Category Archives: Real Life : Dottie

This Time Last Year // TIKI OASIS!

Every August our good friend’s Doe & Otto throw a big ol Tiki-Tastic Bash called Tiki Oasis. If you’re a long time reader, then you’ve seen the posts we’ve done on it over the past years (check some of them out here and here!). Basically it’s a super fun weekender in San Diego that celebrates 50s/60s tiki and exotica culture—the music, the art, the drinks and of course, the fashion! We take over the entire hotel and there is literally something for everyone: poolside lounging, super interesting historical symposiums, lots of vintage shopping, tiki carving, live music and big room parties at night for the more lively set.

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Every year there is a new theme, like South of the Boarder, Tiki-a-Go-Go and last year’s awesome “Exotic Espionage”! In addition to the usual amazing Aloha Wear, there were some FAB spy ensembles in the evening—I went for a villainous Bond girl (ok fine, I wore a vintage dress with an eye patch….what can I say? It was HOT down there and I couldn’t do a trench coat!).
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{mini update: Wolfie has kindly reminded me that I was also wearing my cool SPY PHONE PURSE! It’s a purse from the early 70s that actually is a functioning phone, if you plug it into the wall. Crazy!}

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The kid’s love Tiki Oasis. Wolfie is an old pro—he’s been to four of them already! Our favorite thing is to swim while all the cool DJs spin cool old tunes poolside. It’s like your own retro movie soundtrack!

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Little Miss Peach went to her first Tiki Oasis last year and loved it!

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Dottie even made her a super cool pineapple princess tiki hat!

There are always so many great vintage tiki ensembles and patterns and colors—it’s a treat for the senses!

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I have it on good authority that Miss Peach is not very fond of wearing dresses these days….unless they are hawaiian!! Haha. I love it. That’s our girl!

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I loved this vinage Magnum P.I. shirt I found for Wolfie—although I have to confess  that initially he balked at wearing it and said, “What? WHO is THIS guy?? I’m not wearing this shirt!!!” I explained he was a private detective who loved Hawaii and that it kind of fit the theme. One bagel bribe later and he was sold….

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Alas, I’ll be missing out on the Tiki Oasis fun this year, but Dottie will be heading down this week and I know she’ll do it up in style!! Be sure to follow along on her instagram @missdottie to check out all the tiki-riffic hi jinx! OH, and the theme this year? HULA-BILLY! (rock-a-billy goes tiki!)

The Last Father’s Day.

A couple of months ago, I found out my Dad had mantle cell leukemia–stage 4.  It is a very aggressive cancer and unfortunately, it is winning.  Dad was too ill to get the next round of chemo, so I am currently with him and my mom helping him through hospice. I am typing this through tears.

This will be my last Father’s Day with him. So, I thought it fitting to run this piece I wrote last year.


A couple of weeks ago, I found the picture above of my Dad from his days at Newsweek and had to share it. Actually I wanted to share more than just this picture. I wanted to talk a bit about how amazing my Dad is. I know everyone’s dad is amazing, but I’m glad this guy is my Dad.  He is always there for me.  A voice of sanity in an, at times, very shaky world.

So, I decided to enter him in SF Chronicle writer (and parenting blogger) Peter Hartlaub’s “My Father’s A Hipster” contest, with the following blurb that had to be under 100 words:

Here is a picture of my Dad from his days working for Newsweek in L.A. Equally comfortable hanging out with cast of Laugh In or a few Black Panthers, my Dad rocked the seventies with his outstanding style that would make Andre 3000 jealous. He is the only man I know who uses the phrase, “that cat” and actually sounds cool saying it. Even though he spent my childhood traveling and working late covering major news stories of the seventies and eighties, he always made me feel like I was front page news—above the fold even.

PS: But he still corrects my grammar. Once an editor always an editor…

Of course, he’s so much more than 100 words.  He was THE first black journalist hired full time at Newsweek, breaking color lines in the sixties. He was mentored by Katherine Graham from the Washington Post. He was a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists which later became known as the Maynard Institute. He has won a Pulitzer for his work. And, folks, he interviewed Cher in the seventies. CHER!

But more important than that, my dad attended my Father Daughter Valentine’s Day dance in second grade and when he found out that any girl with a heart sticker under her folding chair got a special surprise, my dad overturned every chair until he found one with a heart sticker on it.

He crammed $50 in my hand before prom as “mad money”. Here is how the conversation went:

Dad: “Do you know what mad money is?”

Me: “No.”

Dad: “It’s for when you get mad at your date and need to get out of there. BE SAFE!”

He said I was, “the second most beautiful bride he’d ever seen.” I love him so much for that alone.

And when I was recently stressed over my career he said, “to be truly responsible, you need to be responsible for yourself first.” Clearly the man has a way with words.

I could go on and on and share more and more pictures, if only my parents weren’t so tightfisted with the slides. But here’s another one of his Newsweek photos I love.

But back to the contest. The “winner” has yet to be decided, but Dad’s pic did make the front page of the SF Chronicle’s Style Section.  Who could say no to that bow tie?

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Thanks for being a wonderful example of how to be a working parent and make the most of each and every moment.

I love you!

PS: He didn’t win!  He was ROBBED!  No offense, but c’mon! I talked to Peter about this and even he acknowledges the total radness of Dad.

Dottie’s kitchen garden

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This year, I was determined to get a little garden growing. Since we moved into this house, we’ve been making minor improvements to the back yard. I think the little curving brick path was part of the reason I fell in love with our little nook of a house.  And I saw tremendous potential in making a wonderful garden that I could hopefully feed my family with.

When I worked at Old Sturbridge Village as a costumed interpreter in the summer during college, I used to work the kitchen garden there.  I helped plant many rows of beets and carrots during my days and got a taste for fresh gardening. But being a busy working mom, I wanted to spend my down time relaxing in the back yard instead of tending to a little kitchen garden.  I must admit, I probably spent more time doing armchair gardening thanks to one too many issue of Sunset Magazine and Gardener’s Supply catalog.

Last year, we did manage to plant a pear tree and several blueberry and blackberry bushes that hopefully will treat us to many a luscious pie over the next few years. We also added a raspberry plant with plans to buy some golden raspberries in May.

And this year, I finally got around to planting some seeds in that lovely raised garden bed Eric so dutifully planted for me last year.

Armed with a few packets of leek, beets and carrot seeds, I planted the garden in early March.  The Peach was a most devoted seed planter. Our rows weren’t all that straight, but I’m sure that won’t effect the taste of the vegetables in the long run.  And I planted a few starters of kale as well.

And then we just waited.  The seeds aren’t anywhere near ready to pluck from the earth, but that kale is good to go!

It is so beautiful.

I decided that the best solution for these grand kale leaves would be Kim Seversen’s Kale and Ricotta Salata.  It was the right choice.

Are you growing a garden this year? What is your favorite thing to plant?

A Dottie Update on New Year’s Goals

Well, my friends, it has been a grand year so far for my 2013 year goals. I must admit I did great on some and completely failed on others. I didn’t get to a museum for the past two months. Well, I’ll try to be better about that, since there are some genius exhibits going on right now in the Bay Area.

But I’m pleased to report I’m acing the dresses! I’m wearing more dresses and adding new ones to the mix.

As far as being crafty every day, I can honestly say I’m plugging away! I made two darling little smocks for the Peach from a vintage pattern that I’d been meaning to do for ages:

Did you notice something missing in this shot?  Like the Peach actually wearing one of them?


Even though she approved the fabric and the pattern, she proved to be every bit a female and changed her mind—refusing to wear these for even one photo. Blast that child! Ah well… This is just a sign that I shouldn’t be sewing for her but instead for myself.

I love vintage clothing (as you all know so well) but according to a friend of mine who is studying vintage clothing for her PhD. thesis, the well for vintage clothing is slowly drying up. Therefore the next viable option is to make my own dresses using vintage patterns.

Makes sense right? So I started to buy some beauties too.

But right now my weight is a bit of a moving target, so I have decided to instead focus on longer lasting craft projects that won’t be outgrown by me or the Peach.

The solution? Stay tuned. (Any guesses? For those of you who follow me on Instagram, I’ve been leaving clues…)



15 Characters That Inspired Me // Dottie Edition

OK friends! I love this so much. It was great reading Alix’s Top 15 picks and I can’t wait to see who YOU would put on your list! After much thought, I came up with my own 15 Characters that Inspired Me. I tried very hard not to go over 15 although it was hard because there we so many good ones—Sally J. Friedman! Betsy from the Betsy/Tracy books! Oh, the list goes on and on. OK, here’s my list!

1. Anne, Anne of Green Gables

From the first book to the last—I love them all, but who wouldn’t love that plucky redheaded orphan who was so dramatic (ahem) and who grew into a gracious adult who held onto her creative side. And loved fashion.

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2. Maggie Prescott,  Funny Face

I know, it seems appalling not to choose the Audrey Hepburn character. But the one I adored was Fred Astaire’s fun friend who helped turn Audrey into the fabulous girl in the short, tulle-laden wedding dress everyone loves.  And her number, “Think Pink” was fantastic!  It was the first time I saw a character whose job was in fashion.  And that fashion is totally based on the whims of someone–hopefully as fabulous as Maggie Prescott!

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3. Laura Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie

Everyone’s favorite little pioneer whose never-ending resourcefulness of the time is such a great read. And she never let the bullies get to her.

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4. Rhoda, Mary Tyler Moore Show + Rhoda

I don’t know why, but Mary Tyler Moore’s perkiness just didn’t compare to the sass and head scarf wearing awesomeness of Rhoda. Rhoda took chances and always tried to hit for the fences even if it turned out to be a foul ball.

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5. Murphy Brown, Murphy Brown

Yes, you can be a smart working woman and Murphy made it all seem possible.  And single mom to boot!

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6. Emily Post

OK, not really a character and her writing wasn’t exactly fiction, but her books were always on my night stand.  Because as a tween, some times you just wanted to know that there was a right way to act.  And find solutions to those sticky moments in life were manners can just help smooth things over in the nicest way.

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7. Daria

Speaking of teenage years. I must admit I was always more Daria Morgandorfer than Brittney Spears in high school. Her dry sense of humor spoke to me. Plus, it was just nice to see the quirky girl with glasses get to be the star of the show.

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8. Jo, Little Women

Oh Jo, you wonderful writer! Actually, I have to admit I really liked all of the sisters, but of course Jo’s wonderful spunkiness spoke to my heart.

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9. Josie, Josie and the Pussycats

I know, another cartoon! But this is about a girl in a band who can sing and solve mysteries!  I seriously don’t know if life gets better than that.  Plus the outfits were totally cute!

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10. Annie

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow!  Oh, to sing away one’s sorrows on Broadway! I saw the play when I was in second grade on Broadway with Sarah Jessica Parker in the role of Annie.  I loved her spunk and her ability to have fun and break out into song—even during the most bleak moments of life.

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11. MacGyver!

Laugh all you want,  until you need to build a CB radio and all you have is a thumb tack, a packet of ketchup and a plastic spoon.  We’ve all had that moment of channeling our inner MacGyver and I can’t help but smile when I make do with someone in a rather clever way.

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12. Morticia Addams, The Addams Family

I thought she was the most glamorous thing around.  And her husband was desperately in love with her.  She clearly wiggled to her own drummer, not noticing that it might be out of tune with the rest of the world.  Go forward, my goth goddess!

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13. Hildy, His Girl Friday

Please, oh please tell me you’ve seen this movie!  Because it’s hilarious and when you look up the word dame in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Hildy. She’s smart, she’s a go-getter and she’s hilarious.

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14. Don Lockwood, Singing in the Rain

Oh Gene Kelly!  I swear, no bad mood can exist after humming a few bars of that iconic song! I loved the whole movie from its beginning discussion about the history of movies with its roots in vaudeville and the whole background discussion of how the “talkies” changed everything.  And of course the beauty of Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood, singing in the rain.

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15. Laverne, Laverne & Shirley

I always saw myself as more Laverne than Shirley, but mostly I loved the amazing friendship that got them through thick and thin. No cattiness, just plain love, loyalty and support! A great template for all future friendships. And let’s not forget about all of the sweet 50s dresses to boot!

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Well, there’s my list! I had to smile because it really is a little slice of me, I guess.  Are any of them similar to yours?