Saturday, March 24, 2018

Pineapple Ground Meat

This is a paleo-friendly recipe that I constructed a month or so ago.  I've made it with beef and with turkey.  Both are excellent, but I prefer beef.  I realize that using the term "ground meat" isn't as appetizing as "beef" or "turkey" or "pork" or whatever, but the point I really want to emphasize is that this is good with just about any ground could probably put salmon through a meat grinder and it would work with this too.
Shown with mashed cauliflower

Pineapple Ground Meat

1 lb Ground Meat - Use what you have or what you like
8-12oz Pineapple Tidbits or fresh Pineapple, diced up
2 TBSP Raw Honey
2 TBSP Bragg's Aminos
1 tsp Ginger
1/2 Onion, diced
1 tsp Parsley
1/4 cup Green Onions, diced (optional)
1 Orange, Lemon, Lime, or Other Citrus Fruit
Sesame Seeds

  1. In a large frying pan, start browning your meat.
  2. While your meat is cooking, make sure your onion is diced up.  If you're using fresh pineapple, make sure that is chopped into tidbits.
  3. Once your meat is fully cooked, turn the heat to medium.  Add in the onion.  Let this cook for about a minute and a half, until it starts getting soft.
  4. Add in your pineapple, raw honey, Bragg's aminos, ginger, and parsley.  Stir gently to spread everything around in the pan.  If you choose to add in green onions, add in at this time.
  5. Take your 1 piece of citrus fruit, cut it in half, and squeeze out the juice.  I generally do this into a bowl so it's easy to remove any seeds that might fall out.  Once you have the juice from 1 piece of citrus fruit, add this to your meat.
  6. Let this simmer until most of the liquid has cooked down.  You may have to reduce the heat.  This should take a few minutes.
  7. When you serve it, top with a pinch of sesame seeds.
Serving suggestions (choose one or two of these): Steamed broccoli, tempura-battered cauliflower, mashed cauliflower, miracle noodles, shredded cabbage, or coleslaw.

NOTE: On the off chance that you happen to have a meat grinder and try grinding up fish, you will need to have your stuff ready to go since fish cooks faster than land animal meat.  Just be ready for that.  Good luck with your ground fish!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Living The Vintage Life: Projects & Hobbies

 The rockabilly subculture has a great emphasis on a projects and hobbies. If you’re aren’t sure what the difference is between a project and a hobby (and refuse to look at a dictionary), a project is generally a short-term creation with a defined start and finish; a hobby is a long-term interest in a subject. They’re not the same thing.

It’s always best to start with your current interests and hobbies. What do you like to do? What are you interested in? Don’t sell yourself short by saying “well, I’m not going to do it because I’m not good at it”. How will you ever get better if you don’t work at it?

When you start getting into the subculture, you will find that there are a ton of blogs and vlogs (video logs aka youtube channels) where people share their projects and hobbies. It’s not all hair, make-up, and clothing - though you do see a lot of that. You’ll also find stuff on food/cooking, cocktails, history, cars/kustom culture, antiques, art/painting/illustration/pinstriping, tattooing, etc. Most of what you find will be hobby/interest -based blogs and vlogs that have project after project after project.

What have I not see much of? Fitness and diet - sometimes you get a wwii rations diet or something, but not often. More stuff done by guys. Music - I’ve seen live stuff online, but not a blog/vlog that has day to day stuff OR reviews OR anything like that. Films, as a topic. Architecture or home remodeling or interior design. Camping and outdoor adventures. Lounge lizard/exotica culture. Books and comics - reviews or from writers.

Popular Hobbies & Projects
By knowing what’s popular might make it easier to connect with other people. These aren’t limited to having an online presence.
  • Make-up - How to apply, historical styles, reviews
  • Hair - How to style, historical styles, product reviews
  • Fashion - Brand reviews
  • Sewing
  • Food/Cooking - Trying out those weird retro recipes, general vintage recipes, reviewing restaurants
  • Cars/Kustom Culture - Rebuilding, trying out new coat techniques, kustom details, vintage camper trailers, motorcycles
  • Art - Painting, illustration, learning to pinstripe, putting your art onto things and selling, jewelry making, sculpting, photography
  • Music - Playing, listening, reviewing
  • Dancing - Learning, teaching
  • Films
  • Tattooing - Tattooing, art
  • Adventures - Traveling, camping, doing exciting stuff
  • Crafts - Woodworking, knitting, sewing
  • Architecture/Design - Buildings, homes, interior design, remodeling
  • History - wwii, post-war, cold war, cultural or social history of the 40s and 50s, code-breaking

It’s always good to have a few hobbies because it means you can entertain yourself. I didn’t even list everything. Personally, I spend a lot of time writing and am currently working on two comics (which I plan on pitching pretty soon). I know two guys, locally, who put together a radio show up at the local university - like an old school radio theater sort of deal, but with zombies taking over the city. That was a few years ago. The point is: have hobbies and don’t be afraid to do something with them! You might be able to turn a hobby into something you can sell on etsy. You might become the next go-to expert on something, depending on your level of focus.

Some stuff I’ve tried out and blogged about: the rations diet, learning the basics for the trans-atlantic accent, product reviews, sewing projects, and film reviews. I’ve also posted about my mini-adventures.

How To Start
Some people are absolutely sure that they don’t have any hobbies or aren’t into any one thing to warrant it a “hobby”. Take a class or seminar. If you really want to start blogging or vlogging, taking a class or seminar could be its own post/video. Whatever you go with, have fun or it’s not worth doing.

I also want to state that having a blog or vlog can be therapeutic.  You are given a platform to share something with others, you can gather opinions, and you will actually start to feel a bit more inspired to keep doing more.  Also, you get better at whatever your focus is on.

What you're going to find out is that there are SO MANY people out there who can't seem to take on projects or who have very limited hobbies.  They will be so amazed at what you can do!

Up Next: TBD

I really don't know what the next chapter should be on.  What does the peanut gallery suggest?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Living The Vintage Life: Entertainment

I will start off by prefacing this with “I won’t tell you to stop doing anything you already find entertaining”. My goal with this post is to give you the insight on some popular forms of entertainment that are being engulfed by the rockabilly community. You can give these a try and see if they are for you. Some of these can be done by the single person and all of them can be done with more than one person. If you are new to an area, this might provide some insight on connecting with others in your area.

Don’t be afraid to get out and do whatever it is that you like to do. The stuff listed here is just some culture-specific activities.

Car Shows/Car Clubs

If you have a classic car (a car before 1964) then you might look for a car club to join. If you do not have a classic car, you can always go to car shows. These can be fun places to hang out with car fanatics and other rockabilly folk. You can take pictures of the cars, ask people about the history of their cars, ask car questions, etc. It’s typically bad etiquette to ask for rides.

Maybe you have a skill that could be put to use with some of the old cars. You don’t have to be able to fix an engine to be useful. Perhaps you have: pinstriping skills, upholstery skills, custom mold making skills (for things like shift knobs), or something else that’s applicable to the crowd. Talk to people and make some friends.

If there are evening parking lot car shows (perhaps every Saturday night from 5pm-8pm a car club meets up in a parking lot), you can make the rounds after a date night or an evening trip to the ice cream parlor or something. The same goes with morning parking lot car shows (which happens where I live). It would be easy to grab some coffee and go check out the cars.


You can do this by yourself or with others. You don’t have to be on a league. Grab a lane, get some grub, and bowl two games. If you’re not used to bowling, just have fun with it and try to figure it out. On the plus side, bowling is relatively cheap. If you find yourself going often, you can get your own bag, ball, and shoes.

When I lived in Portland, I often went bowling (always) by myself. I would just crank up my ipod and bowl 2 or 3 games, trying this or that. I figured out what I needed to do and started increasing my score.  I totally sucked when I started, but I just started tweaking stuff.

Cocktail Parties

Cocktail parties are a big thing with the rockabilly crowd. You can have a selection of beer and wine available, but always have supplies for some kind of cocktail. You might have a friend who wants to play bartender. Cocktail parties consist of drinking, finger food, sometimes a main meal, and usually a party game or two. One thing I’ve learned is to never underestimate an old classic like charades, the who am I game (as seen played in “Inglorious Bastards”), and games that involve partners. Card games are usually excellent. You can have modern games like clue, cards against humanity, or cranium.

You can also combine a cocktail party with a barbeque or luau or murder mystery or some other theme.

Dance Class

You can’t go dancing if you don’t know how to dance. Look for swing classes. There are several types, but mainly east coast swing and west coast swing. Most dance clubs and dance instructors will have some sort of swing class available. If they don’t, you can usually sign up for private lessons.

After you know what you’re doing, or at least the basics, you can start going out to places to dance. One issue you might run into is location. Not every city has a jazz club or a place to utilize swing dance. This happens to be an issue of mine.


There is a resurgence of getting back to nature. This might be camping, hiking, or fishing. If fishing, make sure you have the proper fishing license from your state. Camping as a group is also a thing. Several couples have tents set up or use cabins in a close proximity of each other. Meal times are usually a group event. While camping, the group might chill at a lake, go fishing, spend some time hiking, etc. It’s a good time to be free from technology and to enjoy the simple things like reading, talking with friends, playing board games, and working on projects.

Garden Party

A garden party is different from a barbeque or a cocktail party. It’s often held in the afternoon and is more akin to afternoon tea. It’s a great way to socialize, show off your garden, and wear fancy summer dresses. Your guests can bring appetizers, but should not bring booze. If you want alcohol, wine is the ideal, but alcohol is definitely optional.

Game Night

Who doesn’t love a fun time playing games with others? Instead of just playing bridge, you can modernize game night to encompass just about any game you want.


Music is a solid part of the culture. If you’re not making music, go out and listen to live music! Want to find other rockabilly folk? Look for local rockabilly, psychobilly, blues, swing jazz, and cover bands. I’m mentioning cover bands due to Robert Gordon. He made it big by covering rockabilly classics.

Roller Derby

A lot of derby dames are rockabilly chicks. This is an exciting sporting event where the players are women only. It’s played on a flat track. It’s probably best to google how the game is played if you’re new to roller derby.

Up Next: Living The Vintage Life: Projects & Hobbies

Monday, March 12, 2018

Living The Vintage Life: Rethink Your Pad

If you look around the place you live, does it fit your lifestyle? Some people don’t care and that’s cool. I’m going to focus on the people who are interested in changing their living space to match their lifestyle. Heads up, the more in-depth you want to go, the more pricey it will be. That should be obvious, but people still seem surprised.

This section could be a whole series of books within itself, so I’ll give you the nutshell version, starting with Budget Finds, Home Design Plan, Kitchen, Bathroom, Walls, Flooring, and Other Stuff. One place I go to, all the time, is Retro Renovation ( If you need anything retro for your home, they are the ladies who can probably help you find it.

Terms you will come across for the 40s, 50s, and general rockabilly are:

Mid-Century Modern - The prime years for this was 1933-1965 and is highly sought after amongst the rockabilly crowd. It incorporates the International and Bauhaus styles. Key features are ample window space, open floor plans, and bringing the outside it. There is a solid design aspect to MCM with flattop roofs, butterfly roofs, decorative concrete blocks, decorative dividers from natural materials, textures, and a general minimalism for interiors. The classic ranch house came out of MCM.

Streamline Moderne
- This style emerged in the 1930s as a breakaway from art deco and a predecessor to mid-century modern styles. Key features are: horizontal lines, rounded corners/aerodynamic corners, nautical features, aeroplane features, lack of art deco excessive ornaments, and a sense of “industrialization, innovation, speed, and motion”.

Scandinavian Modern
- New MCM done by Scandinavian countries. The Danish and Swedish people have really taken over the new mid-century modern design world. This new stuff - mostly produced from 1970-present day - would easily fit into any mid-century modern home.

- Craftsman architecture mostly died out in the late-1930s, but you can find the style being built to the present day. Frank Lloyd Wright has his roots in the Prairie School of Craftsman design. The classic American Four-Square house is definitely craftsman. You will find a lot of hand-crafted wood and stone. When you think Late-Craftsman, think 1930s WPA. Parkitecture is derived from this style.

Googie - This fun style of modern architecture is basically “MCM does futuristic design”. You can find space age influences, spheres, domes, the use of neon, stars, starbursts, amoeba shapes, kidney shapes, atom shapes, diamond shapes, and anything that really seemed out of this world in the 50s and 60s.

Exotica - This is a decorative style that you might find associated with several design styles listed above. Post-war, people came home from “exotic lands”, and brought with them this new style. Design elements are: Hawaiian, Polynesian, Asian, Alaskan, and African. Exotica became a new style of jazz music (exotica jazz), the Aloha shirt became popular, and tiki bars became a thing.

You can find color charts for MCM popular colors, but let me start by stating that whatever colors you choose, you should feel good about.  You don't have to stick to any color charts, especially if you want to tweak your home design towards psychobilly or gothabilly or something like that.

Here are some color charts to check out.  Remember that you can also use patterns, not shown here.  Don't be afraid of plain, stripes, dots, leopard, etc.



Budget Finds

Everyone loves a good budget find. You can find them online, yard sales, estate sales, antique stores, ebay, etsy, and sometimes even for free. You would be surprised at what can happen when you express interest in an item. My tip in that sense, is never expect to get it, but always be grateful if it is given to you. I’ve always thought of budget finds as superficial pieces. Usually they’re very visual like a lamp or a ceramic piece or a figurine. Sometimes it’s an actual piece of furniture. I have a 1955 GE Hanging Refrigerator from the “Kitchen of The Future” collection sitting in the garage that I picked up for free. I just had to uninstall and haul the thing away. Holy crap, right?! I just need a place to put it now.

If you’re starting out, only look for budget items until you have a plan for your place. You might want to pick up some art for your walls, a lamp or two, clock, mid-century modern pieces, etc. I suggest not going crazy looking for budget finds.

Home Design Plan

Everyone needs some sort of home design plan. If you live in an apartment, you need to check into getting approval for painting or replacing flooring or whatever it is you want to do. If you are a homeowner or a potential homeowner, you have more freedom within your space. A lot of rockabilly people want to be or are homeowners. Isn’t that cool? The best I can do here is tell you how I approach things with my apartment.

I live in an apartment that I partially own. What it boils down to is that I’m a shareholder in my dad’s company and I live in one of the apartments above the office. As long as I get an “okay” from my dad, I can make alterations. With that said, let me tell you about my place.

The building (including apartments) was built in 1971. The apartments were set up with a very mid-century modern floor plan because my grandpa really liked that sort of thing. I have original walnut-stained custom cabinets, original real wood paneling, a Kohler peachblow bathroom (it’s an off-pink), the living room and kitchen are set up in an open floor plan, I have large windows, and a shared second-floor deck space with my neighbors (my parents).

When I first moved in, there was awful dove grey carpet with stains, the kitchen was wallpapered in a beige-neutral with floral border, and it just felt really stuffy/cramped. My plan of attack was to change the space I spent most of my time - the kitchen and living room. I figured that paint was cheaper than flooring, so I decided to change the kitchen first. I wanted to wait until the summer months to attack the flooring.

With warm wood paneling and dark walnut cabinets, I wanted something that would be bold and that would go with a tiki theme - my kitchen theme. It took awhile, but I finally settled on Pantone Macaw Green for the kitchen. It’s bright, it’s bold, and in the winter my kitchen is definitely not a dreary place. Below, under Walls, I’ll go over how to remove wallpaper. I knew, before painting, that while I was definitely using a bright, bold color that most would shy away from, the surrounding wood was going to tone the green down. I was even planning on adding MORE wood by putting a few tiki masks above the cabinets (between the gap between the cabinets and the ceiling). I got my kitchen painted over three days, finishing a week before Christmas.

As the summer months grew closer, I began scouring Home Depot and Lowes for deals on flooring. I ended up spending around $320 roughly on flooring for the hallway and living room. I got approval to remove carpet one evening, gave it 5 minutes (in case my dad changed his mind), and begun ripping the carpet out. I was able to get the carpet out in an evening. I picked up the flooring and made sure the space was clean. I tended to the subflooring, trying to get any squeaks out of the floor, which took and evening. I then started to lay down the new faux wooden flooring, which took 4 days with some help from my mom. While I was getting the flooring taken care of, I was also on a search for a showy piece...a mid-century modern couch. I found one through Joybird, got it ordered, talked to them about logistics since they don’t ship to Alaska, and waited for 12 weeks or whatever the wait was for my first couch (that wasn’t used).

The point here, is that I had something in mind before I even started. The couch doesn’t match the kitchen, but it fits into the color scheme of the kitchen - staying within a tropical color setting. My sofa is a tropical aqua blue color. Always have a plan when you deal with the home.

If you are planning on remodeling, even the slightest, you should consider the following:
  1. What color scheme am I going for?
  2. Will the living space flow or will it be choppy from room to room?
  3. Do I have samples of color, flooring, fabric swatches, etc?
  4. Do I have future ideas for the space after the initial remodel?
  5. Will the design I’m planning look good all year round and during holidays?
I suggest having a few options laid out. Take photos of your samples in different lighting - morning, afternoon, evening, etc. This goes for paint, fabric, flooring, countertops, etc. Narrow it down to your top 3 choices and definitely sleep on it before making a final decision. Something to try is using Pinterest to create a design board. When I was working on my apartment, I pinned digital paint chips, the couch from joybird, the cowhide rug, flooring, and some tiki masks. This helped me narrow down my selection of couch colors and kitchen paint.


Let’s start off with the affirming “YES”. Yes, there are reproduction large and small kitchen appliances. Yes, the big stuff is expensive. Yes, you can pick up some of the small stuff at a reasonable price.

If you’re like me, you just can’t justify spending $3200+ for a refrigerator or a fancy stove, despite it coming in those wonderful mid-century colors. You’re just going to have to keep your bland black, white, or metal large appliances for right now. You might be asking yourself: what can I do to change my kitchen? I was really hoping that Big Chill wasn’t going to be an arm and a leg.

  • Cheaper things to revamp your kitchen:
  • Paint
  • Wallpaper
  • Curtains (if you have a kitchen window)
  • Countertop
  • New small appliances

New decor

In “Walls” below, I have instructions on how to remove wallpaper and the basics on painting. It’s pretty easy, but it will take a few days. When I did my kitchen, it took me 3 days to remove the wallpaper and get everything painted. If you’re planning on using wallpaper, I recommend checking out: Double E Company, Bradbury & Bradbury, and Rosie's Vintage Wallpaper.

If you have a kitchen window, you can make your own curtains or find some with an appropriate retro print. After one loooong summer of nothing in my kitchen window, I made my own valence (one piece that is hung across the top of the window). I used cotton fabric with a tropical tiki design (found at Spoonflower), blackout fabric for inside, and 3” long aqua fringe. I don’t get direct sunlight through the window, but in the summer afternoons from about 3pm-5pm it shines right into the eyes of anyone sitting at the kitchen counter. The valence prevents that.

 Changing your countertop, if you have a laminate, can be a great option. Before you run to Home Depot or Lowes or elsewhere, I want to let you know that there are two major brands: Wilsonart and Formica. Wilsonart has an online digital library of countertop designs ( that you can browse though and so does Formica ( You can even order samples. If you go to a place that carries wilsonart, they should be able to order the laminate you want. Do not install it yourself. Have a professional install a new countertop. Another countertop option is to check out Heffron’s ( who only carry retro themes for laminates, stools, etc.

 Small appliances might seem odd, but maybe a new mixer or a retro microwave is what you need to help set your kitchen apart from the rest. Here are a few links to check out: Typhoon, Bella, Husky, Smeg, Nostalgia Electrics, and Suzie Q Retro. New decor can also be found at the links above, as well as: Retro Planet. This is a great place to start a search for mugs, canisters, clocks, dining ware, etc. Don’t forget that you can always go to your local antique shops and thrift stores for interesting finds.


 Gerber used to carry colored sinks and toilets, but now they seem to only have white, bone, and black. When it comes to bathrooms, the question always comes down to colored bathroom groups. I always try to stay on top of the colored stuff because...heck...I work in the industry. I work for a mechanical contracting company - we’re plumbers and pipefitters. Let me go back to Gerber. Gerber is not considered high-end, as Kohler or American Standard are. Since Gerber recently discontinued it’s line of colored bathroom groups (colors: Bahama pink, aqua, blush, wedgewood blue, sahara gold, dawn blue, spanish gold, powder blue, peach, petal pink, and citron yellow). You can check to see some past production colors here: I also recommend checking out New Retro Bath (

If you are on a quest for a colored bathroom group, look on ebay, craigslist, your local antique stores, etc. Have you made friends with any realtors in your area? Have a realtor friend! Let them know that if there is a home being sold with a colored bathroom group, and the buyers want to renovate the bathroom, that you would gladly take the bathroom group as long as it’s in good condition (that means no cracks and has proper function). Does that sound like a headache? No sweat! You can add some color by using tiles, paint, wallpaper, flooring, etc. Take a trip to pinterest and start searching for “1940s 1950s Bathroom”. Start collecting ideas for retro bathrooms. You can also just add little decorum like hand soap from Dolce Mia which offers pin-up and hawaiian themes ( or soaps and lotions from Debaucherous Bath (


 Walls are funny. There is just so much you can do with them and they always have different functions. You’ll have to really decide what you want done with your space. In an effort to not make this a novel of a section, I’m going to suggest looking for visual ideas by browsing the web and pinterest. Crack open a few books on 1940s and 1950s decor. As promised, I wanted to give you basic instructions on how to remove wallpaper. You will need: a big garbage can or at least some big garbage bags, a 3”-4” wall scraper, a razorblade, a washcloth and access to water, and a steamer. You will also need a step stool or a small ladder, some way to reach the top of the wallpaper that usually stops at the ceiling. Wear clothes you can get dirty.
  1. The first thing you want to do is clear your space. If you are redoing your kitchen, make sure the coffee pot is out of the way. You might just want to use this time as a good excuse to really clean the area.
  2. Once your area is clean and free of your junk, you will want to peel off the top layer of wallpaper. The top layer comes off pretty easily. You can use the razorblade to help you out. Just don’t gouge the wall. You’re going to be left with a white papery wall when you are finished.
  3. If you come across any screws or nails in the wall, you should remove these for now. It’s much easier to get things done without the nail sticking out from where you hung that portrait of grandma. It’s also safer. You could split your hand open or something.
  4. After removing that top layer of wallpaper, you now need to remove the paper that is glued to the wall with adhesive. The best way to do this is to run the steamer over a section and then scrape it with the wall scraper. You can also use a washcloth soaked in hot water (only hot enough for you to handle) and run that over the wall before scraping. Do not gouge the wall! This will take you awhile. I highly recommend turning on the radio or listening to an old radio show!
    1. TIP: Clean as you go. Get a 3’ or 4’ section done and get the soggy paper into the garbage. You don’t want it drying on your counter or floor. That just becomes a pain later on.
    2. TIP: If redoing your kitchen, pull out the fridge and the oven. Get behind these two beasts. I suggest getting the wallpaper removed from behind them last and painting behind them first - so you can get them put back in place while you finish the rest of your kitchen.
Continue for more wall refurbishing. You will need painter’s tape, a 1” wide brush, a paint cup, plastic sheeting to cover the floor and anything else, a 3” brush, a hand roller and tray, and the proper amount of paint for your space.
  1. Tape your edges to prevent paint from getting on the ceiling, walls you don’t want painted, cabinets/shelves, counters, etc. If you have moulding in the way, gently pry this off. You can put it back on when you’re done with a small hammer.
  2. Make sure you have plastic sheeting laid down for the area you plan on working. Work in small areas at a time. Example: In the kitchen, consider the space behind the fridge it’s own area, while the space above the cabinets along one wall is a different space. If working high, make sure you have anything that can be dripped on covered completely.
  3. Prime your walls or use paint that has primer mixed in. I always suggest two good coats of paint. If you are putting up different wallpaper, don’t paint, just install your new wallpaper.
    1. Do the edges first with the 1” brush. I use a paint cup while I do this part since it’s easier to handle. I always paint a 2”-3” edge of paint before using a bigger brush or a hand roller. Take your time and try not to splatter or drip paint.
    2. Paint and step away! Let your first coat dry and inspect it. Sometimes you get that magic paint that only requires one coat. That’s not usually the case. You will probably have to use a second coat.
  4. Paint all your walls before laying down any final coats.
  5. Paint the walls a final time. Your walls should be evenly coated with the final coat of paint. If they aren’t evenly coated, creating a splotchy look, you will need to put on another coat of paint.
  6. After everything is dry or mostly dry, you can remove the painter’s tape, plastic sheeting, and any mess. During this time, don’t touch the walls, but definitely get your clean up taken care of. You can also move any large appliances or furniture back into place.
  7. Is everything dry? You can take a little paint in your paint cup and use your 1” brush to touch up any small spots. Let this dry and then you’ll be all set to put stuff back in place, hang pictures, etc.

When it comes to flooring, your basics boil down to carpet, wood/fake wood, tile/stone, and vinyl/laminate. It’s all based on personal choice. For instance, I really dislike most carpet and tolerate low pile commercial carpet more than high pile residential carpet. I took out the majority of the carpet in my apartment, trading it for fake wood. I feel as though I have a cleaner environment, instead of dirt hiding under a laid carpet. I also don’t continuously wear shoes on my fake wood, whereas with carpet I will always wear some sort of footwear. It’s all personal preference.
  • Things to ask yourself about flooring:
  • What do I like the feeling of?
  • When I want to be ultra comfortable, will this flooring provide that?
  • When I want to be fancy and have people over, will this flooring provide for that?
  • What color is appropriate?
  • Do you have pets? If so, consider your flooring and pets - hair, foot traffic, etc.
  • Is your flooring within your price range?

Other Stuff

When revamping your humble abode, you might want to think about the mid-century philosophy of minimalism. In a nutshell, Minimalism is reducing your belongings to provide more space for you to be yourself or to clean up your belongings so they become part of the space. A famous phrase from minimalists is “clutter causes anxiety”. Try to create space for what you own. If you have stuff boxed up out in the garage or tucked away in a closet, do you really need it? Why is it there? Holiday decor, okay. Seasonal clothing, okay. Clothing you haven’t worn in 5 years, it must go!

 Not everyone practices minimalism. It’s just a very common trend in mid-century modern homes.  I highly recommend the magazine ‘Atomic Ranch’.

I’m going to leave you with some fun online shops to check out.  You'll find some great links for altering your home to fit your new lifestyle.

Up Next: Living The Vintage Life: Entertainment

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Living The Vintage Life: Dig Those Threads

Clothing, hair, and make-up is a broad area to discuss. The best way, that I know of, to approach this subject is mostly visual since these aspects are very visual. I will provide you with a number of illustrations for men, women, hair, and make-up. I will also supply you with a list of online vendors.

If you sew, there is a wide-selection of reproduction sewing patterns and new retro patterns available. You can make any of these. Patterns for men tend to run scarce, so pick them up or order them before they are no longer in stock at your local fabric store.  I keep an on-going list of all retro patterns HERE.
Keep in mind that there is a STRONG campiness to this subculture.  Some people avoid the campiness as best as they can, leaning more towards vintage and strict historically-correct reproduction.  It's best to have the mindset that "it's okay to laugh at yourself and have fun with style".



The typical greaser look consists of relaxed straight-leg denim with the cuff rolled, engineer boots or combat boots or converse shoes or leather loafers, a t-shirt/undershirt, a button-up shirt or flannel shirt, and a leather jacket or a car club jacket. One of the most prominent aspects of this look is the “greased” hair - achieved by using pomade in the hair.

This is a comfortable and easy look, though the hair can be tricky if you are not use to using any hair product. You can find men’s hair tutorials on youtube.

You may have seen this look: The T-Birds from “Grease”, Johnny from “The Wild One”, and Dude from “Roadracers”.


The suburbanite look is a dressy-casual look and is still fairly common. It consists of trousers (not denim), loafers or creepers, an undershirt, and a button-up shirt (long-sleeve or short-sleeve). Typically the shirts are tucked in, but it’s not always the case. The idea is that you can appear dressy at a moment's notice, but you could probably wear the same clothes to do some yard work or wash the car or barbeque. Fedoras and pork pie hats are common with this style. A modern twist is to wear long shorts instead of trousers. Men can also explore other shirt styles such as gaucho shirts, pull-over shirts, jac shirts, polo shirts, western shirts, and sweaters.

You may have seen this look: Smashmouth the 90s band, the main characters from “Swingers”, and Elvis Presley.


This is an off-shoot of the Suburbanite. The difference being that you only wear bowling or aloha shirts. A plain button up, a flannel shirt, or a sweater are usually not in your fashion vocabulary. Hats are optional. Most any sort of pants work with this style. Shoes are usually loafers, converse, oxfords, or other flat shoes; not boots.

You may have seen this look: Charlie Sheen and Guy Fieri.

Sam Spade

If you are more of a 1940s sort of guy, you might want to try the classic Sam Spade look. Sam Spade, from Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, is the classic 1940s private eye. This look is typically a suit jacket, trousers, button-up long-sleeve shirt, tie, loafers or oxfords, fedora, and trenchcoat. Some choose to wear a vest or suspenders. Trousers are typically relaxed, often with pleats, but not wide-leg as was popular in the ‘30s. Suit jackets were usually one to three buttons and used shoulder pads to create an athletic look. 1940s ties were wide and sometimes hand-painted, if you wanted something fancy.

You may have seen this look: Sam Spade from “The Maltese Falcon”, Dick Tracy, and The Spirit from “The Spirit” comics.

1940s Men’s Hair

1950s Men’s Hair

Men’s Online Vendors


My Baby Jo

Lansky Brothers

Freddie’s of Pinewood

Zoot Suit Store

Rumble 59


Soldier of Fortune

G.H. Bass Shoes

Rocket Originals

Johnson Shoes

Hats in The Belfry




This is a super popular look for women. It generally consists of poodle skirt or pencil skirt or relaxed straight leg denim with rolled cuffs, a t-shirt or plain shirt, a leather jacket or car club jacket, saddle shoes or cowboy boots or converse, and head scarf or neck scarf. The idea behind the look is that you’re comfortable and could quite possibly stop to change a tire without breaking a nail or worrying about getting dirty. Whatever you do, don’t look square!

You may have seen this look: The Pink Ladies from “Grease” and the Cry Baby Gang from “Cry Baby”.

Sweater Girl

This style is pretty simple. You wear a sweater over bullet-bra breasts. For this look, you definitely need a bullet bra and some fitted sweaters - not oversized. You can wear pencil skirts, full circle skirts, high waisted slim trousers, relaxed straight leg denim, etc. You will find popular accessories to be neck scarves, wide belts, jewelry, and brooches. This look is very feminine and very comfortable. This was popular in the 40s and 50s.

You may have seen this look: Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, and Jayne Mansfield.


The housewife look is a slightly dressier daytime clothes set worn by women who have more morning prep time. The hair is always nicely done. The usual go-to is a day dress or a skirt and blouse combination. There are a lot of novelty prints and more flamboyant colors associated with this look. The underlying expression of this look is “I have time”.

You may have seen this look: Dita von Teese, Grace Kelly, and Lucille Ball.

Factory Girl

This is a 1940s trouser look for women. It consists of a basic button-up shirt, 1940s women’s trousers or overalls, and boots or loafers or saddle shoes. The hair is usually up and out of the face, sometimes with a snood or a headscarf. This is very much a working woman’s clothing style.  If you live in a colder climate this could definitely be your go-to winter style.

You may have seen this look: Rosie the Riveter, women from “Bomb Girls” tv series, and any photos of women working in factories from the 1940s.


This is a 40s and 50s look for women. It consists of either a dress or a skirt and blouse combination. Sleeves are often short, not long. If chilled, add a cardigan. Dresses and skirts were usually modest is cut and color. Hair is typically showcased. Explore different styles of blouses. Blouses can have novelty prints to them. Regular accessories shouldn’t impede typing and are usually: necklaces, earrings, neck scarves, rings, brooches, and collar pins. Circle skirts, billowing sleeves, and anything that might knock over items on your desk are to be avoided.

You may have seen this look: Peggy Carter from “Agent Carter” tv series, women from “Cable Girls” tv series, and Della Street from “Perry Mason” tv series.

1940s Women’s Hair

There are so many hairstyles for the 40s that I feel it’s best to skip the general collage picture and go right into style details. These are five popular styles from the 40s. Make sure you look at books, youtube videos, pinterest, and blogs for more ideas and tutorials.

Victory Rolls - The most popular hairstyle with two rolls on top of the head and the rest of the hair curled and kept either loose or tied back.

Dutch Braids - Often overlooked, but super easy to do with long enough hair. This works well for any style that requires hair out of your face. Two long braids that are pinned over your head like a headband.

Waves - Curl your hair, brush it out, and wear it loose in vintage waves. Requires practicing pincurls and shaping your hair with a brush.

Bumper Bangs - Taken from Betty Grable, bumper bangs are a large curved (like a smile) faux bang. Requires learning how to use a rat.

Chignon - This is a tucked and rolled bun, essentially. It’s not super showy, but it’s fast and easy.

1950s Women’s Hair

Just like the 40s hairstyles, there are a lot of 50s hairstyles. Here are five basic 1950s hairstyles to try out. Make sure you look at books, youtube videos, pinterest, and blogs for more ideas and tutorials.

Pageboy - Curl your hair and brush into a bob with the hair rolled inward. May be pinned back at the sides with barrettes. Sandy, in “Grease”, wore this style when she first got to Rydell High.

Ponytail - Easy and simple. You can wear it with a little curl to the pony tail or a curl at the front of your hair or with a scarf.

Bettie Bangs - If you have bangs or really want bangs, you can get Bettie Bangs. They are cut in a slight U-shape, like a smile. Refer to Bettie Page so you are familiar with the look.

Poodle - Start with curled hair. The base is brushed back into a vertical twist, while the curls are piled high on the top of your head. Refer to Lucille Ball for this look.

Middy Cut - If you have the desire to cut your hair in a true 40s and 50s fashion, you need the middy. Modern stylists don’t know what this is, so search online for reference - you’ll find it. It is perfect for the pageboy, wearing waves, and for styles with headbands. Essentially it’s like your hair is cut in a U-shape. Types of Middy’s: “The baby” is short, “The Middy” almost touches the shoulders, “Middy Plus” touches the shoulders, and the “Femme Fatale” hangs below the shoulders.


Make-up is generally fairly simple. Most people tend to want winged eyeliner and red lips. There are plenty of folks who use powder, so definitely feel free to play around with make-up. If you’re not into red, try pink or coral lip color. Besame Cosmetics makes retro make-up only and was the supplier for Peggy’s make-up in “Agent Carter” tv series.

One of the best ways to get an idea for make-up is to watch old movies with female leads and make note of what you like. There is a basic natural look (usually without winged eyeliner) and the classic look (with winged eyeliner).

On a personal note: I don’t do a lot with make-up. I make sure my eyes are done and if I wear lipstick, I try to make sure it’s something that won’t easily come off. I hate worrying about lipstick smears when I eat.

If you are wondering about vintage colors, you can find many charts from Besame, Revlon, L’Oreal, and other companies. A google search or pinterest search should pull them up. Try “vintage lipstick colors”.

Women’s Online Vendors

Stop Staring Clothing

Pin Up Girl Clothing


My Baby Jo

Freddie’s of Pinewood

Rumble 59


Soldier of Fortune

G.H. Bass Shoes

Rocket Originals

Johnson Shoes

Remix Shoes

Hats in The Belfry

Secrets in Lace

What Katie Did

Dollhouse Bettie

Besame Cosmetics

Up Next: Living The Vintage Life: Rethink Your Pad

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Living The Vintage Life: Embracing the Community

The vintage lifestyle tends to span from the 1930s to the 1950s. It reflects an era of great innovations, the second World War, the rise of mid-century modernism, self-reliance, the birth of rock n’ roll, and more!

Newcomers to the scene often are surprised to find how accepting people in the local community are. Size, race, sex - it doesn’t matter, almost everyone is welcome. I say almost because there are a few faux pas such as: wearing any Nazi emblems, calling the lifestyle a “fad”, or being a total downer all the time. A big part of the vintage lifestyle is happiness, believe it or not. It took me a while to figure out that everyone’s unanimous goal was “to find happiness” and to realize that other people in the community are often willing to help each other.

How great is that?!

Now the question is: What makes you happy? Don’t worry. It constantly changes and there is never a simple answer. You have to feel good about yourself to be happy, so that could be physically, mentally, spiritually, etc. Perhaps you seek a husband/wife, a good education, being trained as a tradesman, writing a book, learning the piano, restoring a car, or something else; it all leads to the final goal of happiness. Some might call this “the American Dream”. Whatever your preferred term is, just remember that it always takes time and effort to get there.

Before we really get into things, there is one big hypocritical topic I want to address: technology. For many, there is a particular desire to break away from a lot of technology, but at the same time retain some of it. It’s hard to get through the modern world without a computer or a mobile phone. There are a lot of vintage bloggers, vloggers, and other internet personalities for the community and they could not do that without tech, but you’ll also find people who reject almost all tech. It’s a weird grey area within the community. Perhaps you have a “Kitchen of The Future” (totally a thing from the 1950s) that incorporates tech, maybe you have a strong desire to use your grandma’s old washer from the 1950s and simply say “fuck it” to the modern world. A lot of folks in the community try to minimize their tech.

The community is pretty much based around the working class aka middle class. The majority of the people work hard and to have working dreams. Working dreams (I’m not sure what else to call it) are dreams of what you really want to do for work. For many, it’s owning their own business. For some it’s selling a novel or something akin to that. Did you know that there are realtors that specialize in mid-century modern homes? Did you know that there are appliance stores that only sell retro-looking appliances? You can take almost anything and put a retro spin on it, if it makes you happier and is worth your time.

Community Terms

Before we get fully started, let's go over some basic terms that you will encounter in the scene. These are in no particular order.

  • Rockabilly - General term for the community.
  • Pin-Up - A general term for females in the community.
  • Beefcake - A general term for males in the community.
  • Psychobilly - A more punk version of rockabilly. Usually there are modern cuts, vivid colors, studs, and a mix of underground punk clothing.
  • Gothabilly - A goth version of rockabilly. Usually this encompasses vintage horror and sci-fi themes, perhaps a little psychobilly inspiration, and definitely the addition of more black and grey.
  • Swing - In reference to swing dancing. Popular types of swing dances are: west coast, east coast, lindy hop, balboa, charleston, collegiate shag, boogie-woogie, jive, and the big apple.
  • Tattoos/Tats - Tattoos are a popular thing in the community, but you don’t have to have them.
  • Vintage Clothing - Clothing that is actually from a particular time period. To be “vintage” it has to be at least 25 years old.
  • Vintage-Appropriate Clothing - Modern clothing that can easily be worn to look vintage. Cardigans and modern pencil skirts are classic examples.
  • Reproduction Clothing - This is modern clothing made to look vintage. You can find shoes, clothing, undergarments, military reproduction, and outerwear.
  • Greaser - Associated with the look of a guy with greased-hair (perhaps worn in a DA or a pompadour) and the chicks in poodle skirts.
  • Pachuca/o - You might recognize this term from the song “Hey Pachuco” by Royal Crown Revue. It refers to the zoot-suiters from the 30s and 40s, who were predominately Hispanic.
  • Zoot-Suit - The zoot-suit features pants with a high waist and wide legs with pegged cuffs. The suit jacket is often long with wide lapels and padded shoulders. It’s usually worn with a fedora and stylish dress shoes. During WWII in LA, the zoot-suit riots broke out between service men and local pachucos. Their zoot-suits were seen as damaging the war effort by wasting fabric.
  • Zazou - A French 1930s and 1940s look that utilized oversize jackets, wide leg pants, flamboyant colors, short skirts for women, and often is associated with carrying an umbrella. It was a rebellious effort that the Nazis did not approve of. In Poland, a similar effort was made and was called Grebes or Potapky.
  • Teddy Boy/Girl - This British look is essentially 1950s Brits doing Edwardian. There are similar stylings to zoot-suits, the introduction of creepers, drape jackets, drain-pipe trousers with exposed socks, waistcoats, and slim or bolo ties.
  • Beatnik - Beatniks are post-war, starting around 1948. Typical looks are black, stripes, a splash of artful color, berets, horn-rimmed glasses, goatees on men, and loose or relaxed hair (in opposition to the highly stylized 40s and 50s updos). Beatniks were greatly inspired by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, jazz, blues, drug culture, cafe culture, poetry slams, and exploring taboo areas.
  • Burlesque - Burlesque is the performance art that focuses on “the big reveal” usually with comedic overtones. Breasts may be exposed, but never the other genitalia.
  • Vaudeville - A vaudeville show is a mix of one act plays, music, magic, circus acts, drag, dancing, comedians, and other performers. Usually vaudeville shows are kept light-hearted. They are meant to entertain the whole family.

Getting Into It

You’re interested in being part of the community, but aren’t quite sure how. Use social media and look for local communities in your area. If you can’t find anything create something be it a sub-reddit or a facebook group or a craigslist ad. Try your best to connect with people. The best way to actually meet others is to invite them out somewhere. I usually suggest coffee.

When you start looking for clothing, keep it simple. An easy outfit is a pair of relaxed straight leg jeans, a pair of converse (or combat boots), a rockabilly t-shirt, and your hair up in a bandana. You can find this look all over pinterest. It’s easy, it’s retro, and it’s comfortable. Once you have this look nailed, you can try some other looks. Search for rockabilly stores online. You’ll find most of them in the USA, UK, Germany, and Australia. Don’t be afraid to go to thrift stores or to regular stores. You might find some vintage-appropriate clothing, especially with “80s does 40s” styles (resurgence of women in the workplace) and “90s does 50s” styles (inspired by films like Swingers).

Hair scares people at first. The best advice I can give you is to practice a particular style while you’re at home. Just play around with your hair while you’re watching tv or something. Guys might have to grow out their hair and have it cut properly in order to get a particular look. Women, those rolls and waves are hard at first, but you will be able to cut your time down with practice! I used to wear big victory rolls as my go-to hairstyle and I spent about 5-10 minutes on my hair. There are how-to books for men and women, as well as youtube videos. Ladies, I recommend a basic barrel roll with your hair up in a bandana, if you’re having major hair issues.

Once you get yourself looking good, go out somewhere. It might be a trip to the bank and the grocery store, maybe you’re going out to a sporting event, or maybe it’s a trip to the bookstore. It’s important to be comfortable with how you are, so give it a try.

This is, obviously, a very basic “get started”. By the time you’re done with this book, you will have a better idea of how to become part of the community and embrace the lifestyle.

Common Misconceptions

Let’s expunge some of the misconceptions of the rockabilly culture. You will encounter at least one of these, so be ready and handle it politely.

“How do you get your hair like that?” I often hear this question while standing in line. I’m not too savvy with quick comebacks since I spend a lot of time alone. I usually respond with a big smile and a response of “just takes a lot of practice”.

“Do you listen to Elvis?” Eye roll! Yeah, of course I listen to Elvis, but my musical interests are broad. I don’t ONLY listen to Elvis. I’ve hear this particular question asked only in a snide tone. Sometimes I answer with a “sure do”, sometimes it’s “I prefer [artist name], but Elvis is good”.

“Are you a stripper?” This is a little bit of a jump if you’re new to the game. There is a lot of rockabilly and burlesque crossover. Some people think that burlesque is just a fancy term for a stripper. It’s not. Burlesque is the performance art that focuses on “the big reveal” usually with comedic overtones.

Sex object misconception. Rockabilly is sometimes called “the pin-up look”. Some people think that if you are a pin-up, you therefore are a sex object. I haven’t had too many issues with this, but I recommend having a plan to shut that shit down. The funny part about this misconception is that clothing for the vintage lifestyle tends to be more conservative than modern clothing, but you slap on some make-up and curl your hair and somehow you become a sex object.

You’re better than others misconception. Being asked out happens in this world. As a single lady, it occasionally happens to me. I tend to say no. I’ve encountered men who get angry and accuse me of thinking I’m better than everyone. Other women have told me the same thing has happened to them. Our answers tend to be the same: it’s a no because you aren’t willing to function within the vintage lifestyle and we see you as blocking our road to happiness.

It costs a lot to be different misconception. Most of us know how to find things at reasonable costs. If you buy everything from Pin Up Girl Clothing or Collectif or Trashy Diva, it will get very expensive for you. Thrift stores, flea markets, online sales, antique stores, and good deals on vintage-acceptable items are the way to cut your prices down. If you have the skills, start sewing some of your own clothing. Spend money on quality shoes or a skirt that you can wear a hundred times or something practical.

Cars and Tats misconception. You do not need cars or tattoos to fit the lifestyle. That’s simple enough. You should, however, look into classic cars and have a favorite or two. You might really like bullet lights and big fins, you might be more of a rat rod person, or you might just like a classic Chevy Bel-Air.

Women didn’t wear pants misconception. It’s so aggravating to hear this. Yes, there were certain places women didn’t wear pants to, like school and church. The 1930s pants trends were usually wide-leg trousers or riding jodhpurs or loose peg-legged ski pants. The 1940s pants trends tended to be factory-oriented with overalls, dungarees, riding jodhpurs, and ski pants. The 1950s pants trends were slim trousers, pedal pushers, capri pants, loose stirrup pants, and dungarees.

The Disney connection. If you don't live near Disneyland or frequent Disneyland, it may come as a shock to you that there is a small Disney-rockabilly connection - the catch is that you have to be into the Disney stuff.  Please don't assume that everyone is into Disney.  A few years ago, some of the locals (in Fairbanks, Alaska) met up with some new folks who came up through the military - both California girls.  They started talking about Disney and the rest of us were like "what the fuck are you talking about?"  It made for some awkward pauses.  I was asked "what's your favorite Disney movie?"  I replied "Bedknobs & Broomsticks".  CRICKETS!  I was given confused stares.  The Disney connection is apparently strong for California and Florida, but also in states where you can easily drive to Disneyland or Disneyworld.  All the other states and countries really aren't into it, unless you just happen to be a big Disney fan.

Next: Living The Vintage Life: Dig Those Threads

Friday, March 2, 2018

Living The Vintage Life - Introduction

I have a bullet bra on under that sweater!
I have started writing a little guide for anyone who is new to the rockabilly culture.  I'm calling it Living The Vintage Life.  The next few posts will be for this guide.  The hashtag is #vintagelife

I am Jessie, author of Lonely Hepkat (this blog).  I am currently working on a new fashion label, so I've been sewing and designing like there is no tomorrow!  You can check that out at - there isn't anything for sale yet, but SOON!  Hopefully fall/winter I'll have something.

Okay, so I'm Jessie.  I live in Fairbanks, Alaska.  I have a BA in History and a BA in 2D Animation.  I have a few books written and am working on more!  I sew, I cook, I like to bowl (though I'm not great at it), I workout, I <3 coffee, my favorite state is Hawaii, my favorite city is London, and I play multiple instruments.  I always have multiple projects going on.  I have two labradors.  I get a little social anxiety.  I have thyroid issues that I control through diet and exercise, no meds for me.  I love working on logic puzzles, cryptograms, and that sort of stuff, but Penny Press is RIDICULOUSLY easy.

That's a little about me.

I've always loved old stuff.  When I was little, I grew up with old movies (especially Shirley Temple since my mom thought I looked like her), shows like 'Grease', old sci-fi and horror shows (including old school 'Dr. Who' which used to air on PBS), and oldies on the radio (50s/60s/70s).  It really didn't solidify into anything until 6th grade (for me this was the beginning of middle school) during the 93/94 school year.  My best friend at the time, Jeannine, was in love with Elvis, her cello was named Humphrey, and her cello bow was named Bogart.  I had a strong appreciation for the 50s, but that gave way to my other love of dark, creepy shit and I fell into fishnets and black clothing.  Yep, kind of goth.  It wasn't until art school in 2003 that I really started going back to my rockabilly roots.  It was easier to get into things because my best friend at art school, Jhane, was totally into it.  I bought a Stop Staring! dress for art school graduation, 2006, and longed for times to wear it.  Let's skip ahead to Easter 2012.  I was living on the outskirts of Portland, OR and went to my first Viva Las Vegas.  At this point, I was really into the rockabilly culture, but had yet to do much about it.  VLV changed my life.  I came back feeling empowered and pretty much said "fuck this normal shit, I'm dressing how I want to dress because it makes me feel better about myself".
This is my vintage-appropriate style.  You can't
see my saddle shoes, but I am totally wearing them!

Voila!  That's how it was done - me wearing rockabilly stuff day-to-day and not just on the weekends or for special events.

I hate it when people ask how long I've been doing this.  I usually just say "a few years" because it shuts people up.  The real answer is pretty long.

My goal with this guide is to help those who are just starting with the subculture. After all that personal history, I now am in charge of a local pin up pageant (2018 is the 3rd year), I'm designing winter-worthy retro clothes, and I run a facebook group for the rockabilly folk in the state of Alaska.  I guess I also have this blog.

A group of us from Alaska are planning on attending the 2019 VLV.  If you remember that in a year, come find me and say hi!

Next: Living The Vintage Life: Embracing The Community