This Lake Worth woman is one of Playboy magazine’s first centerfolds

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She’s been a catalog model, cigarette girl, Vegas cocktail waitress, New York theater actress and bit part player in an Oscar-winning movie.

But it was one photo session in the early 1950s that sealed Neva Gilbert’s claim to pop culture fame. The Lake Worth resident was one of Playboy magazine’s earliest centerfolds, Miss July 1954, a beautiful, long-legged blonde posed alluringly across a tiger skin rug.

“I’m the oldest living Playboy Playmate,” she proudly tells people.

But is she?

Find out, and see more photos of Gilbert then and now, in our story:

THE CENTERFOLD NEXT DOOR

 

Photos: Who was the Witch of Wellington? The answer with amazing photos

Suzan Strauss was known as the Lava Lady in Los Angeles in the 1990's, where she let photographer Osker Jimenez capture her in her DIY couture. (Osker Jimenez Exposure House)
Suzan Strauss on a street near her Los Angeles home in the 1990’s. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
In Wellington, Strauss was a regular at local thrift stores. (Lourdes Cabrera)
In Wellington, Strauss was a regular at Wellington thrift stores. (Lourdes Cabrera)

In Florida’s suffocating heat, she wore head-to-toe black, as if in mourning a loss.

Consequently, locals dubbed her the Witch of Wellington.

Read the full story about this eccentric Wellington and Los Angeles icon

But in Los Angeles in the 1980’s and ’90’s, Suzan Strauss was a street style star for the colorful outfits she designed, always worn with platform boots as high as horses’ hooves and a towering hat covering her hair.

The effect, said photographer Osker Jimenez, was to make her look seven feet tall as she glided slowly along Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, among the era’s pierced punks, dark goths and glam rock kids.

Fascinated with this self-assured, eccentrically-dressed woman, Jimenez photographed her for a decade, eventually publishing two books and staging a photo exhibition of his Strauss photos.

Photographer Osker Jimenez had an art gallery show of his photos of Strauss superimposed against stark landscapers. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
Photographer Osker Jimenez had an art gallery show of his photos of Strauss superimposed against stark landscapes. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)

 

The Lava Lady waters her garden from the lava rock wall surrounding her Los Angeles home. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
The Lava Lady waters her garden from the lava rock wall surrounding her Los Angeles home. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)

 

 

Strauss' Wellington home, where she constructed semi-circular courtyards at each end of the house, which was decorated with a row of upside down flower pots. (Post photo/Barbara Marshall)
Strauss’ Wellington home, where she constructed semi-circular courtyards at each end of the house, which was decorated with a row of upside down flower pots. (Post photo/Barbara Marshall)

 

(Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
(Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
(Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
Strauss was born to an Orthodox Jewish family. In accordance with custom, she always wore hats or wigs to cover her hair. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
In Los Angeles, she carefully cultivated the garden surrounding her home. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
In Los Angeles, she carefully cultivated the garden surrounding the lava rock-covered home that gave her the name “Lava Lady.” (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
Another of Jimenez' photos of Strauss, superimposed on a background of fireworks. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
Another of Jimenez’ photos of Strauss, superimposed on a background of fireworks. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)

Hurricane Matthew: Fun things to do at home as storm approaches

Hurricane Matthew update: Check our WeatherPlus Blog for the latest or follow our Weather Reporter, Kim Miller on Twitter.

Don’t let Hurricane Matthew ruin the fun this week. If you and your friends don’t have plans yet, why not stay together and go throwback to elementary school with a sleepover? Not really kidding, but there’s more.

Here are my top picks to keep calm and have an awesome get-together slash hurricane party (if that’s how you and your fam get down).

Teen-agers get comfortable at a sleepover in Olney, Md. Teens say the parties are like group dates, because they often don't pair off as couples. While some parents accept the coed slumber parties, others are appalled at the idea. Illustrates COED-SLEEPOVERS (category l), by Emily Wax (c) 2000, The Washington Post. Moved Friday, Nov. 17, 2000. (MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by James A. Parcell.)
Teen-agers get comfortable at a sleepover. (James A. Parcell/The Washington Post)

 

1. Make all kinds of Pizza! #MamaMia

I’m talking meat lovers, veggie and even dessert. This is an activity that takes some time, is creative and interactive.

In traditional deep-dish fashion, you'll assemble the toppings "upside down," beginning with the mozzarella and ending with the sauce. Contributed by Christine Han
In traditional deep-dish fashion, you’ll assemble the toppings “upside down,” beginning with the mozzarella and ending with the sauce. Contributed by Christine Han

Ideas on what to buy:

  • Pillsbury Pizza Crust. Pop it, place it in oven, enjoy a fresh crust. (Or spice up your pizza life by using garlic naan instead!)
  • Sauces: Tomato sauce, Alfredo and Pesto.
  • Veggies: Tomatoes, Mushrooms and green peppers.
  • Meats: Pepperoni, sausage and ham.
  • Dessert Pizzas: Nutella, Reese’s creamy peanut butter and Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (my favorite). Bananas, Strawberries and whip cream.

2. Do it Yourself!

Just this past weekend, my friend and I were able to transform a crappy thrift shop coffee table into a stylish piece of art (or so we think). Take a look around your home, see what chandeliers, tables, stools or lamps you don’t like.

If you need some inspiration, then see your way to Pinterest. Just key in what items you’ve got and watch your phone screen fill up with awesome DIY magic.

Veronica Gutierrez paints gold accents to a thrift shop table. (Julio Poletti/ The Palm Beach Post)

Instead of spending money on new ones, go get some cheap supplies:

  • Sandpaper (various grades)
  • Wood paint (pick your favorite)
  • Spray paint (choose between silver, gold or champagne to enhance your metals)
  • Get some cardboard boxes to protect your floors or carpet from paint.
  • Get a bag of random metals, coins and screws. (These could work as emblems and accents.)
  • Superglue and wood glue.

3. Get your body fit!

So none of your friends or family members showed up to your sleepover? No worries. There are tons of free workout videos to keep you busy.

Mike Trim, 34, a reporter/anchor for WPTU News Channel 5, and his wife Tiffany, 34, Stroke Program Manager at St. Mary's Medical Center, leap into the air to perform an exercise on Friday, January 18, 2013. The exercise is just one of many that they do each week as part of the insanity home workout program that they do 5-6 times each week to keep fit. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)
Insanity Home Workout Program. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)
  • Fitness Blender with instructors Kelly and Daniel has more than 500 free workout videos.
  • FreeYoga has more than 7k subscribers and hundreds of hours of free videos.
  • Jordan Yeho Fitness body weight workouts. Use your own extra pounds to get you in shape.
  • Meal Prep can be annoying but not when you’re stuck at home, doing nothing.
  • FitLifeTV’s healthy juicing ideas are great to keep you busy and lean.

4. What if the power goes out?

Not to worry, my friend. Make sure you get your hands on the best board and App games to share some laughs. Remember, your iPhone also has a flashlight.

The new Clue box top cover. Contributed by Hasbro
The new Clue box top cover. Contributed by Hasbro
  • UNOIronically, you can’t play this one alone. Start making some calls.
  • Guess who? Remember to mismatch the blue and red cards — it just looks better.
  • Cards against Humanity: Let your inner jerk come out.
  • Twister: Make sure everyone showers before this one.
  • Clue: This is an awesome mind-thrilling game that can make time go by fast.
  • Taboo: Have your partner guess your word!
  • HeadsUp: It’s not because Ellen DeGeneres created this game, it’s actually awesome.
  • Reverse charades: It’s the same classic game with an epic twist! You may want to record the craziness.

5. Embrace the storm.

Listen to our handpicked ‘Rain Playlist’ or sit down and catch up on some must-watch TV series. Click the links below:

Top 26 greatest “rain” songs of all time.

Tell us your mood, we’ll tell you what to binge-watch.

Which Florida hotel is among the “most stylish new hotels in the South?”

In addition to service and luxury, a great hotel offers an immediate sense of place.  Could The Breakers be anywhere other than in Palm Beach?

Garden & Gun magazine, that beautiful monthly chronicle of what’s new and cool in the The South has come out with a list of new Southern (and OK, Caribbean) hotels that are as stylish as they are dazzling reflections of their locations.

thompson

Making the list is The Thompson, a new hotel on the once-again-fashionable northern end of Miami Beach. The retro beach chic look of the pet-friendly hotel is meant to remind us of the ’50’s, when the neighborhood was the the hang-out of the Rat Pack. There’s even a Carmen Miranda suite.  Michelle Bernstein, the former chef at the Omphoy (now Eau Palm Beach) helms the kitchen at the hotel’s Seagrape restaurant.

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Another hotel on the list has a Palm Beach connection, although it’s located a thousand or so miles south.  The Playa Grande Beach Club on the Dominican Republic’s north shore was designed by Celerie Kemble, who grew up in Palm Beach and whose mother, Mimi McMakin, is the founder of Kemble Interiors. Designed in a colonial style with gingerbread fretwork, copper soaking tubs and a soft pastel palette, the nine bungalows were created to look like they’d been around for decades, Kemble has said.

The list includes other new hotels in the Carolinas, Virginia and Savannah.