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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, June 28, 2010

A Much Requested Playlist

Quick tip: I added these songs as I thought of them, which means that some of the songs are consecutively linked to others of the same style. To get a truly random mix, set it to shuffle.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Friday, June 25, 2010

Video Review~ 'How to Be a Pin Up Model'~Starring Bettina May and GoGo Amy

For awhile now, I've been hearing great things about the Pin Up Classes offered by experts, Bettina May and GoGo Amy. Both have plenty of experience in the business and lots of useful tips to share, not only for aspiring Pin Up Models but also for those who just want to get the most out of an upcoming photo shoot.

I actually did not know anything about this video guide until I was notified of its existence by a viewer. I immediately contacted Scott at WorldDance New York, where the video is readily available for only about $15.00. Is it worth it? I can honestly say that I think it is...even for those of you who might not be seeking Pin Up modeling as your career.

The video begins with an introduction to the instructors, Bettina and Amy. There are a few awkward camera angles during this segment but these quickly give way to the 'Make Up' portion of the video, where Amy gives us fail safe application techniques to achieve that signature Pin Up Look. I would like to have seen some eyeshadow application during this tutorial, but since the main focus of vintage makeup is the lashes, I understand why it wasn't included. There is a very nice close-up view of winged liner and false eyelash application that is sure to be helpful for novices. The makeup tutorial also puts a lot of emphasis on pink cheeks and red lips, which are key aspects of a Pin Up look. I especially appreciated Amy's reminders about photography and how makeup can be used to capture an authentic retro photograph. Youtube enthusiasts may notice that mid-way through the eyeliner or lipstick application, the look may seem a bit messy. This is a common feature in makeup that requires precise lines and is easily corrected, as Amy effortlessly shows.

Next we have the hair-styling segment of the guide. Bettina May's wonderful red curls are definitely enviable and it's obvious that she knows her stuff. It's fun to watch Amy bat her eyes at us during the setting portion, utilizing her posing skills whenever possible. Bettina uses sponge rollers and wire rollers on Amy's long thick hair, so the rolling segment goes on a little long. This would not have been as much of an issue if the music weren't a bit tedious. It's set on a loop, I believe, and therefore begins to distract a bit from Bettina's interesting comments about Period Styling. I think we might have gotten just as much out of the tutorial if the setting of the hair had been cut/sped up a bit so as to offer a more upbeat feel to the scene. As it stands, this was not a huge hindrance to my enjoyment of watching Bettina work, and the finished product was beautiful. There is a wonderfully detailed close-up of Victory Roll styling that many of you will find very useful, especially since it shows exactly where to place the bobby pins for best results.

Perhaps the most invaluable portion of the video is the tips for posing that both ladies offer, to create not only authentic hourglass shapes for vintage inspired photography, but also to hide areas of the figure that we might not want to be the focal point. Bettina and Amy show us how to highlight our best features while camouflaging the ones that make us pout.

All in all, I think this video is a good one for the price. And you don't have to be an aspiring model to benefit from the instructions. Lots of talented photographers offer fabulous retro-inspired photo shoots to anyone who wants to channel their 'inner Pin Up' for the day!

Photo by Celeste Giuliano photography

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday~ Blending Bangs

I often have to blend my bangs with the rest of my hair, in order to achieve a certain style. It would, of course, be easier for me to do more styles if I grew my bangs out and opted for a 'faux fringe' when the mood struck. But I actually prefer bangs for most of my every-day looks. I'm used to them and I'm used to hiding them when the need arises. But many of you have been having difficulty with this aspect of styling and therefore, today's tutorial is dedicated to you. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be surprised how versatile a a 'Betty Page' bang can be, even if you keep yours shorter than mine.

I will say, however, that in order to make this a true success, planning is required. You'll need to know from the moment you step out of the shower weather you plan to wear your bangs or not. Once you've made that difficult decision, the following products will definitely help:

Hair Gel-the gel needs to be of good quality. I don't recommend 'Dep' or similar gels since the hold is too strong and will usually flake, once the hair is dry. These gels also result in some serious crunch, which is not what we're looking for here. A flexible hold gel is best. I personally use Hawleywood's High Performance Hair gel, which is for sale here in my shop.

Grooming Spray-Grooming Sprays are seriously underrated. They provide a good hold for heated sets and a bit of volume as well. Unfortunately, there are very few of them on the market. They're applied to wet hair and will give some extra 'oomph' to after-styling products. I use HW's Grooming Spray (also available here on my shop)but you can also use a mousse or other prepping product, for similar results.

Hair Spray, Pomade, and Thermal Protectant-After hair is dry, these items help, not only with blending bangs, but also with all vintage styles. Use the heat protectant before rolling individual sections of hair and also as a 'setting spray' when the setting is complete. Hair Spray is great for finishing off a style, as is pomade.

To Blend Bangs:
1. Part wet hair in whichever direction the style requires, combing out the tangles as you do so. I usually use a leave-in conditioner for this stage, to assist in releasing the tangles.

2. Aim bangs back with hair gel.

3. Spray hair all over with grooming spray or apply your mousse.

4. Comb through again.

5. Blow hair dry or allow to air dry...making sure to shape and assist the bangs as you go. Finger combing usually is all that is required.

6. Curl bangs w/ a small barrel iron, in the direction you'd like them to fall. Use a bobby pin to temporarily keep them back. Set hair however you like, using dry pincurls, hot rollers, or Hot sticks. If you're using a cold set...skip this step and instead, roll the bangs with rollers or pincurl in the direction you want them to fall.

7. When hair is set, style it by allowing the longer crown hair to fall over the area you have pinned. You can also remove the pin and brush the crown/bangs together, forming w/ your fingers as you go. Spray and use pomade to set.
If you choose a front roll or barrel curl, simply place it over the area that you have pinned, using longer top hair.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sponsor Salute~Mod Cloth

Modcloth is continually putting emphasis quality, comfort, and class. I love the fact that they have a new category for beachwear, that not only focuses on breezy attire but also on those little finishing touches we all adore. Make sure to check out the shoes, jewelry, and hats that will make a lovely whimsical statement wherever you choose to cool your heels, this summer.

Also, don't forget about Modcloth's wonderful contests. This 2nd edition of the 'Wear in the World Style Exchange Contest' provides you an opportunity to 'flaunt your frocks' in fields, fountains or any other favorite spot you may have. Simply take a photo of yourself ( I suggest that you have someone else do it..haha) wearing your most loved Modcloth item in an adored location (outside of the home). Include a creative caption telling them all about it and shoot the photo (or several photos, providing each photo boasts a different item and location) to Modcloth at their Facebook Wildfire app. The winner will receive a 100.00 Modcloth Gift Card!

Official Rules will be available on the Modcloth Blog, which will also show inspiration photos of last year's winner and a link to the Modcloth Facebook Page where you will post your photo.

So get crackin'!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Diamonds and Dames Episode 10~Evelyn Johnson's Soft Waves for Long Hair

I have received many requests for a hairstyle similar to Evelyn Johnson of the 2001 film, Pearl Harbor. My hair is still not quite long enough to make a truly successful go of it, but you get the idea.

The style is long soft waves, with very few layers. I don't consider it a truly authentic look for the time period (1941) but it is glamorous and works well for the modern film. It also suits Beckinsale well. Most ladies of this time period did not have very long hair, since it would not have been considered practical for wartime. Also, it's quite evident in the film that Hawaii's humidity played a large part in whether Kate wore her hair smooth or more 'natural', such as in the scene where she is sitting by the ocean with a flower over her ear.

To accomplish the style:
Step 1:I started with clean hair. While my hair was still damp from the shower, I sprayed it thru with a leave in conditioner (Aussi Hair Insurance) and my favorite grooming Spray (HW's Grooming Spray, available here on my shop). Then I dried it thoroughly and set it in a combination of dry pin curls and hot rollers.

Step 2: Once my rollers were cooled, I brushed out the set thoroughly. To form a wave over the eye, and blend my short bangs seamlessly into that wave, I used duckbill clips and hairspray.

Step 3: I finished by spraying again and shaping the waves with my fingers.

*A quick word about makeup. The lipstick I am wearing in the video and the above photo is the Julie Hewett lipstick, 'Femme Noir'.
The 'Noir Reds' collection was actually created by Julie on the set of 'Pearl Harbor', when she couldn't find a traditional 1940's red in her kit. I believe you can spot the signature gold tube in the dramatic scene in which Evelyn must mark on the foreheads of the wounded soldiers, after Pearl Harbor is attacked. The formula is wonderful and the look is very authentic.

See the tutorial video for this style and a truer representation of the lipstick color here:

_Pearl Harbor (2001)
Directed By: Michael Bay
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ben Affleck, and Kate Beckinsale

Film Synopsis: Best friends since childhood, Danny and Rafe want nothing more than to represent the United States Air Force by being the best pilots they can be, as WW2 looms ahead. Their mutual goal brings them to the attention of pretty nurse, Evelyn Jones, whose attraction for Rafe is immediate and intense. The two fall deeply in love during the final days before Rafe is sent overseas to fight alongside the British, since America has not yet joined the war. After he leaves, Evelyn and Danny (along with most of their peers)are sent to Pearl Harbor to perform their duties. When Rafe is reported MIA, Evelyn is devastated and turns to Danny who is likewise heartbroken over the loss. Over the course of time, the two find comfort in one another and begin their own love affair. However, their bliss is interrupted when Rafe turns up alive and feels betrayed by both his best friend and his girl. When Pearl Harbor is attacked, the best friends are forced to put their differences on hold and focus on their duties as America enters the war. Evelyn also has serious choices to make, as she helplessly watches from the sidelines.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Movie Review Monday~'The Man Who Wasnt There' (2001)

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Shalhoub, and Frances McDormand
Directed By: Joel Cohen

As fate would have it, I didn't see this film until last night. I'm not sure why I forgot about it. True, it wasn't nearly so well received as some of the Cohen brothers' other projects and the box office returns were disappointing. However, 'O Brother Where Art Thou' is one of my all time favorites, so those facts should have had little bearing on my seeing it personally.

Many modern film makers have attempted to capture the essence of the 1940's 'Film Noir' style. Most have failed. Their idea of 'Film Noir' has been narrow-mindedly conveyed through monotone narration and mediocre 40's styling...and more often than not, it comes off as kitschy and insincere. I am not a huge fan of Film Noir myself, though there are definitely a few stand-outs of the genre. Most of the time, I am puzzled by the lack of 'heart' in those movies, in spite of the gorgeous cinematography present in many of them. A perfect example ( and I know I'm going to get an earful for this) is the movie 'Laura' which is beautifully filmed but which contains some of the most lackluster movie characters I've ever seen achieve 'legendary' status. Gene Tierney is flawlessly beautiful in the film, but bores the tar out of me. Though many Film Noir classics contain intriguing plots and plenty of suspense, there is a emptiness about most of them that fails to reach me. That said,some foreign films that would be included in this genre are simply brilliant. 'Diabolique' and 'Rafifi' come to mind. In the English category, I am equally impressed by 'The Third Man'. The reason I tell you all of this is to help you understand where I'm coming from with this review.

'The Man Who Wasnt There' is extraordinarily successful in its ability to capture the feel of traditional Film Noir. Billy Bob Thornton portrays Ed Crane, a mild tempered barber with very little to say. His narration immediately calls to mind the deadpan narration of William Holden in 'Sunset Boulevard' or other such classics. Right from the start, the film captures you with its authentic post-wartime look and exquisite cinematography. Due to the narration, the story is very easy to follow and the characters are all engaging. However, the interesting thing is that they are never TOO engaging. We never truly feel a connection with any of the players, and I feel that this ads even more credibility to the Cohen Brother's homage to Film Noir. It's a twisted tale of murder and deceit; one that never pretends to be anything deeper or more profound that what is presented on the surface.

The acting is praiseworthy and what we've come to expect from the veterans involved. Gandolfini is our resident meat head, Thornton our cool protagonist, McDormand the unfaithful femme fatale. Scarlet Johansson is memorable as the sympathetic innocent, and Michael Badalucco hams it up yet again as the talkative antithesis of his brother Ed. However,in my opinion, the best performance by a mile belonged to Tony Shalhoub, who turns his confidently charming 'lawyer stereotype' into something fresh and exciting. He steals every scene he graces.

On the whole, I obviously really appreciated this film. More as an artistic achievement than as an enjoyable movie-going experience. As it should, the film lacks 'heart' and stays true to the methodical chilliness of the genre. But it is extremely impressive and kept me interested throughout.

My rating: 7/10

Style Factor: The masculine styling in this movie is some of the best I've seen for a late 40's-early 50's period film. Since it spends alot of time in the barber shop, there are alot of great close up shots of haircuts and authentic male styling. Suits, shoes, and briefcases are also well planned; the designers never lost sight of the fact that film was to be shot in glorious black and white. Frances McDormand is one of two main characters representing the female sex and her style is definitely the most glamorous. Her hair is traditionally styled in bombshell waves throughout the film,while Johansson represents the teen styling of the day-sporting a simple 'baby' cut. In general, the film is a great represenation of authentic period styling and design.

Style Score: 9/10

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday...1940's Hairstyle Inspired by Lovely Ginger Rogers

This week's tutorial was based loosely on the above photo of Ginger Rogers. I believe this photo is from the late 1940's, perhaps around the era of her reunion with Astaire in 'The Berkley's of Broadway'. There is a maturity about her face and the style that leads me to this conclusion.

Anyway, the style is a lovely, and a somewhat simple one to recreate. Pin curls were probably used but for the sake of time, I opted to use Hot Sticks (literally the only heated set that I feel offers authentic curls). Also, my hair is significantly longer than Rogers' own and therefore, to get an authentic pageboy, it would probably be necessary for me to do some underpinning. I decided to leave the bottom hair loose this time, but you could certainly do the former.

You will need:
Hot Sticks or a good pin curl set, to start.
Mousse or Grooming Spray ( I chose to use HW's Grooming Spray, which I sell here on my store)
A flexible hold gel ( I use Layrite High Performance Hair Gel, also available in my shop)
Tre Semme' Heat Tamer Spray
Flexible Hold Hair Spray
Pomade ( I like a water soluble pomade...and yes, I sell Layrite in the store as well)
Bobby Pins (small and medium sized)
Vented Brush

Step One: Set hair with small rollers in a halo around the top of the head. Use larger rollers on the bottom, all aimed downward.

Step Two: Once set, brush out your curls with a vented hair brush.

Step Three: Pull up the sides. Don't worry about hiding the bobby pins. The pin curls will do this.

Step Four: Using the leftover hair at the top (behind the bobby pins) form a variety of pin curls in a 'tiara' at the crown of the head. You may place them forward or a little further back, depending on taste.

Step five: Brush out the rest of the style to your liking, and add pomade for shine.

Video version of this tutorial (all music by the phenomenal Marti Brom):

Monday, June 7, 2010

Movie Review Monday~ 'Down Argentine Way' (1940)

Mini Review:
Starring: Don Ameche and Betty Grable
Directed by: Irving Cummings

Standard movie musicals of the late 30's involved fluffy stories with pretty locales and forgettable songs. This one has two things going for it that prevent it from falling into that category. One is the electric presence of Carmen Miranda during a few key numbers, and the other is the absolutely brilliant dance number by the Nicholas Brothers. They were a phenomenon indeed, and this movie highlights their performance with beautiful technicolor and a lovely stage setting. Otherwise, the movie doesn't hold up to superior films of the genre. Betty Grable's dancing has always been a bit clumsy, in my eyes, and Don Ameche, although a credible male presence, was not much of an actor at this time. Still, the movie should be seen for the strong points and provides a pleasant diversion, in general.

My rating:6/10

Style Factor: The costumes are actually very pretty, in keeping with other movie musicals of the era. The genre was entering its Golden Age and more attention was being paid to location and panoramic technicolor. I was expecially drawn to the tropical brilliance of Carmen Miranda's signature attire as well as the dashing suits worn by Ameche and Romero throughout the film. Most noteably, I think it is just a shame that Betty Grable was ever prevailed upon to cut her beautiful locks into that shorn poodle-top that became her trademark in the late 1940's. Her hair was fabulous, always beautifully coiffed, and so many different styles flattered her face. Shame on that publicist!

Style Score: 7/10

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday~ 'Pastoral Pigtails' for the Animated Angels Series

I have every intention of keeping this blog filled with more information than simply a rundown of what is currently on my Youtube channel. The movie reviews and event reviews will definitely be posted more frequently as the summer progresses, as well.

So without further ado...this week's tutorial. I try to do at least one installment of the 'Animated Angels' series per month. This week's entry was my version of a look inspired by the lovely Centauress above, from the Disney film Fantasia. I have always loved the Pastoral portion of the film and the way that mythology was handled in such an inherently 'disney-esque' manner. My favorite part of the tableau was the one dealing with the lovelorn Centaur/ Centauress population of this fictional world.

The look is actually pretty wearable and would be perfect for a daytime event or (dare I say it?) a visit to a theme park! It is also extremely simple to achieve.

The makeup is soft and young, focusing on whimsy rather than drama. Bright shimmery blues surround the eyes and the winged liner still lends it that touch of 1940's Pin Up, that was a common thread among the Centauress ladies in the film. Shimmery cheeks and pale pink lips finish the look.

For the hair, I opted to retain the look of bangs, which is in keeping with other females of the Pastoral segment of the film. Bangs were, after all, quite popular in the early 40's, though a bit fluffier than mine are currently styled. For a more literal interpretation of the style in question, you could part the bangs in the middle while still damp, aim them away with a good gel (I like Layrite High Performance Gel), and curl and twist them back to blend w/ the braid. After setting my hair with hot rollers, I softly braided each side until just even w/ the ear, securing with an elastic. I left the ends of the braids curled and loose to give it an extra feminine flair.

I rarely wear bows in my own hair, preferring flowers as my principal accessory. So I finished off the style with two magnolia clips. As always, a video tutorial is available here: