Friday, June 25, 2010

Vintage Pic of the Day

Here is my dad skiing, circa 1945, in his native Norway. My dad left Norway for the United States in the mid-60s. My father says that in Norway it is tradition that as soon as toddlers can walk, they begin ski lessons. When I visited my family in 1989, I was 14 and just learning to ski. All the Norwegian kids aged 5 and up were skiing circles around me and even laughing at the 'big American kid' was falling on her bum all day. I eventually got the hang of it but I just wished I learned sooner.

Nevertheless, skiing is in my blood. Every ski season, I visit Colorado for a couple of weeks to ski and take in nature. I hope to ski until my body falls apart!

After all these years skiing, I have good days and bad days on the slopes. I may not ever be good as my dad but I do okay. I enjoy it and that is all that matters. You know, of all the instructors I ever had, the best teacher out of all of them, has been Dad.

One year I was in Colorado and I found myself having a hard time get used to my new shaped skis. As soon as I got back to the condo, I called my dad and he gave me some great advice. The next day I went out and practiced like he told me and I did so much better.

Thanks for everything, Daddy!

My Vintage Closet

This is a partial view of my closet. The other side, to the right, is the husband's side. Even though my side is getting pretty stuffed, I always seem to want more clothes! Maybe I can convince my husband to move to another closet that way I 'have to' fill up the other side! Lol!

Here is another view, showing the floor. Again, the husband's wares are to the right. Yet, I can now see one of my crinolines on the floor on the right. It looks like I am taking over!

You can also see my ski boots. Even though it is not ski season, I cannot bear to put them in the basement in our storage area. I think I like seeing them every day because they remind me of my beloved Colorado mountains.

Another funny thing, when I was taking this, my persian cat was sleeping in a hidden spot out of view. As of late, the cat likes to snooze on top my winter scarves and ski sweaters.

My Vintage Home

Having been inspired by other vintage gals' blogs (especially Temperamental Broad and Va Voom Vintage), I thought I would also share images of my vintage abode with you all. My home was build in 1985 and my husband and I have lived here since the mid-90s. In the beginning, I had no idea what design direction or theme I wanted to invoke. For many years, my house was a mix of "hand-me-down" furniture (mostly 80s) and cheap bits bought from Ikea and Target. Basically, it looked bad!

In 2002, my best friend, Sunny, who is an interior designer, decided to take matters into her own hands! She gave my poor hodgepodge abode a good 'ol fashioned re-imaging/butt-whoopin'! We replaced light fixtures, painted, re-tiled the kitchen, applied stenciling, created some faux finishes, and revamped my home's style. Heck, my house had NO style to begin with and it showed. Now, it still a work in progress (especially the master bed and bath) but it is so much better. I also have been building (slowly) a vintage collection of home wares along with some repro items. This week, I bought a few yards of Eames-era looking geometric fabric and I made a new table runner for the dining room along with matching pillow covers for the living room.

Here is my dining room (most of it):

Here is part of the living room:

Here is my range in the kitchen:

Here another view of the kitchen:

As it stands now, I need to re-carpet the entire upstairs. I re-carpeted the dining and living rooms in 2003, re-tiled the kitchen floor in 2002, and we also have wood flooring on most of the first floor. I also have a sunroom and I will take pictures this weekend. The sunroom was added on to the house by the original owners in their latter years of home ownership. My theme is tropical but I want to update it with a Hawaiian-tiki look. I just need to find some barkcloth fabric with a hibiscus print. What I have found so far is pretty but super expensive! I guess I need to save up for it!

Anyway, I am enjoying the slow transition from modern chaos to vintage comfort. Again, it is times like this that make me wish I had a time machine!

MAC Paint Pots in Neutrals

Here are swatches of 6 neutral shades of MAC Paint Pots. Paint Pots retail for $16.50 USD and they contain 0.17 ounces of product. They are cream eyeshadow bases that can be used alone or with eyeshadow. Paint Pots help shadow last longer and also make the color stand out. When trying to select colors to buy, you cannot go wrong with these great neutrals! And as we all know, neutrals are a must when creating the quintessential 1940s eye!

From Top to Bottom, Left to Right, the shades are:

1. Bare Study (a pale champagne shimmer with a gold undertone)
2. Painterly (a soft pinkish-beige nude cream with no shimmer)
3. Perky (a light pink-based creamy peach with a slight pearl effect)
4. Rubenesque (a peach gold shimmer)
5. Fresco Rose (a mid-tone light pink cream with a hint of pearl)
6. Groundwork (a light toast beige cream with a hint of pearl).

How to use:

Using fingers or a MAC 152 brush, apply onto the lower lid of the eyes, just before the crease. If using Painterly, you can apply to the entire eye, from lashes to brow bone. I usually just apply paint pots to my lids and this is a look I do often:

I first put on an eyeshadow primer like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance all over my eyelid. I then apply Perky Paint Pot on my lower lid using a MAC 152 brush. Afterwards, I apply MAC Pen N Pink eyeshadow (a pale pink, non shimmer color) to my lower lid. On my crease, I apply MAC shadow in Copperplate with a MAC 217 brush. (Your crease color can be a light beige or soft toast shade). To finish, I put on a light eggshell shadow like MAC's Mylar on my browbone and then coat top and lower lashes with MAC Opulash Mascara in black.

And this is how it looks:

The Baby Cut Post Revisited- With Pics

A about a week ago, I discussed getting a 'baby cut' from my stylist. The Baby is the shorter version of the famed 'Middy' cut that was very popular during the 1940s. The Baby was also the official cut of women serving in the armed forces during the war.

In the first few days after having my vintage hair cut, I found myself having a hard time with styling. I have experimented with pin curling, rags, rollers (talk about uncomfortable to sleep in!), and curling with my ceramic iron. I also tried various parts in my hair and different styles.

After asking you girls about how to style, several of you stated that you often curl hair (despite the method) down from the part and towards the sides of the face. I did this and viola, success. Here is one style with the hair parted in the middle and the bangs are rolled in a pompadour:

Here is a view of the back:

I washed my hair, applied styling glaze from Paul Mitchell, parted my hair in the middle, and I air-dried completely. Then I rolled my bangs back, curled hair as suggested with my curling iron, and fluffed with a barrel brush. I finished the look with Elnet Hairspray.

So far, I am having a much better go of things now that my hair has been properly cut as I am learning what methods work for styling. The cut really has made a huge difference! Before, my hair was cut with modern layers that made my hair lie flat. The u-shaped layers (all being 4 inches) are the key for good curl.

I want to say thank you to all of you who gave me such wonderful advice! I really appreciate it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Where Do You Find Your Vintage Wares?

This past weekend, I visited downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, my niece, and nephew. The town reminds me of the quaint main streets of years past. Fredericksburg is rich in Civil War history and features many speciality shops ranging from furniture, cat-themed gifts, modern clothing, Vera Bradley, candles, ice cream to vintage clothing and even vintage furniture.

I visited one store that was small, yet cute. Most of the clothing was 70s and early 80s. I did see a couple of vintage 50s straw handbags but they were in fair to poor condition. One bag even had visible mold stains on the inside liner. My mom did find a 50s, yellow rayon sheer blouse for me. I bought it along with two chiffon scarves. Despite my purchases, I felt disappointed with the lack of 40s and 50s goods.

I also visited a huge antique "mall." It had everything from Civil War bullets, artifacts, clothing, hats, bags, belts, jewelry, shoes, records, dolls, furniture, and so on. I could have spent hours in there but my family was waiting for me at the local coffee shop and I quickly bought a wide, red faux leather belt and a three-strand yellow bead and off-white pearl necklace.

Most of the clothing and bags were either not my era or if they were 40s/50s, what I found was in horrible or questionable condition. I know that most finds are discovered after much patient searching. But, I have noticed something. Most of the vintage I have found in brick and mortar shops has been not what I call "good." Further, I have way more success finding good quality, 40s and 50s clothing and accessories online. At antique malls, I may find the occasional moonglow lucite bangle or beaded necklace along with a handbag or two but I have to say that I prefer or websites like

So, what is your experience with brick and mortar versus online shops? What have you had success with? Do you have a preference?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Rant and A Promise

This is my car. Yes, you read correctly: my car. The other night, my car was broken into and property was stolen. I am shocked, hurt, livid, and I feel totally violated. I found out about this when a police officer rang my bell yesterday morning and informed me that my car window had been smashed.

I answered the door, wearing my PJs. The husband and I had just finished our morning coffee and I had just began cleaning the house. I was asked if the car in question was mine and if so, I needed come outside and check if anything was taken. As soon as I heard the word, "taken," I felt an instant sense of dread. I brought home an item from work on Friday afternoon. Due to the activity over the weekend (Father's Day), I forgot this item was in my car and lo and behold, now it is gone. I feel like such an idiot. I am also mad someone thinks they can vandalize others' property and steal. How does trash like this sleep at night?!

I try very hard in my daily life to be kind, considerate, polite, and a lady. Sure, I have my faults, but I feel confident in saying that I am a nice, good person. I also try to honor the good in people but situations like this really let down my hopes for a kind, thoughtful humanity.

Despite my disappointment, I have to be strong and need to be positive. Thankfully, no one was hurt, my car is covered my insurance, and my work also has insurance on the stolen item. I have filed a police report and made all the necessary calls to repair my car window. Moreover, I will use this experience to be more diligent when it comes to leaving valuables in the car.

I am still upset but I know in the end, all will be okay. However, I hope the person or persons who did this will get caught and get what they deserve. Although I have been victimized, I will hold my head high and continue to be courteous, intelligent, and classy.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Authentic Vintage Red Lipstick (and on a budget!)

(Revlon's "Fire and Ice" lipstick advertisement, circa 1952)

In all the years I have been a red-lipstick wearer, I have bought everything from the average-priced MAC, the crazy expensive Cle de Peau to the cheap Milani and Revlon. I have tried many colors and formulas and in the last couple of months, I rediscovered the world of Revlon lipstick. I still love my MAC Lady Danger but Revlon's Super Lustrous Fire and Ice, Cherries in the Snow, and Love That Red are quickly becoming my new favorites. Even though most modern red shades 'come close' to vintage colors, there is nothing like the real thing! Revlon's shades are not only authentic 1950s reds, they are cheaper too! I seen prices range from $5.49 to $8.99. (Revlon currently costs $8.99 at my local Giant grocery store but I have paid less at CVS and Wal-Mart).

I love how Revlon has continued to make Fire and Ice (a bright coral-based red with a slight pink undertone), Cherries in the Snow (a fuchsia-based red with vivid blue undertones), and Love That Red (a true red with a slight tomato undertone). I also like the smooth, creamy Super Lustrous formula. However, I did find the texture a bit "slidey" at first. To remedy this, I apply and just blot with standard, non-lotion type Kleenex.

In the 1940s and 50s, lipstick was creamier because they were made with mineral oils. Today's "matte" lipstick is a relatively new concept in cosmetics. MAC's red shades in Lady Danger, Russian Red, So Chaud, etc are all matte shades which have a dry feel and flat, non-shiny texture. In my opinion, I think Revlon's Super Lustrous lipstick captures this vintage element well.

I also like how vintage shades were bright-based red shades. I recently purchased a few vintage lipstick tubes from and some of the tubes had remnants of lipstick inside and some even had full, untouched color. Despite being tempted to swipe on 60-55 year old lipstick, I just froze the tube in my freezer and then when it was cold enough, I scraped out the old product and cleaned with rubbing alcohol. (By the way, the amazing and gorgeous Brittany of Va-Voom Vintage Blog has a fabulous tutorial detailing how to properly refill vintage lipstick tubes with modern lipstick bullets! You have to check it out!)

So, for those vintage girls looking for authentic vintage red lisptick, give these Revlon colors a try! Not only will you look amazing, you will be saving money (more to spend on vintage goodies!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

War Era Propoganda Poster

I found this poster on a website recently. I love seeing vintage, war-era stuff like this! It really shows us how daily life must have been during this time. Americans knew they could be war for a long time so nothing was left to chance. Food was rationed, clothing designs were changed, certain textiles and car models were restricted, and according to this, free correspondence was to be limited. Spies and secret agents could be anywhere, listening.

Did you know that New York and Washington, DC had the most concentration of axis spies during the war? Also, before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese spies posed as tourists and took photographs of Battleship Row? There was also a local dentist, who was Japanese-born, who helped gain intelligence for the Japanese as well.

Here in DC, we have the Spy Museum located on F Street NW (the north west part of town). I have not been yet but I want to go! One of the many exhibits features World War II espionage! If I ever go, I will post pictures for sure.

Hairstyling Help Needed With "The Baby" Cut

I know I discussed getting my hair color re-touched on Monday. I also talked about how it is often difficult to get vintage hairstyles and/or cuts done at most modern salons. Well, today I went back to my beloved stylist Corry for a haircut. I did some research and found a great vintage haircut diagram link on Community Journal. Even though I printed out "The Middy" and "The Baby" diagrams before my appointment, I stupidly left them in my other car! Thankfully, when I arrived at the salon for my noon time appointment, I was able to find the link again and print what I needed. I then gave the printouts to Corry and due to fact my hair is on the short side, he decided to give me The Baby cut. This cut was apparently standard for women in uniform and was also popular with college girls during the war.

After washing my hair, Corry studied the diagram and cut my hair. He said it was similar to the cut he did to qualify for the state boards for his stylist license. He went on to say that the layers cut in a "U shape" help encourage the curl in hair. That is so what I needed! In the last couple of months as my hair has been growing out, I have been having a lot of trouble getting a good curl whenever I use my ceramic iron or sleep on rollers.

Upon completing the cut, Corry used a round barrel brush to create curl. As I left his chair, I said goodbye, paid, and went back to work. I like my hair cut, but the curl is not really my style. My hair looks more modern than vintage, but that is okay. I simply put in a couple of bobby pins. I will experiment with style when I go home tonight.

So, I have a few questions for you gals: Is there a 'set way' of styling the hair to create vintage looks? I admit that I have no idea. I usually just "wing it" and hope for the best. Also, if anyone has the Baby, Middy, Middy Plus, or Femme Fatale what styling routine works for you? Also, what about hair parting?

I know I am asking a lot but I really have no real clue as where to start. Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Latest Etsy Find!

After months of searching, I finally found this beauty! A 50s, red leather handbag! I bought this last week off Etsy. I paid $40.00 including shipping. I am amazed how new the bag looks on the outside and how the inside looks so pristine! I really doubt this bag was barely used, if at all!

Here is the bag with me out at dinner with the husband and my brother-in-law. I know it's a bit odd to be taking pictures at a table in a restaurant. I do not have a phone with a camera so I stole the husband's!

So far, I love this bag! I can fit in my wallet, keys, Blackberry, compact, lipstick, and sunglasses with total ease!

Creating Vintage Styles With Modern Clothing

This is me on my front porch on Sunday afternoon. I am about to head off to run errands. I am wearing a red cotton and lace camisole from Charlotte Russe, a white cardigan from Target, a black belt from Urban Outfitters, a black skirt from Heartbreaker Fashion, and gold leather wedges from Re-Mix Vintage Shoes. The only real vintage items I have on are my sunglasses and the red handbag I am carrying. Everything else was bought from modern stores and/or is repro.

When it comes to wearing vintage looks, I try to buy the real thing but I will also buy contemporary pieces as well. Sometimes a girl has to improvise!

So, I have created a guide that can help build your vintage wardrobe with modern clothing. I have comprised these tips/suggestions based on my personal experience.

1. Cardigans. When looking for vintage-style cardigans, try look for ones with shorter hems. When wearing 40s house dresses or 50s circle skirts, the shorter hem will compliment the waist line and not drape over it, causing a tent effect. I have found several cardigans online and in-store at J. Crew, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, Target, and Express. Also, try to buy simple designs in solid colors. I think white, black, red, navy, cream, blue, and pink are good colors for any girls' collection. In warmer months, short-sleeve, elbow-length, and 3/4 sleeved styles are great.

I have also found print cardigans that look very vintage! For example, I was in Forever 21 a couple months ago and I saw a short-sleeved, white cardigan with small black polka dots. I didn't get but now I know I should have! I also have seen cream-colored cardigans with small floral prints as well as leopard print styles. Dainty florals and leopard prints go great with black dresses and skirts.

If the buttons look cheap or need a vintage touch, you can go to most fabric stores and find tons of cute retro-looking styles. Simply take the current buttons off and replace with the vintage-esque ones. You can also "vintage up" any cardigan with retro brooches and pins.

2. Camisoles. Camisoles are always a girl's must have! Look for cotton/lycra blends in solilds. When buying camisoles I always suggest buying ones made with a lyrca/cotton blend because solid cotton can lose its shape throughout the day and become baggy. Lyrca will not only stretch to fit you comfortably, it will keep its shape!

If you like polka dots, try finding a camisole with this print too. Polka dots are always in vogue and are totally vintage! (Leopard and zebra are usually great prints too. Just use your judgement since not all prints are pretty!) Pair a polka dot camisole under a bright-colored, solid cardigan with a black pencil skirt. Now, just add some lucite bangles, and/or a chunky retro necklace, and some wedge shoes, and you are out the door in no time (an in total vintage style)!

3. Pencil skirts. They are always chic! Pencil skirts became very popular during the late 40s and early 50s. I have seen pencil styles everywhere from Target, Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, to Forever 21. Skirts in black, red, and plaid are very vintage. EC Star makes really cute plaid pencil skirts! Pair pencil skirts with white blouses, cardigans, turtlenecks, etc.

Some girls think pencil skirts are not flattering. I have found that if a skirt does not fit, take it to a tailor. I have a small waist and a round bum so I usually need to take pencil skirts and trousers to my local dry cleaners for alterations. For pencil skirts, my tailor will take it in the waist and maybe in at the hips a little bit and presto, I have a skirt that skims my curves and flatters my figure. A general rule of thumb is to buy skirt that fits and flatters, not one that squeezes and distorts! Also, a skirt should never be too big either. Baggy clothing is just as bad as too tight clothing!

4. Pants. Capri pants in black, red, or most bright colors, dark-rinse denim jeans (that you can roll), high-waisted pants with wide legs (black crepe is best due to its drape), short shorts with high waists (these are very popular this season), bermuda shorts in cotton/lycra blends and in colors like black, red, or navy (bermudas are great for those girls who feel short shorts show too much (like me!), and skinny cigarette pants in most solids. Just like for skirts, pants usually require good tailoring to ensure a flattering fit.

5. Blouses. Choose blouses with classic lines and button down styles. Also, avoid pockets! I have no idea why most designers insist on putting pockets on women's shirts and blouses! Most of us do not use pockets! However, if you already have a a blouse or button down shirt that has a pocket (or two), you can wear a cardigan over it (the cardigan's sleeve length should be longer than the shirt's sleeve underneath!). Chiffon, cotton, and rayon are all lovely fabrics. In the summer time, cute halter styles (check out Heartbreaker Fashion) go wonderful with everything from pencil skirts, capri pants, rolled jeans, to solid-color circle skirts. If you have a larger bust, make sure the halter can accommodate a strapless bra.

6. Prints. As I mentioned a few times already, prints in leopard, floral, and polka dot are all great for creating vintage looks. Checker, houndstooth, gingham, tweed, and plaid are all vintage-style prints that would compliment any vintage girls' closet! Moreover, prints are wonderful for circle skirts, a-line skirts, sun dresses, shirtdresses, jackets, blouses, and coats.

5.Accessories. Wide belts, vibrant-colored lucite bangles, lucite bracelets and earrings, cherry- themed jewelry, fruit-themed jewelry, pearl necklaces, wedge shoes, cat eye sunglasses, and chiffon scarves are good items to add vintage touches to any look. You an find most of these accessories in Macy's, Target, Forever 21, Betsey Johnson, Charlotte Russe, Claire's, and online at Etsy and eBay. If you want the real vintage deal, most costume jewelry from the 50s and 60s I have found on Etsy and at vintage stores is affordable.

With some determination and imagination, you can find vintage styles most anywhere. And whether you are a rich lady or hot mamacita on a budget (like me, sans the hot part!), you will be successful in building your vintage wardrobe.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cute (and weird) Cat Photo of the Day!

This is Misty, trying to burrow under one of the bedside tables in my bedroom. (Sorry for the black flecks on the carpet. Some shavings from my MAC eye kohl pencil spilled out of my bathroom garbage bin).

Anyway, I have no idea what she was doing and why she decided to explore what was under there. It looks like my table has grown a tail!

Are There Vintage Styles You Won't Wear?

Here is me (the toddler) and my sister, circa 1976. I am just under two years old which means my sister is about 8. It was the mid-late 70s. Carter was in the White House, the Bicentennial was happening, and Elton John and Steely Dan played our parents' turntable (or 8 track). The fashion scene was chock full of polyester, bell bottoms, Wallabees, paisley prints, frosted and feathered hair, short, fat neckties, and pointed collars.

I have to say that out of all the vintage out there, the mid-60s to 70s was the worst. I also cannot stomach most things 80s. I lived it and you cannot make me go back to day-glow jelly shoes, Madonna lace, legwarmers, Reebok hightops, acid wash, and zipper-ankle jeans! I wanted a pair of Reebok high tops so bad. My mom, being the frugal queen, refused to shell out the $58.00 and instead, paid $10.00 for a shoddy pair of knock-off from Pick n'Pay shoes. Not only were they ugly, they said "Winner" across the ankles. Yes, "winner." I wore these hideous abominations to school the next day and everyone laughed at me and yelled out, "You're a WINNER!" as I slinked shamefully down the hall to social studies class. Thanks, Mom.

However, there are a few saving grace pieces from the 70s and 80s like simple, black a-line skirts, Diane Von Furstenburg dresses, and boatneck striped tees. Regardless of the decade, each one has its classic, timeless stand-outs. Yet, in my opinion, I think fashion took a nose dive after 1955-1960.

When I do my vintage shopping (on Etsy or eBay), I look for 40s and 50s styles. I will also buy reproduction pieces now and again. I try to keep it simple when it comes to style and price. I will also hit up places like Target, Urban Outfitters, Charlotte Russe, and Forever 21 for layering pieces like retro-looking white blouses, camisoles, cropped cardigans, and accessories like jewelry and belts. I can adapt and make most things fit "my era."

I know it is all about perspective and personal taste but I think some eras of fashion leave me wanting or wanting to run away!

So, what era or looks do you girls like and which (if any) do you avoid?

Trying To Get Vintage Hairstyles at The Salon

This is me on Friday, hanging out watching TV. I decided to do victory rolls with two magnolia barrettes. I think it came out well. I normally wear one flower but on Friday, one of the rolls refused to behave and it ended up looking wonky so I wore another barrette to conceal it.

In the years I have been doing vintage hair, I find that I often do a better job than any of my stylists. I am not bragging or trying to be rude but it can be hard finding someone who has experience with vintage haircuts and styles.

For example, I went to my beloved stylist, Corry, to have my red color updated and blond highlights re-touched. I didn't need a cut this time since I am currently trying to grow out my hair. However, after getting a fabulous color job today, I asked for my hair to be styled ala Grace Kelly:

After Corry's attempt to curl my hair, I looked in the mirror and saw 70s hair ala Kitty Forman instead of an early 50s style. I laughed it off. Actually, Corry and I both laughed. I was not mad because I understand that most stylists are not trained to do vintage hair. Instead, stylists are taught modern cuts (with the occasional up-do for weddings and proms) and styles because that is what most of their clients want.

I will say this, Corry is extremely talented. His expertise in color, especially fantasy colors like Special Effects, is incredible! Corry is also patient with me. He has taken me to blond with black, hot pink, black, and back to red again. He puts up with my hair moods and I thank him greatly for it. I know I am not the 'typical client' so I am willing to shrug my shoulders and style it myself. Today I ended up fixing my hair by simply putting it up in two victory rolls and then using a lot of hair spray. I had a pile of bobby pins in my bag so all was good with the world.

Since my hair is growing out, I need to wait to do a 'proper' vintage cut. Thanks to Tempermental Broad and her amazing post discussing her gorgeous "Middy Plus" haircut, I found several links showing different versions of vintage haircuts. The next time, if my hair is long enough, I want to do a Middy, which is shorter than the Middy Plus:

Here is a link showing a bunch of different vintage cuts:

I am going to bring the above diagram to Corry when my hair is long enough and I feel confident he can cut it successfully. I know styling can be hard, especially if one is never done victory rolls or pompadours. I will just style my hair myself or I can show Corry. I think we have even have fun!

So, gals, what is your experience when it comes to your salon and vintage hair?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Vintage Shoe Spotlight- Wedges!

Here is the famous Carmen Miranda with her shoes! I am SO JEALOUS!

Shoes. It is a word that evokes feelings of fascination and wonder in almost every girl I know, vintage or not! Putting personal taste aside, I have yet to meet a girl who is not obsessed with shoes. I've had a passion for shoes ever since I was able to wear high heels. In high school, I would often steal my mother's heels and as soon as I got my first real job, I blew most of my earnings on clothing, makeup, and of course, shoes! The first high heels I ever bought were a pair of black suede platforms made by Sam and Libby. The shoes had a late-40s, New Look vibe about them. I was 17 and I felt like a vintage starlet as I strutted my way to Spanish class.

In 2006, I started wearing vintage on a normal basis. As I slowly built my vintage wardrobe, I realized my shoe collection needed to be updated as well. I had a few pairs of contemporary heels that 'looked vintage' as well as two authentic sets of late 1940s/50s deadstock saddle shoes. As I searched various websites for inspiration, I noticed several 40s looks were combined with wedge shoes.

Wedge shoes, are a category of platform shoes. In 1935, Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo designed the first prototype of the wedge. This primary model didn't have an obvious heel. It was almost like a flat-type of shoe. Ferragamo's inaugural creation was in the form of the traditional 'angled' wedge. In 1936, the designer introduced a higher, heeled version. In the following years, different kinds of wedges were made in a myriad of styles and heights. Some wedges were designed with heels as high as five inches!

In the late 1930s and into the early 40s, many shoe designers began to make wedges in a variety of colors and materials. Wedges made with cork, wood, rubber, and/or leather. However, cork became a widely used medium due to its light weight. Moreover, cork soles were long-lasting and sturdy. Women discovered that wedges were not only dependable, they were easier to walk than their high heel counterparts.

During the war years, wedge shoes became fashion mainstays due to comfort and rationing. Heavy restrictions were placed on rubber and leather. As a result, cork continued to be a major component in the wedges' construction. As for the upper balances of wedges, some were made with cottons, velvet, and raffia.

In the late 40s and into the early 50s, wedges were made with lower heels and were usually deemed for casual and summer wear ie, “play wear.”

In the 1970s, the wedge made a huge comeback. The wedge was found in every style from day wear to disco couture.

In the early 1980s, espadrilles (especially those made by Pappagallo) were extremely popular with the “preppy set.” (I remember my sister begging our mom for a pair of espadrilles.)
Throughout the later years of the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, various forms of wedges have come and gone. I have noticed that in the last two to three years, wedges have been a major feature of the haute couture collections ranging from Gucci, Galliano, Yves Saint Laurent, Stuart Weitzman, Prada, Louboutin to Chanel. Even the 'retail' market brands like Roxy, Rocket Dog, and Volatile have been coming out with wedge designs.

In my shoe collection as it stand now, I have wedges from Punk Rose, Natural Comfort, Miss Sixty, CastaƱer, Re-Mix, and Ayers Allen. I would do anything to have the real thing but most of us vintage girls know how hard it is to find vintage shoes that are in good condition, let alone our size!

(Re-Mix Vintage wedges in red)

(me wearing wedges from Miss Sixty)

Despite fashion's fickle love affair with the wedge, I am going to keep wearing them! They are comfortable, cute, and so 40s! On the weekend, I love pairing my red ribbon espadrilles with my dark rinse, denim capris and plaid, 50s camp shirt. Wedges go with everything from 40s house dresses, 50s pencil skirts, sundresses, and vintage playsuits! Instead of flip-flops, I compliment my summer looks with wedges.

So, vintage girls, whatever your budget, be sure to include wedge shoes in your collection!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vintage Pic of the Day

Here are my parents on their wedding day, June 18, 1966. I know my mom looks mad. But, I swear, she's not! She told me that the photographer had a tendency to take pictures without prompting. Mom said, "The man didn't say, "Excuse me, I am going to take a picture now," instead he just came up to your father and I and then, FLASH!" Too funny!

Next weekend, my parents will celebrate 44 years of marriage. They are still going strong!

Body Art!

This post celebrates all the girls out there, vintage or not, who have tattoos, ie body art! Most of my art was done by the late, Kauri Tiyme, who was based out of Denver, Colorado. Sadly, Kauri was taken from this earth in October 2008, yet her energy and powerful lifeforce lives on in all of my tattoos. I am so blessed to have known Kauri as my artist and friend.

All of the following pictures show tattoos done my Kauri.

Sitting on my left hip, showing the right side showing some of Kauri's work:

Sitting on my right hip, showing the left side:

Here is only part of the detail from the cherry blossom and snowflake design on my left arm:

Here are two close-ups of the hibiscus, frangipani, and orchid design on my right shoulder and upper arm:

Here is an upclose look at the Colorado Columbine on my right ankle:

Here is the floral design Kauri repaired (sadly, the previous design I had was done terribly by another artist):

Like I said before, I am lucky to have Kauri Tiyme art on my skin. It reminds me that she is always going to be a part of me forever.

Using Dry Shampoo on Vintage Hairstyles

Here I am wearing my hair in 40s rolls. It was the end of the workday and yet, my hair still held up well.

In the 11 years I have dabbling in the world of vintage hair, I have learned that bobby pins, a rat tail comb, hot rollers or curling iron, and tons of hairspray are vital to do most looks.

However, I have recently discovered dry shampoo sprays. So far, I have tried two different brands, Ojon and Tigi. The Ojon spray is available in two sizes, 4.5 ounces ($24.00 USD) and 2 ounces ($10.00 USD). You can find this product at most Sephora locations and it is also on their website.

The Tigi "Rockaholic Dirty Secret" Dry Shampoo comes in 6.3 ounces and retails for $18.95 USD. Tigi can be found at most salons and in stores like Ulta and Trade Secret.

Both products are sprays that emit a fine powder like mist that works to absorb hair and scalp oils, gives hair volume, and refreshes hair. Dry Shampoo is also great for saving your hair until the next day.

Here is how I use it:

On the day I wash my hair, I style my vintage hair as usual.

Then, after the day is done and I getting ready for bed, I take out all bobby pins and gently comb out any hair spray or hair products that were used to keep my style in place.

I re-roll hair in curls using rags or curlers. I then wrap my head with a scarf and go to sleep.

When I wake in the morning, I take the scarf off my head and then put on a plastic shower cap and take a shower.

After taking shower, I remove shower cap and put on my skincare and then makeup.

After makeup is done, I take out the rags or curlers and gently comb using a wide tooth comb. I then take my Ojon spray and give the can a good shake for about a minute. Then I apply the dry shampoo onto my roots. Now, this is important: after applying the spray, I gently weave my fingers onto the roots and scalp and shake hair back and forth until the powder dries. The spray will feel slight cool and damp but that is okay. This is not ruin my style.

I occasionally shake the can re-activate the shampoo as I work in sections of my hair.

Now that the dry shampoo has been applied, I gently comb my hair using a paddle brush to evenly distribute powder and to smooth out any sections that look too powdery.

Then, I simply restyle my rolls, secure with bobby pins, apply a little hairspray (Elnet is amazing), and I am out the door!

You can also use dry shampoo as a volumizer and 'hair gripper' when doing rolls (even on days you wash and blow dry)! When I was at my salon recently, I overheard one of the stylists telling her client that dry shampoo is good for giving hair more "oomph" and "grip." I took note of this tidbit and when I applied the Ojon spray onto the sections I was to roll, I noticed that my rolls were not only bigger in volume, but also how the bobby pins really stayed in place! I was really impressed!

Whether you prefer Ojon, Tigi, or other brands, you must give dry shampoo a try!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Celebrating The Girls Who Stand Out!- Honoring Kauri

(Photo Taken by Cora Chaos)
The photo above shows the late, great Denver, Colorado tattoo artist, Kauri Tiyme. On Saturday the 18th of October, 2008, Kauri was killed in Denver. Kauri was not only my tattoo artist, she was my friend. When I met her in March 2007 at her studio in Breckenridge, Colorado, my life changed forever. Kauri was such an inspiring person. She got to live dream of being an artist and she was the epitome of real beauty, inside and out. Like many of us vintage girls, Kauri was often judged by others due to her style. Despite anyone's attempt to bring her down for her looks and/or choice of dress, Kauri held her head high. When I shared stories of people staring at me because of my vintage style, it was Kauri who taught me to smile back and say “hi.” Kauri was always full of boundless positive energy. Like the glittery makeup she wore, her soul just shimmered and shined bright like sun. Even though she was taken too soon from those who knew and loved her, I know Kauri's spirit is always going to be with us.

Here is the story of how I met Kauri Tiyme:

I wanted to repair a poorly done Chinese “Double Happiness” tattoo I had done in September 2001. The black ink was splotchy and it looked very stark against my skin. There was nothing special about it and I wanted to either cover it up with something else or add to it. Not only was I unsure about how to fix the tattoo, I was skeptical about letting another artist repair it. After some thought, I decided to take my time and think about what I truly wanted. I did not want to make a hasty decision that I could end up regretting later on. To find inspiration for my tattoo, I researched designs in books and on the Internet. Finally, after searching for several months, I chose a Japanese themed design that incorporated flowers, snow, and wind.

I had been going to Breckenridge off and on for ski trips since December 1996. Before leaving for vacation, I was curious if there were any tattoo studios in town. I searched online and found a listing for Breckenridge Body Art. I called the studio, gave a description of what I wanted, and made my appointment. I was told that my design would more than likely need to be at least a 'quarter sleeve,' preferably a 'half sleeve' due to the details of the piece. In addition, the studio informed me that the tattoo would probably require four hours to complete. I was excited and yet scared of the notion of getting tattooed for a half-sleeve. I only had little tattoos at the time and this was going to be my first 'big one.' I asked myself, "Can I tolerate the pain for four hours?" The very thought was making me question whether I should go through with it or not.

On the morning of my 'tattoo day,' I woke up feeling nervous and queasy. I told myself to calm down. I mean, it couldn't kill me right? Undeterred by my fears, I ate breakfast and skied a few runs on the mountain. After skiing, I returned to my condo and showered. The husband, Mike, and I left for lunch and then to Kauri's studio at 2:30 pm. The snow was swirling around and the late winter air felt crisp. As skiers and tourists milled about on Main Street, all I could think about was how I was in 'way over my head.'Despite the cold, I was hot and sweaty. As I entered the studio, Kauri greeted me with a big smile and warm eyes. Her long, natural black dreadlocks cascaded down her tall, thin frame. Their ends were wrapped in vibrant blue, red, and purple yarn. Shimmery, silver threads were beautifully entwined amongst the bright colors and as a result, Kauri's dreads sparkled as she moved. Her eyes and lips were twinkling with vibrant glitter and jeweled piercings adorned her graceful forehead. Her voice was light and sweet. She looked striking and powerful yet she had such a delicate energy about her.

Kauri showed me her sketch of my cherry blossom/snow theme and it was so beautiful. The drawing looked like the beginnings of an oil painting. Kauri's interpretation did not look like any tattoo I had ever seen before. It was hyper-realism for sure. As she went to her work station to prepare for my tattoo, I filled out paperwork and I was asked for proof of identification. I looked in my wallet to get my driver's license and I discovered that it was missing. I searched my coat and pockets and found nothing. At this point, my husband ran all the way back to the condo to search for it. After a while, he called my cell and told me that he could not find it. I was in a panic. I told Kauri that I lost my license and she was very sympathetic and understanding. She said that I could mail her a copy of it when I returned home. My panic subsided and I felt totally at east. Then, it was time to start my tattoo. I felt the nerves act up again. I was excited and freaked out all at once. Kauri wet my skin, shaved my arm with a disposable razor, and put on the transfer. As I sat in her tattoo chair, she showed me her unopened needles and disclosed each needle's function. Anyone who was tattooed by Kauri knew how strict she was about regulations and safety standards.

Then, the tattooing began. The first line was not too bad. It felt like a bee sting. During the tattoo session, Kauri and I talked about everything. We talked about art, our mutual love of Doctor Who, our adoration for cats and MAC makeup. We talked about physics, fractals, religion, skepticism, MC Escher, our mothers, people who judge, music, Anime, Ghost in the Shell, and Indian food. Over the course of many hours, the level of discomfort varied between the downright intense to the somewhat tolerable. But what really made the process bearable was Kauri herself. Talking to her and getting to know her a little made the session actually fun. Also, Kauri's touch was the most gentle I ever felt from any other artist. When Kauri finished the last white highlights around 8:30-8:45 pm, I just couldn't believe we were done already. Those hours just flew by. However, I have to confess that I kept asking her "are we done yet?" near the end. I even apologized for whining and she immediately assured me that I was fine and that I "sat like a rock."

Before leaving the studio, we hugged and I told her that I would be back for sure. I felt sad the day was over with Kauri but I was happy because I knew I would see her again. As I shut the door behind me, the night air felt colder than before. Yet, I was filled with warmth and exhilaration. I just had an amazing experience with a wonderful person.

I met with Kauri again on Saturday, September 1, 2007. Mike, my brother-in-law Scott, and I were in Aspen for business. Before our trip, I called Kauri and made an appointment to have a red hibiscus flower and water design added to my right shoulder. The day of the appointment, we rented a car and drove on Highway 82 towards Independence Pass. The drive was breathtaking but it took a long time. I called Kauri and told her that we were more than likely going to be late. She was so kind and never gave me the impression that she was put out or annoyed. She was sympathetic and told me not to worry because I was her only client that day. Kauri said that she was glad I was her only client because she wanted to hide away from all the tourists in town for Labor Day weekend. After three hours in the car, we arrived in Breckenridge. We were only about 45 minutes late. Kauri showed me her sketch and it was gorgeous. I loved it but I also panicked a bit. I was worried that the piece was too big and I would look “too tattooed.” As a result, I opted only to have the hibiscus done. Kauri happily obliged.

As Kauri started the tattoo, Mike and Scott left the studio to walk around town. Kauri and I spent the time talking. My sessions with Kauri seemed more like spending time with a good friend than having a tattoo done. During my tattoo, Mike and Scott visited the Irish pub and had a few beers. They came back to the studio and then hung out until the piece was finished. Like my previous session, Kauri and I talked about everything from lipstick to the Bible. We also discussed the music Kauri was always playing in the studio.

Kauri loved VNV Nation, Type O Negative, Informatik, and Skinny Puppy. She often played VNV and Informatik in her studio. I have to admit that even though I liked the electronic beats, I did not find myself intrigued. Yet, over time, I grew to love the music she played. In March 2008, Kauri burned a CD featuring nine VNV Nation songs, and literally from that moment on, I became a huge fan.

After three and a half hours of sitting in Kauri's tattoo chair, my hibiscus was done. The colors and details were just amazing. I was so happy but I was also tired, hungry, and in a little pain. Kauri wrapped my new tattoo in clear plastic wrap and then we said our goodbyes. Again, I was sad to leave but I was happy because I knew that I would be back to her studio again. I left Kauri's shop with Mike and Scott around 9:00 pm. We went to a nearby burger joint and refueled my drained body. After a well-deserved meal, the three of us drove back to Aspen. The night felt cool and the moon was half full. During our drive, we stopped at the Continental Divide Park on Highway 82. The landscape was draped in colors of black and deep purple. The moon illuminated a few passing clouds, giving them a silvery glow. The altitude was so high that the stars seemed to be right on top of us. I had never seen stars that close before. It was truly a magical night.

I met with Kauri again in early March 2008. She added an orchid, a frangipani, and rain drops to my red hibiscus. Mike also started a huge half-sleeve, Japanese-themed design that featured a beautiful koi turning into a dragon. This visit was so wonderful because I got to spent two days in a row with Kauri. Again, we spent a majority of the time talking. On the day of Mike's tattoo, he dozed off while Kauri and I discussed various topics.

In June 2008, Mike and I visited Breckenridge for the first time in the late spring/early summer. We had only visited during the winter and the late summer/early fall. The daytime temperatures ranged from the low to high 60s and at night, they averaged around 35-40 degrees. Most of the days were bright and sunny and there were no clouds in the sky. However, on the morning of our first full day, Mike and I woke to a cloudy, cold morning. As I went into the condo kitchen to make coffee, I looked out the window and saw that it was snowing! Snow in June? I could not believe it! Even though it snowed off and on for most of the day, the snow did not stick to anything. However, for the reminder of the week, the weather was sunny and the temperatures averaged 65 degrees during the day.

A couple of days later, Mike and I met with Kauri again. Before our appointment, I made Kauri vegan raspberry and dark chocolate bar cookies. Even though Kauri loved them, she told me that she was kind of allergic to chocolate. She went on to say that she loved chocolate but “did not lover her back.” Mike's appointment took place the day before mine. This would be his second session for his giant koi/water design. The next day, I sat for my Colorado columbine flower tattoo. This design covered the black outlined triple moon piece I had done in 2000 and 2002. Kauri added snow, gray shadowing, and a lovely snowflake. As Kauri worked on my lower leg/ankle, I actually dozed off a few times! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be able to tolerate a needle on my skin, let alone snooze while it was happening! That just goes to demonstrate how skilled Kauri was. Nevertheless, it was during this visit that she told me that she was not only leaving Breckenridge to start a studio in Denver, she was getting a divorce as well. She wanted to start fresh and have the ability to do the type of art she wanted. I was sad she would not longer be in Breckenridge, but I was happy and excited for her. Kauri had amazing plans to turn the Denver space into an art venue, music experience, and of course, tattoo studio.

In August 2008, Mike and I traveled to Denver for business. We also got to meet with Kauri again and this time, we got to see her new studio firsthand! Kauri's studio was a warehouse-type building that had once been a recording studio. It was located at 3050 East 43rd Avenue, near the exit for I-70 East. On the day of our appointments, I called a cab to drive me to the studio because my appointment was at 3:00 pm and Mike was still working at his client's offices. When I arrived, I called Kauri on her cell and she came outside to greet me. From the outside, the building looked very industrial and very nondescript. However, upon entering, the studio was not only huge, it had a very hip, minimalist feel. Kauri had painted a mural of an atomic bomb/mushroom cloud on a door that was near a stage area. There were three cute cats running around. One was Kauri's cat, Myscha and the other two were her boyfriend's cats, Dorian and Ro. As I walked through the studio, I saw the skeleton and skull design that Kauri painted on the floor. The colors were intense and the detail was just gorgeous.

Then, Kauri and I entered her tattoo studio room, which was located in the center of the building. Kauri painted a brightly-colored tiki-like skull with red feathers on the floor. There was also a silver, mechanical-looking skeleton form painted on the back of the door. The walls were gray and the floor was lacquered, charcoal-colored concrete. As Kauri prepared for my tattoo, I asked her how her ex-husband was doing since her move and the divorce and she told me that “he was having a hard time letting go.” I learned that he was still in Breckenridge and had no work. He was trying to help Kauri sell her condo that was located just outside town. Kauri was quite stressed about her condo not being sold. The ex actually called her as she was got ready for my piece. Her voice was kind and at no time did she seem annoyed.

Then, it was time for my tattoo. We probably got started around 3:30 – 3:45 pm. Before my appointment, I had sent Kauri a picture of a rosy paintbrush flower. I wanted her to cover the cherries I had done in 2006. Even though I thought the cherries were cute, the design was amateur at best and after having Kauri's art, I wanted everything to look uniform. This was also the first time Kauri did not use a created stencil/transfer for my tattoo. She just looked at the photo and drew freehand on my ankle with a light green sharpie! Now THAT is talent! Kauri ended up incorporating the cherries in the flower piece but she covered most of the remaining parts with deep blues. As Kauri was tattooing me, Mike finally came to the studio. This was his third session for his koi piece. We ended up finishing around midnight. But before we left, Mike and I got to met Kauri's boyfriend, Peter. He was a very cool guy. When I met him, I got a great feeling from him.

A month later, Mike and I went to Denver again. Mike had to finish his work with his clients and pick up the computers he left. On Monday, September 22, Mike and I met with Kauri at her studio. Mike sat first and finally finished his koi piece. It was so pretty! Then, Kauri repaired the frangipani design I had done on my right inner wrist in 2006. Even though the piece was supposed to look like a flower, people thought it was a starfish! Also, the lines of the flower were uneven and shaky. The artist who initially did it was really digging into me and as a result, I was shaking due to the pain. When I told Kauri this, she said that they guy should not have been tattooing anyone. Kauri not only made the lines of the flower perfect, she intensified the color and added green and blue droplets. And when she tattooed me, it was still very tense, but the pain was tolerable. Kauri's touch felt like a comfort the entire time. It was also during this visit that Kauri told us that she was having troubles with the tattoo artist who took over her former studio in Breckenridge. She said that he was not paying his rent and was being rude and belligerent. She was worried that he was going to come to Denver and “throw a brick through her window.” Mike told her to get a lawyer and she said that she was going to meet him in Breckenridge that coming Thursday. We told her not to worry and that the deadbeat tenant had no leg to stand on. Before we left, we got to talk to Peter again, who just got off work. Then Mike and I said our goodbyes and went off to eat a lovely meal at our favorite Italian restaurant in Denver, Piati.

Two days after my our appointment, Mike and I went out with Kauri and Peter. Mike and I drove to the studio and picked them up. As we drove towards Colfax Avenue, we were listening to the 80s station on the Sirius radio. We all shared stories about certain songs, concerts, and funny moments growing up. We soon arrived at our destination, Watercourse restaurant. This is a vegetarian/vegan establishment that not only serves food but has a complete bakery on the premises. We ordered vegetarian nachos and vegan buffalo wings. The food was really good and even Mike loved the wings! For our main courses, Kauri ordered a custom-made salad and I got the cannoli bean pasta. Everything was so tasty and we all had such a great night laughing and talking. It felt so great finally hanging out with Kauri. The night was just amazing. As we left the restaurant and made our way back to the car, a strange black lady came up to Kauri and told her that Kauri's hair was so pretty and she even tried to touch them. Even though Kauri was sweet and kind, I could tell she was a bit weirded out! We all were actually and we laughed about it. We drove back to the studio and said our goodbye. She and I talked about going to see VNV live together the next time they came to Denver We also discussed our plan to fix the Double Happiness tattoo I had done in 2001 and to cover my pentagram with a peony. We all hugged and Mike and I drove back to our hotel. The next day we flew back home with the hopes of returning soon.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, October 21st, I was randomly searching the Internet to see of anyone was talking about Kauri’s Denver studio, Transposed Fusion. I stumbled upon a blog and I read that Kauri was dead. The post stated that she was found in a Denver Marriott Tech Center hotel room by the housekeeping staff. Apparently, she had died the day before. The last person to see her alive was her ex-husband. He was no where to be found and her car was missing. After reading the blog, I started to panic and felt a wave of total disbelief. I thought it was a mistake, if not a cruel joke. I was shocked and I did not believe it was true. I mean, I just saw her less than a month before and there was no way this was happening. I shook with fear. I told my husband and burst into tears. We called Peter at his work and he sadly confirmed it was true.

For the remainder of that week, I was a wreck. I could barely sleep and I experienced bouts of crying and moments of numb disbelief. I found myself wide awake in the middle of the night and unable to sleep. I kept thinking about Kauri and trying to figure things out. My mind was swimming, almost drowning with thought. I felt everything from sadness to rage. How could someone hurt this beautiful person? It was not fair.

On Thursday, October 23rd, 2008, the ex-husband was spotted by US Marshals while driving Kauri’s car in northern New Mexico on Interstate 25. He tried to evade capture by deliberately wrecking the vehicle. He eventually crashed and rolled the car. He was treated for minor injuries and extradited back to Denver. As of this writing, he sits in Denver Jail, awaiting trial.

While I was trying to coax myself to sleep one night, I asked myself, "What would have happened if I decided not to go through with our first appointment?" I realized that I would have missed out on meeting Kauri. I would have missed out on having tattoos that are so amazing, people actually stop to compliment me. Her sense of expression and style were truly special. Kauri took tattooing to another level that most artists will never be able to emulate. Kauri's tattoos are precious to me now more than ever. They are reminders of time spent with Kauri as my friend. I once told Kauri that she would be the only person to ever tattoo me and I meant it. I will never get tattooed again.

I realize that if I canceled that appointment, I would have never had the honor of knowing Kauri Tiyme. With that said, I am glad to have taken that chance. I am thankful for it every day.

I miss you, Kauri. Thank you for everything, precious girl.

And to all the vintage gals, tattooed divas, and alternative queens out there, I want to say thank you for being you! I celebrate all of you (and myself) each day! Treasure your unique spirit and always march to your own beat!

A Blah Day Here in DC

(The above pic is courtesy of the Nation Park Service website)

This is DC right now. It is just 69 F degrees today (21 C)! It has also been cloudy and drizzling off and on for most of the day. Some June weather, huh? Well, according to my "boyfriend," meteorologist Doug Hill of my local ABC affiliate, it is going to be sunny and 87 F (31 C) tomorrow!

I do not like cloudy and wet days like this, especially in summer. I think summer should be hot and humid and winters should be snowy and cold!

Anyway, I had my hair done so great but the frizz came out and tried to steal the show. I wore my vintage, teal blue chiffon scarf today in an effort to protect my hair.

It is funny to see the odd looks I get from some people whenever I wear my head scarves on rainy days like this. Just today, I was in the car during my lunch break and I was stopped at a red light when I happened to look over and see this man staring at me like I was some weirdo. Oh well. I guess he was just jealous that he cannot 'rock out' the chiffon like me!

So, here is a question, on days when the weather tries to ruin our victory rolls and curls, what do you do to safeguard it?

Tip for Using Hair Combs, Circa 1943!

I was browsing today (I know, I know! I need to be good!) for 1940s NOS (new old stock) and I found a listing for a vintage 1943 hair comb. One of the pictures from the item description features the back of the card!

I love that we get to see different ways to use combs! I like the style that shows the combs decorated with small flowers!

I have two vintage combs my mother-in-law gave me but until now, I have never knew how to properly use them. I mostly use bobby pins and lots of hairspray. This is exciting!

I am going to experiment tonight for sure!

What is in Your Makeup Bag?

When you are out and about, what makeup do you have in your bag (purse, handbag, etc) at all times?

Here is what is in my day-to-day 'survival kit:'

Vintage compact filled with contemporary Coty loose powder in translucent (See my article on how to refill vintage compacts)

Lipstick I am wearing that day

Lip liner that goes with my lipstick of the day

A package of Clean and Clear Oil Blotting Sheets

Contact lens re-wetting eye drops

An empty mini Altoids tin that contains a couple of bobby pins (hair fixes) and safety pins (to temporarily repair any clothing emergency)

So, tell me glamour dolls, what are your daily beauty staples?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Honoring Our Health, Honoring Ourselves

Here is a vintage, 1940s pin-up girl drawing by famed artist Alberto Vargas. Vargas' work has become synonymous with the image of classic feminine beauty. I love how artists from this era, both male and female, depicted women with healthy body types. The voluptuous "pin-up girl" could inspire the 'boys over there' to fight for victory and still be your best friend.

However, in the 1960s, the fashion began to change from curvy and proportional to lanky and angular. The pin up of the 40s and 50s ala Ava Garnder and Bettie Page became the gamine Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy of the Vietnam era. Clothing was no longer made to fit a woman's curves. Designers instead created dresses with straight and boxy lines that skimmed the body. The look was boyish.

In the late 1970s and 80s, models like Cheryl Tiegs and Carol Alt who graced the covers of Vogue and strutted down the runways in Halston and Lauren represented the new era celebrating the sporty, girl-next door. The look was that of the tan and blond 'beach babe' who played volleyball in the sand and tennis on the back court.

When I was a kid growing up during the late 70s and into the 80s, I felt like a total outsider. I was a redhead covered in freckles. Despite my mother's diligence with the sunblock, my super pale skin literally cooked in the sun. I was that weird kid on the beach wearing a big straw hat, white tee over her bathing suit, and a huge white stripe of zinc on her speckled nose. I was like the pale warrior hero ala Braveheart meets General MacArthur: "I came, I saw, I burned." No matter how hard I tried, I knew I could never be the tan, blond girl every boy in my elementary school pined for. Nope. My sister was blessed with the blond and tan gene thanks to our father's Norwegian DNA. I, instead, got the Irish genes (thanks, Mom). You know, the ones that evolved after living thousands of years in a country where it ALWAYS seems to be cloudy, cold, and rainy!

Despite my skin and hair, I was a thin kid. I mean, skinny. I was *always* hungry. My mom and dad had a thing for organic food and as a result, they restricted my diet. At lunch time, my classmates drank Capri Sun and dined on Hostess cupcakes and Doritos, while I begrudgingly choked down Roman Meal sandwiches made with ham and cheese accompanied with 'oh-so-appetizing' celery and carrot sticks.

The day after Halloween, my parents took my candy away. After walking the streets all night, my pillow case-sized bounty was relocated to one measly ziplock bag. Most of the candy was either tossed out or given to my dad so that he and his co-workers could revel in Whoppers, Milk Duds, and Sweet Tarts.

However, when I got my first job in 1992 at Kings Dominion, I found myself relying on fast food and the offerings from the employee cafeteria. My best friend, Tracy and I would often eat McDonald's for breakfast on the way to work and at lunch, we would dine on pizza slices, fountain drinks, and ice cream sandwiches. Let me tell you, I was in heaven. I was no longer subject to my parents' celery-stick laden mercy and there was no stopping me!

When I left for college a year later, my food-lust was just beginning. I ate Lucky Charms for dinner and munched on Cool Ranch Doritos between classes. I was also in ROTC at the time so I was able to burn most of the calories off. Eventually, after school ended, my unhealthy ways started to become noticeable, with a vengence.

This is me and the husband before we got married. It is 1994, I am 19, and I was about to complete my first year of college. I was about 115 pounds.

Now, here is me, 10 years later:

This is me and the husband visiting Puerto Rico during a cruise in November 2004. I was 156 pounds. I was miserable. I ate like crap and felt like it too. My blood pressure was high and I was always tired.

When I turned 30, five years ago, I knew I had to change. I visited my doctor and we formed a healthy weight loss plan. In April 2005, I weighed in at 155 pounds and by January 2006, I was 122. I not only got healthy, I learned to love working out, I learned about portion control and healthy eating, and my blood pressure was good.

However, during the early stages of my weight loss maintenance, I started to get a little 'crazy' with my caloric restriction. I kept a record of my workouts and food along with a list detailing the number of calories consumed each day. At one point I was only consuming 820 calories daily and I was trying to go even lower. One night I went out to eat with my parents. I ordered the steamed fish with steamed vegetables and when my dad got a slice of chocolate cake with his coffee, I was in a panic. I knew I wanted some cake but I was scared by the very thought of taking in sugar. I ended up having only a couple of bites. As we drove home, I could feel myself starting to freak out about the cake. Later that night, I waited until everyone went to bed. I then snuck into my parents' cold garage and rode their 80s exercise bike for about 2 hours. Even though the shoddy seat hurt my butt, I kept pedaling. When I awoke the next day, I felt I had to scrimp on the calories to make up for my "evil cake mistake." At this point my husband began to take notice and told me that I was going to make myself very sick. I wanted to tell him off at first but then I realized he was right.

I refocused my healthy efforts and began anew. I also realized that in order to be truly healthy, we have to be happy. I have to be balance of health while celebrating life. I love food and that is okay. I cannot restrict myself to the point where I may end up dead. I also cannot eat like a teenager my whole life and expect my heart and cholesterol levels to be healthy. It is all about finding our balance and discovering our own happiness.

Now, when I see models like this wearing repro vintage, I get so happy:

This is Doris MayDay! She is just beautiful! She reminds me of the real, classic pin-ups of the 40s and 50s! She looks healthy and her curves are proportional.

However, when I see models like this wearing repro vintage, I get worried:

This girl just doesn't look small, she looks, I hate to even say it: anorexic. Just look at her arms! Even my 16 year-old niece's arms are not that thin!

Like I said earlier, the 1960s introduced the thin ideal for women. This thinness made a huge comeback in the 90s and it seems it is here for a while. Everyone from Stop Staring, Ralph Lauren, Bebe, the editors of Vogue (ahem, Anna Wintour!) to the red carpet seems to be promoting (and cashing in on) the image of the malnourished woman!

I know that trends for women's bodies come and go, but I have learned over the years that I prefer a balanced view, a happier view for myself. I am a 5ft 3in, 126 pound, pale, freckled-face, redheaded vintage girl who has a big butt and great legs. I may not be able to tan, be 5ft 10in, or weigh 100 pounds, and I am okay with that. I run 5 days a week, I lift weights, do yoga, eat brownies, and drink martinis. And when all is said and done, I will know that I truly *lived.*

Celebrate who YOU are! Honor yourself each day.