July 25, 2010

A cheerful, summery Sunday greeting

Hi my wonderful dears, as this last Sunday in July kicks off, I awoke with the thought that it’s been nearly two weeks since my last blog post at the forefront of my mind. I apologize for the absence, but as many of you know, my health is not in top shape at the moment, and far too often it keeps me from perusing the activities both online and in the real world that I’d dearly like to.

While the past couple of weeks were rather rough, I’m feeling a smidge better this weekend (yippee!), and simply could not let another day pass by without blogging.

Before I go any further, I want to sincerely thank everybody who left comments – heartfelt, beautiful, joy inspiring comments – for me on my birthday earlier this month. I am so blessed to be amongst such a wonderful group of online friends.

I wish that I had exciting stories, tales of recently found (vintage) treasures, or other exciting news to regale you all with, but alas, the bulk of my days lately have been anything but adventurous. Like many parts of the globe recently however, Toronto was hit a massive wallop of a heat wave earlier this month. At its worst both extreme heat and smog warnings were issued, as the temperature soared sky-high and rolling blackout hit part of the city (though, fortunately, not our area).

During the peak of the hotter-than-the-surface-of-the-sun wave, (taking the infamous Toronto humidity into account and thus determining the humidex or “feels like” temperature) we reached (according to the Weather Network) a staggering 43°C (109°F).

Luckily the worst of this heat blitz has since passed, being swept out (as I’d predicted to my husband that it would) by a brief lightning storm. Still, as is to be entirely expected at this time of the year, we’re still a very long ways off from building snowmen anytime soon!

Still, even on the most suffocatingly hot of days, when one’s skin feels like it’s going to slide from your frame and melt like an accidentally dropped popsicle on the searing hot ground, I can’t help but focus on the idyllic side of the third season of the year.

Summer draws out the gypsy in me, the desire to traverse lands both near and far (if only as a whilom traveler for the time being, content to venture through my memories and daydreams alike, the open road left to others better fit for its demanding paces), to wax poetically about the beguiling beauties of this incomparable time of the year.

There is a lingering depth and undeniably majestic quality about summer. It’s often the boldest of seasons, the loudest of extremes. Summer is rarely pensive, preferring to embrace the upbeat and optimistic. Indeed, if one thinks back to the days of childhood summers, weeks of unbridled possibility at your feet, it seems as though anything could have taken place under the ever watchful eye of a glistening sun – and sometimes, if you were especially lucky, it seems as though it did.

It is this captivating spirit of possibility and desire, excitement and fervour that always endears me to summer, no matter what I may – or may not – be doing, where I am, who I’m with, or what’s on my mind. As a Canadian, knowing full well what the icy depths of winter are like, I need the almost manic heat and vivacious energy of summer to work like a reserve of fuel that will see me through as the brief weeks of autumn give away to the frozen, grey world of winter.

And when those days of slashing cold and endless ice do arrive, I’ll warm my mind my looking at sun-smooched images depicting the fiery elegance of summer and all it creates, such as the ones below, and be reminded that once again there will be blistering heat waves, electrically warm breezes, meditation calm nights, and wickedly beautiful days to look forward to once more.

~ * ~ Hope is a ray of sunshine ~ * ~

{ 1. Untitled, 2. Old Fashion Lemonade bench, 3. Sweet Carousel, 4. summer of 48, 5. It's just another manic Monday, wish it were Sunday 'Cause that's my funday! HBM :), 6. the ties that bound us, are still around us., 7. Untitled, 8. Antique Rose Farm, 9. proud to be pink, 10. In a summer morning, 11. Summer, 12. You have got a long way to go., 13. al mio amore...}

Wishing each of you a day, a week, and a lifetime that sparkles with the passionate splendour of summer!

July 13, 2010

And the winner of the CollectibleSpectacle giveaway is...

...None other than the absolutely fabulous Traci from The Bakery. Congratulations, Traci dear, please email any time you wish so that I can forward your details onto CollectibleSpectacle and you can get down to the super fun task of picking out your favourite pair of gorgeous vintage eyeglasses.

{Yeeeeh, Traci! If you haven’t had a chance to swing by Traci’s blog, be sure to treat yourself and head over there right now for a hearty dose of vintage goodness.}

This stellar giveaway generated a fantastic response, resulting in a total of 75 comments. This morning using a random number generator (click here if you’d like to see a screen shot of the random number that was generated), entry #55 popped up as the wonderful winner of this giveaway.

I want to thank each and every one of you who took the time to enter, tweet, post about, or otherwise help spread the news about the CollectibleSpectacle giveaway. Through your posts, I discovered several brand-new-to-me blogs and also had the joy of hearing from long-time blogging friends.

Massive congrats again, Traci! For those who didn’t win, please fear not, I already have future giveaways in the works for other enchanting items, which I hope you’ll all love too!

July 10, 2010

26 things that always make me smile

The world is a never-ending playground of possibility, and I for one have long been enticed by countless elements that it presents its inhabitants with. Not one to tunnel vision my way through life, I fall into the eclectic camp. Admiring, questioning, enveloping myself with, fantasizing about, falling head-over-heels in love with countless places, items, people, moments, creations, sounds, scents, tastes, thoughts.

While, naturally, certain things consistently rank highest on my list of favourites, it seems that each day a new fascination comes along that brings joy to heart, intrigues my intellect, makes me question past assumptions, gets me as revved up as a hummingbird, sooths my soul, spurs my creativity, or simply – and perhaps most importantly – makes me even more thankful that I’m alive.

Today in particular it’s easy to reflect on the fact that I’m a living, breathing member of society, for on this particular date 26 years ago, I entered the world.

In celebration of my birthday, I thought it would be delightfully fun to share with you all, twenty six (amongst the countless number of) random, wonderful things that have long been passions, interests, dreams, and favourites of mine. One entry for each year I’ve called this humble planet home.

~*~ 26 things that always make me smile ~*~

~*~ Creative individuals ~*~

~*~ Perfectly golden duchess potatoes ~*~

~*~ Rambling, charmingly aged British manor houses ~*~

~*~ Songs that have the power to instantly bring me right back to another time and place in my life ~*~

~*~ Kitchen items in my favourite colour (pink!) ~*~

~*~ Bing Crosby ~*~

~*~ The rich scent of chimney smoke drifting through the air on a bitingly cold day ~*~

~*~ Writing letters by hand ~*~

~*~ The strength and wisdom my mother has shown me ~*~

~*~ Wildly electric lightning storms ~*~

~*~ The feeling of fresh beginnings that comes with new school supplies ~*~

~*~ Baroque and Rococo art, decor, and fashion ~*~

~*~ Being BFFs with my husband ~*~

~*~ The almost haunting call I feel to travel to the Yukon (where I have ancestral roots) ~*~

~*~ Ultra feminine fashions ~*~

~*~ Pulling together a delicious meal on the fly when it appears that there’s “nothing to eat” ~*~

~*~ Splendidly pretty, crisp-as-Melba toast, jewel toned autumn leaves ~*~

~*~ Matryoshka dolls (and anything depicting them) ~*~

~*~ Sporting both ruby red lipstick and nail polish at the same time ~*~

~*~ The feeling that comes from holding a vintage item and sensing that a snippet of time is resting in your palms ~*~

~*~ Russian literature ~*~

~*~ Snuggling up with a ridiculously cozy blanket ~*~

~*~ Reaching for the stars ~*~

~*~ The incredibly tranquil sensation of a warm summer breeze ~*~

~*~ Drive-in movie theaters ~*~

~*~ All of you, my amazing vintage loving blog friends! ~*~

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

As another birthday morn commences, I am acutely aware that there will be events in the coming twelve months that will be anything but gorgeous at times, however it’s unrealistic to say expect life to always be a bed of roses (an ingrained truth that age seems to make one all the more attuned to).

Yet, am I as certain as the air I breathe, that more often than not, the entries above, plus many more new discoveries and favourites, and the mysterious promise of the very future itself will keep me smiling for another exhilarating year – and really, what more could any birthday girl possibly ask for? :)

July 5, 2010

Giving away a $75 gift certificate from CollectibleSpectacle!

Vintage eyewear, the very words conjure up instant thoughts of everything from 1950s teenagers in winged cat eye frames to the thick black, and tortoise shelled, rims of the beat generation. For some this fabulous genre of accessories may invoke images of finely constructed early twentieth century wire frames, to others it may mean an oversized pair of mod 60s sunglasses or the understated cool of a sleek set of browline glasses, but no matter what the words vintage eyewear spark in your imagination, there’s no denying that old school specs are works of art.

Long before my eyesight decided to head south in a hurry (about 3.5 years ago, thank you very much, myopia!), I’d adored vintage glasses. Their sleek – at times almost sensuous – curves, iconic shapes, perfectly aged colours, and overall allure beckoning my vintage loving soul to their ascetic splendour. Judging by the trove of fellow vintage aficionados, as well as those with a penchant for great style in general, that embrace classic frames as well, it’s clear I’m far from alone in my passion for gorgeous vintage glasses.

One needn’t actually be afflicted by eye woes to sport vintage eyeglasses, and therein lies so much of their charm. You can turn a pair of frames into sunglasses or have plain glass (lenses) put into them, if you’d like to use them as a charming accessory, instead of as a vision aid. If you do sport specs for medical reasons, it’s usually very easy to have a professional put in your prescription strength lenses, thereby allowing you to wear most any vintage pair of glasses your heart desires.

If you’re a fan of vintage eyewear, then this post is for you, because I’m thrilled to announce that Chronically Vintage has teamed up with the fabulous etsy seller CollectibleSpectacle, to offer readers of this blog the chance to win a $75.00 gift certificate† to put towards whatever your heart desires from CollectibleSpectacle’s delightful array of vintage frames.

Founded by a lovely woman with two generations of optometrists in her family tree, and a deeply rooted passion for amazing vintage eyewear, CollectibleSpectacle offers customers a skilfully hand-selected assortment of eyeglass frames that span the decades of the 1950s through to the 1980s (with an emphasis on stunning 1950s styles). The frames that they offer are bursting with charm, character and timeless appeal. Many are highly sought after collector pieces, yet the price tags that CollectibleSpectacle puts on their offerings are entirely reasonable, thus allowing fans of vintage eyewear to easily add a piece of the past to their wardrobe.

The image below shows a sampling of some of my favourite frames that CollectibleSpectacle currently has in stock (they rotate in new frames frequently, and are also happy to take requests if you’re hunting for something in particle, making this etsy seller one to bookmark for sure!) – talk about dreamy vintage glasses if ever there were!

Giveaway details

This wonderful giveaway will run between today (July 5th) and Monday July 12, 2010 (contest closes at 11:59pm EST), and is open to Chronically Vintage readers from around the globe. One lucky winner will be drawn at random on July 13th, and announced here in a blog post (I will also contact the winner directly to let them know that they’ve won).

I want my readers to have as many chances as possible to win this marvellous prize from CollectibleSpectacle, so there are five ways for you to earn as many as five entries in this giveaway.

1.) Post a comment below about your favourite pair of frames from CollectibleSpectacle’s etsy shop, and/or tell me about anything you’d like regarding vintage eyeglasses (e.g., if you wear them, why you love them, how big your collection is!).

2.) Post about this giveaway, including a link back to this announcement post on Chronically Vintage, on your own blog, telling your readers about this contest (if you'd like to use the photo collage I created above, just right click on it to save it to your desktop). Once you’ve written about the giveaway, come back here and let me know you’ve done so by leaving a comment with a link back to your post.

3.) Add Chronically Vintage to your blog roll (or other area of your site/blog where you list some of your favourite blogs) – or inform me if you’re already doing so. Stop by to let me know in the comment section that CV’s on your blog roll, and you’ll gain another entry for the contest.

4.) Become (or let me know if you already are) a Google Follower of Chronically Vintage (see the right hand side bar to join), then take a moment and leave a comment saying so.

5.) Spread the good word about this contest via Twitter or Facebook (you can find CollectableSpectacle on Twitter and on Facebook, the latter of which they’ve recently created a fan page for). Again, be sure to jot down a comment letting me know you’ve done so.

Everybody is welcome to enter in however many of the five ways they wish, just be sure that you let me know about each entry in a separate comment, to better enhance your chances of winning (four comments for example, would give you four entries into the contest, thus four potential chances to win!). Please remember to post a separate comment for each entry!

I wish everyone who participates the absolute best of luck and thank you all in advance for taking part in this exciting vintage eyewear giveaway!

Note that etsy does not issue site wide gift certificates, instead CollectibleSpectacle will issue you a credit from their shop for $75.00 (US) that you can use towards the purchase of whatever you like from their stock. Please email if you'd like further details about about this point.

July 3, 2010

Saturday Snapshots – July 3, 2010

"If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

{Identified as “my great-aunts Millie and Mayme, great-grandmother Rose, and grandmother Marie”, by the person who posted this terrific photo, these lovely women in their late 1930s garb and hairstyles seem at once both like they could have been actresses or just as easily members of my own family.}

{Three adorable youngsters are all smiles here, as they perch on the side of a canoe in their charming old-fashioned bathing suites (which lead me to feel this shot was taken sometime between the 1910s and 1930s), conjuring up relatable summertime memories for many who grew up near seas, lakes and rivers.}

{Looking chic enough to have just stepped off the pages of Vogue or Harper’s, this immensely stylish young woman cuts a striking figure as she peers out a car window with her wonderfully cute little dog. Absolutely no background information is provided for this elegant shot, but I’d venture to say it was from the fifties.}

{Here two young folks sew long scarf-like pieces of fabric together while sitting outside on a well groom lawn, in front of what looks like school or large church. I love that this 1930s shot shows a man sewing, too, and am curious as to what they were whipping up?}

{There is such an endearing sense of "real world" beauty to this prettily dressed young mom in her checkered dress and curled hairdo. In a way it seems as though this portrait was planned for in advance, and yet elements such as the inclusion of her handbag in the photo and the causal outfit the child is wearing makes me wonder if this photo was an impromptu – portrait taken while she was in the midst of other activities that day.}

{Looking dapper as the day is long, this handsome young gent is identified as being Daniel J. Perini, who (the poster of this photo tells us) later went onto serve in the Navy during WW2, which he returned home from.}

{Nowadays some people might call this chipper gal’s look "geek chic", but back in the 50s, I think she was just about the swellest looking girl in town. From her lovely turquoise and black dress (with matching turquoise head scarf) to her tawny leather camera bag, everything about this photo is pure vintage cool!}

{It’s the bright tomato red truck that jumps out first at you when you look at this 1953 street scene shot taken at Fisherman’s Wharf in Los Angles, but there are many other wonderful details worth checking out, too, such as the sleek black car coming up the road and the instantly recognizable Coca-Cola sign in the background.}

{A darling young brother and sister beam megawatt smiles as they wear sunglasses and summer clothes in this 1940s shot taken in Houston, Texas. This really is the cutest vintage photo I’ve chanced upon in ages, and a perfect representation of the warm weather that’s besieging many of us at this very moment.}

{A smile-inducing shot wraps up this week’s selection of vintage photos. Here several youngsters are busily engaged in a pie eating contest that appears to have permitted the use of the eaters’ hands, as their parents look on and cheer.}

{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 a menagerie of memories from my own life to my ongoing adventures in the land of genealogy, I spend the bulk of my time with my family in my head (odd as that may sound), as my relatives all live on the other side of the country.

The quote above rings deeply true with me, for I feel it can be extended out to the human race as a whole and applied not only to the lines in our hands, but to the faces that stare back at us from the past in vintage images (or photos from any era for that matter).

Though we may not always know who they were, these people mattered every bit as much as you and I do today, and deserve to remembered for all of time – just as each of us, and our families, do. For none of us would be here now, if not for the countless generations that came before us - a fact which spending time with one's family (whether in person or within the realm of your mind) is a beautiful and poignant reminder of.