Many apologies for not getting this post up sooner my lovely friends. Last week, as I began to write it, one of the themes that kept coming to mind was the beauty and positivity that can be brought into one’s life through these crazy internets. On the flip side they can also be a mind-numbing techno time-suck (let’s not kid ;), but at the heart, it’s all really about connections, and as for my own interweb wanderings, I feel so incredibly lucky to have made some very special ones along the way. Though I should probably also say, that I don’t really believe that luck had too much to do with it ;)
This post was in essence written to celebrate the wonder of such dear connections, however, over these past days, the heartbreak and horror, the destruction and devastation, of all that has and continues to unfold in Japan has been overwhelming, and I must admit, it has left me with the urge to “retreat” just a bit from all the “connectedness” and really cherish the comfort that I’m fortunate to be existing in right now here in my cozy and, as yet, safe little home with my loved ones.
I feel terrible for the people of Japan who are directly involved, I feel terrible for our planet, and on my Yahoo homepage when I saw this major headline: “Radiation soars at Japan nuclear plant, Area residents are told to stay inside during the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, Threat heads up the coast” immediately followed by this “major” headline: "‘Bachelor’ winner gets cold feet, Emily says she’s not quite ready to wed Brad, even after accepting his proposal,” well, I just felt a little sick inside and terrible for humanity as a whole.
With my portal to inspiration and kindred souls currently overwhelmed by confused and often conflicting messages of doom and fear, the timing of this post started to feel a bit off. Though while I know all of our hearts are breaking for the people of Japan right now, I also feel like sending out a story of love and light and positive connection can’t be a bad thing during such times as these, and I know that there are at least a few lovely souls out there to whom these pics will bring smiles to their faces and hopefully brighten their days like they do mine, so without further ado…
Our story begins in Sacramento, CA at Crimson & Clover, the most magical vintage shop in all the land… seriously, where else would this story begin? ;)
Brought together ultimately by a mutual deep-seated love of vintage clothing, it makes perfect sense that this would be the chosen spot for myself and these gorgeous and wondrous ladies to finally find ourselves all together in three-dimensional reality for the very first time!
Nicole, the all-around sweet spirit and stylish-beyond-words proprietress (her co-proprietress, Kara, we unfortunately didn't get to meet this time). Milla, Amber, Heather, and myself giddily descended upon Nicole at work in her shop after initially meeting up, daughters and husbands in tow, for lunch at the restaurant next door.
With Clover and Mycie (Amber's daughter), happily swinging at the park across the street with their papas, we girls were free to browse, chat, take lots of pictures, and pretty much just bliss-out on each other for awhile.
Ah, the gift of Gunne! Milla basking in the glory, as the rest of us ooh-ed and ahh-ed in the background.
Heather flashing her bright and ever-present smile, as we all wandered around the lovely shop in a giddy daze, perusing racks of dresses and admiring Nicole’s amazing handmade accessories, juggling cameras and arm-loads of vintage loveliness to try on… many of which turned out to be destined for new homes ;)
Heather and Amber looking quite excited about their purchases, as we all were!
Once the little girls had done all the swinging they were going to do, and the papas had already played the cookies from the coffee shop card, it was time to move on to the next phase of our adventure. We bid Nicole a fond farewell, with hopes firmly planted for her and her family to meet up with us in Nevada City the next day.
Now, if you wouldn't mind joining me on a wee philosophical tangent…
Following Heather’s wonderful post, both Milla and Amber recently published beautifully written accounts of our weekend as well, each expanding on sentiments shared by all-involved, as we’ve had a chance to reflect on our time together.
One topic that came up in conversation among us that weekend, had to do with the dynamics of getting to know someone through blogging, and/or other such modes of online communication, where people come together based on common interests. We all agreed that when approached with honesty and pure intention, there can be the potential for forming even deeper connections/bonds/friendships than those you might make through “real life” channels.
This writing-based means of self-expression, where you are often “carefully externalizing your internal life into words,” as Milla so elegantly put it, can lend itself to deeper interactions than you might initially have with a new person in your life.
For an introvert like myself, externalizing can be something quite difficult to accomplish during the course of everyday social interactions to begin with. As someone who feels more comfortable expressing herself through writing than speaking, I feel like it’s allowed me to make so many wonderful connections that I never would have otherwise. It really has become an avenue for getting to know people that I’m endlessly thankful to have discovered.
What’s also interesting is that, not only do you externalize the “inner you” through the act of writing, but at the same time, through the act of reading the blogs/comments/emails of those you are connecting with, you effectively internalize the “inner them.”
There’s something powerful about taking in information through reading the written word, and over time, getting to know the essence of someone in this way makes them sort of feel like a part of you, part of your own internal landscape. It makes me think of the way reading a good book can seem to infiltrate your soul in a way that watching the movie never quite can. I know that’s a complete oversimplification, but perhaps there’s still some truth to it.
This all leads to some thrilling first moments of being in the warm presence of women whose form had previously taken shape for you in this way. It is a bit like "stepping through the looking glass." Your internal reality becoming your external reality, as girls who existed as composites of words and images in your mind and heart, become vividly real right before your eyes. Eyes that lock in deep recognition, while smiles beam, and heartfelt hugs commence. It’s an experience both surreal and hyper-real all at the same time.
It’s all very fleeting though, because before you know it, you’re looking at these sweet souls in the flesh as if that’s just how you’ve always seen them, and it’s all a bit mind-bending in the best of ways!
But let’s get back to our adventure, shall we?
Speaking of the magical act of reading, our first destination upon arrival in Heather’s hometown of Placerville was also where she works… The Bookery!
This used bookstore is nothing short of AMAZING and my girls, being the bevy of beautiful bookworms that they are were all completely in their element in it’s labyrinth of shelves quite literally overflowing with the written word.
Amber, unable to contain her excitement over the True Stories of the Sea section :D
Following the excitement of The Bookery, we got Mexican take-out and headed up the hill to Heather’s house where her husband Darin was waiting to warmly greet us all. The ten of us (myself, Lucas, and Clover, Amber, Graham, and Mycie, Milla and Charlie, Heather and Darin) went straight to settling in for a good ol’ fashioned sleepover!
A little beer, a little food, and the next thing we knew, Heather’s bedroom floor was barely visible as the gift giving extravaganza (dubbed “New Christmas” by our menfolk) commenced in full force!
Clover and Mycie went straight to work on Clover’s new fairy sticker book. A gift from Amber and Mycie, but not before each putting on one of many (and I do mean MANY) new vintage dresses. Seriously, between Amber’s hand-me-downs from Mycie, and Milla and Heather going completely above and beyond hunting down adorable vintage dresses for the girls, I think Clover’s collection now puts my own to shame!
While we were all the recipients of many thoughtful gifts from one another, this brooch that Amber saw in Milla’s Etsy favorites and decided to surprise her with, was really quite special.
The circle of four women so perfectly captured the spirit of our gathering and our feelings of sisterhood toward one another. It even turned out to be a foreshadowing, as later that evening we would find ourselves out in the cool night air, hands joined in just such a circle, the four of us together beneath a bright full moon.
Looking adorable in new dresses from Auntie Milla, Mycie and Clover had some good times jumping and posing on Heather’s bed. They are both so good at posing, not sure where they get that ;)
By the end of New Christmas, these girls were BEST BUDS, running around together and squealing with laughter like they’d known each other all their lives. Isn’t it amazing how kids do that, form friendships so quickly and easily, like “Hey she likes to wear old dresses and jump on beds too, I’m gonna have some fun with her!” They’re just all-in, from the get-go. It’s inspiring really.
In a way, I think online communities sort of give us back some of that child-like boldness in making connections. I would probably never walk up to a stranger on the street whose style I was drawn to and say: “Hey, I think you’re awesome, wanna be my friend?” But that’s basically how it goes down in the land of blog… you tell a cute Finnish girl that you think she looks adorable in her red dress, and fast forward three years later…
yes, their dresses also happen to be cute, but at this point that is so completely beside the point…
and if your lucky, one day you all find yourselves and your loved ones face-to-face in a gypsy caravan of a living room sharing beers and smiles and stories and laughter…
There’s a magical midnight walk under a full moon, homemade raspberry wine shared straight from the bottle, howling, circling, singing, laughing, confiding, bonding…
Heather’s sweet kitty Cream Puff was not the only cute and furry creature roaming the house that morning.
Milla working on the mountain of yummy pancakes that she contributed to the insanely delicious group effort breakfast we all enjoyed. It also included potatoes and bacon by Graham, fried eggs (from our chickens!) by Charlie, and endless amounts of coffee which Lucas took the lead on.
The girls, devouring pancake after pancake, under Heather and Darin’s amazing adjustable embroidered patch calendar, the likes of which I’ve never seen anything like, so cool.
Tarot for tots! The girls were enthralled as Heather, in her cute flannel nightie(!), went through the cards one-by-one with them. They played a game where they assigned identities to the characters on the cards based on which of all of us they looked like most.
More to come in part 2 of our journey... next stop Nevada City!
Also, if you haven't already, Milla's and Amber's glorious and complete posts, both WONDERFUL reads, can be found here and here... and the love fest continues ♥