“Summer” Reading

 Since my husband is at the academy in the evenings, I find myself with a lot of personal time after work.  But I fret not, for I can read!  I have really become quite the book hoarder lately, and I seem to order more books even when I haven’t finished the initial ones I ordered yet.  But I have another 5 months of weekdays of solitude, so I can certainly make some headway into my accumulation of books, no? ;-)

 I have really found some gems that I am supremely excited about and/or have enjoyed very much.  Since you are here, I am assuming you are all as much of vintage lovers as I, and should therefore know of such pressing matters.  I’ve never really been a believer in “summer reads” or “winter novels” and what have you; I tend to just leap in to whatever strikes my fancy.  If I am on to something that I am interested in and/or am supremely enjoying, who is it to say that it is “out of season”? Not I!

 And so, I present to you: “summer” reading :-)

Cary

Cary Grant: A Biography – Marc Eliot

This is a very comprehensive biography on Cary.  I have always loved Mr. Grant, and I find that they just don’t make men as debonair, witty, and handsome as he was anymore (minus my husband, of course of course ;-) ).  I have always been interested in his life and what happened within that time, and I had actually been ruminating over buying this biography each and every time I had gone into a bookstore for the past six months.  During a Saturday out doing errands for my husband’s needs for the academy, I just had to stop at the Barnes & Noble along the way for fear that my air supply would be terminated.  I saw this book, and figured, “I need to – I have to!”  I am very excited to make my way through it and become an ever-so-learned person on the life and times of Mr. Cary Grant.

 

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Icon: The Life, Times, and Films of Marilyn Monroe (Volume I: 1926-1956) – Gary Vitacco-Robles

Anyone who knows me knows I simply adore Marilyn Monroe.  I have a tattoo of her.  I have inhaled every biography I have ever known that was decent (qualifier!) that has ever come out.  I have over 5,000 pictures of her.  I can tell you an exact filmography of all her movies, the years they came out, her character in them, the general story line, and what she thought of said movie and what was going on in her life at the time.  So when I happened to stumble upon a new Marilyn biography that had recently come out this year, I needed it.  It comes in at 788 pages, and it is only volume one.  That excites me more than most human beings should be excited over a book.  I have a feeling that this biography is going to be the biography of Marilyn, usurping even Donald Spoto’s benchmark biography of her.  When volume two comes out later this summer, I do not care how much or how little of the book I have gotten through, I will be throwing my money at Amazon!

 

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The Girls of Atomic City – Denise Kiernan

This is an enthralling and encompassing story of how one “town” (if you can call it that) was built purely for the purpose of ending the war.  How exactly, they did not know.  What they did know, however, was that what they were doing was making a very real difference.  They weren’t aware that they were aiding in making the atomic bomb that would end the war in Japan in August of 1945.  Most of this quickly-built town was occupied by women, many of whom were from any place but this small slice of Appalachia in Tennessee.  They were single and trying to better their lives or married and hoping whatever work they were doing was helping their man fighting for them overseas.  What I love about this book is how it is non-fiction, based on real events and actual history, but reads and plays out exactly like a fictional novel.  It is very interesting, highly entertaining, and certainly a crash course in history that we should all have!

 

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The Garden of Allah Series – Martin Turnbull

I absolutely adore these books.  I can’t even tell you.  I don’t even remember how I found these books on Amazon, but I am ever so grateful I did.  I am only just finishing the first book, but I already bought and received the other two in the series, already knowing I will probably love them just as much as the first (especially from what I see from the reviews, they only get better!).  This novel is historical fiction (which I have found to be my most beloved genre, right beside biography) and deals with the lives of three up-and-comers trying to make it in Hollywood starting in 1927.

The real Garden of Allah hotel

                                                          The real Garden of Allah hotel

Kathryn Massey, Gwendolyn Brick, and Marcus Adler have all made it to Los Angeles for various reasons, but the Garden of Allah brought them together as friends.  A famous and actual hotel owned by the actress Alla Nazimova, it was renowned for fabulous and crazy parties, and had famous stars visit and stay such as Tallulah Bankhead, Ramon Novarro, Ginger Rogers, Tyrone Power, Greta Garbo, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Maureen O’Hara, Errol Flynn – I could go on and on!  The interactions the characters have with the stars makes them seem human and real, rather than “above” anyone and untouchable.  I love the situations the characters get in, the stars they meet, the troubles they encounter, and what they do to get past them.  It’s a great read so far, and certainly a series I would recommend to any vintage lover out there…hell, I would recommend it to anyone!

 

What books do you recommend for “summer” reading? 

So It Begins

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Well, here I am. I really didn’t expect to be here. I am on the cusp of a life change. My husband “got the call” for the NYPD academy on Saturday, July 5th, 2014 at 9:54 AM. Tomorrow it starts. Granted, it’s only orientation, but I know what is coming. The early mornings or the late nights (depending on his tour), the six months of stress, worry, support, and heartache. I’ve been in the military before, and so has he, so this isn’t entirely new to us. I’m well aware of what comes with the job. I’m accruing for that. But that doesn’t mean it won’t still be difficult.

We were both single when we were in the military. But now, we have been married for 5 months. It’s fresh.

I pknow the NYPD will be taking my husband away a lot. The military taught us both that. I would just like to be able to enjoy the time that we do have in our own shelter from the world.

Of course I worry. I know he worries. He mostly worries that I will leave him because of the erratic schedule and “not being around all of the time” – which I think is absolute rubbish. I could not be more proud of him. He has literally waited ten years to get into the NYPD. He has waited so long, and has finally got where he wanted. But I of course worry about his safety – any wife would. But I know he has a leg up on others being prior service as a cop. I am so proud of him I just wanted to tell everyone he got in!

He’s already getting nervous – that’s normal. I’d think it was abnormal if he weren’t nervous. But I’m right here, being his cheerleader, supporting him through all of this.

Let’s do this.

I’m a Vintage Girl, in a Corporate World

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This week I started a new job as an executive assistant at a rather large and successful healthcare management company. I am one of two executive assistants for the president and vice president of the company. I am enjoying it so far, and I get along with my coworker swimmingly. I hope to keep it that way! :-)

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Because of this new position, I have to dress much more conservatively than any other job I have held previously. This means covering up my tattoos on my chest and arms, wearing “appropriate” makeup, having proper hair (no hair flowers!), and nothing too crazy or flashy.

“But my style demands showing off my tattoos and being flashy! Whatever shall I do?” I asked myself. I really wasn’t sure what to do about my new and sudden requirement for a change in wardrobe. I understood it, and honestly with a coworker I actually like being around so far and makes work bearable I’m willing to deal with it. I also want to keep my vintage style, however. I still want to be the vintage/pinup girl in the office if I have to not be the rockabilly side of me, at least.

I checked my wardrobe – nothing seemed to fit the bill. Too low cut (I have to practically wear turtlenecks to cover my chest tattoos!), needs longer sleeves, the print is too crazy, the skirt is too short. Whatever was I to do?

GO SHOPPING!

Yes, that was it. I need to go shopping. I need to find elements of my style that fit in with my new need for a conservative corporate wardrobe. And if any of you know me, you know I turn to the interwebs first for shopping. I rarely shop for clothes “outside” anymore, as I can never seem to find my style or anything that’s my size if I do.

My first stop? ModCloth!

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On the very first page I saw this little number – the Coach Tour Dress! It has a high cowl neck collar so I can hide my tattoos, and despite it being sleeveless that can easily be remedied by wearing a cardi :-) And only $50? Yes, please!

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Next is the Greeting Postcard Dress for $95. I kept scrolling in dresses because that’s what I mostly intend to wear (a vintage girl’s staple ensemble!), and I thought this was beyond adorable. I know the neckline is a little low (yes my tattoos are that high), but I can easily remedy that with buying some Cami Secrets to attach underneath and voilà – good to go! I never thought I would ever need Cami Secrets in my life though! LOL.

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This California Sunset Dress hits all the right notes for me – nice bright print, cute collar, high neckline – and an affordable $90! And as you can tell, I think florals will be a big part of my attire ;-)

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Yes. Yes yes yes yes. I will certainly be adding this Dance Floor Date Dress to my wardrobe! I love the 40s/50s flair of it and y’all know I love me some red. And only $60? You don’t have to ask me twice!

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This Beach Home Office Top had me at hello. It just screams 1950s, right? And that collar will cover up my chest tattoos perfectly :-) Only $45! Worth every penny!

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This Modern Madeline Top is just entirely too cute. I love the blue colour and it should cover my tattoos. $40, you say? Sure!

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This is the Partake in Peppermint Skirt for $70. I love the stripes, and I absolutely adore the now accent at the waist. Perfection!

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This Binnacle of Excellence Skirt has red and blue anchors on it! I need this! It’s entirely too perfect for me. There will be $60 gone from my paycheck for this.

Okay, I think ModCloth consumed too much of my time. But they seem to have such lovely work appropriate and vintage inspired pieces!

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The Erika Dress from Pinup Girl Clothing is necessary, I think. So cute and it should cover most everything if I wear the Cami Secret :-) $120.

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I absolutely adore the colouring of the Birdie Dress from PUG with its rich mustard and gorgeous purple pairing. And very affordable at $118!

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This Monique Dress for $92 is amazing. To me it keeps the style I love but looks completely professional at the same time. I would just need to throw a black cardigan over it to cover my arm tattoos and I would be ready to go!

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OMG this Summertime Polo Top is just so freaking cute – I need this in my life! I’m going to have to have PUG take my $72 ASAP. I can’t not have this and be okay with it.

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These 1940s Style Swing Trousers from Heyday are based on actual vintage patterns and come as close to the real thing as possible. They have so many colours, too! Of course I will need the basics like grey, black, et cetera – but you know I am getting them in red, pea green, blue, and more as well! Gotta still retain some personality at work, oui? ;-)

I am just embracing the reason to shop and buy new clothes for the job. I figure it’s worth it if I have a decent work environment and I make good money to find my vintage tendencies and go on trips and get more tattoos and more and more!

Do any of you have conservative corporate jobs? How do you retain your style at work?

Date Day at the Zoo

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Today was a big day for the husband and I – it was our first official date day as husband and wife! It only took two and a half months, but we did it :-) Since we both love animals so much (and this destination had been on our “gotta go to” list since before we were even engaged – September of last year!), we decided to go to animal central: the zoo! And where is one of the biggest and best places to go to a zoo in the US? The Bronx Zoo, of course :-)

We decided to make a full day of it and brought a little snack and something to drink, and prepared ourselves for some major walking. Since I have the RSD in my left foot, I took my major pain medication beforehand and made sure I had appropriate shoes. But I still wanted to look cute, so I made sure to build my outfit to be vintage style high and pain inducing low. What did I wear, you ask? Well, since you asked…

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Here’s a picture of my husband and me, a close up of my makeup, hair, and dress print:

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I put my hair back into a snood in a nice tan colour that was a minor colour represented in my dress, which is a great 1950s atomic frock I managed to nab up on eBay shortly after I returned from Viva. I accessorized with matching bakelite bracelets in various colours from the dress and butterscotch tan bakelite earrings as well (the ones I purchased at Viva). I also wore a gold feather brooch that had belonged to my grandmother. I wore a tan cardigan with vintage tan penny loafers while I carried a vintage white structured purse with a lucite handle. I certainly got lots of looks but I loved it! I forgot just how confident and enthusiastic I feel wearing a pulled together and more vintage look than something that is more modern or vintage “looking”. I had kind of lost touch over the last few months due to stress as well as all of the wedding stuff going on. Viva brought my passion right back to the surface! :-)

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We arrived at the zoo at 11:30 AM and we found parking relatively quickly, which was rather surprising considering it is such a huge tourist attraction and it is in the city (well, the Bronx) as well.

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So what kind of animals did we see? We saw way too many to go into huge detail about any particular one!

We saw camels first thing…

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…and then Red Pandas…

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…and even antique water fountains from around 1900!

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A sleepy polar bear taking a nap in the most awkward position ever…

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…and the tush of a snow leopard.

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We saw a snake with a really badass pattern on it. We called it the “emo boa” because it looks like it has razor blades running up and down it’s back LOL.

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Check out the neck on this dude!

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See ya later, alligator!

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Itty bitty baby horsies…

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Tony the (tired) tiger…

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Peacocks are absolutely gorgeous!

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Oh deer…

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Elephants are really graceful and sweet animals to me :-)

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Rhino! Just seeing him from this angle reminded me of that scene from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. If you’ve seen it, you know exactly what I am referring to :-P

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Adorable zebras!

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I love giraffes! I have no idea where it came from, but I just couldn’t wait to see this guy :-)

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African Wild Dogs – they were playing around and rough housing while we were watching. It was sweet!

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Oh just a baboon…

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…and his big blue bubble butt!

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Mackayla Monkey is not impressed.

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This mommy gorilla was breast feeding against the viewing glass. You can see the baby’s head if you look. At one point Alex tried to peek around to see the baby after I pointed him/her out to him, and when he did the mom turned around and looked him point blank in the eye (they were literally only separated by about an inch of plastic) as if to say, “What the hell are you doing?” It was pretty cool LOL.

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FLAMINGOES! I <3 these cuties :-)

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‘MURICA. We took numerous pictures of this dude, and each and every one of them made him look epic.

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See what I mean?!

Even sea lions need mid afternoon naps…

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When we got to where the sea lions were, it had a lot of great old style buildings and wonderful landscaping. What else was a vintage girl to do other than take a few shots? ;-)

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After a full six hours making our way through the zoo, we were tired, sore, hungry, and ready to make our way home. But we had a great time and had a ton of fun. We left there with huge smiles on our faces for sure!

Outfit:
Dress: eBay
Sweater: ModCloth
Bakelite bangles: eBay
Bakelite earrings: vendor at Viva Las Vegas
Snood: eBay
Penny loafers: eBay
Purse: Guess where? eBay :-P

Vintage Family Photos

Recently I have gotten more into viewing old family photos from the 1920s through the 1960s since buying Charles Phoenix’s Americana the Beautiful (I highly recommend!). I recently did a web search lately to see what was out there, and boy oh boy – did I find some real gems!

Some are cute, others are fashionable, and some are just downright scary. But all have that great vintage flair!

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How cute is this family? So typically “perfect”. Except for the daughter maybe – she’s perhaps a little demonic looking. But still cute!

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I love the maternity wear from the midcentury. I know I would certainly have that be the majority of my wardrobe if and when I am pregnant! And the guy looks like such a badass rockabilly dude – just look at the tee with the rolled sleeves!

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I would like each one of those women’s dresses, kthxbye.

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I love how “every family” this is. This looks like it would be used as an advert for cereal or oatmeal of some sort. So cute!

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Is that kid a hybrid of an Elizabeth Taylor look-alike and a stormtrooper knockoff?

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This is such a sweet picture. You don’t really see too many like this anymore, do you? I love the happiness just radiating from their faces whilst they enjoy the event that they are attending. And I will take that dress as well. And that waist too while we’re at it.

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DAMN IT FEELS GOOD TO BE A GANGSTA.

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I apologize for the small size of this. I thought it was too cute/funny not to share. Cute because of the new parents beaming from ear to ear with their new bundle of joy; funny because that kid legit looks like he saw something completely horrifying.

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Cute photo of a family enjoying their new-fangled television set. I wonder if they had to get glasses from sitting that close all the time?

Oh and I’ll take that skirt too. Add it to my tab.

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This girl just oozes style in how she wears her essentially basic but well put together ensemble. And those gams!

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This photo is awesome. I want this framed. The kid is legit peeing, the father has his hand to his head in a “WTF” type manner, and the mother and other child are just like, “Who cares, we are taking this bloody picture!” So much win in one shot.

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This is quite the dapper group, huh? Why don’t people dress like this anymore?

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“Excuse me, I mustache you a question…”

I’m sorry. I had to.

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Just a typical day on Main Street. I’m sure this was a scene you would see played out most weekends in towns all across America.

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I loved this canned trailer! I wanted one for years now :-) This was taken in Iowa in 1958.

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This is another trailer shot from the 1940s. Imagine going camping and having a road trip in that?! I would love every single second of it :-)

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Am I the only one who thinks this dude has an Errol Flynn vibe going on? Anyone else?

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Is this the same kid as before? What does he keep seeing that terrifies him? Does he see demons or something? Seriously, I want to know why these kids are freaked the hell out.

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This woman’s style is rad. This woman has to be from NJ, because that hair has such a huge pouf to it! And that skirt – I will take one of those. What’s my total? Charge it? ;-)

Viva Las Vegas 17: Part Two

And so we start on part two! Let’s get right down to business, shall we?

Saturday was the car show. It is THE day of all of Viva. The men and women don their best day garb, their best hairdos, and their best poses (as well as parasols!) for the day of vendors, cars, and shows.

After my friend Nicole left back to California, I made my way to the car show. I followed the flock to just outside the Orleans Arena. As soon as I walked in, the fun began!

The vendors were all over as soon as you walked in. There was Pin Up Girl Clothing, Steady, Bomber Betty, Miss L Fire, Secrets in Lace, and various independent sellers. I walked around for at least an hour before I managed to see everything. I wanted to buy it all! But I made my go around again for actual purchases and I nabbed this beautiful purse:

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I scooped up these gorgeous NOS bakelite earrings – 3 for $50!

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I picked up some Viva playing cards (I had to!), and a tube of the amazing Bomber Betty lip gloss that Cherry Dollface came out with. And guess who I got to meet?!

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She is SO sweet and you can just feel that she is a beautiful person on the inside as well as outside. I was by myself, but her rad husband Trevor took the picture for me. I said, “He’s your photographer too! He’s your everything, huh?” She giggled and gushed, “He IS my everything!” Isn’t that so sweet?! After meeting her and chatting with her for a solid 5 minutes, I have even more respect and admiration for her than I had prior!

After meeting Cherry, I made my way over to the bleachers to wait for Imelda May to come on. Just before her, the pinup contest was held on the side stage. It was so cute! All of the ladies were great.

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After that, it was Imelda May time! I managed to nab a few clips of her performance which I posted below:

She was amazing! She is one of the few who sounds exactly the same live as she does on her albums. Perfection!

Oh, and did I mention the marriage proposal in the middle of the show?

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It was beyond sweet :-)

And the cars! Oh my :-D

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After Imelda May, I went back to the hotel for a quick relax and chat with the hubby, and then I went on my merry way back to the hotel to see the Jive Aces! They are an amazing British jive/swing band infused with just the right amount of rock n’ roll. If you haven’t checked them out yet, what are you waiting for?!

Here is a montage of their performance:

After the show, I just had to nab myself a Jive Aces shirt (but you knew that already, huh? ;-) )

My Sunday Viva outfit was this lovely little frock I recently nabbed on eBay:

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Sunday is always the wind down for Viva, so I relaxed in my hotel room until about 4:30 when I left to see the last Charles Phoenix slideshow :-( But he was just as amazing as ever! It was Easter, so he got us doughnuts!

Here is Charles with his Test Kitchen rat meatloaf:

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Imaging eating that?! LOL.

After his awesome slideshow, I grabbed a bite to eat and went to wait in line for burlesque bingo. I went back in 2012 and loved it – I had to at least make one trip back!

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I walked in and found a seat in the front row to the left side of the stage. And who did I see I sat next to? The one and only Raquel Reed!

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She was so sweet. She is also from NY/NJ so we bonded over that and talked about how we were away from our men and they didn’t like it :-P She is an awesome gal whom I hope to see perform soon around this neck of the woods!

Burlesque Bingo was put on and hosted by the awesome Audrey DeLuxe.

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The first performer was the amazing Bettina May!

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There were so many other great performers like Ms. Redd, Cleo Viper, Tara Misoux, Frankie Sin, and more!

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That last one is of Tom Ingram doing a split to make good on a bet he made with Audrey DeLuxe. He did a great job! It was hilarious.

Here’s a montage:

After that I went to the vendor room again one last time, when they have massive sales to unload stock so they won’t have to cart it home. I bought one last thing: a pack of Rockin’ Rollers!

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I can’t wait to try them! I will give it a go and report back on how it went :-)

The next day (morning), I woke up at 3:30 AM and made my way back home. Eight hours and a layover later, I was back in NY Town.

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It was over :-( But I had an amazing time. And I can’t wait for next year!

Viva Las Vegas 17: Part One

Hello everyone!

I had the great pleasure of going to Viva Las Vegas 17 this year, and it was a blast! I was by myself most of the time, except for Friday night into Saturday I got to spend with my bestie and maid of honour Nicole :-)

I arrived on Thursday afternoon, checked in to my hotel, and immediately got to work. I zipped from the Gold Coast over to the Orleans via shuttle bus. The excitement was building with each second I spent on that bus, and when it pulled in front of the Orleans, I walked in and immediately took in that uniquely sweet smell that only Viva seems to provide.

Let the fun begin!

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It was great to see everyone there, decked out in their rockabilly and vintage best! I felt so exhilarated being back, it was surreal.

I checked out the vendors, who were out in full force with their amazing wares! I managed to nab a Steady pencil skirt in a gorgeous soft pale yellow that has legs, eyes, and all sorts of silly random prints on it. I also nabbed my usual VLV shirt, as well as the VLV grocery bag. After making the rounds with the vendors, I somehow managed to stay up until 11 PM (2 AM Eastern!) to see the amazing Kim Lenz. I am glad I told myself “NO!” and forced myself to rally against what my own body was telling me, because she was fab!

The next day, Friday, I got up “early” to make sure I could nab some tickets for Nicole and me for the burlesque showcase. Yes, I am a girl, and I love burlesque. It is so much fun and there are so many women from different walks of life that are all there to celebrate their bodies and just have an awesome time. Who wouldn’t love that?! I managed to nab great seats on the left side of the stage four rows back. I couldn’t wait!

Next was a meet up I had with some girls from a Facebook group of plus sized ladies so that we can sell our clothing and it is catered to our sizing. We met in one of the girl’s hotel rooms at the Orleans, and I started to lay out the approximately 12 items I brought. I labelled them, talked with some fellow members, and shopped a bit. But only 35 minutes later, we were kicked out by Orleans security. It was a whole debacle and shocked the hell out of all of us. We left there upset and concerned. It was all very unfortunate :-(

After that, I tried to find something else to fill my time until my friend Nicole arrived. It was 3:35 PM. The Charles Phoenix slideshow had started 5 minutes ago! I ran over to the showroom and was able to nab a seat. I had never seen him before, but he came as highly recommended by a fellow rockabilly friend in NYC, Lucirene. And guess what? He was hysterical, interesting, and entertaining :-)

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I just knew I had to make Sunday’s slideshow too!

My friend Nicole made it around 6 PM, so we hung out in the hotel room while we got ready. Even just hanging out getting ready is fun with Nicole :-)

We made it to the burlesque showcase at 9 PM. There was a wide array of amazing acts like Roxi D’Lite, Angie Pontani, Cleo Viper, and who I was most excited about: Dirty Martini. I couldn’t wait!

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Roxi D’Lite was one of the first, and possibly one of the best performers of the night. Her racy S&M performance was certainly a stand out!

Gal Friday and Peekaboo Pointe had such a cute “fight” routine!

Angie Pontani had a very elegant, very beautiful ballet routine. It was rather ethereal!

Cleo Viper had a truly vamp routine, it was badass. And my goodness is she stunning!

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And last but not least: the amazing and incomparable Dirty Martini!

All the ladies came out for one last bow, to a round of deafening applause. It was a great way to put the top on the Friday that was at Viva Las Vegas 17!

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And no, we didn’t finish the night there: we had some drinks, gambled a little, watched some fabulous jive/stroll/swing dancing, and made fun of things such as this:

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I’ll leave you to analyze this for today ;-)

Viva Las Vegas 17: Part Two coming tomorrow!