ruby spencer

Ruby becomes a Mermaid for a morning!

Being a summer babe, I LOVE the water.  I was an active swimmer as a kid and was really excited to give mermaid swimming a try!

Aqua Mermaid,, is a Chicago company that offers kids and adults the opportunity to swim like a mermaid!  So, I snagged my friend Maura Trouble and we headed out this past Sunday morning to get our mermaid on.

The first thing you do is get fitted for your tail.  Don't worry, they accommodate everyone - even us 6ft tall mermaids!  The tail includes the fin and a soft fabric overlay.  It took a minute to get used to not have two legs for swimming and balance.  You can even buy your own tail if you want to perfect your swimming.

Once we all have our tails on, they showed us a handful of mermaid swimming techniques and even some fun paired swimming tricks.  When we got our "mermaid legs", we headed down to the deep end of the pool to work on some flips and tricks.

After an hour in the pool, I was tired - it's quite a workout and lots of fun!  

Here's a pic from our morning in the pool!

The Retro Pinups 2016 Calendar

It's finally here!

I've mentioned the 2016 Calendar project back when the kicktstarter was going on and also shared some behind the scenes photos while waiting for the printing to be finished.  But now, I can finally share that the calendars are ready to go!

Boxes and boxes of calendars!

Boxes and boxes of calendars!

For everyone that purchased one during the kickstarter campaign, the autographed calendar will be in the mail soon!  (It takes some time to get all four ladies lovely signatures)

For those of you who haven't purchased one yet, there is still time!  Calendars will be available to purchase on The Retro Pinups' website.

BUT, if you are in the Chicago area, there are TWO opportunities in August where you can come and get your calendar signed IN PERSON with all the lovely ladies from the calendar.  Details about the dates (both in the third week of August) can be found on my Events page.  Come and get a calendar.  Take a picture with me and even pick up an autographed print.

Can't wait to share these with everyone!

OOTD: Celebrating my birthday

This past Friday was my birthday and I had plenty of vintage/retro activities planned.  Because of that, I was able to wear the new dress I made - which I'm excited to show you.

On Friday, my friend Erin was taking me to dinner and then over to a local retro bar with a great tiki patio.  Dinner was at a local Asian restaurant, Wasabi, and the retro bar is also a neighborhood favorite, The Orbit Room.  I decided to wear my new handmade dress (which I had first worn the week prior for an early birthday dinner with my aunt)

Dinner at Joey Gerard's supper club - classic booth, classic decor, classic meal

Dinner at Joey Gerard's supper club - classic booth, classic decor, classic meal

To make this dress, I used Simplicity Pattern #1194.  The pattern calls for a heavier (or fancier) fabric, but I wanted something a bit more casual.  I also wanted to use the rayon I had left -something I had bought at a previous fabric sale.  I used pattern C for this dress.

Simplicity pattern #1194

Simplicity pattern #1194

Being that this was my first time making a full dress (not counting a Halloween costume over five years ago), there are definitely some areas that need improvement.  However, for me it works and now I know what areas I want to try to tweak and adjust the next time I use this pattern.  I also know where my "problem" areas are for when I make another dress.  A dress form would definitely help - time to add it to the wishlist.

Overall, I really like it and see myself wearing it often.  For my birthday dinner I paired it with a pair of nude Bandolino sandals (the most comfortable shoes ever) and a purple hair flower.

dress: handmade, shoes:  DSW , hair flower:  Nicocco Creations

dress: handmade, shoes: DSW, hair flower: Nicocco Creations

Birthday celebrations continued on Saturday, when a best friend from college came into town and spent the day with me.  We spent some time roasting in the heat in my backyard and then headed out to dinner at Gyu Kaku downtown.  Its been ages since I was at a Japanese BBQ and we had a great time at dinner!  After dinner, we grabbed a drink at Sable Kitchen & Bar (one of my favorites in the city) and then up to a Vaudezilla Burlesque show.

Since it was another hot day out, and we were going to see a burlesque show, I decided to wear my light weight circle skirt and crop top that is reproduction vintage.  Hair up and with a hair flower, my outfit was complete!

skirt:  Top Vintage , top:  Doll Me Up (similar)  , shoes:  DSW , large hair flower:  Nicocco Creations , small hair flower: DIY by me

skirt: Top Vintage, top: Doll Me Up (similar) , shoes: DSW, large hair flower: Nicocco Creations, small hair flower: DIY by me

Sunday rounded out my birthday activities with a shopping trip to the Vintage Garage where I picked up an amazing '40s skirt and a suitcase in pristine condition.

I had a wonderful birthday weekend and it was the perfect way to transition into the last half of the summer.


Competition Time: Blue Ribbon Beer Run - Bombshells Contest

This past Saturday was the Blue Ribbon Beer Run Bombshell Contest up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  In it's third year, it really is becoming a very popular car event in the city.  I love any excuse to get up to Milwaukee, so I was really excited to participate in this contest and check out the event.  I had heard about it after the event last year, so it's was on my reminder list for a year!

When I arrived on Friday, we had a quick check in and walk through to become familiar with the space - where we needed to be in the morning, what the stage looked like, etc.  I also took the time to take a quick peek at the cars that were already there.  I love great classic cars!  The Historic Pabst Brewery is a fantastic location itself, so much history!  I was born and raised in Milwaukee, and my dad's family has lived their all their lives.  We have a rich family history in Milwaukee and several family members worked for the breweries there.

Friday night was an early birthday dinner at Joey Gerard's Supper Club with my aunt (the perfect retro dinner) and then prepping for Saturday. 

Saturday morning, my aunt treated me to her famous french toast - which was just what I needed to start off the morning.  I finished getting ready and then headed over to the the Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery.

Quick pose in front of the PBR truck - photo by my aunt

Quick pose in front of the PBR truck - photo by my aunt

I had a little bit of time to walk around the event and check out the cars before we had to line up for the contest.  While wandering around, I ran into two gentlemen that were at the World of Wheels event back in February.  They recognized me from that contest, which was so nice.  I enjoyed getting to chat with them a bit and take a few more photos with their amazing cars!

With this gorgeous pink caddy... owned by one of the guys who I met back in February.  Photo by my aunt

With this gorgeous pink caddy... owned by one of the guys who I met back in February.  Photo by my aunt

There were 23 lovely ladies in this contest and it was fun to see some people I've met before and meet some new folks.  The contest was really well put together and it seemed like everyone really enjoyed themselves.   Each lady had her own bubbly personality and style - which really highlighted the diversity of the pinup community.

Thanks Jessica for the contest photo!

Thanks Jessica for the contest photo!

I didn't place, but it was a wonderful event - full of terrific people, awesome cars, and beautiful weather!  I highly recommend this car show if you are in the area next summer.

So many pinups! Photo by  Sockdollager Photography

So many pinups! Photo by Sockdollager Photography

Competition Time: Preparing for a Pinup Contest

Since I have a competition coming up this Saturday, I thought this would be an appropriate time to talk about how I prepare for a contest.  Obligatory disclaimer - Everyone has their own ways to prepare, this is just mine. :)

Chicago's  Motoblot  Pinup Competition 2014

Chicago's Motoblot Pinup Competition 2014

To back it up a step, there are actually a few things I consider before deciding to enter a contest.  Where is the contest being held?  Does it work in my schedule? It there a cause/group tied to the event?  Do I support that cause?   The first of these are pretty clear - location and timing.  If you can't even get to the event, there is no point in continuing further.  If you can, is it the type of event you want to participate in.  For me, I prefer contests tied to classic car shows and geared towards classic pinup style.  There are 1,000s of contests out there - there is something for everyone.  

When I have said yes to the first set of criteria, I can take a look further before submitting my application for the contest.  What's the criteria for entering and judging? What are the steps involved in the contest?  Just like the cause or group tied to the event, lots of events have many different judging criteria.  If you like the criteria involved and think you fit within their requirements - go for it!  Also, make sure you are okay with all the different sections of the judging.  I tend to like the straight forward contests, anything with a talent portion is instantly off the table - at least until I can come up with my talent. 

NOW, that we've decided to enter the competition - let's discuss preparing.  I'm going to bypass the "how do I get there?  Where do I stay (if it's out of town)?" conversation as that is pretty standard.


Okay, so we are in!  Now, what do we know about this contest?  I do my research.  If I'm not familiar with the actual event, I research.  I research the judges (this will be important later) and I make sure I am very familiar with the judging criteria.  Also, it doesn't hurt to check out who your competition is.  Lots of girls start to become familiar because you've seen them at other events and/or you become friends.  Everyone has a style and different personality and that can be helpful in your preparing as well.

Classic Car beauties (with Ada Atomic) at the  World of Wheels  Pinup Competition 2015

Classic Car beauties (with Ada Atomic) at the World of Wheels Pinup Competition 2015


Every competition has a category of judging that is based solely on appearance - it's a beauty pageant.  So what you wear is going to be important.  In researching your judging criteria and the goals of the competition, you should already have an idea about what they are looking for.  Also, consider your surroundings - is it outside?  It this winter?  Is it a fancy event?  Is it family friendly?  All of these things will help you narrow down your attire.  Then consider the judges - what do you think will make you stand out for the judges.  ALSO, you want to inject your own personality into this.  Some girls come up with a whole outfit concept - car mechanic, traveling girl with luggage, etc.  Does that work with you?  For me, I tend to gravitate towards classic vintage looks and then work with that to fit the theme.  BOTTOM LINE: Stick with what you are comfortable in and your comfort will allow your personality to will shine through during the competition!

Cavalcade  Pinup Competition in Detroit, MI 2015

Cavalcade Pinup Competition in Detroit, MI 2015


Alright, so we've done our research and picked out our outfit.  Now what?  Now we prepare for the competition.  You already should know who the judges are and what they will be looking for.  That usually includes if there will be a question and answer portion of the competition.  Competitions may ask things like "what is your favorite classic car?", "Who's your favorite pinup?", "What's your favorite dress style - swing or wiggle?", etc.  You should know the answers to questions like this - especially the car questions if it's at a car show.  So be ready!  Sometimes, the host of the competition will let you know ahead of time what questions will be asked so you can be prepared.  Sometimes, you have to answer on the fly.  Either way - just be yourself.  These questions should reflect who you ARE, NOT what you think the judges want you to be.

1940s Winter Ball   Pinup Contest - Denver, CO 2014

1940s Winter Ball  Pinup Contest - Denver, CO 2014

and finally....


We've done all the leg work.  We are here at the competition and are ready to go.  I like to check in with the competition earlier rather than later, so I have some time to walk around the event.  Walk around and say hi to people.  Check out the cars if it's a car show - basically make yourself available to people at the event.  Often, those people are the ones that will come to watch the contest and while the judging may not require audience participation, the judges will still notice if lots of attendees like you.  ENJOY YOUR TIME AT THE EVENT!  The people in this vintage community are awesome.  Ask them about their cars - they know A LOT!  Look at the great merchandise and get to know the other girls.  This is for fun after all right?? 

Hopefully this gave you a bit of an idea about the prep work involved in competitions.  I'm off this week for the Blue Ribbon Beer Run Pinup Contest.  Fingers crossed!

Miss World of Wheels 2015 - Milwaukee, WI

Miss World of Wheels 2015 - Milwaukee, WI

Posh Pastries Posh Pops Launch Party

Over the weekend, I was pleased to be asked to help promote Posh Pastries new line of goodies - Posh Pops - at their launch party.

Posh Pops are small batch, artisan popsicles made without any artificial ingredients or preservatives.  Kris Lee, owner and master creative for Posh Pastries, is an absolute doll and her pops are delicious!!

A week or so before the party, I met with Kris and photographer extraordinaire, Angie Gargot, to shoot a few images for Posh Pastries' website.  Here is a photo from that day.

Photo by  Angie Gargot

Photo by Angie Gargot

The launch party on Saturday was terrific.  Caitlin Brown from Blush and Luxe threw together a great party for Kris.  There were hand-crafted cocktails, delicious samples of all of the pops, a makeup station, a DJ, and a photobooth!

My lovely friend, Ada Atomic, joined me at the party to help give the attendees a little pinup experience.  Of course, we were hamming it up in the photobooth.

Ada and I love a good photobooth! (Outfit: top -  Doll me Up , skirt and hair flower - made by me

Ada and I love a good photobooth! (Outfit: top - Doll me Up, skirt and hair flower - made by me

Mmmmmm, posh pops!

Mmmmmm, posh pops!

I'll post some more fun photos as they become available.  If you are in the Chicago area, be sure to check out all of these fantastic local companies - and book some Posh Pops for your next event!!

My Etsy Debut

I was excited a couple weeks ago to be asked by Hopscotch & Soda to model some of her vintage clothes for her Etsy site.  Of course, I JUMPED at the chance.

Since then, a few of the dresses have made their appearance, so I thought I would share.

Modeling clothes for shopping purposes is so different from modeling pin up and I enjoyed the challenge of showcasing the clothing.

*All of these are still available (at least as I type this).

Bountiful Garden Dress - $75 

I'm sure there is more coming to the shop soon... including some fabulous hats.  I can't wait to work more with her - she curates a lovely collection.  Plus, I've got some other exciting product modeling coming up in the next couple of weeks.  I can't wait to share with you all!