Monday, January 31, 2011

My favorite vintage dresses!

The sky is blue, the sun is out and it's got me in a Spring cleaning kinda mood! While cleaning out and organizing my closet I re-discovered my vintage dress collection. Over the years I've collected vintage dresses here and there. Some were my mom's, some I've come across in thrift and vintage stores and a few were given to me. Inspired by the sunshine I donned each dress and did a mini fashion show for my cat Boo Kitty. Here are my favorites...

 This dress was my mom's from the 60's. You can't tell from
the pic but it's made of gorgeous velvet! Of course what
makes the whole dress is the groovy embroidered band.
I just love that my mom wore it to some chic event all
those years ago and now I have it to enjoy.

 I found this at a thrift store and just had to buy it even 
though I had no idea where I would ever wear an orange
crocheted dress. As soon as I saw it I knew it would fit me 
perfectly. I'm a really miniature person so it's hard to 
find anything vintage that fits so to find this was a true 
treasure! (Boo Kitty said that this was his favorite.)

Picked up this dress at a vintage store. It was way, way too
big for me but I just loved the lace top and the cut of it.
My mom tailored it to fit me, re-lining the lace, chopping
the hem and taking it in all over. Thanks mom! (Please 
excuse my random shoes in this pic. I just realized 
that I forgot to change them to coordinate with the dress.)

This dress isn't truly vintage like the first three. I guess it's
new vintage, if that even makes sense. It's a Bebe dress 
from the early 90's. A gal I used to work with gave it to me. 
I can't remember where she said she got it but she gave 
it to me because I was the only person she knew who 
would fit into it.

This dress isn't vintage at all but I think it kinda looks
70's bohemian and I sewed it myself so I thought I'd 
throw it in here.  I made this dress out of a sarong that 
my cousin brought me from the Philippines. I thought
the fabric was gorgeous but the sarong itself was so
big it wrapped around me twice. So I hacked it up 
and came up with this design. I've never worn it 
because I'm not exactly sure where to wear it but I 
think it's pretty cute for my very first attempt at 
sewing a piece of clothing.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Key Bank billboard

I'm not the type of person to toot my own horn but uh... toot, toot! I thought I'd share my experiences on being a commercial print model. I just started doing this so I am definitely a novice but I wanted to put something out there that could possibly help someone else looking for information on the subject since there was not much first hand account info out there when I looked for it.

I started doing commercial print modeling and acting after moving to Ohio. We'd only lived here for a few months when one morning I saw a listing on Craigslist looking for women in their 30's with nice teeth for a dental commercial. Having never been into Cleveland before I thought it was a nice excuse to drive into the city that day and yes, I think of myself as having half way decent teeth. My parents still remind me to this day about the thousands they spent on my braces, head gear, tooth positioner etc. (Yeah, it was a very tough couple of pre-teen years! Not cute!)

I walked into the agency, they took my picture, signed me as talent, gave me the name and number of their photographer and told me to get some headshots taken. It was weird and fast and all of a sudden I was a commercial print model. I really didn't think much of it because I thought that it didn't mean anything until I actual booked something. Right off the bat I went on a ton of auditions for national commercials, print jobs, corporate videos- lots of things but I didn't book any of them. Still, I thought- who cares? It's not costing me anything and it's all really kinda fun. I finally booked my first gig many months later and it happened to be a pretty big one- a multi-regional/state print campaign with Key Bank.

I knew that there was a possibility that they would use my image on a billboard but I really didn't think it would happen or that I would actually see it. I figured if anything it'd be on a random billboard buried on some obscure corner in the city. I ended up seeing the billboard on the way back from our trip to St. Martin. It was 1 a.m. and we were dead tired making the 45 minute drive back home. I saw the billboard, saw myself and thought "Huh, she looks familiar." Ten seconds later I screamed, "That was me on that billboard!" Dave swung the car around at the next exit and we drove back toward it. Laughing, we pulled over to the side of the road and took pictures.

Seeing yourself on a billboard that big is so strange. Most people who see it say that it looks like me but it doesn't look like me. I guess I'd have to agree since I initially didn't even recognize myself. The boards were up for a couple of months along freeways and roads. It was weird driving and all of a sudden randomly seeing yourself- very weird!

Here is what I have gleaned so far, in my very short time doing this:
  • Even if you're brand new to the industry most agencies will not hold your hand through the entire process. They are there to book you and expect you to be able to handle yourself professionally, on your own. When I was booked on my first gig I didn't get any instruction other than where to go, who I was meeting and what clothes I should bring. There was no pep talk about what would happen, what to do when I got there, how to pose, etc. Basically it's a figure it out as you go situation. If you can't do that or are uncomfortable with that then this definitely is not for you.
  • When you're booked on a shoot your agent will tell you what type of clothes to bring. Make sure to bring a lot of different options. And I mean A LOT. If they tell you to bring five options I would bring ten or more. You want to present them with as many options and looks as possible. Colors, cut and fit- make sure you have a variety.
  • Along with the specified clothing you are told to bring, you'll also need to bring your model bag. Every agency has a standard "model bag" that they require you to have with you at each and every shoot. In it are standard things like different colored nylons, bras, underwear, shoes, accessories and basic clothing pieces. Your agency should provide you with a list of these items when you sign with them.
  • Ask whether or not there will be a hair/makeup person for the shoot. If there is one, you should arrive with a clean face, no makeup on and clean hair. If not, then you will need to arrive at the shoot camera ready. Obviously you'll need to know what part you're playing so that you can do your hair and makeup to fit.
  • I've been told many different things about nails. One makeup artist told me to always get a french manicure for every shoot but I've had shoots where I was told specifically no nail polish at all. I've since decided to always make sure my nails are manicured and buffed with no polish or a clear coat.
  • Have a variety of clothes in your closet. Most parts I audition for are as a nurse, business woman, soccer mom, country club mom and even a cheerleader! You'll need a wide range of clothing styles to cover these types of parts. I even have a pair of scrubs that I wear when auditioning for nurse/doctor/medical related stuff. The more you look the part the better.

The most important piece of advice I can give you:

As exciting as it is for you, you are NOT a star. You're not Natalie Portman or Cameron Diaz. You're not starring in a $100 million dollar movie. You're a piece of the puzzle. Be professional, do what's asked of you, don't talk too much and then leave when they're done with you.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Martins in St. Martin

I'm sitting here watching another snow storm blow in and consequently reminiscing about our amazing trip to St. Martin this summer in celebration of our first anniversary. Thought I'd share some of the photos we took. If you live somewhere cold you'll sooooooo appreciate them. If you live somewhere sunny and warm then... blah to you!

Orient Beach

Grand Case

Pinel Island


Monday, January 3, 2011

Je vais apprendre à parler français pour que je puisse acheter assez choses que j'ai pas besoin.

So excited! Got just what I wanted for Christmas- Rosetta Stone in French!

Ever since visiting Paris two years ago, I've been obsessed with all things French- especially Versailles (click here to read my post about Versailles), Marie Antoinette and Napoleon & Josephine Bonaparte. I've read many books, watched movies and dvr'd many Discovery/History Channel programs. We even celebrated our first anniversary in St. Martin, on the French side of course (a surprise gift from my hubby)! It was a taste of France with gorgeous, white sand between our toes.

I do have one beef with Paris though. And I say Paris only because that's where we visited and because I've been assured from others who have traveled throughout France that Parisians stand alone in this. Parisians are notoriously, how should I put this... a bit snooty when it comes to Americans. On the one hand I get it. Americans are notorious for traveling abroad and then complaining that everything is not like it is in the U.S. or expecting that everyone speaks English, without even trying to learn a few phrases to get around. We were, sorry to say, guilty of this. But there is also the other side. The side where we, as Americans, aren't just rude or dismissive to tourists who don't speak English (I'd like to think so anyway). We have the decency to try and help people out. If a tourist who clearly does not speak English, say a Chinese tourist, stops us and asks for help we don't just stare at them and walk away or brush them off. Most of us would (again I hope this is true) do the best we could to help them. Going through the obligatory hand gesture dance along with a raised voice and slowed annunciation of our words, hoping that this somehow translates into Mandarin or Cantonese and makes them understand. But I digress...

Since our last visit I have vowed to learn to speak French so that I may someday go back and be able to at the minimum order a meal and at best barter for fabulous vintage goods that I don't need at the Parisian flea markets.

So far I've gotten through two lessons that were about 10 minutes each. I have to say that I think it's going well and that the method they use- repetition, matching words and actions to photos works for me.  Twenty minutes and I have the vocab of a four year old. Let's see, I know how to say: he, she, man, woman, girl, boy, dog, cat, eat, drink, write, sleep, run, swim, rice, apple, pen, car. I also know how to use those words in easy, just learning to read, Kindergarten language- he eats, she eats, they eat... Not bad I guess.

I'll keep you posted on my progress. (And no, I did not learn how to say the title of this post, Rosetta's not that good...that I looked up and translated online!) Bonne Annee!