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Archive for November, 2011

I have to tell you a story about how a life can be either black or white. The white side of my life is my beloved grandmother. She was born in 1933. Her name is Helen and she lives about 200 kilometers from the capital Vilnius in a small town of Taurage. While my grandfather was still alive, they lived in a private house size of a small villa. All kinds of fruits and berries used to harvest in a garden behind the house. They were one of the first people in the village to get a TV – black and white – at that time.

But they only lived a somewhat happy and wealthy life when they were married and their children (one of whom is my mother) were in the middle school already. My grandpa had a good position and was in charge for the agriculture around the region where they lived. So they didn’t have to starve and tried to help the neighbourhood as much as they could.

But until then, Helen said she had a very dramatic childhood and years of adolescence. Life was not easy and there was nothing that you could easily afford.

I cannot remember my grandfather very well, as he died when I was just 7-8 years old. I cannot remember his face clearly, but I will never forget time spend with him in the basement of the house, where the main kiln was located. The smell of a dry wood, ashes, yeast from the bread being baked in a metal stove and the smell of the old newspapers. I used to adore playing with pieces of coal. It was always black, light and so skinny as if it was spread with silver dust. Granny wouldnt’ let me do that because very quickly all the clothes would turn dirty from it, but my grandfather knew how to keep my games a secret ๐Ÿ˜‰

Later, when I grew up, I met some people who used to live in our neighbourhood and who knew my grandfather. They told me that my grandpa was a great man and everyone liked him for his sense of logics and sharp mind. He would always try to employ the people who he knew lived the poorest and if he couldn’t , he would make sure they receive some food donations not least than once a month. I know this doesn’t have anything to do with me directly, but still listening to stories like these made me feel proud.

What:

Tunica: Flame.

Coat: Tank .

Shoes: Miss Selfridge.

Hat: My grandmothers: bought it right after when she got married – so it’s about 50 years old… Unbelievable, isn’t it?

Gloves: purchased at a local craftsmen market in October 2011.

Belt: My mothers – bought it when she was a university student from some artist in Denmark .

OMG Item: “The hat. My grandmother told me about the life in Lithuania when everything here – the language, culture, items at the shop, your political opinion and even your private life – was a possession of Soviet Russia. Everything even a little bit luxurious was impossible to get. She told me you couldn’t really choose – you would simply buy items that are available and be happy that you even got them. For instance shoes: there was one type of shoes in the variety of sizes. So if you needed new shoes, you’d buy the ones that you could find. My grandmother lived in a suburb area of a small town so it was even tougher to get anything. She purchased this hat when my grandfather somehow managed to take her on a trip to Georgia – Georgia in Europe – for their honeymoon, I believe. She said it cost something like half of a salary of an unqualified worker and at that time it was an impossible amount of money. My grandmother laughed at the fact that she so saved the hat for special occasions that it remained in a perfect condition even 50 years later. I am proud and happy to wear it as a wonderful historical piece. ”

It’s not difficult to count that at the time when the 2nd World War ended in 1945, my grandmother was 12 years old. By that time she had already seen it all: bombings, injured people, burnt down houses, families ripped apart, deportation to concentration camps… She once told me about where they lived which was basically anywhere they could because their house was destroyed 3 times: two of them by bombing and one of them by fire. There were secret local underground schools because Lithuanian religion, language, culture, political movements were strictly forbidden. First by the German, then by the Russians.

People saved everything they could and tried to fit in to the new norms of the Depression.

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You had to have a garden in order to have food and you would then trade your products to the things that you needed: wheat for oil, eggs for milk, cheese for sausage, wheat for potatoes. Shops were closed, no job was available, except for the agriculture and medical sectors. Due to the depression, no or very little goods were imported so there was a lack of everything including clothing, footwear, school equipment, medical and other necessities.

If you wanted to have something, like a new sweater, it would go like this: someone would know someone else, who had some sheep so they had wool and grow cotton in the fields to make threads which then would be weaved or knitted to make clothing.

The luckier ones, had some wealthier relatives that moved away to USA or somewhere else so they sometimes could send people new clothes and shoes. But as I browse old pictures with my grandma, she points to a dress that my mother got from her uncle in America to wear on a wedding of a relative. Later you can see her cousin wearing the same dress at someones elses wedding and then a friend of that cousin wearing it at someone elses childs birthday…

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When I listen to all of those stories it seems almost impossible to comprehend. People sound heroic just for their capability to survive those time, not to break down and at the end – achieve success. My grandma later worked as a Lithuanian teacher probably because she wanted to educate people and to compensate for the time when our langauge was abandoned. For a long time she was a principle of a local school and always encouraged us to talk flawlessly, avoid slang.

I remember very well her sitting on the side of my bed, gently running her warm hands through my hair and telling me story after story, poem after poem until I fell asleep. She is now a real senior and her memory is not so good on daily topics. But when it comes to Lithuanian literature, she does the unspeakable – last Christmas she told me my favorite fairy tale in poem which I think she used last about 20 years ago!

I really wish she could stay healthy and happy forever…

P.s. here is a link to my favorite childhoods poem translated to English. Scroll down untill you see JลชRATฤ– AND KASTYTIS. Do that if you are interested, of course ๐Ÿ˜‰

http://members.efn.org/~valdas/maironis.html

Cheers to all of those wonderful grandmothers and grandfathers that are out there for you!

Yours truly,

Vaiva K.

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How: I guess I am one of those people who run and rush so that they feel they live. I run from home to the gym, then back, and to work , then to lunch, then to the meetings, then back to work, then to dinner with my family, then to see my friends, then home, then the cleaning up, then to bed… (more…)

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Day Dreaming

Why: I am very inspired after what happened to me few weeks ago. I was at a restaurant during my lunch hour somewhere in the old town.ย  I ordered something from the Menu of The Day and then I noticed it. A women. She was constantly looking at me. I stirred some sugar in my coffee and as then I looked up – she quickly turned away. I thought she may be someone from the office or an old friend or a relative that I cannot recognize. Ten minutes in it, this got to an annoying point. But generally, I am kinda shy, so I tried to focus on my lunch which, very unfortunately, I was eating alone.

(please don’t mind my eye expression – a photo shoot was almost an impossible mission that day: strong wind and direct intense sunlight left me half-blind and ruined my hairdo, but I don’t mind ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Later I couldnt’ stand it so I decided to provoke the situation and started to stare back. She noticed and laughed. I was puzzled but I smiled. Soon she was leaving. With a smile she walked over to me and said: “I am sorry if I disturbed you with my staring, I didn’t mean to offend you. I just sat there watching you and I just gotta say how much I admire the jacket that you are wearing!”

What:

Shirt: ellie louise.

Sweater: Sutherland style.

Jacket: Promiss.

Skirt: Mici.

Tights: Merilyn STELLA.

Shoes: Zazza.

Earings: e-store http://www.eleja.lt

Ring: e-store http://www.eleja.lt

OMG Item: ” Jacket. It’s not A jacket – it’s The jacket! ๐Ÿ™‚ Not only for the compliment from a complete stranger that made my day. Proud as I am – it is from a thrift store! It’s composition includes 40% wool which makes the jacket not only an admirable wardrobe piece but also a warmth source in fall. The fur around the neckline is fake , but it is super soft and well made so the hair is not falling out or anything like what I’ve seen of badly made fake fur. It is detachable so when you need, you can dress the jacket down by taking the collar off. And I love the creamy caramel colour .”

Where: The shore of the river Nฤ—ris, Vilnius, Lithuania

I was wearing the jacket for only the third time and I was very flattered about such compliment even if the starring did make me nervous ๐Ÿ˜€ This was really a big encouragement for me to research more about the thrift stores. As I myself have very few friends that would go there. Some things are unspoken but I get a feeling that sometimes people are afraid to be judged as poor if they get spotted in a second-hand shop. Why would you? It’s recycling and that is always in fashion! ๐Ÿ˜€

I sometimes see my girlfriends shopping: some of them have a large sum of money that they can spend on shopping but they still look like expensive worn-out dolls because there is no heart in it, no secret, no intrigue, no style. In contrast, I know girls shopping on a tiny budget but they look like they came down right off the catwalk: their clothing expresses their character, tells a story, brings a certain mood, has an artistic touch.

However, we do not want to come out of a thrift store looking like wearing old clothes. That’s why I recommend to mix and match: the cheap with the expensive. My jacket may cost just 10 euros, but my skirt from a French boutique was 100 euros. This way, I can have something interesting together with something fancy and in the result – I have an outfit for the moments to remember.

When: October 30, 2011

I do not have a problem with shopping at second-hand stores. Sometimes people have no idea what kind of treasures you can spot in those stores! I have seen other thrift store lovers put up blogs where they show off their treasures such as Chanel bags, LV scarves, labeled wallets and other. It doesn’t happen to me to see such things where I live, but there are special thrift stores-boutiques where the items are very interesting, well made, fashionable and labelled. At such you find something worth to fall in love with, like my jacket ๐Ÿ˜‰

How: Some friends of mind said that they do not like thrift stores because the clothing there has a very specific smell. That is not true if you go to a boutique-like thrift stores. And even there – you have to carefully clean and wash (!) every item before you wear it . Not because the things are dirty, but because it was disinfected by using very strong chemicals that irritates your immune system when has contact to the skin or when breathed in.

Also, it’s a wrong impression about where do things come from. It’s not like you are buying what a garbage collector just took off. Those are pieces that people got bored with or are in a process or renewing their wardrobe. How else there could be Chanel, LV, Versace items in a second-hand shop??

Who: photographs taken by Dovydas Toleikis

A clothing exchange is sometimes a better alternative for those of you who really feel they would like to know about the owners of the things that they buy.ย  So when a wardrobe exchange event happens you can meet the people who bring their items, hear a story about where does it come from, why the person wants to trade it to something else.

Sometimes the clothing trades are under particular theme: as for egample “All In White”, “All that glitters”, “Foreign Purchase” and so on. So according to the theme, you know what to bring and what to expect. If there aren’t such trades in where live – you could organize it in your neigbourhood or at your house among your female friends and relatives – a clothing trade party for example!

And that way you can trade your unworn clothing for something else, something “new”, something unique and priceless. Have fun creating your story ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yours truly,

Vaiva K.

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