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  1. Guest Post: The history of shapewear

    Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    I was delighted when I saw an email from HerRoom in my inbox earlier this week, letting me know about an infographic they were sharing on the history of shapewear.

    As many vintage ladies know, having the right undergarments is an important foundation to nailing the vintage look. Girdles, garters and bullet bras can really kick a great dress up a notch! I love nice underthings - I even have a pinboard dedicated to the subject.

    Not only is the history of shapewear interesting, but I also enjoyed how they included a variety of body-types with celebrity examples.

      History of Shapewear - Infographic
    Find your best fitting shapewear at Herroom.
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  2. A new Noir and a giveaway

    Saturday, July 27, 2013

    A few weeks ago, I met Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail at the SMBYEG; I had been meaning to talk to her because I heard that she was a local writer interested in Canadian aviation history. We got to talking, and when I mentioned Retro Reporter she remarked that she should introduce me to another of her author friends who wrote a novel about an alternate 1930s world where the Chinese developed the west coast, everyone had a ghost and the lead character was a femme fatale detective.

    Well, I was hooked.  As soon as I could, I sent SG Wong an email to ask if I could feature her novel on my blog. I rambled on about how much I love vintage, writing, and sci-fi/diesel punk and instead of thinking that I was a loon we made a date to meet up over gelato (which was the preferred outcome, of course).


    die on your feet SG Wong edmonton 1930s los angeles film noir book review giveaway vintage

    First, a little more on the novel from Wong's website:
    First in the Lola Starke series, Die On Your Feet introduces us to the world of Crescent City, where the Chinese are the dominant cultural force and Ghosts are very real. Lola Starke isn’t your normal gumshoe—unless normal includes a trust fund, a glamourous actress mother and a ghostly smart–mouth with illusions of investigative genius. But it’s not all fast talk and mah–jongg games for our prickly private eye, as she’s drawn into the slums of the City on the tail of a missing heroin addict and into the clutches of an old enemy. It’s every woman for herself in this story of broken dreams, hidden agendas and ghostly vengeance.
    Wong was born in Hong Kong, moved to Vancouver and then Edmonton as a small child and lived here until she completed her BA (Honours) in English at the University of Alberta before moving to Japan - where she met and fell in love with a man from Kansas. They have two kids, and the idea of Lola Starke first came to her when she was nursing her oldest in the middle of the night, by the light of a small lamp.

     die on your feet SG Wong edmonton 1930s los angeles film noir book review giveaway vintage
    The author
    Wong created her seedy and paranormal 1930s Los Angeles partially because she loved film noir and sci-fi, but also because she knew she couldn't showcase a historically accurate LA.
    "I wanted the same glamour and aesthetic with the juxtaposition of the underbelly, but I wanted there to be a Chinese ethnicity," she said, adding that as someone who is a visible minority, she wanted Starke to be one too, which she writes about here.
    (Wong also noted that she created her character's name in 2003, long before the Iron Man movies came out and re-popularized the Starke name.)

    It took Wong eight years to get Die On Your Feet published, and struggled to find a print publisher that had a pre-existing list of books it fit in with. Finally, she took the digital-publishing approach, and published through Carina Press. "I just want people to read it and enjoy it," she said.

    Die On Your Feet is available through Carina | Amazon.ca | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Amazon | Amazon UK

    BUT I am also excited to host a give way for Die On Your Feet in honour of reaching over 300 subscribers from Blogger, Bloglovin & RSS subscription.

    Enter the giveaway below! Winners will be notified and have the book emailed to them. Even if you don't have an e-reader, you can download Adobe's free e-reader onto your computer.


    a Rafflecopter giveaway
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  3. Wedding Wednesday is a new feature on Retro-Reporter that I've wanted to introduce for a while. Sometimes it will be about my own wedding, but most of the time I'll be focusing on other vintage wedding ideas from around the net and especially Edmonton.

    This weekend at Fort Edmonton Park, you can experience the magic of weddings throughout history - plus a few perks.

    fort edmonton park vintage wedding victorian wedding retro history romance love engaged hotel selkirk

    I was actually invited by Fort Edmonton Park to cover this event before I was engaged - lucky for me that the timing is impeccible. All my stars must be aligne

    The calendar is in full here, but some events I'm looking forward to include Asking Permission to Wed (Ian missed the memo on that one), Victorian Bachelor Party (no Pilsner &peelers here, I bet) and the Jazz Age Wedding (the couple are "the thoroughly modern Penelope Elizabeth Halcombe and Reginald Wesley Haldane, a returned veteran from the Great War who takes his jazz hot and his prohibition on the rocks!")

    The most wonderful part of the weekend will be the vow renewal ceremony, where couples can declare their love for one another. How sweet! Check out Fort Edmonton Park's Facebook page this week

    And also on for this weekend is a Romance Package at Hotel Selkirk, which includes an overnight stay, wine, dinner for two, breakfast for two, admission and a photo session at Ernest Brown Photography Studio (including a free photo!).

    Ian and I will be attending the event, so even if you can't make it out (or don't live in Edmonton!) I will have a re-cap for next week's wedding post. Even if you're not having an 100% "authentic vintage" wedding, or aren't having one in the Park, I hope to have some inspiration for you.

    PS - thank you to everyone who has congratulated us on our engagement. We're overwhelmed with the love!
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  4. My Vintage Wedding: The Ring

    Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    I PROMISE that my blog isn't going to get too crazy wedding on you, but I did want to share the story of finding my engagement ring.

    On Saturday, after having brunch with one of my bridesmaids, Ian and I toodled on over to Black Swan on Whyte Ave. Black Swan specialized in vintage jewellery. Despite having a beautiful selection, nothing there really tickled my fancy. We then hopped over to Decade to Decade, who really focus on vintage furniture and had a small collection of vintage rings that I felt just didn't fit with me.

    We were on the hunt for a simple but unique ring, preferably from the 1930s-1950s. We were open to any stone and setting, but since I have very small hands and rarely wear jewellery, it had to be simple, understated and classic (not to mention affordable!).

    On Sunday, we were prepared to spend the entire day at antique stores like Beck Antiques & Jewellery, Old Strathcona Antique Mall, and Rocky Mountain Antique Mall, hunting for the perfect ring.

    Our first stop was Beck's, which is not only an antiques store but also offers repairing services, as well as an on-staff gemologist. It was our first visit, and as soon as we walked in we got a good vibe. The store was well organized, we were greeted right away by Clinton and were left to browse while he helped another customer.

    Once we were ready to look at rings, we noticed that their engagement rings are sorted and labeled in the display case by price, meaning that you won't put on a ring and fall in love and realize that it's out of your budget. Clinton also mentioned that all diamonds are sold wholesale - meaning you pay what other jewellers in Edmonton pay - and that if we had a stone that we liked but no band, one could be made for us. He also gave us a brief history of engagement ring styles during the 30s & 40s. There were no hard sales and no pressure: just straight up education.

    Well I put on one ring and fell in love. I'd describe it to you, but a photo is worth a thousand words. Clinton told us to take it outside and look at it in the sun, and I actually blinded Ian with it.

    antique ring fort edmonton park vintage wedding victorian wedding retro history romance love engaged hotel selkirk
    Laser Ring!

    We agreed that this was "The One", and while we (ok, Ian) set up an account and paid, my ring went through the polisher. The creme-de-la-creme? Clinton threw in a beautiful 1920s ring box because he "knew we'd appreciate it." Um, yeah! Oh, and did I mention that they will make a matching band for me when the time comes? How awesome is that?

    antique ring fort edmonton park vintage wedding victorian wedding retro history romance love engaged hotel selkirk


    We also went ahead a booked a sit-down appointment with Carla, who will appraise our ring, next week. Less than an hour later we were out the door and on our way, and we extremely happy with our experience.

    Then Ian was all like "Oh hey, let's go to Fort Edmonton Park and hang out", since we both had the day off and there wasn't much to do. I suspected he had ulterior motives but played dumb (he is TERRIBLE at keeping secrets, which is a good trait for a fiance to have).

    As we went through the park Ian kept asking me what my favourite part of the Park was, and nervously checking his pocket. I mentioned that 1920 street was my favourite, and he took this photo from the jewellery shop beside the Capitol Theatre. Talk about foreshadowing.

    antique ring fort edmonton park vintage wedding victorian wedding retro history romance love engaged hotel selkirk

    Then we had drinks & dinner at the lovely Hotel Selkirk. It's pricy, but the Pimms was cold, the service was excellent and supper was delicious.

    antique ring fort edmonton park vintage wedding victorian wedding retro history romance love engaged hotel selkirk

    antique ring fort edmonton park vintage wedding victorian wedding retro history romance love engaged hotel selkirk


    By the time we were done dinner, the park was closed. We made our way to the entrance/exit as the sun was about to set. Right before the exit is the midway, which was empty. Ian wanted to stop and take some more photos - but you can imagine what happened next.

    antique ring fort edmonton park vintage wedding victorian wedding retro history romance love engaged hotel selkirk


    antique ring fort edmonton park vintage wedding victorian wedding retro history romance love engaged hotel selkirk

    He got down on one knee and said all these amazingly sweet things and almost made me bawl, and then slipped the ring on my finger. Ian said he was really nervous, even though he had already technically proposed to me last week.

    antique ring fort edmonton park vintage wedding victorian wedding retro history romance love engaged hotel selkirk
    Very relieved I said yes
    Now that I have the ring everything feels so real and official, and I can start doing some planning! I know I want a small, humble wedding & reception - all that matters is that I marry the love of my life and we start a happy life together. A big party is fun, but it doesn't make you any more married.

    antique ring fort edmonton park vintage wedding victorian wedding retro history romance love engaged hotel selkirk





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  5. Don't sit under the apple tree...

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    First things first, a big thank you to everyone on my last post about my FO Photography experience! I feel so loved.

    If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook you'll already know about my exciting news, but since I am so excited (and still shocked) I want to continue to shout it from the electronic rooftops.

    Around midnight on July 13, Ian proposed - and I happily said yes, of course! It was so spontaneous and so unplanned that he didn't even have the ring yet. So here's my naked finger.



    Ian has been dropping hints for the few months that he's been researching rings, and we got on the subject when we were down at my family's farm in Saskatchewan for the Little Valley Jamboree. It was around midnight Saturday morning, and we were standing on the deck drinking gin and listening to music. Jokingly, I asked Ian when he was going to propose.
    His response: "Well, I guess I'll do it right now."

    I will be the first to admit that Ian and I haven't been together for long. A year ago, he was the nice (tall!) Sun photog I occasionally chatted with on assignment. Now, he's my future husband (man, that is going to take some getting used to).

    Our first date was Sept. 2. The day before I swore off men for a while and wanted to rediscover myself. But Ian and I had been chatting on Twitter back and forth and we met up for a concert celebrating the 100th birthday of the legislature. I wasn't wearing any make-up, had my hair up in a scarf and had spent the day with Bee at Ikea. Ian and I talked through the whole concert.... and then for several hours at the pub, and then my house... and finally we parted ways around 3 a.m. (and he had to work the next day!).

    The following day we went to see the B-17 to take some photos, and have been inseparable ever since. We moved in together in December, and honestly I feel like I've known him my whole life and yet at the same time everything is still so warm and fuzzy.

    alberta vintage wedding engagement edmonton calgary b-17 retro reporter
    A previously unseen photo,  released from the vaults!
    Please note that I'm wearing heels and he's slouching and he's still towering over me. 
    I can't imagine my life without Ian, his family, his wonderful friends and of course Daisy & Gizmo. I'm so excited to start the next chapter of our lives together.

    Stay tuned for wedding blogging - a tentative date has been set for November 2014!



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  6. The golden hour with FO Photography

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    Monday night I was very excited to be invited by Funmi of FO Photography to be a participant in their 2013 | 365 project. FO Photography is run by Funmi and her husband Adrian, who are immigrants from the UK and both engineers by day and wedding photographers by night. I met Funmi at the latest SMBYEG and after a few emails back and forth we met up for a photo shoot in Oliver.

    (On a side note, if you're in Edmonton and free in the mornings of the last Friday of every month, go to SMBYEG. It's FREE and I made so many great connections that will hopefully turn into some blog collaborations. Stay tuned...)

    As I left work it was pouring rain and very dreary. By the time I got to showed up at Fumni & Adrian's, it was sunny and lovely out. Oh Edmonton weather!

    Without further ado, this is the photo that Funmi selected for day 189.

    FO Wedding Photography Laurie Callsen Edmonton Vintage

    The funny thing is that I had no idea when I got dressed that morning that I'd be a photo subject! Back in my reporting days I wouldn't be satisfied with my outfit unless I knew I could stand running into the premier in that outfit (it happened!), and I still carry that philosophy when I get dressed. You just never know who you'll meet or what you'll be doing. I just thought I was meeting Funmi for some coffee and a chat. I was having a bad hair day, so these are victory rolls that I hurriedly did in the car after running in between the raindrops across the street to my parking spot.

    FO Wedding Photography Laurie Callsen Edmonton Vintage
    Outfit details: Shoes - thrifted | 1940s skirt - gift | blouse: H&M | camisole: Ricki's | belt: me-made
    I'm so glad I we met up! Despite being a fashion blogger and having a professional photographer boyfriend, I'm still not really used to being behind the camera, but Funmi made me very comfortable. I even smiled with my teeth (something I rarely do in photos, much to the chagrin of my mom).

    FO Wedding Photography Laurie Callsen Edmonton Vintage

    Fumni & Adrian were great hosts! It was so nice to get to know them, and hopefully we can collaborate more in the future. 

    FO Wedding Photography Laurie Callsen Edmonton Vintage


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  7. Staking my claim for Bloglovin'

    Thursday, July 4, 2013

    Hiya! This is just a claim post for Bloglovin (which seems to have 2 URLs for my blog as well as the old description for it.... sigh). Carry on, nothing to see here folks. Unless you want to follow me, of course!

    Follow my blog with Bloglovin
    Follow my blog with Bloglovin
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