Sunday, June 13, 2010

Who the heck are you?

So I've been writing this blog for a few months now but I just realized anyone who reads it probably doesn't have much of a sense for who I am. To be honest, I never intended this blog to even become personal. I already write a more personal blog so I thought this one could be used more for shop updates or vintage living in Berlin tips, that sort of thing. But I can't help it; I always get personal. The personal is just what most interests me....To anyone else out there who also likes to know what goes on behind the curtain, I give you this little post with these six little questions. Here goes:

Who are you, anyway?
Geez. Start with the general, philosphical question why don't you? Hmm...Who am I? I am the second daughter of four children (one older sister, two younger brothers.) I am an American who has lived in Berlin for over ten years and plans to stay. I am a person who believes in change and that everything always stays in motion und das ist gut so. I am an Aquarius with Capricorn moon and Virgo rising (oh, give me a break...I'm from California. ;), I am the mother of two young red-headed daughters though no one knows where the red hair came from.

Where are you from?
Like I said, I grew up mainly in California, in the San Francisco Bay Area (East Bay hardcore!) I was born in Sacramento where I lived in an urban Jesus freak hippie commune until I was 2 (go 1970s!!) when we moved to Tucson, Arizona. I lived in Tucson until I was ten and will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Sonoran desert. I lived in the Bay Area for fifteen years, where I also studied music at Mills College. When I was 25 I left for Berlin, supposedly supposedly for only one year. I lived all over the neighborhood of Neukölln, an area that has a pretty bad reputation because it's pretty gritty (though nothing compared to American standards) but I always liked it because it is diverse and has great, cheap apartments and is very close to cooler neighborhoods. Once I had kids I moved to Kreuzberg 61, a neighborhood that is similar to Noe Valley in San Francisco and Park Slope in Brooklyn in that it is still urban but also child friendly and slightly more affluent (though Kreuzberg 61 is no where near as expensive as those neighborhoods because Berlin is still an incredibly affordable city.) My husband and I plan to stay here because we are city people and, slowly, so are our kids. And yes, in case you're wondering, he is German.

How long have you worn vintage?
Since high school, though then I wouldn't have called it "vintage" I would have just said I liked shopping at thrift stores. Still, two of my favorite dresses were what I now know to be a light blue vintage 1950s shirtwaist dress and an amazing vintage 1940s black velvet dress with a white collar and cuffs. I wish I still had both of them but then again I was a size 8 in high school and now; well, let's just say I am no longer a size 8....Although I will occasionally buy a skirt or blouse at H&M, for the most part all of what I have worn for the past ten years has come from a flea market or thrift stores. When I go back "home" to California, one of the first things I always do is go on a shopping spree at the flagship Goodwill store of Mission and South Van Ness in San Francisco, no doubt one of the best thrift stores in the world. I also go to several others around the City (as people in the Bay Area call San Francisco) until my two suitcases are monster full. As my sister says, "People come from all over the world to see the gorgeous sites of San Francisco and when you are here all you want to do is go to scummy, scummy thrift stores."

Why have you decided to sell vintage?
I've always loved (and been good at) finding things. When I was a child, it was arrow heads and pottery shards in the desert and now it's vintage clothing. I've found several amazing locations here in Berlin for vintage but, like any flea market or thrift store, you have to wade through the piles until you find that golden needle in the hay stack. But this is exactly what I find so wonderful about it. Going on the hunt....And when I do make that amazing find I get so excited. The good news is, now that I have a vintage clothing shop, it doesn't matter whether or not it is my size or style. If it isn't I've just made an amazing find for someone else and both of us go away happy.

Who has influenced your style?
Definitely my grandmother (father's mother.) She was quite the fashionista, with a Jackie Kennedy-esque style. I still have several of her beautiful ballgowns from the 40s, though she was under five feet and a size 4, so they come no where near to fitting me. But she definitely gave me a feel for style and the cut and quality of cloth, something I always have in mind when I go on the hunt. My sister is also an inspiration. Her style is more classic and designer minded than mine (I like it playful and colorful with a touch of sexy for the most part), but good clothes and good vintage is something we both care about. As far as "vintage" ladies whose style I admire, I guess the top of the list would be Kim Novak, Sophia Loren and Julie London.

Anything else?
I am a trained classical singer, but these days I'm more into singing jazz and Brazilian songs. I also write, mainly short stories though I do have some ideas for a novel I would like to start on now that my youngest daughter has started pre-school. I love animals and couldn't imagine not having any pets. I had practically every pet imaginable when I was growing up (let's just say I never had a tarantula, though I did want one...), but now my California family is pretty much just big into dogs. I like both dogs and cats (though which I like better tends to change by my mood) but I hate litter boxes and wouldn't want to have to take a dog for walk six times a day (at least) like you have to do in a city. Since I've been in Berlin I've had 5 rats (yes, rats. They make great pets), 3 parakeets and two Senegal parrots. Right now I only have the two parakeets, which require only a little more care than a goldfish. Unfortunately, my husband is not really an animal person, but I'm trying to talk my brother-in-law into getting a dog. ;)

Ok, that's it. What are your answers to the questions? I would love to hear them. :)


  1. a friend has rats as pets, also. her son raises/breeds spiders--he has *quite* a few! thanks for the intro:)

  2. I am a fan of "get to know me" posts and I enjoy blogs that give me a sense of the person behind them! So I love this. I feel like we grew up in parallel universes. I spent my formative years out west (Colorado), where I was also a collector/junior archaeologist--yes, searching for arrowheads, and collecting rocks and beer cans. I have also been living in a place for the last 10 years that I never expected to end up in--although it's far less exotic than Berlin!

    I love the photo of you with your gloves! And love your blog, too.

  3. Thanks! Glad to know that someone else knows what great pets rats are. My dad had them as a child and my first pet of my very own was a rat called Ratty (I was in the 4th grade.) Karen, I also had a big rock collection, but I never did collect beer cans. Cool that there is someone out there who was living in a parallel universe. :)