Thursday, September 29, 2011

Not About Me

Today, I was going to write about my own beauty issues and ramble on about them. Then, I got an email from my sister today, which included this link:

This is a big world. We are each just 1 in 6 billion people. I've visited many countries and live in Los Angeles, the true melting pot of the world. Many times, I compare the differences of these cultures from my own. As easy as it is to see how different these folks are, it's easy to get along with them. If you want to get along, just smile. No words needed. To get it rolling, why not make a balloon animal? I loved having those as a kid. Boy, I wish I had the talent to make them myself. My nephews would love me!

Even if you didn't love balloon animals, isn't it nice to know, in this shattered economy, there are people traveling the world to spread happiness to the most desolate places? Speaking of living in LA, it's so easy to get caught up in the hype. There are people here who have everything...but they spend their days wishing to be someone else. Then there are people in this same world who have not a penny to their names, but they're so happy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Latest Purchases

I'm asked all the time about my latest purchases. Lately, there hasn't been much to discuss. I'm trying to save for a fabulous birthday present to myself, coming up next month, and also for, well, let's just say goals.

On Saturday, I went for my hair appointment, which I felt like canceling, due to a cold I caught the day before. However, my hairdresser doesn't actually mind having sick clients, and I'd already canceled 2 times before this appointment. And I needed to have my roots retouched-bad! I love being a redhead, albeit an unnatural one. I'm a proud Filipina-American, so I'm not cursing my naturally black hair, but my fiery dramatic personality fits that of a redhead stereotype so well! Here are the results of my fresh red color:

I can't believe I've been putting off buying the Maroon 5 CD, It Won't Be Soon Before Long. For a long time, I kept thinking, I'll buy it later. During my long commute to work and back home and the long workday, I found myself turning up the radio whenever a song from this CD came on. Well, it's about time I got it then. So now that I decide I want it, it's hard to find. ran out, and the multiple Target, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart stores I've visited didn't have it. I finally searched on Fry's Electronics website, and I found that a store about 13 miles away had one left. Yesterday, despite my cold and feeling s*itty, I headed there. I mean, what else to do on a Sunday afternoon? Right away, I ripped open the plastic and played it in the car: "6 foot tall, came without a warning, so I had to shoot him dead, he won't come around here anymore, come around here, I don't feel so bad"...OK, enough. I love Adam Levine!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fashion's Night Out LA-9/8/11

Going into the East Coast trip, I knew that I had to make a choice: 1) Spend minimally, then spend as I normally would upon returning home (moderately, with the occasional splurge) or 2) Splurge, then spend minimally for the next couple of months after returning home. I chose #2. And being that I was in New York for a few days longer than planned, all the more I need to really stick it out. So far, I've been good. Other than the once-daily lunchtime meal (yes, I can cook, but I really need my time away from the office) that's always under $10, all I'd spent was $18.99, on a car wash.

I nearly stayed home during FNO, but the invitation sent to me by Christian Louboutin was too convincing. So on Thursday night, I stepped out in my brand-new batik python No Prives and headed to West Hollywood. I arrived a little early, so on my way, I stopped into Maxfield. Maxfield is a very Gothic-looking boutique. With as many mentions as they get in the major fashion rags, you'd think they'd be much bigger than they are, but the boutique is actually quite small. No matter, though. They carry the most cutting-edge labels, like Givenchy and Stella McCartney. Their clientele is major. The sales associate with whom I spoke told me many of the store's clients were in New York for the "real" FNO. We had a chuckle about that, agreeing that there are just some things that NY has on LA, and fashion is one of them. Let's not start another argument here. I still think LA is a great city and is better than NY in some ways. For example, the weather and entertainment is unbeatable in LA. Anyway, temptation struck, in the form of a dress by Dries van Noten (image is from I've seen his dresses before, in Barneys, but I never tried them, thinking they were too funky for my taste. I almost wish I didn't put this one on...because now I want it! There are so many occasions for which this dress could be worn, and it fit me perfectly! I had to pass...just had to. Luckily, by the time I took the dress off, it was time to head to CL, which was a 5-minute walk away (but on this night, it took me 10 minutes, with the shoes LOL).

The party at CL was awesome! They served Grey Goose cocktails and delicious snacks, including grilled cheese! They do love their customers, and we all got cool gifts from Frederic Fekkai and Make Up For Ever. After spending some time in CL, I headed to Chanel on Robertson, where they served champagne. I made a beeline straight for the nail polish counter, where I picked up the 3 colors of the Les Jeans collection. While I was examining the colors, I look to my left to see their nail polish model: a tall dark-haired young lady, who was none other than Kendall Jenner! After I got my polish, packed up in my first-ever Chanel shopping bag with white camellia ornament, I wandered around the store. It's a beautiful boutique, with an outdoor sitting area, so very LA.

OK, so I splurged just a little. At least I contributed to the cause of FNO, which was to revitalize the economy by having fun with fashion ;)

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Drama Queen Travels to the East Coast-an Adventure (Part 2)

As promised, I will finish writing about my East Coast adventure.

Thursday, 8/25: I left Washington, DC for New York City via Amtrak train. I highly recommend. I got a 10% discount on train fare for being a AAA member (I highly recommend that, too, for discounts on train fare and hotel stays, which I got to use quite a few times during this East Coast adventure). Even though I bought coach fare, the seating was sooooo comfortable and the ride was smooth. I looked out the window and watched as the train rolled through Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and finally, Penn Station. It was raining lightly as I finally breathed in the air of New York City. It had been 4 years, but I returned, just as I promised. I took a cab to midtown East, to meet up with my cousins for dinner. The view was breathtaking.

Friday, 8/26: The weather was sunny and warm, perfect for walking around the city. I started my day on the Upper East Side and stopped for lunch at Serafina Fabulous Grill. The service was slightly less than sufficient. They ignored me most of the time, and I had to be aggressive the two times I needed attention (to ask for bread and the check). However, I've had worse restaurant service, and the most important thing to consider when reviewing a restaurant experience is the food, and it was pretty good. I ordered the rigatoni alla bolognese.

After lunch, I walked eastward, determined to check out the Christian Louboutin Madison boutique. I was so excited, and then I was disappointed. There were 2 sales associates working, and they ignored everyone except the 2 customers they were with. There was a cashier, who "helped" me. I use the term loosely because she acted as if me being there was ruining her day. I tried to make friendly conversation, and she would interrupt me. She didn't smile even once and got into an argument with the manager in front of me. Not only was the service awful, but the selection was scant. The only shoe there that even caught my eye (and in which my size was available) was the indigo watersnake Bambou (a thick-heeled peep-toe platform). I was disappointed, but determined to walk away with a pair of CLs.

J and I checked into our hotel in Chelsea and hotfooted it to the Meatpacking District. She was eager to buy her first pair of CLs, and I was excited for her. Also, I brought along my Bambous, hoping to exchange them for something at the Horatio boutique that would make my heart sing. The experience at Horatio was so different from the Madison one. J and I were warmly greeted by the manager, who recognized me from events at the Robertson boutique, where I am a frequent visitor. He was so attentive and when I told him I was looking for python (which isn't sold in California), he showed me several pairs. If that wasn't enough, he produced from the back a dream pair for both me and J: for her, the No Prive in bronze python. For me, the No Prive in batik python! I thought I missed out on this shoe forever, especially when it went on sale and a bunch of girls on the Purse Forum snatched them. And there they were, in my size! We took a photo in front of the store, with our bags.

Our dinner wasn't to start for another couple hours, and we were starving. We saw a classic-looking British delivery cab sitting in front of Tea & Sympathy. As I'd heard of this place before, I was curious to see the inside, and we were hungry, anyway. It's a cramped little place, but with excellent service from women with adorable British accents. I ordered the Welsh rarebit, and J ordered a mushroom sandwich meal:

After Tea & Sympathy, we headed back to our hotel room to deal with the issues brought upon by Hurricane Irence: rescheduling canceled flights, calling our work supervisor, calling family, and figuring out where we would stay for the next few days (we were originally scheduled to fly out the next day). After dealing with most of it, we decided to take a deep breath and get ready for a dinner out at a hip NYC restaurant. After some confusion with our cab driver, who drove us in the completely opposite direction of where we needed to go, we made it to Buddakan. The food wasn't any better than Asian cuisine I've eaten in LA, but the "crying chocolate" dessert (white chocolate ganache with jasmine tea ice cream) was picture-worthy, so of course, we took a picture of it. Does this restaurant look familiar? If you've seen the Sex and the City movie, it should. It's where Carrie and Big had their rehearsal dinner.

Saturday, 8/27: Instead of flying home, J and I wandered around midtown Manhattan. We couldn't believe how empty the streets looked. The rain fell pretty hard, but we didn't let that stop us.

We continued on, checking out the tourist areas: Rockefeller Center, Times Square, etc. Who did we see in Times Square, besides all the tourists, determined to not allow the rain stop their vacations? The Naked Cowboy! He's one brave fella!

Sunday, 8/28: Not much happened this day. I woke up late and had a nice quiet day in Connecticut with my cousin. There were a lot of fallen trees and messy debris in the neighborhood, and lots of people were without power. However, at least where we were, there wasn't a lot to complain about.

Monday, 8/29: My last full day on the trip. In the evening, we drove into the city, and I had one last dinner in Manhattan with J. We ate at Osteria Serafina, which had good service and food. On our way to Serendipity 3 for dessert, we spot a little boutique called Dejavu. They have unusual hours, from 1 to 11 pm, versus the standard Manhattan boutique hours of 10 am to 6 pm. This worked out well for us, as we didn't end up finishing dinner until 9:30 pm. The friendly Dejavu sales associate told us that the hours were set up so that people like me and J would be accommodated. I really did need new dresses, since I'd lost so much weight this last year, and after I tried this one on, I knew it had to be mine. Here I am wearing it with my nude CL Very Prives. Excuse the bruises on my knee. That's what happens when you have to move yourself and your luggage from plane to train to taxi to 4 hotels within one week.

Tuesday, 8/30: I flew home today, a little sadly. I really do love New York. I hope it won't be another 4 years before I return.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Drama Queen Travels to the East Coast-an Adventure (Part 1)

"Adventure" is a complete understatement! I planned to attend a seminar in Washington, DC for a few quiet days, then head off to New York for a day of shopping and a meal with my cousins. I got more than I bargained for!

Tuesday, 8/23: I arrived at my hotel in the Washington, DC suburbs at 1 am. A mere 6 hours later, I woke up to attend the seminar. I couldn't wait until the lunch break, at 12:30 pm, to crawl back into bed. I did just that, along with my friend, G, one of the girls with whom I shared a hotel room. At 1:45 pm, I woke and informed G of the time. G decided to stay in bed a few more minutes, so I headed downstairs alone. I had just a moment to grab lunch, so I stopped by the concierge desk to ask if there was a convenience store inside the hotel. A girl behind the desk turned her attention to me. Just as I was about to ask my question, the shaking started, then she yelped, "Oh, shit!". Being the California girl I am (and having been through many earthquake drills), I scanned the lobby for a doorway or table to duck under, but I couldn't find one! Then the girl ran from behind the desk and through the lobby, yelling for everyone to follow her out the door. People did just as she ordered, panic in the air, and me following them (hey, I'm cooperative), shaking my head in disbelief. It was just like a movie, and I pictured a giant tidal wave in the background, a la The Perfect Storm. So my co-workers/friends and I stood outside with thousands of other seminar attendees for about 2 hours, waiting for further orders. The seminar was canceled, so we decided to head out on the town. The gorgeous view of the harbor on which our hotel was located is pictured on the right. For dinner, I met up with a lovely fellow tpfer. We ate at a restaurant on the pier with her hilarious mom and sweet best friend.

Wednesday, 8/24: My coworkers/friends and I decided to head out into the city to lunch at Ben's Chili Bowl. This place is famous for being visited by Barack Obama after being elected President of the US. We were shown a short film on the history of the restaurant. The host was super-nice and was pleasantly surprised when we told him we visited from LA. The chili was good, but it was more than filling for me, so I was unable to finish my meal. We walked and walked and walked to the White House, then we took a cab back to our hotel. In the evening, we went on a nighttime city tour. We visited the Capitol Building; White House; Korean and Vietnam War and World War II Memorials; and the Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Presidential Memorials.

OK, I'm sooooo tired right now. I have too much to write about this trip, so I'm going to break up this story into 2 parts. We have just concluded part 1. Part 2 will follow shortly.