House Beautiful

Archive for the 'Goodwill Hunting' Category

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Decking the Halls (on a dime!)

My enthusiasm for the Holidays – or Holly-Days as I prefer to call them – is probably *only* matched by the enthusiasm of my good friend, Buddy the Elf.  If I could wear an elf onesie all month, I would.  Matt told me last weekend that he was gonna buy me a pogo stick and just let me go to town.  I wanna see tinsel and glowing lights and wreaths and sugarplums EVERYWHERE. And when you have that kind of delirious excitement and lunacy about Christmas, it gets really easy to blow the wad pretty fast on decking the halls.  Liiiiiiiike, a few weeks back when I was at TJ Maxx and all the most gorgeous Christmas goodness accidentally jumped into my cart, and then some little elf accidentally swiped my debit card.  #whoops

But in an ongoing effort to $AVE like the responsible adult that I am (and because those decorations above – while gorgeous – didn’t fit on my mantle), I returned the contents of said cart and hit up my favorite treasure trove of all time for some holiday decor:  BAH!  Goodwill!  Because making your house all merry and bright doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.  The thing about Goodwill is that it’s like an antique store, but cheaper.  Because most people (especially rich folks) don’t bother selling their (often beautiful and expensive) goodies on eBay or Craigslist – and/or they don’t need the money – so they just drop it off at the Mothership.  Here are a few items I scooped up that went a long way and saved me a bundle:

Pick up as many WREATHS as you can – they’re about $1.50 each.  Strip off all the tacky hub-bub on them, and hang them with inexpensive BURLAP (found at Michael’s).  I did this all around the house, and you can also do it in each exterior window.  Vintage STOCKINGS ($0.50 each) and my favorite tacky SILVER TINSEL ($0.50) also go a long way.  There are also some deep burgundy CARNATIONS (about $3) up there in little green vases.  They last for weeks.

The G-W is also a great place to scout for VINTAGE STRING LIGHTS.  I picked up these glittery pine cone lights + Santa string lights for under $10.  I also repurposed our Fall decor and lacquered my pumpkins in some GOLD SPRAY PAINT.

I think I gasped when I saw these giant bags of sparkly, FROSTED PINE CONES – for $1.91 each.  I could see these at Restoration Hardware for about $19.99 a bag. Huge thanks to the absolute Looney Bin who gave these away.

The frosted, glittery pine cones found a home inside my lily lanterns.  BANG – festive and gorgeous.

Antique ornaments – like my favorite of all time below – are also everywhere:

And if you have extras after you’ve covered the tree, fill a dough bowl or shallow container with them for a colorful display.

Christmas tree skirts are another thing that’ll run you about $100 at places like Pottery Barn. Try using a scrap of fabric you already have – like this yard of fur I pulled out of the attic, which gives the tree a warm, rustic look.

For the oft-neglected kitchen window, I printed some old family photos in different tones of black and white & sepia, then strung them up with mini-clothespins.  The fresh herbs that came in ugly containers got a quick wrap in a little burlap, tied with twine.  The Island Moonlight candles from Target (about $13 each) add some extra bling and smell JUST like Capri Blue from Anthropologie for $30.

I also did the vintage family photo thing across the mantle last week for Thanksgiving.  Makes for a great conversation piece, and adds some serious warmth and nostalgia to the house.

I mean, maybe I’m biased, but that’s just not ugly.  Best of all, the Piggy Bank is still padded and primed for Christmas Shopping!  Holler.

ALSO – don’t forget to print this free (and perky!) printable from Two Twenty One.  I was too lazy and cheap pressed for time to have anything framed, so I redneck-taped the printable to the wall with washi tape, then hung an open antique frame around it:

Happy Holidays you guys!!


Friday Faves

1.  THIS effortless summer get-up (found here).

Basic tank + fun tropical skirt (those shades are also killer).  Perfect for the scorching Arabian-desert-like heat wave we’re having…  The only thing that could make this outfit any better is due scoops of gelato.  Thinking of sporting something like this to the Pearl Jam concert tonight at Wrigley Field.  Yeah gurl.  You heard me right!  I can’t wait to hop my flight to Chicago later today, and take a trip back to the 7th grade.  I hope someone there burns some incense or patchouli.

2.  THIS Paleo pizza I made last night.

Well, there are a few shavings of Pecorino Romano on there (c’mahn – didn’t the cavemen churn cheese?), but all-in-all this is full of fresh veggies and was a delight. And gone in 4 minutes.  I totally wung this one…  is it winged or wung?  Bah, whatever.  Here’s what I did:


  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Dough (1 cup almond flour + 1 egg + 1 TBS olive oil + dash salt – mix thoroughly)…  you won’t be able to roll this, because it’ll be too sticky, so scoop the dough onto a non-stick cookie sheet, and work it into a thin round layer using your fingers.
  • In a small bowl, toss 1 clove fresh minced garlic + a glug of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) + mushrooms (I used a small container of wild ones) – then layer that on the dough.
  • Sprinkle fresh sliced heirloom tomatoes on (I used about 8 – all I could find ripe in the garden).  Sun dried tomatoes would’ve also been lovely.
  • Sprinkle a few leaves of fresh basil.  I cut these with the scissors (classy), but would’ve chiffonade’d them if I’d had more time.
  • Shave a few thin shavings of Pecorino Romano on top…  I love Pecorino because it’s got the consistency of parm, but it’s much spicier.
  • Drizzle top with a little EVOO, sea salt & fresh ground pepper.  Bake 20 minutes.
  • Makes 2 servings.

3.  THIS quote.

Which is such a good reminder, and of COURSE I got it from our most amazing and inspiring friend, Paria.  I know we all have a million things going on and probably a million things we could complain about…  but seriously.  We can all make things a little better for each other, can’t we??  I think I’ll look at it every morning.  Or better yet, hang it on the wall next to the front door and give it a good smack on my way to work every day – à la the Fighting Irish.

4.  My Goodwill scores for the week.

Which include MUCH of the colored glass in our dining vitrine (above).  AND this dining buffet (below) that was…  wait for it…  $19.  I literally threw myself on top of it when I saw it.  This shot shows the gorgeous detail of the doors, but it’s probably 6 ft long.  Going to paint the outside cream, and the inside a Tiffany’s-box-aqua color.  What do you think??

5.  Being featured as a Guest Blogger on Rent the Runway’s lifestyle blog yesterday, and talkin’ all about the makings of a good Stay-cation.

Including a KILLER playlist, some great book recs and our favorite at-home spa secret – among other things.  This is the first in what will be bi-monthly posts for them, but we could NOT be more excited.  Check it out when you have a chance!

Stay cool this weekend!