The Girls
Friday — October 10th, 2014

The Girls

Somewhat embarrassed to admit this sincerely happened when I was in line with Tina for Dita.  I don’t even think she knows this occurred, but oh man, when I think of it, it still makes me laugh.

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Hello Curls

The current mainstream trend of 1990s fashion/pop culture/nostalgia has brought with it….. curls.  Glorious natural CURLS!  Is it possible that Andie Macdowell and Minnie Driver curls are as popular as babydoll dresses, combat boots, crop tops, plaid and high waisted denim are right now?

90s:
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Today:
Curly hair
(via Pinterest, source)

I love her curly hair and that Tsumori Chisato dress!
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A billboard I pass by on my way to work each day is of this saucy curly-haired lass:


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And a newcomer to the pop scene with billboard charting hits (not since 90s Alanis has an “alternative” female artist hit the charts) sports her hair wild and curly:

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Another current pop singer Regina Spektor also rocks the curls:

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I’m STOKED (with the full 90s sense of the word) that curls are being seen, being popularized by these ads/stars/streetstyle blogs.  And I think subconsciously it may have influenced me to just wear my hair naturally curly lately, well that and not having the desire to put the time and effort into trying to do Dita Von Teese 40s waves and victory rolls.  Although in my vintage hair research I did find one example of a 40s actress who worked with natural curls, Ann Miller:

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Ann Miller
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Now to figure out how to do the above with my hair.  I have a salon visit tomorrow, my first in over a year.  Here’s to hoping that my new stylist can offer me some tips.

I’ve been trolling pinterest for hair cut ideas.  If you want to follow along.  Do you have any suggestions of vintage or current curly hair icons?

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Halloween 2013: Undead Suffragist

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Earlier this year I watched Ken Burns’ documentary Prohibition and was inspired to be a suffragist for Halloween.  I had no idea that the prohibition helped fuel the women’s suffrage movement in the US.  Thanks to some Downton Abbey obsessing I independently had bought an Edwardian blouse on Ebay so I already had part of the costume down.  Took a look in my hat and purse collection, modified my Past Queen sash, stopped by a trusty vintage shop for a black velvet skirt, and voila — Suffragist costume accomplished.

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I could’ve exerted even more effort and made a sign or pennant, but I did download a couple authentic women’s suffrage leaflets and printed out a few to hand out to people.

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Now, just adding zombie to a costume is pretty hacky, and I’m aware of that, but I can’t help wanting to be a bit spooky for Halloween.  And in a way I like that this costume is a direct result of some of the entertainment I’ve loved and consumed over this year; my love for Lady Sybil Crawley on Downton Abbey, finally being afraid of zombies because of The Walking Dead series, and learning history through Ken Burns’ documentaries.

Have to thank Google Images for inspiration photos, and authentic leaflets.  And makeup courtesy of Katie’s Makeup.

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Via Instagram:

Undead suffragist duck face selfie!
The Undead Suffragist duck face bathroom selfie!

Not ready to wash my face. #zombie #halloween #makeup

Because of the placement of the holiday this year, I managed to dress up a few times and get some mileage out of the same costume.  I wore it to the Alameda Vintage Fashion Fair and won 2nd place in their costume contest!

@tina_vines and I at @alamedafaires tonight. I dressed up as a suffragist who came back from the dead to hand people pamphlets and demonstrate. Won second place! Drinking the wine I won right now!

I plan on trick-or-treating with my niece and nephew tonight in the same costume, minus the makeup.  Just a suffragist for All Hollow’s Eve!  What are you dressing up as and what are you doing?
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Fall in Love Friday – summer never ends

I really don’t want summer to end.  Proving this is everything I’ve been eyeing on the internet.  Here’s a little round-up:

Les Yeux sans Visage: Sretsis Fall 2013

Les Yeux Sans Visage posted some of the Sretsis Fall 2013 collection, and holy crap I’m in love with everything about this look.  I guess I’m not the only one not wanting to let go of Spring/Summer looks in the Fall.  Totally unnecessary side-note: I NEED THIS JACKET!

Stuff I loved and didn’t win on ebay:

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1940s green striped sundress with embroidered flowers.  (source)

vtg 50s/60s trerry cloth swimsuit cover up - ladie's face with yarn eyelashes!

1950s/60s terry cloth swimsuit coverup with ladie’s face and yarn for eyelashes! (source)

And what I love on Etsy but can’t afford:

Yes We Have No Bananas.  Vintage Dangle Pin 1940s. Carved Celluloid &  Plastic.

1940s Bunch of bananas brooch (for sale here)

1930s Deco Jumpsuit 30s NOS NWT Deadstock

1930s Beach Pyjamas (for sale here)

SUMMER SALE - Rosalie - 1920's Pink Sun Hat Cloche with Horsehair Visor

1920s hat with horsehair visor (for sale here)

I was searching for the perfect vintage summer purse and I found one right at the end of summer:

Of course I find the perfect #summer #vintage purse at the end of summer. #loveit #fruit #raffia I'll use it until it's absolutely gray and rainy.

Found this baby at the Midway Antique Mall.  I’ll be using it until it’s absolutely gray and gloomy out, and hopefully that’s not for a long, long time!

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5 ways to decorate a bathroom with vintage

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Here’s a little peek into my bathroom.  From a previous post where I showed you some of my little apartment you probably remember how much joy I get from decorating my place with all the little vintage bits and baubles that make me happy.  I guess that’s what living a vintage lifestyle is all about.  Want to inject some vintage happiness into your life?  Here are some tips.

1) Whatever you need in a bathroom – find it in vintage form! Need something to hold your cotton balls?  Use a vintage tea tin.  That old cute perfume bottle?  Have it hold your eyemakeup remover.  You’ve probably seen other vintage ladies use a lady head vase for makeup brushes, but how about using one as a toothbrush holder!  A vintage milk glass Jergen’s lotion dispenser is now my dish soap dispenser.  A vintage tiki mug (not pictured) now holds some of my everyday makeup.  Switching out all your bathroom containers is a great way to inject vintage into your bathroom in a functional way.

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2) Vintage-ify your window dressings! You can search for the perfect barkcloth curtains, or the cutest vintage novelty print fabric with mermaids and make your own drapes, but I needed a curtain for my bathroom window pronto.  If you’re like me you have a bunch of vintage half aprons that you collected or inherited from your grandmother.  And half-aprons…. um, who actually wears those today?  Come on!  I’ve worn a couple maybe a couple times.  But they’re so cute!  So I had an aha moment when I was putting away the aprons — pin them together, I can see them everyday AND they’ll be like curtains!  Done and done.  Now I get to see my grandma’s cute handmade aprons everyday, and I love the way they look.  They really add to the girly wonderland that is my apartment.

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3) Use those vintage towels! I know there are some people who are afraid to use vintage because you don’t want to wreck or stain them.  I’m not one of those people.  I like using items the way they were intended to be used and a great example of that are cute embroidered and appliqued hand towels.  Mix them in with your new towels for you and your guests to use and it’ll really standout.  Although not pictured in this manner, a favorite way to display the vintage towels are hanging over my bathtowels, folded over the towel rack.

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4) Function-alize your vintage decor! I made the brooch display last year.  It’s such an easy DIY and so useful.  My brooch-wearing went up instantly this year because I saw them everyday when I was thinking about what to wear.   It’s a piece of art that you can wear.   So think of devoting some wall space in the same way with your necklaces, scarves, or other accessories.

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5) Display your vintage ephemera! If you’re like me you have a hard time throwing out vintage packaging and you collect all kinds of quirky vintage ephemera.  Don’t stuff them in a drawer – put them out!   This little ledge above my sink was just an empty space before, but now it’s a little showcase of vintage cuteness – a blow-up hanger package, a glove soap booklet, and a hair net package, all sit on that little ledge.

Hope you enjoyed this post.  What do you have in your bathroom that you love?

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Just because I wear vintage…

I was hanging out with Tina the other day, and it never fails that we get some kind of comment from people.  I get it on my own as well, but when I’m with another girl who also dresses vintage I think it just blows people’s minds.  I was inspired to make some graphics combating some of the comments I tend to receive.

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I mean, I’ve even had people laugh in my face!  I have to say though that I’m always a bit surprised when I do get weird responses or comments.   I’m lucky enough to live in an area where pretty much anything goes.  What would you add to this list?

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camping, wedding, vineyard, fireworks

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Our friends got married a couple weekends ago and the wedding was FUN.  Camping was involved – in a beautiful spot on this vineyard with a little lake.  There was fireworks, dancing, bonfires, and ghost stories.  It was actually the first time Ben and I have been camping since we’ve been together, and it’s got me excited for more weekend camping trips with friends.

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1990s rayon dress: thrifted
sandals: Payless
1940s pink horsehair hat with purple velvet ribbon: TheMadHatLady etsy shop
abalone pendant necklace: antique store in Santa Cruz
bakelite bangles: thrifted, ebay
abalone ring: ebay

Knowing I would be camping I brought my easy 1990s dress.  It’s a good thing I did, too, because when I was chasing a runaway roll of paper towels to save it from falling into the lake, I ended up falling in myself!   Could you imagine if I slid in the mud, into the water in some 1940s perfection?   It’s for this reason that I keep my eyes peeled for these 90s frocks at thrift stores.  They’ve become throw-on staples for work, play, travel.  Even their odd mid-calf lengths have grown on me.

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JESUS!

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I adored the DIY/thrift store vibe of the wedding decor; handmade gingham bunting, daisies and sunflowers, and the pick-a-mug-to-drink-from-and-keep table.  I managed to take home a couple cute vintage mugs.  The tables were decorated with quirky thrift store finds, coordinated by color.  I loved how personal the touches were, such a reflection of the quirky and fun couple.

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The view from our tent in the morning.  I loved seeing the steam rise from the lake.  Gorgeous.

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Mercer Caverns and Murphys Hotel

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On our last trip to the cabin we did some pretty touristy things by going to some historically touristy places.  Mercer Caverns was open for public tours in 1885.

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Tour guides would have to hold this in their mouths with the candles lit to light their way, rappelling down the cave with tourists.

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And back before they had respect for the living cave the owner would let the visitors sign their names on the walls.  Well, they had some respect then because the names were signed with gloves on so the limestone will continue to grow.

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The aragonite crystals in the cave won a special prize in the 1900 Paris World’s Fair.

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It was my first time ever in a cave.  It was truly impressive.

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My new favorite roadtrip/camping/traveling casual outfit is this 90s denim and rayon romper (thrifted) paired with this cozy 70s space dyed hooded cardigan (from Moon Zoom Vintage in San Jose).  My vintage 40s cotton tourist scarf (from the Sacramento Antique Fair) also makes its way into a lot of my traveling ensembles, acting as an eyeglass cleaner, sweat rag, hair wrap, neck warmer/sun protector, and just a plain old cute accessory.

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On the way back to the cabin we grabbed a couple beers at the historic Murphys Hotel.  I just visited their website to add the hyperlink and saw that this place is haunted!  Now I have to go back so I can try to hear some ghost stories.  I knew the place was old (being in continuous operation since 1856), and that people like Mark Twain had stayed there, I even heard the walls still had some bullet holes, but no one told me about the ghosts!

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The next day Ben and I did what a lot of some of the visitors who stayed at Murphys Hotel did; we visited Big Trees State Park!

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The #vintage scarf that's holding my hair back. #hollywood on one corner, #California cities all over it.

Hugging trees at Big Trees, #California #redwood #giant

This might be the biggest tree I’ve ever tried to hug.  It was the first time Ben and I went on the North Grove trail.  It’s self-guided with a little pamphlet you can get.  The trees there are really the biggest I’ve seen.  It’s an incredible site.  Sadly the park has a few examples of utter destruction with some of the largest trees there being cut down to make a dance floor, or to be shipped overseas to be placed in a fair, but it’s that history that’s interesting.  I wonder what people in 150 years will be pissed about with what we’ve done to our planet.  Yikes, probably way worse than making one dance floor out of a giant sequoia.

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Wearing my 1940s rayon playsuit shorts (wore the full set last year to the lake) probably wasn’t the most practical, but who cares!

Do you live in the Bay Area?  Know people who do?  Please come out and tell anyone who might be interested about my show Comedy Stylings!  It’s a really fun show that combines comedy, fashion and vintage!  It’s this Friday at 8PM in the Mission.  There’ll be some really great comics on the show, plus a vintage pop-up shop with items from my personal collection!

Comedy Stylings on Aug 16, 2013

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fish in the woods – an Esther Williams swimsuit review

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2 piece swimsuit: Esther Williams
sandals: Payless, 2-3 years ago
1960s white lace coverup, 1950s sunhat: ebay
white chiffon scarf: estate sale
1950s sunglasses: Lulu Forever vintage shop in Sacramento, since closed

I spent a weekend with my man at a family cabin in the woods and got to spend some time at the lake.  Swimming has become my new favorite form of exercise.  Since getting older I’ve noticed that my knees just can’t handle the running I used to love, and getting in the water just feels so darn good.  Knowing that I was going to be doing some summer travels I wanted a vintage reproduction suit that was swim-able, something I could wear to the gym and lounge in at the beach.  Esther Williams suits were on my radar a year or two ago.  I wanted a two piece, but held back from getting the EW suit because the bottoms just weren’t as high as I would’ve liked, and the top just wasn’t as flattering.  But the lack of many options on the market really just took its toll.  I went on Modcloth and read reviews and looked at customer photos, and it really did look good on people, so I decided to take the chance.  I ordered the suit directly from Esther-Williams.com and saved a few bucks.

The verdict: I still think the suit isn’t as flattering as it could be.  Like I said, I’d prefer the waist be even higher, ideally at the smallest/natural waistline, and I feel the suit top could be just a bit more sweatheart shaped for a cuter look.  But, hey, it does its job.  It’s still pretty darn cute and I can swim laps in it, take it to the lake, etc.  The only other drawback is the fact that the over skirt on the bottom covers a mesh nude netting that’s kind of at your pubic region (sorry, but I don’t know how else to describe it).  That’s an area you’d like to have covered, obviously, and I’ve found myself a bit self-conscious doing handstands in pools and jumping in because I don’t want that over skirt to fly up.  And those bottoms are a problem in the hot tub.  The bubbles will just make the overskirt bubble up so I end up having to hold my suit down when I’m sitting in the hot tub.  So all in all, I’m still not satisfied and I’m now planning on getting my hands on the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern as it looks pretty amazing on pretty much everyone I’ve seen who has made it.

Are there any vintage reproduction suits on the market that you are eyeing?

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Book Review: The Girls of Atomic City

I first heard of the book The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II when the author Denise Kiernan was on The Daily Show.  She spoke of a secret city that was created during WWII to enrich uranium for the first atomic bomb to be used in combat.  I usually skip the interviews on The Daily Show, but this one I couldn’t.  I never heard of this, never learned of this in school, and as an old Women Studies major I made a mental note that I had to read this book.  Fast forward to a couple months later when I get an email from Simon and Schuster about reviewing a novel, I said sure, but could you also send me The Girls of Atomic City?

2010.012.0143 Shirley Davis and an unidentified woman in the city directory office. (09/21/1944) PRO 55-2

The book starts with a bit of foreshadowing, of what we already know happened to end the war in 1945 and then backpedals to 1943.  It’s amazing to think within just 2 years an entire city was created, bustling with 75,000 men, women and children and using more electricity than New York City AND it was never heard of!  It was a complete secret.  Everyone who worked there went there knowing they were helping to end the war but they didn’t know how that would be.  They did their job and were told to tell no one anything about what they did there.  Not your co-workers, not even your husband or wife.  A billboard reminded residents, “What you see here, What you do here, What you hear here, Let it Stay Here.”  Young men who worked at Oak Ridge felt judged outside of the town, not being able to tell people that they were part of the war effort.

2010.012.0101 Women standing in line outside Miller’s Department Store for nylon stockings. (1/4/1946) 1340-1

Women standing in line outside Miller’s Department Store for nylon stockings. (1/4/1946)

Young women from far-off cities got on trains not knowing where they would be going.  Denise Kiernan tells the story of Oak Ridge by weaving through the personal histories and memories of several women from a single white secretary from New York to a black janitor who came to work with her husband, shedding light on the secret city and exposing the inequalities of race and gender as the world’s worst weapon at its time was being created.

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Telephone switch board operators lined up behind operators on-duty to make a shift change. (1946)

Two unidentified people look at boards title “Rides Wanted" and “Passengers Wanted." (1944) 2010.012.0166 MED 224

It was so bold and courageous of these young women to work for their country not knowing where they would be or what they would be doing.  How did they feel once the war ended?  Once they knew what their work had yielded?  Kiernan does a great job describing the mindset, the culture and time.  It’s a history book, obviously researched, yet it reads like a novel.

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Robert Oppenheimer smoking a cigarette by the mantle in the Guest House. (1945) 2010.012.0158 1451

Robert Oppenheimer smoking a cigarette by the mantle in the Guest House. (1945)

If anything 371 pages wasn’t enough to satisfy me.  Interwoven with the stories of the women who worked at Oak Ridge, Kiernan wrote chapters on the science side of this history.  She tracked the development of the atom bomb with special focus on the female scientists involved like Ida Noddack and Lise Meitner.  These chapters were a bit hard for me to grasp, with sometimes a lot of science language, but it really captured my interest, so much so that I really want to learn more about the history of the atom bomb, how it was made, and more about the scientists involved.

Counting money/votes at the Ford, Bacon, & Davis Valentine Dance. (02/22/1945) L-R:Francis McSherry, Rose Mary Booth, Betty Szabo, Eunice Belding, May Ane Marley, Virginia James 2010.012.0153 PRO 394-1

Counting money/votes at the Ford, Bacon, & Davis Valentine Dance. (02/22/1945)

2010.012.0150 Unidentified workers in line punching time cards at clock alley, Roane-Anderson. (06/23/1945) PRO 763-2

Unidentified workers in line punching time cards at clock alley, Roane-Anderson. (06/23/1945)

2010.012.0110 Men working on a vehicle in an auto repair shop. (1/13/1945) PRO 257

Men working on a vehicle in an auto repair shop. (1/13/1945)

We also get to see some of Truman’s thoughts about the bomb with excerpts from his diary, like this, written after viewing a bomb test, “I hope for some sort of peace–but I fear that machines are ahead of morals by some centuries and when morals catch up perhaps there’ll be no reason for any of it.  I hope not.  But we are only termites on a planet and maybe when we forge too deeply into the planet there will be a reckoning–who knows?”

2010.012.0102 Waiting outside Jefferson Recreation Hall for cigarettes. (4/26/1945) PRO-469

Waiting outside Jefferson Recreation Hall for cigarettes. (4/26/1945)

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Waiting outside the telephone office. (1944)

I highly recommend this book.  I was surprised to learn that this city existed.  It’s important for us to know this history, especially as Americans.  It’s amazing to think what our government was capable of then and how they were able to succeed in this effort.  It’s something to really think about juxtaposed to today’s world of drones, NSA data collecting, and huge government buildings that are being built as we speak to house god knows what.  If you love history, women’s history, WWII history, or just a well-written book about true events, you should read this.  As much as I like my kindle, I have to recommend that you guys buy a hard-copy of this book.  There’s a glossary and an index that I often found myself flipping to, as well as a glossy insert of photos.

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Women in cafeteria line (1944).

All photos by Ed Westcott, the official photographer for the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, and from this great Tumblr.

I was sent this book to review for my blog.  All opinions are my own.  I am an Amazon associate so any purchases you make through my links to Amazon I get a little kick-back.

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tiki enchanted

Enchanted Tiki Room Poster

Disneyland’s The Enchanted Tiki Room turns 50 this year!  I was lucky enough to go to a fun event at The Walt Disney Family Museum that was co-presented by Tiki Oasis.  Obviously tiki themed, there were tons of ladies and gents in their vintage Hawaiian best!  And best of all, the museum was open to explore into the evening hours.  And there were cocktails from Smuggler’s Cove and even a Dole Whip booth!


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via instagram:
Post #tiki night at the #waltdisneymuseum so much fun! Didn't want it to end! Blog post to come... An orchid garnished every cocktail : )

1960s Hawaiian maxi dress, purse: thrifted
hair flower: stolen off a bush (shhh!)
dark blue bangle: estate sale
light blue carved bangle: bohemian bisoux
mother of pearl bangle, abalone ring: ebay
wooden flower ring: my grandmother’s
50s Wilma Flinestone-esque necklace: Moon Zoom Vintage, San Jose
50s raffia slides: for sale in my etsy shop

It was fun to see so many people dressed up.  There were a bunch of women in similar style 60s maxis like mine, and I wish I could’ve orchestrated a stylish group photo!  I saw 40s rayon Hawaiian maxis, a 50s black velvet hand painted tiki skirt, and a woman wearing the most amazing burlap vest and skirt combo that had images of Snow White on it from the 50s!  I wanted to take photos of these lovely ladies but didn’t want to come off as a creep.  I definitely regret not asking to take a picture.  Must get over shyness to approach awesome vintage ladies!

It goes without saying that I had a great time and I didn’t want the evening to end.  I really enjoyed seeing the museum, it was my first time there.  I have to go back though since I didn’t even get to see it all!  And I have to say that walking through the end of the exhibit gave me chills.  It’s that good.

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An early drawing by Walt Disney.

I was gawking over some of the vintage wallpaper used on some of the exhibits:
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Lily, Walt’s wife, on the left.

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The museum is really impressive. It has some of the most beautifully designed and high tech displays I have ever seen in a museum:
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Using an old phone as a way to hear audio was such a clever idea, a great way to immerse the time period within the functionality of the display itself.

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Roy and Walt in front of their first studio.

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The museum holds a great collection of original art and old Disney merchandise and memorabilia.
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The earliest known drawing of Mickey Mouse.

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1934 boxed jewelry set. Pictured in this ad:
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1934 Mickey Mouse phonograph!

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There’s also currently a really great Maurice Sendak exhibit that I got to see, as well. Did you know that Maurice Sendak was inspired to do illustration from seeing Fantasia as a child?  It’s true.
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Maurice Sendak art for the Spike Jonze 2009 film.

I was overjoyed to find the Mary Blair section of the museum.  Including a floor design based off of Mary Blair’s It’s a Small World art that will now forever be in my dream house floor files.

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Who doesn’t want this in their house? COME ON!!!!

So I hadn’t heard of this event until it was already sold out, so I was SO lucky that my talented friend Uni and Her Ukelele was performing for the event and I got to get in on her guest list.

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Uni above and the gang below.
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In conclusion, get your butt over to the Walt Disney Museum. I know that visiting the museum really made me want to go to Disneyland again. What’s your favorite ride at Disneyland? What Disney cartoon is your favorite?

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