Sunday, July 24, 2011

Beatin the Heat

Two weeks ago, I went to visit my sister in Florida for a few days.


It was pretty warm and humid down there, as expected. One day we headed to Rainbow Springs to beat the heat. The springs are a perfect place to go on a hot day. Water from the aquifer is constantly bubbling up to the surface, making it completely clear and very cool (averaging about 70-75 degrees, I think). There are lots of these swimming holes all over Florida and up through the 60's and 70's, many of them were made into popular road-side tourist attractions, complete with performing mermaids and glass-bottom boat tours. Rainbow Springs was taken over by the State of Florida in the 70's and now there's a nominal fee of $2 a person to enter the park.

It was really great, there are walking trails, a butterfly garden, the remnants of an old aviary and zoo, and of course the river, which begins at the spring and on which you can take canoes and kayaks. Below is an old map of the amusement park in its heyday.

Rainbow Springs_

Kelley 2_

oh florida_

water fall 1_


swimming hole_


swamp _


more water_

Kate Smiling_

swimming hole 2_



This is a big part of Florida as I remember it from growing up there. Swampy, kitschy, sunny and replete with alligators, palms, oaks, pines, and Spanish moss. There are other tourist attractions like this that have survived post Disney. A great one is Ponce De Leon's Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine. I find these places fascinating; they're relics of another time in America's history of tourism, but they've persisted, so they also say something about us today and what we think about the past.

On another day, we visited a great pizza place that also has a tourist/junk shop attached.

Junk Shop_

And this was outisde, so we had to take a photo...


So that's my story. Has anyone else gone on a vacation lately?


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Age of Wonder

Don't you love it when you come across a book that you wouldn't have thought you'd love, but that ends up capturing your imagination? Recently I found just such a book through one of my favorite podcasts, RadioLab . First, if you've never listened to this show, I highly recommend it. It's hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich and their website describes the show this way:

"Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we'll feed it with possibility."

My favorite part about the show is how excited and curious the hosts are and how fun and inspiring it is to listen along with every episode. They obviously love science and it's a joy to hear them investigate and laugh and discover. Plus the sound editing is great and the various staff members bring a lot to the table. day at work I was listening to one of their short episodes where they interviewed Richard Holmes, the author of The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science. It was so fascinating, listening to the author talk about how he went from writing strictly about Romantic poets to writing about an entire period in the history of science and how it was linked with romanticism. He does this by taking a biographical approach, following the lives and achievements of prominent figures in Britain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

From Joseph Banks and his voyage to Tahiti (and subsequent nurturing of young scientific talent in London) to William and Caroline Herschel's astronomical discoveries, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and its reflection of fears concerning the newly envisioned occupation of scientist, and Humphry Davy's bold achievements in the field of chemistry, Holmes demonstrates how romantic science re-envisioned the world and the universe, inspired by a sense of awe, creativity, and possibility. He also sheds light on their personal lives, their joys, hopes, achievements disappointments and flaws, making them seem all the more compelling and shedding light on the context in which they made their discoveries.

The best part of the book is that it reads like an adventure story with many characters all endeavoring within the same milieu. My personal favorites were the Herschel's, the German brother and sister immigrants (to Britain) who cast & polished their own large telescopes in their basement (can you imagine?!) and went on to map and chart nebulae, discover comets and planets, construct and operate a 40-foot telescope, and promote the concept of deep space. I very much appreciated that Holmes paid equal attention to Caroline and her journey from neglected child to William's assistant and eventually to an internationally recognized comet huntress in her own right.

Personally, I was never previously interested enough in science to seek out books about it in my spare time. But this book was fascinating and downright exciting. If you're looking for something interesting and well-written, I'd definitely give it a try.


Well, I'm off to Florida tomorrow to visit my sister for the weekend. I probably won't write again until after I get back on Sunday, but I'll try to take lots of pictures. I hope everyone else has a great weekend!

xx Kelley Anne xx

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Simple but Flirty

Just a short outfit post tonight. It was so warm today, and even tonight. I decided to wear this light polyester dress that I thrifted last year. I love the ruffly little collar and keyhole opening in the front. These little details give a very sweet, feminine feeling to a simple dress. Its so nice to finally shed all of the layers from our long winter and as a result, I've been keeping my wardrobe very basic lately: few accessories paired with flirty, but pretty summer dresses like this one. Part and parcel, my silver spoon bracelet has become a fixture. Several years ago, my mom bought my sister and I these bracelets at a kumquat festival in Florida. It's both elegant and sentimental and always sparks conversation.





Dress: Thrifted Vintage
Belt: Linea Pelle (Marshall's)
Spoon Bracelet: Gift
Earrings: Thrifted
Shoes: Clarks

My short hair really does go along with this desire for simplicity lately. Its so funny, I'm not quite used to seeing myself this way and when I walk in front of a mirror its a bit surprising (but in a good way that makes me giggle at myself). I love the change and the thought of pairing my slightly boyish hair with all of the feminine frocks in my wardrobe.

Good night everybody!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thrift Finds

This morning, Dan and I headed to his hometown to visit his mother and grandmothers. One of my favorite thrift stores is very nearby, so after lunch we headed there and I set to work perusing for almost an hour. Its always hit and miss with thrift shopping, but this place usually yields something every time I visit. Today I got really lucky.

This first dress is definitely vintage from the late 70's, early 80's. Its short and fun and flirty, with a pretty collar and a fitted bodice. I love that the little sleeves have a slight puff to them. The former owner wrote her name on the tag in marker, so I'm debating whether to cut it out or not. I've never seen that before...has anyone else?


The next one is from BCBG Max Azria. I absolutely love the bold giraffe-like print and the short, almost mod shape. It'll be a good transition piece to fall and winter too and I'll probably end up wearing it as a tunic over dark jeans.


And finally a very pretty, classic polka-dot maxi dress. I didn't think too much of it on the rack, but because of my undying love for dots and current search for more long dresses, I decided to give it a whirl in the dressing room. I'm glad I did. It fits so well! It'll be an easy, classic choice for work-days when I don't feel like fretting over what to wear.


Before leaving this store, I always cruise by the jewelry section to check out the pins and earrings. Today, I found a pretty (if ubiquitous) rose pin. My sister bought one of these a few years ago at a vintage store nearby and I've been keeping an eye out since for one that I liked. Today I got lucky. (please ignore the dog hair, that's also ubiquitous:)


And here's what I wore while shopping...

floral_outfit 1



Dress: Thrifted Vintage (altered by me)
Perforated Wedges: Target
Pin: Thrifted today!
Earrings: Forever 21
Rattan Purse: Thrifted
Bangles: Forever 21 & Thrifted

This dress has become my automatic go-to outfit for summer over the past few years. Its pretty and easy to wear and has pockets, which is a definite bonus. Do you have an automatic default outfit?

Saturday, July 9, 2011



I took the plunge today, although it didn't really feel like much of a plunge. I've been thinking about cutting my hair short again for months now and this afternoon I walked into my hairdresser's with a few pictures of Jean Seberg from Breathless in hand, ready to commit. I love my stylist. She's enthusiastic and honest and friendly. She was so excited for me. Its wonderful to find someone who you trust implicitly with your hair.

The last time I got it cut, I went to someone else at the same salon with a similar request. The woman was really nice, but she basically tried to convince me not to do it and said she was afraid I might really regret it and cry (for some reason, they always think I'm going to cry:). While I appreciated her candor, I found myself in the odd position of explaining to her that, yes, I had cut my hair that short before and that ultimately it's just hair and will eventually grow back. It was rather humorous.

Today was a completely different story. I can't wait to play around with it and see what I can do.



Accessories & Cat



(Mena wanted in on the photo action today)



me & mena

Blouse: Thrifted
Shorts: Anthropologie Sale
Sunglasses: Vintage Store
Earrings: Forever 21
Handbag: Thrifted
Shoes: Target
Ring: Gift

And I also bought a new pair of purple wedge platform sandals on sale today! Luckily I just happened to be passing by my favorite shoe store and decided to pop in on a whim. They're made by Born, which is quickly turning into one of my preferred shoe brands, especially for heels. As the salesgirl said, they're just so comfortable.


new_shoes 1

For years, I wouldn't dare wear platforms or heels over three inches. I'm almost six feet tall anyway, so I thought I'd just stick out even more. And I was convinced that I'm such a clutz that I'd constantly be tripping and falling. But the other day, when I said something about my lack of coordination to a friend, he looked at me for a minute and then told me he thinks I don't give myself enough credit. I've decided that I think he's right. I can handle walking in these shoes.

Its funny how the stories that stick with us from our childhoods sometimes shape who we think we are. I grew really, really fast in elementary school (an entire foot in one year!) and ended up feeling really awkward while adjusting to my new body. Ever since, I've always thought of myself as an inelegant, clumsy person who tends to physically stick out. But maybe I've just been seeing it all wrong and taking lots of things about myself for granted.

Oh, and if you get a chance, I started a new blog for my art called Dreams By Kelley. Stop by if you get a chance!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Back Again

Hello everyone. Its been a while (again). I've been home sick for the past two days and have been mulling over quite a few things. I've been feeling an itch lately, but one that I can't seem to locate to successfully scratch it:) I realized looking through my blog roll last night that I really miss blogging. As a general rule, I tend to get caught up in what I think is expected of me and let those perceptions dictate what I do and how I do it. Its only recently that I've realized I need to trust myself and do things because I want to do them, rather than looking to other people for a guide as to what I should do. My husband is really great at following his heart and interests and I'm slowly (thankfully) coming to learn some things from him.

This is such a cliche that its somewhat hard to write, but here goes...what does it mean to be successful? I have always had a mishmash of goals that fit into that category in my mind, but they always fit into my desire to receive recognition and approval from other people. I'm beginning to see that I have to be happy with myself whether I get that approval or not. When I stopped consistently blogging about ten months ago, it was partially because I thought my efforts weren't interesting enough. Now, I'm beginning to see that that was a lot of melarky because they interested me and the blog was always meant to be one of my creative outlets. So, in a long delayed move, I'm going to start blogging again about the things that I'm interested in -- poetry, art, vintage, thrifting, photography.

I also started another blog (that's also listed in my blog roll) called Dreams By Kelley. There I'll post several pieces of my art every week. My husband Dan is writing a graphic novel. Every night, he sits down and writes one page; no matter what he always finds time to do this. I'm going to follow his lead and stop being so hard on myself. Dan always says that its not how many times you get knocked down that matters in life, but how many times you pick yourself back up again. Here goes nothing.