Friday, August 26, 2011

Deco Etc's booth at the 2011 Baltimore Summer Antiques Show

It's that time of year again. The Baltimore Summer Antiques Show is going on through Sunday at the Baltimore Convention Center. I've been going to this show for over 15 years & jokingly (?) refer to it as a religious holiday. If you are even the least bit interested in antiques, regardless of period, & can get to this event, you must. All of the "usual" stuff is available: jewelry, handbags, china, silver, furniture, etc., but you can also find super-binoculars that came off of the Berlin Wall & a US Navy ship, an actual lobster cast in nickel, & other fabulous oddities. The dealers at this show tend to be fun people who really know their stuff, so it's easy to spend half an hour or more chatting at one booth.

I cruised the show for about four hours last night & didn't see half of it, even at a rapid pace, so am going back today & tomorrow (have to work Sunday, or I'd probably go then, too!) Favorite booths this far: Deco Etc., Frank's Specialties, Jo & Olly, Daniels Antiques, Deco 2 Midcentury, Bridges Over Time, & Jane Fletcher. And now, if you'll excuse me, I must get dressed & head for the show!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shabby Apple dress. This could be yours... or mine, hehe... free!

I'm half-Irish & I'm told I wear jewel tones very, very well, so you can imagine my reaction when I saw this gorgeous green dress on my friend's blog, Consume or Consumed. I'd never heard of this brand, Shabby Apple, but apparently their designs tend toward feminine/vintage-inspired styles. Uh, count me in!

So here's the deal. If you'd like to win this baby in your size, *free*, you need to be a subscriber of Consume or Consumed. You can gain extra entries (one possible entry per action) by doing the following:

Blog the giveaway with a link to the post.
Like Shabby Apple on Facebook.
Like Consume or Consume on Facebook.
Tweet the giveaway at jesspgh (with a link to the tweet.)

Here are some more contest deets, lovingly ripped off from Consume or Consumed:

The contest will close at 11:59pm EST on Thursday, September 1, 2011.

The winner will be chosen one week from today via drawing on to receive the Mariposa Grove dress which will ship directly from Shabby Apple. I will contact and announce the winner on Friday morning.

If you can't wait that long, Shabby Apple has offered an exclusive 10% off discount to readers of Consume or Consumed. Use coupon code consumeorconsumed10off (available and active until September 24th, 2011) at checkout. Have fun exploring the adorable women's dresses, little girl's dresses, and maternity dresses available on Shabby Apple's website!

Here's a link to the original contest on Consume or Consumed:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Outfit for train to NY, 8-12-11

I'll begin today's post with a quote - quite possibly the most brilliant fashion-related quote I've ever read: "A dash of eccentric glamour gives you the power to keep the wrong kind of men away." - Isabel Toledo

Isabel Toledo is a Cuban-American fashion designer who has dressed First Lady Michelle Obama, among many others. I've admired Ms. Toledo's work for some time, & having stumbled across the above quote on Facebook this morning, I have a newfound respect for her attitude toward life & relationships as well.

As a society, we invest clothes & accessories with tremendous meaning. We're constantly told "what not to wear" in various situations - to job interviews, on special occasions, & especially when trying to attract a partner. In some ways, it seems, the mating game has even stricter rules of attire than the office. I can't count the number of how-to-dress-for-a-date articles I've skimmed online. Some are aimed at men, but the vast majority are directed toward women. According to pretty much every one of them, my personal style should be a one-way ticket to eternally single, crazy cat lady status. I wear intense lipstick (usually red or deep pink), I almost never don jeans, I have to wear glasses most of the time (okay, I'm pondering Lasik; not sure I could do contacts. I have two tattoos & sat through both inkings like a trouper, but the idea of sticking little things in my eyes every day makes me a bit queasy.) I wear vintage on a regular basis & have recently begun rebuilding my hat collection. To top off all of that, I'm 41 & short, but am I miserable & alone? Nope. I'm married to a hunk who adores my style & is a very natty, retro-fabulous dresser in his own right. According to those articles, the way I look should keep me right out of the workforce, too, but I've been at my current job for almost 18 years. Granted, I work for a nonprofit arts organization, but I have a great gig at which dressing pretty much as I please is but one of many perks.

I'm both fascinated & repelled by the messages popular culture sends about fashion. The one that makes me cringe most, however, is the myth of the woman who drastically changes her appearance to please a man. This one just won't die; it's been a theme in countless movies over the years ("Grease", "Rear Window", & "Pretty in Pink", to name only a few.) I have yet to see a single film in which a man gets a makeover to attract a woman or improve his current relationship.

Have I had guys try to make me over? Oh, yes. One particular incident stands out in my mind. Back in the early 90's, I was planning a trip to North Carolina to visit a guy I was in a long-distance relationship with. He was a corporate type, & just before my trip, he expressed a desire to buy me some polo shirts & khakis, explaining that he was concerned about me being "too warm" in my floaty, Natalie-Merchant-esque chiffon dresses (hey, I said it was the early 90's!) in the southern heat. More to the point: he didn't want his friends to see how I really dressed. Next, please.

Obviously, he wasn't the right guy for me. We didn't fit, not only in terms of fashion, but in many other ways (political & religious views, desire - or lack thereof - for children, etc.) He wasn't a bad guy - he helped me through one of the worst times in my life, & we did have a lot in common intellectually. We just weren't compatible for the long haul.

So, quirky girls (& guys) of the world, if you happen to read one of those makeover articles or get dire warnings about the damage your style will do to your life, consider the source & take it with a grain of salt. You may, in fact, be helping yourself to stay out of the wrong relationships, which gives you more time & energy for the right ones!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Deco green glass beads

Deco green glass beads, originally uploaded by retrogemkitty7.

So here's what I bought on my summer vacation... well, one thing, anyway. J has been doing consulting work for a few weeks now, & while he's not raking it in, he is doing well enough that we were able to take a quick trip to New York last weekend. We snagged the cheapest possible Amtrak fares ($49pp each way) & also got a great deal on a room at the Hotel Belleclaire, which proved a great place to stay.

What can one do in 48 hours in Manahttan? How about cocktails, vintage shopping, dining, & 2 10-mile runs? That's what J & I did. We don't always go on such long runs on vacay, but J is training for the JFK 50-miler this fall & I love to eat, especially in New York, so decided it was in the best interests of my waistline to go the distance with him. We met up with several friends, some of whom we've known for years & one who I had previously only known through the internet, but who is even more fun in person.

I've picked up a few singing gigs recently, so I was able to do a little shopping, mostly at flea markets. I hadn't been to the Hell's Kitchen market in years, but a friend said it's a great place to shop for vintage clothing, & was she ever right! It seemed almost every vendor had at least a few clothes, & many were offering items at $10 each. My finds included two designer skirts (Louis Feraud & Ungaro, respectively), two dresses, & a fabulously full 1950's skirt - all for $65. We also visited the Garage flea market in Chelsea, which is apparently moving to an outdoor location soon. There, I got a gorgeous black straw hat for $35 & the necklace in this pic for $25. The latter was an astonishing deal; I usually see Deco glass bead strands priced at $75 & up. I couldn't resist stopping in the Chelsea location of Shoegasm & cruising their clearance rack. When they have a sale, they really have a sale! One pair of black velvet evening shoes, one of black leather peep-toe pumps, & $60-some later, we were out the door. We stuck our heads in the UWS Loehmann's - I can't stay away when there are "Italian Event" signs in the windows - & I fell in love, or at least in lust, with some D&G shoes & a Moschino cardigan that were out of my current financial reach even at deep discounts. Sigh. At least I found a Moschino umbrella for $17. I left the store delighted with my new bumbershoot & highly annoyed that the Loehmann's nearest our house (Timonium) has become so junky. I like to call it "Where Denim Goes to Die." Oh, for the days when I found DVF dresses there for as little as $20!

If you're headed to NY anytime soon, I highly recommend that you check out the Hotel Belleclaire, as well as the store & flea markets I've mentioned. Once you've worked up an appetite shopping, head for Bagel Boss, Eataly, or I Coppi. See why I ran 10 miles - twice - on vacay?