What’s my best thrift store find EVER?  While you can certainly find all kinds of priceless treasures in thrift stores, my best find didn’t come with a label or a price, it’s Jen!  Who would have ever thought I’d find a best friend in a thrift store!  Hours of hard work, dedication, and more hours of work over the past 2 years has led to a great friendship.

How it happened, I was part of a thrift store study group being conducted by grad students at Rice University.  When I asked who else they were interviewing for the study, they told me a girl named Jen Meneely who had recently been featured in the Houston Chronicle.  It still gives me chills to this day when I tell people that it was less than 24 hours after I read that article that I saw her in line at a Goodwill store in the Heights.  I would have NEVER known who she was if it wasn’t for reading the article and seeing her picture the evening before.  To me, that is fate!   CLICK HERE to read all about her (shhhh, don’t tell, but she wasn’t following her own tips to not shop on Wednesdays, the senior discount day…ha)!

Since Wednesdays are senior citizen discount days at Goodwill, I brought my mom with me to save $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and get the extra 30% savings.  There was a long line behind us that day and I kept thinking the girl several people back in line looked similar to the lady in the Chronicle.  I couldn’t remember her name, and she certainly wasn’t as glamorous as her Chronicle picture, but I kept looking at her and in my mind I thought, “I think that is her.”.   I finally walked to the back of the line and introduced myself.  She was cordial, though not super warm and friendly, but I gave her my card and told her I had a blog “Shop with Pippa” that was all about thrift store shopping.  Much to my surprise she sent me a message that night telling me how much she liked the blog and gave me her contact information with an invitation to get together some time for lunch.  We talked on the phone a couple of days later for over an hour, met a few weeks later for lunch, ate as quick as possible, and were off shopping within about 30 minutes!  HERE is our very first shopping trip together (I didn’t even spell her name correctly!).

thrift store blogger houston chronicle

So, without further adieu, Happy Anniversary to the Queens of Thrift, Too Cheap Blondes!  Neither one of us could have had any idea where this friendship would lead.  As a result of that fateful day two years ago, we have helped so many people, promoted multiple Houston charities, had a blast being thrift store cool, not made a dime with our blog (thank you to both of our supportive husbands!), and best of all, have had so much fun!

Another bonus from the day I met Jen were these vintage hand painted dishes that I found.  I now consider these plates my anniversary dishes.  I always have loved yellow, it is such a happy color, but now these dishes have extra special meaning to me.  I think they are the perfect blend of Jen and Pippa, the 1950’s plates are symbolic of Jen’s love of vintage items, and yellow is for my “happy/sunshine” view of life.

These plates caught my eye for one reasonI LOVE YELLOW!    What a sunny, happy and fun color!!!”

Hand Painted Vintage California Santa Anita “Provincial Apple” dishes found @ Houston Goodwill cheap blondes blog

I love the contrast of the yellow apple in the center and the trim against the brown hand painted background.  To quote my mother-in-law, “You need another set of dishes like you need a hole in the head!”, but I couldn’t resist these, especially with the price tag of 12 plates for $13.99.   Each dish has been hand painted with visible brushstrokes, so there is a great depth of color on each unique plate.     Goodwill thrifting is awesome!

vintage vreni plates cheap thrift store cheap blog

hand painted vreni thrift store plates blog cheap houston

The perfect complement for these plates are these nubby textured yellow place mats I had recently bought at Conroe Assistance League…8 for $9.00.    I can’t wait to use these!


Beautiful Vintage California Dishes “Provincial Apple” Yellow, Signed “Vreni”.  The unique pattern, Provincial Apple, was made in the 1950s by Santa Anita Pottery, a division of National Silver Co. of Los Angeles, California.  They were in business from 1939 though the early 1960s.  The pattern was offered in brown and white with yellow and also with pink, and was created by Swiss designer Vreni Wawra.”

Grand Opening of Family Thrift OUTLET Store!

Grand Opening $2 Shopping Preview with Jen & Pippa

Grand Opening $2 Shopping Preview with Jen & Pippa


Grand Opening ~ Win a Sneak Preview $2 Shopping Day with Jen and Pippa

On February 12th, 2015 Family Thrift Center will be having the grand opening of an OUTLET STORE at 5110 Galveston Rd., Houston, TX  77017.  All items will be $2.00 and the doors open at 7 a.m.!

How would you like a chance to win a Sneak Preview Grand Opening Shopping Trip with Jen and Pippa?

We are so excited to offer you this opportunity to shop at a Family Thrift Outlet Store, where everything is priced at only $2, with NO CROWDS and we will help you find all the fabulous deals!

(On Saturday, February 7th, we are going to choose a winner the old fashioned way, we will print out all the names and draw them from a hat!)

Here is how it works:

  • You must be available on Wednesday, February 11th, from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. (5110 Galveston Rd., Houston, TX 77017).
  • To enter, you must do all of the following:
    • Like our “Too Cheap Blondes” Facebook page  and share the contest on your Facebook page.
    • Leave a comment on our blog.  Please make sure you are entering the contest via our blog post…that’s where we’ll pick the winner from!
  • One entry per person.

We are super excited about a fun day of thrift store shopping with you!

In case you missed it, here is our Houston Chronicle Article “Thrifty Blondes”.

Here are some of our favorite tips for shopping the Family Thrift Center Outlet stores.

  • “You don’t need to get there when they open on Thursdays.”  We usually arrive around 11 a.m., after the store has been open a few hours.  The store is really crowded until around noon, after that, it seems to calm down.   In our opinion, we prefer to go after the “morning rush.”  The employees are continually putting out new merchandise on Thursday and Friday, so you can find the “good stuff” for a couple of days before the stock starts running thin.
  • Some people say, “I never find anything!”  We go through hundreds, if not thousands, of items every time we go shopping in order to find one or two designer pieces of clothing.  Do not get frustrated when you walk into a thrift store and don’t find that “amazing deal” within a few minutes.  Jen and I spend hours going through every single hanger.  Sometimes we will come across a gorgeous piece of clothing within minutes, but it usually takes a good amount of time to find that treasure!   Never give up!  If you’re patient and dedicated, I promise that you will find a treasure!
  • There are no dressing rooms or mirrors.  Wear something comfortable so you can try a jacket or blouse over what you are wearing.
  • Finally, be prepared to shop with some highly competitive shoppers.  There are regulars who treat thrift shopping like a sport.

Jen and I had a hard time answering this question:  “What was your favorite find of the week?”

This week we had a reporter and photographer from the Houston Chronicle follow us (we will let you know when the story will go to print).  They were curious about how the “Cheap Blondes” work?  Do we shop together?  Are we competitive with each other?  Why do we have our blog?

Jen found a great leather tote purse by PURE COLLECTION for $2.00 at Family Thrift Outlet, we did not recognize the name but the leather felt amazing and we liked everything about it.  The photographer asked what it was worth (we had no idea), so we did some research on Google and WOW….it retailed for about $375!

After doing some research on this purse we realized this $2.00 find was worth about $375!

After doing some research on this purse we realized this $2.00 find was worth about $375!

pure collection purse pippa

As we were leaving the store and walking down the aisle doing a last minute “check,” I thought this coat felt so soft…yes, cashmere feels amazing!  Oh my, I think my heart skipped a beat when I realized it was a Cole Haan cashmere coat!  This jacket retailed for $539, Jen and I found it for $2.00 at the Family Thrift OUTLET Store!

Cashmere COLE HAAN jacket for $2.00 at Family Thrift Outlet Store!

Cashmere COLE HAAN jacket for $2.00 at Family Thrift Outlet Store!

We also did a “Houston Check this Out” segment with Goodwill this week and we came across these AMAZING Carvela “Anita” shoes!  Unfortunately, neither one of us have size 6 feet! One of our models was able to score these amazing shoes for only $24.99 (they retailed for $500+).

"Anita" Carvela shoes for only $24.99 @ Houston Goodwill Store

“Anita” Carvela shoes for only $24.99 @ Houston Goodwill Store