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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

Monday, March 29, 2010

Movie Review Monday Visits ~ Esther Williams

Just thought I'd stop in and say a few words about Esther Williams. She was magnificent. She was gorgeous. She accomplished things underwater that some dancers couldn't do on solid ground. And there are repeated allusions to her unique abilities in film after film. Below are a couple of itty bitty reviews for two of her more popular movies...and a few words in conclusion about Esther herself.

Neptune's Daughter (1949)
Starring: Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban

Directed By: Edward Buzzell

Do yourself a favor: Start at the beginning. Watch Esther swim. Skip forward about 15 minutes to the little swimwear 'fashion show' in the movie that features some of the cutest vintage swimwear I've ever seen. Skip forward another 10 minutes or so to the quartet performance of 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'-probably one of my favorite songs ever written. Then, fast forward to the very end and watch the all too brief water ballet that concludes the film. Believe me, you've missed nothing.

There is supposed to be a story line involving two sisters and some confusion about the identity of a cuban polo player. Whatever... I lost complete interest after the cute swimwear.

My rating: 4/10 (but only for the bathing suits and the great song!)

Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)
Starring:Esther Williams and Victor Mature
Directed By: Mervyn Leroy

This movie is a 'biopic' about Annette Kellerman, the famed Australian swimmer who dared to wear a one piece swimsuit that hugged her body and was quite the pariah in proper society. Esther gives the character lots of spunk and a sweet smile while at the same time turning out some amazing underwater musical numbers that have yet to be duplicated or attempted. Story wise, this flick has little to truly grab you. However, it's worth seeing simply for Esther's uncanny underwater dancing and the gorgeous technicolor cinematography that would lift any one's spirits.

My rating:7/10


In conclusion, may I just say that in spite of the tepid reviews above, I love Esther Williams. She was SUCH a beauty and her face just glowed all the time, possibly due to her boundless energy. I think it's awesome that a whole style of 'musical number' was conceived just to accommodate her marvelous talent for water ballet. Unfortunately, most of her movies were a little lackluster, especially when compared to her own fabulous presence. When she did not have a great cast of costars (such as in 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra) they were largely forgettable in spite of the spectacular water sequences. However, from a fashion point of view, there is alot to be said for Esther. The swimming costumes she wore are still inspiring the bathing fashions of today and there is still a line of popular swimwear that uses her name.


Esther was always healthy and rosy; that gorgeously toned physique still stands as proof that an active lifestyle is the best to have. The fact that she is still kicking at 88 years of age is further testimony to that fact. So let's all go play in the water!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

For the Love of Torturous Footwear

Ihave a confession. I will gladly forego the future use of my feet, for the pleasure of wearing beautiful shoes now.

And unfortunately, on my budget, beautiful shoes are not necessarily well made or foot friendly shoes. Sometimes they are fifteen dollars and glued together with no hope of lasting long enough to get broken in. Sometimes they have lots of pretty straps that eventually become the equivalent to 'foot bondage' after the feet have swollen considerably over the course of a long car show stroll. And more often than not, they are available in a size that doesn't quite fit, which means that they flop around and leave enormous blisters or my toes are uncomfortably scrunched into submission over the duration of said 'hike'.

A few times a year, I brave the above aches and pains for the sake of beauty...and I do it for several days at a stretch. One of those times is the upcoming Viva Las Vegas ROckabilly Weekender, which is starting on April 1. So I thought I'd share some of my personal 'tools' and tricks that I use to get me as much comfort as possible throughout the acres of casino walking, feigned jiving, and car show posing.

1.First and foremost, I pack a BUNCH of shoes. The reason for this is not only for vanity's sake (as in, the perfect pair of shoes for the perfect outfit), but also I find that if I take alot of pairs of shoes, I seldom have a blister in the same place. Sick, I know. But if you have worn those glorious strappy sandals for what the pedometer claims is six miles, and have developed a nasty blister on the piggy that went to market, then won't it be nice to have a nice 'comfy' pair of plain old pumps that will give him some added room? Sure, the other toes may scream at you for your inconsideration but at least that one aching appendage has some 'breathing space'.

2. I also make sure to spray down my feet w/ spray deodorant before any significant amount of walking. The lack of sweat equals a significantly reduced amount of chafe. For 'hot spots', carry a pad of moleskin in your purse and a small pair of scissors. Cut the moleskin to fit the patch and you'll have a much better protection from that inevitable blister than a plain ol' bandaid.

3. Ball of Foot cushions are made by a number of companies, including Dr Scholls. They're excellent for that impact that gets more severe as the miles progress. Make sure to get the ones that have a gripping surface but not an adhesive, so you can switch then from shoe to shoe. The adhesive ones also leave a nasty residue behind that is difficult to remove. Heel Liners are handy for shoes that are slightly too big. There are 'gel' varieties that are also very comfortable. And then of course,there are plain ol' insoles which I find work better for flat shoes than heels.

4. Once the blister develops, clean it up as best you can and apply one of Bandaid Brand's Blister Ampoules to the sore. They're the best of their kind and they stay on through showering and swimming, for the most part.

5. Included in that vast plethora of shoes that I bring, are several pairs of flats. If all else fails, you can slip on a little pair of chinamans or ballet flats to save your dogs from any more barkin'. I usually plan a few outfits that look good with flat shoes just to switch up between the ones that 'require' heels.

6. Lastly, drink a beer...or two. And remember that in spite of any discomfort you may feel...your feet have beautiful coffins in which to meet their end. :)

(shoes by pin up girl clothing)

*'Devil Shoe' Graphic by Alex Pearson of Familytree:Design +Illustration

Saturday, March 20, 2010

March Pin Up Peek~ Fleur DeGuerre

I first discovered the illustrious Fleur on a down to earth hair tutorial from Youtube. This led me be an avid follower of her blog,Diary of a Vintage Girl,and an inevitable admirer of her portfolio. Her style is classic, poised, and pristine. The photos reflect this beautifully.

Enjoy the following video and bring a little more Fleur into your life:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday~ "Modern Kitten"

Ibased this look on my 'Psychobilly/Edgy Pin Up Look' but toned it down for a younger gal. The kitten ears are only a hint of their amped up selves and the colored extensions would actually work for both looks. The hairstyle is still retro inspired but somewhat 'deconstructed' since the curls are left loose and softened. We added just a touch of contrast with a sculpted
pin curl at the front. I think this style is ideal for a young girl who enjoys experimenting w/ colorful makeup since it calls for winged liner (challenging to master, but worth the effort) and bright hues while remaining neutral elsewhere. This prevents a young woman from looking too made up or beyond her years.

I mentioned in the sidebar of the video,and will reiterate here, that I feel edgy makeup and hair is a great way for a teen to show her individuality without that desire manifesting itself in immodest clothing. Emily was wearing her normal school attire and yet, the style didn't overpower it at all. Perhaps the liner could be kept more conservative for day-wear, but all in all the look was fun without being outlandish.

Product List:
For Makeup-
Mary Kay Cream to Powder Foundation
Makeup Forever Concealer Palette
Nyx Jumbo Pencils in 'Milk' and 'Baby Blue'
Coastal Scents 78 palette
Besame Eyebrow Pencil in 'Taupe'
Lashblast Mascara
Nyx Liquid Liner in "electric blue"
Duo Lash Adhesive
Some Girls blush from Sigma Makeup
Moonlight Mile Highlighter from Sigma Makeup
RImmel Lip Liner in Spice
Lip Lush in 'tish' from Julie Hewett Cosmetics

For Hair-
Rusk Heat Protectant Spray
Glued Hairspray from Schwartzkopf
Tre Semme Flexible Hold Hairspray
Extensions from Hot Topic
Hair Accessories from Va Va Va Voom

Full tutorial posted below:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Movie Review Monday~ Witness for the Prosecution (1957)


Witness for the Prosecution is an Agatha Christie short story and it has been reported that this is the only film version of her work that she herself was completely happy about. It is a phenomenal little movie; I say 'little movie' because it is pretty light fare, even w/ the heavy subject matter.

The story follows ailing defense lawyer, Sir Wilfred Robarts (Charles Laughton) as he is released from the hospital after a serious heart attack. His doctor has instructed him to avoid stressful cases in court, alcohol, and smoking-all things that he loves and which he is quick to recommence regardless of doctor's orders. All of this happens beneath the strict watch of his endearingly militant nurse, Miss Plimsoll (Elsa Lanchester, the real life wife of Laughton in a role that was created principally for her since the character did not exist in the novel). Soon after his return home, Robarts is approached with exactly the type of case his doctor would warn against, a seemingly innocent man being charged w/ the murder of an elderly woman. The accused man, Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power), feels the charge is rediculous and claims that his own wife, Christine (Marlene Deitrich), would be able to support his allibi at the supposed time of murder. However, upon interviewing said wife, Robarts realizes that the matter may not be quite so simple since she herself seems intent on condemning her husband. What follows is a wonderful courtroom drama replete with great performances, fun twists, and plenty of wit.

In spite of the multitude of acclaimed English thespians in this movie, Laughton runs away with the movie (metaphorically of course; I doubt the poor man could have 'run' anywhere if his life depended upon it). He is a perfect mix of humor, smarts, and subtlety-while at the same time huffing his giant frame around the set like a petulant child when it comes to evading the watchful eye of Miss Plimsoll and her little white pills. His reactions to the inevitable plot twists are painstakingly heartfelt in their delivery; it is a brilliant performance. In addition, Lanchester is wonderful as the charmingly devoted Miss Plimsoll and Tyrone Power is better than usual as Leonard Vole-a sympathetic hero indeed. Finally, how can we overlook the wonderfully layered performance of Marlene Deitrich as Christine Vole? She accomplished so much in this movie, making us feel the dilemma she faces-her cold sense of duty amid the obvious confusion of her husband who evidently holds her on a pedestal and loves her to distraction. I can't say more about her acting because it would partly give away the 'twist' of this story but if you've seen it-you know how good she is.

Billy Wilder adapts this story flawlessly to the screen and succeeds in something many directors have tried and failed, making the film version worlds more involving than the book. Even Christie would agree, I think.

This is one for the shelf. Even after repeat viewings, I find myself in just as much suspense-knowing full well how it ends but somehow still holding my breath for its exciting conclusion.

My rating: 9/10

Style Score: Marlene Dietrich has always been a 'cold' sort of screen goddess. Her style is undeniable but not necessarily up my alley. Still, I give her austere looks and the brevity of wearing 1930's makeup in a late 50's film, a solid score of

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sponsor Salute!!

I'd like to welcome you to my very first sponsor salute, a blog entry dedicated to those inspiring shops and businesses that not only support me, but give me added motivation. This week, I'd like to focus on three marvelous companies that you have all heard me mention before:

1.Andewyn Designs: Adrienne had an Etsy Shop that I mentioned in a previous video. I'd like to invite you now to visit her newly designed web store by clicking on the lovely link to the right. Her jewelry designs are exquisite and really bring to mind the delicate femininity of the past. She also ships worldwide!

2.Dungaree Dolly Bags: Okay, I've gushed about Dolly enough for twenty blog posts.
You all know her well from those youtube reviews I've done in the past, as well as this one, where I revealed my new hand-crafted Dolly Bag in real time! It is still to this day one of my favorite 'channel moments'. Thanks so much Miss Dolly, for these fantastic products!

3.HeyDay Clothing: And last but not least, we have the wonderfully authentic clothing of Heyday. Heyday is a UK based clothing company but even after shipping and 'pounds-to-dollars' figuring, the items are well worth a purchase. I had the privilege of seeing some of the garments first hand and was astonished at the quality. I'm thrilled to have Heyday On board and hope that all of you will click that link at the side. After all, just to tease you, here is a full length view of the dress she has placed on her add. Delicious, no?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Vintage Life Magazine Now Available!!

Vintage Life Magazine-Home

The brand new digital magazine for lovers of all things vintage. So many wonderful articles in this pilot issue and no, I'm talking about the ones I contributed! Please get your copy today...you'll be an official fan from page one.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday~ Gettin' "Snoody:

Snoods have been around since the middle ages but during the 1940's they experienced a resurgence, when ladies needed a way to keep their lovely hair out of the machinery of the factories where they were obliged to work. It signified their commitment to the war effort and it also prevented the necessity of their cutting their Veronica Lake inspired long hair. Soon the look was transitioning to the dance floor, since the ladies didn't like to go home and reset their locks for a night out. So they dressed them up with ribbons, flowers, and elaborate barrell curls.

This week's tutorial is in response to several requests for a 'snood' style as well as an opportunity to use some of the lovely nets that Cassey provided me from her darling Etsy shop

The first style is inspired loosely by a snood style from Lauren Rennells book Vintage Hairstyling. It is a softer and less precise adaptation of that look and I paired it with a bright yellow snood/rose combo, for springtime:

The 2nd hairstyle is much easier to accomplish and consists of a conservative pompadour and side combs:

That latter style is good for evening, especially with this lace embellished rose and black snood.

Option one can be seen below and option two is easily reached through video response:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscar Night

For an evening so full of 'dream'-talk and comments about race relations, there was a shocking lack of color. I've never seen so many gray gowns, which leads me to think that folks were a little intimidated by the elaborate set and therefore decided to play it low-key. There were also a large number of ill-fitting frocks and frazzled locks. But once again, 'best and worst dressed' were an easy choice for little ol' opinionated me.

The Show- Opening 'Oscar Number', starring Neil Patrick Harris, was a let down. He is peppy and all, but it paled in comparison w/ the similar number starring Hugh Jackman from last year. I think the Academy should somehow be told that this musical opening is not ALWAYS necessary...that perhaps they should skip a few years. But it was good and cheesy (like always) and hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were good and schmoozy. I thought their opening 'monologue' was a little sloppy but token 'host quips' throughout the night were much better and added some much needed levity to the event. The show itself went along smoothly with only a few snafus in the way of confused audience members trying to figure out why their face was plastered on the two story screen at the back of the stage. Dance number midway thru the program, featuring a medley of the nominated scores, was dull. Horror movie tribute was well executed but seemed like a space filler, more than anything else; and the 'In Memoriam' segment was just kind of odd. I think James Taylor also felt a little awkward. I do have to say that the new 'method' of announcing the acting nominees is really effective, and that the screenplay 'forensics' are a welcome addition to that category.

The Speeches- Presenters were all pretty formulaic this year, with the exclusion of Ben Stiller who came out to present the makeup award decked out in complete 'Avatar' ensemble. He spoke to James Cameron in the make believe language of the Na-vi people which was hilarious, especially since that movie was not nominated for its makeup. Gosh, I hate James Cameron. Anyway, the acceptance speeches were eloquent and short (they had to be since the mikes turned off automatically on all awards except the major ones). Monique will probably run for politics someday; her speech was very 'I Have a Dream'. Sandra Bullock was extraordinarily well spoken and I actually got misty right along w/ Jesse James. My favorite speech belonged to Jeff Bridges, who littered the thing with 'Maaaan' and 'Duuuude' throughout.

The Clothes- Like I said, there was alot of 'gray' at the awards show this year. The weather wreaked havoc on quite a few updos (Sarah Jessica Parker and Rachel McAdams were especially unfortunate) and there were a few problems with fit as well.

My hands down 'best dressed' was this lady:

She is Sandy Powell, the three time Oscar winner for costume design. This time, she won for Young Victoria, but it was her own outfit that garnered the most attention. It was Art Deco classy w/ a modern edge. The haircut and accessories were blazingly confident; the pattern was spectacular. I also loved the back of this dress, which was cut in a low 'v' ...and what about those nails??

She's this generation's Edith Head-an extraordinary designer w/ a strong personal style. I'm a fan.

My best-dressed gent was, in my opinion, the best lookin' guy in the room. And yes, Jeff Bridges was my top pick at the Globes too. The guy is just waxing WELL, is he not? Check out the gorgeously groomed hair and beard w/ that Gucci tux. Yummy.

Honorable Mentions go to the usual suspects: Queen Latifah KNOWS how to dress her curvy body (but it was slightly ill fitted at the top), Helen Mirren always looks like royalty, Penelope Cruz DARED to wear a claret colored gown, Kate Winslet ordered up some really pretty Veronica Lake hair, Meryl looked beautiful, and I really loved Sandra Bullock's dress (though I feel it needed an up do and some different makeup).

Worst dressed was definitely Sarah Jessica Parker, who seems to have left the stylish days of Sex and the City firmly behind. The dress looked like a metallic banana and seemed to seriously be choking her at times. The crumpled aluminum foil at the breast, disguised as 'embellishment', was also overpowering and disturbing. Then we add the hair, which could be termed 'Statue of Liberty' meets 'Elizabethan Headpiece'. Plus, it was frazzled around the hairline, presumably due to the weather. The makeup was wrong as well; her eyes looked like black specks in the overly spray-tanned face. Not a good look for the red carpet's former 'golden girl'. The following photo is actually a very nice version of the actual ensemble:

Worst Dressed Male? Well, I gotta say this guy:

But admittedly, that might just be based on my personal feelings about him. I always feel like he would look more 'at home' in Shakespearean troubadour attire, complete with tights and codpiece.

Dishonorable Mentions: Alot of folks were 'mediocre' this year but no one but SJP really resonated as looking 'bad', to me. Rachel McAdams also had an unruly sprig of frazzled hair poking out at the hairline and her dress was an ugly print. Gerard Butler had a strangely disheveled hairstyle that made him look like a nerdy professor who stayed out too late. I thought the upper part of Kate Winslet's dress looked a bit too much like 'armor', especially when paired w/ her lovely soft waves. But all in all, it wasn't too bad.

Until next year...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tuesday Tutorial~Beginner Finger Waves

Finger waves are a developing skill for me. Those of you have have gone to beauty school know that they are really a foundation for dedicated hair dressing. If you can master finger waves, it has long been determined that you can master almost anything in the hairstyling field. Some of the more elaborate and deeply ridged styles of the 20's and 30's are veritable works of art and I'll be the first to admit, they baffle me.

Since this era is not what I consider the most flattering,it's hard for me to truly dedicate much time to it. However, I am always up for a challenge and so I will continue to push for the intricately waved sets. For now, I have been focusing on a soft finger wave, similar to the picture of Ruby Keeler at the top of this entry.
Duckbill clips make this relatively simple and a good option for a 'beginner' finger wave set. Waving Clamps are another good option, to further accentuate the ridge. I will attempt a video tutorial using them at a later date. A hooded dryer is also a great investment, if you plan on doing this very often. It will take a very long time for the set to dry, since water waving requires hair that is almost sopping wet. Not quite dripping, but pretty dang moist.

Instructions for finger waving are difficult to understand in written form...for me
anyway. But this book has some really good illustrations that make the jargon more easily understood. Keep in mind that this style was actually conceived for wavy haired ladies...as a means to harness those lovely undulations. It is difficult to create a lasting finger wave set on straight hair. Most women of the era got a permanent wave to assist in accomplishing this popular style but it certainly can be done on straight hair, with persistence. As a matter of fact most beauty schools make finger waving straight hair part of the final exam, since it's quite the challenge. So if you choose to try it out, practice on hair of varying textures and thicknesses to get really comfortable w/ the method.

To assist in setting, a variety of products can be used but you will likely need a generous amount of whichever product you choose. Hair schools usually suggest gel and gel definitely helps the hair retain its shape. However, I usually find that gel, once it's combed thru, tends to flake. A gel that I love, and will soon be selling here on my site, is Layrite Gel by Hawleywood's. It smells lovely, hold great, and doesn't flake after brushing. Setting lotions are also ideal. Lottabody is a liquid that you must dilute with water before applying. The product I used in the attached video is Motions Foaming Wrap Lotion and it worked beautifully on Tori's hair. Can't wait to try it out on my own pin curl sets. I'll keep you posted with the results.

Until then, here is a brief tutorial for a soft finger wave and I hope to revisit the style soon, as I become more adept at the deeply ridged version of the look.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Movie Review Monday~ The Clock~ (1945)

Directed By: Vincente Minnelli
Starring: Judy Garland and Robert Walker

Sometimes a movie comes along that immediately becomes a favorite. A little gem that you've never heard of, that slipped past the radar of critically acclaimed classics, and goes down in history as one of the most underrated movies you've seen. The Clock is one of these wonderful little surprises.

Judy Garland and Robert Walker star as the principal characters in this sweet little romance that takes place during two days in Manhattan, close to the end of WWII. Walker is 'Joe', a serviceman on leave for 48 hrs only-a popular premise for films of this time and genre. He is in his own words, very 'green'-a small town boy completely at a loss in this giant city. Alice, herself relatively new to Manhattan, is a cheery secretary who comes to his rescue by offering to show him around a little while after a chance meeting at Grand Central Station. Her sprightly tour of the city, however, evolves into something much more as the hours pass and it becomes evident to both of them that they are falling deeply in love. Over the course of Joe's leave, they begin to face the reality that they must either commit to the relationship in spite of adversity, or never see one another again.

The movie starts out lightly enough, as the innocence of the new found friends moves the story along in a humorous way. However, as the hours progress-even the viewer gets drawn into the sense of urgency that the pair feel when they realize their time together is coming to a rapid end. There is also a solemn anti-war message that lurks beneath the sweetness of the story as the lovers face all sorts of obstacles in their simple desire to be together as long as Joe's sense of duty will allow. Moments of the film are exquisitely crafted, such as one scene in particular in which the couple realizes beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are meant to be together. The scene takes place amid the sound of sirens, in a park after midnight. It is lovingly constructed, zooming in closely on Judy's tearful face and Robert's bobbing Adam's apple with tender effort. And it will wring the heart. Another brilliant scene, in which the couple are being married in an offhand way by a harried justice of the peace who shows absolutely no regard for the solemnity of the occasion, is extremely memorable. A passing train drowns out his words so that the youthful pair are left struggling to maintain their composure in the face of such disrespect.

Minelli's direction is phenomenal and it's unfortunate that his more lavish movie musicals overshadow this one so entirely. The film is beautifully shot in black and white and maintains it's moving sentimentality throughout. Judy Garland has never looked lovelier-you can almost feel Minelli's attraction to her in the way he frames her face. The one flaw, I feel, is the overly melodramatic music that is on occasion much too loud, a common problem w/ romantic movies of this time. But it's easy to overlook.

As far as romantic films go, this far outshines more popular ones such as Sleepless and Seattle or An Affair To Remember. It's just a classic, pure and simple.

My rating: 9/10

Style Factor: Judy Garland sports some adorable hairstyles in this film, worthy of re-creating. Also, take a close look at the extras, especially in Grand Central Station. Movies filmed during Wartime usually had very elaborate hairstyles to enjoy, since film makers didn't want to appear overly extravagant, in the costume department. Therefore clothing was relatively simple and the stylists focused on less expensive aspects of their craft. There's a darling moment when Walker gives Garland an orchid 'to top her off'. He places is in an awkward position on her head and in subsequent scenes, it magically situates itself into a more flattering spot. *hee hee*
Style Score:8