Christmas in the Mountains … a Pictorial Memory

December 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Blogs

                                 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

Decorating Faux Pas That Zap Our Energy

January 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Blogs, Decorating

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.  
    • Although our reactions to the chaos that surrounds us are often internalized and go unnoticed, the long term effects, anxiety and stress, are very real.  All of our senses react negatively to presence of clutter. Understand that there is order in the universe. Why not bring it into your home?
  • 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.

An Interview with the Diva of Thrift

January 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Press Room

Q.  Why do you refer to yourself as a Diva?

 A.  I struggled to come up with a title for myself . . . a name that would reflect my journey to the top of the proverbial pile so to speak.  When considering strong, self-actualizing words for women, the English language provides few choices. 

Was I going to call myself a Princess? Well, we’ve all pounded that word into the ground. And, I really didn’t want to defend my title against all the little, fluffy, cutesy dogs named Princess.  

Perhaps calling myself a master of my trade would work. Naw, that term was obviously reserved for men. 

Okay, so how about mistress of my trade?  Well, that one is sure to make the tabloids, and not an image I wanted to portray.  Plus, the word no longer carries (if it ever did) the element of accomplishment that typified someone who has walked the bumpy road to success.

A Queen?  Now, there is a moniker that negates the thought of achievement brought about by hard, creative work.  The term typically refers to a birthright not accomplishment.

Alas, there remained . . .  the Diva.  Strong, accomplished, talented.  That could work.  Of course, I knew that there would be those that would scoff at such a self-proclaiming title, but I would ask.  What word has this culture cultivated to capture the strength, the magic, of talented, smart, resilient women? 

Thus, another Diva was born . . . The Thrift Diva

 

 

Q.  What exactly is Thrift?

 A.  Thrift or thrifting, as it is often called, is the act of purchasing secondhand items at a fraction of their original cost.         

 

                                                                  

 Check out my FAB 99 cent 60’s swing coat . . . 

  

 

 Q.  Don’t most people regard the act of thrifting as a rather seedy, back-alley type of activity? 

A. They used to, but times are changing. With the downturn of the economy thrift has stepped out of the closet . . . so to speak.  Many people furnish their entire homes in fabulous but frugal secondhand finds.  I have.  I just talked to a fellow thriftier that furnished her 3,800 square foot home with used bargains . . . for $8,000 . . . and it looks fabulous.

Others build their wardrobes from posh designer fashions they rescue from thrift stores, garage sales and auctions.

Q.  I find the phrase Thrift Diva to be somewhat of an oxymoron.  Isn’t thrift the polar opposite of being a Diva? 

A.  That is actually one of the reasons I began calling myself The Thrift Talk Diva.  My mission is to take thrift out of the gutter. To show people how to decorate or dress using recycled products.  Think of it.  No packaging, no shipping costs, no advertising.  Not only is thrift socially responsible, but we can all live in wonderfully appointed environments at little to no cost.

 And . . . The Thrift Diva can show them how to do it.

 Q.  Why are you the expert on thrift?

A.    I have been shopping America’s thrifty by-ways and high-ways for 30 years, I have outfitted my home and myself in fashionable thrift bargains, and I have taught countless Divettes how to create fabulous interiors for little to no cost. 

Q.  Am I right to assume that thrift shopping is becoming more in vogue with the downturn of the economy?

 A.  Although the art of thrifting has been around for years, it is definitely in vogue . . . it is the new black. 

Q.  Why does it matter?

A.  There are several factors that make this frugal trend a hot topic:

  • The economy is in the dumper but people do not want to give up their lifestyles . . . and they don’t need to.  What they need to discover is a cheaper means to accomplish their goals, whether it is outfitting their families or decorating their homes.  
  • Women are hard-wired to nest, to create richly appointed, comfortable homes.  Fashioning a home is the primer creative outlet for most women. It started when hides, caves and timbers were crudely fashioned into habitats.  These abodes were adorned with drawings, beads, animal relics and other adornments.  
  • It is fun.  The thrill of the hunt is as alluring in the halls of thrift as it is in the fields of prey. 

 Q.  Do you consider the Art of Thrifting to be a business or hobby?

A. My fascination with garage sales, flea markets, antique and consignments shops started out as a hobby.  I was a single mom on a tight budget and was thrilled at the thought of decorating my home at little to no cost. It wasn’t until years later and the change in perception that I actually turned my passion into a coaching and speaking business with the launch of my book Tossed and Found.

 Q.  Was thrift hunting an accepted activity 30 year ago?

 A.  Absolutely not.  As a matter of fact I write about going to garage sales, incognito.  I used to carry a pair of sunglasses and a scrunchy hat in my car to use whenever I stopped at a yard sale or thrift shop.  At the time I was a fashion model and I was doing a lot of radio and television appearances.  Back then my Divaness had not yet fully blossomed and I would have sooner died than been spotted with my head in a dumpster or in the back of some grubby barn searching for my holy grail. 

Q.  What is the best find you ever found?

A.  I will share my most cherished possession because I feel that worth is not measured by the actual price that is paid, but the value that it holds for the huntress.    

In the infancy of my thrifting addiction, I stopped by a fairly seedy sale hesitating as to whether to even go in. I did a quick scope of the interior of the garage and made the decision to leave when I spotted a dust covered picture propped behind some old boxes.  Its back was facing me and I could only see the old and tattered frame.  Turning it around and wiping the dust off the glass I was enchanted by the yellowed but fetching picture. 

A turn of the century Diva peered out through her mask at a costume ball.  I knew that I had to have her.  Hesitantly I asked the proprietress of this fine establishment how much she wanted.  Her tired reply asked for a mere $5.00.  I knew that day, as I walked my treasure to the car, that I was hooked.  I am a thrift-a-holic. 

Q.  When and why did you begin writing?

A.  I have actually written for years, but I never brought any of my projects to fruition.  It wasn’t until I lost my corporate position several years ago that I had the unfettered opportunity to follow my dreams.  One day in had a serious talk with myself and threw the question out to the universe, “What course should I follow now?”  The answer came back like a bolt of lightning…”Write a book about your passion.”  Hence, the birth of Tossed and Found.    

Q.  Is there a bigger message beneath the clutter (so to speak) of Tossed and Found?

A.    Definitely.  I want to reach women and deliver this message:  No matter how humble your dreams, no matter what your circumstances, you can reach that goal.  You are powerful…own it.  You are creative…embrace it.  You are a Diva.

Q.  Are experiences based on the events in your own life?

A.  Absolutely.  I talk about the experiences I have had on the road, on television and radio, on the runway and in business.  I relate some of the amazing adventures I have had like having a gun pulled on us during a garage sale, finding true treasures for pennies, and decorating my home in thrift . . . at no cost. 

 Q.  Can you share a little of your current work with us?

A.  Yes.  I am writing my second book entitled Tossed and Turned. Whereas Tossed and Found is about finding and buying secondhand treasures, Tossed and Turned is about decorating with frugal finds.  It shows, step by step how to turn a ‘noplace’ into a ‘showplace’ at little to no cost.

 

                                                                                    

 

Modeling Picture from the 80’s . . . Was I ever that skinny?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The emerging Diva

I Love Bargain Hunting at Thrift Stores and Garage Sales

January 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Blogs, Decorating, Fashion, Garage Sales, Recycling

Below is an email that I received from a very excited client. We are working to transform her somewhat worn home into a chic and stylish habitat.

Just last garage sale season, Jo learned how to shop using a newly frugal but creative eye. She quickly learned to spot the potential treasures beneath the tarnish. Prepare Jo Garage Sale

After holding a garage sale of her own, we spent a few fun and productive weekends looking for bargain furnishings to replace the items we literally hauled out of her house and sold on the spot.   Remember the old addage; One woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure? (Okay, so it is close enough.)

Jo was very hesitant at the beginning of our project.  She was skeptical of finding quality items at local thrift venues.  Now, she is an ardent believer and often ventures out on her own to find her bargains. She has learned that imagination and resourcefulness are key factors in finding the right deals.

Hi Barb,

I just made the best buy of the day… a love seat – FREE, courtesy of Aurora Library. I was actually looking at all their $1 books because the library is closing for good.

I found a free bookcase and had just taken it to my car when I walked back in to find that they had just pull a love seat from the back room and pushed it onto the sale floor.

I was the first to look at it, then another lady started pushing it around and inspecting it.  Since I had already made my decision to buy it, the sales person let me have it. Can you believe that?

I felt like  I just gave myself a big ole’ Christmas present. I can’t even tell you how great my family room feels to me – it’s beginning to feel more like home every time I add something.

Oh, and I picked up a fabulous lamp Goodwill for $24 with my Senior Citizen’s discount!  Ha, ha! My family room is so cozy and the lighting is great now. I love it.

I can’t believe that I’m so looking forward to next garage sale season!  I would have never thought I would be such an ardent convert!  This is fun and it is not costing me any more money because I am using the funds that I made when we held my garage sale.

Thank you so much . . . and, Happy New Year!
To your success,
Jo Guerra

www.YourMarketingGal.com
Denver Entrepreneurs LinkedIn Group

Create Interest When Decorating by Mixing It Up!

November 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Decorating

Decorating Tips-fWhen furniture and décor are mixed and matched, it expresses the individuality and creativity of the homeowner.  The object of decorating on a budget is to create an overall effect.  Flaws and mars and mars on furniture and decor can be interesting and typically overlooked by those viewing a room in its entirety.  

Not only is an eclectic look fun but it also perfect for people who love to thrift.   I mix antique with contemporary and expensive with cheap. The overall look is trendy and interesting . . . and my home, over time, has cost me nothing to decorate.

 In this arrangement see if you can pick out the most expensive piece of pottery and which ones I actually picked up at thrift stores and flea markets for under ten dollars.

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The black piece in the foreground is actually a lovely piece of Santa Anna pottery that I purchased in Santa Fe, NM as a birthday gift for my husband.  The Zebra stripped urn was eight dollars, the pitcher to its left was four dollars, the southwest urn behind that was seven dollars and the large art deco vase to the right was twelve dollars.

Motivation, Leadership and Inspiration

November 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Blogs

I have sought inspiration in varying level at various times and have found that there is a rich tapestry of the inspired and those that inspire. They come in many 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 seeming innocuous whisperings, we know at a core level that we have connected with resonances of a higher power.

The following sites not only inspire but allow women to connect with other women from all walks of life. Businesses can be promoted, information shared, and a blog or forum started. Here are some of my personal favs.
 

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