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Using “underpinnings” for vintage shape

Posted on November 12th, 2010 by

I just came across this great article that talks about how you can use modern shapeware/foundation garments to achieve a vintage body shape with your clothes. The author interviewed the stylist for the show “Mad Men”, a modern show set in the 1950’s. She talks about how to measure yourself to get accurate measurements and how to achieve the smooth, curvy shape of decades gone by. I personally know there are many many shapeware options available these days that help us achieve what ever body shape we desire.

Dancing to get fit in the New Year

Posted on January 13th, 2010 by

Many people’s resolutions this year includes getting fit and shedding some unwanted pounds. Rob and I are no different in this area. We too are suffering from the result of too much “joy” and “holiday cheer” enjoyed this past Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday. Aside from our clothes fitting a bit tighter than normal, our lowered fitness level became all too obvious to us when we danced a mid-tempo Collegiate Shag at this past Saturday’s dance.

While many people will be hitting a local gym to work off the extra weight, we are going to incorporate dancing into our weight loss plan (along with eating better). Even done without a partner, Collegiate Shag and Charleston make great dances to get the heart pumping. Moving your body to music you enjoy also makes getting the 30 minutes per day of suggested cardiovascular exercise easier and more fun. Not to mention all that practice will surely show on the dance floor with smoother, more relaxed footwork and body movement. Just remember to stretch your leg muscles before and after dancing to prevent any injuries and stay hydrated.

Don’t forget that our series classes are a great way to get a guaranteed 1.5 hours of movement per week while meeting other great people looking to learn dancing, move their bodies, and/or do something new. The 2nd and 4th Saturday swing dances at Whirl and Twirl are additional opportunities to get moving, hear great music, and have fun.

So no matter how you plan to drop those unwanted pounds, here’s to a slimmer, fitter, 2010 🙂

A short how-to guide on buying vintage

Posted on October 6th, 2009 by

This is a great and short article on how to buy and wear vintage clothing and jewelry. Just wearing vintage clothing is one thing, dancing in them is another. This point is something that we dancers have and will probably always grapple with when buying true vintage clothing. The wear and tear that dancing takes on clothes in general is rough, but then consider older fabric, thread, and fit and now you are talking a whole different story. But I hope this article at least helps you with buying vintage items in general. And yes, a good tailor is indispensable (anyone know of one btw?).

“The irony is that vintage is actually what all of the new stuff in stores is made to look like anyway. In a world where everything’s accessible and ubiquitous, vintage is the way to personalize your look.

Read more…

New vintage hairstyling book

Posted on January 9th, 2009 by

Vintage Hairstyling: Retro Styles with Modern Techniques
by Lauren Rennells

I got this book about 3-4 months ago and haven’t really had the time to do much with it other than look it over briefly. I finally sat down and started reading the instructions on how to do some of these great looking vintage do’s using modern tools and I must say, I’m eager to try some of these styles out! What I like about this book is that the author does a great job laying out everything you will need for the hairstyle. As with anything, practice makes perfect. But any help making techniques like pin curls more understandable and possible is a hit in my book. A description of the information in the book:

The book begins with the basic elements and works its way back to advanced techniques. Chapter one describes the tools and products used throughout. Chapter two offers detailed instructions on creating different curls, including the pin curl, the basis for many vintage hairstyles. Chapter three breaks down the proper way to comb the curls for the effect including creating fingerwaves, victory rolls, pompadours, and waves from pin curls. The fourth chapter of the book provides step-by-step start-to-finish detailed instructions for 25 different hairstyles created with different hair lengths and textures. The final 2 chapters provide ideas for hair accessories, makeup and nails to finish the look.

Read more…

I hope this gives you the skills you need to recreate the great vintage hairstyles that you have probably seen and wished you could do on yourself. All it takes is the willingness, determination, and patience to keep working at it. Before you know it, you’ll be able to whip your hair into a beautiful retro do (in 15 min. once you really get it down pat) that will have people oohhing and aahhhing :->

Advice on vintage fashions for men & women

Posted on May 21st, 2008 by

The Memorial Day weekend dances are fast approaching (this weekend already) and I thought it might be helpful to provide links to some sites that cover fashion and hair for the periods being featured (20’s & 30’s Sat. night, 40’s on Sun. night in Tampa). Keep in mind that some or most fashions might look great, but not be very realistic for dancing.

No matter how you decide to dress up, when it comes to the hairdo for the ladies, I highly suggest you try doing it one night before the night of the dance. Doing it once before will give you an idea of how long it will take and what problems you might run into. With that said, below are links broken out by fashion and hair for the 20’s, 30’s , and 40’s eras:

20’s Fashion
http://www.fashion-era.com/flapper_fashion_1920s.htm
http://www.1920-30.com/fashion/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1920s_in_fashion

20’s Hair
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flapper
There is much more information available for women’s 20’s styled hair, just do a search on “finger waves” in Google and take your pick 🙂

30’s Fashion
http://www.murrayonhawaii.com/nolan/fashionhistory_1930mens.html
http://www.angelfire.com/retro/lisawebworld/30sfashion.html
http://www.fashion-era.com/stylish_thirties.htm

30’s Hair
http://www.hairfinder.com/hairstyling/1930b.htm
http://www.fashion-era.com/hats-hair/hats_hair_8a_hairstyles_history_1930_1940.htm
http://www.revampvintage.com/30shairstyles.html

40’s Fashion and Hair
http://www.flyinfootwork.com/blog/2007/05/08/vintage-style-tips/
http://www.flyinfootwork.com/blog/2007/12/12/how-do-to-victory-rolls-in-5-min/

For men, you can find men’s vintage style wide leg pants at Adam’s Men’s Wear in the Seminole Town Center Mall. You can typically find wide leg pants in specialty menswear shops that carry more trendy/edgy men’s suits. You may have to sort through the bright colors to find the vintage look, but men’s dressy fashions haven’t changed that much over time. As for the 20’s/30’s style driving caps, fortunately those have made somewhat of  a comeback in recent years and you can find them at many stores like Burlington Coat Factory and occasionally even at Target.

Categories: Advice and Help, Dawn's Stuff, Vintage Tags:

Flying High

Posted on May 6th, 2008 by

So, Rob and I went flying recently on a Friday night with a fellow dancer/friend who has a pilot’s license. As the afternoon passed by, I got more and more nervous and excited about what was coming up that evening. You see, I don’t necessarily have a fear of flying so much as a healthy respect for heights and aviation. Before a year ago, I had never been in anything smaller than a 25 person prop commuter plane and that wasn’t bad at all. Last year Rob and I got to ride in a 1925 biplane that seated 4 passengers and that was excitedly “gripping” (referring to my white knuckles), but quite nice once I relaxed and remembered to breathe.

So I wasn’t sure what riding in a 4 person Cessna plane would be like. As we watched our friend do the pre-flight check that the FAA requires of licensed pilots, I kept thinking that I just wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into and should I go through with it. It’s not like I can just bail once we get up there and I don’t like it ya know. But I decided a long time ago that I wouldn’t let my fears stop me from enjoying life in different ways. And I’ve always had dreams of flying like a bird and how cool it would be. But even with my interest and bravado, I almost bailed like twice. But I persevered and got in, strapped in, and prepared myself for the experience.

It’s not like I’m afraid that we’ll fall out of the sky mind you, it’s more the feeling of fragility that comes with being in a small craft that is easily pushed around by winds. So it’s like driving in a truly 3D environment where you have the added element of physics affecting your stability from all angles, instead of just gravity as in a car. So we go and take off into the wind which caused us to have lift quite easily and quickly… and away we went. The wind did bump us around during the hour that we were in the sky flying all over Orlando and even Disney. But it’s not like we were hitting air pockets and falling 50ft or anything. Our friend Joshua did a GREAT job of keeping things smooth and easy going for me. He did do a few things that literally left my stomach in my throat. Like one maneuver called a parabola (the bell curve from statistics class… anyone… anyone?) where he points the nose up and then brings it down like going over a hill. Yikes that really got my stomach up in my throat (notice the look on my face).

Rob and Dawn - she's scared

After we got to “buzz” the Disney attractions at 3,000 feet, we proceeded back to the executive airport where the landing was really neat and we even saw a HUGE bald eagle at the edge of a pond on the way back to the tarmac. I survived and even had fun. And Rob even had the foresight to snap a few pictures of all of us (and me) while flying…so enjoy those. 🙂

Rob, Dawn, and Joshua

I made it!

Categories: Dawn's Stuff Tags:

Dawn: Defender of Ducks

Posted on March 24th, 2008 by

People often ask what we do when we aren’t teaching dancing or putting on swing dance events. I could tell you about our day jobs working on computers and web sites, but I wouldn’t want to let the secret solution to insomnia go public just yet. Instead, I’ll tell you about Dawn’s alter ego… Dawn, the animal lover. A simple walk around the block during a break today turns into adventure as Dawn rescues two baby ducks from being hit by cars as they cross the road. As she watches the babies scuttle along to the pond, wild kingdom unfolds before her eyes as a hawk swoops down and carries off one of the babies. Not having anymore of that, Dawn, champion of all fluffy defenseless cuteness, ensures the other duck’s safe voyage to the pond. Unfortunately, mother duck was nowhere to be seen. After monitoring the situation all day, the outlook for the baby duck did not appear to be good. As I was sitting at my desk this afternoon, Dawn walks in with a box. She had rescued the ducky!

Who else do you know that keeps a baby duck at their desk? 🙂

We’re taking the little bugger into a wildlife rescue this afternoon.

Categories: Dawn's Stuff Tags:

How to do “victory rolls” in 5 min.

Posted on December 12th, 2007 by

For any woman who has yearned to do their hair in a sweet vintage style, this video clip tells you how. I have not yet tried the technique myself, but after doing battle with my hair on many an occasion, I can tell you that this should work pretty well. The lady in the video, as you will see, has somewhat short hair that does not look very thick and she is able to make it work quite quickly.

What I love about this technique is it does most of the hard hair work in one fell swoop and just some clean up pinning is required from there. The lady does not go into detail at all about how to roll your hair and it does not appear to me that she rolled her hair before showing the technique. If you have time and want to play with rolling your hair to get more body, that’s always helpful in doing vintage rolls… especially for those of us that have thick, heavy hair or a lot of hair.

What I have done before when I need to do a quick vintage ‘do is just spray the heck out of the areas of your hair that you are going to style and that will add some body and stylability to it. Don’t spray it so much that it’s stiff or unbrushable per se, just has some “grit” to it. “Dirty” hair or hair that has any styling product in it is much easier to style quickly than clean hair is. Between this and the technique that this lady shows you, anyone can do a vintage do in mere minutes 🙂

Happy styling and thanks Shelley for sending me the link to this clip!

Update: Looks like the original video embedded below may not be working anymore. However, YouTube has many more vintage hairstyle tutorials.

Categories: Advice and Help, Dawn's Stuff, Vintage Tags:

The Hidden Workout in Dancing

Posted on August 21st, 2007 by

People often tend to overlook dancing as a legitimate form of working out and getting fit, however, you’d be surprised how many calories can be burned by hitting the dance floor. While we don’t know of any exact studies on dances such as Lindy Hop, Shag, Balboa, or Charleston, we can compare these to “fast ballroom dances” that studies have been conducted on. Given this, swing dancing can burn between 306 and 374 calories per hour (assuming a body weight of 150lbs). Beginners may see more on the lower side as you usually start out dancing to slower songs when you learn. As you become more experienced and spend more continuous time on the dance floor the calories you burn will continue to rise. In fact, if you spend some quality time on the dance floor, a night out dancing can easily burn off the equivalent of a Big Mac with cheese (704 calories). But dancing is all a lower body workout, right? Wrong! Holding a frame, maintaining connection, posture, and adding style all exercise the upper body as well making dancing a complete workout.

The common misconception is that you have to lift weight to work your body out. After all, a workout has to be strenuous to be a workout, right? Well, actually, no. In reality, the important thing is to just get your body moving and get the muscles in motion. One of the biggest reasons for failure in workout programs is loss of interest or boredom. Dancing is all together different. It’s entertaining, social, and fun. The fact it is a form of exercise is a fringe benefit. Tons of everyday people of all ages and physical backgrounds enjoy dancing without ever even noticing the workout they are getting from it.

Categories: Dancing, Dawn's Stuff Tags:

A retro hairstyle and make-up resource

Posted on July 18th, 2007 by

I wanted to post something here that I thought would be relevent to all of the female swing dancers. I recently had my hair and make-up professionally done for a friend’s wedding renewal ceremony. The person I went to was highly recommended by multiple people in the Orlando area. As I was talking to her while she was doing my hair and make-up, I got on the topic of doing retro 40’s hairdo’s and how hard and complicated they can be. Well, she told me how she is trained to do styles going all the way back to the 1800’s Victorian era and everything in between. So I asked her if she does private sessions where she teaches hair and make-up one-on-one and she does!

A few options went through my head like getting a group of interested people together to have a session with this lady. But then I realized that what works style wise for some people will not work for others and probably doing one on one private sessions with her would be a better use of your money spent (no dollar amounts for one on one sessions were discussed).

I’m including her website and contact info in this blog so if anyone would like to tap this wealth of hair and make-up information, you can do so. Her name is Candi Ekstrom and her email is ExpressWeddings@aol.com. Her website is www.expressweddingsflorida.com. Do not be thrown by the website in that it is very focused on weddings, that is her local specialty. Feel free to contact her about having her work with you to get that right mix of cool retro hairstyle and sizzling vintage make-up customized for your skin tone and hair 🙂

Categories: Dawn's Stuff Tags:

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