Saturday, July 28, 2012

Vintage Boozehound: Rum

Rum, the drink that makes us think of Pina Colada's and Bahama Mama's. This liquor is the star of the tropical drink scene and for those of us the profoundly dislike sugary sweet drinks rum seems to be off the table.

Bat Symbol at the Bacardi Factory
Recently, I traveled to Puerto Rico, Bacardi Central. I tried a sugary cocktail and immediately regretted it. It was more like a slushy and it made me sleepy. So my next drink was a Mojito- not too bad, better than the ones here in NYC with two thousand half crushed mint leaves that constantly get in my way.  I decided to ask my lovely boyfriend if he wanted to tour the Bacardi factory, he thought it sounded fun so the next morning we decided to head out via taxi.

Hospitality area of Bacardi Factory in Puerto Rico, designed
in the 1960's
Upon pulling up we were ushered to the hospitality area where we signed up for the English Speaking tour which started in 20 minutes and were given a batch of free drink tickets. The bar was empty so I moseyed up and asked the bartender, "Do you have a drink that doesn't involve a daiquiri, punch, or Cola?" He said, "You can mix it with club soda." Ew! I thought, but it was a free drink so I might as well try it and I heart club soda so it can't be that bad. So I perused all the flavors. Limon, Coconut, Melon, Green Apple- blah blah blah... wait, Torched Cherry? Rock Coco? What are these?

I chose Torched Cherry. It was like a Cherry soda. No joke. Without the brown stuff. It was probably the most delicious thing I drank in a very long time. It smelled so good and tasted so refreshing. The Man decided to have a Rum Punch (meh) then he tried my drink, and the look of surprise on his face was PRICELESS. "That's really good!"

Then it was time for the tour. I learned all about rum and how it's made and how Bacardi invented the process by which we now enjoy modern rum. The reason we have light rum is because this rich guy was bored and decided to tinker around with the process of distilling rum. I'm pleased to announce that I've never been more pleased with a the product of someone's boredom. I learned about the bat symbol and how it came to be part of Bacardi. They had bats in their first facility and they would constantly chase them out of there, but Mrs. Bacardi brought up the suggestion that they have a symbol on their labels since many people at the time could not read and this would ensure to them that they were getting Bacardi's rum. So they chose the Bat and now it's the most popular rum in the world.

I created this post not to teach everyone about Bacardi, but to revive an interest in this classic liquor. It was VERY popular in the 1950's, and for any pinup party rum should make it's appearance but modern tastes don't always coincide with vintage cocktails.  This is just a way to spark interest and conversation about this under-utilized gem and encourage you to head down and grab a bottle. Cheers!

Friday, July 27, 2012


I'm in the middle :) I used a dry/wet set for this
Ok. I've been really busy- so busy I haven't even booked a show BUT I do have news, I now live with a man. With that said I'm trying to come back and be better at my bloggery. So let's talk about the most vintage hair item that can be found everywhere- CURLERS!

Vintage Table Top Bonnet Dryer

Which curlers should you use?  Wire curlers? Foam rollers? Flocked rollers? Velcro rollers? Soft Rollers? Rag Rolling? Ack! What's best for my hair? How should I use them? So very many questions!  I would say, flat out, that it's kind of a trial and error situation. I would suggest asking your hair stylist and then going with their suggestion first but opening yourself up for experimentation, you can even make an appointment with them and ask them to show you how to set your hair.  I'm not familiar with every form of rollers but I will share what I do know.

Types of Rollers:
Bonnet Dryer
Velcro rollers are best for curly hair as a tool for controlling the curl. My hair is pin straight and the velcro rollers are a joke for my hair- wet set or not.

Wire Rollers are great for most types of hair but especially for hair when it doesn't like to dry for hours on end. I use these with a setting spray and a bonnet dryer. (These are cheap at hair supply store, or you can really invest and buy a standing dryer.)

Foam Rollers are the most commonly seen and the can be the most frustrating, they need 8-10 hours to dry, minimum, without a dryer. with a dryer it's still a very long wait- 45 to 60 minutes (at least this has been my experience.)

Hot Rollers are good for most hair types but you have to experiment between the different types of hot rollers and the different settings this will require about 10-20 minutes to heat up depending on your set and anywhere from 20-40 minutes to completely cool off.

Personally,  I use a combination of curlers.

Now, you need to determine how much time you actually have. If you are planning on eating pizza and watching Casablanca before you tuck into your canopy bed in silk P.J.'s then I'd do a full wet set.  If you planning to zip home after a burlesque show and have 15 minutes to set your hair before catapulting yourself into bed then I'd do a dry to wet set (this is also great for maintenance during the week if you want to keep your curls.) And if you have an hour to get ready before work then I'd do a dry set.

For my wet set:
Traditional Foam Rollers
First you need wet hair with a setting spray/gel combed through it. I use a Chi spray cut with water, it's just a little something in the hair to hold it. Then I towel dry it so it isn't TOO wet (sometimes foam rollers take A LONG time to dry) towel dry it and then if it's a little too dry when you are rolling it up just spray it with some water.
Then you put in your rollers. I use foam rollers around the top of my head and wire rollers on the very top. (This makes it more comfy for sleeping.) Make sure you don't put too much hair in your roller, the piece of hair should not be wider or thicker than the roller. This is key! I use smaller rollers on the top of my head and let them get fatter as they creep towards the nape of the neck. The only way to really understand the best set for your head is experimentation. I start with my bangs and travel around my head, then I do the next layer down and then the next. This is much easier if you have layered hair.

For my dry to wet set:
Wire Rollers
Take your dry hair and create your part where you want it. Then take your setting spray and just mist your dry hair until it's damp and then roll it. Then either let it air dry if you have the time (1-3 hours) or sit under a dryer (less than an hour, depending on your hair.)
*Wire rollers dry much faster than foam. If you have the time during the day you can do the whole head in wire rollers and sit under an at home dryer and use a dry/wet set I would not, however, suggest sleeping in them.

For my dry set:
I spray my hair very lightly with the Chi spray and water mix while I heat my hot rollers. I allow them to heat for at least 15 minutes, mine are old (from the early '90's) and are velvet flocked,. These are great because my fine spiderweb-ish hair will catch and stick to them but they also make ceramic ones and I've never used them...mostly because I already have a set that works for me so I never bothered buying another set. You need to always use a substance between your hair and any heat tool. Otherwise you are going to have fried frizzy hair. It also helps guide and control the hair onto the curler and hold the curl after it's been removed from the heat source.

I go ahead and spray it with a styling spritz once all the hair is up and then go about my day until the rollers are totally cool (about 20-30 minutes.) Ta-Da! Now it's ready to style.
.Next I pins for all, properly setting your hair, brush it out! washing secrets etc... victory rolls, finger wave best books to get the look you want.

If you do not have rollers then you can use a small barrel ceramic curling iron (remember your heat protection/curl setting spray you don't want to damage your hair) and then pin the curl next to the head and spray with hairspray (leave all these in for about 10 minutes or so- until your head is cool.)

Now that you've set your hair, choose a style and go to town!