The Atlantic

Looking at these pictures now, less than a week after they were taken, it's hard to believe the weather permitted short sleeves and bare legs at the beach. 

Summer does not fade out gracefully in these parts, nor does it immediately concede to autumn come the passing of the equinox. The change of seasons here, on the coast, is a battle-- stretches of summer weather, punctuated by days of plunging temperatures and delightful sweater weather, only to have summer rear its head again. Generally, come Thanksgiving, autumn will have triumphed, claiming its victory for a few short weeks before war with winter is declared.  

A few weeks ago, Hurricane Matthew brought us a heavy dose of sweater weather. Days before his arrival, in the calm before the storm, the air was thick with sticky tropical humidity-- souvenirs from his journey through Haiti, the Bahamas, and the Floridian coast. As he pushed past us, he left behind all that cool dry continental air that he had consumed throughout his travels, the air that in fact had weakened him and saved us from catastrophe.

Unlike our inland neighbors, we fared surprisingly well here on the coast of North Carolina. We were spared Matthew's immense rain shield and his hurricane force winds and were able, once he had passed, to resume life as usual (after we cleaned up some downed branches and trees). The beach, however, was not quite so lucky as I discovered on my twilight stroll several nights ago. In spots, Matthew's massive waves devoured the dunes leaving little more than minute mounds where mountains of sand once stood. 

Matthew rolled into town on a Saturday, leading with a torrent of rain and departing with howling winds in his wake. All the while the storm lashed our home, I sat in our spare room piecing together a skirt from a swath of thrifted novelty fabric that celebrated the mother of all hurricanes, the mighty Atlantic ocean.

After the storm passed, it was so cold I was worried I'd have to wait to wear this skirt when it warmed up in the spring, but fall's fickle nature provided me with the opportunity this week.

The Outfit:
Sweater-- TJ Maxx
Blouse-- thrifted, no tag
Camisole-- JC Penney
Skirt-- thrifted fabric, sewn by me
Shoes: (seen below) Target

Sewing is a new hobby of mine and this skirt was the first project I've seen to completion on my own. The hem is crooked and the side zip is a disaster (perhaps this silky fabric wasn't the best to start with) but I'm pleased as Punch to actually have completed something.

I could not believe my luck when I stumbled on this fabric at a thrift store; the ships, the fish-- it was just the perfect bit of kitsch for my seaside life. And at $3 for several yards, I couldn't resist.

With my skirt, I wore a new thrift shop find that has gotten a lot of wear this season-- a semi-sheer blouse, and my favorite sweater that I lovingly refer to as my "rag." This lightweight knit is perfect for taking away the chill of  overly air-conditioned rooms in all seasons, and makes me feel  little less self-conscious when I wear it over a sleeveless top or dress.
 I have a few of these "rags" in my closet currently and I think, perhaps, something similar might be my next sewing project since they get so much wear.

I'm excited to give this pattern another try and hopefully hone my hemline and zipper sewing skills. I was a bit nervous about how short the skirt turned out, as most of my skirts fall below the knee, but it's not as horribly unflattering on my chubby legs as I had expected-- especially since this skirt will get the most wear during the summer. 

I wore this outfit to do some thrift shopping and pick up a few things for this year's rather elaborate Halloween projects. This year's spooky efforts involve dozens of flat bed sheets, buckets of fabric dye and lots of tassels-- I can't wait to share the results!


Cameo Summer

       At the end of February, my beau and I made the long drive back to New York to honor the memory of his uncle and to help his mother clear out her family home. My beau's grandmother had been a great collector of things, as had his uncle, which meant there was a lot to go through, a lot to throw out, and a lot to save. 
       After a week of hard, dusty work, we returned to North Carolina with a van full of treasures that we were tasked with re-homing. 

      In the months since, I've sent my beau's family treasures across the country and around the world, helping to recoup his uncle's final expenses and hopefully bringing some peace of mind to all involved with the knowledge that these old things will be appreciated.

While it was never really my intention to keep much of what we brought back, I've wound up feeling like I should hold on to some of it.  I just couldn't part with the sterling cake server used in my beau's great-grandparents wedding, or the ceramic Christmas tree made by his grandma, and the bracelet engraved as a gift from his great-grandfather to his great-grandmother seemed way too special to part with. Also, for obvious reasons, the ocean themed paintings, that hung in the family home for the better part of a century, had to become part of my home as well. 
Some of what I've saved has been things that feel at home in my home, some are things that most would consider family heirlooms, and some are things that I just plain like-- like this cameo. 
A bit of costume jewelry, nothing special or sentimental, I had every intention of adding this cameo to my shop, that is, until I put it on.

Since then, I've rarely taken it off, in fact most of my outfits this summer have involved the cameo. At this point, I have worn it enough that strangers, who have since become acquaintances, have identified me as the "girl with the big [expletive] cameo"-- hey, there are worse things to be known for!

Like the cameo, this 60s Sears dress is a new addition to my collection and has been one of my summer staples since I picked it up on our travels in July. 
With lightweight, linen-like fabric, and cheery salmon hue, it has been just the frock to beat the southern heat in style. 

Scarf-- thrifted
Cameo Necklace-- my beau's grandmother's 
Pearl earrings-- a gift from my beau

Dress-- Sears Fashions, purchased at Antiques & Interiors, Great Valley, NY (highly recommend stopping here if you're ever in the area)

Shoes-- Christian Siriano for Payless

The color of this dress reminds me of a cooked shrimp, so I wore it to our town's annual shrimp festival on Saturday night. 
Since moving here six years ago, we've only missed one shrimp festival, and while it's nothing more that some concessions, craft vendors, and live music, it's the highlight of life here in this little fishing community, so we go, eat some fried shrimp and funnel cakes, and generally have a nice time. 

The night always ends in an insane fireworks display that, in years past, has had us fearing for our safety as embers rain down on us, and always has us asking, "was that the finale?" 
This year was no different, but the wind was blowing in our favor and we were saved from that additional excitement of dodging bits of burning cardboard while we enjoyed the show.

 Images of shrimp fests past borrowed from the festival's Facebook page

It has been a great cameo summer so far! 
Here's to discovering another signature accessory for fall.



Here we are, once again, in that lush green limbo of late spring, when the first flush of seasonal color has faded away, and the burnt brown of summer has yet to descend. 

This time of year, mother nature dresses herself in green and white, wrapped up in the pale-trumpets of blooming bindweed, trimmed with lacy viburnum blossoms, and crowned with glorious blooms of the southern magnolia. 

And, without realizing, I follow suit, wrapped in my own frock of green and white.

It's been two months since my last post, and lately I've been feeling less than inspired.
Work, life, and nearly two solid weeks of entertaining house guests has sapped any energy, creative or otherwise, I've had.

It's times like this, in a moment of creative drought, that I am incredibly thankful to still be blogging. 

While the blog is a great outlet when my brain is bubbling with inspiration, it's also fantastic for resuscitating my creative spirit as it is constant encouragement to keep getting dressed and to keep exploring my world-- always searching for the perfect secluded spot to snap a few pictures. 

And, while I did little more than slip on a frock and stop by a city park (far from my goal of a grand historic site) I feel renewed-- my spirit revived. 

Last summer, after my visit to the Pelletier house (one of the few historic sites in town),  I had dismissed the small city of Jacksonville as little more than a modern monstrosity of big box stores and fast food joints, so when I stumbled on this old water-treatment-facility-turned-park in an adorably historic part of town (that I had no idea even existed!) I was in awe. 

As I tread its mile or so of boardwalk paths along the river and through the swampy forest, I could feel the strain of the past months slipping away as I admired the flora and fauna (deer, turtles, and a myriad of birds), and lined up photographs in my head. 

When I reached the end of one boardwalk, I was surprised to find a historic civil war plaque commemorating a river raid that took place in 1862-- I got my historic site after all!

And best of all, save for one fellow explorer, I had these wooden paths and trails entirely to myself and was free to set up my tripod without feeling embarrassed or uncomfortably self-conscious (though I suppose that's the advantage of exploring on a rainy weekday afternoon).

It's rare that I run into vintage clothes at an auction but one Saturday night this winter I got lucky and happened into an auction house with a whole rack of them. 

Thanks to my bid master beau, we won the entire rack and this gorgeous green and white gown was among them. While many of the other frocks are headed to my shop, I just had to save this one for myself.


It's a bit too big for me, a problem that is quite rare these days, but with its glass buttons, scalloped details, and gathered hips (below), I couldn't resist this dress.
I love how sheer and lightweight it is-- I can see getting a lot of wear out of it this summer.

I'm sure I've said it before, and I know I'll say it again, but there is something so wonderful about being able to just slip on a dress, select a pair of shoes (my Miz Mooz wedges in this case), slap on some lipstick (Besame's red hot red here), and head out the door feeling confident in the way I look. 



A week ago, I spent the first day of the last year of my twenties reveling in the splendor that is the southern spring. With the beautiful weather we've been having lately, I could think of no better way to spend my birthday than once again visiting Airlie Gardens.

In every season, Airlie is a testament to the natural beauty of the Carolina coast, but in spring it is simply resplendent. 
Each pilgrimage I've made to the gardens has been in summer, seeking refuge from the broiling sun on Airlie's moss-draped, live oak-shaded paths, but with each visit, as I approach the camellia garden, I swear that next year I'll visit in spring.
And this year I finally did.

The azaleas were beautiful too!

Airlie is a sprawling place, and though the parking lot was quite full (to include a school bus), the garden, at times, felt like a secret one-- just me and the flowers.

Despite the seclusion, I was still incredibly anxious about dragging my tripod along to snap a few photographs. While I love photographing what I wear and where I wear it, I always feel a little ashamed of the seeming excess and vanity of it all.  

But, after seven years of blogging, I can see the value in what I'm doing-- the value of having the better part of a decade of my life, my wardrobe, and my thoughts bound together here at the sea. The idea that years from now, whether I'm still blogging or not, I can look back at this chunk of time and see who I was, where I was and what I was wearing, is pretty amazing.

No matter how much I justify these photo sessions, I still find myself uncomfortable in front of the camera while in public however Airlie, of all places, is the perfect spot to embrace vanity and excess. Built in 1901 by the folks for whom the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses" was likely in reference to, this sprawling garden is about anything but moderation.

While time spent amongst plants and in nature has a rather restorative magic of its own, Airlie has a lingering residue of magical evenings, high society galas and Gatsby-esque social events of the season. Wandering the grounds, I like to imagine guests, dressed in their finest, flitting to and fro under the pergola, boating on Airlie lake, or pitching woo in a quiet corner of the camellia garden. 

There's always a note of melancholy with these imaginings as I realize that, as time passes, fewer and fewer places like this will exist. We must enjoy them while we can.   

Pink jacket-- Lilly Pulitzer, hand-me-down (story here)
I really love the acrylic buttons on this jacket, but didn't realize until after I got home that I was missing one! Luckily there is a replacement button stitched inside the jacket. 

Necklace-- Belonged to my great-grandmother, sent to me as a 24th birthday present by my grandmother.

Dress-- 70s/80s Kevin Stuart Petites, thrifted. 
A bit of a polyester monstrosity, I thought there was no way I was going to like this dress, but I tried it on anyway. My polyester aversion was no match for its pastel hues and pleats-- plus it was under $1.00!
My headband is the original belt to this dress.

Bow belt-- Delia's, years ago

Shoes-- Payless. 
I later swapped out these little punched pleather flats for white plimsolls, also from Payless.

Purse-- Target

Sunglasses-- Forever21 

Orange Airlie Admission badge

Lip color-- NYX matte lip cream "Antwerp"
I'm not super fond of this lip product, the color is pretty but the formula is clumpy and drying, but at a few dollars, what can you expect.

With large, dreamy blossoms that look like a cross between a rose and a peony, the camellia is by far my favorite plant that I have discovered since moving south. A native to Asia, many of Airlie's camellias were hand selected and imported from the continent over a hundred years ago (what a wonderful job that would be to travel the world and select pretty flowers!). 

There is such a delicate old time elegance to the blooms, and with their glossy evergreen foliage (during my summer visits to the garden, I must have walked by so many shrubs that I had no idea were camellias!) the bush is attractive year round.  

This trip to the gardens set my spring fever ablaze so it was no surprise that I found myself doing a little plant shopping on the way home. And with my love for camellias newly rekindled, it's also no surprise that I came home with a flowering shrub of my own. 

The camellia is a "messy" plant, but what a beautiful mess it is! 

I selected a "Lady Laura" camellia that, after a lot of prep work, I planted along the west side of our property line. I also transplanted an azalea and rhododendron into this area and hope to create an Airlie-inspired line of shrubs. 

It felt so good to get my hands dirty and to work outside to create something beautiful-- I hope to do it again soon. 
Here's hoping that my 29th year is the of the green thumb!



The rise of the daffodil signals a farewell to wool and corduroy in these parts as the temperatures soar into the seventies and, this year, into the eighties. Though I look forward to spring each year (the beauty of this season is unsurpassed here in the south), there's always a bit of sadness when I pack away my favorite wool skirts and say goodbye to my cozy outfits.

Orange cardigan-- thrifted, no label
Corduroy vest-- thrifted
Vintage tie--  from Mrs. Bolton, Ultra Trojan brand bought at The Kleinhans Co. Buffalo, NY (original price tag reads $2.50!)
Blouse-- Lands' End 
Skirt-- thrifted, Pendleton Woolen Mills
Tights- Hue
Loafers-- Michel M... same cheap-o loafers I always wear!

Lipstick-- Besame Merlot + Besame Carmine

My ensembles this winter have had a bit of a formula-- pops of bright colors, peter pan collars, neckties and pencil skirts. 

This last outfit of winter certainly follows suit but incorporates a few items that were on the Twin Peaks-inspired wishlist I developed in my last post
One trip to Goodwill and I was able to tick off a few of those Twin Peaks must haves: the short, chunky sweater and the vest, along with a few other pieces that will have to wait until next winter to make their blog debut. 

Sometimes my thrifting adventures can be quite aimless-- hours of pawing through racks in search of something, anything that tickles my fancy and, though sometimes an aimless trip leads to an excellent vintage find, many times I wind up with an armful of fashions that I will likely never wear. 

After a recent major closet purge, I've decided my shopping needs to have a bit more direction and that I need only bring home things that I will actually wear-- sensible, right?!

This, the first thrifting adventure of the year, quickly developed a purpose when I pulled this orange cardigan off the rack.
 If you, by chance, read my Between Yellow and Red post in January, you'll know that the color orange is a recent and surprising fascination of mine, so between the color and the waist accentuating length I had been pining for since watching Twin Peaks, this sweater was a must.

 Once one thing on my TP wishlist had been checked off, the thrifting adventure became a scavenger hunt for other items on that list. It took some digging but finally from the men's rack came the vest and instantly an outfit was born. 

While nothing genuinely vintage was found on this thrift store trip, it sets the bar high for future shopping adventures. Perhaps each time I go shopping I should actually have a wish list in mind-- what a novel concept!

Speaking of lists, I was actually able to accomplish one of those Pinterest-inspired projects on my home decor to-do list, and re-purpose a vintage umbrella that is no longer fit for service. 

I really love how this looks on my front door and, once it is no longer daffodil time, I hope to find another bunch of season appropriate flowers so I can enjoy this bit of cheery decor for a bit longer. 

Warm weather has made my curls go crazy! I'm a bit nervous as to what the hot and sticky summer will do...

For those of you on this side of the equator, has spring found you yet? 
With the change of season, what are you most looking forward to wearing and what are you most sad to stash away?