Some things are just meant to be.  On the day I arrived in Houston, I received a lovely email from a woman named Elisa, welcoming me and offering help and friendship.  Elisa and her husband are retired long-term Houstonians who immigrated years ago.  Last week, I finally took Elisa up on her offer and the kids and I headed out for a blind-friend-date for lunch and thrifting, and returned home feeling enriched, intrigued and inspired!  AND like I finally found a friend here!

Elisa, as it turns out, has been reading The Spirited Thrifter for a while and found me through Adina of Blue Collar Red Lipstick!  So now my dream is that Adina visits and we all go thrifting together and have a grand time!

I lost no time in indoctrinating Elisa into my selfie practices. I told Elisa about how much Adina loves doing selfies with me (!) and so she was totally game! 😀

We had a great lunch at a Houston institution (I now know), The Buffalo Grille which had offerings for breakfast, lunch, seafood, gluten-free diets, picky eaters and everything in between!  Elisa and her hubby were so kind and patient with my kids, had little gifts for them and are living what I consider to be an inspiring life!  They are both scientists who had second careers late in life (a little slice of humble pie for yours truly and my “woe is me I can’t be an OT here sitch).  Elisa went to law school at night in her fifties and went on to have a long and successful career as an attorney!  Just wow.  In her retirement, she befriends bloggers (!), paints stunning art, upcycles her clothing and does DIY projects around their home, makes jewelry, grows orchids and I bet a whole lot more but that’s just what we managed to chat about during our (first) visit.

Elisa gifted me an orchid and I AM DETERMINED to keep it alive! (pray for me)

She also gifted me with a beautiful pair of earrings that I can’t wait to wear and another pair of pearl danglies that my daughter adores!

Turquoise and onyx. I love them so much! Thank you Elisa!

I truly love meeting and getting to know people like Elisa because that is how I aspire to be – welcoming, outgoing, interesting and interested.  I cannot wait to spend more time with her and her hubby who was equally as charming and lovely, though he declined the opportunity to go thrifting with us following lunch!

We headed to a nearby little thrift store, the Christian Community Service Center’s Sunshine Resale Shop.  As is common for little charity thrift shops, Sunshine runs primarily on dedicated volunteers and serves to benefit their various services and ministries in the community.

There was a significant amount of furniture, antiques and housewares with fair to low prices…

I don’t really know what this is but some antique hunter probably does.
Anyone need school chairs?!
I’m not a collector of glassware and such, but maybe it’s worth it to the connoisseur.

Crate and Barrel bowl for $13… meh.

The prices generally seemed a bit high for little thrift, however, given the benefits of spending your money here as opposed to a regular retail store or for-profit thrift store, they may be worth it.

AND they have sales!

There was a little of everything from toys, to books, records and clothing…

And there were plenty of clothes, shoes, bags and accessories!  Again, some seemed priced high but they were still cheaper than regular retail and of course, by buying secondhand you avoid the fast fashion cycle.

wedding gowns…
and bags… 
and shoes…

Like I said, there were some high prices for higher end brands but the base price for pieces was reasonable – e.g., $10 for dresses – and there were some nice pieces…

Moulinette Soeurs Anthro brand dress….
I think this is a Stitch Fix brand??
Vintage Land’s End two-piece (in which one bakes to death in Houston?)
Almost bought this for $5 but it had snags so I let it go…

These Lilly Pulitzer skirts were too small and too short but super cute for some else – $15 each.
If I thought I could squeeze my butt into this Missoni skirt, it would have come home with me for $15.
Me to me: Nicole, in no way no how do you need another coat. You will probably wear a coat twice a year in Houston and you already have a hundred a few options. Don’t try it on and fall in love, I’m warning you.  Me back to me: FINE.
Beautiful shoes but $30 is too rich for my blood when the brand goes for just over $100…
Loved these Cinderalla shoes in the $2 shoe bin (!) but they were falling apart and I don’t possess Elisa’s talents!
I did however score THESE beaded slides in the $2 bin in mint condition!!
The last time we went thrifting, we got stuck in a torrential rain storm so the first thing this little Missy did was find an umbrella to buy.
Can’t say no to that!
And check our her pretty earrings!  Thank you Elisa!!!

Though I only took home a couple of items, I will plan to return to CCSC’s Sunshine Resale Store, particularly to keep an eye on furniture and decor for my giant Texas house.  I would have never known it about it if not for Elisa and I am so grateful (again!).

Thank you Elisa for everything!  I cannot wait to get together again!




  1. Deanna Kempster

    Enjoy reading your thrifting stories. I have found some good buys since I have been reading your column and doing what you do. My neighbor likes thrifting as well so we sometimes go together.

    • nicole

      That is wonderful!! Once you start, you get hooked! It’s a fun, relaxing and inexpensive hobby!

  2. Fantastic! Next time you’re in that area, check out the Bellaire St. Vincent’s thrift that’s nearby on Cedar street. Hoping for a thrift date!

    • nicole

      Good to know!! And YES as soon as the kids start school next week, we are ON! I can’t wait to go back to Family Thrift, uninterrupted!!

  3. Thank you Nicole for your kind words. My husband and I had a great time with you and your children, and feel honored that you now count us among your friends. I look forward to our next thrifting adventure! And nuestra casa es tu casa…

  4. In case nobody else has identified that thing, it’s a pachinko machine – kind of a Japanese cross between pinball and a slot machine. Fun, in a weird sort of way.

    (Long time reader, first time commenter … I think!)

    • nicole

      Well thanks for clarifying that AND for reading AND for commenting!! Always makes my day!