Friday, January 31, 2014

Back to the 1930's

Oh Modcloth, how I love thee, let me count the ways...

1.... They offer free shipping for orders over $50, which would probably mean most all orders
2.... They offer free shipping back to them for returns or exchanges
3.... They carry hard to find brands such as Collectif, Fleet Collection, Trollied Dolly, and
       BAIT Footwear
4.... I often find stuff on Modcloth I don't see anywhere else!
5.... Really, what more do you need? ;)

UK company Banned... never heard of them. But they came out with this lovely 1930's style dress which when I saw Modcloth was down to the last two in my size I had to make the purchase rather than risk losing it forever!

This dress is a light rose pink with peplum around the sides and along the back of the dress. It has an oversized white collar outlined with black ribbon which features a black bow neck. The white cuffs of the dress are also outlined with black ribbon and also have their own black bows. This dress if fully lined and has a zipper in the back. It's made from polyester which isn't a very authentic fabric for the design but for the unique vintage design and overall quality of the dress I was quite surprised and impressed at the price. I sized up to a UK size 16 as suggested by Modcloth's website and the dress fit my 38-30-38, 5'3" frame just right.

I tried to visit Banned's website but apparently unless you are a retailer you'll get locked out of their site. Too bad because I would love to see what other designs they have out. For now, five dresses come up on Modcloth's website when you search Banned including this beautiful dress, the "Envision Success Dress" which goes so perfectly with my cloche hats!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hellooooo Beverly!

I came home from work today to find this beautiful creation waiting for me, the Bettie Page Beverly dress.

I've had my eye on this dress since last new years, 2013 when I first saw it at the Bettie Page store at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. While it's a dress I drooled over then, I tried to wrestle with some self-restraint as at the time I was already getting so many other Bettie Page dresses that were equally as lovely. Fast forward to now... I was lucky enough to catch this dress during Unique Vintage's pin up sale! I had originally ordered this dress in a large which is my usual size in Bettie Page, if not usually a little roomy in the bust, so I was really hesitant to order this in an XL when Unique Vintage called to tell me the L was all sold out. I initially told them just to refund my money back but then had a change heart and called them back to say go ahead and send me the XL. I am so happy I did not let this dress slip out of my hands! XL fits just fine! My measurements are 38-30-38 and I'm 5'3".  I do think the L would probably have fit slightly better.. a little more fitted with a slightly shorter hem but seeing as I swooped this on a sale I think the XL is just lovely!

The Beverly is a knit dress made out of 4-way stretch textured sweater-like material. It's light green in color with bits of pink, blue, orange and purple making a very subtle diamond pattern throughout the dress. It has short sleeves, a back zip, and is fully lined in satiny light green material throughout. It's pencil silhouette and textured knit material gives it a true vintage feel reminiscent of the days of Breakfast at Tiffany's and Jacqueline Kennedy as first lady.

Here I paired it with the Bettie Page green bow belt and a string of pearls. I can also see this paired with a brooch and white short gloves to keep it dressed up or simply with a headscarf to dress it down. The Beverly is a versatile and comfortable dress which is warm yet highly breathable that I can see being suitable in winter (with a coat) or spring or fall. While Unique Vintage still has some of these available for their sale in limited sizes, you can also order this dress in more size options from Bettie Page Clothing directly.

Bettie Page Beverly dress with Bettie Page green bow belt

Side view Bettie Page Beverly dress

Detail of fabric- Bettie Page Beverly dress

Lining on Bettie Page Beverly dress

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A fine day for a tea

Saturday, January 25th, sun is out. It's an unusually hot day in January in Northern California... 71 degrees! Clear blue skies. It's a fine day for a tea and I'm glad my friends and I have reservations just for that! 

This month Lisa's Tea Treasures in Campbell is having a special Downton Abbey tea to celebrate the new season and return of the show. I figured it would be a great time to check out this tea location. I've been to the Lisa's in San Jose, and the one in Menlo Park before they moved but not to this one in Campbell. Lisa's in Campbell is in the posh biggest little shopping center, the Prueyard which in a way was a treat in itself to go to. 

Upon entering Lisa's we were immediately surrounded by beautiful colorful tea wares and tea accessories galore, giving a taste of the extravagance that awaited us. We had reservations for 11am, right when they open which is when I like it best. They sat us right away. We were the first ones to enter the room we were seated in. It was a lovely little room with 4 tables well spaced out with fun feminine floral wallpaper and lace curtains. The room was very bright and cheerful because of all the windows yet it felt a world away from the parking lot which was just outside. We were seated at the table just next to the window which was bright yet very private because of the lovely lace curtains. The table was already set up beautifully right when we came in with ginger cookies in the cookie jar, lemon curd at the table, and Royal Albert New Country Roses Rose Confetti china already awaiting us. When a tea place serves you with Royal Albert china you know you will be in for a treat! My friend and I both ordered the Downton Abbey tea while our other friend opted for something on their regular menu. The Downton Abbey tea was absolutely delicious and just as pretty as it was tasty. I was so impressed with both the taste and the appearance. I've been to a lot of teas but this one was definitely special in that it was one of the most beautifully presented, well thought out, and creatively paired creations.   

The first course was a warm baked current scone baked to perfection. Wonderfully crunchy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside, it was so full of flavor it was almost a shame to put Devonshire cream, preserves and lemon curd on it... almost but not quite! hehe. This was also served with blackberry and brie salad on a bed of mixed greens artistically drizzled with blackberry jasmine vinaigrette. It was almost too beautiful to eat! For the second course, there was an artichoke chicken florentine soup which was delicious, as well as smoked salmon tea sandwiches, chicken and mint tea sandwiches, and the very unexpected pairing of pear and herbed cream cheese tea sandwiches. Once again the items were presented like works of art and their beauty was on par with their taste. For the last course, there was sticky toffee pudding which was absolutely heaven on a plate. It was served with whipped cream and pairing the warm sticky toffee pudding with the buttery sweet pecan toffee sauce with the whipped cream... it was a taste that was like sugary creamy goodness that melted in your mouth! Sooooo good.

I was very impressed with Lisa's in Campbell. From their friendly, patient wait staff clothed in period costume of black maids outfits with lace aprons, the beautifully presented food, tea, and tea wares, to the rich feminine environment which helped usher in the mood of dainty ladyiness, attention to detail was everywhere! Also, the tea was very relaxing, a great place to sit and unhurridly chat with friends and sip tea while nibbling on treats. While their website says reservations are for two hours we were never rushed even after we stayed past the two hour limit. So far this is my favorite Lisa's Tea Treasures. I will be returning again! 

One of three rooms at Lisa's Tea Treasures in Campbell

Attention to detail is everywhere

My Lady's Respite earl grey floral blend tea in Royal Albert New Country Roses Rose Confetti tea cup and saucer

So happy to be enjoying my tea

A lovely tea with lovely friends Betty and Wendy

 And yet, the day did not stop there! 

While Wendy and I parted ways with Betty for the day, on the way back to Hayward we stopped at the super ritzy and glam shopping center, Santana Row. I love it there! We went to Anthropologie <3 and my new favorite store in Santana Row, Jest Jewels where I picked up a new fascinator I couldn't help but leave the store wearing. Jest Jewels has the biggest selection of the most awesome and most beautiful hats, facinators, hair clips and hair flowers I've ever seen under one roof! The girls in that store are always so friendly and bubbly, an inquisitive, attentive, and lovely bunch of gals! If you're ever in Santana Row this is a not to be missed stop for sure! <3

lol... like two little old ladies out for a day on the town! <3


 And yet, still the day does not end there!

 Before the end of the day was through, we were presented with the opportunity to go to Jack London Square to see comedian Pauly Shore at Yoshi's a venue for live shows well know for jazz as well as a Japanese restaurant and bar. Tim and I had been looking forward to seeing him that night but by chance the friends we were planning on going with couldn't make it so we had an extra ticket. The show was awesome! Pauly Shore was awesome. The comedians opening for him were awesome. And the food was awesome. Also... wouldn't you know it, the tea day continued into the night! Burnt Orange, please! Amaretto, hot earl grey tea, orange slice and whipped cream... tasted a little like a hot toddy.

And before I end this post for the day, let me introduce you to my lovely dress. 

My outfit of the day is a favorite from one of my favorites, Trashy Diva, the Streetcar dress in brown plaid. I wore this dress with my favorite flats, a basic, plain, but oh so comfortable pair of black flats I bought from the Gap outlet, as well as a purple plum leather Franco Sarto handbag with contrasting pink stitching my sister bought from Nordstrom Rack which I later got from her. 

Though they call the material on this dress brown plaid, it definitely is more of a purple plum color. It's a sleeveless dress which features a fully lined full circle skirt, self-lined bodice, high neckline with a matching bow at the neck as well as a self belt. This dress has a hidden side zipper and even has pockets! This amazing dress can be worn three ways: as worn this day as a 1940's style dress with the bow at the neck, you can wear it without the bow at the neck which will accentuate a low plunge slit at the chest which I feel gives the dress a more 1950's style, or with the the bow tied as a head scarf and the neckline unbuttoned which gives the dress either a 1950s or 1970's style depending on how you look at it. Though to note, I have noticed that it seems the 1970's loved to copy the 1940's as much as the 1980's loved to copy the 1950's, so maybe the open collar look is a 1940's look? This is definitely one of my favorite dresses. I love the color as well as the easy wearing feeling of the dress. Also, I love it's versatility in being able to wear it different ways.

Trashy Diva Streetcar dress in brown plaid- whoops forgot the belt!

back view of Trashy Diva Streetcar dress
right view of Trashy Diva Streetcar dress

bow detail of Trashy Diva Streetcar dress

Trashy Diva Streetcar dress with bow as headscarf and open at collar

Headscarf detail Trashy Diva Streetcar dress

C.C. Cookie wants to pose too!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

First dress of the year made by me!

It's been years since I last sewed anything from a pattern! 

Back when I used to sew more I mostly sewed Halloween costumes that I wouldn't really expect to have to be sewn too well because I'd only be wearing them for Halloween when it's relatively dark. Despite not having to have the costume come out perfect I would always have moments of intense stress while sewing. Although I would have these terrible high stress moments from sewing, it was always so nice to have the finished project! ...something I made that was ummm... almost exactly what I wanted. (I say almost because usually things wouldn't come out exactly the way I would picture them in my head because my sewing talent is a little limited).

Anyway, after reading the Dolly Clackett blog for years I am inspired to start ambitiously sewing again this time, sewing dresses I actually intend to wear out in public. I figure this would probably add to the stress factor a little more since now I would hope my dresses come out a little more professional looking than some of my old Halloween costumes... but also on the plus side, I wouldn't have a time crunch to get it done by Halloween night and so could take more time and care into what I'm making.

And so here is the fruit of my labor: my first dress sewed this year.

I went with the Butterick B4790 pattern which is deemed as "very easy". I figured I needed something easy to get me started again. I slightly modified the pattern a little under the bust line because when I found I googled this pattern the finished product ended up having a curved closure under the bustline which I didn't like. I wanted my finished product to look more like the picture on the pattern envelope. Overall I am very happy with this dress. If I made another dress with this pattern again I would shorten the torso area and make the bust slightly smaller because I feel the torso fits me a little long and the top is a little big but as I said, overall I am very happy with the finished product. Also, I am happy to report it only took me two days to make this dress (not including pre-washing and ironing the fabric). And most the second day was hemming the bottom of the skirt by hand because I didn't trust my sewing machine ;) I might just be ready to attempt an "easy" pattern next! :)

Cat Got Your Chain

Making sweater clips from earrings

As mentioned in other blogs Tim and I took a trip to Joann's where I picked up a few supplies for this project.

- a suitable chain

Oh wait, that's all that I needed. Yay!

What I had around the house:

-two extra small 1 inch alligator clips which I had left over from a past project
-a pair of large round cat earrings I bought in Alameda from Modern Mouse, a store which features Etsy sellers

I got together my supplies, chain, alligator clips, earrings, tacky glue, glue gun, and tweezers.

Comparing the chain length to other sweater clips I own I determined the length where I wanted to cut the chain in half. I did this manually by pulling apart the chain and twisting it, working it around where the chain links. Having the chain link open, I was trying to wind it through the hole in the alligator clip but the open chain link was too small so I simply placed it over the edge of alligator clip and glued it with tacky glue then waited a day for that to set.

While I was waiting, I attempted to take the backs off the earrings. This is where I ran into problems. Do I really want to destroy these earrings for the sake of a sweater clip. As a sweater clip I would probably get more use out of them... I've had these earrings for over a year and have never worn them. They are heavy on my ears and are so big... but they are cat earrings... maybe one day I would want to wear them... Ah! So I got the idea that maybe I can find the same round cat piece minus the earring backing from Etsy especially considering that the store I bought them from features sellers from Etsy. I was happy to find this guess to be true. So I waited a week for my cat cameos to come in the mail.

Now with the arrival of my cat cameos I am ready to complete this project.

I hot glued the chain attached to the alligator clip previously tacky glued on. In hindsight I should have just super glued it on in that beginning step and foregone the two glues. Also because the chain link which attaches to the alligator clip was so small it was kind of overkill to use the hot glue.

Last, I used the hot glue gun to glue the cat cameo to the alligator clip. I think here hot glue was probably the best thing to use since the alligator clip does not fit flat against the cameo.

Here is the finished project. Pretty spiffy if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sparkle Time!

Making an old brooch new again or... The Missing Piece

Here is a craft project I recently worked on.

A friend at work gave me this lovely vintage brooch she found which belonged to her mother. She said she found this cat and thought of me <3! It was so sweet of her. Because it's original vintage it was not without a few flaws from being well loved over time. When I first got it it was missing two crystals at the neck. Easy fix. I took a trip to Joann's to look for something I can use to replace the missing pieces. Clumsy me though... :( when I was going through Joann's with my arms full of my new goodies which included supplies for my next craft project (see next blog... Cat Got Your Chain) as well as having this brooch out to be able to quickly compare it to potential candidates for replacement crystals, I agonizingly dropped the brooch which fell hard and I could see pieces from it flying every which way. I thought for sure I had broke it for good! When I picked it up and surveyed the damage I found that only the third crystal fell off which may be kind of fortunate because now when I add crystals they will fully be a matching set, but I also found that the colored piece in the ear filling also fell out. I thought this piece would be much harder to try and replace so Tim and I took some time looking for this missing piece and was lucky to have found it! Anyways, I learned a very valuable lesson... always use the baskets when shopping!

Here are my supplies ready to go.

I used "Create Your Style with Swarovski Elements" crystals which I find to have excellent sparkle and a good variety of colors, tacky glue to affix the crystals and ear filling into place, a toothpick to apply the glue, and tweezers to easily move my pieces around. Glue, set, wait and voila! Like new again. :)

This is an easy-peasy project.

Thank you for looking :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Black Friday sales dress reviews!

I went just a tad bit crazy..

..over the past Christmas season's black friday and Christmas season sales and snagged all kinds of awesome deals on dresses that were on the top most part of my dress wish list! Here are the dress reviews:

My favorite dress from this set, the Stop Staring Belinda dress from DaddyO's.

I got it for 20% off during their customer appreciation sale right before Black Friday, this is off of their already low prices. I love DaddyO's because I have found them to have hands down the lowest prices on Stop Staring clothing. I don't know how they do it but I'm glad they do!

This dress is a fitted swing dress which features a large white bow at the bodice and white contrasting trim along the collar and arms. This dress is made from the super stretchy thick material we have come to know and expect from Stop Staring which gives their dresses the fit and feeling that the dress was made especially for you. I love the drape of the material which is a little stiff and keeps the swing skirt shape well as well as the fitted feel at the bodice which fits slimming without being too tight or restrictive.

Stop Staring Belinda dress

Stop Staring Belinda Dress

My second favorite dress from this set, the Trashy Diva Cage dress from Trashy Diva.

I got this for an unheard of 30% off from Trashy Diva. I have recently become a die hard fan of Trashy Diva because of their awesome designs and great quality. This dress is a little shorter than the usual retro styles I love but it gives it a fun playful feel. The top features a "cage" design at the neckline which I was at first hesitant about. I already have too many dresses which require a strapless bra so I wasn't too keen on adding to that collection but thankfully because the horizontal design I think I can safely get away without having to go strapless without it seeming too faux pas or sacrebleu! The pleating on the skirt is a to die for detail on the dress which helps give the dress weight, shape, and sophistication. The cotton material is a cotton stretch sateen which has a slight stretch and a slight sheen. Also, as is the case with most of their dresses, this dress is fully lined.

Trashy Diva Cage dress

Please don't mind the lint. We live in cat country!

My third favorite is more of a skirt or jumper, the Bettie Page Jumper from UniqueVintage.

I got this dress from Unique Vintage during their Christmas sale at 25% off. I've been eying this jumper for sometime but wasn't sure if it would suit my frame which I figure to be rectangular in shape and busty. Seeing this jumper online I thought it was adorable but also that it was everything that would be bad on my shape. I'm so glad I gave this jumper a shot because when I took this beautiful jumper out of the box and tried it on I found all my worries about it to be completely unwarranted. I think it looks great on and is a super fun design. I love that the skirt is high waisted which helps shape and also gives the look structure. The green color is vibrant and it drapes nicely. The material has a good amount of stretch to give a fitted fit.

Bettie Page Jumper

Next is a dress that I also love, the Collectif Simone Houndstooth Doll dress from Modcloth.

I got this dress from Modcloth marked 50% off their list price during their Christmas sales. I am in love with Collectif for their pants and capes, things you don't usually see from retro fashion retailers. This is my first Collectif dress. I'm so glad to see Modcloth carrying Collectif because Collectif is a UK brand not widely supplied in the US and shipping from Collectif directly usually will cost about $25! Not to mention if you end up not liking the fit of what you ordered and need to return it. Modcloth takes care of all those problems for me with their free shipping after spending $50 and free returns! The material on this dress is a soft flannel material with small houndstooth print. The covered buttons in the front are fully functional but the dress does also have a side zipper. What I am most impressed about with this dress is that it's a front button dress that does not gap at the bust! This is very unusual for me. I had just about given up on front button dresses! I don't know how this Simone dress does it. Maybe it's the combination of large buttons fairly closely spaced... not sure but I really like the fit of this dress. Also I love the casual yet classic look of this dress. The houndstooth print definitely adds an air of sophistication to this classic style. Makes me feel like I should be in a French New Wave film!

Collectif Simone Houndstooth Doll dress

Whoops forgot to straighten out the belt in the back!

Another of my treasures from this past Black Friday sale snags which I love every bit as much as the above dresses, the Stop Staring Jackie 2-piece dress from DaddyOs.

I got the Stop Staring Jackie dress from DaddyO's for 20% off during their customer appreciation sale right before Black Friday. On their website this dress is called Joan. I love this two piece dress which is such a unique design with a super vintage look! To me it looks like something straight out of a 1940's film noir movie! This dress is made from super soft material that feels like a cozy blanket or warm pajamas but looks sophisticated and business ready. This dress features slight puff sleeves for easy movement and three medium sized covered buttons on the upper left side of the top. The skirt is super high waisted so no worries about showing skin between the bottom of the top and the top of the skirt. The top has a unique way of closing, with a zipper in the back that closes from the middle of the back to the bottom which gives the back of this two piece plenty of visual continuity. The 3/4 sleeves gives this dress extra warmth and style without being too stuffy while two slits on the skirt gives it easy movement. There is plenty of stretch in this two piece and for the gorgeous look of the dress you wouldn't believe how comfortable it is!

Stop Staring Jackie 2-piece dress

And finally the last of my black friday sale steals, the Fleet Collection Prim dress from Modcloth.

I got this dress during Modcloth's annual Christmas sales, marked to 50% off. I first saw Fleet Collection's dresses from their Etsy store and have since been curious about their dresses. Their dresses usually feature smooth lines, A-line skirts, and modern styling with a retro twist. I loved this dress from the moment I tried it on. This dress's smooth lines remain true to form when worn and not just when pictured on a mannequin. The slightly mint gelato colored fabric has a medium weight to it and is slightly textured which gives the monochrome of the main body of the dress visual interest. The crocheted peter pan collar is fully detachable which makes it feel like a bonus gift which you can wear with other dresses and tops! The collar also has pearl beads and rhinestones and the champagne color of the bow compliments the main color of the dress perfectly.  The one thing I had to fix on this dress though is that originally the collar was too short for the dress and when worn, the bottom of the collar would end before the top of the dress began. I had to add an extension chain to the collar which was an easy enough fix.. I might actually want to add another extension chain because I don't know, to me the collar still looks a little high? Very cute dress from Fleet Collection though. I think I will for sure try another one of their dresses again in the future.

Fleet Collection Prim dress

Hey, I match my wall! Collar detail.

Also, for reference, I am 5'3", 38-30-38. All the dresses I have reviewed here are in my usual size large. The Trashy Diva Cage dress is size 10. The Collectif Simone Houndstooth Doll dress was marked large on Modcloth's website and came in a size 14 UK.

We have come to the end of my dress reviews from my Black Friday and Christmas sales 2013 acquisitions but we have not come to the end of this post. Someone showed up in one of my pictures above and wanted to be sure we didn't miss her! And here she is again, C.C. Cookie being a good kitty. =^_^=

C.C. Cookie says she wants to be in a picture too!