In Search of Beauty

I am not (yet) as well traveled as I would like to be, but someday I will. All the while I am collecting ideas, moments, thoughts, bits of beauty here and there because someday it will all be good for something. Some grander ideas that perhaps someday I’ll rifle through and go “Hmm, let’s give this a try…” (and of course by then I will have boat loads of money so all my little creative entrepreneur endeavors can be easy peasy)

Currently I am visiting friends in Vancouver, B.C. and while I know the city can be inspiring to some, it hasn’t sparked any inspiration for me. I am disappointed because I was so looking forward to visiting shops I had followed on Instagram for some time and in all honesty, my expectations far exceeded the reality.

Maybe the problem is social media has made us believe in the hype of beauty so much that when we actually experience a place in real life, we’re just setting ourselves up to be disappointed. Maybe I have seen these places too often through a VSCO filtered i-phone photo with the perfect accompanying hashtags that when I am standing there in person, the entire place just falls flat because my eyeballs don’t have filters and I can’t hide a messy corner or a person wearing a bright neon parka just out of frame.

But then I think…NO. I have been in places where I will try and try to capture the ESSENCE of the place in a photo, and there is just no way any technical device could capture that moment. That ephemeral beauty. So many times while we were visiting France I thought, “Oh my GOD, this corner, THIS CORNER needs to be shared with the world… with this antique chair and these wildflowers, and the window here and the way light looks…” and my photos just fall flat of the real time beauty of the space.

I mean, I could just be a really shit photographer. I never claimed to be a good photographer, but I have a definite idea of what is beautiful (in my own definition) and I know how to frame a good photo.

I worry sometimes if I ever open up a shop, that it will always fall short of someone’s expectations. OK, actually, that is a bit of a lie. Because the most important expectation I don’t want to fall short of is the expectations I have for myself. And I place that bar really, really up there.

Perhaps I am afraid I will never achieve that idealized beauty I have built up in my mind of what my dream shop should be…therefore I won’t do it, because reality will never meet my fantasy.

I went to a shop here in Vancouver and this was a trendy place. One of those cool shops I found out about on Instagram. And I get there and I’m like “What the heck?! Do people actually BUY this stuff?! These ill fitting clothes in these God awful colors with this ridiculous price tag?

But you know, I’m sure someone could look at vintage clothes and go “AUGH someone actually would pay $200 for some ratty old dress with stains?!

I get it, to each their own. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that jazz… and again I am aware my idea of beauty is not everyone’s cup of tea…but jeez louise, I just wish my idea of beauty was what was normal and popular. It WAS at one point. 100 years ago!

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A Moment To Gather One’s Thoughts

Has now turned into a week. At first the snow in Portland was a welcome respite from the hurried rush of the holidays. At last, some much needed time off! A week later… it’s getting old. Fast.

As always, I choose to focus on the positive side of things, however, I do need to jot down a few things… Despite today being marked the day that the snow/ice would begin to melt…we are now expecting an ICE STORM. Children have been out of school for a straight week. The office building across the street from our house has been unvisited for 6 days (granted 2 days were Saturday/Sunday)… and last night I witnessed a 3 car pile up at the bottom of our steep hill because cars just slid into one another. The picnic table in my backyard still has 8″ of snow on it. Portland’s call to action for dealing with this weather has been to “sit and wait for it to melt” and it ISN’T GOING AWAY.

Anyhow, let’s get to the positive side of things because this forced hibernation has lead to good things:

  1. I’ve been studying French every evening.
  2. I’ve started drawing/sketching again.
  3. I’ve improved on the ukulele and getting better at switching between chords.
  4. I’ve gotten to spend more time with my husband and having conversations that lead us to getting to know each other better.
  5. I’ve finished mending half a dozen vintage pieces for the shop.
  6. I’ve watched several movies in my Amazon queue.
  7. I finally folded all my sweaters, skirts, and pants and color coded them in my wardrobe cupboard.
  8. I started adding more Pins to a travel board and have fairly convinced my husband we need to go visit Belgium this year.
  9. I organized my bookshelves by color.
  10. I’ve baked herb and gruyere/parmesan biscuits, made several stews, and even brought some to a friend’s house.

It’s all rather been very domestic. So today, yet ANOTHER snow/ice day and yet another day of CANCELED appointments and plans… I will continue to do domestic things and enjoy the quiet and slowness of it all.

I’m not complaining, not really anyway. It’s just I REALLY DO ENJOY my work and I feel bad my customers are having to wait so long to get their packages.

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The Separation of Shop & Self

Well my darlings, the time has finally come for me to call it quits.

Haha, whoa, whoa, so dramatic! Anyhow, I was just doing that for dramatic effect. I’m not quitting AV!

However, I did finally decide to create a personal instagram account that separates my personal life from my work/vintage life because my shop’s account was starting to feel quite bipolar and also I was starting to lose my sense of identity. Where did I, Rodellee, begin? Where does Adored Vintage end?

It’s a very, very self absorbed thought process. I am KEENLY aware of this.

I am also aware that having my personal life tied so closely to my vintage shop started making me feel a little crazy. I felt like expectations were set for me. I had to be a certain way. Post certain photos. On certain days. At certain hours. And GOOD GOD why am I losing so many followers after I posted a photo of X or Y?

It is not a good way to live or think on a daily basis.

Anyhow, I have a new personal account where I attempt to find/live/share “le joie de vivre” and also I’ll probably write my captions partly in French because I am absolutely determined to improve my knowledge of this beautiful language this year. Ce annee. Or cette annee? Je ne sais pas! 

So, if my personal life is of any interest to you, you can follow me, @madamebas on Instagram. It will still be “curated” because, let’s just be honest here, aesthetics is very important to me.

You know, I thought about “mademoisellebas” as my handle because it looks so much prettier, but I’m in my 30s and I haven’t been a Mademoiselle in quite some time. So, choosing “Madame” although it makes me feel old-ish, is symbolic of me growing up and owning up to mistakes, decisions, and taking full responsibility of my life.

Jeez Louise, I am rereading this post and I sound so self important. LOL, I’m trying not to be, I promise.

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In Which I Talk Nerd & Business Stuff

HOLY CATS you guys! The new Adored Vintage is live! It’s ALIVE! It’s A-L-I-V-E!!

Okie dokes, if you’re having loading issues with the new site, just CLEAR YOUR CACHE and DELETE them cookies girl!

I feel like the last few weeks have been a whirlwind… oh gosh, I don’t even know where to begin. Even after the new site launch, I really haven’t taken a breath. Ok, I’m going to take a BIG OLE DEEP BREATHE right now.

Ahh, that’s a bit better.

Adored Vintage | Shop & Business Talk

Okie dokes… so I spent the last few weeks building the new website and Adored Vintage is now powered by SHOPIFY. I am super loving the new digs! I was previously using Zen Cart, which is kind of like that old super comfy couch at your parent’s house that is really dated and there’s a dent in some of the cushions that’s the same exact shape as your body…so you’re COMFORTABLE and you don’t want to move.

Because being uncomfortable sucks. 

Anyhow, this summer has been kind of a weird one for me. Can’t say it’s been my favorite summer. However, I have also done A LOT of growing up within my business. I am going list these out because really, I have to convince myself of these accomplishments.

  1. I am becoming an Accounting Queen. OK…maybe not queen, maybe like Dowager of Downton. But dang, I am impressed with my (so far) dedication to every other Monday accounting. Logging miles and expenses and checking finances. Super boring business stuff NO ONE tells you about.
  2. I have AT LAST perfected a SOP for webshop updates. OMG. I’m super jazzed about my new system. It involves SKU assignments, lots of tags, lots of sharpies, a Processing Log notebook, and re-arranging the AV HQ (AGAIN!)
  3. I FINALLY organized the shipping/cleaning supplies section of the studio. JEEZ LOUISE. This was one of those projects that kept getting put in the back burner and then when it would come to shipping products I would find I ran out of label paper, or tape, or padded envelopes. Now that ALL the materials are in ONE place and super organized, I’ll know when my supplies are running low and need to reorder.
  4. And built a new website. Doi.

So let me tell you a little bit about the process of building my new website:

  • I spent a total of approximately 40 hours on it
  • I cried twice during the process
  • I victory danced 3 times, maybe 4 when I figured stuff out via Google/Youtube/Forums
  • I had to restart the rebuilding process after I spent 2 days on one version coz I broke something and didn’t know how to fix it (auuuuugggh)
  • I ate approximately 6 fast food meals (I know, I know…) ok, I lied. It was more like 10. I can feel your judgement!
  • I re-watched all of Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 4-7 during the process.

I was so nervous about changing over to Shopify because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to figure out the file structure. That moving over would prove I really don’t know how to code websites. Turns out, if you can read code, you’ll be ok. Thankfully I have about 10 years of web design/development experience under my belt and thankfully Google exists. There’s still A LOT I don’t know about Shopify, but all in good time. It took me a good 2 years with Zen Cart to really hammer that nail down.

Now that I’m getting more familiar with my new digs, I keep thinking to myself “Why didn’t I do this sooner? Why?” There are still several things I want to change on the website, but I need to take it a little easy on the coding stuff for a bit.

So, what do you think of the new site? Are there features you think would make it better? (Constructive comments only please! I DO take them all into consideration as many of the new site features were customer suggestions!)

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In Which I’ve Become Fashion Irrelevant?

Maybe because I adore vintage and vintage inspired style, I’m finding myself irrelevant to current fashion trends. As a new season approaches (mmm, Autumn, YOU’RE my favorite, all the other seasons are super jealous) I get into extreme MUST-REEVALUATE-LIFE-WORK mode. This of course extends to my wardrobe.

C'est Moi, Rodellee

I also just finished up some headache stuff involving owning a small business (it ain’t just finding pretty things to sell folks!) so I have to be pragmatic about running my business. Do I love what I do? Yes. Have my feelings changed towards the (vintage) industry? Yes, yes it has. Do I think the vintage industry has changed since I started schlepping vintage clothing on the internet. UM, YEAH. 

So, one has to ponder…how do I grow? How do I change? How do I adapt my business as my own tastes change?

I have been scouring Pinterest, Tumblr, even old school sites like We Heart It for inspiration on which direction to go next. Which flower laden path shall I traverse down? (Because, duh, OF COURSE there are flowers!) And I gotta tell you… what is currently trending and in style right now, I just CANNOT get down with. Of course if you are reading this and you have been following AV for awhile and perhaps even bought a few things… then you know very well that Adored Vintage isn’t about what’s currently trending at all. You are also clever enough to realize modern day trends all stem from vintage (helloooo…cold shoulder tops & dresses? So 1930s!)

All right, I’m not really sure where I’m going with this. It’s been so hot lately you guys. My brain cannot think when it’s this hot.

Perhaps the point of this post is to let you know some changes are going to be happening at Adored Vintage. But you’ll notice them when you notice them. (Ooo, so cryptic of me, I know.)

My goal for Adored Vintage is to provide clothing for women who have a penchant for romantic, pretty, and kind of folk-y styles. I just haven’t found anywhere online that has the exact aesthetic I’m looking for.

There are some close contenders (Anthropologie, duh) but in the past years, Anthropologie has really lost its charm for me. And there are other online retailers like Modcloth and ASOS (dress I’m wearing in this picture is from them) and Shop Ruche (which closed by the way, but then reopened under new management I believe) have some things that are close to what I like, but I haven’t found a single shop where I’ve thought “HOLY CATS! They’re inside my head!!!

Oh…side note. I’m not throwing shade at any of the shops I mentioned above! They’re great for their respective audiences.

I think it goes back to the whole finding your fashion tribe thing. Is my fashion tribe just non existent? If I wear a 1970s floral inspired bohemian dress do I HAVE TO look like I haven’t showered in 3 days and have that glazed dazed I’m cooler than thou look on my face? Whenever I see fashion editorials featuring girls in pretty bohemian dresses they always look so damn bored. Does vintage inspired HAVE TO BE those icky ice cream parlor pastel colors? Does vintage inspired HAVE TO BE cheesy novelty prints?

I find vintage novelty prints to be charming, clever, and quite witty. Modern day novelty prints I just think look cheap.

Oh, back to modern day fashions. Why do gals in fashion always look so miserable? And what’s with all the weird poses? And weird props? Is it just about making a statement?

Seriously, you guys! I don’t get it! Am I clueless when it comes to what’s trending and what’s in style? Is it because I’m old(er) now? And I’m just fashion irrelevant? All these shapeless silhouettes. What’s up with those? I don’t get it! *throws hands up in air in perplexed state of fashion turmoil*

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