five tips

Flea Market Shopping: 5 TIPS TO DOING IT RIGHT

There are plenty of awesome flea markets all over the U.S. - Brimfield, Round Top, and First Monday Trade Days are just a few of them. In Southern California, where our weather pattern is 70-degrees with blazing sunshine pretty much 98% of the year, flea markets reign. But if you're new to the game (or even if you're not), the process of flea market "picking," as it's deemed, can be downright overwhelming. I'm the first to admit I'm not a morning person, so driving to Pasadena in the (extreme) early morning darkness isn't my idea of a fun time, and I rarely arrive there any earlier than 8 AM. That said, we've done our fair share of flea market shopping here in Los Angeles and elsewhere (but that's another story entirely), so we're sharing a handful of our Lily Spindle tips to doing a flea right and finding what you want.

1) Some of the very best flea market pieces can be found in the booths that look like they've got zilch. In the most intensely "curated" booths, everything will be of the same general design, aesthetic, and period, say, boomerang coffee tables beside teak nesting tables holding atomic lamps (and the heavily curated collection will have heavily marked-up price tags to match). The ultimate flea market discoveries often exist within the booths you'd never even glance at twice. We once found a set of three split blade Ivar Alenius Bjork brass candle holders in amazing vintage condition at a Rose Bowl booth offering little else but rusty car parts, antiquated tools, and heaps of picks, shovels, and hoes. Keep your eyes open, always be scanning the flea market landscape for provocative colors, patterns, and shapes. Love can be found in the strangest of places.

image source: Long Beach Antique Market

image source: Long Beach Antique Market

image source: Apartment Therapy

image source: Apartment Therapy

2) It always takes longer than you expect it will (I mean, for heaven's sake, the Rose Bowl has over 2,500 vendors!) and I don't recommend making heavy social plans for later in the day. Maybe it's just me, but the sensory overload of a mid-size to huge flea market both energizes and enervates me and I'm totally incapable of throwing on some heels, slapping on some Urban Decay gloss, and chatting at a dinner party that same evening.

3) Cash, cash, and cash. Carry it on you beforehand (we usually get ours the night before). The lines for the ATMs are bananas and who wants to waste time standing in line when you could be shopping?

4) Wear a hat. Wear sunscreen. Wear your sunglasses like a good Angeleno always should. And wear layers, because as the day progresses, you'll get warmer. Oh, and bring water! Staying hydrated is muy importante.

image source: Apartment Therapy

image source: Apartment Therapy

5) Bring a truck to the flea market, if possible. And have a rope or two handy, to lash some purchases in/on your car or truck. I can't tell you how many times my husband's surf strap has safely secured furniture and lamps for their freeway journeys. I always travel with wrapping blankets, of course, because that's what us Lily Spindle ladies do, but that stash of cloth shopping bags you keep in your car can be useful, as well! I often stuff them in between pieces, use them to soften the sharp corners on sofa legs, art frames, and doubly wrap ceramics and other fragile pieces to ensure their protection as we roll home after a successful shopping expedition.

Do you have any flea market favorites you've scored over the years? Or any tips you want to share? Give us a holler at and we'll share them with our readers!


I sat down intending to write this post about the best modern holiday decorations or the top ten ways to make your house sparkle with holiday cheer using things you'll easily find in your pantry and then I thought, 'Holy smokes, we can't, in good conscience, tell our readers they should gleefully be placing glittery glass balls in a bowl or wrapping the banister with silver and gold garland while singing every carol in the book.'

This can be one of the most intense times of the year and I can't pretend it isn't. The holidays have the capacity to be magical. They can be beautiful. They can be heartwarming. And they have the potential to be incredibly stressful. I'm talking, like, insomnia-inducing, heart-palpitating, breakdown-inspiring stress. The gifts to buy, the traffic to navigate, the places to be, the food to make. Are you feeling superduperanxious yet?

OK, deep deep breaths, baby. We're going to help you alleviate the holiday stress and take it in stride, by being pragmatic and present and deep breathing (no joke). You can do it.


It's SCIENCE -- deep breathing positively impacts your heart, brain, digestion, and immune system. Imagine that your deep breaths are the brake that stops a careening car (your body) from gaining additional speed and crashing into a brick building. One of the best and most effective breathing exercises I've learned is this: Breathe in through your nose for a FOUR COUNT; hold the breath for a SEVEN COUNT; release through your mouth for an EIGHT COUNT. Do this a few times and I promise you, it's like a shot of endorphin tequila leveling out your soul. (And then maybe do that shot of actual tequila anyway, just in case.)


The dirty dishes can wait. And you don't have to clean underneath the sofa before your guests arrive or take on the landscaping project of the entire backyard to start and finish in two weeks. If it's crazy-making to even consider the elements of resolving a project, that's a sign that the frenzy will only escalate as the insuperable reality of the job takes hold. Your friends won't care (or even notice, most likely) if your home isn't spotless (tip: it will never be truly "spotless"!). What's of much greater importance are the conversations and humor and time bonding with your beloveds.


During the holidays, we're invited to about one billion fetes and events and gatherings and "white elephant" parties. If you're anything like me, you want to say yes, you want to be able to do it all, and do it all well. But, hey, will missing an art opening across town on a Thursday night be the worst thing in the world? NO. No, it will not.

Just say NO. Try it. Practice it in the mirror to get used to the sound of it coming out of your own mouth. Now, mindfully and with love, say no to the events you cannot make, the dinners you cannot attend. Set those boundaries, baby, because you're the only one who can.

Maple walnut pie from Huckleberry Cafe on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles, CA. photo cred: Huckleberry Cafe

Maple walnut pie from Huckleberry Cafe on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles, CA.
photo cred: Huckleberry Cafe


Your favorite green bean and almond dish, butternut squash and arugula salad, and ginger cake with salted caramel glaze are tried and tested showstoppers. You don't need to make these delectable concoctions from scratch. Make it easy on yourself and order these elements of the holiday meal ahead of time and pick them up, ready to roll. No prep time = more time for you to breathe deeply and ground yourself.


Being altruistic to others makes us feel positively about humankind in general and specifically in regards to the people upon whom we're bestowing our magnanimity. And it goes both ways - the trust and connection created from kindness mirrors itself between the giver and the receiver. Giving releases oxytocin, the hormone released during sex (YOWZA!), galvanizing feelings of warmth and euphoria and connectivity. When you're on an oxytocin high, you feel more empathy and compassion towards others, and this high can become infectious, with the ability to kick off a "virtuous circle," person after person becoming generous and kind. Can you even imagine? A contagion of kindness making us all a bit cheerier and allied with one another? How phenomenal and astounding could that be?

Volunteering your time at an animal shelter, soup kitchen, hospice, community college or non-profit organization, or even donating blankets to an animal rescue you follow on Instagram and adore from afar can elevate your soul, reduce your stress levels, and, wonderfully and surprisingly, lengthen your joyful life.

Let's do this thing, holidays! You got this.

xx - Rebecca