Vintage in Portland, Oregon

Planning my trip out to Portland, months in advance, I definitely had surveying vintage shops on the itinerary. Portland has a great variety of shops to hit up and thank goodness, I stopped in the ones that I did. I had so much fun and even brought back a few things for Rare Bird:


Vintage drink stirrers from Portland’s Flamingo Hotel

Some of the shops I visited were appetite shop+studio, SMUT, Pop-up Shoppe, and one of my faves, Lulu’s Vintage:

1. Appetite had a lot of lovely handprinted fabric accessories like pillows, towels, bags, etc., but also vintage industrial/office pieces, home decor and more. I fell in love with the retro clocks, office supplies, desk lamps… I stayed so long just trying to figure out what to buy! Feeling overwhelmed by the awesome choices (and that I was a creepy lingering shopper), I just left empty handed.


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2. SMUT was also a great store, just around the block or so (Burnside Street area). It had so many vintage items to sort through, that I like to call them “smalls”: matchbooks, drink stirrers, pennants (all of these aforementioned, I bought and brought back). They also had lots of 60s/70s/80s kitschy items like board games, Playboy magazines, records and more. One guy found a metal “wood grain” printed picnic basket for his girlfriend’s birthday. The sweet gal behind the counter took it the next level and suggested he put lunch in it. He was super excited about this idea.


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3. Pop-up Shoppe was in the Nob Hill neighborhood/Alphabet District where we were staying. I loved that area. The outside of the store certainly grabbed my attention and the inside was a long corridor of vintage stacked wall to wall, floor to ceiling. It was very bohemian with vintage clothing, accessories, collectibles, and more, from all eras.


Image from Pop-Up Shoppe FB page

4. And lastly, was Lulu’s Vintage in downtown Portland, near the famous Powell’s bookstore. I had the pleasure of meeting the owner Anne and having a quick chat. Her shop is definitely “a clean & colorful boutique with an artful array of Vintage for Men & Women” … also carrying “locally created cards and gift items, Pre de Provence soaps, and Illume candles.” I bought a gorgeous vintage black necklace, some pressed/printed Portland bridges postcards, and an assorted paper ephemera fun pack.


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Anne also has another great and informative website called Shop Vintage Portland, a “map & guide to vintage, retro & antique businesses and events in Portland, Oregon”. This is a great resource, so be sure to use it in your next vintage PAC NW excursion.


Hope y’all enjoyed my vintage tour in Portland! Shop these stores online or visit in person.

It’s been a real treat,

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I Wanna Go Back

With it being summertime, people are planning their highly desired vacations. Mine has already been planned for the West Coast in July, Oregon that it is, since my dear friend is getting married. Hubby and I decided to throw on a couple of days pre-festivities to putz around Portland. But always in the back of my mind, I hope for a chance to arise of going back to Hawaii someday.

I’ve been there three times: once as our first big couple’s vaca (Oahu 2008), then to get engaged unbeknownst to me (Maui 2009), and lastly to get married (Kauai 2010). We have traveled to other big cities, states and even Saint Lucia, but Hawaii has my heart and always will. I don’t know if it’s the people, the laid back feeling, the open sky and vast beautiful ocean, constant sunshine and perfect temps, yummy food & more, but I do know with all of that wrapped into one, I feel at peace. I totally understand how it had a profound effect on artist Basquiat before his untimely death.


Had just arrived in Oahu…

One island I definitely fell in-love with in particular, and it’s the busiest of them all, is Oahu. I hear people complain about it, but I love it. Maybe it’s just the nostalgia of where my then boyfriend, now hubby had our first tropical trip. I do know that I revel in the kitschy, bustling part of the island of Waikiki. I wish it was still like it’s heyday of the 50s-70s with tiki bars, retro hotels and such. There are only a few of those accommodations left and I hope to stay in one next time we go. Please be soon!

So lately, as I was saying before with it being summertime, I have been a pinning madwoman, reflecting on these polynesian memories. There are so many great finds on Pinterest! You will have to check out my board “Aloha Love” to see some of my fave Hawaiian establishments, future places to check out, vintage pics & more. Here are just a few of the great throw-back pics I found:





So maybe just maybe, I will be back in the near future. We’d stay at The Breakers or the Waikiki Circle Beach Hotel… Eat my fave Hawaiian plate lunch, shrimp from a food truck, and shaved ice… Work up the courage to actually surf this time… I could go on and on.

Until then, I’ll just “pin”, plan and daydream.

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Vintage DIY Pretties For Mama

Here is a quick list of DIY Mother’s Day gift ideas with several of the vintage items I will be selling at the Austin Flea this Saturday:


Images from 1. The Beehive Cottage 2. Houzz 3. The Kitschy Kitchen 4. California Pixie

1. I will have a few vintage hankies up for grabs! One thing you could do is stamp “Mom” or “Mother” on it with fabric paint/ink. Here is a great tutorial to help you get started. Also, if you have mad sewing skills, why don’t you take it to the next level and embroider your handkerchief.

2. I have several milk glass vases that would look lovely with your mama’s favorite bouquet. She’ll not only receive the thoughtful flowers, but also a keepsake vase.

3. Bake your mother a sweet treat and present it on one of the many dishes on display. I will have a vintage cake pedestal, cake carrier, plates, platters… If you need inspiration, here are some vintage cake recipes to try out. Furthermore, you could give your dear mama a vintage cakes cookbook to go with her classic serving piece.

4. Sweet little vintage planters are waiting for you to make them whole again. Run on over to the local hardware store or nursery and fill up your decorative container with succulents. Here are some tips on how to plant and care for them.

There will be more pretties for your mama and just about everything else for everyone’s taste, so come on out and shop vintage with Rare Bird Boutique. There will be tons of other local vendors selling handmade and vintage too! Check here for tomorrow’s show info.

Buy local. Buy handmade.

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Visit Me at The Flea!


Rare Bird Boutique will be at this weekend’s Austin Flea. It’s FREE and open to all ages! I will be on the upstairs covered porch. Stop by for some great vintage wares… and don’t forget about that Mother’s Day gift!

I will be sure to have a variety of things to choose from like vintage serving pieces (Pyrex, Anchor Hocking/Fire King), barware, home decor, books & magazines, pretties for your mama, and more. I even have a 60s-70s colorful tin globe and a white wig box that is great for storage.

Me in my booth, getting ready for last February's Austin Flea.

Me in my booth, getting ready for the February Austin Flea.

The Flea features fantastic vendors that sell handmade, vintage, tasty treats, and more. Speaking of food, Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ will be there, so come hungry.

Hope to see y’all there,

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P.S. Be sure to bring your own shopping bag(s)!

Sharing The Love: Remnants

This past weekend, I volunteered to be a part of the Austin Craft Riot’s “Clothing & Craft Supply Swap”. We held the event at Remnants: fiber[culture], over on Burnet Road in Austin. Not on the side of Burnet you would think, with the vintage shops and yummy places to eat. No, it’s on the other side of Burnet, where I used to work actually, near the warehouses and office complexes.

Why am I describing it like this off the bat? Because I am letting you in on a little secret… Remnants is a hidden gem for all of you mod sewers & quilters. The owner, Jessica Sloan, who I had the pleasure to meet on Sunday, is a great person! And that exudes throughout her whole store. Even in this blog post (and the comment section), that I read before the in-person introduction, describes Jessica in this light.

I am no seamstress by any means, but the atmosphere of this store is definitely inspiring. During the event, I was taught how to make a bag out of a t-shirt and used a sewing machine to do so. Talk about anxiety! But nonetheless, my fellow ACR team member Darlene of Acclaim to Frame, walked me through the process and talked me down from the ledge so to speak. It was really fun and I now have a cute handmade tote bag to show off. I’ll still stick to the occasional embroidery kit. 

Back to Remnants… the inside of the store is bright, colorful, vintage & contemporary. Gorgeous quilts and artwork deck the walls. Big comfy chairs, upholstered in colorful retro fabric, invite you to sit and stay a while. Then there’s the brilliant wall of stylish fabric bolts for sale. It’s definitely a room full of eye candy.

Jessica in her shop, Remnants. Image from

Jessica in her shop, Remnants. Image from

Are you ready to go now? I sure hope so! Stop by the store, check out a workshop, or visit online. Say “hello” to Jessica for me!

Here’s to SHaRinG the LOvE,

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In a Social Rut?

I have been told I am a planner, design & decorate great parties, and have fun ideas for things to do. If you want some alone time with your man or gal pal(s), I have put together a running list of budget-friendly activities, coming from my own personal experiences and/or future outings for Date Night or GNO aka Girls Night Out. (Interchangeable with Day/In). Going out doesn’t have to evolve around bar hopping or running up the street to that same ol’ chain restaurant!

Please keep in mind I live in the Austin, Texas, area. Be sure to check your hometown for similar events/places referenced in this list. Here it is:

  • “High Tea” at a nice hotel like the Four Seasons. Gotta dress fancy and remember, pinky out!
  • Drive-In Movie Theater.
  • Take a day trip to an unexplored city. One of my fave shows is The Daytripper. Me and the hubby get great ideas from it. Thanks, Chet!


  • Take a bird watching class. Gotta get up early, but it’s so peaceful and fun to see birds you never knew were in your area. I found mine through a local rec center.
  • Take a free yoga class. That’s right, FREE. Most yoga studios give newbies a free first class.
  • Go to a winery for a wine tasting. I love pulling up a chair at a small winery. You can try several glasses of wine for a great price and talk to the owners.
  • Go to a wine bar and buy a wine flight. Same as above, but you get several different glasses of the same style of wine with an information card describing each one. Educational and fun!
  • Antique shop in a little town square and grab lunch at a tea room.
  • Paddleboarding.
  • Take the dogs to the park on a sunny day.
  • Visit the Austin Flea or other local arts n’ craft shows.
  • Visit a science or art museum.
  • Take a Sunday drive, literally.
  • Try a new cuisine/type of food. Come on, give sushi a try!
  • Host a “Craft Night”. Wine optional. You might have some “Nailed it” memes after this though.
  • Organize a book club.
  • Organize a supper club.
  • Host a “Game Night”.
  • Host a “Small Plates Party” as I like to call it. I think the more formal name is Tapas.
  • Alamo Drafthouse Singalong.


  • Rent a pontoon boat out at the lake in the summer time. You can go in together on it with other couples to make it more affordable.
  • Take a brisk walk at the park or on a trail, then go for smoothies.
  • Brunch.
  • Camp or rent a cabin on the river or lake. Same as above with the pontoon boat.
  • Meet up with a buddy at the gym.
  • Have a slumber party with your girlfriends.
  • Visit a mom n’ pop bookstore. Enjoy the ambiance, local feel, and the books of course!
  • Host a “My Favorite Things Party“.
  • Host some sort of a “Swap” party. It can be with clothes, craft supplies, recipes, etc.
  • Join a Co-Op Community Garden.
  • Host an “Ice Cream Social”. It’s on my to-do list for sure!
  • Go to a small sports event. There’s college games, minor league baseball & hockey, roller derby…
  • Take an art class. You can take one from an art school or even try out “Painting with a Twist“.
  • Work out to an exercise video in your living room. With your significant other or friend. Makes for a good laugh.
  • Go on a “Photo Tour”. Hop in the car, grab your camera or use your Instagram app on your smartphone, and drive around taking interesting pictures of your adventure. There are also guided-sightseeing-walking photo tours you can sign up for as well.
  • Visit a state park and go for a hike.
  • Visit a historical site. You can also go on a historical marker drive.
  • “Treat Yo’ Self”. ‘Parks and Rec’ fans will recognize this reference. Get a facial, wrap, blow-out, pedi, or massage.
  • Go to a water park. If you’re in my neck of the woods, try Schlitterbahn. Also, go with another couple. Way more fun!


  • Ride your bicycles through a college campus.
  • Attend a music festival. But, go during the week, and catch a free day show.
  • Host a “Cocktail Party”. Not the one where you don a fancy dinner gown. Have your gal pals over to try out new cocktail recipes and catch up with one another.

Hope this gave you some insight on a shiny new social life. Being a social butterfly and enjoying quality time with my husband, I am always looking for something new to do around town. Also, all the fun things you pin on your Pinterest board and want to do eventually, be sure to take action!

Joie de vivre – Texas Style,

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P.S. My apologies to the mommies out there looking for kid-specific events. I’m just a married gal with furry children.

A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words Giveaway Winners!

As of now, the ” Picture is Worth a 1000 Words” Giveaway has ended. Thanks so much to Gary at Photoz by Gary for sponsoring my summer giveaway. I really enjoyed reading all the lovely comments from our contestants. I also wanted to thank everyone for reading my blog, checking out Gary’s Etsy shop and especially for playing! And now for the important part of the giveaway: announcing the winners! That’s right, Gary has graciously decided to award a second and third place prize of any high quality digital image in his shop.

Custom Enhancement of Your Photographs

Love at First Sight

To recall this past week, you had a chance to win 1 out of the 6 Custom Photography Services available from Photoz by Gary by 1) going to Photoz by Gary and picking out your favorite item, hearting it, then commenting with the name of the item here, 2) following Gary on Twitter and leaving a comment letting me know your Twitter name and that you followed him, OR 3) commenting on the post with the words “A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words”. And that lucky winner is… drumroll please… Laurie Graybill! Laurie entered the contest by choosing option #2. Congratulations, friend!

*And now for the extra bonus of a second and third place winner. They will both get their choice of any digital image in the shop. TA-DAAAAH! Second & third place goes to… Crystal & Juniper Grace! Congratulations, ladies!

From me and Gary at Photoz by Gary – Enjoy these special photo prizes!

To the rest of the Hand On Hip audience, keep reading and stay posted for more giveaways in the future.

A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words – Giveaway

***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries***

Summer is almost over and there has not been one giveaway! Have no fear, one is near… like starting today!

Thanks to Etsy shop Photoz by Gary, my father-in-law by the way, he will be sponsoring this summer’s only giveaway. Gary’s shop offers “a variety of digital images and photography services” plus as of recent, has now expanded to include vintage items. Now, on to the prize! You will have your pick of 1 out of the 6 Custom Photography Services available – all at a $10 value. You will receive a high quality digital image to print as many times as you want, anywhere you want. This would be great for Save the Date & Birth Announcements, Custom Greeting/Christmas Cards, Photo Restoration, and more!

(See contest rules at the end of this post.)

Photo Restoration

Custom Announcement – Birth, Save the Date, Your Choice!

Even though I know my subject quite well, I did a Q&A with Gary so you can find out more about him and Photoz by Gary.


MELANIE: Welcome to “Hand on Hip” Gary! Why don’t you tell everyone a little bit about yourself.

PHOTOZ BY GARY: I’ve been doing photography and photo editing for about 12 years now. I’ve worked professionally as a portrait and sports photographer. I like all kinds of photography; portraits, nature, landscapes, sports, etc. I love catching that unique expression in people and animals that tells the character and mood of the subject.

MELANIE: How did you get started in photography?

PHOTOZ BY GARY: I got started with photography as an outlet to the stress I have in my management career. The more I did, the more I found it to be relaxing and a way to refocus my mind on something other than work.

Country Hod Rod

MELANIE: What is your inspiration/motivation for taking pictures and editing them?

PHOTOZ BY GARY: In photography, my goals are different depending on the type of work I’m doing. When taking/editing portraits, my goal is to show the subject in a way that shows their personality; someone’s expression, their smile and most importantly their eyes. When doing most other types of photography, I’m telling a story about the scene or image in a way that draws the viewer into the picture. I always try to encourage viewers (with the photograph) to linger when looking at the image. Something about the image must draw and keep their attention.

MELANIE: Give us a brief description of your Etsy shop and what it offers.

PHOTOZ BY GARY: My shop offers a variety of photography styles and services. Shoppers can buy one of my images or allow me the privilege of creating, enhancing or restoring their photograph(s). I have vintage post cards which can be customized to meet anyone’s needs; birthday, anniversary, party invitation or announcement of a new baby arrival. In addition, I’ve recently begun to offer a variety of vintage items as well; books, albums, china, furniture, etc. I love to find deals and share them with my customers. One of my pastimes is antiquing. I love seeing the craftsmanship and differences in style.

I hope you enjoy my Etsy shop, Photoz by Gary!

Sunset Balloon Ride



Thanks again to Gary, my father-in-law and shop owner of Photoz by Gary! Be sure to check out his other photography, custom cards & invitations as well as his vintage items too. Now that you have kindly read the interview, here is how you can enter the contest to win 1 out of the 6 Custom Photography ServicesYour choice at a $10 value!

There is ONE way to enter, choosing from options 1, 2, OR 3:

1) Go to Photoz by Gary and pick out your favorite item, heart it, then comment with the name of the item here.

2) Follow Gary on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know your Twitter name and that you followed him. (I will check. So please, no cheating!)

3) Comment on this post with the words: “A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words“.

…and be sure to show your Etsy love and support by adding this seller to your favorite shops list! Easy as that.

This giveaway will begin as soon as this is posted (8/22/11) and will end on 8/29/2011 at 7 pm CST. One winner will be selected using and will be announced in a post at the end of the contest. One entry per person is permitted. Prize ships anywhere in the world! *Email addresses are appreciated so that I can contact a winner!

Happy shopping, have fun, and good luck!