Monday, September 30, 2013

In The Heights

This past Saturday I went to see "In The Heights" for the second time, and the show was even better then I remembered.  I first saw it three years ago in New York; this time I saw it in Philadelphia, where it will be until October 20, so I highly recommend going before it closes.  Great story of following your dreams and family, great dancing, great singing, tons of energy, and a great cast!  This is the future of musical theater!

*Update. I hear there is going to be a movie adaptation of this, so I will be all over it when it comes out.


Friday, September 27, 2013


I've never heard of Madewell until I started reading fashion blogs, but luckily a store is opening nearby so I can check them out.  Of all the things on their website, the shoes and handbags are the only things that really catch my eye.  Boots are one of those things that I think is worth paying more for the kind of quality that will last for years.  I've never tried anything from this store, but a pair a boots may be in the works this year, if only I can decide which ones.  They're a little bit of a splurge for me right now, but the pecan leather is gorgeous.  I'm also digging these red patent leather oxfords.  If these shoes are made as well as they look, I may be saving up for a pair of these babies.  Check 'em out!

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Flea Market Tips

Last weekend I did some selling at at a local flea market, and it made me think of all the things I've learned going to flea markets throughout the years.  While today is officially the last day of summer, a good time for flea markets, these outdoor sales often continue throughout October as people clear out things they no longer want or need before winter.  So here we go:


1. Bring change and small bills.  It's annoying when you have huge bills and the person you're buying from doesn't have enough change to give you, especially when you're buying something that's inexpensive.  Having to find an ATM, local business, or other table is a hassle; even worse, you may have to pass up on what you wanted in the first place.  Along with this I'd say set a limit for yourself if you have to.  Are you going to give yourself a $10, $25, $50 limit?  Setting a limit to how much cash you bring can help keep you from overspending and make you be more selective of what you buy.

2. Negotiate.  Don't settle for the listed or offered price if you don't think the item is worth that much.  Don't be afraid to ask for a lower price.  The worse they can say is no, so it's worth a shot.

3. Keep an open mind.  This is especially true when it comes to shopping for items for home decorating.  If there is one thing I've learned from watching Nate Berkus for a semester is to look for pieces with "good bones," in good condition, or an interesting shape because you can always fix it up with a new coat of paint or fabric.  Now, I do not advise buying a lot of fixer-uppers if you don't have time for these rehab projects, otherwise you can end up accumulating a lot of pieces that you don't use and are just taking up space.  But, if an old frame or decorative piece can be easily transformed with minimum cost and within the time you have then go for it!  Think frames, vases, lamps, tables, statues, etc.

4. Don't be tempted by the low prices.  This is also true when thrifting.  It feels good to find things you want or need at less then retail price, but this can be a trap that leads to buying things you do not really want, like, or that are of poor quality just because the price is good.  So, really think about whether or not you'd buy the same item if it were full-priced or cost more and whether or not it's something you actually need.

5. Other: bring hand sanitizer/wipes, tissue, reusable bag, water+snacks/eat before you come (this is if you're at a huge flea market, there may be long lines for overcharged food not prepared in the cleanest of facilities).


1. Set reasonable expectations about what you hope to make.  It's easy to convince yourself that your'e going to make $150, but you only end up making $70.  Whether your goal is making a decent profit or just getting rid of things that are taking up too much space, unless you're lucky most flea markets will charge you for the space.  Keeping this in mind make sure you have at least a couple of high ticket items that can pay for the spot, so whatever else you make is straight profit.  Sometimes the spots are as little as $20, but I've seen advertisements for others that are as much as $60-$80.  Sometimes you will only make that much, and you don't want to end up making very little or no money at all--unless you were only in it for the experience.  But even then, you don't want to end up spending you're entire day losing money, when you could have easily donated or sold your unwanted items at a consignment store.

2. Organization.  Have an idea of what you have to sell and how you're going to display it.  Presentation is important.  It may be junk to you, but there is someone who will buy it if it's something they're looking for and appears to be in good condition.  Sometimes a little polish is enough for someone to buy something.  A little extra effort can go a long way.

3. Be prepared.  Save plastic and paper bags leading up the flea market for customers to use.  Bring old circulars/newspapers/magazines for wrapping glass or fragile items.  Customers appreciate the extra effort.

4.  Even if you are selling items that are new or unused the mere fact that you're selling them outside of the original retail environment "devalues" it (antiques are one exception), so people are not always willing to pay as much for it.  You don't want to charge too much, yet there are people who will give you unreasonably low offers.  Don't feel bad about turning down a sale if you know what you have is worth more than what a customer wants to pay.  Just like with buying, be anxious for nothing; wait it out.

5.  Have fun.  There is no real point in doing it, if you don't enjoy it.  Most people will make much more if they go in for an extra day at work, so don't do it for the money or you'll probably be wasting your time.  There are easier and less time consuming ways of getting rid of things you don't want.  Smile, and most people will smile back.  This may bring more people over to your table!  At the very least you'll leave with an interesting conversation or a few good stories.

Like thrifting, flea markets are filled with hidden treasures.  The best part is that you never know what you're going to find, and even if you don't find anything, it sure makes for an interesting way to spend the day.

Anyone have any good flea market tips, stories, or finds?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Ever pursue something, and at every step there seems to be another obstacle?

"(11) Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. (12) I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. (13) I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]." Philippians 4:11-13 (Amplified Bible).  Can you imagine that when Paul wrote this he was in prison, arrested for sharing his beliefs?

{via Pinterest}

Ever get frustrated while waiting for something?  You've done your part, yet you're still put on hold?

{via Pinterest}


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Work It: Interview Tips

With a second interview in the works for a position I applied to last week (Thank God for his favor, I know a full-time job is coming real soon!),  I want to pass along some of the tips I've found that have been helpful to keep in mind for interviewing and the job search in general.

And the following from

(So I didn't expect to have so many US News articles.  I only had one originally, but the site just kept suggesting related articles, and I figured it couldn't hurt to share.)

My personal tips:

1. Always apply to the most recent postings first.  Perhaps this is obvious, but it's worth mentioning.  The applicant pool is much smaller at the beginning of anything, so just like school apply early.  You're more likely to hear back from employers faster if you do this.

2. Volunteer work is work.  This time around I did list two significant leadership volunteer experiences (including an unpaid internship).  I've found that hiring managers won't necessarily hold this against you if you've have some really significant volunteer experiences as a program coordinator or some other kind of leadership position with a lot of responsibility.  Just make sure it's significant and relates to the job in question; if it's just something nice you did, but isn't highly relevant to your qualifications for the position I wouldn't bother.  Also, if you do have something to list, make the distinction that it was volunteer work.  I think it can say something about your work ethic and your interest in whatever field when you're willing to temporarily work without compensation.

3. Sometimes position descriptions can seem intimidating.  Applying for jobs this time around I've learned not to limit myself.   If you meet the minimum qualifications, even if you don't have experience with certain aspects or responsibilities, then go for it!  Chances are they will provide you with any training they think you need.   If you're not qualified, you won't hear back from them.  No big deal.  Also, what you actually end up doing may be slightly different then would the description suggests anyway. The job may not be as complicated as it seems (this means you were actually qualified for the position!).

4. Before your interview, review the job description and write out a map; connecting your qualifications, experiences to the description.  Think of it as defending your qualifications on paper.  I did this for my second interview this time around, and it helped relax me for the interview.  Even coming up with answers to hypothetical questions is good preparation, even if you aren't asked the same questions.  It's helpful to look back on all you've done and consider what you've learned, what value/skills/knowledge you can bring to the position, and how different experiences help qualify you for the position.

5. Lastly. the worse anyone can ever say is no, leaving you open for other opportunity, so keep pushing.  Diligence pays off.

Anything else to add? Good luck!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Labor of Love

In advance of Labor Day, I want to share a few of my favorites from the Loft new arrivals.  Holidays like Labor Day and the Fourth of July are always a great time to stock up on essentials for the next season.  The Loft has become one of my favorite stores since undergrad.  They always have amazing sales (not just on the holidays, pretty much some kind of sale or promotion nearly every week), and I find the quality to be really good for the price.  I can always find versatile pieces that can be worn casually and for dress from school to work to church and wherever else I'm going.

Labor of Love
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The gem tones are beautiful, and all these blouses would look great with jeans or tucked in dress pants or pencil skirts.  The leather skirt is a way for me to indulge this season's trend in a classic way with something I'll actually keep for a while.  I already have the red blouse from a 40% off sale.  I didn't know that they came out with the same blouse in this nice floral scroll print until today.  While it looks adorable here, I think I'm just gonna stick with the red for now because of the versatility.  I'm told that it's been a popular neckline and will likely continue to be repeated, so I'll see what other colors it comes in.  Happy shopping!         
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