Horror-Vision: California style

Since we just got back from the West Coast, I thought it was high time to share in the creepy (I mean that in a GOOD way) aspects of our trip. From things going bump in the night, to where Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was shot, to a shrine to the macabre, here’s a little visual tour of places we saw on our trip to Northern California.

1st stop – San Francisco, the San Remo Hotel:

The San Remo Hotel of North Beach

From the website Legends of America, here’s the write up on the hotel we stayed at for two nights, San Remo Hotel of North Beach…

Just after the San Francisco fire destroyed most of the city, the San Remo Hotel was built in 1906.  Originally called the New California Hotel, its small rooms and affordable pricing attracted numerous immigrants, sailors, and penniless artists.  In 1922, the hotel was renamed the San Remo Hotel, where full course dinners began to be served and liquor was served in coffee cups during Prohibition.  Today, the hotel has been renovated with modern amenities but continues to maintain at atmosphere of an earlier era.  It is also said to be home to a couple of resident ghosts.  Allegedly, the hotel was once owned by a Madame and was run as a brothel.  This mysterious ‘painted lady’ is said to haunt Room 33, knocking on the door, but disappearing when someone answers.  A little girl has also been spied roaming the hallways and trying to get into Room 42.”

We think we got lucky and captured her on film–not once, but TWICE (see below)!

Is that you, painted lady?

The painted lady strikes again

For those of you that want to take a little looksie for yourself, the contact information is:

Remo Hotel, 2237 Mason Street, San Francisco, California 94133, 415-776-8688 or 800-352-REMO

I know, a little far for a dumb joke but here is something waaaay better. We visited Haight Street on our second day in the city and stumbled into the coolest curiosity shop ever. We may not look like Goths but our family’s got a serious thing for bird skull jewelry, odd taxidermy, antique pharmacy bottles with poison Rx, bird talon candle holders, and strange funerary photography. So when we walked into Loved To Death we were pretty sure we’d died and gone to a heaven that Morticia Addams would’ve decorated.

Loved To Death

And just yesterday I discovered that the store also serves as a focal point for a SyFy channel show, Oddities: San Francisco.

You definitely want to go and check this place out if you visit San Fran!

And last but not least, our California family picked us up in San Francisco and brought us on a trip through the Redwoods and wine country. To get there, we had to drive through San Rafael and then to Bodega and Bodega Bay.

In Bodega, we stopped at a small church and home that was the set for Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, “The Birds.”


The schoolhouse.

Pleasantly absent of bird attacks, this visit was way too short and I’m already itching to get back for more exploration.

Cover of "The Birds (Collector's Edition)...

Cover of The Birds (Collector’s Edition)


Holy time-slip, Batman!

Let’s catch up. We realize we’ve gone more than a month without updates and posting but with good reasons:

  1. I finally graduated from Business School
  2. Bela graduated from high school – a year early, no less
  3. The two of us went on a big trip across the country

Here’s a little photo-journal highlight reel…

Graduation morning, Bela and her Dad


The following shots: 1.) The Amtrak train the California Zephyr took us from Chicago, IL to Sacramento, CA, 2.) A choice shot of our first canyons, somewhere south of the Roosevelt National Forest and east of the Yampa Valley, 3.) Gorgeousness of Western Colorado, 4.) Red canyons, 5.) After making it to Truckee, California, the train climbed back up in elevation through Donner Pass, 6.) We made it to Sacramento, CA and spent some time in Folsom (made famous for it’s prison and subsequent Johnny Cash song, “Folsom Prison Blues”), 7.) We made a 3 day detour to San Francisco and bopped around. Here’s one shot of the San Franciso skyline, 8.) With our family, we headed across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Rafael and into Bodega Bay. Here’s the fog…run for your lives!, 9.) Oh beautiful trees. We made it to the Redwoods!

1.) Chicago skyline from the train

2.) Western CO cliffs and canyons

3.) Heading into cowboy country

4.) We wanted to climb these

5.) Climbing Donner Pass with a view of Donner Lake below

6.) The hill above our family’s home at sunset

7.) View from the top of Telegraph Hill

8.) Bodega Bay

9.) Bela in her Redwood yoga pose

Love is Blindness

Photo courtesy of Indiewire.com

Seeing the trailer (click on the link below) has me counting down the days for December when F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby comes back to the big screen. Fans of Baz Luhrmann are doubly-psyched.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’d know that Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Joel Edgerton all star in the upcoming film. But what’s really got me going is the music choice for the trailer. Jack White’s cover of the U2 song, “Love is Blindness” is genius. If you’re lucky, it’s the type of song that sends you plummeting back into memories of the emotional firestorm that accompanied first love. For those of you that are robots never experienced an all-consuming chemical reaction with someone else, here are a few more films chosen for their lush style and accurate depiction of that cataclysmic dopamine overload we call desire.

“The Lover” (1992) Jean-Jacques Annaud

Based on the semi-autobiographical 1984 novel by Marguerite Duras, the film details the illicit affair between a teenage French girl and a wealthy Chinese man in 1929 Vietnam. The cinematography is lovely, the location lush, and the talent is gorgeous (Tony Leung and Jane March). Stylish and steamy.

“Kama Sutra” (1996) Mira Nair

Two childhood friends (one is a courtesan, the other a princess) grow up to become rivals. Exotic, excellent costuming, beautiful cinematography and solid acting talent. Spoiler alert: the caste system + true love = tragedy.

No video link here, too hot for the blogosphere, but just check out the star, Indira Varma, in costume. Now that’s a girl that can “werq” (Hey, Ru!) a pearl necklace.

Wuthering Heights” (2009)

Emily Bronte’s novel in its umpteenth film iteration. This one is superior for one reason: Um, Tom Hardy. As Heathcliff so, it’s a real bodice ripper. Here’s a teaser for you…









(Pardon the music but this is a fan trailer – there is no official one for the series)

Last Dance

We’ve been quiet for a while but hearing that Donna Summer died has been a real bummer. There’s a lot of buzz over her song (and film) Last Dance but we’re die-hard devotees of her other disco-era hits – Bad Girls, I Feel Love, Hot Stuff, On the Radio, her cover of McArthur Park, and Love to Love You Baby are gold. Sad she won’t be making any farewells but we have a feeling we can go and commiserate over Absolut cocktails with friends in the Drag Nation (pretty please?).

Bad Girls came out in 1979. I was nine years old and living in Southern Florida, in West Palm Beach. All my teen babysitters had started wearing stretch satin disco pants or satin jackets (and, yikes, some paired them together). What I flash back to are a set of images: Feathered hair and big sunglasses, Bonne Bell lip gloss (in watermelon or strawberry), Dr. Scholl’s strappy sandal clogs, tube tops and halters, roller skating, and the smell of coconut tanning creme all come flooding back in a weird memory barrage whenever I hear the words “toot-toot” or “beep beep.” In the spirit of the Vulcan mind-meld (if you’re a child of the 60’s or 70’s, you know what I’m talking about) here are the images I could find that might be somewhat representative of this sensory memory. To ensure proper encoding, please click and play the following video…

Reblog: Georges Lepape

From the blog matou en peluche, here is some of the artwork of Georges Lepape, an illustrator that created a cover for Vogue and many iconic designers. Read this delicious little post for more information.

Click to read!

December 1919 Vanity Fair cover by French illu...

December 1919 Vanity Fair cover by French illustrator Georges Lepape (1887-1971). Gouache over pencil on bristol board, 34.9 x 26.8 cm. (sheet). Exhibited at "American Beauties: Drawings from the Golden Age of Illustration", Swann Gallery, Library of Congress, 2002. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[ L ] Georges  Lepape - Le miroir rouge (1914)

Summer Lovin

Uniquely Natalie‘s Summer Vintage Dreams has our heads in the clouds, waiting for the first really hot day in Maine. We’ll be heading for the beach to enjoy some summer corals, florals, and mint-chocolate chip ice cream. What about you?

Click on the image to check out this Pinterest board and go shopping!

The Worst Song Ever

3 Second Rule: The time you need to spend breathing or die from asphyxiation after viewing this and laughing too long.

Dreaming of Country Weddings

We love the Vintage Rustic Wedding Board Katherine Of Corgis and Cocktails put together. From the colors, the flower choices, the great vintage pieces, and all of the wedding jewelry has us hankering for bare feet in the soft grass.



Stella McCartney one shoulder dress
$1,245 – net-a-porter.com

Diane von Furstenberg short sequin dress
£545 – flannelsfashion.com

Steven by Steve Madden pointy flat
$119 – bloomingdales.com

Aldo shoes
$90 – aldoshoes.com

Hoop earrings

Crislu jewelry
$173 – bloomingdales.com

Tom Ford nude lipstick
$48 – neimanmarcus.com

Tom ford lipstick
£36 – harrods.com