Too Thrifty Chicks

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Spotted: Go Go’s Retread Threads

A converted school bus with super cool vintage and second hand goodness, you say? Yes, please. And Thank You!

A converted school bus with super cool vintage and second hand goodness, you say? Yes, please. And Thank You!

Reese and I have a thing for converted school buses. We are drawn to them and the cool things that some people manage to do to transform them into something other than what they were. One of our earliest posts — nearly a year ago — was about the pop-up that the eyewear do-gooders at Warby Parker put on for its Class Trip. Warby Parker has brought the Class Trip back to D.C. through Dec. 22, so don’t miss it.

Me and Stacy "Go Go" Chambers, owner of Go Go's Retread Threads, a mobile boutique based in Baltimore.

Me and Stacy “Go Go” Chambers, owner of Go Go’s Retread Threads, a mobile boutique based in Baltimore.

On a recent trip to Reese’s place of employ, we saw the most wonderful thing parked on the campus of the University of Maryland Baltimore County campus — a mobile fashion boutique called Go Go’s Retread Threads. Not only were we drawn to all the amazing vintage clothes and accessories staged outside the bus, but also to the rad art that covers it too. According to owner Stacy “Go Go” Chambers, her converted school bus is Baltimore’s first fashion boutique on wheels.

Because her business is on the move, her overhead is low and her prices are pretty reasonable. Specializing in vintage and gently used clothes, Go Go’s has it all. Stacy hunts for her amazing finds at thrift stores and estate sales. I was immediately salivating over all of the vintage accessories. Reese was pretty partial to a snazzy nearly floor length sweater situation that promised equal amounts of comfort and pizzaz.

Reese trying to resist the bounty of Go Go's Retread Threads.

Reese trying to resist the bounty of Go Go’s Retread Threads.

Stacy doesn’t get down to the D.C. metro area much, but if you’re in the Baltimore

metro area you can catch her and  her carefully curated menagerie of upcycled and eco-chic apparel, footwear and accessories at festivals, farmers markets and in various neighborhoods.

To keep up with Stacy check out her blog, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Laters,

Ricks


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A Thrifty Birthday + Give Away: The Too Thrifty Chicks Blog Turns 1!

Hi Gang!

We’re coming at you really quick to ask, “Do you know what today is?” It’s TTC’s birthday! We’re officially one today!!! happybirthdayGIF

On this day last year, this blog began — a few days after our very first thrifting adventure when we rode around Maryland suburbs on an overcast day looking for Columbus Day bargains at every Value Village we could get to. We spent hours — seriously like 5 plus hours — going through every rack with a fine tooth comb. By the time we came up for air and Indian food a friendship was born. A few days later, this blog was born. We never imagined this blog would become what it is. We were both simply looking for a creative outlet to share our writing and adventures. But through this blog, we’ve met cool people, gotten great encouragement, and deepened our offline bond.

To celebrate, we went out for Indian food and a little thrifting to celebrate. When you get a chance, we hope you’ll hit up the racks of your local thrift store in our honor.

We also decided we wanted to show our appreciation for one of our most loyal followers. Seriously, this lady comments on every posts and shares them regularly on her Facebook page. Everybody put your hands together and show TOSHA some much deserved love!

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She’ll receive this studded top from Reese’s personal collection, and a pair of handmade

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Everybody else, stay tuned. More give aways in November and more fun and adventures to come in this new year!

1043877_10101575920175405_815990422_n— R&R


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GO: Petworth Community Market

20131004_164852While Reese was off being brilliant at Food For Black Thought in Austin earlier this month, I made some time to explore my world. I received a pretty groovy invite to Vintage Fashion Night at the Petworth Community Market and had every intention of going, that is until the day of the event.

After working 8 hours at my temp job, during what felt like the Washington, D.C. heat wave of 2013, I was seriously ready to head home and shower. Seriously, taking the train in any direction that was not headed home was quickly sliding off my radar, but something said I should go.

And I am ever so glad I did. The Petworth Community Market is held every Friday from May 3 to Oct. 25, from 4 p.m. to 8 pm. According to its blog, the market is a non-profit organized by people who live in the Petworth neighborhood as an economic and social stimulus. Not only do vendors at the market take credit and debit cards, they also accept SNAP benefits.

On Vintage Night I was pleasantly surprised to find vendors of all stripes selling everything from fresh from the farm fruits and veggies, to vintage menswear, women’s apparel and even vegan/raw cheesecake. Best of all, there were samples and I was hungry.

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Christopher Williams, curator of Brown & Williams Clothiers

Christopher Williams, curator for Brown & Williams Clothier, really caught my eye because he was so sharply attired. Brown & Williams specializes in fine mens vintage clothing imported from Britain and Christopher was showcasing a fabulous selection of mens jackets and blazers that would be perfect for the man of discerning fashion sense.

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The fabulous custom bow ties designed by Elizabeth St John.

Christopher was rocking a fabulous reversible bow tie designed by Elizabeth St John. Elizabeth specializes in couture bridal wear and incredibly cool custom bow ties too.

In addition to checking out cool fashions I also got to try the sweet treats — vegan, raw cheesecakes to be exact — produced by the ladies of Sweet Raw, who specialize in gluten-free, vegan and uncooked goodies.

Alas, I went home with two bunches of beautiful swiss chard, green tomatoes from Shlagel Farms, and apple cider from Kuhn Orchards. While Vintage Fashion Night was a one night only event, there are still two Fridays left before the regular market shuts down for the season. Plan to go this Friday!

— Ricks


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A Too Thrifty Update

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From Ricks’ 34th Birthday Brunch Shenanigans!

Hey boos! Today is Friday and this should be a Food for Thought post but it has been a rough and tumble week! Reese is off to the Food for Black Thought conference in Austin, Texas getting her nerd on. Catch her tweeting at @toothrftychks.

I’m holding things down in the D.C. metro area. The government shutdown has put the kabash on my freelance federal work, but the universe provides and I am happily working my temp job. Catch me if you can at the Petworth Community Market this evening from 4 to 8 p.m. I will be checking out what promises to be cool vintage threads and whatnot. Address is 4130 9th St., N.W. Washington, D.C. Hope to see you there.

We promised to introduce you to some of the amazing person pairs we know and that is a promise we intend to keep! Once we are back in the same place, at the same, time we will crank out those posts.

Until then, have a great weekend!

R & R


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Thrifty Travels: Traveling Light

The last two years of my life have been a whirlwind of travel that has taken me from the stark terrain of Afghanistan to the tall buildings and lights of Toronto. And the one thing that unifies those trips and all the places I’ve traveled in between those two trips is packing. IMG_7513

Packing is not my favorite past time, but I’ve gotten pretty good at it. So good in fact, that my friend Andria G. asked me, during our recent trip to Las Vegas, how I managed to get everything into the small tote that I brought. She asked me this while gazing at luggage that was hardly carry-on size.

There are a few simple rules that I live by and they haven’t failed me yet, even when I showed up for a business trip in Florida woefully underprepared for cold weather and had to make a few mad dashes to local Goodwills and a Walmart to get warmer clothes.

Rule #1: Checking bags is not an option. Real talk, airlines stay trippin’ with these bag fees. Some of them are now going so far as to charge for carry-on bags over a certain size. (I’m looking at you Spirit Airlines.)

Rule #2: Take only what you need. If you’re driving, this doesn’t matter as much, but I really hate over packing. Do you really need five pairs of shoes, or will two work? Why take up valuable real estate in your bag, or worse risk having to check a bag, because you think you’ll wear those shoes. Don’t do it. I’ve been known to overpack my make up supplies thinking I’m going to want to do a special face for a night out, I’ve learned this is a trap and have seriously streamlined the make-up I take.

Rule #3: Travel size everything. That clear, quart sandwich bag can hold a lot if you have nothing but travel size IMG_7535products. Even if you use fancy face and hair products, higher-end retailers like Sephora and Ulta typically sell what you need. Taxicab confession: I almost always take the travel size bath products that hotels provide and bring them home to stock my travel size products drawer. My dentist also always gives travel size toothpaste, so I’ve been stockpiling that for years.

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Rule #4: Mix and match. When it comes to packing I usually lay out outfits that go together and then I make sure that if I’m in the mood, I can mix every thing up and create entirely different outfits. Jeans can go from day to night by changing the top. A dress can be dressed up or down as long as it has a flattering shape and doesn’t require ironing. Jazz up an outfit with accessories, which you can bring a lot of without taking up too much space.

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Rule #5: Bring a cardigan or jacket. Airports and planes are notorious for being chilly. Bring a jacket. And if you don’t actually need to wear it, it makes a good travel pillow.IMG_7449

Bonus Tip: Get through security quick. I usually wear a jersey dress or leggings and a tank top to the airport because you usually have to get nearly naked to go through security these days.  Take off your jacket or cardigan before going through the scanner. Don’t wear any kind of metal jewelry or a belt because this is an automatic repeat trip through the scanner. Keep your plastic baggy full of travel size goodies in your hand so you don’t waste time taking them out of your bag.  And if you’re bringing your laptop go ahead and slip it out of its case too. I prefer slip-on shoes and toe socks because I want to take my shoes off quickly and I don’t really care for my bare feet touching the floor. Eww.

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Last but not least: Pack strategically. For me, packing is like playing Tetris. Every piece has its place and the more things fit together, the less likely you are to end up with footprints from shoes, or worse, hair product and toothpaste on your clothes. I prefer shoes in first, soles down or touching other shoes. Layer with make up bag, accessories bag, and night clothes. Layer everyday, walking around clothes and then follow with going out wear on top of the makeup/accessory bag layer, and just like that you’re packed and ready to go!

Hope this helps you lighten your load on your next trip!

— Ricks


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Tidbit Tuesday: Thrifty Travels to Toronto

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We’re back from Toronto, and can we just say we absolutely loved Caribana and the city?! The Caribbean pride coupled with beautiful architecture, walkable streets, and good food captured our hearts.

We arrived on Thursday evening, checked into our hotel and decided to stay in. Our 8 hour drive stretched into 12 hours due to construction and traffic, so we were pooped. Friday, we set out early to have breakfast at Sunset Grill (yummy local option), walked around downtown a bit, then settled into an evening of festivities as we enjoyed the music at a day party and then the live steelpan band performances at Panalive. Saturday  we  spent the majority of the day at the Caribana parade and spent the evening walking and resting. Sunday, we stopped at Niagara Falls before heading home.

20130803_125835We planned to travel with two other friends, but each had to bow out of the trip for different reasons. Of course having two other people share the cost would have saved money, but even photo (15)with the two of us we made the trip happen for $547 per person, which included hotel, gas, food, hotel parking (which was ridiculously expensive), tickets to the day party, tickets to Panalive steel drum competition, a little shopping, and souvenirs. We wish you could have seen the 15 second dance party we had when we realized we stayed UNDER budget! Woop Woop!

Costs add up quickly, and sometimes it may feel like you have little control over how much you spend…but don’t fret! Before you plan your next trip, consider these tips to keep you under budget.

  1. Use Hotwire to find hotels:  If you’re not familiar with Hotwire, you should be! The way it works is you search for hotels in a particular area. Hotwire will show you rates for anonymous hotels with different star ratings, and you pick one. Once you pay, they reveal the hotel. Yes, we know that’s scary for some folks, but have the thrifty chicks ever steered you wrong? So far, we have a 100% success rate with Hotwire.  We stayed at the Eaton Chelsea on Gerrard Street, which is right downtown. Total hotel cost with travel insurance: $298 for three nights.
  2.  If you’re close, drive: Full disclosure: driving can be a pain, and when we go back to Toronto, we’ll likely fly. With that 20130802_164826being said, however, it was a cheap way to get there and aside from annoying construction and a little traffic, it was relatively uneventful.  The good: driving gave us the flexibility to leave when we wanted to, which was a godsend because Ricks was sick the night before. The bad: driving takes a LOT out of you. Once we got to Toronto, we didn’t have the energy to do much the first evening.  But it was cheap…we drove to Toronto and back to Virginia for $180.
  3. Try walking before taking a cab: We probably walked about 20 miles while we were in Toronto. Besides the streets being walkable, we did our research and learned that Toronto is a really safe city, with crime rates lower than where we live. Because we were staying downtown, we were able to walk to nearly every place we wanted to be and only took a cab twice. Cabs in Toronto were really expensive, so we opted to walk instead, which gave us an opportunity to see more of the city, get some exercise, and save money.
  4. 20130803_195819When in doubt, ask about portion sizes: We didn’t spend a ton on food over the weekend, but there were definitely times when we wasted food because we ordered too much. For example, at Panalive, we each bought curry chicken and rice for $10 at the stadium, but ended up eating only half of it because it was so much. We definitely could have split it.  Consider ordering less and sharing. Worst case scenario? You’re still hungry and you order more food.
  5. Plan to splurge: The thrifty chicks love sushi, and we give mad side eye to sketchy looking sushi places. While in Toronto, we realized we have sushi on nearly every trip we take. This is our thing. We might eat fairly inexpensive meals for most of the trip, but we give ourselves room to splurge on a really nice sushi meal.
  6. If the forecast says rain, believe it: So, we knew there was a chance of rain. We also knew Toronto has a milder temperature than D.C. Ask us did we pack umbrellas or jackets….go ahead. ask. hmm? No, we did not. We packed cardigans, which worked well against the chilliness, but our trusty denim jackets would have been better. It rained during the day party, and with no umbrellas, we got a little wet. Wishing for sunshine might work, but you should be prepared if it doesn’t.

20130804_115317We’re going back to Caribana next year with umbrellas, rain jackets, and a crew of our sister-friends! We had a great time in the city and looking forward to even better times on the next trip.

Do you have thrifty traveling tips? Share with us!

Until next time,

R&R


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Mellow Yellow: A Little Touch of Sunshine

When one of my favorite people in the world let me know that her boo “Liked it and put a ring on it,” I wanted to turn cartwheels. When she told me soon after that she and said boo had no plans to wait and were getting married in Las Vegas in July, I almost fainted. Not because of the quick turnaround, but…Las Vegas…in JULY?! There was no doubt that I was going to be at the ceremony, but Jesus be a fence, a bottle of water, a kiddie pool and a sprinkler.

If you’ve never been to Las Vegas in the summer, you don’t know about the triple digit heat that cools down to 99 degrees when the sun goes down. The only thing that is remotely equivalent is if you stood in front of your oven, turned it up as high as it could go and then opened the door. It is that HOT! How were we going to keep from dying of heat stroke? Could we be sweaty and cute? But more importantly, what in the name of all that is holy was I going to wear?

Operation Do Better was already being thrown a curveball by the unexpected trip and I knew that buying a dress to wear for the ceremony was out of the question. Enter Reese and her giveaway pile of clothes. My roomie extraordinaire just happened to be chucking this adorable yellow dress that she liked, but didn’t really love. She suggested that I give it a try before I broke down and bought something new. Lo and behold it looked great. All I needed to do was take it in around the bust area.

Check out these snaps of me rocking the frock and me and the newly made missus, Tia C. Harris-Kinard!

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Me and Mrs. Tia C. Harris-Kinard. This was taken before the actual deed was done, but isn’t she lovely? 🙂

I always thought orange and red were my favorite colors, but I think yellow is my ministry. This sunny shade pops off my skin and just makes me feel really beautiful. The light, airiness of the dress was perfect for letting me get a little ventilation without looking under dressed for the occasion.

Speaking of yellow — I bought a little something at the 1st Annual FABULOUS Second-Hand/Vintage Clothing Pop-Up Shop that we blogged about in June. I never got a chance to show you all the fabulous find I snagged from Patrice “Patty B” Boone of The Prissy Tomboy and BTwenty3.

Well here she is in all her glory. I wore this vintage jumpsuit in NYC during Blogging While Brown for an advance screening of Fruitvale Station, a must see movie about the death of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who was shot and killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit officer on New Year’s Day 2009. It is a powerful movie and it is in theaters now. I recommend that you check it out. Me and the roomie plan to go see it again this weekend.

As for the jumpsuit, my goal is to add some straps to the top part since I’m not particularly blessed with enough bust to keep it up, but I look forward to rocking this look many times this summer! Enjoy the view! — R&R

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