I have quite the Easter treat for you! I am pleased as punch to introduce you to Miss Ashley Ording of Fancy Fine, who was kind enough to agree to be Mermaidens' latest interviewee! Her vintage style, skillful writing and photography, and infectious personality make her blog, Fancy Fine, a dream come true!
I was lucky enough to ask Ashley about her style, her thrifting adventures, and perhaps the most important question of all, her favorite desserts - enjoy! ♡
When and why did you start Fancy Fine?
Fancy Fine almost never existed. I nearly talked myself out of blogging about four years ago because I worried that I was only adding more pointless noise to the already overwhelming world of blogging, but fortunately I decided to go for it anyways! What changed my mind was seeing all of these amazing blogs, created by girls my own age who had covetable personal style, and thinking that if I could be so inspired by them then maybe sharing my own collection with the world was something worthwhile. And I can't even tell you how many wonderful friends I've made and how many lovely opportunities I've been given, all because of Fancy Fine.
With ice cream and Gene Wilder prints and dreamy dresses decorating your walls - your apartment looks like a dream! What would you say are the best ways to spiffy up a drab living space?
Why thank you! I think bringing in lots of color is the best way to turn drab into beauty. I lived in a room with mint green walls for many years and just being surrounded by that bright shade made everything look happier and lovelier.
I tend to fill any space I inhabit pretty quickly with my favorite objects because I need to feel inspired wherever I am. And here in my new Philadelphia apartment I am the most happy surrounded by giant photos of Gene Wilder, ice cream prints, hundreds of books, and so many vintage dresses it would make your head spin!
Describe your personal style.
Quirky feminine is the easiest way to sum it up. I love to dress like a girl, which means that I rarely wear pants or anything that could be interpreted as being masculine, but I don't like to rule anything out because that leaves no room for surprise. I'm drawn to super kooky things sometimes, and I like to imagine that the older I get the more eccentric my style will become. Because I will give less and less of a damn about what others think!
As an avid thriftier myself, I have to ask - what were some of your more remarkable and favorite thrifting finds?
Oh man, this could fill a novel. Or three! I started regularly thrifting when I was 15 and I've been addicted ever since, which means I've unearthed my fair share of treasures from the dingiest and dustiest of shops. One of my favorite earliest finds was a 1960's swing coat made of a heavy bright green textured wool with giant fake wood buttons. I spotted it in the window of my favorite thrift store in Santa Rosa (where I grew up) and I couldn't believe my eyes. It fit perfectly and cost me only $8 because the owners of the shop thought it was completely ridiculous. And it was, but I loved it so much and I wore it to my high school (this was my sophomore year) on several occasions, which prompted a lot of judgmental staring and pointing. My teachers were totally digging it, though.
Another favorite would be a 1960's cardigan I found in San Francisco six years ago and have been wearing constantly ever since. It's nothing crazy, just a simple little number in the perfect shade of olive-beige that magically goes with everything in my wardrobe. It was probably the best $5 I've ever spent.
What is your favorite dessert?
My grandma's peach pie is a top contender, but I'm also partial to cheesecake and Cadbury cream eggs.
Whether it's a picture of your outfit or bits and bobs around your apartment - the photography on Fancy Fine is awe inducing! What would your advice for strengthening ones photography skills be?
You're a doll, thank you! I went to school for photography (the San Francisco Art Institute) and I've always had a camera or two attached to my hip. I think the best way to become a better photographer is to look at amazing photographs and find what inspires you, and then to just start snapping away constantly.
I was always experimenting and creating funny little photo shoots in high school that involved conning my girlfriends into posing underneath creepy lamp posts in desolate parks or wearing clothing in a swimming pool. The photos weren't anything to brag about but the experience was everything, especially in those days before blogging, Instagram, and all of that. It also doesn't hurt to take a course on the more technical bits of photography, since that will be the foundation of anything you may create!
Describe your definition of a perfect day!
My perfect day would be a leisurely morning involving a delicious brunch with my friends and lots of coffee, followed by hours of flea market scavenging with my boyfriend, a late lunch outside in the sunshine, a trip to a museum in the afternoon, and finally an evening filled with wine, cheese, and karaoke!
And finally, as a former ballroom dancer for 4 years, if you had to choose, what would your favorite dance move be?
Ooh, an excellent question! There was an amazing move I used to do at the very end of a two-step called the "Death Drop," which involved being lowered slowly to the floor by the man, with only one hand holding on for dear life, until I was practically parallel with the floor. It was quite fun after a particularly mellow dance to suddenly bust out this move! I wonder if I could still pull it off...