Friday, June 19, 2015

~ barbie girl ~

When thinking back on my childhood, I see flashes of swimming pools, birthday parties, Hot Wheels, tree climbing, and playing Oregon Trail (not the computer game) in the front yard with a wagon full of Ritz crackers, bundles of grass clippings (for the oxen), a thermos of hot chocolate, stacks of blankets (for fort-building), and all the things one would need for embarking on a day-long journey through the dangerous terrain of rural north Florida.

But most of all, I think of playing dress up with hand-me-downs that floated through the closets of every single kid in my neighborhood, and concocting elaborate plots, acted out by my vast collection of Barbies and Barbie paraphernalia.

vintage Barbie bookletBarbie and Friends, 1962   Sears catalog  ad detail/edited  I would play with these right now if I could! How much fun to switch the wigs around and stuff. SOOOOOO cool. As a girl I didn’t get into the doll scene so I never played with barbie…except one, wait a minute, two: Growing up skipper whose breasts grew out and she grew taller all with the crank of her arm and Malibu Barbie with her real live tan…! I just HAD to have those.      File Photo

I absolutely grew up in the era of Barbie, let me make that clear.  My friend had a hot pink, kid-sized Barbie jeep and was the envy of all she met/nearly ran over.  I had ten Barbies (four stolen from my sister) and dozens and dozens of outfits for every season and occasion, from summertime at the Malibu beach house, to parachuting out of the second-story window.  It was an exciting life.
I had, and still have, a kick-ass kitchen set - complete with a frying pan that would flip pancakes, an ice maker that had tiny plastic pieces of ice that were just small enough to settle into the carpet and give you a rude awakening when you walked across the room an hour later, an oven that would make a sizzling noise when you put in the fake turkey and ding when it was fully-cooked, and cabinets and drawers FULL of plates, bowls, serving dishes, breakfast cereal, canned goods, cake mixes, drinking glasses, and a vast array of cutlery.  It was 90s-child heaven.


To fuel our obsession, in between the time we spent getting stuck in trees and fantasizing about Chad Michael Murray, my collection of friends and I would spy on my sister and her friends who spent hours choreographing and rehearsing a dance to Barbie Girl (that I still remember to this day and will perform in exchange for a crisp fifty dollar bill).  It wasn't until a decade later that I googled the lyrics and realized that what once flew right over my head was now as clear as day, but c'est la vie!  The damage was already done.


Now, let's be honest here.  My Barbie collection is in a plastic box, either shoved under my bed, or somewhere in my closet.  I'm no longer in love with Barbie or envious of her waist.  I've been made aware of the over-sexualization of young girls, the ridiculous gender stereotypes present in the toy aisle, and my feminist self cringes at the recent onslaught of "girl toys" that, yet again, put the emphasis on outward appearance rather than inward growth.  But even I have to admit; vintage Barbie rocks.

The hair!  The makeup!  The clothes!  The picnic sets!  She makes my heart flutter.

And until someone makes Barbie dolls without funky feet, a wasp waist, and permanent makeup, she'll have to do.

xoxo,
Eliza

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

~ tuesday ~

It's 9:30.  I'm currently sitting in bed, ceiling fan going full blast, with a record playing on a brand-spankin' new record player.  I have nothing I need to do.  No one I need to communicate with.  No papers to write, no floors to vacuum, no plans to make.

Bliss.  How would you define it?

If there's something I've forgotten to do (and there probably is), I'll remember it in the morning.  
But for now....bliss.



This morning I went to yoga, which started me off on the right foot.  And now I've just seen the most beautiful sunset - the rosey end to a hot day.
What a perfect Tuesday.  
You have some mighty big shoes to fill, Wednesday.


xoxo,
Eliza

Saturday, June 13, 2015

~ confessions of a former packrat ~

Let me take you on a little trip down memory lane.  Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived in a world of innocence and a room full of dress up clothes and canned goods.  She would go "shopping" in the kitchen, in the bookshelves, and in the underwear drawers, collecting specimens and carefully placing them in her plastic, kid-sized shopping cart, ringing them up with her plastic, kid-sized price gun and conveyor belt, and storing them under her bed, in her closet, and in her kid-sized refrigerator. Nothing in the world could possibly stop her.


Until one day when her mother noticed pieces of mail had suddenly gone missing from the coffee table and cans of tomato soup were no where to be found.  In that moment, a raid was conducted and months and months of hard work (and diligent hoarding) came to a close.  The perpetrator was caught and charged with mail theft, shop lifting, and endangering the public, and she never stock-piled canned goods again.

The End.

In a perfect world, that would be the end of the story, but as we all know (and spoiler alert if you didn't already know) this is NOT a perfect world.  It wasn't easy, but I eventually learned my lesson about the electric bills and cans of soup, the kid-sized fridge found a new home, plastic boxes replaced piles, and the rod in my closet only slightly sags under the weight of vintage prom dresses and hat boxes.  To put it bluntly: I got my shit together.

Now I'm no domestic goddess (and have no interest in being a domestic goddess), but cleaning my room is no longer a 48 hour ordeal that ends with tears, hair-pulling, and a fiery tantrum.

My shopping cart survived being thrown down flight of stairs (not my doing) and is probably still in the attic somewhere, but my conveyor belt and price gun met a fateful end during a battle with a can of shaving cream.  So, the lesson learned here?  As my mom so wisely says, nothing in a book about child-rearing could possibly prepare you for giving birth to a hoarder.  But please take my advice.  If you are so (un)lucky to bring a hoarder into this fine world, don't give them a shopping cart, and for heaven's sake, put them in the bedroom with the small closet.  You'll thank me later.

xoxo,
Eliza

Sunday, June 7, 2015

~ takin' it easy ~

Do you ever take a look at your life and realize that everything you're striving for on a daily basis might not happen?  Or that what you always thought you wanted out of life might not be what you actually want?  Or that you haven't washed your bras in a frightfully long time and Martha Stewart would not approve of how you fold your sheets?

I think about that a lot.

I'll be moving cities relatively soon, living on my own for the first time in my life, and working towards getting my degree (majoring in production design, minoring in photography), all while attempting to remain sane - and I am FREAKING OUT.  I hate change, even incredibly wonderful change, so someone will most likely have to push me out of my front door, force me into the car, and push me out of the car door once we reach our destination.

But until then, I've adopted a new attitude.  I'm not going to think about it!  I'm going to do yoga and go to the beach and spend time with family and friends, and snuggle with cats, and live in a blissfully ignorant mindset for as long as I can!


I'll stop making to-do lists, eat way too much homemade salsa, watch all the historical dramas I want, wear nothing but vintage ball gowns and bathing suits, and not think about which kitchen utensils I'll need or whether or not my mid-century chair will fit in an elevator or how many of my vintage hats I can justify taking with me.

There will be time for all that.  And that time is not now.

xoxo,
Eliza

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

~ savannah antiques ~

I don't claim to be an expert in the Savannah vintage/antique scene (because I've only been there twice and only been to three shops total), but from my experience, little that it may be, Savannah is a vintage-lover's dream.  Last weekend I visited Alex Raskin Antiques, the Wright Antique Mall, and Southern Charm Antiques, and today I'm going to do my best to describe each as accurately and fairly as I can.

Alex Raskin Antiques:
Last year when I was in Savannah, we went into Alex Raskin's store (the basement of a large house) and snooped around for an hour or so.  Little did we know that we had only seen one out of four stories - so when we went back this time, we climbed every staircase (even though I had to be nudged up the final one thanks to a mild case of vertigo), peaked into every room, and heard every floor board creak as we cautiously passed over them.



The house itself was built in the 1850s - it's a beautiful representation of its era, complete with exposed beams and peeling paint.  Some might cringe at its slightly-dilapidated state and yearn to restore it to its original glory, but I strongly feel that it should be left alone to sag and creak as much as its 165 year old self wants to.  In some rooms, you can clearly see the passing of time and fading of styles by counting the layers of wallpaper that are peeling off the wall and will eventually flake to the floor.  The carpet has years worth of dust settled into it, the railings on the staircases are well-worn, and the house itself has clearly been well-loved by every generation of occupants, past and present.  To cover and sand and strip and paint would be disrespectful to the house's spirit (if you believe in that kind of thing, which I do).

      


      



Wright Antique Mall: 
I have a shocking number of photos of the Wright Antique Mall - zero, in fact.  Probably because I was way too excited to find several racks of vintage clothing, and boxes and boxes of new old stock hairnets, hair pins, and stockings (in my size!!!), from the 40s and 50s.  I already regret not buying more of the stockings (the opposite of buyer's remorse), but I did stock up on hairnets and postcards, so that kind of makes up for it.



Southern Charm Antiques:
Within fifteen minutes of getting into town, we found a parking place, ran into Southern Charm Antiques, and ran out with an amazing 30s hat, all before the meter ran out of time.  So, mission accomplished.

Southern Charm Antiques was cram-packed with vintage clothing, vintage jewelry, vintage shoes, vintage hats, furniture, dishes and silverware, grandfather clocks, and a plethora of odds and ends.  I easily could have spent two hours sitting on the floor, rifling through the stacks of magazines and brochures.



In between the shopping and snooping, we attended my best friend's graduation from SCAD (yay!!!), I got to walk in her senior fashion show, and we moseyed through blocks and blocks of beautiful parks and historical houses.  I miss it already.

xoxo,
Eliza

Thursday, May 28, 2015

~ creativity ~

I've written on the subject of creative constipation once before, but like many subjects, simply writing about it did not cure it for good (dammit).  So yet again I find myself suffering from those pesky feelings of inadequacy and can feel the creative sections of my brain drying up and crumbling away as every un-creative minute slowly passes by.


Now.  What's to do about it?  Judging from the multitude of articles titled "12 Ways to Unleash Your Creativity," "How to Be Creative," and (my personal favorite) "5 Things I Did To Get Out of a Creative Dry Spell," this is a common problem, and although those articles can theoretically help someone, I found myself rolling my eyes until I got dizzy.  So to remedy my dizziness and actually help myself (and help you, too), here is my list of ways to get through a creative dry spell/rut/mud puddle/area of quick sand/etc.

1. Acknowledge that it exists and absolutely SUCKS.  Say it to yourself out loud in a mirror three times.  This sucks, this sucks, this sucks.  Gone yet?  If so, congratulate yourself on a job well done and go celebrate with a glass of your preferred beverage while I silently judge you.
If step 1 did not solve all of your problems, then join the club and move on to step 2.

2.  Ignore the advice of many self-help articles and take your mind completely off of your creativity (or lack thereof).  This can be through yoga, meditation, or possibly knife throwing (if you're not the type who can visualize your creative blockage quietly melting away).  Whatever takes your mind off your troubles and keeps you fully occupied.

3.  Get OUT of your studio.  And if you don't have a studio, get your supplies out of sight.  Move the jar of paint brushes that is permanently stored on your bathroom counter.  Shove the stack of blank canvases out into the hallway so they can no longer torment you with their emptiness.  For the time being, unfollow all of the incredible artists on instagram that you cannot help but be slightly envious of.  Wallow in your self-pity alone and without your camera perched on your bed-side table, cruelly reminding you that you haven't picked it up in three weeks.

4.  Allow yourself to freak out and fully suspect that the Art Gods are mad at you and have punished you with an eternity empty of creativity.  Repeat step 1 and then move on to step 5.

5. Know that no matter how distant your creativity may seem, it will eventually get tired of tormenting you and return home.  Creativity, like the motivation to work out, ebbs and flows (though in the case of motivation to work out, mine has been on a constant ebb for several months now).  One week it will be there, comfortably relaxing in your brain, and the next week it will be far, far away, sipping a piƱa colada on the beach and not concerned in the least with your well-being.

So, the lesson to be learned here?

Freaking out when your creativity packs up and leaves is a totally normal reaction.  But don't freak out too much.  It will be back eventually, unaware that you were every concerned about its location, and your life will return to normal.

xoxo,
Eliza

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

~ emancipation day ~

Today, throughout Florida, people celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation being read, and it was beautiful.  I attended a ceremony and reenactment of the reading downtown at the Knott House, the exact location where it was read 150 years ago.  On every face in the crowd of people was a look of true understanding and appreciation - something that I'm glad to have seen first-hand.






It was so wonderful to run into old friends and make new acquaintances, all under a canopy of oak trees and a mellow blue sky.


I wore my favorite hat (although, as one might point out, I call every hat my favorite), partially because I love it to death, but mostly to keep the sun out of my face, since the afternoon sun turns me into a tomato.


And it's now officially the time of year where jeans are just out of the question (unless you like to have sweaty thighs), so a skirt was my only option.


I spoke to many people today, which not only restored my often-dwindling hope for the human race, but reinforced my strong belief that vintage clothing and vintage accessories can truly start conversations.  It was so heart-warming to have half a dozen people come up to me to ask about my hat and talk about their experiences with (and love for) clothing.  I met people whose kind words will follow me for years and lift me up when I have a bad case of the Blahs.

What a beautiful day.

xoxo,
Eliza