Labor Day Nostalgia: My First “Real” Job

The summer before my senior year in high school, I started my first “real” job, an internship at the local newspaper. I remember getting dressed up on the outside, but being full of butterflies on the inside.

The office, at that time, was in a stuffy old building that was frequently visited by tiny, four legged, whiskered friends scampering across piles of old newspapers. The first day, and for a few weeks afterwords, I “shared” a computer with the only other writer on the staff. (Try sharing a computer. It’s rather counterproductive). I eventually earned my own desk and even my own computer.

Like any intern, I started out with the basic, mundane duties. I typed up obituaries, news briefs, honor rolls. Pretty much everything that no one else wanted to do except for making the coffee. Trust me, you wouldn’t want me, a non-coffee drinker to attempt to make coffee when caffeine was so essential to the smooth functioning of an office that ran nearly 24/7. But, I slowly earned more responsibilities, generating my own stories, and, years later filling in for some editorial duties (though never, ever making the coffee).

When I started my internship, the layout hadn’t yet made the move to the computer. The stories, ads and images were cut out and pasted onto newspaper-sized sheets of paper. At the end of the day on Friday, the big light tables that lined the office would be full of that pages that eventually became the newspaper that reached out to thousands of different people.

The people that I interacted with, both inside the office and while out covering the news, made the job worthwhile. Of course, I loved the writing and photography too, but working as a team added a different element. Even on a stressful work day, taking a few minutes to chat with my co-workers, sometimes about something completely unrelated, gave me the energy to keep working.

But, probably most of all, I liked to feel like I was contributing to something larger, something more than my teenage babysitting jobs. However small the project I was working on was, it was a piece of something larger that made an impact in my small hometown. I worked at that same place for about seven years, before moving on to other opportunities after graduating from college.

What about you? Share your experiences from your first job in the comments below.



Back to School Nostalgia

I don’t often find myself nostalgic for grade school, but if I had to choose one day to relive, it would be the first day. There’s just something about seeing friends and teachers that you haven’t seen in a while, wearing brand new clothes and that feeling that everything is both familiar and new.

Perhaps my favorite part of going back to school wasn’t going back, but getting ready. I would spend several hours shopping with my mom, or, when I was older, with my friends. New clothes and a new start just seemed to go together. The fun of the shopping trips always seemed to lessen the blow of going back to school.

After the long bus ride (which wasn’t at all enjoyable), or later, driving to high school myself, seeing old friends in the hallways was the best aspect of that first day of school. Some friends I saw over the summer, but others I saw for the first time in three months on that first day back.

The first day always held new teachers, a new routine, and new possibilities.

What about you? Did you dread going back to school or were there a few things you enjoyed?


Flea Markets: Bringing home treasures (not fleas)

The first time I went to a flea market, I took my dog with me. I didn’t find any treasures, and my dog actually came home with fleas. But lately, I’ve been growing a new fondness for flea markets. I’m a photographer, and I love using vintage props. Flea markets are a perfect place to find them—and they are not too bad on the budget either.

So what’s the trick to bringing home treasures and not fleas?

Know what you are looking for. Sometimes, flea markets can seem, well, like overwhelming piles of stuff. Having a few things in mind as you browse can help the search seem less daunting. You don’t need to have specifics, but think more in general terms like home décor, vintage advertising, etc. When I head to flea markets, for example, I’m usually looking for photography props and vintage cameras.

Consider repurposing. Flea markets are great for finding items to use creatively. A pair of old shutters can become a note or photo holder on the wall, old windows can become picture frames—the possibilities are literately endless.

Set standards. A lot of flea market finds need a bit of love before they come into your home. How much work are you willing to put into one item? A good scrubbing? A few coats of paint? Knowing your limits can prevent you from purchasing something that just sits around in the garage.

Speak up. If a table or area is particularly messy or hard to dig through, don’t be afraid to ask the vendor if they have what you are looking for (or what area you might find it in). And along the same lines, be ready to negotiate a bargain.

Inspect items carefully. Look over each item carefully. Note things that are difficult to repair, like holes and tears. Inspect things closely enough that you’ll notice that what you thought was just dirt is actually mold.

Flea markets can be great places to find vintage items at bargain prices. Just navigate carefully, set some standards and speak up.

The return of the retro game: Old games make a comeback

Retro GameWhen it comes to gaming, sometimes it’s best to kick it old school. Retro is in, and the retro game isn’t any different. So why are old games without all the fancy graphics or new technology making a comeback? For a bit of nostalgia.

In my TV stand, I have both a Wii and a Nintendo 64—and both are used about equally. I found the 64 at an electronics resale shop—and I was rather excited to relive some moments from my youth for all of about $20.

I was fairly surprised that there were several to choose from, since old systems and games seem to suffer from extreme dust “allergies” (anyone else remember frequently blowing inside the game as a kid to get the system to work?). And, sure enough, the first one I picked up only worked 25 percent of the time, but the store was happy to make an exchange. It makes me wonder what happened to our old system, since as a kid, older was never better.

I picked up a Super Mario game—my entire reason for getting an old Nintendo in the first place. I love the characters (Yoshi in particular), the adventure and pretty much everything about the game. I also have Super Mario Brothers for the Wii, and though I’ve tried several new games, I haven’t found any that I’ve enjoyed more than the classic Mario characters. My husband introduced me to Mario party, which we now have on both systems and enjoy playing with groups of people.

There’s a few older games I wouldn’t mind adding to my collection. Donkey Kong was a favorite as a kid, and I found Crash Bandicoot rather addicting too. The Legend of Zelda was another good one.

At first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I love the classics so much. But then I realized a few things. One, is that the classics don’t have as much person on person violence. Sure, there were games like 007, but most of the time I was smashing moles and turtles while trying not to fall down gaping holes. No hard feelings there.

But I’m also not one to play video games by myself, and there’s just something about the classics that beg to be played socially. When Nintendo 64 was new, my cousin made fun of me because I moved the entire controller instead of just pushing the button (the Wii was made for people like me), getting so much into the competition of it all that I never really held still. Playing Nintendo as a kid was probably one of the times when I actually sat down with my brother (despite his cooties), and I think our parents preferred when we fought it out with turtle shells and fireballs anyways.

The retro game brings back memories. Sure, the picture is quite pixelated on my TV, but there’s just something about the classic games and characters.

What about you? What retro game do you play or would you like to bring back?


Nostalgic for tomorrow…………………….

I am nostalgic for tomorrow
For the things that I am yet to see and yet to know
I am nostalgic for the future
For the people I will meet and the places I will go
I am nostalgic for the unknown
The friends I will make and the friends I will lose
I am nostalgic for the me that I will become
I am nostalgic for the bits and bits and bits


Vintage Thrift Store Fashion: Polka Dots

Vintage Polka Dot Outfit

There are a few things that seem to instantly make anything look classic–and polka dots is definitely one of them. This pleated skirt has subtly white polka dots, which pairs well with a scarf featuring large polka dots in the same color scheme. The top and skirt were $3.88 each at Goodwill, the scarf was $1.

polkadots2The sheer outer layer of the skirt is softly patterned with dots, making it chic and classic.

Polka Dot ScarfThe scarf is a little bolder than the shirt, but ties everything together and adds a bit more personality to the outfit. Plus, scarfs have been around for quite a while and have come in and out of style for years.

The $1 Camera: Inspiration for collecting antiques


I spotted an old leather bag with a camera strap hanging out the side almost as soon as I walked into the garage sale last weekend. Sure enough, I flipped open the top of the bag and found an old film SLR camera inside with two lenses, a Yashica FX-103. It’s a classic looking camera—the kind that the brand new retro-inspired cameras are designed after, made in the early 80s.

The inside smelled of old dust, the outside had a masking tape price tag of just $1, and I could barely contain my excitement. Now, most people would’ve ignored it. Film cameras aren’t big items anymore, they’re looked over. I’m sure plenty of people wandered through that sale and called the $1 camera I was so excited over junk. Just junk.

But, as a photographer, I collect old cameras. This was the first SLR model I’d come across, and since it’s not as old as some of the others in my collection, it’s the first one that might actually do more than just decorate my office. It takes batteries and film that are still readily available and I hope to capture some images that are just as atheistically pleasing as the look of the camera itself.

I was about six when digital cameras first became accessible to the general public (I’ll save you the math, I’m 24—my definition of old may be a bit different than yours), so I never had an advanced film camera. I had a few small basic film models before I got a digital camera in high school, but never anything beyond a point and shoot. My boss at my first “real” job, who taught me most of what I know about photography, would tease me when I came back from a single assignment with hundreds of photos. All the photographers who started with film tended to be much more conservative with their snapping, despite using digital for several years.

But the more I learn about photography, the more I want to use film for some of my personal projects. There’s just something about going back to basics, taking photos that aren’t composed of digital pictures, that intrigues me. Film gets you a negative, a solid thing and not a digital file. And since you can’t see the photos as you shoot them, there’s a bit of a challenge to getting the settings just right. There’s more excitement to waiting for the images to develop. There’s no instant satisfaction. And there’s the simple fact that those images haven’t been touched by a computer.

What about you? What inspires your collection of antiques?

Vintage Thrift Store Fashion: Business Classic

Classic Business Outfit

The soft pattern on this suit jacket and the simple lines on the pencil skirt make this outfit a nice vintage thrift store find. Perfect for the business professional, the black is basic, yet classic. A hat can be added for a bit more personality. The skirt and tops were $3.88 each, the hat was $.99.

Business Classic Outfit Detail

This business outfit has all the simple classic details to hint towards an earlier era.

Vintage Thrift Store Fashion: Lace

Lace Outfit

Lace can make even a new shirt look vintage. This cream-colored blouse  paired with distressed jeans, classic brown heals and a matching belt and clutch. The shirt and jeans sold for $3.88 each, the belt and clutch were $1 each and the shoes were $1.99 at a thrift store.

Lace Close Up

The lace and ruffles in this blouse make this an instant classic. When shopping at thrift stores, look for aspects like lace that can make any outfit an instant classic.

Classy ShoesThe square toe, rivets and bow makes these heels a nice, classic looking addition to the lace top outfit. Paired with a brown belt and clutch, the accessories tie everything together.