Bye, Bye Buggie

Monday, December 13, 2010

My dog Lady died. 

She loved attention, yet loved to be alone, loved to be loved, and loved to rule the house.  Bug was a brilliant girl; I knew the moment I met her 9 years ago.

I visited my parents when I was a freshman in college, and came home to this wonderful, medium sized, black, scary dog named “Lady.”  The nickname “Ladybug” was adopted rather quickly, and soon after was shortened further to just “Bug.” 

She was the cutest thing ever, but was so nervous around people because she had been treated badly in the past.  Bug was around 4 or 5 years old (we’re not exactly sure how old she was), and shuddered from being touched.  It was really sad, but we were patient and soon gained her trust.

Once Ladybug figured out her “inner circle," she opened up to us and gave us this emotional connection with a dog that almost seemed impossible. 

I will miss Ladybug terribly, but our family will always know that we saved her life, covered her with love, and yet, will always know that she gave us so much more. 

Bug changed our lives forever and didn’t cost a dime.  There are very special dogs out there trying to survive in a shelter or worse, and if you can, you should look into adopting an animal.

What Gift to Give the Most Difficult Person in Your Life

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We all have them.  They’re impossible to avoid.  They can be a family member, friend, co-worker....

They are the gift giving nightmare.

With an attempt to prevent any headaches, I want to share one possible gift idea that may calm your nerves.

One gift may not suffice.  If this person doesn’t like what you got them, then that’s it.  You’re done.  You tried. 

The best way to go about this gift is to put together as many mini gifts as possible.  Statistically, you will have a much greater chance at surviving this gift giving season.

We all see the pre-wrapped gift baskets at wine stores, bakeries, nail salons, and yet we forget sometimes that we too have the capability to wrap our handpicked gift items up all together in a beautiful way as well.

So this year, you may want to customize a gift basket.

Now you should think this one through.  What do they like? What are their hobbies? What is their fashion sense? What are their weekly and monthly needs (waxing, nails, haircuts, car wash)?

Once you have these written down, begin to prioritize.  Gift certificates? Favorite products?

Some recommendations:

Gift Basket Kit – World - $4.99

For Girlfriends, Wives, Sisters, etc....
NARS Nail polish collection - $16 each – Sephora (The colors in the collection are gorgeous!)

Bumble and Bumble Styling Cr̬me - $24 Р (Works for curly or straight hair!)

Redken Smooth Down Butter Treat – (It's pretty much a magical product)

Perfume Mini Gift Set – Chloe – Sephora $35 (My favorite scent!)

Your Mother Was Right (All the Great Advice You Tried to Forget) book - - $14

Voluspa Mini Tin Candle - - $6.50

Music lovers?

Blank CDs

ITunes gift card

Ipod Shuffle: $49

T-shirt – “Rock On” Tee - $25

The Quotable Musician book - - $17

The Unofficial Guide to Glee - - $15

Sports fans? 

.....Anything with their team logo

Jets Stocking: $20 -

Lakers Hat - $29.99 - NBA website store

Mix and match their hobbies, interests, wants and needs! You are bound to find at least one lucky item that satisfies their gift giving woes. 

No matter what, you’re sure to get some appreciation for your effort and creativity! Happy hunting!

Starving for Sex and the City?

Friday, December 3, 2010

If you, your friends or loved ones are similarly suffering from Sex and the City withdrawal, (temporarily) cry no more.

The Carrie Diaries is such a fantastic extension of the Sex and the City world we all know and love.  You can own it, read it as often as you'd like, and the hardcover copy makes a great addition to your nightstand.

I received this book from my sister for my birthday, and burrowed away for three nights to read of the Carrie Bradshaw world prior to NYC, Manolos, cosmopolitans, Mr. Big, and the girls.  

Time passed so quickly, that I did not even notice missing a night of True Blood (which is nearly impossible). 

I would suggest this as a gift to any SATC fan, and absolutely recommend this book for a plane ride. 

You will arrive at your destination before you can say, “Abso-f*cking-lutely.”

Getting a Spa Treatment in Los Angeles?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Visiting a spa in LA is definitely an experience you will never forget.  Not only do you feel the warm, Zen-like feeling when you enter each sanctuary, but the weather and palm trees really do help give you the full, 360 degree experience.

You will find that most of the products are organic; Angelenos are huge on everything being ‘natural’ (which is very ironic actually).

Since this is a popular gift and a New Yorker recently asked me about this, I decided to blog about it.  So for any visitors, residents, or friends looking to wrap themselves in relaxation or give an awesome present for the holidays, here are my personal recommendations.

My first spa visited: Spa 415 in Beverly Hills

A friend suggested this spa to me in December 2006, two months after I arrived in LA.  When I walked in for the first time, I was courted by the lovely owner, Liza.  She is warm, personable, down to earth, and unbelievably knowledgeable about the spa world. 

We actually got along so great, that each time I came in we would not only discuss new products, but she gave me wonderful advice on life.  I felt like Elle from Legally Blonde, who befriended her nail salon lady when she moved to Boston from LA. 

So from the start, clearly I was sold.

However, I kept going back because of the undeniably perfect service.  Each eyebrow wax was the best I’ve ever gotten, the massage made me relax for the entire month following, and the facial did wonders to my skin. 

Their services expand beyond the typical day spa too; they offer nutrition and health,  weightloss and more.

I absolutely recommend this spa to anyone who wants to clear your mind and take a mini vacation each time you walk through the door.

Second spa visited: Lulur Day Spa on Robertson

I tried Lulur this past spring when my very good friend gave me a gift certificate.

At first, I honestly could not find the location of Lulur.  I was walking up and down Robertson, confused and feeling so stupid, when I finally called the spa for directions. 

As it turns out, this spa is not directly on Robertson; it is tucked away in the most precious nook, in a tranquil and floral abyss.  I felt so far away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, before I even stepped foot in the spa.

The serene setting continued as I walked through the doors of Lulur.  It is smaller and much simpler than Spa 415, but the facial was out of this world.  I was in a trance the entire time.

I pirouetted my way out, feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and loving my glowing skin.

Spa Product: Kate Somerville in West Hollywood

I have yet to visit this spa, but I recently received her Intensive Exfoliating Treatment in a gift bag from an event.

It is awesome! My skin felt amazing and my complexion looked polish.  I felt like I had a facial (just minus the tranquility). 

The spa received mostly 5 stars from about 30 reviews on Yelp (my saving grace since I moved), so I will definitely be trying her services soon.

Budget-friendly spa experience: Raya Spa in West Hollywood

Raya Spa definitely promotes themselves quite well and absolutely secured a niche market of followers.  They offer an extensive amount of services for a much cheaper price when compared to most of the spas in LA.

I went twice, and have a mediocre feeling towards this spa.

I had an appointment and they still made me wait for over 45 minutes.  It is a spa factory.  There is nothing personable, warm or friendly, and I had to wait for my frustration to subside to enjoy the minimal calmness that the facial offered me.  They want you in and out. 

I definitely didn’t hate the facial, but the overall experience was lacking. If you’re not looking for the true spa experience and simply want a facial for under $70, then definitely try it.  However, if you’re like me and are looking to leave relaxed and revitalized, then you may want to look elsewhere.   

Spas that have been recommended to me that I have not had the opportunity to try:
Bliss in the Westwood W Hotel:
Le Spa at Sofitel:

A Comfortable Airplane Outfit - Flying in Style

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving!

I received a wonderful request last night to write a blog post on what shoes to wear on an airplane.  I understand this is a puzzle in itself; where do you find a shoe that can easily slip on and off when you go through security, stay comfortable and warm while you fly, and not look sloppy?

I perused through many websites, and looked for ones that I would buy, struck me as a special shoe to add to my wardrobe, received positive reviews and wouldn’t break the bank.  There are tons of versions of the shoes I show below; colorful patterns, slightly heels, etc.  If you like what you see, definitely check out the website and you may find the one that is perfect for you.

Just to let you know, has some really cool UGG-like boots and moccasins.  So definitely check those out for a budget friendly, comfortable option.

Since I did the research last night, on Cyber Monday, the prices may be slightly skewed from what is shown below.  Hopefully they are pretty close.

So here are my top picks (geared toward the winter months with the exception of Toms Shoes):

Minnetonka Women's Kilty Suede Moccasin
 $36.95 - DSW

UGG Australia Dakota Moccasins
$100 - Bloomingdale's

Natural Burlap Women's Classics
$54 - Toms Shoes

UGG Australia Evera Leather Sneaker
$99.95 - Nordstrom

UGG Australia Broome II Leather Boot
$219.95 - Nordstrom


$180 -

Van Eli Rowan Leather Boot
$130 - DSW

Enzo Angiolini 'Zelden' Boot
$100 - Nordstrom

Buckle Riding Boot
$79 - Victoria's Secret

Suede Slouch Boot
$59 - Victoria's Secret

Black Vegan Women's Wrap Boot
$98 - Toms Shoes

The North Face 'Fleece High Rise Boot'
$70 - Nordstrom

I also want to add, that when I fly, I wear leggings and a long sweater (I wear double leggings in the winter months).  It is so comfortable, keeps me warm throughout the whole flight, and I am able to wear the sweater throughout my entire trip.

The best part is, when you wear a bulky item during your flight, you are foregoing the annoying folding and squishing of a favorite item.  Most importantly, you are allowing more room in your suitcase for more fun bags and shoes!

Here are some comfy, stylish picks that I found during my search for the perfect airplane shoe.  

Rubbish Fair Isle Sweater Coat
$58 - Nordstrom

Kensie 'Huggable' Slouchy Neck Sweater
$88 - Nordstrom

 Cotton & Cashmere Hooded Sweater Dress
$59 - Nordstrom

Hinge Jacquard Blanket Cardigan
$98 - Nordstrom

 Quotation Vintageous 'Classic Odds' Sweater with Removable Cowl Collar
 $90 - Bloomingdale's

Cowlneck Sweater
$78 - Victoria's Secret

Versatility is key when you’re traveling; wear as much as you can to prevent lugging extra pounds of unnecessary clothing.

Good luck and safe flight!

A Look for the Holidays – Lesson by a Hollywood Makeup Artist

Friday, November 19, 2010

I will be taking a little blogging break, so I would like to leave you with this idea for a new look for the holiday season.

A stroke of luck hit one day when I was traveling back to LA from NYC.

I was bumped to first class and had the luxury of finding my seat next to a Hollywood makeup artist.

I immediately discovered her talent when I took one glance at her amazing eye shadow. That one compliment made the next five hours fly by.

For most of the flight she gave me makeup tips, wrote down products I should try, and then invited me to her studio for a full makeup application and lesson.

She worked with Bobbi Brown for 10 years, and two years ago, ran with her own talents and branded herself in Hollywood.

Here are some of the products she suggested with instructions below on how to apply them:

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow in “Cement” - $22 

Bobbi Brown Mica Sparkling Eyeshadow - $35

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer - $42

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - $30

Bobbi Brown Tinted Eye Brightener - $38

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick - $38

Bobbi Brown Blush (Pale Pink) - $22

To create a fun, everyday look for the holiday season:

  1. First begin with a clean face.
  2. Start with your eyes, so if any shadow falls on your face, you can easily clean it up before applying your moisturizer/foundation
  3. Begin with the inner corner of your eye towards your nose, and apply the Long Wear Cream Shadow with an eyeshadow brush.  (I personally use the brushes from NARS, but there are many good brushes out there).     
  4. Once you completely cover your eyelid, take your ring finger and pat the Mica glimmering shadow lightly.  Coat the eyelid with one layer of sparkle. 
  5. Apply mascara (To be honest, I’ve tried a ton of mascaras, and I find Dior, Chanel and Mac to be my favorite.  However, I’ve also have tried Revlon and other CVS brands, and they have been great too.  I think it just depends how much you want to spend and how much patience you have with your eyelashes). 
  6. Wash your hands well to ensure the makeup is completely off and you will not smudge any on your face.
  7. Now we begin the application of the tinted moisturizer.  During the day, I use this instead of foundation.  Not only does this mask any imperfections, but it also has been good to my skin and lets it “breathe.”  I put a dime sized dot on each cheek, my forehead, chin and nose, and run it in from the inside out to the neckline.  Blend as much as you can.
  8. Next I take a dime sized dot of Primer on my pointer finger, and rub it on all of my fingertips so it is as evenly distributed as possible.
  9. I then apply it all over my face using my fingertips only.  The Primer helps to keep the moisturizer tightly locked onto your face all day.
  10. Wash your hands again and with the applicator, rub the tinted eye brightener under your eyes to lighten any darkness.  Use your ring fingers to blend this in on both sides by lightly dabbing the concealer.
  11. Now take a blush brush and cover the bristles with all of the colors on the shimmer brick (I personally use “Nude,” but you need to select whatever block looks best for your skin tone).  Begin with your forehead, and lightly brush the color out and down the perimeter of your face and bring it in right above the cheekbone, and without lifting the brush, bring it back out to the perimeter and down to your chin.  So you will be making a “3” on both sides of your face.  The key to this product is to create color where natural sunlight would hit your face.  These are the accents that usually get the most color. 
  12. To finish off this look, grab another blush brush (or wipe this one off with a tissue), and generously cover it with blush (I use “Pale Pink”).  Now, smile, and dab the brush onto the apple of your cheeks (while you’re smiling). 

If you have any questions, the Bobbi Brown website actually has an artist that you can speak with 24/7 (

I give many thanks to my wonderful airline for the upgrade!

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Why Are You Not Engaged Yet (Part 2)?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

If you haven't read my post on the "future proposal" of Prince William and Kate Middleton, please click on "Why Are You Not Engaged Yet?" under the Archive section prior to reading this.

So now that Kate finally got the proposal, what are the most recent headlines saying?

"Don't Be Jealous of Kate," "Pains of Royal Life," "Kate's Royal Prison..."

Geez.... can she get a break?

I mean really.  She's made a fool while she's "waiting" for Prince William, and now that she finally got the proposal that the world has been so closely scrutinizing, the press is erupting with a different angle of disparagement.

 She can't really win.

Hopefully the press will tread a little lighter than they have in the past, but so far, that outlook doesn't look promising.

Handcrafted, Brilliant Bags from Around the World

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

For those of you who love unusual and extraordinary handmade bags for less than $300 (many are less than $100), this post is for you.

One of my jobs includes working for a company called Novica, and sometimes I come across special items that I feel a need to share!

They are a brilliant team of art lovers who grew such an appreciation for artisan craftsmanship, that they created a portal for the world to access the hidden work of these talented artists throughout the world. 

The partners of Novica personally travel to these villages and handpick the items to sell (which is a factor that I love most about the company). 

They sell all of these bags on their website (, but many of these items are also sold on eBay for 30% off the regular price.

Their collections include items from Brazil, Bali, Thailand, India, Mexico, Ghana, and many other countries that do not have the appropriate avenues to sell worldwide. 

Since holidays are coming, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect time to share these beautiful bags!  I also included the eBay link so you can check each item out in more detail and learn more about each individual artist.   

Red Leather Hobo Bag ~ Brazil
$195 on eBay / $260 on

Bronze & Silver Leather Hobo Bag~Brazil
$230 on eBay/ $328 on

Bronze Leather Hobo Bag ~ Brazil
$200 on eBay / $275 on



Black Handmade Leather Handbag ~ Brazil

$254 on eBay / $363 on

Suede & Leather Tan Handbag ~ India
$59 on eBay / $76 on 


Suede & Leather Soft Beige Hobo Handbag ~ India  

$50 on eBay / $72 on

Ivory Leather Shoulder Bag ~ Brazil
$245 on eBay / $350 on

Functional Chic Leather Handbag ~ Brazil
$259 on eBay / $370 on

Princess Silk & Leather Clutch ~ India
$81 on eBay / $115 on

Black Evening Clutch ~ India$107 on eBay / $153 on

Teal Velvet Clutch (My Personal Favorite) ~ India
$50 on eBay / $80 on

Black Beaded Clutch ~ India
$77 on eBay / $99 on