My best friend finally had her first baby this morning & I can't be more excited for her! We've known each other since 3rd grade and seeing her with her new baby boy Noah is so surreal and beautiful. I can't wait to see her & Noah this weekend! 


In celebration and honor of this momentous occasion, I have created a treasury of unique, classy & adorable baby items and new mom gifts. Enjoy & blessed be all moms!
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Little Noah just after he was born August 24th, 2012
 
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Plaid 1960s coat dress size XL by Bonfire Vintage
I know the end of summer comes at different times for everyone, but the end of my summer is just around the corner. I start my last year of college August 27th and by May 2013 I will have graduated with a bachelors in art education. It seems like it has been a long time coming, but I think I'm ready!

So what have I been up to? I recently gave the website a new mod background I found as an open source graphic. I also revamped the links & fonts as they were getting hard to read-- my apologies!

I have also been fall shopping for myself (a rare occasion actually) and also picking out my fall/winter inventory. Expect more sweaters, coats and cold weather accessories.

With school, a full work schedule & preparing myself for a little thing called student teaching, I know I've been slacking in the listing department. I've actually considered hiring someone to take photos and/or take the time to list items while I'm busy or off gallivanting the thrift stores. Honestly, probably my favorite part of this job is just shopping for inventory. I have an inventory list of approximately 60 items to be listed (consisting of many vintage pieces I would like to keep for myself). BUT you can't have your cake and eat it too, so I have to work on my listing motivation in the next couple of weeks.

 
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Summer is drawing ever nearer to a close-- I'm back to college classes August 27th. One more year left until I graduate with my Art Education degree! It seems like forever (like when I had braces...) My student teaching begins next semester. I am so excited, and yet quite nervous! The student teaching program is extremely rigorous (as it should be) and takes up a vast amount of time. They even tell you to not have a job during this time...though to avoid living in a box, I will be keeping mine and my Bonfire Vintage store open. :)

On happier notes, my best friend Kim and her husband Eric are having a baby in like...days! Can't wait to meet their new little Noah. I know I'm biased, but that baby is going to be the cutest baby in the world. Just sayin'.

My mom has asked me to help her with a garage sale she's planned for next Saturday. I remember when every summer in my early teens I hosted a garage sale (one time a craft sale!) and was so stoked to make $20 over the three days I sat in the boiling sun. We're looking to make enough money for my younger brothers' back-to-school clothes and supplies (maybe $200 or $300?). Money has been tight for all of us and it is one more step to make some extra spending money.

I feel like I need a vacation. I'm the kind of person that would just love to jump up one morning, toss the cat some food and scurry off to an uncharted destination. My boyfriend is not so spontaneous, but I am hoping we can make a weekend trip somewhere in the next couple of months. We need it!

 
Okay, okay....so I have a major problem with weddings on the brain. BUT I think I've come up with my ultimate color combo-- four colors that seem to blend together in a classic, sophisticated, feminine and marie-antoinette-esque way. I give you the champagne, charcoal gray, dusty rose and olive green color combo. I picked out a few things that bring this wedding color theme to life.
 
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Vintage gown from TheIndigoCowgirl $50

I have had weddings on the brain lately. Not that I'm even engaged yet (Brent--wink, wink). My boyfriend and I have been happily sharing an apartment for the last two years and every once in a while, I tag another "wedding idea" on my "dream wedding" pinterest board. Knowing myself, I will want to do as much on my own as possible--partly because I believe if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself and also because it can be a heck of a lot cheaper. I think I'd even bake/decorate my own wedding cake if I gave it some practice.


So this post is in honor of those budget-minded brides out there. We all want a fabulous and memorable wedding---just minus the $30,000 price tag. Am I right? And once again, I will be featuring a host of Etsy sellers with budget-minded brides in mind. Enjoy lovelies!

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Hand-stamped silver cake forks for the bride & groom by BabyPuppyDesigns $34.00 for a pair.
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Mason jars covered in lace & ribbon used as candle holders & centerpieces by loveinamasonjar $24 for a set of 5.
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Ostrich feather & rhinestone brooch bridal fascinator by YellowGateDesigns $15.
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Faux pink roses embellished with silver butterflies and rhinestones by ynasbridal $38
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Digital print-yourself invitations with custom colors, fonts and text by seedtosprout $20 for the template.
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Simple pastel-colored bridesmaid hair fascinators or brooch pins $24 for a set of 3. Custom colors available by DeesByDesign
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Uncut diamond stone gold-filled engagement ring by ASecondTime $195.
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Clear pale pink vintage cake stand by silkcreekgallery $22
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Personalized lip balms as wedding favors by SakuraBathandBody $62.00 for a set of 30.
 
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I thought I made a pretty good Joan.
Well lovelies, the Mad Men party was a success! I highly advise you to have one of your own. This post will go through everything from snacks & drinks to activities that can make your party a blast.

As you now know, I went as Joan Holloway. My costume included a can of spray-in temporary hair dye, gold pen necklace, black/pearl brooch, a black 60s rocket bra, a genuine 1960s black velvet gown, red nail polish and light gray 60s slingbacks.

Prices: $4 for the hair dye, $18 for the necklace, $2 for the brooch, $1 for the nail polish, $4 for the black rocket bra, $6 for the hair dye, the dress was free from my great aunt and $3 for the shoes.
Total costume cost= $38

I'm thinking of possibly going as Betty for Halloween, but I think I made a pretty good Joan! What I love about her character is her curves---she is by no means a pencil, but that is what makes her sexy! So I embraced my curves and went for it--so glad I did!

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Our Mad Men cast-- including Kinsey, Joan, Roger, Harry, and Ken
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I set up a small card table for snacks. I used bright daisies to add some color (a few dollars at the local dollar store). Beforehand I went to thrift stores and picked up some silver platters/bowls. We served chex mix, chocolate shortbread cookies, chips with two different dips (spicy cajun & chives/garlic), dinner mints and little smokies in barbeque sauce.
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I'll admit, this was my first time creating globe string lanterns---and it was a ridiculous mess! But I did get two made, and they did add a nice pop of color to the room. Next time, I'll make sure to wear a smock (I was covered from head to toe in elmers glue when I did these).
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I was probably most proud of my photo booth. It was an entirely DIY project that turned out quite well. I used 8 3/4" pvc pipes ($1.40 a piece), 8 3/4" 90 degree elbows and 8 3/4" pv tees. Then I bought two premade striped curtains from the thrift store for $2 a piece and a queen-size gray flat sheet for $3. I cut the sheet in half and used neon paints to paint a cityscape. The other half I cut a square into and used my computer and the free chrome app Pixect to create the "photobooth". The Pixect app lets you send your photos to facebook/email or download. I used a bench I already had, two work lights for adequate lighting and a box full of "props" (I printed Betty & Joan's heads out on cardstock and used popcicle sticks to create masks). Total cost for this project came to around $35 and took only about 20 min. to set up PLUS it is easy to take down and store for another party!
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I went to the dollar tree and purchased an assortment of frames for under $10. Then I printed off a bunch of 1960s advertisements and framed them up. They made great decorations and also could be used as party favors for the guests!
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I used small circular frames from the dollar tree to frame drink recipes. The recipes included a classic martini, old-fashioned and the manhattan.
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My friend Derek (who dressed up as Harry Crane---and very well at it by the way) volunteered to play bartender for a little while. I used an old desk from the 40's as our "bar". The desk cost $10 at a local garage sale and has wheels on the bottom for ease of transporting.
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Derek using the photo booth.
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Our well-stocked bar was complete with a 60s ice box, cigarette dispenser, garnishes such as cherries and lemons and a large assortment of booze. I purchased 16 vintage 60s glasses and a 60s ice crusher. We had each guest bring a little something-something to add to the selection such as bitters, vermouth, gin, bourbon, brandy and schnapps. The bar was a definite hit.
We ended up going down to the bars for part of the night, and BOY did we get noticed!! I would overhear people say, "That's Joan!" or "It must be a wedding..." Haha, we got a lot of attention and it was so much fun! We also played a Mad Men drinking game which is described below and listened to some great big band & jazz 60s music on Pandora (what a cheap and virus-free way to get swingin' party music).

Mad Men Drinking Game
This is a fairly basic game and all you need are some episodes of Mad Men (available on Netflix or DVD/Blu-ray), some drinks and these rules:
  • For every sexist comment made, guys take 1 drink.
  • If Pete Campbell gets shot down, take 1 drink.
  • For every cigarette lit, take 1 drink.
  • If Betty gets angry at someone, take 1 drink.
  • For every time Roger cracks a joke, take 1 drink.
  • If Bert Cooper takes his shoes off, take 1 drink.
  • If someone cries, take 1 drink.
  • For every time Peggy seems frustrated with her job, take 1 drink.


A word of caution---we all went through about 4-5 drinks doing this game...so be prepared!

The party was such a success, I think I'll have another one next year after season six :) I hope you enjoy and feel free to comment or leave suggestions for more Mad Men party ideas!

 
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Okay, so my Mad Men party is officially scheduled for this Saturday July 21st. It looks like around 12-15 people are showing up which is just about what I was hoping for! I had written a previous post on hosting a Mad Men (or 1960s theme) party, but I'd like to give a few more details since some of you lovelies might want to host one of your own! My main goal: create an atmosphere that is both modern but obviously influenced by the 1960s.

Atmosphere

There are many things that contribute to a party's atmosphere. The hardest part is deciphering what makes a 1960s Mad Men party different from a retro hippie party. A good way to look at it is to think of the 1950s. Mad men and women were still very clean-cut hardworking pavement-loving characters-- not so much the love van grass-smoking type (although one may argue that Peggy and Kinsey are the exception). I'll start with some key components:

Music
Since this is a 1960s party, I wanted 1960s music! You can actually buy the Mad Men soundtrack from Amazon for around $12. You can also find plenty of 60s compilation CDs for a low cost such as 60's Gold.
One item that can really bring that 1960s atmosphere is a record player. You can find them new for around $150 at the store or you can buy an original one online. Just make sure the needle is in good condition! I recommend picking up some 60s records to go along with it: *The Grass Roots *The Cowsills *The Beatles *The Tempations *The Mamas and the Papas *Frank Sinatra. 
Decor
Popular colors in the 1960s were turquoise, jade, mint green, light pink, sunshine yellow, cherry red, pumpkin orange, light blue and black/white. Think bright and modern. See the image gallery I put together for ideas on 1960s Mad Men party decor. 
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For a really cool and personalized Mad Men decoration put the "Sterling Cooper" name label on the front door. Simply cut out letters from black card stock and tape them to the wall. (Or, just use stick-on letters from the craft store)
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1960s record player from cellardepot
Lighting 
The '60s were really about modernizing the home. The use of curves and clean lines in furniture and light fixtures was commonly used. If you have any period or reproduction 60s lighting, go ahead and use it! Other whise, there is a tutorial on how to make your own low-cost string globe lanterns.
Since this is a party, you will want to keep things dim. For the room where people will gather the most, keep the lights at around 50%. For the kitchen or area where food/drinks are served, keep the lighting at around 70%. If you can, have an outdoor area set up with candlit lanterns, string globe lights or 1960s candle holders.
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1960s globe floor lamp GallivantingGirls
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Use plastic homco decorations on your walls! They are actually pretty easy to find at your local garage sale or thrift store. They will instantly add that hollywood regency style that the Mad Men series is so good at portraying.
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TV dinner trays make excellent serving trays for appetizers and snacks. Tuck napkins and utensils below the tray to save space.
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Period magazines are generally a low cost decor that may also serve as entertainment for your guests. Find them at antique stores or etsy. Some magazine titles to look for: Esquire, Look, Life, The New Yorker & Playboy.
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Find low cost 1960s end and coffee tables at thrift stores and garage sales. They will generally have clean lines with formica tops.
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Look for 1960s bar glasses. They will often have a stream-lined or geometric look to them. Look for smaller glasses with silver rims or small splashes of color. You can find these easily at thrift stores and you can give them away as party favors to your guests!
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Decanters will really add that "Mad Men" touch. Find 3-4 decanters you can fill with liquor such as vodka, rye, scotch, bourbon and gin.
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1960s ash trays don't have to be used for cigarettes, but if you do have smokers, place one or two outside on a patio or porch. Other whise they make great candy dishes!
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1950s & 1960s tablecloths are fairly easy to find in the linen section of thrift stores. Look for mod and bright prints to add to the festive atmosphere.
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Op art is perfect to recreate Roger Sterling's office look.

 And don't forget . . . 

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Lucky strike cigarettes-- use them as a prop even if you don't smoke!
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Your camera! Don't forget to take pictures during the party-- buy a 1960s camera for even more of a die-hard Mad Men look.
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1960s Fedora Hats for the Men
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If you have a hard time finding period decor, you can always try your local Target, Walmart or handmade upcycler on Etsy! Vintage & retro decor is in, so it isn't too hard to find 1960s period look-alikes.
 
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Tan Whiskey Flask by LiquidCourage
My family and I have been planning to go camping together this coming weekend. Six kids (myself included) and my mother are going to drive a little over 6 hours in two cars to Grand Marais, MN which is about 40 minutes from the Canadian border. We've gone to this same location every year for as long as I can remember. The staples of a north shore vacation include: waking up and getting donuts & coffee, sitting on the beach for at least three hours a day, hunting for agates and having lots of campfires. Sitting next to Lake Superior is like visiting any ocean. It's cold (I've heard somewhere around a constant 40 degree water temperature) and I've seen waves that surfers would be psyched to see. I've had good memories camping-- even when it was 32 degrees one year!
In honor of this illustrious adventure, I have decided to create a little showcase of handmade and vintage camping items.

Enjoy lovelies!

 
mad men party advertisement
I have recently decided to host a Mad Men party set for a weekend in July. I had been thinking about it for some time and after a friend urged me to hold one, I finally decided to do it! Though our 750 sq ft apartment is not the most ideal location for such an event, I have figured out some the details in advance.

Some possible activities include:


Possible appetizers and snacks:
  • Cheese and crackers (yes, I went there...)
  • Celery stuffed with veggie dip
  • Hawaiian punch with fruit chunks
  • Cocktail shrimp with cocktail sauce
  • Chicks in a blanket
  • Lamb kabobs with red pepper


I've decided to encourage dressing like your favorite Mad Men character, though for people who aren't necessarily into watching Mad Men, I've encouraged 1960s attire (perfect shameless selling tactic for my business, right?)

My boyfriend and I have already discussed the types of liquor we'll have displayed-- I'm on the hunt for some vintage decanters like the ones shown in Mad Men. I have also decided to begin purchasing 60s barware in which guests can keep their glass as a party favor.

1960s Mad Men Drinks:
  • Bloody Marys
  • Retro Highball
  • Old-Fashioned
  • Classic Martinis
  • Manhattans
  • Tom Collins
  • Mai Tai

I will definitely be taking photos of guests and posting them as soon as the party is finished! I will also be adding more party details as the time goes on.

Have any Mad Men party ideas? Share them with a comment below!

old fashioned drink
Christina Hendricks as 'Joan' from Mad Men


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