California Cruizin'

Discovering the Hidden Jewels Throughout America's Golden State

LA Rush Hour

A few days ago, I had no choice but to hit rush hour on the 405 and 110 freeway heading into the City of Angels for a high profile soiree at the Westin Bonaventura Hotel. While we crawled bumper to bumper through this concrete jungle my hubby snapped the following pictures. Quite the scene beyond your car hood when you try to get from A to B in this famous Los Angeles County where at any given day five million plus cars most probably try to do the same as you. I guess that’s LA for you. Quite an experience!

Getting into the groove…
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Approaching the 105 Interchange…
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The Los Angeles Skyline
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The Interstate 10 Underpass…a parking lot…
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Scissors, Needles & Beads

Whether you are looking for a quick fix of a too tight, too wide, or too short skirt, dress, or jacket, or whether you need a custom made suit, couture dress, or wedding gown, Vietnamese born Nina Dinh’s tailor shop, Susan’s Dressmaker, on the corner of 7th Street and Redondo Ave in Long Beach caters to all tailoring needs under one roof. IMG_6837
My personal seamstress for a number of years now, Nina’s swift and talented fingers have not only altered quite a number of my pants, skirts, and dresses but also created some stunning new outfits.
Talking to this soft spoken Asian lady during my last visit, IMG_6835 I was touched to learn about her personal story before coming to Long Beach in 1991. Her father worked for the government but when the communists took over, he was put into prison and the family suffered a great deal. At that time Nina attended High School. When her father escaped and went to the US, as a punishment, Nina was barred from attending college and as a result of that she began sewing.
When Nina arrived on the American shore in 1991 with her husband and infant son, she came empty handed and did not know a word of English. But she was lucky to get a job in the tailor shop where her sister, who had come to Southern California earlier, worked.
Soon after Nina’s arrival, her sister ventured out on her own and Nina took over the shop and thus Susan Dressmaker was born.
With the help of two more seamstresses, Nina creates the most beautiful outfits. From casual wear to suits, cocktail, and wedding dresses, she cuts, stitches, and beads whatever fabric and design you may fancy. Besides the whole fashion gamut, Nina also puts her touches on decorative items, like curtains and throw pillows. IMG_6833
Talking to Nina on that day, her eyes misted over retracing her life from communist Vietnam to the free shores of America. Her emotions about leaving her homeland and the hardship she endured still run deep. But with the help of her sister, she forged a new life on the sunny shoreline of Long Beach and appreciates the multicultural communities but most of all her personal freedom and freedom of speech.

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