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Thursday, December 14, 2017

thanking my elders (yeah, you'll want to read this)

Most of my readers here are old enough to be my mother.
I'm 32 years old.
How did this come to be?

A few years ago I started following the "over 40 blogger" crowd because I was so bored with the hipster millennial moms who only talked about cloth diapering a coconut oil.  I'm not quite sure how I came across my first "over 40" blogger, but I remember is was Krista with Peetee's Palace(?). Surely you remember her? She's was an adorable little woman with hot pink hair who dressed mostly in fun pink clothes and awesome leggings. I don't think she's blogging anymore so I'm not sure what she's up to - but I'll willing to guess she still has the hot pink hair, or least I hope she still does! (She made my awesome pink and orange necklace by the way!)

When I saw Krista (in her early to mid 40s I think) I was absolutely CONFUSED.
"She has pink hair! She's in her 40s with PINK hair!"
I had never seen anything like it.
I wondered, "A grown woman with pink hair?! Is that even allowed?!?!"
Not only did she have pink hair but she was wearing a vintage dress.

At that time where I live, vintage clothing was a trend for the hippest of hip teens and cool cats in their 20s. Older people didn't wear vintage and they despised it! I thought there was some kind of law somewhere that stated, "Thou shalt not wear vintage over 30" because that just wasn't a thing.

Anyway, I was so intrigued that I looked for other older bloggers through the comments on Krista's blog and started seeing what they were about. My brain almost exploded!

"Look at all these women wearing vintage and hand-sewn stuff and red lipstick and bracelets up to their elbows!!"
I honestly didn't know you could do that past 25!

Another blogger I came across was Vix.
Vix's tribal jewelry fascinated me the most. "I have jewelry like that," I thought. "But I only wear it when I'm in costume. You mean I'm allowed to wear it any time I want?" Vix has long black hair and wears bold psychedelic vintage dresses and I can honestly say that there is NO ONE where I live like that. Not even a young person, so I was blown away.

Then came other eccentric bloggers: Helga VonTrollop, Desiree of Pull Your Socks Up (I don't think either one of them are blogging any more),  Mel with Bag and Beret and most recently Suzanne Carillo.  There are SO many others so if I left you out please don't be offended. If I'm following your blog or following you on Instagram, then you're one of them too!!!

All of that to say that every last one of you has inspired me SO much and that if I hadn't discovered your blogs, I never would have gained the courage to be myself again. I used to not care when I was younger and it wasn't that long ago! I was weird and didn't care to change but I wanted to be seen as an adult so badly. At 26 I was already preparing to settle into a nice pair of mom-jeans and a tee shirt because that's what I thought I was supposed to do in order to be a respectable adult. 

2006, me in my favorite outfit, a vintage Army medic's dress jacket and jeans.

2009, in vintage jacket and fallen pompadour.

I had been restricting myself so much that I began to have anxieties about wearing simple things like  over-sized sunglasses and big chunky necklaces. "OMG, people will stare!" 
I was so worried about what people would think of me but when I finally started wearing what I wanted to wear again, I was only met with praise and compliments. 
Now I get offended if people DON'T stare.

"Um, excuse me, sir. Are you really going to act like you don't notice my new handmade earrings? Psh. Rude." 

And people do stare. In this town, I'm as eccentric as they come (yeah, boring town), so it's gonna happen. Some stare a little too long and it makes me sliiiiightly uncomfortable but I understand that sometimes there's a lot to take in. All my fake hair and patterns and jewelry take a few seconds to process so I totally get it so it doesn't bother me much. 

Now I'm being approached by older women who say they wish they could dress like me or that they wish they had the confidence to dress like me. That actually makes me very sad. I try to tell them that it's never too late to dress the way they want and I tell them about all the bloggers I follow but they shake their heads and say, "It's too late for me".

I want you all to know that you've given me hope and you've helped me realize that aging is what you make it. There are no laws stating that you can't wear certain things after 30 or 40... just fashion magazines that like to tell you how to dress. 
Their words aren't law and neither are the opinions of others.

I'm not afraid to be myself anymore.
I feel as free and as carefree as the teenaged me who used to wear my grandmother's dresses with glitter painted sneakers and feather boas to school.
 But I also think that naturally, the older I get, the less I care about what other people think of me in general. They're not paying my bills, raising my kids or cooking my dinner so poopoo on what they think.

You ladies blog to help inspire other women your age, but never forget that this little girl has been looking up to you cool big kids for years now. I'm inspired and encouraged to embrace aging by staying true to myself. 

I say, thank you. 
Thank you all for saving me from someday reaching mid-life, looking back and saying,
 "It's too late for me".


Bonus pics of my kids!
In the photos above, I'm wearing a vest thingy I made myself from a shawl I wasn't too crazy about. I folded it in half, cut the front part open, sewed the sides closed and hemmed the edges. It wasn't my intentions to dress us all in neutrals with pops of color but that's what happened!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

fresh air and crunchy stuff

I proposed that we go camping for Thanksgiving.
I regret nothing.
I regret some things.

I regret a lot.


My husband and I alternate holidays with each other's families. This year was the year to spend with his parents. Since many family members couldn't make it from up North, I proposed the idea of camping instead so we wouldn't spend the holiday sitting around sulking because all the fun people are missing.

The husband's parents are hardcore campers and my husband loves camping, I've only camped once and the kid's have never camped before so everyone was on board.

The park was already dull brown and dry - we were too late to see the fantastic Arkansas mountain foliage. Curses! 
But with it being Thanksgiving weekend, the park was super quiet with only a handful of other campers. We had plenty of space to roam about undisturbed. It felt like the park belonged to us. 

We set up across a path from the in-laws who were set up right at the top of a hill that overlooked a crystal clear river. The river looked so dang clean and inviting, I wanted to splash around in it but that wouldn't have been a very wise idea as the water was probably at about 40F. Still, the urge was SO dang hard to resist! No mosquitoes, no snakes, no weird swimming creatures. Just a clean stream of cloud juice.

So the regrets?

The boredom.
The soul crushing boredom.
Not just boredom.

Holy smokes. I had no one to talk to and oftentimes nothing to do. I explored, took photos and walked about and enjoyed a little alone time but when I was ready to talk, maybe do a little bonding with the in-laws, no one was interested in jack squat I had to say.

"Do you have something else to do besides talk to me? Oh, you wanna stare at the river in silence for a few more hours. Sorry, for disturbing you."

I was more baffled than hurt that no one wanted to talk to me. My kids had plenty to do rolling around in leaves and throwing rocks into the river so they were good to go. My husband, brother in-law and father-in-law kept to themselves talking theology and man stuff.... My mother-in-law just simply wasn't interested in talking to me. No rudeness about it. No tension. Just not interested.

I shrugged it off and tried to keep myself company but the books I brought were awful and there was no phone service and of course no wifi. So I began to mosey about feeling kind of sorry for myself.

3 days and two nights in the wilderness with no one to talk to is pretty dang tough.

But anyways. I survived. 
I'm still here.


Sheesh, it took me ages to finish this post. Uuuuggghhh.
I've picked up a new client, looking for more clients and it's time to start cranking out Christmas posts for the other blog.
Christmas posts = $$$$
$$$$ = Bills paid.
Bills paid = electricity, phone, a home, a car, etc...
You get it.

See you folks laaaaaaaaater.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

but row away from the rocks

I bought this Egyptian dress on Amazon a couple years ago for like $15 because I thought it was a mini-dress. I was little disappointed to find that it was full length and stashed it away thinking maybe I'll just just shorten it myself later but I just couldn't bring myself to chop up a good dress and risk ruining it with my poor sewing skills. I hung it up and completely forgot about it. I rediscovered it and I was certain I had outgrown it since it was pretty snug just two years ago but lo and behold it still fits... eer... thanks to an extremely tight pancreas-compressing body shaper. 

I decided to give the dress a try today since it's very cool and windy outside.
I'm in love. I dig it hard.
 I also have a dress like this in chocolate brown silk with bold metallic silver thread that was given to me a by a guy whose coffee shop I used to visit every day. His mother picked it up on her travels somewhere in the Middle East and never wore it so he gave to someone he knew would appreciate it. Me!!!
It's too tight and the last time I tried it on, I thought I was going to have to cut myself out of it. Plus it has weird 80s-cut puff sleeves so I keep it in my costuming stash to lend out to whoever needs it.

I also have an genuine men's dashiki pants set that is similar to the dress I'm wearing. I intended to wear the top alone as a dress and I even put it on to wear this morning but it's just too dang big. I'd like to figure out a way to taper the waist and flare the bottom of it out into an A-line. 
And by figure it out I mean... take it to a seamstress.
And by take it to a seamstress I mean... sell it on eBay.

Soooo.... how are things going with me?
Meh. Same ol' same ol'. Nothing's really changing or getting better. But on a positive note, it's not getting worse! That's how I see things. I'm never one to say, "Things just can't get any worse" because dadgummit they most definitely can. 
Like, at any moment you could spontaneously burst into flames or your carpet could start suddenly smelling like feet that have been washed with feet in a foot factory. This has been happening to me today so I guess it is getting worse. Seriously I've been on all fours trying to figure out where the foot odor in the house is coming from and it's the living room carpet! Well seasoned with 18 years of bare foot funk. Yikes!
But if that's the extent of my problems for today, I guess I'm doing alright.

 I'm still slowly raising money to open my shop in the mall (◄ info link) but I'm not sure how much longer the manager is going to hold the space for me. He's a super nice guy but I totally understand that time is money.
Either way, I'm going to open the store in the mall even if that means starting off with a kiosk while I wait for another storefront to open. If I get the kiosk after Christmastime the leasing price will go down significantly so it'll be all gravy baby.

After I fulfill this dream, I guess it'll be time for me to pursue my next level dream. My dream 2.0?
My own gothic themed animal-free circus.
Can't you just see it?! 
One step at a time, Hollie. One step at a time.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

This is not a test!!

Guys, guess what.
I'm opening a store.
Yeah, you read right.

Little known fact about me: I've been dreaming of opening a bohemian store for a few years now. Before my kids were born I used to sell ethnic goods and used exotic home decor in a flea market booth. It didn't do well. Not because the stuff wasn't desired but because it wasn't the right place to sell that kind of stuff. The flea market I sold my goods at was mostly frequented by old ladies who mostly just bought ceramic roosters and clothes for their new grandbabies. They were the kind of people who were getting rid of their souvenirs from travels at flea markets so I don't know why I thought they'd want to buy more.

After my kids were born and the renaissance faire was in full swing, I put my dream of having my store on the back burner. I tried to revive it through little online shops, and even had a little booth at the renaissance faire but that didn't come close to what I was wanting to do.

A few weeks ago I made a rare trip to the mall and the idea of opening a kiosk popped into my head. I contacted the manager and it turns it would cost more to open a kiosk than a store and that the only storefront they have available is very affordable and directly across from the new Indian restaurant. It's our first and only Indian restaurant in town so it's getting hella traffic. This shop is in a fantastic location, it's small and will be perfect for me to start with.

I feel very confident about all of this and I feel that this is a very realistic goal to achieve. And I mostly feel really good about it because there is zero competition. There used to be a shop in the mall called Romancing the Stone (Earthbound Trading Company), but that closed last year. People were really bummed out about it including myself. But when Romancing the Stone closed down last year I knew that it was my time to step up - I just didn't know where to start.

Why, yes. Yes I do have some new locs! Cheap and fake, but new!

Remembering people's reaction to Romancing the Stone closing gave me the idea to try to raise money to open my shop through crowdfunding on GoFundMe. I figured if everybody really wanted a Romancing the Stone replacement,  they would be willing to contribute to making it happen.  I'm  taking donations on GoFundMe so that I can start this business completely in the black so that I can start making profit immediately. If you know anything about my personal life then you would know we really need it. 

This isn't just one of Hollie's wacky adventures. I know I'm full of ideas and I chase a lot of of them; but that was mostly me trying to do what I could with what I had to work with while being a stay at home mom. The path to me opening up the store that I've been dreaming of for almost 10 years is extremely clear. My biggest fear is that I'm afraid people aren't going to take me seriously and that I won't get the support that I need to make this happen. Even if I don't have the support, I'll still take out a loan and make this happen. It's got to happen soon before the Christmas season hits so I don't really have a choice but to move and to move fast.

That's my teeny tiny shop up there, 136.

I'm not posting this information to ask for donations, although that would be pretty cool, but if you want to see a sample of my stock and a little bit more about my idea please feel free to visit my GoFundMe page.

Wish me luck!

The inside of the shop, Cedar photobombing.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

I'm still here

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. Yeah, it's me. I'm still around doing stuff and more stuff.
So what have I been up to?
Oh, goodness.
Here's how I'll do this. I'm going to put some nonsensical stuff  (in purple italics) and photos in between the serious stuff to kind of lighten things up.

My aunt (mom's mom) passed away from cancer Sunday night. She had some drug and alcohol problems but she was still a pretty cool person and loved me to pieces for being weird. I wasn't that close to her though. The funeral is Saturday and I already have anxiety. I absolutely hate funerals so much. Dead bodies absolutely freak me out. They look gross and dry and the image of them looking like that absolutely sears itself into my brain. I'm sure it's a phobia. When I get close to a body in a casket, I feel absolutely faint. Even if the casket is closed and I barely know who the person is, I get shaky and light headed. And yes, I even get nervous around empty caskets. Not the plain wooden box types, but those huge metal super cushioned satin-lined things. :Shudders: If that's not textbook phobia stuff then I don't know what is!

I'm wearing sandwiches for shoes right now. The mayonnaise between my toes feels amazing.

What else. The house we're "remodeling" STILL isn't done. Not even close. It's been over a year and all that's been done is some deconstruction and paint. It's perfectly unlivable now so there's no way we can just move in and work as we go.

I built a time machine out of corn flakes and I plan to go back in time, introduce Ivan the Terrible to pepperoni pizza, and come back to the present to see how it has affected history.

Let's see, what other depressing crap has been happening... hmmm... 
The private school we were sending River to proved to be entirely too expensive for us so we had to take him out. Husband is incredibly against public school education (it's a loooong and ridiculous story that I don't care to discuss here) so guess who's back homeschooling.

I'm pretty sure the pumpkin patch behind the house has been wiretapped by the CIA.

Home schooling, stay-at-home-momming, and working. Sigh.
A man may work from sun to sun but a woman's work is never done.
I'm finding out how incredibly true this is and it's kind of pissing me off. Juuuust being honest.

Yeah, yeah. yeah. I know what you're thinking. What's with the vehicles in the background all the dang time.
I take photos in front of my vehicle for many reasons:
  • The neighbor's house behind me is unattractive with broken blinds and weird curtains in the windows.
  • Privacy.
  • Covering up the fact I live in a gross trailer park.
  • Poor lighting inside my home.
  • Messy yard.
  • Hideous overgrown vacant lot to my left and more trailers to my right.

Back when me and Paul McCartney were dating, he told me in confidence that he bit a nun because she wouldn't let him have a bite of her lemon meringue pie.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


On Being a Renaissance Faire Performer + $150 Gift Card GIVEAWAY!! Bohemian home decor. Fabricadabra review. Renaissance faire gypsy. Gypsy camp decor, gypsy inspired decor.

Yeah, this post is literally just the HTML copied and pasted from my other blog.
A company, Fabricadabra, sent me some goodies to review and I used the stuff at the faire last weekend so I'm going to use that review post to share a few faire pics with you all.
Get it? Okie dokie.
AND for being awesome, there is a giveaway entry form for a $150 gift card to Fabricadabra....
You gotta live in the US to enter to win. Sorry!!!
On with the show.
More faire pics coming soon!!!

{This post is crawling with affiliate links}

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being a performer at the 6th Annual Texarkana Renaissance Faire again! Just making sure that you're caught up on all that: I created the Texarkana Renaissance Faire six years ago. Two years ago I realized that I couldn't keep up with the fair anymore. I had just created an online business, I had a blog, a home to manage and two small children. Something had to go! I gave the faire to a friend and faire supporter and who now co-owns it and directs it with another person. The two of them are doing a very good job of continuing the faire for me. Now that I am no longer the owner and director of the fair I am able to do what I've always wanted to do, and that's perform and entertain.

On Being a Renaissance Faire Performer + $150 Gift Card GIVEAWAY!! Bohemian home decor. Fabricadabra review. Renaissance faire gypsy. Gypsy camp decor, gypsy inspired decor.

At the faire, I play a character named Daniella Noir the Gypsy Queen and I am the leader of the gypsy cast members of the faire. As the leader of the Gypsy Camp, my duties includes rounding up dancers and musicians to play gypsies at the faire, decorating the area, coordinating dances and much more. 

The camp consists of many different groups. First there's our musicians, most of whom also play pirates. They come over to visit us from the Pirate's Cove and provide us with live music. When they're not there, we dance and drum along to a hidden stereo or "fairy box" as they're called in the ren faire community.
A have some members of an American Tribal Style Belly Dance troupe from Dallas (Wild Sky Tribal) come down and they have their own dances already choreographed and they also do "follow the leader" style improvisational dances that are absolutely stunning. We have a small crew from Shreveport, LA come down as well; mother and daughter classic belly dancers and a very talented drummer from the the group Gems of Cairo.

The others are local dancers and friends who help me by setting up, drumming, dancing, interacting with patrons and more!

That's a big drum!

Sometimes I dance solo while musicians play and when I get to tired or hot, I trade places with a dancer that is waiting nearby. This year, I tried something new. We did a couple of group dances which are Jewish circle dances, or horas, that we learned on our own from online videos and came together to perform them with very little practice time beforehand! That's us doing the dance in the pic below.

When I'm not dancing I play various percussion instruments including, a darbuka, doumbek, aslatua (gourd shakers), zills and a tambourine. I like to challenge myself to see how many instruments I can play at once since sometimes we're a little shorthanded on musicians. While sitting,  I place a drum under my left arm and keep a simple rhythm with my left hand while playing my shakers with my right. I place a cheap tambourine on the ground and tap it with my foot or use a foot tambourine. It's a great workout!

Renaissance Faire gypsy camp, Texarkana renaissance faire

 My favorite part of heading the gypsy camp is decorating. I get to transform a completely blank area into a vibrant space for the patrons to enjoy. It can be quite difficult to transform a modern fairground into a renaissance themed village, but to me it's quite a fun challenge. 

I like to decorate my area with bright colors and multiple patterns and textures, especially ethnic textiles. I request that my other gypsies dress in the boldest, brightest colors they can find and they do a darn good job of it don't they!

Renaissance Faire gypsies, belly dancers, Texarkana

I decorate the camp with solid colored scarves, scrap fabric and ribbons but my favorite type of material to use is sari fabric from India. I can use the whole length of an old sari to cover modern items that need to be concealed from public view like ice chests and plastic storage bins. I can drape them over the square bales of hay we use as seating to make them more attractive, and also as table cloths and chair covers. The different materials, patterns and colors that saris come in make it so easy to add life to my gypsy camp.

Upcycled sari garland from Fabricadabra

Fabricadabra's amazing sari scrap garlands helped to transform this drab modern pop-up canopy into a luxurious rest area for me and my other dancers. Each garland is a generous 7-feet long, the tassels are 9-inches and they are skillfully handmade in India.

Upcycled sari garland from Fabricadabra

As you can see I use many different items from all over the world to decorate my camp. The character I play travels the world and has picked up a souvenir from everywhere she's been. Even though I order all of my clothing and decor online, it is true that it comes from all over the globe! 

Daniella Noir the Gypsy Queen, Texarkana Renaissance FaireDaniella Noir the Gypsy Queen, Texarkana Renaissance Faire

{Photos above by Scott Johnson Photography}

The maang tika, (jewelry over headscarf), silver necklace and skirt were made in India. My pink vest is from Turkey, the large glass bead necklace and beaded belt are from Afghanistan. The green overskirt, brown leather tankard strap and black leather cincher belt were handmade by local artisans. The bracelets attached to my belt that I give to patrons for free were handmade in Peru and my parasol (which is also from Fabricadabra!) was made in Rajasthan, India!

On Being a Renaissance Faire Performer + $150 Gift Card GIVEAWAY!! Bohemian home decor. Fabricadabra review. Renaissance faire gypsy. Gypsy camp decor, gypsy inspired decor.

Since sunglasses aren't very period appropriate and the sun can heat up all those layers of garb in a heartbeat, parasols are absolutely necessary for faire characters. Now, the cool thing about this particular parasol, is that it adds SO much more color to my costuming and it can also be used as home decor! When I finally get all the faire decor stuff tucked back where it belongs, I will totally display my parasol and upcycled sari garland in my living room until it's time to use them again for next year's faire!

On Being a Renaissance Faire Performer + $150 Gift Card GIVEAWAY!! Bohemian home decor. Fabricadabra review. Renaissance faire gypsy. Gypsy camp decor, gypsy inspired decor.

I've got a special treat for you guys...


Fabricadabra would like to give YOU a $150 gift card to spend in their shop!

Not only does Fabricadabra have amazing parasols and garlands, they have gorgeous ethnic textile throw pillows, bed covering, place mats, floor cushions and more! 

This shop is a bohemian DREAM! 

See the gizmo below to enter to win!
USA entries only!!
Ends 10/20/2017

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