The Essentials.

TheEssentialsCover

Last Saturday was LA Weekly’s presentation of Foodie Heaven, also known as The Essentials. 58 of LA’s top restaurants gathered, along with 41 pairing stations, under one roof to deliver taste-sized portions of their best sellers to the patrons who paid to get in. Animal, Ink, Kogi, Maude…the list continues. You better believe we were there at 6pm on the DOT. No fashionably late to this one! This event was housed in LA’s fashion district. Even more reason to be excited!

The top contenders

Eggplant
Don’t judge a book by its cover. This little eggplant number was beyond delicious. Osteria Mozza

Osteria Mozza’s stuffed eggplant:

A delicately grilled eggplant stuffed with olive oil and herbed garbanzo beans over smoked hummus. MMMMM. Lord have mercy on us, this little piece of nirvana is incomparable. Paired with a light white wine perfectly enhanced this quietly flavored treat. Magnifique!

 

Taco
This plate definitely wins for presentation. The taste was outstanding as well. I look forward to visiting Guerrilla Taco so that I can try more of their unique choices. Guerrilla Tacos

Guerrilla Taco’s Beet Mini Taco:

Bite sized bits of yellow beets marinated in a well balanced consume of olive oil and herbs served over a soft corn tortilla, this treat makes a perfect appetizer. Not too filling and just the right spices to waken the palette.

Cider
The event was full of different wine and beer pairings, but I was most excited by a cider pairing table. I’m somewhat of a sucker for hard cider. 

Grapefruit Beer?

Yes! I can’t stand beer, but this stuff is dangerously AMAZING. If you ever get a chance to try this Schoffenhofer grapefruit weizen, don’t pass up the opportunity.

 

JennysIceCream
This mini cup of sweet cream ice cream was the perfect serving size for a little sweet nothing to end the mealJeni’s Ice Cream

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream : Sweet Cream Ice Cream with raspberry sauce

I’m not usually one for ice cream, but seeing how my diet was out the window on this occasion I figured “why not induldge”? Hormone and RBT free, this ice cream was delicious. It was definitely rich but had a good balance of creamy to sweet. The tiny two tablespoon serving with a dollop of berry sauce on top was a perfect ending to a wonderful sampling of foods.

BeefTartare
Beef Tare Tare over an in-house made potato crisp.  Another example of what kind of bites were served at the event. 

The Beneficiary

The proceeds from this event went to Food Forward, a group of Southern Californians that rescue fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste and connect the abundance with people in need. For more information on this amazing non-profit, click here: Food Forward

What to heck to wear to a night of food tasting

drink Taste
Here I am tasting the different ciders. There was a basque cider that tasted very raw and a Vermount cider that was crisp and refreshing. I’d love to visit this place and do a flight with cheese 🙂  Shacksbury Ciders

Alternative to what you may think, I decided to wear something rather tight on the bottom. This way I knew to take small samples, pace myself, and not actually over-eat. It worked!

outfit
Sweater: Maje  Blouse: Joie  Skirt: Maje  Boots: Stewart Weitzman Highlanders  Bag: Gucci

Unfortunately I didn’t get any great photos of my outfit, but above is a photo showing the gist of it. Honestly I styled this myself and I hate it. I look like a frumpy old maid. Sending a photo to Danielle for a critique- I’m not sure what I did wrong. Either the tops don’t look good on me or they just aren’t good together. And the bottom looked like a solid chunk of black. The skirt is SO pretty, but who can tell? The details were all hidden. FAIL on the outfit 😦

Overall this was a really fun night. I look forward to attending next years event. Though next year I may get VIP tickets so we can start early. A lot of places we wanted to try ran out of food before we could get there!!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

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Curing My Melancholy Madness

seasonal-affective-disorder
I know it doesn’t snow or get too cold in Los Angeles, but it gets dark SO early and the combination of darkness and erratic weather patterns can certainly take a toll.

Its confirmed. I have the wintertime blues. Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely happy for the most part. It just seems every year, right around mid February, I’m in need of some serious soul replenishing. I’m not sure if its the lack of sunlight or the weird weather patterns, but I just get so stressed about the tiniest things and am so easily ungrounded. As I sit here dreaming of Paris, I realized what I need is a Faycation, a short FAKE vacation. Turn up the reggae  boys and girls because were about to go on a virtual adventure.

Lets start with this, to get us in the right mood:

 

New York City:

What better place to start my Facay than NYC during spring fashion week?

 

To capture the vibe of the city….this is a fun montage I found on youtube.

 

 

 

And we can’t move forward without catching a fashion show!

I’m seriously obsessed with the first three of these five trends; gorgeous and flowy silk, flirty ruffles, and sexy shoulder revealing tops. All so stunning. The last two, not so much for me. I’ve never adored feathers (I had a friend once in college, Cecil, who LOVED feathers. He had this one jacket that was literally 100% made of layered feathers. It was an atrocity. PS Who wants to wear some hot feather jacket in Austin in August??). Flat shoes don’t work for me. I have high arches, but the rest of me is height-challenged. However, I have invested in some comfy sneakers for the upcoming spring/summer. We shall see how much wear they get. I’ve noticed in photos its definitely more flattering when I’m in heels. I now understand “I’m not fat, I’m under tall”. There’s something to that……

 

The Caribbean: 

From NYC lets jet over to the Caribbean. While we fly, here’s some music to put us in the island mood:

Why do I love reggae so much? I’m pretty sure I was African in my past life. This music goes straight to my soul and brings me to my happy place. I feel immediately calm and cheerful and I can almost feel the warm salty winds kissing my skin. Reggae to me is definitely equated with the beach and the ocean. The cadence of the music mimics that of the ocean, no? On that note, MSM is reading this interesting book right now about how being near the Ocean, and even better, going in it, does something to our bodies to help promote longevity and extended good health/quality of life.

While listening, stare at the splendor:

bahamasblue-water-carribean-bahamas-1600x900coral-reef-537x356

 

Azul seas and brilliant corals, little fishies basquing in the sun. The ocean never ceases to amaze me. I am intrigued by corals and how they are actually living beings.

Last stop: Disneyworld. 

Seriously I ADORE all things Disney. Yes, I’m 100 years old but who cares? No better way to placate the inner child and free the spirit than a jaunt to a Disney park. I still get the goosebumps and turn into a five year old the minute I walk in. Its like Disney has its own ecosystem that defies the laws of the rest of the world, and unhappiness, worries, aches and pains are exempt from this place.

I’m in no way, shape, or form endorsing this band. I just wanted to see a video of Disney with good music. This facation has been a success! I’m inspired to go to Disneyland and make a great music video montage of the park- since the internet is apparently lacking in that department, surprisingly!

I will leave you with one last thought- one great piece of  vacation mentality we need to always keep in mind:

That is all for today. I feel much better! Don’t you?!

Have a fantastic weekend!!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Los Angeles’ Silly Little Secrets.

DTLA
Here we see one of Los Angeles’ many “mini cities” that, when clustered together, make up one big city. Not sure who the urban planner was for LA, but its weird to me how everything is so spread out. 

In pre-celebration of the birth of MSM, Saturday night was filled with joy and magic that unveiled all sorts of secrets that Downtown LA has to offer. It began with an adventure to Takami Sushi and Robata, a sky-top sushi bar with soaring views of LA, followed by a secret tour of a mysterious spherical penthouse, ending with a dance at the brilliant best kept secret in the city.

Takami Sushi and Robata: TADA!

 

Takami
Nope. This is not Japan! Its Los Angeles! Grabbed this striking photograph from google images. The view from the top makes the experience at Takami Sushi all that much better. Gorgeous. Almost fantastical/SciFi, right? Straight out of Lucy

One thing I adore about MSM is that he knows I have food allergies and other eating restrictions, so he always thoughtfully sends me a link to menus days before we visit an establishment, giving me ample time to a. figure out what I want and b. speak up if there’s nothing I can eat. When I first saw the menu for Takami, my eye went straight to the glorious title The Endless Summer (my favorite season!). I couldn’t wait to try this refreshing sounding concoction of vodka, watermelon, mint, and a spritz of ginger ale. Once on the premise, I immediately ordered a Cucumber Gimlet. After all, isn’t it a woman’s prerogative to change her mind? Crisp and not overwhelmingly sweet or acidic, the gimlet was delicious. MSM ended up with The Endless Summer, which was exactly as it sounded, yummy. I highly recommend either.

Takami Robata  is actually three restaurants that share a dining area. This being said, there’s no way to plan the arrival of courses since the food is plated as the different kitchens prepare them, and there is no communication between kitchens. Sharing each course is the best plan of attack. Neither of us had been here before so the menu was our oyster, so to speak.

We decided to start with the shishito peppers (I LOVE THESE) and buttered scallops served on the half shell. You really can’t go wrong with shishito peppers.  I have never not liked these at any restaurant. I assume they must be difficult to mess up. The scallops…..OMG…..like butter! They actually tasted like buttered popcorn. A hint of sweetness balanced perfectly with salt and cooked to a precise texture, not too soft, not rubbery.

scallops
Enough with the chicken already! Lately I’ve been slighly obsessed with Scallops. They are packed with an abundance of lean protein and can be cooked in so many exciting new ways. At Takami they are grilled with butter and served on the half shell. Beautiful and Yum!

Next we shared the Angus filet, zucchini, and asparagus Robatas (basically kabobs). All of these were amazing. Just the right amount of spice. Nothing over-whelming. The veggies were juicy and had the correct amount of crunch. The meat….Voila! MMMMM.

At this point I was actually close to full but we continued with the Lemon Albacore Roll and a Spyder Roll. I was a little underwhelmed by the spyder roll  because I had to remove the mayo inflicted crab meat. What a travesty. The Lemon Albacore was FANTASTIC. We also had a plate of ahi sashimi with jalepenos that I almost didn’t want to review because no one does this like Nobu so its not really fair to judge. I will say I recommend avoiding this sashimi dish because the literal CHUNKS of tuna were SO BIG it seemed to be prepared for a giant!

 

lemon albacore
The Lemon Albacore Roll was divine. The lemon with zest attached was a brilliant way to enhance the flavors in this delicious roll. 

The staff of the restaurant was interesting. Our actual waitress, perhaps new, didn’t seem too versed in the menu and when I told her I had a soy allergy she said “remind me as you continue to order”. Really? Then she brought the peppers to the table with soy all over them. hahaha. Luckily my allergy isn’t anaphylactic. There was another person there whom I’m not sure was a waiter or a host or what but he was fun, funny, and fantastic. Not to mention he sported the most amazing mustachio I have ever seen. We enjoyed his banter. The ambiance is very “club” like with a touch of fancy (the out door tables especially ring “high end” to me ) yet almost like a “fancy in the airport” vibe. I loved observing the other patrons at their tables. Such a great mix of people in Down Town LA, as opposed to the homogeny so often seen in Santa Monica. There were fat women and skinny women and extremely effeminate men and macho women and macho men, and HUGE men and tiny men and all types of outfits….you get the gyst. It was great and kind of felt like we were in another country or at least a different state, making Takami a nice little escape.  The view from the rooftop of this trio of conjoined bars is nothing short of spectacular.

Breaking mid dinner we walked along the patio seating and looked out over LA. Our curiosity was sparked regarding one very high round penthouse in the near distance. No one at the restaurant seemed to know what this was so MSM took it upon himself to find out.

The Sheraton VIP Lounge: A view from the top.

SheratonDTLA
I’m not sure why, but in the right hotel lobby, I feel like a Queen or Princess. I was surprisingly impressed with the lavishly decorated interior at the Sheraton Downtown LA. 

MSM used his vampire ways to convince the doorman at The Sheraton DTLA to not only explain the secret behind  the round building perched atop the hotel, but to also give us a private tour! Sadly the story gets less interesting from here….its a VIP lounge for Sheraton card holders,  similar to an admiral’s lounge at the airport. Half the “lounge” is an eating area where breakfast and dinners are served. The other half is a gym. A very nice gym. Though it was sort of “whatever” up there, it was another incredible view of our glorious LA.

Sheraton Lounge VIP
The hotels of DTLA seem to have really stepped up to the plate, taking their part in the city’s attempts at renovation and re-gentrification.

Cana Rum Bar: The perfect hideaway for a dark and stormy salsa dance 😉

CanaThisWay
The actual Cana lounge is hidden in an alleyway, but visitors can’t miss it! 

 

The next and final step of our adventure is, in my opinion, seriously one of the best kept secrets in LA. At first approach this bar feels like one would need a secret password to cross the velvet rope. In some respects you do, as this speak-easy type bar is a members only club. Don’t roll your eyes though, because the low 25$ membership price-point (that allows you two guests with each visit) is SO WORTH IT! Live bands or DJs every night, this is a dance club heaven but with a Cubana lounge vibe. There’s a cigar room out back with open beams. Literally, open beams- no glass. Sticking with the theme of the night, I just loved the variety of guests enjoying the ambience. The music was fun for dancing, the decor reminiscent of a Caribbean pirate ship, and the drink menu is vast and full of both unique fun rum concoctions and traditional pirate faire. I can’t recommend this place enough. If your itching for a little bit of Havana in your life, this rum bar is the spot to go.

cocktailListCana

barTender_Cana
A little bit of Cuba on my mind….and  perched on this bar tender’s head!

What the heck to wear while adventuring in DTLA on a fair weather night:

SO….as per usual MSM insisted I not wear my heels. At some point I’m just going to have to suck it up and wear them so he can see that I do not, in fact, complain of pain while meandering somewhat aimlessly in heels on date night. Believe it or not, I DO own some comfortable stilettos that are both sexy and functional. However, this  particular Sat was especially a celebration for him, so I decided to wear flat boots which ended up being a great idea. I was just the right amount of warm and definitely comfortable.  Also I loved the Mod look of my ensamble.

 

Jill_Cana
To be honest, I don’t think my bag is a great pair with this dress. The textures aren’t working together well for me. I need to ask Danielle what she would have suggested. I think she’s been pushing me more to try and make my own arrangements. I am getting better, but this one seems off….Dress: Alice and Olivia Bag: YSL Jacket: Vince Boots: Stewart Weitzman 
bootsDTLA
I was ultimately grateful for not wearing high heels! I feel like these Stewart Weitzman boots worked well. They kept me warm, I still felt sexy, AND I was able to walk for miles!

Down Town Los Angeles has really been growing in a good direction. So may exciting new galleries, shops, and eateries popping up left and right. My favorite is the little alcoves where amour can hide to sneak in some secret kisses ;). Très Parisienne not to mention perfect for the upcoming Valentines Day weekend. Or for any other weekend a couple may want to venture out. Je viens de l’adore quand LA aime l’amour. I adore when LA loves love!

Happy Valentine’s Day ya’ll! I know its hokey and contrived, but instead of spitting at it, why not embrace the craziness by reveling in the idea of loving life!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Fifty Shades of Red (lips), or at least Five.

Gene-Tierney-makeup-1940s
The stunning Miss Gene Tierney sporting resplendent red lips.

I may have retired my makeup artist hat, but the cosmetics lover in me has not gone to rest. One of my all time favorite looks is the 1940’s clean face with classic simple eyes (mascara, maybe thin liner, or perhaps even no eye makeup), a softly enhanced brow, and a red lip. The look is just so stunning and demure. I’ve decided I single handedly want to bring back this style of simple beauty. And what better time to discuss red lipsicks than right around Valentine’s Day? Perhaps you will be inspired…..

Valentine’s Day Red:

Oddly I always thought Valentine’s Day was actually connected to a massacre in Russia back as far as maybe the early 19th century. I could have SWORN my 10th grade European History teacher taught us something about that. And I assumed the popularity of “red” on that day was actually related to blood and murder and that the whole holiday was a scam devised by the American government as a way to rev up some rigamarole in the economy. I just looked it up and, according to Wikipedia, Valentine’s Day IS related to a massacre but, according to US history,  it was some shooting involving the infamous mobster Bugsy Malone c1929. If anyone finds anything about the former massacre, please by all means, tell me!

Digging deeper, my search revealed that the ACTUAL St. Valentine was a man who secretly helped young soldiers marry their loved ones. The head priest of the time was deterring marriages with fears that married soldiers didn’t fight as well because they would be afraid to die and leave their loves behind. In this notion, St. Valentine IS a romantic. An advocate of love and, apparently, monogamy. At least with this story the love on valentine’s day thing makes sense.

Why the history lesson? I was trying to figure out why the color red exemplifies love. I still believe its blood shed. Or perhaps its more connected to the blood that flows from your extremities to your heart and back?

All that aside,  for whatever reason, nothing says Valentine’s day more than the color red (or pink, or orange, or some other hue/value/intensity of the color) and I thought it would be fun to share my five favorite red lipsticks.

What the heck to wear for Valentine’s Day?

Why red lips of course! And, per your partner’s request, possibly nothing more or nothing less!

TheCulpritsTogether
Pictured from Left to Right: Tom Ford Crimson Noir, Tom Ford Cassablanca,  Armani #403, Bessame Cherry Red, Chanel gloss Spark (in the front row, of course!)

Tom Ford 03 Cassablanca:

This is the most subtle of my reds. Not the greatest for Valentine’s day per se, but a nice shade for an every day look in fall/winter.

Tom Ford 11 Crimson Noir:

Loving this one that Danielle actually just introduced me to. A great classic red.

Armani  #403:

This is my go-to red. I’ve been using it for years. I love the color! Its just the right shade for most of my moods. It goes on so well and is dramatic without being overbearing. I also love that its a true long wear color without being drying.

Chanel Gloss 04 Spark:

LOVE! There’s nothing more to say. This is a fantastic color on its own or over any other lip color. It is a bit goopy though, as glosses tend to be.

Bessame c210 Cherry Red:

I discovered this lipstick at a costume store, of course. Its the closest I’ve ever come to finding a true 1940’s red. The lipstick itself is not very creamy. As a result its a very long-wear red (will last through a meal) but its  somewhat difficult to put on, and is also pretty drying. But I love the look of it, as in person it skews a bit vampy. Definitely a great choice for drama.

Speaking of drama….lets discuss the cupid’s bow.

 

 

Enhancing the Cupid’s Bow:

The Cupid’s bow is the V shaped area in the center of the upper lip directly beneath the nose. I just love that its called “cupid’s bow” and thought it would be fun to write about it for Valentine’s day.

This look was popular in the 20’s (shaping the lips like a heart) and then again in the 50’s (with more elongated outer edges). Over-drawing via use of the cupid’s bow is a great way to embellish a pouty lip or improve upon the fullness of a thinner lip.

Here’s my real-time attempt:

CupidsBowECU
Drawing in the cupid’s bow is definitely easier with a lip pencil. Here I used the edge of the lipstick. Doable, but not great.
CupidBowMed
The end result. And me attempting to look sultry. Pictured here is the Bessame Cherry Red.

In case you want to try this at home, here’s directions on a more 50’s look:

How-to-Create-the-Perfect-Cupids-Bow-bp
Photo grabbed off Pinterest.

Interesting fact: In classical mythology,  cupid is the god of desire and erotic love. He is often portrayed as the son of Venus (goddess of love) and Mars (god of war).

Some people, actually MOST people, get all stuck on “what red looks good on me”. Honestly- they all do Huneys! Red is a bold statement. So if its an orange red, or a blue red, or even a black red….just pick the one you like for the mood your in and ROCK IT.

Time to go put on some red lips and kiss someone!

Mwah!

SWAK.

QJ

QJ

 

 

 

 

Gidget.

gidget 03

There are so many things I can talk about regarding being sixteen. If I sit and close my eyes I can still recall the feel of a pristine smog-free breeze, the perfume of fresh green earth, the inner workings of my teenaged mind (mostly focused on boys and clothes). I can still hear the music of the time, navigating the rhythm of my life. John Hughes was my hero. Nadia (Comaneci) my mentor. Everything was so much safer back then, or at least the dangers were less highlighted, and my anxieties were sub par. I was naive but brave, determined, and so excited. I had nothing but growth ahead of me. My life was void of the anvils of “have to’s” that currently rest on my shoulders and weigh me down. Every day was a road trip with the windows down and no traffic. Freedom.

Now, don’t get me wrong. We all need to remember that we clearly had problems back then, as no one’s life is perfect. But 16 year old worries and blankety blank year old worries are vastly different. Why is that? I so badly want to let- go and just live, and do so well into my 90’s. It must be doable. I feel like when I look around, not everyone seems stressed. At least not at first glance….

I was very close to my grandmother when I was sixteen. My mom’s mom. Unfortunately my father’s mom passed when I was younger- though I have some amazing memories of her sense of humor and her fortitude, which I hope to share some time. At sixteen I didn’t have a lot of close friends, as I felt a bit out of place with the other girls in my grade. Though Grandma could be judgmental and definitely had no filter regarding telling me her thoughts, she was fun. We played rummy-cube a lot, and art designed fantastically imagined parties.

One day I accompanied Grandma to Severance (the mall close to her home). She needed to pick some things up at Woolworths, a local drugstore housed in the mall. Honestly I think Woolworth’s may have actually been the original “Five and Dime”, a variety store like Target. While Grandma shopped her list, I browsed the VHS movies that were on sale. (OMG VHS! hahaha). I was intrigued by a movie entitled Gidget. Cute surfer boys, the ocean, and a smiling blonde girl on the cover. This is who I dream of being!!! My grandma happily agreed to buy me the film. In hindsight, it was an amazing gift.  I was truly captivated, smitten by all things Gidge. After watching the movie a couple hundred times, I started watching re-runs of the TV show staring Sally Fields. Also adorable! The young Fields was even more sassy than Sandra Dee. Like Barbie, Gidget departed from the traditional female role models seen in 1950’s films and on TV. Despite all the slack Sandra Dee got in Grease, I admired her optimism and zest for life.

Life Lessons Learned From Gidget:

  1. Who cares what other people think. Stay true to you and HAVE FUN DOING IT.tumblr_mm1u3mcoo81s9hmkxo1_500
  2. Its always good to partake in an outdoor sport.
  3. Don’t second guess your curiosity. Embrace your inner adventurer.tumblr_ns6i83Oao61ubt16wo6_250
  4. Leave the Man-hunts to the Man-hunters.
  5. Maintain a good attitude by looking for the silver lining, the lesson, or the solution.download
  6. Its ok to be happy and to show your happiness. Demure isn’t always necessary.
    tumblr_ns6i83Oao61ubt16wo8_250
  7. You can learn almost anything from books.PrideP2Gidget_Pride
  8. A smile makes the face beautiful.
  9. A real woman brings out the best in a man (and vice versa!).
  10. A man that serenades you is the most romantic thing in the world.
    love
  11. The bigger they are, the dopier they get.
  12. Malibu is AMAZING.

Gidget’s positive outlook and love for life is most definitely 90% of the reason I moved to California. I figured living by the ocean must enhance happiness, and if I was going to start fresh and launch my own business (hair/makeup), SoCal was the place to be. In case your curious, the remaining reasons I moved to SoCal are attributed to The Beach Boys, my college room-mate (Monica), and the possibility of marrying Michael J. Fox. (yeah….riiiiiiight).

gidget 06

How The Heck To Dress Like Gidget:

What better time to dream about being super beachy than mid winter? To dress like the original Gidget, think high waisted shorts, cropped tops, a-line dresses, and soft summery cardigans. Unfortunately Danielle is really against Gidget Garb, so most of my 50’s inspired pieces are gone :(.

Gidget_goes_SanSebastian
Gidget Goes San Sebastian. Top: ALC  Shorts: Wildfox 

 

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Models sunbathing, wearing late 1950’s beach fashions. Honestly how adorable? I love the two plaid ones! I have no idea why Danielle is so opposed. Which is probably why I need her to dress me. hahaha.

I still love Gidget. Sometimes when I’m down or blue, watching the film is just the spark I need to rejuvenate my soul. It reminds me of what brought me to LA in the first place and to not take everything so seriously. It reminds me of my true goals of a simple happy life, and sparks a rebirth in my determination. Though I upgraded to the three disk DVD version of the movie, I still cherish the original VHS tape my Grandmother bought for me. Its one of the few things I still have that reminds me of her.

If any of you have a chance, here’s a link to a streaming version of the film: Gidget Original Movie

Let me know if you think it still holds up…..

Toodles!

QJ

QJ

 

 

 

Football Schmootball? The Super Bowl For The Non-Aficionado.

NFL
There could be worse things to look at?

Lets face it, the Super Bowl is around the corner. Its just days away. Usually this means two words to me: Spa. Day. However, this year I am attending a Super Bowl Party, which means tons of bad for you but delicious food and a seriously BORING game on TV, equalling over-eating and weight gain, thus leading to anger and then finally depression. I don’t know how many of you ladies out there eat out of boredom during this annual predominantly male ritual, but for me its a no brainer. I both dread and love Super Bowl Sunday. I get sick from that deliciously ooey- gooey wedge of Brie with honey drizzled on top (that someone NEVER fails to bring) and the damn spinach artichoke dip EVERY YEAR. I just can’t help myself. What is it with all the cheese on Super Bowl Sunday anyways?? When it comes to my will power, Superbowl Sunday is almost worse than the winter holidays!!  Now I realize, know, and accept that some of you women out there are really into football, legitimately. You can follow the game on TV despite the bazillion replays, bumpers, and numerous other distractions (ie. that sexy quarterback and his tight pants. Football? What football?). Lets just say you ladies are in a category of your own. NO JUDGEMENT here, you’re all great, I’m just not one of you, unfortunately.

Giphy_GidgetEats
Me on Super Bowl Sunday (unless I’m at a Spa).

If I loathe it so much, why go?? Good question with an easy answer; its a great way to catch up with old friends. That’s actually a lie. I’m going because it happens to be MSM’s birthday and he rented half a bar to celebrate while watching the game. I wouldn’t miss his birthday party for the world.  Besides….as one of my BFF’s always says “when in Rome….” So there you go.

giphy_Marsha
Yep. This is pretty much what football means to me.

Today I would like to provide two game plans (pun intended) for us football apathetic ladies who are, for whatever reason, landing at a Super Bowl Party. 1. How to stay healthy and still have fun at said party and 2. What the heck to wear.

Lets shake things up a bit and start with the outfit ideas.

What The Heck To Wear To A Super Bowl Party:

Obviously the key is casual, right? But we want to still look adorably well put together and event specific without looking like were in a costume. I perused the internet and the following are some suggested outfit ideas from other bloggers (all photos from Pinterest). To stay in sports mode, I’ve decided to score each ensemble.

  1. Over-sized blazer, jeans, and booties:
Possible Super Bowl Party Outfit
Ok, but nothing special. And its not really saying “Super Bowl” to me. Super Bowl Party Score: C. Doable, but nah….

2. Casual sweater, hat, leather pants, and flats:

Superbowl3
I like that hat and the flats idea. But still, just seems like an every day outfit. No excitement. Cute for work though! Super Bowl Party Score: B- Something’s just missing.

3. The boyfriend Jeans combo:

SuperbowlOutfit1
Eighty-six the coat and this one makes more sense to me. Boyfriend jeans? Perfect! Sweater/shirt combo? Tres Fall/winter. And cozy. Chunky heeled pumps? Perfectly casual but still gives an air of class and sophistication. We’re getting closer! Super bowl party score: A   I personally would rock this. 
what to wear to a superbowl party
Though I’ve vowed that, if I ever own uggs, I will only wear them in my house and/or to and from Ballet. That being said, I would change the shoes here- possibly Addidas? Those seem hip right now. Otherwise I love this outfit. Great to wear a jersey or T with one of the NFL Super Bowl teams on it. The hat is adorable and keeps it casual. Super Bowl Party Score: A+ Bingo!

I feel like wearing something you enjoy can also add to the pleasure of the party. Not sure why Danielle hasn’t recommended much for this event. I’m still waiting for her answer…..if I get one, I’ll reveal my outfit later.

 

Put The Chip Down And Walk Away Slowly; How To Stay Healthy And Actually Enjoy Yourself At A Super Bowl Party:

1. If your at a house-hosted party, be sure to bring a healthy option. My favorite? The easy veggie tray full of lots of crunchy and delicious vegetables. Along with this, here is a recipe for a low fat spinach artichoke dip: Healthy Artichoke Heart Dip . 

Skinny-Spinach-and-Artichoke-Dip-8
Looks delish! Sub the chips with veggies and you can mindfully eat to your hearts content.

2. If your at a bar, ask to sub any chips with celery for dips. Another idea, sneak in your own snacks. Stick a bag of something in your purse. I literally brought a snack bag of green beans to Disneyland! It sounds tacky but seriously, health comes first.

3. In case your not aware, the following drinks have the least amount of sugar and calories (all under 200):

  1. Vodka Soda with a lime– delish and only 96 calories, but can get BORING.
  2. Old Fashioned – Burbon, Bitters, a hit of sugar, a twist of orange- simple and clean.
  3. Skinny Margarita from freshly made lime juice – NOT a pre-made mix or simple sugar (see #5)
  4. Cosmopolitan – light on the cranberry (I was shocked these come in at under 150cal)
  5. Mojito– light on the sugar. Make sure the bar tender makes this with the classic ingredients of Vodka, lime juice, mint, and mottled sugar- light on the sugar, NOT a pre-made mix.
  6. Gimlet – Classic, Cucumber, or Basil.

**Sip slowly. Have a water between every drink.

old_Fashioned
The Old Fashioned of Mad Men fame is actually relatively low in sugar and is a great alternative to the Vodka Soda.  Photo: Best Old Fashions in Paris Best Old Fashioneds

4. Make sure to invite other friends that aren’t into Football– These parties are usually the more the merrier, and this way you can have fun conversation and other distractions from the food. If its a restricted list party….thats a tough one- don’t stay for the whole game?

5. Focus on the new commercials that are always aired on Super Bowl Sunday. Companies pay BILLIONS for these amazing and creative commercial spots. I have no idea why there isn’t an award ceremony dedicated just to these. Maybe there is….. Here are some fun games you can play that focus on the commercials rather than the game: Super Bowl Commercial Games

6. Maybe wear something a little tight– so that theres no room for expansion. I’m not saying dress like a hooker, but no fancy sweat pants either.

 

If you ARE lackadaisically attending a Super Bowl party on Sunday (as am I), I hope these pointers help. BTW, don’t forget a hostess gift! If you think its hard to attend one of these bad boys, try organizing one!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

The OG Barbie.

European Western Barbie 1980 03
This is Barbie as I remember her.

Apparently some newly shaped Barbies have been released today (or a few days ago by the time I post this). Was the OG Barbie really all that evil?

Okay, let me ponder this for a moment. On the one hand- that’s great. I mean all these people who are blaming poor Miss Barbie for the vast eating disorders of America- now they have a new barbie body to look up to. Also its nice to have choices- Barbies of all shapes and sizes, similar to the American Girl Dolls, is probably not a bad thing.

BUT, on the other hand….

A. Is Barbie actually responsible for eating disorders and body dysmorphia? Did/do girls REALLY aspire to look like Barbie? I mean after all, she is just a TOY. I don’t know anyone aspiring to look like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or someone from Monster High. At the most, MAYBE she’s affecting fashion choices?

B. Were that many people actually offended by the OG Barbie, Skipper, Midge, and Christie?

C. When does Politically Correct go so far that it crosses a line and actually becomes a product of its own conviction? Whats wrong with the OG Barbie? Is it such a crime to be a slender blonde white woman?

D. What about Indian or Chinese Barbie? If we have all sizes, what about all races? Or what about trans or gender reassigned Barbie?

E. Why do the haters focus on Barbies slender hip to waist ratio? Its not her hip to waist thats that far off from healthy- its her HEIGHT to hip to waist. Not to mention, if you HAD her height: hip: waist you’d look DISGUSTING, you couldn’t walk, you couldn’t even lift your head! No matter how thin a person gets- they will NEVER be able to look exactly like Barbie because without photoshop, its not humanely possible. Again, she is a TOY (or an alien?), not a body image roll model. The point of the doll’s creation was not be a body that girls could aspire to develop. She was created as a roll model for freedom of career choices, with hopes of pushing young girls into thinking for themselves regarding their future.

BarbieCouture2
I am falling hard for all the outfits on the adorable couture barbies!  Barbie definitely looks like a business executive in this outfit.
Cat-Burglar-Barbie-by-Louboutin-06
Seriously??? Love! Maybe couture Barbie is a more economical way to obsess over fashion……Another positive on Barbie’s side- one can live and nurture his/her own dreams vicariously though Barbie.

When I was about 8 years old Santa left me my first Barbie. There she was peaking Kilroy style just above the white fluff of my Christmas stocking. She was a ballet barbie, surprise surprise. After Ballet Barbie, I received the makeover Barbie- a huge barbie head and decollate that I could paint with makeup, and a thick head of hair that I could style. After that- I got the bionic woman barbie.

HAHAHA. Okay I’m laughing because while disclosing the above information, I’ve realized Barbie maybe DID have a pretty huge impact on me. Bionic Woman Barbie aside, let us asses. I’ve been obsessed with Ballet since I was young – and although the initial interest was sparked from visiting a local ballet school and falling hard for the pointe shoes (its always the shoes, isn’t it?)- perhaps Barbie helped me maintain my interest. Also- the Barbie head? I mean I WAS a professional hair and makeup artist for almost 14 years. And before that I did wigs and makeup for Opera and Ballet. And lets not forget about my obsession with fashion. Mom never wanted to spend too much on barbie outfits despite my strong desire to do so- perhaps thats why i never learned the correct way to outfit things and why I’ve need my fairy godmother of fashion, Danielle, as of late? In her defense my mother DID get me other fashion related toys. And actually they were toys that were even better at pushing creativity than dressing a Barbie; I had these fashion plates where I could design and combine different wardrobes, and fashion paper dolls that included clothing from a plethora of Eras. In fact, I probably learned more about the art of fashion and fashion history through those than I would have from a Barbie, but I digress…..

Barbie’s History and Original Purpose:

Barbieandfriends

Barbie was first created in 1959 by a woman named Ruth Handler. Ruth noticed that there was a need for a doll with which children could play and imagine their future. A future that was not necessarily pre-determined by 1950s stereotypical gender roles. With Barbie the child could pretend to be anything she wanted- a waitress, a stewardess, a doctor, even the president of a company or a country!

BarbieForPresident
There are now and never have been any limitations on what Barbie can do. In 2008 she became the first female American President. 

From the get-go there were complaints that Barbie was nothing but a “sex symbol”. In defense, Ms. Handler created two facially less mature looking dolls (though proportionately the same as Barbie). Thus begat Midge, Barbie’s best friend, and Skipper, Barbies little sister. In 1963 Christie was released as the first african american Barbie doll.

Unfortunately over time the doll continued to face exponential controversial growth regarding her unrealistic body image as well as complaints regarding her disposable income (designer clothes, dream house). Parents were concerned that she would instill body dysmorphia and materialism into the minds of their children.

CompareBarbies.jpg
The evolution of Barbie. First on the left, 1959, the OG Barbie.  Second in pink, 1970s. 1990s next to today’s Barbie in the stripped top. Definitely an improvement in the hair!! Also skin tone is more realistic. But overall, they all look plastic- except the original which looks porcelain. PS the original HARDLY looks like a sex symbol to me. Though her features do make her look about 40 years old…..The most current Barbie does look more “real”, but they are all obviously a doll. 

A positive or negative toy?

I’ve spoken with some girl friends and have asked them about Barbie and her influence on both them and their daughters. Most of the women responded exactly the same as my BFF Charlotte:

Barbie had no impact on me regarding body issues. I loved to play with her and she fueled creativity. I think it was actually a very positive, creative outlet! I think it is great to have barbies of all shapes and colors.

I couldn’t agree more.

My bff also brilliantly stated:

I think the main problem with body image has to do with other women/girls (and I’m interjecting ‘and men’ here)….we need to be supportive of each other and it is so hurtful to get positive attention for losing weight! Focus needs to be 100% on body as a healthy tool…are you strong? Feeling good? That is all that should matter!!!!

barbie real
I thought this was interesting. Its a  Barbie doll compared to a doll made with the dimensions of an average american teenager at age 16. To me it exemplifies that Barbie is a toy, a character to be used for imagination and play. Not a real person to emulate. And honestly, hello?! Who wants that flat ass and tiny feet anyways???

 

What the heck to wear if you want to dress like Barbie?

I thought it would be fun to see how much Barbie could be translated into the real world regardless of her shape/size. Is she actually a good fashion roll model? Can we look past her unrealistic proportions and see her as intended, a woman with creative freedom to become whomever she desires? I calculated  that in order to have her proportions, at my current bust and hip size I would have to have a 22″ waist  and 8 more inches on my height (hahaha, yeah right). The following are some fun outfits inspired by the doll. I believe they DO work despite my healthy waist to hip to height ratio.

 

 

I love Barbie’s idea here of juxtaposing upscale with casual, making this “fancy” skirt more “every day” and therefore more useful in the wardrobe. What a great way to make the cost per wear of a fancy high end piece more economical. And, in my opinion, it looks adorable! Skirt: Red Valentino  Jacket: Current Elliott White T: James Perse Clutch: Valentino  Shoes: Christian Louboutin.

 

I’m always a sucker for an outfit based on neutrals. Though mine isn’t identical to Barbies, I liked how her boots were just slightly off color from the rest of the palette. Sweater: Vince  Skirt: Mango  Boots: Valentino  Handbag: Chanel  Necklace: Tiffany’s (from MSM :))

I absolutely adore this outfit! Honestly, as obvious as it seems I would have NEVER thought of pairing this stuff together until I was inspired by Barbie. I guess there probably IS some stylist who helps outfit Barbie. Or maybe a team of stylists. Hmmmm….I wonder… Top: Joie  Jeans: Current Elliott  Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

 

Another adorable pairing inspired by Barbie. I love how the colors balance each other. The shoes and top are so bright I would have never put this together in fear of being overwhelming. But it looks cute, right? I don’t own a yellow bag, so I tried to pick a clutch with yellow tones in it, and a bit of ‘fun’- which I feel the yellow bag brings to Barbie’s outfit. Top: Drew USA  Jeans: Paige  Shoes: Valentino  Clutch: Clair V  Karlito (purse charm): Fendi suggested by MSM (“I think you need Karlito with this one” ! He’s so smart!!)

After this little investigation, when in doubt regarding an outfit, I may start asking myself “what would Barbie wear?” I bet Danielle would be relieved to have a night off 🙂

In Conclusion:

I think that the OG Barbie, disproportionate, “materialistic” and all, can be an incredibly positive influence on a child and an adult for that matter. She is optimistic, a go-getter, and has a great sense of style. By the way, that style can be whatever the doll’s owner wants it to be but no matter what, its always fabulous! What a great way to boost confidence.

As a child I loved Barbie. I was a kid, and she was a doll. I never once wanted to emulate her proportions, just like I also didn’t want to look like Baby Alive or a Cabbage Patch Kid. For the record, I didn’t have or want her dream house. I did have the convertible, which I grew tired of rather quickly. Seems like a good lesson to me; don’t spend too much on an overpriced cheaply made plastic fancy automobile because you’ll probably get sick of it anyways. I admit I was envious of her hair. Why don’t people complain about how unrealistic it is to have such gorgeous hair without extensions?! Oh yeah….because she’s a DOLL. Her (fake) hair technically IS just extensions, just like her (fake) body is from a plastic mold.

Its nice to have choices, so the new Barbies are great and a good way for Mattel to re-spark interest in the toy. But in my opinion socially the new body types weren’t necessary because honestly, they are all fake.

In case your interested, click here to see the new Barbies: Barbies Of All Shapes and Sizes

What do you all think of the new barbies?

xoxo

QJ

QJ