Bumps & Balrogs

Leather jacket + burgundy pleated skirt // We So Thrifty

Leather jacket + burgundy pleated skirt // We So Thrifty

Leather jacket + burgundy pleated skirt // We So Thrifty

Leather jacket + burgundy pleated skirt // We So Thrifty

Leather jacket + burgundy pleated skirt // We So Thrifty

Hello friends!

One of the advantages to being a very lazy blogger is that, since I update so infrequently, I don’t have to generate any kind of original idea – I can just give all of you the ol’ family-reunion style speech on what’s new. If you’re my family – too bad. Maybe you’ll get some new material when you see me in person this weekend over turkey and more turkey (it’s Canadian Thanksgiving, you yankees).

Obviously, things have grown since my last post. Chief amoung them? The bump. It’s at that strange stage where you can’t really get a handle on how big it is, because depending on the angle, I can look anywhere from 5 to 9.5 months preggo. The first photo in this post? Hardly-bump! The last photo in this post? Holy-bump! (Since I get to see the the full picture in the comfort of my own home, I assure you “holy-bump!” is now the more accurate descriptor.)

Again, though – I’ve been really incredibly blessed in how my pregnancy has progressed so far. Compared to what I know is the norm for so many women, it’s been a breeze (and I just heard a story about a woman giving birth at 26 weeks after emergency appendectomy, so am not taking any of it for granted). Sure, I’m now the World’s Worst Walking Companion (because I have to pee every 20 minutes), and I had to end my relationship with nylons (I never liked them anyway), but things are moving along swimmingly. Literally – this little babe is definitely doing some crazy butterfly stroke in my uterus. It’s adorable.

I also definitely thought that, being nearly 6 months into my pregnancy, I would have had to purchase or thrift a lot more new clothing. Not so! I bought two stretchy maternity long sleeve tops and a pair of maternity jeans, and that’s the only preg-specific clothing I’ve accrued so far. As for everything else, I’m getting everything I can out of my current closet. I was never one for a Herve-Leger-style body-con dress, so I’ve found it pretty easy to work with what I’ve got – especially since it turns out I don’t actually know everything I’ve got. I just found this pleated skirt in the Mines of Moria, ie: my disastrous closet, after some intensive cleaning and organizing. I bought this skirt from the Salvation Army at least 4 years ago, maybe 5, and had completely forgotten about it for years. Just shows what you can find if you’re willing to dig deep! It might me a Balrog, or it might be a pretty pleated skirt. Both have their perks.

And perhaps that’s where I’ll end it today, because, honestly? I have to pee. Happy thanksgiving!

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Jacket: Talize | $12
Necklace: Salvation Army | $3
Bag: Talize | $9
Skirt: Salvation Army | I don’t recall the price because who knows what kind of ancient currency we were using five years ago?

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Photos by Yen!

Oops

Floral skirt + knotted top // We So Thrifty

Floral skirt, knotted top // We So Thrifty

Floral skirt, knotted top // We So Thrifty

Floral skirt, gator bag // We So Thrifty

I’ve only thrifted one piece of clothing for the baby so far. Only one. I say that almost like a confession, because I honestly feel like people might judge me for it. This blog is proof that I like to buy clothes, lots of them, for myself. So, what gives, Julie? WHY YOU NO THRIFT FOR BABY?

Truth be told, I find it really truly hard to buy baby clothes – even new ones. We aren’t finding out the sex of the baby until he/she arrives, and yellow and green onesies aren’t all that exciting (even though I know they’re necessary). When I thrift shop for myself, I’m always on the lookout for interesting pieces – a strange label, good vintage, etc. etc. But I’m finding it nearly impossible to do the same for the little VH1. I’ll pick up something funky, and while I’d wear it in a grown-up size, I all the sudden think “Is this stupid for a baby? Will the baby sweat too much in it? Is it too gender-specific? What if my baby is a giant and comes out 6-month size and won’t even need newborn clothes?!” (That last one is a totally legitimate fear, by the way – Dutch people have monster babies).

When thrifting for the tiny one, I also find myself finally judging thrift stores like other people must judge them. Me? I’d pull something out of the garbage for myself if it were a quality piece, but I’m finding myself suddenly far more critical when it comes to the teensy clothes on the rack: “MY BABY CAN’T HAVE MYSTERY STAINS ON THEIR CLOTHES.”

Maybe all this is just a way to placate the guilt I have over this new skirt. I mentioned last entry that Matt and I had our ultasound a few weeks ago, and the whole thing put me on such a baby-high, I stopped at the thrift store on the way home from work that day with the specific hope of picking out something special for the babe. I came home with…this skirt. Oops. But it was only $2.99!

If I could add just one more excuse before singing off, I’d also mention that we don’t actually have a nursery yet. We’re putting up another room in our condo, and I’ll be sharing my walk-in closet with my offspring, but as it stands, all the gifts we’ve received so far for this golden child are randomly stuffed in with my clothes.

Perhaps next time I’ll visit one of those kid-only consignment/thrift stores – that’ll eliminate the distraction of stretchy floral $2.99 skirts again. And you know what? Matt’s already got plans for that new wall we’ve gotta build, so they’re will be a designated “baby space” in no time.  I’m sure once that happens, them baby clothes will be flying off the shelves! Onto new shelves! In our place!

There. Guilt absolved. Let’s go thrifting.

Floral skirt, knotted top // We So Thrifty

Skirt: $2.99 | Salvation Army
Bag: Gift!

 

 

 

Cool summer, bro

Coral maxi dress + mint necklace // We So Thrifty

Coral maxi dress + mint necklace // We So Thrifty

Coral maxi dress + mint necklace // We So Thrifty

Coral maxi dress + mint necklace // We So Thrifty

Coral maxi dress + mint necklace // We So Thrifty

You know that thing people say about a frog in warm water? That you can slowly boil the sucker before he’ll even realize the water’s getting hot? The gist of that story (in reverse) has summarized summer weather in Ontario. It’s been a cool summer, and I’ll admit, it’s been kind of nice. We’ve hardly had to turn on our AC, my car is pleasantly toasty at the end of the work day, and evening walks are accompanied by a lovely breeze. Since it’s been this way for all of August and most of June and July, it seems like everyone is ready and willing to greet an early Fall with a shrug. “Eh, OK, come on over Autumn. It’s been slowly cooling for months already anyways. Give me a latte and take our leaves and sunshine.”

And so, we stand by while Starbucks pushes up the release date of all things Pumpkin Spice, we don’t bat an eyelash when the Emmys show up in August, and we all start pinning heavy sweaters on our fall inspiration boards. But listen, my frogs – err – friends: it need not be so. Let me kindly remind you that we Ontarians suffered through the worst winter of ALL TIME. We are owed our four solid months of 25 + degree temperatures, and don’t let Starbucks tell you anything else.

I snapped out of my autumnal complacency this past weekend. I hadn’t yet had a chance to wear this most-summery garment: a coral Cynthia Rowley maxi scored at Valu Village for $12.99. Before I put it on, I had a brief moment of hesitation: “this dress looks something worn only at the Copacabana. Maybe it’s too summery…”

NO IT ISN’T.

It’s August, for cryin’ out loud. We should all still be audibly complaining about muggy air and icky sweat droplets creeping down the smalls of our backs. So, I put on my summery maxi and my strappy sandals, and the universe has applauded my boldness. The forecast for tomorrow is a disgusting 29 degrees, with a humidex of 37. Doesn’t that sound wonderfully awful?

Fall won’t trick us into submission so easily, and I’ll stay outta the cauldron for a few more weeks, thank you very much.

Coral maxi dress + mint necklace // We So Thrifty

With that little rant out of the way, I’ll also let you guys know that I’m half-way through my pregnancy! Say whaaaaaaat? My sporadic blogging makes it seem like the first 20 weeks have flown by, but it’s felt like that in real life too. I’ve been crazy lucky and haven’t had to deal with any of the yuckiness that’s usually associated with that first half: my energy has been steady, my appetite is normal, my nausea is non-existent, and, according to this morning’s ultrasound, my baby has all its adorable fingers and toes. Life has been business as usual, and that makes it all the more miraculous that there’s a tiny human in there doing all she/he can to prepare to greet the world in 2015. We can’t wait to meet this baby, but unlike Starbucks, I feel no need to rush its release date. You take your time, tiny one – we’ll wait.

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Dress: $12.99 | Valu Village
Clutch: $0.25 | Clothing Swap
Necklace: Borrowed from Laura | Salvation Army
Shoes: Inherited from Yen

Baby Baby

Cotton dress // We So Thrifty

Cotton dress // We So Thrifty

Cotton dress // We So Thrifty

Bump-friendly cotton dress // We So Thrifty

There it is!

Here you guys were thinking “Oh look! There’s Julie being pretentious and perhaps taking a pee in some rose bushes” and then BLAMO – baby bump hits you in the face.

I actually tried to publish this post using the first three photos only, but then this WordPress pop-up came up:

Looks like you’re trying to publish a pregnancy announcement. Under the Official Blogger Code of Conduct, sector 673F, we cannot publish this post without at least one bump shot, ultrasound pic, or photo of your cat expressing her delight at being a “big sister.” Additionally, please make your opinions on home birth vs. hospital birth known immediately, in a sufficiently smug manner. Thank you.

So weird.

Anyways, I relented, and now the whole internet knows that Matt and I are, Lord willing, welcoming a tiny fella or lady this January! In the interest of keeping this short and sweet, I’ll just say that we’re really happy, I’ve been feeling fantastic, and it’s incredibly liberating to try on a dress like this one, then say “this dress makes it look like I’ve been slamming back burritos for every meal – I’ll take it!”.

I’ll also add that the comments coming in on Facebook and Instagram have felt like a continuous parade of warm hugs (but even better because you don’t have to actually hug anyone!), and I’ve never been so thankful for my wonderful family, supportive friends, and overall kick-ass community. This baby is already loved by so many. That’s pretty incredible.

(One last sidebar: Narrowing down the song to title this post was tricky. I landed on Amy Grant because look at her over-sized patchwork blazer. It’s spectacular.)

Dress: Kimberly’s Deja Vu Boutique | $32

The Good Stuff

Vintage florals // We So Thrifty

Vintage florals // We So Thrifty

Vintage florals // We So Thrifty

There comes at time in every thrifter’s life where you, ever so briefly, turn on the stores that raised your wardrobe. It may be the lack of hooks in every.single.change room, it may be the snotty college girls that show up looking for “like, vintagey stuff!” but more often than not, it’s a sparkly H&M mini dress priced at $29.99. “What is this madness!?” you say. “Where is the justice!?” you yell. “I rue your very existence, Macklemore!” you decry.

But just as quickly as the rage arrives, it’s turned right around by stumbling upon something like this dress. This dress is a beautiful vintage piece with boning built right in, and a full circle skirt made for dancing. It was only $7 regular price, and just so happened to be -50% the day it came into my life. I didn’t even try this dress on (crappy change rooms, remember?). Instead, I stuffed it in the cart and headed home (I paid first, guys, OF COURSE).

For all the wackadoodle ways thrift stores sometimes price their merchandise, they still occasionally give you the good stuff for little more than a smile. All is forgiven, my dear thrift store, for now.

Vintage florals // We So Thrifty

Vintage florals // We So Thrifty

Dress: Talize | $3.50
Purse: Clothing Swap | $0.50
Flats: Target | $12
Belt: From this Salvation Army dress

 

Ceci n’est pas une post

Neon scarf + leather jacket // We So Thrifty

Neon scarf + leather jacket // We So Thrifty

Neon scarf + bright lace // We So Thrifty

Neon scarf + leather jacket // We So Thrifty

This is one of those posts, you guys. One of those “oh whoops I haven’t blogged in three weeks but I took these photos three weeks ago so I best get ta’ posting” posts.

Once I actually got to posting, though, I had a little trouble framing a coherent piece around these pieces. In fact, there were three aborted angles for this particular post, and they were:

1) A post about my glasses and how I have terrible vision (-7.00!), and I’ve only met one other person in the world with vision as terrible, and then they went and got laser eye surgery, and now I’m all alone in the blind-bat club, and I have all these “girls with glasses can get it” t-shirts that no one wants.
2) There’s a record store behind me! And I look pretty record-store-y! And hey remember High Fidelity? That movie was great! So, who’s your favourite Cusack: John or Joan?
3) I wore this outfit the night Yen and I watched American blogger. Here are my thoughts about that particular piece cinematic cra…ftsmanship.

All three of these ideas didn’t make it passed draft stage for several reasons 1) Nobody likes a complainer; 2) Obviously Joan is the superior Cusack; and 3) There are only so many synonyms for “self-indulgent fluff,” plus Jessica at Blog Her totally nailed it already.

So, I’ll refrain from complaining, the Cusacks, and critiquing. Instead, I’ll skip the whole “post” part entirely and let the outfit do the talking. If any one item can carry a post all on it’s own, it’s a neon scarf, right?

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Handmade scarf: So Chickadelic | $25
Jacket: Talize | $12
Top: Salvation Army | $5.99 (worn sans slip here)
Booties: Talize | $12.99

 

 

 

 

Black is the New Green

Knotted maxi, leather jacket, ankle boots // We So Thrifty

Maxi dress, leather jacket // We So Thrifty

Knotted maxi, leather jacket // We So Thrifty

Knotted maxi, leather jacket, ankle boots // We So Thrifty

Guys! I’ve been sitting on this post for a few weeks (metaphorically….that probably didn’t need to be clarified). Anyhoo, I awaited the usual burst of pop cultural inspiration to hit, and the best I came up with was “I’m in all black, because I’m mourning the loss of [NOT SAYING HIS NAME BECAUSE YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS SHOW YOURSELF] from The Good Wife.” But if I tried to accurately describe the intense and painful feelings I suffered due to the loss of this fictional TV character, I’d sound “scary-crazy” instead of the usual “entertaining-crazy,” so I’ll save those feelings for my secret shipper Tumblr. It’s up to you to decide if having a secret shipper Tumblr is scary-crazy or entertaining-crazy.

Instead, I’m taking a cue from my pal Merl. Merl’s having an instagram contest right now, asking the populous to share their approach to eco-styling. Eco-styling sounds much scarier than it is. Merl herself spells it out plain and simple here: Don’t waste. Shop smart. Stop buying crap. I can honestly say I’ve managed to do just that with this look. Let’s break it down:

1) The bulk of this outfit is from the thrift store. Thrifting is eco-friendly because it extends the life of what we wear, and stops clothing from being disposable. It’s using tupperware instead of ziplock bags. (Are you now imagining hilarious outfits made from tupperware and ziplock bags? No? Just me?)

2) I thrifted these pieces with an eye on wearability and quality. I’ve had this leather jacket for, like, a month, and I’ve worn it nearly everyday. Make your clothing count. The black maxi is one of my favourite finds ever: A nice, heavy jersey Rachel Pally dress. Rachel Pally started designing precisely because she was exhausted with the cheap/trendy crap from everyone else, and her clothes, while at a higher price tag new, are a level up from anything you’d find in a department store (and they’re made in the USA). She’s one of those designers that I’d buy new clothing from too.

3) I’m supporting the little guys (and girls). I’ve heard from some people that if we all shopped second-hand or eco-conscious, the economy would go bye-bye (to use scientific terms). That’s just silly. I’m simply supporting a more creative economy. The necklace I’m wearing is from Merl herself – she builds new jewellery from salvaged materials.  The money I spent on it goes to Merl. Merl’s money goes to her adorable little shop in Chi-town. Merl’s little shop injects life into that particular neighbourhood. That’s a good chain of events. The same can be said for the boots I’m wearing from The Edit – just replace “Chi-town” with “Hamilton.” (Sidebar: “Chi-town” sounds like a thing only people who don’t live in Chicago say. Is that right, Chi-pals?)

4) I’m making the cheap stuff last. I’ve had the scarf I’m wearing for years. I bought it new, from Costa Blanca. Costa Blanca is certainly a perpetuator of fast-fashion, but as Elizabeth Cline says about these fast-fashion houses: “If you buy something cheap, that doesn’t mean that you have to have a disposable attitude to it … or a disposable relationship to it. I wore an H&M dress that I’ve had for eight years to a wedding this past summer and it’s not the greatest quality but I still like it, and I’m going to keep it in my closet and keep it going for as long as I can.”

Yesterday was Earth Day. As a child, that meant putting on plastic gloves and picking up garbage behind the treeline at school. As an adult, it means putting on clothing I like, and tackling the garbage inside my closet. Less stinky, just as rewarding. Go earth!

Dress: Salvation Army | $3.50
Jacket: Talize | $12
Scarf: Costa Blaca | Don’t recall!
Booties: The Edit | $40
Necklace: Clyde’s Rebirth | $40
Purse: Clothing Swap | $0.50

 

Sissy Fight

Vintage blazer, ripped jeans, leather boots // We So Thrifty

Vintage blazer, leather boots // We So Thrifty

leather ankle boots // We So Thrifty

Vintage blazer, ripped jeans, leather boots // We So Thrifty

I’m from a family of all girls. Those of you who know me in real life know that my three sisters are my best buds. We’re eerily close, get together on the regular, and agree about everything. It’s not normal. Matt will attest to that –  when we’re discussing contentious subjects, it ends up with us shouting “YES I AGREE!” “YES, AGREE LOUDER!” “SO AGREE!” at each other.

But don’t let our creepy-sister-hive-mind fool you – we fought when we were kids, a lot. Scratching, spitting, slapping, journal-reading, name-calling, hair-pulling – we were holy terrors to each other.

Most of the time, the sister fights would be limited to sparing pairs. I’d fight with Laura, since we were the youngins’, and my older sisters would fight with each other. Only very rarely did a four-sister fight occur, and when it did, it was about clothing. While there’s a bit of a gap in between my older sister and my youngest one, for a brief time, we all fell in somewhere in the pre-teen/teenage category. It was in this window that the Battle of the Black Tank Top (like the Battle of Blackwater, but more intense) took place. The stakes were pretty high: I mean, how could I wear my American Eagle hoodie without the GOOD black tank top? While we all had black tank tops of our own, we evenutally lost track of whose was whose, and thusly held different ideas about who laid claim to the GOOD stretchy medium one with adjustable straps. As we yelled and screeched along hallways and across slammed doors, it’s a marvel my dad didn’t just flip over the dinner table Alan Rickman style and say “Nope, I’m done. Sons or bust.”

Despite episodes like this one, I never really wanted brothers. That said, I always assumed I would have fought less with a brother. I mean, sisters steal clothes from each other, but brothers? Naaaah.

…Wrong. The last three shirts I’ve thrifted (included the denim Gap one I’m wearing in these photos) are men’s. My collection of men’s plaid shirts is growing at a steady rate, and Matt has explicitly banned me from wearing any of his clothing. And let’s talk about my new boots: gorgeous, leather, made in Brazil, scored at The Edit for $40 – and, Jentine guesses, likely men’s as welll. If a black tank top brought on a sibling-wide battle, boots like these would have prompted an all-out war.

Geez, just think the carnage! I I think I’ll keep my sisters, thanks.

Sidenote:  Does anyone else remember the game from which this post takes its title? It was SO AWFUL! And I played it SO SO SO MUCH! With the slowest internet connection known to man!  Oh, internet, you leave us so many treasures.

Vintage blazer, ripped jeans, leather boots // We So Thrifty

Blazer: Girl on the Wing // $10
Denim Shirt: Salvation Army // $2
Jeans: American Eagle // $25
Purse: Clothing Swap // $0.50
Boots: The Edit // $40

Red Heart

Vintage red sweater over a sparkly dress // We So Thrifty

Vintage red sweater over a sparkly dress // We So Thrifty

Vintage red sweater over a sparkly dress // We So Thrifty

I thrifted this sweater at just the right time. A few weekends ago, Matt and I were in Trenton, and tagged along with his parents to an estate sale auction at an old car dealership. I’d never been to an auction before, so I pretended to be as aloof and cool about it as possible. I didn’t intend to bid on anything, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t pretend I might. That was all before I came across a vintage 4-point Hudson’s Bay blanket.

Hudson’s Bay designed this year’s (any many other year’s) Canadian Olympic gear. The collection is gorgeous, tasteful, and iconic – exactly what Canadians expect from the HBC brand (wish could say the same about Ralph Lauren’s offerings for Team USA…). Anyways, I’ve always wanted a 4-point blanket, but the price of a new one is prohibitive, and vintage ones rarely go for less than $250. However, the most recent bout of Olympic fever that has hit me and the rest of my country made that “want” feel more like a patriotic duty. I had to bid on it! FOR OUR ATHLETES!

Prior to the bidding process, I had high hopes I was the only one in that room that knew what I was looking at. The blanket itself was lumped in with a host of other fleecy no-names, and I wishfully thought the auctioneer might let the whole whack of blankets go for a modest sum. That wasn’t the case – once he got to that table, he promptly asked his assistant to pull the 4-point out of the pile, and away we went. I told myself I wouldn’t go higher than $70 ($80, tops), as I wanted to get it for a deal. The bidding began, and I tried to be nonchalant – not bidding until several other people chimed in. I got to raise my clammy hand at least four times before I realized this was a contest between two other ladies who were willing to spend a lot more money than I was.

So, I walked away empty handed. As we were driving home, I told Matt I had to duck out for a bit once we returned to his parents’ place. My defeat left me with the itch to thrift, and, lucky me, the Trenton Bibles for Missions store had a 50% off sale that day. Among a few other scores, I took home this bright red vintage sweater for $2.50. It isn’t Hudson’s Bay, but it IS the perfect shade of red to wear when Team Canada inevitably CRUSHES ITS FOES AND ALL WHO DARE OPPOSE US in the gold medal hockey game on sunday (Look guys! I’m into sports!) It was also the perfect shade of red to wear on Valentine’s Day, as I packed in four entrees and at least that many House of Cards episodes.

While I suffered a defeat at the auction, this was a victory at the thrift store. Let’s keep this streak going, Mr. Crosby. Game faces on.

Vintage red sweater over a sparkly dress // We So Thrifty

Dress: Salvation Army | $12
Sweater: Bibles for Missions | $2.50
Necklace: Gift
Booties: Talize | $13
Clutch: Salvation Army | $5

Hibernation

60s embellished tunic/dress // We So Thrifty

60s embellished tunic/dress // We So Thrifty

60s embellished tunic/dress // We So Thrifty

OH MAN.

It’s been a loooooooooong time since I’ve blogged. The sleuthy among you may notice that, magically, my instagrammed short hair is long again. Sadly, this is not magic. These photos were taken before Christmas, and I’m only now posting them. Yes, that’s precisely how long it’s been since I went outside (and shaved my legs, and wore not-track pants, and interacted with humankind). Winter decided to beat up everyone in the face this year, and I waved the white flag a long time ago. That white flag is now camouflaged amidst the latest batch of snow, though, so it didn’t do me any good.

I know, I know – it’s a big fat cliche to complain about the weather, but this isn’t just weather, you guys – it’s war. It’s a cold war (sorry – just watched Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) In the last few months, temperatures have dipped below -10C FORTY TIMES. You know how many times it did that last year? Ten measley times. I’m now going through entries from last winter and telling past Julie to toughen up and quit her belly aching, because she has NO IDEA how rough it’s going to get (I also realize my American readers don’t know what -10 celsius is, and I’d explain it to you, really, but Canadians have their hands full these days, what with the Biebers and the Fords).

That said, of course there have been bright spots. My sister’s wedding was glorious, I’ve eaten a lot of tasty soup, this season’s Bachelor has been beyond terrible, Yen made me a model, yadda, yadda, but it’s otherwise been quite the slog. One other highlight worth mentioning is this bright, embellished 60s beauty I’m wearing. This dress is a literal and figurative bright spot in the dark of winter, taken home on opening night from The Edit.

I’d like to say that you’ll see me again soon, but the reality is by the time I get ta’ posting, my hair will be long again for real. In the meantime, I’ll make some tea, pet my cat, and stare lovingly at this bright, beautiful dress.

See you in, oh, I dunno – July?

60s embellished tunic/dress // We So Thrifty