A Vision of Glamour

A Vision of Glamour Collage Glamorous Whole Life Makeover ModernRetroWoman.com

Photos for A Vision of Glamour collage courtesy of (1) Kristine on Flickr; (2) Paul Malon on Flickr; and (3) Monica Forghani on Pinterest.

When I announced the Glamorous Whole Life Makeover theme for the year, I pointed out that everyone has their own vision of what it means to be glamorous.  I also said that I’d give you the chance to go wild on Pinterest.  Well, Glam Pack, today is the day!  We are now moving into the “glamorous vision phase” of the makeover.

By now, you’ve hopefully eliminated a whole bunch of energy sucking things you were tolerating.  You’ve also made the commitment to do what it takes to achieve your vision of glamour.  If not, you need to go back and do those things because becoming glamorous may seem tedious at times (but not today).  And, you’ll also need energy so that the changes you will be making this year will stick.  You can think of those steps as clearing the land in preparation for building a house.  We’re moving onto the foundation stage and you don’t want it on unstable ground.

Ready?  Let’s begin.  Get out your Glamorous Whole Life Makeover notebook and create a new section called “Vision of Glamour.”

Bring In The Experts

Imagine that you are the head of a major entertainment studio during the golden age of Hollywood  (Give this character a name or take the name of one of the famous movie moguls from that time).  You go to a party and meet a fascinating woman who confides in you that she’s always wanted to be glamorous but doesn’t know how to go about doing it (Give this character a name, too, that sounds remarkably like yours).  You take a tremendous liking to this woman and decide to become her mentor.  You invite her to your studio for a meeting with your Glamour Team the next day.

Your  Glamour Team asks this woman all sorts of questions that seem both obvious and unrelated to her desire to be glamorous:

  • Who do you admire?
  • What books do you read?
  • What kind of physical activities do you enjoy?
  • What are your favorite colors?
  • Who are your favorite movie stars?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • And so on and so forth, no stone left unturned.

And then the Glamour Team goes to work in the studio and library archives pulling out as many images as they can as a “rough draft” for the woman’s vision of glamour.  They then bring the images to you and the woman to fine tune the vision.

Create Your Own Vision of Glamour

Your task is to start exploring the visual archives and pull out as many images as you can–in as many areas of your life that you can–of what it means to be glamorous.  Explore Pinterest, Flickr, Google Images, and as many image sites and magazines that you can.  While it is okay to create a Pinterest board for this, I also want you to have hard copies of these images.

For your first go-round.  Don’t edit which images you choose.  If it appeals to you, nab it (and make note of where your retrieved it from in case you need to grab it again).  The more images you are able to add to your first draft, the better.  Wait a day or two and go through the images you collected.  Keep the ones that still speak to you, remove the ones that don’t.  Do this process again.

Place the final collection of images in your binder using acetate sleeves.  You’ll want to be able to move them around in the future. 


What is your studio head name and fascinating woman name?  My movie mogul name is Margaret G. McFann or MGM for short (see what I did there?  I crack myself up).  My fascinating woman name is Julianna.

Let’s get visioning!

Are You Up To Being Glamorous?

Are You Up To Being Glamorous Collage ModernRetroWoman.com

Are You Up to Being Glamorous? adapted from an image courtesy of Mariana on Flickr.com


The new semester started this week at the university.  I was speaking with a professor, yesterday, about the first day of class. She told me that she was  gobsmacked by a short conversation she had with a student as everyone was leaving at the end of class.  Without any introduction or background information, the student simply said to her, “I need to pass this class in order to graduate.”  The professor responded that if the student did the work for the class and asked for help when he was feeling stuck, then he should be able to pass without any problem.  The student then walked away looking disappointed.  The professor told me that she got the distinct impression that the student was hoping for an “A” in the class without having to put in any effort to learn.  Unfortunately, I’ve heard enough variations on that story over the years to not have been surprised by it but it was the first time a student had been so blatant with her regarding expectations for a successful outcome without wanting to do any work.

But, before you jump all over this student for wanting the “A” without the effort, stop for a moment and think about how you’ve done the same thing.  Have you not tried to take a shortcut to achieve a goal?  And, despite the shortcut being unsuccessful, don’t you keep trying shortcut after shortcut?  We all do it.  If we didn’t, books with titles like “Seven Easy Steps to_______”  wouldn’t be best sellers (Have you ever noticed that it’s always seven steps?  Why not three or fifteen?).

The downside of the Glamorous Whole Life Makeover is that one aspect of glamour is the sense of effortlessness. Glamorous people have mastered the fine art of making everything look easy for them.  Unlike romance that highlights the struggle to achieve a goal, glamour hides how hard one has to work to achieve it.

During the golden age of Hollywood, the studio system created personae for their actresses.  There was the glamorous actress, the girl-next-door actress, the rebellious or bad girl actress, the songbird, the mother, and so forth.  Behind the scenes, the actresses were groomed by the studios.  They took classes in elocution, singing, poise, dancing, and acting.  They learned how to dress and they learned how to apply makeup.  They learned how to talk to reporters.  They learned how to eat at fine restaurants.  They eventually became their persona.  Even Grace Kelly, who came from a life of privilege, had to work hard to become Grace Kelly!

I didn’t start the Glamorous Whole Life Makeover project with this post on purpose.  The first couple of weeks of the new year, everyone is all gung-ho on making changes in their lives.  We’re now two weeks into it and the realities of how much work it takes to make changes are starting to sink in.  But, if the lifestyle changes were easy without having to work for them, you would have done them already.

Your assignment for today to get out your Glamorous Whole Life Makeover notebook and create a reflection section in it.  I want you to spend some time writing about what benefits you get out of not making any changes.  What are the “rewards” you get for holding onto the things you say you want to change in your life?  Just like there are payoffs for making changes, there are also payoffs for not making changes.  For example, fear of failure is a major motivator for not making changes.  Then reflect upon whether or not you are willing to give up the payoff in order to achieve a glamorous life.

Today, actresses no longer are groomed by a studio.  But you can be sure that they are working hard behind the scenes with teams of experts to create a glamorous persona.  Are you up to doing the behind the scenes work, too, to create your glamorous life? 

Pot Roast with Dried Plums and Port Wine {Vintage Recipe}

Pot Roast with Dried Plums and Port Wine Vintage Recipe ModernRetroWoman.com

 It’s time to start thinking of our meals in terms of glamour and elegance.  Dinner from a box is not even remotely glamorous.  It is time to step up the glamour meal quotient and retrain your palate to savor fine food.  I know, I know.  You’re thinking you don’t have time for a glamorous meal.  I understand.  I, too, live a very busy life.  But, remember, as part of our Glamorous Whole Life Makeover, we are learning the tricks from our mid-century mentors on how to make something seem like we’ve spent hours over the stove when we really haven’t.  Case in point:  Pot Roast with Dried Plums and Port Wine.  This recipe really only has about 15 minutes of active cooking time.  You can wander off and do something else while it is working its magic.  And the flavor is absolutely sublime.

I found this recipe in Sunset Cookbook of Favorite Recipes, 1949.  The original title was Pot Roast with Prunes and Wine.  That isn’t very glamorous sounding, is it?  So, I refined the title a bit to fit our needs.

I have not tried this recipe in a slow cooker so I cannot tell you how it would fare.  But it does quite well in a cast iron dutch oven on top of the stove. And, the best part is that the aroma fills the house with anticipation of a delicious meal.  Serve this with buttered noodles or mashed potatoes topped with Parmesan cheese.  The leftovers make heavenly sandwiches that puts deli roast beef to shame.

Are you ready to step up your glamorous meal quotient?

Pot Roast with Dried Plums and Port Wine
Serves 6
With just a few minutes of active cooking time, this elegant pot roast will make it seem like you've slaved over the stove for hours to achieve its sublime flavor.
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  1. 4 pound chuck pot roast
  2. Flour
  3. 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  4. 1 large onion, chopped
  5. 1 large can (1 lb. 13 oz) of chopped tomatoes
  6. 1 cup boiling water
  7. Package of prunes (at least 18 prunes)
  8. 1 cup tawny Port wine
  9. 1 Tablespoon sugar
  10. Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a heavy pot or dutch oven.
  2. Dredge the roast in the flour and slowly brown on all sides in the oil.
  3. Add the onion and continue to cook until caramelized.
  4. Add tomatoes and boiling water. Cover the pot tightly and simmer over low heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours (until the meat is almost tender).
  5. Add prunes, port wine, sugar, salt and pepper. Continue cooking for another 30 - 45 minutes or until the meat and prunes are tender.
  1. Serve with buttered noodles or mashed potatoes topped with Parmesan cheese.
Adapted from Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes (1949)
Adapted from Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes (1949)
Modern Retro Woman http://modernretrowoman.com/

Is Your Desk A Junk Heap?

Is Your Desk A Junk Heap? Glamorous Whole Life Makeover ModernRetroWoman.com

Is Your Desk A Junk Heap? adapted from an image courtesy of Paul Malon on Flickr

What does your desk look like?  Is it a catch-all for everything?  Is your desk a junk heap?

Continuing our series on living a life of ease as part of our Glamorous Whole Life Makeover, today we are going to focus on creating a simple system for organizing your basic documents–such as utility bills, pay stub, school announcements, receipts, etc.–whether they come to you in paper or electronic format.  The system will help eliminate clutter and enable you to access the documents if you need them.  I have tried many systems and this is the one that works best for me and, the best part, it is self-purging.

Document Tickler File

Although this system helps organize all of your documents, I want you to just focus on what I call the basic ones for now.  These are the documents that come in and end up creating clutter and turning your desk into a junk heap.  And, once they are in the “clutter zone,” it takes more time and energy to find what you need.  They become a toleration.  And, let’s be honest.  A cluttered desk is not what usually comes to mind when you think of a glamorous lifestyle.  No.  Clutter is the antithesis of glamour.

Basically, you will be creating a variation of a tickler file.  Traditionally, tickler files are used as reminders of future events.  Many of us already use a tickler system to keep us on track with our homekeeping.  This version is a two-year easy to access archive.  I use hanging file folders for this system but I’m sure you could use very large binders or an accordion file if you don’t have a lot of hard copy paperwork.  For your electronic documents, you will create a folder with subfolders.

What You Need

You get to go to the stationary store!  But stay focused.  I know office supply stores are filled with all sorts of goodness but you are only going to get folders or huge binders (and pockets) or accordion files.  You will need two sets in two different colors–one color for each year.  Really.  That’s all you will need.  No, you don’t need that new organizing notebook with all of those bells and whistles.  It will just end up with your other bells and whistles that have become a toleration.

You will need enough folders each year for:

  • Each month
  • Income/W2/1099
  • Charitable Donations
  • Medical Receipts
  • Other Tax-related Deductions
  • Bank or Financial Statements
  • Auto Insurance
  • Other documents you routinely get and need to keep in an easy to find location such as school notices
  • Business-related income
  • Business-related expenses

Really.  That’s it.  One organizing expert I read, many, many, years ago, suggested having a file folder for each account.  Well, I had so many different accounts between my utilities and credit cards and insurance and banks and investment accounts  (and then there was the stuff related to having two small businesses) that I’d never get around to filing and it all would end up in a jumble in a banker’s box next to my desk.  I called the box my “to be filed” box.  Ha!  My accountant brother would just shake his head every time he saw it.  Trust me when I tell you that this system is really simple and actually works.

Let The Organizing Begin!

You are going to take one set of folders and designate them “odd year.”  Create “odd year” labels for each folder using the above categories.  For example, you’ll have labels that say “Odd Year January,” “Odd Year February,” and so on.  Then, you’ll take the other set and designate them “even year.”  Create your even year labels.  Attach the labels to your folders.  Then put your odd year file folders into your filing cabinet.  Put the even year file folders behind them.

Unless the document has a special designation, such as tax or medical related, all of your documents go into the file folder for the current month.  For instance, when I pay my January bills, the bills with the appropriate check stubs stapled to them go into the January file folder.  If I charge something, after I’ve recorded the purchase, the receipt goes into the folder so that I have it on hand in case I have to return the item or there is a problem when I do my reconciliation when the bill arrives.  To make the monthly folder easier to find, I attach a binder clip to the top of the label.

At the end of the year, move the other set of folders to the front of the other set so that the current even or odd year as at the front.

After you’ve used this for two years, the self-purging will begin.  For example, at the beginning of the month, I took the Odd Year January folder out of the cabinet and quickly looked at the documents from two years ago to make sure there wasn’t anything I needed to save for some reason.  As expected, only one or two things needed to be moved to a longer term storage and the rest were shredded.  My Odd Year January was now ready to use and it only took me 5 minutes, if that, to do.  I repeat the process at the beginning of each month.  Most of the “special designation” folders will be empty when you made the switch because you used those documents for something like your tax return and they will be filed with your return.

As Your System Matures

Eventually, you will begin to make longer term file folders for things like loans, life insurance, investments, and tax returns.  That said, certain documents like birth certificates, passports, Social Security cards, copies of your will and advanced directive, and such should be kept in a fireproof lock box.

Do It For Those You Love

Let me take a moment to be a bit morbid.  Creating a system like this won’t be just for you.  It is also a gift to your family in case something happens to you.  Your friend or family member will be able to access important information without having to sift through mountains of paper while grieving.  It’s not just elderly people who need to make sure their paperwork is in order.  Demonstrate your love for your family by making it easy for them when you are gone or unable to make decisions for yourself.

Is your desk a junk heap?  And, how are you doing on eliminating your tolerations?


Cidered Ham {Vintage Recipe}

Cidered Ham Vintage Recipe ModernRetroWoman.com

When you think of serving a ham dinner to guests, what do you think of?  One of those spiral sliced hams that have been baked in honey, right?  Simply reheat it and serve.  But, they are a bit pricey and the glaze can be a bit of a mess.  Fortunately, there is a budget-friendly no-fuss alternative, courtesy of Jessie Marie DeBoth’s 1936 cookbook, Food for Family, Company, and Crowd: Cidered Ham. 

The gist of Cidered Ham is that you simmer the ham in cider for about 30 minutes per pound.  The beauty of Cidered Ham is that you can buy a less expensive ham.  The cider subtly permeates the ham, instead of the flavor staying on the surface, giving it a subtle flavor.  You also don’t have to worry about it drying out since it is cooked in liquid. And the leftover ham makes exquisite sandwiches for cheaper per pound than deli or packaged ham!  It is also fabulous in Hearty Ham and Bean Soup.

Cidered Ham seems like it would be ideal for a crock-pot but my hams are always too big for the crock-pot because I want my money’s worth when buying a ham on sale.

The next time you need to feed a crowd on a budget, try Cidered Ham.  Those Depression Era homemakers knew what they were doing!

Cidered Ham
This is a budget-friendly alternative to a spiral-cut ham baked in honey. The cider permeates the ham giving it a subtle but delicious flavor!
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  1. 1 whole or half ham
  2. Cider to cover ham
  3. 6 Whole Cloves
  4. 3 Whole Peppercorns
  5. 1 Bay Leaf
  6. 1 Small Clove Garlic
  1. Place ham in a large pot. Cover with the cider and add seasonings.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until done--25-30 minutes per pound.
  1. The leftover ham makes delicious sandwiches for cheaper by the pound than deli ham.
Adapted from Food For Family, Company, and Crowd by Jessie Marie DeBooth
Adapted from Food For Family, Company, and Crowd by Jessie Marie DeBooth
Modern Retro Woman http://modernretrowoman.com/