What do Barb Tobias (The “Thrift Talk” Diva), Tori Spelling and Carol Burnett have in common?
I was stunned to learn, after reading numerous reports on People.com, Omg.com, and Thefrisky.com, that real celebrities were raising serious money through holding all types of sales; garage sales, tag sales, yard sales, porch sales, divorce sales, downsizing sales, moving sales…and are now moving into the corridors of high-rise apartment buildings where city dwellers are holding “lobby sales”. And, here I thought that this Thrift Talking Diva had the corner on making good money at my fancy Diva Sales.
Yikes! Little did I know that I was going up against the likes of Tori Spelling, Scott Baio, Teri Hatcher, and Pamela Anderson. I’d been snookered and outclassed. And, I would have to imagine that my stuff was probably pretty paltry in comparison to their stuff.
Sure, I’ve yakked for years about the benefits of holding tag sales and purging homes of unwanted and unloved things. And, I’m still a strong advocate for the yearly cleanse (because it’s the only cleanse that’s capable of making a fast buck). But, I was still having trouble wrapping my arms around celebrities hawking their junk … like the rest of us.
I kept asking myself, “Why would outrageously wealthy superstars hold yard sales?” So, I started doing a little celebrity snooping, and, voila, Diva Detective was born. True, most stars hold sales through auction houses, but a few, such as Tori Spelling, Scott Baio, Teri Hatcher, and Pamela Anderson actually worked their own sales, albeit with professional and agent assistance. Many of them do it for charity; however, Tori actually pocketed the cash.
Star Willie Aames sold off his belongings at his suburban Kansas City home. Apparently dozens showed up while Aames bargained with treasure-hunters and even signed autographs. Hundreds of people stood in line to snap up movie memorabilia, taxidermy, antiques, artwork, furniture, and even his piano. And, the shocker…his production crews were even there to film a television documentary.
A cable network recently shot a pilot for the project, titled “Celebrity Garage Sale,” staring actress Illeana Douglas. Apparently the hook is that Douglas is on a mission to help her famous friends get rid of their unwanted junk by holding, you guessed it, a garage sale. They’ve brought in Tom Arnold to mix it up because his garage sale is said to have raised $5,000 for Camp del Corazon, a summer camp for children with heart disease.
Scott Baio’s sale raised funds as well as awareness for mandatory newborn screening in all fifty states after his daughter tested positive for GA1, a metabolic disorder. Fortunately, she is fine, after it was discovered that her results were a false positive.
Teri Hatcher raised $20,000 for her favorite charities through an invite-only, fifty-dollar entrance fee, yard sale and served Buttercream Cupcakes & Coffee to her customers!
And, Pamela Anderson was reported have sold one of her homes with all of the contents with the proceeds going to PETA.
Now here’s one that shook the fibers of my “divaness”. Supermodel Erin Wasson held a garage sale selling off pieces from her personal wardrobe … the likes of Balenciaga and YSL. Now, rumor has it that these rags sold for under $100. Where was I when all this was happening? According to Erin she was attempting to “edit down my wardrobe and be very Japanese, where you have one rolling rack…I love the idea of being super edited.” Awww…
So what’s the difference between their yard sales and mine? So okay, the autograph signings are probably a draw. I’ll give them that. And, maybe their furnishings are a tad more elegant. And then there are the gowns, and posters and the jewels. Hmmm…
For Barb Tobias of Evergreen, thrift is a lifestyle. In her book, “Tossed and Found; Where Frugal is Chic,” she asks, “How would your life look if you tossed out the tired and unwanted … and found a new you?”
Tobias writes of treasures such as a $1,000 vase for $40 and designer outfits for $50. She decorates all shapes and sizes of homes using only thrift items. And she says you can actually thrift shop your way to wealth.
Tobias gives all kinds of ideas on where to find these items — from demolition to estate to garage sales — and how to look for the “good stuff.” She also has a great list of stores and marketing ideas so you can make the most of buying and selling.
Her web site is http://thrifttalkdiva.com/
Three caveats to living the chic life on thrift: Have patience. It takes time to make the best finds. You can’t build your own cheap and chic Rome in one day. Sometimes, a store might be packed with deals, other times, you might not find a thing. Secondly, make sure to purge the old when you bring in the new. Third, keep an open mind. This classic form of recycling has stood the test of time for a reason. Snobs do not find the real treasures.
On a personal note, I absolutely hate the feeling of knowing I left behind a diamond in the rough. As long as an item isn’t too expensive for my budget or too large for me to store, I’ll pick it up to avoid that pang of regret. If I change my mind, I’ll sell or give it away as soon as possible rather than let it collect dust.
And remember, there’s no law that says you have to tell people you bought something second hand. I usually do, just because I get a kick out of getting compliments on my Goodwill shoes. But if someone says they like your new find, you can always just smile and say, “Thank you for noticing!” — wink.
By the way — end-of-season clearance at Payless Shoes right now — I found some really cute styles for the kids (and even some for me!) for $3 to $8! I even bought some school shoes and some of those cool wedges I wanted, but wasn’t ready to pay full price. The sales clerk tells me the deals are going at all Colorado stores.
Happy hunting! Don’t forget our CBS4 Deals of the Day, and please pass along your thrifty tips in the comments section! I’d love to hear from you.
– In her Brooke’s Bargains blog Brooke Wagner writes about finding bargains and saving money for her family. She calls it one of her favorite hobbies. Blog entries cover everything from the latest steals, deals, and freebies to cheap family activities, saving for college, and what to buy right now.
People often question why I continue to thrift shop … after all, I have more than everything I need. I guess it boils down to my love of the hunt. I love to scour the thrift shops and garage sales for items that can be made into something else. I enjoy creating new things out of old or used items. After all, I am a Diva and I love to change my environment … often.
I’m past worrying about whether I’ve made a purchasing mistake because I hold a Diva Sale at least once a year where I sell my “mistakes” and items I’ve simply grown tired of.
Another defining reason I shop thrift is knowing that I am saving so much money. In addition, recycling everything I own keeps my stuff out of our landfills.
On a recent “sale” shopping week I recorded my purchases and calculated the difference between what I paid during the 50% off sale, what I would have paid at normal thrift store prices and what retail would have cost me. I was astonished…
|Item||Retail||Thrift||1/2 price Sale|
|Cousances Cast Iron Vintage Blue Deep Skillet||$109.99||$ 9.99||$ 4.99|
|Cousances Cast Iron Vintage Blue Omelet Fry Pan||$ 9.99||$ 6.99||$ 3.49|
|Pfaltzgraff Gravy Boat||$ 7.99||$ 3.99||$ .99|
|Smoothie Freeze juicer||$ 29.99||$ 12.99||$ 6.49|
|CX-CD241 Portable CD with AM/FM Stereo Tuner||$ 29.99||$ 6.99||$ 3.49|
|Audio phase CD and Cassette player/2 speakers||$ 59.95||$ 24.99||$ 12.49|
|Video tape rewind component||$ 15.99||$ 3.99||$ 1.99|
|Glass Storage Jar||$ 9.99||$ 3.99||$ 1.99|
|Drawer Divider||$ 5.99||$ 1.99||$ 0.99|
|Men’s Red Handkerchief||$ 4.99||$ 0.99||$ 0.49|
|Auto Flashlight||.||$ 4.99||$ .99||$0.49|
|6 – Faux Leather placemats (Bed, Bath & Beyond||$ 35.94||$11.94||$5.94|
|Ceramic Box||$ 9.00||$ 2.99||$1.49|
|Long black scarf||$ 9.99||$ 1.99||$0.99|
|3 – Dinosaur Eggs||$ 9.99||$ 2.97||$1.47|
|2 – Decorative throw pillows||$ 32.00||$ 8.00||$4.00|
|7 – (Tag-on new) pairs underwear||$ 41.93||$ 13.93||$6.93|
|5 – Variety Cooking Utensils||$ 9.99||$ 2.45||$1.20|
|2-Books||$ 49.90||$ 6.00||$3.00|
|7 – CD’s||$ 90.30||$ 14.00||$7.00|
|Crazy Horse Ski Sweater||$ 24.99||$ 4.99||$2.49|
|2 piece silk PJ set by Cerie||$ 15.99||$ 4.99||$2.49|
|Wise World Sweatshirt||$ 32.99||$ 4.99||$2.49|
|Pair (NEW) Diane Gillman Jeans||$ 46.00||$ 8.99||$ .99|
|Pair Liz Claiborne Jeans||$ 28.99||$ 5.99||$ .99|
|Pair ETHYL Vintage Jeans||$ 32.00||$ 5.99||$ .99|
|Pair Faded Glory Black Denim jeans||$ 14.99||$ 5.99||$ .99|
Totals $824.84 $184.09 $79.17
I call this type of smart shopping “investing”! Not only am I investing in my home and wardrobe, I am making wise purchases that can be sold at my “Diva Sales” after I’m finished with them or have found something better. This way my merchandise is almost always recycled and I often recoup my investment. I have started to put the difference between what I pay thrift and what my items would have cost retail into a savings account. To hell with retirement! I am dying to take a trip; Africa is calling me, Victoria Island is my spring fantasy and Australia is beckoning me . . .
The idea behind my book, Tossed & Found, came as direct result of a sliding economy and corporate cut backs. After managing a sales team in the Midwest and Western United States for years, my team and I suddenly found ourselves … jobless. With few options available in an market spiraling out of control, I knew I had to reinvent myself – again. The inspiration for writing a thrift memoire came during my regrouping stage. I visualized a book that not only talked about my tumultuous life, but also showcased the shift to thrift that was occurring across our nation.
What was the hardest part about completing your book?
Two thing actually; learning all the parts to the entire process; from writing the book to getting it published. And, and the edits … the seemingly endless edits.
Well, there’s actually a third item I had difficulty with … letting go! After countless edits, I learned that my book would never be perfect; there would always be mistakes or a better way of saying something … a sentence or paragraph that could be written differently. And, there would continue to be a lurking temptation to do another rewrite – or two. At some point an author needs to let it go – give birth – push it out into the world.
Did you learn any lessons in the book creation process, if so what where they?
Having been a first-time author, I learned many, many lessons, the most important of which … staying on task, committing to writing every day, surrounding oneself with mentors, becoming a storyteller, and showing the reader versus telling the reader.
Did you enlist support in getting your book done?
Yes I did. Right out of the shoot I hired a coach. Although he was supportive and directive with my goals I quickly realized I needed to enlist the help of coaches that lived and breathed writing and publishing. I regrouped and hired a book coaching team the literally took my book from limp to alive!
What tips or advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Authorship is a lonely and complex process. However, a fledgling author does not have to attempt the process alone. There is an abundance of writers groups and a wealth of seminars and publishing gurus that can help writers sift through the glut of information and options.
If you self-published, what made you self-publish?
Launching my speaking career determined that I self-published. My book was my calling-card, so to speak. After dipping my toes into the publishing arena, I realized that traditional publishing would take me many more months to get my book out than I was willing to sacrifice. Additionally, I felt that it was judicious to retain all the rights to my creation.
If you had to do your book all over again, would you?
Writing Tossed & Found was a wondrous adventure; it was cathartic, revitalizing, wearisome, creative, exasperating, nerve-wracking, euphoric, tedious, liberating, frustrating and inspiring. And yes, I would so do it again … to feel the euphoria of holding my creation in my hand for the first time, the delight in doing a reading to that first audience, and the appreciation expressed by those inspired to reinvent their lives or lifestyles.
Are you writing or planning to write an additional book(s)?
Yes, I have a Diva sequel planned; Decorating like a Diva … On the Cheap.
But, there is another book begging to be published. I was a dog trainer for 20 years. I envision a book of dog stories; true-life adventures of the many dogs and situations I’ve stumbled upon during my tenure with dogs … from antics on fashion runways to heroic deeds of brave dogs and their owners.
What else would you like to share about you or your book?
The title Tossed & Found is really a double entandre. My book chronicles the journey of trash to treasure, contrasting those that toss things out versus those that find unloved items and turn them into beautiful furnishings or fabulous wardrobes.
And, it is also about my life … my journey. I believe my path parallels the journey of many people that find themselves tossed out of relationships, jobs or life. I also suppose that life throws us curve balls to teach us great lessons. So, it’s not whether we get tossed around, living a meaningful life is about what we do when it happens … whether we find ourselves again.
How can people find out more about your book?
Tossed & Found is available at local bookstores, on Amazon or by visiting www.ThriftTalkDiva.com.
Barb Tobias, America’s “Thrift Talk” Diva, is an author, speaker, coach and the entertaining mistress of thrift. This radio and TV personality renovates lives, homes and wardrobes by sticking her curious little nose into other people’s “thrifty business.” After a lifetime of turning trash into treasure, Barb shares her secrets for finding deals, repurposing before tossing and reconstructing the tattered in her new release, Tossed & Found. Her “tell all” book is not only a journey of personal transformation, but teaches a newly frugal nation how to purchase, purge and profit from thrift.
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!
Memories were bountiful … and, here are just a few of the highlights.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Amazing filmmaker and friend Barry Bortnick celebrates the holidays with his darling wife Shanda.
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.
We are women, mothers, wives and professionals who share a vision of uniting all women, expanding and creating new opportunities, living life to the fullest and sharing ideas.
Love Life and Lipstick is a complaint free environment full of support and uplifting hands. Join us each month and meet great new women, hear about exciting business ideas and plan on inspiration from the speakers for each event.
Women are amazing, we have the ability to create, to love, to grow and want more for others then we do for ourselves. When that power comes together into a room, great things happen … that is the purpose of Love Life and Lipstick!
This month we will feature Barb Tobias; professional speaker and inspiring coach … a woman who renovates lives by sticking her curious little nose into other people’s “thrifty business.”
Barb speaks with candor about her journey; the pitfalls, the heights and the call to reinvent oneself. She is quoted as saying, I have sought inspiration in varying level at various times and have found that there is a rich tapestry of inspiration and those that inspire. Prophetic whisperings may come to us in different forms; a song we hear in the background, a headline or even a book title. Maybe the Universe is trying to give us a nudge or some divine spirit is vying for our attention. Regardless of the venue or purpose of these innocuous inklings, we know at a core level that we have connected with a higher power.
Event Date: Wednesday November 17, 2010
6:30-9:00 p.m.- 26476 E Peakview Drive, Aurora CO 80016
This events Cost: $20.00 Cash event (includes book)- feel free to bring your business cards or brochures to share.
RSVP is needed for this month’s event to ensure that we have plenty of books and seating.
It was great fun seeing old friends and making new ones as I toured the very chic consignment shops of Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA, confirming that all that famous and infectious southern charm is still alive and well!
Betty Anderson from Fun Finds and Designs in Canton, GA was the first to host the launch of my new book Tossed & Found. Her consignment shop looked spectacular, she put on an amazing spread, and her partner in crime (Terry) made certain that the patrons had a full glass of velvety wine.
Barb Tobias’s presentation at Fun Finds Consignments in Canton Georgia exceeded all expectations. Her new book Tossed & Found highlights her life-changing foray into the world of thrift and consignment. Her journey parallels one woman’s progression from small town farm girl, to fashion model, radio and TV personality, corporate executive to author and keynote speaker. Her message is profound and delivered in the most entertaining and thought provoking way. She will bring out the “Diva” in every woman and leave you with a smile on your face and renewed hope. She was a delight. ~ Betty Anderson – Fun Finds and Designs, Inc.
Tracy Dismukes from Collage Consignment in Birmingham, AL continued to spread that warm southern hospitality. Her well appointed fashion stores were stylish and oh so chic. And, her staff catered to every need as customers streamed in to snap up trendy fashions before my presentation started.
Jenny Eid, the amazing owner of two intriguing and spacious furniture consignment stores, one in Dunwoody, GA and the other in Alpharetta, GA put on a gala event in each of her fashionable locations.
And Bonnie Kallenburg and Betsy Johns of Finders Keepers in Decatur, Georgia rolled out the red carpet and made sure every detail was covered as I swept into town. Her store is amazing and her staff was beyond warm and wonderful.
Thank you for making the first leg of my Frugal is Chic Tour such a success!
The Diva Tour heads to Fort Collins, Colorado. Simply Beautiful Consignment Presents … An Evening with the Thrift Diva!
Frugal Fashions and Decorating Secrets
Have you run out of money or at a loss for new 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, November 11, 2010
Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Location: Simply Beautiful Consignment
426 S. Link Lane, Fort Collins, CO 80524
$20 pre-registration or $25 at the door
To pre-register visit Simply Beautiful Consignment
Or call: 1-877 711 DIVA (3482)
Or: Send $20 via paypal to BarbTobias@ThriftTalkDiva.com – Comment: Simply Beautiful Event
Simply Beautiful Consignment
424-426 South Link Lane
Tuesday-Saturday 11-5:30, Sundays by appointment
For more of Barb’s upcoming events, please click here.
One Tuesday night, Barb Tobias taught a Colorado Free University Class, Smart Women Decorate with Thrift, and students s learned and shared their experiences in the wacky world of thrift.
We created Vision Boards on decorating. Unlike the standard Life Vision Board, the decorating version uncovers our affinity for colors, textures, elements and styles. It is amazing how each board morphs into a profile that not only reveals our personalities but expresses our passions.
Students learned a bit about themselves, and learned how to surround themselves with décor that reverberates with their creative ideals.
- And, they learned the art of RE:
- To REpurpose rather than toss.
- To REfinish rather than pitch.
- To REnew rather than to throw out.
- To REvitalize rather than to chuck it.
And, if all else fails, and they would just as soon get rid of it, they learned where to send their “ love donations.”
- Charity Centers
- Charity Drives
Beware of energy zappers that suck the life out of your rooms . . . and lives. Commit to addressing those pesky problem areas that cause undue stress and fatigue.
- Clutter and disorganization heighten anxiety.
- Oversized furniture or too much furniture that is haphazardly shoved into small places infringe on your personal space.
- We often ‘make do’ with pieces of furniture that we don’t like, don’t fit or no longer resonate with our creative senses. Get rid of it. Sell unloved items at your next garage sale, on Craigslist or give them away to charity. Bring items that you love into your space and make sure they fit the size of your room. (Check out your local Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops for great buys.)
- Poor furniture placement is as unsightly as it is annoying.
- Too many people live around their furnishings rather than with them. Furniture placement should be pleasing to the eye and offer uncomplicated traffic patterns. For example, people shouldn’t have to walk around a couch to get to a door wall or move the bar stools to access the kitchen.
- Too little room between furnishings or accessories assaults our visual senses and reduces our feeling of space.
- The energizing power of Chi, or life-force, needs the opportunity to flow in and around objects.
- Fake plants are, well . . . fake.
- Bring energy, harmony and soothing life forces back into your rooms with vibrant, healthy plants.
- Damaged furniture is a real downer.
- Battered, scarred or worn and torn furnishings are bothersome reminders that we need to repair, refinish or restore those ancient relics. Commit to your renovation projects or . . . you got it . . . get rid of them.
- Hard or sharp furnishings can be cold and unforgiving.
- Soften harsh lines or hard surfaces with comforting fabrics and rounded objects or edges.