Dressed in the Dark Giveaway

Apr 23, 2014


Today I'm excited to share with you a fun little store named Dressed in the DarkSkye, the owner, has a sharp eye for vintage and hunts down the prettiest floral skirts, sailor collar dresses, and Grace Kelly approved hats for you to make a home for!  (And bonus, she's also a blogger like us! Check out her blog, My Kingdom for a Hat, here.) Each piece is a special and one of a kind treasure, chosen because of its potential. And one of you lucky readers will be able to score a piece from there today! Dressed in the Dark is offering one lucky reader a $30 giftcard to their store! To enter all you have to do is:

  1. Mandatory Entry: Comment with you favorite item from Dressed in the Dark and like them on Facebook
  2. Bonus Entry: Follow them on Etsy (just push the blue "follow" button)
  3. Bonus Entry: Like their blog (My Kingdom for a Hat) on Facebook
  4. Bonus Entry: Favorite Dressed in the Dark on Etsy

This is open to US readers only and will run for a week- good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Photo background borrowed from here)

hey viv
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Sneak Peek Into My Book


YOU GUYS, I finished the second draft of my book! I have one more draft to go, but I'm taking a week break from writing because I'm starting to feel a little burnt out. I had some dark moments where I'd pendulum between wanting to delete the whole thing while murmuring "fraud, I'm a fraud" all dramatic like under my breath, and then, an hour later, really liking the story I came up with. Stuff like that makes me understand why artists are described as tortured- like, good God. Haha, so this week is going to be all about relaxing and icing my head- yay!

But as promised, here's the beginning excerpt of my story. I didn't want to put too much on here because I'm not sure how interested you are over it, but here's a small snippet. What the book is about is these long roads to never. Meaning, sometimes you're stuck on a track that, no matter how hard you try to make it otherwise, will keep leading you further and further into nothing. And while that sounds bleak, we're strong  and resilient enough- or naive enough- to work around it. It's also about the impact one life can have on another along the way, and how, in the end, we all have places we ache to get to or, worse, go back to again. It's actually pretty funny, though I'm sure you wouldn't guess that, haha. SO, without further ado, the first bit of my first chapter.  I hope you like it :)

I looked up at the stars and knew that all the wishes were claimed for, much like a rack of softly flickering candles in a church, all lit and pulsing with intentions. They blinked down at me from their spot in the darkness, reaffirming their favor for someone else. It was a still night that pulsed with a sentiment that was both, at the same time, quiet and loud. A sentiment that came from the mild turmoil of a simple sentence that is comprised of less words than fingers on a hand, “What am I doing?”

The thought was there and it taunted, waiting. I looked around the space that was quiet with shadows and answered it best as I could: I didn’t know. Its silence was like a roar in my ears. The moon outside shone its thin light on the city that quietly slept, straining to spread its light over an array and collection, that together, formed a picture of “same-old-same-olds” and “nothing news”. But as I sat there on my bed, watching the moon’s silver fingers brush against the hard pavement outside, that one worrying thought shivering in my mind, I wished I could be apart of the “nothing news” that were sleeping. Instead, it was all new to me. And newness is troubling. 

There were only a few windows glowing dimly in the scene outside, their soft kitchen lights struggling not only against the darkness but the worry that caused them to be switched on. I wondered if the people behind the panes were mulling over the same thoughts as I was, or if they had a whole other mess they needed to sort out. Plagued, I thought. A night like this makes it easy to be plagued with thoughts. It’s a type of night that has a hand in weaving them. 

I worried my lip as I glanced at the clock on my night stand, registering that it would be hard to wake up in four hours when I didn’t have anything yet to wake up from. And it wouldn’t help if I was drained and prickly during my job interview tomorrow. And just as the word “interview” passed through my mind my eyebrows knit themselves together and I hugged my pillow to my chest, bringing my knees up to my chin. 

And that was the problem, wasn’t it? The reason I couldn’t persuade my eyes to close, no matter how heavy they already were. Tomorrow was my first shot at getting a real nine to fiver, at finally getting a paycheck that wasn’t comprised of scrounged together tips and erratic hours. It wasn’t going to involve words like “graveyard shift” and “last name?” and it was going to require me to shrug into sensible blazers and walk through marbled lobbies. It was supposed to be exciting.

So why did I feel like it was the beginning of the end? After I received the voicemail that briskly asked me to come in for an interview during the allotted time, I felt something sink inside of me. I applied for the job out of practicality, and if I cinched it I felt like the practicality would take over like a weed, choking out any dreams or foolishnesses that still lingered. Castles in the skies would be replaced with responsibility, hope with duty, fancy with level headedness, and sweetness with common sense and reasonableness. It was as if the receptionist’s forcefully chirpy ‘goodbye!’ was like the curtain closing, and at the age of twenty-four I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be forced into early retirement. 

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. The realization came to me in the first grade; a little after I learned how to trip over syllables and a little before I realized I could stack them together like toy blocks into chapters and stories. The day I got the confidence to do so was during a mid-afternoon during a mid-week when you couldn’t park on the left side of the street- extraordinary moments had a habit of happening during the most unextroardinary times, didn’t they? We were in the middle of creative hour in Ms. Mollenkamp’s class, an old teacher that had wiry grey hair and a smile as warm as butterscotch and perfume that smelled like fresh dew on grass. She sat us all down at our desks and had us quietly pencil stories onto wide-rule sheets, instructing us to match the pictures in our heads with the words we were armed with. I pieced together stick-like letters, enjoying the scratch of lead on paper as I wrote, trying to catch the story in my head and steer it onto the paper on my desk. The dramatic piece that was unfolding was about an impish ghost that hid in my backpack and ate my donuts, and, to me, it sounded like my generation’s answer to Hemingway. I was finished before the rest of my classmates, and excited, I walked quickly to the teacher’s desk and handed her my handiwork. I remember feeling the zip of anticipation as I watched her eyes move across the page, her lips tugging upwards at the words that were garlanded together into a story. And when she told me she didn’t have enough stickers in her drawers to show me how perfect it was, I felt the arrow hit its target. From right that moment on, with me standing with my hands clasped behind my back, my Mary Janes rocking back and forth on the sunflower printed carpet, words became my life.

And ever since then, I tried to make it into my livelihood. I had notebooks over-crowded with scribbled random thoughts, plot lines, and chapters that were crudely started and abruptly ended, all fighting for space on the lines and homes on the pages. I had started books that were never finished, plots that were played with and discarded, short stories that were submitted but never published, cover letters that were left unanswered, and a slew of memories that involved nothing but white, open word documents, unmarred by words and left terrifyingly- dauntingly- blank. I lived at home while most of my friends and classmates nabbed office jobs and saved up for apartments. I endured hearing about impressive promotions and stewed through house warming parties in condos that looked like pages torn out of magazines. I skipped the steady paychecks (or really, any paychecks all together) so I could instead trip after a love that, at the moment, was sorely and steadfastly unrequited. But like with most relationships where your feelings go unanswered and their affections lie elsewhere, you want them all the more. All the desperately more. My love for words went in vain, and I knew that they didn’t have the same sentiment towards me. I knew they’d never be entirely mine. But, oh, I was willing to suffer sweetly over them. I was willing to live inside the ache’s gentle unhappiness, its inviting misfortune. How could I stop reaching for it?

So instead of joining the ranks of my friends, I, in lieu, decided to sit in coffee shops letting the impatiently blinking vertical bar of my word document taunt me, matching its pulses to the jittery strum of my fingers against the table. 

And like most blinded heroines, I was ready to give everything up for this love, but eventually even Katie had to leave Hubbell, Rick walked away from Lisa, Franny knew when it was time to give up on Nick. Sooner or later we all reach our limit. Sooner or later we need to admit that awful defeat. And mine was that writing down words that no one was going to read will eventually land me on food stamps. 

That, of course, is why I now found myself sitting in the dark with my arms wrapped around my knees miserably, waiting for the night to switch shifts with the morning. I was gearing up to do the equivalent of Bogart getting on the plane.

It was no wonder I couldn’t sleep. I was heart broken.


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Those Tricky Styling Pieces

Apr 22, 2014


DUSTER VEST: DIY, read this post
SKIRT: c/o New Old Fashion Vintage (similar: here
SWEATER: Forever 21 (similar: here, here and here)
JELLY SHOES: Urbanog (only $17!)
BELT: Calvin Klein, thrifted (similar: here and here)

I'm getting super antsy to break out my summer clothes, but the Midwest is notorious for tossing you a snowstorm after an 80 degree day, so the summer dresses are still left in hiding. But as an effort not to get depressed over my closet, I'm trying to force myself to wear some lighter sweaters that I'll soon be swapping out for sleeveless blouses. This polka dot knit  is one of my favorite pieces in my closet, but, interestingly enough, I only make basic outfits with it. So as a fun challenge, I tried to find a way to work it into a look that wasn't as lazy as sweater + jeans+ boots. And this is what I came up with! I paired it with an A-line maxi skirt and topped it off with my DIY duster vest, which added the perfect finishing touch. The extra layer gave it some interest, and I really like how the vest has a longer hem than the skirt; it gives the look some proportion interest. Then, to not give it too much of a vintage, girly vibe, I paired the outfit with my white jelly shoes. 

In all honesty, this look took some time to whip together, haha. I don't know what it is about this knit that stumps me, but I'm really pleased with the end result. Which, of course, means I'll now wear this outfit into the ground while you guys aren't looking ;)


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Sporty Chic & Pretty Words

Apr 21, 2014


HAT: Urban Outfitters
SWEATER: Urban Outfitters
TURTLENECK: Banana Republic
SKIRT: thrifted (similar: here)
SHOES: Urban Outfitters (similar: here)
JACKET: thrifted (similar: here and here)

I have a leather bound notebook where I've been collecting pretty words and sentences in during the past couple of years. I like nothing more than that moment where you come across a line and something about it reaches out and sort of sits on your heart. And you have to go back and read it again. And again. And you wish you can commit it to memory and have it live inside your head. Words have a way of turning life into poetry, and from time to time I'm going to share loveliness with you. So here's a bit of that loveliness :)

We are mosaics-
pieces of light,
glued together
and music
and words
- Anita Krizzan


Also, here's me being sporty. And I got this amazing coat for only a dollar- hollaaah!

cut and chic

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Thrifting 101: Find Skirts!

Apr 19, 2014

Whenever I go thrifting I usually do the customary run-through through the blouse and sweater rack, but I always look forward to the skirt section. There's always something to find! So much to the point where I rarely buy skirts in actual mall's or department stores, because I can find their near-twins for a fraction of the price. Below I'm sharing some of my favorite ones, in the hopes that it'll help you spot the same ones in your thrift joints! And for those of you that aren't sold yet, I styled the pieces (each of them barely costing over $3, by the way!) so you can see just how modern and pretty they are :)

(PS- if you have a thrifting topic you'd like me to go over, leave your idea in the comments! I'd love to know what you'd specifically want to read about.)



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The Ultimate Shopping Guide: Sponsor Spotlight!

Apr 17, 2014

All the stores are starting to fill their racks with pretty summer pieces and, I don't know about you, but it's starting to make my heart go slightly aflutter! I've had quite a few amazing sponsors this month, and each one was personally hand picked by me to join the blog because they have truly amazing vintage. But I know it can be hard to get an idea of just what their stores have by an ad in the side bar, so to give you an idea of their gems I've made the ultimate shopping guide below! So grab some fruity iced beverage, collapse on the couch, and enjoy all the goodness. And as always, thanks for supporting the stores that allow me to run this blog :)

And to visit the store, just click on the picture and it'll take you right over!

New-Old-Fashion-12-Bottle-Blonde3-Sold-for-ransom4-Baxter 5-tanaka 6-barnaby-jack7-Dressed-in-the-dark8-fight-for-flight9-that-was-a-good-year10-HEIGHT-of-vintage 11-cut-and-chic 12-jessamity13-BIJOU14-mary-alice15-wayfarer16-Shop-vintage-minnie17-bon-marche18-vintage-griffin19-mitla-moda20-anthro21-fox-and-rook25-LITTLE-MISS-VINTAGE23-salt-valley24-southwest22-HEY-VIV

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