Thrift Stores Rock! | TOD’S Handbag Find

thrift_stores_rock

The Thrill of the Hunt

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – thrift stores rock!  Not only are you giving back to your local communities when you shop at them (giving to charity is totally cool!), but you never know what treasure or bargain you’re going to find when enter through those thrift shop doors.

Here’s a case in point.

On Friday my family and I took a little trip to our local Good Will, and lo and behold my husband picked up what may be the best thrift store find ever!

We usually split up when we shop – it’s faster to shop that way when kids are in tow.  I was in one section of the store with my daughters, and my husband was in another section with our son.   My husband happened to go past the handbags (which I usually find my way toward eventually – I love a good bag), and he spotted something he thought I might like (yeah, he’s sweet like that).  He showed it to me, and while I didn’t inspect the bag too closely, I liked it enough to throw it in my basket.

Long story short, after heading home, relaxing for a while, and perusing our thrift store bargains, I noticed what I came home with.  Let’s just say I could probably sell it on Ebay and make a sweet profit (I won’t though -  I’m too sentimental.  My husband found it for me, plus I think it’s a really nice handbag).

What’s All the Fuss About?

I looked closely at the bag – nearly perfect in it’s condition.  Only one tiny little scuff, hardly visible at all.  Then I noticed the logo…

and it said…

TOD’S.

[caption id="attachment_4397" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="TOD'S bag in my favorite color, chocolate brown."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_4398" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="TOD'S logo on the inside pocket."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_4399" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="TOD'S signature zipper pull with T and lion's head."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_4400" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="See the $4 price marked on the inside pocket?"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_4401" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="TOD'S signature logo on the outside of the bag."][/caption]

I knew the bag was very nice, and that it was genuine leather – you could tell just by looking at it that it was a very well made piece.  I loved it’s beautiful simplicity, and the fact that it was in such impeccable condition made me very happy to have come home with it.

After discovering exactly what I had purchased, I couldn’t believe that I was fortunate enough to walk away with such a high-end designer piece -  I mean the bag looks like new.  Here’s the best part – I paid a whopping $4 for the bag!  Talk about a deal, huh?

Of course I did a little research to be sure that it wasn’t a fake.  According to everything I found, I scored a 100% authentic TOD’S handbag, and for $4.  That’s an awfully frugal buy if I may so so myself!  (Had the bag been priced for more than $5, I would have left it at the store – $5 is my limit when it comes to a used handbag – that would have been a bummer!)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a slave to any label or brand.  I’m a bargain lover pure and simple – and when I can find a designer bag that costs into the thousands of dollars range for practically pennies – that pretty doggone exciting stuff!

The moral of this story -  it pays to be a frugalista. ;)

What about you?  Do you have a passion for thrift store shopping?  Have you uncovered the bargain of the century?  Feel free to leave a comment an let us know. ;)

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It’s Green Find Saturday! | Alba Botanica Terra Tints in Bloom

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Pucker Up

Welcome to another lovely Saturday Green Find.  This week:  get pink and pouty with Alba Botanica Terra Tints in Bloom.

I’m not big on make up -  I’m the kind of girl who loves the natural look.  Every once in a while, however, I like to add a hint of color to my face with a little tinted lip balm or gloss.

I purchased my Terra Tints from Whole Foods for a whopping $3.99.  The color is soft and natural looking (Bloom – it sounds all lovely and spring-like, doesn’t it?), and the texture is similar to a gloss.  It has a tiny hint of peppermint to it, and contains chemical free SPF.

Although it’s 70% percent organic, the color, texture, and price make up for the other 30% that’s not.  I’m definitely going to give another shade of Terra Tints a try – this one’s a keeper. ;)

What about you?  Have a favorite natural/green beauty product?  Feel free to leave a comment and share it! ;)

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Plastic Bag Challenge Update

30 Day Plastic Bag Challenge Update

Off to A Good Start…

Well gang, it’s the sixth day of my self-imposed thirty day plastic bag challenge, and so far with three small shopping trips under my belt, I’ve managed to forgo a total of at least eleven plastic shopping bags.  I’m pretty stoked about that, considering we really haven’t done our usual amount of shopping for the beginning of the month.

Think about it – if ten families skipped just ten bags per month, that equals a whopping 100 plastic bags saved from polluting the environment.  Wishful thinking?  Maybe, but a girl can dream… ;)

Won’t you take the challenge too?  Feel free to let us know your thoughts, and a tweet about the 30 day challenge would be much appreciated too. Thanks! ;)

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Thirty Day Plastic Bag Challenge

Thirty Day Plastic Bag Chcallenge

Hate Plastic Shopping Bags?

I do.  It’s almost impossible to escape plastic bags – they’re everywhere.  Try as we might, we still end up with a few plastic shopping bags during the month.

I don’t think I need to explain the necessities of skipping the plastic while shopping – oil, animals, water, pollution – it all factors in.

We take our reusable tote bags with us when we shop, but sometimes we don’t take enough or forget to put them back into the car for the next round of shopping.  We’re getting much better at remembering to take our tote bags into the stores we shop at, however, and so I thought it would be cool to do a little experiment.  For the next thirty days we’ll be keeping track of how many plastic bags we’ve saved from the land fill by using our reusable tote bags to carry home our purchases.  Our tote bags are of varying sizes, so I’ll be taking that into consideration while tallying up my totals.  Some of our totes would be the equivalent to two plastic shopping bags, while the rest carry the same amount as their plastic counterpart.

Feel free to take the 30 Day Plastic Bag Challenge with me.  I’d love to see others participate – who knows how much plastic we can kill!

Here’s a tip:  If you want to participate, but don’t have enough reusable tote bags and don’t want (or can’t afford) to buy new bags, visit your local thrift stores.  You can probably find some great bags for very little money, plus you’re giving your dollars to good a cause.  We buy most of our totes from our local Hospice Thrift Store, and at $0.25 and $0.50 per bag we can afford to stock up.

Got some thoughts on the 30 Day Plastic Bag Challenge?  Feel free to leave a comment, and letting others know about the challenge would be pretty cool too! ;)

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Plastic Bags Must Die!

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Thin plastic shopping bags
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In a perfect world there would be no hunger, no homelessness, no wars, and absolutely NO plastic shopping bags!

Plastic bags are everywhere.  You can’t get away from plastic bags no matter how hard you try.  Sure, you take your reusable shopping bags to the store with you, but sometimes you forget them in the car and don’t feel well enough to hoof it back outside to retrieve them.   Then there are times when you simply didn’t take enough of them to the store with you in the first place, and you’re left feeling like a jerk because you’ll have to leave the store with those darn plastic bags after all.

I live in California where we have a serious bag problem, and a proposed bill (AB 1998) to help reduce plastic bag pollution.  I’m all for the bill’s passage.  I’m also the kind of girl who will chase down plastic bags in parking lots and on sidewalks – I hate the idea that a loose bag may end up in the stomach of some poor unsuspecting animal, or worse.

I’ve also been known to turn those unwanted plastic shopping bags into a recycled, reusable shopping tote (at least try to, anyway).

Here’s a short video that I discovered on enviromom.com, entitled The Majestic Plastic Bag – A Mockumentary.  Give it a look – it’s sad with a little humor mixed in. ;)

What about you?  Do you take reusable bags when you go shopping?   What do you do with your plastic shopping bags? Feel free to leave a comment and let us know where you stand. ;)

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It’s Green Find Saturday! | EO Chamomile & Honey Shampoo

EO Chamomile & Honey Shampoo

Everyone likes a nice clean head of hair, but who wants to have a great head of hair that comes with a long list of unpronounceable, potentially dangerous ingredients?  I know I don’t, and I don’t want my family to either.

Buyer Beware

Too many shampoos on the market today contain ingredients considered to be potentially toxic to our health.  My good health, and the good health of my family, is far more important than any shampoo claiming to make my hair fuller, shinier, more manageable, or easier on my wallet.

Finding a good all-natural shampoo can be difficult.  Shopping for them in regular drug and discount stores is typically an exercise in futility.  You may find a shampoo that says “organic” or “natural” on the label, but beware,  it probably isn’t.

Since making the switch from regular shampoos to their all-natural counterparts, I’ve spent a lot of time looking high and low for a shampoo that smelled good, didn’t weigh my hair down, left my hair feeling healthy and clean, and didn’t leave my wallet empty.  Believe me when I say this wasn’t an easy task.

EO to the Rescue

It took a lot of trial and error before I stumbled upon a shampoo that was right for me, and for my budget.  Most shampoos left me disappointed in the end.  They were either too expensive, or just didn’t do the job I wanted them to.

I discovered EO Chamomile & Honey Shampoo at my local Whole Foods Market.  It was on sale,  I needed to buy some shampoo, and I figured if I didn’t like it, at least I wouldn’t be out too much money.

Their shampoo was exactly the kind of product I was looking for.  It smells lovely (reminds me of summertime), foams up just enough, and leaves my hair extremely clean.  I can go up to four days without washing my hair before it starts feel like it needs another shampooing.  Plus it’s pretty economical too.  Although the bottle is only 8.4 ounces, it lasts a long time – and with five people in the house, that’s pretty incredible.

The best part about EO’s Chamomile & Honey shampoo, is that it’s all-natural.  I can feel good knowing that I’m using a product that doesn’t contain any funky ingredients, and that my family isn’t being exposed to toxic substances like Parabens, Sodium Lareth/Lauryl Sulfate, Disodium EDTA, or Polysorbate.

Customer Appreciation

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know just how important organic products are to me.  I believe in buying organic products.  I feel they’re far better for a person’s health, and much better for the planet.

At first I was concerned that EO products weren’t USDA certified organic (I’ve tried other EO products before and love them!), so I did a little research on their company and their products to make sure they were items I could feel comfortable using.

According to EWG‘s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, EO is a company that is fully compliant with the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, and maintains full member status.  This is something that is very important to me, and shows me EO really cares about their customers safety, and the quality of their products.

I was further impressed after reading about their company on their website, and have since learned EO’s reasons for not labeling their products as organic.  Since there are no guidelines for organic personal care products, they only label those products that meet USDA Food Grade Standards for organic labeling.  That is very cool, and shows me they are a company I can trust.  Plus (for me anyway) they are fairly local.  Buying locally made items is important to me.  It’s good for the environment (not a lot of transporting), and helps to stimulate our economy.

You can visit EO’s website to learn more about their company, their products, and where you can purchase them.

What about you?  Are you concerned about the ingredients in your hair care products?  Do you look for all-natural, or organic on the label?

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Twenty-One Tips for Dealing with Your Cell Phone Carrier

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]No cellphone sign at Bet-Ariela library[/caption]

This post was originally published as a way for me to vent my frustration while waiting on hold to speak with a customer service representative from my cell phone provider.  Although I was pretty miffed that I had to wait so darn long, it was a hoot writing about my customer service (or lack of) experience.

I’m revisiting this post as part of the SITS Back to Blogging Challenge – Day 3.

Got a problem with your cell phone and have to deal with your cell phone company?  I did do.  Toady.  Right now.

I’ve been on the phone with my carrier for more than two hours, listening to their awful elevator music, whilst trying NOT to go completely bananas or die of boredom.

I’m still on hold as I write this (so please overlook any errors – be kind, it’s been a rough morning!).

Here are some tips to help YOU keep sane the next time you have to deal with your cell phone carrier:

  1. Catch up on your email.
  2. Read the newest posts form your favorite blogs (like mine).
  3. Dancersize to the elevator music – exercise helps with the rage.
  4. Make a cup of tea.
  5. Fold your laundry.
  6. Have an imaginary conversation with your customer representative.
  7. Make out your grocery list for your next trip to the grocery store.
  8. Contemplate the world outside as it passes you by because your on hold with your cell phone carrier.
  9. Make another cup of tea since the first one is long gone by now.
  10. Post something about your carrier’s customer service experience on your blog.
  11. Talk to yourself.
  12. Answer yourself.
  13. Think about how many things you could be accomplishing at the moment if you weren’t waiting on hold with your cell phone company.
  14. Have a conversation with your cat.
  15. Schedule a massage to get those massive kinks out of your neck and shoulders because you’re still on hold with customer service after more than two hours.
  16. Pray that you’re the next call in the queue.
  17. Pray harder!
  18. Make sure your cell phone is still on and fully charged after waiting on hold for hours.
  19. Think about how hungry you are getting now – that banana for breakfast is long gone baby!
  20. Think about getting a new cell phone carrier!
  21. Pray fervently now, ’cause you’re STILL ON HOLD!!!

What about you?  Got a customer service story to share?  Have some sanity tips?  Just want to rant about cell phone carriers?

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Are Pesticides on Your Shopping List?

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[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Apples are an all-American success story-each ...[/caption]

“Would you like to try a sample of our pesticides today?”


If you ask someone that question, they’ll probably answer back with a resounding no, but do we really think about all the pesticides we’re ingesting in the foods we eat everyday?  Even if we think we’re eating well, an apple a day…, we may still be loading our bodies with harmful, toxic chemicals.  Is this really something we want to do to ourselves?

Food is one of life’s little necessities – it’s not a viable option to give it up.  Chemical and pesticide exposure is something we can try to control, however difficult a task that may be.

According to the Environmental Working Group, there are a number of foods we need to avoid altogether if we cannot buy their organic counterparts.  These items are known as the Dirty Dozen, and contain a number of fruits and vegetables that may be staple foods in your home.

EWG also lists the Clean 15, which according to them, are non-organic fruits and vegetables that contain little to no pesticides.  Below you’ll find the updated versions of both lists.

The Dirty Dozen


These items are listed in order of pesticide contamination, with #1 being the worst.

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Cherries
  4. Domestic blueberries
  5. Imported grapes
  6. Lettuce
  7. Nectarines
  8. Peaches
  9. Potatoes
  10. Spinach, kale, and collard greens
  11. Strawberries
  12. Sweet bell peppers

The Clean 15


These items are listed in order, with #1 having the least pesticide risk.

  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocados
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Eggplant
  6. Grapefruit
  7. Kiwi fruit
  8. Mango
  9. Onions
  10. Pineapples
  11. Sweet corn
  12. Sweet onions
  13. Sweet peas
  14. Sweet potatoes
  15. Watermelon

Buying organic may seem to some people to be too expensive and not worth the time or effort to acquire it.  Other folks, myself included, swear by organic foods.  Whichever category you find yourself in, it’s definitely worth taking the time to learn more about the benefits and potential risks of organic vs. non-organic foods.

You can learn more about this topic by visiting EWG’s website.  I highly recommend it, it’s really an invaluable resource.

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Got Lead? You Just Might | Democracy Now! Cosmectics Industry Debate

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A Dior Lipstick
Image via Wikipedia

Lead in Lipstick? Coal Tar in Shampoo? As New Bill Calls for Stricter Rules on Beauty Products, a Debate Between Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Founder and Cosmetics Industry Spokesperson.

Do you know what’s lurking in your favorite skin and body care products?  It may be something highly toxic and hazardous to your health.  Give this Democracy Now! debate a listen – your body will thank you.

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SITS 31DBBB Challenge | Day #1

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Benq laptop
Image via Wikipedia

Blogging – everybody’s doing it it seems.  I’ve been blogging a little over three months now, and I’m totally hooked.  I’m so surprised I didn’t get on board the bloggy bandwagon sooner – I guess I’m just a late bloomer.  Better late than never, huh?

Blogging has been such a wonderful, creative outlet for me, and I’m so very grateful that I am able to do it.  It’s been an exercise in creativity, and a way to blow off a little steam when life gets a little too hectic for me.  I’ve connected with so many wonderfully talented bloggers from around the world, most of which I have found through the SITS Community (if you haven’t heard of SITS, check them out – they’re nifty keen).  I just wish there more time in the day to read all of the great blog posts that my SITStahs write everyday – I’ve learned so much about all kinds of things by reading the blogs these talented ladies write.

So, when I learned about the 31 day blogging challenge being put on by SITS and ProBlogger, I was pretty stoked.  I’m always eager to put on my thinking cap and learn something new, and since I’m still getting my blogging feet wet, I’m anxious to learn all I can about the art of blogging and maintaining a successful blog.

Today is day #1, and the task for today is to write an elevator pitch.  This was pretty simple for me.  I already have a tagline, get back to nature. That pretty much does the job of summing up what this blog is all about .

Green Earth Bazaar is all about helping others  live a simple, green lifestyle, with an emphasis on learning to make and do things that are simple, effective, and most importantly, natural.  It’s a chronicle of my trial and errors when it comes to domestic life, with a little optimism thrown into the mix for good measure.  I  think – at least I hope – my about page illustrates what I intend this blog to be:

Do-it-yourself organic living, gardening, good-for-you recipes, natural beauty, & more. At Green Earth Bazaar, you’ll find all kinds of tips, tricks, and tools to make greening up your life a cinch.  We want to share with you, our readers, content and information that will help you live your best, greenest lives possible.  Live simply. Live naturally. At Green Earth Bazaar, less is more!

Day #1 is finished.  Let’s see what’s in store for the next 30 days – I hope I’m up for the challenge!

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