Too Thrifty Chicks

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Swap it Out!

IMG_9863When in doubt, swap it out.

Spring is quickly giving way to summer, and you already know that in addition to it being toe-out season, it also is spring-summer dress season. Spending money for new-to-us dresses is something we’ll avoid if we can and nothing was more true for us this Easter.

I know you’re all like,  “But Thrifty Chicks, Easter was months ago. Why are we talking about what you wore from way back then?”
Well, because we’re rusty at this blogging thing and because any time is a good time to swap it out. Whether it’s Easter or some other occasion where you want to look cute without cost, swapping can be an even thriftier option than actual thrifting.IMG_9883

Swapping can be as easy as asking to “shop” a friend’s closet, or it can be a more
formal meet-up where everyone brings something to an agreed upon location to swap with everyone else. In fact, it’s a great way to clean out your closet and replenish it at the same time.

Instead of buying new dresses for Easter, we swapped. Our friend Tasha gifted  this fitted floral number to Ricks, and Ricks gifted a yellow frock to Reese. New fashion for each of us. Zero cost.

 

 

 

 

 


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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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Too Thrifty Cooks: Lookout for the Cookout

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There is very little that we love more than getting together with friends to eat, drink and make merry. But let’s face it, we all have lives and nailing down the schedules of a handful of our favorite friends is a beast! Lucky for us, everyone (including the thrifty chicks) was in town post Fourth of July, which weirdly fell on a Thursday this year.

We wanted to invite our friends for a casual cookout that included good eats and drinks, but what do you do when a friend is allergic to strawberries, another does not eat mushrooms, some friends are strict vegetarians, some are eating “clean” and the rest are flexitarians like the two of us?

You ask people what they want to eat, what they are willing to eat, you cook it and keep it moving! We bought the most adorable, tiny grill, some charcoal and prepped to get it in! To keep this thrifty gathering cost-effective we asked our friends ahead of the event to chip in $10. This way they didn’t have to cook a dish, or rush to the store last-minute to pick up something that everyone could eat.

If you’re sweating how to afford feeding everyone for a gathering, consider just asking everyone to chip in toward the cost, or do what you can to cover the food and ask your guests to contribute wine, spirits or some other extra thing. Most times your friends won’t come empty-handed and will want to contribute something so you might as well ask for something you need.

20130706_202444Our friend Kim makes the bomb sangria. WE MEAN THE BOMB! Instead of chipping in money we asked that she bring that. So she brought both a red and white wine sangria. We blended up our own summer fruit drinks including an adult beverage and…let’s just say a good time was had by all.

Check out our menu, which was a serious hit with our friends!

Lookout for the Cookout Delicacies

Seasoned wild-caught salmon skewers: These are previously frozen salmon filets that we cut into bite sized pieces seasoned with salt, pepper and a lemon herb blend to taste. You can certainly use fresh salmon if you can catch it on sale. We put about three pieces of salmon on each regular size skewer (four if the pieces were smaller). Let the seasoning marinate at least 30 minutes to an hour. Cook until to fish is firm and flaky.

Tandoori wild-caught salmon skewers: Same frozen salmon filets. Mix about half a packet of tandoori 20130706_202236seasoning that you can probably find in your local international market with a small container of greek yogurt. Coat the salmon in the sauce and let it marinate until you’re ready to cook. Bake until fish is firm and flaky.

Wild-caught shrimp and homemade pesto skewers: We used previously frozen shrimp of a good size to get about three shrimp to a skewer. Feel free to use fresh shrimp if you can catch it on sale. You can use store-bought pesto, but we make our own using basil, walnuts, grated parmesan cheese and olive oil. Coat the shrimp and let them marinate  for about 30 minutes to an hour. Grill until shrimp is firm and pink.

Wild-caught shrimp and barbecue sauce skewers: Same shrimp. We used a zesty store-bought barbecue sauce from Trader Joe’s and added some teriyaki stir fry sauce . We also let these marinate. Bake or grill until shrimp is firm and pink.

Baked sweet potatoes: Slice them in thin rounds and fold them in packets of foil. Add some cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar if you’d like. Roast in the oven until tender. The steam inside the packet will cook the potatoes.

Fresh “Creole” corn: Take fresh sweet corn ears and cut them in half. Put a pat of butter, the amount is up to you, for each half ear in a packet of foil with as much corn as you can hold without spilling. Add creole seasoning such as Tony’s or Zatarain’s, a generous amount of garlic powder. Wrap them in foil and roast in the oven until tender.

Farm fresh squash and zucchini: Toss with olive oil, grill in a grill pan on the stove, outside if you have the space (we didn’t), or roast in the oven.

20130706_183719Reese’s baked mac ‘n cheese: You’ll need pasta and at least two kinds of shredded cheese. Use whatever kinds you like, just not pre-shredded. We used monterrey, pepper jack and gouda. You’ll need about 1/4 cup of milk  and seasonings such as garlic, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. You’,ll also need butter. Cook the noodles until Al dente, stir in about half the cheese and butter. Add enough milk to make it creamy but not watery. When the cheese has melted, transfer to a baking dish. Add the leftover half of cheese and stir until it is well mixed. Top with another 1/4 cup of shredded cheese and breadcrumbs if you’d like. Bake until brown.

We broke out our folding chairs, blankets and the Too Thrifty Chicks Photo Shoot playlist on Spotify and hung out in the park until long after dark! Good Friends + Good Food = Good Memories! This whole shindig was put together for less than $100 and a good time was had by all. To us, that is the hallmark of a successful, thrifty gathering!

Until next time,

— R&R


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A Short Truth About Shorts

We might be nine days away from the official start, but it certainly is beginning to feel a lot like summer. That means we’re traipsing around town wearing far less than we did even three weeks ago. Seriously, the weather has been crazy around these parts.

The last time we took advantage of a half-off sale at one of our favorite thrift stores, B-Thrifty, we were on the hunt for spring and summer clothes. We both found an abundance of long shorts and skirts that we plan to re-purpose into shorts so look out for some DIY, recreations coming to the blog soon.

Reese can sew, and this summer I’m going to finally learn. My first project were these really funky looking printed shorts. They were super long and so baggy that they looked like a skirt on me. You’ll have to take my word on what they looked like. I got to cutting them up and I was so intent on changing them that I forgot to take a picture of what they looked like before. Forgive me? Thanks.

I raised the length from the knee to about mid thigh (yes my legs are really long), and presto, here’s the look. I topped off the ensemble with this great thrifted t-shirt and wore it on the same day, unbeknownst to me, that the legendary, revolutionary Nelson Mandela, 94, entered the hospital.

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Reese also was strongly considering cropping her shorts, but realized she loved the high-waisted shorts at their existing length. So she just topped her ensemble off with this colorful and inexpensive tank she picked up at Walmart and finished the look with what else, her Chuck Taylor’s.

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We hope you’re staying cool in this heat, saving money and asserting your style by finding some pre-owned clothes to love!

And if you feel so inclined say a special prayer, word of thanksgiving, or offer up a sun salutation for Mr. Mandela. The Too Thrifty Chicks are certainly praying for you Madiba and sending light, love and positivity into the universe on your behalf. Whatever the universe decides we pray that it will be well with your soul. And if we don’t get the chance to tell you, thank you for your service.

— R&R