October 25, 2014

5 things about Halloween that make me disproportionately happy

This past summer, my dear online friend - and fellow vintage blogger - Lindsay, from the wonderful site Ms. Lindsay Lane - shared an entry called 5 Things That Make Me Disproportionately Happy This Week. As someone who is a huge fan of happiness and making a conscious effort to take stock of the things in life that bring us joy, this post spoke deeply to me and I knew instantly that I wanted to write one (or more) of my own along the same vein.

I had a lot of posts in the works at the time, so I tucked the idea away for a rainy day, and as it has been pouring kitties and puppies (speaking of which, if I a fabulously cute vintage Vera novelty print scarf in shop right now with that very expression at the heart of its theme) for much of the past week, now seemed like an ideal time.

If you've been following my blog for very long, then chances are you know that I am wildly, head-over-heals, completely in love with Halloween. I have been for as far back as I have memories and know that I absolutely always will. It's my very favourite holiday and second favourite day of the year, trumped only by my wedding anniversary (which, intentionally, falls in the same month).

There is a certain sort of giddy glee that fills my heart come autumn that is unlike any other I've ever experienced. I start decorating in September, baking festive treats come October, watch my favourite spooky (and frighteningly cute) movies and TV shows weeks in advance, throw parties and/or family shindigs that celebrate All Hallows Eve, and usually (this year has been a rare exception for me on that front) have my costume picked out months in advance.

If it was up to me, I could happily leave my October holiday decor out all year round, but perhaps - as I was saying here just the other day - a fair bit of its magic lies in the fact that decking the halls and oneself for Halloween only happens once a year.

There's no shortage of things about Halloween that bring me bliss, but today on this slate grey, heavily windy autumn morn, a mere six days before the big night arrives, I thought it would be great to follow Lindsay's post theme lead and share an entry about five things in particular about Halloween that always, without fail, make me disproportionately happy.

It's fun without a worry!

{Unlike most of the big holidays, Halloween doesn't usually come with the need to cook an epic meal, have a house full of out-of-town guests, spend lavishly on gifts, worry about your decor looking like it's worthy of a spread in Better Homes and Gardens, or having some of the other stresses and pressures that go along with, say, Christmas or Easter. Sure, you can get just as swept up in Halloween and some certainly do, but for many - myself included - it's a massively welcome break from the formality and work of many holidays and a time to kick back, go to town on sweet treats, decorate how I please, don a costume, and let my inner child out for a night of good, old-fashioned spooky fun!}

Listening to campy mid-century Halloween songs

{One of the sharpest Halloween memories from my childhood involves getting picked up from school, dressed to the nines in my costume after a day of celebratory classroom fun, the thrill of the evening's events ahead of me, and hearing The Monster Mash and Purple People Eater on the radio as we drove home, the crisp, beautiful end-of-October golden light filling the car and shimmering on the tumbling leaves that whipped up on the road as we sped along. My folks always played all of the classic Halloween songs at home for us, too, be they campy, scary or just plain fun! These included those two mid-century greats mentioned above the Ghostbusters theme song, Thriller, Witchy Woman, Runnin' With the Devil, (Don't Fear) The Reaper, and numerous other hair raisingly awesome Halloween tunes that I still keep in heavy rotation each October to this very day.

Watching (and re-watching) It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

{While there is no shortage of festive TV shows and movies that I absolutely MUST watch without fail each October, the two that are the very nearest and dearest to my heart are Disney's 1990s classic, Hocus Pocus staring Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker, and the 1966 gem that is the animated TV special, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. I've seen far more times than I have years to my name and pretty much know it verbatim at this point, which just makes me adore it all the more. After all, who amongst us won't always secretly hope that the Great Pumpkin really did show up for Linus the very next year - or that we'd see him ourselves if we spent the eerie evening in a pumpkin patch?}

Going out trick-o-treating

{Though it's been 14 years now since I last donned a costume and went door-to-door in the name of gathering a pillow case full of candy, this beloved annual tradition still remains one of my very favourite elements of Halloween. I love to say, kiddingly of course, that between my young sounding voice and short stature (barely 5'2”), I could easily dress up and prance around the neighborhood in the name of mini chocolate bars and lollipops, if so desired. It is desired, I won't lie, but I haven't to date and will probably hold off there - tempting as it is - until I have wee ones of my own or nieces/nephews to take out for sweets on All Hallows Eve. Until then, I'll derive just as much joy from handing out candy, while in costume, to all the little ones that come to our festively decorated door each October 31st. }

The spooky, electric feeling in, and unmistakable scent of, the air

{There should be a specific word just for the way the air seems to be alive with...the dead?...well, at least a mixture of fun and fear, frivolity and fabulousness come Halloween night. Objectively, it's a blend of chilly mid-autumn temperatures, the scent of countless thousands of fallen leaves, usually a bit of earthy dampness, the smell of candles burning in jack-o-lanterns near and far, and, I swear, just a hint of sugary caramel. It's magical, it's unmistakable of a kind, and it will always be one of the elements of this hauntingly marvelous day that makes me over-the-harvest-moon happy about the very last day of October.}

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

This is but a mere drop in the bucket (or would that be "in the cauldron") of things that relating to Halloween that make me off-the-charts happy, and it was tricky (trick-or-treaty?) to stop here. Perhaps this will have to be a post I repeat in future autumns to come as well!

With these last few days ticking away, my happiness and excitement levels are reaching their zenith. Soon, in just six more sleeps, I'll be able to slip into my costume, celebrate with Tony and my folks, hand out candy, re-watch some of my favourite festive flicks, and revel in the fun fright night activities and merriment that make Halloween the sensationally awesome day that it is!

On the one hand, I can hardly wait, and on the other, I want to savour and enjoy each of these last few days as much as I possibly can! Tell me, my dear boos and ghouls, what are some things about Halloween (or if you don't observe/celebrate it, mid-autumn in general) that likewise make you as exuberantly happy as a ghost at a buy one, get one free creaky chain sale? :)

October 23, 2014

Halloween 2014 edition of Flickr Favourites

{Goblin on the moon ~ Wyld_Hare}

{1954 Halloween Fluffy Frosting Ad ~ Neato Coolville}

{Vintage Halloween Ephemera ~ Suzee Que}

{Dracula ~ X-ray Delta One}

{Wrigley's Spearmint Gum Halloween Ad ~ Neato Coolville}

{Candle ~ Flood G.}

{Redbook cover Oct 1933, Bobbing for Apples ~ Genibee}

{Vintage Halloween Witch ~ Suzee Que}

{Happy Halloween ~ Carlin}

{Witches, Goblins and Ghosts ~ Neato Coolville}

{All images above are from Flickr. To learn more about a specific image, please click on its title to be taken to its respective Flickr page.} 

Boo!!! Did I scare you? I hope not, because I've always been more of a fan of the cute and charming side of Halloween than the nightmare inducing horror filled one. That isn't to say I don't enjoy a bit of a startle under the right circumstances (say like a haunted house), but overall, I'm more apt to carve a smiling face on my jack-o-lantern than a grimacing, frightening one.

If, like me, you're a massive fan of all things Halloween, you're probably on the edge of your (rickety antique) seat for next Friday! At less than a week away now, there's so much to see and do and enjoy before the big day gets here. Much like as with Christmas, Halloween has never, and will never just be a one day event for me. Yes, technically, the big day is the 31st, but prior to that I genuinely love the anticipation, the planning, the sweet treats (candy apples! caramel corn! pumpkin pie!), and the excited thrill of anticipation that fills the ever chillier autumn air.

I wait for these last few beautiful, exciting days of fall each year in a way that I can honestly say, as much as I love certain other holidays and special events, any other. They make me feel like a child again, bursting with wide-eyed wonder, a shiver running up my spine with each creak in the floor boards, every ghost story told, and the each little sound that went bump in the night.

There is a magical merriment to this time of the year, regardless of if you observe Halloween on not. Fall is at its zenith, decked out in a regal gown as rich as any brocade ever woven, of jewel toned leaves and fields so golden they rival the sun. The nights are getting shorter, but the days haven't been reduced to mere hours quite yet. The world smells of damp earth and apple cider, straw and root vegetables. We can still feel warmth in the light, but there's that distinct nip of winter's impending arrival in the air as well and the two swirl about like miniature candy bar wrappers waltzing merrily in the air.

If I had the incredible power to control the seasons, this period would be at least a couple of months, instead of a few brief weeks, if we're lucky, long. And yet, just as quickly as I write that, I can't help but wonder, isn't part of the inherent appeal, charm, and deeply embed beauty of mid-autumn the fact that it is, like sighting a ghostly apparition, such a fleeting moment?

It might just be, you know, and that's the all the more reason to savour it, like you would your favourite Halloween treat, while it's here. Soon, all too soon, we'll be up to our eyeballs and earlobes in sweaters, down parkas, and Christmas decorations once again. Let's take a moment today, and every day for the next little while, to stop and smell the pumpkins, so to speak, while they're still here and give thanks for the all of the fun, fancifulness, and truly wonderful elements that make the Halloween season one that is so appealingly unlike any other.

October 21, 2014

Tony's Jord Watch Review and Giveaway

Today, as I continue to slog my way through the flu and could wholeheartedly use a guest post to keep things hopping on the blogging front, I'm elated to bring you a Chronically Vintage first in the form of an awesome product review written and photographed by my darling husband, Tony. Most of you know of Tony through what I’ve said about him in my posts and the stunning images he takes of me for my vintage outfit posts here, but until now, you hadn't gotten a chance to experience his own style of blog writing firsthand.

Earlier this year I was contacted by popular wooden watch company Jord in regards to the possibility of doing a product review. As almost all wristwatches in general include metal, which often houses nickel, I knew that properly wearing and in turn reviewing one of these 
myself wouldn't be a possibility (don't let the words "stainless steel" fool you into thinking something metal, such as a watch back, is nickel-free; many steels, stainless and otherwise, contain some nickel). 

My mind, however, instantly turned to Tony, who has an excellent eye for men's accessories and is a keen watch wearer, so I proposed the idea to the company of having Tony pen just such a post and they were totally on board with that plan. 

Below you’ll find Tony's engaging, informative Jord watch review, followed by giveaway details so that you can enter to win a Jord wooden watch for yourself – or, if you prefer, to give a wonderful gift to a special chap in your own life.

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Apple has recently announced their hugely anticipated smartwatch. They are not alone in this field however. It seems as though all of a sudden, the whole gadget industry is reevaluating their stance on wristwear. For almost two decades mobile phones (and more recently smartphones) have engaged in an unintentional war against wristwatches. After all who needs a watch when you can just take a quick glance at your phone?

Perhaps it's the desire to have a computer on our wrist (an idea first implemented decades ago, to the delight of many geeks, by Casio). Or maybe we've come to the realization that looking at one’s wrist is a much quicker process than trying to fish increasingly larger devices from our pockets (or purses for most ladies). The fact is, the watch is back.

Fear not, I'm won’t keep on talking about smartwatches on a blog committed to celebrating the past. Even though I own one (namely a Pebble) and like it well enough. Instead I’ll discuss the type of watch that doesn’t require daily (or weekly) recharges. The kind of watch that will not notify you of text messages and emails, interrupting your dinner or conversation. No, I’m here to chat about a good old fashioned, traditional wristwatch, worn as for the sake of appearance and function, and for the simple purpose of telling time.

In this post, I'm going to be reviewing a Jord Sully watch in Cherry wood, which I received for free from the company so that I could give you my honest opinion, and by extension comment on their whole series of wood watches. I’ll start with a negative comment, the only one I managed to muster, so as to get it out our way. Wood, however stabilized, it's not the type of material that you take swimming. Jord watches are splash proof, but you shouldn’t submerge them. That's a limitation, but one I can personally live with.

Now, for the abundant amount of positives, let's start with its looks and price point. The watch I selected sells for an affordable $139 US, and their range currently goes from $129 to $295 US, depending on which model you choose. In the world of modern wristwatches, these are very reasonable prices.

When I first received the watch and opened the elegant box (pictured below), I was surprised by how visually stunning it was compared to the online pictures. There is something about the appearance of wood that can’t quite be aptly captured with a still picture. The nature of the material also guarantees that each watch is unique. No two watches are going to be exactly the same, much like human DNA or fingerprints.

Wood items can be heavy at at times, but not these stylish Jord timepieces. I was genuinely surprised by the appealingly lightweight nature of this watch, as I had somehow expected a much heavier watch. Yet, despite the fairly large case width (i.e., 49mm which is almost two inches) the watch only weighs 59 grams (a couple of ounces for the imperially inclined). This makes it very comfortable to wear, so much so that I forgot at times I had it on. Compared to most of the other watches I have, it’s noticeably lighter. For example, my (metal) Guess watch with a significantly smaller case width sits at 133 grams, more than double the Jord weight.

The case "glass" is scratch resistant, the clasp is secure and easy to operate, and the more than respectable movement (i.e., a Citizen Miyota Quartz) ensures that it will keep time as expected.

Being made with a selection of natural, sustainable woods from all over the world, Jord watches are eco-friendly and can be seen as a fashion statement along the same lines (the US-based company is aptly named, given that in Norse mythology, Jord is Thor’s mother and the personification of the Earth).

In short, it's an eco-friendly, reliable, beautiful timepiece, with a classic, old school charm to it. Its unusual, and very attractive, looks will definitely grab people's attention wherever you go.

If my review has piqued your interest in wooden watches, the great news is that Jord is offering a giveaway for a $139.00 store credit plus free shipping to one lucky Chronically Vintage reader. I'll let Jess explain the particulars of how to participate below. In addition, you can also save on the Jord’s regular prices by using the coupon code 6503901 (valid for the first 25 uses before December 21, 2014), which will get you 5% off on any purchase.

I invite you to join the giveaway and take advantage of the discount, as a Jord watch would definitely make for a great gift for the men in your life, and with the recently launched ladies series, also an excellent and very stylish jewelry piece for yourself (my apologies to male readers, but the big assumption here is that most CV readers are beautiful vintage wearing ladies).

All photography in this post by Tony Cangiano

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Giveaway details:

Jord has very kindly teamed up with Chronically Vintage to offer one lucky giveaway participant the chance to win a Jord watch of their choice by way of a store credit of $139.00 US plus free shipping on the watch that they select.

This contest is open to readers world wide and will run until 11:59 PST on Tuesday October 28, 2014. The winner will be selected using a random number generator and announced on Facebook and/or Twitter, and contacted by email or Facebook private message, if such contact information is publicly available.

There are five ways to enter this Jord store credit giveaway, and you're welcome to take part in as many of them as you would like. Please be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry method that you do, so as to increase your odds of winning.

1. Leave a comment on this post letting us know what your favourite Jord wooden watch is and how you might either style it yourself or who you'd give it to as a gift.

2. Follow Jord on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway, including a link to Jord's Twitter account and this Chronically Vintage post.

3. Like Jord on Facebook and post about this giveaway on your own account, with a link to this post.

4. Follow, or be an existing follower of Chronically Vintage on Bloglovin’.

5. Follow, or be an existing follower of Chronically Vintage on Instagram.

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A huge thanks to Jord for partnering with Tony and I for this fun product review and wood watch store credit giveaway, as well as to my endlessly sweet husband for his inaugural Chronically Vintage post. If you'd like to see future guest posts from Tony on various subjects, please don't hesitate to let us know in your comments below.

Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway - be sure to stay turned next week on Facebook and Twitter to see who won!

Tony & Jessica