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Coffee Date with Myself and Enjoying My Last Week of Being 32

Howdy doooo! πŸ’œ

Today I took myself to The Axis Coffee Bar β˜•οΈ, a beautiful cafΓ© in Madera, CA! I’ve been here many times and absolutely love it. It’s right outside of Fresno and is surrounded by foothills and vineyards.

I parked outside the entrance long enough to snap a photo with my mini-tripod placed on the hood of my car, haha. I want to make it a point to use my little tripod more often when I’m out and about! πŸ˜„

THIS PLACE HAS THE BEST VIEWS. I love their patio furniture and there is even a water fountain where you can hear the water gently splashing during your stay. And how about the food… 😍

AMAZING! This is the blended mocha and an autumn sprinkled sugar cookie. ❀️

My birthday is approaching on Friday and I’m happy about that!! My plans are to eat some cake, get Indian food takeout, get my free Starbucks drink and open a couple of gifts from my mom and sister. I’ll be turning my favorite age (33), and I have no idea why that is my favorite age but I’ve always looked forward to turning 33. πŸ’œ

A few nights ago I went for an evening walk, but I went too late and missed the sun. Booooo. However, the bonus was that I took some great shots of street lights! (I love street lights).

See ya Friday for the birthday blog post!!

Butterfly Migration Onto My Head

Hi folksssssssssss! πŸ’•

I realized this past month I have been wearing mainly neutral tones, WHICH IS GREAT, TOO. But I feel like I really needed a color splash into my outfits. And thus you have THIS LOOK with an array of colors! Yeah!

I also feel like I haven’t been utilizing all the hair clips I own, which is a lot. So I doubled it up with butterflies! I actually am really happy I did this, because I didn’t realize how awesome it would turn out. πŸ˜„

I’m not sure how I slipped out of wearing brighter colors, but I’m happy I’m back at it. It just felt GOOD to be wearing brighter colors again! Sometimes I slip into habits and look back and realize, wait, when did I stop wearing bright colors? Then I lasso myself back into it again.

Once again, Mikhail Gorbachev, the host with the most glasnost, graces my blog post! I finished reading Perestroika and then discovered he wrote a new book this year! (Did you know he’s 89 years old!?) This one is really cool because it deals with current international affairs. So I’m learning a lot about the “state of the world”.

I love Gorbachev’s writing style. He provides that informative guidance; he’s like a father figure, but rather than guiding me through life choices, he’s guiding me on why nuclear weapons are bad.

Know the social/political commentary comic, Doonesbury? That was mainly all I read during my childhood years! My earliest memory of Doonesbury was reading commentary on the Gulf War. Kinda dark stuff for a kid. Imagine me reading that in Beauty and the Beast pajamas as I downed a pouch of Capri Sun. The visual is accurate.

But, looping it back to my outfit in this post, regardless of my heavy reading choices, I’m still all about the rainbows and butterflies when it comes right down to it! πŸ’– And on an ending note, here’s a cool photo I took of my car with lots of pretty colors:

Bye-bye for now!!! πŸ“š

My Vintage Dress That’s Actually a Soviet School Uniform

Woohooo!!! The dress I’ve been waiting so long for finally arrived in the mail! 😍

It came from one of my favorite Etsy shops based in Ukraine that specializes in vintage USSR items, that I mentioned in my last post. When I first saw this lovely dress (I’ve been wanting a brown dress for a really long time, especially for fall), I was amazed to find out it was a 1980’s-era school uniform. All that was missing from it was the white apron and collar/cuffs, but the foundation of the uniform dress remained! And it’s in great shape, to boot!!! ❀️

I’ve always thought Soviet school uniforms were so cute! I found a great photo on Google for reference:

I’ve been fascinated (okay, obsessed) with The Cold War/US and USSR relations/the Eastern Bloc/the collapse of the Soviet Union since I was really young. I have no idea how or when it started; it’s just always been an interest of mine, it seems! So the dress is an absolute gem in my eyes, since it encapsulates both my passion for fashion and history.

Check out the old tags on the inside of the dress, written in Ukrainian:

It makes me wonder what student(s) previously owned this 30+ years ago. If only a dress could talk! And then I think of how awe-inspiring it is that it made its way to me from so far away. I’ll definitely take good care of it and I’m so happy it found a new home with me! ❀️

Lastly, my current read (because it goes sooooooo well with the content of this post and you already know I’m a history nerd), Perestroika by Mikhail Gorbachev (the former president of the Soviet Union).

I’ve been wanting to read this book, written in 1987 (the year I was born, haha), to see how Gorbachev intended to restructure and reform the USSR, which ultimately collapsed in 1991. Had the Soviet Union not fallen apart, would his reform policies have worked in the long run? We’ll never know…but now I have a piece of this collapsed, now non-existent part of history, in the form of a dress. In a lot of ways, I think the dress found me.

See ya!!! ❀️

Letterman Style

Hello folks!! ❀️ I’ve always liked the whole old-school letterman style cardigans from way back in the day. I decided to pick up my sewing needle while I was watching NASCAR last Sunday (I was so happy Joey Logano won!!!) and attempt to make my own kind of letterman-style cardigan equipped with the letter of my first name (Samantha) and elbow patches (made from scraps of fabric I had lying around!).

Overall I totally love it and it’s definitely a garment I’ll be wearing frequently during the chillier fall months ahead! It’s fun and can easily go with anything.

The scarf is vintage from the 1980’s, made in the USSR. I bought it from an Etsy seller who lives in Ukraine, and her shop specializes in vintage items from the former Soviet Union. I have one more garment I’m waiting so badly to blog about, which also came from her shop, but it hasn’t arrived in the mail just yet. πŸ˜“

BUT IN THE MEANTIME ENJOY SOME MORE PHOTOS AND CHECK OUT MY NEW KITTY SHOES…

MEOW MEOW MEOWWWWWW

I have finally broke into these shoes. It took many a blister and pain to do so, but I did it. I was like, SHOES, YOU ARE GOING TO FIT COMFORTABLY AND BECOME GOOD WALKING SHOES. Eventually, they listened to me and now I can walk a long ways in them with no pain! 🐱

See ya next time!!

Cake Pop Magic, a Prairie Blouse and a Glimpse of Graphic Design from the DPRK

Have you seen the new Starbucks commercial where the lady touches a hologram-like screen in the air and takes out a pink cake pop from it to go along with her drink, and then smiles before carrying on with her day??? I feel that commercial in my soul. I got this cake pop for free with my Starbucks Rewards, to go with my iced mocha. πŸ˜‰ I actually had forgotten how yummy these are, and when I took that first bite, I thought: I FEEL LIKE THAT LADY. (Starbucks, your marketing is working like magic!) βœ¨πŸ’œ

Recently, I modified another blouse I own, and with the added lace it has a prairie look to it now. I’m really happy with the final outcome! I love the mix of really feminine pieces (the blouse) with a darker accessory (the choker).

On Sunday evening, I found myself flipping through a photo book called Made in North Korea: Graphics From Everyday Life in the DPRK by Nicholas Bonner. This is definitely one of the most interesting books I own, I can honestly say! It’s not every day one gets to see what graphic design/product design is like in this mysterious country, or get a look at North Korean propaganda.

Me being in the graphic design field, I was highly fascinated by this book, and there’s also the side of me that is fascinated by countries shrouded in mystery. Another example are the countries that were previously part of the Eastern bloc (my next blog post will be dedicated to this very topic, as I’m patiently waiting for a vintage garment to arrive in the mail that…*hint*…has to do with the Eastern bloc!)

The massive history nerd that I am, I found myself wondering as I flipped through the pages, whether there will ever be a chance that North and South Korea will someday reunite, like when East and West Germany reunited in 1990?

Here’s a look at just a few photos featured in the book – some are postcards, posters, product labels and stationary. I thought it’d make for a great blog post, since this is not something most of us will ever get to see…

See ya next time!!

Red Lace Trim for the Win

Hey there!! ❀️ I am quite ecstatic about this dress I re-vamped; it’s an old lace dress I had crammed in my closet, not being worn in like a year, and I decided to give it a makeover. In walks in, the red lace trim!

Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssss!

I am so happy with this dress, I can’t even express it enough. It was a roll-of-the-dice when I was sewing the lace onto it; I didn’t know how it would look once I had it on, but I went with it. I DID NOT THINK IT WOULD TURN OUT THIS COOL!!!!!! ❀️❀️❀️ I always feel a little boost of confidence when I’m wearing an original design of my own doing. ☺️

I went and got myself some delicious Yellow Mug Coffee and went for a long walk. The weather was just too beautiful not to be out enjoying it. I spotted some early signs of fall foliage and a very intricately-spun spider web…

SERIOUSLY, LOOK AT THAT WEB!!! πŸ•·

Ahhhh…I love my nature walks. I feel they are only going to get better as the season transitions gradually into fall. Yaaaaaaaay!πŸ’•

See ya!!

A Walk Through the Smoke

The foothills and mountains outside the city of Fresno have been ablaze over the past week, and I decided to get out and go for a (brief) walk to see what it looked like out there on the horizon. The wildfires are about 30 miles away and it looks really bad here, so I can’t imagine what it must look like in the actual hot zone.

On a light-hearted note, my sister and I went to check out Spirit Halloween earlier in the day, which was fun! We always walk through this place when it opens each year in September. For me, it’s that first sign of the approaching fall season. Afterwards, we went for some Starbucks and sat on the patio. β˜•οΈ

I brought my mini-tripod with me and took some outfit photos while I was out here. This is my favorite spot at the park to hang out, as it overlooks the valley. The dress belonged to my mom and it’s from the 1980’s! It used to be floor-length, but I cut and hemmed it myself. ❀️❀️ The cameo necklace I’m wearing incidentally went perfectly with the dress!

It was nice walking around, even amidst the eerie quietness and smoky landscape.

See ya next time!!!

Pumpkin Dress

Hi yaaaaaaa’ll!

September is the month that makes me begin to think about pumpkins, whether actual pumpkins or pumpkin-flavored things. I modified this lovely dress a few weeks ago, but wanted to wait for the right time to wear it. Why not the first day of September? Perfect!

I’ve become a champ at sewing lace trim sleeves now. A champ, I tell you!!! I love how this dress now has a 1960’s-nod-to-the-Victorian-era look, especially with the cameo brooch. πŸ’œβœ¨

So yes, I looooooooooooooooooove how this dress turned out. Very, very happy with it! Fittingly, I went to have my first Pumpkin Spice Frappucino and Pumpkin Scone while wearing this dress:

As you can see, Gene was salivating blood over my food and drink. But too bad bud, these are for me!!! I wish my bag was musical and you could press a button, in which he serenades me with a little Christine Sixteen or Goin’ Blind.

As you can also see from the sun rays in the above photo, the smoky skies have returned. Everything looks orange! 😜

See ya next time!! Wishing you a happy start of the new month. πŸ’œβœ¨

60’s Mod…-ifications

Howdy, all! πŸ’ž

Well I knew it would happen once I learned some sewing basics; this week, I’ve gotten much better at hand-sewing, and I had the epiphany: “Bleep it…let’s modify any dormant clothing item in my closest and make it look totally different!!!”

And that’s what I did this past week (aside from working and binge-reading my two favorite books about The Berlin Wall). It was record-breaking hot (more on that later) so I hardly went on any walks, which left me with an infinite amount of time to sew lace trim to some dresses and blouses (this is just one outfit, I did way more but I’ll feature ’em in future posts!)

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we’ve had record-breaking heat here in California. In Central California where I live, we hit 112 degrees one day!!! And even worse, there are many wildfires going on throughout the state (the closest one being 60 miles away) and the smoke has made the air quality pretty awful.

But to beat the heat, I’ve become quite the barista. 😎 I’ve been making these mocha frappucinos that are super easy to make and they are amaazing. This is Gevalia Mocha Frappe Mix (it runs out of stock frequently since many people are making their own coffee drinks at home with the pandemic). Highly recommend it for all of you coffee lovers out there! πŸ’•

I captured the very essence of how it looks outside this past week. The sun has been a blazing red with the landscape a glowing orange. Also, how’s that for a weather report on your phone?!?!? I just had to screenshot it!

See ya next time!! πŸ’•

Setting Sail on the Sea of Fashion Design: I Sewed My Own Pockets

Hey!! ❀️

I guess I am more of a go-getter than I thought? In my last post, I threw around the idea of learning how to sew. I circled around the idea with uncertainty, as I have for a long time now. That was, until, I decided to just dive right into it!

My mom owns a sewing machine and I was a very attentive student, learning how it all worked, and decided to sew pockets onto a dress I already owned as my first project. The result: AN AWESOME DRESS RE-DESIGN!

I chose the checkered fabric because I had a shirt that matched it. And guess what? I didn’t have as much trouble with sewing as I thought I would. Who would’ve thought?!!!

When I went for an evening walk the next day after sewing these bad boys onto my dress, I walked through the park like John Travolta walking down the streets of New York City in the beginning of Saturday Night FeverStayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees playing in my head. It gave me that little boost of confidence: “…why yes, I made and sewed these pockets myself! Check out these seams…”

I really liked this dress before, but now I’m in love with it!!! ❀️

Once I realized I could sew pockets, the dormant sewing beast within broke out of its cage. I decided to take the leap and order a fabric for my first skirt! I should be getting the fabric in the mail in a few weeks.

And that’s my sewing progress so far!! See ya next time!