Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tales from a Lazy Saturday (Veteran's Day weekend)

This past weekend was truly a lazy one!  As a government contractor, I was fortunate enough to enjoy a "three day weekend" due to the fact Monday, November the 11th, was Veteran's Day.  Most local, state, and federal government employees and contractors have federal holidays off.  These days include, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Veteran's Day.  Banks and the postal service are closed as well.

Nevertheless, thanks to a longer weekend, the husband (aka Big Daddy) and I decided to stay home, relax, do laundry, make dinner, and enjoy a cocktail (or two!).

Just for fun, here are the highlights from our lazy Saturday!
I woke up early.  Even though I wanted to sleep in, my body was up thanks to my daily schedule.  Instead of falling back into my cozy bed, I got up, made coffee, had a lovely breakfast with Big Daddy, and hung out with 'le cat.'

After breakfast, I watched "Stalag 17" as I worked on my vintage clothing "fix/repair" pile.  Once in a while, you gotta fix those popped seams, falling hems, and loose buttons!

By the time it was lunch (well, 2 pm), I finally spruced myself up and did my hair!

Now that it is fall and going into winter, it is time to pair bobby socks with my beloved Re-Mix wedges!

I intended to make dinner at home but Big Daddy's mother (aka Mammaleh), invited us over.  We had cocktails, steak on the grill (shrimp for me), and a salad.

To end the night, we came home and Big Daddy retreated to the deck and enjoyed his beloved, vintage pipe and had a scotch.

Since it was Veteran's Day weekend and Big Daddy is a veteran (almost 10 years US Army Infantry), I wanted him to have a few super-chill, relaxed days off!  I am proud of him and his service to this great nation!

And for all of you who have served, I want to say "thank you" for your esteemed service and dedication.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Vintage Reproduction Atomic Ceramic Cats! (Royal Dux)

Over a month ago, I found an amazing pair of vintage repro ceramic cats done in the "Royal Dux" style on Etsy.  I have been looking for a real Dux set for a long time and when happen to find a couple of pairs, they were very expensive or had damage.

The "Royal Dux" company, originally known as "Duxer Porzellanmanufaktur," was founded in Czechoslovakia in 1860 by Eduard Eichler.  This brand is known for its distinctive seal, or "pink triangle:"

Royal Dux created vases, figurines, and ornate sculptures.  The designs ranged from art nouveau opulence to modern simplicity.  The modern cat design became very popular in the 50s and early 60s.  Here are a a few examples of authentic originals:

I would LOVE to get my paws on these cats!  But, as I stated earlier, these Dux cats are usually very pricey and often difficult to find!

Despite being unable to track down the Royal Dux atomic kitties of my MCM dreams, I found a seller on Etsy who makes faithful reproductions using vintage molds!

Here is the pair I purchased:
And here is how they look on my mantle in my den/TV room:

The cats measure 4.5 inches tall and are 5.5 inches long.  The colors are bold, bright orange and vivid teal blue.  I love the fact the cats were glazed in complimentary colors!  Total opposites on the color wheel!  The result is an intense pop of color on my otherwise boring white-painted, brick mantle!

I am very happy with my new repro cats!  They are perfect.  However, if I ever stumble upon a real Royal Dux cat or cats when I am antiquing, I may grab them (especially if the price and/or condition is right).

So, if you are looking for a little bit of atomic pottery for your MCM abode, you have to give Desert Arts Pottery on Etsy a look!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Two New Products from Besame Cosmetics!

Ever since I discovered Besame Cosmetics four years ago, I have been totally hooked on their gorgeous, vintage packaging and amazing product line!  Whether it's their intensely-pigmented lipsticks or their smashing foundation, Besame nailed it when it comes to combining vintage aesthetic with product quality and performance!

Besame Cosmetics is based in Glendale, California and is lead by the amazing Gabriela Herandez and her husband, Fergus.  I have had the pleasure of speaking with them both over the phone (questions regarding orders or products) and not only are they very nice, their adoration and dedication to their work is incredible.  Simply put, when it comes to customer service and quality, I cannot recommend Besame Cosmetics enough!

Less than two weeks ago, I received my most recent order from Besame.  I purchased the brand new lipstick shade in "American Beauty" and the re-formulated, re-released Besame Souffle Foundation in the shade "Bisque."

Let's start with the lipstick!  According to the Besame website, the Classic Color Lipstick in "American Beauty" (.12 ounces, $22 USD) is a faithful reproduction of a popular lipstick shade from 1945.  And let me tell you, this lipstick is indeed a 'beauty' of a shade!  It is a vibrant cranberry-red with a pink-blue undertone.  The color itself falls between the bright "Besame Red" and the lush, darker cherry-toned red, "Cherry Red."  Imagine if "Besame Red" and "Cherry Red" had a baby.  The result would be "American Beauty." 

In addition, for those of you familiar with Make Up For Ever's Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick in #45 (available at Sephora and for $19 USD), that color and the "American Beauty" are very similar, if not the same shade.  For further reference, MAC's lip pencil in "Cherry" is a perfect match!

And as for all of my other Besame shades, "American Beauty" boasts a strong color payoff with a semi-matte finish that clings to the lips without drying, bleeding, or feathering!

Here is me wearing the lipstick:
As I stated, I also bought the re-issued Besame Souffle Foundation (.56 ounces for $38.00) in shade "Bisque."  "Bisque" is the lightest shade in the range (there are 5 shades total).  For reference, I am a MAC NW15, a Giorgio Armani 02, a Bobbi Brown Porcelain, and in most brands I am considered an "Ivory." I have oily and sensitive skin that is neutral yet leans pink.  This "Bisque" shade is absolutely perfect for my skintone!

Besame had a previous version of this foundation that had a creamy, whipped consistency.  It came is a jar container that was discontinued and then re-released in a squeeze tube.  The tube version of the foundation was phased out and is now back it its original jar form.  This new foundation is a firm, concealer-like texture that is very smooth and pigmented.  A little product goes a long way!  I use a wedge sponge for application and the foundation goes on like a dream.

Further, this foundation is not only different in texture, it features a new, skincare ingredient called "Collageneer."

Besame describes Collageener on its website as follows:

"Collageneer®, a patented active ingredient derived from Lupin seed coatings, has the ability not only to increase the synthesis of type I collagen (the most abundant collagen, which diminishes with age), but also to promote production of a high quality collagen that gives the skin its firmness and elasticity.

This extraordinary foundation provides outstanding coverage with a light and silky smooth texture for a flawless face. Can be used for full coverage as foundation or concealer.

Available in 5 shades, packaged in vintage style cream glass jars. Fragrance-Free, Paraben-Free."

Here is me wearing both the lipstick and foundation:

 I have been wearing the Souffle Foundation daily since I received it and it has not caused any breakouts or irritations!  I use a blot sheets to maintain my look throughout the day and I have not experienced any caking or oxidation (turns orange).  I simply love this stuff!

In addition, today I tried a new method of foundation application I saw on RuPaul's Drag Race last night.  (They are replaying Season 1 on Logo on Monday nights).  Nevertheless, I noticed one of the drag queens using a hair dryer on her potted, full-coverage foundation to sheer it out.  This morning, used my hair dryer on my foundation for 10-15 seconds.  I let the surface get a little shiny and I stopped.  I then applied with a sponge and wow! The result was just smooth, smooth, SMOOTH!!  My skin looks even better!

So, if you are looking for a pretty berry red and/or a new foundation, you have to give Besame's "American Beauty" lipstick and re-released Besame Souffle Foundation a try! 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Great Link for Help With Measuring Vintage Eyewear (The Optometrist Attic!)

After posting about my new vintage eye wear the other day, a fellow blogger and friend of mine asked me how to measure vintage frames.  She wears modern frames and wants a vintage pair but in many cases the frames she buys (particularly online) are too big or too small. Being able to decipher all those numbers can be tricky but I have found an AMAZING website that will help you determine your correct size!

I buy most of my frames online (Etsy and eBay). I occasionally find frames at various flea markets, antique malls, and at events like Viva (Allyn Scura is pure cat eye heaven). After wearing vintage glasses for 15 years, I am familiar with my measurements. However, if you are not sure about how to measure, just visit the link above and I bet you this site will help you find that vintage pair that fits like a dream!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New MCM Wares for My Ever-Updating, Rockabilly Abode! (Oh, and Vintage Eyewear Too!)

This past Saturday, my sister and I went to Southeast DC to visit the District Flea Market.

The day was sunny but the air was crisp with a windy autumn bite.  I wore my Freddies of Pinewood classic indigo jeans, a 50s camp shirt, and a red 49er jacket.  I thought about wearing a housedress with tights but jeans seemed like a better, more logical (and warmer) choice.

As we grabbed a hot coffee, we browsed several booths containing vintage records, hi-fis, books,  prints, art, clothes (mostly 60s-80s but I did spot a cute 50s patio set with gold ric rac but it had holes), jewelry, wall scones, lighting, mirrors, melmac, shabby chic furniture, vintage eyewear, and mid-century furniture.  In addition to the shopping vendors, the District Flea also boasts food vendors. 

Now, I admit that I went to this market with a few doubts.  I was not expecting to walk away with anything.  I was hoping to see the vintage eyewear booth and maybe stumble upon some bakelite, but my hopes were reserved.  However, my doubts were soon proven wrong when I found two Lane two-tiered end tables in gorgeous condition.  I was floored.  The tables only had minor stratches (nothing Scott's Liquid Gold couldn't fix!) and the seller wanted $250 for the pair.  I recently spotted similar tables on eBay for $500 or so.  I took notice of the tables and decided to think about it.  After a few sips of coffee and some brief hemming and hawing, I went back and told the gentleman, "You have a deal."

While I was coming down from my "end table high," my sister and I found the vintage eyewear booth.  I was in total acetate, cateye, and aluminum heaven.  I tried on a few pairs of various colors and styles and then found the pair I wanted: a 50s silver aluminum modified cateye frame for $55.  The hinges needed to be cleaned but overall, they were perfect.

I already own four pairs of vintage frames that have been fit with my prescription: a solid black cateye, a clear acetate and soft gold cateye, a pale blue and clear acetate cateye, and lastly a black, brushed silver, and clear acetate cateye.  In addition, I have three pairs of vintage sunglasses also fitted with my near-sighted/astigmatism prescription.  I am addicted to vintage frames. Yes, it's true.  I am not ashamed.

Here are my new frames:

After returning home from the flea market, I placed the two Lane tables in their spots in my living room.  I treated each table with the Liquid Gold and then let them cure.  Then, I accompanied Big Daddy to his barber appointment, we had lunch, and we went to my local optician to have my frames fit with my prescription.  I love them!  There is nothing like a great pair of vintage cateye glasses!  I used to despise the fact I needed to wear glasses (modern frames are typically boring to me)  but once I discovered vintage frames, I am happy to wear glasses again!  It is just another way to accessorize and accent my daily vintage style!

So, overall, this weekend was a huge success!  I got some pretty new frames to wear and my home is continuing to be updated in proper, mid-century style!

What are your newest vintage treasures?

More Body Art!

It has been a while since I blogged anything! In my absence, I have been working, running more, visiting family, Halloween came and went, and I had more body art done!  The last tattoo I had was a bright pink peony cover-up done in late August.  As I was finalizing my payment and tip after my peony was finished, I made another appointment with my artist, Liaa Walter!

I have been getting tattooed by Liaa (who is super sweet and amazingly talented) for just over a year.  I love her work and getting tattooed by her feels more like two friends chatting and hanging out rather than sitting in a chair and getting poked with needles.

On the late morning of Halloween, I ventured from the suburbs of Northern Virginia into Northeast Washington, DC.  Despite the fact I left my house super early, I ended up arriving to the shop 15 minutes late.  The DC Metro was seemingly running slower than normal. (It is always running slow but this day it was especially lagging behind schedule). 

As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by Meredith (shop maven, front desk authority, and all around great gal) who directed me up the third floor where Liaa was preparing her work station.  At this point, I was feeling a bit nervous and stressing a bit about the pain.  The back is not an easy spot to get tattooed.  The spine and nerve endings can make things a bit tough. However, I came prepared!  I had Vitamin Water Zero and my beloved Kashi granola bars to keep me hydrated and glucose levels up during the procedure. 

Before Liaa began the actual tattoo, she drew a freehand cherry tree branch and blossoms to join a celtic design I have in the middle of my upper back.  In addition, Liaa connected the new branch segment to an existing cherry tree branch on my left arm/shoulder I had done in 2007. 

Here is a little background: In 2000, I had a Celtic triskele dragon design created.  It was my second tattoo.  I was 25.  I recall the actual tattoo process was not pleasant.  Instead of breathing slowly in and out, I held my breath and as a result, I almost passed out.  Moreover, I remember not eating beforehand.  Let tell you, eating a proper, balanced meal 1-2 hours before a tattoo session is VITAL.  If you go dehydrated and hungry, you WILL be miserable. 

Nevertheless, 13 years after my dragons were done, I noticed the design looked like a faded mess and a bit like "peel and stick."  "Peel and stick" means the tattoo looked like a floating sticker.  It appeared to be disconnected from my other tattoos.  

After Liaa finished drawing out my new design, I took a quick look in the mirror, loved it, and then we began the session.  The pain was not as intense as I anticipated.  However, the previous session on my lower back (my peony), that was rough. Wow.  The total work took about an hour and a half and this is what it looks like now:

 I am so happy with my updated and refreshed art!  In January, Liaa is going to add a couple of snowflakes to the piece.  I cannot wait!