Thursday, May 27, 2010

Median Housing Prices, Median Income, and what $350,000 will get you!

I've begun shopping for a condo.  This is not a fun process in greater Los Angeles mainly because I know I could be buying a giant house for the same price I'll be paying for a 2 bdrm condo.  And for the record, Los Angeles isn't that it's not really worth the difference.  In fact, I fantasize regularly about moving to cooler locales.  As such, I love nothing more than to look at real estate in other areas of the country.  Below are some price comparisons.

I'll be using $350,000 as a price point for comparison (give or take $10,0000).  And I will be selecting homes that based on pics appear desirable to ME.  I like homes with character.  Travertine tile can suck it!  As such, in many cases, I chose a home that looked a little cooler even when one that was bigger and newer was available for the same price.

So...with we go!  Oh...I'll also be adding median household income and median house/condo value data for all cities...just for fun.  (All this data was collected from, with the exception of Sherman Oaks, which was collected from

Beverly Hills
Estimated median household income in 2008: $93,327
Estimated median house or condo value in 2008: $2,590,563

Asking price for these side by side lots: $350,000

Pasadena, CA
Estimated median household income in 2008: $57,796 
Estimated median house or condo value in 2008: $652,400

You can get this 3 bdrm 1 bath house 1155 sq. feet  in a less desirable area of town which is listed at $349,900. 

And you'll have to buy your own appliances after closing!  And I have no idea whether that space is for the range or the fridge.  Probably the range.  But then where does the fridge go??

Sherman Oaks, CA
Median Household Income is $57,680
Median Home Price is $601,424

$360,000 for this 2 bdrm 1 1/2 bath townhouse, 921 square feet.  Location is decent but in a generic concrete jungle suburbia sorta way.  Hey it's the legendary San Fernando Valley.  I actually went and saw this place.  Nice enough...but kind of SMALL!!!

And lots of money went into the kitchen, which is fully upgraded with all the cliche crap that people like these days (granite countertops, stainless steel appliances).

Indianapolis, IN
Estimated median household income in 2008: $43,652
Estimated median house or condo value in 2008: $125,500

For $345,000 you can get this 4 bdrm 3 bath 5,142 square foot house in the highly desirable historic district of Woodruff Place, which was the city's first suburb, established in 1870.  This house was actually built in 1865 and it has all the exposed wood details common to Victorian homes.  Now I'd have to tear down that wallpaper...but this place is just gorgeous; and it has one of those wrap around porches that I LOVE!

 Austin, TX
Estimated median household income in 2008: $51,372
Estimated median house or condo value in 2008: $210,600
Not so familiar with different areas of Austin...but the city is beautiful.  You can have this very cute 2 bdrm 2bth 1180 square foot bungalow for $349,000.  This place is full of character and I love pictures anyway!

French doors. YAY!  And I gotta admit the bright color on the walls is working for me!  The floors look like they are probably original and are quite stunning as well.

New Orleans
Estimated median household income in 2008: $37,751
Estimated median house or condo value in 2008: $194,300

Here's the outside of this historic Victorian 3 bdrm 2 bath, 1844 square foot bungalow that lists for $349,000.  I'm not sure about the location.  But it's over 100 years old.  The inside is a little over updated for my tastes...but it's still pretty cute.

This is the kitchen.  I'm a sucker for exposed brick.  And while the kitchen is a little too cookie cutter for my's certainly usable.

Portland, OR
Estimated median household income in 2008: $50,979
Estimated median house or condo value in 2008: $310,900

This very cool mid-century modern ranch style home 3 bdrm, 2.5 baths and 1820 square feet is listed for 289,000...and it has loads and loads mid century charm...

...including decade appropriate cabinetry and an original pink range, which I love!  And that fireplace is rad!

Chicago, IL
Estimated median household income in 2008: $46,911
Estimated median house or condo value in 2008: $287,500

For 349,900, you could have a 2 bdrm 1 1/2 bath condo in this converted church/school, which is kind of rad.  The kitchen updates on this one are BAD...but it has exposed pipes and a loft layout and lots of exposed brick, so there's something to work with.

Memphis, TN
Estimated median household income in 2008: $37,207
Estimated median house or condo value in 2008: $99,900

I actually quite like Memphis.  And what a musical history it has.  You can have this 3 bedroom, 2 bath bungalow, built in 1931 for $299,900.
Again original floors that look sweet!  Unfortunately the original wood trim has been painted white.

New York City
Estimated median household income in 2008: $51,116
Estimated median house or condo value in 2008: $543,900

For $350,000, you can get this 1 bdrm, 1 bath 629 square foot condo.  It looks alright but I am not familiar with the location.

Fargo, ND
Estimated median household income in 2008: $41,181
Estimated median house or condo value in 2008: $147,200

For $328,000 you can get this 2 bdrm, 2 bath 1939 square foot condo that is the upstairs of one of an old town building.  Built in 1917, the place is completely updated with all the generic fixings...but it's also got tons of exposed brick, and tall ceilings with exposed pipes.  This is probably the single coolest place I've found so far.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

American Classics

I'm on a mid-century kick lately.  Last night I spent an inordinate amount of time online looking at classic cars for sale.  They just don't make 'em like they used to.

This 1956 Ford Crown Victoria Glass Top is a perfect example.  This is an award-winning car and apparently the glass top is a rare and highly sought after feature amongst classic car enthusiasts.  I just love the matching two tone interior and exterior and the chrome trim and the white walled tires - it's just gorgeous.  Unfortunately, a classic in this condition costs more than a house. 

Here's a more affordable option.  This 1956 Ford Sunliner features two toned shades of aqua (my favorite color) and the same chrome trim and white walled tires at just 2/5 of the price of the glass top.  This is still more than I'll be able to afford anytime soon.  But I love it so so much!  And a girl can dream RIGHT!!!

Here's the the one above,  it's two-toned...and so stylish.  Can you imagine getting it on in the backseat of one of these???  Or, what about taking this on a cross country venture.  That would be a dream come true for little ole me!  

Click the links for the

Friday, May 21, 2010

Elvis Dances Like a Girl and Shirley Manson Scowls Like a Man

I feel very fortunate to have come into adulthood in the 90's in part because there were some pretty kickass women finding success in the traditionally male dominated world of rock.  To be fair, I've always loved male driven rock for its cock-centric focus. I mean, I'm a heterosexual woman, and seeing such male-ness spotlighted is undeniably appealing.  But, I've never bought into the idea that rock music and culture are innately male in form.  In fact, far from strident reinforcement of male/female roles, rock's most interesting artistic contribution to modern society has been it's rebellion against traditional gender codes.  This goes back to Elvis's Ed Sullivan performance, when the network refused to show Elvis from the waist down because of his inappropriate dance style.  His fearless display of solo dancing, an activity seen as feminine in the 50s, felt threatening to a society built on strict gender-based behavioral codes.  Elvis's desire to be watched as he engaged in such gender-bending behavior, only further feminized him...and threatened the very behavioral codes on which 50's culture relied.

Even at it's most masculine, rock 'n' roll has always been a little more feminine than is usually suggested in analytical texts.  Having said that, it has usually been men who enjoyed the most success as performers, while women, aside from the a few chosen ones like Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, were viewed as novelty acts. However, in the 90's, it really felt like women were starting to gain legitimacy as performers.  The Riotgrrl movement receives lots of press in feminist circles.  But the 90's also saw a slew of female rockers transcend such "movements" and find grand scale success.  This was important because movements are usually  marginalized.  Moreover, Riotgrrl was largely a regional I learned of only years later.  As such, I feel little more than mild kinship with the movement.  But the women that follow mattered to those of us who weren't fortunate enough to grow up in hotbeds of feminist subversion.      

Shirley Manson - Garbage.  My personal favorite performer from the 90's by a long long shot.  Her style wasn't that iconic but her presence was equal parts menacing and enticing.  True she had a powerhouse band of boys behind her.  But she was the real star when all was said and done.  She continues to growl and prowl with the best of them.

Courtney Love - I know she has a lot of enemies.  And I know she's always relied on outside help to write songs...whether she was stealing Kurt Cobain's riffs, or "co-writing" with Billy Corgan.  But she has a great big rock 'n' roll personality that rivals any guy that ever played; and anybody who tells you that doesn't matter or shouldn't matter is full of shit. 

Gwen Stefani - to be honest, I've never been a big fan of Gwen's voice.  But her pairing of tomboyish fashion and energy with extremely feminine hair and makeup created a symbolic link between girlishness and strength and expanded the conceptual understanding of femininity; and that was inspiring and important.

Liz Phair - "Everytime I see your face I think of things unpure unchaste.  I want to fuck you like a dog, I'll take you home and make you like."  Gotta love Liz for that lyric alone.  She was a little wisp of a thing that talked like a lot lizard and dared to write an entire album offering a female counterpoint to the Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street.  This is subversion at its finest. 

PJ Harvey - she has become the mark against which every dark haired girl who plays rock guitar with blues influences gets compared...because you know we're all alike.  But hey, if we're gonna get compared to someone, we couldn't ask for anyone better.

Tina Turner - Ain't no one who's rocked harder or for longer than Tina Turner - male or female.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

First I Rock. Then I Golf.

I like to play golf.  Some people probably think golf is the most un-rocker activity one could engage in.  But really rock 'n' roll and golf are both boy's clubs.  And I've never met a boy's club that I didn't try to infiltrate.  So, while it's true you probably won't see Courtney Love on the golf course anytime soon...I consider my love of the game a mini-rebellion against the rocker cliche and an example of my lifelong interest in all things boys.  Besides, I'm not the only rocker who loves golf.  Alice Cooper plays too.  He even wrote a book about it.

Equal to my love of the game itself, is my love for golf fashion...especially vintage golf fashion.  Old photos of boys in knickers and newsboy caps, and sweaters and ties, like the one below, rock my world.

Moreover, Arnold Palmer, the Tiger Woods of his day both on and off the course, was hot in a boisterous, Hunter S. Thompson sorta way.  Lucky for him, it wasn't a profitable move for ladies to talk about their famous conquests publically.

But aside from all that male eye candy enjoyment, vintage golf fashion for women is equally fun to examine.  According to Lizzie Bramlett's "Women's Golf Fashion: a Peak into the Past," early in the game's history, women didn't play golf but country clubs functioned as social meeting places where women sought to look there best.  As women began to play the game, fashion evolved to suit the game's athleticism while maintaining visual appeal. The following are examples from the early to mid 20th century.  Check out the crisp white uniformity of the dress, the hat, and the gloves! 

And this plaid skirt paired with bobby socks below is a fun treat. 

 I think I want to have a vintage golf party.  How fun would that be???!!!  Everyone in plaid and argyle and knickers and bobby socks?  And newsboy hats?  Sadly, it that might appear vaguely Hollywood hipster.  But I might still do it!  My birthday is next month.  Whaddaya think???  

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dreaming of Jeannie's Kitchen

When I'm not busy with one of the million things I do to distract myself from my failed music career, I'm at home, watching House Hunters and wishing I knew how to whip up beef bouillon.  In truth, I'm not much of a cook.  But I love kitchens!  Specifically, I have a mild obsession with mid-century kitchen design. While almost every lemming featured on the aforementioned House Hunters ooohs and ahhhs at the stainless steel appliances, dark wood cabinets and granite countertops of kitchens like the one below...I find such design banal...and boring! 

I would far prefer a space that was unique and cool...and full of the kitchen featured on the cover of a recent issue of Atomic Ranch Magazine.

I also like the unique mix of stainless steel appliances and mid-century modern inspired cabinets of the kitchen below.

Lastly, who can resist turquoise and red!  Not ME!!!  Love Love LOVE IT!!!  
Give me funky, quirky, and colorful over those modern day earth tone cliches any day!