Monthly Archives: May 2013

day 50

2013-05-20 21.25.22

handmade art fair cross body

today i must end my 50 days with this deerskin crossbody that i bought at the ann arbor art fair in 1991. i don’t let myself think about ann arbor too much. it was such a wonderful time in my life before i got married and had my sweeties. i don’t dwell – it’s dangerous.

using this bag means paring down to the bare essentials. that’s what my life was like then – i had just finished grad school and started my first real job. all i needed on a regular basis fit in this purse. i used it daily for a long time, especially at work. it was like a cool fanny pack – yes, that’s what was going on back then.

12 years and three girls later, i got fashion-minded again, and realized that a large body can make a small purse look like a tic tac. i went back to carrying large purses again. factor kids into the mix and i’m hauling an arsenal to ward off any malady or mishap. seriously – who has kids and isn’t leaving the house without child and adult pain relief? neosporin? cortisone? children’s pepto? can i get a band-aid? i’m always out of those.

i really did have everything i needed today while out shopping with my good friend and “like a mom” Joy. i took her to my favorite thrift stores, and we discovered a new one together – the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, where the workers are volunteers and all of the profits go to the Society. with my mom dying of cancer, i’m happy to add it to my repertoire. the prices were great. if you have one near you, check it out.

so with this being my day 50, what did i learn? i can do something i set out to do for no other reason than i want to do it. and because i have a hard time saying goodbye, i’ll leave an opening to reflect and write about this experience.

i got the courage to start a more long-term blog. this one is called thriftinnati – devoted to my thrifting exploits and overall bargain shopping. i won’t be posting daily! weekly, likely. www.thriftinnati.com starting soon.

thanks to any and all on this road! and no, i’m not selling any of these bags! maybe some others in my closet, though… stay tuned.

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day 49

2013-05-19 16.09.49

cowrie shell backsack from Pier 1 – circa 1985, making this vintage


today is really day 50 in the world of the 50 days of Easter. but for me, it’s day 49 on my journey. i brought it full circle with a bag i’ve had for around 28 years. back in my high school days – early to mid ’80s, Pier 1 sold clothing, scarves, bags and earrings. the stuff was so cool – boho long before the word boho existed. i couldn’t wear a lot of the clothes, maybe a skirt here or there, but i could definitely work with the scarves and bags. i got this one when i was maybe a senior in high school. sometime around there. i was drawn to the shells.

so how has this bag stayed in the family when many others i’ve had through the years have been given away? it’s the shells. i love cowrie shells. maybe you’ve heard, but wikipedia can tell you: they were used as currency in Africa, Asia, and North America, and also as a sign of rank and authority in some cultures. they are also worn as jewelry and adornment in clothing and the hair, and are a sign of womanhood and fertility. i made a cowrie shell necklace for my wedding and put a fertility symbol on it to boot, and wore cowries in my hair. let’s just say it worked and leave it there.

i think cowries are beautiful. they also feel great to play with – i read they’re also used as dice. i have a dish of them in my living room. i grabbed this purse because i knew i was at the end of this journey and it woudn’t be complete without this bag, as it has been with me for so long. also, i needed red for Pentecost. my church, Calvary Episcopal Church, had a joint service with my childhood parish, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church at a park in Mt. Airy forest. what a blessing THAT was!

the bag’s faded a little through the years, in part because i have it handing on my closet door where i can see it every day.

as i typed those words i was overcome with emotion. doing this work has reminded me of the many lessons that the strong women in my life, primarily mom and Joy, have taught me: live in the moment. appreciate and enjoy what you have. try to make someone else’s life better on your way. of course there are more, like those involving raggedy underwear… but we’ll leave those alone for now.

i remember one day coming home from working at the downtown library. we were living with my parents while david was getting his mba and n was a baby. this particular day, i had been asked for money by homeless people repeatedly. i asked mom, what do you do when people ask you? i feel bad when i don’t give, but i don’t always want to. here’s what she said: when the spirit moves you to give, give. if you don’t feel moved, don’t. either way, pray for that person and keep going. and pray for yourself to be open to the voice of the spirit within you.

happy Pentecost.

day 48

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ugg saddle bag

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jingly tags

this ugg purse is one of my favorite scores from my spot, goodwill. i got it the same time i got my famed stolen calvin klein purse. sometimes, when it rains, it pours at that location, like my recent trip. i got this for $10, half off of $20. this is some of the softest leather that isn’t pebbled or italian. i didn’t have anything like this, so it was a very welcome addition to the family.

several of my friends have begged me to let them have this purse (you know who you are). the answer is no. when will i ever be able to afford a purse like this unless i get it at a resale store? the 12th of never, that’s when.

confession: this was hard to write today, because a friend of mine said on facebook that i should auction all of these purses off on the last day to “cleanse my soul”. this has really bothered me. the whole reason i took this on was to do something for myself, learn something about myself, and perhaps about my love of bags. i don’t think my soul needs cleansing. at least, not the way he suggested. i immediately got defensive and started to type a response, then i’d erase it. i started again, and again – but every response felt defensive. i don’t have a need or desire to defend my purse collection. if anyone thinks that my large collection makes me selfish, a hoarder, vacuous, materialistic, or whatever, that’s fine. i know myself and the good and bad i do in the world. after a day of struggling with that comment, i’m at peace. so is my soul. for now. i do have a kid about to graduate, remember? the peace doesn’t always last for long, but i certainly know how to seek it and find it. and on that note, i’m headed to church for Pentecost. peace.

day 47

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hype satchel hanging out at Music Hall after the May Festival concert

i remember the summer well – 2007. i was looking and looking for a white purse to no avail.  then i found this hype purse at tj maxx. i’m almost embarrassed to say how much i paid for this bag. but whatever. $100. or does $99.99 sound better?  i had just gotten promoted to homework center manager at the library, and i felt like for once, i could go for it. i was wrong.

don’t get it twisted – i really like this purse. it’s busting out with charm all over. whip-stitched, drawsting, satchel style, lots of buckles and pockets. but the thing is heavy. that summer, i ended up with a neck strain and my ortho doc partially blamed this purse. he wanted me to get rid of it. i gave him a look and he said “never mind. just lighten your load.”

now, i carry it sporadically and don’t overload it, which is sad, because it can really hold a lot. so, be careful what you wish for. it could be a pain in the neck.

day 46

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the sak silverlake convertible – hobo style20130516-230756.jpgthe sak silverlake convertible – satchel style

 

this bag was my 2012 Christmas present to me from my family – which means i picked it out, bought it, kept it in a bag under the bed and then put it under the tree on Christmas.

what an awesome gift – exactly what i wanted. no, i didn’t get it at my favorite goodwill, or any thrift store. this came from the one, the only, tj maxx. while it is always my dream to score quality bags at thrift store prices, that doesn’t always work when i have something specific in mind.

a few years ago, my close friend and 2nd mom joy wanted a yellow/mustard bag. she knew if anyone could find it, i could. she is very particular and won’t settle for just any style. well, i found her a london fog mustard colored purse for $70. instead of telling her about it, i splurged and bought it for as a birthday present. it barely begins to compensate for all the times she was there for me when i got locked out of the house, felt like no one understood me, and didn’t understand myself. i was thrilled to give it to her and she was beyond excited.

i loved the bag myself – so much that i went online and got myself one from overstock.com. if you find something you like at tj maxx and don’t buy it, then go back and it’s gone, try overstock or polyvore. so i got my yellow bag and i basically wore it out. the body is leather but the handles are covered in a thin, stretchy vinyl – the handles began to peel and that’s it for me. i can’t be too tacky.

so i started looking for a replacement last fall – and i looked for months and months. everything i liked was way out of my price range – i have this innate ability to select bags that cost $129 or more. not happening!

i found this bag by the sak at tj maxx for $60. well, $59.99 but who’s counting. as a present, i felt i could justify coughing up the dough. it’s a satchel that converts to a hobo; the shoulder strap folds underneath the purse and can be snapped into immobility. the pebbled leather is buttery goodness and i have to work hard to not just sit and pet it like a cat. what can i say, i have two kids with asthma. no pets. i loved this gift. having a yellow bag on a rainy or winter’s day brightens not only my mood, but others’ too. it’s the least i can do.

day 45

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fossil striped canvas bag

got this fossil bag on a recent trip to my favorite goodwill for $6. this is the bag i started out with yesterday and kicked to the curb. it did’t really go with what i was wearing – the bag was competing with my orange peep-toe flower me toos. but, today i went understated and busted it back out. i’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: large women can hook up many an outfit with the right accessories. i like the interior – the middle zipper pocket is smaller than the two larger exterior pockets. it all gets grabbed up with double handles, and don’t forget the fossil key. multicolored bags are great to enhance monochromatic outfits, or get wacky and mix prints. i don’t do this too much, when your’e 46 it can look like you’re trying too hard. anyway this is a fun bag that i will use repeatedly. peace out.

day 44

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tignanello color me classy crossbody

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check out the bottom stitching. tight!

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side pouch – one of two

i had a good time shopping yesterday, but i must admit to feeling a little let down with the purse selection – especially at my favorite goodwill. but i was cool with it. every day is not a great day for bags, but the process is usually cathartic and rewarding. yesterday as i was paying for a few items of clothing for my girls, Esmerelda* and i had this exchange:

  • Esmerelda: if you come back later, i’ll have some more clothes out.
  • me: what about purses?
  • Esmerelda: yeah, maybe i’ll have time to put some more purses out. it is looking a little skimpy over there, isn’t it?
  • me: i’ll see you later.

but, i didn’t have the chance to get back out there. this goodwill is around the corner from my girls’ old elementary school, where i also used to work. it was easy to scoot in there and check the merch on any day of the week, and even go back after school if there was good stuff for the girls. but it’s 20+ minutes from my house, and i can only justify going out there once a week.

but Esmerelda’s words haunted me. i could’t stop thinking about the fabulous bags in the workroom. there were good bags back there, bags that i would miss if i didn’t make another trip. i tried to talk myself out of going but… well, fast forward to 9am this morning:

  • ring, ring – Peony* answers: Goodwill, may i help you?
  • me: hi, this is miriam. did Esmerelda put out any purses yesterday?
  • Peony: i’m not sure, she’s not here yet.
  • me: well, she told me she was going to, and i don’t want to drive all the way out there if she didn’t, i was just there yesterday. i’m the one who comes in on mondays, and sometimes other days…
  • Peony: oh, i could tell who you were from your voice. i could always put some purses in a cart and wheel it out…
  • me: i’m on the way.

so i went out there, shopped and was at work by 9:55 am. today’s bag is one of the ones i got. yes, i took my stuff out of the other bag i planned to use and rocked this one TODAY. my mom would be so proud – it’s my first spectator bag! she loved spectators almost as much as Aigner, and if it was an Aigner spectator then it was ON. she did have an Aigner navy and white spectator purse and matching shoes. bad to the bone.

this is a tinganello color me classy cross body. it’s retailing on Amazon for $129 and i paid $6 – yes, it was half off purses today. black and white pebbled leather with a convertible strap, making it also a shoulder bag. pockets inside and out, the hardware is on point, zipperd side pouches, as in one on each side – it’s the bomb.

i also scored two more good ones that you will be seeing in the next few days. and, the fossil i kicked to the curb this morning will be back.

it pays to be nice to the workers at your local thrift store. they are often wonderful people – sure, i’ve met a few duds – and when you’re nice to them, they are more willing to be nice to you. i don’t expect special treatment for being kind and respectful, but isn’t it nice to receive it anyway? i LOVE my favorite goodwill! i am truly thankful for goodwill, st. vincent, and other thrift stores that are ministries to the human race. i receive many a blessing thanks to thrift stores and deeply appreciate all involved in getting the products to the floor.

peace.

*names changed to protect the hardworking staff at my favorite goodwill