Showing posts from 2013

Outside My Window


Taking It (Almost) All In

That's my my vintage aluminum tree with the color wheel (it's loud!) and holiday music in the background. It took me years to collect every one of those ornaments and the tree was an estate sale score a few years ago. I enjoy sitting, looking at the tree and listening to holiday music. I've learned to make sure I don't let the season pass by without taking it (visuals and spirit of the season) all in. Also in the past I often reached for sugar and junk instead of slowing down and resting when I needed it.
Are you making time to take in the season? How about time to relax and replenish?

Happy Vintage Holidays!

My house in 1959. Photo provided by the original owners.
I love this time of year and have been collecting vintage Christmas decorations for  over a decade. I hope you enjoy them!

Merry Christmas!

How I Met The Original Owners Of My Maine Time Capsule House

I had always dreamed of living in a mid-century ranch house like my grandmother’s. I spent many happy days as a toddler eating while seated at her chrome dinette set, admiring the figurines in her curio cabinet, watching “I Love Lucy” on her large TV with rabbit ears and looking out of her large multi-pane window onto the tree lined suburban street of Fort Lee, New Jersey in the late 1960’s.
I bought my dream home after years of looking. As soon as I walked inside it I knew right away it would be mine. There had only been a few updates since it was built in 1952, most of them done in the 60s. Thankfully no one tried to make it look like a cosmetically covered up mid century gem with new granite, stainless appliances and soulless muted colors in the kitchen.

While looking outside the living room window that was just like my grandmother's I wondered about who had lived there before the lady from whom we would purchase the house. She had been there fifteen years, but what ab…

My Zeitgeist Music Machines

When I listen to music in my house it's usually not of the MP3 variety. Other than select artists, my taste in music is not contemporary. Sometimes I choose music for where it brings me, or from where it takes me.  It's like time and soul travel.
I own an Edison "Diamond Disc" that came with a cabinet of 78 rpm records. The instant you crank one of these it's easy to feel like you're in the set of a very old silent film. You're powering it all! You're suddenly grooving scratchy and LOUD off the grid to old timey music.

I love this photo I found in an antique album I purchased at an estate sale. This happy looking lady is listening to her Edison Gem ghetto blaster. Was it some kind of block party, maybe? Here's a snippet of mine:

I own two other turntables: One is unsexy new and the other is a very swanky 60s portable model in a leather case ideal for listening to Sinatra. I actually got this beauty at a yard sale in the free pile!

But I don'…

American Girls Entered Puberty Later in the 1950s

1950s Puberty PSA
If you've been reading my blog for a while or you've read my book, you're familiar with the focus on obesity today being about "real" and "normal" women versus "unhealthy" which is disputed by "Health at Every Size" and similar movements. Yet how can anyone deny the impact of obesity on girl's and women's health when Early Puberty in Girls Linked to Obesity...Again?
In the 1950s girls entered puberty around ages 12-13 according to the PSA above. (Also notice that the narrator refers to some of the children as "fat.") Today? The authors of the new study followed over 1,200 girls, starting at age 6 to 8, in three metropolitan areas: the San Francisco Bay Area, Greater Cincinnati, and New York City. They monitored breast development over the next 7 years. The median age of breast development was 8.8 for African-American girls, 9.3 for Hispanic girls, 9.7 for Caucasian girls, and 9.7 for Asian gir…

Marilyn Monroe: How I Stay In Shape, Pageant Magazine, 1952

You're in for a treat! I own a copy of the September 1952 Pageant Magazine with the pictorial spread on Marilyn Monroe's article "How I Stay in Shape." It has been circulated on the web before but the site that hosted the original scans appears to have gone offline. Since then numerous blogs and articles have lifted those scans (you can tell because they all have the same dog ear creases and markings.) I have scanned the article in much larger file sizes

Pageant Magazine was a bawdy read at the time and primarily designed for men. It was also very cheeky with "articles" like this one about those kooky women drivers. And now, here is the entire Marilyn Monroe "How I Stay in Shape" article!

How Chicago Has Rocked My World

My favorite era for music is the 60s and 70s, and one of the bands I've loved since I was born in 1967 is Chicago. I recall hearing their music often as a small kid, and as my mother verified, she played their albums over and over. My father has seen them live five times. But the connection for me has always been the beautiful melodies, incredible instrumentals, brilliant song writing and sexy, heartfelt vocals.

One of the things I dislike about "today" is that "sexy" is often used to define twerking performers, vulgar lyrics, objectifying women and soulless bragging about conquests; listening to it makes me feel as sexy as being "romanced" by an inexperienced grabby grabby Axe cologne-wearing buffoon.
A couple of weeks ago Chicago posted the Onion article: The Most Visited Site on the Internet to their Facebook page. Comments like these ensured: know this is an article from The Onion, right? Parody & satire.

Happy Homemade Halloween!

There's an article in my local paper about this charming 100 year lady who spent 50 years dressing as "Eldora the witch" to frighten neighborhood children on Halloween, all in fun. What stood out was how much of Halloween was once about making things and getting out to walk as opposed to driving to the store to buy a costume and candy and then getting driven around door-to-door, suburban style:
Roberts doesn’t practice witchcraft, but she can cast a spell of sorts by transporting listeners into the past with accounts of her childhood. The youngest of eight children, she remembers trick-or-treating with a group of children, walking by themselves in the moonlight on a country road in Winslow, covering five miles over the course of the night.

They dressed as ghosts and fairies, in homemade costumes, carrying baskets they made themselves and decorated in bright paper, asking for candy, much of which came in the form of homemade fudge, toffee, chocolateand molasses.

Vintage Recipe Card: Hazel's Date Crumbles

You'll notice as we go along that many of the recipes handwritten by grandmas are often open to interpretation and leave out certain things like oven temperatures or an idea of how long it should bake. I think this was often done on purpose since, after all, many of these were treasured secrets at one time!
Coming up next week: Marilyn Monroe!

My Book is an Amazon Diet Book Best Seller!

As of right now, it changes hourly, my book is among the Amazon Kindle Top 100 Best-Selling Weight Loss Diet books! Very grateful!

School Weight Screenings and "Fat Letters" Aren't New

20 states have implemented mandatory BMI calculations as part of their health screenings to help combat the childhood obesity epidemic. If the student is discovered to be overweight a "fat letter" is sent home.
Sounds reasonable, right? No. It's outrageous, according to some experts: Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association, says she's "totally opposed to BMI report cards." She says they can lead to discrimination and bullying and can actually encourage unhealthy eating behaviors in children who are labeled too heavy. "Our entire premise here at the National Eating Disorders Association is that we should be focused on health, not weight."  Weight is connected to health. If you are overweight or underweight it's not healthy. An eating disorder specialist such as Ms. Grefe knows that anorexia isn't healthy-- so it's very disingenuous to speak of focusing on health while ignoring weight.
Here's a …

Don't "Pak" on the Pounds

My grocery store seems to be placing more and more junk food displays in places normally empty, obviously to increase impulse buys. But what really struck me is the concept of "Go Paks." I guess they think these are perfect for when you are on the go. Just grab and go to....where? The couch? Desk? Car? The office? Sometimes we get so busy multitasking and hustling about that it seems like we're very active when in fact we've been mostly seated. Also, notice that they are "mini" and "bits." Are we too lazy and harried to even chew now?!
Looking at the 50s for the concept of "on the go," I came across this 1950s commercial for "Pep" cereal that promised it would give teens the energy they needed until lunch.

"On the go" once meant action! It meant delving into your day with energy not distracted by snacking on ready-made highly processed snacks. We went from "on the go" meaning motion to constant munching th…

Dumbed Down, Weight Up?

"The Mental Strain of Making Due With Less." Sounds like something about hard times, right? Maybe something about how the inability to pay your bills adds stress to your life? Or maybe it's an article about how people from the Depression Era suffered from the "make due and mend" rule. It's an article in the New York Times that informs us that watching what you eat and counting calories makes you dumber due to the brain strain:
"Many diets also require constant calculations to determine calorie counts. All this clogs up the brain. Psychologists measure the impact of this clogging on various tasks: logical and spatial reasoning, self-control, problem solving, and absorption and retention of new information. Together these tasks measure “bandwidth,” the resource that underlies all higher-order mental activity. Inevitably, dieters do worse than nondieters on all these tasks; they have less bandwidth."
Oh, please! "Constant calcula…

1950s vs Today: Coffee

I attended a Chamber of Commerce networking event in my town the other day and someone mentioned that Starbucks is coming. I've never been a fan, mostly since I think their coffee is over-roasted and over-rated. I first drank it in Seattle in 1990 and that was the last time! Also, "Percs give me perks" has something to do with it.So my first reaction was: "Oh no!" Then I realized my faux pas and added: "But yay, new business in town!" Anyway, this isn't a business blog so without delay, here is another 1950s vs Today themed post!
The first image in this ad from Pan American Coffee Bureauis of morning coffee made at home, enjoyed with someone, presumably a spouse, served in ceramics at the table and consumed black. Today most people drink their morning coffee without company present in a cup that's either disposable or plastic, has lots of cream, liquid or whipped, sugar and artificial flavoring. The former costs a fraction of the latter latte…