Wednesday, December 22, 2010

happy holidays!

Things are a little busy right now (and too cold for pretty outfits!) but I'll see you all after the New Year.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

state of the me

I think I've really only got the energy to post once a week these days. I've been looking at my archives from this summer, when I was posting two or three times a day, every day, and I'm sort of boggled.

On the other hand, I'm happy with the way my energy is being channeled into writing right now. I'm managing 1000 words a day without too much trouble, sometimes more! If I keep up this pace, I'll have a novel in a couple of months.

That reminds me: if you liked the short stories I posted here, you can download them (plus two more!) as an ebook here. I named it "four love stories, and a robot," which I feel is an accurate description of the contents.

I got $150 in Barnes & Noble giftcards for my birthday/Hanukah! If anyone has suggestions for how I should spend them, I'd love to hear your ideas. So far I know I'm getting:

In Great Waters, by Kit Whitfield

The Black Apple's Paper Doll Primer, by Emily Martin

Fashion, from the Kyoto Costume Institute

Bill Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors

Bill Bryson's The Mother Tongue

Tim Gunn's Guide to Quality, Taste and Style

What else do you think I should get? I love beautiful illustrations, fashion history (and other history too!), science fiction and fantasy, YA lit, and '30s women's novels like Miss Pettigrew and Cold Comfort Farm.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

back again

Sorry for the absence; I've been a bit busy with writing and getting ready to start a new job. Here's an outfit post to make up for it:

sweater: Rugged Wearhouse (originally Ann Taylor)
belt: thrifted
skirt: thrifted
tights: Rugged Wearhouse
shoes Marshalls (originally Nine West)

I've been going to lots of estate sales lately, hunting for vintage. I've been finding lots of cute little 60s minidresses, which aren't the kind of thing I really wear, but they should do nicely for flea markets. I might just be onto something really good-- someone clearing out what sounds like a ton of plus-size vintage. We'll see on Sunday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


You can't tell, but this jumper is actually pinstriped black corduroy. It's one of my favorite things to wear in winter-- super comfy and warm, with big patch pockets. I have the straps crisscrossed in back, too. And it looks cute with a lot of different blouses, and ever with t-shirts. In short: go team jumpers.

Monday, November 15, 2010

where I thrift

Tamina asked where I shop for vintage, so I thought I'd do a roundup of the various DC-area vintage and thrift stores I frequent.

For starters, as far as I'm concerned there is one place you should absolutely be going, if you love vintage and you live in DC.

Polly Sue's is my absolute favorite. They have fantastic clothes, they're not too expensive, the women who own it are friendly and knowledgeable. There are other vintage stores in DC, but for my money Polly Sue's is the very best.

Let me also put in a good word for Moonshadow Antiques, right down the street from Polly Sue's. Moonshadow had a smaller selection of clothes, but I've found some nice things there, and they're great for accessories. There's also Rerun, on the same block, but they lean more 60s/70s (and they smell like patchouli).

There are a few vintage stores in DC proper-- I've been to Meeps in Adams Morgan, which is good but a bit more expensive than Polly Sue's. I've also been to Annie Creamcheese in Georgetown, which I found HUGELY overrated-- lousy selection, nothing from the eras I wear, and massively overpriced to boot.

So that's vintage. Now, as for thrift stores-- this might only be useful for folks who spend time in and around College Park. I mostly thrift close to home, in Langley Park, White Oak, and Bladensburg. The Value Village at 2277 University Boulevard (right near the intersection of University and Riggs) is my home base, the place I shop the most. They have three full aisles of dresses, which is more than any other thrift store in the area, and they're not bad for skirts and blouses. They can be overpriced, though, especially clothes from "good" brand names like Banana Republic.

I very rarely find real vintage there-- mostly I buy vintage-styled clothes from labels like Ann Taylor Loft and Isaac Mizrahi for Target. This is the case for most thrift stores in the area-- very little real vintage, but you can put together a vintage look if you shop carefully.

Another favorite is the two big thrift stores side-by-side at 10121 New Hampshire Ave in White Oak. These stores are probably the easiest to find for people coming from outside the area-- just get off the Beltway at New Hampshire, head north, and they're in the first big shopping center on the right. These stores, a Unique Thrift and another Value Village, are gigantic (and have dressing rooms!), and you can spend half a day shopping between the two of them. The don't have as many dresses as the University store, but they have a pretty good selection overall, and are less likely to randomly overprice things. Be sure to go on Mondays or Thursdays, when there's a 25% discount.

My other favorite is a bit of a hike, even for me: Village Thrift at 4960 Annapolis Rd. I do find good vintage here from time to time-- or at least I used to. Sadly, the selection is not what it used to be. They're down to one aisle of dresses, from three. But they do have dressing rooms, and I find good stuff there periodically. Also, they're a few doors down from my favorite bakery in the area-- they make carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting that are totally incredible.

So that's the rundown. These aren't the only places I get vintage-- I often get a lot of clothes from DC Big Flea (the next one's in January! Who's in?) and from estate and yard sales. But those are all the places I shop at regularly. If you want to go on a thrifting expedition, let me know!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the big score

Went to an estate sale this morning. They mentioned in the ad that they had vintage clothes.

Boy, did they ever.

the haul

30 dresses later, I am good and ready for the flea market my friend and I are selling at in a few weeks. Not shown: the yellow Swirl wrap dress I'm keeping.

Oh, and did I mention? They were a dollar apiece. My only regret is that I couldn't get there on Saturday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

back from Richmond

I went to Richmond for a friend's birthday this weekend, and had a fantastic time. Her party was a blast, and on Sunday I went to this awesome estate warehouse that's only open one weekend a month, where I bought a ton of old photos and a rhinestone brooch. I also finished a third short story, which is up here if you're interested. This one, I suspect, will appeal to the junk hounds among you.

Here are some of the photos I bought in Richmond:

Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm not doing NaNo

Like the post title says: I'm not doing National Novel Writing Month. No way do I have the stamina to write 50,000 words in 30 days. But I do want to write more, and I have an awful lot of half-finished short stories, so I decided on a project. I'm going to try to finish a short story every week for the month of November. I actually got two done last week-- you can see them at the blog I set up for that purpose. I'm working on story #3 right now.

So here's a question, for anyone who wants to give me a hand with story #3: If you were cleaning out an old house full of junk, some of which had slipped in sideways from alternate universes, what would you want to find?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

checking in

Sorry for the lack of posts these past few days. I've been feeling pretty under the weather, and spending more time in pajamas than anything else, so no outfit posts. Here's some pretty profiles from my Flickr favorites, though, to tide you over until I'm in the mood to get dressed up again.


Blue Dress

Lathe operator machining parts for transport planes at the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation plant, Fort Worth, Texas (LOC)

young victorian lady with a big fancy hat

dc big flea, july 2010

Reading in profile

Gloria Swanson 1919


Lovely Hat

Sunday, October 31, 2010

1930s photo album

I tried getting some pictures of the 30s photo album I bought at an estate sale on Friday. They turned out so-so, but I don't want to risk damaging the album by trying to put it in the scanner. If anyone has any suggestions for photographing an album like this, I'd really appreciate it-- especially ideas for what to do about glare from the overhead lights.

The album belonged to a British family who were stationed, not in India as I originally thought, but in what is now Pakistan. One family member may have been educated at Oxford, as there are also pictures from there. Basically, my head is full of Dorothy Sayers thoughts right now. And the pictures are amazing!

This page is incredibly charming-- the husband and wife staged and photographed a mock fight, complete with touching reconciliation at the end.

I cannot get over the sleeves on the bridesmaids. What on earth kind of infrastructure is under there, do you think?

About two-thirds of the album is pictures from the family's life in Pakistan.

This page is basically the most British thing I have ever seen in my life. What's more English than men in drag at a pantomime?

In 1935, an earthquake devastated the town of Quetta. Whoever owned my album was there.

Mostly, I'm captivated by all the little daily-life pictures.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Today's outfit is nearly all Rugged Wearhouse. I used to shop there a lot, and found really great stuff (like the Anthro sweater and Madewell jeans), but lately it's all been no-name brands and very poor quality. I hope it picks up again!

I went to an awesome estate sale this morning, and got a bag of scarves and four-- four! --vintage photo albums. One is of a British family that lived in India in the 1930s. I am super excited about these-- pictures forthcoming!

For the record, today I am not wearing jeans because I'm sad. I'm wearing jeans because I need to do laundry.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

comics, vintage style

No outfit post today; I'm being lazy. Let's talk about comics, instead.

I am a total comic book nerd, although I haven't been reading superhero comics much lately because they tend to hurt me in the feminism. One of my favorite comics, though (and one that definitely does not hurt me in the feminism) is Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier. It's drawn in an amazing vintagey style-- I absolutely cannot get enough of his Lois Lane, or his Wonder Woman. And the story's wonderful, too. It's the comic I pick up to remind myself why I love comics.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

at long last

I have a problem where I buy an item of clothing, and it sits and sits on its hanger for ages before I ever wear it out of the house. Sometimes I do this because it's a little too small, and I'm waiting to lose a little weight; sometimes it's because I don't have anything that goes with it yet; sometimes it's because it's a little more daring than what I usually wear and I haven't gotten up the nerve to wear it yet.

Today's dress is one such item of clothing.

I thrifted this jumper aaaages ago, but it was a little too tight and I didn't know what to wear it with. And when I found a blouse that worked, I thought the outfit was a little too schoolgirl-y, and didn't try wearing it out for the longest time. Well, I lent it to a friend for a Dragoncon costume, and she looked so cute that I decided I had to at least try wearing it myself. And it worked out just fine.

Monday, October 25, 2010

okcupid round two

I went on my second OkCupid date yesterday, and it was really fun! We saw the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibit was actually all paintings from the collections of George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg, of all people! It makes sense if you think about it, though, because they're both kind of obsessed with nostalgia; I just hadn't known they were such big fans of Rockwell.

I don't have any pictures from this part of the date, because there was no photography allowed in the exhibit. But I can tell you that the paintings were totally gorgeous up close, and it was really fascinating to see the preliminary sketches Rockwell did before each painting. The one thing I would really have liked is more biographical information about Rockwell-- the labels on the paintings kept mentioning things like "this was painted while his second wife was being treated for depression," and making me go, okay, details please! Who was his second wife? Why was she depressed? Please allow me to interrogate this text from a feminist perspective!

After the exhibit we walked over to the Mall (that's the National Mall, non-DCists), where they were holding a science fair.

We got our picture taken with a neuron.

Then we went over to the Natural History Museum, and got to see the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef.

The coral reef was amazing to look at-- all the different textures and stitches and materials that were used, all the amazing handwork done by so many dedicated crafters. I loved it. The Reef website says that it "resides at the intersection of mathematics, marine biology, handicraft and community art practice, and also responds to the environmental crisis of global warming and the escalating problem of oceanic plastic trash," which I think sums it up pretty well.

We tried to go to one more exhibit, but by that point the museum was closing, so we headed for the Metro. I had a great time-- my date seems like a really nice, really cool guy. I think I'll see him again.