A Glimpse…

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New York is magical this time of year. On Friday night we headed up to see the gorgeous holiday window displays on 5th Avenue. Bergdorf Goodman’s windows payed homage to the arts (sculpture and theater are pictured here). We were enchanted with Tiffany’s animated vignettes of 1950s-era New York City – especially the Rockefeller Center skating rink scene.

Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Windows 2014 Videndae New York City

Tiffany holiday windows 2014

Jenna and I love to fuel up at Cafe Pedlar in the morning.  It’s located just a few minutes’ walk from her apartment in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.  You know it’s the place to warm up based on the generous fogging of the windows!

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Crossing the bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan at sunset is a breathtaking experience.  Moments like these feel at once grand and intimate, and make me deeply miss New York.

Brooklyn in the rearview Manhattan on the horizon sunset NYC

Walking through TriBeCa one morning this light cast on buildings caught my eye.  I used to spend a lot of time in this area.  I like this part of downtown for its industrial, warehouse feel and relatively wide open spaces.

Walking in Tribeca 2014 Thanksgiving New York

Staying true to our family’s tradition, the day after Thanksgiving we picked out our Christmas Tree and carried it home.  Here we are, bursting with excitement that we’d found the perfect one. That night we put on holiday tunes, poured some wine and dressed that tree with all the trimmings.  It looks (and smells!) lovely inside Jenna’s gorgeous apartment.

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Our Favorite Black Friday Online Sales

Online Black Friday Directory

We firmly believe that the best and only way to partake in Black Friday sales is from the comfort of your home, online! If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to pour yourself a cup of coffee, find a comfortable seat, and peruse our master list of discounts before venturing into cyber shopping land.  We also love Refinery29’s lists for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Here are the sites we are scouring today! Happy Shopping!

HOME

Crate and Barrel: 15% off select items until Dec. 1 and free shipping on orders of $49 or more.

West Elm: Up to 25% off with code SUPERSALE for a limited time.

Pottery Barn: 50% off Cocktail and Bar accessories and 30% off throws, stockings, ornaments and more for a limited time.

Restoration Hardware: Save $100 on every $500 with code SAVE100 until December 2.

Williams Sonoma: Free shipping on all orders and up to 60% off select items.

FASHION

Alice + Olivia: 25% off site-wide through Dec. 1.

All Saints: 20% off all items with code THANKS through Dec. 1.

ASOS: 30% off with code TGIBF through Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. ET.

Athleta: 20% off with select items with code FIT20.

Banana Republic: 50% off one full-priced item with code BRFIFTY and 40% off sitewide with code BRFORT through Nov. 28.

Baublebar: 15% off two items with code FRIDAY15, 25% off three items with code FRIDAY25 and 35% off four or more items with code FRIDAY35 through Nov 29.

Calvin Klein: 50% off site-wide, Friday only.

Cole Haan: 30% off select items through Nov. 30

Cosabella: 40% off site-wide with code BLACKFRIDAY40AFF through Nov. 30.

Current Elliott: 25% off site-wide with code THANKS through Dec. 1.

Converse: 25% off select items online and free shipping through Nov. 30

DVF: 40% off select items through Dec. 1. AND 15% off site-wide with code FRIDAY15.

Equipment: 25% off site-wide with code THANKS through Dec. 1.

Gap: 50% off with code BLKFRIDAY through Nov. 28 and 40% off with code GIFT on Nov. 29.

Helmut Lang: 40% off select items through Dec. 1.

Intermix: 30% off all sale items through Dec. 1.

Joie: 25% off site-wide with code THANKS through Dec. 1.

J Brand: 30% off everything online through Nov. 29.

J.Crew: 30% off with code GETFESTIVE through Dec. 2.

Kate Spade: Up to 75% off select items through Nov. 29.

Kenneth Cole: 30% off through Dec. 4.

MiH Jeans: 30% off everything through Dec. 1.

Moda Operandi: 50% off select items.

Madewell: 25% off site-wide with code GIFTON through Nov. 30.

Matches Fashion: 30% off more than 2,000 items, plus free shipping and returns, with code BLKFR30 through Nov.30.

Milly: 25% off site wide with code BF2014 through Nov. 30.

Need Supply Co: 30% off sale items through Nov. 30.

Net-a-Porter: Up to 50% off the entire site.

Nasty Gal: 30% off on select full-price items through Nov. 28.

Piperlime: 25% off with orders with code THANKFUL25 through Nov. 29.

Rebecca Minkoffup to 50% off select items and 25% off orders of $275 or more through Dec. 1.

Sandro: 50% off the fall collection and 10% off sale and other select full-price items through Dec. 1.

Shopbop: 15% off $250 or more, 20% off $500 or more, and 25% off $1000 or more through Dec. 1 with code GOBIG14.

Spring: One-time $30 off any purchase of $100 or more through Dec. 1.

Ted Baker: 30% off select items through Dec. 1.

Topshop: 30% off select items through Dec. 1.

The RealReal: Up to 60% off select sales through Nov. 30.

Whistles: 30% off everything through Nov. 30.

DEPARTMENT STORES

Bloomingdale’s: Discounts up to 50% on select items through Nov. 29.

Saks Fifth Avenue: 60% off select items until midnight on Nov. 29.

Nordstrom: Take an additional 20% off sale items for a limited time.

Neiman Marcus: Up to 50% off sale items.

BEAUTY

Sephora: $10 beauty deals for a limited time while supplies last.

Birchbox: Get a free Birchbox for every $60 spent on subscriptions with the code BOXME and get 25% off full-size products on orders over $35 online through Nov. 30 with the code FRIDAY25 or in stores through Dec. 1.

Nars: 25% off select items through Dec. 2.

Happy Thanksgiving Simmer Pot

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday.

Nothing evokes the feelings of warmth and joy better than the collective scents that emanate from the Thanksgiving kitchen.   As we work away swapping dish for dish in the oven, smells of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves layer the air and mix with the richness of the roasting turkey.  Arriving guests are instantly comforted with the scents of the season.

We are celebrating Thanksgiving in New York this year, and tonight we are heading to Prime Meats in Brooklyn for a classical turkey dinner.  Every few years we elect to give our ovens (and the cooks in our family) a rest and savor every minute in each other’s company.  In the past, we’ve enjoyed the seasonal menus and ambiance at places like Little Owl and Park Avenue Autumn.

Since we won’t be cooking at home, we decided to put a simmer pot on the stove in an effort to conjure that cozy ambiance we love.  Here’s our favorite simmer pot recipe that you can enjoy all through the holidays:

Recipe: Seasonal Simmer Pot

Ingredients:
apple peel
star anise
bay leaves
cinnamon sticks
whole cloves
cranberries
nutmeg
orange peel
rosemary
thyme
vanilla bean pod

Steps:
1.  Bring a small pot of water to boil and add a selection of the above ingredients in quantities to your preference.
2.  Boil for a few minutes, then turn heat to low and let simmer for several hours.
3.  Replenish water as needed, and never leave unattended.

Day After Thanksgiving Leftover Sliders

Leftover Sliders

Turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes oh my! Thanksgiving is just a day away and I, for one, am elated.  Is it just me or is Thanksgiving dinner best served cold the next day? This year, rather than giving your house guests dinner déjà vu, try adding all your Turkey Day fixings to a pretzel roll for no muss, no fuss leftover sliders.

Leftover Sliders

For my Day After Thanksgiving Leftover Sliders, I opt for cranberry sauce, gravy, sweet potato, stuffing, and turkey.

Gift Guide for The Foodie

The Videndae Foodie Gift Guide

We are kicking off our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide today and featuring the perfect gifts to get the foodie in your life! From artisanal pastries from Canele by Celine to a “greatest hits” collection of cookbooks, this first guide in our series is full of food gifts that will keep giving all year round!

1. Widow Jane bourbon
2. Canele by celine
3. Spice mill set
4. Tea Towel and Pie Server
5. Grace and I pressed fruit
6. Chemex coffee maker
7. goop’s cookbook collection
8. Pickles every month
9. mikes hot honey
10. Portugese squid
11. himalayan salt plate
12. Eliunt Olive Oil Collection
13. staub cookware
14. monogrammed cutting boards

A Glimpse from the Road

Helicopter Tour of Manhattan Zip Aviation Hudson River Financial District Battery Park

Happy Monday, everyone! I finally arrived in NYC this weekend by way of London, Michigan and Chicago.  It’s my first time back to the states since we moved to London this May, and it’s been a jam-packed tour as I try to fit in time with our family and friends.  Amidst the madness, I thought I would organize something really special for Stephen and I to do together once we arrived in NYC, something that would allow us to experience the city we once called home, but in a fresh way.  I captured the image above from the co-pilot’s seat of a helicopter as we hovered over Manhattan’s Battery Park on Saturday morning.  During our 15-minute tour, we spotted our old apartment in FiDi, caught a bird’s-eye view of Lady Liberty, and I marveled at my favorite art deco fixture – the Chrysler building.  The tour was both exhilarating and relaxing.  It was such a unique way to view our favorite city on earth.

Manhattan Freedom Tower Financial District Battery Park City New York City

Below is the aerial view I captured on my iPhone while flying in over Chicago last week.  It’s such a beautiful landing with the city skyline against  the backdrop of Lake Michigan. Chicago’s weather was super frigid and windy, and Steve and I came down with nasty sinus infections from all the flying and changes in weather.  Hallie is on her way to Chicago tomorrow to visit her family for Thanksgiving – make sure you bundle up, Hal!

Flying into Chicago over Lake Michigan

Luckily, NYC is truly the city that never sleeps and when I landed here I was able to access a Citi MD 24-hour clinic where they fixed me up with antibiotics and meds to treat the symptoms.   If you’re ever in a similar jam, I highly recommend them – so fast, efficient and clean!  I’m starting to feel a bit better, and I am so looking forward to exploring my old NYC haunts with my sister Jenna these next couple of days.  I am craving some serious sister time, and she always makes me feel so loved and welcome in her presence and at her beautiful Brooklyn apartment.  I couldn’t be happier – if only I had more time here!  There is no place like NYC, and it’s good to be back.  This was Saturday’s sunrise from our perch at the Mondrian in SoHo.

New York City view from Soho Manhattan Mondrian Hotel

In the in-between moments I am still doing online searches for a London flat. We must move in just a few weeks – but where is yet to be determined!  When I get back, I’ll be hitting the streets again on foot, peeking into homes in sweet neighborhoods just like the Chelsea mews I snapped below.

London Apartment Search Mews Homes Chelsea

Thanksgiving is days away, and I am so looking forward to spending it in Brooklyn this year.  My sister, mom and I usually collaborate in the kitchen (I learn so much from those two)!  Here is a snapshot of the last time we spent Thanksgiving in NYC, aprons and all.

Brooke Jenna Penny Thanksgiving NYC

Safe travels to all of you hitting the road this holiday, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving week ahead!

FRIDAY LINK LOVE

Link Love

Happy Friday! Any fun weekend plans? With the holidays and the new year just around the corner, my weeks seem to be filling up rather rapidly. Last night I attended the Miss Golden Globes party at Fig & Olive with Rachel and tonight I’m finally getting to see her flick! Tomorrow I’m taking yoga and in the evening I’ll be testing out Bucato for a friend’s birthday dinner. Sunday will be all about rest and on Tuesday I’m flying back to Chicago for Thanksgiving. How will you be spending the holidays? I was inspired by Brooke’s table settings and I’m definitely planning on upping my game. I hope you have a relaxing weekend and the safest travels to your Turkey Day destinations. Keep reading below for my favorite links from the web this week!

1. Some wonderful Thanksgiving appetizers to consider for your holiday feast.
2. The prettiest chocolates I have ever seen. Almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
3. A simple popcorn bar for the holidays.
4. DIY sugar scrub for an easy at home facial.
5. A guide to proper Thanksgiving etiquette.
6. The best reminder for this time of year, we are very lucky.
7. I must find a way to replicate this ensemble.
8. A shopping guide for the best holiday tableware.
9. My newest obsession – turmeric tea.

Coming Soon: The 2014 Gift Guide

2014 Videndae Gift Guide

With gifting season officially upon us, its time to start thinking about what to get those special people in your life! Whether you are shopping for a family member, significant other, friend, or co-worker, we are putting together a guide to gift giving that will make it a little easier to find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list!

This Tuesday we will be kicking off our 2014 Gift Guide series and will be posting a new guide every week leading up to Christmas. We will cover everything from stocking stuffers, to what to get your foodie friends, your fashion forward sister, or your tech-savvy boyfriend. Do you need help finding a thoughtful, unexpected and unique gift for someone? We are here to help, so leave a comment below and let us know what you are looking for!

In addition to the Gift Guide, we will also be hosting a few special giveaways of our Videndaessentials, so keep an eye out for a chance to enter and win some of our favorite gifts this season! Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to Videndae via email so you never miss an opportunity to win! Christmas is fast approaching, so let us help you make this years holiday shopping experience an easy and enjoyable one!

Coming Home & Thanksgiving Traditions

thanksgiving conversations with mom

This past weekend I traveled from London to Michigan to spend time at home with my parents.  They are the best at giving a warm welcome.  The temperature outside was unusually cold, lots of icy scenes and massive falling snowflakes, so we found ourselves wanting to hibernate in their cozy home most of the weekend.  So relaxing!  I relished in the company of extended family and even ran into some dear old friends when we ventured downtown to my favorite cafe, Populace. It was a wonderful pre-thanksgiving visit.

This time of year most of us feel a desire to connect with family, and probably the strongest of all holiday traditions is just to be together.   Often this entails making a kind of pilgrimage back to one’s hometown which can be truly transporting.  For some it can be magical, marveling how familiar people and places have changed over time, celebrating that change and fondly remembering how things used to be.  For others this effort can be draining or stressful – you feel all types of emotions, socializing in tight quarters with people that may really know how to push your buttons!  This weekend I felt the former, fully nostalgic and blissful, recalling memories and scents and the way things looked and felt.  I soaked in the voices of my family, their tendencies and habits, thankful for the love and beauty I found all around me.

I was in the mood to reminisce.  To warm us up one afternoon, mom and I fished out her beautiful china and made a proper English tea.  Dad snapped away on his camera and I took notes as we recounted some of our favorite thanksgiving traditions.

afternoon tea

My mother’s only teapot, from her wedding china set that her grandmother gifted her.

1.  Setting the table.  At my mom’s home, this is often done a couple days in advance.  She uses natural elements like fruits, nuts, leaves, flowers and gourds.  Usually there is special wheat china we use, which is a nod to her own grandmother Lenora who was a collector of wonderfully ornate china sets (she had over 40!) in her lifetime.  Lenora had a real passion for setting a beautiful table for her family to gather around, and this has become an important tradition now for my mom, sister and I.  Here are a few images of the table settings we’ve concocted over the years:

thanksgiving table setting using pewter and mandarin at brookes apartment

My thanksgiving table setting using clementines (with leaves), pewter chargers and vintage glassware.

Jenna cork place holder thanksgiving table setting

My mom’s classic place setting, complete with her wheat china, gold accents, braided straw chargers and name tag.

modern thanksgiving table

A modern green & gold thanksgiving table, one of my first times hosting when we lived in NYC.

2.  Planning the Thanksgiving Menu.  Our menu always includes roasted turkey (of course!), white and sweet potato dishes, homemade cranberry sauce (usually more like a compote or chutney), dressing / stuffing and gravy made from scratch using an old family recipe, squash, brussels sprouts, and homemade pumpkin pie with real whipped cream.  We serve red wine and hot mulled apple cider to drink.  Mom’s number one tip is to sort the menu in time order (shortest to longest prep), then work backwards.  We make ahead things like the cranberry sauce, squash and pies the night before.

Pennys traditional thanksgiving table setting

My mother’s traditional thanksgiving table.

3.  Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The moment we wake up on thanksgiving day, mom puts on a pot of fresh coffee, pulls cinnamon buns out of the oven, and we switch on the parade to watch the spectacular floats bobbing down Broadway.  NYC has always been a special feature in our hearts and home.  And just ask my dad, we found through experience that the best place to view the parade is from the comfort of your own living room!

4.  Bringing Home our Christmas Tree.  Growing up, I knew of no such thing as Black Friday.   The day after Thanksgiving we would bundle up in our warmest clothes, borrow grandpa’s truck, and all four of us (plus doggy!) would trek out to a Christmas Tree farm forest and cut down our own tree.  The hunt was quite serious and took many hours – it had to be the perfect shape, color, smell!  Once we agreed on one, Dad would hop down underneath the tree with his saw and we would catch it as it fell.  These days, we have a false tree (saving the environment we hope), but we keep the tradition of setting up & decorating the tree in our home on the day after thanksgiving.

5.  Leftover Turkey Sandwiches.  Nothing beat mom’s hearty leftover turkey sandwiches, dressed up with tangy mayo on whole grain bread.  I never tired of eating them between rounds of reading, watching holiday movies and playing board games with the family all weekend.

What traditions does your family keep for thanksgiving?  Do you invent new ones as time passes, or stay traditional?  One new tradition mom wants to start this year is to write out what you are grateful for on cards.  I can’t wait to hear what you’re planning.

Photo credits: tea photos by John Bunnell

Thrift Shopping 101 with ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ Star Rachel Melvin

Thrift Shopping 101

Meet my friend Rachel Melvin. Not only does she star alongside Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in “Dumb and Dumber To” but she has an amazing blog, The Spotted Owl, and is an all around awesome human being (we first bonded because she wanted to feed the homeless men and women on skid row with me, she isn’t afraid to scold strangers for littering, and she saved a puppy from being killed by the breeder. Seriously people, awesome human being).

When I first met Rachel, I found myself admiring her killer style and thinking that she surely spent a fortune building her amazing wardrobe. But my assumptions were shot down time and time again when her answer to, “Where did you get that?!” was almost always, “Goodwill!”

I had never even considered shopping at a second hand store and became increasingly curious to learn her tricks for finding such incredible gems. As it turns out, she has a ton of helpful tips and after spending 45 minutes together in our local Goodwill, we both left with bags full of awesome loot. Rachel scored a beautiful Rachel Zoe sweater and black skinny jeans (pictured above) and I found this chic, cream coat for only $9!! Check out Rachel’s guide to thrift shopping below and let me know what you find!

Thrift Shopping 101

THRIFTING 101 With Rachel Melvin

How many times have you asked someone where they got their incredible something you just had to have, only to be told it’s one of a kind and was found for a bargain at a second hand retailer? It’s the worst! Primarily because most of us think thrift shopping is reserved for an incredible talented few who seem able to do it so frequently, with such ease. The best items of their outfit or apartment are most often revealed to be vintage aka. a thrift store – other times they’re just from Urban Outfitters. While it may seem you’ll never be able to master the art of thrift shopping for yourself, I’m about to show you how easy it is, and how anyone can learn a skill most people fear.

Ask anyone why they stay away from thrift stores like Goodwill, and you’ll get the same few answers:

  • They find it stressful (it’s too overwhelming for them)
  • They don’t find it hygienic (they don’t understand the items or how they end up there)
  • They never find anything good (they aren’t skilled at it)
  • They get too embarrassed (they’ve yet to get over themselves in life)

When your budget forces you to rely solely on these stores, however, your eyes are opened to a whole new world, and you rarely go back to the old one.

In practically every outfit I wear, there’s at least one item purchased from a thrift store. By mixing your inexpensive finds with investments pieces, you’ll have a polished look people will love, inquire about, and rarely suspect involved a second hand store.

The first step to thrift shopping like a pro is having the knowledge of what the stores carry and why. Knowing how the items end up there makes sifting through what seems like endless racks, a quick, simple, and efficient process.

STEP ONE: UNDERSTANDING HOW THE ITEMS END UP THERE
Avoiding judgment and getting acquainted

Where did this come from? Why is it here?

1. People donate items they don’t want: 

  • Bad gifts
  • Items one already has in excess
  • Items that no longer fit
  • A style one no longer cares for
  • Items bestowed upon someone through a death in their family
  • Items they deem “ugly”
  • Items they’ve replaced with newer versions

Most of the time it’s good stuff, in great or even new condition. One time I found a brand new, never used fondue set from Pier One Imports for six dollars. Some people simply think it’s easier and more worthwhile to get a write off for tax time than to take the time to post something on eBay that may or may not sell.

TIP: A lot of the time people donate items without thinking about what they’re donating. Their loss could be your financial gain with some quick research from your smart phone, or general knowledge.

2. People donate items that are broken, stained, defective, etc.

  • Broken Zipper
  • Hole in fabric
  • Missing button
  • Knot in a shoe string
  • Missing parts
  • Stain
  • Crack
  • Ugly color
  • Doesn’t work

Those are just a few examples of the reasons I’ve found things discarded at Goodwill. It never ceases to amaze me how someone could throw away or donate an item they deem useless, when a simple, inexpensive, and small repair can revive it. Just make sure you factor in the cost of the repair into how much the item is. Is it still less expensive than buying a similar item, new? Also, what is the true value of the item? Perhaps the cost of the repair is relatively minor compared to its overall value after.

NOTE: Truly broken items likely WILL NOT make it past the donation center into the retail space. However, you should ALWAYS double check that electronics are in working condition before you purchase them.

3. Unsold items from department stores.
Ever wonder what happens to merchandise that doesn’t sell even after a final sale? Companies often donate the remainder of their stock to second hand stores for shelf space. That’s why you’ll often see items with their original price pages still attached.

Now that you have an understanding of how items arrive at second hand stores, you should be excited and ready to find the good stuff.

Like any successful shopping trip, it’s best to have an idea of what you’re going in looking to find. This will help keep you focused and make your experience less time consuming, stressful, and overwhelming. I call this process “seeing with your blinders on.”

STEP TWO: SEEING WITH YOUR BLINDERS ON
Eliminating “stress,” “anxiety,” and feeling “overwhelmed” 

How can you go to Goodwill without losing your mind?

1. Making a shopping “grocery” list
A shopping “grocery” list consists of items missing from your home or wardrobe collection that you are either looking to add, replace, or that you actually need. This can be anything from household knick-knacks to kitchen appliances to pieces in your wardrobe.

2. Visualizing what you want to find
Have a very clear idea or vision of each item on your list, almost as if you’ve seen them in a catalogue and are trying to find something similar. Know the shade, fit, style, and size that you want or need of each item you’re looking for. The more specific you are, the more narrowed down your search, resulting in less stress and feeling less overwhelmed by all the options.

3. Knowing what you like
Personally, I’m always going for horizontal stripes, polka dots, soft textiles and greys. The fabrics, patterns, colors, and even designers you tend to lean toward most often, will jump out if there’s awareness. This generates more success because it encourages you to keep going if you feel you’re constantly noticing things you like, versus blindly sifting through things you don’t, trying to find something you might.

4. Knowing the layout of the stores
Once you know what you are out to find, it’s time to understand how the store is arranged so you know exactly where to look. “Departments” often include Men’s, Children’s, Household, Electronics, Furniture, and Women’s. Racks are organized first by article type (skirt, jeans, shirts, sweaters, jackets, dresses, etc.) and then by color.

STEP THREE: THRIFT SHOPPING LIKE A PRO
Making your shopping excursion as quick and successful as possible

How can I find the good stuff in good time?

So you’ve made it to the store and you’re ready to get in, get out, and get great stuff for a great price. Here’s how it’s done.

1. Refer to your list and head to the corresponding area of the store. Begin “seeing with your blinders on,” looking only for the colors, patterns, and/or textures you’re shopping for.

2. Look at the size after you’ve found something you like. I first look to see if the item looks like it will fit before looking at its actual labeled size. I do this because sometimes a SM or an XL might be a junior’s or a men’s thrown into the wrong section. If it looks like it will fit, off to the dressing room.

3. Try the item on that you’re considering to purchase for three reasons: 1) It gives you the opportunity to see how the item fits and feels and if it’s worth it to make any alterations. 2) It gives you the opportunity to discover any defects. Sometimes you’ll see a hole, find a stain or missing button, or notice a broken zipper. Then you can decide if it’s worth it to repair. 3) It gives you the opportunity to see what other people have tried on and left behind. A lot of times, these dressing rooms aren’t cleaned out between fittings and you can find a ton of great options hiding behind these doors or under the piles.

4. Stalk the items you like that are not yet in your possession. As mentioned, people leave things in the dressing room or put them back on a hanger if they have a change of heart or if it didn’t fit correctly.

5. Do a final swoop when you’re done shopping, to see if there’s anything you might be able to make a buck on. A lot of times, especially in LA, you’ll come across designer items on the racks. Sometimes there’s money to be made if you’re willing to resell the item online. Other times you may find a unique piece that wasn’t originally on your list that you love and simply have to have. Or, you may discover a great gift for an upcoming occasion.

NOTEAlso look for ugly things you can make cute with an instant face lift using metallic spray paint. An ugly owl figurine can turn into a chic home accent for under $5.

6. Ask for the sales of the day as most second hand stores have a rotating tag sale. On any given day a different colored tag will be marked half off. Also inquire about discounts for senior citizens, war vets, military, students, etc.

7. Know the store’s policy. At Goodwill, you are able to return items unwashed and unworn (ironically) up to seven days after purchase with your receipt for a full refund.

Check out The Spotted Owl to see more of Rachel’s Goodwill finds!