2 piece swimsuit: Esther Williams
sandals: Payless, 2-3 years ago
1960s white lace coverup, 1950s sunhat: ebay
white chiffon scarf: estate sale
1950s sunglasses: Lulu Forever vintage shop in Sacramento, since closed
I spent a weekend with my man at a family cabin in the woods and got to spend some time at the lake. Swimming has become my new favorite form of exercise. Since getting older I’ve noticed that my knees just can’t handle the running I used to love, and getting in the water just feels so darn good. Knowing that I was going to be doing some summer travels I wanted a vintage reproduction suit that was swim-able, something I could wear to the gym and lounge in at the beach. Esther Williams suits were on my radar a year or two ago. I wanted a two piece, but held back from getting the EW suit because the bottoms just weren’t as high as I would’ve liked, and the top just wasn’t as flattering. But the lack of many options on the market really just took its toll. I went on Modcloth and read reviews and looked at customer photos, and it really did look good on people, so I decided to take the chance. I ordered the suit directly from Esther-Williams.com and saved a few bucks.
The verdict: I still think the suit isn’t as flattering as it could be. Like I said, I’d prefer the waist be even higher, ideally at the smallest/natural waistline, and I feel the suit top could be just a bit more sweatheart shaped for a cuter look. But, hey, it does its job. It’s still pretty darn cute and I can swim laps in it, take it to the lake, etc. The only other drawback is the fact that the over skirt on the bottom covers a mesh nude netting that’s kind of at your pubic region (sorry, but I don’t know how else to describe it). That’s an area you’d like to have covered, obviously, and I’ve found myself a bit self-conscious doing handstands in pools and jumping in because I don’t want that over skirt to fly up. And those bottoms are a problem in the hot tub. The bubbles will just make the overskirt bubble up so I end up having to hold my suit down when I’m sitting in the hot tub. So all in all, I’m still not satisfied and I’m now planning on getting my hands on the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern as it looks pretty amazing on pretty much everyone I’ve seen who has made it.
Are there any vintage reproduction suits on the market that you are eyeing?
I first heard of the book The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II when the author Denise Kiernan was on The Daily Show. She spoke of a secret city that was created during WWII to enrich uranium for the first atomic bomb to be used in combat. I usually skip the interviews on The Daily Show, but this one I couldn’t. I never heard of this, never learned of this in school, and as an old Women Studies major I made a mental note that I had to read this book. Fast forward to a couple months later when I get an email from Simon and Schuster about reviewing a novel, I said sure, but could you also send me The Girls of Atomic City?
The book starts with a bit of foreshadowing, of what we already know happened to end the war in 1945 and then backpedals to 1943. It’s amazing to think within just 2 years an entire city was created, bustling with 75,000 men, women and children and using more electricity than New York City AND it was never heard of! It was a complete secret. Everyone who worked there went there knowing they were helping to end the war but they didn’t know how that would be. They did their job and were told to tell no one anything about what they did there. Not your co-workers, not even your husband or wife. A billboard reminded residents, “What you see here, What you do here, What you hear here, Let it Stay Here.” Young men who worked at Oak Ridge felt judged outside of the town, not being able to tell people that they were part of the war effort.
Women standing in line outside Miller’s Department Store for nylon stockings. (1/4/1946)
Young women from far-off cities got on trains not knowing where they would be going. Denise Kiernan tells the story of Oak Ridge by weaving through the personal histories and memories of several women from a single white secretary from New York to a black janitor who came to work with her husband, shedding light on the secret city and exposing the inequalities of race and gender as the world’s worst weapon at its time was being created.
Telephone switch board operators lined up behind operators on-duty to make a shift change. (1946)
It was so bold and courageous of these young women to work for their country not knowing where they would be or what they would be doing. How did they feel once the war ended? Once they knew what their work had yielded? Kiernan does a great job describing the mindset, the culture and time. It’s a history book, obviously researched, yet it reads like a novel.
Robert Oppenheimer smoking a cigarette by the mantle in the Guest House. (1945)
If anything 371 pages wasn’t enough to satisfy me. Interwoven with the stories of the women who worked at Oak Ridge, Kiernan wrote chapters on the science side of this history. She tracked the development of the atom bomb with special focus on the female scientists involved like Ida Noddack and Lise Meitner. These chapters were a bit hard for me to grasp, with sometimes a lot of science language, but it really captured my interest, so much so that I really want to learn more about the history of the atom bomb, how it was made, and more about the scientists involved.
Counting money/votes at the Ford, Bacon, & Davis Valentine Dance. (02/22/1945)
Unidentified workers in line punching time cards at clock alley, Roane-Anderson. (06/23/1945)
Men working on a vehicle in an auto repair shop. (1/13/1945)
We also get to see some of Truman’s thoughts about the bomb with excerpts from his diary, like this, written after viewing a bomb test, “I hope for some sort of peace–but I fear that machines are ahead of morals by some centuries and when morals catch up perhaps there’ll be no reason for any of it. I hope not. But we are only termites on a planet and maybe when we forge too deeply into the planet there will be a reckoning–who knows?”
Waiting outside Jefferson Recreation Hall for cigarettes. (4/26/1945)
Waiting outside the telephone office. (1944)
I highly recommend this book. I was surprised to learn that this city existed. It’s important for us to know this history, especially as Americans. It’s amazing to think what our government was capable of then and how they were able to succeed in this effort. It’s something to really think about juxtaposed to today’s world of drones, NSA data collecting, and huge government buildings that are being built as we speak to house god knows what. If you love history, women’s history, WWII history, or just a well-written book about true events, you should read this. As much as I like my kindle, I have to recommend that you guys buy a hard-copy of this book. There’s a glossary and an index that I often found myself flipping to, as well as a glossy insert of photos.
Women in cafeteria line (1944).
All photos by Ed Westcott, the official photographer for the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, and from this great Tumblr.
I was sent this book to review for my blog. All opinions are my own. I am an Amazon associate so any purchases you make through my links to Amazon I get a little kick-back.
Disneyland’s The Enchanted Tiki Room turns 50 this year! I was lucky enough to go to a fun event at The Walt Disney Family Museum that was co-presented by Tiki Oasis. Obviously tiki themed, there were tons of ladies and gents in their vintage Hawaiian best! And best of all, the museum was open to explore into the evening hours. And there were cocktails from Smuggler’s Cove and even a Dole Whip booth!
1960s Hawaiian maxi dress, purse: thrifted
hair flower: stolen off a bush (shhh!)
dark blue bangle: estate sale
light blue carved bangle: bohemian bisoux
mother of pearl bangle, abalone ring: ebay
wooden flower ring: my grandmother’s
50s Wilma Flinestone-esque necklace: Moon Zoom Vintage, San Jose
50s raffia slides: for sale in my etsy shop
It was fun to see so many people dressed up. There were a bunch of women in similar style 60s maxis like mine, and I wish I could’ve orchestrated a stylish group photo! I saw 40s rayon Hawaiian maxis, a 50s black velvet hand painted tiki skirt, and a woman wearing the most amazing burlap vest and skirt combo that had images of Snow White on it from the 50s! I wanted to take photos of these lovely ladies but didn’t want to come off as a creep. I definitely regret not asking to take a picture. Must get over shyness to approach awesome vintage ladies!
It goes without saying that I had a great time and I didn’t want the evening to end. I really enjoyed seeing the museum, it was my first time there. I have to go back though since I didn’t even get to see it all! And I have to say that walking through the end of the exhibit gave me chills. It’s that good.
There’s also currently a really great Maurice Sendak exhibit that I got to see, as well. Did you know that Maurice Sendak was inspired to do illustration from seeing Fantasia as a child? It’s true.
Maurice Sendak art for the Spike Jonze 2009 film.
I was overjoyed to find the Mary Blair section of the museum. Including a floor design based off of Mary Blair’s It’s a Small World art that will now forever be in my dream house floor files.
So I hadn’t heard of this event until it was already sold out, so I was SO lucky that my talented friend Uni and Her Ukelele was performing for the event and I got to get in on her guest list.
In conclusion, get your butt over to the Walt Disney Museum. I know that visiting the museum really made me want to go to Disneyland again. What’s your favorite ride at Disneyland? What Disney cartoon is your favorite?
For the first time I have my own personal space to do what I want with. It’s filled with everything I love. My boyfriend calls it my closet. It’s a small studio apartment so my clothing is in several spaces. My vintage accessories become art on the walls. Collections are on display in any available space.
Pieces of home via instagram:
I love being able to make my space as over-the-top girly as I want. I’m wondering how I’ll be able to keep this feeling if and when I move in with my boyfriend. How do you compromise? We are both collectors so I’m sure it’ll be crazy packed with all our little collections. As long as I have one room that I can make as girly and flower-y as I want, then I think I’ll be happy.
This past Sunday was the Holy Ghost Festa Parade in Sausalito, where they happen to be celebrating their 125th anniversary!
Since I was a past queen back in 1997, I was invited along with all other past queens to be in the parade. I only participated in the parade from the church to the hall and didn’t get a “Past Queen” sash until after the parade was over, so I think a lot of people were confused as to what I was doing there all dressed up. How could I be in a parade and NOT dress up fancy!?!? But it was a lot of fun and now I have a “Past Queen” sash for all my Halloween and parade crashing needs!
1940s white gown: ebay
1930s blue ostrich feather capelet: Vintage Expo
white heels: MIA via Bunny’s Shoes, Santa Cruz
1960s purse, white parasol: thrifted
1950s sunglasses: a vintage store in Sacrament that has since closed
blue gloves: We Love Colors, via a blog giveaway
The cape on the far left was the one I wore in 1997.
In the late 13th century during a severe famine throughout Portugal, a compassionate Queen Isabel was determined to help her starving subjects. Legend has it that during her efforts she was confronted by the very harsh King Diniz while crossing the royal courtyard with crown jewels (in some versions of the story it was bread) hidden in her cape. The King asked the Queen what she was carrying, and she responded “roses” although it was mid-winter and none were blooming. But when her cape was opened for the King’s inspection, the jewels had been miraculously converted to roses. The miracle allowed the Queen to continue to sell her jewelry to feed the starving Portuguese population.
I’m glad that my family introduced me to such vibrant and fun cultural tradition. Plus, the food is so good!
It’s nice to know that there’s a girl who lives 10 minutes away who is as excited about getting dressed up and having a picnic as I am. The lovely Tina of Vintage Lovin’ Gal and I took advantage of the fine weather we’ve been having and had ourselves a little picnic.
Tucked away in the Berkeley hills is a park and a rose garden with beautiful far-off views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Mt. Tam.
1940s dress, 1950s wicker parasol purse, 1950s sunglasses, white espadrilles: ebay
1940s magenta scalloped hat: Vintage Expo via vendor Vintage Blue Moon
And I had to ask Tina to take a picture of me looking like my head was a flower, like one of the singing roses in Alice in Wonderland.
It’s been beautiful in the Bay Area lately, and Sacramento reached 88 degrees a couple days ago! Summer is so close and I’m ready. I happened to find both this top and the handpainted circle skirt at the the same store, same trip – instant summer outfit perfection!
I’ve always wanted a handpainted circle skirt, but never found one affordable and in my size. Shows that if you wait it’ll come to you eventually! Ben and I talked about some trips we might be taking this summer. Here’s to hoping we follow through! Are you going on any travels this summer?
I think it’s safe to say I got this 50s pageboy hair thing down! Although there’s always room for improvement! Now I’m itching to conquer some 40s styles.
80s red crop top, 50s handpainted Mexican circle skirt: Moon Zoom Vintage, Santa Cruz
Wood heel sandals: Miz Mooz from a friend
Red bakelite bangles: ebay
silver ring, black fakelite clamper: thrifted
Music clef ring: made it myself
purse: from a blog giveaway
Guess glasses: freebie from Coastal Contacts
Every month the Paramount Theater in Oakland has a classic movie night where tickets are only $5 a pop. A couple months ago I saw Singing in the Rain and witnessed the extraordinary beauty of the theater, both for the first time. I knew my next trip back demanded fancier attire to match the amazing-ness of this place.
It is without a doubt the most beautiful place I have ever seen. Tina of Vintage Lovin’ Gal and I decided to feather it up this time around. I think the drama of feathers matched the film choice of the evening:
Tina is looking gorgeous wearing a 1960s green maribou feather shrug borrowed from my etsy shop stock (it’s not yet listed). Hanging with Tina has made me want to UP MY HAIR GAME! Seriously! I had very little time to get ready, and I was going for a 40s updo, but damn, I just winged it and you can totally tell. Ha ha! So please, if anyone knows of any great vintage hair tutorials on youtube please send me the links. I feel there are so many tutorials on youtube now that it can kind of be hard to find the gems.
1930s blue ostrich feather capelet: Vintage Expo via Crimson & Clover Vintage
40s brown dress with gold cording applique: Vintage Expo
Black heels: Bunny’s Shoes, Santa Cruz a long time ago
1950s vintage leopard print bag: ebay
light blue gloves w/sewed on stars: Fashion Forestry giveaway
earrings: a gift
1950s vintage deadstock light blue stockings: ebay a long time ago
I’m not religious, but I enjoy Cadbury eggs, dressing festive and my boyfriend’s mom’s ham and scrumptious potato salad. It was a fun day. I even got to go on a little egg hunt!
And via instagram:
1940s rayon novelty print dress: ebay (last seen in this post)
stripe heels by Poetic License: via Shabby Apple giveaway at Mermaidens
1940s tilt hat: ebay
vintage lucite shell and confetti clamper: Sacramento Antique Fair
Ben’s NOPE shirt: via one of my favorite podcasts Walking the Room
My big comedy show is a week away! It’s crazy how much effort I’m putting into a Tuesday night show. It really will be fun, so please come if you can! You can even get in 2-for-1 if you call 415-397-7573, 3PM-6PM and mention the codeword “VINTAGE” OR you can snatch up $7.50 tickets on goldstar.com.
Sorry for the dorky post title. And while I’m apologizing, I might as well say sorry for the indoor, not naturally lit photos in this one. I haven’t gained the gumption to start taking photos around the building where I live. I haven’t found that spot where I can set up a tripod and look ridiculous taking a gazillion photos of myself without my neighbors seeing. So, yeah, standing in front of my armoire is just way too comfortable right now.
This 60s knit dress was given to me by the super stylish Nicole of Fashion Forestry and it’s been in my regular rotation ever since. No defined waist combined with the stretchy/cozy knit means straight-up comfort y’all!
60s knit dress: from Fashion Forestry
60s bow blouse: found it on the street!
lacy white knee socks: H&M a few years ago
80s cat flats: ebay
coat: F21 a few years ago
vintage key and hearts wooden brooch: Alameda Antique Fair
I had fun at the SF Vintage Expo this past weekend, cruising the booths with the lovely Tina of Vintage Lovin’ Gal. I of course managed to find some treasures. Here’s a sneak peek of some of them:
And not pictured, but what will probably get the most use of all is a casual 1940s sporty wool jacket. It’s kind of what I went in hoping to find and it happened to be the first thing I found! So, I’m a happy, happy girl. Did any of you Bay Area gals go? I think it’s safe to say that I will not be buying any more vintage for a while.
I’m super excited about this show. It’s honestly the first comedy show I’ve produced in San Francisco in years! Plus it combines everything I love: Comedy, Vintage, Fashion, and Drinks! Comedians are asked to wear their favorite outfits and are brought on stage not by a list of their show biz credits, but with details on what they are wearing. There will be costume changes! Maybe a live makeover! Come early (doors are at 7) and stay a bit late to shop vintage clothing from my private collection as seen here on this blog and in my etsy shop. Please come! You can buy tickets here.