By Anne Taylor Hartzell, on March 7, 2014

Back to Hollywood glam

When I was a little girl, my cousin and I used to dress up in my grandmother’s vintage dresses and jewelry. The dresses hung on us like large heavy drapes, but we didn’t care. The rough texture of the polyester, the intricate lace patterns, and vibrant colors made us giggle with excitement as we took turns zipping up the long back zippers that draped to the floor and hid the oversized pumps on our little feet. We’d squeal with excitement, running around her house and pretending to be old Hollywood movie stars. We’d beg our grandmother to bring out her glamour headshot and show us pictures of her wearing these 1950’s vintage frocks.

I learned about these old Hollywood icons early in life. My other grandmother loved to watch old movies with Grace Kelley, Doris Day, and Katharine Hepburn, and as a child I followed which of these actresses was wearing what, and who starred with whom.


I studied these old Hollywood characters intensely, knowing each of the stars by their finely coiffed hair, impeccably neat clothes, or how they danced as if they were floating on air. Southern California always held a very special place in my heart, one I could not completely understand as a kid. As a child, I’d often dream of growing up and going back in time to be a star during this glamorous time in Hollywood. One of my favorite daydreams was to live in an Eichler ranch house with a turquoise blue pool in the backyard, where I could watch my children play and socializing with friends. 

Still to this day, this mid-century era in California evokes strong emotions for me. I can imagine being a young woman, with big ambitions for film in the late 1950s and early 1960s, blazing trails like an entrepreneur in Hollywood, fighting for equality, and singing and dancing my way to stardom with a dream. I can picture embedding myself in the mid-century glam of the Hollywood fashion, culture, and social scenes during this time that seemed so dreamy to me as a child. These fantasies represent a throwback to a simpler time when there were no cell phones, no Facebook, no Internet; when community was the neighborhood in which you lived and life was slower; when the beaches were wide and you could surf on long wooden boards in the warm California air, drive the coast in a 1958 Ford Fairlane convertible, big sunglasses and a flowing scarf wrapped loosely around your neck.

Viewfinder Tip: For some of the best vintage goodies in Hollywood, check out Buttons & Bows in Downtown Los Angeles. 

Even though this little girl is all grown up with little girls of her own, I haven’t lost my love affair with dreaming big. I get to wake up every day and inspire other moms and families to pursue their own dreams of travel. Each road on this big road trip of life brings new challenges and opportunities to grow and dream bigger. Tomorrow, the new DreamWorks animated movie, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, debuts and I will be taking my five-year-old to see it. At first glance, the film is a simple story about a boy and his dog and their WABAC (pronounced “way-back”) time machine, traveling through time. What it delivers is a message of hope and an important reminder that our most precious moments in time are with our family and the people we love. We only are limited by our imagination. 

If you could take the WABAC to any destination and era in time, where would you travel?