The Perfect Time to Thrift

IMG_1970Let’s talk thrifting. Perusing through a thrift store is one of my favorite things to do on the weekend. It helps that my favorite thrift store, the ARC, marks down their WHOLE STORE to 50% off every Saturday. On a recent trip to Target, Malcolm made the observation that his entire outfit he was wearing that day came from Target. When I looked down, I realized that my entire outfit, even the bandanna in my hair, came from a thrift store (excluding my underwear. That is the only thing I will not buy used — I have to draw the line somewhere.)

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Why is now the absolute best time to search for treasures at your local thrift store? We can thank Marie Kondo’s smash hit on Netflix called Tidying Up. If you haven’t heard of the KonMari method, you are a bit late to the organization party. She teaches families how to declutter their homes by only keeping items that “spark joy”. Since this has become all anyone talks about (by anyone, I mean I bring it up at least once a day with someone new), thrift stores have just become a lot more interesting. On my recent Saturday trip to the ARC, I found so many gems that I spent more than I ever have in one go at the thrift store. I attribute this to the KonMari method inspiring a mass exodus of donated gems.

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Whether you are a novice thrifter or an avid bargain hunter, here are a few tips that I would recommend to make your thrifting experience spark joy:

  1. Consider the area of town you’re in when choosing a store. This may seem obvious, but I just discovered how much this helps. My neighborhood is an amalgam of artists, cool families who won’t raise their children with a specific gender, and people who hunt prizes at thrift stores. This is not the best neighborhood to find gently used items, unless you’re looking for an obscure record from the 70s that no one’s heard about. On a recent weekend thrifting trip, I chose a thrift store nestled among houses owned by people who have a very healthy socioeconomic status. There, I purchased some of the best thrifting finds ever.
  2. Plan two or three things to search for ahead of time. Have you ever been in a large thrift, vintage, or antique store and felt overwhelmed and overstimulated? Ditto. To combat this, I choose two or three things on which to focus the majority of my energy for each trip. For the last two or three years, I’ve been searching for colorful vintage glassware to display as a rainbow of colors (duh.) a la Elsie Larson Every time I walk into a vintage store, I am on the lookout for certain colors of glassware, sugar bowls, cups, etc. Having a narrow purpose when shopping has greatly decreased the times when my palms get overwhelmed-by-the-selection sweaty.
  3. Shop sections that you wouldn’t shop in a department store. I’ve discovered so many comfy sweatshirts, plaid button down shirts, and workout tees in the Men’s section. I have also found some great jewelry in the children’s section that doesn’t look too juvenile when accessorized properly. Also, when people shop at thrift stores, they often walk with items in their carts and then abandon them when they realize they don’t want them no matter which section they’ve found themselves in. I’ve rescued so many misplaced, mislabeled items in the weirdest spots. It truly is a treasure hunt in which you have to think outside your go-to department store sections.
  4. Don’t be afraid to sift through the fitting room rack of discarded clothes. See something intriguing on the rack stationed just outside the fitting room? Don’t be afraid to look at the racks of clothing that other people have tried on and discarded. Those pieces caught someone’s eye but for whatever reason were left behind. Years ago, I spotted a hint of salmon colored fabric on the fitting room rack. When I pulled on the fabric, I unearthed the most beautiful coral dress with a Target label that was just my size. Mmm, that’s the thrift store magic.

 

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Photo Friday on Saturday

Hi friends! I have so many recent photos to share, but this is my favorite.

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Atticus and I went on a solo hike to Rampart Reservoir last weekend. It’s such a beautiful place, and I’d highly recommend it. To get to the reservoir proper, you have to pay $6. It’s totally worth it if you want a good hike around a beautiful reservoir full of wild flowers and staggering rock formations. If you just want a great photo opportunity, take a right at the fork in the road instead of a left toward the reservoir road. Follow that road for about 45 minutes, and there are two places where you can pull off the road for some of the most scenic views I’ve ever seen in Colorado. You’re welcome 🙂

Warmly,

Maegan

 

Where the Locals Go: Hillside Gardens, Colorado Springs

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The summer concert series at Hillside Gardens is one of Colorado Springs’s best kept secrets. Tourists just do not know about this spot. It’s about 90% locals. But I’m going to share this with you. No extra charge 🙂

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Every Wednesday from 6:30-8:30 PM, you can pay $5 (cash only) to enter this place that leaves me spellbound every time. Five dollars buys you entry and one drink ticket that you can redeem at the old bus that’s converted into a bar or at this bar:

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There’s a main stage that hosts the more popular acts, and there’s another area that hosts lesser known musicians or local high school talent. Rain or shine, Hillside is open. You can sip locally brewed beer or wine, eat cheap local food, and listen to local music while watching the sunset from one of the best views in the city. I can’t oversell this place, guys. IMG_3328

One of the things that I find so charming about Hillside is the vintage things and random art strewn about the property. Whenever I go, I usually spend my time wandering around the grounds to see what new antique has been added.

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There are several private corners, gazebos, or clearings in the trees that make you feel like you’re the only person, or people, there, especially when the sun sets. It’s a romantic site for dates because you can steal a kiss or two among the flowers, under the ivy arch, or behind the larger pieces of art.

To sum it all up, this place is perfect. You won’t regret going, trust me.

Happy travels,

Maegan

Where the Locals Go: Colorado Springs Breakfast Edition

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Colorado Springs gets a good amount of tourist traffic, especially in the summer. The Colorado Springs area is home to several tourist draws like Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs downtown, The Incline, and Pikes Peak. I recommend visiting all of those places if you’re in town, but I suggest that for food, drinks, and desserts that you stay away from the tourist areas. They often have lower quality food for higher prices. Here’s a list of some of my favorite places in town where you can always find a friendly local to chat with.

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Mountain Shadows- Mountain Shadows is a little restaurant in a charming house of Colorado Ave. in Old Colorado City. I go there so often, the waiters and waitresses know my name. They have a mean Country Omelet  with hashbrowns in the omelet, served with a delicious country gravy. You can also get their delicious green chili served on just about any breakfast menu. They even have a pancake option for a side instead of bread that comes with every meal. Maybe this is just exciting to me, but A PANCAKE COMES WITH EVERY MEAL! And the pancakes are award winning. I’ve never seen a better deal. They are reasonably priced, dog friendly, and have a nice sized patio with umbrellas for shade. I love sipping on their regular mimosa or their Manmosa on the patio in the late Spring, summer, and autumn. Perfect breakfast/brunch spot. They open early in the morning and close at 3 PM, so make sure to get in your brunch fix before the late afternoon hours.

Bon Ton’s- Located in Old Colorado City as well, Bon Ton’s is a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike. Get there early to enjoy their Early Bird Special menu which features smaller portions of food for less money. Their regular breakfast menu options range from old fashioned breakfasts to southwestern plates smothered in mild, medium, or hot green or red chili. They also have gluten free options and a lunch menu, though I would highly recommend their breakfast food. Everything I’ve had there is tantalizing. They close at 3 PM as well.Their patio is one of the best in the Springs, so I’d suggest sitting outside if you can. There’s usually a wait, but it’s worth it!

Montague’s Parlour- If you’re like me and enjoy a kitschy, grandma’s living room feel for your dining atmosphere, then Montague’s is for you. They only serve breakfast on the weekdays until 10:30 AM, but they have a coffee and tea selection that rivals even the best of chain coffee stores. The breakfast options are lighter than the last two restaurants and they offer gluten free options as well. The stuffed french toast is amazingly light and fluffy. They boast a variety of quiche as well, which you can order all day long. But when they’re out of something, they’re out. Try again later. They sell cute antique dishes and coffee cups. Also, there’s no parking in the front, but there is a small lot in the back. Take the alley on the left side of the building to the little parking lot.

Stay tuned for Where the Locals Go: Colorado Springs Lunch Edition.

Happy traveling and eating,

Maegan