Long From: Reasons for and the Transition To California

When I asked what you wanted to see on the blog, someone asked to share our transition to Southern California from Oregon, and discuss if there were any regrets, differences between the two locals, and any tips for those thinking of moving. I’ve been working on this post for awhile, but was on the fence about actually posting it. But I got another request today, so I decided to move forward and publish it.

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Ribbons for Sam

Within a short time period of moving to southern California, and when I say short, I mean like about a month, I had become friends with a group of people who loved not only Disney, but also vintage, and they have quickly become like family to me, and what many of us refer to as our “Disney family”. Fast forward to Dapper Day Expo, March of 2015, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely couple behind Match Accessories, Samantha and Jeremy.

For those unfamiliar with Match Accessories, they produce fabulous and fun vintage inspired jewelry, and are best known for their Disneyland inspired D brooches. The D brooch is a favorite among many members of my Disney family and many of us own multiples, as they have a wide variety.

Since meeting them, Samantha and Jeremy have become good friends of ours, and are part of that Disney family. We have spent many visits to the Disneyland Resort with them and their two darling children, Lillian and Harrison. But recently, the family behind these gorgeous pieces of wearable art have hit a tragic bump in the road. Samantha was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), a rare and incurable form of leukemia. She has begun a life long treatment of daily oral chemotherapy, which is thankfully working, and there is confidence that she will enter remission in the near future. Samantha and Jeremy have been trying to fight this battle silently, and Jeremy as been doing everything in his power to help build up her spirits and keep her fighting. But what he thinks she really needs is a bit of Disney magic. Jeremy recently said that the “Disney family that we have found has proven to us the Disney Magic we have all believed in is real.” In an effort to lift her spirits Jeremy is attempting to raise funds to take Samantha to Disneyland for Dapper Day for the first time as a guest, not as a vendor, as she and her family have been for so long. It is a day where she and her family know they can spend time with the Disney family they have made, and enjoy true Disney magic with a retro flair.

To raise these funds, Jeremy decided to make brooches that combine their signature piece, the Disneyland D, with the orange leukemia awareness ribbon, which is now available in their shop. He kindly gave brooches to those close to their family to share on social media to help get the word out, and I feel very touched to have been included in this project. These special brooches are made of wood, using laser cut technology, and layered, creating a unique and stand-out look.

If you do decide to purchase one of these brooches, please share a picture of you wearing the brooch on Instagram using #ribbonsforsam.

Perhaps the Disneyland inspired D isn’t your thing, which is completely understandable, but I beg you to look at their shop, they have some of the most creative, vintage inspired pieces currently available on Etsy.

You can also follow Match on the following social media websites:
Instagram: @matchaccessories
Website
Facebook
Twitter

Entering the Wizarding World

I realize that many of you come to my blog for my outfit posts. I never intended my blog to turn into a vintage fashion blog. Vintage fashion was a large part of it of course, but I also wanted to share other vintage things, like housewares, furniture, cars, and even locations. It slowly turned more into fashion because that is what was easy, and what I mostly did when in Portland, with a geeky con thrown in every so often. When I announced our move to California a little over a year ago, I mentioned that some things would be changing for the blog, and I would be sharing more unique places with you, making this blog less about fashion, and more about adventures. Today highlights this change greatly. Today isn’t really about anything vintage. And it’s about something that perhaps isn’t your cup of tea at all, and that’s fine. You are more than welcome to skip this entry. Because today, we’re entering the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Since its massive success at Universal Studios Orlando, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has finally arrived at the original Universal Studios in Hollywood. And I have been eagerly awaiting its arrival! While the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not slated to “officially open” until April 7th, Universal has been soft opening the new area for a few weeks now, but between my brother’s visit and our week in Palm Springs I was unable to visit until this last week and I was overjoyed!

So, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, get ready for a pretty picture heavy post!

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Changing Dreams

While I like to shy away from the heavier posts here, there are often some things that alter how I live my life, and therefore how I blog. This week I left my job at Disneyland. This decision is one that I have thought about for a long time, and with my Guest Relations disaster, the decision became easier, because my intended career dreams could not be achieved. Some of you may be wondering why, and some of the reasons I am more than willing to share, especially since I love Disneyland.

Firstly, I want to say it was not the work itself that has prompted this. While I previously mentioned I simply worked in stores, I actually worked a specialized area of stores, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where I was a Fairy Godmother-in-Training, transforming children into princesses and knights. This role is extremely unique, involves a lot of Guest interaction, and is super magical, and I really, really enjoyed it. I loved telling stories, sharing knowledge of the Disneyland Resort, and I loved seeing the faces of children and parents light up when the magic mirror was revealed at the end of their transformations. I received a lot of gratitude from families, many saying “You’ve made our day” and that meant a lot to me.

Now, onto the reasons behind my departure. While having a career with the Walt Disney Company was part of the reason we made the move to California, the other part was the fact I was bored in Portland, and California offered a wide range of activity. I severely underestimated that amount of activity. I have never been bored since moving, as every time I turn around there is something to go see or do, and the list of things continues to grow, rather than shrink, which is great! In addition to the long list of places to visit, such as historical sites, filming locations, museums, national parks, and restaurants, there are constantly unique events going on. Take the Halloween season for example. Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Universal Studios all offer Halloween events. There is also the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, ScareLA, the Anaheim Halloween Parade, and Stan Lee’s Comikaze took place Halloween weekend, Hocus Pocus played at the El Capitan in early October, and then Danny Elfman performed his parts of Nightmare Before Christmas live at the Hollywood Bowl, and I am so sad I missed out, as I adore Danny Elfman and Nightmare. Additionally, I really wanted to go with a macabre theme for October for the blog, by visiting local cemeteries, the LA Coroner’s office gift shop, and doing one of the Dearly Departed tours in LA. And when October 31 arrived, I had have done very, very little of this list, in addition to not making a costume for Halloween for the first time in five years. As I look to the new year there are already five, many multi-day, events, that I am already aware of, that I am planning on attending between the beginning of the year and April, some of which are annual events, others are unique, one-time offerings.

As I began missing out on events, both ones I planned on attending, or ones that cropped up at the last minute, I felt crushed at my inability to go. Going to work, while still fun and magical, felt suffocating, and I felt like I had very little control over my life. Part of this is my own fault, as I have had the luxury of either working for myself, or someone I knew very well, and taking time off was easy to arrange, for most of my adult life. I am not used to this situation. Furthermore, the Walt Disney Company is a very large company and does their scheduling based on seniority, and I was still the low man on the totem pole, resulting in being given evening and weekend shifts. The problem is, Patrick works a regular Monday through Friday, nine to five job. Sure, Patrick works from home, but he is contractually obligated to be available during regular work hours, and if he wants to be away for a significant period of time during those hours, that is considered taking time off. However, I am in the unique and rare position that is that I do not need to work for us to make ends meet. So, when I applied to work at Disneyland, it was because I wanted to, not because I needed a job. The job became an unnecessary hoop I have to jump through to do other things, often missing out. This situation limited our time to go out and explore, to attend events, and so on, which is pretty much what our hobbies are. Seriously, take me to a museum or filming location before a bar or club anytime.

I know what some of you are thinking, “Ask for time off, trade shifts, call out sick.” It’s really not that simple. Disney’s scheduling, including requests for time off, is a complex system that I won’t bore you with, but the truth is, often you wouldn’t know if you received time off until the schedule is released. The schedule is always changing as well. Rarely do people work the same exact days and shifts week in and week out. As for trading shifts, as I worked in a specialized area, the pool of people I had to trade from was very small, and not once did anyone trade with me when I asked if anyone was able to. Additionally, trades must be submitted and approved. And calling out has a range of consequences.

While the outcome of my time as a Cast Member is not what I thought it would be, I am so glad I went through this experience. I made so many great friends, and it was nothing short of amazing to make magic. My curiosity of working at Disneyland has been satisfied, and I am happy with that, no matter how brief the experience. Additionally, having been behind the scenes, I feel I can better appreciate and understand Cast Members when I am a Guest; for example, there is a lot of information that Cast Members do not have access to, or are informed of, so when they say they don’t know the answer, I am a little more understanding.

I still love Disneyland, and, yes, I will miss working there, but I can’t put into words the frantic need I have to visit and go do everything I want to do. I have witnessed events that happen yearly suddenly stop happening. I have seen filming locations demolished (for example, the iconic Los Angeles Sixth Street bridge is set to be demolished in January) and museums close. I do not want miss out on something forever over something I do not need to be doing.

What does this mean for the blog? Well, hopefully it means more blogging. With more time I can visit unique locations, learn more things, and then share them with you all. California is literally a playground, especially for the history and movie geek, and I am excited to be able to explore it more.

Clifton’s Cafeteria At Last

When I think about iconic old Los Angeles, a few places immediately spring to mind. The Bradbury Building, LA City Hall, Angels Flight, Griffith Observatory, and Clifton’s Cafeteria. Clifton’s is most certainly an institution in here southern California, and it’s one that was reborn last night, and Patrick and I were lucky enough to attend the grand re-opening. There are three stories that I feel are important to tell, so, this is going to be a longer than normal post.

First I want to tell the story of Clifton’s Cafeteria and its owner, Clifford Clinton. And while at first that may sound kind of boring, I’m telling you it borders on sounding like a James Elroy novel. The first Clifton’s Cafeteria was opened by Clifford Clinton (the name Clifton’s was created by taking portions of his first and last name and putting them together), in 1931, and was called Clifton’s Pacific Seas. The cafeteria was jungle themed, with murals, faux palm trees, waterfalls, and, my favorite detail, a rainfall every twenty minutes. The Pacific Seas location would remain open until 1960. Clinton opened his second cafeteria in 1935, Clifton’s Brookdale as it was called, and it featured a Redwoods inspired interior, rock work and water features. Clinton opened his cafeterias during one of America’s most difficult time periods, the Great Depression, and while other restaurants were turning away customers who couldn’t pay, Clinton had the following printed on guest checks, “Regardless of the amount of this check, our cashier will cheerfully accept whatever you wish to pay – or you may dine for free.” His openness did not end there. In a time when there were separate drinking fountains and much, much more for blacks and whites, Clinton welcomed everyone, regardless of race.

In the same year, Clinton was invited to inspect the food operations at LA County General Hospital, and it was the stepping off point on a crusade against corruption. At the hospital, Clinton made a report siting waste and poor patient treatment, and offered suggestions to trim the budget, but what he didn’t know was that the hospital and its budget had political ties, and Clinton’s suggestions were not welcome ones. In 1937, Clinton found himself selected for LA County Grand Jury, and specifically a jury that would hear offenses punishable by a year or more in prison, and the service would last one year. Shocked by what he learned while serving, and the resistance he met within the grand jury, Clinton created his own group, Citizens’ Independent Vice Investigating Committee (CIVIC). He compiled a report highlighting the relationship between city officials and the criminal underworld, and after the grand jury refused to print it, Clinton printed it himself. After the report, Clinton soon found his own restaurants were being issued violations, and even lawsuits by people claiming food poisoning and more. In October of 1937, a bomb exploded in the basement of Clinton’s Los Feliz home, and just a little while later, another bomb exploded in the car of an ex-cop, who was giving information to Clinton. The bombing was tied to an LAPD Captain, who was soon put on trial. The trial also exposed that the Captain was running illegal wiretaps, and soon the public became aware of the corruption within the city’s government. With the bombing and other corruption now pubic, Clinton with his CIVIC allies then began a recall campaign against the mayor, and they were successful.

After Pearl Harbor and America’s entrance into World War II, Clinton, at 41, joined the army and worked as a mess officer. After the war, he attempted to run for mayor. When he lost, he turned to the problem of world hunger, and teamed up with a Caltech biochemist to develop a food supplement to give proper nutrition, and did so at the cost of five cents per meal, Multi-Purpose Food, as it would be called. He then used this to create Meals for Millions, which has continued to this day in the form of Freedom from Hunger. During his crusades against corruption and hunger, Clinton continued his restaurant businesses, and opened several more locations, however, Clifton’s Brookdale was the only one to survive, being sold in 2010 to Andrew Meieran, who then closed it for refurbishment, and underwent many, many delays, as well as $3 million before it reopened its doors Monday night.

The second story I want to tell is the shortest of the three. As some of you might already know, my dad is originally from the Los Angeles area. He grew up down here, and he can tell you where nearly every business used to be, and recalls stories of his childhood and teenage years before he headed to Oregon for college. It is his stories, along with California’s lush history, that I want to track down and relive, they are stories that inspire me. When he told me about visiting Clifton’s, I longed to go, and Clifton’s shot to the top of the list of places to visit after we moved. But, like many, we found out we had to wait.

And now, the wait is over, and I get to tell you about our experience! Clifton’s Grand Re-Opening was a ticketed event to benefit the LA Conservancy, and Patrick had surprised me with tickets awhile ago. So I had been eagerly counting down the days, while simultaneously trying to avoid looking at pictures from the news articles that were popping up on the internet. Finally the day arrived, and the date couldn’t have been better as it fell on our one year anniversary of moving to California. Seriously, what better way to celebrate? Clifton’s pretty much sums up the reasons why I wanted to move here.

Clifton’s on one level may come across as kitsch to the max, but it is also incredibly charming, and classy. It still evokes all of the fun it did when it opened, while giving the menu a facelift, but there is still mac and cheese and Jell-O. I loved exploring its nooks and crannies, and taking pictures, despite difficulties (seriously, this place was a pain to shoot in, because it is so dark). During the party, the first and second floors were open to the General Admission (which we were), with the next two floors open for VIP admission (which we instantly regretted not purchasing, though they cost double what GA cost). And while the doors might be open, it’s still not completed. Talk of a tiki bar and speakeasy are on everyone’s lips, and I look forward to many, many returns during our visits into LA and exploring it even further.

Outfit
Dress: Stars Antique Mall, Portland, Or.
Stockings: What Katie Did
Purse & Necklace: Antique Alley, Portland, Or.
Bangles: Buffalo Exchange
Shoes: I honestly don’t remember! Maybe Antique Alley as well…

Patrick’s Outfit
Suit & Hat: Paper Moon Vintage, Los Angeles, Ca.
Shirt & Shoes: Nordstorm
Tie: Not sure…maybe found by my dad…

Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour

When I was a kid there was this wonderful, magical place that I would sometimes get to go to. No, for once I’m not talking about Disneyland. I’m talking about Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour. Founded by Bob Farrell and Ken McCarthy in 1963 in Portland, Farrell’s quickly became the go-to place for birthdays and other celebrations for many. Farrell’s was themed to the 1890s, with employees dressed up, often with a signature boater, and the Gibson Girl was their icon. There was a location in Eugene, which is the one I visited most often, and the restaurant was plastered with images featuring Charles Dana Gibson’s work. But as is the tale with many small businesses and local chains, they were bought, many locations closing in the 90s, while a few held out, becoming independent versions. The one in Eugene operated as the Pearl Street Ice Cream Parlour, and kept up with the Gibson Girl theme and maintained the candy shop in the front. I was lucky enough to visit it one more time while attending college, before it closed in 2006, the location is now La Perla Pizzaria.

But after a long legal battle Farrell’s reemerged from the ashes with multiple locations in California and I was overjoyed when I found this out shortly after moving. We visited the one in Brea, but arrived after dark, and I wasn’t able to take any shots of my Gibson Girl inspired outfit, so today I recreated that same outfit for a visit to the one in Buena Park, located just across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm.

Today Farrell’s is just as charming, and still serves up great food and phenomenal ice cream. I highly recommend a visit if you find yourself near one of their locations!

This early exposure to the Gibson Girl, and my parents’ interest in the Victorian era I think instilled a fascination with Gibson and his work, and I spent many hours pouring over original books featuring his illustrations and copying them. And in reality, the Gibson Girl was the first ever pin-up, and was the first centerfold, when Collier’s featured a two page spread in the center, where the staples were, for easy removal, in 1903. So, yep, we basically have Gibson to thank for pin-up girls.

Outfit
Blouse: Antique Alley…I think…Portland, Or.
Skirt: Pin-Up Girl Clothing, but purchased at Simply Vintage, Portland, Or.
Nude Fishnets: Nordstorm
Shoes: Miss L Fire
Purse: Thrifted
Cameo: Shoot, if I remember…I’ve had it for like ten years.

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust

It’s been been two weeks since my last post, and a lot has gone on that has kept me from blogging. In my last post I mentioned I had been stressed out over something, and I was planning on sharing the reason behind that in the near future. That stressful situation has come to a close, but with an outcome I had not planned on. Rarely do I like to talk about the downer moments in my life, but I feel like this is one I need to touch on.

When I began my career at the Disneyland Resort my end goal was to become a Tour Guide for the guided tours Guests are able to take. I knew it was a multi-step process, and just starting out anywhere within the Resort was the first step toward that goal. The next step was moving into the Guest Relations Department of the Resort. After several interviews I received the call formally offering me a role with Guest Relations, and soon began training. Throughout my training process I began to have doubts about the role. Not only is being a Guest Relations Hostess a role that covers way more than I thought, it also includes mastering multiple computer systems and applications, which is not my strong suit, especially in a short period of time. I also learned that every person in Guest Relations is expected to train to become a Guide. However the number of guided tours some Cast Members perform can be as few as two a year at times due to the limited number of guided tours and the large number of Guest Relations Cast Members. Near the closure of my training I was having concerns about my ability to do this role successfully, and the level of satisfaction and happiness I would receive from the role. Thankfully, if you transfer, and are unhappy, or the department does not believe you a good fit at this time, you have the ability to go back to your previous role. In a meeting with superiors in the department they informed me that, at this time, I was not a good fit for the role. While I had already come to those terms myself, and contemplated opting to return to my previous role, it still stung that I was informed I would not be continuing with Guest Relations.

The last few days have been an emotional rollercoaster as I sorted out how I felt about the whole thing. It’s a complex group of emotions that I have been feeling, but I still am thrilled to be a part of the magic that is the Disneyland Resort, and look forward to returning to my role later this week. Thank you to those who commented on my Facebook status update a few days ago, your support means the world to me.

Thanks again for your patience. It’s time for me to continue making dreams come true for those who come through our gates by spreading some of Tink’s finest pixie dust! Along with continuing to explore and sharing my adventures with you.