Sunday, October 27, 2013

31 Days Of Halloween - Pin Up Revival's Atomic Halloween Party!

"Trick or Treat!"

After fighting a sinus cold since Wednesday, I mustered up the strength to attend a Halloween party  this past Friday night that I had been anxious to go to and just couldn't miss.

The party was being thrown by my good friend Desi from Pin Up Revival Originals at their headquarters in Corona which was even more exciting for me since I had been dying to see where all of the company's fabulous dresses were made! What is so unique about the company is that they utilize actual vintage fabrics and make custom designed pieces based off of vintage patterns that would make any girl's jaw drop!

Desi modeling some of PUR's dresses
I didn't put together a serious costume, like I normally do, since I wasn't sure if I would physically be able to go and finally felt up to going the night of. Even though I didn't have all of the makeup and accessories I needed to put a ligiamate costume together nor an idea to go off of, I dabbled in some makeup I did have on hand and decided that I would be a "Cirque du Soleil performer on a break" since I didn't have a body suit to match. Yeah I know kinda lame and I knew if I had a concrete plan I could've done better with the makeup theme but at least I was going in the spirit of.

Cirque du Soleil mugshot

Let me tell you, from the word GO I was impressed at how the company went all out with the decorations! I love old fashion Halloween parties complete with decorations, fog, food, music, etc and my girl defiinitely didnt disapoint!

I tried to take as many pictures as I good in between sneezing, teary eyes, sniffling, and everything else you know comes with the fun of allergies. So here we go!

 The salon viewing room transformed 

I was SO IMPRESSED by this little Halloween village! Had never seen anything like this before!

Took me a few minutes to find Desi since she was running around like mad entertaining all the guests, but when I found her she just about scared me with this fab costume of hers!

Po' thang had a bad hatchet problem!

Desi hired a zombified rock band to entertain everyone for the first part of the movie. Here is Desi's sister Paris (Garth from Wayne's World) and one of the band members.

This hot mess scared the bejesus out of me when the lights were off and he decided to move around....himself.....

And what would be a pin up clothing company without some serious atomic decorations hidden under all of this Halloween madness??

Atomic glass set....where's Don Draper at??!

 Sputnik Chandelier....WHAT!!!!

There's a shadowbox under there somewhere lol!

After seeing some of these serious vintage goodies in their viewing salon, Desi took me for a quick tour of her office where I just about fell out from so much vintageness!!!

LOOK at this ceiling fan!!!!! EEEE!!!

 Her office and shooting studio are AMAZING! Okay seriously, can we talk about this desk???????

So you're probably thinking that she must really love Elizabeth Taylor to have a HUGE portrait of her in the office right? This is actually a late 60's portrait of Desi's mother, who everyone affectionately calls "Mama" and also is the other half behind Pin Up Revival Originals.

You know this is the point where I died right????? LUCITE PURSES GALORE EEEEEH!!!!!

I was too in awe to think of snapping pics of her massive collection of vintage patterns and sewing area, so my apologies for that, especially since I was still trying to pick my jaw up from off the floor.

We eventually returned to the party where things really got crazy!

I had such a blast and met some great people. Thanks again to Desi and Pin Up Revival Originals for inviting me to such a great place and fab party!

If you are interested in contacting PUR for custom made pieces be sure to visit their website, Facebook, or their Etsy page which has a ton of examples of pieces you can look at in case you're not sure what you have in mind.

Pin Up Revival Originals

 Whether it's circle skirts, dresses, or swim suits, just let them know what you're looking for! They will let you know what types of vintage fabric they have on hand and will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Only 3 days left until the big night so I'll leave you with one last thought.....

Some things are worth repeating......


Friday, October 25, 2013

31 Days Of Halloween - Halloween Treats!

With just 6 more days until the big night, we now have approached the last weekend to participate in that mad dash for buying sweet treats at the store for all those cute little trick or treaters.

As with most modern things today, I find that the dazzling and exciting Halloween advertisements from yesteryear have been whittled away to boring pictures of just candy in bags sitting on a store shelf or by itself in the bag with no decorations around it. How does this scream Halloween fun???? IT DOESN'T...and it certainly doesn't get me into any festive spirit. Isn't that what advertisements are SUPPOSED to do, to get you to WANT to buy stuff??

So in honor of those amazingly hand drawn adverts of the past and for all of us big kids who still love any and everything Halloween, I thought I would send some old time your way to hopefully put a smile on your face and get you into the candy giving spirit!

Let's face it, what's not to love about Halloween!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hollywood's Golden Age: Behind The Scenes With The Universal Monsters!

What would Halloween be without this one and only group of ghouls and critters to help scare the pants right off of you!

Even though many horror films with bigger budgets and more gore have been made since the genesis of the Universal Monster films, I still say that there is nothing out there that can quite beat the sheer authenticity of terror that these films provoke. Yeah they might look cheesy or corny today due to the low grade effects or simplistic story, but lets face it, the Universal line has to have its props because these films were the ones that started the genre that is Horror.

As a Filmmaker and Cinephile, I always have respect and appreciation for anyone who can put a decent picture together because making films ain't easy! What I found fascinating was the behind the scenes stories of what it took to get these films made, which were horrors of their own. Many people I know have no clue as to what lengths were taken to make these pictures at the time or even watch these great pictures due to the fact that many see them are seen as outdated. Seriously, what could be creepier then seeing The Phantom's face behind that mask or the cold stare of The Creature bearing down on you? That's scarier than any psycho clown on LSD in my opinion.

So in the spirit of Halloween, this week's HGA post is in honor of those wretched creatures that started it all:

The Universal Monsters
Top Facts About The Universal Monsters:

1.The series began with the 1923 version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".
2."Hunchback of Notre Dame" inspired Universal to produce their first true horror film, "The Phantom of the Opera". The interior of the Opera Garnier was recreated to scale, and remains one of the longest-standing film sets to this day.

3. Many of the horror genre's most well-known conventions—the creaking staircase, the cobwebs, the swirling mist and the mobs of peasants pursuing monsters with torches—originated from the films "Dracula" and "Frankenstein".
4. 1936 marked the end of Universal’s first run of horror films after financial difficulties partly due to a temporary ban on American horror films. The monster movies would not re-emerge for another three years due to independent theatre revivals of the films that would lead to the original movies being re-released by the studio to surprising success forcing the new executives to give the go-ahead to "Son of Frankenstein" (1939).

The Infamous Jack Pierce working on Karloff

5.  By the 1950s, Universal had stopped filming most of its original line of horror characters, with Frankenstein, Dracula, and Wolf Man having been retired in 1948. It was left to the Abbott & Costello monster films to keep alive public interest in the characters but in 1954, Universal's horror films would return to popularity.
6. With the success of "Creature from the Black Lagoon" the revived "Universal Horror" franchise would gain a whole new generation of fans. 
7. By the early 1960s the original monsters were merchandised in the form of toys and model kits, the most famous of which were from the now-defunct Aurora Company.

8. Lon Chaney was given the freedom to create his own make-up for "Phantom", a habit which became almost as famous as the films he starred in. Chaney painted his eye sockets black, giving a skull-like impression to them. He also pulled the tip of his nose up and pinned it in place with wire, enlarged his nostrils with black paint, and put a set of jagged false teeth into his mouth to complete the ghastly deformed look of the Phantom. When audiences first saw the film they were said to have screamed or fainted at the scene where Christine pulls the concealing mask away, revealing his skull-like features to the audience.

Chaney's appearance in the film has been the most accurate depiction of the title character, based on the novel's description, where the Phantom is described as having a skull-like face with a few wisps of black hair on top of his head. As in the novel, Chaney's Phantom has been deformed since birth, rather than having been disfigured by acid or fire, as in later adaptations.

Lon Chaney

9. Many scenes in "Frankenstein" sparked controversy and were cut by censorship boards in several states. The line: "It's alive! It's alive! In the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!" were protested resulting in more than 32 scenes being cut in the film and were not shown for decades. In 1986, MCA-Universal restored many of these deleted scenes such as a close up of a needle injection and the little girl being thrown in the water, while the full "Now I know what it feels like to be God!" line would not be fully restored until 1999.

10. In "Wolf Man", Chaney Jr. did not undergo an on-screen transformation from man to wolf, as featured in all sequels. The lap-dissolve progressive make-ups were seen only in the final ten minutes, and then discretely: Talbot removes his shoes and socks, and it is his feet which are seen to grow hairy and transform into huge paws ("boots" made of hard rubber, covered in yak hair). In the final scene, the werewolf does gradually become Larry Talbot through the standard technique. The transformation of Chaney from man into monster was laborious. The original makeup design was uncomfortable to wear and forced Chaney to sit motionless for hours as the scenes were shot frame by frame.

Lon Chaney Jr.

11. In "Bride of Frankenstein", makeup artist Jack Pierce co-created the Bride's makeup with strong input from director James Whale, especially regarding the Bride's hair style. Based on Nefertiti,  Lanchester's hair was given a Marcel wave over a wire frame to achieve the style.

Elsa Lanchester

12. Mishaps plagued the "Frankenstein" production and was thought as a miracle to even get finished.  On the first day, Karloff broke his hip, necessitating a stunt double. Clive (who played Dr. Frankenstein) had also broken his leg.  Due to mishaps, retakes, and re editing days before the premiere, the film was ten days over schedule and budget by 3.46 million resulting in a total of $8.46 million as of 2013), Bride was more than $100,000 ($1.7 million as of 2013) over budget. 

James Whale and Karloff

13.  For "The Mummy",  Jack Pierce studied photos of Seti I's mummy to design his Imhotep, though perhaps notably, Karloff bared more of a resemblance to the mummy of Ramesses III. Pierce began transforming Karloff at 11:00 am, applying cotton, collodion, spirit gum, and clay to his face and hair and wrapping him in linen bandages treated with acid and burnt in an oven, finishing the job at 7:00 pm. Karloff would finish his scenes at 2:00 am then another two hours were spent removing the make-up. Karloff found the removal of gum from his face painful, and the fact that the costume designers forgot to put a zipper in the suit so he could go to the bathroom made this the most trying ordeal he ever had to endure for a film.  Although the images of Karloff wrapped in bandages are the most iconic taken from the film, he only appears on screen in this make-up for a few minutes; the rest of the film sees him wearing less elaborate make-up.

Pierce working on Karloff

Of course there are many other tales to be told about this gruesome bunch, but we wouldn't want to remove too much smoke from the cauldron now would we?

Be sure you nab these films on DVD in time for Halloween!

Available via Amazon

'Til Next Time Ghouls and Ghouletts!


Friday, October 18, 2013

31 Days Of Halloween: Party Treats!

If you're gearing up to throw your own halloween party next weekend or on the actual night, you most likely may still be trying to figure out what types of party foods to have for your spread.

Just a quick note that it helps to have foods that won't interfere too much with your guests' costumes and makeup. I can't tell you how many parties I've been too where I wanted to eat but really couldn't do so without messing up my face because the food was either too messy or required plates and silverware which isn't always the greatest idea when you have a house full of people running around bumping into each other. So in my opinion , it helps to have bite size finger foods that can be placed on a tiny napkin so guests can still walk around and mingle without worrying about balancing food on a plate.

Now of course if you have the time and cash to burn, you can get really creative by making things super creepy by adding edible spiders, fingers, eyes, etc to your presentation but if you are pressed for time and need quick and simple then I got you covered.  Based on some fun foods I've either made or had at past parties, here are a few suggestions you can spook up your table with.

*For healthier options, you can substitute veggie oils and butters with olive oil, grain sugars for honey or agave nectar, milk/creme for Greek yogurt, goat or skim, etc!

Main Dishes

Mini Sweet Potato Quiche
*This recipe is based off of cooking in a casserole dish, however, the filling can be placed in mini pre made shells for easier handling or shell crust can be made and molded into cupcake tins

  • Crust
  • 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons natural cane sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • Filling:
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2-3 large onions
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½-1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 2½ cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • pinch nutmeg

  1. To make crust, combine dry ingredients into bowl and cut in butter with your fingers (or a pastry blender.) Once butter is broken down to the size of peas, add water to the mix and stir/knead until the dough comes together. Roll out onto a flour surfaced and gather into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill. Pre-heat oven to 425˚. Roll out dough and crimp into an 11″ quiche pan. If you have dough left over, store in the freezer for later use. Parbake the crust for 10-15 minutes, until crust gets a little brown color. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. To caramelize onions, slice onions into an even ¼” slice and heat a medium pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium low heat. Start cooking onions, stirring occasionally. After onions have cooked for 15-20 minutes, add salt. Continue to cook and stir onions until golden, soft, and cooked down- usually 60-75 minutes. Set aside.
  3. To prepare sweet potatoes, peel and cut into ¼” slices. Toss with one tablespoon of olive oil and place on a covered baking tray. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft and begin to brown. The crust, onions, and sweet potatoes can be done all at the same time.
  4. Reduce or preheat oven to 375˚.
  5. Once these three elements are ready, layer the sweet potatoes in the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle caramelized onions and gorgonzola cheese on top. Finally, whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg together. Pour over filling ingredients. It is at this point you can cover the quiche, place in the refrigerator, and let sit for up to day before baking.
  6. To bake, carefully transfer quiche to the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes until the filling domes up and barely jiggles. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Mini Stuffed Crescent Rolls
*With this option, you can have several vegan and meat varieties of fillings for your guests to choose from.

Buffalo Chicken


Many great recipes for this option can be found on the Pillsbury website!

What would be a Halloween party without the spooky drinks to creep your guests out with?


Recipe here.

Black Widow

Recipe here.

Frankenstein Reviver

Recipe here.


The Traditional: Pumpkin Pie Bites

I made these one year and trust there were none left by the end of the night! Although you can find the basic Pumpkin Pie recipe on the back of any canned pumpkin, I always put a little extra kick in mine by adding extra pumpkin pie spice, honey, or condensed milk!

Candy Corn Fudge
Creamy chocolate and vanilla fudge


3 cups sugar
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow crème
3 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup real semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white baking chips or 2 (4oz) bars chopped
Orange gel or paste food color
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest, if desired
Orange or yellow decorator sprinkles


1. Line 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil, extending foil over edges. Butter foil; set aside.
2. Combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk in 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6-7 minutes or until butter is melted and mixture comes to a full boil. Continue cooking, stirring often, 5 minutes. Stir in marshmallow crème and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Remove from heat.
3. Spoon 1 1/2 cups hot mixture into bowl; stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips until smooth. Spread into prepared pan. Place into freezer 5 minutes or until set.
4. Add white baking chips and remaining vanilla to remaining marshmallow crème mixture in saucepan; stir until smooth. Spoon 1 cup mixture into another bowl; add enough food color to for desired orange tint. Stir in orange zest, if desired.
5. Remove chocolate mixture from freezer; spread orange mixture over top. Return to freezer 5 minutes or until set.
6. Remove fudge from freezer. Microwave remaining marshmallow crème mixture in bowl on 10 seconds or until soften, if necessary. Spread over orange layer. Sprinkle with decorator sprinkles. Refrigerate 1 hour or until set.
7. Remove fudge from pan using foil ends; place onto cutting surface. Carefully peel off foil. Cut fudge into 36 squares. Cut each square in half diagonally.

Tip: Gel or paste food color is concentrated and will give you a deeper color. You can also use red and yellow liquid food color to tint the fudge orange.

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Muffins

Yields 24

2 cups self rising flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
2 cups cold mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup oil

1 cup confectioners' sugar
7 1/2 tsp milk
1-1 1/2 tsp butter 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk the egg, sweet potatoes and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  2. Fill greased muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over warm muffins.
* As a substitute for each cup of self-rising flour, place 1-1/2 teaspoons baking
powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour to measure 1 cup.