The Girly Girl's Guide to DC
Issue 8: Get in Loser, We're Going Estate Sale Shopping
Welcome back! If you missed last week’s issue, find it here.
I want this newsletter to be about you, the ladies of DC, so send me your healthy lunch recipes, bad date rants, and favorite day trips by replying to this email.
What They Don’t Tell You
If you enjoy looking through dead people’s things, then keep reading.
I had never been to an estate sale until last week. As an avid thrifter, I considered estate sales the final frontier but didn’t know where to start. I’ll walk you through my adventures going to two estate sales in one day and scoring clothes, furniture and more.
The main reason I’d never been to an estate sale was that I didn’t know how to find them. Then one of my favorite vintage fashion accounts, @rosemaryretro, posted that she finds sales in her LA neighborhood on estatesales.net.
I checked out the site and was surprised by how easy it is to use. Once you make an account, you can “favorite” sales you’re interested in. They tend to happen on Saturdays and Sundays, with some happening on weekdays too. You have to comb through the listings to find actual estates sales, as opposed to online auctions, but I was able to find two sales in DC and Falls Church that looked promising. Both listings had extensive photographs of the items for sale, which was helpful!
I went to the opening day of the DC estate sale at a mansion on the outskirts of Georgetown. I got there 30 minutes early, and there was already a line of 10 people ahead of me. I swear that the lady who was first in line was STRETCHING before the doors opened.
While waiting in line for the sale to start, I befriended an older lady who said she’s been going to estate sales regularly for years. In fact, the cashier running the sale knew her so well she held her Yorkie for her while she shopped. The lady advised me to take a look at the linens when I got inside (I got distracted by the designer fashion instead).
I had been hoping to find some affordable furniture at the first estate sale, but there was nothing under $450, including a zebra fur chair that turned out to be designed by Ralph Lauren. This DC house had been decorated with a very luxe taste. It was super fun to walk around, but low-budget items like cheese graters, baskets, and t-shirts were the main things I was able to take home, although I did stare at the jewelry longingly.
Estate sales can be a little confusing. This house was practically a mansion, so there were estate sale employees in nearly every room to collect the items you planned to buy and fill out a “ticket” that told the cashier how much you owed. After you paid, you’d go room to room to collect your items again.
The next estate sale I went to was in a modest brick ranch in Falls Church, Va. It didn’t look like much on the outside but the inside had some older, quality furniture and a ton of homey decor. I definitely learned that it doesn’t matter how “grand” the house is — treasures can be found anywhere. I got a cute 100% wool cloche hat, some Army trunks to go in my boyfriend’s new apartment (only $15 each!), and a beautiful green bureau.
I would totally recommend hitting up some DC-area estate sales, even if you don’t buy anything. In fact, the experienced estate sale shopper I befriended at the first house didn’t purchase anything to my knowledge. It’s worth waiting until you find an item that really speaks to you.
I would also recommend bringing a friend. That way they can help you carry stuff from room to room, as well as encourage you to buy things you don’t need (wait, that’s bad!). I noticed a lot of women turned going to the estate sale into an outing with a friend, and they seemed to be having a really good time.
I ended up spending around $250 that day and scoring items including a slip dress, rainboots, and a gold ice bucket for all the fancy parties I’ll never have. Thrifters, please go check out an estate sale and let me know what you think. It’s like finding a mini thrift store where everything is in a certain style — you either love it or you hate it!
One last warning: the old people at the estate sales will have no problem talking about the fact that you’re looking through dead people’s stuff. I was very entertained listening to the old ladies gossip about what kinds of people must have lived in each house.
I’m going to post a ton of videos and more tips on estate sales on my Instagram story on Friday, so follow me if you want to check that out. I’ll pin the videos to my story highlights as well.
Interview with Krista Mitchell
Every week, I plan to introduce you to a woman who knows the ins and outs of DC.
Krista Mitchell is a Nevada native and American University grad who moved to DC in 2014. She and her husband Trace just bought their first home together in Alexandria — so exciting! Follow her on Twitter by clicking here.
What does your job look like during quarantine?
I'm a publicist at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University! Luckily, my job is very doable from home, so I've had a very similar routine to my usual office routine — except I get to make my own lunches at home and do the occasional lunch workouts. I've also enjoyed working from home with my hubby. We've gotten to spend a lot of quality time together.
What’s your favorite restaurant in DC?
This is so tough! My two favorite restaurants are Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown and Barcelona Wine Bar on 14th Street. My husband proposed to me at the ice skating rink in Georgetown in front of Farmers Fishers, so it has a special place in my heart. Their chicken in particular is to die for. At Barcelona, I highly recommend pretty much everything on their menu, from their paella to their veggie dishes. Unbeatable! And Detour in Clarendon is my go-to coffee shop.
What’s your favorite running route in DC?
When I was training for the half marathon I completed in March, I explored so many different running routes. But, my absolute favorite was taking the Mount Vernon Trail from Crystal City into DC. There is nothing like running across Memorial Bridge and seeing the monuments — it really emphasizes just how beautiful and unique the city is.
What’s your quarantine beauty routine like?
In quarantine, I've really dialed back my makeup routine, but I still love putting it on every day. I use Smashbox Oil and Shine Control primer, Supergoop Mattescreen, Tarte Maracuja Creaseless concealer, a light eyeshadow, and Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara. I've really enjoyed the much simpler look and likely won't be going back except for special events once the pandemic is over.
How would you describe your style?
My style icon is Audrey Hepburn. Classic, chic, elegant, without doing too much. I love combining simple, elegant pieces with a unique piece of statement jewelry, a fabulous purse, or shoes. I think Audrey did that best, and I try to style most of my looks with her in mind. I also love designer Rachel Parcell. She is absolutely fabulous, up and coming. Highly recommend checking out her designs.
Know a lady I should interview next? Send me an email at email@example.com.
Hannibal Lecter Not Invited
I used to watch the Academy Awards religiously — but this year I didn’t even know they were happening until the day of. Maybe I just don’t care about contemporary film anymore since I realized moviemaking undoubtedly peaked with the 1989 film “Heathers.”
Apparently the Academy wouldn’t let legendary actor Anthony Hopkins, best known for playing the unforgettable Hannibal Lecter, accept his Best Actor award via Zoom?? In a pandemic?? He is 83 — not exactly low-risk!
Anyways, good for him for telling them a measly Oscar was not worth catching coronavirus, making the Hollywood elites look like the real villains in the process. Read more about it by clicking here.
Here are a few more links to articles on the topic of the day — estate sales:
“7 Things You Should Buy at Estate Sales” - It’s important to have a goal in mind when you go to an estate sale if you want to be a smart shopper. My main goal was finding new furniture/household items for my boyfriend who just moved!
“An Expert Estate Sale Shopper Shares His 11 Best Tips” - Hey, don’t get your tips from me … take it from an expert!
“The Nostalgia of Estate Sales” - I never thought I’d want a book of photos from estate sales, but this article about photographer Norm Diamond’s work dealing with loss and what we leave behind is compelling.
Got feedback, or just need to vent about a bad date? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!