White Elephant Sale Part 2: Interview with Shauna Lee Casey

(Shauna Lee at our photo shoot in Tilden Park last summer.)

Just to convince you that I'm not alone in my White Elephant Sale (WES) love, intrigue, and borderline obsession, I've conducted an interview with my BFF who also happens to be a WES enthusiast. (Shocking, I know.) Dear blog friends, meet my dearest oldest friend, Shauna Lee Casey, of the Santa Cruz trio The Lowly. Aside from braiding my hair and teaching me to draw dogs with puffy cheeks and sharing her ice cream for the better part of 25 years, Shauna is also a musician, environmental educator, naturalist, and eco-chic type of modern gal. Lastly, Shauna is a regular part of the annual post-WES cookout, show-n-tell, and gathering of friends in Oakland. So, I bring her to you to share her WES perspective.

Hello my dear friend. Thanks for playing along. So, tell me, do you have the WES marked on your calendar at home? Work? Daily planner?

Yup. And I buzzed the date into my dog's coat.

What's your favorite treasure from year's past? Do you still own it?

Last year I got a cerulean blue leather ottoman with brass rivets. It's sitting in my living room in front of the plush red arm chair, also from the WES.

The first time you attended the epic event was it love-at-first-site or give-me-some-air?

It was, "Oh god. Am I ready for this? I mean, it's my first time and all. How do I KNOW I'm ready?" Like other things in life, my first time wasn't my best. I definitely needed some air. But I muddled through and came out with ball jars (for canning), pie tins, and an old German illustration of some kind of shore bird. Staples, really.

What's your favorite section? C'mon, be honest! And which section do you avoid?

Really it depends on what's on my wish list for the year. But generally I'm all about the kitchen and gardening sections and I love love love the novelty accessory section (with all the vintage hats, hankies, and old silver hand mirrors). I've never been into the sporting goods or clothing sections. The bric-a-brac section just totally scares me, but I always feel like there's gotta be a hidden gem in there, so I usually take a quick run through. I think there are some die hard bric-a-brac fans out there because that section, like the jewelry counter, is a little like feeding time in the barn yard.

If you could describe the beloved junk in 3 words, what would you say?

Recycling timeless ephemera.

If you had to make a bumper sticker for the WES what would it be?

I'm REALLY bad at catchy sayings... I dunno... WES for PRES?

As an eco-chic naturalist, gardener, and museum educator are you looking for anything specific? (Say, stuffed birds, botanical prints, or shark's teeth?)

Did you know that sharks have multiple rows of teeth, one row behind the other, etc. and that they are constantly growing new ones to replace the old, which fall out a lot due to the fact that they use their teeth for catching, crushing, and chewing up their prey?

Truth be told, I'm a consumer like the rest of us. But haven't we all noticed, at some point or another, how they just don't seem to make ____ (fill in the blank) like they used to? The old ones were prettier, they worked better, they weren't made of plastic! Or maybe you've thought about this a little and decided you'd like to reduce your demand for consumer goods by purchasing things secondhand. (When appropriate, used underwear is gross.) If so, the WES is the place for you!

Knowing the WES is an epic event, how do you train/ prepare/ condition?

Well, for 5 days straight in the beginning of January, I purged my home of broken, useless, and uninspiring things. Then I started my wish list. But I don't go out and buy the things on the list, I wait for WES! Do you have any idea how much bigger my carbon footprint would be if I went out and bought all this stuff firsthand? Not to mention how much more money I'd spend?!?

If I didn't love the WES just as much as you do, would I still be your BFF after 25 years of friendship or would this be the difference that parted our ways?

If you didn't like the White Elephant Sale I would think you got hit over the head with a coconut!


  1. god...this sounds like so much fun!
    and a fun interview.

  2. you two are hilarious.

  3. such a fun exchange, heehee


    ... and please avoid falling coconuts so that you can enjoy WES this year! lol


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.