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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Travel - Vintage Style

For some time now I have been daydreaming about getting a vintage travel trailer.  I think it stems from my desire to escape. (*grins*)  I periodically scour craigslist for them and I joined a group on facebook that is for enthusiasts like me.  I even have a pinterest board that I have mainly dedicated to these lovely creatures, but, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would actually be able to get one.  They can be rather pricey and hard to find, especially if they have been restored.

So, imagine my surprise when a friend recently told us that he had one of these cuties and said that we could have her if we wanted her!  First of all, I was floored by his generosity, and secondly, I was over the moon excited!

The Mister says, before I get too excited though, we need to see her to see how much work would need to be done, or how much money we would need to sink into her.  I say, money - schmoney, whats a few kazillion dollars when we can have one of these beauties and get the joy of bringing her back to her former glory.  For some reason, he doesn't share my attitude.

Said friend gladly sent us a couple of photos of her and says we can come look at her anytime.  Cross your fingers for me that she will not be a total loss on the inside and that she is structurally sound.  Here she is, what do you think?  Should we get her?

60s Shasta Astrodome | Retro Gran

60s Shasta Astrodome | Retro Gran

She is an early 1960s Shasta Astrodome.  We aren't sure of the exact year yet but I think she may be a 61 or 62?  And, she doesn't really look like the canned hams because of the cabover but that gives her extra sleeping room.  Any experts out there want to offer up any advice or resources?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Remembering The Fallen

Today is Memorial Day and it is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our Nation's service.  It was originally called Decoration Day, because of decorating the graves as a way to honor the war dead.  The origins of the day are not readily agreed upon, but it is known that groups of Southern women as far back as during the Civil War, were decorating the graves of the Confederate soldiers. Regardless of where the day got its start, the day is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Lovely patriotic basket of red poppies.  Image source.

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies

In 1915, Moina Michael penned the poem above then she conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. 

Madam Guerin, visiting the United States from France, learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and upon returning to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. 

This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. 

In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.
Postage stamp honoring Moina Michael

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

3rd US Infantryman placing flags in Arlington Cemetery.   Image Source

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. 

BSA decorating graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. 

Fredericksburg National Cemetery Luminaria

More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

Civil War veteran's resting place near our home in Virginia.  Photo taken by me.
How is it that over the years the true meaning and spirit of Memorial Day have faded away? It should be considered a national day of mourning.  We need to remember with sincere respect, those who paid the price for our freedoms; we need to keep in sacred remembrance those who died serving their country. We need to never let them be forgotten.

We need to stop and pay, with sincere conviction, our respects for those who died protecting and preserving the freedoms we enjoy, for we owe those honored dead more than we can ever repay.

Today, I remember.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Trashy Diva Annette Dress

Trashy Diva Annette Dress | Retro Gran

*Outfit Details*
Dress - Trashy Diva
Cardigan - Walmart
Shoes - Walmart
Hair Combs - Belle Blossoms

Trashy Diva Annette Dress | Retro Gran

Trashy Diva Annette Dress | Retro Gran

Trashy Diva Annette Dress | Retro Gran

Trashy Diva Annette Dress | Retro Gran

Trashy Diva Annette Dress | Retro Gran

Trashy Diva Annette Dress | Retro Gran

Trashy Diva Annette Dress | Retro Gran

Trashy Diva Annette Dress | Retro Gran

Trashy Diva Annette Dress | Retro Gran

Trashy Diva Annette Dress | Retro Gran

A while back I shared with you that I had purchased a few new outfits to wear while at the beach for the Mister's birthday.  If you missed that post, you can find it here.  I also shared our visit to the sprawling Brookgreen Gardens so I wanted to show you what I wore on that visit.  This will be a two part post because the Gardens were so huge that we made it a two day adventure.

Our first day at the gardens I decided to sport my brand new Trashy Diva Annette dress.  This is my very first purchase from Trashy Diva and I love the quality of this dress but I have a little difficulty with the fit.  I ordered according to my measurements and their size chart but it is really tight in the chest area and mushes the girls.  Its also a bit tight for me in the waist area and I really have to suck it in to zip it, but once zipped up, it gives a nice snug fit.  The other thing I found really odd is that the belt that came with the dress seems really large.  I have it cinched nearly as tight as it will go and still have room.  Odd that the dress itself I struggle to zip but the belt is too large.

But, other than fit issues, I love this dress.  It is extremely well made, not as low cut as some others, so I feel more modestly covered, and it has hidden pockets.  How awesome is that!!  The material is a nice soft cotton and it is completely lined.

The day started off a little overcast and chilly so I grabbed a simple, super soft, white cardigan that I picked up at Walmart.  It was on clearance at the time and I think I paid like $9 for it.  Also, since I knew we would be doing a ton of walking, I threw on these super comfy sandals from Walmart.  They are a dream to walk in, lots of cushion.

My hair that day was more or less wash and go.  (Pay no mind to those gray roots shining.)  The humidity always causes my hair to frizz so I knew it was pointless to take the time to set it.  And it was a vacation, who wants to spend all day or night fixing their hair?  Not me!  I pulled it back with some Belle Blossom side combs and let it do its natural thing.  Frizz.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Art Deco Interiors

With the release of the Great Gatsby movie, which I recently reviewed for you, there has been an influx of 1920s style - everything from fashion to home decor. Here is a modern day example of whats available, fashion wise, with a very 1920s feel.

The links to these items can be found on my Polyvore

There are some really amazing items in this collection and I could totally see myself sporting any number of them, but what I wanted to focus on today is art deco home decor.

The mood during the early 20th century was optimistic and hopeful, and like society's attitude, their interiors were sparkling and bright. There were sleek, glossy hardwood floors laid in geometric patterns. The gleaming furniture consisted of mirrored dressers, black lacquered cabinets and ebony veneered tables, chrome lamps and sparkling chandeliers. Area rugs and other fabric items were bright and colorful - consisting of zigzags, chevrons and sunbursts. Sweeping, curved lines and angular shapes were a common sight and brushed steel finishes and glass were used liberally as they contributed to the sleek, modern look.

Here are some great modern day examples as showcased on Houzz.

Art Deco bathroom

Modern Art Deco bedroom

Modern Art Deco bedroom

Contemporary Art Deco Living Room

Contemporary Staircase

Art Deco Entryway

Art deco style was modern for it's time, and it still has a very fresh, eclectic, contemporary feel today.  I believe that you could incorporate bits and pieces into any decor setting, don't you?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gatsby - Great Or Not

For my birthday the Mister wanted to take me out to see a movie of my choice at the theater.  This is a rare treat for us, we usually just wait for things to come out on dvd.  Normally I would have chosen something action packed because I know we both enjoy that type of movie and I have to admit that I leaned heavily towards watching Iron Man 3, but, instead, I decided on The Great Gatsby.

The Great Gatsby

Unlike so many of you, I have never read the book.  I just never got around to reading it.  Plus, I haven't ever seen any of the prior movie versions.  So, going in to see the movie, I had no preconceived notion of how things were supposed to happen or really even what the story was about.  I was just there for the fashion, the glitz and glam, - oh and Leonardo DiCaprio.  There, I admit it.

Gatsby did not disappoint me on all of those points.  The visuals in this film are fantastic.  There are glorious colors and elaborate costumes and the sets are art deco masterpieces.  Here, let me say that I am not versed in all things 1920s so I have no idea if the costumes and sets were historically accurate, I just know that they were stunningly beautiful.  And, Leonardo was superb in his role as Jay Gatsby showing both vulnerability and strength. 

Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio

The film did, however, disappoint me in several other areas.   The fact that it is in 3D is my biggest gripe.  I always get a headache watching 3D movies, and with some of the camera angles and movements, there's lots of sweeping, swirling motions in this film, made that so much worse for me.

Having not ever read the book, I’m not sure how the story should have gone, but the storyline in the film fell a little flat for me.  I get that Gatsby started with nothing and climbed his way into money any way he could to win back the love of Daisy.  What I didn't get from watching the film, is why?  I mean, they tell you why, obviously, but it doesn't feel all that believable to me because, to me, Carey Mulligan’s performance as Daisy kind of gets lost in the over the top visuals.

Another thing I wasn't crazy about was the soundtrack.  I understand why the director chose modern music – lots of Beyonce and JayZ  – but I would have preferred more authentic 20s jazz, although, the Mister liked the more modern music.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby

Overall, I liked the film.  I believe it is visually stunning, full of glitz and glamour, and on that end alone would recommend seeing it.  But for me, it is more style over substance.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Life Gets In The Way

Do you ever plan to write a post and just sit in front of your computer, staring blankly at the screen?  This is where I am at lately.  I have several ideas floating around in my head, but somehow they never make their way out my fingertips onto the keyboard.  They usually just get lost in the jumbled, stressed out mess that is my brain at the moment.

My father's illness is taking a toll on our entire family, and I know that we are just at the beginning of this journey.  Our lives have been put on hold and all of our energy is focused on his health and well being, which is the least I can do for the greatest man in my life. Each day we have left with him is a blessing that I will cherish.

But, it does tend to diminish my creativity and consume my thoughts.  I would like to keep Retro Gran as a happy place, a refuge from every day life, if you will.  Lately, my posts have become sporadic in their scheduling because I am trying to maintain the atmosphere I hope to portray here, but my heart is far from being in a happy place.  When the mood and time allows, I try to seize the opportunity and create several posts at once before the moment is lost again.  I hope that you, my dear readers, will be understanding of this and stick around.

With that, I would like to leave you with lots of love and happy thoughts.  Here is a photograph of one of my grandsons enjoying his time on the beach.

Toddler playing on the beach
Sean and his rubber ducky having a grand time at the ocean.  Photo taken by me.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Spotlight On: June Cleaver

For my "Spotlight On" series, I thought I would do something a little different and shine the spotlight on a tv character rather than the actress playing the part.  In honor of Mother's Day, I chose to shine that light on TV land's greatest mother, EVER, June Cleaver.

June, Beaver, and Wally

As a mother, June was nurturing, and tried her best to support her sons through all of their ordeals, even though her youngest son, “Beaver” had a hard time staying out of trouble.  She was dedicated to her family.  When the boys came home from school each day, you could always find June in the kitchen chopping vegetables, or basting a roast, or icing a cake.  And her kitchen was always immaculate as was the rest of the house.

June and Beaver in the kitchen

June was ladylike and slightly formal in personal appearance, always seen with perfectly coiffed hair and tasteful facial makeup. Her wardrobe consisted of simple but elegant dresses, suits, or skirts paired with blouses or sweaters and high-heeled pumps for shoes, and she always wore a pearl necklace, even when working in her garden.

June and Ward in the garden

She had a great intuition about what was going on in her sons lives and was quite the disciplinarian when she needed to be. She had a loving but no-nonsense approach to rambunctious sons Wally and Beaver. She met misbehavior with a knowing look and even tone, making surrender the only option. She was a loving, happy, stay at home mom.

June Cleaver the disciplinarian

So in short, she was a perfect mother, who was perfectly dressed, and kept a perfectly clean home.  How can I ever live up to that standard?  

June checking on her boys

Well, here's what I think.  June remained calm when things got out of control at home, she tried to protect her sons by teaching them right from wrong, and she stood her ground when anything got in the way of that.  Above all else, she was loving and nurturing, that's what makes her the perfect mother in my point of view, and that standard is one I can strive to achieve.

June and Beaver

Happy Mother's Day to all of you "perfect" mothers!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Out And About - Brookgreen Gardens

Recently, we had the opportunity to visit Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina.  They have been named by Coastal Living Magazine as one of the country's top 10 public gardens and after visiting them, I can wholeheartedly agree with this.

The gardens were founded in 1931 by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington.  It is a garden museum to preserve the native plants and wildlife and display objects of art within that natural setting.  Today, it is a National Historic Landmark with the most significant collection of figurative sculpture in the country.  It also is home to the only accredited zoo on the coast of the Carolinas.

The garden is home to over 1400 sculptures, the largest collection in the country.  The founders built the collection around Anna's own works and those of her contemporaries. Over the years the collection was extended back to artists of the early nineteenth century and forward into the twenty-first century.

The property encompasses 9100 acres, so when we purchased our tickets to enter, I was pleased to learn that gave us access to the gardens for 7 consecutive days.  I wanted to be able to take my time and enjoy the beauty within and there is no way we could cover that much area in one days time.  We visited two days and there are still things that we missed.

The Mister and I both carried a camera and together we took nearly 900 photographs.  It was an amazing place, one that I will not easily forget.  If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend visiting.  It is well worth the $14 admission price.

Here is a sampling of the photos we took that day.  If you would like to see more, I will be adding lots of them to my facebook page.  Come "Like" my page and check them out.