Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hawaii Bound

"I've always loved the aspect of fashion that sparks the imagination.  It provides a transport for the self much the same way travel does, introducing to our quotidian life a whiff of adventure and escape."
               Katherine Mosby

For me, travel and fashion go hand in hand.  I used to be such a minimalist when it came to packing. Throw some jeans, a few t-shirts and a sweater into a small carry-on and I was ready to go. Somewhere along the way, things changed. It's because (like the above quote says) travel is an entry into a magical world.  As I age, it is becoming increasingly so.  The lines between reality and fantasy are blurring.  Should I be concerned?  Nah.  I crave these moments.  I live for these moments.

So what does this have to do with going to Hawaii?  Because I've spent the last two days trying to decide what to take.  My travel buddy had no such problem.  He packed his carry-on with shorts and tees and there's room to spare.  It took him all of ten minutes.

But for dinner at the Volcano House, I want to look elegant so I'm taking a silk dress and heels.  For hiking along the Old Pali road and the interiors, I will need khakis and a long linen blouse and my hiking shoes.  For the beach, I'll need a couple of swimsuits and some cute cover-ups.  I'll need sundresses and sandals.  Sunhats.  A lightweight sweater.  A classic cotton blazer.  I want to look good for every single magical moment.  Not just good--movie star spectacular.

So no carry-on for me.  My big old suitcase is overflowing and I have to spend the day deciding what goes.  Mimi, of course, thinks I should just add another bag and pay the extra cost.  After all, I'll need some space for the new clothes I'll be buying!!!

Aloha!  See you next month!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Afternoon at the Molaa

The Museum of Latin American Art (molaa for short) is located in Long Beach, California.  Last month my husband, my son and I spent a wonderful afternoon here, taking our time exploring the three extraordinary exhibits within and then enjoying the sculpture garden outside.

Selections from the permanent collection were chosen to represent "Magical Realism" in honor of the great novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez who died last April.  I couldn't have been more happy!  The last chapter of Love in the Time of Cholera is one I read over and over.  The two old lovers sailing up and down that river for the rest of their lives is one of the most romantic and magical scenes in literature.
The NeoMexicanism exhibit deconstructed the works of art from the age of the Mexican Revolution. "Enough Already!" these artists seemed to say.  It was a bit humorous and even subversive. In the final exhibit, the works of Roberto Fabelo, an artist from Cuba, were so exquisite and detailed that we lingered over every single painting and drawing.

We all agreed this was an exceptionally superb museum, and we will be back for more.  Mid-afternoon, when we took a break for iced tea in the adjoining restaurant, we discovered they had homemade tamales on the menu.  Next time, we'll plan our visit around lunch! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

At the Depot

When Sacramento posed the question, Skirt or Pants, for this week's Share-in-Style, I knew the answer immediately.  BOTH.  For me it's not Either/Or, but And.  A dress over pants has been my Go-To outfit, especially for travel, for many years now.

I could analyze why I do this, but I'm not going to.  The truth is individual style often has no rhyme or reason.  It is a feeling.  Clothes mimic a personality; they can even bare a soul.  You know that old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words?  Well, an outfit is worth even more.  Ask me to define myself with words, and I go all shy and tongue-tied.  I'll let these pictures (and my dress over pants) tell the story for me.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Retro Row

I bought this silky leopard print dress in an area of Long Beach, California, called Retro Row--specifically 4th Street between Cherry and Temple.  It's home to an eclectic mix of stores, mostly second-hand, but well-stocked with the coolest clothes anywhere!  Besides this piece, I tried on a Vivienne Westwood Anglomania dress and a Y-2 woolen cape, which I put back on the rack because they were a bit too pricey.  Big mistake.  What was I thinking?
Well, it's because I had my husband and son with me and they nearly choked at the $250 price tag on the Anglomania dress.  Got my husband a Panama hat and my son, a good hearty lunch at KafeNeo, a great Greek restaurant with generous servings.

There are nearly 40 independent shops in this small area of Long Beach, mostly vintage, but all kitschy and fun.  There's a restored 1920's movie theater that shows first-run and art films and lots of quirky restaurants and bars.  My search for beautiful clothes brings me here often.  (But next time, the guys stay home!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum

Offbeat Museums

I seek out these small art museums whenever I travel.  I love art, but my attention span is short.  Such small spaces are much easier to digest and so much more filling!  This gem of a museum is located in Long Beach, California.  It was founded by the late Dr. Robert Gumbiner who was a traveler, an art collector and thankfully for us, a philanthropist.  He worked for a time in Guam and brought back many pieces of Polynesian art.  Most of the pieces in this museum are from his collection.

An hour is all you really need to take in both the inside and outside sculpture garden.  We also sat through a short documentary tracing the history of Hawaii.  It was a sad story and one we have heard many times before--how the arts and culture of a people are disappearing.  That is precisely why Dr. Gumbiner started to collect the islands' ethnic art.  I hope the museum continues to acquire more pieces.  The large wooden sculptures in the garden were exceptionally beautiful and unique.
I was especially interested in these stone wheels, called Rai Stones.   They came from the island of Yap in the Western Caroline Islands of Micronesia.  The Yap islanders have been using these limestone wheels for hundreds of years as currency for a variety of social transactions like marriage and inheritance.  The value of the stone is based on size, workmanship and history.  How I would love to go there and see how they are placed in real gardens!

It never fails.  Whenever I visit one of these offbeat museums, I learn something new and add a destination to my lengthy Bucket List.  Micronesia!  Now Number 32!