Friday, November 30, 2012

"Powder your Face with Sunshine" and Stratton

A little piece of history came in the mail today.

I won an ebay auction lot of three Stratton compacts!

Oohhh yeaaah!!

Sold! To the highest bidder- Me!

Stratton compacts of England were the compacts of their time. If a gal pulled a Stratton out of her handbag, you knew she had style.

In 1948, the Stratton company patented a self-opening inner lid. The door inside would pop up to reveal the powder beneath. That way a poodle wouldn't chip her nails opening the powder compartment. Genius!

Never chip another nail!

During the fifties, Stratton compacts were made to hold loose powder, and contained an adorable little sifter to hold in the powder.

That's right poodles! Don't upset your MEN
 with your new compact! HA!

Later in the fifties and into the sixties, the compacts became "convertible" and could hold either loose powder or the now more popular pressed powder.

Max Factor Creme Puff is still sold
 AND fits Stratton convertible compacts!

My personal favorite design of compacts came out in the fifties and was continued for about a decade. It was appropriately called Princess. Awww!

A perfect English rose. Pre-tty! 

"Real diamond cut front" Ooooo!

Can you see the Stratton "compact in hand" logo?

In my ebay lot I received three compacts, ranging from the early 50's to the late 60's. Two are the scalloped edged Princess design, and one is a "convertible" design called Queen. The Queen is larger in size to accommodate pans of pressed powder, but still has a sifter for the use of loose powder.

A more spacious compact
fit for a Queen

Stratton compacts through the years

My good friend still has her grandmother's Stratton with leftover powder inside. I never knew, before I saw her Stratton, that compacts could be beautiful as well as functional. I had only ever experienced the generic plastic ones most powders come in today.

There were several companies that produced compacts in the 50s, but Stratton was one of the biggest names. I have a soft spot for Evans compacts too, because that was my Grandpa's name. An Evans compact is next on my wish list. Don't mention it to the husband/budget!

Evans, what a great name! 


The Stratton company is still producing compacts today. For an awesome history on Stratton, or to purchase a new compact or powder puff/sifter for your vintage Stratton, check out Vanroe Compacts. The director, Jane Johnston, has some great tips on how to clean, maintain, and refill vintage compacts.

Personally, I like the feeling I get holding a vintage compact in my hand. Looking in the mirror and imagining the other face that once looked back. She could be a socialite, or a housewife. A young starlet, or a major Hollywood star. One thing is for sure; her Stratton must have made her feel as beautiful and unique as the compact itself.

I hope my man doesn't see!
He detests me powdering my nose!


Anyhoo... Where was I? Oh yeah, vintage compacts. If you find one you love, buy it! Don't procrastinate. Even if you never use it, and it just sits on your vanity or desk, it will still bring an element of glamour into everyday life.

Toodles Poodles!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Poodle Tricks: Front Reverse Roll

Poodles I'm pooped.

Soooo tired

And when this poodle is pooped, doing hair is the last thing on her mind. But who wants to look as bad as they feel?! Not this dame.

Hmmmm... What to do? Hmmmm.... Zzzzzz.....

Oops! Sorry, nodded off there.


Don't worry. I've got a 5 minute solution that will solve this hair woe, so us poodles can get back to the important things.

Like sleep.

Complete strangers have stopped me in stores and on the street to ask me how to do this look. I know, I'm awesome.

Stop gagging.

It really is a poodle fetching hairstyle. It's adorable. It's vintage style. It's...simple.

Like ridiculously simple.

Gwen Stefani was the first person I saw this look on, and I loved it. Imelda May has made it her signature look. Then it started popping up on the runway. Nicole Scherzinger has rocked it. Demi Lovato has tried, hehe. It's a variation on 1940's reverse rolls hairstyles, but it's kept simple with only one front roll.

I do this hairstyle on second or third day pin curls. If you want to do it on fresh and so clean hair, you'll need to curl your ends so that they roll easier.

Here we go. The Imelda May, the Gwen, the awesomely easy:

Front Roll.

Step 1: Using either your fingers or a rat tail comb, part the hair at the front of your crown into a U-shape.

Look! I need my roots done!

Step 2: Holding the parted hair firmly with one hand, back comb with a bristle brush. The more you backcomb the more structure you will have and the easier it will be to form the roll. But don't go crazy, we're going for the 40's, not the 90's. 

Pinky's up

Step 3: Smooth the front of the hair with your bristle brush. Brush the ends over your fingers so they are all going the same direction. Roll ends around two fingers and give your fingers a half twist back, similar to forming a pin curl.

This is my serious Librarian face
Ahhh! Man hands!

Step 4: Slide the curl off your fingers carefully keeping the ends tucked in. Roll the curl down to the crown.

More close-ups of my man hands as I roll the curl down

Step 5: Bobby pin in place. If you have done a good job backcombing, you should only need a couple pins. Try to hide the pins inside the roll the best you can. Placing thumbs inside roll at front and back, gently spread roll into more of a tube shape.

Hide and Seek

Step 6: Leave hair down or put up in a poodle tail. Whatever you're feeling. If you put up, smooth sides and the roll with a little pomade.

Fabulous Dah-ling! 
Poodle Tail!
I love you Hawleywood's!

Step 7: Hairspray the final look.

Protect your face from the hairspray, don't salute it!

Now that is some poodle worthy hair!

Glasses AND braces! I am lookin hot!

Hey! I'm not feeling so tired anymore. I think I'm up for a night out. A little dinner, a little dancinggggggggggggggggggggg............


Toodles Poodles!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Cocktail Hour: Take Me to the Ritz! In a Sidecar please...

Aww the Sidecar. A cocktail born from Prohibition, with an appealing name that can't be denied as true vintage.

A delicious libation from the 1920's whose origins are just as mixed as the drink itself. Some say it originated in London, invented by popular Buck's Club bartender Pat MacGarry. Others claim it all started at The Ritz Hotel in Paris.

My personal favorite is the story of a WWI Army captain who rode a motorcycle with a sidecar to Harry's New York Bar in Paris. When he drove from the little bistro to home he needed a drink to keep him warm while riding in the sidecar. And the Sidecar was created in his honor.

The recipe for a Sidecar is a perfect blend of sweet and sour. And while there is a standard recipe used, I think each person has their own idea of what constitutes an ideal Sidecar. I know I like mine a little on the sweet side. To achieve this, I use only Meyer Lemons. Their slightly sweeter, orangey flavor adds a distinction to the drink that a regular lemon can't match.

Sweet, sweet Meyer Lemons

And while the Sidecar is a favorite drink of mine to mix at home, I almost never order one when dining out. Some bartenders end up using sour mix, ugh, instead of fresh lemons. Some forget to sugar the rim of the glass. And still others just have no idea what a Sidecar is. Sniff.

But I digress.

The Sidecar is a classic cocktail. Serve it in a vintage martini glass, with a side of steak and potatoes. It's easy proportions make it a snap for us procrastinating poodles.

Take a spin in a Sidecar. Straight to the Ritz please!

Toodles Poodles!

Quick Tips and Poodle Tricks

It's Friday night and you're going out on the town. You want to look fabulous but between life, work, and all those hours spent searching Etsy, hehe, you've run out of time.

What's a gal to do??

Don't worry. This poodle has got the tricks you need to look glamourous in minutes.

One of the things I love the most about 40's hair and makeup, is that it's easy to do. WWII caused many a shortage in beauty products. This resulted in an abundance of ingenuity on the homefront. Those ladies came up with some amazing ways to keep up appearances.

Drawing on "stockings"

Only washing your hair every four days or so, meant inventing a few neat ideas that were quick and kept hair looking lovely. One of my favorites literally takes seconds to do. Love it!

15 cents? Pish Posh! Poodles can make their own!

Want a stunning back victory roll? Follow these easy steps perfected by those amazing war time women:

Step 1: Cut the top off of a pair of old, CLEAN stockings.

Step 2: Place one of the stocking legs under your hair at the nape of your neck. Place the other one over your hair and hold the ends together in each hand.

Step 3: Holding the ends together, slide the stockings down to within an inch or two of your hair ends.

Step 4: Begin twisting the ends up towards your neck/crown. When all the hair is twisted up, tuck ends of stockings under the roll at the sides. Also tuck in any loose hairs that didn't make it into the roll.

Step 5: Secure with a comb and bobby pins on each side. Style the front of your hair in easy combs or more rolls.

That's it! An inventive back roll courtesy of war rationing. Now go shake your tails!

Toodles Poodles!

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Besame Mucho"

It came! It came! It came!

Cue me jumping in excited circles. 

My Besame Red lipstick came in the mail and made me sooooo happy!

I have wanted a Besame lipstick for forever, but you know me, why buy today when u can buy tomorrow, or the next...

So I finally sat down and made up my mind. You see, I had read review upon review of Besame Cosmetics. All positive and glowing. But each reviewer had their own favorite color red lipstick. How was I ever to choose just one?!

But darling, I want them all!

If it was up to me, I would purchase every shade along with every other product Besame sells. But that pesky budget/husband always gets in the way.

Boo I say! That's right, BOO!

I finally thought, go with the classic, and I ordered Besame Red.

So glamourous!

As I opened the gorgeous red packaging to reveal an even more gorgeous lipstick tube, I was suddenly awash with memories. Five years old and watching my grandma putting on her makeup. Taking the gold lid off her bullet shaped lipstick and adding the final touch. 

My Grandma with gorgeous red lips and perfect poodle hair

From the perfectly reproduced packaging, to the glamourous red lipstick inside, Besame founder Gabriela Hernandez has created a vintage cosmetic worth treasuring. And I love, love, love that she too is inspired by her grandmother and a time that was full of romance.

Poodle approved!

The lipstick has such quality and staying power. Creamy, pigmented, and just the right shade of true red. It doesn't feather, which I love, because I hate feathering. And it LASTS. Without a lipliner, I might add.

Kiss me! Besame!

At $22 a tube, this isn't your basic drugstore find. Nor should it be. This is a gift for your senses and a treat for your soul.

And shhh... Don't tell the amazing people over at Besame, but I would've paid double. It's that good.

Each time I take it out of its velvet pouch, I think of my grandma and I smile. Besame gave me not only a lovely product, but priceless memories along with it.

Wasn't she lovely?

Why did I wait so long?!? Oh that's right, I'm a procrastinator. And this is the Procrastinator's Guide to Vintage right? So my procrastinator advice? Stop wasting time! Order some Besame, a true Vintage Classic.

Besame Mucho!

Toodles Poodles!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Cocktail Hour: Calling Dr. Jack

Hey there poodles! My own precious pooches delayed me somewhat with this cocktail hour.

I know, shocking! Moi', late with something?! Never!

Ok, always... this is the procrastinator's guide remember?

But being laid up with a little injury caused by said pooches got me thinking; what is an easy cocktail recipe that's quick to make and able to be mixed one handed?

And a true classic came to mind: Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 and Coca Cola. Both brands have been around since the 1800's. But from 1942 to 1946, during WWII, the US government banned whiskey. In 1947 production of Old No. 7 began again and has remained a popular Tennessee whiskey distillery.

Coca Cola first came on the soda fountain scene in 1886 for 5 cents a glass, and was sold as a patent medicine.  It was sold in bottles for the first time in 1894, and Coca Cola in a can became available in the mid 50's.

Jack and Coke, as it is commonly called, is considered a highball.  A highball is basically the name for any drink composed of a base of spirits with a larger proportion of non-alcoholic mixer. The name supposedly originated around 1898, meaning a dram of whiskey in a tall glass. A highball is traditionally served in a tall straight sided glass called a highball glass. Go figure?

So... being in some pain and only having one usable hand, my Father's voice came whispering in my ear. He used to quip when ill, "Nothing a little Dr. Jack can't cure." 

And I took his advice. One Jack and Coke coming up.

Toodles Poodles!