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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thrifty Thursday in New Orleans: Fashion, Food, Fun, Family

Well, my little blog was asked (or perhaps I was asked) to link to a Thrifty Thursday group. I replied that I try to do something thrifty every day. Meanwhile, the day is almost done and I haven’t written anything, mostly because I’ve had a few days with both children home and I’ve been enjoying the delightful lazing around side of family life. Sadly, Frugal Son went back to school yesterday. Today, we went with Frugal Daughter to New Orleans, for her dreaded bi-annual appointment with the ear specialist. I just realized that Thrifty Thursday pertains to cooking, so our thrifty dinner is near the end.

Poor Miss Em! Terrible ear problems and surgeries! But lucky Miss Em because her doctor is, as he tells us, the best. He is enamored of his handiwork on her ear and marvels at it. Miss Em says that she dreads the visits, but feels like the doctor is her “ear’s father.”

So, to make lemonade out of lemons, we all trooped in to New Orleans on a beautiful and warm day. To fit with the thrifty theme, we had a few plans for after the doctor visit (blessedly short, with no painful episodes).

Buffalo Exchange—We visited one of these stores in San Francisco last summer, which sells vintage and used clothing. So we decided, in the interests of blog research, to see if we could sell or trade some of our cast-offs. We read on-line that BE was very picky, so we put together our boxes prepared for rejection. We were a bit intimidated on arrival because the store was nice and everything looked great. The hip looking employees were very nice. Well, it turns out that Frugal Scholar is still pretty good (having been a “picker” for a vintage clothing shop in grad school days); the Divine Miss Em is extremely stylish. About 2/3 did not make the cut, but we received a choice between $38.00 in cash or $63.00 in credit! Miss Em bought only a much-reduced skirt in interesting fabric, which she already turned into a shorter skirt. We left with only one box, plus $36.00.

Bloomingdeals Thrift Store—Pre-Katrina this was Frugal Scholar’s favorite thrift store. It is run by the Junior League, an excellent organization. This was where the all-cotton baby clothes came from (not so easy to find 20 years ago and very expensive); the European wooden toys, and much more. Sadly, it was not the same. The prices have gone up, making it less worthwhile to slog through racks of Limited and Gap sweaters. They are having a “bag sale” next week, so if I were in the neighborhood, I might go. With a heavy heart, I have to admit I probably will not return.

Whole Foods—We bought about 15 pounds of oat groats, so breakfast is taken care of for a while. We also bought the Divine Miss Em a piece of expensive chocolate cake, a deserved treat. The famed samples at Whole Foods were not in evidence, but we had some bites of cheese and some cookies.

Audubon Park—A beautiful day so we went for a walk. We saw a tree full of white birds, which on closer inspection turned out to be egrets. An amazing sight!

Garden District and Uptown—New Orleans is such a beautiful city, so we fed our spirits with a drive and walk through these neighborhoods.

Home for dinner—We ate some of the ratatouille we froze last summer. With rice and feta it is a frugal feast. We always make sure we have something at the ready when we come home after a long day. The biggest savings comes from NOT ordering a pizza or whatever when you’re faint with hunger. Similarly, we always take a thermos of coffee in the car, to avoid the time and expense of coffee stops.

Oh thrifty day, calloo callay.
All in all, a good day because, in addition to the dreaded and necessary doctor visit, we cleaned out closets a bit, made a bit of money (now residing in the wallet of Miss Em), tasted some good cheese, and saw a tree full of egrets. Then we ate ratatouille with feta.


Amanda said...

how fun! great pictures too :) Awesome deal on the thrift store clothes, wish ours took trade ins! :) Sorry about your favorite store :( that stinks.

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

This sounds like my kind of outing!!
I hope Miss Em gets better soon and give her a hug for me :)
Take good care and........

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Duchesse said...

Props for carrying that coffee but where do you find a restroom?

Hope Miss Em continues to make progress. The medicinal application of chocolate cake is always a good idea.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Amanda--Buffalo Exchange is a chain. It's been around for more than 30 years (though it was new to me). There may be one near you.

@Midlife--Miss Em had her ear surgeries many years ago. She needs to check in with her "ear's father" to make sure there's no recurrence. But I'll give her a hug anyway! Thanks.

@Duchesse--We drank the coffee in the car on the way home! Restrooms in Whole Foods and other places we stopped. Yes, the chocolate always does the trick for my girl.

Funny about Money said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful day!

Too bad about the Bloomingdeal's thrift store. They probably figure the poor folks having been routed by the storm and questionable aftermath, a more affluent clientele remains.

Hadassah runs something similar here. I had a friend who was an artist with those sorts of stores. She never, EVER bought a stitch of clothing that was not marked down...and by "marked down" I mean "practically giving it away." She would clothe her whole family that way -- everyone looked good, too: clothes fit, nothing had weird purple-and-orange polka dots. Then a couple of times a year, she would gather everything out of the closets and schlep them to Hadassah and Buffalo Exchange, where she would collect enough cash to go out and buy all new wardrobes for everyone in the house.

In effect, she never bought clothes with her own money.

Me, I never have any luck with these techniques. At sales and in department-store outlets, all I can see is the purple-and-orange polka dots. And because I wear my clothes until they fall apart, no one will buy the things.

Hope your beautiful daughter soon will be ear-problem-free!

Frugal Scholar said...

@Funny--I am sooooo good at thrift shopping. I wish I could take you with me. But, as I recall, you have lots of new Talbots clothes, right?
There are still lots of poor people in New Orleans. I didn't see the high quality donations as in days of yore, at least not enough to make looking worthwhile.