Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Aging Grace-Fully

Grace Kelly

Now who wouldn't mind aging gracefully like Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, or Lauren Bacall? Okay so maybe the idea of growing older and aging isn't such a warm and fuzzy thought but there are things we can all do to prevent from premature aging.

No-I am not going to talk about a miracle drug or a cream that removes wrinkles on sight. The reality for us women is that one day we will be old (God willing) just as our bodies don't bounce back after childbirth. It is what it is but it doesn't mean we shouldn't take care of ourselves in the meantime.

So what can you do? Well, here is a my trusty little list of things to do or to possible try out in order to preserve the beauty that is you.

  1. I must point out that the way many people age can be due to genetics. Some people look super young in their 50's and some people don't. With that said-its the luck of the draw. Some of us will get a little help from our genes and some of us not too much. Whichever it may be, just embrace it because that cannot be changed (unless you go under the knife and we should all try and avoid that).
  2. STAY OUT OF THE SUN! Seriously! One of the biggest ways we can damage and age our skin is by overexposure to the sun. No-you shouldn't sun bathe for hours and no you shouldn't go to a tanning booth every week. Its just plain suicide for your skin. We do shed our skin but yearly overexposure to sunlight in large doses will just put your skin in danger and you will look aged. You can get sun spots, discoloration, severe dryness, and wrinkles just to name a few. If you are outside at all, put sunscreen on all the time and wear hats!
  3. Drink LOTS of water! Our bodies are mostly made up of water so hydrate it! It gets thirsty too! Soda and juices just have lots of sugar in it. Choose the yumminess that water has to offer because its the only drink that truly quenches the thirst.
  4. Know your skin! Know what type of skin you have so you know how to moisturize it. I have normal to dry skin and its sensitive. So I wash my face everyday, moisturize in the morning and evening, and I try and use as many "for sensitive skin" products as possible.
  5. You're NOT a clown! Okay what is the purpose of wearing makeup everyday, all day long? I understand wearing some especially for work, but throughout the years I have witness the use of makeup on the people who started wearing it as young girls and it just aged the person. When you don't have to wear any-don't. Let your skin breathe! When you get home-wash your face and moisturize properly. There is no need to wear makeup all the time-it is something that defiantly ages a persons skin.
  6. Get a check up! Make an appointment with a Dermatologist. I have one! You can also do a full body check up to play it safe (I have yet to do that but older people are highly recommended to do that). It's always good to know what is going on with your skin and to tend to that.
  7. Feed your face! Eat good foods because it does show up on your skin. If your diet is made up of greasy fast food you will tend to have breakouts and your skin will look unhealthy. Try and eat some fruit and veggies during the day. Stay away from soda and too much junk good. Remember your skin is the largest organ on your body!
  8. No poison please! Smoking and drinking isn't good for your body or your mind-overall its just not good for you. Smoking will dry out your skin and make it look grey and pasty. Drinking will make your skin look bloated and heavy. Of course I am talking about heavy drinking but still remember that you are feeding your skin and if you want it to glow and be extra pretty and maintain its shape for as long as possible-don't poison it!
  9. Gym time! Do some sort of exercise for your overall health. Whether its walking, jogging, swimming.....just sitting around isn't good for anyone. Get up and do something-you will be tired at first but eventually it will help you feel better.
  10. Live life fully but with caution! There are some folks who have lived hard lives and you can see it clearly on their faces. Some people cannot escape that reality but others may have more choices. If you are one who has choices then live your life fully but do not put yourself in possible dangerous situations-in the end it all affects you.
Lastly, I would like to share with all of you my age. Honestly, I never wore makeup as a teenager (occasional lipstick) and I follow those simple rules above throughout my life. I do believe it has helped. Although I do credit my aging to my father who is 63 but you never be able to guess it unless you looked at his white hair hehehe 

I am proud to say that I am 36 years old, born in 1976, a child of the 70's and 80's and closer to 40 than to 20. I love my age-I have loved every age I have been. I have no regrets. I have no desire to go back and am grateful to be able to go forward.

So there you have it-a few helpful tips to help you age gracefully!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Guest Blogger: 1,000 Days of Bow Ties

How to Pull off the Bow Tie

Determining just how to pull of your bow tie is really a matter of which type of bow tie you have. If you're currently wearing a clip-on, I would suggest gently pinching one of the bow's ends outward until the tie clip is unfasten from your collar. Repeat on the other side, and you should have successfully pulled off your bow tie. What's that? Oh, you mean you wanted to know how to pull off the look of wearing a bow tie. Got it. Why didn't you say so?

Before diving into a few examples of how I enjoy accessorizing with the bow tie, I would like briefly preface this post with a pair of personal convictions of mine. First of all, wearing a bow tie should not be a choice based on the need for a costume's accessory. The bow tie is more versatile and demands more respect when you remove it from the clownish stereotype. Secondly, it takes a great deal of gravitas to properly pull off the bow tie outside of formal attire. Consider these ideas as you look over the examples that follow.

Let's start with something we might be comfortable seeing. The bow tie, when paired with a seersucker suit makes for the perfect summer wedding outfit.

Turn a casual pair of jeans into a scholarly look by partnering the bow tie with a solid oxford shirt and cardigan. You'll earn extra credit if you can find a letterman, saddle shoes and spectacles to complete the look.

If you have a pair of pants that you really enjoy wearing, consider turning them into shorts and having the left-over fabric repurposed into a bow tie. You'll have the basis for something fierce at the ready and an excuse to untuck your shirt. Note: I recommend not wearing a loose-fitted shirt if you're opting to try this look out. Loose tends to look sloppy and that is not what the bow tie should communicate.

Another great look for warmer months is the Guayabera. Most men haven't discovered how incredibly cool the shirt looks with a bow tie but this is a formal twist that takes the comfort and style of the Guayabera to another level.

If you've really got some moxy, I suggest trying to wear a freestyle bow tie with a polo shirt this Summer. My sons pull off this look regularly with their collars down. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the heads you'll turn if you wear it with your collar up. 

No matter how you wear your bow tie, the key is to completely own the look that you're trying to achieve and go onward and upward from there. For more examples of how I rock my bow ties, check out my daily bow tie blog at www.1000daysofbowties.com

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Guest Blogger: Fashion Attack Vintage

There is no denying that Gene Kelly is a national treasure, not to mention an amazingly skilled dancer and versatile actor. But my favorite films of his usually involved him playing the role of a handsome sailor! This coming August, Gene would have turned 100 and to celebrate this milestone, I put together a little sampler of vintage inspired pieces based on two of his most noteworthy pictures, “On The Town” and “Anchors Aweigh”! Everything is priced under $50.00, so go ahead and treat yourself to some nautical delights! And don’t forget to tip your captains hats to honor one of Hollywood’s greatest legends J

My favorite Gene Kelly film, 1949’s “On The Town”

1945’s “Anchors Aweigh”




From Left to Right: Striped Cardigan With Anchor Design $26.51 @ ASOS, Sugarhill Boutique Sailor Dress $41.43 @ ASOS, Twist-Back Bow Sleeve Tee $14.99 @ Charlotte Russe, Nautical Crop Denim Jacket $29.80 @ Forever 21, Belted Ponte-Knit Tank Dress $24.99 @ Charlotte Russe, Twill Nautical Shorts $11.99 @ Forever 21, Cliffs Navy & Stripe Cherrio Sandal $39.99 @ Famous Footwear, Playsuit in Anchor Print $17.40 @ ASOS, Fluff Retro Suzy Sailor Tattoo Tote Bag $37.98 @ Sears.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guest Blogger: I know, right?

Hi ladies (and gents)! My name is Jennifer Fabulous and if you ever come across my blog (I Know, Right?) you will discover that I am a huge fan of the 1960s. I imagine the decade as a glitzy space-age world bursting with John Lautner real estate, crystal clear martinis, and Les Baxter-infused exotica beats.

On most Saturday nights, you can find me sipping a gin & tonic on my patio, listening to retro cocktail classics. One of my favorite singers from that era is Yma Sumac. Her five-octave range and mysterious beauty turned her into a world-wide sensastion during the 1950s and 60s.

Yma was born in 1922 in Peru. Her family was descended from Atahualpa, the last Incan emperor.

From the moment she could open her mouth, it became clear Yma had an incredible gift. Not only was her voice pure as silk, but she could hit extremely low and high notes, which is virtually impossible for most singers.

When she was 20, Yma married orchestra and bandleader Mois├ęs Vianco. That same year, she recorded numerous songs, quickly making a name for herself in her homeland.

In 1950, the happy couple moved to New York City, where Yma was promptly signed by Capitol Records.

It was during this decade that she helped make music history. Working with legends like Les Baxter and Billy May, Yma became the voice behind exotica, otherwise known as lounge music.

Her striking beauty and glamorous wardrobe caused a sensation in Hollywood. She appeared in a couple films (such as Secret of the Inca with Charleton Heston) and a Broadway show.

The U.S. media was dazzled by Yma, flowering her with titles such as the "Peruvian Songbird" and emphasizing her aristocratic roots by calling her a princess. Her exotic glamour was so exagerrated that it even fed a popular rumor that Yma was actually a Jewish housewife from Brooklyn named Amy Camus, her name spelled backward.

By the end of the decade, Yma's career was on fire, but her personal life was ice cold. After discovering her husband had fathered twins with her 24-year-old secretary, Yma caused a violent scene in their Beverly Hills mansion. The fight, which oddly involved a pretty young Peruvian dancer, eight newsmen, and a stranger playing an ancient harp, created headlines all over the world. There was a shootout involving police detectives and foreign curse words flying through the air.

Despite her personal struggles, Yma's success lasted throughout the next few decades. She recorded a rock album in the 1970s and a techno dance album in the 1990s. She performed on late night talk shows and crooned to hungry audiences at some of the most prestigious theaters in the world. Her songs have appeared in numerous films.

In 2008, nine months after being diagnosed with colon cancer, the elderly songstress died in her assisted living facility.

But her legend lives on.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Guest Blogger: Sew Retro Rose

Hi everyone – my name is Beccie.  The lovely Bunny is having a break for a week and she’s asked me to write a guest post for her blog.  She’s an inspiration isn’t she – I’m so happy I can help her out.

I started my vintage journey about the same time as Bunny started hers.  I did a pinup make-over photo shoot and fell in love with the style.  

Here’s a photo from my first shoot:

After that experience, I started wearing 1950s clothing every day, including the hair and make-up.  I got so much positive feedback from my partner, my friends, my family, and complete strangers that I kept it up.  I entered a national competition called Miss Pinup Australia (did I mention I’m Australian...) and won the runner-up title in my category, Miss Classic!

And this is where my story took a turn no-one (least of all me) was expecting... I taught myself to sew.

While I could say that learning to sew was something I did to save money, it wasn’t.  I actually started sewing because there was something that I desperately wanted and couldn’t find anywhere – a vintage princess-seam coat.  So, like the way I approach most things, I threw myself in the deep end.  I bought a vintage pattern, some fabric, and borrowed my mum’s sewing machine and I was off!

This is what I created:

Its a long way from perfect, but I made it myself and I was proud to wear it.  Sewing it wasn’t easy at times (don’t even talk to me about sleeves!) but I never gave up.  And I haven’t stopped sewing since.  Here is the latest thing I created.  I sewed it without a pattern, from a design I dreamed up.  I really impressed myself – and to think I’ve come this far in 12 months!

I’ve also been blogging about my sewing.  I’ve found that, as well as being a great record, it has made social what is at times a lonely hobby.  I’m actually about to sew another coat just like my black one, but in red wool this time.  I want to see just how much I’ve improved by sewing the same pattern 12 months later.

So, to end my guest post, it is amazing how much your life can change with one decision.  12 months ago I booked in for a fun sounding photo shoot, thinking that all I would come away with was some sexy photos for my fiancee.  Instead I came away with a new life.  You just never know what’s around the corner, do you?

Lovely to meet you, hope to see you again soon!

Beccie  Sew Retro Rose

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I'm Singing In The Rain: A Night With Gene Kelly Pt. II

What was also special about the Gene Kelly Event on Friday was that for the first time EVER I wore a dress with my braces on! I purchased this really sweet dress from Modcloth called a Soda Fountain Dress. It is super affordable and comes in so many great colors. It is my first reproduction dress and I am really pleased with it. It is comfortable and super sweet~you know I had to get mine in cherry red hehe And of course I wore my girls on my legs *smile*

My hair comb is a 1940's Lucite red hair comb purchased on etsy, my earrings were purchased in an Antique Mall in MO, my bracelets and necklace were also purchased on etsy, and the last bit was my brooch. It is one that you have seen before. My dear friend Brittany made it for me and its the initial of my birth name. I wore it especially for her and she knows why *smile*

My hair was set in foam rollers and due to the weather it held up okay~I can't complain. For makeup I used Besame Red, Stila mascara and cream blush, Clinque cover up, a standard lip liner, and Besame's new Violet Powder which I will review in a post soon. 

That's that. Nice and simple. So, what do you think?


Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'm Singing In The Rain: A Night With Gene Kelly Pt I

Last night my husband and I attended an event called An Evening of Gene Kelly at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. All month long they are screening Gene Kelly's films to celebrate his 100th birthday which will be on August 23rd. For two special night's Gene Kelly's widow, Patricia Ward Kelly will be speaking about Gene Kelly's work, art, and life. The first night was last night and what a divine night it was!

After we dropped off our children at my dad's we drove to 80th street and took the train two stops to 66th and Lincoln Center because it is just horrible to park there-literally impossible unless you shell out cash and that's a no-no for us.

I will be honest, I felt totally naked walking around in a dress and with my braces exposed but I did it darnit...I DID IT! And off we went to the theater! To my surprise I was the only one there out of possibly over 80 people that was dressed with a vintage flair! Oh well, more fun for me!

This is inside the theater there were all these amazing old film posters. I had to take a photo with this one but this month I spotlighted James Cagney and am spotlighting four of his films this month!

The theater was gorgeous and even included a concession stand with loads of goodies. We sat in the front and awaited to hear Mrs. Kelly speak. The first part of the program was watching a video collage consisting of many snippets of his films and works. Then Mrs. Kelly came out and began to share with us who she was before she met Gene Kelly and how they met. She was writing for show that he was hosting and a friendship grew out of their meetings. In time she flew to California where she worked with him again-some time later they fell in love and were married in 1990. 

Mrs. Kelly was twenty-six when they first met and he was seventy-three. She said he was so young at heart that the age difference wasn't noticeable for her. I can defiantly see how they connected. They were  (and are) very intelligent, well-read, and very well-spoken. I am sure they shared a deep and meaningful connection with one another. Something people often forget about in relationships is that having a foundation based on respect and friendship is the best way to build a romantic and loving relationship on.

Mrs. Kelly spent the rest of the evening showing snippets of his films and sharing stories about them, how Gene Kelly felt about them, and the work as well as the creativity that went behind them. I can tell you that admired Gene Kelly before but now I am in awe of him. I left that theater utterly inspired by his work ethic, his drive, his passion, and his vision.

Mrs. Kelly told us that Gene felt that the most difficult choreography that he ever created was for a film in 1944 co-starring Rita Hayworth called Cover Girl. The dance scene is called "Alter Ego". This scene was created before the use of computers and all the various sorts of technology that we have now. He had to dance both pieces exactly the same and the second part of the dance (the part where he is the alter ego) completely shrouded in black material which he found disorienting and very difficult. Be prepared to be dazzled. This man was so ahead of his time!

Gene Kelly dancing the "Alter Ego" from his film "Cover Girl"

I learned so much about his dance training and how he never meant to be a dancer. He wanted to be so many other things like a baseball player. Listening to Mrs. Kelly speak about his life and how he lived it reminded me again that we are all called to do certain things in life. Some of us will be in the limelight and get noticed like Gene Kelly was and others not so much but we are all meant to do something spectacular with ourselves. Its just up to fate, chance, timing, and opportunity to help us get there and then we have to work hard, be driven, be passionate, remain true to ourselves to become successful at it-whatever "IT" is. For Kelly it was dance and how he used dance in film. His goal was to create a balance and flow between the camera and the movement in the dance. I think he succeeded many times over.

And then there were these boxes. I had no clue what they were but I remember telling my husband that they should really clean the stage before a screening. Boy was I wrong! It was all a part of the show! Mrs. Kelly had some of Gene Kelly's personal effects in them. She spoke candidly about his last 19M and how he passed on peacefully (and awake unlike what sites have said). She showed us some of his Valentine's that he made for her, his hats, and even some props from some of his films.

Mrs. Kelly truly gave us a special gift~one that I will treasure always. Many from Gene Kelly's generation have long passed or are at an old age. Those in their 50's and 60's are still celebrating the films and events from the past. But its my generation and those under who are in many ways removed from the decades of the 1920's-1960's. We weren't even in a thought in our parents (or grandparents) heads let alone connected. Few of us like myself have a grandparent that fought in WWII but when I left the theater last night I felt like I have a clearer understanding of what my future goals are and what I want to do with my life. It is something I will share with you very shortly.

Mrs. Kelly was so gracious and kind (and gorgeous!). We swapped business cards and I was able to thank her for an incredible evening. If you ever get a chance to hear her speak about her beloved husband, Gene Kelly-please go see her! You will not regret it. Because you know what...celebrating the past isn't only about pretty clothes, hats, and  jewelry but about the history, films, art, music, foods, and just simply about the people. An event like last night's gave me an opportunity to learn more and broaden my mind (and my heart).

Ironically yesterday it was raining almost all day long. I say its ironic because one of Gene Kelly's  most iconic films is called Singing in the Rain. So of course I had to pose on a rainy street in Manhattan hehe

I hope you felt like you got a little glimpse into my experience last night. There is so much to share but not enough blog space LOL Tomorrow I will share a bit about my outfit and all that fun girly stuff. And then next week I will be taking a brief blog break to attempt to get some crafting done so I will have some amazing guest bloggers posting! Until then.....


Friday, July 20, 2012

Daily Inspiration: Five: Pedro Zamora

The generations after mine have grown up with the word "gay" meaning homosexual and to a world where HIV+/AIDS was a part of everyday language. When I was a child "gay" still meant happy and there were only whispers about an odd disease killing what seemed to be mostly the homosexual population.

By the time I was a pre-teen I watched my first video in health class about a man stricken with this disease. When I was in High School I began to participate in AIDS walks in Manhattan-something that made me feel very accomplished as though I was contributing to my community and I was proud to lend my support.

Towards my last year of High School/first year of College I learned about a young man who would open my heart and mind to understanding the true devastation of this disease and also teach me about living life to the complete fullest. Because when you are young you never think anything really bad will happen to you. I awoke from that slumber learning that I was so very wrong.

Pedro Zamora was a Cuban Immigrant who grow up in Miami, Florida who was gay and contracted HIV+ when he was just seventeen years old. He began to learn more about the disease and eventually became an AIDS activist and educator. I don't know if he realized then the power of his story, his presence, and simply of just who he was but this young guy blew people away with his speaking engagements. He was really able to connect with people, especially young people and open their eyes to the dangers and truths about unprotected sex and of the disease itself.

The Real World was a show that in many ways defined my generation. If you were between the ages of 16-24 during the early 1990's then this show really blew your socks off. It wasn't because of the occasional drama on the show but because it was like watching yourself in someone else's shoes doing the mistakes you were making but just making it on national television. Well, Pedro decided to audition for the show which led him to becoming a member of that cast. He educated his roommates and was able to reach a wider audience and educate millions of people because of the show. Pedro eventually passed on in 1994 just as the show aired it last episode of RW: San Fransisco.

Pedro meant a lot to me all the years ago. When he spoke it was like he was speaking to me. I felt a connection to him, not only because of his youth but also because he was Latino. I felt like he could be my friend if we had ever met and I felt like he spoke for our generation-so eloquently too. I don't know how to fully express what he meant to me and what he means to me today. All I can say simply is that he inspired me and how he lived his life inspires me still.

MTV's Tribute to Pedro~worth watching all the parts!

My generation grew up with something that created paranoia, fear, and prejudice. Today we call it AIDS and the younger generations don't even bat an eye. It doesn't mean a lot to them because when they grew up people understood it more. When I was a child people were afraid, they panicked, they treated others with the disease unjustly (ex: Ryan White), and homosexuality was very much a stigma as well as those afflicted with this disease.

Today we are learning to accept our brothers and sisters who are gay for who they are. We don't shun loved ones who are afflicted with this disease, we have more tolerance all around. We know so much more now, especially that anyone can become HIV+ and that being gay isn't a death sentence. 

Pedro was a huge reason why my generation grew to learn tolerance and grew to become more educated. And when Pedro married his husband Sean he taught me that love is love (among consenting adults of course). He opened my eyes to a world I wasn't a part of and because of him my heart and mind are more open, more aware, more sensitive, and more understanding. 

Pedro is a hero and he is one of my hero's. His legacy lives on especially to those who listened to his message. Once you watch him in the video above you will see what I mean. You just grow to love him like a brother, your son, or your best friend. I weep every time I watch the last parts of his life because I knew he could have done so much more. But in his 22 years of life he did change his generation and he changed the world. Pretty amazing huh?

Is there anyone who had affected you or inspired you in the way Pedro has to me?


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Daily Inspiration: Four: Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

What can I say about Audrey Hepburn that I haven't said before? Well, I can say that I admired her grace not only physically but how she carried herself in life. And I greatly admire the relationships she had with her sons. She seemed to always be balanced on how she approached them and it inspires me to try and create a sense of balance with my own children.
Audrey with her youngest son, Luca

I also admire how she basically left her career in order to become a stay at home mother. Granted she was not strapped for cash and that helps tremendously but she could have continued her Hollywood lifestyle and she choose not to. Audrey did make films here and there but not with the drive that she did before she had her sons.
Audrey later in life

Another aspect about Audrey that inspires me is how she allowed herself to age gracefully. I am sure she had her beauty regimen and she did eat well and attempted to take good care of herself as everyone should. But otherwise she didn't seem obsessed with the idea of growing older but rather embraced it and allowed it to be what it was and that's it.

Audrey with children from Bangladesh. 1989

Lastly, what speaks to my soul most often when it comes to Audrey Hepburn was her work as a humanitarian and a advocate for children around the world. I don't know if I ever shared this on my blog but by the time I was six or seven I felt called to two things; family and service. I wanted to have my own family but I also wanted to do good things for other people. By the time I was twelve I was totally obsessed with joining the Peace Corps. When I was twenty-four I had to make a tough choice between my two callings and decided that I wanted to prepare for my future family and had chosen that route over doing service.

But doing service still calls to me. It is something I would like to spend more time doing when I get older and my children are older as well. I feel like this time in my life right now is dedicated to my family and I hope one day I can find my way of helping others just like Audrey Hepburn did. And to do it well.

Are there any celebrities or icons that inspire you?


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Daily Inspiration: Three: My Mother

You have heard me talk about my mother before so of course she is one of my biggest inspirations. How could she not be? This Polaroid photo was taken perhaps a year or two before my mother became ill. Gosh my dad liked his Polaroids. I defiantly would like to own one someday hehe I have one of these photos with my mom and brother too so I think she was having fun hamming it up with us.

My mother was born on March 5th, 1949 in Moca, Puerto Rico. I don't know a lot about her family other than that her father passed away when she was young, her mother's name was Emilia, and she had about four or five brothers and sisters. I didn't grow up with a lot of cousins, just one from my dad's side because when she passed her family seemed to walk away from knowing us.

My mother when she was nine~1958

I know she came to America when she was a young girl and she still had this amazing Puerto Rican accent (I have a cassette tape of her voice!). Okay when you hear Jennifer Lopez speak-that is NOT a Puerto Rican accent. Its what us New Yorkers would refer to as a Ghetto-Rican accent. Its from speaking Spanglish and not Spanish and its more street and urban. Nothing wrong with that, but the authentic Puerto Rican accent and authentic Spanish speaking Puerto Ricans....well its music to my ears. Its just so pretty and sweet and soft. My two great-aunts speak beautifully as well and its well worth speaking to the natives if you ever travel to that island because well they just sound so lovely *sigh*

I know I have shared this photo before but its my favorite 
one of them~its literally their very first kiss!

I know that she was engaged to another man when she met my father, but it was an arranged marriage set up by her mother and she didn't love the man. My parents fell in love immediately and married in 1971. My brother came in 1972 and then a few years later I came. I know my mother's biggest dream was to be a mother. How ironic because that was my biggest dream. I know that she adored us and not one hair on our head was out of place. I am very much the same in my mothering as she was which I find neat. I know she learned how to sew on her own and would make me dresses, shirts, and skirts. She was tough but very loving and not one day did I ever feel like she didn't like me or love me.

My mama around 1982 I believe.

I would sit and watch her as she would groom herself. She was very stylish and took great care of herself. She would eat well and exercise (Jane Fonda videos hehe) and she was just very, very feminine in every way. I admired that-I still do.

Now my daughter sits and watches me and I love every minute. I remind myself how I felt when I watched my mother and remind myself how important mommy and daughter bonding really is.

Why does this women who I barely know inspire me everyday? Well....when I look in the mirror I remember that I am alive because of her. And because of her I get to love my husband and children. I remember how young she was and I try to not only make her proud of me but also make sure that I enjoy every moment I can. I do this in memory of her and out of respect for the life she lived. I feel passionate about remembering her yet all I have is a small handful of memories.

BUT what I do have that is bigger and better than those memories~I have myself and through me I have my children. So through us she lives and because of her we get to create more memories and we get to celebrate her life. I named my daughter after her and she knows that Grandma Rosa is in Heaven. I teach my children about her because she is their grandmother and because I know how she loved us, she would have loved her grandchildren even more.

This fall she will become a grandmother of six. My brother is expecting with his girlfriend and I cannot wait to see that new little life come into this world. Another part of her will live on...as will parts of our father, grandparents, and us. Life is so amazing isn't?

In what ways does your mother (grandmother) inspire you?


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Daily Inspiration: Two: My Family

My second source of inspiration (and they are not written in any particular order of importance) is my family. The first part of my family is the one I was blessed to be born into and was given. My mother, Rosa and my father, Nelson. Also my older brother who is also named Nelson but we call him by the nickname my mother gave to him. I have never called my brother Nelson....ekkk its kinda weird since I call him that nickname.

I love this photo of my family. I have it in a frame on my bookshelf in the living room. I placed it high above all the little fingers I have running about my house hehehe

My parents experienced love at first sight. Against all odds married and created my brother and I. They were young when they married (21 yrs old) and they had their ups and downs but all the normal things that happen in a marriage. And then in 1984 my mother fought the biggest battle of her life. I was confused by it all and before I knew it she was gone. But my father stayed with her and cared for her until her final breathe.

Then we became what I would call us-The Three Musketeers. We did so much together and weathered many tough storms together. In between those storms was my grandma, Minerva (dad's mom) who also became a mother to me and helped raise me along with my father. I look back on all the things we went through, all the good and not so good memories and I am so incredibly thankful because no matter what at the end of the day I was wanted, adored, and loved. I know not a lot of people can say that so I am grateful and inspired by that which was given to me...my family.

My other half of my family is the one that I created with my husband. Honestly I am still in awe and will most likely always be in awe that I have such an amazing husband and three children. I have dreamed and wanted to have children since I was a child myself and for years I would wonder if that dream would ever come true.

Then I met my husband when I least expected it, by our third month of dating we knew we wanted to be married and we were the one for the other. We dated for almost three years, got engaged on Easter of 2005 and were married that August. And they say the rest is history. It certainly was for us. Three babies came into our lives in four years. Now we are a family of five and everyday I feel like its a miracle. At least once a week I go to my husband and tell him, "Can you believe all these people are ours??" Because I still can't believe it. I thought I was lucky to have one but then I had three....wow...seriously just wow.

They keep me sane and insane, they keep my heart flowing with love and keep me wanting to be a better person. They inspire me with their growth, knowledge, creativity, and just by being who they are.

Nothing better than family. When I go to sleep every night my heart is full.

What aspects of your family inspire you on a daily basis?


Monday, July 16, 2012

Daily Inspiration: One: A Poem

This week I decided to share with you a few things that inspire me and keep me going on my tough days. Sometimes I have tough days, some tough moments, and recently I had a few tough weeks with my husband's illness and then mine. So I think its good to think about what can pull you out of those tough times or remind you whats really important in life. To basically help you keep healthy perspective on things.

Many moons ago when I was in college I would go on retreats. Not all the time but a few times. It was my opportunity as a young adult to explore my spirituality and open myself up to healing. On one particular retreat we were split into small groups. My group included a few athletic students that I would have never would have met otherwise because we just were in different circles.

One in particular was named Jenna, who was on the women's volleyball team at my University. Jenna was tall and average weight, super high gorgeous cheekbones. She wore her blond curly hair in a ponytail all the time and wore these big glasses. I remember her as she was because of what she gifted me during that weekend away.

She surprised everyone in our small group with an individualized poem written by her. I don't recall if I shared with the group but I do recall that I shared with her some of the challenges I faced with my disability. In turn she gave me a small sheet of notebook paper filled with words that I still hold dear to my heart. Words that define who I am and ring so true.

She started each poem with the person's name so I put my stage name instead of my birth name for privacy reasons on the above photo. This is what she wrote:

She's climbed the highest mountains.
And swum the deepest lakes,
Fought the meanest tigers,
And danced with cobra snakes.

They always said, "it can't be done."
Your body is too weak!
How can you think of dancing
When your outlook is so bleak?

But she just smiled and laughed out loud
And swung from vine to vine,
And then she showed them all her
The power of her mind...

I don't know what happened to Jenna. I saw her here and there after retreat and we would smile and say hi. To be honest I was taken aback by her poem and every once in a while I would reread it. But it is only until now, so many years later that I get it. I think Jenna saw things in me that I couldn't see in myself yet. I always knew I was strong but I she understood that I was also brave and fierce and determined.

Amazing isn't that someone you met for just a brief moment in your life can leave you with something so special that you can draw inspiration from years and years later. Thank you Jenna for seeing the real ME, for being loving enough to share that knowledge with me, and for still inspiring me with your beautiful words.

Has anyone every gifted you with anything that has inspired you?


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blog Birthday Giveaway Winner!

Thank you all for joining in the fun in celebrating my first blog birthday! I have the best blog followers ever!!!

So its time to announce the winner. I did it my usual way-wrote everyone's name down and choose it by hand. The winner is.......Sean MacKenzie from The FictionistaCongrats Sean and email me either via my Facebook or my email address at retrolovinmama@yahoo.com Don't forget to choose one out of the three gifties!

Thank you again for making my first blog birthday so much fun and so special!!!

xox Bunny

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Weekend Cinema Spotlight: Yankee Doodle Dandy

"Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942)

Ever wanted to see a patriotic film? Although Yankee Doodle Dandy is a biographical musical film, it oozes of Americana. The lyrics and music by the legendary George M. Cohan is the star of this film. Hit songs such as "The Yankee Doodle Boy" (aka Yankee Doodle Dandy), "Over Here", "Give my regards to Broadway", and "You're a Grand Ole Flag" just make you feel like a proud American. At least watching James Cagney's performance and learning about the life and times of George M. Cohan did. Watching this film for me is an epic experience-you laugh, you cry, you jump for joy, and you are always moved.

My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you.

Cagney who plays the part of Cohan in the film, travels and performs with his parents; his mother, father, and sister called the Four Cohans. At the end of every vaudeville performance Cohan would say his trademark curtain-call speech, "My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you". Every time I heard it in the film it just moved me. Such simple words but so filled with gratitude for the audience and their interest in their act. Without interest one cannot be a success in show business and that's a fact!

The film follows the Cohan family from their humble beginnings to becoming a major vaudeville act to Cohan himself following his own musical dreams.

"Yankee Doodle Dandy" film trailer

Cagney's performance was outstanding and he won an Oscar that year and rightly so. George M. Cohan was on hand to serve as a consultant for the film but due to his poor health he wasn't able to be as helpful as he originally hoped he would be. He was able to see the film before he passed away from cancer in 1942 at the age of sixty-four. He did approve of the film and of Cagney's performance as well (how neat is that!) He was the last remaining member of the Four Cohans and they now all rest in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.

Cagney performing "Yankee Doodle Dandy"

If you want to see Cagney as a song and dance man, learn about a great artist such as George M. Cohan, or simply connect with your patriotism, this is the film for you. Cagney just shines on the screen and this is my favorite of Cagney's films, simply because he is able to showcase many of his diverse talents and also because he told the story of this great artistic with pride and great respect.


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