The Magpie Collective

23 August 2013

As you may have noticed, I been extremely absent from The Secondhand Magpie for the last few months. 

I have been grappling with a nasty case of Bloggeritis, better known as Blogger Burnout. It led to a slow deterioration of my motivation and creativity with outfits and posting in general. As my life/priorities/focus shifted, I found myself pigeonholed with the notion of a blog existing based solely on my tendency for being thrift minded. I realized I didn't have the time or funds to continue thrift shopping, as we were saving for our first home. 

In a lame attempt to stay relevant in social media, I Instagrammed and Pinned my daily happenings as a form of micro-blogging. I figured it would suffice until I knew I was fully committed to the responsibility of maintaining a blog with quality content. But I knew better. I started blogging to really connect with others, to share and learn from other women who loved everything creative and wanted to share their experiences like I did.

If I am going to continue to blog, I need a platform that allows me to fully expound on who I am, what I love, and why I love it. Stocking my closet and home with thrifty finds is a huge part of my life, but not all of it. I don't plan on sharing every nook and cranny of my life here, but giving a more well rounded view of life as I know it. There have been so many things that I have wanted to share, but was afraid it didn't fit my niche in blogging, so I left it behind. 

In keeping with the true Magpie spirit of things, going forward, the blog will be named The Magpie Collective. It embodies more of my life, as I am still that little bird flitting from thing to thing, store to store, activity to activity. I just have a bigger nest to fill, and want you guys along for the ride. It's about a life eclectic, a life full of an assortment of material possessions, shared experiences and stories.

So, in closing I suppose I should say, Welcome to The Magpie Collective.

Glad to have you.


05 August 2013

Big, big changes are underway for Secondhand Magpie. 


Starting in September, I will be re-branding the blog with an evolved version of the current setup. I am currently in the process of a redesign, as well as a reformatting and re-branding of the existing Magpie theme I have going. My life is changing and expanding, and I feel like my blog should reflect that. With a blog that focuses so narrowly on secondhand living, I feel that a lot of content that I'd like to share isn't relevant in the current setup.Secondhand shopping will always (and is always) a big part of my life, but there is more I find myself wanting to share and wanting to learn, and I believe my blog should be a reflection of all of those things and more! 

So, I am not gone. Just in hibernation, waiting for the big new change starting in September. 

Stay tuned.

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Closet Hillbilly

08 May 2013

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in Texas is... southern. I happen to be one of them. I am mercilessly teased about not eating red meat (read: anything with eyelashes). I do not in fact know how to do the Boot Scootin Boogie. I rode horses all throughout my childhood, but it involved a riding jacket, crop pants and equestrian boots. Not a cowboy hat in sight. There is, however, a little bit of yeehaw way down deep in my soul. 
{Top} Thrifted  {Jeans} American Eagle  {Belt} Forever 21  {Bag}  Coach
{Sandals} Target  {Sunnies} Ray Ban  {Necklace} Lala Crystal on Etsy
For one, I love me some bull riding. Put a dirty, bowlegged cowboy on the back of a half ton animal with a rope tied around its most sensitive bits, and I suddenly become a whoopin' and hollerin' Child of Dixie. I have no idea where that comes from. I believe it's one of those 'stand there and look pretty' kinds of things where you aren't really interested in the man per se, but just the idea of it all. The behavior itself is inexcusable.
I also have a sick, sick obsession with a little show on the History Channel called Swamp People. Again, real life people in the USofA hunting alligators in canoes, eating squirrels and requiring the use of subtitles for their butchering of the English language manage to keep me riveted to the TV for an entire hour a week. A real life gator hunt has even made its way to my bucket list.
And by real life, I mean in a separate, non canoe boat many, many feet away from the actual gator killing. Very hands off.

How to Catch a Chicken

01 May 2013

Yeah, I don't know how either. I did however, have to learn.

Dare I say, "On the fly."

A few weeks ago on a Thursday morning I was backing out of my driveway for work and glanced at my mirror in time to something red run out from under my car. I did a double take and realized I was looking at the back end of a chicken running across the street. Now, my everyday life doesn't normally include close interactions with barnyard life, so chicken wrangling isn't on my list of have-dones. In fact, it was on my list of hope-to-nevers.
As I continued to back out, I realized that the poor guy was probably going to get run over or poached by one of my rather aggressive cats, so I felt it was fate that I ended up spotting him on the one morning I was running a little ahead of schedule. Figuring he came from the neighbor's chicken yard, I got out of my car, strolled over to the neighbor's and bent over to help my new friend over the fence. Lesson #1: Chickens aren't fond of being handled. I was met with severe clucking, wing flapping and talon thrashing. I also found that this particular chicken was freakishly fast. Before I could grab on, the bird took off on a death run with in my opinion, excessive amounts of directional changes and head bobbing. 
Once I realized this wasn't going to be a walk in the park, I devised a strategy. I would use some chicken wire that was lying in the yard and lay it against the fence, creating a tunnel to herd the chicken into, and then placed a large empty trash bin at the end to act as the receptacle. My plan was to swiftly grab the trash can and dump the little red bastard over the fence. What I didn't plan on was the chicken exiting the tunnel early. Lesson #2: Chickens will peck the hell out of you. 
{Tee} Gap Outlet  {Skinnies} Rue 21  {Flats} Target  {Bag} Coach 
{Scarf} Forever 21  {Sunnies} Ray Ban  {Watch} Target
After multiple laps around the yard and a few attempts to scare it back over the fence, I had really had enough. Here I am trying to spare this tasty idiot back into a yard that I had no business being in in the first place. I decided to try the tunnel experiment one more time before giving up and saving myself some money on cat food for the next few days. I shooed him back into the tunnel, and as he popped out the other side, I grabbed him around the middle and in true shot-put style chucked that mother clucker over the fence in one fell swoop. 

Brittany: Wife, therapist, blogger, chicken wrangler.

Quirky Quickie

24 April 2013

Sorry for the blog silence. We are currently in the throes of the Austin housing market. We jump up and run to a new listing within an hour of it hitting the market. We don't sleep after putting in offers. We have been competing against at least 10 other offers per house. I'm fried. I don't have a lot in my brain today, so I thought I'd post some unnecessary facts about me. Because this is a most pressing issue.

  1. When stressed, I revert to childhood and lock myself in a room and watch shows from my childhood. On my Top 5? The Little Mermaid, The Jetsons, Golden Girls, Cosby Show and I Love Lucy.
  2. I have enormous tonsils, making swallowing pills hard. Solution? I eat gummy vitamins instead. When I drink water, Micah likes to say I swallow like a baby cow.
  3. I hate ice in drinks. Yet I refuse to drink hot drinks. I will happily guzzle room temp or even warm has-been-sitting-in-the-car water. No ice, no steam.
  4. Velvet and corduroy give me the creeps, and make my hands itch.
  5. I may or may not still sleep with my newborn blanket wrapped up in my pillowcase. 


17 April 2013

Perception is powerful. Words are powerful.  Our perception of ourselves can be a strong influence on the way we treat ourselves, and the way we speak of ourselves.

I ran across this video the other day and found myself greatly impacted by the words of these women, and how powerfully their words altered their image to a stranger. My heart wrenched for women, these women, as they were described so beautifully by those who were strangers merely moments before.

We as women and bloggers find ourselves in constant comparison with one another. So many colors, shapes, sizes, styles, ages, etc. We compare our looks, our pants size, our hair, skin and clothing. We nitpick photos, zapping them with photo retouching, Photoshopping our perceived imperfections at 75% zoom. What would we say about each other? How would we describe each other in the eyes of another woman, another blogger?

I think this video sends a powerful message, one that bloggers resonate with. We follow along with each other, cheering each other on, supporting the ventures and aspirations of our virtual friends. We feel so much a part of each other's lives, spreading a net of support wide across the interwebs. The support and camaraderie that we share is enviable, something of dreams to find so many women willing to support each other without ever meeting.

I hope this serves as an encouragement to us all, to continue to love and support each other, as well as ourselves.

Temporary Nest

29 March 2013

Plenty of life things have been happening in the absence of my blogging. Big ones. 

We recently met with a mortgage broker to get an idea of what we need to save/spend in order to end up in our first home. It looks like we have to do it fast. The time to buy in Austin is yesterday, and every few months home prices rise 10%. The market here is saturated in the summer, which is great considering that on average, homes get snapped up within 48 hours of hitting the market and buyers will put an offer on anywhere from 3-6 homes before they actually end up with a place to live. This gives us a better chance of finding something within our budget that we can get in before someone else. Also, our realtor has told us to write a 'love letter' to the home owners with information on us and why we want this home. 

Seriously? This is what home buying has come to? It's an inappropriate joke, but it feels like trying to adopt an American blonde haired, blue eyed baby. 

All of the home buying process aside, the idea of moving out of our little bungalow is hard for me. Yes, home ownership allows me to do bigger projects that make our home more personal. Yes, we build equity and have a return on our investment. But a starter home in Austin will not be our little urban rental, chock full of character in our ideal neighborhood. It will be a fixer upper miles away from everything we love. 

I have poured a lot of love into a rental. I know that may be a mistake, but I have to nest where I land. And so far, this is has been my most favorite nest. My first real big girl house that I've been able to spruce up with my big girl paychecks. It isn't exactly ours, but it sure feels like it. And it sure doesn't feel great to leave it. 

Maybe once we see other houses and I combine my own ideas with my Pinterest boards, I can get more behind this idea. Time will tell.

Sweating Dollar Signs

27 March 2013

Now, I know you're probably tired of the 'look at my expensive purchases' posts. They don't come around, like ever, so bear with me. I had to spread out my hedonistic joy over the course of a week-ish and had to save the best for last! I am not a handbag girl. Never have been, never thought I would be. Until I saw this.
Once that beauty had seared its way into my mind with glove tanned leather, a roomy interior and cognac coloring, I knew there was no going back.
I had saved up birthday and Christmas money to buy my dream bag, and had my trip to the store all planned out. I even made sure to 'dress' for the occasion. I was going to stroll in, pretend that it was no wind up my skirt to buy a $400+ bag, make some small talk and then leave to geek out over my first big girl bag in the car. 
Smooth, I was not. I made it two steps in the store before I began to sweat like a linebacker in July. The reality of buying something that costs as much as some people's car payment sent me into a panic, but I was committed. I opened my mouth in an attempt to ask about the bag, and promptly word vomited in a thrift induced panic on the two poor sales girls. I was the only person in the store (thank the Lord) because I was falling apart faster than Britney Spears' career. Too soon? Back to the bag. 
{Blouse} Forever 21  {Pants} Gap Outlet  {Wedges} Forever 21 
{Watch} Target  {Sunnies} Ray Ban  {Bag} Coach 
{Necklace} Lala Crystal on Etsy
I made it out of the store alive, but not without having the girls assure me 10+ times that this would be a purchase that could carry me through the years and was totally worth spending what felt my left arm on. I buckled up the purse in its bag on the way home and couldn't even take it out of the bag until the next day. Since then I have settled into it nicely, only stifling small screams when children come near it and making sure to condition the leather once a week.

It's official. I'm a freak.

Shady Lady

25 March 2013

So, you're probably teetering on edge with the excitement of my big new purchases. Right? Yeah, me too. But no, really.
{Top} Thrifted  {Pants} Forever 21  {Sandals} Target 
{Necklace/Bangles} Forever 21
{Sunnies} Ray Ban
In thinking that my wardrobe will be in constant flux due to this little thrifting problem of mine, I figured that my accessories would be a good starting point to being incorporating investment pieces. I am the queen of plastic sunglasses and slouchy faux leather totes. So to imagine buying a metal pair of sunglasses or a leather purse that equals the total of 30 pairs of sunglasses or 15 purses gave me palpitations.
After much research and Instagram polling, I took the plunge and combined 18 months worth of Macy's gift cards to help buffer the blow of a pair of investment shades. My choice? Ray Ban Aviators. They're classic, hardy and come with a great warranty/care plan. Plus, they're versatile. They can be casual and 'boho' or dressed up with a striped top, skinnies and blazer.

Perfect for my bipolar closet.

Lucky 13

22 March 2013

That's right. 13 months since I started this little blog of mine. The last 6 or so I've totally slacked on it, so much so that I forgot to wish it a Happy Birthday. So SM, here is my one month belated birthday post. In your second year, I promise to be more proactive about posting, less intimated by the work of others, and hereby solemnly swear to be more confident, more creative and more progressive with you.

So, without further ado...


Quality vs Quantity

20 March 2013

I have been seeing this subject from multiple bloggers across the blogosphere lately. As an avid thrifter, I get a certain high from clasping my hands around a new thrift treasure, and  I'm positively drunk with power by remixing it into my current (mostly thrifted) wardrobe. It's easy to accumulate multiple 'great' pieces when they're only $5, and even easier to find reasoning to spend $15 on a previously $70 piece. Because I do most of my shopping in thrift stores, I find myself picking from pieces that attract my eye, my magpie eye. Think color, pattern, texture: the more the better. This does not a classic wardrobe make.
This year, I made myself promise that I would only buy pieces that I love, and that fill a hole in my wardrobe. For instance, a yellow boyfriend cardi is #1 on my list, followed by a green maxi skirt and a leopard scarf. I also promised to invest in more classic "pieces" rather than buying of the moment items because they're less expensive. Granted, my clothes will probably always flux a bit in style, fit and color, but some pieces have withstood the test of time. I have items that have been with me since high school, and some that were worn once and then donated or resold. My accessories however, will not change due to a fluctuating waistline or the shape of a collar. 
I took the plunge and within a month have made my two most expensive purchases. Ever. Stay tuned next week for the reveal.

My tendency towards the dramatic is stunning, no?
{Glasses} Ray Ban  {Peplum Top} Target  {Pants} Loft
{Heels} Target  {Watch} Target

Let's Stay Friends

18 March 2013

In case you haven't heard, Google Reader (the blog roll that shows up with all of the blogs you follow via Blogger/Blogspot) will be shutting down July 1st. This will mean that you can no longer see mine or anyone's posts when you log in. As bloggers and readers, we spend a lot of time perusing the Internet for beautiful, funny, interesting and engaging sites to immerse ourselves in. When we lose Google Reader, we will lose the record of our curated collection and relationships we've built over time. 

In order to keep up with happenings at Secondhand Magpie and your other beloved reads, I suggest making the great migration over to Bloglovin. It has been my personal favorite blog reader for just over a year and a half now, and I suspect it will be experiencing enormous growth with the loss of Google Reader and most likely Google Friend Connect. The layout is clean, simple, and is great for introducing and connecting readers to new and up and coming blogs. If you're interested in making the transition, it's free to sign up, iPhone and Android carry the app, and there is a nifty little button that allows you to transfer all of your subscriptions {aka Follows} to their reader.

Click the image above or my 'Bloglovin' tag to the right to find my page!

Thank you again to everyone who has stuck it out with this slowly developing labor of love. I hope I see you around the Bloglovin 'hood!


16 January 2013

Sometimes we don't need a tragedy, breakup or loss to feel overwhelmed. No big work obstacles, no big disappointment. Just life. My life seems to have gained significant weight in the last few weeks. I can't be sure if it's loading up its pockets with extra complications, more responsibility or general loose change. 

Maybe it's just growing up.

I'm finding myself at a crossroads in my just-past-quarter-life-crisis and am on the verge of retreating into a Disney movie and footie pajama induced hermit life. I feel as thought lately I've been scrambling to get things together, but end up just rearranging things in the same space. 

I also find myself in a completely different positon in life. Gone are the days of weddings every weekend and engagement pictures by the dozen. I now peruse baby shower registries and catch myself giving doe eyes to miniature cashmere sweaters and tiny human suspenders. I find myself delirious when I discover the perfect ottoman or side table in my ever increasing need to expand my nest. I spend my weekends cleaning and catching up on work instead of nights out with my girls. Oh, and don't even get me started on my nights. Ever the night owl, I now find myself impressed to see 1am.  

Maybe I have hit a bit of a rut, or maybe the reality of an adult life is slowly sinking in. Either way, I am determined to find a way to regain part of that old joy, that old me. That may mean letting go of some things that I let define me and exploring different sides of myself that have since gone into a recession.

And I think I have just the blog to do it.

Stay tuned. 

Shh... It Happens

08 January 2013

So there is this little thing called life. It's been eating my lunch for the last few weeks, and I feel like I'm finally on the down slope from holiday/work madness. Hence the blogging hiatus. 

Here is some of what has gone down in the last couple of months, essentially stunting my blogging abilities:
  1. Broke my foot. How you ask? Walking. Slowly. Indoors
  2. Caught RSV.
  3. 10 days after being done with RSV, got a stomach bug. 
  4. Got my first iPhone... and am still figuring out how to use it.
  5. Christmas.
  6. New Years.
  7. Baby shower for a close friend in Vegas. She lives there, nowhere near the strip. None of this happening.
  8. Am currently typing this after having pulled a muscle in my neck/back. I currently can't look down, up, or to either side. Laying down requires assistance and don't get me started on wearing anything but button ups and shoes that don't need tying. How, you ask? Flipping my hair over in the shower.
What am I, 80? 

Anyway, as you can tell, the above circumstances and the lack of daylight have put me in a bind when attempting to photograph anything, including my outfits. Which up to this point have consisted of sweatpants, tights and sweaters. What I've worn on my feet can't even be counted as shoes. I doubt they're even street legal.

Also, I found my thrift jam:

 Warning: Not a good idea to play over work speakers, around children, or anywhere if theeffword offends. 

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