The Cure for the Summertime Blues

Less than a week away from the official start of Autumn and, for once, the thermometer is matching the calendar. With these recent cool mornings and and pleasant days, it's clear that the cure for my summertime blues is truly the changing of the season. 

But, just because it's cooler out doesn't mean I'm pulling out my favorite wool skirts and sweaters in all their lovely autumnal tones. 
As summer winds down, I'm still selecting lightweight cottons in whatever colors they might be (here's a reminder to seek out more fall-colored cottons) which means I get a chance to wear this fun polka dot skirt I picked up a few weeks ago.

I wore this outfit to run a few errands and nearly made it home before someone I encountered mentioned Lucille Ball. Out of all the wonderful outfits that appeared on I Love Lucy, I'm not quite sure why the polka dot ones have stuck pop culture memory but, never fail, red curls and polka dots always seem to bring on the Lucy comparisons-- not that I'm complaining. 


From Head to Toe

Scarf-- Echo brand, Japan via Fair Sails
Pearl earrings-- Gift from my beau
Necklace-- Fair Sails
Top-- Mossimo brand, Target
Belt-- Thrifted
Skirt-- Rockport brand (90s), flea market find
Watch-- estate sale find
Shoes-- Ralph Lauren, DSW

Never did I think I'd show up on the blog in one of my white undershirts, but here I am! Sometimes you just need a simple white top. 


Wednesday at the Grove

Wednesday has quickly become one of my favorite days of the week as it often finds me at one of my favorite places, Poplar Grove Plantation

The House & Grounds

Built around the same time and in the same Greek-revival style as the Pelletier house, the manor house here at Poplar Grove was home to the Foy family who oversaw the operations of the self sufficient plantation that surrounded it.
 In its 19th century heyday, the plantation stretched from the plank road that ran just in front of the manor (which is now a busy paved highway), all the way to the salty shores of the coastal sound hundreds of acres away.  

Beside the manor house there is an incredible pomegranate tree that was just loaded with fruit.

The back porches of the house and the brick kitchen/root cellar

The house and grounds are open for visitors and give a little peek into what coastal plantation life would have been like in the 1800s. Just beyond the house there is a tenant cabin and beyond that lies a pasture filled with horses, pigs, goats, and chickens, all part of the plantation's animal sanctuary. 

Pigs at the animal sanctuary.

An outbuilding near the animal sanctuary had this great old gas pump, a relic from the later days of plantation life.
The plantation was in operation through the 1970s. 

The Market

On Wednesdays, in the dappled shade of the old oak trees, a farmer's market is held, filled with local meats, cheeses, produce, plants and hand crafted goods. Until I visited this market, I had no idea what an agriculturally rich and creative area this was; finding this market was like finding a little bit of paradise and a piece home. 
Thanks to some early rain, it was a slow day at the farmer's market. 

On this particular Wednesday, I picked up some wonderful local goat cheese, a bottle of Scuppernong wine, and a button fern. Minus the fern, my purchases could have been found being produced here at the plantation when it was in its heyday.

After I had made my selections, I was kicking myself for not stopping by this cute little camper for some chocolates! Oh well, that gives me incentive to return to the market (not that I needed any!).

It is my dream to someday own a little camper like this and drive to 'round the country visiting every flea market I pass along the way.

The Nature Preserve

While the plantation no longer lays claim to the hundreds of acres it once did, beyond the animal sanctuary is a tract of land that once belonged to Poplar Grove and is now a nature preserve. After wandering around on the sweltering plantation grounds for a few hours, a stroll along the shady paths of the nature preserve was too inviting to resist. 

I found this swing but was too short to hop up on it.

And better yet, when I finally reached the bridge at the mill pond, I was greeted by a terrific downpour that soaked me through and cooled me down immensely. 

This pond always has more turtles than I have ever seen anywhere else. Everywhere you look, little turtle heads are poking up out of the water and every log is packed with shell clad sunbathers-- it's really a sight to behold.

Look closely and you can spot the turtle heads!
Whenever I think about upgrading my camera to a DSLR, something like this happens and I'm incredibly glad for my little waterproof point and shoot.

The Outfit

Nice and simple:
Hat-- Forever 21
Dress-- vintage, a gift from a hometown acquaintance
Shoes-- Target  

Getting caught in the rainstorm definitely validated my outfit selections for the day; by the time I made it back to the plantation my dress was nearly dry. I can't imagine a southern summer without cotton dresses and hats! 
The rain, and the humidity, also validated my decision to let my hair go naturally curly, but that's a story for another time...

Poplar Grove, with its animal sanctuary, farmer's market, and adjacent nature preserve is such a special place. Recently, it has been publicized that the plantation is struggling financially and may have to close its doors. On a summer Wednesday, when it is free to mill about the market and the grounds, it seems like this is impossible. It's clear from the Wednesday crowd that I'm not the only one that loves this place, I just hope everyone loves it enough to try and save it.


Orange You Glad

On a classic (sweltering) Carolina summer day, I stopped by the oldest building in the little city of Jacksonville, North Carolina: the Pelletier House. 

One hundred and sixty some years after its construction as a home and office for the Pelletier's turpentine operation, this little white Greek Revival building still stands right where it always has: on the banks of the New River, atop Wantland Spring.

Sitting here on the Pelletier porch, I found myself imagining all that this little house has seen-- the wars, the fires, the hurricanes, the march of progress-- and marveling at the fact that it still stands. It's hard to tell from the photographs, but just beyond the Pelletier house lies the once-bustling heart of Jacksonville. From the front porch you can see the courthouse, the cobbled streets and the many brick buildings of what was once the busiest part of town. 

In its time here, looking over the river, the Pelletier house has witnessed the replacement of the very ferry that spawned this little community with not one, but two bridges. It has seen the days of horse and wagon come and go and seen every incarnation of the automobile. And, while modern life bustles around it, here it sits just as it always has.

Most amazingly though, through most of the changes it has witnessed, the Pelletier house was actually inhabited by a Pelletier. While vacant for the last sixty years, up until the mid-1950s the house was lived in by the daughter of the man that built it. After her death, the house passed into the hands of her son and eventually the county historical society. And for that I am glad.

I am glad to have taken the time to stop and visit the Pelletier house, glad to sit think about all that it has seen, all that came before it, and glad to imagine all that is yet to come.
 I am glad, too, that places like this still exist and are being preserved.

Scarf-- thrifted
Blouse-- antique shop
Skirt-- thrifted
Shoes-- Payless
Straw handbag-- antique shop near Lake Placid, NY


Blue, White & Red

What I wouldn't give now, as we enter these sweltering dog days of summer, to return to this afternoon by the bay. The gentle rumble of thunder in the distance, a soft storm-cooled breeze and the smell of rain in the air-- it was a beautiful way to wrap up a lovely day of indulgence.

A self declared, yet undeserved, day off (I'm terrible at being my own boss), I took in bit of window shopping, got a fresh haircut, and spent sometime exploring history at the Wrightsville Beach Museum
Spending time so close to the beach, be it near my house or in an area like Wrightsville, this time of year is always a challenge. Places that were ghost towns just weeks earlier are suddenly packed with people: swimsuit-clad, flip-flop wearing people.

There's an osprey and its baby in the nest behind me!

As I am rarely swimsuit-clad or flip-flop wearing, save for an actual trip to the beach and back, it's safe to say that I am never more out of place when spending time near the beach but not on it.

 On days like this, I answer a lot of questions (where are you going all dressed up? do you always look like that?), attempt to graciously accept awkward and sideways compliments and smile politely at those that stare. 

Funny thing about this outfit is that nothing, save for the scarf, is vintage. Take that away and this ensemble can be entirely procured at any modern mall or shopping center.

 There is a certain shame that comes with admitting this fact, partially because I love having a story to tell about my clothes (it makes my answers to those aforementioned questions so much more interesting) and also because there is a bit of disappointment in knowing my clothes were made overseas-- a big change from my usual American-made, or even homemade, vintage.

 It also seems odd that my patriotic hued ensemble features pieces made in Cambodia and China.  

Vintage scarf signed Honey-- estate sale find
Sweater-- Maurices
Dress-- Old Navy
Belt-- Thrifted
Shoes-- Ralph Lauren

This dress was purchased in a moment of weakness while shopping with a friend who loves to frequent the major discount chains and fully supports the new American tradition of disposable fashion. 
It has been nearly a decade since I purchased anything from Old Navy and now, after bringing this dress home, I fully understand how folks can cast aside a garment so easily. 

I suppose one shouldn't expect quality from a $13 dress, but when I can find a high quality vintage garment at a thrift store for nearly half the price, I'm disappointed in how I chose to spend my money.

I in no way intend to let this dress become disposable. I hereby swear to care for it, to alter it to fit, to reinforce the seams and to replace the zipper when it (inevitably) ceases to zip, just as I would any other dress in my collection.   

I also swear that, this July Fourth, I'll be wearing something made in the country whose independence I am celebrating. 


Style Study: Amelia Earhart

A recent post on my shop's (Fair Sails) Facebook page, celebrating the 87th anniversary of the first transatlantic flight completed by a woman, lead me to scouring photographs of famed aviatrix, and America's favorite tomboy, Amelia Earhart. Well aware of her feminist spirit and accomplishments in aviation, I was surprised to discover her fashion line and impeccable style. 

Before this discovery, the image I had of Earhart was along the lines of the one above: leather jacket and cap, vest and tie-- the typical apparel for aviators (male and female) of the time. What I failed to realize, until this very moment, was exactly how well Earhart pulled off this androgynous look, which is really something to be appreciated from a fashion standpoint.

In her personal fashion, along with her clothing line (which she models above), Amelia Earhart favored simplicity, with little frill or embellishment save for a scarf, a string of pearls, and, of course, her winged aviator pin. 
Declared one of the ten best dressed women in America in 1934 by the Fashion Designers of America, her simple, practical approach to fashion obviously worked.

Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt, 1935
There is something so modern about Amelia's ensembles, a point which is even more obvious here juxtaposed with Eleanor Roosevelt's outfit. Amelia's hat, again a nod to menswear, paired with that giant bow and fur, is fresh and sophisticated.

This is one of my favorite Earhart ensembles. The jacket and skirt flatter her tall, thin frame, and that blouse is truly amazing-- I can't help but wonder what it looked like without the jacket.
 Shorten the skirt a bit and this outfit would not look out of place in 2015.

It might be safe to say that scarves were Earhart's signature accessory.
 She wore them often, many different patterns and styles, worn in many different ways.

I particularly like how she is wearing her scarf in the photograph below. Such a smart way to change the look of an otherwise ordinary button up. I think it particularly works with the ensemble below because it connects with the dark knit collar of her jacket. 
I'm also really loving her hair here too; I can totally relate to her curly, unruly, cropped cut. 

This last photograph is the earliest of the bunch and possibly the most lovely. Behind Earhart, the large brims of ladies hats can be seen in stark contrast to hat she wears, almost a flap-less, feminine play on her aviator cap (and are those feathers?). Long strands of pearls, a flowing neckline and check out those fur cuffs on her jacket-- so elegant!

In the past I've assumed that it pained independent women, like Earhart, to conform to fashion and wear dresses, however Earhart appears to exude confidence no matter what her ensemble. While Earhart's fashion line was understandably a means to make money for her flying endeavors, it also stemmed from a desire to see more functionality in fashion. 
Clothing for "active living," a modern notion just as much ahead of its time as Earhart herself.