31 August 2012


Dress: bird and flower print 1950s dress found at an auction
Sweater: chocolate brown cardigan by Spense found at Marshall's
Belt: skinny brown belt found at TJ Maxx
Shoes: yellow suede platform sandals by Franco Sarto found at Last Chance

It's only the end of the first week of the semester and yet it feels like week 13. Babies complicate things. Last night Viv fussed angrily for several hours. I'm lucky that this isn't usual for her, but by the time the alarm went off this morning it felt like my eyes had been closed for seconds.  It's too early for my students to notice just how exhausted I am. Or maybe I faked enough energy to get through my classes. 

Today I planned on using my afternoon to finish this weirdly complicated essay I've been working on. It's not happening though. I don't know how to connect all of its pieces and Viv was sleepy when I got home so we curled up together and took a much needed nap.

And the store, well I haven't updated recently even though I have some great stuff waiting to be photographed like a 1940s suit set, a 1960s wool Anne Fogarty dress, a 1960s wedding dress, a 1920s flapper dress with felt flower detailing. It's on the agenda for next week but my fingers are firmly crossed on that.

27 August 2012

First Day

Today, another first day. Last year the river behind me was flooding from Irene (although it's not apparent in the post) and I was quite a bit smaller. I'm working on losing all the baby weight, but it's a long process. The skirt I wore last year doesn't come close to fitting yet and most of my vintage clothing was packed away until I can squeeze myself into them again. 

But for now I managed to pull together this outfit. I consider it a success since a student (not even one of my own attempting to earn brownie points) complemented me on it this morning.

Sweater: burnt orange sweater by found at TJ Maxx
Top: sea green tank found at Banana Republic
Belt: ruffled belt by Betsy Johnson found at TJ Maxx
Skirt: 1980s brown skirt found at Goodwill
Shoes: brown platform sandals by Nine West found at Marshall's

08 July 2012

New Addition

BORN 9:50 pm June 22nd
AT 7lbs 14oz, 20 inches

Meet Vivian Gray, the newest addition to our small family. Sweet Vivian was due on June 21st, my father's birthday. Even though I knew it was unlikely she would be born that day, it was disappointing to see the minutes and hours tick by and the day come to a close without her here. And yet, I'm glad that Vivian came at her own time.  Just as we passed into a new day, I started having contractions and by 9:50 that evening Vivian took her first breath of air. Vivian has her own birthday now, just one day after her grandfather's.

The last two weeks has been a series of adjustments for us all. The world is so fresh and new for Viv and I have learned to respect that there's still so much that she's taking in and that process can be overwhelming. It's hard to decipher her needs and moods, but I'm hoping we'll get there eventually.

So far what I've learned about Viv

Things Vivian Loves:
her dad (photo evidence above)
her crocheted bear (made by her dad)
black and white contrast images
tummy time
long car rides

Things Vivian Hates:
her diaper changed
people messing with her arms
being swaddled
being put in her car seat

16 June 2012

Weekend Snippets

All of my admires this week have something in common, they include the color yellow. I love the brightness, the pop that yellow gives an outfit, but unfortunately it's not a friendly color on me. I think it could be because my skin has yellow undertones that competes with the use of it in an outfit. That's why many of the recent yellow additions to the shop are actually mine, I finally gave in and confessed it wasn't working. Check out all the yellows here.

But really, these three women below make yellow work in a way that I can't, and prove the versatility of the color!

Ashlee runs Ash Tree Vintage and also writes at the Ash Tree Vintage blog. I love the addition of yellow with the very graphic black and white shirt and the vintage basket purse is perfection.

Ashely runs the lovely Fancy Fine shop and blog.  I'm incredibly jealous of this entire outfit particularly since, if I'm correct, this is a Marguerite Rubel coat. While yellow wouldn't look good on me, I recently sold one that was green that would have! What was I thinking? I love how sweetly simple this whole outfit is, and how it reminds me of Pushing Daisies.

 Daria of Kittenhood just about kills me in this outfit! I never would have thought to pair this dress and those tights together, but how much more perfect could they be!I also love the eclectic accessories. Leopard print belt: check. Adorable brown shoes: check. White clutch: check. **sigh**

Find out how to make flavored Arnold Palmers over at A Beautiful Mess. It's my husband's favorite summertime/anytime drink so I'm sure I'll be trying some soon.

Catch up on your Rudolph Valentino lore and learn about his conflicts with his enemies.

15 June 2012

Turn! Turn! Turn!: True Blood Season 5 Ep. 1

Yesterday I took a day off from the shop and lounged around finishing Season 4 of True Blood so I could start Season 5. Well, that wasn't the only reason. At 39 weeks pregnant I'm getting a bit exhausted.  While watching, though, I was quickly reminded why I fizzled out partway through the season last year. Oh, HBO, you could do so much better!

Last season I started off excited to see what Sookie's wardrobe mavens had in store for us.  I planned to write about it here because so much of it seemed vintage or vintage-inspired in previous seasons, but Sookie spent most of Season 4 naked or in t-shirts and tanks. Not exactly inspiring.

The first episode of this season also didn't yield anything fabulous in the way of the Sookie wardrobe department, but fortunately someone else has risen to the occasion. Thank goodness for Jessica! She wears a stunning red cape in the early scenes, but it's this dress that really stands out.

While rocking out to The Runaways' Cherry Bomb, Jessica wears this amazing late 80s/early 90s influenced body con dress. I don't have any currently stashed away in my shop or my own closet, so I immediately prowled around etsy looking for similar dresses. Not that I can wear one any time soon, but I know some of my lovely readers can!

1990s body con dress available at On the Prowl Vintage

1980s tie dye bandage dress available at Native Owl

1980s floral body con dress found at So Passe Vintage

14 June 2012

A Hint of Vint: 4th of July version

The other day I met someone who, upon learning I sold vintage clothing, insisted that she was not "cool enough" to wear vintage. I think there's a block for a lot of people when they consider vintage clothes. While I love the ladies who dress completely in period vintage every day, I think that's the style that most think of when hearing the word "vintage" which can seem daunting and even distant from their own styling choices.

I've long loved vintage clothing, but my personal style is one that integrates pieces of vintage with modern clothing. It's not as hard as some may think and certainly not as hard as dressing up completely in vintage. Consider that so many styles that we're wearing are already vintage-inspired (see the latest Anthropologie line of fit and flare dresses) and it makes more sense.

In any case, that brief conversation has me resurrecting my occasional outfit idea posts.  This one is for the upcoming 4th of July. I'd wear either of these, but I'm guessing I'll be doing little celebrating this year and more spending time with the new baby (please please let her be here by then!).

Celebrating Independence Day II

Celebrating Independence Day

13 June 2012

The Ones That Stayed

I love seeing sneak peaks into the closets of other vintage sellers. What do they keep for themselves? I often find myself asking. I also frequently get comments from friends, acquaintances, and strangers about what must live in my own closet. Unfortunately for me (or fortunately for my buyers) my own personal collection has dwindled instead of grown since I became a seller. Twice a  year I clean out my closet and many of my personal finds end up in the shop like these ones here or here.  And when I do find something in my size now I often list it rather than keeping it for myself.  What I do tend to keep is vintage that's too damaged for me to feel comfortable listing in my shop but these lovelies  sit around in piles waiting for the repairs necessary to make them functionally wearable.

Recently, Maria of Adelaide's Homesewn shared a gorgeous dressing gown that she couldn't stand to part with which inspired me to share a few things from my closet. You see, at some point around 30 weeks I had a pregnancy-induced meltdown in which I wanted to burn every Liz Lang maternity tank in my closet, but alas I would have no clothes that fit me if I did that. I missed my vintage desperately so I consoled myself with shopping for some post-maternity clothes.  I decided to treat myself!

Now the tricky part of this whole treating myself endeavor is that I have no clue if or when I'll actually be able to wear any of these lovelies. Who can predict how pregnancy will change the shape and design of your body? But hopefully sooner rather than later these will appear on me and in some outfit posts. Fingers crossed, y'all.

Don't tell the other finds, but this one is my favorite. Hello, 1960s gorgeousness! Those colors, that pattern, the cut! It measures a bit larger than my old size, so maybe!

This is a Swirl dress which were these awesome wrap dresses which were typically used as house dresses. Swirls tend to be very popular now and you can tell why! They tend to have lovely prints and are easy to wear. Since it's adjustable (it closes with the belt) I'm guessing this one will be a win!

This lovely dress is by Jeanette Alexander. I love the print! And the cut of the dress! But I'm not sure if this will work since this cut has never been really flattering on me before. Having slightly wider hips is always a bit awkward with these.

 My husband cringed when he saw this and told me it looked "too vintage." Whatever. It's stunning. It's one of the few reasons I won't mind when it becomes bitterly cold here for 8 months of the year.

And finally, this 1970s wrap skirt. Wrap = flexible fit right?  One of my favorite things about this skirt, you know beyond the obvious, is that someone added little pieces of velcro down the front. Clearly at some point this skirt was responsible for an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction.

12 June 2012

From the Farm: Week 1

When my dad was alive and I lived in Arizona, he would ship me tomatoes from his garden because I said the ones at the grocery store tasted like chemicals. He had it timed just right so that when I opened the box they were just ready to be eaten. When I moved back to New York, he helped me set up portable planters since there's barely any sunlight in my backyard and we made plans to put in more when we could. But that all changed. I didn't grow anything last year. I didn't grow anything this year. Eventually, I know I'll make my way back there, but until I do, I want to think about and obtain food in a way that certainly does not happen at my nearest chain grocery store.

We joined a CSA this year. If you don't know already, CSA is community supported agriculture. We, along with many others, pay a local farmer in advance for a portion of their farm's vegetable yield. Some years will be plentiful and some years won't, but you commit to supporting the farmer and their work no matter what. I selected the CSA I did partially because they accept SNAP benefits. SNAP is the official name for what we understand as food stamps. In case you're wondering, we're not SNAP recipients, but my husband's mother once was and my grandmother was as well. It means a lot to me that our CSA has taken the steps necessary to make fresh, local produce available in our area to low-income residents who are trying to eat healthfully.

Anyway, I could go on and on about this, but the above photo shows our first week's haul. We had mounds of fresh salad mix, radishes (which my mom ran off with), kale, beets and beet greens, strawberries, onions, and snow peas (which are currently my husband's snack of choice).

We also met some amazing neighbors recently who kindly gifted us with these this week:

There's nothing quite like fresh eggs and these were beyond compare. These are Americana eggs known for their pastel prettiness. My husband ate the more colorful ones before I could snap a picture but rest assured there were some blues and greens in there.

And all of this became this:

My breakfast of oatmeal, fresh strawberries, and bananas. Yum!

Grilled steak salad with roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, grilled onions, with a basil dressing.

And my first attempt at a roasted beet and beet green gratin taken from this recipe here which utilized those gorgeous eggs as well. Ours needs some fine tuning still and it's not as colorful as the one at the link since I only grabbed orange beets this past week.

All this and I still have to make kale chips! 

11 June 2012

Week 38

Right now, right this very minute as I write this, I'm 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant. The day additions, those fragments of time that seemed so meaningless in the calculation of pregnancy, now feel heavy and weighted. There's only 11 days left until my due date, and yet that feels so very far from now. Yet I want to make it there, I want to have this baby on my father's birthday.

I've fallen silent on this blog, which happens any time I need to turn inward and take care of myself. The shop was pretty quiet with updates as well in the last few months as I took that space to look after my students, those bravely quiet ones who are trying to sort it all out. But now I'm slowly making my way back. The store is filling up with stock, this blog post is being written, and somewhere poetry is finding its way to the page as well.

Pregnancy has not been a comfortable fit for me. I don't like being pregnant and I don't like many of the "typical" aspects of pregnancy that most people tell women they should enjoy. Unfortunately, expressing any displeasure with pregnancy as a whole reads to many as a sign of "bad mothering." You'll be a "bad mother" if you don't like feeling your baby move.  You'll be a "bad mother" if you don't gush about pregnancy.  The burden we place on women to experience pregnancy and parenting a certain way is limiting and damaging.  This, along with the physical discomforts of pregnancy, is what I've been struggling with personally in this space of silence I've created.

I'll probably write more on this, either here or elsewhere, and build tiny poems dedicated to what this feels like. But none to fear, this blog is intended to explore vintage clothing and integrating it into your life and it will continue to do so directly or tangentially.  Tomorrow, expect to see a post about our support of a local CSA or as some call it a farm share. I'll be driving out weekly to collect fresh vegetables and plan on documenting it here because I see its connection to participating in sustainability.

20 January 2012

The Ones that Got Away

As a vintage clothing seller, my personal wardrobe is usually full of finds (drastically limited now that nothing fits).  Sometimes there are pieces that I thrift or discover that I just can't stand to let go of.  Like anyone, though, I also sometimes agonize over purchases for my personal closet. The delight of vintage clothing is that you're not going to find someone else wearing the same garment as you, but that's also, of course, one of the limitations with vintage.  The message is, if you don't buy it when you see it, you will probably lose it to someone else.

Whenever I wait too long and lose something I really love, I am instantly filled with shopping sadness. Sometimes I keep these items in my favorites so I can go back and stare at them and think about what could have been.  This has happened to me so frequently lately, that I couldn't help but feature some of these lovelies. Maybe one day I'll see them (or their twin?) around vintage land.  Until then:

 1960s dress by Judith Martin found at Custard Heart Vintage

Why I liked it: I loved that this dress had such fun sleeves and this nice, thick quilted skirt. Also, the wrap around ribbon finished it off perfectly. Major bonus, because of the height of the waistline and the fullness of the skirt, it looked like something I could wear in this weird middle stage of pregnancy I'm in as well as postpartum as well.

How I would wear it: I envisioned myself sporting this lovely frock to teach in with maroon tights and brown boots.  If I was cold, I thought I could easily put on a long sleeved tissue tee underneath for some layering action.

Why I hesitated: Because my body is changing, I wanted to try on some things in my closet and compare those measurements to this dress.  This, my friends, is always a smart idea, but if you keep dragging your feet on it like I did, someone will steal your dress. True story.

1960s wool and faux fur coat found at Hollie Point Vintage

Why I liked it: This coat is the perfect combination of factors. I confess I love some leopard print, but it can be overwhelming. This coat has the right amount and the cream really offsets it well.  This coat is also my preferred winter coat length for blustery northern NY days.

How I would wear it: This would be a go to coat for me. I think it works as a staple and I'd probably have taken it everywhere.

Why I hesitated: Because of the cut, this really isn't pregnancy friendly.  While I have quite a few coats in my wardrobe, I don't have one that will work for me until the cold weather clears out so I decided I should save my pennies and use them on something that can keep me warm now rather than later.

vintage kimono jacket found at Pretty Little World Vintage

Why I liked it: This red is such a gorgeous color and the tone on tone flowers really add to the overall look.  I also liked the square neckline and, of course, the drape of the sleeves.

How I would wear it: I would have put this with skinny jeans or gray skinny pants followed up by some chunky heels. I probably would have gone with black shoes, but a contrasting color would have been amazing as well.

Why I hesitated: I'm not entirely sure! This really would have been pregnancy friendly. I think I had a long moment of if I could pull this outfit off and look fashionable in my rural, conservative area.

1960s crewel work dress by Anne Fogerty found at Raleigh Vintage

Why I liked it: This dress is impossible not to love. I mean look at that design! Plus I remembered seeing this dress's twin on Veronika of tick tock vintage and loving it then.

How I would wear it:  I would have worn this to work with some coordinating heels and later paired it with a cardigan. I do like how Veronika layered it with a long sleeve tee and I would probably have tried that out as well.

Why I hesitated:  This was a case of me being too cautious of spending any money.  My mom loved it so much that she offered to buy it for me, but then that made me feel guilty.  And then I almost bought it and then didn't and then almost bought it and then didn't. While I was arguing with myself, it sold.

What are your shopping regrets?

17 January 2012

Color Inspiration: American Kestrel

Nature doesn't make mistakes when it comes to color, which is why when I saw this gorgeous American Kestrel photograph floating around on pinterest yesterday I marveled not only on the beauty of this bird, but the interplay of colors in its feathers. From the deep russet browns to the silvery gray atop its head to that intense mustard yellow of its feet and beak, this bird is a color inspiration.

Because I have plenty of mustard yellow items that I want to figure out in my wardrobe, it seemed fitting that this bird would be the first in my series on using nature for color inspiration.  There are plenty of websites that will create color palettes for you based on any picture you upload or link to and I encourage everyone to try it out when they're feeling stuck or just want to break down the colors in an image.  I was given two color palettes, the second of which I'm using here as a source for finding vintage and modern pieces to place together in an outfit.  I'm still getting a handle on what it is that I'm looking for, but I hope this is a solid first attempt.

Using this color palette shown above, I then found elements that coordinated with those colors.  This takes some getting used to, but it can be helpful when trying to think of what to pair with wardrobe elements you already have or when you are purchasing new items.

Outfit consists of:
1970s novelty print tunic found at Old Gold Vintage, $25
handknit mustard purse found at NzLBags, $95
brown ponte seamed leggings from Mossimo found at Target, $16
brown Banddit boots from Steve Madden found at shoemall, $170

And, if you want those American Kestrel colors in one garment, there's this wonderful dress 1960s found at Thrush, but it felt too much like cheating to use it since it was already so perfect:

16 January 2012

Spotlight: Claire McCardell

cotton dress, 1942

The other day I was prowling around The Met's Costume Institute online collections and building a ridiculous dream wardrobe pinterest board I discovered over and over that I was drawn to designer Claire McCardell's work.  While obviously fancy beaded evening gowns have their place, I'm much more interested in everyday fashions and cocktail attire which is what the shop focuses on.  Claire McCardell's brilliantly structured pieces certainly fit with my personal aesthetic so I set out to learn more about her work.

Claire McCardell mainly worked under the Townley Frocks label, a ready-to-wear brand that began in 1931.  After the Townley Frocks label closed in the late 1930s, McCardell briefly worked for Hattie Carnegie, but McCardell's designs did not find success with Carnegie's clients who were expecting something a bit more upscale.  Eventually, McCardell went back under the Townley Frocks name.  The line was picked up by Lord & Taylor as part of their American Look campaign and become one of their most successful lines.

cotton playsuit, 1944

The American Look was distinctly different from most designer fashions of the time which either came directly out of France or from American designers who were influenced by French fashion.  These fashions even can seem distinctly modern by today's standards.  She also incorporated simple fabrics such as wool, ticking, and mens shirting into her designs because she wanted to create items that suited the American approach to life, active and casual.  These casual elements and fabrics were not just limited to everyday wear, but also incorporated into evening clothes and bathing suits as well.

One of McCardell's signature designs was what is refered to as the "popover."  The first outfit here is an example of a popover.  The popover is designed for busy housewives and could be thrown on quickly and offer instant style.  They came with a coordinating oven mitt.  These dresses would have sold for just $6.95 and were widely popular.

cotton dress, 1953-1957

McCardell passed away in 1958 at the age of 53 from colon cancer.  Her influence, though, continues with designers such as Isaac Mizrahi and Anna Sui giving a nod to her in many of their collections.
"Celebrating Claire McCardell," New York Times, 1998.
"Label Resource Guide: Claire McCardell," Vintage Fashion Guild.

13 January 2012

Collecting: Dear Diary

 I once had this idea that I was going to collect diaries and transcribe them.  The transcriptions would then be hyper-linked in excess so that these historical documents became connected to the vibrant interconnected web we call the internet.  The basic problem with this plan, is of course, time.  It takes an excessive amount of time to accurately read and type out the contents of diaries. So instead, I'm featuring my vintage diary collection here. On occasion, I will feature a few weeks or a month of the diary entries from one of my collection.  I will, of course, continue to collect more as I go.

Today's diary is a very special one. It belonged to my great-grandmother Emmerance Albina Forget(te).  She was born in 1899. After her mother passed away in 1914, Albina took care of her ten siblings. She married William Cumm in 1917 and they lived with their daughter Thelma in Plattsburgh, NY a town nestled in the Champlain Valley region of upstate New York. Her diary dates from 1934.  Albina was 35 years old that year.

 **blank lines in the transcription indicate that the writing was indecipherable
Albina M. Cumm
Plattsburgh, NY
December 25th, 1933
From Thelma

January 1
The first day of the year. We spent it quietly at home. A wet dreary day. Rained all day. Temp. 38 above. Thelma took care of Barbara & Junior in the evening while Frances went and saw “Love of a Sailor” with Joe Brown. Bea and Nelson here in the evening. Charlie got all moved yesterday on Margaret Street now. Bill will work at Rock’s tomorrow.

January 2
10 below zero this morning. What a morning. Washed today. Bill worked at Rock’s. Nelson came and got “Jipper” Charlie’s dog. Baker will take him down to the creek and shoot him. Had Ed Aubin come over this evening. Nothing much happened today.

January 3
Temperature stays about the same. A few flakes of snow flying around. Bill worked to Rock’s and I work at Missus Katherine’s & his in forenoon. The family were all in to dinner at Mrs. Barthow In evening. We may possibly get a radio this week. Pearl phone me she wished to sell hers. Will see her later.

January 4
Same temperature this morning stays so cold. Bill worked again at Rock’s. Went over to ___ in the evening. Listened to the radio. It was good. Heard several Hollywood stars. Ed came over before that. Nothing else to write about.

January 5
Nice out this morning. Thelma & I went to Aunt Vina’s. Have bought Pearl’s radio. Now to go over and get it. Ed Aubin over in evening played with the Adirondack Mountaineers over Plattsburgh lane today. Good. Joe Gonyo buried today. Ed Raymond very ill in Hospital ____ mass. pneumonia.

January 6
Warmer than warm today. All water and slush. Bill work at Rock’s today also yesterday. Got the radio from Pearl’s. Enjoyed it heaps the first evening. Stayed up to 1am. E.A. came over around 10. Nelson was the one to get and bring the radio. Couldn’t get it in our car.

January 7
Went to 8:30 mass at St. John’s. Warm and nice. Went to ___ in the afternoon. Charlie, Letta & the baby also Ed Aubin came with us. Radio good in the evening. Marion and Harold & Mrs. ____ came over awhile. Florence and Huard to Pa’s today. Also Albert & the kids. Thelma goes back to school tomorrow.

January 8
Monday nice and warm. Not much of anything new. Mrs. B___ planning on going to the hotel this week. Will now look for two months or more (maybe).

January 9
This day still warm and nice. Worked at Mrs. Barthow’s packing up. She will go to the Cumberland tomorrow until April 1st. Nothing exciting happening.

January 10
Wednesday another warm nice day. Helped Mrs. B again this forenoon. Thelma, Mrs. Weatherwax, and I went to the movies saw Marie Dressler in “Her Sweetheart” very funny. Nelson started work with Bill today.

January 11
Thursday. Worked at Mrs. Mooney 2 ½ hours today. Ed came in a few minutes in evening. Warm and cloudy. No sun. Nelson and Bea came a little while last night while we were at the movies.

January 12
Same sort of weather as yesterday. Cloudy & warm. Worked 2 hours at Mrs. Mooney in afternoon. Mrs. Weatherwax and I went to the library and post office. Mrs. Hazeltine died sometime this morning funeral Sunday. Ed came over a couple of hours.

January 13
Saturday. Still mild nothing very exciting. Stayed home all day. Edward came in evening. 9.15 we went over to Mr. Hazeltine remained til 11.15 funeral will be tomorrow. Looked real nice and natural. Loads of flowers. She loved them. Snowed hard when we came home. Trees all white and pretty.

January 14
Waded through the snow to the 830 mass at St. Johns. About 6 to 8 inches of snow fell throughout the nite. Went to the funeral. Cold windy 12 above at 4 oclock. Charles & Nelson were pallbearers. Also Nelson Gebo, Roland Loso, Mose Loso & Geo Cook. Bea, Lea, & Thelma took care of the home. Charlie & Lee home for supper. Ed and Mr. Weatherwax came in the evening. Radio good.

January 15
Monday and colder. Sunshine in afternoon. Mrs. Weatherwax and I went uptown. Stopped at Mrs. Barthow’s room at Cumberland Hotel 108. Put in three new tubes in radio. Can’t get a thing. Don’t know what ails the darn thing. Mr. Fisk looked it over. Washed my better grain dress and shortened one Mrs. Barthow gave me.

January 16
Nice and warm. 40 above or so. Sunny. Washed today. Bill still at Rock’s. Nelson there too. Cliff up to dinner. Mr. Fisk came back found a dead tube in the new ones took it back. Hope it plays tonite. She wants some music to liven things up a bit. Nelson came in and got radio going. Ed came in a few minutes.

January 17
Cold this morning. About zero. 4 below. Worked Mrs. Katherine 3 hours. Ironed most of afternoon. Mrs. Weatherwax and Ed came in evening. Radio good. Bill went down to Rocks and Freeman. Must see Mrs. Barthoy tomorrow.

January 18
14 below this morning. Will work at Mrs. Mooney this morning. Didn’t get much else done except ironing. Thelma and I went to the movies. Saw Maurice Chevalier in “The Way to Love.” Rather funny.  Saw Mrs. Barthoy at noon. Gave me 3 for taking care of her plants.

January 19
Warm today but snowing. Marion came in today. Ed in here tonight. Nothing worth while writing about. Bill & Nelson went down to ___ today. Mrs. Weatherwax & Ed came in tonite also Marion and Harold. Had a game of cards.

January 20
Cold as Hades today 20 below once again. Got a letter from Henry. Says Pa’s been sick. Huard & Florence & Joyce came down. Bill worked at Rock’s in afternoon. Bea & Nelson, Charles & Leeta & baby. Mrs. Greeno and Marion, Ed, all in evening. Played radio until 1:30. Had so much fun played cards.

January 21
Went to 830 mass this morn Mrs. Weatherwax, Thelma, & I. Cold as the old horny. 20 below again. Waited for our wood until 530. Dad's 38th wedding anniversary today. Alone at home all day. Radio good in evening.

January 22
Cold again. Went 10 below last night. Henry came down today. Got a job in the mill also Albert and Edward one too.  All here in evening to go to father's had to turn back. Roads were blocked. Bea & Nelson Charles & Leeta here also Ed. Albert staid up until 11 oclock, had guitar, harmonica. Mrs. Greeno was over too.

January 23
Rather nice out today. Hazel & Frank up in evening. Marion & Mrs. Greeno came in while they were here. Nothing new to write about.

January 24
Wrote Henry today. Sent Pa check for 15.00 went down to the bank and withdrew 50.00 from interest and placed in checking account. Pa had 450 interest.  Thelma & I went to Leeta while Mrs. Weatherwax & Eddie came in evening. Also Marion for a minute. Ed quit his job today.

January 25
Went out again. Mrs. Weatherwax went to the doctor's today. Henry ___ came over in uniform with another friend. He enlisted in 26th infantry last week. Ed was over til 10 oclock. Nothing new to write about.  A man named ___ was killed on the job Albert was working on. Bricks fell on his head.

January 26
Way below zero this morning. ___ ___ home. Henry here. Nothing else to write about. Mrs. Weatherwax & Ed came in during the day.

January 27
Nothing of importance. Ed in evening. Radio good. Nelson & Bea went to Chazy after fixing car. Bill paid us tire. Charlie came in for awhile in afternoon.

January 28
Raining. Went to 830 mass at St. Peter's. Thelma, Ed & I. Bill went to 9:15 mass. Had dinner with Hazel & Frank. Such a nice dinner. Stopped at Pa's on way back. Florence, Huard & Joyce there. Lee, Charlie, &; baby. Nelson & Bea. Baby sick. Florence & Huard were here for supper.

January 29
Monday 18 below zero. Ever see such weather? 46 degree difference in 12 hours. Marion in a few minutes. Nelson also. Bill went to work. Leeta came back with Thelma. Charlie here a few minutes.

January 30
Cold again. 20 below. Mrs. Weatherwax left for Ticonderoga on 1153 train. Hate to see her go. Will miss her. Ed in in the evening. Henry here too. Uncle Mose over in the afternoon to get Frank's address.

January 31
One month gone already. Winter can't go by too fast to suit me. Hope February will be ___ __. Cold again this morning. Worked at Miss Katherine's this forenoon, worked this afternoon. Henry here also Albert. Ed in evening. Seems funny not to see Mrs. Weatherwax across the way.

12 January 2012

Week 17

Outfit consists of:
Necklace: 1940s book locket found at Jean Jean Vintage
Sweater: acrylic sweater from Romeo & Juliet Couture found at TJ Maxx
Shirt: gray tee found at TJ Maxx
Jeans: dark wash skinny jeans from Domaine found at TJ Maxx
Boots: brown A2 by Aerosoles boots found at Kohls

Week 17 of this pregnancy and I'm frustrated. In my real life, my husband kindly calls me militant about my political views (but I emphasize I don't bring this into my classrooms) so it's no wonder that larger scale issues associated with pregnancy and parenting have more than set me on edge.  I've been lumping these issues together into a category I call the politics of pregnacy, but they really touch on issues of social, political, and medical views of pregnancy and parenting.

What exactly has me angry? Well the issues are broad, but they really boil down to the core issue of how the female body in general, but specifically in relation to child having and raising, becomes public.  In crafting the female body as a publicly accessible entity, women are constantly bombarded by social, political, and medical controls. Already during this pregnancy I've questioned fear-based medical practices associated with prenatal care, the invasion of personal space by strangers while pregnant, and the near constant litany of advice-forcing by every person you've ever known. The last one is yes, a bit tricky, but there's a marked difference between "Hey have you tried this? It worked for me and it may help!" and "You have to do this." or "You absolutely cannot do that."

There's been a few heated and lively discussions on my personal Facebook page about these issues and I've really wanted to have a forum in which to continue them and engage with a broader audience.  I debated starting up a new blog specifically devoted to it, but I barely have time to keep up with one blog. I've also debated writing a series of essays, and I may still do this, but I'm hoping this sporadic series of posts will start as a proving ground for my ideas and concerns. 

Least you be concerned that a vintage clothing blog will devolve into heated political debate, I doubt you need to worry.  I intend for these posts to be infrequent, perhaps once or twice a month to start and if they prove successful I'll schedule a day for them.  What does it actually mean in terms of content, well I'm hoping you'll help with some ideas.  To begin with some topic ideas I've been thinking over, I've come up with:

1. Why has there been a shift in the American medical system wherein pregnancy information relies on fear (food lists, habits that will harm you and your fetus) rather than relaying health and wellness empowering practices? What can I do about this?
2.  What is it about pregnancy that allows for strangers to feel the need to monitor and approve your individual behaviors? How do I get people to mind their own business?
3. How do I raise a child without gendered stereotypes or hetero-normative expectations of love and relationships?
So ladies (and gents if you're reading!) what about pregnancy and parenting have you struggled with?

11 January 2012

The Red Shoes

Last night I watched The Red Shoes (1948) as part of a poem I'm working on collecting imagery for. As I've mentioned before, I'm working on a series of poems about missing women in America, and Lola Celli, missing since 1946, is one of the women whose story I need to tell.  There was a lot of mystery surrounding Lola's disappearance, but she was last seen wearing an aqua dress and red Cuban heels. Later, someone reported seeing a single red shoe in the middle of a nearby road.  In the poem, I had originally planned on mixing imagery from The Wizard of Oz with Lola's story, but then I decided to connect it to other ominous connections with red shoes so that the poem can work more broadly.

I feel as though the only reason I know about The Red Shoes is because of commercials with Martin Scorsese in which he discusses the importance of saving our film history.  It is unusual for me to have missed it until now given the fact that the film is considered one of Britain's greatest and it was a commercial success in America.  In brief, The Red Shoes is a story within a story featuring a hopeful ballet dancer, Victoria, who is picked to perform the ballet The Red Shoes (based on a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale) while under the thumb of the controlling head of the ballet company, Lermontov.  She falls in love with Julian, an aspiring musician who himself is quickly working his way up the ranks within the company eventually writing the score for the ballet The Red Shoes. This connection between Victoria and Julian spoils Lermontov's professional and personal plans for Victoria.

Martin Scorsese has a particular love for The Red Shoes calling it one of the greatest visual pieces shot in color film.  It certainly does not disappoint on that record and the continued and pressing image of red ballet shoes connects the story of Victoria with that of her unnamed character in the ballet production. While the viewer is hopeful for a romance between Victoria and Julian to function despite Lermontov's opposition, the image of the red shoes is a message to the viewer that love can not prevail and that Victoria the dancer and Victoria's character in the ballet will both, quite pointedly, be danced to death.

While the imagery of the red shoes is what drew me to the film, and ultimately is what will be distilled into poetic form, it's also interesting to see The Red Shoes on a broader social and cinematographic level.  Socially, the message imbedded within The Red Shoes is that women cannot have it all.  While Victoria would love to have the presence of love and dance within her life, it is clear from the start that Lermontov, who has the power to influence the entirety of her career, does not think this is possible. This messaging is something that we continue to hear in regards to women who want to have family and career in their lives.  This is something, we are told, that is just not possible.  To be fair, Julian also experiences this pull and messaging, but he does not have to pay the price with his life in the same way that Victoria does.

As a film about ballet, The Red Shoes fits into a larger genre and it's interesting to see how films borrow from one another, or are just plainly derivative in general. While Black Swan was hailed for its presentation and beauty, it clearly borrows heavily from its predecessor in terms of visual effect and atmosphere. I'm not sure if this makes Black Swan a more interesting film, or degrades its presence in the genre. If I had to choose between the two, I would most certainly pick The Red Shoes for its impressive score and more subtle movements.

And, before I go, I'll leave you with a Kate Bush video since this song and its containing album are inspired by the film.