acid flashback.

24 07 2011

i am a child of the 80s. when i was born, video stores didn’t exist. but by the time i was 6- BAM, there they were. you could rent an atari 5200, or any one of tens of titles on VHS or betamax.  as a young child being seduced by the glory of in-home movie viewing (commercial free!), there were precious few titles available in the G ratings bracket in 1984.

also, my comprehension of the english language was still in its formative stages. so, i relied entirely on movie box pictures to make my choices. i was particularly obsessed with the movie above: angel- high school honor student by day, hollywood hooker by night.

obviously at 6, i didn’t know what a hooker was. i merely saw pretty shoes and shiny hot pants. what could possibly be inappropriate? my older sister and i would BEG repeatedly for this movie every single time we went to the video store… never fully understanding why we were being shut down. unfortunately,  being the prudent parent that she is, my mother never caved.

flash forward 25+ years later.

despite being readily available on netflix (with a 4 star recommendation based on some other hilarious movies that i’ve watched), i have never managed to view it as a consenting 17+. actually, i had forgotten about it entirely for many many years (it would fade slowly from local video stores to be replaced with “higher quality” fare usually starring eddie murphy in a fat suit). until…

LAST SATURDAY. Read the rest of this entry »





where did this pig come from?

5 09 2010

well, my vacation has finally come to an end. it’s sort of sad, but saying goodbye to the steady diet of bread and cheese (not a lot of vegetarian options in piscataquis county) and lifetime network was an absolute necessity. so i finally dock my bloated ass back in portland, and i’m unpacking all of my various jazz… and this pig rolls out. well, this plastic replica of an antique hog shaped  pin cushion, and its accompanying receipt for $8.99.

um… what? was i on pills or something?

nope. no pills, no demon possessions, no being held at gunpoint… no, something far more sinister was at work here: RETAIL AWKWARDNESS.

on the long ride home from greenville, we made multiple stops at antique malls, thrift stores, and junk shops, all of which turned out to be a bust.  we must have done the 2 minute tour of disappointment at least 7 or 8 times, slipping out the side doors while other customers distracted the shopkeepers from our lack of buying. in and out like some sort of dirty double entendre that i’m too tired to make right now. but somewhere near abbot (maine’s #1 town- at least alphabetically), we stopped into a tiny little antique shop and everything changed.

despite what it declared on the exterior signage, it was really more or a junk shop than anything. a combination of crappy reproductions, aging craft projects, and other dusty sub-garage sale knickknacks. about 30 seconds indicated that it was time to leave, but one unfortunate feature of this store was a large rascal-bound elderly proprietor sitting right next to the front door. oh, and no other customers. at one point i heard a door slam and thought that i might be saved by the distraction of other incoming suckers, but it was only the equally elderly husband of the proprietor, coming in to hover in another part of the shop. there was no escape!

maybe it’s just me, but sometimes when i’m in a kind of depressing store that i can tell isn’t weathering the economy very well, i am overcome with horrible guilt for not buying anything. even when the merchandise is utter (often utterly overpriced) garbage, i still somehow find myself looking harder, digging deeper into bins, trying to find anything that might be worthy bringing home. when the sad eyed shopkeeper is there to stare me down (on a rascal, by the front door no less!), i am powerless. it’s almost like i’m paying a price of the trinket to escape the awkward sadness.

when i saw the pig pincushion sitting on the shelf, i saw my ticket to get out of that store sans bad feelings.  am i the only crazy person who does this? furthermore, is anyone out there in the market for a pig pincushion?





bits and pieces.

21 06 2010

i’ve started to get into a pattern where i save up all my buying lust for sundays where i plan one big binge. the boyfriend was away all week camping with with his dad, and he promised me that upon his return, he would take me to not one but 2 targets. we also decided to cram in a couple of flea markets, and i would take a covert jaunt to the old navy while somebody was asleep in the car.

it was certainly not the day that i planned in my head, a day bursting full of target endcap bargains. actually, there were none. the cupboard was pretty much dry on the retail end except for one accidental old spice money maker, but the thrifting was hard core.  i’m still struggling with my deep desires to buy things that i don’t need- even if i have scaled down dramatically on the amount that i spend… but shopping is one of my greatest joys in life and i’m not sure i can live happily ever after without it. in the meantime, i am embracing the summer flea market season and trying to find my joy for under $30 a week:

montsweag flea market: threatening rain made the whole thing kind of lame today. place was pretty much cleaned out, but i did manage to score a big pile of stunning vintage fabrics for $4, and the above pictured parker brothers palm reading game (complete and pristine) for $5. hot hot hot!

after the disappointing and brief turn @ montsweag, we decided to hit the waterfront flea market in brunswick to see if we could make up the difference. better, but still not amazing. i did however grab a very beautiful half finished painting (40s?) for $10. the woman who sold her to me had tears in her eyes, even though i assured her that the painting was going to a loving household. it crushes me a bit to see people sell things that they love, especially for so little.

in an attempt to shake off the bummer from our last stop, the boyfriend deposited me at the topsham target while he went off to scoot around the neighborhood on his new motorcycle (don’t get me started). i knew i had a nearly unlimited amount of time, and combed that shit from top to bottom. NOTHING! moderately depressed, i decided to use some leftover P&G bogo coupons for old spice body wash and get myself a $5 target gift card in return. it was supposed to work like this: 2 old spice bodywash @ $3.54 with bogo coupon, 1 old spice bodywash & 1 old spice deodorant @3.54 with bogo coupon. $5 gift card in return makes the whole mess $2.08. good deal! things started to unravel at the register when my total came out to $4.39, and my giftcard didn’t pop out. i was shuffled over to customer service where they gave me $5 in cash. i still don’t know what happened, but somehow i made $.61. thanks for the donation target! the preble st. resource center will be grateful for the personal care items.

of course the topsham target is goodwill adjacent, so a quick stop in there i grabbed an awesome 80s dress pattern for $.99, and a sweet black knit minidress for $2.49.

at that point we were getting a little wilted, and it was time for the last stop at the south portland target before we headed home for the day. similar to topsham, it was bunksville. does anyone know the discount endcap filling schedule? when is the best time to go? i’m starting to feel like sundays are not optimal for bargain hunting.

disappointed with my target experience, i decided to sneak over to the old navy while the boyfriend was napping in the car. their summer clothes are really awful right now. all frayed hems and boxy peasant blouses. no me gusta! i did however find a 3-pack of my favorite underpants for a mere $7.99. not exactly a giveaway, but they’re usually $12, and it might just be time for me to toss out some of the 2nd string underpants that are either way too small, way too big, way too unflattering, or have lost all concept of elasticity.

total damage:  $28.87.

$30 a week thrifting/bargain hunting is $1560 a year. would that money be better spent on my credit card debt or perhaps my nest egg? maybe, but at what point is it ok for me to have a little fun? where do you draw your frugal line in the sand? please tell me i’m not the only frugal failure out there with a habit that they might not be interested in kicking!





spending too little on too much.

14 06 2010

it was a spendy-ass sunday. took a little jaunt back to my hometown of augusta for brunch at the senator inn (a childhood fav that still holds up!), and a little light antiquing that turned into an entire day of shopping the town inside out. i got some pretty good deals that seemed necessary at the time… but seeing it all lined up at the end of the day (and added up), i start to wonder how much of my bargain shopping is really a bargain. i’m paying less for everything, but i’m buying more than ever.

shaw’s: 4 big G cereals @ $12.86 with $6 off when you buy 4 plus $4.40 worth of coupons ($.55/1 doubled from coupons.com) final cost= $2.46 for 4 boxes.

target: the liberty of london collection is on super sale at the augusta target and i snagged an adorable nightie for $8.98. there’s also a ton of zac posen stuff, but it’s not marked down enough for me to bother. give it another few weeks… i might have to go back to augusta and snag me a cocktail dress. i also found a mysteriously unblemished pair of striped espadrilles for $4.26 marked “AS IS”. their identical counterparts were just feet away in the full retail section for $16.99… maybe they’re going to explode in low speed collisions? i’ll keep you apprised if any defects should arise. lastly, i found a few boxes of puffs tissues with vicks vapo-rub in them (which i love but haven’t been able to find ANYWHERE- discontinued?) for $1.38 a box, and sacrificed 2 of my $.50/1 vocalpoint coupons. target total= an eerie $15.00 even.

big lots: to my credit, i did put back one movie and a $6 box of diet granola bars. but a $3 copy of funny face?! i have a list of movies on my iphone that i’m looking to buy. the problem being, that my price point for DVD buying is $5 of less, usually less. today i encountered 3 of those titles in the $3 bin. is there really anything else at big lots that’s even worth looking at? funny face, art school confidential, & confetti= $9.00.

goodwill: i used to own and love this jacket in another size that i am not officially too fat to wear. lo and behold, here it is at goodwill in brunswick for $4.99! oh wait, is that a yellow barb? make that $2.49!

cvs: i had $14 worth of extrabucks expiring tomorrow, and this evening was my only chance to cash in.  with the gillette proglide razors already sold out, i had to improvise a bit and use a few more extrabucks than i otherwise would have preferred. i ended up with a bunch or random crap (most of which will get donated), but it felt like a good haul considering the circumstances:

2 john frieda root awakening shampoos @$5 each with $3 ECB back when you buy $10 + $5/2 coupon= $2
2 right guard total defense deodorants $4.49/ea. on BOGO + $3/2 coupon from coupons.com= $1.50
1 covergirl wetslicks amaze-mint @ $4.99 with $3 ECB back, and $1/1 coupon= $.99
1 colgate proclinical toothpaste @ $3.99 with $2 back in ECB, and a $1/1 coupon= $.99
2 gillette bodywash @ $8 with $8 back in ECB and a $4/2 coupon= +$4 ECBs (the flier said limit 1, but it turned out to be limit 2!)
total OOP= $17.47 (paid $17 in ECBs + .$.47 in cash plus tax), received $16 ECBs

total spent this weekend (for all above pictured goods, not actually counting meals, groceries for the week, and a ridiculous failed dinner party that will never speak of again)= $29.42 of stuff that i didn’t actually need. on one hand, i could have spent a whole lot more on a multi-store shopping binge, and gotten a whole lot less. on the other hand, is spending $30 on anything that i don’t need really a bargain? it might be time to put the debit card away for a while and think about what i’ve done.





and the lord taketh away.

31 05 2010

the universe is a messed up place. this weekend initially seemed like an incredible thrift shopping sleepwalk through unbelievable deal after unbelievable deal. like all of my garage sale wishes were finally coming true. and then everything fell apart. in an expensive and heartbreaking way… but first, the dream:

score #1: the boyfriend and i were actually driving out of town to go flea marketing down route one when we stopped short (way short- about 4 blocks from our condo) at a small roadside garage sale. beckoning me from the street was a sunshine yellow solair chair. i have been lusting after one of these bitches for YEARS, and have on several occasions strongly considered stealing them from the poolsides of old orchard beach motels. upon closer examination- a little dirty, a couple of spider eggs, but in otherwise excellent shape. $10 price tag- SOLD. a super deal, even if i did have to carry it up the hill in 4″ platforms.

score #2: the ex husband (who i am mercifully still friends with) texted me early sunday morning to tell me that there was a hot looking garage sale happening on hampshire street next to the sketchy east end rite aid. um, this was no ordinary garage sale. this was a WARY FUCKING MEYERS garage sale. authors of the super-incredible interior design tome tossed & found, i’ve long felt fortunate to share a city with such awesomeness. and on sunday morning, i got to scavenge through that awesomeness with both hands. and by awesomeness, i mean the most gorgeous orange enamel electric fireplace (still working!) that i have ever seen. there was plenty of other cool stuff, but this was the only thing i could see. apparently the original price was $25, but i stood in front of it for long enough (trying to figure out where i would put it, how i would fit it in the car, and how i was going to convince the boyfriend bring this giant thing into our home), that they knocked it down to $10. $10!!! the universe was smiling upon me (save for the part where we had to disassemble the unit in the rite aid parking lot in order to get it in the car).

also rolled up in the best thrift store weekend ever, 2 strawberry patterned mugs, a wall hanging of 2 parakeets, a jeremy brett sherlock holmes feature length episode on DVD (still sealed), and a kathy martin book (juvenile nurse fiction from the 50s) that was missing from my collection.

but don’t forget that part about how much the universe loves to take me down a notch whenever things are going really well. while moving some furniture around to make room for the new toys, an old toy was inadvertently destroyed. a dear friend that i don’t see anymore gave it to me for my 30th birthday. and when i picked it up off the floor to put it back into its rightful place… the head toppled off and smashed into a thousand pieces on the floor. devastated. it had survived multiple moves and was one of my most prized possessions. i can and will replace it at some point (well, the next time that i have $175 rattling around in my budget), but it’s not really the same. 2 glasses of wine and an entire bowl of buttered popcorn later, i’m still bummed out.

like i said, the universe is a messed up place.





flea market feature- montsweag adventure!

17 05 2010

as i mentioned yesterday (as i ever so classily begged for you to enter my contest), this weekend i took the first trip of the season to my favorite seasonal flea market in maine. i’ve been compiling and manicuring my list of best maine flea markets since last fall, but i thought it might be worthwhile to do a little profile of some of the superstars as i thrift my way through the summer months.

the montsweag flea market, located on a fairly low-key stretch of route one in woolwich (in between bath and wiscasset), opens on mother’s day weekend (weather permitting), and shuts back down “when the tourists stop coming”. it’s literally nothing more than a vacant lot filled with aging plywood tables and a few summer camp cabin-like shanties, but for some reason, this is where all the A+ people come to set up shop. no, it’s not all faberge eggs and first editions, it’s still a lot of crazy crap just like other flea markets… but it’s the BEST crazy crap in town. the judgment criteria:

1. new stuff is kept to a minimum. (i’m talking about you cascade) how horribly disappointing is it to go to what you think is a cool flea market, only to be assaulted by dollar store tchotchkes and ultra-trashy OOB-worthy t-shirts (ex: “if i wanted to hear what you had to say, i’d take my cock out of your mouth” heartwarming!). nobody wants this shit, sand it’s always uncomfortable to walk by your table, so please cut it out! (montsweag only had one table of this variety- dragon statuettes i think).

2. there’s lots of old stuff. even when it’s not worth anything, old stuff feels sexy, mysterious, exciting. from antique to retro, i wanna dive into boxes of musty old socially irrelevant books, try on enormous vintage cocktail rings, smell the mothballs of long forgotten fabric stashes, and fiddle with exotic examples of outmoded technology. going to the flea market should be like going on an archeological dig. i want to rifle through crumbling cardboard bins of relics feeling like every single thing is going to make me an ebay millionaire.

3. there’s lots of weird stuff. i want to see nightmare inducing creepy old toys, stacks of water damaged low-rent retro porn magazines, and at least a 10% saturation of stuff that elicits the comment “what the fuck is this?”. even if you come home with nothing, your day will never feel wasted if you spent the majority of your time pointing out the hilarity & terror to your fellow flea-marketers (also, this this a great place to work on your prop comedy).

4. prices are reasonable & they’re willing/ready to haggle. there’s a ton of antique stores and flea markets that easily meet the above criteria for awesome stuff, but cruelly price it just out of reach. what’s exciting about a box or a field full of incredible stuff that you want but can’t afford? why not just go browse the cartier? i bet they don’t have a port-a-potty (a minimal downside, but there isn’t a hook on the door and i was forced to wear my purse around my neck like a feedbag to avoid contamination).

if i was going to get in the habit of giving out stars, montsweag would easily gets a 4.5 out of 5. it meets all of the above critera with gusto, and save for the porta-john issues and the dragon statuettes, from vintage toys to scary dolls, they know what i like. plus, if you do so much as breathe near an item- someone will offer you a deal. bring cash (small bills), go early (the dealers get there at the crack of dawn), and prepare to be surprised (make sure you have room in your trunk). the boyfriend offered to buy 3 vintage cameras from a dealer for $15, and ended up with a rubbermaid tote full for $20. you can check out the rest of my montsweag exploration on flickr, or you can get your ass to wiscasset and have your own adventure. this weekend is supposed to be sunny and 70s, where do i go next?





the cold shoulder.

10 05 2010

roughly 7 months ago (when this blog was just a wee baby), i wrote a little post about my deep love for consignment shops in the portland area. well, during that short time, yet another one has cropped up in the cavity where high-end old port used to live.  the shopaholics boutique is located on the corner of exchange and fore,  and i actually noticed the coming soon sign on their door a few months ago. i even took a photo of it (which i can’t post, but we’ll get to that in a minute)! buy you’re not missing much. they use A LOT of fuschia, and have somehow involved the eiffel tower in their logo in a way that confuses me very much (paris= classy?). but my disdain for their logo aside, i thought i would finally roll in and give it a try.  shopping is shopping, not matter how stupid the name of the store. i wandered down there after work on friday, and can’t say that i wasn’t a little hesitant to go in. their website and windows seductively dangle a stock of gently used coach bags and discount seven jeans, which are two fashion priorities that i just don’t have. i got the impression that i wasn’t their chosen demographic, but i had to do it- you know, for journalism (or possibly because i wanted a less dumpy outfit for my evening plans but didn’t have time to go home and change *shame*).

once inside, it’s easy to forget that shopaholics is a consignment store. the bright and clean space is well laid out and tailored in a way that assure’s that A) you’re only seeing their best stuff (no random filler crap), and B) you’re not completely overwhelmed with choices. it’s a high end approach that i think is smart, but that also feels cold and makes me extremely uncomfortable. i’m definitely more in my element amongst the cluttered mishmashes of material objects. but for research purposes, i press on. as it turns out, it’s not entirely consignment, but a mix of very aggressively filtered consignment stuff (they even have a disclaimer on their website about how you shouldn’t be offended when they turn your shit down), and reasonably priced new goods from brands like kensie, arden b, and true religion. it definitely wasn’t what you would call dirt cheap- with prices appearing to range from $30-$70+.  but that said, their selection (though not entirely my taste), was pretty solid. if you’re looking for an interview outfit, killer jeans, or a cocktail dress and can’t afford full retail (but aren’t quite digging in your couch cushions for goodwill money), this place is definitely your best bet. i spotted at least a few items that definitely would have come home with me if they were slightly less expensive, and if the awkwardness hadn’t rolled in to bust up my shopping haze.

admittedly, i should have asked first if it was ok for me to take pictures. i initially snapped a couple shots of a super hot high-waisted faux ombre skirt without incident, but when i turned to start taking photos of the store, the gentleman behind the counter coolly informed me that i needed to stop. apparently it was a privacy issue (even if i didn’t photograph any of the patrons). oops. i haltingly tried to explain that i only wanted to take pictures for my blog… but he  shot back “i know what you’re doing”- as if i was caught taking a poop in the dressing room or something. flushed with shame, i attempted recovery by telling him that i just wanted to write an article about the store, but it was not working out. i passed him my card- NO LOVE. a few more awkward questions smugly dismissed with one word answers, i thanked him and excused myself to finish browsing… and then swiftly but discretely  crab walked my way out the door as fast as humanly possible (to another much more welcoming store that i’ll talk about tomorrow in part two of this sordid saga).

sure, there are a few things that i wouldn’t have liked about the shopaholics boutique regardless of my experience, but it’s rare that i ever write off a venue so quickly, especially one that has quality shopping potential. and sure, i probably could have approached the situation with a little more savvy (ok, a lot more savvy), but my faux pas aside, i shouldn’t have left there feeling angry and ashamed. the bottom line is that it’s a nice store, and i’m sure they’ll thrive just fine without my approval. which is good, because i definitely won’t be returning.