Thursday, April 25, 2013

For The Love of Vintage Hair -Getting to Know Hair Pieces

In the 14 years I have been experimenting with vintage hairstyles (I did swing in the late 90s), it has only been recently that I began wearing hair pieces. In September 2009, I was diagnosed with genetic hair loss/hair thinning and started using Women's 2% Rogaine. Even though my hair has always been fine, as I approached my 30s, I noticed my hair was losing volume. So, not only was my hair fine, it was now becoming thin! Oh fun!

Despite my knee-jerk reaction to simply give up and cut my hair off, I began researching hair extensions. I found out from my stylist that not only were they super expensive, they required costly maintenance, and in many cases they could make my hair loss worse. I quickly nixed that idea!  Then one day while searching the Internet, I stumbled upon several online wig stores. I found everything from clip-in extensions, 3/4 wigs, headband wigs (a 1/2 wig with a headband attached), and even human hair clip-in extensions and volumizers.  After some decision making, I bought a synthetic clip-on ponytail and headband wig. Let me tell you, those two hair pieces became my precious accessories! I wore them both to death! When the wigs started to show their age, I knew I had to find something better made!

In 2011, I finally made the investment to buy a human hair 14 inch, clip-in volumizer.

After I received the hair piece, I made an appointment for my stylist to color and cut it so it would match my color and blend into my own hair. I still have that volumizer and I wear it when I do a long, curled style.

However, lately I have not been wearing my volumizer as often. In the last six months, I have incorporated collagen supplements and a higher mcg Biotin pill into my daily vitamins. I continue to use my Rogaine for Women (the Target brand) faithfully. I am not sure who is the "culprit," but my hair is healthier and thicker!! I can wear my own hair in a fluffy ponytail or pigtail braids and not feel like I am bald!

This is my hair now and I am not wearing any hair piece:
I will never have thick hair but I my hair is definitely packing more volume!

Anyway, even though my hair is thicker, I still have a little trouble covering those mesh bun forms (found at Sally Beauty). I often need to tease my hair and use tons of hairspray to achieve full coverage. I do not like teasing my hair a lot. It can be very damaging, especially for hair like mine. I color it and it's thin. So, I need to find other ways to do vintage buns and up-dos that don't compound my hair's condition.

With that said, let me share with you my new little hair secret! HAIR PIECES!! Yes, hair pieces save the day again! Instead of clip-in volumizers or headbands, we are talking drawstring buns, wiglets, and toppers! I recently purchased three different synthetic hair pieces from a fabulous Etsy seller!

I got the Dusty piece:
I also purchased the Gina:
And lastly, I bought the Audrey:
How do I wear them? I simply put my hair into a ponytail and wrap the ends into a bun and secure with an elastic. I spray my hair with a strong hold hairspray to smooth out my "base" and using the two hair combs attached inside the piece, I slide one comb on top of the bun and the other underneath. No bobby pins are required! The piece is so secure and lightweight so I just put on a hair flower or bow and I am out the door!

Now, most of you may know that hair pieces are nothing new. They have been around for ages. In the 18th century, wigs were a must for any lady wanting to keep with with the latest fashion! Marie Antoinette anyone? In the 1960s, wiglets and full wigs were all the rage!

My mom and mother-in-law were both in their teens and 20s in the 60s. Both of them have told me how wiglets were pretty much standard for daytime looks and evening style. Just look at Christina Hendricks' "Mad Men" character, Joan. She wears tons of hair pieces throughout various seasons. During the season two episode, "The Mountain King," Joan is seen wearing a gorgeous purple dress and what looks like two hairpieces, one being the main up-do and the other a braid wrap/accent.
Even though I HATE the Greg character (especially during this episode), I just can't stop looking at Joan! Her style and hair, particularly during the first two seasons, are just perfection! I want that dress!!

Nevertheless, I am simply over the moon I found such fantastic hair pieces!I love wearing them and I really love the ease in which I can do vintage up-do styling!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Trading in My Blue Suede Shoes for a DC Suit

Today's look:
Urban Outfitters Black and white polka dot chiffon blouse with self-tie bow
Black lyrca-blend camisole
Black crepe, three-button Ann Taylor suit jacket
Black crepe, wide-leg Banana Republic trousers
Charcoal Pewter Cole Hahn heels with ankle strap

Today's Makeup:
Stila Stay-All-Day, 10-in-One Illuminating Beauty Balm
MAC Blush in "Well-Dressed"
MAC Brow Crayon (very lightly applied) in Spiked, set with Model in a Bottle Brow setting liquid
Eyes done with Urban Decay Primer Potion, MAC Paint in Untitled, MAC eyeshadows in Vapour, Vex, Blanc Type, and White Frost, and MAC Opulash Mascara
Givenchy Lipstick in Brun Createur and Chanel Lip Pencil in Rose Tawny
Coty Loose Setting Powder and Urban Decay "All Nighter" Setting Spray

So, you may be asking: what is the meaning of all this? Well, today the look at work called for a more "DC professional" esthetic.  On a typical day, I can "get away" with wearing vintage, "office girl" attire paired with cat wing liner, dark, defined brows, and a bold red lip. However, due to various meetings with new clients and government officials, I am blending in with the DC masses!

This town is not know for being a hub of cutting-edge and/or unique fashion. Instead, it is the epicenter of government employees, Senate staffers, lawyers, lobbyists, military personnel, government contractors, and professionals. Therefore the look requires suiting textiles in charcoal, black, and navy paired with sensible shoes and an ID badge on a lanyard. While cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and Portland are famous for their funky, hip  'come as you are' vibe, DC's "business and politics" atmosphere tends to leave us off the bullseye of cool.

Despite the horde of the dark-suit masses that dot the concrete, traffic-clogged landscape, there are little pockets of trendnistas in DuPont, Adams Morgan, and even in nearby Baltimore. Now, these 'hep kids' are the exception and not the rule. Most of the people here range from the yuppie soccer mom in Crocs and Gap khaki capris to the preppy guy on the Metro reading "Freakonomics," decked out in his crisp heather grey J. Crew suit and striped tie. If anyone (like me) has the gall to dress differently, then be prepared to endure the judging stares and stinging whispers.

Like the "Travel and Leisure" article stated, I suspect the reason for DC's lack of fashion is due to the nature of the workforce. This is the center of our nation's government. DC is also known for it's museums and monuments. We represent the nation, both politically and historically. Our local news makes national news. On more than one occasion, I have spotted Marine One (the President's Helicopter- and there's more than one) flying over the city. I love it how no one looks up in awe and wonder. Oh, we DC kids are so seasoned to the POTUS! Aren't we just too cool for school?!

So, today, in my modern professional attire, I feel I am playing "dress up!" I do not mind. It is just another day.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Viva Las Vegas 16! Day 4

On Sunday, the 31 of March, I woke up in my hotel around 10:00 am. Big Daddy and I ordered room service breakfast and then took showers to get ready for the last day of Viva.

Sunday is the "relaxing day" of Viva. It is also the main day people go to the pool to hang out, watch the swimsuit contest, and just enjoy the day. In the Orleans, there is also the Charles Phoenix slide show, the jive contest, do last minute shopping in the vendor rooms and stay up one last night at the all-night record hops.

After getting ready, Big Daddy and I got a cab and headed over to the Orleans. We made our way to the pool area and the line was long but after we got in it, it seemed to get longer. We waited in line, in the sun, for about 40+ minutes.
That's me. I am getting annoyed with the fact all of us Viva kids had to wait in line so long and also because I forgot my parasol! Thank heavens for sunblock!

After finally reaching the gate, Big Daddy and I were let in!
Big Daddy and I found a nice spot and got some drinks. I got a Mai Tai and he got a couple of beers. Now pose!

The weather was perfect. Then we saw the vintage swimsuit contest starting. All the girls looked fabulous!
One year I hope to have enough chutzpah to enter! I think it would be fun!

While Big Daddy and I were hanging out enjoying our drinks, a husband and wife from a foreign country (that I will not name) came over to us and started talking. The husband was wasted but he was nice and simply chatty. The wife, however, what a different story! She was DRUNK. I mean super crazy drunk!! She was slurring her words, talking about random things that made no sense, and was flicking her cigarette ashes on my patio skirt.

This is me and the woman was on the left. I cropped her out of the picture. My husband took it, thinking we were having a nice, civil conversation but it quickly became apparent, things were not what they seemed! After a few minutes, the woman's harmless rambling became quite terse. She started getting adversarial with me and even made a veiled anti-semitic remark when I answered her question about what my background was. I was like, "What the heck??!! Where did all this come from?!" Despite her drunken tirade, I maintained my composure and grace. I looked over at Big Daddy with my "HELP ME AND GET ME THE (expletive) OUT OF HERE NOW eyes!" Without skipping a beat, he told the couple "We have to go, we have a reservation." We made our hasty retreat to the opposite side of the pool area. After the crazy dust settled, we both looked at the each other and just laughed! What else can ya do?!

Big Daddy and I realized we were hungry so we ate at the pool. I got a tuna wrap and Big Daddy got cheeseburger.  Our food was surprisingly good!

After a few hours, we decided to head back to our hotel for a rest and to prepare for Sunday night.

I felt Sunday night's attire called for a 60s look! I wore a late 50s, polished cotton, Hawaiian-made cheongsam dress, silver pollys, 50s silver confetti lucite earrings, stretch pearl bracelets, and did my hair ala the early seasons of Mad Men.
After getting ready, we made our way over to the Orleans one more time! We listened to the music in the Bienville Room and then I did a little last-minute shopping at the Re-Mix Shoes booth. I got a pair of the Vogue wedgies in red.
I also wanted the Vogue in white but I decided to just get the red this time. I will, however, order the white pair when the weather stays warm. I know this sounds lame but I still feel weird wearing white shoes before Memorial Day! It must be "raised in the South" thing!

After getting my shoes and browsing the vendor rooms one last time, Big Daddy and I made our way back to the Bienville Room and when I went to powder my nose, I bumped into Holly B. from Temperamental Broad Blog! I was hoping to see her during Viva and finally I did! Too bad it was in the ladies' room and all for just a few moments! She looked fantastic as always! I hope we can do a meet up next year! She is just a doll and so so nice!

Around 1 am, Big Daddy was getting tired and I realized I was too. All that time in the sun at the pool party made us sleepy. We headed back to hotel and went to bed. The next few days were my 'birthday days!' My birthday was Tuesday the 2nd of April and we stayed in Vegas until Thursday the 4th.

When Viva was over, I was sad! I just could not believe how quickly it went by! Nevertheless, I cannot wait for next year and I hope to meet more of you too! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Viva Las Vegas 16! Day 3

Viva Day Three is Saturday, which is the day of the big Car Show and Saturday night dress up! A lot of gals dress up every night at Viva but Saturday is all about the sparkle and glamour! If you packed lurex, fringe, sequins, or beading, Saturday is THE night to wear it!

Big Daddy and I woke up around 10:00 am and ordered a delicious room service breakfast. I took a shower, laid out my Trashy Diva leopard-print Trixie Sarong dress, red suede bow heels, bakelite bangles, and my bakelite cherry necklace. After my shower, I got my makeup on and applied tons of sunblock! The sun was out in full force and I was not going to risk getting burned. (I stupidly left my parasol at home!)

Around 2:00 pm, Big Daddy and I got a cab to the Orleans and made our way over to the arena to see the cars! The car show layout was different than the last two times we did Viva. I didn't like it. I am not sure what it was but for some reason, the crowd seemed bigger, thus making it feel more packed. Despite this, we saw a lot of awesome cars!

After a couple of hours, Big Daddy and I realized we were starving so we decided to leave to get a late late lunch (basically dinner). But on the way out, I quickly stopped by the Pin Up Girl Clothing booth to say hello to Micheline Pitt and to thank her for all the hard work she does! Not only was she even more stunning in person, she was super nice and very kind.

This year the musical acts at the car show were Dick Dale and Little Richard. Big Daddy and I were at the car show when Dick Dale played but by the time Little Richard was to go on, we had already left to go eat. I wanted to go back after our meal and see Little Richard in all his sequin glory but Big Daddy was getting a migraine.

We got a cab to the Cosmopolitan and ate at China Poblano. It is the most unique concept! Chinese and Mexican fusion! It is so good! We got drinks and ordered food.
After our meal, Big Daddy and I went back to the hotel. We took showers and Big Daddy took a nap. His migraine was in full swing and he told me that he would have to bow out of going back over to the Orleans for Saturday night.

After a brief rest, I got ready and dressed for the evening. I wore a black, 1950s sequin cocktail dress, rhinestone jewelry, and my teal blue Betsey Johnson platform heels.

I got a cab and made my way to the Orleans. I met up with Kim from San Francisco:
Don't you just love her dress?! Kim's style is impeccable!! During the night, I met so many old friends and met new people too! Everyone looked fabulous!

Before I knew it, it was 2:30 am and I knew I should go back to the hotel and check on Big Daddy. I was tired but felt great!

I got a cab back to the MGM Signature and Big Daddy was fast asleep. He told me the next day he felt better.

Speaking of the next day, it was Sunday! The day of the pool party and sadly the last day of Viva. That post is next!

Viva Las Vegas 16! Day 2

After experiencing a wild previous day, I awoke in my hotel room around 10:00 am and I was ready to get another day started!

I ordered a lovely breakfast, got showered, laid out the day's outfit (a 50s Hawaiian cotton print sarong, silver pollys, and matching jewelry).

I texted my friends staying at the Orleans after breakfast. They wanted to meet up around 2 pm before heading over to Frankie's Tiki Room near Old Las Vegas.

(This is a picture taken from last year. I did not get one outside this time. Silly me!!)

Now, Friday is the day most Viva attendees go to Frankie's. It is literally a room! The inside is very tiki cool kitsch and it's super dark! The lighting is very low but it adds to the mood so well! (your eyes eventually adjust)

After meeting up with the girls, we got a couple of taxis and headed over to Frankie's.

The place was packed so we knew we had to get in line for the bar quick! This year I got a Mai Tai and in a pale yellow ceramic mug with a pineapple motif. After getting our drinks, the girls and I stalked a nice table and when the time was right, we quickly swooped in and got cozy!
We all hung out for a couple of hours. I had one drink and part of a second but stopped short of finishing it halfway. My husband was finally coming to Vegas after spending a week in Chicago for his business trip. While the girls and I were outside waiting for our cab to arrive, Big Daddy called me and said he was at our hotel.

The girls and I cabbed it back to the Orleans and then I took the same cab back to the MGM Signature (my hotel). I met with Big Daddy, I took a bath, we both took naps, and then went out to dinner at Il Mulino in the Caesars Forum Shops.  Dinner was fetuccine alfredo, too much delicious garlic bread, and martinis.

After dinner, Big Daddy and I went back to the hotel and went to bed! It was a great, relaxing day. Tomorrow, day 3, would be the car show and Saturday night!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Viva Las Vegas 16! Day 1 (Long Post)

The night before Viva, I visited my sister's house for dinner. She and I dined on a lovely grilled shrimp and risotto dish as we talked about my upcoming trip and the weeks' events. Afterwards, I went to Target for last minute provisions and then the ATM for cash. The night was chilly and while packing final items into already-stuffed suitcases, I was excited for warm weather, staying up too late, eating good food, and seeing my friends.

As I tried to go to sleep, my cat refused to settle down on the account her "dad" was out of town for a business trip. Due to my cat's antics, I only got about 3 hours of actual sleep.

The morning of my trip, I woke promptly at 5:00 am and took a shower. I got dressed in a late 50s black and white plaid dress, saddle shoes, and red Pendleton jacket. It was cold and I was beyond exhausted. As the cab pulled in front of my house to take me to airport, all I could think about was coffee and a nap. The driver was nice and took care of my luggage and then we made our way to Dulles International Airport. The blanket of pre-dawn darkness hung over the road, pregnant with DC rush hour traffic.
That image is a truck.

I made it to the airport, got my luggage, and proceeded to the United Airlines check in kiosk. But my morning was about to take a dreadful twist. I, in my infinite wisdom (or in this case, lack thereof), left my credit card/bank card in my coat pocket. Remember how I visited the ATM the night before? Well, apparently, I didn't. There I was, at the kiosk, and no card. My heart was not in my throat, it was in my butt! I wanted to scream. My pulse was racing and my already-weak body wanted to keel over. Then I remembered: my husband's cousin lived a few blocks away and he was probably still home! I texted him and thankfully, he answered right away. In my agitated state, I was able to give him instructions how to find the card that was in my one of my coat pockets, hanging in my foyer closet. He got the card and made his way to the airport. Thank heavens the airport is only 15 minutes from my house!! I waited for his red jeep to pull up outside the terminal and upon site of him, I feel redeemed, saved! I ran out, hugged him, and got my card. Whew!

I finally checked in and then I got another whammy. United charged me $100.00 dollars for my bags. Since my husband was away on business, he had to meet me in Las Vegas, therefore I had to bring his bag along with my two bags. Normally if one is travelling first class, the airline waives the bag fees but this time, the agent I was dealing with decided I was not worthy so I was charged. (A side note; on the way home from Vegas, we were not charged). I think the woman did not like me because she kept giving me the stink eye. Oh well. I boarded the plane, stowed my train case, and sat in seat 2B.
As I drank my coffee, the man sitting in 3A, came on board and proceeded to jam his monster roll bag into the overhead bin. I could hear my train case getting bopped around but I was too tired to think anything of it at the time. (More on THAT later).

I settled into the flight and tried to sleep. Nope. Not happening. Breakfast came and I had yogurt, vegetarian egg omelet, and fruit. I arrived into Las Vegas McCarran Aiport at 10:37 am. I was so ready for a nap and to party with the Viva gang!

I arrived at my hotel, the MGM Signature. I was in Tower 1, floor 17, room 609. The room was lovely and had an ok view.
After check-in, I waited for the bellman to bring my bags. I had time to kill so I unpacked my train case and tote bag. As I opened my train case, I was appalled to see this:
My pearl lucite bag was damaged! The creep in 3A with his monster bag from hell (that bag should have been checked by a flight attendant in my opinion) broke one of my handles. I wanted to scream!!! I was devastated. I gently put it away and tried not to think about it. I had another lucite and metal bag I could use. I also had other bags for the week. But still....

The bellman kindly brought my bags, I tipped him, asked him how often cabs come to the building, and after he left, I tried to nap. I dozed for a little bit and then realized I was hungry. I ordered room service lunch: a vegetarian hummus plate with pita, olives, veggies, and buffalo pesto mozzarella. It was good! After lunch, it was 1:00 pm and I realized it was time to get ready to head over the Orleans to check in, get my wristband, and go to Sweet Pea's "Hooch n Smooch!"

I proceeded to set my makeup out and get "dolled up."
After makeup, I got dressed in a 50s pink floral, polished cotton Tori Richards' Hawaiian sarong and a pair of clear and sparkle bow Pollys. I got a cab and make it to the Orleans for Viva! It was just after 2:00 pm and I got my wristband.
The Orleans was filled with Rockabilly energy and it felt so good! I went upstairs to the Bienville room for the Hooch n Smooch and there I bumped into Miss Dollie Deville and her husband Zach, Ashley from Lisa Freemont Street blog (she was wearing a KILLER Whirling Turban dress), Kim S. from San Francisco.

The mood was lively and I hung out for a bit before heading back to the Signature for a rest, a bath, and to get ready for the night!

In the early evening, I made contact with two friends staying at the Orleans: Cassandra and Jennie. These are two great gals from the Northwest and they are stylish, super fun, and very nice! I asked if I could bring a change of clothes to their room and they were kind enough to say yes. I got a cab to the Orleans, went to the 5th floor to meet the girls, and after getting ready, Cassandra and Jennie got their wristbands, we all got our boots, and went upstairs.
Michelle, Cassandra, and me. Michelle is a friend of Cassandra and Jennie. She was so nice! Love her and Cassandra's dresses!!

We met up with the Foxy Foxes for a photo!

(Image courtesy of the Foxy Fox Hole Pinup Vintage Rockabilly Show and Tell Group)

After the photo meet up, some girls called it a night, and I realized I had no dinner! I was starving. I also wanted to change for late night. I got some Sbarro pizza and changed into more casual wear.
Me and Jennie. Jennie was just too glam in her fringe dress! Fabulous! I walked around a bit in my jeans but then I realized I, too, needed to glam it up. I changed into a 50s brown and black plaid dress with a black satin waist detail.  I wish I took a picture of me in my dress but here it is:

I also wore my new Kate Spade shoes.
Me, Jennie, and Michelle went to the Ballroom to see the Janis Martin Tribute featuring Marti Brom and Rose Flores. It was amazing!! I love Janis Martin and I love the fact she is a Virginia girl like me! The show was awesome and Marti's voice is perfection!

After the show ended, we walked around a bit and I hit a wall. It was just before 3:00 am and since I am normally on Eastern time, it felt like 6:00 am. I decided to call it a night and go back to my hotel. My feet were in pain! Remind me never to wear new patent shoes without breaking them in! When I got back to my hotel, I was practically limping.  Warning: Icky picture below:

I took a bath, bandaged my feet, and went to bed. I was tired more anything I have ever experienced. Even in my college days, I never felt like this. I was shattered but I was happy! The day started off wonky but it turned out to be a fun day!

I will post Day 2 soon!