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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


Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Starlet Series Episode 1-1920

After the success of my initial Starlet Series,back when I first started filming tutorials for Youtube, I decided that I missed the challenge of recreating looks worn by my favorite Starlets in their heyday. My 'Diamonds and Dames' series is an all-request situation so it isn't something that necessarily caters to my own favorites. Therefore, I decided to revisit that original endeavor year-by-year, instead of decade-by-decade.

Choosing a film heroine from 1920 was relatively easy. The only film from that year that came to mind immediately was The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the first successful movie of the 'horror' genre.

About the Film:


The story follows a young man named Francis as he tells a friend about some grisly and mysterious adventures he and his fiance' Jane experienced at a local fair. According to Francis, a man named Dr Caligari visited the fair to show the 'talents' of an ominous-looking 'somnambulist' (sleepwalker) named Cesare. In the exhibit, Cesare predicts the death of Francis' friend Alan, which comes true, beginning to rouse suspicions against he and the doctor.
Jane becomes the next intended victim, but is saved by the investigative efforts of Francis and the staff of a local asylum. The story culminates in what is one of the first 'twist' endings of cinema.


Robert Wiene directed the film, as well as more than 35 others between 1915 and 1938. This was his most acclaimed, though the film opened to booing and unimpressed audiences initially. The surrealistic mood of the film, coupled with the unexpected ending was something movie-goers did not understand or appreciate at first. However, after re-marketing the film as a horror film, German and other audiences began to respect and enjoy these changes. The story, written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer, was seen as something that provided the perfect collaboration between writer and director, using props and performances to create a dreamlike atmosphere. The sets were created from paper, much like a stage production, with shadows painted on the walls. Even today, the stark shapes and structures are impressive and memorable.

While I would normally rate films with a scale of 1-10, I don't feel that this film qualifies. It is not as much entertainment as it is historical art, to me, so I will simply state that it should definitely be seen if you have interest in film at all.

The Tutorial:
For my first episode of my newly revived Starlet Series, I decided to do an homage-look inspired by Jane of the film, as portrayed by actress Lil Dagover:

Although her look in the film varies by scene and according to her state of mind, I love the previous photo because it showcases an ethereal and strange beauty that was not really revisited in many films. Only her top lip is accentuated, to lend a forlorn quality to her face, the lashes are longer and fluttery (a fact I overlooked, actually, in my tutorial), and the hair is long and unstyled, in keeping with the trend of the earliest part of the decade.

Here is the youtube tutorial, followed by a written list of the products I used and an explanation of why. Enjoy!



The hair was pre-set with Hot Sticks and installed hair extensions by Tressmerize. The length should actually have been longer, but these were the longest I had. While not curling them would have resulted in a more authentic look, I felt that the whimsical aspect of the character needed the curls. However, the style can be done without them certainly, and with great effect. My top hair was parted in the middle and pin curled in opposite directions so that the root hair waved a bit before cascading into the curls. I wanted to incorporate a tiara into the final look, to be more directly indicative of the inspiration photo, but knew that I wouldn't get much personal use out of one, so chose not invest in one at this time, opting instead for a simple beaded headband from Claire's. The effect is similar but subdued. Drawing the widow's peak in was an afterthought but one I felt helped promote authenticity as well. And it was super easy to do!!

For makeup:

Primer: Clinique Moisture Surge

I use this as my primer due to my dry skin and the heavy coverage of my foundation, which needed a smooth base. For oily skin, use a perfecting base to give more of a velvet finish, if you wish. I love the Clarins Instant Smoothe Perfecting Touch makeup primer for filling in pores and lines too!

Foundation: Double Wear Foundation by Estee' Lauder

Although there is a bit of SPF in this product, the coverage is remarkable and legendary for brides and photo shoots. I don't know what makes it different but I'm an avid fan. My shade is Ecru, but there are a ton of shades to choose from and for lighter coverage there is a 'Light' option and also a super heavy coverage option that is similar in finish to Dermablend.

Concealers: Maybelline Concealer Stick in White, Cover Fx Concealer in Light

The white concealer makes a good highlight for photography as well as a great means to cover brows opaquely. The Cover FX is super heavy coverage with an emollient quality that makes it perfect for dry skin. It can crease a bit after application but covers splendidly.

Powder: Dermablend Original Setting Powder

The best setting powder ever. Hands down. The same quality as that HD stuff by Makeup Forever but really cheap, at 25.00 for quite a lot of product. It sets concealer, lipstick, eyeliner, whatever you need. And if you press your hands into it right afterward, all the original finish of the product comes right back. I adore it.

Eyeshadows: Although I mention the Toofaced and Naked palettes in this video, because that's what I used, I don't necessarily recommend any specific ones. I could just as easily used Wet N Wild or Nyx. Just make sure that you are using a good matte shadow, in both a charcoal gray, a taupe, and a warmer nude. Layering these colors will give that 'dusky' quality to the final black and white photos that simple grayscale won't do. Going back over the applied shades, layering the colors and blending, will also add that hazy look.


Lashes/ Mascara: The Lash Doubling Mascara by Clinique is my current favorite and it worked well for this look. I love the tapered wand since it makes it easier to do mistake-proof application to the lower and inner lashes. For falsies, go for longer whispy lashes like the Ardell Wispies, or maybe even some lower single lashes to get a more accurate look to the inspiration photo. This is the one area I wish I'd taken that extra step, instead of just grabbing my nearest natural lashes that had that sort of voluminous 1920's look to them. The lashes of Dagover were not really typical for the era and I should have embraced that.


Lipstick: I chose my old standby by Besame, which is old and has developed that crayon smell. I need to replace it. However, any dark burgundy or brown lipstick will work, as long as it is low-sheen. Make sure to set it with Dermablend powder though, to prevent it transferring to the blank bottom lip.


So that's that! Thanks again for watching and reading...I hope to be more active here in the future.

xxoo,
Ashley








Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Nashville Boogie


When the weather gets cooler, most of the time my thoughts turn to the upcoming event that I've attended every year since 2006, the Rockabilly Weekender (also known as Viva Las Vegas) in Las Vegas Nevada. The cold and humidity of Tennessee pales into insignificance when I anticipate the rousing music, warm sunshine, and delicious scent of exhaust that permeates that enormous car show. However, due to scheduling conflicts in the coming year I wouldn't be able to attend until Saturday, which makes the trip impractical in many respects. I was appalled by this initially, especially since 2015 will be the 20th wedding anniversary year for my husband and I. The idea of NOT going to Viva for the first time in 9 years was unfathomable to me and I really did do as much figuring as possible to organize a way for us to make it. After all, The Sonics will be there (one of my favorite bands) as will our friends Hillbilly Casino, whom I've been trying to get on the Viva schedule for years...I am certain their inclusion this time is solely due to their own merit as a band but hey, I'm still sneaking part of the credit.

Sadly, figuring and researching was to no avail. VLV 2015 is not in our future. But I'm learning to deal with it and I'll tell you why:

The Nashville Boogie has arrived! (For a complete list of bands and scheduled events, be sure to click that link!)

I first learned about The Boogie early in the year, when I was still planning for this year's VLV. The idea of a Nashville Based vintage-style weekender celebrating some of the best music rooted in Tennessee as well as the culture surrounding it, was thrilling, but seemed too far in the distance to be a reality to me. However Jason Galaz, the brain behind this whole scheme, has proven himself to be a formidable and ambitious talent in the world of event planning, so it shouldn't have surprised me when the venue, band list, dates, and website popped up suddenly with cheeky confidence that couldn't fail to impress. Jason's first festival, Muddy Roots, has joined Bonaroo in being one of the world's best received events, with attendees from all over the globe and an extraordinarily loyal following. I try never to miss it myself, no matter how dirty and grungy I might be by the end. Americana music needed a celebratory occasion like this, and I suspect this was the driving motivation behind this newly conceived event as well. The Boogie is bent on paying tribute to the signature sounds of the 40's and 50's that Nashville was built upon, and will showcase talent from around the country that represents those sounds today. I'm sure an invitation to this event has proven to be a breath of fresh air for many of them, and I'm certain it will prove to be one that lays the groundwork for future success in the years to come.

The venue, The Gaylord Opryland Hotel, is legendary in these parts.

One of the south's grand hotels,with seemingly infinite square footage, there will undoubtedly be ample space to host a event of this size, even considering its entirely indoor status. Hosting an outdoor festival of this type in Tennessee is simply not practical considering the unpredictable weather, so a luxury locale like this one will definitely help soften that reality. Discounted rates on the beautiful rooms, enormous meeting spaces to accommodate the fashion and car shows, as well as 17 acclaimed restaurants will also provide plenty of impetus to book and book quickly. In addition, the adjoining Opry Mills Mall contains a huge multi-screen movie theater, more restaurants, and plenty of outlet priced shopping. Music Valley Drive is walking distance from the resort as well, and boasts a few of the area's principal music-related attractions. The General Jackson showboat is docked close by and hosts a nightly dinner cruise, if that idea holds appeal for you. (If gambling is your thing, there's no casino around, but there IS the Grand Ol' Opry House where full price weekend show tickets could yield either a great pay-off of a performance or something akin to a total bust. No matter, the Boogie will have plenty of quality music to enjoy, regardless. ;-)

For those of you hankering for a great photo op, you could'nt really do much better than the Opryland Hotel. The heart of the resort features several grandiose conservatories, showcasing lush and gorgeously maintained plant life all year round. There are indoor canals with guided boat tours, elaborate fountains, and full-on waterfalls to provide a refreshing backdrop to your selfies.



I, for one, am excited to see how the event plays out and how the hotel staff responds to the vintage enthusiasts and rockabilly fans who will likely dominate the resort for a few days. There is so much promise, so much potential, so few drawbacks to the total prospect! I look forward to attending, helping promote in any way I can, enjoying the festivities so close to home, and generally helping The Nashville Boogie be all it can be.

Here's hoping that all of you will get your tickets quickly and join me in May!

Til Then,
So Long, Dearies!

XXOO,
Ashley

This post and others like it are made possible due to the kindess of my loyal sponsors, such as Glory Days Magazine. Glory Days is a vintage
lifestyle magazine heralding from New Zealand, where classic glamour and love for Rockabilly culture is still alive and well. Please click the link on the right and support Glory Days and all magazines like it, without whose readers events like The Boogie could slip past us all. We are a community and we need YOU in order to grow!





Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Few of My Favorite: 'Napoleon Perdis' Things


So now it's time to talk about Napoleon Perdis. I first found out about this brand in 2007 when I started watching Youtube videos. AskMeMakeup used a few NP products in her videos, and they seemed nice, but unnecessarily pricey. I still feel that the price is too high for some of these items, but when it comes to rating the quality of the product, there are clear winners here. NP's face products and foundations are especially impressive, so here are my top ten Perdis products, listed from least to greatest.

10. Auto Pilot Radiance Boosting Primer:



Very effective for what it's intended, this primer provides a lovely glow to the skin without making it appear greasy. Even under an already 'dewy' foundation, the result is fresh, not shimmery, and foundation lasts much longer. This product works best for dry skin, in my opinion.

Price: 42.00

9. Marshmallow Foaming Makeup Remover:



We love this stuff for removing makeup from clients before a makeover. No water necessary and it really does gently remove makeup without drying the skin. Just put a couple of pumps in the palm, rub together, apply to face, and tissue away. Ideal for on-the-go kits and makeup artists on location.

Price: 25.00

8.China Doll Foundation:



For a full coverage, matte finish foundation that's ideal for oily skin, this one really hits it out of the park. A little goes a long long way and pores are rendered almost invisible, especially when used with a primer. The velvety and seamless look of this foundation makes it one of the best porcelain finish options out there, and it includes an SPF of 15. The trade off? It's 50 (ouch) dollars for an extraordinarily small amount of product. That said, people come back and buy it again and again...so obviously not everyone finds that to be a deal-breaker.

Price: 50.00

7. Off Duty Tinted Moisturizer:



The simplicity of this product is almost obsolete now, in this world of BB and CC multi-tasking creams. It contains no SPF, just gentle tinted moisture that evens out skin tone or makes a great primer for dry skin. The light hydration is not greasy or heavy, so it also works well for oilier skins, and one pump really does cover a full face.

Price: 45.00

6. Divine Godess Lipstick in HARA:



I don't like a matte finish lipstick, so this one is perfect for me. I love the bold orange color and the feel of it is like a cross between a matte and a cream, so it doesn't dry my lips out. Thankfully, it also doesn't bleed into fine lines and wears really well. I reach for this one a lot.

Price:25.00

5. Neo Noir Liquid Liner:



I was amazed to find, among all the luxury brands we have at Dillard's, that there are so few quality liquid liners. The brush is either too thick, or the product itself is too shiny, or the felt tip is too stiff etc. This one is really good and rivals my Kat Von D Tattoo Liner for ease of application and longevity. My one complaint: it's not quite black enough.

Price: 32.00

4. The One Concealer:



This is a lovely lovely product. The consistency is a thick, almost gel texture that spreads easily. Very little goes a long long way and the result is excellent for dark undereye circles. It's a universal salmon shade that counteract blueness better than most and it sets very nicely. I use it for almost all skin tones but I do find it too light for very dark skins. Definitely the first product I fell in love with by Napoleon Perdis.

Price: 39.00

3. Sheer Genius Liquid Foundation:



Rated as one of the top foundations for maturing skin, this is a great investment product if you are willing to shell out the 60.00. I still think that's a ridiculous price for foundation but it is absolutely on par with Dior and Chanel when you consider the quality. A very very thin liquid foundation, you need to shake it up before dispensing, but the coverage is considerable. It goes on as a medium coverage but is buildable to full quite easily, and it doesn't settle into lines or lay on top of your moisturizer in an unflattering way. I do wish there were more color options, but I've been very impressed by this product so far, especially when coupled with the Radiance Boosting primer.

Price: 60.00



2.Cotton Butter Lip Balm Trio:



This is the most surprising product on my list. I did not even give these a second glance for the first month or so...they seemed overpriced at 45.00 and it was irritating to me that they were not available separately. However, I used the darkest one on a client who wanted a 'balmy' feeling nude lipstick and I became an instant fan. As soon as that client left, I wiped off my own lip color to apply it. The texture is heavenly...somewhere between a gloss and a balm, but the moisture is long lasting without being greasy. The colors are all lovely nude shades, all very different, and all flattering to a variety of skin tones. Test these out if you have a chance.

Price: 45.00


1. Stick Foundation:



Finally, my favorite product by Napoleon Perdis: The stick foundation. I am always on the lookout for non-SPF foundations that have maximum coverage, don't appear cakey after setting, and which blend flawlessly and smoothly over the skin. Most importantly, I need the foundation to look great on video and for photography. This one fits the bill. The coverage is spectacular, comparable with Dermablend, but it feels SO much better on my dry skin. It's easy to apply, blends effortlessly with a domed foundation brush, and because there is no SPF, it does indeed look great with flash photography. I like to use it sparingly on all but my very dry skinned clients, streaking it right from the tube onto the cheeks, forehead, and chin. Then I blend it with my brush so that the coverage to the t-zone is less pronounced. I then take a concealer brush to apply it more precisely where needed. No separate concealer needed! At 38.00, it's very affordable as well. I do wish it came in more colors, as with most NP products, but this is one foundation I plan to keep on hand for my own use as well as that of clients.

Price: 38.00

So, that's it. As always, let me know if you have any further questions about this brand and stop by to see me at Dillard's Edge Shop if you are in the Memphis area!


Xxoo,
Ashley


Friday, September 12, 2014

The Way We Used To Roll-Vintage Hair Tools

I have always loved seeing health and beauty tools/appliances as they've progressed over the years. Beauty and wellness is an age old obsession, one that we aren't likely to get over any time soon. Not that it's a bad thing to desire health OR beauty, but the lengths men have gone to in order to achieve greater heights in these respects are very interesting to me. Some tools, like the permanant waving get-up pictured at the head of this entry, seem so ludicrously bulky and extravagant. We can only imagine how expensive that must have been to manufacture, much less the cost that would have been involved in having it done regularly. But as hilarious as such things might be to us now, we are presently faced with even more options than ever before, when it comes to hair tools and devices.

Here are a few little fun bits about hair tools, over the centuries, as researched by me:

In Ancient Egypt, ladies and gentlemen utilized many accessories such as the gorgeous comb,shown below.

But other than accessorizing, there was little need for hair tools. Braiding was a principal means of styling the hair, for both men and women, and were accessorized with gold circlets and the aforementioned combs, as well as extraordinarily carved pins that served to hold and beautify the coiffure.
Shaving was king, for both bodies and heads. Tools for cutting and shaving have been discovered among the ruins of slave habitations and kingly residences.


Hollywood depictions of the hairstyles sported in this time are probably somewhat close to the actual look of them, but also really bring home the excessive nature of the heavy head dresses and accessories that were worn by the royal folk.

The tools used for creating the elaborately conceived styles common in ancient Athens and Rome were likewise very simple, with even more basic accessorizing.
Braids were again the classic choice, with elaborate designs being indicative of upper class and nobility.
In the ages before hairpins or bobby pins, simple needle and thread was used to hold and maintain these heavy braided styles, as is beautifully demonstrated by historical hairstylist Janet Stephens in this video. Make sure to check out the rest of her videos for more period-authentic styles.



Flowers were common accessories, as were combs and decorative ivory pins and bodkins.


Ancient China and Japan also used bone and ivory pins and sticks to style their hair. Hair ornaments were painstakingly crafted and
placed into elaborate rolls and curls to accentuate their volume and 'crownlike' appearance.
Women grew their hair long to accommodate these styles but never wore it loose in public. In Chinese culture, a Buyao ('shake as you go') was a common accessory to create an attractive and coquettish bit of interest.

Bones, beads, feathers, and flowers serves as ornaments for hair dressing in the tribes of Africa and North America.
Crude razors and shears have been found from the early American tribes, but for the most part the hair was grown long and styled using products made of vegetable oils and animal fats. Braids and hair designs were sewn into place as with ancient Rome, or positioned with bone pins.


From the 14th to the 17th century, excessive behaviors in styling were becoming commonplace in Europe. The aristocratic women and men went from shaved hairlines (to create a broader forehead, very much in fashion in the renaissance), to elaborate headdresses and braids, to pompous wigs and curls.
Combs and tools were made of ivory,silver, and bone, but beautifully carved and taking a place of prominence in boudoir decor. Powders and dyes became popular as beautifying aids for the hair and more products were being developed, not only for styling, but for scent. Curls were desired by all, particularly in the 18th century, so new ways of obtaining them were conceived. The earliest curling tongs were crude and laid directly over a heat source before use, making damaged hair likely, but worth the risk. This photo shows an idea of what they may have looked like, although I'm unsure of the date of these:

Curls were also popular using the Papillote method described here. The method works well as a cold-set, even for 1940's pin curled styles.


The Victorian Era saw a return to simplicity and less extravagance. Hair was long and more simply done, using braids and simple curling methods. It culminated in a love of 'sausage-like' curls that gave way eventually to the classically styled bobs of the 1920's and 30's, when women wanted to showcase their independance and modern sex appeal.

The clamps and tools used to shape hair into those stunning finger waved styles we love from the time period, are still used by many retro stylists today and are really not much different.


As curls became more and more a part of the elegant look of the day, more advancements in curling techniques and products were made. Although we may not recognize some of them at first glance, almost all of the tools used for styling during this era have a modern counterpart. That's one of the most interesting things about styling history, to me, the way that almost everything 'comes back', even from the most obscure and 'gimmicky' looking items. Here are a few things that refuse to quit, because frankly, they still work.

Waving Irons:

An old fashioned Marcel waver, probably from the early to mid-twenties

Modern triple barrel waving iron by Revlon

Curl Clips:
Curling Clips from the 1940s

Modern double pronged alligator clips

Bobby Pins:These were conceived in the 20th century, principally for holding a classic bobbed style in place. They have hardly changed, as you know.

Hair 'Rolling' Tools:
Solo Hair Roller-1940s

Sarah Potempa Wrap Up-Modern

Pin Curling Tools:

Pin Curling Tool-1940s

Modern Sculpture Pin Curler*

Spool-Style Rollers:
1950's Era Spoolie Roller

Clairol Lock n Roll Rollers (Remember those? They're not 'modern' really, but they've gained a lot of popularity in the vintage community lately because they do a great job mimmicking a pin curl.)


Curling/Perming Rods:
1940's(?) metal curling rods

Modern plastic perm rods

In short, we've come a long way, baby. But then again, we haven't.

xxoo,
Ashley

*This post is sponsored by Vintage Hair, the creator of the modern sculpture pin curler. Visit the website here to purchase your own, as well as other great vintage styling goodies.