July 24, 2014

Chatting about my reading habits: a delightful Q&A for booklovers everywhere

From the very earliest age, before I could even read myself, I have been an immensely passionate bookworm. Prior to developing the ability to decipher the printed word myself, I would soak up every story read to me with great interest and intensity, and treasured trips to the local book store in the town of Abbotsford where we lived at the time, where my parents would let me select a new children's title of my own to bring home and add with great love to the wee bookshelf in my pink bedroom.

Throughout my youth, no other destination brought me as much joy, nor saw me haunt it as frequently, as the public library. No matter how many times I visited, I always felt a fresh jolt of excitement at the thought of going and would return home with with my backpack bulging with a diverse selection of new reads.

Everything from the Babysitters Club series to titles in the excellent Eye Witness series to works by classic authors like Dickens and Emily Bronte (I think I was seven or eight when I read Wuthering Heights for the first time) were a part of my early reading repertoire, which would only continue to branch out in even more diverse directions as time went on.

My parents and grandparents encouraged and fostered my love of reading, as did my early childhood teachers and even some of my neighbours, and I will forever be grateful to all of them for doing so. In helping me not only become a voracious and devoted reader, but the kind of person who finds an immeasurable amount of joy in books, they enriched, enhanced, and at times even shaped my life in a powerful, and very important way (as well helping make books a deeply important catalyst and continual source of inspiration for my own writing, very much including blogging).

To this day, I'm never without at least one book on the go, still visit the library often (rather charmingly, it's the exact same one I haunted frequently as a child after my family moved to Penticton shortly before my ninth birthday), get giddy at the thought of visiting a bookstore (new or used), and have a beloved collection of books on a wildly diverse array of topics.

I also happened to, much to my immense delight, marry a fellow bookworm and together in 2010 we founded and have since run a fabulous free new book notification service website called Any New Books (which allows users to sign up to receive weekly emails featuring a hand picked selection of new book titles that have been released in a broad spectrum of topics, opting for the categories that most appeal to them; it is a truly stellar way to stay abreast of the latest releases that are relevant to your interests).

Adoring books so very, very much, I was flat out delighted to see a super fun blog post Q&A surface a few months ago (though it may very well predate that point, that's just when I caught wind of it first) on some of the great sites I follow, such as Purple Pinky Honey, that shines the spotlight on one's literary habits.

I knew the first moment I caught wind of this post idea, I'd be whipping up one of my own at some point and today, on this immensely lovely summer morning, before the hustle and bustle of the day starts and the temperature soars rapidly, I'd take some highly enjoyable time to do just that.

Do you snack while you read? If so, what is your favourite reading snack?

Very, very rarely as I'm not a snacker in general. If I am going to nosh while flipping pages though, I usually opt for something that's unlikely to risk damaging the book in any way if dirty finger prints got on the pages or there was a spill. Say, an apple, baked potato chips, or a few squares of gourmet dark chocolate.

What is your favourite drink while reading?

Much as with eating, I don't usually feel compelled to drink when I read, and I'm afraid my answer is woefully dull, when I do: water (it's the only beverage I drink, no joke, 99% of the time because so many others are challenging for me for medical reasons).

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

It doesn't horrify me, but it's not something I've ever done, save for textbooks or workbooks in school when we were explicitly instructed to do as much, and doubt I'll ever do as I really do like keep my books in the best shape possible.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

Bookmarks, always. My very first business ever, when I was just ten years old, was actually going door-to-door with my two younger siblings and selling handmade bookmarks that we'd made to our neighbours and other homes in the general vicinity of ours. As such, I've always had a special spot in my heart for bookmarks of all sorts.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?

From my teen years onward, I've leaned heavily in the direction of non-fiction, with titles in this vast category making up the bulk of my reading. That said, I'll always have an immense fondness for many of the classic writers (and an especially great love for nineteenth and early twentieth century Russian literature), whose work - along with a handful of modern fiction authors - I adore pouring over throughout a given year.

Are you the kind of person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?

I can stop anywhere in a chapter, no problem, but do generally like to finish the end of the page that I'm on, if at all possible.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?

Goodness, no! I don't have a fiery temper in the slightest and would never fathom potentially hurting a book by tossing it across the room (even if I thought it was the worst or most irksome book I'd ever read).

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

If at all possible, yes. This is something I've adored doing since I first learned to read and greatly appreciate how much it has helped expand my vocabulary. If I can't look up a word in the moment, then I try to jot it down on paper, the computer, or the notepad app in my phone and make sure to research it later.

What are you currently reading?

I'm actually in the midst of my annual summertime read reread of Kerouac's classic On the Road, which I've read almost every summer since I was nine years old (I point I discussed in this 2011 post about how I'm distantly related to Jack Kerouac). There's just something about the sticky, sweltering, marvelous dog days of summer that make me yearn for a similar cross country adventure of my own and that also seem so tremendously well suited to Kerouac's gritty, earnest, fantastic style of beat generation writing.

What is the last book you bought?

Baby, Let's Play House: Elvis Presley and the Women Who Loved Him by Alanna Nash. I haven't stared reading it yet, but the moment I've finished rereading On the Road and have wrapped up a couple of library books I have on the go, it will have its turn on my trusty nightstand right away.

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?

Definitely! I can easily read multiple books at once (well, in the same time span - not necessarily, literally, simultaneously :) ) and most often do just that.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?

I've always been a late night reader in particular, but welcome the chance to read any time of the day. Ideally I like a cozy corner (be it a bed, couch or armchair), adequate light, and silence (I've never been the type of person who likes to listen to music or have the TV on while I'm reading - ditto for if I'm writing).

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?

Reading primarily non-fiction, I'm not usually presented with my series. As a youngster, when I read a larger volume of fiction, I enjoyed stand-alones and series equally, reading scores of each.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?

Many! Though my suggestions really depend on the genre at hand. Some that I will forever recommend when it comes to fiction are Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, and Fitzgerald.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author's last name, etc.)

Much like most libraries, I organize by books by category, further breaking them down by subcategory, if applicable (I also keep my vintage books in area of my home library and my modern ones in another).

{To learn more about any of the image used throughout this post, please click on a photo or illustration to be taken to its respective source.}

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If you're a fellow bibliophile, then this charming Q&A is certainly for you as well. I loved setting aside a slice of time today to really think about my reading habits, passions and interests, and highly recommend doing so yourself via this post (or simply in your own head or care of another kind of post pertaining to reading) anytime your heart desires.

After talking about books so much, in fact, I think I might just have to hightail it down to the beach today, find a spot of shade, and curl up on the gloriously warm sand with one of the many great reads that are waiting for me to crack open their spine for the first time and loose myself for a few marvelous, magical hours in their printed word, wisdom and literary loveliness.

Happy summer reading, everyone - I hope this magnificent season is giving you plenty of time to kick off your heels and cozy up with a terrific book as well.

July 22, 2014

Every now and then...

Outfit details

Black felt beret: eBay 
Gun metal and clear rhinestone bow earrings: Payless
Sterling Silver Hearts Name Necklace: Onecklace
Red button front shirt: Smart Set
Black fitted vest: Reitmans
1940s style grey swing trousers: Heyday
Plastic angle bracelets: Assorted sources
Light pink cross body faux leather bag: eBay
Red socks: Walmart
1940s style black oxford shoes: Thrifted (Salvation Army)
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red

Photography by Tony Cangiano

As a lifelong self-professed girly-girl who (outside of the dog park and more rugged pursuits in the wilds of nature) rarely wears pants, in no small part because most styles look as disastrous on me as a train wreck along side a forest fire with a swarm of killer bees rushing out of it, it's certainly not everyday that my style veers in a distinctly menswear inspired direction.
Yet, much like my uber stylish friend Sara of Lilies and Remains recently talked about, I've suddenly been feeling drawn towards trousers a lot more in the last few weeks. Odd, perhaps, given that they don't suit the incredibly warm (case in point, we were sitting at a roasty toasty 42C a few days ago) weather here as of late, but yet also understandable because pants often have a casual air to them that suits the hot-as-an-over weather that comes part and parcel with the dog days of summer so strikingly well.
Over the years I've purchased my fair share of pants, including offerings sourced online from a few different repro and/or rockabilly brands. Most, despite buying the so-called right size, didn't end up doing my short, curvy figure the slightest hint of a favour and were either returned, sold, or given away. Though they're a touch too big for me (I am forever running into pants either being just a little too big or too small), I couldn't bring myself do part with some Heyday trousers I bought about 2.5 years ago, as I am quite fond of them.
One day I may splurge and bring them to a seamstress to have the waist taken in a touch and the hems increased (I'm barely 5'2" and without pining these in the back, the cuffs on them drag on the ground for me even when worn with heels), but for now, I just use a handy-dandy safety pin to help prevent unwanted gaping at the back and they're good to go.
The sizing issues pertain to my body shape and aren't a reflection on Heyday in the slightest. I sometimes wonder, if I ordered pants from them again, would I go down a size? Assuming my weight was about the same, I really don't know. They'd be perfect in the waist in all likelihood, but would they then be too tight for this style of trouser in the thighs or otherwise not look quite right? It's impossible to say for sure without trying a smaller size on, so I might just purchase the same size again but factor a trip to the seamstress into my budget if I did. Time will tell!

The three pairs of 1940s style swing trousers (grey, seen here, dark green, and a sandy beige hue) that I have from them are, along with my beloved Freddies jeans, my only vintage reproduction pants these days, so when the mood for trousers does strike, they're where I turn (and would you believe it, in more than five years of blogging, this is the first time I've worn trousers, not denim jeans or capris, on camera? It's true!).
I woke up one day recently in a distinctly menswear inspired state of mind. Perhaps it was the heat, maybe I just wanted a change of pace, or it could have had to do with the colour palette that I wanted to create to showcase this beautiful custom ordered sterling silver Onecklace that I recently received as a review gift from the company.
I get my fair share of emails from jewelry companies eager to partner with Chronically Vintage, however due to my nickel allergy, common in so many of the metals used by said companies, I almost always have to turn them down on the product review front, even if I adore their offerings. Not so, I'm delighted to say, with Onecklace, who offer many customizable monogram, name, initial, love, and mother necklace is sterling silver, 14K gold, 24K gold, and 14K white gold.
I knew instantly that I wanted a sterling silver name necklace, but that instead of opting for my first name, I thought it would be really cool to get the word "vintage" instead. I don vintage clothing all the time, but never before this beautiful necklace had I worn the actual word.
Onecklace was a sincere pleasure to work with. My ordered arrived all the way from Israel quite quickly, was excellently packaged, complete with a branded box and gift bag, and was just as I'd placed it. Though I do wish there was a wee bit more space between the first two letters (they end up looking a bit like a "W" to me), I truly have only the utmost of positive things to say about this necklace, very much including the fact that I can safely wear it without it troubling my sensitive skin.
If I was going to purchase the Sterling Silver Hearts Name Necklace, which is the style I opted for, it would cost $39.95, which I think is very reasonable price for a custom order piece like this. In fact, all of Onecklace's offerings - which have expanded further since I selected my review necklace - are well priced and attractive, plus many of them use timeless fonts that are a cinch to weave into vintage, repro, or vintage inspired ensembles such as the one I'm wearing in this photos.
I very much appreciate this beautiful necklace, which I've been sporting often since it arrived (it's light as a feather and goes with countless outfits), and also that Onecklace kindly provided my readers with a discount coupon code. If you'd like to purchase from Onecklace yourself, please use the coupon code FASHION at checkout to save 10% on all orders.
The glistening, almost bronze hued sun was beginning to set on the recent evening when Tony and I grabbed these quick photos in downtown Penticton (on Front Street to be exact), and as a result, we had to up the ISO quite a bit. I like the subtle grittiness that doing so added to these images, it completes this outfit well, don’t you think? As I was standing there, I suddenly wished I had a vintage newspaper or notebook to hold, as this borrowed from the boys look struck me as something a hard hitting female journalist might have sported back in the day.
I may not wear pants that often, and distinctly menswear inspired looks even less so, but that doesn't mean I don't love both, because I certainly do. Sometimes, as I'm particularly keen on saying, it's great to shake up your usual routine and step, in my case in Heyday trouser swaddled legs, out of your fashion comfort zone - which is precisely what I did here.

July 21, 2014

Enter to win a $50.00 gift certificate from The Best Vintage Clothing

One of the web's biggest draws - its scope and sheer magnitude of offerings - can also, at times, be amongst its greatest shortcomings, too, because it means that sometimes sites that deserve to be household names fail to come across the radar of so many people who would love to get to know them better. Thankfully, due to the very social nature of the web, that can remedied - at least to a degree - by collaborations between two or more sites. Today I'm thrilled to shine the spotlight for a second time on one of the largest and most well stocked vintage clothing sites that you may never have heard of before: The Best Vintage Clothing.

Teaming with, no joke, thousands of different vintage clothing, jewelry, accessories, shoe, handbag, menswear, children's clothing, and assorted collectible offerings, this powerhouse of a yesteryear fashion source has been diligently hard at work filling its shelves with so many offerings, I truly think it would be a challenge for any vintage fan, no matter the era(s) you hold nearest and dearest, not to find at least one - if not a hundred - offerings from The Best Vintage Clothing that you aren't head-over-heels in love with.

Earlier this year I shone the spotlight on Twenty great non-eBay or Etsy vintage sellers, a camp which this vintage clothing behemoth was (and is) a part of, and which I hope, along with last November's previous giveaway post, helped to introduce this awesome site to more of my readers.

If you're just learning about The Best Vintage Clothing or haven't paid them a visit in a while now, you're in luck!!! Their site continues to expand and get better and better - fittingly, one might say given their name - with each passing month. Boasting everything from budget friendly finds well under a $100 (a hugely appealing draw for vintage fashionista's, like me, who always keep a close eye on their purse strings) to high-end designer brands and uxorious fine jewelry, there's something for everyone at The Best Vintage Clothing, including plenty of pieces that fall squarely between the two camps. Plus, they have an engaging blog that focuses on vintage fashion, which is well worth checking out, too.

I could talk about The Best Vintage Clothing's offerings until the cows came home, but seeing really is believing, so it might just be wisest to invite you to pop on over to their vast and wonderful site for a look at the seemingly endless array of great vintage listings their yourself! There you'll discover piece such as the four highlightsed below, and oodles of other great vintage finds that are sure to provide some serious wishlist fodder and shopping spree material alike!

{From top left to bottom right: 1940s nubby orange rayon two-piece skirt and top set, Green fruit salad and blue rhinestone 1950s clip-on earrings, 1940s hand painted wooden novelty hourse brooch, 1950s hot pink and orange cocktail dress and matching hat set}

If you'd like to cross at least one of your newly coveted vintage treasures off your list, you may just be in luck, as I'm pleased as punch to say that The Best Vintage Clothing has very kindly offered one lucky Chronically Vintage reader the chance to win a $50.00 gift certificate which can be used towards the purchase of any item you like for their expansive inventory. Can you say "sweet" or what!!!

How to enter

There are ten possible ways for you to enter this giveaway, the more of them that you do, the greater your odds of winning will be. Please make sure to leave a separate comment specifying each of the ways in which you entered this giveaway, so as to increase your odds of winning.

1. Swing by The Best Vintage Clothing site to check out their terrific offerings, then come back here and tell me about an item that you might like to put the $50.00 gift certificate towards if you win.

2. Post about this giveaway in on your own blog, including a link to The Best Vintage Clothing, as well as one to this post, then leave a comment here with a link to your post.

3. Like The Best Vintage Clothing on Twitter.

4. Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter, including a link back to this post in your tweet.

5. Like The Best Vintage Clothing on Facebook.

6. Post about this giveaway on Facebook, including a link to this Chronically Vintage post.

7. Follow The Best Vintage Clothing on Tumblr.

8. Follow The Best Vintage Clothing on Pinterest.

9. Pin any item you like from The Best Vintage Clothing's site to any Pinterest board of your choosing (limit of one Pinterest entry per person).

10. Sign up for The Best Vintage Clothing's newsletter (scroll down near the bottom of the page to do so). As an added bonus, you'll automatically receive an email with a 20% instant coupon code when you do.

Giveaway details

This giveaway will run from today's date until Monday July 28, 2014 at 11:59 PST, and is open to readers from around the whole world. The winner will be drawn using a random number generator and contacted via email, as well as being announced on Facebook and/or Twitter, shortly thereafter. The winner will receive one $50.00 US gift certificate from The Best Vintage Clothing, which the company will provide them with. Please don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions about this giveaway.

♥ ♥ ♥

Worthy of visiting and shopping from often, The Best Vintage Clothing deserves in my entirely unbiased opinion to be a household name amongst vintage fashion fans the world over (they ship internationally, which is awesome for those like me who are located outside of the US). Few sellers outside of, or even on, Etsy or eBay, have the near department store-like scoop and variety of vintage items for sale that this site does and that alone makes them the kind of resource you'll want to bookmark and visit often.

I sincerely appreciate and want thank The Best Vintage Clothing for teaming up with Chronically Vintage again and for giving one fabulously lucky reader the chance to go on a $50.00 mini shopping spree of their own at what really is one of the best kept secrets on the web!