How to be Mysterious

Glamorous Whole LIfe Makeover: How To Be Mysterious

Image courtesy of Audleigh on


I long for the old days of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, stars who had real glamour and mystique. We only knew so much about their lives; the rest was a mystery. –Pixie Lott

In the comments for my last post on the importance of being mysterious, the question was raised about finding the balance between being authentic and being mysterious.  I want to clarify that I don’t think being mysterious means being fake.  But, I don’t think we have to expose every bit of ourselves up to the light for examination in the name of authenticity.  I don’t walk around naked so that people can see what my figure really looks like.  No, I try to wear clothes that make me feel beautiful.  It’s the same way with the rest of your life–just because it is authentic, doesn’t mean it has to be exposed.  So, here are my ideas on how to be mysterious while also being authentic.

 How to Be Mysterious

  • Self-edit your social media– The next time you feel the urge to rant about something on social media, stop.  The next time you want time you want to let everyone know you are at Joe’s Fast Foodpalooza or standing in line to see a movie, stop.  Except for your inner circle of friends and family who worry about your health, you don’t need to let people know that you are at Iron Woman Gym.    Change your privacy settings on your smart phone so that your social media apps don’t automatically send out “check ins.”  (Although this is a conversation about being mysterious, turning off the location feature on your apps is also an important safety strategy since it gives strangers information about you, too)
  • Stop venting–A quote came through my Pinterest stream about how most people don’t care about your problems so we should stop telling them to others.  The actual quote was a bit harsh but the underlying message has some truth to it.  Stop complaining about things to people outside of your inner circle unless you are ready to take action to correct the problem.  Remember: A glamorous life appears to be free of problems.  It isn’t.  But others don’t need to know and you want to be known as being mysterious, not as a complainer.
  • Keep your own counsel–Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you have to say it. I’ll admit that I’m struggling with this.  My work at the university requires a lot of relationship and trust building so that faculty feel safe sharing their fears and frustrations with me.  I have become aware that I mirror other people’s stories with my own “connecting story” that enables them to know that I understand what they are going through.  But I’m doing it more often than I need to do.  There is a time and place for it but not all the time.  I’ve been reflecting upon the story of Christ’s birth to remind myself that it is okay not to provide a mirror or connecting story in every conversation. In the Scriptures,  Luke 2:19 points out that Mary kept all of the events in her heart and meditated on them.  If anyone had a reason to talk about what was going on, it was the mother of Christ.  But she just kept her thoughts to herself and pondered them from time to time (Although, to be fair, can you imagine how that conversation would go?  There’s really not a lot of room to say, “You’re kidding!  That happened to me, TOO!” when you’re talking about mangers, shepherds, and angels filling the sky…)
  • Really listen to others–You’ll be considered a great conversationalist if you ask questions that enable another person to talk about themselves instead of looking for an opportunity to talk yourself.  I think listening and hearing others has become a lost art.
  • Be a bit more formal in your interactions with others (but not in a pretentious or creepy way)–One thing that jumps out at me when I watch television shows and movies made before 1965 is how formal people are with each other.  They address people they don’t know by their title and last name.  Maybe it is time that way of interacting with others is brought back  (I know, I know…you extroverts are just being friendly by calling people by their first names but it kind of freaks us raging introverts out a bit…we need to warm up to you a bit).

Those are some ideas that came to my mind.  Do you have any others?

Be Mysterious {Glamour Goal of the Week}

Be Mysterious Glamorous Whole Life Makeover Goal of the Week

Grace Kelly image courtesy of Vintage-Retro on


It’s the unknown that draws people. 

E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

I’ve been thinking a lot about the role being mysterious plays in leading a glamorous life.  You see, when my elderly father-in-law fell and broke his hip two months ago, I immediately began telling everyone who would listen all of the details. But, this past weekend, I remembered what Virginia Postrel said in The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion* regarding how glamour’s power is in the hidden, the shadows, and the unseen.  When the reality is shown in the light of day, glamour melts away.

For years and years, we’ve been told to be “authentic,” to let it all hang out, so to speak.  In the process of showing our authentic selves in the light of day, we lost the power that comes from being mysterious.

So, my Glamour Goal of the Week is to reclaim that power by trying to be more mysterious.  Who is with me?


*This is an affiliate link.  If you click on it and buy a copy of the book, Amazon will pay me a small fee.  Thank you for supporting

What Being a Modern Retro Woman Means to Me

"Travel alone and like it" American Airlines advertisement; Courtesy of Mad Men Art on Flickr.

“Travel alone and like it” American Airlines advertisement; Courtesy of Mad Men Art on Flickr.


Both for The Mister and for me as our fears from being 2,000 miles away from his elderly parents came to fruition.


When I felt like I just couldn’t deal with what was being asked of me anymore, I could run into the (figurative) arms of Paul Drake and he, Perry, and Della would make everything right, again, within 45 minutes.


Grateful that modern technology enabled me to stay connected to The Mister several times a day while he was gone and provide assistance in ways that were impossible, even unimaginable, 20 years ago.


Music gently reminding me that my foremothers were stronger than they thought they could be in the face of adversity.  And so am I.


Noticing how much better my days seemed to go when I overcame the desire to just be schlumpy and did my best to dress well. 


I have been quiet these past couple of months.  My words are trapped inside of me and jumbled up with raw emotions that demand my attention.  The Mister is home again.  We still have a long road ahead of us but the crisis has been resolved.  We will create a new normal.  Being vagabonds, we are used to change, used to letting go.  But letting go is different than mourning for the people you love who have been snatched away by dementia. 


Surrendering to the myth of simpler times to find the strength to live in a modern world.


(PS: Thank you to Glamour Pack members on Facebook for all of your kind words, thoughts, and prayers.  They are deeply appreciated)

Glamour Meditation

Glamour Meditation - Glamorous Whole Life Makeover on  This glamour meditation will help prime your mind to create the glamorous life you've always dreamed of living.

Glamour Meditation collage image source.

In my previous Glamorous Whole Life Makeover™ post on creating a Vision of Glamour, I encouraged you to find as many images of what a glamorous life means to you and place them in your notebook.  You will now use those images for your glamour meditation exercise. 

You may be tempted to just skip the glamour meditation exercise because you don’t have time or you think it is a bunch of hooey.  But don’t.  You see, imagery taps into a very different part of your brain than you are used to using in our very text-oriented world.  This exercise will help that part of your brain talk to the rest of you so that you can understand why those images speak to you…why those images represent glamour to you.  You can think of it as priming your mind to create the glamorous life you’ve always dreamed of living.

To make this process easier for you, I’ve created a six and a half minute guided meditation for you. 

Guided Glamour Meditation

You will need:

  • A quiet place where you can be alone with your thoughts for at least 15 minutes
  • Your Glamorous Whole Life Makeover Notebook to write down your thoughts after the meditation
  • The images you chose from the Vision of Glamour exercise placed in front of you
  • The recording

The recording:

Click on the media player’s arrow button, below, to listen to the recording.


Share with us:

What image resonated the most with you?  What did it represent?  What did you find out about your vision of glamour as a result of this glamour meditation?

Chocolate Mayo Cake

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake vintage recipe at

Image of Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake vintage recipe courtesy of Deborah Laux

After our friend, sculptor and graphic designer Deborah Laux , mentioned that she is the keeper of a family recipe for Chocolate May Cake, I begged her to send it to me so that I could share it with the Modern Retro Woman community.  In her email she writes,

My childhood was littered with Chocolate Mayo Cakes – the only cake our family made. It’s simple and quick to make. And, it’s mouth-wateringly moist.

You may notice the recipe does not call for oil or eggs. Mayonnaise is made of oil and eggs blended together. [You thought it was weird, yes?] And, whether you are a Miracle Whip family or a Best Foods family, this cake will work for you. The moistness in this cake has to do with the emulsification of the oil and eggs. If someone knows the science behind it, let me know.

My mom always made the frosting with coffee. You can look up how to make frosting with powdered sugar. Just use brewed coffee as the liquid. Coffee cuts the sweetness and it goes great with chocolate. We ate it as kids so you know it doesn’t really taste like coffee.

Bake in a regular rectangular cake pan. We always frosted it right in the pan because it never lasted long enough to bother with the fancy stuff.


Naturally, I had to try this out myself so that I could gush about how good it tasted.  My only dilemma was that I didn’t have any powdered sugar in the pantry for making a frosting.  Thank goodness for the Internet!  I did a search for sugarless frosting and found one from the sugar rationing days of World War II at

My only admonition about this cake is to make sure you are using real mayonnaise or Miracle Whip for best results.  The low fat or “other fats” mayonnaise may not give you the results you want.

As Deborah said in her email….Enjoy!

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
This vintage recipe uses mayonnaise instead of oil and eggs for a moist, chocolately, cake!
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  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 5 Tb. cocoa
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 teaspoons soda
  6. 1 cup water
  7. 1 cup mayonnaise
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Grease and flour a rectangular cake pan. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (325ºF for cupcakes).
  2. Sift the dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Combine the water, mayonnaise, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Pour into the cake pan (or cupcake tin).
  4. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes for cake or 15-25 minutes for cupcakes.
  1. Use regular mayonnaise for best results.
Adapted from Deborah Laux Family Recipe
Adapted from Deborah Laux Family Recipe
Modern Retro Woman
 Note: This recipe was originally posted on October 20, 2009.  It has been updated to take advantage of the Recipe Card tool.