Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Eliza Girl!

My company has a new logo!  Ever since I read about the "Maybelline Girl" of the 1930s, I wanted my cosmetics brand to have an "Eliza Girl".  Even before that though, I was thinking about a logo that would be a simple portrait of a woman's face, preferably with a 1930s flavor.  I had the crazy idea that I could do this myself.  I bought some pastels in the summer and started practicing, and seemed to make very little progress.

Well, over the weekend, it seems I got lucky!  Here is the new logo for Eliza Fragrances & Cosmetics:

'Eliza Girl', copyright Tia Semer.

You can read more about the development of this logo here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Out of the Ordinary...

The late 1930s and early 1940s are my typical comfort zones.  So here I am sporting a '50s look!  I tried to pencil in my eyebrows to give them that angular look that seemed so popular in the '50s.  :)

Different.  The pearls are genuine 1950s; they were my grandmother's.  Unfortunately, the pearl finish is coming off some of them and I'm unsure of how they can be restored.  :( 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Eliza Blog!

Finally, I've gotten around to creating a blog for my company, Eliza Fragrances & Cosmetics.  See it here!  This is where I will feature fun facts, ideas, latest products, the vintage photos and advertisements that are my inspiration.  I'll also be hosting giveaways on that blog.

Got some memory boards for my good old computer and it's running so much better.  Blogger doesn't freeze up anymore, so I'm looking forward to blogging more on here, as well.  I have a few vintage style ideas I would like to share.

Hooray!  I hope I can keep up two blogs!  I leave you now with one of my favorite vintage cosmetic ads, which I just found today on  It's for Revlon's "Fashion Plate" powder, from 1948.  Look at that lacy bodice on the gown!  And those red lips!  Wow!

Stay glamorous!  ;)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Eliza Fragrances & Cosmetics Blog

Forget that Tumblr account I mentioned, I now have a blog here on Blogger that will be devoted to my company, Eliza Fragrances & Cosmetics.  ♥

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday!  A lady never admits her age, so you'll all just have to guess.  ;)  There is no snow here and today is quite a temperate day.  That's a lovely birthday gift to wake up to.

How busy I have been.  I'm planning out some lip palettes for the holidays!  The colors that I'm going to feature are:

1. A light coral-pink.

2. A brownish red (my 'Rita' shade, reformuated)
3. Pearly pink.
4. Cranberry red!
5. Plum.

The cranberry and plum shades are hard to pull off, as I'm using a new iron oxide that I'm still getting acquainted with.  It's amazing how just a little bit of this will make the formulation very dark.

This was the initial cranberry shade I came up with, but it was much darker on my lips and too close to another of my lip rouges, 'Paulette'.  So I'm going to try more of a cranberry juice color, rather than cranberry sauce.  That being said--have you ever noticed how many different shades of "cranberry" there are?  Cranberry sauce and dried cranberries are not the same color as cranberry juice, and fresh cranberries are a different story altogether.  Wow!  Well, it's a challenge that I'm up for.  When I finish, I plan to name this rouge after that lovely actress, Gene Tierney.

Gene Tierney

My aforementioned glosses turned out well.  I made some glittery ones for Halloween.

'Marilyn' lip gloss.  

'Empress', one of the glosses featured in the Halloween collection.  Claudette Colbert as Cleopatra is on the label. 

I also got out a book I wrote a couple of years ago, and I had wanted to try to copyright it last year--I'm so glad I didn't!  I have found tons of inconsistencies and silly things that need to be cut.  Grateful to no longer be so emotionally attached so I can finally make the necessary changes, I've been obsessing over that and working everyday on it.  It's actually helping my mood a little bit.  I mentioned in a previous post that I was feeling anxious, but it has made me feel happier, calmer, more optimistic.

What do you think of my 1950s hairstyle?  No, I did not cut my hair; this is all done with hair rolls!  I wanted to try something a little bit different from my usual '40s look.

Need to work on perfecting my "winged" eyes, I think.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Getting Glossy

Once obsessed with lip glosses in high school, I now tend to shy away from them, mainly because of the greasy-lipped look some of them give.  I don't care for clear or sheer gloss, but...opaque, highly pigmented gloss...Now, there's a thought.

Go to your local store and browse professional lip glosses.  Mineral oil...petroleum...Synthetic oils...Not to mention glitter that might come from who-knows-where!

Glitter was invented in 1930s by Max Factor, and was first available commercially in 1932.  I keep forgetting that!  Lip gloss just seems so...more like something from the 1970s.  But, take a look at the lips of some '30s actresses--glossy!

Jean Harlow with glossy lips.

I make lip glosses and lip rouges--why not lip glosses?  Well, now I've started!

'Ava' lip gloss!  Contains castor oil, shea butter, beeswax, carmine, iron oxides, titanium dioxide, kaolin clay, glycerin, essential oils of lemon and orange.  ♥

I'm also working on a Halloween collection of cosmetics; glittery lip glosses and eyeshadows.  The best spot to see these is on my Facebook page, Eliza Fragrances & Cosmetics.

As for the Tumblr I started...I think I like Blogger better than Tumblr!  :0

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Keeping Busy...

...Or, trying to!  This summer wasn't exactly what I had hoped, but I'm determined to enjoy what is left of it. It was really hot, and then really cooled down, so I didn't do a lot of outdoor-sy things that I had planned.  So, I've been reading, reading...Trying to read two books per month.  I know that's not much, but it seems my attention span gets shorter with age!  :o  I would like to be able to read one book per week, but...

Anyway, what have I read?  As I mentioned in a post last autumn, I adore ghost stories.  I've been looking for more novels that are similar to Henry James' The Turn of the Screw.  Now, there are a lot of modern novels dealing with ghosts and the paranormal, but many, unfortunately, are erotica--and if there's one thing I can't stomach, it's erotica.  I just want to read about ghosts and get scared to sleep at night!  BUT!!!  I found one!  It was recommended by my library for me, as a personalized reading list I requested.  The Ghost Writer, by John Harwood.  Better than the main plot line were the Victorian ghost stories within.  John Harwood's writing really made me feel I was reading a glimpse of something from the Victorian era.  My favorite short story within the book was "Seraphina," about a man who is haunted by a painting of a beautiful lady.  Harwood can write such great Victorian-style ghost stories, I thought, that he could write a whole book of them.

And then, I found it.

The Seance, by John Harwood, is exactly what I have been looking for, for so, so long!  Wonderfully paced, expertly changing perspective, this is the ideal spooky, "gothic" ghost novel, in my eyes.  It was a book I couldn't wait to get back to when I had put it down, and one that I missed when I finished it, which only took six days (rare for me!).  And in the end of both of these novels, there is a logical explanation for everything.  They are like combination ghost/mystery/suspense novels.  Here is a great review of The Seance:


I'm also keeping busy with my cosmetics!  I have a Halloween collection I'm working on, which I'm planning to release in late September or early October.  So please check out my Facebook page if you're interested! :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I meant to write a post a few days ago, but my internet froze up to a point where I just had to shut everything down.  I'm not sure what's causing it; I reset my Firefox, and have deleted a lot off of my computer, so it must be my internet provider.  How tedious!

I was very anxious, and have been reading Dale Carnegie's How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.  It has been very helpful.  His other book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, is worth the fame it has received.  And they're both vintage, too!

Besides being really hot and drought-like here, I'm getting very antsy about my cosmetics business.  I have lots of new things--finally, that talc-free, perfumed powder I wanted to make!

It's nearly identical to the shade of Coty's Air-Spun that I use.  Triumph!

But...I'm dissatisfied.  I don't feel that business is picking up as it should.  So, I've been wondering...Would readers be interested in seeing reviews of my own vintage-inspired make up?  Are there any readers who might want to do a review of it on their own blogs?  I am very interested in as much feedback and product-exposure as possible.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Winner of the 'Bette' Lipstick!

Sound the trumpets!  

I have chosen the winner of the 'Bette' lipstick giveaway.

The winner is:


Congratulations!  Please contact me with your shipping information at:

Thank you to everyone who participated!  Stay tuned for more giveaways in the future.  ♥

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Eliza Lipstick Giveaway!

So!  At Eliza Fragrances, I've begun making "slimline" lipsticks with my lip rouge shades.  To spread the word, I would like to do a little giveaway!  The lipstick is 'Bette' and is a 1930s raspberry-pink.

Want a chance to win the new 'Bette' lip rouge from Eliza Fragrances?  Follow the rules below!

'Bette' Lipstick by Eliza Fragrances!

Swatch of 'Bette', in pure sunlight.

Giveaway Rules

1.  'Like' my Facebook page, Eliza Fragrances.
2.  Please follow my blog!
3.  Answer the following questions:
     a.  Who is 'Bette' lipstick named for?
     b.  Name one of her movies.
     c.  Why would you like to win this lipstick?

You have until midnight on Monday, May 28 to enter.

The best answers from part (c.) will be entered in a drawing to win.  Good luck, and thank you!  ♥

Friday, May 4, 2012

Handmade, Vintage-Inspired Make Up!

Looks like it has been about a month since I last posted.  Blogger has a new look, and this is going to take some getting used to!

A few things have kept me from posting.  I've been pretty tired lately, sleeping until 11:30am or sometimes until noon.  I had some blood tests done to check for problems, but it looked like everything came back normal; I'm not deficient in anything.  Maybe it's all in my head?  Trying to keep a positive outlook and an open mind, and maybe I'll find my old energy and spirit.

Also, my internet has been really slow on blogger!  It freezes up and it's hard for me to read new blog posts.  So, if you don't see me commenting as much as usual, it isn't that I wouldn't like to!  Ugh, technology.

Does anyone else have difficulty uploading photos?  Sometimes I have to upload a photo two or three times before Blogger will post it.  Usually it just...eats the photo.  :o

Well, I've expanded my business quite a bit!  I'm starting a line of vintage eyeshadow shades, I made a test powder of the Coty's Air-Spun that I mentioned in a post this past winter.  And, I'm doing lipsticks!

I want to also make you aware that, because of some new, silly Facebook rules, I will be directing my giveaways to this blog.  So keep your eyes peeled; you just might be a winner!

 Lipsticks, in slimline tubes.

Perfumed face powder!

'Orchid' eyeshadow, a 1930s shade.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Chiffon Blush

Well, I've been neglectful of my posts again, haven't I?  My ideas and thoughts have been consumed with a lot of things, and I haven't had much time for my vintage side (sadly).  But, I've taken one more step toward my dream of making cosmetics--blushes!  I have been planning for months and finally made two yesterday evening.  I'm calling them "Chiffon Blush," for they go on sheer and light, and contain silk powder.

They come in jars with sifters; 37mm in diameter by 19mm high, and each jar contains about 2.38g.

'Mauve Rose'.  The blush colors correspond with my lip rouges; this one matches 'Olivia' lip rouge.

'Honeysuckle'.  I wore this one today.

I'm proud to say that these blushes contain no talc, no mineral oil, no petrochemical-based dyes.  If you want to know more about the ingredients, visit my Facebook page, Eliza Fragrances.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Still Here!

How absent I've been lately!  I'm keeping busy, working on more lip rouges, planning out expanding into more cosmetics this spring, if I can afford to.  I obsess about it and have started dreaming about making cosmetics!  Ha, ha.  Haven't blogged much because my internet connection is usually very finicky with blogger and freezes up a lot, then I get frustrated, so I tend to stay away.  I apologize for being gone so long!

I've also started reading again.  I used to really enjoy reading, so much that I could read a thick book in a couple of days.  Recently I became disenchanted, and found it difficult to hold my attention to anything but short stories.  Maybe I'm just very picky with books!  Anyway, I've made it a goal to read two books a month.  I know, not much of a feat!  But that's the idea; I don't want my interest to "burn out" again.

I'm actually having a sale right now, my lip rouges are $6 each, perfumes $8, and lip balms are $2.  You can browse my Facebook page (Eliza Fragrances), or email me at

My latest lip rouge shade, 'Marilyn', is named after Marilyn Monroe, and is a red intended for blondes.  However, this shade would be amazing on most brunettes, and it's actually a blue-red that I can pull off, which is unusual for my red hair and pale skin.  (I'm not a natural redhead but I have redhead coloring--pink undertones and all that.)

Summer has suddenly struck us.  I really enjoy the gradual transition from winter to spring, spring to summer, but this year, summer has arrived almost overnight!  It worries me a bit about the rest of the summer; how hot is it going to get?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Lip Rouge Labels

I wanted to do something that would set my lip rouges apart from perfumes, as I use the same tins for both products.  This is what I came up with!

Because lip rouges are named after actresses of the classic "golden" age of Hollywood, I decided to make the label for each lip rouge a photograph of that actress!  And if you aren't up to speed on your classic actress, or if you forget, or if anything happens to the photograph-label, there is another label on the bottom with the name printed.

What do you think?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Book Review: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

A good friend recently recommended this novel to me, The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures, by Caroline Preston.  I have to say, it is unlike any other book I have read--and in a very good way!  It does remind me of the children's book series, Amelia's Notebook, by Marissa Moss.

Now, I really enjoy vintage books, such as The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler (my absolute favorite), The Death of the Heart, by Elizabeth Bowen, Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier (another favorite), Beast in View, by Margaret Millar.  I enjoy writing historical fiction, but very rarely do I find a modern novel of the 'historical fiction' genre that I enjoy.  My theory: I lose interest when I come across mistakes the writer made; if you're going to write historical fiction, do your research.  Modern colloquialisms wouldn't have been used in the 1940s, etiquette was different, fashion was different, society was different.  I seek out those books because I want to feel like I'm experiencing that time, that I am momentarily escaping the present and witnessing the past.  There seem to be too many 'historical fiction' novels that really lack the feeling of being historical

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt does not contain these flaws.  It seems Caroline Preston, the author, did more than adequate research; it really feels as if it was written by a young woman in the 1920s!  The moment I opened this book, I could have squealed.  It is so delightful, jam-packed with "full color vintage memorabilia," just like it says on the cover!  At first I thought I would breeze through it, since the story is told mostly by pictures and fragments of sentences.  But I was so focused on the little details, the advertisements and photographs, and how wonderfully they fit in with the storyline, that I probably spent as much time on each page as a regular-print book.  I felt that the spirit of the '20s was captured very accurately in a uniquely creative way.

Summary:  Frankie Pratt, a recent high school graduate in New Hampshire, is given a scrapbook by her mother.  She types her scrapbook entries (like a diary) on her deceased father's Corona typewriter.  When she begins getting a little too chummy with the mysterious Captain James Pingree, grandson of the woman she is supposed to be "babysitting," Frankie's mother arranges for her to attend Vassar college.  Following graduation from Vassar, Frankie heads to New York.  After some disappointment there, she heads for PARIS!  And the rest...You'll just have to read the book!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Perfect Vintage Powder

I mentioned in one of my posts about lip rouge that I once had a dream to start a cosmetic company.  Since I started making lip rouges, I have gained an interest in possibly making other vintage-inspired cosmetics, as well, like blushes and powdered foundations.  The dream I once had has returned!

To me, the ideal loose face powder is Coty's Airspun.  First introduced in 1935, Coty's Airspun is still available at the average drugstores and supermarkets, and is as close as you'll get to the "real deal" vintage powder.  Three things that make it special to me:

1) It is so SOFT!  Apparently, this is because of the micro-fine, "air-spun" fibers.  This was done with a special milling process using very fast cold air which reduced the particles to micron sizes.

2) Unlike many modern powders, it has a WARMTH to its hue.  Have you ever heard of the 1930s foundations that had an apricot tone?  Coty's Airpun has it!  I'm fair-complected and so many products are either too light for me, or are just the right tone except for too much brown hue that makes my skin look a bit dirty.  The light apricot undertone of Coty's gives my skin a warm glow.

3) Possibly the best point, it is PERFUMED!  The scent isn't like a lot of the cheap smells one finds in cosmetics; it's a very ladylike fragrance that is light and powdery.  One sniff makes me feel nearly as if I've traveled back in time, and is very nostalgic, as it reminds me of my grandmother.

The point?  I would love to make a powder as wonderful as this.  Naturally, this is a HUGE goal I am imposing upon myself, by why should I settle to make anything of lesser quality?  So, I've been researching Coty's Airspun, and found a few other reasons to try to make my own wonderful powder.  Main reason: the ingredients of Coty's Airspun are not the greatest.  Some are quite frightening, like imidazolidinyl urea.  Not only can I not pronounce this, but have found that it is an "antimicrobial preservative" which contains a formaldehyde releaser.  That is just what it sounds like: a compound which slowly releases formaldehyde over time.  Formaldehyde is for embalming--it's for the dead!  I don't want that while I'm alive and healthy!

Another thing, talc.  Talc is amazing for absorbing moisture, but unfortunately has a questionable particle structure (sharp edges), and the micron-size in Coty's Airspun could actually aid in clogging your pores.  What else is great at clogging pores?  Mineral oil.  And Coty's Airspun has it, as well as synthetic dyes, and parabens, which may or may not contribute to breast cancer, and may or may not affect hormones.  (My theory: if the FDA isn't sure, if they need more conclusive evidence why is it used in skin-care products?)

"Beauty...born in a Cyclone."  Something I was previously unaware of, Coty's "Air-Spun" used to be available in FOUR different perfumed versions.  The first you see, perfumed with the Coty fragrance "L'Origan," is the only one still available.  The other fragrances were, left-to-right, "L'Aimant," "Paris," and "Emeraude."  How neat!  Advertisement, 1939.  

My version would by no means be perfect.  The iron oxides I use are lab created (yes, iron oxides occur in nature, but often with arsenic, mercury, and lead with them.  The safe alternative is a lab-created, man-made version of the natural phenomenon).  I have no "cyclone" machine to grind particles down to micron sizes.  However, mine will be paraben-free, free of synthetic dyes, NO mineral oil, no talc, and absolutely NONE of that scary imidazolidinyl urea stuff.  It WOULD have friendlier ingredients for your skin, jojoba oil instead of mineral oil, AND--the best part!--IT WOULD BE PERFUMED!  A skin-friendly powder without losing the vintage flair and feel?  Is it possible?!

...I am going to find out.  :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Lip Shade!

I have a new lip rouge shade!  'Olivia' is a sweet, rosy-mauve.

I'm offering a new size of lip rouges for those who don't want to spend too much.  You can buy a 6g tin for $7 or a 12g tin for $12-$14.  Also thinking about trying lipsticks, as I found some tubes online that can be filled directly instead of needing a mold.

I also offer perfume samples!  These are free of charge.  You can email me with your shipping information, if you are interested in receiving some, at

I'm also having a Valentine's sale.  If you're still looking for a Valentine's gift, check out my Facebook page for unique fragrances and lip rouges.  :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Vintage Hair Tutorial: Basic Reverse Hair Roll

An essential part of 1940s hairstyles is the hair roll.  I've seen a few tutorials which mistakingly dub every roll "a victory roll"; however, they are only victory rolls if there is one on each side of the head (hence the 'V'...which stands for victory!).  Rolls that stand alone or are in multiples are just that--hair rolls.

There are two types of hair rolls: the regular roll and the reverse hair roll.  What I'm going to be showing you here is a reverse hair roll, which is rolled upward, away from the face.  (A regular hair roll is usually rolled downward.  I'll get to those another time).  Once you know how to do one of these, the whole world of '40s hairstyles will open up for you!

A few misconceptions about hair rolls:

  • "You need to backcomb the hair a lot."  This is not true.  However, your roll will hold its shape much better if you do this--but only a little backcombing is needed.  Too much will make your roll look ratty.  It will have a stronger structure and will be less prone to drooping or flattening.  It also adds nice volume to the roll.
  • "You need to use TONS of hairspray."  I don't use any!  With proper pinning (and backcombing) your roll should hold just fine.  If using hairspray makes you feel better about it, go ahead and do so.  Don't use too much--you don't want your hair roll to look fake or "crunchy."  D:

    A few things your should know first:

    • Your first hair roll will probably be messy.
    • You will need quite a lot of bobby pins first few times, until you master your pinning abilities.
    • You might feel like giving up.
    • It will not be perfect the first time, or even the first few times.  However, once you do these enough and get enough practice at them, you'll be able to style your hair like this in only a couple of minutes!  Just keep practicing, and you'll have glamorous, enviable hair.  :)

      You can do a hair roll anywhere on your head; in the front, just over your forehead (a pompadour roll, I'll show how to do one of those later, too), side of your head, or you can do them all over your head in smaller sizes, to look like miniature curls!  Here is the basics for a reverse roll.  This was my first-ever photo tutorial so I apologize if I made any mistakes.  :)  Also the lighting is poor and I look tired because I didn't sleep well the night before.  But--let's get started!

      What you will need:

      • Hairbrush
      • Fine-tooth comb
      • Your favorite type of smoothing hair cream or serum (not hairspray or gel)
      • Bobby pins
      Step one:  Brush your hair so it is smooth and free of any tangles.

      Step two:  Part your hair as usual.  Keep in mind where you want your roll to end up.  I'm doing one on the top right side of my head, so I've parted my hair on the side.

      Step three:  Moving from the main part of your hair, make another part sectioning off the hair you are going to roll.  Since I'm doing a roll on the right side, the part on mine passes just before my right ear.

      Step four:  Backcomb/tease the hair (combing down toward the roots) on the side of the section that is going to be rolled in.  Do this from the roots all the way down near the ends, but stop about two inches from the ends.  Any further down could damage your ends.

      Step five:  Stroke your smoothing hair cream over the section of hair.  I was in a bit of a hurry as my camera was dying and so I skipped this step.  That's why my hair looks a bit frizzy.  :/  Generally, my favorite cream to use is Garnier Fructis Soft Curl Cream, but I believe this has been discontinued.

      Step six:  Now for the rolling!  Loop the end of the hair around your thumb.  Carefully slip your thumb part way out--DO NOT let go of this loop!  You'll want to keep your thumb partway in the loop.  Place index finger in the other end of the loop.  Using the thumb and forefinger of both hands, hold the side of the loop in this manner (switching from one hand to the other) and gently roll it upward toward your scalp.  When this loop becomes too loose, gently pull outward to tighten the hair around your thumb.  Since this step is confusing to explain, here is a short video of me rolling my hair.

      Step seven:  Once you have the roll positioned where you want it on your head, begin pinning with one hand while you hold it in place with the other.  Bobby pins should be tucked inward on each side of the roll, snuggly against the scalp.  For my hair, I need about 4-8 pins per roll, depending on the size and how well I rolled it.  Shake your head side to side; if the roll feels loose, add more pins.  Try to keep them tucked nicely in so they can't be seen.
      Step eight:  GENTLY smooth over the roll with a fine-tooth comb to get any frizz and lumps out and to help achieve an even texture.

      And you're done!  If you wish you apply hairspray, go ahead but be careful not to apply too much to keep the hair texture natural.

      Tuesday, January 10, 2012

      A True Red Lip Rouge!

      I finally succeeded at making a true red lip rouge!  This one is called 'Ava' and the secret ingredient is carmine.

      Let me know what you think!

      Saturday, January 7, 2012

      Vintage Hair Itinerary!

      So!  Looks like some of you are interested in some vintage-hair tutorials--marvelous!  :D  I'm planning to do photo tutorials since...I'm not very good at talking on camera and all that, ha, ha.  Well, here are some styles I'm hoping to feature:

      -A fake '20s/'30s bob

      -1940s hair, including:
           -general hair rolls
           -victory rolls
           -a "pompadour" roll
           -one I don't know the name of but it's easy!

      -Gibson Girl-inspired up-do

      -PIN CURLS--A major staple of vintage hairstyles!  There are a few different ways of doing these and I want to highlight all of the ways I know of.

      Let me know if there are any other styles you would like to see.  Even if they are ones I haven't tried, I'm always up for a new hairstyle challenge!

      Wednesday, January 4, 2012

      Do you like your hair vintage?

      How about some vintage hairstyle tutorials?  I've been thinking about doing some step-by-step photo tutorials.  Just have to find a photographer.  Would this be of interest to any of my followers?