Sunday, October 30, 2016

Finally Feeling The Fall, Thanks To Therapeutic Thrifting

Sometimes it's a struggle to get out of bed and sometimes it's a struggle to get out of my own head. If you or anyone you know and love suffers the daily torments of a chronic illness, you know the struggle is all too real. As mentioned in my last blog post, a new medical setback has put me in an all-time low. And what was originally intended to be my week of fun Halloween-themed outings and day trips has been more about rest than recreation.

But you know something? Some days I really think I benefit from getting out there, even if it means practically forcing myself to do it. So the other day, when the weather was cool and the wind was blustery, I spent the afternoon picking pumpkins and thrift store hopping.

I was determined to make my annual Fall vacation mean more than just loafing around. I wanted to feel how I usually feel in the Fall...refreshed and inspired. So I first went to Styer Orchard in Langhorne. Sadly, their apple-picking season same to an early end due to poor weather conditions. But I loaded up on butternut squash and a variety of small pumpkins. 

Just check out the twirl on that pumpkin stem. Isn't that the cutest? I haven't bought a large pumpkin to carve or decorate in years. I'm more inclined to feature a few well-placed mini pumpkins. Is six too many? I don't think so. A few in the front garden with my gnomes. A few on the countertop, a few on the entryway table. Done! 

And speaking of pumpkins... Check out this adorable little knick-knack. 

I'd love to put this whimsical rustic pumpkin kettle outside in the gnome garden. But I'm afraid it would be too fragile and get ruined by either the elements or landscaping crew. Oh well. It's an adorable little addition to my indoor fall display, which is coming along a little late this year. 

I found both the pumpkin kettle and vintage made-in-Japan scarecrow figure above for a dollar each during my thrift trip. I also found a shirt for 59 cents and a too-cute pair of colorful Kenneth Cole flats. But those are for another blog post. 

Needless to say, that after a doctor's appointment, a stop at the bank, an orchard, and three thrift stores, all across several counties...I was exhausted. But it was the best kind of exhaustion...the exhaustion that comes from an enjoyable, productive day. 

And in seeing the end results, I'm glad to have spent some time outdoors, and to do some therapeutic thrift shopping. Owls, pumpkins, scarecrows, and sunflowers...all thrifted, gifted, or picked right out of the ground. Now you don't get much more Fall than that. 

Happy Halloween, thrift shoppers! 

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Human Body: Illustrated, Vintage, And In Shocking 3D!

The human body is a marvelous machine of autonomous functions, artful movements, complex thoughts, and fragile components...all layered together. And with 'The Fold-Out Atlas Of The Human Body: An Illustrated Replica Of The Body With Movable Parts That Show How The Body Works In Full Color,' those layers can be peeled back for an in-depth look of our anatomy. Originally published in 1906, this 1991 edition keeps the original illustrations in all of their vintage glory---down to the hair styles. 

I've always had a fondness for vintage medical texts, specifically outdated entries into the study of gender and sexuality. The "facts" presented in those are more akin to charm school etiquette than valuable medical knowledge. Though there is disclaimer in the beginning of this book that this Atlas shouldn't be used in place of a modern medical textbook, there is still much to see and learn.

Make no bones about it. These vintage, three-dimensional illustrations are still vital.  Medical puns. Sorry, had to do it. But all in all, I'd say that my humor has been a coping mechanism. 

In all seriousness, it's refreshing to look at bodies as efficient and interesting instead of a personal source of pain and heartbreak. After a a series of discreetly described "female troubles" had me in the emergency room, I had to undergo a few tests to determine the problem. And that problem was Adenomyosis, a medical condition that is causing my endometrial lining to grow inward, puncturing the wall of my uterus. While I'm trying to remain optimistic, this condition---if it progresses---will mean infertility. 

Just when I thought the chronic pain of Fibromyalgia and Degenerative Disc Disease had worn me down, this new development has all but broken me. In truth I was always uncertain about the prospect of children. That was until I fell in love with James, and we started building a life together. Seeing him interact with children, I knew what I wanted---what we wanted. And now to have this newfound desire, to see the best of both us in a child we would raise together, as something that may not ever's been difficult. 

In truth, vacation couldn't come at a better time. Though what usually would be time to frolic in the leaves, and do all the Fall-themed day trips that I typically do this time of year... has just been more like a few days of quiet contemplation. And I finally decided that after a week of knowing my diagnosis, it was time to go public with what has been weighing on my mind. 

No fake smiles. No questions. No explaining.  And what's more? This week off from work has also given me time to get our home office up and running. Now if only I could find a desk, so I don't have to balance my Macbook on a pillow, on the couch in front of the TV while I make stream-of-consciousness blog posts.

So what does it all mean? This was supposed to be just a little blog post about the super cool vintage medical book I got for a $1. Then all these emotions just came pouring out. What gives? I guess we're all just layers of blood and bones, thoughts and feelings. And if you look close enough sometimes, you'll see the pain that someone is trying so hard to keep hidden. So be genuine. Be understanding. Empathize and be kind always.


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Monday, October 17, 2016

Bloggers United: Chronically Vintage Needs YOUR Help

Scenes of the tragedy. Photo credit, Jessica Cangiano. 

I'm not in the business of begging for money in times such as these. But when I read that one of our own had suffered such a tremendous loss, I felt the need to make a plea. I doubt that there is a Let's Go Thrifting reader out there who doesn't follow Jessica Cangiano's blog, Chronically Vintage. The woman is a vintage fashion plate, a pioneer in secondhand blogging, and just an all-around sweet lady. And on October 13th, she and her husband Tony lost their home and everything they own in a fire. 

An act of arson against an adjacent home quickly spread and consumed the Cangiano home within minutes. All of Jessica's beautiful vintage fashion and jewelry, all of the computers and cameras used for Chronically Vintage, her entire inventory for her Etsy business....gone. And sadly, her beloved cat, Stella, was lost in this tragic fire. How do you even begin to rebuild after a home and lifetime of collections and personal passions are lost? 

I'll tell you how: through the power of the blogging community. Jessica is a top-rated fashion and vintage blogger. On Google Connect alone, she has over 2,220 followers. If each follower could spare a $5 donation to help Jessica and Tony in this time of need, that would mean over $11,000 of assistance.

I will tell you that Jessica has been a true supporter of Let's Go Thrifting over the years. Some of you may have even found Let's Go Thrifting from her very recommendation. My heart breaks for what Jessica and Tony have lost. So let's stand together as bloggers, as blog readers, as vintage enthusiasts, and as friends. 

You can donate a monetary amount of your choosing through the secure YouCaring fundraising site. Care packages and other donations can also be sent, with specific items of mention detailed in the fundraising Facebook site, 'Helping The Cangianos.'  

I don't doubt for one second that Jessica would do this for any of us. So please give what you can. Thank you very much. 

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