Thursday, 29 September 2016

Vixen by Micheline Pitt Review Part 2- Powderpuff Tops

I gave a rave review of the Vixen Tops and Makeup Print Skirt by Vixen earlier in the week here. But the piece from her range that first drew me to Vixen by Micheline Pitt was the Powderpuff Tops. I couldn't even squeeze them into my last post because they are so amazing they need a post all their own.

Micheline first previewed these tops a few months ago, and that was where my anticipation first began to grow. I didn't even care what else she would be offering at the time, as long as I could get my hands on the Powderpuff Tops asap.






 
This is where I have to give you an embarrassing childhood fact to relate to why I love these so much. I seem to do one almost every post, so here goes: When I was a little girl, I would draw princesses with the world's tiniest waist and these big puffy sleeves like you would see on 90's cartoon princesses. The Swan Princess, Princess Peach, all the best princesses had puffy sleeves. This top is like an adult version of everything my little girl dreams are made of. My husband loves food so much it can make him misty-eyed (ha, and it's the cutest thing ever.). That's me with fashion (ok, that's me with food too). I have a deep, emotional attachment to pretty things that make me feel like a princess. But I'm totally an adult. I swear.

The best part about this top isn't just the puff sleeves though, it's its versatility. With the sleeves up, it's a demure little thing that's sure to complete any outfit. With the sleeves down, it's instantly sexy and adds another dimension to what you can wear with it.


One of the reasons I was so excited for this top, as I mentioned on instagram, was the fact that I could finally pair jeans with a top like this! There are several puff-sleeved tops on the retro market, but this one, like the Vixen Top, is made from a thick stretch cotton and has no zipper. I'll try not to repeat part 1 of this post too much in lamenting how amazing it is to have beautiful retro style tops without zippers, so suffice it to say I'm happy.

I am basically trying not to wear them every day, for the sake of variety - but it's very hard. Most of my outfit posts since I received my Vixen order contain the Powderpuff Tops. 
 (side note - I CAN FIT INTO THESE JEANS AGAIN! Its been 6 months of trying, and finally I've lost enough weight to wear these comfortably. Aurora is on a lot of solids now, which means my body is no longer holding onto fat for dear life to keep my milk supply up, so the weight is just kind of coming off on its own. Praise the milky gods.)

I ordered a size small, which was perfectly matched to my measurements of 37-27-37. From what I have seen, you can definitely size according to your smallest measurements as the top stretches easily, however choose according to how much puff you want in the sleeves. So if you have a size medium waist and a size large bust and want lots of puff, get the size large. This will ensure you can push the sleeves far enough up your arms to give all that puff-sleeved goodness. If you are indifferent, then order according to your smallest measurement.

Now, with regards to the colour of the pink Powderpuff Top, I've compared it to a couple of the skirts I've been asked about with regards to match. Almost any pink I hold it up against goes from looking like a true pink to appearing a little on the salmon side of things, so the pink top definitely has a lilac undertone vs a red or orange undertone. It's basically the girliest shade of pink known to humanity. Also, take note that it is a perfect match to the Makeup Print Skirt, and is not as dark as the way it appears in the Etsy photos.

The Powderpuff Top is currently available in pink, white and black, with red coming very soon. If I could snap my fingers and have it made in another few colors, it would be lilac, baby blue and mint. Or, you know, every single colour of the rainbow and then some. That would work too.

Thanks for reading!
xo, Miss Betty Doll
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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Vixen by Micheline Pitt Review Part 1- Vixen Top and Full Skirt

It's no secret I have been eagerly awaiting my Vixen order since I pre-ordered it months ago. And by "eagerly", I mean feverishly stalking my Etsy account, waiting for my shipment notification.

I can still rememer the first retro clothing order I ever placed, and the excitement that followed as I awaited its arrival. This matched that excitement.

I received the Vixen Top, Makeup Skirt and Powderpuff Top, but I am just reviewing the first two in this post so as to not make it too long.

Micheline Pitt started her own business venture a few months back, and has been pumping out gorgeous artwork and clothing ever since. Her social media presence has been nothing short of perfection as she has responded to every message and kept her fans and customers in the loop about her clothing line. I've personally messaged her several times with questions I saw floating around Facebook groups, and she has responded promptly and thoroughly every single time.

There have been a few delays, as to be expected with any baby business, and her customers respected those delays and Micheline respected her customers' time and money spent. It's been such a pleasure to watch the small community grow into a humble yet sassy hub.

Once my items were ready, they arrived on my doorstep in a week and a half, with a handwritten note from Micheline tucked inside.

The Vixen Top was everything I had hoped it would be. There are several tops on the retro market with similar collars, sleeve lengths etc, but none of them have worked for me. This is the kind of top that needs to be form-fitting to really give that clean and sexy look, and most companies have chosen to make these in traditional cotton or sateen fabrics. Whilst I loved the look, I found them to be uncomfortable in the sleeves (which is why you always see me excitedly reviewing 3 quarter length dresses and tops that are actually comfortable - because it's rare to find). This top is made from a thick cotton spandex that breathes beautifully and wears like a t-shirt.

The collar can be worn up or down, which is surprising given the nature of the fabric. I expected it to flop around when worn up, but it doesn't at all!


 It totally reminds me of the Evil Queen, whose epic collar I have loved since I could say "Disney".

There is a small amount of cleavage when worn with a normal bra, and even with a push-up bra the cleavage is still tasteful.

The fabric is thick enough that it holds you in, and it stays in place all day. I often find myself readjusting my tops a couple times a day to make sure everything looks tidy. I didn't do it once with the Vixen Top, and I'm a breastfeeding mother. And yes, this means it is breast-feeding friendly, for the most part. The neckline doesn't quite plunge low enough to do it with complete ease, but it's definitely possible to do what you gotta do in this top.

My favourite part of these tops is the distinct lack of zipper. You seriously just pull it on and go (and the stretch means you can stretch it around your hair, so there's no messing up your carefully teased do!) I can't tell you how often my tops bunch up in the back due to the zipper. I thought this was just something I would have to deal with because having a small waist to hip and bust ratio generally means having a gap in the back, and therefore bunching. But there's no bunching because there's no zipper!

I am wearing a size small and at 37-27-37 it's a perfect fit. Micheline has advised smaller-busted ladies that there won't be any gaping in this top, and I believe her! I would order based on your smallest measurement for this one as it will stretch to form to the rest of your curves.


Next up is the Makeup Print Skirt. There are several gathered skirts on the market at the moment, and this one is definitely my favourite due to one simple detail - the stretch fuse waistband. Micheline had just enough stretch added to the waistband that it doesn't fold when you sit down or, you know, eat. I don't know about you but I hate it when I get to the end of the day and my skirts are on the snug side. The stretch in the waistband takes care of that because it breathes with you just enough to not restrict you after a meal.
 
I am wearing a size small. I have the same waist-size as Micheline at 27 inches, so figuring out my size was easy for me. Were my waist an inch or two bigger, I would have gone with a medium, so I would say they are very true to the size chart. For those between sizes, I would encourage you to follow her on instagram if you aren't already, as she reposts reviews from her customers that will help you out with sizing.  She also spends an ungodly amount of time responding to her customers, so chances are if you ask her what size to order, she will help you out.

The quality is exactly what I was expecting from anything Micheline creates. Super thick sateen fabric with ALL the fullness and swing a girl could ask for. And don't even get my started on the bubblegum pink and the gorgeous print. I wore this with the Pink Powderpuff Top the other day and actually had to start walking with my eyes down so that no one would stop me to compliment it because I was in a hurry. Yes, it's that pretty and yes, it will get that much attention. It's stunning.


The sizing is the same for the Lipstick Print Skirt, which I didn't order only because I already have a white skirt covered in kisses from Hellpixie. I do want the dress though, which is out for pre-order. I am desperately clamoring to finish my spring closet clear out so that I can get that and other Vixen goodies.

Pricing is fantastic value as well, with the Vixen Top coming in at just $48USD and the Skirts coming in at $94USD.  International shipping is reasonable if you order enough.. and seriously, the whole range is amazing so I can't see anyone ordering just one thing anyway.

This range is seriously rocking my world right now, and perfecting things I didn't even know bothered me. I had no idea it was possible to make the waistband of a gathered skirt stretch enough to make it fit better, or that these style of tops could be made without zippers and in such an amazing fabric. My whole perspective of retro clothing has changed and I really hope other brands follow suit and add more comfortable options.

I'll be reviewing the Powderpuff Tops later on in the week and giving some comparisons of the pink top to other pinks in my closet, to give you an idea of the exact shade.

Thanks for reading!
xo, Miss Betty Doll




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Thursday, 22 September 2016

Wishlust Wednesday: Halloween Edition

Halloween wasn't my favourite holiday growing up. I loves dressing up, and the theatrics of it all was always exciting, but Christmas holidays were normally more my thing.

Moving to Australia changed all that. Something about wanting what you can't have, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and every other cliche.It's the same reason I get far too excited when I find American sodas here in Melbourne.

Now, Halloween is definitely one of my favourite holidays. The horror movie nights and trick or treaters and spooky home decor. And candy apples. Let's not forget the candy apples. Most exciting of all though, is the fashion!

Until recently, there weren't too many really cute Halloween pieces available. You could find some here or there, but not too much. Now, there is really no end to the options available. You've got pumpkin and black cat prints, haunted mansions and every color from orange to pink!

Bearing in mind some of these items aren't yet in stock, here's my top favourites for this Wishlust Wednesday:


A - Haunted Mansion Skirt by Unique Vintage - I first saw this one on the lovely Jess Wright of Jess W Photography and felt like the two awkwardly coexisting sides of my nature (Phantom of the Opera and unicorns, allegedly) had somehow found their way onto a skirt. The bubblegum pink background and dark mansion are everything I could ever want in a Halloween inspired skirt. Jess paired this one with the Pink Powderpuff Top by Vixen (one of which arrived in an eagerly anticipated package for me earlier this week, and I can't wait to review it!) and it was amazing.

B - Jenny Dress in Lantern Print - Being in Australia means it's warm around October, and full on fall colours like reds and oranges are a little harder to pull off. This dress is the perfect answer, with it's teal and green colour scheme. Stephanie Buscema has done quite a few cute prints for PUG over the years, and this one is no exception.

C - Pinup Gothic Cupcakes Apron - Y'all have no idea how badly I want to purchase this and wear it for a Baking With Littles Halloween segment. Seriously. It's so cute, it kills me. The lace edging and the classic purple and orange colour scheme work well together to create a piece that's cutesy and elegant all at once. I love this because it let's you get into the Halloween spirit without feeling like you've gone overboard with an entire ensemble.

D - Bernadette Bolero in Spiderweb by Laura Byrnes California - I had a Barbie outfit with a bolero just like this when I was a little girl. I used to spend so long daydreaming about owning the outfits my barbies wore that I would actually exhaust myself. I know, weird kid. Anyway, with the clean black and white spiderweb print, and light mesh material, this bolero would pair perfectly with something white. It's definitely the classiest way to wear a Halloween themed outfit!

E - Hansel and Gretel Jenny Skirt by Pinup Girl Clothing - Ah, the Jenny Skirt. With the exception of the length, which was creeping towards my ankles by the time the team at PUG decided to scale it back to it's original length, it can really do no wrong. I started with pink and I'll end with pink, because this candy covered fairytale skirt is everything.


Here's to hoping I have a clothing budget next year to put some of these babies in my closet!

Thanks for reading.
xo, Miss Betty Doll
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Monday, 19 September 2016

Matching Mother Daughter Outfits - Candy Stripes

The Candy Stripe Dress by the Pretty Dress Company has been everywhere. For months and months I tried to avoid it, as the price tag of this beauty is definitely on the higher side at $198USD. Then, when I decided to face the music and buy it in all it's irresistible glory, it was sold out in my size. A month later I checked Unique Vintage and found it was back in stock.

As usual, it arrived lightning fast, and this dress is so damn pretty I don't think anything less would have done for me!

I opted to get a size 10, as I am nearly between a small and a medium in a few retro brands, and I didn't want to risk this being too small. It's a risk I should have taken, as when it arrived I found I would have been better off with a size 8. The measurements for the size 8 are 34 bust and 26.5 waist, however as my busy is 36 and my waist nearly 27, this dress runs a little bigger than the sizing portrays. If you are between sizes - size down!

The sizing of the dress meant that, even though it is supportive, it was too big to go without a bra. I wore a white bra with it and as you can see, the straps showed in the back. I'll be wearing a clear strapped bra with it next time, and may have it taken in a little so that it fits me better. You cannot tell it's too big from sight, which is nice! It's only by feel that I knew I could have gone down a size.

My favourite part about this dress is the endless accessory options. A full rainbow of colours mean you can go sweet in lilac and pinks or bright and summery in yellow. For those of you entering autumn, pairing this with an orange cardigan like the MAK cardigan (worn here in lilac) would help you extend it's seasonal life. I know that's what I will be doing after summer comes and goes here in Melbourne.

Many of the dresses from The Pretty Dress Company are quite long in length, so I opted to shorten mine to just above the knee. With such a bright and beautiful print, I didn't want to feel swamped by the fabric. I'm very happy with the length now.



The canvas-like fabric is super unique and you can feel the quality when you wear it. It's slightly stiff, so there is seriously no petticoat required. The skirt has a few big pleats instead of gathers, and even so the fabric allows plenty of poof factor.

I used to match with my oldest daughter almost every single day. I was meticulous about matching her accessories to mine and making our outfits easily identifiable as a pair. With two, I have toned down the matchiness quite a bit and opted for doing mother daughter outfits a couple of times a week. Even then, I don't aim for an exact match as fashion is meant to be fun, not stressful, and matching all three of us perfectly too often is stressful.

But when I saw these adorable striped dresses from Pumpkin Patch, I immediately grabbed them and knew they would be perfect with my dress. Selene's has an orange bodice and Aurora's has yellow. Their stripes don't have any pink or purple like my dress does, but as you can see from the photos it's a pretty close match!

I love Pumpkin Patch too much for words. Most of Selene's wardrobe is from there, and the quality is so amazing that her "hand-me-downs" to Aurora feel like anything but. Most of her dresses look brand new even after up to a year of wear, and I love discovering her old wardrobe and preparing it for Aurora.

So, key points to remember about this gorgeous dress:
  • The quality is amazing and worth every penny
  • No petticoat needed
  • If in between sizes, size down. Size chart is about an inch smaller than the dress in bust and waist.
  • Length is long, so great if you are tall
  • Matches with oranges for Autumn wear
  • It's beautiful. Really really beautiful

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,
xo Miss Betty Doll





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Friday, 16 September 2016

Matching Mother Daughter Outfits - Lindybop Love and Bonsai Kitten Bows

My love for Lindybop's kids and baby section definitely didn't end with my last blog post. The girls wear these outfits so much, and I found the perfect dress to match it, so I figured it was time for another Matching Mother Daughter Outfits Post!

In my review of the Lindyset and Audrey dresses, I touched on longevity of wear. Months later, I am happy to report that the Lindyset still fits Aurora beautifully! The little diaper cover that comes with the dress is amazing - it acts almost like a pair of shorts as your bubba grows, and keeps the dress looking just as cute as day 1. 

It's difficult to find them now as they are all out of stock on Lindybops website, but I managed to find a few in other prints on Succubus in bowling and route 66 print. If you have any little ones in your life that you were thinking of dressing in these, now is the time to grab them! 




Whilst there are several matching options for this print in particular, I had been in need of a Bonsai Kitten fix when I ordered the girls' dresses. So, instead I grabbed a Pussybow Dress. My obsession with Bonsai Kitten's pussybow tops and dresses is neverending. Bow's and pretty necklines get me every time, and this dress has both. I feel instantly feminine in it, and I love that it flows away in just the right place to disguise the tummy area.

This dress is currently out of stock, however Rhea of Bonsai Kitten has advised it will most likely return during Spring (in Australia, so Autumn for most of my other readers). So keep those requests coming! If you demand it, she should put these into production again :)


We used the girl's dresses during some quick Father's Day photos recently. All the cuteness <3

As for a personal update, I am continuing to feel all the emotions in every aspect of my life. Overwhelming happiness, stress, frustration, accomplishment, humility... everything that comes with being a mother, studying, keeping house, career planning and doing what I love (blogging!) on the side.

 Everything is really busy, and I spend a lot of time trying to steal individual moments with my daughters and husband. Sneaking upstairs to kiss my husband while the girls are distracted, keeping Selene up after Aurora so that I can cuddle her close, wearing Aurora while I bake so that it's just her heartbeat and mine... Choosing to cram so many hobbies and family life and an education together makes it easy to feel snowed under, so giving my time to my family in short, all-consuming spurts where we can lose ourselves in the moment for just a minute is important to me.

Aurora has reached the age now where I get big blocks of time to get things done during the day and especially at night while she sleeps, but I find those moments are more for studying. Around this time with Selene, I was able to keep up with all the home duties pretty well. Now, it's much more of a juggling act. Martin works from home though, so sitting next to him at our desk and studying is ideal, and means neither of us feels like we are missing out on time with one another.

I am thankful I can study, overall. Spending so much time thinking about the practical needs of my daughter's can make it hard to remember who I am. I am multi-faceted, even if that doesn't show so much during the day when I am chasing after Selene to put underwear on or begging Aurora to not soil the diaper I just put on her... but at night, when it's dark and my husband and I put on rock music and move between working and studying and watching Penny Dreadful, everything feels balanced again.

We have our family photos next week with the fabulous Tina Ramos Photography, and we will be wearing matching dresses from Pigtails and Pirates. I'm so excited, I just hope it doesn't rain... because, well, Melbourne.

I was recently asked to write a blog post for a brand that I love and that you will be seeing more of, so stay tuned for that in the next week or so. I also have a new blog series that will be stemming off the post I did, and it's a much requested one!

Until then...

Thanks for reading!

xo Miss Betty Doll
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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Jodiliscious in Bernie Dexter

Peasant tops and dresses are everywhere. Everywhere!

I used to daydream about being some sort of beautiful milk maid or something out of the Princess Bride when I was a little girl. I know, always a flair for the dramatic. But really, every time I would see sleeves like those on the Jodi Dress by Bernie Dexter, I would go weak at the knees. Pretty dresses actually give me tingles. Thank goodness I'm a psychology major so I can analyse that one later....

Anyhoo, I was having a browse of the beautiful dresses at Unique Vintage, and after seeing the Jodi Dress in Honeycomb Print and Taffy Print, I immediately had to have them. Most Bernie Dexter dresses possess skirts with the perfect amount of fullness, which nips in your waist and flares out in all the right places. I feel most confident about my body in the Paris Dress by Bernie, and now I can safely say the Jodi Dress gives me all the same feelings.

The material is a medium weight cotton, definitely more on par with Bernie's other offerings than with the Paris Dress, which is made of light weight cotton. I didn't need a petticoat with it today. I rarely wear petticoats with Bernie dresses, as the amount of gathering in the skirt and the flattering length really don't warrant one.




The bust is ever so flattering with it's square neckline, There is lots of room to stretch, so if you are larger busted you will love this dress. The elastic on the neckline is nice and secure, so the bust billows out with just enough room to make your girls look good and still let you breathe. (And yes, for you mamas, the elastic means it is super breast-feeding friendly)

The dress closes with a back zipper, which is very easy to zip up as the neckline around the back is nice and low so there's only so far you have to zip.


When I first saw the dress, I wasn't completely sure what the pattern looked like. Whilst close-ups are provided, the taffy print is done in such a way that is difficult to photograph and really see the detail over a screen. I popped Aurora in a tutu onesie today when I wore the dress, and I found the pattern on her tutu and on my dress was remarkably similar. It looks sort of marbled from far away, and then the taffy/tutu-esque pattern becomes clear up close.



With regards to sizing, I ordered a size small. I am 36-26-36 and everything fits very well. Most Bernie dresses on me have a bit of a girdle-effect and actually suck me in a little at the waist without it feeling tight or uncomfortable. Magic.

The only downside to this dress is the sleeves, which are a little tighter than I would like. I have pretty average sized arms. I mean, I carry around children all day, so they are damn toned (depending on the angle, ha). They have that sort of tight feel that you get where you don't notice it until you adjust your sleeves and it's slightly sore where your sleeves just were. And then, of course, the feeling dissipates, so it really isn't a big deal to me. I have the same thing with Pinup Girl Clothing's peasant tops.

 I have the Honeycomb Print Dress hanging up in my closet at the moment and I cannot wait to wear it tomorrow. It's actually a little embarrassing how excited I am. What can I say, it's a perdy dress.

On Wednesday I will be doing a Halloween Post, because there are about a million gorgeous Halloween designs out at the moment! Australia is a strange place - I am planning this year's Halloween costumes whilst getting excited about my spring wardrobe. That's the southern hemisphere for you.

Thanks for reading!

xo, Miss Betty Doll
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Saturday, 3 September 2016

Baking With Littles - Bubblegum Meringues

I remember when I was searching for Selene's first birthday cake, I found a baker that had bubblegum flavoured frosting. It sounded like the most delicious flavour ever (because, refined tastebuds) and I craved it for weeks afterwards.

For some reason, it hadn't occurred to me to just buy some bubblegum flavouring and make something with it. However, after I found some at my local sweets shop, I knew I had to get it and do something with it.

Enter the bubblegum meringue.

These work really well with little ones for a few reasons. First of all, they are only a few ingredients and just involve lots of mixer action. Most kiddos love to hold a mixer - it makes them feel like they are really involved. Second of all, piping the meringues out is messy but easy to do, and is a good way for kids to learn how to use a piping bag. Lastly - sprinkles. Enough said.

For this recipe, I just googled "meringue recipe" and used the first one I found, here. I added a few drops of bubblegum flavoring when mixing.

Bubblegum Meringues

Ingredients

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 120°C. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Step 2
    Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until sugar dissolves.
  3. Step 3
    Once all the sugar has been added, continue to whisk on high for 3 mins. Whisk in the bubblegum flavouring and food colouring.
  4. Step 4
    Scoop mixture into a piping bag (use any desired tip. I used a Wilton No 2). Pip onto parchment paper lined baking sheet, sprinkle and place in oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 90°C.
  5. Step 5
    Bake meringues for 1 hour 30 mins. Turn oven off and leave meringues in the oven to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Check out these adorable aprons from Little Butterfly Creations! Stacey, the mama behind the business, made Selene's dress for Aurora's christening. I was so impressed with her work that I asked her if she did aprons. She whipped together an apron for Selene and myself, and even did a doll-size one for Aurora which fit her perfectly. It's only going to last her for a month or two, but it was very inexpensive and worth it just for the photos :)




 Tips:
  • Pop the kiddos in front of the tv or something while you clean up and place the mixture in the piping bag so that they won't try to "help" with the messy process of getting it in the bag. 
  • Use a twist tie to close the top, so that when they help you pipe the meringues you don't have to worry about it coming out of the top when they squeeze with too much enthusiasm. 

Now, just as a reminder - I get asked a lot what I actually look like when baking with my girls. Yes, I will normally have makeup on (it's my war paint haha), but I'm almost always in leggings and a simple top. Unless I have carved out time to really focus on Selene, I am often wearing Aurora in a baby carrier or I have her on my hip. Cooking and baking when you have children can be stressful, but that's why I set aside time to bake with them specifically, without company coming or a deadline looming, so that they know they are always welcome in the kitchen and that they are independent enough to bake too!

Thanks for reading!

xo Miss Betty Doll
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