Vintage Inspired Resolutions

It has been a wonderful end to the year for me. A few nights ago, my mother and her husband treated my husband and I to the Xmas pantomime at the Bailey Theatre. We go every year, and this year’s performance was just as charming and fun as all the preceding years.

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It’s still a bit strange, living in Nanaimo after spending six years in Victoria. Even though we’ve been back for a year , I am still surprised to recognise familiar names and faces in unexpected places. And I’m beginning to feel my age too, as the young lion in the show turns out to be the son of the younger sister of someone I went to high school with. But I like living in Nanaimo, partly for that familiarity. I definitely think I belong here.

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On to the goal making! See, I told myself I wasn’t going to resolve anymore. These kind of resolutions get forgotten so quickly, no matter how important the wish or confident the resolver. But I still think it’s important to have goals.

 

1. Acquisitions: Things I would like to have to support and improve my vintage look. A crinoline, a genuine Bakelite bangle, a few more charming novelty brooches, a vintage style purse, and of course HATS. Here are a few pics of my favourite shapes, today.

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2. Making things: I have a huge length of beautifully patterned fabric for a circle skirt, which will need to be made this year, and I also have a hat base that I plan to deconstruct and trim for a fantastic springtime “Easter” hat.

circle skirts

“Isn’t this blank magazine fascinating, Myrtle?”

(Lamest proposal ever, but Judy and Fred sure are wonderful together.)
3. I want to host an afternoon tea party this year! Complete with miniature edibles, bouquets of flowers, gloves, and great conversations. No cell phones allowed!

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“Do you see what Ethel has on her head?”
“Appalling!”

4. Feel free to laugh at this one, but I want to shop at the grocery store once per week. I have a bad habit of getting off work, then running to the grocery store to buy dinner fixings, and then ending up purchasing a frozen pizza because making something is too much thought and effort. I want to be able to plan meals for a week, and shop once!

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5. Obligatory health goal: I can (and will!) go down at least three dress sizes, in 2014. This is a multi-part goal. Firstly, I want to eat more real food, and less pre-packaged “food –like” products.  I love the ideas behind the Paleo Diet, and would like to incorporate a lot of them into my life.

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Second, I want to decrease my sugar intake.  I think I will make a point of not eating any sweets that I haven’t made myself.  In keeping to this rule, I will stop buying handfuls of candy, and start putting effort into curbing that sweet tooth.  If I have to make it, not only will I appreciate it more, but it will take more effort and be worth it.  ALSO, I will curb my after-dinner sweet craving with yummy tea.  David’s Tea makes an incredible rooibos blend called Crème Brûlée (not to be confused with the Crème Caramel) that adequately satisfies that craving.
And lastly I will find a way to add another workout to my week; currently I am doing three workouts a week, and one hour long vigorous tap class.

These guys are only missing bow ties and collars.

I will probably add another goal or two in the upcoming few days, but for now I think this is a reasonable, and even achievable list.  Except for those 80s short shorts.  That may be a bit extreme, even for me.

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Obligatory Xmas Post

Well, it’s no secret that I do not care for the “Holiday Season”. (In fact, this year I have decided that the term “Holiday Season” is insulting also, seeing as only government workers and bank employees actually GET a holiday.) But I don’t want to run off on an angry tirade.
I want to talk about nail polish.
So, the best thing about Xmas, is being able to wear my glaringly green nail polishes without fear of raised eyebrows. Running in Circles by China Glaze is one of the prettiest greens I’ve ever encountered. And as usual, China Glaze does a fabulous glitter formula polish. The application is perfect, and totally opaque in two coats.
Admittedly, while at the gym for Monday’s class, I glimpsed my hand wrapped around a weight and was a bit taken aback with how appallingly loud this colour is.

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So I shall end this small but seasonally appropriate post with a favourite actress of mine, Jane Powell.

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A trip to the Tea Farm

I have been dreaming of a place like this for years.  And all of a sudden, POOF here they are!  I discovered I had a day off—actually with my husband, for a change.  So I dragged him off to the Tea Farm in Cowichan Valley.

Tea for One

You could call me an “avid tea drinker.”  I have a fairly large tea pot, 1.5L, and I drink at least one pot of tea a day.  More often, two pots a day.  Which means I spend a lot of time in the bathroom also, but I digress.  To me, a cup of tea is a warm hug at the end of the day.  I could no more imagine life without tea, than I could imagine life without nail polish.  Usually my favourites include samplings from David’s Tea; I am insane for Glitter and Gold, and Coco Chai Rooibos; and I have discovered Tea Desire’s beautiful Buddha Bamboo is the most delicious way to enjoy a summer evening.  However, I am always on the lookout for new tea.  And ever since I discovered the Tea Farm, here on the Island, I have been curious and excited.

I love what they are trying to do; in a few years, the tea plants they are cultivating will be mature enough to begin harvesting.  It is very likely we will one day have locally grown TEA!  It was a special thrill to see the tea plants on their hillside, as you drive into the farm.

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The cottage itself is delightful.  It’s a tiny little wood hut, on a lovely piece of farmland, not too far off the beaten trail.  All dusted with snow, with a bit of smoke floating out of the chimney, it was a winter oasis of magic.  I am so serious, it is MAGIC.  I was surprised we didn’t see a unicorn in the field.  (Probably a bit too chilly for him.)

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My husband and I had our tea served in this lovely little pot, and sipped it out of beautiful antique Russian tea cup holders.  I wanted us to try one of their blends, as this is something the venue prides itself on.  We agreed upon Cowichan Caravan Tea, and it was delectably smoky and dark.  We indulged with a slice of chocolate cake; it was truly a beautiful compliment.

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One of the perks of the location, is in the resident artist.  Margit makes teapots and clay dishware.  And I have to say, I was blown away with the artistry of her craft!  It was a shame we picked a day when she was all but sold out, only two teapots for sale (and that’s one of the biggest reasons for our visit!) but it was a small nick in an otherwise amazing first visit.

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We DID have the opportunity to examine the spectacular giant teapot on display, however.  I was stunned to discover it was completely glazed on the inside and functional.  This gorgeous thing was at least three feet tall.  I am now convinced I need to own one of Margit’s amazing masterpieces. Just look at the detail along the inside of the lid!

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Beauty and function and local craftsmanship. Perfect!

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Wow!

Upon arriving at home, I quickly brewed up my purchase for the day; a nice big pot of Rooster.  (I have a thing for spiced teas, if you didn’t notice.)  And it was a perfect end to a lovely day.  Thank you, Tea Farm folks!  You will see me again for sure!

‘Tis the Season for Parties

The season of partying is upon us! Most of the time, social get-togethers are easy to navigate. But I still observe plenty of party fouls even at the fanciest of events. Here’s a few things to keep in mind, from getting ready, to actual attendance.

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Dress up! Remember, if you’re the best dressed, you set the tone for the party. And if you look fantastic, you’ll be less inclined to worry about what you could have worn instead.

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Ann Miller in “On the Town”

If it’s a costume or a theme party, you can NOT “just skip” the theme. The hosts have put a lot of thought and effort into this party, and it will be disrespectful to brush-off their endeavors so lightly. Head to the dollar store, and grab a few items to create a costume. You don’t have to go full throttle, but you do have to make some sort of attempt.

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This costume is nothing but a hat. And attitude.

Always bring a homemade dish to a potluck. If you refuse to cook, at least cut your own veggies for the veggie platter. (It’s cheaper, too!)  Xmas parties are a great time to show off your favourite go-to party dish. Even if you’re the devilled egg girl (like me!) people will be impressed and grateful for a hand crafted yummy. Make a point of being really good at creating at least ONE party dish. Practise!  Find something you love, and learn to make it quickly and well. My mother makes these squares that are impossibly delicious, and she has to bring an extra box to the party for the host, just so the rest of the guests even get some.

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Have something fun to talk about! Spend a few minutes considering the recent events of your life, and decide on something to say when someone asks you ‘what’s new?’ Because they will, and it’s a huge conversation killer when you reply: “Nothing.”

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Ava Gardner

Please don’t drink yourself stupid. Especially if it’s a work party! Have two drinks, and then stop to evaluate how loudly you are screaming answers to casual questions. Being the drunk everyone talks about the next day is never a nice position to be in.

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“Beer goes very well with beer. MORE BEER!”

Try one of everything! But don’t eat the entire plate. You want to be able to respond “yes!” when Susie Jane asks you the next day if you tried her spiced prune wheels. (“I’m on this diet where I don’t eat rehydrated seasoned fruit right now,” is a terrible answer to that question.)

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For the love of Pete, PLEASE leave your phone in your purse. And turn the ringer off! It is never appropriate to be “socializing” in person and also be texting on your phone. It’s one thing to whip out the portable Google to verify a term in a game of Cards Against Humanity, it’s entirely another to be talking to a good friend, while staring at a tiny phone screen and typing to another. It is truly pathetic to see so many people forgoing actual social contact, for digital aloofness.

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And while I’m on the subject, turn your ringer to vibrate please. It’s okay if YOU know you’re popular, but you don’t need to interrupt every conversation with constant ringtones to prove your social status.

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You hate so-and-so’s girlfriend, but she’s at the party, and you see her spy you from across the room and head your way. Don’t be a jerk and run away! Smile, exchange a few words, then develop a sudden need to powder your nose so you can escape the conversation graciously. It never hurts to be polite.

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And lastly, tuck a set of “Cards Against Humanity” in your car. ‘Cause you never know!  This game will liven up any party.

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Damsels of Burlesque

I feel a bit isolated here on the Island; there aren’t a lot of people dressing outside the norm, and it doesn’t seem as though there are many folks interested in vintage.  It is a very casual lifestyle out here.  I take it upon myself to find reasons to dress up, every day.  And every get-together I attend is an excuse to dress up even more!  Life is too short to wear yoga pants and a T-shirt all the time.

In my search for other weirdoes like me, I have been drawn to the art of Burlesque.  There are two troupes (that I know of!) here in Nanaimo, and another in Parksville.  I attended my first show in September, and was blown away by the magic.  The “Suit and Tie Affair” put on by “Naughty and Spice” was fabulous!  These performers were having a blast.  And it was such an unusual crowd in attendance.  I knew I would make some friends there; and indeed I met Ruby Kitten and Bumpin’ Blossoms, two of the ladies from the Parksville troupe, “The Damsels in DisDress”.

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Tonight I brought a few friends with me, to “An Evening of Burlesque” put on by the lovely “Damsels in DisDress”.  This was one of those events I had to dress up EXTRA fancy for…especially as my wedding dress is beginning to fit poorly through the hips.  This was very probably the last time I would be able to wear it.  (We will see; surely there will be a Christmas cocktail party I can flaunt it at!)

The show was incredible!  There were so many more performances than I was expecting.  Well, I don’t know what I was expecting, but I promise you I got more than whatever it was!  I am sad that I left my camera at home, especially as the host announced that photographs were welcome; just no flash.  So no pictures of either the event or myself.  Except for my nails.

Dita Nails

Happy Anniversary! and Got the Blues for Red, both by OPI

The ladies are self-described as “a classic-style Vaudeville Burlesque Troupe”, and that statement couldn’t be closer to the truth.  There was more performance than nudity, at this strip show!  Every act was well thought out and charmingly executed, and I felt like the tiny smatterings of vulgarity were a spice to the evening rather than an overpowering musk.

There was live music for several of the acts to bump to, sweet and suggestive original songs sung by the adorable Miss Candy Apples, and Jemma Riot’s enormous “Lucille Ball” eyes.  I couldn’t get enough of the group performances by the Damsels themselves; it was really fun to see more than one performer in an act.  It was amazing to see performers from the other end of the Island, coming to support this group in their first big show.  I love how close knit this community is.   (Indeed, I recognised several ladies from the Nanaimo troupes in the audience, also!)

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Miss Candy Apples

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The opening act; a silhouette show.

 

All in all it was a wonderful, wonderful experience.  I will absolutely be rushing to see another show by the Damsels, the next time around.  And so should anybody else, here on the Island!