece always has a generous selection, and this week was no exception. The rack all the way to the left with a red mini dress has dresses, plus the three circular racks to the right near the dressing rooms.

One of them was this. This is the third week in a row where I've found a Salvo that was charging high prices (for a thrift store) for what they figure are fancy dresses. (Also, the extraneous apostrophe. Ugh. Almost as bad as the price.) I went through them despite the $60 price tag (which was part of the half off sale, so only $30 in reality).

There were a couple that were tempting, and one that I might have bought for myself if these weren't all a little large for me. This was the only one I thought long and hard about buying, because it was Jeannette for St. Martin, which seems to be a pretty big deal. So it's valuable but... ugh. I know I'm hopelessly cheap, but when you're starting a new shop and you're still in the red from startup costs, $30 is just too much. So I left it behind.

I found a ton of great stuff in the dresses, and I moved on to the rest of the store. I used to spend a lot more time in the other sections, but as I get increasingly obsessed with dresses and less interested in wearing anything else, it hardly seems worth the effort. I did find this, and had to take it home for the shop even though it's not my size.

Dragonfly pattern! So pretty.

I moved on to the dressing room, and these were the dresses I was trying on just for me.

A respectable pile! The first dress had a solid black top and black lace with cream underneath (I LOVE black lace with other colors underneath, I just love it!). This will make a great concert dress!

The next one fit, and even had pockets, but... hmm. Something about it didn't make me excited, so it stayed behind.

I tried on a few more that didn't fit so much so that there was no way I was taking pictures to show any of you. The next one fit but....

...something was wrong. It made me look large and I couldn't place it. I texted it to my friend and she confirmed my suspicions: It's the pattern. I felt wide. It's like the reverse of those slimming illusion patterns. It added width. We women love that.

This last one was a major win. I'm really into florals lately, it has pockets (obviously a major win there) and there's a built in wire frame to the bodice, making it that highly desired type of dress for heat waves - the kind that do not require me to wear a bra. I'm wearing it right now, in fact, in my delightfully sweaty back yard. Ahhh. *Side note: for those of you just tuning in, that wasn't sarcasm. I am in love with the heat this summer. It's my dream summer. A magic summer, if you will.

I packed up my finds and checked out. I wasn't quite sated yet, so I headed to what I call the Hidden City Salvo. I call it this because for several years running, Google has misdirected me and taken me elsewhere.  As I mentioned in last year's blog about my visit there, I starred it in Google maps and this time it stayed put! I searched for Salvation Army Thrift Stores in Rochester - and it tried to send me elsewhere. I knew better this time, searched for my star, navigated to that location instead, and voila!

I win! Take that, Google! I found you, you little hidden Salvo.

I never have trouble getting a cart at this location, I imagine because everyone else who's looking for this store is following Google Maps blindly around the city. I headed straight to the dresses, passing handbags and shoes on either side as I went.

I bought the straw handbag in the first crate because it was from McCurdy's and still had the original tag! Super cute. Also, there's a bra purse. Just because you need a bra purse. I did not buy that one.

I had some trouble weaving my way through the store because of some hipster girls who kept getting in my way. I'm about 99.9% sure (from personal experience) that one of them was faking a British accent, since the only time I've heard such a weird sounding accent is when I myself was faking one.

This dress is Adrianna Papel Evenings and it's beaded delightfulness. I have no idea where I would have worn it but if it wasn't about 2 sizes too big I'd have bought it anyway. Non-vintage, sadly, so it stayed behind. I hope someone took you home and loves you, pretty dress.

This dress is Calvin Klein. You probably can't tell, but while the top is my favorite stretchy knit material, the skirt is faux leather. And it is KILLER. And I want to be that girl, I really do. I want to be the girl who wears leather because the dress is amazing. But I'm not that girl. I have no doubt I would have taken this home, hung it in my closet, and never ever worn it. So it stayed behind. I'm sorry, dress. But I see you, and I recognize your amazingness. I hope you also have found a happy home.

This one did come home with me. Layered black fabric, strapless, from the White House Black Market. Gorgeous. I don't have that many opportunities for strapless black dresses but I'll find one. Or I'll make one. Whatever. You're pretty and you're mine.

This one has pockets, I'm really into floral this year (as previously stated), and I loved the ruffled hem. Unfortunately, despite saying that it's a size 6, this Lauren Conrad did not fit this size 4 girl. Not even a little bit. Wouldn't zip up. Come on. Get your act together, Lauren Conrad.

I found a number of great vintage dresses there too, and here's my haul when I got home:

I can't handle too much of the Etsy listing process after all that thrifting, but I do love to go through them, remove the tags (especially ones stapled right on to the delicate fabric, grrrrr!) and delight in all my wonderful finds. Here is the vintage I found in Greece:

And here's the vintage I found at the Hidden City Salvo:

Ahhh. So much delightfulness. Some of these have had stain removal performed, some have been steamed, and a chosen few are already listed.

At this point on Salvo Wednesday, it was time to walk away from the Salvo world and instead enjoy lunch in the back yard with my dogs. Including, but not limited to, a salad made 100% from my garden:

So how did you enjoy your trip to the Salvo? Want to come with me next week? 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Did I Just DIY?

Last week my yardsaling/estate-saling buddy and I went to an estate sale really near my house. It was the second day, which meant my very favorite thing - everything was half-off!

 We got right in as it opened and I headed straight to the bedrooms, where the closets are, and one would assume, the dresses are.

I found a couple of cute vintage dresses right away. I was pretty happy with these finds.

The last one I wanted to fit me so, so badly. But what you see there is as far as I can lift my arms in it. (Stupid large rib cage). It's so Jackie O. It's so shiny. And the buttons on the neck are so sparkly! True love.

As I was rooting around in the closets, another woman - not an employee of the estate sale, just another shopper - said to me "oh, you like vintage dresses? You should go out in the garage. There's a whole box of them out there." 

And she was right. A whole box of dusty, stained, GORGEOUS dresses. It looked like this in the car after I was done:

I was told as I checked out (rather gleefully - my poker face was not in place but what were they going to do? The prices were clearly marked!) that someone else had been there the day before and bought 30 dresses. I can't even imagine what they get when this amazingness was left behind.

Unfortunately, some of them were stained. I decided to see what I could do about that, bearing in full mind what my track record is of doing things myself. I asked on Instagram and was given the advice to spot treat with a combination of mild detergent, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. I tried it, and IT WORKED. I didn't even think to take before pictures, because who would have imagined that I would actually succeed?? This picture, if you zoom in, does show one of the stains right in the center of my chest:

I took the picture thinking I wanted to keep it and then saw how short and stumpy I looked and changed my mind. But there it is, the stain, right in the center. And look at it now!

No stains! No dust either, for that matter. Just lovely and clean! I'm so proud of myself.  I was so proud, in fact, that I went to town on all the stains on all the others and met with equal success!!

Different dresses in different stages of the cleaning process.... but all CLEAN!!

It has been suggested that cleaning might not be DIY. But I ask you. Did I not DO IT MYSELF? And I made the cleaning solution out of separate ingredients. And applied it. And soaked the dresses. And dried them. And I DID IT MYSELF. And as we all know what an epic failure I usually am at DIY, let's all just agree to give me this one. I'm just so pleased.

I spent the next few days scrambling to get them all measured and photographed so that I could spend Monday and Tuesday listing them from here:

Perfection. I also decided to wear one of my new vintage dresses to dinner that night, and was very glad I did.

Oh summer. Never leave me.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Salvo Wednesday At Home: Vintage Yes

It is amazing to me that I have been going to this same Salvation Army constantly for years - since so shortly after it opened that Google didn't believe me it existed - and I have never realized how much vintage it contains. I'm really finding this to be true everywhere I go this summer. It's like when I introduce a classic song to my kids to sing in choir and I'm shocked when they tell me they've never heard it - and then after we sing it, they tell me they hear it everywhere. It was always there, in the background, but they'd just never noticed it before. 

This is happening with vintage. I'm sure it's always been there, waiting for me to notice. And I have noticed to some degree - if it is exactly my size or exactly my taste. But now that I've really started looking at all of it, and educating myself about different labels (styles I knew, labels I did not), it's everywhere. 

This week I went to my home Salvation Army for the first time this summer, and I only found one thing for myself. And yet my cart looked like this.

Oh, I tried on 7 things, but only one made the cut.  The rules are that it has to fit me perfectly with no alterations required (we've seen what I do with DIY), it has to be something I will actually have the opportunity to wear even if it's just once a year or a special occasion, it has to be unlike anything I own or has to be a great improvement over something similar (meaning the previous one gets ousted), and if at all possible, it ought to have pockets. This met all my requirements!

This falls into the category of being an improvement over a similar item. The improvement is partially just being a higher quality material, but mostly pockets. We ladies love dresses with pockets. Fashion designers, take note. WE LOVE THEM.

There were some really great vintage items I didn't take with me for various reasons. I didn't take this:

Gorgeous (50s? 60s?) lace wedding dress. I didn't take it for reasons twofold: One, it was $45. HALF OFF. That's right, folks, Salvation Army wants $90 for this when it's not half-off day. Ugh. That is too high for you, Salvo. You're on notice.

The second reason is space. This skirt was HUGE. And the number of dresses in my spare bedroom can only be called alarming. I'm literally getting rid of my vanity to make room for a garment rack (and probably more totes) in the next week. Because there's no more room at the inn. This is going to be especially problematic since this is only mid-July, and I still have a month and a half of summer to go, and it would seem that vintage is everywhere. And I'm the only one who's buying it.

A couple of my vintage favorites from this trip (if you want to see them all, well, you'll just have to head over to my Etsy shop, won't you?):

A Ralph Lauren silk number, which is business in the front and party in the back. The most sophisticated mullet you've ever seen. And a little extra special because of this:

Apparently this was a sample, not for sale, and specificially on 10/14/85. The date surprised me - I would have pegged this as a 90s dress because I swear Monica wore something just like it in the early years of Friends. You know, before Rachel worked at Ralph Lauren! 

I can't get over how much I love everything about this dress. The eggplant color, the lace bodice, the handkerchief hem, how light and comfortable it is. No label, just a gorgeous 70s sundress. And we all know I love sundresses the most.

A side note: I'd like to take a moment of silence for my favorite wine bar, Veritas, which closed its doors this past Friday.

I loved this wine bar not just for its great wine, but because it had great atmosphere, it had great cheese, it always had French macaroons, and most of all, it offered killer wine classes. I learned about the Bordeaux wine region, sampled wines from Greece, Italy, Spain, and the FingerLakes. I discovered my current favorite winery, Billsboro, during a food pairing dinner they did.  I even learned that I was not cut out to be a sommelier. They did all of this at affordable prices, and they remembered me every time I came. They even remembered me well enough to call out to me by name at the race expo at the Boilermaker in Utica. I was sad to see this wine bar go, but I bid it a fond farewall with two of my cousins, and in a vintage 70s dress that I hadn't had a chance to wear yet because dogs.

Goodbye, lovely wine bar. In Vino Veritas.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Salvo Wednesday: New Vintage, New Online Teaching Gig

For the last 6 or 7 years I've been teaching Music Appreciation and Music Theory online. In the summer of 2013, our BOCES (and a few others) received a grant to author and offer several online AP courses, including Music Theory. I spent the better part of that summer in what I called "Back Yard Office", trying to be creative and finding ways to effectively teach AP-level Music Theory in an online forum.

This spring I was contacted by another BOCES about my course. They had also authored a Music Theory course during the summer of the VAP grant, and it seemed they liked mine better. They asked me to meet with them in early summer to discuss using my course and hiring me to teach it for them. Since they're located in a town that's about an hour drive and happens to have a Salvation Army, I asked to have the meeting on a Wednesday.

So this past Wednesday I drove out to Auburn, met my mother-in-law to go to the Salvo before my meeting, had my meeting, and left Auburn with both new Salvo treasures and a new part-time teaching gig. Not bad!

I have to take a moment to complain a little about the Auburn Salvo, however. First, the joy of Salvo Wednesdays is that every color tag but one is half off. Every color but ONE. Not two. Please take note, Auburn Salvo. You don't get to make up your own rules when every other Salvation Army in the area (and out of state as well - believe me, I've checked) has the same rule. Also, thrift store prom dresses should not be $50. They just should not. And this dress, at any other Salvation Army, would be marked $6.99. Not $25. Who do you think you are? Gah.

However, I did find a few good things for my Etsy shop, which have all been photographed and will be getting listed this week. Here's my favorite:

The most summery thing that ever was! Find it here.

After my meeting, I started to head in the direction of Rochester from Auburn... and it occurred to me that Seneca Falls also lies in that direction. And it also contains a Salvation Army. So I had to stop. And glad I did! I found a whole bunch of handsewn 60s/70s dresses, an amazing vintage black handbag, and a little something for me as well!

I've decided to call this color Goldenrod instead of Mustard to make it sound a little more appealing, but it doesn't get more 60s than that color. And the design! So cute. 

I love the pattern of this dress SO much. And it fits perfectly... once it's on. But it doesn't have a zipper, and that's a problem for me. When you are built like me, zippers are your friend. In general, I am very blessed with how clothes fit me. It seems like that when the current American fashion designer makes clothes, mine is the body type they have in mind. If it's my size, it fits. With one exception. I have a small frame, small waist, small chest, small stature, small everything... except my rib cage/shoulders. They're built for a linebacker. So if I can get it over my shoulders, it will fit my waist. Sometimes I can get things zipped up just fine over my waist and then run into trouble in the bust area, not because of my generous bust (ha) but because of the linebacker situation. So I predict that I will wear this once, get stuck in it, and never wear it again. Oh well. It's super cute!

Thank goodness, this one is easy to get on and fits perfectly once it's on. And the little buttons at the neckline! Love.

Another word about the superiority of the Seneca Falls Salvo over the Auburn one: not only are their prices much more reasonable, not only did they follow the rules and only had one tag that wasn't half off, they also did this:

Pretty and super-duper organized! The best of all worlds.

I headed home again, only to realize that Geneva also lay between me and home, and it also had a Salvation Army... the choice was out of my hands. And again, I was really glad I went. I found several good vintage dresses, and my first vintage swimsuit! Ridiculously adorable, ridiculously 80s.

Find it here.

I also found a couple of cute things for me!

Nine Wests red platform heels with bows on the peep toes!! SO MUCH YES!!! And adorable, comfy flats to wear with this:

A sweater dress! Yes, in the midst of the first true heat wave we've had in years (did you know that means 3 or more consecutive days of 90+? I didn't!), I not only bought a dress to wear in winter, I modeled it. In our unairconditioned home. And my phone decided to reboot during the process, so I got to wear it a little longer. Lucky me.

I'm not complaining. This heat wave is my favorite thing ever, and I'm counting you in that, dresses. And the rainbow section of the Seneca Falls Salvation Army. I love you, summer.