My Favorite Retro Fashion Brands

There must be something about October that inspires me to make a “Top Five” list that only has three items (instead of my usual six-ish)! Today I want to talk about my three favorite retro fashion brands:

  • Pinup Girl Clothing–I bet this one is shocking, right? I’ve talked extensively about how “PUG Changed My Life.” Most of my retro clothes are PUG pieces. I have skirts and tops, dresses, and even a bolero. I love PUG, and even when I’m not looking to buy anything and/or can’t afford anything, I still love to see what’s in the “Coming Soon” section of their website. They also have a fantastic Facebook community full of supportive (and very well-dressed) shoppers. I don’t think anybody does vintage-inspired clothing with a modern flair the way they do!
  • Splendette–In my mind, no retro outfit is complete without an awesome bangle stack. Prior to this year, I didn’t have a source for bangles that would fit over my large hands. And then Splendette announced that they were adding a Duchess Bangles line to their range, and my retro accessories prayers were answered! Splendette also offers pieces like necklaces and earrings, if you’re looking to coordinate with your bangles and get the full look.
  • Erstwilder–If there’s one thing a retro outfit really needs outside of bangles, it’s a great brooch. I love brooches, both fancy and whimsical. I actually had a few brooches in my jewelry box before I really got into retro fashions, but I’ve added quite a few since then. Erstwilder is definitely the place to go if you’re looking for something more whimsical, and they have themes and color selections to go with pretty much any outfit!

Of course, there are other brands I like. The Oblong Box Shop has fun novelty-print skirts. Unique Vintage sells house brands items, but also other retro brands. Luxulite, Meteor Jewelry, and Tangerine Menagerie offer fun jewelry options. And I wish I didn’t have giant clown feet, because I’d love to try some of the amazing retro styles B.A.I.T. footwear offers. But my top three are in a class by themselves, and make up the bulk of the clothing and jewelry in my retro wardrobe!

Sartorial Saturday–My Current Favorites

I was thinking about my current Pinup Girl Clothing favorites recently. And while I love all my PUG pieces, I came up with five outfits that I’m really into right now:

The surprising thing about this list is that while most of my PUG items are skirts, right now, three of my top five outfits are dresses. Who knows, though…in a few weeks, the list could be completely different!

The Top Five–Movies

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a list of my top five favorite movies…and it wasn’t even an official “Top Five” list back then! The list has changed quite a bit, so here’s the updated version:

  • The King’s Speech–This has been my favorite movie pretty much since the first time I saw it.
  • Apollo 13–But before I saw the above movie, this had been my favorite for many years!
  • Hidden Figures–This is the most recent addition to my list, and it’s definitely the best new movie I’ve seen since The King’s Speech. Truly excellent. It also has a lot in common with Apollo 13.
  • A League of Their Own–Baseball, plus history, and I’ve even visited some of the places used for filming this movie…how could I not love it?
  • White Christmas–A Christmas movie had to make the list, and there is no Christmas movie I like better than this one!

The children asked me to turn it into a top ten list, so here’s the remaining five, at their request:

  • Hoosiers–Along with the next two movies, this used to have a spot in my top five…it’s my second favorite sports movie, and has one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard!
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding–Not only does this movie make me laugh every time, it’s also a Chicago movie!
  • Ocean’s 11–Who doesn’t love a good caper?
  • Meet Me in St. Louis–This is the oldest movie on my list, both in production and setting…it grows on me a bit more each time I see it, and it’s a movie our family watches often!
  • Cars–This is a special movie to me, both for sentimental reasons and because I really love its message. It must be very special, to be the only animated movie on the list!

These lists are interesting to me. Many of the movies I like best are based on actual historic events, although they have different levels of fictionalization. These movies also provide a pretty good snapshot of the things I love…the British monarchy, space, baseball, Christmas, history, St. Louis, and mid-century modern anything. Really, the only thing that’s missing is Lego…and The Lego Movie would probably find its place in spot 11!

What are your favorite movies?

The Top Five–Places I Want to Visit

OK, first of all, let’s just take London out of the equation. This is not just a place I want to visit…I need to go there, eventually. I’ve said many times that my heart is British, and my British heart is crying out to visit London. It’s simply not fair to put in on a “Top Five” list when it’s so much more than that. So, with that out-of-the-way, and in a category all its own, here are the “Top Five” places I hope to visit someday (yes, the list is again at six…but I figure it’s ok that two baseball locations tie for fifth place!):

  • Florence/Pisa–Italy in general, and the Tuscan towns of Florence and Pisa, were not even on my radar before last year. I mean, sure, I knew that Italy has tons of culture and history and good food and architecture (which is really what I’m looking for when I travel), but there was no place there I really desired to visit. Enter Rick Steves’ Europe. After seeing all that region has to offer, it’s now at the top of my list!
  • Canadian Rockies–I would love to take a train trip through the Rocky Mountains in Canada. And spend some time in Banff. Yes, I know, it’s pretty cliché, as far as Canadian travel goes, but it’s also, as far as I can tell from pictures, stunningly beautiful.
  • Gimmewald–This charming little town in Switzerland is another place I hope to see someday thanks to Rick Steves. He visited there in a regular episode of Rick Steves’ Europe, and went back again for his Christmas special. Gimmelwald was charming and lovely in both, and I’d love to visit that Alpine town someday!
  • Germany–This is a tough one. First off, when would I want to visit Germany? There are two main things I would want to experience…Oktoberfest and a Christkindlmarkt. So I guess I’d have to go hang out in Germany for several months? But that leads to the second question of where? Obviously, Munich would be an awesome place to be during Oktoberfest, but what about the Christkindlmarkt? There are so many beautiful towns that have their own version, I’m not sure where I’d begin. The classic in Nuremberg is an obvious choice, although I also really like the idea of going to Köln. So many choices…
  • Spring Training–I love baseball. And the return of baseball, after a long, dreary winter brings so much hope. Plus, it’s often still dreary when spring training begins, so a trip to Jupiter to see the Cardinals put their team together would be most welcome!
  • Cooperstown–Again, I love baseball. And history. And when you put those two things together, you end up in Cooperstown. I saw the traveling Baseball Hall of Fame exhibit when it passed through St. Louis last year, and it only made me want to visit the Hall of Fame more!

I don’t know if I’ll ever actually get to travel anywhere (but if I do, it better be to London, at the very least!), but I like to keep a list of the places I hope to go, just in case the opportunity ever presents itself! At least we saw the ocean two years ago, because if we hadn’t, that would have taken up a space on this list…that’s one location checked off!

The Top Five–Photos of 2016

Last year, I forced myself to pick my top five photos (ok, 10 total…five from my Canon DSLR, and five from my iPhone), that I had taken over the course of 2015. I thought it was a fun little project, so here are my top five (and only five…fine…five plus one, from either camera) photos from 2016.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is always one of my favorite places to take pictures, especially the beautiful Japanese Garden:


Our town square (which is actually a circle, but I digress), is always beautiful, but especially at sunset:

Another favorite photo spot is Forest Park, especially the view outside the Art Museum in the spring:


I took many pictures when we were in Chicago last May…this is my favorite lakefront/skyline shot:


Back at the Botanical Garden, and the always-photogenic Climatron:


And because I can never leave well enough alone, a bonus picture of a sea-lion, mid-wink, following the sea-lion show at the St. Louis Zoo:


This list is a little different this year, because not one picture of our family made the cut. I did get a lot of great photos of the children in 2016, but really, they deserve a category of their own…it’s just too hard to choose!

Volkswagen Memories

In the end, I wasn’t really sad to see our Volkswagen Routan go. And I didn’t really even get to say goodbye, because when Ryan left to go to the Dodge dealership Thursday night, we both thought he was just going to look, and maybe formulate a plan that we would put into action on Friday or Saturday. But he came home with a new van instead, and I realized that I would never lay eyes on that VW again.

Other than the issues we’ve had with it in the last year or so, and the horrid customer service we received from our local VW dealer, as well as the corporate office, in the last week, it wasn’t a bad van. And we made some good memories in it. Unlike my usual “top five” lists, today I’m going with my three favorite Volkswagen memories:

  • Bringing Chickadee home–We had already had the van for over two years at that point, but my first really special memory of it is the day we brought Chickadee home from the hospital in March 2012. We’d brought babies home in different vehicles four times before, but it never gets old, and it was so exciting, from the moment I installed the car seat in anticipation of her birth. And nothing is like the experience of leaving the hospital with a tiny baby, getting all settled in the car, and heading on the journey toward home. We were even rewarded with what looked like an early smile!
  • Cake hunting–In 2014, we drove all over the St. Louis metro area (and beyond!), determined to hunt down all 250+ fiberglass birthday cakes celebrating the 250th birthday of the city. I was skeptical when Ryan suggested we attempt to find them all, but it soon turned into a whole family obsession, and in the end, we were successful…and made it to some other fun STL250 events in the process. I only wish we had kept track of how many miles we drove during our big search!
  • Our first family vacation–July 2015 marked the first time we really took a family vacation, as well as the first time any of us (other than Ryan), saw the ocean. That drive wasn’t without peril (we had to have our brakes replaced in Charleston, SC, after a harrowing drive through the Appalachian mountains, and the air conditioning quit on us, as well), and I was so relieved when we finally made it home, but we made a lot of fun family memories during the course of that week.

Of course, there have been so many other memories that we made in that old van. Trips into St. Louis to visit favorite places like Ted Drewes, Forest Park, Seamus McDaniel’s, and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Countless school field trips, including an extended day trip to Louisville, KY, to tour the Louisville Slugger factory and museum. Countless trips to church and the grocery store and Target. Special memories, daily life stuff…that old van saw it all. So, even with the trouble we had with it, I will miss it…but I also can’t wait to see what kind of new memories we make in our new van (spoiler alert: I imagine some of our children will learn to drive it eventually!)!

The Top Five–Video Games

I have to admit, before I met Ryan, video games didn’t have much of a place in my life. But, over the years, I’ve come to appreciate, and even enjoy, them! I have my favorites, too…here they are!

  • Super Mario 64–I watched Ryan play this game early in our relationship, and it was the first game I really played myself. I still love going through it, and watching other people play it! It makes me happy that our children love it, too.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time–(by extension, this also includes Majora’s Mask, just because…) I really think this may be the best video game ever. I never tire of playing it, or watching someone else play. It’s such a beautiful world, and I could run around Hyrule Field forever.
  • Red Dead Redemption–If Ocarina of Time isn’t the best video game ever made, then this game is. It’s not the type of game I usually enjoy, because there is violence and language, but it’s a complicated, real story, and the world seems so authentic. I haven’t actually played it myself, but I ask Ryan to go through it so I can watch at least once a year!
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf–I have loved (and played) all of the Animal Crossing games, and this is my favorite. I’ve played it almost every day for close to three years, and I’m still not tired of it!
  • Colossal Cave Adventure–This was my first video game (and I use that term loosely here), and the only one I was allowed to play as a child. It was definitely a formative experience, and “XYZZY” and “Plugh” still have great meaning to me!