Vacationing like the other half lives [pt 2]

Previously, I detailed how stays in residential studio apartments suit my alignment with Garbo’s philosophy (“you cannot have a vacation without peace and you cannot have peace unless left alone”) and the realities of having champagne taste on a beer budget. I also shared my most recent find—a free-standing apartment overlooking LA’s South Bay coastline—and some of the wanderings outward from such…wanderings I continue to loosely document in Part 2.

Despite pre-trip weather reports that assured me Los Angeles had had its fill of massive storms and would be back to postcard-perfect during my stay, I’ve found that meteorologists go to extreme lengths to keep people from becoming despondent about extended periods of depressing weather.

Especially when said weather is due to hit during a holiday season.

Naturally as a cynical, seasoned-enough Oregonian I knew better than to trust the LA forecasts. Once rain gets a hold of an area, it doesn’t like to leave, dig? Which is why Mr Vix and I boarded our flight with raincoats, wool hats, and layers galore—plus resolutions to be stalwart should we encounter an unceasingly cold and damp Southern California climate.

[Too bad the latter went right out the window during a Day 1 stroll that was interrupted by blustering gales and pelting drops, but hey: at least we gave it a shot.]

We also gave going home smarter a shot, too, before we realized we were subconsciously going to great lengths to avoid anything that involved a serious indoor time commitment—like museums—in order to maximize time under sunny or dry-but-overcast skies.


Now I know Part 1 shows and tells what we discovered when climbing UP, but rest assured we also made time to look down.

Whereupon we encountered stonework both rustic and saucy…

In Southern California, stone often takes center stage

…a few rather unexpected neighbors…

In some coastal LA areas, noisy peacocks are pissing off their human neighbors (but they sure bring the pretty)

and vintage architectural details I decided to take as forshadowing.

After hours of torrential PNW-esque rain, the sun came out and we jumped out of the car to explore a bit of the Laguna Beach area on foot...which made us feel luckier than this LA building

As with every trip to Southern California, I was having a blast and dreading the day I’d have to leave.

However, I have to say that WERE I to pack up sticks and relocate there, I’m a little worried I could become a horrible namedropper. Because after I wrote about my love of the costumes on “The Closer” and the man behind the scenes, Greg LaVoi, took the time to thank me, I proceeded to tell everyone how nice he was. And when he went on to email me with some of the show’s locations, a reminder of his favorite LA source for vintage clothing, PLUS general sightseeing tips, I couldn’t wait to tell MORE people.

Clearly, I’m neither jaded nor aloof enough for livin’ la vida LA.

But so what? With Greg’s email burning a metaphorical hole in my pocket, I took my hayseed self and Mr Vix off to LA’s “Miracle Mile” to eyeball some of the city’s architectural history and peruse a temple to vintage clothing I’d read about for years: The Way We Wore.

La Brea Avenue's "The Way We Wore" Vintage is a favorite of LA costume designer Greg LaVoi...but the staff was super-friendly to a nobody (and alas, "no-spender") like me

The store, source of many of Kyra Sedgwick’s “Brenda Leigh Johnson” pieces, was unbelievable; to try to stay focused amongst all the big and little items calling my name, I set my sights on looking for 40s-era jackets. Between the helpful staff and the owner, Doris Raymond, I felt like a damn celebrity myself.

Alas, to fit me properly the jackets in stock would have all have required the dreaded Shoulder Width Surgery along with other less invasive nips and tucks; I appreciated Doris’ agreement that I’d have to be willing to commit to significant tailoring charges back home.

While I left the shop a bit wistful and empty-handed, the loitering Mr Vix emerged triumphant—to his delight, Doris put him onto her favorite place for grilled-not-fried fish tacos, thus keeping him on track for his daily fix. As a non-fish-liker, I don’t begin to understand his ranking system, but I CAN say that Kings Road Cafe Rosarito Beach Tacos settled into the top of his chart. [I’m able and more than willing to vouch for the steak version, though.]

Before we got to the tacos, however, we had a little light stalking to do…

LA's historic "Miracle Mile" packs a lot of deco, revival, and streamline moderne goodness into a small seen in some of its residential examples

Holiday happiness hits LA's historic Miracle Mile

…and we were only slightly embarrassed to grab photos of ourselves in front of “Brenda and Fritz’s” duplex.

YEAH I went by The Closer's "Brenda + Fritz" duplex...and while I'm not swaddled in as much cashmere as Kyra Sedgwick's character tends to be, the scarf is my little in-joke

Of course the next day we were back to business as usual: soaking up color-drenched ambience. And more tacos.

Color blasts in Silver Lake (L) and a Huntington Beach taquería (R)

Some of Silver Lake's smaller homes make a big impression with bold shapes and colors

A Silver Lake shop was full o' spices that entices

Clockwise from left: A Silver Lake abode is far from color-shy; a classic 50s pairing of turquoise and red still turns heads; a lemon-peel house stands out against a blue blue sky

While I had about 2,947 things I wanted to see and do down south, Mr Vix and I are very spontaneous vacationers. Which means I can’t wait to go back and randomly cross more of my “wannas” off my haphazard mental list. Til then, though, I’ll just continue to make do with a little California dreamin’….

A relative's holiday gift of lightweight wool hails from Italy but contains a bit o' California Blue

PSA: Don’t miss the virtual tour The Way We Wore owner Doris Raymond offers on her website…or this LA Times feature on her big January 2011 sale


7 Responses

  1. I love seeing LA through your eyes. I grew up in the South Bay. And Lily LOVES chasing the peacocks that regularly visit my inlaws yard. They are pretty but they are NOISY!
    I hope you soon become a L.A. resident. A gal can dream, can’t she?;-)

  2. YES YES YES…why oh why are we here when paradise looks soooooo close??? If you go I will follow. All of your photos and text make me want to go NOW!

  3. Belated thanks to you both (damn that vacation high went away fast!).

    I am ready to go back right NOW in a moving van, but like peacocks, there’s a catch to paradise — I have to admit the traffic scares me. Surely the area is full of therapists who specialize in treating folks like me, though….

  4. What a fab trip…
    Firstly, I want one of those little colored houses… next, I’m so impressed at your email correspondence with Mr behind-the-scenes Closer – did I tell you we’ve been watching it and really like it, even though the first season costumes don’t seem particularly special?? We’re catching up though, courtesy of Netflix.
    As for the peacocks, they look great, but having stayed in a London youth hostel once with peacocks in the grounds, I can testify that they are a bit of a pain at 4 in the morning.

  5. Ms EO —

    Poor LOUD peacocks, condemned to be beautiful PITAs, ha.

    Have faith in The Closer’s costumes (where is Paula to confirm they improve?!)…am glad you are still making your way through the series!

  6. Thank you (again? not so sure if I thanked you before) for recommending The Closer. I enjoy the cast so much! Can you believe it, Tao is almost 60?! Or did I get something wrong on

  7. Ms P — Belated hello (we are again living parallel lives…illness this time…and I need to catch up with your recent posts).

    Re The Closer: you’re welcome again! And yes, “Tao” *is* that old and that actor has a portrait in the attic, I swear.

Leave a Reply to The English Organizer Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s