The Holy Grail

August 13, 2012

The other morning I had a gift dropped in my lap.  I was supposed to do a voiceover session but it was changed to another day.  Suddenly I had time.  I decided to search for an elusive product that’s been haunting me: an elixir that makes you look glowy, sunkissed, relaxed, and downright NATURALLY drop-dead gorgeous.   It exists, right?  I mean, I keep reading about it, although the name seems to change a lot.  So I threw on my outfit, jumped in my car and went to….(sshhhh)…the MALL!!!!

Long story short, I walked out of Sephora with a sample of a BB (beauty balm) and an interesting powder blush by Stilla.  (The jury is still out but I’ll keep you posted.)  But after I left, I just had to stop into my neighborhood Goodwill.  It was Tuesday a.k.a senior citizen day, which means a 25% discount on everything for us seniors.  What I found astounded me.  Here’s a glimpse.

Hand-sewn Irish linen napkins-6 for $3, Mexican blanket-$4, handmade leather sandals-$3, grandson-sized leather motorcycle jacket- $5.

I know that most of you probably already embrace thrifting, but I have to say that it still amazes me even though I’ve been a rummage sale junkie since I was 12 yrs old.  I’ve been hanging out with a few middle-schoolers recently (young ladies 11 to 13 yrs old) and the the tyranny of peer groups and expensive labels is alive and well with the younger set, unfortunately.  Hopefully some will catch the thrifting fever as time goes on; I’m doing my best to spread it.

As for the Holy Grail of skin care/makeup?  I haven’t found it yet, but at least the pursuit is good exercise if I don’t take it too seriously; it keeps me moving.

Mall walking, anyone?

The dress was purchased on sale at Macy’s several years ago and the Fossil bag was 75% off at Dillard’s several years ago.  I upcycled the jacket from a thrifted denim jacket and thrifted lace top. (Clicking on the pictures once, and then again, will provide more detail.)  Please join me at Patti’s Visible Monday and also at Monday Mingle.

P.S. I confess I’ve had this post waiting in the wings for when I got too busy to create a new one.  I didn’t like the brand of BB cream: too dense.  The Stilla blush is nice so I’ve kept it, but I’m still on the hunt.  I might try the Cindy Joseph Boom Sticks that are getting a lot of press from some of my fellow bloggers.  I’ll let you know what I think if I do.


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31 Responses to The Holy Grail

  1. sue on August 13, 2012 at 8:34 am

    So pretty!


  2. Jeannie on August 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I just love what you did with denim and lace! Lovely maxi! So gorgeous! I’ve ordered the Boom Sticks and will be trying them out sometime this week…fingers crossed.
    Hope you have a terrific day!

  3. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style on August 13, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I’m interested in the Cindy Joseph line too – let us know if you try it? Love your look, esp the creative jacket. And great finds at the Goodwill! Thanks so much for sharing with Visible Monday : >

  4. Sylvia @ 40PlusStyle on August 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

    You look great Jean. Do keep us posted when you find that elixer. I need it too!

  5. Debbi on August 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I share your love of maxi’s! You look fabulous. I so admire your style. What you did with the denim and lace is so cool.

    I watched the Boom sticks videos and what freaked me out was that she was using them on eyes, face, and lips. I am not a germophobe, but it just did not seem like a product I would want to use. I’ve tried numerous BB creams and really did not think they were the miracle they have been promoted to be.

  6. Vix on August 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    You look fantastic! that denim jacket is the most gorgeous creation and teamed with the beautifully vibrant maxi a joy to behold! What scores! love the Indian sandals and the Mexican blanket adn like you I despair at malls and how anyone gets any joy from them! x

  7. pao on August 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Hey Jean, So does that mean, there’s something else you’ve been up to lately in the sewing room?? You seem very renegade in your styling for a trip to the Mall. Surely you were under surveillance while there! Goodwill was just the right antidote. As far as beauty products, don’t know – I don’t use anything. It’s all too much.

  8. Tamera on August 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Jean–nice thrift haul!!
    I LOVE your jacket re-do!!! I may have to copy that!!
    I use Garnier’s version of BB cream in the winter–I LOVE it!! In the summer I use little of nothing as I sweat/oil too much for anything!

    • Jean on August 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      The upcycle was about as easy as you can get. Just cut off the sleeves and collar of the denim jacket, wash and dry to fray, then sew on sleeves cut off from another top. I chose to hand stitch them because I liked the look. I’d love to see your version!

  9. Rose on August 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    It is such a shame that youngsters feel all this pressure to have “the latest” the right label, whatever “must-have” item they read about. I suppose I was the same, although my memory is a bit dim that far back! Not for the labels part, but desparate to “fit in”. I grew into thrifting, but getting things on the cheap was always held in high esteem in our family, so I suppose it grew out that. I can’t really remember when I began going to charity shops and garage sales but I loved the bargains. And that the things were so unusual and so CHEAP!!!

    Much love from England,


  10. Kaffesoester on August 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I love your maxi dress, and those cute sandals! I really envy you Americans the Goodwill stores – everyone seems to be finding one treasure after another – at nearly no cost at all!

  11. The Style Crone on August 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    The combination of denim and lace is brilliant and I love the touch of fray and hand stitch. The perfect solution to a ‘mall crawl’ for those of us who thrive with recycled clothing. The maxi with its beautiful print flows nicely with your upcycled piece.

    When you find the miraculous Holy Grail, please share. I saw the Cindy Joseph video and wondered about it. I find that a hat with a veil is always an option!

    • Jean on August 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      I think I need one. With you as inspiration, I’ll wear it with confidence.

  12. pao on August 13, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Oh Jean, I accidentally deleted your sweet comment on project minima. geez. And while I’m hear again, I do love seeing your upcycling. I can’t help but get inspired. Thanks.

  13. Veshoevius on August 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Love how you transformed the denim jacket! And the maxi is very pretty too. Curious to know what your plans are for the mini leather biker jacket!

    • Jean on August 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      I have a four year old grandson. I’m pretty sure it will be perfect for him. I haven’t seen him since January (they live on the other side of the country) but at the worst, he’ll grown into it.

  14. Practical Paralegalism Career Dressing on August 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I have to admit, I just learned of BB cream recently. I’ve wanted to try it, but not wanted to make much of an investment (’cause I’m old and still have to use prescription ACNE cream…arrggggh!). I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts.

    Ah, thrifting. I’ve had to pull back a bit, tho’. One can get over-excited and come home with too many $4 skirts 😮

    I love how you combine very different clothing pieces to make something original and more beautiful than the individual pieces alone. You’ve inspired me to drag out my sewing machine. As soon as I can brave the teen girls’ bedroom where it is located. So far, I can’t get past the door.

    • Jean on August 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      I’ll confess, I didn’t start sewing again until mine were gone. Hopefully you won’t wait that long.

  15. megan, the frugalista diaries on August 13, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    love how quirky that jacket is
    Xo Megan

  16. pastcaring on August 14, 2012 at 3:53 am

    Your lace-sleeve denim jacket is a wonderful creation, and looks fabulous with that gorgeous maxi.
    Malls/shopping centres just aren’t for me, I am not surprised you needed a shot of thrift magic to renew your enthusiasm! You found some great things. I sometimes wonder if I am turning my kids OFF secondhand shopping by dragging them in charity shops all the time… Though my eldest is still very happy to have the majority of her wardrobe bought secondhand or given as hand-me-downs. I dread the day that changes and she demands “proper” shopping for labels. But maybe the history of thrift and recycling will be too strong and she will always embrace it, let’s hope so!
    BB creams seem to be the latest miracle product but I don’t suppose they will turn back time, ha! xxxxx

  17. Anne-Marie Bruun on August 14, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I like your combination with the rough and fine – really good. Your skirt is so beautiful and the bag is just too yummy :) I do not know if it’s the right word – what I think is that I love it.

    • Jean on August 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      That’s the perfect word! Thank you.

  18. Rachel {Raw-kul} on August 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Your jacket is too cute and so is that little leather jacket! I love a good find, and I still get excited (like it was the first time) when I find something I love at a great price. :-)

  19. Terri on August 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    I love how you’ve added the crocheted sleeves to the vest–an idea to remember. I heartily agree about the bargains to be found at Goodwill. I’ve been doing a lot of thrifting over my vacation…and thinking what a repository of our culture they are, sort of like selling museums.

  20. Joyatri on August 15, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Great idea swapping out the sleeves of the jacket with lace ones. It reminds me of Janis Joplin’s lace top and trousers. I read somewhere that she had them made from a vintage tablecloth found in a thrift store.

    I’m glad you are passing on the joys of thrifting to your young friends. I grew up wearing hand-me-downs (from an older brother — so it was not fun) and going to thrift stores, so it’s in my blood. I recently spent time with an 18-year-old who was of the fashion label mentality you mention and it was like she was from a different planet than the one I was on when I was that age.

    Thank you again for your kind words on my blog!

  21. Rosalind on August 15, 2012 at 10:16 am

    What a haul of goodies. It’s the thrill of the unknown and the unexpected that keeps me always popping into charity shops or vintage markets, as well as the upcycling possibilities of what I might find. Your twinning of crochet sleeves with denim makes for an inspired, relaxed look that so suits the vivid print of your maxi dress.

  22. Rose on August 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Hi Jean, drop me an email if you would like to discuss skin care. Unfortunately, I inherited my mother’s skin, which is now beginning to show signs of wear and tear (so to speak). So I do a whole multitude of things to kick it back to life.

    Thanks so much for your lovely comments on my blog. Hugs and kisses to you!

    Cheers from England,
    Rosemary from

  23. Megan Mae on August 16, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    I’m still looking for that ultimate beauty item. Although I’m pretty convinced it’s just a blend of natural oils (jojoba, olive, coconut, argan, etc). I’ve wanted to make the transition from creams and “oil-free” and try the OCM or at least moisturize with oil. I might finally cave this winter to keep from spending even more on creams that don’t feel good.

  24. Mrs D on August 18, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Great job with the denim vest and the lacy sleeves, that’s really clever!
    I totally agree with you about the kids – I remember that when I was 11/13. Then I decided I liked old style stuff better and started rummaging my grandma’s closet and after that the flea market. And that’s how it started for me and I haven’t stopped yet :)
    Those are some great finds you’ve got there. Are you transforming that mexican blanket? I could see that made into something else by your talented hands :)

  25. Grunge Queen on August 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    TOO funny – I’ve just discovered BB cream! My sis just came to visit me from Canada sporting a tube of BB cream by a Canadian company called Marcelle. It made her face look amazing and I LOVED it. Alas, can’t buy it in France so I bought a tube by Garnier instead. Not sure if I like it as well but we’ll give it a go. I’m hooked on Neal’s Yard skincare from the UK – organic etc. The Frankincense night cream is lush (and apparently good for ageing skin).

    LOVE the Mexican blanket, and the jacket you’re wearing. :)

  26. Street Fashion Paris on September 5, 2012 at 3:34 am

    What a nice style!!! love it!!! xxx

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