Archive of ‘Lifestyle’ category

Hello 2015! New adventures on the horizon

Welcome 2015 -- dogs in hats

Holy cow.  Welcome to the new year.  2015 is going to be amazing.  I can feel it.  I suppose I’m a tad late with this post, so let’s catch up.  Christmas was filled with all kinds of family, lots of travel, and a great deal of fun.  We celebrated our 1-year houseiversary and rang in the New Year with good friends and dogs!  Mine is the one with the hat.  Luckily my friend brought him an NYE date.  Aside from all the celebrating, I’ve been working my tail off because I have a big announcement!

I have opened a small space for my shop, The Brass Giraffe, in a monthly tag sale event called The Vintage Tin Can!  Shout it from the rooftops, baby!  I’m pumped!  I couldn’t be more excited or more worn out.  I’ve been working since the end of December to design my space, gather inventory, and sew, sew, sew for my studio collection!  Now you see why the blog was neglected!  The store had their grand opening on January 23rd.  I’m lucky enough to have a few hundred square feet to call my own alongside 35 other vendors.

Over the holidays, I went to a popular tag sale in Fallston, The Painted Mill.  I was blown away by the creativity.  I was kicking myself for not being a part of such a creative endeavor.  I had previously worked another market with the owner of The Painted Mill, but when she opened her new shop a year ago the timing wasn’t right for my business and my health.  So a few days later, when I discovered that a different person was opening a similar style shop just steps away, I felt like the stars were aligning.  This little area in Fallston was turning into Tag Sale Haven!  My handmade handbags and vintage style made the cut over at The Vintage Tin Can!  Suddenly weeks were flying by as the sale was fast approaching.  I was running on pure adrenaline stocking my space and fighting through some of the worst back pain I’ve had in my life.  Setting up a space while wearing a back brace is neither fun nor fashionable.

I meant to post teaser photos.  I meant to make an announcement.  I meant to sleep more than I actually did.  Basically, my life turned into retail prep full time!  Even as I write this, I can see our fully decorated Christmas tree in our living room, so being behind at home is an understatement!  It took many hours and the help of my family and fiance, but we pulled it together and it was incredible!  Honestly, I can’t thank you all enough for your help!

Take a look at the transformation of my space….

Blank slate at The Vintage Tin Can!

Blank slate at The Vintage Tin Can!

Brass Giraffe at Vintage Tin Can - Progress4

My father and fiance hard at work stapling fabric to the wall.

Ready for the molding!

Ready for the molding!

Brass Giraffe at Vintage Tin Can - Progress

The wall is complete!

The final product.   Ready for the January 2015 Grand Opening!

The final product. Stocked and ready for the January 2015 Grand Opening!

It all came together brilliantly.  Thank you for your help Mom, Dad, and Dillon!  I couldn’t have done it without you!  To the customers who shopped the sale or stopped in to see what it was all about, I appreciate your support!  Sabrina Barney, the store’s owner, has put together a fantastic group of vendors.  Her passion for this vision shows through in the hard work she and her family have put in to transforming the space.  The group of vendors in the store are some of the most caring, talented, and wonderful people that I’ve met in a long time.  It’s a pleasure to be working alongside them.  To say that January has been busy is an understatement.  It was truly an amazing experience and I’m really looking forward to the one in February!

I’m overwhelmed with excitement to be involved in a creative community.  A few posts back, I was talking about my lack of inspiration for vintage clothing and was debating where I was headed.  I can now say that The Brass Giraffe will be merging the two worlds of vintage and modern style.  My goal is to bring together curated vintage pieces, both in fashion and home decor, with handcrafted items — starting with my handbag line.  I’ll be steadily working on my own line, designed and produced in my studio, with the ultimate goal of launching a full blown, online shop for the vintage loving, modern woman.

Please excuse our mess over at The Brass Giraffe.  I haven’t been updating online as much as I’d like and our website layout is not my favorite thing at the moment.  I think a facelift is in order as I reinvent my shop!  Stay tuned.  I’ll try to chime in with some posts more frequently! Thanks for following along!

For the most recent updates on The Brass Giraffe — Find us on Facebook and Instagram.  Also find out about The Vintage Tin Can’s upcoming sales on their Facebook page!

How to Properly Take Your Measurements

When all sizing isn’t created equal, knowing your measurements can make shopping and ordering clothing online a bit easier.  Do you order 2 sizes and then send one back?  Have you realized that a size medium isn’t the same across all brands?  What does size 8 really mean?  The mystery of sizing is a boggling one, but if you know your measurements, you’ll have the ultimate shopping power on your side.  In fact, most women are wearing the wrong bra size because they don’t know how to measure themselves correctly.  So grab your tape measures (or a piece of string) and let’s get started.

hot to take your measurements

What you’ll need.  A dressmaker’s tape (like this one) is perfect, but you can always use a piece of string and lay it against a ruler to calculate the length.  A mirror is helpful, as well.

Key points to remember.  Take your measurements over the undergarments that you plan to wear or usually wear.  I’ll discuss proper bra sizes in another post.  Keep in mind that certain undergarments will alter the shape of your body and can make a difference in your sizing.  Yes, I’m talking about heavily padded bras and shape wear.  We’re looking for your true size right now, so don’t worry about sucking it all in and pushing it up.  Definitely don’t measure over your clothes.  They’re bulky and it will not reflect your true size.

The 3 most popular measurements are bust, waist, and hip – in that order. 34-28-36, sound familiar, right? 

Taking your bust measurement:

Wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your chest (about nipple level) until it meets.  It should be just the slightest bit snug.  Don’t let it droop, but for goodness sake give yourself some breathing room!  This number is your bust measurement.  Take note, this is not your bra size.

Taking your waist measurement:

Wrap the tape measure around the narrowest part of your waist, near your belly button.  You can do a side bend to see where the natural part of your waist really lies.  Again, don’t cut off your circulation.  This isn’t a number competition.  It’s your size and you need to breathe!

Taking your hip measurement:

Wrap the measuring tape so that it falls across the fullest part of your butt.  It can be slightly above or below your actual hip bone, as we are all different.  Make sure the measuring tape is parallel to the floor for an accurate result.  Again, your magic number is where the end of the tape meets the rest of the measuring tape.  When it comes to design and sewing, the hipline typically falls around 7 to 9 inches from the waistline.  We’re all different, so don’t worry if yours isn’t exact.  This may give you some insight into why that one dress wasn’t sitting quite right in the fitting room.  

Embrace your numbers, ladies!

You can now use these 3 numbers to compare your size to items you’re about to purchase!  You don’t have to worry about exact measurements, but round up if you’re in doubt.  A 29 inch waist would work well in a structured dress measuring 30 inches.  Otherwise you will not be able to breathe!  You might get away with a smaller size if the dress is stretchy, but too tight is unattractive, as is too big.  Usually companies provide a measurement range to correspond to their sizes.  Also keep in mind that some people have long torsos and others have shorter ones.  If you try on a dress, but the waistline seam isn’t sitting on your actual waistline, it might look a little funny.  Each brand is different, so don’t feel bad if it doesn’t fit!  I have a long torso and there are simply some brands that I can not wear if they have a defined waist.

That’s it!  Take your measuring tapes and newly discovered powers and run with it!  I can’t stress enough the importance of correctly fitting clothing!  Stay tuned for bra measurements!

Finding a Passion to Create and Design for Women

Dress design from one of my first collections.

Dress design from one of my first collections.  Sculpted collar features hand sewn feathers.  Model: Paulina Kostorus

I’ve always dreamt of a career doing something that I love.  My family taught me to never settle and do something that I was passionate about.  So when the question comes up as to  “what do you do?” the answer isn’t always clear.  I write this blog for fun.  I run my own business, centered around a vintage shop called The Brass Giraffe and design clothing and accessories.  I wear all the hats when it comes to the business.  No, I’m not just talking about the pretty vintage ones.  I taught myself basic web design, I make the products, I develop my marketing – it’s a one woman show.  Previously, I’ve worked as a stylist, a buyer, and in a multitude of boutiques, but I’m starting to find I need to focus truly on one thing.  Today I want to talk about something important:  PASSION.

I’ve always wanted my own business; a successful business.  Both of my grandfathers started businesses from nothing.  My father followed in his father’s footsteps and continued to run their business based in the food industry.  The entrepreneur bug was implanted at an early age.  Even my Barbie dolls had their own boutiques.

When I was in college I had a passion and a drive like no other.  I was determined that I was going to launch a clothing line.  The plan was to get my foot in the door somewhere.  Work for another company, learning and absorbing the industry along the way.  Perhaps I would dabble on the side in design and then when I was truly ready I would launch a collection of my own.

After graduation, I moved to Charleston, SC and worked for a small boutique and design firm.  It was an amazing experience working with small business owners, as was life in Charleston.  The clothing people wore was exquisite.  There was a passion for supporting local businesses.  It was there that I started an accessory company, Gilly Lynn.  I dabbled in selling vintage and had my necklace designs carried in boutiques through the area.  Times were tough and I missed my family in Baltimore.  After 2 years, my fiancé and I made the decision to move to Baltimore and I got a job as a corporate menswear buyer.  It was a far cry from the beautiful ostrich feather skirts and magazine photo shoots that I worked on at my other job.  I was stuck in a cubicle contacting a slew of factories every day to make sure our shipments arrived.  Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot, but my job was cut short when an old back injury roared it’s ugly head.  I went on medical leave and attended physical therapy several times a week.  The pain was debilitating and eventually I discovered I was unable to return to my position.

It was then that I realized I may never be able to work for someone else.  I wasn’t reliable.  How could I do that to an employer?  It’s been 3 years since I was a buyer and I’m still struggling with numerous health problems.  Going to doctors, physical therapy appointments, and procedure after procedure has become my full-time job.  I delved back into running my own business, mainly selling vintage fashion.  It’s been slow, as I’m not as dedicated as I need to be.  On so many days, I find myself in pain and struggling to work.  I joke that I’d fire myself, but it’s not entirely a joke.  Some days I feel like my health (or lack there of) has sucked the passion right out of everything.  I need to find it again.

For the last few months, I’ve thought long and hard about where I want to go with my career.  I want my passion back!  I miss being excited over projects and designs that I’ve created.  I miss problem solving.  I’m tired of trying to solve my health problems.  I guess I should’ve been a doctor, so I could’ve figured this mess out and then gotten back to designing!  I want to build something — a brand for women.  I want to make things that instill confidence and beauty in my customers.  I’ve discovered that what I am really passionate about is design and helping people feel their best.  I love all aspects of creating.  I love fashion history, but I think it’s because you can’t design a modern piece without at least taking a look at the past.  I asked myself this, “in 10 years do I want to be the girl who cleans and photographs amazing vintage dresses or the girl who designs and creates beautiful dresses?”  I want the latter.

I’m now on a mission to create something for women.  My old brand and I have grown apart.  I’m launching something new and I will have a plan.  There will be a path to follow.  It will be flirty and fun.  There will be pieces for your daily life and pieces worn for very special occasions.  I won’t say much more, because I don’t want to spoil the fun.  I’ll be providing sneak peeks in some upcoming blog posts so be sure to stay tuned.  The passion is finally coming back!

This post was inspired by the Feel Good Blogging Challenge by Alex Beadon. I’ve decided to participate in order to spark my passion and be more motivated to blog, create, and be successful!  


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