Friday, October 31, 2014

This is Halloween!

No posts until the middle of next week because I'll be getting down in Halloweentown, then heading off to New Orleans. Catch me on Instagram (@cakesvintage) if you want to see what I'm up to in the meantime.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

#tbt: The Ghosts of Costumes Past

Somehow, despite the general omnipresence of cameras, I don't have as many photos of myself in a costume as I would have expected. Some pictures that used to be on my Facebook have disappeared, probably because of unfriendings - I'm pretty sure that's why I can't find any pictures of myself from the one year I actually bought a costume and went as "Slutty Raggedy Anne." Little cap with a red yarn wig, more cleavage than I think I've ever managed, and a skirt so short I had to invest in some matching underwear. Good times.
I do have some fun ones, though.
Me as a fresh-faced college sophomore. We all dressed up and went trick-or-treating. People were not impressed by 20 year olds begging for candy. I'm the one with the fairy wings, if that wasn't obvious.
This actually wasn't a Halloween costume, but what I wore for a 90s themed adult prom. I was a 90s mall goth. I got prom queen!
Cleopatra last year. I also went as Siouxsie Sioux using pretty much identical makeup. I miss having black hair.
At Mardi Gras in New Orleans last year, I dressed up as a doll. I think if I do this again (which I'd like to, it was fun!), I'll amp up the makeup a little bit.

What's your favorite costume that you've ever worn? Do you like to wear costumes outside of Halloween?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fear Itself

Horror is such a subjective thing. Slasher flicks with human serial killers might give me jump scares, and body horror films might disgust me, but ghost stories are what really terrify me. I can't quite talk myself out of my belief in ghosts (which, when you think about it, is stupid - there are actually serial killers, and people actually do mutilate other people; why am I so scared of the one that hasn't actually been proven to exist?), and after I watch a horror movie like The Ring, I don't sleep well because I feel like something's going to grab my feet in the night, and wiping the steam off the mirror after a shower creeps me out because I'm convinced I'm going to see something unnatural behind me in the reflection. Conversely, I know some people that found Cabin in the Woods really scary - to me, it was a comedy all the way through.
Of course, what scares us in real life can be very different from what scares us in a movie. You know what stupid ass thing I'm scared of? Moths. That's right, I'm scared of moths. Butterflies are fine, but I've been told that when I was really little, a whole cloud of moths flew up in my face, getting into my mouth and nose and eyes, which apparently scarred me for life. If there's one flying around the house, I feel compelled to kill it. On a more normal note, it's only in the past few years that I can bring myself to kill a spider instead of running screaming from the room the second that I see one. That's only because if I run away, it might hide and wait for me.
I'm not scared of snakes, but I am scared of cows. Snakes are cool. Cows will kick you.
I wouldn't say that I'm scared of heights, but I am scared of falling from them. Frankly, I think that's totally rational. Flying is fine, and looking down from a very tall building is fine, but I don't like standing on the top step of a stepladder.
If you want to talk about real fears, my boyfriend dying is probably at the top of the list. He biked home drunk one night a while back, and I was equal parts terrified and angry at him, and I was mostly angry because I was so scared he'd get hit by a car or something. That might be the worst way to affirm that you really love a person.
So, tell me - what scares you?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cheap Thrills - Etsy Edition

I've been bad. I've got a trip coming up that I should be saving for, and after I splurged a little bit and basically bought all of the stuff that I decided I needed for fall, I said I wasn't going to do any more shopping. It's just soooooo haaaaard not to when people are practically giving clothes away, though. A mere $10 for a cute, mod, 60s dress? Another $10 for a cream colored duster length sweater? $20 for a 50s dress that's a dead ringer for a Birdie dress from PUG? Some things you just can't say no to.

Pickled Vintage
Pickled Vintage specializes in super cute party dresses, and right now the entire store is 35-55% off.
70s Maxi Dress - $18.90
Not quite my style, but a really cute piece for a bohemian babe.
50s Brown Polka Dot Dress - $60.30
If this weren't several inches too small all over, this would absolutely be in my closet.
50s Suzy Perette LBD - $81.90
This sophisticated black velvet wiggle dress would be perfect for any holiday parties.

Capsule Vintage
Capsule Vintage is another store with a beautifully curated selection of dresses. Everything in the store is 20% off through Thursday.
80s Navy Cardigan - $30.40
This classic cardigan would make a great addition to any vintage wardrobe.
50s Black Floral Skirt - $49.60
Another selection of the petite lady, this beautiful floral skirt is the sort of piece you reach for day after day all year long.
50s Red Plaid Dress - $51.20
This cute plaid dress would look so sweet with a pair of boots and tights on a crisp fall day.

Simplicity is Bliss Vintage
Another shop with fantastic dresses. Usually a little out of my price range, but with 30% off most of the store, it makes those beautiful pieces a little more attainable.
60s Mustard Plaid Skirt - $26.60
Who isn't mad for plaid this time of year? Perfect for adding a little schoolgirl chic to your wardrobe.
50s Novelty Print Dress - $31.50
This toy soldier novelty print dress will look amazingly cute on someone, perhaps with a peter pan collared blouse underneath.
50s Diamond Print Dress - $47.60
Bring the diamond print that was so popular this summer straight into fall with this awesome long sleeved dress.

The Vintage Mistress
The clearance section here is off the charts cheap. This is where I found my killer, could-not-pass-them-up deals yesterday.
Persian Lamb Coat - $39.00
Fuzzy wuzzy was a coat, fuzzy wuzzy was a goat. Wait, no, that's not how that goes. But seriously, this 50s style double breasted coat looks cozy and pettable as hell.
50s Yellow Linen Shirtdress - $9.50
This sunny yellow dress with cute patch pockets will be perfect once warmer weather hits again, and you really can't beat that price.
60s Black Dress and Shawl Set - $12.00
Get in on the fringe trend with this amazing dress and shawl.

Jumblelaya Vintage
I think Jumblelaya is a pretty well known store already, and it looks like their well chosen wares are all 20% off.
40s Ivory Blouse - $25.60
I don't know about you guys, but I've always got my eye out for nice vintage blouses, especially ones that aren't super tiny. Love the collar detail on this 40s gem.
50s Plaid Shirtdress - $62.40
Didn't I say I was mad for plaid? This just makes me want to go pumpkin picking, or whatever one does at a pumpkin patch.
50s New Look Pink Taffeta Party Dress - $70.40
Ok, so this one is still a little bit of a splurge, but isn't it just jaw droppingly gorgeous. If I hadn't already spent all my money I'd be all over this baby. Drool.

Other great sales:
HoneyTalk Vintage, 25% off the entire store.
Vacation Vintage, 25% off the entire store
Aiseirigh, 50% off the entire store, including a great selection of Gunne Sax
Rockabilly Raven Vintage, 15% off
Livin' Vintage Shop, looks like 25% off most items, including their great selection of plus size vintage
Edited to Add: I just saw Chronically Vintage is offering 31% off the entire store through November 2nd!
Fly, fly, my pretties! Go buy things before someone snatches them out of your grasp and you spend the rest of your life thinking about that dress that you should have bought!

Monday, October 27, 2014


I love those days that feel a little out of step with the season they're actually in. Saturday was a perfect example - it's late October, but at 70+ degrees and sunny, it felt more like a perfect summer day. As eager as I've been to put aside my summer clothes, it was kind of nice to bust them out again for one last hurrah.
I've hardly worn these shoes since I got them. Not only are they suede, which doesn't mesh well with wet weather, they are really heavy. I walked to and from the coffee shop in them, and while they weren't really all that uncomfortable, I had to walk very slowly, turning a 30 minute round trip into a 50 minute one, and eventually my knees started to bother me.
They are so freaking cute though. Worth the struggle.
I did my makeup up a little fancy, and even used some false eyelashes just on the outer corners to give me some fluttery lashes. This tree is still killing at as my background of choice.
Saturday was actually a pretty eventful night for me. Some friends came over for a little bonfire, and afterwards Brian and I got all dressed up for a Halloween dance party at a bar in our neighborhood.
Brian is Dracula. You can tell he's Dracula because he looks just like Brian, but with a cape. I'm some kind of steampunk grease monkey urchin type, which you can tell because I'm dressed just like me, but with a corset, goggles, and eyeshadow artfully smeared on my face like streaks of soot.
We called these my YA novel cover shots. Seems about right. The light that we're holding in these pictures is actually part of a lamp that Brian and his brother are working on, and I think it's spectacularly cool.
The Prince of Darkness himself. 
After the dance party, we ended up going to a Mexican bar for dancing. We were definitely the odd ducks out, and although we got some funny looks, people were pretty friendly. I even got asked to dance, and the guy was so sweet about it. "Ok, I turn, then you!" After an hour or so of that, we crashed a party down the block from our house. It was ridiculously fun - everyone was dancing, everyone was in costume, and I don't think anyone realized that we weren't invited. It was probably 4am before we made it to bed, which is why I got up at noon and then spent all of Sunday lazing around in my PJs.
And I've got some exciting news that I can finally share with you, now that I've sprung the surprise on Brian - we're heading to New Orleans next weekend! Sure, waking up early the day after Halloween isn't exactly ideal, but a four day weekend in New Orleans should be worth it. We've been once before, but it was during Mardi Gras and was a total shit show. I think it'll be fun to get a real sense of the city, and I'm looking forward to paying another visit to the Trashy Diva store, as well as other vintage stores in the area. I've also got a laundry list of restaurants and attractions that I want to see, so I hope Brian will be up for some serious walking.

Friday, October 24, 2014

In The Mood

Fun fact - Glenn Miller grew up in my home town. Fort Morgan, Colorado might be the only place in the country where small children are still familiar with him. In the basement of the public library, there was a little museum dedicated to local history that had an exhibit for him, and there was a button you could push that would play a little bit of In The Mood.
What does this have to do with today's post? Nothing, really, except that I'm in the mood for Halloween (I know, I'm sorry. I'll show myself out). It's funny how it infects my style as it creeps closer and closer. You could argue that my style is always a little costume-y, but when Halloween roles around, I start to feel like I'm playing a different character every day. That, I think, is one of the best things about the season - no one bats an eye if you look like you might be on your way to a costume party, because you might actually be on your way to a costume party.
It seems fitting that I included an autumn fairy makeup tutorial in my costume post yesterday, because this outfit definitely verges on the same thing. This is probably the second vintage dress that I ever purchased, and I still love the vibrant paisley print.
This little motorcycle jacket from Modcloth is probably the best thing I ever bought from them. It's very old, and the zipper doesn't work very well anymore, but I feel like the combo of black leather and khaki fabric goes with everything.
And this is definitely my Coco Chanel costume. I know, I know, I just said that I don't want to dress like a French girl, but... well, I guess I probably just don't want to be told to dress like a French girl.
These high-waisted pants from Asos are my new favorite thing. They are ridiculously comfy, and while the length means that I have to wear them with my highest heels, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
They're pretty dramatic looking, but they don't feel dramatic. They feel like pajamas. I think these are going to be my traveling pants from now on.
Brian's getting in on it too. He's got this whole "impoverished dock worker" thing going on. It's pretty hot.

Do you guys take the month of October as license to dress to kill, or is Halloween a one night only thing for you?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Halloween Makeup Tutorials

Halloween is easily my favorite holiday. Any reason to dress up is a good one to me, and it seems that the groundswell of enthusiasm for the holiday has given people license to spend the entire month of October doing it. I've got a couple of costumes in mind for the season, but there are so many great makeup tutorials and costume ideas online that it's easy to find something if you're feeling uninspired, or waiting for the last moment to see what you can put together out of your closet.
Pop Art Girl
I love this straightforward tutorial from Emma Pickles about how to get the look of a classic Roy Lichtenstein pop art girl. It's the sort of look that doesn't require much in the way in materials (black eyeliner is pretty much your main tool), but is definitely a wow look that would make for amazing photos.

Silent Film Star
I'm so amazed by photos that I've seen of other black and white Halloween costumes, and this tutorial makes it look it look easy. My love of the 20s makes this one a no-brainer, and it also offers a good excuse not to talk to anyone at a party. No video, but she lays everything out really well in the article.
Silent Film Star Tutorial
Fall Fairy
An autumnal fairy would be a beautiful costume, and an easy one to accessorize with a short trip to the craft store to pick up some leaves and fall flowers. The makeup is a little involved, but it's the sort of stuff most of us have in our makeup boxes. A floaty dress is all you really need to complete the fae image.

There are more detailed and ghoulish zombie makeup tutorials out there, but I love the simplicity of this one. It would be pretty easy to put this together using items that are either in your makeup box already, or cheap and easy to pick up from Walgreens.

Kim Kardashian
If you really want to scare people, there's always Kim Kardashian. (I kid, she's fine, and a lot of the criticisms of her come across really misogynistic to me.) This video from Alle of XOVain is a hoot to boot.

You guys saw my horns in a previous post, so a deer seemed like a natural fit for me this year. I'm really excited to do this easy, pretty fawn makeup.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

To makeup or not to makeup

I read an interesting pair of articles on Buzzfeed recently. One is by a woman who typically wears makeup who went without it for a week; the other is by a woman who never wears makeup who put on a full face every day for a week. They did the challenges together, just to get both perspectives, and I found what they had to say really thought provoking.
A pertinent image from an article on
I'm the woman who never leaves the house without makeup. I guess you could say that I'm not entirely at peace with my looks, even now, but I was deeply uncomfortable with them growing up. I could look in the mirror and see a girl that I thought was cute, but no one else seemed to agree. I didn't date, and I didn't have a lot of friends, and in the way of teenagers everywhere, I thought it was mostly because of my appearance.
My mom didn't wear makeup, so it wasn't like I had anyone to learn from. It wasn't until college, when I could go into a department store and have them show me the ropes, that I started to figure it all out. I looked pretty ridiculous for a while - I would wear mascara, but not fill in my blonde brows; blush was either in poorly blended circles on the apples of my cheeks, or streaked up to my hairline. I had a penchant for very glossy red lips, which I'm sure went very well with the rest of the mess going on on my face.
These days I've got things down pretty much to a science. There are about 10 products that I wear almost every day, and getting them on, start to finish, takes about 30 minutes. It's a significant chunk of my morning, and sometimes I think it would be nice to skip it and sleep in, but even if I was running behind I'd find a way to do some of it.
Slightly different makeup, drastically different results. At least to me, but I'm way more aware of changes in my face than anyone else is going to be.
Reading those articles made me question the way that I think about wearing makeup. While I have never really thought of makeup as armor, which is how I've heard some people describe it, it is me choosing how I want to present myself to the world. People look at my face all day long, and I don't think I could deal with that if I wasn't wearing concealer, or mascara, or didn't have my brows filled. I am, literally, covering up things that make me feel vulnerable, which I guess is the textbook definition of armor. I wouldn't refuse to leave the house without it on, but my bare face just don't feel like my face.
Most of my normal makeup, but no eyebrows. I feel like I lose a lot of my expression by not having visible brows.
Practically speaking, the ladies who wrote these articles have hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes that are all the same color, which I don't. Am I just being pragmatic in "fixing" that, or am I giving in to something? Really, if I'm not some hideous troll beast with makeup on, why do I tend to feel like I would be so unattractive without it? And why is being attractive so important to me in the first place? Am I really just doing this for myself, or is my effort directed outward? There are a lot of questions that I really don't have the answers to, even though they're about my own feelings.
On the other hand, I like wearing makeup. I put it on even on days when I don't leave the house. However questionable the reasons are that it makes me feel good, comfortable, and confident in myself, the fact that it does all those things for me is something that I can only regard as good. It may not be the most empowering thing to redraw your face, emphasizing some features and playing down others in order to better conform to some ideal of beauty, but I do find it kind of empowering that we have that ability. 
Blue lips aren't really what I'd call man bait, unless the man in question is a necrophiliac.
The articles themselves are pretty great, but I did find the end graphics a little glib and trite. Sometimes, makeup does make you a little more beautiful, at least in the sense that things like smooth skin and large eyes and plump lips are considered beautiful. While confidence is a feeling and does have to come from an actual person, wearing makeup so that you don't have to feel bad or worried about some perceived flaw can certainly give your confidence levels a little boost.
I feel like I've been talking about makeup a lot, partly because I just tend to think about it on a regular basis, and partly because it's something that seems to be bubbling up in our collective consciousness. How do you guys feel about wearing makeup? Is it something that you do on a regular basis, for special occasions, or not at all? Do you feel like it changes the way that you see yourself?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

HOW to get aWAY with MURDER

I think the idea of a "guilty pleasure" TV show is a funny one. It's not that I don't have them myself - actually, I don't really have "guilty" pleasures so much as I have "pleasures that I'm vaguely embarrassed about having but will still expound upon enthusiastically to anyone who will listen." The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, basically anything the CW puts out that stars really attractive people having drama and doing sex.
I've heard a couple of people refer to Shonda Rhimes' shows as guilty pleasures. I can't really speak for any of the other shows she's part of, but I started watching How to Get Away With Murder because it's buzzy and because I'm trying to get out of my supernatural teen soap opera box, and it's really a treat. It's a little campy and melodramatic, but frivolous to the point to guilt? Hardly. If the somewhat random caps in the post title don't make sense, just watch the first episode. Go ahead, I'll wait.
Normally I don't go out of my way to avoid spoilers, but this time I will because the show's just getting started and I really want to encourage people to catch up on it with me.
While diversity alone isn't enough to make a show good, or even interesting, it's definitely a major selling point in this instance. Their lead, Annalise Keating, is played by the very talented Viola Davis. They don't make the fact that she is black, or a woman, the sole defining aspect of her life, but it's something that subtly shades her character in the show. The last five minutes of the most recent episode have made a lot of waves, and for good reason - Annalise slowly strips away the layers of her armor, taking off her jewelry, her wig, her false lashes, her makeup, all while maintaining eye contact with herself in the mirror until her natural state is revealed.
You can read it a lot of different ways in context, but what it comes down to is an African-American woman removing all of the signifiers of assimilation, of whiteness, from her face on a nationally televised show. It's a bold and riveting moment, and it's played completely naturally.
The rest of the cast is just as diverse. There is a great mixture of races, genders, and sexual orientations. Inter-racial relationships are not just present, they're strikingly common, and again, played very naturally. There's more than one scene where the most prominent gay character, Connor, uses his seductive wiles on a chosen target, and holy shit are those scenes hot. How often do you see scenes involving gay men getting physical with each other on network television? How often are those scenes shot with the same sense of forthright titillation as any straight sex scene? Again, what's striking is how naturally all of this treated. It's not gross, or exotic, or other in any way.
Like I said before, it's a bit campy and melodramatic. Everyone's sleeping around and murdering people, and apparently everything about how it portrays law school is laughably inaccurate. There are two parallel timelines that the show follows - one is current day, in which someone (I won't say who) has been murdered, and a group of college students are trying to cover it up; the other one starts about three months ago, and follows a case of the week and the setup for the mystery of what's going on in the current timeline. The cases of the week vary in strength, but so far I'm finding the central mystery pretty involving. Some characters are definitely better developed than others - Annalise, obviously, is the star in more than just name, and Connor is the only character that I think has been given equal weight - but I expect that to improve as the show goes on.
Any fall TV shows that you guys are excited about? I'm also really enjoying Forever, and I'm also really interested in Jane the Virgin, which I've heard very good things about.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Working for the weekend

I am so freaking tired lately. I get up before 6am most mornings, and this time of the year the sun isn't even up then to help me out. It seems like Brian is having an even harder time, and I've started gradually turning on the lights for him when I get up to help him wake up easier.
My weekends aren't usually super exciting, but it's so nice to be able to take my time with things. I sleep in a little bit. I get up and make myself a breakfast that's not just fruit and yogurt. I take a long shower, and I do my makeup with a little more care than I can take on a normal morning. I usually walk down to the coffee shop and drink coffee and read for a couple of hours. I'll catch up on a little TV (Supernatural and Twin Peaks were the programs of choice this weekend), do some cleaning and some laundry, maybe work out a little bit so I don't feel quite to bad about all of the couch sitting. There might be a nap, because all that relaxing makes me sleepy.
With the days already getting so short, it's kind of tough to get good photos for here. I sort of like the dim, moody lighting of dusk on an overcast day, but it's not great for picking up details. This weekend was lovely, crisp and sunny, so it was nice spending some time out in the yard getting some good shots.
This may have been a very roundabout way to say that I took a lot of pictures this weekend. Check me out, y'all.
This sweater is Brian's, and I may have to steal it from him. Oh, and I bought a beret. Does that invalidate my rant about not wanting to dress like a French girl?
I haven't worn an outfit like this in a while, but I used to dress like this pretty much all of the time. Over-sized top, leg-baring mini, tights, boots - that was pretty much my fall uniform. It's kind of nice to fall back into old habits once in a while, but I don't think that'll ever really be me full time again.
I was taking makeup pictures by the door when I realized that there was a much better backdrop right next to me.
The leaves on the tree are this brilliant shade of chartreuse. I know people say that taking photos all the time distracts us from really experiencing the moment, but I think taking pictures actually helps make you aware of things you might not have otherwise noticed.
So this hat is probably my favorite of all the ones that I own right now. I saw it at Vintage Underground, passed it over, and then spent a month thinking about it. There's just something so flamboyant about the broad brim, the bright green color, the gold braid that practically drips from it.
It's different from anything else that I own, which is probably why I love it so much. It does have the unfortunate tendency to go flying off my head at any stray gust of wind, but there's a strap to keep it in place. A little dorky, but no dorkier than chasing your rogue hat down.
It makes me feel like a bullfighter, or at least the hostess at an Argentinean steakhouse. (I should note that I don't really know what bullfighters do, other than swirl their capes dramatically. This might have already been obvious.)
Some details. 
Brian's parents did take us on a tour for part of Open House Chicago, which is a pretty interesting event. Different buildings and companies open up for free tours, and the one that we went on was of a concrete factory, which was surprisingly interesting. I'll be putting some photos of that up on Instagram, if you want to check them out. 
And Halloween is just 11 days away! I'm definitely going to have some costume ideas popping up on here before the big day.