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How to Set the Table for Formal Parties

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?

dinner party

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.

table setting
  1. The dinner plate starts off the entire setting – it should be centered in front of each seat.
  2. The salad plate (should you choose to use one) sits on top of the dinner plate.
  3. The fork (or forks, if using multiples) are to the left of the plates and about one inch from the edge of the table.
  4. 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.
  5. The bread and butter plate (if you choose to use them) go above the fork on the left side of the setting.
  6. Drinking glasses go above the knife and spoon on the right side of the setting.
  7. 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.
set the table
set the table

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.

table setting 1

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.

vintage-dinner-party

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!

A Rockabilly Christmas Giveaway!

It’s Christmas time folks – the season for giving! It only makes sense that I host another giveaway.

Bettie Page Christmas

{Image Source: Risky Regencies}

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!

pinstriping

 The Prize: A set of 4 pinstriped bulb ornaments

giveaway ornaments

The Rules:

  1. The giveaway is open worldwide.
  2. 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.

christmas giveaway

{Image Source: Dressing Parlour}

Good luck everyone!

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Recipes

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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.

HellcatVintage@yahoo.com

rockabilly cocktail
NakedLady

PokeCake

The Reality of Viva Las Vegas

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.

Expectation:

viva las vegas rockabilly girls

{Image Source}

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.

Reality:

average

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).

Lesson:

Plus Size Rockabilly Body Acceptance

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!

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Pin Up 101

pinup 101

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

military 6

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

military 4

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….).

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Makes My Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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.

Mickey Mouse – 1934

mickey 1934

{Image Source: Guest of a Guest}

Astronaut – 1952

astronaut 1952

{Image Source: NY Daily News}

Bullwinkle – 1962

Bullwinkle Float During Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

{Image Source: Black Watch}

Felix the Cat – 1927

felix 1927

{Image Source: The Enchanted Manor}

Kermit the Frog – 1979

kermit 1979

{Image Source: Travel Between the Pages}

Superman – 1966

superman 1966

{Image Source: NY Daily News}

Snoopy – 1969

snoopy 1969

{Image Source: Vintage Everyday}

Acrobatic Team – 1938

acrobats 1938

{Image Source: Vintage Everyday}

Dachshund – 1950

dachshund 1950

{Image Source: Travel Between the Pages}

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.

The Macy’s Parade debut of Santa in 1924

santa 1924

{Image Source: Babble}

Santa in 1925

santa 1925

{Image Source: CN Traveler}

Santa in 1946

santa 1946

{Image Source: NY CBS}

Santa in 1949

Santa Claus Stilt Walker with Crowd at Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

{Image Source: Black Watch}

For some fun, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade facts, check out the article on Buzz Feed. And have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

My Halloween Costume is in A League of It’s Own

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.

FILM 'A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN'

{Image Source: Vulture}

a league of our own
:)

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. 

costume 1
costume 2
costume 3
costume 4

I love dressing up for Halloween, and this is quite possibly my favorite costume to date. What are you going to be??

More Great Places to Shop for Plus Size Rockabilly Clothing

I have had so much great feedback from everyone about my last post on shopping for plus size Rockabilly fashions (if you missed it, you can read the original post here). Thank you for all of your wonderful comments! I am more than happy to help others find fabulous attire to flatter their curves and I know all about the dread of shopping online only to have to return items because they don’t fit correctly. I’ve been looking into some of the sites you have been suggesting, as well as digging around for some additional shopping haunts for us larger ladies, and have come up with an additional list of great places to shop for plus size Rockabilly clothing.

1. ModCloth

Rockabilly plus size clothing

I have always loved the style of this site, but couldn’t actually fit into any of their clothing. However, last summer they introduced an entire section devoted to plus sized ladies. Sadly, many of the images are still of thin models so a clear idea of what the clothing will look like on rounder bodies is up to the imagination, but there are some plus sized models. More importantly, ModCloth has item specific sizing charts so you can ensure you are getting something that will fit you. Like always, order by measurements, not tag sizing. I recently purchased a few pieces from ModCloth that ranged from XL to 4XL, so tags are clearly not the end-all of sizing.

2. Vintage Galeria

Rockabilly plus size clothing

This etsy shop has been on my favorites list for some time now, and for good reason. Vintage Galeria has lots of fun, retro designs available in plus sizes and even offers custom-made orders. You can get one of these gorgeous dresses perfectly fitted for your body! I just ordered one of these lovelies for myself.

3. Cats Like Us

Rockabilly plus size clothing

Cats Like Us has a unique search option that allows customers to shop by tag size, instead of just looking at traditional sizes versus plus sizes. Whether you are a smaller plus size, a larger plus size, or find yourself in the middle you can create a custom search for an array of sizes that are more likely to fit your body. You do not need to waste time looking at options that aren’t in your size (and ultimately getting your hopes up). There are fewer options for larger sizes, unfortunately, but the styles that are available are adorable!

4. Jessica Louise

Rockabilly plus size clothing

I have to admit that I am new to Jessica Louise but what struck me most about this store is the plus size model; Tess Munster. Tess is a truly plus sized model (and one that I featured in this post) which means we get a true life picture of what the clothes will look like on a full-figured girl. They even tell you what size Tess is wearing so you can get a better idea of what size you should order. The website has a generic size chart where you can look up the size you will probably be, however they also made an effort to mention that they field questions on sizing for specific items (which, BTW, any good store should be able to do, but this one actually advertises it).

5. Black Cat Bikinis

Rockabilly plus size clothing

It’s not even Spring but the weather (at least here in California) is already feeling a little summary which is why the last shop on this list is Black Cat Bikinis. It’s never too early to think about your retro swimwear, especially if you’re planning on attending the Viva Las Vegas pool party. Black Cat Bikinis offers retro-style bikinis and one piece swimsuits up to size 6XL. They have super cute styles that flatter many different body types.

If you know of any other great places to shop for plus size Rockabilly clothing, please leave a comment below! Happy shopping!

Fictional Style Icon: River Song

This Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of one of my favorite tv shows; Doctor Who. My favorite character is the stylish River Song (portrayed most often by Alex Kingston) who unfortunately won’t be in this week’s 50th Anniversary episode. Boo! How do you not put this in, like, every episode?

gay gypsy bar mitzvah

River is the doctor’s wife, the child of the TARDIS, and one bad-ass woman with a gun. River has some great lines, the most fabulous attitude, and the best clothes. River is always dressed for the occasion and looks fabulous no matter what. But she seriously has some great vintage-style pieces that totally make her a vintage style icon!

The Time of the Angels (series 5)

I love this 1940′s style evening gown that River wears on the Byzantium – a classy cruise-liner that travels through space. Her hair is fantastic, and resembles this tutorial I posted earlier in the year. This outfit is immediately followed by head to toe camouflage, which she also pulls off.

river song outfit 1

{Image Source: Live for Films}

River Song outfit 2

{Image Source: Eternal Geek Girl}

sonic me

{Image Source: Got a Problem with Archaeologists?}

 Day of the Moon (series 6)

Oh how I love this dress! River looks so amazing here as she escapes The Silence and the FBI who are chasing her. I love a good wiggle dress and River Song certainly has the curves to pull it off. Even covered in ‘I’ve seen the Silence’ tallies, she looks fab.

river outfit 1

{Image Source: Got a Problem with Archaeologists?}

river 1

{Image Source: Got a Problem with Archaeologists?}

silence

{Image Source: Can You Sonic Me}

 The Wedding of River Song (series 6)

River’s alternate timeline outfit is definitely fashion forward while maintaining some of that retro look that I love. The suit jacket with peplum is adorable (if you’re allowed to call anything a psychopath wears “adorable”) and she pairs it nicely with a pencil skirt that clearly let’s everyone know that she’s in charge. I’m undecided on whether I love or hate her heels. Thoughts?

river wedding
wedding river

{Image Source: Hello Sweetie}

{Image Source: The Knights}

river name

{Image Source: Silly Tilly}

The Angels Take Manhattan (series 7)

We first see River Song as the “fictional character” Melody Malone sporting a trenchcoat and black fedora. And she Pulls. It. Off! Under the coat River is wearing the most fantastic 1930′s black corset dress with enough sheer and shimmer to make the Doctor say “Yowser!”

angels 3

{Image Source: not prolific not profound}

angels 1

{Image Source: Cathode Ray Tube}

angels 2

{Image Source: Sticks & Stones}

The Name of the Doctor (series 7)

This is the last dress we see River in before the season ended and it’s a perfect way to wrap up this gallery of nerdy/vintage awesomeness. I adore this champagne colored dress and matching coat.

name of the doctor1

{Image Source: Can You Sonic Me}

name of the doctor 2

{Image Source: Can You Sonic Me}

Although River won’t be in the 50th Anniversary Special this Saturday, I certainly hope the rumors of her being in the Christmas special or series 8 are true and I pray that we haven’t seen the last of Kingston’s River Song. I would love to see how they would play out the Peter Capaldi Doctor and River Song love story. Would it be anything like this?

sweetie