Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mad Men Mini: Memo - Summer Reading

TO: Guests of Mad Men Mini-hoopla

FROM: vvb

SUBJECT: The Definitive Mad Men Summer Reading List (2010)

Along with watching the show, you can check out some books that Flavorwire has compiled that are books featured in, based on, or that inspired Mad Men, broken down by season.

The complete Flavorwire list is here

Flavorwire excerpt Season 1 list:

Babylon Revisited and Other Stories
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Seeing as Mad Men is, among other things, a mid-century update of The Great Gatsby, it makes sense that Fitzgerald would come into the series sooner or later. After Arthur, the cute stable boy, recommends that Betty read the novella “A Diamond as Big as the Ritz” back in season one, we find her with her nose stuck in the collection that includes it.

Read it online: “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”

Flavorwire excerpt Season 2 list:

Meditations in an Emergency
by Frank O’Hara (1957)
Perhaps the most visible book to appear on the show, Meditations in an Emergency is also the title of Mad Men’s second season finale. Way back in the first episode of that series, Don Draper meets a bohemian reading it in a bar where O’Hara happens to have composed much of the book who suggests that he’s too square to appreciate it. That, of course, is good enough to sell Don on the book. The New York School poet’s pieces, like the chaotic episode, are fraught with personal crisis.

Read it online: “Meditations in an Emergency”
Watch it online: Don reading from O’Hara’s “Mayakovsky”

Flavorwire excerpt Season 3 list:

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
by Edward Gibbon (1776-1789)
Is there any greater portent of total familial meltdown than Gibbon’s 18th-century masterpiece in the hands of little Sally Draper? Yes, that is the bedtime story she reads aloud to her beloved Grandpa Gene early in season three.

Read it online: All six volumes at Project Gutenberg

The complete Flavorwire list is here

AND, you are welcome to join in my Mad Men Reading challenge which lasts through November.

~~ Mad Men Mini Event Schedule ~~

Mad Men Mini: Memo - Peggy

TO: Guests of Mad Men Mini-hoopla

FROM: vvb

SUBJECT: Peggy Olson in-a-nutshell

Because so many of you turned out to be Peggy's (like me) after taking the Mad Men character quiz, I decided to create an in-a-nutshell of her so those of you unfamiliar may know a bit about her.

AND, one of you (like me) was hired as a Secretary at the Mad Men interview quiz.

Except for Sullivan McPig who says...

I wasn't hired!! It's pig discrimination!

Perhaps, Sullivan was meant to be the Boss - President of his own business.


Margaret "Peggy" Olson
played by Elisabeth Moss

Peggy Olson is initially presented as an innocent but determined young woman, eager to be a success in her job at Sterling Cooper after having graduated from a respected secretarial school. She was brought up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York by a strict Roman Catholic family. She has an immense dislike of the double standard in regard to the vices of men and women and appears to be quite feminist in her views. -wikipedia

Season One: Peggy is hired to be Don Draper's Secretary at Sterling Cooper. She learns the ropes from Office Manager, Joan Holloway. But there's more to Peggy than the usual typing and gossiping of a clerical worker. She scores a promotion by the end of the season as Junior Copywriter.

Season Two: Peggy struggles in her new position as Junior Copywriter with office politics and socials. She experiences a traumatic event and takes the advice from Don to "move forward" and that "this" never happened. At the end of this season she has been promoted to Copywriter for the advertising department with her own office.

Season Three: Peggy continues to grow and explore her boundaries as a career gal.

Season Four: Peggy is now a Copywriter for Don's new company, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce located on two floors in the Time Life building.

You know something.
We are all here because of you.
All we want to do is please you.
- Peggy to Don
- season 4, episode 1

This quote sums up Peggy throughout the seasons pretty well. But things are a-changing and I wonder if we'll see this attitude change too.

My hope: Peggy's character grows more - in a good way (no cut-throats or back stabbers, please).

Note: I like the relationship between Don and Peggy. It's like brother/sister and mentor/mentee with tough love.


Excerpt from interview article with Elizabeth Moss by Emma Rosenblum, NY Times:
How do you think Peggy has changed?
She's way more confident, and a little tougher. I feel like Peggy has the most potential for change anyways, because she’s the youngest. Once you get into your 30s and 40’s, you sort of become the person you’ll be. As far as Peggy, she’s still figuring out the woman she’ll be. And so when I got that script, I saw the change, and that she'd grown up a lot, but I wanted to make sure that I was seeing it right. I didn’t want to do something that went too far.

Was it fun to have a lighter story line in the first episode?
Totally. I didn’t even realize it until I saw it at the premiere the second time the other night — it’s very much a comedic episode for me. Sometimes we get so dramatic, so serious, and it was kind of nice to start out on the positive note.

And, of course, your hair. It's so much better.
Ah, yes! When I showed up in that hair and makeup trailer for the test, and decided we were going to sweep my bangs to the side, I swear to God I almost burst into tears. I was so excited. I knew I wasn’t going to get rid of the bangs; I couldn’t hope for that much. But the fact that they were going to be swept to the side and not split down the middle anymore — I can’t even express how happy that made me. Let’s all move on from that and forget it ever happened.

Peggy's clothing is improving slightly, too.
I love, love, love my clothes this season. There are some great outfits and dresses coming up that are so cute. I wore black for the first time this season! It’s nice to look a little bit prettier, and little more fashionable; it’s fun. I don’t know if I’m going to be rocking a Joan dress anytime soon, but who would? -read more of the interview here

*** Blogosphere giveaway ***

Brooch by Dear Golden
a giveaway from much love
-ends August 4, 2010

* not really a 60s piece but classic and vintage, maybe something Peggy would wear

~~ Mad Men Mini Event Schedule ~~

Mad Men Mini: Portfolio

Like most fans, I'd like to know some of the nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes goings-on and machinations.

Here's one to dip into...

Kings of Madison Avenue:
The Unofficial Guide to Mad Men
by Jesse McLean

Description from the amazon:
Reveling in the consumerist decadence of AMC’s infamous advertising house Sterling Cooper, this complementary volume to the groundbreaking series Mad Men provides behind-the-scenes revelations, episode guides, cast biographies, and rich sidebar content, including “How to Party Like the Mad Men.”

Delving beneath the glitz and glamour to highlight the workings of a sophisticated modern classic, this definitive fan guide also offers fascinating sociological context and cultural analysis.

The details of historical ad campaigns that are woven into the show’s storylines are provided—such as Volkswagen Beetle’s landmark “Think Small” campaign, the Nixon/Kennedy presidential push, and the creation of Lucky Strike’s “It’s toasted” slogan.


Because I like lists, here's the episode guide (including the first 6 for season 4)

Season 1, 2007
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Ladies Room
Marriage of Figaro
New Amsterdam
Red in the Face
The Hobo Code
Long Weekend
Indian Summer
Nixon vs. Kennedy
The Wheel

Season 2, 2008
For Those Who Think Young
Flight 1
The Benefactor
Three Sundays
The New Girl
The Gold Violin
A Night to Remember
Six Month Leave
The Inheritance
The Jet Set
The Mountain King
Meditations in an Emergency

Season 3, 2009
Out of Town
Love Among the Ruins
My Old Kentucky Home
The Arrangements
The Fog
Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency
Seven Twenty Three
Wee Small Hours
The Color Blue
The Gypsy and the Hobo
The Grown-Ups
Shut the Door. Have a Seat

Season 4, 2010
Public Relations
Christmas Comes But Once a Year
The Good News
The Rejected
The Chrysanthemum and the Sword
Waldorf Stories


*** Blogosphere giveaway ***

Betty Draper's Party Dress
Cookie Cutter GIVE-AWAY
giveaway from Pink Martinis & Pearls
-ends August 31, 2010

~~ Mad Men Mini Event Schedule ~~

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mad Men Mini: Perks - Mad Men doll

TO: vvb

cc: Guests of Mad Men Mini-hoopla

FROM: vvb's creative department

SUBJECT: Mad Men doll

The team is working hard on this latest creation. The doll had to undergo several fittings per your specifications for the perfection you require.

We hope the doll will be to the client's satisfaction.

A photo will be sent to you after today's photo shoot.

Per usual, the doll will be shipped directly to one of the (lucky) clients in the comments section of the giveaway post.


*** Mad Men doll giveaway ***

created and courtesy of: Shana at Kreating Insecurities
if you missed it, Meet Shana here and view her portfolio of creations for past vvb events

Open to all.

Offer ends August 1, 2010

TO DO (2-parts):

1. Visit Shana's site and leave her a comment.

2. Let me know in comments with your email.


Contest has ended - winner is here


~~ Mad Men Mini Event Schedule ~~

Meet: Kreating Insecurities

Shana of Kreating Insecurities
Shana's blog
Shana's deviantart
Shana's etsy shop

About Shana:
Hmmmm, what can I say... over all, I am pretty lame. I am 22 years old. I make dolls and other stuffs just to occupy my time. Also, I watch way too many cartoons! I live in the middle of nowhere... welp, that's about it!

At etsy:
Here you will meet the Insecurities, an odd assortment of kids with a number of peculiar hang ups.

All of my dolls are completely, and painfully, hand sewn by me with no help from a sewing machine.

Shana's creations for vvb events:

for Alice in Whatsitland

for Werewolf Weekend

Mummy Maddie
for Mansfield Park Murder Mystery

for SteamBoyz

Penelope Pinion
for SteamPink

for Mad Men Mini-hoopla


* Special thanks to Shana - i loveeeeeee your schtuffff!

Book Fashion: Group dress

If books were dresses...

(a weekly post where I create fashionable wear with book cover art)

The Group
by Mary McCarthy
First published: 1962
New York Times Best Seller list in 1963
Adapted to film: 1966
Directed by: Sidney Lumet

This week's dress is part of my Mad Men Mini-hoopla event, July 29-31, 2010.

Mad Men sighting:
This book makes an appearance in Mad Men episode ten, season three. Betty Draper is seen reading this novel in the bathtub.

I used a vintage book promo instead of a current edition book cover for the dress.

Description from
Mary McCarthy's most celebrated novel portrays the lives, and aspirations of eight Vassar graduates.

"The group" meet in New York following commencement to attend the wedding of one of their members and reconvene seven years later at her funeral.

The woman are complicated, compelling, vivid, and, above all, determined not to become stuffy and frightened like "Mother and Dad" but to lead fulfilling, emancipated lives.

Interesting excerpt:
Its continuing relevance is one of the book's most extraordinary attributes. When Candace Bushnell was advised by an editor in the early 1990s to write "the modern-day version of The Group", she responded with Sex and the City, a collection of confessional essays about a group of female friends that spawned a multimillion-dollar TV series and film.

"The Group reminds us that not much has really changed," writes Bushnell in the foreword to the new edition. "It's a book I prize, not only for its blistering satire, but for its technical elements, including McCarthy's brilliant use of the soliloquy, her pacing and razor-sharp descriptions." -from article by Elizabeth Day, The Observer


* source for silhouette

~~ Mad Men Mini Event Schedule ~~

Mad Men Mini: Perks - Tim Gunn's Guide to Style

I realize not everyone is into 60s fashion, so how about a fashion guide for today's women?

Tim Gunn is my fashion guru (unbeknownst to him). Influenced by his presence and mentorship on the tv show, Project Runway, I picked up his book a couple years ago to see what advice he would have for the average women folk.

I liked Tim's classic approach and have kept his advice in mind when shopping. Mind you old habits are hard to break, but for the most part I no longer walk out in public with sweats on.

*** Mad Men book giveaway ***

A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style
by Tim Gunn

Description from the amazon:
There seems to be no one more qualified or equipped to ponder or even, dare I say, dictate 'quality, taste, and style' than Tim." -Sarah Jessica Parker, actor/producer

Television has introduced the world to a new fashion authority: Tim Gunn. As Bravo's style mentor and Chair of the Fashion Design Department at Parsons The New School for Design, Tim delivers advice in a frank, witty, and authoritative manner that delights audiences.

Now readers can benefit from Tim's considerable fashion wisdom in Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style. He discusses every aspect of creating and maintaining your personal style: how to dress for various occasions, how to shop (from designer to chain to vintage stores), how to pick a fashion mentor, how to improve your posture, find the perfect fit, and more. He'll challenge every reader-whether a seasoned fashionista or a style neophyte-to "make it work!"


Open to all.

Offer ends August 1, 2010


Leave a comment with your email.


Contest has ended - winner is here


~~ Mad Men Mini Event Schedule ~~

Mad Men Mini: Style

Mad Men has style. So much so that even a line of Mad Men-like clothes have been created at Banana Republic.

"Mad About Style"
style guide page

According to the style guide there is a casting call contest, July 21 - Aug 11, 2010. Enter to win a walk-on role on Mad Men plus a $1,000 Banana Republic Gift Card by sending in a photo of yourself in your best Mad Men duds.


The Fashion File:
Advice, Tips, and Inspiration
from the Costume Designer of Mad Men
by Janie Bryant

Description from the amazon:
From Joanie's Marilyn Monroe-esque pencil skirts to Betty's classic Grace Kelly cupcake dresses, the clothes worn by the characters of the phenomenal Mad Men have captivated fans everywhere. Now, women are trading in their khakis for couture and their pumas for pumps. Finally, it's hip to dress well again. Emmy-Award winning costume designer Janie Bryant offers readers a peek into the dressing room of Mad Men, revealing the design process behind the various characters' looks and showing every woman how to find her own leading lady style--whether it's vintage, modern, or bohemian.

Bryant's book will peek into the dressing room of Mad Men and reveal the design process behind the various characters' looks. But it will also help women learn how fashion can help convey their personality. She will help them cultivate their style, including all the details that make a big difference.

Bryant offers advice to ensure that a woman's clothes convey her personality. She covers everything from where to find incredible vintage clothing and accessories to how to pair those authentic pieces with modern shoes and jeans. Readers will learn how to find their perfect bra size, use color to convey a mood, and invest in the ten essentials every woman should own. And just so the ladies don't leave their men behind, there's even a section on making them look a little more Don Draper-dashing.

Extra: Bryant is also bringing her "Mad Men" style to a '60s-themed collection for QVC called Janie Bryant MOD. The 20-piece line, which features faux fur capelettes, reversible coats and retro handbags, ranges in price from $26-$137.50 and will be available on Sept. 29. -article from celebrity circuit


Another appealing bit about Mad Men is the music. I love the selections used and created. The mood of the scenes are set perfectly to tunes from the past. And check out the other Mad Men-themed albums. Love their covers.

Note: The opening title sequence of the show is an instrumental version of A Beautiful Mine by RJD2.

David Carbonara composes the original score for the series.

Mad Men
Original TV Soundtrack

Music For Mad Men - Robust Blues
by Arist-O-Kats

Music For Mad Men Swingin' Jazz
by Charlie Byrd

~~ Mad Men Mini Event Schedule ~~

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mad Men Mini: America in the 60s

In the United States, "The Sixties", as they are known in popular culture, is a term used by historians, journalists, and other objective academics; in some cases nostalgically to describe the counterculture and social revolution near the end of the decade; and pejoratively to describe the era as one of irresponsible excess and flamboyance.

The decade was also labeled the Swinging Sixties because of the fall or relaxation of some social taboos especially relating to sexism and racism that occurred during this time. - wikipedia

Part of the reason I like Mad Men so much is because of the time period. I was born in the 60s and am interested in the kind of world my parents were in at the time. Mad Men really does a great job in capturing that world with its attention to details in all the scenes.


Mad Men Unbuttoned:
A Romp Through 1960s America
by Natasha Vargas-Cooper

Description from the amazon:
Mad Men Unbuttoned, footnotes to the show and the era, including these fascinating tidbits:

Don Draper's character is based on the real-life Draper Daniels, protÉgÉ of Leo Burnett who started off as a copywriter and rose to creative director, eventually heading the team that launched the Marlboro Man.

The iconic "Think Small" Volkswagen ad positioned the Beetle as an ugly but well-made car—a revolt against excess. Not only did unit sales top 500,000 cars a year, but the campaign succeeded in junking all the rules of car advertising.

When barred from visiting Disneyland on a trip to the United States, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev threw a tantrum and left Los Angeles in a huff the very next day.

The Group by Mary McCarthy, the novel Betty Draper is seen reading in the bathtub, transformed the way women viewed love, sex, and marriage.

In 1947 Christian Dior showcased its revolutionary New Look line. Betty, Peggy, and the rest of the steno pool at Sterling-Cooper can be seen sporting the sloping shoulders, hourglass silhouettes, and billowing skirts of the New Look style.

Note: this book was created based on Natasha's blog postings of her Mad Men Footnotes

~~ Mad Men Mini Event Schedule ~~

Mad Men Mini: Perks - Mad Men Philosophy

*** Mad Men book giveaway ***

Mad Men and Philosophy:
Nothing Is as It Seems

edited by Rod Carveth
edited by James B. South
Series Editor: William Irwin
book prize courtesy of publisher, Wiley

Description from the amazon:
From the Back Cover

Is Don Draper a good man?

What do Peggy, Betty, and Joan teach us about gender equality?

What are the ethics of advertising—or is that a contradiction in terms?

Is Roger Sterling an existential hero?

We're better people than we were in the sixties, right?

With its swirling cigarette smoke, martini lunches, skinny ties, and tight pencil skirts, Mad Men is unquestionably one of the most stylish, sexy, and irresistible shows on television.

But the series becomes even more absorbing once you dig deeper into its portrayal of the changing social and political mores of 1960s America and explore the philosophical complexities of its key characters and themes.

From Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle to John Kenneth Galbraith, Milton Friedman, and Ayn Rand, Mad Men and Philosophy brings the thinking of some of history's most powerful minds to bear on the world of Don Draper and the Sterling Cooper ad agency.

You'll gain insights into a host of compelling Mad Men questions and issues, including happiness, freedom, authenticity, feminism, Don Draper's identity, and more—and have lots to talk about the next time you find yourself around the water cooler.

Open to all.

Offer ends August 1, 2010

TO DO (3-parts):

1. Take the quiz: Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce - Job Interview
Find out if you have what it takes to get hired...

2. Visit Wiley's site and tell me what other philosophy book interests you.

3. Let me know in comments yours answers with your email.

Here's me:

I think Secretary would suit me as I am kinda one already ;-D

And if I could choose, I'd like to be Peggy's secretary.


Contest has ended - winner is here


~~ Mad Men Mini Event Schedule ~~

Mad Men Mini: Advertising

Mad Men season four finds the main character of the story, Don Draper, working for the newly created advertising firm, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

Advertising is a form of communication intended to persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners) to purchase or take some action upon products, ideals, or services.

It includes the name of a product or service and how that product or service could benefit the consumer, to persuade a target market to purchase or to consume that particular brand. -wikipedia

Don is the perfect ad man with his smooth talking ways and calm demeanor he always gets what he wants... when it comes to business.

Ad book for the present:
Searching for the Meaning of Life on a Branded Planet
by James P. Othmer

Description from the amazon:
James P. Othmer, advertising executive turned novelist, gives us a hilarious, personal, and sneakily profound chronicle of the past, present, and future of the advertising business.

On one level it’s the wickedly funny, compelling personal chronicle of the rise and fall of a modern-day ad man; a riveting insider’s look at the astonishing transformation taking place in advertising's hottest idea factories.

But take a step back from the tales of lavish shoots, agencies on the brink, and pampered mega-brands and Adland becomes much more: a snapshot of how we are living our lives thirty seconds at a time.

Funny, deeply thoughtful, and utterly unique, this book is both a wildly amusing ride in Adland, brilliantly recounted, and an exploration of the value of life in the information age.

Ad book from the past:

Confessions of an Advertising Man
by David Ogilvy

Description from the amazon:
David Ogilvy was an advertising genius. At the age of 37, he founded the New York–based agency that later merged to form the international company known as Ogilvy & Mather.

Regarded as the father of modern advertising, Ogilvy was responsible for some of the most memorable advertising campaigns ever created. Confessions of an Advertising Man is the distillation of all the Ogilvy concepts, tactics, and techniques that made this international best–seller a blueprint for sound business practice.

If you aspire to be a good manager in any business, this seminal work is a must–read.


Mad Men also reveals the strata of workers bustling in an ad firm. From the telephone operators to the owner, glimpses of each are seen. The secretary's pool is an attractive lot along with its drama amongst the women. Beware of man-traps.

Secretary's guide for the present:

Administrative Assistant's and Secretary's Handbook
by James Stroman

Secretary's guide from the past:

Joan and Jane
illustration by DynaMoe

The Secretary’s Handbook, 1965
found this excerpt from Erin Slick's site:

Eighteen Rules for the Efficient Secretary:

1. She is prompt in all her appointments. She gets to work early and sees that his desk is neatly arranged, all his pencils sharpened and all his pens in good working condition.

2. She dresses conservatively and uses makeup sparingly; she does not wear conspicuous jewelry or noticeable perfume in the office.

3. She maintains good posture at her work, in order to avoid fatigue and to present a posed appearance to others.

4. She plans her work well, so as to avoid hurry and flurry.

5. She is courteous and tactful to all callers, even those that are unwelcome.

6. She cultivates a pleasing manner and voice and pays attention to her diction.

7. She is not abrupt over the telephone nor does she drag out telephone conversations.

8. She does not make personal telephone calls.

9. She keeps a dictionary, a book of grammar and usage and a word divider on her desk.

10. She keeps her office supplies handy and ready for use. She does not take pencils or erasers home for her children to use.

11. She keeps her desk tidy. All personal items are kept private.

12. She keeps her typewriter clean and in good working condition. She changes the ribbon promptly when necessary and covers her typewriter when not in use.

13. She organizes her files methodically, and does her filing carefully.

14. She does not turn in a letter that is less than letter perfect.

15. She does not smudge her carbon copies.

16. She does not gossip.

17. She does not bring personal affairs to the office.

18. She does not watch the clock. She will inquire if there is any little thing she can do, before saying good-bye for the day.

~~ Mad Men Mini Event Schedule ~~

Mad Men Mini: Memo

TO: Guests of Mad Men Mini-hoopla

FROM: vvb

SUBJECT: Mad Men show in-a-nutshell

Mad Men
American dramatic television series
Created and produced by Matthew Weiner
Broadcast on the American cable network AMC
Produced by Lionsgate Television
official site

Mad Men is set in the 1960s, initially at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City, and later at the newly created firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

The show centers on Don Draper (Jon Hamm), creative director at Sterling Cooper and a founding partner at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, as well as those in his life in and out of the office.

It also depicts the changing social mores of 1960s America. -wikipedia

Season One: We meet Don Draper and find out that he is a naughty boy. But there is something irresistable about him.

Season Two: We find out more about Don's past. And continue to love him despite his continued bad boy behaviour.

Season Three: There is a shift. Don hits rock bottom with work, family and relationships. But he pulls himself up and rises from the ashes.

Season Four: has just begun...

My hope: Don becomes the all-american-hero we want. YAY!

Note: Along with Don, the ensemble cast members each have rich and detailed characters just as interesting to watch and follow. I will do in-a-nutshells of them in future Mad Men Mini weekends.

~~ Mad Men Mini Event Schedule ~~

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu