A Touch of Modern

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necklaces: Nobletown Vintage, Of Matter, Garnett Jewelry via Need Supply, Coatt

The days around here have finally turned summer hot and I'm not one to complain. After a very long winter I'm welcoming the sun and the heat. That means I've been wearing lots of vintage sundresses. Since I never want to cross over into costume territory with my vintage clothes I've been craving lots of modern shoes and jewelry to pair them with. This is relatively new ground for me. I don't really buy a lot of new shoes and buying jewelry is pretty much unheard of.

I could seriously fill my closet with every pair of shoes from Totokaelo. Maybe the shoe fairy with bring a few pair my way. As far as the jewelry goes, I can't really explain my new found interest in necklaces but I tend to like them brass and geometric in nature. I really like the contrast they provide to the feminine vintage dresses that I live in all summer.

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all shoes from Totokaelo

The Santa Monica Pier

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photos by Tom b.

- 30s silk dress
- vintage cardigan
- Rachel Comey boots
- H&M sunglasses

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One of our afternoons while visiting Los Angeles was spent walking around Santa Monica. I almost forgot how much cooler it always is along the coast! After some early clouds, the sky opened up to a beautiful blue (a typical May-gray sort of day). We started off walking along the 3rd Street Promenade. There's a bookstore there (I can't remember the name) that always has really great art and photography books. I found a Mike Disfarmer book that I flipped through and almost bought but ended up leaving it behind.

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We stopped in a few other shops along the way. I had to buy sneakers for some hiking we planned to do later in the week since I'd forgotten to pack mine. We also stopped into Wasteland where I tried on a few vintage dresses and left with just one. We were pretty much all shopped-out after that so we walked down to the pier to relax for a bit. It was super windy! We didn't ride any of the rides but stood along the edges and watched the waves crashing, the birds flying in the wind and the guys fishing off the end of the pier.

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Eventually I got a little cold so I put on a shirt Tom had bought at the Levis store and changed into my brand new sneakers to walk back to the car. Then we headed to Real Food Daily where we had dinner plans with another couple. I had the seitan Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes. I have to say that while I remembered really liking their food it was just OK this time. That was pretty much it for the day so we went back to the house where we were staying where I fell asleep reading while Tom hung out with friends (a typical end of the night). Thank goodness I kept a daily trip diary otherwise I'd never remember all of this!

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Griffith Observatory

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photos by Tom b.

- Madewell dress
- Rachel Comey boots
- UO army jacket
- vintage Coach purse
- H&M sunglasses

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After weeks of cold and rain in PA, we were so happy to see some blue skies and sunshine in LA. We took every opportunity to be outside while we were visiting Los Angeles and that included a trip to the Griffith Observatory. When we lived in LA, we never got to visit the Observatory since was closed for renovations and didn't reopen until just before we moved away. So... we were really excited about visiting it on this trip. Little did we know before we drove up there that it's closed on Mondays due to state budget cuts! Denied again! Although we weren't able to go inside, that didn't stop up from walking around and enjoying the views. If you use your imagination, you can tell that the blurry white splotch on top of the hill in that last photos is actually the Hollywood sign.

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A Cautionary Tale

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from the closet of Emily Current via The Covetuer

I know I'm not alone in my love of white lacy dresses, even if I don't actually wear them very often. What is it about those pieces that tug at our heartstrings? Anytime I try to wear one, I end up feeling a bit too precious and afraid that I'm going to spill something all over myself. Unfortunately my luck in the lacy white dress department has been running a bit thin lately. A cautionary tale...

When we took our trip to LA, we were trying to avoid checking bags so I shipped a box of clothes (including a couple of my favorite white dresses) to our friend's house where we would be staying. All was well, I wore a couple of the dresses while we were there (photos to come) and when it was time to come home, I packed them into their box to ship them back. I was confident that we would beat the boxes home by a day so I would be there to accept them when they were delivered but the post office used some sort of super sonic coast to coast delivery system because the box ended up beating us home by a day.

Rather than leave a notice on the door or try redelivering the next day the postman just tossed the box over our gate and left it on the sidewalk. In the pouring rain. Ugh! By the time I discovered the box, it was soaked through. Rainwater poured out of the corners when I picked it up. My heart sank! I knew what I would find when I opened the box but I was hoping against hope that everything would be OK. What I found was a pile of sopping wet dresses, the dyes all running onto one another. After a good old-fashioned foot-stomping hissy fit I calmed down to assess the damage; three white vintage dresses (including a 30s chiffon one I bought in LA and hadn't even taken off the tags) that looked like they'd been badly tie-dyed. Double ugh!

No amount of soaking has lifted the dyes so I think I'll be investing some time in a Rit bath for them soon. I just have to decide what color to go with. Who knows, maybe I'll wear them more once they're not so pristine looking. I knew I should have wrapped the clothes in a plastic bag before shipping them and have no real reason why I didn't. Lesson learned! The hard way.

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The Getty

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photos by Tom b.

- Twirling Tenderly dress c/o Modcloth
- vintage cardigan
- vintage Coach purse
- Rachel Comey boots
- H&M sunglasses

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Now begins the barrage of photos from our Los Angeles trip! One of our afternoons was spent walking The Getty. Finding our way to The Getty was quite an adventure. We decided to let our Garmin doing the navigating even though we thought we knew how to get there. Well, Garmin had its own ideas about where the entrance to the museum was. We ended up at a gated entrance that looked like it was meant for maintenance workers. Oh well! Instead of getting all worked up about it, we just treated it as a scenic detour that took us through an amazing neighborhood full of mid-century houses that we wished we could see into.

Once we finally made it to the correct entrance we took the tram up the hill. We visited The Getty once a few years ago for a specific event, but I really didn't have much memory of walking around the grounds. I'm not sure why because this time I was really stuck but how beautifully it is all landscaped. I think we enjoyed walking around the gardens more than any of the actually exhibitions. We spent some time just sitting in the shade and admiring the flowers. Of the exhibits that we did check out, In Focus: The Tree was one of our favorite. It's a photography show featuring photos of trees. I know you'd never guess that from the name, right!? There were photos from lots of familiar names like Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, William Eggleston, Ansel Adams and Diane Arbus as well as others I'd never heard of and are now on my list to research.

Then we wandered upstairs to check out the 19th century paintings. It was pretty amazing to see Van Gogh's iris painting in person. There were also pieces from
Cezanne, Degas and Monet. Not too shabby! That was about it for us as far as the exhibits. For one, because anything earlier that 19th century starts to bore me a bit and two, I was getting hungry! We ended the afternoon by heading back down the hill and stopping at Wahoo's for lunch.

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Paper Doll Girls

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Today I'd like to introduce you to one of my May sponsors, Paper Doll Girls. This Etsy shop is one of the most unique sponsors I've had since beginning my blog. Paper Doll Girls is a mother/son team who stocks their shop full of original vintage fashion magazine advertisements dating from the early 1900s through to the 1970s. Both expatriates hailing from Texas, Patty lives in Sydney, Australia while Allen lives in Paris. After learning a little bit about the set up of the shop I was curious to know more. Patty was kind enough to answer a few of my questions...

Please tell us a little bit about you and your shop.

Our shop features vintage fashion ads and fashion illustrations from the 1910s - 1970s that we source from the US, UK and France. Because I'm a child of the 1950s, I tend to be attracted to ads from that time period. I still have lots of memories of my mom and her sisters from when I was a child. I thought they looked so beautiful in their lovely dresses and gloves. Always had to have your gloves. I also love the 1940's, especially from Vogue and Harper's Bazaar UK. There are a two or three French fashion magazines l that I really like because the paper they used was quite thick and the magazines are usually in very good order for their age. I try to stay away from magazines with thin paper because the pages become very brittle--as do magazines with tanning on the borders. I'm afraid I'm quite picky about which ads I put in the shop--I have hundreds of ads that don't meet the "Patty" test. If I wouldn't wear it, it most likely won't go in the shop!

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A mother and son team is so unique in the Etsy world. How did that partnership come about?

It was really a matter of two things that got Allen and I started on this shop. He's just finishing his Master''s degree in France and of course, he's been the "starving student" for the past several years. He did his undergraduate degree in France, as well, so he's been there seven years. He needed a way to make some spending money, and he's about a 2-hour train journey from the big flea market at St. Ouen in Paris. So, we decided to pool our resources and talents. I would fund the search for vintage magazines in Paris, and he would get the fun job of finding the creme de la creme of fashion for us. I made him a two page list of the "do's and dont's" of dealing with magazines and what to look for and he's become very adept at it. As for me, well, I'm back in Sydney waiting for the postman to arrive with Allen's packages and then work for me begins. I always tell Allen I'm the one who has the hard job--pulling apart the magazines without damaging the pages, scanning, and listing. Then, there's the twittering, tumblr, blogging, etsy team, flicker, and facebook promotion of the shop. That's a full-time job in itself!

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Have you always loved finding treasures at flea markets? Has vintage advertising always had a special place in your heart?

Yes, I have always loved looking for treasures at flea markets and antique stores. I got my university degree in history, so I love anything with a "story". As far as vintage advertising goes, it's really the fashion illustrations that tug at my heart. I much prefer to see a dress drawn to perfection by one of the many talented fashion illustrators of the day rather than see a photograph.

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Do you have any exciting plans for your shop this year?

The exciting thing for the shop, I think, is that I am going to Paris for the month of December and Allen and I will be having a blast shopping the St. Ouen market. I'll probably have to buy another suitcase just for the magazines I plan to purchase. I want to continue to add new advertisements to grow the shop this year.

One of the most special things about having the shop is the opportunity it has given Allen and I to stay in touch. Another wonderful part of having the shop is the opportunity it gives me to reunite people with ads from companies that their fathers or grandfathers founded, or helping someone find that one designer or product advertisement that they have searched for to add to their collection. I have a "wish book" where I record what my customers are looking for or collecting, and when I do find it, I put it on reserve just for them so that they have the opportunity to purchase it first before it goes into the shop.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all of my questions Patty! You can check out her shop, Paper Doll Girls here and the blog she writes about her shop here.

Los Angeles Snapshots

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So... the real reason for my little hiatus last week? Our trip to Los Angeles! I was going to line up some guest bloggers for the week but procrastinated until it was too late. At the last minute I realized I had never posted all those abandoned house photos so I just used those instead. Quite frankly, I was bit tired of seeing my mug staring back at me from the computer screen by the end of the week! I've got about a gazillion photos from our LA trip and I'll be sharing those with you over the next few weeks as I get them sorted. I swear you might think we've actually moved back to LA you'll be seeing so many photos from there. ;) Since I was a bit tired of me-photos I thought I'd start off by sharing some of our casual snapshots taken with my little point-and-shoot. We spent the week hanging out with old friends, eating tons of amazing food, walking around downtown and Hollywood and even spent a night in the desert. Lots more photos and stories to come!

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Madewell Fall 2011

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photos via Refinery 29

I know it's probably breaking some sort of blogging law to post a fall collection a day after posting a spring collection in the middle of May, but honestly this weather has me so confused about the seasons I hardly know what month it is. So when I saw the preview for Madewell's fall line I figured now was as good a time as any to check it out. Things I spy that I like; wide leg jeans, mid-calf skirts, rugby striped dress and all the shoes!

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Sally Scott Spring 2011

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When checking out all of the usual spring collections I almost completely forgot about Sally Scott. I always like the simple styles and the clean presentation that so many Japanese websites offer. In this collection I especially like the matching dresses and headscarves which is a bit strange since I don't usually go for matchy sorts of things. They remind me of ladies in the 60s going on vacation to windy beaches and keeping their hair tied neatly out of their faces.

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Alexandra Grecco

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Hello! I'm baacck! If you're reading this, thanks so much for sticking around during my week long break. It was much needed and much enjoyed. The last time I checked my blog feed it had over 1000 unread posts so... I just marked them all as read and moved on. Too much to catch up on! I'm sure I missed out on a few things here and there during the past week but one thing that caught my eye was the good news that Alexandra Grecco is having a trunk show at Bloomingdale's Soho on May 19th. Isn't it wonderful when good things happen to lovely, talented gals? If I was in NYC I would definitely be hauling myself over to Soho to check out these pretty pieces in person.

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Spring Break, Pt IV

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photos by Tom b.

- vintage blouse
- Fletcher by Lyell denim shorts
- 30s oxfords

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Spring Break, Pt III

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photos by Tom b.

- 90s era floral rayon skirt
- Fletcher for Lyell sheer camisole
- Jeffrey Campbell heels

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Spring Break, Pt I

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This week I'll be taking a little break from the blog. I need a little space to breath and relax and think about a few upcoming projects. So for this spring break I think I'll take a look back at the photos Tom and I took in a soon-to-be-demolished abandoned house. The photos were just a little practice for me at styling a shoot before I worked on styling a real shoot. I'm happy with the end product and I never did get around to having a real lookbook made out of them so I figured I would share them with you this week rather than just letting the blog sit stagnant for the week. Here's the first set and I'm wearing a pair of chiffon H&M shorts and vintage sweater and oxfords. It was so, so cold that day I honestly can't look at these photos without getting a bit of a shiver. I'll post a new set everyday and I hope you enjoy them!

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Well I got some friends in LA telling me to head out their way...

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- 40s rayon dress from Smilin' Gal Vintage
- UO canvas wedges
- thrifted belt
- vintage felt hat
- listening to: The Rosewood Thieves From the Decker House "Los Angeles"

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It's been a really lovely, albeit busy week around these parts. I'm finally convinced that spring has officially arrived and have been taking every opportunity to spend time outside. The other night we had friends over to finally (!) use our back patio. The cherry tree that has been blanketing the bricks with pink petals really let loose when the wind blew and we were basically eating and drinking cherry blossoms by the end of the night. They were in the salsa, in chips, in the beer, everywhere! It was kind of a pain, but so pretty I didn't really care.

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New Old Things

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A week or so ago I mentioned that I had thrifted some David Hamilton worthy pieces for summer wear. I often think that polyester completely ruined the entire decade of the 70s but then I find a pretty sheer cotton blouse and my faith is restored that some good things did come out of those years (plus I was born in the 70s so it can't be all bad, right? ha, ha).

I know that first dress doesn't look like much hanging there on the wall but I've pretty much been living in it for the last week. At first I thought it was just a pretty floral print but after wearing it for four days straight I finally realized there are little mama and baby koalas hiding amongst the leaves. So stinkin' cute! The other three pieces are sheer floral print blouses that I plan on pairing with high waisted shorts. That's sure to be my go-to outfit whenever I don't know what to wear this summer. And don't worry, I didn't hog them all for myself. I've already done one 70s floral inspired Etsy update and I have another one in the works.

The Royal Nuptials

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photos by Tom b.

- 40s lace dress
- Fletcher for Lyell cardigan
- vintage hat & purse
- Rachel Comey boots

On Friday afternoon one of my favorite local vintage shops, Hinesite, had a little get together to celebrate the royal nuptials. I really hadn't gotten caught up in all the hype surrounding the event but any excuse to get dressed up and wear a fancy hat sounded like fun to me. For the record, I thought the ceremony was quite lovely and Kate, er Catherine, looked wonderfully classy and elegant.

Also, here's your first peek at our newly landscaped backyard. You may be able to see some begonias, impatiens, huechera and hostas. There are also astilbe, ostrich ferns, caladiums, clematis, daffodils, brunnera, and corydalis. I can't wait for everything to fill in. The vegetable garden is planted with snow peas, jalapenos and brussel sprouts. Now I just need to get some tomato plants.

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TBA Fall Preview

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I know it's always a bit strange to be posting about fall collections when spring has only just arrived but this little sneak peek of TBA's fall collection via Alice in Wonderland was just too good not to mention. Plus the dresses would be just as appropriate worn as sundresses this summer so it's really not too much of a stretch.

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