Big Screen Classics: The Maltese Falcon


Due to several weeks of business trips, sickness in both houses and endless work we were seriously over due for a BFF date. Luckily TCM and Fathom Events came to the rescue with the 75th anniversary screening of The Maltese Falcon starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor. This has long been one of my favorite film noir detective movies. It’s got all the classic twists and turns of a great mystery played by an all star cast.

The Maltese Falcon (1941) – A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.

I don’t want to spoil the plot for anyone who hasn’t seen it so I won’t go into details. Suffice it to say be prepared for misdirection, double crosses and lots of pithy one liners. An all around good time.

Some interesting trivia we learned regarding the film:

  • This was John Huston’s directorial debut (he was also the screenwriter).
  • Though this is the third film adaptation of the book by Dashiell Hammett it is widely considered the best.
  • Sydney Greenstreet makes his film debut playing Kasper Gutman in this movie at the age of 62. He would go on to be one of the most famous character actors in the Warner Brothers stable.
  • Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet would go on to act together in 9 films, including Casablanca and Passage to Marseille where they once again team up with Humphrey Bogart.
  • Nominated for Best Picture at the 1942 Academy Awards.

I would highly recommend catching this film in the theaters if you can. Encore showings are this Wednesday, February 24th. Get all the details on Fathom Events.

And just for fun, here we are doing our best serious, brooding, film noir faces. Clearly we need a little more practice.


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Netflix Queue: The 1940s and WWII

We’ve been having a love affair with everything British in the 1940s lately.  Luckily for us Netflix has a nice selection of period tv series so we can get our fix.

These are just a few of our favorites.

Bomb Girls

From Netflix: Focusing on a group of women working in a Canadian munitions factory during World War II, this ensemble drama depicts the dangers and new experiences they face. While drawn from diverse backgrounds, the women soon form strong bonds with their peers.

Land Girls

From Netflix: Set on a farm in the English countryside during World War II, this program follows the lives, loves, highs and lows of four members of the Women’s Land Army who are working at the Hoxley Estate.

Foyle’s War

From Netflix: Set in the English coastal town of Hastings during World War II, this compelling crime drama follows police inspector Christopher Foyle, who discovers that crooks don’t stop for anything — not even war.

Island at War

From Netflix:  Set on a fictional slice of the Channel Islands, this engrossing series follows three families caught on the islands at the beginning of World War II, capturing their experiences as they grapple with the stress of daily life and global conflict.

What are some of your favorites?

Channeling My Inner Housewife

Apologizes for the absence lately.  It’s been a busy few months.  Changed jobs, moved houses, started a new nutrition plan.  My head is still spinning from all the changes.  Things seem to be settling down into a new routine now though, so I can get back to some of my hobbies.

When I first moved into the cute 1940s era house with my new roommate and discovered there was no microwave and no working dishwasher my millennial generation brain was like, “What?! How can I survive without a microwave and dishwasher?” After some thought though, I decided maybe I could turn this into a modern vintage challenge.  It has been educational and sometimes frustrating but I feel I probably am better off in the long run for it.

What have I learned?

Channeling my inner 40s housewife has led to some revelations for me.

  1. Food tastes better when using fresh ingredients and not reheating in the microwave.  Okay that may seem like a no-brainer to some of you but up until recently I didn’t know grass fed beef has more flavor than regular beef and that pizza reheated in the oven is far superior to the microwave.
  2. That the classic comfort foods many of us associate with vintage cooking can be made in healthier ways to fit our more modern understandings of nutrition.  Here are two of my favorite re-imagined classics.

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe from hits the spot when you need a warm and filling “comfort” meal.  The secret to the delicious beef is cinnamon and nutmeg.  It was a first for me to use those ingredients in beef but the results were amazing.  One note, I personally thought it came out a little salty so perhaps salt to taste.

Pumpkin Pie with a Coconut Crust

Now this recipe is dairy and gluten free which I know can sound scary but trust me you won’t even miss it.  The coconut is a great pairing with the pumpkin and it fills those fall season cravings without the guilt that so often comes with it.

    By the Sea: Vintage Bathing Suits

    Grab your swim cap and towel and let’s go!

    Summer is upon us again!  Whether your itinerary includes a beach side vacation or lounging by the pool you’ll need a stylish ensemble.  Check out these fun vintage inspired options for your next adventure.

    Girls in swimsuits sip from a water fountain in New York, July 1948.

    Check out the retro inspired swimwear from UK company For Luna Swimwear.

    I love the pink stripes with navy sash of this swimsuit from Shabby Apple.  Also available in an several other color combinations.

    Or if a two piece is more your speed check out this flirty black and white number with oversize bow top.

    Unique Vintage has a fun selection of bathing suits and accessories including this adorable nautical inspired one-piece.

    And if you want to really have a vintage experience, channel Esther Williams in a floral swim cap.

    Finally add a little fun with some retro patterns from ModCloth.

    Do you have a favorite?  Any other sites you recommend for vintage swimwear?


    National Geographic, April 1930

    Vintage Home: Blues and Greens

    Some colors have such a vivid history they seem to have a return address stamped on them. Neon pink: If found, please return to 1987. Avocado green and goldenrod: If found, please return to 1974. Nowhere is this more true than in the home. As much as I can respect the standard modern palette of cream, beige, and taupe (not exciting, but not offending), I long for the quaint, nostalgic look of colors that we do not see anymore. Watch Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House and you’ll see what I mean. Myrna Loy requests a soft, light yellow in her new kitchen. Now, I don’t really like yellow, but if I imagine those old ads for kitchen appliances featuring sparkling “modern” kitchen… soft-yellow walls, crisp-white, appliances, touches of cherry red and mint green – I get it! So, this post is dedicated to the recent lot of fabulously vintage home accessories. And, blue and green are definitely striking the chord for 30s, 40s, and 50s style.

    The alarm clock that Myrna Loy woke up to… maybe
    How could you not be inspired to live a life with vintage flair when you wake up to this alarm clock from L.L.Bean? It’s a real, honest-to-original-manufacturer reproduction of the Big Ben alarm clocks that were available in 1931. Big Ben alarm clocks are an icon unto themselves. These clocks have been produced for many decades with periodic, but slight, changes to the design or colors offered. The streamlined feel for the one offered in 1931 is particularly outstanding. Even the numerals have an understated Art Deco look. And, the entire palette of colors, including a soft blue and vintage green is spot on for the 1930s and 1940s.

    As Carole Lombard reached for her morning toilette…

    Yes, it’s functional. It’s not frilly. But, it exudes loads of bygone charm. I think the key to this lovely bathroom storage piece from PotteryBarn is that it has a matte paint. The look is not unlike the painted iron beds and accessories from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, one of the best parts has to be its size. At only a foot square (28 inches high), it can fit almost anywhere

    Speaking of vintage kitchens…
    I’m going to say it. Turquoise. It’s not just for jewelry or nail polish. What 50s kitchen would be complete without a healthy dose of turquoise? Aside from the beautiful color, this cart from IKEA has rounded corners and rotating casters like we haven’t seen since industrial designers stopped trying to balance form and function and simply outsourced their entire craft to China. 

    For the timeless kitchen goddess…

    A digital timer will tell you when the pie is done, but it just doesn’t have any charm. This lovely timer (sold through has enough old-school functionality to help you get the pie just right and inspire you to wax the floors like a diligent Claudette Colbert in The Egg and I. Thankfully, it also has a magnet on the back side to stick to our ugly, modern refrigerators. (Unless you happen to own a restored, modernized appliance or a vintage look alike, in which case – ENVY!)
    So, that’s what I’ve been inspired by lately. There’s definitely more out there. If you find something divine and vintage-ly inspiring please leave a comment on our blog. We love a good discussion.
    In the meantime, go forth. Let’s buy these adorable and vintage-inspired items. Let’s vote with our dollar and tell companies that some of us still do care about style.

    P.S. If the idea of decorating your home with a “color-by-decade” motif intrigues you, check out Sherwin-Williams historic color collections for interior and exterior paints.

    Judy Garland’s Dorothy Dress and Other Classic Movie Costumes

    In the news today it was announced that Judy Garland’s iconic blue and white gingham dress from the Wizard of Oz would be going up for auction.  How amazing would it be to own a piece of Hollywood history like that? 

    That article got me thinking about my other favorite classic movie costumes.  It’s tough to narrow down but here are some of the ensembles I admire the most (in no particular order).

    Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina

    Working on the costumes for Sabrina started a professional and personal relationship that would span decades and countless films between Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy.  When Audrey’s character Sabrina Fairchild comes home from Paris she brings with her this stunning gown that she then wears to the Larrabee’s party giving her the chance to live out a lifelong dream. 

    Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy, 1954

    Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas

    I absolutely adore the dress Rosemary Clooney wears in the Minstrel scene of 1954s White Christmas.  It’s a black sequin trumpet style gown with a red tulle train.  It looks amazing as she sings and dances with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.

    Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story

    Statuesque and classically beautiful Katharine Hepburn plays socialite Tracy Lord with a cool and charming grace in this distinguished 1930s gown.

    Katharine Hepburn in a full-length Adrian gown in “The Philadelphia Story,” 1940

    Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind

    Scarlett O’Hara was an extremely stylish southern belle but to me the most memorable outfit was the slinky and scandalous red dress she wears to Ashley Wilkes birthday party.

    Ginger Rogers in Top Hat

    This iconic feather dress from the 1935 film Top Hat looked stunning as Fred and Ginger twirled around the dance floor.

    Ginger Rodger in “Top Hat”, 1935

    Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face
    The entire fashion shoot featuring gowns by Givenchy is amazing but these two outfits top my list.  For years the finale wedding dress, that Audrey dances in with Frank Sinatra, was what I wanted to wear to my wedding.

    Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy in Funny Face, 1957

    Red Hot

    Red lipstick is a signature of vintage glam.  Popular in the 1930s and 1940s this is a must have item for all vintage lovers.  It’s also an easy and affordable way to infuse vintage style into your everyday routine.  

    Now I’m not usually a bright lipstick girl and my work is pretty casual but some days you just need to break out that red lipstick and go for it.  It’s amazing how something that simple can change your outlook on the day and add a bounce to your step.  Similar to a great pair of heels, red lipstick gives you that “I am a strong, beautiful women so look out world” feeling.  And don’t we all need that some days?

    “Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick. “ – Gwyneth Paltrow

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    I will admit that I was afraid of red lipstick for a while though.  It can be intimidating.  Do I go with cherry red?  Brick red?  A blue undertone or orange for my skin tone?  How do I keep it from smearing all over my face?  Never fear, we are here with a quick guide to all things red:

    1.  Picking your shade:  This was always the most difficult part for me and there is lots of conflicting advice out there.  The best and most useful advice I found is that choosing a red is less about the shade (orange-red, blue-red, true red) but how bright that color is against your skin tone. So for instance if you have fair skin an orange-red will be a really bright pop on you.  Doesn’t mean it won’t work but it’s something to note and adjust the rest of your makeup accordingly.  More information and examples can be found in this article.

    On a recent shopping trip to a local vintage store we were very excited to find this line of cosmetics.  The packaging alone is worth checking out Besame cosmetics.   I have their classic color lipstick in Red Velvet, described as a “deep, rich red flattering on most skin tones. Great for office wear or everyday red, neutral and not too bright.”  It looks great on my fair skin. 

    2.   Keep the rest of your makeup simple and clean, especially for a day time look.  Personally I just do my basic foundation, blush, powder and mascara routine and let the lipstick be the star of the show.

    3.  Prevent color bleed:  Find a lip liner shade that’s close to your natural lip color and use it to outline and fill in your lips.  This will help the color to not bleed and avoiding red liner will prevent a two-tone effect from mismatched shades of red.  An alternate option for preventing “bleeding” is to apply a little concealer around the border of your mouth.

    Do you have any favorite red lipsticks or great tips for wearing red lipstick?  Sound off in the comments below.

    “I said pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.”  

     ― Marilyn Monroe