A Place to Call Home

by 2ndhandroses on 2014/10/11

The Brick This ain’t no smartphone!



Do you have the coolest smartphone ever?

Did you stand in line to get it?

Did you camp out overnight?

The Zombie Apocalypse Starts Here The Zombie Apocalypse Starts Here



Does it have an app for virtually everything you have ever needed in your life, and for stuff you need but haven’t even thought of yet?


Is it shiny and sparkly?


Does it have lots of cool accessories and a hip ringtone?



Now what to do with that junky, old (read: stinky iPhone 5 or Galaxy S3!

I mean, it’s NOT COOL to have in your pocket or purse anymore.


Once the latest-and-greatest offering from the tech giants arrives amid frenzied crowds reminiscent of the Beatles’s first American tour, the thought of hanging onto LAST YEAR’S gadget is enough to make the most stoic hipster take pause.

But even hipsters don’t like to litter.

And all of us probably like to help others when we can, as long as it’s not too inconvenient.

Well, you’re in luck!  On the heels of the most recent blessing from the Apple Mothership, comes National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Purple for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month Purple for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month



What did I just suggest?


That I start bashing somebody with my old crap iPhone 4S?



No, silly.



What I am trying to do, in my not-to0-subtle way, is to segue into a suggestion as to what to do with that now-burdensome piece of lowly tech gear that has become the bane of your existence.

I mean, if you’re anything like me, and care even remotely about the planet, you’re not likely to toss it into the trash, like 130 million of its hapless compatriots. According to the EPA, for every 1 million phones recycled or kept out of landfills, that equates to 35,274 pounds of copper saved! There’s even gold and silver in them that phones: for that same million saved phones, you’d rescue 772 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold! According to the EPA site, by recycling the phones, “enough energy would be saved to power 10,690 homes for a year.”

Getty Images Cell Phones SSPL London Calling


And one of the most noble, kindest things you can do with that phone is to recycle it in the form of donating it to someone who really needs all the help they can get right now. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, there are many charities operating that will be glad to take that now-uncool-to-you phone and provide a woman literally with a lifeline.


Presently, Verizon Wireless is offering a program called HopeLine which, according to the website, reminds us that

Wireless phones and technology serve as a vital link for all of us. They’re also an especially safe and reliable way for domestic violence victims and survivors to reach emergency or support services in times of crisis and stay connected with employers, family and friends.

So far, the HopeLine program has provided over 180,000 phones to victims and survivors since 2001.

Another group called Shelter Alliance has an entire website devoted to linking up donors with shelters and provides lots of great information on how to go about donating old cell phones. Here they provide money to domestic violence charities from the proceeds from recycling the phones they receive and they donate up to $30 or more for each cell phone turned into their organization.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence also offers information regarding how to donate your old cell phone to help a victim of domestic abuse regain some modicum of independence and security.

Whatever you do, if you do decide to donate your phone, be sure to erase all personal data.  Don’t worry about being charged for any airtime; it’s likely that your old phone won’t be activated any more, but to be safe before you leave the wireless store with your new phone, double-check to make sure the old one has been deactivated.

We all have an old cell phone (or two, or three…) lying around the house collecting dust, when a simple act of recycling could do wonders.  You might just change a life.


“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


–Apple iPhone 5 line photo (taken 17 Sept 2012) courtesy Agata Strom c/o Amny.com



Non-Retail (back to) School Therapy

by 2ndhandroses on 2014/08/20


Old School Days Old School Days


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Now those lyrics may normally be heard on the radio around Christmas but for millions of parents across the nation and around the world, these words convey an entirely different meaning…

…school is back in session!


And while their parents may be thrilled at the prospect of shipping off their kids for another fun-filled year, their offspring probably are not as fired up as mom and dad. Trading summer fun for memorizing locker combinations, fighting hallway crowds, not to mention mountains of homework somehow seems like a sour deal for most youngsters. I’d hazard a guess that one of the few things kids actually enjoy in preparation for the new school year is the annual ritual of school shopping.


Now when I was a kid, it was mandatory to visit the ubiquitous Buster Brown shoe store to be outfitted with decent footgear for the first day of school. This part, for me, actually wasn’t too bad. I enjoyed all the fussing of the lady helping me try on my new lace-ups, and certainly secretly thrilled in the smell of the leather. Buying a pretty new dress also was something to look forward to as my mother and I visited our local department store.


And so it was that on the first day back to school, I’d be resplendent in my red gingham dress, matching red socks, and spiffy new footwear shining in the sun.


Jazzy Pink Kicks Jazzy Pink Kicks


Fast forward a few years and now I’m in the dubious position of being a prematurely graying (yikes!) mom to a 16-year-old style expert who somehow replaced my will-wear-anything toddler seemingly in the blink of an eye. Now I find myself in the bittersweet position of rejoicing in his burgeoning adulthood while feeling the sting as his fashion choices make larger and larger dents in the family budget. Gone are the days, unfortunately, of buckling him up in generic overalls and T-shirts. Nowadays, it’s all about the labels.


You Paid How Much for That? You Paid How Much for That?


As I mention in my book, Second Hand Roses: The Junktiquing Road, this whole buying-retail thing now, has really become farcical for me. With my years of thrifting experience clouding my judgment on what constitutes a normal price for things, I take great umbrage to the thought of parting with more than $10 for a pair of jeans! Poor Julius.


For example, a visit to Sears a while back found me on more than one occasion laughing out loud at the prices displayed on the racks.


“Avoiding the sidelong glances of the saleslady stacking T-shirts nearby, I muffled an indignant snort or two as I scoffed at the temerity of the store to price a simple hoodie at well over $50. Are they serious, I thought to myself, looking over the cheap plastic zipper, destined for breakage within a month or two. The thing looked no more substantial than an overgrown sweatshirt; the only seeming justification of such an outrageous price being the tiny label stitched in the neckline. Did they expect the wearer to turn the jacket inside-out, so as to impress anyone with sharp enough eyes to see the tag?”


Nonetheless, my son has his heart set these days on certain brands and while I could afford that $50 hoodie, quite frankly it’s more often than not that I have returned from a thrifting run at one of my local thrift store haunts, with a bag full of clothes that cost far less than that stupid $50 hoodie! And these are not junky, nasty, your-grandpa’s clothes-type fashion, albeit nowadays that can be considered quite cool, if you listen to a certain artist. These are outfits he can wear with pride, labels and all, and unless he broadcasts to his buddies where they came from, it’s on a need-to-know basis as to how much actually was spent.


A Tisket, A Tasket, save money in your basket! A Tisket, A Tasket, save money in your basket!



Each year, I see this trend continuing, easily documented on the web.

In the Reuters article, “thredUP.com Survey Finds 86% of Back-to-School Shoppers Frustrated by Budget Constraints,” the largest online resale shop for women and children’s clothing released their annual survey of back-to -school shopping. It stated that almost 90% of shoppers found that due to financial and time constraints, it was becoming increasingly challenging to get good bargains for their kids for school. According to the article,

“Style and savings are motivating Americans including back-to-school shoppers, to by secondhand clothes. Over eight in 10 (81%) Americans would buy a secondhand item for themselves because it’s a great way to save money (68%), and is a smart way to shop if they are on a strict budget (45%).”



Retail, schmetail Retail, schmetail


In the Examiner article, “6 Ways Parents Make the Most of Thrift Store Shopping for Back to School,” author Nicole Ramage gives some excellent advice on how to score the best bargains at thrift stores for back to school. One example is,


“Take advantage of tag sales. In most thrift stores, there is a different color tag sale going on each day. Take advantage of the discount that you receive if you purchase items of that colored tag. Often times you can get things up to 50% the sale price.”

So until this economy turns around (hopefully soon!) why don’t you join some of your neighbors at your local thrift store? You may be amazed at what you find.

Sound the Bell, school is back in session! Sound the Bell, school is back in session!


 “Cannot people realize how large an income is thrift?” – Cicero


Photos courtesy Jen Trimman, Martin Boose, Andrea Kratzenberg, Roger Kirby, and Chrstine Rondeau of Freeimages.com



Giving Instant Ancestors New Life

March 12, 2014

And so we come to the subject of showing these precious photographs off. Now I am a wee bit crafty, but having been trolling Pinterest for the past year or so, I realize now that I am woefully lacking in the creative department when it comes to really shining new light on these old lives.

I’ve found some cool ideas I wanted to share with you, in case you wanted to show off your newest photograph of dear old great great great uncle Melvin.

Read the full article →

Carry My Heart

February 11, 2014

Call me old school, but I find it much more romantic to have a real-live piece of paper in my hand with authentic writing on it that required more than a couple of seconds’ visit to a quirky website and a brief text message or 140-character message.

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A Made in America Christmas

December 11, 2013

Every time you participate in this madness, thinking you are getting a super bargain on that toaster, you are contributing to someone else losing their job here in the States.

Read the full article →