Thursday, January 15, 2009


My great-grandpa, Papa, was my hero. I used to sit at the kitchen table with him, listening to his stories about being a Navy Frogman in WWII, and think, "this is what a hero looks like." It wasn't just his time as a Frogman, which entailed dismantling and clearing underwater mines in a time of war, it was his rescue of me and my sisters. My father was in jail and my mom's live-in boyfriend was abusing us, unbeknownst to our family, while mom was working.

I hated most men, despised them and wished them extinct or disposed of. Yet, here I had this amazing man in my life (in addition to my grandpas), with a warm smile and deep, comforting voice who could make me forget about everything, if only for my weekend visit. Every visit, he would take us to the candy store and let us get whatever we wanted - and since we always stole his Wintergreen Tic-Tacs, he would throw a pack of those in, too. We played cards while listening to Patsy Cline and Nat King Cole, and when we played hide and seek, I always hid in his closet and he always pretended not to know where I was. We played outside during the day, doing somersaults and picking citrus from the trees, or sitting on the dock and watching manatee swim by. When I forgot my beloved stuffed panda (Snowball), he made the near hour long drive, just to bring her to me.

Some of my fondest memories are of our time at Moe and Papa's house on the water, in Fort Lauderdale. It was the house that Papa designed and built himself, and I knew every inch of it. I've always said that if I ever come into a lot of money, that will be the first purchase I make. I'd knock on the owner's door and write them a check for whatever amount they required.

The prompting for this collection of memories, oddly enough, came in the form of a coat. While in a thrift store in Florida, I spotted this vintage, red velvet coat. The moment I picked it up, I thought of Papa and felt my face get hot and my eyes well up. Papa's room was decorated in deep reds, with velvet details here and there and silver knights on the wall. It wasn't the sight of, however, that brought me back; it was the scent - that faint but recognizable scent of stiff velvet, that only gets stronger with age. I was afraid to wash it, for fear that the scent would go away and my memories with it. I let it sit, untouched, for a couple of weeks and finally relented, the day before my trip back home. Luckily, the scent is still there, only fainter and less musty. Whenever I wear it, I will think of Papa and how he saved my little heart, countless times.

Outfit details:
vintage velvet coat - thrifted
belt and hat - from my mom
buffalo plaid button down (underneath) - thrifted and reconstructed
grey deep v (underneath) - american apparel
jeans - 4 Stroke
shoes - payless
bag - nine west

This is a rare occasion, when you will see me without makeup. Although, I do have on burt's bees and my brows filled in! I did my makeup once we got in the car.

Taken later in the day, with makeup. Concealer, L'Oreal Beauty Tubes mascara, MAC paint in bare canvas (to keep liner from creasing), MAC fluidline in blitz and glitz, blush and Estee Lauder lipstick in Fig.

p.s. I don't hate men anymore, obviously:)

-Keiko Lynn


  1. that coat is stunning. if i were on the street you would be an amazing site to see!

  2. I am a huge fan of red outfits and you wear it wonderfully! adorable!!
    I love the second picture, with the snow, and you make me jealous for not having snow where I live!

  3. That was such a touching story. And might I say, you look sensational without makeup. Perfect skin and perfect coat/

  4. It's amazing how you can convey such a touching story through a simple article of clothing. And I love your portraits of Bobby!

  5. hi! Do you take your own photos? They always look so professionally set up. Any advice on taking good, self-shots?

  6. Thank you for sharing that story. It's such a nice change to go online and read something so personal, honest, and beautifully written. I wish I was brave enough to be as candid as you!

    Oh, and I have your blog on my "Favorite Blogs" list - just thought I should let you know.

  7. I loved the story about your Papa. I really hope you get to buy that house some day!

    Your lipstick is flawless! And you, lady, are gorgeous. The coat looks bangin' on you!

  8. God I almost cried, this was such a beautiful story ! It's great to have such a man in your life.
    That coat is stunning, and you look graceful in red ! I also like your face without make up, you've got a nice and natural beauty.

  9. I love your coat! It;s amazing! I;ve just discovered your blog. Your make up is so perfect...

  10. i felt the tears fighting to break free as i read through your entry, but i came out triumphant! albeit, barely.

    any story/memory/thought that reminds me of my grandfather (i called him tatang, which means father in ilocano) has the power to bring me to tears within seconds. he's been gone for years & years, but i still miss him so. like you, he was my hero. he showed me that good men do exist & always found a way to make me smile. *wipes tears*

    thank you for sharing this story with us. it was beautifully written and reminded me of days gone by.

    that is a lovely coat! i can't wait to get my coats in the mail in a few days :D

  11. Beautiful coat,equally beautiful and touching memory!

  12. Lovely coat, story and photos! Whenever I'm out thrifting I have to say my favourite part is imagining who the person might've been who used to wear some of these pieces.

    Also, echoing Ninja Jenny's (awesome name!) statement, you're on my favourite blogs list as well!

  13. Aww thanks for sharing such a personal story. I know it can be hard letting "mostly strangers" in a sense, read about your life. I think its good though because I know for me personally, it helps to connect with the person behind the blog. So, thanks :)

  14. How wonderful to have found a garment that will bring your Papa back to you whenever you wear it.

  15. That coat is stunning and I love how well it matches your lipstick (even if you did take the coat pictures without the lipstick, which is totally fine in my book)! That story brought tears to my eyes. Isn't it crazy how smells take us back? I must be one of the few people on this earth who doesn't mind the smell of mothballs because it makes me think of my grandparents and suitcases--which we must fill to fly to see them.

  16. I was SO moved by your story! I lost my grandfather a couple of years ago and it brought back memories of him.

    Isn't it amazing how clothes can bring back memories? Thank you for sharing your story about your grandfather and about your life.

    Also wanted to tell you that I really enjoy reading your blog! I have added a link to it in my blog (Udarata Kella) ... if you don't mind? :o)

  17. beautiful, as usual. and thanks for sharing such a personal story.

  18. what a past you have had.. i admire that you're such an optimistic person, you have a great personality - as far as one can know that through a blog of course.

    also, it must be said: your bf is the cutest thing i've ever seen. i would love to trade him for a day with my own bf - and he's really cute too, has gorgeous curly hairs, you'd love him as well ;)

  19. That's such a sweet, touching story about the coat and your grandpa.
    I have a few items like that... I wish they would just keep their scent forever, because I'm afraid when it's gone, the memories they bring back will also fade.

  20. Lovely coat and lovely story.

    Also, you look perfect with out makeup on!

  21. Amazing, your simply amazing...