no lemons in orange

i was in anaheim, california for the past week for ala annual — the summer equivalent of the conference i went to in dallas last winter. anaheim not being the most exciting of cities, and these conferences being pretty busy, i didn’t think i’d find — or find the time to do — anything fun while i was there.

that’s not usually my attitude. i’m pretty well known for taking full advantage of work trips to shop and sightsee, all at the expense of sleep. but anaheim is a seriously dismal location for a trip if you’re a 26-year-old woman and not a 5-year-old girl obsessed with minnie mouse.

so i didn’t even bother looking into anything i might do in the city on the off chance i might find myself with some spare time. but wind up with some free time i did — about five hours of it on friday afternoon — and i felt the best way to use it was to get the hell out of anaheim.

i took a walk and a bus to orange, california, a really quaint town about 30 minutes east of anaheim. as soon as i stepped off the bus and looked around at the prettily landscaped streets (anaheim is all 6-lane highways), proper restaurants (no ihop), and independent shops (not target), i breathed a sigh of relief.


i would have been thrilled just to find a park in which to read, but — even better — i discovered orange was a vintage clothing mecca.

the first shop i peeked inside was villains vintage, just outside of downtown orange. this was probably my favourite store because it had a mix of clothing, accessories, and furniture, and there was plenty of room to move around. some places are so jammed i get exhausted just looking at all the hangers and piles of clothes. i know there might be something good buried under all that, but i’m honestly very likely to spend twenty minutes sifting and then be overcome by a need to be in fresh air.





all the teal didn’t hurt either! i bought 2 silk scarves at villains for $8 each, a pair of shoes for $28, a pearl-buttoned shirt, and a simple blue gingham dress, both for $22.

then, on the recommendation that i do so from the owner, i walked the ½ mile along chapman avenue into downtown orange, where i found plenty more to feel relieved over.


country roads antiques was a multiple vendor co-op, like the arts market on queen street east in leslieville, but dustier. each booth had its own specialty, and some of it was cool, and all of it was dirt cheap.




the best known store on the street seemed to be elsewhere vintage, which specializes in high-end clothing from the 1940s to 1970s. they had a lot of beautiful stuff — dresses, gloves, purses  but it was all a little out of my price range. in my own life, vintage clothing usually doubles as inexpensive clothing. that’s part of what makes it so fun to shop for: the thrill of finding something beautiful and well-made from the fifties for $30. so not that these articles weren’t worth their $120 price tags (in fact, i’d argue it’s a better idea to pay $120 for a dress from 1941 than $120 for a dress from 2012), it’s just that i didn’t need any new-old dresses, and so wasn’t willing to spend that much money on a shopping trip necessitated by the need to get out of anaheim.


see that white and green dress with the gold chain belt peeking out in this photo? i loved that one!

next door to elsewhere vintage is the owners’ outpost for 1980s and 1990s clothing, a less expensive store called lost and found. it had some really cute stuff, but for the most part the fashions of those decades are ones i think we should all stay away from.


so i had a few unplanned hours of fun near anaheim after all! and this time no antlers were smuggled over the border. even though a few were on offer here:


7 thoughts on “no lemons in orange

  1. Glad you were able to find a refuge from the big-boxness of Anaheim. I always find myself in some less-than-stellar locations on the conference circuit, and it’s always nice to find a gem on your free afternoon! I wish I had found Orange when I was in Anaheim!

    1. i have been pretty lucky so far with the cities i’ve been sent to for conferences, but anaheim was definitely a dud in terms of extra-curriculars. the conference itself was one of the best ones i’ve attended, like you said!

      i think ala will be back in anaheim in a few years, so maybe you can discover orange then? next up, i’m new york-bound for digi book world in september – slightly more to do there!

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