Sunday, January 24, 2010

The History of Fashion and Hollywood Glamour through Paperdolls

As my birthday grows nearer, I start thinking about all those great childhood moments that led me to blogging about of all things, beauty. One of the most fascinating brushes with fashion and beauty came to me in a strange way. In grade school, my teacher met with my mother and discussed the fact that I am left handed. This "disability" (yeah, right) was causing me to struggle to learn to cut. I'm not sure the teacher ever considered the fact that her left handed scissors were crap! But anyway, I was falling behind in that critical area of cut and paste. I'm not sure who suggested it, the teacher or my mother, but one of them decided that I should practice cutting out paper dolls. These are not the standard punch out ones, but detailed, printed on card stock paper dolls. So my mother went to one of the book stores in town and bought me the most beautiful paper doll book that even to this day I have seen. The title? Not's been so long ago but the author was Tom Tierney. The dolls? Victorian women with their detailed dresses full of ruffles, bows, bustles, buttons, and every manner of detail. Mom handed me her best pair of nail scissors and away I went. I learned to be precise and detailed in cutting. It could take me days to cut out one dress. But what I really learned was the incredible world of fashion. Cutting out these dolls became a passion with me. I went on to Glamour of the Thirties, the world of Hollywood costume design, Gone with the Wind costumes, and the wedding of Charles and Diana where I painstakingly cut out the wedding gown in the most delicate procedure, worried every moment that I would rip it. Mr. Tierney avidly researches the history of the eras, actors and actresses, and designers involved in the fashions that he recreates. He has educated himself (and me by default!) in the area of dance, Hollywood, costume design, advertising, and history.

I won't reprint Mr. Tierney's designs here but he has such an incredible love of paper dolls that he has created sets of reproducible, permission for use designs on CD. What I really wanted to say to Mr. Tierney is this; My love and education about fashion started from you...not from some magazine. It is a long standing passion from Chanel to Schiaparelli. It encompasses Vivien Leigh, Diana, Rudolph Valentino, and nameless but beautiful Victorian women. I learned about the fashion of dance, the lives and tragedies of stars like Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford. Later, I even watched the movies and reveled in how gorgeous the costumes were on screen. I look for the tiny details that I've seen while carefully cutting. I no longer cut out my paper dolls but don't think I don't look at every spectacular detail, the cut of a blouse, the ruffle, the detailed pin on the shoulder! This childhood passion has become a secret (or not so secret now that it's on a blog) indulgence. I have been known to put the latest Tom Tierney find on my Amazon list. And just the other day, I stood in Borders and drooled over the President Obama dolls.

Thank you. And if any of you mothers are looking to capture the hearts of your daughters about fashion, romance, and teach them a useful skill (lol), check out Mr. Tierney's gorgeous, smart paper dolls. Also, thanks to Dover publishing for bringing so many of his books to a store near me. My favorites or on my want list right now?

1. Great Fashion Designs of the Victorian Era - it takes me back.
2. Art Deco Fashions -I have not seen this one yet and am eagerly looking forward to it.

Curing Winter Dry Itchy Skin Inexpensively

I struggle with itchy skin. More and more it is becoming a year round issue. About a month ago, I started a search on drugstore shelves for inexpensive effective treatments in and out of the shower. A wise person told me that your skin eventually gets used to the products that you are using and sometimes when that happens the products cease to be effective. This was clearly the case with me since I had been using the same lotion for years and my skin was no better off and in fact horrifyingly worse!

In the shower - My itchy skin flares up in the shower and it makes for an agonizing time so I started tackling it there with St Ives Oatmeal and Shea Butter Body Wash. Made to sooth itchy skin, it does instantly bring relief to my skin as well as moisturizing benefits. But I feel amazingly clean after using it which cannot be said of all moisturizing body washes (you know who you are....scummy and greasy - ARG!). One of the best features of the St. Ives body wash is the scent. I open the bottle and my shower is transformed into a spa experience. The citrus scent is light and clean. I love it! No more itchy showers! The price is recession proof as well, running a nice, tidy approximate sum of $4-5 depending on where you purchase. It makes me feel better to spend less on a product that goes down the drain and still get a quality, natural clean!

After the shower - Departing from the norm again, I decided to try Gold Bond Medicated products. This can quite possibly show you how desperate I was to stop itching because I have always been turned off by their yellow, red, and putrid green packaging. But it would seem that the Gold Bond company has been thinking quite a bit about customers like know, the shallow ones who want a bottle to look pretty. Sigh. I purchased the very simple, white bottle of Gold Bond Healing Lotion with Aloe. This is quite possibly the best, least expensive lotion I have used in years. It runs about $8 a bottle. Lasting 24 hours, Gold Bond Healing Lotion provides me with moisture and comfort with a light scent and pleasant texture. It is neither greasy nor overly thick. It's thick enough to stay in the places where I want it but not greasy where I feel like washing my hands after application. My husband does notice when I have it on my skin as do I but it's so comfortable to wear that I love it -and it doesn't seem to bother him ;)! Best of all, when I come home from work and remove my nylons to relax, I don't instantly feel like ripping my skin off. Soothing, Gold Bond has created a lotion that takes away redness, causes noticeable healing, and seriously replenishes moisture instead of just being a temporary patch!

Lastly, the lips - Don't forget those little but necessary kissable spots that get exposed to all kinds of winter wear and tear! I have several products that I've become hooked on over the course of the winter months.

Yes to Carrots makes a fantastic lip tint for those of us Fashionistas who are lipstick fans. It goes on like lipstick but provides tons of healthy, healing for winter dry lips! I bought the Christmas special boxed set and split it with my daughter. I ended up with the Chocolate Kiss lip tint which I use religiously. The frosty mocha color is fantastic, not too strong but perfect for a natural look. Plus it lasts longer than ordinary lip balms. There is no strong odor or taste which is perfect. I would prefer not to eat my lip balm. Good bye chapped and dry lips!

Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm - Being a huge fan of honey automatically reeled me in on this lip balm. The best thing about it is the taste. It is authentic honey flavor with healing benefits. I am always wary of lip balms because they make your lips often so moist that the crisp lip line for lipstick application is muted and it becomes easier for your lipstick to bleed into the finer lines around the edges of lips. But this balm does not do this. It is also long lasting and strong enough to last hour by hour stresses that we all place on lips - coffee drinking, snacking, kissing...LOL! There is no menthol in this lip balm so no cooling effect like in the other Burt's Bees balm that I am using. But to be honest, I prefer the warm honey to the cooler feel of the other balm.

Here are just a few products that I'm sure you would enjoy and would help relieve winter dry skin. I did have some blunders and duds during my search but luckily they were few and far between and it's best not to mention brand names. Keep warm....keep soft and cuddly....keep living beautifully!