The Champagne Life on a DIY Budget Since 2007

  • furniture hacks shutters from old vertical blinds hester

    MAKER MOMENT: Hester van Overbeek, Furniture Hacks

    When I first was introduced to Hester van Overbeek, author of Furniture Hacks and DIY maven behind the popular British home decorating blog Hester's Handmade Home, I was also…

  • DIY baby wipes organic shoestring magazine chamomile lavender DIY home

    Homemade Chamomile Lavender Baby Wipes

    earlier this year, with several baby showers imminent, I decided to do a (very scientific) Facebook survey of all my friends with kids in order to find out exactly what it was…

  • 6 pro tips resale thrifting courtney mirenzi

    Side Hustle: 6 Pro Tips for Reselling Thrift Scores

    Fellow Boston to Austin writer Courtney Mirenzi and I have a long shared history of scouring thrift stores in search of stylish treasure for cents on the dollar. We now have a…

  • pixie whippet austin shoestring wellness trufood review dog food

    The Truth About Pet Food + Wellness TruFood Review

    Between scary pet food recalls and reports that the pet food industry is now charging up to 50 percent more for lower quality versions of human foods, it's hard to know what to…

  • vintage boy scout gear goodwill auctions

    TGWIF: How to Shop Goodwill Online Auctions Like a Pro

    After a few year's hiatus, I recently started shopping ShopGoodwill again & was thrilled to find that not only is the online Goodwill auction site as good as I remember, it's even…

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    MAKER MOMENT: Chelsea Laine Francis

    You may have noticed a big shift on Shoestring these last four months: the posts are maybe a bit more frequent again; the mood might be a little more upbeat; and, of course, you…

  • perfect_thrifted_summer_uniform

    TGWIF: My Summer Uniform

    I brought dozens of souvenirs from home to tide me over until my next trip back in the fall, but by far the best of them all was this perfect summer uniform, thrifted from…

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    Shop Local: Bolt Fabrics Summer Sale

    If you're looking for material, or need inspiration, for projects to keep you sane during these dog days of summer, head over to Bolt Fabrics this weekend for their clearance…

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    Goodbye Twice, Hello eBay Valet

    Just like the clothes they sell, Twice — one of my favorite online consignment shops — will be getting a second life and a new home. In an announcement to customers this week,…

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    Sore Muscle Bath Soak + Reusing Tequila Bottles

    To inspire me (and my house guests) to enjoy more health-boosting baths, I like to package my recipe for homemade sore muscle soak in pretty containers just like I would if I were…

  • distillery market home nautical brass hooks shell anchor

    New England Heart: Nautical Guest Bathroom Reveal

    To celebrate Thrift Score Thursday, and my first official day back at work after vacation, I thought it was high time I shared the secondhand styled, seaside-loving "after" to my…

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    Drink Local: 14 Awesome American Wines for 4th of July

    This 4th of July weekend, let's celebrate the best hidden gems and big-deal American wine producers by drinking local, independent, small-batch wines or supporting a local winery…

  • shoestring budget travel summer podcast

    FlipKey Summer Travel Twitter Chat

    I'm stoked to join my fellow FlipKey travel experts for a Summer Twitter Chat today! I'll be sharing more about all my favorite New England summer escapes & we'll also be chatting…

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    Maker Monday: Slavonk + Hortus

    If you spend any time at all following design trends, then you know people have gone absolutely cuckoo for cocoa puffs for succulents and terrariums. Maybe it’s because…

  • uptown cheapskate austin sign south lamar

    Consigned to Addiction: Uptown Austin

    I've been buying and selling at Uptown Cheapskate Austin every week since they opened last year, and recently celebrated their 1st birthday with them (and Chelsea and Catelyn) at…

  • with love from ding denise south austin

    South Awesome: Love Ding

    Tucked into a generic row of warehouse spaces just after popular, sprawling Way South Austin (aka SoChaca) nightlife destination Moontower Saloon sits Love Ding, an unassuming…

  • date night first fridays os gemeos ICA

    $30 Date Night Challenge: 12 Ideas

    Last week, on June 10th, officially marked 12 years since my husband and I first went on our first date and shared our first kiss. Now that we’re married almost half that,…

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    DIY Pendleton Stripe Mail Sorter

    In the spirit of Throwback Thursday, I wanted to finally share this DIY project I created for Home Depot & Crafty Allie over the winter. It's been so hard keeping this one under…

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    Keep it Local with Austin Passbook

    Austin Passbook is like 12 of my favorite things in one: buy one, get one free (BOGO) deals to get out & explore ATX with a friend, whether you live here or just want to have one…

  • 6 copycat chinese takeout gluten free vegan recipes

    6 Copycat Chinese Takeout Recipes

    Whether you or someone you love has food allergies, you just want to control the quality of ingredients in the things that you're eating, or you want to shave some serious cheddar…

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    The Pendleton Mill Factory Store

    That's right: Pendleton has a factory outlet. And you can go on a tour of the mill itself, right where Western dreams have been made, right here in the U.S., for over 150 years.…

  • watermelon margaritas with jalapeno infused tequila

    Spicy Watermelon Margaritas with Jalapeno Infused Tequila

    Tonight, just like last year, Ginger and I will be some of the first to arrive at the La Condesa Street Party for Cinco de Mayo, which I now treat as the official kick-off to…

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    My Writing Shirt

    The daily life of a writer is so often isolating, and I still finding it's hard to block out the noise of social media and the world at large, focus on my own unique voice, and…

    barton springs pool austin best swimming holes

    FlipKey by TripAdvisor Travel Expert

    I’m so thrilled to announce that I’m dusting off my passport, gassing up the car for road trips, and sanding the rust off my travel writing lockbox as a newly minted travel expert for Flipkey and TripAdvisor, sharing my secret spots in Boston and Austin – and also mean many, many more travel stories, new adventures, and past sojourns revisited, here on Shoestring soon.

    white dress white chucks texas summer style TGWIF

    TGWIF: White Chucks + Dresses

    In my mind, Chuck Taylors are a timeless classic that go with pretty much everything, and are always appropriate no matter the occasion. I’ve loved them my whole life, putting them in the Shoestring logo for a reason. But what I really love is that Chucks (and classic street sneakers of all kinds) are having a major moment in fashion right now — especially with dresses. Or at least that’s the case here in Texas.

    DIY denim cutoffs Goodwill vintage kimono the distillery market

    TGWIF: Texas Summer Style, DIY Denim Cutoffs + Vintage Kimonos

    One of my favorite 2015 summer trends is layering a breezy vintage kimono over a great pair of shredded cutoffs and a slouchy cotton tank, and thankfully my (dear friend and) fearless beach babe of a model, Catelyn, also happens to be the owner of a drool-worthy vintage shop that currently has a duo of vintage Japanese kimonos in stock. Plus all the best tips for making DIY denim cutoffs, all in one place.

    TOMS one day without shoes 2015

    One Day Without Shoes 2015

    What kind of difference can a single purchase seriously make? PLENTY. If that purchase is a pair of shoes from TOMS the answer is global impact. Today, until midnight EST tonight, you can provide TOMS Shoes for up to 1 million more people around the world WITHOUT EVEN BUYING ANYTHING. All you have to do is take a photo of your bare feet and post it to Instagram to raise awaress for One Day Without Shoes.

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    Vintage Mikasa + Brunch Ideas

    This year, I thought it would be really fun to poll my mom friends on Facebook and find out, in a very real and crowdsourced way, what mothers actually want for Mother’s Day. Find out what else they said in this pretty, thrifted Mother’s Day guide for Austin Goodwill I wrote this week, including some of my favorite Mother’s Day brunch ideas from the Shoestring archives!

    jack whippet austin howdy y'all chelsea laine francis

    Whippet, Whippet Deux

    It should surprise no one that when it comes to dogs, like most other things in my life, I’m a huge fan of finding them secondhand: adopting them and giving them a good home after others have discarded them (usually through no fault of their own). When the time is right to find a new furry friend, we always look first to shelters and breed rescues, and are happy to introduce Jack, our newly adopted whippet brother for Pixie!

    thrift store DIY succulents goodwill austin

    TGWIF: Succulents + Thrift Scores

    Sometimes, a trip to the garden center and digging your hands in the dirt is just what the doctor ordered. Last week, I did just that, in the name of journalism and this week’s post for Austin Goodwill, and bought up dozens upon dozens of delightful little succulents, potted them in upcycled thrift store vessels in the name of Earth Day (hello, pineapple colander!) and had the funnest photo shoot with the lovely Chelsea Laine Francis.

    thrifting austin with goodwill boston

    TGWIF: Thrifting Austin with Goodwill Boston

    When I left Boston for Austin, my dear friend (and former partner in crafts at DIY Boston) Tara took over my social media partnership with Goodwill Boston, so of course we had to do the full tour of my favorite downtown Austin Goodwill stores while she was here in Texas. (And other secondhand and vintage shopping of all kinds!)

    DIY Lighting Upgrade Swap Out Builder Basics

    DIY Lighting: Swap Out Builder Basics for Under $100

    For my latest collaboration with Home Depot, I shared expert lighting tips I’ve picked up over the years working with renown interior stylists on how to swap out builder basic light fixtures (friends don’t let friends live with boob lights!) Before & after inspiration, easy tutorials for DIY lighting upgrades that can be done in a day, and options for light fixtures that are well under $100.

    pro tips SXSW shopping style 2015

    Pro Tips: SXSW Eating, Drinking + Style

    It’s official: the madness of SXSW has begun! To kick things off, Nordstrom included #ProTips from me and about a dozen other local bloggers/social media experts in their SXSW guide to eating, drinking + style today. Check it out, or in true Throwback Thursday fashion, give these posts from SXSWs past a read.