This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday Rare Picks: My Grandma With John F. Kennedy

My grandmother with JFK, Date unknown

This is the only photo I have of my paternal grandmother. I never got to meet her... 

Here she is, standing in the foreground next to JFK. Why is she with JFK? I'm not really sure.  She almost looks like she could be his mother, as though she's just waiting for him to sign that one last autograph so they can both go home.

Old photos can tell us stories... When I look at this picture, I always wonder what the story of that day was.  And I also wonder what my grandmother would've been like.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

L.A. Road Rules: Navigating The Roads Of An Urban Jungle

This week, someone actually set up a poker table in the slow lane of an L.A. Freeway.  Since traffic had come to an hours-long standstill, might as well play some Texas Hold 'Em, right?
#Only in L.A.

This week, a dear friend of mine is coming out to visit.  She's never been to L.A. and is understandably nervous about "the driving situation. "

It reminds me of when I first moved here. Before GPS or even Google Maps, I spent my first few months driving around L.A. with a "Streetwise L.A." laminated map of the freeway system attached to my steering wheel and a trusty Thomas Guide in the backseat.  The car (a bright blue Chevy Cavalier) is long gone, but the original laminated map (and Thomas Guide) I still have.

Driving in L.A. is not an American Graffiti joy ride for anyone. The web of freeways is hard to configure, everything is horrendously spread out, and public transportation is generally not a convenient or realistic option.

I've learned a lot since during those first few years in L.A.  Based on experience, I've come up with a list of L.A. Road Rules that may prove helpful-- especially if you just moved here OR you're just visiting, like my friend.

L.A. Road Rules

1. Pedestrians have the right-of-way.
Those little blinking orange lights on the street (or subtle beeping noises you hear) along major streets mean something. I came close to hitting a pedestrian along Sunset Blvd. because I didn't know this (and I barely saw him in time.)

2. Out-of-state plates make you a sucker.
Once, while waiting to turn right, an impatient driver swerved around me and yelled: "Go Back to Nebraska!" I was waiting for a pedestrian to cross the street--guess that makes me the dumb ass, out-of-stater.

3. When changing lanes, flipping on your turn signal is no guarantee. Waiting patiently and being polite will get you nowhere. In L.A., alert other drivers, see that you're safe to move, and start to force yourself into the other lane inch by inch-by-inch until the car behind you has no other choice but to let you in.

4. Buckle up. It's the law. And if you see an LAPD cruiser at a stoplight on the one day you're not wearing your seatbelt, no quick move will save you-- that will be the day the officer will pull you over and give you the "shame on you/you should know better" speech and a sizable ticket.

5. Beware of Red Light Districts. I'm not talking about prostitution, I'm talking about cameras hovering above major intersections to capture red light runners. You don't want to be that person getting a sketchy photo in the mail of your vehicle "beating the red" and a bill.
 The red light cameras have become less of an issue now that people have fought against their legitimacy and accuracy, but I'd still approach with caution.  People still run red lights ALL THE TIME.  ( See #6 below)

6. When there's a Green Alert... Pause. It's not a green light, it's a green alert. Give yourself 10-15 seconds before proceeding and be watchful. There are always two (sometimes three) oncoming cars that will run the red light when they most certainly should've stopped. I once had someone race through a solid red and slam into me. It wasn't pretty.  My car was totaled one week after I'd made my last payment on it.  More importantly, I could've died.  If you don't want an accident to change the course of your day (or life), heed this warning--especially in L.A.

7. Don't rely on GPS. Sure, it's convenient--but don't get lazy. You should have a reasonable idea of where you're going before you step behind the wheel. Just because the computerized voice tells you to turn left at the next intersection doesn't mean you have to (or necessarily should.) If all else fails, shut off the GPS, pull over and throw open your old Thomas Bros. Guide. I know it's the digital age and all, but a hard copy of an old Thomas Bros. Guide will never fail you.

8. There is no good time for the 405 Freeway. Period. It sucks. Luckily I don't drive on it often--nor should you--unless you must. In that case, I pity you with every fiber of my being.

9. No one knows how to drive in the rain. It's a well known fact. Give us some snow like the rest of the nation and the whole city would shut down. For days.

10. Be careful out there. It's California. You will eventually have an accident, even if you've always had a perfect driving record prior to being here (as I did.) That accident will come on a day when you least expect it and it will come on the most inconvenient day imaginable. There are drivers who are: high, wasted, uninsured or unlicensed, texting while driving, on their phones, doing crossword puzzles or reading. Look around you and honest to God, you'll see it. People are crazy. You are sharing the road with them. Be prepared for that.

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©2014 by Kendra Liedle
Image credit: Smaddy/
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Monday, July 7, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Lucky Me! -- Lucky You: About Vintage Clothes

My Grandma

The last time I went home to visit my family, my mother and I went through boxes and boxes of my grandmother’s things.  My grandmother had passed away last year and she’d left mountains of things to go through.  Some things, actually most things, we’d never even seen before. 

My Grandpa
The juiciest were the love letters… stacks and stacks of love letters, mostly from my grandfather.  It was war-time after all and they didn’t have Facetime or Skype then.  And if they’d had, I wouldn’t have had such a fun afternoon reading what they’d left behind:

“My darling wench…” started one letter, written in October 1943.

I had to give up after awhile because there are so many of those letters that I couldn’t possibly get through them all in one afternoon.  Insane, I know.  Someday, maybe I’ll get back to them, but it was overwhelming… just realizing that the love between these two people no longer exists in any tangible form other than these letters they left behind.

I have to confess that I had the most fun going through my grandmother’s clothing.  I’m a fan of vintage attire and my grandmother had closets full.  Of course, to her it wasn’t vintage—not at the time anyway.  (And some clothes were so outdated that I couldn’t imagine them ever coming back in style.) 

My grandma was also so petite that many of her clothes I couldn’t wear at all, but surprisingly alot of it did fit.  And anything I could fit, I tried on: Furs, gloves, dresses, blouses.  I scored several beautiful finds that I’ve worn since, including this red slip (shown at right) and a black-and-white lace number that my grandmother called “her favorite dress.”  The photo below is a picture Grandma took of me wearing it.  (I last wore it on a date.  Grandma would be proud.)  
Wearing Grandma's favorite dress

I came back to L.A. with tons of clothes that reminded me of my grandma, things I fell in love with—including about 15 pairs of gloves, which I’m sure I’ll use often in California.  I also brought back a few lovely dresses that just couldn’t work for me for whatever reason, but I was determined to find a home for them. 

There are plenty of vintage shops in Los Angeles.  Everyone knows about Iguana, It’s A Wrap, Wasteland, and recycled clothing stores such as The Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads Trading Company.  

People into vintage know about The Way We Wore, Playclothes, and Ragg Mopp Vintage.  However, after doing a quick search online, I discovered that there was a little gem of a vintage store right down the street from me called Lucky You Resale Boutique.  

People online seemed to rave about it.  Me?  I’d never heard even heard of it before.  As it turns out, I’d driven by it countless times without ever noticing it.  In fact, it’s literally right across the street from the post office I use often.  Who knew?

Lucky me, indeed!  Lucky You is a relatively small store, but don’t let that fool you.  There’s a treasure trove housed in there.  I had no idea.  I came in with a few items on hangers to sell, hopeful the owner might be interested.  I was immediately greeted by a surprisingly friendly Idrea Lippman.  Idrea looked at a couple of my things I'd brought in with interest, then placed them back on the counter.  

She looked at me, and with regret, said she wasn’t buying at the moment because she had too much stock already.  But, she said, “Feel free to look around.”

 And look I did.  My vintage stop was the first of several errands I’d intended to get to that day, but I spent close to an hour at Lucky You Resale, chatting with Idrea, looking through the racks, and trying on clothes.  She also has jewelry there and vintage movie poster postcard reproductions.  A little bit for everyone. 

My Sabrina dress
I came up to the counter with a dress I’d completely loved.  It reminded me of one of the dresses Audrey Hepburn wears in Sabrina.  It was beautifully made with several layers of quality fabric.  It also had a halter-style—something that seems to work well with my body type.  

The dress had unexpected details too, like black netting at the bottom of main skirt.  As soon as I tried the dress on and saw myself in the mirror, I was sold.  

As I milled around the store, I also ended up finding some great dangly earrings and a couple of postcards—one of which was a classic movie poster image from Roman Holiday.  I figured that was appropriate, considering.

As I came to the counter to pay, Idrea mentioned offhandedly, “Well, I could do a trade.” 

Really? I thought.

I swapped two of the dresses I’d been hoping to sell and in exchange got my Sabrina dress and the earrings.  She was going to give me the postcards for free, but I insisted on paying.  I told her how happy I was to know her store was there and I promised her that I’d write about Lucky You in some format—as a thank you.  She said that if it weren’t for bloggers and social media and other internet outlets, she wouldn’t be able to exist.  And now that I’ve discovered Lucky You, I want to see her store continue to succeed. 

12441 Magnolia Blvd
Valley Village CA 91607
(818) 985-1115
Lucky You On Facebook
 Copyright © 2014 by Kendra Liedle