Monday, December 28, 2009

Mid-Century Mom Shops for Christmas Dinner!!!

Howdy, All!!!

Sorry for the two week absence, but things were busy in the Mid-Century Mom's life. Between crazy snow (which I did not shovel in a dress or heels, I am not crazy), last-minute Christmas shopping, and cleaning the house, something had to give...

But I am back, and I am proud to say, I took Mid-Century Mom on a field trip to the grocery store to do some Christmas dinner shopping.

The store was just about to close on December 24, 2009, but Mid-Century Mom found a way to make what could have been a stressful, time-crunched outing into something delightful. It even included un-ruffling the feathers of a certain Mid-Century Dad who was sure that as soon as the clock in the grocery store struck 7:00 p.m., the whole of the mid-century family would be incinerated by the evil forces of the grocery management. (Definitely did not happen, as Mid-Century Mom predicted while gently feeling the winter squash for any imperfections. Mid-Century Mom loves her husband, but is a voice of reason in unsettling times. Just like a good housewife should be...)

We took thirty minutes in the store to purchase the makings for dinner including ham, sweet potatoes, squash, pearl onions, butter, green beans (in a can), brown sugar, and pecans. There was also a little tipple in the basket, some very nice white wine.

I found this image over at a BRITISH newspaper, the Daily Mail, and thought it was perfection. This experience we had was very similar in feel to this photo. I even made sure to wear gloves, heels, and a hat. This may be one of my favorite mid-century images, ever. :)

We had started in produce, but as I said earlier, Mid-Century Dad was having a melt-down about the closing time and flatly refused to take a photo. After my little "speech," he acquiesced and decided the images would be fun...especially since Mid-Century Mom made such an effort (look at the gloves, I know it was cold out, but I wore leather gloves with a RUFFLE at the hem...points???).

Here I am with my son checking out the green beans in the can. We were on our way to my dad's for Christmas Eve dinner and he mentioned he needed more green beans (for the yumminess known as Green Bean Casserole) I picked a couple up for him. (The rest of the things I mentioned getting earlier in this post were for CHRISTMAS dinner at our place, with my dad and brother as guests.)

Even when I am not Mid-Century Mom, I always check for dents on my cans. Why? I really don't know. I think I heard once that dented cans can leach metal into the ingredients, but that probably isn't true. Still I check every single can...probably a bit of OCD kicking in...

Found!!! Two cans that are perfect. Apparently Mid-Century Son (Rex) has spotted something ominous in the racks...

And there they go, into the buggy. Doesn't Mid-Century Daughter (CW) look thrilled?

Yes, Mid-Century Mom, her buggy, and her heels took extra care at this wet floor (I suspect it was dry by that point, but you can never be too careful).

And in good Mid-Century Modern Family fashion, one MUST take a waltz down the chilled aisles of the frozen food section. Food that stays good AND yummy for months? Lovely!

Final Thoughts: This was such a nice outing. I truly felt special walking down the aisles of the local Safeway in this outfit. (Can you imagine a time when all people dressed like this to go out?) It wasn't even that difficult. I am already tall enough at 5'8", but those extra 2" that the heels gave was helpful with grabbing some things from the very top shelf. I had an extra spring in my step because there appeared to be something magical about wearing a well-made silk taffeta shirtdress to the store. I felt like the skirt lifted to life in motion with the wheels of the buggy. I suggest all ladies give this type of an outing a whirl.

Ease of being a mid-century mom: 5 out of 5 (5 is the easiest to be a mid-century mom).

Talk with you all later...must update my other blog with this outfit's information (in case any of you are interested in those details).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mid-Century Mom Folds Some Clothes!!!

Sorry that I didn't get this post up this weekend. I was a bit busy with my other blogs, and since most of you read those, I knew you wouldn't be that desperate!!! ;)

This has to be sort of a quick post, I am rushing off to a party with some of my husband's office mates, so I can't go on and on like I like to!!!

Last week's task was for me to get very nicely dressed up and fold the laundry. Nothing terribly exciting, but definitely a need in our house...Mr. Dina gets very irritated if I use the laundry racks too long (we do very little dryer drying in this household, so in some weird way we were mid-century modern even before we started this little project of mine).

The image above is from Getty Images. It was sort of a pain to find this one...who would have thunk it???

You all saw me in this outfit already...I wore it here in this post over at My Superfluities. I had alluded to this post then, but am only now getting around to it. Bad me!

Don't I just look so happy folding these pants? My goal was to not look at this chore as a chore, but more as a way of keeping everything in my household just so and right. I am (normally, not just as mid-century mom) very particular about my clothing (shocker, right?), so this task is something I do on a regular basis and NO ONE is allowed to do it for me. But I wanted to elevate this chore to something else...a sort of gemutlichkeit (in German it means a coziness within the house) task. I wanted to do this job because this task enlivens me...and it almost worked.

Here I am folding a top. I am always folding my tops just like they do in the stores. J. Crew should hire me, if only to fold, fold, fold. I look at the sales assistants on the floor using that board thing and think, "amateurs." ;)

There's the smile (just like the lady in the photo from Getty Images).

Final Thoughts: I didn't quite reach zen-like highs doing the folding, but I was amazed at how quickly the job went once I sat down and just "folded." I had no distractions (outside of Mr. Dina and the camera for the first ten minutes). For twenty-five minutes, I folded clothing.

The only thing that made this task difficult was the couch I was sitting is kind of cushy, and I felt like I was sinking into the cushions. Also, the dress and fishnet stockings combo was a little itchy, so I felt uncomfortable.

Ease of being a mid-century mom: 4 out of 5 (5 is the easiest to be a mid-century mom).

Okay, I am off to party (I should get that outfit up tonight over at My Superfluities). :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mid-Century Mom Sets the Table!!!

Mid-Century Mom now has thirteen followers. I consider thirteen a good number, so yay!

I really REALLY wanted to do a Mid-Century Mom Packs for a Vacation post, but time, reality, and my darling children set in to make that impossible. Sigh. Next time (probably around February or March).

One thing I was able to do in my retro experiment over Thanksgiving break? I was able to dress up to the nines and set the Thanksgiving table. I also recreated the butternut squash soup for Thanksgiving feast, but since you all had seen that already, I decided that particular part of the day need not be photographed. :)

The Thanksgiving table is very important in today's modern America. Once upon a time, the dinner table EVERY night was very important in America. While Mr. Mid-Century Mom, Rex, and CW and I sit at a table every evening (or most, anyhow) to have dinner, there is nothing special that happens to prepare the table. It is a minor miracle if I get my laptop off the table...

This image below is the very essence of mid-century America's fascination with the perfectly set table (and for what appears to be BREAKFAST, too). And the woman setting the table? As resplendent as the table itself. This image was my goal in setting the Thanksgiving table.

This image comes courtesy of Corbis. Lots of neat, retro images available there for purchase, etc.

This outfit is a beautiful pencil skirt, a ruffly, feminine swiss dot top, a skinny patent belt, and a cashmere cardigan in a matching hue. My hair is pulled back neatly by a headband. I am wearing sparkly earrings to showcase my face. The shoes are hidden, but they are nude kitten heels (see next photo). Also head on over to My Superfluities at some point to see the outfit itself showcased in its individual parts.

The table I am setting is for a total of six individuals. At this point of the photo essay, I was placing the cutlery just know, fork on the left side, knife and spoon on the right side with a napkin placed underneath.

Table setting isn't rocket science, but keeping things symmetric and pretty can be a challenge if you are using mismatched napkins, cutlery, and plates. :) But in the end, that is my goal...make everything in the house delightful, regardless of circumstance. My '50s housewife muse would be oh so proud.

A full shot of the table and the beginning of the process. Mr. Mid-Century Mom stopped taking photos after the cutlery and napkins were set, so there is not much more excitement here...but the table did look full and especially yummy once done...I promise.

Final Thoughts: I thought cooking dinner was easy as a Mid-Century Mom? Nope! This was by far easier than even I anticipated. The outfit was especially comfortable. And the skirt is a size 6! I guess it goes to show...if you put your mind to something and WANT to enjoy yourself, you will, no matter that there is no sweatpants or hoodies in sight for miles!

Ease of being a mid-century mom: 5 out of 5 (5 is the easiest to be a mid-century mom).

Have a lovely weekend, all. I plan on (in the next week) creating a Mid-Century Mom Does the Laundry post. :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mid-Century Mom Makes Dinner!!!

I love my sweet 9 followers! Your great suggestions last week made my day, and I had a lot of fun this week scouring the internet for really cool vintage shots of housewives doing housework of all sorts. Expect to see (in the near future) me attempting packing, doing the dishes (in dishwater), ironing, raking leaves, etc. Next spring I will definitely attempt to do gardening, too.

My next question for you is this: What do you all think of when you think of mid-century mom and casual wear? I doubt that back when that women gardened wearing their Sunday best. What would you all suggest I wear when doing more of the menial and dirty work? I still want to be accurate in my depiction of a mid-century housewife, but I cannot imagine Susie Homemaker in 1959 would have worn a wool pencil skirt, heels, and a silk blouse to go weed. :)

I found this image at They have a plethora of images from this time period. Very cool. I chose this image because it most correctly shows what happened here at Mid-Century Mom's house last week when I wore a beautiful shirtdress, an apron, hosiery, and a pair of pointy-toed flats, plus a headband. My kids were even parading around me (although we have no shots of that happening). The only difference? Mr. Dina wasn't in a suit. :) He didn't sign up to me a mid-century man...maybe one day I can convince him to give it a shot...maybe when I serve him a (non-alcoholic) drink, HeidiG. ;)

Now, unlike most chores around the house, I LOVE to cook. So I knew straight away I would have no problem with this challenge. That said, I do normally cook in outfits that I have no need to worry about staining. I love to cook in frying pans and stew pots, and over the years I have received quite a few stains on my outfits from my cooking style (I am very free-form).

I cook well, just maybe not as organized and pretty as some might.

Well, would you look at that??? No stains, no messes, etc., and I am halfway through the meal-making process. WOW! At this point I am smelling the butternut squash soup I am making (from scratch, thank you, Miss Giada, AWESOME recipe). Look at the french bread rounds sitting to the left waiting to be oiled and placed in the oven...they are all lined up perfectly on the cutting board.

And look at my posture. Stick-straight. Lovely. If it weren't for the microwave and the stainless steel EVERYWHERE, Mr. Dina said I could actually fool people into believing I am in the 1950s. So sweet. BTW, the dress is from IDEOLOGY. It is from 2005, I believe. Sadly, Macy's doesn't carry this brand at all...and since I bought this dress at Hecht's (used to be THE department store of the Mid-Atlantic region), I probably will never be able to buy IDEOLOGY ever again. Sigh.

Here is a back view of the preparation process. Look at my very full skirt. So mid-century mom.

Final Thoughts: I found this challenge way too easy. I only took the dress off because it isn't really conducive to nursing a baby. I probably could have worn it all night...and the apron was GREAT at keeping stains away. Huh...I think my apron will get more use from now on. I plan on doing the whole dress up and cook thing more often. I don't know if it was the novelty or the dress, but I really liked cooking even more than usual. Plus the soup, YUMMY!

Ease of being a mid-century mom: 5 out of 5 (5 is the easiest to be a mid-century mom).

Next post will most likely be on me attempting to pack in full-on pencil skirt and pearls. That should be fun. (Maybe???)

(Oh, if you happen across an image of a housewife packing from the 50s or 60s, could you leave the link in the comments? I have a feeling that could be a difficult image to find.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mid-Century Mom Does the Dishes (in Heels)!!!

Oh, you all, you sweet, sweet 8 followers of mine...I am sorry this took so long to get together. I have had the images of me doing dishes in the dishwasher wearing a dress, heels, makeup, and jewelry for over a month now (I did the dishes in full-on mid-century mom gear on my anniversary), but I had the hardest time trying to figure out which image to use as my inspiration. Many of these images are from people's personal stores (either from magazines, family photos, or books) and I didn't want to infringe on copyright law. (I can't afford to...)

But this morning, I discovered that Getty Images lets you use their images, but with a watermark. Well, yippee!!! I don't need an image with no watermark, I just want you all to see an actual photo from the 50s or 60s of a housewife, looking all snazzy and ladylike, doing chores.

I found this image at Getty Images. I love this because even though this housewife is clearly loading the dishwasher, and I am sure her hands are getting all dirty from the used dishes, she is smiling and seemingly excited because she realizes that the dishwasher will SAVE her from having to actually "DO the DISHES." You know, the old-fashioned, do the dishes in a sink full of greasy water, and if you don't have plastic gloves, well, prepare for "dish-pan" hands.

I also love that her hair is perfectly coiffed, that even her apron is pressed, and that her makeup is utterly fresh.

In contrast, when I do the dishes in the dishwasher, I normally have NO makeup on, I usually am wearing either yoga pants or pj bottoms, and my hair is "tousled." :)

But in keeping with the experiment that I want to turn my life into, I did the dishes a la this beautiful housewife on October 13, 2009.

Look, no need to worry about dishpan hands, I can place the dishes straight INTO the dishwasher without stressing that my hands and nails will look ravaged in the end...

Oh, and look there, I am happy and smiling about it. (Much like our real mid-century mom.) I realize that the dishwasher is so easy a CHILD can do it...see CW, right there, helping???

Final Thoughts: Doing the dishes in the dishwasher is EASY enough in heels, makeup, a pretty dress, and nice hair. I suppose that I could do this chore every day all dressed up. I haven't changed my ways (I still frump out when doing the dishes in the dishwasher), but I don't hesitate to do the dishes when getting ready to go out on the town.

Ease of being a mid-century mom: 5 out of 5 (5 is the easiest to be a mid-century mom).

Okay, now my dear 8 followers, I need your help. What would you like me to do next in pearls and a pencil skirt? Do you want me to do the dishes the old-fashioned way or take the kids for a walk in their stroller all decked out? Or would you prefer that I rake leaves looking lady-like?

It is up to you.

By the way, I plan on posting her twice a week (if I can get the images easily enough). My Superfluities will be where the bulk of my posting will continue to be (4-6 posts a week), but when applicable, I will link from that site to this one.

Thanks for waiting...hope it was worth it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

test post #1

Thank you, Slastena, 3PP, Cleo26, Kelly, and Rosa for the inspiration for this blog.

Pearls, Lady-like outfits, chores, grocery shopping, and of course, drinks to come...

Can I truly be a lady while also raising two little ones? Is it even possible anymore in this day and age of comfort and convenience? Do I even really want to try and see what it is like to be a mid-century mom or will my feet hurt by the end of the day? And what about my dry-cleaning bill? Will it be astronomical?

Let the social experiment begin!