My best friend, Kelly, and her Mother, Sandy, came to our home this weekend for an annual Christmas visit. Each year we scout out a new spot to have lunch in Historic Bethlehem, PA , which is close to my home. While absorbing the history and lavishing in the sights and sounds of the “Christmas town,” we laugh merrily and over-indulge in food and drink as if it were our last supper. Kelly and I regress to that of our teenage years, while Sandy captures every moment in photograph. Three grown women giddy as can be with tears of laughter streaming down our bronzed cheekbones and over our glossy lips. We stumble out of the restaurant, intoxicated with laughter and excitement.
We bundle up and head down Main Street, peering in windows and spying merchandise in our favorite shops. From there, we hop in my snow white Mercedes, which we refer to as our “sleigh for a day” and without a hitch, head to our favorite antique malls in a nearby town. Upon our arrival, it doesn’t take long for me to spot a treasure. In the vestibule hangs a beautiful oversized oil painting, which, of course, matches almost every room in my home. I didn’t end up buying it but have remorse as I sit here typing. As we comb each booth row by row, I am the only one that seems to be accumulating treasure after treasure with a large shopping cart. Kelly and Sandy have both confessed to finding great joy in observing my shopping and buck-bargaining skills, absorbing every tip as I go. We try on fur coats and hats while taking self-portraits and saying “ka-ching” with each and every score. We envision ourselves filming an over-the-top reality show entitled, “Shop til ‘We Drop,” which would be filled with endless endless educational content coming from the savviest shopper in town.
This spree was packed with endless treasures. I picked up two brownish variegated furs, one a cropped jacket and the other full length with chocolate brown leather buttons and a matching belt. Three fabulous hats, one, an authentic rare leopard skin tam, one that could possible pass for a confetti sprinkled cake (perfect for New Year’s Eve) and the third I call my “Black Swan Hat,” (named for my favorite movie) is covered with black feathers….GOR-GEOUS! I found a vintage woolen dress with a knit and fringed bottom which had a Missoni-esque/Tory Burch “ish” pattern on the bottom and brass coin buttons front and center…to die for!
The last fashion score was typical of my fashion find luck. I had just torn a page out of Harper’s BAZAAR Magazine featuring “THE” look of the season. Three Milanese runway models decked out in the latest candy colors of teal and purple, one wearing a large purple fur collar. For two weeks this photo was tacked to the mirror of my vintage Joan Crawford-ish dressing table, where I could study it each morning as I dressed, pairing similar colors and styles while “perfuming & powdering” myself. There was only one thing missing in my wardrobe, that grape colored fur collar. Well don’t you know, not only did I find a purple fox collar yesterday but a double tailed teal one as well! OMG, get the respirator.
While suffering from temporary shopping comaloma, the prizes didn’t stop there, the finds of the day, I am about to share…
If you are a loyal follower of my blog, you are already aware that I collect antique copper cake molds for my “patisserie” inspired kitchen. Sandy made it her mission to help me find as many as possible. Together we found seven…SCORE!
The most unique thing I found was a resin Indian doll with features so beautifully hand-painted that I could not pass her up. She needed a home. Her new residence…perched on an antique French chair on a leopard spotted pillow in my living room or as I call it…”The Grand Salon.”
One of the things on my wish list was silverware in a gold tone. Wouldn’t you know; in the very first aisle was a set far beyond my wildest imagination! I found brass and rosewood dinnerware, service for twenty-four. It didn’t end there; this included all the serving pieces you could dream of (even fish & Soup service)…somebody pinch me! Marked: Made in France. Everything was perfectly placed in its original rosewood box and each piece was still in its original wrapping. Never used. Christmas brunch will be glorious at the Gottschall Residence!
Two years ago I found a giant antique bar that is disguised within a globe at this same antique store. If I see something I love, it is rare that I don’t grab it (especially if it’s a bargain) but for some unknown reason I decided not to purchase the antique bar, a move I immediately regretted. The drive home was miserable, I was like a lush over this bar. The next day I returned to the shop only to find the spot bare! I was sick, hung over in disbelief. The globe taunted me as it was regally displayed in numerous high-end decorating books and I never forgave myself for not buying it when I had the chance… until yesterday that is. In the third aisle sat my globe just waiting for me to rescue it. I shouted to Kelly and Sandy, “quick, get the salesman!” I tore off the price sticker and guarded it as if it were a pile of gold bricks. As I waited for the salesman, I glared at every on-looker as a potential threat wanting to place their paws all over it. I would have agreed to any price but I controlled my excitement and made an offer $100 below the asking price. To my dismay, the salesman agreed! Cloud 9 is putting it lightly. JACKPOT! Where were the bells and whistles?
Exhausted yet elated, we schlepped my shopping cart brimming with history to the checkout counter, where I am apparently known by name. I asked, “Do you take American Express?” The bold answer was NO. I shrieked in disbelief as Amex is the only way I roll, aside from my debit card. I was persistent; “You must take AMEX for large purchases?” I was papooed yet again. I immediately broke out in a sweat. I couldn’t possibly put all my treasures back. What’s a girl to do? I reached into the seemingly bottomless pit that is my overly littered purse and fished out my wallet. While in the process, Sandy graciously said, “I’ll cover it, just pay me when we get home.” Phew…the two hours of an adrenaline-induced shopping spree was finally coming to a close. I looked at Sandy and Kelly and said, “So how much damage do you think I did?” Sandy replied, “At least an easy thousand,” Kelly nodded in agreement. I grinned, a toothy grin as we honed in on the elderly cashier as he methodically added up each item, discounting as he went along. “Sign here,” the gracious gentleman said. Our eyes popped out of our heads and our zoom lenses kicked in, I read aloud the total…$480.00 EVEN. The three of us looked at each other, unrehearsed, in perfect harmony, and joyfully exclaimed like one arm bandits……”KA-CHING!”