Christy Dawn

About a year ago I asked the best people on Instagram (aka everyone following me) for recommendations of dresses that were similar to styles I liked from Free People, but were made in a transparent and ethical way. Someone suggested Christy Dawn and I bookmarked the label for later. One problem I’ve had with switching from a vintage to mostly modern wardrobe is quality. With vintage it’s not difficult to find top quality garments that will last decades more, and at a price that many can afford. But it’s a bit harder with modern. For one thing most people can’t distinguish high quality from low, so many brands don’t waste time and resources on small details that will raise the price and go overlooked by the average consumer. Another thing is trusting that something ordered online will live up to the expectation.

I decided to treat myself to something over memorial day weekend because EVERYONE has a sale, so it would be a good time to try something new. I recalled Christy Dawn and checked their site, and picked out the Autumn Dress. It looked like the perfect LBD for me, something that could be casual or more formal, comfortable (it’s a wrap dress), and besides being very transparent about their LA manufacturing, they also only use deadstock fabric leftover from major design houses. Instead of creating more fabric, which can be an incredibly harsh process, they use what already exists, finding a beautiful and useful place for it in the world. Everything is small batch, and due to the fabric usage, very limited, some dresses only get a handful made in each size. So while I was initially drawn to the styles and manufacturing transparency, the deadstock fabric usage hooked me.

I received the dress in the most lovely wooden box, with dried lavender blossoms inside, so opening it felt ultra special. Upon first touch I could tell by the fabric alone it was worth the price. Lifting it out of the box the details unfolded. While one side of the textile is a matte black, the underside is a lush satin. Every seam is finished in traditional French seams, and every thread secured. Putting it on was like finally finding “the one” (do I even need any of these old dresses sitting in my closet?) and thanks to the high quality fabric and construction, the movement and drape is heavenly. One thing I especially appreciate is the ultra long waist ties. I can tie a bow/knot at the back, front, side, and even styled it so it wraps up the chest and around my neck.

Christy Dawn is now my go to for beautiful dresses worth every penny, and I highly recommend giving them a try. Peek below to see the unboxing and details ❣️❣️❣️

*I have no affiliation with the brand and all photos and opinions are my own*

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Dimitri from Anastasia is ruining your love life: the analysis

I recently posted an image on Instagram captioned “when you grow up on 60s sitcoms and Dimitri from Anastasia was your first crush, then the only attractive men will be ones that are extremely annoyed with you 95% of the time”.

The response was both hilarious and surprising. I got some DMs and comments from people who never realized just how much either of those aspects of their childhood influenced their adult life. The more I talk to people about childhood interests the more I realize I think a lot about my own formative influences. I had a great childhood, which is a privilege many don’t have, so I can consider things without fear of unearthing trauma, and also cling to aspects that have joyful associations.

The animated movie Anastasia released in theaters in 1997, when I was 8, almost 9 years old. Still carrying around my American Girl doll and reading through the entire Nancy Drew series, boys were not on my radar. I didn’t think they were gross (girls are gross too, like, please) but while friends were chatting about cute boys and crushes at school, I was decidedly still indifferent.

And then, Dimitri.

I don’t know what it was that clicked, but that was it, I could, and did watch that movie over and over and over again. It’s a movie about a young woman who doesn’t know she’s really a long lost princess?? Like?? Already appealing to girls who are about to seek their place in the world (the fact that this was long before superhero and action movies centered around women and gave options other than “princess” is a whole other conversation”), but they added a man who would ultimately influence an entire generation for a lifetime, and may not even realize it.

Dimitri is a balance of rough around the edges with a heart of gold. Tall, fit, with hair that’s constantly tousled and jumping into action without hesitation, he’s essentially laid a foundation for what’s attractive in a man. It’s the first time a major animated princess movie really rounded out the love interest, and since then we’ve seen more men of substance and even ones obviously influenced by him (the parallels between Dimitri and Flynn Rider are uncanny)

The following could explain what appeals to us as adults, if you viewed the movie during the formative early years of puberty. Cliché or not, it is what it is.

Once connected in the past

We know Dimitri spent part of his childhood in the palace as a servant, so his origins are much lower than the princess Anastasia. Right from the start we see his interest either in her, or the life of a royal, both could apply given what we see in adulthood. In the chaos of the overthrow Dimitri essentially sacrifices himself in order to save Anastasia and her grandmother, which sets the foundation for his character development as the situation will arise again in different forms.

Pairing up for selfish gain not planning to fall in love

When we see Dimitri again as an adult he’s using his insider knowledge of the royal family to try and find the perfect impostor of the lost princess to present to the empress and collect a hefty reward. He and Vlad stumble on Anya and convince her she could be the lost princess, knowing she isn’t, only after financial gain. There’s a strong element of deceit and beginning a relationship for all the wrong reasons.

Wit, dry humor, and snarkiess

Dimitri doesn’t hold back with Anya and seems to have met his match in wit and snarkiness. His dry humor is displayed up until he realizes they can’t be together, and he adapts a much more somber dynamic with her, essentially losing himself when he loses her.

Bickering and teasing as flirting

As Dimitri and Anya spend more time together they go at each other’s throats so often, Vlad actually keeps score in a little notebook. An attraction is obviously felt but neither character will face it so the sexual tension manifests in argumentative ways, as the newfound passion has to have an outlet somewhere.

The naivete and her guide

Anya essentially puts her life in the hands of Dimitri, both emotionally and physically. Not remembering half her life, she’s naive to the ways of high society and royalty, relying on Dimitri to teach her everything. They experience multiple things Anya never has before (in her memory) like train and ship travel, new cities, and social expectations. For everything, she relies on Dimitri to teach her, not just how to behave but also teach her who she is. The dominant/submissive, teacher/student dynamic is explored frequently in these situations, he pulling out aspects of herself she didn’t know capable of.

Slow burn

Anya and Dimitri have countless moments of obvious sexual tension, from each being aware how physically close they are to kisses being interrupted before they start.

Enemies to lovers

After constant bickering, they both start to realize their feelings for each other on the steam ship, Dimitri seeing her for the first time in something other than old rags, and Anya giving into his appeal. They share an almost kiss while dancing, then after he saves her from unwillingly almost jumping off the ship to her death, they both give in to a rather intimate embrace.

“We can’t be together” emotional torture and longing

During an initial interview with the empresses companion, Dimitri sees Anya is in fact the real lost princess. He’s realized he’s fallen for her but their soon to be difference in stations will make the relationship impossible. While she celebrates her future he’s wrought with guilt over lying to her, and having to not only let her go, but watch her thrive without him.

Betrayal and self sacrifice to amend

When Anya finds out she was a pawn in his persuit of financial gain and was lied to, Dimitri begs forgiveness and tries to explain that what started out superficially turned into so much more. Anya won’t hear it and never wants to see him again. Dimitri may have come to terms with losing her, but won’t stop trying to give her the life she deserves, and convinces the empress to visit Anya, knowing from that moment on he can’t be a part of her life even if she forgives him, but he believes she’s better off with her remaining family.

It’s all for her

After the empress accepts Anya as her granddaughter she invites Dimitri to her Grand resistance to collect the promised reward. Broken and somber, he refuses, stating that while he would have taken it previously, now he just wants her to have her rightful place in the world. The empress is stunned but realizes that he’s fallen for her and Anya may feel the same.

The unobtainable

Dimitri and Anya cross paths on the stairs, he seeing her for the first time dressed in a ball gown, unmistakably royal. Their exchange is cold, and Dimitri is told he must bow to princess Anastasia, which he does, making Anya uncomfortable that this is where their relationship ends. The familiarity of previous bickering and physical closeness is gone for good.

Fighting side by side

When Anya is lured to the gardens where Rasputin intends to kill her, Dimitri unexpectedly appears and rescues her from certain death, then they join forces fighting side by side. Anya ultimately defeats Rasputin, but couldn’t have done so without Dimitri.

Realization of love when it could be too late

During the fight Dimitri is knocked unconscious, appearing dead to Anya, who realizes her love for him when it’s seemingly too late. When he comes to she concludes she’d rather be unroyal with him than a royal without him, Dimitri supporting whichever choice she makes even if that means losing her. But of course, it’s a happy ending 💗💗💗

Dimitri from Anastasia is ruining your love life: a visual guide

Things that Dimitri does, wears, and is, that ultimately shaped what we think is attractive in a man: a visual guide.

Sleeves: rolled, watch: on, waistcoat: undone, Henley: tight

Hair: tousled (also see: Tangled 2010)

The once over

Bickering as flirting

Effortlessly brooding in an overcoat

Near death experiences on trains are hot somehow??

Arms and hands and hands and arms

Slow burn

Sexual tension in the form of more bickering

Bringing you something he wants to see you in

Being forced together physically

Totally flustered while trying to give a compliment

Almost kissing no. 241

Bridal carry (also see: Star Wars the Force Awakens 2015)

Slow burn

Emotional torture realizing you can never be together

The “stunned because you look so glamorous and beautiful on the stairs” look

SLOW BURN

I mean

“It started out that way but everything’s different now

Would do literally anything for your happiness

This dramatic cape billow after giving up the love of his life

Not accepting the reward because LOVE

They officially can’t touch because SLOW BURN

The rescuer

IS HE DEAD IS IT TOO LATE

He’s fine so let’s make out

slow

burn

He still thinks she’s better off without him

That thing where they dance and the camera spins around them and they spin around (also see: Pride and Prejudice 2005)

FINALLY

The bridal carry is so good they did it twice

How to clean your leather boots

There are two items in my wardrobe I’ll guiltlessly proclaim I never have enough of: coats and boots.

I live in Washington state, and half the year is spent in both, unless you want to be particularly cold and wet. A good pair of boots can take you far, and I’m seeing more and more solid footwear which is great! However, something a little heftier than what people are used to takes more care. I’m a firm believer that a garment is only worth the care you put into it. You could buy the best quality boots, for hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but that price tag and lasting reputation doesn’t equate some kind of magic that keeps them healthy without proper care.

Besides the following photos that guide you in cleaning and conditioning, here’s a few things you can do for your leather boots and shoes to keep them at their best:

-don’t wear the same pair two full days in a row. Leather needs to breathe, and it’s also beneficial for your feet, (unless you’re guided by a pediatrician to wear something specific every day). Of course I’m guilty of breaking this rule, everyone is, so for those times absoloutly do the following:

-have an open spot for your frequently worn footwear to rest, in a well ventilated area. Set them on the floor or on an open shelf after you take them off, keeping them out of the closet for 24 or more hours. This allows them to breathe, and keeps your closet from smelling like stuffy boots.

-NEVER place your leather boots or shoes near a heat source. Heaters, blow dryers, and fireplaces will dry out the leather and cause it to split and crack. To help speed up drying, remove laces, and remove any insoles placed inside.

-regularly use a soft and coarse bristle brush to remove dust, dirt, and other debris. I keep both by the front door, using the soft brush on the upper, and the coarse on the outsole.

-if you get mud on your boots or shoes, allow it to dry completely, then brush it off. Removing excessive mud when it’s wet can just work it into the leather and cause future damage.

The following care guide is for oil tanned top grain leather, and can be applied to similar boots and shoes, but please proceed with caution on your own footwear. Not all shoes and boots are made of the same leather and conditioning can alter the color. Some softer more supple leathers on designer and trendier footwear may need a light moisturizer, a waxy conditioner being too heavy. Otherwise, it’s really very easy, and will keep your boots healthy all season long for years to come ✨

Boots – Custom made packers by Whites Boots ordered via Animal Traffic

The Scandal at Wilhelm’s Mausoleum

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Last year I had the privilege of visiting Wilhem’s Memorial Mausoleum, the one day it’s open to the public: Memorial Day. You can read about my experience here, I have some tips to make your exploration top notch, but today we’ll delve into the most sought after site in the entire vast property.

George Rae came to the U.S. from Scotland in 1869, settling in Portland as Vice President of the Inman-Poulsen Lumber Company which was located where OMSI now stands. Many of Portland’s stately homes from the turn of the century are built with lumber from that mill, and it thrived after San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake, providing record breaking quantities of lumber for the city to rebuild. Needless to say, George Rae was once one of Oregon’s wealthiest men.

Charlotte and George married in 1875, and sadly “Lottie” as she was known to those closest to her, was eventually committed to a state insane asylum, after suffering mental breakdowns. If you’re familiar with views on mental health during this period, you know that phrase can encompass many states of emotion, often associated with what we now see as normal responses to stressful situations, but then, were simply a symptom of a troublesome, crazy female.

Lottie passed away in the asylum in January 1914, and George remarried eight months later, to his housekeeper, who was 26 years younger than the self made millionaire. Elizabeth and George married at new and fashionable Multnomah Hotel which is now an Embassy suites, and he executed a new will a month after the ceremony, disinheriting his estranged adopted daughter Maud and leaving nearly all the estate to Elizabeth.

George died in 1918, buried in a family plot in Portland Riverview Cemetary next to Lottie. Maud wasted no time contesting the will, making it all the way to the Oregon supreme court, claiming her adoptive father wasn’t of sound mind, and that Elizabeth was a prostitute. The trial was highly publicized in 1920, and finally dismissed in 1923, both parties coming to a settlement.

The wealthy widow, having only four years of marriage with her beloved George, wanted to be near him for eternity, the two left alone without scandal and heartache. So she began creation of the tomb, of marble and bronze, so beautifully European in material and craftsmanship, you’ll wonder how it’s possible you’re still in the most casual city on the west coast. Upon it’s completion she had his body exhumed and laid to rest in the marble tomb, joining him in 1942. The two sarcophagi seem to be what the room was built around, with sconces and wicker chairs in the corner, and a photo of the couple in a brass frame. At the base of a stained glass panel, she has displayed the words which perhaps embody her short but treasured time with George in mortal life:

“The End of a Perfect Day”

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