Friday, June 22, 2012

Finding Bliss

It's easy to recognize the bliss when life is flowing along in a (relatively) calm fashion, but not so much when you hit some bumps.  Whether you're experiencing work related stress, coping with a family issue or just generally feeling overwhelmed and under pressure, we all know what it's like to overlook opportunities for joy. 

When this happens to me, one thing I find helpful is to channel my inner child and get outside for some play time.

Tennis has been a favorite outdoor activity since I was a teenager.  Playing with a partner is great, but I'm almost as happy hitting balls against a wall by myself for a while.  (I also like to play some solitary racket ball at the gym when I get bored with my regular workouts.  Give it a try; it's really a lot of fun!)

A bike ride is another great way to get out of a funk and to get back in touch with your inner bliss.  If time is short and it seems too indulgent to ride for the sake of riding, why not put a basket on your bike and ride to the market?  Getting an errand done and making time for a little enjoyment is a win-win in my book!

A few minutes on a swing at a nearby park is another great way to get the cobwebs out, and it doesn't require any special equipment or very much time. 

I've also been known to spend a few minutes on my deck with a jump rope or hula hoop, and I love to play kickball against the fence.  It doesn't really matter what it is, but I find that getting out and getting moving is a great way to calm the stress, quiet those nagging voices, and find my way to bliss.

What do you like to do when feeling blissful takes some work, dear friends?  Please share; I would love to hear!

xoxo, Anita

{I'm linking up with The Little Bliss List on Liv Lane's Choosing Beauty Blog.}

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice, and the living is...

Just in time for the Summer Solstice, the temperatures here in the Mid Atlantic have soared to a very hot and humid 90 plus degrees.  I've heard mention of 100+ in the cities by tomorrow, {gasp!}!  And let's not even talk heat index.

With temperatures like that, everything growing or trying to grow out there needs lots of water!  Truth be told, I wish I could turn the hose on inside too; watering plants is a breeze, and everything gets nice and clean in the process.

I really admire the resourcefulness of the bird that chose to build it's nest right next to a feeder!

To enjoy during the mid day hours when it's just too hot to be outside, blooms plucked from the local farmer's market bring summer indoors.

What did the solstice bring to your corner of the world, dear friends?  Please share; I would love to hear!

xoxo, Anita

Sunday, June 17, 2012

{Vintage} Father's Day Greetings!

I hope that everyone is having a a wonderful Father's Day!  Around here, every day is Father's Day for the mister (he reads this, you know!), but it's fun to look for ways to make this day extra special for him.  I am also especially thankful today for my own father, and to the wonderful uncles who provided so much love and care throughout my childhood. 

To all of the father's in our world, from grandfathers to new fathers ~ we celebrate you all!

xoxo, Anita

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Date Night {Love}

I adore date nights ~ love, love, love!  The mister and I have them often; any night that the two of us are together and focused on each other is a date night in our book.  Some nights it's at home with a movie {we both love chick flicks and action movies equally!}, a home cooked meal {he chops, I prepare}, and a cocktail {wine for me and a single malt, straight up for him}. 

The puppies like these nights the best, especially if we hang out in the bedroom so that they can crawl all over us!

Of course, sometimes a girl just has to put on a pretty frock for a night on the town.  Here are a few of my favorites ~

{Mister likes fancy clothes as much as I do!}  We make a good pair.

Sunset at the lake of my childhood was both romantic and nostalgic.

All dressed up at a special wedding.

Holiday Festivities at the National Tree in Washington, D.C.

Goofing in a photo booth at another special wedding, just the other day.

I'm linking up with the Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop today; pop over and take a look!

What do you like to do on your date nights?  Please share; I would love to hear!

xoxo, Anita

Monday, June 11, 2012

Just this...

I've been really out of sorts with my blogging lately!  I had intended to write a few short lines with this picture on Friday for a Bliss List post, but the weekend slipped by too quickly.  However, in realizing that it's never the wrong time to share a bit of bliss, here it is.  Being with this little guy makes me so happy!  I hope that there is bliss in your world, as well.

xoxo, Anita

{Photo by Christopher Janicki}

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

God Save The Queen

I, like many of my fellow Americans, have a long standing fascination with both the monarchy of the United Kingdom and the royal family at the head of it.  As I watched Queen Elizabeth II and members of her family today on CNN's coverage of her Diamond Jubilee, several thoughts were swirling around in my head.  In a world where things change at an amazing frequency, this woman has been on the throne longer than I have been alive! 

June 4, 1953 

June 5, 2012

Without regards to politics in any way, I must say that what I admire about her most is how important civic duty is to her, and that she has dedicated the bulk of her life to public service.  Though I have read that very little is known about her from a personal perspective, the respect and admiration of those closest to her is so evident that I can only conclude that her family is deeply important to her as well.

I wish all of my friends in the United Kingdom many more happy years with her as your Queen!

And now, onto some of my not so serious thoughts today.  It is no secret that I wish that American women still "dressed" on a regular basis; hats and gloves included.  Of course, the fact that I may be the only woman in the room wearing a hat does not stop me in the least!  So, royal watching has always been for me more than a little about the fashions.

I am particularly in love with the nude lace dress that Kate wore today.  Nude lace has long on my fabric wish list for a sheath dress.  I wish now that I had already found some, because I have a feeling that it just got a lot harder to come by!  I think that we will be seeing this look duplicated both in sewing circles and RTW in coming months.

And finally, did you ever see the I Love Lucy episode "Lucy Meets The Queen"?   

Lucy, with Ethel by her side, tries in vain to get the palace guard to crack a smile, and to tell her when the queen might be making an appearance.  The episode first appeared in 1956, the world lost the great Lucille Ball over 20 years ago, and her sidekick Vivian Vance over 30.  And yet the queen they are trying to see is this one; Queen Elizabeth II!  It occurred to me that, in a world where so much changes, there is a comfort in things that stay the same.

xoxo, Anita


Friday, June 1, 2012

Remembering Norma Jeane, On The Anniversary Of Her Birth

On June 1, 1926, Norma Jeane Mortensen entered the world to little fanfare, an unstable mother, and an absent father.  Soon after her birth, her surname changed to Baker (her mother went by the name Gladys Monroe Baker, having become separated from Martin Mortensen before her pregnancy), she was placed in foster care. 

Gladys and Norma Jeane Baker

By most accounts her early years were happy, spent in the care of loving foster parents, with sporadic visits with her mother. Then, in 1933, Gladys removed her from her foster home, and brought her to live with her in a small Hollywood apartment.  When it soon became apparent that this new arrangement was unsuitable for a child, Gladys had her placed in another foster home.  Later that year, she managed to purchase a home through a New Deal program, and moved Norma Jean and her foster parents into it with her.  Unfortunately, this new arrangement was short lived, as Gladys' mental health deteriorated greatly during this time.  By the end of 1934 she had been committed to a sanatorium, and Norma Jeane became a ward of the state, under the guardianship of her mother's good friend, Grace McKee.  The remainder of her childhood was spent in and out of orphanages, until, in 1942, at the age of 16, she married James Dougherty to avoid having to go back.  It is from here that her story becomes much more well known.

James and Norma Jeane Dougherty

On a personal note, I, like virtually anyone who has inhabited this earth since her rise to stardom, have always been aware of Marilyn Monroe.  My love of the mid-century lifestyle, movies made during the studio years, and fashion in general have educated me pretty well on all things Marilyn.  I will even admit to being thrilled when, during my platinum blond phase, some of my friends took to calling me Marilyn.  But it wasn't until recently, when I started reading about her in more depth than I ever had previously, that I have come to truly respect the young woman who survived that challenging childhood to become the star that was Marilyn Monroe.

I want to say thank you to Cherie, who blogs at Fabulous Girls Wear Vintage and is the one woman show behind Shrimpton Couture, for reminding me that today is the anniversary of Norma Jean's birth.  Cherie is right; there is a lot of talk about Marilyn Monroe every year when the anniversary of her death rolls around, but not so much on this day.  I think that it is important that we recognize that regardless of the fact that we may be able to quote Marilyn's lines in every movie, recognize every dress, and recite facts about every facet of her life, we will never get close to an understanding about her until we recognize that little girl, standing beside her all the while, just wishing for someone to make her feel safe.

If you are interested in further reading, dear readers, I am currently enjoying The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli.  The June 2012 issue of Vanity Fair, dubbed The Marilyn Issue, is what first captured my interest, and the archived articles on their site are also excellent.

Thanks for reading!

xoxo, Anita