A Visit to Sagamore Hill


I am lucky enough to live barely over a half hour away from Teddy Roosevelt’s home, Sagamore Hill. He was the 26th President of the United States, and a Colonel of the famous Rough Riders. As I am having shoulder surgery this Friday, I have been making the most of this week and cramming as much summer into it as possible! Visiting TR’s house was the highlight of the week, and as a huge history nerd, I had to visit since it was so close!

As you can see, the main image is the front of TR’s home. Sagamore Hill is located in Oyster Bay on the north shore of Long Island. His home was built in 1884 by the architect Charles A. Rich in the popular Queen Anne style. This was the headquarters of the Oyster Bay Roosevelts, as Springwood was for the Hyde Park Roosevelts (of which FDR was a part). TR called Sagamore Hill his home from 1885 until his death in 1919.

 

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Unfortunately, my husband and I were not able to take the tour of the home, as tickets were sold out since noon, as they usually are from what I gathered. You know what this means – a trip back! 😉

 


There are a plethora of nature trails, and anyone who knows some tidbits about TR knows this is certainly appropriate, as he was a proponent of National Parks, nature and the environment.


We made our way to Old Orchard, TR’s son’s estate just a few hundred feet away. This houses the museum on the property.

 

 

Fun little fact: TR Jr. received the Medal of Honor for his part in the D-Day invasion

 

We entered the museum, which is free to enter, and they had such amazing historical artifacts- I was in history nerd heaven! One of the first things that greets you upon entering is the flag that greeted TR upon his return from the Spanish-American War.

 

 

Did any of you know that TR was the Police Commissioner of the NYPD in the late 1890s? I knew from when my husband was in the academy, so of course I had to take a picture! He introduced formal training and updated equipment to the NYPD.

 

 

One of the most amazing items I got to see was TR’s actual Rough Riders uniform! He was a legend from his exploits at San Juan Hill, and I have seen numerous photographs of him in this uniform. To see it live and in person was incredible and awe-inspiring!

 

 

This is “Speaker Cannon”, that was captured during the war in Cuba. As you can see, TR jokingly named it after Speaker of the House Joseph G. Cannon, who was renowned for his forceful speaking style. Quite a funny play on words!

 


I found this quite interesting as well: the top hat and mourning pin TR wore to President McKinley’s funeral. McKinley was assassinated in 1901, and since TR was Vice President at that time, that made him President. And the youngest one at the time at that, at age 42.

 


If you couldn’t be there live to hear a speech from TR, you could buy a record of it!

 


Many of TR’s sons (5!) served in the military in WWI and WWII. His youngest son Quentin was awarded the French Croix de Guerre posthumously after he was KIA when his aircraft was shot down by German dog fighters. His eldest son TR Jr. served in the Army as a Major in WWI, and as a Brigadier General in WWII.

It was truly a wonderful experience to visit Sagamore Hill – even my husband enjoyed it! I really do hope to go back soon to take the tour, even if that means going back in a sling a few weeks post-op! If you are ever in the area, please do yourself a great service and visit this amazing historic site!

Learn more:

National Parks Service – Sagamore Hill
Almanac of Theodore Roosevelt

The Great Blizzard of 1947

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As many of you may know, we are in the midst of a whopper of a storm here in NYC, one that can drop potentially up to three feet of snow. As the years have gone by and my age has gone up, I loathe snowstorms more and more. We have blizzard warnings for r the entire area, and can have wind gusts of up to 65 miles an hour. Oh fun!

This storm was called by the mayor as being potentially “historic”. They then showed a top ten list, as they usually do, of the storms that dumped the most snow. The big Christmas storm from 1947 was in the top three. I have seen several images from this storm, and it got me curious enough to dig into this further. In Central Park, 26.4 inches of snow fell from December 25-26 from this unexpected storm.

I have been seeing a lot of images from the storm today, and seeing as how we all love vintage, I decided to share some of the amazing photographs from the Great Blizzard of 1947. They are remarkable, beautiful, and bring me to a time I’d absolutely prefer living in 😊

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“Summer” Reading

 Since my husband is at the academy in the evenings, I find myself with a lot of personal time after work.  But I fret not, for I can read!  I have really become quite the book hoarder lately, and I seem to order more books even when I haven’t finished the initial ones I ordered yet.  But I have another 5 months of weekdays of solitude, so I can certainly make some headway into my accumulation of books, no? 😉

 I have really found some gems that I am supremely excited about and/or have enjoyed very much.  Since you are here, I am assuming you are all as much of vintage lovers as I, and should therefore know of such pressing matters.  I’ve never really been a believer in “summer reads” or “winter novels” and what have you; I tend to just leap in to whatever strikes my fancy.  If I am on to something that I am interested in and/or am supremely enjoying, who is it to say that it is “out of season”? Not I!

 And so, I present to you: “summer” reading 🙂

Cary

Cary Grant: A Biography – Marc Eliot

This is a very comprehensive biography on Cary.  I have always loved Mr. Grant, and I find that they just don’t make men as debonair, witty, and handsome as he was anymore (minus my husband, of course of course 😉 ).  I have always been interested in his life and what happened within that time, and I had actually been ruminating over buying this biography each and every time I had gone into a bookstore for the past six months.  During a Saturday out doing errands for my husband’s needs for the academy, I just had to stop at the Barnes & Noble along the way for fear that my air supply would be terminated.  I saw this book, and figured, “I need to – I have to!”  I am very excited to make my way through it and become an ever-so-learned person on the life and times of Mr. Cary Grant.

 

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Icon: The Life, Times, and Films of Marilyn Monroe (Volume I: 1926-1956) – Gary Vitacco-Robles

Anyone who knows me knows I simply adore Marilyn Monroe.  I have a tattoo of her.  I have inhaled every biography I have ever known that was decent (qualifier!) that has ever come out.  I have over 5,000 pictures of her.  I can tell you an exact filmography of all her movies, the years they came out, her character in them, the general story line, and what she thought of said movie and what was going on in her life at the time.  So when I happened to stumble upon a new Marilyn biography that had recently come out this year, I needed it.  It comes in at 788 pages, and it is only volume one.  That excites me more than most human beings should be excited over a book.  I have a feeling that this biography is going to be the biography of Marilyn, usurping even Donald Spoto’s benchmark biography of her.  When volume two comes out later this summer, I do not care how much or how little of the book I have gotten through, I will be throwing my money at Amazon!

 

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The Girls of Atomic City – Denise Kiernan

This is an enthralling and encompassing story of how one “town” (if you can call it that) was built purely for the purpose of ending the war.  How exactly, they did not know.  What they did know, however, was that what they were doing was making a very real difference.  They weren’t aware that they were aiding in making the atomic bomb that would end the war in Japan in August of 1945.  Most of this quickly-built town was occupied by women, many of whom were from any place but this small slice of Appalachia in Tennessee.  They were single and trying to better their lives or married and hoping whatever work they were doing was helping their man fighting for them overseas.  What I love about this book is how it is non-fiction, based on real events and actual history, but reads and plays out exactly like a fictional novel.  It is very interesting, highly entertaining, and certainly a crash course in history that we should all have!

 

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The Garden of Allah Series – Martin Turnbull

I absolutely adore these books.  I can’t even tell you.  I don’t even remember how I found these books on Amazon, but I am ever so grateful I did.  I am only just finishing the first book, but I already bought and received the other two in the series, already knowing I will probably love them just as much as the first (especially from what I see from the reviews, they only get better!).  This novel is historical fiction (which I have found to be my most beloved genre, right beside biography) and deals with the lives of three up-and-comers trying to make it in Hollywood starting in 1927.

The real Garden of Allah hotel

                                                          The real Garden of Allah hotel

Kathryn Massey, Gwendolyn Brick, and Marcus Adler have all made it to Los Angeles for various reasons, but the Garden of Allah brought them together as friends.  A famous and actual hotel owned by the actress Alla Nazimova, it was renowned for fabulous and crazy parties, and had famous stars visit and stay such as Tallulah Bankhead, Ramon Novarro, Ginger Rogers, Tyrone Power, Greta Garbo, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Maureen O’Hara, Errol Flynn – I could go on and on!  The interactions the characters have with the stars makes them seem human and real, rather than “above” anyone and untouchable.  I love the situations the characters get in, the stars they meet, the troubles they encounter, and what they do to get past them.  It’s a great read so far, and certainly a series I would recommend to any vintage lover out there…hell, I would recommend it to anyone!

 

What books do you recommend for “summer” reading? 

Date Day at the Zoo

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Today was a big day for the husband and I – it was our first official date day as husband and wife! It only took two and a half months, but we did it 🙂 Since we both love animals so much (and this destination had been on our “gotta go to” list since before we were even engaged – September of last year!), we decided to go to animal central: the zoo! And where is one of the biggest and best places to go to a zoo in the US? The Bronx Zoo, of course 🙂

We decided to make a full day of it and brought a little snack and something to drink, and prepared ourselves for some major walking. Since I have the RSD in my left foot, I took my major pain medication beforehand and made sure I had appropriate shoes. But I still wanted to look cute, so I made sure to build my outfit to be vintage style high and pain inducing low. What did I wear, you ask? Well, since you asked…

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Here’s a picture of my husband and me, a close up of my makeup, hair, and dress print:

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I put my hair back into a snood in a nice tan colour that was a minor colour represented in my dress, which is a great 1950s atomic frock I managed to nab up on eBay shortly after I returned from Viva. I accessorized with matching bakelite bracelets in various colours from the dress and butterscotch tan bakelite earrings as well (the ones I purchased at Viva). I also wore a gold feather brooch that had belonged to my grandmother. I wore a tan cardigan with vintage tan penny loafers while I carried a vintage white structured purse with a lucite handle. I certainly got lots of looks but I loved it! I forgot just how confident and enthusiastic I feel wearing a pulled together and more vintage look than something that is more modern or vintage “looking”. I had kind of lost touch over the last few months due to stress as well as all of the wedding stuff going on. Viva brought my passion right back to the surface! 🙂

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We arrived at the zoo at 11:30 AM and we found parking relatively quickly, which was rather surprising considering it is such a huge tourist attraction and it is in the city (well, the Bronx) as well.

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So what kind of animals did we see? We saw way too many to go into huge detail about any particular one!

We saw camels first thing…

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…and then Red Pandas…

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…and even antique water fountains from around 1900!

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A sleepy polar bear taking a nap in the most awkward position ever…

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…and the tush of a snow leopard.

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We saw a snake with a really badass pattern on it. We called it the “emo boa” because it looks like it has razor blades running up and down it’s back LOL.

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Check out the neck on this dude!

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See ya later, alligator!

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Itty bitty baby horsies…

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Tony the (tired) tiger…

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Peacocks are absolutely gorgeous!

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Oh deer…

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Elephants are really graceful and sweet animals to me 🙂

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Rhino! Just seeing him from this angle reminded me of that scene from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. If you’ve seen it, you know exactly what I am referring to 😛

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Adorable zebras!

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I love giraffes! I have no idea where it came from, but I just couldn’t wait to see this guy 🙂

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African Wild Dogs – they were playing around and rough housing while we were watching. It was sweet!

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Oh just a baboon…

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…and his big blue bubble butt!

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Mackayla Monkey is not impressed.

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This mommy gorilla was breast feeding against the viewing glass. You can see the baby’s head if you look. At one point Alex tried to peek around to see the baby after I pointed him/her out to him, and when he did the mom turned around and looked him point blank in the eye (they were literally only separated by about an inch of plastic) as if to say, “What the hell are you doing?” It was pretty cool LOL.

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FLAMINGOES! I ❤ these cuties 🙂

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‘MURICA. We took numerous pictures of this dude, and each and every one of them made him look epic.

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See what I mean?!

Even sea lions need mid afternoon naps…

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When we got to where the sea lions were, it had a lot of great old style buildings and wonderful landscaping. What else was a vintage girl to do other than take a few shots? 😉

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After a full six hours making our way through the zoo, we were tired, sore, hungry, and ready to make our way home. But we had a great time and had a ton of fun. We left there with huge smiles on our faces for sure!

Outfit:
Dress: eBay
Sweater: ModCloth
Bakelite bangles: eBay
Bakelite earrings: vendor at Viva Las Vegas
Snood: eBay
Penny loafers: eBay
Purse: Guess where? eBay 😛

Vintage Family Photos

Recently I have gotten more into viewing old family photos from the 1920s through the 1960s since buying Charles Phoenix’s Americana the Beautiful (I highly recommend!). I recently did a web search lately to see what was out there, and boy oh boy – did I find some real gems!

Some are cute, others are fashionable, and some are just downright scary. But all have that great vintage flair!

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How cute is this family? So typically “perfect”. Except for the daughter maybe – she’s perhaps a little demonic looking. But still cute!

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I love the maternity wear from the midcentury. I know I would certainly have that be the majority of my wardrobe if and when I am pregnant! And the guy looks like such a badass rockabilly dude – just look at the tee with the rolled sleeves!

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I would like each one of those women’s dresses, kthxbye.

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I love how “every family” this is. This looks like it would be used as an advert for cereal or oatmeal of some sort. So cute!

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Is that kid a hybrid of an Elizabeth Taylor look-alike and a stormtrooper knockoff?

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This is such a sweet picture. You don’t really see too many like this anymore, do you? I love the happiness just radiating from their faces whilst they enjoy the event that they are attending. And I will take that dress as well. And that waist too while we’re at it.

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DAMN IT FEELS GOOD TO BE A GANGSTA.

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I apologize for the small size of this. I thought it was too cute/funny not to share. Cute because of the new parents beaming from ear to ear with their new bundle of joy; funny because that kid legit looks like he saw something completely horrifying.

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Cute photo of a family enjoying their new-fangled television set. I wonder if they had to get glasses from sitting that close all the time?

Oh and I’ll take that skirt too. Add it to my tab.

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This girl just oozes style in how she wears her essentially basic but well put together ensemble. And those gams!

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This photo is awesome. I want this framed. The kid is legit peeing, the father has his hand to his head in a “WTF” type manner, and the mother and other child are just like, “Who cares, we are taking this bloody picture!” So much win in one shot.

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This is quite the dapper group, huh? Why don’t people dress like this anymore?

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“Excuse me, I mustache you a question…”

I’m sorry. I had to.

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Just a typical day on Main Street. I’m sure this was a scene you would see played out most weekends in towns all across America.

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I loved this canned trailer! I wanted one for years now 🙂 This was taken in Iowa in 1958.

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This is another trailer shot from the 1940s. Imagine going camping and having a road trip in that?! I would love every single second of it 🙂

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Am I the only one who thinks this dude has an Errol Flynn vibe going on? Anyone else?

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Is this the same kid as before? What does he keep seeing that terrifies him? Does he see demons or something? Seriously, I want to know why these kids are freaked the hell out.

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This woman’s style is rad. This woman has to be from NJ, because that hair has such a huge pouf to it! And that skirt – I will take one of those. What’s my total? Charge it? 😉

The Joy of “Masters of Sex”

Recently my husband and I discovered the on demand section of FiOs. And my my my, were we happy! I managed to find the Showtime section, and found “Masters of Sex”, a show based in the late 1950s about Virginia Johnson and William Masters, pioneers in the science of sex when even talking about it was considered “smut”, let alone watching people in the act!

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So far, I have made it through approximately eight episodes – it is fantastic! I think it is the new Mad Men for me. I can’t wait to get home from work and put on the next episode. I love how they weave everyone’s personal lives into the study, particularly that of Masters & Johnson. How their relationship goes through ups and downs at any moment. I won’t spoil it for anyone who has not seen it yet. If you have yet to watch – what are you waiting for?!

The infamous "Ulysses"

The infamous “Ulysses”

Masters and Johnson helped to pioneer research into human sexual response and the identification and diagnosis of disorders in this area. The initial phase of their study lasted from 1957 until 1965, with direct study of 382 women and 312 men. Their findings debunked numerous myths of the era, such as women being unable to orgasm as not just being “frigid”, lubrication was vaginal, not from the cervix, and clitoral and vaginal orgasms were identical and therefore women were capable of multiple orgasms.

This study took place through Washington University in St. Louis, and initially used prostitutes as the subjects. Prostitutes were thought to be isolated, outcast, and were more willing to participate and were good because of their expertise in sex. This however proved problematic due to the numerous cases of STDs they had found, and soon they were recruiting numerous outside couples. Most were married, upper class, white couples. Some were single and arbitrarily “paired” with someone as well.

They wrote two texts from their studies: Human Sexual Response (1966) and Human Sexual Inadequacy (1970). The described sex in the following four phases:

-Excitement phase (initial arousal)
-Plateau phase (full arousal, not yet at orgasm)
-Orgasm
-Resolution phase (after orgasm)

They also discovered that men undergo a refractory period where they are unable to orgasm for a period of time, while women do not experience this; as a result, they are able to achieve multiple orgasms.

Pretty interesting stuff, huh?! The show makes no qualms about delving deep into these findings and showing/going through how they got there. As some of you may know, Masters & Johnson even become study participants themselves!

Portrait Of Masters & Johnson

Portrait Of Masters & Johnson, 1970

I highly suggest this show to anyone who is interested in this field, science, sexuality, and of course vintage lovers! The décor and style of this show is to die for – I keep telling my husband “I want that! I want that too! OMG I need those!” 😉

I bought the book a few months back at Penn Station when I was still working in Manhattan, and have yet to read it. I am going to have to right that ship starting this weekend and let you all know how it is!

There's a book? Yes!

There’s a book? Yes!

Stay Tuned: The flood of Viva Las Vegas 17 posts are on their way! 🙂

Christmas, Vintage Style

I know I haven’t been around much, I’ve had a lot going on and a lot of personal circumstances getting in the way. I have been thinking a lot of coming back and what to write about, but never having the opportunity to do so. But here I am!

In the spirit of the season, I have decided to post some good old vintage Christmas pictures! Some are from NYC, some from elsewhere – but all in Christmas cheer!

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Sometimes I very much wish I could transport myself back to these days shown in the photographs and really and truly enjoy the Christmases of old. I have always felt more at home in a vintage dress, watching a vintage film, listening to vintage music, or being in a vintage car or building. Why not a vintage Christmas as well?! 🙂

How is everyone planning to spend their holiday?