Vilma the Unconquerable

Last December I had the pleasure of meeting sisters Miriam and Victoria, who I found out had quite the amazing treasure in their family. Their mother, Vilma, had been a camera girl at the legendary Clifton’s Cafeteria, as well as at other hot spots in old LA, including Chinatown and The Pike. Not only was she a camera girl, she was a colorful character, with a very active dating life, which she chronicled religiously in her diary. Growing up, Miriam and Victoria knew of their mother’s past, and even read portions of her diary, but it wasn’t until her recent passing and the re-opening of Clifton’s Cafeteria did they really begin to understand what a piece of history their mother’s diary and photographs were.

Vilma was no ordinary camera girl. She was gorgeous, never in want of a date, and came up with a very creative way to sell more photographs. She would go up to either single men, or groups of just men and ask “Would you like to take a picture with a pretty girl?” becoming the star of the customer’s photos, and she soon became the best camera girl at Clifton’s, sometimes making her quota just two hours into an eight hour shift! Her salacious and hilarious diary is now in the process of being shared with the masses by Miriam and Victoria, with their blog, Vilma the Unconquerable, a title she gave herself after quite the date. After I met these ladies I quickly spent an entire day reading the backlog of posts, and fell head over heels for this tough gal who took no nonsense from many men! Plus, her “uniform” for Clifton’s was downright adorable! It featured a peasant style top, paired with either a peasant skirt, or tropical print skirt and lei (depending on if the woman was working the Brookdale or Pacific Seas location), and then a leather corset style belt, which also acted as holster of sorts to carry around slips and extra film.

With permission, I created this collage from photos Miriam and Victoria have posted on their blog, their mother, Vilma, is in the middle. When I found out Miriam and Vilma were giving a presentation on their mother and the history of the Clifton’s Camera Girls, I decided to apply the notion of “Disneybounding” to my outfit and created a look inspired by the Clifton’s Camera Girls. As you might already know, I have quite the collection of peasant tops and flowing skirts, and not all that long ago I bought a corset style belt, although one with some extra trim on it.

Miriam and Victoria’s presentation consisted of photographs of their mother, and vintage images of Clifton’s, as well as the photo folders that customers received their photos in from the various locations their mother both worked at and dined at with her various dates. They shared their mother’s stories, including reading excerpts from her diary, which proved to be insightful and amusing! So I highly recommend reading the blog! Vilma eventually met the true love of her life while doing what she did best, asking a man if he picture taken with a pretty girl, who responded with “Only if that ‘pretty girl’ is you.” They later got married and had the two lovely women who gave this presentation, Miriam and Victoria.

It was a true joy to meet Miriam and Victoria, and look forward to where this unique journey of sharing their mother’s unique addition to Los Angeles history takes them.

You can read Vilma’s diary entries on the blog Vilma the Unconquerable, as well as follow them on Facebook and Instagram. You can also still visit Clifton’s Brookdale when you’re in LA! Visit their website here, and check our pictures from our first visit here, and when they opened their Pacific Seas inspired bar, located on an upper floor, here.

Outfit
Blouse & Skirt: ???
Belt: Elsewhere Vintage, Orange, California
Shoes: Re-Mix
Earrings: Aquanetta
Bangles: Buffalo Exchange
Purse: Red Light, Portland, Oregon

Valley Relics

After visiting Corriganville, Patrick and I headed to Valley Relics Museum. Valley Relics is a museum dedicated to preserving the history of the San Fernando Valley, with a wide array of wonderful and impressive artifacts from businesses from the San Fernando Valley, including a fantastic collection of vintage ashtrays, ephemera, neon signs, and more. And when Patrick told me they had some items belonging to western wear legend, Nudie Cohn, I was even more excited to visit!

The Palomino sign was quite impressive and one of my favorite pieces, as it was where many country-western legends performed, including Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Patsy Cline, and personal favorite, The Flying Burrito Brothers.

Valley Relics is located in Chatsworth, about 33 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. It is only open on Saturdays, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, and is free to visit, but donations are always happily accepted.

Goodbye Gill’s

Last Sunday was a sad day in the Los Angeles history books, Gill’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream at Los Angeles’ Original Farmers Market closed up shop after 80 years scooping ice cream. I cannot lay claim to many fond memories spent at Gill’s, as I had only been there once, but I can still mourn the loss of a true “home spun and family run” (as Charles Phoenix likes to say) business. For generations, the Gill family has dished out cone after cone, and legend has it they created the flavor rocky road. So, when we heard that this LA landmark was vacating, we had to go over to bid farewell.

I was very inspired by the look of Gill’s when I picking out what to wear, selecting a pink and white stripe shirtwaist that reflected the pink and white stripes of the stand itself, and taking from the green awning, I opted for a green bolero. As I selected my outfit, I lamented about a lack of an ice cream or Coca-Cola brooch, when true inspiration struck me! As I was getting dressed, I looked at my dresser, atop which sits a vintage Knott’s Berry Farm ashtray, full of my Knott’s jewelry, and I remembered discussions at Knott’s of making brooches out of some of their fun magnets. I then remembered we had a Coca-Cola magnet reminiscent of the signage that Gill’s had! So I used a plain magnet on the inside of my dress to secure the Coca-Cola one. I also chose to wear my vintage, Los Angeles themed charm bracelet, which features a Farmers Market charm on it!

It was delightful to see the outpouring of love that people had for Gill’s, as the line curved its way through the aisles of Farmers Market, and people shared their stories of their visits to Gill’s over the decades. I even had the delight of talking to the great-grand daughter of the founder, which was a really wonderful moment, as she shared her memories with me.

Farmers Market has announced another family-owned ice cream shop will take up residence in the same stall in the near future.

Outfit
Bolero: Gift from Patrick, but I know he got it at Hollywood Babylon, Portland, Oregon
Dress: Red Light, Portland, Oregon
Belt: Nordstorm
Shoes: Re-Mix
Purse: Lux de Ville
Scarf: I don’t remember
LA Charm Bracelet: Found by my dad I think…

Clifton’s Pacific Seas Bar

After much anticipation, Clifton’s (which I have blogged about on several previous occasions, including its grand re-opening, Thanksgiving, and the first Fur & Feathers in LA) finally opened the doors to the newest addition to its cabinet of curiosities, Pacific Seas, a tiki bar inspired by the first ever Clifton’s, under the same name.

The Pacific Seas was the first of Clifford Clinton’s chain of cafeterias, and featured a gorgeous pacific island theme with lots of bamboo, gorgeous faux rock features, both inside and out, and even neon palm trees. It was gaudy, outrageous, and utterly amazing. Honestly, what I wouldn’t give to go back in time and experiences it. Seriously, take a look…

Pacific Seas opened in 1939 and closed its doors in 1960s, when it was demolished and became a parking lot, which it has remained since. But now Clifton’s guests can either re-live, or experience for the first time, a small taste of what the Pacific Seas was like with its all new tiki bar. On Friday Patrick and I had the pleasure of going the night before its grand opening thanks to a friend. My eyes couldn’t stop darting around at all of the amazing details, and these photos simply don’t do it justice. One of my favorite details was the original plaque to the outside of the Pacific Seas location that discussed the exterior and gave thanks to the artists behind the creation. Sadly, I failed to get any real outfit photos with the exception of a quick snap at the end of the night.

I can imagine we shall be visiting Pacific Seas as often as possible, as it is nothing short of spectacular, and I highly encourage both locals and visitors to LA alike to visit!

Outfit
Dress: LA Vintage Expo
Shoes: Re-Mix
Coconut Bangle: ???

Bob Baker Marionette Theater

Just a few hours after arriving home from San Diego Comic Con, Patrick and I were off to LA to attend Charles Phoenix‘s show at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, a rare, if not slightly bizarre, gem in Los Angeles. I had heard about this theatre from Charles on a few occasions, but the show he hosted was my first visit to it, and what a treat it was! But more on it in a bit! First let’s take a peek at what I wore…

I wore this cowgirl brooch because her dangly style reminded me a bit of a marionette. She has a boyfriend as well, however, his color scheme didn’t match my outfit as well as she did. So he was left in the jewelry box for the evening.

First off, it should be mentioned that the Bob Baker Marionette Theater runs regularly, Charles Phoenix’s event was a special one (UPDATE: Charles is hosting another event in September at the theater! Learn more here), in which he selected his favorite numbers to showcase, and it was amazing. Seriously, being a puppeteer is an art from, I was blown away by how these performers were able to give life to the marionettes by pulling just a few strings. Plus the marionettes themselves were stunning works of art.

The theater was founded 1963 by Bob Baker, who both made puppets as well as performed with them. Over the decades the Theater was the home of thousands of birthday parties for the children in the Los Angeles area, and a few adults I came to learn. One attendee mentioned he had both his sixth and 40th birthday at the theater. In 2009 the Bob Baker Marionette Theater was designated at Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Landmark. And while Bob Baker passed away in 2014 at the age of 90, his theater and legacy continue to live on. If you’re in the LA area, I highly suggest a visit! They have a Halloween show coming up this fall, which I am looking forward to attending.

Outfit
Patio Dress: Junk 4 Joy, Burbank, California
Pressed Leather Shoes: Olvera Street, Los Angeles, California
Purse & Cowgirl Brooch: Found by my dad
Bangles: Various

Sabado en la Plazita

Over the weekend a few friends and I got together for a Saturday afternoon at Olvera Street, dining on delicious Mexican food, peeking into the museums, and shopping the unique stalls and shops along the oldest stretch of Los Angeles.

We dined at Casa La Golondrina Mexican Cafe, which opened in 1928, and is located within Los Angeles’ first brick building. Afterward we went into Avila Adobe, which is the oldest structure remaining the LA, built in 1818, and is now a museum reflecting the the lifestyle of the early days of California. I also bought myself another pair of the shoes I’m wearing in these photos, except in green. Seriously, these faux tooled (also known as pressed) leather wedges have quickly become a favorite and go-to shoe for me. They are comfy once broken in, and work with so much of my closet.

Also, can I just gush about my dad’s awesome shopping skills for a moment? He spied this beauty of a skirt at an antique mall and sent me a picture of it and followed by calling me to make sure I got the picture text, and asked me if I wanted it. I was in line to me Kylo Ren at Disneyland at the time, and thankful for his call, because this skirt is beyond amazing. Not only is it a spectacular print, it’s in amazing condition and fits perfectly, oh and has pockets! Thanks, Dad!

Outfit
Peasant Top: Pin-Up Girl Clothing
Painted Mexican Skirt: Found by my dad!
Tooled Leather Purse, Earrings, & Bracelet: I don’t remember!
Necklace: Made by a friend
Pressed Leather Shoes: Olvera Street, Los Angeles, California

The La Brea Tar Pits

Over the weekend Patrick and I went to the La Brea Tar Pits. Finally! We had been wanting to go since we moved, but I wanted to wait until I found myself a piece of jewelry featuring my favorite prehistoric creature, the saber-toothed cat (formally known as the Smilodon), which I happily found on Etsy from Hungry Designs. I was beyond excited to finally see the loads of fossils that have been discovered right in the heart of Los Angeles since 1913, and are still being found to this day.

The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits offers a lot of insight into the area we now know as Los Angeles during the prehistoric time period, with thousands of fossils on display, active dig sites and labs. When peeking through the window into a lab we observed paleontologists working on finding micro-fossils using microscopes. One used her phone to take a picture through her microscope to show what she had found, which I thought was a really nifty way of showing what she was seeing. Another unique offering at the Page Museum is the Encounter Theatre where guests learn more about Rancho La Brea, the current digs going on, and even encounter a real life saber-toothed cat! Or, at least a very incredible, life sized puppet of one.

I’ve loved saber-toothed cats since I can remember. I recall once at day care (like pre-kindergarten) we used stencils to decorate necklaces we were making, and after using a cat stencil I added the large teeth to make a saber-toothed cat. And as a full grown adult I made a saber tooth cat at Build-a-Bear when it was offered a little ways back. Also, fun fact the saber-toothed cat is the official state fossil of California!

Outfit
Sweater: I honestly don’t remember…
Skirt & Penny Loafers: Buffalo Exchange
Purse: Present from my sister
Sabor Tooth Cat Brooch: Hungry Designs
Scarf: Thrifted…probably…