Swap Tips

I have been to many enough swaps (most of them in New York, and one in Minneapolis), that I feel like I can definitely share some tips and advice on what kind of expectations to come with, what to look for, and how to get the most value for your money (if any money is involved) and time.

1. Know the time/dateΒ of the Swap, and manage your time wisely (How long will it take me to get there? Can I take a bus or do I need to drive? How long am I willing to spend there?)

2. Decide for yourself what kind of clothes, things you are looking for. Are there some things that you are willing to take and fix up? Do you have a creative side to you? The last swap I went to had a lot of sewing equipment, which you could use (I do wish I could’ve taken a sewing machine home πŸ™‚ ) Sometimes all it takes is a pair of scissors and you end up with a cute denim skirt (I found a Gap size 4 midi skirt, and even though midi skirts are in right now, I cut a good chunk off the bottom, washed it, so it would fray and ended up with a great denim mini skirt for the next summer. Those are always in style!)

3. If you are at a swap where there is food or cosmetics – check for expiration date!

4. It’s normal to be shy when you attend your first swap, or a swap at a new place (I have to admit I was shy at the one in Minneapolis at first πŸ™‚ ), but don’t be shy – go out there, look through things that are available, swaps are like – digging for gold!

5. If you come across an article of clothing that you are unsure of, put it back, someone else will put this to a great use.

6. Try things on. Sometimes there will be a place to try things on, sometimes – there won’t. I suggest wearing leggings or a skirt, that will allow you more freedom trying on skirts/shorts/pants. When it comes to tops – those, I found I can pick out without trying them on, so that’s a win-win situation.

7. Go to a swap party with your friends. I found that bringing (read: dragging) your significant other to a swap is not worth it, unless they are into swapping as much as you are! Last time I went swapping I was gone for over 4 hours. My husband would’ve definitely wanted to leave after 5 minutes of being there. And swaps don’t work like that, because new people come and bring new stuff, and you never know what time they are going to show up πŸ™‚

8. Have fun! Meet people, strike small conversation, tell people something looks good on them, give out compliments, smile! When you radiate positive energy, people will draw to you!

I hope you find these tips helpful and will go and check out the next swap near you. To find a swap go to:Β http://events.swap.com/


Thrifting for Treasure 4: Jewelry (and other stuff)

I did it, I went and bought my first pair of vintage ear-rings. My grandma’s ear rings don’t count, because I didn’t pay a dime ( or a ruble, if you like) for them. Now these were a pair I got from Steeple People. Took my friend Zhanna there today. And she loved it! We also checked out the local Buffalo Exchange and there was a black Coach bag that I fell in love with, and you know how much I love vintage Coach purses, but I wasn’t willing to pay $24 for it. So I walked away from it. I know that it would’ve found a great home with me, but not for this much money.

I was also trying to find some bright colored jeans, and alas – that was unsuccessful.

Anyways – today I got:

1. 1980’s enamel ear rings. Don’t worry, I am going to clean those with rubbing alcohol before putting them on!

(Sorry for the quality of the picture – the writing above the earrings says – 1980’s pierced 2 – ) Yes, these cost me only 2 BUCKS!

2. Crocheted white shawl! I really really REALLY hope it’s hand-made πŸ˜‰

I know my couch looks good wearing this πŸ™‚ I promise to take pictures wearing it MYSELF!

3. A Crochet Kit! Which I am not going to use the way it’s intended. I have finally decided that I have time to open an etsy shop, so some cool things are about to come πŸ™‚ This is some Victorian stocking pattern, which is just cool to see, because that’s vintage for sure!

4. Some free Star Wars! And a few Economists. This was for Sam. Star Wars were more of a joke, and the Economists were for him to see if he wanted to subscribe to that mag!

What did you thrift today???

Zhenya H


Highlights of my Day! (SHOES, duh!)

Number 1: I got my Minnesota driver’s license (not in the mail yet, but I got it). For those of you who don’t know – to get a license in this wonderful land of 10,000 lakes, you gotta take the Permit Test! Wha??? Yes, you heard me. So I studied, studied, studied, and viola – passed it! I was also excited about getting a new picture on my license, and have my weight change from 120 to 117 lb! The lady at the DMV and I have also decided that my eye color is Grey! Took us a while to figure it out, she was going to put it down as blue, but my eyes are anything, but… Well anyways, once the license actually comes in the mail, I’ll let you all take a look πŸ™‚

Number 2: Thrifting! I totally planned that! You know me! After I was done at the DMV, which was located on Lake and Chicago, I went east to check out the local Savers. On the way there, though, I got sidetracked to St. Vincent’s thrift store and got the most amazing $4 pair of shoes you can get!

The coolest thing is that they are made in Brazil, so I wanted to use this moment and say hi to all of my Brazilian friends out there! You girls are a ton of fun!

And last but not least: Sam and I made Peanut Butter/Hershey Hugs Blossoms – aren’t they tasty looking?

I hope you had a Fantabulous day! I love you all, and thanks for reading πŸ™‚



PS. I did make it to Savers and it didn’t impress me much. I will do a more detailed review later in one of my upcoming posts, where I will talk about the most popular thrift stores in Minneapolis! So stay tuned!


Thrifting for Treasure 3 – Home Edition

Hey everyone and happy Monday! Here on Being Zhenya I enjoy every day of the week! Why? Because every day has something amazing and new to bring, plus every day includes amazing finds and discoveries. Today I found 10% sulfur at our local CVS – there is definitely a good side to living very close to a hispanic neighborhood. I will tell you more about it in one of my upcoming blog posts. Today’s is all about thrifting (AGAIN πŸ™‚ )

When thrifting for treasure, you mustn’t forget that treasure can also be something you can use to decorate your home, not just clothes and purses. So I wanted to quickly show you some things that I have thrifted over the past month and that I use to decorate our apartment.

My latest find are these 4 paintings, which I got for 2 dollars at the Salvation Army – they would’ve cost me 4 dollars, but it was a blue tag sale day, so I got 50% off.

Whoever donated those – THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! I also apologize for the quality of these pictures, but Sam and I have been talking, and we are going to try and get a new camera around Christmas – since I also have some ideas on what kind of photography related posts I want to do around Minneapolis! Shhhhhh! It’s a secret.

The next pieces all came from SPSS (Steeple People on S.Lyndale)

These are embroidered potted plants. Since I hate real potted plants, I went for the embroidered version. The one on the left is Cyclamen and the one on the right is Azalea. And I don’t ever need to water these! How awesome is that!

Do you remember the Tea Pot Song, the one that was short and stout? Well my $1 Salvation Army tea pot is quiet elegant:

And last but not least, my coffee tin – I wish coffee came in such tins now. Can’t even put this next to a modern day plastic coffee jar/tin/whateverintheworlditis.

I know these are not major purchases, but they serve their decorating purposes well! Also, Sam won’t let me get a coffee table! So please leave comments under this post, and let me know if you want me to have a coffee table or not!

Love you all,

Rehearsal Dinner Outfit

So it’s been a few days since the wedding and the rehearsal dinner, but I kinda feel like bragging about my rehearsal dinner outfit. I apologize for bragging in advance, but if you are a vintage lover like me, you’ll understand why πŸ™‚

So here is what I wore (I am the one on the right, in case you were wondering):

So let me break this down for you: top – Banana Republic – freecycled in NYC, belt- also freecycled in NYC, skirt – vintage Sophisticates by Pendleton – $1.99 – Salvation army. Too bad my Etra clutch isn’t in any of these pics, but it’s in my previous post. Now I wore all this with this pair of shoes from Target (these were my emergency shoes that I bought when my sandals broke in the middle of the street, and they go amazingly well with this outfit)

The shoes were on Clearance for about $13, I believe. Now the total outfit comes down to $16, not bad for a rehearsal dinner, I think πŸ™‚

Tomorrow I will let you in on another secret about the skirt!




PS. Our rehearsal dinner was held at Buce di Beppo – amazing place if you ask me!

Thrifting for Treasure 2

This is a long overdue post about my last weeks trip to Salvation Army in the Warehouse district of Minneapolis. I love that place, what more can I say. Why? Let me show you below!

Here is my $1 Etra clutch (leather too πŸ™‚ )

Β I absolutely love how it opens up in a diamond shape! Diamonds are a girl’s best friend you know, even if they are just shapes!

Up next is another vintage COACH bag (oh yeah! I lucked out again!) That baby only cost me $4.99

This next item will be a subject of an upcoming post (most likely this week), so stay tuned. It’s 100% wool ivory coat, from Nordstrom, with original tags attached, as well as a spare button! This amazing find was only $3.99 – Welcome to Minnesota, what else can I say ?!

And finally my silk vintage skirt (with pockets) which I wore to our rehearsal dinner, and which cost me only $1.99

This skirt will also be featured in one of my upcoming posts! So stay tuned!

What cool thrift finds did you get last week?

My Rules of Thrifting

Do you remember playing treasure hunts with your friends when you were little? Or hot/cold (where you hide something, and the person is walking around the room or playground, and you say hot or cold or warmer/colder if he gets closer/further away from the “treasure” object)? That’s what thrifting is like for me.

There is a book out there called “Games People Play” (you can learn more about the book hereΒ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Games_People_Play_(book)Β – thrifting is my game! And it is just like that treasure hunt that I’ve mentioned above.

And just like any good game, my thrifting game has it’s rules. Now these rules are mine and mine alone, you can follow them or create your own:

1. When thrifting buy ONLY vintage or rare brands. That’s the whole idea of a treasure hunt! Yesterday I spent over an hour looking through the purses at a local Salvation Army. And an hour later I found another vintage Coach purse in brown! (Pics to come soon!)

2. Sometimes people would want to go thrifting with you, so when thrifting with friends make sure you tell them that they are free to look around on their own. But it’s always fun to goof around and try on ridiculous outfits.

Definitely check out Sammy D’s blog – the link is on the right side of the screen, under Blogs that Inspire me – She is a vintage goddess πŸ™‚

3. Never buy Polyester! You want your skin to breathe, right? I don’t want to go into the whole explanation on why cotton is better for you, I trust we understood each other πŸ™‚

4. Check if the store where you are shopping has regular sales or special one-day sales. For example the local Salvation Army has 50% off Yellow tag or 50% off Green tag. And last week they had all women’s tees for $1. It’s really hard to predict those sales, sometimes it’s going to be mere luck! I scored some awesome things on sale yesterday, but as funny as it may sound, a week before, when I was vase shopping for my wedding centerpieces, I got some of the vases for a dollar, and some for 50% off. They were identical too πŸ™‚

( Sammy D’s pic again! She is just a great source of pictures of thrift stores and other oddities! Love you, Sammy!)

5. Bring your own bag. I know this sounds OC, but I feel like thrifting is a way of staying green. And another thing that being green goes with in my head is using a re-usable bag. I love my Zabars bag, I got it right before I left for Russia, and brought it back – it’s so durable, I can’t even describe πŸ™‚

I have mentioned above that for me thrifting is hunting for brands or vintage. Now I don’t buy all vintage or all expensive brands (but I will not buy Old Navy or some Target brand at a thrift store, nor will I wear clothes by those brands – I will explain in the future posts, I promise). I also try and stay away from Buffalo Exchange (though I have nothing against this store and even wanted to work there at some point) and those type of stores, because walking into one, I feel like walking into a condensed version of a regular shopping mall, and yes the opportunity to buy a Betsy Johnson dress or a BCBG jacket is definitely appealing to me, but it’s so much more fun to find something like that at a regular thrift store. Though they do sell vintage at Buffalo Exchange and it’s usually cheaper than the other dresses. Anyways, this is a whole new subject πŸ™‚

I hope you all are having a happy vintagy and thrifty week!

Also definitely check out Sammy D’s blog and her tips on how to thrift store shop.

Hugs go out to all of you! Spread the good karma!

Thrifting for Treasure: Vintage Coach Bag

Ever since I moved to Minneapolis, I’ve been dying to check out the local thrift stores! Of course I googled the nearest ones to Loring Park. And ended up with quiet a few results. The first store I decided to check out is called Steeple People Surplus Store, which is located on the corner of W Franklin and S Lyndale Ave.Β Turns out it is an outreach project of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church (HAUMC). The store opened its doors in 1979. Which makes the store vintage on it’s own πŸ™‚

The store immediately reminded me of Housing Works in NYC. The atmosphere, the items for sale, it’s all so warm and welcoming. I was going to the thrift store because I needed a new cross body bag. Marshalls didn’t have anything that I liked, and Macy’s was too expensive. I was 100% confident I would find something at SPSS. And I did! A vintage COACH bag, for $10! How cool is that? I didn’t even know it was coach, until I looked inside. The outside of the bag is pretty worn off, but that adds to the vintage feel. And it matched my Urban Outfitters Dress perfectly, so I had to have it.

Please don’t mind my facial expressions or my McDonald’s T-shirt πŸ™‚

I also got this cool macrame hand-made clutch. I showed it to my mom on Skype today, and she knew it was macrame right away! She’s got the eye of the professional indeed!

What thrifted treasures did you find this week?

Have a great weekend and Happy Thrifting πŸ™‚