Monday, December 22, 2008

recent outfits

Now that I'm afraid my harddrive will crash at any moment, I think I'm going to be sharing photos more often. A few recent outfits:

I really love this scarf/shawl thing, and as cold weather is such a fleeting thing in my area, I was excited to get a chance to wear this. Though I always love plaid, wearing it during the holidays feels particularly festive.

gray hat- UO (CA)
gray shawl- Muji (Japan)
black knit vest- Uni Qlo (Japan)
vintage plaid shirt- Mom's closet
vintage denim skirt- resale shop (CA)
vintage bag- thrifted (CO)

I wore this to a choral concert. I was basing the outfit around this fabulous sheepskin collar coat I bought at an estate sale last month. I keep forgetting to research the label, but it is definitely mid-century, and I love how glamorous it makes me feel. I'm not sure if my mix of yellows and browns worked out just right, but I like it all the same.

vintage bag- market (UK)
vintage coat- estate sale (CA)
vintage 1940s skirt- vintage shop (CA)
tights- ? (old)
vintage mary janes- estate sale (CA)

I'm sort of annoyed I didn't get a photo of this without the coat, but as this skirt is one of my most treasured pieces of clothing, I'm sure it'll be in rotation again.

scarf- handmade (Cambodia)
peacoat- Uni Qlo (Japan)
skirt- night market (Thailand)
black leggings- American Apparel (CA)
boots- Me Too (CA)
bag- vintage, market (UK)

I bought the scarf and the skirt while traveling in SE Asia last spring, where I absolutely fell in love with traditional textiles. If memory serves, the skirt was made by the Hmong people of northern Thailand. All the Hmong handicrafts I saw all over SE Asia were really brightly colored with amazing patterns and details. I felt bad for buying this at a market, where the people who made it probably made a far smaller profit than if had I purchased it from a shop connected with an NGO (like where I bought the scarf).

The things I have acquired while traveling have often become some of my most cherished. There were so many times I didn't get things while traveling, either because I was worried about money (which, when traveling, is always), or because I didn't have space in my pack. So these things that I did splurge on I really love.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

christmas card lane

Not too far from where I currently live is a place that, once a year, becomes "Christmas Card Lane." Besides the usual holiday house lights, almost every home has a big plank of wood propped up on the lawn with some holiday motif. They really run the gamut, from Disney characters with Santa hats to sports to the wise men. Of particular note were the strange Santa-turned-Jesus decorations (Santa on bended knee in the manger, really?), and the creepy doll-headed figures that spooked us from across the street:

Childhood pal Jen with one of the freaky doll-headed figures on one family's lawn. The heads were obviously just ripped off from dolls with much smaller bodies than the lawn figures they now sit atop. I'm not sure if this photo gets at the spookiness of it, though that eye thing Jen is doing hints at the creepy.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

yellow technology

So, the yellow PC laptop I got this past summer (to replace my wheezing four year old white iBook) is quite sick, and on Friday everything on it's large and impressive harddrive was wiped clean. Almost worse than this is the suspicion that it won't magically start working again before I leave this weekend. I had envisioned spending the week and a half away composing blog posts inspired by the Gold Rush scenery and maybe even getting my artist sister to take some photos for me. Oh well.

New York, 1958

Further confounding present plans is this incessant rain, which has helped not one but two people close to me to wreck their cars. Luckily neither of them were hurt, or hurt anyone else. We get so little rain down here that people just don't know how to drive in it. How I ache for efficient public transportation.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

She & Him

Though I heard of them a long while ago, it took me until today to actually give She & Him a listen. She, "quirky" actress Zooey Deschanel, and him, established musician M. Ward, make a charming duo. I love how Zooey's voice reintroduces some classic American 1950s & 60s tunes to my generation, who probably recognize these songs but wouldn't really listen to the originals. Indulge below with She & Him's take on the following 1957 classic:

In all these videos of them I've watched, Zooey is always wearing the cutest 1960s style dresses. I think she would look great in this little tent dress I recently listed in my shop.

And while we're on the topic of music, you should check out both UK-based Paperplain and Brooklyn residents School of Seven Bells. Paperplain is lo fi beauty exemplified, and School of Seven Bells supposedly takes their name from a legendary pick pocket school in South America.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hosiery, Please

Wartime restrictions of silk and rayon force cotton stockings into production. Photo dated 1948

With the approach of winter the famously temperate Californian weather has started to sharpen, and I've gotten (re)obsessed with finding fun, colorful tights. Though I do own a normal amount of pants, I really only wear them when running errands. The skirts and dresses sections of my closet are so full that if I didn't make an effort to always wear them when going out, I'd never have a hope of cycling through them all. And we all know that cold weather + bare legs = unhappiness. So! I do believe Santa is bringing me a sensible pair of black sweater tights, but I am on a mission to add to that with some great colors.

I'll drink whatever she's having.

Though I always prefer shopping recycled or handmade over new, I've had a hard time finding these at a reasonable price in good condition in either of those markets (if you have any tips, please let me know!). So we turn now to mass production:

American Apparel's Opaque Pantyhose. The company's brazenly hipster image can be somewhat off-putting, but they always have a wide variety of colors in almost everything they produce, and it's all sweatshop-free, so I can't really fault them too much.

I don't have personal experience with these opaque tights, but they come recommended by my stylish friend Jacky. There are 15 different colors available online, and a bevy of reviews to help you commit.

We Love Colors' Microfiber Solid Color Tights. These are a bit cheaper than AA's opaque tights, would probably be warmer, and come in a staggering 45 colors. 45! That's three different shades of yellow.

From this same company I should note these amazing psychedelic leg-huggers, which undoubtedly make the gang over at AA upset they didn't think of it first. Lots and lots more options at We Love Colors.

Just to round it out I should also link to well known hosiery brand Hue. Most of these look a bit more expensive, but come with free shipping.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Six Things

I've been tagged by the lovely Anja aka estatesale to do a post of "six random things about myself," and really, who doesn't like talking about themselves? Off we go:

My piece, set to Bjork's Unison

1. My hobby/sport of choice has always been dancing. I did a little off and on as a kid, but at the end of junior high I auditioned and made the somewhat competitive high school team. For the next four years I danced almost every weekday, and continued into college, where I felt like I really found my 'voice,' if you can say that about dance. My college career culminated with choreographing my own piece for the spring show in my senior year, which was really stressful but ended up being totally worth it. I haven't danced in a long time and I really miss it.

2. I am a big proponent of couchsurfing. I think most people are aware of the general concept, but not everyone seems to know there is an actual website connecting people literally all over the world. My boyfriend and I first 'surfed' last spring when we spent a month and a half in Southeast Asia. Though there is definite fun and adventure to sleeping in hostels and guest houses, being able to stay with a native was a really tremendous experience. I was completely overwhelmed by the generosity and caring of absolute strangers, and it really reminded me that we are all part of the same global community, one that we should all work to nurture.

3. On this same trip my boyfriend and I had a near death experience when our plane almost crashed over Cambodia. We ended up being fine, but both Hylton (my boyfriend) and I have major transportation anxiety now. I start shaking when I even think of being on an airplane.

4. The strangest food I've ever eaten is shirako ( しらこ ), or cod testes. I had it when a group of middle aged Japanese women to whom my boyfriend (and sometimes I) taught a conversation class took us out to a fancy dinner (in Matsuo, in case anyone is familiar with rural 千葉). Delicacy indeed!

5. My best friends are now spread out over five states, and keeping in touch can be difficult when our lives are so out of sync. I love sending them hellos the old fashioned way, and am currently lusting over stationary from the UK-based bombus.

6. I met my boyfriend my second year of high school, and we didn't start dating until six years later. I think the best relationships always start out as friendships first.

And now I get to tag other people! I'm tagging the stylish girls at: Pretty Little Pictures, Crafty Crow Vintage, Sacaton June, and Frances Baker.

The 'rules':
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag new people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Surburban Blue

One of my photos (and by extension, dresses!) is featured in the NowPublic's article "Are You the Right Shape?" Oh, body image. Every girl's favorite subject. Prior to the request to add my photo I'd never heard of the Vancouver-based NowPublic, and if you hadn't either, you should go give it a look. Their tagline is "crowd powered media," and if that doesn't entice you, I don't know what will.

I've been very bad about keeping up with the news for the last... oh, six months. Back when I spent half the day falling asleep at my desk in an office, I'd use The New York Times to keep me plugged into reality (and consciousness). After moving back to the New World, though, I quickly fell back into my old lethargic habits. I should get around to remedying that.

And now that I've admitted my propensity for laziness, it will come as no surprise that my rate of exercise is pretty dismal. So, tonight, I valiantly took on that past time of old: the neighborhood stroll.

I bought this handmade knit cap in Mostar, and though I truly cherish it, I very rarely get a chance to wear it. It even has cute little arrows stitched onto the dangling bits. I'll take a close-up sometime.

Look, seasons! Southern California's feeble attempt at being like everyone else.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Updates: Black Dresses

I've been trying to list something new in my shop every day, in hopes to get most of my inventory up with enough time for Christmas shipping. I always have at least ten things that are waiting to be photographed, but I guess you do what you can. I am really excited about some of the dresses I have posted/will be posting soon. Here are some swanky, holiday-party-ready dresses that are recent additions to the shop. Two of these are in MINT, never-been-worn condition, which is exciting, at least to me. :)

In other news, apparently I was the only American to have not heard about the Walmart-trampling story from Black Friday. In case you have been living under the same rock as me (or you aren't from the U.S., in which case you have no obligation to listen to American news, since it so rarely takes yours into account), a Walmart employee was trampled to death last Friday, on the 'biggest shopping day of the year.' I can somewhat imagine the mob-mentality, but seriously? How can this sort of thing happen? This just further encourages me to restrict my purchasing power to online avenues (with the real-life exception of thrift, vintage and antique stores, of course). Hooray for etsy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I take the majority of the photos for my shop outside of my boyfriend's parent's house. They live in the hills, not so far from industry that it's considered out-in-the-country, but far enough away that when there you feel you're in a special place.

That line on the horizon is the Pacific Ocean.

My boyfriend spent his entire childhood living in a house in the hills, and I can tell part of him pines for it when he's away. Now and then I'm a little jealous, because I've never had that same attachment to my hometown. I've passionately loved other places I've visited and lived, but I never felt rooted enough in the places I grew up. It wasn't until I started dating my boyfriend, right before my last year of college, that I started to have an appreciation for the place I knew before all others. Somewhat ironically, his hometown is my hometown, so being with him has helped me in more than one way.

His place is fun, because there are lots of desert animals that scurry around. Both deer and coyotes visit regularly, and on a hike a few months ago we saw mountain lion tracks near the lip of the reservoir. They even had a female rattlesnake living under a boulder, just outside of their house, for a few weeks. My favorites residents are the quails, who run around with a long line of their babies trailing concernedly after.

The moon and some planets.

The sunsets are also quite nice.