Monday, 29 July 2013

LIFE: On Going Grey


My hair's been going grey for over ten years. There I sad it. One of the taboo's of beauty and life - going grey. School friends in secondary school pointed out the odd grey strand when I was around 15, but I'd been noticing it before that. Now on the verge of 27, a good half of my hair is quite probably grey.

You see I don't see it very often, my hair's been dyed since I was 17 in various shades and tones. Being bleach blonde for four years at university I forget there were pesky grey strands hiding but as I've returned to darker, black, purple and red shades, their presence is a lot easier to spot. That's not to say I'm re-dying, touching up my roots every other week to hide them. I don't at all but it does make me wonder why grey hair seems such a taboo, un-talked about subject among under thirties, because I know I can't be the only person out there who's had and having, a similar hair history. Which is kind of amazing when there are so many beauty bloggers - yet grey hair, going grey, finding grey hair is an unmentionable subject.

Be it genetic or stress, grey hair is something most of us will probably have to deal with at some stage. Granted for many it won't be until their late 30's or 40's. Grey hair to many is that key defining point of becoming old, while men can be silver foxes, women are turned grandma's. Yet research is showing more of us are going grey at a younger age - so much that 32% of British women under the age of 30 report to turning grey, go back 20 years and it was only 18%.

Will I ever let my hair go grey? I'm unsure mainly because I do love to dye my hair but addition too perhaps for the assumptions and amazement that it might cause people - or assumptions that I don't care to dye my hair. I too get a little weighed down by people's horror at the thought of going silver headed maybe we all need to change our assumptions over the occurrence of growing grey for it yet to be more accepted and no longer just be seen as being old.

How do you feel about growing grey? 

Friday, 26 July 2013

VINTAGE: Complete Etiquette - Make Up

While I was busy listing books and all sorts of vintage delights for finding new homes, I came across a book we picked up at an estate sale by Frances Benton called Complete Etiquette. Etiquette books have been something I've been picking up a lot lately were it's reached the point of needing to re-home a few of them. Through collecting vintage powder compacts a natural interest comes through reading about the role and position of make up in decades past so I make a point of reading through their chapters. The make up descriptions are certainly an entertaining read in this book, the sarkiness and personality of Ms. Benton is reminiscent of a strict schoolmistresses that it possibly would have made weak girls turn in fear from a make up brush in the 1950 when Complete Etiquette came to be published. 

Most of us women love make up in one for or another so I thought i'd share with you Ms. Benton's thoughts on the matter, all words really are her own. 


Make up can edge over into vulgarity or theatricality if it's not used within a fine hard, so learn how to apply it ... and exercise restraint. To be in a good taste, your make up should never look mask like or artificial. 

1. Lipstick. Lipstick is supposed to emphaise your mouth, not remake it, so follow the lines of your own lips in applying it. Garish shades like the extreme purples or oranges are generally in poor taste.

2. Powder. It's never attractive to look distinctly powdery, so get a shade of powder that matches your skin, and use your powder puff with a light hand. 

3. Mascara. If you need to emphaise your eyelashes, practice until you are good at it and always apply it lightly. Cakes mascara is unappetizing. In daytime, it's wiser to use mascara only on the upper lashes, 

4. Rogue. If rogue is at all noticeable, you have too much on. In fact unless you are really pale and sallow, it's better to leave it entirely alone. 

5. Pan Make Up. This is not good for daytime wear. It looks unnatural, Remember, too if you do wear it at night, it has to be blended into your neck or it will make your face look like a mask.

6. Eye Shadow. This is better left to professionals; it almost always looks theatrical.

7. Eyebrows. You should pluck your eyebrows only if they grow in a straggly line and need tidying. To do it properly, plucky stray hairs from the edges, but never try to change the natural line of your eyebrows. If you do, you'll only end up looking artificial rather then glamorous. 

8. Hair Dye. If you must dye your hair, make up your mind to spend the necessary time to keep it properly touched up all the way to the roots at all times. Also, select a shade which is natural to your colouring. It may be necessary for a movie star to be a blonde in one picture and a redhead in the next; it is necessary and certainly not tasteful for an ordinary women to go in for switches. 

Taken from Complete Etiquette - The Complete Modern Guide for Day-to-Day Living the Correct Way by Frances Benton published in 1956.

While she may be correct in how to pluck eyebrows, as someone who's dyed her hair from a natural very dark brown to blonde, red and black and had more then her fair share of root growth showing (even right now) I find her hair dye suggestions wanting. While I love vintage, i'm all for the progress that's been made in consideration of how to be feminine. I wonder how Ms. Benton would find the trend for extreme pink rogue, or ombre hair these days! 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

VINTAGE: Embroidered Powder Compact

Vintage compact number 62 in my collection is a sweet little compact with a flower bouquet design encased upon the top. Needlepoint decorated vintage powder compacts are few and fair between when it comes to finding them but Joe managed to sneakily buy this one for me at the weekend from an estate sales we visited. While unbranded I've managed to find some interesting information and history about this little compact all thanks to the patent number which was originally hidden under a clump of now vintage, original powder. Luckily google's patent search makes it super easily to track down and read American patents - in this case an issue date of January 29th, 1935 when a George Rosenburg of New York was issued his patent for a compact or vanity case was found. 

There's a couple of reasons why this patent and compact is a little different mostly relating to provision, adaptation and construction methods of using two different materials and so on. But what is of most interest is a little change in the mirror as described in the patent;
The ordinary vanity case is provided with a mirror on the inside of the cover facing inwardly, this being exposed when the case is opened. In accordance with a further object and feature of the invention, the bottom of the vanity includes a mirror facing outwardly which is valuable for use as a hand mirror without opening the case. This mirror makes unnecessary the extra mirror usually carried by a women in her handbag. Because the mirror is located at the bottom of the case, the cover at the top of the case may be suitable decorated or adorned to beautify the same.
George Rosenberg, 1935

That's not to say the only mirror provided in this compact is upon the bottom, inside there is a double sided mirror in the underside of the top, behind which a rogue compartment is held. Sadly over time this bottom facing mirror has faced a little extra wear but it's certainly an intriguing and practical idea. 

Monday, 22 July 2013

DETROIT: The Sun's Still Shining

Midtown Midtown Midtown Midtown

You might have heard that Detroit has chosen to file for bankruptcy - the largest US municipality in history to do so. Whatever your take on the reasons why (and there are many) to solutions (not so many of those) and what turning point the city will go down, the sun is still shining on the city. We popped down yesterday for my first trip to the DIA (who's collection is up in the air - more of that and trip there to come in following weeks) and I managed to snap some photos of Detroit, predominately Midtown along Woodward. No doubt the news reports you read or saw about the bankruptcy were accompanied by ruin porn photographs, burnt our, chopped up, falling down building - but those images have no place on my blog, I'm not one to prompt that image of the city.

So here's some alternate images, Detroit is still alive, it's still open, it's still sunny.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

VINTAGE: Sgt. Nick Fury

We often come across vintage comic books at estate sales, but their prices can be a little out of our price range and I can imagine if we started buying everyone when we saw them, we'd end up with more collections of stuff then we could ever handle or find room for. Yet we gave in a little this weekend and purchased a copy of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos (issue 11 from 1964). If you follow Marvel either through comics or the films, you'll probably all picture Nick Fury as how Samuel J Jackson portrayals him, but he does have a comic series of his own, and another universe well before being the head of Shield. 

Nick Fury first appears as Sgt. Fury in 1963 as a fictional WW2 army Sergeant in charge of a unit nicknamed the Howling Commandos. This particular issue features Fury's challenge at training another unit for two weeks, and on his return their mission with Captain Flint to destroy a German V-2 convoy in France. 

What is of particular interest in this comic is the section Tell it to Fury whereby one of the letters from a reader to Stan Lee notes;
Just for fun, I decided to to play the game of movie casting. I tried not to cast major stars because I felt that if a movie based on Sgt. Fury were made, major stars would not be used. I think my casing of well known character actors is logical and ideal. Sgt. Nick Fury - Peter Falk ...
 Roselind, 26

Apparently Peter Falk was the actor who played the detective Colombo and the old man who narrates the tale in the Princess Bride. Granted this is in another Marvel Universe to the one we know and now see upon the big screen (Cinematic Universe which led to the Ultimate version of Nick Fury) but it's interesting to see a readers interpretation of how they imagine Fury to be depicted. 

Monday, 15 July 2013

VINTAGE: Fred and Ginger

The Barkley's of Broadway, released in 1949 was the film that reunited Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers after 10 years, but it was also their last film together. You could say these two sparkled my interest in vintage, especially the 1930's era, I loved watching their black and white dance moves as a child and I still continue to rewatch and love them. 

Hunting through a box of vintage (original) advertisements at the Royal Oak garage sale yesterday, I was hoping against hope their might just be a Fred and Ginger one. And there it was, the very last advert. The Barkley's of Broadway was actually the only film they did together that was filmed in colour and it was original intended that Judy Garland would be performing alongside Fred as she had done in Easter Parade, however her health wouldn't permit her to be the star of this movie which follows the drama of husband-and-wife musical comedy team Josh and Dinah Barkley.

All it needs is a frame and place on the wall!

Friday, 12 July 2013

METRO DETROIT: Drive-Ins and Popcorn

This summer the all American drive-in movie theatre celebrates it's 80th birthday. How cool would it have been growing up going to movies in your car, ordering food or perhaps laying and watching from the roof? 

With their origin in the early 1930's, the first opening in Detroit in 1938, it wasn't until the 1950s and 1960s that they reached their peak popularity and by this stage there were over four thousand drive-in's across America. They were especially a hit with teenagers, becoming a popular destination place for dates. Inclement weather, color TV, video rentals and upgrading costs eventually led to the decline in the drive-in movie theatre and very few remain today.

Michigan Radio aired an interview earlier this week about this American invention which got me thinking about a now closed drive-in that we'd passed the other week. Opening in 1956, the Commerce Township drive-in had a capacity of over 1,000 until it's closure in 1990. Now only the sign remains, a modern car wash sign stuck right next to it, but behind the sign is where the screen originally would have stood. It's been interesting reading old comment forums about this particular drive-in, while it had a huge screen, bigger then neighbouring drive-in's, it's out of the way location was it's apparent downfall but it was great finding some vintage film advertisements mentioning the drive-in.

Original movie advertisements for the Commerce Drive-In (Source)

While predominately most drive-ins are closed across America a couple do still run, wouldn't it be so fun to go to one?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

FOOD: Cornish Pasty

When I want to try a new recipe, I tend to go all out. Not only was I baking Cornish Pasties for the first time, I was making my own pastry for the first time. I have memories of always eating Cornish Pasties in car journeys while going on holiday or on a Saturday for lunch. Easy to eat warm or cold they are meal in themselves. Joe had never had one and I was missing them so it was time to get to baking my own (they are lacking in American stores around these parts).

They were actually a lot easier they I had imagined even the pastry turned out okay for the first attempt. Lovely to bite through a tasty crust to pasties crammed fill of ground turkey (we use turkey instead of beef), onions, carrots and potatoes. Tasty indeed. 

If your instead in the recipe yourself you'll find it here

Are you a fan of the old Cornish Pasty? Ever tried baking them yourself? I'd love to hear! 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

LIFE: I'll never be a cool expat blogger

Writing and reading blogs often makes me reflect upon my own life - especially as an expat, an in fact it often makes me think my life even as an English girl in the US as rather dull. As the world gets smaller, people migrate and leave home countries, there's been a bit of an explosion of expat blogs out there, sometimes I try and pretend to be one too - the working class girl living and loving in the good old America with her own American Dream. But my life is not really huge, or big or interesting. 

Saving for a house means I don't get the chance or have the money to go on crazy road trips or really be a tourist like many expats experience once in their new country. Granted I've managed to find my way to Pittsburgh but that's only because the in-laws live there, Chicago was our honeymoon and Ohio is just the state in between. I've never been amazed by the lights of New York - i'm more of a Chicago, Washington kinda girl. I live in south east Michigan by a city everyone writes off and is disillusioned about - i'm not sure how many people really want to read about Detroit in all honesty. My life as an expat is about settling down, buying our first house and going to the store every Sunday for groceries. My life is as ordinary as it was in the UK which makes me think about packing this blogging lark in.

I just write and it's not very interesting what I do write which does go along with the comment my six form sociology teacher declared - my essays are packed with information and "you'll go far", but they are a little dull. Maybe eight years on, even in a new country, my writing, my life at least under the catergory as being an expat and my blog is just dull

Monday, 8 July 2013

METRO DETROIT: Strange and Peculiar

Marvins Marvins Marvins Marvins  
So before I revelled in the delights of the root beer float on July 4th, we visited a place considered the home of strange curiosities, oddities and the peculiar - Marvin's Marvellous Mechanic Museum in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Actually listed as one of the 100 most unusual museums in the USA Marvin's is home to over 300 vintage coin operated machines from the 1900's to today's more computerised gaming machines. There's fortune telling machines, magic machines, pin ball machines to 1920's show banners and neon signs. It's even home to a couple of old machines originating from London and Brighton pier.

While it may be a museum, it's certainly hands on and you can play and operate all the machines, perfect way to waste an hour or two and a tonne of quarters.

Fancy a play yourself?

Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum 
31005 Orchard Lake Road,
Farmington Hills, MI

Friday, 5 July 2013

LIFE: Root Beer Floats


If you ever come to America sure there's a lot of things you should do. Places to visit, see and do. But you really, really must try a root beer float. Or even just root beer. Root beer's never really taken off in the UK but I love it, it's my pop (yes they still call pop, pop in Michigan) of choice - yeah we all have one admit it. But yeah, root beer floats are magic. Have one, they'll change your life.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

VINTAGE: Women and World War 2

Image Source

I got rather excited when Joe shared this photographs with me from yahoo yesterday - these gorgeous colour photos were produced by the US Office of War Information during WW2 and beautifully remember the all important role women played during the conflict. Taken during 1942 to 1943 by Howard Hollem and Alfred Palmer they were left to the Library of Congress in 1944. 

On a day were we remember our independence in the US, it's fitting to remember the importance women's work during the war that maintained that freedom, both in the US and in the wider world during this era. You can see the rest of the collection through yahoo here