Monday, August 17, 2015

Commercial Success

 Well, we finally did it, we just wrapped the first ever broadcast commercial for Ocean Heir.  This one minute ad will be running in hotel rooms and local access cable stations around the Cambria/Central Coast area.  We think it turned out pretty good, we have posted it on Ocean Heir's Facebook page, take a look, and tell us what you think!

Monday, July 6, 2015


So, this book is a favorite at Ocean Heir, and recently I sold a copy to a family (mom, dad, teenage daughter).  As they brought the book up to the register mom turns to the daughter and says "Are you sure you want this?"  The daughter nods her head.

Mom turns to me and says "She's in love with mermaids, I just don't understand, she  can't stand the ocean and hates the water, the sand, hates the beach."

To which the daughter replied "I like the sand, its just the water I don't like." Dad had the look of a man that couldn't wait to get out of the store.

That exchange made me to wonder, why are we so fascinated by mermaids?  Thanks to Google, Wikipedia, and the book, what I found was  amazing. I can't cover everything that is cool to say about mermaids in one blog entry without risking extreme mermaid saturation and potential boredom, so I'll get the  Joseph Campbell stuff out of the way first and pick up on some of the juicier bits another time. 

A Brief History

To begin with, its hard to know where to begin, since it looks like water spirits (or mermaids) have been a part of us since man began consider the world around him.

Mermaids almost certainly evolved from  ancient fertility goddesses and spirits, who were generally associated with water and the moon (think amniotic fluid, tidal rhythms, etc.).  In 1000 BC Assyrian fertility goddess Atargatis became the first recorded mermaid myth.   After accidentally killing her human lover, she was overcome with grief, and threw herself into a lake turning herself into a fish. The waters refused to hide her beauty, instead they transformed her into a creature with a human head and torso and the tail of a fish.  Presto! we have a mermaid.

We know mermaids go farther back than Atargatis, since the first known image of a mermaid appears on a Babylonian sealing stone dating to the 18th century BC.  That image had to evolve from something, so no doubt the mermaid is even older.

Stories similar to Atargatis sprang up all over the globe, as each cultural group developed a cosmology attempting to explain the world and man's place within it.  The water spirits of each culture differed in appearance from one another.  In some traditions the spirits looked human, but were able to live in the water (as does Triton - son of Poseidon - in the famous painting).  In others they may have had webbed feet, a fish or reptile tail (like the French maiden Melusine) , or even two tails (like Mixoparthenos), or the head of a fish, sometimes they retained their legs (like Atargatis).  For sure, they were not a homogeneous group like we  see today and for sure they were everywhere.

Civilization spread. In most places the old religions were replaced or faded.  The old  spirits took refuge in indigenous folklore. Trade between cultures grew,  local myths and superstitions were part of the exchange.  The look of the water spirits  began to conform to an ideal. The process accelerated during The Age of Discovery, until mermaids became beautiful long-haired young women, with a tail  ending at the calves or the knees.  Then the Victorians came along trapping the mermaid in a waist high tail, so as to completely cover all the naughty bits.  And then there was Disney.

And so we have the modern mermaid.  But still, why are we so fascinated?  Why are they generally female?  Could they be real?  I guess we'll just leave those questions for another day.  

In the meantime, Skye Alexander's book "Mermaids- The Myths, Legends and Lore" is beautifully crafted book and a great place to start your own research, even if you can't stand the ocean and hate the beach.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Few of Our Favorite (Vintage) Things

Faux fur and fabulous, Katrina in an Ocean Heir find

Lovely Katrina looking fabulous in one of our great vintage coats.  This one went home with Katrina, but we have plenty more estate finds to share and here are a few of our current favorites:

Our current Cinderella item. . . Many will try, but only one will it fit.  These fantastic, petite little boots are it now.  Want to be the queen of the ball?  Drop   by and give these a try.

The Heiress-in-Chief brought home theses charming children's books from her last picking trip.  We love the sweet illustrations and the colorful lithography.

We have vintage bags by the cartload.  Whether you are hoping to find a classic black clutch, or super glam rockin' tote, there's  something for everyone.

Very sleek and Seventies, this ironwood shark is perfect for any retro beach house.

Have something special to consign?  Give us a call at (805) 909-9022 and arrange an appointment.  We always have room for more cool stuff!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Father's Day, June 21, 2015

Okay, so you might think that  Ocean Heir is too girly to have great Father's Day gifts.  You would be so wrong.  There is plenty here to tickle the Dad's fancy,  starting with a terrific selection of unique and letterpress cards:

We also have tons of Dad-friendly books on subjects ranging from natural history and philosophy to bar guides and car culture.  If Dad is a reader there is something here to interest him:

What about a t-shirt?  True, men's clothing is not really our specialty, but we do have the wine drinker and VW bug t-shirts, and where else are you going to find that great Kraken t-shirt?

There's also tons of miscellany:  paperweights, bottle openers, matches, drinking flasks, to name just a few things. 

And let's not forget our collection of vintage and consignment items.  How about a selection of classic vinyl LP's, maybe that fabulous cocktail set, something from our collection of 60's camping gear, or perhaps some swinging 70's wall art for the man cave?  

Whatever gift you choose, all the Heiresses would like to wish all the Father's out there the best day ever!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Few of our Favorite Things- June 3, 2015

 Well, the Heiress-in-Chief has been out shopping again.  The store is chock full of all kinds of goodies just right for Spring and Summer.  I thought this might be a nice time to feature a few of our favorites:

All natural fibers, fun and flirty
 This cheerful little dress has been a favorite with us Heiresses since it arrived, in fact, several guests  loved it so much they wore it right out of the store!  Light and gauzy, it has an easy fit that works for many figure types.  It looks adorable as is with flip flops or sandals, or you can wear it over leggings, or even jeans.  And when that afternoon breeze kicks up, a sweet denim jacket, cardigan, or shrug will keep out the chill in style.

A great topper!
Need a dash of sophistication for a bland outfit?  This little red jacket should do the job.  Over a pair of palazzo pants with a simple t-shirt, a simple comfy and casual outfit turns sleek and eclectic.  Its made of an easy easy care vegan material, and the extra seaming and cut of this jacket really define and flatter the waistline.  

A favorite, fully stocked

Most of you regulars are familiar with these great cross-body saddlebag purses.  They are made of a durable vegan leather material ("I can't believe its not leather!" , we hear that all the time). There's an adjustable strap, and an anchored inner bag that can be unsnapped and carried as a clutch.  We are lucky to have lots of fun colors in stock now, so come on by and take a look.

Fabulous and brand new

These great ceramic bracelets are brand new to the store.  The bulky beads and unique glazes make for an eye-catching accessory.  Wear one, or stack several, no two are exactly alike.  And, they are strung on an elasticized cord for easy on and easy off.  We have coordinating necklaces and earrings too!

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Kraken

de Montfort 1801

Ah, the Kraken.  Our t-shirts featuring an image inspired by the pen and wash work of Pierre Denys de Montfort  (above, "Colossal Octopus" based on accounts of an attack on a French ship off the coast of Angola) are favored by Heiresses and  guests alike.  Just in time for Father's Day, we have these awesome shirts available in men's sizes. A gift without a story is just a shirt in a box, so here is the scoop on the Kraken:

What was Liam thinking?

 In Clash of the Titans  chief of the Greek gods, Zeus, utters one of the most spoofed lines of dialog in movie history.  Melodramatic, yes, also ridiculous because the Kraken is a Scandinavian myth.  Dating back to the 13th century, the Kraken is first mentioned in a charmingly bizarre  text called the Konungs Skuggsja (circa 1250, "The King's Mirror,"), and again in an Icelandic Saga, the Orvar-Oddr (circa 1270, then called the Hafgufa, or Sea Mist).  It was thought to be so huge it could be mistaken for an island.  It could bring down full sized ships by grabbing hold with a tentacle, or  by sucking them down in the enormous whirlpool it could create.  In Norwegian/Dutch the word means "unhealthy animal," or, "something twisted."

Erik Pontoppidan- Bishop of Bergen, Cryptozoologist

Early on, the Kraken was thought to be sort of crab-like in appearance, based mostly on guess work (like the blind men and the elephant). In 1735 Carolus Linnaeus ("father of modern taxonomy") classified the Kraken as a cephalopod in the first edition of his Systema Naturae.  In 1752 Erik Pontoppidan, a man of varied interests, published his "Natural History of Norway," in which he wrote extensively about the Kraken.  He described it as  round and flat, full of branches, and as large as an island.  The ability to attract fish with its own excrement, a penchant for coloring surrounding waters, and turning them thick and turbid, are among the attributes he ascribed to it.  Some of his assertions may have seemed a wee bit fanciful, but he may not have been all that far off.

Our prime suspect

In Mari Multa Latent, "In the ocean, many thing are hidden."  Today, we believe the Kraken myth is based on encounters with real Giant Squid (a cephalopod, hooray Linnaeus!).  Living specimens are rarely observed, so we know little about them.  The largest modern specimen found measured over 59 feet long and weighed over a ton. We know they have  viscous serrated suction cups and virtually indestructible beaks for tearing apart prey (many many giant squid beaks have been found in sperm whale stomachs completely undigested). 

Apparently, this happens a lot!

In 1965 a Soviet whaler witnessed an epic battle between a giant squid and a sperm whale that ended in a fatal draw.  In the 1930's  one reportedly stalked and repeatedly attacked a Norwegian Naval vessel.  We don't know for sure what the giant squid is capable of,  but some of its cephalopod relatives can propel themselves up to 50 meters in the air, and some can form  psuedomorphs (a type of decoy body) by releasing ink and mucus (thickening and discoloring the water around them, hooray Pontoppidan!).  Oh, and the colossal octopus I mentioned above?  That wasn't just a great adjective, that is a different and larger and more armored species  (fortunately, thought to be quite lazy).  All very scary, all very sea monster-y, and maybe not just a myth after all.  

Available at Ocean Heir!

Friday, May 8, 2015

All Finished!!

We've thrown all caution to the wind, and opened our new space.  The construction is complete (at least all the dangerous stuff), we have bid Cully goodbye (at least for the time being), cleaned up the dust and moved into the brand new space!

The panoramic view

We think it looks pretty darn good too!  There is a little more elbow room for shopping and a little more to choose from.   And best yet, all the things that make Ocean Heir such a fun place to shop are still here, though you may find them in a different place.

Kraken shirts, and candles
Our Kraken shirts and travel tin candles have moved to the center of the new space.

Masks and postcards
Those too-much-fun paper masks and classic black and white post cards are nicely displayed and easy to reach at the back of the sofa between the old and new spaces.


The Free Thinkers table
The likes of Kerouac, Muir, and Steinbeck are stashed in this new corner.  Let's call it our California Free Thinker's section. While you're back there checking out "On the Road" check out our new jewelry display and the dress rack. 

Glamper's Corner
Our camping and outdoor section has rotated one tick counter-clockwise, finding a home in a corner of the back room.

New window, favorite shirts
The ever popular three button cuff shirts are enjoying a place of honor under our brand new window.


The Yummy Armoire
 We found a great space for the food and drink section.  Everything that was stacked in that dark, cramped little back corner is now easily accessible, for your browsing pleasure.  You probably never realized we even had that many cookbooks.

There is a lot more, you just need to come in and see for yourself.  In fact, you are probably going to find stuff you didn't even know we had (it's a bit embarrassing, but we did find some stuff we didn't know we had).  And, worse comes to worse, ask an Heiress (NOW we know where everything is!).