Monday, February 28, 2011

RIP Jane Russell (1921-2011)

On the 28th of February, 2011, Hollywood starlet Jane Russell died at the age of 89. Jane was famous for her beautiful pin up style and acting in roles in films such as "The Outlaw" (1943), "His Kind of Woman" (1951), and "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953).

I am sad Jane is gone but I know she lives on in every vintage-loving gal and in every movie she was in. Rest in Peace, beautiful lady.

Got My Tickets for Viva 14!

I am so, so excited! I got off my lazy bum and finally bought my tickets for Viva Las Vegas 14! I have NEVER been and this will be my first venue! I know many of you gals are going and I hope to have the opportunity to meet some of you!  I am just too stoked! Yay!

New Running Shoes and Two Atomic Paintings!

I am sorry I have not posted anything in over a week! I have been feeling a bit lazy for some reason. I think it is the weather. It has been cool one day and then somewhat warm the next. Within a two week time frame, there has been rain, wind, sunshine, and even a bit of snow! I, for one, want a major snow event but I think it's not going to happen. March start tomorrow and before we know it, spring will be here.

Nevertheless, I have lots of new ideas for blog topics. I am going to post about vintage repro shapewear and how to do a proper 40s lip. I am also going to talk about my latest sewing adventures. Let me tell you, what a saga that has been!

So, without further ado, I have been painting again. I went to art school and studied Spanish. From makeup, painting to pottery, I love all things art. In the process of decorating my home, I have also been creating a couple of Atomic-era pieces.

Here is one acrylic painting, based on the pattern on the 50s atomic barkcloth runner on my dining room table:
Here is a view of the original print:
One of my favorite blogs is Straight Talking Mama! Fiona is a doll and I LOVE her style! A while back she posted about Retro Renovation. I saw her post and was so inspired:

In honor of this fabulous wallpaper, I created this painting using complimentary colors of blue and orange:

Along with being affected by the weather and painting, I have been running way more! During the dregs of winter, I found myself making excuses not to run/workout. I recently decided 'enough was enough' and now I am back to my 5 days a week/5 miles per run.

In addition, I have been putting off buying new running shoes. The 'cardinal rule' of running shoes is to replace them every 500 miles or every 6 months! I have been so bad! I have not replaced my shoes since August! During my Friday morning run, my left knee began to felt irritated. I realized it was time to buy a new pair. I have found running bliss in Saucony's Pro Guide 2, which is now the 3:
I was so happy to find these shoes on on sale for $76.00USD! I am especially pleased to find these in pink! My previous pair only came in gray/white, green/white, and blue/white. I had the blue/white. I am a sucker for all things pink and I cannot wait for these to arrive!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Outfit Post- Light Cotton Dress on a Warm Day in February

Even though it is February, the current temperature today in the DC area is 74 degrees! One of our local meteorologists, Doug Hill of ABC7 News, stated that we could possibly break temperature records! I was hoping for more snow despite the fact everyone else is pining to spend the day outside! Oh well. Maybe a huge blizzard will come next month. It is still winter afterall.

Nevertheless, due to the spring-like weather, today I am wearing the new 1950s brown plaid cotton dress I bought off Etsy earlier this week.  I paid 32.00 USD. The fabric is light and the plaid is a mix of warm red, slate blue, and grayish khaki green. 

Here I am this morning before leaving the house. The sun wasn't even up yet. I had to take care of my mother-in-laws cats before my early morning meetings.
Since the dress was missing its original belt, I put on a red one. To  further enhance the red tones in my dress, I wore my 40s red carved bakelite earrings along with my slowly expanding bakelite bangle collection:
I adore the collar on this dress but it needed a little extra sparkle so I put on a vintage brooch my mother-in-law gave me a few years ago:
After taking these pictures, I realized my 40s vintage brown and white saddle shoes were somewhat 'ho-hum,' so I quickly changed my shoes to my red suede wedges:
So, even though it is not a winter wonderland, I admit that I am enjoying wearing lighter fabric and no stockings! Heck, I may even go outside with my sketch book when I get home!

Next Tuesday, the weather forecasts are calling for temperatures to be in the 30s again. No snow is coming but again, it is still winter! A girl can still hope!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Julie Hewett Lipstick in "Femme Noir"

During my latest search for the 'perfect' vintage red, I recently discovered a fabulous lipstick brand; Julie Hewett Los Angeles.

Julie Hewett was the lead makeup artist for the 2001 film "Pearl Harbor." During production, Ms. Hewett realized the modern lipsticks in her collection were not up to par for creating the period-correct look on the actresses. Faced with frustration, Julie decided to make her own lipsticks and thus, Julie Hewett Los Angeles was born.

Julie's line of lipsticks includes sheer and full color shades. The full colors, i.e. the Noir Lipsticks, boast rich, vibrant pigments paired with a semi-matte texture. The colors range from coral, neutral bright red, bright blue red, brick red to succulent eggplant. The lipsticks cost $22.50 USD and they can be purchased directly from Julie Hewett's website and from various 'brick and mortar' locations. Here is the Julie Hewett site:

When I was visiting my hometown of Richmond, Virginia two weeks ago, I went to Carytown to browse the vintage wares at Bygones. As I was walking down Cary Street, I spotted Le Visage Makeup Boutique and I decided to check it out. Le Visage is a small speciality shop that carries a nice selection of relatively unknown brands, including Julie Hewett! I was so excited to finally see the lipsticks in person! As many girls know, there is nothing better than swatching lipsticks firsthand. Online swatches do not compare!

I swatched a few shades including Femme Noir and Rouge Noir. Rouge Noir, a neutral bright red that leans slightly warm, really caught my attention but it was sold out. I also swatched Femme Noir, a bright red with a hint of a blue/pink base. I liked this color and thankfully, it was in stock.

Here is the Julie Hewett tube. It has a lovely vintage shape! The goldtone is quite retro as well!
Here is the lipstick bullet. In this photo, you can really see the pink undertones.
This is a swatch of Femme Noir on the back of my hand. The color is a bright true red with a pink base.
This is me, before hitting the gym this morning, wearing Femme Noir. The lipstick feels really creamy on and lasts about 4 hours before I need to touch up. The color does not bleed and it has a good balance of slip and grip. Moreover, MAC's lip liner in Cherry pairs amazingly well with Femme Noir.
Here is Misty, helping me take pictures this morning. Eventually, she was getting annoyed and then insisted that I put the camera phone down so we could go downstairs and start breakfast.

So, if you are looking for intensely pigmented, vintage reds, give Julie Hewett Los Angeles Noir Reds a try!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Having Fun With The Film Noir Look

As an amateur makeup artist, I like to experiment with different vintage looks. For my normal day to day look, I simply do nude shadows on eyes and place color emphasis on cheeks, brows, lashes, and lips.

I have loved film noir for years. I love "Double Indemnity" (1944) featuring Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis, a housewife involved in a murder-for-hire scheme! 

Today I decided to try out a femme fatale look. I did a thick cat wing eye liner effect on my eyes and I overlined my lips to make them look more bold. I then put on a 1950s vintage black velvet hat with net, a black dress, and a faux leopard and black knit bolero from Heartbreaker fashion.

I know the last picture is a bit much! My black dress has a low, fitted bodice that has a merrywidow look. I only wear it with a cardigan or jacket when I go out to a club! I am too chicken to wear it on its own! 

After my pictures, I washed my face and changed into my workout clothes so I could do my morning run. Back to reality!

Atomic Era Cat Painting Inspired by Straight Talking Mama's Broken Cat Vase

Recently, the lovely Fiona from Straight Talking Mama blog, did a post detailing the heartbreak she felt when her 60 year old cat vase (as pictured above) broke when a huge wind caused it to crash to the floor.

When I read her story, I felt her loss. What a shame to lose such a precious mid-century piece!  I hope Fiona can find another cat vase just like the one she had.

Because I am a "crazy cat lady"  and an avid vintage enthusiast, I decided to tap into my creativity and do a painting inspired by Fiona's broken kitty vase. I used acrylic colors of espresso, white, and pink.
I also added two starbursts and applied a thin layer of pink glitter over the pink swirls:
 And, here is the painting hanging above my white bookshelf in my upstairs foyer hall:
 I like the way the painting turned out but I hope Fiona does not mind I basically did a copy of her cat! I guess since the cat is broken and not able to be fixed, I hope my finished piece can properly honor its memory!

Monday, February 14, 2011

More Vintage Home Updates-Atomic Bathroom Flair!

This weekend, I got my new vintage cat eye glasses and I went to Target. I know, very exciting. What a wild weekend, huh?

Despite my ho-hum activities, I managed to update my two upstairs bathrooms with some new vintage flair! At Target I bought a set of pink guest towels, a pink bath mat, a new shower curtain, and a set of aqua blue shower hooks for the master bath. The former shower curtain was a boring, celery green affair that had out-stayed its welcome!

Let's start with the master bath. Here is the new curtain:
 I love it! It has an atomic, yet almost mod look. Even though the print is quite abstract, there is also an organic feel to it.

A few years ago, I repainted the walls in my guest bath with a standard, white satin and then added gold floral stencils. Each stencil was hand-painted. Let me tell you, despite the small size of the bathroom, stencilling took forever! Nevertheless, the finished result was worth the effort!

Even though my guest bath looked nice, there was something missing. I had a set of plain cream towels and a espresso-colored bath mat. The whole thing was just 'meh.'  Then I had an idea to give my guest bath a little bit of fun: pink. Pink is so classic 50s vintage so I was 'tickled pink' (ha ha) when I spotted the set of towels and bath accessories in my envisioned pink.

I bought two hand towels and two fingertip towels along with a small mat. I recently purchased a yard of 50s cotton fabric printed with diamonds and black starbursts. I first washed the fabric and the towels and then I sewed fabric onto the towels for an extra bit of atomic fun:

Here is an upclose view of the fabric:
I also made a small accent for the top of the toilet:
See the rug? Love it! I am going back to Target to buy two full size towels and I will sew the fabric I have left onto each one.

I noticed the top of the white bookshelf I have in my foyer hall looked empty and plain so I made a small runner:

The pink starburst platter was found on Etsy last summer. It is from the 50s and was made by California Originals. This platter was on my living room table but I moved it to my bookshelf. The pink of the fabric just pairs so nicely!
My next project is to re-do my basement. It needs a major facelift! I would love to turn it into a tiki bar complete with boomerang tables!

"New" Cat Eye Glasses!

Last week, I bought these 50s, clear acetate and light gold cat eye frames on Etsy. They are in amazing condition and look unworn! I paid 58.00 USD and with shipping, the total came to be just over 63.00 USD! I love the gold accents:
I received my glasses on Saturday and that afternoon, I took my new frames to my local optician and had them fitted with my prescription. One of the lab technicians, who happens to collect Victorian-era accessories and furniture, always ensures that my vintage frames are well taken care of!

In the past, other technicians and opticians have been reluctant to work on vintage eyewear because they are afraid the frames will snap/break when heated. So, I am truly lucky to have found a place where people understand the nature of vintage metal and plastics!

Here is me today wearing my new frames:
 (I am wearing a tee because I was going to the gym)

So, if you are looking for vintage eyewear, give Etsy and eBay a look!

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Atomic Goodies for the House!

I have been off radar for a little while and as a result, I have not been keeping up with my blog duties! Despite my apparent 'blog laziness,' I have been busy updating my house with new atomic housewares! As a result, my glue gun and sewing machine have been busy too!

After searching Etsy for new addition to my slowly expanding vintage housewares collection, I realized the things I wanted were either very expensive or the shipping was too high. I spotted several pairs of amazing lamps, a ton of ceramic vases and platters, and a bounty of starburst-adorned collectibles. I wanted so many things but I decided to search my local Target and Home Goods store for atomic-inspired lovelies.  My local Target left me wanting and empty-handed. But, Home Goods proved to be a wonderful place for my vintage needs. I ended up buying about 120.00 USD worth of goodies!

I would like to share with you all what I got and what I also made:
I found this starburst mirror at Home Goods for 39.99 USD! I almost missed it too! As I was checking out with my initial purchases, I spotted a couple buying the same mirror! I thought to myself, "Where was THAT hiding?! I have to have it!" I bought my stuff, got my receipt, put my bags in my car, and ran back into the store to search for this mirror. Let me tell you, I really had to look hard to find it. It was in a stack amongst different styles! I grabbed the mirror and I did not see any others. I think I got the last one.
 I found this teapot also at Home Goods. I love the aqua color! It matches the aqua already present in my kitchen! I paid 24.00 USD.
This red vase on the left is a ceramic glaze. It matches my atomic pillows and curtains wonderfully! The vase has a small crack on it but I hid it by simply turning the flawed area towards the back of my mantle. I got this for 10.00 USD.
This aqua strainer is a coated metal and it has a nice weight to it. I paid only $4.99 USD! Like my new teapot, it matches my kitchen nicely!

I found this lamp also at Home Goods! It was 29.00 USD. I love the wavy green ceramic base! The lamp shade has a very 50s look and texture!

Here is an upclose view of the lamp's detail:
I also purchased a 4-pack of white and aqua tea towels for 2.99 USD. I decorated two of them with a teal blue and yellow dot starburst fabric (the same as my kitchen curtains). I also added yellow grosgrain ribbon.

 Along with my new houseware buys, I made two more pillows for my living room using the same atomic repro print fabric I bought last summer on Etsy. I used up all of the first batch of fabric and as a result, I got some more last week. Here are the new pillows:

 I also made four placemats using the same fabric:
 I have been having fun adding more vintage style to my home! I wish I could learn to make boomerang tables and I would be set!

So, has anyone made any "retro renovations" to their abodes lately too?  I would love to know!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Review of Besame Cosmetics' Classic Color Lipstick in Red Velvet

Last week, I received my order from Besame Cosmetics which included a Cashmere Powder Compact and a new Classic Color Lipstick in Red Velvet ($22.00 USD)

I already own a Classic Color Lipstick in Besame Red (a bright neutral that leans slightly warm). I have several bright-toned reds from various brands and lately I realized I wanted a more deep red. After viewing several swatches of  Besame shades online, I narrowed my choice down to Red Velvet.

Red Velvet is a darker red that reminds me of MAC Russian Red combined with MAC's Viva Glam I. The color is not cool or warm and it seems to have a touch of garnet in it. When I compare Red Velvet to Besame Red, Red Velvet is more subdued yet still dramatic. Basically Besame Red = bright fire engine, candy apple red and Red Velvet = the darker red tone of red velvet cake. Thus, the name "Red Velvet" is fitting.

Here is a swatch of Red Velvet on my hand:

This is me wearing Red Velvet today (I was still in my robe earlier! Lazy Sunday for sure!)
I really like this lipstick because it is different from all the other lipsticks I wear and I adore the garnet hue. I paired MAC lip pencil in Brick with this and it matches perfectly.

So, if you are looking for a darker red that is a neutral with tones of garnet and pomegranate, then give Besame's Red Velvet a try!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review of Besame Cosmetic's Signature Compact

Upon my return home yesterday afternoon, I noticed UPS left a package on my front porch. It was my Besame Cosmetics order! In this shipment, I received Besame's Signature Compact and a Classic Color Lipstick in Red Velvet.

I have been a huge fan of Besame lipstick but until today, I was not familiar with their famous Cashmere Powder compact. I had been wanting to try out the powder for a while but I was hesitant due to several reviews lamenting the compact's size. One reviewer stated the compact was meant for a doll, not a human being!

Nevertheless, I wanted a vintage-looking and pretty compact for my handbag. I love my MAC Blot Powder but the boring, black plastic compact is, well, boring. I have a vintage 1940s compact that belonged to my husband's bubbe which I usually fill with coty loose powder and rubbing alcohol. Recently, the 'bubbe' compact's clasp has started to loosen and as a result, it won't close properly. Since I prefer vintage, I decided to '"bite the bullet" and buy a Cashmere Compact. It retails for $38.00 USD. Compact refills are $15.00 USD.

After opening the light yellow box above, I pulled out this:
 A red velvet drawstring back with gold string and a goldtone Besame logo.

I opened the bag and pulled out a small, yet heavy-feeling compact:

I love the floral details! So feminine and classic!  Now this is the compact opened. The shade I ordered is the lightest available, Porcelain:
 The refill is magnetized so when you run out of powder, simply insert a tiny screwdriver (like the ones used to repair eyeglasses) or needle into the round notch on the edge of the powder pan and pop it out:
As for the size of the compact itself, here is how it compares to a standard compact (in this case one from MAC):
Here is a view showing the thickness of the powder pan itself:
 When comparing the amount of product Besame gives you to the amount found in MAC, it is obvious that you do get less. So, despite it's "doll size," is Besame Cashmere Powder worth spending $38.00 bucks?

For one, Besame touts this powder as a powder foundation. When I compared the powder opacity to MAC Blot powder, the Cashmere had more coverage while the MAC powder was more like a thin, chalky veil. However, when I compared Dior's Diorskin Forever Compact Foundation to Besame, the Dior was more opaque. Basically, MAC Blot powder is intended to a powder that blots off shine throughout the day. It is just too weak in consistency to be a proper foundation.

The Cashmere Compact is a primarily a sheer coverage foundation. If your skin has flaws or imperfections, this powder is not going to be a good choice because it will not provide enough coverage. So, what is this powder for?

I have been experimenting with it and what I have discovered is that if you use blotting papers and a powder puff, this powder is great for touch ups. The tiny foam puff the powder comes with is pretty useless. It is too small and after a few uses, it seems dirty and worn out. I threw mine out.

Throughout the day, my skin gets very shiny. I blot oil with a couple of blot sheets from Clean and Clear and then using a puff, I lightly apply a small amount of Cashmere powder to my forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. If you use this powder without blotting, its thicker consistency will make your skin look cakey and heavy. You need to blot first with oil sheets!

Also, if you want a more sheer coverage, simply apply tinted moisturizer and using a larger puff, apply a light dusting of Cashmere powder to set. Moreover, if you are blessed with tiny pores and flawless skin, this powder as a foundation alone with work for you.

In addition to this powder's different uses, the vintage look makes it worth its price. It looks so pretty on a vanity table and it is perfect for nights out. Imagine pulling that gorgeous compact out of your gold clutch!

I like the fact this compact is re-fillable. The MAC Blot powder is 23.00 USD. When I run out of product, I need to spend another 23.00 dollars. Like I stated before, the Besame compact refill costs 15.00 USD.  I also think the dense-quality of the powder and the fact the pan is small will help me reduce my need to touch up my makeup!

So, if you are if you are looking for an authentic-looking vintage compact along with good-quality powder that has a myriad of uses, then give Besame Cashmere Powder a try!