Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hair Did Done! (How I do my sets!)

In the four years I have been setting my hair (before it was air-dry or blow dry then flat-ironed), I have tried several methods i.e. foam rollers, ceramic curling iron, pin curls (disaster), flocked velvet steam rollers (eugh), hot sticks, and hot rollers.  After much experimenting, I have come to discover that hot rollers are the best way for me to set my hair and have it last for three days.  My  hair is naturally very fine and my scalp is very oily so despite my best efforts, I simply cannot make my set last longer.  Things just get limp and icky.

Nevertheless, this is how I set my hair:

I wash with Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and condition with Pureology Hydrate Conditioner.

After towel-drying, I use a blend of Surface Bassu Oil Gold and Surface Trinity Protein Cream on my ends and my blond highlight section. Then I apply a quarter-size dollop of Ouidad Moisturizing Curl Gel to my hair. I comb through, section my bangs, apply my Rogaine, and then let things air-dry while I do my makeup.

After the face is done, I roll my bang section in grippy rollers, spray them with Layrite Grooming Spray, and then I finish drying overall with my hair dryer. I concentrate my dryer on my bang section to set the curl. The Layrite Grooming Spray is activated with heat. 

While I am blow-drying my hair to ensure it is totally dry before setting*, I plug in my Remington Tight Curls hot rollers. There are 21 in a set but I wish there were 24. Anyway, once I have achieved completely dry hair, I roll my hair in sections with the hot rollers. I spray a tiny spritz of Layrite on the very ends of my hair and roll up. Finally, I secure the curl with a clip (from a 12 pack from Sally. I bought two). The U clips that came with the rollers were crap. My fine hair would just unroll and the roller itself would fall out onto the floor.

Here I am with my natural hair texture. Can we say 'fuzz ball?!' My bangs are set with the grippy rollers and I am about to set the rest of my hair:


I leave my rollers in for about 30 minutes. While my hair is cooling, I make the bed, do laundry, feed the cat, read CNN online, make lunch for work, and then get dressed.

Then, I unroll my curls, remove the grippy rollers, and I finger style my hair with a touch of Layrite Original Pomade. On my bang section, I use the husband's heavier type of Layrite Pomade (the darker colored jar). I shape my bangs, roll, and pin.  Then I spray curls into their final shape with Aussie Instant Freeze Hairspray.

When I go to bed at night, I simply wrap a chiffon scarf around my set. The next day, I apply a light amount of TiGi Catwalk Dry Session Series Dry Shampoo to fluff curl and give it a refreshed look and feel. I re-pin my front roll and I may use hair combs. On the last day of my set, I will re-apply the dry shampoo spray and put my hair into a ponytail.

I like to set my hair because not only does it give me the vintage style I want, I look like I have more hair! Let me tell you, my hair is so thin and fine. I have had stylists in the past give me a blow-out and then flat-iron (standard for modern salons), and I hate it!!!! Sure, my hair looks silky but it also showcases how little hair I have. I feel so bald! Oh what I would do for more hair.

Anyway, all pouting aside, I love to set my hair because I can make my style last longer, I wash my delicate hair less, my hair is vintage-looking, and I look like I actually have a good head of hair! Curl = volume!

So, what is your "tried and true" hair routine?

*Please, take it from me, never EVER use any type of direct heat from rollers, curling irons, flat irons, etc on damp hair! Even slightly damp hair will be damaged. Doing so causes your hair to be boiled and your cuticle destroyed.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Dreaded "F" Word - Fakelite!

In the last 4 years I have been collecting Bakelite, I been duped a couple of times with "fakelite" posing as Bakelite. One of those purchases took place in an antique mall in South Florida.  I bought a heavy, smooth rootbeer bangle that was listed and priced as Bakelite but it was in fact, fake. I was just starting to collect and still unaware of how to properly tell if a piece was real or not.

What is Fakelite? Fakelite is imitation Bakelite that can have the same look, weight, feel, detailing, colors, marbling, and carving style as real, authentic Bakelite pieces. I have heard from others that a few fakelite pieces can even smell like Bakelite!

I wanted to add pictures showing examples of fakelite but I do not want to get in trouble. Most of the Fakelite I encounter has been found on Etsy and eBay and if I post someone's listing pictures, I may find myself in hot water.

So here are some pictures of REAL Bakelite from my collection to familiarize yourself:

Notice the carvings are basic, not super crazy detailed? See the marbling on the end-of-day pieces? See the colors?

Sadly, I have been finding A LOT of fakelite on Etsy recently.  The fakelite typically in question is usually a bangle with overly ornate carvings and the colors are too marbled.  The bangles are too thick, way too heavy, and the colors are odd. A while back, I saw a bangle that went from red, yellow to green! So fake! What really tips me off when a bangle is fake is the type of carving. I have seen carved dolphins with big bubbles and sea life!

Real Bakelite usually has more simple carvings. You may find real pieces with cut-outs, rhinestones, round grooves that encircle an entire bangle (like a record), leaves, rose petals, etc. But dolphins? FAKE!!!

What burns my biscuits about fakelite is that some sellers will claim a piece passed all the tests (friction, 409, hot water, simichrome, etc) and they will charge Bakelite prices. However, if a piece is listed as 'fakelite' and the price reflects that, then great! I may even buy it if it's cute! But when fakelite is passed off as actual Bakelite, that is wrong!

I recently found a few links for helping distinguish fakelite from Bakelite:

And here is a fabulous post from 2012 by amazing vintage blogger, Brittany, of Va-Voom Vintage:

I wrote this post in the hopes of helping others who may be in the infant stages of starting their own Bakelite collections.  If I can give just one bit of advice, I would suggest looking for Bakelite in person especially before venturing online to buy. Many antique malls, antique stores, car boot sales, charity shops, and swap meets will have a few bits of authentic Bakelite for sale. Familiarize yourself with the colors, the smell (do a friction test with your fingers and then smell your fingers), the weight, the sound (Bakelite should have a heavy clunk not a light "tink tink"), marbling, and the carvings. Also, the inside of a real bangle or the back of earrings, brooches, etc will be seamless. There will be no pour marks or branding.  The surface may have a patina or age spots. Learn the proper characteristics so when you shop online or visit the antique mall, you will have a better determination of what to buy and what to avoid.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Shaheen Dreams

What is about Shaheen dresses that make my heart sing? It is the lush fabric, the figure-flattering designs, or the vast variety of brightly colored, mid-century, tropical prints? It is all of those things and more! I recently purchased my first two Whirling Turban dresses and I simply adore them! They are worth every pretty penny! I know I will enjoy them for many years. The quality and attention to detail are bar none.

Even though one of my 'vintage must haves' on my list has been fulfilled, I am still lusting for my very own Alfred Shaheen creation. Every time I see one in person at Viva or online on Esty or eBay, I heavily sigh with unrequited want and desire. Whenever I spot a girl Viva in her Shaheen and part of me wants to run over to her and ask, "where did you get your dress?! How much?!"  But, I would feel weird about doing so. I mean, how rude would that be!

First and foremost, Shaheen's designs are expensive.  I often see prices on Etsy range from $190 to $500. I have also seen items listed for $900 or more.  I have been fortunate to find dresses in my size (36-27-38) but not in my price range or not in good condition. I sometimes stumble upon a great deal in lovely condition but it is usually too small. Either I need to lose weight or keep looking! Since I refuse to give up my addictions to Starbucks latte and dark chocolate infused with sea salt caramel, I need to keep looking.

I think the phrase, "all good things come to those who wait" is going to be my mantra in my search.  I just need to be patient.

In the mean time, I have this gorgeous website to inspire me and whet my appetite:

So, do you have any Shaheens? How many? What era is your favorite? 50s? 60s? 70s? Where is a good place to buy/search?

The Latest Round of Body Art

Back in late October, I visited my tattoo artist, Liaa Walter of Cirque Du Rouge, for new tattoos and touch-ups.  As soon as I completed payment at the end of our session, I made an appointment for early January for more-touch ups and additions to current pieces.  (Liaa currently has a 3 month wait).

In October, Liaa was going to add snowflakes to the cherry tree on my back but she wanted to plan them out as stencils instead of drawing them directly on my skin.

My January 10th appointment involved a lot of additions, touch-ups, and of course the snowflakes. Normally, I just have one area done at a time. However, this visit we did multiple sections.  Let me tell you, sleeping for the first few days afterwards was very difficult!

Nevertheless, at the end of our session (2.5 hours), everything was done and looked amazing!

Here are the photos!

Liaa touched up the yellow in the center of my Colorado Columbine and intensified the lavender tones in the white section.

Here are the new snowflakes. Liaa also added the small, pale blue dots throughout.

On my left arm, a cherry blossom was added on the end (closer to where my arm bends).  More small blue dots were placed and some of the blooms were intensified with color.

This blue purple lotus was added to my lower right arm. It is just stunning! The colors are incredible!

Of all the work I had done that day, the red-pink cherry blossom touch-ups on my upper back hurt the most.  I thought my lower right arm (near my elbow) would be more painful but alas, it was my upper back.  I asked Liaa why the same areas she tattooed in October seemed easier to tolerate the first time around and she said, "I think the body remembers. And we just did those areas recently."

Further, during my aftercare, I noticed the lower areas on my arms seemed to heal slower.  I asked a good friend of mine (who happens to have an impressive body of work) and she said those spots were slower to heal on her as well. Maybe the closer to the elbow is more sensitive?

When it comes to getting new pieces, I think I am done for a while. However, I do want the rosy paintbrush flower on my lower left leg/ankle touched up. The colors are light pink and I would like them to be more of a vivid magenta, like the real flowers.

In the end, I am loving my body art more and more!