Friday, February 26, 2016

We are thee Destination 'Hood

East Johnson Street, Madison's best kept secret!  We are considered part of downtown, however we're tucked away between Madison's busiest bike corridor on Mifflin and Lake Mendota on a one-way street heading away from the square.  If you're headed away from downtown and totally zoned out you may miss this quaint little destination hood that is home to some of the best shopping, food, cocktails, and local services!

You could easily make a full day out of visiting our street where parking is FREE and right in front of the shops and restaurants (I park right in front of Upshift and walk 4 feet to our front door everyday).  The street signs state that it's a 2 hour limit, but has never been enforced in the 2 years we've called this magnificent street our home.

If you pack up your honey bunny or your little ones and head our way it's best to start your day with coffee at Johnson Public House or as we all call it JPH.  They have baristas on hand that concoct amazing brews and tea that is made alongside super duper awesome food.  And, yes they have beer and wine.

On your way to breakfast stop at Burnie's Rock Shop.  If you never have visited, this is one of Madison's shopping institutions filled with jewelry, stones, and crystals.

Next up, visit Sophia's Bakery (right across the street from Upshift) for the absolute best breakfast you'll ever have, promise!  Everything is organic, homemade, and delightful.  Sit outside on their curbside patio or inside where you sit family style with other patrons (it's not weird, it's actually really heartwarming and reminds us of why we love our little community so much).  Of course if the line is long, and sometimes it is, pop on over to say hi and grab a glass of wine while you put some awesome fashion on hold for a future swap.

After your amazing breakfast, and while your food settles (cause I have 2 more restaurants you're stopping at for lunch and dinner), stop in at the newly opened Drunk Lunch for adorable housewares which is next door to Fontaine.  Prepare to spend some time in Fontaine, it's packed full of the most phenomenal housewares and decorations you'll find in Madison.

Next stop is Good Style Shop, and it is a must stop!  They have the absolute best, curated collection of vintage clothing in Madison.  If retro or vintage isn't your thing it's still worth stopping in because the clothing is high quality and always trend on (my husband got his favorite dress shoes from there and they were way less expensive than a big box retailer and because they were made in the 50's the quality is unbelievable!).

If you're hankering a cocktail (and let's be honest who doesn't while they're shopping *ahem* wine while you shop at Upshift *cough*) a brand new craft cocktail bar opened on our street!  The Robin Room just opened up and serves hand crafted, specialty cocktails.  You know that delightful place called The Merchant, yeah, the guy that helped create their menu opened his own joint.  We are so happy to have this place in our hood!

If cocktails aren't quite your cup of tea stop next door to Macha Tearoom.  Yes, they reopened in our neighborhood! They used to be an institution over on Monroe Street, but headed to our end of town and we could not be happier!

Alright, by now you've had a ton of caffeine and possibly a cocktail or two.  It's time for lunch and the perfect spot is, well, The Spot.  We spend a ton of time there and they have our favorite items on their menu, which continually evolves based on their chef's recommendations.  It's safe to say anything on the menu is unbelievably delicious.  Their food is complex and simple at the same time, but never disappoints (and you're hearing this from one of the pickiest eaters out there).  The food and drinks are super affordable, too.

If you forget any necessities while on your day excursion you can stop at our corner store, Madison Food Mart.  They have everything from produce to beer to munchies or household necessities. If you need to replenish your liquor cabinet stop across the street at Cork N Bottle where they have a wide selection of wines and beers.

Ok, last but not least you should save room for dinner and I insist on Salvatore's Tomato Pies.  Not only the coolest space for a pizzeria, but their pizza pie's are to die for. At this point your shopping bags are full and so is your appetite. You can go home and bask in all the glory that is The East Johnson Neighborhood.

Now for the secret of all best kept secrets.  We are literally 2 blocks away from two of Mad ison's main-stays; Caribou Tavern (where you can get the best burger while you do laundry, yeah you read that right) and Forequarter where your taste buds will not be disappointed.  While you visit be sure to stop at Juneberry Studio and Marketplace for some of the cutest accessories, crafts, and housewares.

Additionally, here are a few businesses on our street that are perfect if you need specialty services:
Black Moon Tattoo
Wilke Chiropractics
Dog Haus University
Spruce Tree Music and Repair
Wisconsink Tattoo and Piercing
Studio 924 Hairstyling
Old Town Cycles
Jewel in the Lotus Yoga

There you have it!  Plan a visit and prepare to fall in love with our neighborhood as much as we all love it!  Every single business that exists in our hood is a small business owned by people in our community.  We depend on patrons like you!  We especially depend on and appreciate when you visit us and then spread the word on your experience.  Word of mouth advertising is the marketing most of us rely on because it has always proven to work.  Thank you in advance for visiting us!

Fashionably yours (and usually with a drink in hand),
Owner of Upshift Swap Shop 

Franzia - also saving the world through sustainable practices!

Franzia is not only the world's most popular wine (true), but it is the world's most cost and carbon effective wine (also true)!  The perfect fit for UpShift!

  • Boxed wine is lighter than heavy glass bottles so their carbon foot print is significantly smaller (we all love a good bottle of think about buying local). 
  • Box wine has 85% less landfill waste than bottle wine (also, be sure to recycle all the plastic, cardboard, and of course glass). 
  • Box wine requires fewer trucks to transport more wine than glass resulting in less emissions, less pollution, and less greenhouse gases.
Bottom line -  WE LOVE FRANZIA!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

20 Must Haves

I'm often asked about the absolute key items to have in a wardrobe and I have a definitive answer. Below are the 20 must haves, and honestly you could throw out everything else in your closet and live off these 20 pieces alone.  Get out a pen and paper to take notes, then clean out your closet to whittle it down to these key components!  Bring in your cast-offs to Upshift.

1. Basic tank and tee in black and white

2. Basic layer tops in black and brown

3. Button up white crisp shirt

4. Layering cardigan in light weight weave

5. Sleeveless fashion top

6. Long sleeve fashion top

7. Chunky sweater

8. Little black dress

9. Black pencil skirt

10. Black skinny pants in denim or woven

11. Straight leg, medium wash jeans

12. Bright color skinny leg pants

13. Blazer in grey or black

14. Jeans jacket

15. Trench coat 

16. For summer a white cotton dress

17. For summer a maxi, hippy dress

18. Scarves for layering, about 2-3

19. Footwear; flats, pumps, ankle boot, knee boot

20. Handbag in neutral tones
Those are your 20 must haves and here are the add on that you should also have on hand.

Sunglasses in brown and black

Simple jewelry and wedding bands if applicable

One fashion necklace and one delicate necklace

A versatile belt 

That's it!  You can build your entire wardrobe with these key pieces!

Meet Upshift

It's time you see the faces behind the scenes, we are a fine-tuned machine and couldn't make it happen without each and every person here at Upshift.  Meet Upshift.

Co-owner: Dustin Lundt
Dustin works his ass off making sure that Upshift stays clean and stocked of wine.  He ensures that all donated clothing gets to their destination and keeps everyone in line with our monthly meetings. In other words, he's the brawn behind the operation.  He does all this while working full time with the Madison School District as the Food Purchasing Supervisor where he feeds 25,000 kids a day (we call him a lunch lady behind his back).  This guy deserves a huge pat on the back for all he does to keep Upshift running!

His meme would read,
"I don't always dress a mannequin, but when I do it's usually pretty fabulous."

Merchandiser: Johanna Cano-Rojas
This girl keeps the store looking AMAZING by deciding all the trends and stylizing the store to look super fashion forward and trendy!  She takes all our newest items (daily) and makes them look fabulous by showcasing trends on our mannequins, displays, and shelving.  She is probably the most fashionable person I know and we're lucky enough to have her as our merchandiser!  I've known Jo to show up in pajama bottoms and a dress shirt with high heels and look totally phenomenal.  In addition, she works her ass off making sure our customer gets all the best of the best, meaning she only puts the trendiest items out on our selling floor!  Jo, we salute you as the greatest merchandiser evvvvaaaa!

Jo, rocking a granny skirt and polka dots.  Because she can.

Garment Specialist: Sonni Royal
Yes, that's her real name and it speaks volumes about her personality!  Sonni works every Monday and kicks it off right with sunshine and smiles!  She offers top-notch style advice thanks to her fashion background, she's in school to achieve her degree in Fashion Marketing (read between the lines, she works her tail off by balancing school, work, and yes...a social life!).  Monday is the best day to shop, you get access to mass amounts of new items after the weekend AND you get access to the dynamic duo ~ Jo and Sonni!

Sonni is our resident Monday swap expert, get in here and find out for yourself

Garment Specialist: Amy Lang
Amy is our loyal Wednesday volunteer and works her magic with our shoe collection.  She makes sure our collection is always merchandised perfectly and can tell you what styles are brand new and on-trend!  Amy is so incredibly passionate about fashion she is now in the Fashion Marketing program at Madison College, which automatically makes her part of our elite "Fashion Expert Team" at Upshift.  You can catch her every Wednesday and she loves when it's busy so get on in and say hi to this awesome fashionista!

Amy's best kept secret: she plays bass guitar!

Photographer: Ashley Rostad of Blackwater Studios
Ashley (or as I call her Ash B.) is our go-to photographer based out of Madison, WI at Blackwater Studios.  She's a personal friend, but her talents are the true reason we have her shoot our events and our seasonal photoshoots.  She perfectly captures the moment and the essence of Upshift.  Also, she's a super talented hair stylist and make-up artist so our models always look totally amazing!  Check out her work and have her shoot your next event or family session.

Shooting our model in our neighborhood for a Fall photoshoot.

Model: Ash Thompson
Ashley is a loyal customer and has shopped with us since our "basement days" over 2 years ago.  She is hilarious, witty, and also effortlessly beautiful.  She shows up to a shoot and jumps in (all with a glass of wine or beer in her hand).  The clothing always looks flawless on her and she is willing to wear just about anything and pose in just the right way to showcase Upshift's style.  Ash lights up the room whenever she visits us, which is a lot!

Did we mention this chica has tattoos and we LOVE that about her!
Model: Mia Sigmon
Mia has modeled for us since we first opened our doors over 2 years ago.  In fact, she did an impromptu photoshoot 4 days before we opened so we could promote the business.  She showed up and let the stylist and photographer work their magic.  The photos turned out so amazing and she won our hearts over immediately!  Ashley our photographer may or may not be related to Mia, which is how we connected with her.  All our photoshoots are shot by Ashley at Blackwater Studios!

Mia was still in high school when we first shot her pics, but now she's all grown up and in college
Student Volunteer: Jevona Johnson
This gal is amazing, we cannot say enough about her drive!  Jevona is super passionate about fashion and I met her at a fashion expo on Milwaukee Tech campus where she entered a fashion competition while still in middle school!  Our paths crossed again when she came to the Madison College campus to audit one of my fashion courses that I teach (did I mention how driven she is?!), she approached me afterwards and asked if she could volunteer at Upshift to learn merchandising and more about the fashion industry. Of course we said yes and now she takes the bus after school 2 times a week to volunteer by dressing mannequins, hanging all of our new clothes, and keeping our store shoppable and trendy.  This girl is the future of fashion and we are so happy she works with us!

Only in 9th grade and this girl is THE future face of fashion*
Owner: Lindsay Leno
It's odd to write about myself, but if you want to get a full picture of all the faces behind Upshift you definitely should hear a little bit about the gal that keeps this ship on course.  I thought of the swap system over 7 years ago and little by little made it a reality and continue to envision ways of expanding the business into different concepts (an online swap is up and running, followed by future concepts of plus size, kids, maternity, mens, and a phone app).  I also do all our social media promotions, marketing, management of staff, and financial paperwork.  You know that wine that Dustin replenishes, I drink that when I'm at the end of my shift as a bit of motivation. I have a super clear vision of Upshift's future and can't wait to keep producing amazing second hand fashion at a super affordable price.  Go forth and be fabulous!

My meme would read,
"I don't always drink wine, but when I's everyday."

*We have permission from the school that we could post a picture of a student and write about her.  We also currently have 3 other high school students that work with us during the week.  The other 3 students are learning real life skills through community connection.  We feel very strongly about connecting to the community and giving opportunity to those in need.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

6 Ways to Cuff your Jeans

Whether you're trying to make a fashion statement or you need your jeans outta the way of your favorite shoes (or the snow) than look no further for a simple guide to the 6 essential cuffs you should master.

1. Neat and to the point.  Skinny cuff on skinny jeans
Perfect with sexy high shoes or an embellished pair of flats.  Either way, patent leather and gold!

2. Understated preppy cuff.  All around good guy of the bunch.
This is the easiest of them all.  Flats are ideal, especially a pointed flat

3. Bootcut wide cuff.  Or as we call it; updating your wide leg to look hip.
Make your bootcut look on-trend with a mid height heel in a ankle boot or adorable maryjane

4. Super wide cuff.  Take any `jean, any fit and cuff the shit out`of that bad boy.
A super wide cuff always looks good.  Always.  Especially with a patent leather maryjane.

5. Old school tight roll.  Seriously.  This cuff is flattering and is a total throwback.
Make it look modern with pointy flats or rounded pumps.  Totally tubular and trendy.

6. Boyfriend jean with sloppy cuff.  We saved the best (and trendiest) for last.
This is the #1 trend right now and demands to be worn with a statement pump.  Get going.