Friday, August 26, 2011

Lean in a Little Closer, Let Me Get a Whiff

One thing that I think we are all still waiting for is smello-vision, and these days the internet is no exception.  What I wouldn't give to be able to smell a scrumptious recipe I find online or a particularly enticing dessert.  Of course another thing that smello-vision would make easier is shopping for perfumes.  I have my tried and true scents that I always have on hand (some of my favorites include Michael by Michael Kors, the what I consider to now be a classic, Pear Glacé from Victoria's Secret, and Be Delicious by DKNY) but I'm also curious sometimes as to the smell of a new fragrance that I haven't smelled before, and whether or not it smells good to me or would even work with my body's chemistry.  This got me thinking about classic perfumes. A fragrance that I think instantly comes to most people's minds is Chanel No. 5.  Now I've tried to like this scent, but I just can't.  I blame my own olfactory system and my body chemistry.  No. 5 and me just don't work together.  I like fruity, Chanel No. 5 is flowery. I like light and tropical, Chanel No. 5 is sensual and fragrant.  However, don't knock it until you try it.  It is the "now and forever" world-renowned perfume for a reason. Now, here are a few perfumes that have been discontinued but were quite popular in their day.

Max Factor Hypnotique. Introduced in the 1950's. The scent was powdery and floral. The ad is from the 1960's.
Photo from
Radio Girl Perfume also popular in the 1950's, introduced in the 1940's.
Photo from
Abano by Prince Matchabelli. Introduced in 1931. Some notes include lavender, oakmoss, orange and patchouli.
Photo from
Vigny's Beau Catcher introduced in 1942. I love this ad "It's the sexy scent that won't take no for an answer."
Photo from eBay. Ad from 1946.
Of course, not everyone can wear perfume, particularly because of the chemicals.  Here is a great alternative, especially for those of us who indulge in the nostalgic and vintage.  
To see this scent, or other Ferncliffe perfumes, visit Ferncliffe's Etsy Shop
Ferncliffe Perfumes offer a great selection of 100% natural perfumes, oils, and bath salts with an eye on the past and an attention to quality and purity of ingredients.  Only essential oils and absolutes garnered from flowers, fruits, herbs and spices are used. The perfume oil pictured here is called "Babe". It is inspired by Clara Bow, a true "babe" of her time. It is in the fresh, spicy, floral scent family and has top notes of green mandarin, juniper berry, black pepper, tangerine, sweet orange and clove bud.

Now, another very vintage aspect of perfumes is of course the atomizer. This both decorative and useful device allows for perfume to be applied as a fine spray through the use of it's nozzle.

Here is a beautiful example of an atomizer from the 1940's
Green Blown Glass Atomizer from WhimzyThyme
 And here is another very beautiful perfume atomizer with an etched glass design. I really love the design on the pump as well.
Atomizer with Rose Etching from ForestDaydream
Take a look at this one that has gorgeous tints of iridescent pink and purple with a beautiful tassel attached to the pump.
Vintage Perfume Atomizer from GrandmasJunknStuff
And finally this stunning hand blown atomizer from the 1940's with enamel painted brass roses and a candy pink striped swirl design.
Hand Blown Atomizer from sandraevertson
So what perfumes are you in love with? Which are you most curious about? Or which scents take you back in time?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Review: Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

HarperCollins, 2010; 389 pages; ISBN  006196266X
My Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

With the twenties and the prohibition era coming back into style (seen in fashion trends and with shows like Boardwalk Empire) young adult books are no exception.  But this new series by Anna Godbersen is actually exceptional. Although Bright Young Things is a "teen" book, I would recommend it to adults as well. The book is set during the summer of 1929.  Best friends Letty & Cordelia decide to leave their small town for the bright lights of New York City. However, soon upon their arrival they get into a tiff and go their separate ways. Cordelia ends up finding her long lost father, as well as a new love interest and a new best friend in the fascinating and pampered flapper Astrid Donal. Letty also makes some new friends and starts chasing her dreams of stardom on her own. Along the way all three girls find out that not everything that is shiny is made of gold. Just like with the Luxe series I was impressed with Godbersen's writing, her characters, her plot, and all the details of the era. I was able to picture the lavish parties, the bubbly champagne, the drape of the silk and sequin gowns, and the allure and romance that permeated Letty, Cordelia and Astrid's lives.  It looks like the next novel in the series, Beautiful Days, will be released on September 10th and I look forward to devouring that one as well.  I made a book trailer for Bright Young Things, and here it is:

Photo: From website

Friday, August 12, 2011

Movie Review: Jailhouse Rock, 1957

I really do believe that there is no better term for Elvis Presley than 'The King'. Not much is left to be said or published on one of our most infamous gone-to-soon legends, but nonetheless I wanted to watch one of his classic and iconic films, as well as commemorate the anniversary of his untimely passing (August 16th). He would be 76 years old if he were alive today (Shhhhh! Don't tell this to all the people that still think he is alive. Just look up "Elvis sightings" on the internet and you will see what I mean).

  • Jailhouse Rock was Elvis's third film and his debut with MGM. It was released on October 17, 1957. 
  • There are several aspects of the film that were deemed risqué for the times. First, Elvis plays an anti-hero who is a "good bad guy". Also there is a scene with co-star Judy Tyler showing them both lying in one bed. Finally the swear word 'hell' is used. 
  • Elvis never saw the completed film. After filming ended Judy Tyler and her husband were killed in an automobile accident in Wyoming, and Elvis could not bear to watch the film in its entirety. 
  • Shortly after filming commenced Elvis inhaled a loose dental cap into his lung. He had surgery and recuperated for a few days before returning to the set. 
  • One of the people that watched Elvis film the musical "Jailhouse Rock" scene was Gene Kelly. 
  • Elvis was very involved in the choreography for the "Jailhouse Rock" scene after the choreographer, Alex Romero, figured out that the moves he had planned on would not work for the number. 
  • Four songs that appear in the film: "Jailhouse Rock", "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care", "I Want to be Free", and "Treat Me Nice" were written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller in just five hours after their music publisher locked them in a hotel room so the deadline could be met. 
  • The band that appears in the film is Elvis's original band. 

My thoughts on the film: I really enjoyed it. Although Elvis was obviously never a great acting talent, he is still mesmerizing to watch.  The way he moves is unparalleled, so the singing and dancing scenes are great fun to watch.  Were it not for the fact that this is an Elvis movie, I don't think it would work at all.  He is the movie.  One quote I supremely enjoyed was given by a girl poolside after Elvis sings one of his numbers "When you sing, it's really Gonesville."  Too funny.  I also enjoyed seeing a pair of hound dogs in the film, especially since Elvis's version of "Hound Dog" was a hit the year prior to this film.  Overall a great movie to watch if you are an Elvis fan, and even if you're not, still fun to watch just for the music scenes.
Here is a clip of the infamous jailhouse musical number

Friday, August 5, 2011

Read a Book, Sip a Cocktail No. 8

Photo from
I've had Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet on my reading list for quite some time and I have to say that I'm glad that I kept it on my list.  I gave it a solid 5 stars and it sure brought me to some bitter and sweet tears at the end.  However, I'm not basing the cocktail paired with this book on the story itself, which has to do with internment camps during World War II, lost love, and bridging cultures, instead I'm basing it on the idea of bitter and sweet, like the title suggests.  I'm doing my version of a whiskey sour, using both lemon juice and orange juice, as well as a simple syrup and calling it A Bittersweet Corner (substitute the simple syrup with grenadine and you have yourself a Ward 8).  Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry and indulge in a very potent bittersweet concoction that is actually quite drinkable.  The bite of the lemon enhances the potency and taste of the whiskey, and then you get the sweetness of the oranges and the simple syrup.  Very refreshing.  I didn't have any fresh oranges or cherries on hand, so I went sans garnish.  Also, I used a rocks glass, but you could also use a highball or a martini glass (without the ice).

Missing some embellishment, but still enjoyed this tangy drink

Production of Maker's Mark bourbon whiskey began in 1954 and the first bottle was produced in 1958. It's distinctive red wax seal is patented and for many years the Kentucky bourbon's tag line was "It tastes expensive... and is".
Come to mama!

This is actually the perfect drink to enjoy whilst listening to some jazzy tunes.  The Seattle jazz scene has a pivotal role in this book, especially one of its pioneers, Oscar Holden.  You can find a little more information on him if you click here.  There isn't much on YouTube for Oscar, but I did find a couple songs sung by his daughter Grace.  Or you could also just look up jazz from the forties, which is when half of the story takes place in Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  Here is a tune that caught my ear. 

A Bittersweet Corner
1 oz. Bourbon whiskey
1 1/2 oz. Lemon juice
1 1/2 oz. Orange juice
1 oz. of Simple syrup*
In a cocktail shaker mix ice, bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice, and simple syrup.  Shake for at least 20 seconds.  Strain into a short glass tumbler or rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with a thin slice of orange and a cherry.  *To make the simple syrup, take 1/2 a cup of sugar to 1 cup of water and cook over medium heat (watching it and stirring every so often).  When the sugar has dissolved, take the syrup off the heat and let it cool.