California Love

23 Apr

Traveling is one of my biggest inspirations and one of my favorite places to go is California. I’m particularly fond of Southern California because in my opinion, it’s the epitome of the Golden State. The weather is beautiful, everyone is tan and yes, people do actually surf there all year round.I’m particularly focused on L.A. because I love its glamorous history. I also love the casual aesthetic and the art scene is amazing, especially in Echo Park.

Since I can’t always get there (I’m stuck in New York City…poor me), I have to do and see things that remind me of it and now that the weather is getting nicer, I must say, that task is getting rather easier. To get you in the frame of mind, I picked out some great books that can have you channel your inner Californian. They are my personal faves!

Perhaps one of the most glorified chick-lit novels of all-time, Valley of the Dolls explores the lives of three struggling actresses who eventually self-destruct. This is what US Weekly dreams are made of, if you are into that sort of thing. Drugs and sex are very clear themes in this book. I especially love the cover. I’ve always pictured every character in this novel wearing huge sunglasses, pastel a-line dresses and furs.

I actually received this book just a few days before I went to Southern California for the first time. If you are remotely interested in L.A. or even just vintage shopping, this is a must buy. The author Jennifer Brandt Taylor not only does a brilliant job in taking you on a nostalgic journey through  Los Angeles but her profiles of other taste makers are insightful as well.

Although Sweet Valley is a fictional California town, you can’t help but divulge in this totally unrealistic series about rich teens in the 80’s. I’m obsessed with these books and the characters were my first fashion icons. Identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth were always perfect size 6’s (FYI: For the latest books, Random House changed it to  a size 4, which I must say is quite the promotion of eating disorders…) and they were always tan. They also drove a red Fiat. It can’t get anymore Cali…or camp.

This is an amazing reference book from Taschen that is great for yourself or as a gift. The pictures are breathtaking but can also be shocking and haunting, as the book takes you from the city’s development in the 1880’s to the present day. I wish I had more time to actually discover this book because I can probably look through it for months and not get bored.  The author Jim Heimann has written  about the west coast, Hollywood and Los Angeles before, so you know you are in for a treat.

This is seriously one of the juiciest books I’ve ever read and I challenge someone to prove me wrong. After almost 40 years after her tragic death, people are still fascinated by this beautiful and scandalous sex symbol. If you love old-hollywood icons, this book is for you. It’s the ultimate read when on a flight to L.A.


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