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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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Teeny, Tiny Secondhand Treasures: Crystal Creatures

While on vacation this summer, James and I spent an entire day seeking out thrift stores and consignment shops in the Ocean City, NJ area and beyond. And right on Asbury Avenue in downtown Ocean City was Mew To You, a combination thrift store and nonprofit cat rescue. It's the perfect pairing because if you don't find a vintage treasure to take home, at the very least you could visit the kitties in the back that are up for adoption through the Cape Atlantic Cats organization. Well, except for James. His allergies had to keep him waiting outside while I perused the shop and cooed at all of the cats. 

For being a small business, Mew To You had a surprisingly full stock of vintage toys, paperbacks, dinnerware, and knick-knacks. I went home with these vintage beauties. Made by Manon in 1984, this mythical pairing has Swarovski crystals for a torso. SO 80's AND I LOVE IT. 

Individually they can fetch a considerable profit on Ebay and Etsy, especially since they only cost me $3.00 (originally $6.00 but found at 50% off on a bric-a-brac sale). But I'm not interested in selling. They look right at home on our entry way display self. Of course, James is proud of me for indulging in fantasy nerddom. And admittedly, they are so us. Clearly, I'm the unicorn. He's the fire-breathing dragon. 

Thrilled to have found these gorgeous creatures at such a great price, I stuffed a dollar in the donation jar and we continued on our vacation thrift trip. 

If you are visiting the Ocean City area and are looking for an adorable thrift shop whose benefits go to cats in need, pay Mew To You a visit. And if you're a local and looking for a family pet, that's even better! Though I can't guarantee you'll find any crystal unicorns. 

Have you ever visited a thrift store/pet rescue combo?

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The 6th Blogiversary List Of Top 6 Secondhand Finds

To best celebrate my 6th year of helming the Let's Go Thrifting ship into the great secondhand sea, I thought it would be fun to appreciate what I already have. This isn't to say that I won't be having any celebratory trips to the thrift (I already have, in fact). But I've been thinking of these last 6 years, and suffice it to say that I've found some truly awesome things---items that I couldn't imagine I'd ever be so fortunate to find

So welcome to the Let's Go Thrifting Top 6 Secondhand Finds Blogiversary List.

And at the top of that list would be be the beautiful framed lithograph of Margaret Keane's "No Dogs Allowed." Interestingly, much of her early Big-Eyed paintings were improperly credited to her husband, an interesting legal battle that makes her kitschy saucer eyed waifs all the more rare to find in the thrift store. 

Any regular reader of Let's Go Thrifting knows I just adore my collection of vintage photographs. But this doubly-vintage framed group portrait might be my favorite of the bunch. Two couples from the late 1960s posed with a novelty 1930s Ford in front of a  faux sprawling suburban landscape? Take my 99 cents, Goodwill!

I always wanted to have a vintage Ouija board. So when I found this secondhand William Fuld Talking Board Set at a yard sale on the Fall Equinox...I thought it as an especially fortuitous... maybe even magical find. This 1966 edition of the Ouija took spiritualism into polite society...with the instructions encouraging "a gentleman and a lady" to sit opposite each other and summon up some ghosts for a little chit-chat. Another dollar spent, another awesome secondhand find. 

Ah yes, the dream car. Or at least the Fisher Price version of the dream car I'll likely never be able to afford. I always wanted an original VW Minibus. In a burnt sienna, or pea soup green...a color fitting to the era. But this adorable 1969 toy replica will have to do.  And it was unearthed from one of the many bins of the Goodwill by-the-pound outlet for mere pennies.  It can comfortably seat who wants to hit the open road? 

Here a key. There a key. Everywhere a skeleton key! But seriously. I love keys. You all know that by now, as I've featured them several times over the years here on Let's Go Thrifting. But this key is my very favorite. The patina and rust. The heart. And the tattoo design that came later. This is the one. I don't know what was once locked that this key opened. But I hope it was as secretive and special as I imagined it to be.

Originally an impulse buy for 99 cents from Impact Thrift, I had the intentions of adding this dilapidated house to my collection of beloved vintage photographs. Little did I know this house was the sole remaining photograph of a legend local to Skagit County, Washington. Built in 1903, The Ball House was the site of several tragedies and natural disasters, leading to abandonment and decay. It fell to the Washington winds in 1996. And aside from a few sketches, there were no known surviving photographs of the estate. Except for this one that I found at a Montgomery County thrift store, which I later sold to an eager buyer from Washington state looking to relive the memories of the property that she passed by with family until it's eventual demise. 99 cents was well worth the sense of mystery and adventure that this photograph brought me. 


If you would like to know more about these items, be sure to click on the photos to read the original blog post in which they were first featured. While it was originally somewhat difficult to narrow my favorite secondhand finds to just 6...I had to consider what qualities I found to be most important. Sure, there's affordability and monetary value...but those qualities are present in every thrifted item I own, of which there are many. It had to be more than that. It had to be about personal desirability and what I found to be most sentimentally valuable. And I think these were the best of the best. Hopefully the next 6 years will bring even more. 

Thank you, dear readers, for being part of the Let's Go Thrifting community these last 6 years. 

Which Let's Go Thrifting finds have been your favorite? 

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