November 25, 2016

2016's Vintage Secret Santa is cancelled due to the fire

First and foremost, goodness gracious, do I miss you guys. Not a little bit, not every now and then, but day in and day out, with all of my heart. Living in a world right now where so many things are completely upside down, unequivocally one of the most bizarre and "outs of sorts" is not being heavily immersed in the online vintage blogging sphere, as I have been for over 7.5 years now.

As many of you know, for the past two years (2014 and '15, respectively) I've - with a substantial amount of help, particularly on the coding back end of things, from Tony - hosted the annual Vintage Secret Santa gift exchange, which has only grown bigger and better each year.

This time around however, given that we are still extremely immersed in beginning to put our lives back together again (including setting up a new temporary renatal home) after the devastating arson fire last month that destroyed our house and possessions, it simply is not possible for us to hold the VSS (which honestly becomes like a full-time job for me from November to February each year).

Having received about twenty-five or so emails and social media PMs in recent days asking if the VSS was taking place - albeit mostly from past participants who weren't aware of what occurred last month - I thought I would take a quick moment here this morning just to formally announce that, as much as this point sincerely pains me, there will be no Vintage Secret Santa 2016.

{I very much apologize, but unfortunately those who wish to take part in the VSS - either again or for the first time - will have to wait until next year to do so, as holding such a large scale online gift swap is impossible for us right now in the wake of the fire. I really do feel bad about this and appreciate your understanding immensely. 1920s Clara Bow vintage image source.}

However...all things willing, I (we) do certainly plan to hold it again come 2017, as a little over a year will have passed since the blaze by then and it is our deepest of hopes that our life will be way, way more on track and settled again by that point.

Though out of sheer necessity, this blog will officially remain on hiatus for a while longer (it's honestly too soon for me to give even a possible estimate of when I'll be able to return to blogging on a regular basis, but am hoping that such will be feasible in early-ish 2017), I do hope to be able to share a much more detailed update post (about where our life is at by then) with all of you here in December.

In the meantime (and always!) though, I simply cannot say thank you enough to each and every person who has, in countless different ways, helped, supported, prayed for, comforted, and cared about Tony, Annie, myself, and our sweet (now officially deceased; her poor little body being found in the charred ruins of our old house on November 6th) cat, Stella.

Whether through our You Caring donation support page, PayPal donations, care packages, emails, private messages, the Facebook page Helping The Cangianos that was set up for us by my good friend Bonita from Lavender & Twill, sending positive thoughts our way, leaving blog comments, or myriad other ways, we have been nothing short of profoundly blessed, assisted and uplifted by what I can only describe as a tidal wave of beautiful and extremely generous compassion.

It has helped us in countless ways and we will be, for as long as we live, grateful to each and every person who has - and who continues to - support us in any positive manner during this staggeringly challenging time in our lives.

We love and appreciate - most definitely miss - all of you and garner strength from your support, as well as by looking towards the future and the time when our lives will be back on track more. It's a long and difficult road, but each new sunrise gets us at least one step closer and that is a beautiful thing.


  1. Sweet Jessica, this is the first time I am learning about the fire...I am so sorry, dear one. I am ever so glad to know you are well and safe! And while this even will be missed I think it's very wise that you forgo it this year. Thinking of you, sweet friend, and remembering you in my prayers. Hugs!

  2. Jessica, You just keep on working on getting your life back in order. We all will all miss VSS but absolutely understand that you have other priorities. Holding good thoughts and prayers for you and Tony and will patiently wait for you getting back to your blog. Hugs and kisses and have a Happy Holiday Season!!! Morning Waters

  3. Oh Jessica, how sad to have it made official about poor Stella. It cannot have been easy to hear that news.

    You are missed too! Both your blog posts and your warm and encouraging comments to others.

    I just assumed VSS wouldn't be happening under the circumstances but thank you for confirming.

  4. Jessica i hope you an Tony can get your lives back on track. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Hi Jessica, I constantly think about what has happened to you and your husband, and look forward to hearing about how you are slowly rebuilding your loves. Lots of love and positive thoughts, xxx.

  6. So happy to see a post from you! You are missed!

  7. We all understand of course, lovely Jessica. As one of the Vintage Secret Santa's most hardcore fans, I'm sure I can speak for the rest :P I do certainly look forward to it in 2017, fingers crossed!

  8. While I completely understand and agree with your decision to forgo the VSS this year, know that it will be missed. But here's to a fabulous re-built VSS in 2017! Hugs to you! :)

  9. We miss you, Jessica. And, of course, we know things will have to wait for your life to return to normal. Best of wishes.

  10. Dear Jessica, I am sure that everybody understands why you are not hosting the VSS this year. You went through a turning point in your life, you are gathering everything again - not only material things, but emotions, memories, everything - so 2017 is nearly there and will be much better for you, I am sure! And as time flies, you will have VSS by Dec next year. You know I am sending you loads of good vibes and I told you, whatever you need, just tell me and I will be glad to help! Many hugs, dear Jessica!

  11. Dear Jessica,
    I'm so glad to hear from you! And I'm so sorry for Stella. I lost my first cat years ago and therefore know how much this hurts.
    Again, I wish you only the best and really hope everything will be fine soon.
    Stay strong my dear friend! <3

    Many hugs,

  12. Can't even imagine that you would have time to write this blog post, let alone organize secret santa! I'm glad to hear you are on the road to recovery after the horrific fire. All the best to you and your family as you continue to piece things back together. 💟

  13. Jessica: So glad to hear from you! I continue to pray for you and your family.

  14. Dearest Jessica, not only do you miss us, we are all missing you right back. I was so sad to read about Stella on Facebook. Have been thinking about you a lot in the last couple of weeks. Sending over some positive vibes and the biggest of hugs! xxx

  15. Jessica! It is so good to hear from you and to see this little post pop up. Please by no means feel bad about cancelling VSS this year! I think I can speak for many of us when I say we just hope you are doing well and that your long road back on track isn't too bumpy! Much love to you, Tony and Annie especially at this time of year. So sorry to hear about the Stella, that sweet girl. :( Big hugs! :( Hoping things start to get back on track for you soon! Miss you lady <3

  16. Aw Jessica, nice to have this update (as well as your latest email, which I will respond to soon!). We are all willing things to work out for you and Tony and sending out so much love into the universe! Hang in there xx

  17. You are missed, Jessica. I can't wait for you be back on your feet and into the vintage blogging world. But until then, your in my thoughts.

    I may have to back out of the blogging world for awhile next year while possibly maneuvering the world of moving over 2,000 miles across the country. We'll see if it ends up happening, and if so hopeful I won't be out very long!


  18. I have been missing you and wondering how you are doing! I am so glad to hear that you are setting up a temporary home, but so very sad to hear of your poor beloved kitty's demise. I was holding on to hope that she had somehow escaped.

    Much love to you! Continuing to hold you all in my thoughts as you get sorted! <3

  19. I'm so sorry to hear the sad news about your dear, sweet Stella. I think we all understand you putting VSS on hold after what happened. Putting your life back in order comes first.

  20. Oh Jessica, I didn't think for a second that it would happen this year, so really don't worry about it. You have far more important things to focus on right now, just concentrate on looking after each other and your beautiful dog. You know we all miss you terribly and look forward to your triumphant return whenever you are ready. Sending you lots of hugs xx

  21. Dearest Jess, No one expects such a thing from you. Take your time and concentrate on what's important, and that's not VSS nor your blog, by now. I miss you very much, and will soon write you a mail. Lots of e-hugs from Denmark. XOXO

  22. Hi Jessica, lovely to see you back on the internet, if only for a brief spell. It's good to 'hear your voice', and I am still wishing for good things for you and Tony in the future. Looking forward to your eventual return!

  23. Jessica, we miss you too. So very sorry to hear about Stella. As a cat owner myself, I understand how precious she was. I hope it helps you to know that you gave her a good life and a loving home. Thinking of you, rooting for you, and sending lots of love to you, Tony, and Annie as you continue to rebuild your life. Samantha xxx

  24. Dear Jessica,

    I often think about you and Tony.... I am missing your blog and seeing you online!!!

    How sad about dear Stella! I was hoping and praying that you would find her alive. So sorry you lost her too. :(

    Best wishes to you, Tony and Annie!
    Lots of hugs,

  25. My dear Jessica, I have thought of you very often and my heart jumped when I saw a post on your blog. I can only send good vibes your way. Hugs.

  26. I've been thinking of you so often since I heard the news about the fire. I can't imagine how you're feeling. I love the hopeful tone of your message, and I admire your courage. Take care of yourself!

  27. I am so sorry for all your losses, especially your poor kitty. I was hoping that you would find her alive. I have two fur babies and can't even imagine your pain.
    I think everyone understands your need to take this year off. I hope things come around for you both and that 2017 is a much better year for you.

  28. My dear, dear, dear friend!
    Don't mind the gift-exchange - for, the greatest gift we all can have, is knowing that you are (and Tony, naturally) doing well. Many folks get so much concern over the material things (thoughts like "oh, what to send out?"), and fail to realize that what matters MOST is the caring for one another.
    You are in my thoughts - a lot.
    Your well-being is what I light candles for.
    Whenever I feel happiness, I'm sending a part of it to you.
    Knowing that you are doing well, that you are not in pain, that tony and you do have the elemental items and that you will not go cold, wet and hungry over the holidays - that is my main reason to be thankful.

    Stay well, my friends.
    We will all be here, when you feel it's time to "come back"

    Huge, almost breath.taking hug from Serbia!
    (have I mentioned we had a few snow-flakes last night?!)

  29. Jessica, I'm so very sorry to learn of your sad news. Holding you in my heart and prayers during this period of re-building. Please know that you have lots of people hoping you can find strength to move forward. Take good care of yourself! Cindy

  30. I'm sorry you had to cancel this year, something you enjoy so much. We all miss you!
    Hugs, Nicole