These Are The Buildings In My Neighborhood

As I’ve mentioned before, I live in Long Beach, California. As I’ve also mentioned, I love it, and one of the reasons I love it is that it’s full of old buildings. OK, OK, not OLD old. Not European old, or even east-coast-of-the-US old. But old enough to make me happy. Today, the Mister and I went on a small walking adventure throughout the area southwest of our apartment and took pictures of some of the cooler buildings we saw.

Be advised: this post is very long and EXTREMELY picture heavy. It focuses entirely on architecture, so if you find that kind of thing boring … prepare to get bored. Be also advised that I take credit for none of the photography here. The Mister took every last one of the photos (except two, and you’ll know them when you see them).

Let’s start off by heading down Ocean Boulevard, toward downtown Long Beach. Here’s a view looking west down Ocean. In most of southern California, the Pacific is to the west. But in Long Beach, just to make things confusing, the ocean is to the south–from this vantage point, to the left.

Here we have a Spanish-style fellow (there are a LOT of Spanish-style buildings around here). Note the enormous bougainvillea out front. We have a lot of that around here too.

And yes, the weather is nice. It wasn’t super warm today–maybe low to mid-60s–but warmer than apparently everywhere else in the country.

This particular area of the city has a great many smallish (say, 12-14 unit) apartment buildings. A lot of them were built in the late 1920s and have charming names.

Hard to read, but this one is called “The Empress.” Not sure what’s going on with the scaffolding back there. (It occurs to me that I should have left these photos bigger. Next time.)

The Art … Nouveau? Deco? (art nerds, help me out) one on the left is called The Regent.

Here’s a better look at it.

This one is called St. Regis. The Mister and I saw a commercial being filmed here in December (more on filming in a second).

Here it is from the front. Very San Francisco, no?

Next up, a couple of this area’s more famous buildings. First is the Villa Riviera.

The Villa Riviera has a pretty interesting history. It was the second-tallest building in southern California when it was built, and it housed a lot of naval officers during WWII. Long Beach has very close ties to the US Navy–my paternal grandfather married my grandmother (who lived on Ocean at the time) in Long Beach when he was in the Navy–but that’s a whole other post. I believe Charlie Chaplin also lived in the Villa Riviera at one point. The roof is actually copper. And guess what else it has up there?

See ’em?

Gargoyles! Woo!

Here’s another iconic one–the Long Beach International Building–that you’ve probably seen before, even if you weren’t aware of it at the time.

And where might you have seen it before? Well … ever seen “Anchorman”?

Or “Dexter”?

Quite a bit of filming goes on in Long Beach because it’s cheaper than filming in Los Angeles proper. In the early 20th century, Long Beach actually had its own film studio, called Balboa Studios. These days, the city mostly acts as a stand-in for other SoCal locations (San Diego, LA, Orange County) and places like Miami.

OK, let’s head north, or inland! Downtown Long Beach has lots of awesome old hotels, most of which I think are now used as apartments.

I don’t think this next one is actually a hotel, but it’s hotel-ish, so I’m including it.

One of the bigger old hotels is the Broadlind, so-named because of its location at the corner of Broadway and Linden.

In addition to the many old hotels, there are a few newer MOtels, some with outstanding sign design.

And we have a giant old bank building.

Now let’s head back toward where I live. The neighborhood I live in is pretty old and mainly residential (but with commercial areas a block or two away to both the north and the south). As such, there are lots of cool old apartments around for gawking at.

We also have many fine alleys.

This next one’s a good one. Called the El Cordova or the Rose Towers, it was designed by George Riddle, the same architect who designed the building I live in.

Old George was a big fan of Spanish-style buildings with courtyards. This photo of my building illustrates how similar it is to the Rose Towers, below.

He designed two or three other buildings on my street as well, including the Casa Nido across the street.

Even the boring public-service buildings in this neighborhood have personality. Behold the fire station (there’s an even cooler fire station in nearby Belmont Shore … I’ll take a picture of that one of these days too).

It usually has a life-size fake sheep out front (sometimes wearing a serape), but our theory is that they take it inside on weekends.

And our tiny, tiny library …

… with its extremely excellent signage.

And that, my friends, is why I love Long Beach. Sure, it’s got its scummy areas. Sure, I’ve been burgled here (not in my current apartment), and I’ve been attempted-robberied too. But it’s such a cool city, and the area that I live in has such a unique personality, that I’d have to think long and hard about moving anywhere else.

Published in: on February 5, 2011 at 8:13 pm  Comments (9)  
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Being the boring, elderly, office-working neutral-makeup-wearer that I am, the first thing I did once I got my Urban Decay 15-year anniversary 24/7 eyeliner set home was start playing with the browns. And friends … I have fallen deeply, madly in love with one of them.

But before I get into that, let’s look at all the brown (or brownish) Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliners I own, shall we? From left to right, we have Whiskey, Bourbon, Corrupt, Stray Dog, and Underground. I left most of these photos enormous, so click them for the full effect. In direct sun:

In indirect indoor light:

And a flash photo for good measure:

Please note that only the middle three liners in these photos–Bourbon, Corrupt, and Stray Dog–are included in the 15th anniversary set. Please also note that only Bourbon and Underground are currently available individually. I got Whiskey as one half of the dual-ended pencil included with the Naked palette, and the only other place I’ve seen it is on Sephora as half of a duo.

I’m pretty impressed with all of these shades. Whiskey is a gorgeous, mid-toned, warm brown, and I’d love to have it in a full-sized pencil. Bourbon looks essentially the same as Whiskey, but with gold sparkle. Let’s skip over Corrupt, because I have a lot to say about it. Stray Dog is a really interesting, unusual color. It’s a brownish taupe with a definite gray tone to it–almost a duochrome effect. It looks taupey-brown straight on, but when you see it from an angle, the gray takes over. Very unique. And we all know my feelings on Underground, which is to say I LOVE IT.

Corrupt is pretty much my new favorite thing in the world. Christine from Temptalia describes it as a “dark chocolate brown with warm amber undertones,” and Urban Decay’s website calls it a “dark metallic brown w/silver sparkle.” Both of these descriptions are technically accurate, but I don’t think they really do it justice. It’s a fairly dark brown, definitely darker than Whiskey and Bourbon, and it has a unique reddish-coppery tone. This aspect of it is most obvious in the flash photo above, and it gives it an almost eggplant-y sheen in some light. The sparkle is noticeable, but not obtrusive or glittery. I love the way Corrupt looks with my eyes. Paging Dr. Love! Paging Dr. I.M.N. Love! Sigh.

I wore it to the grocery store today. Prepare yourself for THE GIANT EYEBALLS OF DOOOOOOOM!

I wanted to emphasize the liner, so I wore it with a really pale eyeshadow and mascara, and that was pretty much it. Again, these photos are all pretty huge, so click away!


  • UDPP Eden
  • MAC eyeshadow in Bisque (which, it turns out, is EXACTLY the color of my eyelids)
  • UD 24/7 eyeliner in Corrupt on upper lids
  • Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara in Excessive Black
  • NYX brow powder in Brown
  • UD lipstick in Wicked (I got this as part of a “Beauty in a Box” set from Sephora, and I didn’t expect to like it at all. But it’s actually quite pretty and unobtrusive. Score!)

So, to conclude: Corrupt is just gorgeous. It surprised the hell out of me–the one I was expecting to go nuts over was Stray Dog–and I really, really wish it were available individually and permanently. What do you think? Like it? Need it? Don’t care? Have sworn allegiance to another brown eyeliner already?

Published in: on January 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm  Comments (9)  
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New Year, New Chopsticks

As required by law, the Mister and I had sushi (well, sashimi) for our New Year’s Day dinner.

We have sashimi pretty much every New Year’s Day, and it was extra fun this year because we got to try out a few sushi-related gifty items that we got for Christmas. Such as the pickle dishes and doggy chopstick rest from my sister.

How cute is that? I failed to take pictures of the pickle dishes before we slapped a bunch of pickles onto them. Believe me when I say that they are also very cute; one of them has bunnies, and the other one has a cat.

We also got to mix up our own wasabi from the Penzeys wasabi powder my mom got us. It was very, very good. I’ve been disappointed by powdered wasabi in the past, but this stuff is amazing. Hot, but not too hot, flavorful, and not gritty at all. Highly recommended. Oh, and it’s not dyed bright green like most wasabi is either.

And finally, we both got to bust out our fancy chopsticks. I opted for my Mr. Gently chopsticks, which were a gift from the Mister’s sister some years ago. They have the following information on them: “Mr. Gently. He is my best friend. He is gentle manner and heart.” Plus, they have a cat! Wearing a suit!

And, the piece de resistance:

Light saber chopsticks, Yoda flavored, from Think Geek, Christmas gift to the Mister from me. Light saber noises were made at dinner, and there was a reference to “the dark side.” I can see that these are going to have to be used sparingly.

I hope that you had a fantastic New Year’s too, and here’s to a happy, healthy 2011!

Published in: on January 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm  Comments (12)  
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Neutral Territory

I am seriously into neutral eye colors these days. I don’t know why. I’ve never been hugely into brights, but I’ve gone crazy for neutrals all of a sudden. Taupes, beiges, reddish browns, coppery browns, very pale pinks and champagnes and off-whites, grays. Can’t get enough of them. I got 12 new (mostly neutral) eye shadows for Christmas, I have my Sephora cart all loaded up and ready to go with yet more, and my MAC favorites list is filled to the brim with subtle, gorgeous, glorious neutrals.

Man, I should have put on some lipstick! Anyway, I don’t know what the deal is with the neutral colors. I think part of it is that, as I get older, I’m less interested in “making a statement” with my makeup and more interested in flattering my features and skin tone. I’m also getting more concerned with the image that I present professionally: when I’m at work, I want people to focus on what I’m saying, not how I look. And these colors are perfect for professional, work-friendly, “grown-up” makeup looks. (Which is not to say that bold makeup can’t be professional and grown-up! There are a lot of things to take into consideration in terms of the makeup you wear at work: personal preference, the industry you’re in, possibly the dress code, and so on. Even where you live can have an influence.)

Here’s what I’m wearing!

  • UDPP in Eden
  • MAC Naked Lunch all over lids (thanks Mom!)
  • UD Roach in crease
  • UD Toasted above Roach to blend
  • MAC Dazzlelight to highlight
  • UD 24/7 eyeliner in Underground
  • Clinique High Impact mascara

These were almost all Christmas presents. The Urban Decay stuff was a gift to me from me, and my mom gave me the MAC stuff. Wheeee! New makeup!

Natural light:

With flash:

I know I’ve waxed rhapsodic about Underground eyeliner before, but I just have to reiterate that I freaking LOVE IT. It’s more subtle than black or even brown liner, and it’s just a unique and gorgeous color. I had a travel size of it before, but I got myself a full size for Christmas.

On a related note, were you aware that MAC Naked Lunch and Urban Decay Sell Out are almost perfect dupes? It’s a fact. Naked Lunch is just a tiny bit warmer and pinker, and Sell Out is slightly cooler and frostier. Otherwise, they’re practically indistinguishable pinky champagnes. I love them both!

Sell Out on the left, Naked Lunch on the right.

Published in: on December 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm  Comments (4)  
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Lush Face

Terrible title, I know. What can I say, I’m sleepy and distracted by Rain Apocalypse 2010 and the impending Christmas festivities!

So! As you might (or, more likely, might not) recall, I embarked upon a Lush skin care routine some time back. I was having some skin issues (odd dry patches, clogged pores, and the like), and since I’m a huge fan of Lush’s bath and body products, I figured it was high time to try out their skin care stuff and see if that sorted things out. After much hemming and hawing, I selected a few products that I thought might work well for me:

I have also augmented this routine with a couple of other items:

Now that I’ve been using this stuff for several months, I’ve formed some opinions. And here they are!

First off, the cleansers. I really, really like both Angels on Bare Skin and Buche de Noel. They’re similar products in that they’re both solid cleansers. As a former user of bar soaps, it took me a while to get accustomed to them; they have a cookie-dough-like texture, and you mix a pea-sized amount into a paste with water in the palm of your hand. It didn’t take me long to figure out that it takes very little water to achieve the required consistency. Both of these cleansers are very mild, and they have a gentle exfoliating effect as well. Buche de Noel is somewhat like a more moisturizing version of Angels on Bare Skin, and I’ve come to LOVE it; I suspect that it might be a Christmas-only product, and if that is the case, then I will CRY. It smells so good that I want to eat it.

I like both of these cleansers a lot, and would/will definitely purchase them again. In fact, I’m tempted to buy a backup of Buche de Noel RIGHT NOW, just in case they yank it after the holidays. I do think my skin has cleared up a bit since I started using them (although, to be fair, it was fairly clear before), and it certainly FEELS a hell of a lot better. So, yeah. I’m sold on these two.

Moving right along to the other new cleanser in my arsenal, 9 to 5. This is a makeup-removing “cleansing lotion,” and you use it like a cold cream, which is to say you smear it all over your face (including eyes and, if required, lips), and then wipe it off with cotton balls or a washcloth.  I don’t wear foundation or blush, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness in removing them. It’s fairly effective and non-greasy as an eye makeup remover.

However. I swear that one of the ingredients in this product reacts with certain mascaras that I wear, creating a STINGING-EYEBALLS-FROM-HELL situation. But this only happens with certain mascaras. DiorShow? No problem. Clinique High Impact? OH HOLY HELL MAKE THE BURNING STOP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. I don’t know what’s up with that, and I don’t know if other people have had the same experience. I use this pretty regularly, and I would buy it again, but if I have the Clinique mascara on, I stick with Clinique eye makeup remover.

I’ve also become pretty fond of the Bubble Gum lip scrub. I’ve read some complaints about this product to the effect that it’s basically just flavored sugar mixed with oil. Which, OK, is true. But the flavoring is DELICIOUS (if you like like Snow Fairy/Godmother/Candy Fluff, you’ll like this). And it’s relatively cheap (US$8.95), and a little bit goes a LONG way. So I’ll continue to use it, and I think it’s a great value. For extra awesomeness, scrub your lips with this, then follow up with Whipstick. Mmmmmmmmmm soft and yummy.

And finally, Celestial moisturizer. My new love. At US$22.95, this isn’t particularly cheap, but it’s one of Lush’s more affordable moisturizers. I definitely think it’s worth the price. It smells delicious–like vanilla ice cream and almonds–and it’s incredibly soothing to my skin. It’s noticeably moisturizing without being greasy. I like it at least as much as the significantly pricier Paradise Regained, which is what I was using before I bought this one. I hate to sound like a broken record here, but I adore this and would/will buy it again.

So! There’s my rundown. Have you used any of these products, and if so, what did you think? Is there some other magical Lush wonderment that I’m missing out on?

Published in: on December 21, 2010 at 10:17 am  Comments (1)  
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Some Friday Blathering

Item Number One. It is raining out. This makes me extra glad that I took this particular day off. I’m sitting in the living room, cat and coffee by my side, down blanket on my lap, pretty much marinating in my own smugness.

Item Number Two. The rain situation also makes me glad that I opted to go outdoors and take sock progress photos yesterday instead of waiting until today. It’s further along than this now, but you get the general idea.

This is the front:

And this is the back:

I went ahead and put a glaring mistake in there too, just to get that out of the way. The flawed sock looked so happy in the sunshine that I was almost sad to bring it in.

Item Number Three. I really, really should have wrapped my Christmas presents to myself. I didn’t, and as a result, I have a Sephora box and an Urban Decay box just SITTING there on my coffee table, taunting me. They’ll get what’s coming to them in about a week. Oh yes, they will.

Item Number Four. Robot Cat attempts to hide from the vacuum cleaner, but her eyeballs give her away every time.

Item Number Five. Thanks to my mom and her provision of a “gift certificate,” I have ordered knee-high boots. Details and pictures to follow.

Item Number Five Point Five. Just an FYI. My mom comments on my blog, but rather than identifying herself as MY mom, she identifies herself as the DOG’s mom.

Item Number Six. I had no idea people would feel so strongly about my haircut! Thanks for all the opinions and input … makes me feel a little more confident about wearing my hair straight and bangs down!

Item Number Seven. I was thinking about doing a “skin care update” post, now that I’ve been using various Lush products for a few months. Anyone interested?

Published in: on December 17, 2010 at 11:19 am  Comments (8)  
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Dress And A Haircut

Twooooooo … biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiits!

I’m taking today and tomorrow off work, so I decided to take advantage of my long weekend and get a damn haircut. Here is a rare look at me with A) my bangs not clipped back and B) my hair blown out straight.

The only time I ever wear it this way is when my stylist does it. I just can’t be bothered to blow it dry; in my opinion, that defeats the whole purpose of having it short. But I do like how it looks.

In other exciting news, I wore my new ruffle-front wrap dress from eShakti today. And to work yesterday, for that matter. I LOVE this dress. It’s super-flattering, and it fits like it was made just for me. I will be ordering more dresses from them. OK, OK, I already have. What?

Check out the shadow of Mister Principessa’s head.

And check out my dress blowing around in the breeze. Apparently that breeze is foreshadowing SEVERE! WEATHER! to come.

Hey, I live in LA County, OK? This is about as severe as it gets.

Published in: on December 16, 2010 at 3:27 pm  Comments (24)  
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Welcome To My Bawdy Lair


Since I finished all my Christmas knitting, I’ve started a few new projects. Including Cookie A’s Baudelaire socks.

Check out how the gusset and heel flap stitches flow into the cable. Fancy! That’s why Cookie A is a sock designer and I’m not.

These are toe-up socks. I usually prefer top-down, but these have been pretty fun. I do like the idea that you can make them as tall as possible until you run out of yarn.

With flash:

The yarn I’m using is Louet Gems fingering weight in French Blue. From, of course, the Loopy Ewe. It’s been really fun to work with–very spongy and bouncy and squishy. Love it. Need more.

Check out the blurry cat in this one.

I cannot recommend Cookie A’s sock patterns highly enough. I have her book “Sock Innovations,” and I just got “Knit. Sock. Love.” in the mail this past week too. It’s going to keep me very busy for a very long time. Once I’m done with the Baudelaires, I’m going to embark on a truly complicated pattern: Lissajous (the shorter sock version, not the taller stocking version–although, how incredible are those?). They’re for my mom; I told her to expect them in, oh, June or so. If she’s lucky.

Published in: on December 11, 2010 at 11:40 am  Comments (4)  
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My Blog, As Searched For By Others

One of the nifty features of WordPress is that it lets you see what search terms brought people to your blog. If the terms that brought people here over the past seven days are any indication, I cover the following topics:

  • vince noir
  • mac vanilla pigment
  • seasoned squid salad
  • knit an easy shawl
  • lush 9 to 5
  • haus of gloi

Sounds about right. Although the people who searched for

  • wet and puffy
  • what is difference between shimmer and sparkle
  • cannot pucker
  • portable small electric boiling ring

may have left disappointed. Also, if the person who searched for

  • urban decay underground dupe

finds one … hook me up!

Published in: on December 2, 2010 at 9:03 pm  Comments (5)  
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Read In David Attenborough Voice

From this vantage point, we can just make out the domestic cat (Felis catus), who appears to be making an unusual attempt to engage in social behavior.

The domestic or “house” cat is typically a solitary and inscrutable creature, emerging from the bedroom only when she requires food, a litterbox visit, or a manic, unfocused, late-night scramble around the apartment. However, in cold weather, the housecat will occasionally initiate physical contact with one of her human roommates, a valuable source of body heat. If she’s lucky, the cat will also have a chance to sneak onto the armchair and under a down blanket, thus securing a warm and comfortable resting spot for the evening.

Published in: on November 28, 2010 at 7:31 pm  Comments (6)  
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