Books and Adventures: Astor Place Vintage

My Book Adventure led me to Red Light Vintage and Costume in the U District of Seattle.

I was on the hunt for a fun read at my local public library and discovered Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann, which follows my preferred style of past and present stories weaved together with bits of history here and there.

The book:

The story includes Olivia Westcott, who recently moved to New York in 1907, and Amanda Rosenbloom, a vintage clothing store owner closer to present day, also in New York. When Amanda discovers an old trunk of clothing and Olivia’s journal, Amanda learns more about the history of the city she calls home, and learns the two are connected despite being a century apart.

Lehmann’s historical fiction story is perfect for lovers of PBS’ Mr. Selfridge. It explores the world of women trying to make an independent living for themselves while being frowned upon by society.

The adventure:

My husband and I travel often to the University District in Seattle for University of Washington football games. For the last few years we have walked past Red Light Vintage and Costume, but never had an interest to peek inside.

Recently, the window display (again, reminding me of Mr. Selfridge) caught our eyes because of the vintage UW attire. Red Light’s clothing spans decades and includes everything from vintage and retro attire to costume pieces. Red Light has been around since 1996 and is a locally-owned small business. Fun fact: it’s a location included in Macklemore’s Thrift Shop video.

My flapper-style hat found at Red Light.

We had limited time during our visit but luckily during the rush I spotted a 1920s-era flapper-style hat (think Louise Brooks). At just $12 and a Nordstrom tag, I couldn’t say no. The purchase was also inspired by the book I’m currently reading, but more on that later.

Now, what to wear this to?


What I’m Reading Wednesday

I’m finding it difficult to keep to my weekly blog deadline. I’m reading fast enough, but during a busy season of life, it can be difficult to find time to sit at my computer.

Rather than trying to maintain my weekly reading schedule (because I know you all are just dying to see what book I’m into), I will begin to combine several books into one post. So for those of you who are always looking for my recommendations (Hi Brooke!), this will help give you a few books at a time.

To catch up, I have some great news! We’re now five months into 2015 and I have $0 in library fines! I can hardly believe it! Speaking of which, these next two books are due on Thursday…

GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi

GI-BRIDES-COVER-JPEGI love a good WWII love story, especially of the non-fiction variety. Inspired by her own grandmother’s experience as a GI bride from England, Calvi and Barrett traveled the states to interview more than 60 surviving brides. The authors chose to feature four brides that displayed the most perseverance and growth from adversity, including Calvi’s grandmother.

The English women fell in love with dashing men in uniform during a time of war. It’s naive to believe the romantic story continues on after the war and the new brides travel across the pond to their husbands’ country. They discover their handsome service man is a gambler, womanizer, boozer, or just not who they fell in love with.

But these women traveled thousands of miles away from their families, great tea and comfort of their own country for the idea of love. And one way or another they find it.

Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway

22571664Dilloway became one of my favorite authors after I read How to Be an American Housewife in a weekend. Her debut novel was inspired by her own Japanese grandmother, which in turn made me think of my ‘Bachan (who was also a GI bride from Japan).

Sisters is Dilloway’s third novel and weaves the present day relationship of two sisters and their family with a samurai story from twelfth-century Japan. There are many historical details of the samurai era included but this is a work of fiction.

But enough about me. What are you all reading this month? I’ll be back in June for another update!

What I’m Reading Wednesday


I was surprised with an early Christmas gift (thanks Dad!) in Sarah Jio’s latest release, “Morning Glory.”

After I read Jio’s first novel “The Violets in March,” the Seattle author quickly became one of my favorites. Her latest novel is book No. 5 for her, and in true Jio style, you really have to have a free day once you start reading, because you’re not going to want to put the book down.

Jio rented out a houseboat on Lake Union for four months to research and write “Morning Glory.” As soon as I finished the book I Googled availability and prices of houseboat rentals for a weekend getaway this summer.

Jio continues her familiar formula of a love story told in two time eras with a side of mystery. In “Morning Glory” the story flips between 1959 and more present day on the same floating home. Ada is running away from tragedy and finds a new beginning and solace in the houseboat rental, but when she learns of the disappearance of Penny, a woman who lived in the houseboat nearly 50 years prior, she sets out to find out what happened.

Along the way, Ada finds personal healing and spiritual growth with a neighbor on the floating community.

I always enjoy reading about local sites, and what makes this book unique is that those sites are pre-Seattle World’s Fair in 1962.

I always recommend Jio’s novels for book clubs and readers looking for something new to discover, and “Morning Glory” is no exception.

Jio already has her sixth novel under works — “Goodnight June” — inspired by the author of the classic children’s book “Goodnight Moon,” Margaret Wise Brown. Release date is June 2014.