Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Have We Really Become More Open-Minded About Body Image?

Back in the 1990s, when I was a wee little schoolgirl, Kate Moss was starting to become world-famous.  There was a lot of controversy surrounding her weight, but it only seemed to increase her popularity.  More and more models with waif-like figures dominated the fashion scene.  One common argument was simply that skinnier women looked better in clothes than thicker women.

The 2nd decade of the new millenium ushered in a new school of thought on the image of the ideal body, thanks in part to the rise of models Lara Stone and Kate Upton, and as the best example, Kim Kardashian. This new thought declared that a curvier and more womanly type of figure, one with wider hips and larger breasts, should be celebrated.

However, fashion magazines and luxury fashion houses refuse to celebrate this curvier body.  Sure, singer Adele and Kate Upton have landed on the cover of Vogue, but all the models and even the actresses in the fashion spreads of Vogue and similar magazines continue to be very thin.  Even spreads that feature clothing that supposedly flatters curvier women star waiflike models.

On tpf, there's a thread dedicated to the Isabel Marant pour H&M collection, and I got caught up in sharing the excitement with my fellow tpfers by posting info about stock in stores and a couple of modeling pics in it.  So did a few others.  Well, this topic came to mind because I noticed there were 2 tpfers who got a lot more compliments on their pics than I did.  I noticed a difference: their bodies were much slimmer than mine.  I'm not fat by any means, but yes, I do have hips, a butt, and boobs.  No matter how much I work out or diet, these aren't going anywhere.  It took me a long while, but I've accepted them and actually work out to keep these things in the best shape I can.

So maybe we haven't become THAT much more open-minded then.  We, as a society, still value the thin body above others, at least in terms of fashion.  Maybe we've made a little progress by putting curvier models in the magazines, but keep in mind that even though Kim, Kate, and Lara are still curviER than the other models, they're still thinner than the AVERAGE woman.  I'm simply quoting someone else, but I read a female designer once said that there were misogynistic male designers who didn't want women with womanly bodies wearing their clothes, so they purposely made only clothes that flattered boyish figures.  Unfortunately, the female designer stated that these male designers were in the majority.

I have to accept that most of the luxury fashion world looks down on women with my body type.  So does that mean I don't get to participate in it?  No, but the trick is to find the pieces that flatter me and to find the designers who do love women.  And bags and shoes don't discriminate against dress size ;)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!

Normally, I buy my birthday present to myself way in advance and have to wait weeks, even months, to open it.  It didn't happen that way this year.

After reading a brief mention about Celine bags in Vanity Fair this summer, I decided to buy a Celine bag.  I didn't know any of the style names, but I'd heard the name "Phantom", so I just moseyed on over to Barneys and asked the 1st sales associate who approached me for a "Phantom".  The SA showed me a gorgeous slouchy black leather top-handle bag.  It was the beautiful bag that matched the picture in Vanity Fair.  Then the SA showed me another bag that looked very similar to the Phantom.  I told her I thought it was the same bag, but she shook her head and showed me the inside.  It turned out that the 2nd bag was a Luggage.  I couldn't decided, but I liked the Phantom more, and the SA pushed for me to buy it, but I just couldn't at the time.  I had to go home and think.

The following week, I went into a Celine boutique for the 1st time.  It was a very sleek minimalist space.  A very nice red-haired SA offered to help and showed me the slouchy black Phantom.  I wanted it, but I couldn't bring myself to buy it.  I went back another 2 times, and the SA was so gracious and helpful every time, even getting other SAs to help other customers who approached her.  I gravitated toward the black smooth-leather Phantom each time, but just couldn't bring myself to buy it again and again.  I then came across a tabloid with a picture of Reese Witherspoon with an orage (grayish blue) Luggage tote and thought it was the bag for me.  I went back to Celine and bought one, happy to do so so that the SA would finally get the sale she deserved.

I took it home and was...underwhelmed.  I thought it would wow me and make me scream, but it didn't.  I took it back to the store 3 days later and got a store credit.  I asked for the black Phantom, but was told they were currently sold out and would call when more stock arrived.  Lesson learned.  Buy only if you're over the moon, especially a Celine bag, cuz those ain't cheap!

So here I was with a $2800+ Celine credit sitting in my wallet for over a month.  After work on Saturday, I headed back to the Rodeo Drive boutique to see if I could finally find something to spend my credit on.  It was on a shelf...there was my birthday present!  My SA came out of the back and immediately brought her to me.  I also asked to see the regular black smooth-leather Phantom, the same one I'd looked at before.  It turned out that there was a recent price increase, so it was $400 more this time.  I nearly kicked myself.  Why, oh why did I pass it up just 2 months earlier?  But I needn't have fretted.  I decided to go with the 1st bag I saw in the store on Saturday that took my breath away.  I needed to see it only once to know she had to be mine.  So...without further ado...here is...my medium black croc-stamped Phantom!

And since: a) I was in the area; b) there was a limited-edition salty caramel cupcake they'd stop selling at the end of this month; c) their cupcakes are just yummy, period; and d) I was celebrating my birthday, I stopped by Sprinkles after my shopping trip.  Like I needed a sugar high!  I was already on cloud 9!

And finally, here's a modeling pic.  I'm wearing it with my burgundy "Smile" sweatshirt from the Isabel Marant pour H&M kids collection.  I love this collection, and this sweatshirt is so perfect cuz it allows me to still express my "California casual" style but still not look ratty:

I apologize for the dirty bathroom mirror.  I didn't even notice it until after I saw the pictures uploaded lol

Friday, October 4, 2013

Special Limited Edition Hermes scarf

I sometimes find myself fantasizing about being that put-together woman in skinny jeans, ankle booties, blazer, white shirt, and scarf.  Truth be told, I own none of these things, save for scarves.  But I don't wear them.  I have the Hermes scarf cards, the ones designed to give wearers ideas, but I've never opened them. The reason for not wearing or opening is simply because I think both are too precious to risk tattering.

Also, living in Southern California, there's no need to become a scarf person.  But collecting them is something entirely different.  You see, Hermes has tons of new scarf designs every season.  But only occasionally do they do scarves that are limited to just one boutique, and these scarves become highly coveted by hard-core collectors.

The re-opening of the Beverly Hills boutique in early September was an occasion special enough to warrant an exclusive scarf design.  I was told about the re-opening, but as I'm not a VIP anymore,  I wasn't invited to the party, and being busy, it wasn't the first thing on my mind to visit the new store.  Yesterday, however, I came across a pictorial in Vanity Fair.  Hmmm...maybe it was time to go back to Rodeo Drive after all, so I headed there

after work.  I was greeted by the sales associates and walked up and down the spiral staircase.  I came down to look for collier de chien bracelets with gold hardware (they didn't have any, of course).  A SA I know quite well advised me to pick up the very limited-edition scarf created just for the re-opening of the Beverly Hills boutique.  Of course I would!  This scarf was featured in the Vanity Fair pictorial.
Palm trees--perfect representation of Southern California!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Phillip Lim 3.1 for Target

I didn't see too much hype about this collection, and honestly, even when I did manage to look at photos, nothing interested me.

A few days ago, I got an email from my sister, stating that she was eager to buy the BOOM sweatshirt and scarf.  Still no interest from me.  Then I happened upon the 9/23/13 issue of Life & Style magazine to find a picture of Jessica Alba wearing the sweatshirt.  Those tabloids really do work their magic on generating interest.  After that, I decided that I did want the sweatshirt after all.

I get up at 5:45 am 5 days a week for work, but I was out pretty late last night with some friends and I had a 9 am appointment for a massage this morning.  My original plan was to "sleep in" until 7 am, then head to Target at 7:30 and quickly pick up some items and head to my appointment at 8:30 am.  However, that didn't happen. 

It wasn't until just after 2 pm that I finally made it to Target with my sister (who stayed up until after 2 am PST to snag the stuff she wanted).  I went to the busiest store in my area, which always gets the collaboration collections, and the biggest selection of the collections.  However, we were shocked to find that this store didn't get the Phillip Lim collection.  Instead, 3 other ones did, and these stores don't get nearly as much traffic as this one. I overheard the woman we talked to tell a group of people that they had customers lining up outside the store at 7 am, and they were quite upset to learn they lined up for nothing!

I had other errands to run, so I made it to one of the 3 stores at 3:30 pm today.  No bags, and nearly nothing under a size 10, except for a navy/green cotton/sheer top.  It costs about $40, and the stitching is so poor.  There was a hole in the seam on the shoulder, so I put it back. 

I headed to another Target, and it was a bust...or so I thought.  I was confused about the BOOM sweatshirt, so I called my sister while at the store.  I had seen one in a size medium at the other store, but it had a skirt attached, which I didn't like.  She explained that indeed there was a sweatshirt without the skirt.  I was bummed that I missed out on getting one for the sake of sleeping in another hour, but I needn't have fretted.  As I was just about to hang up with my sister, I spotted a crumpled-up gray fleece object that had a red "B" on it under a shelf stacked with several pairs of jeans.  No waaaaaaay!  I picked it up, and it turned out to be my object of desire!  The cashier told me she hadn't even seen one before I brought one to her.  I guess she must've started the later shift!

So this is a M.  I normally wear XS, but I highly doubt I'll be able to find that or even find a S.  I like to wear sweatshirts the same way I wore them in college, that is, over T-shirts, so I think I'll do fine with M.

I wasn't able to find any bags, but from what I've read, none of them are made of real leather, so that turns me off a little.  However, if I happen upon one and fall in love with it, I may pick one up to use for traveling or for work.

Edit added on 9/16: I went back to the same Target and found the sweatshirt in a XS in a random cart near the guest services desk!  I grabbed it and hurried to the cashier as if I were trying to get the heck out of Dodge!  Here's the pic of me wearing it:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Just Say No...to Ignorance

The DQ has sworn off rap music within the last few years.  OK, not actually sworn off, but I've become so disinterested that I may as well have sworn off of it.

I don't know if it's cuz I'm in my 30s now, but rap music to me just sounds like misogyny, violence, and vulgarity (particularly of the sexual kind).  It seems as if every rap song has these, so to me, they're all pretty much the same.  Every rap song has at least one of these basic lines:
  1. "I'm better than you cuz I drive a Bentley and own tons of diamond and gold jewelry".
  2. "Girl, we just met, but let me take you back to my house so we can have sex all night".
  3. "We had sex, but don't mistake that for love.  I plan to have sex with a different girl tomorrow night".
  4. "Talk negatively about me, and I'll beat you up...or worse".
Once in a while, a song will have lyrics that are totally offensive to a certain group of people.  For example, in an episode of last season of Love & Hip-Hop, a female rapper refused to collaborate with a male rapper on a song that had a line that stated that light-skinned people were better than dark-skinned people.  Good for her...and good for everyone else that spoke up about it.

I hadn't even thought about this subject until yesterday.  Backtrack a little...I was at the mall on Sunday.  I was looking for a gray cardigan (under $25) to purchase with a $25 Gap gift card I received from the Visa Signature rewards program (do NOT open a Wells Fargo Visa Signature card, and if you have one, close it immediately--they are NOT on the customer's side--and yes, I will close mine, as soon as the 0% APR period expires for me).  I didn't find anything that fit the bill at Banana Republic, so I walked back to The Gap, which was on my way back to my car.

I had about a hundred thoughts running through my head, when to my left, I see a group of about 6 young African-American men, all dressed similarly, in long-sleeved T-shirts, sneakers, and jeans.  I recognized one of them, but wasn't sure where I'd seen him.  I did a double-take (this type of thing happens really quickly) and figured out who he was.  He was Drake! 
 (image from graphicshunt.com)
I knew nothing about Drake except for the duet he did with Rihanna (which, surprise-surprise, was a very sexual song) and the fight he got into in a New York nightclub with Chris Brown (supposedly over Rihanna). 
This being LA, you'd think people would be so used to celebrities that the celebrities would be pretty much left alone (the paparazzi is another story).  For the most part, Drake was.  No one really so much as blinked an eye, save for a group of  4 teenage girls trailing behind him.  For a split second, I thought about approaching him and asking for an autograph or a picture to show my friends, but thought better of it and headed straight to the Gap so I could do what I went there for and go home.  At that point, my goal was to get home before 6, not have something to tweet about (I don't have a twitter account anyway).  What was a celebrity doing in a suburban mall on a Sunday?  This mall has seen its share of celebrities, but they usually shop on a weekday morning wearing sunglasses or big hats and do not wander around. 
I decided to share my story with my co-workers when we all returned to work yesterday.  One of them, a 59-year-old woman, said she recognized Drake.  Not for his saucy lyrics, but for something that I think is much worse.  She told me about a recent story which involved a conflict he had with the actress Holly Robinson Peete.  I know this is "old" news by now, but I hadn't heard of it until yesterday.  Apparently, in a song in which Drake collaborated with another rapper, J. Cole, an offensive reference to people with autism was made. 
I do not take kindly to this.  I spent 4 years working with children with autism, and I must say that the stories parents publish about children with autism having special gifts is very true.  I treasured the time I spent with these children, and to this day, I look back at it fondly.  It was a truly rewarding experience.  Not only that, but it's just plain wrong to marginalize this population.  Someone like Drake who has the power to influence young people who are in the process of developing into (hopefully responsible) adults really should be more careful and considerate.  I don't understand how John Galliano gets kicked out of high fashion and humiliated all over the world for verbalizing slurs against Jews, but rappers can make similar slurs against other groups and hardly feel a sting.  Neither John Galliano's nor Drake's and J. Cole's actions are right, so why are the punishments so out of proportion?  Yes, Drake and J. Cole apologized, but so did Galliano.
Boy, I'm really glad that I didn't give Drake even an ounce of my time or effort.  Not that he cares or even knows, but I somewhat protested in my own way, and I'm glad I did.  And I'm glad he didn't cause a scene that involved hundreds of people like the one I witnessed that involved Victoria Beckham in Barneys a few years ago.  He just doesn't deserve the attention.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Best Hermes Sale Ever

I'm not a big spender at Hermes anymore, so it wasn't until I got a text on Wednesday night from my friend T in NYC that I found out about the supposedly "really good" sale at the Beverly Hills boutique.  It turned out that that was the day of the private sale for their VIP customers.  The public sale began on Thursday.  I headed there right after work (tempted to leave early, but I would've hated abandoning my patients).  Almost immediately after I got in line (the first time I'd ever seen a line at Hermes!), I spotted my friend M, about 10 people ahead of me.  We chatted and caught up, so it seemed that the half-hour we waited in line just flew by.
There must've been at least a couple hundred people in the store, the most crowded section being handbags, of course.  I'd never seen Trims or Evelynes on the sale rack before, but there they were.  I even saw a couple of Medor clutches!  Wow!  I grabbed one immediately, but then saw that it was totally scratched up.  Then I saw the others, and they were just as scratched up, some with dents.  A Medor clutch for $2600 is a deal, but $2600 is still $2600, and to pay $2600 for something that's in bad shape is not a deal at all.  Sighing, I put all the Medors back on the shelf.  Was I destined to walk out the door empty-handed?


I walked up the stairs to the 2nd floor, where the sale RTW and shoes were.  I found some espadrilles in beige and red.  I nearly picked up a pair, but then spotted these Celeste wedges:
OMG!  I wanted these when they were selling at full retail price in the boutiques 2 years ago!  At the time, I was saving for a very big goal, but time and time again, I was tempted to abandon my goal to purchase these shoes.  I'm so glad I didn't cuz I found them at this sale for 50% off!  And if you want to talk further about things "meant to be", this was the only pair on the shelf, period...and it happened to be my size!  I knew they were my size, but I tried them on anyway, and of course, they fit perfectly.
M ended up leaving earlier than I did because she had to pick up her son.  I looked around some more after she left, but didn't find anything else after the shoes...or so it seemed.  I was on my way to the checkout line (yes, literally...just like you find in Costco-another 1st for me to see at Hermes) when I spotted this on the shelf.  Someone must've put it back because I spent quite a long time at the bag shelf and didn't see this there until that moment, and it was the only one, a zip-top Garden Party:
I didn't know these bags even existed!  You see, I've always liked the Garden Party, but I hated the magnet closure.  I must have bags that close, so this is the perfect solution...and it was 50% off!  I contemplated putting it back on the shelf, due to my recent Balenciaga spree and my plan to possibly purchase a Celine phantom tote for my birthday in October, but I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to buy this bag.  I gave it the once-over (twice) and saw that it was in excellent condition (it didn't even have the "S" stamp anywhere), so I decided that it was definitely coming home with me. 
As I promised T, I returned yesterday, the last day of the sale, to search for items on his wishlist.  Unfortunately, one of them was a Medor clutch, and there were absolutely none, in any condition.  However, I found him these:
I'm hoping he likes them.  If not, the zip pouch would make a nice clutch for me lol
And I passed on this on Thursday, but decided I'd regret not buying it, so I did.  "This" is the pocket square commemorating the Year of the Dragon.  It's not my favorite colorway, but I did not already own a pocket square in it, and the zodiac sign pocket squares are special, IMO (plus it was $87.50!, even cheaper than the price of the 1st pocket square I bought in 2007):
I don't know how to rotate the picture on blogger, so I apologize.  At times like this, I'm so glad I live in LA!
Best Hermes sale ever!  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Balenciaga Spree

So for 5 years I've been training in for a specialty certification.  What was required for this certification was hundreds of hours of clinical practice, an essay, an affidavit from someone already certified, a weekend-long workshop, and thousands of dollars.  I sent in my application to the state board and waited 15 weeks, not knowing whether all my hard work and hard-earned dollars would go to waste.  Not only did I have to endure the training and application process, but my crazy-bitch former boss lied to the state board and other managers in our company to prevent me from getting the certification.

You see, back in April, immediately before I sent in the application, I went to the Balenciaga boutique in South Coast Plaza with my friend D.  I saw a few bags I wanted and nearly bought a red Day.  D bought a City and was urging me to get the Day to lessen the blow on her.  I wanted to walk away with the bag, especially since the sales associate, Andres, was so nice.  I resisted temptation and told myself that I'd come back for the Day if I got my certification.  Besides, I really wanted a purple bag.

On August 2, my application was approved and I triumphed!  I immediately thought of my Balenciaga bag, but I didn't have any time to drive to SCP.  So I headed for the West Hollywood boutique and found a dark violet Town.  Soooo gorgeous!  The most perfect shade of purple, but I couldn't buy it without D there.  However, their Spring ready-to-wear was scheduled to clear out, and I wanted a piece of Nicolas Ghesquiere, so after trying on several dresses, I decided on this understatedly sexy one (I "jacked it up" with my Hermes collier de chien):
The next day, I went back with D, who approved my choice, so I was all set to go.  But...while I waited for the sales associate (a very cute and sweet girl named Gigi) to take my bag to the store repair person for a touch of nourishing cream (it was a 2012 bag, so it dried a little--a common thing in LA desert weather, I learned), I spotted this sweater: a basic, but a goody:
So now...the grand finale...the bag, a 2012 dark violet Town:
Here's the bag in natural sunlight (in front of my persimmon tree--which will be ready for picking in a couple of months!):
These bags sure are addictive...but I've gotta be good for at least a little while...but then again, my birthday's coming up soon ;)

Monday, August 5, 2013

The DQ Luxury Boutique Service Awards

We're in the dog days of summer here in the City of Angels.  It was 97 degrees in my hometown today!  It's August, so it's to be expected.  During most years, these days begin in late May and go well into October.  The hottest days reach 110...or more!  Since Memorial Day weekend, we've not had as many of those upper-limit temps this year, so I'm grateful for that.  But boy when they do happen...no wonder no major events happen during the summer (except for the World Cup and Summer Olympics...and only one of them happens every other year...and neither is happening this year)...

So I'm creating my own tiny little event.  Of course, it'll do with what I love most...luxury fashion.  By no means am I any kind of expert, but what I do have is a lot of research and personal experience.  Since it's been about 10 years since I've been consuming luxury goods, it's about time I shortened my shopping experiences into these 2 lists (and yes, I'm a little biased toward Los Angeles and certain designers--remember, this is about my experiences ;) )

  1. Christian Louboutin, West Hollywood
  2. Balenciaga, West Hollywood
  3. Christian Louboutin, Horatio Street
  4. Christian Louboutin, Madrid
  5. Balenciaga, South Coast Plaza
  6. Christian Louboutin, South Coast Plaza
  7. Natalie Schuterman, Stockholm
  8. Shoe Salon at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York
  9. Chanel, Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue
  10. Hermes, Wall Street

  1. Christian Louboutin, Dallas*
  2. Christian Louboutin, Madison Avenue**
  3. Hermes, Las Vegas Bellagio
  4. Madison, Beverly Hills
*The experiences were so bad here I had to explain my reason for ranking this #1 on the worst list.    I've never actually visited the store.  I was nearly stuck with buying a pair from them a couple of years ago.  I had pre-ordered a pair but called a week later to cancel my order.  I had the good sense to randomly check my credit card balance online to find I'd been charged by Dallas for the canceled order.  I nearly argued with the sales associate to get her to void the transaction.  Fast forward 2 years later, to June 2013.  My shoes were ordered through a salesperson at another Christian Louboutin store, unbeknownst to me.  They charged me full price for a pair that had a very visible stain on them!  Long story short, they insisted on doing nothing wrong, and my credit card company didn't bother fighting them on it, so I'm stuck with a $1200 credit at Christian Louboutin.  I guess it's not all bad; my next pair will be free or nearly paid-for, and the credit for the sale will go to a worthy sales associate at Robertson, South Coast, or Horatio.  I will never shop at Dallas again, and I recommend no one ever to do so.   By the way, I'm not the only customer who's had this experience with them.  I know of one tpfer who specifically instructed her Dallas sales associate to NOT send her the display pair (she wears a size 35, which is frequently used as the display shoe), but the sales associate sent her the display pair.  This was a strass pair--over $4000!

**I missed out on a lunch with a really good-looking guy while being stuck in this store one summer.  I was supposed to make a quick purchase, then head downtown to meet him, but the service was too slow (I was scheduled to fly home the next day, so I had no other time).  The sales associates were ignoring all but 2 customers and fought with each other in front of me. 

Feel free to comment on your personal lists!  I'd love to read them.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Little Bit of Rock 'n' Roll

For my last entry, I ranted on and on about my last purchase, an Hermes red Kelly dog extreme.  I feel a little silly for ranting on and on about it only to exchange it for something else.

You see, after mulling over it over the weekend, I decided that, although pretty, the KDX just wasn't worth its price tag.  Not when the Collier de Chien costs just a little more.

I know the CDC is very hard to come by, so I went back to Hermes the next day, intending to either get a classic Kelly dog bracelet (still a relative bargain of $490) or a store credit for when a CDC become available.

I saw the sales associate who sold me the KDX and told her I wasn't too happy with it.  She just nodded her understanding, but before she could say anything else, I made a beeline for the bracelet counter.  Aha!  A CDC!  In black leather, nonetheless, perhaps the CDC color hardest to find!  I took it out, tried it on, and said yes.  The more shocking thing to find was that they actually had 2 of these, so she gave me the one that was not on display, so it came in a shrinkwrapped box, and it's totally new!

So I returned the KDX and paid a difference of $218 (including our exorbitant Los Angeles County sales tax) and walked out being able to check off a box on my mental bucket list.

In my mind, when I would picture myself with a CDC (I've had this picture in my mind for a long time!), I pictured it with gold hardware.  However, I think of the CDC as an accessory that adds a hint of "rock and roll" and youth to an outfit.  Probably because I'm still young, this was the look I was going for, so I decided to go ahead and get the CDC with palladium hardware.  However, would it be excessive to own the same CDC with gold?  Let me know what you think.
So since the KDX didn't work out and it went back to the boutique, THIS is my first piece of Hermes jewelry!  I started off with a bang, didn't I?!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

If Hermes Beverly Hills Were Open on Sundays...

...I'd be in trouble!

Background: For 5 years, I worked under a crazy woman.  For the first 2, things went well.  She was supportive back then.  For the last 3, though, she revealed her true colors.  She turned out to be a jealous witch, and for a long time, no one believed me.  She'd been at the company for 20 years and established a reputation as a reliable and dedicated manager.  She criticized me to higher managers by telling them I was rude to patients, but when asked for examples, she never gave any.  I knew this was wrong because I'm not a rude person.  I'm in a positive place now, so I don't want to go on too much about it, but I'll just say that her behavior toward me included yelling, calling me names, and coercing me into signing false documents.  One day, last fall, when I refused to sign one of these documents, she started yelling again and shoved it in my face.  I refused again and attempted to leave the room, and she literally chased after me and attempted to block me from leaving.  She uttered an insincere apology a week later, but when the situation was brought up again in a meeting with human resources, she didn't deny it.  In fact, she justified herself by saying she was "not feeling well that day" and "her buttons were pushed".  I gave up, thinking life was just unfair.

Then an opportunity presented itself.  I was offered the chance to work at another site.  It meant a longer commute and more work, but I'd no longer be supervised by Crazy Lady.  I didn't think about it for more than a minute.  I took it.  I thrived there.  After less than 2 months, I got written up by patients for providing excellent service to them, and it was published in the company newsletter!  I got a glowing performance review and a bonus in my last paycheck.  What did I do differently?  Nothing!  I continued being the same great employee I always was, but the jealous witch tried to keep a lid on my excellence.  I just kept the faith in myself, and it paid off.

Every Sunday morning, if I'm awake early enough, I tune into Joel Osteen's show.  One of his messages today was: "Go where you're celebrated, not simply tolerated".  It always seems to me as if his messages hit the nail on the head at just the right times. 

So...what does Hermes have to do with this?  Quite a bit.  Because I'm content with my bag collection, I'm reducing buying Hermes to only when I want truly something special, such as a reward for myself.  And what better way to reward yourself than with Hermes?  Since it's now down the street from my new work, I drove to Hermes Beverly Hills after work on Friday afternoon.  Some of the sales staff there is familiar with me, and I was warmly welcomed back by them.  It had been a very long time since I'd shopped there.  I thought of picking up a twilly or scarf, but decided those weren't what I was in the mood for.  I walked over to the bracelet display.  Oooh!  There it was--an orange epsom Kelly dog with gold hardware!  My heart skipped a beat!  Any Hermes collector knows how hard it is to find a KD with GOLD hardware, and the leather band was in the pretty Hermes orange leather, too!  I nearly scooped it up for myself, but for some reason (love, I guess), I decided against it and thought it better for my sister, who'd been searching for a KD with gold hardware for a long time.  I called her immediately, and she said she wanted it, so I scooped it up for her.  I felt a little bummed.  I wanted to reward myself with something, but quickly changed my mind, knowing I'd made her happy.  Besides, I'm more of a red fan...wouldn't it be great to find a KD with a red leather band and gold hardware?  Yes, it would...

Yesterday, I decided to go back.  It was a Saturday, so I knew traffic wouldn't be so bad, and if I went in the morning at opening time, I'd be among the first to scope out the newest shipments.  I also remembered there were a few shrink-wrapped boxes sitting on the bracelet counter near closing the day before.  I got to Hermes around 10:30 am and walked straight to the bracelet counter.  My heart skipped a beat again.  In the case was a Kelly dog extreme with a red epsom leather band and gold hardware!  OMG!  The universe heard my request, loud and clear!  I asked the SA to show me the other KDs just to see the selection, but I knew I wanted the red KD extreme and walked out with it 5 minutes later!  Hermes purchases 2 days in a row.  It may be 3 days in a row...but since Hermes Beverly Hills is closed on Sundays, that's not happening (good for my wallet!).  If I really wanted to, I could drive for an hour and a half to the South Coast Plaza store, but thank goodness it's too hot outside for me to be in the mood to do so!

So here they are...yay!  Because the bleu electrique KD I bought in 2011 didn't quite work for me, this is my first Hermes jewelry piece.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Christian Louboutin Spring 2013 Sale

I was planning on posting a pic of a brand-new pair of Christian Louboutin bleu saphir Lady Highness shoes, but sadly, that didn't work out for me.  I bought them, but had to return them, due to a defect.  I chose not to name the boutique involved cuz they actually had satisfactory customer service...so far.  If it turns out to not be satisfactory, I'll not hold back from typing out their name.

Anyway, until now, I'd held back from buying any new Louboutins for over 6 months.  I had heard the boutiques were having their semi-annual sale, but wasn't been able to take advantage of it on the first day, as I normally do.  I finally got a chance a few days later.  I went in thinking that I'd missed out on anything good, particularly in my size, which is always in the range of 37-38 1/2.

I was wrong.  They had on display a Ron-Ron, in Rose Paris suede, a pinkish color.  I liked it, but didn't love it.  I missed out on the turquoise suede Ron-Ron a couple of seasons back, so I had that hopeless feeling in my stomach again.  So I tried the Rose Paris.  Then I asked my favorite salesgirl if there happened to be any other colors, and she said that there was a "blue" that also went on sale.  I got my hopes up and asked which blue color it was, thinking that it might be turquoise, but she answered, "blue sapphire, like the shoe you returned".  My face lit up.  She said she was told the "blue" suede Ron-Ron was sold out, but she'd look for it anyway and went to the stockroom.  A few minutes later, she emerged holding a box and wearing a big smile.  The box had a sticky on it that read "LAST PAIR".  She happily declared that she did indeed find the "blue sapphire", and it happened to be a 37 1/2, my Ron-Ron size.  Perfect!  And to top it off, this is my first pair of Ron-Rons.  To a longtime CL collector like me, it's sort of shocking that it took me this long to get a pair of Ron-Rons, a classic CL style that's been around several years.  Another milestone checked!

After having lunch with my SA, a delicious crispy kale salad, I went back to the boutique with her to purchase my Ron-Rons.  And the grand total was...$375 plus tax!  Wowee!  I'd never find a gem like this in the department stores.  This is why I'm almost always partial to buying from namesake boutiques.

Like probably most of America, I watched Game 7 of the NBA finals.  Probably almost like most of America, I rooted for the San Antonio Spurs.  I'm a Lakers and a Kobe Bryant fan, so I looked forward to the dethroning of King James, but it didn't happen.  However, I may actually be relieved that the Miami Heat won.  If the Spurs won, that'd give Tim Duncan his 5th NBA championship ring, and he'd be on par with Kobe.  LeBron James has only his 2nd, so he's still nowhere near catching up with Kobe.  And LeBron hasn't 3-peated, either.  Til next season...in basketball...and shoes!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

13-Year-Old Boy in Georgia Commits Suicide After Being Bullied

I stayed up late in order to work on a job-related issue that has been a PITA for me lately.  Tired, I was just about ready to go to bed, but I came across the title of this article:


I had to read it, so I did.  It moved me.  After I finished reading it, I thought that maybe I should be crying.  I did feel a little heat in my eyes, but no tears came out.  Then I realized I was too angry to cry.  I don't know the boy, but I picture him as a kid with a pure heart.  One sentence in this article stands out to me, a statement made by his father: "'He came home one time and had some peanut butter pies he had made for school. When he walked through the door he had some pie left, and he had it all over him. Someone had jumped on him and smeared it all over him.'" 

Why did it stand out to me?  Because I was this kid.  It's painful to admit this, but I was bullied in grade school and high school.  I was smaller and quieter than the other kids.  I was called names; spit balls landed on my desk; I ran as fast as I could to reserve the shady table at lunch (this was LA in the spring) for me and my friends (we were all labeled as "nerds", but we didn't care), but it wouldn't matter cuz the "jocks" would follow and edge us out, forcing us to again eat at a table under the sun.  And yet, I would bring candy or buy the most highly-coveted item on my high school cafeteria's menu, chili cheese fries, hoping that the other, more popular kids would be drawn to me and like me.  But it lasted only a moment.  They would get what they wanted and flit back to their groups.  Devin, I'll bet that's the reason you brought the peanut butter pies to school. You wanted to go to culinary school, and you wanted to be liked. So you baked the pies in hopes that the other kids would recognize your talent AND pay attention to you. Instead, they smeared your hard work all over you because YOU DID THE RIGHT THING. A teacher is alive today cuz of you, but you're not alive, and it's so unfair. 

I was happy to leave high school.  I have my days, and I hate to sound cliche-ish, but IT GOT BETTER.  I'm 34 years old, and I believe it'll get even better.  I have exciting things in the works for me.  I can feel it!  God help those who felt it all go downhill at 30!  Life didn't end in high school or even in college or even in graduate school.  Not for me.  Every birthday is a reason to celebrate, even if it's with just a movie at home, even if it's alone.  BTW, Happy Birthday, Dad!  April 5 was Dad's 74th birthday, the 3rd birthday he's had since his stroke.  Every birthday is a blessing cuz we could've lost you 3 birthdays ago, but God decided you needed more time with us.  I promise to try to not forget this.

Please, God, have mercy on Devin.  Please take him straight to Heaven to be with the angels.  Please let his suicide be a lesson to kids everywhere (and grown kids like me) to never underestimate your self-worth.  The problem is your bullies, NOT YOU.  One day, you'll look back on your bullied days and will smile at how far you've come.  Someday, you'll see your bullies get smaller and smaller in your rearview mirror.  Then they'll disappear, and you'll be driving on your road to success.  It gets better.

OK, now I'm getting more tears into my eyes.  I'll say a prayer for Devin when I lie down in a few minutes.  It won't be the last time.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Drama Queen Travels to Phoenix

It was really out of necessity that the DQ headed southeast.  I needed to take a required course for my advance-practice certification, and the closest city that didn't involve waiting several months was Phoenix.  Well, the DQ loves to travel, and she'd never been to Phoenix before, so why not?  Considering Phoenix is only an 80-minute flight from LA, the expense wasn't too great, so I chose to look at it as a new adventure, with no expectations, so I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

It didn't start off too well for me.  I got hives the minute I stepped off the plane.  Darn my very sensitive skin!  I definitely didn't expect it, especially since I'm from the Southwest, and I'm very used to desert weather.  Oh, well.  I wasn't going to let that ruin my trip.  I'd have 4 days in Phoenix. I might as well make the best of it and explore the best of the city.

One thing I liked about Phoenix was the Light Rail. This is an above-ground train that stops at the most popular destinations in the city, including the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport and Chase Field stadium, where the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team plays their home games. It also travels east, cutting through Tempe (home of the Arizona State University campus) and Mesa. It costs $2/ride, but only $4 for an all-day pass. So even if you plan to go to only one destination and come straight back to your point of origin, it's most practical to buy an all-day pass. A 1-week pass costs just $20. I found this sign at one of the stops, each one containing a piece of work by a local artist. I thought it was very fitting to post as my first picture in this entry.
I was hoping to post a picture of a stereotypical Southwestern sunset, but I couldn't get a picture of both a sunset and cactus together. However, I did get a picture of a red mountain at sunset and a picture of a few different cacti. 

I had Googled "high end shopping Phoenix" a couple of weeks before my trip, but was disappointed to find that my search yielded a bunch of shops in Scottsdale, except one. It was Frances. It was labeled as "the best boutique in Phoenix" and "very Phoenix", but I gave up hope of going there, too.  I had no idea if I'd be able to find it...Now back to the Light Rail...after picking a few select stops, I explored the area around each one.  After getting off at Central/Camelback, I looked across the street...and there it was!  I had to go in!
I expected the clothes to be in the $200-500 range, but surprisingly, most of the pieces were under $100.  I browsed the sale rack, but didn't find anything I liked.  I finally found a dress on a dummy that was $75.  Perfect!  However, even the smallest size was still too big for me.  The teenage salesgirl was just helpful enough, meaning she wasn't snotty or mean, but she wasn't enthusiastic.  I chalk it up to her being young and it was nearly closing time on a Friday night.  Then again, I'm the kind of shopper that likes to be left to browse at my leisure, so her lack of service didn't bother me too much.  However, if it wasn't for her, I would've missed this piece:
Sometimes I wonder if I should've been born in the 1930s so that I would've been a young woman in the 1950s cuz I'm a sucker for feminine A-line dresses!  This particular one is not the most flattering dress I own, but I love polka dots and it's washable by hand.  What also makes this dress special is it's from a brand called Mata Traders, whose materials are hand-printed by women in India and Nepal, so their local economies are boosted. 

My return flight home wasn't until the afternoon, so on my last day in Phoenix, I hopped back on the Light Rail and headed back to Frances.  I was hoping for a better experience, as I actually had a whole hour and a half to browse this time.  It was.  The salesperson was a middle-aged woman who appeared to be very enthusiastic about the boutique and seemed to appreciate that I went out of my way to visit, particularly since I'm from out of town. Even though I spent just $20 on a T-shirt off the sale rack, the saleswoman wrapped it up nicely with a fuchsia ribbon.  From the pictures and store website, I expected all the items to be locally made, but the only things I found that were were kitchen accessories, soaps, and candles.  I really didn't need any of those, so I passed.  I got a picture of the baby-items display.  If I had a baby of my own, I might have picked something up from it.  I just love the bright yellow wall!
I read the reviews about Frances on yelp.com when I got home, and I'm so glad I waited until then to read them.  I disagree with most of the posters.  Almost all of them said the items were too expensive, but maybe I'm just used to seeing high price tags, so I didn't think Frances items were expensive at all.  A few posters also stated that the sizing on the clothing was too small.  As someone who wears small sizes, I found that the selection was quite limited.  The only dress in the store I was able to find that fit my body was the one I walked out with.

On another stop on the Light Rail, I found a bakery called Kick Ass Kakes.  I could've used a cupcake for a little sugar kick and was eager to buy a treat or 2 to take home to my family, but it was a Monday, and it was closed.  I saw pictures of their work in the window, and this particular cake stood out to me:
OK, no cupcake, but that was good for my waistline!  It was time to get to the airport, so I took my last ride on the Light Rail and headed back to my hotel.

As I was sitting on the Flyaway bus at LAX headed to Van Nuys, I spotted a paparrazzi mob scene at the Tom Bradley International terminal.  As long as I've lived in LA and as many celebrities I've seen mobbed by papparazzi, I've never been in a position to get a photo, so I took the opportunity to get my first.  I saw a tall blonde woman wearing a beanie and huge sunglasses. All around her, flashes went off and people held out headshots and pens.  She signed a few, but then was whisked away in a town car.  Who was she?  I couldn't figure it out.  She looked like Brandi Glanville of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" to me.  I Googled "celebrities spotted at LAX March 11" on my phone the whole ride home, but couldn't get an answer.  The next day, the answer was on perezhilton.com.  It was Victoria's Secret supermodel Candice Swanepoel.  Of course!  On March 12, she was at an event at the Victoria's Secret store in the Beverly Center.  Here's my photo of the mob scene.  I was quite far away, and it wasn't as if there was any time to make the proper adjustments (and I'm not an experienced-enough photographer to think of what adjustments need to be made quickly), but I circled Candice's face.  If you study it for a minute, you may be able to make out her features:
Overall, a memorable weekend.  I don't know if I'll ever return to Phoenix, but I'm always happy to expand my travel knowledge and gain new experiences.  If I ever do return to Phoenix, I know where to go and how to get around =)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Prabal Gurung for Target Collection: the DQ Perspective

I was very excited about this collection.  I look forward to these Target collaborations, but the last 2 were a bit of a disappointment.  So when the lookbook became available online, I went to the Target stores near my home and work to inquire about them.  The responses were a lot of blank stares and, "Hold on.  Let me ask someone".  I had heard that the sale starts online in the wee hours of the morning, so at 11 pm last night, I was actually online.  I rarely ever stay up past 10:30 pm these days, so I was about ready to give up, but I lucked out with a few clicks.  I ordered a few of my desired items, plus another one that I dismissed earlier, but changed my mind at the last second and added it to my cart.  The shipment will be here any day now!

Even though I got most of what I wanted online, I just had to join in on the frenzy.  After all, I'm an early riser, so it wasn't a big deal for me to get up early, even on a Sunday.  I had to strategize.  There are about 8 Target stores within a 10-mile radius from my home.  After much thought, I decided to go with the one with the most traffic.  Risky, but I knew this store would have plenty of stock.  I left my house at 7:15 am, thinking I'd get my fave Starbucks drink and sit in my car for a few minutes before leisurely strolling into the store.  Wrong.  I got to the Starbucks drive-thru (I was NOT getting out of the car in 39-degree weather...yeah, yeah, normal for this time of year in most other parts of the country...but I'm a true sunny Cali girl), and there was actually 3 cars in line-at 7:35 am on a Sunday morning!  I decided to ditch the Starbucks idea and headed straight to Target.  There were about 12 girls in front of the store entrance already-so scratch the reading-in-the-car idea, too.  I parked my car and joined them.  By 7:57 am, the crowd swelled to about 40 people, including a couple of elderly folks and 2 couples.  There was a group of 4 girls, each with papers in their hands and discussing strategy.  One would head straight to shoes, another 2 to clothing, and don't forget to get these specific sizes.  It was sort of funny, until one elbowed me to get a little further ahead in the crowd.  I was a little peeved, but I didn't think it was worth it to get upset, so I moved a little out of the way for her.  It ended up not making a difference for her cuz I ended up getting ahead of her in the crowd anyway (being little and quick really helps sometimes!).  I ran straight for the dresses and grabbed the floral crush and red/black shift dresses in sizes 2 and 4.  As I grabbed the last size 2 floral crush dress, I heard a few, "Awwws".  I did feel bad, but these things are "first-come, first-serve", right?

So the floral crush dress is the quintessential piece of this collection, in my opinion.  I'm definitely keeping that, but the red/black dress is...well, not.  I must've been expecting different material, but later on, I figured out that it's just that it's too similar to the Jason Wu for Target black shift dress I got last year.  Why get 2 of the same dress?  I took the red/black Prabal dress home, but will likely bring it back.  I wonder if other people felt the same way cuz I found so many of them left when I checked out.  I traveled to 2 other Targets, and I found so many of that dress on the racks at them, too. 

I also found the floral sweatshirt and a couple of pairs of shoes.  The black shoes are very similar to the Christian Louboutin Balota that came out a couple of seasons ago.  I wanted them, but couldn't fork over $1300 at the time.  I'm debating keeping them, but I'm leaning toward no, since I currently own a few pairs of Louboutins I have yet to wear or have worn just once or twice.  The sweatshirt, well...it's not really worth $29.99, in my opinion, but it's a great casual piece.  But $29.99 (plus tax) is still money, and I don't have any to waste. 

floral crush dress

red shift dress with black trim (sorry, I don't know how to rotate it and save it on this blog)

black lace-up sandals
There's still one item to comment on, but my dear readers will have to wait for its arrival to hear my take on it.  Until then... =)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Lux Fashionista's Milestone Was Met Today

There are milestones in a "normal" person's life.  As a child, this milestone is reached when you learn to crawl and walk, and another is met when you utter your first word.  As an adult, milestones are met when you start your first job or get married.  Luxury fashionistas have certain milestones that don't factor into a "normal" person's life.  I consider myself a luxury fashionista, and my milestones included the following: the first time I walked into a designer boutique and the first time I bought a designer handbag.  Then these milestones became associated with fashion houses: the first Chanel bag, the first pair of Christian Louboutins, the first Hermes accessory...the first...time I tried on a Herve Leger bandage dress. 

Sometime in 2009, I put an HL dress on for the first time.  I was not impressed.  The sales associate told me that HL bandage dresses were flattering on everyone. I looked at myself in the mirror and decided "everyone" didn't include me.  I was overweight and not happy with the way I looked, so why would I want to wear a piece of clothing that showed off my body?  I avoided the dresses for over 3 years. 

In late 2012, as I was shopping online, I found a gorgeous black HL dress for a steal.  I had lost a significant amount of weight and was ready for more body-conscious fashion, so I took a chance and bought the dress.  It arrived the next day, and I was again disappointed.  It just didn't look right.  So I reluctantly took off the dress, folded it back up, put it into a box, and dropped it off at the post office.  I was hoping to surpass the milestone of trying a HL dress and actually own one, but it didn't happen.

A few weeks later, I went shopping with a mission to find a HL dress that I could finally call my own.  I found one and loved it, but alas, even on sale, it was still over $1000.  I may be the size I want to be, but my budget isn't what I want it to be, and this girl needs to save. 

Still determined, I went on my mission again today.  I visited another store, and I found the dress I liked again, but it was still over $1000. I almost walked out, but the sales associate was so nice and warm I opened up to her and told her I was looking for my first HL, yet was on a tight budget.  She seemed genuinely happy for me and said she understood, so she found me several dresses on sale.  I didn't like some of the styles, and some of them weren't my size.  She found me 2 gorgeous black dresses for under $600.  I told her I was hoping for color, but I'd try them anyway.  I put on the one with cap sleeves and loved it, but I needed 2 people to zip it up, and I felt like I was wearing a medieval corset.  Unfortunately, that style ran small and the next size up (small) was sold out in the whole country.  I put on a classic strappy style with a sweetheart neckline and loved it, but the S was actually too big.  The SA went in the back and said she didn't have a XS, so I contemplated buying the S, but she said that she wouldn't sell it to me cuz she knew I'd be unhappy with it.  I love honest SAs!  Disappointed, I took the dress off and began putting my clothes back on, then she said to me through the curtain, "I have an idea.  I have a feeling this will work".  She said she found a XXS in the strappy black dress and felt like it would work for me cuz the S looked really big on me.  I said I'd try it, so I did.  And voila!  It worked.  Now I know why I never buy clothes online (only if I've already tried the item on in person before).  I never would've guessed I could fit into a XXS.  And as a bonus, as body-conscious as this dress is, I can actually zip it up myself! 

To add a little twist to the story, the SA told me that the dress I originally went in there for did get marked down some more, so I had a choice to make. That dress was multi-colored and beautiful, but I decided that, since my budget is pretty tight, it may be a while before I get another HL dress, so I went with the black. I finally met the milestone of buying my first HL dress. I hope I made the right choice. What do you think?