Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe!

Today is Marilyn Monroe’s birthday; she would have been 83 years old.  What is weird and wonderful to me is that it is my birthday too 🙂

I have always been fascinated by the fact that not only do we share a name, we share a birthday.  I always tease my mom that she named me after Marilyn Monroe.  The fact is that being the 5th child in my family, my parents did not have a name for me until several days after my birth!  My dad brought a list of name suggestions from his co-workers to my mom in the hospital.  I guess there were some pretty unsavory selections on that list!  So they went with ‘Marilyn’.

It’s kind of funny to grow up with an iconic bombshell as your namesake.  I never really minded it…kind of liked it.  I have grown to admire Marilyn Monroe over the years and have learned to look at the woman behind all the glossy hype.  I think I really would have liked her as a person.  I think she was a very smart, well read businesswoman (which I strive to be).  She also had a couple of unsuccessful marriages (as have I) but still believed in the hopefulness of finding love.  And…wow…who is more gorgeous that Marilyn Monroe?  I can only hope that I at least have one tiny shred of that beauty!

So, Happy Birthday dear Norma Jean…we share more than you know!

~Marilyn

The Push Reel Mower and I

Girl mowing lawn

I must confess that lawn mowing is one of my least favorite activities.  If I had my way I’d let the grass grow wild and waist high, but I do live in a neighborhood where keeping the lawn looking presentable is an honorable activity – so I mow.   I do like to keep a modicum of respectability!

For about four years now, I have been using an old-fashioned push reel mower.  I had just about reached the end of my rope with the gas-guzzling power mower I was using.  It was extremely loud, heavy, hard to handle and hard to start.  Clippings would get caught in the shoot and twigs got caught in the line.  I was forever running over to my neighbors asking for help with the mower.  This got very tiring.  I thought that there just had to be a better way.  There was.

Despite the protests of friends and family, warning me that there was NO way I was going to be able to push-mow my lawn I purchased a push mower.  From the start, the pure simplicity of the machine was a beautiful breath of fresh air.  I guided it over the grass and lo and behold, it was cutting it!  No noise, no fumes, no energy used (except my own)…amazing!  At first I used a clipping catcher because I was so used to putting my grass clippings in the yard waste recycling.  Now I just leave the clippings on the grass for mulch.

My neighbors are now accustomed to me and my push-mower.  At first, I had neighbor kids quizzing me about what this strange contraption was.  Adults would just smile at me with odd puzzlement.  Believe me, with my clothesline and push-reel mower I definitely stand out in the neighborhood-ha ha.

So even though I really don’t like lawn mowing, I have come to an acceptance of it.  I find that while I’m mowing I often space out, think and even meditate.  Something about being in the fresh air and performing a mundane repetitive task seems to activate this.  My arms get stronger too.

~Happy Mowing!

Marilyn

The Poignancy of Vintage Perfume

I have bottles and bottles of lovely perfume on my dresser.  So many, that I don’t even know what kinds I have collected over the years.   What can I say?  I love perfume!

There is nothing so evocative as the smell of a fine perfume.  It seems to touch the depths of memory and evoke strong feelings.  Over the years I have pretty much narrowed my favorite signature perfume choices to YSL’s Opium in the winter, and Nina Ricci’s L’air du Temps in the summer.  I try some of my other perfumes from time to time, but I always go back to Opium and L’air du Temps as my mainstays.  I think that when other people comment: “what is that wonderful scent you are wearing?”  then you are wearing the right scent for you.

Lately though, I admit that I’ve been getting a little tired of a long winter wearing Opium.  I dug through my bottles and found a vintage bottle of Bellodgia by Caron and sprayed it on.  It has the most amazing, mysterious vintage-y scent and I immediately felt a jolt of poignancy.  I think it will be my new signature scent for spring.

Okay then!  Feeling more adventurous, I have also tried Lanvin’s Arpege and Chanel No. 5 from my vintage stockpile.  I don’t want to overwhelm myself with scent change, but these three all seem to have the same warm, poignant effect on me.  They just seem so complex and interesting with a wonderful history behind them.  And touch a depth deep within.

Here’s to a very aromatic spring!

Marilyn

My So-Called Pre-Owned Life

I relish living a ‘Pre-Owned’ life, as it were.  For those of you not familiar with the term, it’s another way to say ‘second-hand’ on eBay when listing a formerly-worn-by-someone-else clothing item for sale.  It used to be a free-for-all in Item Specifics when describing condition….’excellent’, ‘great’, ‘okay’, ‘poor’ and so on were some of the terms used.  Now it’s either ‘Pre-Owned’ or ‘New’.

It got me thinking about how, for the most part, I live a ‘Pre-Owned’ life.  I pretty much buy everything second-hand and it actually galls me to have to buy something new.  I finally broke down and bought a new computer and monitor recently due to the fact my old computer was 10 years old; very slow and clunky.  I have to admit that I LOVE the wide monitor and speedy computer…but I digress!

My clothes are almost all ‘Pre-Owned’.  I love the fact that I can get fantastic quality clothing for much less than new.  The vintage, designer and high-end labels are just so much better constructed and the materials used are so superior.  For instance, I love sweaters and am always looking for natural fibers of cashmere, wool, angora and mohair.  The older stuff (which is getting harder and harder to find…) is very thick, substantial and will likely last a lifetime.   If you take a look at  brand new angora or cashmere sweaters, for the most part they are ‘Whisper Thin’ – this is NOT a quality I wish to have in a sweater despite marketing hype!  The difference is remarkable.

Just today I found a really cool ‘Made in France’ yachting sweater with the name label ‘Eric Tabarly’ on it.  It’s very thick and soft navy blue wool with white stripes, and buttons with anchors at the shoulder.  I googled the name Eric Tabarly and found that he was a notable French sailor and considered the father of French yachting, so I learned something interesting too.  That’s another thing…I love the history behind ‘Pre-Owned’ garments.  I imagine sometimes about who wore it before me…and then I silently thank them for giving up the magnificent clothes I find.

I could get into the whole ‘green’ aspect of reusing/recycling clothing, I guess.  And yes, that’s important in this day and age.  But to me it’s more than that.  It’s more a philosophy; a way of life.   Honoring quality, simplicity, history…and just having some dang nice duds to wear!

Here’s to a bit more Pre-Owning in this world!

~Marilyn

I Love My Solar Powered Clothesline!

Hanging LaundryIt’s a beautiful sunny morning in Seattle and my clothes are already washed and out hanging on the line. I’m taking advantage of the free natural solar dryer that we all have available. I, frankly, have become a bit obsessed over this whole line-drying thing!

It all started a while back when my dryer suddenly didn’t heat anymore – still worked, but no heat. This was in the dead of winter – rainy, damp, cold and wet out. I was trying to find places in the house to hang things; the shower curtain rod, backs of chairs and hanging things around the house. Things dried fairly quickly – a little stiff, but okay. I decided to invest in air-drying aids to continue on this ‘new’ line-drying adventure.

I got one of those folding clothes drying racks. They hold quite a bit of clothing and they are good to use in winter, or when it’s raining out. Another handy thing is a lingerie hanging dryer – this is a hanger with a rack of attached clips. It’s great to hang socks and underwear on. I also hung a cotton clothesline outside. This worked for awhile but the cotton line slowly started disintegrating over time…I needed a more durable clothesline.

I searched high and low for a decent clothesline but there were seemingly none to be found. Then one day I was in the auto supplies department at Target and happened to espy all kinds of rope (so that’s where they hide them!) I bought some heavy nylon rope used to tie up boats; I figured that would be durable. It works great!

I have gotten really used to my air-dried clothing. Everything is so clean…not with that filmy layer of dryer sheet residue. It’s been determined that you can save up to 20% on your energy bills just by line-drying, so that’s a big incentive too. Plus the lovely sunshiny smell of air-dried clothing is something that cannot be duplicated. It takes a bit of getting used to having clothes out and about drying…but there is something just so homey and comforting about it. Seeing clothes waving on a line is just so…cheerful!

Happy drying!
~Marilyn

Angora, I adorya!

I really have developed a love for angora sweaters! I must admit that I mostly sell angora, as I tend to wear cashmere and mohair sweaters myself. But I have fallen in love with the tactile fluffiness of a beautiful angora sweater…I can see why there is such a following of ardent angora lovers.

I like to look for at least 70 – 80% Angora rabbit hair content in the sweaters, with furry thick plushness and long hairs. Vibrant colors are a plus – pink and blue seem to be very desirable. Cowl necks and turtlenecks are a big hit too. Dresses and skirts are always such a delightful find. I especially love the 80s vintage angora sweaters as they usually are so slouchy and full; usually with bat wing sleeves and shoulder pads.

I have to laugh when I see a ‘Dry Clean Only’ tag in an angora sweater! What angora rabbit ever went through a chemical dry cleaning process?!? I like to hand-wash angora and let it air dry. This brings out the incredible softness and really fluffs up the angora. I tend to have several angora sweaters air-drying around the house at any given time!

In this day when clothing tends to be cheaply made and of poor quality, it is such a delight to revel in clothing that has a fabulous feel and evokes such a luxurious response as angora. The uniqueness of the fiber is unmatched – I’ve never seen a synthetic imitation of angora hold a candle to the real thing. There is just no messing with Mother Nature’s original!

Keep fluffy!
Marilyn