Thursday, May 27, 2010

This Is Not My Girl Detective, Or, A Review of "Nancy Drew"

Last night, I watched the 2007 movie, Nancy Drew.

I'd been looking forward to the latest incarnation of my beloved sleuth and was a bit excited to see that it was next in my Netflix queue. Sadly, my hopes for the movie being a well-done representation of Nancy in the modern world were dashed early on. But then, I was watching a Hollywood version of Nancy Drew, so perhaps my expectations were too high. And I can't help comparing the movie Nancy to the book Nancy. Nor am I a "young person of today".

Right off the bat, I was disappointed with the overall cartoonish, almost Scooby-Do-esque feel of the movie. This isn't as noticeable in the trailer, but when you watch the full movie, it becomes more obvious. In fact, several of Nancy's outfits have a more cartoon-like look, rather than appearing "old-fashioned" or vintage-style.

That being said, I do confess that I liked her painting smock - you can't see in this pic, but the pockets look like paint pallettes...

Another item I take issue with is Nancy being portrayed as a somewhat annoying anal-retentive goody two-shoes - not personality traits I usually associate with my favorite girl detective.
In my book (pun intended), Nancy is intelligent, compassionate, capable, trustworthy, fun-loving, a problem-solver, and humble... and instead of Nancy trying to be like other girls, as is mentioned in the trailer, other girls wanted to be like her. I think there was an attempt to present the characteristics of the "book Nancy," but somehow the effect is rather one-dimensional.

Perhaps my biggest question is: why make a Nancy Drew movie without her stalwart chums, Bess and George?? Sure, we see them briefly at the beginning... at least I think it's them. Is it them? Bess and George are as much a part of Nancy Drew as her blue eyes (also missing from the movie), her trusty flashlight, and her roadster (don't even get me started on the one in the movie).

One final nit-picky thing.... Hannah Gruen, the ever-faithful housekeeper, may have had a German-sounding name, but she never had an accent in the 1930s to 1970s books, nor was her nationality ever mentioned that I recall. I concede that Hannah was a crackerjack cook and baker, though ;)

I will say this - Nancy Drew wasn't a terrible movie, but neither was I particularly impressed with the portrayal of Nancy and her world.

Have any of you watched this movie? Did you like it? Why or why not? I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Amazing Giveaway from LisaFreemontStreet on Youtube!

In a blog post last fall, I mentioned that I enjoy LisaFreemontStreet's swell hair & makeup tutorials on Youtube. Well, not only are the tutorials terrific, but now Ashley's offering an amazing giveaway to celebrate reaching 11,000 subscribers on her Youtube channel! The prize package includes items from Besame Cosmetics, Sigma, Pin Up Girl Clothing, Belle Blossoms, Andewyn Designs, Dolly Bags and more. So head on over to LisaFreemontStreet on Youtube and enter if you're a subscriber! Or subscribe if you don't already, and then you can enter this fabulous giveaway from a lovely lady :)

And don't forget to visit the Lisa Freemont Pages blog!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Swell Sunny Swimsuits Make a Grey Day Go Away...

The weather here today is grey, damp, and a bit chilly, so I thought a sunny summer warm-weather post was in order!

I love vintage bathing suits... they seem so much more fun than those of today. Why, just look at this swell swimwear from 1952...

And how about these bathing beauties available on Etsy....

1950s Marina del Mar swimsuit from tiddlywink:

1960s Blue Bullet Fit & Flare Skirted Swimsuit from FastEddiesRetroRags:

1940s Schiaparelli Two-Piece Swimsuit from LittleThingsVintage:

1950s Miss Hawaii Kamehameha Swimsuit from BambooBettie

Or if you're looking for a bit more coverage.... 1920s Wool Swim Suit with Skirt from MyFavoriteVintage:
And one for the boys.... 1960s Sunken Ship Swim Trunks from RandomRetro:

Oh, and don't forget your bathing cap ;) How about this one from MintageStyle:

Gee, if the bathing cap I had when I was a teenager looked like that one, I might have liked wearing it a lot better!

So, do you actually swim in your vintage swimsuit or simply lounge about the pool looking pinup-tastic?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

She Made Red Velvet... Cake, that is...

This past Sunday, we celebrated Mother's Day with a nice dinner for my Mom and Grandma Jane.

The menu included ham loaf, scalloped potatoes (my first time making them!), broccoli salad and black cherry "Waldorf" Jello® salad (from vintage Joys of Jello® recipe book). My Grandma Jane usually made a gelatin salad of some sort for family dinners and she always made a couple individual dishes of plain Jello® for us fussy kids. I carried on the tradition by serving a bowl of plain gelatin too.

For dessert, I wanted to make something a little different, so I browsed my vintage cookbooks for inspiration. Then I learned that it's better not to browse desserts - they all sound too yummy and it becomes nearly impossible to decide ;) After much consideration, I finally narrowed the choices down to Orange Sunshine Cake (which I've made before) or Red Velvet Cake (which I had not made before)....

Red Velvet Cake was the winner!

And I think my Grandma Elverna (pictured here with my Dad many years ago) would have enjoyed it, since her favorite color was... Red! :)

The recipe I used came from a Pennsylvania State Grange Cookbook that was my Grandma Jane's, so it seemed particularly appropriate. For frosting, I used a basic butter cream frosting, tinted pink.

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 oz. red food coloring
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar

Cream until light the shortening, sugar, and eggs. Sift the flour, cocoa, and salt, three times. Add this alternately with the buttermilk, and the red food coloring. Beat well. Then add the baking soda and vinegar. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Now, in writing up my grocery list, I neglected to note the amount of red food coloring needed for the cake. So when gathering the ingredients to start baking, I realized I was short by 1 1/2 ounces. My dearest was a bit dubious that so much red was required, but a quick Google search of Red Velvet Cake recipes indicated that, indeed, 2 ounces was the usual amount. I won't repeat what my dearest said about the, er, results of ingesting that much red dye. Then, we were off to Marty's Market, the little grocery store in our tiny town, fervently hoping that we'd find food coloring there. Thankfully, Marty had ONE box of liquid food coloring!

One of the two red velvet layers and a big ol' mixing bowl of pink butter cream frosting.

Somehow I forgot to take a picture of the cake once it was frosted, and before it was served :( But I think it turned out well, since there was less than a quarter of the cake left...

Now, I want to make a Blue Velvet Cake... hmm, Father's Day is coming up, isn't it? ;)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I'm an Apron Goddess! I'm an Apron Goddess!

The Apron Goddesses

The lovely Julia over at The Apron Goddesses has posted an apron photo of Miss CherryBubbles (!), with a little fun commentary. If you haven't visited The Apron Goddesses blog before, head over there right now! You'll find great apron giveaways, delicious recipes, and, of course, Apron Goddesses ;)

Thanks bunches and bunches, Julia, for awarding me the title of Apron Goddess! I am honored and shall wear my apron with pride :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Grandma's Shopping List, May 1923

I'm not sure how it happened, but April slipped by without my doing a "Grandma's Shopping List" post!

So, without further ado, here's one for May...

As I look through my vintage magazines each month, I'm constantly amazed by how long some products
have been around. Oftentimes, the ads will indicate that the product has already been around for years before the date of the magazines in which they appear.

The advertisements for items in today's post are all from the May, 1923 issue of The Ladies Home Journal. In its early days, this magazine was a whopping 11 inches by 14 inches. Scanning full page ads took a great deal of hair-trigger adjustment, and even then I managed to lose a bit along the edges. I hope you'll enjoy this month's edition of "Grandma's Shopping List" despite my less than perfect scans :)

Wesson Oil - This ad includes a recipe for making mayonnaise using Wesson oil that sounds yummy. I wonder if Florence Henderson ever made mayonnaise with Wesson Oil...

Pyrex - My goodness, you can choose from 100 styles and sizes of Pyrex (at least in 1923 you could)...

Oreos and Fig Newtons - Did you know that they were made by the Uneeda Bakers at the National Biscuit Company (better known nowadays as Nabisco)?...

Kotex - In 1923, Kotex were made of Cellucotton, which was developed for bandage use during World War I. Incidentally, many other magazines in the 1920s wouldn't publish advertisements for sanitary napkins...