Must Love Dogs

 

 

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Such a cutie! Dogs are definitely man’s (and woman’s) best friend! 

I loved working for a salon. I was just thinking about that today. It was so much fun. The sisterhood, the camaraderie, and all that laughter! The exchange of services didn’t hurt either. An eyebrow wax and facial for highlights or a pedicure for a pedicure! But mostly it was the sense of fitting into something that was bigger than myself. I was a part of something, a group of women that would have run through fire for each other. Its really odd to me how there wasn’t much cattiness. We all really got along and had each other’s back. I miss that. I miss that a lot.

We all know its hard to make new friends as we get older. It really is. My two closest girl friends moved across the country and  I’ve been doing some soul searching in attempt to figure out where I can make new friends. Definitely not to replace the old, they’re not replaceable! But I do need a local support group, people I can connect with in my neighborhood. The new job is good. Its great, actually. I feel much more part of the whole team here. I’m invited into conversations and well received. I love that. Most days we all eat lunch together as well, which is awesome. The crew is exceptionally cool. We have a dynamic group of very different personalities that all seem to get along and respect each other (so far, anyways). I think back to the Emmy’s consideration party for Jane The Virgin and how well that crew got along. I feel like this one is on that path. Its very refreshing.

In my quest to meet new friends, I’ve decided to look to new volunteer ventures, especially since I am on the cusp of releasing myself from the Junior League of Los Angeles. With this in mind, last weekend I decided to visit the Much Love Animal Rescue charity event at Bloomingdales. This event was brought to my attention by Tori Spelling via Instagram. There were two motivators that pushed me to attend the party. 1. Dogs. 2. Tori. I think I’ve mentioned before how much I adore Tori Spelling. She’s an amazingly witty and humorous writer and just deep down a good person. I’m inspired by her. Shall I do a list? I think so….

Things I’ve learned from Tori Spelling:

  1. Its ok and probably a good idea to laugh at yourself.
  2. On a similiar note, always take the humorous angle first. My dad said this too- find the funny in every situation. Its always there. And it really helps to just laugh!
  3. Be kind as if you think the best of everyone.
  4. The unconditional love of animals is real, not a figment of my imagination.
  5. Big families are a good thing- including extended members.
  6. Share your experiences with others. Especially the ones that you can help educate or inspire, even if it makes you vulnerable.
  7. Love yourself no matter what. Not in an egotistical way, but in a respectful way.
  8. Nurture your friendships. They are important. Tori (and I ) have both had the same best friend for years. I won’t say how long because I don’t want to give up my age- but trust me, a long time.

With this being said, of COURSE I was excited to meet her AND to help out the puppy dogs!

The Event:

I was a bit disappointed the turn out appeared very slight. Surprisingly the line to meet Tori was short, which was great but also not so great- I had hoped a lot of people were participating so that Much Love Animal Rescue could raise a considerable amount of money.

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I just adore Tori. She’s so down to earth and unaffected. I appreciate her strong desire to help animals as well as her deep love for dogs (it matches mine) and also how much she loves her family. She’s one of the least entitled people I’ve ever met and am so happy that in person she’s exactly what I imagined. 

Available to those that showed their receipts of purchase from Bloomies (a percentage of the proceeds went to the charity), there was a DJ, food and drinks, and a station to make a beaded bracelet. At the bead station I met Dean (Tori’s husband) and her daughter (I think Stella?), both exceptionally sweet and kind hearted. Dean was holding a rescue dog that they were taking home with them! That dog looked so content (not to mention adorable) in his arms. Her daughter was SUPER sweet and helped me design my bracelet. She also made one for her dad. I loved seeing how “normal” their family was and how well they interacted.  I appreciate that both Dean and Tori treated me as an equal who happened to be attending the same event.

 

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I love this bracelet that Tori’s daughter and I made together. I had assumed I’d throw it in a drawer but I actually have worn it a few times already!

The dogs were SO CUTE. I fell in love with this little dark tan baby girl that looked like a wired haired dachshund. MSM, however, didn’t budge on the the “no dog” policy that we’re currently obliged to follow at the apartment complex.

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The adorable Cami, who was ultimately adopted by the McDermotts. Photo from the Much Love website. Please go check out all the other adorable pups looking for humans to love. Link below….

In an effort to donate, I purchased the most BEAUTIFUL NARS compact. My thought was that I wished they had set up this event at Saks, since I don’t buy anything clothing wise (for the most part) without Danielle. But here’s the compact:

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Nars’ holiday cheek and lip palette is SO beautiful. I was happy to have an excuse to splurge a little on some new makeup.
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Look at the stunning cheek colors. Highlighter and blush all in one place, this compact is just gorgeous. And the texture is like butter, a great sign that they colors will last.

Sadly I did not make a new friend at the event. Lets face it, no matter how cool Tori is, I knew there would be no way we’d be exchanging numbers and grabbing coffee next week (sadly). Here lays the selfish reason I was bummed the turn out wasn’t bigger. I literally only spoke with Tori, Dean, their daughter, and the bead lady! (Bead lady was actually super cool). Despite no new friendships  I’m grateful I attended because the rescue itself seems amazing. I may reach out and see if they need any volunteers (or even better, board members) to help plan events. But first I want to look into other 501c3. I need to pick just one in which to get involved so I don’t spread myself too thin. I have learned, though, that its important to feel passionately about the non profit you do work with, and I DEFINITELY love dogs….so this one may be the right fit.

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In case your interested in getting involved, here’s a quick link to the rescue: Much Love Animal Rescue This is an amazing foundation that provides foster homes to pets in need. Of course they also help find forever homes for these adorable fur babies.

What the heck to wear to a dog rescue fund raiser at the mall:

I kept it casual because I wanted to keep it real.

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A candid shot of Tori and I perusing the floor, taken by my own personal paparazzi, MSM 🙂 How adorable is that baby bump on T? My outfit: Top: Chaser Layered blouse: Rails Jeans: Rag and Bone Bag: Gucci

I like the idea of making friends through volunteering or being on a board of a non profit because I think it will bring me to like-minded people, where a basis for friendship can be real and substantial.

I’ll keep ya’ll posted!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Satellite.

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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.

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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?

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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

 

 

 

The Last Remaining Bookstore.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend as well!

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

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

xoxo

QJ

QJ

 

 

 

An evening of old world charm.

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Evening view of the fabulous foyer at the Hotel Casa Del Mar.

When in doubt or in a sad mood, there’s no better cure than going for a visit to the The Hotel Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica. No need to book a room, as they are very expensive (unless you want to!). Sometimes all you need is a little dining or lounging get away. One of my favorite things to do in those situations is visit this hotel and, upon arrival,  pretend its actually my own personal palace. Hee hee. What better way to placate the inner-princess??

The Hotel

The hotel is situated just off center from the heart of Santa Monica. Perched on the strand, there’s a view of the ocean from almost every window. When approaching the entrance, one will be greeted by the friendly doorman who saves each guest the burden of opening the voluminous front door. As the door opens, behold the glorious foyer; soaring ceilings, floors coated in extravagant tile, and lavish foliage freckled around the permitters. Two gorgeous staircases beckon the guests onto the second floor.

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The palatial grand entrance of the Hotel Casa Del Mar.

 

Consequent to the ascent, the guest arrives into a library with towering book cases and causally elegant coastal themed decor. Just beyond the library sits the parlor. Decorated in a more elegant coastal theme highlighted by a 180 degree view of the pacific, this room has old world charm. It is spotted with inviting sofas and sophisticated cathedras, a unique coffee table assigned to each area. Here guests may relax and converse over port after a delicious meal, sip pre dining aperitifs, or, if preferred, choose this area to enjoy their edibles. Usually on Friday or Saturday night the parlor comes to life with hotel hosted live music that ranges from lounge singers or a quartet to a small orchestra…it varies each weekend.

 

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Afternoon in the parlor would be the perfect setting for High Tea. Photo: Lisa Romerein

An ornamented bar sits in the center of the grand open room, separating the parlor from the dining area. The dining area is another step up from elegant, not falling short of stunning.

A Palatial Fantasy:

The other night, as MSM nurtured his brolationship with his BFF at an Opeth concert, my friend Catherina (the wife of the BFF) and I decided to go the classy route and meet for cocktails and tapas at Casa Del Mar.

Since I was playing the “this is my own palace” game, when I arrived I waved “hello” to the door man as if I’d known him for years. We chatted briefly and he took some photos for me. Then I sat in the library and relaxed over a coffee table book while I waited for Ina.

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The Library at Hotel Casa Del Mar is cozy and casually elegant.

Once I welcomed Ina into “my home” (hee hee), we chose to eat in the parlor where a lounge singer roared, the room filled with her voice. The menu was small but the choices were all divine. Their wine list was vast and full of phenomenal vintages.

 

What to Order:

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The menu at Terrazza (the parlor restaurant at Casa Del Mar) is full of delicious options. I tasted the Jalapeño Salmon roll, which was exquisite (not pictured). We also loved the Kale Salad with a light lemon vinaigrette. Last,  who can go wrong with a fabulous charcuterie? (apologies to any vegetarians out there). We paired our choices with a grenache Rose from France (Ina) and an Argentinian Malbec (me). YUMMM. SOO GOOD!

What to Wear:

 

Prada

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I love this little skirt that I purchased on Gilt.com. It’s so feminine. It’s been hard to find appropriate places to wear it because it’s so puffy! I was excited to wear it to Casa Del Mar.

Skirt: RedValentino  Top: H&M  Shoes: Prada  Handbag: Chloe

The atmosphere in the Casa Del Mar is luxurious, so your dress should match. Think cocktail attire, and you will fit right in albeit slightly overdressed. Men wear suits with ties and women tend to be in dresses, not pants. Definitely no denim.

Ina and I had so much fun talking and laughing. It was like going away on a European adventure without the 16 hour flight. I say Europe because this hotel somewhat reminds me a tiny bit of my favorite place in on earth (in conjunction with The Ritz Laguna Niguel and, of course, Disneyland/Disneyworld); Hotel Du Palais.

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Enjoying our wine and conversation. We had such a wonderful time.

Happy thanksgiving everyone! Remember to count your blessings (like wonderful friends, and good health). Enjoy yourselves! And Bon Apetit!

xoxo

QJ

QJ