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

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

Spring Obsessions

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Okay, now off to work…..

Toodles!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Its in the bag. The VIP gift bag!

giftbag
The coveted gift bags at reserved seating.

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

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

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

Murad Skin Smoothing Polish:

murad1
Murad’s skin polish, with its pleasant aroma, gives a firming affect.

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

Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser:

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

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

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

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

Panthenol Cleanser:

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

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

Doctor D. Schwab Flawless Skin Fluid amd CS Citrusome:

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

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

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

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Abbott Kinney.

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Photo: Abbott Kinney website.

If your running out for some last minute holiday shopping and you live in the LA area, consider spending an afternoon walking the streets of Venice Beach. Particularly Abbott Kinney. MSM and I look forward to our Abbott Kinney walk every year, and this year was just as wonderful as the past.

snow
How cute is this little girl and her father? I have no idea how they did it but Venice Beach provided snow and hills for sledding, hot cocoa, carolers, and Santa Claus. It was a festive winter wonderland!

When we arrived we first spotted a Winter Festival- yes, in SoCal there was sledding and Santa and Carolers. So much fun! After enjoying time here we started to walk the shops.

gum
Theres something wonderfully nostalgic about antique gum ball machines (filled with not so antique gum balls and candy :)). From Bountiful on Abbot Kinney.

Burro:

Burro

This is a great shop for finding reasonably priced unique gifts that are actually useful, not kitchy like the stocking stuffers from Restoration Hardware.

healthrules
This book was full of uncommonly useful advice. I even took some notes as I flipped through the pages. An outstanding reference book to have on hand.
cuttingboard
I fell in love with this fabulous stone cheese/cutting board by Roost. Attractive but useful decor to spice up the kitchen a little. 

I always find something lovable at Burro. Its a wonderful shop for finding a gift for that person that really has everything- and you won’t leave there with an item they will want to re-gift or throw in a closet.

Intelligengtsia:

Intell

This fabulous coffee shop is home of exclusive chocolates and sodas. A strange gift? Maybe. But specialty chocolate and a superb wine could definitely be a winning combination.

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If you decide this isn’t the right place to buy a gift, take a break here over a heavenly latte paired with a delectable pastry- all made fresh in house. They also have an internet bistro table that seats about ten. Its funny to come into the shop and see the lineup of people typing away on their computers. Maybe they are each writing a blog!

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Intelligencia has tasty gourment coffees and chocolate drinks.

 

Velvet by Graham and Spencer:

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I love the leather leggings on the right. Leather skinnies are so in the past few years. An homage to the 80s, but I feel like I can rock them. As MSM says, its all in the attitude that defines what you can pull of in your wardrobe. Besides, they would be perfect for our NYE plans!

This clothing store, originally known for its casual T shirts, is stocked with fantastic basics. Capes, tanks, sweaters, and basic blouses abound,  I was coveting a fabulous pair of faux leather leggings. I know, I know, some of you my put your nose up at the word “faux” but hey, they were sexy! Velvet by G&S also hosts great sales at Christmas time. Don’t miss out!

Local Artisans:

While walking Abbott Kinney one can take a peak into a nook and cranny or alley and find stand alone shops where local artisans sell hand crafted jewelry and, if your lucky, wonderfully unique fashions.

cape
I just adore this cape I bought from a local designer. It reminds me of something Judy Garland would have worn in Meet Me In St.Louis. Or of something the women wore skating on the outdoor rinks in Norman Rockwell’s world. PS I know Danielle would hate this, but I couldn’t pass it up. Can’t wait to wear it over Christmas break in Carmel!

What the heck to wear when walking Abbot Kinney?

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Jacket: IRO  Jeans: Frame Denim (SO comfortable AND flattering!)  Top: Mossimo (yes, Target- its comfortable so sue me!)  Bag: Chloe  Boots: Stewart Weitzman

Its been unseasonably cold in SoCal. Let me rephrase; its been FREEZING (literally, 32 degrees at night) in SoCal. As per usual lately I decided to layer because sometimes, despite a chilly forecast predicted by the local weather man (do weather people still exist? Or is it all done by machines now?), when the sun peeks out to say “hello” it gets hot.

Hoping your holiday shopping is going well and your all having fun!

xoxo

QJ

QJ