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Monday, October 10, 2011

Goodwill = Good Day

After taking The Puff out to lunch and letting her play in the play area for almost an hour, I decided to go to our local Goodwill for some shopping. Since it is Columbus Day, I wasn’t too sure how crowded our shop would be. Thankfully the crowds were minimal and there was a pretty good selection to choose from. And the color changed yesterday to green, so I could get different items for half the price I would have paid last week.  Going green has never sounded so thrifty.

Today I managed to find several dresses to try on. I found a vintage Leslie Fay dress that I have seen hanging on the racks for at least a month. It's bright pink with white roses and it has a matching belt. Even though someone as tall as I am has no business bothering with petite sized clothing, this is an 80's version of petite - meaning it's not even close to petite proportions. There were two new vintage dresses on the rack that I hadn't seen before and both were red and black. One was made of rayon by Nina Piccalino and is black with a red hash mark/brushstroke design. The other was polyester by In CinQ and is black with red roses and leaves all over it.

Vintage Hot Pink Dress with White Roses
Leslie Fay "Petite Collection"
Vintage Hot Pink Dress with White Roses - Detail
Leslie Fay "Petite Collection"

Black Dress with Red Hash Marks
Nina Piccalino
Black Dress with Red Hash Marks - Detail
Nina Piccalino

Black Dress with Red Roses and Leaves
In CinQ

Black Dress with Red Roses and Leaves - Detail
In CinQ

I also snagged a homemade vintage dress that goes all the way to the floor. It has an interesting flutter sleeve design and a tiny keyhole in the front. It's white with blue and orange flowers with green stems and leaves. As it has no tags, I'm going to guess that it was made out of polyester and is probably from the 1970's. There was also a grey shift dress by Isaac Mizrahi for Target. I had bypassed trying this dress on before because I didn't think that a giant orange tulip would look good on me. But I dared myself to try it, and I liked it. There was also the pink floral Liberty Of London for Target dress with spaghetti straps and a drawstring waist.

Homemade Vintage Floral Dress
Homemade Vintage Floral Dress - Detail
Grey Shift Dress with Orange Tulip
Isaac Mizrahi for Target
Pink Floral Dress with Spaghetti Straps and Drawstring Waist
Liberty Of London for Target
I also found a sheer shirt by George, which is a Wal*Mart line. It's white with varying sized navy vertical stripes. It has a really neat ruffle all along where the shoulder meets the shirt and a cool pin tuck detail on the back. And as a complete surprise, there was a pair of corduroy pants from H&M in the prettiest shade of teal (the picture looks bright blue, but they're teal). And a heavily sequined and beaded little black silk skirt by Jewel Queen was still there from last week. Even though it doesn't fit, I really like the design, colors, shimmer etc. In other words, it was too pretty and special to leave behind.

Sheer White and Navy Striped Shirt
George, by Wal*Mart
Teal Corduroy Pants

Black Silk Skirt with Beads and Sequins
Jewel Queen
Black Silk Skirt with Beads and Sequins - Detail
Jewel Queen
I also discovered a vintage hot pink, textured polyester three piece suit - a jacket, a skirt, and a pair of pants (which will need its hems taken out to fit me) . My iPod never seems to get the colors of anything right, so it looks really red, but it's insanely hot pink - think almost Schiaparelli Pink. The suit was made by Sears-Roebuck and Company at some point in the 1970's. The label reads says that it is a "Perma-Prest Suit", which tells me that it's a polyester beauty. The texture of this suit is so quirky; it's columns of small circles with swirls next to columns of large circles with pie chart divisions, which are next to columns of small circles with a burst of lines in them. Very different. And the bonus is that all of the textured metal buttons are still on and in good condition.

Hot Pink Polyester Suit Jacket
Sears-Roebuck and Company
Hot Pink Polyester Suit Jacket - Back
Sears-Roebuck and Company

Hot Pink Polyester Suit Jacket - Label and Detail
Sears-Roebuck and Company

Hot Pink Polyester Suit Pants
Sears-Roebuck and Company
Hot Pink Polyester Suit Skirt
Sears-Roebuck and Company

For accessories, I found a vintage silver cuff from India. I imagine that it's real because of the tarnish. It has a ribbed design and what I think is a gold overlay. There were also two pairs of new stockings that came from Target. The only belt I looked at for myself was a studded black leather belt. I also found a vintage metal belt with big gems for a friend and two vintage wooden hat racks for my wall. I have to hang my vintage hats somewhere...

Vintage Silver Cuff with Gold Overlay
Made In India Sticker

Vintage Silver Cuff with Gold Overlay
Tarnish spots

Black Leather Belt with Studs
Unknown Maker
Vintage Wooden Hat Racks
In the purses section, I spotted an Etienne Aigner mini purse made of cream colored raffia with brown leather trim and handle. With its long leather strap, it can double as a cross-body bag or as a shoulder purse. And since the strap has clips on both ends, I can take it off and hold it by the small leather handle at the top of the purse. Under that strap is a woven leather bar that adds to the unique look of the purse. And at $5.00, it was a really good deal.

Etienne Aigner Mini Purse
Cream Raffia and Brown Leather
Etienne Aigner Mini Purse - Detail

But my pièce de résistance of the entire shopping excursion was actually found at the beginning. After looking through all of the dresses, I scanned the end of the racks at the little displays. Hanging there amongst a bunch of purses, to include a real coach bag, there was a dark brown leather purse with lighter brown trim and a monogram design. Most people would have taken one glance at this purse and have thought that it was a cheap knock-off that had been left at a thrift store. Nope, not this purse. I looked inside of it and determined that it is in fact, a real Louis Vuitton. Yes, you just read that correctly.
Louis Vuitton Purse
Dark Brown Leather with Light Brown Leather Trim

Louis Vuitton Purse Detail
All-in-all, I'd say I had a pretty good day. My Puff ate her lunch, played well with the other kids at the playplace, and was super well behaved in the store. And my entire haul cost less than what the original owner paid for the Louis Vuitton purse. It still boggles my mind that people get rid of those purses. I'm keeping mine forever and they're going to be turned into family heirlooms. Hopefully The Puff will appreciate that foresight when she gets older.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Oktoberfest 2011

It's that time of year again - October!  And that means that the Germans are already celebrating with another fest.  The Germans really know how to work hard and to play hard.  There are fests for everything: Spring, Fall, Christmas, wine, fish, you think of it, there's probably a fest for it.  Having lived in Germany for three years, my family and I were so happy to have found a real German Biergarten in the area.  And to make matters even more fun, the owners (from Germany) throw an anniversary/October Fest every year! YAY!!!

Our usual Sunday routine involves going to Mass at a really cool Gothic inspired church in the older part of our town.  Once Mass lets out, we slowly wander down the road to the local children's museum and spend about an hour running around and playing with everything.  Then, The Puff looks at me and tells me, "I'm hungry."  "What do you want to eat?"  "I want Spätzle and goulash, please.  And a pretzel."  So we then head back down the street to the Biergarten and see our usual waiter (my daughter's in love with him and has been since she was about 6 months old) and get our usual lunches.  It is so, so, so good.

Last year was the first time we went to the Octoberfest and we had a great time.  The Puff ran around with the other little kids and had a lot of fun.  We ate a real lunch at the restaurant before we went to the fest site, which worked out really well.  My parents were both there and the five of us were able to site at the tables and relax with our beers.  This year, my mom is on a trip to visit a long-time friend, and my dad is off in Djibouti doing who-knows-what.  And yes, it's a real country.  And yes, the capital of Djibouti is in fact, Djibouti.  It's really funny when The Puff talks about Grandpa being in Djibouti.  Ponder that one for a minute.

I will admit that I had actually forgotten that today was the Octoberfest celebration.  I had spent the entire day reorganizing our shed, doing the laundry, and potty training my little one.  It wasn't until my mom sent me a text asking if we had had a good time.  Thankfully, my husband was already on his way home, so it didn't take too long for us to get cleaned up and dressed.  We got to the party pretty late, so we didn't get charged for admission and then the owner gave my daughter a big plate of potato salad - YUM!  Of course my daughter had spotted the cheesecake and was asking for it the entire time my husband was off getting our beers.

After downing our beers, we loaded up in our car and drove to the actual restaurant to get a real meal.  I mentioned in the earlier paragraph how good their cooking is.  Let me just repeat myself on that note: AMAZING.  It was some of the best schnitzel I've had in a very long time.  Delicious.

And of course, what kind of mother would I be if I didn't dress my daughter in a tiny dirndl and pop a vintage hat on her head?  My parents travel a lot, and they often get to go back to Germany.  On my mom's last trip out there, she picked up a red dirndl (her favorite color) with wooden buttons, a white shirt with a red trim on the ruffles, and a matching red and white apron.  It's so stinking cute!  I put her in a pair of white tights since it's getting a bit chilly at night and glittery pink slip-on shoes.  Okay, okay.  So the pink glittery shoes aren't authentic German dirndl attire, but they were the best shoes I had available for her to wear.  Tennis shoes and sandals were not options.  While walking out of the house, I grabbed a vintage wool fedora with a leather trim and a little golden accent on the leather.  I think it's probably from the 1960's and it's in great condition.

I chose a vintage red cotton dress with a white floral pattern on it.  It was homemade, and is from the 1960's or so.  I found it at my local Goodwill and just fell in love with it.  I'm not usually one to wear red, but this dress was just too special to leave behind.  And the best part?  It was half off.  Danke schön!  It's not a dirndl, but it's close enough and it fits like a charm.  I paired it with my white leather and cream raffia belt with golden accents by Michael Kors.  I also wore my brown leather t-strap wedges by Highlights (half off at Salvation Army), and yes, I wore pantyhose.  Like I said, it's starting to get chilly at night here and I didn't want my legs to get cold.  I kept it simple with just my wedding and engagement rings, light makeup, and my hair pulled back into a half ponytail.

My husband initially bypassed my choice of shirt and went with a white t-shirt under an olive green sweater.  But I convinced him to wear his red and white checkered button down shirt with a cream colored sweater.  What can I say?  We didn't match, we coordinated.  Now it's off to bed, because a good German meal will make you sleepy in the best possible way.  Gute Nacht und auf wiedersehen!

On The Puff:
Dirndl - Present from grandparents - Turi Landhaus, Germany
White tights - Wal*Mart
Glittery Pink Shoes - Target
Hat - Wool with leather trim and golden accent - Vintage
On The Puff's Mommy:
Dress - Cotton with white floral design - Handmade vintage, Goodwill
T-Strap Wedges - Brown leather with a 1920's design - Highlights, Salvation Army
Belt - White leather and cream raffia with golden accents - Michael Kors, TJ Maxx
Pantyhose - George, Wal*Mart
 P.S. - Could I get this picture to look any more like it was taken in the 1960's?

2011 Bartenders' Ball

My husband and I have finally gone somewhere that required us to get really dressed up. I must add that I am about 6 months late in posting this and that this is centered around a very sad story...

Sadly, almost 1 year ago, my husband's friend from the police academy was found murdered on the side of a road.  He left behind a loving wife of a year and a half and a happy baby girl who was 8 months old.  His killer has not been caught yet, but we cling to the hope that that person will be brought to justice.  The local sheriff's department set up a bank account in his honor so his widow can continue to pay her bills and provide for their daughter.  It was announced at the beginning of the year that the annual Bartenders' Ball would benefit our friend and her daughter, along with Operation Smile and Volunteers of America.  Naturally, I went online and bought two tickets and reserved a room at the hotel hosting the large event.

As the ball drew closer, my husband was trying to make excuses for not going because he is uncomfortable with the media and large crowds of people drinking.  I told our friend to tell my husband that she had already reserved tickets for us and that she really wanted us to be there.  He has an incredibly hard time telling her no, so he obliged and got fitted for a tuxedo.  The party was on.

When we finished checking into the hotel, we met up with our crowd and got our armbands.  I had purchased the $35.00 armbands that got us into the party, but we quickly upgraded to the $100.00 armbands that got us into the VIP area and unlimited alcohol for the entire function.  That's right - unlimited alcohol.  Best upgrade I've ever made.  During the party, and after my husband had consumed a few beverages, I told him the truth about me having purchased our tickets.  He thought it was funny and our friend and her brother told him that they were sorry they had "lied" to him.  It was forgiven pretty quickly.

All in all, it was a good party.  We stayed together as a group, almost like a group of siblings, and danced the night away.

I guess I should talk a bit about what I wore to the Bartenders' Ball.  The theme was "Red Carpet Attire," so the four ladies in our group really turned it out.  Our friend wore a beautiful white and blue dress that had a halter neckline and a really pretty updo.  Her best friend from high school (and a crafty mommy of three) wore a stunning red dress that worked wonders with her curves and her perfect tan (some people are so lucky).  Her victory rolls were the perfect finishing touch.  Our friend's partner on the streets (they were on the bike patrol) wore a blue satin dress with crystals on the straps.  The blue of her dress perfectly complimented the memorial tattoo on her back for our friend.

I had decided to wear the Zac Posen for Target dress that I had purchased the year before.  You know the one - it's the floor-length multicolor dress with black safety pins silk screened all over it.  It fit perfectly and I couldn't have been happier with that purchase.  Kudos to you, Mr. Posen.  My hair, a weird blondish brown - bronde if you will- was put up in an ornate updo that looked like something Joan Holloway would wear in Mad Men (love that show).

Joan Halloway-esque
(Thakoon for Target shirt and Proenza Schouler for Target cardigan)
I got my makeup done by the same talented woman who did my makeup for the Adam Lambert concert - see my profile picture.  Since I hadn't been in the sun for months, I was a nice ghostly shade of pale, so she evened out my skin tone and gave me a cat eye and a very bright pink lip.  I had my toenails painted bright pink and my finger nails done in yellow.  I had the guy paint a little black safety pin on one of my thumbs.

Thumbs up for safety pins!
 As far as accessories, I didn't wear any jewelry besides my wedding and engagement rings.  I felt that the dress had enough power to stand on its own and quite frankly, I think it would have looked cluttered.  My purse was a hot pink clutch that I found years ago at an antique mall for less than $10.00.  For sentimental purposes, I wore my Iron Fist Zebracorn heels.  At almost 5 inches, I was more that a little nervous about walking around and dancing all night in them.  The sentimental part comes in because I had worn them the previous August on my birthday and I ran into our friend while he was working guiding pedestrians and drivers in the rain.  We stood there talking for about 5 minutes about his daughter, his wife, how blissfully happy he was.  So, for him, I wore those bad boys for the entire time, not once taking them off.  I'll spare you the brutal photographic evidence of my feet.

Iron Fist's Zebracorn Heel
Here is our picture on the red carpet from that night.  I put a heart over my husband's face because he really doesn't want his picture out there, and I respect that.  I'm also not going to post pictures of our friends because of privacy issues.  I hope that if you take only one thing from this blog, that it's to cherish your friends and family, because they can be taken away from you in an instant.  To our friend who was murdered: We love you, we miss you, and we'll never forget you. 

On the red carpet