We’re Moving!

We have been remiss in our correspondence as of late but with good reason!

Darlings, Miss Havisham’s Tea is dipping our toe into new waters.

Firstly, we are moving our blog to www.MissHavishamsCuriosities.com.

Because we’re really more of a lifestyle movement after all, aren’t we dearies? Why limit ourselves to tea and gossip?

All of our content, social media, and discussion forums will now be in one lovely little hub.

Secondly, and this is a big one, we will be adding an online store in the near future.

So many of those trinkets we’ve showcased will eventually be available to you online. How else can a lady support her weekend flea market addiction?

And so it is out with the old and in with the new including our fancy new logo courtesy of Mr. Havisham (Thank you, Tim).

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So please visit us at our new home, subscribe to our newsletter, and look out for more exciting announcements soon.

xoxo

Miss Havisham’s Curiosities

We’re getting curiouser and curiouser…

Miss Havisham’s April Appointments

Oh hi, April! Ever striving to approach the majesty of Martha Stewart herself, I humbly submit my own schedule for your eagle eyes. Here are the LA events I will be attending in the next few weeks. Maybe I’ll see you there, dearies. No foolin’.

Friday, April 1

April Fool’s Day! Avoid the internet, it is full of lies today. Fish don’t typically wear hats, for example.

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Friday, April 1

The Great Horror Movie Night: Watch Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, The Shining, under the stars in the Griffith Park old zoo. Bring your blankets, bring your snacks, bring a flashlight. We’ll all be there, will you?

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Friday, April 1

First Fridays at the Natural History Museum? Movies and science? Yes.

Give me any excuse to spend time there, I will take it.

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Friday, April 1

Don’t miss this book signing and a chance to meet the author of Deceptive Desserts: A Girls Guide to Baking Bad, Christine McConnell, at Barnes and Noble at The Grove.

I love her instagram. I love her vision. Apparently she is baking cookies for the event.

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Saturday, April 2

Missed her at The Grove? You get another chance. You can drive on down to Riverside and meet Christine McConnell and buy her book, Deceptive Desserts: A Girls Guide to Baking Bad.

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Saturday, April 2-3

Theodore Payne’s annual native garden tour.

This is a fantastic event. Tour gardens all over LA and see how drought tolerant, native gardens can rival even the most manicured lawns. I’ve gone every year since I moved to LA. One day showcases the coastal and mid-city gardens and the other day showcases the inland and valley gardens so whatever your micro climate, you’re set.

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Saturday, April 2

Yet another great event by Atlas Obscura. Take a tour of a miniature and prop shop.

“LA-based artist Calder Greenwood is a prop-maker, set builder, model maker, director, writer, and production designer who creates larger than life installations and truly magical spaces, all from a single material—cardboard.”  Tour his studio in downtown LA.

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Saturday, April 2-April 3

A Current Affair Vintage Pop Up.

This beckons to me and will surely do damage to my bank account.

“A Current Affair is a major source of inspiration for designers with teams from Opening Ceremony, Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Band of Outsiders, Trina Turk, Ralph Lauren, Free People, and Mara Hoffman all regularly shopping the event. Prices range from $30-$3000, reflecting the vast array of goods on display- from heritage denim to estate jewelry.”

All the gowns and glitter you need from times gone by. However will I show restraint?

Friday, April 1-April 3

For those of you who want to dance dance dance, check out The Roaring Twenties Street Jam.

Dance classes and events all over the city all weekend ranging from speakeasies to carousal rides with music accompaniment.  I’m going to try to squeeze in an event.

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Thursday, April 7th

Pop-Up Magazine on tour.

“PopUp Magazine returns to The Theatre for an evening of storytelling, documentary film, radio, photography and performance. Some of our favorite writers and storytellers will perform never-before-seen work on stage, accompanied by visuals, recorded audio and live music. Nothing filmed, nothing recorded.”

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Saturday, April 9-10

Wanna relive your troubled teens? Like to cry? Then head to this.

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Sunday, April 10

The one, the only…Rose Bowl Flea.

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Tuesday, April 12-14

Dita Von Teese Burlesque: Strip, Strip, Hooray! Variety Show.

Fashion and burlesque icon and poster girl for an alabaster complexion, Dita Von Teese performs.

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Friday, April 15th

Odd Nights at the Autry.

Flea markets abound! Crafts, food vendors, live music. And who doesn’t love a cowboy museum? Select galleries will be open as well.

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Saturday, April 16th

Obscura Day.

If you do one thing this month, make it an event through Atlas Obscura. Atlas Obscura hosts events across the globe today.

More than 150 events in 35 states and 25 countries. All in one day. 

There’s something for everyone. I’m really looking forward to a visit to LA’s ethical taxidermist Allis Markham of Prey Taxidermy.

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I’m also going to the LA closing party and so should you. Check it out here. It’s taking place at Valley Relics.

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Sunday, April 17

Long Beach Antique Market.

By now you all know this is my favorite flea in the city. You can read about some of my favorite finds here. I actually just bought a sun hat and a collapsible wagon. It’s on.

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Thursday, April 21

25 to 5’s Anniversary Party

“A sophisticated cocktail lounge with a Mediterranean-style menu that caters to L.A.’s most discerning clientele, Riviera 31’s stunning and thought-provoking decor takes visitors on a visual journey through the evocative history of the French Riviera with photography by the legendary Edward Quinn. A unique mixology program includes masterfully crafted cocktails prepared table-side and the menu takes visitors on an epicurean journey through French coastal cuisine.”

All benefits are a donation to City of Hope.

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Friday, April 29-30

Bob’s Burgers Live. I’m going to let that just sit there for a minute.

I love this show so yes, I want to see what the hell a live version of it is.

Pretty much anything Loren Bouchard creates is pure gold so sign me up.

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Saturday, April 30th-May 1

Tired of flea markets yet? Me either. Head up to Paso Robles for the Three Speckled Hens Antique fair. Tickets are on sale now. Make a weekend of it.

Have a lovely April and remember, make time for a calming cup of tea. xoxo

 

Roadtrip Part One: I Want to be a Hearst

I have to be honest, when friends come to visit me in Los Angeles I feel a little pang of anxiety. I still don’t know where anything is here and driving still stresses me out. Don’t even get me started on parking. I know change is hard but I knew New York, I know it still. Everything is accessible by public transportation there. I knew New York so well I even knew tiny off beat places to go. In LA, you really have to know where you’re going and while there are things to do, they’re not always easy to get to. Truthfully, after about twenty-five houseguests, I feel like I keep doing the same things over and over.

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So when one of my favorite people on the planet came to visit recently, I decided this time we were going to take a road trip. It was time to see something you can’t see in New York and I really couldn’t look at the Venice canals again.

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While I lack the ability to parallel park, I do have a husband who doesn’t mind driving, loves adventure, and has a fantastic sense of direction. Lucky for me or I would have gone mad within a few months of living here. So, armed with road snacks and a destination, off we went.

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To Hearst Castle:

If you haven’t been to Hearst Castle, go. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. Perched high and overlooking a remote section of the California coast, every bit of it is jaw dropping. When I visited I kept thinking I should just sneak away, hide in some quiet room, and spend the night because it really should be my house, guys. It’s such a powerful impulse that the second time I visited I actually started looking around with intent to stow away. If I disappear one day, you’ll know where to find me.

You can imagine that the home of William Randolph Hearst, media magnate and the inspiration for Citizen Kane, might be something unusual and you would be correct. No expense was spared building the house in a time when the rest of the country was suffering from the stock market crash and the Great Depression.

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The tycoon himself.

“Hearst Castle’s history begins in 1865, when George Hearst purchased 40,000 acres of ranchland. In 1919,William Randolph Hearst inherited what had grown to more than 250,000 acres, and was dreaming of ways to transform it into a retreat he called La Cuesta Encantada—Spanish for “Enchanted Hill.” By 1947, Hearst and architect Julia Morgan had created Hearst Castle: 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways—all built to house Hearst’s specifications and to showcase his legendary art collection.” So sayeth the Hearst Castle website.

First, let’s take a moment to appreciate that Hearst hired a woman architect. Interesting. Second, consider the lengths Hearst went to; he even went as far as to have whole rooms from great houses in Europe purchased, shipped, and reassembled as part of the construction process. So elaborate were his building plans for Hearst castle, they were never fully realized in his lifetime.

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Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Mervyn LeRoy, and Hearst himself. Nice outfit, Billy boy.

The castle served as a playground for Hollywood’s elite who were bused in from Los Angeles each weekend to dine, drink, and dance the night away. When you were at Hearst Castle, you wanted for nothing; evening wear was even provided if you forgot yours. You could swim in either the outdoor pool or the indoor pool, play tennis, stroll the gardens, view the private zoo, or catch one of Hearst’s latest films in the movie theater.

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The largest swimming pool I have ever seen.
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Indoor pool, my favorite. The tiles are gold.
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Inside the movie theater. Photo by Alana Cowan (houseguest supreme)

There is a guest wing for both ladies and gentlemen, never the two shall meet (wink, wink) and a number of guest cottages around the property. The guest cottages are bigger than my house, by the way.

My favorite room has to be the gothic study.

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Not to be confused with the library which is filled with antiquities. Those vases along the ceiling? Those are Greek and Egyptian.

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Photo from everywhereonce.com
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Oh you know, just a bedroom.
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This room is called the “jewel box” but I just call it my bedroom.
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Meh.

And let’s not forget the great room.

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Now for the juicy part. Hearst was married to a former vaudeville performer, Millicent Veronica Willson who he fell in love with when she was a mere sixteen years old. She bore him five sons, one of which is the father of Patty Hearst who was famously kidnapped in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a cult. Under the influence of the cult, Hearst assisted in a bank robbery. Her sentence was commuted by President Carter and she was officially pardoned by President Clinton. She has gone on to appear in a number of John Waters movies including Serial Mom, Cry-Baby, Pecker, and Cecil B. DeMented. This only makes me love her and John Waters more, but back to Millicent Hearst.

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Patricia Hearst and John Waters

Poor Millicent rarely stayed at Hearst Castle though. She and her husband lived very separate lives. She lived in New York and became a great philanthropist. Her husband lived in California at Hearst Castle with his mistress, actress and comedienne, Marion Davies. They lived together quite openly though he and Millicent remained married until his death. How modern.

Millicent and Marion:

It’s said that the portrayal of Marion Davies in Citizen Kane so enraged Hearst that he launched a full on attack against the film and its director, Orson Welles. Even Welles later admitted that his depiction was unfair to Marion who was a very talented actress. Marion actually supported Hearst in later years when he hit hard times financially and was forced to sell off much of his art and property. She married eleven weeks after Hearst’s death in 1951. Read about the battle over Citizen Kane here.

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Hearst and Davies characters in Citizen Kane set in a mock up of the famous great room.

Hearst Castle and its impressive collection of art and artifacts was donated to the state of California and is a museum now but I have grand plans to occupy it. They’ll never find me. Never! I highly recommend the evening tours which aren’t offered year round so do your homework. The entire estate is decked out for an old Hollywood cocktail party and it all feels a little bit spooky. As an added bonus, it will be easier for me to sneak off and hide in the shadows in the evening.

Four hours from Los Angeles and you feel like you’ve escaped the city. You feel like you’ve escaped back in time. Well played, California, well played. As much as I hate to admit it, you definitely can’t find Hearst Castle in New York.

It’s a non-profit so go support your local castle. Hey Hearst Castle administrators, just list the guest rooms on AirBnB already. See? Fundraising issue solved.

 

 

 

 

 

Go Ask Alice

Alice in Wonderland has captivated readers for decades. Written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, it was published in 1865. Three years earlier, Carroll rowed a boat up the Isis section of the Thames river with three young girls and Reverend Robinson Duckworth inside. The three young ladies were the sisters Liddell,  daughters of Henry Liddell (the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University and Dean of Christ Church): Lorina Charlotte Liddell (aged 13); Alice Pleasance Liddell (aged 10); Edith Mary Liddell (aged 8).

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Alice Liddell, far right.

While on the river it’s said Carroll entertained the girls with a story that was so beloved by Alice that she asked for it to be written down for her and thus Alice in Wonderland came into existence. Carroll approached the artist John Tenniel to illustrate the manuscript.

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In 1998 Lewis Carroll’s own copy of Alice, one of only six surviving copies of the 1865 first edition, sold at an auction for US$1.54 million to an anonymous American buyer, becoming the most expensive children’s book (or 19th-century work of literature) ever sold, up to that time. Alice Liddell’s copy of the manuscript sold in 2009 for $115,000.

The relationship between Alice and Carroll is a murky one. She posed for Carroll often and those photos have been cited as proof that the nature of their friendship was less than appropriate.

This past June The Morgan Library in New York held an exhibit celebrating the 150th anniversary of the book’s publication. The exhibit included original drawings by Carroll and Tenniel as well as a number of photos. I was surprised that there was no mention of the question of Carroll’s relationship with Alice. You can view a number of the illustrations online at The Morgan Library’s site. There is an interesting article on the subject of their relationship here.

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Character development sketches between Carroll and Tenniel

We may never know the truth about Carroll’s proclivities as Richard Cavendish writes here:

“The friendship between the Liddells and Dodgson (Carroll) had broken down in 1863, for reasons that are not clear – the relevant page in his diary was cut out by one of his descendants – but it may be that Mrs Liddell was uneasy about him and Alice. Polite relations were resumed after a few months, but the earlier warmth did not return. ”

Alice grew into an adult and married a cricket player at the age of 28. They had three sons. She became quite the society hostess. After her husband’s death in 1926 she found the upkeep of their household to be draining. Facing financial difficulties, she sold her copy of the manuscript for £15,400. She died in 1934 and is quoted as saying, “I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland.”

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Alice as an adult.

Alice in Wonderland has been the subject of songs, art, and numerous films, one of my favorites is the stop motion film by Jan Svankmejer.  You can watch the trailer online.

There are no shortage of Alice themed events. Don’t forget to attend The Victorian Tea and Dance Society’s Alice in Wonderland themed social Sunday, March 6.

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Should you find yourself in London, you must go to The Madhatter’s High Tea at the beautiful Sanderson Hotel. I left with diabetes but I also left happy.

Want to throw your own tea party? I have several pieces of the Alice in Wonderland collection from Fishs Eddy in New York. I love them. Not sure if they still have the dinnerware but they also carry the prettiest cake stands.

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Cakestands for days.

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And who’s ready for a garden party? Alice always is.

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Need to make a pillow? A skirt? Find all the fabric you need on Etsy:

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And let’s not forget shoes. Wow.

From Elusive Rabbit:

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Or these from Irregular Choice:

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Care for a scarf?

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An entire tea set? Egg cup? Gift wrap? Check out The Alice Boutique.

I find The Hudson Hotel in New York to have a very Alice in Wonderland feel. Much of the furniture in the library bar is oversized and the lobby is really something. It’s a fun place to take a client for a drink.

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Or this acrylic chandelier from Vinci Living. Plenty more Alice interior design ideas on Lace and Ruffles.

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And I leave you with a great Queen of Hearts from Popsugar:

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Curiouser and curiouser!

Gown Hall of Fame

Let’s be honest, the only thing anyone is going to be searching the internet for right now are pictures of the best and worst Oscar gowns. I personally prefer the Met gala since those dresses tend to be more outlandish. For that matter, I also can’t get enough of the Miss Universe national costumes. Here are some of my favorite dresses from various award shows over the years.

I’ll keep this simple because I want to get back to the show, but let’s just say I would happily accept the wardrobes of Cate Blanchett, Dita Von Teese and, surprisingly, Anne Hathaway. So without further ado…

The power of red.

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Pale and lovely in pink…

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Orange is a hard color to pull off but these are beautiful.

Jennifer Hudson 2011 Sexy V Neck Orange Red Oscar Taffeta Red Carpet Evening Formal Gown

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Yellow is equally challenging and not a color you often see on the red carpet which is too bad.

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Green is also not terribly common.

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Blue is my favorite color.

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Purple, the color of royalty…

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Silver and white definitely pulls focus.

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Brown is not a color you associate with sexy and yet…

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And, of course, black.

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Nina Dobrev Black Evening Prom Dress 2012 Elton John Oscar Party-500x500

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xoxo