Category Archive for Los Angeles CA

Bela Lugosi’s Grave: Dracula cemetery in LA! Urban Body Jewelry review, Goth plugs & tunnels.

goth couple, goth boy girl

Bela Lugosi’s dead (or undead).

To honor the legendary Dracula actor, we went to his grave in Los Angeles… and rolled around on it. Literally, as you will see.

The cemetery was the ideal place to take photos of Trevor wearing Urban Body Jewelry, purveyors of alternative septums, plugs, tunnels and more. Read on for the vampiric tale…

vampire girl, fashion

Trevor and I were in Los Angeles late last month. We always get a thrill from visiting a special location, and styling ourselves in ways that reflect the mood. Perhaps you remember when he styled me in Issey Miyake and vintage couture, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers.

Outfit of the Day: I’m wearing Daria boots by P. Manjo (a Spanish footwear designer), and an apocalyptic cut out top by Michi, my current favorite.

Shop my look below:

bela lugosi grave site

Bela Lugosi is a horror movie icon, best known for playing Count Dracula in the original 1931 film. With his Hungarian accent and lurid expressions, he thrilled audiences with his portrayal of Bram Stoker’s vampire.

Although he appeared in other horror movies, Bela Lugosi spent the last years of his life in obscurity. My favorite Tim Burton movie, Ed Wood (you MUST see if if you haven’t!) chronicles his final appearances in B-movies, such as Plan 9 from Outer Space.

bela lugosi holy cross cemetery

Bela Lugosi died at age 73 from a stake through the heart (hyperbole… it was a heart attack). He was buried wearing his Dracula costume, complete with cape!

Today, Bela is undead — at least in the sense that he has become a Hollywood legend. Fans like us still visit his grave at Holy Cross Cemetery in Los Angeles. (Address: 5835 W. Slauson Ave, Culver City, CA).

dracula tombstone, bela lugosi dead

If you’re not familiar with the classic horror actor, I encourage  you to check out the Bela Lugosi film collection (which includes Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Black Cat, The Invisible Ray and Black Friday). And of course, the movie that made him an icon: Dracula.

bela lugosi cemetery, burial place

Look out, Trevor… When you lie with the undead, evil spirits are bound to appear…

spiderweb cobweb earrings

We couldn’t have picked a better spot to photograph these Gothic accessories. They’re from Urban Body Jewelry, an online boutique with over a thousand styles of plugs, from 16 gauge to 2 inches. They also have septums, body rings and more.

Trevor had a hard time choosing from all the alternative designs: cobwebs, skulls, crosses oh my. Here’s a close-up of his silver spiderweb plugs. I love the fine detail of the webbing.

goth boys, gothic male fashion

As you can see from the ominous shadow (no Photoshop here), the ghosts of the graveyard must have approved…

goth horror tattoos, earrings

We were thrilled with Urban Body Jewelry’s large selection of alternative jewelry, especially for less common piercings (such as nipple rings and septums). The dark styles also complement Trevor’s tattoos.

Trevor says, “I am very pleased with the quality, and the concepts are very unique. I definitely would like to incorporate more of their pieces into my personal wardrobe.”

urban body jewerly, alternative plugs tunnels

Trevor had a hard time choosing designs from their Plugs and Tunnels page. Everything is well priced (many items are under $10) but made with quality materials like stainless steel.

In his hand, you can also see a black captive nipple ring and stainless steel nipple bars that he’s excited to wear.

vampire blood earring plugs

When you’re resting your head on the grave of Bela Lugosi… you’d better be ready for Dracula’s bite! Trevor has these incredible liquid blood plugs in his ears (0 gauge), which look like vials of victim blood. 

gothic cross stainless steel plugs

Here’s a closeup of his Stainless Steel Cross Tunnel Plugs as well. A classic Gothic style that matches all types of outfits.

(The tattoo is a nice touch, since Bela Lugosi often acted in movies with Frankenstein’s Boris Karloff).

vampire clothing nu goth fashion

Don’t worry if you lack piercings, like me. You can also pick up fake septums and rings that look like the real deal.

I think the photos speak for themselves… Urban Body Jewelry is a gem for those who love alternative accessories.

And they kindly gave me a coupon code to share with you! Just enter CARMINA10 at checkout for a 10% discount. Take a look at their selection here, and let me know what you end up getting.

dracula actor graveyard

Here’s to Bela Lugosi, a pioneer of horror. RIP (1882-1956).

holy cross cemetery los angeles

Dracula’s grave is located in front of this grotto, in the southwest part of Holy Cross Cemetery. After you enter the main gate, turn left and follow the road up until you see this cave.

There are no tombstones or mausoleums in this resting ground — only flat grave markers. You’ll have to walk around a little and scan the names in order to find Bela.

occult candles, altar

The late afternoon light created interesting glow effects. (All photos shot on my Sony A7 mirrorless camera.)

goth boys, tattoos

Other celebrities lie beneath the earth at Holy Cross: Rita Hayworth, Bing Crosby, and Sharon Tate, who was murdered by Charlie Manson’s followers. 

lavender and pastel blue hair color

We found an altar with candles and the monogram IHS. This is apparently a “Christogram” (representing the first three letters in the Greek spelling of Jesus).

bela lugosi memorial site

Somehow, we managed to make this look more like a Satanic ritual…

daria boots, skirt

Trevor and I decided to make this a Dracula Day, in Bela Lugosi’s legacy. After the graveyard, we went to a Vampire Wines tasting lounge and an Endless Night ball (I will show you in an upcoming photo diary).

pastel goth hairstyle hair dye

Side view of my new lavender-blue hair color. It’s the work of stylist Stephanie Hoy at Stratosphere Salon, Vancouver.

haunted goth los angeles

Holy Cross cemetery surpassed our expectations. What a pleasure to wander in this hauntingly beautiful grotto.

alternative fashion blogger

“The bats have left the bell tower / The victims have been bled / Red velvet lines the black box / Bela Lugosi’s dead” – Bauhaus

666 license plate goth car

The sun began to set as we climbed back into our Goth-mobile.

Can you believe we have 666 on our license plate?

silvercar car rental

We tested out Silvercar, and it was by far the best car rental service I’ve experienced. This startup exclusively loans out silver Audi A4 sedans, wired with GPS, WiFi and more.

lax silvercar los angeles

Renting a car is usually a hassle with long lineups, poor customer service and contracts that try to trick you into spending more money. I always feel like I need to be on guard, or else these companies will give me a lemon.

I had the complete opposite experience with Silvercar, which truly lives up to its motto: “Car rental the way it should be.” The company “hacked” the process to make it as streamlined and stress-free as possible.

When we got to LAX, Trevor and I didn’t have to wait for a dingy shuttle to take us to the lot. Instead, a Silvercar with a friendly driver was waiting to pick us up!

silver audi cars

At Silvercar HQ (address: 9010 Bellanca Ave), there wasn’t any complicated paperwork to sign. In fact, we didn’t even need to go inside. We simply used the mobile app to unlock the car by scanning a QR code, and tapped the screen three times to seal the deal. Returning the rented car was just as easy.

All the cars are luxury Audis in pristine condition. We immediately connected the Bluetooth and played Marilyn Manson.

car rental startup silvercar

Silvercar is everything I love about startups. They take a frustrating service (in this case, airport car rentals) and subvert it, using apps and out of the box thinking.

In this spirit, we couldn’t resist taking this cheeky photo! When the 666 tattoo on your butt matches your license plate… how could you not?

silvercar review, renting car app

Best of all, the rental rates are very reasonable. In fact, I’d have paid more if I got an Audi from one of the big-name companies. After this joyful test drive, there’s no doubt I will be riding with Silvercar again (especially if they give us the 666 car!).

Silvercar is currently available in major American cities including Austin, NYC, San Francisco and Miami. The startup is growing quickly and will open in new locations soon, so keep an eye out.

la celebrities graveyard

I hope you enjoyed our vampiric photoshoot. Don’t forget to check out Urban Body Jewelry to pick up dark accessories for yourself (code CARMINA10 at checkout for 10% off.)

haunted california travel

Have you watched any of Bela Lugosi’s works? Perhaps this post may inspire you to have a classic horror movie marathon. 

Shop for my look below – and don’t miss out on the current Shopbop sale, on til Mar 5. Just enter BIGEVENT16 at checkout for 15-25% off orders on most items.)

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Moi-meme-Moitie graveyard dress! Eco Oscars Lounge gifting suite, Austin Young makeover gallery.

moi meme moitie, lolita skirt print

The Academy Awards were the perfect occasion to debut my Moi-meme-Moitie graveyard dress! I wore it to the Eco Oscars gifting suite, at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel.

I’ve had my eye on this Gothic Lolita dress (by Mana’s EGL label) since it was first released. This is my favorite from the collection: a JSK with corset lacing down the front, with a dark romantic cemetery print around the bell-skirt. When I was in Tokyo last December, I had a Closet Child discount and saw it on display. Done and done.

moi-meme-moitie sleeping garden, cemetery dress

I coordinated the Moitie dress with a long-sleeved demi-jacket by Marble; it matches the fabric and lacing. My “Minnie Mouse” hair is by Stephanie Hoy in Vancouver; here are more photos of my cheeky gyaru hairstyle. Do you like this unconventional styling?

eco oscars gifting suite

I was invited to the Eco Oscars 2014 gifting lounge, where socially-conscious brands give products to celebrities and influencers. It’s a great way to get the word out, discover new goodies, and (of course) honor the Academy Awards nominees.

celebrities oscars gift lounge 2014

Inside the Beverly Hilton, invitees helped themselves to tequila cocktails and snacks. We browsed the various stations, which gave out jewelry, gowns, hotel stays and more.

skylan brooks actor, academy awards party

I enjoyed meeting creative industry people, like young actor Skylan Brooks, who starred in “Mister and Pete” with Jennifer Hudson.

graveyard print lolita dress, oscars beverly hilton

That day, I picked up light-up lipgloss, argan oil, makeup and more. (Above four photos by Katya Williams.)

ronan farrow's cat watching msnbc

The kind folks at Canine Caviar gave my celebrity cat some holistic, grain-free food to try! Basil Farrow gives it two sideways-paws up. (He watches his dad Ronan Farrow’s TV show with close attention.)

eco friendly sculpture lamp

Love the eco-friendly focus of the gifting suite, such as these funky lamps by David Trubridge. Thanks to the 2014 Eco Oscars Lounge for inviting me to experience this very special event.

austin young gallery opening

Later, I went to a very different party: the opening of photographer Austin Young’s “Glamour Shots” Makeovers, at the recently-opened Good Luck Gallery in Chinatown.

good luck gallery chinatown la

Austin Young invited guests to take part in an interactive photo shoot. Makeup artists helped you get glammed up, and then you could play dress-up from a rack of feather boas, vintage hats and other decadent garments.

austin young photographer makeovers

Such a fun atmosphere. The space was packed with underground types; I spotted drag queens, burlesque makeup and sequined corsets.

lenora claire, bright red hair

Always a pleasure to see Lenora Claire, red-haired mistress of ceremonies.

austin young tranimal photos

The walls of Good Luck Gallery displayed some images from Austin Young’s “Tranimal” series. This aesthetic fuses drag fashion and makeup with surrealism, often with exaggeration of gender.

lgbt portraits, los angeles gay photographer

Provocative, startling, colorful and joyous: I’m a big fan of his work. More on Austin Young’s site.

scary mask, dreadlocks wig

Only in Los Angeles can you attend a Beverly Hills gift lounge and underground art happening on the same day! What’s your impression of these two events?

I’ve been blogging about LA clubs, shops and more for years; check out more of my Los Angeles travel and fashion posts, and leave me a comment if you have questions about the city.

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My Mickey Mouse hairstyle! QVC Oscars Pre-Party 2014, Four Seasons celebrity red carpet.

mickey mouse hairstyle, minnie mouse

I have Mickey Mouse hair! Needless to say, this fun hairstyle got quite the attention in Los Angeles. I was honored to be invited to several Academy Awards parties, including the QVC Oscars pre-party at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills hotel.

It was quite the night of celebrity shenanigans, including Joan Rivers and Miss Piggy getting into a cake-fight

blunt cut bob, side fringe

Let’s start by dressing up. My blue hair is probably my favorite color to date. It’s by Stephanie Hoy at Avant Garde Hair: give her a ring if you’re in Vancouver!

I’ve been doing more natural makeup lately — gotta switch it up. My lipstick is c/o Shien Cosmetics; I adore the matte coverage, designed to flatter Asian skin tones. This neutral shade is Shanghai Rose.

long lavender prom dress, party gown

My flowing, lavender gown is by the Japanese brand Comme l’un. Remember I wore it for my Goth Fairy photoshoot in Hong Kong?

mickey mouse retro toys

This two-buns hairstyle is inspired by the looks seen in gyaru magazines, read by trendy Tokyo gals. It’s also a tribute to Mickey Mouse, since I’m not far from Disneyland. (Spotted this collection of retro-Disney figurines at YVR Vancouver airport.)

two buns gyaru hairstyle

In the words of Karen from Mean Girls: “I’m a mouse. Duh!”

gyaru hair how-to, updo

Can you believe my hairdo stayed like this for three nights? Stephanie put my hair in two high ponytails, then backcombed and pinned it into circles. A lot of hairspray was involved.

japanese heart cut-out shoes, heels

I wore high heels with cut-out hearts from Lumine. Here are more photos from this Shinjuku department store.

purple long silk dress

Details of the back of my dress. I don’t usually put my hair in an up-do, or wear cocktail/party dresses like this. It’s good to get away from the norm sometimes, and see where it takes you.

qvc red carpet, oscars party

Every year in LA, there are a number of invite-only parties that celebrate the Academy Awards. The QVC Oscars Red Carpet is a favorite for celebrities.

jane seymour red carpet arrivals oscars

Actress Jane Seymour waves to friends. Mario Lopez was smiling nearby.

joan rivers, fashion police qvc oscars

How fun to mingle with guests like the fabulous Joan Rivers, of Fashion Police.

fashion bloggers, oscars pre party four seasons

We drank special cocktails, snacked on hor d’oeuvres, and posed for photos.

qvc academy awards party

QVC was broadcasting a live TV show during the party.

swarovski crystals iphone cover

At a special table, I got my iPhone case covered in Swarovski crystals. (More info about my custom phone case here.)

joan rivers cake on face, miss piggy qvc

The funniest part of the evening: watching Joan Rivers run out of the party, covered in cake! Apparently, she got in a fight with Miss Piggy and lost.

Other celebs who attended were Nicole Richie, Kaley Cuoco, Kat Dennings, Krysten Ritter. Also present: Sarah Paulson, Kate Mara, Bella Thorne, Nikki Reed and many more. (Above photos via QVC.)

oscars parties, vip celebrities

What a fun, glam night. Thanks to QVC for inviting me to LA to attend the red carpet bash. More Oscars event coverage coming right up.

Did you watch the Academy Awards this year?

disney retro toys, mickey collection

And do you like my Mickey Mouse hair?

PS: You’re welcome to Pin any of my blog photos onto Pinterest. I have an account on Pinterest; add me (lacarmina).

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Wave Gotik Treffen, Prague & Berlin Goth travel guides. Tokyo Japan bagelheads gone viral. Part 2 of 2012.

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As we approach the New Year, let’s reflect on the second half of 2012. One of my favorite moments was doing this professional photoshoot, involving latex feather dresses and sugar skull makeup, with my talented Vancouver team. The images were published in Sugar Heart, and Gothic Beauty Magazine — a total honor. (More images and full credits here.)

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I also did a pro shoot with a blow-up bear, in a potato field…

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… and it ended up making the cover of Vanity Magazine! I blogged more of these Goth modeling photos.

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I got to cross off a “bucket list” travel destination, thanks to Go With Oh. The wonderful apartment rental company sent me to Wave Gotik Treffen, the largest Gothic festival in the world. I also explored Prague with Rock n Roll Bride, and Berlin with Yukiro, DJ SiSEN, G-sus and spooky friends. View our adventures in my Germany Goth travel guide.

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After Europe came Asia. I spoke on the fashion blogger’s panel at Hong Kong Social Media Week. It was great to see family and John Skeleton, and do some hardcore shopping — especially at the Hello Kitty shop. See more of my favorite Hong Kong stores.

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In between, I hopped around the USA. I was Guest of Honor at Animegacon in Las Vegas. Spoke at PRSA Travel & Tourism conference in Ohio. Flew to New York City to be a guest on Discovery TV’s Oddities (my appearance will air early next year). Did some heavy pre-Halloween partying in Los Angeles, and hosted Gothic club night Bar Sinister with Amazing Race’s Kent Kaliber.

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I’ve been writing about Tokyo bagelheads for years, and nobody paid much notice. But then, my Tokyo TV company worked on National Geographic’s “Taboo” episode about saline forehead inflation, and the extreme body mod went viral! I even flew to LA to be on “The Doctors” talk show, where I discussed bagel heads and deflated misunderstandings about body mods.

What a colorful year! What’s coming up in 2013? More TV work and global travels (stay tuned to see where I go next). I’ve just completed a press trip to Phoenix, and will be in Tokyo to appear in a documentary. And I’ll be in a warm destination this January… announcement to come.

Above is a compilation of my television presenting clips; full videos are on my La Carmina bio page. PS: thank you to Hostelbookers for interviewing me about my life of travel blogging and cat-craziness.

Do you have any goals for the New Year? What do you hope to accomplish or improve? Any “bucket list” items you’re determined to cross off? Here’s to a grandiose 2013!