You probably know Lara Spencer as the dynamic, pop-news anchor on Good Morning America, but what you may not know is that she's been moonlighting as an interior designer for over a decade.
Monday night, she was surrounded by family and friends for a private reception celebrating the publication of her book, "I Brake For Yard Sales." The book is a collection of thrifting ideas, personal photographs and design achievements -- and it's a direct reflection of Lara's personality (which is just as charismatic off-air).
"I wanted to write the book for a long time," she said. "I felt like my mom had taught me so many really wonderful tricks and tips that I have subsequently been asked to share with so many friends." When you flip through the bright and colorful pages of her book it's clear that home is where the heart is.
The Huffington Post sat down with the beautiful and bubbly multi-tasker to get the scoop on how to suit up, show up and find that perfect sale. (And yes, she's just as charismatic in person as she is on-air.)
HuffPost: What are the most important qualities of a good swap meet, estate sale, or yard sale?
Lara Spencer: Ideally, I love an estate sale that is packed with really cool, vintage pieces. I love the idea of uncovering a treasure. To me, a home run is when I go to a house that somebody has lived in for decades, that hasn't changed much, that hasn't been redecorated so you feel like you're walking back in time.
There is a fine line between a hoarders house and a packed house filled with treasures. Even a hoarders house can be fun. I went to a sale last year in Hancock Park. This guy called himself "a collector," but he was definitely a hoarder. He had really good taste. He was a stylish hoarder and it was the greatest estate sale I've been to.
Do you think that sale-ing in Los Angeles is different from sale-ing in other cities?
Yes. There's something really magical about Los Angeles. There is so much cool midcentury architecture and furniture here. It makes it really fun if you like that type of interior design. To me, it's just great fun to imagine that sixties Hollywood life. There's something so fun going in this old homes that you can envision these really swank people living in, the way they dressed and the way they did their homes. It is really a glimpse into Hollywood history and that's something you can't find anywhere else.
I went to an estate that was Judy Garland's here, that's fun. Its a two-fer. You get one of a kind pieces, but you also get to peak into Hollywood history.
Thrifting in LA is a blessing because you can load up your car. What suggestions do you have for those who have to carry stuff home?
I always carry a big L.L. Bean tote bag if I'm going to an estate sale or a flea market to haul your stuff. It's not Neiman Marcus, they're not going to wrap or bag your items for you. Sometimes I'll bring newspaper to wrap. I love the carts like my grandmother used to pull. I highly recommend one, it will save you a lot of back pain and it will only increase your yardsale experience.
You're husband said one of your first dates was spent sale-ing, can you tell us the story?
At the flea market. I think that's part of why I fell in love with him. We have a shared appreciation for treasure hunting and for antiques.
He also said that his favorite thing that you've done is your house in Los Angeles, which he called "an ugly duckling." How do you know the difference between something that needs some TLC and something you should pass on?
I try to judge based on potential and not on its current state. Because almost anything can be cleaned up and that goes or a house or for furniture. Ask yourself if the piece has good bones, is it quality workmanship, is it a piece that will stand the test of time. Be discerning, don't buy something just because it's cheap. Don't clutter your house. I also try to imagine in it cream colored linens.
Where are some of your favorite places to look for a unique find or pre-loved design deal in Los Angeles?
You can create absolutely beautiful homes in any style you desire by checking out thrift shops like the Jewish Council Thrift Shop, by going to the Rose Bowl or the Long Beach Flea Market. Just take the time to do the hunting and keep your eyes open.
Browse images from the book party, courtesy of Alex Berliner below: