Vintage booty

Ever since Hurricane Irene swept in last weekend, the days have become cooler and the leaves underfoot brown and crunchier. Fall is near. I feel excited for it, and sad at the same time. Excited, because every fall, I have always had something to look forward to- seeing my friends (even if it came with the onus of schoolwork), new clothes, new classes, new drama (lol). Teaching abroad last year was very similar to being in school; in fact, I was in school: I was just on the other side of the desk. But now I’m treading into unfamiliar territory, a realm outside of education because – let’s face it – though I enjoy teaching, it’s not my foremost passion. That would be a tie amongst writing, learning new languages, travel, and research (let’s be honest, I’m a nerd; I once turned in a Physics presentation from notes that I took – for fun – a few weeks prior while watching a PBS presentation on String Theory.) I think the sadness at the change of season comes from not yet discovering the way to perfectly unite all of those passions. I have a plan of what I’d like to do with a clear agenda; but only reality (and the job market) can inform what happens next.

Anyway, I’m rambling. This isn’t a post about my career. It’s a post with pictures of the funky vintage loot I’ve collected over the past few weeks. I was inspired to go treasure-hunting by Nina Garcia’s The One Hundred, which is a list in book form of wardrobe pieces that every woman should own. There’s a passing line in the book in which she mentions Bakelite bracelets. Bakelite is a plastic that was used during WWII to inexpensively make jewelry. Now, however, it’s a rare material and can only be found in thrift stores. After reading through the list of 100 items that I should own, I determined to scour my local consignment shops. And not for Bakelite bangles (because I looked up a picture of them online and was unimpressed) but for “timeless, one-of-a-kind” wardrobe pieces that she mentioned could be found for cheap- hats, bags, trench coats, etc. I don’t have designer clothing money, but I figured, if rare Bakelite bangles could be sold in thrift stores- why not unique, designer pieces? I’ve never really been one to hang about secondhand shops. I think it’s because when I was younger, my grandmother and mother enjoyed vintage shopping together- and I, of course, would be dragged along and usually ended up in a musty corner playing with outdated toys while they spent (what felt like) hours eying furniture for marks or excessive wear.

While thrift shopping this week, I didn’t find any clothes worth wearing (people who sell their clothing to these stores really have eccentric tastes…) However, I did score some lovely pieces! I got a beautiful beaded necklace with real stones:

At a flea market, I bought this pretty ring with a black stone set in it. It has a woven band. Unfortunately, the camera wouldn’t let me take a close-up on my windowsill, so I had to take one on my orange desk. But you can see the little beads adorning the stone:

This scarf wasn’t bought at a secondhand shop. I actually got it at a boutique. But isn’t it lovely?

You know, smaller shops are so easy to overlook! And whenever I walk by them, I tend to assume that they’re expensive since they’re privately owned and not a chain. I also feel awkward walking into smaller shops because I feel like there’s more pressure on me to buy something than in a store like, say, CVS or Walgreens. It’s a more personal experience because the owner is there, sometimes watching you evaluate his or her inventory. But it is a more rewarding experience when you buy from a smaller shop. You know who the money is going towards. It’s not simply sucked into the vacuum of a conglomerate, and folded into a bigwig’s seven-figure salary. Moving on…


I wanted something in my room that reminded me of the City of Light without being trite. And I found it in a teeny consignment shop. It’s a scene of Shakespeare & Company, an English book shop on the Left Bank, very near the Cathédrale Notre Dame.

Also, I decided to replace the unsightly orange desk that I picked out while in high school. Here’s the new desk:
It’s a fixer-upper. It was $100, but I successfully bargained it down to $75. (Always try to bargain wherever possible! If I didn’t try, I would have forked over 25 more dollars than was necessary!) I plan to sand the desk, distress it, and repaint it so that it resembles this desk. I’m not sure what color I’m painting it yet. Perhaps a blue-gray. I also plan to paint my white Ikea dresser. It’s just so…bland. I plan to do a before-and-after of the desk, so look out for that! It should come out within the next month or so; it’s going to take me a while since I’m not much of a handywoman and this will be one of the biggest DIY projects I’ll be undertaking by myself.

Last, but not least, I got a wooden desk organizer to store letters, bills, and other office paraphernalia. Should I paint it or just dust it and leave the wood exposed? What do you all think? I got this for 5 bucks!

Any DIY projects that you’d like to share?
Found anything interesting in your local vintage and secondhand shops lately?


About Jul

Life is better than perfect, it's beautiful


  1. Love the ring and the dresser ,some amazing finds, well done you, Jen xoxo

  2. Pingback: Urban chic furniture makeovers « goldleaf strokes

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