Is oh-so-retro style your jam? Then let pin-up girl extraordinaire, Rebecca of Midnight Maniac, be your new go-to inspiration for all things old school. But pin-up pageants aren’t her only extracurricular activity–Rebecca also loves spending her time birdwatching, baking, and planning eco-friendly events. She’s all about sustainability, which is why we’re so excited for her namesake dress, which is fair trade and environmentally friendly. And, if you want to steal her style, make sure to peek at her ModCloth faves.
What blogs do you read for inspiration?
I find inspiration all over. Mad Mim and Cotton & Curls are re-fashioning geniuses that make me want to cut apart everything in my closet—despite the fact that I can barely sew. Oh Happy Day and I Heart Organizing keep my events and home refreshed. And, there are a slew of food blogs that I swear I gain 15 pounds just looking at. We eat with our eyes, right? One look at Family Feedbag and you will know exactly what I am talking about.
You’re competing in the Maidens of Iron Pin-up Pageant. Can you tell us about this event?
Last summer, my favorite car show—Symco Shakedown—hosted a classic pin-up contest. I entered on a whim, thinking it would be a good way to meet other vintage-loving ladies. It was! I met lots of lovely ladies that share my enthusiasm for ’40s hair and frilly frocks, and I ended up in a calendar. Since then, pin-up has parlayed itself into a whole new persona for me. Fanny Freckles (that’s my stage name) has been hamming it up on stage across the Midwest ever since. The Maidens of Iron Pageant was my latest one. It took place in October at Iron Invasion in Woodstock, Illinois. I was decked out in Hide in the Hydrangeas Dress in Pink Noir, Va Va Voluminous Petticoat in Red and Piece of My Heart Heel. It was unseasonably cold that day, and the pageant was outdoors; I had planned to decorate a cake during the talent portion, but it was so cold that my frosting was nearly frozen. That was one day where icing lived up to its name!
As an avid planner of parties, what was the most fun soiree you’ve ever hosted?
From a planner’s perspective, my favorite event is the Kickapoo Country Fair held at Organic Valley’s headquarters in La Farge, Wisconsin. It is a massive one-day event that I coordinate with a rockstar team, incorporating educational workshops, fun family activities, artisan merchants, yummy organic food, and local and national keynote speakers and musicians. The event allows me to combine two passions—sustainability and event design. Parties are inherently wasteful. Trying to come up with ways for an event to leave an impact on guests, but not the planet, is always a challenge. I enjoy the challenge and the opportunity to make people think differently.
What’s the yummiest thing you’ve ever baked? Is the recipe online so we can try it?
Mister is the dessert master in our house, so I posed this question to him. He replied with a three-tiered cake that I made for my brother and sister-in-law’s anniversary. It was a chocolate butter cake filled with cookies and cream and whipped chocolate ganache, then smothered in a chocolate glaze. It must have weighed 50 pounds and contained a million calories, but, I tell you, every [piece] was delicious and sooo worth it. You can get the recipe here.
I hear you like bird watching. What’s the rarest bird you’ve ever spied? Or are the everyday birds your thing?
Not a rare bird, although I have only seen it once, the Scarlet Tanager is the one I am most excited to catch a glimpse of. I spotted it high among the treetops in the middle of the forest. It was so bright and tropical looking and seemingly out of place that it stopped me dead in my tracks. I could not get to the computer fast enough to discover what it was.
Nowadays, I keep a bird identification book and binoculars handy in my solarium. Most of my bird watching is done from there, as its 16 windows look over the woods and park that surround my home. I started a bird log when we moved into our home five years ago and can now tell you the migratory pattern of the birds that visit us there.
I think I can guess, but what is your favorite era in fashion, and why?
The ’50s. The cut and styles of that era fit my body like none other. I cannot help but feel fabulous. I am intrigued by the history behind vintage clothes as well. That dress had a whole other life before meeting me. I like to ponder where it went and what the woman who wore it before me was like.
Do you blog full-time? When you’re not blogging, how do you spend your time?
Blogging is just one of the many ways I spend my time. I am currently expanding my business from coordinating events for others to producing my own. Mississippi Mayhem, a pre-’65 traditional hot rod car show/rockabilly weekend, is my next big project.
When I am not traveling to other hot rod shows, competing in pin-up pageants, scouting bands or talking to vendors, I like to take quirky day trips with Mister to see the likes of The World’s Largest Ball of Twine, Wilhelm Tell Festival, Fishing Hall of Fame or to look for the mid-century goodies and vintage dresses that fill our retro home. Uncommon days at home are savored with naps in the hammock, digging in the garden, putting my apron collection to use in the kitchen, crying my eyes out over a classic movie on TCM and entertaining the neighbors with uncontrollable dancing to “Rock Lobster.” Our house has a lot of windows.
How would you style Rebecca’s namesake dress? She whipped up a look perfect for a business outing by pairing the Midnight Maniac Dress with the Moon Phase Earrings, Astronomy Amor Necklace, Un-teal the Clouds Clear Umbrella, Visibility Oak Jacket, Teal Me Your Secret Scarf, Colder Than You Bow Gloves, Never Hurts to Trifecta Ring Set, Fields of Goldenrod Bag, Knee-d to Know Tights, and Poet’s Prerogative Heel.