The Gypsy

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Muse: a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist. Every creative artist needs a muse. Someone that captivates them and inspires them to create. Muses have been the fuel to artists’ engines for centuries.

If you’ve read previous posts from my blog, you’ve become acquainted with the fact I’m delving into photography. Taking classes, soaking up all the knowledge I can and practicing, practicing, practicing! I LOVE learning every piece of it.

It also tremendously helps that I have one of the most creative people on the planet on my team. My muse happens to be my BFF from the high school days, Lashon. I’ve pretty much christened her my Creative Director. 🙂

Our last portrait session was inspired by some vintage photos we’ve collected and had a bit of a darker vibe. All it took was just a spark of inspiration and we took it and ran with it. I recruited our friend, Rachel, for hair and makeup and she turned Lashon into a beautiful vamp. Rachel also assisted during the photo shoot by keeping an eagle eye out for any flaws and also keeping us in stitches from her wise cracks!

Ladies & gentlemen, I’m pleased to introduce to you the recent photo shoot with Lashon, The Gypsy.

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In a quaint caravan, there’s a lady they call The Gypsy.
She can look in the future and drive away all your fears.

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Everything will come right, if you only believe The Gypsy.

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She could tell at a glance, that my heart was so full of tears.

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She looked at my hand and told me, my lover was always true.
And yet in my heart I knew, dear, somebody else was kissing you.

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But I’ll go there again, ’cause I want to believe The Gypsy.

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That my lover is true and will come back to me some day.

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A Toast to Trousers!

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“The silhouette is the most important thing in clothes. Every French girl knows that. High-waisted trousers give you long legs and a pretty bum which, after all, is what we all want.” ~ Lou Doillon

I must confess about my love of 1940s trousers. Which is why I am raising my glass in honor of trousers; women’s trousers specifically. Because they’re just so damn awesome. 🙂

My mom once told me that when I was a kid my family called me Cindy Lauper. Simply because I insisted on dressing myself and would throw together quite an eclectic ensemble. As I evolved as a teenager, my eclectic-ness grew to gothic, hippie, preppy and vintage. My high school photos are evidence of this. But of all these different styles, vintage was one that was always the constant as I always included something vintage in my style or wardrobe.

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As an adult, I continued my love for vintage style and its pretty much been how I dress myself. I even compare vintage clothes shopping as if I was planning an exquisite trip. It’s a big deal and something I thoroughly look forward to. I’m more inclined to wear a vintage or vintage re-production dress or skirt, although, I do done the occasional pants as well.

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Over the past several years I’ve closely abandoned wearing jeans. I do occasionally but not frequently. I hate hip-hugger jeans as I think they do quite the opposite as to what they were invented to do; flatter. Because, sorry (not sorry), I have hips. My natural waist, on the other hand, I’ve grown to love. Wearing your pants at your natural waist while growing up in the 1990s was a fashion faux-pas. Because, as mentioned before, hip hugger jeans where all the rage and anything else was jeans taboo. But if you’re a vintage clothing aficionado like me, you’ve realized that vintage clothing and the natural waist were a match made in heaven. I’m so glad because I’ve learned how much more flattering it is to wear your bottom separate pieces there and not like a hula hoop around your hips.

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So like anything else I’m determined about, I set sail on the internet’s vast ocean to find the perfect 1940s trousers. My search didn’t take me too long as I came across a United Kingdom company called Vivien of Holloway. I hit the jackpot because this vintage clothing-inspired UK company carries a plethora of 1940s women’s trousers. Here are a few pictures of one of the pairs I own (I’m quickly acquiring a collection).

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These terrific trousers are the most flattering and best of all, comfortable! The high waist, side buttons, front and back ironed crease and cuffs at the bottom scream sophistication. They are the epitome of an androgynous style. Which I’ve always considered my style androgynous. You can wear them with an array of tops and mix and match. Vivien of Holloway has a great collection of colors. These pants aren’t just for the colder seasons either; there are many colors that can be worn in the spring or summer seasons too. So go ahead and step into a pair of these vintage-inspired gems!

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A Few of My Favorite Things

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Well hello, December! You slipped up on me quite quickly! My intention this year was to get a head start on my holiday shopping. I have started a little but have a lot more to go. But I have my nice (and maybe naughty ;)) list made which is half the battle!

So I’m sure I’ve mentioned in other blogs and on my Facebook page that I love supporting independent businesses. My husband is an independent business owner so I see the hard work that goes into owning your own business. Let me just say, it’s not as easy as it looks! You are your own everything….Public Relations, Marketing, Creator, CEO, Assistant, Human Resources, Finance..the list of departments and job titles goes on! And a lot of times it’s rolled up into one person. So my point about this is why I love supporting an independent business owner. Whatever business that may be. I know my money is going towards someone’s business that they love and put their heart and soul in to. They can have an actual shop that I can go to or a virtual one. Both work for me.

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite “things,” which are places or people I recommend you shop with!

Vintage or vintage re-production clothing: I love it. And something I spend lots of my monies on. My heart races when my eyes make contact with a 70+ year old garment. I mean, come on, it survived so many years and here I am holding it! So one of my favorite places to shop for these things is Sugaree’s located in historic downtown Murfreesboro, Tenn. This adorable shop tugs at my heart strings. I truly feel like I’ve stepped back in time like I’m a 1950s woman having a shopping day. Staci Higdon, the owner, carries an array of fashion lines including BB Dakota and Stop Staring! Clothing. She also carries many accessories such as jewelry, vintage hats, vintage gloves and shoes. You’re sure to find a gift for someone and probably walk out with something for yourself.

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My next introduction got the spotlight last summer when I wrote a blog about it. Live True Vintage is an East Nashville, Tenn shop with good intentions and amazing vintage items. I follow Live True Vintage on Facebook and Instagram and Tammy Pope, the owner, posts the treasures she finds and I’m constantly having to practice restraint from not wanting to immediately go there and buy it. Her shop is very charming and she carries TONS of items; men and women’s clothing, hats, accessories, posters…the list just goes on. Do yourself a favor and go ahead and put this business on your go-to holiday shopping destination. Another place you’re bound to walk out with a gift for yourself too. Hey, treat yo’self!

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Number 3 on the list starts our journey into the virtual realm. That’s one thing that’s convenient about the internet; you can buy and sell across the globe. Parlor Tattoo Prints caught my eye the first time I saw the owner’s designs. This woman creates the most exquisite artwork. Some designs speak to the old school tattoos that you’re grandfather had inked on him in WWII and some are straight from your favorite movies such as Edward Scissorhands or The Shining. Either way, you’re likely to find that perfect picture for your favorite someone. I bought one for my best friend for her birthday and it was a hit.  I’ve always love artwork as a gift too.

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Next up is another creative designer that creates the most darling ties that have a hidden surprise. Shannon of Truly New Vintage creates peek-a-boo ties that are the bomb! She takes a tie and adds a pin up girl to the underside of the tie. So when you see someone randomly smiling as they are standing there looking totally professional, you can guess they may be wearing one of these cheeky accessories. She has an assortment of pin up pictures and ties to choose from so that you can come up with the perfect gift.

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My next introduction is a destination gift. Natchez Hills Bed and Breakfast is the best gift for a little get-a-way. This quaint and peaceful place has all the right stuff. A nice place to sleep, great amenities, beautiful scenery and best of all, wine! This place is located in the heart of a large wine area in Tennessee with the Natchez Hills Winery being one among them. The owners are the nicest people that you just can’t help but feel like you’re at home when you stay. Don’t live in the middle Tennessee area? Check out what your local area has to offer in this realm.

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To continue the destination gift ideas, why not present your beloved with a ticket to an event, concert or festival?! Whether it be a one-day, weekend or week excursion, plan a trip to an event. Know someone that loves music? Make their holiday by gifting them a ticket to a concert or festival. Or maybe you know someone that is into a specific genre or area and there is an event taking place that specializes in this. Guess what, that’ll be a crowd pleaser too. I love taking mini-trips so if someone bought my ticket to an event I was planning to go to, they’d be number one in my book. The memories are the gift that keeps on giving. Here are my two recommendations for 2015 events. The Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender & Car Show taking place May 1 through 2, 2015 and the Summer Wine Train Social presented by Muddy Roots Music departing on July 18, 2015. Both are taking place in beautiful Music City, Nashville, Tenn. Don’t live close by? Well, we have an international airport you can fly in to. 🙂

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To top off my list of holiday shopping recommendations, I must insist you look into photography. As in contacting a professional photographer and getting a session as a gift for someone or even for yourself. It’s a timeless investment and worth every penny. A lot of professional photographers offer gift certificates so don’t be shy to ask. Much like a day at the spa, a photo shoot is a pamper session as well. Makeup artists and hairstylists are often included in packages so all you have to do is show up and let the professionals do their magic. Don’t know of any? Search in your area and read reviews to get a feel for it. You can view their website to see their work and make a decision from there. This may be an uncommon gift but I assure you, if you give that special someone this as a gift, you’re sure to be loved for life. And the plus side? Photo shoots are fun!

My recommendations for photographers that I’ve worked with and love to death are La Photographie Nashville, And How! Imaging, Blast ‘Em Photography, Shannon Brooke Imagery, Retrospect Nashville and Uvudu Imaging.

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Now that you’ve been given some recommendations, what are you waiting for?? Get to shopping! 🙂

All Aboard for 1950

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To celebrate Valentine’s Day, my husband and I set on an excursion to 1950. Before you start asking where the DeLorean is, I’ll explain that this wasn’t a scene from Back to the Future. The Tennessee Central Railway Museum hosts excursions to the DelMonaco Winery in Baxter, Tenn. My husband and I couldn’t resist jumping on board this retro voyage.

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Of course we had to dress the part. I mean, we literally live in vintage clothing any chance we can get. The day before I went to my favorite antique warehouse to scout out a vintage hat. I found a hat…and a 1950s vintage ladies suit. It fit like a glove and I was thrilled to have brought it home. My husband wore a vintage suit as well and we arrived at the station bright and early Saturday morning.

Mr. & Mrs. before boarding.

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Our train car host greeted us dressed in his uniform and assisted us to our seat. He thoroughly gave us our instructions for the three-hour trip to the winery. Before you think you can’t handle a three-hour trip on a train, I have to point out that the winery had a staff member on board that conducted a wine tasting that lasted the entire trip there. We sipped on whites then reds, tasting the most driest to the most sweetest wines the DelMonaco Winery produces.

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Viewing the countryside from this angle was quite interesting. We traveled through a few towns but for the most part, we drank in the rolling hills of slumbering scenery while sipping on fine wine. A few times we passed by houses and caught a few people waving as we traveled by. We had the opportunity to see our state from a point of view we hardly ever get to see and it was a treat.

The passenger train we traveled on is a restored classic 1950s era American streamlined stainless steel passenger train. The museum has preserved this gem well and we felt so pleased they have. When we arrived at the winery, I snapped a few shots of the ladies restroom/lounge with my camera phone (sorry for the poor quality).

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Who wouldn’t want to gab with their girlfriends while powdering your nose or ensuring the curls in your hair are behaving? 🙂

Upon arrival at the winery we had approximately two hours to have lunch and check out the winery. Unfortunately it was a chilly February day so we stayed inside instead of exploring the grape vines. The winery had live music and guests sat around round tables enjoying their favorite wines they purchased as a result of the wine tasting.

When it was time to board we had a few folks snap our picture with their camera. One gentlemen pointed out that people no longer get “dressed up” to go on trips. That they just throw on a pair of jeans just to be comfortable. For my husband and me, this is part of the fun. We love to dress from days gone by and it definitely adds to the event.

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Before we boarded to go back to the city.

Before we boarded to go back to the city.

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On the way back we sipped on one of our recently purchased wines and I put on some Bessie Smith while we enjoyed the wine. We plan to take another excursion once the weather is warm and take a picnic when we go. This was by far the best Valentine’s Day celebration I’ve had so far. I highly recommend booking a trip on one of the Tennessee Central Railway Museum‘s excursions. And if you don’t live close by, check out what is in your state. After this trip, I declare we bring back railway travel.