Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday night links + Rockin' NYE weekend

via Pretty Peach Peonies
It feels like our lives are always in fast-forward. Can you believe it's the end of 2011 already? I hope I'll be more productive than I was this year...but we'll get to resolutions and reflection next week. For now, enjoy even more end-of-the-year lists!

Refinery29's fashion predictions. (via Refinery29)

LA's most dubious moments. I wish I had dinner on the 405. Or enjoyed Roscoe's with the President. Mmm..chicken. (via UrbanDaddy)

Also, LA's popular nightlife spots of the moment. (via UrbanDaddy)

6 reasons the Clippers might be better than the Lakers this year? Hey, I didn't write it. (via Guestofaguest)

11 things that might be more expensive next year. Hopefully not. (via Deal News)

20 of LA's biggest house I can use the phrase "in this economy?". (via Curbed)

80 party dresses. (via DailyCandy)

This list is silly. Like tigers could ever be "out". They're so furry! But there are some trends here to consider if you enjoy these things. (via Washington Post)

Go Irvine Law School. It's now on the list of impossible schools to get into. (via Thomson Reuters)

This last one might be pushing the theme a bit, but check out this list of celebrity faces on one person's face. She knows her makeup. (via 9gag)

And that's it. Have a rockin' New Year's Eve whether you're cozying up at home or partying it up at an exclusive nightclub. Just make sure your night doesn't turn out like this. See you all in 2012 ♥.
via 9gag

Hollywood + Holidays

all pictures taken from my cousin's phone.
For the holidays, a few of my relatives came to LA for the first time in several years, and I was nervous about what to show them since they were from San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston; all amazing cities in their own right. But it turned out great, and we ended up bonding at some of LA's most touristy and surprisingly beautiful areas.
First, we hit up San Gabriel Valley for some of its best dim sum. Then, we swung by Hollywood Blvd to visit Grauman's theater and buy matching t-shirts so we could look like tourists together. Once we saw the Hollywood sign, we decided it had to be hiked. I thought it was a creative activity to do on Christmas day, but there was definitely more people than I expected. Still, we were all grateful for the 70°F weather and found the view gorgeous from all sides.
Since the hike was more easier than expected, we still had the energy to head over to Santa Monica beach and managed to catch the sunset, as well as several talented street performers. There was also a crowd at Santa Monica, and all the attractions were open, much to our delight.
Our last stop was at the trendy Class 302 since we wanted to see some snow on Christmas. It was cold by then, and we might have been shivering a bit, but it was oh so delicious.

I wish I had remembered to take pictures of our pretty tree with all the presents...guess it'll have to wait until next year ☺.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday wishes + This alarm clock

The hundred-dollar bill would be nice too.
via 9gag
How was everyone's weekend? I'll post about mine soon, but hope everyone got some well-deserved rest! I need a better alarm clock, to make sure I don't  overstay my welcome in Sleepville.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! + A slamdunk

via 9gag
 Whatever you did for the holidays, hope it was a success! Have an exciting, relaxing, whatever-you-want day ☺.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday night links + A heartwarming weekend

Champagne and popsicles. I want to go (to) there sometime this weekend. via Pinterest

In case you missed it, here's a list of my gift guides.

If these weren't sold out, I would have included the Honest Boy Pencil Sharpener and Rebecca Minkoff Zipped-up Earphones somewhere.

And if I wasn't too lazy to update my nerd guide, I would have included the zombie doorstopAngry Birds gummies, and Hunger Games cookbook.

A list of gift-wrapping ideas. She also has some pretty-looking gift tags you can print out, and recipes for edible gifts. (via Creature Comforts)

Speaking of creative goodness, someone make me this Kit Kat bar. (via 9gag)

While you're at it, make me this too. (via Just One Cookbook)

This is smart. And it might just convince me to start taking the Metro. (via The Source)

They're sometimes annoying, but I usually find myself chuckling at the memes people come up with. Some of this year's best. (via Huffington Post)

I want to read this book now. (via Lainey Gossip)

More lists! Here's one of animals. Enough said. (via Buzzfeed)

A high school's gross attempt at a prank involves kids making out with their parents. (The disturbing part is that the parents are in on it.) I don't consider myself a prude and would be fine with a light peck, but some of these moms and dads are agressive. This is wrong, people. (via Gawker)

And to balance that out, take a look CaptunaAmerica and Tony Shark. You read correctly. (via Tofu Matador)

My friend is talented. Check out her bassoon quartet's latest video!

What are you up to this holiday weekend? If you don't celebrate Christmas, is it frustrating that almost everything is closed? Regardless of what you end up doing, I hope you have a heartwarming, holiday weekend with friends and family .

Kurt Vonnegut + Holiday cards

Okay, so I've only read Slaughterhouse-Five and can't exactly call myself a diehard fan yet, but this holiday card made me laugh, and I wanted to share. It's a play on the phrase, "So it goes.", that Vonnegut uses throughout the novel. If you haven't read the book yet, definitely check it out. It's a quick read, and it's a classic. Those two are usually mutually exclusive. Plus, even though the subject matter is serious, the book is pretty funny if you enjoy gallows humor.
via Media Bistro
He also seemed like an awesome person judging from this letter he wrote to a widow. What a guy.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sephora + Samples

Now I know why Sephora keeps giving out so many samples with each order.

...Because they work! And I'm left having a serious discussion with my credit card. I've only been able to try a few samples so far, but I just wanted to write a quick review on them to share my amazement.

First up, the Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream.
I get these really gross dry patches on my arms during the winter, and they're usually there until spring no matter how diligent I am with applying lotion. I've been using this .1 oz sample of cream for the past week, (and not even everyday!) and the patches are mostly gone.

At $19 for 1.25oz/$25 for 2.75oz, I can't call it cheap, but I'll be buying it anyway as soon as they stock it again because it definitely works.

Next, the Perfekt Gel. I'm not sure if this is necessary, but it makes my skin really soft. It's used like a primer. As with the Yu-Be cream, a little goes a long way if I'm careful with it.

At $17.50 for .25oz/$57.50 for 1oz., I won't be buying it anytime soon...but maybe one day when I feel like I deserve a reward.

ExfoliKate Treatment stung a bit when I put it on my skin, but pain is gain, right? I enjoyed that cinnamon smell, and my face felt really smooth after. I only used this once, but the reviews are great on this product.

At $19 for .5oz/$85 for 2oz, it's definitely too expensive right now, but I'll also be keeping an eye on this one for sure.

And there you have it! If you're looking for skin-care products, I definitely recommend giving these a try.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday wishes + This bathtub

The water pressure for my shower nozzle is so weak sometimes I feel like I'm being drooled on.
via Pinterest
Sigh...I have such problems.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Spas + 200°F Weather

Salt sauna. All pictures in this post are from Wi Spa's Yelp page.
It was a little nippy in LA yesterday, but I certainly didn't notice since I spent six hours in a spa, alternately sweating out toxins in saunas and boiling in jacuzzis. It was my first time in a Korean spa, and I am happy to report that it was a fun and relaxing experience.
Common area.

There are five different saunas available in the common area (called a jimjilbang), each with different properties and temperatures ranging from 40°F all the way to 235°F. At one point, I could have bathed in my own sweat... Also in the common room: TVs mounted on several walls, a row of computers, massage chairs, lots of mats to lay on, a children's playroom, and even a small restaurant you can eat at. Throughout the day, I saw people of all ages chatting, playing games, on their laptops, eating on the mats picnic-style, reading the newspaper, sleeping, or just lounging.
Bulgama, the hottest sauna.
When you're tired of the common area, you can venture into your respective gender's personal floors. Often in Asian spas, there is a no-clothes policy, so my friend and I were definitely a little uncomfortable at first. But after a few minutes of furtively covering our bits, and realizing no one cared, it was definitely liberating to soak in the jacuzzi, take a shower, or just walk around the lounge area in our birthday suits.
Women's shower rooms.

There were plenty of other services such as facials, massages, acupressure, body scrubs, etc. and other facilities such as gyms, but those do cost more. Since the only reason we went to the spa in the first place was to use our $12 Groupon, we mainly stuck to the saunas. But it was definitely worthwhile.

The spa is open for 24 hours, 365 days, and would be an ideal place to unwind with friends and family. After hitting the clubs or having a dinner party, I think it would be great to recap the night in the spa while getting clean. Plus, you have more time to sober up. I admit the place isn't as fancy as other spas, but I don't think luxury is its selling point anyway. It's more like a wholesome experience you can enjoy while being comfortable in your own skin. Wi Spa costs $25 (+10 if you stay overnight) except for their Tuesday $15 special. I believe it's cheaper at the Wilshire Spa and cheaper still at Olympic Spa.
Also, two nice ladies taught me how to fold this. It's a ram! Baa. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ideas + Lightbulbs

Well, this is ingenious.
via Pinterest

Reminds me of the vases from CB2 that I've been coveting.

Friday, December 16, 2011

2011 Pretty Presents + For the socially conscious

My last and possibly the most important gift guide. I have to admit I'm not the most socially conscious, but I'm working on it. Even while some of us are celebrating one of the most commercial holidays of the year, I hope we can still do it in a fun, festive, and giving way.
via le Love

Plant a tree in your favorite person's name with Tree People, American Forests, or International Tree Foundation. It starts at only $25.
via Pinterest

There's a site called Oxfam where you or anyone you know can buy things like books for schools, a well for a community, or even a donkey. You can go one step further by making a wishlist, and send it to all your family and friends. Instead of getting another elephant figurine to dust, you can feel great knowing that your gift-givers (and you!) are helping out. Prices start at $12.
via Pinterest

DailyCandy has a list of Gifts That Give Back.
My personal favorite from the list is this cool-looking leather keychain. Half the proceeds go to Japan Relief.
Where: Me and Arrow
Price: $16 (free shipping)
Alternatives: These scissors are also really awesome with each purchase funding 25 cups of food.

There are so many options out there. Volunteer for whatever cause you believe needs the most help! If you get a tree, make sure to take it out to be recycled. Make presents this year (and save money) or buy hand-made. When you wrap your gifts this year, feel free to get creative. I like to use Trader Joe's bags to wrap presents and old ribbons/knickknacks to decorate. This year, I'm going to try and see if I can make it without buying any wrapping paper. And I'll definitely be supporting one of these organizations.

I think it's okay to revel in presents as long as we aren't excessive about it. Of course, the definition of that word is hard to pin down, but as long as we do our best to help out and actually work on those goals every year, we should also remember to enjoy the holidays for whatever they mean to each of us.

via A Little Hut
I'll be out celebrating a friend's birthday tonight, so there won't be a customary Friday link post. Have a fantastic weekend everyone .

2011 Pretty Presents + From the procrastinator

You're 30 minutes late for that holiday party, and your hands are EMPTY. But it's okay. You've mastered this last-minute stuff by now.
by Bill Watterson via Pinterest

Swing by any grocery store, corner market, etc., and grab a bottle of champagne because everybody loves the bubbly. Plus, extra points for being festive.
via Pinterest
Where: Anywhere!
Price: $10 - $200 (It depends on how much guilt you have.)
Alternatives: Wine/beer/cider.

You don't have anything for your pen-pal, and it's Christmas the next day. Get him or her an Amazon gift card because they can get it instantly when you email it or post it on his/her Facebook wall so the whole world knows what a sweetheart you are.
via Pinterest
Where: Amazon
Price: Up to you.
Alternatives: Big sites like Ebay also provide certificates you can use on the spot.

We can't be friends if you can't enjoy the happiness that is cake. How cool is this one below?
via Pinterest

Where: Your local bakery
Price: Who cares? You're already late!
Alternatives: They ran out, huh? Holiday donuts it is!

I was hoping I would come up with more creative presents, but this was more difficult than I thought...and I kinda waited until the last minute to make this list. Check out this helpful list from Gawker.

via Gawker

Tip: Gift-wrap items like gift bags and tissue paper, ribbons and bows, and fancy boxes give your present more polish and pizzazz. The best part is that it takes less than a minute to put together.

Up next, my very last gift guide of the year!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 Pretty Presents + From the high-rollers

Money =/= love, but I would say you probably spend more on close friends and family than on an acquaintance at work, amirite? If you can afford it "in this economy", why not drop a few extra dollars on those you're thankful to be with?
via Pinterest

My brothers and I got our dad an iPad 2 for his 60th (!) birthday this year, and he brings it everywhere. I will admit that it's both useful and easy to use. Also, it has some beautiful apps, so this tablet is definitely not an overrated product.
Where: Apple
Price: $499 - $829
Alternatives: If you don't mind buying from a personal seller, Ebay or Craigslist has much cheaper options. Just be careful!

This is beautiful.
Where: Design within Reach
Price: $275
Alternatives: This one's pretty different.

Give someone special the gift of a fancy breakfast in bed. Comes with flowers and a basket of muffins. You know how Ross feels about that (Youtube).
Where: Alchemist & Co. 
Price: $150
Alternatives: The site has a lot of other overpriced sweets and goodness. Swoooon.

I've heard of the automatic vacuums, but this is just ridiculous. Ridiculously awesome.

Where: Thinkgeek
Price: $1,999.99
Alternatives: Hire someone.

And of my favorite topics: VACATIONS.
I honestly would rather get a great experience than a very expensive object (unless that object is a brand new car). It's something that your lucky recipient will be talking about for years after, and you get to have a lot of fun too.
Hong Kong
Where: Rent a villa in Cuximala (just a small private estate in Mexico) for the holidays, spend the night in a boat...on a the middle of London, frolic with tall friends at the Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, go crazy at a resort in Thailand, surf at private beaches in New Zealand by helicopter, experience life in a glass dome in Scotland, paraglide in Oman, go shopping in Hong Kong, help stimulate the economy in Greece, stop by that little-known Burj Al Arab in Dubai, escape the cold by living in a bungalow in Bora Bora, or embrace the cold by going skiing in the Alps.  
Price: $$$$$
Giraffe Manor
Alternatives: Okay, I'd say most of us shouldn't splurge on the dream places listed above. But there are still some very exotic places you can go on a budget. If you look carefully, you can get plane tickets to Europe for around $500. Stuff to do in Asia is usually cheaper, and there is A LOT of stuff to do. Seriously, I once rode on an ostrich for $10. I would also consider going on a cruise with trips starting at around just $300-400. I think cruises are worth it for what you're getting, which is a nice room, endless amounts of food (The ship doctor diagnosed me with eating-too-much-ice-cream sickness when I complained about a stomachache. With a 24 hour buffet at hand, I didn't even question it. True story.), a different place to visit almost everyday, a variety of entertainment onboard, and best of all, the service is wonderful. They treat you like a prince/ss. On a local scale, a skiing trip, would cost you around just $50+ a person. A weekend in Vegas is always exciting. A couple days spent roadtripping thru your neighboring states would cost you very little if you're careful, and those states have some pretty wonderful sights.

My point is that even if you have a budget, you can give your family and friends an unforgettable vacation with careful planning. If you do sleep on bags of money, even better. Finish it off by marking your visited destination on your scratch map.

Get creative!
Up next, something for the...I'll tell you later.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday Wishes + #sixseasonsandamovie

and #twelveseasonsandathemepark!
via Buzzfeed
NBC needs to put Community back on their schedule. I know you're probably tired of hearing this, but give it a shot! I think it's a bit of an exaggeration to call it a show that is "changing television history", but it is undeniably heartwarming, quirky, and hilarious.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2011 Pretty Presents + For the host/ess

Give something to your host/esses this year to show them how much you appreciate their efforts. It's a busy month with all the holiday bashes they'll be throwing.
See #6.

Something for them to unwind and de-stress before that next big soiree.
via Arch Daily
Where: Your favorite spa
Price: I recommend getting at least a $100 gift certificate if you choose to buy one. Otherwise, they'll be paying for half the gift themselves.
Alternatives: Throw a spa party to return the favor.

Help them keep the guests happy with this foosball table.
Where: Amazon
Price: $174.49
Alternatives: This tabletop one is much cheaper.

This is gorgeous.
Where: A+R Store
Price: $140
Alternatives: You can move on to this after or just get a self-watering planter if fish aren't for you.

Hosts usually take great pride in their homes, and this Chickadee smoke detector is sure to have them cooing (did I already use that joke?) away.
Price: $66 (shipping varies)
Alternatives: Replace more unattractive household appliances with this cool-looking outlet.

Okay, this one might just be because I like cups and mugs (as you can see). But it's so pretty!
Where: Shop Modi
Price: $16 (+ $6 shipping)

Show her that you know she's much more than just a good cook with these jeweled earrings.
Price: $38
Alternatives: More options here.

Felted soap to keep your guests clean and entertained.
Where: Etsy
Price: $18 (+ $3 shipping)
Alternatives: More designs here.

I love tearing the perforated edges of paper towels, and I can't be the only one. I wonder how tearing these fancy cotton napkins would be like. My hands are tingly just thinking about it.
Where: A+R Store
Price: $28 (+ $9 shipping)
Alternatives: These are some napkins you can personalize.

I hate to say it, but in this day and age, calendars are becoming a little...unnecessary. We have everything on our computers and phones, and they give out plenty of free ones at banks/stores. If we like to write things down, we usually turn to a sensible-looking planner. But calendars are becoming more creative every year, so I always end up getting one anyway. I like this calendar because there's also a drawn recipe each month!
Where: They Draw and Cook (Check out the rest of their recipes too. They're adorable.)
Price: $16 (+ $6 shipping)
Alternatives: There's also the Bubble-wrap calendar and plenty of more on Etsy. If you just want calendars for their pictures, I would buy them a couple months after the new year. They go from $20 to $1.

Nikki McClure's beautiful paper-cuts. I have a print of hers on my wall!
Next up: a gift guide to keep even the biggest spenders busy. ☺