Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day...a special dress from Endangered Clothing

I hope everyone has a great Valentine's Day XX

  If you don't have a special someone, treat yourself to a pedicure, or something equally Decadent!
In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I want to feature this amazing Red Velvet and Tulle dress from Endangered Clothing. This is a stunning piece and wish it was in my size.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

One of My Favoite Things....

I just love the scent of Gardenias. The scent was first recognizable to me as a child. My Grandmother, Tutu, wore Gardenia perfume, most likely, "Jungle Gardenia," which was Elizabeth Taylor's favorite. 

At the age of 16, I rediscovered that fragrance, and bought my own bottle of "Jungle Gardenia." In the 80s, Jungle Gardenia was no longer made by Tuvache, and the packaging was a little less glamorous.

In the late 80s, I got sucked into the trends of Calvin Klein perfumes, and in the 90s, went retro with "Tea Rose," (it probably made me smell like an 80 year old woman). I searched for Jungle Gardenia and could not find it. No Gardenia Scent could live up to the original.

A few years ago, I ran into my friend, Cathy, (Frank and I nick- named her "Pretty Cathy" years ago) and as I leaned in to give her a hug I smelled it! Yes, I believed she was wearing Jungle Gardenia!  

I asked Cathy, what perfume she used, and she replied that she was wearing "Gardenia Passion" by Anik Gutal. I had never heard of it. Cathy explained that it is the purest form of Gardenia Perfume available, and where we live it is only sold at Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus Department Stores. 

 The next time I visited our local mall was several months later. I really don't like shopping malls, for various reasons. I only venture into them when I need cosmetics or something for my kids that I can't purchase somewhere else. I wandered into the perfume department of Nordstrom, but had trouble remembering the name of the perfume. I told them I wanted the purest form of Gardenia and they shoved Marc Jacobs under my nose. I explained it was French and only sold at Nordstroms and Neiman Marcus, but they were clueless. I finally phoned Cathy and told the confused salesgirl that I wanted Anik Gutal, "Gardenia Passion." She found it in a remote corner of the fragrance department, and pulled out a bottle of Eau De Parfum, and I happily paid the most I have ever paid for a bottle of Perfume. 

I really love it, but do not recommend investing in the lotion. The lotion is $65, and I found it does not hold the scent and does not quite smell the same. 

You can find Anik Gutal "Gardenia Passion" on Amazon and ebay, for a bit less that the Department Stores, although the one time I bought a travel size in a beautiful brass mini bottle from ebay, it didn't smell the same. 

Everytime I wear the perfume I am stopped and complimented, or someone will ask "who smells so good?"   It is the perfect perfume to wear with vintage Hawaiian dresses.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Vintage Lover’s Story

I like to use my blog to write about talented and amazing people I know. Two such people are my good friends Dorian and Mike Middleton, of Endangered Clothing.  They are people who are truly in my heart.

Dorian’s family is from Texas, but she has spent the better part of her life living in Santa Cruz.  She started wearing Vintage clothes sometime in the early 90s. She has a love of rockabilly equal or that surpasses my own.  She even appeared on a Deke Dekerson album cover, “This is Ecco-Phonic.” She worked for a few years on Haight Street, mending and tailoring vintage clothing for some of the shops, and has been collecting vintage clothes for over 20 years.

Dorian, Jessica and I at Viva

Mike grew up in San Jose and started dealing vintage clothes out of his garage in the mid 90s, and by the late 90s, had opened his own shop.  After a few years, he closed the doors of his shop and started to sell online and at various vintage shows and flea markets like the Rose Bowl and Alameda.
Mike holding a vintage letterman's jacket 

Dorian and I became acquainted through mutual friends, and quickly realized we have the same goofy sense of humor and love for our families. She’s become a surrogate sister to me, and I told her I am leaving Frank to her in my will. 

I met Mike 3 years ago when I was working at Time Zone Vintage, at an estate sale, because he was the only guy that was looking for clothes that always was ahead of me on the list to get in. I asked Mike if he would be interested in consigning at Time Zone. My jaw dropped at the first batch of vintage he brought into the store. In the years since his shop had closed, he had put most of the 40s and 50s clothing in storage, yet still collected unique pieces. At that time, his business focused mostly on 60s and 70s and he didn’t sell the 40s and 50s clothing very often. Some of the best pieces in Time Zone came from Mike. 

Over the years of selling and buying, Mike has developed good relationships with estate companies and many different people, and often is offered large lots of vintage clothes. He offers his expertise to other dealers in the industry and in exchange has the opportunity to purchase amazing clothing. 
Mike has even bought lots of lucite purses. This is a display from the 
Vintage Expo in San Francisco last year
When Time Zone closed its doors abruptly, about 6 months after I stopped working there, Dorian offered to help the owner sort and distribute the consignor’s merchandise. Mike was there to get his own merchandise and I guess there were sparks between them. They were married 3 months later and now, almost 2 years after they met, they have a beautiful baby boy, Jaxon ( “Jax for short”).
Mike and Dorian selling in Alameda
Jax ready to go outside in a vintage sleeper
Dorian and Mike have gone into business together since getting married. You might remember my blog about selling at the Alameda “Antiques by the bay” HERE. Between Mike’s knowledge for 60s and 70s vintage value, and eye for unique vintage, Dorian’s taste and knowledge of 40s and 50s, they have created a great website for their treasures, "Endangered Clothing."

Over the next few months, I will feature unique items on their website for sale. It is a great place to shop for Viva Las Vegas, or just to find that one of a kind, original piece. Everything on their website is hand picked by Dorian and Mike and in wonderful condition. 

Take a look at some of the treasures they have for sale now


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mode O'Day

It is firmly established that I love vintage clothing. I love the styles, cut, and fabrics that were used in the mid twentieth century. The workmanship of the simplest of garments is superior to anything you could buy in a department store today. Even the "low-end" brands were better quality. The fact that so many of these garments are now over 50 years old and still being worn is proof.

After buying a particular red dress I love, I wanted to know more about the designer. The label read "Mode O'Day" and under that, "Styled in California." I decided to do a little research.

 In my red "Mode O'Day" dress at Christmas (I have an apron on)

The Mode O'Day label

The year was 1932, and the country was deep in the depression. Most prudent people would not have thought it was a good time to start a business, but three brothers who were immigrants from Lebanon, throwing caution to the wind, started Mode O'Day. Their strategy was to manufacture dresses by the dozens, and instead of selling them wholesale to retailers, sell them from their own stores, passing the savings onto the customer. In their early days, most of their dresses cost $1.

The first Mode O'Day shop was founded in Glendale, CA, and by the mid 1960s, there were over 700 stores in over 30 states. Most of the stores were independently owned franchises. The individual owners would be able to purchase the dresses, on consignment, directly from the factory located in Utah. The Mode O'Day corporation also supplied display materials and most everything these small business owners needed to get started. 

 The outside of the Tacoma, Wa Mode O'Day

Inside the Tacoma Store, 1947

Pictured above is the local San Jose Store 1955

Another shot of the San Jose shop located at Valley Fair 1955

I personally don't remember the Mode O'Day shops. The company was purchased sometime in the Mid 1960s  by the Gamble-Skagmo Corporation. At the time, Gamble-Skagmo owned many retail chains, from Pharmacies to Hardware Stores. In my research I haven't been able to pin-point the time of Mode O'Day's demiseI know that sometime in the 80s the company changed its name to "Fashion Crossroads," in an effort "to update their image." 

There are a lot of Mode O'Day dresses out there. Most of the 1950s styles are nipped waist, full skirt, and the sun dresses usually have a bolero. You can find dozens for sale, right now on Etsy, Ebay and other websites.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Oh yeah....I have a blog!

Greetings! Yes, I am still alive. Frank is still alive, and I have been a very bad blogger.

I apologize for being away so long. There are a few reasons I've neglected this blog. Obviously Frank's cancer was the most important thing in my life at the time I stopped. He had a successful surgery in June, in which his lymph nodes came back negative for cancer. He had gotten the melanoma before it had spread. His recovery was lengthy, and he was unable to drive almost all summer which made life difficult since I was working in the City and he had gone back to work (probably too early) and had developed complications. He has been well since September, and we are counting our blessings. 

The second reason I've not cared to write is I really have not been going out much. I haven't been taking photos when I do go out, so it seemed pointless to write. I am still very involved in Mason's skating, and focus a lot of attention on that.

The third reason is that there were certain people who were reading my blog, that I sensed did not like me. I also believed they might try to use what I write against me in some way. I know it sounds a little paranoid, but I was not in a position, emotionally, to have any sort of negativity directed at me. Today, if there are haters out there reading this, I can't be bothered to give a damn. Read and hate away! 

I have had some major changes since I last wrote:
1. I left La Rosa and am happily unemployed and taking care of the kids since September. 

2. I left the Bombshells around the time Frank received his diagnosis. 

3. I got FAT again!    

Working at La Rosa was something I loved. I loved the clothes, I loved the customers, my coworkers, and all of it. My family did not love me working up there. I was too far away from the kids after school and I didn't get home until 9PM some nights. I had to choose, and anyone who knows me, knows I will always choose my family over work. 

Leaving the Bombshells was one of the hardest things I have done in my social life. The girls and the club were a big part of my life for over 6 years, but we had all changed over the years. Marriages, kids, different responsibilities and I was struggling managing my time. I knew I would not be able to honor the commitments involved with being in the club, so I had to go inactive. 

As for the weight gain...what can I say except I like to eat. I really like to eat when I feel stressed. I also really like to eat when I'm not going out and have no reason to get dressed up. I gained back almost all the weight I lost in 2009 and 2010. I returned to weight watchers a couple weeks ago and will remedy this situation. I have lost 6.5 pounds the first two weeks, so I know I will not have a 30 inch waist by Viva, but I will be on my way. 

Now that I am back, I may start writing in my weight loss blog again, but I will definitely be back to write about people, places and events that I enjoy. Maybe a little history on certain things that interest me. Who knows

Frank and I in December


Made by Lena