Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas greater Seattle area!

  Usually we do not get any snow at all and I am okay with that. For twelve years I lived in an extremely snowy and cold state. That led to snow losing all of its novelty and excitement in my eyes. This year for some reason was different. I have no idea why, but I was very happy to wake up to the snow. I'm sorry to have been absent for so long. All I can really offer you is instagrammed pictures of my house in the snow that I took this morning. 
  Everything looks more beautiful with a dusting of snow.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Film #13: Damsels in Distress

  For those not familiar with the entire filmography of Fred Astaire, "Damsels in Distress is named after his 1937 musical film "A Damsel in Distress." Therefore it is no surprise that our protagonist Violet (played by Greta Gerwig) is obsessed with dance. Her self-proclaimed goal in life is to start an international dance craze in the vein of the Twist or the Charleston. She and her group of friends work at their private university's suicide prevention center, teaching tap dance therapy with the help of a boy nicknamed Freak Astaire. Their other charitable acts include dating idiotic Roman fraternity members and educating them about personal hygiene. The pairing of intelligent, determined but snooty girls with hapless unintelligent boys reminds me of Wodehouse (which makes sense because "A Damsel in Distress" is based on a Wodehouse book). The two events that spurt the bulk of the film's action are a) a new girl joins Violet's group, b) Violet's boyfriend breaks up with her. 

  The costumes are excellent. According to Kirsten Blomberg, one of the film's two costume designers, she was inspired by Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. Indeed Violet's ensembles are very 1950s inspired with feminine full skirted silhouettes and little scarves tied at the neck. Her right hand woman, Rose dresses similarly. Another group member, Heather dresses more modernly, but still with a similar aesthetic. Lily, the new girl, dresses completely unlike them. She is always in jeans, something none of the other girls seldom if ever wear.

 (These pictures are mostly from the other costume designer that worked on "Damsels in Distress," Ciera Wells' website.)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The best argument I can make for why you should #savethehour

  Hello, my name is Amanda and I am a period television series junkie. Today I am here to tell you why BBC's cancelled television show "The Hour," is superior to any other period television show I have ever seen and in general, just the tops. I am explaining as adequately as I can why it needs to continue or at least be properly resolved.

1) It is not soapy. "Downtown Abbey," I love you, but when your plot lines begin to sound like something out of a bad romance novel or a telenovela you've gone too far.
2) It is not extensively sexist or racist. Yes, I understand the importance of showing viewers a less idealized more realistic portrayal of the past, but after awhile I grow tired of listening to the sexist and racist jibes in "Mad Men." 
3) It is well acted. It has Ben Whishaw in it. Need I say more? Also Romola Garai, Dominic West, and just about everyone else are excellent. 
4) The costumes are beautiful and suit each character. Bel's jewel toned pencil dresses and skirts, her silk blouses and headscarves. Her trench coat. Freddy's tweed suit in Season one. Lix's Katherine Hepburnesque trousers. Marnie's full skirted dresses. These are just what immediately comes to mind.
5) The sets, which were done by the same woman who did the sets for "The King Speech," are chock full of good period appropriate detail.
6) The jazzy understated soundtrack.
7) It doesn't center almost exclusively around one person (especially not season two). Cough Mad Men cough. That gets boring. There is only so much about we can learn Don Draper. His psyche and troubled past are not six seasons worth of (good) material.
8) It is aesthetically pleasing to watch.
9) It is intelligently written. 
10) You can't end a series (spoiler alert!) with one of the more major characters critically injured. It's cruel. 
11) It inspires in me the sort of fanatical obsession I have not had for anything since the first season of "Sherlock." Translation: it's good.

P.S. Perhaps it seems like I am bashing "Mad Men" and "Downton Abbey." I enjoy them, I truly do. I am just pointing out the traps "The Hour" has avoided. Also I have seen other period television series. They just are not mentioned because this is getting long enough as is.

Photo source:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I can't get started

Note: This post was written last Friday.
   Today was the last day of school for the year. I'm (obviously) so happy about that. We celebrated with Molly Moon's ice cream and food from Beth's cafe. It was fun, although I may have rambled on about Belgian history for a touch too long. 
  These photographs were taken on Monday or Tuesday. I really like them. My mother's outfit photography skills are improving, even if my posing isn't. This dress is from the 40s. I found it in Everett. It is what home sellers would term a "fixer upper." To top it all off, it is a size too small. The good price and the collar made it irresistible, so to my home it went.

Dress: vintage
Shoes: Nordstrom

(Taken by my mother.)

Have a good week!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


  This past weekend my aunt, uncle, and I crossed the border for a vintage electronics sale. Our destination was Vancouver. We stayed at the Hotel Patricia, which was nice. It built sometime in the 1910s and its lobby was decored with antiques, like a switchboard and a pretty safe. The area around it was SO SEEDY. I saw someone take heroin on the streets as I was walking past and I saw prostitutes, etc. Also I believe I saw a man exchange candy bars for drugs. That part of my trip really was depressing. But then we found good food, cheap fabric stores, saw "Safety Last!," and everything was better. 

  Also I went to the "largest vintage store in Canada," according to one of its employees. I cannot remember its name, but it was on Robson Street, for those who wonder. It was very moderate in size, so that must say something about Canada's vintage scene. However I found a really nice flowery 50s/60s shirt dress there. I'll post photos of it later.

A few snapshots from my trip:






Saturday, April 27, 2013

Inspiration: Wards S/S 1960

I have always been a black and white type of person. A few years back I took a black and white film photography class. I've always viewed it as more flattering, artistic and mysterious and beautiful than color. But recently I've felt differently. Maybe the thing that changed my mind was those beautiful color photos of Audrey Hepburn in Rome or those lush vintage covers of "Holiday" magazine. Or maybe it's just spring in the air. Either way I've been marathoning technicolor movies for the last few days and am growing a great deal fonder of them. A few I've watched: Tonight and Every Night, North by Northwest, How to Marry a Millionaire.
Anyway, keeping in the spirit of things here are some of the lovely outfits from a Montgomery Ward catalogue, found for me by my aunt and uncle, P and D.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Beneath the stars

My two favorite fashion elements of the 1920s (and 1930s for that matter) are the use of the color white and of shiny embellishment. When I got my hands on an honest to goodness 20s dress, I couldn't resist combining these two things, which resulted in the pictures below.

(Also featured: Charlie Chaplin + co. in the 1910s, a woman on a paper moon in the 1920s)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spring estate saling in the suburbs

There are a lot of downsides to living in a smallish town, even if it is rather close to Seattle. But one of the few upsides is the one seriously amazing estate sale I (and my family of course) manage to find every spring. It is not a yearly thing put on by a certain organization, it just happens. This years estate sale had loads of vintage clothing and midcentury patterns. The clothing dated all the way back to the 1910s up to the 1970s. I found 3 patterns, a camisole from the 1910s (in need of alteration in the bust, but after all it was $2.50), a stellar flowered 50s dress, a vintage silk scarf from my home state, and a 20s dress (to be featured in an upcoming post). My best friend found a silk 20s blouse she was quite besotted with and every member of my family found something they liked. The family that estate sales together stays together, I think.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

When I was young I thought we were power lines

Yesterday it was a beautiful day and the following happened.
- Greenlake
- 2 Mighty-O donuts were eaten.
- A trip to the U-District
- High waisted black jeans were purchased.
- A slice of Pagliacci's was consumed.
- vintage shop browsing
- Trader Joe's
- A flower was stolen by yours truly.
- vegetable potstickers for dinner
- Mad Men episodes with my best friend
- 2 A.M. Ice cream binge with said friend.

I took some pictures with my trusty iPad mini. Voila!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Estate sailing

Today my family, a friend, and I went estate sailing. We started in the Lake Forest Park area and then went to Renton. One house in particular, struck my fancy. It was essentially a 1960s time capsule, meaning almost everything was from the 60s, and if not from then than earlier. It was so much fun to dig around in and the prices were dirt cheap. There were a ton of great 50s and 60s fashion magazines but I was too overwhelmed by everything and terrified by the prospect of going up the steep and crowded staircase again, so I don't buy any. Ultimately I found three books, three sewing patterns, two 60s blouses, a vintage (possibly late 50s) cape, and a new comforter.

Et voila!