gift guide 2014 | for the cook

1. Everyone needs a sturdy Mortar and Pestal for the kitchen. 

2. Linen Napkins from Otis & Otto. A bit pricey but SO gorgeous. (85-) 

3. Handmade 'Farmhouse' Carafe by Arrow and Sage. Beautiful, functional, handmade. Meets all good gift criteria. (38-) 

4. Futagami Eclipse Brass Bottle OpenerAgain, functionality meets good design. (40-) 

5. How gorgeous is this vintage French copper pan? (49-) 

6. Opinel Olive Wood Knife (70-) 

7. Set of two small wooden bowls, perfect for keeping by the table for a pinch of salt n pepper. (16-) 

8. Linen Oven Mitt looks pretty and still gets the job done (12-) 

9. Wooden measuring spoons. I have these little guys and I love em. (20-) 

#1 HOW TO WEAR VINTAGE | don't settle on one decade

Introducing a new segment on how to wear vintage in a modern way. A lot of women struggle with the idea of wearing vintage only because it can be hard to style, and no one wants to look like they are sporting a costume. I'll be posting weekly tips on how to wear vintage with ease. Tip 1: mix it up! The great thing about vintage clothing is that it is so versatile. When picking a garment out, think of the different ways you can style it. With this 1960s wiggle dress, it can go from Joan Holloway business boss to casual city chic with just a few accessories. 

Outfit details: Satchel from Stitch & Hammer | Vintage dress | Felt hat from Forever 21 | Converse shoes | Vintage Bracelets & Watch | Linen scarf from Merci 

The patient man behind the lens. 

Business Gals: Anthropolgie Stylist Ashley Ording

Ashley Ording is a stylist, blogger, vintage enthusiast, and all around babe living in Philadelphia. She also has my dream job as a stylist for Anthropologie, so I had to ask her a few questions. I found her blog Fancy Fine years ago and fell in love with her fun approach to vintage as well as overall great style. Quite often I find myself in vintage shops saying "ohhhh, that's so Ashley Ording". Usually referring to a pretty chiffon dress, Poodle brooch, or over the top ruffled blouse. And that's just what I love about her style... daring, classic and fun!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. 

live in Philadelphia (after a decade spent in San Francisco) and work as a Web Stylist for Anthropologie. In my spare time I obsessively collect vintage clothing.

2. What's a typical work day look like as a Web Stylist at Anthropologie? 

A typical day might be spent creating outfits all day long in our prop room, which then need to be shot on a model the following day. If I am on set all day it means that I am constantly moving, pinning clothes, adding accessories, making sure the outfits I've created translate in the photos. I am responsible for communicating retouching notes once I see the final selects, keeping the prop clothing and accessories organized, seeking styling inspiration wherever I can find it, and styling the social media creative shoots that are on model.

3. When did you first get into vintage clothing? 

I have loved vintage clothing ever since I was a wee little thing watching black and white movies, but I didn't start earnestly collecting things until high school. After school and on weekends I would drive around to all the thrift stores in my hometown of Santa Rosa, CA and find the most amazing pieces from the 1950's, 60's and 70's, things that are nearly impossible to find at thrift stores these days. I was still a bit timid then about wearing my vintage clothes to school, so it wasn't until moving to San Francisco at age 18 that I really incorporated it into my daily style.

4. Would you say your fondness of vintage inspires what you create and style? What decade are you most drawn to? 

I definitely find myself inspired by vintage when styling modern outfits, but I also love incorporating inspiration from the present day because there are so many lovely things happening in fashion right now. Currently I'm really drawn to the 1970's because of the beautifully weird color palette, amazing silhouettes, and unabashed quirkiness.

5. If you had to choose, what is your best vintage find ever? 

Oh dear, I have so many! The one freshest in my mind is an incredible 1970's lace two piece set, a blouse and bell bottom trousers. I just used it in a photo shoot this past weekend and I'm probably going to sell it because it doesn't fit me, but I just had to own it for a little bit. A favorite find from my own wardrobe that I wear constantly is this beige lace vest (also 1970's) that weirdly goes with every outfit and is perfect to wear on the days when I'm styling because I can load it up with my styling clips for easy access.

6. The best part of your job is. . . 

Pretty much everything, it's absolutely my dream job. But one of my favorite parts is definitely seeing the outfits that I have styled on the web site. Styling is a very sculptural thing, standing there and manipulating all elements of an outfit (tucking, untucking, pinning, tying, clipping, etc.) until it becomes something cohesive, interesting, hopefully wonderful. I love using my hands in this way and seeing the results.

7. The most challenging part is . . . 

I don't get to cherry pick which items I style, I have to style everything, even the duds! Sometimes I feel challenged when faced with an item of clothing that is incredibly boring or uncool, but I strangely love those outfitting challenges the most. Some of my favorite outfits have involved a piece that I never imagined I could make cool, and then somehow a successful look comes out of it. I love that feeling.

8. What is the best piece of advice for someone wanting to get into styling?

I think focusing on your own style and aesthetic first is supremely important. If you have a clear point of view with the way that you dress then people will definitely recognize that. I think documenting my outfits for my blog for so many years helped me to hone my own aesthetic and forced me to both edit myself and think more creatively about styling, and of course putting myself out there like that is what led to Anthropologie finding me and hiring me. Having a web presence (which functions as an overall portfolio), a clear point of view, and not being afraid to show it all off is the best advice I could give!

get the look | FALL STYLE

Sources from left to right: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 

What I'm into this fall: chelsea boots (as always), fuzzy sweaters, leather jackets, simple silhouettes, and structured menswear inspired jackets. Below are some great Fall pieces found on Etsy. 

get the look | F A L L D R E S S I N G

Fall is just around the corner, thank GOODNESS. Although I am a summer girl, when this time rolls around I can't wait to get my cozy on with a big oversized sweater, boots, and a motorcycle jacket. Here's how to get the look for a LOT less, all while supporting small business! 

Click on images for source. 

S H O P U P D A T E | edwardian whites

Phew, I've been working hard on the shop lately! I've finally got the light in my new studio all figured out and it's starting to look less like Gray Gardens and more like a work space, so that's a plus. You all know my love affair with the Edwardian age, so I leave with you with these pretties. . .

Edwardian Wedding Dress | 740$  Ah, I still can't get over her. This dress might be the prettiest dress I've laid my eyes on, and I can't wrap my mind around the fact that it's 100 years old and in such pristine condition. I am so thankful for previous owners of these wonderfully preserved garments. 

Edwardian Wedding Dress | 740$

Ah, I still can't get over her. This dress might be the prettiest dress I've laid my eyes on, and I can't wrap my mind around the fact that it's 100 years old and in such pristine condition. I am so thankful for previous owners of these wonderfully preserved garments. 

notes on || THRIFTING

EMBRACE THE GRUNGE Try to find the grungiest thrift shop around, because chances are they will be less picked over with better prices. When well-established thrift stores catch on to what vintage items are worth, they price them accordingly. Sometimes it's worth the money, but it's also great getting a deal and finding real treasures. My favorite thrift store in town is the Goodwill Bins, which is a warehouse filled to the brim with carts of clothing and pallets of shoes and accessories. I've found some amazing things there because it's not very picked over and you really have to dig to find the treasures. Tip: take a shower after a visit, wear gloves, jeans and a tee. No joke. Eek. 

JUST BECAUSE IT'S VINTAGE DOESN'T MEAN IT'S GOOD Don't buy something just because it's vintage. Sure, it is exciting coming across a funky dress from the 1960s or a set of dishes from the 1970s, but if you don't love it or need it don't buy it. I've made this mistake far too much during my years of thrifting. 

BE REALISTIC "I kinda like that dress, but the length is off so I'll just hem it!" is a common phrase that I used to say all the time. The reality is a huge pile of "to mend" clothing that just takes up space. I can definitely sew a bit, but I am no seamstress. So if you are like me, just pass on the item. 

MAKE PILES IN STORE When you come across something that catches your eye, pick it up! Chances are there is a person in the store with similar style that might snatch it just as you put it down, leaving you with a "shoot! how did I let that one go!?" feeling. You can go through your basket later and narrow out which items you want to purchase. 

BE AN INSPECTOR Inspect items closely before buying. If it smells like cigarettes, mold, or dust, has an assortment of questionable stains, or includes countless rips, it's probably best to pass on the item. 

THRIFT BUDDIES Make friends with the workers! This one is very important, because if you are avid thrifter like me, you see these people at least once a week. I've found that if I make some acquaintances with employees or fellow shoppers, they will come up to me and give me item they think I'd like or best case scenario; place items aside especially for you. 

OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH NEW (err, OLD) Before you head out for a thrift shopping spree, gather a few things you no longer need and donate them to the store your headed to. It will give you an idea of what you really need and give you a bit more room in your closet for your new digs! 

DON'T GET DISCOURAGED Some days I come home with nothing, while other days are pure thrifting magic. I get discouraged when I find nothing for weeks straight, so I give it a rest for a week or so until new inventory comes in. 

LIMIT YO-SELF! It can be tempting to want to buy everything with a 1$ price tag, but limit yourself to buy only what is needed or has value. I like to set aside 20$ or so before I head out thrifting, unless of course a vintage bridal dress or 1950s shoes come my way. 

DON'T LIMIT YOURSELF Truth is, if you head into a thrift store with a specific item in mind you usually won't find it. You will also miss out on other awesome goods because you're too focused on finding that item! I like to make a list on my phone of items I want to thrift in the future, and whenever I head out to thrift stores I use it as a reference.