August 29, 2014

Liven up your Labour Day menu with this fun vintage pasta salad recipe

Labour Day falls early this year - the earliest date it can in fact, September 1st, and as such that means that this weekend is the last before the unofficial end of summer. Soon life will become a joyful hustle and bustle of school books, raking crunchy leaves, baking pumpkin pies, nights that get dark nearly as soon as work as wrapped up, and the switching over of our warm weather wardrobes to our winter ones (or vice versa if you live south of the equator and gearing up to say hello to spring once more). And you know what, a good part of me really and truly looks forward to that, but for now I'm very keen to continue celebrating summer (as I talked in greater detail about in this month's edition of Flickr Favourites) and soak up every last precious, golden sun-kissed moment of it while I still can.

{Instead of viewing Labour Day long weekend as the beginning of the end of summer, I prefer to see it as one last big celebration of all that is great, food very much included, about this fun filled, vibrant, awesome season.Image source.}

This sentiment definitely extends to my menu choices, especially since the Labour Day long weekend has always been one of the most revered on the barbeque and al fresco meal front of the whole season. There's hefty ears of sweet corn, plump ruby red tomatoes, scores of crisp garden greens, early season apples and pears, freshly caught fish, homemade ice cream, and gallons of lemonade still to consume before we don our Thanksgiving finery and tuck into a squarely autumn harvest centered feast once more.

Undoubtedly one of my favourite warm weather eats of all time is pasta salad! I have a dozen or more favourite recipes that I enjoy whipping up as the mood and menu call for, and am certainly not opposed to trying new ones or simply tossing something together on the fly based on what I have in the fridge and pantry at any given moment. It's precisely that kind of spirit which I feel today's vintage pasta salad recipe that originally appeared in a Good Housekeeping magazine ad for Somerset Luncheon Meats channels. It has a little of this, a little of that, and a whole lot of mid-century mealtime fun.

{A tasty hodgepodge of mid-century ingredients comes together in this cheerful, filling 1950s pasta salad recipe, that is sure to find favour with kids and adults alike at your long weekend dinner table. Image source.}

Now, by all means, feel free to forgo or swap out anything that not to your liking. If you're a gluten-free eater like myself and are keen to still use rainbow pasta here, I highly recommend Rizopia's Vegetable Brown Rice Fusilli (which I've found here in Canada at Bulk Barn and online on, which I'm rarely without a bag of in my cupboard for pasta salads just like this. For the mayonnaise, needing to avoid eggs all the time, too, due to the fact that I'm allergic to them, I reach for Reduced Fat Vegenaise (which also happens to be vegan).

Pasta salads are one of the most versatile, crowd pleasing foods around. You can serve them cold, at room temperature or even warm, just depending on what your star ingredients are. They often taste even better the second day after their flavours have been mingling and snuggling up together for a while, and they can be either the main attraction of the meal or simply a lovely, filling side dish.

If you have leftovers, why not stir in some cooked chicken breast, salmon, strips of steak, further vegetables, or cubes of cheese and extend it for a second meal the next day? They can also be stuffed into pitas, wraps, or buns, as well as scooped up onto corn chips, potato chips, melba toast, or wedges of cornbread - all of which children in particular are fond of.

Let your imagination run wild when it comes not only to creating pasta salads, but also with your Labour Day meal choices in general. Take advantage of summer's incredible eats while they're still here, have a second (or third) helping of sweet, juicy watermelon, toss some more burgers on the grill, and relish (food pun intended) the tail end of awesome quarter of the year while it's still going strong.

August 27, 2014

An awesome blogger meetup with fellow BC gal Rachael McDonald

Earlier this summer, a couple weeks apart from each other, I was contacted by two different fellow vintage loving gals from the Lower Mainland (the term for the cities and towns surrounding and including Vancouver). Both were headed up this way for short holidays and were curious if they and I could get together.

Unfortunately my health wasn't up to snuff for a meetup with the first lovely lady, but a bit later in the month, when the second - Rachael McDonald from the wonderful sewing blog Seven Buttons Designs - visited Penticton, were able to get together late in the afternoon one day out at Three Mile beach near Naramata and we had a fabulous time together!

This is only the second opportunity I've ever met a fellow vintage blogger in person (and the first time with one from my own province; last year's meetup with my dear friend Laurie from Edmonton, as you may recall from this post), so I was extremely excited to say the least!

It's was nearly 40C/104F in the glistening, glaring Okanagan sun when we got together, so at first we took things nice and easy by relaxing in the shade on a blanket Rachael had brought and getting to know one another better. We hit it off instantly and before we knew it, the light had mellowed enough for Rachael and I to step in front of Tony's lens for a joint photo shoot (that was also only the second time I'd done so for the blog with another person) and we had a blast – scorchingly hot as it was that day - smiling and posing in different spots on and near the beach.

The images that follow are some of my favourite from that day. You gals and gents see my mug all the time, so most of the photos here focus on the thoroughly beautiful Rachael and her darling (handmade) lobster print skirt instead of yours truly.

My outfit details

Yellow snood: eBay seller tina.g-2008
Red plastic rose stud earrings: Claire's
Vintage red plastic necklace: Gift with purchase years ago
C. 1980s does 1940s/50s floral print dress: eBay
Purple skinny belt: eBay
1930s/40s mint green gloves: Unknown (possibly eBay)
Yellow plastic rose stretch bracelet: Thrifted (Value Village)
Nude seamed nude stockings: eBay
Red faux patent leather pumps: Payless
Vintage Saks Fifth Avenue black patent purse: MK Retro
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red

Photography by Tony Cangiano

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Before the daylight disappeared entirely, Rachael and I decided to shot a 100% impromptu "interview" video. This was, at the time, only the third video I'd made so far and is the first in which I'd ever interviewed another person, so I certainly won't claim to have given Barbara Walters a run for her money! :D

If you're following me on YouTube (and you totally should be!), you may have seen this fun, short little video already, but in case you're not and/or haven't, here it is.

I sincerely appreciate that Rachael got in touch when she was headed up my way and that she was totally game for both a photo shoot and an on-the-fly video interview. Talk about an awesome lady! We really clicked in person (we'd previously known each other primarily from Instagram) and both agreed that we'd definitely let the other person know if we were in their neck of the woods again.

Being the only (that I know) vintage blogger and/or full-time mid-century wearer in the Okanagan, I certainly find myself longing for some fellow old school adoring folks to hang out with sometimes. That might not be possible, but at least I now have a new friend in the Lower Mainland to connect with when I'm down that way and that alone sincerely makes B.C. feel like less of a vintage (community) ghost town.

Thank you very, very much, sweet Rachael for the wonderful get-together invitation, fabulous conversation, and absolutely beautiful memories of that sizzling mid-summer day. I can hardly wait until the next time we connect in person, wherever in the province it may be!

August 25, 2014

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award: Round 2

It's interesting how certain blog awards come and go like the quick, fun flashes in the pan that they are, and yet how others stick around for years, continuing to make their way around the blogosphere, sometimes returning to visit friends they've already said hello to for a second time. That is precisely the case with The Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

 photo very-inspiring-blog-award_zps19a927bf.jpg

I've been seeing this particular accolade pop up on various blogs for a few years now and have already received it before myself (as you may recall from this post last September), however it has very kindly been bestowed on me again (at least) twice in recent months, once Janey of Atomic Redhead and once by Inky from On Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax.

I am sincerely touched that both of these lovely-as-all-get-out ladies wanted to pass this award along to me and am delighted to take this opportunity, as the soon-to-be-autumn-again sunrise begins to break across the taupe and sagebrush hued hills of Penticton, to share another handful of interesting little tidbits of information about myself that you might not know already.

♥ Seven more totally random facts about me ♥

1. Though neither myself nor anyone in my family was aware of the term or that such a classification existed at the time, I now know as an adult that I was unequivocally an Orchid Child (a term borrowed and anglicized from the Swedish term Swedish "orkidebarn: to describe a highly sensitive child).

As an adult, I have continued, as most Orchids do, to be a highly sensitive person (both emotionally and to various stimuli, including sounds, scents, touches, and a great many other elements in my environment). At times, possessing the trait of being so immensely sensitive can have its shortcomings and be a cross of sorts to bear, but I also greatly adore how perceptive, intuitive, creative, conscientious, attuned to other peoples' (and animals') emotions, loving, compassionate, and perpetually caring it helps make me and can scarcely imagine being any other (less sensitive) way than how the universe saw fit to make me.

2. Even though a ridiculously large number of foods are (and have been for many years now) completely off limits for me due to various chronic medical conditions (I would conservatively estimate that I'm unable to eat at least 95% of all foods in your average mainstream supermarket), I absolutely, flat out adore going grocery shopping (and cooking), and always have. When I enter a new grocery store that I've never been to be, even if it's just a branch of a chain I'm already very well acquainted with, I love to leisurely wander each aisle and observe everything that particular shop does, and doesn't, stock to tuck away for future reference. And by the same token, I love having the peace of mind that comes from knowing my fridge, freezer and pantry is well stocked after a big shopping trip.

3. Part of me will always feel like I was meant to be born into a well-to-do British family with old money, an aging Land Rover, and more tweed in their closets than in all of the Harris factory. I've been a devoted anglophile my whole life and genuinely sense that this was a path that I would have walked with aplomb, had I been reared in a rambling country manor home environment (alas, my humble Canadian upbringing with a million miles away from such an aristocratic lifestyle, but that doesn't mean I can't daydream about it from time-to-time all the same).

4. I was a natural, very pale blonde as a child to the extent that you'd think my parents were from one of those gorgeous Nordic countries such as Finland or Norway. While they're not, I do have quite a bit of Germany ancestry in my DNA, which likely helps account for my Goldilocks worthy hair colour as a youngster.

Earlier this year (in this post), I shared a childhood photo of myself and received a few comments and emails from folks were surprised to learn that I wasn't born with red hair. Nope, as much as I truly wish I was, I've been a bottle, and in recent years, wig, redhead on and off ever since I was 16 years old.

By the time I hit puberty, my softly flaxen hued hair had morphed into the dullest, most washed out "dishwater" blonde-brown you'd ever seen and as soon my folks would let me, I began dying it. I've always felt most strongly pulled towards being a redhead, so that's typically the colour you'll find atop my head and the one I've long come to feel most like myself while sporting.

5. I don't idolize famous people. I may look up to, revere, and admire them, as well as consider myself a fan of their work, but I've never been, and will never be, the type who goes "Beatlemania" for any celebrity or person, point blank. At the end of the day, fame or no fame, we're all the same in so many ways and it doesn't seem right to be to put anyone on a pedestal or view them as being akin to a god on earth.

6. In recent years, bar none, the most frequent type of jewelry that I've purchased has been brooches. I love them something fierce and delight in having just the right one to partner with any outfit I may dream up. My collection has really grown in leaps in bounds since 2012 onward in particular and now, between genuine vintage and vintage appropriate pieces, totals more than 100 brooches and counting! I can only guess what that number will be in another five or ten years from now (I'll have to report back as much in 2024).

7. One of of mine and Tony's biggest long term goals is be in a financial position to purchase an RV and use it to travel extensively across North America. Beyond the sheer appeal of this unto itself (we're both massive travel lovers), this mode of transportation (we theorize, I haven't tried traveling in one yet as an adult) will be easier on my health than many others and potentially allow us to get in longer trips to more places then a car alone currently can. I really like to believe this will happen for us down the road (figuratively and literally speaking!), so who knows, one day you might just see us pop up in your town! :)

{To learn more a specific image, please click on it to be taken to its respective source.}

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As its name implies this particular blog award is intended to be passed along to individuals and their blogs who inspire you in some capacity time and time again. As this describes every last one of the blogs I follow (I likely wouldn't be following them in the first place if they didn't!), it's no easy task to whittle my selection of recipients down to just ten.

That is typically one of the instructions/rules for this particular blog award however, so after much deliberation, I'm pleased as much to share The Very Inspiring Blogger Award with the ten following bloggers and their awesome sites.

If your own name isn't listed here, please, by all means, feel free to deem yourself "awarded", too, and play along, as I'm sure your site is delightfully inspiring as well.

1. Abigail from Sweeter Gets the Journey

2. Ashesela from Art Evolve

3. Beate from Bahnwaerterhaeuschen

4. Bex from Submissive Fem

5. Corilynn from Poodles and Pin Curls

6. Heather from Dancing In My PJs

7. Helen Mae from Lovebirds Vintage

8. Kate from Retro Rover

9. Marija from Purple Pinky Honey

10. Philippa from Gloria & Me

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Should blog awards not exactly be your favourite cup of tea (or if you've already received this one before and have no desire to post a "round two" of your own), fear not, you're under zero obligation to play along. These kinds of posts are intended to be nothing but lighthearted fun, and should they not feel that way to you, by all means bow out of taking part in this one. I adore blog awards, but fully understand that not everyone (by any means) does.

If though, you would like to take part, then all you have to is whip up a post of your own about receiving The Very Inspiring Blogger Award in which you link back to this post, share seven random facts about yourself, and bestow the award on ten folks whose sites you find to be a continual source of inspiration.

It was a blast to put together a second edition post for this particular award, and I want to wholeheartedly thank both Janey and Inky for thinking of, and sharing this award with me.

As I suspect The Very Inspiring Blogger Award will be one that, thanks in no small part to its name and the concept behind it, remains in play for many years more to come still, who knows, there might even be a third edition of here one day!

*PS* Want to know even more random facts about moi? On top my previous Very Inspiring Blogger award post, here are four other similar entries that I've shared here over the years:

-A scrap of honesty

-How many of these 99 things have you done?

-Receiving and passing along the Versatile Blog Award

-Seven Interesting Things About me