October Highlights

octoberhighlightsoctoberhighlights2

  1. Spooky 2. Sophisticated 3. Celebratory 4. Natural 5. Scrumptious 6. Black and White

October keeps bleeding into November which is something of a metaphor for what this year has been: one thing just melding into the next and being quite surprised the old thing has passed and the new thing has arrived. October was spooky yet sophisticated with Halloween and at last breaking out the scarves, boots, and Fall prints. It was also scrumptious and celebratory: celebrating the return of everything pumpkin and my one year anniversary in this space! I can’t even believe it!

Some DIY’s I share simply because I think the idea was a good one, and even though my execution may have fallen a little short, someone else might be able to take the idea and run with it so I share anyway. But this month’s Raven Wreath and Black and White Pumpkins I can say I couldn’t wait to share because I was so very proud of them. Fall is my season: the best things happen, the best ideas, and I’m so excited for November. This month has already been incredibly busy in its four days but also incredibly exciting and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next twenty-six. I have some more things I can’t wait to share but I’m waiting to make sure they’re actually happening before I spill the bloggin’ beans!

image via vintage Vogue

– <3 A. 

Black and White Halloween

diy black and white halloweenblack and white halloweenblack and white halloweenblack and white halloweenI know, it’s November today but my tradition is decorating/carving pumpkins Halloween night and they turned out so well I had to do one more October post before I embrace a new month. Ironically, last Halloween I actually carved a silhouette of a random woman, but this year I used my very own blog logo as my inspiration. What a difference a year makes! Last Halloween I was about three weeks into my blog adventure and now I’ve got a whole year behind me, a blog makeover, some wonderful ladies I met along the way, and something super exciting just around the corner I can’t wait to share!

halloween
  • white pumpkin
  • thin sharpie + a very sharp pencil
  • black acrylic paint
  • silhouette
  • clear spray paint

Cut out the silhouette and trace the outline with a pencil then go back over the pencil line with the thin sharpie so you’re sure you get all the little details and a clean edge. My silhouette had very tiny lips and eyelashes and the paint wouldn’t have picked that up. Fill in the outline with black paint, allow to dry and then spray paint the whole pumpkin with a clear coat to protect the black from chipping and make it shiny!

halloween

  • white pumpkin
  • thin black sharpie + pencil
  • clear spray paint

I was too scared to attempt these letters free-hand with paint so I traced it on first with pencil and then back over it with the sharpie to get a clean line…and that’s it! Spray this one as well with the clear spray paint to make it shiny.

Carving is fun but if your tradition isn’t to decorate the night of Halloween, painting them will make them last so much longer. Also, after I did the letters and the silhouette and put them together, I thought how cute it would be to do everyone’s name and profile on pumpkins in your family and have a little, family tree pumpkin-farm. There’s always next year….

– <3 A. 

Pulling Off Pumpkin

pulling off pumpkinpulling off pumpkin

images via That Funny Feeling | Breakfast at Tiffany’s | Pillow Talk | An Affair to Remember

Pulling off pumpkin is kind of tough! There’s a shade between Halloween-orange and garish-bright that is hard to find but doing sweaters like Sandra, Audrey’s bright coats, Doris’s accessories, or Deborah’s scarf is a pretty easy formula to follow for making this October color work. **I’m insanely jealous of that handbag behind Doris Day. Doris, where did you get that? Help a purse-desperate girl out?**

I’m going to ask all my lovely readers if they would be patient with me this weekend. I’m heading out of town and won’t be in the proximity of the wonderful world of the web to update VMMV. I could of course plan out some posts and have them timed and ready to publish in my absence, but I’m so looking forward to shutting every connection down that I’ve been sustaining for oh-so-long that I’m not even going to do that. I am planning on snapping as many pictures as I can though to document my expedition and I might be convinced to do a little Instagramming, so, if you’re a follower you can see where I’m off too and if you’re not, follow me!

I’m really really looking forward to the break. It’s going to be a serious mental health vacation and I’m rather looking forward to unplugging even though lately blogging hasn’t been high enough on my priority list. dang it. After work and homework are done, I haven’t yet figured out how to keep my brain creative enough to maintain my usual blog schedule. This break I’m hoping will jumpstart me again though and also will get me closer to when I can share something so very exciting that I’ve been keeping quiet. Stay tuned! I can’t wait  to share and if I wasn’t escaping I might just slip…

– <3 A. 

Nevermore Halloween Raven Wreath

Halloween Raven Wreathnevermore halloween raven wreath

  1. Silver-dollar Oleander tree leaves painted black. Any roundish leaf would probably work but these turned out looking so much like feathers I don’t know if I would try another kind. I kept the leaves on the branches I trimmed until after I spray-painted and dried the leaves. Then, just pluck them off!
  2. Using straight-pins, start overlapping and pinning the leaves onto a foam wreath also painted black. Initially, I wasn’t going to use the ripped/broken leaves but they actually looked more like real feathers so I alternated them in with the more solid leaves.
  3. Attach your raven to the center of the wreath with some wire and add a ribbon for hanging and you’re done!

nevermore halloween raven wreathdiy halloween ravel wreathhalloween raven wreathdiy halloween wreath

I’m so in love with this wreath. It’s spooky without being creepy/cheesy and as far as Halloween goes, I’d go as far as to say my raven in his wreath is quite chic! If you can find the oleander leaves, the whole thing only cost me about $10.00 for a can of black spray paint, the raven and the Styrofoam frame. Nevermore will I say this –after this– but this is honestly honestly my new favorite project.

– <3 A.

Reel Women: Bell Book and Candle

bell book and candle vintage stylebell book and candle vintage style bell book and candle vintage style

backless maxi dress | beaded bracelet | cigarette trouser | cowl | tiny wine-y red polish | yellow shift | patent pump |

I’m not into Halloween. Not at all actually. No ghouls, or goblins…and the only witch I’ll watch is the one played by Kim Novak in this movie. Carving a pumpkin is fun, drinking pumpkin lattes…yeah, duh…but everyone’s fascination with Halloween horror is one I’ll never understand. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Kim Novak always played a rather angsty leading lady. She always reminded me a bit of a, well, “deeper” version of Marilyn Monroe…as if Marilyn’s troubled, true-self finally made it past her ditzy, easy-going facade to pose as Miss Novak.

Novak’s style was pretty modern for her era: except for her “sweet” look in Bell, Book, and Candle with the usual 1950’s/60’s cinched waist, flowy A-line, and matching pumps, her normal looks were slinky, full-length dresses, and cigarette pants paired with an oversized top/sweater. She was also far more overtly sexual than many of the leading ladies of her time, yet, she never dipped into the sleezy category. Halloween is notorious for being the one day of the year where anything goes. Every single Oct. 31st, my tiny college town went from middle-class educated, slightly hipster yet completely civilized, to all out slutville in under 24 hours. I don’t know when Halloween became so sleezy, but if I’m going to be angsty and slithery this Halloween, I’d do it Kim Novak’s way: with quite a bit of class.

font and kim novak image via

– <3 A.

Sweet Memories

Before I bid adieu to October completely, and since I promised a view of my procrastination pumpkin-carving-product, here’s a last peek at some of my favorite things of October. Also, a quick homemade treat if you’re feeling domestic without feeling like you have the time to satisfy your kitchen cravings:

pumpkin carving ideas

Since this month was largely spent wishing for rain and getting sunshine instead, I celebrated the last day of the unusually warm month with a summer-treat: ice cream sandwiches. They were super easy to make and turned out stupendous.

Home-baked items are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Even when I make boxed cakes and brownies for a last-minute party gift, the three-ingredient, not quite from scratch, goodies are met with rave revues. With life going at a constant light-speed, it’s no wonder people wonder when you have time to turn on the oven.

You don’t have to be a June Cleaver to pull this off though.

ice cream sandwich recips

Chocolate chip cookies, made a little flatter and bigger when you plop them on the cookie sheet, and a scoop of slightly melted ice cream squooshed in between two cookies. Done. Delicious, yes?

homemade ice cream sandwich

I wrapped each of them in a little wax paper and tucked them into their own individual Ziploc bag just to ensure the ice cream didn’t make a mess, or the sandwiches end up tasting like freezer after a night in the dark dungeon of frozen-ness.

October was sublime. I still haven’t gotten my fill of Pumpkin-Spice yet, but there’s always November for that and hopefully, then, I’ll be wrapped three-layers deep in sweater goodness.

Hope your October left you with some sweet memories.

– <3 A. 

Scarf Secrets

Happy Halloween everyone!

Its supposed to be 82 degrees today–thanks California. Guess who is completely bummed though? Me. Yes, I hate it. But I’m thinking wishfully so I thought I would share with you a few fun ways to tie a scarf, so, if fall ever decides to stick around, you’ll be ready.

I love this little book. It’s a pamphlet from Nordstrom’s from the 80s and, excepting the unfortunate bowl hair-cuts on many of the models, it’s a really great step-by-step guide to tying all sorts of different scarves (oblong, square, bias) into all sorts of different ways. In honor of my series this week of showing how the addition of a few accessories can add some simple femininity to your everyday look, I thought I would share two of my favorite ways to tie a scarf.

The scarves I’m talking about aren’t the keep-me-warm-ones necessarily. Instead, these are more of the thinner fabrics that can be worn indoors–even after you take your coat off–and can add some elegance to a shirt and jeans, a plain sweater- dress, or with a collared button-down to keep it feeling girly.

These are some of my favorites:

how to tie a scarf

They really aren’t even scarves at all, but are actually about a half of a yard of fabric I bought for a few dollars each. Once tied, they look super-chic and not anything like a square piece of fabric cut off the bolt: cheap and the possibilities are almost endless.

Tie number one:

(I warned you about the hair didn’t I?) If you can’t tell what to do from the image, here’s a little more help:

1.) Drape an oblong scarf around your neck and about half-way up pinch one side of the scarf to the other side with your thumb and forefinger:

how-to-tie-a-scarf2.) Using a ring, push the pinched part of the scarf through the hole of the ring:

how-to-tie-a-scarf

3.) Keep pulling the scarf through the hole until you get it to the length you want:

how-to-tie-a-scarf

Tie number two

how-to-tie-a-scarfThis one looks a bit more complicated but it’s really not. It’s easiest to do with thinner fabrics otherwise the pleats get a little too fluffy and it looks like a mess. I used Alice to help me out on this one: 

1.) Drape an oblong scarf around your neck and tie a loose knot in one side about two inches from the bottom:

2.) Fold the other side into accordion pleats until it’s even with the knotted side…

how-to-tie-a-scarf …and hold onto the inside half of the pleats and let the other side fan out:

how-to-tie-a-scarf

3.) Push the pinched side of the pleats through the loose knot and then tighten the knot:

how-to-tie-a-scarf

4.) Arrange the pleats until they drape nicely:
how-to-tie-a-scarf

Easy, yes? Everytime I’ve worn these two knots, I always get people asking me how I tied them.

how-to-tie-a-scarf

It looks complicated but is actually very easy and, don’t take it from me, even Nordstrom says, it adds “a sensational touch of class.”

Hope everyone has a safe Halloween. Maybe tie a scarf around your neck to get into the mood if the weather has got you feeling more like June than October. I haven’t actually carved my pumpkin yet but I have big plans! Maybe I’ll share tomorrow if it looks as good in real life as it does in my head.

– <3 A. 

Autumn Aspirations

October is swiftly coming to a close, can you believe it? I always want to hold on to these last few months at the year’s end. Call it nostalgia or call it just the January-blues, but regardless of what the previous year held for me, I’m never ready to see it drift away and watch the new one come into view. October is like a security blanket. It’s as if everyone does a collective sigh from the year’s ups and downs and finally remembers to look around and enjoy each other.

Maybe you have a different experience. Maybe the end of the year festivities fill you with dread and give you a sense of being overwhelmed by trying to get everything just right. It doesn’t have to be just right though. It doesn’t even really have to be close. In honor of making some easy memories without too much time to plan, and with a weekend staring us straight in the face full of moments to make memorable, here are a few musts for your October-end:

Drink far, far too much coffee:

coffee Decorate at least ONE table in your house:

fall decorating ideasok, maybe two:
fall decorating ideas Read a novel:

reading Indulge in Pumpkin-Spice-everything: Come December I am so over Pumpkin-Spice, but for October and November I enjoy it without even a splash of guilt:

fall recipes Find an excellent pumpkin-patch…
pumpkin patch
pumpkin patch …and someone special to carry the pumpkins for you:

Happy weekend everyone! Hope you can make some memories and enjoy the beauty that is October.

– <3 A. 

Sweet Distractions

Thursday. How did that happen already? Yesterday I was trying very hard to write. Please notice that I said trying, because, mostly what I was doing was staring at a blinking cursor. Why? Perhaps because I had let my head get too full of a million random things: take pants to the tailor (I love those pants), buy streamers, oh, and buy more tea (I drank it all again!? should probably stop drinking so much tea), give the picture frames another coat of paint, check if Pumpkin Trees really exist…

…as an aside…they do! Have you heard of them or seen these strange wonders?

I saw them at Whole Foods this past weekend and stood with my mouth wide open, staring like a dummy and poking at them in an attempt to convince myself they were real. And I wasn’t the only one gawking. If I were the Whole Foods management I would set up an observatory to watch as people grouped in little confused clumps around the display. Surprise of the season, I guess they are real. After a little Google-research, pumpkinnook.com told me these magical things, often called “Pumpkin on a Stick,” “Pumpkin Tree,” or “Pumpkin Bush,” are really ornamental eggplants! I want bouquets and bouquets of them. I think they are absolutely irresistible. Forgive me for going on about them if you are thinking, “yes, these little guys have been around for years…have you?” but I really was enchanted and wanted to share in case they’ve slipped your attention as well.

And, speaking of little guys, the main reason for my distracted attention and consequent blank page was this little guy:

Nokona. The cutest annoyance I’ve ever seen. For some reason, the moment I was settled to write, he was settled on committing every cat-crime known to man. Knock over my tea-mug, step on random keys of my keyboard: “777777777jjjjjjdmalsdoivna;dskfpa;” (well, at least the page isn’t blank now); overturn my laundry, sleep in my laundry, scrape at the screened window, get caught in the screened window, had to be saved from the screened window; became suddenly voraciously hungry, decided to chew on a plastic bag; overturned the garbage, decided my sock drawer should be full of him instead of full of socks, took out all the socks; brought a toy mouse to play with, I got up to play, he got in my chair, he fell asleep.

Exasperation! I asked him why he couldn’t be more like his sister, who was, this entire time, the picture of peace:

This query though was, in fact, a huge mistake because it woke him up…

…and, he went right back to being absolutely, impossibly, adorable.

Tomorrow, a little home-design project: murals anyone (seriously) can do that are as cheap as a bucket of paint, and only need a bit of your own time and patience. If you’re a fan of wallpaper but don’t want that slug slime all over, this will definitely do the trick.

Hang in there everyone, Friday is a-comin’!

– <3 A.