Extreme Thrifting: How to Survive the Goodwill Outlet Store

Goodwill Boston Outlet Store {thosegracse.com}

A few months ago,  I crossed over from a casual thrifter to an extreme thrifter. I came to this realization while thrift shopping with my mother. I was frantically pulling items left and right, almost regardless of label or size. Yes, my laid back days of thrift shopping were long gone. Enter the Goodwill Outlet Store near Boston in Roxbury, MA.

The Goodwill Outlet Store is a magical place where every item of clothing costs $1.75 regardless of size, brand or style. It has hundreds of pieces of clothing waiting to be purchased. But don’t be deceived, the Goodwill Outlet Store (and others like it) isn’t for the faint of heart. They’re a totally different ballgame than shopping at a typical thrift store. They require rolling up your sleeves and getting a little dusty. However, if you invest the time and effort, you can make some amazing finds. And if you’re like me, the $1.75 price tag will make that diamond in the rough all the prettier.

Tips for Surviving The Goodwill Outlet Store

Though my tips come from how to survive this specific store, I’m sure they can apply to any secondhand outlet store. Keep reading to find out how to score big!

Bring Cash
Self explanatory, but most important to know especially in our debit card ruled lives. They take cash only!

Check it Out Before Committing
The Goodwill Outlet Store is, in a word, overwhelming. It’s basically a warehouse space filled with about 40 to 60 huge rolling bins that contain everything from clothing to housewares. The first time I popped my head in, I was a bit shocked. It is a totally different shopping process. It took me three times to muster up the courage and energy to get digging. Get your shock out of the way, then dive in!

Be Ready to Dig
Usually “digging” entails going through every hanger. At the Goodwill Outlet Store, it means literally digging. Like pulling out a hundred items from a bin before you see the bottom. It requires patience and endurance to make the find.

Don’t Go Hungry or Thirsty
Since this what I’d consider a physically active activity, you’ll want to be hydrated and fed before you arrive. You might get over heated or feel your tummy rumbling, which can distract you.

Don’t Go Pretty
This isn’t your afternoon out with the girls. You’re probably going to get dusty and sweaty so don’t wear your favorite jeans. I also like pulling my hair back so I don’t get overheated and so my hair doesn’t get in the way.

Leave Your Jacket In Your Car and Your Purse at Home
Since you’ll be getting hot, you won’t need your jacket inside. Also make sure to leave your big purse at home so you can have your hands free at all times.

Examine Your Finds
Things get donated to the thrift store for many reasons, one of which is holes and rips in an item. Sure, more of the items at the Goodwill are not damaged, but some are. Make sure to examine your finds carefully for imperfections. If you don’t know how to fix them or don’t plan of fixing them, leave them behind for the next digger.

Happy Shopping!

I hope these tips help you survive the Goodwill Outlet Store and others like it. As I mentioned, it is a lot of work, but you can score big. Don’t believe me? Just today I picked up items from 7 for Mankind, The Loft, Banana Republic and Levi’s. And get this, some items were even brand new with tags! You just can’t beat that.

2013: The Year I Became Brave

Thank You 2013 | ThoseGraces.com

At the end of my solo cross country road trip in August, I stopped at my parents’ house before heading to Boston. I sat at the kitchen table with my mother and she said to me, “I couldn’t do what you did. You’re brave.”

At that moment, I knew I accomplished something others regarded as brave, but I didn’t feel brave. I didn’t realize the magnitude of driving 10,000 miles by myself across 34 states through violent rainstorms and the scorching sun. I climbed mountains and sat alone by the ocean. I felt moments of extreme happiness and extreme sadness. My trip tested me in every way a person could be tested, and I came out better for it.

The road trip was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself because it taught me to be myself and let me become who I’d been all along. I chipped away at all the walls I had build between myself and everyone around me. Over time, I found easier to connect to both my friends and people I had just met. I was myself, unapologetically.

I’m not sure what 2014 will bring. Based on 2013, I know I’ll learn a lot about myself and work towards becoming the person I want to be. In past years I made resolutions and promptly tossed them out the window. This year I plan to stick to my plan to grow as a person.

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year and a great start to 2014. Thank you for continuing to read my blog. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have such a lovely community here on my blog. Without readers, I wouldn’t be blogging. So thanks and here’s to a wonderful 2014! Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see more of this year on Those Graces!

Goodbye, Little Hannah: Coping With the Loss of a Pet

Hannah | ThoseGraces.com
I originally planned a Christmas outfit post for today, but when I sat down to write about how Christmas really went, sharing my outfit seemed pointless. I wish I could say Christmas in Pennsylvania was relaxing. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good time with family and friends, but I also spent a large part of my time and emotional energy caring for my family’s cat during her last days.

We adopted Hannah from the local SPCA when I was 11-years-old. I picked her out because she was sitting a cage near a window, meowing. In short, I felt bad and wanted to bring her home. We brought her home to join Muffy, a calico cat my dad got me after I got my tonsils removed at age 7. Though she was laid back, she loved to explore the house. One time she managed climb into the ceiling of our toy closet and fell through, landing in a pile of stuffed animals.

Hannah | ThoseGraces.com

When Hannah hit 15-years-old, her health started declining dramatically. She was on antibiotics for a bladder infection a few months ago, and I hoped she would recover. However at Christmas, it was clear she didn’t have much longer since her lung function was starting to fail. Since it had been more than a decade since I had seen a pet in such shape, I wasn’t quite sure what was happening so I googled “Signs your cat is dying.” I went down the list of signs, and sadly Hannah was showing most of them. In Hannah’s last days, I made peace with the fact that she didn’t have much longer. I spent a lot of time grooming her and letting her sit in my lap. I encouraged my family to spend time with her as well.

On the last morning I saw her alive, I woke her up and she let out two meows. She sat in my lap for some time as I groomed her. I let her go back to sleep and got ready to head back to Boston. Hannah passed away before I got a chance to say a proper goodbye for the last time, but I’d like to think she knew I loved her and cared for her the best I could.

How Long Does It Take to Apply a Full Face of Makeup?

How Long Does It Take to Apply a Full Face of Makeup? | BeautyShy.com

Whether you’re an expert or a novice, around the holidays you might pull out your makeup stash more than usual. In your quest to find the perfect look, you might stumble across makeup guides that promise a great holiday look in no time flat. With estimates from anywhere from three to thirty minutes, it may be difficult to estimate just how long it takes to apply a full face of makeup. So, how long does it take exactly? I sat down to find out!

Process and Tools

Products for Full Face of Makeup | BeautyShy.com


Bobbi Brown Corrector in Porcelain Bisque, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in SC-2, Milani Mineral Blush in Mai-Tai (similar), Tarte Smooth Operator Powder in Translucent, Revlon Colorstay Foundation in Buff, Stila Stay All Day Mascara, Nyx Matte Lipstick in Merlot, Maybelline Expertwear Eyeliner in Ebony Black (similar), NYC Kohl Eyeliner in Taupe, MAC Lipliner in Redd, Benefit Blush in Bella Bamba Not Pictured: Urban Decay Naked Palette

For my time trial, I used Bobbi Brown’s “Makeup Manual,” which outlines 10 steps for achieving a basic makeup look that requires a full face of makeup. Though the process advertises ten steps, it could easily be closer to thirty in order to get the look you want.

1. Corrector and Concealer
2. Foundation
3. Powder
4. Blush
5. Lipstick
6. Lip liner
7. Brows
8. Eyeshadow
9. Eyeliner
10. Mascara

Before I started my makeup, I pulled all the products so searching for them wouldn’t add to my time.

The Verdict: How Long Does it Take to Apply a Full Face of Makeup?

As a moderately skilled makeup user, it took me nearly 16 minutes to apply a full face of makeup. That means if you’re new to makeup, this look could easily take you 30 minutes to get it just right. No matter how long it takes you to properly apply makeup, the key is to take your time, have fun and enjoy the process! When you take your time instead of rushing, your makeup will turn out better and you might learn a new trick or two in trying to get the perfect application.

How long does it take you to apply your makeup? Do you ever find yourself rushed around the holidays? Comment to share your experience with me and other readers!

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Redefining a Dream: What Full-Time Blogging Taught Me About Work

What Full-Time Blogging Taught Me | ThoseGraces.comI never had a dream job. Growing up kids talked about being doctors and lawyers while I was busy writing short stories and playing in the woods. Though I started working at age 12, I always thought about work in terms of having a job instead of building a career. That is until started blogging in 2010.

I quietly told my closest friends my dream of becoming a full-time blogger. I imagined posting every day, taking beautiful photos and going to events. For two years, I obsessed about this dream. When I quit my job six months ago, I was ecstatic to take the leap into blogging full-time.

I wish I could sit here and tell you it’s been everything I imagined it would be. That my dream matched reality. That all the rosy articles were right. But that would be a lie.

Part of my dream life is true. I often stay up until two or three in the morning blogging. I have a professional light box setup for photos and I attend more events where I have an easier time networking. Best of all, there’s no boss telling me what to do when. I’m sure at this point you’re thinking, “Well, what gives? This sounds great!”

I thought the way I would feel about life and work would change. That working my “dream job” would make me happier or more fulfilled. I thought it was the answer to everything I was unhappy with in my work life. Instead I found myself lonely at my desk. I missed seeing people and leaving the house. As simple as it sounds, I missed getting dressed up and putting on makeup every day. I missed random conversations with new people and walking around the city.

The hardest part of this journey was realizing that my dream had to change because my dream job didn’t meet what I needed from a job. I’ve realized what I need from a job, and even more, what I don’t need. Was full-time blogging my dream job after all? Not by far, but it helped me figure out along the way what was: Working for myself by freelancing and doing something different every day. And that makes me incredibly happy.