Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Oh, Happy (Mon)Day!

*And now it's Tuesday. This post was meant for yesterday, but problems with my internet kept it from going up :) I hope it brings you smiles this Tuesday morning!*

Yes, friends, I do know it's Monday. Monday is one of those days. It doesn't matter how close you are to your winter break (I'm a teacher) and it doesn't matter how great a mood you're in, Monday is Monday. From the infamous line in Office Space 

to this

to this

"Manic Monday" by The Bangles,

Monday gets a bad rap. 

So this Monday, here are a few things to make you smile, whether you're starting another work week, getting over an illness, or just feeling down. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and just think, tomorrow's Tuesday! :)

Hopefully these finds will bring a smile to your face that will pull you through your Tuesday. Happy Monday night!

Found this little cutie on Ellen and couldn't help but smile! What an AMAZING voice! 

This is too cute! I totally believe him!

Funny letters to Santa are always a good laugh:


And finally, some holiday parodies to see you through...

Happy Now Tuesday!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Why I Heart Mary Lambert

I have to say that I love Mary Lambert. I have loved her voice since I heard her sing with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on their hit "Same Love." Her voice is beautiful. And even more so, I find her candor and her realness inspiring. She is a girl after my own heart and exactly after the same thing that I hope to accomplish with this blog: to be real. 

On Twitter, Mary recently participated in a Billboard question and answer session where her fans could tweet her questions with the hashtag #AskMaryLambert. Her answers were witty and funny. When I need to smile, I read her tweets. Here's a recent one that I love:

I love that she's not afraid to be who she is and no one can stifle her personality. This interview on Vevo totally proves this point:

She isn't ashamed of her emotions; it's who she is. As an adult, I completely feel the same way. When I was a young adult and a teenager, I had a family member tell me that I was too "sensitive" and "too emotional." It really hurt me. I always felt that I needed to be someone else. I thought that I had to hide who I really was and how I really felt about everything in my life because this person meant a lot to me. 

It made me different. I wasn't me. I was a bottled-up and shy girl, who was afraid of being judged by everyone. If I wasn't good enough for my family, then who would I be good enough for? Living with OCD didn't help either. I internalized everything, and the comment about being too emotional played over and over in my head daily, making me feel less-than.

The message Mary sends out to the world is the message I learned myself as I grew older and dealt with my OCD. Who cares if I'm emotional? That's who I am, and I think I'm a better person because of it! I love empathizing with others and feeling touched by kindness and love. Without that side of my personality, I don't know who I'd be. I feel ya, Mary! Keep on crying! I'll be right there with you!

Not only do I love her candidness in interviews, but her first single "Secrets" off her debut album Heart on My Sleeve makes me love her even more. If you haven't heard her single, is everywhere! And I think it has to do with her honest, straight-talking lyrics.

She sings loudly and proudly, "I don't care if the world knows what my secrets are. So what?" Her words really resonate with me. I don't care either! Once you spend so much time pretending you're someone you really aren't, it feels good to finally be yourself, open up, and talk about whatever you damn well feel like!

My all time favorite lyric, possibly ever:

"They tell us from the time we're young
to hide the things that we don't like about ourselves.
Inside ourselves.
I know I'm not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else.
Well, I'm over it."

Her sincere honesty about dealing with trauma in her past and who she really is makes me happy. Not because she has to deal with trauma, but because she talks about it openly. She isn't afraid to throw it out there. I think more people should feel okay sharing openly about what they have been through, what they really deal with on a daily basis, and who they are. It would make people happier. The invisible weights people carry around inside their chests would be lifted.

Maybe I love this because Mary's doing exactly what I strive to do on this blog: to be real and honest about my experiences in hopes of relating to someone else's life. 

Sometimes I imagine that Mary and I would be friends and send each other cute pictures to cry over. It is so nice to know that there is someone in the entertainment business who is not afraid to be who they are and make no excuses for it. Thanks for being you, Mary! Keep on rocking on!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Thursday, November 27, 2014

More Myself on this Thanksgiving

Today on Thanksgiving, I am relieved and grateful that I am starting to feel more like myself. I never thought that I would say that, but these last eight months or so have been a rough road to walk down. Yesterday I actually had the energy and motivation to clean the bathroom, our bedroom, do the dishes, and two loads of laundry. I took a nap, read a little, and thought of some crafty ideas that I'd like to try this winter. I even want to get a Christmas tree this weekend. That last one is huge for me. 

It has been years since I've either had a Christmas tree or put a Christmas tree up for longer than 5 or 6 days before Christmas. In the past 6 years, I have had a Christmas tree at my house twice. That's it. I don't know if it's just been hard to be festive since my dad passed away, it's something my headaches took over, or my OCD did . 

The obvious reason, my dad's passing, held fast for the first few years he was gone. I never was in the "Christmas spirit" once December rolled around. Everything felt different, and the holidays weren't the same. Instead of feeling grateful and happy for what I had in my life, I felt a huge hole in my heart that was hard to handle on a daily basis, let alone on a holiday like Christmas. 

Another aspect of my life that held me back and still do to some extent are my migraines. My migraines keep me from doing certain enjoyable things only because I feel too much pain to do them. This was especially true in the past, and it was hard sometimes to do anything enjoyable when I was feeling badly. 

Sometimes my OCD overpowered a fun situation as well. Many times I would start something (like getting out the ornaments before we got the tree) and then get too overwhelmed to finish.

Today I will not let my OCD stop my from doing something I love. I am grateful for this. I am grateful for the help that I get to control my OCD and anxiety and that I rely on my sheer willpower sometimes to overcome it. I am thankful that I do not let OCD rule my life anymore.

My migraines have been somewhat better than before. I am still waiting to see how the Botox treatments pan out. I've had two so far. My doctor also lowered my medications which in turn has helped me to feel more like myself. I am tired of letting my migraines keep me from life, so they aren't going to anymore. I am grateful for new treatments and doctors who care to help as much as mine.

Struggling with holidays and being happy was mostly because of my dad's passing at first. The first year my dad passed, there were many reasons that I wasn't able to grieve his passing. It took me a few years to realize that I never did truly grieve his loss. We were all trying to hold it together for each other and stay strong for everyone else. In hindsight this wasn't great for my emotional healing, but since then, I am at peace with my dad's passing. He would want me to be happy--to enjoy life. And that is what I am going to do from now on.

I am grateful that I saw a glimmer of myself yesterday--I am hopeful that there will be more days like this. It took losing myself to realize how much I missed the real me and how important my happiness really is in this journey I'm on. 

I am going to start doing the things that matter to me--the things I love--more often, whether it be reading, putting up the Christmas tree, or watching one of my favorite movies. These things make me happy, and for awhile, it was hard to push happiness to the front of my mind. Today I am grateful that I have these feelings of gratefulness and happiness, no matter how small they may be.

I am grateful for my life, and I want to live it to its fullest. Today, that is what I am grateful for. I am hopeful that this is the start of things turning around for me, and that makes me happy.

Love and happiness <3 Hollt

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Dare

Today I'm writing for Five Minute Friday. I haven't done this in awhile, and I definitely wrote longer than 5 minutes :) Writing feels good. 

You can write along and follow Kate's prompts and her blog by clicking below:

Today's prompt: Dare.


As a girl, I hated playing the game Truth or Dare. I dreaded that time of night at the birthday sleepover, snug in my pajamas, that my friends would whip out the "Truth or Dare card." I could sense it coming. My stomach would start to twist in knots, butterflies would begin to flutter, and an unsettling queasiness began to rise in my belly. All over a stupid game of Truth or Dare

Living with OCD, dares were not my thing. At all. They still aren't. My whole life I have had to push myself to take risks. As I've gotten older, it's gotten much easier to shove myself in the direction of adventure; however, as I kid, I wanted nothing to do with it. Rules soothed me. They were predictable. If you followed them, they would always lead to a tried and true outcome: no one would get in trouble, no one would get hurt, and no one would die.

Of course that last part has a little OCD-flair added in. To me, not following the rules could also, unequivocally, end up in illness or death. A huge leap, I know. OCD does not understand the relative distance between Deviation A (getting in trouble) and Deviation B (dying from not following the rules). In my little kid, OCD brain, contracting gangrene, having all my limbs amputated because they rotted, and then dying from a horrible infection caused by the gangrene was not a far jump from getting in trouble by my mother for yelling at my little sister--all because I didn't follow the rules.

Me (in the middle) with my sisters at about age 11 or 12. (Those bangs!)

This adherence to the rules always hurt in me in my ability to play Truth or Dare with my friends. I was never the cool one who took on the dare. I was the one who stared, eyes at the floor, hoping no one would choose me to decide whether I wanted to break the rules. I never wanted to break the rules.

At one such sleepover in 5th grade, my friends decided that everyone at the party had to complete a dare. No if's, and's, or but's, everyone. Being the rule follower that I was, I didn't want to go against the birthday girl's request. 

All of my friends knew I never chose a dare in the game of Truth of Dare, so I, of course, became their obvious first target. The birthday girl decided to come up with some disgusting concoction of  food smashed together in her hand: cottage cheese, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, hot sauce, and some kind of lunch meat. Giggling the entire time, she told me that she dared me to eat five bites of the disgusting mess and then smear some on my friend's face (who fell asleep earlier in the night).

The queasiness began to rise into my throat, not just because the mess she dared me to eat stunk to the high heavens, but for three reasons:

1) In my house, I would never waste so much food. My mom had three little girls to feed.

2) I was taught to treat others the way you wanted to be treated and did not want to wipe any of that slop on my friend's face.

3) Who knew what kind of disease you could get by mixing so much cheese together!

I knew as soon as I saw her working in the kitchen that I was not going to go through with my dare. My friends were laughing and giggling, egging me on, chanting "do it!" over and over. I was mortified. The sting of tears formed in my eyes. Not knowing what else to do, I blurted out as loudly as I could, "I'm allergic to cheese!"

The room went silent. I knew my friends had seen me eat slices of pizza, a slice of cheese on my sandwich at lunch, my favorite food was French onion soup, for God's sake. No one moved. The birthday girl broke the silence, "Are you really?"

"Yeah," my meek voice barely audible.

"Why didn't you say that in the first place?" she asked.

From that moment on, I learned my lesson: before a game of Truth or Dare, tell your friends that you're allergic to cheese and never feel bad turning down a dare.


Love and happiness <3 Holly

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Today, I'm Hopeful

I am in no way being overly optimistic, but I decided that I am going to take what I can get. Today I'm feeling pretty good. I don't know if it's a combination of different things, or there is one thing to pinpoint in particular for my moderate mood tonight, but I'll take it. 

Maybe the stars aligned in all the right places. Maybe I'm getting a little help from my dad. I'm guessing it's the fact that my doctor lowered the dose of my migraine medication over the last two weeks and that it's almost the weekend--those two things in particular may be what are pulling me through this night.

Tonight I have hope because I did not get home from work and fall asleep all afternoon into the night. I had the energy (minimal as it was, but it was there!) to post in my bookshop, throw in some laundry, and type this blog. That is far more than I've had the motivation to do over the course of a few days, let alone one evening. 

I am hoping this is a sign of a move upwards: in my mood, my energy level. A move upwards and onwards towards becoming myself again. To slowly starting to feel something again. I am not only tired: physically, emotionally, and mentally. I am so tired of not feeling anything anymore--not wanting to do anything enjoyable, fun, or good for myself. I haven't read a book in a long time. I haven't taken a walk with my dog. I haven't felt happy doing any of my hobbies in awhile. I want to want to go to a movie, to sit down with a new book, to write. 

I know that my happy will slowly come back. I know it will wane in and out as my mood goes up and down--I know I will have ups and downs. I am just ready for a few ups along with the downs.

Today was one. And I am hopeful because of it. 

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I'm Here, Just Not Myself

I haven't been around much lately. These past few months I haven't been myself, and it's because I am in uncharted territory. I never in a million years would have imagined myself in this place right now, but I am here. I am trying to deal with it, but things are not getting easier at the moment.

The last few months have been extremely challenging. I feel like I have been walking through three feet of water every day, slowly making my way through my life, never really getting anywhere. I feel myself going through the motions, but not feeling anything else. I don't feel happy or sad. I am just here. Some days are better than others, but most days are just space. One moment in time connected to another. Most days I try to drag myself out of bed and hope that I have the energy to make it through until the next. My legs are tired from wading through the water. I want out, but right now I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

A few months ago, my doctor changed my headache medication. Over time I noticed a change in my energy. It slowly started going downhill until I had none. It is a challenge to push myself hard enough to get out of bed, get through the day, and come home to do something other than sleep. I sleep, but don't feel well rested. I have no appetite. I don't care to do the things that I love--thus the lack of blogs lately. I am emotionally and physically drained. I do not like the way I feel at this time in my life.

I am depressed. 

Taking this new medication has put my life into a tailspin that I wasn't expecting. I have never in my life felt so stagnant and low. This is not me, but it is me at this moment in my life. That is a hard thing for me to wrap my head around, but I am dealing with it. My happy has come in and out of my life the last few months. At times it has eluded me completely. It's still there somewhere; I'm working on it.

It's a ton of bricks that I carry with me every day, but I'm working on it.

It's hard to hold onto hopefulness, but I grabbed the tattered cord as it rushed by.

I'm going to get through this like I have so many other things.

I'm here. Just not myself at the moment. It's been a rough few months, but I'm working on it.


Love and happiness <3


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tried It Tuesday!

I have not been sleeping well. I don't know why. I either fall asleep, wake up really early in the morning, and then can't go back to sleep. Or I can't fall asleep and just lie awake forever wishing I could just keep my eyes shut and sleep!

I don't know what's going on! When I got home today, I was so exhausted, I fell asleep on the couch and am now probably going to be awake for a little while. That is the way things go sometimes, no? (I'm French this week.) Anyone else feeling the tiredness hitting them? Teacher friends? I keep thinking it has something to do with the up and down weather of the typical Ohio fall season and my allergies. This hot--> cool weather is driving my sinuses crazy! They need a break! I am soooo over my allergies right now!

I really wanted to get Tried It Tuesday together for this week :) I'm just happy that I woke up before midnight to finish this up and send it off into blogosphere land! Happy Tried It Tuesday! Hope you enjoy :) 



Bjorn and I tend to make simpler things during the week for dinner--huevos  rancheroes, tacos, pasta with fresh tomatoes, meatloaf, bread salad, and some other go-to recipes that we love.

One new recipe we tried is from my mom: chicken tostadas. They are so easy and delicious, made with precooked chicken. They also have fresh fruit on them, which is refreshing and different. On top you add salsa. My mom uses mango salsa, but I felt like trying something different. 

At Kroger I found the best new salsa! It's Martinez Fire Roasted Peach Salsa. I am in love with this stuff! It has a little sweetness from the peaches that is balanced out by the tomatoes and green peppers with just the right amount of heat from the jalapenos. Bjorn and I even bought two jars the next week: one for dinner and one to eat with chips :) You can find it right along the other salsas at Kroger.


Stash White Chai Tea

I love trying new tea. I found this one at Kroger and really love the subtleness of the flavor. Sometimes I am in the mood for a strong, dark tea, but not always. This chai is not too strong and bity. Sometimes I feel that chai can have a very strong bite with all the different spices it has in it. This white chai is very soothing and refreshing. It still has the subtle hint of a chai tea without the punch.



A Mago-Shaped Space

I am almost finished reading this lovely book. I think this is one of my new favorites. A Mango-Shaped Space is a young adult book meant for students/children between the ages of 9-12. In this book we meet a young girl named Mia who lives with synesthesia, a condition where one sense (for example, hearing) is perceived simultaneously with one additional sense (for example, sight). 

In Mia's case, letters, shapes, and numbers have colors. She sees them before her eyes when she reads or does math problems. To some people, certain words have different tastes. Music can also has different colors. In this book, Mia finally reveals her condition to her family after hiding it from them at first because she didn't realize she was different and then for fear of being ridiculed. This book is fabulous! 

I think this topic is so interesting. I had a linguist professor with synesthesia. He couldn't drink coffee or eat anything while he drove or listen to music because the colors he saw were so distracting to him while driving. You can click here to read a story about a women living with synesthesia to find out what life is like with this condition.



I have been having problems lately with my eyelashes breaking off. I recently saw on a vlog I follow on YouTube that Maybelline's The Rocket causes some people to have breakage problems. Well, guess what? That was the mascara that I was using! 

I decided to try a different kind of mascara all together, so I purchased Loreal's Voluminous Butterfly Mascara. I love it! It's my new favorite mascara. My lashes look great! They seem healthier, they look nice and long (not fuller, however), and not brittle at all like they used to. The mascara goes on smoothly with no clumping, and my lashes separate well. I am definitely going to repurchase this product!


I love the song "Budapest" from George Ezra. It was the iTunes single of the week a few week's back. I can't stop listening to it :)

And this just makes me happy:

Happy Tried It Tuesday! Have you tried anything new lately?

Talk to you soon!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Thursday, September 4, 2014

1st Grade Writing Obsession

It's funny the things you realize about yourself in retrospect. Looking back at my young self, as far back as I can remember, I realize that I was born with OCD. My memories and artifacts from my younger life cause light bulbs to continuously flash in my mind, signalling OCD red flags.

It's funny how I think back on the way I looked out the car window on a road trip. I couldn't stop counting the lines between car lanes until I fell asleep because I didn't know when to stop counting. Was 20 okay? 100? 157? I was always afraid that if I stopped counting, something horrendous would happen to my family while we were driving. Hello, OCD!

I was also afraid of eating the little black flecks in my food at eating. I was certain that eating those little black flecks would cause me to die a horrible death. Those flecks could only be there from the pesticides sprayed on my veggies in the 90's.; the news told my little OCD brain so. Later in life I realized that those little black flecks were pepper flakes meant to season those veggies so my ten-year-old self wouldn't need to be bribed to eat them.  

In graduate school I was asked to put together a literacy portfolio--a scrapbook of sorts that shows my development over the course of my life as a literate person. 

Upon gathering mementos to place in my portfolio, I found some very telling evidence that jogged my memory of a little 1st grade OCD me. Over the years I had kept various items from my time in school. I like remembering myself as a writer throughout my life. I always loved writing and kept a lot of my pieces throughout the years for sentimental reasons. 

Going through different artifacts, I found a copy of a 1st grade spelling test that I took so many years ago. On that list my handwriting was perfection. It's funny how certain things like music, smells, noises, a piece of paper, can trigger memories. 

Looking back at that paper and my perfect handwriting made me think of myself as a first grader with OCD. I remember painstakingly pushing down with enough force on my pencil to create the darkest line I could without breaking the lead. That took a lot of practice. I didn't like my pencil lines to be too light or too dark. They had to be somewhere in the middle--a form of grayish black. But only one that my trained eye could recognize.

I did also like them to be pretty dark, and they had to be uniformly dark throughout each stoke of the letter. The harder I pressed, the easier it was to apply pressure, so the more evenly my handwriting came out on paper. How I judged the right shade of darkness of my writing is beyond me at this stage in my life, but I'm sure I had some reasoning that made sense to my first grade self. The point is, OCD, in no way shape or form, ever makes sense.

If my writing didn't look just right to me at the time, I remember feeling this uncontrollable need to erase everything I just wrote and rewrite it from the beginning. If I erased too much--eraser lines were present, or heaven forbid I ripped the paper--I would need to completely start over on a new sheet. 

And that was me. The urge to write everything perfectly was uncontrollable, but I liked writing neatly because as a first grader, it was one thing I could control in my life.

I never realized this was a problem. I remember justifying this obsession in my mind the worry  that I didn't want my teachers or parents or friends to think that I was "sloppy" or "not good enough." All of that, to me, was related to my writing. Ridiculous, I know, but not to a 1st grader. Or a first grader with OCD. 

I don't remember my obsession with perfect handwriting lasting a long time, but I do remember it lasting a few years into my elementary schooling. I know my OCD adapted and changed as I aged and grew into new obsessions and compulsions. Looking back, I realized that OCD has been part of my biology. It's been with me my whole life, and it will continue to be.

Sometimes I wonder how most of my life, left to my own devices, I coped with OCD and anxiety, not knowing that I was different than the other kids. Today I am just happy that I know how to handle it. I am grateful that I am stronger because of it. 

Lots of love <3 Holly

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Thrifting Series Part 1: General Shopping Tips

As most of you know from my blog, I love to thrift. I end up finding the coolest pieces for my home, the most unique fashion finds, and awesome organizational tools (another post to come about this!). I thought I'd wrap this summer up with a mini series on thrifting: tips and suggestions about thrifting, my favorite thrifting finds, and the best items to thrift. 

There are a few places that I love to shop. I know which places have the best prices and are the best for finding certain items. In my area we have some great Goodwills, Salvation Armies, St. Vincent DePauls, and a Valley Thrift that I like to shop at. We also have a few amazing vintage stores. One in particular that I love is called Casablanca Vintage. It's fab! And, of course, we have some great antiquing fairs in the summer!

Click here for an article about Casablanca Vintage from Cincinnati Magazine

Based on the stores that I shop at, here are some tips that have helped me in my thrifting endeavors. Hopefully, they'll be helpful to you as well!

General Tips

Shop the sales. Yes, thrift stores have sales! I know that prices at thrift stores can be low; however, you'd be surprised at some of the prices I've seen at some of the second-hand shops I shop in. And what's even better is to get low thrift store prices at even lower prices! You'd be surprised how many items that you can get for 50 cents or $1 or $2 with a good sale!

For example, Goodwill puts out a monthly calendar that will show all the sales and discounts for the month. They always have days throughout each month (usually more than one) where everything in the store is 50% off. Other days certain items in certain departments (women's clothes, books, purses, etc.) will be a percentage off, or items with specific tag colors. Make sure you check the calendar at your local Goodwill. Sometimes the sales at different Goodwills vary.

Sales are usually posted when you walk in the store on a big white board. Make sure you check there first so you are saving money when you shop!

Salvation Army
There is one Salvation Army in West Chester where every colored tag is 50% off (everything in the store) on Wednesdays. You're getting 50% off your entire purchase that day, and that store, in my opinion, has particularly high prices compared to other Goodwills that I shop. So in that instance, it would be smart to shop the 50% off sale. There's a great one in Norwood too.

St. Vincent DePaul
In Evendale there is a great St. Vincent DePaul where every Tuesday is 75 cent day. Women's clothes with red tags are 75 cents. I mean, seriously! Now this store is small compared to most thrift stores. It's jammed-packed with stuff that you really have to look through. The aisles are super close to each other, but some of my most awesome finds of the summer are from this store :)

Keep these ideas in mind while perusing the inventory of each store:

Thrifting is all about patience. Seriously. If you are not in the mood to sift through a load of junk to find a few gems, don't go thrifting! If you get easily frustrated by looking through racks that are not always organized, don't go thrifting! Thrifting is not your average shopping trip, so don't expect to run in and out with what you went in looking for. You probably won't come out with it, and you'll probably be in the store longer than expected. You also may leave a store with nothing! Don't feel discouraged. Thrift store inventory continuously changes, so check back often!

Shop with a List
Of course it's great to go thrifting and just happen to find great items on the fly when you're not expecting it, but I always have items in mind that I'm looking for while I shop. I keep a note on my phone, a running list, of items for which I'm always on the look out. That way, if I happen to find one, I can snag it up! Having a list to work from and then being surprised by a few purchases is a good way to shop. After all, you do never know what you're going to find when you walk into a thrift store! Being surprised is great, but having a list also keeps you from buying oodles of items that you don't need! It keeps you focused!

Here's my current list:

  • Vintage suitcases (my mom used to have one like this!)

  • Vintage Mary Jane's

  • Slips (to wear under vintage dresses). I have nude, white, and black. Now I'm looking for color!

  • Vintage Cape (and I would seriously loose my mind if I found one!!)

Shop with an Open Mind!
Things at a thrift store are probably dirty. A cup can be cleaned. A shirt can be washed. I buy slips from the thrift store. I just wash them. They are majorly. Yes, this is coming from the OCD person. Don't overlook something just because it needs a little TLC. If you're not willing to get something hemmed, taken in, get a button fixed, etc, don't buy it! You won't get it fixed, and then it will just sit unloved in your house. You'll regret it and end up donating it back to the same place you got it from! If you can see the potential in items though, you'll be surprised at what you can find. And remember, you own soap!

Try Things On
Along with having an open mind, trying clothing items on really helps. This jacket looked a hot mess on the hanger! My sister told me I was crazy picking it up! She told me that it looked like a clown car puked all over it. But for some reason, I had this feeling that it would look differently once I had it on. With a crisp white tee and some neutral pants, I thought this blazer would look snazzy :) If you're not sure about something, try it on! Sizes run differently too in vintage items. If it doesn't work, just put it back!

Don't Buy Something Just Because It's Cheap!
I think this speaks for itself. Don't spend money just because. Think about whether or not you're really going to use it, wear it, love it! If not, put it back. Leave it there for someone else! 

I hope these tips help you in your thrifting journeys!

Do you have any good thrifting tips?

Lots of love <3 Holly

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Have You Ever Shopped on Instagram?

I had never thought of Instagram as a platform to buy, sell, or trade clothing. I came across a few clothing boutiques/shops browsing with my personal IG account about five or six months ago and happened to buy a few vintage pieces I loved from a blogger and YouTuber I follow. Her name is Katie, and her blog is called Thrift Your Heart Out. She's a thrifter after my own heart. She ended up closing her shop, since she didn't have a lot of storage space in her new apartment. 

Once I realized that there was a whole community of buyers, sellers, and traders on IG, I decided for myself that this might be something fun that I'd like to do as a hobby.

Right before the start of summer, I opened my own IG shop called @Hollyssecondhobby. In my shop I sell new and gently used clothes, accessories, and shoes from my own closet and great deals that I have found shopping in retail stores and thrifting. Everything I sell is in excellent to very good new to gently used condition. I don't sell anything I wouldn't be proud to wear myself, and I have high standards!

Screenshot of my store's homepage

I love showcasing my items for sale as outfits in the pictures in my shop. I pair them with items that I have in my closet. Here are a few of the first items I posted in the shop:

Shorts were for sale

Knit vest was for sale

Skirt was for sale

One of my first sold items

My post office ladies know me, my profession, my husband, my husband's profession, that my husband was in a movie, my sister, and they love Bjorn's new look :) I <3 them!!

It has been a super fun 4 months! I have met the sweetest women and made some great friends. I have started my own little business, and I get to share my love for fashion with others! Over the course of this 4 month period, I have sold 97 items and traded 9. I have learned along the way about shipping items, negotiating, and I love interacting with my customers!

Instagram is a great place to find one-of-a-kind pieces for great prices! There are tons of vintage items available. If you love vintage, you know how painstaking it can be to scour racks looking for great pieces in great condition. Many of these ladies with IG shops already do the work for you! Many prices include shipping, so you can see how much you're paying up front. The community is so friendly; you can always ask questions about measurements, condition, and material of a product. 


  • Read the shop's store policy before you purchase! Not all of us have the same policies. For example, some stores include shipping in their prices, some don't. 

  • Always pay with paypal and make sure you get an invoice from the seller. Some stores accept concealed cash, where a buyer will send their payment in an envelope to you through the mail. I admittedly have accepted concealed cash in two circumstances, but I do not do this on a regular basis. You never know, but concealed cash could get lost in the mail or stolen.

  •  It is extremely easy to set up a PayPal account if you don't already have one. I usually ask the seller to send me an invoice and do not pay for anything "gifted" unless I know the seller. I like to get an invoice to have a record of what I'm paying for just in case something gets lost in the mail or I need to contact PayPal for any reason.

  • Search hashtags. Many shops use the labels #shopmycloset #instashop #igshop #instaboutique. Or if you're looking for something in particular, you can search a brand or item as a hashtag.

  • If you find a shop that you like, look at the accounts or shops that they follow. Chances are that they also buy items on IG too! I know I do! You may find something else that you like as well.

  • Many of us shops post new items in chunks or multiple items at one time. We try to space them out so that they are not bombarding your feed at one time. If you would prefer not to follow many shops and have multiple posts once a week or once every few weeks show up in your feed, then make a list of your favorite shops and visit them when you are looking to purchase something new!

  • Most items and prices are negotiable unless otherwise stated. Just remember that most shops spend money on cute packaging materials and don't forget to include shipping costs into your item when you negotiate. Shipping for items in my store can range from $1.50-$10 and up depending on the weight of an items and tracking is not always included (depending on how you ship). Tracking adds another $1.02, but most of us shop owners add it to protect your purchase. 

  • If you ask a question or comment on a shop's post, please make sure you eventually comment back. Most of us do this as a side hobby and have full-time jobs. It's okay to change your mind! Just let us know! Sometimes we have other customers waiting to get the same item you inquired about, and we just need to know if you're still interested or not to move on to the next person in line.

I definitely suggest checking out items on IG! Just don't forget to ask questions to make sure you're purchasing the item you want because most shops have a no return or exchange policy.

To come
My Favorite Bought and Traded Pieces
My Favorite IG Shops

If you do try out IG shopping or have in the past, let me know! I'd love to hear if you have!

Love and happiness <3 Holly