Monday, 26 December 2016

Confidence and Style

I hope those that celebrated the recent holidays have some beautiful memories to take with them into the new year, and I would like to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas!



With 2016 coming to an end, I wanted to end the year with a reflective post, on a topic that is very close to my heart. Character and confidence.

Body confidence is a beautiful thing, and I love seeing how many lovely pinups advocate for it. I support them whole-heartedly, but it's never been something I myself can speak out for as it is an area I still struggle with sometimes. There is an area of confidence, however, that I can speak out for with all of my being. Character.

In the retro community it is all too common to see women saying that they have been mocked and put down by strangers and even friends and family members. Sometimes these comments run along the lines of "nice costume" or "why are you so dressed up?" accompanied by a sneer. These comments are no doubt painful, and I am sorry to every lady out there who's experienced that nonsense. There are deeper comments that I've seen flung around though, and those are the ones I want to address today.

"Attention-seeking", "slutty", "showy" and "conceited" are all comments that are sometimes hurled your way when you truly make an effort with your appearance every day. It's funny, too, because to me, putting an effort into your appearance is actually a sign of respect. It says, you were worth the extra couple of minutes I took to do my hair and pick out my outfit.

I dress how I dress for me, and it's definitely not for random men or the cashier at the supermarket that I apply my daily swipe of red lipstick for. But I find that dressing well gives you an inner self confidence and is also pleasant to look at, no matter what your style may be, and is therefore respectful to those around you. It's the same reason why we don't show up to the office in flip-flops and why we dress up for special events - respect.

With the pinup style, you will probably find your character questioned often. Everyone takes selfies nowadays, but if you do it with a striking pose and some red lipstick, you must be conceited. If you post daily outfits for inspiration within the retro community, you must be up yourself. If you develop a love of baking and post photos of it, you must be seeking attention. When these comments are made, it is your character that others are calling into question, far beyond your appearance. And it hurts.

I've seen women say that their partners accuse them of trying too hard. That random men come up to them and ask them if they wore what they wore just for them. That women whisper they are trying to tempt their partners (what even is this line of thinking?!).That family members poke fun of them and accuse them of being "up themselves".

Gossip is something I've dealt with since my teenage years. I lacked confidence as a teenager but had a love for theatrical dress. I would dye my hair bright colours and apply deep lipsticks because I loved those things, but had trouble opening up at all with my peers. I also developed curves very early, and found I would end up with cleavage and a shapely rear in most things that I wore. Due to this combination of apparent stand-offishness and unique dress, "slut", "conceited" and other choice words were whispered behind my back and sometimes to my face. Teenagers can be awful. Hell, the parents of other teenagers can be awful too. This even continued into my adult years when I left my country for the man that I love and entered a completely foreign world with even less confidence than before.

You know what I held onto? My character. I aim to be loving, kind. and reliable. I will go out of my way for almost anyone. I love my children unconditionally and I strive to be humble. I put the needs of others before my own. I love science and philosophy. I try to learn something new every day. I question every one of my own actions and ask myself how I can improve and if I am being warm to others. I am the first shoulder to cry on and the last person to leave your side. And of course I mess up - oh do I mess up. Like we all do, because we are all human. But overall those are the characteristics I strive towards and constantly try to improve myself with. And that's something gossip can't touch, even when it tries to.

I grew into myself, because moving away from my family at 18 was hard, and it is through hardship that you grow. I have several beautiful friends whom I can rely on and be myself with, I am confident more days than not, and I know who I am as a person - and I went through a lot of pain and worked damn hard to get here. I am pleased to say I now get gorgeous people coming up to me and kindly complimenting my style. I have an inkling it's because I have children now, and they are able to see me interact with them and are therefore able to see beneath the dressy, high-heeled surface that is my everyday style to the person beneath. I find it humbling when people take the time out of their day to comment on what I thoughtfully put on that morning, and I've always paid these compliments to woman as well. Because we all love a little pick-me-up and every single woman deserves to hear something good about her :)

The fact of the matter is, the style of dress is largely artificial. There is nothing natural about it, and anyone can slap on false eyelashes and fluffy dresses. And I think in the retro community, we are well aware of this.
So I urge you ladies, as we head into a fresh new year - be kind. Be loving. Be true to yourself and let your depth of character shine. Make that your focus and please, don't let others tear you down. Wear your red lipstick. Post photos of the outfits you work so hard on. Go all out with your style whenever you damn well please. And through it all, reach out to others even when they are unkind, because you are an important human being and you are more than a style.
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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Baking With Littles (and other Christmas Inspiration)

I thought I would combine a few Christmas topics into one post, as it is getting so close to Christmas and I will not have time to fit in several posts before Christmas.

So first off - baking!

Every year I bake a massive amount of cookies, and the list of people I give them out to grows annually. There is something soothing about baking with my little ones and imparting my kitchen knowledge onto them. I have the most beautiful memories of baking Christmas cookies with my mother, and one of the hardest parts of moving so far away from her was knowing I would be baking solo. Lucky for me, that only lasted a few years before I was blessed with Selene and now Aurora!

One of my favourite cookie recipes is Eggnog Logs, which my mother found in Taste of Home years ago. My second favourite is classic sugar cookies, as you can cut them out into any shape you prefer. Icing them was one of my favourite Christmas activities every year. This recipe from Deliciously Sprinkled for Eggnog Cut Out Cookies combines both to make something delicious and pretty.



INGREDIENTS

Cookies:
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 16 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup eggnog
Glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract 
  • 3 Tablespoons eggnog
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.  
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt together.
  3. Using an electric or stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add egg and beat until combined.
  5. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and mix until combined.
  6. Add eggnog and mix until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX!
  7. Divide dough into 4 pieces, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  8. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and eggnog until smooth. Set aside.
  9. Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick.
  10. Using a cookie cutter, cut dough into shapes.
  11. Place cookie shapes onto prepared baking pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely before icing and decorating.

How to make it kid friendly:
  • Make the dough first, so that the bulk of the work is out of the way.
  • Have the littles help you roll it out, and show them how to use the cookie cutters
  • Let them do the fist few, then give them a little hunk of dough while you do the rest. 
  • Once the cookies are baked and cooled, let them dunk the tops into the glaze and sprinkle.

This worked like a charm with Selene. She would not let go of her little hunk of dough. I think she played with it for four hours, on and off,  before I managed to sneak it away from her. Totally worth it.

Don't sweat the small stuff. Meaning sprinkles. When little ones use sprinkles, they go everywhere. EVERYWHERE. It'll all be ok, I promise. Just vacuum it up afterwards. I don't know about you but when I am on maternity leave like now, I have to vacuum every day anyway.





 Since, as stated above, I don't really dress Christmas-specific and therefore don't have any Christmas outfits to review, I thought I would put together a few other Christmas related topics for you!

Pictures

I think we live in an age where pictures are worth a lot to just about everyone. Half of my pinterest collection is pins with picture inspiration. Here were my favourites for both couples and families for Christmas, as well as some pinups.
Christmas sillouettes are kind of my thing right now, so obviously I had to replicate it like in the first photo above.

 
(tip: cut massive snowflakes out of wrapping paper and stick to the wall for a backdrop)




And if you are looking for some pinup christmas shoot inspo:



Outfits:
Christmas dressing for me is pretty simple - a holiday colour pallette made from clothing I can wear year-round. I don't really do many super Christmas-y outfits. If you live in the US, you still have plenty of time to place orders for kitchy Christmas outfits. Though I don't really do these often, here are some of my favourites:

And here are some you can wear any time!

I saw a Vixen fan (I can't find the photo now, so shoutout to whoever you were, you genius thing!) pair this dress with a red belt and a leopard print santa hat. It was insane, in a good way, and I want to replicate it next year. 



Because it's red and sexy. Nuff said. 




I may break the seasonal clothing rules (as usual) and bust out some plaid next Christmas. It's summer here in Australia during Christmas time, but this dress is too beautiful to pass up. 



Whether you are in sunny Australia or in the wintry Northern Hemisphere, I wish you the happiest of holidays <3

Thanks for reading,
Miss Betty Doll
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Monday, 5 December 2016

Affordable Seperates from Le Bomb Shop - Peasant Tops and Comic Skirts!

Affordable seperates in the retro community aren't always easy to come by. When you do find them, quality can be iffy and, if you are in Australia, paying for expensive shipping to test out those products isn't ideal. Luckily, I have a couple of seperates for you that are affordable, high quality, and feature affordable shipping!

First up is this Picture Perfect Peasant Top. These are available at several retro shops, but my go to site is Le Bomb Shop, so the link featured is from there!




These are a great alternative to similar sillouettes on the market. Those that find the Dolores Top from Collectif too tight in the bust, or experience zipper puckering in the Pinup Girl Clothing Peasant Tops will love this one. Both of those tops are fabulous by the way, they may just not work for hourglass shapes as well as these from Le Bomb Shop do!

First up is fit. I ordered a size small with my measurements of 36-26-36. There is shirring across the back that adds lots of stretch to the waist, so the fit is perfect. It is the tiniest bit tight in the arms, but I have experienced that with every top that has elastic in the arms. It isn't the least bit uncomfortable, I just notice a bit of a red line on my upper arms by the end of the day. It doens't bother me and I actually think these will still work for you if you struggle with tight arm holes. The elastic has a lot of stretch.  Getting this top on is easy and comfortable thanks to the stretch in the elastic of the neckline of the top, and the elastic in the back.

The length of the top surprised me, and it works better with regular cut shorts and pants or with high waisted skirts, as the length would cause it to untuck from most high waisted pants. Just bear that in mind if you are getting these specifically for that purpose.

The quality is seriously fantastic, and I will definitely be purchasing more of these. The material is thick enough to be sturdy without being too hot for summer wear, making it a great trans-seasonal piece. The hues are nice and bright, and the fit is well-constructed. It also now comes in a dress, which I will be adding to my wardrobe as soon as I can!

The second item up for review is the Pop Art Pinup Skirt in Comic Book Print.

This one seriously surprised me. I have quite a few inexpensive pinup skirts in my wardrobe, but none of them can compete with pricier skirts in terms of quality. That's totally ok with me, as you get what you pay for and I love the silhouette a lot of the cheaper skirts provide. However, this skirt is on par with the quality of more expensive brands and has the cutest silhouette ever.

It is made from a thicker sort of fabric that is what you would get if taffeta and canvas made a baby. It's a little hard to describe, but it's fantastic. It holds its shape so nicely that no petticoat is necessary, making this a great grab and go skirt.

The zipper in the back is thick and sturdy to match the material, and the size small that I ordered zipped up easily. I would follow the size chart with these.

Now, unfortunately these are only available in small, medium and large (small and medium are currently sold out) so it's a no go if you fall outside of these ranges. I am sorry about that as I prefer to review things that any size can fit into!

If you do fit into that sizing spectrum, however, there is also a Marilyn print and a Senorita print.

I apologize for the delay between blog posts by the way! I have been over-analyzing my first research report for University all week and it has left little room for anything else.

I've got a blog post on some cute christmas accessories coming up, so keep an eye out!

Thanks for reading!

xo, Miss Betty Doll


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