Monday, March 31, 2008

That Asian Touch....

I had a rare occasion of having some time for myself just last weekend. Determined to have some exceptional, and unusual time, I have decided to got to a Spa - not just any relaxing spa playing Enya and Kitaro with Lavender candles... I mean a real Korean spa.

For some of you who have not heard of Korean Spa.... imagine - a great big place that has several different relaxation room in different temperature... my favorite is "Salt Room" where the floor is literally, heated salt, with linen on top - you lie down there... listen to the sound of breeze, ocean and seagulls.... nice, right?! Imagine a huge hot tub hall - where there are 4-5 different tubs - again with various temperatures from 60 to 104.... making you feel like you are in a Roman Empire (without being in Vegas....). On top of all these - imagine getting a invigorating body scrub with warm moisturizing body wrap.... And if you though that was too good to be true - to have all these at your disposal in one place.... how about a restaurant and tea room... .. You are talking about 5 hour stay at this Spa.

Well... what's that saying.... if it is too good to be true.... it is... Don't get me wrong - this is a great spa - just very different from what we normally think of... spa.

First- when you check in, they issue you a hand towel, bath towel, a bath robe in the same quality as hospital gown, and shower cap. Then this middle aged Korean woman tells you - you must wear your cap at all time.... I thought "ok... strange, but no big deal". Then soon you notice.... you don't understand background chit-chatting.... when you realize - you are surrounded mostly by Korean women. Oh, by the way, spa is for women only. No men allowed.

I was then escorted to the hot tub hall area. I have never seen soooo many naked Asian women in one place. I think they knew right away that I was not one of them because they stared at me, turned around and started to yap yap in Korean. My idea of Roman Public Bath time was.... ruined a bit - but I just grabbed my April issue of Harper's Bazaar and ignored Korean background noise.

I decided to navigate myself to "Salt Room" - relax on the hot salt floor.... close my eyes... imagine I was back in the Caribbeans...... As I opened the door to the Salt Room, I was greeted by about half dozen walrus.. or at least that's what I thought. I went in - lied down - closed my eyes - to deny the situation I was in.

After spending about 90 min. or so - immersing myself fully into this Korean spa culture... it was my appointment time for body scrub with moisturizing wrap. Now this is Korean spa. There is no individual room for treatment - the treatment area is right next to the hot tub hall area... no Enya, No Kitaro - you hear other people taking hot tub. There were about 10 plastic covered massage tables (I guess they are tables, not massage beds...). The surroundings made me think, "I guess this is what ( Turkish steam bath + Bangkok massage ) divided by 2 for men is like....".

This Korean lady came to greet me. She told me her name is "Bobbie". Just like being at any nail salons in big cities.... my first word after the greeting was ,"huh?" Then she repeated, "MY NAME BOBBIE". I pretended I could not hear well because of background noises of people splashing hot water.....

I climbed up where she pointed - face down. Then the scrub started.

Oh when they scrub, they mean scrub. Nothing gentle, No soothing lavender oil.... just scrub with those Korean scrubbing mittens on their hands. I knew they were taking revenge on me personally for what Japanese did to their ancestors during the World War II..... I was sure they were related to Kim Jong-Il. As they scrub and sandpaper my body, they splash bucket full of hot water to rinse away my skin.. dead or alive..... That torture lasted 45 min. Yes, I was so awake during the "relaxing, yet invigorating scrub" I kept looking at the clock. Then Bobbie explained to me that moisturizing body wrap has some ... "blah blah blah honey blah blah olive blah blah milk massage, OK?" I just said... "no problem..."

I felt something "moisturizing" poured on my body all over... then comes slapping and shaking massage. By then I was convinced that the whole place was feeding these images from our torture chamber to North Korea - so that The Supreme Commander would not feel lonely.... especially when I hear Bobbie talking loudly about something with fellow Korean comrades. Me, telling myself.... "this is not Canyon Spa - I didn't pay the Canyon Spa price...." - like a mantra.

After about 90 min being on the massage table being scrubbed, scraped, and seasoned with olive oil, honey and milk, shaken and slapped. I actually felt pretty good - I think I became Korean!

I felt so good... it did not bother me that restaurant only served Korean kimchi, bibimbap, and yuk ke jang. I happily ate my dolsot bibimbap... drove home as I kept feeling my smooooooth arms.
ps - This is my very first "photoshop" - I know it's crude but I will be better in a few years....

Monday, March 24, 2008

As much as The Vegas Shopper cheers the Tar Heelees,  I cheer the Blue Devils.  Yes, it is sad to see that our Blue Devils are out of the March Madness so early this year... but hey, does Tar Heel hoop coach has his own website?  Everybody knows Coach K.... but who is the Tar Heel coach?  

For as long as I remember, Coach K has been the Duke Coach....  I think Carter was our President when he joined Duke...... I was a senior in high school.

When I was a senior in high school,  Coach K was not our regular conversation topic at school.  Even though our high school is the "real" State 4A Basketball champion (before Shadle Park "the nemesis" took our glory after a hearing-impaired referee gave points for this after-the-buzz-shot), none of our players were "Duke" material.

That, of course, changed with the Class of 1985.  This time, my lucky sister happened to be in the same class with our future Duke player, Quin Snyder.  And again, my lucky sister got to witness the first Championship trophy - the one we were supposed to get in 1981.

That was the beginning of my relationship with Coach K.  He recruited some very handsome players - like Christian Laettner.  Oh, his last-second shoot that brought '92 Duke championship was a sweet revenge after our bitter loss from more than a decade prior.  (Sadly, though... I have put him along with Andrew McCarthy... "not-aged-well" column....)

Last week, I received boxes of "stuff" from my parents - stuff, they claimed, are mine that are taking up their space.  I opened them - and they were old photo albums - oh so innocent moi growing up.  Then I found this big big binder that I did not recognize.  It was a binder-full of Quin Snyder and other high school basketball stats from 1984-85 that my sister collected.  Pre-Duke-fame-Quin and his buddies - no wrinkles, no love-handles.... certainly not 41 years old....

Hmmm.... The Vegas Shopper loves to collect anything... I wonder if I should send him this binder...  After all, I know that he is a "closet" Blue Devil....  Oh and what does this have to do fashion??   I must say our Blue is more slimming and "blue State" blue than Your "made for George Bush's Hermes tie" blue....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter... Caviar.... still shopping to me....

I have never had Easter with my daughter in town.  My daughter and the Loquacious usually visit his family in California (and yes, Northern CA.. not Southern CA).  I normally stay home with our doggies as this is my very busy work season.  This year, they decided to stay home.  So I learned, for the first time, what people do in this country for our spoiled kids this time of year.

I had NO idea why my daughter and Loquacious were so obsessed about making hard-boiled eggs, getting vinegar, etc and that had to get done by Saturday.  I thought... 'just making painted eggs, right? why not next weekend... I am very busy this weekend designing my home-theatre with my audio engineers ....'.  

While I was out, they made 10 or so colored eggs.  Then the Loquacious nudged me to see him in private.  When I saw his very serious face, I thought I was going to get an earful about my shopping addiction and how much I just spent.  He said, "now, listen, I have a bag full of gooddies hidden in your shoes room behind your tall boots.  After she goes to sleep, you have to hide all the eggs we made... and then filled the basket with those goodies and hide the basket also.  I also have plastic eggs filled with chocolate and you have to hide them also... roger!!??"

My reaction was.... "huh?"   Well,  I did not know that kids in the U.S. have this "easter bunny" (which has been referred as "He" so I guess it is a male bunny), who surprises kids on Easter Sunday.

Sure enough, around 8:00 pm, my daughter put this basket full of eggs in the middle of the living room.  Again, not knowing anything, I scolded my daughter for messing up the room - only this time, she had THE reason because she had to put it there for The Easter Bunny.  She proudly told me what this Bunny would do with the eggs she made and the empty basket.  She demanded that I stay free and clear from the entire floor because if I would be sitting there playing with my new MacBook Air, he would not come!

Around 11:00pm,  my sleep was abruptly interrupted by a call from Loquacious confirming that I do understand what I had to do. 

I know about the Easter - and may I say - I know THE proper way to observe the Easter - you check out the Vatican website, listen to the Pope's message and then go to the most important and sacred mass of the entire year.  Forget Christmas - everybody has birthday - after all, if he hasn't risen from the dead, he would have been just another unlucky dude who cross the Romans (woo that's spooky - huge gusty wind just blew outside and shook our cedar tree outside of the living room....).   It has nothing to do with yet another retail requirement to satisfy our kids.  

But all well, looking at my daughter in big surprised eyes, searching for eggs and basket this morning, and yes, she still really believes the Bunny and Santa are real.... I forgive our retailers.

I, on the other hand,  watched the Pope but skipped the Mass and - and enjoyed my Iranian Ostera caviar - as my egg goodies of the day.   Now I have to hunt for fresh foies gras...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Shame on me....

Beside my fashion weakness.... I have my Techy Gadget Weakness.  I am known to go to the other side of the Atlantic, looking for Uber cellphones.   When Sony came out with tiny handheld Vaio PC, I had to get it.   When iPhone came out, I procured mine that weekend.  

So it is no surprise that I have been salivating over MacBook Air... since it first came out.  So much so that I cut my time at the Bergdorf... going across the 5th Avenue to play with one of those thin, slick machines... among the hardcore geeks.

Well - The Search is Over.  I have succumbed.  I said "no" to the-drop-dead-beautiful emerald green silk Lanvin dress.... and yes to MacBook Air.....  It's Easter - lent is over... the Spring has come!

Nobody with an once of fashion sense will settle with those PC laptop/notebooks.  They are plain ugly.... even Sony Vaio looks flat boring sitting next to.... MacBook Air.   Can you imagine one of those ugly Dell laptop emerging out of a lilac ostrich birkin?!  No way.

Now that I think..... Apple, Lanvin, and Hermes are very similar in a way... Beautifully made products that are pieces of art.  So I must buy their "art" just as some people donate $ to museums and ballet companies....

Now I feel better about my weakness.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Blond-Ambition-Partner in Crime

I have the most fabulous Partner in Crime.  Diane Sawyer will be able to play a good double of my PIC (but no no not, Martha Stewart).  My Blond Ambition PIC and I are like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis - she is tall, blond and beautiful... et Moi = Asian version of Linda Blair in Exocist 1.... got it? short... chubby.... small eyes.....

We are Partners in Crime - because we have the same weakness - oh, beautiful clothes... fabulous bags.... etc etc.  If The Vegas Shopper tests West Coast Fashionista's true love for him by showing her the inside of his Storage-full of Start Wars "stuff", we test ours with vast, vast collections of designer clothes sitting in the back of our cars and way deep inside our closet..... and oh, yes a few still hanging in the office also. (On this, I know West Coast Fashionista is one of us though!)   She is my Shoppaholic Anonymous Buddy - she is my Mommy buddy - she is my "we are the product of girls' catholic school" buddy..... Ultimate Sister.

So as Blond Ambition Partner in Crime and I got together for lunch today (which is really rare because both of us work crazy hours at 100 MPH so we normally don't get to eat lunch).... we decided to walk inside our Nordstrom Flagship store here in town.... surrounded by "supposed-to-be" beautiful things... in calm serenity.

My expectation went high when I saw a tall young pretty model walking around wearing designer clothes with a plaque in her hand.... like they do at Saks in NYC - models walking around "advertising" in whatever the designer she has on.  I told to my Partner in Crime - "oh look!  Model in clothes with the designer name plaque walking around!! - just like at Saks!!"

Sadly though... it did not take 2 seconds to notice the name written on the plaque said.... "TORY BURCH".  My Partner in Crime knew what was coming..... nudging me "oh no, don't say anything... I know, Girl, don't say anything...."  I grew 50 more wrinkles on my face by just looking at that name!  I could embrace Saks model walking around wearing beautiful fur coat, with plaque reading "FUR SALON" - even if it was a day after being mildly forced to watch this video on how poor animals were trapped and killed and bloody-skinned and vowed NEVER buy a new fur.... (= wearing vintage fur where those animals were killed for some other person 50 years ago is ok!)  

After being quiet for the entire escalator ride from the Floor 1 to Floor 3... I had to say.... "Tory Burch!!!  Ugh!!" - still having convulsion... with sad realization.... High Fashion in NYC=designer fur.... Seattle=Tory Burch......

I am a fashion whore and I compromise all sorts of integrity and moral for fashion - but there is this very clear line I will not cross ... Thou Shalt not Wear Tory Burch!  

To me, her clothes encapsulate everything hideous about Southern California/Orange County - her clothes are made for those Desperate Housewife of Orange County.... with fake everything.  On top of that her clothes are Made in China.  I am ok with South America, Turkey, Eastern Europe... but China.... I have a problem.  They are sooo good at stealing intellectual property of everybody... I can't stand them!  AND, if you actually watch Lipstick Jungle, you know that fashion designs are not considered work of art nor intellectual property =  no protection!   Just a thought of one of those Chinese factories decides to copy my sacred Lanvin and mass-manufacture for Target at $29.99.....  oh I get frightened.  So I do not like any designer who patron Chinese manufacturing industries.  

If in doubt... read Deluxe by Dana Thomas.... you will be like me... NEVER go near Marc Jacobs and drink Moet et Chandon.

Now I have ranted and showed my true viciousness - Relax.... and welcome to the Pleasuredome......

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Us the Middle-Age...

As I am a product of the 80's, it give me a great joy to find Andrew McCarthy on NBC's Lipstick Jungle. Last time I saw him on a screen of any size, it was in early 90's - Joy Luck Club, where I was heartbroken to see his thinning, receding hairline. No, I was not "Andrew McCarthy" girl - that was my sister - I was more like "Rob Lowe" type - never mind about McDreamy as I did not know he even existed until I took my daughter to see Disney's "Enchanted" last year - oh No, that's not correct. I saw a photo of him on the cover of Seattle Magazine last year or so, featuring "Seattle's Best Doctor". There was this photo of Dr Shepherd at Grace something hospital I've never heard of - and I actually try to locate this doctor's office.

So, back to Lipstick Jungle - I watched this program's entire episodes in one night because I wanted to spot Brook Shields carrying my favorite Bottega Cabat bag in black patent - exactly the same one that is supposed to be coming on its way from Bottega store in Las Vegas. But my minds and eyes were fixated on our 80's Brat Pack boy. He still had that cute Mama's boy shy smile that my sister found irresistible (again, not me!). Then I kept thinking about our aging process... how Brook Shields aged since the time of "Pretty Baby" - or "Blue Lagoon".... and Andrew McCarthy from "Class" and "St Elmo's Fire"....

I have to say - our Mr McDreamy is definitely better of being 40-something than back in the 80's - either his face grew as he aged - or his nose somehow shrunk but everything seems to fit comfortable.....

My Rob Lowe looks charming regardless - even when he was in that embarrassing time of his life....

Brook Shields looks very elegant and comfortable now.

Now Mr McCarthy.... I still cannot put him in anything but Kevin in St Elmo's fire - the twisted romantic who was desperately in love with Leslie... time sort of stopped since 1985 no matter how much hair he lost and how much wrinkles he acquired...

For myself - I tell everybody - turning 40+ was the best thing in life - I've earned "it" whatever that "it" is - I take no crap from anybody - and if Narcisso and Pucci do not make clothes that fits me, well too bad for them! Monsieur Elbaz will make them for me!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Here I Come, Vegas Shopper!!

If my dear Friend The Vegas Shopper can blog, I thought... I should at least try! After all, I used to get long distance phone call from The infamous Vegas Shopper in panic, asking "how can I sync my Palm with my *!#@$%^ computer??!!"

So I try! I am telling myself - this is good.... My Loquacious Friend blogged his 3 week trip to Japan and that was a hoot. I am horrible when it comes to keeping in touch with friends - this will be a substitute to phone calls and Christmas "family letters"!

The only thing is.... I am an immigrant and I don't speak English (though I do not work at JC Penny in Vegas... should I?? me speak no English...). So here's my reader advisory note - I use idioms and "stuff" like salt and pepper - sprinkle "a"s and "the"s etc, etc, etc as I see palatable. Also the translation feature on this blogspot has English to Hindi and other exotic "Apu" languages but not my own so I get no help from Blogspot either.

So be kind and gentle to this Granola/Tree Hugging/Birkin-toting/Lanvin lover....

ps - The Vegas Shopper - should I try this look for this year's Halloween?