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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Shopping (6)


Vintage Décor, A How-To Guide to Find Stuff

If any of you brides are like I was, you’re constantly thinking about your décor, how everything is going to come together….IF it’s going to come together. You live with this low, constant hum in the back of your head that you know are all the details trying to sort themselves out, whirling around in a slow churn as you go through your every day routine of work/eat/plan wedding/sleep. That stuff? That buzz? That’s the shit that gives you those wedding nightmares of having no dress, no groom or like me, no reception venue! Aaaaah! I think that’s about when I started blogging…..but I digress.

Hopefully I can help.

Sometimes when I’m talking about wedding décor, I reference the same crazy things over and over – like adorning each cute favor with an antique key. I don’t know why I choose this icon, probably because at one point in time, I saw antique keys as a favor and thought they’d look really cute as part of our tablescapes and really had no idea how to find them, nor the time to do so. Antique keys are going to be the example I’m going to use for how to find good vintage décor stuffs. This can be applied to Mason jars, hobnail milk glass, mismatched floral china teacups…whatever you want/need.

If you’re an on-line wedding planning gal like most brides are these days, use the internet to your advantage. You’ll need to do a smidge of research first.  You could say that about everything you purchase for your wedding. Yes, it’s a total pain in the ass, but welcome to the real world. Sometimes, you’ve gotta practice due diligence. But I think the process I have outlined here will help.

Now, I’ve found vintage skeleton keys ranging anywhere from $.75 to $20 each. Look for the average price. I found that the average price for vintage keys is between $3 and $5 based on several different resources. You’ll want to pay $3 or less, but only if you’re going to buy in quantities. If you only need a few, pay the asking price but no more than the top range of your average price. Make sense?

Let’s assume you need at least 50 assorted keys. You might need to buy from a myriad of places, so keep that in mind. Here are a few places to start:

First, look at Three Potato Four. This is a very cute, very cleanly laid out online shop of cool vintage goodies. They even have a wedding section!


Their keys sell three for $12. Not bad…..but we can do better.

Next, hit up eBay and Craig’s List:


I found these on Craig’s List in Charlotte for $20. There are 14 keys here so that means they are $1.43 each. However, it looks like 3 or 4 of them are kinda like “junk” keys, so that means they are more like 1.80 or so. Best thing about this is you can offer $15, maybe pay $18 and get them down to about $1.60 each.


I found these on auction on eBay for $21.50 (so far). These are great looking keys, and there are 24 of them. That puts them at $.90 each! SCORE! However, it’s bidding item, so the price might go up.


I found these under vintage skeleton keys on Etsy. These are $14 for 8 keys, so $1.75 each. Not bad, but no so great either.


Then I found this very cool site, called Kennedy Hardware where you can buy a gross (144 pieces) of six keys for $108.00! That’s only $.75 a key and all in one shop!

The bummer about all these online options is that those costs do not include shipping. The gross amount above is $14 to ship, so changes the each price to $.84, which is still the best so far.

Now, if shipping is eating into your budget, you need to start hitting up some thrift shops and flea markets. Save yourself some time on the thrift shops and call ahead and ask if they have them. For flea markets, plan on comfortable shoes and ALWAYS carry cash. I attended the Metrolina Antique Show in April (going again on Thursday!) and found vintage keys for $3.00 each. I didn’t ask for bulk prices, but definitely would have. Let the dealer know up front that you want to buy a lot. Tell them how many and let them quote you first. Here’s how I negotiate: first, know how much you want to spend walking into the situation. If your budget is $1 a key, plan for that. Know that if the asking price is $3.00 a key, you probably won’t get that $1 unless you’re buying A LOT. The trick is figuring out how desperately the dealer wants the sale. When I negotiate in bulk, I start with half the asking price, knowing I probably won’t get it, but will expect 25-30% off the original cost. Some people get really pissy when you negotiate. It’s OK, let them. You’re working on a business deal, not becoming besties with the dealer. You just need to be willing to walk away, and perhaps eat some crow and come back and pay what they’re asking if you realized too late that you low-balled them. Again, if you look at it as a business deal (which they should), then there won’t be any hard feelings. It’s best to shop the whole market first, taking either physical or mental notes of the pricing at different stalls. Once you do a full sweep, go back to the places with the best prices and see what you can negotiate.

Also, check out estate sales in your area. If you Google “estate sales” plus your area of residence, some helpful links will pop up. These are definitely more of a hunt and peck kinda thing, but sometimes pre-sale pictures are up and you can see some of the stuff for sale. Please note that estate sales aren’t like garage sales. They are generally run by a company specializing in them and the prices aren’t always negotiable. Just an FYI if you go this route, but it can’t hurt to ask. Also, vintage stores generally accept negotiations, especially now in this ailing economy. Some clerks don’t have the power to offer lower prices, but most do. Again, the worst someone can say is no.

Now, if you don’t care if they are actually vintage or just want some look alikes, then start with shopping under “Supplies” in Etsy versus “Vintage" and like these at Oriental Trading Comapny.

Wondering what to do with skeleton keys? Here’s some inspiration:





Source for all of the above.





Fun stuff, right? So what are you trying to find at the right price? Is it keys? Milk glass? Wooden crates? Did you find a hermit living above his mother’s garage who was willing to part with his collection of San Francisco themed snow globes for your SF style wedding? Do tell.


Weddings on RueLaLa! Grab an Invite!

Tomorrow a big day on RueLaLa! It’s their semi-annual (or is it annual, I can’t remember) wedding extravaganza! Are you familiar with RueLaLa? No? It’s an on-line shopping experience chock full of big savings and fun fashion, trips, food, kitchen gadgets, home décor….you name it!


Tomorrow the boutiques on RueLala open up for weddings stuff. Here’s what on the docket:

Looks like good stuff right? Here’s the party-pooping lameness….you can’t shop unless you’ve been invited or are on their waiting list for like, ever. The total party-girl happiness is that I can solve that problem for you ASAP. I am now your new bestie. Admit it, you know you want to.

Use this link right here: http://www.ruelala.com/invite/t30sb and you can shop ‘til your heart’s content.

*This is not a sponsored link. I just like RueLaLa and their wedding boutiques. I will, however, get a $10 credit for folks I invite who buy something. The same will go for you if you join and invite someone!


Push-Up Bra Reduces Planet Size

Oh my. Oh my, my, my.

You know how sometimes there are things in the world that are so good you just can't stand it? There are some key elements in my life that I feel that way about. The Candyman is first on the list. He's truly a keeper. I caught him eyeing me seductively the other day and when I asked what was "up" he responded with, "I am so fucking lucky. My WIFE is so fucking hot." While this particular string of statements might be lacking a bit of the finesse of his usual romantic, sweet nothings, I've got to admit it's cool to hear my husband wax less than poetic on my particular level of hotness. Yeah, I'll take that all day long.

There are others things too, that totally blow my skirt. I'm sure I'm not the only one to cry when someone wins an Olympic event/American Idol, sees a father cry during a father/daughter dance or at those really sentimental coffee commercials from the 1980's. At least I hope I'm not the only one who cries at that crap. 

I felt much the same when I was introduced to Lina G's in Morro Bay, California. Just looking in the window, I felt my heart race and I got that weird, tight feeling in my sinuses when my eyes start to well right before I cry. Seriously. I couldn't wait to get in the place.

I was out and about with my aunt, who we call Sister (don't ask, it's a Southern thing). She took me by Lina G's. Sadly, Lina's was closed but we made plans to come back a few days later. From the onslaught of my emotional overload, I knew one day in there would simply NOT be enough. The following morning, I dragged my MOH (we call each other Cousin because that's what we are) there and spent over 2 hours simply looking and trying to decide what I would buy and how much I would allow myself to spend. I started talking with Lina and I quickly realized, as she dragged me into her back room to show me additional goodies, that she is insane. NOBODY keeps this kind of inventory of stuff unless they are insane. I quickly told her so and she whole-heartedly agreed! Insane to the core. But you know what? That crazy lady (and I am kidding) has got some kick-ass stuff. Stuff that just makes my little heart sing with joy.



Appliques, trims and lace....OH MY!

Beaded vintage ribbons and endless drawers of embroidery pieces and buttons.

Vintage French silk ribbon, bridal laces - all tucked in the most amazing little boxes and crates and drawers. It's like a vintage Style Me Pretty photo shoot vomited all over the place. I kid you not.

See that roll there on the left? That's vintage gold. Yes, that's right. Vintage woven gold mesh. Um ,yes please.

So I went back the next day with Sister armed with a wad of cash (a 20% discount if you paid that way) and TruLu Couture ideas rushing through my brain. I proceeded to spend the better part of three hours picking and choosing, pulling out my hair and gnashing my teeth in frustration over the fact that I am indeed, not a millionaire. As I started to wrap up my purchases, I noticed another woman going to town on her purchases. She was scooping up laces and trim like nobody's business. And trust me folks, this stuff  is not cheap. No sir. So me and the crazy purchasing lady started talking. She knows Cousin from their Mommy & Me classes from nearly 8 years ago. And guess what? I already knew her and her talent. She's an Etsy goddess. Her name is Kat and she makes these ridiculously insane headpieces, most notably worn by Courtney Love.


So we were all chatting it up, Sister talking with Kat about Cousin and their respective kids. Kat and I talking shop. Then it comes up that I worked at Frederick's of Hollywood back in the 90's. Lina worked directly for Mr. Mellinger (Frederick Mellinger, inventor of the push-up bra and owner of the company until he died in 1990) in the early 1980's. And suddenly the planet becomes teeny tiny as I stand there with total strangers who are all kind of connected in a strange, remote and interesting collision of worlds. Sister says to me, "Aren't you glad you did The Really Cool Thing?" And I swear, my eyes well up, my sinuses get that stuffy, strange feeling and I take a breath before I answer, "Yes. Yes, I am."  

Lina G. does not have a website, but she does sell a minute portion of her incredible collection on eBay. Her shop is located at 468 Morro Bay Blvd, Morro Bay, CA 93441. Phone 805.772.7759

Check out Kat's Esty shop Liaison for super cool stuff.


Chic 'n Cheap Holiday Gift Guide!


Many moons ago when The Thirty-Something Bride was an itty-bitty baby blog, I had like 3 followers. One was my mom. One was a friend. One was the author of another itty-bitty baby blog called Chic n' Cheap Living. I am more than proud to say that I was her FIRST follower! WOOT! Well now she has a kick-ass style blog and has all sort of give-aways and awesome eye-candy.

Anyway, girlfriend planned her NYC wedding in like 3 months and then had another wedding overseas. Then she moved from NYC to London and then Singapore or something like that. I can't keep up with her globetrotting ass.  We started communicating offline as she was making her own veil as well and we were putting our brains together on Alencon lace resources. We've been cyber-buds ever since. 

Well CnC contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I'd like to be a part of her Holiday Gift Giving Guide. And I said, "Um, yes please." It really was a lot of fun to do. Here's The Thirty-Something Bride's Holiday Wish List: 


Workroom Wishlist 

Since we moved to a new city (that has an Ikea!), a new house (where I get a sewing/work room!), I wanted organization on the cheap (since moving is expensive!). I already have the Moses Swivel Chair from the Atlanta Ikea last year, so I'm basing my look around a simple $40 chair! Sewing rooms need to be monochromatic in my opinion - too much fuss makes it messy/disorganized. I want it to be sleek, sharp and easy to find but without being too sterile. So, I'm mixing black and white with a few natural woven storage pieces and warm lighting. The room I've chosen in the house has tons of natural light, so the look should be just fine. Hoping Santa has a BIG sack!


1. Floor mirror with black leather frame, Cymax.com, $256
2. Grandrich Torchiere and Reading Lamp, Overstock.com, $39.99
3. Rolling Storage, West Elm, $299
4. Double Handled Modern Basket, West Elm, $59
5. Allamala Wall Basket, Ikea, $19.99
6. Vikra Amon/Vika Annefors Work Table, Ikea, $128.50
7. Glossy Black Pail, Bucket-Outlet.com, $3.85
8. Set of 2 Lidded Baskets, West Elm, $69
9. Moses Swivel Chair, Ikea, $39.99

So head on over to Chic 'n Cheap for fun holiday gift boards. Go here for Part 1 and here for Part 2. So have you guys even started your holiday shopping? I am disgustingly behind. I generally have a self-imposed rule: never ever ever, under any circumstances, enter a mall after December 1. Do you have any quirky holiday shopping rules or traditions? Do tell. 





Just Go Shopping

So what's a girl to do when a house breaks up with her? Why, shopping of course!

Even The Candyman woke up today lamenting The House. I mentioned my lemon bundt cake plans and he admitted to having similar thoughts of new-neighbor death, but his were a lot more bloody than my bundt cake scenario. I'm not sure if this worries me, or turns me on. Hm.

Anyway, I went shopping for eye candy on the interwebs and for sure found some. I just thought I'd share.

Prettiness from Marchesa.


Killer back silhouettes from Anne Bowen!


Will someone please buy this dress from Rodarte?


Loving this from Nicolas Clements Lindsey.


Ruffled cuteness from Chado Ralph Rucci


Mariella Burani. Kind of reminds me of Lillian's get-away dress!

See a little shopping always make me feel better! I'm got this new-found love for back detail like the Anne Bowen dresses. Is there a dress aspect that you're focused on and just can't let go of? Trains? Buttons versus zippers? A-lines? Do tell.

And don't forget, today is the LAST DAY to win the wedding sign! Go enter the contest here! Good luck!

All photos source.