Unintentional Sun Damage

I’ve always been obsessed with sun protection. The last thing I want is to look like a dried out piece of leather…or better yet, in 20 years, a raisin. Among my friends I am always compared to sheets of paper…I like my animal hides tanned – not my skin. Don’t get me wrong – a girl with a perfect spray tan can be beautiful…it’s just not for me. But it’s defiantly better than a tanning bed!

For many of us, we’ve heard the importance of sunscreen and other protective measures when tanning for years, so that’s not what I’m going to focus on today. Instead, I’m going to talk about a type of (somewhat) unintentional UV exposure that can leave you just as harmed (if not more) than lying out in the sun for a day.


Gel Manicures are probably the most damaging thing I do to my skin. Every two weeks I have a gel manicure. Before I go, I protect my hands with a SPF, but even that might not be enough to protect you from the powerful rays. The lamps used to cure the nails are lower than those of tanning beds, but if using on a regular basis they can be even more harmful because of the direct and prolonged exposure.

So next time you go get exposed to UV rays remember this – skin protection is important (AND DONT LOOK INTO THE LIGHT!). Even if you get flack for it now, in 20 years, everyone will wish they had followed your example whether they have just aged badly or are having more unfortunate effects such as skin cancer. Be careful as we begin the summer!!!








Because of sudden emotional turbulence, I was unable to post today. I’ll make up with two posts on Thursday!


Tooth Jewelry

Two of my biggest obsessions in life are jewelry and the slightly macabre. I’ve seen many pieces of taxidermy and bone jewelry, but my absolute favorite has to be human tooth jewelry. There is just something even more creepy about wearing human bone…maybe even more in that it’s a bone we see every day.

The fact that we do see teeth everyday lends itself to become somewhat boring. It is ashame because teeth are probably some of the most ornate bones we have…which begs the question, why not make them into jewelry?!?

I’ve seen pieces tastefully done, and others not so tastefully (no pun intended)…i guess a lot of it lies in the final presentation. Simply stringing a tooth can look to “sharktooth-ish” or it might have the perfect simplistic look. It’s tryly touch and run.

Nonetheless, tooth jewelry is absolutely wonderful and can be worn anytime. It reminds me of ivory in its color and texture (probably because they’re both bone =P). Anyhow, you should try this trend…we all already are rocking it in some way ;)






Lili Marleen and a Two Sided War

I couldn’t quite tell you what this Axis-Allied Second World War song meant to me throughout my childhood. While it might seem to the unlearned ear that this is some German propaganda song, it’s actually far from that. It was a tune that inspired and brought hope to both sides of the war, and was actually banned by German propaganda minister Goebbels on Radio Belgrade until popular appeal brought it back. As Allied and Axis troops both marched through Europe, Lili Marleen reminded them of the women they left behind and gave them hope for the future. It’s about a girl waiting under a lantern for her lover to return from war, and is deeply touching.

Lale Andersen

The song was originally recorded by German singer Lale Andersen under the title, “Das Mädchen unter der Laterne,” which is based off of the first World War poem Das Lied eines jungen Soldaten auf der Wacht. She recorded the song after she met Norbert Schultz, who had composed the music for the tune.

The link I have provided you with shows a much peppier, war-time, gun-ho version that was recorded after Goebbels banned it from the radio. The original tune was much sadder and slower, along the lines of a ballad. Goebbels allowed it back onto the propaganda-sodden radio so long as it promoted war support rather than lament.

Lale Andersen attempted suicide, but failed. She was allowed to perform again after the song Lili Marleen was brought back to the radio, but she could not perform Lili Marleen, despite its soaring popularity.

Belgrade Map
Because of its popularity, Lili Marleen was played at the end of each Radio Belgrade broadcast. The German-controlled Serbia had Allied forces close enough to hear its radio, and Lili Marleen became a song that was popular on both sides of the front. Both Allied and Axis troops reminisced about their sweethearts. Let me take an excerpt from Wikipedia on the matter:

Many Allied soldiers made a point of listening to it at the end of the day. For example, in his memoir Eastern Approaches, Fitzroy Maclean describes the song’s effect in the spring of 1942 during the Western Desert Campaign: “Husky, sensuous, nostalgic, sugar-sweet, her voice seemed to reach out to you, as she lingered over the catchy tune, the sickly sentimental words. Belgrade…The continent of Europe seemed a long way away. I wondered when I would see it again and what it would be like by the time we got there.”

Lili Marleen

The next year, parachuted into the Yugoslav guerrilla war, Maclean wrote: “Sometimes at night, before going to sleep, we would turn on our receiving set and listen to Radio Belgrade. For months now, the flower of the Afrika Korps had been languishing behind the barbed wire of Allied prison camps. But still, punctually at ten o’clock, came Lale Andersen singing their special song, with the same unvarying, heart-rending sweetness that we knew so well from the desert. […] Belgrade was still remote. But, now that we ourselves were in Yugoslavia, it had acquired a new significance for us. It had become our ultimate goal, which Lili Marlene and her nostalgic little tune seemed somehow to symbolise. ‘When we get to Belgrade…’ we would say. And then we would switch off the wireless a little guiltily, for the Partisans, we knew, were shocked at the strange pleasure we got from listening to the singing of the German woman who was queening it in their capital.”[4]

Marlene Dietrich

So now you know how much of an impact this song had on Europe, though you may never have heard it before in your life. Perhaps it rang through the corners of your history classroom, or perhaps you turned it off when you heard it come on some weird Pandora station. The song was also recorded by Marlene Dietrich as a way of demoralising enemy soldiers. A film and music icon and an avid anti-Nazi immigrant to the United States, Marlene Dietrich helped to popularise the song back in the States.

I’ve included a verse from the song to help you understand the nature of the translation.

Deine Schritte kennt sie,                    It knows your footsteps,
Deinen zieren Gang.                    Your beautiful walk.
Alle Abend brennt sie,                    It burns every evening,
Doch mich vergaß sie lang.                    Although it forgot me long ago.
Und sollte mir ein Leid gescheh’n,                    And if a mishap should befall me,
Wer wird bei der Laterne steh’n,                    Who will stand by the lamppost,
Mit dir, Lili Marleen!                    With you, Lili Marleen?

Photos Courtesy of:

William Bishop Ford

A common form of art in the 16th-19th century was portrait miniatures. Women would keep them of their husbands who were in the army or away and men would carry ones to remind them of their families. Another popular use was to celebrate the life of a deceased loved one.

Because of the enormous sentimental value and personal attachment to portrait miniatures I was determined to find myself one. Even though I cannot express how much I adore these tiny masterpieces, I was a bit nervous about acquiring one. For the same reasons I love them (their personal value), I also feel that it is difficult to possess something that meant so much to someone.

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It took me about a year to find the perfect one, but eventually I did. The one I found was of three whippets. Perfect, I thought, because animals have a very close connection with their owners, but it is not like I am carrying someone’s husband around on my collar.

(this one’s mine!! =D)

When I first purchased my portrait miniature, I was unaware of who had painted it or how old it was. The back on it had been replaced at some point in time (probably very early 20th century), and was sealed. Being too afraid to remove the backing, for fear of damaging the piece, I decided to research it solely on its technique, medium, and subject.

I was genuinely shocked when I found who I was definite is the artist. I never expected to be able to come up with a definite answer, but there is no doubt about it…my miniature was painted by William Bishop Ford.

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Ford was a British artist who lived between the years of 1832 and 1922. He was a specialist painter of miniature enamels. He apprenticed under William Essex (who perfected the technique of reverse essex glass painting, which is how mine if done). His subjects included many animals as well as people, and the framing used is unmistakable.

This piece has become one of my most prized possessions. I feel such a personal connection to it and am proud to wear it frequently.


Photo Credits:

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery & my collection