February 28, 2014

Vintage Link Love: February 2014

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64 Superb Vintage Pictures Of The Winter Olympics: For the first time in many years, I didn't watch a lot of events during this year's Winter Olympics, but that's only because Tony and I got rid of our cable service a couple of months ago. I still enjoyed catching a few, as well as some of the highlights of the 2014 Games online this year though, and certainly delighted in all of the yesteryear sporting event related stories I came across online like this fab photo roundup from BuzzFeed.

Faces of the men who won America's independence: Amazing early photos of heroes of the Revolutionary War in their old age: Influenced by the history lover, family genealogist, and photographer in me alike, I've always been immensely fascinated by the fact that, in the earliest days of its existence, cameras were able to capture images of people who had been born in the 18th century (decades before functional cameras themselves were developed).

This article from UK paper The Daily Mail takes a look at a selection of photos of some such folks, all of whom were involved with America's Revolutionary War in (1775–1783). If you think that these images stretch far back in time (which they certainly do), stop to ponder the fact that it's entirely possible that the gentlemen pictured here could very well have, in their earliest days, know some elderly people who had been born towards the end of 1600s. Talk about a powerful link to the past.

Air Canada Uniforms from 1938 to 2012: By way of Toronto Life, comes this flip through photo gallery of an Air Canada fashion show that featured models wearing a selection of uniforms that flight attendants, pilots and other employees sported over the course of the years spanning 1938 to 2012.

How the blogging world has changed: It's rare that I read a blog post that resonates as deeply with me as this one did. I first started noticing a drastic change in how people were blogging (with a strong shift towards favouring using social media to post and create a following over, or in addition to, traditional blogging), commenting, the number of folks still maintaining their blog, and several other related points last year. I talked about such things at length on multiple occasions with Tony, but it didn't seem like anyone else I knew or was following was discussing this point publicly.

Much to my relief, it turns out that I wasn't the only one who had spotted some pretty dramatic shifts, changes, and new approaches to blogging. Design Sponge recently wrote about this topic and how such things had been said in hushed whispers in the blogosphere for some time now before the first brave souls decided to start posting about it, as Grace Bonney did in this truly must-read post for absolutely everyone who blogs.

Thoughts on historical accuracy: In a post that a great many of us who wear vintage will be able to relate to, and no doubt have our own opinions on, Stephanie Lynn from The Girl with the Star Spangled Heart shares some of her thoughts on the what it means to dress in a historical accurate manner when it comes to our daily vintage wardrobe (in her post, Stephanie links to another on the same topic by Jennifer Rosbrugh from Historical Sewing called Why You Can't Be 100% Historically Accurate which is definitely worth reading as well).

The Canadian "Rosie the Riveter" - Veronica Foster: Liz of The Vintage Inn has shines the spotlight on one of Canada's most interesting and beautiful war workers, Veronica Foster (pictured below), who was known during the forties as the Bren Gun Girl, and quickly became an inspiring, patriotic war effort icon for Canadians from coast to coast in a similar manner to America's famous Rosie the Riveter.

Selling Your Vintage: More so than any other year that I've been active in the vintage blogging world, I've noticed a wide array of folks in our circle who are looking to give their wardrobes a thorough purging this year and try to earn some cash for the pieces they no longer want to hang onto. That's always a great idea if it's been a while since your last closet clean out or you simply have more than you need/will ever wear. If you're on the same determined war path this year and are looking for a handy list of ways through which you can potentially make cash for your unwanted vintage items, be sure to take a peak at this lovely post on the topic that Janey from Atomic Redhead recently wrote.

Couple met in Nazi death camp, reunited in Toronto: I bookmarked this deeply heartwarming CBC news story last year the moment I saw it and this month, the most famous of the whole year for love, seems like the perfect time to share it.

Style History of 1950s Tops and Blouses: With spring (hopefully) on the cusp of returning, it's all I can do not to pack away my winter coats, gloves, scarves, hats and boots right this very moment and frolic around outdoors in cute vintage blouses and skirts. For inspiration when that fabulous, and no doubt sunny, day does return, I'll be revisiting this lovely, image filled post on the style history of 1950s tops and blouses from The Vintage Dancer.

Is that really an authentic vintage dress you're buying?: By way of one of the web's leading genuine vintage, vintage reproduction, and vintage inspired fashion sellers, Blue Velvet Vintage, comes a wonderful post about how companies looking to cash in on the trend for old school fashions in recent years has lead to an increase in clothing and accessories being called "1950s" (or whatever decade) or "vintage", when in fact they are modern pieces that simply look the part (aka, may be vintage appropriate), and the side effects that this has on sellers who deal in, and buyers who wear, real vintage items.

On a Heart Pin to Make for Valentine’s Day: In last month's edition of Vintage Link Love, I shared a great tutorial for a vintage style fruit brooch that was posted over at Technicolor Cutie's site, and this month, on the homemade jewelry front, I'm delighted to bring you another splendidly simple project that even a novice crafter can tackle: a super cute felt and pipe cleaner heart brooch tutorial from Inky of On Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax (that's perfect for Feb. 14th, but could easily be sported the whole year 'round, too).

Lamé and lurex: A few months ago, completely out of the blue, I got the strongest longing I've ever had to own a vintage gold lame or lurex garment. I've adding doing so to my shopping ongoing fashion shopping list, and am spurred on all the more to find just the right piece for my wardrobe thanks to this fantastic image filled post on both shimmery fabrics from Joanna Öst.

  On the home blogging front in the last few weeks, I've had the great pleasure of being interviewed by UK app developer Wallpop in a post on their site called Chronically Vintage: a 100% vintage blog!, and had the wonderfully touching distinction and honour of being named one of Lindsay Lane's Favourite Female Vintage Bloggers

Thank you very much to both of these great sites for making Chronically Vintage a part of your online world this winter. I wholeheartedly appreciate it.

{All images throughout the list of links above come by way of the post that they are displayed directly beneath the write up of here. Please follow the links provided to learn more about these images.}

♥ ♥ ♥

Last month's inaugural edition of Vintage Link Love was meet with much enthusiasm, which is awesome, because it's quickly become, even in the very short time it's been in existence, one of my favourite post series to write. In fact, I was all but champing at the bit for this month to wrap up, just so I could compose February's edition.

No doubt that fact that I'm keen to wave buh-bye to winter in general helped spur on my desire to see the shortest month of the year come to end as well. Usually, you know, I flat out love most elements of winter and don't mind how long it wants to drag on and on (and on...), but this year, I grew tired of it early and have been immensely excited for spring's return ever since January.

I was thinking about this a couple of week ago and it struck me that one factor adding to those feeling is that I haven't yet gotten a chance to wear most of the vintage garments, as many are best suited to spring and summer, that I purchased during our awesome trip to Calgary last September. Well, not at least outdoors without a heavy winter coat and scarf covering them up, and I'm keen to weave them into my daily warm weather wear (and no doubt share some in vintage outfit posts here and on Instragram).

That's not the only factor though by a long shot and another biggie, which I know many of my fellow fashion bloggers can relate to well, is that as much as it can be fun to do the occasional shoot in the snow (such as this one last month), I strongly miss being able to take pictures without feeling like my fingers, toes and ears are going to turn into icicles in a matter of minutes, as well as not having to worry nearly as much about what kind of temperamental mood the weather is in.

I'm ready for spring's fresh produce, dying Easter eggs, the first blooms of the season, taking walks on the beach, falling asleep outside in the sun, packing picnics to enjoy in the wilderness, splashing in puddles, the local farmer's market reopening, bringing out my beloved vintage sundresses, and countless other things that usually become distant memories during the snow covered half of the year.

We're not quite there yet, but with a bit of luck, by the time I sit down to pen March's edition of Vintage Link Love, at least a few of those things will have happened and the prospect of the rest will be mere days, or weeks at most, away.

No doubt, in true Canadian fashion, during the sweltering dog days of summer, I'll be pining for snowmen, stockings hung by the chimney with care, hot cocoa, warm woolen mittens, and scores of characteristically wintry things, but for now, spring and its beautiful successor, summer, can't get here quickly enough for me. How about for you?

February 26, 2014

The beautiful 1980s does 1940s dress from Jenstyle Chic Vintage that helped create a subtly Edwardian feeling ensemble

Outfit details

1930s feather adorned black velvet hat: eBay
Edwardian inspired earrings: Dollar Store in Kelowna
1980s does 1940s purple floral print dress: etsy seller Jenstyle Chic Vintage
Grey 1940s princess coat: Couture Allure
Vintage black velvet handbag: Thrifted (from Value Village)
Dark green c. 1950s gloves: Thrifted (from Value Village)
Black plastic rose bead stretch bracelet: Thrifted (from Value Village)
Black seamed nude stockings: eBay
Black faux suede round toe pumps: Wal-Mart
Lip colour: MAC Diva
Nail colour: Revlon Plum Attraction

Photography by Tony Cangiano

How's that for a detailed title? Lengthy as it may be, it's an accurate one because that is precisely what this timelessly lovely floral print frock featuring shades dark purple, black, blue and green did. Hailing from one of Chronically Vintage's most recent blog sponsors, wonderful etsy shop Jenstyle Chic Vintage, this dress is one of those distinctly lovely pieces that is apt to catch the eye of those with a passion for multiple decades in time.

It is, like numerous beloved dresses in my closet, a piece that hails from the 1980s yet distinctly channels the spirit of the 1940s. And yet, there's more to this time frame chameleon, too. Subtle elements that speak of other decades as well. The double pleated detail directly below the collar, for example has a charming 1920s feel, and the somewhat blouse-y sleeves (as well as the wee little black velvet purse) call to mind the fabulously fashionable Edwardian era.

This decade jumps out all the more here when the dress waltzes with the splendid 1930s feather adored velvet hat (that could easily pass for an Edwardian chapeau) and a perpetually feminine grey 1940s princess coat - my favourite winter wear style of all time. The t-strap heels, naturally, call to mind the 20s and 30s, but are a truly classic style that has come into play during every decade from the 1920s right on to today.

So struck was I by the notes of earlier decades in this ensemble in fact, that for the first time ever, while editing these photos (as mentioned in this post last fall, Tony takes all of my photos, then I in turn happily do the post-processing/editing work with them) I finally took the plunge and converted some of them to black and white. It's a something I've been wanting to do for quite some time, but always felt compelled to wait for the right outfit to partner with this most vintage of photography palettes. I knew the moment I saw these photos, this was the one. Viewed in black and white, I cannot help but even feel a little bit like I've gone back in time entirely.

In many many ways this outfit is a lot like not only my wardrobe as a whole and my personal approach to wearing vintage (influenced as it is by a deeply rooted love of multiple eras), but like the etsy shop that the dress itself hails from.

Helmed by a lovely lady named - as you may have guess from her shop's moniker - Jen who spends her days as a teacher and librarian, and her evenings as an online vintage seller, Jenstyle Chic Vintage brings shoppers a diverse blend of fashions (both men's and women's, as well as a selection for children), jewelry, accessories and other assorted yesteryear goodies that span the spectrum of several decades.

Brought to life by Jen's longstanding love of the past, which stretches back to a childhood that was peppered with trips to antique stores with her parents (both yesteryear fans and collectors themselves) and other powerfully influential early experiences with history, her etsy shop is a companion to a 1967 Fan trailer that transformed into a traveling vintage shop from which she hosts pop up vintage shops in various parts of the US.

Jennifer Lorenz's passion for vintage, history, and bringing her customers fantastic pieces at reasonable prices is clear the moment you visit her etsy shop, and I'm thrilled to welcome this delightful lady (for more on Jen, her family and the fact that she believe, just as I do, that she was born with the collector's gene, be sure to check out her splendidly engaging etsy About page, where you'll see - and smile over the fact that - she has dubbed her darling dog Mazie as the shop's curator).

In addition to connecting with Jensyle Vintage Chic on etsy, which houses some seriously cool vintage items such as two gorgeous 1950s Spanish flamenco dance costume dresses, including the vibrant red and white one pictured here below, you can stay abreast of what's going with the shop and in Jen's world on Facebook and Twitter.

Little did we know when Tony and I took these photos last Thursday down at Okanagan Lake here in Penticton that we'd be in for another serious snowfall in the coming days. Though it was mighty nippy and windy that afternoon (so hence the red nose and cheeks in many of these snaps), and some remaining snow from previous falls lingered about here and there, within 24 hours Penticton would once again look like it could have been the landscape needed to paint the perfect Christmas card scene from.

At present, there's several inches of the white stuff piled up everywhere and even the rather gorgeous sunshine we got yesterday isn't enough to chase it off again yet or usher in the first telltale signs of the spring. Those will come in due time, but for now one still needs to hunker down under plenty of toasty layers, like this fabulous forties princess coat, which came into my wardrobe by way of a helpful blog commenter back in 2011.

At the time I posted about how I was on the prowl for a new vintage winter coat (ideally a princess one), as the treasured one that I'd previously been using for many years (since I was 18, to be exact) was beyond on its last legs. A very helpful blog reader spotted one that sounded like what I was after on the terrific vintage seller Couture Allure, and before I knew it, this gorgeous $300 investment piece was winging its way through the mail and into my closet (received as an awesome gift, I should add, from my darling husband).

This is the first time I've featured it in a blog post, but certainly not the first that I've worn it. In fact, about 80% of the time when I wear a dress or skirt during the fall, winter and very early spring, this is the vintage topper that I reach for. It's fabulously warm (its length helps there big time), hugs my curves to no end, and is holding up superbly.

I highly suspect that it will be with me for many more freezing cold Canadian winters to come, just as this beautiful dress from her etsy shop, which I sincerely appreciate that Jen sent me a gift, will be a much loved part of my wardrobe for ages (while also happening to be a stellar start to this year's plan to add more purple to my wardrobe).

I look at this outfit and I smile. Yes, the forties jump out at me when I view it, but there are elements of various other decades to, as I mentioned above, that all work in harmony though the colour palette, lines, choice of accessories and coat, and the prevailing sense of femininity that swirl though it. This look, comprised of stylish components of, and items dating from, numerous decades is me to a tee and is a perfect snapshot, quite literally, of what my personal vintage style is all about.

*PS* Jenstyle Chic Vintage is very generously offering Chronically Vintage readers the chance to save 25% off on all purchases (with no minimum order required) at their etsy shop when you use coupon code Jessica between now and March 31st, 2014.

February 25, 2014

Start spring off on the right foot by sponsoring Chronically Vintage in March

With the shortest month of the year just three days away, one's thoughts turn to March and glorious return of spring that comes with it. Even if snow is still a constant in your world for a while longer, chances are you're already starting to gear up for the sweet warmth, gorgeous greenery, and resplendent new life of early spring. You may also be thinking about where you'd like to advertise your website, shop, and/or products, and I'm delighted to say that you needn't search any further!

Here at Chronically Vintage we help you instantly reach a vast target demographic of tens of thousands of viewers every month, will work with you to shine the spotlight on your site, shop and/or products, and sincerely care about each of our fantastic sponsors. We have the following three ad sizes available to meet your marketing budget and advertising needs:

-Large: 250 width x 300 height (or any size up to those measurements)

-Medium: 250x200 (or any size up to those measurements)

-Small: 250x150 (or any size up to those measurements)

-Each month, one premium "top spot" large (which can be any size you desire up to 250 x 350) ad space is made available on a first come, first serve basis.

All new first time medium, large and large top spot sponsors have the option of receiving a dedicated sponsor spotlight post all about their site, shop, etc, which can be…

-An overview style post, such as this one featuring fab etsy shop Maejean Vintage.

-An interview, for example, this one about the awesome vintage, sewing and knitting blog Lucky Lucille.

-A product review post staring your item(s) in a series of professional digital photographs taken my by talented husband, Tony Cangiano. Like as this one featuring a beautiful rainbow crinoline from Pettiskirt style.

In addition to a dedicated spotlight post for medium and large sidebar ad sponsors, all sponsors receive social media shout outs (on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (where Chronically Vintage has 38,000+ wonderful followers) and/or Instagram, as applicable) and organic mentions in Chronically Vintage blog posts throughout the duration of their sponsorship and in many cases, long after as well.

During February, Chronically Vintage had the great pleasure of welcoming the following quartet of stellar new sidebar ad sponsors, in addition to working numerous ongoing and returning blog sponsors this month.


Heyday Vintage Style 

Jenstyle Chic Vintage 

Sanne's Vintage Jools

A small number of sidebar ad sponsorship slops remain available for March 2014 (most have already been spoken for already). If you'd like to book yours before its gone, please email me anytime for rates and to discuss this exciting possibility further.

I wholeheartedly look forward to welcoming you as a new blog sponsor in March and ringing in spring’s triumphant return together!

February 24, 2014

Flickr Favourites: February 24, 2014

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{Revlon Fashion Plate Makeup ~ BudCat14/Ross}

{Yellow rose ~ KLMircea}

{Learn to Bake (back cover) ~ estelle & ivy}

{French 'For Sale' Sign ~ prettyshabby}

{Winter ~ Clermont Camera Social }

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{Parsons Snow Chains - advert, 1956 ~ mikey ashworth}

{Beautiful pair ~ totheforest}

{Picture Post, Leslie Caron, 17th July, 1954 ~ Chez}

{The warmth of winter ~ Thomas Rusling}

{Abby - Artist Teddy Bear ~ P is for Paper}

{All images above are from Flickr. To learn more about a specific image, please click on its title to be taken to its respective Flickr page.}

There are few scents that I love more in the whole vast, wonderful world than that of wood smoke. Be it from a campfire nestled in the woods, on the beach, in a backyard, or wafting out of a chimney. With a little less than a month to go until winter officially wraps up, and in reality, probably two or more months until spring really starts to burst to life again here, there is, thankfully, still plenty of time for me to continue getting my annual fix of wood smoke.

I woke up today on a snow covered, perfectly still morning in February thinking about this fact. We don't have a fireplace at our house, but many throughout town do, and I love that if I threw open the window right now, chances are, that cozy, fragrant, timeless aroma would come barreling in to the room within seconds.

This thought then set me thinking about the colours of the flames that are integral for producing a fire. Intense reds, glowing yellows, sizzling oranges, and the occasional flash of pale blue or icy white. This palette seems particularly well suited to winter, because so many of its key players are the polar opposite of the freezing weather, pale landscape, and ash hued skies above.

We bring fire into our homes during these long, frozen months to warm our room, hands, and souls alike, but I think we also flock to the flames because of the fact that they're rather redolent of the sun's surface, blinding summer light, and that half of the year when the potential for frostbite is the last thing on your mind.

Man has harnessed fire, but it's still raw, still primal, still tremendously powerful, and no matter how modernized we get, we'll likely never stop using it in some capacity. It's too integral to life on this planet itself, and that suits me just fine. I could scarcely imagine winter without the scent of wood smoke lingering heavily in the air, bringing back an avalanche of memories from years past, while also putting me in the mood to roast plenty of delicious marshmallows – undoubtedly one of the best uses ever discovered for the mighty force of an open flame. :)

February 20, 2014

30 tips that will help you succeed as a new blogger

In a couple of months from now, Chronically Vintage will hit its fifth birthday. In that time, I've written more than a thousand posts of my own and can only begin to estimate how many diverse, fascinating, inspiring, and wonderfully enjoyable posts I've read on other peoples' sites (I'd guess somewhere in the range of 100,000+, but it could easily be more).

Though Chronically Vintage was not my first foray into blogging or running a website, it is the one that I've devoted the greatest amount of my time to over the years and which holds the absolute dearest spot in my heart. I honestly doubt if a single day has passed over the last few years in which I didn't think about my blog in some capacity.

Whether brainstorming ideas, doing research, finding images, taking outfit photos, writing posts, visiting other peoples' sites, or spending time in the social media sphere, my blog is on my mind day in and day out, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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I adore writing and running this site, getting a chance to grow as a person through my experiences as both a vintage lover and a blogger, connecting with lovely likeminded souls around the world, and watching as creativity rather fantastically begets creativity and keeps my blogging mojo going strong far more often than not.

At this point, I feel like a pretty seasoned veteran on the vintage blogging front. There are certainly blogs in our sphere which have been around for longer than mine, but I think that (nearly) five years is a solid chunk of time and one that qualifies me to share some of the most important points I’ve learned over that span with those who just starting their own vintage blog (or who have  recently done so).

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1. Much like Rome, a great blog (vintage or otherwise) is not built in a day. It takes hard work, dedication, a true love of what you're writing about, and sometimes even a wee bit of luck. You will have pitfalls and successes, grow, change, and develop as time goes on and the more that you remain true to yourself and your own unique blogging voice in the process, the greater degree of success your site stands to achieve.

2. Know what you hope to write about before you begin: Yes, of course you can cover a broad range of topics on your site - and I highly encourage you to do so, but generally speaking, you will want to hone in on one, or a small number of, themes and ensure that plenty of your posts relate to, or directly discuss, that topic. It could be mid-century vintage, vintage sewing, vintage decor, vintage recipes, the daily life of a vintage loving mom to young kids, whatever you like, just so long as when someone asks you what you blog about, you can answer then confidently without missing a beat.

3. You don't need, and shouldn’t waste your time trying, to keep up with the blogging Joneses: So what if your photos don't look like they could pass for professional, you don't have hundreds of dollars to splash out on your wardrobe each month, you're young/old/hate your arms/think your life is sometimes boring/are from a country where there isn't much of a blogging community or anything else that you see as potentially setting you apart from the crowd. Roll with, rock it, and embrace who you and what sets you and your blog apart. You can always improve your photography skills, pad your wardrobe with thrift store finds, make peace with those things that you aren't crazy about, and grow as an individual. At the risk of sounding like I should be ghostwriting for Dr. Seuss, you are you and that's awesome unto itself.

4. It takes time to build up an audience - and hard work to keep it: You’ve hopped on the blogging bandwagon, maybe you have started (or were already) commenting on other peoples' sites, you're super passionate and you enjoy writing, but unless you already have already an established, well known online presence or degree of fame offline, chances are that the whole world is not going to flock to your door overnight.

While some bloggers do seem to attract large numbers of followers with relative ease, many of us had to work hard at building up our followings, and continually enjoy expanding them to this day.

Let other bloggers know you're out there with heartfelt, lovely comments on their sites and across the social media spectrum, but please make sure that you don't veer into spam territory. We've all seen those dime a dozen, "Great blog! I'll follow you if you follow me back!" comments and they're not fooling anyone. That's not the way to build up an audience of people who will eagerly return to your site again and again, it's simply a means by which to try and bolster the number, in the most fleeting of moments, of followers you have.

5. Speak from the heart: While you may not want to use your blog as a surrogate psychiatrist's couch, it can be beneficial both you and your audience if you share certain elements about your life, your past, your dreams, and your feelings throughout some of your posts. By opening up to your readers, you create a sense of trust and a level of honesty that many people will respond positively and feel like they can relate to.

6. Tell a story: I don't mean write fiction or take on the roll of a journalist (unless you want to), what I mean is that you want your posts to have a natural sense of fluidity to them. Just as we were taught in school, remember the importance of having a clear beginning, middle, and end to your posts. Keep the who, what, when, where, and why of what you’re sharing in mind as well. Speak informatively, politely, and with an upbeat spirit. Bone up on your writing skills, if need be, and try to carve out a distinct blogging voice all your own (which will help readers identify with you anytime they see your writing).

7. If you're a vintage fashion blogger, develop your own standout style: Right now, think about five of our favourite vintage fashion bloggers. Picture each of them in your mind. Why do these people stand out to you? How similar or different is your own person style from theirs? Do you aspire to emulate their kind of looks? Chances are that these memorable folks have carved out their own distinct sartorial voice and that’s why they sprang into your head right away.

They know what does, and doesn't, look good on them. They have several go-to garments and accessories that they love and feel comfortable wearing. Risks rarely scare them, and they're keen to try new things out, while still holding true to their original fashion sense. By building a wardrobe that you love, which fits you well, and that can be spun into lots of different outfits, you can easily develop a standout style of your own, too (remember, hair and makeup can also play an important role in your overall appearance, so don't let them fall to the wayside while you're focusing on your vintage wardrobe).

8. Set up a blogging schedule that works for you. This is a topic I discussed at length in this post last year, and which I truly cannot stress enough. By scheduling time to write, what kinds of posts you may want to focus on in the upcoming future, and when you'd like said entries to go live, you can effectively and very productively help streamline your blogging process.

9. Never stop looking for blog post inspiration: There is truly an unlimited number of places, sites, and people from which to garner inspiration for your posts out. Every time you read a magazine, book, newspaper, or blog post, watch a movie or TV show, travel, receive a gift, remember a meaningful memory, acquire a new item, create something you love, move houses, start a new job, have a baby, find that killer red lipstick you'd always searched for, or a billion other things, there is the potential seeds of inspiration already nurtured in that experience to turn it into a blog post.

10. Include at least one image (or video clip) in every post: Baring emergency posts (and if you blog long enough, you may run into the odd one) that need to be written as quickly as possible, you want to always, without fail, include at least one image in every post. We as humans are a very visually oriented bunch and we love to see pretty/engaging/interesting/relevant images. It can be a photo you took or one of you, a scan, a video clip, a vintage photograph or illustration, pretty much anything you like, just make sure you include a visual - and that, ideally, it's one that pertains to the topic that you're writing about in that post.

11. Blog by the Golden Rule: While this does of course mean that you'll want to do unto other as you'd have other do unto you, it also means sharing your time, knowledge and experience with your readers. Solicit questions from your audience and answer them informatively. Post how-tos, tutorials, reviews, and important life lessons that you feel others may benefit from. And by the same token, if someone asks you a question in the comment section of your post, via email, on Facebook or anywhere else, try your best to answer or at least acknowledge it.

There's nothing wrong with admitting you don't know the answer, if such is the case, but try make sure you try to get to as many questions from your readers as possible either way. Doing so is a great means by which to form longstanding relationships with your blogging audience members.

Also, if someone takes the time to visit you and leave a comment, try, whenever possible, to return the lovely gesture by visiting and commenting on their site, if they happen to have one. This is something that is immensely important to me and which I strive to do as often as circumstances will permit. It's just common courtesy in my books.

12. Source blog post ideas and inspiration from those around you. For more on this very topic, see last September's post all about it.

13. Know that blogging takes time, energy, and focus: How much of each you're willing and able to devote to your site is up to you, but in general, you'll want to set aside at least a few hours each week to blogging. This time will include everything from writing posts to sourcing ideas for future pieces you want to put down on virtual paper to visiting and commenting on other peoples' sites.

Unless you're aim is to make blogging your full time job or a significant source of income, you don't have to devote a whole working day to your personal blog. There is however, much to be said for putting in the effort to post on a regular basis about a diverse array of topics and for keeping your writing feeling fresh and exciting for your readers. You’ll have times when don't feel like, can't or just aren't in the mood to write or even hang out online, and that's totally okay, but overall, you will need to put in the hours if you want to see your site flourish.

14. Try to maintain a degree of consistency: You don't have to post every day by any means, but you will want to try and hit on a blogging schedule that works well for you and which you can generally maintain with at least relative ease. This could be anything from a multiple posts per day to once a week or once every couple of weeks, but whatever you settle on (and yes, you can change the frequency of your posts over time, if need be), try to stick to it.

I personally aim to post three to five times a week, and am a big fan of blogging every other day (for example, I might most on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday in a given week), as this gives me a day in between new posts (going live) to approve and reply to blog comments that I've received lately, work on future posts, spend time visiting other peoples' sites, and also - and this is hugely important - doing things offline, too. Blogging is the bee's knees and then some, but you don't want to get sucked into the habit of spending darn near every waking hour glued to the computer.

15. Comments aren't the only way to judge the success of your blog: While they can be a good indicator of which posts and topics are more popular with your audience than others, commenting is just one way to know how you're blog is doing. Two other key things you'll want to stay up-to-date on are your Google Analytics stats and the number of RSS/feed reader/Bloglovin' followers that you have (the number of social media fans/followers that you’ve acquired can also, sometimes, be an indicating factor as to your site’s popularity).

16. Not every thing you post will be a hit: I've been there, believe me, and I know how frustrating - even disheartening at times - it can be to work your buns off on a post, only to see it fizzle with your readers in the moment. Tough as that is, keep in mind that it doesn't necessarily mean that your post won't prove popular from a SEO standpoint nor that it won't generate further comments over time. I speak from experience when I say that you will be surprised at times by which posts prove wildly popular and which turn into near instant ghost towns.

Pay attention to these things and consider reviewing your most, and least, popular posts to see if you can determine why they succeeded or failed to bring in the audience you'd hoped for. Keep these points in mind for future posts, while also readily accepting that sometimes there's very little rhyme or reason to such things (remember, too, that if one of your posts gets mentioned on a well known site, Facebook page, Twitter feed, etc, this is likely to cause a spike in traffic to your site and a greater number of comments on that post).

17. Posting every single day isn't necessarily a good thing: Tempting as it may be, blogging every single day can actually be detrimental to your popularity. Now, this isn't always the case, but it can hurt you at times because your readers may feel like all they see in their feed is new posts from you. Some folks will love this, but others may grow weary of seeing your site's name so often and be inclined to not read, or not comment on, some or eventually even all of your posts. Just as you wouldn't want someone to call you on the phone every hour, no matter how much you loved them, so does a wee bit of absence - even just a day or two between posts - help the reader's heart grow fonder.

18. Remember that not all of your readers will comment: Chances are, just as there are certain sites that you've long enjoyed reading but have never commented on, so too will you quickly amass a following that includes a fair number of folks who simply prefer to read without commenting. This is totally okay and very normal in the blogging sphere. You are writing as much for those who comment as for those who do not - as well as for yourself. Sometimes - and I always love it when this happens - someone will un-lurk and share with you that their comment is the first they've ever left for you. When this happens, be sure to acknowledge that person and thank them for being a longtime reader.

19. Don't be afraid to change: In all likelihood the blog that you kick off today isn't going to be the same site you have in a year, two years, five years and beyond. The name may be the same, but you'll likely tweak (or even completely overhaul) your template, change the sidebar, create static pages, post more or less frequently, include a smaller or larger number of images in your posts, invite guest bloggers to write for you, perhaps take on sponsors, and myriad other things. While you don't want to be the site that changes templates each week, it's a good idea to keep things fresh, relevant to your life as it in the moment, and presenting a face to the world that you're happy with.

20. Make sure the comment button/link on your posts is easy to see and find: This might sound obvious, but I've seen dozens of blogs over the years where finding said comment button was like searching for a needle in a haystack. Ideally, you want it to  appear clearly at the top or bottom (the latter being my personal preference) of your post, where everyone and their dog can see it as plain as day.

21. Try to use the same name across all social media sites. If your blog is called "Jane Smith, Vintage Girl", then you'll want to try to be "Jane Smith, Vintage Girl" (or as close to that name as possible) on each social media site where you plan to discuss and promote your blog. This creates a sense of brand unity and helps people to find and connect with you more easily outside of your blog.

22. Ensure that readers can quickly and easy connect with you across social media: Put buttons for each of the social media sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Tumblr, and Pinterest) that you're on somewhere - most likely the sidebar - on your site and/or create a "connect with me elsewhere" type of static page through which folks can easily click straight through to your profiles and start following you.

23. Talk about your blog on social media, but also remember to discuss other things there as well: Unless you really do run a company or have a thriving product line, chances are no one wants to feel like everything they see from you is a commercial for your blog. It's a-okay to talk about your site and topics pertaining to it, of course, but remember to inject other subjects into the conversation as well, including mentioning posts from other bloggers that you've enjoyed/found interesting, helpful or otherwise noteworthy.

24. If you need help, ask for it: Even the pros don't know everything, so if you're curious about something, need help or advice, or just want to know if others out their have been in the same same shoes you're in (spoiler alert, at least a few people will almost certainly have been), just ask. Write a blog post with your question or shoot it out into cyberspace through social media, and when answers come in, even if they don't solve your dilemma, make sure to genuinely thank those who took the time to share their thoughts on the matter with you.

25. Variety is the spice of life - and your blog: It's great, as discussed above, to have a central theme or thread that runs through your posts, but that doesn't mean you want each of your new entries to be a near carbon copy of the last. Blog with the seasons, blog when something good (or bad) happens, blog about your favourite things, your loves, your dreams, what's inspiring, people whose sites you adore, your beliefs, helpful how-tos, you name it! This is your site and you're free to post whatever your heart desires, so why limit yourself to just one or two topics or types of posts? Different folks (who come calling at your blog) will enjoy, and find you in the first place, via an array of diverse posts, so make sure you're putting content out there that's bound to appeal lots of different people.

26. List posts are great, but they shouldn't be the only type that you write: Most months I post at least one list style post (such as this one!), and I love both writing them and reading lists on other peoples' sites, but it's important not to fall into the all-too-easy trap of just, or primarily, posting lists. Monotony will settle in rather quickly if you do.

27. Keep a running list of post ideas and things that have inspired you and/or which you've experienced and may want to write about (see this post for more on my own such list): You might think that after close to five years of blogging, my idea list would be on the skimpy side, but nothing could be further from the truth. It's never been bigger and rarely does a day go by that I don't add at least one new idea to it. I don't, ultimately, use every idea I put down of course, but it's fantastic to have such a list available at all times, so that I don't have to stress or worry about coming up with new posts on the fly constantly. Whether you turn to your own list daily or just once in a blue moon, I highly encourage all bloggers - new and old alike - to keep, and use, one.

28. Give credit where credit is due: If you use someone else's image, take direct inspiration from another blogger (or source in general), or otherwise involve another person's work in your own in just about any degree, ensure that you link back to their site. Imitation may be greatest form of flattery, but not not giving credit where credit is due is just poor blogging manners.

29. Create a visually pleasing site: What's beautiful to one person may be glaringly garish to another, but generally speaking, it's not hard to see the difference between an attractive site and one that needs a lot of work, to put it mildly.

Don't overcrowd your sidebar(s), keep your header to a reasonable size, keep the number of posts that show up on your homepage at any given time to a moderate number (three-seven is a good range), don't have an obscene number of blog awards, sponsor ads, banners, buttons, or unnecessary images cluttering up your sidebar, footer and/or even header (I've seen it happen, believe me); use a theme, colours, fonts and font sizes that are lovely and easy on the eyes, and make sure that images in your posts don't exceed the size of your post column and spill over into the sidebar.

Feel free to refine and improve your blog's appearance over time, and if possible and so desired, even employee the help of a professional designer.

30. Be community minded: Yes, you and your blog are most likely going to be your biggest online focus, but don't forget that you're part of a larger community and that it pays - in spades - to connect with, be friendly and helpful to, and enjoy spending time as a part of this awesome online social scene. Don't get so caught up in your own drive to be popular, have high follower counts, and promote your blog that you forget to take time to say hello and connect with your fellow bloggers.

And by the same token, if and when your blog does gain notoriety, please, I implore you, do not neglect your readers, commenters, and those who helped you get to where you are today. Sadly, I've seen this happen time and time again, and it always breaks my heart. I love my readers and am so grateful to everyone who has helped Chronically Vintage become the site it is today. No matter what, I will always strive to express my gratitude and pay attention to those who share their time and thoughts here with me, and you should strive to do the same.

♥ ♥ ♥

This is not a complete list of tips for new vintage bloggers of course, and what applies to me and my circumstances, may not ring true for you and yours. When I look back though, these are some of the most important points that have helped guide me, as well as some I wish I'd done differently/more of, as well as a couple that are just plain common sense, but which it never hurts to be reminded of.

It takes ambitions, guts, determination, and passion to launch your own blog (be it vintage related or otherwise), and there will be stumbling blocks, stress, hiccups, and occasionally even heartache along the way, but the potential rewards that you stand gain far outweigh these (typically minor) concerns. Blogging isn't a quick sprint, it's a long distance marathon and one that, ideally, you should enjoy taking part in every day of your site's life.

From friendship to fashion inspiration, historical knowledge to great (new to you) links for products, services and sites you might otherwise never have encountered, as well as the invaluable support of having a community behind you, blogging is a gift that just keeps on giving, and which I believe anyone can take a stab at.

Remember to cut yourself some slack - no one is perfect, and despite what gorgeous image filled sites might have you believe, neither is anyone's blog. We're all human, we all make mistakes and forget things from time to time. Don't fret when this happens, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and remember that tomorrow is a new day and a new blog post.

February 18, 2014

Serenity sought, and found, while wearing my beloved Freddies jeans, at Yellow Lake

Outfit details

Royal blue floral print scarf: eBay
White rose stud earrings: Claire's
Emerald green camisole: Ricki's
Mustard yellow cardigan: Loft by Ann Taylor (bought on eBay)
Pink rhinestone rose brooch: eBay
Bangle bracelets: Assorted sources
1940s style side button jeans: Freddies of Pinewood
1950s corduroy bucket purse: etsy seller Rue 23 Vintage Clothing
1940s style black shoes: Thrifted (Salvation Army)
Lip colour: Clinique Raspberry Glace

Photography by Tony Cangiano

Relatively few of us live out in the wilds of nature any more. Most, it's fair to say, return home to an address that is either located smack, dab inside of a town or city, or which can reach one in a matter of minutes. Even those who have opted to live far further from the hustle and bustle of a community are rarely without at least a few of signs, stresses, and sounds of modern city life (such as visible traffic, telephone poles, and airplanes flying overhead).

I love city and town living, don't get me wrong. In fact, given the option between living in the backwoods or on the main street of a pulsating metropolis, the city option will nearly always win out for me (I was born a stone's throw away from Vancouver and have adored big cities since the youngest of ages), but sometimes one needs - really and truly needs in the pit of their soul to head as far away from an urban center as possible.

As awesome as a week in the country may be, if that's not in the cards (and it rarely is!), I'm grateful to have a few locations around our part of the province where I can retreat and quietly collect my thoughts, skip some of my worries out into the water along with smooth rocks, and breath in hearty lungfuls of pure, fresh, glorious Canadian air.

Three Mile Beach in Naramata, which I blogged about last summer is one such spot, another is Yellow Lake, located between Penticton and the small community of Keremeos (which houses Bear's Farm produce market). Though a leg of British Columbia Highway 3A runs directly past it, with cars buzzing all the while, there is still a tremendous sense of tranquility to this small, beautiful lake.

In the summer, Tony adores heading here after work or on the weekends to cast his line and whittle away the hours, and I'm fond of visiting it not only to accompany him while he fishes, but to simply decompress and be at one with nature. Something that we all, at times desperately, need to do far more often than we're prone to. An hour or two spent outdoors probably won't erase all of your troubles, but it can usually help send at least a couple packing and give you a renewed sense of energy to help tackle many of the others.

For this overcast afternoon of wilderness zen seeking, I opted to wear my massively adored Freddies vintage style side button jeans and mustard yellow Loft by Ann Taylor cardigan (last seen here), an emerald green lace trimmed camisole, a beautiful floral print scarf in shades of royal blue, green, yellow, pink and white; a sparkling pink rhinestone rose brooch, a stack of bangles, and my trusty 1950s corduroy bucket bag to create a casual, colourful chilly weather ensemble.

In the warmer months, one sees tiny turtles swimming in the water, fish leaping out (especially in the very early morning hours), along with myriad birds soaring overhead or resting amongst the tall grass of the shoreline. Shimmering winged dragonflies rest leisurely on the lake's surface, an occasional fox darts out of the woods, and even a snake or two - hopefully of the non-rattle tailed variety - can be spotted every now and then. It's a slice of the woods, of mother nature's backyard, and of calmness that takes less than half an hour to reach and which never fails to sooth and rejuvenate weary spirits.

With spring not that terribly far off, I'm sure we'll soon start heading down that way more often again, be it for fishing, settling frazzled nerves, or simply sitting on a wooden dock and basking in the sunshine. For while I do love cities and towns, there's a part of me that will always crave the great outdoors as well, especially when my mind needs to unwind and get away from the daily grind for a spell.