Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Fixed Bangs-The Middy Plus

Yesterday, I posted about my not-so-spectacular Middy Plus haircut.  My favorite stylist of three years was out due to an injured hand and I had already rescheduled my appointment the week before. My hair was in snoods to cover the roots and the fact my ends were not longer laying right. I had another stylist in the same salon cut and color my hair. My color was done so beautifully but my bangs were cut with longer sides and a short mid-section. Also, the back section of my hair was cut too straight instead in the standard U shape.

Even though the back section is going to have to wait to be fixed, I went ahead and fixed my bangs yesterday afternoon.

So, my bangs are okay now, but the back needs help. Do I need to wait another 6 weeks to have it fixed (so it can grow a bit) or can my stylist fix it when he gets back in about a week or so?

What do you think, gals?

The Many Charms of Living in The DC Metro Region- Traffic!

Even though this blog's main purpose to share aspects of my vintage life, I thought I would share another element: living in the DC Metro region!

I have lived here in Northern Virginia since 1994. I first came to the area in 1993 to attend George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. I am originally  from Richmond, Virginia. I did not go far but wow, what a difference in lifestyles!

Richmond represents quaint southern charm, rich with Civil War history. The city was once the capital of the Southern Confederacy. Outside the city where I was raised, farms and plush green countrysides make up the landscape.  People say hello to each other and wave at every car passing the house. Neighbors will have conversations with each other from across the street.

Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas, however, are quite the antithesis of the laid-back "Old Dominion."  The federal government is based here along with President, Supreme Court, and Senate.  The national and political news is our local news.  People are lobbyists, contractors, lawyers, government employees, senate staffers, and military personnel. Due to the heavy concentration of the federal workforce, there are a LOT of people here. And as a result, there is a lot of traffic!  Did you know that the DC Metro Region is number 2 in the country for worse traffic? Whoo-hoo! I am so proud!

The above photo was taken at 5:03 pm. See the time on my car's console  pictured below?
This is me, not moving:
Here is my exit! The traffic was actually moving faster today. It was still bad but me and the other cars were moving a bit!

I think people are still out of town for summer vacation because the traffic was not as painful. School starts next week and I know the roads are gonna be bad!

So, how is the commute where you live?

(Not So) Vintage Atomic Era Barkcloth Fabric!

This beautiful, atomic-era, vintage barkcloth is now mine! I found 2 yards of this glorious fabric on eBay last week for $42.00 USD (price includes shipping costs). I was so excited when I got home from work yesterday and saw the package on the porch!

The fabric is heavy and feels so crisp and new! I am going to make pillows and curtains for my TV/fireplace room! I am so jazzed! However, I am a little nervous to use it since I need to measure out the right amount of fabric and use the yardage wisely! I have to be careful not to waste it since I can't go out and get more.

So, have any of you ladies bought vintage fabric? What did you make? How was the experience? And, do you have any suggestions or tips when it comes to working with vintage, one-of-a-kind fabric?

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Middy Plus Haircut (The High and Lows)

So today at 9:30 am, I went to my salon for a much-needed trim and color touch-up on my roots. Unfortunately, my stylist of three years, Corry, was unable to do my hair. He cut his hand while boating with friends yesterday and he had to get stitches. He is okay but he will be out of work for a week.

The salon tried to contact me in order to inform me of Corry's demise but I was away visiting family. Thankfully, another stylist was able to take me and do my hair. Part of me wanted to wait but my roots were really obvious and my hair was no longer curling well.  As a result, I have been wearing snoods for the past week.

Even though I have never worked with this stylist before, I know her and she is super nice. Her clients' color and up-dos always look amazing.  She did a great job on my hair color and highlights but when it came to my Middy Plus, I am not sure it went as well.

Last time I had my hair cut, Corry gave me a Middy. My longest length was about 3 and 3/4 inches and this time around my longest length was just shy of 5 inches. The sides are to be cut 4 inches and then 3 inches by the ears.

After my hair was colored, shampooed, conditioned, and rinsed I gave the stylist the Middy Plus diagram print out above. She studied it a bit and let said, "Okay" with a smile. As my hair was cut and styled with the blow dryer, I thought my hair did not look quite right. I mean, my hair wasn't " angst-worthy" or "I hate it and now I am going to cry-worthy." Instead, something felt "off."

For one, my bettie bangs were cut with longer sides instead of the middle section being longer with shorter, curved sides.

Secondly, the back/bottom section of my hair, i.e. the nape of my neck, didn't have that distinct "U" shape. It seems more like a wide arch or a "C" on its side shape.

This is the front (after I went home and fixed my bangs. I  think I need to trim more on the right side):

This is the side:

This is the back:
I am not sure but the back, bottom section is bothering me. Maybe I need to see how it looks wet.

Next time my stylist is out of commission, I am going to wait. I will wear snoods and hair scarves until my appointment.  He knows my hair well and I should be patient and stick to who knows my hair best.

So, what do you girls think?

Atomic Transfers Giveaway! And the Winner is..........

Last week, I presented my very first blog giveaway featuring 2 sheets of rub-on atomic transfers. The giveaway ending yesterday, Sunday the 29th and today we have a winner!

I had a total of 18 entries. I printed the names out and cut them into strips and placed them in my wooden craft box I decorated with leopard print tissue paper and a cut-out of my favorite pin up, Betty Grable!
I closed the lid and gave the box a shake:
I took off the lid and reached in for a name:
And the winner is!:
The lovely Atomic Mama of Nifty Thrifty Retro Mama!

So, thank you all for participating in this first giveaway! I will be doing another soon!

So, Atomic Mama, please contact me at tara@progllc.com with your address so I can send you these fabulous transfers!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How Much is "Too Much" When Buying Cosmetics?

As a self-confessed red lipstick addict, I can safely say that I will often go out of my way to find the 'best shade.' Before I invest in a product, I read reviews and hunt for swatches online. I will also swatch several colors in the store before I pick that "one." Whether a lipstick costs $2.99 USD or $30.00 USD, if the color wows me, I will buy it. But I have been thinking: how much is too much for makeup? $45? $50? $60? More?

This year, designer and perfumer Tom Ford released his highly-anticipated "Tom Ford Private Blend" lipsticks. These lipsticks boast high-color payoff and a luxurious silky texture. The collection includes bright and deep colors with sultry names like Cherry Lush and Smoke Red. Even that white and gold case is sexy! But the price is a steep $45.00 USD! For 45 bucks I can buy four MAC lipsticks using the 30% off discount I get with my MAC Pro membership! Better yet, for $45, I can buy a pretty vintage dress or a Salem North Star place setting for 4!

Moreover, Cle du Peau (a luxury cosmetic line by Shiseido) is known for their high prices. Their foundation costs $110.00 USD and their new Extra Rich lipsticks cost a whopping $60 USD! All the reviews for this lipstick have been glowing. I really would like to try the Red Abundance color (an intense, bright warm red cream) but the idea of shelling out the cost equivalent of two Chanel lipsticks is hard to justify. If the color and quality are amazing, is a lipstick really worth that much?

So, what do you think? Do you have a limit? If a lipstick/beauty item is worth its high price tag, do you buy  it?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Sometimes Lost Art of Customer Service

So, I try to keep my blog super positive and happy but today, I need to vent but just a little.

Last night, I visited my local Sephora in the hopes of finally buying the Rouge Artist Intense #42 satin lipstick by Make Up For Ever. Last week on my lunch break, I went into the store and saw the tester display showing all 50 colors. However, the store only had about 40% of colors available for purchase. I asked one of the sales associates when the rest of the colors were coming in and she informed me the store gets their shipments on Tuesday. I thanked her and left.

Well, last night I was very disappointed. Not only were the lipsticks' stock still incomplete, the two sales associates I had the misfortune of interacting with left a bad taste in my mouth. I was polite on the outside, but I was literally fuming on the inside!

As I was looking for the #42 shade, a male associate said "Hello and welcome back." He asked me if I needed anything and as I was asking, "Do you know when the rest of the stock is...." He just walked away in the middle of my question.  He simply walked off and helped someone else. I was appalled.

When another sales associate came by, I asked her the same question and she said, "We did get the shipment but it is in the back and we are not sure if the shade you want is even in there." I simply responded with, "Okay, thank you." I was nice and patient but I wanted to scream.

Unlike the first associate, the young woman was polite but she really did not seem interested in helping me further. She could have said, "Please check back tomorrow or if you like, one of us can call you if your desired shade is here and we can then hold it for you."  I worked in retail and customer service for many years and I did this often for customers.

I am just baffled by the lack of service at this Sephora. There are some wonderful associates I have interacted with there but most of them seem "out to lunch."

However, at the larger Sephora location in Tysons Corner (which is further away), the associates there are all AMAZING! They are helpful, kind, and you can tell they love what they do. From now on, I am only going to the Tysons location or the one in New York or Vegas.

So, if this happened to you, what would you do? Have you ever had a bad customer service experience?

Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick Review #3- Satin #43 (aka Moulin Rouge)

This is my third post/review of the new Rouge Artist Intense lipsticks from Make Up For Ever. They retail for 19.00 USD and can be found at Sephora locations and online. These lipsticks boast 50% more pigmentation than most lipsticks. They are long-lasting, come in 50 shades, and they have three different formulas: pearl, matte, and satin.

My first review was for the #21 bright red pearl and my second was for the creamy, satin #45, a blue-toned scarlet red.

This review is for the satin #43 or the "Moulin Rouge" shade. This color was apparently created with the famed Moulin Rouge in Paris. Although the Moulin Rouge name is a limited edition promotion for Fall 2010,  the shade is permanent.

The color is a true, bright neutral red. It has a blend of both cool and warm tones. In a certain light, I detected a slight a blue undertone. However, when I swatched the #45 right next to the #43, the latter was definitely warmer.

The texture is creamy and soft, but it is not "wet" or "slidey." The Rouge Artist Intense satins have a good balance of slip and grip when they are applied to lips. The satins are indeed long-lasting but they are not "iron-clad." I need to touch-up every couple of hours and after eating.

The pigmentation is very intense. One swipe of color is all I needed for total opacity. I also noticed that when I used cold cream to clean off my arm swatch, I could still see color left behind.

Here is the #43 swatched on my right inner arm:
Here is me, wearing the #43, earlier today (I am also wearing my new green, hand-knit snood!):
If you desire rich, intense color with a creamy finish that lasts, then I cannot recommend Rouge Artist Intense enough!

Atomic Transfers Giveaway!

Calling all crafty, vintage girls! To thank all of you who follow and comment on my blog, I am doing my first giveaway! I present to you the "Atomic Transfers Giveaway!"

I have posted two projects using these sheets. Each sheet has about 16-17 different transfers. You can apply them on glass, ceramic, wood, plastic, tile, and mirrors.  With these transfers, decorating your vintage home is a snap! No need to visit the antique mall or browse Etsy! Now you can make atomic wares yourself!

The giveaway will include the two sheets pictured. There is a wooden applicator included and directions are on the back of each package.

To enter, just follow my blog (if you don't already) and leave a comment on this post. The giveaway will end Sunday, the 29th of August. I will draw the entries and announce the lucky winner on Monday, the 30th.

The winner will be asked to e-mail me so I can mail them their brand new transfers.

Good luck and have fun!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Do You Like 1980s-Made "40s Clothes?"

This is a 1980s-made, "40s dress" on Etsy right now.  Even though it looks okay, there is a part of me that sees my mom. I do not get a 40s vibe at all.  All it needs is a pair of tan Underall pantyhose, white socks, and a pair of white Reeboks. As a girl who grew up in the 80s and wears 40s and 50s vintage daily,  I have tried to browse the 80s, '40s-inspired' dresses to see if anything strikes my fancy but I just see 80s and nothing even close to a 40s look. Maybe I am being silly.

A lot 1980s dresses, especially from 1985 and beyond, had longer lines like the 40s. They were made with polyester and in prints like geometric waves or paisley. Shoulder pads were in and boy, were they big! Buttons were big too.  Belts were made of silky fabric with round buckles and some belts made with a heavy stretch material adorned with a plastic seashell or oval buckle. Right now as I type this, I can hear "Head to Toe" by Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam.

I guess I am a '40s/50s purist' because something about "70s does 40s" or "80s does 40s" just bugs me. Maybe because I lived in the 70s and 80s I am biased. I do not want to relive shoulder pads, L'Eggs, Reebok Hightops, acid-washed and zipper ankle jeans, and polyester designers like A. Byer, Kasper, and Jonathan Martin.

So, when you are browsing for your 40s, do you ever buy 70s or 80s clothing with '40s inspired looks?'

Atomic Trivet Using Rub-On Transfers

This is another project I did using the atomic rub-on transfers that I bought from Michael's Crafts. I recently did a post showing an atomic wood step stool I made using the transfers and blue spray paint.

The original tile on this trivet had a San Francisco street scene on it but it broke when my friend's toddler got a hold of it. I was left with an empty metal frame, but not to worry. I went to my local hardware store and bought a plain white ceramic square tile.

When I took the tile home, I swiped the surface clean using a cotton square soaked with rubbing alcohol. Then I applied the transfers and sealed the design my coating the entire surface with a clear varnish.

These transfers can be put on metal, tile, ceramic, glass, wood, and plastic. They cannot be put on items that will get wet or be washed. These transfers are best left for decorative pieces.

I Am Now I "Snood Snob" Convert!

This is me, wearing my new black snood that I bought from Arthelia's Attic on Etsy.com! I bought two others in warm red and green. I found out about these fantastically made, beautiful snoods from Brittany of Va Voom Vintage! Here is the link:


Like Brittany, my first snoods were made of rayon. I bought mine from vintage clothing shops and online stores that sold vintage repro clothing. The rayon weave has the tendency to droop over time and it can even shred, causing little strings to hang out. Not a pretty sight, let me tell you! Since my hair is still on the shorter side (I have an original length Middy), the bottom of the rayon snood looks "flappy." If I had longer hair, this droopiness would be more "filled out."

However, with my new hand-knit snood, my shorter hair is not really an issue. The knit-weave is tighter and lays nicer on the head. The elastic band that encircles the snood's opening is also not as tight as the rayon version. Unlike the rayon, these knit snoods do not want to slip off! They fit well and feel secure without being too small in the band. The fit is perfect.

I am so happy with my new snoods! I will never go back to the rayon ever again! So, like Brittany, I am a now "snood snob!"

If you are looking for gorgeous, elegantly made snoods for your vintage wardrobe, be sure to visit Arthelia's Attic!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Guacamole Saturday! (With Recipe)

Red velvet cupcakes, fudgy chewy brownies, martinis, malbec, brie, French baguettes, Indian samosas, and guacamole are just a few of the things on my  "cannot resist" list! Guacamole is a passion of mine and if it is not made right, I get very sad. I have been to several Tex-Mex restaurants that get it just right and those that do not. The best guacamole I have ever had the joy of experiencing was in Denver at La Loma. Their margaritas as also amazing!

In all the years I have been a "guac aficionado," I have never made it until earlier this year. I found several recipes online that ranged from the inedible, the "so-so," the "what-did-I-do-wrong?" to the "I finally got it right!"

So, this past Saturday afternoon, after cleaning house, doing laundry, and helping the husband pack for his business trip; I decided to call it a day by making guacamole. After creating my tomato and cilantro-studded bounty, the husband and I drank cocktails and snacked as we watched "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" on TV.

For those out there that love guacamole as much I do, here is the best recipe I found:

You will need:

3 soft-ripe Haas avocados
1 lime
1 medium red tomato diced and seeded
1 half of a small-medium white onion diced
1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
2 jalapeno (I know I am missing the tilde) peppers diced and seeded
5/8 teaspoon of rock salt or Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1. Gently remove outer skin of each avocado by taking a knife and piercing the "flesh." Open a seam in the skin, moving around the middle of the avocado. The outer skin should come off in two halves. Carve out the stem end and discard along with the skin.

2. Using a large spoon, gently scoop the soft avocados into the bowl and discard the round pits.

3. Cut the lime in half and squeeze each half onto the avocados.  Gently fold in juice to coat. The lime juice not only adds to the flavor, it helps prevent the guacamole from turning brown.

4. Take a potato masher and smush avocados until they look smoother yet still a bit chunky. You do not want guacamole "paste."

5. Fold in salt and cumin.

6. Fold in tomatoes, cilantro, onion, and jalapenos (again sorry for the lack of tilde).

7. Let guacamole sit for about 30 minutes before serving. The flavors need to develop.

8. When ready, serve with tortilla chips.

Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick Review # 2- Satin #45

This is my second review for Make Up For Ever's new Rouge Artist Intense lipstick ($19.00 USD). In my first post, I reviewed satin lipstick number 21 (a pearl), a bright red shade infused with a soft shimmer.

I have to say that Make Up For Ever (MUFE), really has struck gold with this lipstick! As stated previously, Rouge Artist Intense comes in 50 different shades ranging from nudes, pinks, reds, browns to purple and black. It also has three formulas; matte, satin, and pearl. The color is very pigmented and the texture is quite creamy. Unlike most creamy lipsticks, Rouge Artist Intense's satin formula does not slide off the lips or feel greasy. I would say it has a good balance of slip and grip.

After falling head over heels for my first shade, the pearly 21, I ordered two satin reds (#45 and #43) from Sephora.com.  When I swatched various satin reds on the back of my hand in the store, the colors were amazingly intense and felt moist but not "wet." As much as I would have loved the vintage-esque red matte shade, #8, I cannot wear it! It is so drying! The lipstick bullet literally dragged on my lips as I applied the color. I think the mattes could be better suited with a clear gloss on top to counteract the parched texture.

I am going to review the #43 satin red in another post. Now, I will review #45 satin red.

The 45 satin is a very blue-based red that is classic vintage! The color is bright yet the blue undertones make it slightly deeper in color. The overall hue is very cherry-toned and the color makes teeth look super white. For those familiar with MAC lip pencils, MAC's pencil in Cherry is a spot-on match for the #45.

The texture is creamy and soft. The color slides on so well with no drag. Like I said earlier, the satin formula is indeed creamy as heck, but it is not wet. I did not feel like I needed to blot. One swipe/layer of color is all I needed. The color is bold and pigmented.
This is the bottom of my two Rouge Artist Intense Satins.

This is a swatch of the color on my inner right arm.
This is me, wearing the 45 satin red. I am sorry I look so tired!
So, if you are looking for creamy, long-lasting, and highly pigmented range of vintage-looking red lipsticks; then maybe the Rouge Artist Intense colors are for you!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

1940s Inspired Footwear Guide

Inspired by some of the comments on today's vintage outfit post, I decided to show off my black leather Delman platforms. I bought these in late 2007 from Zappos. I paid $180.00 USD. I know that is a steep price but these shoes are worth it! They are very vintage-looking, they go with many different looks, and they are comfortable.

All of the heels (and wedges) in my closet are modern-made. I have no 'real' 1940s heels but I do have two pairs of 40s and 50s vintage saddle oxfords. I would love to find a good condition pair of size 7, 1940s wedges/heels but most of what I find is usually cheaply priced but falling apart or shoes in pristine condition that cost over 200 USD. Since I cannot build a time machine and go back to 1942 to go shopping, I do what most girls do: I look for vintage-inspired shoes that are modern-made.

So, when shopping for 1940s-inspired shoes, here are some key characteristics that you need to look for:

1. A wedge heel (it can be low 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches all the way to 4 inches tall)
2. A thick, stacked, or "Cuban" type heel (usually 3, 4, or 5 inches tall)
3. A platform design
4. An open  toe or "peep toe" style
5. A slingback strap like the shoe above
6. An ankle strap
7. Cutouts (especially in the toe box area)
8. A bow on the vamp
9. Perforated leather or suede (i.e. small tiny holes throughout)
10. A slip-on oxford or lace-up shoe with a stacked heel
11. For wedges, the material can be leather, cork, woven straw, or braided rope

So, vintage girls, what am I forgetting? What characteristics are must for your 1940s-inspired footwear?

Making Atomic-Era Inspired Wood Crafts!

This is one my latest craft projects! An atomic-era step stool for my kitchen! Being only 5'3, I often have trouble reaching the higher shelves in my cabinets so I decided to go to Michaels Craft Store to get supplies to make my own 50s creation! Not only is the finished product functional, it looks perfect in my atomic kitchen.

As I was browsing the wood craft section of the store, I found an unfinished wood stool. It is about 11-12 inches long and about 7-8 inches wide. It stands about 6 inches tall.

I went over to the paint section and got a can of indoor/outdoor Krylon Acrylic Spray Paint in the color "Blue Ocean Breeze." It retails for $5.99 USD. Then I went over to the decals, stickers, and transfers aisle and I picked up a sheet of atomic-looking rub-on transfers for $2.99 USD.

I bought my goods and I went home. I went outside to my back deck and I set down a huge layer of newspaper to protect my work space. I shook the can of aqua blue paint and I sprayed the stool in sections, allowing time to dry between each section/coat. When the stool was dry, I cut out one of the rub-on transfers and I placed the sticky side of the transfer onto the stool's surface. Using the small popsicle-like stick provided, I rubbed the transfer until it completely pulled away from the sheet. After the transfer was on, I gently pressed it down with my fingers to ensure all of the design adhered correctly and completely.

I took the stool back outside to the work area and I sprayed a coat of Krylon Crystal Clear Coat ($5.99 USD) to seal the paint and the transfer. The stool was left to completely cure/dry overnight and presto! My atomic stool was done!

Today's Vintage Look

I apologize for the tiny picture and the look on my face! I look too serious! I was in the mall getting some skincare at Sephora and on the way out to the parking lot, I decided that one of the the full-length mirrors would show my outfit better. Earlier this morning, I tried taking a photo in my bathroom and it came out bad!

Anyway, this is one of my more professional-esque vintage looks (I was on my lunch break). I am wearing a 50s vintage yellow rayon blouse with a lace detail. I bought this blouse at a vintage clothing boutique in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia on Father's Day weekend. I paid 20.00 USD for it.

I am wearing a yellow camisole from Old Navy underneath the blouse since it is sheer. I paid about 5.00 USD for the camisole (it was on sale). The black pencil skirt is a high-waist design with a side zipper. I found it browsing the racks at Forever 21 about a year ago and it cost about 17.50 USD.

My shoes are black leather, slingback 1940s-esque platforms with a stacked, thick heel. I found these on Zappos over two years ago and I paid about $180.00 USD. The shoes are still in great condition which is good because I wear them a lot. I feel that if I am going to pay top dollar for shoes, they should be good quality and a style that will go with everything. The highest I will pay for shoes is $200.00 USD. I almost bought a pair of black patent Gucci wedge platforms at Neiman Marcus. They cost $620! I realized I was being impulsive! I was also in Vegas so I think all the glamour and glitz was getting to my head!

My bag is late 50s/early 60s vintage. I bought this lovely on Etsy and I paid about $13.00 USD. The bag is cream and taupe basket weave style that features a tortoiseshell-colored lucite clasp. My necklace is a 1950s, three-tiered style made with yellow plastic beads and off-white faux pearls. I bought this during the same Fredericksburg trip and I paid about $8.00 USD.

My hair was done the day before and I simply sprayed on some dry shampoo and recurled a few sections. I put in a couple bobby pins,  put in a hair flower, sprayed with hairspray, and I was out the door.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Latest Vintage Buys

Over the last two weeks, I have purchased some new vintage goodies. I also bought three hand-knit snoods from a great seller on Etsy. Brittany over at Va Voom Vintage recently showed off her pretty snoods from the same seller and I knew I had to ditch the rayon "cheapies" for the quality yarn snoods! I have not gotten them yet but as soon as I do, I am going to post pictures.

Nevertheless, here are the latest goods:

A 50s vintage pearl and shell sweater guard. The ends grip my cardigans super tight! I love the delicate look!

A barely worn, plaid, 1950s house coat that I bought for 15.00 USD!

A super bright orange, boomerang shaped ceramic ashtray (looks never used!). I do not smoke but it is so cool to display in my living room!

A fabulous pink and gold ceramic starburst tray! Is this atomic heaven or what?!

A mottled green bakelite spacer that I got for 24.00 USD

Vintage Movie Fun- "Dance, Girl, Dance"

Last night, my husband was out for a business dinner and I stayed home and ordered sushi. After picking up my food, I went home and watched one of the Turner Classic Movies recorded on my TiVo. "Dance, Girl, Dance" was released in 1940 and starred pre-"I Love Lucy" (and blond!) Lucille Ball as "Bubbles" and a young Maureen O' Hara ( How Green Was My Valley, The Quiet Man, and The 1960 version of the Parent Trap) as Judy.

Bubbles is a tough-talking, burlesque dancer who would do anything for fame and money. Judy is a gentle, kind-hearted, Irish girl who hopes to be a ballet dancer. Both girls started out as dancers in a burlesque hall in Ohio and after the hall is raided and shut down by police, they make their way to New York to find their dreams.

Throughout the movie, Judy and Bubbles, find their friendship falling apart due to their different styles of dance and because they are trying to win the affections of a recently-divorced rich man, Jimmy.

After a New York burlesque talent scout selects Bubbles to be the latest star of Broadway, she becomes Tiger Lily White and is the toast of the town. As Bubbles makes the papers and is decked out in jewels and furs, poor Judy struggles to find a ballet company that will take on as a ballerina.

The movie is full of vintage fashion, dance, music, romance, and heartbreak. I love Maureen O'Hara's hair in this film, especially when she dances the hula for the talent scout.

An interesting note, this movie is considered to be a "B-movie." Granted, it is no "Casablanca," but it is a good story nonetheless!

The Pentagon- The War Era and Beyond

This is the Pentagon, located in Arlington, Virginia. The 5-sided building sits less than a mile away from Washington, D.C. I live about 20 -25 minutes (depending on traffic) west of the Pentagon and I often pass it by as I drive into D.C. for shows, dinner, or shopping. The part of the building faces Interstate 395 and it is literally across the road from Reagan National Airport and the Potomac River.

In mid 1941, the number of War Department employees, both military and civilian, rose to 24,000 in the Washington, D.C. Area alone. Personnel worked in seventeen different buildings and the number of workers was expected to reach 30,000 by 1942. The Quartermaster Corps’ Construction Division, was responsible for creating office space for the workers. Now, bare in mind, all of this was taking place before the United States declared war in December 1941, after it the US Navy Fleet was attacked in Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii on the 7th of that month.

The government considered designing temporary facilities, but Brigadier General Brehon B. Somervell from the US Army Corps of Engineers had other plans. In July 1941, General Somervell contacted Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Casey and civilian architect George E. Bergstrom. He told the men that he wanted designs for an air-conditioned building that could hold 40,000 employees in a space of 4 million square feet. Due to the height limits specified in the Washington, D.C. building codes, the building could not be higher than four stories. Lieutenant Colonel Casey and his team presented a design that detailed a creation of a five-sided building. The War Department and the Secretary of War approved the building’s design. Eventually, President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress passed a defense appropriation bill that contained a 35 million dollar proposal for the new War Department headquarters.

During the months after the the Pentagon's plans were approved, the building's designs went through several changes, including the proper location for it. Lieutenant Colonel Casey and Mr. Bergstrom initially proposed that the new facility be placed between Arlington National Cemetery and the Memorial Bridge (the bridge spans the Potomac River and connects Arlington National Cemetery with the Lincoln Memorial in D.C.)

However, a few federal agencies and citizens felt the proposed location would block the view between the Lincoln Memorial and the Cemetery. After considering the public's negative response, President Roosevelt selected the building's current location.

Mr. Bergstrom along with fellow architect David J. Witmer created plans that featured reinforced concrete and five inner “rings” of connected rows that were separated by light wells and connected by radiating corridors. The final design had five stories, instead of the proposed four and it also had a six-acre, open courtyard in the middle of the facility. The architects' plans also boasted several ramps, escalators, a shopping area in the first floor, taxi and bus areas, and parking areas large enough to hold 8,000 cars. The ground of the Pentagon was broken on September 11, 1941 and construction began in October of that year. General contractor John McShain oversaw construction work. Most of the building was completed in July 1942 and it was officially dedicated in 1943.

After the war ended, the War Department eventually was changed to the Department of Defense. After 60 plus years, the Pentagon still remains as the “epicenter” of the military and its defense operations.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, exactly 60 years to the day after the Pentagon's ground-breaking ceremony, American Airlines Flight 77 left Washington Dulles airport bound for Los Angeles and then it was highjacked by terrorists. At 9:37 a.m., Flight 77 slammed into the western side of the building. 64 passengers on board the plane and 125 Pentagon employees were killed.

In August 2002, the repairs to fix the damaged section of the Pentagon were completed. Despite the years and the trauma of the September 11th attacks, the Pentagon still stands strong. It is truly a testament to the dedicated workers who built her and the American military that houses her. May the Pentagon ever thrive the ages.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pin Curl Guide from the 40s!

Pin Curls. They are the backbone of most vintage hairstyles. I have always had trouble with them. However, Brittany over at the amazing Va Voom Vintage Blog did an outstanding, fabulous tutorial showing the proper way to do pin curls! As soon as I go to Sally Beauty supply to get some more pin curl clips, I am going to finally try do pin curls again. When I attempted to do a set about a month ago, my hair was an absolute disaster! Not only was the curl going in all directions, I had these little "hook end" bits at the end of each curl. What I really have difficulty with is knowing what direction to spiral the curls in and how to place them on my head.

So, I was really pleased when I found Brittany's tutorial and then this online photo showing curls for a lovely 40s style! It really illustrates the proper directions that curls should go in! It also shows thickness of each curl and placement on the head.

I am excited now to try pin curling again!

The Tale of Tokyo Rose

Tokyo Rose” was a name coined by American Forces fighting in the South Pacific during the second world war. The name applied to approximately 12 English-speaking Japanese women who broadcasted pro-Japan propaganda over the radio. The goal of the broadcasts was to destroy American morale. American servicemen listened to the broadcasts to better understand Japan's motivations and to learn their 'code speak' in an effort to improve their tactics against the Empire.

On the homefront, rumors spread that “Tokyo Rose” was shockingly knowledgeable in naming specific American outfits and units and also naming individual servicemen. However, those claims were never founded.

The name "Tokyo Rose" is most strongly associated with Iva Toguri D'Aquino. She used the moniker "Orphan Ann" during “ The Zero Hour” on Radio Tokyo or NHK. The program featured skits and pro-Japanese news reports along with popular music. Toguri's supporters have suggested that other announcers like American Ruth Hayakawa and Canadian June Suyama were possibly the real Tokyo Rose. Despite the fact that other women seemed to better fit the description of the famed Tokyo Rose, journalists and officials from the US Foreign Broadcast Information Service stated that "Orphan Ann" was as the woman "servicemen refer to when they speak of Tokyo Rose." Regardless of their findings, the Information Service stated that the name Toyko Rose represented an anti-American, underground movement as a whole and not one person.

After the Japanese surrdender in 1945, Toguri was held for a year by the American military before she was let go due to the lack of evidence. Officials from the Department of Justice released a statement that regarded Toguri's broadcasts as “innocuous." However, the Federal Bureal of Investigation renewed its case against her and she was charged with eight counts of treason in 1949. At the conclusion of Toguri's trial, she was convicted on one count. In 1974, a group of journalists discovered that key witnesses had lied during the trial and Toguri was given a Presidential Pardon by President Ford in 1977.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kitty Photo of the Day

This is Misty, the 14 year old persian, basking in a sunbeam this morning. She is a brat at times but she is my sweet 'baby.'

Behold The Latest in The World of Lipstick: Rouge Artist Intense!

Like most vintage girls,  I think red lipstick not just a must-have, it is an obsession! Since I started wearing it 18 years ago, I have worn many shades, many brands, and many textures. From Revlon to Chanel, I  I have tried every variation, creation, and formulation. I love MAC red mattes but I have 'been there and done that.' Revlon reds, as much as I have tried, are too often wet in formula or off in color. Chanel is too expensive for often a lackluster shade range and texture. And while Nars comes close to lipstick heaven, I feel like I have worn out the few colors I like.

However, there is a "new kid in town" and her name is Rouge Artist Intense ($19.00 USD). This brand-spankin' new range of 50 shades is from Make Up For Ever and boy-oh-boy, the reds are just GORGEOUS!  According to the company information, these lipsticks have 50% more pigment than most formulas and they are long-lasting.

I have been waiting excitedly for this line to come out and when Sephora finally released them, I literally raced over to the nearest location. Sadly, the Sephora closest to my house only had one color on display (the Moulin Rouge color) and according to one of the sales associates, the rest were in the back in boxes. The staff here did not seem motivated to set the lipsticks out so I promptly left.

I made my way over to the larger, yet further away, Sephora and when I stepped in the door, there they were: the ENTIRE display of Rouge Artist Intense Lipsticks! I was in total red lipstick bliss!

The range of textures is matte, pearl, and satin. There are 8 mattes, one them being a classic vintage red but it was way too dry. It made MAC's Ruby Woo seem moist! There was one red pearl shade, #21, that I grabbed immediately. I do not have a red pearl in my collection so this color was a good choice. There are at least 6 reds in the satin formula that caught my eye, especially #42 (a warm-based, bright red) but I refrained (at least for now). Make Up For Ever has made these lipsticks permanent to their line so they are not limited edition. Therefore, I do not need to rush.

After playing with several colors, me and my #21 lipstick made our way over to the register. I paid and left. Time to go home and make dinner. It was lasagna night and I was getting hungry. As soon as I got in the car, I quickly opened the box and slid out the black, shiny tube. I twisted up the lipstick and I applied it to my lips. I wanted to die. The color was a bright, true red with a soft golden sheen. Thankfully, the pearl effect was not "disco ball" at all.  Instead, it was more of a light shimmer. The red pigment totally outweighs the shimmer. I would not describe the look as frosty at all.

The formula felt light yet creamy. The color had grip as it was applied but I would not deem it "draggy" or rough. The texture is creamy yet firm. I lined my lips with NYX's lip liner in Red Hot. It paired with the #21 nicely. The lipstick lasted a couple of hours before I had to touch up. After eating dinner,  I noticed the lipstick was mostly eaten off but traces of shimmer and color remained.  There was a light, even red cherry stain on my lips.

I LOVE this lipstick and I want more NOW. I think I will eventually get the#42 orange-based red satin and the #43 true red satin. Like I stated earlier, the Rouge Artist Intense line is permanent so I will wait.

Here is the tube:

Here is the bottom of the tube:

Here is the actual product in the tube:

Here is a swatch on my inner right arm:
Shade #21 applied on my lips with NYX lip liner in Red Hot:

Here is my makeup overall today:

I cannot recommend these lipsticks enough for red lipstick girls/or vintage girls! The colors are amazing, the texture is wonderful, and the intensity of color is nothing I have ever experienced. So, if you are on the hunt for a knock-em-dead red lipstick, you HAVE to try Rouge Artist Intense!