Wednesday, June 29, 2016

life lately

Stitching: I mended a vintage swing dress, which turned out to look amazing. I finished my honeycomb scarf, which I'm going to give to my brother as a terrible off-season summer birthday present. I taught myself to crochet -- I know double crochet and treble stitch now! I've also been working on some simple cotton summer dresses.

Eating: Fewer animal products again, despite what the pictures of skyr and Alpine milk chocolate would have you think :) My conscience has caught up to how lax I've been with my preferred near-veganism -- I suspended it entirely for the sake of cultural immersion in Europe, but have discovered some great veggie and vegan dishes locally since I've gotten back. ("OMG Tacos" vegetarian tacos, where have you been all my life?)

Snuggling: Chummy and "Cricket" (formerly Electra). They've both been extra snuggly lately. I think the heat slows them down. I decided to switch back to Electra's name before she came to live with me, as it's a better reflection of her personality and goes with Chummy as a duo a lot better.

Enjoying: My house! My new job! Life in general! :)


Kira xoxo

Monday, June 27, 2016

europe 2016 || château st. roch and camping le moulin

The wedding reception was held at the Château St. Roch in Martres-Tolosane, in the Mid-Pyrenées region. What a cool venue! We got to help set up the decorations as well as spend basically half the weekend there -- after the ceremony, there was dinner, dancing, games, breakfast, and lunch the following day.

The Château itself was totally gorgeous, with a really beautiful front lawn and too many mirrors for "Hey look, we're in a Château in the south of France" selfies. I think my favorite view of all was the little courtyard in the middle, which I stumbled into the following day while helping clean up (and dumping out all of the half-empty wine glasses). It was like a little bitty slice of a fantasy story setting, with roses drooping off of the old walls.

The guests were put up in a campground not far from St. Roch, called "Camping le Moulin" (Windmill Campground). It was technically glamping -- the little chalet was small but perfectly comfortable and hardly roughing it! The day after the reception, my mom and I sat in the sun and daisies on the lawn of the chalet and just took in the fresh air. I made a daisy chain, which seemed like such a European privilege as I'd never seen a grass lawn where little daisies abounded in the United States. (If someone knows a place in the US where I can lie in the grass and make daisy chains, let me know so I can go de-stress.) Upon trying to photograph the daisy crown on my head, I realized how gross my hair looked from spraying the heck out of it and dancing the night away, and I promptly ran inside the chalet to take a shower.


Kira xoxo

Thursday, June 23, 2016

why i'm not a "pinup"...and other vintage trends I don't follow

I've been paying attention to the vintage community for several years, although I only engaged with it with my own blog posts, networking, and Etsy shop within the past year. Like a lot of bloggers, shop owners, and Instagrammers involved in some aspect of the "vintage" life, I've been working to carve out a little internet presence with my own voice. For me, my engagement is to make friends, learn an art, feel beautiful, and enjoy a community that highlights an aesthetic I love.

Since it's not my current plan to become a full-time blogger, I've decided I don't have to worry about getting hits and clicks for ad money or Etsy sales. Thus, my instagram stays fairly organic, my blog posts are often varied -- in other words, I'm not single-topic, even though "vintage" is a primary one.

That doesn't mean I haven't paid close attention to what garners followers and blog clicks. I'm interested! I mean, who doesn't want a certain measure of success when they throw themselves and their aesthetic out for the world to judge? In finding my social style online, I've identified a few vintage trends that I don't personally engage in, even though if I did, I'd probably be more successful.

This isn't meant to be a judgment on bloggers and Instagrammers who choose to post in these styles -- well, perhaps the last one is a little judgy -- I follow and admire vintage lovers of all sorts! But I thought it would be an interesting thing to discuss. Without further ado, four vintage style trends I don't follow!

"Wearing vintage" as a full-time identity. There's a corner of the vintage web encompassing people who like to wear "true vintage" most or all of the time, extending to pajamas, swimsuits, and even lingerie. While this is really interesting, I don't have the money to fully-stock a vintage wardrobe, and I also like modern styles, too! I'm big on yoga pants, t-shirts, oversized sweaters, and other things that are a product of the 2010s. I tend to lean more toward vintage-inspired modern, with real vintage pieces when I can find and afford them.

I'm also not a model or seamstress full time! I'm pursuing graduate school in library and archival science -- by day, I'm a housewife and a student librarian. While vintage fashion definitely looks great in a library, sometimes my priorities are more about making coffee and settling in with a book than matching a skirt to a cardigan!

Pinup vintage. There is a lot to be learned from burlesque style icons and ladies who pursue not just a vintage-inspired aesthetic, but a specifically "pinup" one. The word pinup doesn't really narrow it down a whole lot, as it might include anything from serious pinup models and burlesque dancers who look "modern" day to day, to people who just like a dramatic, colorful vibe with voluptuous lips, fancy hair, and perhaps body modification like tattoos or corsetry.

This is for several reasons; for the first, it takes a lot of time! The hair, the makeup, the composing perfect outfits...even just for one day or one photo, dressing up in vintage takes a lot of work, let alone in pinup style! The other reason is simply it's not my thing -- Although I do like circle skirts and cute tops, my everyday look is much more understated (I hate to use the word "modest" because it's shame-loaded, but it also applies), and that's what makes me comfortable.

I think I've used the "pinup" hashtag only once or twice on my Instagram; only when I've reflected on a photo or selfie that I think shares some aspect of that side of the vintage aesthetic -- my tattoos, for example. But I don't actually make "pinup" a goal of my wardrobe or everyday wear. I certainly don't think it's a descriptor to be applied to every vintage ensemble -- that's doing a huge disservice to a whole slew of artists, and the artistic, historical, and feminist issues that pinup culture raises.

A purely fashion Instagram. I like to talk about stuff other than just my clothes and hair! I've thought about "curating" my Instagram more carefully toward glossy pictures of my vintage fashion and sewing projects, because it would probably draw more followers, but I don't want to do that at the expense of posting things about my everyday world, or accidentally curating my thoughts about what merits notice.

 As far as I've tried it, having two Instagram accounts on mobile is not as simple as having two Twitter accounts -- the interface doesn't allow toggling between them with the swipe of a finger -- so for now, that's out, and my "vintage instagram" and "regular instagram" are one and the same.

Repro consumerism. Okay, this one is definitely going to sound the most judgmental. And it is. But I have to say, I really have the hardest time with bloggers and Instagrammers whose shtick is just getting c/o and samples from popular and indie repro clothing companies (or even buying it all themselves), amassing mountains of cheaply-made clothing and being advertising for these companies. I've unfollowed upon discovering that it's just label name-dropping and no substance.

There are online vintageistas who have mountains of colorful repro clothes and are perfectly engaged, sweet, and interesting people! Also, it's not every blogger's responsibility to divulge personal stuff 24/7; some fashion bloggers intentionally keep their lives private, and that's totally cool. But I tend not to follow feeds that are just novelty circle skirt after circle skirt because I admire interaction, thoughtfulness, and creativity more than size of wardrobe.

Part of my interest in vintage is vintage sewing. And that's just my personality manifesting; I've never been happy to settle on appreciating existing art and materials; I tend to always want to learn to make and do things myself. I draw, paint, knit, sew, garden, and do DIY mainly because I can't stand to leave a creative opportunity alone! So, to me, it's hard to follow what I think of as pure consumerism.

What are your thoughts? Vintage-loving followers, and others?


Kira xoxo

Monday, June 20, 2016

europe 2016 || muret (the wedding)

Our friend's wedding took place in the main church of Muret, L'Eglise St. Jacques. While I make a habit not to post too many pictures of people I don't know or don't have permission from, I'll throw a few anonymous-ish ones of the bride and groom in ;) Additionally I probably won't mention too many details about les mariés themselves, just since I haven't gotten any particular permission to discuss them. I'll leave it at this: they're hilarious, the bride was amazingly beautiful, and it was so much fun to be there for their wedding.

It was a surprisingly lax affair; we were assured it was a "very traditional French wedding." If that's true I can only assume French weddings take place in Catholic churches, but with none of the solemnity of American religious ceremony. People talked, laughed, took pictures, interacted, and were generally very celebratory during the religious ceremony. Technically, the couple were already legally wed, because in France marriage takes place at city hall to be legalized, and then can be spiritually recognized in a church ceremony. The way one of the fellow guests put it when I asked about it: "C'est juste sentimentale," It's just sentimental. There was no wedding party, just the couple and two legal witnesses apiece. All in all, it was pretty refreshing, especially considering there are a lot of things about the obligatory stiffness of many American weddings that I actively dislike (and didn't want to host myself).

All that jabber about wedding ceremonies aside, is there any cooler place you could get married than a big old European church with everyone around you cheering and freaking out and just delighted to be there? My mom and I won "second place" for wedding guests who traveled the furthest -- the winners were the bride's friends from Ecuador. Darn!

My favorite part was probably the Ford Fairlane from the 1950s that served as the groom's arrival car, and the couple's getaway car. Parked in the church square it looked so cool!

I didn't dress vintage, unfortunately. I had planned to wear this, but it wasn't fit for cold weather. Who travels to the south of France expecting it to be in the 60s? Not us. I didn't plan any wrap or cardigan around my homemade set that would keep me warm in such conditions! We made a run to the mall and I bought a new outfit in a pinch. Oh well, at least it means I still have a nice outfit post to do!


Kira xoxo

Thursday, June 16, 2016

a lil' review long due - simply alexandra stationery!

This is so long overdue -- Alexandra from Simply Alexandra - My Favorite Things swung by to visit us here in Texas back in late February. We had a blast and it was so good to meet her -- amazing how when you follow someone's blog, you feel like you already know them and aren't surprised at all to have them show up on your doorstep!

As a thank-you, which she totally didn't have to do -- I felt spoiled that she trusted us enough to crash on our futon, haha -- she sent me a little personalized sampler of her beautiful stationery work! She also threw in some samples of 100% pure beauty products, which I looooooved, and used way too fast!

Alexandra heads up Simply Alexandra Stationery and does gorgeous work! I love her typography, color schemes, and how every project is really personal. She was working on a commission the night she hung out with us, and it was really neat to see some of her edits come together!

The wood block in the left of the photo is a return address stamp (THE BEST idea, because I love personalized return address stickers but hate buying them over and over) but it's hard to show the whole thing and maintain the privacy of my address. But you can get an idea of the font! And the little Texas symbol with the heart over Dallas! So, so cute.

Thank you so much, Alexandra!

Everyone should go check out her blog, website, and stationery instagram!


Kira xoxo

Monday, June 13, 2016

europe 2016 || muret

On our second morning in France, we took a train from Montparnasse station to Toulouse.

Our friend, who lived with us while she was an intern at Purdue in 2011, got married on the following Saturday, and our main reason for being in France was to attend her wedding in Muret, a suburb of Toulouse. While we were mostly caught up with wedding activities, my mom and I took a little walk around Muret, and I snapped some pictures.

Mostly, as is evident by this post, my experience of Muret's centre ville was the exteriors and street views. We did go out to eat and do some shopping, but those parts of the city were a lot less visually interesting! I mean...we do have strip malls in the United States, too. ;)

Whenever I travel abroad, I always marvel at how different the town and cityscapes are. Everything from the widths of the roads, to the signage, to the types of businesses at street level...every country has a unique "cityprint." It's definitely interesting from the passenger seat of a car, too! We did do a lot of driving on narrow European roads.

I teased my French friends when we drove past a highwayside McDonald's, though. "C'est trop américain!" ("It's too American!")

More pictures of Muret forthcoming in the actual wedding post!


Kira xoxo