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A Revamped Campaign Dresser

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I am SO excited to finally share this project with you all. I alluded to it in this post, but I wanted to wait until I had some nice pictures of the dresser on hand, and now I do!

Where do I begin…I’ve loved campaign furniture for a long time, and it was my most-commonly searched item on Craigslist. I was so bummed when I missed out on a gorgeous white dresser earlier this fall (it had actually belong to Shannon!). The post had only been up for 12 hours or so, but someone already claimed the piece! And I don’t blame them–it was only $50 and beautiful!

I kept searching throughout the fall, but nothing met my style or price point. Finally, while browsing Craigslist in December, I found a set that included a large white dresser with six drawers and a smaller, two drawer piece. They definitely needed some touching up, but the little piece looked like it was in better condition and would be more manageable to move anyway.

The seller said I could have the little chest for $50, so after lots of deliberation (like, I kept going back and forth with her via email…usually a major no-no) and deciding on a price of $45, I said I would pick it up that Saturday. But after corresponding a bit more, she then told me that she just really wanted to get rid of both pieces and asked if I knew of anyone who would want the dresser. Best of all, she would do both for $45?!?

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I mean, how could I pass up a deal like that when campaign dressers like this one and this one were selling for $800-1,000? I knew I had to take it, although it would need some cleaning up. Then, I remembered Julia and her amazing business, MODERNEST Home. Julia and I had been texting and emailing throughout the fall. She does the most amazing furniture refurbishing and is local in DC. Plus, she has a HUGE truck that she uses to transport her items to various shows and flea markets.

I asked Julia if she would be willing to help me pick up the dressers in Arlington and then refurbish the big one, and she not only gave me an amazing quote but was super helpful. We met that Saturday and she so kindly helped transport the dressers out of the seller’s house and into her van, and by the time I was back from holiday break, the dresser was all done and ready to move in to my apartment! I truly felt like Joanna Gaines minus any of the grunt work. Julia and her boyfriend honestly treated me like a queen and barely asked me to lift a finger– they drove the dresser over to me and did an amazing job bringing it inside and setting it up exactly where I wanted!

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I’m in love with my new, refurbished dresser as well as the cute little chest that I now use as a nightstand. Julia didn’t do a makeover on that one, but she painted the large one so that the colors would match, in case I do keep them in the same room. She also spray painted the hardware on the large dresser bright gold, fixed a few drawers, and filled a small crack that had been on the top.

I can’t recommend Julia and her business enough!

Photos by Hado Photo

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Your Craigslist & TaskRabbit Questions Answered, Part 2

A woman in McLean delivered this fun desk chair to me!
A woman in McLean delivered this fun desk chair to me!

In my last post, I talked a bit about some of my Craigslist strategies and my experience using TaskRabbit, and today I’m back with some additional pointers, having received some new questions in the meantime.

A reader commented on my last post wondering if I’ve ever used TaskRabbit for hanging art.

While I personally haven’t, it’s definitely something they can do! However, there’s no need to spend $50+ on this–I usually opt to hang art on my own because it’s pretty simple. You just have to accept that you’ll likely make some errors and have extra holes in the wall, but this is nothing you can’t resolve with a bit of spackle. You definitely don’t need a level or fancy tools to hang pictures, either. Despite math and hand-eye coordination not being strong suits of mine, I will toot my own horn and say that I have a great eye when it comes to filling space and can estimate measurements like a pro (I’m way too impatient to go the route of cutting newspaper-sized prints out and arranging them on the wall where you want your pieces to go, but many people recommend that, too!). Putting together a gallery wall or even just hanging a print or two is much simpler than it looks, promise!

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Is it rude to ask a Craigsist seller if they can deliver?

Lol, literally as I’m writing this someone just messaged me about something and asked if I could deliver–no car, sorry! However, I ask people this all the time, and more often than not, the answer is yes! I recently purchased a super cool chair from someone who lives way out in Dumfries, VA, by meeting her in Pentagon City where she had a work meeting, and another seller from Laurel, MD, brought something to her office in Logan Circle for me to pick up. It doesn’t hurt to ask at all–I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how simple these arrangements have been and have scored some super cool items that I would’ve ruled out otherwise. You never know unless you try!

Do you bargain with the seller when you’re making a purchase on Craigslist?

I actually rarely ask for bargains. If the items is something I know is super popular and really want (like a campaign dresser or something of the sort), I won’t ask unless I get a really good vibe from the seller and am confident he/she won’t backtrack and pass me up for someone else. However, if I like an item but could live without it, I may ask for a slight decrease in price (ex: trying to knock down something from $50 to $40 or $75 to $60). I’ll never lowball someone or ask for a lower price on something that is worth a ton (I’ve seen West Elm couches in great condition posted for $30, for example–you’d be crazy to try to negotiate on a transaction like that!). If something has been listed for more than five days, I am more inclined to ask about a lower price than if it’s just been posted, as the seller likely wants to get the item out of their house at this point and will be more flexible!

Not really Craigslist-related, but have you ever ordered from any of the vintage furniture sites/Instagram accounts?

I haven’t. I follow a ton of these accounts (One of a Find Charleston is a favorite), but I’ve never placed an order because shipping is often between $150 and $200 extra. Living in the DC area, I find enough similar items listed on CL or Facebook marketplace or even at local stores like Miss Pixie’s that I don’t feel compelled to pay a high shipping cost. However, these Instagram pages can serve as great inspiration and help me keep track of styles that I like so that I can keep my eyes peeled for similar options locally.

Photos by Heather Bien 

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Decorative Hooks Under $50

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Photo by Heather Bien

I’ve always been such a bag lover–when I was younger, bags were all I wanted to spend my money on…no shoes/accessories/clothes could compare! I love this bamboo piece that I snagged at Miss Pixie’s not only because of it’s chinoiserie chic design but because it lets me put several of my favorite pieces out on display. I have this hanging by the door going into my bedroom, and it’s been super functional!

I did a little browsing for equally adorable hooks and am rounding up a few of my favorite options here. The best part is that they’re all under $50, so you can save your hard earned money for yet another a bag rather than a storage system 😉

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This midcentury modern option from Urban Outfitters is super aesthetically pleasing…I kind of want it; it would look great in a foyer for coats (we actually have a set of hooks downstairs that came with our place, though).

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I’m always amazed by how many great products I find when browsing World Market. This wall hook is likely even prettier in person!

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This animal head hook is another World Market find that would obviously be perfect in a kid’s room but would also add some (always needed) sass to a grown up place.

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Anthropologie obviously has several styles of stylish hooks, but I really like these monogrammed ones.

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This wall hook from West Elm is on sale for $41 and is one I’ve been swooning over for awhile now! The gold is so gorgeous.

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Trying out Facebook Marketplace

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You’re sitting at your desk at home or at work and realize you have something to sell or get rid of, so you…open Facebook? Trust me, it works!

Have you purchased or sold anything on Facebook marketplace? I tried it for the first time a couple of weeks ago, on a complete whim! I always forget about the marketplace option given how useful Craigslist has been (and am honestly on Instagram so much more than I’m on Facebook these days!), but I had heard some good reviews and wanted to see if anything good had been posted. Lo and behold, I found something fabulous–a white campaign dresser for only $40!

The post had been up for about a day, but I messaged the seller to see if the dresser was still available, and she said it was! It didn’t appear to be in pristine shape, but it looked good enough, and better yet, she was willing to drive it over to me since it was already in the trunk of her car. This was such a nice gesture since I don’t have a car and live about 20 minutes away from her.

I had actually just scored another white campaign dresser on Craigslist that’s now in my bedroom (and after buying it, I sold my more antique-looking one, which I also had loved but could no longer fit), so I actually put this one…in my bathroom. Don’t laugh. I wasn’t sure where I wanted it to go, but it fit, and I needed a bit more storage in there for towels, extra sheets, etc. I consulted Pinterest to see if bathroom dressers were a “thing” (it turns out they sort of are!), and it doubles as a little vanity/makeup station.

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I’m also in the process of trying to sell a few things on FB marketplace, so fingers crossed that I find a buyer! I like how efficient it is since you can contact people and it goes directly to them via messenger (versus having to send a traditional email), and it’s nice to put a face to someone’s name before meeting them.

I’ll keep you updated on how that experience goes…and will share a picture of the dresser once I get a good one!

Photos by Heather Bien

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What’s New Lately

Snapped this during Elizabeth's Houzz shoot!
Snapped this during Elizabeth’s Houzz shoot and felt like it encompassed all of the below!

Food, books, and a home tour–basically the usual! But before I dive into several fun things (I drafted most of this post a few days ago), I did want to acknowledge the horrifying stabbing that happened in my neighborhood (or next-door neighborhood?), Logan Circle, earlier this week. It feels silly to write something brief before moving to light and fluffy content, but I didn’t want to skip over this, especially since it hit so close to home, literally. To put it simply, it’s absolutely frightening to me that a woman could get stabbed randomly while out on a run around 8 pm in an area in which she felt safe and at home (and one I know and walk through frequently). My thoughts are with the victim’s family and everyone else who was moved and terrified by this incident. It’s scary and unsettling that these kinds of things happen and can be so unpredictable.

True Food Kitchen: Have you ever eaten at a True Food restaurant? I hadn’t until last week, and I can’t believe I waited so long to try the one near me! True Food Kitchen is a healthy chain with a handful of locations across the country–though not many on the East Coast–and fortunately enough for me and other DC residents, one opened up in Bethesda not too long ago! I finally grabbed dinner there with my mom (who’s a big fan and has been a few times!) last week and loved it–I ordered a skinny citrus margarita, the hummus appetizer, and the teriyaki quinoa bowl with chicken. Everything was SO good (and I don’t even really consider myself a foodie!). I’ll admit that I hounded Mackenzie for recommendations first, since she is always talking about her love for True Food on her blog, and the hummus and teriyaki bowl were her fabulous suggestions!

Cooking for one: People often ask me if I cook my dinners at home or not, and I never really know what to say, because no, I don’t pick up meals to go or order in very often, but I definitely am not cooking gourmet dishes from scratch, either (cooking has never been something I’ve enjoyed very much!). So the extent of my “cooking” is preparing meals with easy ingredients and sides from Trader Joe’s–heating things up on the stove, really, haha. Needless to say, I was glad to come across this article on healthy meals you can make for one, because whipping up something for just one person doesn’t need to be depressing (and everything here looks really good). I’m definitely half sharing this on here so that I can file it away for myself if I need meal inspo!

Liane Moriarty: I just purchased a ticket for Liane Moriarty’s talk at Sixth and I in November, and I can’t wait! She’s been one of my favorite authors for a few years now (and wrote Big Little Lies, if you didn’t know!), so it will be awesome to hear her speak live and snag a copy of her newest book, Nine Perfect Strangers. Sixth and I has so many great, affordable cultural events happening all the time (Mari Andrew, Pod Save America, Call Your Girlfriend), and I love checking their website periodically to see who/what is coming next–it’s so cool that Liane Moriarty is traveling all the way here from Australia!

A minimalist home tour: This home isn’t 100 percent my style, but I found it super inspiring nonetheless (probably because the renter is a fellow thrift-addict!). I love how calming the bedroom area looks and how many separate spaces were created within is a 250 square foot area. Also, the outdoor space is a gem! The renter notes in the comments that because LA doesn’t get much rain, the outdoor area is super useable and she can just leave the cute setup in place most of the time without worrying about things getting soaked–jealous!

Rattan basket: I spotted this adorable cane/rattan basket in another home tour a few days ago and fell in love, because, as you know, I can’t get enough of anything cane! I love that the price point is just right, too.

Country concerts: Tonight I’m going with a friend (my good grad school friend’s twin sister, who recently moved down here!) and her coworker to see Kip Moore play at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, and I can’t wait! I went to the Fillmore once this past winter with another friend to see Chase Rice, and it was a great venue–right off the metro, near some great restaurants (go to Not Your Average Joe’s; their happy hour is amazing and we’ll be heading there tonight!), and super reasonable ticket prices. I’m excited to rock my cowboy boots for probably the last time for a few months. 😉

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Salon Apprentice: I mentioned this on Instagram the other day, but I got an amazing blowout at the Drybar fo’ FREE thanks to Salon Apprentice! It was my first time using the site after having read about it a few months ago, but it’s pretty simple (and almost like a version of Craigslist but for beauty services! haha). Basically, stylists in training in various major cities (there are a ton) post when they need a model/person to practice on, what hair type/length they need, and leave their email or phone number. You can then follow up and respond to their ad–I was lucky to find a time that worked for me, but it took a few browsing sessions, as most of the appointments are during the work day and I don’t have a ton of flexibility (you’ll want to give yourself at least an hour and a half rather than the 45 minutes it takes to do a traditional blowout). The stylist I worked with was still training at Drybar but did an excellent job and was so friendly, communicative, and complimentary (I think we’re going to try to do more “practice” sessions in the future, and she said she’d even do my makeup sometime, too! #nocomplaints). It was so fun being pampered at one of my favorite salons, and while the process wasn’t 100 percent as seamless as it normally would be there, it definitely didn’t feel like I was doing anyone a favor to be there! I used to get blowouts fairly frequently when I lived in NYC (oftentimes pre-job interviews!) but haven’t indulged as much in recent years, though going twice this month has made me remember why I loved them so much–I also came home and immediately ordered a small bottle of the Triple Sec spray for no reason other than the fact that it smells absolutely AMAZING.

Museum Day and Reese Witherspoon: My coworker let me know that this Saturday is free museum day in DC, so mark your calendar if you need a weekend activity! Most of the museums in the city are free year-round, but this is your chance to go to others like the Newseum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and more. I have a jam-packed Saturday but downloaded a ticket for Women in the Arts because I’ve been wanting to go for ages but have felt silly even paying the normal $10 fee when 1) I could go to any of the 646237 other museums here and pay nothing and 2) I have a veryyyy short attention span when it comes to museums and likely wouldn’t stay for more than an hour. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make my way over at least for a bit! Saturday night, I’m seeing Reese Witherspoon on her DC book tour and am so excited to drool over her new release, Whiskey in a Teacup, which was luckily included with the ticket! Reese has been my spirit animal for ages, so it will be amazing to see her–even if from very much afar–after all of these years! And, a few DC blog girls and I are grabbing dinner before at the Wharf, so it will be fun to catch up with everyone.

Whew…I think that’s it! What’s new in your neck of the woods?

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Your Craigslist Questions Answered and How to Use TaskRabbit

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Pictured: A lucite console I scored on Craigslist for $25, and a framed Minted picture and set of x-benches I also purchased via CL.

The other day I put out a little call for questions regarding Craigslist/thrifting and wanted to answer them on here! Thank you to everyone who submitted, and as always, feel free to message me on Instagram or email me if you have further q’s!

Let’s get started, shall we?

These two questions were pretty similar, so I’m including them together:

How do you search on Craigslist–for a particular item, or by browsing until you find what you like? What are your Craigslist search terms? 

This probably isn’t the most popular approach, but I usually browse until I find what I like. This obviously takes a little more time, but I like seeing everything that’s out there–although I’ll admit that this sometimes alerts me to things I didn’t really need! However, people often label an item in the most simple way possible–for example, a lucite table could just be called “clear table” or “coffee table,” and it wouldn’t pop up using more sophisticated search terms. That said, it’s always possible to miss new postings even when scrolling through all the way, so I do frequently run searches using terms like “bamboo,” “campaign,” and “rattan”–those are definitely my favorites! So I guess my answer would really be that if you want to cover your bases, do both! A lot of other sites will tell you to use keywords to find higher quality items, but that said, people using phrases like “chinoiserie” or “Hollywood Regency” often know what they have and may price their pieces a bit higher, though this is not always the case.

The visually awesome but super challenging to maneuver spiral staircase!
The visually awesome but super challenging to maneuver spiral staircase!

Please tell me all the things about TaskRabbit and picking items up in a city! 

I could seriously write a whole post in response to this answer (and have thought about it!) but will try to answer this somewhat succinctly here. Since I don’t have a car or a live-in, professional mover-sized helper (haha), moving furniture in and out of my apartment has certainly been a struggle (especially in my current apartment, with its two flights of stairs to get up to our unit and the spiral staircase up to my room! So be relieved, because I promise that almost any of your situations will be far easier to deal with than mine, and I’ve still managed to make it work most of the time!). Due to that staircase, I’ve had to become a little more selective with what I purchase, but honestly not much so thanks to TaskRabbit.

The way TaskRabbit works is pretty simple. You download the app, select the task you have in mind, and fill out a brief description of what it entails, as well as your ideal timing for someone to come help you. Once you submit this information, you’re presented with a list of helpers who are available at your selected time, along with their hourly rates and customer-submitted reviews. You can then scroll through your options (sometimes there are more people available than others) and determine who is the best match for the job. For example, I’m often willing to pay a little more to work with someone who has extremely positive reviews or looks/describes being strong (yes, people have pictures! Haha) or mentions having worked as a professional mover. I also read the reviews before selecting a Tasker–you ultimately are inviting a stranger into your home, and safety is KEY. I’ve hired several people to lift/move furniture, drill holes into the wall, etc, and have never felt unsafe working with someone, but I feel like I have to put this out there as a disclaimer! Another disclaimer: there have been several instances where I’ve had to help the TaskRabbit–not with things like drilling, of course, but definitely with lifting. I’ve always been fine doing this since I’m fairly able to lift things and usually just need an extra–but much stronger–pair of hands, and I also know that I live in a pretty challenging building for moving things and am not always putting the Tasker in the most fair situation. But because of this, if you’re injured or uncomfortable helping, you may want to hire two Taskers at the same time, which I believe you can do!

I’d say in general, rates range from about $30-$100 per hour. I’ve never needed a Tasker for more than an hour, even when they’ve gone along to help me pick up an item (you can indicate that you need a car/SUV for the job, and this is super useful if you don’t have a car of your own and don’t want to coordinate with an Uber and a Tasker). But generally, I use Uber for CL pickups. I know it isn’t necessarily ideal because Uber drivers obviously aren’t signing up to also be professional movers, but politeness goes a long way, and I’ve never had an issue besides someone telling me that their car just is too small to fit an item. (Speaking of miracle Uber drivers–I recently had an Uber driver who not only helped me transport a dresser, but also helped carry it and the drawers into the car, sat on the corner with me for five minutes while we waited to the rain to pass, offered me an umbrella, and then carried the furniture pieces to my front door–needless to say, he got a tip!). Don’t want to spend extra $ to bring your item home? I’m a pretty cheap person when it comes to Uber (I almost always pool or express pool), so I usually try to fit smaller items into the trunk of a pool and only call my own car or an XL if an item is very large, like a dresser or set of chairs. You can definitely make the process pretty affordable!

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What is your number one tip when it comes to Craigslist ettiquette? 

Definitely to be punctual. I posted a bit of a rant about this on Stories the other day after dealing with a seller who was an hour and a half later than she said she would be, in the morning, before work, after I had woken up over an hour early for her…gah! (And I eventually got messages from other people with similar horror stories–one person told me about someone who came over, sat in a $25 chair for 20 minutes, and then decided it just “wasn’t for him.” I am a firm believer in respecting other people’s time and schedules (and even more so when someone is cutting you a deal price-wise). If you say you’ll be there at 7, don’t be any later than 7:10 (especially if the person has made it clear they have somewhere they need to be). Also, if someone gives you a window of time to drop by, don’t wait to arrive until the very last minute. A few weekends ago I told someone they could stop by between 3:30 and 5:30, and they didn’t give me a clear indication of when they would arrive before eventually texting me around 5 that they were on the way. They ended up not arriving until 5:35 (thankfully I didn’t really have somewhere super important I needed to be at that moment, I more just wanted to get on with my afternoon and run some errands–I usually am pretty on the go on the weekends and am rarely just at home for an extended period of time), which was super frustrating! I could go on and on about this, but the moral of the story is to be on time, especially when the seller has made it clear that they are accommodating you!

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Bar Cart Updates

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For as much as I love to decorate, it’s rare that I change up things like my bar cart super often. Once I find a layout that works, I’ll often just leave it for ages. But the other week, I was inspired to switch things up a bit, since the area had gotten way too full with various glasses, coasters, and accessories. I decided to streamline everything a bit, set out some of my favorite food and drink-related books, and put only my favorite glassware of the moment on display.

My bar cart itself is from Miss Pixie’s, which is right on 14th Street in DC. I’m lucky enough that it’s right in the neighborhood, but it’s also a bit dangerous, because I stop in there way too often! I found this cart when I was coming home from work on day last fall and decided to stop in for a quick look around the store. I saw that the bar cart had just arrived in that day and fell in love with the gold bamboo details. When I realized it was priced at only $70, I knew I had to scoop it up!

As for a little tour of my bar area…

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The Gin & Tonic print is from Society6, which is hands down my favorite place to order wall art. They’re also pretty much always offering promotions of some sort. The gold bamboo frame was actually a Goodwill find, and a lot of my bar accessories (like the pineapples and the shaker) are from TJMaxx. The rest is pretty much all thrifted!

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This glassware is actually displayed on a dresser in our living room, and I love the look. Thrift stores are some of my favorite places to pick up glassware, because you can find so many vintage looking styles, and there actually are usually a decent amount of sets/pairs available.

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Summer Steals to Scoop Up Now

I love when summer items go on sale before the absolute end of the season and you still have time to enjoy them before the weather gets cooler. I mentioned on Instagram the other week how I snagged some amazing pairs of Jack Rogers sandals on sale, and I’m glad that I’ll actually get a chance to wear them in the coming weeks!

I was doing some browsing the other day and noticed that a ton of other cute summer items are on majorly marked down at the moment, so I thought I’d do a big roundup here…

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Basket bag: I feel silly for taking so long to pull the trigger on one of these, but I wanted whatever I got to be cheap (except not, like, falling apart, clearly poorly made cheap, of course!) and it was hard to find something that wasn’t overpriced but also wasn’t going to break after one wear. I didn’t even want to spend more than $40 or so because I have so many other adorable straw purses that I don’t use enough. Needless to say, I was setting myself up to have a pretty limited search! Then, finally, I came across this option marked down to $25 on Amazon Prime and knew I had to scoop it up. I haven’t seen it in person yet (it’s supposed to arrive later today, woo!), but hopefully it will look just as cute as it does in the pictures.

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Jack Rogers: Speaking of Jacks, there are still tons of styles on sale! The Lord & Taylor options that I posted about on Instagram the other week are all gone, unfortunately, but other stores have their own markdowns and you can still snag some pretty good deals! I love the raffia on this pair, and there are plenty of sizes available (I hate when you find a great deal and then realize that the only sizes in stock are 5.5s!).

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Hat Attack Straw Tote: The “it” tote of summer 2018 is marked down on Shopbop, and I’d be tempted to order it if I didn’t have so many bags already! The macrame look is so fun and different–it reminds me of the vintage-y accessories in Mamma Mia 2 😉

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North Face Backpack: Not so much a seasonal find, but an amazing deal for all the students out there! I used a black North Face backpack in grad school and still bring it on long trips or even to work when I’m carrying a ton of stuff. Sometimes you just have to go with the practical option!

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Straw hat: White Elephant Designs has several straw hats with fun sayings on sale, as well as some totes and other accessories. I have their “out of office” tote, which I ordered around this time last year, and it’s GIGANTIC–perfect for a beach day or picnic!

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Summer Staples on Sale

It’s only halfway through the summer (how is it almost mid-July?!), but tons of staples that you can still wear this season are hugely discounted at the moment! I was browsing Jack Rogers sandals the other day and found several cute pairs that are priced below $60 right now–be sure to scoop them up before they go out of stock!

If you’re looking for a pair of the classic sandals, several colors here are discounted.

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I ordered this pair of wedges for only $44 (marked down from $148!)–I’ve been a big fan of them lately, and I like how they reflect the signature Jack Rogers style but look a little bit different and dressier for nighttime events.

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I was also browsing Anthropologie and came across this adorable straw bag for only $40–the price can’t be beat.

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I’m also a big fan of this blue style from Saks Off 5th, it’s majorly discounted!

These polka dot slides look comfortable for this blister-prone gal and are marked down from $195 to $35.

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All the Craigslist Buying and Selling Tips You’ll Ever Need

I’m thrilled to have written a post with Stacy, an IG-friend of mine turned real-life friend! Stacy has given me everything from career advice to thrifting advice…what more could a girl want? Though she’s a busy mom with a full-time job downtown, Stacy still manages to make time for all things decor through her blog and Etsy shop, which features tons of vintage finds. I also absolutely love how her husband is totally on board with her amazing scores and passion for design (#goals). You can see photos of their gorgeous home on her blog and Insta (and she just bought a house, so I can’t wait to see what she does with the new place, too!).
And now…here’s our massive post about all things Craigslist (and a few of my favorite items that I’ve scored on there over the years)! Whether you’re buying, selling, or just browsing, we have tons of tips to make what may seem like a sketchy online experience feel way more like browsing a high-end boutique (without the crazy prices!). Trust me, there are some serious gems on the site, you just have to do a bit of digging. And if you have any of your own advice to add, we’d love to hear!
Navigate Craigslist - Sarah

Sarah and Stacy here, also known as your resident Craigslist addicts. We’ve put our heads together to come up with a joint blog post where we share our massive list of Craigslist tips, whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or just browse. Happy hunting!

Tips to sell:

-Post clear pictures and a detailed description. Sometimes I have forgotten to take and post measurements and then get tons of questions from interested buyers. It’s easier to anticipate questions like these ahead of time and include this information in the original posting. Be clear about what it is you’re selling–sure, your coffee table is clear or see-through, but is it technically also acrylic or lucite? Does the vintage dresser you’re selling happen to be campaign-style? Do a little research before writing your post–who knows, maybe an item is worth a lot more than you thought, and adding specific words can also help you show up in more searches.

 

At only $65, this antique-looking dresser perfectly fit my vision. Heather Bien
At only $65, this antique-looking dresser perfectly fit my vision.

-It’s better to be honest about an item’s flaws than to hide them. It’s a waste of time for you (not to mention, for the buyer) to schedule a pickup only for the buyer to change their mind because they weren’t aware of a scratch or mark that diminishes the quality of the item. (Obviously, all used furniture has some amount of wear and tear, but if you look at your item and see immediately see anything that stands out as less than perfect, disclose it!). I’ve had instances where I’ve gone out of my way to grab something only to realize that it’s much shabbier than it looked online. I usually have still taken it home with me (I have a hard time saying “no!” in general!), but it can be frustrating.

This bar cart (originally from All Modern) came from CL at a discounted price.
This bar cart (originally from All Modern) came from CL at a discounted price.

-Price items fairly. Even if something is like-new (maybe you took it out of the box and realized it just doesn’t work in your home), still think about offering a discount. Otherwise, why would a buyer have incentive to purchase it from you rather than directly from the retailer? Prices don’t necessarily need to be garage sale low, but they shouldn’t scream boutique furniture store, either. Pricing items to sell is the key to getting them out of your house, fast!

-Remove sentimentality from the equation. I’m sure your great grandmother was the sweetest woman on earth and obviously she had great taste because I’m interested in her table! But, don’t price with your heart – price with your head. If an item is really that special to you, perhaps you should consider holding on to it for a few more years until you are ready to part with it.

Tips to Search:

-Look up style terms for things you may be interested in purchasing. If you are a fan of mid-century modern furniture, then terms such as “MCM” and “mid-century” may give you desired results. If you know even more specifically what you want, then look up terms like “Parsons” or even a designer like “Baughman,” or “Baughman-style,” if you are okay with the item being a reproduction.

Searching "lucite" allowed me to snag this pair of gorgeous end tables for just $50!
Searching “lucite” allowed me to snag this pair of gorgeous end tables for just $50! The gold trunk was more of a splurge at $100 but worth it given how much vintage brass ones go for on other sites.

-Not sure what you want? Then describe the piece in your search terms, such as “oak table” or “fabric sofa.” Make sure you use all combinations of words. For this example you may also want to search “fabric couch.”

Ihad been searching for a campaign dresser FOREVER before coming across this one (I snagged it and a smaller piece for only $50 total). After a professional paint job, it looks good as new! Hado Photo
I had been searching for a campaign dresser FOREVER before coming across this one (I snagged it and a smaller piece for only $50 total). After a professional paint job, it looks good as new! Hado Photo

-If you are dead-set on getting a particular type of item, create an account and save your searches. This way you can be alerted via email when new items are added to the site. Be careful, however, if you add terms like “mid century” and save an alert. You may be getting a huge amount of emails as things are listed with that term throughout the day.

-Look for potential in an item. Even if a piece isn’t perfect now, that doesn’t mean it won’t look adorable with a coat of fresh paint and some new hardware. While it is difficult to find a classic piece in pristine condition, a little DIY will go a long way. If something has seen better days but still has good “bones,” use your imagination and think about what it would look like in a new shade or with some modern updates.

My blue dresser used to be an ugly shade of yellow. It was easily transformed using a few coats of spray paint! Hado Photo
My blue dresser used to be an ugly shade of yellow. It was easily transformed using a few coats of spray paint! Hado Photo

-Scroll, scroll, scroll. You can craft the best search in the world only to stumble upon a mid-century gem that was simply described as “dresser.” If you’re feeling patient, just click through current listings page by page, and you might be surprised at what stands out. (Maybe you’ll find something you didn’t even know you needed!).

Tips to purchase: 

-Email/text a seller right away after seeing the posting, as sometimes items can get snagged in a matter of minutes! If you need further information, like clarification on color or measurements, ask away. If you know that you would 100 percent like to purchase an item, say so, and note that you can come by at such and such time (the sooner, the better) and ask if that would work with the seller’s schedule.

This rattan console is a favorite piece of mine. The previous owner had spray painted parts of it gold!
This rattan console is a favorite piece of mine. The previous owner had spray painted parts of it gold! The abstract art is also a Craigslist score. It came framed at a fraction of the original cost.

-Use correct grammar and spelling in your email. I have definitely ignored messages that are less than coherent because they don’t give off the best vibe…you’re a stranger to the seller, after all, so you want to put your best foot forward! Be clear, polite, and succinct, and you’re more than likely to get a prompt response.

This peacock chair is one of my favorite recent finds.

Negotiate price ahead of time. If you are exchanging messages with the seller, make sure to be clear about the price you are seeking. Be reasonable when expecting a bargain.  Shaving off a few bucks is appropriate but asking for half would likely insult the buyer and may end the deal.

-If the seller requests cash only, bring exact change. Don’t expect people to have small bills on them (and worst of all, don’t show up $5 or $10 short and then ask the seller on the spot if they would be willing to take less, unless you spot a major flaw in person). I often ask people in advance if they’re ok using Venmo, especially for larger purchases, but some people may say no. Plan ahead and stop by an ATM en route to picking up your purchase, and I guarantee the seller will thank you!

I love this cane chair that I scored for $30, but I did not love waiting over 30 minutes for the seller to arrive at our meeting spot! Heather Bien
I love this cane chair that I scored for $30, but I did not love waiting over 30 minutes for the seller to arrive at our meeting spot! Heather Bien

-Don’t be late showing up to pick up the item, and if you need to reschedule or are stuck in traffic, contact the seller sooner rather than later. Exchange phone numbers if you haven’t already, assuming the seller is willing.  Respecting other people’s time is always KEY. (Same goes if you’re a seller–if you tell a buyer you’ll be at home or plan to meet them by a shopping center at a particular time, be there!). I once had to wait at the metro station (our designated meeting spot) for over 30 minutes. I debated leaving but reallllly wanted the chair that the person was selling. However, the experience was annoying and left me a little creeped out, especially because the person wasn’t being responsive to my calls or texts for the firsts 20 minutes or so before finally stating that she was on the way.

 

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