Category Archives: thrifted vintage love

six weeks later… here is what i wore today for $2.50

Thrifted clothing day: tank which was cut from a tee by someone the exact same size as me but has a tiny hole in the back, 50 cents; skirt by Theory, $2.

I had to change out of the skirt to leave the house as it turned out to be quite see-through. A girl always needs a red slip, though, right?

(I cannot believe I am letting you see my kitchen counter that messy. I gotta go straighten up.)


turquoise kitchen redux

I was in love with the kitchen in our old spot: big old sink, turquoise walls, black and white checkered floor, huge windows. We put a lot of work into making it our own and I miss it dearly. The new place is a little more well-kept and the management company much more involved, so painting our new cocina turquoise was a no-no. The walls are the same gray we chose for the entire unit which, thankfully, makes a great contrasting color for my favorite shade. The first order of business was adding bits of turquoise everywhere I could. Most of this stuff had been orange in its prior life, plain wood or metal before that. I love how easy it is to update with a can of spray paint.


Shelf: $3, IKEA
Spray paint: Montana Gold Shock Turquoise, $6
Lotus bowls: .50 – $1.00, various thrift stores. I use these in almost every room of the house. I think I have around a dozen!
Mortar & pestle: gift from Papo
Yellow plastic sugar and cream containers: $3, rummage sale


Vintage shaker: $5, rummage sale
Vases: $2, thrift store
Wooden bowl: $1, thrift store
Bombay Sapphire: priceless !


Teak salt and pepper shakers: $30, A Hunted House, Washington DC
Silverware people: gift from Papo
Spice rack: $3, thrifted
Spray paint: the same Montana Gold Shock Turquoise, $6


Hook: $4 for two, Ace Hardware
Spray paint: Again, Montana Gold Shock Turquoise, $6


Coat rack: IKEA, $3
Spray paint: Of course, Montana Gold Shock Turquoise, $6
White cow: $8, thrift store
Wood art: $3-5, thrift stores


Knobs: $1.49 for SIX, IKEA

And of course, the cabinet doors came off almost immediately. The bottom doors that remained got a dose of color courtesy of the cheapest knobs ever.



When our cutlery tray proved too wide for our new drawers we were forced to improvise. These jars came from the junk store and have been used for everything: remember my mini-planter from ReadyMade? They’re perfect for spoons, forks and knives.

And that, my friends, is a turquoise-tinted kitchen. I had much better photos of the whole room put together but accidentally deleted over 150 shots from my camera. I’m hoping to find a recovery tool online lest I have to contort my body into all those weird picture-getting angles again. More of the kitchen soon…

dovetail lamp + a peek of the dining room

I haven’t had a proper dining room since we occupied the mansion back in my mid-teens. That experience as a whole didn’t go so well. Maybe this is where my ambivalence towards any kind of formal area, be it for seating or dining or really doing anything other than sleeping since you kind of need a bedroom for that (unless you’re my dad, then the living room futon does just fine), stems from. You wanna eat? Do it in the kitchen, while sitting on a counter or at the table, your choice. Or maybe you’d prefer the back porch? Or the couch? Or the bed… while reading a magazine and swatting the dog away from the bowl perched perilously on your lap? Fine by me. Just clean up after yourself.

However, I now have a dining room. A tablecloth-covered desk may be acting as a table and the two benches that used to anchor our bay windows are standing in place for chairs but it’s worked for one gathering so far.

The tablecloth is a piece of fabric my friend Kate brought back from a trip to Curaçao a few years ago and the curtains are hold-overs from the old place. I’m sure I’ll figure out a way to update them soon. Any ideas? Maybe I could turn the tablecloth into curtains. Hmmm….

My favorite part of this room is the new lamp. It blows my $4 floor lamp out of the water both in style and price and was worth every penny thanks to a local vintage boutique. I had been out with Chernara all day looking specifically for a floor lamp for the dining room and I happened to pop into Dovetail while waiting for an order of Thai food from a neighboring restaurant. I pass the shop everyday on my way to work and loved a recent write-up of a co-owner from Time Out but this was my first time visiting. It also happened to be a day where every single item in the store was half off, making me a very happy girl.

And of course I love all of the built-ins! Perfect for the books that used to line the floor of our old abode.

So…who’s coming over to sit at the grown-up table?

Psssst… Chicago! Check out Dovetail!
1452 West Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 243-3100

saturday, done: new bedroom in the new apartment

Hello, Sunday. You delicious day of rest, you.

I spent all day yesterday working on the apartment. Our previous unit, as you know, required a crazy amount of TLC and all we have to do here is pop stuff on walls and arrange tschotskes. It almost seems unfair and will surely give me less to blog about.

The landlord painted in our color of choice before we moved in–if you’re looking for a true gray paint, Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore is absolutely perfect– and since painting and repainting and spackling and stripping was one of the things that took up huge chunks of time in the old place, not having to do anything with the walls here is awesome.

The big project yesterday was hemming a pair of IKEA curtains I initially bought to replace our ugly kitchen blinds. I found them too dark for the only room in the house that gets really great light and decided to use them in the bedroom instead. Hesitant to use the IKEA iron-on hemming thingie, I’d put the project off for a month but finally decided to tackle it. They turned out perfect and even though I’m comfortable enough with my sewing machine to sew a hem, this was much easier and didn’t require me actually finding my sewing machine pedal in one of the boxes we’ve yet to unpack.

As with most old-school Chicago apartments, our bedroom is crazy small. This is the left side of the room, a print of The Mister’s from Nigeria above the bed in lieu of a proper headboard. I’m on the hunt for something that will work in such a small space but not holding my breath. The lamp is from my mother-in-law and I wish the photograph showed it in all it’s glory. The top is paper and the bottom wood. Speaking of wood, I love all of the woodwork in this unit; it’s rare to find it not painted over these days.

And here we have the opposite side of the room. The dresser extends all the way to the wall on the right side and next to that is a closet without a door. Tiny, huh? Since moving back to Chicago from California I almost prefer small bedrooms. They feel cave-like and cozy.

The only thing I’m not keen on in this room is the side table. I contemplated spray painting it the way I did the dresser but thought it would look a little too fun house-y. Add side table to my hunting list. Happily, everything in the room, save for the bed and bedding and curtains, was thrifted or Craigslisted. I’m sure I’ll happen upon a table in the same way.

So what do you think of the bedroom so far? Side table suggestions? A shape I should be on the lookout for that would compliment the dresser?

PS Wonky internet. The story of this apartment’s life and what I am blaming, at least partially, my lack of blogging on lately. For some reason the wireless signal doesn’t hold up well on the back porch and that is where I like to sit and type, especially on November nights like tonight, over sixty degrees with gusts of tropical-feeling Windy City winds. But I can barely get my email to load out here. We’ll work on a fix for that this week ’cause I miss my little corner of the internet. How I only have two bars less than twenty feet from my Airport is beyond me.

putting up the plate wall

The Mister was in NYC for the weekend and I happily spent my husband-less Sunday putting up our wall o’ plates and generally organizing and decorating the kitchen.  I am embarrassed to report that I did this through three cycles of Nostalgia, Ultra, an album I swore I was ambivalent about but haven’t been able to turn off in the 72 hours since I saw the newly released and weird Swim Good video, which prompted me to check out all of the songs in their entirety again.  It provided good background music and now I know all of the songs and interludes by heart. I need to start buying albums and not relying on Pandora so much. It was fun to be exposed to something new that all the kids out there are talking about! I feel very with it now. Moving on.

Before the plates.  The silverware is in mugs because our new drawers are too small for cutlery holders; we’ll have to come up with a better solution soon.

Per Rosie’s suggestion in the comments of this post, I laid all of the plates out and moved them around until I found a pattern I liked.

Then I started hanging.  The walls are plaster, so I was able to use a nail for some of the easy areas but had to resort to my trusty drill when I hit something hard.

I changed my mind a bunch of times at the last minute and decided to make it longer rather than wider.  Even though I did this rather haphazardly and didn’t follow my initial plan, I can see the curve in the smaller plates and it is just what I initially envisioned but couldn’t get on the floor.  Some of my plates did not make the cut so I have a few plate holders left over. I must go thrift more of them, of course.

I hung up my old orange and now turquoise shelf above the stove and put up the wood cutting that I swear is my dog in the recess between the counter and our cabinets.

And that is the kitchen so far. Not bad for the first two weeks in our new apartment, huh?

I still miss a lot about our old kitchen. Namely our old gal of a kitchen sink (I really did call her old gal in my head) and our cheapie white cabinets and faux wood counters. The latter two are things most people in an apartment would hate but they worked so well with our style and this granite-and-brand-new-cabinet thing is so not me. Next up: the doors come off. I feel a little strange taking the doors off of cabinets that are so new and shiny but I can’t take it anymore. I want to see my glasses, my plates, my bowls. Looks like me and the drill have some work to do this week!

Do you like the plate wall? Don’t you think I need more of them? Shouldn’t it stretch down the whole hall? Aren’t plates awesome?

mama’s skirt: i finally wore it!

Back in March, I shot some photos of myself wearing one of the two clothing items of my mom’s that I own. Last night, after writing a quick update here and lamenting on what to wear in the last sentence, I walked into my closet and pulled the skirt off of its hanger.

I paired it with my favorite white tank, my trusty turquoise sandals, and a canvas shoulder bag decorated with pin-up ladies from the 40s and 50s, and off we went into the night.

It was windy and this skirt is of the wrapping variety, so I did run into some almost-peep-show moments as the material whooshed up behind me but other than that, the skirt was perfect. I felt like I was channeling Judy Lynne with every step and I’m sure she knew it, wherever her soul may be.

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Mama’s Skirt

thrifted: a red skirt & white tank

I must have been saying something important. And loud.

Last weekend was The Silver Room’s annual Sound System Block Party and it was the place to be despite extreme heat and humidity. I took a ton of photos but also handed the camera over to my brother-in-law, Mr. Lekan Jeyifo{us} (whose work was featured on 2Modern and AphroChic this week, by the way) and finally got some shots of ME in the mix.

I’ll be posting all of the photos as soon as I get a chance to go through them all. I’m also thinking of doing that annoying watermark thingie on all future photos since I seem to find my snapshots all over the internet, used without permission or trackbacks. Remember to Link With Love, folks!

Onto the thrifted part of this post. The night before the TSR Block Party I headed to Village Discount Outlet. I had $20 burning a hole in my pocket and wanted some stress relief after a long and difficult week. My refuge for those down-in-the-dumps times is always a thrift store. VDO delivered. The red linen high-waisted skirt ran me about $3 and the Gap tank was around fifty cents. I also picked up a 70s looking green lamp, a gray dress and more white tees. Score.

All photos by Lekan Jeyifo for Urban Casita

talking shop with esther woo vintage

Photo by Lindsey Mak courtesy of Esther Woo Vintage

Beverly Edmonds of Esther Woo Vintage launched her shop last week and we talked about her new venture and the name behind it, items she’s found difficult to part with, her style icon, her go-to thrifting spots in Philly, and her favorite websites.  I was very excited to pick Beverly’s brain; watching her do the damn thing and hearing about her light bulb moment in a secondhand store is something a lot of us vintage shoppers, pickers and thrifters can relate to. She’s a pretty inspiring gal and Esther Woo Vintage carries beautiful, well cared for pieces with equally amazing prices.  I just scored this flowery belt for $10 and have a dress and shoes all picked out for when it arrives!

Photo by Lindsey Mak courtesy of Esther Woo Vintage

Urban Casita: I know you’ve been asked this a million times, but why the name Esther Woo? It rolls of the tongue so easilyy, is memorable and is so perfect for a vintage shop; we have to hear the story behind it.

Esther Woo Vintage: Well, my aunt’s name was Queen Esther. She was a very classy woman with great style. I wanted my store to represent those things, but at the same time, I did not want to name the store after her full name due its biblical nature. While working one day at my part-time job, I rung up a customer who’s credit card read Esther Woo.  Once I saw that a light bulb just went off! I knew that was the perfect name for the store. The crazy thing is I looked back at the card and it said something else. My mom told me that that was my aunt’s way of giving me an answer and told me to go with it and I did just that.

Photo by Lindsey Mak courtesy of Esther Woo Vintage

Since I know you’ve had the desire to open up a shop for some time now (and we’re all so happy and lucky that you did) what made you take the big plunge into the world of vintage reselling?

I’ve always loved vintage clothing and clothing in general. I’ve worked in retail since I was 15 years old and ALWAYS loved it. I just love interacting with customers and being able to brighten up a persons day via a good sales experience.

I always kept my dream of opening my own store in the back of my head, but I had no idea as to how I would execute it.  One day while on a business trip in the middle of nowhere I went thrifting and just had an epiphany. There were so many cute items that I couldn’t fit and I had to justify a reason for buying them!  I looked at the items I had chosen and realized that while unique, a lot of the items looked so much like items that stores charge an arm and a leg for, and thought to myself,  “I really should just sell this stuff.” I knew my friends would love the items so I figured why not… That was YEARS ago, though–two and half to be exact.

I was concerned that people wouldn’t share my vision and it took me awhile to get my confidence in order. I showed a few friends and their reaction really motivated me to move forward.

Queen of the Jungle Track Jacket, $18

There has to be at least one item in your shop that was super hard to give up. How do you part with your wares? Do you ever initially plan to list something as for sale and then change your mind after trying it on?

Great question!  I recently sold this item and it was tough. I can’t even fit this top, but I love looking at it!

I must say I am surprised at how easy it has been for me to give stuff up. There are definitely items that I hold onto but honestly, I don’t keep a lot of items. Whenever I feel the urge to keep something I think long and hard as to whether or not I will actually wear it. I know that there are people who would LOVE to have the items that I sell and it’s not fair to keep things only for them to collect dust in my closet.

Also, this is a business and I know that in order to continue to do what I love, I will have to let some things go. For me selling items is almost like putting a pet up for an adoption. I’m fine with letting go of items because I know they’re going to somebody who will really appreciate them. I always ask people to send me pictures of them wearing the items. I love seeing people wearing something I sold them and knowing that I played a role in them being able to put together a great outfit. That alone makes it worth it!

Zig Zag Dress, $24 / Multi-Colored Suede Pumps, $22 / 1950s Cream Clutch, $22

Judging from your stock, I can tell you have a serious sense of style. Who/what are your style inspirations?

Growing up I would always refer to myself as being a “clothes whore.” LOL.

I knew EVERYTHING about fashion. I lived for it. As I got older my focus shifted from name brands and what was hot at the moment to items that were both timeless and appealing to the eye.  My mom would always tell me to invest in items that are timeless and that’s what I always try to do.

I’m a serious people watcher. I love looking at people. When I walk down the street I always make it a point to see how people are putting their looks together. I really don’t look to anything for inspiration as far as magazines and websites are concerned, I just buy what I think is cute. Once I’ve purchased my items, I will go onto different sites and magazines just to make sure that I’m on the right track.

Other than my aunt, I would say that Kelis is my style inspiration.  I absolutely adore her! As far as I’m concerned, she’s responsible for a lot of the movements that are going on in street fashion nowadays, from the natural hair to the clothes. When she first came out people thought she was a total weirdo, but I loved EVERYTHING about her.  I was around 18 at the time and going out into the world on my own and she just represented everything I was feeling and wanted to be. She’s classy, sexy, funky all at once and does a great job of always keeping her individual style apparent in whatever she’s wearing which is very important to me.

Another person I LOVE is Roxie Roker. She played Helen Willis on The Jeffersons and is also the mother of Lenny Kravitz. I wake up every morning at the crack of dawn to watch that show just so I can see what she is wearing. Not only do I love what she wears, but also how she wears it. She carried herself in a way that screamed class and sophistication at all times.

Fashion to me is about so much more than clothes. It’s about self expression and being able to show the world who you are when you’re not able to say it with words. Life is boring when everyone looks the same, so being able to express yourself whether that means being super conservative or totally out of the box is something that I support 110%.

Money Green Blazer, $22

What are your favorite three items in your shop right now?

I love this Money Green Blazer. This is one of those that I struggled to part with. It actually fits me perfect and the tailoring on this piece is amazing.

I also love, love LOVE these Etienne Aigner Oxfords! Sometimes when shopping I will find a really awesome item just sitting there out in the open and will wonder why it’s still there! That was definitely the case with this item. It’s also a deadstock item which makes it even better. This craftsmanship involved in making this shoe is absolutely amazing. This item represents what I love about vintage. Not only is it a beautiful shoe that is made very well, but it’s also a shoe that was worn completely different when it was originally produced compared to how somebody would wear it now, style wise. I love the stories that vintage items tell.

The Zig Zag Dress may be my personal favorite. The material is so soft and light. This dress is super comfortable and will look good on just about any body type.

Peppermint Escada Flats, $32

I know you’re based in Philly and I know you thrift for house stuff, too. What are the differences you’ve noticed between shopping secondhand Philly and other East Coast cities?

Philly is a good place for more mod pieces. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone thrifting and saw mid century style buffet for dirt cheap.  People live here for generations, in the same home even, so a lot of the time when a house is passed down from one generation to another the person will just call somebody to clean it out or have an affordable estate sale instead of selling it in an expensive antique store.

I always find great lamps here. I have at least four in my basement waiting for a home, including a GIGANTIC crystal chandelier lamp with the most dramatic lampshade you have ever seen that I am deathly afraid of putting up because I’m sure somebody will break it!

Most of my house is furnished with thrifted finds priced no more than $30.  Most of the good home decor items/furniture can be found in places that are basically dusty open spaces in warehouses or old row homes, which may catch some people off guard, but it pays off in the end because of the great prices.

Also, the people who run these place are very friendly. Philly is a blue collar city and the benefit of that is that people treat you equally across the board. When you go thrifting here you will almost always see people having conversations with one another.  It’s not uncommon to run into a shop and end up having an hour long conversation with the owner about a particular piece or absolutely nothing.

Blue Diamond Dress, $22

Any favorite Philly shops to shout out or is that giving too many trade secrets away?

Haha, no I have few I can name without giving away too much.

My favorite place to go for clothing is Astro Vintage.  The decor is absolutely adorable and the owner is very friendly. This shop is good for statement pieces and home decor items.  If you’re in the mood to go on a treasure hunt I would suggest the Antiquarian’s Delight –the name says it all– located in the South St. area.  This is like a retirement home for thrifters and lovers of vintage!  It’s actually an old church where people set up booths and sell their vintage pieces. The great thing about this place is that all of the items represent the various personalities of the individual sellers. There are booths for costume jewelry, fur, furniture, books, war memorabilia, etc.  I honestly can spend hours in this place. The various booth owners are so passionate and knowledgeable and enjoy talking to you about the various pieces. If you’re ever looking for a statement piece this is definitely the place to go!

Crocodile Dundee Bag, $24

What websites do you check for on a regular basis?

As far as websites are concerned I’m a Tumblr gal; I have a zillion fashion sites bookmarked on my phone and computer, but I rarely get the chance to go through all of them.

Some of the sites that I frequent…

Aureta’s blog for when I want to daydream about the clothes I would buy if I were filthy rich.

I also love Natural Belle’s Tumblr.  She has some great images.

Fly is awesome! I love the features on creative women who are turning their dreams into a reality. I’m so honored to say that both she and Natural Belle featured my store on their sites and truly grateful being as though those are both blogs I frequent often.

I LOVE Nadia Aboulhosn’s blog. I love reading her personal posts and seeing how she embraces her body.  I recently gained a few pounds and really struggled with it in regards to figuring out what clothing items worked best for me. Seeing women like her and Gabi of GabiFresh (formerly Young, Fat and Fabulous) really inspires me to be more comfortable in my own skin.

I am Jennifer-Le is a great Tumblr as well. This woman has a great sense of style!

I love DIY projects. I get a lot of great ideas from this Tumblr.

And last but not least, Deep Kolor. This Tumblr is AMAZING. I’m a color girl. I know the names of colors that people probably don’t even know exist! When I was a kid I would sit and memorize all the names of the crayons. This site is great when you need some color in your life!

Thanks for chatting, Beverly!

Folks, be sure to check out Esther Woo Vintage with your credit card at the ready.  I’m sure there’s something you’ll have to have!

Esther Woo Vintage Shop
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thrifted denim & my canadian tuxedo

Someday soon, I will do three things: learn how to not take photos when it is not dark outside, buy a tripod, and fix my blog so I can post larger pictures. Someday soon, I swear. Until then, I reap what I sow: small, dark, and wobbly flicks.

I picked up this super comfortable denim tank from the thrift store over the weekend. With a denim jacket I got at a vintage shop in Toronto last year and a pair of jeggings skinny jeans from Forever 21, I got my Canadian Tux on for the Guerilla Truck Show last night.

The shirt was $2 and my favorite part, by far, are the buttons on the side. Excuse those wrinkles. I don’t iron unless I’m sewing.

Can’t forget the jean shorts I told you about! Levis. Ninety cents. I never want to take them off.

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Not-Thrifted: The Clothing Edition
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thrifted: hors d’oeuvres

hors d'oeuvres

I stepped out of the house yesterday morning to have some quality time to myself at my favorite neighborhood thrift store. Most of my hunt was dedicated to the massive clothing section, where I scored four tanks, a blouse and two pairs of shorts for $10. Photos of my awesome new Levis later in the week! They are seriously the most comfortable shorts I have ever come across and fit like a glove.

I only found one thing in the housewares section worth buying: can you guess what it is from the photo above?


A neat little stand for hors d’oeuvres (or ice cream.)


I googled and googled to find out who made it, where it was from, and how much of a deal I got by paying $1.40 for it but no dice: I can’t find any information on my cool new acrylic tray.

Any ideas? Have you ever seen a tray like this? The closest I came was this cheese grater that Katherine from BackGarage is selling in her Etsy shop. The text is the same but I can’t find anything similar to my tray from the manufacturer. Help me solve the mystery!