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Celebrating f-READ-om with Read Naked Day

**This post contains adult content, is NSFW, and only meant for those 18 and over. 

Hello darlings!

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans, and no hard feelings to my British pals (insert cheeky wink here). While we in The States turn a sentimental eye to July 4, 1776, I’d like to chat a bit about another celebration of independence taking place on July 5th… Read Naked DayI know, I know, there seems to be a random and obscure holiday for every little thing these days, but Read Naked Day is a little different. Though not a national holiday in the traditional sense, it is one which has international significance. I, for one, am delighted the lovely ladies of Naked Girls Reading dreamed it up. Let us settle in for some story time, shall we?

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Once upon a time,

Reading was a privilege reserved only for the wealthy and noble. Indeed, even owning a book could be a death sentence. Reading and education have always been dangerous to oppressive regimes, and there are still parts of the world where books are non existent, or where owning certain books means prison, torture, or even execution. History is full of heroes who risked life and limb to bring books to the masses. Reading is a radical act of liberation.

Today we are spoiled beyond comprehension. Books can be found in tiny corner stores, massive super centers, colossal book stores, used book shops, and public libraries. And yet, reading has fallen out of fashion. We make excuses about not having time to read, despite spending hours watching the boob-tube or playing video games. We complain about books not being interesting enough, despite there being a book on every topic under the sun and beyond the stars. And the book industry has tried its best to adapt. We live with our eyes constantly affixed to phone screens, so books became electronic. But in a world of click-bait stories and 280 character limits, is the age of the paper book over?

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A book I read frequently, and find terrifying each time I do, Dracula by Bram Stoker. I love the Barnes and Noble Classics books. Classic literature titles ranging from $5 to $25.

Not today! No, today darlings, I am here to convince you to pick up a book, a real paper book, and read… and get naked in the process. Why? Because by holding a book, you are making a sensual connection to the literary work. You feel the delicate paper pages in your grasp. You smell that wonderful telltale fragrance of library paste. You see the black lettering on the ivory pages. You hear the voices of the characters in your head so vividly that any movie production of your beloved book pales in comparison to the scenes of your imagination.

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Lounging in the buff and reading Zelda: A Biography by Nancy Milford

 

So why the nudity? Well, Again, Read Naked Day is about the sensual and tactile. Shedding your garments while you laze on the divan, book in hand, is decadent in thought and deed. It is a declaration that you have no place to go, and are content to spend your time curled up with a book, completely ignoring the demands of the outside world. As they say on the Read Naked Day website, “We should set aside time, set the stage, treat books like lovers…”

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One of my favorite reads, Good Reasoning Matters: A Constructive Approach to Critical Thinking, Third Edition by Leo A. Groarke and Christopher W. Tindale. A highly recommended book in the era of “fake news”. Possibly share this title with your aunt who loves to post articles on Facebook without ever reading them. No judgements.

So, pick up a book, drop your drawers, and celebrate Read Naked Day!

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

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Keeping Your Furbabies Safe this 4th of July

Hello Darlings!

Today I’m going to take a break from my usual vintage living ramblings to touch on a subject near and dear to my heart. Relax, nothing political. Today I am going to share how you can make this Independence Day, or any fireworks celebration, a little easier on your beloved furbabies. Have I mentioned I am a, now retired, Applied Animal Behaviorist? Throughout my near 20 year career one thing I always tried to impress upon my clients was to be prepared. If you live in areas prone to natural disasters, have a plan and a supply box for your pets. Firework celebrations are no different. With some simple preparations, you and your pet can have a relatively stress-free 4th of July. But first, some all important statistics.

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  • More dogs are lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year.
  • Shelters report up to a 30% increase in stray animal intake on July 5th.
  • Because of the way sounds travel, and the amount of fireworks going off in different neighborhoods, dogs running from noise can easily become lost and disoriented, finding themselves miles and miles from home.
  • Many lost dogs don’t make it back home because they are picked up miles away and sent to shelters in different towns from where they live. Their families simply don’t think to check shelters in the entire surrounding area.
  • Veterinarians see dogs with a wide variety of injuries during this holiday: lacerations from jumping through windows, torn paw pads from running, dehydration, broken teeth, lacerated lips from frantic chewing to escape.

**This is not a sponsored post. The products I link to are products I have used and referred to my clients over the years, and Petco is just where I happen to shop (they also don’t breed discriminate like some places *cough*petsmart*cough*.

So how can you protect your precious pooch this Independence Day? Simple, preparation.

Stay Home

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Ugh! I know, I know. You want to got to a BBQ, or pool party, or stadium fireworks show. But if after all that frivolity, you come home to find your  home ripped up, your dog seriously injured or even missing, would you still think going out was worth it? Get creative and find ways to celebrate at home. Your dog will certainly appreciate it.

Boarding and Daycare 

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My neighbor’s dog, Pepper, is a frequent guest at Chez Marlowe. She’ll be with us over the 4th while her dad is watching the fireworks.

If you really must go out, have your dog board with a reputable boarding facility. Most facilities fill up around holidays, so book in advance. Also make sure your pet is current on their vaccinations. Inquire as to what vaccinations the facility requires their guest pooches to have, and plan accordingly.

A dog sitter is another option if you aren’t comfortable with sending your dog away or if the boarding facilities are full. Just be sure they are well versed in caring for frightened dogs. And with any animal care giver, ask for references and a tour of where your dog will be staying.

Update I.D.

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Dog Tags aren’t just for soldiers! Make sure your dog is wearing up-to-date identification.

 

Make sure your dog is wearing identification tags with your current contact information as well as an alternate contact. Many people won’t stop to help a dog without tags. They assume the dog may be feral or don’t want to take on the responsibility of a dog with no contact information or owner.

Having your dog microchipped is also a good idea, but again, be sure to register their chip and keep that information updated. Microchips are not only identification, but can also serve as proof of ownership if the need arises. Collars and tags can sometimes be lost or removed, but microchips are forever.

*having “needs medication” or “special needs” printed on your dog’s tags is a great way to discourage would-be dog thieves or over zealous good samaritans from keeping your lost dog. A dog that “needs medication” or is “special needs” certainly isn’t free, and has a family that loves and cares for them. A little incentive to return Fido rather than keeping him.

Chill Pills

There are a variety of prescriptions and over the counter supplements you can give your dog to take the edge off. It is imperative you follow the directions, and the advice of your veterinarian before giving your dog anything. For some animals, an exam and blood panel may be required before your veterinarian will prescribe any medications. I personally give my dogs a natural supplement called Quiet Moments. I find it works well for dogs with mild to moderate noise phobias.

*Remember to never leave a sedated animal alone for any length of time.

Safe Space

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Where are your parents?!

Give your dog a nice safe space to hide during the fireworks. Bathrooms and walk-in closets work nicely as they blot out a lot of noise and are generally dark and cool. Make sure your dog has a nice soft bed with blankets to fluff or hide under, plenty of water, and something to focus on like a great chew, treat dispenser, or stuffed Kong toy. Add a little classical music to help soothe their nerves. A study done by the Scottish SPCA showed that playing classical music had a short-term calming effect on kenneled dogs. I find Mozart to be particularly light and soothing.

Secure Yard and Home

Go around your yard and home to make sure doors are closed, gates are locked and there are no areas where your dog can escape. Do not let your dog outside unattended. Likewise, if you’re hosting guests, kindly remind them to not let the dog out. A frightened dog will take any opportunity to escape. It only takes a second for your dog to bolt out of an open door.

Buckle Up for Safety

The Umbilical Method is one of my favorite dog training stratagies. Simply attach a 6′ leash to your dog and to your belt with a carabiner which can be purchased just about anywhere. Wherever you go, so does your dog and vice versa.

Don’t Bring Your Dog

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American Bulldog, Blanche Devereaux, is the official mascot of The Pinup Patriettes. She goes to many fund raising events to show our veterans some love, but if fireworks are on the agenda, Blanche stays home. Photo by Margo Moriarty 

If you’re tempted to bring your dog with you to the festivities, reconsider. Dogs have heightened senses of sight, sound, and smell. Fireworks are a blinding deafening sensory overload that your best friend will not enjoy.

Act Natural

You may be tempted to coddle and fret over your frightened pooch, but do your best not to. Coddling is a reinforcing behavior that may make the problem worse. Think of it as telling your dog “Good boy/girl! Yes, be afraid. Good dog.” Not terribly effective. Instead, act natural. Show your fur baby there is nothing to fear. Talk to you dog in soft soothing tones without reinforcing their fears.

Don’t Overestimate Your Dog’s Cool

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Even the bravest dog can surprise you. 

I was giving a community lecture on this very topic a few years ago when an audience member came up to me to assure me that nothing I said applied to his dog who was “super chill and cool about everything”. I ran into him a few weeks later at a shelter I volunteered for. He was looking for his lost dog who ran away during the fireworks.

Don’t just assume that your dog won’t develop a phobia to fireworks. Dogs learn by association, and we cannot control the associations they make or when they make them. Your dog may just surprise you one year, with tragic results.

And with that, I wish you a very happy Independence Day! We will return with our regularly scheduled vintage shenanigans when next we meet.

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

 

 

Happy New Year! A Guide to Making Resolutions and Keeping Them.

Happy New Year Darlings!

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Happy New Year!

 

If you’ve been following me long enough you’re already aware of my fondness for the new year holiday. If not, let me tell you it is one of my favorites! I love starting fresh, setting new goals, revisiting past ones, and looking forward to the year to come. I know there are a lot of you out there who dread the idea of resolution making. Maybe you’re afraid of failure, perhaps you dislike the idea of ritual goal setting, or maybe the winter blues has got you in a funk? But truly, new year resolutions are a healthy and fun way to set your year up for success and help snap you out of a dreary mindset. I myself suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is maddening for someone of a generally cheerful disposition. One of the things that has shown itself to be most therapeutic for me is resolution making. So, please allow me to share with you my 2018 resolutions along with my tips for making them stick.

#1 Set Actual Goals

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Art by Bill Randall

Goals, I mean real attainable goals, are definable, quantifiable, and timely. Think about the things you want to achieve in the next year, but be specific and realistic. 

Define your goal. If you can’t explain what it is that you want, how in the world do you expect to achieve it?

Is it quantifiable? Can you measure it? “Finding happiness” is not measurable. Abstract goals are not goals at all, they’re moods. Following the abstract is a recipe for failure. Instead, think of things that would make you happy: spending more time with your family, gardening, starting a new hobby, quit smoking, and so on. These are things that can be defined and broken down into achievable steps.

Is it attainable? We are told since childhood to “dream big!”, “shoot for the stars!”, and while there is some merit to that, there is also folly. When I was a wee lass in my first tap (dance) class, I dreamed of being a Radio City Rockette, but that dream would never come to pass no matter how hard I trained because at 5’2″, I am just too short. There is absolutely nothing I can do to change that. Some goals just can’t be reached, and setting them only to fail time and again is detrimental to the psyche. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t set similar attainable goals. Maybe I can’t be a Rockette, but I can (and did) become a professional dancer. Maybe professional dancer is out of your reach for whatever reason, but taking a dance class is not, or maybe it is too much right now, but buying a dance lesson on DVD or following FREE YouTube tutorials is absolutely doable!

Is it timely: Ugh, I know! Everyone hates a deadline, probably because we approach them all wrong. Deadlines are necessary in actually achieving our goals. If we don’t set timelines, our goals fade away into that abstract abyss, forever out of reach. How depressing is that?! Very. So, learn to love a deadline. We do that by making them realistic. “Loose 20 lbs in a week” isn’t very realistic, in fact it’s downright dangerous! But, “loose 20 lbs in 3 to 6 months” is realistic. *Disclaimer: always check with your doctor before starting any weight loss or exercise program (wink)* The point is, deadlines only work if they are realistic, and goals are only reached if we implement deadlines.

 

#2 Get Organized

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This is but a small sampling of my journal collection.

Lists! I love lists! I have piles and piles of notebooks, planners, binders, and files for everything. Staples is one of my favorite places on Earth! I just love to sit down with a cup of tea, and write out all my plans for whatever it is I’m doing. Some of my lists are straight forward bullet points, some are artistic collages, some are scattered brainstorming, but they all make it out of my head and onto the page so I can see what needs doing.

Get yourself an notebook or planner or cork board and set out your goals. Remember to define them, write out the necessary steps to achieve said goal, and give yourself a timeline. I like to also leave some space for a bit of journaling. Sometimes a goal becomes unrealistic and I need to try again later. If I write down why, I’m better equipped the next time I try. I also like to give myself praise for steps I’ve made and mini-goals I’ve reached. Positive reinforcement will motivate you unlike anything else will.

#3 Get Going!

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Ann Miller

I’m a firm believer in the “fake it til you make it” philosophy. Little factoid about yours truly, I suffer from a chronic illness called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There is no treatment, there is no cure, it’s just a thing I must deal with on a day to day basis. I don’t always feel like being productive (or even getting out of bed). I don’t always have the energy to exercise or cook or garden or to do any of the things that I love, and one of the nasty little side effects to that is depression. If I let it, all of those things will snowball into an awful existence. So, I get up and push through. Some days more than others, but every day I make an earnest effort, even when I don’t feel like it. Even when some days I feel like a fraud. Even when I’m too tired. Just making the effort to start, to take those next steps, makes each effort easier and easier. I’m not one for motivational sayings, but it really is true “Procrastination is the thief of time”. (I’ve no idea who said that. I likely saw it on a coffee mug somewhere).

My 2018 New Year’s Resolutions!

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Marilyn Monroe was an avid reader and had an impressive library.

Read more – I love to read, but didn’t make much time for it last year (though I did finish one book *pats self on back). This year I’d like to make bedtime reading a nightly ritual, eventually working it in to some daytime indulgences.

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Art by Gil Elvgren

Get in shape! – Ugh! This one. 2017 was not kind to me in terms of physical and mental health. So this coming year, I endeavor to bring my health back to acceptable levels. I’m still working out the details, so I’m short on specifics, but I know the steps I need to take. The end result is up to my body, and I’m willing to let the chips fall where they may. I know I don’t like feeling sluggish and weak, so that’s my goal, not so much the numbers on a scale. Maybe I’ll share this journey… or maybe I won’t. Are there too many health and fitness blogs out there already?

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Art by Pearl Frush

The January Cure – A new year ritual for me, spring cleaning in the winter. Every year I join Apartment Therapy’s January Cure. It’s a weekly deep cleaning and home organization challenge for the month of, you guessed it, January! Each task is doable and not too time consuming. Some tasks take the weekend, some take 10 minutes. If you find yourself drowning in clutter, or you just want to spruce up the olde domicile, I HIGHLY recommend joining.

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This lady’s kitchen is everything!

Write more letters – I love snail mail. I love sending hand written letters and receiving them. For some reason, when we moved house, I just dropped off the face of the earth. I never mailed our change of address cards, and as such lost touch with a lot of my friends and family. So, this year, I’m going to make the effort to send at least one note or letter a month (see what I did there? A quantifiable, timely goal!)

And there you have it. Some of my New Year’s resolutions (I do have more. Some are too personal to share, and some are holdovers from last year that need revisiting), and a few tips on making your resolutions successful. I do hope you’ve found this post helpful and at least a little inspirational. Let me know what your resolutions are. I’d love to hear your plans for the new year!

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

New Year, New You

Hello Darlings!

The new year is almost here and I am giddy with anticipation. Not because I have any exciting plans, mind you (well, other than the Sherlock season 4 premier). My romantic NYE celebration aboard the Queen Mary plans were waylaid by a very costly auto repair (insert sad face here). No, I am giddy because I love the New Year holiday! I love the hope that comes with the turn of the calendar page. I love the promise of a fresh start. I love new year resolutions!

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Jayne Mansfield counting down the New Year

I know some people do get a bit grumpy about such things: “January 1st is just another day”, “You don’t need a holiday to change your life”, “Things won’t magically get better when the clock strikes midnight”, etc. While those are all very true statements, they ignore the thing that makes the new year so special… community. For this one day in the year, it seems the whole world is looking out to the horizon with eagerness and hope. We can do better, be better, we can make small but meaningful changes in our lives and the lives of others if only we dare to try.

Silly and cliche as it may be, I make New Year’s resolutions every year, and every year I get better and better at keeping them (making them public also helps keep me accountable).

My 2017 New Year’s Resolutions!

  1. Concentrate on my health. Like most people, my past resolutions have been something to the effect of “get in shape”, “lose weight”, etc. Those are great goals, and if they are your goals, I say go for it! For me, however, things aren’t that simple. You see, I live with chronic illness, and as such, my weight can fluctuate quite dramatically throughout the year. I can’t always go to the gym. I can’t always get out of bed! BUT I can focus on making healthier choices both mentally and physically by eating better, exercising everyday (even if its only a few minutes of stretching), clearing out negative influences from my life, focus on personal growth.
  2. Be more productive. This one always manages to make it onto my resolutions list. Maybe because I’m a creative and a perfectionist (a dangerous combination, indeed). I’ve made significant progress in the past, but I’ve also seen a steep decline recently. We moved to a tiny town, in the middle of nowhere, where I don’t know a soul. It can be a little depressing (and boring). When the gloom sets in, I stall out. So I resolve to do something productive everyday, something creative, something active, something constructive, it doesn’t matter as long as I’m doing something.
  3. Explore more. Especially in my new home. Apparently my new little spot on the map is full of rich history: old western mining towns, Nazi spies, classic western filming locations, and even Star Wars was filmed out here. Who knew? Not me, and that’s why I resolve to get out to do some exploring. This will be a tall order for an introvert, but I plan on writing about my adventures, so maybe that will push me over the social hump.
  4. Get organized. This is another one that lands on my list every year, and I have made improvements years past, but again, this move has really thrown a monkey wrench in the works. Nevertheless, I remain undeterred. This will also help me with my other resolutions, so organization will likely forever be on my list.
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The lovely and talented Debbie Reynolds, who we sadly lost this year.

And there you have it. I really do look forward to this coming year, and I hope to share my progress with my readers. What are your resolutions? Any hopes for the new coming year? I’d love to hear about them.

Happy New Year!

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

Happy (belated) New Year!

Hello Darlings!

Happy (belated) New Year! I don’t mind telling you that I am one of those people, the kind gleefully making resolutions and dreaming of the promise of the coming year. I love to plot and plan out the year, the parties I’ll attend, the vacations I’ll take, the projects I’ll finish (or at least start with the best intentions of finishing). There are so many wonderful events cropping up everywhere that I thought it was a good time to resurrect my Social Calendar.

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Once again I’ve scoured the interwebs, vintage clubs, and social pages to find the most interesting events for vintage minded folks. I’ll be adding new events as I find them, so if you know of an event you think warrants inclusion, please drop me a line (be sure to include any relevant links). You can find the criteria for events I like to include here. To view my 2016 Social Calendar, just pop on over to calendar on the side bar and click the “+” button, you’ll have the option to add the events to your personal calendar if you’d like. I’ll be sure to pop up at a few of these events, so if you see me, do say hello. I love meeting new friends!

**You may notice a lack of the group events at Disneyland. Because of a change to Disney’s policy towards fancy dress and cosplay, I’ve decided to only include events that don’t involve such outfitting. If I hear of any changes on that front, I’ll be sure to keep you informed.

XOXO 

Dolly Marlowe

Save the Date! 2014 Social Calendar

Hello Darlings!

My lovely friend, Sara Ellen, and I getting frisked by a couple of coppers at the Great Los Angeles Air Raid last year

My lovely friend, Sara Ellen, and I getting frisked by a couple of coppers at the Great Los Angeles Air Raid last year

I am thrilled to be writing to you from my new diary home! This new format gives me a great deal more freedom to be interactive with my readers. As always, I struggle with all things tech, so bear with me as I fumble my way through the new format. Most things improve with time, and I hope this will be no exception. On to the topic at hand!

I make no apologies for being a red-blooded American girl, and living in Southern California is an absolute dream! I can drive one hour in any direction and have just about anything my little heart desires… mountains with snow, falling leaves, the ocean, HOLLYWOOD! You name it, and I have it at my disposal. But even with all that, I can’t help but feeling the slightest twinge of jealousy when reading my favorite blogs and periodicals from across the pond. Jolly Old England boasts all sorts of Glorious events like the Tweed Run and The Chap Olympiad, not to mention all the dances, reenactments, and weekenders! We have a good bit of fun and entertainment here in the states as well, but so much of it is lacking in, shall we say, cultural refinement? There is nothing wrong with a good rockabilly show. I cut my teeth on rhythm and blues… literally (my daddy was a blues man and I chewed on his records and music equipment as a wee babe). But I just don’t see myself as a rockabilly girl. I prefer a gimlet over a Pabst any day. I’d swoon over gents like Bogie and Sinatra before giving Elvis a second look. And I like my music to swing rather than bop. In sunny california one can stand on any street corner, throw a rock, and hit a rockabilly show. So, what is a highbrow vintage loving gal to do? Sure, I’ve been to Viva Las Vegas and had a perfectly lovely time, but I want something more! I don’t mind telling you all that when I want something I generally find a way to get it. Like the old saying goes, If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself!

I submit for your approval my 2014 Social Calendar! I’ve scoured the interwebs and contacted every Art Deco mucky-muck I could find to bring  you the most wonderful events in the greater Southern California area! For those of you not residing in the southland, please feel free to visit or use my little calendar as some inspiration to find events in your neck of the woods. There will be a dearth of rockabilly events, save for those of some significance, not because they’re awful (they’re not), but because there are SO MANY of them!! I’ll also be adding events as I hear of them, so if you know of an event, drop me a line and I may add it. If you’re an event coordinator and would like to have me cover your shindig, you may also contact me to set things up.

So where is this wonderful almanac of social gatherings? For ease of use, it is located on the side bar of my posts, and there it will remain. Just give the “Google” button a click and it will whisk you away to the full screen version with all the details! Be sure to visit often as new things will be added on the regular. Also, you can subscribe to my posts via electronic mailing, that way you won’t miss a thing! I hope you find it useful and keep an eye peeled for yours truly as I am sure to pop up at a gathering or two!

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe