How’s everyone doing? No, really. These are strange times, folks. Mirror80 just turned 10, and I didn’t expect to enter my second decade of blogging in the middle of a global pandemic. Allow me one paragraph to reflect on this before heading into lighter content about Mirror80’s fun new series… [earrings above are by Elysian Theory]
For a variety of reasons that I won’t go into, my family is taking the “stay at home” orders very seriously. I’m parenting a young child all day and working on things like blogging, cleaning up the house, and dealing with basic life details after 10pm most nights. There is a LOT going on in the world that’s necessary for all of us to process and improve, including racial injustice, as well as staying connected to others in the middle of a profound world crisis. Now is not the time to completely turn within. Not to mention, this time is hard for all of us in different ways. Some people are alone more than ever and have nothing but time to explore new hobbies. Others are just trying to make ends meet with what little time they have.
With that said, it’s impossible to deny that a healthy escape from reality is essential for our survival as human beings. I’m kicking off a new decade of blogging by launching Camp Mirror80. Whether you’re stuck at home or venturing out on a regular basis, chances are life as we know it is going to look different for awhile. Large public gatherings, concerts and clubbing are out. So any way we look at it, we’re probably going to be spending more time at home for at least a few months. Camp Mirror80 is intended to be an immersive experience that provides some nostalgia-based comfort during an unusual time.
Here’s what to expect in each Camp Mirror80 post: plenty of visual design inspiration, something to watch, something to listen to, a fun project to try, and a list of things to check out at your leisure.
The Golden Girls
Since it’s still officially summer, let’s kick off the series with a summery escape that’s universally appealing during the current pandemic: The Golden Girls. As noted in a New York Times piece from the spring, Hulu viewers watched close to 11 million hours of The Golden Girls in April. And that was just in April! [photo above via ABC News]
The iconic hit ’80s TV series starring Betty White, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty provides comfort viewing at its finest, thanks to entertaining lines from strong characters, as well as one of the most beloved sitcom houses of all time. Let’s pack our bags for Miami and escape into the breezy, beautifully predictable world of The Golden Girls. At a time like this, there’s something undeniably soothing about predictability, nostalgia and tropical style. Today’s visual inspiration and playlist reflect that fact.
I started craving daily doses of The Golden Girls sometime in April, when we were a few weeks into lockdown. After the initial adrenaline surge of pandemic panic wore off and my little family settled into a much busier version of daily life (many parents of young children have much, much less free time than in pre-pandemic life), I soon realized that the few hours of nightly time I had to myself were going to be my only time to recharge. After I finished everything on my to-do list, of course. So yeah, some nights, the free time is little more than a shower and a bit of TV before bed. I’m totally making the most of both. I now have an 80-step showering process involving creating a spa-like setting in my bathroom. Kidding about the 80 steps, but my nightly routine is now pretty epic as a self-care necessity! And then there’s the TV…
The Golden Girls premiered in 1985 and ran for seven seasons. During its glorious time on television, each of the show’s stars received an Emmy award. A groundbreaking series about four strong, single older women, The Golden Girls quickly became a hit. From the fashion to the interiors, a variety of elements combined to create pure TV magic. So many qualities of The Golden Girls epitomize ’80s design, such as tropical motifs on bedding and wallpaper, as well as big jewelry and big, bright clothing.
Now who’s ready to learn how to create your own Golden Girls escape from the comfort of home?!!
Let’s set the scene, shall we?! Picture this: a tropical setting surrounded by palm trees, and an interior filled with comforting, breezy details. Above we see a Florida real estate photo, featured in a Mirror80 roundup from 2015. Check out the whole collection of Golden Girls-style photos here. The image below is a Mirror80 mini-montage of items that channel the look of the girls’ kitchen. More on that later in today’s post!
But it’s the picture below that totally sums up the vibe of this first Camp Mirror80 feature. Relaxed and loungey is the name of the game. And if you can surround yourself with some chill tropical ’80s design elements, even better. [’80s design photo via tumblr My Pastel Paradise]
A DIY Faux Palm Leaf Project
As you settle in for an evening of binge viewing, I wanted to share an easy project that will instantly help you set a tropical vibe: DIY faux palm spears. If you’ve been on Etsy searching for dried tropical foliage, you know about the growing popularity of dried palm leaves. Sometimes they’re presented in their natural state, sometimes they’re spray painted metallic tones. It’s super easy to create your own palm spears out of paper. Any paper will do!
Here’s the easy DIY recipe… Cut out a spade-like leaf shape, and then fan fold it, as shown above. Make your cut-out leaf a bit wider than you intend for the final product. After all, fan-folding it will automatically shrink it a bit.
You can use scrap paper to create a stem, or start with a new sheet of paper. Simply cut a straight section of paper and fold it over a few times. You should end up with a thick v-shaped stem, as shown above.
Now gather the very bottom of the fan-folded paper leaf into a thin bunch (just like you’d squeeze/hold the very bottom of a homemade paper fan). Fold the v-shaped stem around the gathered leaf folds to hold everything in place. Use hot glue to close the stem all the way down its length. Voila–instant tropical foliage!
A Breezy Retro Playlist
Here’s what I recommend for your relaxing night in: take a hot bath or shower, grab a plate of dessert, and then lounge on the couch while you watch a few episodes. Eating cheesecake is encouraged! If you’re not a fan of cheesecake (it’s ok–neither am I), ice cream or a slice of your favorite cake are great alternatives. Listen to the playlist below while you prep for the evening. I have this exact playlist on in the background during most of my spa nights, and it instantly transports me to another place and time. No, these aren’t actual songs from Golden Girls episodes. They’re ’70s and ’80s tracks that channel the laid-back, breezy vibe of the show (with the exception of the Paul Hardcastle tune–but he was an ’80s musician, so…). Some songs fall into a smooth/synth jazz category, while others would be perfectly at home on a yacht rock compilation. Here’s a list of tunes:
Spyro Gyra – Bright Lights
Robbie Dupree – Steal Away
Dave Grusin – She Could be Mine
Michael Franks – St. Elmo’s Fire
Paul Hardcastle – Echoes Rising
Chris Rea – On the Beach
Ned Doheny – A Love of Your Own
Boz Scaggs – Miss Sun
Spyro Gyra – Harbor Nights
Olivia Newton John & Cliff Richard – Suddenly
Favorite Golden Girls Episodes
As you settle in to watch, keep in mind that it’s hard to go wrong when it comes to selecting episodes. Season 2 is my favorite, so if you’re not sure where to start (and you’re not going to start from the very beginning), go a few episodes into Season 2, press play, and watch as much as you can. If I were watching a few of my favorite episodes, here’s how they would unfold…
Season 1, Episode 19: Second Motherhood – Blanche is romanced by a wealthy man with young children. There’s some great ’80s private jet interior design, and this is the episode where Rose decides to tackle bathroom repairs. Yes, you get to see the Golden Girls’ bathroom, and with its pastel tile and glorious view of palm trees, it does NOT disappoint!
Season 2, Episode 7: A Family Affair – Rose’s daughter Bridget visits at the same time as Dorothy’s son, Michael. Scandalous drama ensues!
Season 3, Episode 8: Brotherly Love – Dorothy starts to fall for her ex-hubby’s brother, Ted. The best scenes are the final ones, which find Dorothy and Ted in a fancy ’80s restaurant/club with some pretty unforgettable design elements.
Season 5, Episode 6: Dancing in the Dark – Rose is crazy about Miles but wonders if they’re a good fit. Plus, there’s a ballroom dance club that features lots of lattice and tall floral arrangements. This episode is entertaining on every level.
*Watch these episodes on Hulu, or you can purchase them individually via Amazon Prime Video.
More Golden Girls Fun
As you can imagine, The Golden Girls has inspired a wide assortment of high-quality content, much of which continues to offer new perspectives on the show. Here are a few of my favorite endeavors that you can check out if you want to keep the fun going:
Golden Girls Fashion Corner – This beautifully written blog features regular updates on all things Golden Girls, from roundups of new merchandise celebrating the series and its characters, to collections of amazing articles that reflect on the continued popularity of the show. This is my top pick for best comprehensive Golden Girls resource!
The Golden Girls Are Still the Best-Dressed TV Characters in History – I learned of this InStyle article through Golden Girls Fashion Corner, and it covers some of the fashion trends and strategies that drove the series’ costumes. A fun read!
Golden Girls Forever: An Unauthorized Look Behind the Lanai – Anyone checked out this comprehensive retrospective on the series?
Golden Girls House Sale – Yes, the house that was used for exterior shots during the show’s first season recently sold for $4 million!! Check out the details (and great photos) here.
A Golden Girls Holiday Table – While this year’s Thanksgiving may not look like the friendsgiving I styled and blogged about in 2017, you can get some Golden Girls-inspired holiday tabletop inspiration here.
Golden Girls-Inspired Interior Design – Why not try incorporating some of the show’s style into your interior? Think tropical motifs, rattan furniture, and even a few ’80s finds. Check out my retro-modern take on Rose’s room and the girls’ kitchen.
Golden Girls Merch from Hallmark – Hallmark is currently featuring some fun Golden Girls products, like this fabulous Thank You for Being a Friend card. Send it to someone you care about, and browse more of the merch here.
Series Fun Facts – Some of these juicy tidbits may surprise you!
Now what did I miss? Share your favorite Golden Girls items, podcasts, resources and more in the “comments” section below. I wish you a relaxing night, filled with good TV, edible treats, and LOTS of ’80s style. Thank you for joining me for the first edition of Camp Mirror80! Stay tuned for the next installment, where we head back to school with an ’80s twist.