Have you seen the new(ish) Channing Tatum movie Side Effects? I won’t give anything away but I was intrigued–and not just by him because he isn’t in the movie all that long, and that’s all I’m gonna say about it–but when I was reading up about Nellie Bly, heralded as the world’s first (female) investigative journalist, and her primary investigative success “Ten Days in a Madhouse,” I was even more intrigued by this real-life version of that flick **the movie is a little slow but watch it! It’s got some serious twists you won’t see coming**. I stumbled across her by chance ironically right after watching Side Effects and I wondered how I’d gone so long without hearing about this pretty spectacular lady.
In 1885, Nellie Bly read a Pittsburgh newspaper article entitled “What Girls are Good For.” The article denounced female aspirations and education, and 21 year old Elizabeth Cochran wrote a letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch denouncing him for publishing such views on women. The editor was so impressed by Elizabeth’s writing voice that he eventually offered her a full-time job writing under the pen name “Nellie Bly.” Readers of the “Dispatch” weren’t as impressed as the editor was though, and Nellie ended up getting the typically “female” topics of gardening, fashion, and gossip to avoid public backlash about a female reporter reporting on topics she couldn’t possibly know anything about. Disgusted by the inane topics she was forced to write about, Nellie turned in her resignation, and, a few years later, landed a position writing for the “New York World.” Because of some investigative work she had done in Mexico between writing for the “Dispatch” and the “World,” Bly was tasked to go “undercover” into a madhouse for women. Nellie feigned insanity, convincing doctors that she should be put into the asylum on Blackwell’s Island in order to investigate the living conditions for “patients” of the hospital. What she discovered was horrifying: While the doctors and nurses ate and lived like royalty, the patients were fed off flour soaked in water, kept tied up like animals, and treated like hardened prisoners. She spent ten days in the asylum and then was rescued by agents from the “World.” Her articles written about the atrocities committed at the hospital resulted in public outcry and new laws mandating better treatment and more money allocated for women at similar institutions.
Her ideas for her articles were fascinating, bold, fearless, and completely unique. In the late 1800’s she proposed that she could travel around the world faster than Jules Verne’s main character in Around the World in Eighty Days. The “World” sponsored her trip and even started a reader guessing game as to what day she would return back to the States in order to keep interest in Bly’s voyage. Bly landed back on American soil just seventy-two days after starting her voyage. The woman was incredible, and not just because it was the 1800’s, but because she had incredible passion for her writing and for writing about things that truly mattered. She was creative, cutting edge, intelligent, and couldn’t be intimidated. If Nellie Bly pinned I’d be all over her boards because who knew what the next thing Bly would do?
bio info via
– <3 A.
Ever since schools started heading back to session in August instead of September, it’s kind of killed Augusts’ claim to being a summer month but it’s still freakin’ hot and there’s still plentyyy of time for a Beach Blanket Bingo day…or at least a Beach Blanket Bingo evening. This weekend I’m off to have my own beach party with my two redheads for a last hurrah before I head back to teaching next week. It’s been way, way, way too long since we went on a trip together. Those two can get me laughing like no one else can and we have the best of times doing anything or nothing at all. They’re the friends who, though you may not see all the time, when you do get some sacred time together, it’s as if you begin in the middle of a conversation that has continued since the last time you met/talked. Those type of friend-sisters are a rare bunch and I hold on to my two with a death grip, I love them so.
It’s astonishing how feminine ideals can change in just a few generations. Annette Funicello, mouseketeer turned 1960’s “beach party” film heartthrob, died this year in my hometown. If you’ve ever seen the completely ridiculous but adorable “beach party films” she was famous for, it’s rather a huge culture shock if you’re comparing it to current “beach party” films (Spring Breakers anyone?). Annette’s beach style is so chic: high-waisted shorts, button-downs, over-sized sweaters paired with matching colors of cigarette pants, a glitter and mint dress, and bathing suit after bathing suit cinched at the waist and screaming 1960’s glamour. The girls are, by modern standards, uh, well-endowed? They’ve got hips, and boobs, and…they look good! But if you took those girls out of 1965 and popped them into 2013, audiences probably would be disappointed. They’re no Megan Fox. There’s no six-packs or sleek thighs, but there are fabulous outfits, the cutest songs, and some serious eye-rolling jokes that still make me rather have Annette as my muse any modern day.
– <3 A.
Last week, during all the party festivities, I was stirring enchilada sauce and mixing pumpkin-spice-latte cupcakes and I discovered I was very, very good at splattering. Apparently, when the enchilada directions said “simmer the sauce for ten minutes uncovered,” I read, “vigorously boil the enchilada sauce for ten minutes uncovered.” If you’ve never done it, a vigorous boil and a simmer are two very different things. If I had simmered, I’m pretty sure more of the sauce would have stayed in the pot instead of ending up vigorously boiling out onto the stove, my sweater…the wall? (wow), and the floor.
Needless to say, a half-apron for that meal just didn’t cut it. So, I began to think of how I could add a little splatter-safety onto my apron:
After a few shredded patterns, some misplaced darts, too wide of straps, and buttons that weren’t cooperating, I finally got it. My Etsy shop, Vintage Muses, is now offering convertible aprons.
The bottom half hasn’t changed except for a few nifty snaps that the top can simply snap into for some vigorous boiling episodes, and unsnap again if you just feel like wearing the half:
The top has two darts sewn in and a sweetheart neckline so the typical oversized, straight-across apron-top is a bit more feminine.
The bottom and top can be purchased separately or, of course, the two together. I’m really looking forward to this new option, and, also looking forward to using some of my custom fabrics I’m creating. There is definitely more to come!
If you’re thinking of doing some vigorous boiling soon for Thanksgiving, don’t do it until you’ve stopped by Vintage Muses first!
Hope you enjoy the new idea,
– <3 A.