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My Vintage Romance

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Style Your Space

I am currently taking Rachel Denbow’s Style Your Space e-course. Those girls over at Red Velvet are the coolest, and it was hard to choose which e-course to start with. But I am pretty inept when it comes to interior design, so it made the most sense to start there. I’m only about a quarter of the way into the online class, but I have to say, I am looking at my home in a whole different light.

I enjoyed Rachel’s story about her vintage romance and her bff Elsie’s recent story and tips for thrift-shopping, which made me want to explore my own second-hand story.

It all began when I was a tiny little girl spending the night at my grandma’s house. Grandma volunteered at a local thrift store and the staff there appreciated our voluntary afternoon help so much that we often left with fistfuls of items that never had a chance to make it to the racks. Many of the treasures I don’t remember, but I do still wear the vintage nightgown I once found. But the thrifty legacy my grandma afforded me has shaped my entire existence.

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Grandma would admonish us for buying her anything new for Christmas or her birthday, because she’d always say “I can get that at the store.” And indeed she could find anything there. Her closet was lined with the cutest “dancing outfits” she’d go out with her boyfriend in and the most darling matching clutch purses. Her reading material, including the latest issues of her favorite magazines, were stacked neatly in thrifted baskets. Even her well-kept furniture looked like it came straight from a modish 1950s department store. She may have even laid the foundation for my active lifestyle, because we never visited grandma without the requisite stop at her local YMCA.

I spent my school years begging my mom to take me to Goodwill. After making sure no one saw me enter (someone did once and I never heard the end of it), I entered my zone. I abhorred anything mainstream, so this was the place to get a completely personalized look.

In college, 100s of miles from home, I scouted out the thrift stores before anything else, scooping up some mismatched vintage plates and ephemera for my dorm room. A friend took me to a thrift store in her hometown where I found the requisite college shot glasses (despite drinking very rarely). Another friend and I snooped around for cool T-shirts we could re-size. My all-time favorite is an “I Have Kaleidoscope Eyes” from the Beatle’s song. When I first starting working out, after transferring back to my hometown, I scoured the thrift store for workout clothes and came away with a nice starter athletic wardrobe. And I squirreled things away for my own home one day.

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Some of my most interesting memories come from the thrift store. My sister and I watched two guys get arrested in one. They were just browsing, making hilarious comments, so I’m not sure what they got called for.

Before I even knew what “vintage” was, I would raid my mom and dad’s old collections of 1970s clothes. I wish I remembered what we did with them. I just knew I loved the look and I knew I didn’t want to wear the standard-issue Abercrombie look everyone else was wearing.

Now I love to search out nightgowns, sheets and curtains to re-purpose into other things. Craft supplies. The racks I turn to again and again are the dresses, skirts, crafts, books and scarves. I peek in the toys for my son and only grab things if they’re in mint condition and include the play pieces.

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I am also highly likely to donate a bag on the same day that I shop. It’s too easy to accumulate too much, so I make it a point to go through some things and pitch a few things that don’t suit us anymore before I go in and buy more.

I’ll have to show you some Rachel-inspired changes around my home as they come. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your romance story!

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