Adventures of a Frugalista

Event: Mystery Authors Book Signing

Tonight, Salt & Pepper Books in Occoquan, VA, hosted a Mystery Readers' Event featuring the authors Krista Davis, Avery Aames, Lucy Burdette, and Sheila Connolly. The store is primarily a cookbook shop, but they also have a nice selection of novels, particularly mystery ones, that have a food focus -- think the mysteries with recipes in the back. The four authors were there promoting their food-related series: Davis' Domestic Diva series set in Alexandria, VA; Aames' Cheese Shop series set in Providence, OH; Burdette's Food Critic series set in Key West, FL; and Connolly's Apple Orchard series set in Granford, MA.

In addition to signing their books, the authors had free goodie bags for all attendees, and Salt & Pepper provided refreshments -- cheese & crackers, juices, and delicious cupcakes.

Read on for photos and lots of details!


HAUL: Bag Book Sale

I've become a regular at the bag book sales at my local libraries. (For more info on the sales, check my first bag book sale post from September.) I don't even bother to go to the first two days of the book sales, when the books are sold individually, and only go on Sundays, when the books are sold by the bagful.

The sale today was $3/bag, which is still a great deal, but "pricey" enough that we don't get as many people driving in from places like North Carolina (yes, really!) to buy whatever books they can grab to re-sell on While there were a fair number of people at the sale, the pushing & shoving was at a minimum, and there weren't many "take every book on the shelf" types, which enabled all the customers to take more time and care in our selections. I managed to cram a total of 48 books into my two bags, plus I picked up another 2 at half-off their sticker prices. (All the branches usually have at least some used books that aren't included in the bag sale; at this branch, the ones that can't be included in the bags are half-off their sticker prices on the bag day.)

The Goods

I was so excited about my haul that I forgot to take my customary stacked books photo, which is a real shame since it took me quite some time to stack all 48 books! Luckily, I snapped a pic with my webcam for Twitter; I apologize for the low resolution.

Library Haul

48 books

Library Haul

2 half-price books

All in all, I came home with 50 books for $8.50, which works out to an average of $0.17/book. Not the cheapest per book average I've gotten so far, but a pretty darn good deal nonetheless!

Continue reading for all the details on titles and how much I saved on each book.


Playlist: Shoe-Lovers

Today I came across a music video made by an ELLE magazine editor called "My Heels." (You can read the story of how the video came about on the ELLE site.) It got me thinking about what other shoe-centric songs are out there. So tonight, I present to you my playlist for shoe lovers! Think I missed a great footwear-minded song? Let me know in the comments!

The Videos

Continue reading for the full track listing, links to purchase the songs from Amazon, and the streaming playlist on Grooveshark.


Confession: Embellished Jeans Fascination

I'm fascinated by embellished and decorated jeans, yet also horrified that anyone would think they were (1) appropriate to create, (2) appropriate to sell, or (3) appropriate to wear.

Thrift stores often have embellished jeans mixed in among all the Levi's and Lee's, but they're usually like the premium denim -- you might find one or two pairs on a rack of a hundred pairs of jeans. Yesterday, though, I found 3 pairs in a row, all in my size (not that I would wear them!). Check out these denim gems:


Embroidered football jeans


Painted Hawaiian jeans


Embroidered bird jeans

While the pair on the right is relatively understated as embellished jeans go, the pair on the left is about as embellished as you can get. The football theme starts with the "yard lines" around the pockets and continues past the football players down to the goal post at the ankle. The middle pair, with its Hawaiian theme, is my least favorite kind of embellished jeans: the painted jeans. Painted jeans almost always wind up looking like someone got bored in art class and started doodling away on their pants, instead of like an intentional fashion statement.

But no matter how funny I find these jeans to be, I swear I never wear anything like these!


HAUL: $30 at Village Thrift

Apparently, I've been to Village Thrift at least once each week for the last 10 weeks. I guess my Foursquare Village Thrift mayorship is well deserved! Today was discount day, with three tag colors 50% off and 2 tag colors 33% off. I think I wound up buying more 33% off items than 50% items, but they were all still good deals. Two of the items I got today were brand new, with the original tags still on them, including a pair of pajama pants that I had considered getting my husband for Christmas, but decided against due to their cost. They were a fraction of the original cost at the thrift store!

The Goods






Dark boot-cut jeans


Black Bermuda shorts


Black and white striped shorts

Pajama pants

Blue flannel penguin pajama pants

I snagged a total of 6 items for $30.07, which averages out to $5.01 per item.

Continue reading for all the price and brand info.


HAUL: $7 at Village Thrift

I've gotten into the habit of going to Village Thrift, my neighborhood thrift store, once a week, usually on discount Sunday or Monday, just to see if there's anything good. Some days I'll score a big haul -- $50 or more -- but other weeks I'll pick up only a few items (or none at all). Today, I only got a few books and a tank top.

The Goods


Blue tank top


3 books

I picked up 4 items for a total of $6.70, about $1.68/item.

Continue reading for the individual prices and other details.


HAUL: $4.50 at Dollar Tree

Some of the products at dollar stores are low quality, but others are the same products you'd buy at other stores, but for less. I usually check for books, which are a great deal at $1/each, and greeting cards, which are always two for a dollar.

The Goods

Greeting Cards

7 greeting cards


1 hardcover book

That's a total of 8 items for $4.50, or about $0.56 per item.

The Details

  • 7 greeting cards: 7 greeting cards for $0.50/each, compare at $1.50 to $3.00 each
  • The Prodigal Mage by Karen Miller
    MSRP: $24.99 | PP: $1.00 | Savings: 96%

Free eBooks: 02/15/2012

At the start of every month, you can usually snag some pretty good books as free e-books from (for Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (for nook). The University of Chicago offers a free e-book each month as well. Read on to see the 55 freebies I've snagged so far this month, with book descriptions from the sites and links to purchase them.

Please Note: While all of these books were free at the time of my purchase, that does not guarantee that they are still free or that they will remain free. Make sure you check the price listed before purchasing any books.



I currently have a huge backlog of hauls, freebie ebooks, and other topics to post on here, as seen by the pile of receipts at left, which has actually doubled since the photo was taken. I'm going to be working diligently to publish all these overdue posts, which I'll backdate to the appropriate dates so there isn't an over-abundance of posts listed for the month of February. I'll update this post with links to the backdated posts below, so you can easily figure out which ones are new.

In the meantime, make sure to follow me on Twitter @FrugalAndrea. I usually tweet a few times a day, mostly coupons, discounts, and other deals, but also news and trivia about fashion and shopping.

Backdated Posts:

- Free eBooks: 01/15/2012
- Free eBooks: 01/31/2012


HAUL: $75 at Village Thrift

Due to its proximity to my house, Village Thrift has quickly become one of my favorite thrift stores. In the past several months since my first visit to the store, I've tried to check in once every other week or so on half-price Sunday or Monday. Last night, I scooped up one of my smaller Village Thrift hauls, but nabbed the priciest single thrift store clothing item I've ever purchased.

The Goods


Black tank top


Purple V-neck shirt


Purple long-sleeve shirt


Plaid shirt


Brown satin jacket


Wool coat


Lilly Pulitzer jeans


Dark gray jeans


2 books

In total, I scored 10 items for $74.50, which is an average of $7/item.

Continue reading for all the price and brand info.