how to: plan a thriftcation

I’m heading out on a weekend-long road trip with my beau tomorrow and I’ve got to be honest—instead of thinking about the fancy condo waitin’ for us (there’s a fireplace!) or all the fun things we’ll do and see, I’ve been busy daydreaming about the thrifts we’ll be hitting on the way! It’s a cheap, addictive thrill, exploring out-of-town thrift stores. But in order to maximize your time and not miss any gems, there’s a fair amount of preparation to do before you hit the road. Since this topic’s fresh on my mind, tonight I thought I’d quickly share a few do’s and don’ts for thriftcation planning.


Ask around. Before I embark on any significant thrifting trip, I ask friends and acquaintances familiar with my destination for their suggestions. Don’t know anyone where you’re headed? That’s what Twitter is for! Another trick: Once you’re shopping around a small town thrift, ask an employee if there are any other stores in the area. More often than not, they’ll have great suggestions for you.

Do map out your route. Look to see what towns are on the way, and then look up to see what stores are easy to access from the highway. I have three must-stop-spots  between Minneapolis and my hometown that are within a painless five minutes of I-94. It just seems silly not to pop in when they’re right there!

Do update your apps. My most recent happy app discovery is the FREE Craigslist app. You can find details about the other iPhone apps I rely on when I’m out thrifting here.

Do keep your eyes open. Tons of estate sales, flea markets, garage sales and thrift store listings never find their way to the great world wide web. Gas-station signs, church bulletin boards, fliers on a telephone pole, ads in a community newspaper, sandwich board signs—look out for them all!


Don’t blow your budget just because you’re out of town. It’s easy to lose your head when you’re on the road, trust me, I know. Avoid buyer’s remorse by staying true to your normal high standards for quality.

Don’t ignore who you’re thrifting with. My boyfriend has a saintly level of patience when it comes to my thrifting addiction, but even the most heaven-sent companions have their limits. Don’t wear your partner in crime out or you might not have a buddy for your next trip!

Don’t forget to eat. Stopping for breakfast at a greasy spoon diner or breaking for a milkshake along the way make thrifting road trips way more fun, not to mention more memorable. (Have I mentioned I just like to eat?)

I hope these dos and don’ts come in handy the next time you set out to plan a road trip. As for me, I’d better sign off so I can finish packing…our 5 a.m. departure time is going to roll around before I know it. I hope y’all have beautiful weekends!



P.S. The photo above was taken last May at the Am Vets thrift store in Memphis, Tennessee, conveniently located just down the street from Graceland. :-)

weekend road trip


Since I’ll be working Thanksgiving weekend at the shop, I’m heading home today to squeeze in a little family time. I’m looking forward to bundling up and walking along the beach, a lunch date with my momma at our favorite soda fountain (I dream of their chicken salad sammy & mocha malts), buying way too much wine and homemade frozen marinara sauce at Tenuta’s, breakfasting at this amazing little dive, digging through my mom’s recipe box for a fun giveaway Rae and I have planned for the Dec. 10th sale and of course, thrifting as much as my bank account will allow. Hitting all the stores I used frequent in my younger days brings back so many good, fun memories I seriously am so excited. Fingers crossed I’ll have tons of good finds to share with you all next week. In the meantime, have wonderful weekends!



thrifting trip: minneapolis to cambridge

{A gawk-worthy sunflower farm blooms outside Isanti.}

Hello dears!

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite Saturday morning thrifting trips, from Minneapolis to Cambridge. This route rocks because it’s peppered with thrifts you can visit on the way, and once you’re to Cambridge, there are three stores within a couple of blocks. The drive’s do-it-in-your-sleep easy–just cruise up Central Avenue (also known as county road 65) and you’re there! I recommend going on Saturday mornings before traffic builds up (there are a ton of lights on 65). And, some of the thrifts in Cambridge close up shop in the mid-afternoon on the weekends. New to this map, I included a few of my favorite spots to stop for snacks, ranging from the co-op in Cambridge (if I’m hankering for kombucha) to the Main Street bar/grill that makes delicious Bloody Marys and super cheap burgers.

Happy hunting!

If you like this post, might you find my thrifting maps for St. Cloud, Burnsville and up 35W useful too?



heckya fargo thrifting


This weekend, I’m excited to f-i-n-a-l-l-y head up to Fargo for a mini thrifting adventure. Going to new thrift stores makes me downright giddy, which I know is probably not normal at all. But really, spending the weekend hunting for awesome stuff that lies just a day away—how can that not be a fun time? I’ve saved up some dollars for gas and goodies too, which means I don’t feel badly about stopping a lot on the way there and back. St. Cloud, Alexandria, Fergus Falls, wherever else is on the way, I’m a comin’ for ya!


I wish I could leave right this instant BUT…this girl’s got bills to pay (lots of ’em) and a to-do list at work that’s freakishly long, so it’s off to the office I go. I hope you all have wonderful Fridays!



i’m back! with photos of a chicken shack!

Ten days, eight states, nine tanks of gas, 2,300 miles and hours & hours of uninterrupted time with my sweetheart. Yep, our road trip was everything I hoped for and then a whole lot more.  I have a ton of photos to go through, but here are a few snaps from my favorite meal of the trip…taken at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville.

Anyway, I have to dash to the Apple store to get my sick little Mac looked at. :-( Check back tomorrow though…I’m running a super sweet giveaway I know y’all are going to love!



vacation planning: music studio tours

A few afternoons ago, my man and I sat down for what’s surely the first of many road-trip planning sessions. Most of the must-sees this trip are music-related, including a couple studio tours. Poring over the Stax, Sun Studio and RCA Studio B websites got me thinkin’ about other studios that’d be fun to visit someday.
Consider this, my bucket list.

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

Shown above is Tony Joe White, Donnie Fritts, Kris Kristospherson, John Prine and Dan Penn in front 3614 Jackson Highway, in Sheffield, Alabama. A million-and-a-half artists recorded here, including The Staple Singers, Eddie Floyd, Canned Heat, Bob Seger, Tony Joe White, Albert King, Aretha Franklin, Traffic. Check out a gallery of albums made there here.

Gold Star Recording Studios

Here’s Phil and Ronnie Spector, in this famed Los Angeles studio. This venue hosted artists like Ritchie Valens, Eddie Cochran, The Beach Boys (a portion of Pet Sounds was recorded at Gold Star, including “Good Vibrations”), Buffalo Springfield, Duane Eddy, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers and Herb Alpert. This studio was also the recording home of ABC’s TV primetime show “Rock & Roll Shindig.”

Hitsvillle U.S.A.

It’s so crazy  to think of how many songs were recorded in this little home studio. Motown greats, like The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson And The Miracles, Diana Ross And the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves And The Vandellas, Mary Wells and the Jackson 5 all recorded here.

Dodd’s Studio One

Pictured above is Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, the owner of Studio One label, with a very young Bob Marley. Lots of Jamaican artists, including Toots & the Maytals, Burning Spear, Dennis Brown, Bob Andy and Skatalites, recorded at Dodd’s.

Olympic Sound Studios

It was a sad day in 2008 when this mecca for classic rock lovers closed down. The Troggs recorded “Wild Thing,” Led Zeppelin made Physical Graffiti, the Rolling Stones recorded six consecutive albums there between 1966 and 1972 and The Who recorded their classic albums Who’s Next and Who Are You.

RCA Studio B

I cannot wait to visit the “Home of 1,000 Hits,” including Bobby Bare’s “Detroit City,” Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors,” Waylon Jennings’ “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line” and a slew of Elvis smashes, like “Good Luck Charm,” “Little Sister” and “Are you Lonesome Tonight.” So. Pumped.

Are music studios hallowed ground to you as well? Any in particular you’d like to visit?




film share friday: hot doug’s

Any day I eat a hot dog and cheese fries before noon is all right in my book. But when the dog and fries are from Hot Doug’s? Well, those days aren’t just all right, they’re downright fantastic. And today was one of those days. Here are pics from another, taken last August. (Doesn’t that blue summer sky look nice?)

(Taken with my Superheadz Slim 35mm.)

Happy weekend!


gone rockin’

Oh my gosh you guys, it’s finally Friday!!!

I can barely contain myself today, because tomorrow, my honey & I are heading to Chicago to see Iggy & The Stooges.  It feels like we bought our tickets 150 years ago, and the fact that this weekend is THE weekend is making me supremely giddy.

I have a hunch that the weekend will go by in a literal blink, because we have loads of stuff we want to do. Like take a tour of Chess Records. Sight see from a boat. Eat tacos & play the jukebox at Big Star. Pig out on Lou Malnati’s deep-dish pizza. Dance ourselves silly at a soul dance party at The Empty Bottle. Stock up on Bears gear (for me, not him). Swim in Lake Michigan. Eat hot dogs at Hot Doug’s. Party at Al Capone’s old hangout after The Stooges. Oh, and did I mention we’re staying here? No really. I’m not joking.

I secretly hope to sneak in the teensiest bit of vintage shopping, too, but won’t be heartbroken if I that doesn’t happen. I’m bringing, like four cameras (including this new toy beauty I got specifically for the trip), so get prepped to see lots of photos from our big city adventure next week.

Happy weekends, everyone!!!



P.S. Pretty photo of Chicago was found here.

thrifting trip: family pathways thrift stores off highway 35

Hey lovelies!

Scattered in a row along Highway 35, heading north out of the Twin Cities, are a handful of magical little thrift stores, benefiting the Cambridge, Minn.-based nonprofit, Family Pathways. The shops are mere minutes off the highway, which makes hopping off and checking them out practically effortless. Below you’ll find a quick overview of each Family Pathways store along 35. To make your treasure-hunting even easier, I made a handy little map, complete with each shop’s address, phone number and store hours. (Click on the pinpoint to view details!)

Common Denominators

Every Family Pathways I’ve visited has been clean and staffed with very friendly folks. Every shop has fitting rooms and all of them accept credit cards.

Some (Rush City, Wyoming and Pine City) are open on Sundays. This is a definite plus for someone who can’t get out of town to thrift Monday through Friday.

The chain offers a Frequent Buyer Bucks punch card. Once your card is full (or, after you’ve spent $120), you get $10 off your next purchase. You can rack up punches at all the shops, so if you’re a regular thrifter, it’s smart to get a punch card going.

Unlike many thrift stores, at most Family Pathways, the staff separates the vintage and “retro” items from the regular merchandise. Keep you eyes open for a stand-alone rack (sometimes labeled “Retro Rack” or “Vintage”) or display, usually found towards the front of the store. Usually they lump older clothes, housewares and gadgets all together.

One of my big pet peeves with some thrifts, like Unique, is inconsistent pricing. At Family Pathways, everything’s pretty standard. All vintage dresses, for example, are going to be around $4. This, I like.

Heading north on 35, you’ll come to, in this order…

Forest Lake

This is one of the biggest Family Pathways, and also one of the most far-flung off the highway (about five minutes). I was impressed with the furniture selection and the huge amount of housewares. The clothes were kind of meh and I didn’t spot a vintage section. I also felt the pricing was a bit higher here than the other stores. Perhaps because it’s the closest to the Cities?


No photo of this one, sorry folks! This is an average-size store, with so-so merchandise. I’ve found some nice ’70s and ’80s dresses here along with my favorite “I ♥ Dancing” key chain. It’s also one of the easiest stores to get to—you can see the shop from the highway.

Rush City

The Rush City store is tucked into the same building as a grocery (Rush City Foods), liquor store and bakery. It’s pretty small, but they have a healthy selection of vintage stuff. Last weekend, I found some really precious 1950s duds for a baby boy, an incredibly cute red and white polka-dotted country square-dancing dress and a handful of other nice dresses.

Pine City

The Pine City shop is also just a hop-skip-and-a-jump off the highway. This store went through a thorough remodel this year leaving it very clean and spacious. I bought a collection of vintage pop bottles there for 25-50 cents each, and have also found some pretty retro dresses, including a sleek silk cocktail dress from the 1960s. The furniture selection is pretty slim.


At the risk of feeling like I’m picking my favorite kid here, I have to say that this is my top pick of all the Family Pathways. First of all, I’m a sucker for tiny, old downtowns, and this shop is right on Main Street in Hinckley. It’s a good size, and right up front, there’s a huge display of all kinds of antique-y, vintage-y goodness. I filled up a basket this weekend with tons of pretty things, including a sweet silk Diane von Furstenberg blouse, a Grand Old Opry souvenir and some new (old) thigh-high stockings. I also found some sweet postcards from the 1970s. Expect to see a more detailed store review of this shop coming up in the next couple weeks.

Family Pathways also has shops in Cambridge, Isanti, Princeton and North Branch, but since they’re not on 35, I left them out of this little round-up. (You can find info about all the stores here.) The money spent at these shops goes to supporting senior services, food pantries and youth services programs. The nonprofit has been serving Isanti, Chisago, Pine, Kannabec and Mille Lacs counties for nearly 33 years and meets the Charities Review Council Smart Givers standards.

I hope that this post and the map is helpful. I’m thinking of making more maps of some my favorite thrifting routes. Is that something y’all would be into? Let me know!



P.S. Many thanks to my sweetheart, who told me about Family Pathways back when we first started dating, long before this blog was born. You’re the best, honey!

going up the country

Friday is finally here!

And tonight, I’m getting the heck out of the city. I’m heading up north for a weekend full of thrifting, picture-taking and hopefully, lots and lots of swimming, sunning, walking and reading. You know, pretty much all of my favorite things. I’ve been a bit of a crabby Sally the past few days, but have faith that time in the woods will bring my outlook back to it’s usual Pollyanna-ish state.

But before I go, I’m happy to announce the winners of the “Super Friends” giveaway. Congrats to Anna from A Banana Medley and Lisa from Making Electricity! Send me your mailing addresses gals, and I’ll drop your zines in the mail on Monday.

I hope you all have fantastic weekends everyone!