Friday, January 25, 2013

52 Lists: What I'm Proud Of

This week’s list is about being proud. I had to think long and hard about this one, since there are both things I am proud about myself and people I am proud of too. Since I see this as a self learning exercise, I focused more on what I’m proud of. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the people I’m proud of, I just sorted them into categories of friends and family! Enjoy your weekend.
P.S. We are featured on two wonderful blogs today. Be sure to check out Chantel Loves Vintage for some vintage inspiration and The Naptime Artisan for some wonderful eye candy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Katie’s Mail at the Door

What Katie Did

I love receiving mail, especially packages. I received a pink package from Hollywood, CA and had no idea what it could be. Opening the package with care I found two delightful items.

The handwritten postcard notified me that I had won a giveaway I entered at Vixen Vintage blog. Thrilled that I won, I was excited to get into the black package that was wrapped in What Katie Did ribbon and stickers.

What Katie Did

When I entered the contest I had a choice in hosiery. Since I’m not a garter wearin’ gal I chose nude pantyhose with retro gold metallic seams. Since this is my first What Katie Did product I was excited to get my hands on the pantyhose and see what all the hoopla was about.

What Katie Did

First things first, I love the packaging. The postcard and the packaging for the pantyhose don sketches of lovely vintage ladies. Some are wearing shapewear and corsets, with another fastening nylons to her garter. The bullet bras are awesome as are the little details on pantyhose of the bent over gals. 

What Katie Did

The pantyhose themselves are very soft and have a vintage feel to them. If you have ever felt vintage stockings I think you know what I mean. I’m not too graceful when it comes to undergarments so I’m always afraid of ripping mine while pulling them on, but I don’t think this is too big a fear with these since they feel thicker than other pantyhose I’ve worn.
I ordered the M/L size which is to fit ladies from 5’5 to 5’7 and 120 to 175 pounds. They were a bit short on me and I’m 5’7. Maybe it has to do with the fact that they are manufactured in the European Union? In American hosiery I tend to fit best in a Large which is perfect for taller ladies and leaves a bit of room for movement which I prefer. Overall, they are a very nice pair of pantyhose and can't wait to pair them with the perfect dress for a night on the town.

A big thank you to Vixen Vintage for hosting the giveaway, and to “What Katie Did”. I look forward to visiting the new Los Angeles boutique soon.

Friday, January 18, 2013

52 Lists: Greatest Comforts

I decided to join 52 lists from Moorea Seal. I’m jumping in a little late at week 2 but am excited about the opportunity to make some lists (which I love to do) and maybe learn a little something about myself.

This week is my greatest comforts.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sew Totally Vintage in L.A.

Sew L.A.

Did someone say book signing and retro picnic? Count me in!

Sunday I spent more time outside (of Orange County) and taking steps towards making more and buying less which are number 3 and 9 of my goals for 2013. I traveled to Los Angeles for the signing and book party for Gretchen Hirsch's sewing book Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing. Even if you don’t sew, you should check out Gertie’s blog. She has amazing designs that I’ve always wanted to try. Since I am the proud new owner of her book, I’m totally making some new vintage clothes. I already decided, first up will be the pencil skirt with high waist.

Sew L.A.

Sew L.A. in Atwater Village hosted the party. I had never been to their great sewing shop before, but instantly was excited by all of the fabulous fabrics and hard to find sewing patterns. Next time I need a vintage pattern, I know where I’m going! They had plenty of copies of Gertie’s book for sale which was a plus since I hadn’t picked up a copy yet. Displayed around the store were the garments featured in the book which was pretty awesome. Seeing the dresses displayed helped with my “hey, now I can make that too” attitude.

Sew L.A.
I was pretty excited to meet Gertie. If you follow her blog you know she recently dyed her hair pink, so she was pretty easy to spot. We chatted a bit about her visit to my wonderful city of Anaheim the day before. I got my book signed and we took a quick photo at the photobooth.

I can’t wait to get to reading the introduction of the book so I can get to sewing.

By the way, I have the best husband ever. Not only did he come with me to this totally chick event, he drove. Since LA traffic gives me anxiety that was the best thing he could have done. Ever.

Sew L.A.

Monday, January 14, 2013

LL Bean for the Winter

L.L. Bean Freeport Maine Boot

Have you ever been to L.L. Bean? The magical store in Freeport, Maine houses five (yes, five) stores for all your outdoor and home needs. If you’ve ever met someone from Maine, chances are they may have filled you in on how wicked awesome Beans is. Not only are they a staple in just about every New England home, but they’ll rave about how well their products are made and about their 100% guarantee. Since I’ve married into a Maine family, I am fully aware of how fantastic L.L. Beans is and am just about guaranteed to get a gift or two from Beans for Christmas. I have a growing collection of warm wool socks which are great for winter as well as gift cards. I’ve decided to save my L.L. Bean gift cards so that I can buy myself something ridiculously large like a kayak or canoe.

L.L.Bean MooseOn our most recent visit to L.L. Bean what really caught my eye was a one piece wool pajama with buttons in the back. They were lavender, soft and looked really comfortable. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to sport one piece PJs all winter? 

I’m a big fan of the pet department and love checking out all of the dog gear that Sophie would need if she became a country dog one day. They have these great hiking boots for dogs that would match Jeremy’s Merrells almost perfectly. She’d need those so her little paws wouldn’t freeze! Spending time in the book section is great fun too. The most interesting books are the ones for children. They talk about moose and deer, fishing and the wilderness and have stuffed animals to match the stories.  They are just too cute.
Aside from the shopping, the best part about visiting the Freeport stores is the learning experience. Roaming the store is just like visiting a Maine outdoors museum with stuffed animals and history on display. There are fish, moose, a trout pond in the middle of the store and lots of other wildlife for show. Our favorite is the locked moose antlers.
L.L. Bean Covers

We visited Beans just in time to see their 100th year celebration display featuring reproductions of many of their vintage covers, displays of their vintage gear and historical background. Here’s a little something of what I learned.

L.L. Bean display

LL Bean has been offering their Maine Hunting Boot via catalog since 1912. The boot was designed in 1910 by Leon Leonwood Bean, better known as LL Bean. A hunting coat was added to the line in 1917 and by 1924 LL Bean had 25 employees. The state of Maine started the Vacationland campaign in 1936 which was perfect for the direction LL Bean was heading.
With the start of World War II, LL Bean outfitted soldiers with boots and outerwear and gave cold weather apparel recommendations to the army. After the war, the LL Bean store in Freeport began offering 24 hour service, 7 days a week which they still offer now. Since then they’ve added casual wear, dog beds and kids wear.

I love that L.L. Bean has so well preserved their history with artifacts throughout their years and display them at the store. It was a wonderful place to visit for the holidays too.  

Speaking of L.L. Bean, have you heard of this little gem called Your L.L. Bean Boyfriend? If not, you really need to check it out. I bagged an L.L. Bean boyfriend turned husband and there’s plenty of encouragement for you to find your own. May I suggest Silas or Sebastian?

History source:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Snow on the Beach

Sorry to disappoint but this isn’t about a cocktail. It’s just about snow, on the beach.

When I first saw the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind I remember the scene where there was snow on an ocean beach and that was magical. I didn’t think that happened in real life. The concept of snow on an ocean beach was so foreign to me that I didn’t stop to think that it may just happen on a different coast, or even climate.

Jeremy likes to remind me that I thought snow on a beach didn’t happen in real life, mainly because he thinks it’s funny since he grew up seeing it every winter. I first saw snow on the beach in real life when we flew into Boston in the dead of winter, or as most people call it, February. Looking out of the airplane window down on the Atlantic coast I saw it. Waves were crashing onto sand that was covered in white snow. So it is real. Snow on ocean beaches does exist.

I still haven’t seen snow on an ocean beach up close, but I did get to see snow on lakes and rivers during our trip to Maine. I still find it surreal, and almost not believable.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Keeping Warm in the North East

Being a Southern California girl, I get cold pretty quickly when temperatures drop below 72 degrees. Packing for our White Christmas in Maine, I took plenty of layers and ways to keep dry in whatever weather might happen. When we arrived in Boston it was a cool 40 degrees or so, to which my Mainer husband responded by declaring, “Forty degrees? Boy, it’s warm out.” My smartass reply was “Forty degrees? Boy, it’s warm out, said no one ever from Southern California.” As our time in Maine passed, the temperature dropped to the mid 30s and then to the low 20s.

I was freezing my butt off.

Mistake number one was not layering my lower extremities. Just wearing jeans, I was cold and over compensating by wearing extra layers on top. When I added a light pair of leggings under my jeans, it made a world of difference. I only wore three layers on top instead of four!

Remember to hydrate! It’s cold and wet, but inside it’s dry from the heaters running so be sure to drink water, moisturize your skin and air out your feet that are probably wearing socks more than they are used to.

Here’s a quick guide on how this Southern Californian survived the North East

HAT - Keep your head dry and warm! My hat is made from wool and is just awesome. It keeps me nice and warm, but since it is made from natural fabric it can get wet. Make sure your jacket has a waterproof hood to keep dry and remember to use it.

SCARF - I don’t know about you, but if my chest is cold, I’m cold. My grandmother crocheted scarves for us and we used them to keep our fronts warm. They were a little short so we knotted them in the front for the best coverage. The longer the scarf, the more ways to wear it; my sister in law likes to wear long scarves that she can braid in the front which look super cute.

TOP LAYERS – Camisole, long sleeved t-shirt and sweater. Mix and match. Add one, remove one. That’s the great thing about layers, you can wear them to your comfort.

JACKET – Waterproof plus down equals warmth. Make sure your jacket has pockets to keep tissue for runny noses or to hold your gloves while inside. I purchased my Esprit jacket three years ago and it does a great job at keeping me dry, warm and fashionable. My sister didn’t have a waterproof down jacket and went with a cute green Nike. It’s really cute and did the job too. When shopping for a waterproof down jacket be sure to stop at discount stores like Marshall’s. You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for a good jacket. We both paid under $75.

GLOVES – Gloves are a small and inexpensive way to keep your fingers nice and warm. I used a pair of generic woven gloves when I needed warm hands and didn’t need to keep them dry. When touching snow or if it was really cold out, I used waterproof snowboarding gloves. Jeremy and I both have Scott snowboarding gloves and according to him, are the best snow gloves he’s ever had. I love mine because they make me feel like I’m an astronaut.

LOWER LAYERS – Jeans and other pants work great in the cold weather, but I did make sure to take my pants that had stretch to them. Since I wore leggings underneath, I needed a little bit of extra room to accommodate the layer. Thermals or long underwear also work, but since I didn’t have any, I just went with my leggings. The two layers did a great job at keeping my legs warm.

SOCKS – Warm feet are the start to a warm body, at least I find that to be pretty true. I wore wool socks that I tucked my pants into to make a nice warm barrier from the wind and snow. I had ankle length socks and two pairs of knee highs that added an extra layer to the bottom of my legs when I knew we’d be out in the cold. Keep in mind, if your feet sweat, wool might not be the best option. Try to look for a wicking sock that will help keep your feet dry and warm.

BOOTS - Because snow makes everything wet, having a pair of waterproof boots is a must. Since a good pair of boots can be expensive I wanted to make sure to get a versatile pair that I could wear for casual occasions and in the snow. My sister and I both choose Merrell boots and were both satisfied with their comfort and how dry they kept us. Hers were taller than mine, which came in handy when walking, actually sinking, into 12 inches of snow.

Linked up: F-it Friday

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Walk in the Old Port

The Old Port in Portland is one of my favorite places to visit in Maine. It’s usually one of the first places we stop in at when we arrive since it is near the airport. I love the wonderful feeling of walking along the cobblestone streets and 19th century brick buildings. Every time I visit there are more and more awesome restaurants, pubs and shops to explore. One of my favorites remains RiRa’s, an Irish pub with beer, whiskey and tasty food. I drank a Red Lemonade Smithwick’s Shandy which was delicious.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013!

The bubbly has been drunk and the New Year rang in.

Last year I declared some resolutions and didn’t fare too badly. Our garden did great with plenty of red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and mixed peppers from this summer that are still thriving. We exercised, ate healthy and ate dessert! All of our Christmas gifts this year were homemade or bought at small businesses. We put our design work to use and created wall art, candles, jewelry and ornaments made from reclaimed wood, and showed them off at local craft shows. I didn’t sew more, or make my first dress from scratch. I did take a basics tailoring class, a camera class to get to better get to know my SLR, and a canning class to preserve sweet goodness. I even learned how to solder.

With another 365 days to come, I’m going to follow some advice and make goals and habits instead of resolutions. I haven’t quite decided on my new habits yet, but I’ve got 10 goals chosen.

With another 365 days to come, I’m going to follow some advice and make goals and habits instead of resolutions. I haven’t quite decided on my new habits yet, but I’ve got 10 goals chosen. I’ll be honest and say that my goals aren’t new things, but taking things I already do to a new level of awesomeness. I already work out 5 times a week, so it couldn’t hurt to add another day from time to time. I’ve been clocking in more hours in the kitchen with canning, so I might as well start making some homemade meals too. I had a great tan this year from spending time out in the garden or running outside. I never got around to riding my new bike much and would love to ride some of the river trails I live by.

My trainer suggested that I cut out carbs after lunch, to which I first laughed at and then after trying it, realized it really wasn’t too difficult to do. With so many grain options out there, I really need to try alternatives to regular wheat flour. Any suggestions?

I’ve read plenty of fiction this year, but would love to add some history, and keep taking fun DIY classes. In 2011 I revamped our toiletries to make sure we were using low chemical items on our body. This year, I want to pay more attention to other things, like household cleaners and packaging. Aside from helping myself, I want to help the community too with volunteering. The volunteer opportunities I took last year were fun and I met new people, so I’m looking forward to doing more.

I never learned how to knit, mainly because my grandmother has allergies to wool yarn. With the release of cotton yarn, I have a feeling we’ll be knitting our way through Spring. With learning how to can, I’ve realized how easy it is to make, rather than buy. It might be messy and time consuming, but in the end the quality and taste is usually better because it is wholesome.

And of course, I’ll share my adventures and year here. I do have some surprises for later this year and hope to integrate more vintage inspirations.