Saturday, October 30, 2010

Veronica Lake Hair...

I was invited to a birthday tea at the amazing Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. We were encouraged to go in costume, so I decided to go a bit more over the top than I normally do and set my hair. I only had two hours, so pin curls wouldn't dry, but I found this tutorial from the amazing Lisa Freemont Street (where I get quite a few of my set ideas and tips and tricks!) the night before and decided to go for it.

My Set result was this:

Afternoon Tea at the Brown Palace Hotel

and this:

Afternoon Tea at the Brown Palace Hotel

and the result of all that work?

Afternoon Tea at the Brown Palace Hotel

My hair has the funny bang section problem that Lisa has in the video, but I was able to tuck it under as I was setting it to (mostly) hide it. Also, my hair was a smidge damp when I pulled the sponge curlers out, so they fell out and I ended up doing touchups with a flatiron. The set was literally done in about five minutes flat - one of the quickest I've done. I think I can probably work this into every day life, though I know that if my hair gets any longer it might not work.

Stay tuned for pictures of the beautiful Birthday Tea and some other amazing costumes! I'll get those posted in the next day or two.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I shall not want...

We are so blessed...

SF Fall 2010

In front of the SF Academy of Sciences - proof that I actually wore those outfits!

SF Fall 2010

The Rainforest Sphere...

SF Fall 2010

Butterflies in October

SF Fall 2010

My favorite part of any aquarium is always the jellyfish...

SF Fall 2010

The SF AoS has a "Employee's Favorites" display much like the ones you find at record stores and book shops - it's a tidy little collection of the things the curators and biologists love the most and it was one of my other favorite parts of this museum. This two headed snake was someone's favorite - it was super interesting!

SF Fall 2010


SF Fall 2010


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Packing Light for Fall

Last time I went to San Francisco it was a longer stay, with a week in Milwaukee tacked on before hand! I brought a stumblesome amount of luggage, filled with half my sewing room from Milwaukee and absolutely no forethought in my clothes.

This time I decided to think ahead and here's what I came up with:

SF Mix and MatchSF Mix and Match

SF Mix and Match

SF Mix and MatchSF Mix and Match

SF Mix and MatchSF Mix and Match

SF Mix and MatchSF Mix and Match

SF Mix and Match

To Pack:
2 Pr. Shoes: Born, Target
1 Pr. Jeans: Thrifted
2 Shirts: Lands End (striped), Royal Robbins (brown)
Wool Riding Coat: This was my mom's in college!
Blue Blazer: 1930's vintage
Sailor Dress: 1960's Vintage
Sweater: Swapped from a friend
Necklace, Headband (j. crew), pashmina, antique cameo

These items make up a nice, concise wardrobe that will be good for walking, good for dinners out, and great for museum wandering in the rainy 66 degree weather here in San Francisco!

SF Mix and Match

Friday, October 22, 2010

1200 Words on Compassion

Despite the dizziness and nausea an inner ear infection has caused me for the last few days I had to get up and write this. It’s been percolating through my brain all day...This is a lot of text for a blog that is mostly about vintage clothes and visiting places but sometimes I like to have deep thoughts, and you know, it's a personal blog so I can post what I want! I promise you pretty photographs and fashionable content in the next few days - I am, after all, heading to San Francisco this weekend!

Here goes:


The other side of Manila ...

In science class today there was an off topic discussion about dissecting and preserving animals. As a few of you may know, I’m a vegetarian and have been for the past thirteen years. My commitment to animal rights wavers and is conditional upon circumstances a lot of the time, but I do know, when all is said and done, it’s a personal choice I view as compassionate. Now, vegetarianism, to me, is a lifestyle choice that has it’s roots in alleviating the suffering of a small planet, and making a difference in as many places as possible. The choice is similar to the choice I make to purchase as much local food as possible, buy fair trade when I can, and give a portion of all the money we bring in to various causes like small needs and political parties we deem worthy. We want our lifestyle to be a direct reflection of our values.

That being said, I posted, rather haphazardly, that I was grossed out by the topic in my science teaching methods class, and that I didn’t need to hear about the way to clean dead animal skulls and the results of inexperience on taxidermy. During the discussion I chose to leave the room and re-entered when it was over. [note: this is a class on how kids learn science, not a particular branch of science itself - this was not a necessary discussion to the content.]

An acquaintance of mine took this post as an opinion on limiting academic speech. I could see how they misconstrued it as such, but when I re-explained that I make a deliberate choice to limit what I expose myself to he expressed this:

“I'm sorry you limit what you see and listen to. I have the biggest phobia of blood and needles, but I've still managed to: [he goes on to list things he’s done...] I'm not trying to be all high and mighty, I'm just saying I'm glad I haven't let my fears get in the way of learning and experiencing new things. I guess my view is every nugget of information is valuable and I'd hate to see my irrational fears get in the way of learning as much as I can. So buck up [...] embrace that education you're paying so much for... all of it.”

I stopped posting at that point because it was obvious that this was not going to be a productive discussion, but it really got me thinking about limiting the things that I see and view, and why I do it.

I am a great self censor - I watch very few movies that are rated beyond PG-13, I am careful about the material I read. I do not watch pornography, and if something or a conversation is unnecessarily violet or gruesome, I turn it off, turn the page, or tune out. I never watch the news. I wanted to get to the root of why, exactly I do that.

Asia - Philippines / Payatas

After a half-days worth of thinking I figured it out: I do not want to unnecessarily desensitize myself.

As a child, I saw a lot of sadness, and the worst of the world, really. I have early memories of destitution that a westerner would have a hard time believing. I remember vividly little girls in swimsuits on the side of the street with numbers tacked to their swimsuits - child prostitutes, some only a few years older than I. I remember hearing adults talking about people dying of simple things, easy things that a dose of penicillin would cure, or a few dollars of food a day would have staved off. I saw first hand the effects of callousness towards the environment and the living beings it contained. I saw greed, hunger, people shooting at each other, religious intolerance used as an excuse to harm. Hell, my neighbors even ate my dog. I kid you not. It ached, it hurt - and it was meant to be that way.

For survival, you try to get used to it - and then you have to unlearn that callousness or it will stop you from experiencing the fullness of life.

I never want to see so many violent movies that when I see it happen in real life it no longer triggers a reaction to want to stop it.

I never want to see so many naked people that I lose a sense of wonder and awe about them.

I never want to be so callous about the ache of the human heart that I no longer feel the desire to comfort and protect.

I never want to over think suffering to the point where it is meaningless and pain is normal.

I never want to find myself in a position where I have no empathy, where awful things no longer trigger a need to figure out how to stop it, where beauty becomes a common thing. I WANT my heart to hurt and cry out and quickly go to work trying to fix whatever is causing pain, I DON’T want to normalize these things. I want to keep my compassion in tact, and if it means limiting my exposure to the things that would tear that down then so be it. I will surely sacrifice learning the nuances of it.


Limiting my views does not mean I am scared of trying new things - I don’t cower in my room running from the sound of anything foreign and scary. I have had great adventures, I’ve stepped out on more limbs than I care to recount, I face the circumstances that I need to face with as much bravery and courage as I can muster. I could list all the uncomfortable things I’ve done, but that’s not what this is about - I just want to point out that my limiting of what I listen to or view does not mean I am running away from these things.

When I walked out of the room, I knew I knew enough, growing up in a country where slaughter was very public. It’s the same reason I leave rooms when there is a discussion about war - I have seen it, I have been there, my heart aches and that is good.

Lastly, on occasion there is no reason to visit it cognitively when you have been there in person. I find that people think academically about things they never expect to experience in a very serious way - this thinking helps them to attempt to understand things, broaden their views and form steady, serious opinions on them without getting their hands dirty. This is healthy, good, and I hope that they always stay snug and safe, but it’s difficult to say “look, no, this is how it was.” I don’t have a PhD on the topic so I have no authority. It isn’t enough I was just there, being tiny and scared and throwing up from heartache so I just stay out of those discussions. It seems you have the least authority on things that you experience in first person and it is good because sometimes you become unable to think academically about them - you begin to think with your heart, and there is often no place for that in academics.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Something Fun...

I found this randomly today, and it is just so cute!

I'm a pretty incessant table tapper, steering wheel tapper, and head nodder...maybe I should try to make it into something productive someday!

I'm not sure how they managed to look so bored during the entire thing, but you have to admit the cute wallpaper, fun pictures, and interesting finger dance moves are just plain old nice to look at. And I like the girl's red lipstick, too!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

To The Ballet!

I rarely get a chance to dress up for anything these days, so I often wear dressy clothes around for every day things. Once in awhile you end up finding something that's just a little too over the top to wear on a day to day basis (and believe me, my limits are pretty high...) but it's too good to pass up.

Such was the case with this thrifted 1950's taffeta dress with little glittery buttons and scallops all the way down the front!

When I realized that I could no longer fit into the floor length 1960's dress I had picked out in April for Dracula, the ballet, I grabbed this one out of my closet:

To The Ballet

It was out to be perfect for Dracula! Turns out must wear colors of the evening for attendees happened to be black and red - everyone was dressed in it. I added vintage black gloves, a capelet pilfered from another dress, and a very sparkly vintage rhinestone necklace to push it just over the top enough for a vampire ballet.

Another bonus to this dress - because it's taffeta, it just sounds nice to wear!

Friday, October 15, 2010

David, Outside

David outside in fall...

I drove into the mountains with my friend David today...

David outside in fall...

I'm still trying to adjust to Autumn here in Colorado...

David outside in fall...

But if I take off my sunglasses and shoot through them I get a nice little orange glow on all your pictures and it feels a bit more like fall!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh, My Darling and Rose Wine!

rose reflections

I did a little guest blog post over on Oh, My Darling about rose wine!

Check it out here!

Thank you so much to Melissa for graciously hosting that post!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

So glad to see you...

Took a little drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park today to catch the sunset and see what sort of fall leaves Colorado can muster.

Estes Park Visit

The leaves were disappointing...

Estes Park Visit

...but I was rewarded with breathtaking mountains and the golden hour.

Estes Park Visit

Thursday, October 07, 2010

People Change. Needs Change. Designs Change. Home Organization Binders Change!

According to my google analytics page, most people who find my blog via a search are looking for home organization binder information. "Household notebook," "Control Journal," and "Home Organization Binder" are the three most commonly searched for terms, with "Vintage Skirt" and "1950's Dress" running close 4ths and 5ths.

I posted, a long time ago, about the system I had while living and working in Detroit. At the time I was racing bikes, dreaming of running a marathon, working in a job with very little structure (politics!), living in a huge crumbling old house with a roommate, and generally being an awesome single girl! At the time, the binder gave me a lot of structure, and helped me sort out what I needed to when it needed to be done.

Things have changed, but never fear, this isn't an eulogy for a home notebook system - I still use one! I just use it differently. I wanted to show what I'm using for life these days...

That plaid binder has long since bit the dust, and I replaced it with a Liberty of London target one (Target is my go-to place for office supplies!) It lives smack dab on the center on my kitchen counter. When I'm cooking, I tuck it between the knife block and the fridge so it's out of the way.

Home Organization Binder

Between Detroit and now, I had a revelation that my routines were dictating my life and I wasn't allowing my life to dictate my routines. I was structuring myself into a corner, really, and there wasn't a lot of room left for creativity and spontaneity so I made some changes.

Home Organization Binder

I've simplified a lot, so the inside isn't as nearly OCD organized, and a lot more flexible.

Home Organization Binder

Even still, my morning and evening routines have many of the same elements. I've written them on graph paper with a sharpie (my writing utensil of choice!) and the pages are wrinkled with wear since they get flipped once a day.

Home Organization Binder

This isn't the binder I'd grab in case of a fire (I'd probably be trying to rescue my closet!), but it does tell me when to do things that need to happen so my life can run smoothly.

Home Organization Binder

So, where's the budget? Where's the training journal? Where are all those little elements that I had? The coupons? The Scissors?

Well, I just don't need them any more. So they are not there. My Home Organization Binder needs to be a working tool, not a rigid ruler for what my life should be.

Home Organization Binder

I no longer obsessively plan my budget, and now that JR's involved in the finances I include his values, needs and wants into our financial planning. He prefers a more laid back style, so I've adapted to it. When payday comes along, we have a sit down meeting and we plan out where things are going, and then we do it. It's just that simple.

Home Organization Binder

I don't clip coupons any more, since I don't seem to need them here. I am not training for any sort of sport - I dance and run on my own time when I can.

Instead of a paper planner I use iCal, which is a great resource for me as I can quickly glance and see when things are happening, how important they are (based on color codes) and what part of the day I'm at.

Home Organization Binder

When I need something to be there, I will put it there. When I don't, it will go away. Simplicity in routines has become something that's become important - sharing your life with another person means that you have to be flexible. I'm still organized, I'm just organized differently.

Monday, October 04, 2010

This is how it was on the day I first met you...

Teacher Clothes!

Teacher Clothes!

As usual, head to toe vintage...

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Enjoying Cooking...

160:365 (112b:365) – Naturally, I cook dinner in heels.

I've always been a reluctant cook. I'm not predisposed to come home, bring out amazing exotic ingredients, and whip up something worthy of a Michelin 5-star. I'm more of a come home and crash on the couch and forget about dinner sort of girl. Then I get hungry and end up binging on chips and chocolate chips. Well anything with the word "chip" in it, really.

Recently, though, I've noticed that cooking and baking has started to become a calming part of my routine. I am starting to enjoy the part of day where I go into the kitchen, pull out those awesome ingredients, take out my pots and pans and let something delicious happen!

Here are some of the small changes I've made over the last six or so years that have made cooking seem more like an art and less like a chore:
  • Buy the best ingredients you can afford. What's the difference between my cake and the cake next to it at the potluck? It has the most amazing almond extract, and lots of it too! And, it's completely gone by the end of it! I used to be the girl with the $50 every two weeks grocery budget. I ate a lot of things boiled to death and doused in hot sauce. I've learned that allowing myself to spend a lot more on groceries gives me the wiggle room to try out that new cheese, pair a bottle of wine with my dinner, or buy some over the top gourmet ingredient. (I spend about $150 every fifteen days now...).
  • Eat seasonally. And Locally. A tomato in February tastes terrible. A tomato in june fresh off your friend's vine eaten with a little salt is a slice of heaven! Eating locally means you'll be eating seasonally, and you may even get to know a few of the farmers around you! I shop at the farmers market a lot and I also get a lot of produce for free from the world around me - If you can, try to take advantage of the surplus of other people's gardens! I've gotten things like batches of fruit for canning from freecycle, squashes from friends, and peppers and herbs from neighbors!
  • Get professional grade tools (or as nice as you can afford.) This is a huge one for me. I always made do with ikea grade thin aluminum pans, knives that barely cut, and appliances I purchased for $20 and failed six months later (or barely did their job!). When I got married, I registered for obnoxiously over the top kitchen equipment I wasn't sure if I would ever use and sure enough, people purchased it for us! We received a Le Creuset sauce pan which is used almost daily, a giant stock pot that's used weekly, a kitchen aid mixer, and indirectly, a set of J.A. Henckels knives. I would never have been able to afford these things on my own, but we do make sure we try to buy quality over quantity. A little upfront investment does a lot - I expect to be using those things until my 25th wedding anniversary! Finally, a lot of things can be found at thrift stores. I've found most of my mixing bowls, measuring cups, and some random kitchen appliances there and they have served me well. This winter, a friend of mine purchased a $175 swiss cast iron enamel pan for a few bucks!
  • Keep the kitchen clean! This is huge! I'm on a modified flylady system and it's taught me that doing the dishes and tidying up the kitchen before I go to bed motivates me to want to use the kitchen. I don't have to wash the dishes just to cook - everything is clean, in it's place, and ready to go! It doesn't have to be perfect but I do my best to keep it useable. I only have a limited number of dishes so I can't afford to have my single sauce pot dirty or I'll be scrubbing it as part of the prep work!
  • Be Adventurous. I'm a picky eater. I have always had a list of foods I don't like. Often, I've made up my mind about them before I've even tried them. I made a deliberate decision to be adventurous with my eating and another to come to the table with no preconceived notions of what's good or bad. I'm still gluten free, and a vegetarian so that limits things, but I've been trying lots of things as the opportunities present themselves. I even put vanilla in my squash soup this evening. I was a little scared, but it turned out delicious! Thanks Clotilde!
Photo by the amazing charamelody.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Friday Night, Oh Those Lights!

Our little city has a tradition called First Fridays, and it is awesome! Everyone comes out to the little center of the city and walks around. On this night the galleries stay open, shops don't shutter as early, and our college town becomes just a bit more sparkling and vibrant for the night!

My friend Morgan and I had a really great night! We started the night off at Tasty Harmony, the local vegetarian/raw/organic restaurant that caters to people like us with obnoxious food allergies.

First Friday

After that we headed to Mama Said Sew, one of my favorite shops in Fort Collins.

First Friday

Angela is amazing, too!

First Friday

They host classes and will answer any sewing questions you might have. If you head here, make sure to stop in there!

First Friday

Afterwards, we headed to a tea house for a cup of tea. The fall weather is here, at least at night, so it's a great excuse to get something warm and comforting to drink.

First Friday

On the way back a girl name Margaret was doing free bad portraits. I took advantage of this and got one done.

First Friday

I love it and I'm so excited about it! I'm going to frame it. You can check out more of her less hastily drawn stuff here.

First Friday

Margaret turned out to be my neighbor, so we're going to get together for tea one of these days.

First Friday

We headed to Gallery Underground and met up with a few of our friends there.

First Friday

My friend Andy has a space there, and it was good to see him and see his recent work.

First Friday

After that we headed back to my house for Nutella doused pecans and more great conversation.

First Friday

What a great night!