How To Add Updated Vivacious Vintage To Your Wardrobe

WhiteHouseBlackMarketIn the Carlsbad Forum, White House Black Market is close to Anthropologie — do you think there’s any way that I could avoid temptation?

I confess the answer is that most of the time I cannot. (Hee hee)

This time I was tempted by an enchanting dress sprinkled with meadow flowers.

White House Black Market’s vintage-inspired line of summer dresses has been so popular that some designs have sold out.

The shape is a figure flattering updated and slimmed down version of a “fit and flare” silhouette, reminiscent of the 1940s and 1950s.

Sweet AND sexy is what I call this romantic little sundress in cotton sateen with a sweetheart neckline, hourglass waist, and hidden pockets! Originally priced $160.00, I was lucky to find it on sale at $79.99. The shrug was about $60.00.
I fell in love with the flowers.
closeupwhitehouseblackmarket
 I love the idea of a completer piece and paired it with a silky chiffon shrug.
lilacdresswithblackshrug
Shoes of all kinds, maybe I need a new pair of espadrilles?
To match the lining, perhaps?
lilacdressshoes
The right accessories bring out the lilac…
1. Bracelet of violet flowers with seed pearls we discovered in a little antique shop in Bristol, Rhode Island. We had ridden bikes from Providence to Bristol on a fun vacation a couple years ago.
2. Amethyst ring
3. Amethyst and pearl earrings
4. Amethyst Alex and Ani bracelet from DIL for my birthday. One of my favorite stones and the brand is oh so chic and trendy!
jewelryforlilacdress
And to top it all off, a hat is simply perfection, don’t you agree?
This was a simple straw hat I embellished with fabric flowers and faux pearls.
hat
One more dress hangs in the closet  –  unworn, tags still attached…
Now all I need is my tugboat man and a destination!
It’s perfect for a summer evening stroll in Laguna Beach or Dana Point,
or maybe just here at home on the deck with a fruity cocktail.
maui-wedding-cocktails-pina-colada-image

Show and tell: Flashes of light play within a precious opal

Raise your hand if you want some education. Anyone? No? Yes?

Show and Tell
Time to chat about one of my favorite subjects. Jewels. Precious stones. Things that sparkle and shine.

When I was in college I had a part-time job at a high end jewelry boutique in La Jolla.
I spent my days trying on jewelry and learned a fair amount, too. Mostly I learned how much I love sparkly things, ha ha!

Today we feature the Opal.

The Opal Backstory
Historically, October’s birthstone has been accused (wrongly) of bringing bad luck.  History and Lore of Opal is a great read to dispel any fears or superstitions.

Opal is an amorphous form of silica , not a mineral. The water content is between six percent and twenty percent. It’s deposited at a relatively low temperature and may occur in the fissures of almost any kind of rock; most commonly found with limonite, sandstone, rhyolite, marl and basalt. Opal is the national gemstone of Australia, which produces 97% of the world’s supply.

The internal structure of precious opal makes it diffract light; depending on the conditions in which it formed it can take on many colors. Precious opal ranges from clear through white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, rose, pink, slate, olive, brown, and black. Of these hues, the reds against black are the most rare, whereas white and greens are the most common. It varies in optical density from opaque to semi-transparent.

Precious opal shows a variable interplay of internal colors and even though it’s a mineraloid, it has an internal structure.

Play of color
The opal’s iridescence is mesmerizing.  The most valuable opals have a vibrant play of color without any “dead” or white spots. Exactly which colors the opal reflects also affects its value. The most highly prized colors are  red, orange yellow, green, and blue. The more colors a gemstone includes, the more valuable it is. 

Bright flashes of color
In addition to color, the amount of light an opal reflects helps to determine value. The most valuable opals sparkle with bright flashes of color.

Opal care
Don’t soak your opal in water; no dishwashing, no gardening, no rough treatment,
Treat an opal as you would a delicate and precious flower. Every once in a while, rub a little vegetable oil into the stone, which’ll help prevent it from drying out.

Why all this talk about opal?
My mom had given me a pair of opal stud earrings.Opal_studs
They weren’t very large, but they magically flashed
with all the colors of the rainbow, and the captain
was bewitched by the idea of a gem with ocean-liike colors.

Before he went out to sea for this (very long) assignment, he gave me this beautiful opal ring me for our nineteenth wedding anniversary. It’s custom-made and vintage — I found it at one of my favorite shops in downtown San Diego, and asked them place it on hold until my tugboat man could take a look. He fell it love too —  I like to think it was a “rescue” and she’s now in a good home.   I took a series of photos of her posed like a movie star on the pearl encrusted mirror that I crafted a few days ago.

She is breath-taking; magnificent and stunning. I really feel like a princess when I wear it, which isn’t very often, because as beautiful as opals are, they are slightly fragile.

It looks like I have a matched set!

Against an orange Hermes backdrop

opal

Against a white background. See the flash and play of color?Opal on white background

Animal print. Of course.opal with animal print

A Mirrored Pearl Project

101222_Roses_and_PearlsRoses And Pearls

YOUR spoken words are roses fine and sweet,
The songs you sing are perfect pearls of sound.
How lavish nature is about your feet,
To scatter flowers and jewels both around.
Blushing the stream of petal beauty flows,
Softly the white strings trickle down and shine.
Oh! speak to me, my love, I crave a rose.
Sing me a song, for I would pearls were mine. (Paul Laurence Dunbar)

It’s Project Time

I found a square mirror with beveled edges at the dollar store for….a dollar!
I thought of embellishing with seashells but that didn’t seem quite right.
Then I thought of small polished stones, but that didn’t feel right, either.
I looked around and barely heard the whisper of the mermaid.
Ahh, pearls you say?
Pearls it shall be.

It’s a sensual activity. The pearls are cool to the touch and slide lovingly into place.pearl1
The finished product.
pearl2
With some friends.
pearls3

Daily Prompt: In Loving Memory and The Last Word

OK, it’s  kinda creepy to write my own obit but I used to write copy at a local TV station and one of my jobs was to call the county and troll the newspapers (way before the internet) to learn  if anybody “important” had died and write the obit so this is not a new concept to me. It’s also a device therapists use to prove some kind of point in couples therapy–I’m not sure what exactly, as I’ve never been to therapy, although many have suggested it! And I do mean many.

Princess Rosebud of Enchanted Seashells is dead. Her stupid ass tugboat captain husband went out to sea and never came home. She was polishing her ten-carat diamond purchased with the insurance money, took a good look at it under the loupe to make sure there wasn’t any dirt in the crevices, tripped over one of her many cats; the diamond flew into the air, her mouth opened to scream, good old gravity caused the trajectory of the diamond to end up in her open mouth, and she choked on it and died.  When her son finally called the police to make a welfare check, the body was unrecognizable because the   eight cats and six dogs had been VERY hungry. The good news is that the swallowed diamond was left intact and looked none the worse for wear.

Princess Mermaid Enchanted vanity bench-a DIY project

Fit for an Enchanted Mermaid Princess

Here’s what I’ve been working on night and day. The captain made the X bench just before he abandoned me left to my specifications for the refurbished master bath, 10Wx18Lx15H. It’s the perfect size for a princess mermaid (or short person like me). I went to JoAnn‘s Fabrics and found the material and the pearl ribbon. I made the overstuffed cushion and hot glued the pearls to the wooden bench seat prior to attaching the cushion. I had originally planned to completely encrust the entire bench with seashells, but sometimes less is more, although that’s not my mantra–mine is more is better–but for now I really love the look of the single starfish on either side.  The room is almost finished; I’ve given myself  ’til tomorrow for the project’s end because it’s time to start prepping for Thanksgiving.