Too Thrifty Chicks

Think.Thrift.Create


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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

Yellow 3 Yellow 5 Yellow 4


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Blogging While Brown: A Revelation

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Reese and Ricks on the Brooklyn Bridge with the Manhattan Bridge behind us.

If you read us last Friday, then you know that we were back in the Big Apple for our first Blogging While Brown Conference.

The conference was a two-day event that featured a bonus business of blogging series with presentations put on by some of the biggest named, brown bloggers in the business including Luvvie Ajayi of AwesomelyLuvvie.com and Necole “Bitchie” Kane of Necolebitchie.com.

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We love Story Corps!

But since we were balling on a budget (Hello, Operation Do Better!), we opted to participate in just one day of the conference. And the truth of the matter is, we decided to opt out of the rest of the conference after lunch mostly because we were way oversaturated with information. It also seemed wrong to spend a perfectly lovely day inside.

We made a few great contacts and learned a lot of amazing things about leveling up in the blogosphere, but we also learned at least one very important thing: we are so good with being the best little blog that most no one has ever heard of.

Yes. You read that right. We spent money on a conference to tell us something we probably knew intutively, but needed the universe to confirm explicitly. Too Thrifty Chicks is a lot of things, but a business/brand it ain’t. At least not at a very deliberate, on purpose level.

We learned we do not want a million followers. We’re not going to turn anybody away, but that is not why we started this blog. We started this blog to share our passions for frugal and sustainable living with like minded and interested individuals. We also started this blog because we love to think, write and create.

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This is how we skipped the White Party.

As we listened to the excellent presentations about branding and monetizing, we realized that we are our brand and our brand is us. What that means to us is this: we don’t ever want to make you feel like you don’t actually know us, or that you are getting some facade that isn’t who we are in real life.

And that’s no shade to anyone in the industry who wants the recognition, the fame and the fortune that can come from this work. We just know that for us, those things are bonuses, potential perks, but not the driving force behind why we do what we do.

While we don’t share our entire lives with you all, we do share a lot and we believe that you like it that way. Regardless of what opportunities and even monetary benefits might come our way, we don’t plan to change how we interact with you, nor do we plan to let just any old body — individual or company — be a part of this experience.

We’ll be making some improvements around here, but the Too Thrifty Chicks aren’t trying to fix it, if it ain’t broke.

Until next time,

R&R


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Throwback: NYC in B&W

We’re back home from a great NYC trip where the weather, bubble tea, and chicken and waffles made us so happy! If you remember, it snowed during our last trip. We made the best of the dreary weather then, but the universe was kind this go ’round. We had perfect temperatures for walking and exploring. We’ll share thoughts and photos from our recent trip later this week, but before we do that, we thought it would nice to share some of our black and white photos from March. ~R&R

"Me We." Studio Museum, Harlem, NY.

“Me We.” Studio Museum, Harlem, NY.

Snow, snow go away. Photo by M. Ricks, March 2013.

Snow, snow go away. Photo by M. Ricks, March 2013.

Change is Gonna Come. Studio Museum, Harlem, NY.

Change is Gonna Come. Studio Museum, Harlem, NY.

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Lay Still. Photo by A.Reese, March 2013.

The Pursuit of Knowledge. Photo by M. Ricks, March 2013.

The Pursuit of Knowledge. Photo by M. Ricks, March 2013.

Written on a building in Brooklyn, NY.

Written on a building in Brooklyn, NY.

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Question Everything. Photo by A. Reese, March 2013.

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Fire Behind Her Eyes. Photo by A.Reese, March 2013.


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Too Thrifty Chicks Travel: The NYC Edition

NYC

After diligently devoting ourselves to scrimping, saving, paying off debt and not spending on wants, we treated ourselves to a trip to the Big Apple. And we had a blast! No, literally it was a cold blast of winter. Brr!

For months, we’d planned to take a super cheap bus up to New York and stay with a friend during our seriously low cost adventure. After all, we are the Too Thrifty Chicks — no first class flights and four stars for us unless someone else is paying!

When the time finally rolled around for our trip we were pumped. We had visions of traipsing around the city under clear skies and skyscrapers, taking pictures, hitting up thrift stores, partying and people watching in balmy, but still chilly air.

Our visions and realities never even got in waving distance of one another, but we didn’t let a nasty bout of overcast skies, rain and eventually snow destroy this long anticipated trip. With our umbrellas in hand and our motto, “Just go with it,” guiding us we had a ton of fun.

Walking 9-to-5

Because of the icky weather we definitely didn’t explore as much of the city as we would have liked, but we certainly got to know Harlem and Brooklyn a little better. Our first night, fresh off the bus, weNYC Night 1 hustled hard to have dinner with our friend at the most fabulously, awesome Amy Ruth’s for the chicken and waffles that we had been thinking about the entire ride up. The waffles are so light, the fried chicken so crispy and the staff so nice, all we can say is this was the perfect start to our adventure.

The next day at about 9, we hopped on the subway and stopped first in Times Square were the bright lights and the smell of new stuff drew us in for a little look. That’s probably about where the plans for a frugal NYC adventure went off the rails a little bit.

Budget? What budget?

So Reese and I had this grand plan. We were going to try to do NYC on the smallest of budgets we could imagine: $250 to $300. Because we’re on this Operation Do Better train, we know that what we value most is experience, not stuff, so we convinced ourselves that we were only going to spend money on food, drink and access to the things that we wanted to experience. And we weren’t planning to spend a ton on eating out because a) we had access to a kitchen at our friend’s apartment and b) we are not opposed to eating pizza or from food trucks, which would keep our expenses low. Boy were we naive!

Reality Check

NYC1While we did in fact save money on food because we mostly ate at local spots in Harlem, but we soon realized that shopping in NYC is part of experiencing the city. And on that first day, we definitely indulged in some  retail therapy at Sephora, Forever 21 and Uniqlo. Before we could do anymore damage we hopped a train to Chinatown for a deliciously inexpensive lunch of dumplings and noodles. We also stopped and promptly fell in love with our first taste of bubble tea at Kung Fu Tea.

With our bodies revived, we braved the weather once again and took the train to Brooklyn so that we could head into the Williamsburg neighborhood to check out the thrifty shops its known for. The whipping wind blew us into a little boutique called Rabbits and eventually to a thrift store called Junk, where we pulled out our wallets one more time, then called it a day. We had dinner at a Latin American restaurant called Ecuatoriana, that served gigantic portions of their seafood soup, shrimp and garlic with rice and plantains.

NYC2Day 2 brought more cold and rain, but at 9 a.m. we were ready to hit the streets and headed over to The Studio Museum in Harlem. Our main purpose for scheduling our trip for the time that we did was so that we could catch the Gordon Parks exhibit before it ended. Reese is a freelance photographer and I’m a budding amateur and we love Mr. Parks’ work. We really enjoyed the exhibit, but were pretty bummed that the museum has a strict, no photos allowed policy, that we think they should consider changing. On our way to the museum, we dashed into a GAP outlet store and the MAC store, but left empty handed — though it wasn’t for a lack of trying. By this time, our stomachs were staging a revolt, so we hoofed it over to an amazing crĂŞperie called Crepes on Columbus were we chowed down on savory crĂŞpes and a sweet one with Nutella and strawberries. We kept it light for dinner with pizza slices and lentil soup at a local spot close to our home away from home. Yum!

Our third and final day, we braved the snow to go back to Amy Ruth’s for more chicken and waffles (judge away) and then to the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture to see the Africans in India and the Visualizing Emancipation exhibits. After seeing the Gordon Parks exhibit, the Visualizing Emancipation exhibit, which was largely based on old photos that date back to slavery, was like watching a story told in reverse.

We also dropped into the Schomburg Center’s book store for a book and some postcards that will become part of an art project really soon. I still had two things that I wanted before I left NYC: a charm for my bracelet and a replacement of my favorite MAC lipstick and liner. So we headed back to Times Square where we were able to pick up my “if you don’t get them here, you can’t go buy them when we get home” -most wanted items. We then headed back to Chinatown for more bubble tea and then back to the apartment to collect our stuff just in time to have more pizza slices and wait, and wait for megabus to take us home.

Whew! It was a great trip and we can’t wait to return in the warmer months!

— R&R


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A Gem in Brooklyn: Rabbits

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IMG_2910Our recent trip to New York City included a lot of walking around in the wind and the cold. On one such day, we landed in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn and stumbled out of the elements into Rabbits, a cute vintage shop on Havemeyer Street.

The shop caught our attention IMG_2920 from across the street, partly because of the beautiful dresses hanging in the window, and partly because we knew that if the Lord loved us there would be blessed heat. Lucky for us we got to experience both.

Upon entering the shop, we were immediately impressed by how organized it is: racks of blouses and pants line one wall and racks with dresses and jackets line the other. Shoes, belts, scarves and hats are neatly displayed on tables and benches throughout the store.

The IMG_2911owner, Saori,  greeted us kindly and chatted with us as we fingered through lovely pieces she hand selected from places like Japan.  She told us about her travels to find unique items for the store, but what we loved most about her is she was never pushy about buying things.

Ricks found a pair of pants that she loved, and Saori encouraged her to try them on but never turned on the “sales speak.” I wanted to try on a hat, and IMG_2928Saori helped me figure out the best ways to position it.

If you’re IMG_2913looking for a well organized shop with beautiful pieces from places near and far, Rabbits is a great option. Saori is friendly and knowledgeable, so you won’t feel as though you’re directionless if you need help.

Keep in mind, though, this is not a thrift store, so the effort Saori put into finding these quality pieces is reflected in the prices. This isn’t a free-for-all type of place. For the vintage lovers out there, this is the type of place you can go to and be confident that you’ll find those vintage wears that  you love without having to guess at their authenticity.

When we’re in New York again, we will definitely go back to Rabbits to shop and hang out with Saori.  Fun, clean space + cool owner= TTC stamp of approval.

Let us know if you visit!


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Food for Thought Friday: Just Go With It

We’d been anticipating NYC since December….seriously. If you visit the thrifty palace, there’s a dry erase bubble with all our 2013 trips, and NYC was at the top of the list. Photo Mar 07, 2 27 47 PM

So you can imagine how we felt when we checked the weather a week before the trip only to discover rain and snow in the forecast! Maybe it will change, we thought. Hmmmm. Not so much. It rained and snowed pretty much the whole time we were there.Photo Mar 06, 7 43 28 AM

We’ll admit it. We’re bask-in-the-sunshine type girls. When it’s raining, we’re more likely to curl under our favorite blankies and watch movies or read. That was NOT going to happen in NYC. We were so determined to have a great time…and we did! We treated each day like a 9 to 5. We walked and walked….and when it rained on our first full day in NYC, we pulled out our umbrellas and kept it movin’. When we woke up to snow the next day, we went to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, ate chicken and waffles (again), drank bubble tea (again), and walked around Times Square.

Our trip could have been dampered by the rain and snow, but we made a conscious choice not to let it get us down. Reese Photo Mar 06, 9 56 31 PMwas feelin’ a bit ill on day 2, but even that couldn’t stop the show. The thrifty chicks have a motto that we adopted a while ago: just go with it. We say it often as a reminder that we can’t always control everything around us, so why not just go with the flow? We did that in NYC….and we’re glad we did. We did a little shopping, a lot of walking and laughing, and created some fun memories. Hopefully it won’t be raining next time we go, but if it does….we’ll just go with it and focus on the experience and not the things beyond our control.


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Too Thrifty Chicks Take on Philly!

So we took our Thanksgiving show on the road to the City of Brotherly Love and we had a blast.  Prior to heading out for a Black Friday of scurrying around the city trying to find thrift stores, we stopped at a most amazing créperie and espresso bar called Rue 52.

We loved everything about this place. Really. What’s not to love?

Not only are the coffee and tea selections at Rue 52 beautifully blended, the food is incredibly well done. Reese arrived ahead of me. She had the caramel swirl latte and the massive, savory broad street run crépe which usually comes filled to the brim with turkey, spinach, tomatoes and ranch.

Reese subbed out the ranch for chipotle spread and it was delicious! The reason I know it was so tasty is because I ended up eating Reese’s leftovers in addition to my own yummy breakfast panini of mixed fruit jam and cream cheese. I had a chai tea latte that I will swear until I’m dead is the best I’ve ever had. PERIOD.

A diamond in the rough

But enough about all that. What really grabbed our attention was the art, decor and well thought out design of this spot. It is an oasis in a block that has seen brighter days.

Someone put a lot of thought into every detail of this place from where customers sit, to the dishes and cutlery to the art — the beautiful, glorious, local art that is for sale! We loved everything about this place and look forward to many happy returns, particularly since it is practically across the street from my aunt’s house.

We found one other coffee spot in the midst of our Black Friday adventures purely by accident. One of our thrifting rules is that you must hydrate. We often find ourselves parched after hours (yes, hours!) of thrifting. Reese apparently followed that rule a little too well and we found ourselves in need of a restroom — bad!

Since I was driving, Reese was on the lookout for a place to hop out and go to the bathroom. Just before she thought she would pop, she spotted a cafe called Black N Brew. Since you have to make a purchase to use the loo, we both got lattes — chai for Reese and toffee for me — and split a vegan oatmeal cookie. All we can say is that if Rue 52 and Black N Brew are what the city is working with when it comes to java and tea, Philly has officially ruined generic coffeehouse caffeine for us.

Now on to the thrifting….

We had a full day of thrifting planned but only managed to make it to our first destination, the Goodwill on Bustleton Ave.,  because it was the only place that we could find with our lack of knowledge of the city. But no worries. We had a blast as you can see.

It’s not the biggest thrift store we’ve ever been in, but there is a lot going on at the Goodwill on Bustleton Ave. and a lot to love. We left more than a little bit of what we loved behind but we will be back.

I went for furniture and Christmas toys for some of the little people in my life. Reese found a treasure trove of new, never worn shoes and cute jackets. A thing  that we are fast learning about Goodwill is that they have preferred customer and customer appreciation programs. Some are store-to-store, others are regional. Whatever you do sign up and save!

Until next time…keep it thrifty.

— R&R