4.10.2015

The Details: Lauren Bacall

Like many a vintage lovin' gal, I enjoy time spent perusing old images, scanning them for details-- the brows, the lashes, the lips, and these days, I've been paying particular attention to the accessories. 

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I was surprised to notice these coin bracelets on Lauren's wrist. A bit bohemian, they give the air of a well traveled woman with eclectic taste. 
While picking a vintage coin bracelet, like these, would be lovely, collecting coins while traveling, or finding weathered and worn ones at the beach, would make an interesting bracelet with some personal significance.




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A more anticipated accessory, Lauren's classic rhinestone-studded flower brooch coordinates with her dress. I really like the placement of the brooch on the seam of the dress, something to keep in mind!





I'm loving the color scheme here-- the color of Lauren's massive ring with her slacks, the gold of the ring with the golden bangles she wears on each arm; I'm also loving what looks to be an orange-red on her nails-- so summery! This is definitely an image you want to view in full.




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There's that ring again, gosh it's gorgeous! 
And note that feminine wrist watch. 
Accessorizing is kept minimal with the loud pattern of this summer suit.



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I had to include this shot from The Big Sleep; look at those talons! I also can't help but notice the shading on Lauren's lips and her bottom lip is overdrawn to create the illusion of a fuller pout.


If you want to view more high quality images of Lauren, and hundreds of other stars, I highly recommend visiting Dr. Macro.



3.03.2015

Kirby




Way back in October, after months of discussion, my beau and I finally decided the time was right to add another pup to our pack-- a friend for our dog Sam Fisher. So, one chilly Sunday morning, we stopped in at our local Petco and visited a number of dogs in need of a home. Metal crates lined the sidewalk, their occupants eagerly wagging their tails or barking, trying to gain our attention and affection, all except one little blonde dog, Kirby.

I had read about Kirby online, she and her mother and brother were saved in the 11th hour from a kill shelter and brought into foster care with this rescue. The shyest in her family, and seemingly a challenge for potential adopters, Kirby had been passed over for months as her mother and brother and other more sociable dogs were adopted around her. 




For a shy, scared dog, the hustle and bustle of an adoption fair, especially one held in front of a busy store, is torture. Huddled in the back of her crate, quivering with fear, Kirby stole my heart. 

The thought of leaving her there, to return weekend after weekend for more torture, was more than I could bear. But, there was a lot to consider: were we capable of taking on a dog this shy? Could we give her what she needs to become a confident dog? Would she fit into our family?
We left the adoption fair with a lot to think and talk about.



The next weekend, thanks to the wonderful people at the rescue, Adopt-An-Angel, and Kirby's fantastic foster mom, we brought Sam Fisher to meet Kirby in her own yard. Kirby hid while Sam explored the new space; the joyous play, the interaction we hoped for, didn't happen but neither did the growling and snapping that we feared. 
After a bit, we loaded Kirby and Sam into our car and drove home. 




We didn't have a trial run with Sam, we agreed to adopt him before meeting him and brought him home with the idea that, regardless of the challenge, we were going to make it work, and it has worked-- Sam has grown into a sweet, affectionate, albeit stubborn, dog.

With Kirby we were granted a trial run, and the option to think-- "this is too hard, we can't do this."

By the end of the first weekend, Kirby had spent hours hiding behind the couch, cowering from my beau, and joyously playing in the yard with Sam. For every positive, like the fact that Sam liked her, there was a bundle of negatives. 

Walking her was a challenge (and still is) and by the first Monday morning, she had already spent time lost in a swamp thanks to my poor decision making and inability to control her on a leash. 
That Sunday evening, as we called and called for her, I had decided, through tears, that this was not the dog for us, she was just too much to handle.

Thanks to neighbors that heard some crashing in the woods, we found her, up to her neck in brackish muck, stopped only because she couldn't run any farther. Climbing through the thick brush of the coastal swamp, my beau waded into the waist deep mud and scooped her up, emerging with a cold, scared, now black dog in his arms, and carried her home.

 In the next hour or so that it took to bathe her, something changed. She was quiet and scared but calm, letting us clean the mud from her body and gently wipe the muck from her ears. Covered in towels on the bathroom floor, she looked up at me and I imagined that there was a glimmer of thanks among the fear, and in that moment, 
I decided "this is hard but we can do this."  


First trip to the beach!


From then on, we've tried our best to help her conquer her fears. Progress is slow, but each little bit of confidence she gains is something to be celebrated. 


Catching snowflakes

While there's still plenty of progress to be made, after four months, she no longer cowers from my beau, nor hides behind the couch, and while she still loves to play with Sam, she is now venturing into the yard on her own to chase squirrels, dig holes and catch the occasional snowflake.

She's a happy dog.





2.24.2015

Cropped



  
With my short cut of last year and this, the latest installment in my hair saga, February has officially become the month of change for me. After all, there's nothing better to break through the ennui of a long winter than doing something drastic. 



Read about my coat and hat here.
My gloves are a recent thrift shop find (only a quarter!)


There's also nothing quite like the absence of hair to make you consider your features. 

Looking at these pictures, I'm suddenly aware of the squareness of my jaw and the unexpected width of my face, both of which I see now are only enhanced by the low, heavy, asymmetrical bang. 

Surprisingly enough, there are so many to ways to style this cropped do, so I shall keep trying until I find some style that really flatters my face (there has to be something, right?).  
I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted with my natural curly texture and to finally being rid of my brittle hypothyroid hair.


Scarf, brooch and my favorite grey sweater-- thrifted
Pearl earrings-- a gift from my beau
Read more about the skirt here.





While I have never been particularly attached to my hair, now that it's gone it is amazing to me how it served as a sort of security blanket, something that I clung to distract from my insecurities. On a good hair day, with long hair, it always felt like it didn't matter what my skin looked like or how I was dressed, my hair would command the most attention and draw the focus away from everything else. 

With shorter hair, it feels like everything is under a microscope, and that's a feeling I actually welcome-- what an opportunity to explore and develop my personal style.








1.26.2015

Gramma's Pearls


On the morning of January 11th, I restrung the string of glass pearls that I wore (and broke) on my wedding day, the pearls my grandmother, Evey, had given to me. On that morning, Gramma was on my mind; hours earlier, she had passed away. 

After a long struggle with smoking related illness and, more recently, the pain and disorientation of not being able to get enough oxygen, Gramma slipped away while sleeping, not in a hospital or nursing home, but at home and in her favorite chair. I think of her, alone in the dark, with Pa (her husband of nearly 60 years) sleeping soundly in the next room, and hope that her final moments, moments she had thought on with such dread and anxiety, were painless.  


In the days since her passing, I've given much thought to my time with her while trying to keep my mind from that dark place of guilt and shame for not visiting more, not calling, not showing her how much I appreciated her and for not being there at the end. My mind skims over holidays, vacations, and afternoon visits to Gramma's: time spent with my hand in a cookie jar, playing pool, exploring her spooky sprawling house, or rummaging through her craft room.

There's one recent memory that I've polished in my mind, a bright moment in time that I see now how lucky I was to share with my grandmother and that this picture, below, illustrates so perfectly. 


As I attached the corsage to Gramma's blouse on my wedding day, Gramma shared the story of her pearls with me and helped me calm my pre-ceremony jitters. We held hands and chatted, I, kneeling down in my fluffy white dress in front of her, and she as comfortable as she could be in the heat. 

Gramma made it to all but four of her ten grandchildren's weddings, and as many birthdays and holidays and baby showers as she possibly could. Just shy of celebrating her sixtieth wedding anniversary in February, and her eighty-third birthday in November, she lived a long life that, even after her passing, I'm still learning so much about.

Gramma through the years (that's baby me that she's holding!)



As my grandfather adjusts to his new life as a widower, new stories have surfaced about his life, his marriage, and Gramma. One of Pa's new old stories describes Gramma climbing over another woman to sit next to him in the car (and that was before they were even going together!) and reveals so much about what kind of a woman she was. I can't wait to hear more of Pa's stories.

...



This seemed like a good time to resurrect the old home movies that captured life in the 60s for my mom's family, so I took a film movie that had previously been converted to VHS, then to DVD, and brought it to the internet for family far and wide to enjoy. 


While Gramma was primarily behind the camera,  I love this shot of her, around seventeen minutes into the film, holding a stringer of fish with a friend. Having had white hair for as long as I can remember, I love seeing this Gramma staring at me from across the decades, smiling and looking like we could be sisters. I have her nose, her hair, and now her pearls, and with this love of books she has passed down through the generations, perhaps someday I'll develop her sharp wit. 





My cousins and I have made a place for Gramma on our charm bracelets. On my bracelet she has found a home nestled safely next to my bookworm charm, a fitting place for such an avid reader. 



I'm not a believer in heaven or any sort of great beyond, but it's a nice thought to imagine her peaceful and comfortable somewhere, sitting in her chair and starting the next chapter of a good book.




11.12.2014

Honor





On Friday evening, I had the honor of attending my fourth Marine Corps birthday ball on the arm of my brown-eyed handsome beau. As usual, it was a night filled with pomp and circumstance, cake, camaraderie and the finest dancing you'll ever see.
Each ball comes with its fair share of speeches from the Commandant, the commanding officer, a guest of honor, all recalling the Corps' illustrious past, commending the brave, and thanking those who stand behind and support a Marine.
Over dinner, light discussion is usually had about orders, duty stations, deployments and dependents; the trials and tribulations of life in the Corps. I take it all in, eager to understand what I'm missing, what I have yet to experience, awkwardly responding to the sentiments of gratitude sent my way for my actions as a military spouse, gratitude that I don't yet deserve for actions I have yet to perform.





While the ball is a reverent celebration and about more than dependents in sequin studded prom dresses, it's hard not to get excited about an opportunity to dress up. 

As my Instagram friends may recall, I picked up a dress in July that I thought was just perfect for the ball. A bit of 80s/90s does 50s, this dress had the sort of modest sophistication I look for in a ball gown. And, while everyone else was in flowing floor length gowns, this form-fitting, ankle-length number was a little more me.




Dress-- thrift store find (a $10 bargain)
Fur wrap-- from my aunt's mother in law
Shoes-- Payless, purchased for my first Marine Corps ball
Clutch-- Flashbax, Wilmington, NC, purchased for my first ball
Glass pearl necklace and bracelet-- Fair Sails
Earrings-- Ebay, purchased for my second ball




Friday was a wonderful start to a nice long weekend, which we capped off last night, Veterans Day, by heading out for a dinner and a movie. At the movie theater, when purchasing tickets to the WWII flick, Fury, the theater comped our tickets in honor of my beau's service-- a kind gesture that many veterans experienced yesterday when queuing up to see the same film.
As on Friday, however, I was uncomfortable with the gratitude of this gesture, having never had to step up as a military spouse. In the four years I've been with my beau, we have never been through a deployment, we have never relocated, we have never experienced the hardships of his service.

Before we reconnected, and while I was partying my life away at college, my beau was at war. I'm not sure if I will ever understand what he saw, and what he experienced or the lasting impact this has had on him. Physically, I know he will never be the same-- the toll of explosions, heavy flak and kevlar, and trench foot, to name a few things, have left him a changed man. He doesn't talk much about the psychological toll, and though he is seemingly well adjusted, and the same gentle, caring man I know his mother raised him to be, I know, too, that he grapples with post-traumatic stress disorder within himself and within the Marines he works with daily.

My beau: Iraq, 2007

I know he does not shy away from another deployment, as he has discussed going forward voluntarily, and, should the time come, I am prepared for his absence, though perhaps not the possible outcomes of his time away. 

No matter what he decides to do in his life within the Corps or beyond, I'll support it entirely and with no gratitude necessary; Marine or not, it is an honor to be his wife.