Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012! May we all live long & lucky!

Making my Panetela Caribe for tomorrow's New Year's party. Recipe that has been in our family for decades. Originated in Puerto Rico.

1 Pound Cake or Angel Cake. I prefer Pound Cake but Angel Cake works in a pinch.

2 cans evaporated milk

8 Egg Yolks

2 cups sugar

1/2 teas cream of tartar

Dark Rum - I like to use Bacardi but any dark rum will do.


Slice the Pound Cake into 1/2 - 1/4 inch slices and line the bottom of your cake pan. Yields 2 square cake pans.

In a container whisk well egg yolks, sugar &; evaporated milk.

Pour into a pan on burner at low fire or heat. Stir constantly until it is thick.

Remove from heat &; allow to cool for a few minutes.

Add rum (2-4 cap fulls) or lemon juice.

Pour on top of the pound cake slices.


Heat oven 350 degrees.

With a hand held mixer, beat egg whites, add cream of tartar, continue beating on high speed until it starts turning into meringue.

Add 1 cup sugar slowly. Keep beating until mixed well &; peaks.

Pour on top of the cream.

Spread carefully and evenly.

Sprinkle nonpareils.

Place in heated oven for about 10 minutes or until golden.


My little mixer, the vintage Dormeyer 9500.

The first mixer in 1954 with 9 speeds!

It has a crazy strong motor that stood the test of time.
Made in the U.S.A.

No plastic cheap parts here.

And to all who will be on the road

Tipsy Tow offered by AAA to folks across the country: You don't have to be a AAA member, from 6pm-6am on New Year's Eve/Day, they will take your drunk self and your car home for FREE. Save this number... 1-800-222-4357 . Feel free to pass this on to your loved ones.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

His Royal Highness PRINCE

Tomorrow evening I will be in the presence of our own American royalty.

Thanks to my beautiful son who surprised me with an early Christmas present.

I keep looking at the ticket, pinching myself. Floor 2nd row!

It has always been a dream of mine to see Prince live. Bucket list is getting smaller. Sometimes it takes years for our dreams to be realized. I am a patient person. 2011 was a good year.

Happy Holidays to all! May all your dreams come true in the company of those who are near and dear to your hearts.xo

My review can be found here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Top Fashion News of 2011

It was not Louboutin losing out to YSL in court for the use of the red soles associated with his brand. The court ruled the color red on the soles could not be granted trademark protection. According to an Associated Press report, Yves Saint Laurent has manufactured red-soled shoes since the 1970s.

I suppose I should remember that since I worked in NYC's YSL offices for a time during my college years. Still have a few pieces of their creamy stationary.

No, the best fashion news of 2011 was not the Missoni for Target frenzy.

Missoni's colorful zig-zags are known world wide, along with it's steep price tags. When shoppers learned the 400 piece collection would be selling at Target's bargain prices they camped at the stores Black Friday fashion, they crashed the Target website & emptied out store racks like locusts. Stories I heard from friends who tried to get one piece, any piece! Was that it was impossible. The craziest thing they had ever seen.

My friends and I were hard core NYC shoppers, in the trenches in our combat boots spotting, snatching 18.00 Halston raincoats - mine had a matching envelope bag..., Betsey Johnsons from the middle of 5 foot high piles, elbows out, watching out for the little old ladies frothing at the mouth nearby ripping at each other for a pair of Charles Jourdans at Lord & Taylor.

When It comes to fashion and women and you insert the word 'sale' in the middle of the two, specially when it concerns a desired label, blood will be spilled. Retailers should know this.

I no longer have the patience for the pushing and shoving. Considered going but glad I didnt.

Despite the fact Target tried to make it up to their customers who were furious I dont believe they were able to. Demand exceeded supply. To make things worse- not for the buyer but for those that missed out, I saw pieces going for thousands on ebay.

Later this fall Versace corraborated with H&M and seemed to show Missoni how it should be done.

MY Best Fashion moment of 2011 Was Kate Middleton's wedding at Westminster Abbey. The dress was designed for the Duchess of Cambridge by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen the British designer who sadly passed away last year.

I recall gossip flying for weeks about who Kate's designer would be. Every movement to and from the palace was followed, scrutinized very closely by the media and reported.

Speculation and rumors flew. Bets were placed. People were shuttled in vans, cars in cloak and dagger fashion. When questioned, the McQueen people denied any involvement. Most probably sworn to secrecy.

Then finally, amidst so much sadness, hardship, earthquakes, tornadoes...We exhaled and watched with wonder as two young lovers took their vows.

Thousands stood on the streets, sidewalks, windows, rooftops...cheering. Millions more tuned in via satellite, cable, televisions, ipods, computers around the world. The British Monarchy was on the ball, streaming the event and reporting every detail on twitter and facebook without as much as a glitch. Made my Brit blood proud.

After the couple kissed on the balcony and left for the reception...we discussed it in blogs, facebook, message boards. Special shows on CNN, Style, E had panels reviewing every single moment of the wedding for days!

Every magazine stand had issues with Kate's photo on the cover.

In the summer Kate's dress was displayed at Buckingham Palace, record breaking crowds of over 600,000 people showed up.

In NYC 650,000 people stood in long lines to see the McQueen retrospective at the Met from May 4–August 7, 2011.

For all of these reasons nothing else can top the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William in 2011.

Still today, months later, my blog from that occasion has visitors almost every day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tangerine Love!

We've been featured in an etsy treasury!

Thanks to etsy's ReverieMerchants.

Tangerine is the new black for 2012.

A warm color for a cold gloomy fall day.

As my friend Kathleen describes our beautiful Seattle today:

"Soft misty rain that shows the holiday lights and garlands sheeny in the reflections...On the ferry, there is a darker line separating the slightly brighter horizon from the pewter sea, with one buoy visible where the sand bar is."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


My vintage Holy Grail is not lingerie but if I were to ever find something this special I think I would faint.

ebay listing for Vanity Fair gold set

How lucky we were in those days that someone could slip into such luxuries. Wear 24 carat gold against the skin without stepping foot in a jewelry store.

So sexy!

From the seller's description it feels as soft as it looks. Im hoping the seller does really well with the listing, it is a true treasure. At the time of my posting, there are still two days left to bid.

update 12.16.11 - An excellent ending.

The holiday season inspired me to lift the tissue from my lovely vintage fashion pieces.

Gold Brocade Wiggle Bombshell Halter Dress & Jacket

SOLD! - Vintage 60s Metallic Gold Evening Swing Trapeze Coat

I imagine a very special someone wearing them with the "Cloth of Gold" Vanity Fair under garments.

Now Im in the mood for Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger...

There are many Goldfinger youtubes in existense some from back in the 60s ...till now. All fabulous. I chose this one because I can hear the needle on the vinyl.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bravo's Fashion Hunters Great for Vintage Research

Ambria Miscia, Tara Muscarella, Karina Lepiner and Wilson Payamps are consigners at Second Time Around in NYC.

Fashion Hunters is the show that follows their purchase and sales adventures. Helpful if you are a buyer, collector, in the business of selling designer vintage fashion.

If you'd like to learn how to spot copies, not if you wish to learn how to price. Some items may be overpriced, like the Louboutin black flats in the last episode.

Some under priced.

The green pair were in excellent condition but the black were too worn to price at 350.

Bravo even went as far as to guesstimate a retail price of $600. ^^ huh?

I noticed that pricing on some of these shows sometimes get a little crazy. The auction buyers attempting to over-compensate for what they spend on storage units is one such example.

Who, in their right mind, shells out over a grand at a thrift store for a worn dusty sofa - when most, specially those outdoor units, are mice...vermin infested...*shudder*.

I dont have a clue who they think they are trying to fool.

Of course, Im not suggesting the pieces in FH come from these types of places..although one could never predict where treasures may be hidden...recalling the lady who dropped by STA with the Chanel bags found at a yard sale in a previous episode. I think I was hyperventilating during that one. Can you imagine?

Sometimes I may answer a call at a posh neighborhood with great anticipation only to leave disappointed versus having found granny's closet brimming with breath taking beauties.

If there are several things Ive learned from years in the vintage biz; the hunt is highly unpredictable - that's what makes it fun and interesting. Good quality vintage is usually one of a kind. You might hit the jackpot and find a similar one in a different size years later, but the reason desirable vintage is coveted and priced accordingly is that quality, well cared for, restored, curated vintage is rare.

The value of Fashion Hunters is how they teach to examine a garment for authenticity. How to turn it inside out to look for finished seams, straight edges, stitching, label, how the logos are positioned, the quality of the fabric/leather.

If an investment piece is your interest Fashion Hunters is for you.

I would like to end this blog entry with a final note.

Please don't forget that most purchases are often negotiable. Price tags are not always written in stone, specially when the item has glaring flaws.

Happy vintage shopping!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vintage Weight Gain Ads Discourage Twiggy Look

With the making of the latest Marilyn Monroe movie starring Michele Williams gracing the cover of my Vogue magazine.

Marilyn's voluptuous sexy look no doubt celebrates curves!

Michelle attempted to gain weight but as she tells in the article instead it all went to her face. She padded her figure.

"But I do remember one moment of being all suited up as Marilyn and walking from my dressing room onto the soundstage practicing my wiggle," Williams tells the magazine. "There were three or four men gathered around a truck, and I remember seeing that they were watching me come and feeling that they were watching me go--and for the very first time I glimpsed some idea of the pleasure I could take in that kind of attention; not their pleasure but my pleasure. And I thought, Oh, maybe Marilyn felt that when she walked down the beach."

Huffpo's article about Vintage Weight Gain Ads

Love anything Marilyn Monroe. A huge MM poster decorates my vintage room.

I was given James Spada's book as a birthday present by dearest friends in the 80s. It is one of the many books on her that sit on my shelves.

It will be interesting to see if vintage fashions will continue to inspire the runways and maybe even encourage more designers to use normal sized models.

Its all about the healthy look.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bergdorf Goodman opens a Vintage Restored Line

I wonder what the consensus is in the Vintage Fashion Community.

I see pros and cons.

The obvious ones; keeps Vintage Fashion in the forefront, in the eyes & minds of the consumer. That it restores badly damaged quality vintage instead of shipping to China as rags or dumping in a landfill.

Cons; that perfectly good vintage, slightly soiled, in need of delicate care will be chopped up with the excuse of 'restoring' simply only for the sake of adding the BG label.

I wrote an article recently about such a sad situation where perfectly good vintage pieces may have been cut up for the sake of a one night red carpet gala.

2011 Oscars Red Carpet

Not being one who believes everything I see on the internet I took extra steps to find out if good vintage pieces had been indeed compromised for such an affair.

What are your thoughts?

Bergdorf Goodman’s Linda Fargo Talks Vintage, Tom Ford Beauty, and Leopard Pajamas

From Vintage to Modern

I was relieved to read the word 'restored' mentioned by Linda Fargo in the article.

These are some of the comments from my vintage clothing group when I posted a link to the article:

'Off the top of my head, they probably saw Anthropologie selling dye vintage party dresses and thought they could do better. Maybe so too; Bergdorf is a wonderful store!'

'My fear, with the upcycled vintage, is that there may be a stain that could be removed with some effort, but just ends up being a good excuse to cut the bottom off and tie dye. I worry.'

'Bergdorf is so terribly designer friendly I would think they'd be like the MOMA of vintage stores. They really have been known for giving some wonderful young designers a venue even if a couple dresses on a rack... seems they love clothes too. I'd think nothing less of them.'

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bitten by the vintage bug

Is the vintage bug something that is inherited or is it a gene that exists in our dna?

We moved from the East coast some years ago and I still have some items in boxes. Oh, OK, I'll admit, lots of items in boxes. Some items I have decided no longer fit my decor and thinking of selling.

When he was a little boy, my son and I loved shopping yard sales almost every weekend. I can comfortably say we replaced almost every piece of poorly constructed furniture with sturdy well made antiques. Many pieces we still own.

Yard sales upstate NY were much different than ones in NYC and on our way home we'd make a quick stop at the farmer's market and fill our baskets with fresh fragant fruits, vegetables and warm blueberry pie fresh out of the oven. On one of those trips we made friends with a farmer's son, his name was Kenny. Turns out Kenny was a mechanic and worked on our car for years.

Some of those farmers got hit very hard recently due to Tropical Storm Irene.

The Gill Farms were one of those places we shopped.

Farmer's Markets in NYC were non existent back then. My son, who works in NYC shops them now, he gave me a cloth shopping bag from The Amish Market in NYC not too long ago. NYC Farmer's Markets will feel the effect of the storm. Sometimes we forget, or take for granted, how something that happens to someone so far is able to still affect us directly.

Going through one of the boxes recently I felt a familiar long cilindrical shape with a cobalt blue sphere at the top wrapped in paper & bubble wrap. I remembered the Art Deco shaker we found at one of our many yard sale jaunts. We couldnt have paid more than a couple of dollars for it. It would match an Art Deco sideboard we found only a couple of weeks prior for $20.00. The sideboard lives in my dining room today.

Where ever we lived we always displayed the shaker in a cabinet with the rest of the nicer glasses we only used when company came. Some of those glasses were from the Depression era.

I often wondered if the lone shaker belonged to a set.

It took me about 30 years to find out.

When I unwrapped the shaker I placed it on my coffee table thinking maybe to sell or donate. My son spotted it and asked if he could have it for his 'man cave.' He informed me he has been in search of a small Mid Century Buffet bar as well. The shaker would be the first item in his collection and of course I was so happy to let him have it and keep it in the family.

Here is a stunning image from the auction.

A close up of the mark at the bottom of the shaker.

The type of bar my son is in search of.

I saw one listed locally for a song some time ago! I contacted the seller for measurements but because I had no idea my son wanted one I passed on it, I just didnt have the room in my place. Talk about non buyer's regret!

I hope to find another.

At least trying to shop for him for Christmas or Birthdays will be more fun than shopping for sweaters, slippers or socks.

I still dont have the answer to the original question but I hope it is something we can pass down to our children and those who touch our lives.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vintage Fashion Expo

Oct. 15th & 16th, 2011
at The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, CA

My pulse just skipped a beat.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Disappointment Playboy Club Cancelled


"Despite having relatively tame content, the show wasn’t helped by conservative group the Parents Television Council vehemently protesting the show. The PTC released a statement saying they were pleased with the cancellation:
“Bringing The Playboy Club to broadcast television was a poor programming decision from the start. We’re pleased that NBC will no longer be airing a program so inherently linked to a pornographic brand that denigrates and sexualizes women … we hope other broadcasters heed the important lessons of this programming debacle.”

Seriously? No one dragged, forced... women to work at the Playboy Club, or pose nude for that matter. Many women who worked at the club were married helping bring in a second income for their families and working on their careers. The Playboy Club was the spring board of many successful carreers for women when 'the establishment' was not giving them the chance to break through the glass ceiling.

The show was aired at 10PM. Chidren are supposed to be in bed by then. I'm so tired of a handful of prudes trying to control what everyone watches, listens to. This is the reason so many networks are dying & quality programming runs to cable.

Playboy Club's writing was much better than Pan Am's, so far has not been able to 'hook me'. The only interesting thing about Pan Am is the Christina Ricci character. I was looking forward to writing my little review of the last episode where they had a pretty cool night club scene and the one where the girls were in the house singing in their vintage lingerie...then a news bulletin announcing the show's demise popped my balloon.

Buck up Pan Am or you will be next.

Please check out my initial review of the show The Playboy Club

Playboy Club A Pleasant Surprise.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fairy Tales Do Come True

Dress made from recycled children's books

Seen at one of my favorite Green websites ecouterre.

Designed by Ryan Jude Novelline

Shows us how it was done!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Playboy Club, a pleasant surprise

Dad collected Playboy Magazines and was a member of the NYC Playboy Club. When I was a little girl my parents punished me because I thought it would be cute to go out on the porch and pose for my young neighbor after looking at dad's magazine. Wonder if I was imagining hearing him chuckle as mom frowned at him.

Dad didn't leave his mags laying around the house or anything like that but kids will get into EVERYTHING. My son confessed how he opened and re - taped Christmas presents I thought I had hidden so well.

I wonder if dad attempted to make up for it, as he rarely if ever, punished me, much later in life when as young aspiring artist I was commissioned to paint one of his favorite centerfold models. Done very tastefully, she was standing sideways wearing a short sheer baby doll nightie. She resembled Marilyn Monroe, about the age MM first posed for the magazine. It is one of the things I wish I had been given after dad passed away but I can almost bet it went to the trash bin thanks to his 2nd wife.

I was actually anticipating Pan Am more than the Playboy Club. I found the suspense plot from The Playboy Club more interesting.

Must note the authentic Playboy Bunny uniforms were cut sexier than those worn on the tv series. Maybe the costume dept had to bend to tv censors?

credit - Glenn Francis

As you can see, by the photo above, the thighs were cut to the waist.

vs the thigh cut in photo below:

credit - NBC

Arent the kiddies supposed to be in bed by 10PM? After all, not to give the plot line away, an extremely violent and bloody scene was allowed. I guess I shouldnt be surprised that we are so desensitized to violence yet prudes to the human body. And while I mention a human body, I would like to say VA VA VOOM! For women with REAL curves just like the actresses of the show and not the stick figures the media and most designers pass as "normal"

credit - NBC

Tails were soft, fluffy, tidy...more like powder puffs.

credit - Bunny PJ

The famous tail was one if not the most important accent of the uniform.

Early Bunnies wore black mesh for years until more comfortable black hose were introduced later in the 60s.

You can also tell, by the 80s uniform above how high those thighs were cut.

credit - History Wired

Update 2.16.2013 As it turns out Huff Po published an article in honor of Black History month about Zelda Wynn Valdes, Black Fashion Designer Who was the original creator for The Playboy Bunny Outfit.

"Zelda was revered for her design talent and best known for her skill in highlighting the female body. Her curve-hugging creations were worn and loved by a host of Hollywood's biggest starlets during the 1940s and 50s, including Joyce Bryant, Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald and Mae West. The Pennsylvania-native's key role in glamorizing these women caught the attention of Playboy's Hugh Hefner and he commissioned Zelda to design the first-ever Playboy Bunny costumes. And history has proven, the low-cut, skin-tight, sexy outfits are an iconic symbol of seduction and allure, forever ingrained in pop culture."

Zelda also designed for Marlene Dietrich, Joyce Bryant, Maria (Mrs. Nat “King”) Cole, Edna (Mrs. Sugar Ray) Robinson and later superstars like Gladys Knight and opera diva Jessye Norman.

Here is a link to an article about her in Ebony Style.

Thanks to vintie-loving friend Theresa Gotty for the lead.

On another note, I also remember Playboy mag having great music articles, this was before the days of Rolling Stone and other music magazines.

Singer Jackie Wilson autographs the cuff of a Playboy Bunny at a dinner for the Motion Picture Pioneers Association at the Playboy Club on November 19, 1962 in New York, New York. - credit irockjazz on Facebook.

A vintie-loving friend of ours, Kat Monroe, made further observations [of the show] stating the "dialogue was inauthentic. VIP customer to bunny: 'You are a thing of Beauty'...Bunny's remarks back end with a caustic...'I'm not a thing' "It would simply NEVER happen".

"Also the terms 'street PERSON' and 'Homeless person'...were called 'bums' or 'hobos' in those days. She also noted there was barely any smoking - as in Mad Men where you can clearly tell cigarette smoking took place everywhere, including doctor offices!

She is correct. In those years there was no such thing as PC. We were clue-less about the dangers of nicotine, cigarette ads and commercial were OK. Job security for women did not yet exist. Its great having another pair of eyes.

Fun trivia; Did you know? There is a bunny on every cover of the Playboy Magazine.

Dad & I made a game of Who Could Find It Faster.

Some were obvious;

Others, not so much;

Smithsonian Institute - "In the late 1960s, Playboy introduced Pucci-influenced, psychedelic-print costumes.

70's Bunnies Great Gorge NJ. Left one most probably Pucci uniform.

credit - Christian Montone

Also from Smithsonian - "In the early 1980s, the Bunny Cabaret costume was developed, inspired by Hugh Heffner, complete with Espree mesh stockings, garters and dyed pumps."

Wikipidea - 'The most famous maneuver of all, the "Bunny Dip," was invented by Kelly Collins, once renowned for being the "Perfect Bunny"; to do the "Bunny Dip" the Bunny gracefully leaned backwards while bending at the knees with the left knee lifted and tucked behind the right leg. This maneuver allowed the Bunny to serve drinks while keeping her low-cut costume in place.'

LINK: Marchesa designs for the new Playboy in London opening after a 30 year hiatus.

17. 05. 2011
Marchesa designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig have taken on the daunting task of revamping the iconic Playboy Bunny costume. The high-fashion redesign is to celebrate the reopening of the new Playboy Club which will open in London on July 4th after a 30 year break.

“The Playboy brand is about fantasy and escapism, which are elements embodied in our Marchesa collections" explains co-designer Georgina Chapman of the somewhat unusual pairing.

"We've taken our inspiration from the original costume but added Marchesa's signature details, such as hand draping and embroidery, while staying true to the Playboy Bunny's classic corset silhouette. The result is a modern, yet feminine interpretation of this legendary look," said Chapman.

"I recently discovered that both Lauren Hutton and Debbie Harry were Playboy Bunnies in the Sixties," continues Chapman. "They would've been perfect; they are so fun and daring in their style.”

The one-off Marchesa piece will be auctioned prior to the Playboy Club reopening, on May 26th on to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness.


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