Learn how to “Shop Your Way to Wealth”

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Shop Your Way to Wealth!

Join Barb Tobias, America’s “Thrift Talk” Diva, as she shares her signature speech Shop Your Way to Wealth.


 Lunch & Network Event

Thursday, April 14, 2011  

11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

A Spice of Life Event Center

5706 Arapahoe Ave. Boulder, CO 80303

Barb Tobias has spent a lifetime transforming trash into treasure. She is a master at creating stunning interiors, dressing clients like supermodels and turning the forgotten into the unforgettable—for a fraction of the cost.

“The Lunch and Network Event offers a huge networking opportunity, a dedicated speaker sharing their business expertise and a delicious catered buffet lunch. Come, have fun and meet some awesome people and vendors!”                                                                                      ~ Tobi Hunt


 Register at: http://www.tobihuntevents.com/Lunch-&-Network-Event.html

INVITE A FRIEND to have the time of their life! People are really doing business and creating powerful relationships, connections and friendships.

77 Year Old Woman Makes a Difference by Holding Garage Sales

 Rochester Hills, Mich: Neighborhood gives back for 19th year

Here’s a tip: When visiting Joanne Marcil’s home, watch your stuff. Just ask her husband, Ray, who left a jacket lying around. Joanne grabbed it and sold it at her community’s Make A Difference Day flea market. When Ray later asked her about it, she just smiled.

The project began in 1992 as a garage sale, raising $150 to buy high chairs for a soup kitchen. Marcil, 77, had such a good time she enlisted family and friends to create bigger events every year. The two-day market is now tradition, requiring 150 volunteers and five families’ garages to store donated items.

In 2010, the sale raised $13,000 for women in crisis, the homeless, people with chronic diseases and others. In 19 years, the project has raised $71,000. It’s hard work but well worth it, Marcil says. “I’m doing something to help this world, not just wishing things were better.”

$10,000 Make A Difference Day Award from Newman’s Own goes to The Baldwin Center, Pontiac, Mich.

This year’s judges:

Charles Gabrielson: President & Publisher, USA WEEKEND Magazine

Brian Gallagher: President and CEO, United Way Worldwide

Michael Havard: Vice President of Marketing, Newman’s Own Inc.

Kim Martin: President and General Manager, WE tv and Wedding Central

Michelle Nunn: CEO, Points of Light, Institute & Co-founder, HandsOn Network

A Collector of “Orphaned” Stuff

I am the queen of the unwanted; a collector of “orphans.”  Over the years I’ve embraced the flawed, snatched up rejects others passed over, delighted in the blemished and greedily coveted the imperfect and scarred. 

Like metal to magnets, yard sales, consignment shops and thrift stores still lure me into their murky depths to find wonderfully tarnished bits and pieces that I meticulously turn into treasures.  Spotting décor that is unique or unusual has become my specialty … my signature talent. And, dramatic objects that ooze style or demanded attention make me blubber with affection.  

After years of searching through the dimly lit recesses of garages, junk yards and barns, I’ve learned to ignore obvious defects, and concentrate on spotting the potential in every item. Identifying the latent beauty hidden beneath decaying layers of tarnish and grime became the rule as my skill and artistry grew. 


In addition to recognizing and purchasing promising finds, I’ve learned to fix broken legs, repair antique frames and mend holes in tattered throws.  Discovering that a peeling piece of furniture could be transformed with a brisk sanding and a new color, spurred me to reconsider items I would have normally passed on.  Oil stans became my best buddies as I turned the scratched and marred into things of beauty.  I learned what products took offf rust, what transformed mirrors into bright reflectores and what oils thirsty furniture craved.

Before I considered a piece worthy of purchase, I would first consider its assets, examining it from one angle then another, thinking, “What can I do with you?  How would you look in a different color? What would it cost me to repair you?”

Once I made the decision to rescue a waif, I would purchase the item if I felt that its condition warranted the asking price. Otherwise, I would make a reasonable offer hoping for acceptance or at least a friendly haggle.

Over the years I’ve transformed my home using amazing thrift finds that have turned a frumpy house into a fabulous home.  And, my nondescript wardrobe now boasts $20 fashion statements that are the envy of my frugal friends. 





Barb Tobias is a professional speaker and inspiring coach who renovates lives, homes and wardrobes by sticking her curious little nose into other people’s “thrifty business.” After a lifetime of transforming trash into treasure, this savvy mistress of thrift shares her secrets to finding deals, repurposing before tossing, reconstructing the tattered and renewing things others view as passé in her recent release…Tossed & Found; Where Frugal is Chic. Her “tell all” book is not simply a journey of personal transformation, but teaches a newly frugal nation how to purchase, purge and profit from thrift.    



Fifteen Reasons To Fall In Love With Thrift … … Cheap doesn’t need to be Cinchy

I’ve been happily thrift shopping for over 30 years.  But, I wore gently used clothes from my toddler days clear through my teen years … from the proverbial hand-me-downs to the secondhand gown my mother bought me when I was voted Homecoming Queen.  Needless to say, having to live on the cheap for so long, I abhorred anything thrifty. 

Once I was married, and on the rebound from anything recycled,  I was determined to buy new and staying far away from a life filled with someone else’s cast-offs.

 Today I can honestly say that my beautifully decorated home and fabulous wardrobe have cost me nothing. I buy exclusively from the remarkable thrift venues that pepper the nation; garage sales, flea markets, yard sales, consignment shops, auctions, tag sales, antique malls and estate sales!

Furthermore, I hold a garage sale … every year.  Actually, I call them Diva Sales because they are stocked with all the fabulous things I let go of after each season. The yearly purging of my home allows an array of new-to-me items back into my home and a fresh wardrobe every year. 

Coming full circle, there are layers of reasons to love and live frugally.  And since I buy only thrift, here are 15 of my best and brightest motivations:

  1. No more sticker shock!
  2. Best bargain bragging rights
  3. Guilt-free shopping . . . the price is always right.  
  4. Decorate for FREE by purging yearly … Thar’s Gold in Them Thar Cupboards!
  5. Incentive to clutter-bust your home – Reduce, Reuse, and Redo
  6. Create magazine spread homes using trendy thrift
  7. Donate to feel GREEN and great!
  8. Capture items not normally affordable
  9. Find once-in-a-lifetime treasures
  10. Power dress for pennies
  11. Find Red-Carpet fashions  . . . cheap
  12. Have fun while saving a ton
  13. Unique finds that express your individuality
  14. Build personal wealth by dressing and decorating for free
  15. Ignite the creativity within; repurposing at its best

Christmas in the Mountains … a Pictorial Memory

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                                 After receiving a call from a local television to put together a thrift segment, every room in my home was decorated to the hilt.  After all that attention to creating a holiday wonderland, we desided to take advantage of the decorated house and throw a serious holiday party. . . After all, it just seemed like the perfect excuse!  

Festive balls

Decorating art

Candles all aglow


Memories were bountiful  … and, here are just a few of the highlights. 

Fabulous fashionistas; Jill, Dixie, Patrica, Michele, Vicki

At least five feisty divas braved the mountain roads and drove in from Boulder and Fort Collins to celebrate the holidays with us.  Here Jill, Dixie, Patrica Michele and Vicki smashing in their holiday splendor, decked the halls with their Divaness.   

Tara Becker, founder of the Elle Women’s Group, poses with hostess Barb. 

Diva Tara and Diva Barb

Barb and the amazing Book Shepherds; Katherine & Judith. Barb gives two big Diva hugs to Katherine Carol and Judith Briles. Without these mavens of the book publishing world, her book, Tossed & Found, would still be in the writing phase!

Katherine Carol and Barb

Patti, Barb, and Lynn

Then the group gathered for the traditional gift swap.  The thrifty exchanges this year were things that had been recycled, repurposed, restored or regifted.

Ladies in red …. Debbie Polkhorn, travel specialist extraordinaire, shares a Yule drink with Linda.

Pretty in Red Debbie and Linda

Kristin is one of the first to open her gift…chosen for the beautiful wrapping.  Meanwhile Patrica Belanger watches someone attempting a sticky-finger maneuver with Kristin’s very cool M&M hotrod…too cute!

Stealing the gift - Patrica, Kristin and unknown hand

Even Barb and Stephen got in on the act! Once opened, the gift revealed an amazing set of Cinnamon scented candles. 



Barb and Kai testing the soup.

The soup was hot and ready to warm the soul.  Well, we thought we would have snow with freezing temperatures.  So, we figured that a steaming bowl of homemade bean soup would warm the innards of the frostiest guests.  Hmmmm, the sun shone and the solar effect in the mountains pushed the thermometer to 65 degrees!  What the hay?  We enjoyed the soup anyway. Here festive Kai helps Barb dish it out.

Barry and Shanda

Amazing filmmaker and friend Barry Bortnick celebrates the holidays with his darling wife Shanda. 

Frank and Carmen grabbed a bite before heading to the gift exchange.

The gift exchange begins

Friends and neighbors gathered to wish each other cheer for the season. The partiers basked in the season of camaraderie.

Awww, neighbors, Karen and Michael, snuggle close during the gift exchange.

Karen and Michael get cozy

The Diva returns to Atlanta!

An Evening with The Thrift Diva

   …Divine Home Decor & Fabulous Fashions for the Holidays

America’s “Thrift Talk” Diva is heading back to Atlanta for round 2 of the Frugal is Chic Tour. Join us for an evening of fun while The Diva shares her holiday decorating secrets and tips to finding that fabulous holiday outfit for a fraction of the cost. 

Have you run out of money or at a loss for holiday ideas for your home or wardrobe? Enjoy an engaging evening of networking, refreshments, an autographed copy of Barb’s newest release, Tossed & Found and a lively presentation from world-class speaker, author and entertainer Barb Tobias.

Date: Thursday, December 16, 2010
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Southern Comforts
2510 Mt. Vernon Rd.
Dunwoody, GA 30338

Pre-registration: $20
Register at Southern Comforts – Dunwoody Store or register below:

It Was a Diva Moment!

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Ahhh, another Diva moment! 

An organization called Behind the Moon was celebrating their 7th Anniversary last week and I decided to check out this intriguing networking group.  Aside from the scrumptious cake, some delightful wine and a host of interesting people, there was also a fun photo opportunity. Chris Hibner of Chris Hibner Photography LLC was actually shooting DIVA pictures … go figure!

Well, this Diva couldn’t resist.  After all there were pink boas and wide brimmed hats … not to mention the array of sunglasses.  Darling, the opportunity simply too tempting .  Oh, what’s a Diva to do in a situation like this?    

Go figure!  They had fun shades…

                                                                                    And this sultry pose was just way too Diva….


I was just getting warmed up …  too fun!  You know even grown Divas like to play dressup!

The Diva Chronicles … Colorado’s Western Slopes

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A river runs through ...

A river running gold from the rich deposits of iron ore.

Having lived in Colorado for five years, I’ve (regrettably) explored far too few vistas that pepper this amazing state.  When I received a call from Kathleen, Diva extraordinaire, offering a chance to do a girl’s trip to the Western Slopes, I jumped at the chance.  I looked forward the experience—Colorado wine country—in the fall.     

It was early morning when the car arrived at my mountain home.  Hastily shoving my bags on top and around the existing luggage, I hopped into the car giddy with anticipation.  With camera in hand and a good supply of munchies close by, we headed west.     

Three Divas ... Barb, Susan and Kathleen

I hadn’t met Susan, one of the threesome, and was delighted to get to know this feisty little sprite as we maneuvered out of the foothills and into the mountains.      

Iron oxide turns the Sierra Madre Mountains red



Driving through the glorious weather that marks Colorado autumns, I had an inkling that this was going to be another trip to register in the Diva Chronicles.   

An abandoned homestead.

Crossing the state was awe inspiring … an incredible unfolding of changing topography and color; from the evergreen foothills to the arid majesty of the western slopes sprinkled with nostalgic mining towns and old abandoned homesteads.  

Fences make for good neighbors



We drove leisurely, with no set plan and stopping as often as we wished to snap pictures of the ever changing topography.  

Refrigerator repair woman

Ok, so here’s Susan getting creative shots while doing her version of the refrigerator repairwoman thingy … only you have to admit, she’s much cuter.     





Whenever we parked the car to view a particularly lovely vista, it seemed reasonable that we should also take time to stretch and restore ourselves. We would open the trunk; pull out our spare munchies and partake in chunks of creamy, warm cheese and a robust glass of local wine. (Of course, we repeatedly congratulated ourselves on having the foresight to pack these travel necessities.)       



As we crossed the continental divide the sun was setting softly behind the lofty peaks that sheltered Colorado’s wineries. Although we were getting a bit travel weary, we decided to take a quick detour and head for the wine tasting houses before they closed.   Since Susan was not one to imbibe in any form of bubbly brew, we basked in the good fortune of having our own designated driver.   

Cherry wine rimmed with chocolate ... mmmm

Our first stop was at Carlson Vineyards in Palisade, CO. (Visit them at www.CarlsonVinyards.com).  Once nestled into their lovely mountain tasting retreat we were happily introduced to their decadent cherry dessert wine lavishly rimmed with … CHOCOLATE.   Delightful, Decadent and soooo Diva!    

The country's highest vineyards





Sharing the fruits of labor ...

As for those wine snobs or skeptics (as you prefer), the hills and valleys of Colorado’s western slopes have the perfect climate for growing grapes. They routinely make countless award winning wines, giving some stiff competition to that little wine producing state on the other side of the Rockies.      



Visit Whitewater Hill Winery at http://www.whitewaterhill.com/

We closed out day at the Whitewater Hill Vineyards which produce luscious varietal wines at the quaint winery which overlooks the broad vista of the Grand Valley bordering the Colorado River.  We really enjoyed kabitzing with the owners.  You can visit this lovely winery at WhitewaterHill.com.   

During the day …   

Old fire station and fire truck ... and one good looking cowgirl!


We played tourist …   




Continued sightseeing …     



Power thrift shopped  … ate more chocolate…     

Susan checking out the mattress.



And threw in just a tad bit of R & R.   



As each day gently unfolded we stood, each in our own separate peace, inspired by the majesty of this land we call home.    


Our adventures soon drew to a close. On the last day as the sun settled behind the peaks, we came upon this incredible scene.  Although I always loved the words to America the Beautiful, I never realize how incredibly perfect they were. The verses played over and over as we viewed the majesty of this country.

 At every bend, stunning canyon and mountain peak we visually celebrated the magnificence of this nation.     


                                                              O beautiful for spacious skies,
                                               For amber waves of grain,
                                               For purple mountain majesties
                                               Above the fruited plain!
                                               America! America!  

Bedbugs Infesting Thrifty Finds

Make sure your thrift purchases are clean. Otherwise, eew!
Nicole C. Jamieson August 3 at 12:13pm
Hi Barb! How are ya?!

I was thinking I’d really love to hear your thoughts about sanitizing new thrift purchases. Right now there is an outbreak of bedbugs in NYC, it’s a REALLY big problem and a total pest. It’s somewhat of an issue here in Philadelphia, but not as big. They can get in everything though! Obviously in mattresses, but also in upholstered furniture and clothing. Just thought you should hit on this topic because I’ve never heard any other thrifters speak on this.

Just food for thought!

Barb Tobias August 3 at 1:59pm

Good thought Nichole. First rule of thumb…I never buy anything I can’t wash. Second rule of thumb … used mattresses and pillows are illegal to resell…just an FYI. So the problem lies in absorbing things like upholstered pieces into your home. I would suggest leaving those pieces in the garage and treating with a fabric-safe bug bomb…just to be on the safe side.  After a few applications, vacuum thouroughly before bringing them into your home. Thanks for the question…it’s a serious one.  The Thrift Diva

How to Hold a (Diva) Garage Sale

An excerpt from Tossed & Found by Barb Tobias, America’s ” Thrift Talk” Diva

It was a Diva of a Sale!

Part I

Selling used goods from driveways, yards, or inside a home has been referred to as garage salesyard sales or tag sales. People hold these weekend events to raise money or get rid of unwanted stuff. Although these sales are a lot of work, they are a great way to purge, turning unwanted items into profits.

The following schedule outlines how to chunk down tasks so that preparations are organized … and doable. With this parceled approach, the magnitude of a project does not have to be overwhelming.

A Diva of a Sale

Two Months Before the Garage Sale

I’ve learned to set the dates of my sales by considering the financial mindsets of my customers. They are typically scheduled for the 15th or 30th day of the month. Paydays! People are more likely to splurge after they’ve been paid versus the weeks they walked around with no money in their pocketbooks. After all, my goal is to attract buyers not window shoppers.

Two Weeks before the Sale

The transformation of my garage into my Diva Shoppe begins.

  • The entire garage is rearranged. All the things that are not being sold are moved to the back of the garage.
  • Areas that are off-limits are draped with sheets or tablecloths so that people won’t be tempted to examine items that are not for sale. I have learned that this ounce of preventions averts distractions, saving time once the garage sale is in full swing.
  • The garage is then cleaned from top to bottom.
  • Next, display tables are set in a u-shaped pattern, allowing for an easy traffic flow. People should be able to walk around and examine the merchandise without tripping over things. Sometimes a row of tables is placed right down the middle depending on the room I have.
  • Each table is topped with a  pretty tablecloth or piece of fabric.
  • Next I haul out my boxes and stack the labeled containers that hold similar contents next to each other.
  • I love to create scenes at my sales, so I place the same type of items, kitchen, family room, household, décor, clothing or toys in groupings so that I can pull the items out of the marked boxes and make my arrangements quickly.
  • My next project defines a labor of love. Tables are arranged attractively, with attention to every detail.  I go to great lengths to create eye-catching “tablescapes.” My reasoning is simple.  People like to shop in pleasant surroundings despite the fact that they are shopping at a garage sale.
  • Furniture is arranged in scenes or quasi rooms. In turn, each area is festooned with accessories, throw pillows, pictures and silk plants to create a warm inviting designer look.

Over time, it was obvious that my extra effort spent pulling together artful arrangements and furniture groupings resulted in heavier traffic and substantial sales.

Watch for the Diva Garage Sale – Part II

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