January 26, 2011

Show me how you burlesque

I've always loved lingerie & pretty vintage boudoir items. There's just something about a frilly lace bra or silky undergarments that can make you feel automatically confident & sexy, even in the dingiest of garb like that favorite worn t-shirt everyone owns at least one of & wears around the house with a pair of sweatpants. Via my internet travels, I came across FairyGothMother, a UK-based shop that sells corsets, lingerie and bridal items - all with a unique flair & a definite elegance. The burlesque section of the site had me instantly doing about 100 google searches for "burlesque" which led me to a lot of interesting sites and information. Prior to reading up on burlesque, I had limited knowledge of what it was other than my basic idea that it was essentially the art of striptease. I knew that Dita Von Teese is practically the poster pinup for it, but beyond that - what was it really?

American burlesque originated from early 19th century vaudeville, musical & theatrical parody that blended adult entertainment, satire and various performance art. Early acts were more than just striptease - acts could include firebreathers, contortionists, skits and music, all wrapped up in a colorful package. Burlesque is very much about costumes and flash. Rhinestones, crystals, glitter, feathers, color! The more elaborate the costume, the better. Burlesque isn't just glorified stripping - it's racy perfomance art. Early performers included women like Evangeline Sylvas (famous for dancing in an oyster shell and dying her hair mermaid-green), Lily St. Cyr & Gypsy Rose Lee.

Right, top: Burlesque performer Divena doing an underwater act / Right, below: Evangeline Sylvas smashing her tank in an unplanned act of rage.
While I've never seen a burlesque show first-hand, I would love to! From what I've seen online and in movies, the shows seem like an explosive act of glamor: elaborate sets, elegant & flashy costumes (who doesn't love pink rhinestone corsets!?) and beautiful women singing and dancing. While it has obvious overtones of sex - after all, these women are technically stripping - I find the whole scene alluring, which is part of the original intention. The mystery, the mystique, the tease. As Cher's character Tess from Burlesque would sing, "Show a little more, show a little less." I'm a lover of fashion.
I would go for the costumes alone!

Which brings me to my next point...Burlesque, the movie! had to see. The soundtracks is wonderful, but really - who can go wrong with the intense vocals of Christina Aguilera & the epicness that is Cher? Speaking of Cher & Burlesque, I went to a drag show over the weekend and witnessed an amazing performance of "Welcome to Burlesque" by a rather well endowed drag queen dressed head to toe in rhinestones. I would be lying if I didn't say that drag act slightly inspired me to blog about burlesque. But back to the movie... while the storyline may be nothing new (small town girl escapes to the city to make it big, blah blah, hot man friend turned lover turned boyfriend blah blah happy ending), the musical numbers and costumes are touted as the biggest draw for audiences. "But I am a Good Girl" was one of my personal favorites. The movie as a whole just made me want to go home, put on a pair of stockings, outrageous heels and start learning all the moves from the movie. If someone were to create a burlesque workout-slash-dance class here where I live, I would probably be the first to sign up. Does that even exist? I know there are stripper work out classes, but there's something about learning the art of striptease, complete with outlandish costumes, that just seems like the ideal workout. I mean really, who would pick a treadmill and weight lifting over donning a feather boa, corset and heels and training to be the next Dita Von Teese? I would be a lot more motivated to put down the fries and get my ass to "gym class!" And those costumes! I want to own every piece of lingerie from that movie. And we've come full circle, back to lingerie. Instant love! I knew from the moment I saw the previews that it was a movie I

I wish I could get a print of one of these vintage burlesque posters. Not only is burlesque fashionable, it can apply to interior design too! I think something like the above would look cute in my living room. I have a lot of vintage posters of Moet & Chandon and Martini & Rossi. I love that style. And to close out this post, I leave you with drool worthy lingerie & a video of the 2008 New York Burlesque Festival.

January 24, 2011


Currently, I work at a daycare. I'm practically still a kid myself so I am constantly subjected to games of make-believe, princesses & dragons and numerous children's books. One particular book I was first exposed to a few summers ago while working at an early childhood summer camp. The book was Pinkalicious, a whimsical book about a little girl who loves pink (obviously!) and one day eats a few too many pink cupcakes. I have had to read this book to the kids at camp and the daycare multiple times, yet I myself never tire of reading it. There is even a Pinkalicious Musical! I used to really hate the color pink, but now I have completely embraced it. While I would not want to be covered head to toe in a pink frosting shade, I do enjoy incorporating the color in a stylish way within my wardrobe. So today, I dedicate this post to all things pink!

Get decked out in pink! I am in love with the bubblegum pink peep toe heels.

My stylish friends Britney in a demure pink sheath dress & Jessi in a vintage accordion pleat pink slip.

Pink packaging! These are some bottlecap pins I made for Toot-Sweet featuring cute pinup cutouts & packaged in bon-bon wrappers.

January 21, 2011

Video Viernes

Finally, it's Friday! It has been a long week, so a fun weekend is very much in order. Since it's Friday, I'm posting some cool videos I've come across on the web this week. On Fridays I'm going to try to post a few videos I've come across that could be anything from fashion to food to something weird and crazy like flamenco'ing flamingos! Who knows. It's whatever the web has to offer that week. There are always interesting things I come across in my internet travels. Here's this week's lineup.

The title caught my eye. After watching it, I was pretty impressed! I can barely read the lyrics on the screen, he's speaking so fast! He's pretty good; check out his other videos. I think some of them are slam poetry performances. His look reminds me of Michael Cera but his style of speaking and the way he puts lyrics together reminds me of Buddy Wakefield, an amazing slam poet. Don't know
who he is? See below

Years & years ago when I was in high school, I performed one of Buddy Wakefield's poems for a literature night at my high school. I don't even remember how I stumbled across him but once I heard his poems, I was hooked. Not only does he exhibit immense talent for language but the way he performs his poetry and emphasizes certain words to shape them together into a powerful performance is amazing.

From "Flockprinter"
Buttercups spraying out the mouths of doves
Fireworks stuck in the air
You're a freestanding landing pad held together by choir claps
You're a god
Not afraid
To walk with the saviors
Who ride monkeys around on their backs
Kicking up mercury
Spreading upward openly
Carrying breath

This video is from Stockholm and was an experiment of sorts. The majority of people take the escalator over the stairs when given the chance, so some people decided to make the stairs more "fun" & see if it influenced people to choose the stairs. So they turned the steps into a giant piano. The result? Pure awesomeness.

And finally, a homemade space craft. This video is just incredible. The whiteout part is beautiful and serene. I've always wondered what it would be like to fly that high above the clouds. This video is probably the closest I'll ever get.

January 17, 2011

Mini Sliders

Sliders are great for a variety of events which is probably why I love them so much. They work well for parties, game days, quick lunches or dinners or even as a snack. I love the fact that these burgers are miniature - probably because I'm playing some psychological trick on myself in which I'm consuming less calories and tricking myself into thinking of them as "healthy." Truth is, burgers won't ever be recommended by doctors or dieticians as health food, but there is a way to make homemade burgers that are better than their fast-food cousins. I decided to make sliders the other day when I was having a flashback to the many summers I spent in Florida frequenting beachy diners and snack shacks (one of my favorites is Doc's All American in Delray Beach, FL.) While I'm all for people who are vegans or vegetarians, I never cozied up to the idea of a bean burger or soy patty as a substitute for real beef, despite the calorie and fat content. I opted for lean beef and some hawaiian sweet rolls. I shaped some small patties and cooked them on the stove and stacked them on the rolls with some spinach and small slices of swiss cheese. For the fries, I cut up a potato into wedges and tossed them with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt and let them cook in the oven. The result? Delicious!
If you want to make them at home, here's the recipe I used. It makes several sliders and a lot of fries, so be sure to you're cooking for more than one

For the sliders:
1 pound of ground beef
1 package of hawaiian sweet rolls (or other dinner rolls)
1 bag of spinach
1 package of desired cheese
Lea & Perrin's worcestershire sauce
garlic powder & onion powder

For the oven fries:
2 baking potatoes
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt

For sliders, spray a skillet with nonstick spray and heat over medium-high heath.
Shape ground beef into meatball-sized patties & sprinkle with a pinch of garlic powder and onion powder and a few shakes of worcestershire. Flatten patties and cook 3 or 4 at a time, turning after a few minutes. Split each roll into two halves (buttered and toasted in the oven for a few minutes if desired) and assemble burgers with cheese, spinach and other desired toppings. Mini burgers
can be held together easily with toothpicks.

For the oven fries, preheat oven to 450. Wash potatoes and skin them if desired (I like to leave the skin on) and cut lengthwise into wedges. Coat a baking pan with nonstick spray and spread potato wedges evenly across the pan. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil all across potatoes to desired amount. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and let them cook in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

January 14, 2011

Long Hiatus

I'm back and rebuilding the website from the ground up. I have a lot of ideas in the works, so in time Toot-Sweet should be able to grow and expand. Currently, I'm working on crafting ribbon necklaces, dessert rings, aprons, skirts and maybe some handbags thrown in there as well. For now, watch this space for updates and blog posts. I'm messing around with different comment systems for the site & hopefully will have a functional feedback system up and running soon.

We're already halfway through January and with spring just around the corner, I can't help but think about spring. Spring is one of my favorite seasons by far. The temperature is cool with just the right amount of warmth. Spring conjures up images of breezy cotton dresses, pastel hues and lightweight sandals and ballet flats. My perfect spring outfit would definitely include the aforementioned dress, preferably with lace detail, and some great accessories. I also like makeup that reminds me of desserts such as the cake gloss and neapolitan ice cream eye shadows below (when I was little, I used to think it was napoleon icecream!) While the set incorporates pieces that are both inexpensive and indulgent, it's a far cry from the designer chic $1,000 clothing and accessories I drool over at Net-a-porter. For now, I'll settle for thrifted vintage cream slips and Forever21 jackets until I've become a million dollar mogul and can afford to drop $2,000 on an Alexander McQueen dress