A Vintage Picnic Basket & An Art Deco Ring

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a magical place, but not nearly as magical as the events that transpired there on Sunday.

I woke up and immediately began a scavenger hunt that Anthony organized. He surprised me with flowers and a letter with a Hogwarts wax seal on the back of the envelope. This was the first of seven letters. Each letter corresponded to one of the seven Harry Potter books and led me on a search to find the next.

We have several Harry Potter references throughout the house, including a Slytherin pennant (Anthony is a Slytherin), Luna and Snape’s wands, even our car is named Hedwig, and that’s where the fourth letter led me.

The next letter led me to believe that we were going on a picnic at the arboretum and that he would photograph me, “complaint-free,” for my blog. Not having set my hair the night before, I scrambled to produce a beehive (unsuccessfully), but ended up using a vintage scarf to hide the mess I created.

We really did sit down for a picnic, during which I finally used my vintage picnic basket that Anthony got me for Christmas. It was absolutely lovely. There was slight overcast, so it wasn’t too hot, families were walking their dogs and teaching their kids how to ride a bike. I didn’t think anything could top this.

Once we finished our meal, we moved on to photographs. The spot that we chose was off the beaten path of the arboretum, secluded, serene and breathtaking. Despite getting bitten by something on my leg, this photo shoot was heavenly and I love almost every picture he captured.

I thought the day was over until we pulled into our parking lot and he handed me another letter, playing as if he was unsure of why Harry got an owl in the first place. I was immediately confused as to why he asked this, explaining that first years at Hogwarts get to bring an animal of their choice and that owls deliver mail. This was when he dropped the letter in my lap.

We proceeded to walk down a path that I take quite often to get to one of my favorite coffee shops, but took a detour and stopped at a local restaurant that we love. We made reservations for later that afternoon and headed back towards our apartment.

As we approached a bridge that I love to cross, I saw a mirror standing in the middle of it. The mirror had words across the top that weren’t easy to decipher at first, being broken up into fragments, but after taking a few moments I realized that it said “I show not your face but your heart’s desire.” These are the words on the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Once I figured out what the words meant, Anthony said “you know my heart’s desire” and got on one knee. I didn’t even let him ask me to marry him before slightly hyperventilating and shouting “yes, obviously yes.” To be honest, I don’t even remember not letting him ask me. All I remember is crying with joy as he put the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen on my finger.

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A Starfish, Retro Sunnies, and Tug Boats

It’s hard to believe that summer is just around the corner. I’ve always loved spring, but I’ve obtained some of my fondest memories during summer, such as walking along the boardwalks of my childhood beach in New York and surfing in the warm ocean waters of Florida. While I don’t get to partake in too many water-front activities here in Boston, I figured I’d welcome this glorious season with an homage to my childhood in the form of an ocean-themed outfit.

And what better garment could I possibly have chosen as the center of this outfit than the Jenny Skirt in Mary Blair Green Boat Border Print from Pinup Girl Clothing.

I discovered Pinup Girl Clothing before I was comfortable enough dressing as the pinup I’ve always wanted to be, so I dreamily stalked their site for some time. I finally made my first purchase last year  and instantly knew this was the beginning of a love affair.

I stuck with their blouses for a while, but had my eyes set on the Jenny skirts. After purchasing my first one back in October it’s been hard for me to even consider buying any other skirt.

The design behind the Jenny is a conglomeration of several vintage designs from the 1950s, the most notable being the circle skirt. These were cut from a large piece of fabric in the shape of a very thick doughnut and were considered to be the least bulky of all of the “full skirts.” This pattern made it easy for the fabric to drape flawlessly over the hips and swing freely while walking or dancing.

The other notable inspiration for the Jenny comes from the gathered skirts of the mid-century. These skirts were made from large triangular pieces of fabric that were gathered into the waistband, creating a tight waistline and full hips. The waistband was generally bulky, which gave girls with smaller hips the illusion that they had vivacious curves.

The Jenny incorporates both styles flawlessly with a neatly gathered waistline and a length just below the knee. Made from cotton sateen it’s both sturdy and moderately light, allowing for a petticoat underneath for extra volume (but it’s not necessary) without feeling overwhelmed by fabric. And the best part? Pockets! You can never go wrong with a skirt that has pockets.

The Jenny retails for $98-104 depending on the pattern and is available in XS-4X. Their items tend to range in size, so always check their size chart. For reference, I am wearing a M, which is generally my size in Pinup Girl Clothing, but sometimes I need a L depending on the garment.

I realize that this may come off as a big ticket item for some, but the quality of their pieces is second to none and will last years if treated properly. If you’re a pinup on a budget, sign up for their newsletter; they’ll often hold flash sales or larger U.S. holiday sales throughout the year. As for me, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the delivery of my recently purchased Jenny.

Top: American Apparel | Brooch: Ocean Wish Brooch– Erstwilder | Skirt: Jenny Skirt in Mary Blair Green Boat Border Print- Pinup Girl Clothing

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A Touch of Pink, Tropical Tiki Print, and a Modern Day Pill Box Purse

It’s been vastly dreary here in Boston this week, so I thought I’d liven things up with a bit with some bright colors and tropical vibes.

I’ve had this outfit for some time now and have been dying to show it off, but I’ve always felt that something was missing from it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was until I came across Lola Von Rose.

I discovered Lola Von Rose’s gorgeous handbags through their Instagram and immediately fell in love. Their design is unique and meant to mimic mid-century pill box purses. Made out of acrylic, their handbags are lighter than their original counterparts, which were usually made from lucite. The gorgeously curved handle folds down for easy storage, and almost encourages stacking, if you’re the type to showcase your wares.

Lola Von Rose provides measurements for all of their handbags, and even though they look elegant and petite, they certainly are sturdy and spacious. The length of each bag is 9.25″ while the height (not including the handle) measures 3.25″ and the width is 4.75″.

For some perspective, I was able to fit my phone, cardholder, keys, sunglasses and lipstick inside, and the sliver latch on the front kept them securely tucked away.

These vintage inspired handbags retail for $64 and currently come in five colorways: pink, white, black, red, and lilac, each of which will compliment any outfit conceivable. For those of you who are a little more budget conscious, Lola Von Rose offers sample sale items for $29.99, on which minor scratches or glue marks may be present. Since these are bulky items, shipping costs $12 within the U.S. and $23-25 elsewhere, but the time it takes to arrive is faster than expected.

So if you’re searching for the perfect handbag for a stroll in the park or a night out on the town, be sure to check out Lola Von Rose. And be on the lookout for their newest colorway, seafoam green, coming soon! You can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be stalking their site until it’s release.

Handbag: Pink Vintage Inspired Purse c/o Lola Von Rose | Top: Pinup Couture Peasant Top in Pink – Pinup Girl Clothing | Skirt: Laura Byrnes California High Waisted Pencil Skirt in Green Palm Springs Tiki – Pinup Girl Clothing | Shoes: Ione in Fairy Pink– B.A.I.T. Footwear
Special thanks to Lola Von Rose for this incredible collaborative opportunity.

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Black, White, and Vintage Bakelite

When I was 16, I wouldn’t walk out of the house without several large bangles on. As the years went by, I became less and less enticed by accessories that led me to stand out. Fast forward ten years later, and chunky bangles are back on my arm.

I’ve always found true bakelite bangles to be rather expensive. The price can range anywhere from $20 to several thousands, and you’re lucky if you find anything for under $50. But sometimes luck is on your side.

Bakelite jewelry was most popular during the Art Deco period (1910-1940s). The bangles were not meant to be expensive. They were intended as costume jewelry, giving those without expendable income the ability to own quality pieces.

The height of Bakelite’s popularity was towards the later half of the Art Deco period (1930-1940s). The pieces were available in major department stores, like Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as high-end designers, such as Chanel. It was made in several different color varieties, but green, red, white and brown were the most popular. Over time these colors have faded, particularly white, which turns into a cream or tan brown.

Since Bakelite is a form of plastic, it was used for numerous things aside from jewelry, such as toys and electronic components. In the early 1940s, however, many companies stopped using it as the demand for products designated for World War II increased. By the end of the war, Bakelite had become obsolete, but much of it has gained more value than when it was originally created.

Because of it’s current popularity, there are a lot of “bakelite” bangles that are actually “fakelite.” Fortunately, there’s a way to test if your jewelry is true bakelite plastic. Because real bakelite cannot melt or burn, placing a match up to the plastic will indicate whether it’s real (has no sign of damage) or fake (melts or burns).

Truth be told, I’m too nervous to test mine. I’d rather live under the illusion that these are true bakelite, than find out they’re actually fakelite. So if you’re fortunate enough to find bakelite for a reasonable price, such as most of the beauties from Brighter Bakelite, don’t hesitate to grab it and flaunt it.

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A Cabbage Rose, Vintage Houndstooth, and the Beginning of Spring

It looks like winter is finally coming to an end and what could be more symbolic of the coming of spring than flowers?

My boyfriend, Anthony, bought me this jaw-dropping hair flower for Christmas from Sophisticated Lady Hair Flowers, and I can already tell its opened the door to a quick obsession with hair accessories.

That being said, I generally stay away from large accessories, as I’m a bit shy and don’t like drawing too much attention to myself (this coming from someone who dresses like she’s living in a different century is ironic, I know).

But the second I placed this cabbage rose in my hair, I was hooked.

In addition to the eye-catching rose is a white hydrangea, blue millinery berries, and a dark blue rhododendron. This unique mix of berries and flowers, some of which I had never heard of, makes this a stand-out piece that’s sure to draw attention.

This floral masterpiece sits securely in your hair with the help of a large alligator clip attached to it’s base, which only adds to the quality of Sophisticated Lady’s pieces. These are some of the most realistic hair flowers I’ve seen in production, some of which are even made with real silk.

So if you’re looking for ways to welcome in spring, look no further than Sophisticated Lady Hair Flowers. The shop contains over 100 different arrangements ranging from orchids to lilies, all of which are drop dead gorgeous.

Prices range from $7 to $22 USD and each item is shipped from Germany.

Blouse: Pinup Girl Clothing Voodoo Vixen Top in White | Skirt: Vintage 1960s Black & White Houndstooth Pencil Skirt from Coldfish Vintage | Shoes: Modcloth Swing Along Heel in Noir | Brooch: Luxulite Blue Baubles 1940s/50s Lucite Christmas Ornament Brooch

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Pinks, Reds, Harlequin, and Flower Beds

Everyone’s favorite holiday is right around the corner: Valentine’s Day! Ok, so most people actually hate it, and I used to be one of them. That is, when I didn’t have a Valentine.

Now that I’ve been with Anthony for over four years, Valentine’s Day is just another day. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting flowers and stuffed animals, but actual Valentine’s Day is so commercialized and I’d prefer a quiet night in with a home-cooked meal and warm chocolate chip cookies. I’m clearly not a high-maintenance broad.

That being said, I love holiday-themed outfits, and you’ll definitely catch me wearing one of these to work on Tuesday.

This first outfit consists of a vintage sweater that I found in this amazing shop called The Garment District. They sell second hand vintage and modern-day clothes at amazing prices. On Fridays they dump a huge pile of clothes on the warehouse floor to rummage through. Yes, I know, it sounds extremely primitive, but this sweater ended up costing me $0.25, so it was worth it.

The skirt, which is one of my favorites that I pined over for a long time, is from Pinup Girl Clothing. This Jenny Skirt in 1950s Harlequin Print goes with everything in my closet and has pockets! I will never get over the thrill of pockets.

And the shoes (yet another item I’ve longed for)! The Ione in Fairy Pink are from B.A.I.T. Footwear and if I can get my hands on every colorway I will! They definitely take some breaking in, but they’re worth every second of it.

Now on to outfit number two:

This is the Marnie Dress from Tatyana. I splurged on it last year for my birthday and have only worn it twice. Every time I see it in my closet I wonder why I bought it, until I put it on. I don’t know how I constantly become disillusioned by the beauty of this dress. It’s designed after a true 1950’s dress with a sweetheart neckline, full circle skirt, and dare I say it: pockets!

The Cropped Cardigan in White is from Pinup Girl Clothing. I have three of these in several different colors and I cannot wait to get my hands on more of them!

They are unbelievably comfortable, stretchy, and absolutely essential basics for ones wardrobe. Not to mention, they have the cutest three button detail down the front, and can even be worn alone as tops (if you don’t mind a little cleavage, that is).

I had to wear the Ione in Fairy Pink from B.A.I.T. Footwear for this outfit, as well. I mean, look at them. Could there be a more perfect shoe for Valentine’s Day-themed looks?

I hope you found some inspiration in these outfits, or at least a little joy. If anything, look at Valentine’s Day as just another occasion to dress up in red, white, and pink. As for me, I’ll be laying on the couch probably watching Food Network.

Which outfit do you prefer? I’m leaning towards the second one.

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An Antique Trolley, Modern Florals, and Pin Curls

One of the reasons I love living in Boston is the history, but you don’t have to head downtown to experience it.

I recently posted this black and white photograph to my Instagram. It’s an image from 1955 of the trolley station across from my apartment building. This trolley is still running and I take it to and from work every day.

Milton Station originally opened in 1848 under the name Milton Mills. It was a subsidiary of the Old Colony Railroad and was placed on the border of Boston and Milton. The trolley only stops at seven stations, which makes up about three miles. It’s a short ride, but it’s filled with natural and man-made beauty.

The most breathtaking part of the ride is the “Healthy Heart Bike Trail,” part of which I used as backdrop in this post. As you pass over a bridge, you see a field filled with what appears to be wheat stretching over the horizon towards the Neponset River. On the other side, you can peer into Cedar Grove Cemetery, which was established just after the Civil War (pictured here).

I can’t help but love riding to work in one of the oldest streetcars in America, and because of it’s history I wanted to ensure that I captured an equally historic look in these photos.

This dress may look vintage, but it’s anything but. This Birdie Dress in Mustard and Purple Floral from Pinup Girl Clothing has been my dream dress for years. I originally saw it on the beautiful Modern June Cleaver from Junebugs and Georgia Peaches and instantly fell in love.

Years later, I finally have my unicorn. This Birdie Dress’s mid-century housewife cut mixed with outrageously gorgeous florals made it perfect for this historic to modern-day theme.

As for my hair, well that’s another story. I’ve been trying to achieve a more authentic look, but my locks are quite thick and heavy, so the brush out can be quite a handful (get it?).

I’ve been contemplating a Femme Fatal Middy cut (and a deep, natural red color), but it would all be such a drastic change and I doubt my complexion could sustain red hair.

What do you think? Go shorter? Take a risk and go red? Or leave it as is?

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