February 22, 2012

British Columbia bound!

Fans of Canadian folk music may recall Gordon Lightfoot's classic 1970s song, Alberta Bound. It's something of an anthem for those headed to the land of open prairie skies, and its lyrics have been wafting through my mind for the last few days, as we've buzzed around like busy bees in preparation for our cross country move this week.

This time around though, our journey does not lead us to Alberta. Instead, as many of you know from my recent posts here, come late tomorrow evening, my husband and I will be touching down on British Columbia soil, ready to call Canada's most westerly province home (once again for me, first time for the mister).

The past several weeks have been ones of immense activity, planning, energy, fortitude, and a little bit of good old fashioned luck. Elbow grease, packing tape, and lengthy lists have abound, as has the enthusiasm that one could practically see hovering in the air around our place.

By this time tomorrow (assuming all goes as planned - and goodness, it better, our schedule for Thursday is so astronomically tight it makes a Victorian corset look like a muumuu!) the movers will be here, loading all of our earthly belongings (save for those in our suitcases) on to their large truck.

Somewhere, we're told, between 7 and 14 days after that, our household contents will reach us in beautiful British Columbia, and it is at that point that my husband and I will take up residency in our new home.

{Long haul moving, a service which this 1940s Canadian moving company offered, is on the agenda for us this week as we trek - by air! - across the breadth of Canada from Ontario to British Columbia. Image via the Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists.}

In the meantime, we'll be staying with some of my relatives who live in the same town, and thus I suspect that this will be my last post for the next little while. If circumstances permit, I may post during the next two weeks, but if not, I'll do so once we've settled into our new abode and have the good ol' interwebs hooked up once more.

I want to thank you all sincerely for you wonderful support, encouragement, and positive words over the past couple of months, as we've been preparing night and day for the move. They’re really helped to keep my batteries charged during this endlessly hectic period.

It is with great eagerness that I look forward to blogging next from my home province, and sharing in the joys of living in B.C with all of you.

Know that I'll miss you dearly, and that with all my heart, I'm wishing each of you every bit as much joy in your own life as I'm experiencing in mine right now.

February 16, 2012

Grooming tips for the 1950s flight attendant

Cheerful Thursday morning greetings, my sweet dears, thank you all very much for your lovely, supportive comments on my last post regarding our upcoming move. Today marks the start of the official one week countdown until the big day itself arrives.

As you can imagine, this week has been a three-ring circus of activity, with scarcely a second for my husband and I to stop and catch our breath. Though we're certainly teaming up for some tasks, generally speaking (during these last few pre-move days), he's tending to jobs that need to be done outside the house, and I'm going at the speed of light inside the home.

Even at my busiest though, it's hard not to steal away a few quick moments to recharge my batteries and uncover delightful vintage images and inspiration (maybe it's just me, but the day doesn't quite feel complete if I have devoted at least part of it to my love of the past).

Earlier this week, I spotted a recently uploaded image on one of my favourite old school image filled Flickr streams, that made me smile ear-to-ear. Not only was it bursting with yesteryear charm, but it was beyond fitting, given that I'll be zipping through the air on a plane myself next week.

These days the rules and requirements involved with becoming flight attendant are significantly different then they were during the earlier decades of aviation (and, over all, this is a good thing, because there's much less discrimination involved with the candidate selection process and flight attendants themselves have more rights within the scope of their job).

However, I'm always a sucker for a great list of vintage "dos and don'ts" when it comes to any profession, and as the list in the image below clearly demonstrates, there was no shortage of such points for airline stewardesses (as they were often called back then) to adhere to during the 1950s.

{A lovely vintage flight attendant from 1957, smartly attired as members of her profession were required to look during the golden era of airline travel. Image via alsis35 on Flickr.}

From the expectation that one would (or perhaps had to) wear a "well fitted girdle" to the fact that platinum nail polish was out the question, it's fascinating to look back at this list of dos and don't and think about what airline hostesses of days gone by had to comply with in order to keep their jobs.

I'm certainly no expert on the requirements of being a modern day flight attendant, but I think it's safe to say - while standards regarding certain elements of one's appearance are still in place - the rules have relaxed substantially (for better or worse, depending on your own take on this topic).

Like many of us, I long for the days of airline travel when passengers and staff alike were better attired (I for one always dress up to a certain extent when I'm traveling by plane, but have observed that few other passengers tend to any more, save perhaps for the occasional businessman in a suit and tie or well-to-do lady jet setting off to some exotic location), and perhaps (as I like to imagine at least) friendlier.

Long gone are the fabulous forties, fifties, and early sixties (think Pan Am era) though, and with them a certain kind of airline travel glamour that will likely never be recaptured again outside of a Hollywood studio.

Nevertheless, when I board our flight next Thursday, I'll be thinking about old school flight attendants and passengers alike. Daydreaming that perhaps we’ll somehow fly through a warp in the space-time continuum and transport back to the mid-twentieth century.

Ridiculously wishful thinking, I know, but hey, a rather knackered vintage loving gal can always hope! Smile

February 12, 2012

Less than two weeks to go until the big day!

Over the past several years there have been quite a few dates, known often weeks or even months in advance, that I was anything but eager about. Many were the sort of days that you try in vain to stare at the calendar and hope will somehow magically vanish before your eyes.

While I'm not certainly not saying every day was cringe worthy, it's been a rather long time since I was bursting at the seams with excitement and anticipation over a date's arrival. Our moving day, February 23rd, is just such a date – and I’m elated about that point.

Though it's fraught with things that I'm concerned about (our schedule that day is so astronomically tightly packed, you couldn't squeeze a pin into it anywhere if you tried!), such as the fact that our darling cat, Stella, will be flying on an airplane for the first time, the joy and eagerness that is accompanying this move go a long way towards pacifying such concerns.

The fact that my husband and I experiencing this move together, that we can comfort one another when worries crop up or lend a helping hand when the other person grows exhausted from packing or planning, is an important blessing unto itself, too.

As we cross more and more dates off of February's calendar this year, I know that these last few days (before the move) will likely be the busiest we've faced over the past couple of months.

{A sweetly charming vintage calendar page from February 1954 featuring an illustrated Victorian era couple. Image via cindyiscrafty on Flickr.}


I'll be posting here whenever I can, and (fear not!) certainly won't hop provinces without (very temporarily) saying goodbye to all of you. Your support and enthusiasm about this wonderful step in my life has really helped give me energy and comfort during this hectic, exciting time in my life.

I hope that your Sunday and Valentine's week ahead is one of loveliness and felicity, and that you'll join me, sweet dears, in continuing to count down the days until I get to once again call beautiful British Columbia home.

February 10, 2012

Reflections of doing laundry as an apartment dweller

There sits behind me at the moment a substantially large mountain of freshly washed and dried laundry. For a myriad of reasons, we usually do large volumes of laundry in one fell swoop (it's ultimately easier to go that route, we find, when you don't have a washer and drier in your own apartment unit), yet never in the course of the three and a half years we've lived in this building has such a massive volume been done at one time.

The reason for the chunkiness of this pile stems from both ill health keeping us from the laundry room as of late, as well as a desire to wash and freshen up many out-of-season garments in preparation for our move in two weeks.

Nearly $60.00 in washer and dryer fees later, dozens of garments and linens are stacked on the dinning room table, the last of which was brought upstairs shortly before the laundry room closed at 10pm last night. Today, amidst several other tasks, we'll begin to fold and sort this great wall of laundry.

While there will no doubt be a trip or two more to the poorly heated, often majorly over-crowded basement laundry facilities of this building before we part ways for good, this is definitely the last large haul we'll do. Not only, if luck is on our side, in the building, but (dare I say) ever.

Our new home, a charming little townhouse, has it's own (free, as in not coin operated!) washer and dryer in the basement, a point that seems like a longstanding wish of mine has finally come to fruition.

As such, we can now do a load a day, if so desired, or designated one day a week for laundry. Whatever we want. Budgeting for the laundry, devoting several hours at a time to going upstairs and down, rationing clothes until laundry day arrived (or, as was sometimes the case, washing them by hand in the bathtub), is nearly behind us.

My husband and I truly hope that the house we're moving into will be the last we rent before we're able to one day purchase our own home, which - of course! - would also have its own washer and dryer.

So hence while, as I said, if the universe is in the mood to cooperate, this could very well be a much anticipated end to years upon years of having of not having in-house laundry and of having to pay out of pocket in the moment for each and every load.

{Like the cute little girl in this lovely vintage image, I could see myself being so enamoured with the washer and dryer in our new home, that I'd pull up a chair and just watch the clothes tumble about for a while. Delighting in the fact that I didn't have to take an elevator down 23 floors any more and pay an arm and leg for the sake of clean clothing. Charming 1940s illustration via saltycotton on Flickr.}

Seemingly simple, mundane things like this cause my heart smile. Having our own washer and dryer makes my life a lot easier and will be one less thing for me to worry about in the course of my day-to-day life. It is, in its own way, a blessing and one that I couldn't be more grateful for.

Though our new place have enough of a yard to string a clothesline in, I don't doubt that I'll pin a pillowcase or two to any available surface outside during the warm months, so as to take the joys of doing laundry one step further and be able to fall asleep with the comforting scent of freshly washed and sun-kissed, air-dried bedding lulling me off to sleep.

So as I limber up for a marathon of folding laundry today and over the weekend, I do so happily, knowing that each moment I spend matching up socks and putting away towels brings me a little closer to our moving day and the new house, complete with washer and dryer, that is waiting for us in British Columbia.

February 8, 2012

A zesty, crowd pleasing 1950s creamy coleslaw recipe

It's interesting, depending on who you ask, most people generally think of cabbage as either being more of a winter, or conversely, a summer vegetable. It's easy to see why this is the case when you compare the various dishes that cabbage is often included in.

During the dark, bitingly cold days of winter, one may turn to hearty cabbage rolls, soups laden with stringy strips of cabbage, or perhaps a warming helping of that fabulous Irish classic, colcannon. When the mercury starts skyrocketing, cabbage quickly appears in fresh green salads, Asian rice paper wraps, on veggie platters, and sometimes even as a Jell-o salad ingredient.

While tied a little more closely to summer, it's safe to say that coleslaw is one cabbage dish that does a particularly good job of transcending the seasons. It can be served as part of a barbeque spread, picnic lunch, supper of cold cuts in when the sun is shinning, or alternatively with roast meats, alongside grilled sandwiches, or as a refreshing side dish partner for any number of warm foods during the frosty fall and winter months (if you've not tried it before, I highly recommend making yourself a coleslaw and turkey sandwich, it's heavenly!).

Today's vintage recipe for coleslaw is a creamy one centered around Miracle Whip (you could easily use store bought or homemade mayonnaise instead, if you'd prefer) and the tangy, wonderfully yummy inclusion of tarragon vinegar (if you don't have any on hand, simply add some finely chopped fresh tarragon to white vinegar).

Tarragon - which deserve far more play than it gets, if you asks me - is an alluring, deeply flavourful herb that pairs well with everything from fish to eggs, chicken to lamb, so you can can easily saddle this 1950s coleslaw alongside a wide range of savoury dishes.

{Fabulous with hot meals - like grilled meats, burgers, or ears of piping hot corn - or cold supper alike during the sweltering summer months, coleslaw is a side dish that deserves some love all year long. Vintage Miracle Whip Coleslaw recipe by way of salty cotton on Flickr.}

If however, you (or other members of your family) are not huge tarragon fans, there's no reason you couldn't use a different herb vinegar (I've made also a similar recipe before with mayonnaise and the zest of from blood oranges, that is thoroughly delicious alongside all manner of grilled meats and vegetables), and by all means, feel free to toss in some carrot, celery, fennel, or spring (green) onion, if you'd like to up the veggie content in this great dish even further.

So while certain cabbage dishes are indeed most often associated with certain seasons, I've never felt like coleslaw needed to be tucked away on the proverbial shelf and only brought out when the dog days of summer arrive.

In fact, come to think of it, I probably eat more coleslaw (alongside roasted or pan-fried meats and veggies) in the winter than I do in the summer. No matter the time of the year though, I'm always up for a fantastic, creamy coleslaw like this great 1950s classic.

February 6, 2012

Building a rainbow of vintage dresses


Perhaps it's because I'm a child of the 80s, a decade bedecked with Lisa Frank stickers, that I find myself drawn towards rainbows, or maybe it's because I spent a part of my life living in Ireland, the country that all but claims to have invented this meteorological phenomenon. Or it could be the fact I've always adored the fascinating world of colours. Whatever the case, I've long found myself drawn toward  broad array of colours and love arranging items around my house in rainbow patterns, where applicable.

Take my closet for example, each item of clothing in it is arranged by type, and some further by subtype, and each of those categories is arranged in a rainbow inspired order starting with pale pink and ending in midnight black.

Organizing my wardrobe in such away makes finding the garments I'm looking for when I get dressed an absolute breeze and also helps me to quickly know where gaps in my wardrobe exist (e.g., if I'm missing wardrobe staple like a white button down blouse or black pair of pumps).

Like many of us, I've been building up my vintage dress collection gradually over the years. As each new (technically "old") dress found its journey had landed it in my closet, it was placed in order of where it fell on the colour spectrum, sandwiched between a lighter and a darker hues (unless of course it was the palest or blackest piece in my dress collection).

Last week, in preparation for our upcoming cross country move, I began packing up a lot of my wardrobe. Leaving out only the pieces which I'll be wearing between then and now, and which will be travelling with me in my suitcase. It's always a little odd to suddenly open your closest and see the bulk of your wardrobe gone, but at the same time, I'm excited about the fact that I'll soon have a larger closet in my new house to hang all of those now packed items of clothing up in.

As I took each dress out of the closet, wrapping it in archival paper and fabric safe plastic, sandwiching layers of bubble wrap, where applicable, I was struck by just how much of the rainbow my humble dress collection has come to represent.

There are holes in the spectrum still for sure - dresses in shades of orange and yellow are sparse, and I could use more in the deep green and navy blue field, too - but overall I've got the makings of a delightful sartorial rainbow.

This process didn't happen over night by any means, and I believe that it will always be a work in progress. Even if every main colour was accounted for, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of possible shades that one could always expand the breadth of the rainbow with. A thought that can't help but make me smile!

Given that my own dress collection is carefully packed up right now and awaiting life in its new closet in British Columbia, I thought it would oodles of fun to put together a sampling of vintage dresses, all handpicked from etsy (which seems especially fitting, given that so many of my own frocks were found there), that span the classic Roy G. Biv colour spectrum for you to enjoy - and who knows, perhaps even grow your own wardrobe rainbow with.

{Sweet and cheerful as the cotton candy its hue resembles, this classic pale pink button front dress is such a charming way to help your wardrobe hop back into warm weather dressing once more. Fits 38" bust/27" waist; price $52.00; available from Bohemian Bisoux Vintage.}

{Elegantly lovely as the first blushing carnations of spring, this wonderful pink lace vintage frock would be perfect for everything from afternoon teas to PTA meetings. Fits 38" bust/32" waist; price $80.00; available from Vintage Frocks of Fancy.}

{Sporting a darling fluffy white angora collar, this medium (as in hue intensity) red wool jersey dress, with matching belt, calls to mind a bowl of fresh strawberries drizzled with milk, and would be equally fitting for Christmas or a sunny July day (thanks to the short sleeves). Fits 36" bust/27" waist; price $124.00; available from The Vintage Mistress.}

{Fresh, vibrant and timelessly tailored, this deep crimson 1940s rayon dress would be so fantastically well suited to Valentine's Day. Fits 40" bust/29" waist; price $98.00; available from The Greedy Seagull.}

{There is a certain lovely quaintness to this soft peach hued dress that draws you in. Perhaps it's the upbeat hue or the dainty lace collar, and of course one can't forget the sweet tie waist either. Whatever it is, this wonderful 1950s dress is just the sort I'd be on the prowl for if I needed a pale orange frock right now. Fits 32-34" bust/32" waist; price $38.00; available from VintageNsome.}

{Bursting with a sunflower field's hues and boasting a super cute Peter Pan collar, this wonderful 1950s yellow and orange floral print cotton sundress is the sort of garment that cannot help but lift your spirits every time you put it on it. Fits 34" bust/25-26" waist; price $205.00; available from Simplicity is Bliss.}

{Zesty, fiery, and fabulous, this deep, bright orange wiggle dress is a stellar way to wear a lot of bold colour, yet still be as classy and gorgeous as the day is long. Fits 35" bust/34" waist ; price $33.80; available from Atticville.}

{Beautifully redolent of a springtime chick's fuzzy, downy feather, this happily hued yellow dress is so sophisticated, youthful, and becoming. Perfect for fancier daytime events or for an evening of fun when the sun sets, this is the kind of solid coloured, but in absolutely no way boring, vintage dress that everyone's wardrobe needs. Fits 36" bust/25" waist; price $125.00; available from Vintage Frocks of Fancy.}

{Like an autumnal wheat field gleaming in the soothing sun of a warm October afternoon, this golden hued vintage dress and bolero combo is a sure fire way to garner compliments. Fits; 28-29" bust (with a little extra room due to the design of the dress)/24" waist; price $88.00; available from Adeline's Attic.}

{Serenely done up in a becoming shade of celadon, this beguiling 1940s evening dress and matching jacket almost look like a shimmering treasure plucked from a mermaid's closet, and would definitely ensure all eyes were on you. Fits 36" bust/28" waist; price $148.00; available from Blacklist Vintage.}

{Calling to mind the first new shoots and blades of grass that spring returns to the earth, this beautiful green floral dress from the 1940s is as classic and lovely as they possibly come. Fits 38-40" bust/30" waist; price $83.00; available from Very Vintage Store.}

{Medium to dark hues of green have always been a favourite of mine (especially hunter and pine), so naturally my attention was instantly drawn to this fetchingly pretty emerald coloured knit wiggle dress (which is actually a matching sweater and skirt) from the forties. Fits 36-38" bust (with some stretch)/28-30" waist; price $275.00; available from Timeless Vixen Vintage.}

{I think that blue is one of the best and most versatile of all colours, as many of its shades have a natural affinity to partner so well with other hues. This lovely soft baby blue belted, button front vintage frock, for example, would look terrific with everything from red to camel, chocolate to ivory - making it a terrific wardrobe staple for sure. Fits 36" bust/25" waist; price $62.00; available from Center Stage Vintage.}


{Inviting, wonderfully relaxing shades of blue that call to mind a tropical sea reside on this darling 1950s floral print dress, complete with matching belt. I love hues like this for the dog days of summer, when anything darker is out of the question, but you don't quite feel like wearing plain white either. Fits Bust 34"/waist 44"; price $64.00; available from Vint Condition.}

{A navy blue vintage dress, like this elegant embroidered cotton example, is one of the hues in the rainbow of my closet that is currently missing - a fact which I'd love to rectify at some point during 2012. Too bad this beauty isn't my size, or I would have swopped down on it in a flash! Fits 50" bust/40" waist; price $85.00; available from Honey Bear Vintage.}

{There is such a gentle, flattering appeal to this pale dusty lilac hued 1950s dress, that's further enhanced by its trio of plum coloured buttons and charming pleated pockets. Fits 42" bust/32" waist; price $68.00; available from Raleigh Vintage.}

{You'll feel regal and playful all at once in this fantastic purple party dress from the 1950s. Pair it with hues as diverse as gold, coral, mint, or silver for an outfit that's bursting with style and pizzazz. Fits 36" bust/26" waist; price $115.00; available from Small Earth Vintage.}

{Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved wearing velvet frocks come the holiday season, especially those in rich, captivating jewel tones like this gorgeous eggplant hued charmer from the 1950s. Fits 35" bust/25" waist; price $55.00; available from Nicola's Vintage.}

There are many perks to building a rainbow of vintage dresses. Far beyond how beautiful it looks unto itself, it means that you'll rarely, if ever, find yourself in need of a garment in a certain colour and not having at least one dress in that hue. This point is a constant source of fashion related comfort for me, the perpetual Girl Guide, who always likes to be prepared.

If you're the type who likes to dress up your frocks further by wearing cardigans, scarves, blouses (underneath jumpers or sheaths), coloured hosiery or shoes, having dresses in all manner of hues means that you can accessorize to the moon and back. You can also pick out your dress colour for the day based on your mood, the season, a holiday, or anything that inspires you.

And speaking of inspiration, having a good selection of different coloured vintage dresses makes it all the more easy to emulate a yesteryear look you happen see  and love (for example in an old movie or vintage magazine), without having to spend any money in the moment on a new frock.

It's exciting to think about how my vintage rainbow of dresses will continue to expand as the years continue, and I look forward to sharing many of my beloved frocks with all of you in future wardrobe posts once we're settled into our new home.

For the moment though, I hope today's spectrum of vintage dresses inspires you and your own colourful closet, and would love to hear about your own vintage wardrobe rainbows.

February 4, 2012

Saturday Snapshots: February 4, 2012


"After all is said and done,
more is said than done." ~ Aesop

{It's hard to decide which I like more in this fantastic vintage image, the smiling rider's wonderful equestrian outfit (how can you not adore yesteryear jodhpurs?) or the completely cute horse with its nearly diamond shaped forehead marking. Both are so charming and make one long to saddle up themselves right this very minute (especially if we can borrow this woman’s fashionable riding ensemble!).}

{There is, undeniably, a massive dose of adorable at work in this heartwarming 1930s image of three well dressed youngsters, one of whom appears to have aspirations of joining the navy some day. Yet, if you peak into the background it's hard not to be subtly reminded of some of the hardships, if only indirectly, of the Depression era.

There’s the train cars, possibly hopped at night by migrant workers, vagabonds, and men down to their last broken dream alike. The dusty streets, redolent of in their own way of the drought that gripped the nation, and the lone man walking with his head down, perhaps lost in thought and far more worry than any one pair of shoulders should have to bear, as so many were during those grippingly bleak years.}

{This image is beauty and happiness; it’s evocative so many familiar sisters and friends, cousins and mothers. It is a lovely woman named Phyllis, captured forever on Kodachrome film in 1945, sporting a femininely blouse and jaunty green sweater. Who, one cannot help but wonder, was this kind looking woman from Illinois, and where, inquiring vintage fashionistas want to know, can we track down her delightful ruffled blouse today.}

{Snapped in Flarbrookeville, New Jersey - on what appears by the couple's short sleeves to have been a warm day - back in 1947, this image of Herb and Miriam Abramson shows a young husband and wife with looks of quiet, intense thought in their eyes. There's beauty in the way Herb is holding Miriam's shoulder, and elegance in the entire shot, which has a slightly posed, but not wholly staged quality to it that is so very endearing.}

{On a very blustery day in the late 1940s a woman stopped to have her picture taken along side a hill that slopped down towards the water's edge. Did you realize then how lovely she looked, how absolutely perfect her high-waisted skirt and peep-toe, ankle strap shoes were? Or was she simply hoping to hear the shutter click so that she could quickly run to get out of the howling wind?}

{It's so hard to look at this photograph from the 1950s and not instantly sympathize with the little girl having her hair put up in curlers. Who amongst us ladies can't remember our own childhood experiences and the way we'd pleadingly say, "please, mom, not so hard!", as our locks were tugged, brushed, or curled into stylish submission.}

{Sophistication and an intense sense of elegance radiate in lieu of much in the way of apparent felicity from this captivating mid-1940s wedding photograph of a young bride and groom identified simply as John and Trudy. Staring at this beautiful image, I cannot help but hope that the rest of their live together was filled with far more smiles than they shot the camera on the day of their marriage.}

{Looking almost as though it was trying to camouflage into its owner's dusty camel hued coat, a Siamese cat peers, none too impressed, into the lens for a moment during the 1950s in this charming slice-of-life image that cat parents everywhere can relate to.}

{Am upbeat looking group of soldiers in uniform and smiling ladies enjoy a spot of lively conversation in this engaging image that was snapped at the J.W.B. Club, in New York City during the early 1940s.}

{Thought neither of us bear any resemblance to the two gals in this fun 1930s image, the moment I spotted it I was instantly reminded of a friend of mine from my early teen years named Amber, and how the two of us loved spending hours together down at a tiny speck of beach near her house come summertime. It's always fascinating and often comforting, I find, when something about a photograph from the past mirrors a specific memory in you own life. }

{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.}
♥ ♥ ♥

In countless situations throughout my life, I have witnessed the sentiment expressed in today's timeless axiom from ancient Greek fable writer Aesop prove to be true. It's human nature, really. Problems can be easy to throw words at, but trickier to actually go out and concretely attempt to fix. Other times plans, promises, or drams are made, yet never quite come to fruition for whatever unforeseeable reason.

There are exceptions however, I believe, to these classic words (which by the way, make for one of my all-time favourite quotes, simply because I do find it so poignantly true), and one of them is often moving. Especially long distance moving.

No matter how much you plan, budget, and prepare, unless you have a large team of people there to help distribute the work between, a big move can be a daunting, character building, intense experience. Fortunately, the one that my husband and I are in the midst of undertaking right now is going well. It's not the first such move for either of us, though I would say we're packing up the largest volume of belongings we've ever had together this time around.

Each day it seems the hours grow shorter, the checklist longer, but I certainly wouldn't trade all this elbow grease or stress. No way, "all that was said" represents the great deal of the planning, the long, heavy nights of discussion, the debates about "what ifs", the contemplation, and the sacrifices we made to reach the point where we decided to transplant ourselves from one side of Canada to the other.

In this case, the balance of what was said and what is being done feel just about equal. Such an occurrence isn't very common, but I believe that each of us, throughout history, whether it's the people in the images above, or you and I today, experience a few times in our lives when the scales of what's discussed matches the amount of action taken.

This feeling doesn't come along often, but when it does, I find it usually means that I've made the right choice, and (knock wood) I have rarely regretted a decision that end up resulting in this kind of momentary, wonderful balance.

February 3, 2012

My interview with wonderful Brazilian blog Menina Maca

A few weeks ago, as 2011 was packing up its bags for good, I was contacted by a deeply sweet, stylish gem of a gal named Charlotte (pictured below, looking cute as a button!), who hails from Brazil. She wanted to interview me for her delightful fashion blog as part of a series she runs there called Top of the Vintage Style.


Past entries in this interview series have included some of my favourite vintage blogs, and I felt thoroughly honoured that she wanted to peak inside my mind - and vintage world - for a little while.

This past Saturday the interview that we did went live on on Charlotte's blog, Menina Maca. The interview itself was conducted in English, but the post about it is written in Brazilian.

Here however, is the English version of the interview that was conducted via email. I loved answering Charlotte's questions about my love of all things vintage, and hope you'll enjoy reading my replies.


Where are you from? Where do you live?

At the moment I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with my endlessly sweet husband, Tony, and our darling little grey tabby cat, Stella. Originally however, I'm from the province of British Columbia, where I lived in various towns and cities while growing up. After that I spent a couple of years in (the province of) Alberta, then living abroad in Europe for the first two years of my marriage, before we landed here in Ontario.

Since when you've been dressing up on 'vintage style'? Tell me some more about your fashion icons from the past.

I've been interested in vintage clothing and the general subject of history for quite literally as far back as I have memories. When I was a little girl (about six years old) I asked my mom to make me a poodle skirt, because I was already enamoured with the 1950s, which she sweetly did, and I ended up wearing that once I got home from school just about every day for the next couple of years. Jump ahead to my teen years when I began buying my own clothes and the first places I started shopping were the little thrift and consignment stores in my hometown.

My high school was located on my town's main street within walking distance of a few such shops, so sometimes on my lunch hour I'd pop down the street to try and find some charming 40s or 50s pieces (or at least ones that looked the part) before returning to my next class after lunch. I look back at those fun memories very fondly.

Though I do have some modern style garments, the bulk of my wardrobe since I've was about 16 years old has been either genuine vintage items from the 40s and 50s (my two favourite decades of all time), reproduction vintage, or modern pieces that channel the look and feel of those two decades. I'm especially drawn to Dior's New Look, so many of the items in my wardrobe have a highly feminine late 40s/early 50s style to them.

My biggest style icons from past have actually always been everyday women, people like my grandmothers and their friends who lived ordinary lives, got married, had children and were wonderful people who today inspire me constantly. I love imagining that if I was suddenly transported back in time to say, 1950, I could instantly blend in with other ladies on the street. There's something special about that thought and the way that it makes me feel deeply connected with the past, even though I didn't actually get a chance to live the decades I adore most first hand.


Do you use to create your own outfits (like sewin' or handmade...)? Where do you usually buy/find those beautiful things?

So far I've bought my vintage clothing, but dream of one day getting a sewing machine, improving my sewing skills (I can sew a bit, but don't claim to be an expert sewer at all) and hopefully making some of my own garments. I've been collecting vintage sewing patterns for a few years, as I've come across ones I liked, so I'll definitely be ready to go when I do get a sewing machine.

When I was younger (teen years and early 20s), I bought most of my vintage clothing from second hand, thrift, consignment and vintage stores, as well as a few pieces from garage sales and flea markets. In more recent years though, I've primarily been sourcing my vintage items online (particularly from eBay and etsy, but also from other assorted websites).


How do people behave/react when they see you walking on the street on vintage style?

Living in Toronto, one encounters all kinds of people with countless different styles, so usually my vintage fashions don't provoke too much of a reaction. Occasionally I'll have someone come up and ask me if I'm going to a party or wedding, or if I'm an actress, but generally people are polite and don't say anything that isn't positive.

One of my favourite things about wearing vintage looks is how happy I know it makes some elderly people, who really get a kick out of seeing a woman dressed in the styles of their youth. One time a few years ago an older woman on the bus said to me that I was the "first well dressed young person she'd seen in fifty years" and then continued to keep complimenting me on my vintage outfit. I was really touched by her kind words and delight in knowing that how I dress helps bring back fond memories of decades past for some people.


Tell me something (vintage related) that you want to have badly.

There are so many things on my vintage fashion wish list, but one that is right near the very top for me would be a well fitting vintage wedding dress. When my husband and I got married in 2004, we had a very small civil ceremony and I didn't get to wear a formal wedding dress because it was a causal affair. That day was endlessly special and meaningful for both of us, but we hope to one day (possibly for our 10th or 15th anniversary) have a wedding vow renewal ceremony, which we'd like to essentially be like the traditional kind of wedding we missed out on initially. If that happens, I am definitely go to try and track down my dream vintage wedding dress!


Indicate a blog (or pages) that you really love reading.

As the mile long blogroll on Chronically Vintage attests, there are tons of amazing vintage blogs that I love to garner inspiration from, so it's tricky to mention only a few. That said, some of my perpetual sources of inspiration include Andi B. Goode, By Gum, by Golly, Tea with the Vintage Baroness, The Glamorous Housewife, Vixen Vintage, and Yesterday Girl. A new edition to the vintage blogging front this year (note: technically last year now) that quickly became one of my must-reads is The Musings and Adventures of a Pinup Mama.

Another huge source of online inspiration for me is the thousands of wonderful vintage photos and images (ads, illustrations, etc) that people have uploaded on Flickr. I've gotten a lifetime's worth of vintage inspiration from Flickr alone.

♥ ♥ ♥

Menina Maca is a sartorially inspiring, upbeat, highly fun blog that encompasses both vintage and somewhat more modern style, though always with a definite eye to the past. If you haven't popped by before, I encourage you to do so - with a little help from Google Translate, you can even translate Charlotte's writing from Brazilian into English or whatever language you'd prefer.

I want thank Charlotte dearly for her interest in Chronically Vintage and myself. It was a complete and total pleasure getting to know you and your stellar blog! Muito obrigado!

February 1, 2012

Kicking off February with vintage Chocolate Brownie Pie

Can you believe it, February - the month of grey, slushy snow piles, loves notes, and a mere twenty-nine days - is here already. Weren’t we just tossing confetti into the air, saying so long to 2011, and waiting for the ball to drop?

Time, as it always does, marches forward though and New Year's is once again a pleasant memory. Now, crossing into the second month of the year, we've been properly introduced to 2012, and that's worth celebrating in its own right.

As this is month that houses Valentine's Day after all, it only seems fitting that  February's first vintage recipe be one that's fabulously sweet, bursting with chocolate, and perfect for a special evening with someone you love (romantically or otherwise).

I tend to find that good food tastes even better in the company of someone I care about, and hope the same will ring true for you as well when you bite into today's scrumptious recipe for Chocolate Brownie Pie.

{Though the image here does admittedly leave a bit to be desired, this delightful chocolate and pecan stuffed dessert sounds so mouth-wateringly fantastic that a somewhat monochromatic photo can easily be forgiven. Vintage Chocolate Brownie Pie recipe by way of Shelf Life Taste Test on Flickr.}

These days hybrid desserts that marry two or more classics (e.g., red velvet cookies, doughnut cupcakes, or birthday cake ice cream) are all the rage (not mention endlessly popular on Pinterest!), but they were less common and certainly more novel for folks a few decades ago, which is all the more reason I wanted to share this great vintage pie recipe with you the moment I spotted it.

I hope that just like this tasty treat itself, you each have a seriously sweet, completely enjoyable February, dear friends!