Monday, June 30, 2014

AVN Book Club: the SODA FOUNTAIN

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After my visit with the Brooklyn Farmacy with my family earlier this month, I was contacted by the publisher of their book if I would like to review it and I excitedly said YES! I love this place and their book is just visually beautiful and contains a chock full of recipes that will make your mouth water.

As you go to the table of contents you will find that the book is divided into two specific sections. One is called The Stories, which include five chapters that cover the history of the soda fountain as well as the history of the Brooklyn Farmacy. The second section is called The Recipes, which include eight chapters that cover everything from how to get started, syrups and sodas, floats, egg creams, milkshakes, toppings, and baked goods.

I have never seen such a thorough and concise book that had both history and recipes on soda fountains in one place. I am honestly dazzled by this book. This is no ordinary recipe book. It will take you to a time and place where soda fountains were commonplace and the magic of old fashioned ice creams and milkshakes filled the bellies of the young and old.

I really admire how the owners Gia Giasullo and Peter Freeman have not only brought back such an iconic tradition as seen in their own soda fountain (the Brooklyn Farmacy) but they put together this incredible piece of history and made it available for everyone to learn and enjoy from. I am grateful that they have done this because so many wonderful things of Americas past are dying out, such as the drive-in movie theater as seen HERE.

By reading this book you will be able to learn how to create your own sundae toppings like Pie Crust Crumble, Banana Rum Crumble, and Apple Compote. But the very best part is that you will bring into your own home the joy of these old fashioned treats.
Brooklyn Farmacy
Brooklyn Farmacy
Brooklyn Farmacy

This book has so many delightful images of the tasty treats that they serve at the Brooklyn Farmacy. The one I knew I had to try out was The Sundae of Broken Dreams (the photo above). Tune in tomorrow when I share my rendition (or actually my husbands) of this decadent delight and the recipe as well.

If you would like to get your own copy of this delicious book you can find it HERE at Amazon.

** Special Thanks to the Brooklyn Farmacy and to Erin Welke**

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Classic Cinema Spotlight: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945) is one of those films that I have heard great things about and having been longing to see for some time. It did not disappoint.

The film begins with showing the viewer an average family in the early 1900's who live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (NYC). The family consists of a struggling mother (Katie Nolan) who is burdened with the bills and of being the responsible one, a father (Johnny Nolan) who is a alcoholic and a dreamer, a daughter (Francie Nolan) who adores her father and loves to learn, and a typically boyish son (Neely Nolan) who if he had a choice would eat and play all day long.

The beginning of the film sets the stage for all the relationships which get deeper as it progresses. Francie (Peggy Ann Garner) just adores her father. The tender connection Johnny (James Dunn) has with Francie just grows deeper and more profound as the story unfolds. I didn't expect that. The first 25 minutes of the film I was semi-indifferent to the characters but by the end I had a lump in my throat and heaviness in my heart.

Joining the Nolan family is their aunt Sissy (Joan Blondell), Officer McShane (Lloyd Nolan), and McGarrity (James Gleason). Each character brought an added ingredient to the story and each was a pleasure to watch on screen.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I have not read the book yet but I do know that the film covers less than is told in the book. Although that is the case I found the film to be joyful and heart wrenching at the same time. It's not a misery to watch as some tearjerker films are but one that you feel as though you NEED to watch it.

I don't want to give too many details of the story or the characters because it is beautiful to watch unfold and blossom.

I found the film to be a reminder on how fragile yet beautiful the human story can be. Both Dunn and Garner won Academy Awards for their roles as father and daughter.


Taking A Dip Into The Past

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Family history can be a tough thing to gasp onto. People passing on without sharing their history, people refusing to share their history, or drama that is as old as they are can hold back information that is vital for the younger members of a family to know.

In my case, I don't have a lot of access to family history. So much drama and clash of personalities as well as untimely deaths came in the way of me knowing more of where I came from. I have a few pieces but of course I would want to know more.

After my mother's passing her family virtually disappeared. Mind you they all live in the same borough I did for years but the last name they have is so common it has been very hard to find them. Maybe its for the best. My grandmother passed on in my early 20s, she was the other mother to me. My confidant and companion as I was hers. But she was a very private person and well I don't have photos or heaps of information from her family. Then there is my grandpa's family (my dad's father-I never knew my mother's parents).

Although he passed on when I was 17 unexpectedly, he did have two sisters that I got to know starting at 14. It was tough to get to know them because I didn't want to hurt my grandma and well, there was a lot of bad blood between them. I must say I empathize with my grandma's feelings because a great deal of wrongs were done to her but she gave me her blessing to get to know them.

My grandpa and his sisters were born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico and after my visit with my Great Aunt this weekend I learned they came from a long line of Puerto Ricans. The same cannot be said for my mother's side or of my grandma's side (she was half Spanish/half Peruvian Indian).

I felt very lucky that my Great Aunt who is now 93 years old was willing to share some things with me including some photos of her mom and of her mother's parents (the ones in the large frames). I took photos of them because I may never own these photos  but at least I have something.

I plan to send both my aunts (one lives in Puerto Rico now) and a Great Uncle (he is actually my grandpa's best friend but we refer to him as Tio, which means uncle) a letter this week with photos of my children in the hopes hearing from me and seeing the photos would put a smile on their face.

Family is such a fragile thing. All that drama and all those problems that were before I was born, well everyone involved is almost gone. Sadly because of all those things I have no access to my father's siblings and neither does he. I don't understand how people cannot get how short life really is and how important it is to have one another and share our lives with each other.

 My Great-Great Paternal Grandparents: Guillermo and Josefa Zapata (my father's grandma's parents)
 My sweet grandpa's beloved mother Dolores. He was very close to her and they are buried nearby each other at the same cemetery my mother is at.
 My grandpa's father named Jose. He passed away at 28 and my Aunt (Tia) looks exactly like him. Plus the mustaches in my family have been passed down to my father who has a killer mustache!
Myself and my Aunt with my children. I supposed since I am her Great-Niece that makes my children her Great-Nieces and Nephews. They gave her loads of hugs and kisses.

I think because of my own lack of family history I am driven to ensure my children have their history written down as well as my husband and myself. Each child has a baby book in which I filled out details of their babyhood. I take loads and loads of photos of them. And I have been journaling since I was 9 so one day my children, if they want to can read them and get to know me at all these different stages of life.

Family history is vital because it connects you to your past and gives you deeper meaning to your present as well as your future.

Do you have access to your family history? Have you been met with roadblocks like I have? What have you done to rectify that?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Orange & Black In The Summer?

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Today was a special day because I spent my afternoon visiting my great-aunt. I cannot wait to share with you how I spent my afternoon but before I do I wanted to show you how you can wear orange and black in the summer.

Orange and Black are usually correlated with Halloween and the Fall. But if the shade of orange is a bit brighter and more vibrant than the shades seen typically in the Fall then it is most definitely possible!

On my visit with my aunt I wore my eShakti black skirt and a Boden top. What I adore about this outfit is that the shade of this orange is bright enough to remind me of the freshness and heat of the summer without feeling too Halloweeny. And I have to say the blouse was thin enough to feel cool in and so soft against the skin that I felt incredibly comfortable wearing it as well as my EShakti skirt.

I added some authentic vintage elements like a pair of 1940's orange hoop clip on earrings, a few of my Moonglow bracelets, and a flower in my hair and whala! Orange and Black in the summer without looking like a Halloween poster child and a dash of vintage!

It doesn't take a lot to create an outfit that has a vintage feel to it. Accessories and hairstyles add a huge portion to any look you want to create. Don't hesitate in experimenting with colors or pieces in your closet because you just may create wonderful looks for yourself.

eShakti
Boden

If you like this top by Boden you can find it HERE. I find a lot of my Boden pieces via Ebay at more than half of the price than on their online store but they do have heaps of sales going on all the time. There pieces are so beautifully made and worth every penny!

Do you like experimenting with colors? What is your favorite color combination when it comes to creating an outfit?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

6 Tips and Tricks To Blogging When You Are A Busy Gal

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I often get asked how I managed to blog let alone everyday with everything else I have to do. My situation in life at the moment is unique to me because I don't know anyone else who quite has the particular challenges I have.

Since my husband works the entire week it leaves me alone a great deal with the children.I also have my disability to contend with on a day to day basis that gives me extreme fatigue. Tie that in with three children, a cat, and a house to clean-well you can imagine how I wish I had more help. But being what it is doesn't mean I can't do more for myself and blogging gives me just that.

I think a huge part of making time to blog is in WANTING to blog-to be creative, to connect, to write. All the things I love. So, like anything else you make time for the things you love to do.

I have learned a few things that have helped me TREMENDOUSLY in cutting time and freeing myself more to tend to the things that are always number one in priority and that is my sanity family.

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  • Some bloggers use calendars on their walls, some use organizers, and some use a simple notebook with lines on them and they write down what their posts will be for a the month. I usually write mine down every weekend and I have an idea of what I will write about. Especially with doing this 365 day blog challenge, it has been quite helpful having my list ready with my blog topics.


  • If you know what your topics will be for a week or a month in advance, write down the titles of them in your draft section of your blog and save it. That way you can go back to it and work on the posts by adding the photos first and then adding the content little by little. Before you  know it you will have 3-4 posts done fairly quickly.


  • You can do a bunch of outfit posts in one day by changing up the scenery or your hair a bit. That way you will have plenty of outfit posts to work with for the next month or two. 


  • Take one or two days a week to take photos of items like your gloves, scarves, or your books. Take loads of them because then you have these photos ready to use when you begin writing your posts.


  • Use Hootsuite. You can schedule your Twitter posts a whole month in advance and save a slew of time by doing so. They offer free usage but you can also upgrade. And they also offer a number of social media outlets, not just Twitter.


  • You can pre-post your posts on your Facebook Fan Page if you have one for your blog. You can choose the day and time and it is all done.

What tips and tricks do you have for a busy blogger? Have you tried any of these tips before? I really hope I helped!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

12 Easy Steps To Becoming a Better Blogger

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Having been an avid blogger and blog reader since 2011 I have learned a few things that I thought you might like to know about the world of blogging. It is changing a lot since social media is now playing a huge role on how people find you and read your posts but like all good things change is inevitable. What is important to remember is that we should flow with the change and attempt to adapt to it as best as possible.

Here are a few things I have learned along the way:

  • Be aware of who are the members of your community. Say hi and sincerely get to know them.
  • Utilize social media but focus on one or two that you really really enjoy and love. Share your posts on all social medias but the ones you focus on be really really good at them.
  • Which leads me to those one or two social medias that you love-participate often, post interesting and beautiful photos, and know who your readers are!
  • READ other blogs! Not just in your community but around your community as well. By reading other blogs ie fashion blogs, beauty blogs, film blogs, lifestyle blogs, etc. you can inform yourself on what is working for them and what is not and you can apply that to your own blog. Not copying or mimicking at all-but learning.
  • Which leads me to this step-Learn from others. Learn from other bloggers. Pay attention to what they are doing and how they are doing it. Again, do your own thing but in learning from others you can get inspired, invigorated, and excited about continuing to work on your own blog
  • Keep things fresh. Change little things on your blog here and there. Keep your page as clean as possible, the more clutter the more a readers eyes are darting everywhere and they may not focus on the post.avintagenerd
  • Check your stats. Know who is reading your blog.
  • Nothing is worse for a blogger than when they become bored with their own blog or the topics of their blog. Nothing is worse than writing a post saying that you are bored and have nothing to say. Ask yourself why you are blogging and be HONEST with yourself.
  • Be yourself. Don't try being like someone else. Do your own thing and even if only fifty people look at your blog everyday feel good that someone is interested in it.
  • Allow yourself to be inspired by other blogs and bloggers.
  • Let your readers know who you are. LET YOUR READERS KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Not the image of what you wish you could be but who you are. Not only will you walk away from every post that you write feeling good about it but at the end of the day you aren't keep up with a false image but just keeping up with being YOU!
  • Have fun! I mean it. If something isn't working and you are not feeling good with it, change it up, bring more fun into your life through your blog. I mean if your readers see what a hoot you are having they will have a hoot reading it.



I hope these tips help in some way. What would you add to the list of steps to becoming a better blogger?



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things: Spring Edition

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Where the heck did the Spring go? I feel like it swished in and out of my life leaving only memories of cardigans and Easter eggs.

Since it is officially Summer here in the states I figured I would share with you my favorite things from Spring. You can find my Fall and Winter Editions HERE and HERE.

Easter Cake

Easter was a hoot this year because my youngest was able to fully grasp the day and the events. He is too young to understand the meaning but my daughter does. I did my annual egg hunt with the kids, gave them their Easter baskets, and made my Easter bunny cake. This year the children took part in decorating it and I think they did a great job!

You can read more about it HERE.

Starbucks

I treat myself to a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha here and there and it was super nice to have them on those breezy spring days. I love the quote that was on mine and it exactly what I am all about!

I shared this photo on my Instagram. If you would like to see more of A Vintage Nerd, stop by HERE.
avintagenerd

I feel lucky to be able to live in such a pretty neighborhood. Not all parts of New York are pretty especially in the urban areas so I feel blessed to pass by pretty roses like this one on my way home from picking the children up from school.

Seeing all the flowers everywhere is one of my favorite parts of Springtime.

A Vintage Nerd

This was taken on my phone and shared via Instagram as well. Please excuse the slight fuzziness.

I may not love bugs and creepy crawlers but I sure love nature, especially trees. After school on the non-rainy days I would stop by what I affectionately call the "bird park". Its a park before a larger one in my town and it just has benches, trees, flowers, a walking trail all around in a circle, and of course birds! It's perfect to play in and have a picnic in. I loved taking my children there before we headed home and started homework. It was a nice way to take a breather for me too and just enjoy them being happy and having fun.

1960's Fashion

My final favorite part of this Spring was dressing up all in my 1960's glory. It was officially my first time doing so and I loved it to bits! I definitely will be doing more 1960's outfit posts in the future.

I attended the Beauty Con Event in Manhattan and had a hoot of a time. You can read more about it HERE.

Spring is my second favorite season and Fall is my first. Summer is my least favorite. As you can imagine how hot it can be and add a congested city and leg braces to the mix, well it's a very uncomfortable season for me to be in. I do intend to find moments of joy in the midst of the heat and humidity and look forward to sharing what my favorite things for summer were in early September.

What is your favorite season? What were your favorite things about this Spring?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Vintage New York: Central Park

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Good weather brings people outside in droves. In New York, especially when you live in the city, nothing is nicer and more iconic that spending your day in Central Park.

In the middle of a mega city where billions of dollars are made and lost everyday sits an equally mega park that stretches out to 843 acres. It was opened in 1857 and it is the most visited urban park in the United States.

On a regular day you will see people reading the latest paperback, a wedding party taking photos by the fountain, nannies chasing after a slew of toddlers, and people hitching a ride on a horse and buggy.

Central Park is always teeming with activities just like Manhattan is but in its own unique way it brings the feeling of rushing and doing down a few notches.

Did you know there was a castle in Central Park? It's called Belvedere Castle and was built in 1869. You can bird watch at a section called The Ramble, row boating (which my parents did often in the 1970's), ice skating, rock climbing, and catch a Marionette Theater show. Those are just some amazing activities that are found there because there is also a zoo, a playground, and loads of bike riding trails.

These photos capture a small glimpse into the joys and moments etched in time in Central Park. The photos are from the 1950's to the early 1970's.

1950s Central Park
Central Park Dogs
Vintage NYC
Central Park 1950s
NYC Horse and Buggy
Vintage Central Park
Vintage New York
Central Park NYC

Have you been to Central Park? If so, what did you do and see? If you could go to Central Park what are the first things you would love to do?

Feel free to share these photos on your Pinterest boards as the icon is on the top left side of every photo. You can also see more photos of Vintage New York in my Pinterest board HERE.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Keeping It Old School At The Park

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Parks have always been a place where one could lounge, tan, picnic, read, romance, and most importantly play!

Many things change through the decades but you would be surprised what stays the same. Children in 1920 loved getting wet in the sprinklers and today children love the sprinklers just the same. It puts an instant smile on my three I can tell you that!

Children from 1955 loved going down the slides and today children still clamor to get on the slides. Fun is fun and the park guarantees an entire family a day of fun. Best of all, this fun is for free!

Today my family and I went to a park we have never been to before. We have an amazing one nearby but I figured how neat it would be to try out different parks to keep things fresh and exciting not only for the kids but for us (the parents) too.

The children went on these funky monkey bars which swirled and looped. They went on the slides over and over again. And they ended the outing with loads of splashes in the sprinklers. Instant fun.

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Vintage Park
A Vintage Nerd
Vintage Playground
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Vintage Playground
Vintage Sprinklers

Some things don't change. Kids of all ages will always find enjoyment at a park and best of all this is something that generations have enjoyed through the years. My father when he was a boy in the 1950's, my husband and I when we were children in the late 1970's/early 1980's, and now my children in 2014.

Want some good old fashioned fun? A place where you can relax, picnic, read, paint, write (which is something I did often in my younger days), or splash in a sprinkler? Head to your local park or be adventurous and discover parks near your town or your city.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Classic Cinema Spotlight: Georgy Girl

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"Hey there, Georgy girl. Swingin' down the street so fancy-free. Nobody you meet could ever see the loneliness there - inside you" ~The Seekers (Lyrics HERE)

One day years ago when I was channeling surfing (and had cable still) I caught the last five minutes of Georgy Girl (1966) and I was immediately intrigued and thinking to myself, "what the heck is this? and who is this actress?" I never found the movie again after that (this was way before Netflix and Dvd's) but I never forgot about it.

This week I finally saw Georgy Girl in all her glory and I have to say that this film has gone to my favorite classic films list. There is just so many wonderful and powerful things that happen in this film that literally blew me away!

Let's start with it being set in England in the 1960's. England in the 1960's was like American in the 1950's. Just a height of change, growth, and excitement about life. It was filmed in black and white which added such a raw naturalness to the story. 

And then there is Georgy played by the phenomenal Lynn Redgrave. She played an awkward girl perfectly. I could empathy with her awkwardness and looking at the world of cool passing her by and wondering when her time would come to shine. But what I love about this character is that at the end she keeps just being exactly who she always was. She does mature and grow but she is still her awkward and outspoken self from beginning to end and I admire that.

Georgy's parents are the servants to a wealthy gentleman named James (James Mason) who has provided for Georgy as a father would but actually wants her to be his mistress. Her father constantly reminds her to show gratitude to James although he seems unaware what James's true motives are. Georgy's flatmate, Meredith (Charlotte Rampling) is narcissistic, selfish, and in those times considered a loose woman. She basically went where the attention was no matter the cost.

The cost to Meredith was a few abortions, no direction in her life, and an emptiness that she doesn't speak about but you can see that it is there. She becomes pregnant again by one of her lovers (Jos) who is friendly with Georgy and decides to keep it and have Jos (Alan Bates) marry her. Georgy, always chasing after Meredith like James is always chasing after her, hopes that she can help Meredith raise the child.
Georgy Girl
Georgy Girl
Georgy Girl
Georgy Girl
Georgy Girl

It all becomes a sort of disaster with Meredith feeling utterly disconnected with the baby and wanting for it to be adopted while Jos and Georgy then take the baby off her hands and begin to play house.

Eventually, everything falls into the place for the best I suppose and Georgy marries the elder James in order to adopt Sara (the baby girl). The final scene is of Georgy holding Sara and completely ignoring James.

The films gives you so much to think about and discuss and wonder. Georgy Girl (the film) was adapted from the book by the same name which you can find HERE.

I loved this film and I have to add it to my dvd collection soon! It is just a fascinating look at life in the 1960's, how it was for younger people, especially for women. It also reflected the importance of the choices we make and how we handle them-sometimes muddling through them and sometimes learning that making the right choices are the hardest to do.

Have you seen Georgy Girl? Are you intrigued by 1960's London? Did I mention designer for the wardrobe of the character of Meredith was Mary Quant? Swoon!
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