Custom Search

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What I Saw at the Buffalo Exchange

The Buf--as we call it chez nous--mostly attracts the 18-28 set. I definitely feel like the old nonna when I go with Miss Em. And, indeed, I seldom find anything for myself there. But what I've found is very good: a pair of unworn red Mephisto flats for $22, some unworn UGGs, also $22, and--yesterday--my Carlisle belt. Even though the cupboards were almost bare of nice things, we did spy 3 pairs of almost-new Marni flats ($40) and some unworn red and white striped Repetto ballet flats ($20). But I also got a glimpse of future offerings. One seller was a 20-something carrying an LV Speedy and wearing very expensive sandals. She was unloading piles of linen items! Next in line was a 40-something woman. She sold 2 pairs of Uggs, some Bogs (I've always wanted a pair!), plus other stuff. Her car trunk also contained boxes of very pricy shoes--including a Manolo Blahnik box. I must have been staring too hard at her merchandise, because she gave me a strange look. I guess I scared her. But that's some of what's upcoming at the New Orleans Buffalo Exchange. Sadly--or perhaps luckily--I won't be there again for a while. The shoes looked too big for me, too small for Miss Em anyway.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Buffalo Exchange Results...Plus a Clutter Event

Miss Em and I did very well at the Buffalo Exchange. They offer 30% of their selling price in cash or 50% in credit. They are very honest and transparent about the transaction: stores like that live and die by reputation. The nice buyer took about half of a laundry basket of apparel plus box of shoes, netting us: $160 cash or $270 credit!!!! WOW! We took $100 in cash and $105 in credit. Added to the credit Miss Em got a few weeks ago, we--she--has a total of $280 in credit, a healthy proportion of her next year's clothing budget. I bought a Carlisle belt for $10, but otherwise, we found NOTHING. We did add to our clutter, however. We picked up Frugal Son from the airport, after his 8 months abroad. The house is already a mess. That's OK. So happy!

Friday, May 25, 2012


Mr FS, Miss Em, and I are off to New Orleans. Miss Em and I have been closet cleaning: in addition to stuff already donated to the Food Bank thrift, we put together a big bag of stuff for the Buffalo Exchange. Our aim: to get Miss Em credit for her clothing next year. What will we come back with? Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bossypants and the Buffalo Exchange: Decluttering Clothing

I am lucky to have occasional visits from my beloved daughter, whose eye is impeccable. She always helps me go through my closet. There she sat, reading Bossypants (which should have been HER name), looking up to pronounce DONATE, KEEP, or BUFFALO EXHANGE. The book was perfect, because it was OK to interrupt (whereas interruptions NOT ALLOWED during tea, chocolate, or more intense books). The Buffalo Exhange idea was also inspired: we will take the maybes and near-duplicates to the Buffalo Exchange, and keep what they don't want. We will get Miss Em/Bossy credit for next year and go home with a lighter load. Our new mantra: LET THE BUF DECIDE.

Monday, May 21, 2012

How to Declutter Nice Clothing: Help!

I've been cleaning out my little closet (single rod, about 3 or 4 feet) and I've been marveling at how NICE the clothing is that I have. While I would not win a fashion blogger award, most everything I have is of good quality, thanks to the excellent thrift stores here. The kind of things I want provoke little competition. So, along with my attitude of gratitude, I have a perhaps unusual quandary: how to declutter clothing that is all of around the same quality and all nice? I do not aspire to a minimalist closet (too stressful for a spiller like me). I remember that wardrobe expert Janice/Vivienne once said she aspired to 64 items (8 sets of 8?). Does that sound right? And, if so, how many of each item? Advice much appreciated.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Beauty Bargains: Sunscreen and Philosophy

Still trying to recover from the end of the semester: it is always thus. Two bargain opps in the skincare category. My beloved Paula Begoun has FREE SHIPPING ON ANY SIZE ORDER! This is good, especially if you want to try ONE THING. She also has 50% off on some of her stellar SUNSCREEN. Also--and this has been all over the internet--my other beloved store--Big Lots--has (or had) lots of Philosophy make up for $3.00! It's amazing how unprepossessing pricy make-up looks when it is hanging on a rack by the checkout lane at Big Lots. A lesson there. My Big Lots is suppose to get another shipment tomorrow, btw.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Gift for the Grad: Using My Talents

The best gift, of course, is one the recipient wants. I recently bought a wedding gift, using the registry. Gnashing my teeth all the while, thinking I could get 10 things for the price of the one (biggish) gift I am buying. It was the right thing to do though. Right now, I am in the process of buying a graduation gift for Mr C, a recent family friend. On Saturday, I noticed that the 2.8 million dollar home a few blocks away had a yard sale sign. So off we went. Mr C found some sport coats (cashmere and camel hair!) in his size. I said: Let me buy those as part of your graduation pres. He was pleased, so I got him a nice belt too. Hmmm. This is really using my frugal talents. Next, I'm going to buy him a slow cooker (new) and a stick blender (ditto). I already gave him a second-hand rice cooker and a copy of the little ebook Frugal Son and I put together. Finally, I am going to get some food staples for his first real cooking adventures. Mr. C will be working in a Vista program next year while studying for the dreaded MCAT exam. If he learns to cook efficiently, he will have skills that will take him through med school and beyond. I've finally found the perfect recipient! Happy Graduation Mr C!

Monday, May 14, 2012

More Advice for the Low Salary Grad: Live Like You Should Have When You Were a Student

Honestly, if a recent grad is making only $1000/month in a worthy endeavor, STAYING OUT OF DEBT is of the utmost importance. I would say: Live like a student. Except for the fact that most students live like they are middle- and upper-middle class people, either on the parental dole or getting into debt. So my advice is Live like you should have when you were a student. Every bit of debt you avoid is a blessing for your future. The recent grad of my acquaintance asked me what he should stockpile. After the rice and beans recommended yesterday, I would pick up some canned tomatoes and cheese. Best place for cheese is Costco or Sam's Club. Or Trader Joe's. So now you won't die of starvation. Any more advice?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Advice for the Recent Grad: Low Salary Genre

Ahhhhh. The recent grad. Time for advice: get a no-fee credit card, contribute to your 401k, get a Roth IRA, blahblahblah. But what about the recent grad of the low salary type? the Vista volunteer who will be making $1000/month at a worthy endeavor? (In the meanwhile studying for MCATS) I already gave the grad two books. And I say it's also time to learn basic frugal skills, which are a necessity when you have little and allow you to get more out of your money even if you are a well-paid physician. The grad asked me to help him save money on basic household expenses. To start, I say: buy a big bag of dried beans. Then buy a big bag of rice. Both are investments that will pay off. What would you advise?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Luxury Goods: Real or Not Real?

One of my students was yapping with me after her final. I asked her what she planned to do after graduation. She didn't know. She mentioned that her father works at Saks in the shoe department. I asked her if she had thought about working there. Hmmmm, she said. I asked her if her father had gotten her the GIANT Damier LV bag she was sporting. No, said she. It's a fake. She said her father recognized it as fake right away. She also said everyone assumed it was real even though it cost only $40. Everyone thinks it's real because I drive a BMW, she said. What's real? What's not? Always a question.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Gift for Me! Soup Bones

Later today, we will have two visitors: Mr C, Miss Em's friend, and his twin brother, Mr C. They are bringing me a present! Oh no! They are poor college students and I have too much stuff. Miss Em told me what the present is: lamb bones left over from a dinner (in the C family, they throw out such treasures). I will make some soup. Because, for me, the title of Barbara Kafka's magnum opus rings true. The perfect gift. Thanks in advance.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

How have you helped humanity today?

This is the annoying question I posed to my kids--too frequently. And, of course, I feel (perhaps mistakenly) that as a teacher I am AUTOMATICALLY a helper of humanity. At the ends of semesters, though, I wonder: facing mountains of student work, a surprising percentage of which is plagiarized, I wonder if I should even bother preparing for class! Often the student will copy and paste something and then laboriously alter many of the words (number and tense) to evade searches. I just got a slew of plagiarized work on this wonderful play. But I also got an email a few weeks ago, which I did not respond to. I was sick, I had just gotten back from a conference; I had tons of work. Blah. Blah. Blah. For a long time I wanted to write you to thank you for two specific things I learned from you. First long ago you wrote about hand blenders. It triggered me to remember I had one I never used. I enjoy espresso and make my own mochas as I think mine are great and much cheaper than espresso stands. I started using my hand blender to froth my milk. I use it every day! I also read about the click it reading glasses on your blog. Right afterwards I was on jury duty and the judge had them. I ordered a pair and LOVE them. I just put them on in the morning like a piece of my equipment and I always have them. Honestly I couldn't live without them. So I just wanted to tell you personally that someone way up in Washington state enjoys your blog and got two great ideas from you! So perhaps I'll have to content myself with helping humanity with stick blenders and Clic glasses. I do love both of those things myself. Thanks, READER, for the compliment.