We went to meet my in-laws for a few sessions of a conference this afternoon. We figured it was somewhere around business casual, so I decided I would get spiffied up - but not in a suit, 'cause it's not a weekday and I don't have to. This is a preposterously self-glorifying post, but even if I like what I'm wearing (rarely unreservedly), I never feel like I've pulled off a solidly good job. But I looked like a million dollars. Sure, the black dress pants were loose when I got them and they're good and snug now, but they fit, and the shirt I got from a thrift store recently (it's so pretty! It's a silk sleeveless cowlneck, in this nice taupe color...) and paisley cashmere scarf from my sister were an elegant pair. Plus said baby sister recently divested herself of extra makeup, and I am the lucky beneficiary. (Now I'll be able to spend $10 on makeup for the next ten years, like the last ten!) Last night I dug out the whole collection to play with, and so today I found a perfect neutral lip and accurately created a gold-toned "smoky eye." I am not usually good with makeup, so this was quite the coup. And for whatever reason the rainy weather was perfect for my rather pathetic hair - it was neither flat NOR frizzy. Even my toes were elegantly trimmed and painted wine-red under the cute flats I just bought (at a thrift store for $6.99. I'm a rag doll; I guess it sticks with you for life. Even when you have a salary). Even other people said I looked great, and I felt glamorous all day! My husband looked particularly handsome as well (he's been on a kick to lose a few pounds since he quit the cigaretts - ALMOST TWO WEEKS!!! - and he's doing quite well), so we were quite pleased with ourselves.
On an unrelated note, apparently I know nothing about televisions. This is a rare item that I see the point of owning (sort of) but have never purchased myself. I can give a good primer on buying a car, laptop, crock pot, dresser, suit, wedding present, box of resume paper, cookbook, and five pounds of chicken, for a good price and at good quality (and I'm pretty good with intangible goods too, like rental houses and insurance - terrible at dentists, though), but I cannot tell you how to buy a decent TV. I figured it would just be instinct, since I have the talent in general, but apparently not.
I decided that I wanted one from a thrift store (this worked like a charm with my microwave, when I destroyed the old one with the power hose attachment - still not going to tell that story), and that I would spend $50 (less if possible, of course. For a USED TV!). I got my DH to agree it didn't have to be replaced instantly, but now that we're sick, he's whiny about it, so I need to step it up. I figured for $50 I could have a decent-sized (not huge) one from a thrift store that was in decent condition and looked of reasonably recent origin. I'm not that picky. The ones I thought were acceptable were over $70, and a bit more abused-looking than I thought necessary. (Of course, thrift stores in NoVa are ridiculous and they have all raised their prices recently. This strikes me as very odd, since in a recession, what a place with a pretty flat overhead needs is a high sales volume, not a high profit margin, and I fail to see how increasing their prices will increase the volume of sales. Unless donations are down, and margin is all they have to work with? Hmm.)
So I figured I'd take a look at a deal mentioned by a colleague, a 19" flat-screen at B.estbuy for $99. I think he meant $249, now that I've looked. Also, 19" is kind of small for that money, right? I know, flat-screens were $1000 or more when they came out, but I was patient and waited precisely so I wouldn't have to pay that. I looked at the "tube" models, too, but those aren't really much cheaper, so I might as well stick with the thrift store, where I can have basically the same thing for less.
Now, I know that with any purchase, there is at least one secret lode of discount: either a place to look, or a thing to look for (already heard of vizio), or a technique to use. I don't know what it is with TVs. But I know somebody knows. If you are that somebody, please share! I will trade my bargain-finding knowledge on any topic you request (if I have said knowledge, of course).