Author Archive: geek-betty

Hair Flop!

Yesterday’s post was a call to action for all women to embrace and love vintage!  I mentioned that I am quite the slob about my hair.  I’m madly in love with women with perfectly coiffed hair.  It makes me ever so slightly jealous.  However, I know myself well enough to know that I’m never going to achieve hair greatness.

First of all, I’m lazy.  There! I said it.  It’s true – I really am.  I have a good strong work ethic and I’m incredibly driven when I’m interested in a project, but when it comes to personal appearance?  Capital L, lazy.  I only wash my hair once a week and I brush it about the same amount.  I’ve read reviews of women that also only wash their hair every 6-10 days.  Their hair is healthier, shinier, and thicker because of it.  I’ve got a big ole mass of hair on my head (even after losing quite a bit of it during treatment this summer).  These other women, however, are using dry shampoo and styling it in different ways and curling, blowdrying, hairspraying it.  Uh…..gosh, that sounds like a lot of work!  Me?  It’s in a ponytail, a bun, or a braid nearly every day with my bangs pinned up with bobby pins.  Bobby pins are a lazy girl’s bff!

Take this look, for instance, where I was dressed WAY up, in a civil war ballgown for a dance.  Looks like I fixed my hair and it looks elegant, sort of, right?

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Nahhhh, not really.  My boyfriend, bemusedly watching my prep process, commented that there were hairs sticking up everywhere in the back and it was lopsided etc.  Basically, I took my hair into a ponytail, rolled and tucked it all up and stuck about 300 bobby pins into that mess.  That’s why there are no pictures of it from behind.

One of the features I’d like to start on this blog, in keeping with the average everyday woman’s take on things is an “I tried it so that you didn’t have to”  type of post.  Let’s get the ball rolling with a look at the time I tried to fix my hair in a 50’s style scarf updo.

I LOVE scarves.  I like the big fluffy ones that you wrap around your neck in winter.  I like the floaty chiffon ones for cute little neck bows.  I love all scarves and I have a ridiculously large collection of them that will be added to my shop when it goes live next week.  When I had super short hair, I wore a head scarf daily.  So, I thought, “a scarf hairstyle will be easy for me, right?”…..riiiiiiiight.

There are dozens of great youtube and pinterest tutorials out there that can teach you how to achieve these darling hairstyles.  I found a youtube tutorial and gave it a go.  Well, sort of.  I am TERRIBLE at following directions.  This is me while watching a tutorial:  you want me to TEASE my hair? Nah, I don’t need to do that.  Skipping this part.  Oh, I don’t have whatever tool that is.  Fast forward. Fast forward.  What on earth is she doing?  Skip, Skip.  Wait, what did I miss?

This is me with any instructions or directions. When I learned how to knit, I found a fantastic book called Stitch ‘n’ Bitch that I highly recommend to anyone that is wanting to learn to knit.  I used it for the basic stitches.  When it came to following patterns?  I was hopeless.  I can’t tell if it’s because I’ve spent so many years resisting authority figures or if I’m really just that stubborn or if I can’t pay attention long enough to follow directions.  I think it’s a combination of the three.  My trademark reply to commands?  “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO”.  Oy vay.  It’s a little embarrassing now that I’m older but it is still my immediate response.

So, needless to say, a tutorial was useless to me.  Even after three watches and no less than a dozen different attempts at fixing my hair, my updo looked nothing like the elegant retro style featured on the tutorial.  I ended up with a ponytail.

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So, there you have it.  If you can follow directions better than I can, I suggest checking out this pinterest tutorial.  I also have tons of great 1940’s hairstyles on my Pinterest.  Or you can just be lazy like me and throw  your hair in a sloppy ponytail and wrap a scarf around it.

Rock that vintage, girl!

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I’ve had numerous people remark on my style throughout the years, often expressing admiration or an inability to “wear vintage”  Often women make comments such as,  “I can’t put outfits together” or “I don’t look retro enough to wear vintage”.

Vintage is for EVERYONE.  It truly is.  Perhaps you look at some of the beautiful women that dress in pinup style with perfectly coiffed retro-styled hair and shoes, makeup, and accessories straight from another era, and you’re intimidated by the effort that goes into it or by how well put together they are.  I LOVE that style and I admire women that can pull it off…. but it’s not for everyone.  Me? I’m hopeless at hair.  Any attempt I’ve ever made at a retro hairstyle has been a hilarious flop.  I couldn’t be a pinup if i had an team working on me every day.  I’m too lazy and impatient for all of that.  I still love vintage clothing and I wear it nearly every day!

The key to wearing and loving vintage?  Don’t change your style to do so!  Make the vintage work for you!  You can update any vintage item to work with your existing wardrobe.  The most important thing to remember is to be comfortable and to only wear it if you love it!

Personally, my favorite go-to wardrobe item is a 50’s style day dress. I know that the cut fits my figure well. I can throw on a cardigan and a plain pair of flats and viola! my lazy ass doesn’t have to put any effort into matching or putting together an outfit.

Today’s outfit illustrates how you can update vintage items fairly easily and without the outfit looking old or outdated. The skirt I’m wearing is a 90’s skirt (we sure loved our floral prints in the 90’s) that I’ve had for years and years. Because I love mixing patterns, I’m wearing a striped top with it but really any plain top would work. I think this outfit looks fairly modern and you can’t really tell that I’m wearing a skirt that I bought at a thrift shop for $3 nearly 15 years ago!

Don’t be intimidated by vintage. I believe that there’s a vintage style that will look great on anyone – you just have to find your style. Don’t be afraid to mix vintage and modern. Don’t be scared of prints. And for heavens sake, don’t be discouraged because you don’t look like someone you saw in a magazine! HAVE FUN!!

Promote Your Small Business!

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Are you a small business owner or artist located in Southern Illinois or Southeast Missouri?  Would you like to promote your business or wares in a cheap and fun way?  We would love to hear from you!

GeekBetty Vintage is seeking locations and models for photoshoots.  All photoshoots will utilize items that will be sold through GeekBetty Vintage Shop.  Photographs resulting form any photoshoots will be used to advertise local businesses, events, or products.  This is a fun and free way to get exposure for yourself or your business!

If you are interested, please contact Betty via email at geekbettyvintage@gmail.com.

Making Stuff and Things with Geek-Betty

I, like pretty much everyone else on the Internet, LOVEEEEE those carefully put together blogs that show a person’s life in perfect HD clarity, never a hair out of place, always neat, happy, and expensively curated.  I’m not kidding.  I do love those blogs.

Let’s be honest, how realistic is it?  I don’t know about you, but my life is nowhere near as picture perfect as all that.  And yet, I still make great food, craft my little heart out, read great books, and sometimes throw together a good looking outfit.  I’d say I fall in with 80% of women out there when I say that my life is messy, amiright?!

Okay, maybe I’m not your average garden variety mom.  Who is??  What is average in this day and age?  Sure, I have tattoos but apparently one in five people have tattoos now.  And yes, I’m a divorced single mama.  Let’s not go into the stats on that *cough*.  We’re a new generation of shakers, bakers, and homemakers, and we’re pretty damned rad if I do say so myself.

I’m here to tell you how it really is.  I’ll try things so you don’t have to.  I too am underfunded (hell, really broke at times), out of time, too impatient, just plain bad at following instructions, and I think it’s easier to cook with a beer in hand.  Don’t be scared, this will be fun!!

Let’s get shit done together!

Daily Gratitude

Often, during the month of November, people embark on a month long journey toward gratitude.  There are blog and instagram and daily facebook “today I’m grateful for” posts.  What a wonderful way to celebrate life, right?

While I’m all on board for capturing the spirit of gratitude prior to Thanksgiving, what about real and true daily gratitude?  How often do we remember to pause in the hustle and bustle of daily life to take a deep breath and really appreciate what we have?  I feel like I’m a person that remembers to be grateful for the life that I’m allowed to live – but I don’t remember to appreciate it every day.

I’ve long struggled with bouts of depression in which I forget to be grateful for anything.  My boyfriend told me that he overcame a period of depression in his own life when he started keeping a “grateful things” list.  I scoffed a little at how simple the idea was.  I didn’t spend 6+ years studying psychology and treating disorders such as depression because I believed it can all be fixed with a list.  However, I’m starting to think he’s really on to something.  Sure, a list won’t CURE or fix everything.  But changing your thinking?  Recognizing how lucky you are?  Those are all helpful tools on the way to making your life fulfilled and happy.

There are so many small and wonderful things that we are allowed to experience by just being alive.  Food, for one.  TASTE BUDS ARE AMAZING, amiright?!  Sex, for another.  I’m unabashedly pleased that sex is in this world.  The feel of a soft cotton throw, hugs from little kids are awesome.  I mean, every single moment of life is made possible by a natural reflex that we are all born with.  Breathing is something we all take for granted.  I urge you to stop everything that you are doing, right now, just pause and take a deep breath.  Relish, for a moment, the lift and fall of your chest, the sweet way the air fills your lungs, and how great it is to release that breath.  Now tell me, isn’t that freaking awesome?  We are alive because our bodies’ reflexes.

Okay, okay, I’ll calm down and stop being so over the top grateful.  You get my point though, right?  The goal is to share my Grateful Things List with y’all, and hopefully you’ll share with me as well.

I’ll start today with a very simple grateful thing:  I’m beyond happy to wake up each and every day.  I’ve just completed my second bout of chemo for ovarian cancer and I never forget to be grateful that we caught my cancer so soon and that there were treatment options available to me.  Life itself is pretty fucking cool.

Personal Style Files: Afternoon at the Winery

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What I Wore:
A sunny autumn afternoon at the winery, reading “Lord of the Rings”, and watching my boyfriend’s band play some tunes.  I’ve had this dress for years, as well as the belt.  The hat is a new addition and one that I think I’ll be wearing as much as possible this fall.  I love any opportunity to throw on a hat (and keep the sun off of my face).

What’s your favorite fall accessory?

Developing Your Personal Style

There are certain people in this world that are born with that special something, that je ne sais quois that can’t quit be defined in one word but the closest you can get to it is STYLE.  We all know at least one or two of these people.  We admire them, hell maybe we even envy them a little.  Never fear! Even if you weren’t born innately stylish, it’s never too late to begin to develop your personal sense of style.

My style motto is simple:  If you love it, wear it!!

Now comes the disclaimer – not everything you love should be worn. I know, I know, it’s contradictory.  The key is finding items that you love that fit you well, looks good, are quality, and can be worn for years no matter what the current trend is.  Trust me, you can find classic pieces that you love.

The first step is to forget about trends.  Trendy does not equal stylish!!  Now, I’m not saying trends are never stylish.  Occasionally, society as a whole embraces a trend that is actually good.  Think about a trend in this way, though – could you see a woman 30 years ago pulling that off?  What about 30 years from now?  What about YOU, NEXT YEAR?  Tribal print leggings? Can you imagine Marilyn Monroe coquettishly curled on her sofa, perusing a novel in neon print leggings? Yeah, me neither.

Good style is about classic, lasting, basic pieces.  You want to build your wardrobe around these pieces.  You can throw on some trendy accessories or add a trend top here or there every season.  I like to add a scarf in a fun print or trendy top with a classic skirt and boots.  It gets easier when you get a clear picture of what you want YOUR style to look like.  You can imagine any item added to your wardrobe and easily discard what doesn’t fit. And think about those stylish people that you know.  They probably have the same philosophy.  I bet they’ve got a few standard classic cuts and shapes that they wear all of the time.

Another important element of good style is fit.  You might absolutely love A-line dresses, but if you’re a curvy girl like me, it just doesn’t work.  I have found that my shape looks wonderful in 50’s vintage or inspired dresses. Anything from the 70’s, however, just doesn’t cut it.  The 70’s were for tall, skinny, leggy women.  I’m short, curvy, and ….well I’ve got legs but they aren’t long.  It’s better that I stick to styles that showcase my good attributes – my hourglass figure and the shape of my legs rather than the length (err, or lack of) of them.  Sticking to clothing shapes from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s works well with my figure.  Figure out what does and doesn’t work for you and STOCK UP.  If you find a wonderful cut that looks great and flatters you, buy it in several patterns and colors.  Buy classic patterns and neutral colors that can be mix and matched and worn during different seasons.

I also love patterns.  It’s hard for me, as I get older, to restrain my pattern love.  In the past, if it was bright, gaudy, and had a design on it – I was wearing it. I didn’t care if it fit properly or looked good.  I have discovered that pattern is a-okay, even when trying to dress stylishly.  The easiest way to incorporate pattern is with accessories.  A bright polka dot scarf can liven up any outfit.  I love plaid, polka dots, and floral more than anything.  You can mix and match these patterns as well, as long as you stick to neutral or complementary colors.

Speaking of color – I LOVE bright colors.  Always have, always will.  Go ahead and wear that bright pink top or orange pants.  But make sure you have a “base” color that is prevalent in your wardrobe.  I picked this tip up years ago from a former boss that was a knockout older woman and always looked like she spent hundreds of dollars on every outfit.  She told me that the key was to pick a color scheme and stick to it.  You can easily thrift and pick up bargain items in these colors to supplement your wardrobe.  It also makes shopping for wardrobe basics much easier.  All of your classic, expensive, well taylored pieces should be in this neutral colors.  That doesn’t mean you have to stick to black or white.  My colors are navy, tan, and grey.  I have dozens of simple pieces in these colors that can be mix and matched and paired with bright fun patterns.  Trust me, it makes shopping much easier.  Decide what color works with your hair and complexion and start to build your wardrobe around it.

One of the best books I’ve ever found on the subject of dressing stylishly is “The Little Black Book of Style” by Nina Garcia.  Buy it here.  I don’t know who Nina Garcia is.  I don’t follow fashion that closely (like I said, trends are useless to me).  However, she has a great list in this book of wardrobe staples that can be a starting point for someone that wishes to develop their personal style.  The only issue I take with most “high fashion” books or advice is that they always recommend products that are absurdly expensive.  I don’t think the average woman is about to drop $500 on a pair of shoes.  If you’re like me, your clothing budget is about $500 for the year….or for a few years.  It’s important not to look at these tips and stylist tricks as set in stone.  Take what you can use from them and make it work for you.  The book recommends having a little back dress on hand and I absolutely agree that you should.  Do you need the name brand sunglasses listed, though?  Nope.  Is the style of sunglasses a good idea to emulate?  Yup.

Being stylish, more than anything, is about expressing yourself and being confident.  Just because a model wore it, or because it’s popular, that doesn’t mean you should or could wear it.  The more you love what you are wearing, the more able you will be to carry yourself with grace and dignity.  More than anything else, LOVE YOURSELF and have fun.

Next week, we’ll look at dressing for the changing seasons.

Style Inspiration – Marilyn Monroe

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Today’s style inspiration is Marilyn Monroe.  It may seem like a cliche choice, but she wasn’t considered the most beautiful woman in America for no reason!

For public appearances, Marilyn was often in ultra girly dresses with high heels and her signature red lips.  The very epitome of woman.

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However, it was Marilyn’s personal style that I really love.  When Marilyn was off duty or allowed to choose her clothing, she often went for men’s dress shirts or sweaters paired with capris or hot pants.  She could take an Oxford shirt and make it look elegant and sexy all at once.

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970:  Photo of Marilyn Monroe  Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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