Friday, May 28, 2010

Off for the Weekend!

This is the husband and I driving home from work. We are stuck in traffic (as usual here in the DC Metro area). I am going to be away from the computer until Tuesday, June 1st. I hope all of you lovelies have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend.

If you are going to be travelling, especially by car, please be careful. If you are going to be grilling, again, be very careful! Also, be sure to take time out to honor the veterans in your life, both living and those who have passed on. My husband served nearly 10 years in the Army Infantry so I will make 'extra sure' how much he is appreciated this weekend. He wants BBQ, so BBQ he shall have!

Take care, girls!

Honoring Those Lost- Memorial Day

Here is a picture showing some of the crew members from the USS Arizona. As we know, the Arizona was torpedoed and sunk during the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. 1777 men lost their lives that day.

On this Memorial Day, Monday, MAY 31st, let us all honor those who have the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation. May we cherish their memory by never forgetting their legacy.

Vintage Advertisement from 1942

This is an advertiesment for Camay facial soap from the March 1942 issue of Ladies' Home Companion magazine. I love the bride's dress and her hair is to die for! I also love to see what skincare and beauty products were available to ladies back then.

Cute Kitty Pic of the Day

Misty, the ruler of the house. Here she is doing her morning ritual of following me downstairs to the kitchen so she can watch me make coffee and breakfast. Now, if I could only get Misty to bring me coffee in bed... lol

My Latest Etsy Find!

Here I am wearing my latest find from Etsy! The husband and I were leaving the office for the day. A storm was also about to come through even though the sun was still shining. Gotta love summer!

Anyway, this black and white houndstooth dress is one of the latest finds I bought off of Etsy in the last month. It purchased it for a total of $36.00 (this included shipping)! This is a new, old stock dress from the 50s that still had the original tags on! I clipped the tags off and saved them. One of the tags was from the store the dress was more than likely was originally bought. It cost $5.99 and then it was on sale for $3.88! I wish vintage still cost the same as back then! I got the dress in the mail on Wednesday and wore it yesterday! I simply took it out of the priority mail package and immediately hung it on a hanger. The dress was clean so I simply sprayed it with a little Febreeze to spruce it up a little. Not only did it fit like a dream, it felt crisp and brand new!

As for finding new old stock or deadstock clothing on Etsy (so much better than eBay), just type in "40s NOS," "40s Deadstock," "50s NOS," or "50s deadstock." You will be amazed how many sellers have so much unworn, vintage beauties for sale!

Happy hunting, girls!

The Vintage Girl’s Guide to Travel

Here I am, in Aruba in October 2007. My husband and I, along with our family and friends, took a seven day cruise to the Caribbean. I remember this was the trip I packed too much! I must have had enough outfits for a month! This was also the trip I forgot many things I needed.

So, when traveling, how does a vintage girl adequately pack her suitcase? In the past, not only did I pack too much, I traveled ‘ignorantly!’ This means I did not check the weather reports and I did not make a list of what I actually needed. In the past, whether I vacationed somewhere warm or cold, I felt I had to pack everything. There have been times where I had to bring two suitcases while my poor husband brought one. As we all more than likely aware, most airlines are now charging for checked baggage. If you are not flying first class, bags can cost $25.00 and second bags are charged $35.00! (You do not want to know how much they charge for oversize items, like skis! Talk about steep!)

Here are some things you must consider:

The destination
The length of stay
The weather
Toiletries and makeup

The Destination:

Where are you going? It is tropical? Are you going somewhere cold? When you are visiting warm destinations, choose clothing that is made of lighter fabrics like cotton or Dacron. Try to stay away from linen because it wrinkles easily. If you know you are going to be swimming, bring two bathing suits. Once wet, bathing suits often take a long time to dry and wearing a damp suit tends to feel uncomfortable. Bring a cover-up and a pair of flip flops (or fabric/ribbon espadrilles) for poolside/beach days. Evening attire in most tropical destinations tends to be more casual. Lighter forms of rayon or heavier cottons are good choices. Think pretty sundresses with boleros. If your hair is like mine, then it will frizz in high humidity! Bring hair scarves and snoods to conceal unruly hair. Also, hair flowers are lovely and totally appropriate! If you plan to do sightseeing, pack comfortable wedges or cute flats. For evening, a pair of peep-toe platform shoes in black is good. Black goes with a lot of things; therefore it cuts down on items.

In colder weather, especially snowy destinations, you will need to be cautious with bulk when it comes to packing. Sweaters take up more room. You may need to rotate clothing. Whenever I travel to Colorado for skiing, I make a clothing list and even an outfit list to help cut down clothing. You can wear things more than once, just mix it up! Bring insulated/waterproof gloves, a wool hat (I usually pin on a vintage brooch to jazz it up), a scarf, sunglasses, and waterproof boots with insulation AND traction. If you are vacationing somewhere with lots of snow, chances are that there will be snow pack and ice in public areas. If you have boots without adequate traction, you will fall. In addition, if you boots are not insulated, your feet will be cold. This is especially true when walking around.

If you ski like me, you will also need to bring base layers and turtlenecks. If you do not have a proper ski jacket, you will need to buy one. Look for a jacket that is insulated, has vents for cooling down, and is waterproof! When trying jackets on, understand that you may need to go up a size because you will more than likely be wearing a sweater and a couple of layers underneath. You need to be able to move, girls! Also, you will need sunglasses or UVB goggles. I know the goggles look silly but trust me, I have tried to wear my vintage cat eye glasses on the slopes but they fog up and I cannot see! This is not good, especially when flying down a mountain on a pair of skis.

On the day you leave for your cold weather trip, bring your ski jacket/winter coat with you on board the plane. Not having your jacket in your suitcase will cut down on bulk and leave more room.

Moreover, regardless of destination, bring sunblock!

Length of Stay:

You need to consider how many days worth of clothing you will need when packing. Pack only for the days you will be gone and bring an extra pair of undergarments in case you get stranded.

The Weather:

Before traveling, check the weather. If they are calling for rain, put a small travel umbrella in your case. Also, if there is going to be a drop in temperature (especially during the evening), pack a cardigan or light jacket.


Try to keep the number of accessories limited. When you create your packing/outfit list, consider which jewelry you wish to match with certain items. You can also rotate pieces as well. The black resin black you wore with the pink sundress will go great with the black and white polka dot halter dress too. Moreover, the rhinestone stud earrings you wore with the black merino wool turtleneck also look fantastic with the cable cardigan and rolled jeans.

Toiletries and Makeup:

The toiletry bag is one of the most important items in a girl’s suitcase! When traveling, keep makeup and personal care items to a minimum. When visiting warm destinations, two must-have items are razors for shaving and sunblock for protecting skin from the sun. Be sure to include your deodorant, toothbrush, paste, and floss! Pack travel-size items of your skincare. If you do not have smaller size bottles, you can buy empty bottle kits for travel at most drug and grocery stores. If you are particular about your hair, you will need to include travel sizes of shampoo, conditioner, and styling products. Most hotels/resorts offer complimentary hair items but I prefer my own. Should you have your menstrual cycle during your trip, you need to supply your personal kit with feminine products. Do not make yourself vulnerable on vacation by needing to find a store! Moreover, if you are going to have your cycle while traveling (ie the plane), be sure to stock your handbag!

If you are like me and wear contacts and/or corrective lenses, you need to keep your glasses, sunglasses, and contacts with you (if you are not wearing them during travel). Here is what I do: before leaving the house, I put my contacts on and I bring my empty lens case and a small travel bottle of lens solution in my purse. Remember, when traveling via air, all liquids in your possession must be under 3 ounces! Most lens solution brands come in travel sizes. Again, keep glasses with you. Do not pack them on the off-hand chance you get stranded due to a cancelled flight or your luggage gets lost.

When it comes to your makeup, again, try to plan looks around your outfits. Do you really need all your shades of red lipstick? Do you need all those shadows? Pack makeup for creating basic looks for day and more dramatic evening look. I find that for me, a pink lipstick, a red one, and a brighter coral shade cover a nice variety of looks. I bring a few neutral shadows for day makeup and maybe a couple of greens and blues for evening styles. Pack mascara, eye primer, brow pencil, face primer, foundation, powder, one neutral blush, concealer, and makeup remover.

Lastly, give yourself ample time to prepare for travel. There is nothing worse than running around at the last minute! Not only are you guaranteed to forget something, you could be late for your flight! Make a packing list and check off items once they have been packed. This will ensure you have all your necessities and it will make your vacation so much more enjoyable.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shoe Find! Madden Girl

Here are very cute pair of vintage-like shoes from Madden Girl! I saw these on a while back. I think I may finally get them! They are currently on sale for $49.46 and they come in black imitation leather, pewter imitation leather, black satin, and black and white zebra fabric. The shoe style name is Karlla and the SKU number is: 7637999

I love the heel shape and the ruffle detail on the vamp! This shoe would look great with evening dresses and pencil skirts!

Find of The Day! Cute Sweater

A while back, I found a great clothing company called Tulle. They have a vintage look to their clothing and the quality is great. Back in March, I got a red a-line sweater knit skirt on sale for $11.50 USD! It goes with everything and fits so well!

In the picture above is a cute scallop knit sweater from Tulle! It reminds me of the sweaters from the 40s! Imagine pairing this with black wide pants or sailor pants! Talk about cute! All you need is red lipstick and a snood!

The sweater is on sale for $33.20 and comes in the blue shown or a marigold yellow. Here is the link:

I am going to keep my eye out for cute vintage finds (for a good price too) for you!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Day

Me and my girl, Misty, after a long day. I am wearing my vintage, 1950s red nightgown and I am about to go start the nightly ritual of taking the makeup off. If you think Misty looks annoyed in this photo, you are right! The only one that can pick her up is her "dad," aka the husband. Typical daddy's girl!

Wearing Vintage at The Office

Here is me leaving the office after a long day of work. I was wearing a chiffon polka dot blouse and a high-waisted pair of wide leg black pants. I am also wearing an off-white, short-sleeve cotton jacket due to the cold temperatures I have to endure all day inside. Despite the fact it has been in the upper 80s here in the DC area, my office building feels like it is 60 degrees! They have the AC up so high all season long! In the summer, it seems like I only get to enjoy the warm weather walking to and from my car.

Anyway, I work for a government contractor specializing in providing security services. Despite my job, I get to wear vintage most days. However, I sometimes have to "tone it down" when I have a meeting or if there are clients visiting the office. Moreover, there are days when the platform heels and vintage frock stay at home and the black Ann Taylor suit is the required look.

I would like to buy some 1940s suits for the office. I have seen many pretty pieces on various sites. I think a nice, charcoal pencil skirt with its matching jacket (complete with nipped in waist) would be very appropriate. Even though I do not watch Mad Men on AMC, I have seen ads for the show and I think the way they capture office attire of the early 60s is just too cool. The 60s is considered "late" for me but I still love the look nonetheless.

I have to say that other than a few modern, "professional" pieces I have seen, I think most contemporary office wear looks flat and boring. I often see ladies out at lunch wearing ill-fitting khaki pants paired with print empire waist tops or women sporting crepe pants that are too long. The clothes are wearing them, not the other way around. I think if us vintage girls have to conform to the office's dress code, then why not accent our suits and pants with vintage touches like an antique brooch, a pair of pearls, or pair of cateye glasses? We can also "jazz up" our professional garb with a vintage blouse worn underneath a jacket or better yet, a vintage jacket matched with a nice pair of black wide leg pants. I have noticed that several places offer higher waist pants and/or wide leg styles. Think Katherine Hepburn!

So, if cannot "get away" with vintage at work, simply add a little vintage flair where you can.

Lastly, how many of you living the vintage life can wear vintage at work? If not, what do you wear instead? Do you have a dress code?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cute Kitty Pic of the Day

Here is my 14 year-old furbaby, Misty, helping me swatch red lippies for you! Even though I say "Misty is helping," she just wanted me to give the lipstick to her so she could bat it around the bathroom floor. Silly girl!

Pearls! A Vintage Girl's Must Have!

Here is a pic of me in my kitchen. I am wearing my pearls with a simple black tee I got at Wal-Mart!

Pearls. Whether they are glass, man-made, cultured, or real, pearls are timeless and a must have for any vintage girl! Pearls make the most casual outfit look polished and chic. Adding a pearl necklace to simple white tee and a pair of high-wasted sailor pants gives your look an "instant upgrade!" Pearls come in many lengths. There is the 16 inch choker strand, the 18 inch princess length, the 32 inch opera length, and the 60 inch rope. Depending on the time of day and what clothing you are wearing, pearls are always appropriate!

The 16 to 18 length are good for simple house dresses and most daytime wear. This length invokes a sense of casual elegance. I often wear my 16 length pearls for the office and for running errands during the day.

The longer lengths are good for evening and even some office attire. It all depends what you wear with it. For example, I have a Majorica 60 inch rope strand that I recently got for my 35th birthday. I can double the strand and create a opera length look that goes wonderful with boatneck style dresses and tops and most cocktail wear. If I triple the strand, I have a 18-20 inch, three strand necklace that pairs well with evening attire and if I wear a simple black suit with a camisole underneath, I am ready for the office. Like most accessories, wearing pearls will depend on your clothing.

Another thing to consider when it comes to pearls is how much you are willing to spend and how often you will be wearing them. I think buying good quality, man-made pearls like Majorica or Carolee are a good choice. Majorica is not expensive like the famous cultured Mikimoto pearls, but it is not cheap either. For example, a 16-inch strand will often cost anywhere between $185.00 to $200.00. The price also depends on the millimeter or "mm" of the individual pearl size. In my opinion, the best pearl size is 8 mm. This is the classic size that is not too small nor too big. Anything over 12-14mm can look too bulky ala "Wilma Flintstone."

As for Mikimoto pearls, unless "money is not object" for you, a 7mm, 16-inch strand will cost about $2,300.00 USD! Take the price for a 32-inch strand and you will pay about $6,000.00 USD! The Mikimoto quality is legendary but their prices are infamously sky-high! I would love to have their pearls but I cannot justify spending that kind of money. So, what is a vintage gal to do?

There are a lot of good imitation, ie "man made" pearls out there. Carolee is a great brand that carries many styles of pearls and their stock can be found at most department stores. These pearls will cost about $55.00 to $200.00 USD. An 18-inch strand made with 8mm pearls will cost about $65.00 USD and a triple strand will cost about $195.00 USD. Carolee offers a lifetime guarantee as well.

The only pearls I do not recommend are the plastic ones or pearls that are painted glass. The plastic type looks cheap and the painted variety will eventually flake and peel.

When it comes to caring for your pearls (man made or not), here are some basic rules:

Do not wash your pearls in jewelry cleaner! EVER! Most soap-based cleansers will destroy pearls. If you need to clean your necklace, simply wipe with a soft cloth and when you are not wearing them, keep pearls safely stored in a jewelry pouch.

Do not wear your pearls when you are applying hairspray or spray perfume! These sprays WILL ruin the pearls' luster and finish! Moreover, it is best to wait 30 minutes after putting on perfume before wearing your pearls.

In conclusion, a vintage girl can never go wrong when it comes to wearing a classic, white pearl necklace! Wear them with elegance and be sure to properly care for them! You will be glamorous for many years to come!

Good Vintage Red Lip Shades

Here is a pic I took last night featuring five swatches of red that are vintage must-haves. Left to Right the shades are:

Nars Jungle Red

Revlon's Love That Red

MAC Russian Red

MAC Lady Danger

Julie Hewett's Belle Noir

Nars can be purchased in-store and online at Sephora. Nars also has a website where you can buy direct. You can find Nars at most higher end department stores. This lipstick retails for $24.00 USD and is the most expensive of the bunch. Second place for higher price is the Julie Hewett lipstick which retails for $22.50 USD. Julie Hewett has her own website where you can shop and find local retailers that carry the line.

Unlike the other four shades, Revlon's Love That Red is not matte. As stated in a previous post, 1940s/1950s lipsticks were not matte because they were made with oils. Therefore, the lipsticks had a very emollient feel on the lips. Women achieved the matte look by blotting the lips with tissue. Like true vintage lipsticks, the Revlon formula has a very creamy and somewhat shiny texture and it has been around since 1951. This product can be found at most drug stores and grocery stores.

Of the lipsticks seen here, my favorites are the MAC. The Belle Noir comes in next for me. I love the gold, vintage like tube and the formula is great but the price is kind of high. However, I am willing to buy more of these lipsticks because the packaging is a huge winner for me. I just wish manufacturers would bring back the vintage style.

So, what lippies are your must-haves?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vintage Reproduction Clothing

This is me in my yard in 2007 wearing a Stop Staring dress. I got it from for $74.00 USD.

In the four years I have been wearing vintage daily, I have seen a lot of websites with vintage reproduction clothing. Sites like,,, and have because mainstays on my bookmarks. Most of the online retailers are great when it comes to selection but their prices are sometimes ridiculous. As a result, I have been frequenting places like Etsy and eBay for the real thing, which tend to be less expensive.

For example, Stop Staring Clothing has some of the most beautiful designs but paying $150.00 dollars for a repro dress made in stretchy poly is, sorry but I have to say it, stupid. Yes, the dresses are to die for but the costs are getting crazy.

Another great retailer is Trashy Diva. Candice Gwinn, the creator, is amazing and she has a good eye for amazing fabrics and perfect lines that flatter the female form. I literally want to buy EVERYTHING! Her dresses are perfection when it comes to vintage detailing and accuracy but the cotton dresses start at $110.00 and the crepe de chine can cost over $200.00! I often try to check out the sale pages but mostly everything in my size is sold out. Rats.

Not only are vintage repro dresses high-priced, many vintage retailers like Posh Girl are selling real vintage that is so overpriced it makes you wonder where their brains are! Earlier today, I saw cute 40s dress with bolero on the Posh Girl site that sold for $299.00! Really? What some of us forget is that even though these are vintage items, they are still used clothes.

When I was in high school, I could walk into a vintage store with my sister and get a whole outfit for under $30.00. That was 17 years ago but still. I bought a grass green boiled wool cardigan from the 50s for $5.00, and a plaid 50s pencil skirt for $20.00! Both items just needed a dry clean to get out the slightly musty smell but that was it! They were flawless.

I think most vintage reproduction and real vintage is targeted at women who buy the occasional piece for an event or just to have something cute and unique in their closet. I, like many vintage girls, wear vintage every day. I cannot build a daily wardrobe with pieces that cost over $100.00 each.

Because of this, I shop for real vintage and reproduction that is on sale. I noticed that has lower prices on Stop Staring. They also ship fast and their customer care staff is always so kind. I also visit Etsy a lot! Last week, I bought a "new old stock" black and white houndstooth dress with matching belt for $30.00! The tags were still on the dress!! With shipping I only paid a total of $36.00! I almost bought a 40s navy-colored deadstock dress for $55.00 but I did not get it. I bought enough last week as it is! I hope some other vintage gal is lucky enough to snag it for herself!

Despite the high costs of some places, you can find good quality vintage that won't break the bank. Even though I have several Stop Staring dresses, I refuse to pay full retail anymore. However, if I find something I like on major discount/clearance, I may get it.

Red Dress Shoppe, Heartbreaker Fashion, Etsy, eBay, www.dandelionvintage,,, and are all good websites that have a wonderful selection and great prices. The first two shops are repro clothing. Heartbreaker is just lovely and Mandie Bee, one of the owners, is a doll. Sign up for the mailing list because the store often has discounts. Dandelion Vintage and Nelda's updates their sites with new stock every weekend.

I will keep you all posted for good quality, good priced vintage!

Making Hair Flowers

This is a picture of me wearing a yellow rose hair flower (silk/fake flower) I made a couple of years ago. When I started buying retro clothing from online stores, I found several sites that sold hair flowers. I bought two for about $6.00 to $8.00 USD. When my package arrived and I opened up my goodies, I looked at my new flowers and realized they were nothing more than a flower attached to a silvertone barrette using a hot glue gun! I said, "Wow! I can do this!" I also thought "Dang it! Why didn't I think of this first?! I could be selling these!"

Anyway, those two cute flowers were the only ones I ever purchased and I must have at least 10 that I have made myself. These are easy to make and they are cheap too!

Here is what you are going to need:

A trip to the craft store

Fake floral picks

A Glue gun

Glue sticks

A package of plain barrettes

A wire cutter

Pot holder

An old towel or sheet

First step is going to the craft store. Michael's is wonderful and AC Moore is even better. I could go nuts in AC Moore. Believe me, I have been known to spend over $100.00 on crafts!

Try to select flowers that look clean and with all their petals intact. Also, buy flowers with leaves attached. You are going to need these in the fabrication of your barrette.

If you do not have a glue gun, buy one. In additon, if you do not have one, you more than likely do not have glue sticks. Get a pack.

The bridal section of most craft stores have multi-packs of plain barrettes. They usually come in a pack of 10 and there are usually different sizes. I find that the two inch barrettes are the best. Now, buying a pack is good because there may be a barrette or two that will not close correctly or you may mess up a flower and need to start over.

Buy your goodies.

When you are ready to start, this is what you do:

Get a an old towel or old sheet and cover your work space. Put a stick into the glue gun and turn on. Set aside and place on top of a pot holder.

Take your flower and turn it upside down. The flower is attached to the 'stem' made with a wire that has been coated with heavy plastic. Look at where the wire and flower connect. Using your wire cutters, cut off the wire stem. If there is a bulbous end that cups the flower, cut the wire just to the edge of this area. DO NOT CUT INTO THIS. THE FLOWER WILL FALL APART.

Using a pair of scissors or wire cutters, cut off a leaf. If you have work gloves (preferably clean), put them on now if you are nervous about using the glue gun. You should be okay but watch how much pressure you apply to the handle. Using too much can cause glue to quickly ooze out and burn your skin! This glue is hot! I have been burned many times by not being careful.

With the flower upside down, apply a small, thin line of glue and then press the leaf onto it. Let cool. Be careful because the heat of the glue can come through. By gluing on the leaf, you are creating more of a flat surface for the barrette to adhere to.

Take a barrette and test it. Open and close it a few times to make sure it's in good working order.

Once cool, squeeze a small, thin line of glue and gently press a barrette onto the glue line. Do not press too hard. Keep flower upside down and set aside. If you are not making other flowers, turn off glue gun and let cool completely before putting away.

When your barrette is cool, you are ready to wear it! Enjoy!

Must Have MAC Brushes

I have been using MAC makeup brushes for at least 12 years. The very first brush I purchased was a 150 powder brush. I bought it along with my beloved Studio Fix Foundation. I came to realize that I had no idea how to use brushes properly nor did I know how much I would come to love MAC brushes once I learned.

When I used the 150 brush to apply the Studio Fix, I hated the result. The powder looked uneven and blotchy. I initially blamed the quality of the foundation and ended up returning it after a few days of use. Years later, I found out that it is not in the makeup, rather, it is in the artist and her tools!

Tools really do make all the difference between good and bad makeup application. Using the wrong brush can ruin your look. Take it from me, I know!

Over the years, I have improved my makeup skills and overall cosmetic knowledge. Not only am I well versed in shadows, lipsticks, foundations, brow pencils eye liners, and mascaras, I have fully embraced my obsession with MAC brushes! This is coming from the girl who actually used the little sponge applicators in her shadow quad!

So, here is a list of must-have MAC brushes! After countless hours of experimentation, I have determined there are "cannot-live-without-them" brushes and "I-can-do-without-them" brushes. However, I am only going to focus on the essentials.

I have categorized the following in the order of Eye, Face, and Lip.

Eye Brushes:

213 - This is called a "small fluff brush" by MAC and it used for applying shadow to the lids. It has a round, slightly tapered shape and it feels soft. Its small shape makes it very controllable.

239 - This brush has white fibers and the overall shape is a bit round. The texture is firmer than the 213. It is used to blend shadow and it is wonderful for the crease.

217 - This is deemed a "blending brush" by MAC. It is made with light-colored fibers and has a firm yet soft fluffy feel to it. I use this for applying light, highlight colors to my brow bone. It is also great for blending shadows to make them look seamless and smooth.

222 or 224- These are tapered brushes with black fibers. They are good for blending but I think they are a must for applying highlight powder to the inner corners of the eyes and highlight shimmer on the top of the nose.

208 - This is a small brow brush with a strong angle. The fibers are light blond with some straw shades blended in. This brush is firm but also has a pliable feel to it. It is wonderful for filling in brows with colored brow wax and brow powder. It is also great for creating 50s cat eye liner using liquid liner.

252- This is a tawny-blond colored brush. It has a rounded square shape and feels firm yet gentle on the eyes. It is ideal for applying Paint Pots, cream to powder shadow, and MAC Paints and MAC Cream Color Bases.

Face Brushes:

109 - This is a small version of the kabuki brush. It has black fibers and a slightly flared, dome shape. This brush is great for applying MAC Studio Fix foundation, mineral foundation, and even blush.

116 - This is a small to medium sized brush with black fibers. The shape is flared and rounded on the ends. This is THE blush brush. Period. I have never used a better one than this. Its shape allows for precise application and the fact it is tapered just makes blush look incredible.

168 - This is an angled fluff brush made from white fibres. It is super soft! I use it to apply contour under my cheek bones. I make a fish face and use this brush with MAC shadow in Kid inside the hollows of the cheeks to create the illusion of better sculpted cheeks.

188 - This is a very cool duo tone brush. It is made with black and white fibers and it feels velvety soft. It creates an airbrush quality when using blush or highlighter. I use this with highlight powder on my forehead, tops of my cheeks, and center of my chin. If my blush looks too heavy, I spritz the 188 with MAC's Fix+ Spray and twirl the brush to gently diffuse the blush and help tone it down.

195 - This is a blondish toned, firm brush with tapered sides and a point. This brush is the ultimate concealer brush! It is firmer than the 194 and this allows for more precise application of cream concealer on blemishes.

150 - My first MAC purchase. This black fibred brush is the largest one I own. It is fluffy yet not too fluffy. This is the best brush to applying setting powder to finish makeup and it is great for applying bronzer and/or shimmer to collarbones.


MAC had a 311 lip liner brush at one point but it was discontinued. It was a small liner brush that came to a point. I still have mine and it is good for applying MAC's Lipmix. I think Japonesque (available at Ulta) makes one similar to this. This is good brush for applying lipstick as a liner but if you prefer liner, then you may not need this brush.

Cleaning Brushes:

When it comes to brush cleansers, I tend not to waste my money. I use baby shampoo. For those brushes that need extra cleaning and/or have liquid liner on them, you can use an oil-based makeup remover like MAC's Cleanse Off Oil or Lancome's BiFacil. When using oil-based removers, first apply them, rinse, and then use the brush cleanser of your choice.

When washing brushes, use warm water. Do not use hot or cold. Pour cleanser into the palm of your hand and gently swirl the brushes. Do not smash or pull on the fibres! You can cause damage and lost fibres. Gently coax the shampoo through the brush in the direction of the fibers and rinse in warm water until the cleanser is gone and the fibres feel soap-free.

As you dry, use a hand towel to dry the handles but squeeze the water out of the brushes in the same direction the fibres go. Reshape the brush gently with your fingertips. Do not towel dry the brush fibers. Again, you can cause damage.

Lay out a clean, dry towel on your sink counter and lay each brush on the towel, allowing space between each one. Do not dry your brushes with the brush head sticking up, ie in a cup or container. This will cause water to collect in the brush where it connects to the handle and over time, the brush head could pop off because the metal and wood will have deteriorated. I learned about brush care and maintenance during the many years as an art student. I figure whether a brush is for makeup or for a canvas, both require the same tender loving care.

If you all have any other must-have ideas regarding brush essentials, let me know! I would love to hear from you!

How to Refill a Vintage compact

I actually have a copy of this 1940s advertisement on my fridge. I love it! I also like how we get to see how much makeup cost and how small the lipsticks were! Even though today's cosmetics are much bigger and the quality is great, the packaging is often too boring for my taste. Sure, I am a MAC Cosmetics fanatic, but their slick, black compacts and black plastic bullet tubes are ho-hum in my book.

I realize that not many people care about what their lipstick tube looks like but I do. I prefer the older styles of most things and makeup is of course one of them. I have been searching for vintage makeup tubes on eBay and Etsy. I bought two vintage Revlon tubes yesterday. I plan on refilling the tubes with two different shades of MAC lipstick; Lady Danger and Russian Red. I also found a great, I mean GREAT tutorial on Va-Voom Vintage's blog last week detailing how to properly clean the tube and refill it with modern lipstick. I am excited!

Not only am I interested in vintage tubes, but also vintage compacts as well. I could sit in front of my laptop all day and search Etsy for compacts! There are so many pretty designs. It is a shame no one makes packaging like they used to anymore. I have seen compacts in shapes ranging from fan shapes, squares, rounds, ovals to rectangles. They are often adorned with lace, gilded lines, florals, and birds. But, here is a question: say I get a compact off Etsy and I want to refill it will modern blot/face pressed powder. How do I do it?

Well, sadly, I have come to the realization that most vintage compacts cannot be refilled with modern powder pans. The contemporary ones are too big. Period. Also, if a compact is oval or fan-shaped, then there is NO way I can refill it, or can I?

I have found a couple of sites detailing how to refill a vintage compact with modern powder. At first I was majorly skeptical. But you know what? This method I am about to share with you actually works! I can say that this 'recipe' is amazing and so easy. I did this last night with an older gold-toned Guerlain meteorites compact I had stashed away in a drawer.

So, here is what you are going to need:

Rubbing alcohol

loose powder or pressed powder

vintage compact (preferably with a metal pan still inside)

cheesecloth or linen cut into a hand-held size

small bowl

butter knife

small condiment spoon

Before you even think about refilling your vintage compact, you need to clean it. If there is any old makeup present, it can harbor dust, bacteria, and potential irritants. Soak a cotton ball or cotton round with rubbing alcohol and clean compact out. Set aside to dry.

In a small, clean bowl, spoon in some loose powder or you can use a butter knife to scrape out your pressed powder from a modern compact.

Using a small spoon, slowly mix in a little rubbing alcohol with the powder until you form a creamy paste. Be sure to smooth out any lumps! Gently mix and scoop into vintage compact pan. Smooth out any irregularities and be sure not to overfill!

Take a cheesecloth or piece of linen and gently press over the compact. Remove. The cloth will create a nice surface look and help smooth powder.

Keep the compact open and allow to dry overnight. Before attempting to use your revamped, vintage compact, make sure the surface is dry by wiping a finger across it. When the compact is ready to use it should feel 'powdery' and smooth.

When carrying your compact in your purse, be careful not to let it bang around. The powder can shatter. If this happens, you have to start all over again and will a fresh batch of powder.

Nighttime Beauty Ritual

Here is me, in bed watching TV, after a long day at work. I have taken out the contacts, washed my face, and gotten into my vintage 40s jammies. Basically, this is me without the makeup. Pretty funny, huh?

So, now that we know how to do a 40s face, here is how to take it off. Remember what our mothers told us? NEVER go to bed with makeup on and NEVER go to bed without brushing your teeth! There were a few times back in college when I did not take the makeup off and didn't brush my teeth. Let me tell you, not only was my pillow a mess, I looked and felt like a mess too! Gross.

One of the best things we can do for our vintage look, is to take care of our skin and teeth. Not only do we take our makeup off and use good oral hygiene, we should use good quality skincare. Besides, what good is makeup when our "canvas" and smile are neglected?

Nevertheless, here are the steps in my nightly ritual:

Remove lipstick and eye makeup with Pond's Cold cream or Lancome's BiFacil. Pond's is cheaper and does not irritate eyes. It gets rid of waterproof mascara and all traces of lipstick. Remove with tissue.

Brush teeth, floss, and if desired, use mouthwash. I use Vanilla Mint Listerine!

Cleanse skin and if needed, use an alcohol free toner.

Apply night cream if needed but always try to apply eye cream. Clinique's All About Eyes is fantastic.

Wearing lipstick, especially matte lipstick all day can dry out lips. Apply lip balm. Rose Bud Salve is wonderful and Aquaphor by Eucerin is great too. I use Eucerin nightly and always wake to soft, repaired, supple lips.

If your hair is still holding its shape and/or you plan to refresh it the next day, comb out any hair product like sprays or gels. Re-roll hair or re-pin and secure with a hair scarf or bandana. (One great product a vintage girl must have in her beauty collection is Tigi's Dirty Secret or Ojon's Dry Shampoo. These are sprays that disperse a fine powder mist that absorbs oils and refreshes hair. These products help save your style, spare your hair from overwashing, and save time! And the sprays make hair smell so nice!)

Also, be sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep! I know it is hard, especially all of us seem so busy but a good night's sleep is vital for our beauty and longevity.

Take care of yourself, get some rest, and beauty will reward you for life!

A 1940s Makeup Tutorial

Getting the 40s look is really not that difficult! Go back 70 years and study the advertisements and color photos from the era. Makeup was clean and simple and the focus was on pink cheeks, red lips, lush black lashes, and well-shaped brows.

I have done some of my own research and found that not only was there no such thing as 'matte lipstick,' but also how eyeshadow was not really used for daytime looks. However, when it came to evening and/or special occasion makeup, eyeshadows in shades of grey and violet were used. As for the lipstick not being what know today as 'matte,' lipstick in the 1940s was oil-based and therefore, it had a sheen once applied. In order to make the lips look matte, ladies would blot their lips with tissue.

So, history lesson done! Now, here is how I achieve my 40s face each day:

After making coffee and breakfast for me and the husband, I take my shower. I cleanse my skin with a gel-based cleanser and after I out of the bath, I use a non-alcoholic toner with a cotton round.

I apply my lifting moisturizer and acne gel. I use La Therapie Skincare and Murad's acne gel.

After tending to my hair, I start my makeup. I start with eyes by applying Too Faced's Shadow Insurance from lids to brow bone. This creamy, beige-toned primer helps shadow last longer, makes it crease-proof, and helps it look more vibrant. I squeeze just under and 1/8 of an inch onto my right index finger and then gently rub my two index fingers together. With my left index finger, I apply primer to my left eye and using my right, I apply to the other eye. I have discovered that a little goes a long way and using too much makes the crease effect worse. Using a MAC 252 brush, I apply MAC's Paint Pot in Painterly (a light beige cream with a slight pink undertone). Soft Ochre is another great neutral-toned Paint pot that is a yellow-based nude.

Using a MAC 213 brush I apply a light, neutral shadow to the lids (MAC shades like Bamboo, Era, Orb, or Yogurt are good). On the crease of my eyes, I apply a light taupe, light brown-based nude shade, or darker beige shadow with a MAC 239 brush (MAC shadows in Wedge, Kid, Soba, Omega, and Soft Brown are excellent choices). They thing to remember is that you are mimicking the natural shadow and light of the eye and therefore, try to use colors that look like your skin tones. For the highlight/brow bone shade, apply MAC's Mylar or Vanilla eyeshadow with a MAC 217 brush.

Now, either using MAC's 217 or 227 brush, softly blend the crease shade to make it look seamless.

Apply foundation primer to the face. I use Lorac's Aquaprime. This primer is oil-free, silicone free, and does not cause any breakouts nor any irritation on my oily, sensitive skin. Other good primers to try are MAC's Prep and Prime Skin Visage in SPF 50 and Smashbox's Photo Finish.

Apply concealer under the eyes and apply foundation. I use MAC's Studio Fix in shade N3 and I put it on with MAC's 109 brush. Now, if you should have any blemishes, apply concealer using a MAC 194 or 195 brush. Be sure to blend and unlike the eyes, try to use a concealer that MATCHES skintone. If you go too light, you can actually highlight problem areas! If using a powder or mineral foundation, apply loose powder on top of concealer under eyes. If using liquid, wait until applying loose powder all over face to set makeup.

Using a brow brush, comb brows and apply pencil to define and enhance brow shape. According to my beloved esthetician, Gina, a good rule of thumb for choosing pencil should be this: if your hair is light, pick pencil shades that are one to two shades darker. If your hair is dark, go for shades that are one to two shades lighter. Going too light or too dark can throw off the balance of your face. 1940s brows had well-defined arches and the shape was not thin (20s/30s) nor big (50s). The shape was balanced with lovely arches.

I use MAC's brow pencil in Strut and I also use MAC's Penultimate brow marker. This brow marker came out after Christmas in their All ages All races All sexes Collection. The general color is a medium-toned, warm-based brown that can be kept light or built up. When I had black hair earlier this year, I found this product to be too warm for my brows but now that I am a redhead again, the shade is perfect. The felt-tipped marker applies very light and you can create the look of natural fibers in the brow. The marker lasts a long time and once applied, it is not going anywhere until you take it off. If you make a mistake, you can remove it using MAC's individually wrapped moistened q-tips. This product was limited edition but some MAC locations may have some in stock. If not, Anatasia Beverly Hills has a brow pen that is similar to MAC's but unlike the MAC marker, it comes in three shades, Universal, Universal Light, and Universal Deep. You can find it online and in-store at Sephora and also at Ulta.

Apply blush to apples of cheeks using a MAC 116 or 129 brush. To find the 'apples,' smile big and apply blush to the 'puffy' parts of the cheeks. Taper the shape as you blend toward the temples/sides of the face. Some good shades are MAC's Pink Swoon, Fleur Power, and Well-dressed. The colors of the 40s cheek were tones of soft pink and lighter shades of bright pink. Caramel, brown, and coral shades were not really used. Depending on your skintone, you can choose a cool-based pink or warm-based. If you are not sure if you are cool or warm, look at the veins on your inner arms. If you see more blue, then you are a cool. If you see green, then you are a warm. If you think you can see both shades, then you may be a neutral. Neutral tones can get away with both colors but we tend to lean either cool or warm.

Apply loose powder to set face makeup and apply black mascara to top and bottom lashes.

Now, there is my favorite part! Lipstick! Unlike the dark wine/burgundy shades of the 1920s, the 1940s colors of choice were bright and vibrant, creamy reds. Depending on skintone, pick a red (no shimmer or glitter) that suits you. I am a neutral that leans cool. I can wear most pink-based and coral-based reds. Yet, tawny reds and brown-based shades look terrible on me. Nevertheless, MAC's Russian Red and Julie Hewett's Rouge Noir are great, neutral reds. MAC's Lady Danger and Julie Hewett's Belle Noir are wonderful orange-based/coral-based reds. Julie Hewett's Femme Noir and Besame Cosmetics' Cherry Red are amazing blue-based reds. For less expensive reds, Revlon's "Love that Red" is a bright, classic red that leans warm. This particular shade was introduced in 1951 and is still going strong. Milani's Velvet Lipstick in Red Carpet is perfectly vintage and the price ($5.29 USD) is good for those on a budget.

Apply lipstick and corresponding lip liner. The liner should blend into the lipstick. It should not look darker. If you want, you can blot lipstick with clean tissue. This will also help lipstick from getting on your teeth.

Now, your makeup is done! Enjoy the day and just be gorgeous!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Betty Grable

Every time I see pictures of 40s era stars like Betty, I feel so inspired. Her hair, her makeup, and her clothes are the epitome of feminine, classic beauty. I have to say that there is no other time period like the 40s when it comes to timeless, girly style. Despite all the changes in fashion and makeup, the 40s will always be in vouge.

Vintage Eyewear

Here is a picture of me wearing my 50s vintage black acetate cat eye glasses. I usually wear contacts but there are days when I cannot be bothered with putting little plastic disks in my eyes. I tend to wear my glasses on 'lazy days' and at night when I take my contact lenses out. I also wear vintage sunglasses during the day when wearing contacts. As for these frames pictured here, I found them for 30.00 USD on eBay about a year ago. I have found many great eyewear finds on eBay but as of late, I have discovered that is the better site for vintage goods, particularly eyewear.

Here are some tips:

When searching for vintage eyewear, read the description and condition stats! Look at the pictures carefully to see if there is any warped plastic, warped metal, flaking paint, missing rhinestones, or missing parts like temples and/or screws.

If you are buying sunglasses and you wear a contact prescription or if your eyes are normal, try to find lenses that are prescription free. If you need a prescription, then the original lenses will not be an issue since you will have them replaced by your optician anyway.

If the lenses show extreme wear and/or are made of older acetate (plastic), you run the risk of having the lenses fail on you. This is especially the case when you need glasses made into your prescription. In order to fit acetate lenses, opticians need to heat up the frames so they can put the lenses in correctly. If the acetate is weak, the glasses themselves could snap! I have experienced first-hand that many modern opticians or optical places will not touch older glasses if they are not in good shape! Therefore, when buying vintage glasses (both indoor and outdoor) that will be fitted with your prescription, look for glasses in excellent condition. If possible, try to find ones that are "new old stock" or "deadstock."

When it comes to pricing, some online auction sites and seller sites like Etsy will have great prices and over-the-top costs. Know your budget. I have seen a few sellers on eBay charge 200.00 USD for glasses and these were glasses with major flaws! Talk about shameful!

When it comes to sizing, take a current pair of glasses you own and read the measurements. You can often find this information listed on the inside of one of the arms. If you cannot, you can measure with a ruler. For the length across the glasses themselves, measure across the entire front. When measuring the length of the arms, take a string and follow the shape of the arm from the area where it is screwed in to the end of the bent part. Compare these numbers to the item's description and try to stick with that figure roughly. If your new glasses arms are too short, if the lenses do not adequately cover the eye region, or if they pinch the sides of your head, then they are more than likely too small. If the opposite is true and the glasses are falling of your face or sliding off your ears, then they are too big.

I hope I am able to help those in need of vintage eyewear! Happy hunting!

Retro Living in a Modern World

When starting this blog, I knew I wanted to do something different. Sure, there are lots of blogs out there already that focus on vintage living. I have found many that are amazing that are full of reviews, tutorials, and tips for shopping. I have read blogs detail how vintage lovers like me are able to wear vintage every day and how hard it is to find certain things. Others also talk about the vintage-themed events they went to, the curtains they made in their Atomic-Era influenced kitchen, and how they studied the costumes in the Notebook and Turner Classic Movies.

I love all of it. I also feel good knowing that I am not the only one out there who loves vintage as much as I do and who chooses to wear it daily. The advent of the Internet has allowed us to connect and to learn from each other as well. I recently learned how to make hair rats on another vintage blog. Talk about helpful! I enjoy pretending to work hard at my desk at the office while I read about the latest finds on Etsy and learn about online shops like Trashy Diva, Re-Mix Vintage Shoes, Baby Girl Boutique, and Lipstick Vogue.

Moreover, despite the fact we vintage fanatics often feel like outsiders in the modern world of boxy, soulless cars, boring clothing, and dull home furnishings, we can take advantage of the benefits the modern world is able to offer us. With the Internet, we can find vintage shops and clothing stores that our town may not have. Finding vintage here in DC can be very difficult and what you do find, aka "Annie Creamcheese," the selection is not that great and what you do find tends to be so overpriced.

Lastly, in this modern time, we can use technology to make our vintage lifestyle for the better. If it weren't for the Internet, I would basically have no vintage clothes, shoes, or accessories to speak of. I sometimes find myself wishing I was born 88 years ago but I think I can get used to this modern life.