Good Times and Classy Drinks wth Cultural Discussion at the Biltmore

I went to an afro punk meetup where we decided to celebrate the first day of Kwanzaa and we chose a location that had both cultural significance and a beautiful art deco look. The Biltmore was a luxury hotel that Black American's couldn't enter. How nice is it to enter those doors that our relatives from the past couldn't? It's a beautiful atmosphere so I soaked it all in noticing the details and art that seemed to fill up any spaces that normally would've been blank.

My sister came along but I don't like to post photos of people without permission, so sis, if you're reading (waves) let me know if you'd like your mugshot here on my blog! :)

I managed to get a snapshot (albeit is an angry looking one) of my face/hair/makeup. My camera is a bit special and my sis wasn't the best at figuring it out so you'll be presented with a horribly blurry photo of yours truly. It's art!

I loved that all the little things were different..the signage holders are so full of life..most hotels only really have dull, gold easels that hold your signage at hotels. This hotel lobby was so overwhelming, I hardly knew what to take a photo of..I got away with maybe 10 shots or so.. (didn't want to look like a tourist in my own town) and I think I did pretty well considering the crap camera I had.

The drinks were beautiful and really good. I had a 1920s Dream, a very girly drink of pineapple and orange juice with vodka I think.  There was also a drink called The Black Dahlia, named after Elizabeth Short who was last seen alive at the Gallery Bar (where we were) before she was murdered. Interesting facts and conversations and drinks.  The holiday lights added a nice warmness to the rooms. Hope you're enjoying the end of the year!

~The Retro Natural

Black American Women during WW2

Happy holidays everyone! I'm enjoying my days off so much, I have to make myself come online! 

One of the things I don't have many memories of is old photographs of Black Americans from the 30s, 40s 50s (outside of my own family album that is!). Back when I was a kid (oh my, I sound old!) we didn't have the internet and it was rare that Black kids saw photos of Black people in books and magazines...let alone from the Roaring 20s or the 30s - 50s. You'd have to spend some time in the library and that wasn't likely because you had to be there for homework projects - who wanted to stay after that was all said and done? So, as an adult, I like seeing searching for photos of Black Americans from time to time checking out what was goin' on way back when. I stumbled upon these photos and was amazed that such great photographs of Black women in the military were archived. I see men all time time but hardly any women. Nice job! 

These really made me smile. Hope they make you smile as well!


Photo Credit:

~The Retro Natural

Rolls Galore

Since many peopl celebrate many different traditions, I'll just say Happy Chrismahanukwanzika to all of ya. Whatever you may be celebrating today, more of that! :) I'm on vacation until January 3rd so I'm feeling as sluggish as ever..supremely sloth-like! I haven't been taking many photos but I forgot about a few i had from the last holiday.

I wore my hair in rolls for Thanksgiving, I pretty much combined my Gibson Roll with some pseudo victory rolls..natural victory rolls...maybe I should coin the term natra-rolls for rolls done on curly/kinky hair?I'll work on a tutorial, I feel psychic, I feel questions inquiring about one coming up very soooooon! haha!

~The Retro Natural

Holiday Time Festivities

I've been having a lot more fun this holiday season than I did last year. I figured I'd post a few snippets from my shenanigans. My hair's not really retro but sometimes it's less about the hair and more about the festivities! Warning: lights, glitter and fun ahead!

Went to a tree trimming hair caught on fire but all was well. Luckily I have tons of hair!  Stay away from votive candles gals! Great party Natasha! :)

 A better view of my crochet holiday fascinator. 

I went to a holiday party and this was my white elephant gift ( I swapped for this one, they're so sparkly!) that I went home with. They're glittery earrings made from a cd!  I'll show a better shot of my fascinator down below.
 A very retro musical Rudolph, his nose even lights up! 

 Somewhat close up shot of my friend's X-mas tree, one of the most unique ones I've seen!

 Retro ornaments are the best!

 I danced and did karaoke at the end of the night...what can I say, my glass of wine overfloweth! Oh and this is a different crochet fascinator, it's mistletoe! I thought it'd go great with the crochet sweater/skirt combo. Again, awesome party Ang 'n Kat!

 Hope you're enjoying your holiday festivities thus far! I'm sure I'll be sharing more snapshots!

~The Retro Natural

Burlesque Snapshots

I don't have any photos from the show yet but here are a few that I've put into a little collage for the time being. I didn't get good video of the drag routine but there will be photos!

I'll be back with more soon!

~The Retro Natural

Hand Colored Photos

Hello Lovies!

I'll have a few photo snapshots from the oh-so-fun drag and burlesque performances I did for BENT soon (and I may post a snippet from my numbers as well!) but one thing is for sure, I absolutely love performing burlesque and I'm totally going back for more ;) the mean time, who knew that coloring photos by hand was a trend back in the old days? I thought it was a special developing sort of thing. Either way, I love it ...perhaps even more since it's DIY!

Check out this post over at 16 Stone Vintage on hand colored photographs


~The Retro Natural

Link Love: Vintage Black Glamour!

Love this tumblr I recently found, Vintage Black Glamour. Visit and peak at all the loveliness that's taking place!

Fajr of Stylish Thought has a lovely post on ...

Retro Natural won a Contest!

A little while ago, I was delightfully pleased to find that I won a pair of Pretty Polly stockings from Peek Brooklyn. Seamed stockings at that! Woo hoo! Look ma' - no hands!

Thank you to Desiree of Pop-O-Matic Deluxe for offering the contest, I didn't think I'd actually win, but I've got a new pair of stockings that I cannot wait to wear! If you're not familiar with Desiree's blog, you should definitely take a gander. She finds the coolest vintage decor items and she's got some vintage clothing I'd steal if I were a thief - good thing mom taught me better than that! ;)

Getting my mail!

The grand opening, love their packaging!

Ahhhh, pretttttty! The seams stayed in place pretty well for someone putting on seamed stockings for the first time!

Peek Brooklyn has really cool brands and styles, so do drop by and take a peek, pun absolutely intended! I'm loving these Pretty Polly's, they seem sturdy and though very sheer and 10 denier (what's that? read on below!) I didn't feel like I had to be super delicate with them.  Plus the sheerness is quite sassy and the Cuban style heel is oh so cute! Thanks Desiree for offering the contest! I will wear these babies with as many outfits as humanly possible!

Now, education time! 

Do you know about denier as it pertains to stockings? It sounds like duh-neer - at least that's how the online dictionary pronounced it for me. ;)

Here's a little breakdown so you know what to look for when stocking shopping.
  • Ultra-Sheer (less than 10 denier): these stockings will offer you the appearance of bare legs but you'll get the bonus of a little coverage. Be very careful when putting on ultra-sheer stockings, as they are delicate.

  • Sheer (10-20 denier): these stockings are stronger than the ultra-sheer and great for both everyday and evening wear.

  • Semi-opaque (25-35 denier): these will be even stronger than the sheer and will last longer, while still looking quite elegant.

  • Opaque (40 denier plus): these durable and long-lasting stockings are practical for everyday wear and offer added warmth in winter.

Alright, now have fun stocking shopping!  

~The Retro Natural

Natural Bloom November Edition

I spazzed out and forgot that the November edition of Natural Bloom came out.  I think this is due to the fact that somehow I'm not subscribed, what the hell?  I could've sworn I was..however, all that'd fixed now and here's the digital edition for your viewing pleasure. Check out the Fall (and Winter too, I suppose!) vintage hair tutorial by me! If you're a new subscriber and you'd like to check out past issues, click this lovely link here. As always I thank Jc for allowing me to be included in such a cool e-mag! :)

BENT - Holidays are a Drag!

Hello lovies!

Happy to announce that I'll be performing for my second time at BENT 9 - Holidays are a Drag, a gender bender showcase where women perform as men, men perform as women and as well women perform as women and men perform as men...Yes, a bit confusing but that's the point ;)  I'll be performing once again as Marlon Brandingo (I love that name!) and making my burlesque debut as Chi Chi Chambray! I'm really excited to do both but more excited for the burlesque because I've always wanted to perform burlesque. Ah, dream come true!

Check the deeeetails below and join me if you're in the area!  It's a lot of fun and the crowd is great.

The Classic Red Lip

Mia wanted me to do a tutorial so this is for you Miss Mia! :) Here's a quick pictorial on how I get my red lip. It's pretty simple, I'm not big on too many steps, I get bored somewhat quickly and start skipping so rather than do 9 steps and then skip 2 or 3, I just have a few steps, moisturize, line, fill in.

Start with moisturizing those lips! I find that when I apply lip liner to bare lips, it doesn't apply as smoothly and my lips are - duh!- super dry.  I'm using Alba Botanica's lip balm - tastes like passion fruit!

Then grab your lip liner. I use Arbonne's lip liner in Cherry.

 I do this half smile when applying the liner so it goes on smoothly. Lips should be taught but not too taught. Don't do a half smile anywhere else though, people will know it's fake!

I fill in my lips because my lipstick seems to last longer. Some people only line the outer what works for ya!

Then I used my raggedy lip brush (not pictured because it's so raggedy) and apply a layer of lip color. My lipstick is Urban Decay's Revolution. I like Arbonne's Bravo a bit better though.   I've been using Urban Decay's lipstick for the last few months and while I like the color a lot, it's a bit too shiny for me. I apply a thin layer so it doesn't shine too much.  I prefer Arbonne's Bravo but it's brighter and usually better suited for Summer or Spring.

That's it! Simple eh?

I usually apply lipstick twice, once in the morning and after I've eaten lunch because most of it comes off and I'm not the least bit concerned with makeup when it's chow time!  Sometimes I'll want to have a fresh set of lips after work especially if I have somewhere to go show them off. Do you have any tips for the red lipstick wearers out there? I'm sure they'll be greatly appreciated!

~The Retro Natural

Wall Art - Elephant in the City

I was at a sporty event a while back and had to get a photo of this lovely wall art. I dig wall art... I mean, would you have the patience to do this? It's awe inspiring! Don't mind my giddiness lol..I was trying to stay on the curb for the photo but it wasn't working out so well. Kinda tiffed that we didn't get the whole elephant but that's ok!

~The Retro Natural

Thanksgiving Snapshots

So here are a few snapshots from Thanksgiving, I didn't do that much over the weekend but it was really mellow and really fun!

- I decided to try pseudo victory rolls..they're really not but tomato/tomahto ;)

- I played with Snuffles, my mom's dog who's often referred to as my brother, my mom is so in love with this doggie, it's adorable! I didn't want him flashing the masses so I pasted on a ..doggie pasty(?) to make it a bit more appropriate. He wore a t shirt but no pants. Oh for shame, mom!

- My baby sister made vegan lasagna for me and the mrs. It was ah-mazing!

- Me and the mrs. went to an old school arcade, complete with a vintage carousel! It's officially going to be a monthly thing, did I tell you, I'm a big kid? I wasn't in retro attire and my hair was such a bird's nest but sometimes, on certain lazy, weekend days, you just don't care and that's perfectly alright!

Hope you enjoyed! 
~The Retro Natural

Thanksgiving Festivities

I trust that everyone is in the spirit of gratitude and thanks and I hope you're enjoying the long weekend (well for those of you who have a long weekend) and eating tons of yummy food. My Thanksgiving was pretty simple but very fun and I couldn't have enjoyed myself more. I'll share a few photos in the next post but in the mean time, keep calm and carry on with the festivities! :)

~The Retro Natural

The Weekend - Chilly, Mellow Days

I'm normally missing in action over the weekend..resting it up and trying to have a bit of fun. But I thought I'd start a series on weekend snapshots to share. These will just be a little photo re-cap of various activities (or lack thereof like in this first series from the weekend before Thanksgiving weekend! Plus I forgot to bring the camera with me so no Thanksgiving shots just yet!)

 Ate a whole pomegranate in one sitting.  It was amazing!

Used my new tea crochet doily so I don't make anymore water stains on the wooden tables.

It rained for a little while so I kinda sat around, lazily I might add. Felt great!

Cozy, fuzzy socks and house slippers all day - don't judge me - we have tile flooring, it's freezing!

~The Retro Natural

Great Upcoming Sale at Ester Woo Vintage!

Oh lovies :) hope you take advantage! I spy with my little eye many pretty things from Ester Woo Vintage.

Visit Ester Woo Vintage and have fun!

~The Retro Natural

My Winter Crochet Project

This is what I wanna make for Winter. Super cool right? Tutorial is here for anyone who wants to try it out with me.   Hopefully, I'll be able to get started on it within a week. I hate when I mark something cool to try and then never get to it!

Getting Crafty

So whilst on my vacay, I got my arts & crafts on and felt thoroughly accomplished after measuring and sewing and folding and gluing. These are the fun things I came up with when I wasn't sniffling like a sick puppy.

Bows galore! There are great tutorials out there for bow making. Wanna make the black dropped tail bow? click here!  Wanna make the double layer olive green bow? Watch this video and make one smaller to stack on the larger one.

Bows and compacts and my still unfinished bathroom door.

The red and black bow was a DIY project from left over ribbon.  I'm going to enjoy wearing these. Next project I'd like to get into will be 30s style crochet cloches..I've tried before and it didn't quite work out. With a bit of dedication, I'm sure I can make it - eventually.

I was inspired by a post from DC Metro Retro's blog (scroll down until you see her adorable bobby pin tin - I made one of those too!) and made a few Dorothy Dandridge revamped compact mirrors. All you need are photos printed on paper, glue and clear nail polish! It's pretty simple!

Have you been crafting lately? What have you made?

~The Retro Natural

The Vacay and Ponderings

So I'm back from a little vacation time, 5 days worth...though I'm hesitant to use the word vacation because it didn't truly feel like it..I got sick on Thursday evening (my first day off) and fought off the sniffles by Saturday. Way to go immune system! I did get to piddle paddle around with arts and crafts so that resulted in more bows for my hair and decorated compacts with my favorite vintage, Black American bombshells on them..hello Ms. Dandridge!  Sunday was pretty mellow and Monday was a day of getting a tired repaired, another one replaced, and various oil leaks fixed at the mechanics.

I was going to post this graphic to let you all know I'd be away but I didn't get quite get there.

(Didn't get to go hiking, nor make any hats or try new styles, hmph lol)

I officially started back at work Tuesday and now it's back to the same schedule. I'm noticing on other blogs that people take little hiatuses and some even shut down their blog due to losing the desire to write, being busy with work/school/life, and other things that take up more time. I've been thinking about this moreso in relation to my YouTube channel. (note: I haven't posted a video in months!) It was easier for me to shoot, edit and post videos when I only drove a total daily distance of 6 miles but now that my daily commute is 46 miles...I don't have time nor do I want to work on anything that has to do with a pc after being on one all day and then driving an hour to get home. I also don't have my home pc set up because I can't find a certain cord and the laptop isn't very reliable with its shutting down of software at any given moment.  I've tried to make time here and there but it's really not working and I'm okay with that. I'm sure the subscribers probably aren't but this here life is about that trumps everything else but you knew that, right? ;) So I'm not going to stress about not focusing on my channel, I'll do videos sporadically and that will be that.

What am I really trying to say here? I'm tired but I enjoy posting blog entires/videos but I'm tired - make sense? I'm sure you've been there too.  I'm not sure exactly what the future holds as far as sustaining a channel, a blog, whatever other accounts I may have but I do know there are too many avenues that seem to grab at you on the internet. So many forums, social sites, blogs,  etc...I'd post more if I had more time but posting photos in a blog and a few lines is the easiest for me so I'm gonna stick to that until I get more time on my hands or I lose interest.  Re-reading this post...reminds me of burnout a bit..oh no, we can't have that. I think I initially try to do it all and I've decided I don't want to anymore and that's perfectly okay. A wise person once told me, "You don't have to be the best, you can simply be good enough." I think I'll put that on a coffee mug. Here's to squashing any burn our you may be suffering from. :)

~The Retro Natural

My Vampire Teeth

I didn't dress up, just hung out at a friends place but I thought these were fun :)

...can't eat with them but that's alright!

~The Retro Natural

40s Retro Updo!

I stumbled on this super darling tutorial by Angelique (ThePinupNoire-YouTubers, be sure to subscribe!) and had to share it. I never saw a hair rat with a metal rod in the center before (which helps keep your faux bang in place!) but I decided to take the metal rod out of one of the flexi rod rollers I have and put it in my homemade hair rat. It works quite well!

Enjoy the video and a warm thank you to Angelique for posting this, the more tutorials for the curly, retro lovers, the better!

This is one of the easiest retro styles to do and you don't have to set your hair. You can start with a twist out :)

~The Retro Natural

Featured on Stylish Thought!

Shame on be for being late in posting this but Fajr of Stylish Thought featured me on her lovely blog and I'm completely smitten and honored to have appeared on such a fab site! I did a little diddy (er, pictorial, I just wanted to use the word "diddy" - no reference to Mr. Sean Combs) :)

Check out my Coretta Scott King inspired hair 'do by clicking on Coretta below ;)

Thank you to Fajr for featuring me!  :)

p.s. Happy (belated) Halloween! Though I didn't do anything for Halloween, I did take a quick snack shot of my fangs, I'll show ya next post real soon! Promise! :D

~The Retro Natural

Swallow Birds Inspiration

I watched Aimee and Jaguar (an old film about a Jewish woman who falls in love with a German woman in 1940s Berlin - it's really a good film!) maybe a month  or so ago and I had to capture a shot of an adorable vintage look that I'd like to recreate. The swallow bird designs that you see in tattoo shops and on sweaters have that classic look with a burst of color. If you want something more simple and demure, black and white is the way to go. I found the patches below from Ebay and now I just have to find the right cardigan or sweater to iron them on.

I'll let ya know how it turns out! I still have other patches I need to put on...something. Maybe the pockets of some high waist jeans or some more cardigans like I did with my pink flamingo! I've got peppermints, a milkshake, cherries, more cherries.. I've got some serious crafting to do!

~The Retro Natural