A helping hand for Jessica

I’m been feeling a bit adrift these last few days.  I got some dreadful news about something terrible that has happened to a sweet friend of mine.

1940s vintage navy blue dress and hat, cranberry tights, at the Penticton Rose Garden_6

Photo credit: Jessica Cangiano

Some of you may remember my lovely friend Jessica Cangiano from her blog Chronically Vintage.  She’s a regular reader of this blog and I even interviewed her a while back.  Jessica is one of the sweetest people on this planet, and I’m so lucky to call her my friend.  She is an avid vintage enthusiast, an animal lover, an artist, an incredibly talented writer and a gorgeous human being.  In addition to creating a virtual library of articles about vintage fashion and lifestyle, Jessica does a huge amount of work in the vintage community.  She runs an etsy store and regularly organizes events for the online vintage community, such as her annual Christmas gift swap.

It was with a heavy heart that I learned that Jessica and her husband Tony were the victims of a house fire on October 13th.  Their home in British Columbia was destroyed when an arsonist set fire to an apartment in their fourplex.  The couple managed to escape with the clothes on their backs, their phones, Jessica’s purse, their car and their dog, Annie.  Heartbreakingly, their beloved cat Stella hid with fear and could not be found before Jessica and Tony were forced out of their home by the choking smoke.

Their loss is unfathomable.  All of their furniture and personal items are gone.  Their mementos, Jessica’s scrapbooking and crafts are gone.  The incredible vintage collection that Jessica has spent her life curating is gone.  Tony is a photographer by trade, and his cameras and equipment were destroyed.  All of the stock and items for Jessica’s etsy store were also ruined.  This means that in addition to losing their home and belongings, the couple have also lost their livelihoods in one fell swoop.

I’m reeling with a sense of grief and helplessness for Jessica and Tony.  I can’t wrap my head around what’s happened, and how quickly.  I’m furious, because they are two incredibly sweet and kind people, and it seems so unjust that this has happened to them.  But there’s no real point in sitting around being angry and mad.  I want to do what I can to help them.  I’ve already sent a donation, messages of support and I’m in the process of putting together a care package of creature comforts.

If you’d like to help too, there are a number of things that you can do:

  • Firstly, it would be amazing if you could make a donation to Helping the Cangianos.  Although the exact amount is unclear at this stage, there is little doubt that the cost of rebuilding Jessica and Tony’s lives will be substantial.  In addition to finding new accommodation, they will need all new furniture, household goods, clothing, photography equipment and store supplies.  Every donation, even just a few dollars, will help tremendously.
  • Some of Jessica’s friends have set up a wonderful Facebook page to coordinate the support efforts.  The page includes a detailed list of suggestions for items to be included in care packages, as well as ongoing updates of the Cangiano’s progress.  If you are able to put together care packages to send to Jessica and Tony, that will be a massive help.
  • Although the practical donations and assistance is amazing, there is nothing more vital than care and support. I can’t imagine how difficult and frightening this time must be for my beloved friends.  If you can, please send a message of support to Jessica, via her blog or facebook page.
  • Finally, please share the donations page and facebook links on your own blogs or social media platforms.  I feel as though the blogging community does a great job of banding together and generating support during these tough times, and Jessica has been such a vital and active member of this community over the years.  Sharing her story and getting the word out will be a huge help.

I’ve also decided that from now until the end of the year, $2 from every item sold in my Etsy store will be donated to Helping the Cangianos.  That includes all four of my e-books and every handmade and vintage item for sale.


My prayers and hopes are with Jessica and Tony during this awful time.  Although there is no way to replace what they have lost, there is a way for us to help them move forward.

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