12 Things I Did in 2012 to Make My Life Better

I was inspired to write this post from the lovely Jessica at Chronically Vintage. I hope she doesn’t mind me stealing the title of her post, but I really loved the idea.

I tend to view myself as a pretty grateful person, so I don’t spend a lot of time on gratitude lists. If anything, I usually feel guilty about being undeserving of the wonderful things in my life. But I like the idea of finding twelve things that I did to make my life better this year. Sometimes I feel like my life is passing me by and I worry that I’m not using it the right way. That I’m not making enough of what I’ve been given. But I did make some big steps this year, and celebrating them will be an acknowledgment that I can make my life better and that I am taking charge of my life and trying to take advantage of and enjoy the opportunities I’ve been given. Some of these will be vintage-related, and some not.

1) I went to therapy. This is a big one, and precipitated most of the good change in my year.

2) I acknowledged and accepted my issues. This really tied in with therapy, but it’s also what helped to get me into therapy in the first place. I acknowledged that I have struggled with an eating disorder for a long time, and have dealt with depression without getting help. I thought I could take care of everything on my own, and that actually caused my loved ones more distress than if I had just sought help earlier.

3) I went on a big, life-affirming trip. In the entertainment industry there are a lot of messages saying that you can’t ever be out of town. If you take time off, you’re missing opportunities and there are thousands of people working harder than you. But even though I love my chosen career, I am not my career and I need more out of life. I left my job and my life for a month (putting my comedy career on pause and not knowing if I’d have a job to come back to).

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And I got this.

4) I moved into a new apartment with two roommates. I really loved living alone but it was too expensive and exacerbated my natural tendency to isolate myself. My roommates are really wonderful people and they make my life better.

5) I really put an effort into making good friends. Making friends does not come easily or naturally to me, and there have been many times in my life where I had only a few. But this year I made a genuine effort to reach out to people and I think I came out of the year with some really wonderful friendships and people I really value.

6) I was upfront with people about my problems and insecurities. After years of not telling anyone I had an eating disorder, I told everyone. I was warned not to tell people that I’m on medication for Bipolar II, and I’m telling everyone anyway. When I was struggling in a social interaction, I said so. And everyone was super fucking nice about it. I hope I put some other people at ease, too.

7) I started trying to find some joy in my appearance, which led me to wearing vintage full-time. For years I dressed mostly in a couple pairs of terrible jeans and t-shirts from the Target boy’s department and thought that everyone probably thought of me as the chubby friend and it was time for me to accept it. My therapist encouraged me to try dressing up and wearing clothes that made me feel pretty – not only because it’s wonderful to feel pretty, but you generally take better care of yourself in general if you’re caring for your appearance. I realized that vintage clothes are what I love and feel excited about and now I really enjoy taking care of myself and getting ready because every day is an excuse to wear one of my gorgeous vintage dresses, pin curl my hair, and put on some red lipstick.

8) I started this blog! I needed a hobby that wasn’t work-related, and I’m really enjoying it.

9) I bought a swimsuit and a gym membership. I’ve always exercised, but often out of obligation and very seldom out of enjoyment. I’m now trying to take pressure off of myself and just enjoy using my body. I actually wrote a snarky post about my “exercise goals” on my Tumblr that I really liked.

10) I fostered four cats. Unfortunately I won’t be able to do it again in my new apartment, but I loved being able to give them some love and attention and I got a lot back from them. I cried when I gave them up to people who could adopt them, but that’s part of it, too.

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11) I saw Titanic 3D in the theaters. 😀

12) I created my own show, found writers and a director, and we shot our pilot in December. It’s the best accomplishment of my life, and even if nothing comes of it, it will remain a point of pride for me forever.

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Oops and I just thought of a bonus one – I started doing standup this year!

This post feels a bit self-indulgent (but why can’t I just feel good about myself and not try and undercut that?), but it’s also nice to realize that I’m not totally wasting my life. I think.

Also, it’s my birthday tomorrow! I’m turning 24 and hopefully 24 will be even better than 23. And when it isn’t, I’ll go to therapy and talk about it.

Outfit Post: Harold and Mauve

I’m visiting my dad and stepmom (and my three siblings) in Lawrence, Kansas for Christmas and we went to Mass Ave on Christmas Eve so the kids could see Santa. We passed the vintage store Wild Man and my dad said we could stop in and he’d buy a couple things for me for Christmas/my birthday.

 

And oh. my. god. Look what I found.

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I found three late 30s/early 40s dresses in my size. The fact that they fit me wonderfully and come from the same era make me think that the same woman owned them all. Because what are the chances?

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The dresses only cost about $25 each. Mindblowing.

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Look at that gorgeous detail.

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And the buttons! I am so glad none of them have fallen off.

I don’t have an exact era for the dress but I have some clues. By the look of it, I think early forties. Pinked seams. This interesting hook and eye closure:

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And the interesting shoulder pads:

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And there’s only one tag in the whole dress.

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Which I can’t seem to find any info on. And there’s no union tag.

Even if I assume the other dresses come from the same era, they’re of no help as one of them has no tag and the other has an equally inscrutable one. I’ll post about all the dresses individually. I was going to address the aforeseen cardigan as well, but I’ve decided it’s so special it deserves its own post. 🙂

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are gearing up for an exciting new year. I’ll just be hanging out at my dad’s house for the next few days, celebrating my birthday on the 30th, and then flying home on NYE so I can go party!

My Vintage Christmas and Birthday

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I celebrated Christmas early with my brother, step-dad, and mom on Saturday, and I got some wonderful vintage presents! I always have multiple Christmases because my mom and dad live in different states. My mom has lived in Indiana and my dad in Kansas since I was 7. Sometimes we all get together for Christmas but this year I’ll have to settle for two Christmases. Poor me.

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Here’s my brother and I with our stockings! Besides my fuzzy purple socks I am wearing a vintage outfit (my pink early 70’s dress and jacket) with pin curl waves.

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Us shaking hands after we both got gloves – Derek got texting gloves and I got blue mesh 1950’s gloves. They’re gorgeous.

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We went to lunch and when we came back, it was my birthday! My birthday’s actually the 30th, but my mom wanted to be able to celebrate with me.

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I got these shoes, which I think have such a nice 40’s look. And aren’t they reminiscent of the shoes Rachel McAdams wears in the bicycle scene in The Notebook?

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And this cute serving tray my mom bought me in France.

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And the most glamorous gift – the hat.

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I originally thought it looked very forties but when I researched the hatmaker I found 1) very little 2) that most of the hats made by that manufacturer are listed as 60’s, some 50s, but then one was described as late 30’s. So I cannot figure out when this hat manufacturer was in business!

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It can look black, but it’s actually a very dark navy.

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It didn’t have too far to go in life – born in Indianapolis and my mom bought it in Bloomington, an hour south.

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Though some of its parts had a more exotic provenance.

If you have any idea when this hat was made, please let me know!

Merry Christmas Eve and I hope you all have a wonderful time with your families, whether you celebrate a holiday this time of year or not (my whole family is nonreligious but we enjoy the Christmas decorations and the presents) and maybe even some vintage presents under the tree!

Outfit Post: I’m Tolerating a White Christmas

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It’s cold! And what’s a California vintage girl to do when confronted with cold Midwestern weather? Borrow clothes. And layer. I had a camisole, long-sleeve shirt, sweater, slip, skirt, sweater tights, tall socks, and then boots, coat, and a scarf, of course.

 

My outfit underneath was cute and my mom took some pictures of me! Finally, some photos of my outfits that don’t involve bad lighting and and a self-timer.

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Do I look like a vintage photo?

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In case you worry that I don’t have teeth.

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I did Tasha’s world-famous back roll and I was very happy with it! I got a lot of compliments on it (and of course immediately had to explain how easy it was).

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The back looks a bit uneven so I fixed it after the picture. As I’m sure you’ve seen, I have really long, thick hair so I was not sure this would work on my hair but it totally did!

60s Sweater: Jet Rag

70s Shirt: Jet Rag

40s Skirt: Jet Rag

Vintage scarf (I don’t know how to date scarves!): My step-grandma

 

Hope you’re all staying warm!

Vintage Rollerskating Photos

I went rollerskating with some of my good friends from high school, my brother, and my mom last night!

Although rollerskating had its heyday in the 70s, I found some cool vintage rollerskating photos from a wide variety of decades.
Youngsters Roller Skating at Izzy-Dorry's Roller Rink - New Ulm, Minnesota

Vintage Roller Skater

Back in action!
The pin-up artist Earl Moran on the job with a certain model named Norma Jean…
Skateland - Muncy, Pennsylvania
New Planet Roller Rink - Chicago, Illinois

 

And here are mine!

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And our whole blurry group, except for my mom, who was taking the picture. I was terrible (I’m terrible at every athletic endeavor – also I had to put my hair up because I got very sweaty) but it was a lot of fun.

My Winter Vacation Wardrobe

Sorry for the lack of posts of late, but I’m visiting my family and spending all my time with them! But I thought it might be helpful to hear what I brought on my three-week trip to the frozen tundra (Indiana and Kansas). And it all fits in one suitcase (depending on suitcase size, I suppose). I’ve often wondered how other people pack for vacations, especially with fragile vintage clothes. I got some good advice on my vintage clothing questions post and followed it – lie everything flat, heaviest stuff on bottom, shoes on top, heels up. So here’s my list:

 

Gray suit

Pink dress/jacket

Black dress

1 skirt

Jeans

2 button-downs

2 sweaters

1 pair sweater tights

1 pair hose

Coat

2 hats

1 pair gloves

1 scarf

Sweatpants, t-shirt, sweatshirt (for sleeping/exercising)

1 pair tennis shoes (for exercise)

1 pair boots

1 pair nice shoes

3 necklaces, two pairs earrings, two rings

 

So far it’s been serving me well, I have pretty vintage clothes to wear every day and enough variety. Everything’s been fine without ironing but we did spend a night in a hotel when we visited my stepdad’s parents and I got to iron my black dress. I was weirdly excited to see an iron because my parents DON’T OWN ONE. Crazy people.

I thought I’d show you guys some pictures of my hometown stay so far!

 

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There’s my little baby brother sitting on my lap!

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Coffee with my mom. She was having the hardest time positioning the iPhone to take our picture that my smile in that picture is definitely genuine.

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At my mom’s friend’s party. I’ve been quite into berets this trip, it seems. That’s my stepdad in front of me looking very bored.

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At breakfast with my brother, wearing my favorite 60’s sweater and earrings.

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Here I am with my mom and my stepdad’s niece, sister-in-law, and mom. My step-grandma got a box full of vintage scarves that she inherited from  my step-grandma’s sister and she gave them all to me! Isn’t that amazing! So we’re all wearing one in this picture. I am definitely planning on documenting them on this blog, as it’s a pretty amazing collection that I’m a bit bowled over to receive.

Also, my mom and I saw Anna Karenina in the theater today. I’d definitely recommend it for the enthralling story, sumptuous production design, creative direction, and of course gorgeous 1870’s costumes.

Pictures from Today Is History

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The official photos from the pilot shoot for Today Is History are here!

 

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Turns out I look terrible as an Ancient Egyptian. Darn.

 

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An authentic 1880’s shirt and suspenders. The pants had buttons for suspenders and laced up in the back.

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Our 1880’s authentic French sailor. Those pants were skintight.

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I tied those cravats on our 1880s congressmen!

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Hope you enjoyed the pictures, I thought the wardrobe was pretty amazing.

Sorry for a paucity of posts, I’m back visiting my parents for Christmas. But we’ve been doing some fun vintage shopping so I’ll have some more posts soon! Maybe I’ll even convince my mom to take pictures of me.

Today Is History Pilot Taping!

This weekend my show Today Is History shot its pilot. Today Is History is a satirical news show set on different days throughout history – essentially asking, what if the Daily Show had always existed? We shot two episodes to pitch as a pilot – our King Tutankhamun episode and our episode about the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. I’m the creator, producer, and co-host of the show, but we had a ton of amazing writers, actors, and crew members who made it happen.

 

We had an on-set photographer so we’ll have a lot more great photos but I wanted to share some of the ones I took this weekend. Our wardrobe was amazing – that’s why I went to the Hollywood costume warehouses that I wrote about a couple weeks ago – and we had a lot of authentic 1880’s clothes on set that I think you guys will love.

I had to go back to the costume warehouse to get an authentic 1880s French sailor’s hat. I got to walk through this hall of hats:

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Turns out there was a whole box of them!

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I had to try it on.

I also saw a rack of “primitive” clothing at the wardrobe warehouse and had to take a picture of it:

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Aren’t those crazy?

Anyways, on to set!

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An Ancient Egyptian actor, of course.

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Two of our 1880’s actors wearing period clothing. Button suspenders!

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We shot in this house built in the 1800s – some of Six Feet Under was also shot here.

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And our 1880s Congressmen. The set looked fantastic, and I learned how to tie a cravat! I’ll definitely post more pictures of the costumes once we get the set photos back, but I was so excited about this weekend that I couldn’t wait to share. I so hope our show gets picked up so we can make more episodes and continue to explore history!

My Retro Christmas Tree and a Very Important Warning

Check out my first-ever (as an adult) Christmas tree!

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By night it’s a Christmas tree. And by day it is…

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Also a Christmas tree! The tree itself isn’t retro – I bought it at Target for $40. But a lot of the ornaments are! About half of my ornaments look like this:

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All bunny-themed. For the last several years my aunt has given me a bunny-themed Christmas ornament taped to my Christmas present. She’s very sweet.

The other half of my ornaments were my grandma Elaine’s from right around 1950, when she got her first Christmas tree as an adult. When my mom cleaned out Elaine’s house after she died in 2007 she was just going to throw them away (my mom is an anti-hoarder and wonderfully unsentimental) but I requested that we keep them. They were among the few possessions I packed in my Toyota Corolla when I moved out here three years ago and now I finally get to use them!

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So fifties!

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I t hink this one is my favorite:

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Skiing Santa!

And now, time for a very important PSA. Ladies, get serious about throwing your makeup away. I haven’t ever been very diligent about it and this week I got a sty, which is an infection of one of the glands in your eyelid. Disgusting, right? And horrible timing, because I AM SHOOTING MY PILOT THIS WEEKEND. One of the biggest events of my career thus far and I have a swollen, red, gross-looking eye. I’m pretty sure I got it from some liquid eyeliner that I hadn’t used in a couple months, so it was probably too old for me to be using. Mascara and liquid eye liner are supposed to be thrown away after three months, and I assure you I will be doing that from now on. If you’re worried about the price, I’ll just tell you that my antibiotic cost $30 so you can spend $30 on an antibiotic ointment for your eye or on new makeup. I know this message is a jarring change of pace from the first half of the post, but I didn’t exactly want to write an entire post on my disgusting eye sty. There are some things you can do if you get a sty but really just don’t share your makeup, clean your brushes, and throw your shit away after three months. DO IT. Love ya!

The Liebster Blog Award

The lovely Jip from Old-Fashioned at Heart gave me the Liebster Blog award!

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I am so flattered! Thank you, Jip! You should definitely check out her blog if you haven’t already – she has seriously gorgeous vintage style and she writes in both English and German! I was born in Germany and German was my first language, though I learned English when I was 4 and it is now the language I am more comfortable with. So it was so fun to me to discover a vintage blog in German and English.

Here are the rules of the award:

1. Link and follow the blogger who awarded you
2. Blog about the award
3. Give the award to 5 other bloggers – preferably bloggers with less than 200 followers
4. Answer the 11 questions I asked you and create 11 questions to your 5 awarded bloggers

 

1. How did you discover vintage clothing ?
Wie hast du Vintage entdeckt ?
I discovered vintage clothing initially through 70s clothes – my mom loves the 70s and sometimes we’d go to vintage stores and I’d buy a cool shirt. But I only discovered  the “vintage lifestyle” a few months ago by seeing a clip at work (I transcribe reality television). I immediately thought these vintage women were the coolest and I couldn’t believe it never occurred to me before that you could actually wear vintage clothes all the time.
2. If you could only take one vintage item you own to an abandoned island, what would it be ?
Wenn du nur ein Ding (was vintage ist) nach einem Insel mitnehmen könntest, was würde es dann sein ?
I hate when people give practical, realistic answers to desert island questions so I will say my gray 1950s suit. I love it and I think I would look smart in it and that would help me feel better even if I was all alone.
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3. Is there a lot of vintage in the city where you live ?
Gibt es viel vintage wo du wohnst ?
I live in LA, so there’s a lot of everything, including vintage. Unfortunately a lot of the vintage stores here cater towards the hippie/hipster look – lots of 70s and 80s, pretty much no 40s or earlier, not very much 50s and 60s. Most vintage stores have designer vintage clothes, cowboy boots, and some new clothes mixed in with the vintage. I prefer Etsy!
4. Did you discover new hobbies or interests after you discovered vintage ?
Hast du neue Hobby’s oder Interessen entdeckt nachdem du Vintage entdeckt hast ?
Yes, although I’m not far enough along in either of them to say that they’re my hobbies yet – more like aspirational hobbies. I’m asking for basic knitting supplies for Christmas because I would really like to learn how to knit. I’m already signed up for a knitting meetup in January. I also want to learn to swingdance. I’ve always loved dancing and I found some swingdance classes that I’m going to take in January. I’ve already roped a friend into going with me so I’ll definitely go!
5. For how long have you been wearing  vintage ?
Wie lange trägst du schon Vintage Kleidung ?
I’ve been wearing the odd vintage item since I was a kid, and some 70s clothes since high school (and often second-hand – I’ve rarely bought new clothes), but I only started really trying to revamp my wardrobe to be fully vintage in September.
6. Are you sometimes afraid ripping seams in old clothing or broken soles of shoes becaus of their age ?
Hast du manchmal Angst das durch das Tragen Vintage Kleidung kaputt geht ? Denke an aufgerissene Nähte bei Kleider oder an Sohlen bei Schuhe.
I am totally afraid of that, especially since I don’t know how to sew (I can sew on a button or mend a small tear, but I wouldn’t want to sew anything that would actually show since I’d be afraid of doing a bad job). I’m actually mostly afraid of staining clothes, because I’m not always the most prim and proper person.
7. Have you ever worn seamed stockings in winter (despite the temperature) because you thought they were more vintage/prettier than thights ?
Hast du schon Mal im Winter Nylons getragen weil du die schöner fand als Strumpfhosen, obwohl es kalt war ?
I haven’t, but I know I will. First of all, winter doesn’t get that cold here (thank God). But I’m already getting a bit fed up with tights and I’m planning on buying a girdle after the holidays and going the way of stockings.
8. Do you also adapt vintage to your daily life ?
Verarbeitest du im Alltag noch mehr vintage als nur die Kleidung ?
I have definitely noticed that I am incorporating vintage into my daily life. When you wear vintage clothes, some things are just necessary – washing clothes in a more careful manner, wearing an apron. I’ve also wanted to be cleaner in general because it feels weird to be immaculately dressed with a messy room. I also just don’t have a lot of interest in modern things anymore when I know that there’s a fun vintage alternative out there, so I know I’ll be buying vintage home goods from now on, as well.
9. Who is your vintage fashion icon and why ?
Wer is deinen Vorbild wenn es um Vintage Mode geht und weshalb ?
I recently wrote about Rita Hayworth, who I love for her classic and fun style with some androgynous and utilitarian touches. I’ve also always loved Ava Gardner for being crazy sexy and Farrah Fawcett for her fun, athletic clothes. I think it’s clear that I love big hair. Oh and Ingrid Bergman and Dorothy Dandrige. OK, I’m done.
10.Do you have any pets?
Hast du Haustiere ?
I don’t! I’m not really responsible enough. I love cats, though. And my friend has a chinchilla and ever since I saw it I’ve been obsessed with it.
11. Why did you start blogging ?
Wann hast du angefangen zu Bloggen ?
I just realized that the English question asked why, but the German question asked when. So I’ll answer both. I honestly started blogging because my therapist said I needed a hobby since usually all I do is work and feel guilty if I’m not working. I also wanted to have motivation to dress up and feel beautiful since I went a couple years without feeling very pretty. I started blogging on a “health and lifestyle” blog three years ago but gave that up a year ago and started a comedy blog on Tumblr (which I still have – erikaheidewald.tumblr.com) but I’ve only been vintage blogging for about a month.
My 5 bloggers I choose:
Natalie at Natalie1Day
1) Can you do a craft? e.g. sewing, knitting, etc? If so, how did you learn?
2) What vintage item are you currently on the lookout to buy?
3) What item of clothing do you wear that modern people might consider weird? Like a girdle, a corset, a bonnet? I don’t know. Why am I trying to answer your question for you?
4) How do you most often style your hair?
5) How do your family and friends feel about you dressing vintage? Do they ever tease you?
6) Let’s say you could live in the past for one year. Which year would it be?
7) Do you have a favorite makeup technique? What is it?
8) What type of vintage store/item/event do you wish you had in your city?
9) Do you wear vintage or modern shoes? Where do you get them?
10) What modern fashion trend do you especially dislike?
11) Are there any fashion trends from your favorite era that you don’t like?
Come on, don’t pretend this is not fun. It is fun.