Give 'Em Belle!
It's been about a month since I got back from Austin, and while I don't think anything about SXSW remotely suggests a leisurely pace, I just didn't feel compelled to move at a gallop during my time there, not when I could employ a nice, calm lope instead.
I think that's why I maxed out my spare time at the Strickland Arms B&B; it perfectly embodies the kind of front porch relaxin' the South is so well-known for, the kind Dolly Parton sings about in My Tennessee Mountain Home, when "life's as peaceful as a baby's sigh." (Click the album cover below to have a listen, it's so good. I love all those old country songs about home and being homesick.)
I've learned that forgetting the time because you're enjoying yourself if easier said than done; forgetting the time because there just isn't enough of it is something else entirely (and not altogether pleasant, as I'm sure most of us knows). This probably gives fast-paced East Coasters and extroverts the shakes; sitting alone or wandering the grounds of a big old empty house without company probably sounds like torture to a lot of folks. To others, add a good book and it's heaven! (Ideally, I like a little of both.)
This vintage wooden bracelet (above) is a new edition from one of the many North Loop vintage shops I discovered while staying in Hyde Park. The dress is vintage from one of the amazing, perfectly curated vintage shops in Lititz, PA! I think I'll have a seamstress let out the elastic in the bottom of the gathered sleeves, give it a more fluttery look. Don't get me wrong, the poofs are F-U-N, but less wearable on an already daring silhouette!
Here's to the roses and lilies in bloom
You in my arms and I in your room
A door that is locked; A key that is lost
A bird and a bottle and a bed badly tossed
And a night that is 50 years long!
This half-undone bed reminds me of my favorite charming and slightly naughty toast! I promised to tell you about my trip to the Austin Buffalo Exchange, and my vintage treasures are below (well, all but one are vintage — can you pick out the odd duck?)
First impressions: It felt a bit bigger than most I've been to, but the really incredible thing was the racks and racks of pure, 100% vintage. That's definitely never, ever been the case in the stores back home in the Bay Area or here in Boston; there may be dedicated racks but nowhere near as numerous or jammed as the ones in Austin. It was BANANAS and like landing in a gold mine.
I must have tried on three or four dozen pieces, mostly dresses. The staff there need to be commended for their loveliness, because they never once made me feel like I was putting them out or being a giant PITA, even though I hogged a dressing room for a very long time. On top of that, they were super helpful! I thought I was going to walk out there needing another suitcase, but I forced myself to only choose what felt like really special vintage (plus one beautifully tailored, delicately pinstriped dress in ivory and soft grey from Maeve).
For instance, I've never seen quite anything like the dusty, muted floral print on the left, the low-waist cut of the brick red 1960s floral in the middle is not something I thought would work on my figure but it's beautiful and the fabric is impossibly soft. The mini knife pleats, fleur de lis and tie neck of the off-white crackle dress are all TOO GOOD and this last one is the perfect thing for throwing on when you need to look put-together but with loads of personality and maximum comfort — I wore it to teach my workshop at Boston College last weekend for their annual Women's Summit: Own It!
How funny to find this Mason & Hamlin Liszt Organ all the way in Texas? It was founded in Boston and this particular reed organ was likely built within a handful of years as our old Victorian! While my mama did force me to learn how to play the piano when I was a girl, I didn't take to it the same way I took to horses, but this photo is for her. Hi, mom! Sorry I didn't like it! You really did try!
Hope you got your Southern fix and we'll see you back real soon, Strickland Arms!