The Gilded Aesthetic

The Gilded Aesthetic : December 2008

The Gilded Aesthetic

Monday, December 29, 2008

Be a Bettie

Since her recent death, I've been thinking a lot about Bettie Page. Having just finished a book about the model, I wanted to blog about what I think attracts women to Bettie.

Of course, she had all the usual things that people admire: a nice body, pretty face, an innate understanding of how to present herself in the best way... But what makes her appeal to other women? Why do those of us who love vintage LOVE Bettie Page so damn much?

For me, at least, I think it's because she had her own style, her own unique look. No one else looked like her. And while everyone can admit she was a knockout, closer inspection shows us she wasn't perfect. She had a tendency to plumpness and asymmetrical eyes. If not for the cover of the bangs, her forehead would have looked out of proportion to the rest of her face. Despite these things, she was gorgeous.

She established her own look. What helped was the hairstyle. She really lucked into that one. No one else had that hairstyle. Now, every vintage or retro girl has had THAT hairstyle at one time or another.

I think the key is to finding not only the best hairstyle for your features, but the best hair practices. For instance, finding the best shampoo for your hair type or making sure to deep condition once a week. Find the most flattering hairstyle for you and coddle it. Wear it and make it your own. Let the style and the color establish you as someone well-groomed, polished, and glamorous.

Next was her body. Bettie was curvy and fit during her modeling days, but she always battled with her weight. Before she ever began modeling, after a falling out with her first husband, Bettie weighed nearly 180 pounds because of junk food. But did she let that conquer her? No. She replaced the ice cream with veggies and began working out. During the zenith of her modeling career she weighed 118 pounds. Imagine! A model considered by many to be the epitome of beauty and glamour didn't have a lightning fast metabolism. She had to work to stay so fit. I find this very encouraging! She took her body and health into her own hands.

Take care of yourself. Be mindful of everything you put in your mouth. You can still have a treat when you want, just don't go crazy. Work out at least four or five days a week. If you don't do cardio, lift weights or do a leg work out. Any effort is a step toward looking like a goddess.

Bettie looked after her mind the best she could. She was educated and even tried her hand at teaching. She loved to read mystery and fantasy stories. After her modeling career was over, Bettie went to a bible university. She did all of this because she wanted to better herself, to find a higher purpose.

Pursue the things that interest you. Read, draw, play music, take up some sort of study, have a goal for yourself. There is nothing intriguing about a beautiful person with an empty head and no story to tell.

I titled this blog "Be a Bettie," but it's really about being yourself. Corny as that sounds, you may find that there is great satisfaction in honing your own beauty, body, and mind in a way all your own. It's nice to admire other people, but you can only do so much of that before you start pursuing your own accomplishment!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pamper Yourself

I can be an extremist, which means that when it comes to beauty, I will overdose. I'll scrub, steam, massage, slather, submerge, pluck, and torture myself with beauty treatments.

Try it and you may find that it soothes your soul. If I'm ever feeling bad about myself, all it takes is some major primping and I'm better.

Here's a plan from me to you. Follow each step in order for major beautification.

1. Combine mayo with olive oil, jojoba oil, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Apply gobs to your hair from root to ends.

Wrap head in saran wrap or other material.

While this sits...

2. Coat face in castor and olive oil. Rub this into face several minutes, then remove with hot, wet wash cloth. Reapply oils to face, massaging the skin until nicely absorbed.

Put some water on the stove on medium/high heat until steam rises. With oil still on your face, place a towel over head and lean over steam. Let steam penetrate skin for 5-10 minutes.

Remove again with hot washcloth, then apply a scrub of sugar, milk, and honey. Be sure to massage gently. You'll find that this is great for removing dead skin from your lips.

Rinse with warm water when properly scrubbed.

Next you should...

3. Make a mixture of olive oil, castor oil, milk, karo syrup, and honey. Heat this for a maximum of 15 seconds. Be sure to make an additional mixture of sugar and olive oil. Head to the bathroom.

Run a hot bath. When halfway full, add half of the FIRST mixture into the running water. When completely full, add rest of mixture.

Rest in bath for as long as you wish. When ready, begin exfoliating your body with the second mixture of sugar and olive oil. Do this all over your body.

When done, submerge your body in the bath. Luxuriate for as long as you wish. When done, shampoo hair and rinse under the COLDEST shower you can stand. I recommend lathering hair twice because this mixture can be really hard to get out. Follow with a heavy conditioner.

When finished, dry off with a soft towel. Apply a thick body cream like Palm's Cocoa Butter.

Other people claim their treatments make you feel like a queen. Mine really does!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My OCM Findings

I have been following the Oil Cleansing Method over a week now and can report that it's a great way to not only cleanse your skin, but keep it looking beautiful. Since beginning, I've noticed that my skin has a healthy glow. The best part, however, is that I've not had a noticeable pimple. A slight red discoloration on the side of my nose seems to be fading, not to mention the fact that I've not needed ANY foundation all week. I don't want to jinx it, but I'm hoping I may have found the best way to care for my skin!

I HIGHLY recommend following this regimen.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lucky in Lingerie

Being the take-everything-I-can-get-my-paws-on kind of girl, I entered a giveaway contest for a pair of Betsey Johnson underwear... And won.

Visit Slip of a Girl, a fabulously detailed blog, for beautiful vintage lingerie and amazing contests. She provides daily fodder for the retro-minded.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Perfect Figure

Weight loss has been on my mind a lot lately. Both because I need to lose some weight and the fact that rich, sweet food is everywhere this season.

There are things I like about my body and things I don't. Sometimes I can see how nice my figure could be if I worked out and took care of myself. All I want to lose is 30 pounds, but I just can't seem to force myself to commit to a fitness plan. A couple times a week I'll hop on the elliptical for half an hour, but it's not enough. I'm still taking in too many calories.

I am resolving to really make the effort. I am tired of not having the kind of figure I want. And honestly, exercise gets to be enjoyable. It's just avoiding the calories. If I don't eat too many calories in a day, I'm still not eating well because I don't have a balanced diet. I do not have a taste for most protein and while I can enjoy vegetables, they bore me.

But it's time to get real. I want to be fit and thin. And now's the time to do it.

If anyone else out there is wanting to get serious about weight loss, I salute you.
Here is a little gift from a book printed in 1870 called "The Laws of Health in Relation to the Human Form," a vintage diet:
Lean beef, mutton, game, cold fowl, or other meat, except pork, bacon, or veal.
Any fish except cat fish, eel, salmon, or fresh mackerel.
Eggs boiled, dropped, or in an omelette, most of the yelk being avoided.
A small piece of ship's biscuit, gluten or bran bread, or thin dry toast from stale bread.
Coffee or tea, one cup, without milk or sugar. Russian tea is very suitable. It has a thick slice of lemon floating in the cup instead of milk or sugar.
Soup- maigre.
Fish - of any kind, except those mentioned above, prepared plainly.
Meats- mutton, beef, game, fowls, or any other lean meat with the exceptions mentioned above, the fat being carefully skimmed from the gravies.
Vegetables- beans, peas, cabbages, onions, apple-sauce, tomatoes, asparagus, eggplant, or any other vegetable except beets, oyster plant, turnips, potatoes, carrots, rice, green peas and corn.
Gluten bread, or a small portion of bran bread.
Dessert- fruit cooked without sugar, water-ice, cheese.
For drinks, pure water, and if accustomed to spirits, better stop them.
Cold meat from the dinner.
A small portion of dry toast or gluten bread, cheese, water-ice. Plain fruit without sugar. Raw tomatoes. Apple sauce without sugar. The white of dropped eggs.
Tea without milk or sugar.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

R.I.P Bettie Page

Bettie Page died today at the age of 85. She was one of the most popular pinups of all time and had a huge cult following. Her trademark was her glorious smile and black, banged hair.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Oil Cleansing Method

The OCM is a method of skin care that turns everybody who follows it into glowing, smooth-skinned zombies.

I have been using olive oil and castor oil in beauty treatments for a long time, but it never occurred to me to use them this way. Sure, I put castor oil on my face at night some times, but I always do it timidly and not without a smidge of worry. I'm not oily skinned, but I NEVER don't have a pimple somewhere on my face.

The people who try the OCM rave about it. It is said to make skin soft, clear, and luminous. It gets rid of heavy acne, rosacea, and uneven skin tones.

The method revolves around combining olive and castor oil in a bowl. You generally use more OO if you want extra moisture and more CO if you need extra cleansing. You drench your hands in this mixture, then begin massaging your face, concentrating on relaxing and breathing deeply. You do this several minutes, then place a hot, wet towel on your face. You let this sit on your face until it cools, then begin massaging more of the mixture into your face. Do this again for a few minutes, then follow with another round of the hot towel. This opens your pores. Be sure to always wipe at your face gently, do not rub. Repeat these steps until you feel totally cleansed.

Apparently, people who do this regularly enjoy fabulous complexions. I just did it and will be doing it a few days a week. I'll get back with you on how good this works. But for now, my skin feels really soft and healthy, plus several burgeoning zits have somehow deflated. No joke. This may just be what the doctor ordered. Haw!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Trinkets and Baubles

Am I the only one who's feeling particularly greedy right now? If it's not the diamond and emerald bracelet at the store where I work, it's obscure Japanese face powder.

Marutake Rice Powder is cheap and promises to provide a flawless, matte complexion. Check out The Vermount Country Store. They sell, among other cosmetics and body care items, Tangee lipstick. This was a favorite of Ava Gardner.