Friday, August 29, 2008


I think that most girls go through a phase of being into vintage clothing. Jessica Travis and I went through this phase in 11th grade. Looking back on this time period, however, I realize that we were not necessarily into vintage clothing as we were into ugly clothing. Essentially we would spend every other Saturday morning or so scouring the racks of Value World (formerly Value Village) to make sure we didn't miss out on any obnoxiously patterned polyester shirts that may have come in since our last visit.

We were more into having clothes that no one else had (and trust me, even if some of these clothes were mass-produced at the time, no one we knew was going to wear them) than we were into actual vintage. Plus, finding good vintage clothes at your average thrift store or local salvation army is a lot of work with little pay off. There was an actual vintage store in Depot Town - Apple Annie's - but due to the fact that some of their stuff cost upwards of TWENTY DOLLARS (!) Jess and I more or less wrote it off as too expensive.

Flash forward ten years. I've been dressing like a normal person for awhile now, but I've always admired people who can pull off funky outfits. I've definitely made a few "fun" thrift store purchases over the years, but nothing too exciting. But lately it has been a different story.

I have become addicted to vintage and reproduction vintage clothing.

It started with Doyle and his stupid Gatsby party (OK, it was not at all stupid; in fact, I would call it the best party of the summer). Unable to find real flapper dresses in wearable condition, Amanda and I turned to the internet. Amanda happened to stumble upon Unique Vintage, a site specializing in reproduction vintage clothing with a niche in 20's themed outfits. (Amanda has also chronicled this addiction in her own blog, These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.)

The Gatsby dresses were a huge hit. We started perusing the site more frequently and found the reproduction 50's party dresses. We used a coupon to buy a couple, but even at 20% off, these dresses didn't come cheap. (However, the Esther Williams swimsuits, at just under $70, are perfectly reasonable in my mind considering how well they are made and how much department store swimsuits cost these days.)

As it turns out, 50's and 60's clothing was a lot easier to find than flapper dresses (duh). New London's own Peacock Feathers provided us with some fantastic dresses to wear to sing-along Grease at the Garde, as well as several dresses that fall more into the "every day" category. Theyw ere also more affordable than the reproduction party dresses. We also had good luck at Aequinox on Martha's Vineyard, although the price range was a little higher than we would have liked.

The best resource of all has been Etsy ( Etsy is a site designed for crafty people to sell their handmade goods, be it jewelry, knitted items, clothing, prints, etc. They also have an extensive vintage section, where individual sellers set up virtual "shops" to peddle their own finds and set their own prices.

The result? Several wonderful dresses, blouses, and even a coat - and unfortunately, an addiction that is pretty hard to beat. We check the site for new stuff daily.

The upside? We have plenty of unique and flattering clothing to wear to places like the Thames River Wine Tasting, Dev's on Bank, and all our regular haunts. We get to class it up. Of course, we have plenty of people asking things like "Why are those girls all dressed up to come to Hot Rod's?"

Because we're awesome, that's why.

Friday, August 22, 2008

RIP Baby Whale

The poor Australian baby whale was euthanized today. Read the story here:

Just to be clear, while I think this story is incredibly sad, I am in general agreement with the wildlife experts. Cestacians are extremely difficult to rehabilitate and they had no way of re-creating the mother's milk that this whale would have needed. I am upset about it because it is sad, NOT because I disagree with how these events played out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Food for Thought

I know I have blogged about my garden way more than anyone cares. But gardening has become more and more of an interest of mine since moving to Connecticut and I am just thrilled with how well my first attempt is working out.

My peppers are really coming in nicely

Had I known the peppers and cucumbers would grow so well, I would have definitely ripped out the surprise beans and planted more peppers and cucumbers. Even my dying basil has made an end-of-summer rally. I will have more tomatoes than I know what to do with, but the upside is I will VERY carefully clear out any rotting tomatoes from the ground this year so they do not seed themselves the way my current crop did.

I am absolutely thrilled that my cucumbers blossomed after all!

Noe and I recently began actually eating things from the garden. So far we have eaten lots of herbs, a hot pepper and a bunch of tomatoes (the caprese salad I made with my own tomatoes and basil is the best caprese I have ever made in my life). If I am guessing correctly, we could be eating home-grown peppers within the next week or two and I don't think the cucs are far behind. (I was late planting my cucumbers which is why they are just now getting to mid-size).

I have grape, cherry, and big tomatoes. Want any? Take your pick!

My only regret about gardening? I just wish I had planted more stuff!

This basil helped make a delicious Caprese salad.
I can't wait to make pesto!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Are You My Mother?

Does anyone else remember the children's book Are You My Mother? it's about a baby bird trying to find it's mother. Along the way it questions other animals and even some pieces of machinery.

This kind of reminds me of that book:

Poor baby whale. I hope it turns out OK.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


James Blake (who I just saw play in Indianapolis a little less than a month ago), the number two-ranked tennis player in America, upset the world's number one-ranked Roger Federer in the Olympic semifinals. Blake had won only one set in their past eight matches.

Read the whole story here:

Noe and I got this shot of Blake warming up in Indy.
We were standing about five feet away from him.

This was my attempt to get a picture of me and Blake,
but he kept moving around, like he was playing tennis or something.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Favorite Things for Today

5. 2007 Chateau La Rame Bordeaux Blanc. Too bad I just drank the last glass of it and the wine store has no more. At least that last glass was delicious.

4. Greg Iles Mystery Novels. Well, not all of them - just the Penn Cage ones (The Quiet Game and Turning Angel). Good legal thrillers are literary crack for me, and these are particularly suspenseful and juicy - like John Grisham before he got lame (which was after The Rainmaker, in case anyone was wondering).

3. Sour Cherries. The best fruit on earth. Want to make a cherry even better? Make it sour. I could eat a pound of these things. I've now bought them twice at Stop & Shop and I dread the day they disappear.

2. Rescued Seal Pups. We have three of them at the aquarium in the rehab pool. If you've never seen baby seals, well, they are cuter than puppies. These little guys are getting re-released on Friday morning and I hope to go watch before work. I'll try and get some pics.

1. Gardening. There is nothing as satisfying as eating something you've grown yourself. Even when it's just fresh herbs you use to season your chicken (and trust me, store bought thyme and rosemary have nothing on home-grown) or mint you use to make your mojitos, there is a definite sense of accomplishment. Tonight I picked our first tomatoes, and the peppers will be ready to go soon, too. The basil plants have exploded and I can't wait for some homemade pesto. Bonus: weeding is a great way to get rid of excess aggression - take it out on the crabgrass!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My ever-dwindling bank account

At some point everyone wonders where all their money has gone. Since I am notorious for never carrying cash and I am obsessive about writing down my debit card purchases in my checkbook, I realized I could actually find out where all my dough disappeared to. (By the way, I do not ever suggest adding up how much money you spend in one place every month because you may end up shocked or dismayed by the total.)

Places I like to spend money*:

Thames River Wine and Spirits

This is a no-brainer and no surprise. Most of the Thames River purchases occur on Fridays when we go for the tastings - I usually end up with one or two bottles of something we've tried. Also, some of my new favorite wines are only locally available at Thames River. Plus, when the wine store guy can't locate a wine that you ask him to find but makes a different recommendation instead, you have to buy it out of curiosity and appreciation, right? (And then possibly continue to buy it because it is so good?) I don't blame myself for my Thames River purchases, but I DO blame Michel Torrino Don David Torrontes, Caymus Conundrum, XY Zin, and a few other cuplrits.

Dev's on Bank Street

Another "usual suspect." My Dev's on Bank charges tend to show up on the same night as my Thames River charges, probably because Dev's is such an easy walk down the street and we finish tasting right around dinner time. We're already in the mood to drink wine and usually begin our order with a bottle. No matter how many complimentary orders of flan Bunny presses on us, the booze and the tapas add up (plus you've got to throw in a generous tip for cute bartender.)


Though not nearly as much of a repeat offender as it was during the winter, Hanafin's Irish Pub remains a presence on my bank statement. The girls gather there while the boys play darts on Tuesdays. It's conveniently located near from my job, making it the ideal spot for an after-work beer. It is across the street from the Garde and therefore an appropriate gathering place after events. It's sort of like Cheers. Just ask Kevin Lester - he once kept a tab open there for three days.

Dunkin Donuts

I have just about put a stop to this one, but I definitely ran on Dunkin for a few months. Not the donuts - just the iced coffee, which I still maintain has crack in it. Of course, if this were Michigan and I were still working in non-profit hell, my statement would read "Starbucks" and be for twice as much - caramel machiattos do not come cheap.


For some place so cheap, I sure spend a lot of money there. It seems I can not get out of Target without spending a minimum of $80. See, when you buy a LOT of cheap things, they add up. One of my last Target receipts included Lean Cuisines, conditioner, mascara, a sundress, two maagzines, a paperback, gardening gloves, kitty litter, and a candle. Come on - with that variety of merchandise, anyone is bound to go a little crazy.

I had stopped for awhile, but my Amazon addiction is back full-force. Amazon combines my love of getting a good deal with my love of receiving packages in the mail. It's a win-win situation for me...except when you order your used copy of Watchmen two weeks ago and it has yet to arrive...

*This list does not include my recent affinity for purchasing vintage and reproduction vintage clothing because I am still in denial that I may have a problem.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Isn't it Bromantic?

"Bromance" has been one of my favorite words since the first time I read it in Us Weekly. I believe it was used in an article about Lance Armstrong and Matthew McConaughey. (The article also rated other Hollywood bromances on a "Bromantic Heat" scale - it was quality reading.) The Trifecta loves to apply the term "bromance" to Noe and Kevin and more recently, John and Rob.

Kevin and Noe: Real-Life Bromance

On Wednesday while watching Rebel Without a Cause at the Hygienic with KLF, Kelly, Chattybox, Mini, and Doyle, we realized that Jim (James Dean) and Plato (Sal Mineo) had quite the bromance going on. (Actually, it was a little too intense to really be a bromance. It was more of a "brobsession.") This got me thinking about other classic screen bromances.

Because tonight is sing-along Grease at the Garde, I have decided to write a tribute to one of my all-time favorite bromances:

Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Kenickie (Jeff Conaway);

Bromance does not get much better than this. Both boys are cute, both are "bad", and both have killer moves. They know about "guy stuff" like how to fix cars but are unabashedly vain about their hair.

Plus, is there a more heartfelt bromantic declaration on film than when Kenickie asks Danny to be his second at Thunder Road?

Even more tragic is when Kenickie gets knocked on the head with his car door right before the big race. Instead of racing with him as planned, now Danny has to race for him. He has to win to defend his bromance's honor.

Danny and Kenickie don't even mind that that have shared two girls - Rizzo and Cha Cha DiGregorio (the best dancer at St. Bernadette's) between them. They seem to know that everyone will end up with the right girl in the end, and that bros will always be there, regardless.

One wonders what would happen should Danny and Kenickie ever have to compete against each other. Danny had no intention of racing at Thunder Road, just riding with Kenickie; but what if he had? And what if Kenickie's raunchy moves had not gotten him kicked out of the American Bandstand dance-off and he and Danny had to duke it out for the finish?

Luckily, we will never have to find out the answers to those questions (although my guess is that Danny would win because he was, after all, the main character). Danny and Kenickie simply get to stay how they are, frozen in time as the silver screen's ultimate bromance.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Better than fiction

A few years ago, I read Judy Blume's (author of the teenage girl class Are You There God? Its Me, Margaret) adult novel, Summer Sisters. It was a pretty decent book about two girls and their friendship spanning about 20 years.

A huge chunk of the book takes place on Martha's Vineyard, in Oak Bluffs to be exact. To us Midwesterners, Martha's Vineyard is sort of like a fictional place. When we go on vacation in Michigan, we go "up north." We definitely don't head out east.

So imagine my delight when one of my new good friends and her husband invited Noe and I (along with eight other people) to her parents' house on Martha's Vineyard - in Oak Bluffs, no less.

Seriously, I was so excited I re-read Summer Sisters in one sitting to prepare.

We drove to Falmouth, Mass. and boarded the 10:30 Island Queen last Friday. After about 30 minutes, we were docking and I was getting my first views of the Vineyard.

Pulling into the docks at Oak Bluffs.

From the moment we stepped off the ferry, I was in love. There were beautiful beaches, old houses, and amazing boats (I am talking about serious yachts here). John took the bags up to the house while we went to get a table at the Lookout Tavern and start the trip off with some cold beer and delicious sushi.

If I had thought I was in love with the ferry docks, it only got better as we walked through downtown and past the Methodist Campground's gingerbread houses. Then we walked up hill arrived at the Launer's house. It was old, it had funky floral wallpaper, and it had one of the most fantastic porches I have ever seen. In short, amazing.

We spent most of Friday afternoon lounging on the porch with some beer and wine, playing wiffleball in the lot kitty-corner to the house, and then meandered down to the beach to swim and watch the ferry bring the other half of our friends.

In the water in our retro bathing suits,
which I love so much I may devote an entire blog to them.

The Island Queen arriving with our friends.

Friday night was spent enjoying good wine on the porch and doing some midnight swimming down at the beach. (Yes, we have all seen Jaws but we went anyway.)

Saturday was spent walking down to Mocha Mott's for some excellent coffee and checking out some of the stores downtown. (I am pleased to inform you that Amanda and I found new authentic vintage dresses at Aequinox - pictures to follow soon.) However, the highlight of the day for the girls was the arrival via DHL of Breaking Dawn, the fourth and final book in the Twilight series, which we were all so desperate to read the day it came out that we had four copies shipped to the Vineyard. As you might guess, the rest of the day was spent on the porch/beach reading.

I wish I could do this every day.

We followed up our day of reading with more beach time, some pizzas, and a dance party in the living room. Sunday went pretty much as Friday and Saturday had: trip downtown, walk around the Methodist Camp, read on the porch, go to the beach. As the trip wound down, I can safely say that we were all sorry to leave.

Gingerbread houses in the Methodist Campground

The girls downtown at Sharky's Cantina,
drinking mojitos and waiting for our delicious - but filling - burritos.

Martha's Vineyard was even better than Judy Blume made it sound. Of course, we stayed in one small area of the island - I can't wait to go back and explore more. If I had to pick the best thing about New england that we've discovered so far, I would have to say Martha's Vineyard.

One last group shot in front of the house before leaving.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Spinning yarns about blogs...or spinning blogs about yarns?

There is a lot to write about, and I will get to it...tomorrow. Right now, quite frankly, I am exhausted.

However, I just discovered that my Aunt - who has spins her own yarn and has a fiber arts studio - also has a blog. She showcases items from the store as well as other events and happenings. If you are into knitting, yarn, the Upper Peninsula, fiber arts, or just kind of offbeat funky stuff, you should check it out!