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Category Archives: Thoughts

Birthday Fun at Descanso Gardens

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I’m sort of on a roll today, making up those empty days the last month or so without posts. This is all thanks to having a partial day off from work, and thanks to the mystery illness that got my client (today aside, I gotta pay bills so let’s hope the illness is short-lived).

I’d like to end my streak today with this lovely post. Boyfriend’s birthday was in the first week of April, and I decided to take him on a morning picnic with guacamole and Subway sandwiches. Although it was sprinkling on and off and extremely foggy, our adventures at Descanso Gardens were by far the most fun I’ve had since our trip for Valentine’s Day to Northern Cali Monterey Bay.

These are some of my favorite shots from our adventures.

Boyfriend like's to keep his identity private. He's a super hero

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Complainer’s Demise

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I’ve been thinking about complaining a lot. Not in any particular way, but out in the world, in public. I’ve noticed more and more that it’s difficult to find people willing to complain or make aware bad service. Customer service, food service, any service, really.

Recently, I’ve had my own streak of terrible customer service. One from Denny’s and the other from Pep Boys. So I know these aren’t really the best places to expect exceptional service, but this was beyond acceptable. I complained (yes on yelp) and with customer care at corporate offices. I didn’t feel like a bitch while doing it, but rather like it was my duty. Perhaps it’s just a European thing, because when I told several people what I had done, instead of applauding me for my responsible effort in trying to better their businesses, they stared at me in horror!

I recently read another blogger’s same issues, only she has recently moved to France. She mentioned that when she complained the cheese she bought for a party wasn’t what she expected (quality wise), she was revered for her “refined taste” and is now known as the “Cheesy American” in that Cheese Shop. Just a small example, but clearly, around the world complaining, or simply mentioning that as a customer you’re not happy, shows that you’re not just picky, but have an eye for quality and expect it. Almost as if by complaining you’re bestowing a sense of honor to the owners of said business by expecting more than what you got.

In any case, I’m getting apologies in the form of coupons from Denny’s, and got a customer service phone call from Pep Boys. With Pep Boys, as it’s mechanics, I’m a little more… scared, to speak my mind to an actual person, lest my brake warranty mysteriously disappear. However, it goes to show that I should have shopped around for my local mechanics a little more closely and probably gotten a better deal, and faster service.

Overall, I think people in the States need to realize that there are things that shouldn’t be overlooked, and customer service is one of them. While it might be OK to be huffy when you’re in a hurry and you don’t want to wait for a haircut without an appointment, it’s another thing when you’re waiting 3 hours for brakes to be fixed, and 40 minutes to get food (that’s not cold) for breakfast. Airing you’re concerns to management ensures others don’t suffer the way you have. It’s not being snobby, or picky, or even “difficult”, but rather responsible, dedicated, and most importantly, a consumer which has standards that have to be met. Simply saying “I’m not coming back here again,” isn’t enough; it only shows how you won’t waste your time, but one customer leaving won’t hurt the business or show them how terribly they’ve messed up.

Size Matters

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I’ve been quite hesitant to buy new shoes. Partly because the last few times I went over to Urban Outfitters the shoes were way to expensive, and while adorable, were terrible in quality. Then, I got a pair of Seychelles heels from Urban, and I loved them right away. Leather, turquoise in color, what couldn’t I love? I’m a size 8, so naturally I bought a size 8, and that was my first mistake. The shoes were about a size and a half too big. I thought I could fix that by adding a ton of insoles and heel guards, and wearing them with tights but that can’t really work, and it didn’t.

So I gave them up.

Finally I went on amazon and decided to give Seychelles another chance, and that’s where these babies come in.

The seafoam green pumps are incredible. They were slightly too big but some heel guards fixed that problem. Most importantly, they were completely wonderful to walk around in. I work in a middle school, running after my client, making sure she knows how to get along with peers, listen to directions, etc. Anyway, I’m completely in love with them, and will be getting them in the other colors.

The flats were  a little bit of a disappointment. First, I got a size down, thinking that if the pumps were a little too big, the flats must run large as well. Nope! So my amazon purchase was in vain. I tried again, this time true to size with an 8, and they were … alright. The shoe style is pretty fantastic, however, they are so stiff it’s hard to walk in. That’s a good thing, because the soles won’t wear within a month, but I need to wear thick socks while wearing them for a good four days in order to stretch them out. I did the laundry in them in this state and washed dishes and vacuumed, so it’s coming along. Without the stretching the shoes are maybe half a size too small. At least it feels that way. They’re gorgeous but a shame I won’t be wearing them soon.

Now, I’ve also had to return a few shoes. While these look good in the photo, in person they looked oddly colored and the top detail looked crooked. Noticeably so.

Finally, my luck caught up with me when I walked into a Clark’s store and tried on these babies.

They’re amazing. I can’t wait to wear them again. I’ve worn them four times already, and once again, walking in my occupation is completely necessary and comfortable, but professional shoes, are a rare and wonderful find.

Now, I call these shoes lucky, rather I said that my luck turned around as a result of these shoes, because I went into the clark’s store, and walked right out when I saw the price. I did get a nice idea of proper sizing.  Anyway, I went on amazon and found them for a measly $47.00! The original price is $109.00 so you can imagine how happy I was to see the savings. While I was musing over that lovely win, I stumbled upon these shoes, which I saw my supervisor wear a few weeks ago, and she said that they were from Antropologie, for $175 (on sale!)

COME ON WHO WOULDN’T LOVE THESE SHOES!?

Monterey Bay Valentine’s Weekend

Man did I have a great weekend. I can’t say enough about how beautiful  Monterey Bay was. Not to mention Cannery Row, the obessiveness of the people there over anything Steinbeck, and of course, the Aquarium!

I have some pictures to show you all, just for fun and I hope for enjoyment.ImageImage

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Sick As A Dog

The phrase is actually quite misleading. The English term “sick” refers to vomit, and therefore “sick as a dog” translates to, quite literally, vomiting like a dog. I suppose, since I haven’t vomited, and only had fever, chills, running nose, and coughing spells, I should really blame the weather and said I’m feeling “under the weather”. I digress.

This is how two sick days are spent properly:

Eating rice and salmon with grilled cheese and Progresso’s Clam Chowder. Then taking a nap and taking a bath with my new Mango Lush Bath Melt. So lovely. While the bath smelled and felt like silk, I hooked up my laptop to watch Mad Men season 4 on Netflix. To top it off, while I couldn’t breathe through my left nostril I decided to eat some Brownie’s to make myself feel better. Little did I know that chocolate and runny noses don’t mix.

 

Now today, I’ve been a bit lazier. The last stretch of the illness is seeping out of me and I’m enjoying some InStyle, and Tostito’s Chips. That’s pretty much what I’ve survived on all day, and I’m a foodie, sorta.! Surprisingly watching Gilmore Girls, Supernatural, and Devil Wears Prada (again),  has helped keep my mind off things and the dreaded feeling of going to work tomorrow after two days off. The fever has gone down a bit, but I must say that I think it was the bath’s doing last night, and not my pleading with God to make the shivers stop.

The savior of the day is my new teas (and I’m slightly biased on this front, considering I’ve got over 14 different teas to try in my home). I love Teavana, and the better half of my paycheck is spent there, but not everyone is as avid a drinker of tea as I am. These are a few of my favorites from over the course of the month. That’s right, my favorites change.

To start off: the new Peachberry. It’s got such a nice, sweet fragrance, it’s incredible. Not to mention that before you even drink it you get to watch the pearls unravel into lovely leaves of tea, if that doesn’t want to make you drink it nothing will. Another favorite is my MateVana(which is an herbal tea surprisingly!) and JavaVana. Both have a wonderful mocha flavor that is accomplished by adding some milk to the tea. It’s a lot like coffee because of their cocoa-yness(?) and luxurious textures.

   

Finally, I’m quite proud with my Acai Blueberry tea drinking due to the fact that it’s the best choice when ill, and I really can’t take care of myself when sick. It’s a favorite by default, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. It’s fruity, which I don’t usually like but the blueberries add a nice acidic taste that balances honey and Teavana’s Rock Sugar, really well. The blueberries and Acai berries do have antioxidants, don’t they? I’m going to count this as a win either way.

Lastly, online window-shopping has got to be the best part of my sick days. Modcloth had the best swimsuit called Beach Honeycomb. Not only is it in a great yellow color, but it’s a one piece which is what I’ve been looking for, and it’s got little bee’s on it! And I’m sure my chest will hold it up better than their model’s.

And, Shabby Apple has come out with their spring Mad Hatter collection, and I can’t wait to go nuts with it! I think this style of romantic-modern-fairy tale design comes from rereading The Secret Garden one too many times.

               

List of Bought and Sought After Products

So I did some well deserved shopping and snooping at my favorite store: Sephora. I, then, got introduced to a new store, Lush. My God I feel like I’ve been missing out not checking out the lovelies at Lush!

Let’s go through the list:

My sephora list only included this Korres Lip Butter in their pomegranate color. I’m desperately seeking their Mango tone as well. But my real shopping extravaganza occured at Lush. Since it was my first time there I thought it my duty to try the most basic supplies that I need and at least a few which were a little more… delicate.

This lovely thing is called the Rose Queen. I have yet to use it but from what I gathered it acts as a seltzer in the bath water, and the little bits of flower end up floating and keeping you company in the water. The smell is AMAZING, and I’m not usually a florals girl.

This thing is Lush’s Squeaky Green Bar. It’s their bar shampoo. Lather’s on wonderfully, and the smell stays for a while. At least for a good two hours after the shower. As long as it’s not under running water when not in use it should be fine. Otherwise it’ll get used up, naturally. I’ve had problems with my oily hair/scalp, and Fekkai’s Root Therapy was not enough– in fact, it made my hair even drier– so I decided to give this a try. I’m so excited!

Finally, my skin has been a problem since, forever. And it was time I tried something a little more natural. I have tried Philosophy Micro-Derm and while it worked wonders, when I forgot to use it twice a week for a month, my skin overproduced the oils (since it got used to it being stripped away every Monday and Thursday), and I had breakouts like a 14-year old! I’ve also tried, and am still using Burt’s Bees scrub as well as the Shiseido foaming cleanser with their facial brush. In any case I tried both these on my hands in their store and I was sold!

Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub and Herbalism (face cleanser)

  

 

 

 

To make matters even more wonderful my friend got me Tisty Tosty for Valentine’s Day.

This stuff is like the bath bomb that I got which is Rosy. However, it’s a little bigger and more moisturizing… a little bit like a bath milk in a fizzy tablet. I’m so excited to try this one. My friend is wonderful, I completely wasn’t expecting it, until she shouted at me “Hey, you want a Valentine’s gift?” What else was I to say but “SURE! YES!” as she grabbed the heart lovely and walked to the register with her purchases?

 

 

NOW FOR THE WANTS:

So far there aren’t that many, although truth be told, I do want the whole store (at least the whole section of the store which relates to my hair/skin needs).

Lovely Jubblies is this wonderful cream that I’ve been looking at for a total of two hours now and going through the reviews it seems necessary for the elasticity of your girls prior to and after having a baby. Not to mention with general age! Side note: it’s not fun turning one year older over and over again, I can now get why my mom always turned 29.

 

This celestial moisturizer was created by the brilliant man behind Lush stores. His daughter skin condition, as it was told to me, wasn’t the best, and so this is perfect for oily, dry, and basically sensitive and everything-in-between skin. That’s a great deal right there, not considering it’s price tag of $23.95.

 

 

 

 

–I’ll try to do a much better review after I’ve been using these products for a few days at least. Tops a week, and let you know how things are going. By the way, I haven’t seen my friend for almost a month and I mentioned I was using a serum in my routine and she said my skin looked great even though it was towards the end of the day, my bangs were oily, and my foundation needed retouching. Overall, I think that once I saw myself in a well-lit mirror I could agree, my skin looked pretty damn good.

The serum which did it for me (for the past 9 days, that’s right, that’s all it took to see results, maybe even less!): Ole Henriksen’s collagen booster. So Thanks Ole!

Inspirations from Nigella

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Ouefs En Cocette 

I stumbled upon this while watching Nigella Express and flipping through her cookbook of similar name; this is basically a fancy French name for a egg that is prepared with cream in a ramekin, as a souffle would be. I noticed that I’ve always wanted to make this ramekin egg dish from “Retro Rapido” section, and the show just reminded me of how delicious it looked.

It’s Sunday, so I figured a little bit of indulgence was perfectly fine.

note: I added two eggs instead of one for this dish simply because I’m hungry , and my ramekin is large enough to fit it.

2 eggs

white truffle oil

kosher salt, 1 teaspoon max.

1/3 cup of  heavy cream

boiling water

butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter the ramekin generously, and break in two eggs.

Add the salt and heavy cream, making sure not to break the yolks.

Drizzle some white truffle oil, and remember that a little goes a long way, so try not to over-do it. I drizzled the equivalent of 1 teaspoon, maybe half that, in fact!

I just love that glistening oil

Put the ramekin in a larger, oven safe dish. Fill with recently boiling water so it goes half way up the ramekin walls. Place in oven carefully, and cook 20-22 minutes. Original recipe called for 15 min, but since there are two eggs you have to cook it longer.

Serve immediately, with lots of buttered toast.

  

That yolk was dying to be broken