July 29, 2014

Soooo in love with my new 1950s dress from Better Dresses Vintage




Outfit details

1950s cream lace platter hat: eBay
Plastic dusty peach rose earrings: Handmade by me
Olive green cotton cardigan: Bought at a shop in Scarborough, Ontario that is no longer in business
Vintage gold tone floral brooch: Probably either eBay or thrifted (similar styles of metal brooches available in my Etsy shop)
1950s floral dress: Better Dresses Vintage
1940s/50s mustard yellow ruched gloves: eBay
Faux pearl stretch bracelets: Real Canadian Superstore
1950s corduroy bucket purse: etsy seller Rue 23 Vintage Clothing
Nude seamed nude stockings: eBay
Brown leather wedge sandals: Yard sale find
Lip colour: Clinique Raspberry Glace


Photography by Tony Cangiano
























































It had been quite a while since we last did a shoot in my parents gorgeously verdant backyard, so when I slipped on this breathtaking 1950s floral print dress that I received from one of my fabulous blog sponsors, Better Dresses Vintage (who you may remember from this sponsor spotlight post back in April), I knew that it called for that particular equally lush and lovely backdrop.

I could, unbiased as the day is long, sing Better Dresses Vintage's praise until the cows came home. On BDV's independent online vintage store and their Etsy shop, Bee Dee Vintage, alike, one will find a diverse array of yesteryear fashions that are both very reasonably priced in today's ever-more-expensive vintage market and which shop owner, vintage expert, and all around terrific lady, Liza, personally sees to the care and repair of (her adventures of which on this front she sometimes discusses in her store's engaging blog - a must follow for vintage fans everywhere).

The moment I spied this beautiful 1950s floral frock on Better Dresses Vintage I was solidly hooked. Featuring a thick textured cotton fabric, colour palette that has one foot in summer, the other squarely in autumn, and numerous immensely charming details like the sweetheart necklace (my favourite type of neckline ever!), unique green fabric "v" at the waist, and charmingly pretty bow on the back (see last photo above), this dress didn't just call out my name, it begged at top volume to join my closet.

I had worried that based on the length in the description, it might be too a touch short and I'd need to let some of the (ample) hem down, but ultimately my petite length legs saved me from needing to do so and I can wear it precisely as is. That's a good thing, because it has been my go-to elegant daywear dress this summer, including when we were in Vancouver back in June.

Here I partnered it with ruched gloves, a cream lace 1950s platter hat, and pearl and gold toned (the floral brooch) jewelry, which all help bring its radiantly glamorous side to the foreground. I could however, just as easily forgo all those and wear it with a chunky cardigan and tights, for example, come the nippier days of fall and then its more casual quality would shine through. No matter how understated or ritzy I accessorize it though, this dress is a stunner and one that calls heavily on my all-time favourite colour palette: that of fall.

I'm not ready to wave good-bye to summer quite yet (not by a long shot!), but I don't mind sporting its hues in the weeks leading up to it and this stunning frock from Better Dresses Vintage lets me do just that while still remaining cool as a cucumber during these wickedly warm days of July and August.

Interestingly, and I chalk it up to the shape of the hat here (plus how I’m holding my 50s bucket purse in front of me in one of the photos), there is something about the over all look (and colours) of this ensemble that instantly, as soon as I caught my reflection that day, made me think of Canada's own beloved fictional darling, Anne of Green Gables. I know my bouncy auburn curls do their part there, too, but never have I been struck by that sense of looking like Anne when sporting them before quite as I did with this outfit. This is, for a red blooded Canuck like myself, of course another point in this vintage garment’s favour.

Much as I do Better Dresses Vintage, I love this dress. Love, love, love it!!! It's classy and classic, fun and feminine, sweet and sophisticated, all qualities I strive for with my wardrobe choices and which have ensured that this elegant frock will continue to see oodles of wear from me for many, many more sun-kissed summers to come.

July 26, 2014

Special Christmas in July themed edition of 25 vintage deals under a $100

Hard as it may be to believe, yesterday we hit the five month mark until Christmas Day. Immersed as we are in long, languid afternoons spent at the beach, gallons of sweet tea, and vintage sundresses as far as the eye can see, thoughts of Jolly Old St. Nicholas, visions of sugarplums, and the round-the-clock soundtrack of holiday tunes may just be the furthest thing from our minds, and yet...

Five months is not a terribly long time in the grander scheme of thing. Hop ahead a few more weeks from now and we'll be getting ready for fall, to send the wee ones back to school, for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the last precious drops of summer's fleeting warmth. Beyond that, it's a mere snowball's throw until we're decking the halls, trimming the trees, and baking enough sugar cookies to feed a small army, so really, is it all that preposterous to spend a few minutes focusing on Christmas in July?

I don't think so, and in fact, as a paper crafter (who adores creating homemade holiday cards), this is almost always when my mind starts, at least in part, to begin to push some of those thoughts of picnics, open toe shoes, and beach reads out of my mind and replace them with ones that are decidedly more December themed in nature.

Whether you're in the mood to bust out the White Christmas DVD yet or not, it's always fun, any time of the year, to reflect on Christmas and be reminded of some of the most delightful, iconic, and fashionable elements of this immensely important winter holiday. At the very least, surely doing so can't help but cool us all down a touch and surely that alone is a very, very good thing these sensationally warm days!


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1.Without a doubt on the of the loveliest elements of the holiday season is the act of giving and receiving Christmas cards, but that doesn't mean of course that you can't stock up on some vintage ones of your own to adorn your home with as decor pieces, too. This stellar 1950s unused pop up card would do a marvelous job of that in any room of the house. $10.00 from Vintage Beach Kids.



2. Wonderfully well priced and so festively fabulous, this red 1950s party dress would work a treat for Valentine's Day, too - and the 4th of July, to boot. Fits up to a 34" bust/24" waist. On sale for $30.00 from Coral Vintage.



3. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas with out Kris Kringle, be he intepreted in loving grandfatherly form or a cuter, cuddly character like this charmingly sweet 1940s fabric Santa Claus doll ornament that measures 6 inches tall. $10.00 from What's In Store Vintage.



4. Whether you live in a bachelor apartment or a sprawling mansion, Christmas lights are a season must and few will deliver on the old school loveliness like this string of vintage 1940s Sterling Christmas lights, complete with their original box. $19.50 from Viewridge Vintage.



5. Delicate and oh-so-beautiful, it's hard to believe that this length of vintage Christmas coloured crepe paper garland trim has survived for over seventy years and still looks pristine. It has and does though, and now it can be yours for just $6.00 from Vintage Handmade (who have a stellar selection of vintage and shabby chic craft supplies, may I add).



6. Spritely and sweet, this cute little ceramic Christmas elf looks like's a good chap, not a mischieous pixie and will help keep your poinsettia, Christmas rose, or any other holiday season bloom company from his vintage ceramic planter perch. $16.00 from Queen Bee Vintiques.



7. If you happen to be on the especially slender side and are looking for the perfect Christmas 1950s skirt, this red and green tiny floral print quilted gem is for you. If only this was a touch bigger, it would soooo be mine. Swoon and sigh! :) Fits up to a 24" waist/40" hips. $58.00 from Alex Sandra's.



8. Much like the crepe paper trim in this post, it's rather impressive that this immensely cute trio of 1940s castile teddy bear soaps perched on their cue red toboggan have survived intact for so many decades. $15.00 from Antiques & Curious Goods.



9. Ever since I was a little girl, I've been a fan of Christmas themed literature like this wonderful 1940s edition of The St. Nicholas Anthology, which gathers tales from various authors together in one festive compellation. This listing also comes with another book called the The Dickens Digest and you will get both for $25.00 from Grandma's Green House.



10. Even if you live in one of the warmest climates of the world, you can still bring a much needed dose of sparkly winter snow your way thanks to this beguiling, generously sized vintage rhinestone snowflake brooch that hails from the 1940s or 50s and would sensational as part of a Christmas themed photo shoot outfit. $32.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.



11. Ho-ho-holly good deal! This wonderfully fun circa 1950s vintage Santa Claus suit with matching beard is a rare find and such a bargain at just $30.00 from Vintage Creekside.



12. Measuring in at five inches tall, this beautiful little 1940s/1950s wreath might be a touch too tiny for the front door, but it would make a stellar addition to a mantelpiece display, your Christmas tablescape, holiday powder room decor, or on the festive tree itself. $15.00 from Bits of the Past.



13. A timeless symbol and functional element of Christmas alike, candles are a holiday season must that bring such special, lovely warmth to any festive event. Why not prop yours up in beautiful style care of this stylish pair of red and chrome 1920s candle holders this year? $22.99 for the pair from Mattie's Menagerie.



14. You'll be singing merrily on high with this timelessly lovely circa 1930s collection of classic Christmas carols. $8.00 from Vintage PDX.



15.What more fitting or festive accessory can a lad or chap adore himself with come the holiday season that a red tartan plaid bowtie like this handsome little 1950s/1960s clip-on version that works equally well for little and big fellows alike. $7.50 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.



16. Holidays and appetizers go together like reindeer and a sleigh, so be sure you have plenty of darling little vintage cocktail forks like this fun red, white and mint green set (of twelve) on hand for all of your festive meals. $18.00 from Rosebud Originals.



17. Read all about what your favourite 1930s Hollywood stars were up to in this lovely Christmas 1938 edition of Film Weekly magazine. $7.95 from Atomic Dimestore.



18.Add a festive jolt of red to any holiday ensemble with this timelessly wonderful 1950 style red cinch stretch belt, which will keep on looking fabulous the whole year round. Available in modern ladies sizes petite (XS) to large. $12.95 from Blue Velvet Vintage.



19. Christmas just wouldn't be the same with out plate after plate of scrumptious holiday cookies, many of which we often bake using recipes that have been handed down for generations now. If you're looking to add some more varieties to your table come December, you'll definitely want to pick up this charming 1952 edition of the recipe booklet Aunt Jenny's Old Fashioned Christmas Cookies. $8.99 from Veiled Through Time.



20. Festoon your neck in festive colours and charming little bows care of this beautiful 1950s silver tone metal and red thermoset necklace and matching bow brooch set (click through for photos of the brooch). $35.00 for the pair from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.



21. Come the winter holiday season, I love sporting green as much as I do crimson and would love to slip on one of these fantastic vintage reproduction gingham Olivia blouses from Heyday, which is all the more festive thanks to its blend of green and white. Pin your favourite holiday brooch on it and you've got an instant old school holiday look in no time (always a plus during the super busy weeks of December!). Available in modern ladies British sizes 10 to 18 (at the time of writing, some sizes were sold out). £45.00 from Heyday.



22. Kitsch, cute and charming, that's what this immensely darling set of vintage Lefton snowman and snowwoman salt and peppers shakers are. $8.00 from Whambo Vintage.



23.Ensure there's no risk of mismatched coloured lingerie and garments when you slide this alluringly lovely 1960s half slip under all of your favourite red skirts and dresses throughout the holiday season and all year round. Fits a 24-36 inch waist/38" hips. $20.00 from Better Dresses Vintage.



24. At the end of the holiday season, ensure all those beautiful cards you received and wish to save for future years and safe and sound thanks to this timelessly sweet 1950s Christmas metal Christmas card tin. $12.00 from My Crowded Little Nest.



25. File this 1950s stocking coin purse under the heading of "definitely unique", then hang it up by your chimney with care and wait for good, old St. Nick to reward the fact that you've surely been on your best behaviour all year long. :) $15.00 from Bitter Sweet Vintage.



{Please click on a specific item, or the link in the description below it, to be taken to its respective listing.}





Admit it, by about the 17th entry you were starting to hum your favourite vintage Christmas song! :) Okay, well, I was at least and by the 22nd, had you asked me to start preparing a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, I would have gladly done so.

Just as it pays to purchase a winter coat or boots in the summer, so is a great idea to start stocking up (get it :D) on Christmas decorations, clothing and accessories - not to mention gifts for your nearest and dearest - now, when considerably fewer folks in general are doing the same thing. Plus, as it's the off-season, there's always the chance that some such items will be lower priced now than when the sound of reindeer hooves echo on the rooftop again (and that, after all, is in keeping with the spirit, the festive spirit in this case, of this very wallet friendly monthly post series).

Early though it may be, it's never too soon to save some money and stretch your budget dollars a little further, especially when it comes to the holiday season, which as we all know, has the pesky habit of costing more and more each year!

While I'm not even remotely close to ready to trade my beach towel for a tree skirt or my fruit salad for baked apples yet, but I don't mind thinking about Christmas, at least a little here and there in the slightest and had a blast putting this cheerful Christmas post together over the last few days, just as I hope you did while reading it.

Here's to the next five months and all the fun, turning over the the seasons, and eventual Christmas merriment - and thrifty shopping - they'll hold in store for us!


*PS*

In the mood for an early Christmas present of the vintage nature yourself this year? Then you absolutely must enter the fantastic giveaway for a $50.00 gift certificate from The Best Vintage Clothing that I'm holding at the moment. It wraps up in just two days, so now is definitely the time to enter!

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.