When I think about Old Hollywood film stars I think about their movies but also think about their lives. Where they happy? Did they love the work they did? Were they funny in real life? Today with social media there is so much you can learn about a person but back then we had interviews that often were not shared with the entire public. Interviews that have become hard to find even with the amazing tool that is Youtube.
Imagine a source where you can read interviews of your favorite Old Hollywood stars and really get insight into their personalities. The authors of Conversation with Classic Film Stars: Interviews from Hollywood's Golden Era, James Bawden and Ron Miller put together their treasure trove of years worth of interviews after they retired from their jobs as television columnists. Even better still, they took these interviews and transcribed them for us to read. I mean imagine reading about Glenn Ford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. about heir careers as dashing leading men in film from their very own mouths.
What Bawden and Miller did to make the experience of reading these special and unique interviews even more special was to share brief but in-depth backgrounds about each film star. They also set up before each interview the wheres and whens the interviews took place. So if you are a visual person like I am you will be able to envision where these interviews took place and picture the film star speaking the words that they speak because of all the meticulous details the authors have shared.
I love all the books I share on my blog and frankly I wouldn't share them with you if I didn't love them. But this book is something extra special. I think if you love Old Hollywood films and their stars as much as I do then you would find this book to be an extra special read. I really felt as if I were there in the interviewers seat looking and speaking with these unique and talented individuals that many are no longer with us today.
Spur of the Moment focuses on a character named Anne Marie Mitchell who we meet first in 1939 and then again 1964. Anne comes across as a rich, privileged girl who has every whim catered to by her parents. She has broken up with a sweetheart that her father didn't approve of and is engaged to a man that he does approve of. You can tell that Anne is torn between the two men and making her parents happy.
One day while Anne is out riding her horse she notices a woman in black riding a horse behind her screaming at her. It terrifies Anne because she doesn't know who that old and angry woman in is. Suddenly the screen makes these funny waves and we travel from 1939 to 1964. We meet Anne 25 years later and she is now in her 40's and is a raging alcoholic. But how did that innocent girl become the angry, bitter woman that she is now?
You find out through flashbacks that Anne ran away to marry the sweetheart that her family didn't approve of. She thought she was following her heart and marrying the love of her life but the truth is he gambled away all her fortune and they grew to despise each other. Anne blames her parents for her bad decision making skills and for her "spur of the moment" marriage to David which led her down a path of misery and regret. Later that day the older Anne goes for a ride and finds her younger self riding. She screams out her name hoping to warn her from making the mistake that she felt destroyed their lives.
When I first saw this episode I remember feeling shocked that the romantic getaway Anne makes with her "true love" ended up bringing her such deep unhappiness. I am now the age the older Anne is and when I see this episode now I can see how much naivety and innocence there was when she decides to run off with David. But I also see now how easy it is for us to blame everyone else for our mistakes and how we can fall into the trap of playing the blame game.
I think that if you watch this episode you might be reminded that we shouldn't live stuck in our past or live out our lives with regret. We should try and take full responsibility for our own choices and if we are unhappy we should make the changes we need to in the present in order for us to find happiness again.
Unfortunately for Anne she doesn't own up to her "spur of the moment" mistake or take responsibility for the life that she had made but instead lives out the rest of her days in deep regret chasing herself hoping that she could change her past.
People often ask me how did I figure out my style and why do I wear what I wear. The truth is it took me a while to figure out my current style. Keep in mind that style is like most things, it has its ebbs and flows. I started out by wearing true vintage from head to toe and I had a lot of fun with it. That is until I realized it really didn't suit my lifestyle, my budget, or my current state of mind.
These days I blend true vintage pieces with modern vintage inspired pieces and retro pieces for good measure. I mix it all up and I stick to two simple rules I have given myself: it has to be pleasing to my eyes and it has to be comfy. If the aesthetic of the colors or pieces don't make me feel good then I will not wear it. I also have a color palette that I stick to. My main colors are red, green, and blue. My secondary colors are white, black, grey, and occasionally yellow.
Having a color palette and sticking to my two rules allows me to to mix and match my pieces easily while always feeling both cute and comfy in what I am wearing. I cannot deny that wearing true vintage makes me feel amazing but I also have found it challenging to wear true vintage while out with my family. My children are young and active and I wanted to create a style for myself that felt true to my love of vintage all the while versatile enough so that I can join family activities without feeling like I was overdressed or going to destroy a vintage piece.
My last tip is to remember to have fun. If you aren't enjoying the process and it becomes too overwhelming then take a step back. Look through what you already have and play around with it some more.
My Tips on How I Created My Own Personal Style:
1- Understand that style will come in its ebbs and flows
2- Be open to change and to working with where you are in your
life at that given moment
3- Work with your budget and lifestyle, not against it
4-Try blending vintage pieces with modern pieces.
Play around with the various types of fashion out there.
5- Create a color palette for yourself. What are the colors that look best on you and
that you love. Choose three main colors and a few secondary colors.
6- Think cute and comfy. It should be pleasing to your eye all the while being
incredibly comfortable. If you aren't comfortable with what you are wearing then it will show.
7- Have fun with experimenting with fashion.
Outfit: Plaid Dress from Modcloth, Blue Cardigan from Gap, Beret from Forever 21,
One of my passions is sharing my love for Old Hollywood and Classic Film with others. There is no denying that movies can be a magical place to visit. I do my best to share my joy of film with my own children. We even have weekly movie nights where we introduce them to movies they have never seen before. My hope is that they will grow up to appreciate this form of art and style of storytelling and share it with others.
Film has a unique was of tapping into the story of our own humanity. Whether that is in watching Marilyn Monroe strut her stuff in The Seven Year Itch (1955) or watching Jack Lemmon fumble his way through Manhattan in The Out-of-Towners (1970). Films captivate us, move us, scare us, and make us think. And all the while still maintaining its magic.
When I came across the book Movies Are Magic I knew it would be the ideal read for my children. The book gives a basic introduction to the history of film making and shares some key points in Old Hollywood history as well. Every section has accompanying illustrations that are absolutely adorable. This book doesn't go into deep detail but it does give a look into the things that have made movies special. It introduces Charlie Chaplin and The Nicholas Brothers. It also touches base on how film progressed from moving pictures to color.
I think having access to a little book like this makes introducing classic film to children an easier process. You can find a copy HERE and follow the author Jennifer Churchill HERE.
Because we are all different we all will cope with challenges differently. Sometimes we can't ignore whats happening to us so at the end of the day its how we deal with difficulties that makes all the difference.
I get asked a lot how I manage with three young kids and a physical disability. I don't have grandparents whisking them away so that I can get a break, their dad works two jobs, and all my friends have their own busy lives. The reality of my day is that they are almost always with me. I don't mind and luckily we enjoy each others company but of course there are days where I feel like I can't cope and I'm about to explode with frustration and exhaustion.
So how to do I cope with the challenges in my life? I'm going to share what has worked for me.
Let go of the small stuff: I used to obsess with cleaning up and having everything perfectly in order when my first was born. I don't anymore. The house isn't a mess but its decently organized and that's okay.
Ask for help when you need it: I am not a stubborn person but I am prideful and asking for help isn't always an easy thing for me to do. I want to keep my ability to do as much for myself as I can until the day comes when I can't. I also don't want to be a burden but that has changed albeit slowly. I am learning to ask and to accept the help. It's a work in progress.
Take a deep breath: Actually I take a lot of them. When the pain becomes to much, I stop and I take a deep breath. When the kids aren't listening to me, I stop and take a deep breath. When my eyes are getting tired and I can't continue writing, reading, or finishing a movie (three of my favorite things to do), I stop and take a deep breath and try and sleep. Take deep breathes. Breath in and out slowly and think of nothing but that act. It helps.
Keep things organized: Even if you aren't an organized person, keeping things simple and in some functioning order will help. Purge the clutter, don't over book your calendar, stop trying to juggle everything. Keep your home, your routine, and everything in your environment as simple as you possibly can. This is alway an ongoing process for me. I am in the middle of spring cleaning currently and I still have a ways to go but when stuff is put in its place and things are as clean as can be it makes a lot of things easier. I am also an environment oriented person so an organized home makes a huge difference in how I feel and how I go about my day-to-day activities.
Just say NO: Don't try to please everyone. Try to please yourself first. Sounds selfish? Well, your sanity is key when dealing with daily challenges like health, finances, relationships, etc.
Pace yourself: I have a schedule in my notes section on my phone for every single day. I write every little thing I have to do, have to remember, and hope to do. If I don't get some things done that day I add it to other days. This way I pace myself and try to check off as much as possible and what I didn't do I just try to do another day.
Go day by day or hour by hour or minute by minute: Some days I am able to think about tomorrow and plan things in my head. Some days so much is coming at me, so much is on my mind, and my body is just completely drained so on those days I go hour by hour.
Be kind to yourself: Be proud of yourself for the little things you get done. Whether its the laundry or making a phone call or making it to a meeting on time. Be kind to yourself. Also treat yourself to things throughout the day. Your favorite coffee, a 20 minute break to watch a tv show, or a morning at the nail salon. Be kind to yourself.
We all have challenges coming at us in all directions every single day. Some days feel more bearable than others. My challenges challenge me every moment of the day but they are also a big part of who I am. My family, my disability, my lifestyle. I love my life and thats why I make a conscious choice to look at my difficulties as challenges and to face my challenges with as much kindness and patience as I can. How we deal with our challenges makes all the difference.
Spring is finally in the air and I decided to welcome in style with Cats Like Us. Cats Like Us is true a"mom and pop" type of shop that not only caters to those who love retro styled fashion but now offers a heap of true vintage pieces. Establish in 2009 in Upstate New York, Cats Like Us has been making vintage girls everywhere fell their best for years.
As a busy mom of three that also happens to be plus-size, finding vintage in my size can be a tricky. But I found with Cats Like Us not only do I get to shop for retro items but vintage items that run in my size! I cannot tell you how exciting that is. They carry sizes from XS to XXXXL which is a huge size range that is not often found in stores online or brick and mortar.
I have been dabbling into vintage clothing since I was a pre-teen (thanks grandma) and I can tell you that aside from having a wide range of sizes there is nothing better than having a all the information about the item up front and in detail. Cats Like Us not only does that for each piece they sell but if you happen to feel that you have more questions about an item Cats Like Us will answer them for you. Yes, you can actually communicate with them directly via email and they answer back. Talk about excellent customer service. One thing is for sure, when you are spending your money on an item you want to make sure you have answers to your questions before you make a purchase. Cats Like Us will not only respond to you in a timely manner but they are friendly, courteous, and kind.
This vintage dress happens to be one of the prettiest dress I have worn in a long time. I love vintage inspired clothing and retro fashion as well but vintage has always held my heart. The only reason I don't wear more vintage dresses is because of the challenge of finding the right measurements, style, and colors to fit my specific palette. I guess you can say I am picky but for good reason. When you acquire anything vintage you want to make sure it is something that you will love. And I love my dress from Cats Like Us.
With Cats Like Us not only will you find a great selection of retro inspired fashion but also a well catered selection of true vintage pieces. You will find the prices are friendly to your wallet, courteous customer service, and impeccable packaging. If you are looking for a place to find yourself something special to wear or just looking for a one-of-kind vintage piece, Cats Like Us is the place to be.
It has been a few years since we were able to go on a proper vacation as a family of five. And I feel really lucky to have been able to take a few days and travel to Philly recently. It may not have been super fancy or long but trust me with children you do not need either. We had a blast exploring this mighty little city and look forward to visiting again.
Taking some time away from your usual everyday schedule is a good thing. A very good thing. But let's be frank, traveling has become a luxury. Its down right expensive. I knew we would have to work real hard to make traveling as a family a real thing.
Before we made this trip I made a little list of the places here in the States and abroad that we would really want to go. Taking into account everyone's passions and hobbies and places we really want to see together as a family. Places like Florida did not make the list because we have been there a dozen times to visit family. Not saying we won't go again but we have been there too much and really want to go to places that each of us hasn't explored together yet.
Then I declared to my husband that even though the bills, debts, and tending to the family are still high priority, traveling has to make it on the list. Not only because time is fleeting and the children are growing leaps and bounds but also because the world is changing rapidly and some places might be more difficult to visit as the years pass by. I also took into account my disability and that it does progress as I age. But that is a subject I will delve into more detail with you all on another post.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania made it onto the list because the last time we went the kids were super little and there were so many things we didn't do because they were so little. This time around we trooped it on the Peter Pan bus and spent four days in the city of Brotherly Love. I learned a lot on this trip about traveling as a family.
It is possible to travel for under a grand with a family of five
Sandwich baggies for packaging are a must
Buying a case of water to leave in the hotel room was super helpful
Having a room with a fridge and microwave is very useful when traveling with kids
Have each child carry a book bag so they can carry their activities and snacks
Be open to change in the schedule especially when it comes to bad weather
Do have a plan for each day including places to eat
Know all the times things open and close
Encourage the kids to try new foods because McDonald's doesn't exist everywhere
Make sure you pick 1-2 activities or places to eat for each person in the group so that the trip is about all of us not just one person. For example, the kids got Franklin Institute while daddy got The U.S. Mint
Stay away from using your cards; cash and debit cards are a must that way you aren't putting yourself into more debt while you're having fun
On this trip we visited The U.S. Mint, The Franklyn Institute, The Philadelphia Art Museum, and South Street Vintage Shops. Best one by far was Retrospect. Our favorite places to explore foods was in the Reading Terminal Market which was founded in 1892. The kids had a taste of Bassett's Ice Cream and we also ate at McGillin's Olde Ale House which has been opened since 1860.
History, vintage, and good food made our trip memorable. Doing the things you love with the people you love most is what makes traveling such a special experience. Do you have a list of places you'd love to travel to?
Mary Pickford made $10,000 a week at the height of her career. Marilyn Monroe's old roommate was Shelly Winters. Katherine Hepburn "affair" with Spencer Tracy lasted 27 years. Joan Crawford had a face full of freckles. When she wasn't doing her Hollywood work she simply wore lipstick and a little powder so her freckles were visible during her downtime.
Second row from left to right:
Greta Garbo rarely gave interviews, avoided industry social functions, and never signed autographs or answered fan mail. Judy Garland had a close relationship with John F. Kennedy and before they would hang up the phone with each other she would often sing to him "Over the Rainbow". Vivien Leigh had a near-photographic memory. She knew all her lines after only one or two readings of a play. Grace Kelly had a naughty sense of humor and would enjoy lengthy banters with David Niven when he would visit the palace.
Sean Connery wore a wig in every single one of his Bond performances. John Wayne was bald since the 1940's. James Stewart never went anywhere without his old cowboy hat. He wore it in almost all of his westerns. Paul Newman was a known prankster.
Second row from left to right:
Marlon Brando was having an eight year affair with Katy Jurado at the same time that he was in relationships with Rita Moreno and Movita Castaneda. Tab Hunter's real name was Art Gelien. Fred Astaire was a perfectionist when it came to dance. Robert Mitchum could sing calypso and released his album in 1957.
Would it surprise you to know that a few of Hollywood's elite had children out of wedlock and in many cases hiding their true identities until they were grown adults? Perhaps this news isn't as shocking as it would have been seventy years ago but I must say I was slightly shocked by how some of these lifelong secrets were hidden.
Those women who kept a Love Child (a child conceived out of wedlock) were many times married to others. I feel like either way these women had to keep their secrets close to their chest. Imagine hiding the full identity of your beloved child from them for their whole life. Or spending you own life denying the truth, to yourself, to others, and to your child. I cannot imagine what they had to endure.
Here are some of their stories:
Geraldine Fitzgerald + Orson Welles = Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Geraldine Fitzgerald was a Hollywood actress who hailed from Ireland and starred in films such as; Wuthering Heights (1939) and Dark Victory (1939). For modern audiences she was in Poltergeist Part II, playing Carol Anne's grandmother who was also clairvoyant.
Fitzgerald was married to Sir Edward Lindsay-Hogg while Orson Welles was married to his first wife, Virginia Nicholson. They had a brief affair and whether or not their perspective spouses knew is
unknown. They did however move their families nearby one another and the product of their affair, a son named Michael Lindsay-Hogg grew along side Christopher Welles Feder (his half-sister).
If that sounds strange to you, well it is. Michael was never told that Welles was his father but his half sister claimed to always feel that he could be her brother. Eventually he did take a DNA test and it was confirmed that Welles was indeed his father. His mother, Fitzgerald never admitted this to him and she has since passed on. Michael is a British film and theater director and his sister Chris wrote an autobiography called, In My Father's Shadow.
Loretta Young + Clark Gable = Judy Lewis
Imagine being a child of a Hollywood starlet and everyone around you whispering and saying, "Doesn't she look so much like Clark Gable?" Little Judy Lewis grew up thinking she was adopted by Loretta Young when she was a year old. When she was fifteen years old, Gable came over to her mother's house. It was the first time she met her father and the only time Gable ever knew one of his children while he was still alive (his son, John Clark Gable was born four months after Gable passed on).
The story goes that Judy found out who her father was on her wedding day. She was the only one that didn't know. At the age of 31, Lewis confronted her mother who confirmed the truth. Young wrote an autobiography called Uncommon Knowledge. In 2000, it was finally published after Young's passing and also finally confirming the truth, that Lewis was indeed Gable's child. Lewis passed on in 2011 leaving behind a daughter, Maria and two grandsons.
June Nicholson + Eddie King? = Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson was born in April 1937 to a young showgirl named June Frances Nicholson. She married a showman named Donald Furcillo although he was already married. June's mother insisted on raising the child, Jack, so that June could focus on her dancing career. Sounds all sort of sweet and the thing most any grandparent would do for their grandchild...right? Well how about this for shocking. Jack Nicholson was raised thinking his grandparents were his parents and his mother was his sister! Say that ten times fast!
And how about Nicholson not finding out about this outstanding truth until 1974, when he was 36 years old! By the time he found out both his birth mother and grandmother has passed on. He does not know who his biological father is, Furcillo was a candidate but so was June's manager, Eddie King. Only June and her mother knew the truth and Nicholson has since chosen not to find out. Gee, talk about needing some therapy!
Enrica Soma + John Julius Norwich = Allegra Huston
This story has a tragic beginning but a truly enchanted ending. The famous film director John Huston was married to his fourth wife Enrica Sonoma from 1950 to 1969. Sometime in the early 1960's both husband and wife became estranged. In 1964, Allegra was born out of an affair her mother had with John Julius Norwich (Viscount of Norwich). When Enrica passed on tragically in 1969 in a car accident and John Huston immediately picked up the pieces and raised Allegra as his own child. I don't know many people who would raise another man's child, but he did.
Allegra Huston wrote about her two fathers and about her two sets of siblings as well as being both American and English in a wonderful autobiography called, Love Child: A Memoir of Family Lost and Found. Today, Allegra is a successful writer and has a family of her own. She looks back at everything she was put through with grace and wisdom.
What do you think about these love children? Can you imagine keeping up with such secrets for so many years?