May 30, 2012

A fantastic 1940s recipe to use up extra bananas

Bananas are a fantastic fruit. Not only do they contain various important vitamins and nutrients (potassium, magnesium, B6, vitamin C, etc) and boast an universally appealing sweet taste, but they can be put to use in a myriad of different recipes.

Sometimes however - especially if, like at our house, you routinely find yourself with several bananas that are threatening to turn overly mushy at any moment - you may find yourself wanting to take a break from the standard banana bread, muffin, smoothie, and cream pie repertoire. When such a mood strikes, one of my favourite ways to use up an abundance of this delicious yellow fruit is to make banana cookies.

A hit with crowds of all ages, banana cookies are (generally) soft, flavourful, and a snap to toss together. They freeze (and defrost) well, in my experience, and can also be a great alternative to chocolate and nut based cookies, if you're cooking for someone with food allergies to such ingredients.

Today's vintage Banana Drop Cookie recipe hails 1941 and employees a handful of fridge and store cupboard staples that most of us have at the ready (much like bananas themselves) all the time. Not only is the recipe itself terrific, but the charmingly adorable illustrations make this page one to print out and smile over time and time again.

 

Vintage banana drop cookie recipe
{Tasty, speedy, and economical, this vintage banana cookie recipe is fun classic that will never go out of style. Image via curly-wurly on Flickr.}



These drop cookies are terrific as is, however you can also jazz them up further by including ingredients such as coconut (which with the banana backdrop instantly gives them a terrific tropical vibe), dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries, mango, or raisins; chocolate chips, banana chips (double banana cookies!), crushed pretzels, or butterscotch chips. You could also drizzle a little vanilla frosting, melted chocolate, or caramel over them once they've cooked and cooled.

So the next time you're wondering what to do with those soon-to-expire bananas and want a change of pace, take a page from the 1940s and whip up a batch of these thoroughly yummy drop cookies.


May 29, 2012

Polka dots and apple blossoms in East Kelowna

 

Polka dots and apple blossoms, Kelowna vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano image_6

 

Polka dots and apple blossoms, Kelowna vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano image_8

 

Polka dots and apple blossoms, Kelowna vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano image_10

 

Polka dots and apple blossoms, Kelowna vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano image_1

 

Polka dots and apple blossoms, Kelowna vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano image_4

 

Polka dots and apple blossoms, Kelowna vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano image_9

 

Polka dots and apple blossoms, Kelowna vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano image_3

 

Polka dots and apple blossoms, Kelowna vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano image_5

 

Polka dots and apple blossoms, Kelowna vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano image_2

 

Polka dots and apple blossoms, Kelowna vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano image_7

 

Outfit details

Prescription eyeglasses: (frames) Venus Eye Design V-12
 
Grey knit shrug: Fairweather
 
1980s does 50s pink and white polka dot dress: etsy seller Vintage Revolution
 
Peachy-pink hued floral hairclip worn as a brooch: Arden
 
Sheer white 1950s gloves: eBay
 
Pink iridescent plastic bead stretch bracelets: Forever 21
 
Cream faux leather purse: Sears
 
White lace trimmed pettiskirt: Pettiskirt Style
 
Nude on nude seamed stockings: eBay
 
White pumps: Payless
 
Lip colour: Clinique Raspberry Glace
 
 
Photography by Antonio Cangiano
 


♥ ♥ ♥


One of my favourite elements about the Okanagan Valley has always been its fantastic wealth of fruit trees. From those in the yards of the neighbours on my childhood street, to the tall hills flanking both sides of Penticton that abound with pear, apple, cherry, apricot, and peach orchards, there are few things more evocative - or symbolic - of this corner of British Columbia to me than its bounty of fruit trees.

As such, I couldn't wait for spring to (finally) start popping its head out once more so that I could use the occasion to take some outfit photos amongst some of the local agriculture. While on a quick trip out to Kelowna recently, Tony and I headed up to a part of the city that I'm actually not very familiar with: East Kelowna.

It's somewhat amazing to me that all though I've been to Kelowna more times than I could ever recall throughout my life (I even briefly lived there for two months eons ago), I don't know if I've ever veered off into the easterly part of the city.

My goodness, I didn't know what I was missing! In a matter of minutes one is free from the hustle and bustle of the downtown core and suddenly immersed in a world of breath-taking views (of Okanagan Lake), farmland, beautiful homes, and a plethora of fruit trees.

Pulling up to a park on East Kelowna road, we took a few snaps there before skittering across the street to a little apple orchard (at least I think these were apple trees, I guess they could also have been pear) and nestling down among the newly bloomed branches for a few minutes in the light of a pale, serenely lovely late afternoon sunset.

I hadn't planned this location in advance, so I was very pleased that the cute pink and white polka dot dress and grey shrug I was sporting that day worked well with the grass and tree filled spots where we were shooting.

Without a doubt this area, tucked just a stone's throw away from the heart Kelowna, is now one of my favourite locations in all of the Okanagan. The scenery and pasture meets orchard filled landscape has a romantic charm to it that instantly found a soft with my soul, and to which I'm quite certain I'll make a point of visiting often know that I've (ever so happily!) discovered it.


May 27, 2012

Broaching the subject of collecting brooches

One would be more than justified in saying that I need another collection like a need a whole in the head. In fact, I'd thoroughly agree with them - which part of the reason that right before moving from Ontario to B.C. earlier this year, I actually sold off two large collections of items I'd been gathering for nearly five years. However, there are times when starting a new collection - especially if it doesn't stand to take up much space - is completely acceptable, no matter how many other roundups of beloved items you already own.

As I've touched upon occasionally in past posts (such as this one about my hunt for plastic bobby pins), I'm extremely allergic to nickel. Be it on bra straps, shoe buckles, jeans' buttons, hair accessories, purse hardware, jewelry, or a myriad of other spots, I must always ensure that I do not let any metal which contains nickel come in contact with my skin (or else I will very rapidly develop a horrible case of contact dermatitis that usually takes weeks to clear up). This is not an easy feat when you consider that many metal items that one routinely comes in contact with do not include a marking or any other indication to let you know what they're made up of.

As such, I learned very early on in life that it was best to pretty much avoid putting any metal on my body unless I was certain (or as certain as one can - I've bought plenty of earrings from reputable shops over the years, such as H&M, that were marked as being "nickel-free" and which still bothered me, and which - according to my home nickel detection kit -  turned out to actually contain the offending metal) that they were safe (sterling silver, brass, copper, and gold that is 14 carat or higher are generally safe, for example).

This means that the vast majority of costume jewellery pieces (often including even high end and designer pieces) are completely off the (dressing room) table for me. I can admire them lovingly - and longingly - from afar or buy them to give as gifts for others who are not allergic to nickel, but there's rarely any way for me to wear them safely myself.

Thus, for most of my life I've not given much thought to the idea of wearing brooches (much as I've always liked them). That is, until this year. You see, I realized that if I put a couple of layers of fabric (clothing) between the brooch (decorative front and pin back) and my skin, and ensured it did not come in contact with my exposed skin in anyway, I could safely wear most brooches, even those with nickel in them.

This discovery might seem like a small one, but to me it was rather monumental because it suddenly opened up a whole new, massively yearned for corner of the jewelry spectrum for me. While many bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings, and hair accessories are still out of the questions (because, again, they'd come in direct contact with my skin), brooches - my new jewelry BBFs - are an avenue that I get to really explore for the first time ever.

Since determining this point a few months ago, I've been rapidly building up a collection of costume jewelry brooches from various online and real world sources. As with most things I wear, the brooches I'm purchasing are either vintage or vintage appropriate, and so far I've not paid more than $20.00 for a single one of them. In fact, the vast majority have been $10.00 or less (with a few being as affordable as $0.99!).

While one can certainly spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on vintage and antique brooches, I'm happy as a clam to seek out budget-friendly options and find myself especially drawn to brooches that feature some of my favourite things (roses, keys, cute animals, etc) or which I look at and can instantly see that piece working with one or more outfits I already own.

In the first five months of this year alone, I've taken what previously amounted to three or four brooches and morphed them into a collection of more than thirty! Of that, I'd say that about 15-20% are actual vintage (from the 40s, 50s, or 60s) and most of the rest are 1980s through present day pins that have a distinctly vintage appropriate vibe to them.

I've always adored the look of brooches and the accessory versatility they offer. One can wear them on a lapel, shoulder, waist, scarf, handbag, hat, or even tucked in your hair. They're very easy to find (even vintage ones) and truly do not have to break the bank, especially if you're not buying pieces made with precious metals, gemstones, Bakelite, lucite, or other pricy/highly sought after materials.

I'm definitely not looking for brooches of that nature right now (not, of course that I'd turn any down, if offered!), which means that on a shoe-string budget I can quickly add some much needed hits of sparkle, shine, and accessory elegance (or fun - as the case may be) to my wardrobe.

At the moment I find myself drawn to brooches that depict something, instead of just being a clustering or geometric shape of metal, rhinestones, gems, pearls, etc (though I do have a few of those types, too). Cameos, bows, lockets, animals, holiday and seasonal pins (e.g., snowflakes or wishbones), food (especially fruit), and flora (flowers, branches, leaves) are amongst my favourites right now. I love scatter pins and chain linked/double chain pins, too, though so far I haven't picked up any of those styles yet.

Down the road as my brooch collection (and knowledge on this topic) has grown even more to encompass a wider selection of styles and subject matters, I plan on doing a post showcasing how I store them and highlighting some of my favourites (which you'll also see in various "what I wore" outfit posts).

For today however, I thought it would be oodles of fun to share a mixed bag selection of twenty vintage brooches with you that I've spotted etsy lately (all priced under $50.00) and which are all firmly pinned onto my vintage jewelry wish list.


{A romantically charming vintage sweetheart brooch in which you can store super tiny photos of your favourite folks. $40.00 from Happy Moon Designs.}

{Whether you're an artist or lover of the arts, this delightful painter's palette brooch is for you. $8.00 from Vintage Necessities.}

{Sweet as the pie they're so often whipped into, this 1940s wooden cherry brooch is definitely worth picking! $27.00 from Sun City Center Jewelry.}

{Mr. Pink Kitty is chatting up a storm on this super cute 1950s novelty brooch. $38.00 from Orbiting Debris.}

{Luck be a lady tonight! With this cool pair of dice face scatter pins, you're sure to win big on the fashion front. $20.00 from RuthEyes.}

{Put on the kettle - and this wonderfully cute vintage teapot and teapot chain brooch - it's time for a stylish afternoon cuppa. $24.00 from Malibloom.}

{Instantly call to mind fond childhood memories of watching a classic TV western series with this great Lone Ranger brooch. $18.00 from Squidgie Peach Bottoms.}

{Whether used as a set of chained pins or as a sweater clip to hold your favourite cardi closed, this elegant double chain butterfly brooch is sure to set your heart a flutter. $16.00 from Buy Old School Jewels.}

{A poignant link to the tragedies of war that ravaged the 1940s, this red and blue "Remember Pearl Harbor" brooch is a meaningful reminder of a the hardships those who lived during one of our favourite decades endured. $20.00 from Ozark Prairie Antiques and Collectibles.}

{Measuring 2.25"x2.2.25", this lovely 1940s carved wood horse head pin is sure to be a favourite with wild west and pony enthusiasts alike. $28.00 from Wildfell Hall Vintage.}

{One of the neatest things about vintage brooches is the wide array of materials that were employed in their construction. Case in point, this cute blue sequins flower brooch from the 1950s. $18.00 from Flipsville.}


{If one vintage moulded plastic dog's face is cute, than two is bound to be extra adorable, and that is definitely the case with this fun novelty pin from the 40s or 50s! $34.99 from HartsCloset.}


{I really fancy vintage brooch with wirework words on them, so I was instantly drawn to this touchingly special US Navy wife heart dangle brooch from the 40s. $24.00 from Boopsie Vintage.}

{Keep a beautifully attired friend with you on the go with this sweetly sophisticated hand painted vintage lady's head brooch. $25.00 from Love and Dust Vintage.}


{Hued as brightly pink as a rhododendron, this lovely pair of vintage celluloid rose earrings with a matching brooch is so marvelously well suited to the vibrant days of summer. $27.00 (for all three pieces) from Malibloom.}

{Lend any outfit a hit of pretty lilac hued charm with this splendid 1950s ballerina brooch. $15.97 from Resurrections.}

{It's anchors away - or at least onto your lapel, with this colourful nautical themed 1940s brooch. $22.00 from Luxxor.}

{I've always associated bowling with the 1950s more than any other decade, so when I saw this fabulous heart charm dangle brooch with a gal bowling inside, it was love at first sight. $19.00 from Red Truck Designs.}

{No matter if it's the dead of winter or the dog days of summer, you can always keep a basket of beautiful blooms close with this sweetly lovely hand painted 1940s celluloid brooch. $38.00 from CraftySara.}


{This darling, adorable vintage cat's eye glasses brooch is just through-the-roof fabulous! $12.00 from Angeline's Attic.}

♥ ♥ ♥


I hope that you enjoyed seeing these delightful pins, too, and would love to hear about your own brooch collection and to know what your favourite kind of brooch to gather and wear is.

Happy collecting, and accessorizing, sweet dears - may you each have a Sunday that glistens with as much beauty as the most resplendent brooch in the world!


May 25, 2012

Maybelline's three quick 1950s tricks to eye beauty

It might sound strange to say that a week which begun on a holiday (Victoria Day) feels like it's been a long one, yet it has it. You know how the end of the month can be, as various issues that had been accumulating over the past three or four weeks suddenly seem to collide, each one needing to be addressed, and you find yourself more than a little tuckered out - akin in a way to the infamous "I need a vacation after my vacation" feeling that sometimes crops up as a holiday wraps up.

Fridays however, are meant to be light and fun, and free of the shackles of both the work week and life's pressing demands, in general, and so on that note, I thought I'd sure something quick and fun with you today: a great vintage Maybelline cosmetics ad from 1954 that highlights three quick tips to eye beauty.


1950s Maybelline ad 3 quick tricks to eye beauty

 
{Charmingly pretty illustrated 1950s Maybelline ad via Van Michelle on Flickr.}

 

If - like me - you wear cat's eyeliner and eyebrow pencil, you'll likely find these three steps very familiar. I like how in the third step, after applying mascara, it's suggested that one "blends a bit of Maybelline eye shadow into the upper lid", thus creating a subtle smoky effect, long before the term smoky eye came into play.

While few of us still use mascara that comes in a compact and is applied with a separate brush (though a small handful of brands - such as Longcils Boncza Cosmetique Cake Mascara still exist), overall these three steps have remained unchanged for decades now, and are are still about the quickest, easiest way to give your lovely peepers an instant 1950s look that exudes glamorous beauty.

While I'm no stranger to a bold lip, I've always adored focusing on my eyes when doing my make-up, and begin with them when applying my daily cosmetics. I start with soft (white, ivory, beige and/or soft pink) eye shadow, then much as in this ad, apply eyeliner, eyebrow pencil (my natural brows are incredibly sparse and so pale they're almost invisible), and mascara.

For my eyeliner and mascara, I generally opt for classic black. My eyebrow pencil is a warm reddish brown that was actually designed to be an eyeliner (Cover Girl Chestnut 212), but which I find glides on easily and stays puts for the whole day better than most of the products designed specifically for eyebrows that I've tried (many, interestingly enough, of which actually bothered my sensitive skin).

Though these three tricks from Maybelline are scarcely secrets, I always enjoy seeing precisely how ladies of the past applied their cosmetics, and thought that as as a nice way to kick off the last Friday in May, you would, too. Do these steps differ much from how you apply your own eye makeup, or are they pretty much identical?

I hope that no matter what kind of week - and month - you've had, sweet dears, each of you will be able to enjoy as weekend that's every bit as beautiful as a classic mid-1950s eye is! Smile


May 23, 2012

A new floral cardi dukes it out with the wind in Naramata

Though the classic saying we all learned as youngsters states that "April showers bring May flowers", this year I've been feeling more like it should be "April showers bring May winds!". It doesn't rhyme, I know, but it would certainly be a more fitting description of the weather around these parts over the past few weeks.

As you may remember, last week's outfit post featured a heavy handed dose of wind. Well, today's is following suite. Though perhaps the blustery breezes in this one are a tad more justified given that these photos were taken mere feet away from the water's edge at Okanagan Lake, it was still a thoroughly windy day as we captured these snaps recently which far exceeded anything that might have been attributed to the lake.

Located just a few minutes north of our town, Naramata - the spot where these photos were taken - is a charming, densely orchard and vineyard filled community of about 2,000 people. Comprised primarily of agriculture lands, homes (including some stunning luxury properties), and a few small beaches along Okanagan Lake, Naramata is a fun, laid back spot to venture out to every now and then when you're in the mood for a little drive through some rather gorgeous natural scenery (especially in the fall when all of the trees in the orchards and vineyards are bursting with the fiery, rich hues of the season).

As there are none around for hundreds of miles (unlike back when we lived in Toronto and there was one within walking distance of my house), I recently placed my first ever online order with Forever 21 Canada (only great things to say about the experience – very much including the super quick shipping speed). I picked up a couple of purses, a few accessories, and two cardigans, including the pink, green and white floral number in today's photos.

 

A very windy day at Wharf Park in Naramata, Jessica Cangiano vintage photo shoot image_2

 

A very windy day at Wharf Park in Naramata, Jessica Cangiano vintage photo shoot image_4

 

A very windy day at Wharf Park in Naramata, Jessica Cangiano vintage photo shoot image_3

 

A very windy day at Wharf Park in Naramata, Jessica Cangiano vintage photo shoot image_5

 

A very windy day at Wharf Park in Naramata, Jessica Cangiano vintage photo shoot image_1

 

A very windy day at Wharf Park in Naramata, Jessica Cangiano vintage photo shoot image_6

Outfit details
 
 
Vintage green velvet hat: Jardin Antiques
 
White rose stud earrings: Claire’s
 
Floral print cardigan: Forever 21
 
White lace top vintage slip (worn like a camisole): eBay
 
Faux cinnabar carved plastic bangle bracelet: Forever 21
 
Taupe hued vintage gloves: eBay
 
Pink faux alligator purse: Sears
 
1950s green corduroy skirt: eBay
 
Black pumps: Payless
 
Nude on nude seamed stockings: eBay
 
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red
 
 
Photography by Antonio Cangiano
 


♥ ♥ ♥


Have you ever encountered one of those scenarios wherein you've been looking for an item you don't have (or need to replace, get more of, etc) for ages, only to suddenly find two or more of the same type of thing in rapid succession? I actually tend to have this happen on a relatively frequent basis, and thin knit floral print cardigans were one such recent example.

No sooner (within the same week) had I ordered this cute one, as I found another floral cardi on etsy from a seller in Europe that I just had to pick, too (it features a black background and different coloured blooms, so it's actually fairly different looking).

I'd been hunting for a flower print cardi with flowers that weren't too big (as big patterns can all too quickly overwhelm my petite frame) for at least a couple of years, and was thrilled to find not one, but two mere days apart from one another. I'm definitely set on that front for a long time to come now!

The forest green corduroy skirt here was a deadstock piece that I picked up a few months ago. Though it always pains me in a way to snip the original tags of off a deadstock item, at the same time there's something really special about knowing that you have the honour of wearing a 60 year old garment for the first time (well, at least the first time outside of a dressing room).

If the green velvet hat here looks familiar, that's because it's the one I wrote about in this Monday's post about the five items I purchased at Jardin Antiques in OK Falls. As comfortable as a pillow and as light as a feather, this rich jewel toned topper has fast become one of the most beloved - and commonly worn - vintage hats in my collection.

While the wind out at Wharf Park in Naramata gave us a good whipping that day, at least it wasn't quite as cold or as brutal as our adventures in Rutland back on May 1st. In fact, my hat didn't even blow off once, which has to be a good sign. Smile


May 21, 2012

The vintage items I picked up at Jardin Antiques

A little over a month ago, in a post called Blue Jean Baby, OK Falls lady, I mentioned the fact that around that time my husband and I had spent a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon in the neighbouring community of Okanagan Falls, where amongst our stops, we paid a visit to one of the Southern Okanagan’s longest standing and, in my opinion, best antique stores: Jardin Estate Vintage Jewelry and Antiques.

Nestled in a small building on OK Fall's quaint little main street, this shop  is one that I remember visiting occasionally as a child in the company of my mom and paternal grandmother (who, like me, has always adorned the Victorian era). Back in those days OK Falls had two antique shops in the same area, but today only Jardin Antiques remains.

I'm very glad that it does, because there are really aren't too many vintage and antique stores in this neck of the woods, and I think that the community needs to try and hang onto those few that we are fortunate enough to have. As such, whenever I'm in the vicinity of one, I love to stop in, chat with the employees and hopefully make a purchase or two.

It had been so many years since I lasted visited Jardin, that I couldn't say for certain any more what types of items they carried (aside from jewelry, which they are renowned for). I was delighted to find that amongst the gorgeous antique and vintage babbles, beads and jewels on offer, there as also a lovely, well curated selection of household goods (from fine china to recipe booklets), accessories (I hummed and hawed over a black lamb's wool muff, but decided against it in the end because I felt it wasn't in quite good enough shape to survive the many future Canadian winters I'd want to use it for), books, and sundry other terrific items.

While they did have a few vintage garments (mainly 1960s frocks) in stock, the selection in that regard was sparse. What they weren't lacking for however, was vintage hats (a blend of 40s-70s styles) and gloves - two of my absolute favourite wardrobe pieces in the whole world.

Though I could very easily have bought more, I spared my credit card a beating and opted instead for the following five items (all of which were, to my mind, quite reasonably priced).

Light blue mini button vintage ladies gloves (from OK Falls antique store)

Navy blue vintage gloves with crochet lace detail (from OK Falls antique store)

Yellow vintage ruched ladies gloves  (from OK Falls antique store)

Vintage 1950s green velvet ladies hat (from OK Falls antique store)

Cherry Ames Dude Ranch Nurse vintage book (from OK Falls antique store)

Far from collecting merely for the sake of collecting, I frequently wear vintage gloves and hats, so I was tickled pink to find three of the pairs of 40s/50s era gloves (they had several other, too, but again, I was trying to be a budget-conscious shopper) and a gorgeous green velvet hat all in my size.

I'd been hunting for a dark green hat in that sort of hue for ages, and was thrilled to pick this one up for (if I remember correctly) $22.00. It's beyond comfortable and I've already worn it a few times since bringing it home to join my other vintage hats.

 

Vintage blue, navy, and yellow gloves triptych 
{Close ups shots of the dainty crochet, ultra tiny buttons, and chic rouching that, respectively, adorn my three new pairs of beautiful vintage gloves.}

As some of you will recall from this post back in March of 2011, I've long been a fan of the classic young reader series of books, Cherry Ames, and have been on the look out for a title from that series to add to my vintage book collection for some time now.


Cherry Ames Dude Ranch Nurse vintage book (from OK Falls antique store)_detail (spine) 
{I love that Cherry's cheerful, smiling face appears on the spine of this fun vintage book about the adventures of a young nurse, who, in this title, finds herself at a wild west dude ranch.}

♥   ♥   ♥

Given that Ok Falls is a mere 15 minutes or so away from our town, we'll likely be out that way periodically (especially during the summer months when the town holds a public flea market on main street there every weekend), and will no doubt stop in and visit Jardin's many more times in the future. I hope that on subsequent visits I'll find additional "must have" vintage treasures to add to my collection, too.

Should you ever be in this sage green, lake filled corner of British Columbia, I highly recommend stopping in at Jardin's. We spent over half an hour there and I still could have kept looking for longer, because every last one of their offerings is just the sort of thing that makes a vintage loving gal's eyes light up.

May 19, 2012

Saturday Snapshots: May 19, 2012

 

"You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take."
~ Wayne Gretzky
 
 


{Spring has sprung and this beautifully attired 1950s woman (identified as Sally Garnand Longmore) couldn't pass up the opportunity to pose with a lovely little blossoming bush rich in pretty pink buds.}


{Two Spanish fellows (Albino and Honorio Montes GarcĂ­a) entertain a crowd with their musical abilities in this fun shot from 1957.}


{A pair of stylish 1930s gals (friends, sisters, classmates, cousins?) embrace against a backdrop of whispy trees, as their beautiful summer dresses flutter ever-so-slighyly in the wind.}


{A big smile - partly from enjoyment, and I suspect, partially from pride in herself - radiates from this darling little 1950s girl's face as she pedals her tricycle up and down the sidewalk in the winter. I love how her dark shadow falls right alongside her on the grass, almost as though an imaginary friend is riding alongside her.}


{This shot, though seemingly run-of-the-mills is terrific. I love how the pretty woman is resting her face on her hand, one finger nail grazing her lip. How the two chaps are all cheerful grins, and that we clearly make out the 7-Up labels on the bottles they were tossing back that evening.}


{Like a movie still come to life, this stellar 1930s photo is impossible to look at and not adore instantly. From his skinny suspenders to the fact that she's clutching a pipe in her teeth as she stands on the back bumper of a car, there is so much fabulous old school coolness at work here.}


{Four cute young gals (I'd guess friends or cousins, as they seem to be too close in age to all be sisters) gather 'round for a cute informal portrait shot that was snapped on October 9, 1942. }


{Beauty, elegance, and the spirit of youth radiate from the faces of this attractive 1940s couple, he in his military uniform, she in a smart dress and classic pearls. No information that would indicate such is provided by the original poster, but I can't help wondering if this was perhaps their wedding photo.}


{In an adorable novelty print dress featuring sunny lemons, a young lady relaxes on a plaid blanket at the beach in a photo that was captured back in 1947.}


{Two women ham it up for the camera as they pose behind a bride and groom's attire while at the Eaton County Fair during March of 1941. It definitely looks like they were having a great time!}


{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.}

 

♥ ♥ ♥

Recently I had an encounter at the local grocery store wherein a lovely twenty-something year old woman complimented me on my vintage outfit. I was touched, as I always am when people say nice things about my style, and thought she seemed like someone who might enjoy knowing about Chronically Vintage.

Generally speaking, being extremely shy, I don't tell strangers about my site, but I took a stab and not only told her, but handed her one of my Chronically Vintage business cards (something I've never done before with a person who complimented me in public). Even though I wasn't pushy at all and just said something along the lines of "I blog about the 40s and 50s outfits I wear here, check it out, if you like", I sensed that she was a bit surprised by the fact that I gave her my card as I felt her demeanour changed the moment I started to talk about my site. She took my card, but quickly said "thanks" and went on her way.

To the average onlooker the whole (maybe 20 second long) encounter might seem completely fine, but I felt shaken by it (and I had certainly not wanted to make her feel uncomfortable in any way). You see, I am not usually the type to take (what is in my books) such a bold move. I'd love to tell the whole world about this blog and to chat about vintage fashion with everyone I meet, but that takes a certain degree of being comfortable with promoting yourself (in person), and also not having qualms with chatting to strangers. Two things that, sadly, I definitely lack.

I'd only popped into the store to see if they had a certain type of (delicious) mandarin orange in stock, and since they didn't, I couldn't beeline it back to the car after that experience fast enough. I told Tony about the tale, and he was very sweet and understanding. He said that he knew it took a lot for me to do something so outside of my comfort zone, and then reminded me of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky's fantastic quote above.

Tony went on to say that the encounter could have played out very differently if the woman had seemed more enthused about my site, pointing out that any number of positive outcomes could have theoretically occurred. He's right, and in the uncomfortable aftermath of a seemingly innocent enough exchange that left me feeling rather shaken up, I'd failed to reflect on how things could have gone more positively. It's a poignant reminder, regardless of the situation, that for every encounter, there's at least two outcomes: a good and bad.

I wouldn't say what happened that day was bad necessarily, but it wasn't ideal either and, at least until Tony's comforting words, it left me feeling foolish for working up the nerve to tell a stranger about my site. While I might refrain from handing out a card so quickly again, I won't let this experience backtrack my attempt at being a little braver with strangers.

Life is too short not to take risks, no matter how big or small (and I'm the first to say that this was a pretty small risk, as far as risks go), because you truly never do know what's going to happen when you do. Sometimes the results might be horrible, scary, or negative, but more often than not, they stand to be positive - even life changing on certain occasions.

So the next time I feel my shyness creeping in, but I want to talk to a stranger (about any topic), I'll try to remember Wayne - and Tony's - wise words, and to take the shot.


May 17, 2012

My current top five favourite nail polish colours

Like countless gals the world over (and for decades now), I adore nail polish. As a teenager my collection of bottles nearly hit triple digits and I'd usually give myself a manicure every couple of nights (often opting for intricate designs, French manicures in both traditional and off-the-wall colour combos, and sometimes I'd even sport a different hue on each nail), but as I grew older (and had less free time in the evenings), my nail polish collection gradually dwindled in size.

That's ok though, like so many things that come with age, I find my tastes in nail varnish hues have streamlined over the years and were I to have 100 bottles of polish today, I fear many of them would only get used every once in a blue moon. Instead, corralled neatly into a clear little see-through shoe box style plastic tote under the bathroom sink, one will now find, on average, about twenty bottles of nail polish, each of which I try to wear (either on my fingers or toes) at least a few times a year.

For all the many, many times I've painted my nails throughout my life, I do not profess to be a guru of nail polishes, manicure techniques, or impeccably perfect sets of lacquered nails, like those on the hands of the many, many bloggers who dedicate their whole sites (and Youtube channels) to this fun topic.

I'm just your average cosmetics loving lass who enjoys painting her nails (often in vintage appropriate hues) whenever possible, and who thought you might enjoy taking a peak at the top five shades I've been wearing most often over the past couple of years.


The five most commonly worn nail polish colours in my collection

While there are some bold, moody, and far out colours in my box of polishes, for some time now I've been gravitating more and more towards shades that I can get a lot of mileage out of and which (often) compliment (not clash with) my vintage outfits. To that end, it's likely not surprising that two of my favourite polishes are reds and another in pale pink.

 


MAC Cream Rougemarie

 

MAC cream Rougemarie nail polish diptych

Bar none, (manicured) hands down my most favourite nail polish colour of all-time. Perhaps it's because my middle name (Marie) appears in the moniker of this nail polish, or maybe it's the fact that two coats tend to last for a week on my fingers or two on my toes. Maybe it's because the colour instantly evokes thoughts of wistfully sweet summertime cherry juice or that I've yet to wear any outfit that it didn't work with. Whatever the reason, this deep, elegant, not-too-shiny shade of deep red is a beloved nail polish favourite that I keep buying time and time again.

 


Essie Red Nouveau


Essie Red Nouveau nail polish diptych 

With a name that any vintage lover is bound to appreciate, this warm, cheerful shade of red is my go-to colour for nails that sing with classic, fabulous vintage spirit and charm. To boot, this teeny bottle (which was part of a wonderful four shade pack of mini polishes I received from my sister) has lasted me for nearly two years now (which is rather amazing considering I've probably used it thirty or more times).



Revlon Sheer Blossom OO7


Revlon Sheer Blossom 007 nail polish diptych

These days, I rarely go for hues on my fingers that shock and amaze, instead I lean more towards sweet, girly shades like this ultra soft, almost cotton candy-like shade of sheer pink. One coat delivers a barely there whisper of colour; two start veering into ballerina tutu territory, and three deliver a coquettish level of petal pretty pink that goes with, I do believe, just about any colour in your wardrobe you could ever imagine pairing it with.

 


OPI Curry Up Don't Be Late


OPI Curry Up Don't Be Late gold nail polish diptych

At first glance, gold nail polish might not seem like a subtle or easy to wear shade, but I assure you that this one from OPI manages to be both. More burnished than gleaming, completely free of sparkles, and fabulously long lasting, this is by far the best and most beautiful shade of gold polish I've ever worn. If you're worried it will knock your look into 70s disco glam territory fear not, I've had great success in pairing it with everything from leopard print circle skirts to elegant 1950s LBDs without the slightest hint of Studio 54 creeping into the picture.



Joe Fresh Mint


Joe Fresh Mint green nail polish diptych

The term quasi-neutral gets brandished around a lot these days - often far too easily, but there are cases when it's more than warranted and this bottle of milky, serenely beautiful mint green nail polish from Canadian brand Joe Fresh is one of them.

Sweet, youthful, and just plain pretty to look at, I've found that this confectionary hued polish works wonders with outfits that feature browns, pinks, blues, white, navy, grey, red, dark green, caramel, black, and cream in particular, but really, have yet to have it truly clash with anything (last fall it even went surprisingly well with a rust hued top). Worn equally often on my fingers and toes, this is the currently the one and only green shade of polish I want or need.

 

♥   ♥   ♥


As time goes on, I'm sure other nail polish shades will make it into my top five, though I suspect they'll have a trickier time making the cut, as these particular hues have been in heavy rotation now for 1 to 3 years a piece and show no signs of losing momentum anytime soon.

If you've been looking for a new polish or two (or five) this season, I can't recommend these shades highly enough, and suspect you'll see them popping up from time-to-time in my summertime manis and pedis this year.


May 15, 2012

Battling unseasonably cold winds in a leopard palette inspired outfit

"You know what you look like?" Tony asked. I shook my head and smiled inquisitively. "Cold!!!" Came his swift reply.

And, boy howdy, was he ever right! The bitingly cold temperature and fierce wind would never hint at the fact that these photos were taken earlier this month on the first day of May.

When I'd gotten dressed in the morning it was fairly sunny and the air was calm. I was in the mood for just a little dollop of leopard in my outfit, so I went with an animal print hair flower and an outfit comprised of brown, beige in brown to mirror to hues in the leopard blossom. I thought this ever-so-subtly safari inspired look would be a fun way to usher in the fifth month of the year.

Little did I know that later that evening I'd be extremely grateful I'd opted for a fairy heavy weight cotton twill vintage skirt as we battled against the aggressive wind and chilly temps while trying to grab a few outfit snaps at a park in Rutland (an area in the northern end of the neighbouring city of Kelowna).

Leopard hues and tons of wind, Jessica Cangino vintage photo shoot, Rutland image_1

 

Leopard hues and tons of wind, Jessica Cangino vintage photo shoot, Rutland image_7

 

Leopard hues and tons of wind, Jessica Cangino vintage photo shoot, Rutland image_5

 

Leopard hues and tons of wind, Jessica Cangino vintage photo shoot, Rutland image_9

 

Leopard hues and tons of wind, Jessica Cangino vintage photo shoot, Rutland image_2

 

Leopard hues and tons of wind, Jessica Cangino vintage photo shoot, Rutland image_6

 

Leopard hues and tons of wind, Jessica Cangino vintage photo shoot, Rutland image_3

 

Leopard hues and tons of wind, Jessica Cangino vintage photo shoot, Rutland image_4

 

Leopard hues and tons of wind, Jessica Cangino vintage photo shoot, Rutland image_8

 

Outfit details
Leopard print hair flower: Arden (last month, so they might still have them in stock if you're looking for one, too)
Black sash waist blouse: Zellers
Vintage beige button front skirt: etsy seller Have Mercy Vintage
Gold toned, rhinestone and faux pearl brooch: eBay
Black plastic carved bangle bracelet: Penticton consignment store Pipsqueaks and Damsels
Wood veneer bangle bracelets: thrifted
1950s corduroy bucket purse: etsy seller Rue 23 Vintage Clothing
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red


Photography by Antonio Cangiano

♥ ♥ ♥


So as I shivered and tried to keep my eyes from squinting too badly in the wind (a thick layer of goose bumps coating my arms), Tony very quickly snapped away. I kept trying to push my wavy locks out of my face, but it was a losing battle and after a couple of minutes I just gave up and let the wind play hairdresser.

This skirt and blouse outfit is an example of the kind I wear a lot of the time. I generally opt for mid-calf to ankle length skirts, and adore where this one hits (a couple of inches above my ankle). It's uber neutral beige hue makes it a definite workhorse in my wardrobe, as it pairs fabulously with just about any colour.

Though the black blouse looks as though I tied the bottom ends together, it actually boasts a tie sash around the waist and that's what you see in these images (the remainder of the blouse below the sash is tucked into the skirt).

This 1950s corduroy bucket purse is one of my very favourites (you may remember it from this post back in March). Much like the beige skirt, it goes well with a myriad of colours and has a laid back vibe that means it can easily toe the line between casual or more dressy, depending on what I partner it with.

I've really been getting into brooches this year (so much so that I'm planning a post in the near future on that very topic), so I went with an aged gold hued, faux pearl, and rhinestone leaf design pin for the hit of sparkle in this springtime outfit (the fact that it has a bit of an autumn feel to it makes it all the better suited to the November like weather we were experiencing that day!).

As a teenager and into my early 20s, I wore black eyeliner on my top and bottom lids nearly every day, however a couple of years I dropped the bottom liner (most of the time) in a favour of (just) a classic upper lid cat's eye look. Once in a while however, I like going for a slightly more vixenish make-up look, and this day was just one such occasion. Tony always loves it when I do, so maybe I should start sporting liner on the bottom of my lids a little more often.

Both of our teeth were chattering after a few minutes out in the elements, so having gotten in a few shots before the day's sunlight vanished entirely (it was about 6:45pm in these images) we made a mad dash to the car and flicked on the heater right away.

If I wasn't there myself, I'd have scarcely believed how cold and windy our May 1st was. All I can say is that I hope this isn't an ominous sign of the kind of summer we're in for this year!


May 13, 2012

Of FAQs and lovely thrifted 1950s hats

As many of you may have noticed (and/or read about in this post from last month), Chronically Vintage recently had a good old-fashioned spruce up, with several elements of the site's design and layout getting remodelled, scrapped, or relocated.

One of the new sections of the site that I'm most excited about (I'd wanted this for ages!) is the quick navigation bar just below the header and tag line at the top of the page. There new visitors and old friends alike can quickly read more about me, check out some of my favourite links, connect with me elsewhere online, get in contact, and read the FAQ page.

Over the past three years of this site's life, I received numerous questions (via blog comments and emails) on all manner of topics. Some have been commonplace, others completely off-the-wall. A few have been inappropriate, but most have been wonderful and I've thoroughly enjoyed answering them whenever I could. Culling through these many queries during the last few days of April, I put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions I've received over the years.

As time goes on (and especially as I continue to post vintage outfit photos on a frequent basis), I suspect that other questions will make their way onto the FAQ page, but for the time being, I'm quite happy with how it's looking and hope that you'll enjoy getting to know a bit more about both me and this site itself.

On a different note, one of the best things about returning to a smaller town (and getting a car!) has been the accessibility (mere minutes to reach a destination instead of an hour or longer on public transit) of visiting local thrift, second hand, and consignments shops once again. Every few weeks (health and budget permitting), I love to get together with my mom and do the rounds of these kinds of local stores.

 

What I wore April 12, 2012 (image 2)

{A quick indoor snapshot of what I wore the last time my mom and I went thrifting together. Perhaps it was the fact that I was sporting one of my favourite vintage chapeaus that helped me unearth two more that day!}

 

So far exceedingly few actual vintage pieces have been spotted in our hunts, but this scarcely strikes me as surprising, as it's the same trend I've been noticing for the past several years in other parts of the country, too. While I'm sure there are absolute vintage gems to be unearthed at various second hand shops across Canada, by and large, it's trickier to find these kinds of treasures up here on this side of the 49th nowadays than it is for vintage lovers in the States.

Of course however, no matter how long the dry spell, I try never to let myself feel discouraged, because there's always the tantalizing possibility of a fabulous find just waiting around the corner. Case in point, recently while at one of Penticton's two Salvation Army locations (which, as a bit of an interesting side note, is actually housed in the old Honda dealership building when my step-father used to work) I came across not one, but two completely charming 1950s hats.


White vintage 1950s floral hat, Salvation Army find

I spotted these hats from across the whole room, my vintage radar kicking into high gear as I made a beeline for them at the speed of light. Much to my delight, both were in good condition and were (in my opinion) very reasonably priced (the white floral number was $3.00, the black velvet pancake hat a bit higher at $6.00). It's been years since I found a 1950s hat a thrift store, so you can imagine my wide-eyed delight as I nabbed them both up right away.


Black velvet vintage 1950s pancake hat, Salvation Army find

The black velvet hat had the tattered remains of a very damaged little piece of netting on the front, which pretty much came off in my hands. I could replace it, but my mom and I both tend to think it looks better without it. I love the chic, glistening little diamond hued rhinestones on the front, as well as the versatility of this classic topper (similar styles of which I've seen going from $25.00 and up online many times). I just know this is a vintage hat that I'm going to get a ton of use out of all year round (it's like the LBD of 1950s hats!).

The white floral number is in fairly good shape. It has a tiny bit of yellow aging in a couple of spots, and I think a flower petal or two might have fallen off over the years, but it's still completely wearable and will look beautiful for all kinds of spring and summer occasions (from Easter Sundays to garden parties in June).

To say I was floating on cloud nine that day would be an understatement! I'm pleased as punch about finding these two vintage hats and hope that the second hand store gods will cast their favour on me again many times now that I've returned to my home town (vintage glove covered fingers firmly crossed!).