Spring Obsessions

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Two weeks into Winter and I’m already ready for Spring and her luscious bouquet. Empress Splendor Trees photo from google images.

Have you ever felt like you have so much to do that you know you wont finish it, so you don’t want to do it at all? Well, that’s where I am right now. So in an attempt to set myself up to focus I poured myself a huge cup of coffee and then drank the huge cup of coffee. As I sit here shaking from too much caffeine, I’m using my nervous energy to create a list of my current spring obsessions.

  1. Christian Louboutin Nail Polish: I have NO idea why this polish is set at the steep price of 50$ BUT the company did an amazing job at package design because for some reason I want a bottle. Look how cool it looks! Never mind the color inside, and that nail polish eventually goes bad. Having this piece of artwork on my dresser would just make me so happy:

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2. The Celine Nano: How cute is this bag? I die. I have a thing for tri color anyways (see photos of my dogs) so this would fit into my family very nicely.  Not sure if this is a fad or a phase, but I truly covet this bag.

 

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How cute is this? I can’t stand it. And I happen to love the size. Just big enough to fit exactly what you need, small enough that things wont get lost at the bottom.
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Here it is with snakeskin as the brown. Lovely and rich. Though I fancy the one above the most.

3. Chanel Espadrilles: I have to admit I may break my resolution (already) regarding buying things this year because I LOVE these shoes. With a price point of under 400$ for the canvas ones, considering they are Chanel, its easy to rationalize the purchase. I mean they will last (Chanel shoes are made particularly well), AND I can wear them traipsing all around Italy when MSM and I go on our adventure later this summer 🙂

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Here are the all leather Chanel Espadrilles, a bit pricier than the canvas ones shown below. 
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I actually prefer these canvas ones. They are hard to find because they sell out so fast.

4. Sun dresses: Lets face it, spring is just around the corner and I’m already craving some new sun dresses. To stay true to my goal for the year, I WILL only buy a few in exchange for consigning a few. I have some cute Parker sunnies that I’m ready to put to rest.

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Neither of these have had Danielle’s stamp of approval, but I love them. Particularly the second with the peacocks print. I Winter has been here for about a month and I’m already ready to put the booties and sweaters away. **Danielle does not love these 😦 

5. New Ear Candy: I mean OBVI the ear cuff is a fad, and I’m sure I can find something snazzy at Bauble Bar for a better price but I’m slightly obsessed with these at Saks:

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LOVE this ear crawler by Jacqui Aiche. Its ridiculously expensive but oh so beautiful. It reminds me of stars in the midnight sky.

 

 

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These by ABS seem a close second to the one above, and at a fraction of the cost may be worth the buy.
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And speaking of stars in the midnight sky…..i love these (also by ABS). Probably not at all in style, they’re just fun.

I wonder if Danielle would approve of any of these things. I do have a gift card arriving soon….

Okay, now off to work…..

Toodles!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

More on Social Graces: One way to act like a Princess.

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“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Maritn Luther King Jr. Lets just say this post is fashionably late, honoring MLK a week after the holiday because lets face it, he should always be honored.  This man has been my hero since I read a biography about him when I was 8 years old.

I grew up with a mother who was constantly reminding me that I should “treat everyone as an equal”. She wasn’t one to dish it out and not take it either, she led by example.

When I was young we had a Maid named Mary McCants. I capitalized the “M” in “maid” intentionally, as this was her title, not a label signifying the typical stereotypes affiliated with the word “maid” in that day and age. Mary was my second mother. A sister to my mother and father. And she was a house-keeper. My mom treated her with the upmost respect. She was kind to her, courteous, and a good friend. When Mary needed someone to listen, my mother was there. When she took a second job selling Avon, my mother bought perfume. In return, Mary treated us like family and was always there for me.

Every year I looked forward to Mary’s and my annual tradition of watching The Miss America Pageant. We’d lay on my parents’ bed and study each contestant. Such diverse groups of women with talent and beauty. Things have changed because back then those women were portrayed as smart and talented and Miss America was a truly respectable position. I  was so silly when I was a kid. I would grab my mom’s bra and stuff it with tennis balls and promenade around the room, imitating each contender as if I was wearing a fabulous gown. “Oh hello darlings!” I would say, swishing through the room. Mary would laugh, and then enlighten me on issues of race and ethnicity, and the esoteric nature of defining beauty. Through my relationship with Mary I learned about other cultures. I learned how to respect people for who they really are, not for what they appear to be, to understand others and embrace their differences celebrating each individual’s uniqueness.

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When Mary and I watched Miss America, of course we would also discuss the gowns, the fabric, and how we would redesign them or design our own. We actually watched on my parents Black and White TV (don’t judge, they had that thing until 1998) so it was fun guessing what the real colors were. haha.

My father further implemented my training in equality via various stories of how he met “so and so” not knowing that they were “insert famous title here” and that it was “a good thing he was nice to (insert said famous title)”. Remind me to tell you how this ALWAYS happens to me. Occupational hazard because I’m awful with names and faces and I work in entertainment. Following his own lesson, my father was fabulous at getting along with just about everybody. My favorite example? When my father met his college roommate, George, his first day at Yale, they immediately hit it off. They joined the baseball club together and became great friends. Despite their different religious backgrounds (that was a big deal back then), they found commonalities in sports and humor, and they grew close. After his roommate moved into married housing my dad made a point to nurture and maintain that friendship. They remained friends for a very very long time. My father even helped George run his first political campaign in Cleveland. Which is why I had President George Bush’s signature on my college admissions applications (Senior. Senior. George Bush Senior. Felt it necessary to make that clear). Political agendas aside, he and my father were good friends. And since then my father always said “Treat everyone you meet like they may be the next president of a country. Because you never know, they might.” And who could argue with him?

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Yale Baseball team circa 1948

Never underestimate the power of modesty and humility. My diverse and broad minded upbringing with an emphasis on treating everyone equally has resulted in some amazing opportunities, and so far a life of many rewarding friendships.

“A point in every direction is the same as no point at all”

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Oddly, if you fit in everywhere, you will belong no where. Its important to know from where you’ve come so that you can maintain a connection to your roots. This will keep you grounded.

 

I have to interject that it is important to not push humility to the point of diffidence. Always remember from where you have come, and take humble pride in that. I don’t really want to talk about social class here because, well, I’ve been raised to see beyond the lines and fight against them so the whole topic makes me uncomfortable; which honestly is an issue in and of itself. I will say this:

To future parents or other didactics- training a person to open their heart and accept all types of people is important, but seeing the lines of socio-economic classes and accepting they exist is equally essential. Don’t only teach people to embrace and respect others, teach them to also embrace and respect themselves, because being ashamed or embarrassed of or feeling guilty about where you are from- no matter what “class” it is – will only have negative ramifications.

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With courage, confidence, and a strong heart, we can all make a difference in the fight to make the world a safer and happier place. Photo: Google search “confidence”.

Confidence a kind  heart and humility. That is so key.

With all this being said, next time your checking out at the grocery store or paying your bill at a restaurant, don’t forget to ask the clerk/waiter how their day has been, or to thank them for their help and wish them a nice day. You never know, they may be the next president of America. Or Prime Minister of Canada or the next King or Queen of Genovia. OR (for those of us who work in entertainment) the next CFO of Paramount Pictures. 🙂

xoxo

QJ

QJ

 

It must be in the air.

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We were both very excited to try something new.

As the music roared and voices filled the room, MSM and I stood at the rear of the restaurant, perfectly positioned fitting “just so” into the human puzzle behind the bar. The mirrored wall to the left containing inscriptions of “today’s fresh oyster” selections reflected a reality to us- this place was extremely crowded to the extent of claustrophobia and the chances of us getting seated any time soon were getting slimmer by the minute. What at first seems to be an extremely cute eatery was turning into a personal hell. Starving and in pain (I made the wrong choice of wearing my five inch healed Alaia booties designed to wear directly from the Taxi to a seat at a table), we started making deals with ourselves. “If we’re not seated in five more minutes, we’re leaving.” Then five minutes would pass. “Ok in TEN more minutes we are out of here.” Perhaps too hungry to actually think of another place to go, I’m not exactly sure what kept us there. We had a reservation at Salt Air at 8:30 and arrived at 8:27. As I have mentioned before, MSM has no belief in being fashionably late and unfortunately in this situation it would have been advantageous to be so. We had already been waiting 35minutes but the people at “our table” were “lingering” despite paying their bill. OK I get it. I actually love embracing that French attitude towards dining; slowly moving through each course, truly enjoying the conversation and in-person contact with your diner-mate (as opposed to the american style of getting it over with and running out so the next person can sit). Obviously the ramifications are great, considering obesity in France is significantly less than here. However, at this moment, in my painful albeit extremely gorgeous booties, I was wishing I could ignite my inner Vampire and compel the hostess to seat us (yeah- too much Vampire Diaries).

After a 38 minute wait, a DIFFERENT two top cleared and we were finally seated. Ahhhhh. My feet! WHOOT! I was ready to celebrate my new found lack of pain, not to mention feed my empty stomach and fuel my dizzy body.

WELCOME TO SALT AIR:

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The ambience at Salt Air was interesting. My first response upon arrival was “how cute!” This restaurant definitely attracts an elite crowd.

THE AMBIENCE:

As previously mentioned, Salt Air is really cute. The front patio is ensconced in twinkle lights and has limited seating, all at small french bistro style tables. The coziness continues inside with minimally embellished white washed brick walls, an open high beamed ceiling, and small tables strategically placed. A few, maybe three, larger tables are sprinkled through the room to accommodate parties of 5 or more. Two large billowing plants hug the front door and creep up to the ceiling, adding beauty and probably acoustic padding. The music is loud but fun and though one can not hear conversations around the room, there is no problem hearing the people or person at one’s own table. Perfectly private but open. Can’t ask for more.

The age group was, I’d guess, young professionals 30+. One table of extremely well dressed (Hermes handbag and a fur coat clad) twenty somethings sat in the center table that accommodated their party of six. We are in LA after all. But they seemed an anachronism to me amongst the rest of the array. A few parties of more sophisticatedly aged couples were also there. Hip 60 year olds drinking rose. This was refreshing to see.

THE FOOD:

After our long wait we were both curious if it was going to be worth it, and I’m happy to say that yes, it mostly was.

MSM ordered a lemonade first. Non-alcoholic. I am extremely picky about lemonade, as I prefer something more tart and less sweet. My father taught me the art of lemonade creation using freshly squeezed lemon slices and just a hint of sugar- perfectly tart. I can’t stand the ones that are so sweet they actually send a shooting pain through your teeth into your brain. This one’s sugar to lemon ratio was precise and delicious.

First Course:

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I can’t say enough good things about this delicious stew-like tomato soup! Comfort food to the extreme, I highly recommend it.

The infamous tomato soup.

Holy hell. Yeah. A pitcher of dense condensed pulp of tomato is poured into a bowl of frothy cheddar foam creating the most fantastic tomato soup. Perfectly paired with three husky home-made croutons (not so crunchy to scrape your mouth) and a basil leaf topper, this soup is definitely worthy of its world renowned status. The rest of the food here was pretty good, but this soup alone would be the one thing to call me back. The lunch menu includes this soup with a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich. Looking forward to a day of decadence comprised of this meal.

The Mushroom Toast.

This is a delicious thickly sliced toast with a light smear of ricotta topped with caramelized onions, pan seared mushrooms, and thin slices of Jalepeno. It shys in comparison to the tomato soup, but is very tasty. We actually used the toast to clean up the remaining un-spoonable drops of tomato soup, delicious!

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I throughly enjoyed the mushroom toast. The jalepeno gives it a needed kick. Dipped into the tomato soup…..bam! So good.

Main Course:

As per our waiters suggestion we shared the baked snapper over a bed of pureed butternut squash, topped with minced sweet potatoes (lightly fried) that looked like a hay stack. Our veggie of choice was the roasted broccoli with purred cauliflower and a chimichurri sauce.

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The snapper was an interesting combination of foods and spices. The flavors did play well off one another, but the overwhelming amount of cardamom made just a few bites enough for the evening.

The snapper was flavorful but I was a bit overwhelmed by the cardamom and tired of it quickly. The broccoli on the other hand was fantastic. Lightly grilled, its texture was soft with a crispy exterior. I recommend making a meal of this and the tomato soup.

The wine selections were nice here. I paired my main course with a nice Rose from Cote Du Provence, which delicately enhanced the flavor of our meal.

 

Desert:

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I don’t feel the need to return to Salt Air for a full dinner. However, the wine selection was great. I think it would be fun to come back for a nice glass of chilled desert wine and dessert. I’d love to try the Monkey Bread. PS notice our lavishly manicured nails from this past Saturdays fun date day 🙂

I chose the “fruit selection”, expecting a nice sweet but healthy bowl of fresh berries. Alas, when the desert arrived it appeared I had guessed wrong. Hahaha. The fruit selection was actually a delightful pear and pomegranate tart topped with honeycomb and a side of thinly sliced brie. MSM enjoyed the brie with the tart, explaining that the cheese made the dessert more creamy and smooth on his palate. I preferred my bites without the brie. Don’t get me wrong, I adore brie (I mean its cheese made with Champagne?!  Hello!? How could I not love that?!), it was just a bit too rich for my needs at that time.

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Everything about this was delicious, from the home made heavy whipped cream to the honeycomb on top. The fruit was succulent and the pomegranate seeds added just a nice amount of crunch.

What the heck to wear to a grandiose restaurant in Venice Beach:

Despite my inability to stand for a long period of time, I felt appropriately dressed. Cocktail attire or a dress would have felt too elaborate. The key to Venice, I think, is finding an outfit that is somehow magnificently stylish but in a sneaky way. Think effortlessly chic. Here’s where knowing Danielle really came in handy.

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While we prepared for our evening out, MSM continued to go through his inherited record  collection. We’ve been having so much listening to all of his grandfather’s albums, learning about the bands/musicians, and deciding which ones to sell and which ones to keep. One a night, until we get through them all! (some are terrible! hahaha)
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These Alaia booties are gorgeous but definitely NOT meant to stand in for more than five minutes! 
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Relaxing on the quaint front patio at Salt Air. Jacket: Red Valentino  Top: Alexander Wang  Coated Skinny Jeans: J Brand  Booties: Alaia  Handbag: St. Laurent.

Overall I liked Salt Air. I enjoyed my time there with MSM. We even found ways to laugh about the initial faux pas on their part regarding the delay with our reservation. I have two grievances: I feel they should have offered us a free glass of wine or dessert to make up for the time delay. Its one thing to have a lag regarding a reservation, but anything over fifteen minutes, I feel, should be made up for in some way. Otherwise, whats the point of making a reservation? Second, though the food was good I’m not so impressed that I feel the need to try anything else on the menu – other than maybe the Monkey Bread dessert (but only because I’ve made that camping and I’m curious to see/taste Salt Air’s rendition). I feel we chose well and ate the best things they had to offer. With that being said, the ambiance was fun and the music was good; I could definitely return for dessert or lunch /brunch for another bowl of that preposterously remarkable soup!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

 

 

 

The Last Remaining Bookstore.

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It’s overcast and a bit chilly today in LA. The perfect recipe for a nice walk and a visit to our local bookstore, which I swear is the last standing bookstore in America.

When I returned home from Pilates around 11:30am I suggested to msm that we take a walk to grab a bite for an early lunch. I absolutely love the walkability of Santa Monica. There is nothing as wonderful as being able to get all my weekend errands done en foote at a leisurely exploratory pace. After some convincing msm agreed to try this restaurant I’ve been dying to try called The Hummus Bar. No idea why I’ve been coveting this seemingly fast food restaurant but we were both happily surprised the The Hummus Bar is not a QSR at all! We shared some vegetarian rice, a healthy garden salad with grilled chicken breast (perfectly doused in Mediterranean spices), and a chicken shawarma pita sandwich. Wow!! All delicious and reasonably priced. Everything there looks amazing and I’ve been obsessed with Mediterranean grub lately, so we will definitely be going back.

After hitting the bank and The Vanilla Bake Shop (msm’s birthday is just around the corner so I’m cake hunting vs baking) we decided to stop at Henessey+Ingalls book store. I love this store! It has a European bookstore feel, a splendid throw back to our wonderful trip to Biarritz, home of (in my opinion) the most amazing bookstore in the world (don’t remember the name, but I could find it again if I get to return to Biarritz). When I have the opportunity to go into a bookstore I always look for my childhood love, Caroline’s Golden Adventures by Pierre Probst. My sister stole this book from me and refuses to A. Admit it’s mine and B. Return it to its rightful owner. The book has been out of print for years but H+I is exactly the type of store that may still carry it- other than a vintage store.

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A photo from Town And Country’s instagram account. Speaking of textiles and fashion, how GORGEOUS is this dress? I’m loving this photo and all of its Cinderella-like glory. Oh how I dream of wearing this gown some day. Perchance to the Oscars?

Sadly they did not have my beloved Caroline but they DID have a plethora of other amazing options. I was captivated by the textile and fashion section (surprise, surprise). Here I discovered Where’s Karl?, a book that tickled me. This book is in the vain of Where’s Waldo but stars Karl Lagerfeld and his fashion friends Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Grace Coddington, and Anna Wintour (to name a few). Sadly my all time fave Jay Fielden, who has single handedly evolved T&C into an approachable and exciting magazine, is not included. Perhaps this calls for a letter requesting a Where’s Karl 2 or maybe even a Where’s Jay?! Regardless, I’m beside myself with excitement and know exactly what I’ll be doing for the next two hours with a cup of hot cocoa and msm by my side (he will be watching football of course).

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On our way home our adventure took us past this entirely lovely Tiffany teal house. What woman wouldn’t want to live here? Or at least stop to basque in the gorgeous happiness that is this color?

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Reminiscent of the candy houses in the photos my bff used to send me from Cape May,  I’m in love with this Tiffany Teal home with a rooftop view of the Pacific ocean. 

At five were heading out for combo massages and mani/pedis followed by a date night at Salt Air in Venice Beach. Salt Air has been recommended by friend and fellow blogger Monica of Gisele Chic. I’m excited to try this place, especially the apparently “amazing” tomato soup. I will let you know once the verdict is in. 🙂

Despite the clouds and cool air, what a fabulously sunny day this ended up being. Sometimes Los Angeles loves love, and sometimes one can find some casual fun amongst the crazy dirt belching metropolis of urbanity.

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend as well!

PS In line with my “Karl Kraze”, look at these ADORABLE cufflinks I found in this month’s Elle!!!! OMG- Valentine’s Day gift for the man in your life?

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I may seriously have to consider buying myself a tux so I can rationalize owning these!! Karlito is just SO CUTE! hahaha. I wonder if they could be transformed into earrings….

xoxo

QJ

QJ

 

 

 

Music: Uniting Generations.

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This is such a pretty mural that I found here while searching for a headline photo for this post.

When I was ten years old my father took a business trip to Florida. I remember one day during his time away, as I sat diligently with my homework, the phone rang. It was my dad. He was SO excitedly beside himself!

Dad: “Guess where I am, Jilly?!”

Me: “Hi dad! I don’t know. Where are you?”

Dad:”I’m on a pay phone* right outside the convention center. Can you hear this?”

Me: (picturing father holding phone out at arms length) “No. I can’t hear a thing!”

Dad:”I’m at the Hall and Oates concert!”

I love my dad so much. I love that he felt so hip because he was seeing Hall and Oates. And how excited he was to share it with me, because we had a common love for music. Yes, I TOTALLY get that Hall and Oates has NEVER been hip. Nor have I necessarily ever loved them. They were more in the “I can deal with them until the next song comes on” category. But after that call from my dad- I love Hall and Oates. And every time for whatever crazy reason I hear them on the radio, I immediately re-live that wonderful moment with my father. He was such an enthusiastic vitaphile (is that actually a word?).

*dating myself

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My family has always loved music. All kinds, from Classical to the Beastie Boys. Apparently my grandmother was a concert pianist and my aunt an opera singer. Yes, my mom walking around the house with her “Tab” soda rapping “slow and low that is the tempo” actually did happen….often. The only music we didn’t really love were National Anthems. Those I hardly ever heard played at home- if ever. We would often visit concert halls to hear The Cleveland Orchestra play some rendition of Tchaikovsky, the Yale Whiffenpoofs (my dad’s favorite barbershop quartet), or The Singing Angels. Sometimes, with picnic basket in hand,  we would head out to the Blossom Music Center for an al fresca concert. These ranged from Van Halen to Itzhak Perlman. Almost every evening after dinner my father would sit at his piano and play. I think it was his way of unwinding. My dad’s piano songs are now some of my favorite. At the time I, of course, thought nothing of it. But now that he’s gone its a totally different story. During a barre stretch a few weeks ago the pianist played one of my fathers songs. I cried as I stretched. I couldn’t help it. I could feel my dad there with me. It was so wonderful.

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My dad, being a Yale Alumn, was practically required to love the Wiffenpoofs. I actually was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed their A Cappella shows.

My brother took me to my first rock concert when I was 14 years old. We went to see John Cougar Mellencamp, and had nose bleed seats WAY far in the back- but who cares? How cool of my brother to take me to a rock concert??? (He also was the first to let me drive a car- but more on that later).While JCM rocked out on his guitar belting “I was born in a small town”, thousands of  leather jackets danced around me. A tiny little cigarette circulated the audience. This my brother insisted I not smoke! “Just pass that on!” I had no idea what it was hahaha. Oh the innocence! It was really exciting to dance and sing with all those other people. Back at school the following day I suddenly became like 10x cooler.

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JCM circa 1984. He was a hottie back then. Look at that hair! I swear, every guy I know now would kill for those thick locks!

All this being said, spending New Years Eve at Motely Crue’s final performance was a TOTALLY apropos way to bring in 2016!

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Motley Crue, first formed in 1981, is an internationally loved and iconic hard rock band. Though the band members may be considered “veterans” of rock, their songs are still used currently for films and TV shows, and probably on most people’s….how DO people listen to music anymore….phones?

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There was a spectacular dropping of streamers and balloons when the clock struck….well, 12:05- because Tommy Lee getting stuck in that drum machine caused a time lapse in the schedule. But this is ROCK and ROLL time we’re on here!!! 

Its often sad to witness the “final” something of anything, so when the opening song “Goodbye-Farewell” from The Sound Of Music started to play, I’m not going to lie, I cried a little (give me a break, I’m sensitive, ok?). I mean its the end of an era. A chapter in the book of my life. Luckily, things turned around from there and what a fun and entertaining show it turned out to be! I first saw Motely Crue four years ago in Vegas on Vince Neil’s birthday. That show was RIDICULOUS it was so good! I literally felt like I had taken the hot tub time machine to 1984. Crazed fans were so excited, making the energy  vivacious and fun. This show was entertaining but not as crazy exciting. Lots of heart felt good-bye speeches from the band members- laced with comedic anecdotes, a great solo by Tommy Lee (who also got stuck upside down in his drum machine for 20min!), and an exceptional acoustic rendition of Home Sweet Home to end it all.

What To Wear To An 80’s Hair Band Concert:

Obvi! Lots of leather. Or pleather….whichever you prefer, and metal- of course!

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Bomber Jacket: Stella McCartney  Ripped T: IRO Metal and Suede Clutch: Chloe  Leather Jeans: Rag and Bone  Booties (not shown): St. Laurent.

 

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I found these super cool rings at, of all places, Charlotte Russe. Haha. They were litearlly 3$- TOTAL. Disposable costume jewelry can be fun for events like 80’s hair band concerts :). The X midi ring, on the other hand, is by Michael Kors. I just love it! Classic with a touch of edge. Midi rings seem to be trending now.
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Hells yeah! Nothing says “rock n roll” like these awesome edgy booties by YSL! Love!

And on THAT note….Coming soon….leather vs pleather, is it worth it?

xoxo

QJ

QJ

 

Its in the bag. The VIP gift bag!

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The coveted gift bags at reserved seating.

We all know about the highly coveted celebrity VIP  gift bags at all the Oscar after parties, right? From what I’ve read, these bags can contain high priced gifts ranging from vats of LaMer beauty cream to the latest and most current IPhone or some gadget worthy of James Bond. Gift bag distribution isn’t limited to award ceremony after parties though. They exist at benefits, big shin digs where the host/hostess wants to show off,  I can imagine theres an exchange when celeb “friends” meet for lunch (or when they meet with their agents)- who knows?

What I DO know is that over the past year I have acquired (on a watered down scale) quite a nice collection of gift bags. I’m no celeb so OBVI my bags are on a different level than the “big wigs”. BUT I believe mine must be a close variation on a theme , so I thought I’d share with you whats in them! Alas I have not been gifted with technical devices or cool spy toys. Instead I now have a plethora of makeup and beauty products by companies I never would have heard of had I not been in the right place at the right time. Nail polish, lipsticks, eye makeup, cleansers, giftcards for manicures at the most luxurious nail castles…the list is extensive. As a philanthropic study, I had planned on walking around Santa Monica donating the various treats to homeless women, but, in fear of a not so welcoming acceptance of said gift, I though it would be fun to review and compare some of the beauty products here.

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Whats in the bag? A princess’ dream…tons of beauty products!

Murad Skin Smoothing Polish:

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Murad’s skin polish, with its pleasant aroma, gives a firming affect.

This exfoliant has a lovely hint of sweet berries in its scent. It feels pretty coarse to the touch. Once applied it feels like little seeds scrubbing. I feel it was less intense than one of those clarisonic brushes, but still pretty strong. After rinsing,  my face felt fairly clean but in need of a rich moisturizer. The instructions say to use this product three times a week. I feel this product would work well for someone with oily to combo skin. It could help with skin cell turn-over, which can be lost or lessen as we age. Its a bit intense for sensitive skin like mine.

Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser:

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I would have NEVER heard of this product had it not been in my gift bag. This one was a pleasant surprise. For more info click here: Suki Skincare

Not knowing at ALL what to expect, I was really impressed with this product. Just like many other amazing things that I love,  Suki comes from Northampton, Massachusetts; home grown in the good ‘ol USA. It is a 100% natural and organic. Free of parabens, gluten & synthetics of any kind,all the Suki products are safe for everyone- including breastfeeding and pregnant women. Another bonus: no animals or bees are harmed in their creation either.  I’ve tried other organic products from the Whole Foods skin care isle (eyes roll) and they have mostly been pretty bad, so I admit I was a bit hesitant with this one. However, the exfoliate is seriously amazing. I actually want to look into trying her other creations.

sukiECU
It appears this product would be very coarse and damaging to the skin. Looks can be deceiving because in actuality the exfoliant was luxuriously foamy and gentle- yet very effective.

The Suki exfoliate has a citrus smell. The directions explain: wet a small amount of product in your palms and then apply to face and decollate. The scrub is extremely gentle. After a rinse my skin felt clean, fresh, and baby soft. After using this product for a week (3x/week), I noticed my naked face looked naturally brighter. I’ve even been receiving compliments that I’m”glowing”. No, I’m not pregnant. This may also be from my moisturizer (see Doc Schwab below). I believe the exfoliant is also prepping my skin so that I can get the full effect of my moisturizer.

Panthenol Cleanser:

panthenal
My favorite little blue cleanser. Back in the day my grandmother told me “the best way to wash your face is with plain water. Everything else is full of chemicals and will ruin you.” I never feel concerned with the Panthenol cleanser though. It leaves the skin feeling fresh and hydrated.

This was gifted by a local esthetician and honestly, I LOVE this product. I can’t thank her enough for tossing this into the bag. And its a full sized bottle at that! I feel extra lucky!! Apparently this cleanser is loaded with Vitamin B5 which acts as a hydrator WHILE cleansing (as opposed to stripping the skin, like most cleansers). This is self-evident. After washing with the Panthenol my skin felt fresh and supple but also clean. It has a light fresh scent. I love when products have minimal smell because to me it means, there are less harsh chemicals added. I recommend this product to anyone, any age.

Doctor D. Schwab Flawless Skin Fluid amd CS Citrusome:

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Facelift in a tube. Everyone needs to try this stuff! I’m hooked! For more info click here: Doctor Schwab. Tammi, the skincare specialist, is a doll. Definitely hit her up with any questions.

I honestly had no idea what these products were meant for but I ran out of my daily moisturizer and via the ingredients (and the fact I had it laying around) I decided to give this duo a try. I assumed the Citrusome is a Vit C serum, which I put on after my morning cleansing, followed by the Skin Fluid (moisturizer?). I am loving the “moisturizer”. It is very lightweight and non-greasy. My favorite part? It is shimmery! I haven’t put on foundation since the day I started using this. It reflects the light so nicely, I haven’t needed it! This stuff is like a facelift in a tube. I read a little about it and it appears this line is also all natural- though I’m not sure its to the same extent as Suki. Via their website, I contacted the Doctor Schwab “skincare specialist” and she was very helpful, as well as budget conscious,  regarding what Dr. Schwab products would work well for me. I like their costumer service and this particular product, so I’m giving the brand a recommend.

Hopefully I’ve satisfactorily unveiled the mystery of the VIP gift bag and all its contents. That is all for today. I’m finally coming off this dreadful stomach bug! The biggest casualty of the bug? I am now certifiably addicted to The Vampire Diaries! So…off I go….to finish up season one of this enslaving little devil.

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Advice from Diane Keaton.

Due to this drasted energy vampire called the stomach bug, today I just wanted to post something short and brief in honor of Diane Keaton’s 70th birthday. In descending order of how much I love it, the following are some of her great life advice quotes, mostly exemplified by Snoopy (sorry, he makes me feel better when I’m sick :P):

5. “Even though all these obstacles keep coming at you, you just have to keep going through them. Because it’s worth it to do something in your life, as opposed to fantasizing about doing something.”

Youcandoit
Don’t let anything stop you from achieving your dreams! Work through the tough stuff!

4. “I never understood the idea that you’re supposed to mellow as you get older. Slowing down isn’t something I relate to at all. The goal is to continue in good and bad, all of it.”

Yep. So lets never stop!
Yep. So lets never stop!

3. “There is great value in being fearless. For too much of my life, I was too afraid, too frightened by it all. That fear is one of my biggest regrets.”

GoForIt

2. “Humor helps us get through life with a modicum of grace. It offers one of the few benign ways of coping with the absurdity of it all.”

humor
Also said by my father.

1. “Just have fun. Smile. And keep putting on lipstick.”

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Happy Birthday Diane! To 70 more good ones! And to a quick healing for me 🙂

xo

QJ

QJ