Saturday, March 24, 2012

Week one. Done. Week two. Need clothing.

Week one of the new job has finished and I'm left with two thoughts.

#1 - I have filled a much needed position. #2 - I don't know squat about business attire.

I'm one of those ladies who used to laugh at my friends and say, "I've resigned myself to the thought that I'll never have an adult-enough job to need a suit." So, it turns out I was so wrong. I need a suit.


I know, tell me about it. In addition to the suit, I need business-casual clothes. Before I started on Monday, I saw that in the welcome packet and thought, "oh great, I know business casual, it's awesome." No, this is like BUSINESS casual not business CASUAL. This is just shy of a suit, four days a week (thank goodness for casual Fridays right now, I barely scraped four outfits together.)

So, I bought a pair of black slacks yesterday that I'm not sure if I love (I hate pants shopping (UPDATE: tried said slacks on again and I hate them)) and today I need to find a blazer. I also need approximately two more pairs of pants and two skirts and about seven shirts and a suit. I keep forgetting about the suit. What's a girl to do? Go shopping. So I'm off to hit the sidewalks of New York City today hoping to find a stash of vintage suit dresses hidden down some dark alleyway. In the meantime here are some shirts that I want to own. I need them now, or better yet, I needed them yesterday.

Gotta love a tiny bow. 

There aren't many things more feminine than a lacy detail. 

Hello Downton Abbey, time for work. 

Peachy keen. 
*Now that I've got these laid out, I'm sensing a color theme. Who knew I'd be come so pastel inclined?

Monday, March 19, 2012

The coffee conundrum...

I am off for my first day of school work today and all these silly things are running through my mind. 

On the top of the list is, "is the office coffee good?" So I'm thinking if it is not, I'll have to finally break into action my vintage thermos and bring some Gorilla along. I probably won't be so brazen this morning but maybe next week. 

I used to grab a cup to go every morning and about 1 in 3 times on the Subway, I'd spill it all over myself. 

Not a great way to start the first day of work. Therefore today, I'll guzzle the java down before I leave the house. 

(Thermoses available here for $25 and here for $20 ish)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Weave it together.

I kind of love these woven vintage leather shoes (here for $34, here for $40 and here for $23). Buying this new would be three times the price tag, half of the character and a fraction of the quality. Too bad I can't find my size!

Carry all of it.

So I start my new job on Monday and all I can think about is buying a pair of cropped slacks and a wool carry all. I know it is "spring" but I've still got the snow bunny look on my mind. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Could I put my TV on this?

Currently our television is sitting atop a vintage sewing machine table (here's a really nice one to reference what I'm talking about). Though lovely, it is not really functional seeing that the entire interior of the table is occupied by the sewing machine and can't be used for storage. 

So, I've been looking for a new TV table. The problem being, I hate TV tables. I hate most modern cabinetry in general. So I've been getting crafty with my ideas and I'm currently thinking a vintage desk. 

So, do you think I could put my TV on something similar to this adorable mid-century vanity/desk? I kind of love the idea of it -- I also love this and this

P.S. I've been thinking about plugging the sewing machine in to see if it works. Maybe I could get some clothing repairs done! Do you think it will blow up?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Old Gold: Forever 21 vs. Etsy

This is the episode of Old Gold where I resist the temptation to preach against the evils of unending consumption. Before I start, however, I will just say one thing. The next time you find yourself drawn into the evil grasp of Forever 21, remember the last thing you purchased from that addicting ubiquitous fast fashion black hole. I'd bet (and I don't bet) that it fell apart within the year. Am I right? I am right. Okay, moving on.

Let's talk about the task at hand. It is warm! The sun is out! Daylight savings time just gave us back our evenings of sun-filled after-work drink consumption! We are wearing shorts while running in the park and are thinking of packing up our tights and down jackets! It is a change of season and I know you're itching to get out there and fill your closet with Laura Ashley-inspired floral prints. So, before you head over to Forever 21 (or H&M, or Top Shop or Target) remember you're not the first long-legged beauty to strut the streets in a sun dress. My goodness no, there have been decades, perhaps even centuries of ladies before you walking the Earth in flowery frocks. So let's look to Etsy to fill our souls and closet hangers with the spring-worthy garments of yore and not the poorly made, ill-fitting, teen-modeled pieces of fabric that are tempting you in shop windows with their $17 price tag. 

Etsy, you better put up your guns here. Here come the well-made, affordable, floral maxi dresses of yesteryear....

Thank goodness for Etsy. The best part of this dress is the sexy low back which you can't see in this photo. Quite the lovely, subdued floral pattern as well. 

This is my personal favorite. It is not a halter like the Forever 21 dress, but has this gorgeous grecian sleeve that adds a nice detail to the otherwise simple frame. The muted colors are awesome and as you can see by the accessorizing go perfectly with a great gold necklace. 

Alright Etsy sellers. Let's go over this again. Take the creepy heads off your mannequins. They take away from the awesomeness of your vintage offerings. This dress -- if you cover up the plastic Cher-like face -- is pretty rad. A full sweeping skirt makes it super feminine and picture perfect on a wind-swept walk in the park. 

Here's a floral tip for the masses. The smaller you are the smaller your print should be. This dress, with its awesome and quite large poppy print should be worn by only the tallest of madams. If you're the kind of lady who need not wear heels to see at a crowded concert, this is the maxi dress for you. 

Hold off on your renaissance fair jokes for just one second and hear me out. This is a dress that needs to be styled, mainly because when it is human-less it looks like it belongs in the Princess Bride. If you've got a big bust, stay away from this one, it will over-enhance the corseted front. For a smaller chested lady with some modern accessories and a pair of gladiator sandals this could be the perfect picnic gown. Just don't braid your hair, please. 

I know, I know! So many this time. But I couldn't resist leaving the vein of the Forever 21 dress in this Old Gold posting. The reason for leaving the basic-lines of the inspiration dress is because maxi dresses must be perfectly suited to the wearer in order to pull them off. They are dramatic, therefore differing levels of drama and color fit each lady. This dress is for the most dramatic. How awesome is the back? I kind of love it but could never pull it off myself. It would feel awesome on a breezy summer day.

Oh the flowery days of my youth. I think I had this dress when I was five and in this current, much larger form, it really works. I see this one on a curly haired lady like myself. With a ruffle like that, you can't take yourself too seriously and straight hair might add too much severity to this ├╝ber feminine choice. 

Ah. The joy of success. Etsy sellers, thank you for scouring the past for these present day beauties. Here's to more headless mannequins and a spring full of flowers. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Old things, reused and barbeque...

Though this is a bit out of the realm of my usual vintage and old-world finds, I'm enamored by the care that went into building this restaurant. Fort Reno Provisions is in the next hood over from mine and is run by a friend of my husband, Jacques Gautier, who also happens to be the chef and owner of Palo Santo across the street. Almost everything in Fort Reno was recycled from demolition sites within walking distance of the restaurant and though it just opened it feels like it has been around forever.

"When you build a brand new place from new things in the next couple of years it looks run down. When you use old materials it always looks the same," Gautier told me. There are some incredible stories about the details of this place that I lay out in the story on Inhabitat NYC. I recommend the read, it will inspire you and perhaps give you some ideas for reuse in your home.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

working woman, here I come...

Guess what? I just got a job, at an office, in "the city" (that is Manhattan) where I'll have to get on the subway each morning and have "work friends" instead of just my lovely husband who shares my home office. This is a big step, especially the whole "getting dressed for work" thing. So I did a little searching and I am currently pretending I can just wear vintage suits every day. Because before day #1, it is fun to pretend, right?

Now here's a classic yet spunky look. I would most definitely sport this. Have you noticed during joint sessions of congress, most of the women wear beautiful bright ensembles? I have.

This one doesn't translate as well to the modern workplace but I wish it did! The colors are so subdued and lovely and the peter pan collar, I love it. 

Now this, this translates. I hope that yellowy sheen is a real life phenomenon with this two piece ruby red beauty. This kind of suit is back in action with today's brands and it would totally rock in a high-tech boardroom meeting. 
p.s. when you spell "classy" wrong it kind of ruins your point, just an f.y.i.

Did you say polka dots? 'Cause I did and I found them, they are right here in this high-waisted two-piece of awesome. 

I'll have to test the waters in the new workplace before I venture to purchase anything like this. Nobody wants to be "that new girl" who wears "the crazy things". Nobody, not even me. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

water for guests...

I suppose that every person who loves to make a house a home has some one thing (or perhaps many things) that they foresee being the icing on the cake. My one thing is a vintage Russel Wright water pitcher in chartreuse. As you can probably tell, I'll search to the ends of the earth for something old and great and I often see them at antique stores but I haven't yet found the color my heart is yearning for in a price range I can handle.

Russel Wright was an industrial designer in the early to mid 1950's. He is perhaps most famous for his colorful, simple, elegant dinnerwear which he mass produced in order to make high style and great quality affordable for the middle class. His dishes are really the only things that I collect, the first set I ever saw spoke to me so deeply I became enamored and have searched high and low for affordable pieces. I've collected quite a few including a pretty extensive set of serving dishes, a tea set and six matching plates. But those pitchers, the pitchers are the most extraordinary of his designs.

On leap day, during our dinner party, I kept going back to the kitchen with water glasses in tow to to fill them up. I guess I could just buy a cheaper water pitcher but why get something that's less life-changing just to fill the place of the eventual rightful piece? I'm thinking I'll hold out until the day comes when my courage is present enough to hand over the cash for this, the most beautiful of all chartreuse water receptacles.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

dinner in a vintage copper pan...

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent my leap-day evening with my great guy and a great friend of mine. We made dinner in our great kitchen in an antique copper pan that my uncle gave me last winter. It is ridiculously heavy (unlike modern copper-bottomed pans which are feather-light) but it cooks stews and sauces so nicely.

I made a meal which is legendary in my family. It used to have a proper name but no one remembers it as anything other than Dunkin' Ginny. Ginny is my grandmother and she used to make this for us when we were kids just about every time she saw us. She would make a HUGE pot of it and buy about a million baguettes. When it was sufficiently reduced to a deliciously saucy melange she'd place it in the center of a table, in the pot, with a serving spoon and the basket of bread and she'd let us go to town. Go to town we did, because this dish is so incredibly delicious you can sit with it for hours, soaking up the sauce with piece after piece of baguette until you're stuffed like a turkey. I'm guessing that as a welcome side effect for our parents this dinner also put us directly to sleep, due to a food coma, after dinner.

My mom gave me the recipe in our wedding cookbook of family recipes, which isn't actually a cook "book" but a box of cards with recipes on them (I'll write a post about it someday). According to the Dunkin' Ginny recipe card the final and most important step of this dish is to stand over it for two hours or more, lovingly spooning the juices over the pieces of vegetables and chicken while drinking the rest of the bottle of white wine that was used to start the stew. Even though last night's iteration was superb, it wasn't the same as Ginny's and I have a feeling it is because she put so much love into the spooning that it could never be replicated.