July 31, 2012

How I celebrated my (awesome!) 28th birthday

Like the gulls that crowd around the local beaches here, summer seems to fly by as quick as you can blink. I nearly had to do a double take today when it struck me that we'd come to the end of July. Perhaps I'm biased (given that it's the month that I was born in), but I rather love July - even with its sweltering dog days, scorching sun (poor Tony got a terrible burn earlier this month, but thankfully he's recovered quite a bit from it at this point), and scads of insects (I'm looking at you, mosquitos!).

The same sun that can sear flesh in a matter of minutes can also feel as sweet and welcome as a hug from an old friend, and though - thankfully - summer is not over yet, today does mark the end of one of its most wonderful months. As such, before we kick off August anew tomorrow, I wanted to share some of the highlights of my birthday back on the 10th with all of you.

The day began bright and early - and in fact it was gloriously bright out, the rain that has plagued this summer pausing for this particular Tuesday (a birthday gift from the universe perhaps?). My mom and Tony busied themselves downstairs for nearly an hour, sweetly, beautifully decorating the dining room with streamers, oodles of pink and white polka dot balloons, festive place settings, and even a generous sprinkling of lovely little decorative plastic crystals all over the (pink plastic tablecloth clad) table.

Growing up my mom always made a point of decorating the kitchen and/or living room for our birthdays each year, and this being the first one that I'd been back in Penticton for in several years, I adored the fact that she was as keen to festively kit out out house as I was to bound downstairs with the same enthusiasm I used to have as a youngster on this special morning.

We only stayed a moment to admire their work however, as we had a full day in Kelowna planned and were already running a little behind schedule. The drive out there was quick and beautiful, with scarcely a single wisp of a cloud to be seen in the sky.

The first place we stopped at was an charming shop that Tony and my mom had recently been to, but which I'd never visited before, called Dragonfly Quilts that specializes in selling handmade quilts and vintage houseware items.

Fantastic as I think quilts are, as you can imagine, it was the vintage pieces that really caught my eye. The store is beautifully arranged, somewhat by colour and somewhat by type of item, amongst which one could spot everything from a late Victorian era biscuit tin to several different mid-century Pyrex colours and patterns.

Perhaps because I'm used to a.) the astronomical prices vintage pieces often commanded in retail setting in Toronto and b.) because I see what things are listed - and sell for - on etsy every day, I was absolutely pleased by how reasonable the sticker prices were at this shop.

Adding to that lovely factor was the very friendly proprietor, who sweetly complimented me on my vintage style and struck up a conversation about vintage stores (fashion and otherwise) in the area, as well as other points pertaining to a topic that - as you all know - I can talk about until I'm blue in the face, vintage collecting.

We chatted as I took in the shop, which while not overly large, is carefully, wonderfully curated and filled - but not unpleasantly crowded - with a very tempting array of vintage houseware items. Though Dragonfly Quilts doesn't stock vintage fashion per se, they do have a small number of yesteryear accessories, such as gloves and brooches.

Vintage ivory satin opera gloves

A pair of the former (pictured above draped across the radio in our living room), as well as an utterly darling trio of vintage chalkware bluebirds (pictured below) came home with us that day, and believe me, it was tricky to stop at just those purchases, as there was so many terrific, well priced items to be had. Needless to say, we shall be returning to that shop again (especially as there aren't too many vintage stores around these parts at all, let alone ones with such an amicable, enthusiastic staff).

Vintage chalkware bluebird, made in British Columbia image 1

Vintage chalkware bluebirds (smaller pair), made in British Columbia

After that we headed over to my little sister's house for an afternoon visit. I was delighted that she wasn't working that day, as it meant I got to spend time with her on my birthday for the first time in far too many years (this being due to the fact that I'd been living in far flung corners for the past several years, not right here in the gorgeous Okanagan where she resides).

She gave me a darling pair of gifts, both of which I just love to pieces - are using around the clock. I couldn't help but smile and feel touched when she said that she absolutely wanted to make sure she gave me something that involved the word vintage for my birthday, and the set of Minnie Mouse OPI nail polishes does just that.

Birthday presents from Katie, cute pink polka dot towels and OPI Vintage Minnie Minis nail polish set

OPI Vintage Minnie Minis nail polish set

Fabulously, and purely coincidentally, the cute towel and washcloth set she gave me matched the balloons that my mom and Tony used as part of my decorations incredibly well.

As the sun was shinning like mad, we popped into the backyard for a little bit, with my sister's incredibly adorable Olde English Bulldogge, Beau, in tow, where Tony used my sister's Nikon camera to take a really lovely photo of my mom, sister and I (yes, I know, I don't exactly look like either of them that much, but that's ok, I like being the redheaded sheep in the family).

This picture means a lot to me, as it really drives home the fact that, after so many years away, I'm actually living in the Okanagan again and that I get to celebrate important events like birthdays and everyday moments alike with my family once more.

And here's me (I think my sis took these pics) with my ultra precious canine nephew, Beau (he's almost a year old and just the sweetest, friendliest, wrinkliest thing imaginable), who is making his Chronically Vintage debut here today.

After that our little group split into two parties. My mom and I wanted to do some intensive consignment store shopping, which wasn't of too much interest to Tony and my sister, so the went off to go fishing at nearby Shannon Lake, while my mom and I hit on of our favourite Kelowna consignment stores, called Second Time Around, for a couple of hours (we would have stayed longer, but they close at 5:30pm, which is a rather odd in between kind of time to shut their doors, if you ask me).

Though this shop doesn't specialize in vintage pieces, and I didn't find any pre-sixties items, their prices aren't too steep (higher than say Value Village, but not unreasonable by consignment store standards) and I did pick up several tops, a marvelous grey cardigan with beautiful beading on it (that my mother spied first - stellar find, mom!), and a few purses, all of which were on sale for $2 to $4 a piece.

Once we were done shopping we called Tony to come pick us us, dropped my sister back at her house, and headed home to Penticton for the evening. After a lovely, summery meal (including a big bowl of a gluten-free version of my all-time favourite pasta salad that I'd whipped up in advance the night before), I got to open my birthday presents (Tony and my parents spoiled me with really thoughtful, terrific gifts, some of which I plan to chat about in future posts for sure), and then tucked into a big dish of homemade (by my mom) gluten-free Rice Krispie Squares (which is what I requested when my mom asked me what I'd like for my birthday dessert).

I hadn't been feeling to great the night before and didn't sleep one wink (though I did veg in bed for five hours straight), so by the time time the end of the day rolled around, I'd been awake for something like forty hours straight. Not, mind you, that I really felt tired until after we'd eaten - must have been all the excitement of the day keeping me going.

Hands down this was one of the best, most enjoyable birthdays I've ever had, and I can't begin to thank Tony and my family enough for everything they did to ensure that I had such an amazing time. I hope with all my heart that this birthday represents that kind of year that lies ahead for me, and after such a top-notch celebration, am already counting down the months until my 29th rolls around! Smile


  1. Sounds like a fabulous birthday! I think it's awesome that you were able to spend time with your family. My mom would always decorate the kitchen on my (and my siblings') birthday too. :)

  2. Happy Birthday, dear Jessica!
    All the BEST wishes for you now and ever <3

  3. I'm so glad you had a good time, even though you were sleep deprived. :D Sounds and looks like a great day - You can't do wrong with some vintage shopping! And I love that polkadot towel. How could I not, it has polkadots! :)

    I can relate to the happiness of living close to family again. I used to live in another part of the country (for 3 years) and allthough I enjoyed living in the capital and sometimes miss it, I'm very glad I am back where I come from so that I can spend more time with my family. :)

  4. I'm so glad that you truly enjoyed your birthday. It's great to spend it with loved ones doing what you love.
    Love the the chalk-ware birdies. Wow your mom and sister are super blonde. I (like most of my siblings) take after my father.

  5. What an amazing bday! I love how everyone took the time to make it special for you. I wish I had that-I am the only one in my family who really likes to celebrate things LOL You and your sister and mom looked gorgeous! Your mom is a knock out! I am so pleased that you are able to do such special things with them-nothing more special than being with those you love!

    Seeing this post just puts a smile on my face! And those birdies are to die for!! Muah!

  6. What is your mother's secret? She barely looks any older than you and your sister! I looked at the pic and had to scroll back to be certain you had said 'mom, sister and I' honestly I thought I was reading it wrong and you had two sisters.
    Beau is a handsome boy! I cannot quite get over the size of his feet.
    It sounds like a perfect birthday. It must be a real treat being back with your family.

    1. Hi sweet Tracey, thank you! I'm going to read this comment to my mom over the phone later and completely make her day with it!!! No secret per se, she's always taken good care of herself, doesn't smoke, exercises, and was blessed with some pretty awesome genes.

      ♥ Jessica

  7. I love shopping on my birthday! Us ladies did that on both my birthday and my sister's birthday last year. I don't know if that's the plan this year, but it was lots of fun!

    So glad your birthday was amazing! And your outfit, darling, as usual! I know it's the last day in July, but I hope it's a good one and August is even better!

  8. What a perfect day celebrating! <3

  9. Congrats ! Love, love, love, the hot pink (raspberry?) sweater !
    You look wonderfully and not a minute over 27 !! LOL !
    Love your blog !
    Sierra Sue

  10. Happy Belated Birthday fellow Cancer! Sounds like you had an awesome day! Nothing beats a little shopping on one's birthday I say. I look forward to seeing your birthday loot!

    And thank you for your comment on my post yesterday. The storm was crazy. I think it made national news!! :)


  11. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! It sounds like you have a lovely day out shopping, and such finds too! Those birds are so adorable!


  12. There are the cute denim peddle pushers, love them. Great photos, so nice and bright. Happy Birthday.

    1. Thank you very much, Trina. As I the I didn't feel like the focus of this post was on my outfit, I didn't add the usual wardrobe details that I like to include with snaps of myself, but in case anyone's curious, the denim peddle pushers are from Nine West.

      ♥ Jessica

  13. Congrats! always is good to have great time with the family

  14. I'm glad to hear you had such a lovely time, it's often the little things that really makes a birthday special.
    Oh and I think you can definitely see the resemblance between you and your family.

  15. What a charming photo of your Mum, you and your sister and there is a definite family resemblance with all of you. As for your wrinkly fur-mily nephew Beau he is gorgeous. I don't think I've ever seen a black Bull Dog before, well not here anyway. Sounds like you had a marvellous birthday and I wish you many more to come darl :o)

  16. Happy birthday, dear! I'm happy to hear that you had such a lovely day!

  17. Im so glad you had a lovely day Jessica. Those Blue Birds are so lovely. x

  18. Happy Birthday! Your photographs are beautifully taken and you are very photogenic:)


  19. Happy birthday!!! :) Thank you for your sweet comment in my blog! I really loved your other blog, but this one is beautiful as well!! So I follow you here too!! A big kiss from Italy!!
    p.s. I love Canada, but I never been there!


  20. I love the upbeat account and celebratory nature of your birthday! How fun to spend it with family and to reflect on the excitement the day would bring as a child. It's fun to see you, your mom and sister together--that's a great photo.

  21. Happy Belated Birthday Amor!
    Aren't you a Cutie Patooty!
    always nice to spend special time with family.
    In love with your blue birdys.

  22. Sounds like you had a wonderfully happy birthday! Those birds are such a charming find. :)

    Thank you for your comment on my typewriter post, I hope that someday you’ll find a typewriter click-clacking its way into your home! :)

  23. Happy Belated Birthday Beautiful Girl!!!

  24. It sounds and looks like you had a spendid day! Congratulations! I´m also turning 28 this year, so far I think life only gets better and better for each year.

  25. happy belated bday :)
    Love Lois xxx


  26. What a fantastic day! I love the idea of having a room decorated just for you every year. Birthday shopping is always the best.
    That bulldog is beautiful! I wish I could have one but alas, not possible.
    Late happy birthday wishes, I hope you got some sleep in the end too! xx

  27. A very very belated happy birthday! Sounds like a wonderful day. Love the Minnie Mouse nail polishes :D
    -Andi x

  28. Nice post which This picture means a lot to me, as it really drives home the fact that, after so many years away. Living in the Okanagan again and that get to celebrate the important events like birthdays and everyday moments alike with my family once more. Thanks a lot for posting this article.

  29. OMGGG! you and I share the same birthday date haha; July 10th right? It's so funny how I stumbled upon your blog, I was looking at your skincare routine (which is great!).
    Have a great day!

    1. Hi Fatima, that's awesome! I haven't encountered very many people at all throughout my life that shared my (our) July 10th birthday. I appreciate your comment and that you shared this wonderful fact with me.

      ♥ Jessica