Friday, November 30, 2012

It's cocktail time! Introducing... The Ginger Crisp.

Holidays always seem more festive with a signature cocktail.
This thanksgiving, I created what I'm calling a Ginger Crisp, which is basically a schmancy version of a classic gin sling. A very tasty, schmancy version. Apple cider made this taste and feel more seasonal, as did the ginger. And champagne is always preferable to seltzer...

Per drink, measure the following into a shaker or pitcher:
1 1/2 oz gin (and by gin, I mean Plymouth)
3/4 oz apple cider
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz *ginger simple syrup
3 dashes Agnostura Bitters

Shake, or stir. Store in the refrigerator to chill, or plan on adding a few ice cubes per glass. If chilling, remix before pouring.
Pour into a cocktail glass, about half- way. Top with Prosecco or champagne. Garnish as you desire- I chose an apple slice and piece of crystalized ginger, but a floating blackberry or a small spring of rosemary would also be lovely. And delicious. Consume. Repeat.

*Ginger simple syrup: Make your own by adding a few hunks of fresh ginger to your sugar and water mixture when dissolving on the stove. Remove pieces of ginger when ready to transfer. I keep mine in a Mason jar for use in home- made ginger ale, to pour over salted caramel gelato, for fruit tarts, etc. You'll love it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

MCM Audio Visual Fob

Yesterday, I scored this Mid- Century key chain with Audio- Visual fob. It's gold tone metal and blue enamel, with a movie projector on the lower corner. 
Condition is excellent, with very minimal losses. And keys would mar the surface, which would be a shame.
While normally not one to take vintage anything apart- unless damaged beyond the point of being salvaged in some way- I can't help but think this would make a rather cheeky pendant necklace. 
You know, in honor of the older, cute but painfully shy guy in high school who kissed you outside of the auditorium, circa 1993. 
At least I seem to recall that he was in the AV Club (or the Magnet version). But that's a different story.
So, fair readers, I leave it up to you. Do I list this key chain in my Men's shop (insert shameless plug here: RetroHommeVintage), or do I put the fob on a short to moderate length gold chain and smirk every single time I wear it? What's this gal to do?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The great comment vs. compliment debate.

It's a pet peeve of mine. A friend or acquaintance notices something different about you. A hair cut. Or different hair color. And their observation yields a comment along the lines of "You cut your hair."
Yes, captain obvious, I did.
If the noted observation is followed by a compliment, say along the lines of "Your bangs really frame your face well." or "I never noticed how blue your eyes were- they are lovely.", that's frankly swell, as well as downright appropriate.
Before you roll your eyes at my nit-picking, allow me to explain.
I've worked really hard on myself this past year.

I was a chubby child, which can probably be traced back to having a mother who was more interested in scoring drugs than feeding me. My grandparents were horrified that I'd, at the tender age of 3, sit at a table cupping my forearms around my bowl or plate of food protectively. And was taken from my mother's care (or lack thereof) soon afterwards.
Which led to being a chubby pre- teen. There was a wonderful summer of being thin. I was 9, and by that Fall, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. My body had been digesting my own fat storage. Thin and allowed to wear a bikini while at the beach? Yes. Sick as hell and close to death? Double bonus.
The grandparents I was living with blamed my pre- teen hormone- induced blood sugar ups and downs on me directly. And taught me that being Diabetic, as my father (who they would not allow me to see) was, was not only an embarrassment, but a sign of weakness.
My father died from complications of DKA when I was 12. I'd started living with my mother again at that point.
I went through several teenage "Taking insulin is a pain in the ass" episodes, but have become quite good at making my health a priority, except where my weight was concerned.
My pancreas does not produce insulin. If I don't take injections, I will die. That will never really change- I'll always need a source of insulin. It's not that I hide my Diabetes from people, it's just that I don't talk about it. Ever.
My weight, however, has yo-yo ed for years. In order to lose weight, I'd eat very little, which would work for a while. Let's face it, no one will just wake up with Gisele's body one day.
My frame is top heavy, with broad shoulders and a larger bust. Slimmer hips and a flat arse allowed me to rectangle off quite easily, as did a lack of exercise.
I got tired of not being able to walk into any store and find something to buy. Of having shirts pull across my breasts, and buttons strain at my waist. I was on the upper edge of classic ladies' sizing, wearing a 12 or 14 pant and a Large or XL top. My leggy 5' 7" frame was not only overweight, but technically obese. So I decided to change it.
I lift weights on a regular basis, walk a lot, sprint, spend tons of quality time on my elliptical (while watching embarrassingly bad TV)  and eat every couple of hours. It works for me.
Do I miss quaffing gin? Yes. So I indulge a couple of times a week.
Enter a very flat and frighteningly firm arse, actual hipbones and a size 2 or 4 pant (same brands, for point of reference). I'll always be more top heavy, but am down three bra band sizes and at least one cup size. And I could store beverages in my collarbone area if lacking a water bottle. Which easily gets me into a size Small or Medium shirt. Dresses are still the devil, always way too big on the bottom, and I'd like a slightly trimmer waist area, but all in good time.
As of this morning, I am .6 lbs. from what I thought would be my final goal weight.
Last time I was at my endocrinologist's office, my chart revealed my goal weight to be one measly pound above the lowest weight he'd recorded for me. In 1997, when I was 19, and too poor for food. Working full time and carrying a full course load and closing The Black Cat every single night.
It's safe to say that if I still had my "skinny jeans" from that time in my life (Diesel black denim Wankers with 1970s style yellow contrast stitching on the back pockets and leg seams, size 29. Strange that I had enough money for fancy denim, no?), they'd be too big. And my new test for "too big" is when pants are buttoned and zipped and slip off my hips. I have a large bin of them under my bed. Overpriced Italian denim. Modern designer labels. Vintage designer labels. I doubt any can be salvaged by a tailor, but a few dozen pairs of pants remain just in case I find someone with amazing skill and an obsessive eye for detail.
At this point, I think I'd like to lose maybe another 10 lbs. And it may take a while. That's okay.
Do I have body image problems? Am I obsessed with being thin? No. I'm fit and healthy and muscular, with a 23.6 BMI. Which is lower than my endocrinologist's.
Friends have been for the most part complimentary, though some will always be the type to make observant comments and say nothing else. And some say nothing at all (which is okay).
While walking my dogs this morning, a nice neighbor who I wave at regularly but last had a conversation with maybe 10 months ago pulled over, told me that she and her husband comment to each other that I look amazing every time I walk by their house, and she thought it was well past time to tell me as much. The word "Amazing" was used eight times.
Maybe it's because I work in my basement most of the week. Or because the last person who commented that I'd lost weight was a leering, older man at a thrift store who was watching my try on a dress over my tee and shorts. "You look like someone I used to see here sometimes, but she was fat and you aren't." really isn't the panty- dropping observation/ comment you were going for, asshole. I'm sure the not fat version of me is now considered a total bitch for glaring back at him and not saying anything until he walked away, but c'est la vie.
There you have it- an insanely personal blog post from a very private person.
Next time you notice something about someone, don't just tell them. Compliment them. Because, be it weight loss, new glasses, or a new hair style, you will make their day.

Friday, June 15, 2012

HVAC + Campari = An Actual Blog Post!

Changes are afoot here at the Haus of Retro Trend. 
Out with the old. 
As in the original 1961 oil furnace. 

 Note the cool Shell "Fuel for modern living" logo inspection sticker, with inspection dates from 1974.

Not to mention gauges, upgrades, and modifications, oh my! 

A lovely, brand new series of heat pumps and air conditioners are being installed as I type. And you know how this pale, heat sensitive gal feels about air conditioning. 

Nearly equally as exciting is my early anniversary present, which is scheduled to arrive this Sunday. 

It's a 1950s metal Campari advertising sign. That happens to be 6' 5" in length. Yeah. Hell yeah. 

Back to a house full of workmen, a kitten trapped in a bedroom (for her own safety), and dark chocolate. Not to mention plans for a well- deserved relaxing weekend. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sadie!

Nine years ago to the day, I was driving in SE Washington, DC and saw a dog wandering along the side of the residential road, without a collar or fence.
After about an hour of baiting her with expired beef jerky (that's another story altogether!), I had a scared, dirty, malnourished, adorable, bat- eared dingo in my car.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
The vet assumed Sadie was nine months to a year old, thus her finding day is also her birthday.
In her previous "home", she'd been through more than I ever want to know. Signs of fight training. Beatings. Starvation. 
To this day, she is still frightened of people walking with canes or umbrellas. And older women in long skirts. And has a reoccurring limp.
I will never know what the first year of her life was like- though I imagine the worst. And want the person or persons who hurt her to suffer more than anyone ever should.
In the past nine years, she has changed my life. For the better. She makes every single day awesome. 
She is smart; easily counting to 6 when treats or toys are involved.
She snores. Loudly. Every single night. Often while pressed against my lower legs.
In fact, she is lying on the floor of my office and snoring as I type this. 
She steals my yoga hat on a regular basis. While I'm using it.
She's the only dog I know who doesn't like peanut butter. She'll suck it off of apples or carrots and spit it on the floor, choosing to only consume the fresh fruit or veg.
She begs for bell peppers, seedless cucumbers, romaine lettuce hearts.
She loves to be cold, and roll in the snow. It's delicious!
She bosses around my other dog and cat as if they were her wards. And they let her.
She is technically a Labrador, Boarder Collie, Poodle, miniature Schnauzer mix. And that must have been one hell of a party.
Speaking of which, we're off to Five Guys for her yearly, celebratory bacon cheeseburger. Yeah, I'm that person, and I don't care who knows it.