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"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing...kissing a lot. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls."
Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, December 30, 2010

'Jenny' and 'Brigitte'...Two Looks, One Post

In creating my Diamonds and Dames series, I have received many requests for long hairstyles of the period. This style, worn by Jennifer Connelly in the film, The Rocketeer, was different in that it featured soft 'bombshell' waves on one side but a smooth tube curl, swept back by a comb or pins, on the other. I re-created it to the bet of my ability, using Hot Rollers as the setting. Initially, I didn't think the style would hold up. But I found that since I prepped my hair with a grooming spray before rolling, it was surprisingly sturdy. Following are products used and step by step instructions, as well as a video of the final tutorial.

Items Needed/Products Used:
-Hot Roller Set (Mine is old and I don't recommend any particular set, as long as the one you use gets nice and hot.)
-HW's Grooming Spray ( I used this in place of my normal heat protectant spray, Tre Semme' Heat Tamer Spray. I think it actually helped with logevity.)
-Grip Tuth Side Comb (I'm using a short one that is under two inches long for this style. You could also use bobby pins here.
-Styling Brush
-High Hold Hair Spray
-Pomade for shine (if desired)
1. Start with clean side parted hair. Roll the hair backward at the front, first prepping with the grooming spray and using a roller pin to secure the roller.
If you have bangs, you might need to use a small barrel curling iron for this part.
2. Roll hair immediately behind the front section using small rollers as well...also rolling back. Roll the rest of the hair in medium sized rollers, aimed downward.
3. Allow rollers to cool completely.
4. Brush thru cooled curled, shaping them with your hands as you do so. Spray into position, when you feel you've got a good style.
5. On the light side of the part, slick back the side and secure with your side comb. Brush the hair behind the comb forward around your hand, forming a sort of tube curl.
6. Spray to finish.

Look Two: Brigitte Bardot Inspired Hair/Makeup

With the popularity of shows like Mad Men, set in the early 1960's, there is a new interest in the 'sex-kitten' look of that decade. Ladies like Sophia Loren, Julie Christie, and Brigitte Bardot made the nude lip and intense cat eye a standard in styling. Also, untamed 'bedhead' hair was a staple of the era. So per request, I decided to throw together a look that was reminiscent of Brigitte's style, with a few of my own touches in there as well.

For the makeup, I opted to keep the 60's very much alive, with super dramatic lashes and a very pronounced cat eye. The look is obviously very authentically inspired but can be toned down for modern or daily use. If you opt to tone it down, try the look w/out the false lashes and using a black shadow instead of a thick cake liner.

Products Used for Face:
-Full Coverage Foundation by Revlon Colorstay
-Senna Cosmetics 'Buff and Brighten' Powder
-Erase Paste Concealer by Benefit in 'Medium'
-Besame' Dual Eyebrow Pencil-Gray
-Sephora Brow Powder in a Dark Brown shade
-'Blanc Type' Shadow by MAC
-Sedona Lace 28 Neutral Palette
-Sigma Makeup Eyeshadows in 'Indian Girl' and 'Brown Sugar'
-Sigma Eyeshadow and Makeup Brushes (love these brushes!)
-Ben Nye Cake Eyeliner in Black
-Gel Liner from Ebay in 'Truffle' (Celia Makeup was the seller
-Senna Cosmetics Eye Liner Pencil in 'Black Velvet'
-Maybelline Falsies Mascara in 'Very Black'
-Cheap Dramatic Lashes from Ebay
-Senna Cosmetics blush in 'Hue'
-Rimmel Lip Liner Pencil in the 'Spice'
-Discontinued Lip Crayon from Mary Kay in 'Tender'
Makeup Steps:
1. Apply your face products first.
2. Create a heavy brow using a brow pencil to outline and a brow powder to fill. Use a shade darker than you typically would.
3. Apply a matte nude shadow over the entire eye, from lid to brow.
4. Use a peach toned shadow in the crease, applying with a blending brush.
5. Apply a dark shimmery bronze shadow to the lid, smoking it upward.
6. Create a very dramatic winged liner in black, from the inner tear duct, all the way to the crease.
7. Meet the outer wing with your brown gel liner, carrying that inward on the lower lash line to the tear duct.
8. Line waterline and tight line with black pencil.
9. Smoke out the lower lash line with a shimmery brown shadow.
10. Apply mascara and false lashes, if desired.
11. Use a light hand to apply a soft peach blush to the cheekbones.
12. Finish by muting the lips with concealer, redefining with a nude lip pencil, and applying your favorite shimmery nude gloss or lipstick.

For the Hair:

Products/Tools Used:
-Hot Roller Set
-1/2 inch Barrel Curling iron (for bangs/fringe)
-HW's Grooming Spray (to prep the hair)
-Rat Tail Comb (for teasing)
-Styling Brush
-Grip Tuth Side Comb
-Bobby Pins
-High Hold Hair Spray

1. Roll hair back at the crown, using medium sized rollers at the top and large rollers aimed downward on the sides and back.
2. Prep each section with Grooming Spray (or heat protectant) before rolling,to lend more longevity to the style.
3. After releasing rollers (allow them to completely cool), tease the crown thoroughly until you have a good amount of volume. Comb lightly over the teased section to smooth it out.
4. Allow the front to fall forward, parted in the middle, or sweep across the forehead.
5. Continue teasing, shaping, and spraying until you have the desired amount of volume at the crown.
6. To create Brigitte's signature 'half' up do, pull back the crown and sides softly, twist lightly, and place a comb upward into the crown to secure. Allow the sides to fall freely and spray to set. Use bobby pins to add more height, if desired.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Product Reviews: Besame' Souffle Foundation and Benefit Erase Paste

Besame' Souffle Foundation:
I was very excited to try this foundation when I heard that it was available again, in a beautiful tube packaging. You may remember this product from Besame's early days, when it was in a lovely jar. I always wanted to try it and did get a chance to sample a little on the back of my hand at the My Baby Jo booth during Viva Las Vegas one year. It was like a creamy version of the Dream Mousse foundation from Maybelline...silky and easy to blend. The shade I tried at the time was 'True Beige', which was just a tad dark for my just-coming-outta-the-winter skin.

Since I have dry skin and love creamy full coverage foundations (currently I use the Revlon Colorstay liquid for Normal/Dry skin in 'buff' and I love the color, though the texture isnt my absolute favorite), I was excited to see that the foundation was being reformulated and re-released. I immediately asked for samples of the three colors that seemed best suited for my skin tone: 'Yellow Cameo' (yellow based, light beige), 'Bisque' (pink based lightest shade), and 'Medium Beige' (warm light beige for medium/olive skin tones). I tried all three shades at the jawline, which is a great place to test the blendability of different foundation colors. Unfortunately, the 'Bisque' was too light, the 'Yellow Cameo' was too yellow', and the 'Medium Beige' was too dark. Which is a shame, since the formula is fantastic. It glides on smoothly, blends easily, and provided amazing coverage for my dry skin. I love the porcelain quality it lends to my skin, especially when used in conjunction w/ a moisturizer and my favorite primer (by Senna Cosmetics). The product is also scented lightly w/ tea rose oil, which makes me always feel extra girly and feminine...like I should be lounging in my 'boudoir' as I apply it...in silk stockings.

To sum up, although I love Besame' products in general, and this one is no exception in its supreme formulation and performance capabilities, I do feel that the limited color choices will turn off many potential consumers who are used to the options available from other similarly priced brands.

Souffle Foundation is 32.00 at Besame' Cosmetics' website.

Benefit Erase Paste:

Though I feel very fortunate not too have ever suffered much with blemishes on my skin, I have always had dark undereye circles and puffiness. I had severe allergies as a child and though I'm not as sensitive to things now as I was then, my eyes still retain the dark circles. Therefore, a good undereye concealer is a MUST for me. I used to think, as many do, that the lighter the concealer-the better, when it comes to concealing thost blue patches under the eye. But actually, light concealers, though they're excellent for 'waking up' the eye at the tear duct and for highlighting the browbone, are not ideal for concealing blue tones. They actually can accentuate them instead! In color theory, the opposite color of blue on the color wheel is orange. Therefore, a peach toned concealer will be your best bet when it comes to neutralizing undereye circles.

I've been using the Makeup Forever Concealer palette, which comes with both a green and a salmon colored corrector in the palette. Unfortunately, it's a pretty expensive item and I don't use the other colors nearly as much as that one correcting shade. Therefore I did a little research and decided to try the Benefit Erase Paste in 'Medium', which is recognized to have a very marked peach tone to it that is perfect for undereye circles.

The first thing I noticed is that the jar is a bit deep. If you have nails, you can forget getting the product on a fingertip, for application. But it does come with a little spatula for scooping...and believe me, you don't need much. A scoop about the size of a grain of rice is enough for both eyes. The consistency is very gel-like, which I prefer to the MUF product, which seemed a bit too cakey at times. I haven't noticed that it settles into fine lines at all and it's extraordinarily easy to blend. When set w/ a powder, it stays blissfully 'put' and the color, though a bit lighter than the MUF corrector, is just fine. I'm not certain how this will work on other blemishes, considering the color, but I do think the coverage quality is exceptional and due to the amount of product you get, worth every penny of the 26.00 price tag. However, if you search this product on Ebay, you can undoubtedly get it for less than 20.00, which makes it even more of a steal!

Benefit Erase Paste is available at Benefit Cosmetics's Website for 26.00. But I recommend Ebay! ;-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Movie Review: You Can't take It With You (1938)

While it might not be exactly true that just everything Frank Capra touched turned to gold, I do believe that he came closer than any other director. The man turned out film after film that can rightly be grouped with the top achievements of American cinema. This one, 1938's galloping romp 'You Can't Take It With You' (based on the 1936 play), is easily my favorite Capra Creation.

The message behind the story is actually in the title: Regardless of how hard you work or how much money you have, failing to live life to its fullest does not result in happiness. The important things in life, family love and human accomplishment, are stressed repeatedly in a light-hearted and charming manner that won't easily be forgotten. For this reason, I like to watch it yearly and to make something of an event out of the occasion. It's an 'anti-depressant' of the greatest kind.

The warmly involving story involves two families: The Kirbys and the Sycamores. While the Sycamores are free spirited and endlessly bent on cheerful (albeit simple) living, the Kirbys are a wealthy straight-laced clan in the banking business. Though the two families couldn't be more different, they become linked irrevocably when Alice Sycamore and young Tony Kirby fall in love and hope to get married. The relationship has been kept quiet, with Alice (Jean Arthur) working as Tony's (James Stewart) secretary in his father's office. But as feelings grow intense and Tony's desire to marry Alice becomes more evident, the couple decides that their parents should finally meet for dinner. However, there is more to the link between the families than either of these young folks know. Kirby's company has been attempting to buy out the property of patriarch Martin Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore), where he lives w/ the entire Sycamore family, for some time and Vanderhof has flatly refused. The meeting between the families results in some hilarity, some heartbreak, and plenty of fabulous moments that will make you feel that you too should do 'just exactly what you like', even if that means wieners and sauerkraut for dinner or dancing clumsily around the living room.

The acting in this movie is faultless, mainly due to that fail safe casting. Many of these faces have been seen in other Frank Capra movies, and yet they never seem to have difficulty sliding into their respective roles and making an impact in each one. Standout in this movie are Lionel Barrymore as the happy-go-lucky Martin Vanderhof and James Stewart, in one of his first leading roles. The first scene he and Arthur have together is just a cozy perfect example of romance at its best. You can also really feel the sense of loyalty he feels for his domineering father, in spite of their lack of relationship. 'Character Actor Extraordinaire', Edward Arnold, is likewise impressive as Anthony P Kirby, young Tony's father, and makes just as great an impression as he does in 'Mr Smith Goes to Washington', even in this more faceted role. Other great supporting performances come from Spring Byington, an intentionally awkward Ann Miller, and Dub Taylor who all play different yet equally kooky branches of the Sycamore 'tree'.

There isn't a single scene that I feel belonged on the cutting-room floor or a single piece of dialogue that doesn't seem to have some type of profound point behind it. So few movies can make you laugh one minute, cry the next, and never lose that sense of innocent wonder inherent in all of us. Watch it...soon.

My rating: 10/10

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

An Offer From Lulu's.Com

Far be it from me to deny my readers a dandy discount! Lulu's Online sent me a message asking if I'd like to offer my readers a special code that would guarantee them a site wide discount of 15% between now and December 12th. After perusing their website, I definitely think there are some interesting items to consider. Most of the clothing options are a bit 'young' for me personally, but I am very impressed by the range of their shoes and accessories.

Discount code is FREEMONT and is case sensitive. This offer is good for the US and Canada, only one use per customer please.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Movie Review Monday~ 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (1962)

Directed By: Robert Mulligan
Starring: Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, and Brock Peters

As promised, I am starting a review series on my top ten classic films. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is my favorite film for so many reasons. I love the story, can identify with Scout (the character through whose eyes the story is told), and I get a warm sense of nostalgia from the moment that the first notes of that beautiful score begin to play. The entire opening sequence sets the pace for the film, lazy and a little disturbing...innocent yet mysterious. All of us who have grown up in suburban America have felt that sense of curiosity about our neighbors, a curiosity that inevitably becomes suspicion somewhere along the way.

The plot is well known, thanks to the wonderful book by Harper Lee on which the film is based. Scout and Jem are motherless children growing up in the depression era South. Their father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer with a strong sense of morale and a solid reputation in the community. Amid an atmosphere of racism and poverty, he maintains a noble spirit of generosity that he firmly attempts to instill in his children. When he is called upon to defend a black man charged with the rape of a white woman, never once does he balk at the prejudicial backlash that will undoubtedly affect he and his family. He simply chooses to do the right thing, knowing that his client is innocent and accepting all the baggage that entails. Over the course of the summer, as the trial unfolds and his children come of age emotionally, he deals wiht the consequences of that decision. In the meantime, Scout and Jem make a friend, Dill, who shares their love of mystery. The three children become intent on catching a glimpse of Boo Radley, a reclusive neighbor whose quiet life has become fodder for town gossip.

Gregory Peck was born to play the role of Atticus Finch and in doing so, creates one of the 'superheroes' of film history. Never once do we feel that the role is forced or morally heavy handed. Mary Badham is a phenomenal recreation of the novel's heroine, Scout. She is a natural actress with a gift for dialogue. There are no weak performances in the film, but these two definitely make the largest impact. Additionally, Brock Peters as Tom Robinson and a very young Robert Duvall, as the reclusive Boo Radley, deliver beautiful supporting roles. The direction by Mulligan is monumentally great and never struggles with its subject matter. The feel of those hot, sticky days in Macon Georgia stays with you throughout the meat of the film, never relying on stereotypical elements to fuel the atmosphere of the South. The mood is organic in nature, slipping easily from tender moments of family life to suspenseful moments of tension without missing a beat. In addition, there are a few scenes that are so beautifully constructed, I never fail to shed tears even after multiple viewings. I won't spoil it by revealing these moments, but there is no doubt that the gorgeous score along with the perfect way in which these elements are brought to life, can be blamed for that reaction.

Needless to say, I feel that this movie is a 'must-see' for people of all ages. There are moments your children will love, as well as those sentimental segments that the adults will value. To say that it's a quintessential 'family film' is an understatement. To say that it's a great movie, would likewise feel like a tepid way of describing what I feel is the best film ever made.

My rating: 10/10 (But you probably knew that.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Using Perming Rods

For a while now I've been intending to try the above style, worn by the lovely Lolita Haze. My bangs were growing out so it took me some time to get to it. But one of the primary reasons I wanted to give it a shot was so I could finally try Lolita's 'set' of choice, perming rods. I sent her a variety of emails to make sure I got it right and unfortunately I lost the following setting pattern until just yesterday! So here is the cute little setting diagram that she sent:

Anyway, at her suggestion I purchased a couple of packs of the peach colored rods (as available at Sally's Beauty Supply) and I also purchased a pack of the purple ones, which are slightly smaller. Since I had misplaced the setting diagram, I rolled my hair in a haphazard manner, making sure to keep the rollers around ear level, so as to eliminate the inevitable volume at the crown of my hair. Since my hair is longer, I had to alter the style somewhat based on the size of my resulting curls. I didn't use a setting solution, just water, but I can honestly say the curls were really impressive and I can see this becoming one of my favorite sets as well.

The sales lady at Sally's had incorrectly informed me that 'you can't use these rods w/out end papers'. Not true, but I can see what she means. If you have layers, it's a bit difficult to wrap the hair around the roller since the hard plastic is slippery and the hair doesn't grip it. End papers would come in handy here but moistening hair a bit will also make this easier. The longer length of the rollers is likewise useful since larger swatches of hair can be rolled at once. All in all, I'd say the 'trial run' of perming rods was a success. I could have stood to use smaller ones, to achieve the tighter curl I wanted, but that's another story for another time.

Video Tutorial:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Movie Review Monday ~ Top Ten Classic Films

On a recent video, I mentioned that 'To Kill a Mockingbird' was my favorite film. This spawned a few questions from viewers as to what my favorite classic films were, a topic that I hadnt really thought to address here. I actually had constructed a list of my 'Top 100' films a long time ago, having grown up with a chronic 'list-making' tendency that I can't deny. The full list can be seen on my movie blog, but today I'll be posting my top ten films before 1965, as well as a brief reason why I love them so much. Look for detailed reviews of these ten films, in future editions of 'Movie Review Monday'.

Top Ten Classic Films:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Not one wasted scene or stilted performance. It's a 'hero' movie, in every sense.


2. You Can't Take It With You (1938)
The best of 'feel good' flicks, this is the first of Frank Capra's films to appear in my top films. I am proud to have introduced this movie to quite a few people and all of them now love it and watch it semi-yearly with me. We move the furniture and sprawl out on the living room floor, enjoying the warmth. And we eat 'YCTIWY' food, taffy and popcorn balls namely-we skip the wieners and saur kraut. But it's a great time and I'll never stop doing it.


3. Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Another Frank Capra classic, this one also stars Jimmy Stewart-in my favorite performance of his. My pick for the best movie of 1939, it is one of Capra's greatest movies and also his most moving. Though I do not claim to be a patriotic person by any stretch of the imagination, I have such respect and admiration for Jefferson Smith.


4. All About Eve (1950)
Truly, does it get any better than this? Can dialogue be any more brilliant, quick, quotable? Can acting be more accomplished on ALL counts? Was Bette Davis not the best actress of her time? Did Marilyn Monroe ever look so good or deliver such great lines ('I can't yell 'oh butler' can I? Somebody's NAME might be Butler.')? Has theater life ever been handled so deftly before or since? The answer is a resounding NO on all counts. Absolutely one of the best movies of all time, hands down. Period.


5. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
A thriller that still remains 'thrilling', even by today's standards. But the crowning glory, the shining star, the thing that puts this movie where it is on my countdown is the performance of Angela Lansbury as Mrs Johnny Iselin, Raymond's vindictive and controlling mother. She is astonishing-there's just no other word for it. Every time she's on the screen, I'm vastly uncomfortable-still, after many viewings. Lansbury takes the tenacity of this character and runs with it, pulling off what is probably the best supporting performance by a female in history. Her final scene is my favorite of the film and by far the most powerful as it uncovers some unthinkable plot twists and contains some gripping dialogue.


6. The Great Escape (1963)
Although the subject matter has been handled with more depth and realism since, 'The Great Escape' succeeds on a different plane. It is a perfect balance of comedy and drama...and did I mention Steve McQueen?


7. Gigi (1958)
My favorite musicl of all time, 'Gigi' is also a gorgeous example of film-making and a fabulous character study. Aunt Alicia is my favorite!
'Great kings do not give the expensive jewels...I think it's because they don't feel they have to.'

8. On the Waterfront (1954)
Some of the most powerful scenes ever filmed were created by blacklisted director, Elia Kazaan. He is a phenomenon of filmmaking, in spite of the obvious controversy. This movie is no exception and in my opinion, it is the best of his films. It speaks volumes in its relatively short run time and truly makes an impression when it comes to standing up for what is good and right in a corrupt society.


9. Goodby Mr Chips (1939)
Though tragedy strikes with gut-wreching force in this film, we never stop feeling genuinely warm over this transformation of Donat's character. He becomes an icon of Brookfield school and an icon of cinema itself. The end is one of the most affective scenes ever, in my mind, and never fails to move me. And there is no doubt that it is Donat on which the whole feat hangs. I can't praise him or this wonderful movie enough.


10. Singin in the Rain (1952)
This popular movie is more than just that title number. It's also great ensemble acting (principally by O'Connor and Hagen as the two comic leads), gorgeous technicolor dance productions that carry over seamlessly into the solid storyline, brilliant 20's costuming, and hilariously infectious writing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sponsor Salute~Modcloth~"Getting 'the Boot'!"

Boots are always a staple of cold weather fashion and I, for one, am a huge fan! The problem is, most stores offer such generic examples of the footwear. If I see one more pair of Sherpa lined clunkers or pointy toed high heeled numbers zipped up over skinny jeans...I SWEAR! Not that I never wear jeans with boots in the winter...I have a pair of 18-eye Doc Martens that I bought in 1994 that I still wear on hikes and such. They have served me well. But currently, I seldom wear jeans so I've been in the market for a pair of great boots that suit vintage dresses, skirts, high waisted pants, and swing coats-while still looking feminine.

Look no further than Modcloth, ladies! I love their boot selection for several reasons. First, they have a wide variety of styles that are both unique and interesting. Secondly, they carry a range of prices to suit just about every budget.
And thirdly (and this-pardon the pun-is the 'kicker'), so many of their boots will look lovely with your vintage inspired duds! (Incidentally, I also love the little feature they include on the boot's page, suggesting other wardrobe ideas from their site that will go nicely with that item. Since, as we all know, Modcloth clothes are fabulous too!)

If you are into wearing dresses and a-line skirts, don't let the cold weather stop you! Slip on a pair of opaque tights and a coordinating ankle boot, for a sophisticated look that still keeps you warm. If you're wearing an outfit that is largely neutral, patterned tights can give you some extra flair as well!

Taller boots look great with most vintage dresses, as long as the style is slim fitting and keeps the shape of your legs in focus. Try them with a lovely princess seamed coat, scarf, and fur lined cap for some lovely drama on an average work day.

And since I am currently without a perfect pair of boots myself, here is a picture of the GORGEOUS Ulrika (stylista extraordinaire) showing a pair of lace up boots off to their best advantage!

So don't hesitate to click on that link at the right and 'get the boot' for yourself!



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vintage Family Recipes: Lemon Ice Box Pie

In addition to my love for vintage styling, I also love to cook and vintage recipes are so fun to recreate! This recipe is an old family favorite: Lemon Ice Box Pie.
My grandmother and mother are not the most culinary people, but my grandmother Haleen was amazingly good at this dessert. Her recipe was very simple. I added a few touches of my own to dress it up a little and incorporate my passion for whipped cream.

This is a simple dessert that doesnt require any baking and works well for any time of year. Some would argue that it is most seasonable in the warmer months, but the freshness of lemon is certainly appreciated with the richness of holiday meals as well. It adds a lightness that offsets the heavy meats and casseroles so common during this time of year.

1 prepared graham cracker crust
1 can condensed milk
3 lemons, to yield 1/4 c. juice
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon zest
Vanilla wafers
1 cup whipping cream, whipped with 2 T. sugar


Step One: Zest lemons, using the fine side of a kitchen grater.

Step Two: Juice lemons, being careful to remove any seeds.

Step Three: Combine lemon juice, egg yolks, and one can condensed milk in mixer bowl.

Step Four: Pour into prepared crust, lined with vanilla wafers.

Step Five: Place into refrigerator to set...about two hours, preferably overnight.

Step Six: Whip cream, add to top of pie. Refrigerate again, to allow ingredients to set again.

Step Seven: Sprinkle with reserved lemon zest. Serve with a glass of cold milk.

Video Tutorial available here:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sponsor Salute~ Candy Violet Boutique!

Iam super excited to introduce all of you to a brand new sponsor here on my site, 'Candy Violet'. Candy Violet is a one stop shop for unique and vintage inspired goodies, from simple petticoats to elaborate wedding attire. The site is beautiful to look at and easy to navigate, making it the kind of store you wish you could experience in person.

As Vivian says, it's more like the type of boutique you could expect to find 'back in the day', when what we now term 'vintage style' was what everyone expected to find in their local shops. Her pieces are all gorgeously constructed and designed to flatter the female shape, while offering unique touches you won't see anywhere else.

I love the authentic look of her dresses, particularly. The above full skirted number, for instance, reminds me a lot of that gorgeous brocade dress that Eva Marie Saint wore in the Hitchcock film, 'North by Northwest'. Not to be overlooked are also the gorgeous capes and jackets offered in the store. This faux fur piece will undoubtedly turn heads at formal winter events:

In addition, there are a variety of unique accessories available-from jewelry and hats to bags and belts. The shop even has a great selection of Besame' Cosmetics (one of my all time favorite brands) there for the choosing! Needless to say, everything you need for a glamorous Bombshell look is right there in one place.

Please check out Vivian's site by clicking on the tab to the right, in the sponsor column. Also, don't miss her gorgeous blog, where she discusses her design endeavors and style sense.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Becoming Joan...

Has there been a more monumental case for retro fashion in recent years than the cast of Mad Men? Joan Holloway seems to be the most inspiring and influential of the bunch and it's easy to see why. Christina Hendricks' uber-curvy frame coupled with the fiery personality of the character are definitely memorable, to say the least. Also, I'm the first to jump on board when red headed dames are getting media attention...heh heh.

I have received many requests lately for this style of Joan's, her signature office up do. Since the show covers one year per season, it is no wonder that the up do has changed a bit over the course of the series. I've noticed that recently (and authentically), the style incorporates a lot more false hair than it used to, in keeping with that natural trend towards volume that was so popular as the sixties progressed. The style I chose to do for this look was one that I felt was more indicative of the earliest episodes of the show and catered to my favorite aesthetic. Also, it suits my thinner and finer hair better than something that calls for more volume. I will probably do another 'Joan' style eventually, utilizing some false hair.

Since Germany has been blocked from viewing the attached video (due to copyright disputes between GEMA and Youtube), I am including the following step by step instructions for my German audience. I'm sorry I have not been able to include some photos but I never know ahead of time which videos will be blocked from your country and lord help me, I'm not committed enough to take photos along the way, 'just in case'...haha!

First, a look at the style we're going for:

You will need:
Hot Rollers (or any kind of roller set that gives your hair large curls)
Hair Gel (flexible hold is preferable...Layrite/Hawleywood Hair Gel that I use, is available here on my store.)
HW's Grooming Spray (also available here at my store. Sorry I don't know of any successful alternative to this product)
Tre Semme' Heat Tamer Spray
A Good Brush
Hair Pins
Bobby Pins
High Hold Hair Spray
A Curling Iron (for bangs and touch ups)
Teasing (or rat tail) comb
Step One: After washing hair (especially if your hair is fine)and while hair is still damp, apply some good flexible hold gel along the crown area, to assist in volume.

Step Two: Also apply a grooming spray through the towel dried hair, which assists in making the hot roller set 'take'.

Step Three: While blow drying hair, make sure to aim the top section (behind any fringe) back, using hands to add as much volume as possible and to fight against any natural part, that your hair tends towards.

Step Four: Roll the top section (crown section) back, using the smallest hot rollers in your set. Spray each section with a thermal protectant spray before hand.

Step Five: Roll the sides and back downward, using medium rollers. Allow rollers to cool completely.

Step Six: Release cooled rollers; brush hair upside down, to create that sixties volume. Don't brush too much or you'll brush the curls away.

Step Seven: Take the top section only, the section directly at the top of your head, and tease it in sections, to create that signature sixties bump (or fall). Smooth the top of the 'poof' with your fine toothed comb, push forward slightly, and pin in place using two bobby pins (kirby grips) in an x-formation.

Step Eight: Bring up one side, tease lightly, and pin in place over the two bobby pins holding the poof in place. If you have Lauren Rennells' book, 'Vintage Hairstyling' , this part will be easier. You want to pin the sides in such a way that the bobby pins are inserted into the 'bump' and barely show. This provides a uniform look.

Step Nine: Next, pull up the back of your hair, brush the underside smoothly, and twist upward into a 'french twist', pinning in place using hairpins, inserted into the twist. Leave the ends of the twist free.

Step Ten: Pin Curl the ends of the twist into as many pin curls as you like. You can make these curls as defined or soft as you like. Spray entire style well with hairspray and you're done.


Video tutorial here:

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Signature Work of Carmela

In the world of vintage hair styling, there are a few names today that stand out above all others. One of those names is Carmela Melecio. Many of you may know her as the mother of Pin Up Model (and face of dollface design)Miss Lady Luck. Others of you may recognize her signature styles from the Retro Do's myspace page. But make no mistake, if you have been a fan of the pin up/rockabilly style scene for any length of time, you have seen her work.

One of the things that makes Carmela's work so remarkable is how easy it is to recognize. I stopped several girls at the Shifter's Car Show this past April who had been styled by Carmela just to make sure that it was indeed one of her styles.
I was never wrong. There is something so beautifully unique about her creations, something about the height, the sheer volume, the artful lines...it's impossible to miss. And I am inspired by her on a daily basis. Traditional vintage styling can be taught. But creativity like this comes from inborn talent.

I felt it was high time to devote a post to her brilliant and effortless styles because honestly, she sets a standard and makes a mark that no one else can claim. I have recently heard that she has been working on a book and I ,for one, am going to be first in line to snag me a copy. I hope to review it for you when it is released and am looking forward to seeing and reading about more of her glamorous but edgy creations.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sponsor Salute!~ Heyday Clothing and Zip Zap Kap!

Heyday Clothing
Just take a look at the new Olivia Blouses from Heyday Online! The blouse (modeled here by the exquisite Fleur Deguerre)is modeled after a late 1930's style worn often by Olivia de Havilland. One of the prime features is the 'leg of mutton' sleeves that really makes a marked difference in the volume at the shoulder. Keep in mind when you order that the blouse is meant to be tucked in so it tends to be more fitted at the shoulder and arm cuff. Why not finish off the ensemble by picking up a pair of these adoreable Swing Trousers!

I'm currently trapped in maternity wear so I will live vicariously through your shopping! ;-)

Zip Zap Kap
Speaking of 'maternity', Katherine of Zip Zap Kap is celebrating her own new arrival, baby girl Izobel! In celebration, she is offering a great discount to all her customers, especially those of you who visit her thru the link at the right! So click that link and get 20% off your order total (before shipping). To claim the discount, just enter the code HEYIZZY in the message box when you place your order. The discount will appear in your paypal account within 24 hours of the time your payment is received.

With such great pattern options from so many different decades, you have nothing to lose!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Diamonds and Dames Episode 13~ Kitty Collins Colfax

In the world of Film Noir Bombshells, few of them make as big a physical impact as Ava Gardner in 'The Killers'. The film was one of her biggest hits and her sock-you-in-the-jaw beauty was undeniable. Though Rita Hayworth's signature waterfall waves in 'Gilda' remain my single most requested hairstyle of all time, Ava's natural curls, harnessed and worn long, definitely have their share of requests. I've been getting this request since I first started the D & D series but have shied away from it because of the difference in our hair texture. Ava's hair was probably styled in pin curls but her own natural curl takes the final look to a whole other level. My hair is stick straight and quite fine. It was a challenge but I decided to finally take a stab at it.

I started with towel dried hair (which turned out to be too wet) parted deeply on one side. Hair that is too wet will more than likely not be dry by morning, even if you're planning to sleep in your set of foam rollers. Longer hair makes this even more of an issue so it's best to start w/ dry hair and simply spray it damp w/ a water/setting lotion solution.

Next I rolled my growing bangs away from my face, using the smallest foam roller I could find. Then I rolled the two topmost sections on the heavy side of the part upwards, similar to the technique in my 'Rita Hayworth Inspired' tutorials. The rest of the hair was rolled tightly under, using medium sized rollers, leaving the crown flat.

The next morning as I unrolled,(and which was carefully edited out of the attached video) I realized that a large section of the curls had not dried. I therefore sprayed the ringlets that 'took' with a good hairspray and pinned up the damp section to 'fix'. I dried this section on my dryer's low setting and then rolled it in my smallest Hot Sticks, which lend a very similar curl to foam rollers (though not quite as sturdy). It worked perfectly, thank goodness, and I could continue w/ the style.

In order to keep the curls looking as natural as possible, it is important that the curls are not brushed too much.
Most of the time, brushing excessively is important to these vintage styles, but in this case I knew that more brushing would bring back my natural texture. Therefore I fluffed the texture as much as possible while brushing it out. I finalized the style by smoothing individual sections into waves but leaving the rest of the curls intact. A little hairspray was used for hold.

Video Tutorial:

Film Synopsis: 'The Killers' (1946)
Starring: Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner
Directed By: Robert Siodmak

When ex prizefighter 'Swede' Anderson is found murdered in his hotel room, investigator John Reardon is determined to get to the bottom of the case. Through a series of interviews, and in spite of his superior's opposition to the investigation, Reardon discovers that Anderson had picked up a lot of baggage recently. Not only does he have ties to an unsolved robbery but he also had criminal acquaintances through his gorgeous girlfriend, Kitty Collins. With the help of Lieutenant Lubinsky, an old friend of the Swede's, Reardon uncovers the treacherous trail that led to his death...a trail that continually seems to lead to Kitty herself.

Based on a story by Ernest Hemingway.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Product Review: Senna Cosmetics 'Virtual Vintage' Collection

Though I adore the inevitably cozy aspects of fall as much as the next guy, I can't say I'm a huge fan of the season. Here in Tennessee, the autumn is undeniably beautiful. However with the gorgeous changing of the season, comes the flowering of goldenrod...which renders me utterly useless for the duration. Until we have a good freeze, the hay fever season is in full swing and my itchy eyes prevent me from enjoying the changing leaves as much as my stuffy nose prevents me from enjoying the taste of pumpkin pie. I am also a militant fan of the heat and all the sleeveless, stocking-free stuff that entails. I've never been fond of constricting coats, sweaters, or scarves. I hate the way a stubbed toe hurts ten times worse when it's cold.

This fall, though, in spite of the allergies, I'm getting more into the mood of the season. Perhaps it's because I'm pregnant and therefore more inclined to 'bundle up' when the weather calls for it. Perhaps it's because I'm craving hot tea at this point in the pregnancy and as we all know, hot tea and autumn go together like nutmeg and egg nog. So I was abnormally excited when Senna Cosmetics quite unexpectedly sent me a generous preview of their fall collection, 'Virtual Vintage'. Not only do the rich hues of the collection appeal to my new found love for autumn, but the name appeals to my obvious love of the past.

The first thing I noticed were the eye shadows, which I featured in last Tuesday's tutorial, and which unfortunately are not justly portrayed in that video. The colors are both subdued and brilliant, casual and elegant. My favorite of the shadows is 'Fixation', a deep green w/ outstanding flecks of gold throughout. Depending on the base you use with it, the color can be either subtle or startlingly bold. Unfortunately, none of the swatches I attempted to photograph were indicative of the true shade of the shadow and neither is the swatch on Senna's own web page. The other shadow I was gifted, 'Blend' is a great matte neutral shade that is idea for doing just what its name suggests, regardless of the color you use.

'Hue' blush is a great tone for fall. The color it lends to the cheeks is not that sun kissed glow of so many summer shades, but a simple fall flush. It's suitable for all occasions. I also really enjoyed the 'Buff and Brighten' highlighter and finishing powder duo. Highlighters are hit or miss with me, since most of the time they can be far too shimmery for my taste. This one adds sheen, but not glitter. I've been using it daily.

The lip and eye liners with the collection are satisfactory, if not entirely indispensable. The lip colors I received, 'Garnet' and 'Valentina' are far more distinctive. 'Garnet' is a sheer shade, w/ a subtle gold fleck throughout. 'Valentina' is a lovely and long lasting vintage red, with scarlet undertones. Used in conjunction with the fabulous 'lush' lip lacquer, it's like the perfect evening 'big sister' to 'Garnet'. I suggest applying the lip lacquer just to the center of the bottom lip, for that perfect bombshell pout.

I guess you could say that though I have nothing lose by a negative review of these gifted products, I cannot hide the fact that I was extremely impressed. I also love the new packaging of the Senna lipsticks and feel that it suits the high end quality of the products much more than their prior black tube. I look forward to trying more from the line.

Below, you'll find the video I did using the products as well as what I feel is a complimentary 1940's hairstyle for the look:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Movie Review Monday is Back~The Thin Man (1936)

Mini Review
Starring: William Powell and Myrna Loy
Directed By: W.S. Van Dyke

This original film in the 'Thin Man' series introduces us to Nick and Nora Charles, played expertly by one of the monumental 'screen teams', William Powell and Myrna Loy. Nick is a former P.I. who has walked into a wealthy marriage and has chosen to give up his old job in order to manage his wife's money. But all that changes when a murder is committed that links Nick to the case in more ways than one. Initially, Nick refuses to get involved but finds a surprising shot of encouragement from an unexpected source...his wife. Nora has a head for problem solving it seems, and over the course of this twisting, martini-shaking 'whodunit', she proves to be Nick's biggest ally. The 'mystery' doesn't play out as intriguingly as other films of the genre, but the sheer delight in watching Nick and Nora interact more than makes up for that. By the end of the film, I was anxious to see more...and an even bigger fan of Myrna Loy's darling self.

Unfortunately, subsequent films of the series do not have the charm and appeal of this original installment. 'After the Thin Man' is strong, showcasing my very favorite actor of all time, James Stewart, in an early role in his career. It is entertaining to watch him overplay the part to such an extent, especially when he is known to be the king of natural acting. Later in the series, we are also introduced to the Charles' inevitable offspring and sobriety is even attempted by the couple, at one point. But nothing compares to this original film and the legendary standard it set for films of both the 'romantic comedy' and 'crime-solving' genres.

My rating: 10/10

Style Factor: When it comes to 1930's fashion, Myrna Loy's wardrobe in this film was a perfect example. In spite of the black and white cinematography, we are never disappointed in her glitzy attire-from her extravagant nightgowns to her oddball hats. It's kind of an essential exhibitition of the decade's proclivity towards excess.

Style Score: 8

Friday, September 24, 2010

Long Retro Hairstyles and 'Bangs' Revisited...

Some time ago, Bramcost Publications was kind enough to send me a few of their reproduced vintage styling books, for review. Some of them were more helpful than others and this one was my absolute favorite. Though it doesn't contain some of the handy cutting diagrams and pin curl diagrams of 'Creative Hairshaping', the writing is exceptionally easy to follow and the styles are phenomenal. The book was written by a renowned stylist named Miss Ingerid, and contains a variety of gorgeous hairstyles for longer hair, all achieved by following the same basic setting pattern. The styles are meant to be performed on someone else, since the book was evidently written for professional stylists. Still, I was anxious to try a few of these elegant coiffures out on my own head.

The first step was to make sure I had the right equipment. All of the styles call for side combs instead of bobby pins, but I noticed that my Goody side combs were not quite strong enough for holding up a lot of thick long hair. I noticed that the combs used in the book had a brand name, Grip Tuth. Therefore I decided to shop around on ebay and see if I could find some of these vintage marvels. Lo and behold, it turns out that the combs are still being made and marketed by a company called Good Hair Days. The company distributes the combs among a variety of different stores, including this one, from which I ordered my own sets of the combs, in several varying sizes.

Once I had these amazing combs in hand (these babies don't slip!), I was able to try out the styles of the book, starting with 'The Grecian', seen here:

The first thing I realized, as I attempted to recreate the pin curl setting of the book, was that it was next to impossible to form all of these pin curls on my own head! I paid closer attention to the direction and placement of the curls than of getting the set as perfect as it was shown in the book's photographs. Seriously, I almost gave up a couple of times. But half an hour (and some very tired arms) later, I had a complete pin curl set, even if it bore only a faint resemblance to the one in the book.

Thankfully, the curls took relatively well, though upon brushing out, I realized that due to my inability to create the curls as uniformly as they were pictured in the diagram, successfully capturing those pristine waves of the original style would be quite impossible. I do feel, however, that with some practice, the look can still have the same aesthetic sensibility, even when performed on oneself! Below are a couple of photos of my first attempt at 'The Grecian'.

I also have a video tutorial featuring this attempt, available here.



Speaking of videos, I realized fairly recently that one of my videos was developing a bit of negativity on Youtube. The video in question was the one in which I demonstrated how I cut my own Bettie Page style 'rounded' bangs, or fringe. In the comments, a large number of people seemed to have issues with the fact that it did not look like Bettie bangs by the end of the video. There were a lot of rude comments about the video's general draggy style and my tendency to repeat myself. In turn, there seemed to be a large number of arguments developing in the comments in which my loyal viewers attempted to defend me, (for which I'm truly grateful) and were rudely rebuffed. Since the video had a good amount of views, I was tempted to just shut down the comments. But since I also saw that it really could use an edit, particularly when it came to showcasing the finished fringe after styling, I decided to pull the video and rework it a bit. Since I like to keep my bangs long (I'm currently growing them out), I tend to cut them level w/ my eyebrows which, especially in straight hair, tends to destroy the u-shaped look of the bangs when unstyled. I was tired of telling people to look at other videos in order to see the bangs after styling, and therefore in this newly edited video, I have included a few photos of the finished bangs.