Friday, July 29, 2011

Teacher Style

This post is way overdue.

A little bit ago, I told you that my mom and I were going on a thrifting trip! During this trip, I tried my best to focus on finding teacherly clothing for my upcoming student teaching internship.

I just graduated from UC with my degree in Math, and in the fall I'll be starting my full-time student teaching internship that's required for my teaching license (which I'll have by January!). One of the things I realized during my part-time student teaching this past year was that I am really lacking in the appropriate-teacher-attire category.

A funnier conversation that I got to be a part of was between two high school students talking about style. It went something like this:

Girl: This weekend, my hair was so cute. It looked like a college soccer girl's hair.

Me: What do you mean?

Girl: Like, it was in a messy bun with a small headband!

Me: looked like you just worked out?

Girl: Yeah!

Me: Cuuuuuuuute?

Girl (to Boy): You know what I LOVE? When girls wear Uggs with short shorts!

Boy: YEAH! But you know what my favorite thing is? When a girl wears her pajamas in public.

The following clothing came from my mom's and my thrifting trip. (CHALLENGE: Can you spot the item that I should NOT wear for teaching?)

From Goodwill (Morse Rd, Columbus):

Gap Shirt: $3.99
Retail: $40-$50

Ralph Lauren Vest: $Free (buy one shirt, get one free deal)
Retail: $50-$70
(HOW DO I WEAR THIS VEST?! I just got it because it was free and knew that safari style was in a little bit ago...)

Isaac Mizrahi Wrap Dress: $4.99
Retail: $20-$30

Show-and-tell break. I told you here about our dog's crazy bathroom habits. While I was taking pics, I thought Puppy Duppy would have a chance to run around our yard and pee. No dice. He sat in the porch corner the WHOLE time just waiting for me to take him tree-conquering (see his butt in the above dress pic). Good thing for him, he's cute.

Aaaaand back to the clothes:

Express Pinstripe Pants: $3.99
Retail: $60-$70

Different trip, same store:
BeBe Teal Pants: $3.99
Retail: $100-$130

From Goodwill (Ohio Pike, Columbus):
Limited Pants: $3.29
Retail: $75-$80

From Goodwill (Sandusky St, Columbus):

Catalina Bikini: $3.99 (for both pieces)
Retail: $50-$80

From Volunteers of America (Indianola Ave, Columbus):
Sbicca Leather Wedges: $1.99
Retail: $80-$90
(Teacherly sensible heels? Check.)

Total Thrift Price: $26.23
(Minimum) Retail Price: $475
Savings:  $448.77 (94%)
(Although, as my mom pointed out, she took me on the thrifting trip for my birthday so I actually spent $0--> my MOM's savings was 94%)

Were you challenged?!

Challenge Answer:
If there's one thing I know, it's that it's not a good idea to wear a bikini to teach high schoolers. No need to thank me. That bit of Ally wisdom is free to you.

What did we learn today, class?

Think twice before you take fashion advice...(from a high-schooler).

PS: Misty from An Unpretentious Teacher inspired this post. She writes an awesome blog that includes REAL teacher style. 

PPS: Check out Whitney from Between the Lines for even more teacherly attire. 

I'm linked up to Thriftaholics Anonymous

Meet Virginia Design

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pillow Talk

Recently, I had the opportunity to go thrifting with my friend Jasilyn. (She writes a blog about her student teaching experiences. Check, check, check it out.)

We were in my favorite thrift store and she spotted this pillow for $1...

I was like, "OH MY GOSH that's SOOOOOOOO pretty! It's exactly what I've been looking for! It would be amazing with my decor! I LOVE it! Holy duck it's GORgeous!.............Do you want it?"

Jasilyn kindly told me that no, it's ok, I could have the pillow. (Not that I gave her much of a choice...way to be a good friend, Ally!)

But really, it's true, I had been looking for a pillow just like this. Remember how I like to do naughty things like mix colors that don't typically "go" together? That's what I'm trying to do in the living room with pink and red. (Not pink-pink, more like mauve-pink). Don't be scared, it'll look sweet.

This isn't supposed to be an outdoor pillow- I just took pics of it outdoors because I have learned that the Droid takes better pictures in natural light.

This fellow is WAY better than Fluffy. Do I hear an amen? No? Let me refresh your memory.

Here's Fluff Monster:

Fluff and Rainbow:

Bonus: Rainbow and the new pink fellow look pretty darn good together. I wish I could prove it to you, but I don't yet have a pic of them in side-by-side mode.

To be updated...

Ok, this is a really awful picture. I told ya, Droid hates indoor photos. He can make the most magical interior look like a scary dungeon. (Not that our living room is magical. It is FAR from an interior designer's happy place.)

I wanted to make sure I also showed the velvet mauve-pink chair I found at Salvation Army for $25 (two years ago). He's in PERFECT condition, and he seemed a little Anthropologie-esque to me:

Just because I have your attention, this is the vision I have for the new living room: Pink chair, maaaaaybe the zebra rug, white walls (can't paint in new place), neutral & modern couch (currently searching for) with above pillows on it, and the below pic in white mat & gallery frame hanging over it.

Does anyone know who the artist is? My coworker was kind enough to pass this picture on to me, but I would love to give the photographer credit.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dollar Dance

Did anyone do the Dollar Dance at their wedding? I didn't. I just thought it was a clever title.

I wrote yesterday about how I dressed 100% thrifted to a wedding that I went to this past weekend! Today, I'm gonna tell you 'bout it.

This dress purchase was a "first" for me for two reasons:

1) I bought it at my first Dayton thrift store (Goodwill, 2309 North Fairfield Rd). I also found my shoes during the same trip. Woot woot!
2) The sides of the dress needed to be taken in. (I don't usually buy clothes that need altered.)

I know this is a little odd, but I was nervous to get my dress altered. I imagined the dude who did the alterations to be like the snobby, slightly flamboyant man in the movies who does the suit measurements in a high-end shop and is unimpressed because I'm only buying the $10,000 version. Here is our conversation:

Me: Hi!
Him: Mmmhmmm.
Me: How are you doing today?
Him: DAH-ling. (removes pins from mouth) The more you open your mouth, the less I like you. (mumbles in French)

I'm sure you won't be too shocked to hear that my experience was nothing like this. The first thing Josh said to me was something like, "Please just tell me you don't want that dress any shorter!" He proceeded to laugh at my jokes and fix my dress so that it fit perfectly all for $17.51. BOOM. Plus, when I picked up my dress, he gave me Dayton thrift store recommendations for zero dollars. (Cincinnati-ans without sewing skills, listen up. GO TO WIDMER'S for your alterations. Great prices. Plus, Josh who won't mumble at you in French.)

(Of course, I'm not paid to recommend Widmer's. I love them for free.)

This pic is better of me...

But I also provide a pic of me with better West Point scenery...

<---What is my hair doing?!?! I'll tell you one thing it's NOT doing: growing out fast enough. Humph.

Maggy London Dress: $4.99 @ Goodwill in Dayton + $17.51 alterations =  $22.50
(Retail: $150-$180)

Awkward shoe shot. I was trying to get it so you could see the heel, but it just looks like I'm mid-ankle sprain:

Enzo Angiolini Shoes: $3.99 @ Goodwill in Dayton
Retail: $80-$100


Target Clutch (NWT): $2.99 @ Volunteers of America in Columbus

American Eagle Earrings: $6.99 @ Filene's Basement in Columbus (not thrifted, but close enough, ay?)

Fossil Watch: Gift from Husband = free!

Dave was in the wedding, so he wore a thrifted tux.

Oops. I forgot to put "non" in front of "thrifted".

I'm good, but I'm not THAT good.

Speaking of...has anyone successfully thrifted a tux or entire suit?

Post Script- I realized I forgot to share my would-have-been rehearsal dinner accessories with you yesterday. They have been added.

Post-Post Script- I'm linking up @ Spunky Chateau

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Post-Toast to Reading Directions

This past weekend, the Husband and I had the honor of attending a good friend's wedding at West Point. (It was awesome!)

Here was my original plan for this post:

I would brag to you about how BOTH outfits I wore to the rehearsal dinner and to the wedding were 100% thrifted. You would be impressed.

Here's what actually happened:

I had my outfits ready and was getting packed to leave. I said to Dave, "I am only packing the two dresses/shoes/jewelry and some scrubs for the drive. That's ok, right?". Dave responded, "Yes, dear." 

Here was the planned rehearsal dinner attire:

J.Crew Dress: $4.49 @ St. Vincent De Paul in Cinci

Nine West Heels: $3.99 @ Salvation Army in Cinci

Necklace: Gift from Mom
Earrings: $2.99 @ Goodwill in Columbus
Bracelet: $1.99 @ The Ohio Thrift Store in Columbus
(I had my eyes out for a silver clutch for the past few weeks but wasn't able to find one in time, so my mom said I could borrow hers. It's obviously not pictured)

We drove up to Columbus to spend the night. Friday morning, we woke up at 3am and were printing off directions. I went to the rehearsal dinner invite to get the address and I actually read the info for the first time:

"The Ohio State University and University of Alabama brought together. Pick a team and wear their gear or remain neutral!"

AH! Planned attire= not so appropriate. Alternative packed scrubs= also not so appropriate.

New plan: Stop at Macy's (where I had a giftcard to) in mall where we were picking up Dave's tux.

So we get to Macy's, are kind of short on time, I'm running around trying to find a casual dress or SOMETHING to wear. I'm also super sad because I didn't want to be spending the giftcard on something that I didn't really want. Dave noticed that I was disappointed so he looked up thrift stores on his cell and discovered that there was a Goodwill three miles away. WHAT A MAN.

Note: I had never before depended on a thrift store for a last-minute-entire-outfit-purchase. I guess this is what having a thrifting blog will do to a person. Consider yourself warned.

Note about note: It really was LAST minute. I ran around the store, found a dress, skirt, tank, and shoes and bought em just hoping that something would fit.

Got to the hotel, tried on the dress. It may or may not have made me look like you would have to pay money to spend time with me. And I'm not talking big bucks. I mean like, five bucks would get you all the time you wanted, if you know what I'm sayin'.

Luckily, the rest worked out. Not really my favorite outfit of all time, but at least I maintained my dignity, right?

Old Navy Tank: $2.99
Gap Skirt: $3.99
J.Crew Sandals: $4.99
Coach Purse (already owned, previously thrifted): $12.99 @ St. Vincent De Paul in Cinci

If you have "issues" with feet, cover your eyes and scroll to the end.

Here are the sandals:
Not exactly what I would call "neutral" clothing, but it certainly avoided the unthinkable alternative: being mistaken for University of Alabama fan.

Here's to reading directions.

FYI for New Yorkers: The Goodwill I went to was at 80 Route 6 # 605, Baldwin Place, NY 10505.

FYI for all: Tomorrow, I'll show ya what I wore to the wedding :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Man at Work

I am super bummed! I have had a post all written out for hours now, but I'm having some problems getting the pics I want off of the Husband's phone so I haven't been able to post it. Growl.

So, today, I'm gonna share some pics of something that I have on file :) 

This acquisition happened a while ago, but I was holding off on posting it until I could show the "after".

A few months ago, Dave's office was doing a renovation so they were getting rid of some furniture. The Husband saw a desk was being rid of and asked if he could take it for his eventual man cave...and that, folks, is how Whale the Desk ended up in our teeny apartment.

I am pleased to tell you that the Band did not suffer any back injuries because the moving company was nice enough to let him use their roller. I guess he didn't look thief-y enough to concern them.

Note how I'm being really helpful in the moving process.

I'd show you what the desk looks like when it's not vertical, but again, the Droid is PMS-ing and "just doesn't feel like cooperating today!"

I've been telling Dave for a while now that when we have enough space, he can have a man cave where he can "decorate" (I don't know a manly alternative for that word) as he pleases. I tell him this 1) so that he doesn't get too irritated when I veto things like his sports flags/trophies/jersies being displayed in our living room wall and 2) so he wants to get a bigger place sooner. MuahahaHa.

However, I may or may not say things like "Wow, wouldn't it look cool if your desk looked like THIS?" (**wink, wink**)

This dresser is one that Rashon Carraway, author of blog Mr. Goodwill Hunting, made over. (See the before pic here).

"Wow, Dave, think how masculine your desk would look if it was painted like that!"

"Dave, I think that dresser is flexing it's muscles at me."

Join me, people.

DIY-ers, I need some help:

When it comes to painting a piece of furniture like this, is it better to use spray paint or to use a paint/roller brush?

Assist an Ally.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Basket Case

Meet Wyatt. I call him Wyburrs, Burrs, and Puppy Butt even though he doesn't respond to any of those names.

Burrs has a mission: to conquer the world one tree at a time. He pees on every single tree that he can. And when he runs out of pee, he pretends to pee on every single tree.

I can't just let him out in the morning to do his business like a normal dog. Nope, nope. I have to walk him at least half a mile so that he will pass enough trees to completely empty his bladder. I counted how many trees he got this morning: 16. (You're welcome for that stat.) 

For each claimed tree/trash can/blade of grass that's slightly taller than the rest and resembles a tree, he does a victory dance.

The Band and I have taken Puppy Butt to the dog park a few times. Does Wyatt play with the other dogs like a normal social dog? Of course not. Wyatt goes around the entire perimeter of the dog park peeing on every post. When he's done peeing on the posts, he "pees" on all the trees (pee in quotations because by this point he has run out). I am not exaggerating when I say he has done this for HOURS.

All that to say, I bought a basket for our basket case of a puppy's toys. I was excited to find a basket with liner for 50 cents at St. Vincent De Paul in Cinci! It was originally a sky blue color which I decided to change to white (because white was the only color of spray paint we had lying around). I forgot to take a picture earlier so here is the basket mid-spray paint:

This was actually my very first time spray painting something! I am not joking when I tell you that my pointer finger is sore today. My form must be all wrong.

I learned one major lesson. I used two different types of spray paint and I discovered that I need to use a spray paint with a nozzle like this....

and not this...
image via

The larger nozzle was like a finger pillow after I used one like above. Rookie mistake.

Final product:

Puppy Butt loves it. I can tell.

16 trees down. A whole bunch more to go. (I asked Google how many trees there are in the world so I could generously provide you with more stats. Evidently this is a dumb question.)

Post scriptular: In Molly Campbell's blog post Advice to Writers, she says, "Don’t write about diarrhea in any form. It may be hilarious when it happens to your husband or when it erupts during a wedding reception, but nobody really wants to hear how it came to occur. I have tried this with very poor results and hostile blog comments."  

While you may have no particularly been dying to hear about my dog's bathroom habits, at least I followed her advice, right?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Black Belt

Back when I was in high school, I dated this dude who was really into martial arts. He somehow convinced me to attend one of the beginner classes he was teaching.

"Ally what were you thinking?" Clearly people, I was NOT thinking. Your mothers can tell (and probably have already told) you that that's how it goes in high school.

I knew things were bad when I showed up at the class and found the demographics to be males between 5-10 years old. I knew things were really, really bad when I was told that we would be practicing running, jumping sidekicks with bodybags. Imagine: little ninjas flying through the air in perfect form and then 6ft tall me in the background, "running" up to a bodybag, coming to a sort-of stop and then hopping awkwardly while trying to make foot contact with the bag. I'm sure my date was impressed.

The class ended with (what I imagine was) an ego boost; our task was to use 3ft long wooden swords to slice through a single sheet of newspaper. Oh, the skill! Imma be the first to tell you, I beasted. Take THAT newspaper.

I know that Dave sleeps better at night knowing that if I ever encounter a rogue newspaper in the streets of Cincinnati, I will emerge the victor.

That whole story was an intro so I could inform you that I found a black belt.

Black belt in martial arts, I have not. Black belt in my fabulous thrifty wardrobe, I have. He's one of those wear-around-the-waist types:

Express Patent Leather Belt: $2.99 @ St. Vincent De Paul in Cinci
Retail: $40-$50

He has a kind of weird sticky spot on him. Nothing that a little Goo Gone can't handle:

Here are some other belts I've found athriftin':

Harve Benard Snakeskin Belt: $2.99 @ St. Vincent De Paul in Cinci
Retail:? (but I'm finding it retailing used for about $25)

Banana Republic Leather Belt: $2.99 @ St. Vincent De Paul in Cinci
Retail: $30-$45

This one below is a wear-around-the-hips type:

Gap Leather Belt: $1.99 @ Salvation Army in Cinci
Retail: $30

Last one (someone needs to give me advice on how to pin down the end parts or something):

Target Leather Belt: $3.99 @ Goodwill in Cinci
Retail: $15-$20

I actually picked up the belt AND the dress in the same trip so I must share.

Old Navy Dress: $6.99 @ Goodwill in Cinci
Retail: $20-$30

FYI: My MIL got me the leather Fossil Messenger Bag for Christmas, but I recently saw it at the Fossil Outlet in Monroe for $29.99 on clearance!

What's your black belt in?

Monday, July 18, 2011


Someone else has GOT to tell me that they noticed the Women's World Cup commentators' slightly misdirected use of the word "literally":

"The USA, quite literally really, are back from the dead!" -Ian Darke during US vs. Brazil
"She has literally [put] her team on her back and carried them to the final!" - Julie Foudy during US vs. Japan
"I was literally thrown into the fire by ESPN." -Julie Foudy in LA Times Article

No, no, silly commentators. But just for kicks, let's just go with that. (Get it?! Just for KICKS?! Soccer...kicks?! Woooo. I kill myself.)

So! As you know, this past weekend I had a fabulous shopping trip with my mom. Maybe you didn't know it was fabulous, but now you do.

Among the finds was this really cool picture frame that my mom spotted (Volunteers of America in Columbus for $2.92). I have to warn you, though. The current picture in the frame will scare the pants off you. Literally.

Below is a closeup of the frame so you can better see 1) the frame details and 2) the weirdly stoic faces and the one child creepin' in the background.

You're welcome.

According to the back, this lovely picture is some kind of recreation ("in perfect workmanship") of Madonna of the Chair. Yeehaw.

When my mom first showed me the frame, I looked at her like she was a bit nuts. But, the mother knows best and she made me think about the frame's potential. So glad I did.

Let's chit chat about my vision for the frame. Since the frame is really GOLD, I imagine some kind of sophisticated black/white image like a silhouette. Here's what's floating around in my mind...

image via

Get it?! Floating.......boat?!?! I am LITERALLY ON FIRE RIGHT NOW.

But really, I'm more excited about the idea of having a couple silhouette.

image via

I like the above image, but I don't happen to have a ponytail or roller bangs so I'm praying that my silhouette would look a bit more classy like below. Although, I clearly don't have this much hair:

image via

My idea comes with a tricky I let the Band trace my silhouette? He has quite a few fantastic qualities, but he wouldn't be offended to hear me say that artistry ("workmanship" according to the frame) does not necessarily make the top 5.  Or 10.

Yet, everyday, he still manages to knock my socks off.