January 30, 2010

Saturday Snapshots: January 30, 2010

“I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.” ~ J.D. Salinger

{Striding purposefully down the street in 1940, a mother and her daughter cover ground in Dallas, Texas during their annual trip to the (big) city, according to the interesting background information provided by the younger woman’s daughter who uploaded this great shot.}

{The sign that most every North American child – and quite possibly a large number of adults who have never been to Disneyland before – dream of one day finally being able to see in person, snapped through a car window sometime during 1957.}

{For anyone who has held fast to the art of film photography, or who ever enjoyed snapping the old school way, the shop these two smiling fellows are standing must appear to be stocked with photographic manna from (Kodak) heaven (the fact that this snap itself was shot on Kodachrome ups its coolness factor many more watts).}

{Though this woman is the only living subject matter in the shot, something about her pensive gaze instantly makes us feel as though there’s someone else present with her. Was she waiting on a friend? Annoyed with beau, concerned about a child, or simply late for an appointment? One look at those apprehensive eyes and you can just tell something was weighing heavily on this lady’s mind when this candid snapshot was taken in 1937.}

{Two sweetly dressed woman lay out a tasty picnic spread (closer inspection reveals popcorn, beer, olives, and milk amongst their vittles for the day), some of which was likely transported in that iconic, wonderfully chipper plaid basket, in this sun-kissed shot from 1954.}

{Here we see a young couple carrying a hefty sized dog into the kitchen, however no background information whatsoever is provided, so it falls to us to try and figure out what the story was here. Had the dog been injured? Just been brought home for the first time? Or did the pair simply want a snapshot to either share of tuck away in their album that included their beloved pouch, too?}

{A trio of women, each one of which sports a deeply lovely outfit, lean against a metal fence in this wonderful 1940s image that capture both the ladies’ beauty and that of the bucolic Spanish hills behind them.}

{If you’re not fortunate enough to live in a climate that is currently capable of allowing you to don short sleeves and go barefoot, live your warm weather dreams vicariously through summery vintage snapshots such as this image of a group of folks tucking into a meal under the palm trees (note the fabulous metal Airstream-esque campers visible in the background).}

{There’s such an endearingly heart warming quality to this candid shot of a woman and child engaged in spinning around in circles, hands clasped together as they twirl on a rooftop, that makes it the sort of image that stays happily in your mind well after today has come and gone.}

{Long before this location lent itself to one of MTV’s many “real world” shows, a photographer in 1952 with a terrific eye, elegantly captured the sublime natural beauty of this corner of California as dusk began to roll in over the waters of the Pacific Ocean below.}

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

This week’s quote has always brought a rather wide grin to my face, though on the one hand it comes across as being a touch cynical, I think there’s something deeply comforting about the notion that any given moment someone out there could be doing something to bring me happiness (or that I could be doing something joy-giving unbeknownst to a person that I care about). Yet, I chose today’s quote based more on the fact that it belongs to J.D. Salinger, one of the finest contemporary writers of the twentieth century, who passed away this week at the venerable age of 91.

Salinger was a brilliant writer, and while his work was sometimes viewed as controversial, J.D. himself was well known for his reclusive – perhaps even misunderstood – nature (a point in which I could not help but feel a tinge of kinship with the man who penned The Catcher in the Rye). Like many I discovered Salinger during my teen years at a time when the melancholic, isolated, self-reflective first person narrative of Catcher was all too easy to relate to.

Though Salinger lived a complex life, producing work which to this day is still viewed as contentious in some circles, over all I feel the merit of his evocative writing will enshrine his name in the annals of time. This week however, one thing is clear: the proverbial literary flame burns a little dimmer without Jerome David Salinger in this world.

January 29, 2010

Five for Friday: January 29, 2010

...Sunshine, delicate as spun sugar encircles the air, yet its presence is a mask for the bitingly cold temperature that accompanies the light outside, pale as home churned butter. Still, so long as one is indoors, it’s nearly impossible not to feel invigorated by the much needed dose of vitamin D that the sun delivers – and certainly, sweet little Stella, loves the having a spot of light to nap in peacefully. As the weekend approaches my mind shifts to thoughts of tranquility levels equaling that of a sleeping cat. We’re still in the thick of winter and there’s no reason why a spot of good old fashioned hibernation can’t be on the agenda. Curl up with your favourite warm drink, a snugly blanket and some thick, comfy socks to fend off the chill, and settle back for a few minutes of fun with this week’s edition of Five for Friday...

♥ ♥ ♥

{Delicate petals of burgundy vintage satin and velvet swirl together with tiny rhinestones in this charming handmade fascinator style headband. Can’t you just picture this pretty piece paired with a cream hued wool coat or a faux fur stole during the winter, then as an accompaniment to your favourite flirty summer dresses and skirts. “Penelope” vintage millinery blossom headband, $25.00 (US) from etsy seller Katrina Pinka.}

♥ ♥ ♥

{Writing letters is one of my favourite activities no matter the season, but I find that the natural fact winter tends to equate to spending more time indoors means I’m able to zip off even more quick notes and long correspondence alike. I’m continually on the prowl for beautiful and/or adorable stationery, and this charming set of two notepads (50 pages each) of lined paper and delightfully cute plastic quill pen fit the bill perfectly! “Lines Birdie Note Pads and Plume Pen Set”, $22.00 (US) from Plasticland.}

♥ ♥ ♥

{If ever there was a scent that was aptly named to appeal to fans of the past like us, “Vintage Soul” from Liz Clairborne is it! Not only does this eau de parfum have a lovely moniker, it comes in an immensely beautiful bottle (and box) that calls to minds thoughts of the Moulin Rouge in its heyday, and is packed with a garden full of floral notes such as lilies, freesia, cactus flower, jasmine, gardenia, and tuberose. 3.4oz bottle of Vintage Soul, $22.61 (Cnd) from overstock.com}

♥ ♥ ♥

{Put the kettle on and pair your favourite cuppa with these fantastically cute Tiny Cherry and Almond Tea Cakes (which look both rustically playful and deeply sophisticated at the same time) made with sweet binge cherries and kirsch for oodles of appealing fruit and flavour. Image from, and recipe on, marthastewart.com.}

♥ ♥ ♥

{Rich, regally elegant jewel tones always seem to go hand-in-hand with the colder months (in my mind at least) and work so well to bolster one’s spirits. What better way to infuse a royal hit of passionately deep eggplant into your wardrobe then with this stunning 1940s reproduction frock? “Lula” wiggle dress with fish tail hem, available in sixes small-XL, £100.00 (UK) from The Pin-up Emporium.}

♥ ♥ ♥

Bundles of thanks, everyone, for your wonderfully lovely comments this week! At the risk of sounding like a broken record (but for the sake of Chronically Vintage’s newest followers), I will do my best over the course of the next couple of days to catch up on my visits to your own splendid sites. I love hearing from you so, so much and appreciate every one of your shared thoughts.

Wishing you all an amazing, warm and relaxing weekend – and last two days of the first month of 2010!

January 27, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday Recipe: Spiced Apple Cinnamon Butterscotch Chip Cookies

Yesterday, brushing my ever-present shyness aside, I posted a few fairly recent photographs of myself here on Chronically Vintage, and in response was met with an outpouring of the most thoughtfully kind comments imaginable.

I mean it with the utmost sincerity when I say that you, my amazing readers, have the ability to undo a lifetime of self-esteem and negative body image issues with your heartfelt, caring, supportive words. I read through all of your comments, trying to keep my tears at bay, this morning and honestly wished I could reach out and hug every one of you.

I know that there are many out there who haven’t the slightest qualm about sharing their photos publicly, but for those of us who struggle for whatever reason with showing our faces (in photographic form) to the world, positive, caring feedback can truly make an astronomical difference in terms of how our ability to develop better self-confidence, but also to help our self-esteem levels on a day-to-day basis.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who left a comment on yesterday’s post, this recipe – a little something sweet for some of the sweetest people on earth - is dedicated to all of you.

~ Spiced Apple Cinnamon Butterscotch Chip Cookies ~

Bursting with the heady, soothing scent of warm spices, these cookies are just the thing to have on hand for lunch boxes, desserts and serving to company with mugs of hot tea, warm milk or even eggnog during the holiday season.

{Making cookies is such a fun (and deliciously rewarding!) activity that usually requires less time than many other forms of baking, making it the perfect for those days when you want a homemade treat but aren’t able to devote ages to hanging out with your oven. Vintage photo of a woman dropping spoonfuls of cookie batter onto a baking tray from the Life Magazine archives.}

Cinnamon is my favourite of all the spices and I constant try to track down, or create my own, recipes that include this aromatic, zingy flavour. This particular cookie recipe is one I whipped up a few years back – during the fall, naturally (no other season calls to mind the pairing of apples and cinnamon quite like autumn) – and continue to make each year when the mercury starts dropping and you’re suddenly hit with the feeling that you want every morsel of food you eat to be wholly comforting in terms both of taste and aroma.


• 1/3 cup vegetable shortening or butter (or a 50/50 ratio of the two combined, which is a favourite cookie baking approach of mine as I find it helps to yield a really nice crumb), softened (room temperature, not melted)

• ½ cup homemade or store bought sweetened applesauce (you want a fine textured apple sauce, so if yours is on the chunky side, you may want to run it through a food mill or food processor before including in the cookie batter)

• 1 extra large egg (or equal amounts of egg whites, I’ve made these cookies with egg white many times and they turns out just as well)

• 1 tsp vanilla extract

• 1 ¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

• 1/3 cup white sugar

• 2 tbsp dark brown sugar

• ½ tsp baking soda

• ¼ tsp salt

• 1 tsp cinnamon

• ¼ tsp nutmeg (optional)

• 1 cup butterscotch baking chips (such as Hershey’s “Chipits”)


Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C/gas mark 4).

In a large mixing bowl thoroughly cream the white and brown sugars and butter (or shortening) together with a mixing spoon or electric beater. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well combined with the sugar and butter; once those ingredients have mixed together well, stir in the apple sauce and beat until amalgamated with the other moist ingredients.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; stir well, ensuring that the spices are evenly distributed through the dry ingredients.

Next stir one third of the dry mixture to the wet ingredients at a time, stirring (or beating, if using an electric mixer) well after each addition. If the mixture seems slightly dry to you (it should be pretty moist thanks to the apple sauce), add a tablespoon or two of lukewarm water, milk or more apple sauce, if you have extra on hand. Now pour in the butterscotch chips and blend well to ensure even distribution throughout the batter.

Grease or line two baking trays (cookie sheets) with parchment paper (or a non-slip silicon baking liners) and drop cookie mixture onto the trays in rounded teaspoon portions, leaving a bit of space between each cookie (I usually put about 12 cookies per tray). (Note, if – like mine – your oven tends to cook things unevenly based on what height the tray is placed at, you can either bake one try of cookies at time or rotate the racks that the trays are placed on half way through baking.)

Bake cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the bottoms are firm and the tops are lightly golden brown. Allow warm cookies to rest on their baking trays for a couple of minutes and then transfer them to wire cooling racks.

Serve warm or at room temperature, storing leftovers in an airtight container for up to five days (these cookies can also be frozen for at least two months in a freezer safe container).

For an extra special treat, serve the cookies while they’re still toasty from the oven with bowls of French vanilla or caramel ice cream, or with dishes of sweetened whipped or clotted cream for dipping.

Makes approximately two dozen cookies

Bon appétit!

January 26, 2010

A small handful of photos (of me) from 2009

As we sit here on the 26th day of the first January of this new decade, it feels almost unreal to reflect upon the fact that more than a month has now passed since Christmas – or, from a different perspective, that 2010 is nearly 1/12 complete!

Before this fresh year starts feeling like an old friend, I thought it would be wise to post a few photos (of myself) from 2009 that I’ve thus far not had the chance to blog about. Aside from the fact that I’ve been wanting to share these images here on Chronically Vintage since the moment they were each snapped, by posting them I will be able to clear the photo slate from last year and henceforth share snapshots from 2010 (without the lingering feeling that I should be posting ‘09’s images first).

I made a bit of a promise to myself last year that I would post images on my blog as a means of helping myself work on my self-esteem level and related issues pertaining to sharing photos of myself publicly. Prior to 2009, I’d never been able to work up the courage to post my own image online, but (happily) having finally gathered the nerve to do, I want to make sure I don’t revert to my former photo reclusive self – and what better way to ensure that doesn’t happen to put together posts just like this one?

Two of three separate days featured below are presented in mosaic form, the last entry however is not, as some of the photos taken that night were snapped in such a way as to capture my whole outfit and I didn’t want those particular images to get cropped by the photo tiling application that I use.

{My sun-kissed 25th birthday}

{Captured in the gloriously invigorating, crystal clear July light, these photos document what I was sporting fashion wise on the loveliest birthday I’ve thus far experienced as an adult. I hope they also transmit the immense joy I was enveloped in that wonderful afternoon, for my sweet husband showered me with surprises, gifts and countless reasons to smile from dawn to dusk, and truly made turning a quarter of a century old one of the most memorable days of my life.}

{An autumn evening with Madame Butterfly}

{Notes of opera swirled through this past fall, upon the discovery of a local programme which allows those under 30 years of age to purchase opera tickets a deeply discounted rate (reduced price tickets are highly limited though, so you have to try and snap them up as soon as they’re released!). As a result of learning about this, we able to take in not one, but two, absolutely splendid opera performances last year: The Nightingale and Other Short Fables (blogged about here), and Madame Butterfly.

The images above show what I wore to see the tragically, sublimely beautiful masterpiece that is Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly (I honestly cannot recommend a viewing of that opera highly enough, even to those who profess to dislike opera – it is a tale that transcends its medium and speaks directly to the heart), as well as a serenely lovely, vintage style poster for the play that I discovered online and wanted to include with this mosaic.}

{The hills were alive with the sound of theatregoers}

{It’s not every day I get to take in a live musical performance, let alone one featuring my favourite Julie Andrew’s film of all time, The Sound of Music – not mention get the chance to see such a show with someone who had never watched the movie before. Though this classic and inspiring tale is beloved the world over, my husband – who grew up in Italy – had yet to view the film and only had a vague idea of the plot.

It was with immense excitement that then that we headed off downtown to catch the show (the fact that I was wearing a new dress that I found on sale for $40, also bolstered by happiness that eve), and I’m delighted to report that we both adored it! All through the evening I sat there singing along in my head to the familiar tunes, captivated by the talented cast’s performances and the utterly magnificent prop work the show included. Though it was the first musical we’ve had the pleasure of seeing together, I sincerely hope it’s only the beginning of our mutual theatre going adventures!}

Looking at these photos of some of the days I really cherish from this past year, I can’t help but feel a bit giddy with excitement thinking of what new memories (be they of fancy nights out or more run-of-the-mill day-to-day happenings) lay ahead in the coming months of 2010.

I’m also excited (silly as it may sound to those who are much less shy than I also) about the fact that I’m gaining a bit more self-assurance when it comes to posting photos of myself. I have each and every one of you, my terrifically sweet readers and friends, to thank for this, as your supportive feedback on past photo posts have done wonders to help boost my confidence.

Many thanks for taking a quick stroll down some of the events that stood out for me last year, everybody, I can’t wait to share some of the best days of ’10 with all of you, too!

January 24, 2010

Saturday Snapshots: January 23, 2010

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

{Two lovely young women share a welcoming embrace in this darling snapshot, for which no background information is provided. Who were these ladies? Sisters, best friends, cousins, neighbours? While both seem happy, the gal on the right is really brimming with a smile, was she more joyful than the other to be reunited? Or did she perhaps just like having her photo taken more than her companion?}

{A sweet little garden of low growing blooms (are those pansies I spy?) almost seem to convey the feeling of being a wallpaper design against which this lone woman is posed. Her charming turquoise dress, winged glasses, and sheer head scarf over a curled updo all lead me to believe this is an early 60s shot, yet what it doesn’t tell us is anything regarding what she was contemplating as she paused alongside this budding flowerbed.}

{Peer into this fun shot from 1957 for a moment and you quickly see there are many wonderful details to observe. From the fellow chomping on the tail end of his cigar to the grey and pale aqua hued cars, both ladies’ pretty hats to the appealing overall crispness of this photo taken of a group of wedding guests out in the parking lot, it’s hard not enjoy this great snap.}

{A cheerful looking pair of young love birds flash their pearly whites for the camera in this playful shot. Don’t you just love his perfectly slicked back hair, her tie neck dress, and the fact that they’re holding hands while she rests on his knee?}

{Seven people and an adorable black spaniel gather in someone’s living in this shot from 1955, and the look of things they were having a causal party of some sort. What first drew me into this shot was the seated, grey haired woman’s quirky expression and off centre gaze, but upon closer inspection I fell for the younger lady’s simple yet elegant black jumper over a pale blue sweater, and also couldn’t help but notice the chap on the far right appears to have something nestled in his ear (a hearing aid perhaps?) .}

{Two young 1940s mothers (I’m guessing they’re moms, they one or both of them could have been sisters, cousins or some other relation to the child she’s holding) from North Carolina proudly show off the wee little babies in their arms. I wonder, given how close in age these two children were, did they go to grow up as friends?}

{Gang, I’m divided when it comes to this fantastic 1958 shot that was snapped in Italy. On the one hand it comes across as looking quite posed to me (the rather handsome gas station attendants, the gorgeous white convertible, the fact that the colour red appears often throughout the image), yet something about it doesn’t quite seem like a movie still/publicity shot or magazine image. I wonder, was it posed in the sense the gas station workers were asked to stand like that as the woman tossed her gaze over her shoulder, or was this a full-fledged professional shot with models/actors? What do you think?}

{Braving the obvious cold and bounty of snow (a scene many of us can relate to at the moment!), a young girl (named “Emy”) takes her adorable little doll out for a bit of fresh air and exercise in this sweetly endearing winter shot from 1951.}

{Three chaps sporting matching garb, pose in unison against the running board of an immensely attractive car (does anyone know the exact make and model?) in this fun shot that was taken in Park Extension (Parc-Extension) area of Montreal, Quebec circa 1932.}

{Eight women (technically nine if we count the one whose back is just barely visible in the doorway) wearing absolutely lovely spring or summer dresses and sharply elegant hats, gather together in this wonderful group shot. Given their youthfulness, I wonder if they were part of a sorority, young women’s club, or perhaps the same college class. Whatever brought them all together that fine day, it’s evidential that all shared a passion for dressing beautifully.}

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

It would not be a stretch of the imagination by any means to say that the world has suffered an insurmountable tragedy with the recent earthquake in Haiti. A country, already replete with hardships and woes, has been dealt the most distressing of blows.

Our brand new, seemingly innocent decade’s reputation has been deeply marred already with this horrific catastrophe. Yet while Haiti is endearing perhaps its darkest hour ever and a phenomenal amount of work will be required (not just today, but in the months and years to come) to rebuild this shattered nation, I believe that it is the onus of the world to ensure that hope stays alive. Hope that the sick will heal, the departed can be properly laid to rest in peace, that the forlorn will be able to build new lives, that the country will, in time, once again learn to smile.

History is no stranger to unspeakable calamities, they have been recorded as far back as we have written records and no doubt occurred long before humanity was able to note them down. However, no matter how often or infrequently a major disaster of any sort – be it man-made or natural – occurs, the greatest thing we can do as planet it to gather round and help in every way possible, all the while holding onto the highest degree of hope, those who need us in the most earnest of ways imaginable.

Now and always, for the survivors of Haiti, let us hold onto hope and use it as the building block upon which to reconstruct a devastated nation.

January 22, 2010

500 (Followers) for Friday: January 22, 2010

The numerical in the title of today’s post does not denote the quantity of items/ideas featured within (as is generally the case with “Five for Friday” posts), instead it refers directly to the fact that this week Chronically Vintage reached a milestone number of followers: 500 – and counting!

It’s rather surreal actually to reflect upon the fact that that, according to the Google followers counter on the right hand side bar of this blog, there are now over five hundred admirers of this site. Added to that hefty number is the fact that I know many more out there tag along with Chronically Vintage via different means, too, such as feed readers. Others still may not follow along in a measurable way, but are new and returning visitors.

When I began this humble blog last spring, I never dreamed in that in less than a year, so many people would take notice of my teeny corner of the internet – let alone help to turn this site into the cheerful place of vintage history, timeless beauty and endless fun that it. I can scarcely begin to put into words how much I appreciate and value each and every person who has ever visited this site, whether you actively follow along, pop by once in a while or just visited once. Without you, Chronically Vintage simply would not be the same.

In lieu of posting a handful of recent finds today, I wanted to share five wonderful things that you, my treasured followers, have given me since I began this blog.

♥ ♥ ♥


Growing up I was the lone vintage gal on the block (I’d venture to say in the whole town actually). Whereas others were tripping over one another to wear the latest 90s trends, I held steadfast to my lifelong love of the past and tried to incorporate vintage style as best I could into my wardrobe as a teenager.

As the years progressed and saw more of the world, I came to discover that there were others out there who also shared my passion for vintage. My first online encounters with vintage style came in the form of vibrant rockabilly looks, which, while I certainly admire and think look sublime on some gals, usually end up coming across as too costumey on me. I kept searching though and discovered one day that there were others just like me who love to wear authentic (and/or reproduction) vintage styles out there (who standout not for being overtly sultry, but for the undeniable elegance and allure that radiates from the time honoured vintage styles they don).

Knowing that I was not alone in my desire to wear the exact looks of the 1940s and 50s, instantly made me feel like I was part of a community of like-minded individuals. For a couple of years I sat by on the sidelines, reading vintage blogs, pouring over Flickr streams full of modern gals in old school looks, and learning a great deal about the garments and styles of the decades before my own lifetime that I hold most dear.

Quite literally from the first week I began Chronically Vintage, I have been welcomed into the online vintage community with welcome arms. Everyone of my visitors and fellow vintage bloggers makes me feel like I’m home (when I read your comments and visit your own incredible websites). Thank you deeply for the gift of friendship and camaraderie that we’re blessed to be able to share.


As some of you may know from reading past posts or from our email correspondence, I’m not always in the best of shape health wise. For a number of years now I’ve had several severe chronic illnesses, each of which has a profound impact on my life. I generally try to refrain from talking about my health too much on this site, but occasionally the topic does surface (such as if I’ve been absent from blogging due to a flare-up).

My health is unpredictable, fraught with complications and challenging to plan any semblance of a “normal” life around, yet, even on my worst days, I try never to let the medical issues I face define who I am entirely. I’ve long made peace with my situation, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s a constant in my life.
In order to help take my mind off the issues my body faces daily, I truly need outlets and activities where I don’t have to think about my health concerns, and for me this blog is truly one of the most incredible, most cathartic venues I’ve discovered.

Being able to shift my mind from pain to productivity, to think about a topic that brings me bliss and which I’m fortunate to be able to write about and share my thoughts on publicly is a godsend in my life. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to connect with you through my writing, to have a place where I can think about history, fashion, art, and countless other topics besides my health!

{Creative outlet}

I believe firmly that every single person on earth is creative. No two souls or minds are identical; each one of us has the ability to exert creativity in our own wonderful ways. For me being creative in some semblance has been on par with having air to breath, I couldn’t fathom life without a place to let my creativity run free. Though Chronically Vintage is not my only artistic outlet, it is undoubtedly one of the most important creative lynchpins in my life.

Through your comments, blogs, photos, ideas and own amazing originality, I am constantly fuelled onward down my own creative path. Thank you for allowing me a public platform from which to share some of my creativity with the world.


You, my fellow vintage bloggers, are my muses. In the way you dress, write, think, create and ultimately live, you stoke my unyielding adoration of the past and help to ensure I’m able to incorporate it with both the present and the future. Thank you deeply for continually rocking my world with the astonishingly lovely inspiration you provide me with.


Tied only with love, there is nothing in the world worth perusing more than happiness. Each one of us has such a very short time on this planet, and I believe that we should strive to do all that we can to ensure that our lives blossom with happiness.

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

♥ ♥ ♥

From your blogs, comments and friendships, I am continually provided with countless reasons to smile, to feel happy, to look at the world from a new and more cheerful perspective. In writing posts for Chronically Vintage, I get to temporarily escape many of the unpleasant worries of life and let bliss come tumbling out my heart and onto the computer screen.

Thank you for the immeasurable abundance of gladness being a part of the vintage community brings me.

I try never to take anything for granted; I cherish the good and strive to work around the bad, embracing positives and eschewing the negatives whenever possible. Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for having this blog in my life, nor that I don’t reflect upon how wonderful it is to be able to connect with so many people who share one of my biggest passions: vintage!

Thank you to all of my followers, new and longstanding friends, and first time visitors alike, you bring so much to my world and are absolutely priceless to me.

January 20, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday Recipe: Parsnip, Potato and Caramelized Onion Mash

~ Parsnip, Potato and Caramelized Onion Mash ~

This recipe came about when I was living in Ireland, where humble root vegetables have long been amongst the strongest backbones of traditional local cuisine. It is an unpretentious, lovely dish that works wonders as either the star or as a supporting player at any cold weather meal. If you opt to use soy, instead of dairy, cream this dish – which is already vegetarian approved – becomes vegan.

A malleable recipe, you can add or subtract from it, swapping the potatoes for rutabagas or yams, if you prefer. Forgo the saffron and use mild, sweet chillies, grainy mustard, fresh or candied ginger, or a handful of your favourite herbs (whether I’m using the saffron or not, I nearly always toss fresh, marvelously soothing thyme into the mix or garnish the dish with it before bringing it, steaming warm and smelling of the inherent comfort that comes from Mother Earth’s bounty, to the table).

{Parsnips, which largely resemble a carrot in appearance and loosely in taste, are one of my absolute most favourite vegetables. Whether eaten on their own such as slow roasted with garlic and rosemary in the oven, or tossed into a hearty stew, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate these mild, versatile winter vegetables into my family’s menu. Antique parsnip seed package image via thelableman.com}

Serve this hearty root vegetable symphony with roast meats (it shines alongside duck and turkey or a lemony, slow cooked chicken), grilled seafood (particularly those with powerful flavours or seasonings), or, if you make this recipe the centerpiece of your meal, a light salad such as one encompassing other beloved winter tastes such as roasted beets, zesty citrus fruit, or glistening ruby red pomegranate seeds.

When I prepare this dish now in my cozy (re: matchbook sized) Canadian kitchen, I am reminded of wet Irish winters that set a chill into bones so far-reaching, it took a recipe comprised of piping hot starchy vegetables, faintly exotic seasonings and pleasingly sweet onions to work the warmth back into one’s very soul.


• 1lb 8oz (675 grams) of potatoes (I often use Yukon gold or Red Rose potatoes on this dish), peeled and cut into cubes

• 3 large parsnips, peeled and cut into cubes (cut the same size as the potatoes)

• 3 tbsp olive oil, plus an additional 3 tbsp to cook the onions in (6 tbsp in total)

• 2 ¼ cups (600ml/1 pint) of vegetable or chicken stock (preferably homemade or organic)

• 2/3 cup single cream (half and half) or soy cream (such as “Silk Creamer” or “Carnation Soy Creamy Cooking Milk”), heated to a gentle simmer directly before use

• 3 tbsp of saffron threads which have been lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle (or with a wooden mixing spoon in a bowl)

• 1 ½ tbsp soft (light or dark) brown sugar

• 1 large white onion (or equal amounts of shallots) peeled and finely sliced

• Kosher or sea salt to taste and freshly ground black pepper


In a large sauce pot over high heat place the stock, potatoes, parsnips and saffron and cover the pot with a lid. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-high, continue to simmer (covered) until all of the potatoes and parsnips are cooked (approximately 20-25 minutes, depending on how warm your stovetop/cooker is and how tender you like your vegetables to be).

Meanwhile heat 3tbsp of oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat and stir in the sliced onions. Cover and allow the onions to brown and absorb the oil. Once they’ve begun to turn a lovely fawny hue, reduce the heat a little and stir the onions occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the pan. They should be sufficiently, wonderfully tender, golden brown and naturally rolling around in their own juices after about ten to fifteen minutes.

Next add in the brown sugar and allow it to be absorbed fully by the onions. Stir for gently for a minute or two until all of the sugar has been dissolved by the onion and onions. Take the onion mixture off heat and set aside until the mashed vegetable portion of this dish is ready.

When the turnips and potatoes have fully cooked to the desired degree of tenderness, remove the pot from the heat and drain the vegetables in a colander (strainer). Reserve a little of the cooking liquid, in case you need to add some of it to the mash for a moister consistency later on.

If you’ve not already done so, heat your cream (or soy cream) in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat just until it comes to a mild simmer (you do not want a rolling boil, which is apt to scorch the cream). Once the cream has been warmed, turn off the burner, but allow the cream to remain in the pot (you’re going to use it momentarily)

Transfer the vegetables to a large mixing bowl and pour the cream and remaining three tablespoons of olive oil over top of them (you could skip the added oil here or use butter, if you wanted). Next mash everything with a vegetable masher (you can also do this in a food processor or stick blender, if you'd prefer) until the mixture is as soft and lump free as possible (alternatively, and this is how I generally mash all of my vegetable dishes, you can whip the lumps out and aerate the root veggies with a hand-held electric mixer/beater). If you feel the mixture is still a bit dry for your liking, add a little of the reserved cooking liquid, so that they end result is a creamy, fluffy mash.

Season to taste with salt and pepper (if you wanted to add fresh herbs, now is the time to include them) and transfer to a serving dish. Slide the warm caramelized onions on top, smile as you breathe in the scent of earthy goodness radiating from up from the serving bowl, and serve at once.

Any leftovers will keep, well covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Makes 4-5 side, or 2-3 main, dish sized portions.

Bon appétit!

January 19, 2010

Vintage Deal of the Day: January 19, 2010

{Be a pin-up version of Cinderella is these see-through 1950s shoes! Bands of cheerfully bright, very springtime appropriate colours adorn this charming pair of clear plastic shoes, which also feature clear lucite heels. Very reasonably priced at $18.00 (US) this stylish pair of heels fits a modern size 8, according to etsy seller Haunted Attics’ estimate, and therefore are likely to fly off the shelf quickly! (Vintage shoes in sizes above 6.5 generally being rather tricky to come by.)}

Happy Tuesday greetings to one and all! How was everybody’s weekend? Mine didn’t quite go to plan, as some of my conditions flared up and kept me in bed for the last three days (I’m not ashamed to admit, I slept for about seventeen hours on Monday – and still woke up tired!). As such, I wasn’t able to devote very much time to catching up on recent Chronically Vintage comments/visits, but as always, I will just as soon as I can (to my wonderful readers, if you leave a comment for me, 99.999% of the time I will visit your own lovely blog and leave one for you, too, sometimes it just takes me a smidge to find my way over to your virtual abode).

Aside from that, all is well on this end. Our relatively mild weather held on over the course of the weekend and is scheduled to remain in place for most of the coming week, too (which is certainly worth smiling about!). For those looking for something to celebrate, today just happens to the birthday of two of music’s most famous female artists: Janis Joplin (born 1943) and Dolly Parton (who entered this world in 1946). Also born on this day (in 1953) was Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s son, Desi Juniour.

Wishing everyone a relaxing, gorgeous Tuesday and rest of the week ahead!