riding the storm out with some ginger tea, a good book and foil-wrapped halloween chocolate. so far, it’s not too bad out there, although on my walk home from work today, the wind busted my umbrella, rendering it useless. but! someone arrived home tonight with a much grander, parasol-like umbrella to shelter me in the morning.
do you like how we converted the built-in bookcase in the living room into a closet? it was the ingenious idea of my one and only, in response to the zero closet space in the bedroom. it doesn’t make dressing awkward at all, plus it’s really pleasing to the eye.
thrift finds like this skirt and these heels are exactly why i struggle with paying full price for clothing. they may not be one-of-a-kind pieces, but they sure do feel as though they are when i “discover” them on a rack in goodwill as opposed to a rack in a retail store, which is generally filled with identical pieces whose only variation is in size. i long for the thrill of the hunt and the delight in discovery. malls and retail stores just feel too obviously contrived and engineered. i get inexplicably anxious and uncomfortable and overwhelmed in gap, for instance, or banana republic; everything is saying, “choose me” and i begin to mistake what i like with what i’m supposed to like. i relate these feelings in part to my teenage years, going shopping with girlfriends and feeling (self-imposed) exclusion by my inability to purchase the newest threads at american eagle – i’d typically buy something from the sale rack, which wasn’t necessarily my taste but was something i could afford and ultimately led to the wearing of “reject” items from “cool” stores that i felt uncomfortable in (my view of sale items, at least, has since changed). those experiences have contributed to the overall bad taste in my mouth for commercially produced, fast-fashion retail stores. don’t misunderstand me: i do still occasionally peruse and purchase items at such places, though it has to be special. or on sale. or both.
discovering thrift stores and vintage later on in life was like discovering a kind of personal freedom.
snagged these earrings long ago during a quick trip across the border when my sister and her family lived on the edge of texas and mexico. the necklace i received for christmas when i was living in texas and homesick something awful for new hampshire.
also, this week the weather has been gorgeous. high sixties and seventies all day and night. next week threatens us with snow! mother nature, you teasing hussy.
skirt: thrifted; blouse: vintage, thrifted, altered; shoes: “borrowed” from my mum approximately 7 years ago; beaded bracelet: world market; gold bracelet: vintage, mother-in-law’s when she was a girl
this blouse’s origin is probably the wardrobe of dynasty. when i first laid eyes on it, the sleeves were long and billowy and adorned by tacky satin trim, which also functioned as a thick cummerbund. i’m pretty sure shoulder pads were involved, as well. but i saw potential in the button-down back and vertical pleats on the front. the satin trim lines the collar and shoulders, but i found it considerably less offensive once the sleeves and waist were hacked off. i’m not a great sewer, but i’m still pretty pleased with the transformation. next time i’ll remember to take “before” photos!
when we were still in texas, we lived in a small town just outside of austin. we resided in my husband’s grandparents’ house, in an area decidedly suburban. but the center of town had a very different feel; following the train tracks, main street was lined with boutiques and antique shops, a donut palace, and an old-fashioned soda fountain attached to a small-town pharmacy. i frequented the shops in town, and discovered this dress in one of the vintage stores. at the time, i wouldn’t allow myself to buy it, as sweet and cheap as it was. come valentine’s day, however, it was suddenly and happily in my possession!
it really is in perfect condition. and while it borders the adorable in a way that can very easily become sickeningly precious if accessorized the wrong (or right?) way, the buttons, darts and eyelet detail are just too good. it’s also made from a rather heavy linen, so the window of wearability for this dress is tricky. it’s too hot for the summer, and too bulky when layered in excess during the winter. but today was a lovely, ideal fall day for this dress.
since moving, i haven’t really felt homesick for the lone-star state, to be perfectly honest. however, this does have me longing for some of my old thrift and vintage haunts…
this morning, i headed to a flea market, which just happened to be directly across the street from my house in a church basement. i think i came away with some good finds.
paperback of thomas hardy’s the mayor of casterbridge: $0.25
one wall of the basement was lined with boxes and boxes of books. i had to do some digging but finally uncovered this gem. thomas hardy has become one of my most beloved writers and jude the obscure perhaps my favorite novel ever. though quite the celebrity in his time, hardy authored many novels that were heavily criticized, refused publication and even burned, mostly because his characters were allowed to test, defy and question victorian codes of behavior and society without being persecuted by hardy in the process. i have yet to read the mayor of casterbridge, but it is considered one of his best works – now if i can only find the time…
embroidered placemats: $2
when we first moved to pittsburgh, we ate at the dinner table like respectable people every night, mainly because we had a lot to talk about – new school, new jobs, new city. it was my favorite part of the day. now, we usually eat at the coffee table in the living room. due to our conflicting schedules, we don’t eat together much anymore, and dinner time is accompanied by hulu rather than mutual conversation. we may not eat like mature grown ups, but our coffee table is one of the only “grown up” pieces of furniture we have, so when i saw these sweet placemats, i figured if we can’t eat together, we can at least eat in adorable style while protecting the table at the same time!
we had to downsize quite a bit when we moved. i was terrified of arriving at our new apartment, which we had yet to see in-person, with too much stuff and having to reluctantly get rid of things we did not want to get rid of. so, while we brought so many clothes that we had to convert the built-in bookcase in the living room into an extended clothes closet, i restricted myself in other areas and only packed four mugs. we have room for more than four mugs. and this little autumnal mug was just begging to be bought and filled with spiced apple cider.
hat box: $3.00
this floral hat box may just be my favorite find of the day. i discovered it tucked away and under a table, in perfect condition. without any attempt on my part to haggle, the woman selling it mischievously said, “they’re selling it for $5, but i’ll give it to you for $3. shhhhhhh.” sold! i drive a silent but hard bargain. later in the day i visited a vintage shop in town. it was filled with lovely and very pricey objects, including towers of hat boxes, and i was very pleased with myself.
went for a stroll in the park earlier this week after work. i’ve amassed a small but growing collection of leaves from my jaunts to work, the grocery store, the park, the coffee house. i’m not entirely sure what i will do with them yet, but i feel the need to commemorate my return to fall and the north somehow.
in honor of all hollows’ eve, the apartment has been decorated, and i am currently hording a stash of candy corn in my desk drawer at work. this is a bad idea – always, i know that if i begin to eat this harvest of sugar, i will eat it until i feel sick, and always, i do it anyway. i like to binge on nostalgia.
also, going to see a midnight showing of pyscho tonight!
after running errands yesterday, i found myself across the street from a little resale store i’ve been meaning to investigate since moving to pittsburgh. my penny-pinching ways have kept me out up until this point, but i smile every time i walk/drive by. it’s called A Child’s Wardrobe and Adults Too, which is (unintentionally) hilarious and awkward. i find the unmarketability of such a title rather endearing, and i’ve been curious about just how much adult “adults too” means. turns out, there is indeed quite a bit more children’s clothing, accessories and toys, but there’s a fair share of adult clothing to peruse. two of the tops i ended up bringing home were unearthed from the dollar bin, including an mtv spring break tank top (which, on any other day, i probably would not have purchased, even for a dollar, except for the fact that i recently discovered that hulu has all 5 seasons of daria, and i may or may not have been spending recent nights absorbed in reminiscing both fondly and bitterly the nineties of my youth).
other thrifted treasures:
this little velvet number, just in time for fall.
the above two items i procured from goodwill. upon viewing my selections, the kid behind the register said, “oh, wow” and proceeded to give me a dollar off each item. i’m not entirely sure if i should take his rather muted teenage exclamation as sincerity or mockery, but i will (and did) gladly take that price deduction. even if it was out of pity.
that needlepoint has seen better days. a bit dingy, but so sweet. in fact, i generally prefer a little wear and tear to pristine. and i may or may not have let out an involuntary squeal when i found that vintage skirt. too much pastel? probably. do i mind? not really.