Sunday, July 29, 2012

Deco-y-ish Makeup Dish: Is that spit in your mascara, or are you just happy to see me?

Crave a blast of lash? 

Chandra (our resident professional makeup artist Diva!) found a little pic on Maybelline block mascara, a.k.a. a "Spit Block". Yes, you can imagine why.  It was cake mascara used in the 1920's and 30's where you'd spit into it and use the little brush mixed with your saliva to get it good and gloopy. (Yum! Who's ready for lunch now?) 

There was a little brush in the case you'd use to apply this cake over and over.  Spit, mix, stroke, repeat...and then admire your Clara Bow lashes loudly. 

Although, if you ever book Chandra (we'll share her with you!) to make you look like Louise Brooks, it will make you happy to know that she is a sanitation freak who always uses disposable mascara wands when working with clients. And it should give you peace to know that she never spits in it! Just don't make her angry.  (We kid, we kid.)

Mascara tip: If you were born with stick straight lashes and want to keep them curled and flirty for longer than five seconds, curl your lashes with an eyelash curler, then brush a quick coat of waterproof mascara on them, and follow that up with a couple coats of regular mascara. The waterproof mascara base will keep your lashes all luscious and curly and stuff, and someone will probably try to kiss you. Or, at least they might wink ;)

Btw, you can still find cake mascara and eyeliner around if you look for it. Happy glooping! And don't forget to powder your noses, Dolls!

P.S. If you're located in Southern California and want to learn more about becoming deco-licious in terms of your makeup, email us at, and we'll give you Chandra's contact booking info. 

Sincerely Lashes,
The Art Deco Divas 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Walk Like An Egyptian (Theatre)

It was like watching a scary movie in an old Hollywood theater.  Literally.

As Chandra and I took baby steps across the darkened balcony at the Egyptian Theatre, with only a small beam of light from Chandra’s iPhone Flashlight App to guide us, I (Lara) broke out in nervous, hysterical laughter, wondering if we would be able to get out of the locked theatre.  

It was so quiet that I kept thinking of the, “In space, no one can hear you scream” movie tagline. Yes, but would they hear us out on Hollywood Boulevard? Would the man dressed up in a Batman costume down the street at Mann’s Chinese Theatre come to our rescue?

How did we end up on that dark balcony, anyway?

"Hi. I hold glamour inside." - Egypt, Egypt
It started innocently enough when Chandra and I along with fellow Divas Cori and Michelle decided to have a Hollywood day and visit the Egyptian Theatre. It was Cori and Chandra’s first time there, as they’re used to enjoying films at the $5 theatre in Orange County! We planned to give them a slightly different cinematic experience.

We were thrilled about visiting this place because we knew that the Egyptian Theatre was originally super-stud Sid Grauman’s place, although he’s generally more famous for the Chinese Theatre a couple blocks down with all the handprints, footprints, and signatures of celebs from the 20s ‘til now (I mean, seriously, what’s more fun than seeing if you have the same size hands as Gloria Swanson? But that’s for another blog). 

Man in tights:
Douglas Fairbanks as Robin Hood
The Theatre hosted the first ever Hollywood premiere on October 18th, 1922, which was Robin Hood with the delectable Douglas Fairbanks as the man in tights. Happy 90th to the Egyptian, btw—you definitely don’t look your age, although, like a lot of folks in LaLa Land, you may have had some, um, “reconstruction” work done (*wink-wink).

As we strolled through the impressive courtyard and talked about what famous derrieres may have once plopped down inside, we heard the strains of the theme from The Exorcist played on a piano that had been set up on the sidewalk (foreshadowing, anyone?). Reaching the front doors, we planned to throw them open…and they were locked up tight. Hmmmm. We went over to the box office. Empty.

Just as I started to say, “Well, there’s always Bob’s Frolic Room down the street,” we spied a tour coming out through the front entrance, with their guide holding the door. Quick as a flash -- and even in red break-your-ankle stilettos -- Cori slipped stealth-like through the front door. After all the little kids in matching red shirts exited, the rest of us followed Bold Spice in. 

The old paintings on the tombs
walking like an Egyptian.
Just like an actual tomb, not a lot of light was visible. The lobby was dim (at one o-clock in the afternoon!), and the office off to the side looked deserted. I was delighted, however, to see that Vegan Cookies are offered at the snack bar. After failing to find a light-switch, there was only one thing to do at that point: split up and explore. Divide and conquer. 

Cori and Chandra disappeared into the bathrooms to check out the faucet attire. Meanwhile, Chandra and I, forgetting the lessons of every scary movie EVER, opted for the balcony of the pitch-black theatre. I had remembered from a previous tour I’d taken that there was a stairway and door to the projection room. 

As we tip-toed our way through the dark, peering slightly ahead thanks to our trusty Flashlight App, I remembered that Chandra attracts ghosts like Justin Bieber attracts girls, and thought that perhaps I should have opted for the bathrooms with the other two. The acoustics in the theatre are so amazing that it wasn’t even just that it was quiet, but more like there was an absence of sound.  Wait…what was that noise? Cleopatra, is that you?

The projection room door was locked, and we still couldn’t find anyone who worked there, so we headed down from the balcony to meet up with the other two. It was then when some tourists tried the locked doors and peered in. I think someone screamed, “Hide!” like we were twelve years old and didn’t want Courtney from down the street to see that we were home, because then we would have to play with her, and well….she was wearing a fanny pack, camera around the neck, and black socks pulled up high. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  We just didn’t know them and wanted to protect the place.  

It seemed the best thing to do was to find the back door (still didn’t see a light switch, lamp, or even a candle…match, anyone?). We found an exit off to the right, and it didn't look like it would trigger any alarms, so we naturally stopped to pose for pics before bursting through the doors and into the brilliant sunshine.

Making a graceful exit out the back ;)

What did we learn at the Egyptian, and how do we tie it into our central theme of inspiring women (and men) to celebrate life by adding more beautiful elements? 

Well, if someone holds a door for you, don’t ask questions—just smile, say thank you, and walk through it like the Diva you are.  You never know what you’ll find on the other side. We are all planners (I, Kitty, have 5 to-do lists), and certainly we plan to have fun, but sometimes the best adventures come when you step out of your comfort zone and create your own adventure. It’s okay if you’re anxious…pushing through your fears is one of the most rewarding parts of life’s adventure!

Oh, and if you happen to find yourself in a cavernous, deserted theatre…be ready to make a quick exit out the back (and hope the security camera isn’t turned on!).

Check it out:
American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA

Tip: You can buy tickets for current and classic movie screenings, many of which feature stars, directors, and more industry types. And while you might not get gussied up in a floor-length gown and Cleopatra-style jewels, it is fun to glam up a bit for a visit.  It is Hollywood, sister. Also, keep an eye on the monthly calendar for tour dates (official tours, with the lights on) and screenings of Forever Hollywood, a film that celebrates a century of movie-making history (hello, Garbo). 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Culver Hotel and Munchkinland

The munchkins totally partied here.

Fig: The Culver Hotel Lounge. So inviting!
That was my (Lara’s) first thought as I walked into the pie-slice-shaped Culver Hotel in Culver City with my fellow divas, Michelle ("The Actress") and Chandra ("The Makeup Artist"), and marveled at all the big-time glamma packed into a small space.  Our Fourth Diva, Cori ("The Writer"), was home nursing a sore throat and sounding a lot like Demi Moore.  

I hoped I had the courage to convince my friends that they should join me and dedicate the next year to writing a guidebook about Art Deco and Old Hollywood. For someone who talks for a living (I guess that makes me "The Voice"?), I was sweat-trickling-down-the-back nervous. I was going to need a trough of liquid courage (caffeine) for this. Latte, please. Or six. Add in another shot.

But back to the munchkins. Even though the hotel has hosted tons of superstars, from Clark Gable to Lana Turner to Judy Garland to Ronald Reagan, it’s all about the little people for me. Is it because I had a thing for the Lollipop Guild when I was a child, and wanted them to welcome me to Munchkinland?  Perhaps. 

Fig. The Culver Hotel Dining Room.
Join us for a dinner party?!
Legend has it that when filming was going on for The Wizard of Oz, an underground tunnel was built to usher the Munchkins from the hotel to nearby MGM (now Sony) Studios. Later, not wanting a good tunnel to go to waste, it was utilized to ferry alcohol and women during the Prohibition Era. Holla! How do I get a tunnel between my casa and Starbucks?

Legend also has it that the munchkins got up to all kinds of naughtiness while throwing some wild parties. I want to go to there, this munchkin shindig. Ain’t no party like a munchkin party ‘cause a munchkin party don’t stop. However, they must not have trashed the place too badly because their picture still hangs on the bathroom door that’s just off the grand lobby.

As I thought about how this place was once just empty land, and then Culver City’s first movie theater, and then this beautiful hotel, I remembered this quote: “Everyone who got where they are had to start where they were.” 

Maybe it was the spaciousness of the lobby, the startling print on the black and white wallpaper, the tiny projector to the right of the bar, or the piano music that was being piped in from somewhere (the secret tunnel?), but I found myself opening up to Sugar and Michelle and sharing from my heart about this dream I’ve had for a few years now of writing the book that I would like to read on Art Deco. But not just a straight-up guide book, or a book that is just about history and design, but one that shares how the beauty of Art Deco can change a life and reveal beauty in every woman.

Our book would be full of tips on everything from how to make a vintage cocktail to how to put together a kick-ass playlist from the ‘20s and ‘30s (I’m talking about your delightful, de-lovely songs, Cole Porter). How I’ve found that, as I’ve started to add things like reading books about design, and going to historical buildings, and drooling over 1920’s beaded flapper-style dresses from The Way We Wore online into my own life I’ve started to crave quality, glamour, and fun in the every day things.  

And how my mindset has changed as I’ve been exposed to incredible images. I’ve started to feel like maybe, just maybe, my best years aren’t behind me, and that the future could be very bright indeed.

Thankfully, my girls didn’t run screaming for the Hollywood Hills when I shared all of this with them, especially the part about how it’s all going to be a process, and right now we have no idea where we’re going to end up (Barstow, maybe?). I could have kissed their stilettos, because they were actually excited at the prospect of throwing themselves into something new. I do think that the yummy omelettes and waffles (Sugar had one of each!) may have helped bring them around to Mama’s way of thinking. 

That morning at the pie slice, we planned our very first Deco Day, and will be hitting the Roosevelt Hotel and Egyptian Theater in Hollywood in the very near future to look for the ghost of Marilyn Monroe.

P.S. We’re excited that you are joining us on this journey, too.

If you find yourself poking around at the Culver Hotel and perhaps trying to convince your friends to join you for a random project, try the waffles and don’t miss these five things:
Fig. The Green Chair!
(Was it in the Emerald City
in the land of Oz?)

  1. The Mezzanine Lounge, perfect for a cozy meeting with a lovahhhhhhhh.
  2. The bathroom off of the Mezzanine Lounge. The mirror, the wallpaper…we felt glamorous while blowing our nose in here.
  3. The vibrant green chair you see as you enter through the door by the valet.  If your dogs are barking after a long day, take a load off here, fanny.
  4. The sparkly private dining room. We wanted to wear the se napkins as a hat, and then felt inspired to buy some for our own house, instead of handing people a roll of paper towels when they come over and saying, “We’re not fancy around here.” 
  5. The bird/duck/falcon? faucet in the downstairs ladies room.  And by the way, gentlemen, it’s worth sneaking in to take a peek at this beauty of a bird/duck/falcon. Oh, the detail! We swoon. 

Fig: Bathroom sink in The Culver Hotel.
We think it's some type of cool cross-breed.
And just a side note, let us know if you find that secret tunnel.  We have some alcohol and women we’d like to ferry through. 

Culver Hotel
9400 Culver Boulevard  Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 558-9400

Fun Note: The “Jewel of Downtown Culver” City was branded a skyscraper (at what looks like six stories!) in 1924 when it first opened its doors. Culver City and the hotel were created by Harry Culver as the ideal stopping ground for people going from the beach to the wonderful Hollywood Nightlife, a drive that now takes about 20-25 minutes without traffic.  But it’s still fun to stop in CC for a little refreshment with sand stuck between your toes.