Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Stayed home today with a sore throat and achey body, listening to The Jesus and Mary Chain's 1987 "Darklands" and The Smith's eponymous 1984 album, and somehow created some images that  vaguely recall the album covers of both of these languid favorites.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I let the stars get in my eyes, I let the moon steal my heart.

The cutest cowgirl sweetheart polka dot dress is listed in the shop now. A perfect dress for twirling, square dancing, or just plain gettin’ rowdy! It features ruffle cap sleeves, three tiers, and blue ric-rac trim. I will be (slowly) adding more pieces to the shop, so stay tuned for more updates.

Here’s some music from Goldie Hill, the golden hillbilly, which will serve as the theme song for this lovely cowgirl dress. It's also one of my favorite songs to sing along with.

Monday, January 28, 2013

in the industrial zone

Pete’s hot rod shop has always been like a playground to me. On our first date, (we met up at his shop), I was charmed by a vintage car raised in the air, and just had to climb up into it - a move that Pete claims won his heart.  The over-sized wrench in this post fascinated me as well. “Wowser, this a big wrench!,” I exclaimed.  “I have an even bigger one”, he replied. My mind was blown.

 I shoplifted my Elvis button from the mall when I was in 7th grade during the era when I insisted that all my teachers call me “Elvis.” If you are taken aback by my confession that I shoplifted this button, don’t worry, I have already made good on my cosmic retribution - my special keepsake was lost from my life for several years. You can imagine my happiness when I found it again.

My vintage burgundy Vision Street Wears are getting a lot of wear. I think they might be my favorite pair of shoes. I’d like to find another pair for when I run these ones into the ground.

I hope ya’ll had a beautiful weekend!

Outfit: vintage wool shorts, 50s coat, vintage gray sweatshirt (thrifted), Elvis button (shoplifted), Vision St. Wear high tops (Ebay).  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

omg, I'm trendy

Look at me, I’m trendy. Socks and sandals, and round glasses. I like that it’s become acceptable to wear socks with sandals because I can finally show off my cute socks in their entirety, but I still feel a little uncomfortable sporting this trend. As a self-proclaimed rebel, I’m kind of embarrassed to be following the latest trends, especially one that was once considered so heinous. I am, however, much more comfortable embracing the round glasses trend. These round glasses are so unique anyway, and they are foldable! Does anyone know what era they hail from?  I’m thinking the 1930s. I had the lenses put in because they were prescription glasses originally. I hope I don’t break them because they’ve become a fast favorite.

I’m wearing my mother’s turquoise fair isle sweater, an item she wore my entire life. My mom definitely did not take part in the game of fashion, but she made a good choice in holding on to this sweater for so long. In step with my usual untidy appearance, I’ve forgotten to button the neckline of this sweater. But what does it matter anyway, I’m sure one day it will be trendy to purposefully forgo the little details.  Fashionistas will consciously leave their fly zippers down or tuck their dresses into their tights all in pursuit of following the latest trend, and then I shall declare, I did it here first.

You know what’s not trendy - wearing hiking shorts for actual hiking. That’s what I’ve been doing with these shorts since I thrifted them a few weeks back.  Practical and cute, they are just what my wardrobe has been missing.

Are there any trends that you were once hesitant about that you now find yourself embracing?

Til next time, stay cool.


Crystal Lee

 Outfit: vintage hiking shorts (thrifted), sandals (La Bamba vintage, Long Beach), fair isle vintage sweater (mom’s), vintage sunglasses (antique mall),  Happy Socks.

Monday, January 14, 2013

a happy sweater for the cold days

One of my dear friends, Mikey, thrifted this sweater for me as a birthday gift when I turned 19 years old, and it will always hold a special place in my heart & my wardrobe. With its cheerful image of a zany gal riding backwards on her bike, it’s the perfect pick me up sweater for those chilly winter days. This has been a particularly cold winter in California (at least that’s what my bones are saying), and I need happy clothes and good times to get me through the dreary days.

My weekend was most ideal, making this winter season seem not so bad at all really.  Most of my weekend was spent in Santa Monica and its environs. Friday night was spent listening to funny man John C. Reilly and friends perform country music at the Sanctuary, a quaint little church with high ceilings in Santa Monica. The vibe was perfectly old-timey, like something out of Oh Brother Where Art Thou, with the performers singing on a raised stage into an old fashioned microphone. The acoustics were heavenly.  I was pleasantly surprised that one of the guest singers was Willie Watson from the Old Crow Medicine Show.  What a voice! Speaking of amazing voices, John C. Reilly also did several duets with one Becky Stark (of Lavender Diamond & the Living Sisters), whom I’ve never heard of before, but she had the voice of an angel, reminiscent of Anita Carter. She did the most beautiful rendition of Dolly Parton’s “My Blue Tears.” John C. Reilly and friends also sang covers from The Stanley Brothers, Faron Young, and the Everly Brothers. And it was a donation only event, which is way cool in my book. On Saturday evening, Pete and I again rode the 405 Fwy to watch outlaw country artist Steve Earle perform at Royce Hall at UCLA.  He is one of my favorites, and I never tire of his gritty, gravelly voice. Coincidentally the Living Sisters, of whom Becky Stark is a singer, opened up for him. She has such a beautifully versatile voice; at times it reminded me of Dusty Springfield and sometimes Margon Timmins from the Cowboy Junkies. Apparently, the Living Sisters have garnished a lot of attention with their version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”  I couldn’t be happier that Los Angeles is embracing roots music, and that we have a pretty amazing country music scene all year round.

Sunday, we again traversed the 405 Fwy to hike the Santa Monica Mountains at the Will Rogers State Park. Gosh, it was a gorgeous hike, offering views of the Pacific Ocean, the Pacific Palisades, even downtown Los Angeles could be seen in the distance. This year, I want to hike a whole lot more, and my hike in the Santa Monica Mountains (probably 3 miles) was a pleasant start. After our hike, Pete & I went to the Apple Pan (Thanks Mr. Tiny for the tip!) in West Los Angeles. I never eat burgers, but I made an exception for their famous Hickory Burger. I give it a 10 out of 10!  And of course, you know I had the apple pie (yum!).  The Apple Pan is a tiny joint with limited seating, but Pete & I were lucky enough to arrive when there were plenty of seats available. Major score!

I usually don't fare so well in the winter time - I battle with seasonal depression, but this winter has been different. I have tried really hard not to complain too much about the cold and the lack of light. Instead, I've just tried to go out more, have fun, get exercise and remain positive. At one point during the performance, John C. Reilly, quoted a priest who once inspired him with these words "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."  I believe this is also a Chinese proverb. In any case, I am really going to try to live by these words for this winter and beyond.

Did you do anything fun this weekend?  How do you deal with the winter chills?

Outfit: 50s wool skirt ($10 at Vet’s Flea Market), vintage knit sweater, vintage plaid shirt, vintage sandals (thrifted), Hue tights.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

rompin' roun' the desert with Dakota

It was such a pleasure meeting Dakota of Sweetheart of the Rodeo, a darling, humble, doe-eyed cutie, who shares in my affection for vintage clothing (our discourse included praise of wiggle fringe dresses à la Wanda Jackson, two-piece cowgirl sets, and velvet cigarette pants), and country and roots music ( I think she is the only person to ever ask me if I’ve been to Bakersfield (known for the Bakersfield sound, of which California’s country heros, Buck Owens & Merle Haggard, were the main superstars)).  We also share an abiding love for exploring old haunts and playing in the great outdoors. It’s delightful and encouraging to have so much in common with a gal several years younger than myself.  We met at the 26 foot tall statue of Marilyn Monroe in Palm Springs, then set out on our desert adventure.

Our first stop was Joshua Tree National Park, where a hiker told us that we were dressed optimistically (which I dwelt upon neurotically because I didn’t know what he meant, until Dakota suggested that perhaps he meant we were dressed the opposite of gloomy, and then my mind was at ease). It’s true, we added a burst of color to the muted desert scene. We strolled along the trails, talking about our upbringing, and admiring the teal blue sky and the intrepid rock climbers.

After, we made our way to the Hayden Movie Ranch to explore the Scarlet Lady, a saloon train car from the turn of the century. (Read more about the Scarlet Lady here; it’s a fascinating story). Though weathered, the Scarlet Lady remains glorious.  Her intricate wrought iron detailing and her tarnished patina really send me.  Fortunately, I was able to preserve the memory of our time spent with the Scarlet Lady with a photo taken right before my camera battery died.  When the wind started  kicking up and the sun was fading, we drove on to the Desert Hot Springs Resort to soak in the natural hot springs. I’ve already written about this mid-century desert hot spot before, so I won’t go into detail about it, but I will say that it was the perfect ending to a lovely day with a new friend.

Photos of me taken by Dakota.

Outfit: early 60s dress, vintage corduroy jacket, vintage cowboy boots (thrifted)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

High Society

Goodness, I'm crazy for the styling in this Margot Tenenbaum inspired editorial - the over-sized costume jewelry, the abundance of pastel (those lavender gloves!), the emerald tones, and the incredible  layering (I especially love all the turtlenecks peeking out from underneath).  I also enjoy the juvenile take on high society.  In fact, I think I'll avoid any productive activity this morning and instead create myself an outfit inspired by these looks. Happy Saturday!

Found via Fashion Gone Rogue.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

desert winter wander.

This could be the start of a new blog series: Spying on Vintage Trailers

Julian, CA.

with my best gal, Des

This may be the best food photo I've ever taken.
Hiya gang! I spent a peaceful New Year’s in Julian and Anza Borrego State Park (my second trip to the desert this holiday season!) with my best friend and her husband.  In Julian, famous for its apple pies, we  strolled in a pioneer cemetery where two beautiful white horses were just kicking it, an image that only added to the winter charm of this historic mountain town. There was even some snow. Vintage trailers and cars dotted the town of Julian, which made me feel all cozy inside. I think I could live in a 50s trailer, as long as it’s pastel colored. After eating some tasty pie (though not heated up enough, in my expert opinion), we made our way via winding desert roads to Anza Borrego State Park, where cute thumb cacti gave us the thumbs up from every hill side, and the ocotillos waved to us in the breeze.  We stayed at the Palms Inn at Indian Head, where Pete and I have lodged once before.  We amused ourselves by playing games in our hotel room, including Apples to Apples, Yatzee, and a newly wed game where I pretty much made up all the questions. Man, Pete and I know each other so well - it’s awesome. For some reason, our hotel t.v. was set to Arizona time (an hour ahead), so we missed the ball drop, which was kind of funny, but also symbolizes how time just kind of stops existing in the desert.  On New Year's morning, our friends had to get home to their 8 month old baby, so Pete and I just leisurely made our way home. We took photos of my 1930s dress (worn last New Year’s as well), which looks just stunning against the desert backdrop. As is usually the case when I play in delicate vintage garments, my dress ripped a little, as did my heart. But I cheered up after eating a most delicious cinnamon roll at the Ramona Café, another small historical town in Ramona, CA.  Pete and I then hit up several thrift stores on the way home with NO SUCCESS.  I swear I have a sense of entitlement when it comes to thrift store shopping, like if there’s not some dream item waiting for me, I just get all riled up (for like10 mins). After this trip to the desert, I feel  relaxed and rejuvenated and ready to make 2013 a special year.

Outfit # 1: vintage olive green Levi’s stay press pants, striped vintage turtleneck, Carven turtleneck, 70s plaid purse (thrifted), 60s mohair cape (Vets Flea Market, Long Beach), snake boots (Pour La Victoire), pink sunnies (Linda Farrow for Dries Van Noten via Gilt).

Outfit # 2: 1930s velvet gown (Vets Flea Market, Long Beach).
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