Author: Mrs. W

Retro geek.

Eye shadow evolution

So, I may have mentioned this before, but I am severely lacking in some of the key skills required for pin-up perfection. Most notably, I suck at hair. In addition, my eye makeup application borders on remedial.

To counteract my hairstyling ineptitude, I stick with a bob and try different variations with every haircut. Easy.

The eye makeup is another matter. My technique has not evolved much since high school, when I’d swipe a dark color eye shadow across my lid, smudge too much eyeliner under my lashes, swipe on some mascara and go. While I’ve learned to use a little more restraint with the liner and occasionally go for the waterline instead of below the lower lashes, I haven’t really progressed. No sophisticated, contoured, come-hither smoky eyes for me.

I’ve made a few haphazard attempts to try something different in the past, mostly with eye shadow remnants from ancient sets. I never felt like it looked right, so I gave up and went back to my old ways, even as I acknowledged that I didn’t have the right tools or makeup colors to make myself look the way I wanted to. A friend and his lady came up to visit over the weekend and I noticed her eye makeup. It was exactly what I want to be able to do… subtle use of different colors. I told myself I’d have to try again.

And then, last night, I found this:

Nude eyeshadow palette

The inspiration.

All the right colors. Cheap, so if I get frustrated and give up after a week, I’m not out $50 for one of the crazy Urban Decay palettes I look at every time I’m in Sephora. And best of all…

It has instructions on the back for numbskulls like me.

I'm pretty good at following instructions. Sometimes.

I’m pretty good at following instructions. Sometimes.

I’ll post photos of various attempts to follow instructions in the next few days. I have a master’s degree. How hard can this be?


The Owl Diner in Lowell, Mass

I am in love.

Yesterday morning I was supposed to meet someone for breakfast and had to pick a venue – I had never been to this place, but Tim recommended it. And now I am furious that he’s been holding out on me for the last 10 years and never brought me to this amazing diner!

The Four Sisters – Owl Diner is everything a diner should be (except open 24/7). It’s a diner car, with an addition built on, and most of the interior has wonderful classic décor… great tile work, beautiful mid-century table and countertops, and, of course, plenty of chrome.

And the food is delicious. Check out the omelets, all named for streets in Lowell. I had the Pine Street (broccoli, mushrooms, and cheese) and loved it. The home fries have the perfect texture and plenty of flavor, too. Add in attentive, down-to-earth staff and you’ve got yourself a win.

I wish I had taken pictures, but I was there for a business meeting and didn’t want to seem rude. Now I have an excuse to go back… I can’t wait to take Becky and Andrew here.

Flea market pin-ups

Yesterday we hit the Hollis Flea Market and I discovered these two beautiful ladies… One by Vargas and one by Alex Raymond.

Vargas calendar page and Alex Raymond pin-up

Vargas calendar page and Alex Raymond pin-up

I hadn’t heard of Alex Raymond before, but soon learned that he was well-known as a comic book artist; mainly for his work on Flash Gordon in the 1930s. The Vargas page has a bit of spotting on the paper and there’s a small hole in the Raymond piece, but they’ll still look lovely framed. I’m running out of room in my office!

A classic camera

Over the long weekend, Tim and I got to connect with our friend John Chaos. He and another friend joined us Saturday night for dinner and some vicious Cards Against Humanity, then we met up again on Sunday for bowling.

Part of Chaos’ charm is that he remembers things about people that you don’t expect him to. In his whirlwind trips to classic car shows, rockabilly riots, bowling alleys, flea markets, and other assorted mischief, he’ll pick up something just because it reminds him of someone.

On Saturday night, he surprised me with a very cool vintage camera, complete with carrying case:

So cool!

So cool!

Beautiful...both aesthetically and in condition.

Beautiful…both aesthetically and in condition.

I love the red around the Kodak name.

I love the red around the Kodak name.

When Chaos saw this camera, he recalled that I have a similar one. This one belonged to my grandmother; I have it on display in my office:

Vintage Kodak camera

My grandmother’s camera.

Now Norma’s camera has a companion to keep it company. Very cool. I’m also envisioning these as great props for a pin-up photo shoot.


Pretty planters and pots

As soon as the weather gets warm enough, I look forward to putting together my own hanging baskets and pots for the front steps. While in the past I’ve used whatever pots I’ve had on hand, Tim prefers symmetry. To humor him, this year I bought matching hanging baskets and got rid of the mismatched plastic pots I’ve been using.

I like mixing different colors and textures in my baskets, contrasting dark and light, large and small blooms. I’m pleased with how things came out this year. As a bonus, I used some stock, which smells wonderful.

Let the basket-making begin.

Let the basket-making begin.

Yes, that photo is blurry. Taking photos with an iPhone while wearing gardening gloves = less than ideal.

Pots on the front steps.

Pots on the front steps.

My new baskets.

My new baskets.

More stripy petunias.

More stripy petunias.

The front steps.

The front steps.

In the background here, you can also see the clematis I planted. I love the big, dark wine-colored flowers on these – I can’t wait until they climb higher up the trellises on either side of the porch.

Front and center.

Front and center.

Geeky revelation

Last night, I had a revelation brought on by an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

A tenured professor at the university died: Sheldon, Leonard, and Raj all apply for the position, sparking competition between them. At one point, Leonard tries to chat up a member of the rank and tenure committee while on a treadmill at the gym; the result is beyond awkward. I had to stop watching because I was so uncomfortable, even though it’s only TV. It’s a sitcom, everything will be fine in the end. Right? If only I could watch long enough to get there.

When I was little, I had the same reaction to the Paddington Bear books–poor Paddington doesn’t know the culture, so he gets into embarrassing situations. As a child, I found this tremendously upsetting. (My dad found my inability to cope with conflict upsetting, but that’s a different blog. “You wanted me to read this to you, now you want me to stop because you don’t like where the story is headed?”)

Anyway, in the past I thought my freak-out was based on sympathy for the characters involved. I feel bad for them. Last night I realized I’m actually freaking terrified that THAT’S ME.

I am Leonard Hofstadter digging myself a moat of social awkwardness and NO ONE IS STOPPING ME. Damn you people, letting me make an ass of myself. GAH.

I’m getting less awkward as I get older (or less concerned about my awkwardness, which probably amounts to the same thing), but last night was a reminder it’s clearly an ongoing concern.

If you see me being awkward in a way that has potential long-term repercussions, please promise that you’ll play Penny to my Leonard and bail me out. That’s all I ask. I’d do the same for you.

I guess I need to keep looking.

Once upon a time, I found an awesome perfume that smelled like a delicious Mai Tai. (Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers G, which also came in an awesome anime-character bottle. Yes, I’m a geek.) Naturally, because I loved it, the product was discontinued and I have been seeking a suitable alternative for ages now.

I had to run a zillion errands this morning: hit BJ’s Wholesale Club (because clearly, our two-person household needs toothpaste and spices in bulk). Indian grocery, because we should NEVER EVER EVER run out of frozen garlic naan. Pet store, so the cats don’t devour us in our sleep. Mall, to get pants I had ordered Tim online. and because I have a Sephora gift card burning a hole in my wallet.

While roaming Sephora and realizing that the 42 shades of red lipstick I had tested on my hand all matched one of the shades I already own, I realized it might be a good time to select a new fragrance. Almost everything was too fruity or baby-powder-stripper-scented or old lady for my taste. Except one. Sandalwood and something else a little spicy.

I put it on. Didn’t buy it, just put some on to see how it would break down over time. As soon as I rubbed my wrist on my neck, I started having second thoughts, but figured I’d wait and see what Tim had to say.

What Tim had to say: “You smell like BJ’s. And flowers, kind of…not quite old lady, but…”

Yeah. Because every woman wants to hear that she smells like BJ’s.

The perfume quest continues.