Tuesday, January 31, 2012

thrifting tuesday.

it's no secret. i love finding a great deal. whether it's saving a few cents at the gas pump, a dollar or two at the grocery store or clearance sales at the mall--my heart starts to beat faster and i can feel the endorphins pumping.

at least half of my wardrobe is from thrift stores, like the salvation army or goodwill. that includes shoes, accessories and every 'genre' of clothing: work out, casual (jeans + tshirts), fun and funky, and professional/dressy attire.

i have been a 'thrifter' for quite a few years.  and i would love to share some of my strategies with you!

erica's top ten thrifting tips:


10. Never thrift in a rush or on an empty stomach. It's just no fun. Thrifting can be exhausting. In order to get my 'fabulous' finds, I search through basically the entire store.  It can take quite a while, but it's also a stress reliever for me too. It's nice not to feel pressured to hurry, but to truly enjoy the thrifting experience!   

9. If you have the time/energy, TRY IT ON. This works both ways. Sometimes a dress looks GREAT on the hanger, but when I try it on...it's most certainly a 'NO.' However, sometimes I will pick up, for example, a t-shirt in an XL (I usually wear a small/medium) and it fits great (lots of clothes at thrift stores have been washed and shrunk!)

8. Don't limit yourself to certain sizes. Like I said in #9, often clothes are labeled as a certain size but have been shrunk or stretched out by their previous owners. Sometimes (no fault of the store employees) clothes are put back in the wrong sections. I have found a few items that were my size in the completely wrong area.  You never know where your 'fabulous find' is hiding!

7. Shop with an open mind. Even if you think you are looking for something in particular, you will often be surprised! You never know what treasure is hiding in the next section or row that you might have overlooked. You may just find something you never knew you needed or wanted! ;)

6. Don't just buy it because it's cheap. It's so easy to fall into this trap.  Something is sorta your style, or kinda cute, and because it's 2.99, you can easily justify it to yourself. As I have matured as a 'thrifter,' I realize it's easy to grab items because they are cheap and say, I might wear this, someday. As my thrifting partner in crime, Kara, says: If you don't LOVE it, don't buy it!

5. Check the dressing room bars and 'new' item racks. I always glance to see if there are a lot of items hanging on the bar or rack right outside of the dressing rooms. Sometimes trendy shoppers have done all the hard work for me and scanned the racks for awesome pieces but they just didn't fit them. I always start there first. Also, as you become a 'frequenter,' you will notice when stores put out new items and where they go. At one of my favorite local Goodwill stores, they have two metal bars for all the new merchandise.

4. Find your favorite few stores and check back often! After visiting nearly every location of thrift stores around the area, I have found a few favorites. Most of them are close to my house (for convenience sake) and I become familiar with their inventory and specials (lots of thrift stores advertise their specials online now via Facebook or twitter or their websites!)

3. Don't forget accessories. Don't skip out on the jewelry, shoes, bags, and home decor sections. Sometimes I get so 'clothes' minded (ha) that I forget the smaller items (but they are often 'big ticket' items!) Check out the funky pattern on this Saks Fifth Avenue purse I got this weekend at Goodwill for $6.99:

2. See the potential and possible re-purposing of an item. I don't sew. So I'm totally not talking about altering an oversized shirt or hemming a pair of pants. However, Kara (thrifting partner in crime) made this adorable headband from a stretchy shirt.

And often times, I don't necessarily alter something, but just use it in another way.  A prime example (which I mention in the video below) is folding a silk scarf into an adorable headband/headwrap. SO cute and SO cheap (usually no more than $1.99).

1. Set a budget. Yeah, this sounds like no fun. But sometimes, If I go in saying, I'm going to spend no more than $20.00, I won't walk out with a ton of extraneous items that I bought impulsively.  Thrifting is tons of fun, but I don't let myself go crazy. :) It's actually kinda of like a game when you see how much you can get for a certain amount, like 15 or 20 bucks.

Some of my favorite thrifting finds from the last week:

my sweet chico's jeans with embellished pockets...$4.99

j c penny ruffled shirt (it's actually magenta...) $3.29

silk polka dot shirt from target (apparently i love ruffles) $3.29

i always wanted this shirt at target, but wasn't willing to pay 12 bucks. 
SO i got it at Goodwill instead :) $3.29

purple gap sweater...so cozy. $3.29

Here is my television debut sharing some of my favorite finds from Goodwill...

Happy Thrifting!

Meet Virginia Design


Saturday, January 28, 2012

DIY: Metallic Jars

I was inspired by this DIY project I found on pinterest. Although mine didn't turn out perfectly, this project takes minutes to do, (so I can try again soon!) 

Materials Needed:
Bottles/Jars with labels taken off 
(I used 3 wine bottles and one mason jar)
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Spray paint (I used metallic silver)

I made three 'word' bottles and spray painted a mason jar to use for a make up brush holder as well.

{shine, dream, hope}

I bought a bag of metallic, multi-colored stones to put in the mason jar so the brushes would stand up. 

The hardest part about this DIY is painting the words with the hot glue gun and avoiding the little strings that come from the glue being hot. (The shorter the words, the better :)

It's so much easier to keep my make up brushes organized this way (instead of digging through my make up bag every morning). 

Happy DIY-ing! I would love to see a picture if you decide to try these fun and easy projects. And again the inspiration for the 'word' bottles was originally pinned here


Friday, January 27, 2012

High Five for Friday!

happy friday!
as you go through this day, i encourage you to think about what rocked this week or what you are thankful for! :) here's my high five for friday for this week... {sponsored and inspired by From My Grey Desk}

our friend david and daisy the dog stayed with us this week. having an animal friend around totally brightened up our week. :) 

{isn't she soo cute?}

 i scored these great olive green boots for 10 dollars!! they have fur lining the whole inside and you can wear them two ways to wear them: rolled down or up! ahh!! thanks, wet seal.

 I was on TV! Here is the video of my segment!! :) (I realized I laugh a lot...)

My INPINK Gift Card that I won from Selective Potential came in the mail today! Trying to decide what awesome piece of jewlery I'm gonna get. Decisions, decisions!


or maybe

 I was so inspired by this blog I found this week.  She totally changed my perspective on lots of situations in my life right now. If you want to be inspired and encouraged check out Ashley's blog. She is a selfless, beautiful, strong, amazing mom and wife fighting cancer and encouraging others to:

have a great weekend, everyone! 


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

top five pinterest finds 3.0

enjoy more inspiring ideas from pinterest in my top 5 picks for the week!

5. homemade cream of chicken/mushroom/celery soup. (minus all the words you can't pronounce).

4. this adorable DIY bobby pin necklace. you GOTTA check out her blog and see the way she wears her necklace.

3. good reminder.

2. this may be common knowledge to other makeup gurus out there, but this was especially helpful to me!

1. been looking for some chunky/statement necklalces. love this one from F21.

thanks for stopping by! happy wednesday! :) 


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

thrifting love.

Meet Virginia Design

anybody else love thrift shopping and scoring a great deal? most days i can count at least a few pieces 
of my outfit that are thrifted. enjoy this week's thriftaholic outfit...

thrifted old navy shirt
thrifted banana republic sweater
thrifted jeggings
thrifted belt (49 cents!)
forever 21 glasses
Delias boots (Christmas present from my hubby) 
headband from The Bridge (Fair trade Store) 

{thanks to the hubby for being the photographer in our driveway on a very cold afternoon} 


Monday, January 23, 2012

fabulous finds.

so i entered this contest last week...

and i WON

it was called the Fabulous Finds Contest through Goodwill and a local TV station.  to enter you had to send in a video of "haul" items you are especially proud of  that you purchased at Goodwill. here's my video...{i refer to 'jeans' five or so times...haha...i must have had denim on my mind}. 

i will be INTERVIEWED ON TV on wednesday.  it will air at 11:00 am on Wood TV 8 (for any of you in West Michigan). and i will post the interview on my blog when i get a copy!

gotta love a good deal! ;) 


Saturday, January 21, 2012

DIY Headband Organizer

As you can see, I love headbands, head scarves and any hair accessories! :) 

Remember that headband organizer from my top 5 pinterest finds last week?  This week my friend Carisa and I had a craft day and I made one of my own! 

I found some great patterned fabric, got an old oatmeal container, a hot glue gun and some ribbon and went to town!


{Start with a container of oats and end with this!} 


Cut fabric to reach around the oatmeal container and lid.  (Similar to wrapping a present).

Use hot glue gun to attach the fabric. It is helpful to cut slits when wrapping it around the bottom so the fabric will overlap when you are gluing it to create a smooth cover. (Hope that makes sense).

Glue a piece of ribbon around the edge of the lid.

Headbands are easy to lose and hard to keep organized. This easy DIY provides a cute option for keeping track of all your cute headbands, scarves and even barrettes and pony tails (just pop off the lid and keep them inside!)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. Check out an awesome giveaway over at She Breathes Deeply. She is giving away a beautiful necklace from an awesome fair trade company!


Friday, January 20, 2012

High Five for Friday!

Today I am linking up with Lauren's blog, From My Grey Desk. She writes:  

"High Five for Friday is a weekly post about my five favorite things from the past week. it's meant to help me slow down and remember the things that i've enjoyed/i'm thankful for."

Here it goes! :)  

5. my PIYO classes on tuesdays. (a mixture between pilates and yoga. i leave relaxed and then wake up sore the next morning. the perfect combo of a great work out and stress reliever). 

4. my new shoes from Bakers. comfy. cute. go with anything.

3. my job.  i get to have a blast with middle schoolers every week. to remind them they are loved and they have a purpose. we have a LOT of fun. 

{me at my desk}

2. my cute little garage. especially during weeks in Michigan when it is in the single digits and  it looks like a snowglobe outside. (and that my sweet hubby lets me park in our one stall...)  

1. my readers, followers and online friends! i am so thankful for every comment and few minutes you all take out of your week to visit style of a songbird.



{See yesterday's post for the story of a miracle!}

Thursday, January 19, 2012

miracle of seven eleven.

That picture is pretty shocking isn't it? Every few weeks my mind is brought back to that day. 

July 11th, 2011. 

The day that my husband, myself, aunt, uncle and two cousins were IN that red car in the picture above that spun and flipped after being hit by another driver going approximately 45 miles an hour.  

Only a few of the people in our car were wearing seat belts. 

Everyone except my uncle was able to crawl out. The car was pinned on top of him as he was hanging from his seat belt. 

However, that very night, after a long day in the ER and only a few stitches, ALL of us sat in our living room. Able to hug one another. And smile. And talk. And eat. And breathe! (My uncle walked out of the ER with a few stitches in his head!) 

There are so many more details to the story. Too much to write in one, short blog post. (Here is a link to the news article about the accident).

However, one of the most memorable moments from that day was when my precious cousin, as we were WALKING AWAY from the scene to go to our house (2 blocks away) and her dad was STILL TRAPPED under the car, said, "You know, Erica.  This kinda reminds me of that story I told you earlier about those Amish families."

"Oh yeah, why?" I asked, (as I looked down and realized my other cousin was walking barefoot because she had lost her sandals when we flipped), and I grabbed their hands tighter.   

"Well those families forgave that man (she was referring to the horrible Amish school shooting that she had just learned about in school).  We have to forgive this guy too for doing this to my dad." 

Tears started streaming. 

As we walked away from a rollover accident. 
As we left her mom sobbing on the pavement watching her husband trapped in the car. 
She suggested we forgive the person who drove the car who hit us. She didn't know if her dad was paralyzed. If he was breathing. If he was going to survive. But she said we needed to forgive.


The days following the accident were rough to say the least. The injuries J and I had made it painful to walk or move a few steps. I remember not being able to dry my hair, put on a shirt, or take a normal shower. It was so hard to watch J crying in agony trying to get out of the bed into the bathroom.

But our bodies, as amazing as they are, eventually healed. And we continue to live our lives. Day after day. But every single, 'ordinary day' is not taken for granted after 7/11/11. 

"You are always on your way to a miracle. The miracle is YOU." -Sark

I believe miracles appear in many forms.  However, since July 11th, 2011, I have the tendency to view my ordinary, everyday life as a miracle.  

I am inspired today to remind us all that we are a miracle. The fact that we woke up this morning. That we made it home safely. That we were able to move, breathe, talk, smile, laugh, eat, and go about our routine is a miracle in itself.  How many car accidents did you not get into today? :) 

He will cover you with his feathers, 
and under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 
You will not fear the terror of night, 
nor the arrow that flies by day, 
For he will command his angels concerning you 
to guard you in all your ways.
-excerpts from Psalm 91 

Celebrating the miracle of US


Monday, January 16, 2012

skincare of a songbird.

Mandy from She Breathes Deeply ( <---one of my favorite blogs ) is writing a bunch of posts this week on
"Cleaning and Greening." I was inspired by this theme to share some of my favorite natural skincare products that I recently started using.

There are four main components of my all natural skincare routine:

The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

I know. Weird, right? Oil? To clean my skin? Huh? I was skeptical about this when I first read about it too.
However, I have been very pleased with the results. I have combination skin with moderate acne.  My recipe is 1/4 olive oil, 3/4 castor oil with a few drops of tea tree oil. (It also seems strange to put castor oil, a laxative, on your skin.  But is has similar effects: purges your pores of impurities).

Once you have the oils mixed together, you pour a small amount into your palms, massage on skin for at least a minute, then take a warm wash cloth and lay it on your face until it becomes room temperature. It's basically the same steaming process you pay big bucks for when getting a facial. Do this twice and then gently wash any remaining oil off with the washcloth.

I've been switching up between using this twice a day and once a day. If I use the OCM once a day (in the morning), I just use my normal cleanser at night.  There is no "right or wrong" amount to use the OCM.  Just have to find what works best for your skin!

This site is an awesome resource with more detailed info about the OCM and how to make a mixture that's perfect for you. Also, if you google "the oil cleansing method," you will find lots of really great resources about the combination that would be right for your skin type.

Tea Tree Oil 

A friend of mine replied to one of my "help! my skin is freaking out" tweets and introduced me to tea tree oil. I am forever indebted to her for this juicy piece of advice. ;)

I currently use tea tree oil diluted in water as a toner twice a day, as well as a spot treatment when I do have a breakout. When using on a blemish (sounds so much better than pimple or zit doesn't it?) I simply take a q-tip dipped in the tea tree oil and rub on the spot before I go to bed.  This oil has quite a strong smell that has taken some getting used to, but it is AWESOME. Here's a great resource for other uses.

Coconut Oil

It makes me feel good to use something I can cook with and eat, on my skin. I was excited when I first heard about coconut oil because I LOVE the smell.  Mmmm...everytime I put this on I feel like I'm laying on a beach somewhere. :) I use this as my daily facial moisturizer at night and in the morning.  I also recently read that you can use this as an eye cream, so I dab a little bit more under my eyes as well to help in that area. Seriously get your hands on some of this stuff! You will love it. This is the site that shares a gazillion ways to use coconut oil.

Baking Soda/Orange Juice Mask

I included this in my top 5 pinterest finds for the week, but I had to let you know how it worked! I tried it and my skin thanked me. Just mix 1 tbsp baking soda + 1 tbsp pure orange juice (squeezed from half an orange).  Put on for 20 minutes and then gently massage with damp fingertips and use a warm washcloth to remove.  (It works as a mask and exfoliant!) Thanks to this online sister for recommending this awesome, inexpensive mask!

Check out Mandy's awesome posts this week about other "clean and green" lifestyle choices.

Do any of you have any natural skin care tips? Would love to hear about them!

♥ erica