1930s Photoshoot

These past few months have been quite hectic ones -- I've been quite consumed with the fashion classes that I started this past Fall semester. I am glad I finally took them- something that I've always wanted to do and have been quite busy focusing on..! However, I am glad the holidays are here and I can finally be back blogging. I wanted to share this photoshoot that I did for my class. I have a very soft spot for deco style photographs -- and I decided to do one for this project. So, Marcel took these shots - one in black and white, and another in color.

Yes, it's Marlene Dietrich - inspired (whom I absolutely adore!). Here's my favorite picture of Marlene Dietrich. I just love love love how the lighting frames and highlights her facial features...

Tried to look as languid and lanky as possible. I was also thinking of Lauren Bacall at that moment.....and her pants...


And here's the other photo is in full color. As you can see, I chose black and white outfits to maximize the color contrasts. For the photoshoot, I was wearing mostly vintage-inspired modern outfits, except the gloves which are vintage. It was a fun project and I hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Blouse, Pants: H&M | Beret: Nordstrom | Gloves: vintage


Sears Kit Homes

A few months ago, I came across a documentary about Sears Kit Modern Homes on TV. I was fascinated to learn that, between 1908 - 1940, Sears sold 70,000 - 75,000  ready-to-assemble modern houses via mail order! Theese are lovely homes! I did some more research and found beautiful images from AntiqueHomeStyle.com. Not only did I fall in love with the exterior, but also I was fascinated with the interior. Sears offered everything you needed in an entire house!

Here are some of my favorites:

My #1 favorite -- I have to say is "The Alhambra" -- a Mission Revival architecture style. This style, along with Spanish mediterranean, is an all-time favorite of mine. I love the arched facade, the clean white color, and look at the porch - how very inviting. It makes me feel like I am in a vacation resort. This house screams my name!!

And here are the Colonial Revival houses.... This reminds me of the kinds of houses that fascinate me in my childhood. I grew up in a country which is a former Dutch colony with historic Dutch Colonial buildings in my city. Here's "The Amsterdam".

Now, you can see the interior details here.... how very efficient!

And then The Americus -- Love the red rooftop !

And what about "The Preston"... So pristine! And look at the amazing furniture + interior in green + salmon + dark brown, the colors of the era. This would make a great space for entertaining and hosting guests!

And then, "The Verona" --  It's shown in black and white in all its glory ... and that fireplace -- so cozy

Here are a couple other things I learned about Sears homes:

1) Sears offered 370 designs and sent customers a 75-page instruction book.  People actually received all the parts necessary to construct a home -  an average Sears Modern Home kit had 25 tons of materials with over 30,000 parts (such as nails, windows, doors, wood, lumber, paint) including electric and gaslight fixtures.

2) These homes can also accommodate the modern conveniences of central heating, electricity and indoor plumbing (they did emphasize this information back in 1920s)

3) During its peak sales in 1929 before the Great Depression, the price range of the houses was $1,000 and $4,400 (approximately $12,590 and $55,390 in today's dollars).

4) And Sears also offered mortgage loans, which were typically for 5–15 years at 6%–7% interest. How do you like that compared to today's mortgage?

A historic house Sears kit home is definitely in my to-hunt list.  After all, this is what Sears told me:


Following the documentary, I got myself this book on Amazon which I highly recommend. A collection of vintage catalogs on Sears Kit Homes.

Also, if (like me) you have become a Sears Home Enthusiast, visit AntiqueHomeStyle.com where I got the Sears Homes images from.  Here are two other wonderful resources on Sears Homes: searshomes.org and SearsArchives.com/Homes.


Going Swing Dancin' in Red and Blue

Marcel and I went swing dancin benefit organized by the Treasure Island Museum. It was quite timely, just a couple of days after the fourth. And it was held at the Winery - a former WWII hangar. So I donned my white, blue and red outfit. Marcel in his blue shirt and red bow tie. We danced the night away - USO style. Music was great, people were lovely -- had a wonderful time!

Gotta love the red roses in my back porch!

1950s Navy Dress (Empire Vintage Clothing), Hat (eBay), Belt/Gloves/Shoes/Scarves/Bangles (my thrift scores!)


Catalina Island!

This past week, Marcel and I went on a short trip to Catalina Island - a beautiful island located about 22 miles south of LA. We stayed at Avalon - a tiny city which was incorporated in Catalina Island.   The weather was warm and sunny. The beach had beautiful white sands. The people were friendly. Good food, good time. Wish we could've stayed longer!
Mr Wrigley (the chewing gum mogul!) traveled to the island in 1919, fell in love and bought the entire island in 1919. He built the beautiful Art Deco-inspired Avalon Casino and dedicated the island to the federal government as a military zone and training during the World War II. In the 1930s, Catalina Island was a favorite vacation spot for Hollywood movie stars and was also a filming location for dozens of movies! Today, a majority part of the island is a natural conservancy.
We'd love to return to the island soon! (perhaps for a swing dance fete at the Casino!)!

Welcome to Catalina Island!!

Marcel and I on the warmest day of our visit.... nice day on the beach!

What a breathtaking view ....

A view of the Pacific Ocean.... So Surreal...

We love the 1950s coach bus that took us inland and up to the island's airstrip!

Me inside the bus

Catalina Airport - Back in the day, Mr Wrigley used this as a hangar for his private plane

Just arrived - fashionably in Catalina style!

Ahem... Hello there Captains... 


Traveling in style...


The tall columns and ceilings a the Avalon Casino - which houses a theater on the lower level and a ballroom on the upper level (the term Casino was meant for an entertainment venue for large gatherings - there was no gambling. This predates Las Vegas!)


One of the beautiful murals in the casino - designed by John Beckman, who also designed the Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and also created a set design for Bogart's Casablanca.

Getting all dressed up for the casino --- me with my 1960s beaded cardigan and floral dress

Fancy some cocktails?? What a swanky art deco bar! Okay, back then, it was the prohibition era, they only had soda fountains!

Look at this beautiful lighting ornaments in the ballroom. This also serves well as an air ventilation for the cavernous ballroom - no need for air conditioners!

 Also, the casino is so well-insulated, When you're watching a movie in the bottom-level theater with 1,153 other audiences, you won't hear any noise from the top-level 6,000+ dancers in the ballroom - and vice versa. Quite an advanced architecture!

Here's a shot of the ballroom

I wish today's bars look as cute as this -- Art Deco Fish Murals!

Inside the circular theater - John Beckman's beautiful murals with spectacular lighting. You see the dots in the dome -- those are supposed to light up and when it's completely dark, you will feel like stars are above you!

The theater was designed to accommodate talking movies in 1929 - when the casino's construction was completed. The circular dome had a perfect acoustic effect -- you don't need any microphone and people can still hear you when you talk normal voice from the other end of this 1,154 seat theatre! 
NYC's Radio City Music Hall was created using inspiration from the theatre's design!

That's what we're talking about - Dancing in the Casino Ballroom!!

Havin Fun

Catalina also made beautiful tiles!

And look at these....The most beautiful public restroom I have ever seen!

Catalina o Catalina

In All the World -No Trip Like This!!


Going to the Art Deco Preservation Ball

This Saturday, Marcel and I attended the Art Deco Preservation Ball which was beautifully organized by the Art Deco Society. It was held at the magnificent Art Deco - style Bimbo's 365 Club which was established in 1931. Gorgeous ballroom and lounges! Everyone was beautifully dressed in their best 1920s-1940s dresses and suits. I definitely felt like traveling back to a time capsule!  For me, I chose a sky blue long gown with a fur cape and white gloves. And I got my hair professionally done by a stylist (for the first time and loved it!  If you're in SF and need a vintage hairstylist, go to KAI!). And look at Marcel, doesn't he look swanky in his tuxedo?? Oh, and we took beginner swing dancing lessons and had a great time swinging to the Don Neely orchestra. A couple of mis-steps but it was a lot of fun! I am so looking forward to the next year's gala!

Thrifted: gown, gloves, cape, necklace, bracelet | Shoes: Satin Low Pump Heels with Rhinestones: Caparros | Beaded cluctch: Bagteria (gift from mom) | Hairstyle: KAI | Makeup: Self


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