Friday, May 27, 2011

East Coast Road Trip Part 1

Hello from Gaston County, North Carolina! I'm just sitting in the hotel where we've retired  after a long day of thunderstorms,old town museums, thrift store shopping, spending time with my kin, and eating naughty, naughty food - what the heck else am I gonna eat in this part of the South? I would kill for a salad. Gospel singing (the good stuff too) can be heard from the conference room across the hall as part of Day 2 of the "Rod of God" revival. Yesterday, they were praying in tongues. Pete was so intrigued - he listened intently outside their door for a good 15 minutes. I was a bit nostalgic, having grown up with such old school religious expression.  Then the weather channel warned us that a tornado might be headed to Charlotte, North Carolina, about 30 miles from here.  Lightning lit up the sky and the wind was whippin and I might have been more scared if it weren't for the 30 or more people praying in tongues at once in the room next door. The weather calmed down after about an hour or so.  Today,  I saw a groundhog and I've been super fascinated with all the kudzu overtaking the trees and poles and abandoned buildings around here. I'm gonna take lots of photos tomorrow when it's not raining so hard. I've been having such an amazing time on our East Coast road trip. here are some of our photos so far starting with Florida.

Coral Castle


South Beach, FL




wetlands in Florida where we saw tons of turtles, birds including a blue heron (those things look prehistoric), and one alligator (though we later saw about 10 alligators (mostly babies) on the Magnolia Plantation grounds in Charleston, South Carolina)



Charleston, South Carolina




I am coincidentally in town for a family reunion that is set to take place tomorrow. I have about 100 cousins -- no joke. After this event, Pete and I have to cut out of town and begin our drive to Hartford, CT, a good 15 hours away. We're gonna do a little bit of loose planning tonight. I hope everyone is well. More to come soon.

Crystal Lee

Saturday, May 21, 2011

East Bound

hi guys!
Flying to Florida early in the morn for our first "East Coast Road Trip" from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Hartford, Connecticut. Pete and I have family in these parts. His family resides at the start and finish of our 10 day trip and my folks are in North Carolina, kind of near Charlotte.  Along the way, I'm sure we'll see some thonged buns, alligators, old bottom growth trees, swampy lands, mossy trees, old plantations, and so much more unexpected stuff. I'm probably gonna have to get some of that southern fried chicken, though I've been trying my darndest not to eat meat.  I've resigned to make an exception for the occasional fried chicken wing or baby back rib. But otherwise, I've been eating steel cut oatmeal every morn with berries, and lots of salads and lentils (I finally made them right) and vegetables for dinner and lunch. This has been going on for about a month now. I'm trying to detox and just be healthier.  Back to my trip -- I've just finished packing my wardrobe for this vacation and I've included lots of 50s shirts and mini shorts and sandals, and I'm so excited for Summer weather! I hope to keep ya'll updated throughout my trip, but I'll be shooting mostly film, so we'll have to see. If you have any suggestions for fun spots to visit along the way, please do let me know; i'll be online some of the time.

happy Spring, friends; I think you're tops.

Outfit: olive green vintage skirt that I wear all the time, 70s silk embroidered shirt (thrifted), Nine West sandals.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

from the darkroom

Pete is hot.
Judy Gloom

 This next photo is not mine, but I love it so much!
Malick Sidibe
Malick Sidibe

Monday, May 16, 2011

Topanga Fiddle Banjo Contest and Folk Festival

This Sunday, banjos and mandolins serenaded the hills of the Santa Monica mountains for the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival. Under oak trees or up on the stage, old timey music set my feet to stomping and my heart to soaring. I could not have asked for a more beautiful day - the air was crisp though the sun was shining, the sky was bright blue, the clouds were fluffy, and I had my two best gals to spend the day with. I also got to visit with other friends who were attending the festival. I would go to a festival like this over Coachella anyday. Frank Fairfield, a young man with a real old soul, gave the best performance of the day. I wore an old turn of the century petticoat skirt that I recently picked up at an antique mall in Vegas. It’s so soft and fits just right. I paired it with suspenders & motorcyle boots, and I couldn’t have been more comfortable.

On Saturday night, Pete took me to see Prince perform. It was a last minute decision, and I’m so glad we went. What a show, and tickets were only $25! If you’re in Los Angeles and haven’t seen him yet, I believe he has a few more shows scheduled– you really must go. Prince looked amazing and I was so impressed with how he could dance so well in stiletto heels! I want to have a Prince hood ornament to place on my car. Wouldn’t that be neat?

Much love,

Crystal Lee

Friday, May 13, 2011

a colorful life

Happy Friday, folks!
fresh anemones, banana pin, vintage red Fendi purse

bought this pack back the other day on Olvera St in Los Angeles. wearing vintage Sergio Valente jeans.
I wish Pete would have got a full shot of my wide leg pants, which conveniently match the street art.
my dearest friends walking the LBC en route to Cirque de Soleil.
a ridiculous but fun outfit. colorful in attitude.

Have a great weekend!

If you're quiet, you're not living. You've got to be noisy and colorful and lively.
Mel Brooks

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

poppy fields

Oh hi. Here are some slide photos of a recent trip to the Poppy Fields in Lancaster


the cutest photo of Pete's sister in law, Symphony & baby Nathan. I just adore this little boy.
a windy day in the poppy fields. I'm wearing a 50s party dress, Bass oxfords, 50s sunglasses (everything thrifted). Byeee.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

now this is style

A Zulu couple is dressed for a ten-mile walk from their kraal to market in Nongoma. The umbrella is in case of a fight, not rain. When you have no money and still look amazing, now that is true style, in my opinion.
now this is style.jpg
Scanned from National Geographic's Greatest Portraits: In Focus. photographer, Dick Durrance III, 1971.

nitro heaven: a day at the races

there's a gal driving this car at top speeds.
Pete and the Circuit Breaker.  the Circuit Breaker gets ready for take off.
The Circuit Breaker, top fuel nostalgic dragster, can go up to 250 miles per hour in 5.7 seconds, and it's pretty thrilling to see.
Anytime I go to the nostalgic drag races, I wear this vintage tank top that reads "Nitro Heaven" and features an old dragster. Top Fuel dragsters like the Circuit Breaker run on nitro methane -- two words that melt Pete's heart. Vintage tank tops featuring soft cotton, lace trim, and awesome screen prints like the one I'm wearing are pretty hard to find at the thrift store, and usually sell for an arm and a leg on Ebay. I have an 80s Harley one too. I feel like a bad ass in either one. Of course, I'd be a bigger bad ass if I was that gal driving the 56 Chevy in the first photo.

If you want to be transported to a bygone era where you can watch old fast cars & eat naughty food like buttery sweet corn on the cob and nachos, then I reckon you oughta spend a day at the nostalgic drag races.

Built for Speed,

Crystal Lee

Outfit: vintage tank top, 80s Moschino shorts (thrfited), Nine West sandals

Friday, May 6, 2011

rough riders

Before heading to Vegas for the top fuel nostalgic races, Mikey and I spent a day together top-downing it (the BMW convertible, not our own tops, though it would be pretty fun to do both) in the desert, including the Mojave National Preserve in California, and little high desert towns in Nevada like Alamo & Caliente. There is nothing as mind cleansing as entering the womb of the desert, to be immediately cradled by rugged rocks and calming backdrops while driving along the open road.
Mojave National Preserve, CA

While cruising in the Mojave National Preserve, I spotted a desert tortoise, and thus unexpectedly met one of my Spring-time goals. I was so happy to see one up close in its natural habitat. I guess seeing a desert tortoise is somewhat of a rarity, even during Spring time when they’re most prominent, because once we got to the old railroad station in Kelso, we were asked to fill out a mini report on our sighting. And here is where I should give a big thanks to the folks of Kelso who pushed my BMW out of the soft shoulder when I got myself stuck after flipping a wide bitch like a wild animal. THANK YOU, KELSO. The BMW, unfortunately, is really not meant for rough riding. Right now, it’s limping and dragging its foot like a malnourished urchin child during the height of the Depression. I was pretty shocked to find myself stuck in the dirt. At first, I thought Mikey could just push us out, but no such luck. The first guy to spot us, a middle aged man, probably a dad, in khaki shorts and a polo, asked us how we got ourselves into such a situation, and we shrugged our shoulders, grinning like city folk. “Well, you look good”, he sarcastically said, though he was actually really nice. Later a husband & wife pulled over to help us and the wife immediately gave us a mini lecture on safety in the desert. I thought it best not to take photos of them pushing my car out of the dirt, less they abandon us right there.

Mojave National Preserve, CA

Mojave National Preserve

Mojave National Preserve, CA

We continued our desert journey past Vegas and into the Southern tip of Nevada. Our hearts were set on soaking in Ash Springs, a natural hot springs, and we threw caution aside to meet this goal. We drove until the sun began to fall, highlighting the curves of all the many hills and mountaintops. I started to doubt that we’d find a motel in the middle of the desert, and I was getting scared that we’d have to sleep in the car, without a blanket or even a warm coat for that matter. I voiced my concerns to Mikey, and she remained positive, which was much appreciated. My trusty GPS guided us to the town of Alamo, NV, where we found the Windmill Ridge Hotel & Restaurant. We strolled into town to find that every hotel in town was booked on account of the “Best in the Desert Off Road Racing” event. We drank coffee & ate grilled cheese at the restaurant and mentally prepared for our 2.5 hour trip through the dark & empty desert back to Vegas. When we were nearly done with our meal, the gal at the front counter told us that a guy failed to show up to claim his room & didn’t leave a credit card number, and, therefore, the room was ours. It was the honeymoon suite, too! Some new wife somewhere is bummed, but we were in heaven. There was a hot tub in our room and we happily soaked in it our bathing suits while watching recaps of the royal wedding on tv, and then slept blissfully through the night. Thank goodness for the hot tub in the room because we never actually did soak in the hot springs. The next day we woke up early to drive further along the Great Basin Highway where I was happy to discover towns and State Parks that I had never been to before.
In front of our hotel, in the tiny town of Alamo, NV.
Alamo, NV

town of Caliente
Caliente, NV

Kershaw-Ryan State Park
Kershaw-Ryan State Park, NV

Cathedral Gorge State Park
Cathedral Gorge State Park, NV

Cathedral Gorge State Park, NV

Mikey & I had such a fun adventure together, laughing hysterically the whole trip, so much that Mikey nearly choked to death at one point, and I feebly patted her back, which we laughed about when she was done choking. We would have driven on to the Great Basin National Forest if we didn’t have to get back to town to catch the races, and I really wanted to be there to support Pete in his passion. I’ll show you the photos from the races tomorrow or later today.

Though I generally love Spring for its wild flowers, desert tortoises, and fresh air, I still find myself a little down during these months – April and May — which mark my mother’s death anniversary, Mother’s Day, and then my ma’s birthday. I have a lot of friends whose mothers have passed away, so I know that I am not alone. Perhaps next year, I will host a Dead Mother’s luncheon & we can all tell morbid jokes that get us through the day. If you are a motherless child, Happy Dead Mother’s Day to you. I wish you peace.

Oh ya, these are all film photos - a combination of slide film & Kodak Portra. I think they turned out ok, as in so-so, comme ci, comme ├ža

Outfit # 1: vintage hot pink 60s ruffle top, 80s bandage skirt (thrifted), Nine West sandals
Outfit # 2: 70s denim jumpsuit with crochet top
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