Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back from A Little Hiatus (Boca Raton and Vintage Goods!) [Picture Heavy]

Hey, all! I am back after a little hiatus. In the time I have been away, I went to Florida for 6 days (I have also been crazy busy with work!). I visited the in-laws and did some shopping at a couple antique malls. I cannot wait to share with you my wares, one of which includes my very first lucite bag! I am so excited.

On the afternoon of Thursday, the 19th of May, I flew on JetBlue from Washington Dulles to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Upon my arrival, I was picked up by my mother-in-law, aka "Mammaleh," and we, along with my father-in-law, went out to dinner at JB's On the Beach in Boca Raton.  I had a delicious dish of sea scallops, veggies, and wild rice. I was starving! All I had on the plane was my Kashi granola bar and a diet coke.

After dinner, we went back to the condo my in-laws own in Boca Raton. Mammaleh and I had a drink and then went to bed. The next day, Mammaleh and I went to the Hillsboro Antique Mall in Pompano Beach.

Here's us in the car, about to leave for Pompano:
My hair is in wet pigtails (I blew my bangs dry). My hair gets very frizzy due the Florida humidity so I usually do ponytails, pigtails, or wear snoods. I am wearing a 50s pink and white cotton sundress I bought on Etsy.

After a 15 minute drive, we arrived at the antique mall. I was so ready to browse and shop! The day's agenda was going to be dishware, bakelite, and lucite bags. Mammaleh wanted to look for milkglass.

After a few minutes of walking around, I was floored to see this:
I. Wanted. EVERYTHING!!! I knew that 1: my bugdet won't allow it and 2: there was no way I could bring it back on the plane! Moreover, as many of you know, Franciscan Starburst is very collectible and as a result, expensive. For example, look at the price on the serving platter:
However, I did find the same platter listed on Etsy for 65 dollars so maybe I should have gotten it. Either way, I will just have to collect slowly or hope to get the odd piece here and there as gifts.

In the end, I did buy a Franciscan creamer. I was listed for $7.50 USD. It had a flaw on it but when we got it back home, Mammaleh cleaned it with a sponge and the flaw was gone! I think it was a cream stain or residue.
I saw a couple bangles of bakelite but what the sellers wanted for them was too high. Mammaleh did not find her milkglass sugar bowl but she did spot this for me in a lighted display case:
I totally wanted to die! It is a lucite bag made with mother-of-pearl and clear lucite. I love it! The price was 110.00 USD but the seller gave me 10% off. I did see a nice number of pretty lucite bags but the prices were a bit high for me. After comparing this bag to a couple of others, I decided on this one. I love it!! It was a little dirty but I cleaned it with mild soap and water using q-tips and paper towels.
After making my purchases, Mammaleh and I went home and had lunch with my father-in-law.  Later that day, we went out to eat with family at Boca Town Center. Here is my outfit:
I am wearing a light blue Bettie Page sundress (bought at Bygones Vintage in Richmond, Va), bakelite bangles, white moonglow necklace, and a pair of off-white wedges from BC Footwear. I am also carrying my new lucite bag!

As we got in the car, a muscovy duck approached and hissed at us. Apparently, he was begging for food:
After dinner, we went back home and had a few cocktails on the back patio. The night air felt so nice!

The next day was beach day! Mammaleh and I drove to her cousin's house in Boca and us three gals had a beach day complete with crackers, cheese, and wine!
Great view looking down towards Deerfield Beach. I have no idea why that gal is sitting on her fella! Weird.

Another beach view:
Here is me, wearing one of my vintage suits:
I was swimming earlier in the water. It felt so nice despite the fact there were reports of sea lice (jellyfish eggs or larvae). I did not experience any side effects (itching or burning) so I guess the water there was not affected.

After our fun day, us gals went back home and cleaned up so we could go out for a family dinner at the Whale's Rib in Deerfield. The Whale's Rib is amazing spot for seafood, raw bar items, and beer by the pitcher. I indulged on fried shrimp and it was so perfect to end the day with!

Sunday, the next day, was pool day at the condo and antique mall shopping.  We went to The Sugar Chest Antique Mall on Federal (Route 1). The mall was huge! They were also having a major sale. Anything over 26 USD gets 15 to 20% off.  I was again on the hunt for bakelite and anything housewares.

I found a set of Blue Heaven dishes (6 person set) but the cups and dinner plates had major crazing and chipping. I spotted many bakelite bangles but I decided on colors that I was lacking in my collection: celery and brown.

The celery end-of-day piece was 70 USD and the two tortoiseshell spacers were 35 and 38 USD. The 20% discount made my total around 114.00 USD. I was pleased as punch!

Despite my fun day with Mammaleh and cool bakelite finds, there was a brief moment when the trip to the antique mall was a bit odd/uncomfortable.

As we were browsing the aisles, out of the corner of my eye I spotted an entire case of get this, Nazi memorabilia. I was shocked. Mammaleh was shocked. There were busts of Hitler, iron crosses, books, and some other things. I had no idea people would even collect that. Talk about crazy. I was especially shocked because there is a large Jewish community in South Florida. I have no clue what the seller was thinking.  (I know the mall itself was not selling it since the antique mall is comprised of individual rent/floor spaces for sellers.) Of all the locales to have that stuff for sale, South Florida is not the place. And that is all I am going to say about it.

Anyway, getting back to the positive! Mammaleh bought some 50s era pottery from California Originals and I bought my three bangles. We then went back to the condo for lunch and then it was off to pool with my father-in-law!

We hung out at the pool for a couple of hours and then it was back to the house to hang out on the patio before dinner.
Here is the main view outside the patio. There are canals for boats as well as the river in the middle, ie the Hillsboro River that connects to the Inlet that leads to the Atlantic. It is fun to hang out, have snacks and have a cocktail, watching the boats go by.
Me on the patio, wearing my 50s playsuit. Notice the boat in the background?

That night we ordered in sushi and watched TV. It was a perfect way to end a day.

The next day, Monday, Mammaleh and I went to Home Depot. She needed help picking out new cabinets and granite for her upcoming kitchen remodel.

Here is my outfit:
Sorry that this image is so poor! Darn blackberry camera! Nevertheless, I am wearing a 50s black and white dress with a black repro stretch belt, bakelite bangles, moonglow necklace, and a pair of red canvas espadrilles I bought from Anthropologie in 2006.

Just for fun, here are some pictures of a hibiscus (my favorite flower) and the orchids at the Home Depot Garden area:

Later that night, Mammaleh, my father-in-law, cousin Deb, and I went to the Cove for dinner. The Cove is a great local seafood restaurant and bar located on the Intercostal Waterway at the Boca Bridge. Here is a view from our table after sunset, showing the Boca Bridge:
The next day, Tuesday, was the last day. Before heading off to the airport, Mammaleh and I went to Boca Town Center to visit Sephora. I bought a replacement Illamasqua Lipstick in Box (the first one I bought at Vegas broke) and Mammaleh bought some new perfume!

One last look at the pretty, pink hibiscus bush in the condo lot:

Then, sadly, it was time to go back to DC. I left Fort Laudedale around 2:30 (the flight was delayed) and I arrived around 4:50 pm.

The trip was so nice! It felt good to get away for a while! I cannot wait to go back again!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Hey, Ugly!" Grappling With That Little Voice In My Head

A while back, the fabulous Penny Dreadful of "Penny Dreadful Vintage" Blog did an outstanding post about body image:


This post got me thinking about my own "body confidence" and it made me realize that not only am I my own worst critic, I am not alone when it comes to self-image.

I have never been one to think of herself as "pretty." When my mother recently asked me if I thought of myself as pretty, I responded, "If I had to answer, I would say 'normal.'  I am not ugly but I am not pretty either." My mother expressed concern. I would expect her to. She has a mother's bias because like most mothers, she sees all her children as beautiful.

However, when it comes to my intelligence and wit, I am quite confident and happy. I just wish I could feel the same way about my appearance. Throughout the years, I decided to focus on being smart because I never felt pretty, especially when I compared myself to other girls/women. (This was particularly the case when I was at Viva). So, every day I put my makeup on, do my hair, workout, eat well, and just try to be me.

I know I judge myself too harshly. I see flaws that perhaps no one else does. To others, they may see a just a vintage-clad, redheaded gal with a streak of blond in her hair while I see an awkward girl with a chubby face, thin hair, big bum, and short legs.

Nevertheless, I suspect my acerbic self-criticisms stem from an expectation that others judge me.  Basically, I judge myself before others have the chance. That way, I can anticipate any hurt feelings and therefore soften the blow.

But here's the thing, no one is standing around, lining up to pick my looks apart. No one is 'chomping at the bit' to put me under a microscope to better study my flaws. It is human nature for us to be harsh on ourselves but I shouldn't allow this trait to render me vulnerable and I wind up classifying myself as 'ugly.'

Some days are better others in the 'looks department.' For example, days when the hair refuses to cooperate, when my 'time of the month' is approaching, or when the 50s sundress I bought last year is too tight. Regardless of my knee-jerk need to wallow in self-pity, I know that hair can be fixed, my body will go back to normal after my cycle is done, and I can just do more cardio and that dress will fit again.

I know I am a strong, independent, and positive woman. I do not need the approval from other people nor do I base my entire self-worth on trivial things like 'looks.' Despite my self-assured personality, I allow myself to listen to the 'little voice' in my head that seems to shout out, "Hey, ugly!"

Like all things in life, my body image/self-image is a 'work in progress.' I will not gain boundless confidence overnight but I know that if I focus on what's important (i.e. health, family, friends, living life to the fullest) I am going to be okay.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fun with Black and White

As an artist, I enjoy experimenting with various mediums of art, especially photography. With today's technology, the possibilities are endless! We can take color photos and make them black and white, manipulate light sources, increase contrast, and even create canvas effects.

Here are a few photos made into black and whites. I increased the contrast and even use a canvas feature on one of them.

What do you all think? What art forms interest you?

15 Year Wedding Anniversary Celebration Dinner at L'Auberge Chez Francois!

Yesterday the man and I celebrated 15 years of marriage! I cannot believe time has gone by so fast! I feel fortunate to say "it feels like yesterday!" I love that man so much and I am very lucky to have him in my life!

Ok, ok! Enough with the "schmaltz fest!" (lol!) I would like to share some photos from last night's amazing dinner with the man!

Every year on our anniversary (since 2004), the man and I always go to L'Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls, Virginia. L'Auberge is a wonderful, quaint, intimate, and delicious French restaurant located in the countryside of Fairfax County. Their cuisine is top-notch, their wines are out of this world, and the service is impeccable!


We had reservations for 8:00 pm. I made sure to eat very light all day so I could truly enjoy the feast about to commence!

This is the man, as we got out of the car:

Here is me, with the restaurant in the background:
I am wearing a navy blue, crepe 1940s dress adored with two rhinestone pins and a self-belt. I wore vintage navy blue gloves and carried a modern beaded cocktail purse covered in silvery-white beading. I am also wearing an amazing pair of Betsey Johnson beaded platforms. Even the heels are beaded! I bought these in late 2006 from Zappos.

Here is me, in the ladies bathroom (goofy, I know!) trying to capture the detail on my shoes:
Now, to the important part! The meal! After being seated, the man and I started with the house appertif; a lovely blend of Chambord and Champagne. The was even a whole raspberry in the glass! (I wanted to take pictures but the flash on my camera is bright and I did not want to ruin the dining experience of our fellow guests).

As we browsed the menu, the staff brought us herbed ricotta and garlic toast points. The ricotta was amazing and it paired well with the sharpness of the garlic.

For my dinner, I started with the tuna tartar with sour cream sauce and salmon roe, then a gorgeous house salad prepared with endive and fresh roquefort cheese,  and then for my main course I had shelled maine lobster accompanied with fresh lump crab covered in a butter sauce that was served with fresh grilled asparagus and citrus.

The man and I both had the marvelous chocolate souffle paired with chocolate cream sauce. I wanted to die! Talk about dessert heaven! Despite my initial hesitation to take pictures, I managed to sneak a quick photo of my souffle, just after it arrived:
After our dessert and coffee were finished, I felt full but not stuffed. I managed to pace myself (even though I wanted to eat everything in its entirety) and in the end, I was satisfied and happy! I cannot wait to go back!

As we left the restaurant and made our way home, the man and I encountered some late night traffic (road construction). So typical of the DC area!
The man and I finally got home around 11:00 pm and he gave me these lovely flowers! I love the colors! So pink!!
Thank you so much, honey!
And here is the cat, wondering where we went!
I am very happy with the way our anniversary turned out! Despite the fact we had to work all day, our 15th was truly a special day! Again, I am so happy with amazing man of mine! Here is to the next 15 years and beyond!

Outfit Post-Off to Work!

Me early this morning, leaving the house to go to work at the office. It has been on the chilly side lately here in the DC area (50s and low 60s) but today  the high temperature is going to be around 73 degrees. That is still a bit cool for me! I cannot wait until the average daily highs are in the 80s!

Nevertheless, just for fun, I wanted to share today's outfit with you all!

-Black and white print, cotton-blend, 1950s deadstock, button-down dress (bought last year).
-Black merino wool Gap cardigan (bought in 2005) adorned with a 1950s rhinestone brooch.
-Red suede wedges made by Natural Comfort (bought from Zappos in 2007)
-A mix of carved and spacer bakelite bangles
-Modern pearl necklace
-Vintage 50s red, pink, and orange bead clip-on earrings
-1950s Black wicker handbag
-1950s American Optical sunglasses 

I was too lazy to re-roll my hair today (I did not wash it but it was washed yesterday) so I applied a bit of Suave Dry Shampoo Spray and put it in a ponytail after my morning shower.

On my face, I am wearing Too Faced Cosmetic nude shadows from their Naked Eye Kit, MAC mascara, foundation, MAC brow pen on brows, MAC Mineralize blush in Dainty, and Besame lipstick in Carmine.

So, on this Friday spring day, what are you wearing?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Who Says "You Cannot Wear Vintage From Head to Toe?" My Thoughts

This is me from earlier today. I am wearing vintage clothing at work and my hair is in rolls. This is me everyday without fail. Whether I am at the office, hanging out at home, out for cocktails, or going to bed. I wear vintage. Period.

The other day, the lovely Laura of Betty2ToneVintage blog asked me about thrift and vintage shops here in the DC area. I did some research and found a few websites detailing shops' locations, shop reviews, and an article listing five shops along with a vintage clothing "do and don't" list. Here is a link to the article:


Here is a 'copy and paste' of said list:

Vintage Shopping Do’s and Don’ts
DO check the stitching of a top, dress, pant, etc. before purchasing if it looks cheap-y, do not purchase it (unless it is ridiculously cheap and you plan on wearing it twice).
DO expect that some pieces will need to be tailored. Find a tailor you trust ASAP. (Trust us, all clothes look better after they’ve been fitted to you).
DO take a risk on buying vintage pieces; you are not looking for what everyone is buying at J Crew.
DON’T, and this is a big don’t, wear vintage from head to toe. Best rule to live by when debating on adding vintage to your outfit, no more then two pieces (pants and top do not count).

Overall, this is a good list with good advice. However, I admit that the last "don't" is a bit bothersome. What is wrong with wearing vintage "from head to toe?" 

I agree that not all vintage clothing looks good. Some examples of 'bad' vintage are certain polyester fabrics, 70s butterfly collars,  80s shoulder pads, corduroy bell bottoms, late 60s styles, and cat suits. Vintage or contemporary, there will always be a difference between flattering and stylish and ill-fitting and down right ugly.

Nevertheless, I know that many of us vintage bloggers wear vintage "from head to toe" while many wear vintage mixed with modern pieces. There really is no wrong answer when it comes to personal style. If a look suits you, wear it. Who  cares if it's all vintage or not?

I have never been one to worship fashion and/or follow the trends. Sometimes when I am in my salon getting my hair done, I will flip through Vogue, Glamour, InStyle, Harper's, or Allure. These publications will often feature their "Must Have" list, a "Do Don't" article, or a "What's In and What's Out" piece. Do I really care of if the editors of InStyle say gladiator sandals out and jeweled flat sandals are in? No. Therefore, I am not concerned if a "DC fashionista" deems my pure vintage look as a 'fashion faux pas.'

The main reason for "do don't" lists is marketing. If editors and fashion houses decide what's in, what's out, or what's a 'no no,' they make money. The fashion house creates the must-have style, they pay the magazine for advertising, and the editors and the fashion house make money. Create a false demand for a trend, lay back, and let the fashion-obsessed masses run to their local mall or Neiman or Saks to buy the latest thing so they can be an "in."

As for the 'no all vintage rule,' I am not sure why some think wearing all vintage is a bad idea.  Who decided this? Now, like I said, I totally understand the classic rules regarding fit, tailoring, dressing for your figure, matching colors, complimentary colors, accessorizing, not mixing stripes and plaids, and making sure your clothes are in good condition. But when it comes to applying the whole "do and don't" mantra to style, that is where I refuse to yield.

Vintage clothing flatters my figure best. Modern skirts, jeans, and pants have waist-lines that are too low. Due to my small waist and round hips, lower waist anything makes me look dumpy and bottom-heavy. In addition, contemporary cardigans are cut longer to match lower waist lines. Whenever I pair a modern-made cardigan with a 50s shirtwaist dress, the bottom edge of the cardigan hits the top of my bum and as a result, it covers my waist like a tent! Moreover, the cardigan makes me look shapeless and lumpy from behind. So, I wear vintage-made cardigans that are shorter in length that slim my waist and complement my shape.

I could give several examples why I prefer vintage over contemporary fashion I do not want to bore you! l also do not want to distract myself from my argument! Nevertheless, I wear vintage simply because I like it and because it looks good on my body. If a gal wants to wear something she likes that looks good on her, then why not wear it?

So, ladies, what do you think? I would love, I mean really love to hear your thoughts on this one!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Review of Illamasqua Lipstick in Box

I have fallen in love again, with Illamasqua! Illamasqua is a UK cosmetics brand that is bursting with color and quality! Their nail polish, pigments, shadow, foundation primer and lipstick shades are amazing!


If you are based in the US, you can find Illamasqua at select Sephora stores (NYC and Vegas stores to name a couple) and you can also find the line online:


I am always on the hunt for the "holy grail" of red lipstick and I have found it once more in Illamasqua's lipstick in 'Box.' Shrinky Inky of Inkyknits Blog suggested Box to me a while back and I am so glad she did!

While I was in Las Vegas for VLV, I stayed at the Palazzo/Venetian and since their is a huge, huge Sephora attached to the casino/hotel, I was not going to pass up the opportunity to browse this amazing store!

The Venetian Sephora has a great selection of Illamasqua products. I wanted *all* of their pigments and red lipsticks (especially Maneater and Sangers) but due to the fact I have so many reds already, I was 'good' and just got Box ($22.00 USD) and Ruthless nail varnish (a bright, warm vintage red creme) for $14.00 USD.

Box is a bright, vintage red that leans cool. Imagine if Russian Red and Ruby Woo had a baby...the result would be Box. Box has a neutral tinge with a touch of blue-based pink mixed in. In certain lights, the color looks warm and in others, the pink tones can really be seen. Hence, the 'neutral' classification fits aptly.

The Illamasqua lipstick pigmentation is intense. We are talking totally opaque, in-your-face color, gals! The texture is on the heavier side and the finish is matte! I love matte lipstick finishes because they always make my lips look fuller. Now, unlike some mattes, I find that Illamasqua lipstick is not drying. Yes, it is on the dry side formula-wise but it does not chap my lips. I always wear MAC Lip Prep and Prime as a lipstick base. Not only does it make lipsticks last longer, it helps shield lips from dryness.

Here is Box in a vintage tube (I like to re-case my lipsticks in vintage tubes!):
Here is a swatch on my right hand:
Notice the pink-blue tones? Yet, the tube photo above it, the color looks warm-based!

Here I am, wearing Box matched with Make Up For Ever's Aqua Lip pencil in 8C (I typically wear Box with MAC pencil in Cherry but thanks again to Inky, I tried the 8C and it really pairs well!)

I am wearing a faux fur wrap and a 1940s pale blue beaded hat. I felt like "playing dress up" for a bit! (lol!)

So, if you are looking for a true matte, deeply pigmented lipstick that pulls out all the stops, then give Illamasqua Box a try!

Giving A "Shout Out" to My Fellow Vintage Bloggers!

I cannot believe it has been nearly a year since I started blogging!  During this time, I have met so many wonderful gals who live and breathe the vintage life like I do! The fact that I am not alone in my vintage pursuits makes me feel very good! I have learned so much from you gals and I am truly grateful! 

So, with that said, I would like to thank ALL of you who have made this past year so amazing! I also would like to feature some of the wonderful vintage blogs that I enjoy following and if you are not following them yet, then you are missing out!





















Lipstick Review: Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense #9

This is me wearing Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick #9 by Make Up For Ever. I am outside in my yard, fresh from a great workout at the gym (hence the reason I am wearing a t-shirt!) 

Typically, I wear just reds but lately I have been seeking out other shades like orange, coral, and pinks. I think my recent desire to 'change things up a bit' is due on part to the fast-approaching summer season. I have a few 50s playsuits and sundresses that will look great paired with different colors.

While I was in Las Vegas for VLV 14, I stayed at the Palazzo/Venetian. Inside this huge facility is a monstrous-sized Sephora! I often refer to Sephora as my "mothership!" Anyway, not only is this particular location big, it features an entire section featuring Make Up For Ever products. I have visited several Sephora stores that offer Make Up For Ever but never have I seen anything on this scale!

Nevertheless, I purchased the #9 Rouge Artist Intense lipstick ($19.00 USD) and a Smoky Lash Aqua (waterproof) Mascara  for $22.00 USD. (I will do a review on that next).


The #9 lipstick is a hot pink with a opalescent pearly sheen. In certain lighting, the #9 appears pink and in others, it takes on a lilac cast. In the above photo, I paired MAC's lip pencil in Magenta with this lipstick. However, Make Up For Ever's Aqua Lip Liner in 16C ($17 USD) is a perfect match for the #9.

This lipstick is very pigmented and feels comfortable on the lips. It is not drying nor is it too creamy. Moreover, the Rouge Artist Intense line of lipsticks (50 total colors in three finishes: matte, pearl, and satin) are very long-lasting. I can wear most colors 4 hours before needing to touch up.

Here is here #9 in the tube (albeit a vintage one I transferred it to):
(Sorry for the bare nails! Blech! I need to remedy that quick!)

Here is a swatch on my right hand:
And here is an up-close view of my lips:
As I stated before, in certain lighting, this lipstick takes on a lilac cast due to the opalescent pearly finish. In person, #9 looks fuchsia pink. I prefer my reds but when my outfit calls for blue-toned pink, #9 fits the bill beautifully.

So, vintage gals, do you ever wear shades other than reds? If so, which ones are in your collection?