Stranger Things Have Happened.

CoverShot_calvinHarris
Calvin Harris orchestrates the room. 

Well, I can’t believe it but I actually managed to pull it off. I stayed up for 24 hours. Not only did I plow through it, I genuinely enjoyed myself. I’ve heard that Vegas hotels pump oxygen into the air, which I am sure aided me in my all night excursion. Too bad most of the positive benefits of all that extra O2 is negated by the amount of cigarette smoke swirling in the atmosphere! I always view Vegas as a great check back to whats really going on in the rest of our country, since LA seems to be a microcosm of attractive actors and rich people who pay a lot of money to look 20 years younger. There are “normal people” here as well- obviously- like me and my friends. But the ratio weighs heavier on the handsome folk.  Alternatively, Vegas attracts many different types. Albeit some are gorgeous, but the ratio seems more of an actual representation of the “real world”, and I am just amazed at how many people smoke! Ew. Just gross.

Last weekend we were in Vegas to join 17 of MSM’s closest friends in celebration of Darren’s birthday (Darren as in Ugly Sweater Party. See Ugly Sweater Party ).

Night 1 

was a Nobu catered feast, followed by dancing like rockstars into the vampire hours at the Omnia nightclub in Ceasar’s Palace. Sadly, no sighting of Stefan, Damon, or Edward. But there WAS sighting of Calvin Harris. Right in front of us, in fact, because we were honored with VIP “seating” in the DJ section! Not gonna lie, the view from the top was amazing.

CalvinHarris.jpg
MSM and I agree that Calvin looks like he could be Ryan Gossling’s brother. Lucky Taylor Swift. Hopefully she doesn’t mess this one up.

Omnia was nothing short of spectacular. Inside feels like The Fifth Element meets Cirq Du Soliel – except the patrons are actually in it rather than viewing it. Theater of the round is the theme, with the DJ smack in the middle. Gymnasts hang from ropes and dancers stand on columns, inspiring moves for the crowd. Multiple levels and areas allow for plenty of patrons to enjoy themselves. Despite ample space, the place gets PACKED. I didn’t even dare leaving our coveted booth to go to the restroom. The DJ area was comfortable with plenty of space to dance :). If you’ve saved up enough for a bottle service area- I would highly recommend it. The drinks were delicious and they kept them coming- with plenty of water to restore and hydrate. Some shots of the inside:

Omnia_Cover

Night 2

was more mellow. Pool and Pizza in Darren’s suite followed by some table play in the casinos. I had never been to a penthouse suite in Vegas before and this did look just like in the movies! Yep, the pool table was in the room and the view was divine from every window. It was FREEZING last weekend, and raining- both rare for the area, which is why we all decided to stay in. After dinner we went down to the MGM casino to play some craps. I made it through one round of the Wheel of Fortune slot machine and was ready for bed by midnight. I guess one night of Vampire is all I can handle. So far….Once bitten I am sure it will get easier ;).

InaJillShenanigans
Goofing around with birthday photo props. 

What the heck to wear in Vegas in April:

Airplane-wear

Okay boys and girls. Enough with the sweat pants and velour jogging suits. We are not 70 years old and Juicy Couture is out of business. I’m not saying we need to dress up like in Pan-Am (the show), but I want to 86 the sweats. Unless they are tailored somehow. On the opposite end, WHY do some women insist on wearing high heels to the airport?! Honey’s, your feet SWELL on planes. Don’t do anymore damage than you need to. Designer sneakers are in now. Take advantage. Also they are easy to slip off and on before and after the security check. AND they are easier to run in – in case you have a connecting flight you have to catch 30 seconds after your delayed premier flight lands. Just saying.

airportAttire
Jacket: Maje Hoodie: American Apparel T (not seen): J Crew Vintage V Jeans: J brand Sneakers: Adidas (so comfy!) Bag: Chanel Luggage: Rimowa (love! its the best. A bit pricey but well worth it)

Vegas Night Club

So even if the dress code says “business casual”, in Vegas that is a lie. Cocktail attire. And nothing fit-n-flair unless it has some “vegas umph” to it- meaning sex appeal. Cut outs, spaghetti straps…something. We saw this girl in a gorgeous fit in flair dress with a scoop collar and short sleeves. The top was sequined and the bottom was white and flirty. Very pretty! But more appropriate for her nephew’s bar-mitzvah than a club in Vegas. I have noticed that we can get away with things in Vegas that would feel inappropriate anywhere else (other than the Playboy Mansion, may it RIP). If you wear something that is considered sexy in LA, in Vegas you will feel over dressed. And by over-dressed, I mean too much coverage.

jillPOol2

back
Jacket: Maje  Dress: Michelle Mason  Bag: YSL  Shoes: Stewart Weitzman 

 

Casual Night in Vegas/Freemont Street ware

We had planned to go to Freemont Street, the “original” strip. I was super excited because I have never been there. Unfortunately it was just too damn cold! But this is what I had planned to wear, and as far as I know- is totally appropriate.

CasualPool
I had so much fun loosing at pool. haha. Top: Chaser (old)  Leather Pants: Rag and Bone  Shoes: Prada
PradaPumps
Peek-a-boo.

A beauty product addendum

Partying like a rock star takes tolls, one of them being huge under eye baggage. I discovered (in a gift with purchase of all places!) the most AH-MAZING dark circle concealer! Maestro Eraser by Armani. I used #5, which at first I assumed would be too dark but it wasn’t. Its magic ya’ll. Magic! See for yourself.

before
Before: Yikes! I was tired. I mean granted we pulled an all night-er and this IS at midnight. But still….exuding exhaustion.
After
After: Image not retouched. Armani’s Maestro concealer is so amazing. It’s the exact right color to take away dark circles and has light reflective qualities that basically erase wrinkles (from a certain distance. I mean obviously in an extreme close up, those little buggers are still there). Makeup artist hint: I also dabbed a little over the outside of and between my brows. 

 

Lesson Learned:

Party on dudes! Sometimes staying young means fake it til you make it. I was nervous about pulling an energetic all night-er, but prepped my mind to just go with the flow and not only did I have a blast, I realized A. I’m not as old as I thought I was. Age really is mind over matter.  B. Its healthy to let loose every so often- no matter what age.  C. That armani concealer!!

PS Its taken me all week to recuperate. But I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it again ;).

xoxo

QJ

QJ

 

A spoonful of sugar…

Helps the medicine go down.

Bert

This weekend I decided to take a trip down memory lane and listen to  Julie Andrews belt out songs from The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins- two of my favorite childhood movies. Its funny how we can so easily forget the little hints to happiness that we learned as children. A spoonful of sugar DOES help the medicine go down. Listening to music while doing the dishes always makes the task more enjoyable. Writing my blog during my lunch break makes the more mundane tasks of my job more fun (though most of my job is fun, I’m lucky regarding that). The song I want to really focus on today is My Favorite Things. I’ve been a little anxious about my aging mother, and even just hearing this song made me feel more relaxed. I want to take a moment to create a list of my favorite things, so when the dog bites, or the bee stings, or I’m feeling sad I can simply remember this list and not feel so bad. 😉

  1. Puppy fur. This is the softest thing on earth. Not only that, but its attached to the most adorable thing on earth. A positively surefire way to melt your heart and relax the mind.

    Stanley
    This is my boo Stanley when he was just a pup. His ears are still super soft. He and his sister are the love of my life- other than MSM of course.
  2. Dog faces. So cute and unconditionally loving, a kiss from a four legged friend- another key to “yay”.
  3. Ballet– not watching it, but dancing it. I think its the combo of movement and the music that makes Ballet so Zen for me. Definitely on the top of the list.
  4. Pointe Shoes on my feet. These represent to me utter beauty, elegance, and grace. And the fact that I have finally gotten to put them on and dance in them, takes it to another level. They make me feel proud, excited, and give me a sense of accomplishment but also a sense of the ability to grow. A healthy future.
  5. The coast and the sound of the surf. No explanation necessary.beach
  6. Aqua blue and teal resplendent waters lapping over soft, clean, white sand.
  7. The feeling of bare feet on cool fresh green grass. This is hard to find in LA, but when I can find it….reunited, it feels so good…..
  8. Peonies, Ranunculus, Green Button Mums, and Chocolate Cosmos. These may sound like cocktails, but they are actually flowers. I adore flowers and hope to one day have a garden FULL of them. Until then, I can close my eyes and imagine.BloomFleur
  9. France. The gardens. The wine. The food. The people. The fashion. The hikes. I love it all. Just France.
  10. Learning a new language. I was learning ASL and desperately wish I could practice it with someone. So if anyone knows anyone that speaks it….let me know.
  11. Music Al Fresco. There’s something magical about the way sound travels outside. Its as if the music fills the air, stirs itself into the trees, permeates the ground, and homogenizes the world around us into one big ball of love and joy. It feels so liberating when I hear a symphony outside. The vibrations of the music literally sooth my soul and calm my nerves.

    ParisRooftops
    Some of the many things I love about France? Parisian rooftops, architecture, and of course the Eiffel Tower!
  12. Drive-In and/or Al Fresco movie theaters. Just so much fun.
  13. Riding in a convertible on a country road- or at least away from traffic. Wind in the hair and nothing but open road means freedom, exploration, and personal growth. Its the antithesis of stifling.
  14. Baking. There’s something so zen about the activity of baking. I love to really put my heart into it, and to add my own little touches to the recipes. Its so much fun and always delicious.

    bakeSHop
    Obviously I didn’t bake these, but a brownie topped with a marshmallow….gives me some ideas for my own concoctions….
  15. Birds chirping.
  16. The beautiful glow of Fireflies and the chatter of Crickets and frogs at night (as mimicked on the Pirates of the Carribean ride :)). This should have definitely been higher on the list.

    Fireflies-620x413
    These magical beetles are one of my favorite things in the world. They light up the earth and are the secret ingredient of summer magic. Photo: Fireflies.
  17. Miniature golf. To bring out our inner child.
  18. Discovering new places with MSM/Traveling on new adventures.

    SanFran
    The Farmers Market at the Embarcadero in San Francisco is where we discovered the best cream cheese and smoked locks I’ve ever had.
  19. Trying new food.
  20. A great glass of Wine or Bubbly.

    bubbles
    I love being a little tipsy in the afternoon. Its like having a secret ;).
  21. Grease. I love that movie.
  22. Guppy kisses.
  23. Real kisses.

    puppyfaces
    I also love getting kisses from my fur babies. Look at these faces!! (refer to #2 above).
  24. A hot bubble bath.
  25. A Mani/Pedi. What girl doesn’t love these?
  26. Relaxation massage during a spa day.
  27. Disneyland/Disney World. I can’t go here without being instantly energized and happy. Another surefire way to make this girl feel young and alive.

    Disneyland
    I loved getting lost in the The Alice In Wonderland Maze at Disneyland Paris. 
  28. Malted milk shakes.
  29. Pizza.
  30. Penguins (see above).
  31. Cheesy pop music like this:

What are some of YOUR favorite things? Leave a comment and let me know!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Satellite.

Sattelite2

Its weird how a song or a photo or a song with a photo can totally transport a person back in time. It reminds me of those time travel love stories like The Time Travelers Wife or About Time. I wish time travel could be more than in our minds via photos or music or whatever takes us back. I don’t need to stay, nor do I want to stay- though if I went I’m not sure I wouldn’t be mesmerized into staying. Stuck from a strong magnetic-like pull. Like when I visit my dogs. I can’t wait to see them but when I have to leave its so painful and then I’m cranky or sad or both for an entire week. I have a love back in time. If I went back, would I be able to leave him? Maybe it would get easier knowing I could always time travel and go back to visit some more? Its just hard because I have no photos or videos. My mother threw them out. And I had letters and cards but she threw those out too. I’m sure she was trying to help. Figured it would push me to move forward rather than relish on the past but now I only have the memories in my mind to remember him and us. I know  that how I feel about MSM feels similar. I remember that from the beginning. Not the day we met, but the day I knew there was something there. It felt beautifully familiar. Different, but something similar. That’s why I could never let it go. I knew it was a gift. Something special that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  And  I can remember that moment clearly too – as clearly as the moment I am thinking about now with Dave Matthews Satellite playing and the carnival swings photo in the back ground. I remember him sitting on the floor holding the CD with that same cover, telling me how much he loved that song. How his friends were outside but I had had a long day and was resting in bed so he came in to keep me company. He was so young back then but he seemed so mature, since he was five years my senior. And still, right now, he sits there on the wooden floor of his bedroom in his parent’s house, legs crossed in his brown cotton pants and plaid short sleeved shirt. His brown eyes smiling up at me. Bushy eyebrows and tan skin, he’s 29. More than five years my junior now. When my mind goes back and sees him he’s just a boy and I’m more mature, more experienced, more weathered. I still miss him. It doesn’t hurt as much or as often but sometimes when I hear a song or see a photo there’s a pang. Maybe my mom did me a favor after all, though I’m not sure I can forgive her for throwing those things out. Knowing her she saved everything to give back to me later- when she felt I was healed. But now she’s older and her memory is not so great. I’m sure she may not even remember who he is let alone where my pieces of him have been hidden. I wonder what he would say to me now. What advice would he have for me? How would he handle our life? Is he happy for me or hurt or maybe even angry? He was so kind though. Always saw the best in everyone- just like who I am with now. Gregarious and genuinely kind. Non judgmental. When he left he said he was going to be ok. I know it sounds crazy but I do believe I saw his spirit. And I had a dream in which he told me not to smoke. His last words were my name. I’m not sure if he was telling me he loved me or if he was scared or in pain. I think he knew. I really do. At that last moment. He knew because he said my name. This is the first time I’m writing about this. It certainly isn’t easy. But maybe one day it will be a book. A love story. It will help him live forever.

oneLove

And speaking of time travel, some time ago my mother and I put some things in a time capsule that will be unburied soon. I must have been something like 5 or 7 years old. Probably five because don’t most things like that happen on a 5 or a zero? I could be wrong….maybe I was 7 or 11.  I remember that my mom sent me a box of basically crap a few years ago, but in that box of nothing was the golden ticket. The paperwork for the time capsule. I was excited to see that it was A. going to be opened in California and B. I hadn’t missed it/had quite a few more years to go before it will be opened.  I just need to find the papers so I can put it in my calendar. How exciting! I wonder what it will be like?  Will I remember or recognize the things we put in there? Will I think “so THATS where that’s been all this time!”? Will it feel like I went back in time? Maybe there’s a note from my mom or dad…..This is definitely something to which I look forward!

What the heck to wear when you travel out of your own place and time?

TimeTravel
Jeans: J brand  Boots: Rag and Bone  Blazer: Theory  Shirt: C&C California (old)

I suggest something comfortable and classic, so you don’t stick out. I feel like a blazer is one of those closet essentials that will always come in handy. They can dress up an otherwise casual outfit and they can professionalize (is that a word?) a dress. I love this one by Theory. It has leather on the collar to add a touch of interest. It’s worth the extra dollars to spend a bit more on a truly well made blazer. They last forever and never go out of style. Walking boots are another great staple. A little bit of a chunky heel is best, according to my podiatrist. He says flat shoes are actually just as bad for your feet as stilettos. True fact!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

 

 

 

When Thursday is Friday

Today,  in celebration of the final mix of season 7,  our friends over at Mutato Muzika spoiled us with a rooftop lunch including Pizza and Champaign. I have a hard time turning down pizza. Its definitely one of my “red flag” foods. Its so high in sodium and fat but its so seriously delicious that if its around, I can’t seem to help myself to a slice or three. Today was no different, so I chalked it up to a Titanic moment (refer to my old post here ) and indulged. In lieu of Champagne, I decided to visit my inner child and  do a taste test between Vanilla Root-beer and Regular Root-beer. Maybe its my deaf nose (since smell holds a lot of clout regarding defining taste), but there were no differences between the two. Why is root-beer just SO good with Pizza?  Its acutely rare for me to drink soda but today, for some reason, I did. Perhaps the combo reminds me of the Laurel School Summer Camp Days when Charlotte and I would have that fabulous lunch of pepperoni and turkey sandwiches with Doritos and Dad’s Root Beer.

I’m not sure why the universe is denying me a salad, but it is. I’ve been trying to have a salad for a week now. I was sorely mistaken thinking there would be a salad served with the pizza. A nice chilled crunchy lettuce mixed with shaved carrots, maybe some pea pods,  purple cabbage topped with a small portion of some fantastic home made vinaigrette just sounds SO refreshing and delicious. I’ve been wanting to sink my teeth into this since last Friday. Friday night MSM and I went for a walk about to find a place for dinner. Every restaurant we pass has NO salad on the menu. I mean there’s salad but they’re all totally complicated- like fried pork belly or candied eggs – like nasty gourmet bullshit when all I want is a salad. Plain and simple. We end up going to some wine bar where I had 3 glasses of wine for dinner and apparently took photos with my phone that I have no recollection of taking. The weekend passes- no salad. MSM, bless his heart, did the grocery shopping for us yesterday. I get home SO excited for that fresh bag of salad. FINALLY. I open the fridge- spinach. NO SALAD. Whyyyyy? He forgot. I forgive him. Today I get into work and am reminded of the pizza party. I’m super excited because Pizza at work ALWAYS comes with salad. FINALLY. I’m gonna have my salad. I even text MSM telling him how excited I am. Yes, I’m jubilent over this salad. I run up to the rooftop deck- two GIGANTIC boxes with pizza and there it is….just above them to the left on the bar, that beautiful aluminum rectangle with salad. I can’t even stand how excited I am. But I notice the tin looks smaller than usual and wait….. there’s no big cups with dressings and spoons. Not that I wanted dressing, I actually didn’t. I just want salad. So I go over to look and sure enough, right there in my oblong aluminum bowl of  “salad” is a HUGE MASS OF CHICKEN WINGS.

Tonight I will walk to the local Chop Shop and get a salad.

 

What The Heck To Wear To An Afternoon Rooftop Party:

GigiInspired
Whoever Gigi uses as a stylist is amazing. This outfit looks TOTALLY comfortable for running around the city yet still so chic and en trend. I adore her (and her stylist). Though I’d never “cheat” on my fashion fairy godmother, I am starting a folder of outfits that I can copy using similar pieces that I own.

Lately I’ve been really hooked on the way Gigi dresses. (Hadid– in case someone is reading this from far far away or in twenty years from now). Even her casual pieces are so well put together. So today I was inspired by Gigi in Adidas. I love these shoes! They are just so much more chic than a pair of Asics. And every woman needs to have a day to rest her feet. Thank goodness for fashion sneakers! I’m proud to admit that I bought the superstars before they became a big deal. Everyone had the Stan Smiths and I wanted something a little unique. I started a trend :).

 

Adidas
Kicks: Adidas Jeans: JBrand
SimpleFlapChanel
Chanel Simple flap bag. Looks just like the Classic but the liner is canvas not leather and theres no secret lipstick pocket inside. 

 

ragAndBone
Top: Rag and Bone Jacket: Maje

 

kickIt
I’m ready to kick off the weekend early! 

I’m excited to share that today, Thursday, is my Friday. Tomorrow I have a paid day off. MSM and I are going on an adventure to shop in my storage unit. Sort through things, decide what to donate, what to keep in storage and what to take. Should be interesting. Then we will head down to Orange County for some needed RnR.

Have a great weekend everyone!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

 

Unplugged.

 

iphoneNew.png

Last week I was reminded what life was like without a cell phone. The brain of my 16 month old iPhone decided it had had enough and chose to loose it. When I went to Apple for a repair, the “genius” did a factory reset- which didn’t work- and I lost everything. Well, not EVERYTHING because LUCKILY I had recently backed the phone up via itunes. But all those files were stored as a “compressed wad somewhere” in my computer and since I decided to go with an Android as my new phone, there was no certainty I could retrieve those files. At first I was flipping out. I felt panicked. I couldn’t send or receive texts or calls and all my photos were lost. The new phone was complicated and unfamiliar and felt like a downgrade from my beloved iPhone. Mind you, I had an LG droid prior to my iPhone and LOVED it. I had selected this new phone assuming it would be similar to the Droid and because it was only $150.  I figured at that price point I’d have more money to put towards Saks Fifth Avenue. But I quickly learned that you definitely get what you pay for.

Iphone Vs Android.

Issues with switching from iPhone to Android:

  1. If people have saved your IM streams from previous apple to apple texts, nothing they send you on your droid will show up unless they delete the saved text streams. You have to contact everyone you know with an iphone and tell them to delete those or you’ll never get their texts.
  2. Instagram has different filters on the different OS.
  3. You have to re-organize your photos (I actually liked the way the android organizes things better, to be honest)
  4. The lower end android phones are not pretty as an accessory. They are just four wheels and an engine. They get the job done. Period. Nothing special or flashy.
  5. The android camera is amazing but has a really weird aspect ratio.
  6. There is no button to push and say “call ‘so and so'”. If there is- I’m not sure what it is. Its harder to be hands free on this phone.

Unplugged Jill

Since I was unable to receive texts from people, and that is my most common way of communicating, I felt I was basically living as Thoreau at Walden. I decided, however, to try the phone out for a week- see if I could get used to it, see if I just needed some time to acclimate. I couldn’t.

I DID, however, decide to embrace and enjoy being unplugged for a few days. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Dogs are SO CUTE. Ok so DUH I already knew this. But with all the time I’ve spent with my face in my phone, I’ve missed out how many of these adorable creatures are walking around my neighborhood.
  2. Moments DO exist in the day for meditating, going for a short walk, or writing.
  3. A lot of TV shows are REALLY boring (not including any of the shows I work on, of course :))
  4. A good book or magazine is a GREAT way to escape
  5. Its sunny outside and my backyard is the ocean- how lucky am I?

Henry+David+Thoreau

Unplugged LA

Coincidentally MSM decided to take me to this party called Unplugged LA. How HILARIOUS was this?! All cell phones were checked in at the front (like a coat check). Everyone had to write their name on a name tag- but not our real names, a NICK NAME. I was “Gidget” (of course) and MSM was going to be Crescendo but because he didn’t know how to spell that he decided to be Coda.

The first person we met was a professional camp counselor who did “other stuff” when the summer was not in session  (?! I.E Unemployed and living with parents?). It became very clear rather quickly that this was a single’s event but whatever, we decided “when in Rome”. What I mean is, we delved into the activities offered. We played Connect Four while listening to a jazz bass played by a very hasidic looking young man. I typed on a non-electric old fashioned typewriter (it was HARD by the way- but totally fun). There was a lanyard making table, face painting, and coloring books. Seriously, it was summer camp for adults. After a short time we noticed that MSM’s best friend was wedged in a corner looking scared and out of place, so we decided to bail. As weird as it was, it was nice taking a little time to focus and be in the moment. To do something without feeling such an obligation to be instantly available to whomever may reach out. Not everything is an emergency.

If your interested in experiencing an unplugging (or an adult summer camp), here’s some info on Camp Grounded   Its not for everyone, but I actually enjoyed myself at their event. Not sure I could spend more than an hour there but……who knows what floats your boat.

Lesson learned?

I think one day a week we should all put or phones away, take a respite from the digital world to unplug and recharge. I think its important to re-connect with friends in person, re-connect with nature in person, and to reconnect with ourselves in person.

henry-david-thoreau-quotes-sayings-life-price

Our phones have become such important characters in our lives. Siri or Google or whomever with you speak, they are our virtual assistants who have become an integral part of our lives. In many ways these personal assistants have facilitated our day to day chores, making it easier to get more accomplished. But by always being connected we are loosing ability to figure things out on our own, we are suppressing our sense of whats real and what is really in front of us. I truly believe by always having instant gratification and instant answers we are squashing our growth in creative thinking  and problem solving development.

iphonePinkorWhite

I have to admit I couldn’t even wait a week to go back to the iPhone. I decided I’d rather cut costs elsewhere (like switching from Verizon to T Mobile which, by the way, has been the best decision EVER) and go with the “Porsche” of phones, the iPhone 6S plus. LOVE. A. Its GORGEOUS (i got it in rose gold). It goes so well with my wardrobe- I am a fashion junkie so it makes sense B. The engine is amazing and  C. I’m getting all my texts! YAY.

What kind of phone do you have? What do you love/hate about it? Do you ever take time away from it? Let me know.

xoxo

QJ

**all images this week from google search.

QJ

 

 

A Baker’s Dozen.

YummyLuckyCharmTreatPops
Lucky Charm Treats- such a cute idea for St. Patty’s day. I love the pop of color that the marshmallows bring to an otherwise bland looking desert. Here the treats are shown as pops, but I prefer the adorable Bundt Cakes that Tori Spelling suggested (recipe below).

I’m feeling in the baking mood. MSM and I have been working on converting our little abode into a real home (as opposed to the bachelor pad dorm room vibe it did have). All this nesting is pointing me right towards the kitchen. YAY. This is a great sign that I’m starting to feel at home. I love to bake.

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I adore Tori Spelling. I met her when I was a makeup artist and honestly, she’s one of the sweetest most genuine people I’ve ever met. Not to mention she is fun and HILARIOUS. After working with her I decided to read her book, sTori Telling , which cracked me up cover to cover. I haven’t watched her reality shows (I can’t stand reality TV), but I do follow her on instagram and today she posted this:

miniBundtTitle

miniBundt

 

Um HELLO. YUM! And so Spring with all the pastels. Marshmallows and Pastels scream spring to me….maybe because of Peeps? Anyways, these look so yummy I want to share the recipe with you:

Mini Lucky Charm Bundt Cakes

  • 4 cups Rice Krispy Cereal
  • 4 cups Lucky Charm cereal
  • 16 oz. mini marshmallows
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

budntCakeMinis

Directions

  1. Separate some of the Lucky Charm Marshmallows from the cereal. You will need a small handful for each bundt.
  2. In a large pot, melt butter and mini marshmallows on medium heat. Make sure you stir every 15-30 seconds until the two ingredients are combined.
  3. Add in Rice Krispy and Lucky Charm cereal and mix until everything is coated in the marshmallow mixture.
  4. Put a handful of Lucky Charm Marshmallows at the bottom of each bundt.
  5. Pack about 3/4 cup of cereal mixture on top of the marshmallows.
  6. Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Use an offset spatula so remove the bundts.

*Makes 10 mini bundts

budntCakeFromTori.jpg

I can’t wait to make these this weekend! Of course I’ll double or triple the recipe so I have plenty bundts to pass out at work on Monday.

What The Heck To Wear When Baking Spring Treats (or at least when passing them out):

To get into the mood, I will be wearing my Lilly Pulitzer Party Hopper Dress that I somehow miraculously snuck past Danielle.

PartyHopper
This was the best photo I could find of this dress online. Honestly I can’t believe there were any photos on line, since I purchased this piece about four years ago….
fabricExamplePartyHopper
This is a skirt in the same fabric so you can see close up how adorable it is. I guess I have a soft spot for grasshoppers. We can blame my Sorority for that since the KD mascot is the Katydid. 

I ADORE this dress. It epitomizes to me the essence of a 1950’s house wife. Now I know women have come a long way to NOT be 1950’s house wives but honestly, every once in a while a nice day at home with abundant sunlight gleaming through the windows and bouncing off the high ceilings, music on, and  cooking and cleaning for myself and the man I love truly just feels so right. Sorry people….I’m old fashioned, I can’t help it.

JadeManoloBlahnik
When I pass out the mini bundts I will upgrade the dress to “adult” by paring it with my suede jade Manolos. Tori’s article was all about St. Patricks day- so these shoes will bring homage to her.

In case anyone wants to read more of Tori’s blog, here’s the link: ediTORIal

Don’t forget, before St. Patty’s day on 3/17 there is Pie day (3/14). We will all be bringing Pie into work that day- so I’m considering a savory pie like spinach pie or shepherd’s pie- since most people will probably be bringing something sweet. Any suggestions??

xo

QJ

QJ

Baby you can drive my car….

To-Catch-A-Thief-Grace-Kelly-and-Cary-Grant

Well, its March. Spring, with all its splendor, is just around the corner. A long time ago I had a fabulous car. My current car is also fabulous, but for different reasons. When I moved to California I came out here with just my car, my dog, and the (19inch) television that my mother insisted she needed binoculars to watch. Do they even make that size anymore? Sort of one step up from “phone” or “tablet” but below a traditional flatscreen? Anyways, I ADORED my car. It was a BMW Z3 convertible that my friends back home referred to as “the shoe”. As I said, this car was FABULOUS. SO MUCH FUN.

Z3
This car was extra special to me. It was the first car I bought with my own earnings (as opposed to borrowing my parent’s car). Once I picked it out, I brought my father to do a final look over (it was three years old, the previous owners 3rd car. He was 6’7″ and could only drive it with the top down, so in Ohio that was like three days a year). My father once had a convertible and loved it. He was so excited for me to have a fun car like this, and to start my new life (and business) in California. It was one of the last things he helped me choose. I loved getting his opinion on things. Not approvals, but opinions. He was so wise. 

When I first moved to Orange County I would take daily drives up and down the coast from Dana Point to Newport and back around. Top down, wind in my hair, salt air kissing my skin, and Janet Jackson on my radio. Paradise. I never got sick of or even used to those views either. The OC coast is probably one of the most beautiful in the world, in my opinion.

Laguna-Beach
From Long Beach to San Clemente, PCH hugs the coastline and offers some of the most spectacular ocean views that I have ever seen. 

I can’t say its been truly “winter” regarding climate.The weather is completely erratic here. Hot, cold, hot, cold. OR freezing in the morning, 90 degrees in the afternoon.  The weather channel is not one to trust for reliability, either. However one trait of winter remains true; darkness at noon is practically a reality in LA until Spring springs into town. Thank goodness its on its way because I have had enough with midnight and am more than ready for some sunshine.

With spring’s approach I’ve been thinking a lot about my little shoe and how liberating a top-down drive felt. In fairness, my thoughts may have also been persuaded by the 80’s rock icon/gym buddy whose been talking with me about his brand new corvette convertible (so exciting).

Along with the fun, there are some (first world) “issues” that arise when one drives with the top down. Namely:

convertableHair

How To Avoid A Hairtastrophy And Other Negative Top Down Ramifications:

  1. The Hair Wrap– First and foremost its imperative we classy women maintain hair integrity. Especially if the convertible joy ride is with a date! Plus HELLO, if your driving you have to be able to see!
LowBunHeadband
This low bun with a head band is so simple and classic beachy. A great way to go.
LowBunWrap2
I love the low bun wrap. This blogger said the one photographed is a pre-made wrap that she literally bought at CVS. She also mentioned it can be replicated using a tank top! I’m going to have to try that out. 

 

2. Don’t forget your SPF. Anyone in this day and age that does not use SPF is an idiot. I’m sorry to be judgmental, and I know a tan looks great, but its STILL better to use SPF and a bronzer. Protect your skin people.  Actually lets make this: DON’T FORGET YOUR SPF!!! 

My esthetician recommends these Sunblocks by MD Solar Sciences. They are all natural and approved by the american dermatological society as safe and effective.

SPF30
This mineral tinted cream contain’s skin nourishing ingredients. With its nice finish, it can be used as a primer under foundation or alone. SPF 30.

 

SPF50
This silky feeling creme is also full of skin nourishing goodies while simultaneously blocks all the negative affects of sun exposure. SPF 50.

3. Sun Glasses.  Protect your eyes too. Also because who doesn’t want to look like Jackie-O or Grace Kelly when going for a joy ride?

SunniesGivenchy
Danielle is recommending these adorable sunnies by Givenchy. I love how they have the peek-a-boo crystals over the top, so when you coyly lower your head and lift your eyes, your date is bedazzled by this little secret. I love anything with a secret :). Sunnies available via Danielleseligson_klein@s5a.com

 

dior
I also adore these Dior sunnies. They definitely are reminiscent of something Grace or Audrey would wear while looking chic in their head scarf with the top down.  J’Dore Dior 🙂

 

DiorDanielle
Danielle is obsessed with this Dior twist on the classic Ray Ban’s. These will be huge this summer and probably next.

ConvertibleHair2

What The Heck To Wear To Go Cruisin’ In A Convertible:

Option A: Spring

outfit2
After much hemming and hawing (between two different sneakers) I am obsessed with these slip ons. MSM hates them but whatever. They are SO comfy but still have edge. LOVE! Jacket: IRO  Tank: Wildfox  Shorts: One Teaspoon  Sneakers: Mui Mui

Option B: Summer

ConvertableOutfit
I feel like this is cute for a summer drive. Shorts: Joie  Blouse: Equipment  Sandal option: Fendi  Sneaker option: Mui Mui

Here’s an idea- lets rent a convertible for a day! Its more affordable than buying one and allows an opportunity to feel the joy!

PS I also hope I get to go for a spin in Rock Star’s new ride. #bucketlist.

xoxo

QJ

QJ

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

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