Panda Expresso: The Almighty Newspaper Lives On

Ahhh…an espresso-rich iced mocha, warm weather, and diving into old articles from The New York Times. πŸ˜Œβ˜•οΈπŸ’• (Oh, and re-reading my favorite book about the Berlin Wall for the 4th time now!)

Recently, I came across an awesome offer from The New York Times: for just $4/month for a year, I could have digital access to their newspaper vault, all in its original context! (For a history nerd, this was like finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow). My little fingers couldn’t subscribe fast enough!

Some say that newspapers are a thing of the past. Not so! I have newspapers to thank for this new hobby of mine, which is, searching the NYT archives for articles about the Berlin Wall when it was still standing! It’s feeding my Cold War obsession and I’m actually learning a lot.

I’m finding tons of articles and little snippets about the courageous people who escaped or attempted to escape over the Wall. My favorite snippet is about the border guard who literally just walked off from his duty post and crossed the line into West Berlin without any of his fellow guards noticing…

And my other favorite article, of course, is about the night the Berlin Wall came down, pictured above! I took a screenshot of how the newspaper looks in the archive. So cool!

I was just a few weeks shy of being 2 years old when the Berlin Wall fell, so I was too busy drooling all over myself and probably drooling all over the carpet to take note of international happenings. But now? I have the whole world at my fingertips, that can take me straight to the past in one click. And for that, I’m soooo thankful for today’s technology! 😌

Secondly, I now have panda hair clips!!! πŸΌπŸ’• They were custom-made for me by a really sweet seller on Etsy, and I couldn’t be happier with them! IS IT CHEESY THAT I WENT TO GET MYSELF PANDA EXPRESS WEARING THESE? πŸ˜†

See ya next time!! πŸ’•

Hair Bears: The Search for Life’s Little Magical Moments

It’s become a new thing where I find myself wearing something animal-related in my hair! Whether it be cat ears or now, teddy bear heads. I purchased these on Etsy and I absolutely love them! They’re made of felt and super squishy. πŸ»πŸ’•

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m always on the lookout for fashion inspiration, because it can pop up anywhere!! I was thinking about this topic lately. I remember back when I was in high school in the early 2000’s, there was a girl at school who would use an umbrella with a panda face on it, and it had ears on top. If I recall, it looked something like this:

She used it as a parasol with her goth-like outfits, and I’d see her walking around campus during lunch hour. It was the most magical thing everrrrr, and I’ve never forgotten it. She was like a ray of sunshine on an otherwise beige-and-cement-colored campus. Even all these years later in my thirties, it inspired me to embrace cute animals for accessorizing! (Perhaps I shall try to track down some panda head hair clips…hmmmm!) πŸ˜‰

Don’t you just love those little moments where someone inspires you, fashionably? I sure do. Sixteen years later, I still remember her and how she totally owned holding that panda parasol. It’s like a little flash of a moment in time where someone’s ensemble makes the world a little more magical, and in turn, you want to make the world a little more magical, too. πŸ’–βœ¨

Anyway, the black suspender dress I’m wearing in this first outfit is an old school uniform apron from the Soviet Union days. πŸ˜‹ The second dress is from Gowntown on Amazon! (I hemmed it up to a shorter length, so it’s been altered).

Because really, doesn’t life need a little more magic? A little more quirk? I’d definitely say yes. And it starts from something as simple as an umbrella, or an outfit, or something you put on your head. From there, we can make the world a little sunnier. β˜€οΈ

See ya next time!! πŸ’œ

Denim and Daisies: An Ode to Tutar, an Unexpected Fashion/Feminist Inspiration

I watched Borat 2 earlier this year and it made me laugh so hard!!! I genuinely enjoyed it, and what I did not expect was to find fashion and feminist inspiration in this film! But it happened.

Tutar (played by Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova) was brilliant and I totally fell in love with her character: she’s quirky, funny, and spent most of the film unlearning everything she’d been taught as a child about womanhood. Upon coming to America, she finds that women can indeed drive cars, have their own careers if they want, and can decide whom they want to marry and, heck, they can even not get married if they choose! By the end of the film, she has a whole new outlook on life and is happy to know she has choices.

Throughout most of the film, she’s sporting cute denim overalls. She inspired me to purchase this denim overalls dress some months back, and I just spotted Maria Bakalova in an interview on The View! There’s a Borat Supplemental Reportings film that will be released soon I found out, filled with unseen footage, so I’m very excited to watch it! 😎🍿

So I thought, hey, why not make a blog post about the correlation between Tutar, my denim overalls dress, and finding inspiration in a film? I learned that denim overalls are pretty darn cool and I enjoy wearing the style. It also made me appreciate being able to choose. I love that nowadays (generally speaking, I know this is certainly not the case everywhere), a gal can choose to marry someone if she wants to, have a career, or be a housewife. On the flip side, she can choose to never marry (or date) at all, have a career, and spend her nights stuffing her face with salad while watching I Love Lucy (yeah, I’m talking about myself now). The great thing? ALL of those options are totally COOL! It’s the choice.

So, cheers to choices. And cheers to my cat ears. Rather than watching I Love Lucy while stuffing my face with salad tonight, I’ll be watching Borat 2!!!

Very nice!!! 😎 See ya next time!

Band-Aid of Brothers: Brights vs. Pastels, the Battle

I’ve mentioned it before on my blog, but to any new readers, Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose is one of my favorite books ever!! I first read it in high school as a freshman. Growing up without any kind of father figure/male role model around, this book was gold in my eyes; here were these men who were courageous enough to voluntarily parachute out of airplanes and straight into combat zones in World War II. I was HOOKED. 

I carried the book in my backpack as a freshman in high school. My name’s written in it, as I wanted to ensure that in case I ever misplaced it at school, it’d find its way back to me in the lost-and-found. By now, the pages are yellowed and there’s a section where the spine of the book is a little cracked. But I’ll never replace it for a newer copy! It has too much sentimental value. 

No lie, I still use these guys as inspiration for my own personal endurance. Such as, breaking into my new platform Mary Jane’s. I know I know…that’s no comparison to stuff that happened in WWII!!! But hear me out first. I went for a long walk in my new shoes recently, and dang, I really blistered up my feet. The trek back to my car was tough, but I kept telling myself, Men parachuted out of airplanes while bullets were firing at them from the ground!!! Men stormed the beaches of Normandy, while met by a hail of gunfire! You can handle the pain! You can slap a band-aid on all your blisters when you get home! Go go go!

So yeah, true story folks…that’s how I trek through the little uncomfortable things…and HEY! I did a photoshoot for my book because it’s pretty. πŸ’•

And now for the battle. Okay, it’s not really a battle at all, so I’m sorry for the huge letdown, but I wanted there to be a nice flow to my blog title. One day this week I wore a bright outfit, and another day, soft pastels! I really can’t choose between the two because I love both brights and pastels. They’re both cool in their own ways, ya know? 😎

Flower brooch by the one…the only…THE TOTE TROVE!

I wore these cat hair clips that I made myself with the pastel outfit (they are kind of hard to see in the photos). πŸ’– Both heart rings in this post are made by me and available in my Etsy shop!

Also, any of y’all remember BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE? That’s where my bear is from; I totally loved that show as a kid. Yep, I still sleep with the bear on my bed!

See ya next time!!! 🐱

Samantha Goes Hawaiian and Finally Finds Her Creative Spark to Create New Jewelry

Weeeeeee! I finally felt inspired to make some new RINGS! πŸ’• I’m so happy. These I made for myself, but I’ll make more in the near future to put on Etsy!

I haven’t made jewelry in at least a year; I’m not sure why I stopped, but sometimes my creativity comes to a standstill and I simply just be for a while. I’ve learned not to be too hard on myself for it either; I figure, it’s okay to just wait for creative inspiration to bloom, whenever that may be!

But I’m back at it, and it made me feel GREAT! So excited to make new stuff again.

The bunny ring is actually a cupcake topper, and I added the roses and the rhinestone eyeball! Right in time for upcoming Easter. πŸ’–

Lastly, here’s my Hawaiian-themed look for the day. Hearing that it’s going to be in the 70’s for awhile apparently had a tropical influence over me!!! πŸ˜‰ Also, I couldn’t decide between either yarn bows or butterfly clips so I wore both. *cue party music* I feel like a mildly edgier version of Gidget.

See ya next time!! 🌺

Mid-Century Vibes: My New Backyard Flamingos

My backyard is complete with FLAMINGOS NOW!!!!! πŸ’• I have wanted some for a long time. I truly love my backyard, as it feels like a quirky little vacation spot for me to relax and enjoy nature!

My dress is from Jolly Vintage, and I did modify it by hemming it up shorter (it was originally past my knees). πŸ’–

See ya next time!!

Taking a Magical Mystery Tour, Banay-Nay Frost in Hand

Whenever I need a boost of cheer, I just reach for The Beatles’ 1967 album Magical Mystery Tour. It honestly lifts my spirits and feels like my soul went through the car wash. All sparkly clean afterwards!!

🎧 Roll uuuuuup…roll up for the Mystery Tour!!!
The Magical Mystery Tour is waiting to take you away…🎧

With such a peppy album opening as that, who wouldn’t be excited to hop on this tour bus? Also, flower-dotted fields and The Beatles in animal masks – where is this tour bus and why am I not on it?

In all seriousness, I really do love listening to this album because it feels like I’m in some kind of whimsical paradise that is both unfathomably beautiful and unsettlingly strange at the same time.

For example, my favorite song on the album is Strawberry Fields Forever. The first time I ever listened to it was in pitch-black darkness, late at night while lying in bed. I thought to myself, This is the most hauntingly beautiful song I’ve ever heard in my life*tears fill eyes*. Then the song ended…well, I thought it ended.

There’s an end segment where the instruments gradually come back into earshot after you think the song’s over, but it sounds like it’s playing in reverse. John Lennon’s voice surfaces in the midst, but pitched lower, and he says either “Cranberry Sauce” or “I buried Paul” (it’s still debated on what he says – it kind of sounds like either phrase to me!)

Anyway, this unexpected assault on my eardrums made every hair on my arms stand up and I felt as if some invisible force was chasing me or something…I threw my headphones off and I could have PEED MY PANTS, I WAS SO TERRIFIED. I turned on all the lights in my bedroom and slept with them on, too.

See what I mean about both unfathomably beautiful and unsettlingly strange? Strawberry Fields Forever still remains one of my favorite songs of all time, because any song that can bring me to tears of pure joy and scare the pants off me deserves a standing ovation in my book!

My outfit looks like I’m ready to board the Magical Mystery Tour Bus. Also, I tried the BANAY-NAY FROST FROM DUTCH BROTHERS 🌷 …

Took that first sip and I swore I saw paradise. It is SO GOOOOOD…the flavor is banana and dark chocolate! Admittedly, I giggled when I said my order aloud. “Can I get a small Banay-nay Frost?” Tee heeeeee!

The Magical Mystery Tour album ends with All You Need Is Love, but I’d like to add, All You Need is Love and a Banay-Nay Frost. Just like the album, it’s paradise…paradise in a cup, that is.

See ya next time!!!

First Picnic of the Year – Thoughts Inside My Huge Hair Dome

I found my new favorite picnic spot!!! I went to Woodward Park and found a grassy hill that overlooks the valley. It was picturesque and I stayed here for a couple of hours. I foresee myself coming back to this spot regularly as the temperatures warm up! ❀️

Spring days are for wonder, daydreaming and reminiscing. As I grazed upon my homemade sandwich, carrots and raisins, my mind breezed back to fluffy feel-good memories of bygone times, like the best coffee drink I ever had (a Raspberry Kiss Mocha), long evening walks in the summer, or the time someone thought I was a Cuban boy. There’s something about spring that makes the mind wander and view everything through a dreamy lens…

I pop a couple of raisins in my mouth and chew, grinning to myself as I wonder, can I possibly remake that legendary raspberry mocha myself at home? The coffee shop I got it at ten years ago closed down. Darn it!!! Sometimes I dream of that coffee drink. In the soul-enriching sun rays of early spring, I believe anything is possible, even re-creating that dreamy coffee beverage myself.

Time for a bite of my egg sandwich. My mind wanders into a new thought aisle. The Cuban boy thing…that was probably the funniest thing I’ve ever been told in my entire life. It set the bar high; I never really cared that people thought I looked like a boy, but GOSH DANG it, it better at LEAST be a Cuban boy now. I close my eyes, listening to the sound of a squirrel running up a tree. If I were in Havana, would I give off Cuban boy vibes? As a geography nerd, I need to research more about the country, as my knowledge is limited. When I think of Cuba, I think of my celebrity forever-crush Desi Arnaz. Also, Cuban sandwiches.

Finally, I take a sip of my iced mocha, envisioning the future summer evening walks I have in store for myself. Many iced mochas will be drank, and I long for the feeling of heat on my skin. My eyes scan the flat, green horizon ahead of me, and just one lone thought now wanders into my head as the scent of blossoms fill my lungs. What exactly is a Cuban sandwich?

I smile to myself, further making passersby think I’m nuts. And gosh darn it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

🌸🐝

Orange Bows, Orange Chairs, and Airplanes High Up in the Air

The other day, I read a blog post over at The Tote Trove, and she mentioned the color orange. It got me thinking about how much I really love orange; it’s a color I think looks really nice on me and it makes me long for warmer days during this time of winter (I’m a heat gal; my favorite temperature range is 80 – 100 degrees). So I was inspired by her post and I wore bright orange today!

The yarn bows almost look red, but they’re actually neon orange! The second outfit is my new gingham dress that I recently purchased from H&M. πŸ˜ƒ

On Thursday afternoon, I enjoyed a coffee treat at one of my favorite coffee shops, The Axis in Madera, CA. And one of my favorite things about this place are the ORANGE CHAIRS!!! Oh and of course, the amazing coffee!

There was rain expected later in the evening, so I watched the clouds roll in as I sat with my laptop and coffee drink that afternoon. I also enjoyed listening to the sounds of airplanes way up in the sky; not commercial planes, but those small planes. The sound of a passing small plane, where the engine sound gently fades away into the distance with a low hum, is one of my favorite sounds!! It always makes me think of WWII and airfields. Any time I hear it, I pause and really listen, letting my mind wander back in time.

So here’s to the little things we love, whether it’s a color, a coffee, watching the weather, or a certain sound that stirs up something within us. And in honor of Valentine’s Day, these are little things that really do make my heart soar. ❀️

‘Til next time!!