[march gladness]

the months of february and march have been momentous milestones for this blog. when i started this blog, it was just a diary to share my many thrift store finds. i simply blogged because i loved to write. i wasn't really sure who would read it, but i did it anyway.

little did i know, i would enter a world much larger than i ever imagine. a world that would impact thousands and eventually millions.

none of this could be made possible without you, the readers, bloggers, writers and haters. i want to take this time to say thank you to the following blogs and websites that have promoted my appearance on the nate berkus show, asked me to guest post for their blog or noted my blog for the month of march.

please click on each of the banners to visit each blog or website.

if i have unintentionally missed any blogs or websites please tweet me immediately or send me an email immediately so that i can update pronto!!

Mr. Goodwill Hunting

[a man and his shoes]

so i know many of you that support this blog are women. you are not just any group of women. many of you are women who like shoes. many shoes. red ones, white ones, some with bows and even those that shows your toes. you ladies like shoes.


did you know men like shoes too?

you didnt?

well, now you know.

i like shoes. but not just any kind. i am kind of predictable in my choice of shoes. i only buy chuck taylors and dress loafers. some time ago i came across the blog the shoe snob, penned by bespoke shoe maker justin fitzpatrick. let me tell you, if there was a porn site for men...for shoes...this would be it.

i asked justin sometime ago to guest post for me. things have been somewhat crazy around here and across the pond where he lives. depsite all of that i am excited to have him share with you ladies and most definitely the men, some tips on buying quality shoes in a variety of prices ranges.


In the evolving world we (humans) are ever-changing. And while change is not always good, sometimes it's absolutely necessary. Part of that good change, is the way you find the modern man dressing himself as well as the amount of clothing that he owns. In the past, most men concentrated on simply owning staple pieces that could get the average man through his life. Yet, this is no longer the case. 
It is no longer enough to just have 2 pairs of black shoes, 3 suits (1 black, 1 navy, & 1 gray), some white shirts and a few boring ties. The modern man wants options. He wants different pieces for different moods, different occasions, different weather etc. He wants brown shoes, gray shoes, loafers, monk straps, chukka boots etc. He wants tweed suits, double-breasted suits, 3-piece suits etc. And all of this is okay. It's not excessive, it's 2011. Women have always been like this, so why can't men? 
The only problem of this need of wanting and having more is the reality of being able to afford it. Obviously, there is a simple solution for the less concerned: buy cheap stuff. But you usually get crap quality when you buy cheap stuff. And for some, that might be okay, but for others it is not. So what do you do? Research is key and in this day-and-age, the possiblities are endless, thanks to the internet. 
So let's say that you have a budget but want to get high quality stuff. First let's remember that just because you can't spend $500 for a pair of shoes does not mean that you should resort to $100 Kenneth Coles. You can argue this point if you like, but there are $300 (full retail) Allen Edmonds shoes that can truly last a lifetime (with resoling) yet there is not one $200 (full retail) shoe that will even come close to lasting that long and that is because anything at that price full retail has a glued on sole and crappy upper leather. But if $300 dollars is too much, what can you do? Obviously there are places like eBay and getting Allen Edmonds seconds. But you can also find a lot of great deals at Nordstrom Rack or on the Buying & Selling thread at Style Forum. 
Remember also that in every country in the world, sales occur in January and July and most places usually have a second mark down after a week or two into the sale to try and push all of the last merchandise out. This is where you can really clean up and get lucky. At places like Nordstrom, you can find brands like Paul Smith, Church's, Santoni's, Ferragamo's, Allen Edmonds etc. for under $300 after that second mark down has occurred. But it's only going to be during the Half-Yearly Sales where you get that second mark down, which are actually in late Dec./early Jan. and end of June. Like I said, research is key, but there is always opportunity to find great deals. I won't lie, I am a bargain shopper myself. Out of the 40 or so dress shoes that I own, if they were not given for free, chances are that I bought them while on sale at that 50% mark-down. 
A general rule to shopping for shoes and getting a good shoe for a good deal is realizing that you should never buy anything with a glued sole. Those shoes just don't last and there is no cobbler who can fix them. Once their sole is finished, the shoe is garbage. Finding goodyear welted shoes at lost cost should be your ultimate goal, as they will last longer than any other construction. But blake construction will do as well, so long as it's for a budget shoe. It's hard to describe the differences between these constructions but an intelligent salesman at any shoe store should know the difference, so don't be afraid to ask. 
 (ok these i would probably NEVER wear, but they are so AWESOME looking!)

The bottom line is: your money can be stretched, your closet can be larger, and the quality of your clothes can still be good, all while on a budget, so long as you shop wisely and patiently. And while I have spent a pretty penny on my wardrobe, if you were to see it in it's entirety, I bet that you would think that I spent a lot more than I did. Thrifty shopping and knowing what to look for has helped save me lots of money and it can do the same for you too.

thank you justin for guest posting and for helping me spend months of hard earned cash on just one pair of shoes...your the best! lol

please visit justin here at the shoe snob to get your daily shoe fix. 

[guest blogger]

i think i do ok in the area of tablescaping. but i know how much many of you enjoy it. so i decided to ask a great twitter and blogger friend courtney from the blog living life out loud, to take one of my most recent pictures and design a budget tablescape around it. he did it. for under $10!

When Rashon asked me to do a guest post for the blog, I was a bit hesitant.  While I have plenty to say, I am not always the most frugal person and one thing I know about Rashon is that he loves a good bargain.  With some gentle prodding, I agreed to do a posting based around creating a budget table setting.  So with my assignment in hand, I started brainstorming on how I could be true not only to myself but to Rashon and his audience of budget conscious d├ęcor mavens.

Fortunately, at the same time I was thinking through my dilemma, Rashon posted this picture of himself in his church finery:
His shirt and tie combo reminded me of a tablescape I previously created to celebrate New Year’s (here).
So thus the idea was born to shop my own home for ways to update an existing table setting.

Most people have two sets of dishes lurking in their cupboards; a set for everyday use and a special occasion set.  I am one of those abnormal few that have multiple sets of dishes and am always on the lookout for more.  However, I will let you in on a few of my secrets.  I only have three sets of dishes but a variety of salad plates and chargers.  Simply switching out a charger or a salad plate can change the look of a table.  Second, all my dishes are large and white, while my chargers and salad plates are bold and pattern-laden.  I own two different types of large white round dinner plates and a set of square white plates.  All of them are easily replaceable should they break.  White plates also act as a great foil to boldly patterned salad plates or dramatic chargers, providing a visual “resting place” for the eye.  

Last, fun salad plates are a lot cheaper to purchase than dinner plates.  On average, I do not spend more than $5 for a salad plate with most of my collection coming in around $3 a plate.  When I tire of them, I bundle them up and either send them to a charity or gift them to appreciative friends.   

However, I didn’t follow my own advice in this scenario.  I really wanted to test myself and limited any changes to the tablescape to (1) glassware, (2) silverware and (3) the centerpiece.  I took inspiration from my own home in the form of the orchids I have throughout my home.  I thought that by grouping them, they would make a perfect no-cost centerpiece.  

That initial thought directed me to create an Asian-inspired tablescape from objects founds in my own home.  The only thing I bought were the mums I used to enhance the centerpiece.  Otherwise, everything on the table is items I already had in my home.  

I think the final table setting while similar to the original is decidedly different.  While not overt, the Asian influenced materials used to decorate the table create an unexpected twist and fun on the color scheme.  What was once a statement table that I think many people would have been complacent with recycling is now reinvented in a new way, just in time for your Spring dinner parties.
Here is a breakdown of all the materials used to create the tablescape:
Table Cloth: Crate & Barrel Outlet: $29.99
Napkins: Pier One: $3/each
Dinner Plate: Anthropologie: $5.99/each
Salad Plate: Anthropologie: $3.99/each
Bread Plate (Orange Square): CB2: $1.99/each
Silverware: Sur La Table: $1.99/piece
Water glass (white): Ikea: $1.97/each
Wine glass: Antique Shop: $12 set
Stemless wine glass: Crate & Barrel Outlet: $2.99/each
Centerpiece: Combination of orchids (Home Depot-$7.99/each), mums (Whole Foods $4/bunch), homemade terrariums and family heirlooms (Chinese figurines, balls, name stamps)
Salt & Pepper Shakers (Horses): Anthropologie: $1.99/set
Crystal Candlesticks: Antique shops & Home Goods: various but none here over $10
Fu Dogs: Home Goods: $4/each

click the banner below and head over to courtney's to get a few more tips on how to create an amazing tablescape

[mixology monday]

since there are so many new faces around i want to explain mixology monday.

mixology monday is my take on being a fashion blogger. although i am NOT a fashion blogger, per say, i do enjoy being well dressed. so every monday i take my liberty to put something together for you guys. most of the fits are from thrift stores mixed with full retail and discount priced items. it is also a way to keep track of ALL the clothes in my closet.
today i will share the details of what i wore on my appearence to the nate berkus show.
the shirt is the dexter broadcloth shirt in berry, by ralph lauren purple label. i chose to wear a saturated color on tv because i am dark skinned. even as a guy it is important to know what colors work well with  your skin tone. i get the most compliments when i wear salmon or light pink so it was an easy choice. i blogged about wanting the shirt here. i also blogged about it here and here. the dexter looks HOT pink, but it is NOT. it just appears that way under studio lighting. but hey it is what it is...and that's all there is. 

the black with white striped pants are from a suit i've own for about 6 years or more. 
the lapel pin was a thrift store find. i often wear pins for no reason at all. 
the cufflinks were actually found in NY the day before i went to the studio t record the show. 
the bowtie is a black and white polka dot bowtie. i wear a lot of bow ties, however, i have MORE neckties. the glasses were 50 cents from the salvation army. i know...crazy!

the double breasted black velvet and corduroy vest was made by my mother. she came up the weekend before i left for NY and spent time dealing with me and my pickiness. but she loved every moment. i mean c'mon...she spent time with her baby!!!
my mother has been sewing for well over 30 years. when my sister and i were younger of course we didn't want homemade clothes. as i became older i started to appreciate it more. mom stopped sewing for a number of years and when she returned she only made clothing for herself.
last year Momma GWH made this coat, hat and bag for herself. 
i was so appreciative of Momma GWH coming to do this for me. 

mom, i know you are reading this...so I LOVE YOU, not just for doing this...but because you are the world's BEST MOM!!

Mr. Goodwill Hunting

[tablescaping with Mr. GWH]

happy sunday everyone!

these last few days have been phenomenal. i cannot express how grateful i am to everyone who tweeted me & blogged about mr. goodwill hunting's segment on the nate berkus show. it really gave me the push i needed to continue this amazing journey of thrifting and showing that you can have an amazing home and wardrobe on any budget.

my family was unable to watch the show with me on thursday, BUT they came on yesterday so that we could watch it as a family. so, i prepared brunch for them and of course i set the table.

i ALWAYS bring out the best for my family.

its a simple table setting with a flower arrangement inspired by our family photos we took yesterday. you know i just had to bust out one of my newly thrifted ralph lauren wine chillers that i blogged about here. i just couldn't help myself...lol

UPDATE: I have linked this post to the following linky parties

Centsational Girl's Spring Link Party.
Mr. Goodwill Hunting