Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Time's A-Coming!

If you are like me, then you are shocked every time you look at the date on the bottom of your screen. I just can't believe that it's already December 12th! Where does the time go?!? I have been wrapping some presents these last couple of evenings and have been thinking about my Christmas baking list. Usually, I already have a plan for everything that I'm going to make, when I'm going to make it, and have usually already mentally assigned recipients for all my Christmas goodie. However, this year, I'm still just trying to accept the fact that Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is just around the corner.

I love Christmas, and since I obviously love vintage things, I am constantly looking for ways to combine the two. This usually results in me thumbing through many of my vintage cookbooks for holiday recipes which I have not yet tried.  For the past several years, it seems that my baked goods repitoire has consisted of the same--albeit delicious--recipes.  And I have been in search for some time now for undiscovered "new" classics.

I recently decided to consult the internet for inspiration, and came across this cake recipe (pictured above) which was published in a women's magazine from 1952.  I haven't been much of one to include candy in a cake (or in this case, the frosting) but I have to admit that it does look rather festive.

Then, there are petite fours, which I have always wanted to make, but never quite seemed to muster up enough courage to tackle such a deceptively simple task. They are so delicate, dainty, and just a perfect presentation for any special occasion, I would love to try them. After all, hardly anything says "1950s" like tiny little cakes on a saucer accompanied by a steaming, hot cup of demitasse. I found these, which I think are not only festive but also quite 1950s in appearance.

Then there are some vintage recipes which should probably be kept in the past, such as this Fruit Cake which uses Campbell's Tomato Soup as a main ingredient. Now maybe I'm jumping the gun by just assuming that this wouldn't be very good; after all, the cake's title is prefaced by "Another wonderful Tomato Soup Cake" which implies that this is only one of many delicious tomato soup-based cakes. I do admit that the cake does look good! If ever I decide that I want to chance wasting some flour, confectioner's sugar and a perfectly good can of tomato soup, I'll try it out and make sure to report my findings.

Since cookies are a staple of Christmas baking, I have been on the look-out for new (old) cookie recipes. I usually make some form of sugar or gingerbread cookie, white chocolate rice crispie cookies, butterfingers (Mexican wedding cookies), among some other occasionally called-upon treats. While reaserching "1950s Christmas cookies" I came upon this lovely gingerbread house.

I have often thought about making a gingerbread house, but once again, this is an increadibly daunting task. Maybe I will first purchase the gingerbread house kits found in the store and eventually graduate to my own, homemade, 1950s version.  On a side note, I like how the caption at the bottom of the advertisement says "this year bake your gifts!" I don't know if baking your Christmas gifts was an as-unpopular decision as it would be today, but wouldn't it be nice if people would be perfectly content if all you gave them for Christmas was some homemade goodies, all wrapped in a bow?

Then, just when I thought the gingerbread house would be the mother of all Christmas baking tasks, I found this: a Christmas cookie tree! Who ever knew such a thing existed!?

I have to admit that it is a rather novel idea and it's cute in its own sort of kitschy way.  It just seems like an awful lot of effort to use as a centerpiece!

I will leave you with some inspiration for the traditional Christmas butter cookie, from a magazine published in 1957. After all, butter cookies are both vintage and timeless, and they offer endless possibilities in terms of flavorings, frostings, shapes and decorations.

Happy Christmas baking!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Feminism and Anti-Feminism

This might seem a little "off the wall," but I saw a random Facebook post the other day about feminand how the only thing holding feminist progress back were those females who allow themselves to be "subservient." Normally, I keep most of my important opinions to myself (you know--those regarding politics, religion, the after-life and literary theory), but this has just been eating at me because it's something I feel close to.

What I mean by this is that I suppose I have always considered myselft to be a "feminist;" in other words, I feel like I can do anything anyone else can do, regardless of sex. It seems, however, that feminist thought is concerned with comparing the famle to the male, so perhaps I should rephrase this to "I feel like I can do anything that any man can do."  I have to say, while I am all for equal rights, equal pay, and equal respect, I find it ironic that many so-called feminists don't want women to be feminine. In other words, there those females who actually scorn those of us who like to wear makeup, high heels and strive to "look pretty." 

I don't believe that it is a woman's role to be a kitchen slave, or to have to "take it" from any man--including her husband--but, I don't think it's right for "feminists" to cast their judgmental glances down upon those of us women who choose to take more traditional female roles in everyday life than some of our contemporaries.  In other words, I enjoy being a housewife; I do NOT feel that this is demeaning, belittling or subsurviant in any way to the role my husband plays in our household. My role is equally valuable--just different. I am perfectly capable of getting another job. In fact, I have a Master's degree in Teaching World Languages, and actually worked as a high school Spanish teacher for 3 years before I decided that such a career was not for me. I choose to be a housewife because it's what I want to be. I feel that many of our current "feminists" find this choice of career demeaning and hostile to their cause. After all, it appears that current feminist doctrine requires practice of that which is not feminine, or rather, that which is male. It seems that many of our feminists have focused so much on their male counterparts, and becoming like them, that they have lost sight of that which is feminine and thus, the original purpose of their fight--having the right to choose. 

In other words, I am feminist because I feel that I should have every right and freedom and advantage of life that any man has, but...I have to ask my "co-feminists" to acknowledge that this requires even their acceptance of my choice to be "traditionally" feminine.  If I want to be June Cleaver, I should have the right to be, and have it un-judgedly.  After all, if even the "feminists" try to dictate the actions and beliefs of us females, how are they any better than what they themselves are trying to conquer?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wow! It has been foreverrr!

Beautiful vintage summer portrait
I knew it had been a long time since I had posted, but I can't believe it has been that long! I guess this is just more proof of the old adage that time flies when you're having fun, because summer is definitely my fun-loving time of year. Someone asked me a few weeks ago about my other blog, and how it was going. I told him that I had entirely neglected my blogging for what has amounted to be the entire summer season. I expect to get back on top of that one soon also, as the only real benefit I see of colder weather is a stronger desire to crank up my oven.
I have been rather busy this summer, enjoying the weather, enjoying the outdoors, working very enthusiastically on my new business as a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, and trying to figure out exactly what I'm going to do with myself until Summer comes around again. Sitting indoors and blogging just isn't really my idea of making the most of good weather. However, as fall is now flaunting her coat of many colors and winter is frostily creeping closer, I suspect that my desire to blog will greatly increase right alongside my increasing disgust for the impending cold and gloomy weather.

I was so preoccupied with my non-blogging related activities, I never even finished my post about Lucille Ball's 100th birthday which was August 6th of this year. This was a serious disappointment for me personally, because I am a die-hard Lucy-fan, and not blogging about the single greatest comedienne ever, (not to mention one of my favorite people ever) on such a significant day as her would-have-been 100th birthday is...well, practically sacrilegious. 

Also, I began my new "career" as a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant this past May and have been spending much of my what would have previously been blogging time towards reading and researching for my business. Mary Kay is my new passion, and I have so much enthusiasm for what I do, I can hardly contain myself most of the time. I'm pretty sure that most of my good friends and family now suffer from pink nightmares due to my constant talking of all things Mary Kay.  I will however, try to abstain from subjecting my readers from such unsolicited torture. But...feel free to check out my personal website at for a virtual makeover, our interactive catalog, and to enjoy free shipping! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Seven Year Itch

The Seven Year ItchWell, here it is the middle of summer and I have some weird sinus thing going on that is practically preventing me from sleeping, breathing or tasting successfully. Hopefully, I will be feeling better soon as Sunday is mine and my husband's 7th wedding anniversary.  (Yikes!! I can't believe it's been that long...!) And no, although I am a fan of the The Seven Year Itch, I am not suffering from it.

Of course, since I've not been feeling the best these past couple of days, I have been turning to Netflix and hot tea for comfort. However, I am having trouble finding new (old) movies that are worth watching and that I haven't seen yet. Since many of my followers are also into "old" stuff, I thought it might be nice to share some of our favorite titles in case some of us have been overlooking some wonderful, unbeknownst treasure all this time.

So, I would LOVE any suggestions of old films (and when I say old, I'm talking 30's-60's--not 1985). To start things off, maybe I should give you an idea of what I like to watch. While these are some of my favorites, it would be impossible for me to rank my top 5 favorites in order, as I love them all so much for different reasons and feel as though it would be completely horrible of me to pick one over another, kind of like it would be terrible for a parent to have a "favorite" child...if you get my point.

So, in no particular order, my favorite films are...

Mildred Pierce (Keepcase)
  Mildred Pierce is a great noir classic starring Joan Crawford, Zachary Scott, Ann Blythe and Jack Carson. Mildred Pierce is the story of a recently-divorced, hard-working, self-made business woman who unknowingly gets in the middle of a twisted love triangle, and who will do anything for her ungrateful, spoiled-brat of a daughter...even take a murder wrap. Joan Crawford touchingly plays the memorable title character in this film (her very best performance ever, in my opinion) and won an Oscar for her superb portrayal of this role. (And can I just add that shoulder pads and fur never looked so good! Wow!)

Ann Blythe and Joan Crawford in
Mildred Pierce (1945)

The Postman Always Rings TwiceAnother favorite film is The Postman Always Rings Twice, starring Lana Turner and John Garfield. This is also a noir classic and is a story which epitomizes the femme fatale; in this case, a woman who plots to kill her much older, boring husband in order to be with a newer, younger lover in order to be with him and keep the business which she has been working so hard to build.  After being almost found-out, their plot is successful, and then something dreadfully unexpected happens... Lana Turner never looked better than she did as sexy, scheming, femme fatale Cora in this film.

John Garfield and Lana Turner in
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

Now, Voyager (Keepcase)Then there is one of the great film classics, Now Voyager, starring Bette Davis and Paul Henreid.  Now Voyager follows the transformation of a lonely spinster into a beautiful socialite, and her finding and falling in true love.  This film calls to question what it means to really love someone...and how one should act if not being with that person is the only way to truly love them.  This film showcases Bette Davis' increadible talent, and contains one of the most memorable lines in film history, which is spoken by Bette's character, Charlotte: "Oh, Jerry. Don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars."


Two of the most famous smoking scenes in the history of film. Who knew so much could be said by the lighting of a cigarette?
Paul Henreid and Bette Davis in Now Voyager (1942).

Suddenly, Last Summer  Suddenly Last Summer is a great film (which I think is very under-appreciated) and is based on a Tennessee Williams play.  The film, which is actually much more elaborate than the original one-act play, has a phenomenal cast including Montgomery Clift, Katherine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. The story is about Catherine, who witnessed--but cannot recall--her cousin Sebastian's gruesome murder while on vacation in Europe. To cover up the shocking cause and questionable circumstances surrounding Sebastian's death and to prevent Catherine from regaining her blocked memory, his domineering mother has Catherine committed to a sanitorium where she is to be labotomized, and thus forever quieted.  It is only after undergoing therapy with a psychiatrist and using a truth serum that Catherine can completely recollect the twisted cause and disturbing nature of Sebastian's death. 

Elizabeth Taylor in the iconic white bathing suit.
Suddenly Last Summer (1959)

Imitation of Life (1959) Imitation of Life is also a must-see movie which stars Lana Turner, John Gavin and Sandra Dee. It is about a young, single, white actress with a young daughter who lives with a black maid and her very light-skinned daughter who tries to pass as white. This movie is about a lot of things, but namely racism, social class, self-identity and love. This film is actually a remake of an earlier version starring Claudette Colbert, and has recieved mixed reviews. You just have to watch it and judge for yourself. This is a very heavy film that is packed with plenty of emotional punch and hits you right where it hurts. Make sure that when you do watch it you have some tissues handy--trust me, you'll need them!

Juanita Moore, Susan Kohner, Lana Turner and Sandra Dee in
Imitation of Life (1959)

As I said, these are only a few of my favorite films. I could also include A Streetcar Named Desire, Double Indemnity, Gone With the Wind, Yours, Mine & Ours, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner...and on and on.

Anyone have a favorite, must-see old movie they could recommend?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A little makeup goes a long way!

I love vintage ads, and when I came across this one, I had to share it with you all. It's just a feel-good kind of picture and is nostalgic in all the right I-love-the-50s kind of way. It also reminded me of my new "career" as a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, which is another reason that I haven't been blogging as regularly these last couple of months.

As an ex-teacher, the sudden change from spending my entire day interacting with 180+ people  to spending my entire days at home, usually alone, has become a source of welcome boredom. Not that I can't find anything to do around the house, because there is always more than enough work to be done in one way or another, but I have really missed the socialization that comes along with teaching. This desire to find an outlet  that would allow me to interact with others, coupled with my intense love for all cosmetics, made me realize that being a beauty consultant could really be a nice fit for me.  While I have only been doing this for about a month now, I have already discovered that I LOVE it, and wish I had thought about starting my own Mary Kay business much earlier.

I love the fact that I can socialize with people, help them pamper themselves a little, and teach other women ways that they can use cosmetics to help them feel better about themselves. I have had several ladies thank me for the individual attention they receive and for taking the time to show them how things should be correctly applied.  It also continues to amaze me that so many women are going through life incorrectly applying their cosmetics! I have definitely learned to not assume anything. (A fact that you would think would have stuck with me from my teaching experiences.)  Just because I know how to apply eyeliner, or how to do facial highlighting doesn't mean that everyone else does...a fact that I had never had reason to consider until recently. I can't believe how many women are out there, every morning, religiously and regularly--yet ineffectively--applying their makeup!

It's kind of funny, because even though I'm no longer teaching Spanish, I am still teaching...complete with charts, booklets, diagrams and more! I cracked myself up just last week while drawing an eyeshadow tutorial on a dry-erase board, and by using different colors of markers to depict the varying intensity of eye shading. Then it occurred to me--maybe I should put-together handouts and do a class on the "smokey eye" look...??  Hmm...

I know it's such a silly thing to feel like I am actually helping people by teaching them how to properly use cosmetics, but I can't help but feel like maybe in a very small way, I am still making the world a better place, (though I am no longer teaching) even if it is one lipstick at a time...

By the way, if any of you are interested in checking out any of our neat interactive tools, like the Virtual Makeover or our interactive eCatalog, you can visit me at Shipping is always free!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A little bit of this...a little bit of that...

Hi, everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful summer. Mine is sure flying by! I know one thing for certain: I am much busier during the warm months than I am the wintry ones. Even without officially working anymore, there is always so much more to do during warm weather. I keep thinking to myself, "ooh--I'll blog about that!" and--before I know it--the day is already over and done. 

We have finally broken down and hired some people to work on our house. We bought an older home that has required  A LOT of attention (some of it necessary, some of it optional), and my husband and I have finally decided that we just don't have time to keep trying to do it all ourselves. Of course, for my husband, it is hard to finally face the fact that he simply can't do it all--there just isn't enough time in the day! (A fact that he has been furiously fighting to disprove for the past five years or so.) So, instead of plugging along at it for another five years before being finished, we decided to bite the bullet and hire some people to finish it up. This has been going on for a week now, and I'm still trying to get used to strange men being in my house with me...fortunately, I feel pretty comfortable around them.  Still, it's awkward as it is just me and Pippy (our Chihuahua) in the house all day.

Now, the trick is going to be finding furniture that is small enough to actually turn the corner and go up the stairs...we're already finding that our options are looking somewhat limited due to the tight turn. Does anyone know of any company who specializes in furniture that is made for such spaces?

I hope you all have had a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sad Times

Hi, everyone! As I mentioned in my last post, I have been consumed with my sister's wedding stuff lately, but it is finally over. (I can start sleeping again.) The wedding was Saturday, and everything turned out really nice, and she-of course-was gorgeous.  Now that that's done, maybe I can finally get back into my blogging routine. I also wanted to share some very sad news, as it may be something you will have heard about anyway.  I don't know, as I seldom ever watch the national news.

Rest In Peace: (L-R) Kassie Robinson, Miranda Morgan and Tiffany Sparkman Maggard

A small plane crashed in North Carolina yesterday, killing four people. I knew the three passengers (don't know the pilot) which are in the picture above. All three girls are from our small community, which is rural and close-knit. The girls on the end are from my little, teensie-tiny hometown, and the girl in the center was my student for two years. Kassie just graduated from college on the 14th, Miranda was studying to be an elementary teacher, and Tiffany had not been married long at all. All of these ladies were not only beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well. As you can imagine, this news is just devastating to all who knew them and has left a big whole in the heart of our community, so please keep the family and friends of these beautiful young ladies whose lives were cut tragically short in your prayers.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Is Perfect Frosting a Figment of my Imagination?

Well, another week has flown by and it's been days since I've posted anything.  It's because I've been pretty much consumed with preparing for my sister's household shower which was held today.  My mother decided to throw the shower, but as she teaches and this was finals week at school, she really had no time to make the necessary preparations for such an event.  So...since I'm no longer working, I told her that if she wanted to turn me loose on the matter, I would be happy to help. After I convinced her that I was being sincere and that it would help keep me occuppied, she agreed that it would be a big relief. So between me, my best friend, and my grandmother, we shopped (and shopped...) for decorations, party supplies and food the earlier part of the week and spent the latter on the actual preparations. Now, I can't say I have ever thrown a party for anyone, and I don't really consider myself to be a decorator, so this was all somewhat challenging for me. In the end, I think all turned out well and was especially pleased with the flower arrangements I came up with which were earlier causing me great pains and much stress.

Can I also just add that I have made more frosting this week than possibly all the other times in my whole life put together.  We opted to make cupcakes instead of a typical cake, so that naturally meant that making cupcakes means making frosting to top them off. First of all, I hate confectioner's sugar frosting (or what some call American Buttercream), so I began early in the week in search of what I will call the "perfect frosting" (which I am thinking is quite likely a figment of my imagination.)  I wasn't confident that a 7 Minute or White Mountain frosting would hold up for the necessary amount of time, and I absolutely refused to use confectioner's sugar frosting, so I tried a multitude of various frosting recipes that came with the highest of recommendations (all from the internet) and tossed all 6, 8, 10 or...?? in the trash. Sadly, I'm not exaggerating for dramatic effect--I kid you not. (And can you imagine how much weight I've probably gained just from taste-testing all that stuff!?) To make a long story short, I ended up settling on two batches of frosting (both of which I'm pretty sure I could never make again, even if I had to) but was truthfully not pleased with the results. (Key word here is settled.) So, I am still in search of the alleged "perfect frosting."  If you know of one, please be a dear and share your recipe!
The actual wedding is this coming Saturday, so now we have all week to make preparations for that! I have a feeling that this week is going to go by just as fast as the past one. I, however, am not responsible for any frosting-making this week (thank goodness!) as my grandmother is going to make the wedding cake herself. I am looking forward to this little break from my culinary frustration (although there's an excellent chance I will be helping her with the cake) as I'm just not accustommed to having such trouble in the kitchen. So again, please, if you know of a perfect frosting that preferably 1) doesn't use confectioner's sugar and 2) doesn't use shortening, I beg of you--please share the love!!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vintage Facial Treatments

Westmore Beauty Book -- A Complete 1950s Guide to Vintage Makeup, Hairstyling and Beauty TechniquesI love reading about anything beauty-related, especially if it is vintage in nature.  Several of you liked my post on easy, at-home facials, so I thought I would share some more old-fashioned beauty advice from my favorite beauty manual, Westmore Beauty Book -- A Complete 1950s Guide to Vintage Makeup, Hairstyling and Beauty Techniques.  As I have said before, this book is increadibly comprehensive and was written by the Westmores, a widely respected family of makeup artists who were notorious for creating the glamorous looks of many of the screen sirens of the past.  One reason I particularly like the suggestions in this book is because they are simple and realistic.  They don't call for any exotic ingredients, but rather, things that you most likely already have on-hand at home. 

Caring for Dry Skin:

Make sure to clean your face with softened water.  If you have hard water, purchase distilled water for the purpose of washing your face.  If you are unable to get distilled water, boil the water to be used and allow to cool. This will help soften hard water. Be sure to use a mild and super-fatted soap for washing. To remove the day's makeup, apply two applications of cleansing cream, and wipe off with tissues.  Then wash your face gently with a soft cloth, moving your fingertips in a circular motion.  After washing with soap an water, rinse your face well, being sure to remove all traces of soap.  Pat (but do not rub) face dry with a soft towel. Morning cleansing should consist of an application of cleansing cream, removed with a tissue.  Then apply a skin freshener with a cotton ball, and wipe off with a tissue. (Do not allow skin freshener to dry on face.)  Whenever possible, apply a moisturizing oil to face and neck and leave on as long as possible.

Oil Facial for Dry Skin:

Warm oil to be used and apply generously to face using a cotton ball.  Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, then wipe off excess with a cotton pad.  Apply facial moisturizing cream in a circular motion and finish with a skin freshener.

Caring for Oily Skin:

Nightly cleansing should consist of two applications of cleansing cream, removed with tissues.  After this, wash the face with warm water and a neutral soap.  Use a clean washcloth each time, or use your fingertips (being careful not to use your fingernails) to prevent spreading infection.  Work up a good lather on the face and rinse thoroughly with warm water.  Pat the face dry with a soft towel (do not rub). Pat the face with a cotton ball soaked with skin freshener, allowing the freshener to remain and dry on the face.  Morning cleansing should consist of washing with soap and water, thorough rinsing and an application of skin freshener. Do not allow skin freshener to dry on the face in the morning, but remove it with a tissue.

Treatment for Oily Skin:

Use this along with the regular cleansing procedure as often as needed.  Add one heaping tablespoon of epsom salts to a hot cup of water.  Allow to dissolve. Dip cotton balls or pads into this solution and pat over face.  Rinse with cold water. Repeat for 10 consecutive nights.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Do you know about Pandora Radio?

My mom, Aunt Nellean, sister Elizabeth and myself
Hi, everyone! I hope you all have had a great weekend. Mine was spent with family members .  Saturday was my Aunt Nellen's 80th birthday, so her daughter very generously arranged a surprise party for her, and I got to see a lot of relatives that I normally don't see very often.  It is so nice to see and talk to people that are pretty much obligated to love you no matter what! Haha!
Aunt Nellean was my grandmother Hattie's sister, who passed away almost three years ago.  Granny was very special to me, and I always considered her and my other grandmother, Lannie, to be my role models in life.  It has taken me a long time to come to terms with Granny's death, and I have only in the last few months felt like I have been able to peacefully deal with it (emotionally speaking).  Then, Sunday we went to visit my in-laws, because it was my mother-in-law's birthday.  We were going to grill out, but it started raining, so we decided to drive to a nearby town to eat instead.  As I was sitting in the backseat of my in-law's car, with my husband beside me, I suddenly began feeling very anxious and claustrophobic.  Then my feet started going numb and I knew I was about to have a panic attack.  Fortunately, I moved up to the front seat and felt some better.  Eventually, another wave of panic hit me, but I was able to work through it without it escalating too much.  I couldn't believe it.  I haven't had a panic attack in a long, long time....months. Then I started thinking about it, and realized that it was probably due to having been so emotionally upset the night before.

Even though I had a good time at my aunt's birthday celebration, it really hit me hard after I got home that my grandmother wasn't there, and of course, I missed her. And I grieved for her. And I felt fine Sunday, until I got in the back seat to go out to eat.  It was very unexpected, not to mention disheartening as panic attacks (or the intense fear of having them) has completely altered the course of my life over the last year or so. I find it fascinating that our body can't handle things even when we think we can...I'm just trying now to not let it discourage me. 

Ella and Marilyn, two of my favorites
So why do I mention all this? Well, partly because it's heavily on my mind, and partly because one thing I like to do when I need to get my mind off something is listen to music.  And if you like music, and don't know about Pandora Radio, you have to check it out! I've known about it for several months now and LOVE it!  You pick out songs/artists you like and build your own radio "stations." Based on what you like and dislike, they will play music tailor-made to suit your taste! And the best part--it's free!! Well, I think you get 40 hours of listening time a month that is free, and if you want more than that, you have to pay for it.  But all you need is an email address and go to to make an account. I have been listening to my "Marilyn Monroe" station this evening which plays a mixture of the rat pack, Marilyn, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Doris Day and's amazing, and practically commercial-free!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Someday, My Prince Will Come..!

Well, okay... my prince actually came about 7 years ago. (I can't believe we've been together that long!!) But all this Royal Wedding stuff has me thinking about the obvious.  I haven't been following all the hype, but I am interested in watching the ceremony.  (I am even somewhat ashamed to admit that I had to google Kate Middleton just to get a clear picture of what she looks like when my grandmother's niece,a distant and much older cousin of mine, said that I was a Kate M. look-alike.) There is just something I find a little fascinating about marrying a prince. I guess we just grow up reading fairy tales where this happens, and neglect to remember that there are still royal families with princes and kings. 

So, I'm not about to stay up all night to watch the royal ceremony, but I am going to record it on the DVR so I can watch it tomorrow and fast forward through any parts I find excessively hum-drum. After all, it should be educational if nothing else. (That's what I'll tell people when they find out I recorded the ceremony--for educational purposes! Haha!)

Maybe I'll even forego my usual cups of coffee in the morning and try some tea instead in honor of the royal nuptials.  (On second thought, maybe not...maybe I'll just try the tea later in the day...I've never really been able to get into it.) Anyone else going to watch?? 

Not that my tulip picture has anything to do with the royal wedding, but it was pretty, so I thought I would share!
Hope you all are also enjoying spring!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Magic of Magic Erasers

I am pleased to report that I successfully completed my housekeeping tasks for today, which ended up being all the usual things (dusting, vacuuming, dish-washing) as well as cleaning the bathroom, doing some laundry and ironing.  It turned out to be very productive day overall!

My grand accomplishment today made
possible by a Magic Eraser.
I still can't tell you how much that my cleaning basket has helped speed along the cleaning process.  Even cleaning the bathroom goes quicker because I have all my solutions and supplies right there in one place as opposed to having some here and there.  And today, I went the extra mile to really, deep clean the vinyl rug on the bathroom floor.  It is essentially white, with a touch of beige, and is somewhat textured wtih little dimples all over.  When deciding to purchase this particular rug for the bathroom, it never occurred to me that those dimples could quickly become dirt catchers!  But, never fear: I have discovered the cleaning power of the Magic Eraser.  If you have never used one (and you can find generic ones everywhere now as well), I highly recommend investing in at least one to give it a try and see if you like it.  I think if you haven't used them before, you will REALLY be impressed!  And you will quickly learn why they're called "Magic Erasers"! They really do seem to get rid of stuff magically.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads, 8-Count Box
A little box of magic goes
a long way!
 I steam mop the floor in there at least once a week, but all those little dimples in the rug are like dirt magnets... and because the rug is white, my floor appears to be dirty even when it's clean. You see how frustrating this could be. But now, I just whip out a bucket of warm water (the garbage pail which accompanies my cleaning basket was the perfect size) and a Magic Eraser, start wiping the floor and start watching the magic happen! It really is *almost* fun...and it does such a good job, and is so easy, that once you get started, you just want to keep going!

Needless to say, I felt much like Cinderella while down on all fours, wiping the floor off with a single sponge. (At least I was just doing the bathrooom floor, however, and not the entire area of a palatial estate.)  And I couldn't help but to think that if Cinderella had had a Magic Eraser, she wouldn't have had time to sing all those pretty songs, including my favorite, "Oh Sing Sweet Nightengale" which she sings while scrubbing the floor. (I'm thinking of Disney's Cinderella, of course!)  But I digress...and am embarrasing myself, so I'll just quit now...Haha!

Do you all have any secret, cleaning weapons that you highly recommend?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Housekeeping Epic Failure

Well, it seems about a month ago, I experienced a terrible migraine which lasted about 3 days, and ever since then I have been thrown completely off my schedule for everything.  It's so frustrating!  It also didn't help that I went to Cincinnati with my husband two weeks ago, which also got me out-of-whack. I had a blast, but when I got back home, it's like random things just kept popping up with the intention of keeping me from returning to my  more orderly means of housewifery.

Not only has it gotten me behind in blogging, which has been disappointing, but with my housekeeping as well. Also, my husband and I have recently started a home inspection business, so I've been consumed with working on that and putting together brochures and info to send to potential customers. It seems that once I get behind and have to play catch-up, it's soo hard to get back on track! (I always found excercising to be the same way: you can do it for 40 days straight, then you miss a day, and before you know it, you're only doing it when you have a notion.) And I was doing soo good!

Instead of adhering to my house cleaning schedule, I have slipped back into my old routine of just doing things as I notice them needing to be done, rather than being proactive. (Key word there--proactive--which I am continuously and desperately trying to be more of.) Tomorrow, I plan on getting the old schedule back out, and starting to get back into my routine because I was really pleased with how well it was working. 

Sometimes I think I'm not exactly the best housekeeper because I'm a procrastinator by nature.  In college, for example, I would be the person who would put off doing a paper until a couple nights before it was due.  I just always felt like I worked better under pressure, because I knew I HAD to get it done.  I no longer had time to let my mind wander or get distracted by other things. When I went to Honduras after my freshman year of college, I put-off packing for my trip until the night before I flew out. (Which worked out in the end, but I do not recommend it by any means.)  I have noticed that I like to be very busy just before an event (such as submitting a major paper or going on a serious trip) and I think it's because if I'm busy, I don't have time to think, worry, or be overly-excited about all the stuff that could happen.  How that's influenced my housekeeping, I'm not sure.  I do know I hate that when unexpected company pulls in the driveway, I feel like I have to look around and see what I need to stash away in a mad dash. That's why I've been trying to make an effort through my housekeeping schedule to be a more proactive housekeeper.

Am I the only one who does the "mad-dash stash," or are you all also familiar with that little number?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How to Wear Red Lipstick

Hello, everyone! It's been crazy for me these last couple of weeks, and it's got me seriously behind in my blogging which I have missed so much! Following up on my last post about wearing red lipstick, I thought it would be fun to discuss how one should correctly wear red lipstick--not that I'm an expert, but I do love makeup and do lots of research on such things in my spare time. So I thought I would pass along what I have learned for those of you who are interested. 

I have always heard that red lipstick is flattering on everyone, so long as it's the right shade.  Well, any 30-second stroll down the cosmetics isle at your local drugstore will show you that choosing the best shade of red may be a little more daunting than initially thought.  The good news, however, is that as long as you know the basics of selecting the right shade, it's all easy from there. 

Essentially, you want to choose a shade of lipstick that compliments your skin tone.  Skin tone is basically broken down into three categories: cool, warm and neutral.  Not sure which one you are?  A quick way to tell is jewelry: if silver jewelry looks good on you, but gold clashes or washes you out (like me!), then you have a cool skin tone.  On the contrary, if gold looks best on you, then you are warm-toned.  However, some lucky people are flattered by either gold or silver jewelry; in this case, your skin is neutrally toned. 
If you still have doubts, go by the color of your skin.  If you are fair, then you will be most flattered by a cool, blue-red. (An orangey-red would be to glaringly bright against such fair skin.) Look for something with berry tones or a very deep crimson red.    If your skin color is medium or tan, you will probably look better wearing a red that has more of an orange (warm) base.  However, you could also get away with wearing a peppery red.  You will probably want to stay clear of the extremely dark reds, however. If you have very dark skin, you will definitely want to choose a red that provides enough contrast to your skin tone, and orangey reds are a good bet for this.  If you choose something too dark, it will wash out your complexion.

So you have your color, now what...? Something I'm just dying to try is an invisible lip liner. (And can I just say WHAT a brilliant idea that is! One lip liner to go with every lipstick!!) However, I have yet to purchase and test this alleged miracle product.  One of the most common problems with wearing red lipstick is that it tends to bleed.  Not that other colors of lipstick don't, but since red is the brightest of lipsticks, the bleeding is more obvious than with other colors.  A quick fix for this (and a neat trick for any lipstick) is to:

1) Exfoliate your lips before applying makeup (you can do this by dabbing some sugar on them and lightly brushing them with a warm, wet washcloth).

2) Apply foundation over your lips as you apply to your face. (Long-wearing is especially good for this.)

3) Apply lipstick, then blot twice.  Re-apply lipstick and blot again. 

4) Apply lip gloss if desired.

By the way, can I just add that two of my favorite reds at the moment are: Maybelline ColorSensational Lipcolor - Hot Tamale and Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick - Coral CrushI hope you enjoyed this post, and I wanna know what your favorite red is too!  Happy Friday everyone! =)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dare to Wear...Red Lipstick!!!

Hi, everyone! I've had a migraine for the past two days, and am still teeter-tottering on the edge of the "it could come back or it could go away" stage, so while I am feeling a bit better, I thought I would try and write a little something. I found a beautiful advertisement a few days ago, which I have been saving to post about on a rainy day such as this.  Take a look!  (If red lipstick doesn't make me feel better, I don't know what will!)

From 1953--make sure to read the advertisement! I think you'll be surprised!

If you read the words, I think you will be surprised at how incredibly suggestive they are!  It is my understanding that this ad was launched in 1953 and features Dorian Leigh, one of the more popular models of the time.  The ad is obviously playing on the seemingly, everyday, hum-drum existence of the typical housewife--and appealing to her (assumed) secret desires for black negligees and silken sheets. It's interesting that the advertisement is for Revlon, a company which makes money from selling cosmetics to the mainstream, and mostly middle class society.  If you look at the model, poised in her evening gown and draped in luxurious fur, I hardly think she paints an accurate picture of housewifery in 1953!  So...what's the message?  That Revlon understands that housewives want to slip out of their dull "gingham frocks" and into some black lacy number, and exchange their oh-so-boring, shy, prescribed domestic role for a more exciting, adventurous, spontaneous and sexy presence.  The ad's message, and selling point, is essentially this: housewives, use Revlon's Cherries in the Snow and transform yourself into the sex goddess you secretly want to be!  

I don't know, but I would imagine that Revlon was somewhat chided for this shockingly suggestive advertising. I also wonder how much red lipstick they sold after running it!  But my goodness, I want to go buy it now myself, if it can make me look like her!!  (After all, isn't that the principal idea behind the successful advertising of any product?) By the way, here is a link to Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick, Cherries in the Snow 440, 0.15 Ounce if you are interested.

Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick, Cherries in the Snow 440, 0.15 OunceI also have to confess that I wish red were a more popular color to wear.  I think it gives such a pretty, clean and classy look, when applied correctly.  However, reds today seem to be mostly used for special occasions and by street walkers.  Maybe it's all in my head, but when I do "dare to wear" (red lipstick), I feel like people say to me with their eyes, you know, "boy she must think she's somethin'--look at her wearing that red lipstick..."  I've also gotten the occasional, but predictable question, "What are you all dressed-up for?"  But that's exactly my point! I want to wear red lipstick and not have to be considered "dressed-up" or considered  to be "dressing to impress, " and I sure don't want to be mistaken for a "lady of the night!" (Haha!) 

When I was teaching, there were very few days that I walked through the school doors without first arming myself with a fresh coat of lipstick...but it was always pastel pink, or neutral brown, or a peachy-nude...(You know--all those pretty (but boring) shades that the housewife described in the Revlon ad would wear.)  If I did dare to wear a bolder shade, I usually ended up feeling self-conscious about it, and quickly regretting my endeavor of seeking the classic look. (After all, as a high school teacher, the last thing I needed was for my kids to mistake my classic lipstick for clown makeup.)

Even on Christmas, I was shy about wearing red lipstick.  Though I had a red turtleneck (the color red and turtlenecks being my two winter staples), I kept second-guessing my red it too much? maybe it's too distracting? do I look classy or ridiculous? will people think I think a lot of myself? maybe I just look like I want attention....????  So maybe I am slightly neurotic, but I have always been self-conscious about how I look.  In that sense, I have something in common with Marilyn Monroe, who was notoriously late for parties, appointments, and film sets because she spent tedious hours in front of her vanity in preparation.  Contrary to what many assume, she was not chronically late because she couldn't get enough of herself, but rather, because she was so self-conscious about her appearance, she labored for hours over perfecting her makeup, etc. (Not that I'm that bad, but you get the idea...)

So, I've decided to throw all my neuroses to the wind, and break out the red lipstick, regardless of the "looks" I may or may not get as result thereof.  I'm going to continue in my pursuit of "the classic look" (i.e. groomed brows, neutral eye with long lashes, and artfully-lined red lips) a la 1950s, and if everyone else wonders why "I'm all dressed up," then just let them wonder....
For inspiration, here are some famous red lips that you might recognize:

File:Judy Garland in Till the Clouds Roll By 1 cropped.jpg
Judy Garland

File:Monroe listening in The Seven Year Itch trailer 1.jpg
Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch

File:Taylor, Elizabeth posed.jpg
Elizabeth Taylor

 Lana Turner

File:Rita Hayworth in Blood and Sand trailer.jpg
Rita Hayworth

So, here's to taking back red lipstick and wearing it proudly! Is anyone else going to dare to wear??


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