Thrift Shopping Season – Impact Thrift Store

Have you ever wondered how the experts pick their wares for the fabulous shabby-chic look? I had a chance to learn from Denise of The Painted Home at her thrift shopping event for Impact thrift stores. Denise brings an elegance to the art of ‘trash picking’ on her blog by creating swoon-worthy home decor. See anything you like?

The Painted Home Website

The Painted Home Website

I first met Denise through the Upcycle Challenge this winter and we were so inspired by her creativity. When the chance came to hear about how she rummages through trash to discover future treasures, I couldn’t pass it up. It is clear that Denise can see beauty and versatility in every piece. When I arrived at the Impact! Thrift, I noticed her display area immediately. The pieces all looked like they belonged in a DIY Network room-makeover. She staged a room with items that could easily start a conversation and create a homey atmosphere.

It was incredible to see a designer sift through the vintage cast-offs and share easy ways to transform them into a design statement. Her top choices were picture frames, suitcases, and chairs. With a coat of paint, anything can have a new life. I won a nifty set of Martha Stewart stenciling gear that I plan to put to use on some upcycling projects of my own. There is definitely a season for the hobby. The best time to shop is during spring-cleaning and the two weeks following.

thrift store fids

My personal tips for thrift shopping or garage saleing are to wear your baby for ease of transportation and to make a list in advance. My shopping trip was a huge success for these two reasons. I searched for something to wear to an upcoming event and was thrilled to find a classic white eyelet dress. My mason jar stash from the bric-a-brac section was an incredible find! I can easily buy a new set of lids or cover the jars with plaid fabric after canning depending on how long I plan to store them. In a pinch, these will make terrific glasses for an outdoor party, too. The window screen in my shopping cart is going to find a new home in our sand box. I’ll use that with the girls to sift through buried treasures like seashells, spindles, and wire baubles.  Audrey brought a smile for all the other shoppers to enjoy and gave me two solid hours of thrifting before encouraging me to move onto a more important activity (nursing the baby.) Where do you nurse a baby at a Thrift Store? In the furniture section, of course.

Denise has been wondering if the word “Trash Picking” is a turnoff for you. What would you rather call the art of searching for an upcycle treasure?


South Moon Under at the Promenade – Press Party

The Promenade at Sagemore in New Jersey has a new shop for women that love the beach lifestyle called South Moon Under. This store has been on my radar for many years ever since visiting it during summer vacations to Ocean City Maryland with my friends. Needless to say, when the press invite hit my inbox, I jumped at the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the new store!

South Moon Under carries clothes, dresses, accessories, shoes, and loads of swimwear for women ages 15 to 55! That’s quite a range, but I learned that the most frequent shopping pair at the store is the Mom and Daughter Duo. Don’t be surprised if the adorable made-in-USA tank you covet is right next to a dress that your Mom would love. I was thrilled to see a wide variety of trendy options paired with some classic staples. They also have a fantastic jean selection with brands like Hudson, Joe’s Jeans, and Citizens of Humanity. I think it’s worth it to splurge on a perfect pair of jeans. With proper jeans care, a great fitting pair can last for years! Plus, what better incentive to shed the pregnancy weight than the goal of fitting back into the perfect jeans?

It would be easy to pair the edgy styles with iconic pieces from thrift shopping, Urban Outfitters, or Nordstrom. The shop design is pretty informal, which I found out is because the CEO gives a nod to sustainable business practices whenever possible. He passed on adding a floor to the concrete base, used repurposed wood, and practices a handful of money-saving routines at the corporate distribution center. They also use solar power there!

I would describe the style as bohemian surfer. There were so many outfits that I would love to wear while gardening this summer, too. At the request of Mr. Eco Incognito, I searched for shorts and a tank top. He also liked the color of my new nail polish from Butter London. I’m excited to try this “3-free” polish. It doesn’t have the three biggest chemical culprits of the nail industry (Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP). This will give me a head start on my goal for next year- to green my beauty routine.

Gardening Outfit

We are heading to the water as often as possible, so I am eager to pick out a great bathing suit. Let me tell you about the selection of swimwear because there was an entire wall of fabulous one-piece options. I’m still not sure my tiger stripes are ready to see the light of the day in a bikini, so I may play it safe in a tankini. I’m also considering the strapless monokini, but I have to go back and take my husband with his discerning eye before I commit to that style. I must be a glutton for punishment. The only way to make bathing suit shopping more awful is to add an eye-witness, right?

Swim Outfit

Either way, I definitely plan to head back to the Promenade. It’s a hike to get there from my town, but there are so many great shops like Anthropologie and Lulu Lemon that I need more time to check it out. As convenient as it is to shop online, I still get a thrill out of taking a day trip to a shopping destination and enjoying the scenery and inspiration.

How to Wash Designer Jeans for Long Term Wear

There are easy ways to extend the life of designer jeans in order to get your money’s worth. With a little luck, the best jeans can last for years. When it comes to caring for jeans, less is more. Wear them several times before washing and use very little soap. The jeans will relax after a couple days of wear, but hanging them in between use and rotating a few pairs can prevent that. Hang dry on a collapsible rack for a practically-free laundry solution.

designer jeans washingHow to wash designer jeans

Wash as infrequently as possible
Limit the soap
Turn inside out and fold into quarters
Distribute jeans evenly around the washing machine basin
To hand wash, fill a sink with water and 2 Tablespoons of laundry detergent. Percolate the jeans, then hang to dry

How to Revive Old Jeans

To give new life to a pair of aged jeans, one option is to consign or thrift them. Jeans also make a great outfit for a scarecrow or can be upcycled into anything from a handbag to a jean skirt. The best designers blast holes and rips into jeans, so pull out the crafty supplies like embroidery thread and a razor blade to add more distressed embellishments.

Defining My Mom Style

The other day, I gave you a peek into my closet and shared some of the ways that I have dealt with the craziness of changing sizes and styles over the past two years. It’s not easy to figure out what to wear these days for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, I’m nursing and I haven’t worn a bra comfortably in almost two years. I’m also still hovering between sizes. I have come to terms with the fact that I am going to live in stretchy pants for a few years. However, if I have to do that, I’m going to be in the best, butt-amplifying, stretchy pants I can find.

I am going to admit a very sad fact about myself. I am a former fashion major with no clue what to wear. I’m not even a fashion school dropout. I have a degree in the subject, but I still walk through the mall these days and I. am. lost. I have no idea why mannequins are wearing socks with stilettos or how to find coordinating outfit pieces anymore. I couldn’t tell you if the stuff that hangs on the same rack makes an outfit anymore. A few months ago, I made the decision to let my husband decide what I will wear. Granted, I have to dial back a few of his requests so that I have something appropriate to wear to MOMS club meetings. But, for the most part, he can pick out an outfit that makes me look like a woman again. So, I took it to heart when he started eagerly leafing through the Athleta catalogs and decided to dive into a new style.

The crazy thing is, that I’ve only added 6 items to my wardrobe. (OK, fine it was 7!) I feel rejuvenated though. My wardrobe has a theme and it makes sense with what I do each day. I care for my children. We run around, bend over, pick up toys, rummage through grass, cook, nap, clean (not that much), socialize, and blog. I want to look my best each day even if I haven’t showered in three days, so I’ve decided to go with quality over quantity. This is a new concept for me, and it’s another aspect of simplifying my life that I’m looking forward to testing.

Will my clothes make it back into the closet after I wash them if I only have a handful of items to hang? Am I going to feel relieved that I don’t have to pick through as many clothes or limited that I don’t have as big of a selection? Is ‘Baby #3’ an imminent side effect of wearing a halter dress on date night? Only time will tell.

Without further ado, I present my first attempt at using Polyvore to share my 100% Mr. Eco Incognito Approved Style.

Athleta Set


T shirt


For real fashion advice, check out my friend Jo-Lynne’s #fashionfriday carnival:

Closet Makeover – Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning always brings back fond memories of my days working at Banana Republic because my favorite spot in the house to clean is my closet. I love switching out my seasonal clothes and reinvigorating my wardrobe with new and old favorites. It reminds me of the work I did arranging and re-arranging the racks in the store to best showcase the clothes. The past few years have been crazy trying to keep up with my expanding and contracting belly on top of the changes of seasons so my wardrobe is now a hodge-podge of clothes from many different lifestyles and sizes. Finding my Mom-Style has been a challenge. On top of the sizing woes, my husband and I have completely different perspectives on how I should dress. However, we’ve finally settled on a pretty great compromise and I’m excited about my new spring wardrobe.

This year, I’ve picked 6 pieces from Athleta to be the base of my style. I was OK with splurging a little because last fall I cleared out my closet and sold a trunkload of clothes to Clothes Mentor for almost $300. They bought my former work clothes, my maternity clothes, and a lot of dresses that I loved but would probably never wear again. It felt great to get a big pay-out for the items and to know that they might end up in someone else’s closet as a new favorite instead of a landfill.

With all the empty space in my closet and my new favorites, it is time once again to rearrange the shelves. I’m sticking with my organizational standards that have helped me organize my closet since the days when 85% of my wardrobe was pink. I still have a closet full of pink in the house, but now it is size 2T.

Here are my tips to help you organize your closet:

Spring cleaning, Easy steps to organize your closet from Eco IncognitoStep 1: Clear out any clothes that you haven’t worn in the past year. Separate the ones that need repairs or no longer fit.

Tip: At the beginning of a season, turn all your hangers to face the opposite direction. As you wear clothes, rehang them the right way. By the end of the season you’ll know what you haven’t worn.

Step 2: Repair clothes if possible, or sort into piles for donation or upcycling.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to keep a bin of clothes for future projects. I store sweaters, jeans, tees, and pretty fabrics for inspiration. Last year, I used some clothes for our fall Scarecrow display.

Step 3: Group shirts by sleeve length and separate skirts, shorts, and pants the same way.

Tip: Place the group of clothes you wear most often at the easiest-to-reach spot in your closet.

Step 4: Arrange groups by color using the rainbow as your guide and then by shades of lightest to darkest.

BabyGap VIP Reading Event with Diapered Daze and Knights

toddler with bunnyTo celebrate the new Peter Rabbit- inspired clothing line, BabyGap hosted reading parties at 30 US locations fit for a VIT (Very Important Toddler.) The girls and I went to watch my friend Heather, who writes the blog Diapered Daze and Knights ( read a story. Starting outside, my toddler found lots of rabbity excitement. We had no idea that the Gap at King of Prussia Mall was throwing such a swanky event!

carrot potsThey cleared a special section on the floor so that the kids had room to color, meet Peter Rabbit, hear a story, and then sample some sweet and savory goodies. First of all, I have to show you the food table. How cute are those little carrot pots? They had a small portion of hummus or ranch dressing that all the kiddos loved. They also served mini PB&J’s cut into bunnies and a ton of garden-themed cupcakes.

Baby Gap's Peter Rabbit lineAll the clothes are swoon-worthy. If I didn’t have a budget, I could easily purchase two of each item for my little girls! I loved the boy’s polo with rabbit-print, too. Heather and I both agreed that we love Gap’s clothes because they are generally made from cotton so they’re soft on kid’s skin. Plus, we can always find coupons for a deal. Recently, I’ve made an effort to shop at the end of the season for next year to catch the best deals. When it comes to our wardrobe, I like to keep it small. By having less items total, we can purchase higher quality goods on the same budget. Lucky for us, we get to use everything twice!

Giveaway Winner Announcement!!

Congratulations Amanda and Jo-Lynne! You’ve won the Tulip Grease Purse Pack prizes. Amanda won by commenting on this post and Jo-Lynne won by retweeting on Twitter.

Thanks to everyone who entered! Tulip Grease is available online by clicking here. At $6 per tube or $25 per purse pack, they are a great gift option. Plus, on Friday only, the entire shop will be Buy 2, Get 1 FREE!

Try this stellar gift idea:

Surprise the woman at the top of your list with a spa gift certificate tucked into a purse pack.

The purse packs contain Lemon Love, Red Sparkly, and Coconut Swoon.  These are all part of the Kiss for a Cause line that benefits specific charities. Each pouch is handmade for Tulip Grease by Tonya of Tearful Touch. (

Tulip Grease Purse Pack

Tulip Grease Purse Pack Giveaway

Lemon Love: Softly scented with lemon and vanilla, like lemon meringue pie
10% of the profits benefit thyroid cancer charities (inspired by Marie Shaw of Little Red Hen Jewelry (
Red Sparkly: Lightly tinted, scented with classic wintertime peppermint
10% of the profits benefit endometriosis charities (inspired by my best friend @redsparkly;
Coconut Swoon: Reminisce with the scent of baking coconut macaroons
10% of the profits benefit disaster relief charities (inspired by my sisters, Sarah and Lidie, also partners in Little Red Hen Jewelry)

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post endorsed by Tulip Grease.