Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Photo 4: My Favorite Puerto Rican Craft and Souvenir- Vejigante

Vejigante are a favorite representation of Puerto Rican culture and creativity. Originating from Spaniard festivals, the Puerto Rican version blends African and native Taino Indian elements to craft a distinct Islander version. You'll find them filling the walls of souvenir shops in San Juan and Ponce, but I'll upload a tutorial next month so you can make a whimsical mask of your own! I scoop one up every time I visit Puerto Rico and proudly display the growing collection in my kitchen. The toothier, the better!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Photo 3: A Puerto Rican Dog and Love for Island Animals

Animals are a favorite photographic subject while traveling. I love watching their routines and interactions with locals. They add soul to landscape and urban scenes. Unlike people, they never mind having their pictures taken. Sometimes they'll even talk to you:

My favorite photography book is Cats of the Greek Aisles. The huge diversity of healthy Aegean feline specimens juxtapose the organic curves of their gorgeous island home perfectly, resulting in the most beautiful compositions I've ever seen. A must-read!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Photo 2: My Great Aunt, Rain and a Panoramic View of the Mountains

My great aunt recently moved back to Puerto Rico from the US; she's retired and readjusting to her motherland. She bought a modest home in Guayabal and worked with her husband to remodel it into a modern, spacious casa with a panoramic view of PR's emerald mountains. She grows mouthwatering herbs and fruit trees in her spacious garden. At this high elevation you could literally see the sheet of rain approaching like a cloak, casting a shadow on the world below it. The cooling winds a relief on an oppressively hot and humid late October day in the tropics.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Photo 1: My Grandparent's Handmade House in Ponce, Puerto Rico

Reporting Live from PR! I'm going to share a photo of my adventures here in Puerto Rico every weekday until my return on November 5. Today I'm sharing a photo of my grandparent's charming home in Ponce, Puerto Rico. My grandparents built it themselves after their wedding and haven't moved since. They do all the maintenance (and even expansions!) themselves, not bad for being in their eighties! Being thrifty is in my blood, I couldn't be any other way!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Taking a MUCH Needed Break. See you Next Month!

I'm in Puerto Rico visiting family from October 26th to November 5th. If you have any questions about buying vintage swag, advertising on Thrift Core, or just way to say "Hey!" I'll still be very responsive if you send an e-mail. I'll be back with posts 11/5! See you next month, I'll have loads of helpful DIY, art, thrifting, cooking, and frugal living posts to share!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Top 5 Vintage Horror Movies You MUST Watch This Halloween

We're old and it sucks! No more screaming like caffeinated jackals down moonlit streets in quirky costumes. It hurts, but at least we still have our horror movies! Get into the Halloween spirit with me and relive your carefree childhood days. Take a break and watch one (or all!) of my earnest horror-geek recommendations. You'll love these movies, the sets are filled with drool-worthy vintage goodies!

A surreal black comedy set in 1950s suburbia. The sets will give you one eye-gasm after another! The over-the-top mod, kitschy props are outstanding and each quirky set nicely juxtaposes the thick, sinister atmosphere. A very unique watch.

A film that defies genre: it’s equal parts musical, horror flick, mystery, physiological thriller, and drama. You'll be glued to the screen following the tense twists and turns. This groovy 1970s piece exposes the dark underbelly of flower power. A MUST WATCH. (Avoid the 2006 remake!)

This is a moving, dark, psychological look at the destructive power of religion. It's a gritty, atmospheric flick that probes hard themes and even pulls at heart strings. It's the only horror movie that's made me cry! As a child I fearfully made my mom hide the creepy-ass VHS cover!

This movie's been satirized into the ground, yet I never feel secure after watching. Leave it to Kubric to craft an unforgettable horror film. Impeccable mod sets and cinematography help craft an extremely unsettling movie that's left an indelible mark on American pop culture.

Scariest. Movie. Ever. You’ve been warned. Others disagree, but this mysterious flick gets me every time. Subtle and eerie, this film lets your imagination fill in the explicit horrors, and that's always scarier than what any filmmaker could present. Extra points for the likable heroine Rosemary and her adorable home decorating scenes. I want all of the groovy 1960s swag!

I could yack at you into infinity with horror recommendations, so I'll stop here for now. These five films are outstanding entries in the genre and you won't regret settling down to watch them with a pumpkin ale and a big bowl of popcorn this Halloween season.

So let’s play a game…what’s your favorite scary movie?  How do you like to ring in the Halloween season?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Promote Your Site. Increase Sales: Advertise November and December

The time is nigh! Holidays shoppers are coming and we need to prepare right now! If you're having trouble getting traffic to your website, blog, eBay store, or etsy shop, I'd love to help! There's advertising space available on Thrift Core for November and December.

No ad? No problem, I'll customize a banner ad just for you! I'm responsive and helpful, if you any questions, just ask! I'll be here.

I go the extra mile for my advertisers, I really want to see your business succeed! I always offer online marketing and business tips that will help you take your business to the next level and I have exciting posts and giveaways coming up that will keep things busy on Thrift Core! You can buy an ad here or e-mail me if you have more questions!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Secret to Perfect Photos: 8 Ways to Develop Your Photographer's Eye

Every photo you take should be a piece of art. Unique photos bring the clicks. They help us sell! I'm eager to improve, so when photographer Ferina Santos offered advice on developing a photographer's eye I lept on the opportunity! I'll let Ferina teach us from here:

When you start to really look at things, the experience becomes profound, even scary. The world becomes more full. You see things you never knew existed or thought much about. This guide may help you if you're just starting out as a photographic artist, or if you've been shooting for years but your vision is losing its strength or starting to pale. [Van's Note: The latter in Italics is me to a T!]

ONE: Revere the Mundane: Scrutinise a rusty bolt. A lot is going on there – oxidation is producing flakes of metal in various subtle hues. See the feathers on a duster, the texture and weave of a dish towel, the crazy pattern of milk spilt on a table.

TWO: Watch Photographers Work: You will pick up many mundane tips and shortcuts. Discover what they are looking at and figure out why. Ask questions.

THREE: Analyse the Masters: Find a set of pictures from a photographer you admire and start making a list of what appeals to you in each. Make the list specific, homing in on the traits you like in each.

FOUR: Watch the Light: Become sensitive to colours, shapes, textures, and shadows, and how they contrast or flow together. See how the light changes as you change your point of view. If you really like a subject, visit it often throughout the course of a day and see how it changes as the light changes.

FIVE: Listen to Yourself: Just as you did when you analysed the masters, go through your own photos and list what you do or don't like about each photo. Keep and improve the positive. Discard the negative or redo.

SIX: Start Shooting: Practice passionately. Approach a subject from as many different points of view as physically possible.

SEVEN: Abandon Rules: Master photographers know all the rules, but they don't get tied up by them. That could cause the loss of passion that should be behind every attempt to capture an image.

EIGHT: Ask for Input: Find someone trustworthy with a sound footing on photography and ask them to go through a collection of your work representative of what you like to do. Ask them to tell you what's good and what's bad about each photo. See how your “vision” is, or is not, reflected in each comment.

Ferina Santos is part of the team behind Open Colleges, an Australian provider of photography courses. A feisty nerd at heart with an obsession for media and vanity, she captures all her random musings with daily photographs in her blog, A Pink Banana.

Let's Photo-Nerd! Some of my favorite photos were taken with simple, antiquated cameras. You won't develop a good eye simply by purchasing fancy equipment, it takes time and effort. Got tips? What attracts you to certain photos?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thrift Haul: St. Augustine Autumn Style Haul. Here Comes Halloween!

I went back to St. Augustine after my Bed  & Breakfast stay to take in the laid-back vibe, take hundreds of inspiring photos, and hit up some thrift stores! I love what turned up at the stores:

This is my favorite find, it's the perfect autumn score. I've used this nutcracker set to get the yummy goodness inside of some tricky pistachios and it worked like a charm.

I love the idea of this sitting on the middle of a table, filled with tasty shelled nuts for you and friends to share over refreshing pumpkin ales or apple ciders. I'm selling it for $13.00.

This lamp shade was a lucky score, just what I needed to finish a DIY that I can't wait to show you next week!

This traditional little table was a curbside find. I'm going to keep this one since I've already sold too many helpful pieces of furniture like this in my quest for minimalism. It looks amazing in my bathroom holding towels. (This apartment didn't come with towel racks for some odd reason.)

Yet another gorgeous train case! I love the color on this one, it makes the piece very gender neutral. I'm selling it for $13.00. It's in perfect condition.

I'm sure those short ones are mid century modern cups but I forget the designer. I'm not sure if those tall ones are Dorothy Thrope, but I love them either way. I see these a lot but the price was right, so I've finally scooped them up.

These Ernesco Made in Japan cups (?) look like they may have had a lid at some point. I thought they were really interesting and worth purchasing and investigating.

And finally, a yard sale score! If no one buys this, I may keep it for my own silly Halloween costume. It's a stretchy, one-size-fits-all kind of piece. I'm calling it the "Mushroom Maiden" costume.

I'm selling it for $12.50. Halloween is next week already, I can't wait! I'm going to be in Puerto Rico visiting family November 25th to November 5th. I'll take photos and document the festivities, it'll be my first Halloween out of the USA!

 I can't possibly keep it all! Everything in my thrift haul posts is FOR SALE. E-mail me if you're interested in anything you see! I also host daily deals this blog (the haul post prices are lower than normal) and on Facebook and Twitter.

What did you find this weekend?

Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wanted: Part-Time e-Bay Coordinator for Goodwill. Your Thoughts?


 My book reseller pal Joe took these pictures at a local Goodwill yesterday. He writes:

 "Thursday, October 18th, 2012 - Left: a pic of Goodwill employees taking down their bookshelves. Goodwill Corporate is stopping the flow of treasure to the floor where a small community of resellers harvest goods in bulk to resell online. Right: Salvation Army, too, is hiring e-commerce specialists to evaluate trinkets and bric-a-brac and manage their eBay and Amazon stores. A subculture of resellers who make their living frequenting thrift stores are about to be sent hurtling into oblivion, scavenging daily to beat thrift businesses to the punch."

Thrift stores across the nation continue to raise prices and sell vintage valuables on eBay. One of Goodwill's missions is raise funds and create jobs, and selling wares online is a good way to do that. Are they really ready to change their brick and mortar set-up, and instead become warehouses to house eBay goods until they sell? Sure, treasures will slip through the cracks of their system but thrifting is a treasure hunt, and the appeal will diminish when we stop finding $60.00 scores for $5.00. I avoid thrift stores for my reselling needs these days, and the sign Joe captured gives me more reason to.

How do you feel about Goodwill's eBay sales and rising thrift store prices? With thrift stores only stocking "junk" with no resell value, will "thrifting" become a thing of the past?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Why Reselling is the F*cking Best Job Ever! No Regrets, No Surrender.

Graduation season comes with mixed feelings; pride and regret. When I watched two of my best friends accept their diplomas, I wished I'd worked to get a degree at 25, too. Yet I know I chose the best route. My friends have debt and no jobs, I'm employed with savings and no debt- and I love what I do.

Freelancers and Resellers who may feel regret or doubt, here are 5 reasons that prove we have the best damn job ever!

We're Passionate: My friends told me they hated their jobs. They'll look at the clock, wishing time will speed up and mercifully end their shifts. We can't stop working. We love it!

Flexibility: Complete flexibility is a dream, especially if you have a family! I can change the day's tasks. I can do twice the work one day (or even week!) to take the next off. Sky's the limit!

No Debt: Starting a reselling business is a very low cost start-up. No debts, less problems!

No Boss: I've had nightmare bosses that made me hate living. No longer! I love to choose what I do and how I grow my business. In the words of the immortal Cartman, Whutevuh, Whutevuh, I do Whut I Want!

Most Importantly...Happiness: The combination of the above factors lead to complete satisfaction. Reselling is overwhelming. I'm never completely caught-up, but I'm truly happy. My friends will eventually (By the way, I LOVE them, don't think I'm dogging them in this post) get good jobs. They're going to out-earn me by far in their lifetimes, but I'll never trade happiness for money. Full stop.

Resellers, speak up! Do you feel like you made the right choice? Through the long hours and hard work, do you still feel pride and satisfaction?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Warning: Retail Giants are on to us! Vintage Reproductions, your thoughts?

In the photo above we even have some owl string art! Wow! Photo sneakily snapped with a smart phone.

Squint your eyes, there's blinding light from 1,000 lamps in this exotic territory. We're not in the thrift stores we're familiar with, we're in Earth Bound Trading Company, a retail titan not unlike Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie. You'd be lying if you said they didn't appeal to you, with their diverse array of colors and texture, impeccable branding, and perfectly staged merchandise. This is just one vignette of many revealing they're on to us!

Exact Made-in-China reproductions fill the shelves of stores across the world. The trend of seeking unique items from vintage shops, thrift stores, and online has been replicated effectively by retail shops, they're hitting us where it hurts! You can't even walk down the aisles of Walmart or Target without seeing a "treasure" that looks like what we seek in the thrifts. And sometimes you'll want it! Or buy it, fess up!

Some resellers and thrifters love it, some hate it. As for me, I'm ready to compete. There's no substitute for real vintage items made in the past, and people will pay to have it over a Made in China copy. In the meantime, I love browsing these stores for inspiration. They're borrowing from us, but it can go both ways! Bring it, Retail Man!

How do you feel about the vintage reproduction trend? Is it directly hurting our business? Do you love, hate it?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Birthday Relaxation at a St. Augustine, Florida Antique Bed and Breakfast


We usually feel older and wiser with each year that passes after our birth. I turned 26 today, but I feel 21! When I worked for the man I felt stressed, weighed down, older. Working for myself is overwhelming, but it's a weight off my soul! I still feel like I'm "working," but it's work that suits me perfectly. It's my passion. This Saturday BF forced me (No stops at Thrift Stores, my big SLR camera stayed at home) to take a break from work and took me to a Bed and Breakfast in my favorite proverbial playground, St Augustine, Florida; 45 minutes south from us and the oldest city in the USA. I love it because it's a little piece of Europe in America, it reminds me of growing up in Italy.

The Bed & Breakfast (Carriage Way Inn) with the inviting scent of freshly baked brownies in the dining room, cozy rooms, traditional decor, and unlimited coffees, teas, soft drinks,and wine was a comfortable retreat, but now I'm ready to get back to work! Today I'm thrifting in St. Augustine, taking hundreds of pictures for future posts, and cleaning the house! When cleaning the house is a decadent treat I want to sneak my teeth into more than birthday cake, maybe I have grown up. Just a little...

How do you like to celebrate your birthday?  As long as a little cake is involved I'm happy...
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Thrift Haul: More Flea Market Excavations, Revealed

Let's look at more finds I unearthed from the bottom of boxes at the flea market this week! Always worth the effort:

First, a favorite find that brings me right back to childhood. The packaging on these three has a thin film of dust I'll carefully try to remove before selling them. I'm tempted to unwrap them and keep them. I'm definitely part of the generation who grew up with the original Ninja Turtles. I'm selling them at $5.00 each on the blog.

This adorable Nursery Rhyme plate goes against my new rules- I'm trying to resist anything with even hairline fractures, and you can see one clearly on this plate. But the illustration was too cute! Had to scoop it up. I'm selling it for $6.00.

Anchor hook! Isn't it beautiful? It's perfect to hang towels in the bathroom, hang your favorite necklace, or keys by the door. I'm selling it for $8.50.

And this tiny black unicorn was a fun find for my antique store booth where kitschy unicorn are oddly popular. Selling this little guy for $5.00.

Oh, my love for a pretty Japanese dust collector knows no bounds. In retrospect, I bet this little bowel will be hard to sell.

The inside is gold with gorgeous fan-tailed goldfish. That probably synched the impulse purchase for me, I've owned two. They're fun pets. Selling this bowl for $5.00. I love it for miso soup or making/drinking freshly whisked matcha tea.

Perhaps my favorite find in this haul is this kitschy Housewives Tarot cards. Each cards has a beautiful vintage-inspired illustration arranged with a great eye for design and mind for humor. The cuteness of it erases the creepy occult connotation that comes with the traditional deck of tarot cards. Want me to light some candles, sit with friends and my camera, and document a session with these thrifted, vintage-inspired tarot cards to celebrate the season? A post describing a session with these cards and following up on the alleged accuracy was on the editorial schedule for October!

I wish I could show off more of my finds but they're future birthday and Christmas gift and the recipients read this site. Are you getting your Christmas thrifting out of the way early, too?

I can't possibly keep it all! Everything in my thrift haul posts is FOR SALE. E-mail me if you're interested in anything you see! I also host daily deals this blog (the haul post prices are lower than normal) and on Facebook and Twitter.

What did you find this weekend?

Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cheater's Guide to Antique Booth Victory: 6 Crucial Start-Up Steps

You don't know what will sell, or where to start. Renting space in an antique mall is an intimidating and rewarding adventure. I recommend it for anyone who wants their vintage, art, or hand-crafted merchandise to reach a new audience.

Cell Phone Photos: My Thrift Core Booth on the left and Rosaly's Old Skool Junk booth on the right.

Don't be scared, be victorious! Rosaly (Old Skool Junk) and I used our collective years of experience selling our wares everywhere to scribe this crucial start-up guide. Use it for profits and triumph!

1. Gather: Ensure You Have Enough Merchandise

Many antique malls will let you sell practically anything! Whatever you choose to sell (your vintage pieces, art, handmade jewelry or accessories, sky's the limit!) make sure you have ample stock to fill your rented space.

2. Select: Choose the Right Store for You

The right store for you is well-known and busy. Scope it out on the weekend and busy shopping days to ensure it gets decent foot traffic. The store will have reasonable rent within your budget.

3. Prep: Buy Supplies, Measure, Take Stock

Determine your limitations with merchandise and staging. Take detailed measurements of your space. Comparison shop for supplies, buy frequently-used necessities (like price tags) in bulk, make spread sheets, write your business plan, and take detailed inventory. Do all of this before you set up shop!

4. Design: Go With the Flow of Your Merchandise

Create unique displays that go with the type of merchandise you sell. Hold pieces in baskets, tins or suitcases. Hang hooks with easily-removed nails or double-sided tape. Strive to make quality, attractive displays and use every square foot you rent efficiently.

5. Customize: Think of Your Space as Your Own Shop

Dare to be bold! Name your space and use a sign that stands out. Use color and lighting to your advantage . Even something as simple as a carpet on the floor can make your space your own and draw shoppers in.

6. Adapt: Anticipate Ups-And-Downs, Adapt, Evolve

Sales, and exactly what sells, is unpredictable. Keep close track of your sales to determine what you should keep buying while you're out thrifting. Change your merchandise and displays frequently, slash prices if needed, evolve and adapt to stay afloat.

You'll never know if your merchandise will sell in a store if you don't try. Be dedicated, give it your best effort, and provide a superior experience for your shoppers and you will be successful.

Antique Booth owners- what are your tips for success? Got questions? Let's discuss in the comments.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What I Didn't Buy: The Pervy and the Playful, From Fleas and Goodwills


Most of the time, What I Didn't Buy posts exist to document things I don't want to forget from thrift trips rather than things I actually considered putting in my cart. This pile of pervy mags from the flea market remind of actual porn I've encountered at yard and estate sales. Fun times.

Aw, poor little bear toy in a box of junk. I'm assuming it's a modern remake of a vintage-style squeaky toy. I left him behind.

The vendors wanted way too much for these vintage NBC games so I asked to take a photo. Love the design on the boxes. If you look closely you'll see a Transformers Generation one toy case underneath the "Buy, Keep, or Sell" book. Which I actually bought. More on the book later.

Now on the Goodwill pound store! This Harry Potter stuffed owl is  pretty cute, but it has a secret talent on top of that.

Demon, demon, take it away! Funny enough, I went to visit my antique store booth at Southern Crossing after this and saw the same type  of owl in someone's booth. I should check and see if it sold today! I'm curious.

This proves I'll never grow up, unique stuffed animals always catch my eye. I adore the surreal art of Dr. Suess, I was tempted to bring Mr. Blue Fish (of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish?) but I left him behind. Like an adult should...

The colorful throw are set of three colorful pot holders were tempting and would look cute in product photos, but I already have some throws to sell and the backs of the pot holders were pretty filthy. You can't sell them for much anyway. We moved on and left them for the next reseller in the pound store to uncover.

And rounding out the cuteness, I strongly desired this adorable vintage bunny planter! But the head was glued back on, note the severe and obvious crack along the neckline! Morbid!

What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen while thrifting? That's one of my favorite parts, encountering the unusual!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

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