Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thirsty Thursday: The French 75

Hello Vintage-istas!

And we're back! This week we've been reminiscing on our time spent in Paris last summer and, naturally, missing it greatly. This walk down nostalgia-lane lead us to this week's cocktail: The French 75!

The French 75 made its first appearances early in the 20th century, purportedly in the famous New York Bar of Paris. Legend has it, the drink received its famous moniker because it "kicked like a French 75mm," a notorious piece of French field artillery used predominantly in WWI. The champagne component also justifies the name, but we've opted for a cheap sparkling wine option because the combination of these ingredients makes the quality of champagne/sparkling wine indiscernible!

This week we inherited a large basket of fresh Connecticut blueberries from a member of my church choir who owns a farm. Trying to think of unique ways to avoid letting these berries go to waste, I remembered a similar version of this cocktail I stumbled upon back in 2011 and knew this was the cocktail to make! Of course, we here at The Vintage Chanteuse have tweaked the ingredients a tad, so let's take a look:

  • 6-8 blueberries
  • 2oz gin
  • 2oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Splash of simple syrup
  • Champagne/Sparking wine
  • Lemon twist for garnish

As you may have already noticed, we've chosen to serve this cocktail in vintage pilsner glasses simply because we received them as a gift this summer and think they are so neat! However, these glasses' round bottoms do not lend themselves well to muddling, so begin by muddling your blueberries in a flat-bottomed glass first. Then, if you wish, transfer ingredients to your glass of choice.

This is Isabelle, named after the French composer Isabelle Aboulker, she was patiently waiting for her chance at a fresh blueberry...little did we know she was eating them off the counter when our backs were turned! Eek!

Next, combine gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice and stir gently until well-combined. Finally, top with a couple of ice cubes and champagne/sparkling wine and garnish with a twist of lemon!

Recommended accompaniment:

We highly encourage you accompany your French 75 with "Je ne veux pas travailler" by the band Pink Martini! If you haven't heard of this band yet, it's time you familiarize yourself. They are a modern band drawing clear inspiration from the 1940s and have earned The Vintage Chanteuse seal of approval!

Until next time, salut!

The Vintage Chanteuse

Monday, July 28, 2014

over the weekend

Happy Monday, Vintage-ista's!

We had a wonderful weekend full of warm beaches, beautiful hikes to waterfalls, and lots of organizing musical scores. The weather is divine in New England right now so between training for our half marathon and afternoons at the beach, we are soaking up as much sun as we possibly can! 

Here are a few things that made me so very happy this weekend!

1. These trailers! We are seriously considering selling everything after my fiancé graduates and buying a trailer to travel for a year.

2. Everyone should go hear a really good, live orchestra at least once in their life. Nothing can compare to the experience of live music: the sound of the air that comes rushing toward you, seeing the bowing of the strings, the percussion affecting your heartbeat, feeling the waves of sound course through your body and encompass you. Recordings cannot communicate these things to you. Music is, after all, about communication. Go to the orchestra. 

Find yourself on vacation looking for something to do?  Check out this list of classical music festivals throughout the country. You need to hear an orchestra live. It will change your life! 

3. The Lost Art of Letter Writing. We made a New Year's Resolution to send cards to our family and friends for birthdays, holidays, thank you's, and invitations.  Believe it or not, our generation simply does not send handwritten notes anymore. I love this article and vow to write more letters this year! 

4. I received a set of vintage cookbooks as an engagement gift and one is all about fondue!  I am smitten with this retro fondue set!

5.  Get your childhood jam on! I love The Nostalgia Machine! 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Week in Snapshots: Week 1

Bonjour!  This is the first in my new series, My Week in Snapshots, in which I post my favorite moments of my a photo journal!

Here we go!

My dissertation was published in the NATS Journal of Singing as recommended reading! It was actually sitting on my shelf for months without me noticing. Reading about my research after being so removed from it has inspired me to pick up where I left off in my research of Willa Cather's connection to music.

 I grew up on a farm...and I have no green thumb whatsoever! I am hoping I can keep at least a cactus alive; stay tuned...

The produce at our favorite farm stand is so beautiful!

I have become obsessed with our new vintage record player! We found it at Fistful of Daisies while in the Midwest. Our mornings begin with listening to NPR and end with Gershwin on this gem!

One of the best things about visiting Nebraska is coming home with so many fabulous vintage dresses!

 Beach! Beach! Beach! We spent a lovely day on the Long Island Sound in Connecticut.

Around every corner in Connecticut are signs to pick your own blueberries. Fresh picked blueberries are heaven...

We found the most wonderful Arizona Kitsch while thrifting this week. They are perfect for my Cacti and provide a little homage to our time in Phoenix!

Yes, Connecticut really is so charming that American flags line the highways.

Here's to a beautiful weekend!


The Vintage Chanteuse

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thirsty Thursday: The Gimlet

Hello Vintage-istas!

This week we're bringing you a cocktail that is about as classic as it gets: The Gimlet!

As far as anybody knows, the Gimlet has been around at least since the Roaring '20s, making numerous pop culture appearances along the way. There are certainly about as many interpretations of this cocktail as there are high Cs in the famous tenor aria, "Ah! mes amis!" However, they all have a few things in common: gin, something sweet, and something sour. We think our interpretation is the perfect balance of traditional and unique, making this cocktail the king of sizzling summer afternoons!

Let's take a look at our ingredients:
  • 2 oz gin
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • .5 oz fresh lime juice
  • Lime twist for garnish

Preparation: In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, simple syrup and fresh lime juice with ice and shake generously until ice crystals begin to form around exterior of shaker. Then, strain into an empty cocktail glass, garnish with a lime twist, and serve!

Recommended accompaniment:

This week, we made a cocktail specifically designed to combat the heat outside. Because of this, Kurt Weill's opera Street Scene immediately came to mind. With your Gimlet, we invite you to enjoy Helen Forrest singing "Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed!"


The Vintage Chanteuse

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Styling with Vintage Brooches

When I first started buying vintage pieces it was mostly because I was broke and need cute and cheap furnishings for my college apartment. Little did I know it would be the beginning of a love affair. However, it wasn't until my early twenties that I began dressing with vintage pieces.  I was a little hesitant that I wouldn't look normal...I've now realized that is the point!

I began my journey by adding small vintage pieces to my outfit everyday. I began small with vintage brooches! I became very creative with how I would incorporate them into my outfits. Here are some of my favorite ways to accessorize with brooches.

Pin a brooch to a necklace...

or pin it on your evening clutch!

Brooch too big for your handbag? Try a scarf!

Or even a French beret!

Makes me miss Paris...

Or, perhaps my favorite, in your hair!

Of course, if you're not in a brave mood, stick with the traditional location on a sweater or blazer lapel!

I have completely changed my mind in regards to wearing vintage. I am now fully committed to wearing vintage and vintage-inspired pieces in my everyday life. There is something very special and unique about wearing a vintage piece. I feel one-of-a-kind and distinctive. I can't help but make up stories about the woman who wore the piece before me and the wonderful places it has traveled. 


The Vintage Chanteuse

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

over the weekend

We had an awesome, busy, and serendipitous first week back in New England after our trip to the Midwest.  We celebrated our one year anniversary of living in Connecticut as well as being soda free.  Yippee!  Connecticut was a huge transition, coming from the dry Arizona heat to freezing New England Winters. We left all of our friends and family behind in search of an adventure and knowledge.  It was lonely, scary, and completely worth it. 

Of course, we celebrated the way New Englanders celebrate: good food, good friends, good wine, and beautiful backyards filled with 200 year old oak trees. Oh, and singing a little opera too! I was inspired by my friends' wonderful outdoor living spaces and dreaming of life outside of the city.

Here are a few of my favorite things from over the weekend...

1.  Because I am such a wino...This bamboo wine table for two is perfect for the backyard!  

2. I am obsessed with the #PartyPartyApp from A Beautiful Mess.  This app is so fun and adds a little retro feel to instagram (as if it doesn't have that already!)

3.  You had me at Bee's Knees! We are buying our tickets to the Jazz Age Lawn Party today! Doesn't it look amazing?!

4.  This book will be making its way onto my coffee table very soon!

5.  Finally, this. I saw huge success this week and A LOT of failure. I am choosing to see success in my failures.  I think J.K. Rowling says it best...

Here's a little accompaniment for your week! I hope it's a wonderful one!


The Vintage Chanteuse

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thirsty Thursday: The Raspberry Rickey

Hello Vintage-istas!

This week we're bringing you a fruity version of a cocktail whose history dates back to the 1880s. "The Raspberry Rickey" is sure to help cool you down on these hot July evenings...or afternoons! Who are we here at The Vintage Chanteuse to judge?

The "Rickey" is a drink which originated in its traditional form in Washington D.C., likely named after Democratic lobbyist Colonel Joe Rickey. Originally, this cocktail's base spirit was bourbon, but as Americans eventually began to overcome their fear of the red coats, gin became a widely popular American spirit and people began to substitute gin instead of bourbon! Nowadays (as is often the case with gin-based cocktails), vodka may also be substituted, as it is here. First up, our ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • .5 oz Chambord raspberry liqueur
  • Soda water
  • A few raspberries
  • A lime wedge, for granish

Preparation: Begin by muddling raspberries in bottom of highball glass. Next, add ice, along with remaining ingredients and stir gently until raspberry pulp mixes thoroughly. Finally, garnish with a couple of whole raspberries and a lime wedge, and enjoy!

Recommended Accompaniment:
The "Rickey" makes countless pop culture appearances, perhaps most notably in The Great Gatsby and in the opening lines of the timeless Glenn Miller tune "Jukebox Saturday Night!" Now sit back, relax, and allow yourself to be transported to another period in history on a hot summer's day!


The Vintage Chanteuse

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Our Trip in Snapshots

We are back from what turned out to be an exciting, exhausting, and hectic trip to the Midwest! We painted, cleaned, restored, designed, tagged, sorted, and planned our way through the weeks at 5th Street Vintage and spent the weekends making awesome memories with our families. However, the most important thing (after family, of course) was the antiquing! We went all over southeastern Nebraska, Omaha, Lincoln, Iowa, and Sioux Falls in search for our newest treasures and we found some amazing things! Here is our trip in snapshots:

We worked so hard getting 5th Street Vintage ready to open! There is still a lot of work left to do and it was so hard to leave knowing my mom was stuck to finish up. I have to say, besides finishing my dissertation, I left Nebraska feeling so proud of this little shop. I cannot wait for the grand opening! 

To know The Vintage Chanteuse is to know that I am a coffee snob. I found this little coffee coffee/antique store/wine bar/live music venue in Fairbury, NE! What?! This is my dream business!  If you ever find yourself in Southeastern Nebraska, get yourself to The Stagecoach Antique Mall. Whatever you do, order yourself a double espresso and the freshly made pastry of the morning, then sit and listen to music in their cafe or peruse the antique mall. There is no better way to spend a morning off.

There is a very special place in my heart for Fistful of Daisies in downtown Beatrice. I have found some of my most treasured vintage pieces there. The owners, Kathy and Kerry, are quite simply the nicest people around! Kathy is so charming and she has an amazing eye for vintage decor from mid-century modern furniture to rustic shabby chic pieces and everything in between! I never miss a Thursday at Fistful of Daisies!

Most important to us is family. Having a nephew has changed the way I look at life (crazy, I know!) Being around him as he discovers the world with naïvety is breathtaking. This little man has my heart!

Now, it wouldn't be a vacation without some libations! We had amazing cocktails in Sioux Falls, SD at Crawford's. It's an old men's clothing store that has been restored to look like a 1920's awesome! Our own version of these cocktails will be on the blog soon!

We did wine tasting at Strawbale Winery in Renner, SD. This is the most charming winery! The property is nestled in the South Dakota countryside next to a hundred year old barn with colorful Adirondack chairs scattered about the acreage. There are beautiful roosters waiting to be fed and sweet little kittens roaming the grounds! During the Summer months, the winery holds live open air concerts and serves wine and picnic-style food. It is a must if you find yourself in the Sioux Falls area! 

I never thought I would ever say this...but I fell in love with Sioux Falls, SD! What a great city! So many antiques stores, great restaurants, breweries, wineries, and an amazing historic downtown district. If you are looking for a getaway that is within driving distance of Nebraska, Sioux Falls is a great choice!

Of course, it wouldn't feel like home if there wasn't a thunderstorm at least 3 times a week. I love Nebraska weather!

By the end of the three weeks, we had spent 50+ hours in the car and it was exhausting but totally worth it. We saw a ton of corn, barns, and a lot of traffic along our route. We made it home with our car full of treasures and was greeted by lots of exciting news regarding my singing career! But, as always when I leave home, it was accompanied by a little homesickness.

Until next time, Midwest!


The Vintage Chanteuse