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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fulfilling a Bucket List Goal

Today I start the first of many posts about my recent blogging tour that I went on the week between the 9th to the 17th of September . I had a full schedule of things I wanted to do while visiting points of interest from Burbank to Santa Cruz Ca.,. One thing that I really wanted to make happen and something that had been on my bucket list since childhood was to have a professional photo shoot and lucky for me Dream Out Loud Photography and Make up Artistry by Donna, both from the Anaheim area...or at least the studio they work out of, were happy to make that happen for me. 

Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be like the models that I saw in the magazines or the movie stars that I saw in the movie stills from the old time movies that I always adored, of course being a petite girl, being anything but the super slender and tall girls that I saw in my magazines and not being classically beautiful or even cute ( in my eyes) , being shy, an introvert, with low self esteem and living in a small farming community, I pretty much figured that would never ever happen. I did have a chance of course to work with a professional photographer, for high school senior portraits, family portraits at Sears, or later as a gift for the hubby in sexy shots for Valentines day, but that was not modeling...and other than the V-day gift session it was not about being beautiful and model like. Flash forward many years to when I started this blog and got involved in social media, and I began to pose for photos to share, so I was "modeling" , but it was not in my mind, and I guess pretty safe to say, as my hubby was taking the photos with my camera and later phone, the same thing.  As I got deeper into the pin up culture, that really encompasses vintage loving/wearing , retro/retrophiles, rockabilly and true pinup ladies and seeing them all, every shape, size and height having photo shoots with professionals it really ignited in me that old desire to do one as feel special, beautiful and experience what it would be like to be a model for a photographer other than my husband. Reality is most of these pinup models are young enough to be my daughter. Being a woman of 50, drooping eye lids, getting a bit of a double chin, and crepe like skin and laugh lines and having salt and pepper hair that has a shade of subtle pink and purple to it, I hardly look like most of the lovelies I see in the photos.... I thought who would really want to work with me when they can work with young beauties?! HOWEVER when I was planning the blogging tour I took a chance and approached Victor of DOLP and asked if he would work with me to realize a dream, and he and his partner Donna were very enthusiastic about the prospect. So we made plans. 

The beautiful Donna, both Victor's muse and make up artist on his shoots 

We made the 6 hour drive to Burbank on Friday the 9th , myself in 80 pin curls wrapped up in a scarf ( ready to do my hair the next day) and the next day bright and early, at 6 a.m.,  I got up and did my hair, as Donna was not familiar with working with short hair ( not a lot of pin ups have short hair) , and at 8 a.m. Victor and Donna arrived at our hotel, the famous Safari Inn there in Burbank,  to do my make up. It might surprise many, but I have only had my make up done professionally a couple of times, and that was at a make up counter many years ago. It was wonderful! It is physically painful and hard for me to do my own make up, and it is, let me tell you a real treat! Donna is very good at what she does, and is very quick at it as well... and she does not mind sharing tips and tricks. 

Once the make up was done they departed for the Wonderland Studios in Anaheim and I got dressed in my first outfit that I would be wearing and we followed behind. A little over and hour later I was standing in front of the camera, a big fan aimed on me, white back drop and bright lights shining, and the fun began. I was at first nervous, but being shot by Victor with Donna to help, and being friends with them online already and having already broken the ice during the make up application, I had no reason....all the fears and anxiety I had leading up to the day, all the butterflies flew right out the proverbial window!! Victor directed me on how to stand, where to look and had Donna help with wardrobe issues or examples and sometimes they just let me do my own thing, let me take the lead and shot those poses as well. Three outfits later we were all done and my hubby and myself were off to go explore Magnolia Blvd in Burbank and do some major shopping, but more on that in a later blog. I had such an amazing experience and it is one that now I want again and again.... and I plan on seeking out other photographers to work with..... to recapture that feeling. It is not a vanity thing, it is more of an empowering thing and now I understand why all the pinup ladies like doing them...and for me it was also as close to a bucket list fulfillment of being a professional model as I think I shall get. Of course with the appearance of so many older models in the media and fashion world, who knows?   

Below is a few photos from the session, I will be posting the final shots at a later date once I receive them, and also posting a quick little video with more shots of the process on my Ruby's Musings You Tube channel on Friday, the link of which is always on the left hand side bar or on my FB fan page. 

Dress is by Bernie Dexter,
hat from Polished Raven ( link in right hand side bar)

Dress is from Hearts and Roses , hat a vintage find

Dress is from Le Bomb, link in right hand side bar , hat a vintage find.

My photographer and posing coach Victor

My make up artist and posing assistant Donna

Find Dream Outloud Photography via the link on the side bar which will lead you to their FB page or by going on instagram to 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Conquering Fears

To look at me you would think I enjoy being noticed, being in the limelight and center of conversation... considering I am a blogger, now do YouTube, and live weekly chats on my FB fan page, you would think I am outgoing.  If you were to meet me in person and had a conversation with me, you would think I was a social butterfly.   All of the above is so far from the truth. Truth be told I am filled with anxiety, social and situational, and inside I am always in a panic, an instant fight or flight mode. Fear might as well be my middle name. Somehow throughout my life I have been able to hide the outward appearance of these issues, even in situations where I swear I am going to either throw up or pass out. I have built a persona, that is like another personality, that I can hide behind and not show that I am just a bowl of quivering jello. Oh do not get me wrong, I do like people, and can be very chatty, but it seems to be a nervous reaction the latter part, because for so many years I was a shy wallflower and could barely say a word when meeting new people and quite often came off as rude or stand offish. 

There would have been a time when I would never have thought or considered putting myself out there either through the written word or otherwise. I hated talking about myself. It was always hard to let anyone in. I never wanted to be in front of the camera, and would only do so when others would request a photo to be sent to them, such as family members or pen pals. I could never look at a photo and not see what was wrong ( in my eyes) either physically or even deeper, the pain and discomfort behind the smile, when I could muster one. Then came social media and it seemed it was necessary, expected, even in the early days when it was just myspace ; people wanted to see what you looked like. Then once I started blogging, an outlet for my pent up emotions and a form of self therapy to deal with my deep depression over my life situations ( in the beginning of this blog) , it became more so evident that people wanted to put a face with the words, clip art and old time photos was not going to cut it all the time. Fast forward to finally relenting and getting an Instagram account, and it was not just expected but almost demanded.  I never wanted to be a pin up or selfie junkie, I am simply a retro housewife in a modern world. 

It became a necessity to put myself out there more and more however when I decided that I wanted to start a promotional business for retro products; something that occurred quite by accident when someone asked me if I would share their products.   I could not just simply share the products, as that did not seem to garner as many likes which is sort of the point, to have things seen... I noticed when I shared myself more along side the products that it helped quite a bit.  I once used to have to wait for people to not be looking in the early days, hubby and I would go to a deserted part of a street or location, or he would sneak photos if it was too busy to do otherwise. Quite often not many photos would make it onto the blog or other social media platforms as you could see the fear shining through on my face or in my body language. I can not always hide it....and it was not just the fear and anxiety that would show it was my battle with my chronic pain issues from fibromyalgia and arthritis among a few other physical ailments. No one was ever the wiser, as I only shared the best of the best and even then not as many as I was not yet on Instagram. 

Flash forward to now. and my Instagram feed is full of photos, as are my blogs. Photos taken while people are walking by, standing and watching, or even asking to be a part of them at times. I am even going to be going on what I am calling the Ruby's Musings Blogging Tour, turning my vacation with my husband into a working promotional trip and even *GASP* a meet and greet opportunity to both meet fans and potential clients. There is even to be a professional photo shoot, not just my husband on the cell phone....and vlog episodes that are possibly going to be included on the online documentary Pinup The Movie! I have nearly made myself sick from the anxiety, sheer panic and trepidation surrounding this. To prepare I went to a large car show in the area and had photos taken and met with fellow retrophiles/pin ups and went to Reno and spoke to a shop keeper there as mentioned in my last blog, getting used to chatting with a possible client. I have so much weighing on this as I also put a call out for sponsorship, never truly expecting too many to respond or step up and when a few larger companies did just that, trusting in me to send me not just small items but full outfits to wear and promote. It put a lot more pressure on myself and as I want to make them happy and glad that they have given me the chance to be a brand ambassador for their companies/products. It is not just the larger companies, but smaller home based businesses as well that are counting on me to get the word out and build up sales! My friends and family keep telling me "you got this!" , " you are going to do wonderfully" , etc etc , and inside is that shy wall flower that really just keeps screaming " what did you get yourself into??" ; time will tell and hopefully I can conquer my fears and great things will come of my efforts and help me get past my anxiety and panic over it all. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Weekend Getaway

Some days you just have to getaway 

*sorry this is a day late, had doctors appointment that lasted a lot longer than I expected.
A few months ago hubby came home and told me he bought a hotel package for The Peppermill Resort up in Reno, which is about 2.5 hours from where we live. We kept trying to figure out when we would take advantage of this, but time kept passing by, until this last weekend. we finally were able to make the trip up. The weather was scorching hot here in the valley and we had high hopes that we might escape some of it, but that was not the case, we left in triple digit heat and it was just below that when we finally arrived at our destination. 

Ready to head out for a fun weekend get away

image via
Taken above the city of Reno

My first impressions of The Peppermill was that of just what it now claims to be, an upscale resort, quite the departure from the strip portion of S. Virginia there in Reno which is in some areas dank and dirty and unchanged in years and just what you might expect for an older casino strip that has been around forever, and in where in spots you can begin to see that they are trying to spiff it all up and add a bit of polish to it to compete with Vegas. It seems to be designed to resemble Ceasar's Palace but with it's own unique flair. As we drove in there was columns, large stone statuary and the ever present in larger resort hotels, fountains and indoor lighting used to light the valet area. As we entered the hotel check in area, marble flooring, shades of pale rose pink, terra cotta and gold and giant screens pretty much everywhere you look with high definition screens with beautiful moving scenes and photos from all over the world. That portion was a bit of a departure, in my mind to the over all theme, but still quite beautiful in comparison to the standard art work or non stop logos found in other hotels. Our check in was swift, even for a Friday night and we quickly made our way to the elevators and up to our room, the whole way glancing at these moving artworks. 

As we entered the room, it was beautiful in shades of cream, champagne and gold. The tv was on, again beautiful images playing upon it and set to a radio station playing much to my delight Frank Sinatra. Our view? Our room overlooked over the pool area, the spa, steak house and night club. It was gorgeous... busy, but gorgeous in shades of terra cotta, rich blue from the water and deep rich reds of the seating, and as the sun was setting, the lights made everything sparkle. The view expanded far past the roof tops to make it possible to gaze upon the surrounding mountain tops.

 Once we were settled and freshened up, we went down to find something to eat. There was a lot of wonderful places to eat, but we chose to go to one of the more casual bistros there at the Peppermill by the name of Biscottis. It being nearly 9 p.m we simply wanted something light to eat, so we ordered a lovely cheese plate, a salad for myself and a sandwich and salad for hubby. As Biscottis is centered around having a wood burning pizza oven, the cheese plate came with grilled bread, the bread and turkey on my hubby's sandwich, also the shrimp on my salad were all prepared in this oven creating a wonderful flavor profile. Once eating our fill of the above, we headed out to do a little bit of sight seeing of the hotel and found the non smoking slot area as well as the Fireside Lounge ( of which I shared with you from my trip to Vegas when we went to the Peppermill Fireside Lounge there) , to partake in a cocktail before returning to the slots...we did not do very well, up by 20 and then lost the 10 invested.

Settling into our comfy room, and after snacking on a cookie we bought before returning to the room, we turned in for the night. Unfortunately sleep was hard to come by since there was not as good of air movement as we are used to here at Muse Cottage ( we sleep with standing fans aimed on us) and so it got a bit stuffy. The next morning red eyed from lack of sleep and the exposure to cigarette smoke in the bulk of the casino area, we awoke to room service and a wonderful breakfast set up for us in front of the beautiful view of  the pool. My husband had the cinnamon french toast and I had the fresh apple danish.  There was fresh coffee, real cream and fresh squeezed orange juice. After a leisurely breakfast and taking my time to get ready, we headed out for a day of adventures.

First stop was to a short portion of Virginia St. just about a mile up the street was a delightful retro dress shop by the name Dressed Like That. I had been wanting to visit Cynthia's shop for at least two years now as soon as I discovered it was in the scheme of things so very close. I was not disappointed. Greeted with a warm smile and hello and hugs exchanged, I was delighted to poke around this adorable pin up clothing store. There was something new at every turn and so much eye candy. In the end, I bought three blouses, from various brands, including Heart of Haute ( see link on side bar of web version) some Suavecita grooming spray, a pair of gloves and an Elvis wallet.  After a few photos and some goody byes, we headed out for the next portion of our day....Virginia City.

We had been there about 5 years ago and really enjoyed the fun western environment, the historic buildings and general enjoyable, easy going feeling. The drive is beautiful and a quick trip from Reno. The first time we visited we knew we wanted to take the 30 minute round trip steam train trip to Gold Hill and then back, so after a yummy lunch of grilled cheese and avocado sandwich for myself, and fish and chips for hubby, at the Mustang Ranch cafe and a stroll up and down the main street we headed out to the train depot. It was such a fun and interesting little trip, filled with amusing commentary, wonderful scenery and history of the mining area we were seeing, it is worth the 10.00 per person and is truly a must for any visitor.

 Once the ride was over, it was back to Reno and our hotel. We once again freshened up, as it was only a few degrees cooler than Reno up in the mountains, a sponge bath was much needed. We made reservations and headed to supper at Romanza . A short stroll from where the elevators were located we were greeted with a mimic of the rest of the hotel, statuary, shades of pink, gold and lush greenery. As we were actually guided to our seats it unfolded to be so much more, semi secluded high back booths in a deep salmon color, drapery, columns reaching to a faux sky filled with puffy clouds and twinkling starlight and floral arrangements all glowing by the table top candlelight, it was truly one of the most romantic restaurants that I have ever been in, lending I am guessing to the name. Italian food was the theme of the food, and the menu would make a foody swoon! Fresh house made pastas, breads, risottos and polenta offerings as well as a nice selection of appetizers, seafood and meat dishes. My husband ordered crab stuffed shrimp with the house made pasta and a creamy lemon sauce, for myself I had the panceta wrapped bay sea scallops served with a lobster asparagus risotto... and as a special treat I ordered the house Bellini that was made with peach sorbet, rum, red wine and persecco....  it was AMAZING...wonderfully refreshing on a hot day! Hubby had the Chianti and it was quite yummy as well. As it had been a very long day and we were tired we retired early to our room, enjoyed the perks of room service, ordering a bottle of sparkling wine to be delivered to our room and watched the Olympics until we turned in. 

As the sun rose on another day, and it was time to check out, we headed out, and ate breakfast at Ihop, and started out on our drive home. We did make some stops at a couple local wineries on the way home, to pick up some bottles for our wine cabinet and made it back before supper.  All in all, other than the red eyes, a cold I happen to get and lack of sleep it was a pretty good weekend getaway and I hope one day to repeat it. Now to look forward to our trip in September! 

As seen from the front of Biscottis in a near by bar.

image is via google search

Day 2

*dress in first few photos Sara USA
accessories all but shoes and pearls are vintage
Second dress is Lindy Bop 

Join me....
Now doing "Ask Ruby" over on FB ....

and Fridays on You Tube,
in case you don't do FB
and want a more in depth answer 
to any questions, are interested in 
Household and Retro Housewife tips as 
well as reviews not seen here on the blog. 

Always on ...
Instagram, Twitter and FB 

If you are a crafter, seamstress, business owner with a retro theme interested in collaborating or sponsorship, or a local photographer interested in doing a retro theme shoot,
you may contact me by personal message on any of my social media accounts. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Summer's Day in Winters Ca.

Main St. Historic Winter's Ca 

A couple of weeks ago my husband and myself spent the weekend in Winters California, a small town of just over 7,000 people in Yolo County.  We did not actually spend the night, instead deciding to go back after having stopped there  this particular Saturday,  as a way to spend the day before going to a car show in Woodland Ca., called Midnight Mass later that day. We had done some wine tasting at the two wine tasting rooms in the historic district, Turkovich and Berryessa.... there are other places that serve wine or have a wine bar, but actual winery tasting rooms there is only two. 

The first day that we had stopped in, it had been a number of years since we had been in to do any wine tasting or to sample the cheeses that they also offer for sale there. We enjoyed each of the offerings, but one sparkling wine, a reserved Brut, made in the traditional way that Champagne has been made for centuries, was in one word, DIVINE! From the golden color, to the aroma to the way the bubbles never died off grabbed our attention, sadly, it was not something we could purchase that day as we, as mentioned were headed off to other destinations and with the weather being what it is has been, it could not be shipped. We decided right then and there that we would make the 40 or so minute drive back to purchase a bottle, or two.  Flash forward to Sunday, we did just that....before going back to Turkovich however we choose to go have a bite to eat. We found a wonderful Mexican food place that fit the need for substance and for a craving that has been nagging at me.

If you are ever in Winters Ca, and need to pad your belly
before doing some wine tasting, this is the place. Great food,
and reasonably priced!

Plus they have these beautiful circle skirts decorating
all the walls. Sorry for the glare...could not disturb the

I think this one was my favorite....

Or maybe this one was! 

After getting our fill of the yummy food at Chuy's , we headed back down to Turkovich to sample that yummy bubbly again, and this time we would not leave without a bottle, maybe two. 

After revisiting and trying some new wine offerings, we headed up hwy 128 to our other long time favorite Nichelini , the oldest family ran winery in the Napa area and one that has been both owned, ran and the wine made by one of the family members since it's conception. It is always as I said a favorite and worth the drive to it's remote location right along the highway between Winters and Napa. You are always greeted with a warm smile and friendly hello, and get to taste some amazing wine poured (weather allowing) among the trees, greenery and singing birds, poured by a family member. If you are lucky you will get a few family history lessons as well. 

Parking is limited and the walk from where you do park
and where the entrance of the winery is can be a little scary,
 so do be careful and aware of cars.
What you see here is across the road from the
Nichelini homestead and tasting rooms.

Down a couple of flights of stairs await good times and
fine wine. 

Until Next Time....

Purse by Sourpuss Clothing
Shoes Amazon
Petticoat from Malco Modes
Blouse is thrifted and brooch is 
Earrings are by Twinkleburst 
Sunglasses by Retro Betty  SLC.