Tag Archive | style

DIY Boston Tea Stain Bunting

Hello Darlings!

As July marches forward, and I start itching for autumn, I have to remind myself to linger in summer just a while longer. July in particular puts me in a patriotic mood. To be  quite honest, I’m always in a patriotic mood, but July seems like a good time to share a little star spangled DIY with you.

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Not to sound contrary, but I’ve always had an affinity for the British style of patriotic decor. It seems for almost every national occasion, and even private ones, our cousins across the pond hang adorable Union Jack buntings. There is something wonderfully nostalgic in that! Being the red-blooded all American girl that I am, I wanted to create that same nostalgia when rooting for my home team. The problem was where to begin? The good old US of A is very much a modern nation with eyes drawn forward. And while that is wonderful for innovation, it hardly serves the quaint and homespun feel I longed for. So, as with most things in life, I look to the past, colonial New England to be exact. Here’s my little How To for your own Boston Teas Stain Patriotic Bunting.

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Supplies

Bunting (I purchased mine at Home Depot)

Black tea (I went with the giant box of the cheap stuff as I wasn’t drinking it)

Coffee grounds (optional, but gives a wonderful spotting effect)

A large pot

Tongs

Large baking sheet

Instructions

 

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Step 1: Gather up your bags of tea. I used 6 to 8 bags per bunting.

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Step 2: Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way full with water. Add teabags and bring to a boil. Add the bunting to the tea. Allow to boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then let it sit in the solution for a few hours. I let mine sit overnight.

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STEP 3: Remove the bunting from the tea solution with tongs and place it on a baking sheet. CAUTION! The bunting will be hot! If you want a more rustic look, spread used coffee grounds on the bunting and let it dry. Rinse the coffee grounds off the bunting in cold water. CAUTION! Coffee grounds are toxic  to pets, so keep the critters away from your workspace.

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Step 4: Lay out your bunting to dry on an old towel or something you don’t mind inadvertently staining. While it is still a little damp, iron out the wrinkles whilst pressing in the pleats.

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Step 6: Hang and enjoy. I keep my buntings up most of the year, only taking them down for autumn and winter decorating.

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A few helpful hints: To get a really rustic and aged look, add a dry bunting to the boiling tea solution, and allow some bits to peek out of the liquid. For an more uniform look, wet the bunting first, then keep it fully submerged in the tea. You can put a rock or brick on it if it tends to float up. If you’d like to wash your bunting before hanging it, do so on a cold gentle cycle, and lay flat to dry. You can also repeat the staining process until you get the look you want.

I’d love to see what you create! Comment with a photo or share with me via electronic telegraph (I think the kids are calling it Twitter, or some such nonsense).

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

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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

DIY Sisal Rope Coasters

IMG_1268Hello Darlings!

Summer is here in the Southern California desert. With the temperatures exceeding 100*, I’ve always got a cold beverage on hand. Where cold drinks go, a coaster must follow. The problem is, most coasters I’ve found can’t keep up with the exorbitant amount of sweat an iced beverage produces. What’s the point of going to the trouble of using a coaster if it doesn’t protect precious furniture from unsightly rings, stains, and warping? That is why I decided to make my own super absorbent, but not soggy, sisal rope coasters. I made about nine of these little beauties in the span of an hour. I’d love to show you how to make your own as well. But first, a few notes:

*I chose sisal because it had a nice rustic farm look that seemed to fit nicely with the vintage French farmhouse, craftsman, victorian estate, English cottage, colonial America, haunted mansion vibe of my home. You can use any kind of rope your heart desires!

*Get creative! Along with different types of rope, you can paint your coaters (use a fabric paint impervious to water), and add designs or monograms.

*Your backing can be any type of porous material, just be sure it is soft enough to keep from scratching surfaces. I used felt because it’s what I had on hand. I wanted to use cork, but alas, I didn’t have any. Make do and mend is my philosophy.

*Glue guns are hot. You will inevitably be burned by one. Maybe not today, maybe not with this project, but soon and for the rest of your relationship with hot glue crafting.

*To clean up extra glue, you can either smooth it down with your fingers while it is still soft (my method of choice, complete with screaming and cursing), or apply heat from a blowdryer or iron and let the glue settle into the rope.

*Also, pardon the poor picture quality. I decided to start this project at eight o’clock PM, and my parlor’s mood lighting isn’t exactly made for crafting.

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1: Gather your supplies. You’ll need a spool of rope (I found mine at Home Depot for about $8). Natural fibers like sisal, manila, or cotton will all work nicely. You’ll also need a hot glue gun with plenty of glue, scissors, tape, felt or cork backing, a sharpie marker, and a round template.

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Step 2: Lay your backing fabric, henceforth known as “felt”, on top of your template, and trace the desired shape and size on to the felt. I made my coasters a little on the large side as my Mr. likes big oversized glasses, whilst I prefer more delicate vintage glasses.

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Step 3: Cut out your circles. They needn’t be perfect, but try to keep a uniform shape. I doubled my felt to be extra sure it would be sturdy and absorbent enough, so if you do the same, remember to double the amount of felt circles as coasters you’re making.

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Step 4: (optional) If you’re doubling the felt bottoms, run a line of glue along the very edge of one felt circle. Then, place the second circle on top of it, carefully pressing the edges together.

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Notice where my cat decided to rub his tail on my glue gun and left some fur behind. Do not fret, no kitties were harmed in the making of these coasters.

Step 5: Fold the circle into quarters (half, and then half again). Place a dab of glue, or use your Sharpie to mark the center point. This will keep your rope curl even.

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First coaster, and I’ve already got glue all over my hands!

Step 6: Carefully place a dab of glue on the end of the rope, and then curl it onto itself. Keep gluing and curling until you have a single row coil.

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Step 7: Add a healthy amount of glue to the center of your prepared felt circle. Press your coil onto that. Hold it in place until the glue dries.

Step 8: Apply a generous amount of glue along the rope coil and felt. Don’t be shy with the glue! The idea is to have it grab the felt, coil, and new lengths of rope. Repeat this step until you have completely covered the felt circles. Remember to press and hold the coil in place as the glue dries. The rope will want to snap back to it’s original shape, and you certainly don’t want that!

Step 9: Wrap a piece of tape at the point where you want the coil to end. Cut in the center of the taped portion at a diagonal with the long side against the coil tapering outward. Dab a bit of glue at the end of the cut pieces, keeping the rope from unraveling. Remove the tape.

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Step 10: Glue the last bit of rope to the coil. And you’re done! Enjoy your coasters and stain-free tables.

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I do hope you enjoy your lovely little coasters. As always, drop me a line via electronic post or telegram (twitter) with any questions or requests.

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

Beauty Review: Besame Cosmetics Cashmere Foundation Stick

*This is not a sponsored or paid review

Hello Darlings!

I have, as of late, been on a mission… a mission of glamorous proportions! For over a year I’ve been searching for a foundation to replace my beloved Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation, which is sadly no longer cruelty free. I’ve tried lots of different foundations; high end, drug store, BB creams, powders, you name it. While some were decent, none really hit the mark. That’s why when Besame Cosmetics announced the launch of their new Cashmere Foundation Stick, I was over the moon, if not a bit skeptical. I love Besame, but I’ve not had much luck with stick or pancake foundations in the past. I decided to order one and give it a whirl!

Anytime I do a review, I like to test the product for a few days, sometimes even a few weeks to get a feel of how the product truly performs. Over the last few days, I tested the foundation stick in lots of situations. I tested it at my ballet class, yoga, whitewater rafting, running errands in 114* heat, and under hot photography lights. Let’s see how it did, shall we?

Day 1

On the first trial I did my makeup as usual, moderate coverage with finishing powders and the like. I had an afternoon of running errands in 114* heat (yes, you read that correctly, 114*).

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I’m wearing Besame Cashmere Foundation Stick in Bisque and Besame Brightening Powders in Violet and Vanilla Rose.

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After a very hot afternoon of shopping, the powders wore off, but the foundation stayed put. I did, at one point, touch up with some pressed powder.

Day 2

On day two we went whitewater rafting. Knowing I’d be in the sun and water, I did a light foundation application (with no powder). I really didn’t expect much, especially because I had to wear loads of sunblock.

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My face before our time on the river. The foundation stick is a buildable coverage, so I opted for a lighter application.

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Moi, looking glamorous as ever in my little green helmet, along with my Mr. and man-cub, and four complete strangers. Oh, and Matthew, our competent guide who kept my man-cub from falling out of the raft on more than on occasion.

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After a couple of hours on the river, in the sun, and my foundation stayed better than my so-called “waterproof” eye makeup. Though I didn’t actually go swimming, I did get splashed pretty well a few times… I was soaked!

Day 3

I very much wanted to test the full coverage claim under studio lights. It’s one thing to look nice at the beach or grocery store, but it’s quite another to step in front of a camera under hot lights.

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This is the unedited photo. I applied my makeup as I would any photo shoot. Cashmere Foundation Stick in Bisque built up to full coverage, Brightening powders in violet and rose, e.l.f. High Definition Powder, and Besame Cherry Red lipstick.

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This is the edited version. As you can see, other than some smoothing and light balancing, there really wasn’t a whole lot of editing to be done. 

The Review

Formula: I’ve always been a fan of Besame’s commitment to clean makeup, and while I’m no chemist, the Cashmere Foundation Stick  stays true to that philosophy. Not only is it free of lots of the “junk” found in other foundations, it has some lovely skin calming additions like cucumber, chamomile, and green tea. The ingredient list can be found right on their website, so for those of you with sensitive skin or allergies, there’s no mystery as to what you’re applying to your face. Best of all, Besame is 100% committed to being cruelty free! No animal testing, no animal by-products, and they don’t sell in countries that require animal testing.

Color Match: I have very light skin with pink undertones; the Bisque color was an absolute perfect match! The Cashmere Foundation Stick comes in a wide range of shades that can be blended together if you can’t find your perfect match or if want to contour and highlight.

Coverage: Besame calls the foundation stick full coverage, but I wouldn’t go quite that far. When it comes to full coverage, I always compare foundations to Estee Lauder’s Double Wear foundation which is truly full coverage (and tested on animals, unfortunately). While the Cashmere Foundation Stick has plenty of coverage for me, if you have serious acne or rosacea, it may not be enough. BUT, the coverage is buildable. It was a cinch just to add a little bit more to get the desired effect. If you’re looking for sheer or light coverage, simply adjust the amount of product you apply. Need a matching concealer? Use a concealer brush and dab away! So, while I wouldn’t exactly call it FULL coverage, I love the fact that I can wear as little or as much as I want with no hassle.

Application: I’ve heard some complaints about the application, but I think there are a few things to remember when using a solid foundation: first, wear moisturizer! Everyone should be wearing moisturizer anyway, but especially when using pancake makeup. You’ll find you have a much smoother application when you prepare your skin properly. Second, after you swipe on the foundation, blend it in with a brush. Besame sells a lovely boudoir brush for such a purpose, but any foundation brush will do. You won’t get that etherial airbrushed look with a sponge blender. And third, if you have large pores, like moi, blend up and away from the pores to keep from pushing the makeup down into them.

Once you have that down, the application is exceedingly easy. Just swipe a bit on your forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin, then blend away. There is virtually no mess! Another plus is how portable it is. Throw it in your bag for a quick touch up at the beach, gym, or wherever your adventures take you.

Wearability: Besame says their foundation is feather light, and they aren’t wrong! No matter how much I used, my skin felt naked. I have normal to oily skin, and as I mentioned before, I live in an oven. That being said, my skin never felt greasy or caky. It also wasn’t drying in any way. It truly felt as if I was wearing nothing… at least on my face, anyway. And talk about long lasting! During my rafting trip, my foundation stayed better than my “water proof” eye makeup! Ballet class, yoga, summer heat, the Cashmere Foundation Stick stayed put through all of it. Removal is easy as pie. A little cold cream, and it wiped right off with no lasting residue (my white towels stay white!).

Cost: The price for this wonderstick is, in my humble opinion, beyond reasonable. For $25 you get a pretty generous amount of makeup. Now I’ll be honest, it doesn’t look like much, but as with all of Besame’s products, a little goes a long way. Not to mention one typically uses less of a solid foundation than the liquid sort. Plus, no mess means no waste! While it may cost a bit more than a drugstore foundation, it’s half the price of high end department store cosmetics, and it beats both in quality by a mile!

Availability: As of right now the foundation is only available through Besame’s website or their two locations. Hopefully it will be at a Sephora near you soon. I don’t have a Sephora near me, so I buy at besamecosmetics.com. I realize buying a foundation on-line, without being able to test it, can be nerve-wracking, but Besame’s color descriptions and swatches are incredibly accurate. If you just do a search of  #besamecosmetics or #cashmerefoundationstick on Instagram, you’ll find lots of ladies showing off their preferred shade which may help you find yours.

Rating: I give it and overall 9 out of 10. The only issues I see are that it’s not quite full coverage, and for some ladies that may be an issue, and it’s only available on-line or at a Besame store right now. Honestly, I can overlook both of those things because I love this product so much! If it’s ever discontinued, I shall throw myself into the pit of despair!

I do hope you have found this little review helpful. If you try the Cashmere Foundation Stick, please let me know what you think! As always, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If you have a beauty or vintage lifestyle question, feel free to drop me a line via electronic post, dollymarlowe@gmail.com. Until we meet again!

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

Pinup 101Photo Shoot Checklist

Hello Darlings!

Today I thought I might share with you my checklist for photo shoot preparations, including what to bring. Every model should have a model bag that holds the various odds and ends needed on any given photo shoot or runway show. The contents of your bag may change depending on the job, your experience, and so on. I’ll go over the basics, and you can add on from there. I’ll also share with you how I prepare for photo shoots with my pre-shoot schedule.

First, lets touch on the importance of being prepared. I have heard some pretty interesting stories from photographers about models who have shown up late (really late), with unshaven legs and/or underarms, unkempt finger and toenails, soiled or wrinkled wardrobe, and so on. No matter how much or how little actual experience a model may have, showing up prompt and prepared is the mark of a true professional. The opposite is, well, exactly that. In a sea of beautiful faces, a professional attitude and a winning personality will set you apart and keep the jobs rolling in.

The Model Bag 

The model bag is a model’s personal bag of tricks. It holds everything one could possibly need during a shoot or show. Even if hair, makeup, and wardrobe are being provided, there are things specific to you that you alone are responsible for bringing. Here’s my checklist, and while your bag will be specific to you, this is a good start.

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My model bag is a vintage train case that has doubled as a prop.

*Water bottles (Lights get hot, stay hydrated)

*Straws (Stay hydrated AND keep your makeup in place)

*Energy snacks (Bite size things are best to keep from ruining your makeup)

*Safety panties (Thong or g-string panties as close to your skin tone as possible. These are for wearing under a photographer’s or designer’s wardrobe, especially swimwear and lingerie.)

*Full coverage panties in black, white, nude, and a fashion color like pink or red (These are for show, so make sure they are in nice condition)

*Heels in black, white, nude, and any fashionable style or color that suits your wardrobe (Beware of too ostentatious a shoe if you’re working for a designer, their clothes are the focus, not your shoes. Make sure you can walk in the shoes you pack if you’re walking the runway)

*Bras in black and nude, with AND without straps

 

*Stockings: black, nude, fishnets, nude pantyhose (Bring backups in the event of snags)

*Scarf (For wardrobe changes to prevent makeup transfer)

*Makeup, yes, even if its being provided (Foundation, lashes and adhesive, oil blotter, translucent powder with brush, lipstick, liner, chapstick, hair pins, hairspray, comb and brush, tissues, cotton swabs, cotton balls, anything you need for your specific look)

*Body lotion

*Nail polish remover

*Clear nail polish

*Colored nail polish to match your freshly manicured nails

*Nail clippers and file

*Small first-aid kit with clear bandages, NSAIDs, allergy medications, cough drops, feminine hygiene products

*Deodorant

*Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss

*Breath mints

*Baby wipes or makeup remover wipes

*Static Guard

*Small sewing kit with safety pins

*Fabric tape

*Portfolio, resume, and comp cards if you have them

*Your handbag with your usual things (Be sure to have cash, cell phone, and your ID)

*Music (I have several playlists depending on the mood of the shoot, and a compact bluetooth speaker)

*Something to do (There can be quite a bit of downtime, so have something to keep busy)

*Wardrobe and accessories (Even if the photographer is providing, it’s always a good idea to have options. The only time it’s not appropriate to bring your own wardrobe is if you’re shooting for a designer, then you’ll obviously be wearing their pieces)

*Travel clothes and robe (Loose fitting clothes that won’t leave impressions or red marks on your skin whilst you travel to your gig or sit for hair and makeup. Don’t wear socks!)

Pre-Shoot (or show) Preparation Schedule

Preparations for a photo shoot or runway show start long before you ever show up to your gig. Everything from eating right and getting a good nights sleep effect your performance in front of a camera. Here is how I prepare for shows and shoots.

pinup_vargas_1947_january

Calendar art by Alberto Vargas for Esquire Magazine

Always (as in, I’m always doing these things because they’re important in the long term):

*Exercise and eat right. This doesn’t mean you have to be a size two, but you should strive to look and feel your healthiest best.

*Practice. I’ve covered this before, but it’s so very important to know how to pose and feel comfortable in those poses. Have a wide variety of poses, facial expressions, and moods to show (at least 10).

*Take a dance class. This may sound silly, but nothing trains your body to move with poise and grace better than dance. It doesn’t matter what style of dance class you choose, just pick something and get moving!

*Don’t pick at your face! If you have a pimple that decides to make an uninvited appearance, use a spot treatment. Picking will only cause irritation and scarring which will take a lot longer than the original blemish to disappear.

One Month Prior (as you book more jobs, this will became a standing thing):

*Gather wardrobe pieces and items for your model bag if you don’t already have them. If you need to order things, give yourself enough time for delivery and exchanges if needed)

*Make any sewing alterations to wardrobe as needed

*If your shoot has a theme, collect some props. This is an especially good idea if you’re doing a package shoot where the photographer has a set theme and is offering it up to multiple models. Bringing a few small props will give your photos something a little different. Though, respect the photographer’s wishes if they’d rather not use them.

*Double check your schedule. Make sure you have time off work, babysitters, transportation, a chaperone, and the correct day and time of the shoot.

Two Weeks Prior:

*Double check measurements and wardrobe fit, especially if you’ve changed your diet or started working out. You’d be surprised how the loss or gain of a couple of inches can drastically change wardrobe fit. Make any alterations (or contact whomever booked you if you’ll be modeling for a designer) as needed

*Double check that schedule!

*Start whitening your teeth if you’ve never done it before.

One week Prior:

*Do any kind of facials or skin treatments now so your skin has time to adjust. I do not recommend trying any kind of new treatments this close to a shoot, should your skin positively freak out on you!

*Start sleeping 6 to 10 hours a night. Sleep experts say it can take a whole week to catch up on one bad night, so be sure you’re getting plenty of beauty rest.

*Drink water. Proper hydration not only keeps you healthy, but it also fills in fine lines, wrinkles, cellulite, and clears the skin. (*pro tip: “water” is in bold because I mean water, not juice, not soda, not energy drinks, but actual WATER).

*Have your hair done. If you color it, get that done. Have a trim done as well. When you book your appointment, ask for a deep conditioning treatment as well to add some luster to your locks. Again, now is not the time for anything new, just maintenance.

*Wax whatever needs waxing, if you are so inclined. Remember, your skin will need some recovery time.

*Whiten your teeth if it’s part of your maintenance beauty routine.

Two or Three Days Prior:

*Groom your eyebrows. It’s best to have this done by a professional if you’re not experienced in this area.

*Exfoliate your face and body.

*Keep drinking water and getting good sleep!

*Cut out high sodium foods and alcohol. Too much salt will make you look bloated, not hydrated. Cut out as much salt as you can. Take it easy on sugary foods too. They can lead to weight gain and skin issues. Alcohol will make you look tired and puffy, so skip the cocktails until your shoot is over

*Steam and press any wardrobe, then hang it in a garment bag being careful it won’t get crushed or creased. DO NOT FLAT FOLD YOUR WARDROBE!

*Contact the photographer. Confirm wardrobe, hair and makeup plans, etc.

*Arrange a safety contact if you don’t have a chaperone.

*Double check that schedule.

The Day Prior:

*Keep drinking water!

 

*Have a manicure and pedicure done. Buy a bottle of matching color nail polish if you don’t have one at home.

*Pack your model bag.

*Wash your hair in the morning or the night before, and don’t use any heavy styling products. Your hairstylist will want “day old hair” to work with. (*Pro Tip: Day old hair, not dirty, nasty, stinky hair).

*Shave your legs, under arms, and bikini line if you don’t wax. Be sure to moisturize after.

*Get good sleep!

*Charge your phone

The Day Of:

*Wake up early enough that you’re not in a mad rush.

*Shower and shave again. Don’t forget to moisturize after.

*Wash and moisturize your face. Don’t put on any cosmetics if you’re working with a makeup artist.

*Throw anything in your model bag you used that morning you may need later. Don’t forget your phone charger.

*Eat a good breakfast. Stay away for greasy heavy foods, and opt for quality proteins and carbohydrates that will give you energy without weighing you down.

*If you’re supposed to arrive photo ready, be photo ready.

*Let your safety contact know when you’ve arrived and where you are. Keep in contact throughout the day during breaks if it’s an all day shoot.

*Show up 15 minutes early. Use the restroom if needed. Put your phone on vibrate.

*Relax and have fun!

After You Shoot:

*Thank the photographer and HMUA (and anyone else who worked on your shoot) for their work.

*Give them copies of your comp cards or business cards and exchange contact and social media information. Never miss an opportunity to network.

*Clean up your mess. Photo shoots are fast and hectic, no doubt your stuff is everywhere. Pack up your things and throw away your trash.

*Go over any details with the photographer regarding publication, photo sharing, etc.

*Call your safety contact when you’re in your car and ready to leave.

*Stop and reward yourself with a greasy, sugary treat. You’ve earned it!

 

Every photo shoot and runway show will be different in some way. As you gain more experience, your bag and routine will change accordingly. What’s important is that you get in the habit of being prepared. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop me a line via electronic post or in the comments section below.

Dolly_Marlowe's_cat

Every time I pack for a shoot, I have to remind him that he can’t come with me.

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

 

 

 

Stockings: The Daintiest of the Dainties Part Two

Hello Darlings!

As promised, I bring to you the second installment of my stockings series. Part three will be a fun little make do and mend project, so be sure to subscribe to my diary so you don’t miss a thing! We’ve already discussed the who’-its and what’s-its of stockings, now it’s time to discuss wear and care. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the questions an feedback I’ve gotten here and on social media. If you have a question or a topic you’d like to see me cover, drop me a line!

Wear

Now, I’m not one for hard-line fashion rules such as “no white after Labor Day, shoes and purse must match” and all that, but I will agree that most “rules” do have a purpose. While taking fashion risks can be fun and exciting, one must always beware of how small detail can affect the overall look of an outfit. So, here are my “Top Five Rules”, if you will, in regard to the wearing of stockings:

Rule #1: When wearing seamed stockings, your skirt’s hemline should fall below the knee (mid-calf is best). A seam traveling up the back of your stems draws the eye in the same direction. There is enough suggestion and sex appeal in that alone to set the world on fire! Adding a miniskirt to the equation cheapens the look. *The exception is in the case of a flirty costume… think French Maid or Cigarette Girl.

Showing just enough leg & seam without showing one’s girlie bits!

Rule #2: Opaque toes are appropriate for closed toe shoes, sheer toes for open style shoes. Opaque, as in can’t see your toes and the color of your polish through the material. Stockings with a reinforced toe sheer enough to see the toes through the material are perfectly appropriate for open toe shoes or even strappy sandal types. Some exceptions can be brightly colored opaque tights with contrasting open toe shoes. Use your best judgment and pay attention to the overall look.

Rule #3: Don’t wear flats with your seamed stockings. Rarely have I ever seen flats and seams worn together well. Remember, the idea of a seam is to draw the eye up, elongating the leg. Flats do the opposite of this. It doesn’t take much of a heel to give your seams the boost they need. A one inch kitten heel can be just enough to do the job.

Rule #4: Be era appropriate. Now, I’m not suggesting you must be historically accurate. It’s just that some of the best pieces in your wardrobe won’t always work together. If you are wearing a 60s inspired scooter dress, then choose stockings without a seam or  better yet, coordinating tights. 

Rule #5: When wearing fully fashioned stockings, pay attention to fit. Stockings too large will sag, and too small with be uncomfortable and run easily. It is also worth noting that even the best fitting full fashioned stockings will being to sag at some point. Because they are sans elastic, wear will stretch them out. If you’re going to wear stockings all day, either opt for reproduction stockings with a mock seam (and lots of stretch) or bring a fresh pair to change into when your first pair loses their shape.

Getting Them On

Because FF stockings have virtually NO stretch, putting them on requires a bit of extra care. To accomplish this, without tearing them to shreds, roll the stocking down evenly from welt to toe and then unroll them over your (slightly bent) getaway sticks. Be sure to check that the seams are straight. If they are not, roll the stocking down and start anew. Do not, for heaven’s sake, try to pull them straight while wearing them! You’ll put your thumb right through, especially with vintage stockings! Attach your garters (or suspenders, depending on what side of the pond you reside) not more than halfway down the welt. Fasten the garters where they fall naturally when not holding your stockings. If they are clasped too far forward or back they will twist the stockings (making for a crooked seam) or ruin them all together. We’ll talk more about garter/suspender belts in an upcoming post.

 

Care

Now that you know how to wear your stockings, let’s chat about how to care for them. No matter how advanced your washing machine is, your stockings will NEVER survive the ravages of said machine… not even in a lingerie bag. You must ALWAYS wash your dainties in a delicate lingerie bath.

To prepare a lingerie bath, fill your sink with hot water and a gentile lingerie detergent. Dip your stockings repeatedly until the water cools. Bear in mind that most vintage stockings will bleed dye for the first couple of washes, so be careful to only wash like colors together. Once the water cools, drain the old water and refill the sink with fresh hot water. Gently rub the stockings on the foot area only, frequently dunking them in the fresh water. Then, rinse them under cool water.

*Important Note: Before washing your stockings, remove any jewelry and be sure your nails are filed and your polish is free of chips. Nothing is worse than shelling out mucho dinero for stockings only to have them ruined by a hangnail!

I personally take my stockings into the bath with me. A bubble bath makes a lovely lingerie wash, and stockings in the tub is oh so girlie! After your stockings are rinsed, gently manipulate them back into their original shape (this keeps them wrinkle-free) and wrap them in a towel to dry.

Now, this final step is completely optional, if not a little OCD, but I so love the look of stockings fresh from their vintage packaging that I re-board them after washing. To re board your stockings, you’ll need a steam iron with a silk setting, a towel, and a hard surface to work on.

 Lay out your slightly damp stocking on a towel and carefully smooth out any wrinkles.
Be sure the seam runs up the back without any overlap which would result in unsightly creases.
Fold the towel over the stocking.
DO NOT place the iron directly on the stocking unless you want melted stockings!
Iron the stocking through the towel (on the silk setting).
I know, I’m wearing a bracelet. I should follow my own advice!
Once your stockings are pressed (one at a time), fold them in thirds around their cardboard form  and wrap them in tissue paper or slip them into a satin lingerie pouch.
I always keep the original packaging from my stockings.
Not only are they fabulous storage, but I love the vintage artwork!

And there you have it. Our next and final installment of my stockings series will feature a bit of DIY fun. Now I leave you with a few more places to shop for stockings and other lovely foundation pieces.

Calendar Art by Alberto Vargas
Moi, preparing for an evening with my Mr.

Shopping!

Just Figures (formally Girdle Bound) has a great selection of new fully fashioned stockings and shape-wear!

 

Secrets in Lace is one of my all time favorite place to find vintage repro lingerie and stockings!

 

Ho-hose is my new favorite place for vintage FF stockings! Be sure to read the Pretty Polly articles on fully fashioned stockings… really fabulous information like don’t smoke while putting on your stockings!

 

What Katie Did  Stockings, corsets, and all things soft and sexy! I LOVE this shop. If you’re ever in Hollywood, put WKD on your list of places to shop.

 

Etsy and eBay are a great place to find vintage stockings for less funds than a traditional vintage shop, but buyer beware! Not every seller knows their product and you may end up with less than you paid for.

xoxo

Dolly Marlowe