Alsatian Vacation

Back in April we spent a weekend in the Alsace region of France, visiting a few little villages along the wine route, on our way to the Colmar Spring Festival.

First we stopped in Riquewihr, a darling little village of only 1228 inhabitants. It looks more or less as it did in the 16th century with cobbled stone streets and half-timbered houses and shops.


We spent the weekend in Colmar for their annual Fête le Primtemps (Spring Festival). Our bed and breakfast was housed in a 14th century building (updated and modernized of course), right near the Saint Martin Cathedral.

On our last day we visited the village of Ribeauvillé which dates from around the 8th century. I really loved this village, it sits at the foot of three castle ruins and the forest of Ribeauvillé is home to the largest giant sequoia outside of the U.S.

After we left Ribeauvillé, we drove up the mountain to visit The Château du Haute Königsbourg. The first records of a castle built on this site by the Hohenstaufens date back to 1147. It has been destroyed and re-built several times throughout history. But in 1900 a Berlin-based architect and historian was commissioned by Kaiser Willhelm II to rebuild the fortress completely, just as it would have been in the 15th century. The project took 8 years to finish and it really is an amazing feat of construction and technology of the time.

I absolutely love this castle. We did a self guided tour and learned a lot about the history and construction of the castle. Here in Germany, we have a lot of castle ruins, which are awesome in their own right, but it is really something amazing to see an “intact” castle with furnishings and everything so you can really imagine what life might have been like living there.



And the topper to the weekend was that we saw two storks in a nest onto of a building in Ribeauvillé. The stork is the symbol of Alsace and are seen everywhere on signs, souvenirs, storefronts, etc. But this was our first sighting of an actual stork.

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Time Travel in France ~ Part 2

For the second installation of my time traveling post, we venture slightly forward in time. Many of the villages or chateaus were founded or built in the Middle Ages, but went through a reconstruction and revival in the 17th and 18th centuries, so the medieval architecture is all gone.

Château les Milandes, was built in 1489 and had many notable owners throughout it’s history, but probably the most famous  (at least to me) was Josephine Baker. She lived in this chateau from 1940 to 1968. It was left in ruin for many years, but fortunately the current owners have spent much time and money restoring it and creating a lovely museum dedicated to Josephine and her career as an entertainer. They even bring to light the little known fact that Josephine worked as a spy for the French government during WWII. Unfortunately, photos inside the chateau were not allowed.

The Château de Hautefort dates from the middle ages, but was completely transformed in the 17th century, as it was gradually stripped of its defensive functions to become a “modern-style” château. Unfortunately It suffered a devastating fire in 1968, but was beautifully reconstructed and restored to is 17th century splendor. The castle is where the movie “Ever After” was filmed and it and the gardens are absolutely gorgeous.

Very near the Château les Milandes is a fascinating little “museum” called La ru du temps qui passe (The street of times past)We were warmly greeting by the owner (Michel Boom) and his daughter (Christelle) and I think they loved our outfits as much as we loved their little museum of the past.

Michel has created a little indoor village of sorts with streets and storefronts of merchants of the past. He has fashioned little vignettes of life in the past with so much detail and care. According to the website the time frame ranges from 1860 – 1940. We didn’t get a lot of photos as we were so enthralled with strolling the streets, but do check out their website, there are lots of photos and a little video.

They were kind enough to allow us to go “behind the scenes” to take more photos. So Here are Laurence and I “shopping” for groceries. 

A beautiful home for all of my clothes

A dream of mine has finally come true. I have my very own dressing room where ALL of my clothes and accessories are in one place. In my home in Maryland, Will’s uncle built us a lovely walk-in closet and it served us both well for many years. The only problem was that since we shared the closet I had to rotate my clothes every season. I would pack up clothes from Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter and place them in space bags to sit and wait for their turn to come out to play. It was a pain in the bum and I hated not having everything there at my finger tips.

When we moved to Germany, we were told not to expect closets in our home. In fact Will’s job actually provided us with a few wardrobes, knowing that this is commonplace. As we knew we’d be living in a larger home, Will and I came to an agreement that since we’d have to figure out a wardrobe situation anyway, I would be able to turn an extra room into my own dressing room.

Well we found our perfect home in Germany, a large and old (built in 1904) farmhouse. And low an behold, not a single closet to be had in the entire house. All in all there are 13 rooms (counting all 3 bathrooms) in our house and I have taken over one of them to house my wardrobe. I had consulted a few friends on what would be the best options for me as they had also finished similar projects. It’s taken a few months to get everything together, but it’s pretty much finished. I have some lighting issues to figure out and I’d like to find a rug to cover the hardwood floors, but other than that my dressing room is complete.

IKEA has never been my favorite place, but their wardrobe system is absolutely perfect. I chose the white PAX wardrobes without doors for my clothes and the BILLY bookcases for my shoes. I have to say that I’m really happy with this system and I love all of the ways you can customize with drawers, shelves, baskets and other accessories. I had the settee, the sofa table and mirrored jewelry cabinet already, and my main brooch display was a handmade gift from Will.

I’m so proud of my room and happy to share it with you all. If you have any questions about what items I used, please feel free to comment below and I’ll answer your questions ASAP.

Here are photos of the room prior to paining and after I painted it a light blue color. 

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Unpainted room

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Here is the finished project. 

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Of course I had to put up my autographed photo of my idol ~ Dita Von Teese.

Of course I had to put up my autographed photo of my idol ~ Dita Von Teese.

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My husband made this brooch display for me. As you can see, I'm a tad bit obsessed with brooches.

My husband made this brooch display for me. As you can see, I’m a tad bit obsessed with brooches.

I opted for this small pull-out drawer for my overflow brooches and sunglasses.

I opted for this small pull-out drawer for my overflow brooches and sunglasses.

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I love this lady head vase, she’s perfect for holding my hat pins. The trophy was actually my Mom’s, she was 2nd runner up as Mrs. Senior California in 2007.

 

Cape Obsession

Recently I’ve become obsessed with capes and I’m not talking about the superhero kind. I’ve not owned one since I was a little girl but now I have five!!!! I have two wool capes and my latest acquisitions are these three amazing knit capes I found at one of my favorite thrift stores, DeBois Textiles in Baltimore. So I thought I’d share them with you.

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Dapper Days Challenge

I belong to a few fashion groups on Facebook. Most are a collection of likeminded vintage/fashion lovers who post regular photos of their daily fashions and we all get to gawk at the awesomeness of these great people. They are all wonderful folks and it’s become a close community where we can share our love of fashion and learn from each other.

A few of these groups have 30-day challenges, where you dress in a particular style and post your photos in the group. All of the “likes” are tallied at the end and there is a “winner” (I’m not sure what the winner receives accept the recognition of the group).

Anyway I decided to (sort of) join in on one of these challenges. This particular challenge was to wear a tie, bow tie, cravat or other neck wear every day for the month of March. As my earlier post Ladies in Ties states, I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable in menswear. Well I did not make it every day, but I have to say it really got me out of my comfort zone and I found that I was really enjoying wearing ties. Throughout the month I found myself really trying to incorporate ties and bow ties into my wardrobe. I was purchasing ties online and looking for them in vintage stores.

And to my utter surprise, by the end of the month I had found that I was able to create a way to incorporat my own feminine style wearing ties and bow ties. I now feel very comfortable and even sexy at times wearing them. So here are some of my outfits from this challenge.

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March 9, 2014 3:9:14 - 2 3:12:14 - 2 March 12, 2014March 15, 2014

3:15:14 - 13:15:14 - 33:15:14 - 23:21:14 - 4 3:21:14 - 2 March 21, 2014 - 23:24:14 - 23:24:14 - 1March 24, 2014March 26, 20143:26:14 - 13:26:14 - 33:31:14 - 13:31:14 - 2March 31, 2014

Penelope

A Penelope movie poster

This fantastically sweet movie is on Netflix right now, so of course I have to watch it several times. It happens to be one of my favorite movies and as always, a fashionable inspiring show of adorable outfits, color coordination and then of corse there’s James McAvoy……oh James McAvoy.

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Penelope movie image James McAvoy

This movie, from 2006, is a modern day Beauty and the Beast tale of a lovely girl named Penelope (played by Christina Ricci) with a family curse put upon her as a baby which afflicts her with a nose and ears of a pig. Her mother and father, though they love her unconditionally, locked her away her entire life after faking her death as a baby. It is said that the curse can only be broken by being loved by “one of her own kind”.

Here’s the link to the wikipedia for the whole movie synopsis. My focus here is of course on the fashion aspect of this delightful movie. Penelope’s outfits are wonderfully colorful and playful. And the sets are gorgeously done, with terrariums in Penelope’s lavishly appointed bedroom. The mix of vintage inspired skirts and shoes with vibrant modern colors is so inspiring. She looks so comfortably fashionable throughout the entire movie. Enjoy some of the movie shots I’ve collected here.

I encourage everyone to see this movie, it’s a sweet and beautiful story with of course a fairy tale happy ending, albeit not your typical one.

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Penelope movie image Christina Ricci

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Penelope movie image Christina Ricci

Oh and did I mention Peter Dinklage is in it? I love him!

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Gin, Feathers & Fur ~ Part One

I had the most extraordinary evening with my friends Miranda and Jaclyn on Friday evening. We attended the Philadelphia Alt Taxidermy Competition. It was a most stunning display of artistry, not only in the taxidermy world but also with the fabulous attendees. We of course were encouraged to dress in Feathers and Furs and everyone looked amazing.

My friend Miranda is an amateur taxidermist and I’ve always been enthralled with the artistry of this work. I adore Walter Potter and I’m always astounded at the creativity that people display in these pieces.

flying-handThis event was sponsored by Hendricks Gin, a wonderfully delicious gin that is blended with a subtle and sensually wondrous botanical signature of flowers, roots, fruits and seeds. This chorus of flavors sets the stage for the delicious duet of an infusion of Rose Petal and Cucumber.

They provided Gin & Tonics and a Gin Punch. Both were delightful!

My outfit for the evening was a retro style peplum dress & shoes, vintage feather hat and vintage fur scarf. The dress actually has a hunter green background with small purple & beige dots, but it’s not really discernible in these photos.

My next post will feature all of the amazing contestants and attendees.

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Dress: Eshakti.com
Shoes: Right Here Heel in Green purchased from Mod Cloth
Vintage Feather Hat: Poppycock Vintage on Etsy
Vintage Fur Scarf: Thrifted at In the Details

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