This Fall, my wardrobe solution for the plummeting mercury has become the Blazer. It's like a whole new world to me- a fitted, lightweight-yet-warm piece of clothing that can make you look semi-Serious when you need to meet a potential landlord or drop your car off at the mechanic and appear like a person who won't have the wool pulled over their eyes. Someone sort of... business-like. As in, "I Mean Business". Especially if the rest of your outfit screams "flaming hippie".
Blazer, thrifted; dress, Gina Michele Vintage on Etsy; super high black ribbed stocking, Sock Dreams; necklace, Flaming Hag Folkwear, Sacramento; beret and boots, Freestyle Clothing Exchange, Roseville
Some of you have known about blazers for years, it seems. You have been rocking them as Mods, as Preppies, and as that kind of Casually Elegant person that I have seen eating at fancy restaurants in big cities. The blazers seem to have been working for you. Can I join your club?
I did actually have a blazer once, in high school. It was an oversized black men's blazer. The look was completed by cut-off jean shorts with writing all over them, ironed hair that was bleached with Sun-In, and my Morrissey t-shirt for Viva Hate. I wore that thing everywhere... and then, I guess, I got Total Blazer Amnesia.
Chris, for his part, has been trying to get me into them for years. We even had a joke that his "other wife" wore blazers, since he would invariably always find one and show it to me excitedly when we went shopping together... only to be met with a blank stare again and again. I never took the bait, for some reason.
I don't know if it is because this wardrobe staple has re-entered the collective unconscious by being particularly popular this year, but somehow the Blazer now seems like the only logical way to keep warm in Autumn weather. When it is too cold to go without a solid over-layer, but too warm for a jacket: well, you get the idea.
Blazer, thrifted; dress, Freestyle Clothing Exchange, Roseville; gloves, a gift from my mom
The funny thing is that blazers are seemingly magnetized towards me... so I have plenty of extras that I have put in my shop for you, should you get struck with the fever:
The "Peabody House" tiny fit wool blazer in neutral brown
The "Advisory Board" maroon corduroy blazer
The "Horses Are On The Track" tweed blazer
The "London Calling" plaid blazer
The "Pendleton" plaid blazer
(...there are even more in the shop, too, and another half dozen lined up to go in there ASAP, in shades of navy and dark brown!)
Blaze on, my friends.
Last week I had the pleasure to meet one of my favorite bloggers and vintage sellers, Rachel from Mousevox Vintage! She and her boyfriend Jeff were traveling around California, and they made a detour through Nevada City to have lunch with me, Chris, and Amber from Violet Folklore!
The girls: Rachel, Amber, and me
Rachel is incredibly sweet and lovely in person, and, as you would expect, flawlessly stylish. Here she is with Jeff:
We had lunch at Ike's Quarter House Cafe in downtown Nevada City, a great place to go not just for the yummy cajun cuisine and the good beer and wine, but because you can sit outside and watch all of the local characters go by. We talked about wine, politics, and selling vintage online (not necessarily in that order!) and laughed a lot.
Meeting friends from the online world in person is so much fun.... I was a little nervous, I admit, and face-to-face interaction is sooooo different from e-mails and blog comments. But it is the greatest way to get a feeling for someone's whole personality, and deepen a friendship. Highly recommended!
Thanks so much to Rachel for coming through our little town and saying hi!
The light is changing, the leaves are changing, and the cats have returned from a summer of hunting outdoors to sleep by the heater. While we are still waiting for that first truly bone-chilling breeze (it usually shows up the week of Halloween here in Northern California), things have definitely shifted. Soup suddenly seems interesting again, as do jackets. I am glad that my hair is finally growing longer (it was a struggle for a while to get it past a certain point, but I seem to be having a victory with hot oil treatments and biotin supplements) cause it is so nice to use it as a "scarf" on the back of my neck! The only thing I need now is some arm/wrist warmers.
This is also the time of year when we talk about moving house. We even made a list (with the help of my good friend Tomi) about "what we are looking for in a rental".... but I haven't even looked in the paper once! For those of you who don't know, our place is tiny, uninsulated, kind of falling apart, impossible to clean, on the shady side of the street, and on a steep road that is treacherous in winter. It also is private, cheap, surrounded by awesome (read: hippies and party people) neighbors, and no one minds that we practice up to several times a week in our (non-sound-proofed) living room. In fact, the neighbors tell us "we love your music!", which definitely makes them our biggest local fans.
Being warm is a big motivator, especially since I am one of those people who gets cold easily... so, we'll see. Meanwhile, it's a sweet little shack to call Home.
A troll takes over drum duties:
Our music practice space is also where I do my uploading, so band notes often end up on top of the stack of incoming items to the shop. By the way "Fire In Cairo" got tabled, but we are working on "A Forest" for an all-gothic/spooky covers set that the Shamrocks are playing this Halloween.
We keep winning stuffed animals when we play Skee-Ball at Circus Circus in Reno. I guess I could say "no", but I just can't resist the idea of a Prize! The Misha Bear, however, belongs to my Dad. This bear is a total oddity in that it was the mascot of the 1980s Olympic Games in former Russia, which the U.S. boycotted because the Cold War was at its height. Ha! (Note the list of Things We Want In a Rental tucked into the frame of the painting.)
Last rays of sunlight on top of the propane heater. This is supposed to keep our place warm, but it is hardly up to the job. When it gets cold, we supplement with up to three electric heaters, and we wall off the area under the loft with three-layer thick wool blanket curtain to retain the warmth. Just writing that makes it all sound a little hobo-ish.... and I guess it is! During the summer the heater becomes the repository for "neat things that I found at the beach/river".
My love for kitsch knows no bounds, and when you add a cat in the mix? Well, I'm sold. We have tons of windows, so very little wall space, but we already have a small collection going of "weird cat pictures". That kind of thing can only grow over the years. Maybe I should try to stop it, but... I can't. We say that this one is the "noble ancestor" of Mooch and Zou, who seem to have a healthy dash of Siamese in them.
I have a big thing for fabric (and I don't just mean clothes- I actually don't have a crazy-big clothing collection, if you can believe it); I say it's the gypsy in me. I want my house to look like an exotic caravan at all times. Exotic to me equals fabric. Scarves and tapestries make me feel cozy.
Indoors or out...
My spiritual life is a very Californian mish-mash of Catholicism, Paganism, and general Eastern and New Age philosophies. I am probably making someone on the East Coast roll their eyes, but let me tell you- the smorgasbord is the way to go! When you need a parking space, pray to Asphalte, goddess of urban parking dilemmas. When you need to change the weather, call on the nature divas. My opinion is that one God just can't take care of all of the details... this world is a complicated operation that requires Teamwork and Diversity! Somehow the porch reflects my orientation very clearly. Among the Judaic Hamsas and the Pagan Brigid's crosses, there is this little universe here:
Yes, that is a plastic church organ.
Lastly but not leastly, this image sums up Fall for me. This is the cover over our side porch, which used to keep mosquitos and moths out in the summer when we would lay there watching movies on the computer (we called it the "drive in"). Now we had to remove the padding on the floor so it doesn't get rained on, and the Hops that were once so bright and green are turning brown and sending their energy back into their roots.
The wise women say we should be sending our energy into our roots, too. I have a hard time with that, I admit. I am not a huge fan of Fall like so many people seem to be. Sure, it's beautiful, and I like a break from the relentless Foothill sunshine, too. But slowing down? Turning inward? My nature is so inward already that this feels almost like a punishment. Though God/dess knows I need to slow down.... there is so much going on at all times in my life, it is a veritable three ring circus, and I do get exhausted.
Here's hoping that this Fall I can take some permission from the elements and do like the cats do: curl up, stay warm, and sleep.
Chris and I were over at his folk's house the other day, and we found that his Dad had brought out his amazing 1937 Ford (usually tucked far away at the back of his shop, under a car cover) to do some work on the brakes. I don't actually remember EVER seeing this particular car before, and I fell instantly, madly, deeply in love. We recently watched Public Enemies, a period piece starring Johnny Depp (swoon) as a foxy bank robber in the 1930s, and I kept telling Chris "it's a Public Enemies getaway car! It's a Public Enemies getaway car!"
I don't think this Ford is getting away to anywhere, but maybe I can convince my father in law to take me on a ride in it one day (hint hint).
They just don't make em like they used to. Nope, not at all.
I wish I was immune to the American love of the automobile, but I'm not. The open road is a symbol of life love and the pursuit of happiness that has been burned into my brain since I was a little girl... in fact, one of my father's actual teachings is that "a car gives you freedom." I'm sure he also mentioned the cost of gas, maintenance, registration, insurance, but was I listening? No way! As I take my Honda into the shop this week, a task I have been putting off for way too long, I need you all to say a little prayer for me.... the one we all say when we have to go to the mechanic: "please God, let the bill be under $1,000!"
I swear to you that this is unstaged.... when I was taking pictures at Empire Mine yesterday, LOOK who was back.... and with a lady friend!
At least, I am assuming that the one with the wings is a lady. Maybe that's actually the guy? Anyway, they stayed like that for hours, obviously, um... enraptured with each other.
I only report what I see, friends.
Honestly, most of the time when I sell a dress, I have no idea what it is going to end up doing. Go to a party? A show? Sit in the closet? I like to think that all of the dresses that pass through my hands are off to big bold adventures.... I whisper my intentions into their seams, of course, so that their wearers might find themselves suddenly having a good time that they weren't expecting. (You didn't realize that was part of my customer service?) Really, I have always associated a new dress with a special event, and I think most women do. Imagining ourselves at the special event is half the fun, anyway, since our imaginations are utterly unencumbered by realities like finding parking or trying to dig our lipstick out of our purse (or out of our husband's pocket, if you are a purse-o-phobe like I am).
This dress, which you might remember as the "Speakeasy", is going on the coolest adventure that I can imagine. It is being worn by my beautiful friend Nicole, who was kind enough to send me these pictures:
She is pairing it with this jacket, also from my shop, the "Opening Night":
So where is this ensemble off to? Nicole is taking a trip to the East Coast this month, with a stop in Cambridge to see a stage production of Cabaret (many of you know the film version with Liza Minnelli, of course)-- featuring Amanda Palmer as the emcee!
If you don't know who Amanda Palmer is, well, I am here to tell you right now! Her first project was The Dresden Dolls, who championed a Vaudeville/Steampunk/gothic/musical theater/just plain weird sound, to an utterly obsessed fan base. A great place to start with The Dresden Dolls would be this incredibly catchy song "Coin Operated Boy".... the video is awesome, too.
Amanda Palmer has had a phenomenal solo career over the past several years, marked by a staunch independence and a refusal to cowtow to industry "standards" (such as her former record label's attempt to ban one of her videos because they felt like her muscular, healthy frame looked "too fat").
Amanda recently released an album covering Radiohead's hits, all played on the ukulele. She also became engaged to one of America's premier forces of imaginative creation, Neil Gaimen (The Sandman, Stardust, Coraline, etc.). I can't wait to see what these two come up with together!
More Amanda Palmer awesomeness...
One of my favorite songs, "Ampersand":
A huge thanks to Nicole, both for supporting my shop, and for being the one who turned me on to Amanda Palmer (and who keeps me supplied with all kinds of great mix CDs and rare tracks from her)!
Seen on my recent photo shoot in Empire Mine State Park, hanging out on this flower in the middle of the fountain:
It looked, for all the world, like this Praying Mantis owned the place!
While I'm a it, here's a few highlights, dress-wise, from my shoot:
Blue velvet 60s princess dress
80s hand-dyed (by me!) bubblegum pink Marie Antoinette Gunne Sax dress
Isadora Duncan meets Grecian goddess meets 1920s flapper meets 1970s disco glam!
Peacock blue lace dancing dress
Elaborately embroidered 1970s cotton bohemian dress, made in Pakistan
1970s maroon and ivory praire babe dress
Ah, the bohemian masterstroke- a black label 1960s Gunne Sax by Jessica, featuring a hand-stamped ethnic print (Thai? Balinese?), and fabulous mutton sleeves!
Hope you all have a great weekend.... I will see you on the other side of the Adventure!