When I asked what you wanted to see on the blog, someone asked to share our transition to Southern California from Oregon, and discuss if there were any regrets, differences between the two locals, and any tips for those thinking of moving. I’ve been working on this post for awhile, but was on the fence about actually posting it. But I got another request today, so I decided to move forward and publish it.
Lately I’ve been in a battle with myself and my blog. With what I want my blog to be, and what my time allows for.
I realize part of the problem at the moment is the time of the year. The later parts of spring and the first half of summer are always rough for myself and Patrick, as it is the time that leads up to a huge work conference for Patrick, which leaves us with limited time to go out. Also, since moving to California we have found ourselves with extremely busy social schedules. Birthdays, random social events, etc. cut down on the time we have to visit unique destinations and museums, often leaving me with just an outfit post here and there, which is something I’ve wanted to work on shying away from. However, recently I had a bit of a revelation.
My recent post Saturday at Knott’s received zero comments. Nada. Zilch. Goose egg. None. This outfit honestly ranks among one of my favorites that I’ve shared, so the lack of comments was a hard blow. It made me feel like my favorite styling was one of zero interest to my readers. But here is the thing…I know that western attire, or even my personal style that I’ve developed, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But what I hope any of my outfits do is inspire. You don’t have to like what I wear, but I would hope that the out-there-ness of my style choices inspires you to go out there and create your own personal style.
No matter what I have on my body, I just want to inspire you to be yourself, wear what makes you happy, and what makes you feel good. That’s the point of clothing; show off your personality. If you’re out there reading this, and you want to start wearing a certain kind of style, I want you do be inspired, to be bold, and do it. Rock whatever kind of style you want, no matter what anyone else says. It’s okay to be different and to stand out. The Harry Potter character Luna Lovegood said it best, “Being different isn’t a bad thing. It means you’re brave enough to be yourself.”
My biggest piece of advice on fashion is the following: do not listen to trends. It’s seriously one of the biggest disservices you can do to yourself. Do not allow some random magazine dictate what you should and should not wear. You will be nothing but unhappy, and you will spend more money on clothing, buying items that will be “out of style” in a matter of months, and sometimes you’ll end up talking yourself into buying something you don’t actually like just because it’s what’s “in” this season.
I started out wearing vintage on a regular basis because I liked its styling, and quality. I focused on being period perfect for a very long time, but honestly, that got boring and stressful. I realized I was still allowing something else dictate my fashion choices, albeit sources from decades past. I chose to ignore the desires I had for some elements from current fashion, because I was so hyper focused on looking like I stepped out of a 40s magazine. Today I just shop and when I see something I like, I just get it. I don’t care anymore if it’s vintage or not. I must admit I often still prefer vintage garments, because their craftsmanship and fit is often superior to that of contemporary clothing. However I have found many newer, quality items second hand at various resale shops, like Buffalo Exchange. The purchasing of clothing brand new has been an issue for me in recent years, and not just because of quality, but because of ethics. Books like Overdressed and news stories about working conditions and sustainability make shopping an ethical act. While this isn’t necessarily a style or fashion choice, it is one that plays into my shopping habits, and reinforces my desires to buy used clothing.
Now, as I’ve said before, I still want this blog to be more than just outfit posts, but sometimes that’s all that I have time for. I really think this blog comes down to sharing and inspiring. The United States is one great big amusement park, full of bizarre roadside destinations that I am just chomping at the bit to explore and share, historical locations that offer people chances to reach out and touch history, museums that work to preserve that history, and offering my unique style as a form of inspiration to those who may be struggling and fearful of wearing whatever they want to. At the end of the day, I want people to learn from history, support their local economy, and be inspired to be themselves, and I hope that is what this blog does for you.
Last Friday Patrick and myself along with some friends went to Riley’s Farm for a perfect day filled with all things autumn! Riley’s Farm is an odd little place tucked away in the hills of Oak Glen that likes to pretend it’s New England. It offers a wide variety of orchards for guests to pick their own produce, living history elements (much of which is focused on colonial and Revolutionary War), a tavern, bakery, and theatre.
We started our day at the The Hawk’s Head for brunch before venturing into the apple orchard to pick some apples for an apple crisp Patrick plans on baking soon. Then it was to the pumpkin patch to find that perfect pumpkin. Afterward we attended a dinner theatre production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and not only was it dinner and a show, we also got to dance, have pumpkin seed spitting contests, and even enjoy a hayride. Sadly I didn’t get any snaps of the show or fun during, but I can honestly say it was one of the most wonderful and unique experiences I have had. Riley’s Farm is gorgeous, full of people, and very educational in the best way.
The pumpkin patch is located on a hill and the dirt is so soft and fine, I’m glad I chose to wear flats, which were my flats I used to wear for work, so I’m glad I kept them around! They were certainly filthy by the time I got home. They started the day out black!
The theatre at Riley’s Farm does a variety of productions throughout the year, and soon they are doing a production of Dracula that some of us are talking about going to. They also do A Christmas Carol, and come next spring they are doing a Sherlock Holmes production, which has not only piqued my interest but that of many of my friends. So I have a sneaking suspicion that Riley’s Farm is going to become a frequented place.
Dress: Buffalo Exchange…I think…I’m not entirely sure.
Bangles: Here and there…
Owl Brooch: Match Accessories
Within a short time period of moving to southern California, and when I say short, I mean like about a month, I had become friends with a group of people who loved not only Disney, but also vintage, and they have quickly become like family to me, and what many of us refer to as our “Disney family”. Fast forward to Dapper Day Expo, March of 2015, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely couple behind Match Accessories, Samantha and Jeremy.
For those unfamiliar with Match Accessories, they produce fabulous and fun vintage inspired jewelry, and are best known for their Disneyland inspired D brooches. The D brooch is a favorite among many members of my Disney family and many of us own multiples, as they have a wide variety.
Since meeting them, Samantha and Jeremy have become good friends of ours, and are part of that Disney family. We have spent many visits to the Disneyland Resort with them and their two darling children, Lillian and Harrison. But recently, the family behind these gorgeous pieces of wearable art have hit a tragic bump in the road. Samantha was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), a rare and incurable form of leukemia. She has begun a life long treatment of daily oral chemotherapy, which is thankfully working, and there is confidence that she will enter remission in the near future. Samantha and Jeremy have been trying to fight this battle silently, and Jeremy as been doing everything in his power to help build up her spirits and keep her fighting. But what he thinks she really needs is a bit of Disney magic. Jeremy recently said that the “Disney family that we have found has proven to us the Disney Magic we have all believed in is real.” In an effort to lift her spirits Jeremy is attempting to raise funds to take Samantha to Disneyland for Dapper Day for the first time as a guest, not as a vendor, as she and her family have been for so long. It is a day where she and her family know they can spend time with the Disney family they have made, and enjoy true Disney magic with a retro flair.
To raise these funds, Jeremy decided to make brooches that combine their signature piece, the Disneyland D, with the orange leukemia awareness ribbon, which is now available in their shop. He kindly gave brooches to those close to their family to share on social media to help get the word out, and I feel very touched to have been included in this project. These special brooches are made of wood, using laser cut technology, and layered, creating a unique and stand-out look.
If you do decide to purchase one of these brooches, please share a picture of you wearing the brooch on Instagram using #ribbonsforsam.
Perhaps the Disneyland inspired D isn’t your thing, which is completely understandable, but I beg you to look at their shop, they have some of the most creative, vintage inspired pieces currently available on Etsy.
I realize that many of you come to my blog for my outfit posts. I never intended my blog to turn into a vintage fashion blog. Vintage fashion was a large part of it of course, but I also wanted to share other vintage things, like housewares, furniture, cars, and even locations. It slowly turned more into fashion because that is what was easy, and what I mostly did when in Portland, with a geeky con thrown in every so often. When I announced our move to California a little over a year ago, I mentioned that some things would be changing for the blog, and I would be sharing more unique places with you, making this blog less about fashion, and more about adventures. Today highlights this change greatly. Today isn’t really about anything vintage. And it’s about something that perhaps isn’t your cup of tea at all, and that’s fine. You are more than welcome to skip this entry. Because today, we’re entering the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
Since its massive success at Universal Studios Orlando, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has finally arrived at the original Universal Studios in Hollywood. And I have been eagerly awaiting its arrival! While the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not slated to “officially open” until April 7th, Universal has been soft opening the new area for a few weeks now, but between my brother’s visit and our week in Palm Springs I was unable to visit until this last week and I was overjoyed!
So, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, get ready for a pretty picture heavy post!
When it comes to decorating for Christmas, I used to be of the opinion strictly no Christmas decorating or music until the day after Thanksgiving. Over the years my love of decorating has increased (as has the amount of decorations), and I hauled out the Christmas boxes in mid-November, so our place has been decorated for a few weeks now, but we’ve been so busy I just now had time to photograph!
This year we welcomed two new trees to our collection. Another small silver one, and a large six and a half foot green one. My dad had actually purchased this green beauty a few years ago, and it was the main tree at his house for sometime, but three years of putting up and taking down the pink tapered branch aluminum tree has taken a toll on me and the tree. Last year, while putting it together, I noticed that if I put up just the upper half of the tree I could have quite the adorable three foot pink tree, so I requested that my dad mail me the green one. I love having three different colored aluminum trees and hope to one day lay my hands on a blue one!
Over the years I’ve noticed the amount of new decor items dwindle, and it’s to the point where nearly every piece is vintage (which a handful of exceptions), which makes me extremely happy. Christmas is such a nostalgic time, and it genuinely feels nice handling old items with such care. While some items are family pieces (such as the houses along the mantle, which belonged to my grandmother), many are items I’ve collected through making diligent rounds of antique malls during the Christmas season over the years. How do you decorate for the holidays? New items? New to you items? Or family pieces passed through generations or items loved ones have made?
It’s hard to talk about the holidays without thinking about gifts. And honestly, I’ve been rather terrible about my Christmas shopping so far, it seems I am finding far more for myself than others, because so many of the lovely, but expensive, shops I love have been having sales! But now it’s time to try and focus on others and the season of giving.
While I like to shy away from the heavier posts here, there are often some things that alter how I live my life, and therefore how I blog. This week I left my job at Disneyland. This decision is one that I have thought about for a long time, and with my Guest Relations disaster, the decision became easier, because my intended career dreams could not be achieved. Some of you may be wondering why, and some of the reasons I am more than willing to share, especially since I love Disneyland.
Firstly, I want to say it was not the work itself that has prompted this. While I previously mentioned I simply worked in stores, I actually worked a specialized area of stores, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where I was a Fairy Godmother-in-Training, transforming children into princesses and knights. This role is extremely unique, involves a lot of Guest interaction, and is super magical, and I really, really enjoyed it. I loved telling stories, sharing knowledge of the Disneyland Resort, and I loved seeing the faces of children and parents light up when the magic mirror was revealed at the end of their transformations. I received a lot of gratitude from families, many saying “You’ve made our day” and that meant a lot to me.
Now, onto the reasons behind my departure. While having a career with the Walt Disney Company was part of the reason we made the move to California, the other part was the fact I was bored in Portland, and California offered a wide range of activity. I severely underestimated that amount of activity. I have never been bored since moving, as every time I turn around there is something to go see or do, and the list of things continues to grow, rather than shrink, which is great! In addition to the long list of places to visit, such as historical sites, filming locations, museums, national parks, and restaurants, there are constantly unique events going on. Take the Halloween season for example. Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Universal Studios all offer Halloween events. There is also the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, ScareLA, the Anaheim Halloween Parade, and Stan Lee’s Comikaze took place Halloween weekend, Hocus Pocus played at the El Capitan in early October, and then Danny Elfman performed his parts of Nightmare Before Christmas live at the Hollywood Bowl, and I am so sad I missed out, as I adore Danny Elfman and Nightmare. Additionally, I really wanted to go with a macabre theme for October for the blog, by visiting local cemeteries, the LA Coroner’s office gift shop, and doing one of the Dearly Departed tours in LA. And when October 31 arrived, I had have done very, very little of this list, in addition to not making a costume for Halloween for the first time in five years. As I look to the new year there are already five, many multi-day, events, that I am already aware of, that I am planning on attending between the beginning of the year and April, some of which are annual events, others are unique, one-time offerings.
As I began missing out on events, both ones I planned on attending, or ones that cropped up at the last minute, I felt crushed at my inability to go. Going to work, while still fun and magical, felt suffocating, and I felt like I had very little control over my life. Part of this is my own fault, as I have had the luxury of either working for myself, or someone I knew very well, and taking time off was easy to arrange, for most of my adult life. I am not used to this situation. Furthermore, the Walt Disney Company is a very large company and does their scheduling based on seniority, and I was still the low man on the totem pole, resulting in being given evening and weekend shifts. The problem is, Patrick works a regular Monday through Friday, nine to five job. Sure, Patrick works from home, but he is contractually obligated to be available during regular work hours, and if he wants to be away for a significant period of time during those hours, that is considered taking time off. However, I am in the unique and rare position that is that I do not need to work for us to make ends meet. So, when I applied to work at Disneyland, it was because I wanted to, not because I needed a job. The job became an unnecessary hoop I have to jump through to do other things, often missing out. This situation limited our time to go out and explore, to attend events, and so on, which is pretty much what our hobbies are. Seriously, take me to a museum or filming location before a bar or club anytime.
I know what some of you are thinking, “Ask for time off, trade shifts, call out sick.” It’s really not that simple. Disney’s scheduling, including requests for time off, is a complex system that I won’t bore you with, but the truth is, often you wouldn’t know if you received time off until the schedule is released. The schedule is always changing as well. Rarely do people work the same exact days and shifts week in and week out. As for trading shifts, as I worked in a specialized area, the pool of people I had to trade from was very small, and not once did anyone trade with me when I asked if anyone was able to. Additionally, trades must be submitted and approved. And calling out has a range of consequences.
While the outcome of my time as a Cast Member is not what I thought it would be, I am so glad I went through this experience. I made so many great friends, and it was nothing short of amazing to make magic. My curiosity of working at Disneyland has been satisfied, and I am happy with that, no matter how brief the experience. Additionally, having been behind the scenes, I feel I can better appreciate and understand Cast Members when I am a Guest; for example, there is a lot of information that Cast Members do not have access to, or are informed of, so when they say they don’t know the answer, I am a little more understanding.
I still love Disneyland, and, yes, I will miss working there, but I can’t put into words the frantic need I have to visit and go do everything I want to do. I have witnessed events that happen yearly suddenly stop happening. I have seen filming locations demolished (for example, the iconic Los Angeles Sixth Street bridge is set to be demolished in January) and museums close. I do not want miss out on something forever over something I do not need to be doing.
What does this mean for the blog? Well, hopefully it means more blogging. With more time I can visit unique locations, learn more things, and then share them with you all. California is literally a playground, especially for the history and movie geek, and I am excited to be able to explore it more.