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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #72: Niagara in Technicolor

A giant statue of a Mounty (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

Giant statue of a Mounty (a.k.a., a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

On a recent trip to visit family in Toronto, I had the opportunity to see Niagara Falls for the very first time. I was quite literally left breathless at the sight of these giant waterfalls, which were engulfed in a thick mist that created a new rainbow to marvel at every few minutes. I also couldn’t help being struck by the majestic beauty of Niagara Falls juxtaposed with the kitsch of the tourist traps surrounding the area. Here are a few of my favorite tourist trappings…

A waving Hershey's Kiss welcomes visitors in ot the casinos and ice cream shops

A waving Hershey’s Kiss welcomes visitors into the casinos and ice cream shops

A giant, foil-wrapped kiss teetering on the corner of a building

Gargantuan, foil-wrapped kiss teetering on the corner of a building

A super-detailed sign warns against the dangers of climbing over the fence that surrounds the falls

Gotta love how detailed this sign is that warns against the dangers of climbing over the fence surrounding the falls

Coca-Cola and cobblestones never looked so vivid

Coca-Cola and cobblestones never looked so vivid

The magestic falls and a rainbow arcing over a tour boat

The majestic falls and a rainbow arcing over a tour boat

Psst: Have you ever been to Niagara Falls or another big waterfall? Were you similarly awestruck? Or, perhaps have you seen the Marilyn Monroe/Joseph Cotten movie “Niagara” (1953)? The film just so happens to be in Technicolor. Leave a comment.

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Kitsch Fixes, Sweet Nothings

Seconds

Two kitsch-tastic flamingos

Two kitsch-tastic flamingos

This past year has been all about firsts. I celebrated my first blogiversary, my husband and I shared our first year of marriage, and we even bought our first house together. While firsts are special and often possess a rarefied intensity that can be found nowhere else, seconds are pretty grand, too. As such, I’m tickled pink to be celebrating the second anniversary of this blog with you today. Thank you for your support and sweetness throughout the thick and thin weeks of posting…Your readership means so much to me, and if I lived close enough to all of you dears I would be sure to buy you each drinks with plastic-flamingo garnishes so we could toast to the coming years of seconds, thirds, and whatever other numbers life throws our way. Cheers and love to you on this day, my darlings! Leave a comment.

Image from Sparkles and Pretending via Pinterest.

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #71: Island of Misfit Toys

Graduate-in-the-box at Metropolis Nick in Los Angeles, CA

When wandering through Metropolis Nick Collectable Furniture last week, I felt as though I was stranded on an asphalt island of misfit toys. There were so many giant, plaster visages of toys looming over me wherever I turned, making my trippy adventure into this strange land both whimsical and creepy at the same time. Toys can be very eerie after all – just check out these doll Halloween decorations if you need proof – and I couldn’t help thinking of how scary it would be to weave through this maze of beady-eyed toys, Grecian ruins, and horse statues at night…

In case you need any more convincing that we've stumbled into a red-nosed-reindeer alternate universe, here's a giant elf

Keeping with the Christmas theme, here's a big nutcracker doll and a David statue just for the heck of it

This Ferris wheel carrying dolls in its seats is a bit creepy, don't you think?

Um, yeah, find this doll Ferris wheel eerie yet?

Psst: Between last week’s cursory glance at Metropolis Nick and this week’s treasure trove of over-sized toys, do you have a favorite piece of kitsch? (As for my favorite, let me just say I have a tendency to save the best for last.) Leave a comment.

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #70: Corner Store

A plaster cow and Hollywood sign welcoming customers to Metropolis Nick in Los Angeles, CA

Tucked away on a former auto-showcase lot in mid-town Los Angeles is a place where old movie props go to die and kitsch goes to be fabulous. This haven of neon, plaster, and pop culture is none other than Metropolis Nick Collectible Furniture, and I simply cannot believe I was unaware of its existence until last weekend. Metropolis Nick is a unique outdoor store situated on the corner of La Brea Avenue and 1st Street, and there were so many dazzling sights to behold there that I had to break my photos up into two posts. Without further ado, here is the first installment…

Don't you love how the old-fashioned lamps from the 1950s car dealership tower over the even-more-prehistoric dinosaur statues?

And what's a collection of kitsch without a bottle of A1 Sauce and a whale?

Metropolis Nick has a wide variety of Hollywood signs to meet all your neon needs

These M&Ms with a secret would make pretty cool planter boxes, no?

See you next week for more kitsch-tastic views from Metropolis Nick...

Psst: Do the dinosaurs remind you of these fellas we spotted back in Half Moon Bay in a kitsch post of yesteryear? Out of all the goodies at Metropolis Nick, which piece of kitsch is your favorite so far? For some reason mine is the whale/A1 Sauce combo. Maybe it’s just due to the way it gives me a strange craving for an endangered-species burger. Leave a comment.

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #69: Popsicles, Pigs, and Gnomes, Oh My

Gnome stool holding catalogs outside Taschen bookstore in Beverly Hills, CA

My parents in law paid us a visit a couple weeks ago, and this provided the perfect excuse to play tourist in our relatively new city. We kept everything low-key and steered clear of any sightseeing buses, but I was delighted by the amount of kitsch we accidentally spotted around town. My two favorite sightings were the above gnome footstool outside a store on Rodeo Drive of all places, and this winged-pig hood ornament that an ice-cream truck was donning near the Hollywood Bowl Lookout. This second kitschy gem was a particularly awesome sight because: 1) it’s a pig on a frickin’ ice-cream truck, and, 2) it reminded of a similar ornament I saw on a purple Buick not so long ago. I never had the chance to snap a photo of the original flying pig atop his grape-hued ride, so I was ecstatic to see this ice cream truck parked amidst the Hollywood Hills just waiting for its close up…

Winged-pig hood ornament on an ice-cream truck

Here's a closeup of the chrome piggy - you're welcome

Psst: Speaking of pimped-out rides, I feel I would be remiss if I did not mention that I saw a Range Rover yesterday that was bedazzled in rhinestones. The car’s paint job wasn’t bejeweled, but every inch of silver trim, license-plate framing, and hood ornamentation was covered in sparkle. I was too caught up in the spectacle (and in my own fantasy of what the vehicle’s owner looked like) to take a photo, but if the flying pig has taught me anything it’s that I’m bound to spot a Range Rover shellacked bumper-to-bumper with rhinestones just a few months from now…Don’t you just love all the kitschy ways people find to express themselves, be it on their cars, ice cream trucks, or storefronts? Leave a comment.

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #68: New Neighbors

Plaster statue I spotted on Hollywood Boulevard - don't you love the duct-tape-patched bomber jacket?

With just a little more than a week left before our move-in day, my husband and I have been spending lots of time at our new house getting it ready for our arrival. Yesterday we had the pleasure of meeting our new neighbors, the sweetest people who greeted us with potted orchids and juicy tidbits about the neighborhood. When I moseyed down to Hollywood Boulevard, which is just a 20-minute walk away from our new digs, I was delighted to meet another neighbor of the plaster-kitsch-fabulous variety. I think this fella is a James Dean impersonator, and I stumbled upon him in front of a souvenir shop where he was oh-so-coolly leaning against a brick wall that was painted in a Coca-Cola mural. This rebel without a cause has seen better days, as you can tell from the cracks running down his face and the gaping holes in the elbows of his jacket, but I think the plaster cracks and duct-taped holes just add to his charm…

Mr. Dean's doppelgänger on profile

Oh, and could the fact that he's leaning against this graffitied Coca-Cola mural be any more perfect?

Psst: Hollywood Boulevard really is one of the most kitsch-filled pockets of Los Angeles, so I can’t wait to explore the area more and share all my sightings with you. Until then, I am giddily counting down the days to my move and wishing you a marvelous start to March! Leave a comment.

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Kitsch Fixes, Travel

Kitsch FIx # 67: Belgium’s Best

Plaster waffle in the snowy streets of Ghent, Belgium

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a city that feels half as charming as Ghent, Belgium. Many streets date back to the middle ages as does the stone castle at the city’s center, and every single building appears to be several centuries old and is as ornate as an opera house. For this reason, every piece of kitsch I spotted there (while few and far between in this tasteful cityscape) gave off an air of coziness. Each rare, kitschy plaster sculpture or painted sign served as a reminder of the city’s timelessness, and – thanks to their rarity – reminded me that I was in a place of brick and candlelight instead of a place of plaster and neon…

French fry sign welcoming passersby in from the chilly, cobblestone streets

Wouldn't you like this plaster barmaid to serve you a Belgian beer?

Oh how beautifully out of place this plaster sandwich looks amidst the steeples of ancient stone churches...

See what I mean?

Here's one more shot of the waffle for good measure (don't you also adore the sign "I'm a chocolate lover! You?")

Psst: Which piece of kitsch is your favorite? Mine is the sandwich, thanks to the visage of the old church behind it. Leave a comment.

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #66: How Revolutionary

Revolutionary plaster sculpture in front of a pub in Boston's North End

My favorite kitsch sighting in Boston last week was this proud, pugilistic fellow who stands guard in front of a tavern in the North End. I’m no expert on military garb, but his overwhelmingly red attire makes me suspect he’s a member of the British Army. I wonder if this is supposed to instill a sense of fear into pub goers or whether it’s just supposed to take passersby back in time the way the cobblestone streets and ancient buildings of Boston’s North End have a tendency of doing. Silly as it sounds, seeing this plaster guy actually helped me imagine these streets as they were in 1775; I’m so open to the powers of plaster suggestion, I know…

The detailed buttons and buckles in this guy's garb really are quite impressive

Dontcha love how kitsch classes up these cobblestone-and-brick streets?

Psst: Have you ever seen any cool, historically-themed pieces of kitsch? (Yes, snow globes and thimbles count for just as many kitsch points as plaster statues.) Leave a comment.

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #65: Wild Christmas

Wild Christmas ornaments at Pea Soup Andersen's in Buellton, CA

Here’s a bonus kitsch fix to kick off the holidays. I spotted these animal-print ornaments and bedazzled Santa hats at Pea Soup Andersen’s back in August, and it took all my self-restraint to hold off on sharing them until now. As if it isn’t enough that Pea Soup Andersen’s devotes an entire room of their gift shop to Christmas items year-round, they also happen to feature an entire tree that is decked in jungle-themed ornaments. Throw in the towering stack of rhinestone-adorned Santa hats perched next to this wild tree, and we now have a crystal-clear image of what Cruella de Vil’s Christmas parties look like…

"Party Animal" ornament alongside zebra-print galoshes and bath tubs

What Christmas would be complete without a blinged-out Santa hat?

"Grr Baby" glass ornament alongside fuzzy slippers (look closely and you'll also spot a zebra-print hair dryer and pink hair brush)

Psst: Something about animal-print Christmas decor just makes me smile, as you can see in this ‘vintage’ post. Are there any kitschy decorations that have been delighting or appalling you this season? Do tell! Leave a comment.

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #64: Leg Lamp

Leg lamp I spotted at Economy Furniture in Los Angeles, CA

I’m so excited to share this quirky piece of Christmas kitsch with you today. On the surface it is just a gaudy lamp that stems from two shapely, fishnet-clad legs, but to any fan of “A Christmas Story” (1983) it is reminiscent of an iconic movie prop…Do you remember the giant leg lamp the father receives as a gift in that movie? If you do, you aren’t alone. In fact, you can apparently purchase inflatable lawn ornaments and strings of Christmas lights that pay homage to the movie’s leg lamp. While Google searches turn up exact replicas of the leg lamp (which features just one leg), I think this incandescent pair of gams and their beaded tassels do a bang-up job of saying “merry Christmas” while cuing old-movie nostalgia…

Don't you just love the red rose at the base of this lamp?

Psst: Speaking of “A Christmas Story,” why not check out my top picks for quirky holiday movies? Have you seen any zany decorations this season or watched a marathon of your favorite Christmas movies yet? Leave a comment.

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