Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Golden Stag 1940's Holiday Party

Last Friday was the annual Golden Stag 1940's Holiday Party at the beautiful Park Plaza Hotel in Downtown LA. I had not planned on going until my friend Desi from Pin Up Revival Originals told me she and her friend Jessica were going and since the hotel is literally down the street from me, I decided to dash on home and throw myself together for some 1940's get down!

With literally only an hour and a half to get ready, this is what I was able to throw together...

1940's dress, snood, Miss L Fire Glass Slippers, vintage accessories, and scented with my Dita Von Teese Erotique parfum.

From what little we could see of the hotel (many sections were closed off and it was extremely dark inside) it definitely has that Art Deco look and feel as if it was something right out of some old Fred Astaire movie!

Hotel Lobby

Since it was so dark inside, we weren't able to take many pictures but the good thing was the place was packed and the music was bumpin'!

Jessica and Desi

It was so dark that the only place that had enough light to take outfit pictures was, of all places, the bathroom!

This bartender was AMAZING!!! Not only did he make the perfect dirty champagne cocktail, but the guy was SERIOUS about the art of mixology!!

The end result....
 A fruity concoction only that bartender could tell you what was in it but man was it good!!!

Desi had a mojito...also tasted fabulous!

 Taste test - Jessica approves!

I know I approved!

Then the party really started jumpin'!

That's Dean Mora and his band crankin' out the tunes!

Dean Mora!!!!

LOVED this guy!! He had the whole "Press" outfit together!!! All he needed was an old school camera!

I dubbed him "Mickey Cohen" all night! He was one of the few men "dressed" period appropriate.

Then you had the serious "jumpin' and jivin' folks"!

How will you be ringing in the New Year?


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mary Kay's New Skinvigorate Facial Brush Product Review

"You won't want to wash your face with your hands ever again!"

I can't tell you how long I have been drooling over those Clarisonic brushes, always waiting for the right time to buy one since they are a bit pricey. I have a few friends that own one and they swear by them but because of the $160 price tag, I had to settle for the Neutrogena Wave, which was only $10, and was giving me pretty okay results. I still had my hopes on getting the Clarisonic because I wanted an even more deeper clean in order to ensure that I was doing everything to my skin in order to keep it blemish and dirt free as much as possible.

I had told myself that December or January would be the month that I would go ahead and take the plunge on buying a Clarisonic since I was tired of going without. A few weeks ago, I was at my Mary Kay rep Ashley's house helping a friend get started on some new makeup with Ashley showed me the new Winter catalog of products that were coming out and when I saw it I literally almost passed out onto the floor. It was showing the same type of brush that Clarisonic has but the MK version called "Skinvigorate" and for how much you ask.....only $50, a third of the price of a Clarisonic!!!!!!!  You know I jumped all over this and told her to order me one STAT!!!

So here it is!

So this past Friday, I finally picked up my new skin care investment and immediately put it to work that very night!

I first tried it in the shower and then the next morning at the sink and do prefer using it in the shower at the end of the day when I really want to remove dirt and makeup. Right away you can see and feel the difference in your skin. After testing it out for several days, here are my thoughts:

General Review:
  • Offers light exfoliation giving a youthful glow to skin
  • Skin has smoother, more uniform texture
  • Pores feel like they have been opened and cleaned out
  • Skin feels lighter, more refreshed
  • Gentle enough to use daily, even twice a day
  • Be careful not to use for more than a few minutes during first week as your face may become irritated in sensitive areas due to getting used to the bristles
Points To Note:
  • Hard to get the battery cover off first few times due to ultra grip design for water durability
  • No case for travel so you need to remove brush head and place in bag or container
  • $100 cheaper than Clarisonic
  • Has 2 speeds like the Clarisonic
  • Starter kit comes with two brushes, Clarisonic only gives you one and replacement brushes for Clarisonic retail at $25/ea whereas Skinvigorate replacements come two in a pack for only $15/box
  • Can use any cleanser of your choice with device
  • Noted to decrease oil production and acne
  • Device is light weight and easy to hold
  • Only needs two AA batteries 
  • Brush heads last three months before replacement is needed

All in all, to get something that works exactly like the Clarisonic line for a fraction of the cost is something you just cant beat! 

Contact my MK rep Ashley Reed for more information or to purchase this fabulous addition to your skin care regimen and mention the referral code "AHF". She is a wealth of knowledge on all MK products and an absolute joy to work with!

There is still time for Christmas shopping and this would definitely make a great gift and Mary Kay ships world wide!



Monday, December 9, 2013

Hollywood's Golden Age: Behind The Scenes With Director George Cukor

"The sole job of the director is to provide guidance, clarity, and sanctity to the actors then shut up and let them perform." -M

In my ongoing quest to help promote film preservation and the importance of Golden Age Cinema and the history of some of its players, I wanted to focus on an artist whose job was to create and mold the pictures he worked on, acting as the Captain of the ship - the role known as "Director". This artist deserves an honorable mention in the HGA series because his name has seemed to become over shadowed by the great, influential films he did mostly in the 30's and 40's and his contributions downplayed by the presence of many of the infamous stars he worked with.

So this HGA's post is in honor of a man who cultivated some of the greatest talent in the history of cinema:

George Cukor
July 7, 1899 - January 24, 1983

Top Facts On George Cukor

1. In 1928, Paramount Pictures signed him to a six-month apprenticeship where he would coach the cast of "River of Romance" to speak with an acceptable Southern accent.  Soon after in 1930, he co-directed three films at Paramount, which led to his solo directorial debut with "Tarnished Lady" starring Tallulah Bankhead in 1931.
2. Earned a reputation as a Director who could coax great performances from actresses and became known as a 'woman's director', a title he resented. Despite this reputation, he oversaw more performances honored with the Academy Award for "Best Actor" than any other director.
3. One of Cukor's first ingenues was actress Katherine Hepburn whose looks and personality left RKO officials at a loss as to how to use her. Cukor directed her in several films and became close friends off the set.

With Hepburn

4.  Cukor was hired to direct "Gone With The Wind" in 1936. He spent the next two years involved with pre-production duties, including supervision of the numerous screen tests of actresses to portray Scarlett O'Hara. Cukor favored Hepburn for the role, but producer David O. Selznick was concerned about her reputation as 'box office poison' and would not consider her without a screen test, which the actress refused to do thus costing her the role.
5. Between his "Wind" chores, after its original Director Richard Thorpe was fired, Cukor spend a week working on "The Wizard of Oz". Although he filmed no footage, he made crucial changes to the look of Dorothy by eliminating Judy Garland's blonde wig and adjusting her makeup and costume, encouraging her to act in a more natural manner. Additionally, he softened the Scarecrow's makeup and gave the Wicked With of the West a different hairstyle as well as altering her makeup and other facial features, thus greatly contributing to the success of the final film.

Original wardrobe test shots for Dorothy and Scarecrow

6. Cukor spent many hours coaching Vivien Leigh and Olivia de Havilland prior to the start of filming "Gone With The Wind", but Clark Gable resisted efforts to master a Southern accent.  Selznick's mounting dissatisfaction with Cukor's slow pace and quality of work grew. Cukor was an honest craftsman and could not do a job unless he knew it was a good job and felt right. Unfortunately, he felt he was failing as things were not coming together as they should causing him to be convinced that the script was the trouble. So George just told David he would not work any longer if the script was not better and he wanted the [Sidney] Howard script back because he would not let his name go out over a lousy picture.
7. Selznick had already been unhappy with Cukor for not being more receptive to directing other Selznick assignments and four months before principal photography for "Wind" began, Selznick flirted with the idea of replacing him with Victor Fleming.  Cukor was eventually relieved of his duties, but he continued to work with Leigh and de Havilland off the set.  Selznick's friendship with Cukor had crumbled slightly when the director refused other assignments, including "A Star Is Born" (1937).
8. Cukor's dismissal from "Wind" freed him to direct "The Women" (1939), notable for its all-female cast, followed by "The Philadelphia Story" (1940), starring Katharine Hepburn. He also directed another of his favorite actresses, Greta Garbo in "Two Faced Woman" (1941), her last film before she retired from the screen.

Cukor with the "Little Women" cast

9. In 1942, at the age of forty-three, Cukor enlisted in the Signal Corps. where he produced training and instructional films for army personnel. Because he lacked an officer's commission, he found it difficult to give orders and directions to his superiors. Despite his efforts to rise above the rank of Private, he even called upon Frank Capra to intercede on his behalf—he never achieved officer's status or any commendations during his six months of service. 
10. Two years later, Cukor achieved one of his greatest successes with "My Fair Lady". Throughout filming there were mounting tensions between the director and some of the crew but Cukor was thrilled with leading lady Audrey Hepburn, although the crew was less enchanted with her diva-like demands. The film won him the Academy Award for "Best Director", the Golden Globe Award for "Best Director", and the Directors Guild of America Award.
11. In 1976, Cukor was awarded the George Eastman Award for distinguished contribution to the art of film.  He directed his final film, "Rich and Famous" (1981)  at the age of eighty-two.

With Joan Crawford

12. His most notable project in the 60's was the ill-fated "Something's Got To Give". Cukor liked leading lady Marilyn Monroe but found it difficult to deal with her erratic work habits, frequent absences from the set, and the constant presence of her acting coach, Paula Strasberg on set. After thirty-two days of shooting, the director had only 7½ minutes of usable film. The production came to a halt when Cukor had filmed every scene not involving Monroe and the actress remained unavailable due to her attendance at the John F. Kennedy birthday celebration in New York. The studio fired her and hired Lee Remick to replace her, prompting co-star Dean Martin to quit, since his contract guaranteed he would be playing opposite Monroe. With the production already $2 million over budget, the studio pulled the plug on the project.

 With Monroe

George Cukor, a man of life, creative inspiration, and most of all worthy of his talents which gave us some of cinema's most memorable films.

Be sure to check out these great classics directed by George Cukor:


Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like A Vintage Christmas!

Ah yes, it's that time of year again where the weather is frosty cold, the fireplaces are going, harvest foods are being made, and the mad, elbow 'em in the chest, dash in the department store game is underway as the calendar days wind down on any and all Christmas prep.

I have some friends who were telling me that they planned on having a vintage Christmas this year and even though I knew what they meant in the metaphorical sense, it dawned on me that I started to wonder just exactly what Christmas was like during the mid century period.

What most people may not realize is that many traditions we have today actually originated in the 40's and 50's as the country and its economic standing were beginning to vastly change due to the war and many other aspects that were affected by the economy. Prior to the 1940's, America was once reliant upon Germany for its ornaments, toys, and even its Christmas customs, however, America became self-sufficient in the post-War years with ornaments and toys being manufactured in the US which were considerably less expensive than their German counterparts. The mid century era saw the production and manufacture of toys that have become classics such as Candy Land, Mr. Potato Head, and Barbie.


With the rise of the advertising era, you saw many foods, products, and gift ideas being pushed by many celebrities popular at the time.

Of course the biggest part of Christmas, aside from presents and food, is trimming the tree. In the 30's and 40's, it was especially popular to have a train set running around the base of a real tree, which symbolized the comings and goings of people during that time of year.  However, in 1950, the Addis Brush Company created and patented an aluminum tree, the Silver Pine, that came with a floodlight and a rotating color wheel.  The futuristic, Space Age look of the trees made them especially suited to the streamlined home decor of the period. Sales of aluminum trees declined after being treated satirically in the 1965 animated Christmas television special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas".


And speaking of Charlie Brown, many classic Television programs such as Rudolph, Frosty, The Grinch, and Merry Christmas Charlie Brown also made their grand debuts during the mid century and became family staples that have been continuously aired over the last fifty plus years making them every part of Christmas as decorating the tree or wrapping presents.

There were also several food traditions that stemmed from this era including cooking cutting and decorating which reached its zenith during the boomer years with cutouts of reindeer, trees, stars that became the easy neighbor gift by throwing them into Tupperware containers and taking them to parties or to the family next door. A snack hit of the 1955 holiday season was Chex Party Mix and that same year also saw the culinary debut of Green Bean Casserole.

Of course it wouldn't be a vintage christmas without all of those great Coca Cola Santa ads too!

oh.....and fruit cake.....(ick!)

Lastly, nothing is more traditional during Christmas then listening to Bing Crosby sing White Christmas along with Ol' Blue Eyes and the Andrew Sisters to chime in with those classic songs that help make the holiday truly special!

How will you be celebrating your vintage style Christmas?

Happy Holidays!