See those images up there? The ones on the banner? It just hit me that I desperately need to acknowledge them. First of all, they are collaged together from several photo shoots I styled for the amazing photographer Courtenay Nearburg.

Some of the work I did with her in (my favorite place) Joshua Tree, looks like this...







(see the Tootsie glasses?? Zomg!)

Being that she is my all-time favorite photographer to collaborate with, I am lucky to count her as a real friend now. She is talented and warm and funny... Inspiring!

Inspiration is a funny thing, because you can be filled with the desire to replicate your inspirations as opposed to incorporating them into who you are already. If you haven't noticed, I have a slight obsession with the concept of being true to yourself. I want what I (and you!) say and do to be authentic, from the heart. I want what I wear to be authentically me and to reflect my personality and my tastes. They say you can't judge a book by its cover but, in the fashion sense, I call BS (appropriately abbreviated for you, mom!) I think when you get dressed, you're putting the book jacket on and giving people a taste of what's inside...a synopsis that hopefully says you're well written and compelling! When I walk into Borders I carefully avoid any novels with a high heel and a champagne glass drawn jovially on the cover, because, well, I am not into chick lit (I get it, you love handbags and you're charmingly hapless!) Not to say that you can't find amazing things behind a shoddy cover choice...but let's operate under a generalization for a few minutes, k?

I think it's important to find inspiration from your life and from your loves. Fashion magazines are wonderful, by all means, and I buy them at a rate that undermines the eco-friendly concept of this blog...


But fashion magazines represent an industry that thrives on fantasy and the unattainable. I look at editorials like art! The luxurious fabrics, the hand-stitching, the magic of lighting, the wondrous freak-show stable of high-fashion models! I think the fashion industry is inspiring on a creative level, and for a lot of girls I know it is more than that. But I live a pretty low key life and my priorities don't fit into the pages of Vogue Italia. I find true, clear inspiration mostly in music, favorite books, the city I live in, and in my family and my friends. I love the explosion of the "street style" scene, kicked into gear by the sartorialist, face hunter, and the like. I love that magazines are now including pictures of looks they found walking down the street to get coffee. I think it is the best thing to happen to fashion since... (honestly sits and stares for five minutes drawing a blank) since women in the workforce or something...something cool.

My top five real-life inspirations right now...

1. My friends, the Aguilar sisters, Lindsey and Sarah

I would raid their myspace pages for better photos but neither of them has one (cough*freaks*cough), and so they can thank me for the public display of that photo later. I've never met two girls who are as sweet, as fun, as hilarious, and as well dressed as those two. I never cease to be amazed. Truly inspirational for their abilities to combine vintage with designer and to hit on current fashion trends without being obvious and without dressing like anyone else. They both retain individual aesthetics; Lindsey is more modern and has a gift for combining separates that gives me a fever, while Sarah is a true romantic and makes maxi-length gunne sax dresses look as easy as gym shorts. Lindsey is also responsible for inspiring me to buy flat sandals...which is a true testament to her style, because I had always thought, EW SANDALS, you know?

2. My husband David Clucas!

Awwwww, I know right? Without getting into the complications of marriage itself, there is something to be said for having someone around every day who thinks you're gorgeous. I am inspired by how amazing he thinks I am. I must be doing something right. Before I beat you on the face any harder with mushiness and epic cliches, he actually inspires me on a more grounded level. He lets me in on amazing music, books, movies, and places. He gives me honest opinions when we go shopping. He has made me more realistic about fashion by giving me the heads up when I try something a little too out there. He inspired me to give up the sack dress for the sake of my lovely curved figure. I can tell by the look on his face if I am killin it or not. In the end, he is a real honest-to-God confirmation that all the dressing up and fussing with my hair doesn't go to waste...I am making an impact where it counts!

Now before I get called out, I am not saying that a girl should get dressed for a man, or that a man's approval is the ultimate gauge of your looks or anything of the sort. Get dressed for yourself, and if someone appreciates it all the better, whether it is your mom or your boyfriend or your best friend...or the guy who works in the gas station where you buy your red bull. More power to you!

The photo of my husband is from our wedding. Take a look at more of the highlights if you want! But I warn you, that dress was NOT secondhand. ;)

3. Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special.
Midnight Special - 1975

I don't even know where to start with this. My husband and I own five or six DVDs of this aaaaahhhhmazing 1970's alternative to "American Bandstand". I am going to go ahead and assert that this is ESSENTIAL viewing for any vintage lover, music lover, or person of good taste in general. The performances are, for the most part, stellar. Fleetwood Mac performing Rhiannon is... breathtaking, honestly. So is Stevie's hair and face and outfit and...being. Heart give off a kind of rock goddess sex appeal I can only dream of faking one day. I can't find a lot of the great female performances on youtube (conspiracy!!!), but I can assure you that you need to have this show in your life. LaBelle will blow your head off with their space-age stage costumes. Linda Ronstadt makes God's gift look easy. Not too mention Blondie, T.Rex, Aerosmith, The BeeGees!!! Maybe you can explain to me what is going on with Robin's pants and why Barry wrote the song in a key lower than he can many questions. Oh, and did I mention a little thing I like to call Bowie? The point is if you love old clothes and old music, this is it. I regularly drag my computer into the bathroom and watch "Midnight Special" while I get ready. They look like they had fun in front of the mirror and behind the mic.

4. Chan Marshall aka Cat Power
She is real-life inspiration because her throaty crooning has been soundtracking my life for seven years. Inspired and inspiring. It's OK to be off kilter. It's OK to ignore expectations. It's OK to forget the words to your own songs. It's OK to ask for help. It's OK to back out when you don't want to go. It's OK not to care what everyone else wants. It is also OK to hang out with Karl Lagerfeld.

5. Dani-Lacey Baker

If she were only the female voice of the awesome L.A. band Walkie Talkie she'd deserve a place on the list. If she were just one of the most naturally beautiful women I had ever met in my life (seriously, she has a face for paintings) she'd be on the list.If she were just a random hippie-country-gypsy woman I walked past on the street I'd probably take her photo, stalker style. But she is my dear friend and she is definitely inspiring. Her house is like a museum of cool rock gypsy paraphenalia. She can bellydance, and practice reiki, and see ghosts! Not to mention this photo taken on her wedding day,

(that is her husband Jim there on the top left!)

Her life as a musician, her hot rocker husband, her kindness, her vintage dresses and bouffant red hair (mine changed to red soon after meeting her, I have to point out) all makes me want to try harder to experience life...and dress the part!

So the list goes on and on! I am blessed to have family, friends, and life behind me that inspires me to be the best possible version of myself. As often as possible. I will confess that today I didn't leave my house and I rocked adidas shorts and a tank top...and the dreaded flip flops. Shameful but true. And it may sound elitist of me but I want you to know that I don't leave my house in leisure wear. As a matter of fact, I hate leisure wear. I hate anything that has the PINK logo on it. I hate polar fleece. I hate those dance pants with the huge legs. And you know what? JUICY COUTURE IS NOT A FASHION DESIGNER. Gah, gives me the heebie jeebies. You can't disguise the fact that you were too lazy to get dressed today by writing arbitrary words across your butt and boobs. You aren't fooling anyone.

Anyhow, this entry may be 300 words too long already but I am on a roll and I have outfits to share!!

Last night we went to see the Black Keys (!!!!) and it was an amazing show. I am not going to review music here so....

What I wore.


( For the record, I didn't wear those shoes!)

dress-Immoni Vintage, Long Beach, CA
shoes- Steven

This is a go-to dress. Meaning it fits me well and it is versatile so I can wear it anywhere. My advice...have some go-to dresses in your closet. :)

I gave it the fall/winter treatment for fun today because I couldn't go two weeks without wearing it, much less several months!

October 2008. Maybe so!
(I'm rethinking the shoes as I perhaps?)
scarf- thrifted
shoes-vintage AND thrifted!

November 2008, I hope so!

leather jacket-vintage,Buffalo Exchange, Austin, TX
scarf- H&M
boots- Walmart...yes, Walmart.

YAY! It is getting closer and closer to the season of scarves and boots and tights and NOT SUMMER. God Bless America.

Before I take off I have a question for you guys who have blogs. How do I make it interactive? I have been on Livejournal too long and I am spoiled. I honestly want to respond to each and every comment that is left and...I can't! Am I just supposed to address everyone in a separate comment? Is there blogger etiquette here? Teach me.

Oh and,

Next Time!
My guide to finding and winning the good stuff on ebay.

The last pieces I bought new, before the year of living thriftily began.

See ya!

I want to make a point that I am not going to post this weekend.

But fear not. I have big plans for next week. HUGE even. 



I am not having a good day.

I feel the need to be honest now and tell you that I am in a dumpy mood. I woke up addled with stress, the kind kicks you in the face while you're asleep (this is a theory I am working on) and when you wake up you have a bruise, a monster headache, and a vicious grudge because SOMEONE KICKED YOU IN THE FACE WHILE YOU WERE ASLEEP. The point is I don't know what did it exactly, what tipped the scales while I was dreaming. It is sneaky and underhanded to attack a persons psyche while they are defenseless. But you know what I did to this invisible enemy? I fought back.

I could have retaliated in all the normal SELF magazine, Oprah-esque drinking green tea, doing a pilates video, or walking around the block (why is walking around the block the answer to all of lifes problems according to the mainstream media?? Have you ever had a problem solved while you were out strolling? I haven't. Idiots.) Instead I did it my own way. I have patented methods see.  I showered for a good 45 minutes, I popped pocorn and put Gossip Girl on in the background while I put LOADS of makeup on. Then I put a ridiculously impractical dress and heels on to wait for the exterminator to come over. See!


I think I took the bug killer off guard with the heels and the cleavage and whatnot. I thought it would be satisfying to be ogled a little bit by a random person but this putz was so pervy and shameless about talking to my chest that he sucked all the fun out of it. Some people! Ooooooh well. I wasn't about to be sucked back into my dark place, so I did something that never fails to make me smile. I window shopped on the internet.

I'm currently obsessed with these amazing tunic mini dresses from Tin Roof Vintage on ebay...

love love love and love.


Then I cruised over to Adore Vintage to find this...

Fashion Valium

Don't you feel better just looking at that cupcake of a dress? Also , how Chuck from Pushing Daisies is it? What a fantastic, downright delicious bit of television. I don't actually have TV in my house for a myriad of reasons, so I am very choosy and selective about what I will download and watch. Pushing Daisies is fantastic eye candy and heart candy for that matter.

You cannot beat this cuteness with a club.

I love when you see films and television series having honest-to-God fun with wardrobe. I will confess to you now that my dream job would be to work as a wardrobe supervisor for a television series. I love the idea of dressing a character specifically and over time. I truly believe that fashion is transformative and a very effective method of self expression. I would love the opportunity to tell a person's story in clothes! So you know, if you or your loved one has the ability to get me that job...don't be shy. :)

Back to the window shopping...

Sometimes I like to cruise the high-end vintage shops online, like The Frock, to induce a seizure or two.



Are you hemorrhaging from all the gorgeous yet? I am. That last one gives me a real Rachel Zoe vibe, and can I just say that I LOVE Rachel Zoe? I don't care if the woman fed diet pills for horses to Nicole Richie or if she never eats or if she steals towels from hotels during fashion week. I DON'T CARE. I don't like to throw down judgments on aspects of people I don't know. I don't care what celebrities do in their spare time; I do care about how they execute their chosen professions! I don't know Rachel Zoe personally, so I don't give a crap what kind of person she is. I do know she is KILLIN IT with her style and I love it 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

1. She wears vintage almost exclusively

2. Her hair. She has my dream hair.

Amazing hair. The perfect combination of disheveled and styled. Gimme! And finally,

3. She is not afraid of caftans and the like.
Rachel Zoe and Molly Sims at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2008 - Temperley London - Front Row on September 8, 2007 in New York City.

WATERMILL - AUGUST 28: Rachel Zoe attends Super Saturday 10 hosted by Donna Karan, Charla Lawhorn and InStyle Magazine at Nova's Ark Project in Watermill, New York on July 20, 2007. Photo by Rabbani And Solimene Photography/WireImage)

I love a caftan in any shape and form. A flowing, billowy, body swallowing garment in a retro-to-the-point-of-offense print! I just picked up this "mini" version off eBay a few weeks ago and I adore it...



I don't know why people hate on caftans. I always hear people talk about caftans in a humorous and disparaging way. They never fail to point out the caftan's association with Mrs. Roper AS IF THAT IS A BAD THING. Call me crazy but I plan on being just like Mrs. Roper when I am old. But not until I go through my midlife Peggy Bundy phase with tight capris and belted v-neck sweaters and inappropriate, lewd comments to neighborhood boys! I have plans for my life!

Since I was having an insecure, foul humor kind of day I want to end this post on a happy note. Every girl has a favorite dress, a dress that can make you feel like gangbusters after six episodes of Grey's Anatomy, a pair of pants that are too small all of a sudden, and your bff posting the ugliest photo of you ever on her myspace... My very favorite dress was a gift from my mother a few years ago. I wore it a few days ago,



Later, I added some fun flair, if you will...

Pretty in mustard! Thrifted scarf.
Photo 57

The "Tootsie" Glasses, also thrifted.
Photo 61

I probably would have let go of those glasses by now had my husband not once told me they made me look like Tootsie. Yes, that's right, he compared me to Dustin Hoffman in drag. Now I can't let them go because they are tied to the most horrific and hilarious moment of our relationship thus far! And you know what, they don't have lenses. I have gotten a lot of back talk about wearing glasses that don't serve a purpose. But, I want you to pay real close attention to what I say here. They're an accessory. That's right. Do my earrings serve a purpose? How about that headband squeezing your noggin? No really, please do explain to me the purpose of today's uber-popular headband trend. Don't get me wrong, I actually like the headband look when it is done in an earthy way and not, you know...lamé. But, the point is who cares if they don't serve a purpose? I can think of worse things for them to do than be aimless.

And since those photos don't do the color justice, here is an extra from last year. I have politely cropped my husband out at his request. :)

Purse/scarf- thrifted

(while we're all looking at that photo...should I cut bangs again??)

My favorite dress is my favorite dress because it emphasizes everything I love and downplays everything I don't. I want every dress I buy to strive to be this dress. I feel comfortable, sexy, approachable, and mostly I feel very much like me in this dress. Don't pass up a dress like that... If you're only buying secondhand or vintage, great, but if you find a dress that makes you feel just like you, then buy it. Buy it and never feel guilty about it.


Get your thrift on.


Love! Romance! Two of our favorite things.

I love that little wall hanging. I found it on ebay for $5 and it is Amish. Do you need any more reasons to love something? I don't.

So, Like I said in my last entry, I went thrifting for several hours on Saturday and had a blast. I explored some thrift stores on the south side of Austin that I don't get to very often. I walked away with a few bags full of fantastic finds. I'm going to use some of the nifty stuff I found to demonstrate some great Thrifting Guidelines...I was going to call them the Rules of Thrifting but I thankfully remembered that rules are dumb. Phew. Now, Keep in mind that I am not a Jedi Knight, or Harry Potter, or teen witch for that matter. Meaning, I cannot make magic! A lot of this may seem obvious and elementary to thrifting old timers, but bear with me and please add any of your own suggestions to the comments! I just want to tell you guys what my personal thrifting philosophies are in the hopes that they help you in your quest! And before I start, if you haven't actually seen teen witch before, you need to get on that. So...

1. Where to thrift? If you can help it, avoid thrifting ( especially in big name chain stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army) in urban, downtown, or otherwise "hip" areas. Before we moved to TX, my family and I lived in L.A and I avoided thrifting there like herpes. I stuck to the suburbs, the less hip Orange County, and surrounding areas like the inland empire. Big name thrift stores especially in urban/cool neighborhoods are going to be picked over and overpriced. Do you really want to get in a fight with some anemic boy hipster in a sweatband and prefontaine shorts over a pair of (kinda) cheap skinnies? No. You're over it. Stick to the random, privately owned thrift stores on the outskirts of town ( also, different religious denominations also often have their own thrift stores benefiting charitable causes, which is fantastic). Even better if you can get to the sticks and raid some country church basement sale! I recently drove by a BRAND NEW GRAND OPENING sign for a thrift store in the NW suburbs of Austin...


The Nifty Thrift was a double bonus because not is it a small, one off store but they were just opened and fresh as a daisy. I got a few things to sell and I picked up a great pearl snap cowboy shirt for a guy friend. I also got...

The Perfect Shades. $1.49
Photo 59

My favorite earrings. Ever. $1.00
Photo 46

I have been looking for a really basic, nicely shaped pair of sunglasses for awhile as an alternative to the rather costume-y collection I have amassed. And those earrings speak for themselves. They're so early 90's it burns my eyes. Don't even try to guess what that means. Anywho...

The point is you want to avoid other people looking for the same things you're looking for. Now, you can find great stuff in the old standbys like Goodwill and Salvation Army. Your best bet is to go to older, wealthy neighborhoods because the best thrifted and VINTAGE finds are from old, wealthy people. :) Go to the nice part of town where the rich get rid of stuff on a regular basis and to the most obvious/convenient places aka Goodwill and Salvation Army. The hope is that they're unloading goods from bygone eras that have been in their attic for decades. I wandered into a Salvation Army one day to find that some tiny, stylish, probably well off woman had obviously passed and her family seemed to have dumped her entire wardrobe from the 50's and 60's on the racks. I found some of the most beautiful, handmade, well preserved vintage dresses I had ever seen that day! The employees must have thought I was a loon because I bought them all...all 40! And all at the whopping price of $4.99! As of now that day ranks as my most epic thrifting venture yet.

2. Don't go thrifting on the weekend if you can get around it. If you can possibly thrift during the day on a weekday, you're golden. Weekends are a mess and there will be millions of families and the racks will be a mess (is there really anything more annoying than tangled hangers?) and the dressing rooms will be full. If you're going to go on Saturday, get there when they open and be ready to roll your cart over some miscreant children.

3. Give yourself a lot of time. Thrift stores usually have a TON of inventory and you want to be able to go through it all. My friends always say they never find anything in thrift stores and they can't understand why I seem to find so much. I have been shopping with these friends and they skim the racks! If you want to get something amazing for cheap you have to work for it. Go get yourself a venti iced coffee, throw your jacket and purse in a cart, park it at the end of a row and then GO THROUGH EVERY ITEM ON THE RACK. I mean literally separate every single hanger and look at what's hanging on it. It is going to take a long time...wear an ipod?

4. Try it on. I mean try it on no matter what. If you like the color, try it on. If you think it may be too small, try it on. If it smells funny but it has amazing buttons, try it on. TRY IT ON TRY IT ON TRY IT ON. You wanna know what makes me insane? People who pull something out of the rack (the $6 rack, no less) say "oooooomaaahgaaaawd this is cute huh??" and then put it back on the rack. WHAT. is that about? Wear easy to remove clothes, tie your hair up, sport some slip on shoes. TRY. IT. ON. You canNOT tell what something will look like on you unless you do. The worst case scenario is that it doesn't look awesome, you just didn't spend a fiver and you're out 4 minutes of your life. The best case scenario is that it looks shockingly good and IT COST A FIVER. I don't know why I am suddenly obsessed with the term "fiver."

Ok see this dress? This dress is a pretty color but on a hanger it looks like something a veterinarian would have to wear to work with orthopedic shoes.


But, I tried it on. And I think it looks pretty righteous.

Heck. Throw some accessories on and it's pretty special!

I even gave it the cold weather treatment.

This is even more exciting because I was finally able to put together a look with this EPIC shawl/scarf thing that I got on ebay a few months ago. It's been hanging in my closet for awhile now, mocking me because I couldn't figure out what to wear it with. This thing is so me, I can't even put it into words.


Is it embarassing that I bought this in large part because the words "stevie nicks" were in the item description? I feel like I should perhaps try and wear this every single day, because I love it so much...but let's face one challenge at a time.

5. Figure out when your favorite thrift stores put their new stuff out. Some do it every day but most (according to my research, ahem) put out new inventory once a week...often on Tuesday for some reason? Obviously, try and go on that day. No-brainer.

6. TRY IT ON, K?

7. It's a pretty good idea whenever you're shopping to buy something only if you have something to wear it with or something to wear it to. Even if that super neat pea-green, pencil-skirt for $6 is to die for, you may never put it on if you a) never wear skirts or b) work architectural digs for a living. Spending a little money is still spending money and if you won't wear it why bother? I have to admit this is one I am working on. I am an impulse buyer in my heart and I have a tendency to buy things cause they're SOOOOOO AWESOMESSSS!!! Then they rot in my closet...cause pencil skirts look awful on me.

8. Don't be easily deterred. If you find something great with a tear or a stain maybe, chances are it is easy enough to fix. If you find something vintage in a thrift store evaluate the damage. TIP- armpit stains/discoloration on really old clothes are usually impossible to remove. The thing is, if you buy something you love on the cheap and it needs to be mended you're still out way less money than you would be to buy something similar new. And I know a lot of people are squeamish about wearing other peoples old clothes especially...other peoples stains, other peoples wash it genius. Wash it in hot water or have it dry cleaned or BOIL IT if you need to. Do you think you're going to catch a disease? Don't be dumb.

I'm going to resist the urge to type TRY IT ON again (um, sort of) and leave it at that for the time being. I can honestly say that I do all those things up there and I find some pretty cool schwag when I shop.

Saturday I also picked up...

wedges, Nine West $9.99. You can't quite tell but the bottom half is patent. Classic and easy to wear with anything!


Fall/Winter goods
Old lady sweater in a dusty purple color with wanna-be Chanel buttons
2 old man sweater vests for layering
Muted plaid blazer

Glam-tastic faux fur vintage coat. Smells like someone smoked in it for a living but nothing a dry cleaner can't fix!That's not all I found last weekend but I don't want to show you everything. What would I have to look forward to?

For the record, this is what I wore today.

IMG_0180Photo 50
dress, Anthropologie
shoes, Steve Madden

None of my outfit today was thirifty OR vintage, but I they're not new. Some days a pretty little dress and basic wedges is just the easiest, quickest way to get me out the door. 

One more bit of secondhand goodness that I feel you guys deserve to see is something out of my top five favorite finds of all time in the universe (!)...I present,

My Chippendales mug.
Photo 1

Do you know how hard it is to have a bad day when you start it off with a hot cup of coffee in this bad boy? It's nearly impossible. And get this! I got two, in a set...identical. What on earth is up with the hand coming around his head and putting its finger in his mouth?? WHAT is going on here?

The last thing I will say tonight is that if you haven't perused Sesame magazine online yet, you should hop to it. There are a whole lot of fun online magazines out there, but despite the fact that it hasn't been updated in forever, I still go back to Sesame magazine regularly for the pretty pretty and some good old fashioned inspiration. Peruse the back issues, there are some beautiful editorials!

Go get your thrift on! Don't forget to take a peek inside my ebay store, Magnolia Family Vintage, for great finds. And add us on myspace! Ok, self-promotion OVER.

Seacrest OUT!
(is that getting old yet?)