September 30, 2013

Looking back at September 2013

In the wee hours of the morning two days ago, I sat there, kitty and husband sleeping like peaceful little angels beside me on the bed, and wondered just what exactly this month had been. At once it seemed agonizingly long and mind blowingly quick. I know the reasons for both: my dear mother-in-law's recent passing being the chief reason for the first, the whirlwind of activity and unbridled fun of our trip to Calgary explaining the latter.

Throughout September Tony and I rode a proverbial rollercoaster of emotions, bracing for tsunamis of sorrow, and yet also being reminded of the profound power of happiness, change (of pace and scenery, that is), and the importance of moving forward.

I am both worn out and uniquely uplifted as we peer towards October, but I believe that the happiness instilled in my soul from our time in Calgary will help set the coming month off on a good note, solid footing, and with plenty to feel excited amount as we barrel through the awesomeness that is autumn.

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{No matter what may be transpiring in my life, autumn's return - and the cold weather fashions it entails - always brings me joy, makes me yearn to spend as much time outside as possible, and is cause for celebration in my books. Image source.} 

There are mountains of crispy, brittle leaves in a jewelry shop's worth of regal hues to kick merrily into the air and crunch on underfoot. Pumpkin pies, muffins, cakes, cookies, breads, and soups to whip up. Family gatherings to cherish and delight in, very much including Canadian Thanksgiving on the 14th, and of course my endlessly beloved Halloween to look forward to. In fact, ever since I was the tiniest of sprouts, October has been my favorite month of the year.

So much so, in fact, that I made sure it was the month Tony and I were married in, and this year, as it does every few years, our wedding anniversary, just happens to fall on the 14th. I can think of nothing in the world that I'm more grateful for than my husband and our incredible relationship, so when this occurs, it always feels especially fitting.

Though there was much turbulence in our life throughout September, I didn't waiver much from my usual course of posting here on the blog. There are times when life calls for such interruptions, certainly, but in my heart of hearts, I didn't feel like this month was, ultimately, one of them, and actually found quite a lot of solace, and I so often do, in writing posts recently and thinking ahead to those for October and autumn as a whole.

We launched September by taking an in depth look at the especially clean cut cousins of saddle shoes, white bucks, an image packed alphabet filled The ABCs of Vintage Fashion, then this month's edition of Flickr Favourites was all about the return of the school year, classic plaid, and the changing of the seasons, plus I reviewed the awe-inspiring tome that is 1940s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook by Emmanuelle Dirix.

As well the first comfort food recipe of autumn was dished up care of some delicious 1950s Zesty Baked Beans; we chatted about the importance of Sourcing blog post ideas and inspiration from those around you, celebrated the wondrous beauty of the harvest moon in September's edition of Vintage Fashionista Friday, I sang the praises of autumn's return, and was delighted to receive and continue passing along the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, amongst other fun posts this month.

On the vintage fashion front, there were three outfits to blogged about in September, all shot during the tail end of summer, when the light was golden, the days still toasty, and multiple layers hadn't become an absolute must again.

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First off it was 1920s yellow, 1940s peach, and plenty of cute feathered friends at Lion's Park (a snap from which appears above here), followed by one of my absolute favourite 1940s housedresses (in an autumn perfect palette) partnered with a caramel hued snood, and most recently, I had the great pleasure of receiving, wearing, and reviewing an awesome rainbow crinoline from Pettiskirt Style (don't forget, my dears, you can save 20% off your entire purchase from Pettiskirt Style anytime up until October 30, 2013 when you use the coupon code Jessica20 at the checkout).

A big shout out and thank you to all those who sponsored Chronically Vintage in September. If you haven't swung by these marvelous sites and shops yet, be sure to do so, you won't be disappointed in the slightest!

-Blue Velvet Vintage

-Bloomers & Frocks

-Little Netties Vintage (new to CV sponsor family this month)

-Lucky Lucille

-Maejean Vintage

-Vintage Frills

This month also welcomed author Stephanie Lehmann and her latest, thoroughly engaging and highly enjoyable sounding (I haven't read it yet, so I can't review it personally at this stage) novel Astor Place Vintage, as a new sponsor.

Just as September itself wraps up today, so too did we recently (officially) say good bye to all the warmth and loveliness of summer. It seems, somewhat uncharacteristically for this neck of the woods, that summer couldn't make a beeline out of town fast enough here. Almost as though someone flicked a switch, summer disappeared and a rather chilly autumn rolled into town. I'm hoping that the temps perk back up a bit this month, as I'd like to feel like we had at least a few days between the extremes of summer and another long Canadian winter.

As I reflect back on the past month, I cannot help but also think about the entire season that just passed. The lofty highs and painful lows, the good and the not-so-good, the smiles, the memories and the things that didn't get to happen in the end. There were some posts, all relating to things that we did, that I didn't get a chance to write and which now seem as though the moment has long past and they'd be a bit out of place in October. I shall not forget them though, and chances are, at one point or another, I'll still get the opportunity to talk about them here (likely after visiting/doing said place/experience again next year).

The summer of 2013, as with the rest of the year so far, didn't play out (for the most part) how I'd envisioned it at all. Life rarely does though, I've long come to learn, and there's little sense in dwelling on the negatives or fretting about what didn't happen (or happen the way you wanted it to). There were some outstanding points throughout the season, don't get me wrong for a moment, undoubtedly the most awesome of which was our trip to Calgary this month. For a week we got to escape the daily grind, step away from our worries, and just have a blast in a different city.

Throughout October I'll be blogging multiple times about our trip (including where we went, what I bought, and all the cool dets about my first ever blogger meet-up!), as well as jumping head first in the all things Halloween (my very favourite holiday), rounding up a number of my must-have vintage fashion essentials, answering your questions about how Tony and I do outfit photo shoots, and bringing you a great new blog giveaway from beloved Canadian production company, Sullivan Entertainment - plus plenty of other diverse, enjoyable topics throughout the coming thirty-one days.

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{Much like actress Pier Angeli in this charming 1950s photo, I get wide eyed with excitement and happiness about both October's return and All Hallow Eve, the star attraction for many of us in the coming month. Image source.} 

Yes, September was a strange month, filled as with its mix of snail and warp speed days, as well as summer's almost unbelievably quick departure. It was hard, it was fun, it saw tears, and it built character. It's not a month I'll soon forget, nor that I would want to, but ultimately, I'm relieved that it's wrapping up. Time feels like it needs to move on, and so do I, which is all the more reason I'm profoundly glad that October will be here tomorrow.

Whatever the coming month holds in store, I hope that it abounds with merriment, beauty, autumn time pleasures a plenty, and the start of a marvelous third season of the year for all of us.

Happy October, everyone!!!

September 28, 2013

A beautiful rainbow crinoline from Pettiskirt Style, my blue birthday dress, and the remains of an Edwardian hotel

Outfit details

Blue hair flower: Arden
Faux pearl bow barrette: Dollar store
Gold toned hoop earrings: Claire's
Pearl necklace: Birthday gift from Tony ♥
1980s does 1950s blue dress: eBay
Dusty aqua knit shrug: Walmart
Rainbow crinoline: Pettiskirt Style
C. 1950s white gloves with floral embroidery: eBay
Vintage grey handbag: etsy seller
Running Rabbit Studio
Nude seemed stockings: eBay
White pumps: Payless
Lip colour: Clinique Raspberry Glace

Photography by
Antonio Cangiano

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Without the tiniest whisper of a doubt, one of my very favourite undergarments is the trusty, beautiful crinoline (as long time readers may recall from various posts over the years, including this one back in 2010). Though I don't wear them every day, they're a tried and true love of mine that appear in various outfits throughout the year (such as this Canada Day ensemble and this festive pumpkin picking outfit from last October).

Interestingly, I find I reach for my modest sized collection of crinolines most frequently during the summer and winter months.

When the sun is out in full, blazing force, they had an especially feminine, at times even subtly whimsical flounce and sense of even greater airiness to sundresses and wide, breezy skirts. Come the bone chilling days of late autumn and into the winter, they provide a stellar layer of insulation against freezing cold winds (opaque tights, a crinoline, and a circle skirt, plus warm layers on top, is one of my most commonly reached for winter looks). No matter the season though, I adore crinolines and am always eager to both add more to my wardrobe and weave those that I have into new outfits.

A number of my crinolines (including those in the posts referenced above) hail from online crinoline retailer Pettiskirt Style. I discovered this site about three years ago and have been a steadfastly devoted fan ever since (Pettiskirt Style also has a great Facebook page that's bursting with photos of their products).

Not only do they provide an extensive array of different crinoline (aka, pettiskirt) styles, colours, and lengths (including a good many that work wonders for vintage looks), but their offerings are well photographed (this is a key point for me with any online clothing retailer), reasonably priced, and able to be shipped to Canada (and most other countries around the world - for more details, see their shipping policies page).

I was over-the-moon excited then, having already shopped with them before and been 100% satisfied with my purchases, when a lovely member of the Pettiskirt Style staff contacted me a little earlier this year to know if I'd be interested in receiving a complimentary crinoline (of my choosing) to wear and review here on my blog.

The idea of a multi-coloured rainbow crinoline is something that had appealed to me ever since I was a little girl, so when I saw that Pettiskirt Style had recently introduced one (actually, two - they have both a bright crinoline, pictured below, and a pastel rainbow coloured one in stock), I knew that was the lovely new tulle beauty that was destined to be mine.

More voluminous than any other crinoline (be it from Pettiskirt Style or elsewhere, vintage or modern) that I own, the Rainbow Bright Primary Colors Crinoline is a true delight to behold and wear. It's poufy, stable, comfortable, and warm (but certainly not stiflingly so - it was nearly +30C the day we took these photos and I didn't feel like I was overheating in the slightest), as well as being a true show stopper of a piece.

A majestic crinoline like this calls for a full skirted dress (or circle skirt) and plenty of 1950s inspired styling. To that end, I opted to wear it with the wonderful 1950s does 1980s Cerulean blue dress that I bought as my birthday present to myself this year and have been eager to debut here ever since I blogged about it (in this post).

The dress and the rainbow crinoline were definitely the stars of the shows, so I kept my accessories on the more understated side - a pair of white elbow length vintage gloves with delicate floral embroidery, dusty aqua hued knit shrug, matching blue hair flower, my beloved strand of pearls, small gold toned hoop earrings, vintage grey handbag, stockings, and classic white pumps.

For such a fun and dramatic outfit, an extra special location was in order, and we found ours that day in the stone shell foundational remains of the historic 1912 hotel in the neighbouring community of Kaleden. For as long as I've been coming to, and living in, the Okanagan, this hotel has been a ghost of its former self, instead of a functioning inn, but thankfully what remains has been well preserved and now stands as one of the oldest - at 103 years of age (despite it's name, it was actually built in 1910 and opened the following year) - partial structures in the Southern Okanagan.

From the warm, late summer sunshine to the Edwardian stone backdrop to the gloriously lovely crinoline I was sporting, this shoot, day and outfit were a total joy, and I know that I shall be slipping into this crinoline again many more times over the years - especially when an abundance of volume is called for underneath my skirt.

I have - and I am completely unbiased when I say this - nothing but the very best to say about Pettiskirt Style's beautiful crinolines. I've shopped from them before, was thrilled to receive this awesome rainbow crinoline as a review gift (thank you so very much, dear Pettiskirt Style team), and have no doubt that I will likely order from them again in the future.

Their line is constantly expanding, they have such a great selection, their products jive terrifically with my vintage style, and they fulfilled my adolescent dream of rainbow pettiskirt - what's not to adore?

If you're in the mood to do some crinoline shopping of your own, I am delighted to share a wonderful coupon code that with you today that will allow readers from around the world to save a substantial 20% off on your entire order from Pettiskirt Style until October 30, 2013. Just use Jessica20 when you check out and the discount will automatically be applied to your purchase.

Happy crinoline shopping and wearing, my dears!


September 26, 2013

Receiving and sharing the Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Right around the time that this site came into existence (April 2009), blog awards and tags were going through a zenith of sorts. I was touched as can be to receive many blog awards from fellow bloggers during the first few months of Chronically Vintage's life back then, and have continued to enjoy the others that have come my way in the years since.

Sometimes it hasn't been possible for me to devote a post to an award that I've received, and in other cases, if I've already blogged about a certain award because I previously received it from someone else, I might not do a second "repeat" post about it. However, I truly have enjoyed and appreciated all of the blog awards that have been extended to me.

In more recent years, as there seem to be fewer of these floating around in general, I've tried to post about those that I've received, when it's been feasible to do so. It might take me a while to get a chance to write about said awards, but I keep a tiny running list of those that I still need to blog about, and aim to get to as many as I can.

On that note, the wee hours of this pleasantly warm morning seemed like a great time to sit down and devote a post to the Very Inspiring Blogger award, which I received for the second time this past January from the wonderfully lovely Mrs. Williams from the blog Vibrant Vintage, then a third time in March from very sweet Chelsea of A Sartorial Statement.

Now, the first time around when I received this award, it was in the thick of the aforementioned zenith, and though I acknowledged it in this post back in 2009, I don't recall ever specifically dedicating a post to this exact award. So now seems like a great time to do just that.

I was tickled pink when both of these gals gave me Very Inspiring Blogger Award, and am so happy that I get a chance today to share seven random facts about myself, as per the guidelines for this award, and also to extend it to a handful of the many (many!) other bloggers out there who constantly inspire me with their own stellar sites. 

♥ Seven totally random facts about me ♥

1. Ever since I can recall, I have absolutely loved sleeping outside during the warmer months. Be it a quick afternoon nap in a hammock or an evening spent under the stars in a cozy sleeping bag, few things lull me to sleep as easily, or wonderfully, as being out in the fresh air.

2. I love cardigans, which is scarcely an unknown fact about myself, however did you know that my collection is now nearing thirty in total? Wow! And to think there are still numerous colours (pale yellow, I'm looking at you!) and assorted styles of cardis out there I'd love to add to my closet (it will always be a collection in progress).

3. Though I wouldn't describe myself as being an athlete per se (I was a willing participant who gave it their best shot, but I am so, so not a competitor, I just enjoyed playing for the sake of having fun), during my childhood (long before I became chronically ill), at one time or another, I played the following sports a team level: soccer, basketball, badminton (my fave!), and track and field. I also took gymnastics, swimming, figure skating, tennis, and dance lessons (and was on my high school dance team).

4. Very often when I'm stressed and/or worried, I clean or organize with great determination. This harkens back to my childhood, when I found that doing so could sometimes give me a temporary sense of inner peace and control over various uncertain, stressful elements in my life (all the while keeping my environment clean, which is something I love no matter my state of mind). Now I just find it relaxes me when I'm stressed, and like to joke that you can tell how worried I am about a situation based on how tidy my house is. :)

5. More than anywhere else in Canada that I've yet to visit, I want to travel to the Yukon, specifically to Dawson City, as I have family ties stretching back to the Klondike gold rush there (my great-grandfather, Charles Burkhard, was amongst the mass wave of prospectors and adventure seekers who came north after gold was discovered in the Klondike, however unlike most, he remained there long after the rush had died down) and have felt an unmatched pull towards the arctic ever since I was knee high to a gold pan.

6. In much the way as some musicians can hear a song once and then play it perfectly without being given the sheet music for it, I've always been able to eat dish for first time and then, very often, replicate it pretty much spot on identically from scratch (without a recipe or list of exact ingredients). This cool skill really comes in handy if I fall in love with a dish at a restaurant that I know the chef is not likely to fork over their recipe for to the public anytime soon.

7. I am immensely grateful for the years of my youth that I spent in the Girl Guides of Canada. I feel like I learned a tremendous amount from my time in Guiding, far beyond knot tying and orienteering. I grew more confident (a huge plus for an incredibly shy, quiet child like myself), forged wonderful friends, became more independent, and acquired scores of real world skills which I still apply to this day (plus I can make a mean campfire banana boat! :) ).

{To learn more a specific image, please click on it to be taken to its respective source.}

♥ ♥ ♥

This isn't the first "x number of random facts" post I've done before over the years (for example, here's one from nearly four years ago that specified recipients share "ten honest facts" about themselves), and I highly doubt it will be the last. I enjoy these posts a lot as they allow me to share some neat little snippets of information about myself with all of you, which you might not have previously know about me.

As I adore getting to my readers and fellow bloggers better, too, I'd love to extend the Very Inspiring Blogger Award to the following ten people (as well as to absolutely any of my other readers who would like to receive it, too), all of whose blogs I adore visiting and being inspired by.

1. Bunny from Bunny's Victory

2. Emileigh from Flashback Summer

3. Frances from Polka Polish

4. Holly from Veronica Vintage

5. Jamie from Chatter Blossom

6. Joanna from Dividing Vintage Moments

7. La Toya from Mid Century Pink

8. Mariela from A Girl of Many Interests

9. Monika from Crazy Vintage Cat Lady

10. Sean from The Fictionista

♥ ♥ ♥

If you've already received this award before and/or, don't feel like blogging about it, please don't worry in the slightest. These awards are meant to be lighthearted and fun, not to feel like an obligation of any sort.

Should you like to take part and continue passing this award along however, all you have to do is write a post akin to this one with seven assorted facts about yourself and then continuing passing the Very Inspiring Blogger Award on to whomever your heart desires.

Thank you very much, Mrs. Williams and Chelsea, for the lovely blog award. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and love that I finally, at long last, got the chance to blog about receiving the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and to pass it along to some of the wonderful blogging ladies out there who inspire me as well.

September 24, 2013

We're home!

After a truly - and I mean absolutely truly - fantastic trip to Calgary, Tony and I are home again and slowly starting to get back into the ebb and flow of daily life once more.

Our vacation to our neighbouring province went resplendently. It launched on a drive that was bursting with the most picturesquely clear blue skies and toasty temperatures anyone could ask for; saw us clock more than 2,100 kilometers of driving in total, included my first ever blogger meet-up, oodles of vintage, antique and thrift store shopping; lots of fun sightseeing, and also a fair bit of time to just relax and regroup, something that was wholeheartedly needed in our life at that precise moment in time.

As those of you who follow me on Instagram and/or my personal Facebook page may know, earlier this month my mother-in-law, passed away somewhat unexpected from a stroke. This tragic news left Tony and I understandable deeply shaken and grief stricken. We discussed it at length, and felt that proceeding with our Calgary trip (which was planned for a few days after her passing), as planned, was the best course of action. Thankfully, it was in indeed, as our spirits were lifted tremendously, our minds focused elsewhere, and smiles returned to our faces many a time over the course of our holiday.

Though the veil of sorrow and grief still hangs heavily in our home, we are each other’s strength and comfort, and, much as with returning from our trip, are easing back into our more usual routine.

For me, this includes blogging, reading and commenting on other blogs, replying to the hefty backlog of emails and Facebook private messages that arrived while I was away (I didn't bring my computer with me), and - once I've recouped more (on the health front) from our travels – shooting vintage outfit photos (I've got some in the wings from before our trip, as well as new outfit snaps from Calgary, to turn into posts in the meantime).

And speaking of posts about Calgary, somewhere in the range of two to four posts (I want to cover a lot, but at the same time, in my enthusiasm about this fabulous little holiday, not bombard you nonstop about Alberta) about various aspects of our travels will be appearing here in the coming weeks, and will include topics such as some of the wonderful places we visited, where I shopped (and some of the lovely things I bought), plus a post all about that super cool aforementioned vintage blogger meet-up.

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I sincerely appreciate, and want to thank you very much, for the great blog comments that you left on the posts that I set to go live while we were on the road, as well as for those on Instagram (such as the one pictured above of Stephen Avenue, a foot traffic only street, in the heart of downtown Calgary), Facebook, and Twitter regarding our travels and my snaps from Alberta (some more of which I plan to continue uploading in the coming days).

It will be a while before I've recovered (health wise) from the trip, and longer still until the initial pain of losing Tony's beautiful mother lessens, but I feel a renewed sense of happiness, creativity, and inspiration from our travels (as well as a new perspective on certain areas of my/our life) which, coupled with autumn's return, will help guide me throughout the coming weeks on the blogging front, and all facets of my life.

Our travels were awesome, and I am grateful with all my might that were were able to take our first holiday in several years this month, but it's also terrific to return home to a town we adore and to start planning for the next chapter of our lives - which, with a bit of luck and a lot of foreplanning, will hopefully include another exciting road trip or two next year.

September 22, 2013

Singing the praises of autumn's return

Autumn, it's very name exudes a sense of the poetic beauty that abounds throughout the season. This is a time of abundance and endings, where a bountiful harvest overlaps with the final days of truly warm sunshine for many in the more northerly parts of the world, and countless crispy, crunchy leaves looking as though they've been cast in lustrous metals tumble down as we tuck our sundresses away once more (or at the very least, partner them with opaque tights).

There is no segment of the year that I adore more than autumn - especially the first few weeks, when golden light and the renewed scent of chimney smoke dance in gracious harmony through the days, as dusk grows ever shorter, grinning pumpkins seem to chase away the last few mosquitos of summer, and a certain almost electric magic fills the air.

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{Fall means apple picking (be sure to take a style cue from this cute 1940s gal and wear a darling novelty print dress when you do), pumpkin patch trips, generously sized Thanksgiving feasts, ghost stories told around campfires, wool coats, closed toed shoes, and a bevy of other marvelous things we haven't enjoyed for many a long month. Image source.}

Time realizes that it need not rush so any more, much as there is to be done as September wraps up and October - beloved, dear, gorgeous, thrillingly spooky, October - settles in for what, if one is lucky, may be the last snow-free month of the year. Sometimes snow strikes before the witching hour of All Hallows Eve, but not always, and the "will it, won't it?" aspect always holds its own certain familiar appeal.

We know the year is winding down, the lingering spirit of summer's merriment hangs in the air, but we can already foresee the winter holiday season in the very next thought, too. For now though, Santa and his team of reindeer are a good ways off. There's cornucopias, scarecrows, thick slices of pumpkin pie, Halloween costumes, and Remembrance Day poppies to come first.

No matter what is transpiring in my life at the time, year after year, without fail, I feel a sense of childlike giddiness when autumn returns. I smile, trample playfully through freshly raked piles of leaves, and inhale as much of the fragrant air, which seems to contain notes of cinnamon, dried foliage, and freshly chopped wood in every breath.

Fall is always a busy season at our house, containing as it does everything from Canadian Thanksgiving to our wedding anniversary, Halloween to one week in mid-October with three family birthdays, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

{Though it can be an action packed time for us, autumn always seems to come bearing a profusion serenity, the likes of which summer can rarely match, and this calmer pace suits - and sooths - me just fine. Image source.}

I associate this chapter of year with productivity (gone is the relentlessly sweltering heat of summer that can zap one's energy to the point where just getting through the day from morning to night feels like a significant achievement), good company, decorating, planning, and scrumptious slow cooked meals.

It's never easy to part ways with summer (even if its heat can get on one's a little nerves at times), and I know that as soon as we awaken to the first frost of the season, I'll feel a twinge of longing for the dog days that were upon us just a few weeks ago. Right now though, I'm all about autumn and every last joy, possibility, familiar favourite, new adventure, and caramel filled dessert it contains.

The gorgeous, snow-free side of this season tends to be short, and by November, we might as well roll out the welcome mat for Frosty the Snowman, but right here and now it's just beginning and there are weeks left of mild days and a kaleidoscopic colour palette adorning mother nature to savour.

I hope deeply that this autumn is a beautiful one for each of you. I know that 2013 hasn't been the easiest of years for a lot of people, but perhaps this bronze light covered second to last chapter will prove less problematic and stressful for all of us.

Join me, won't you, in raising a steaming mug of hot apple cider to that hope and the thought of every good and wonderful thing that makes up this resplendently lovely season!

September 20, 2013

Vintage Fashionista Friday: September 20, 2013

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{Whether you're dressing up for Thanksgiving dinner or simply looking for a great seasonally hued topper, this beautiful vintage Sally Victor birdcage veil with copper hued bow is sure to do the trick. $35.00 from etsy seller FrouFrou4YouYou.}

{There are few items in the beauty world that can help you achieve a great vintage face faster than classic black liquid eyeliner. If, like me, you wear it more days than not, it likely means you're always on the prowl for an affordable version with serious staying - and all the better if it it comes in a lovely subtly old school shaped bottle like this one. Palladio water-resistant, smear proof, anti-irritant black liquid eyeliner, $6.49 (or $5.39 for Sally Club card holders) from Sally Beauty.}

{A palette that calls to mind fallen maple leaves on a frost slicked concrete sidewalk make up this understatedly chic rectangular enamel and copper brooch from the early 1900s. $35.00 from etsy seller Ice Out Antiques and Collectibles.}

{Though the days may still get up to double digits (for us Celsius using folks this means it hasn't turned too chilly yet), the evenings are starting to have a distinct chill to them, which means it's high time for the return of covered shoulders and layered dressing. Accomplish both in one fell swoop with this sophisticated black vintage Persian lamb's wool stole/wrap. $82.50 from etsy seller Vintage Friends.}

{Shimming like the harvest moon in the crisp autumn night's air, this timelessly elegant 1940s rusty copper hued cocktail dress (complete with a lovely pattern of rhinestones along the collar) is the sort of piece is that is sure to turn heads in any room. Fits up to a size 38" bust/27" waist. $150.00 from etsy seller Go Vintage.}

{Just as shoulders call for an extra layer of warmth as fall kicks into high gear, so too do hands feel even more at home in a cozy, stylish pair of vintage gloves - like these 1940s gold beaded stunners (which are a size 7.5). $45.00 from etsy seller Jenny's Junk 'N Treasures.}

{Inject and instant pop of elegance and sweetness (thanks to the teeny little gold bow) into any outfit with this immensely pretty black and gold 1940s brocade wristlet bag made by Torii Tokyo. $75.00 from etsy seller Trendy Bindi's Boutique.}

{If your skin is anything like mine, than it means that the moment the mercury starts plummeting southward again, your skin becomes instantly dryer and liberal applications of hand cream several times a day is a must! Turn this skin beautifying chore into a sublimely scented experience with an autumn perfect bottle of Happy Hands Spicy Pumpkin Hand Cream (which is designed specifically with crafters in mind, as it says that it won't transfer to your handiwork). $6.49 (for an 4oz bottle) from etsy seller Happy Hands Store.}

{Though a thoroughly modern creation, these beautiful two-toned rust hued heels channel a distinctly vintage vibe and would be perfect for settings ranging from an intimate dinner party to an autumn harvest ball. Available in modern ladies sizes 4.5-10. $67.99 from Discount Salsa Shoes.}

Ever since I was a wee little girl, I have thought that harvest moons - those glowing, seemingly gigantic moons tinged shades of persimmon, amber and scarlet that appear in the night sky throughout September and October - are amongst the absolute most beautiful natural phenomena one can possibly glimpse in the heavens.

Traditionally speaking, the Harvest Moon - so named because it's light allowed farmers to harvest their autumn crops later into the night, which was very important, especially if you were trying to bring in a full harvest before the first frost - is the term given to first full moon that appears around the time of autumn equinox. The next full moon (in October) that follows it, is technically known as the Hunter Moon, though I'd venture to say that most people (myself included) refer to both as harvest moons.

Interestingly, according to older editions of the classic Farmer's Almanac, each month of the year has a name for its full moon (July, for example, is often referred to as the Hay Moon, because hay harvesting was commonly done at this time) but in today's modern world, it is typically just the full moon that rises in September and October which gets the distinction of having a noun put before its name.

Depending on whereabouts in the world you live, the weather, cloud cover, and if you're a city, town or country dweller, the harvest moon may look a touch more impressive, but as anyone who has ever seen a full, unobstructed moon in September or October will likely tell you, it really is a humbling, wondrously inspiring sight.

{A breath-takingly incredible harvest moon rising over a desert landscape. It is impossible to look at a sight like that and not be floored by the awesome powers of the night sky and the universe around us. Image source.}

The moon, much like the sun, was an integral part of many peoples' daily lives for millennia, and it's really only been since the invention of modern gas, followed by electric, lighting that many of us have stopped relying on it heavily as a source of light and a marker of the various stages of the agricultural year.

I love the moon - whether a mere whisper of a sliver of a full, powerfully bright orb - and always have. Of all the celestial bodies in the sky, it's the one that I've constantly felt the most connected to, and which I'll happily call my very favourite anytime - though I am especially fond of the marvelous harvest moons that we get treated to - if the weather permits (a foggy, rainy, or heavily cloud covered night is all it takes to obstruct this gorgeous sight) come fall time.

In the spirit of the harvest moon and all that it has meant to humanity throughout countless generations, today's Vintage Fashionista is named Luna (the Roman Goddess of the Moon), and the colour palette of her ensemble was inspired directly by the harvest moon and nighttime skies that fill our world during these early, wonderful days of early autumn.

Should you happen to feel like taking a styling cue from the evening heavens and sprinkling shades of coppery orange, jet black, and golden yellow throughout your own vintage wardrobe this season, not only will you look as lovely as an ancient Goddess, but you'll also be ready (from a colour palette perspective) for Halloween next month - and that is always a very good thing, if you ask this autumn moon loving lass.

September 18, 2013

Sourcing blog post ideas and inspiration from those around you

At the risk of jinxing myself, I generally don't have a hard time coming up with ideas for new blog posts. This isn't to say that I haven't had times when the muse was off taking a generously long coffee break, but rather that, as a whole, post ideas tend to spring into the ol' brain with regular frequency (a subject which I also touched on in this post last March).
I keep a Word document on my desktop devoted specifically to the various ideas for blog posts that I come up with, which I add new entries to on very regular basis. Sometimes I'll go through and take stock of these ideas, deleting ones that, for whatever reason, I'm not actually too keen on (for example, they may overly similar to existing posts I've written). I'll also add any new thoughts I might have had to existing entries and frequently pull ideas from the list to use in upcoming blog posts (this is a key part ensuring the blogging schedule I use runs as smoothly as possible).
However, just because I'm often able to generate fresh ideas to write about and have a list of future topics to cover waiting in the wings doesn't mean that I'm not open to even more ideas. Goodness, no! In fact, I love and actively welcome them from just about any source you could think of.
I'm always on the prowl for things that might trigger my mind to whip up an idea for a blog article, and keep a running list in a notepad app on my phone (which I transfer to my the idea file on laptop when I get home) so that I can be sure to jot down any ideas - or even just the seeds of a well formed idea - once I get home.
Over the years, I've had post inspiration ideas come in from sources as diverse as modern magazine articles to vintage product packaging, famous quotes to the plethora of items I enjoy pinning on Pinterest (another of the main places where I house inspiration for future blog posts).
I love to get ideas from actual present day people, too, be they members of the vintage community or not. Recently I asked Tony if he happened to have any thoughts pertaining to subjects I might want to blog about in the future.

As one of the smartest (no, I'm not being biased, he's knock-your-socks-off intelligent), most analytical, creative, and well-read people I've ever know - not to mention much more of a left brain oriented person than I tend to be - I always welcome Tony's impute about this site and was eager to hear what he'd come up with off the top of his head.

{My husband, Tony, is a fantastic source of fresh, exciting posts ideas and I love to pick his brain every now and then for just this very reason. He's always game and has come up with several great vintage related thoughts before, some of which have - and will continue to be - converted into actual blog posts here. Image source.}

True to form, the man did not disappoint. In the span of about ninety seconds, he pulled four blog post ideas out of thin air, each of which I thoroughly liked. One I'd already essentially covered before (here), another has been discussed at length in the vintage community (which isn't to say I wouldn't write about my own thoughts on it at some point), and the other two are going to very likely going to become posts in the not-too-distant future.
One of his idea was a complete 180 from the way my mind tends to think, and that's precisely why I love - and cannot wait to do – put it into action. Tony doesn't wear vintage and isn't overly consumed by the study of history in the way that I am. He's a computer programmer and technical writer, but also enjoys writing poetry, fishing and watching romantic movies. We share a great deal in common (which certainly helps our marriage of nearly nine years run smoothly), but are also immensely different people in many respects, and it's fantastic to get his impute - which can be so awesomely different from my own - on topics related to blogging and even my vintage outfits from time-to-time.
I extend this same principle however to many people in my life and am always open to post idea from my mom, grandparents, siblings, friends, second cousins once removed, dentist, shop clerks I interact with, you name it!
Just about anyone can come up with one or more ideas when you give them a broad topic like vintage history and fashion, and it can be so exciting to hear about some of the ideas (and/or questions, which you may be able to answer in-depth in a future post) that those whose impute you readily welcome may come up with.
This doesn't mean that you have to run out, pen and notepad in hand, and badger every last neighbor, relative, and acquaintance you encounter, of course not (and few, if any of us, really would, I’m sure), but rather that it doesn't hurt to ask for ideas every now and then, as well as to draw future post ideas from the conversations you have with the people you interact with during the course of your dy.
Whether you're burning the midnight oil trying to come up with new topics to write about, having a bevy or ideas in the wings, or just want some fresh thoughts and perspectives relating to vintage, it never hurts to stop and ask those around you what they might like to read about on your blog.

Who knows, you might even do as I did and end up getting a blog post out of this very topic itself! :)

September 15, 2013

1950s Zesty Bake Beans make for the perfect fall comfort food

Whether you love to cook, to eat, or both, there's something about the subtly shift that's underway with the seasons right now that has very real tendency to put us in the mood for heartier fair once more. Thankfully (I'm just not ready for snow yet on so many levels!) we're not into the thick of winter at this mid-September stage, but that doesn't mean that one can't start craving comfort food again.

You know the kinds of dishes I'm talking about. They're often one pot wonders that bubble, simmer and stew for a generous amount of time, filling the house with a scent so lip-lickingly amazing, you wouldn't be entirely surprised if your stuffed animals came to life - Toy Story style - and politely asked for a bowl of soup, plate of casserole, or slice of thick, creamy, sublimely scented pumpkin pie.

With this hankering for stick-to-your ribs fare underway, yet one wedge sandaled foot still planted in summer (...must savour every last sublime moment of sunshine!), I love finding dishes that can come into heavy rotation while the temps are still on the positive side of freezing, yet also see us through the chilliest, most stubbornly icy days of winter that lay ahead in the coming months, too.

Recently while bopping around one of my favourite vintage related website, Click Americana, I came across a scrumptious sounding recipe from 1955 for Zesty Baked Beans, which starts off with a base of canned pork and beans, to which a few delicious pantry staples are added to create a pleasing side (or even main, if you were so in the mood) dish that would work every bit as well for a 4th of July barbeque as it would an early autumn Picnic or need-something-warm-in-my-belly immediately kind of winter evening, say after a day of building snowmen or hitting the ski hill.

{Perfect to make and take on a camping trip, picnic under the autumn leaves, potluck, or simply enjoy in the comfort of your own home, this richly flavorful 1950s baked beans recipe is the kind of side dish staple recipe one can never have too many of on hand. Image source.}

I've already made this dish a couple of times using Bush's Baked Beans (a brand which, for all my fellow gluten-free folks out there, does not add/use gluten in any of their products), which I've only just started being able to find up here north of the 49th this year (at Costco), and absolutely adore it.

I slashed the oil down to just two teaspoons (of olive oil), sautéing the veggies in a non-stick pan (doing so, you could even skip the oil entirely, but I like the little background note it lends this flavourful side dish), and using Balderson cheddar cheese in place of the Ched-O-Bit (great name, but like so many cool food brands of the fifties, it's no longer on the market ).

For all my vegetarian friends out there, fear not, you can easily use your favourite meatless brand of beans in tomato sauce and skip the franks (or use a soy or other meat-free type of hot dog wiener). As you can see in this fun 1950s image, they're more of a garnish than a staple ingredient, and could just as easily be replaced with anything from fresh wedges of late season tomatoes to a generous sprinkling of grilled corn to homemade croutons (perhaps with a little bit of extra cheese melted on them).

And by the same token, if you want to take this in a vegan direction, forgo the cheese as well, which is also more of a garnish, or jazz up this dish with your favourite dairy-free, vegan cheese alternative instead.

You could also play around with the veggies, perhaps stirring in some sun dried, fresh or canned tomatoes, celery, green onions (in place of the white/yellow), Swiss chard, or even (for an especially autumn approved dish) cubes of cooked squash or pumpkin. I upped the green pepper to a cup and sprinkled in a little bit of fresh thyme (just a pinch), to lend a further subtle note of sweetness to this thoroughly tasty vintage bean casserole recipe.

As this ad says, fine food need not be expensive, and this cozy, tasty, thoroughly satisfying 1950s side still lives up to that statement in today's world, making it all the more appealing to keep in frequent rotation not only during the nippier seasons, but all year long as well. Yum-yum! :)

September 12, 2013

A darling 1940s housedress, a fun fact about the Canadian $100 bill, and just one more sleep until Calgary!

Outfit details

Caramel brown snood: eBay eBay seller tina.g-2008
Faux pearl stud earrings: Claire's
1940s floral print zip up house dress: etsy seller
Bangle bracelets (some vintage, some modern): Assorted sources
Vintage woven handbag with bamboo handles: Yard sale find
Nude on nude seamed stockings: eBay
Brown round toe pumps:
Pipsqueaks and Damsel's Consignment Store
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red


Photography by


 photo 1940sorangefloralzipfronthousedressandbrownsnooddowntownPenticton_image2_zps9ac991d3.jpg

Okay, so my excitement levels as I sit here and try to steady my hands enough to write this post is pretty much off the charts. Not since we moved back to British Columbia early last year have I been an a fraction as excited about anything, and prior to that? Well, your guess is a good as mine, because it has been a very, very long time since I was looking forward to something as much as I am our fabulous road trip to Calgary tomorrow.

As with most final days before a vacation tend to be, today is going to be a whirlwind of activity! From dropping Annie off at the wonderful pet kennel we're boarding her at (my mom will be looking after Stella here at our house while we're gone) to doing the bulk of our packing, to getting the car cleaned and ready, so I figured I should take a moment now, before the sun rises, to pen a quick final post before we embark.

While we're away, I've scheduled some new posts to go live, however I'm not bringing my computer with me, so I won't be "live blogging" from the road while in Calgary. I do however plan to Instagram right, left and center on my phone, so be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with all my exciting adventures in Alberta as they transpire.

This is (overnight or longer) trip I've taken in Chronically Vintage's nearly 4.5 years of life, and I can't wait to finally share some of my travels will all of you (especially because I have adored venturing out into the world vicariously through so many of your own awesome vacation and road trip posts over the years). Once we're home and I've recouped a bit from our travels, there will be a series of posts all about our trip - including what we saw, did, ate, enjoyed, and bought.

Please forgive the massive amount of squinting going on in these shots (seriously, feel free to call me Squinty McSquinty, if you like). They were taken after a recent day of errand running right here on Main Stress in downtown Penticton and the sun was streaming directly into my eyes. I swear, I felt like I was smiling up a storm in them, but that's the thing about squinting, it often seems to squash, so to speak, one's smile and make you appear much more solemn faced than you actually are.

Believe me, I was smiling - or at least trying to! How could I not when wearing a super cute 1940s zipper front floral print house dress like this? As the seasons teeter on the brink of changing hands from summer into fall once more, this dress seams like one of the most fitting garments in my wardrobe that I could wear. It's cut is perfect for the balmy days we're still enjoying, whereas the classic colour palette sings with the loveliness of autumn's return, which ushers in a world teaming with earthy browns, muted greens, and vivid oranges.

While downtown, we spotted the lovely mural pictured here along with the seriously interesting tidbit of information provided on the wall beside it. Though I've passed this mural many times over the years, I don't believe I'd ever stopped to really study it before and was delighted to learn that it depicted the view (from the local community of Naramata) that once graced the Canadian hundred dollar bill.

I honestly didn't know that part of the Okanagan landscape had ever appeared on any of our Canadian currency and adoring getting wise to this cool fact. It's so neat when you live (and grew up in) in a relatively small town and are still able to discover more about it with each passing year.

And speaking of discovering new things, there should be plenty of that going on over the next few days while we're in beautiful Calgary, Alberta. It's a city I know well, having lived there for a little over two years during my late teens, but no doubt much has changed since then, and I cannot wait to reconnect with beloved old haunts and discover plenty of new favourites (vintage, antique and thrift stores very much included) all in the same go.

I sincerely appreciate all of the great tips, ideas, and comments you've shared with me in the last three weeks regarding Calgary (thank you very much to everyone who did so), and cannot wait to blog about our adventures in the White Hat City once we're back.

Those suitcases aren't going to pack themselves though, so I best get a shove. Until we chat again, my sweet friends, please know that I'll miss you dearly and be thinking of all of you while we're on the road.

Alberta, here we come! Yee-haw!!! :)