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