Book Review: Addicted to Americana

When people ask me “Who inspires you?” they are usually wanting to know who my style icons are. While style icons are great and all, there are some people who really, truly inspire me on a much deeper level than just clothing, and those are the people who are dedicated to historic preservation. Perhaps one of the persons who inspires me the most is Charles Phoenix, the Ambassador of Americana, especially with his books, and he just published a new one, Addicted to Americana.

Charles Phoenix has perhaps one of the biggest personalities I have ever come across, along with being incredibly passionate about history, specifically mid-century America, and that is what makes him so incredibly fun and amazing. While Phoenix is a man of many hats, he is first and foremost a historian, but does it in the most creative of ways, with slide shows. Yes, you read right, slide shows. In his slide shows he shares various images from his vast collection of vintage Kodachrome slides, and if something from one of those slides still exists he tracks it down and goes there. He then shares pictures from these experiences in his slide shows, talking about what it was like to find the location or item, and the people he met along the way. Addicted to Americana follows this same format, making it like a published version of one of his slideshows.

Phoenix’s first book was called God Bless Americana and was inspired by his “Retro Vacation Tour Across the US” slide show, and was filled with images from his vintage Kodachrome collection. With the exception of one book, Americana the Beautiful (another published collection of Kodachrome slides), his next six books were location based, including Las Vegas, Southern California, and Hawaii, which included a combination of vintage images and ephemera. Addicted to Americana is a little different.

Addicted to Americana is a little more personal than Phoenix’s previous books. Phoenix starts out the book with a little background on himself, including his childhood spent at his dad’s used car lot and how he got started collecting vintage slides. The pages that follow are a kaleidoscope of both vintage images of locations from coast to coast, including theme parks, hotels, tourist traps, bowling alleys, World’s Fairs, restaurants, and the wild, futuristic modes of transportation that were dreamed up in the 50s and 60s, while also including contemporary photos of the places and things he has discovered in his slides. Many of these contemporary photos include Phoenix, basking in the mid-century glory he has just found. Phoenix has a masterful way of seeing a vintage image of something and then “playing detective” and tracking it down. His enthusiasm, even in text form, for these places, signs, and cars is contagious, and it instantly makes you want to hop in your car and go to every one of the still standing locations mentioned in the book. Additionally, there are hilarious little anecdotes that showcase Phoenix’s delightful personality, and his unique flair for preservation (my favorite is perhaps his saving of a vintage Sears sign.) These tales make the book all the more personal and enjoyable.

Not only is the book an excellent read, it is a very quick read. I read it cover to cover in one sitting, and the large pictures, and text of varying sizes make for a fun read.

If you love Americana, and are perhaps planning a road trip in the near future, I can’t recommend Addicted to Americana enough. I also highly recommend attending one of Charles Phoenix’s slideshows and buying his other books. You will not be let down in the slightest! You can learn about his upcoming events and buy Addicted to Americana, as well as his previous books, on his website.

Disclaimer: I was not approached by the author or publishers to do a review Addicted to Americana. I wrote this review of my own accord.

Rootin’ Tootin’ Christmas Eve

Last Christmas Eve we spent it at Knott’s Berry Farm, or Knott’s Merry Farm as it is called during the holiday season, and decided to make it a tradition, so this Christmas Eve found us once again walking along the beautiful lighted streets of Ghost Town, and enjoying all of the unique holiday offerings. I also took the opportunity to wear some one of my fancier western wear shirts and string ties.

I’ve had this vintage California Ranchwear (the west coast label for H Bar C) tucked away for awhile, because it had some issues, but I finally got around to fixing them. While western wear is sturdy, I treat this garment as if it were made of lace, as the floral/leaf details on the yoke and cuffs are made of leather, as is the fringe on the cuffs. I normally shy away from western wear that features leather detailing (you must have them cleaned by a professional leather cleaner), but this is just one more of the many gems my dad has found for me other the years!

Outfit
Hat: Redlands Galleria, Redlands, California
California Ranchwear Shirt: Found by my dad
Skirt & Boots: Buffalo Exchange
Belt: ???
Barrettes: Knott’s Berry Farm
Christmas String Tie: Joyride, Orange, California
Earrings: Back in Time Antiques, Redlands, California
Gloves: Red Barn Antique Mall: Beaumont, California

Last Minute Christmas Shopping

Sorry for the lack of posts, let alone festive outfit posts! This holiday season has been hectic with the new house, multiple birthdays, and a cold, which has left little time for fun outings to wear holiday inspired ensembles, so I had Patrick snag the camera when we went out to do some extremely last minute Christmas shopping last week.

As weird as it may sound, I have odd feelings about this outfit…it’s a good outfit, perfect for the holidays, and I love this shade of red…a more cranberry if you will. But I just felt too much like my old self…my Portland self. Like this outfit was a step backward in my personal style journey. I didn’t give too much thought though to my personal style when I got dressed on this day…I just thought “You’re getting over being sick, it’s a wee bit chilly, so go for something comfy, cozy, but festive” and this was the result. The only things I really adore about this outfit are the shoes and the hood of this coat (I’ve realized I really only dig the dramatic stuff of the 40s and 50s the most, plus any hood like this reminds me of Lynn Bracken of LA Confidential, so it’s a given that I’ll like it). Like, if this coat didn’t have a hood, I likely would have parted with it long ago. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sweater set, as they are the comfiest things I own, but overall this outfit is rather uninspiring for me. While I have moved on in my style from more direct era inspired outfits, it is nice to have old standbys in the closet for those days where you are more about functionality over style. Do any of you have feelings like this toward some ensembles you put together?

I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas had a lovely Christmas yesterday. Stay tuned for my Christmas Eve and Christmas Day outfits!

Outfit
Coat & Tights: Buffalo Exchange
Sweater Set: Antique Alley, Portland, Ore.
Belt: Nordstorm
Gloves & Ice Follies Brooch: ???
Shoes: Faryl Robin
Purse: Lux de Ville

Roping Up Some Christmas Spirit

Knott’s Merry Farm is in full swing at Knott’s Berry Farm, and over the weekend a group of my gal pals (plus Patrick) and I went to enjoy all of the sights and shows.

I’ve wanted a steer head jacket for years now, but they aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. The first one I found when we lived back in Portland, but it was about three sizes too big. It was the classic brown suede with white steer heads, which I’ve seen scattered on the internet here and there over the years. Then I found this unique beauty, in the reverse color scheme last year, but I’ve been waiting for just the right Christmas cowgirl outfit to debut it, plus for the weather to cool down!

Speaking of Christmas, we finally wrapped up decorating the other day, so I can’t wait to take pictures and share both Christmas decorations and parts of our new home with y’all! Have you decorated for Christmas yet?

Outfit
Hat: Redlands Galleria, Redlands, California
Steers Head Fringe Leather Jacket: Canyon House, Yucca Valley, California
Blouse & Belt: Buffalo Exchange…I think…
Pants & Boots: Antique Alley, Portland, Oregon
Bolo: Long Beach Antique Market, Long Beach, California
Brings: Here and there
Tooled Leather Purse: Found by my dad

Spooky Hillbilly Chic

We’re almost all moved into our new house, meaning we almost have all of our stuff over at the house! But we are far from settled! We’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to blog about an outfit I wore a week and a half ago! Normally I like to blog within three days of taking photos, unless it’s like a road trip or something. But anyway!

Recently I’ve found myself developing a taste for what I call “hillbilly chic.” A branch of my love of western wear, and I think best described as if Elly May was more into wearing dresses. So when I spied this dress I knew it fit that bill, plus was the perfect color combo for a spooky visit to Knott’s Berry Farm.

Hopefully not too long will drag between posting again! Plus I have a product review I need to do too!! I hope you’re all having a spooktacular October!

Outfit
Dress & Purse: Buffalo Exchange
Belt: Pinup Girl Clothing
Shoes: Olvera Street
Bangles: Here and there
Leather Barrettes: Knott’s Berry Farm

Slue Foot Sue’s Golden Horseshoe

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending a Disneybound event put together by Dole Whip Dame. The theme? Disneyland itself! Attendees were encouraged to bound as attractions, restaurants, shops, and shows. Now the concept isn’t new to me, as I bounded as the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor last spring. This time I selected the Golden Horseshoe, but I wanted to pay homage to the “original owner” of the Horseshoe, my favorite Disney gal, Slue Foot Sue.

Originally The Golden Horseshoe was known as Slue Foot Sue’s Golden Horseshoe, and Betty Taylor portrayed Sue on the stage in the Golden Horseshoe Revue, and Wally Boag brought Pecos Bill to life along side her. Their characters were based upon the “Pecos Bill” portion of the 1948 Disney film Melody Time. My parasol was inspired by two items that featured Sue’s image, first is the sign that once hung outside the Horseshoe. The other is the rope text, which was on the backdrop on stage. I used images from Daveland’s amazing collection of vintage Disneyland photographs as reference. I really want to do another parasol that uses more images from the backdrop, as it was just so amazing.

I found this stellar two piece vintage H bar C set and knew immediately it would be perfect for a Slue Foot Sue bound, as well as just something I would wear normally. I added a pin featuring the can can girls that originally were featured on the Golden Horseshoe poster, and I couldn’t resist wearing the all too perfect Golden Horseshoe brooch that Match Accessories made.

Today, Slue Foot Sue and Pecos Bill are nearly forgotten. Sue’s name has been removed from the outside of the building, and she is no longer portrayed in the shows by a Cast Member. The only remaining imagery of Sue is upon entering the saloon, you can still see her, as well as Pecos on etched glass.

Sorry for all of the Disney posts lately! There has just been so much fun Disney related stuff happening lately!

Outfit
Hat: Redlands Galleria, Redlands, California
Vest & Skirt Set: Junk 4 Joy, Burbank, California
Blouse & Boots: Buffalo Exchange
Golden Horseshoe Brooch: Match Accessories
Can Can Girls Pin: I honestly don’t remember!
Cowgirl Charm Bracelet: West of Texas, Redlands, California
Bows & Parasol: Made by me
Scarf: Who knows?

Cacti Love

Last Friday Patrick and I went to Ladies’ and Gents’ Night Out on Magnolia in Burbank. The monthly event is like one big party, with food trucks, live music and lots of sales at the amazing shops along Magnolia. So I swung by some of my favorite shops, and then headed over to Pinup Girl Clothing‘s boutique. They always have a theme, along with treats, drinks, and games. This month’s theme was Tiki vs. Western Showdown, as PUG recently released a new western collection as well as a new tiki collection. I of course went western.

And with the games come prizes! I won the hula hoop contest, and received a gift certificate and one of their new colored whicker purses.

Honestly, I have been meaning to share these shoes for eons, because I freakin’ adore them! But I was waiting for the perfect outfit to debut them on the blog, and I only recently altered this skirt, and realized it was perfect for a cacti themed ensemble! Miss L Fire continues to make the most darling novelty shoes.

Outfit
Peasant Top: Pinup Girl Clothing
Skirt & Tooled Leather Purse: Buffalo Exchange
Shoes: Miss L Fire
Cacti Earrings & Brooch: Match Accessories