A day in the life – shopping the flea market
Do you remember when you were a little kid and you asked yourself if you could actually ever get sick of eating McDonalds chicken nuggets and even when you REALLY thought hard about it the answer was always ‘no’? (Cut to me at 25 years old and in a nugget battle with someone else who also thought they wouldn’t get sick of chicken nuggets. Guess how many nuggets I maxed out on? You’ll be so disappointed; only 22. I thought for sure I could eat near 40 of them, but no, just 22!!!).
Anyway, I feel that way about going to the flea market – that I could go every single day and not get sick of it.
So, since I’m such an addict we figured it would be fun to show you what our flea market days look like as they are full of anticipation, exhilaration, avoiding starvation, freezing in the morning, sweating in the afternoon, joy and regret. Its exhausting in the happiest of ways.
6am. We set the alarm for what seems to be an ungodly hour, I normally preset my coffee so I have a cup of jo awaiting me and then get out of the comforts of bed. I debate taking a xanax so I can control my excitement and then I remember that I don’t have any xanax. The anticipation can be palpable, I know, but one must get control of oneself lest we become an embarrassment.
Before I leave, I pack my bag with all the flea market essentials. Going unprepared will risk dehydration, starvation, sunburns and the inability to actually buy anything … which would basically be the end of my life.
Here are the essentials:
A tote bag Duh. Where else are you going to put your loot?
Water (and lots of it). You can buy water there, but its expensive. Although these days there are normally vendors that will sell in their actual booths (not the concession stands). But still, bring your own.
Pen and Paper This is mainly because as you purchase you will need to write down the booth number if you don’t want to carry it around. Most vendors will let you do this. If you are at a small flea market then you might be fine, but if its a decent size market at all you MUST get the number of the booth and write it down. If you are going to listen to me one time in your life it should be right now. WRITE THE BOOTH NUMBER DOWN. You think you’ll remember but you won’t. Every aisle starts to look the same, the booths change as people shop so they don’t even look the same later on in the day and your brain is fried from the sun (and getting up at 6am) so you aren’t on point. I have spent hours looking for things i’ve already purchased and one time gave up altogether only to find the same piece the following month where I had to convince the vendor that I was the one that bought it. Anyway, ask their number and write it down.
Cash/Checkbook The ATMs have huge lines and are either $5 or $8, and most vendors give you better deal with cash. A lot of vendors take checks and more of them are moving towards accepting credit cards (the square) but for now cash is still the best way to go.
Food/snacks There are some flea markets in the country that have delicious food trucks – The Rose Bowl/Long beach/Pasadena City College and Santa Monica trucks fail at this so hard. It’s a captive audience and they will charge you $4 for a taco or $12 for a disgusting unhealthy burrito.
So do yourself a favor and bring some snacks. We brought NatureBox snacks because they have a huge variety and they are delicious. Speaking of NatureBox, they made this post possible so we wanted to give a big thank you to them and for the GIVEAWAY that they are giving to all of you! (All the details for the giveaway you can find in bold towards the bottom of the post.)
Phone Duh. You will lose each other and need a phone. It happens to us every time. Either that or wear a bouquet of helium balloons on your head.
Tape Measurer – Especially if you are looking for furniture, obviously.
Vitamins. UH, ok I don’t actually eat these but Jen Gotch (ban.do founder – who is also a flea market pro) recommends bringing B-12 so that you can get a burst of energy when you need one.
Sunglasses – to shield thine eyes from the powerful rays of the sun.
Rose facial Spray. A total luxury and definitely not an essential but freshens you up when you are feeling icky.
Now off to the flea market.
Ironically The Rose Bowl it’s more expensive the earlier you come so the price drops from $20 to $15 at 7am. There have been times when I’ve gotten there at 6:50 and there is a line of 7 o’clockers waiting for the clock to strike so they can get in, but I’ve purchased the $20 ticket because I have such FOMO (fear of missing out) that I couldn’t wait that 10 minutes. In this case there was 5 of us so there was no way we were going to waste $25, but man I hated waiting in that line.
7am After we buy the tickets we are off, fighting through the crowds, feeling panicked with glee and anticipation, The Little Mermaids ‘Look at This Stuff’ on repeat in my head ….
7:05 – Break the seal. That first purchase is really hard to make for some reason. It’s a mental commitment that’s like, ‘Ok body and bank account, we are actually doing this now’ because you have to carry it the rest of the day. But the best pieces are always gobbled up in the first few hours.
The first purchase in this case was this awesome wood and string hanging pendant below for $120. Probably too much but I really loved it and since it can swag it can go so many different places. Also as a general rule I normally go around one time really fast and look for large pieces but if I don’t need any then I skip that and go slowly per each booth.
7:07 Lament wearing such a short dress without a spray tan. NEVER AGAIN. In fact because of these pics I got a spray tan yesterday and I now look Jamaican AND I LOVE IT. Thank god ‘nude’ and ‘baby pink’ are in … my leg color is totally trending.
7:20 – Laugh uproariously whilst caressing this beautiful mid-century bed. That bed was awesome but strangely the headboard didn’t fit that beautiful frame so it was a pass.
8:10 Find a sofa that makes you feel miniature. It’s very important to feel as small as possible at all times. Also I plan on buying a Hummer limo very soon to fulfill such dreams.
9:20 Ask Jen (ban.do founder) if this disco ball (including the motor/spotlight) is worth $40. Jen (a world renown disco ball expert) says no with confidence and we move along. Also I now regret not buying this lot of die. Quick question: if Rachel Zoe were to see these would she say ‘I die?’
9:45 Famished and in need of a pick me up we munch on seriously delicious snacks from NatureBox. YES, they are sponsoring this content (how else can we have a photographer to just follow us around and take pics of us laughing?) but prior to this post I ate like 12 of their snack bags because they are so delicious and healthy.
Here’s their deal: it’s a subscription based delivery service of healthy snacks. You can choose what snacks are included in your box, every time, so you can discover and try new healthy snacks each month. Their products are made from wholesome ingredients and are Nutritionist-approved. They abide by strict quality standards: No High Fructose Corn Syrup, No Partially Hydrogenated Oils, No Trans Fats, No Artificial Sweeteners, No Artificial Flavors, No Artificial Colors.
One of my favorites? The dried fuji apples. I’ve eaten three bags now.
It’s seriously good stuff and I’m going to subscribe to it because I’ve gotten used to having it around the office and I love it. Is it all fat-free and sugar-free? No, because that stuff is BS. What I love is knowing that I’m not getting GMOs or garbage chemicals.
10:10 Back to shopping. I stumbled upon a brass Platner side table and got it for $45. SUCH A SCORE.
HA!!!!!! Kidding. Only in my dreams. Unfortunately it was $600 which is expensive for the flea market but not expensive for a BRASS PLATNER TABLE. I know it’s too much to spend but I actually do think it would have made my life better and now I potentially might never be the same knowing that exists without me.
Other things we witnessed: A large-scale poodle painting, a dope palm springs poster and porcelain toothbrush and toothpaste (which I purchased and I have NO idea why).
10:45 Try on vintage glasses and pose. Oh so wacky.
Hey, Yoko Oh-no-you-didn’t!!!! I love me some dead stock vintage glasses.
Sometimes you need to put on glasses that make your eyes too close together and then stare. Hard.
And sometimes you need to pretend to drink your feelings. I had so many feelings that day so I had a very big teal drink.
Other times you get sad that you don’t look as pretty as Jen does in an instagram while she wears Tom Selleck pins. (Have you Sellecked lately? Its a thing).
11:00 Find a miniature adorable vase that is shaped like a woman’s body and you get excited because a. it’s a miniature and b. it’s a body part and apparently I buy a lot of body parts these days. Body parts are the new brass animals.
She’s missing a nipple and I’m considering taking it to my porcelain dude to have her fixed. Not.
12:10 Snack on more NatureBox except this time we needed some sweets – so we went for the salted caramel pretzel pops and the yogurt dipped pretzels.
We love the dark chocolate nom noms and the peanut butter nom noms but you can find all their delicious snacks HERE.
12:30 Start all the pickups from the various booths that we left purchases at and schlep to car. This is kinda the worst part of the day. The pickups this time took an hour because we couldn’t find some of them because we didn’t listen to my own advise and forgot to write a booth down. UGH. But after we all split up we found the stuff and off to the car we went.
1pm. Stage a photo showing off all of your goods. And we had so many goods, y’all. Maybe it’s because I’m decorating my house right now, maybe it’s because we had a crew with us so we definitely couldn’t leave empty-handed. Regardless we cleaned up.
Lots of fun loot, friends. Some steals, some not and some regrets – but all in a days work at the flea market. It was ‘RAD’ to say the least (and yes we got those for Ban.do for $15 a pop!).
So here’s what we came home with:
Pretty big bowl ($20), leather and brass elephant piggy bank ($65), tall vessel ($20), beautiful portrait ($100), footed bowl ($5), blue/brass kaleidoscope ($5), wood bowl ($2).
Brass sink, which is such a hoard by the way, $60, pair of framed original drawings $15, hand decanter, $7, and sconce $80.
And then that hanging pendant for $120 and the huge, BEAUTIFUL, sisal for $275. Yes, I spent a decent amount of money, but with the book being shot now and us just needing a ton of props I can write everything off and have a big sale when we are done shooting the book.
So back to the important stuff, NatureBox, the reason we were able to pull together such a post –
Each bag is full size, and has 3-5 servings of that snack within it.
Monthly box always ships free in continental US.
And of course we are doing a NatureBox Giveaway: 2 lucky winners will each win a free 6-month subscription to NatureBox (the Deluxe Snacker subscription). Winners enter the giveaway by clicking the tracking link below to browse what snacks NatureBox has to offer, and then comment below on my post what snack they’d like to try. Make sure to leave your email so else we won’t be able to contact you.
In case you don’t win, NatureBox is going to give all my readers 50% off your first box, just click here to go to their site and get the discount. Here’s what you get: 50% off first box of any size (only $9.95).
(valid only on 1st month’s box. new customers only. not valid on gift subscriptions and may not be combined with any other offers) using code EMILYH
Thanks NatureBox for making this post happen. Thanks Christina and Jen for snapping the photos and Brady for working at 6am on a Sunday. Thank god we all like working together because that is a big ask for a weekend call time.
If you want help deciding your favorite you can copy mine, which are here:
Now go there pick out your favorite and come back to enter!!!
*This post was brought to you in partnership with NatureBox but all ideas/words/opinions are my own.
*All photos (except the product photos) by Christina Winkelmann testtest