I finished my Christmas shopping today (horray!) and the stores were crazy…which is to be expected this time of year. But the chaos got me thinking about what the chaos may have looked like back in the day. So I came home, popped online, and found some vintage pictures of Christmas shoppers.
Usually I hate seeing the roads filled with this many vehicles, but when the traffic consists of vintage cars I’m totally okay with it. It would be an even better commute if the streets were decorated with hanging stars, bells, and garland.
Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t live in a big city, and I’m certainly not about to drive into San Francisco just for Christmas shopping, but I feel like stores don’t decorate for the holidays like they used to. Remember when store windows were the sight to see? Yeah, I don’t either, but I’ve seen it in enough movies to know that it happened and I miss it.
Despite the lack of awesome window displays and the ease of internet shopping (which dealt with a large portion of my list this year), we still have to go into the shops. Some days it’s easier than others to deal with the crowds. I feel sorry for the people who have to clean up after the big holiday shopping rushes!
Party etiquette is, perhaps, one of those long lost arts of the past. But as the holiday season approaches many of us start to yearn for the good old days of black tie affairs ending with a sing-a-long at the piano. I always feel the need to be a little fancier around the holidays, don’t you?
For my birthday this year, I was given a lovely 1959 copy of Emily Post’s Blue Book of Social Usage, a helpful guidebook to social etiquette. I thought it might be nice to share how Ms. Post suggests we set the table for dinner parties, since Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah are right around the corner.
The dinner plate starts off the entire setting – it should be centered in front of each seat.
The salad plate (should you choose to use one) sits on top of the dinner plate.
The fork (or forks, if using multiples) are to the left of the plates and about one inch from the edge of the table.
The knife and spoon are to the right of the dinner plate, also about one inch from the edge of the table- the blade of the knife should be facing the plate.
The bread and butter plate (if you choose to use them) go above the fork on the left side of the setting.
Drinking glasses go above the knife and spoon on the right side of the setting.
The napkin should be folded or neatly in a napkin ring and can be placed in one of two different locations per your aesthetic preferences. The napkin can either sit to the left of the fork as demonstrated in the first picture, or can sit on top of the plates as shown in the second picture.
Placemats add a nice touch of sophistication, but if you have a small table it may look too cluttered. I would suggest setting a few seats with the placemats so that you get a feel for how large or small your table might be. When setting my rectangular table, I always used placemats. But my round (octagon) table is too small and the placemats just make the table look cheap if I try to use them. If you do decide to use placemats, the bread & butter plate and the drinking glasses will sit on the left and right corners of the placemat, respectively.
If you choose to have a centerpiece on your table, ensure that it is lower than eye level as to not disrupt conversation. Candles should be spaced enough that guests are able to easily make eye contact with each other.
Now you’re ready to pop a turkey in the oven and throw a fabulously vintage styled dinner party. Don’t forget to drum up some delicious cocktails to serve after dinner!
My husband has graciously offered to put his pinstriping skills to good use by decorating a set of shatterproof Christmas tree ornaments. If that doesn’t say Rockabilly Christmas, well I don’t know what does!
The Prize: A set of 4 pinstriped bulb ornaments
The giveaway is open worldwide.
Some entry methods can be completed more than once, so check back daily!
The giveaway will end Sunday December 8th at midnight. This will give me enough time to ship the ornaments to the winner just in time for Christmas. Once the winner is chosen (by rafflecopter) the winner will be contacted via email.
Thanks for visiting my brand new recipe page! This page is a collection of all of the recipes featured on my blog and will be updated whenever I add a new recipe. If you are looking for a particular recipe that you can’t find here, feel free to leave a comment or message me. I do try to respond to emails quickly, but please do be patient.
Last year was my first time at Viva Las Vegas and as a Viva virgin I had a lot of expectations without too much guidance on what to expect. There were a couple of blogs that gave pointers to the newbies, which I was very appreciative of (see the round-up of the blogs I found most helpful here), but I still didn’t really have a clear picture of what I was getting myself into. There was one issue that I really stressed about prior to getting to Viva Las Vegas, which I realized I didn’t need to worry about as much once I was there.
The biggest thing I think it would have helped to understand last year was the level to which people got dressed up. Clearly, this is the largest Rockabilly event on the planet, so many people are going to dress to the nines for the entire weekend. Be prepared to see some utterly gorgeous outfits, perfectly manicured nails, and ridiculously perfect hairdos. Some of these ladies looked like they were at a photo shoot the entire weekend. And you know what, some of them were. When you look at picture of Viva Las Vegas in the past it really does look like you have to be at the top of your game in order to not stick out like a sore thumb. I was stressing out for weeks prior to Viva and at our hotel in Las Vegas trying to get my hair to look perfect and wondering if I should have chosen to pack a another pair of shoes or a different cardigan. I didn’t want to be the only person there not looking perfect, because perfection was all I saw from Viva online.
There are plenty of perfectly put-together guys and dolls roaming Viva, but there also many people who don’t look like they just stepped out of a magazine. These were the people I was not expecting to see, and who made me feel better that my I couldn’t quite get my victory rolls perfect, or that my Spanx were holding my belly into my wiggle dress as well as I would have wanted it to, or that I wasn’t wearing the high heels I had packed with only vague hopes that I’d find sometime to wear them. There are normal Rockabilly people out there too! Of course we don’t see many of the imperfections when we look at online galleries and Google image search. People pick and choose which pictures they share online – some of them with a heavy hand on the photo-shopping tools. Even when you aren’t completed dressed up, you still pick out which photos you share with people online. So, you are likely to not find too many pictures of the lady in modern cut jeans with the Johnny Cash shirt and her hair left straight sans flowers and bows. You’ll probably be hard pressed to find a lot of pictures of the guy who is just wearing any old t-shirt with a pair of short and flip-flops. You might not see these people representing Viva Las Vegas online – but they are out there; drooling over hot rods and buying cat eye glasses and laughing at the Charles Phoenix slide show. It really takes some of the pressure off (if you’re the type of person, like me, who feels pressured to fit in perfectly).
Don’t stress about being perfect – at Viva Las Vegas or anywhere else. For every drop-dead bombshell you see in a photo, know there are many more average Rockabilly folk in the background. I am going to try to not be so hard on myself when doing my hair and makeup this year. I want to look good, but I don’t have to look like a model. In the end, we are all there to have a good time, enjoy the company of like-minded individuals, spend a little too much money, and hear some great music. It doesn’t really matter what you wear, as long as you wear something.
If you’re a first time visitor to Viva Las Vegas, I hope you find this helpful and remember to just have fun!
I have loved the iconic classic pin-ups for as long as I can remember, but as a plus sized girl I never seriously thought about participating in pin-up photography. In recent years I have found the Rockabilly community and in it, I have discovered the wonderful body-positive pin-up movement. You can see some of my favorite plus-sized pin-ups here. So I decided that I wanted to see what it was like to become a pin-up. Having a model in the family, I was already familiar with pin-up photographers in my area, but it’s a good idea to do a little research before choosing your photographer. I will post about picking the perfect photographer later. I opted for the fabulousMarilee Caruso Photography (who I definitely recommend if you are in the California Bay Area!)
Becoming a pin up was a big process! I chose a military themed shoot to honor the “birth” of the pin up girl who was ripped from the pages of magazines and hung on the walls in bunkers and military camps during the first world war. The photographer had a large array of costume options, but I decided to use a dress from my own collection (which ensured it would fit me). Marilee did my make up and hair. She taught me some great tips to getting a pin up perfect face – some of which I have yet to master, but are still crazy helpful! If you have the opportunity for a professional to do your make up, go for it! Be sure to talk them up too so you know exactly what they are doing. Getting ready for the shoot took the majority of my time at the studio. The actual photo shoot went really quickly, but we managed to get a ton of photos with lots of fun poses.
Pin Up Tip #1
Know your vowels!
One of the great tips Marilee gave me was how to get the perfect cheesecake facial expression; saying your vowels. I had lots of “AH”s and “OH”s and “OOH”s. Making these vowels in an exaggerated way helps to produce those cute pin up facial expressions without the “duck face” issue that plagues girls these days. In the photo above I was saying a big “E”.
Pin Up Tip #2
Bend and Twist!
I also learned some wonderful tips to posing like a pin up. You’ll notice that most pin ups are not standing perfectly upright. They are often twisted and bent to accentuate their curves. Marilee helped me to find some great poses that worked with my figure. Bending forward slightly helps to hide the belly and makes “the girls” look bigger! What a wonderful tip!!!
Pin Up Tip #3
Work the Angles
Another great posing tip is to pay attention to where you are pointing your body. Straight on poses tend to make you look a little wider or blocky. True profile shots can distort your figure. But directing your hips diagonally (not full profile) while your shoulders face the camera at a more direct angle helps to slim the figure.
Tips like this are extremely helpful in making any girl a pin-up girl (along with a little photoshopping….).
One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving (aside from turkey, cranberry, and stuffing sandwiches later in the day) is watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I love the big balloons and floats, and as an ex-band geek I get a kick out of the marching bands too. Watching the Macy’s Parade is one of the highlights of my day; I turn it on every TV in the house so that no matter what I am doing I can watch it.
Ever since I was little Thanksgiving meant the start of daily Christmas movies in my mom’s house. I remember watching Miracle on 34th Street and seeing the old footage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The balloons looked so familiar and yet so strange. Here are some of my favorite vintage Macy’s parade balloons and floats.
And of course, the big finale of the day is the jolly old fat man; Santa Claus! His presence at the end of the Thanksgiving Day parade really does ring in the Christmas season. No matter when they start playing Christmas music on the radio (November 1st…..) it’s not really Christmas time until Santa waves from 34th Street.
I have always loved the movie A League of Their Own. I remember watching it back to back on Lifetime as a little girl. I just couldn’t get enough of it. It was a great surprise to see the Rockford Peach costume on the Spirit website this year. I didn’t even question why this costume was “New for 2013″ when the movie is over 20 years old, I was just busy getting my measurements so that I could order my size as soon as possible.
My hubby and I like to do couples costumes (when we can agree on what to be) and so it was a no brainer that he would be one of the male characters from the movie. So when we go out this year for our Halloween events we’ll be dressed as Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks). My hubby doesn’t like his photo taken, but I did manage to catch him a couple times.
I love dressing up for Halloween, and this is quite possibly my favorite costume to date. What are you going to be??