Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Ladies Room

Next to fearing possums with their gnarly teeth, huge rat sized body, and evil glaring red eyes, I also fear public bathrooms. This fear is mainly directed at porta potties with their hole of putrid darkness and their absence of a flusher, sink or soap, but it also is extended to rest stop bathrooms, gas station toilets, fair/amusement/beach washrooms, and really just about any restaurant bathroom that the staff has chosen to ignore all day long. I wouldn't say I'm a germaphobe or OCD, but I would definitely say I've been told way too many times by my Grandma about the 60 Minute special (they must do one every year) on what goes on in these bathrooms and how few people actually wash their hands upon leaving. I just can't enjoy having a snack after knowing I just walked out of a flooding bathroom that had an entire one square of Scott brand toilet paper left on the roll...and was completely out of the creamy pink floral scented soap...and there wasn't anymore fresh cloth for me to roll down to towel off my wet but still dirty hands. When I actually go into a restroom that is clean, it perks me up; when I find an elegantly decorated ladies/powder room, I am so taken that I just want to linger and enjoy the moment.

On Sunday, I went with my friend Ramsey to dinner at The Alcove in Los Feliz (a bohemian hipster neighborhood in Los Angeles). The day had been a scorcher, so we both opted for huge fresh salads which I ate every some of Ramsey's. Before leaving, I went to use the ladies room and found a sweetly decorated haven. There were photos from the 19th century, a Perfumery sign above the sink, Victorian era furniture pieces, and old dusty bottles with beautiful lavender spilling over. I was so enjoying my time that I had forgotten to lock the door, and was walked in on...not while peeing, but as I was taking photos. I think my intruder was more surprised to see me standing and documenting the room with my camera than if I had been squatting (part of my neurosis is that I never sit on a public toilet) over the pot. I was slightly embarrassed, and stumbled as I quickly shoved my camera in my purse and rushed out. I later wondered why I had felt so shy about another woman seeing that I appreciated the bathroom. After all, women have hung out in the bathroom for centuries.

The word "toilet" originally comes from the French word "toile" (identifying the cloth draped over a woman's shoulders while her hair was being done.) For the affluent class of the 17th century, this "toilet room" as it was later known, was stylish and posh because it was where women received their close friends and gentlemen callers as they were getting ready. Women have rarely used the lavatory for strictly practical purposes; it has been a communal area of chatting, powdering and freshening up with others of our gender for hundreds of years. Perhaps this is why we females can't help but enjoy going to the ladies room with a female partner...and why some of us linger in the beauty of a nicely decorated loo taking photos.

The Alcove
Los Feliz
Los Angeles, CA

Ramsey and I before gorging on greens.

Salmon salad. His.

Chopped salad. Mine.

An old staunch woman welcoming me into the ladies room.

1970's blue and white terry cloth tennis shirt; 1980's high-waisted denim floral shorts; 1960's gold and white cuff bracelet; 1970's burgundy leather puse; BDG brown braided leather ballet flats.

Close-up on BDG shoes from Urban Outfitters.

Close-up on my 1970's vintage burgundy long strapped purse.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vintage Tip Tuesday VIII

It may be the end of August, but it has only been consistently hot for the last week. Indian summer? Could be. This means it's time to make sure we are keeping our beautiful skin protected like the women and men in the first couple decades of the 20th century did. Pale creamy skin was a beauty asset and sign of wealth until the 1920's when Coco Chanel came back from the south of France with a tan. Suddenly a tan was in fashion for those that could afford a get away. It didn't get out of hand until the 1970's with the excessive use of tanning oil. As a child of the 1980's, I was caught up in this dangerous trend. During the summers I would have contests with my Mom on who could get a darker back. After a long day of swimming in our apartment pool, I often had to pick the dead skin off my Dad's back from his terrible sunburns. Luckily I moved to sunless Seattle when I was 14 and became a cosmetologist at 18 where I learned the importance of sun protection.

Don't let the sun take your future outer beauty away from you. Wear a stylish straw hat! If you go simple, you can always spice it up on certain days with a scarf. Or...there are amazing styles and a wide variety of colors. Vintage straw hats can be found on eBay,, and at local flea markets. There's no reason that sun protection and style can't be blended into one chic look.

Straw hats are not just for women.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Inspirational Icon Monday: Julie Christie

Saturday night I watched Darling, the 1965 British comedy that follows an amoral model who goes from man to man as she works her way up the social ladder. I couldn’t help but see Julie Christie as a rather unconventional choice for the lead role of Diana. She exudes this warmth and sincerity that goes against the character’s behavior. It made the men’s attraction to her more believable, and made her unreasonably sympathetic to an audience. By the end of Darling, I found myself hoping that I wouldn’t end up like a “Diana.” She was a woman that went after what the world claimed would bring happiness…a happiness she never found. Instead, she discovers that her life has passed her by , she has never done anything she can be proud of, and ultimately gives up her freedom for a loveless marriage. As easy as it is to say that this would never be my life‘s result, I recognize this fate in so many others and have begun to realize how suddenly this could all happen. It takes focus and extreme intentionality to pursue a life of meaning. Beating the odds is no small feat.

Christie’s warmhearted grin, regardless of her saavy fashion sense, bids attainability in both Darling and in her real life. As an “it” girl of London’s “swingin’ sixties” and star of such iconic films as Dr.Zhivago (1965), Shampoo(1975), and Heaven Can Wait (1978), she wore the mod shift dresses of the time but kept her own softer stamp on the look. She wasn’t drawn to brighter colors (although bold patterns did enter her wardrobe), but instead more often than not opted for white. With Labor Day just around the corner, many still hold onto their grandmother’s rule of “no white from Labor Day to Memorial Day.” Julie Christie proves that no matter the season, white is always chic darling!


My version of Julie Christie: White sundress from Anthropologie and faux fur stole as my wink to Dr.Zhivago.