Category Archives: Real Life : Alix

Kiddo Flashback :: Alix’s 80s Valentines Dance

Gather round friends. It’s time for the annual telling of the Embarrassing Valentines Dance story. I share it every year, because my friends all love to make fun of me for this…and who am I to deny them the pleasure??

Like many towns, my high school in Flint, Michigan always had dances as school fundraisers. They weren’t formal (that was the PROM) and were held in the gym (of course). The Valentines Dance was a popular one. During my sophomore year, I was the Class Vice President and once again we would be holding a valentines dance in the gym. One of my main duties as VP was to attend the dance and man the front desk—selling tickets, encouraging people to buy photo packages etc. Todd Richardson, our class treasurer, was working the same shift with me. The dance was pretty well attended and we were feeling all happy. As we sat there, this guy Lance from my choir class (yes. choir. I was Glee before Glee, ya’ll.) strolls up in his work out gear and casually asks, “Hey what’s going on here?” Obviously he didn’t see the GIGANTIC hearts and streamers. So I tell him it’s the Valentines Dance. (duh) Now Lance was a good looking guy and fancied himself a bit of a ladies man. He was also a big fan of Prince and was workin’ that 80s Prince hair. I guess he kinda liked me because after a little chit chat he said, “Hey, so if I come back dressed up, will you dance with me??” I sort of smiled awkwardly not sure what to say. I wasn’t dressed up and wasn’t prepared to have a date for this thang. To sweeten the deal he grinned charmingly and added, “We can get our picture taken!” I wasn’t sure how to respond. I stuttered a lame, “Uh…well.. I’m kind of working.” I look pleadingly at my buddy Todd to help me out. Todd did NOT help but in fact  totally pimped me out, saying, “Oh you can totally dance. I’ll cover.” Then to Lance, “She’ll definitely dance with you!!” Lance flashed another dazzling smile and sauntered out the door. I was glared at Todd who huffed indignantly, “We need to sell tickets Alix! It’s a fundraiser!” *sigh*

To Lance’s credit, he got cleaned up pretty quickly—to my surprise he strolled in 15 minutes later in a plum colored Miami Vice suit. Hot! We shared an awkward dance to Union of the Snake by Duran Duran and then got in line to get our picture taken. Bear in mind I’m totally NOT dressed up and look like a huge dork. Not to mention the photography set up was sooo low budget—it was literally a chair next to a tall skinny table with a rose on it. Lance thanks me and immediately leaves after getting our pic taken. So much for our “date”. I trot back to the table where Todd asks me “How was the dance?” I shoot him a look. I’m thinking, “What am I going to do with all these photos of me and Lance?” Cut to the end of the night. Our photographer (“Fred Best”….yes. Best name ever.) comes over and says, “Hey, you two kids have been working so hard all night. How’d you like a picture—on the house??” I start to demure but Todd lights up. “Sure! Sounds great!” Good lord, so now I have to take another awkward wierd photo with ANOTHER non-date??? This was turning out to be the most random dance EVER.

Two weeks later I was presented with not one, but TWO sets of photos. I was now the proud owner of multiple 5x7s and far too many wallet pics of the Valentines Dance…and TWO different dates. Of course I handed them out to all my friends. “Would you like something from the Lance Series or the Todd Collection?” I would offer.

Do you wanna see the photos? Oh you KNOW you do. Presenting:

TODD. Rockin’ the high waisted jeans and running shoes. Geek chic.

LANCE. Workin’ the plum trousers and grey leather skinny tie. Suave.

I’m not sure why Lance took his sport jacket off (probably because we had worked up such a sweat Cabbage Patchin’ to Duran Duran). All I know is I look like hell in these photos. It’s a testament to how much I love you guys I’m sharing ’em. Now that I have divulged the PHOTOS, I wanted to clarify a few issues I’m SURE are burning in your mind:

1) YES I am wearing a black lace bow in my hair. We don’t know why. Maybe I think I’m Madonna?
2) YES the photographer made me sit with my legs demurely crossed like that.
3) NO I was not jaundiced.
4) NO I was not responsible for the wicker chair and single rose.
5) YES, I picked that outfit out. I look like the Easter Bunny. I have on this GOD AWFUL Esprit pink sweatshirt that was all 80s and had no defined sleeves…the hood was also “freeform,” hence the pink linebacker effect. I think I have on pink cords and weird grey sneakers shoes that look suspicously like jazz shoes. Which are actually in style again, so hell, maybe I’m not as far off as I thought.
6) On a positive note, I *am* wearing a lovely vintage rhinesone necklace. Which you can’t really see. But trust me. It’s perty. And vintage clip on earrings. Can I get a few points for that??

I was made fun of by my friends for YEARS afterwards. I had actually pushed the whole sordid affair back into the far corners of my mind, when I got a Valentine’s Day card from my friend Jennifer, who I had lost touch with. Inside were the two wallet sized pics of me—one with Lance and one with Todd. I couldn’t help it, a small tear welled up in my right eye. Not from nostaligia, but from the realization that I was wearing Madonna-style lace gloves. But ONLY in the picture with Lance. It’s true. Scroll back up if you don’t believe me. Happy Valentines Day, Kiddos.

Home Sweet Home

The past week has been a little rocky, friends. My mom’s health has been through some problems and last week she had to be hospitalized quite unexpectedly. If you knew my mom, you’d know she is vibrant and youthful and full of energy. It’s sad when anyone gets sick but was doubly upsetting to see someone usually so full of life fall ill. I was extremely worried (as was our whole family) and dropped everything to fly out there to see her. So many of you sent me sweet wishes and prayers and I am so so grateful—thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Fast forward 2 weeks later and she is doing SO MUCH better. Whew!!! Her health isn’t 100%, of course, but she is looking and sounding like her old self. It was so nice to spend time with them. Unlike our summer visits where we head to the lakehouse, this wasn’t a “vacation” so we stayed at my childhood home in Flint. Nothing glamorous (it looks cuter in that photo up there), but really great to be there. I mostly stayed at home, but found a few moments to walk up to my elementary school and of course squeezed in a small thrift pop in or two. Also I was delighted to see that autumn was in full effect. I missed seeing the leaves on the ground and the trees all stark and graphic against the sky.

I scooped up some fun books while in Flint (including the World’s Ugliest Vintage Book Ever….just you wait!) and I’ll be posting them soon. In other news….brrrrrr. It’s cold out there! I was blessed with crisp but very sunny weather while in Michigan but now back here in Cali I think we’re getting ready to light those fires and turn on that heat!

Make sure you hug your mom and dad and tell them you love them friends….

Cool {Alternative} Doodle Coloring Books

I love art. When I was a child I could sit on the floor and color in my coloring books for hours on end! When Wolfie was born I had fantasies of the two of us drawing together all day long. Alas, I have a confession to make: Wolfie doesn’t like drawing. Yep. It’s true. And he’s not big on coloring. He’ll do it….but it’s not his first choice by annnnny stretch of the imagination. He *does* love painting, but it’s definitely more of a production than just whipping out a box of crayons or colored pencils and a sweet lil coloring book or pad of paper.

So lately I’ve been on a quest to find cool coloring books to help nurture a little more appreciation of drawing. I mean, I don’t want to force Wolfie to do something he doesn’t want to do, but I also really think young children need a bit of guidance and exposure to things and drawing is SUCH a fab activity—it promotes creativity, coordination and above all IMAGINATION!

So I bought one of those big ol Doodles: A Really Giant Coloring and Doodling Books. It’s super cute but I gotta tell ya, the thing weighs a good 5 pounds and it’s hard to get the pages to stay open, because it’s so thick. So I was back to square one. Here are three fun ones that we’ve been totally digging.

1. LET’S DRAW! Inspiring Fun Projects for You to Personalize

This book is super cute. The paper is recycled and has a beige textured quality and the book is the perfect thickness for flipping open and drawing away. The “projects” are simple and fun. One page directs you to simply draw diamond shapes and then the next tells you to turn those same shapes into creatures. Many of the pages are more about creating patterns and using color then actually creating an entire scene and I think that is a really great approach!

2. Ye Olde Doodles By Andrew Pinder

Wolfie is really fascinated with history these days and we recently stumbled upon this super cool book! Each page is filled with historical facts, tales and trivia. The drawing instructions are all related to the historical “story”. Rather than gentle, sweet swirly  images, these pages are action-packed scenarios that occasionally verge on the macabre, so be forewarned it’s definitely for older children!

“The Chinese invented gunpowder. They used it for fireworks and in battle. Create your own stunning fireworks display!”

Here’s an example of a crazy page. This one is about the French Revolution. On the one hand, there was a page directing you to decorate Marie Antoinette’s wig. Then the next page? “The guillotine was a deadly machine used to execute people during the French Revolution. Fill the baskets with heads.” Too much?? Probably. But for an 8 year old boy it’s also kind of awesome. In a totally gross way, of course. [This book was published in England….oh you crazy Europeans! haha!]

3. Tag This! A Doodle Book.

Finally, there is this book. Wolfie and I have been talking a lot about grafitti lately. Living in an urban area we see quite a bit of it all over town. Of course we’ve talked about how it’s illegal and lots of pieces are ugly hastily scribbled things…. but we also talk about how some pieces are really amazing and we love seeing beautiful, colorful murals. This book is really fun. The pages are filled with very quirky cool photographs of street scenes, blank walls, bottoms of skateboards etc and you get to tag/draw all over it. It’s a really fun take on the doodle book!

(it helps when you have an uncle who is a fantastic artist! haha….)

So there you have it. Three alternatives to the class coloring book! Do you have a child who isn’t as into coloring? I don’t think I’ve EVER heard anyone admit that their child isn’t a rabid coloring fan or drawing lover….is Wolfie the one lone magical, non-drawing child out there???

Whether your child loves drawing or is a little more reluctant, I think these books are pretty fun! Do you have a favorite thing to do with your child to encourage their drawing? I’d love to hear more!

This time last year // TIKI OASIS!

When I was younger, we always looked forward to our annual summer roadtrip from Michigan to California. It was long but tons of fun—we were just reminiscing about it last week at the lake house! Does your family have any fun vacation traditions? Do you go camping? Or visiting family? Do you have an annual staycation? Or visit friends? In addition to visiting family, we have a fun family tradition we’ve been doing for the past three years. You see, August 22 is my birthday. And lucky for me that end of the summer weekend is always the same weekend as the awesomeness known as Tiki Oasis. It’s become a family tradition to head on down there, and Greg and Wolfie and I just love it. So what the heck is Tiki Oasis, you may ask? It’s a kooky, awesome sun & fun filled weekender down in San Diego celebrating the magic of classic 50s/60s Tiki culture! The whole shebang is hosted by premier Tiki expert Otto von Stroheim and his ultra fab wife Doe (who happens to be one of my bestest pals!). It’s truly a super cool experience. Basically they take over the historic Hanalei hotel and fill it with amazing bands, DJs, dancers, loads of tiki mugs brimming with tasty cocktails and unique symposiums on the history of tiki. The atmosphere is festive and totally family friendly! Wolfie just loves it—and there are always tons of kiddos running around. Each year there is a special theme—last year it was Tiki goes South of the Boarder, and the air was filled with Herb Albert and hip mariachi mania. I never posted the photos, so here’s a little peek at the colorful antics we’ll be gettin’ into this weekend!


The hotel itself is really lovely. Palm trees, little waterfalls, a huge pool and, of course,  lots of cool Tikis all over the property. Everyone lounges poolside to the soothing tunes of a retro, exotica band and amazing DJs spinning vintage vinyl. The mamas always manage to sneak off to the vintage retro bazaar to check out the piles of vintage clothing, records, artwork, tiki mugs and tiki necklaces for sale.


Around dusk, the party kicks into high gear with bands and other live performances. Due to a sound ordinance, the festivities are over around 10:00—but then the crazy crowd parties the night away at room parties with special “themed” drinks. I rarely make it to the room parties and like to just sit in the warm summer night air by the pool, reviewing the day with pals.

We let Wolfie stay up a little later this weekend so he can hear some of the early bands….and there is a “Tiki Tweens” room where the kiddos can munch on pizza & popcorn, do crafts and watch retro movies or old Batman episodes. Lots of people dress up (which I love!) but the best part is that it’s a super happy fun crowd and if you don’t feel like sportin’ a kooky outfit, you’ll still fit right in!

In honor of the retro latin theme, I was workin’ some Frida style hair-dos!


More pool side lounging! Also, there is always an adorable Tiki Tour for the little kids.

Last year my friends Shone and Doe and I all realized we had matching 60s “sunglasses” hats! It was so awesome. This year several of our other Dames pals (including Dottie) got similar hats, so you can bet we’ll be taking a fun group photo at some point!

Greg looks so serious….is he sad to leave or sad that I packed WAY TOO MANY SHOES AND THOSE BAGS ARE HEAVY!!????? hee.

So that brings us to this weekend! This year the theme is SPY! Which should be tons of fun….although I have to confess I was at a bit of a loss for what to wear. Winter spy? No problem! Furry hats, trenchcoats, sleek black dresses and berets….easy peasy! But SUMMER SPY?? Hmmm. I’m eager to see what people come up with! This year is going to be extra fun because so many more friends are coming down—including Dottie and her family! She hasn’t been since 2007, when we both performed with the Devil-Ettes. I just know she’s gonna love seeing how it’s grown even bigger and even more fabulous—and i can’t wait to see Little Miss Peach in her hawaiiana finest!

Wolfie is excited as well because he’s become good friend’s with Doe’s two boys AND three of his other close friends will be there this year, so I’m sure they will be a gang of tiki shirt wearing awesomeness racing around!

We leave today and if you are an Instagrammer, please feel free to follow along on all the fun! I’m @galexina and I can promise you that there will be some very colorful photos and sassy antics this entire weekend! (be sure to check out @missdottie too, of course!) Seeeeee you on Monday everyone!!!


The Week in Pictures.

Our week vacation is coming to a close and we’re all so sad to go home. Greg just packed up the car with Sammy and is driving back. Wolfie and I leave tomorrow. We had a terrific time as always—even though the weather turned and it was POURING these past couple of days! Here’s our week in Instagram pix. I swear I rarely use a real camera anymore. I’m a little sad about that, but its pretty fun to share photos so instantly! {By the way, I’m @galexina if you want to follow along!}

Of course, Greg and I snuck off to do a little thrifting. It was a bit hit or miss, but while there were lotsa so-so things, there were also some totally faboo treasures to be found. My favorites? Vintage kid’s books (natch), some old skool lawn darts (yay!), SPACE CHESS! (who knew??) and this vintage little majorette/ballet costume. I think I might frame it!

Of course we also spent a lot of time swimming and boating around the lake and just running around outside. Since Greg drove, he brought Wolfie’s bow and arrow and they set up a little archery range. Bringing Sam was a luxury (and a tad crazy) but we all agreed it was sooooo much fun to have him here! We also saved on the kennel fee (which can be pretty pricey in Cali). He was confused and nervous that first day, but after receiving an ENTIRE PORK CHOP from my dad the night we grilled, he decided this place was pretty awesome.

Greg and I also had our traditional date-night in Ann Arbor. We went to a few vintage shops and then we FINALLY saw “Moonrise Kingdom”. Like the rest of the blog-o-sphere, I’m pretty much entranced by anything Wes Anderson does! Have you seen it? I loved it.

Alas, for the last 3 days its been raining cats and dogs. So that just meant lotsa hunkering down with a good book, ping pong tourneys, board games and going to the movies! Wolfie was thrilled to discover one of the theaters carried those big soft pretzels he’s crazy about.

Goodbye Michigan! We love you!