Thursday, October 31, 2013

Murder/Suspense Drama Film Review: Dead Ringer (1964)

Happy Halloween everyone!

I'm not doing a whole lot to celebrate this year (pumpkin lights from the dollar section at Target count, right?) so I thought I'd be festive by reviewing an excellent murder/suspense film I watched recently, Dead Ringer (1964) with the incomparable Bette Davis! 

So as you can see, Bette Davis plays twins - rich, newly widowed Margaret de Lorca, and working-class Edith Phillips, owner of Edie's, a struggling cocktail bar. The two estranged sisters are brought together for the funeral of Margaret's husband (who just so happens to be the man Margaret stole from Edith years ago). The women keep up appearances at first, but things soon go steadily downhill.

Speaking of going downhill, one of the opening scenes of the movie we see a bus pull up to the cemetery and Edie step out. Take a look at the area in 1964, and now:

Look at those nicely manicured trees and clean streets with un-cracked pavement. Ugh, depressing. But I digress.

The location used for Margaret's magnificent mansion however, has not gone downhill. 
Maggie's limousine pulling through the stately gates
The same entrance today
The beautiful Greystone Mansion is located in Beverly Hills (of course), and the grounds are open to the public free of charge (the inside can also be rented out, for a fee). Lots more info and pictures on their website. This place is definitely on my list of sights to see!

The sisters have a not so friendly chat over tea and we learn the cause of their estrangement (man stealing Maggie), and whilst being driven home by the chauffeur, Edith learns quite a bit more about her dear sister. 

Edie returns to her bar which she says is on "Figueroa and Temple", so of course I Googled immediately to see if they really filmed there and if was actually a bar. To my surprise, they had and there is (or was)! 

When I first searched the location I saw this, what timing! 

I was able to move around a bit and get a clear shot of the place, it appears it's now the out of business, Vertigos Bar & Grill.
Along Figueroa, then..
and now…

In the film, the driver pulls up along the side of the building, and lets Edie out there, she then enters through the side door. Another little then and now (I  Google Maps, can you tell? ;)

Anyway, after a few more visits tensions mount between the two…

….and you can probably guess what happens next!

However our story does not end there! But this plot summary must, or else I will be giving away all the goods 

According to TCM's little pre movie blurb, Bette Davis was never particularly happy with the film in general, feeling everyone did the best they could with what they had to work with. I, on the other hand, thought it was just fantastic - suspenseful and dramatic yet pretty believable. You end up feeling for both sisters by the end. Definitely kept my interest, if you have a chance to see this great movie please do!

Till next time darlings!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Update: Goodbyes, Cats and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Hey Blogland,

It's been a pretty long hiatus, hasn't it? 

Well most of you reading this will know why, but for anyone who doesn't and would like to-my Grandma passed away last August. The family has spent every weekend since her passing clearing out her house, and it's been a very long, hard, physical and emotional process. But in a way I feel as if I know her a bit better. Seeing all the little collected pieces of someone's life through out the years will do that I guess. I have a few things of hers around my apartment now, one of them being her cat. That makes three now. Oi. Vey. Gardening shows and knitting magazines, here I come.

Anyway- I won't babble on, sometimes I feel the more you talk about something the more it loses meaning. So I will end the updates there.

One of the items from Grandma's I got to keep was her incredible Betty Crocker Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book-from 1946! Which leads us to the other part of this post. There are lots of cut-outs from the Better Homes and Gardens magazine as well (meant to be added to the cook book, appropriately sized and everything), but nothing older than 1954, I'm in vintage baking heaven. 
Inside front cover
Front Cover

Look at this beauty! It's been through the wars alright but is still completely gorgeous. Just imagine all the history this book has seen!

I like cooking but baking is just special. It's what fills your house with those smells and warmth and really just makes things feel like home. There's only a handful of things I can do to sort of "time travel", and baking is one of them (listening to records is my other fav!).

So with my "new" cook book in hand I decided to tackle one of the recipes that has mystified me for years-the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake!
My cake will totally be as pretty as these, yep.
Here's the recipe we're working with:
This recipe does not call for soaking the pineapples slices in (spiced) rum, but I sure did. Why the heck not?!

Step 1: In the butter goes to melt               

 Step 2: Brown sugar added to melted butter, mmm.

Step 3: Arrange pineapple slices and maraschino cherries over the sugar/butter combo
As you can see I wasn't able to fit the specified 9 slices of pineapple, 7 was really pushing it. 

Aww don't be sad my little left over rum soakers, you will be a delicious Mai Tai soon.

Step 4: Here we have the egg yolks, sugar, and pineapple juice (it came in juice, not syrup) all mixed together

Step 5: And now the dry ingredients added (flour, salt, and baking powder)

Step 6: Pour batter over pineapple slices (I forgot to get a picture of this but here's the finished batter! It was thick.)

I did the dishes while I waited for my cake.
Hahahahaha. Nope.
I sat down to enjoy my quasi Mai Tai, which consisted of rum/pineapple juice from the soakers, pineapple slices and cherries that stained my fingers. (That can't be good to ingest right...? Eh, oh well.)

Afore mentioned kitty trying to muscle in on my booze, rude. 

Aaaand 45 minutes later I had myself a cake! (It was looking done before the given 1 hour time).

Okay now I know it's not so pretty but don't judge, at this point we're one Mai Tai in, and this is also post flip and a transfer back into the pan. But the best part? It was DELISH. There was a sort of almond creamy ness to it (although none was added)/amaretto type flavor, and the sugary butter top was just so mmm.

Well I hope everyone enjoyed my little vintage baking adventure as much as I did, I plan to do many more! Till then darlings ❤

Friday, May 31, 2013

Retro Clothing Alert at Target!

Keep 'em peeled ladies, because Target - my home away from home - and Merona, my favorite brand, (which happens to be Target's house brand),  have cranked out some really cute retro/classic looking pieces lately. I've adored Merona for years because of this, plus they are affordable-SCORE!

Alright gals, feast your peepers on these beauties :

50's cuteness!

Lovely collared dress - so nice to finally have a "day" dress that is still dressy enough for work! 

Perfect cardi (I've been looking for this style/sleeve length for about 100 years)

This shirt! Something else I have been searching for for AGES, they came tied at the bottom, a perfect 50's staple!

Who doesn't love polka dots!? Oh and I have seen polka dot cardis on other retro clothing sites for around $50- at Target it's $19.99

60's cuteness!

Casual mini (for a later 60's look)     Striped dress - think happening
                                                          beach party!

          Cute pencil skirt!              Early 60's looking ankle pants

These are just a few of my favorites that can be found in store, they have a lot more online. And ya know the best part? The most expensive thing here are the pants at $27.99, not bad eh?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Save Bomb Girls!

If you haven't heard of this incredible show yet- you really, really ought to. It's set in 1940's Canada, following the lives of a group of young women who work in a factory building bombs for the war.

This little trailer gives a great quick introduction to the main characters:

As you can see there are plenty of outfits and handsome men to drool over...

But this show had so much more than that. I'm sick to death of "reality" programs, and so to genuinely care about these characters was very refreshing. It also gives what I think to be a pretty realistic, less focused on account of the time-the difficult dynamic between men (especially those not serving) and women, and often the prejudice these women simply trying to earn a living received. The actresses captured the spirit of those strong and brave women perfectly.

This  program sadly only aired two seasons before it was announced this past April it would not be renewed for a third, despite a huge fan base and multiple awards. Here in the U.S. the first season is available via Netflix, and the second I watched on YouTube. There's a petition you can sign to help save this wonderful show, they still need a little more than 1,600 signatures before they can submit it. We need more quality programs like this around, so please sign if you can, it only takes a second! Also if you're interested there are more ways to help, please visit the Save Bomb Girls website for more information.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fish and Chips, Flowers and Fun in San Francisco!

This past weekend my mom and I spent a lovely Saturday in San Francisco celebrating Mother's Day. Other than a lot of Toms shoes, there was lots of beautiful scenery to be seen and amazing food to be had.

First we stopped off to look at some flowers and patio furniture at Flora Grubb Gardens, a gorgeous nursery/pottery/outdoor furniture oasis in the middle of the ghetto. Like people selling dodgy pies on the corner ghetto. Combination laundromat and car wash ghetto. Anyway, I digress. Flora Grubb seems to be the place to stock up, none other than Martha Stewart made an appearance last month (apparently her people called ahead of time to warn she'd be there) and everybody's favorite scoundrel President-Bill Clinton was there earlier in the week! Sadly mom and I missed them both, but at least mom can take comfort in knowing her taste in patio furniture is in good company. 

This was the most interesting part of the nursery to me:
flowers cars San Francisco 50's 1950's planter

This awesome old car (possibly a Ford Edsel?) converted into a massive planter box! 
Now of course I'd rather see it up and running, but I guess not being in a dumpster is a plus.

flowers cars San Francisco 50's 1950's planter
                 ^That's me and my always stylish Mom!^

San Francisco architecture sign
After Flora Grubb, we did some shopping at The Gift Center (a bunch of little indoor shops selling jewelry), nothing vintage-y to see there aside from this leftover sign painted on the side of an unrelated building (no idea what it used to be!) down the same street (Brennan).

Our next stop was The Cliff House for an early bird dinner! A couple of nifty sights along the way:
San Francisco architecture San Francisco Alexandria cinema movies pictures films architecture

Now abandoned cinema but the building still stands and some New York looking apartments

San Francisco 50's 1950's Mel's Drive In
Mel's Drive-In! (Holy fog Batman)

San Francisco 50's 1950's Mel's Drive In

The parking lot for The Cliff House is directly across from the once happening Sutro Baths:
San Francisco 1800's 1900's 1920's 1930's 1940's 1950's Sutro Baths swimming

San Francisco 1800's 1900's 1920's 1930's 1940's 1950's Sutro Baths swimming

Sadly today as you peer over the side of the cliff this is all you'll see:
San Francisco 1800's 1900's 1920's 1930's 1940's 1950's Sutro Baths swimming

San Francisco 1800's 1900's 1920's 1930's 1940's 1950's Sutro Baths swimming
San Francisco 1800's 1900's 1920's 1930's 1940's 1950's Sutro Baths swimming

 Aaaand after a little windy walk uphill and a quick photo-op stop...
San Francisco beach water ocean rocks tide

We'd arrived!
San Francisco Cliff House ocean beach art deco

How could you not love this building from the get-go!? The surrounding scenery, the architecture, the history, even those palms! Just divine.

Inside did not disappoint either, it splits into two restaurants, one more traditional and the other some fru-fru place charging God-knows-what for about two tablespoons of food. Luckily we ate in the older restaurant, the "Cliff House Dining Room":
San Francisco Cliff House ocean beach art deco

There were gorgeous details everywhere-
San Francisco Cliff House ocean beach bar woodwork
From beautiful woodwork above the bar, to fab tile patterns on the floor!
San Francisco Cliff House ocean beach art deco

San Francisco Cliff House ocean beach art deco Even the bathroom doors were cute!

San Francisco Cliff House ocean beach art decoThis incredible "ceramic muse"was once a feature in the Sutro Baths, created early 1890's.

Our table had some fantastic views as well:
San Francisco Cliff House ocean beach

San Francisco Cliff House ocean beach birds sea gulls

San Francisco Cliff House ocean beach Judy Garland Bob HopeSan Francisco Cliff House ocean beach Frankie Avalon Annette Funicello The walls inside were lined with pictures of their celebrity patrons! I sat next to Judy and Bob!

After and delicious portion of Fish and Chips, we headed on our way, but not before a quick photo with a cowboy that once resided in Playland !
San Francisco Cliff House ocean beach cowboy Playland statue

Alright, and now for the major highlight of the day, I got to see where Marilyn Monroe got married!! San Francisco City Hall! And holy moly what a stunning building it is!
San Francisco City Hall architecture beautiful Marilyn Monroe  married Joe DiMaggio

San Francisco City Hall architecture beautiful Marilyn Monroe  married Joe DiMaggio
San Francisco City Hall architecture beautiful Marilyn Monroe  married Joe DiMaggio

San Francisco City Hall architecture beautiful Marilyn Monroe  married Joe DiMaggio San Francisco City Hall architecture beautiful Marilyn Monroe  married Joe DiMaggio
Marilyn and Joe leaving just after being married there on January 14, 1954:
San Francisco City Hall architecture beautiful Marilyn Monroe  married Joe DiMaggio
Another of the couple on their happy day!
San Francisco City Hall architecture beautiful Marilyn Monroe  married Joe DiMaggio

I hope to see the inside someday!

Well after a full day it was time to head home, a few parting views of the city:

San Francisco architecture houses

fog nature mountains beautiful

 Hope you enjoyed my mini tour of San Francisco, till next time darlings!