What’s in a Name?

You’ve gotta ask, though, would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? If roses were called . . . feces or stinkers or something, would they still be quite as appealing? I have my doubts.

There are so many names I love, even some that circulate through my family, too. Chloe, Penfield, Charlotte (lottie!), Robert, Beatrix, Evelyn, Zoe, Nicolas, Merry, Henry, Isabelle, Ernest, Oscar, Frederick (Freddie), Tova, Nora, Josephine, Augusta, Lawrence, Della, Irene, Esther, Jack, Lucille/ Lucy, Maude, Emilie, Francis, Dorothy (Dot), Primrose, Rosalind, Pearl, Vera, Genevieve (Vivvy), Ruby, Horatio, Edmund, Calvin, Sidra, Eloise, Eileen, Sylvie, Rebecca, Wesley, Diana . . . you get the idea. BUT, you do have to wonder if it’s the person that makes the name or vice versa. I submit that great names don’t make great people, but that they can’t hurt!

Lets take a look at some snazzy names that went with some equally swanky ladies . . .

Gertrude Millar: An English Actress and Countess

Irene Vanbrugh, Sybil Carlyle and Muriel Beaumont: Three actresses who starred in The Admirable Crichton around the turn of the century.

Clara Bow: The actual original “It Girl” who was pretty much the sex symbol of the roaring twenties.

Myrna Loy: An actress and a dancer and quite a hair artist.

Dorothy Parker:An American poet and a renowned wisecracker.

Tallulah Bankhead rocked her name with her famously husky voice, not to mention her panache on the stage and screen as an actress!

Mary William Ethelbert Appleton “Billie” Burke was one of the first ladies to show me the magic of cotton-candy pink confectionary-like clothing as Glinda the Good Witch.

Maude Mary Hawk Fealy was in her first Broadway show at the age of 3 . . . plus, she was a silent movie starlette!

Daphne Du Maurier was that brilliant author who creeped people out (through Alfred Hitchcock) with her stories, including The Birds and Rebecca.

Evelyn Nesbit Thaw was a chorus girl and a model whose lover treated her as muse UNTIL her jealous husband shot the famous artist/architect atop a roof of a theater in Madison Square Garden in 1906.

These snazzy ladies with their equally snazzy old-fashioned names did some name trail-blazing, if you ask me. Would I want to be any one of them? No, that’s not my point. Do I love their names and their panache? Yes, yes I do.

I do so love old-fashioned names!

What I Love Today:

#1: I want to be cool enough to have made this video first: I’m obsessed! 

#2: I seriously laughed out loud at these salient questions concerning Disney’s Beauty and the Beast


(Seriously, read them.)

#3: While giving me a routine cleaning, my dental hygienist told me “I’m not stalking you, but I drove by your school recently.” She also offered to be on call if I need anything when I get my tonsils out in two weeks. My healthcare professionals are the bomb.




#4: This morning, I learned that Lemmings NEVER actually were in the habit of jumping of cliffs to commit mass suicide – a lie which was, in fact, initiated and perpetuated by none other than Walt Disney! Don’t believe me? Google it.


#5: Today I overheard a student telling another student about me, and they said: “She’s pretty cooky, but she’s not insane!”

Petticoat Mania

Chiffon, Silk, Ruffles, Lace, Tiers



I have a major obsession with petticoats. Perhaps this is not a surprise to some. It’s just that petticoats make every full skirt behave the way it should, you know? There is something inherently feminine and inexplicably satisfying about donning a few layers of lace chiffon and sashaying from Point A to Point B like  Scarlett O’Hara…


Plus, you just stand out from the crowd when you wear one. Example? Look how it seriously transformed my other-wise awkward salmon colored dress:

I know, I know, it’s old fashioned. I get the occasional little old lady telling me that she remembers being forced to wear them as a girl . . . BUT, I also get a lot of people who wish they were fashion-forward (backward?) enough to attempt to wear a petticoat. For some reason people think it takes guts to wear one of these darlings, but the reality is that they’re very empowering, you know? It takes a lot less chutzpah than it takes to wear some of those scandalous get-ups people go clubbing in these days. Yes, I am old-school. I ascribe to the  passé philosophies made popular by the oh-so-gauche stylists of decades past like, oh, you know, Christian Dior? According to St. Wikipedia, the return of the petticoat (following their necessary extinction during World War Two) is thanks to Christian Dior’s “New Look” line, back in in 1947


Who is Edith Head, might you ask? And what would she know about dresses? She happens to be the only lady in American HISTORY to win EIGHT Academy Awards for costume design.



Yeah, Pixar even made a character based off of her in The Incredibles. She’s kind of a big deal. So, don’t take my advice, take Edith’s. Lay off the skin tight, and spruce up a dress here and there by adding a fluffy little petticoat into the fray!

Reasons Why Vintage Men Are Better

1.) They wear bow ties more than your average (non-stripper) twenty-something-year-old.

2.) Old men frequently wear more tweed newsie-style hats than other age groups.

3.) They rock suspenders.

4.) They wore everything now-popular before it got popular, making them . . . dare I say . . . the original hipsters?

5.) Despite societal shifts, they still value chivalry, and can often be spotted opening doors for ladies.

6.) Puns are more common in their joke repertoire than most other age demographics. (This statistic is based solely on anecdotal observations, but I feel confident that it is true, despite any and all efforts on my part to bring puns to the twenties and thirties demographic.)

old pun

7.) Werthers, while generally considered an “old man” candy, are still the ONLY delicious hard candy.

8.) The process of aging has mellowed out the macho and they feel okay with expressing emotions while remaining secure in their masculinity. . . awwww.


9.) Old men remain the only people who can refer to someone as “doll” or complement people by saying “you’re lookin’ very sharp” (Yes, both have happened in my personal experience, and it was not sketchy, douchey or poser-ish.)


10.) Old men often retain the strong values they began with, most particularly perseverance in doing what is right . . . which is (in my humble opinion) a pretty big reason why the most beautiful marriages started so very long ago. . . dedication in love is so very admirable, and so few people still value that perseverance.

love ages beautifully

I’m not saying I’m in love with an old dude or anything, and I know nobody’s perfect, but pas gentlemanly generations certainly just do some things better, don’t you think?

If “Ifs” and “Buts” Were Candy and Nuts . . .

. . . We’d All Have a Hell of a Christmas!

Has anyone else hear that expression? My grandmother used to say this to me when I was a kid and I recently threw it out in a conversation only to find that not a soul knew what on EARTH I was talking about! Suffice it to say, I metaphorically launched my way into a self-discovery epiphany. It turns out I am living a bizarrely anachronistic life. Let me explain.

Lets imagine you find yourself walking down the crowded hallway of Middle School in Anywheresville, USA during dismissal.          (Not your favorite fantasy, maybe, but work with me.)

To you, even if you’re only a few years past it, this is a strange new world. Nauseating amounts of smart phones extend from every hand, you might hear scandalously unfamiliar words like “sexting” bandied about and you would probably find yourself appalled at the get-ups some of these kids have the audacity to call clothing. . . and the scary come-back fads you thought were finally dead. Now as these short little gremlins mill about to the sound of Ke$ha and GaGa leaking out of earbuds and eensy-weensy speakers, lets say you try to strike up a conversation. I promise you, it wouldn’t matter how young and up-to-date you are, if you made a joke you might make with friends, referred to your favorite TV shows or even talked style with any of these kids, you’d be way over their heads in content and the proverbial sound of crickets chirping might just overwhelm you internally. Unless you’re Demi Moore, there is just no surmounting the age gap. THIS, my friends, is being out of your niche. None of your upbringing or life experiences prepared you for this moment and if you draw on any of them, you will only prove that you are woefully out of your depth and you just don’t fit into this scene. . .

(If you are mentally flashing to Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed, Good Job – you’re  getting the picture!)

So now that you know what I mean, take that feeling and apply it to me but with a funky twist. Apparently, based on my upbringing, I am culturally familiar with certain things that went out of the lexicon decades or even CENTURIES ago. Teaching high school has taught me a lot, but it’s thrown into sharp contrast how random my background knowledge is. SO, with only this much ado (since it’s already been a bit of setup) I would like to share with you:

10 Things I Always Thought Were Common Knowledge But Apparently Aren’t.

1.) Every Expression I Use.

The Other day I told someone I was waiting on tenterhooks and they looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. Sadly, this isn’t the first time I’ve had to take quite a lot of time to interpret my English. Apparently the expressions I use are a little dated!

2.) Punch and Judy

I always thought Punch and Judy were part of the common knowledge lexicon. Who hasn’t heard of the little puppets who spend most of their time beating eachother over the head? Apparently, though, Punch and Judy origins are in the early 1400’s! What’s worse, when I finally looked it up, I had been arguing their relevance to this era and I may never live down making a cultural reference that precedes my era by 5 centuries 

3.) “Doing it Yourself”

Last week my roomates watched me wash walls, spackle, sand,  tape off  and paint the livingroom  a lovely green. THey are both capable, wonderful women who handle immense responsibilities on a daily basis . . . but every time they walked through and saw another step of the process they were in awe. After hearing “I could never do something like that!” and “Wow, Ab, You’re so intense!” countless times, I realized that people actually don’t know how easy doing things yourself can be!

4.) How To Follow A Recipe.

If I had a nickel for the number of times I have heard people say “Oh, I can’t cook.”, I would be a wealthy woman. I just don’t understand! Recipes are practically the only necessary savvy. If you can read, you can cook.

5.) Cat’s Cradle 

Okay, I guess I can see how this is a little obscure, but it’s not unheard of, right? I am no cat’s cradle expert, but I can make at least 5 or 6 basic set-ups…

6.) Why and how to wear a Petticoat.



I adore my petticoat and wear it frequently, but get the mickey taken out of me regularly for it. How do you explain to people that some dresses and skirts need a petticoat to look their best?

7.) How to be a Thrift/Secondhand Shopper 



8.) Classic Fairytales

fairy books


Little Red Riding Hood, The 12 Dancing Princesses, Anything from books by Andrew Lang! These stories are the broad base of a whole world of imagination and whenever I spend time with kids I am downright appalled by how little kids know the stories that are the bread and butter of my childhood!

9.) Specific Names

Call me crazy, but apparently I have developed an extensive vocabulary of the random! A few examples which leave people calling me quirky when I talk about them in regular conversation:

Milk Glass

milk glass





Dutch Ovens

dutch oven


Cameo Brooches



10.) Curling Hair with Hot Rollers 



I do it. It works. What’s the big deal? Aren’t there other people that use hot rollers on a daily basis?