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I got a gig!

March 6, 2013

Hello all!

I’ve got some exciting news! Are you ready? Because this is big!

I got a gig! A speaking gig, that is!

Yes, I have been asked to speak at the  Clear Lake Art Center restyle Exhibit! The exhibit runs April 6 through April 26, and I’ll be speaking:

Saturday, April 13 from 1 – 2 at the Clear Lake Art Center in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Is that exciting or what?

Here’s more about the event:

The goal of the exhibit is to inspire others to create wearable fashions by restyling and repurposing second-hand clothing.  The event on Saturday, April 13 will open at 1:00 with me speaking, and then artists will exhibit their work from 2 – 3:00 p.m.The goal is to bring attention to, entertain, inspire and educate while assisting in broadcasting the “reStyle” exhibit and provide an informal opportunity for the artists to answer any questions and possibly demonstrate their process.

Apparently they are looking for someone who’s passionate about secondhand clothes to tell some stories and stir up some inspiration. Do you know of anyone that fits that description?

OK, so now I need a favor: If you were going to an event to listen to me speak, what would you want to hear about?

Do you want to hear about how every shopping excursion for me is like a treasure hunt? How every time I walk into a consignment shop or thrift store, I imagine there’s a treasure waiting for me to find it?

Would you like me to show you my favorite treasures, and tell you the story behind each one? Because you know, with me, there’s ALWAYS a story behind my “treasures”.

Like check out this recent find: An Ellen Tracy dress, new with tags that said the dress retailed at $150. I got it for $20! Check out the flower detail! Do you want to hear the story about how I found that only a mile away from my home!

flower2

Adorable flower detail. Red carpet, here I come!

flower

Ellen Tracy dress: $20.00 (New with tags – retail $150). Ignore the shoes. I know I can do better!

Or would you like to hear about how when someone compliments something I’m wearing, I have this overwhelming need to tell them I bought it at Goodwill for less than $5.00? How I don’t know if this admission is “Thrift Pride”,  where I need to brag about my superior shopping skills or “Catholic Guilt” where I need to confess that the outfit they think is so fashionable didn’t cost me as much as they think it might have.

Or do you want tips, or step-by-step instructions on how to be a successful secondhand shopper? If this is the case, you (and future audiences) might be disappointed because there is no rhyme or reason to my shopping. Well, now that I think about it, I do have a few tricks to the trade. Try everything on, for one. But for me, shopping is just so second nature, instinctual, habitual, addictive …..The point is, most of the time when I enter a store I’m on auto-pilot (a few times I think I’ve had an outer-body experience!) so I’m not sure if my semi-conscious state is transferrable or trainable.

Would you want to hear where I get my inspiration from, where do I shop, where do I keep all my clothes, where do I hide them from my boyfriend because he’s getting annoyed with the ever-shrinking closet space?

So I’d love to hear what kinds of things you’d be interested in hearing from me! And if you’re from the area, I’d love it if you came to see me! This is very exciting, and I owe it all to the support, encouragement and love from all of you!

And until April 13, here’s the song I’m going to be singing:

I Got a Gig, by Hayes Carll

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12 comments

  1. Congratulations!! This is wonderful! Enjoy yourself and share how you choose items and how you put colours and fabric choices together…..wish I could there as your cheer leader but I am up in Canada and I am the Queen of recylced 2nd’s and I have a gorgeous and in expensive one of a kind wardrobe up here also!!
    All the best and just have fun with it!!


  2. I would like to see examples of some of your best finds like the Ellen Tracy dress…and what your clothing budget is or how you manage that. but I would also like to have tips. Where do you shop second hand? (i.e. goodwill, consignment shops) Do you scope out the shops to know when they tend to get the new stuff in? Or do you have to spend a lot of time going back in hopes you find a good deal/find? What things should you look for to make sure you don’t end up with a dud (buttons missing? seams? etc.?) Tips on mixing and matching clothes as well.


  3. Congrats Brenda. I think you should give tips on getting good quality. What brands you look for and what you avoid. Often when I get things second hand they end up being uncomfortable and I think, no wonder they gave it away. How do you avoid this. FUN


    • Thanks,Melissa! I look forward to sharing my answers to your questions to see if I’m hitting the mark. I really want to be able to give the audience what they want, so your feedback is totally appreciated!


  4. Hi Brenda,
    They certainly have picked the right person. Congratulations! Of course you need to wear one of your best finds and most stylish, lead in with your passion for it it, your treasure hunt, just as you have written about it, definitely show some of your finds and your story about them. You are a great writer with such whit and humor.
    I do think your audience would be very interested in the quality, original price and what you actually paid, all the while sharing your story only as you do then open it up for questions. I can imagine some asking you where you get your inspiration, where you shop, your budget, if you have one (: They are lucky to have you speak, it will be very entertaining and educational no matter how you choose to present it.


    • Thanks so much, Kathy! I miss seeing your wonderful, loving self!

      I definitely plan on wearing a terrific find – actually my mom, sister and I are going up to Clear Lake on the 17th to shop in their local thrift store. I hope I’ll be able to pick up an entire outfit (and maybe a good story!) to show the audience the great secondhand opportunities they have.

      Thanks again for the kind words!


  5. Congrats Brenda! I know you’re super excited!

    I think it would be really fun to wear one of your most fabulous finds – like the dress in this post – and don’t tell them until the very end that it was thrifted. 🙂

    Brutal honesty here… I don’t want to hear how it benefits you. I want to hear how it could benefit me. That’s sort of a universal rule for speaking gigs I think. You’ll get a great response if you gear your talk to helping people learn to do something. In your case, people want to learn how to find the great stuff you find. Obviously you can’t do that fully in a short time (how much time do you have for the talk?), but having some bullet points that people can really use would be great.

    My ideas:
    – how do you manage to try things on in a Goodwill? Do they have a dressing room? How do you try things when there is no dressing room?

    – Where do you get your inspiration? Current-style blogs (enter plug for YLF here LOL)

    – Where do you tend to find the best stuff? Any particular days of the week or times that are better than others?

    – Do you cozy up to the staff at the stores so that you can get a call or a heads up when something fabulous comes in?

    – Do you have the clothes altered to freshen up the style?

    And though you’ve done this long enough to be on autopilot, see if you can be really present for your next few trips so that you can find out what you are actually doing!


    • Jenny,
      Thank you so much for your input! Your comments have really transformed my thoughts as to the purpose of this speech. From yours and others’ comments, I realize that I can really make this an informational (and fun!) experience. I appreciate your honesty and thoughtfulness, and your questions have given me a sort of outline on how I will present the information. Thanks so much, and stay tuned for more!


  6. That’s great Brenda!
    I like to learn shopping tips. I also like the way you put outfits together. Best wishes!


    • Thanks Bev! I have several shopping tips, and a definite, unique way of putting outfits together. So thanks for the suggestions!


  7. Brenda, this is so exciting! They have certainly picked a great speaker and you will bring so much enthusiasm with you that I know the thrift stores will see an overwhelming amount of new business after your presentation! Careful not to give away all of your secrets! You don’t want to create your own competition at your favorite stores!!! Go get ’em!


    • Delene – thank you so much for the words of encouragement!!Ha ha about the competition, but I’m not worried. Shopping has never been a competitive sport for me! Love you and thanks so much for the kind words!!! Did you notice my Hayes Carll reference?? That was a secret shout out to all my Houston friends!!



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