27 December 2010

Gary Baker: June 21, 1941 - December 2, 2010

* On December 2nd, my father passed away from colon cancer. This was the eulogy I delivered on the day of his burial, but these words can never express the depth of my love for him.

We are here today because an amazing man with a generous spirit was taken from us far sooner than we were ready for. We knew, in our hearts, that the end was spiraling toward us much too quickly, but we thought there might still be time to say all that needed to be said, to spend more time in each other’s company these long winter evenings.

My father would say that he only lived his life the way anyone would, but I think I can safely say for all of us gathered here that he touched our lives in important and changing ways.  There are moments and lessons we will carry with us, to hold in our hearts that will not soften our grief, but remind us that we were blessed to have him with us for a time.

What I have to say about my father is not limited by my words today. I can only hope to be half the person he was, and I hope my words are adequate, but I also know that if my father was here he would be lecturing us all to get in out of the cold.  But I know that my father was far too humble and words must be said to express how deeply I’ll miss him.

My father taught me the beauty of words and stories. I remember sitting beside him on the couch, the both of us immersed in our respective books, and him leaning over to say, “You see, in books you can go anywhere.”

My father taught me the value and power of the earth. He learned from his mother and grandmother the secrets of gardening, the ways and times to plant crops.  And we will remember him in his gardens, the way he shaped the ground, the way the ground answered back.

My father taught me the way men should be. How being a gentleman need not compromise a woman’s spirit. And how simple gestures could remind my mother and me that we had someone who was making sure we were safe, happy, and loved.

My father taught me what it is like to persevere. He recently told me he felt as though I changed the course of our family by getting my college degrees.  I told him that he made the road easy for me. That the education he fought for was a greater move in my eyes.

My father taught me what it is to be a parent.  I have never doubted that he loved me and that he would be there for me when I needed him.  He believed in me long before I ever did, and though I’m sure at some point I found it embarrassing how often he talked about me, I cherish those thoughts now. 

My father taught me how to laugh, from great deep laughs to calm chuckles. He loved jokes and stories, some of which weren’t always funny, but we’d laugh anyway.  He and I greeted his cancer diagnosis with wit and humor, and though it didn’t stave off his cancer, it made the going easier.

My father taught me what love is. He loved me deeply, but it is the way he loved my mother that has taught me the deepest lessons, that has shaped the core of who I am.  We often tell the story of how he met my mother. They were pen pals when he asked her to marry him before they even met. The story is romantic, a piece that we share that alludes to an era of handwritten missives and blind faith, but it is that, a small piece of their story. It is the story of the next forty-four years that are important, how he looked at her with love every day, how even in the worst of times they were there for each other, and how their love carried them through. And how a great love is one of kindness and friendship, solace and dedication.

In his passing, we learn these lessons, we learn what illness, what cancer, could not take away from him and what his passing will not take from us.

20 October 2010

The Brits have all the luck...

First off, completely love my husband, but holy what! I think 60% of my love for British television shows comes from the cute boys in all their programming.

Presenting my current mini crushes:

Burn Gorman 


Mathew Horne


Adam Rayner

29 September 2010

Vint Condition and the Matter of Choice

Vint Condition is a pro-choice business because I am a pro-choice business owner. I support the right to access abortion services, sexual health education, reproductive health care, and birth control options. I believe access to these services is essential and transformative to the men, women, teens, and families who need them.

That is why as Vint Condition, I have donated a $50 gift certificate to my local Planned Parenthood's online auction. This auction raises critical funds for Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York so they can keep providing necessary services to my local community.  PPNCNY never turns down patients based on their ability to pay or their insurance status and doesn't tell patients that they just can't take on any more clients at the moment.

In the current political climate, many businesses donate to organizations like my local Planned Parenthood quietly and anonymously. I've chosen to write about it here because I believe that it's important not to be intimidated by a small yet vocal group of individuals. I've seen patients walk past picket lines just to get to their health care appointments, and if they are brave enough to do that, then businesses should be brave enough to show their support.

So if you'd like to support an organization that does amazing work in keeping my local community healthy and informed, head on over to their online auction and bid not just on the Vint Condition gift certificate, but on the other amazing items they have to offer.  Many are for upstate New York businesses, but there are quite a few other items.  If you're a local, consider heading on over to their amazing gala with none other than Cecile Richards (president of Planned Parenthood) as their speaker.

12 September 2010

Wedding Day: Part 1

A year ago today I married a truly amazing man. We met when I was just 18.  It was in late September and I had just began college when he showed up to visit some friends. He had graduated the year before. I was pouting, ridiculously so, that my friends had yet to arrive on their planned visit so he gave me a hug. It felt perfect. His hugs still feel perfect. My chin rests perfectly in the notch of his collarbone and he rests his against my shoulder. I'll never tire of hugging him.

This year in November we'll also celebrate ten years together. During that time we've each passionately pursued our own interests and in fact maintained a long distance relationship for 4.5 years. I lived in Italy while he lived in Pittsburgh. We both studied writing at separate times. And we've both traveled around the world separately.  But in the end, we've always been there for one another.

We wanted our wedding to be as much about us as possible and we tried to keep it as simple and intimate as possible. We ditched a lot of ingrained wedding concepts like an evenly matched wedding party, diamond rings, not seeing the bride before the wedding, bouquet and garter tossing, and cake.

This is my husband (the one on the left):

He's pretty darn cute, that husband of mine. There's a lot I could say here about him and there's a lot of individual aspects that I love about him.  But to say he knows me, he knows me sometimes better than I know myself alludes to how well connected we are. This is not to say we don't drive each other crazy sometimes and in fact we've had some intense arguments in the past where we've had to redefine what we are to each other, but we've made it through based mostly on his strength and steadfastness.  And I will say that I believe I'm the lucky one.

This is my dress:
I do regret not buying a vintage dress. In fact, I'd assumed I'd be wearing a color as well. But then I walked into a bridal shop and saw this dress. It was love despite the fact it had a train.  The reason I loved the dress is that close up there, the re-embroidered lace. Heaven.

This is my bouquet:
Flowers were one of the hardest parts of planning the wedding. The florist was trying to bully me into bouquets and table arrangements that had nothing to do with what I wanted. So, my beautiful bridesmaid Erika pulled this together for me. Simple and pretty. She's a wonder that girl.

These are our rings:
 My husband is so Irish. He knew I didn't really want a diamond ring, so when he asked me to marry him he did so with a Claddagh ring that was handcrafted in Ireland (he ordered it too big in a moment of panic so I wore that ring guard with it). We got him a matching band for our wedding and then added in a very dainty ruby ring that was my grandmother's for the wedding.

This is our ring ceremony:
 We met up at our house to spend some time together before the ceremony. We exchanged rings and made sure the hearts faced outward. At the wedding ceremony we turned them heart side in.

This is us at our house:

We live in a cute American Foursquare on a river. It was built in 1915 from a kit and owner by the town undertaker which means it served as a personal home and funeral home.
This is our reception site:
I wrote a bit about getting married on the family property here. What I didn't write about is how amazing my family was in getting everything ready. The fields were trimmed, the outbuildings painted. The barn got a fresh coat of red paint and my father put the initials of both of my grandmothers on the back of the barn so that I would, in some small way, have them there with me. They are the best of what people can be.

This is the wedding (and obligatory photos of us):

06 August 2010

A Photographic Aside

Sarah, the lovely proprietor of Mouse Trap Vintage (go on, go on, take a bit and check out her awesome stuff) recently asked if I had more family photos on this blog. You see, I had told her that I'm working on that project, you know the one where I have to scan over 1,000 negatives and make them into pretty photos once more? I confess, I haven't been good about working on them since we moved back to New York.

Then, last night, I was combing through my wonderful wedding pictures looking for some to hang in our bedroom and came across a photo of our table settings. Our wedding took place on the family property.  Bought in the early 1940s, my grandmother worked diligently to pay it off by herself.  I admire her tenacity and ability in an era where many women weren't able to undertake such a task.  When we got married, I knew it was important to be married on those 90 acres and honored our history there in part through our table numbers.  Each table was numebred with a photo of the property in the early days.

So here, unadulterated, are the same photos and numbers we used for our wedding:

You may be wondering why there's not more photos of my grandmother. She really hated her picture being taken and like most busy mothers is the one behind the camera in most of these.

04 August 2010

Outfit Idea for that Sale Item: 1960s Schoolgirl skirt

Yesterday I posted an outfit that mixed prints and confessed that I rarely mix prints, I usually pair a print with a solid. Today I confess the same with color. When faced with a color I usually match it with a neutral or match the color somewhere else in my outfit. There's something about the whole thing that is reassuring and calming to me. I know, I know, strange.  Obviously, that look works, but I also recognize that it's safe. 

Today, I tried pairing today's sale item, a fun blue 1960s schoolgirl skirt by Summit of Boston with a bit more color. I confess, I did some matching (scope out a close up on that belt and bag and you'll see), but overall I tried to mix it up some.  How do you deal with color?

Silk "Thyme After Thyme" blouse available at Mod Cloth, $64.99
Vintage leather and rope belt available at Oiseau Vintage , $18
1960s powder blue skirt by Summit of Boston available at my shop, Vint Condition Style, reg price $35
1970s/1980s woven straw purse available at Old Baltimore Vintage, $24
1970s woven leather kitten heels by Buccheri available at Bruklyn Belle Vintage, $26

03 August 2010

Outfit Idea for that Sale Item: 1960s Turquoise purse

This is the first item I listed for sale in my shop when I opened it up 6 weeks ago (it seems like so much longer!). Today, it's on sale for 20% just 24 hours.  I love the colors of this purse, the turquoise and gold with the dark blue change purse. Yum. 

Below is a potential outfit. It's sort of classic, but and preppier than I normally dress myself, but also much more daring than I dress. I wish I fearlessly mixed pattern.  How do you mix pattern in your wardrobe?

Striped linen "Tucker" jacket available on Net-a-Porter, $310
Vintage peter pan collared clover blouse available at Adelaide Homesewn, $42
1970s/1980s brown Naturalizer heels available at Tree and Kimball, $28
Skinny jeans available at American Eagle, $49.50
Vintage clip on earrings available at Riff Raff Review, $12.50
1960s faux reptile skin turquoise purse available at my store, Vint Condition Style, reg price $25

02 August 2010

Outfit Idea for that Sale Item: 1980s red silk skirt

Today's sale item is a gorgeously intense red silk skirt from the 1980s designed by Flora Kung.  A silk skirt is such a nice luxury item that makes the perfect workrobe staple. I myself took this skirt out to work a few months ago when I had a "day job."  But a silk skirt as a playful weekend staple? You bet. Thinking of how to mix up items like this will be keeping my mind busy for a bit. How do you mix up your wardrobe?

Also, trust me when I say that I know the pairing of red, black, and gray is a bit expected.  Personally, though, I love the combination of colors and will always be drawn to putting these together. 

1980s red silk skirt by Flora Kung, on sale August 2nd at my store, Vint Condition Style, reg price $55
Love/Hate tee, available at Opening Ceremony, $115
Vintage lace up boots, available at Persephone Vintage, $59
Jersey boyfriend cardigan, available at Babooshka, $80
1930s/1940s costume jewelry ring, available at Jean Jean Vintage, $60
1950s black evening bag, available at Hinterland Vintage, $22

01 August 2010

Outfit Idea for that Sale Item: 1940s Green Linen Dress

So, I wanted to do three things with these upcoming sale item posts.  The first is primarily a self-serving function of being a vintage seller, which is to show off our current vintage sale items (read about it here).  The second is that I've always really respected the fabulous vintage sellers of etsy.  They are an amazing group of people who work hard at what they do, so if I'm showing off my things, I want to show off their's as well.  The third, is that I want to show off ways to wear vintage.  Readers of this blog will know that I've always been interested in ways to integrate vintage into your life.  These outfit posts (which hopefully will be every day) will range from full on vintage to vintage lite outfit options. 

Here it goes:

1940s light green belted dress, a Vint Condition sale item, on sale August 1st, reg. price $65
1950s tan vinyl straw hat by Frank Olive, available at Allen Company Inc, $52
Edwardian crocheted purse, available at Jess Amity, $126
1940s tobacco suede peep toes by Owens & Elmes, available at Karen Elmquist Vintage, $55.50

A Vint Condition Sale!


Vint Condition is having an end of August summer sale! What! End of summer already? Seriously, though, each day one fabulous Vint Condition find will be 10% to 30% off.  

Picks and discount will be randomly chosen by me on a mere whim.  They'll go on sale around midnight and stay on sale until the next midnight (give or take, I do need my beauty sleep).

How will you know what's on sale? Check out the Vint Condition shop announcement, follow us on Twitter, or check it on out on our Facebook page!

30 July 2010

Outfit dilemma: Reunion

High school. Ah, those were the days. No...wait....I hated high school, and I hated high school quite passionately.  I was awkward, my family situation was horrible, and high school classes bored me to tears.  Sometimes, when I gather with friends and acquaintances, talk drifts to the glory days of high school.  I really don't share their sentiments. I prefer to think that life can just keep getting better.

I dread my ten year reunion. Word is barely anyone is going, but I'm participating largely because two of my dearest friends (hi guys!) have put a lot of work into planning the event.  It's being held at a local restaurant/bar on the lake.  Which leads me to this: my outfit dilemma.  Growing up, I solidly embraced the grunge movement (Kurt Cobain...so dreamy) and then drifted into solid tomboy garb with a steady rotation of t-shirts and jeans.  So much so that my ex-boyfriend once asked me why I couldn't be more feminine (dumped his ass thank you very much). By college, I was wearing a lot more vintage, particularly coats, but it wasn't until I moved to AZ that I solidly embraced the dress, first out of necessity and then out of desire.

I feel like I wouldn't be me unless I carefully thought out this whole outfit thing.  So here, dear friends, are some options I have assembled:

Option 1: Relaxed

Blue and white halter silk dress by Jonathan Martin purchased by me from seesong
1980s white leather clutch available at Harlow Monroe Vintage, $25
French Blue satin "Leah" heels by RSVP available at Zappos, $69
Leather bracelets by kikastyle, sold

Option 2: Glam

1970s asymmetrical dress purchased by me on ebay
Vintage screw on earrings available at Two Little's Mom, $9
1950s/1960s silver clutch available at Rust Belt Threads, $28
Black "Evocative" T-Straps by Nine West available on Amazon, $78.95

Option 3: Classic

1960s little black dress available at SeeSaw, $80
1940s black mesh pumps, available at Dear Golden, $85
1950s black and poppy print clutch, available at Purple Deer, $32
1950s/1960s buckle cuff available at Jean Jean Vintage, $36

Option 4: Bold

  1950s satin jacquard dress by Louise Franz available at Crafty Crow Vintage, $88
1960s brown vinyl clutch available at Love That Vintage, $30 
Chocolate stretch bracelet available at Rare Daisy Jewelry, $9.99
Dark brown "Briley" peep toe by Ralph Lauren available at Zappos, $98

27 July 2010

Movie Inspiration: Picnic at Hanging Rock

So lately I've been mildly obsessed with Australia. Books set in Australia, devouring three seasons of "McLeod's Daughters" (don't judge) and apparently also watching the 1975 classic Australian film "Picnic at Hanging Rock" (as an aside: if Mel Gibson wasn't such a douche I'd probably have watched the original Mad Max for the millionth time). 

I give nothing away when I say that "Picnic at Hanging Rock" is set at the turn of the twentieth century and follows the story of 3 classmates who go missing and the aftermath of their absence.  The whole film has a dreamy quality too it which matches the state of the 3 girls before they go missing.

Fashionably, the whole feel has a strong 1970s feel (enough with the middle hair part ladies!) and the outfits might not quite be period accurate, but oh how the 70s loved Victorian and Edwardian clothes.  I thought in honor of "Picnic at Hanging Rock" I'd feature some great choices from my fellow etsians and myself that suits this film.

1970s does 1900s
1970s cream Victorian Ruffle Shirt, $28 at Ragamuffin Designs

1970s peach Victorian inspired skirt, $56 available at my store, Vint Condition Style

1970s Gunne Sax Victorian Inspired dress, $110 available at Little Veggie Vintage

10 July 2010

A Shop Update: Hats

1960s British herringbone wool hat available now at Vint Condition
1960s cream and gold turban. **Sold**

1940s black faux fur hat with ribbon trim available now at Vint Condition

1940s pink pancake hat with black velvet trim available now at Vint Condition

1940s brown wool hat **sold**

1950s feather and satin hat available now at Vint Condition

Late 1800s collapsible opera (top) hat from France. Coming soon!

Hats, the ultimate accessory. I'm leaving a phase in my life where I never considered hats to embracing them. They complete an outfit in such an unexpected and fun way.  Unfortunately, my head is erm...rather large. That added with my thick hair makes it a bit harder to find the right hat for me. Obviously our V.C. model doesn't have this problem.