Much as in the offline world, there are certain folks that you meet online and after so many years have passed, you're hard pressed to remember when your paths first crossed. You know that you had an instant connection with that person though and that a bond was formed from the word "go". That sums up things perfectly when it comes to me and my very stylish friend Holly Brolsma-Colón from Long Island, New York.
Many of you may also know Holly from her delightful vintage lifestyle blog Veronica Vintage. She and I have been online friends for a number of years now and share quite a few points in common, but by the same token there are many interesting and inspiring aspects of Holly's life that differ from mine.
It is a tapestry of both that I wanted to delve into as soon as Holly very sweetly answered by call earlier this year for participants to be interviewed as part of this series.
Holly has faced a lot of challenges in her life and met them all with grace and unflappable strength. She is a beautiful woman not only on the outside, but very much on the inside as well. She's fun, sweet, smart, and super stylish. I highly suspect, if this your first time meeting Holly, that you'll quickly find yourself as drawn to her as I was (and am!).
The instantly eye-catching tagline on your blog, Veronica Vintage, is "One woman's trip from Modern Monotony to Vintage Vixen", can you please expand on this and share with us a bit about how you came to adore vintage and live an old school filled life?
I found myself always drawn to the days of old. My grandmother (pictured below) would tell me stories of when she was younger and show me her photos and I just felt at home. I had no idea there was a culture that embraced this until October of 2011, when I visited the Bettie Page store at the Miracle Mile Shops in Las Vegas. That was it! I was set. I found my home.
I used that tag line because I felt what I was living was indeed "modern monotony" - the same drab clothing everyone else was wearing that was supposed to be "fashionable". Nothing unique about it. Then I found the vintage lifestyle. I have never gotten more compliments and good responses since! I have never felt more confident either.
Do you find that your drawn more towards genuine vintage pieces, vintage reproduction styles, pinup/rockabilly looks or a combo of two or more of those things?
I am drawn to all of it. I find I wear a lot of vintage repro/pinup for casual day looks, and genuine vintage for outings or when I want to look just a little more "put together", if you will. It all depends on my mood! I have never been a vintage purist. Wear what makes you feel good and what you like! This is your style, your life - so live it!
You currently live in Long Island, New York. How have you found the vintage shopping scene to be there? Are there many other people in your area with a passion for the vintage lifestyle?
I am a bit of an odd duck out here when it comes to my style. But I love that! I love being unique and standing out. I am only a few minutes from NYC, so everyone around likes to wear the latest fashion trends. Everyone just ends up looking the same! I can safely say I am not like that. The shopping here for vintage however, leaves much to be desired. I much more often than not buy online. You would think there would be great vintage here, but it all seems to be in the Midwest!
Like so many of us, do you often buy more of your vintage/repro clothing online? What are some of your favourite sites for such?
I overwhelmingly buy online, due to the lack of good vintage around here mentioned above, and also because I'm not a petite gal! I buy on eBay quite often, and from Etsy sellers I have gotten a rapport with. I am also on several Facebook groups, one in particular called the Hefty Hideaway. It's hard but not impossible to find good vintage for those with waists over 30"!
When not filling your days with vintage awesomeness, what do you for a living? Does your job overlap with your passion for the past at all?
As of the moment, I am working for a lawyer and work on tort & insurance cases. But I am finally working on getting into the field I am really passionate in, and that's medicine. I am working towards becoming a physician assistant and getting into the orthopaedic specialty, since I have so much knowledge and [first hand] experience in it!
You launched your blog in October 2011 and have kept it going for nearly four years now. What drives/motivates you to keep blogging?
I love to share what I am passionate about. I love to teach and let others know about the things I come across. I find there are very few things for which I am truly passionate and actively have an ongoing love affair with; one of those things happens to be all things vintage (the others are medicine, the military, and animals). If I can help just one person, whether it be enlightening them, making them feel welcome to this community, or just making them laugh, that makes it all worth it to me.
Have you made many new friends, online or off, through your blog and/or love of vintage in general?
I've met you! :-) (Jessica's note: Aww, thank you!!!) I have met so many people and made so many connections, it's amazing. This community is so supportive and we all just want to lift each other up (while wearing fabulous vintage!). I've met fellow bloggers, musicians, makeup artists, photographers, and fellow enthusiasts just from our shared passion for vintage.
You're a devoted animal lover, like myself, and have three super cute pets. Can you tell us about them?
We actually just recently added a puppy to our little fur family! His name is Waffles, and he's a Shichi (Shih Tzu/Chihuahua mix) and he's the cutest puppy this side of the Mason-Dixon. He's only 6 months old. We have three cats too: Blankie, 10 months; Gustavo (after Gus Fring from Breaking Bad), 2 years; and Stinky (a nickname that stuck!), 3 years.
My husband and I are passionate animal lovers. We have talked about opening our own animal rescue after he retires from the police department so we can help as many animals as we can!
You got married last year and shared about your special day on your blog when you did (which was so lovely to see!). Did you know the moment you got engaged (or even before then!) that you wanted to wear a vintage style wedding dress?
I knew even before the question was popped! I knew I wanted a completely vintage affair. Unfortunately, it wasn't able to be that way exactly due to his job, but I still got my vintage themed dress and I helped him pick out his tux in a vintage style.
We got married on a yacht and then took a cruise around Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. It was a small wedding, but we aren't flashy "look at us" types. Smaller affairs are much more intimate and fun, and that's just what it was!
Does your husband (pictured above and below) share in your love of vintage?
I would say he tolerates it, but doesn't share my love for it, hahah. He appreciates the old cars and some of the styles, but he's a typical man and wants the latest and greatest. He knows how much I love my vintage, so he is fine with me having the vintage decor all over like I do, and also the fact that I have taken over all of the closets with my clothing!
What are five of your favourite types of vintage/repro garments?
I love a good novelty print dress. I'm a sucker for them. I also love waist cinchers - nothing gives you a more fabulous wasp waist and gives you a real hourglass figure like they do. They also flatten out any bulges, which is also a plus! And high waist capris/pedal pushers - I would wear them every single day all year-round if I could! I adore my vintage jewelry - Bakelite, brooches, confetti lucite...I could go on! And what kind of vintage dame would I be without my requisite red lipstick?
Do you have any fabulous vintage hairstyling and/or wardrobe tips that you'd like to share with us?
Don't be afraid to experiment! Some of my most fabulous looks have spawned from, "Ooh, this might look great!" Find what colours flatter you - I have a post about finding what colours match your skin tone, hair colour, and eye colour, and it has been my most popular to date (Link: http://veronicavintageblog.com/2012/08/30/dressing-for-your-skintone/). You can really notice a difference when you wear those colours that just work for you.
For hair styling, my best kept secret is dry shampoo. It works wonders for volume, teasing your hair, and for those days when you need to liven up those strands.
And last, but certainly not least, what are some of the ways that vintage enriches your life and inspires your world on a daily basis?
It inspires me to always be myself. I feel I have really come into my own and have gained immeasurable self confidence from vintage style and living.
I also find inspiration from those from the past, such as Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Myrna Loy, and even Franklin D. Roosevelt, of whom I am related to! I see their trials and tribulations and how they triumphed yet maintained their dignity and grace, and it inspires me so. I aspire to live every day to the fullest, appreciate what I have, and always be my most genuine self.
Connect with Holly on:
To date, I've never meet Holly in person, but I truly hope that we get a chance to hang out face-to-face one day. Though just when just exactly, down to the day, we first crossed paths online is lost in the ether of time now (chances are it was through one of our blogs), we've remained close ever since and have one of those awesome friendships where you can always pick up right where you left off, even if it's been several months since your last heart-to-heart.
I really want to thank Holly for being August's vintage blogger interviewee and also for being such a lovely face, force, and inspiration to all of us in the vintage blogging world. It was a true pleasure chatting with, and getting to know you even better, my dear friend!
If you're not already following Holly's blog, make sure you pop on over to Veronica Vintage and do so right now.
Next up, well, that remains to be seen as I request to move someone's post a couple months down the road, so I'm in the midst of rejigging my autumn interviewee schedule, but whomever it is, I promise you that they're be inspiring, tons of fun to talk to, and endlessly passionate about vintage! :)