Cheap Thrills: XPN’s Free At Noon

Ever since I first saw Kurt Cobain nonchalantly smash his jet black electric guitar on stage, I knew I wanted to be in a band. But, ever since I awkwardly picked up the banjo, I realized I must settle for living vicariously through whoever is playing at XPN’s Free At Noon every Friday.

XPNFree At Noon Dr.DogXPN is the only radio station in the Philadelphia area that plays a variety of artists from all genres, with playlists that do not include a minimum of five Katy Perry songs per hour. I’ve discovered some of my favorite bands thanks to the selective ears of dj’s like David Dye and Helen Leicht. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Dr.Dog and Wilco, to name a few. As if their great taste in music wasn’t enough, the radio station also holds free concerts every Friday at noon at the World Cafe (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia). They hosted the likes of Real Estate, Chairlift, Cults and Adele – ALL FOR FREE. The only catch is that you have to hit up the website early enough in the week and reserve your free ticket before they run out.  I was completely stoked when I saw that local Philly band, Dr.Dog, was playing last week and snatched up tickets immediately.

World Cafe Live PhiladelphiaFree at Noon sets typically last for half an hour, but those darlings from Dr.Dog always play well into the afternoon. If you can manage to skip class or extend your lunch break on Fridays, I highly suggest you hit up this awesome freebie.

To see who’s performing this week, check out



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Pocket Change: Eighteen Dollars and Fifty Cents

Bubblegum, Barbies, erasers. Most pink things entertain me for a brief moment, and then I’m ready to move on with my life.

Neon Plaid Street StyleBut, when it comes to clothes, I hold onto every shade of fuchsia, magenta and ballet pink like a full on hoarder. I woke up with such a strong attraction to this plaid pajama top that I threw social convention to the wind, slung on my blinged out studded necklace and called it a day.

Neon Plaid Street StyleThrifted Forever 21 Faux Leather Jacket: $5.00, Thrifted Talbots Ballet Flats: $3.00, Forever 21 Skinny Jeans: $10.50

Neone Green BeltThrifted Skinny Belt: $1.00

P.S. I thought this skinny belt’s days were numbered as it was tearing in several spots, but a friend jokingly suggested stapling it and I think it’s stronger (and  more stylish?) than ever. Speaking of desk supplies, I should really get back to reading for my law class… ugh.

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Green Genius: Compost Your Christmas Tree

If I had things my way, that beacon of holiday cheer that is the Christmas tree would live rent-free in my house until it looked like this:

Charlie Brown Miniature Christmas Tree

At which point I would then pass it off to Charlie and Snoopy who would chill with it for a while and then do the eco-conscious thing by dragging it to the nearest composting center. Doing so not only benefits the environment, but also your mental health as I think Seasonal Affective Disorder is probably aggravated by the sight of lonely Christmas trees slumped on the curb waiting to be picked up by the garbageman.

When taking your tree to be composted just make sure to weed out all that shiny tinsel and don’t forget to take all the ornaments off too! There are a lot of convenient drop-off locations for trees in Philly including the Sanitation Center at 3033 South 63rd Street. The Philly Streets Department has got it together.

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Cheap Thrills: The Best Birthday Freebies

On that day when you are mercilessly confronted with the fact that time waits for no man and that you have grown yet another year older but no closer to completing even a third of your planned DIY projects or marrying James Franco, you deserve a lot of free loot.

Vegan Treats BethlehemImage via Vegan Treats

I recently faced this troublesome thought. I turned 21 on December 29th and drowned out reality with visits to various bars and retailers that provided freebies and discounts for my birthday. Here are a couple of my favorites that really take the edge off.

1. Who: Benefit Cosmetics

     What: Free Eyebrow Wax

     Why It’s A Perfect Birthday Distraction: Benefit’s brow service is normally $20. If you’re not fully distracted by all the money you’re saving, the intimidating piping hot wax should do the trick.


2. Who: Baskin Robbins

     What: Free Ice Cream

     Why It’s A Perfect Birthday Distraction: Besides the feeling of glory inherent in being a member of Baskin Robbins’ exclusive Birthday Club, the sugar rush from a cone of one of their delicious ice cream flavors will undoubtedly make you happy to have a birthday.


3. Who: Sephora

What: Free Deluxe Sample of a Beauty Product

Why It’s A Perfect Birthday Distraction: The free product changes every year, so the anticipation of discovering the freebie will make your special day feel more like a product launch than a birthday. Past samples include Sephora emerald eyeliner and Philosophy Birthday Cake Body Wash.

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Pocket Change: Ten Dollars and Seventy Five Cents

I am not a cat person. I am a cheetah person.

Cheetah Print Blazer Street StyleThrifted Hat: $0.25, Hand-Me-Down Cheetah Blazer: $0.00, Hand-Me-Down Gap Denim Shirt: $0.00, Forever 21 Black Skinny Jeans: $10.50

We have little in common. They often travel at 70 mph. If it were legal, I would turn the ignition in my Buick and simply let the momentum of that heap of metal roll me to my destination, braking when the speedometer inched beyond 35 mph. They mostly prefer real estate nestled amongst the grassy vegetation of Africa, primarily in Namibia, where they can rub elbows and claws with the local antelope. I prefer dwelling amidst urban high rises and flocks of people, although sometimes I think I might prefer rubbing elbows with antelopes to a few of my neighbors as I am almost positive that evolution did not bless them with the ability to whistle at young girls on the street.  They dine on rabbits. I’m a vegetarian. They are an endangered species. I, well, perhaps I am too, disregarding the possibility of parallel universes, that is.

But, oh, do we have similar tastes in outerwear.

This particular leopard blazer (which is faux, of course) belonged to my unbelievably stylish grandmother. It is one of a series of cheetah inspired coats she would pull from her over-stuffed closet every winter while kicking back the mounds of shoes that undoubtedly spilled out. I feel lucky to have inherited a couple from her, but feel differently about doing it justice – she wore this jacket with such effortless glamor that I’m unsure I could come close to pulling it off.

Grandma’s have the best hand-me-downs, don’t they?

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Pocket Change: Twenty Eight Dollars and Ninety Eight Cents

As soon as I stepped out on to Broad Street this morning, hit play on “Baby” by Devendra Banhart on my iPod and slid on my shades I became hyper-aware that I was dressed just like a 1950s greaser.

Faux Leather Motorcycle Jacket Salvation Army Thrifted Flats: $3.99, J.Crew Jeans: $19.99, Lehigh Yard Sale Thrifted Faux Leather Jacket: $5.00

To add to the authenticity, I pretty much paid 1950s prices for everything here. $5.00 motorcycle jacket? Kind of made me want to break out into an embarrassingly enthusiastic rendition of “Grease Lightning”. I kept that one to myself though as when I bought this jacket, I was in the middle of a crowd of overheated, relentless bargain hunters at the Lehigh Yard Sale this past May who were more than willing to trample through such a performance. That song is better suited for, say, a poodle skirt purchase anyway.

Faux Leather Motorcycle Jacket

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Pocket Change: Twelve Dollars and Seventy Cents

The only thing that gets me out of bed on rainy days is the opportunity to wear a trench coat.

Trench Coat Red ShortsYard Sale Riding Boots: $0.50, Yard Sale Ralph Lauren Shorts: $0.25, The Attic Trench Coat: $11.95

I once tested the waters of wearing rain gear during blue skies. Despite being outdoors and obviously capable of feeling the difference between sun rays and rain drops, a few well-meaning (I hope!) people asked if I knew it wasn’t raining. When I said yes, they smiled politely with an uneasy look in their eyes, mentally searching for the nearest nut house to throw me in, no doubt.

Yet, at the risk of being institutionalized, I still pull out my $11.95 trench coat, which I bought at The Attic a couple years ago, on sunny days. Well, sunny days with a minimum of a 10% chance of precipitation, that is.Who wants to reserve such a classic piece to days when it’s going to get soaked, hmm?

The chocolate brown riding boots found their way into my shoe bin from the Lehigh Yard Sale, where all the footwear is $0.50, this past summer .  I snagged the high-waisted red Ralph Lauren shorts from a discouraging pile of gym shorts at the Illicks Mill Ice Rink Boutique Yard Sale, which I hit up this past summer as well. I bought them on fill-a-bag day, so I’m not sure of their exact price tag, but my bag was nearly overflowing so I assume they worked out to be less than a dollar.

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