“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? 

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow! (Probably Not)

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All of this gloom for the past two weeks has really gotten to me lately. I don’t want to do anything, and I’ve been wearing my robe like its a uniform lately. And trust me, this robe ain’t glamourous, honey. I’m sure my recent bout of flu didn’t help either. But what is a gal to do?

Well, I have been trying to think of precisely that, my dears. I have been doing some things lately that have made me at least smile a bit and feel more like a homo sapien again, which is always nice 🙂

So, being the lovely lass that I am, I have decided to conjure up a list of helpful activities and non-activities to help brighten your mood and your spirit. Some vintage/rockabilly related, others besides. But all great for their intended purpose!

1. Plan a day with friends – I know it may be hard to feel motivated to get out of bed and head out of the house for anything, but trust me, you will have just as good of a time hanging out with them as you do in the summer – maybe even more! Laughing and having fun has been proven to produce endorphins, and make you feel happy! And I am sure your friends could use that same boost as well. Do all of yourselves a favour!

2. Wear bright colours at least somewhere – I know some of you ladies tend to follow that old fashion rule of darker, more subdued colours in fall/winter and more brights in the spring/summer. But don’t you feel ever so much more peppy and fun in a nice bright red or sunshine yellow? Why not do that now, when we need it most? If you’re still a little put off, then wear some bright nail polish, bright leggings, bright lipstick, whatever – it will make you stand out and seem way more happy than all those other depressing people wearing black and grey and blahhhh.

3. Start your spring and summer wardrobe shopping now – Get ahead of the game on your spring and summer wardrobe before anyone else does. You will already feel like the sun is getting warmer and the leaves are sprouting on the trees! You will have something to look forward to and oogle and gush over what to wear in the warmer weather. Plus, you will probably get most of these items cheaper since it is considered “off season” – yet another plus!

4. Go for a walk – I know, I know, it is cold. But hear me out. Go for a walk when it is sunny out – get some fresh air, enjoy nature despite it’s “down time”, and get your vitamin D! Vitamin D from the sun is vital to keeping the chemicals in your brain being balanced on the happy side, and all you need is at least 15 minutes! I go for walks with my dog and even though it may be pretty darned cold, it’s always nice to get some fresh air and sun on your skin, no matter what the temperature may be.

5. Watch some classic movies that have a happy vibe – There are quite a few movies from Old Hollywood that are just silly and fun. I like to watch them just to cheer me up. Some good ones that I like are I Was A Male War Bride with the ever debonaire Cary Grant, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Monkey Business with Marilyn Monroe. The Thin Man movies are rather funny in their quips and are more light hearted despite the murder premise. Rita Hayworth’s Cover Girl is great, and Gene Kelly’s Singin’ In The Rain always puts a smile on my face. There are a ton of great classic movies out there to make you come out with a little more pep in your step!

6. Treat yourself to some luxury – Take a nice long bath. Go get a massage. Have a manicure or pedicure. Sometimes, us girls need to treat ourselves to these things to relax and destress and just make ourselves feel like we are in a happier place. Surely the winter blues can’t take the joy out of a good massage! Ohh, to have a massage right now…

7. Read! – I highly agree with ReeRee Rockette’s finger tattoos that say “read more” – everyone should! I am currently reading an excellent book entitled Over Here! New York City During WWII by Lorraine Diehl and it just makes me happy in that I am learning some very interesting and cool things that I never would have learned otherwise. And with this being my hometown especially, that makes the book even more fun to read! So go to Amazon, go to Barnes & Noble, or go to the library and find yourself a book you will thoroughly enjoy and get lost in. The right book is like a sedative for the soul!

8. Glam up – You know what always makes me feel good? Having some kick ass makeup on and my hair looking fabulous. I seriously have an extra pop in my step because I just feel better than usual. “But what if I don’t really have any place to go?” you may ask. My answer? Who cares! Find that time as a wonderful opportunity to practice on your vintage hairstyling, eye shadow applications, and getting that cat’s eye liner flick just right. Practice makes for a better look later on, and it sure is fun no matter what.

I hope these tips help all of you out there who feel like…well…crap during these total downer winter months. Is there anything else that any of you do that helps to take the funk away?

Back to School, Vintage Style

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Well, today is the day. It’s a day I have been waiting for since the spring, and it’s finally here. I am heading back to school! I will be going into the nursing program at a local college, and taking on a full-time course load – 13 credits. I haven’t been in school since I went for my bachelors at Rutgers University in New Brunswick five and a half years ago! It is a little bit daunting, so I am going to dedicate myself to school initially, until I get back into the swing of things. Then when I feel comfortable, and will relax a bit. This is something very important to me, and I intend to receive amazing grades, as this is one of the stepping stones on my way to going to medical school and ultimately becoming an orthopaedic surgeon.

I will be older than nearly everyone on campus, but I think of it more as an advantage than a disadvantage. I have the gift of my extra years of wisdom and experience to help me, as opposed to being so young and not really understanding the world and basically being kind of lazy and not willing to work too much for anything. I know there are kids that are exceptions to this rule, but most have this “entitled” attitude nowadays, which is disheartening. I don’t intend to really socialize, because in addition to being there to learn, I have never really had friends that were younger than me, or even my age. All of my friends have always been older, which I suppose comes from my maturity level and all of the things I have been through and seen in my life so far.

I also do not intend to dress like a good portion of college kids today, which is basically to just roll out of bed and head to class wearing your pajamas. I. Just. Can’t. I know I will be the odd one out being the vintage girl like I am, but I’m proud of that actually. While I may not dress up for every single day of class, I will at least certainly do my best to look put together with a vintage or rockabilly flair. I really believe how you dress shows how much you value what you are doing, and I’m going to dress the same way I value my education.

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I am writing this post mainly for the fact of letting all of my readers know more about me, as well as letting all of you know that I will still try and post as much as I can. Sometimes I may not be able to, but I promise this blog will not die. I will at least post a handful of entries a month. I love doing this blog, and being able to share my passion and knowledge with others as well as meeting others in this vintage/blogging community. I believe moderation is key, and immersing yourself completely into one thing is detrimental. This blog will serve as my sanity and escape when school gets crazy, and when I feel a little burnt out and I need an outlet. I have had a magnitude of wonderful things occur since I started this blog, such as being offered modelling jobs, having an author of a best-selling biography comment and thank me for my review, as well as meeting wonderful new friends such as Bunny Moreno from The Musings and Adventures of a Pinup Mama. I can’t just give that up, and I won’t. I will continue to be here, blogging away, and continuing to offer the same calibre of writing. I just ask that you understand when there may be a period of a week or two of no new posts. I will try to make that as rare an occurrence as possible, but I know it will happen at least once during exam time. But not to fret, you can’t get rid of me that easily! I’ll still be here for you, and I hope you will still be here for me.