A Sparkling Vintage Life

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Sparkling Vintage Life: What to Bring Back from Yesteryear

One more Lilly Jarlsson video… (Yes, I’m letting her do my speaking for me today, lol. She does it so well.)

I’ve often said that I don’t wish to simply turn back the clock and live in the past. There is much to love about modern life, and much to loathe about days gone by. Still, there are ASPECTS of the past, particularly in regards to public life, that we would do well to bring back.

In this video Lilly reflects on things from the past that she wishes we could bring back from the past, including:

Patience
Politeness
Chivalry
Quality over quantity
Local shopping
Artists with talent
Good grooming

What would you bring back from the past, if you could?

Sparkling Vintage Style: Lounging Around

Here’s another great video from vintage-wear icon Lilly Jarlsson. Love her! This time she talks about what to wear when lounging around at home.

I, too, hate jeans, plus my body shape is not the least bit flattered by jeans. So why do I keep wearing them?? *sigh* Old habits die hard. Bring on the soft cotton and rayon!

Sparkling Vintage Health: Steps on the Journey

tennis2Last week I wrote about wanting to improve my health and what the pre-World War II ladies magazines call “vitality.” I looked up “vitality” in the dictionary. The first definition is, “the peculiarity of distinguishing the living from the nonliving.” That’s telling it like it is!

So far my old-fashioned approach has been two-pronged: walking a lot and choosing fresh, unprocessed food as much as possible. In the May sunshine, walking is pleasant and I actually look forward to it, but making time for it can feel like a hurdle. Twice in recent days I’ve been stuck “in town” between appointments (“town” being about 15 miles away from our rural home) and have used that time to walk in a park. I told myself I didn’t need workout clothes or athletic shoes (although, note to self: keep a pair in the car). I was already wearing comfortable flats, so off I went.

Walking in the park is fun for two reasons: (1) the terrain is flat–a nice break from the steep hills around my home. (My husband figured out that walking from the bottom of our property to the top is like climbing eight stories!) and (2) there are people around! Baseball and lacrosse teams, kids and moms on the playground, tennis players, other walkers . . . such fun to people-watch. I love to nature-watch, too, and soak up the peace and solitude of the woods surrounding my home, but for a literal change of pace, it’s enjoyable to switch to the park. Bonus: I felt like that interval between appointments wasn’t wasted.

Feeding myself well is harder. It’s so easy to grab whatever’s at hand and call it a meal. I’ve made a deliberate effort to concentrate on protein and vegetables and limited carbs. A typical breakfast is coffee, an egg, and a quarter of an avocado on toast. Lunch is soup or salad and a sandwich (trying to limit to half a sandwich). Dinner is meat or fish and vegetables for me, plus bread or potatoes for my husband. And water, water, water.

So where does the “vintage” part come in? Eating fresh, minimally processed food and walking have been human activities since forever. I don’t need a gym or any special gadgetry (although I got a nifty fitness band for my birthday that tracks my steps and heart rate–definitely not vintage, but kind of useful). The foods I’m eating are not much different from what a woman would have eaten 100 years ago.  My fitness is centered around typical human activities: walking, bending, stretching, putting some muscle into housework and yardwork. Drop me into 1916 and my food and activity wouldn’t look that different. Except, of course, from jumping on the Internet to talk about it!

First week’s results: two pounds down, high energy, and rosy cheeks from being out in the sun.

The rightness of white for summer

white suit

Christian Dior, 1952

Inspired by this post by Jessica Cangiano over at Chronically Vintage about wearing white, I’ve got white on my mind as we swoop toward summer and, in particular, Memorial Day–the traditional kickoff to the season of wearing white, at least here in the U.S. Although this “rule” is no longer strictly adhered to, there is something fresh and clean about white that belongs to summer.

White calls to mind fluffy clouds blown about by warm breezes, damp cotton flapping in the sunshine, June brides, sails on boats skimming over blue lakes, thick cream poured over fresh berries, and great bowls of vanilla ice cream (my favorite!). White was the favored choice for Edwardian tea gowns and nightgowns. And who can forget the “girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes” immortalized in the song, “My Favorite Things” from The

"Young woman in a white dress" by Harry Watson

“Young woman in a white dress” by Harry Watson

Sound of Music?

That said, I admit that there’s not a lot of white hanging in my closet at the moment. Just the stray shirt or tank-top. Why is that? I tend to steer clear of white on the bottom because of my size (white enlarges, visually). And white worn on top can seem impractical, an invitation to spills and stains.But the more I think about it, the more I want to incorporate more white in my wardrobe this summer, even if it does require a little extra care and vigilance.

Source: modcloth.com

Source: modcloth.com

 

What do you think about white?

 

A Sparkling Vintage Event: The Forties Frolic! Recap

forties frolic posterThis past weekend was the “Forties Frolic” fund-raiser for the Bonner County History Museum. It’s the main reason I’ve been so quiet on this blog recently, as it took up a lot of my writerly time and energy–but it was totally worth it!

The whole evening was a delight: live Big Band music, delicious food inspired by recipes from the era, vintage-wearing revelers, and World War II-era decorations in a historic building that actually was our local USO during the 1940s, serving the sailors stationed at nearby Farragut Naval Training Station, as well as servicemen and -women passing through Sandpoint on their way hither and yon.

history mystery radio show

Photo: Jill Murray

My contribution to the evening was to write, direct, and act in the “History Mystery” drama portion. Set up as a radio station “broadcasting live from the USO on radio station K. L. U. K., the fifty-watt blowtorch of North Idaho,” the drama featured a radio cast of eight, plus five “USO hostesses,” a Civil Defense director, a visiting movie star, and her long-suffering assistant. The evening alternated between music and dancing and the History Mystery. In the end, guests voted on which character they thought committed the crime (a stolen necklace) and one lucky winner won three cans of Spam and a bottle of wine. (There were much more appealing raffle prizes, too, donated by generous sponsors.)

north bound band

North Bound,, featuring Kelly Dragoo (photo by Jill Murray)

Why am I telling you all this? Because I’m so proud of the actors, the cooks, the servers, the musicians, the sponsors, and everyone who put in 110% to make the event a success, including all the people who came out to support the museum. Because it’s always fun to think up fresh and creative ways to share the history of our region. And because it was the “perfect storm” of fabulousness for this history- and theater- and vintage-loving writer to combine all her favorite things into one tidy bundle. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.

And now back to our regularly-scheduled Sparkling Vintage Life!

Go Mad for Plaid (31 Days to a Sparkling Vintage Fall, Day 30)

plaid adPlaid fabric has long been associated with fall for a very good reason: it’s warm and cozy as the temperature drops! Weather in Scotland, where plaid originated, can notoriously blustery and harsh. During the 1500s, a “plaid” simply meant a kilt or blanket meant to keep the wearer warm. “Tartan” refers to a specific, unique pattern in the weave of a plaid that signified a particular clan, group, or home territory . . . “team colors,” you might say. Highlanders wore, and still wear, their tartan-bearing plaids with great pride. In fact, the wearing of tartan was banned by the English government for a time in the 18th century, as it was considered sign of rebellion against British rule.

Clan Lamont tartan--my family's plaid. Source: tartanregister.gov.uk

Clan Lamont tartan–my family’s plaid. Source: tartanregister.gov.uk

Buffalo plaid shirt, favored shirt of lumberjacks and grunge rockers. Source: bustle.com

Buffalo plaid shirt, favored shirt of lumberjacks and grunge rockers. Source: bustle.com

During the 19th century, American importers and manufacturers applied the term “plaid” to any tartan-patterned fabric. “Buffalo plaid,” the red-and-black fabric long associated with lumberjacks and other hardy outdoorsmen, is distinctly American, first produced by the Woolrich company in the mid-1800s. Oregon’s Pendleton Woolen Mills began mass-producing their iconic buffalo-plaid shirt for men in 1924 and for women in 1949.

Plaid enjoyed another flirtation with rebellion in the 1990s, when it was favored by grunge rockers.

The fashion world has once again proclaimed plaid “new” again. But this classic never really goes out of style.

 

Marjorie’s Matters of the Heart

1920s brideChoosing the right spouse is no easy task. The lead character in You’re the Cream in My Coffee brings us up to date on her love life over at Miss Marjorie’s Jazz Age Journal. Pop on over and let her know what you think of her choice. Marrying for security is a good idea . . . isn’t it? Especially when you’re practically an old maid at 26? And especially since marrying for “love” might involve Mr. Wrong?

Meanwhile, the Legal Aid Society of New York City offered these morsels of wisdom to new and prospective brides like Marjorie in 1923:

 

  • Don’t be extravagant. Nothing appeals more strongly to a man than the prospect of economic independence.
  • Keep your home clean. Nothing is more refreshing to the eyes of the tired, nerve-racked worker than the sight of a well-tidied home.
  • Do not permit your person to become unattractive. A slovenly wife makes a truant husband.
  • Do not receive attention from other men. Husbands are often jealous and some are suspicious without cause. Do not supply the cause. Friendly attentions from others may be received in a spirit of perfect innocence. When reported by the busy-body they become distorted, often criminal.
  • Do not resent reasonable discipline of children by their father. Mothers should not assume that all chastisement of a child by his father is severe and unjustifiable.
  • Do not spend too much time with your mother. You may easily, in such a way, spend too little time at home.
  • Do not accept advice from neighbors, or even stress too greatly that of your own family. Think for yourself. Have a plan of your own for solution of home problems. In all causes consult freely with your husband.
  • Do not disparage your husband.
  • Smile. Be attentive in little things. An indifferent wife is often supplanted by an ardent mistress.
  • Be tactful. Be feminine. Men, in the last analysis, are but over-grown children. They do not mind coaxing, but they resent coercion. Femininity attracts and compels them. Masculinity in the females repels.

 

 

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