Friday, January 29, 2016

Adventures in Pin-Up

Greetings Vixens and Beaus!

Since I said I'd write about things other than fitness, I decided to make this post about pin-up. I've always been captivated by the 1940s/50s pin-up art... especially the WWII nose art (originally used to identify friendly units.)

Memphis Belle and Sentimental Journey are probably my two favorites.
That being said, I decided to enter a pin-up contest last summer after moving back to the States. How nerve-racking! I've never done anything like that before and really had no idea what to expect. I tried to do some research on what "competitors" have worn in other contests, how to walk, how to stand out, etc. Unfortunately I didn't find much helpful information. I had to wing it and hope it would work! If you're considering a contest, hopefully you find my experience useful. I'd love to hear your ideas as well!

The Art of Dressing

For my outfit, I didn't want a reproduction. Don't get me wrong... I love the modern looks inspired by vintage (basically anything from pinupgirlclothing) but I thought most of the other girls would do something like that. You know the look, the polka dot circle skirts or the 40s nautical outfit, possibly using a parasol as a prop....like I said, I wanted to stand out! After getting advice from the beautiful Desiree Noir, I went with my late 50s/early 60s Delta stewardess uniform. Do you know how difficult it is to find one of those?! I had to be soooooo patient, for a couple of years, before I was able to get one. Well worth the wait! (I'm still looking for a hat to go with it, so if you find one, let me know!)


Here's a similar look to mine, though I have a lighter shade of blue. But I made a pillbox hat, wore a 1960s collared blouse, white gloves, and found blue/white vintage spectator pumps on Etsy. Dez and I had talked about using a vintage suitcase as a prop, but I decided against it because a) I didn't want to carry it around the car show in the humidity and summer heat, and b) I wasn't exactly sure how I would pose with it. I actually didn't even know how I would pose WITHOUT it either....:)

The Art of Posing

Okay so I have the outfit. Now for posing/walking. I had NO idea what the stage would be like, or if we'd even be walking across anything, so I had to practice a couple different things: entering from one side, walking up to the center to pose, then walking back...or pretending like it was just straight across, etc. I put on Brian Setzer's Stray Cat Strut, turned on my video camera, and went to it! Plus I needed to practice walking in the pumps since they were a tad loose and slick on the bottom. My poses weren't anything crazy or super pin-up structured -- couple of turns, a salute (it just felt right), blowing a kiss, etc. The main point was to show the crowd love. In any pin-up-related event, always flirt with the crowd! Otherwise you come across too nervous or that you aren't really sure what you're doing. I mean, I didn't know what I was doing...but I PRETENDED to, and it worked! Check out these videos by Cherry Dollface on how to pose! Here and here for regular poses, and here for posing with props.

The Art of Speaking

The next part of the event was answering a couple of questions. Luckily we were given a sheet with a list of 10 questions. We had to write down the answers to three of them, and we would be asked one of those. They were pretty basic..."why do you like pin-up?" "what is your favorite movie and why?" etc. I didn't think I'd be nervous about that part since I knew what to expect, but when you're standing in front of a large crowd with a microphone and you can't QUITE remember what your answer was, you can get a little shaky! 

The Art of Judging 

So now that all components of the event were complete, it was time for the judges to make their pick. Out of 18 girls, they narrowed it down to five. (That's when we had to answer the question.) 

Can you guess which one is me?? :)

From there it was narrowed down to three. (I made the top three!) And then the crowd chose the winner with how loud they cheered. I didn't realize it would be up to the crowd...and I didn't bring anyone to beef up the cheers for me either! I was the last girl in the row, so as the other girls were getting all kinds of cheers and whistles, I started to get even more nervous and a little embarrassed. I didn't think I'd get much volume. As it turns out, the crowd went crazy when it was my turn! How unexpected! All I could think to do was smile really big and try to try to flirt some more (blowing kisses, a couple of poses). I got first place! It was really a very exciting moment for me. For someone who had never been to a contest to see how they were done, nor having had any experience doing pin-up, and then to come in first! What a thrill! I've always wanted to be a classy pin-up model...I think this was the first step. Plus I did a mini photo shoot with some of the old cars right after winning. But the main prize is that I do a studio photo shoot with Ric Frane and am featured in a garage calendar. YES!

 

The Art of Winning

Here's a quick recap of what worked for me: 
1) If you can do true vintage and do it well, you will stand out!
2) PRACTICE your poses in front of a mirror. Record yourself walking and posing, and then critique your form. The more you practice, the more natural it'll seem on stage.
3) It never hurts to get used to public speaking. Again, practicing in front of a mirror or video camera so you can see your facial expressions, mess around with your tone and inflections, etc. will really help when it comes down to actually doing it.
4) Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new! Especially if it's something you've been dreaming about....
5) Don't get discouraged if it doesn't turn out the way you had hoped. Keep at it!
6) Most importantly, HAVE FUN!! Go in with that expectation from the get-go and you won't be disappointed!

See you at the next car show ;)

XOXO,
Fit Dame

Thursday, January 28, 2016

How I Stay in Shape by Marilyn Monroe

Hello my lovelies,

In an effort to combine my favorite era with one of my favorite activities...exercise... I think Marilyn Monroe's workout routine is the most fitting place to start! While I definitely agree with being active every day, I'm not so sure I'd follow her eating habits.

How I Stay in Shape

"FRANKLY, I've never considered my own figure so exceptional; until quite recently, I seldom gave it any thought at all. My biggest single concern used to be getting enough to eat. Now I have to worry about eating too much. I never used to bother with exercises. Now I spend at least 10 minutes each morning working out with small weights. I have evolved my own exercises, for the muscles I wish to keep firm, and I know they are right for me because I can feel them putting the proper muscles into play as I exercise.


She Doesn't Like to Feel Regimented

EXERCISE. Each morning, after I brush my teeth, wash my face and shake off the first deep layer of sleep, I lie down on the floor beside my bed and begin my first exercise. It is a simple bust-firming routine which consists of lifting five-pound weights from a spread-eagle arm position to a point directly above my head. I do this 15 times, slowly. I repeat the exercise another 15 times from a position with my arms above my head. Then, with my arms at a 45-degree angle from the floor, I move my weights in circles until I'm tired. I don't count rhythmically like the exercise people on the radio; I couldn't stand exercise if I had to feel regimented about it.


How to Feel Blond All Over

SPORTS. I have never cared especially for outdoor sports, and have no desire to excel at tennis, swimming, or golf. I'll leave those things to the men. Despite its great vogue in California, I don't think sun-tanned skin is any more attractive than white skin, or any healthier, for that matter. I'm personally opposed to a deep tan because I like to feel blond all over.

By nature, I suppose I have a languorous disposition. I hate to do things in a hurried, tense atmosphere, and it is virtually impossible for me to spring out of bed in the morning. On Sunday, which is my one day of total leisure, I sometimes take two hours to wake up, luxuriating in every last moment of drowsiness. Depending upon my activities, I sleep between five and ten hours every night. I sleep in an extra-wide single bed, and I use only one heavy down comforter over me, summer or winter. I have never been able to wear pajamas or creepy nightgowns; they disturb my sleep.


A Set of Bizarre Eating Habits

BREAKFAST. I've been told that my eating habits are absolutely bizarre, but I don't think so. Before I take my morning shower, I start warming a cup of milk on the hot plate I keep in my hotel room. When it's hot, I break two raw eggs into the milk, whip them up with a fork, and drink them while I'm dressing. I supplement this with a multi-vitamin pill, and I doubt if any doctor could recommend a more nourishing breakfast for a working girl in a hurry.

DINNER. My dinners at home are startlingly simple. Every night I stop at the market near my hotel and pick up a steak, lamb chops or some liver, which I broil in the electric oven in my room. I usually eat four or five raw carrots with my meat, and that is all. I must be part rabbit; I never get bored with raw carrots.

P.S: It's a good thing, I suppose, that I eat simply during the day, for in recent months I have developed the habit of stopping off at Wil Wright's ice cream parlor for a hot fudge sundae on my way home from my evening drama classes. I'm sure that I couldn't allow myself this indulgence were it not that my normal diet is composed almost totally of protein foods."



Well there you have one of the first modern nutrition guides! Marilyn was one of the few women (certainly one of the few starlets at the time) to lift weights. She was also one of the first actresses to publicly endorse weight lifting for women! She liked to jog and do yoga as well. I recommend all three for today's healthy woman! I'll get more into that in future posts. ;)


The original article was published in Pageant magazine's September 1952 edition.

XOXO,
Fit Dame




Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Is Your Desk Job Killing You?


Hello my lovelies,

     If you're like me, you sit and stare at a computer screen all day...isn't it exhausting?? I've never been more aware of how much I sit until I moved to this office. Sure, I sat in all my other offices too, but it's really magnified this time. Why are we always in a rush to sit? We rush to the car to sit in traffic...we rush into work to sit at our desk...we rush back home to sit on the couch and watch tv... It feels good sometimes, but we're damaging our bodies far more than we thought!

     It wasn't until the past 2-3 years (when I started getting into working out) that I realized just how bad sitting for hours upon hours is for us. Like a lot of people, I thought my minimum 30 minutes of exercise was enough to make up for sitting all day. Turns out I was wrong! The pros recommend getting up EVERY HOUR and moving around for at least 10-15 minutes. That doesn’t mean you have to go jog around the building (though please do if you feel the urge!), but simply standing up at your desk and doing a few stretches will do the trick. BOTTOM LINE: KEEP MOVING THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
 
     For those of you concerned about the impact a sedentary lifestyle has on you and for ways to combat this “disease”, please keep reading…I’ll try to make it as concise as possible!

What happens when I sit?

 

Immediately:

·      Calorie-burning drops to 1/3 of its normal rate
·      Glucose uptake in insulin lowers which can eventually lead to Type 2 diabetes

2 weeks of sitting for 6+ hours a day:

·      Fat molecules, LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), and insulin resistance increases which means
  • Blood sugar levels rise putting you at a higher risk of weight gain
  • Muscles begin to deteriorate and your oxygen consumption drops
    • Makes it harder to climb stairs or get up and walk around
    • Even if you work out every day, muscle deterioration starts when you stop moving!

1 year of sitting for 6+ hours a day:

·      Weight gain and high cholesterol
·      Women lose 1% of bone mass per year (read: osteoporosis)

10+ years of sitting for 6+ hours a day:

·      Your risk of dying from heart disease increases 64%
·      You’re more at risk for developing prostate or breast cancer
·      You lose 7 years from your quality of life

So this means I don’t have to work out every day since it doesn’t reverse the effects of sitting, right?

     Wrong! That’s even more of a reason to do it! You will still reap amazing benefits, physically and mentally, from regular activity that gets your heart rate up. Plus, weight lifting helps to combat osteoporosis.  ***Ladies, I promise you will NOT bulk like most men do if you lift weights. It’s physically impossible for us to do naturally*** 

 

Ok, what can I do since I HAVE to be at a desk all day? (This is why you kept reading in the first place, yes?)

     You have so many options! As I mentioned earlier, standing up and stretching/shaking out your legs and upper body are beneficial. [Fun fact: standing increases energy, burns more calories, improves posture, increases blood flow, and boosts your metabolism.]
First step: make sure your chair and monitors are at the proper height. Your chair should be high enough that it doesn’t cause your shoulders to shrug and allows your arms to rest at a 90 degree angle with forearms against the desk. Your monitors should be at least at eye-level or higher to force you to look up. Sit tall and lengthen the spine!
Next, chose a few exercises and stretches to do during the day in the office or at home (in addition to your regular workouts).

GET MOVING!

  • March – high knees! – in place for at least 30 seconds
  • Reach down and touch your toes and hold for 20-30 seconds, don’t bounce
  • Take a couple flights of stairs
  • Twist to either side and hold for 20 seconds
  • Stretch your arms above your head and behind your back
  • Move your neck around gently
  • Roll your shoulders
  • While still sitting, bend forward and let your arms hang to the ground
  • Do a few lunges to open up the hips (hip flexors get too tight when sitting all day)
  • 15-20 pushups…on the floor, against the wall, against your desk, in the bathroom stall, wherever!
  • Sit and stand a few times in your chair
  • 15-20 squats (unless you’re wearing high heels!)
  • Any kind of yoga :)


 
     Get your coworkers involved to make it even more fun! (and more likely you'll do it!)

         XOXO,
         Fit Dame