Category Archives: friends

Back to School, Back to Beauty: Soak Nails


I start back at school in just over a week.  Needless to say, that requires some shopping (yay!) and some basic grooming. Working from home all summer, and honestly not getting it out all that much to socialize outside of with friends, I’ve kind of let things go a bit.

Coincidentally, Spa Week starts next week. And you better believe I’ll be taking full advantage of those $50 treatments…massage one day, a facial the next. Can’t wait.

Officially, I started the grooming process last week. A friend invited me to Soak Nails in Encino. My friend was attracted to this Nail Spa from across the city. She was interested in the fact that they used Spa Ritual Nail Lacquers (they’re vegan polishes that are free of DBP, formaldehyde and toluene from parent company Orly). And who wouldn’t want a much needed, luxurious pedicure. You better believe I went along with it.

It’s located in a strip mall off Ventura with valet parking. In LA, free valet in a covered garage is a pretty good score. There’s even a Coffee Bean if you want to get your caffeine fix before heading in.

Once you enter, you’ll notice that it’s not like any other nail salon. First off, it looks more like a spa than a nail salon – and it smells more like a spa than a nail salon. There’s a front desk where you sign in and check out. From there they take you to the waiting room space where you can relax and check out the glossy magazines. Your tech will pick you up from there and escort you to your chair.


The chair set up is quite amazing. They have gauzy curtains hanging between each station that they pull back if you’re there with a friend, but otherwise, lend an air of privacy. The foot basin is probably the most comfortable set up I’ve experienced. I could actually sit back and relax and not have to sit in any sort of uncomfortable position while the gal worked on me (then again, maybe other people don’t have issues with this).

You don’t sift through bottles and bottles of color. Instead, they have nail swatches (for lack of a better word) at each station and you pick your color by number. The cool thing here, they actually log your number in your account so you can pick the same nail color (or technician) the next time you stop in. I love that personalized touch.

They have the pretty standard, higher-end priced packages (I’ll let you read that yourself) with the difference extras that can be added on. It’s definitely more expensive than your average corner nail salon, but the experience alone makes it worth it (in my case, for my 3 month or so splurge). And much like at a spa, they’ll provide you with lemon water, cappuccinos or a variety of teas while you get pampered.


I only have two complaints with the experience…1) my massage chair didn’t seem to work as well as most other spa chairs – it seemed pretty weak and only lasted about 10 minutes or so and 2) the leg massage my gal provided was a little weak – that could have been my fault since I didn’t speak up (was too engrossed in catching up with my friend).

It’s been a week and my toes still look amazing. I can’t say my flip-flop wearing soles have fared quite as well, but that’s fine. It’s nothing a little pumice file or ped-egg and a good lotion can’t fix. What’s more important to me is that the polish not only lasts, but still looks good, hasn’t worn off and the color is still true with plenty of shine.

The shorter, to the point, Twitterized version…Went to Soak Nails and loved it. They treat you well with great personalized touches. Colors are amazing. Definitely worth the splurge!

PS – I got in a bit of trouble taking these photos and had to talk my way into allowing them to let me keep them. Otherwise, there would be more to really showcase the place.

The Rarely Talked About Side Effect of Blogging

When I first started blogging, I never really gave much thought to the fact that people would be reading my thoughts. During this time, I was already keeping an online journal where I did have people reading my thoughts. And as you would expect, you write differently for both situations.

When I got started, I didn’t even let anyone outside of my husband (who I believe doesn’t bother to read anything I write – though for all I know, I could be wrong) know that I was blogging.

So of course, as time went on, my readership increased. As my readership increased, I felt more comfortable letting others know about it. I went so far as to tell my friends to add me to their Reader or to subscribe to my blog emails.

And now, as goofy as it sounds, I kinda, almost, sorta, but not exactly, regret that move.

In many ways I feel like my privacy has been invaded. Well, not really, I mean, I am inviting the world and all her friends over to read what I write. I sometimes feel like I can’t share what’s going on in my life because it either involves my friends, or people that specifically know me or my friends.

You know, I seem to have lost that sense of anonymity.

Sometimes I have things that are going on in my life that I’d love to write about and share. But I’m always afraid that my friends will either recognize themselves (or just assume I’m talking about them whether I am or not) or they’ll be bothered that I’m writing about them at all.

The tough thing though, is that when you share your life for so long (over 6 years now, give or take) that it’s not easy having to having to censor my sharing like that. It’s almost like not being able to talk with closest friend about something that’s personal and just need to share.

Has anyone else felt this way about blogging and their loss of anonymity? I mean, how does Dooce do it?

You Can Get Over Your Break up in 21 Days!!

My real-life, good friend Lisa Steadman, relationship coach extraordinaire and best selling author, has a brand new book coming out today that will seriously rock your world if you’re going through a breakup or struggling to heal and move on from past heartbreak.

It’s called It’s A Breakup, Not A Breakdown The Workbook: A 21 Day Action Plan To Plot Your Revenge, Spoil Yourself, And Find Out How Good Life Is Without Him.

It’s a pretty great title, isn’t it?

Based on her private coaching practice working with women as they heal their hearts and reinvent their futures, this interactive workbook includes daily exercises and worksheets to help you:

  • Find an amazing support system to accelerate your recovery
  • Grieve like a widow so you can feel your pain without judging it
  • Let yourself off the hook for letting some guy treat you so poorly
  • Incorporate healthy and nurturing behavior into your new daily routine
  • Understand why The Big Breakup is more excruciating and more exquisite than any breakup you’ll ever go through
  • Identify and release any fears that may be holding you back
  • Get clear about why your relationship ended, why it’s for the best, and what you really want in life and love

And so much more!

When you follow Lisa’s customized 21 day recovery action plan, you’ll heal your heart in record time. Plus, you’ll get clearer about what you’ll no longer put up with in life and love, identify your core values, and create a vision of the future that is oh-so-fabulous!

Lisa is offering her brand new workbook along with a bundle of incredible FREE bonus gifts worth over $1,000 and special discounts on pampering and sassy products — and you can have it ALL for less than $16!

But to get the workbook AND bonus gifts, you must act now. She’s only making this offer for the first 24 hours. And when you see the valuable bonuses she’s offering (from other phenomenal coaches, healers, and experts), you’ll know this is an irresistible offer.

To get all the juicy details, GO HERE.

I just found out the other night at my birthday dinner that Lisa’s coaching tools helped one of my good friends work through her divorce.  Talk about a small world – you better believe I introduced them to each other right then and there! So trust me when I say, if you’re going struggling through the aftermath of a breakup, this will help you to survive, heal your heart and move on.

Like many of us, Lisa has lived the messy breakup.  She knows what she’s talking about.  Having seen an advanced copy of the workbook, you’re going to love her no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is, sassy style!  So tell your family, friends and coworkers, or anyone that needs to get on with their love life after that breakup to pick up a copy of this book.

Yes, she’s that good.

I Seem to Have App Envy

The question is…do they have an app for that?  I mean they have apps for everything these days. Though I am a bit confused as to why anyone would need a shaking baby app, but well, maybe I just don’t get it since I’m not a mom and all that.

But really, I am quite envious. My Blackberry is cool and all that, but it can’t split a restaurant bill quickly and easily. And it doesn’t have a fake Zippo lighter that I can whip out at concerts. Yeah, app envy.

I mentioned it to the hubs and he was kind enough to remind me that if we weren’t having a party on Saturday, then maybe I’d have myself an iPhone today. But let’s face it…birthday parties with friends…so cool!

And I don’t need an app for THAT! 😉

Respondez Vous S’il Vous Plait

Okay, I’m going to go on a bit of a rant here, please forgive me.  But why is it that some people seem to have such challenges responding to an invitation?

I know I’m not alone here as I heard about it (and experienced it first hand) during the wedding planning days. Yes, I had more people show up to our wedding than responded to the invitation (and one guy was even kind enough to show up in jeans and with a pretty skanky mistress date!)

rsvpTo me it’s quite simple…if someone has to make reservations, pay money, order food or drinks or just plan something out right, then it’s important to RSVP.  You can’t just ignore each and every contact they send.  More importantly, you can’t just show up at the event and expect to be welcomed with open arms.

It’s just rude.

So I’m sure you can see where this is going.  Yes, I still have not heard from a good chunk of the people that I have invited to my dinner next weekend.  And yes, I do need to get cracking on making those reservations and ordering the cake and booze.  I’m not sure what to do next.

I sent out a “save the date” email (yes, lame to do it via email, but it was all kind of short notice and I wanted to give folks as much advance notice to avoid the whole missing RSVP thing – yeah, that’s working in my favor here, I see).  I sent out the actual evite.  I then sent out an email to everyone (local) that either hadn’t yet opened the evite or hadn’t yet responded to remind them to let me know if they could make it so I could make reservations.

Did it work?

Well, it got me four more RSVPs, but I still have about ten more people that I’m waiting on.  I even made sure to point out that gifts aren’t expected, that I just want to share the day with friends.  I really don’t know what to do now.  I’m totally fine estimating up on the headcount, but to be honest, it kind of sucks.

I’m kind of thinking that if I have to go through hoops to get friends to join me in a birthday celebration, then maybe it’s not the celebration that’s the issue. No, this isn’t a whiny post (well, it might be a little whiny – I mean whining and ranting are so closely related – but it’s not a “woe is me” sort of thing). I mean, I didn’t get to be on the verge of 40 wondering about who my friends are.

Life happens, sometimes you have the best intentions, but sometimes you just can’t make something.  I get it.  It happens to all of us from time to time. But if someone is going above and beyond asking for an RSVP, then please, take a moment to send an email, a text, leave a message, or just check a little box.  It won’t take much time on your end, and it will make things much easier on their end.  Trust me.

The moral here…RSVP dammit!

Okay, on to much more important things to focus on this beautiful Friday…

Happy May Day to you all!


The Birthday Plans Continue


Things are progressing along nicely in LA Blogger Gal’s 40th Birthday Extravaganza planning. I do believe I’ve settled on a location.  With luck, we’ll be outside in this amazing garden setting, chowing down on Greek food (my fave!).  A friend of mine recommended the location from a place where she’s eaten before.  And since she’s held staff meetings there, she also knew they could accommodate groups.

I’m still not crazy about the corkage fee, but with luck, I can use this recession in my favor and negotiate her down.  Worse case, we just provide champagne instead of wine and champagne.  In turn, we’ll provide some appetizers as well.  It should be fun.

I need that headcount though so I can either order my cake (mmmm….Porto’s cakes, c’est ci bon!) or go with cupcakes (mmm…those strawberry lemonade cupcakes from Layers Cupcakes – but ohhhhh, the price).  Cupcakes totally rock, and don’t require any cutting, but man, they’re a small fortune compared to just getting a cake.  And let me just say, that Chocolate Grand Marnier sounds incredible.

And now, after poking around Porto’s website, I’m jonesin’ for a potato ball.  Guess where I’ll be going later today?

And of course in the midst of all my party planning, I was called out by and out-of-town friend that reads my blog for not inviting her.  Seems I was so focused on my local friends and getting things moving, that I didn’t get around to inviting those that I knew wouldn’t come, but would still want to be invited.  Same thing goes for the in-laws.  I still need to invite them even though I know they won’t come.

I never can really think of things that I want for my birthday (for some reason, I guess because we pick names and do lists I can for Christmas).  Then again, it doesn’t help that from the hub’s I’ll be getting my party (no other gifts there) and from my closest friend back in NM, money is tight.  So if someone where to ask me what I want, all I’d really be able to suggest is that dry cleaning/garment bag at Delight (wow, they really do need to work on their site – that “share this” post didn’t even share a link or photo, or description), a whisk, a digital frame and my new white dream purse (which is apparently others’ dream purse as well since Zappos is running low). Ooh, and I think I’d like this book…The Think Big Manifesto: Think You Can’t Change Your Life (and the World) Think Again.

Okay, off to sit down with the hubs over a bowl of oatmeal.  Love lazy Sundays.

PS – Speaking of birthday celebrations…Happy Birthday Ju-Ju Coop!

It’s Almost That Time


Yes…it’s almost my 40th birthday!

Holy cow, I can’t believe I’m going to be 40.  Remember when you were just a kid and forty just seemed OLD.  Well according to Sephora (and their Beauty Insider email), I’ll be 40 in less than two weeks.

Oh.My.God!  Less than two weeks!

Maybe we should put a little perspective in place here.  I’m not freaking out because I’m turning 40.  At all.  In fact, I tend to think of it more as a rite of passage and a title that I’ve earned.  Now turning 30, that was an entirely different story and scared the shit out of me.

No, what I’m concerned with is that I’ve yet to plan my party.  And I’ve yet to plan anything for our 5th wedding anniversary that happens mere days before – but I’m choosing to push that aside as we’ll more than likely celebrate later with a weekend away somewhere.

So back to the birthday extravaganza…

I sent out a save the date email last week some time – classy, I know.  Last night I sent out the evites – super classy, I know.  Today, I only have two RSVPs!  Which again, I guess I can’t really worry about since well, I haven’t actually finalized the restaurant location either.  Or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself.  Though at least I have narrowed the location down…to somewhere in West Hollywood.

I was originally thinking about Amalfi on La Brea.  I love that place.  Very romantic (or in this case…celebratory), great food and good prices.  But…they’ve got a $20 a bottle corkage fee and their menu doesn’t change outside of the daily specials (which for Italian is kind of odd, at least here in LA).  The manager also didn’t seem too keen on my wanting to have a party on a Saturday night.  So I guess, if he’s not that interested in our business, I can look elsewhere.

So maybe some of you LA gals can help me out.

I’m looking for a restaurant in Hollywood, West Hollywood or Mid-City, that can easily handle 25-30 people.  Menu has to be about $20-30 per person.  We’d like to bring in our own wines so we can cover at least that part of the meal, so we need a decent corkage fee.  At the $20 a bottle fee that Amalfi charges,  we’d be looking at a small fortune just in the corkage fees (not counting the cost of the wine itself), so we’re hoping to find something more tolerable.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Okay, now it’s back to business for me.  I have a gazillion emails to get out today for upcoming contest giveaways

And yes, I know I still need to pick a winner and send out that thank you giftie for giving me the names of some of your favorite products to check out (a long, long time ago).  I haven’t forgot about that…I just haven’t found the time.  I will.

photo by Cafemama

Damn, I Forgot.

Don’t you hate when you walk around all day with a blog post in your head. Not just any blog post, you know…a damn good blog post. And poof! it’s gone by the time you finally get to sitting down and writing.

I hate that.

Oh well.

It happens to everyone.

I mean, it does happen to others, right? Like it’s happened to you too, right? I’m not all alone here, right? Oh please tell me that I’m not alone in this.

I Feel Even More Fashion Challenged Than Before

I had my first virtual styling session yesterday. It was pretty cool. First I had to send over the photos I mentioned the other day. Then we had to open a Skype video chat. Messing with the lighting was a little tough, but I think I got it right.

Thing is, I really do feel more fashion challenged than when I went in. When I started, I was under the assumption that I was doing it all wrong and had totally NO sense of style. Yet I was complemented on my photos and my overall “casual” style across the pictures. I was even told that I looked better than I had the last time we saw each other (which translated to that last outfit as having been horribly unflattering). Not exactly what I was expecting.

I was also told that Ill be needing some new shoes (she hated ALL my shoes with the exception of my casual, non-sneaker, Privos – I think just because they’re not actually sneakers) and basically all of my purses. I was actually told that I’m too young (and too sassy and funny) for the Coach bag look. So I guess I’ll be heading out for a new purse after all.

There’s still much more ahead. Purging, dying, cutting, and shopping, oh my! But I think my end assignment will be to learn how to take my “casual” wardrobe and step it up a notch. You know, get more comfortable wearing dresses and makeup on an every day sort of scale. I need to learn how to get dressed using my entire closet, not just a portion of my closet. Not really having an “I-can’t-wear-this-I-just-work-from-home” category, so to speak.

I’m not so sure I’m ready for all of this. Let me just say, it’s all some scary shit if you ask me.

Looking for Make-Ahead Recipes

Calling all my cooking friends…

A good friend of mine is about due to have baby #2. I don’t believe they need much, so I figured instead of a gift they probably don’t need, I’d make them some food. I figure this will make things easier for them and will be much appreciated.


I’m thinking about things that can be frozen and pulled out when needed. I have a vacuum sealer, so I can use that. Or I can just use throwaway casserole dishes (I know, I know – they’ll recycle, don’t worry). To the best of my knowledge, they’ll eat practically anything and aren’t all that picky.

So I’m asking you, my bloggie friends, for suggestions on what to make, how much to make, and what a new #2 mom might want. Any suggestions?  Chili?  Soup? Baked pasta? I’d like to avoid something that they could pick up for themselves pre-made at some place like Costco or the grocery store.

What do you suggest?