A Sparkling Vintage Life

Monthly Archives: November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

There are many beautiful version of All Things Bright and Beautiful, my favorite Thanksgiving hymn. This is the version I remember best from my childhood:

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.


The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.


The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.


He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.


Remember When: 7 Things People Used to Dress Up For

salesclerkThe recent dust-up over my post regarding dressing up for church generated more comments than anything else I’ve ever written on this site. Here’s an interesting article from the Huffington Post, along with some great photos, describing seven other things people used to dress up for. Church didn’t even make the list.

When the topic of public dress standards comes up, I’ve heard women say things along the lines of, “That’s ridiculous. I’m not going to wear a ball gown just to go to the grocery store!” As if there’s no middle ground between black-tie and yoga pants. In these photos I notice that “nice clothes” include sensible heels, comfortable sweaters, and skirts that look neither short nor tight, but easy to move around in. Is it really so impossible to raise our standards a little?


The Paradise: Shopgirl Makes Good

The Paradise's savvy shopgirl Denise Lovett, played by Joanna Vanderham

The Paradise’s savvy shopgirl Denise Lovett, played by Joanna Vanderham

I’ve just finished watching The Paradise, a PBS miniseries set in a late-Victorian-era British department store. I wanted to watch the whole series before writing about it, in case it disappointed me like the earlier Mr. Selfridge, a different PBS series set in an Edwardian-era British department store. If you have confused the two, you are forgiven. However, they are not the same, and in my opinion, The Paradise is far better.

Mr. Selfridge, I didn’t much care for. The series started out well, but I found the characters too lacking in moral fiber to admire. While the story did a commendable  job of reflecting the issues  of its day, I wasn’t able to warm up to the characters, especially the wily and duplicitous American, Mr. Selfridge. I could never bring myself to root for him, and if you’re not rooting for the main character, it’s hard to get drawn into the story as a whole.

The Paradise, on the other hand, I liked very much. The store’s owner, John Moray, is a sympathetic character: appealing yet debt-ridden and haunted by the death of his young wife. Now engaged to be married to a self-absorbed aristocrat whose wealthy father has the power to make or break his career, Moray nonetheless finds himself attracted to Denise, the farm-fresh young shop girl, innocent yet scrappy, who revolutionizes the ladies-wear department, practically single-handedly. To my delight, the series also features the charming Ruby Bentall (Minnie in Lark Rise to Candleford) as one of Denise’s shopgirl friends.

In some ways, Denise reminds me of Marjorie, the main character in my novel, who leaves her small town and finds work in Chicago’s Marshall Field department store. Like Denise, Marjorie find out she has a gift for selling clothes to ladies. Like Denise, Marjorie’s immediate supervisor has ruled the department for a long time and doesn’t take too kindly to young upstarts with innovative ideas. And like Denise, Marjorie’s heart is not set only on business.

Now that The Paradise has completed its run on PBS, perhaps you can rent it or catch it when it comes around again, as these things tend to do.  I don’t know if there will be a second season, although I hope there will be, as there were certain story threads left dangling.

Have you watched The Paradise? If so, what did you think of it?


Red-dy for some rouge?

lady with fanHaving a naturally ruddy complexion, I don’t wear a lot of brightly colored blush or lipstick–it just seems to make me look feverish. But I love these tips that I ran across recently for the wearing of rouge and lipstick (when did “rouge” become “blush”?), which appeared in a little booklet called The Famous Book of Beauty Secrets, part of the Women’s Home and Personal Service Library, published in 1925 by the Chicago Mail Order Company.

How to Use Rouge

Rouge, like perfume, should be employed with restraint. If you apply rouge by artificial light when it is to be seen by daylight, take your mirror to an outside window to see that it is not over-applied.

Judicious and delicate tinting heightens the color and imparts sparkle to the eyes, but if too heavily applied it produces a coarse, vulgar appearance.

Rouge should be used as a “highlight” upon the cheek bones, or, if your cheeks are very full, the shade should be near the center. Blend the rouge outward with the fingertips to prevent abrupt lines. So applied and well dusted with powder, it produces a soft, natural flush.

The Lipstick

The lipstick, like rouge, must be used with discrimination. It should be applied to the inside of the lip and then worked out with the fingertip to the natural lip edge. A good, pure lipstick is harmless, prevents chapping, and gives a most realistic effect when correctly and lightly applied.

There you have it, Sparklers. The next time you are in front of your mirror, I hope you will remember to be restrained, judicious, and discriminating. It sure makes applying makeup sound like a high-minded endeavor!


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