Friday, December 30, 2011

Reflections On 2011

As 2011 comes to a close, I'm sure most of us are looking back over the past year and analyzing it for all its moments, whether happy, sad, or just those that seem to stick in our minds for an indeterminable reason. When I look back, I see the struggles I endured in creating Birdcage Bohemia. I wanted to transform it into something big and encompassing, a place where I could explore all the creativity I had to offer. I piled ideas on top of ideas and waited eagerly for the door to burst open and let it all go spilling out into the world.
The year of 2011 was about recreation and construction. It was the part where you buy all the fixtures and decorate your new store. Then, you sort of stand back and see all these things you still have to work on and say, "Okay, just a little more time," because you're that kind of perfectionist who ends up being a pain in the butt to everyone around you.

Yep, I'm a pain in the butt. However, it'll pay off well. So to define 2011 for me, it was full of frustration, but it was full of that kind of excitement that comes with hope and the realization that your dreams could actually turn into something real. It was also a year of limbo, kind of floating and waiting for things to move on, and that state of mind can really drag you down. So it was good that I was able to look past it and see the picture in its entirety. I had to remind myself, yes the trees are pretty but the forest will be breathtaking once I get high enough to see it all.

I'm sure a lot of you feel the same way I do. I know many people who are headed into the real world, unsure and anxiously excited to get started. It's funny, you probably think I'm speaking of college students exhibiting the very definition of freshly scrubbed faces turned towards the sun and calling out their names so the rest can acknowledge their existence. The truth is, for every twenty-something I know, there's a thirty-something, forty-something, fifty-something, and even older, doing the same exact thing. The economy of the United States among other countries have forced us all to step back and examine life through a different viewfinder. The greatest gift a declining financial situation has brought us is the strength and the "what have I got to lose?" mentality we need to finally take that step towards our dreams.

So I'd like to thank 2011 for the tough love and the joyful experiences it gave me. I can only stand up and greet 2012 and all the new things it'll present.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving was always a bit of a strange holiday to my family. My parents are immigrants, coming to America as refuges from Communist-ruled Poland. They got here and instead of breathing in the heady aroma of the American Dream, they slept cramped together in a one-bedroom apartment, newly married, and about to get pregnant with my sister. My mother had a degree in Architecture obtained from a Polish University. She had ten years worth of work experience with a nicely padded resume that bragged bordering on being obscenely immodest about her talent. However, with an unrecognizably named school and companies, potential firms in the area didn't call her back, told her "I'm sorry, we're not hiring right now," and sent her on her way. My father dove right in, accepting a job working the graveyard shift at a factory and decided it was good enough. My mother struggled, she took some more courses, got a certification in drafting, and found herself mindlessly measuring screw and nail dimensions for eight hours a day. By then, she had a little baby toddling around the house, she couldn't afford to go back to school and do it all over again. She's already got a degree, why did she need to go through that for a second time, learning everything she already knew.

Times got worse, everyone became frustrated, my mother kept lowering her standards until she became a cleaning woman; a far cry from the career woman she had been in Poland. So, when Thanksgiving rolled around every year, she'd robotically go through the process: turkey, Stove-Top stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy from a packet, and pumpkin pie using Carnation evaporated milk and Libbey's pumpkin puree. She skipped the cranberry sauce, feeling eerily creeped out by how well it held its metal can shape; and green bean casserole had the same effect. She made all those things every year, because that's what the nation told her to do. We never did thanks around the table because the day never felt special enough to do so. It was always the four of us, my mom, dad, sister, and myself, every day at dinner and it was still just the four of us on the fourth Thursday of November. Only, there was a giant turkey involved. Our extended families were scattered across the globe and no one thought to scatter near us, or even in the same country as us. So we never had doorbells ringing all night and too many cooks in the kitchen and that one uncle that everyone seems to have who drinks far too much and ends up passing out in his pie.

So Thanksgiving was always just a day my sister and I would be bored out of my minds, my dad would watch football, and my mom would cook the same things that we were "supposed" to cook. Eventually, my sister moved away and it became difficult for her to come home for the holiday. I brought my boyfriend over once, but felt ashamed that our small, quiet affair was all we had to offer him especially when he was used to having four brothers and sisters among other members of the family milling about his house.

Then, the cooking revolution had begun sweeping the country, making it okay to be creative with the seemingly "holy" dishes that was on every house's dining table. Thanksgiving turned into a day where my mom and I would put our heads together, spread out our cookbooks, and figure out how to make the best out of the classics. Stove-Top disappeared and we began to experiment with apples, fennel, and apple cider placed in a bed of chopped up artisan bread. Cranberry sauce finally arrived in the form of fresh cranberries simmering in their jelly juices and popping with exciting bursts of flavor. I decided to tackle a real live pumpkin and created a tradition we can't seem to be without anymore: squash and apple soup simmered lovingly until it turned into a silky, creamy starter that would awaken our tastebuds for the rest of dinner. 

I know this may come across as blasphemy, but it is a truth and could the truth have been any different if our situation were any different? If we had family nearby, if my mother's hard work could've been recognized, if we really tried to make an effort at our very first Thanksgiving to make it more meaningful, would this holiday become more special to us? Absolutely, but this is what we were had and it did grow into something to look forward to every year. America doesn't sit at the table with us, but to know that we have all sat at that table time and time again, that's good enough.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Write On!

We're headed into our second day for NaNoWriMo. Some of you know what that is, some of you don't.

NaNoWriMo = NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth


Make a crazed effort to bang out 1,667 words a day to reach a goal of writing a semi-decent, barely readable novel in 50,000 by the last day of Novemeber.

Yes, Thanksgiving counts. This is writing, everyone. This is the stuff the majority of us do on our time off.

Now, when I say semi-decent, barely readable novel, that doesn't mean you should aim for a level of that quality. It's just a reflection of the lax attitude among NaNoWriMo-ers. It's an excuse to write, anything, just to write. There have been people who discovered that in their harried time at the keyboard that they've actually produced a beautiful story. Some people find themselves writing the first half of the novel they've always wanted to write but never knew they could. Some people end up with a piece of work so embarrassing it should be burned, if it didn't entail hurling your laptop into the fireplace.

It's just for fun. And it's something I've wanted to do for at least three years since I've found out about it. Luckily, I managed to remember the day before November began and mentally prepared myself. It's only the second day of November, you can participate as well. Just write double the 1,667 words if you feel like you need to catch up, or just begin now and throw all societal conventions out the window.

Learn more and find groups near you:

I'm in the Akron group and I'm slowly preparing myself to attend one of the Write-Ins. I get nervous around strangers so this should be interesting. It may never happen but we'll see.

Write On!

P.S. The Official Website is still under construction. However, picture taking is underway so we shall be very, very close! In the meantime, here's something for all you writers and Harry Potter fans to chew on:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Under Construction - Upcoming Plans

Website is Under Construction

I met with the prolifically talented Rod Flauhaus (see his gorgeous photography work here) to discuss the progress of the new website. It is looking absolutely gorgeous, just beautiful, and there is no bias at all, I swear! I am really excited to unveil it and to show it off like a proud mommy and her child. So hopefully, you've been sticking around, checking up while the birds work behind the scenes to set up the stage.

As always you can shop the small, select collections at my Etsy shops: Birdcage Bohemia for jewelry and LaCaravaneBoheme for vintage apparel. (Click or see full links below.)

But in the meantime, I wanted to update you on what plans are in the wings for the brand new Birdcage Bohemia. I'm working hard on setting up a fabulous giveaway of a vintage scarf of your choosing. You will be able to select your favorite and have a piece of Southern California vintage goodness if you win! I found all my scarves at the best vintage boutique right on the water in Huntington Beach outside of L.A. Can you really get much better than that?

I'm also organizing my blog posts, finding interesting, relevant information to pass on to you, and discovering topics that would provoke discussion and pensive thinking. Or I hope it will. It will all be found here once the website goes live. I plan to talk about topics ranging from personal style, to how to wear a scarf in a way that flatters you, to vegetarian cooking, to living life in a way that makes you feel good about it, and other daily musings that we all think about. In short, it'll be a lifestyle blog dedicated to good living, finding luxury on a budget, eco-friendly tips, and making yourself and your home feel beautiful and comfortable. Now, if you think you have something to offer and would love to write a contributing post, please contact me at and I'd love to see what you come up with! Guest posts are welcome.


Fly Free - Beatrice

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Find Joy in Your Life

All the joys in life can't be measured by any tangible means. You feel joy, it grows, it encompasses you and you are just joyful!

Increase your joy for Birdcage Bohemia in the time leading up to the unveiling of our brand new Birdcage, I mean website. I thought I'd offer you a tiny little incentive just so you can treat yourself to something pretty. Again, that is also one of the joys found in life, other than finding something perfect at the right price.

There is a sale going on over at the Birdcage Etsy shop, but for a limited time, I'd like to offer you free shipping! Visit and just enter in the coupon code: JOYOFLIFE11 in the proper space during checkout. The items are already marked down so free shipping awaits for the proper password.

That's not all, though (cue cheesy infomercial music) if you order in the next five minutes, we'll QUADRUPLE YOUR ORDER! Oh, wait, all the jewelry is one of a kind...

Oh! How about this? 20% off all vintage clothing and accessories? Oooh yes, fall's a-coming and your wardrobe needs updating, trust me. Got some coats and pretty wool skirts for you to flip around in paired with turtleneck sweaters and high heeled boots. Mary Tyler Moore is very right now, just ask the fans of Mad Men. Visit and type in VINTAGEJOY20 in the coupon code section. Voila, more vintage bang for your buck.

You're welcome.

Now get shopping, just like birds migrating south, these offers are going to flutter away if you don't act fast. And as always, website is still under construction but my Etsy shops are still open for business, click the photos on the right side of the screen to visit the respective shops and have fun!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Birdcage is Being Rebuilt... Still

Website is Under Construction

Dear Eager Shoppers,

The glorious website of Birdcage Bohemia is currently under construction. However, there is nothing to fear for there is a small collection of offerings available on my two Etsy shops. Check back here often for new updates or follow Birdcage Bohemia on Facebook:

You can peruse through a liluputin catalog of re-vintaged jewelry here:

Or riffle through a rack of vintage clothing here:

Or just simply look at the pictures below and click on whatever beauties appeal to you. It will take you directly to the respective shop.

Fly Free!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Birdcage is Being Built

Hello there!

Turns out Miss Victora over there is too busy playing with her bird rather than working on Birdcage Bohemia. No comment on whether Miss Victoria is actually, in fact, Beatrice- the real proprietor and resident artist of the Birdcage. However, birds are such a delight to frolic with and if you have the inclination, a pair of parakeets make a wonderful addition to your home.

Anyway, Birdcage Bohemia is currently being rebuilt. Apparently, some of the precious wooden bars have been broken, the bird has Flown Free, and she is flying around collecting together the pieces that will make a brand new Birdcage Bohemia. 

Miss Victoria can attest that the new Birdcage Bohemia is looking gorgeous and she just can't wait to unveil it to the public. She will remain here on the Birdcage blog to keep you updated. In the meantime, join the flock at to talk with Beatrice and find out the latest gossip on everything.

Happy Flying!

Beatrice and Miss Victoria (Who, I will admit, are one and the same.)