Tuesday, May 31, 2016

11 Tips for Urban Dog Walking Etiquette

Rover.com connects pet parents with the nation’s largest network of loving and trustworthy dog-walkers and sitters. I was recently inspired by them to do a post on dog-walking etiquette.  Initially I was reluctant to do so, because as cute as my babies are their walking behavior is not always picture perfect, my fault Im sure.

However, I do go on a lot of dog walks, and living in the city as I do, they are mostly urban dog walks.  I've owned dogs for 15 years and in that time I've seen plenty of dog walking mistakes, and made a few myself I'm sure.  Here are my ten tips for urban dog walking ettiquette, though I think they'd work in the country too.

1) Use a Leash at All Times:

This might be controversial for some,  but for me it really is a must.  None of my dogs particularly like being approached by off leash dogs, and one, Bob the bulldog, might bite a strange dog that approached him.  I have had countless incidents when an off leash dog bounded up to us on a walk.  Thankfully I've always been able to prevent any major scuffles but there have been times when it was close.  

2) Don't use an extension leash (except in specific circumstances):

The beach is one place I think an extension leash is appropriate though I'm not using one here.

After no leash at all, extension leashes are my number one pet peeve.   I think they have a purpose, on beaches or in wide open areas or when you are training for recall.  However,  I have seen them used on crowded city streets and at least once at a packed street fair.   In such situations an extension leash is a bad, or worse, then no leash at all.

3) If You Don't Use A Leash Have Perfect Recall:

I get that there are dogs that need off leash running time.  I can also see where it is appropriate, even in urban areas, I've participated in the early morning off leash time in Prospect Park in Brooklyn once, I would have done it more often but we live in Jersey and its just too far.  However, to participate I think your dog needs to have excellent recall, or be the type to stay right by your side at all times.  Ping for instance has an invisible leash that keeps her glued to me or my husband wherever we are.

4) Ask Before You Pet

This very polite boy asked before petting Ping.  

Another problem I have is with people approaching my dogs,I get it, I have a lot of them and they are cute, without asking first. While four of my dogs are friendly and comfortable with greetings.  Bob is not.  There have been times when without asking people have come up to Bob to pet him without asking.  Not OK.

5) Clean Up-This should be obvious yet its a major problem in my current neighborhood.  It's infuriating!

6) Stay Alert for Food Scraps/Chicken Bones-This is a big problem where I live now.  I've had to pull many a chicken bone out of a doggie mouth.  I  have trained them in leave it, but they aren't 100% and we live in a chicken scrap land mine.  So I keep my eyes open and start to distract before we approach the desired object.  Its also a great idea to bring treats along so you can reward good behavior.

7) Consider Carrying Your Small Dog In Very Crowded Situations:
This Picture was taken on a day we were going to a street fair with Ping.  We carried her most of the time.

  I love taking my dogs everywhere, its one of the reasons I have smaller dogs since its easier to bring them places in the city.  However, I've noticed with my smallest guy Mr. Tuvok, that while he is friendly and social and loves accompanying us he can get a little overwhelmed in vert crowded situations, like street fairs.  Plus he is so small that pedestrians at a packed event might not see him and cold step on him.  I always pick him up in very crowded places, and yes I know some people dissaprove of carrying small dogs but  I think their portability is one of their best features.

8) Consider Your Dogs Age and Physical Condition:
Ping and Tuvok riding in their stroller at the NYC  2016 Easter Parade

I have three young dogs and two seniors.   They have very different staminas. I do sometimes walk all of them together, but when I do so its a short walk and I let the seniors set the speed.  If I want to go on a marathon hike I take the youngsters.  We also have a stroller that we use in certain situations where the walk is long or the event is crowded.

9) Please, please, please, Don't Let Your Dog Chase or Annoy Stray Cats

This is the dog walking mistake that I've seen that most infuriates me.  On at least five  occasions I have witnessed dog owners encouraging their dog to chase, bark at, and terrorize stray cats in our local park or neighborhood.  As a cat lover it infuriates me, and its unsafe for all parties involved.  If you don't like cats fine, though personally I think theres something wrong with you, but theres no excuse for bothering them.   

10) and 11)  Don't Be Afraid to Dress Up For Walks (If Thats Your Thing) and Take Pictures of Your Dogs on Walks You'll Want the Memories.

This picture was taken about three years ago when I was first getting really into vintage dressing.  I miss my Norbert and Tubby so much and its great to have these pictures from our walks together.  

Granted this piece of advice is for me only.   I love my vintage style and I always wear it and dog walks are no exception.  I certainly make sure to wear comfortable shoes, but I regularly walk my dogs in dresses and hats.   It certainly doesn't make the walk any harder and it makes me happy.  Granted on evening walks I'm often in my pajamas with my hair in curlers.  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Here Chicken, Chicken-A Vintage Outfit Post (Perhaps My Favorite Ever)

Obviously clothes are important to me.   I consider dressing in vintage style my hobby, and I often spend a lot of time planning out outfits.   However, sometimes my favorite outfits come together by chance, which is the case with the  outfit I'm wearing here.  

I purchased the dress, a cheery chicken print 1950s style dress from Hey Day vintage, thinking it would make excellent spring and summer wear.   The jacket is a 1950s western style wool number that I was planning to save until the fall.  Then I realized the jacket's color way was a perfect compliment for the  chicken dress and with our chilly spring weather, I put them together and I absolutely adore the result.

Inspired by these charming land girls I added a 1940s style head wrap

and a luxulite novelty chicken brooch:

(Note the pug and cat hairs, an essential touch to any outfit in my opinion.)

I like the effect even better with the jacket unzipped.  So you can see more of the dress.  

These Judy dresses are so much fun.  They are based on a 1950s patter and just pull over the head and tie at the waist,  super easy and comfortable to wear.   I have the penny arcade version too.

This whole outfit sort of represents the apex of vintage dressing for me.  It's without a doubt a vintage look, and totally unique, but its every bit as comfortable and casual as modern clothing.  In fact I find this more comfortable then modern clothes.  I never feel like myself in modern outfits and I find many of them restrictive.    This is the perfect thing to wear for a walk in the park with the dogs, which is wear I wore it on Sunday.  

They've built a  nature trail in the park near our house and we checked it out.  It's small but nice.

I love how Mr. Tuvok is leaping up in this picture.  

A happy dog on a simple happy day!

Outfit Details

Chicken Print Dress-Hey Day Vintage
1950s Western Jacket-Lucky Dry Goods
1940s Head Wrap-Arthelia's Attic
Novelty Chicken Brooch Luxulite
1940s Style Canvas Wedges-Remix Vintage Shoes

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Vintage Tea Party Recipes

I'm not quite sure why but every spring I get the urge to make tea party food.

Finger sandwiches, cream scones, cake, deviled eggs etc.  All foods with a distinctly retro feel to them, and all easy to make.   In just a few hours you can easily assemble a tea party feat that will make you feel as if you stepped back in time.

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Softened cream cheese, about 3-4 ounces
whole grain or whole wheat bread with the crust cut off, about one loaf
1/2 seedless cucumber sliced very thin with a mandolin slicer (I just got one ad it makes such a difference)
salt and pepper

Spread the cream cheese on one half of the bread.   Top with a few paper think slices of cucumber season with salt and pepper.  Cut into triangles or squares.

Radish Tea Sandwiches with Lemon butter

High quality unsalted butter, very soft
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
4-5 radishes sliced paper thin with a mandolin slicer
white bread with the crust cut off, about one loaf

Mash the soft butter together with the lemon zest and juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Spread the lemon butter on 1/2 half of the bread and top with the radish slices.  Cut into triangles or squares.

Cream Scones from Tea and Sympathy

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 375 .  Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Pour in the cream and mix with a fork until it just comes together.  DO NOT OVERMIX! Dump onto a floured surface and pat out with your hands until about an inch thick.  Cut out circles with a biscuit cutter and place on a parchment lined sheet.   Bake 12 minutes rotating at the half way point.  Serve with raspberry jam and clotted cream.  You really need clotted cream for these.   Some gourmet grocers in the US have it or you can buy it online. These are really only good the day they are made.

Deviled Eggs 

I use a different recipe every year.  This year I tried this one.

Victoria Sandwich from Tea and Sympathy (This is the ultimate tea party cake)

2 sticks unsalted butter, very soft
1 cup sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

1 stick butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract 
2 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
1 -2 tbsp milk

Raspberry jam (the best you can find)

Preheat the oven to 350.
Cream the butter and sugar in the electric mixer until very light and fluffy.  Beat the eggs in one and a time, scraping down after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.  Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in with a spatula.  Mix until smooth.

Divide between two 8 inch cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes until a tester comes out clean.  Cool on a rack before frosting.

Buttercream Frosting
Beat the soft butter and confectioners sugar together until fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add enough milk to achieve a good spreading consistency.

Place one cake on the cake stand and spread the top with all of the buttercream frosting.  Spread on a nice layer of raspberry jam.  Top with the other cake slice.  Sift confectioners sugar on top.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Vintage Outfit Post-1940s Casual and This Year's First Trip to Demarest Farms

Warm weather is finally here and if your like me then warm weather means more time outside with dogs, as exemplifed by this lovely young lady and her canine companion,

 and such times call for casual clothing.   Thankfully there are plenty of casual vintage looks from a wide range of eras to choose from.   Last week for my first Spring trip to one of my favorite destinations, Demarest Farms, I put together a 1940s inspired look that I really like.  

The blouse is from the Black Pinafore, and is an exact copy of a standard casual 1940s blouse and the sort of shirt that makes an excellent warm weather wardrobe staple.  


I paired the blouse with my Freddies of Pinewood Clam Diggers and some remix sandals.  Strictly speaking these are 50s style pants, but I think they can go 40s too. The image on the right is from the late 40s and the stylish women in it is definitely showing how to do casual cropped pants the right way. The pants are super comfy, and have a nice high waist that works well with vintage blouse styles (all vintage blouses are very short by modern standards).


For accessories  I added my knit turban from Arthelia's Attic, maybe the biggest, most out there hat, in my collection and a luxulite cherry brooch.

I also carried my 1940s coconut purse and of course I loaded on the bakelite:

The finished outfit is just the sort of thing I want to wear for casual warm weather outings.   

Demarest Farms is about a 35 minute drive from our home, but well worth it.  Its very dog friendly and on early weekend mornings, we arrived at 8, not too packed.  We didn't bring Bob because he can be a bit unpredictable in crowded settings, and sometimes Demarest farms is packed, it was getting crowded  when we left.

You can pick fruit at the farm and in the fall they have a pumpkin patch. They also sell flowers.   Dogs aren't allowed in the orchard or store, but they are allowed at all the outdoor tables.

We even saw this little rabbit snacking on grass.  

What I love best about Demarest farms is the apple cider donuts and potato pancakes.  They are freshly made and very delicious.  

We made sure to share them with the dogs and of course we brought one home for Bob.  

I hope to make many more trips to Demarest farm this year.  What are your favorite warm weather destinations?

Vintage Outfit Details

1940s Style Blouse-The Black Pinafore
1940s Style Knit Turban-Arthelia's Attic
1940s Style Cherry Brooch-Luxulite
1950s Style Demim Clam Diggers-Freddies of Pinewood
1940s Style Sandals-Remix

Friday, May 20, 2016

Vintage Outfit Post-A 1940s Suit Inspired by Bringing up Baby

Last week in honor of Katherine Hepburn's birthday I did a cinema spotlight post on my favorite film of hers, 1938's screwball comedy classic Bringing Up Baby .  This film is particularly special to me since my husband and I named the first pet we got together, our now 15 year old cat Baby, after the film's titular leopard .

I also love the style in the film as exemplified by the sporty elegance of the great Katherine Hepburn.  

Now obviously if you read this blog you know that I have a LOT of clothes, but I'm  primarily a dress wearer and I really don't have many pants, and I don't have any suits.  So I decided a few months ago that a pant suit would be a good addition to my vintage wardrobe.  

I knew I wanted a 1940s pant suit, since I think that is the ultimate era for suits and pants in general,

 and I knew I wanted to take inspiration from Katherine Hepburn, the decades consumate  pants wearer.  She made the her signature look decades before most women wore them regularly.

I was particularly inspired by this gorgeous pant suit from 1940's The Philadelphia Story (another Hepburn/Grant film with flawless fashion).

I  love the wide collar and belt on this suit. 

  I started to talk to my friend Kim, a vintage repro clothing maker formerly of Time Machine Vintage on Etsy, and now selling her wares through the 1930s and 40s marketplace on facebook, about a suit based on this look.  I wanted it to reference my favorite Hepburn film, Brining Up Baby, so I asked her to make the wide collar in a leopard print, instead of stark white in Hepburn's version.  I think Hepburn's suit might have been a pale grey but  I asked for mine to be powder blue, since I thought that would be springy and compliment the leopard.

Now I have a completely different body type then Hepburn, to say the least.  She was long and lean, and I'm short and not lean, but Kim got the fit on the suit just right and the finished look is perfect.

I particularly love the collar, the leopard print is just right, and I adore the belt.

I decided to mix eras in my look and I  paired the 1940s style suit with a 1960s leopard tam hat, 1960s style gold tone hoop earrings,  a 1950s or 60s novelty purse,remix 1940s style sandals, and some bakelite bangles.

I don't have the sort of job that requires suits for work, thank goodness!, but I do think this would be a perfect work suit.  It's vintage without being too "out there."  It's a great outfit for any time you want to be a bit dressy but still wear pants. 

I'm very glad I added this piece to my wardrobe and decided to branch out from my usual dresses into the wide world of pants.  

Hepburn had it right!

Outfit Details

1940s Style Suit-Kim Clark the 1930s and 40s Market Place (you have to ask to join)

1960s Leopard Tam-The Little Grass Hut
Bakelite Bangles-Brighter Bakelite
1940s Style Sandals-Remix Vintage Shoes
1960s Style Gold Tone Hoops-Mrs. Polly's Lucite
1950s or 60s Novelty Purse-Vintessential Goods

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