Swanky Lady Living

Retro style for the modern girl!

Holy Swizzle April 6, 2013

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This morning brought a treasure hunting adventure with my lovely cousin. She met me at my house and we booked it to the Estate Sale location (after a quick ATM stop for me). We were numbers #44 and #45 and waited about a half hour to get in.

It wasn’t a crazy good sale, like I had hoped from the pictures I’d seen online. But it was the second day, so that might be part of it. I nabbed a vintage alarm clock for $1 and three highball glasses full of swizzle sticks, each only a dollar!



I was estatic! There were tons of different stirrers from different places all over. Some of my favorites:

I love Tiki!

I love Tiki!


I took more pictures that I’ll have to post later 🙂

Nicole picked up some records and an industrial metal filing cabinet. After looking over everything multiple times, we were ready to go. We decided as we got back into the car that it was early & we should hit a thrift store…or two.

First stop: the Salvation Army closest to my house. It was slim pickens’ but I found an adorable baby quilt with embroidered nursery story pictures in the squares. It’s already in my baby hope chest aka the Rubbermaid bin I keep in the basement for all the cute baby/kid stuff I can’t bear to pass up.

As we were leaving, we found….adult…footie….pajamas. We died laughing because we had been singing the Mackelmore “Thrift Shop” song all morning. Somehow Nicole convinced me to buy them and we convulsed with laughter as the elderly cashier looked on with a smile and mild confusion. “Keep laughing, girls” she said. We promised that we would.

Second Stop: The Salvation Army further away from my house that always yields more thrifty bounty. Nicole found a gold pendant with a giant purple gem that spins in its setting. I found:

milk glass compote, maybe going in the shop...maybe

milk glass compote, maybe going in the shop…maybe

vintage string art, listed in my shop

vintage string art, listed in my shop

enamel butterfly pin, already in the shop

enamel butterfly pin, already in the shop


Also found but not pictured: a vintage flower patterned pillowcase, a Children’s book about that Circus that has terrifying photographs I shall share later, a vintage apron, and a 1972 pattern for jeans that I’ve listed in the shop.

All in all it was a fun and successful morning! I got home and threw the jammies in the wash and made myself a late breakfast/early lunch.  Sadly, the pajamas did not fit or I would have included a disturbing photo for your enjoyment.


Morning Sunshine! March 24, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — swankylady @ 9:07 am
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I am so wide awake this morning; it’s odd. I usually sleep in on weekends but I woke up bright-eyed and ready to go. How cute are these woodland deer planter vases? My mom bought me the one on the right a few months ago, and last week I found the one on the left at Salvation Army for a song.

I’ve been finding way too many little trinkets and doo-dads for myself lately and nothing for the shop. That’s not a good thing, as my small house is cramped as it is. My inner minimalist has long since been silenced (bound, gagged, and locked away forever) but I still don’t want my house to resemble a booth at an antique store. I seriously need to invest in some more shelving or pare down my collections. (yeah, like that’s going to happen…)

The other night I popped into Goodwill on my way to somewhere else. It was not a good trip. The pricing is way too high, there were several aisle hogs in the housewares section, and the staff was agitated and acting rude because it was near closing time. They were openly staring at customers, counting how many people were in the store, pacing around and talking about how close it was to getting out of there. When I left, there was still a half hour until the time they close, so I’m not sure what the fuss was about…

Anyways, I left with two cute dresses for summer and this little incense burner:


Isn’t it so cute? It was 99 cents.  I’ve really been into burning incense again, a nod to my teenage years in the late 90’s. The smoky spicy scent instantly transport me back to my cozy bedroom in my parents’ house. (I say cozy but that room was thrice the size of the bedroom I now share with my husband-I used to hang out in my closet because it was the size of a very small room! *sigh*….I was spoiled and didn’t know it…)

Well, now that I’ve met my required coffee intake for the morning, I have to get ready and go catch a late breakfast with the hub’s folks.

I pity the fool who messes with me before I've had my coffee!

I pity the fool who messes with me before I’ve had my coffee!


The Boob Tube and Chicken Biscuit Stew March 5, 2013

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One of my favorite things to find are old letters and pictures from eras gone by. My dream is to find a box full of old letters or even better-old diaries. I just find it fascinating to peek into someone’s private thoughts and musings…is that wrong?

One day I was shopping the book section at the Salvation Army and a yellowed letter fluttered out of an old cookbook. I quickly picked it up and tucked it into my coat pocket. The entire time I continued to shop, I thought about the letter in my pocket, waiting to be opened and read after all of these years. What sort of secrets would it reveal? What sort of sordid love letter might I find?

I left the store with a feeling of anticipation. I had barely closed my car door before I snatched the letter out of my pocket. I immediately noticed the date on the envelope was 1982 and felt disappointed. I had hoped for an old love letter, but figured a 1980’s love letter would suffice. I opened the letter and read:



Here is the recipe I promised you. I’m sending you the one I had, so you can see what it looks like. As I told you on the phone I just buy a can of mixed peas & carrots. The T.V. man just left. He had to come and take the part out, and send to Chicago to be repaired, so I’ll be without the Boob Tube for over a week. But I don’t watch it that much anyway. I8m not one of those soap opera fiends. Give me a good book and I’m happy. My neighbor & I follow Dallas & Falcon crest on Friday nights. She told me I could come over to her house tonight & watch them. But I guess you know that I’am not going to bother. Also I’am not going to rent one to the tune of $15 a day, If mine is gone for ten days that would be $15,00 dollars added to my bill & it is going to be high enough as it is. Hope you are feeling better. Be sure and let me know how you like Chicken Biscuit Stew. One thing about it it is simple to make, and does’t take much time either.

Call me later.


So it was not riveting stuff, to say the least, but I was still glad to have found it. Something about the letter just endeared me to Kate. I pictured her sitting on a stool in her kitchen, bored and irritated that the TV is broken, yet determined to keep busy.

“I know”, she thinks with a satisfied smile as she lights up another cigarette (Kate’s a smoker in my mind, I’m not sure why) “I’ll send Rose that recipe I told her about that I’m sure she’s forgotten by now. That should take up a good ten minutes!”

Things I like about this letter:

1. Kate’s typos. She was obviously on a typewriter and didn’t feel like making the corrections. She apparently had the non-pretentious kind of friendship with Rose that did not warrant a perfectly written letter.

2. The mention of  “the T.V man” and sending a part to Chicago. Remember when Americans actually used to repair stuff instead of buying a bigger and better replacement?

3. The mention of Dallas and Falcon Crest. Nice!

4. The way she referred to television as the “Boob Tube.” My mom used to call it that when I was a kid, which always embarrassed me greatly. I was a big weenie; everything embarrassed me when I was younger.(my mom delighted in that and used it to her advantage).

5. The fact that Kate took the time to write her friend a letter, even though she didn’t have anything too important to say. It was just a simple act of friendship, of reaching out, of saying “I am thinking of you. Now go make some Chicken Biscuit Stew and watch you some Boob Tube!


The Stuff I Keep March 3, 2013

It’s easy for me to remember to post pictures of new items that have made it into my shop, but I often forget to include pictures of the stuff I plan on keeping. Here are some recent finds:

Enamel Flower pins and MidCentury Statement Necklace:



If I ever have a boy, he will have a vintage Western/Cowboys & Indians-themed bedroom.


And if I ever have a little girl, she will wear this vintage nautical sailor-girl dress.


And this sailor swimming suit!


I have a bin, sort of a baby hope chest that I started a long time ago. It’s filled with awesome vintage outfits, nursery decor, and toys. When I finally have a kid, he/she will be the baddest baby in town.


Another collection my husband is confused by… March 2, 2013

How totally adorbs are these critters?


I started inadvertently collecting these cute little deer figurines about two summers ago when I picked up the mama and her three babies at the Third Sunday Bloomington flea market for $2. (she’s the one lifting her right hoof (?) in the air and scowling. I wasn’t planning on starting a collection, I just adored her scornful stare and her cute little fawn spawn.

Then came the purchase of the tiny bone china fawns that I started grabbing up at thrift stores with the intent of using them in woodland-themed terrariums. The one terrarium that I did make was beautiful but unfortunately, I used a large lidded glass jar that was too fragile and broke into a million pieces under the weight of all the dirt and rocks. Ironically, this happened in  rare moment when I was deep cleaning the living room and was moving stuff around to get things absolutely sparkling. (Did I use ironically right? I never know).

The tall giraffe-necked dudes in the back of the class are actually salt and pepper shakers gifted to me by awesome cousin Nicole. She knew I loved them when I spotted them in her stuff and sweetly relinquished them to my care. She knew they would have a loving home in my menagerie of kitschy critters!

Anyhoo, that’s another of my ridiculous collections. I have so many more and will try to share more in the future!


Winter Blahs February 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — swankylady @ 12:03 am
The Mr. cooking our steaks last night (pretending it was summer)

The Mr. cooking our steaks last night (pretending it was summer)

It’s been a real winter wonderland here in the midwest, and just in time for March. Back in December, I was dreaming of my yard looking like the inside of a snowglobe, but now it’s the end of a long and ugly grey-colored February and I’m so over it.

I’m ready for grilling meals we can actually enjoy on our deck. I’m ready for poolside margaritas, treasure-hunting road trips, and the prospect of finally growing a vegetable garden! I’m ready for summer….



Wonder Woman In Training February 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — swankylady @ 7:37 pm

I can’t believe I’ve gone so long without posting! Life has been crazy-and not always the good kind- but through it all I’ve been blessed with an amazing husband (and family and friends and co-workers…)

I guess I just needed to detach from this and a few other things for a little while and focus on more important things. Now things are a little calmer (except at work, where things are busybusybusy!) and I have time to breathe the air and smell the roses and all of those other clichés that perfectly describe this season of my life.

Life doesn’t always lead you where you planned, that is for certain. I was so focused on one goal that I neglected everything else. I neglected myself, mainly. Even though I didn’t attain my goal and am still going through a bit of a healing process, I feel freer than I have in a long time. I still have hope and that’s what keeps me going. I signed up to run a 5K (!) at work, with all of the proceeds going to help the kiddos with disabilities who inspire me daily. I have started training and I actually splurged on a new elliptical machine with some of our tax refund money. I feel empowered and brave and stronger than before. I guess that’s what failing does sometimes. In a weird way, it can make you better.

That said, I will continue to fill this blog with thrifty finds and kitschy nonsense. I just needed to explain my absence to the three of four people that actually read this! 🙂


My new mug for my new attitude! :)

My new mug for my new attitude! 🙂