Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Santa Catalina

wearing a goofy grin in a wooden phone booth.
Wrigley Memorial, built in the 1930s
 Old Man cactus
the birthday boy and his cacti crew
Even though I’m a California native, I had never before been to Catalina, an island only twenty-six miles across the sea, so when Pete suggested the destination for his birthday, I easily got on board. We brought our bikes along, and though there are not too many bicycle routes, we rode uphill to the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens, where we beheld a ton of cool cacti, most notably the Old Man Cactus. The Wrigley Memorial, which oversees the gardens, is constructed from materials found or made on the island, including the blue flagstone rocks found in the stairs, and the colorful intricate tiles made in the Catalina Pottery plant, which was in operation from 1927-1937. This was probably the most beautiful and least expensive part of our short trip.

Being a popular tourist destination, most activities on Catalina can be pretty expensive, which I somewhat expected. We really wanted to do a tour of the Catalina Casino, which houses the art deco Avalon Theatre and upstairs ballroom, but didn’t want to pay the nearly $40 each for a ticket. Instead, we paid $11 each to hear an hour-long performance of the old fashioned pipe organ, viewed from velvet seats in the back of the Avalon theater, where Pete and I discussed and admired the astonishing murals by John Gabriel Beckman.

I always have a swell time with Pete so I dare not complain, but I do think that Catalina is a little too touristy and much to expensive for my taste.

In other news, SUMMER IS HERE. I hung out at the pool with my niece and nephew for 5 hours yesterday. I’m quickly morphing into summer’s child, a giddy idealist sprite, who loathes the 9-5 work day and longs only for outdoor adventures. Hope ya'll are feeling fine!

Outfit: vintage tapestry coat (Long Beach Veteran's Flea Market), vintage wool green shorts, (thrifted), lavender loafers (Cole Haan), socks (Asos).

Thursday, May 17, 2012

spring time so far, and I couldn’t be happier.

there's rattlesnakes around these parts, and one day I'm bound to get bit.

The mustard weeds are high in spring. My dad finally left for Indonesia after a 6 week stay at my pad! My best friend had a beautiful baby boy just two days ago. I bought a new cowgirl hat; it’s cartoon heavy, and when I walk down the thoroughfare, I must cock my head from side to side to avoid hitting someone dead on and accidently knocking he/she out. I am going to turn my vintage eyeglasses into sunglasses soon because I love to wear them, and they’re currently prescription eye wear. The Topanga Banjo Fiddle and Folk Festival is this Sunday, and I can’t wait!

How is your spring going so far?

Outfit: vintage maxi polka dot skirt (thrifted), 80s polka dot puff sleeve (thrifted), 70s sandals (thrifted), favorite holey (and holy, as in sacred to me) Wrangler vintage studded jacket (thrifted). Vintage cowgirl hat (Long Beach Vets Stadium).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Goonies never die

Pacific County Courthouse, South Bend, Washington.

The view from the Pacific County Courthouse

I wish that this lavender shack of sweet goodness was open.
The Bowpicker in Astoria, Oregon, serves up some of the best Fish & Chips I've ever tasted.

our dream rental car. Astoria, OR

The Goondocks. Astoria, Oregon
Gloomy days make the perfect backdrop for pastel clothing, and in the Pacific Northwest, there’s no shortage of gloomy days. I didn’t pack too much pastel for my vacation, but I found this mint dress in Seattle, Washington, (I wish I remembered the name of the vintage store because the owner was so sweet). I wore it as we cruised along a portion of the Pacific Northwest coast, making stops in South Bend, Washington, and Astoria, Oregon. South Bend is a sleepy town, known for its oysters and for the beautiful Pacific County Courthouse that sits perched on the hill, overlooking the Willapa River. Unfortunately, the Pacific County Courthouse, which was erected in 1910, and features a stained glass dome roof, was closed to the public on Sundays. While in South Bend, I also visited a vintage/craft roadside store aptly named “Creepy Beautiful” (photos in a separate post), and the two contrasting words definitely sum up not only the store, but also the town. Astoria, Oregon, a charming seaside town, stole my nostalgic heart with its many early 20th century buildings that are still in use. It seems there’s a lot to do in the day time, including visiting all the old buildings turned museums (which we did not have time to do), eating the freshest, tastiest fish and chips and clam chowder, and of course, making a necessary stop at the Goondocks, where Chunk once did the truffle shuffle to the delight of my generation. Maybe it’s the fog and gloom that brings these "outcast" types together, but I noticed a lot of gothic, and/or 90s raver types, in Astoria, which only added the charm of this town that I’m already longing to return to.

Outfit: sheer mint dress (vintage store in Seattle Washington. Not sure if it’s vintage, but it looks to be homemade), silver disco sandals (vintage mall, Portland, Oregon).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

silver threads

Any time that I spend too much on an item of clothing (which has only really happened once before), I feel the need to confess: this lovely silver skirt cost me a little over $100. Ok, I feel better. As a dedicated thrift store shopper, I don't think it's necessary for me to spend a lot of money on clothes, but an equal reason for me to keep my clothing cost down is that I am about as graceful as a bulldozer. Take this beautiful 1930s dress here, which I spent a pretty penny on back in August 2010: It went to vintage heaven just a few months ago. I wore it twice and my girlfriend Judy Gloom wore it once, and together, we tore it asunder. In our defense, the dress was about as delicate as paper. I hope this post doesn’t make the vintage Nazis come out of the woodwork. No joke - there are actually vintage dealers/vintage enthusiasts out there that get really upset when vintage clothing is altered or, in my case, destroyed. Recently on Facebook, a vintage dealer completely bashed another vintage dealer for shortening 50s dresses. There are real problems going on in the world, people. I never use my blog as a platform to talk smack, but when I read this frippery, I got really turned off. Mini rant over. I really should do a proper memorial for the dress that died too soon, but in the meantime, you can check out more photos of it here. I also wore it last Valentine’s day aboard the Queen Mary, so I will always equate it with love sweet love.

I’ve been needing wanting some more silver in my wardrobe, and I think you’ll be seeing a lot more of this skirt (if I don’t destroy it).

Outfit: Theysken’s Theory silver skirt (via Gilt)., vintage western pearl snap button down (thrifted), pastel Nike’s (Pete bought em’ for me for my birthday. Portland airport. Oh ya, it was my birthday recently. I turned 33.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Portland, Oregon

Why didn't I buy this white mod hat?

Gosh, Portland, Oregon, sure is pretty in the Spring. The tulips, poppies, and dandelions, which are scattered on the front yards of all the old houses, are some of the most impressive I've seen, and the blooming cherry blossoms only added to the beauty. There were so many things that I loved about Portland - the amazing food (they are just about as obsessed with fried chicken as I am, and they have every type of food truck), the best record store ever: Mississippi Records (I loaded up!), karaoke 7 nights a week, a movie theater that serves food & alcoholic beverages (I finally got to watch Pina), affordable vintage clothing (I found a pair of 60s lavender chunky heel sandals and a pair of silver 70s disco pumps at House of Vintage for less than $20 a pair.), lots of big parks in the city (we visited Mt. Tabor), and friendly folks (the only jerk we encountered hailed from Echo Park, Los Angeles (go figure!)). It’s such a grand town, Pete and I are even considering moving to Southeast Portland one day. I also learned a new word: Shanghaied, Apparently, this was a real problem for Portland in the early days.

Outfit (60s velvet mini dress (hand me down from my friend Miro), 60s mohair sweater (hand me down from my friend Elliott), vintage sandals (thrifted).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bill Steber: a photographic essay of the Mississippi Delta

Folks, I am on a journey through the Mississippi Delta, stopping at levee camps to hear the lonesome holler of a mule skinner, down to the  banks of the river to watch sinners bathe in the glory of the Lord, at the Parchman Penitentiary to hear the drive of steel and the call and response work songs that helps the prisoners make it through the long, hot, hard day; I'm rolling and rattling down Hwy 61 in my jalopy, past endless cotton fields, to a lonesome juke joint shanty damn near collapsed, where the men and women get down low to the music, where corn whisky is served, and the folks forget the hard times, on this moonlit night, where the blues are moaned, and the floor shakes, and the wall vibrates. I am sanctified by this new journey through the Delta. My journey started recently while reading Alan Lomax's "The Land Where the Blues Began," written so tenderly,  passionately, and knowledgeably, that I entered this world fully, even went to bed dreaming about the poor sharecroppers and evil big daddy, and always yearning for the music - pure and raw, the spirit of America. I became aware of Fred McDowell, Bessie Jones, and countless other singers, devouring everything, and in my reverie, stumbling upon the photography of Bill Steber, who in the late 1990s photographed the rich culture and tradition of the Mississippi Delta. It's so surprising to see a small handful of folks still steeped in century-old African -American traditions. I ain't  getting off this journey anytime soon. My next road trip will be along Hwy 61, through the Mississippi Delta. Will I still find the blues, the barrel houses, the spirituals?  If you're a fan of the  blues, or rock n roll, I recommend that you check out the rest of Bill Steber's photo essay here.
tent revival, Clarksdale, MS, 1994.
Cag Young, Senatobia, MS 1993
Baptism, Moon Lake, MS, 1995.
Rosetta Patton Brown, last surviving child of early blues legend Charlie Patton. Duncan, MS, 1996
Guitar Evangelist, Cora Fluker. Marion, MS, 1996.

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