Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekly Playlist: 4th of July

Hello Vintage-istas!  This week on the The Vintage Chanteuse we are showing you how to throw a retro 4th of July Celebration! For starters, here is the perfect playlist to go along with your patio dress and straw hat.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Style Scenario: Film Noir Murder Mystery Party

This week's Style Scenario takes us to a Film Noir party! Here's your guide to both his and her outfits which are sure to crack the case without even smudging your lipstick.

For Her:

The perfect Femme Fatale should be outfitted in a beautiful gown. This 1930's bias-cut silk velvet gown is highlighted with beautiful rhinestone dress clips. Dresses like this were designed to show the sultry curves of a woman's body. Don't have a vintage 1930's gown? Go for a dark colored long gown and don't skimp on the costume jewelry. The more glitz the better!

Top off your outfit with gorgeous pearl or rhinestone earrings, vintage fur wrap, sparkly heels, and of course an embellished cigarette case!

For Him:

Think Dana Andrews in Laura! A doubled breasted pinstripe suit with a stetson hat tipped to the side brings out his inner detective! During this period, suit lapels became extra large as a way of making men's shoulders appear extra broad, so be certain to match the width of the tie appropriately!

Lastly, men used to accessorize almost as much as women! Accompany his ensemble with a pocket square, scarf, collar bar, and a smart dame!

Now as with any Film Noir party, be sure to accompany your outfit with a great cocktail, some red lipstick, and a great detective alias!


The Vintage Chanteuse

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thirsty Thursday: The Gin and Sin

Hi Vintage-istas! This week's cocktail is the Gin and Sin, a fabulously sweet and sinful cocktail from the roaring twenties! This Prohibition Era Cocktail was our drink of choice for our murder mystery party this past weekend and we think you will enjoy it just as much as we did.

Admittedly, the number of components to this delicious cocktail numbers greater than you will find in your average Vintage Chanteuse cocktail, but the effort will be worth it!

Let's take a look at the ingredients:
  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • .5 oz orange juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Mint leaves for garnish (optional)
Before we look at this drink's instructions, its important to make sure you prepare your simple syrup first if you haven't any pre-made. In a small sauce pan, combine 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 cup boiling water, stirring until all sugar is dissolved. Then, remove pan from heat and allow to reduce into a syrup and cool.

Then you can proceed with the preparation:
In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients over ice and shake until ice crystals form around exterior of shaker. (You can see here, we chose to mix up a slightly larger batch to accommodate our party guests). Next, strain mix into cocktail glass, over ice if you wish, and garnish with a sprig of mint leaves.

Keeping with the murder mystery film noir theme, we recommend "Le jazz du Chambrioleur" from the French film Une vie de chat. Composed by living French composer Serge Besset. While not from the actual period, you will find this song has the perfect film noir feel to get you in the mood!


The Vintage Chanteuse

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Deadly Ever After

Hello Vintage-istas!

A day after our 3 day road trip from Connecticut to Nebraska, Yesterday's Lady hosted a murder mystery engagement party for my fiancé and me.  It was AMAZING! Here's a little sneak peak of our "Deadly Ever After" party.  The party was located in the Historic Schmuck Building in downtown Beatrice, NE.  We had a fairytale themed murder mystery game from, which we gave a vintage feel by creating film noir costumes, retro cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, playing crime jazz softly in the background, and of course a dark and stormy evening to top off the ambiance. 

The dinner party was in three courses: Noshes (hors d'oeuvres), Dinner, and Dessert.  After each course, another clue was revealed to the guests.  We named each dish to appropriately fit our guests' characters. 

We decorated each table with vintage Nancy Drew Mystery books, vintage-inspired lamps, and black and white table cloths to tie the Film Noir theme together. 

When hosting guests, we ALWAYS use china plates, crystal glassware, and cloth napkins. It's an attention to the details that makes the guests feel special and pampered. We try to always use vintage tableware (even if they don't match!).

Our hors d'oeuvres were nestled amongst a vintage suitcase, candelabra, and a phone with a reference to Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder

We carefully planned each round of clues, with an announcement by our host Sherlock Holmes (my fiancé) and each clue was created to look like an old typewriter with Film Noir font. We supplied our guests with detective notebooks and pencils that we created using name tag labels and our pencils were engraved with Sherlock Holmes quotes such as "Sniff out the facts."

At the end of the evening, our guests were sent home with gift bags filled with dark roast coffee, dark chocolate biscotti, bookmarks, and literary love quote coffee mugs (which we made ourselves). Oh, and did I mention the evening was capped off with a ghost tour of the haunted Schmuck Building?!

The evening was a huge success. So much so we will be planning a Murder Mystery Party, open to the public in October. If you have ever considered attending a Murder Mystery Party, the historic Schmuck Building is a PERFECT place for a little murder...


The Vintage Chanteuse

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekly Playlist: Film Noir

Hello Vintage-istas!

We've been busy this weekend hosting a film noir themed murder mystery party. It was a huge success! In fact, so much so we will be hosting a public murder mystery party in the Historic Schmuck Building in October! And really, what better place to host a murder mystery than in a haunted building! I will be posting information in September about buying tickets and the party's mystery theme. So to whet your whistle a bit here's a little film noir music we used to create an ambiance on Saturday night!

Now for our feature...

It was a dark and stormy night. The street lamps were casting gloomy shadows on the wet pavement. It had been a rough night and my weary eyes followed the moonlight which seemed to light the way to Harry's bar on the corner. When suddenly from behind a female voice grew from the shadows "May I have a light?"


The Vintage Chanteuse

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thirsty Thursday: Brandy Stinger

Hello Vintage-istas,

Summer is really starting to heat up outside, so this week we're bringing you a cocktail that ought to help relieve a bit of summer's sting: the Brandy Stinger!

While this drink's exact origin is not clear, it has been around for nearly a century and really took off after the prohibition, being featured in such films as The Bishop's Wife with Cary Grant and High Society with Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby!

As is nearly always the case with classic cocktails, simple is better. Let's take a look at this cocktail's bones:
  • 2 parts brandy or cognac
  • 1 part white crème de menthe
  • Mint leaves for garnish (optional)

In a shaker, pour brandy and crème de menthe over ice and shake vigorously until ice crystals begin to form around shaker's exterior. Then, strain into cocktail glass and enjoy. This drink does not traditionally require a garnish, but a sprig of mint leaves adorning the edge of a glass never hurts!

Recommended accompaniment:

To accompany this drink, we highly recommend this highlight from Cole Porter's High Society, here featuring Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong on "Now You Has Jazz!"


The Vintage Chanteuse

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


I have incurable Wanderlust; my heart longs to travel nearly everyday. My fiancé and I have a travel "bucket list" nearly a mile long! We love to showcase our adventures in our apartment through the use of globes, maps, souvenirs, and photos. With our impending road trip just hours away, I can't help but think on the adventures we have taken together and the gentle reminders of our memories throughout our apartment. 

We have hidden globes in every corner of our apartment, tilted to various geographic locations on our bucket list. Oh, and did I mention we got engaged in Paris?! Hence the overwhelming amount of French poetry books, Eiffel Towers, and overtly romantic pictures of us drinking champagne on the streets of Paris and biking along the French countryside in Versailles.

As a classical musician, I tend to look at life as art and what better way to capture pieces of life's happiness than through photos. I love the idea of being able the change out my photos and a have sense of déjà vu by hanging photos from tiny clothes pins!

And souvenirs, of course! We bought these from a painter outside of La Bohème du Tertre on Montmartre in Paris. 

Since moving to Connecticut, I have garnished a slight obsession with vintage globes and maps! Thank goodness we don't have much room in our apartment, otherwise I would have an entire living room full of globes if I could! 

And lastly, my favorite photo in our apartment: a 1950's painting of Notre-Dame de Paris and a view of the bridge where we were engaged.

I hope these inspire you to find a little wanderlust of your own. Life is about making memories and finding happiness, so go now and plan your next adventure!


The Vintage Chanteuse

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Style Scenario: Vintage Road Trip

Hello Vintage-istas!  We are excited to bring you our first installment of Style Scenario, a weekly series of situation-specific tips for vintage dressing and accessorizing.  This week at The Vintage Chanteuse we are all about road trips.  Here are our road trip must-haves from ModCloth!

1) Chalk of the Town Dress in Plaid: For me, dresses are the most comfortable way to travel! I adore this red, white, and blue plaid 1960's inspired dress.

2) Beach Blanket Bingo Swimsuit: This Esther Williams vintage-inspired swimsuit has my heart!  After all, there is nothing like a midnight swim after a long day of driving! 

3) Through the Wire Headband: Ah, fresh air blowing in through the window can really do a number on your coif!  No worries, tie it back with this sweet red and white polka dot headband.

4) The Joys are Back Jeans in Capri: Are jeans more your style?  Try these 1940's inspired Capri jeans with a pair of charming saddle shoes.

5) Car Cruise Boogie Sunglasses: Sunnies are a must on a road trip and these delightful scarlet glasses will add that touch of retro style to any outfit!

6) Backyard Bliss Picnic Blanket: Nothing says Summer Road Trip like picnicking lakeside with classic red and white checked blanket. 

7) Woods of Wisdom Picnic Basket: Of course, you can't picnic without a picnic basket! This darling basket doubles as a cooler as well. Perfect for long car rides!

8) On-the-Go Game Pad: And lastly, don't leave your house with your go-to car games! These classic games are great for one or two people to play on the road.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekly Playlist: The Vintage Road Trip

This week is Vintage Road Trip Week at The Vintage Chanteuse! My fiancé and I are road tripping from Connecticut to Nebraska and we are so excited! To get us in the traveling mood I've put together this Vintage Road Trip Playlist!  I can't wait to hit the open road with the windows down, music wafting from the speakers, and the sun warming our spirits. Look out, Nebraska, here we come! 


The Vintage Chanteuse

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thirsty Thursday: Scarlett O'Hara

Hello Vintage-istas,

We're taking a trip to Hollywood for this week's Thirsty Thursday by visiting a cocktail named after a character played by one of the 20th-century's most beloved silver screen starlets: The Scarlett O'Hara!

This drink's namesake comes from the lead character of one of the most successful films ever: Gone With the Wind's Scarlett O'Hara, played by Vivien Leigh.

While you can find cocktail names today that are long, clever, wacky, and even hysterical, early mixology prided itself in creating drinks and monikers that were simple and to the point. Thus, having a popular cocktail named after you was surely a highly flattering compliment and speaks to Vivien Leigh's forever-immortalized position within America's popular culture. The drink, like Scarlett, has a sweet and refreshing beauty to it. This cocktail even sports a luscious red hue a la Miss O'Hara's most famous dress in Gone With the Wind!

So, now that we have a bit of the history, let's get right into the nitty gritty of this sweet and refreshing drink:
  • 2 oz Southern Comfort
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of lime juice
  • Splash of club soda (optional)
  • Lime twist for garnish

In a highball filled with ice, pour two ounces of Southern Comfort. Next, top of glass with cranberry juice and a splash of lime. If desired, this cocktail has often traditionally included a splash of club soda for a little added spritz. Finally, stir gently and garnish with a twist of lime and enjoy!

Recommended accompaniment:

For some musical accompaniment, we recommend Glenn Miller's arrangement of a silver screen serenade released the exact same year as Gone With the Wind that quickly became one of the most famous songs in America, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."


The Vintage Chanteuse

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer Reading List

Hi Vintage-istas!  It's The Vintage Chanteuse, and I am back after a long week of auditions, operas, and concerts. Thanks for your patience :-) And now that Summer vacation is in sight, I have road trips, beaches, fresh sweet corn, and BOOKS on my mind! My favorite Summer pastime is lying in the sun with a good book and a cold cocktail. So here is my Summer Reading List all of which include my favorite things: vintage clothing, antiques, romance, and a little mystery!

The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean

"Dora has always taken the path of least resistance. She went to the college that offered her a scholarship, is majoring in "vagueness studies," and wears whatever shows the least dirt. She falls into a job at the college coffee shop, and a crush on her flirty boss, Gary.

Just when she's about to test Gary's feelings, Mimi, the grandmother who raised her, suffers a stroke. Dora rushes back home to Forsyth, NC, and finds herself running her grandmother's vintage clothing store. The store has always been a fixture in Dora's life; though she grew up more of a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of girl, before she even knew how to write, Mimi taught her that a vintage 1920s dress could lift a woman's spirit.

While working there, Dora befriends Mimi's adorable contractor, Conrad. Is he after Dora, or is working from a different blueprint? And why did Mimi start writing down--and giving away--stories of the dresses in her shop?

When Mimi dies, Dora can't get out of town fast enough and cedes control of the store to her money-hungry aunt who wants to turn it into a t-shirt shop for tourists. But ultimately, she returns to Forsyth, willing to battle whatever may stand in the way of her staying there. Dora can trade her boring clothes for vintage glamour, but can she trade her boring life for one she actually wants?"

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff

"Phoebe Swift’s friends are stunned when she abruptly leaves a plum job to open her own vintage clothing shop in London—but to Phoebe, it’s the fulfillment of a dream, and her passion. Digging for finds in attics and wardrobes, Phoebe knows that when you buy a piece of vintage clothing, you’re not just buying fabric and thread—you’re buying a piece of someone’s past. But one particular article of clothing will soon unexpectedly change her life.

Thérèse Bell, an elderly Frenchwoman, has an impressive clothing collection. But among the array of elegant suits and couture gowns, Phoebe finds a child’s sky-blue coat—an item with which Mrs. Bell is stubbornly reluctant to part. As the two women become friends, Phoebe will learn the poignant tale of that little blue coat. And she will discover an astonishing connection between herself and Thérèse Bell—one that will help her heal the pain of her own past and allow her to love again."

Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews

 "Meet Weezie (aka Eloise) Foley, a feisty antiques “picker,” banished by her spiteful ex-husband from the house she herself restored in Savannah’s historic district, who must come to terms with a life that has suddenly changed…and  not, it, seems for the better. In Mary Kay Andrews’s delectable New York Times bestseller, Savannah Blues, readers will feel the sultry Georgia breezes and taste sea salt in the air, as they lose themselves in a wonderful, witty tale brimming with sass and peopled by a richly endearing cast of delightfully eccentric characters. Revenge is sweeter than sweet in Mary Kay’s capable hands."

One of Those Malibu Nights by Elizabeth Adler

"It was just one of those Malibu nights, dark as a velvet shroud, creamy waves crashing onto the shore, breeze soft as a kitten’s breath . . . But when private investigator to the stars Mac Riley hears the sound of a woman’s scream over the crashing waves, his low-key beach-bum lifestyle is changed forever. A beautiful, distraught woman wearing only a black lace negligee stands in the doorway of a fabulous beach house. In her hand, a gun, and it’s pointed directly at him. . . . Mac escapes her bullet, but barely. Who was that woman? Days later, she’s disappeared and the Smith & Wesson she almost killed him with finds its way into his car.

Mac suddenly finds himself tangled up in a web of deception. He’s going to need some help if he’s going to get to the bottom of it all. This is where Sunny Alvarez comes in. Sunny and Mac have an on-again, off-again relationship. Lately it’s been more “off” than “on.” But now he needs her more than ever.  
Together they go on a quest that takes them from Southern California, to the beaches of Mexico, to the streets of Rome and the countryside of France. All the while, they are one step behind an elusive murderer, and one step ahead of an actress who wants nothing more than to get lost. . . ."

 The Lady in the Palazzo by Marlena di Blasi

"Marlena di Blasi seduced readers to fall in love with Venice, then Tuscany, with her popular and critically acclaimed books A Thousand Days in Venice and A Thousand Days in Tuscany. Now she takes readers on a journey into the heart of Orvieto, an ancient city in the less-trodden region of Umbria. Rich with history and a vivid sense of place, her tale is by turns romantic and sensual, joyous and celebratory, as she and her husband search for a home in this city on a hill—finding one that turns out to be the former ballroom of a dilapidated sixteenth-century palazzo. Along the way, de Blasi befriends an array of colorful characters, including cooks and counts and shepherds and a lone violinist, cooking her way into the hearts of her Umbrian neighbors.

Brimming with life and kissed by romance, The Lady in the Palazzo perfectly captures the essence of a singular place and offers up a feast—and the recipes to prepare it!—for readers of all stripes."

 I don't know about you but I cannot wait to devour my reading list this Summer!  What are you favorites Summer reads?  Please share in the comments below!


The Vintage Chanteuse

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Weekly Playlist: Retro Beach Plays!

Hello Vintage-istas!  June has arrived and so have the beach bunnies! We have had a beautiful week in New England so the beach bunnies are coming out of hibernation and are headed to the beach!  Now grab your favorite retro swimsuit and sunnies and head to your favorite swimming hole!  This week's playlist: Retro Beach Plays will certainly help get you in the mood for some fun in the sun!


The Vintage Chanteuse