I spent the afternoon cruising discount stores with my friend Rachel. She's a delight.We see each other once about every six months, which is sad and wrong and needs to be remedied.

We went to Five Guys for burgers and fries, then hit half-price day at two Unique thrift shops. It was my first time thrift shopping — I once thought it was both beneath me and something I wasn't a skilled enough shopper to do well — and I had the time of my broke-ass life.

There were a lot of seriously sad items in those fluorescent havens, and we terrorized each aisle with our snark. No garment was spared our cruel assessments.

The key to owning my thrift-shopping experience: I didn't take myself so seriously. I was prepared to shrug off failure and blame the dirty hipsters for taking all the good stuff if I didn't find anything. But I did. Every once in a while, there was a glimmer of hope dangling haphazardly from a plastic hanger. Some sat, half-forgotten, collecting dust on a shelf just above eye level. Some were hidden gems to be recognized only by true label whores.

In the end, I came away with…

  • A bright yellow vintage-looking Toll House tin
  • A really sweet Vermont Teddy Bear, which I bought for absolutely no reason but know retails for about $50, and that excited me
  • A ridiculous cassette tape, the title of which I cannot reveal because it's a gift
  • An awful Nordic wool sweater that I managed to fall in love with because Wicker Park is poisoning me
  • Two ties, because a man in my life deserves a little treat
  • Two actually vintage wool skirts, one by Pendleton (which retail for about $150), that make my waist rival Scarlett O'Hara's

And I ended up spending less than $10. Total. For the record, that's less than what I spent on lunch. Jury's still out on which was more satisfying: the fat-kid bonanza or the rush of finding beautifully fitting diamonds in that patterned-polyester rough.

As a reward for my skillful shopping, I think I've earned the right to re-post links to two of my blogs published on other sites and call it a day.

On November 1, DishKebab posted my blog on the glorious lunchtime freedom that comes with working from home (though some of the appeal is lost when poverty strikes). And today, SpinSucks graciously posted some of my thoughts on how Spirit Day could have been better marketed to a wider audience.

Please leave comments on the sites and share the links with your many friends, you gloriously popular people. Because that's what Internet goodwill is all about.

Also, please send me money.

(Christmas is coming. It was worth a try. [No, seriously. You can PayPal it to me.])