Thursday, March 16, 2017

Vintage Market Finds and a Few Extras

I went to wonderful event the other week - York Does Vintage. It's a great vintage fair in a beautiful Merchant Adventurers' Hall. The medieval guildhall itself is worth a visit, and during the fair you can get a pretty good look around and the entrance fee is reduced.


The fair itself has a lot of great vendors. There's usually tea and cakes being served by one of York's many outstanding cafes. And there's some live music and possibly some workshop - last time it was decoupage.

I've been to a few of them, and I always come back with something pretty. I want to share a few of my finds from the fair and then a couple of things I got from here and there.


I am absolutely in love with this red silk Laura Ashley blouse (I apologize for the quality of the photos, I don't have a proper camera ATM). It's not a true vintage, but it can be styled in a few ways to give it a distinct 1940s look. I can see it with a pencil skirt for a glamorous seductive look or with a a pair of high-waisted trousers for a more day-to-day style.

This beaded belt with a thistle is gorgeous. I was quite surprised that none of the beads were missing. I think I would wear it with something light and flow-y.


I also got this lovely Stratton compact with tiny black birds. I started collecting compacts recently, and since I love everything bird related, I could not pass it by. I could not date it, but I found it on Etsy and the seller there suggests that it was made between 1960-68.


Finally, from Sue Ryder I got a pair of lovely soft cream colored gloves. I think they are divine with the little flower embroidery. And from an antique book store I picked up this book on how to be the perfect 1930s host or hostess. It's an eye opener and I will share many of the delightful tidbits of information from it really soon.

That's all for now. Until my next shopping spree.            

Friday, March 3, 2017

Beauty Tips from the 1940s

I found these wonderful beauty tips in Teen-Age Diary Secrets comic book from 1949. I love old comic books, and I will be posting a lot more of them here in the future. Romance comics were a particularly popular genre after WWII. Some of the earlier stuff can be pretty racy. Those oriented towards a female readership often carry articles about beauty, personal daintiness and social graces. Some are interesting, some are entertaining, and some are unintentionally hilarious. This post is about tips that are actually some what useful today. 
The advice on nails is pretty good. My nails are a little on the boxy side and I have used this technique to slim them down and give them an illusion of length (sorry, no pictures at present. I haven't got any nail polish right now).     
Most of us have used a hair band at least at some point in our life, but it seems that in the 40s this was something of a novelty. Though, I would not recommend using an actual rubber band. It can damage your hair. Also, I have never been a "barber at heart" and so cannot say much about this hair cutting technique. Please let me know if you have used a razor and what were the results.    
These days it seems more common to pick out a lipstick based on your skin tone. But next time I'm buying one, I will definitely think more about the lighting. As per this tip, something like this would be appropriate for evening wear:
NARS semi matte fuchsia
While this would be more suitable for daytime ware:
Yves Saint Laurent Orange Indie

Monday, February 27, 2017

How to Make a Wonderful Vintage "Float"

I love a good root beer float or a cream soda float. There's just something about the foamy, bubbly goodness that makes you feel like you're a bobby-soxer on a "date" with Cary Grant. I don't have access to my kitchen at the moment, so I had to pull some pictures from the internet.

My own recipe is very simple. You will need:

1. Fentimans Curiosity Cola
source
I always go for Curiosity Cola. It's not as sweet as some other sodas out there and has a nice slightly flora taste. And the bottle is super vintage-y.  

2. Organic Finnish ice cream Jymy 
source
Any good quality ice cream would do, but I'm a fan of this Finnish brand.  . 

3. A soda glass 
Make sure it's a tall glass. You don't want to lose any of that sweet-sweet foam. I have this old Coca-Cola glass I got from McDonald's. 

4. Fun paper straws
source
Paper straws come in many cute patterns. They do have one serious flaw, though, they do get soggy. But, by golly, they are so fun! 

The Process: 
1. Fill about two-thirds of your glass with soda. 
2. Plop a nice big scoop of ice cream into the glass. It will start foaming - don't fret. That's why you have such a tall glass. 
3. Once the foam has settled a little, add a bit more soda. 
4. Now put in those straws and share it with your sweetheart
.   

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Film Review: Stage Door (1937)


I've been sick for the better part of the week. And when I'm sick, I like to watch a lot of movies. It was then very fortunate that I came across the delightful 1937 Stage Door on BBC iPlayer. Starring Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers, the film tells the story of trials and successes of aspiring actresses who all live in a boarding house in New York City. It has it all - sparkling humor, biting wit, Ginger Rogers dancing, the glamour of the stage, the tragedy and poverty backstage, and, of course, the delectable late 1930s fashions.

Plot: Hepburn plays Terry Randall, a rich girl, who wants to see if she has what it takes to become an actress. She is determined, pragmatic and maybe just a little too entitled. All this doesn't sit too well with the other aspiring actresses at the Footlights Club boardinghouse where Terry lodges. She and her new roommate Jean Maitland (Rogers) develop an amusing love/hate relationship that leads to a lot of comedic moments. The other inhabitants of the boardinghouse are the shrewd Linda Shaw (Gail Patrick), the fragile and tragic Kay Hamilton (Andrea Leeds), and the endearingly goofy Judy Canfield (Lucille Ball). Terry gets a part in a new play, but acting turns out to be harder than she had thought. It takes a real tragedy to make her into an actress.


There is a lot of humor in the film, but there's also a lingering sense of doom over the young women in the house. Like All About Eve, one of my all-time favorite films, Stage Door may be glitzy and glamorous, but underneath all this there are some hard questions - will Terry's success last or will she be forgotten by the next season? Are the other girls going to find their big break or will they have to give up and marry? Will they live out the rest of their lives in obscurity and relative poverty?


One of the things I especially love about this film is that it centers on women, their lives and their goals. Unlike other movies about women that are really about men (yes, I'm looking at you The Women 1939), Stage Door does not try to hammer in the point that a woman's best role is that of wife and mother. In fact, marriage seems to be treated as failure and near tragedy, while men are obstacles, rather than heroic saviors. One of the more prominent male parts in the film is the smarmy producer Anthony Powell (Adolphe Menjou). He is as close as this film gets to a villain. Even though he is rather pompous and silly, his predatory behavior shows clearly what the women have to put up with to succeed in the theatrical world.  


Hepburn is delightful as Terry. She bring the dry wit and sophistication that this part really needs. Terry does come off as rather entitled and too posh at times. The scenes where she quarrels with the director and the writer of the play she had been cast in are truly cringe-worthy. But she learns her lesson in the end.


Rogers as Jean is fresh, bright and sparkling (sometimes literally). Her comedic timing is impeccable and she delivers some of the funniest lines in the film. But she also has her moments of gravitas as she contemplates her future and the future of the other girls in the boardinghouse.

Miss Luther (Constance Collier) is one of my favorite characters. She is played for laughs as an aging actress who is trying to become an acting coach and insists that the girls need theatrical training. The audience is meant to laugh at her, but she's not wrong. Terry's main problem is that she assumes that acting is somehow innate. The film makes a broader point that the tragedy of show business is that it's more about being liked by powerful men like Anthony Powell rather than having talent. But I'm still with Miss Luther on this one, those girls should at least know a little bit of Shakespeare.

Needless to say, the outfits in the film are wonderful. The costume designer was Muriel King.
The Battle of the Mink Coats. Jean and Linda are deliciously antagonistic.

I just love this polka dot romper. I really need to make this for myself.

This hat gets a lot of hate from the girls at the Footlights Club boardinghouse. But I think the outfit just screams chic Doctor Zhivago.

Oh, that hat! That purse! That coat! That...dress?  Oh, Jean, no!

A lot of the outfits in the film are more stylish day-to-day stuff rather than glamorous gowns. I love Jean's blouse and high waisted trousers combo, but Linda's dress with the half-turban and the sash are delightful in their pretentious sophistication.  

Judy's suit is really fun, but Jean, once again, wins me over with the blouse and high waisted skirt with suspenders. Also, ukulele.   

I'm just really partial to pajamas. Maybe it's becasue I live in a cold climate and therefore find pretty, impractical PJs to be the pinnacle of fashion. I really love Terry's dress, too.    

Here's a better picture of Terry's lovely dress. It's very no-nonsense, just like her, with just a touch of see-through chiffon to show that she has a soft, vulnerable side, too.

In the end, Stage Door is a wonderful movie that you can watch again and again. The acting is great and the dialogue feels authentic and honest. And it's all about girls doing it on their own.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Back Again with a Few New Things

It's been years...Yes, years...I feel bad about abandoning my blog. But there were a few things happening in my life, and I just didn't have the time. Recently, I came across some of my old posts and it just reminded me how much I love writing things about things. As I follow a lot of blogs, the amount of creativity, cleverness and the general sense of community never ceases to amaze me. 

And, thus, here I am, back again. But with a few changes.

First, the name of the blog has changed. I decided to call it Tea with Anastasia. Not terribly creative, I know, but I am Anastasia and I do love tea, and, darn it, I want people to know. 

Second, I want to focus a bit more on my new found love of vintage. I've always flirted with vintage style a little bit, but now I want to go steady with it. I'll try to document my ideas, successes, and failures here. 

Third, I have spent the last several months living abroad in the UK, and I want to share these experiences, too. 

And, finally, I think blogging will be a wonderful outlet for my non-academic interests and passions. 

I call this list my Declaration of Intent (kind of like New Year's Resolutions, but mine come in February) 

And so, here we go...again!
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