Tuesday, August 9, 2016

July Weekend Roadtrip

It has probably been at least two years since I have last visited Southern California.  Two weekends ago, we decided on a spontaneous roadtrip down I-5 to LA.  It was a much overdue visit, and a much greater needed getaway.

We started driving at 4:00 am on a full tank and without needing to stop for gas or bathroom breaks (thankfully!), we arrived at downtown LA at 9:15 am for my favourite breakfast/brunch spot, +Bottega Louie, just blocks away from my alma mater +FIDM.  How I wished they opened during my years there!

We stayed at +The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, chosen for its English heritage, elegant style, location, location, location, and of course, their proprietary Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood.  Although it was only one night, we made use of our two full days and ventured from Beverly Hills to Anaheim, and did not start driving back to SF until after dinner at 7:00 pm, getting back half hour after midnight on Sunday!

Hope you enjoy this slideshow of photos to sum up our weekend:

xoxo, Sanny

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Next Big Thing from Christian Louboutin: Rouge Lipsticks - Finally!

Louboutin Beauty just celebrated their one-year anniversary of their nail colour collection this July, and then yesterday, magazines, online media, and pretty much the entire beauty industry were crazed over the news that a lipstick collection will be launching in several weeks.

Introducing Louboutin Charme!
"Is it a lipstick, is it a pendant?!?
Have fun anyway!
★ Xtian"

Obviously, these are not only a lipstick; they are objets d'art, as with anything Louboutin creates.  With a ribbon threaded through the small loop atop the black or gold bullet (Rouge Louboutin, his iconic red, comes in black and all other colours come in gold), it allows the lipstick to be worn as a statement necklace.  Don't you hate digging through your bag for lipstick, lipgloss, lip-whatever?!  I admit, I get so lazy sometimes that I don't reapply and my lips get dry.  Perhaps this will solve that... or maybe it's my excuse to get one, or two, or even three!  I see some colours that I want to snatch up already.

There will be 38 shades offered in three luxurious textures: Sheer Voile, Velvet Matte, and Silky Satin, with names inspired by their iconic bags and shoes such as Bengali, Tres Decollete, Very Prive, and of course Rouge Louboutin.

The Sheer Voile Collection: 9 colours
For sheer to light coverage with a luminous shiny finish

The Velvet Matte Collection: 9 colours
For full coverage in a non-drying matte formula

The Silky Satin Collection: 20 colours
For medium to full coverage with a smooth, satiny finish
Photo credits (unless otherwise referenced): Christian Louboutin

Mademoiselle Chanel once said, "The best things in life are free.  The second best are very expensive."  How true her wisdom still holds since Louboutin Charme will cost you a pretty penny - $90 each.  I couldn't find any information on the size in ounces yet, but given its price, I hope these are no smaller than the luxury lipstick they just surpassed in terms of dollars.  Louboutin Charme will be available on us.christianlouboutin.com and at Saks Fifth Avenue this September, in time for the holiday season and parties!  It's the perfect stocking stuffer, too, in my opinion.
“After the eyes, lips represent the most expressive element of the face. And there’s the fetish appeal because lipstick can transform a face from intense, to naïve or even dangerous. When a woman makes up her lips, the rest of the face seemingly disappears. Unconsciously, she might become more aware of her lips and her elocution and expression. A red lip can speak volumes, think of the blood red mouth of Edith Piaf, helping the diva morph into a voice. Sporting lipstick is therefore often a signature for an accomplished woman.” ~ Christian Louboutin

xoxo, Sanny

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Palace Hotel Reinvented

Today marks the reopening of a San Francisco landmark: the Palace Hotel.  There is no where else in the world that mesmerizes me quite like this place.  I fall in love with its Garden Court every time I step into this breathtaking hotel.  Not only because of its apparent beauty, but considering the grandeur of its history - there is no where else on Earth such as the Palace.

The Palace Hotel was establish in 1875, rebuilt in 1909 (three years after the 1906 earthquake), and now 2015 unveils its new aesthetics.  After a multi-million-dollar renovation that began in April, a revamped fitness center, indoor pool, 556 guest rooms, and last but not least, the iconic Garden Court, have all been redesigned by Beatrice Girelli of Indidesign to usher in a contemporary design.

The Garden Court, also known as the "Palm Court" we know of today, was once called the Grand Court, and have now been renamed as the GC Lounge.  With the renovation comes my greatest dismay: the Garden Court, or shall I say GC Lounge, will not be offered as an event venue any longer!  This means that only the surrounding ballrooms (Ralston Room, Grand Ballroom, and Gold Ballroom), French Parlor, and the Sunset Court are available.  I can't help but to feel that a piece of the Garden Court has been taken away.

This past weekend, I stopped by the Palace to see its status of renovation.  I was lucky enough to be shown the GC Lounge before it was revealed today.  To be honest, the room did not feel the same.  Sure, the stained glass ceiling was intact, the giant Italian marble columns were still surrounding the room with grace, and the Austrian chandeliers still hung in absolute elegance, but what had changed were the flooring, furniture, and setup of the room.  I immediately noticed that the great GC Lounge was partitioned off into two sections by these dark wooden dividers.  The white mirrored garden-style dividers you see below behind the center floral arrangement is gone.  Moreover, all the furniture were dark and the chair backings did not appear to be angled like before to allow guests to comfortably gaze at the entirety of the room while seated.  This is a room of light, yet the colors of the new furnishing do not reflect the essence of the room's permanent styling.  I even dislike calling it the GC Lounge; it degrades the place to sound like many of the late-night social clubs around downtown San Francisco.  "Garden Court" was classic, regal, and a timeless testament to the hotel's rich history.
"There is a moment in every lifetime
when you must open the door
and let the future in."
I will say that the guestrooms benefited the greatest from the renovation.  Although they are now completely modern, the custom details and upgrades definitely makes the rooms worth staying in!  Rooms start at $274 per night in August.

The Garden Court, as I will always remember it
Photo credit: Palace Hotel

The guestroom before. I stayed here once and admit it was a bit dated.
Photo credit: Palace Hotel

The guestroom now exudes modern luxury!
Even the bed cover is embroidered with their logo:
Two phoenix rising - how fitting especially for their renovation!
Photo credit: Palace Hotel

New bathroom fixtures to include lighted mirrors and marble countertops
Photo credit: Palace Hotel

Corridors with new paint, light fixtures, and carpeting
Photo credit: Palace Hotel

Fitness center
Photo credit: Palace Hotel

The 60' × 20' indoor swimming pool
Photo credit: Palace Hotel

A December to Remember: my birthday in 2012,
One of many celebrations I had at the Garden Court

xoxo, Sanny

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Battle of the Birkin Bag

Jane Birkin, courtesy of Today.com
British actress and singer Jane Birkin, the namesake behind one of the most iconic and sought-after handbags in the world (waiting lists have been known to be up to six years long in the past!), have asked Hermès to remove her name from their crocodile bag.

Birkin's request to the Parisian luxury house came after she saw a graphic PETA video documenting the cruel and inhumane methods of killing reptiles at crocodile farms Padenga in Zimbabwe and Lone Star Alligator Farm in Winnie, Texas (a subsidiary of Padenga since September 21, 2012).

This 2014 fuchsia Birkin 35 with 18K white gold and diamond hardware was sold
last month for a record HK$1.17 million (US$222,928) at Christie's in Hong Kong
"Having been alerted to the cruel practices reserved for crocodiles during their slaughter to make Hermès handbags carrying my name... I have asked Hermès to debaptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place." - Jane Birkin
Warning: The cervical dislocation in this video is gruesome!

Hermès responded to Jane with this statement:
"Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast.  [...]  An investigation is underway at the Texas farm which was implicated in the video.  Any breach of rules will be rectified and sanctioned.  [...]  Hermès specifies that this farm does not belong to them and that the crocodile skins supplied are not used for the fabrication of Birkin bags.  Hermès imposes on its partners the highest standards in the ethical treatment of crocodiles."

How did Jane Birkin become the muse of this Hermès bag?  It was 1981 when Jane sat next to Hermès' CEO, Jean-Louis Dumas, on a flight from Paris to London.  When Jane placed her straw bag into the overhead compartment, the contents of her bag fell to the floor.  She then commented to Dumas on how it was a challenge to find a leather weekend bag she liked.  Subsequently, Dumas created a supple black leather bag for her in 1984, called it the Birkin bag, and a star was born!

This has been the biggest, most controversial news involving the fashion industry in a long time - it's potentially game-changing!  Unfortunate that this news comes in such terrible context, but at the very least, it has generated worldwide awareness for the ethical treatment of crocodiles, alligators, and hopefully other animals killed for this industry as well.  Moreover, this event pushes leading luxury manufacturers to be more consciously aware of their business practices and hopefully this will trickle down to other retailers to follow suit.  So companies beware!  More than ever, this is a conscious consumers' market and people today are resourceful and LOUD!

Nearly eight years ago while at FIDM, I wrote a paper on corporate social responsibility (CSR).  I argued that,
"CSR is gradually transforming from merely a corporate responsibility into a business necessity."
The time is now and in the case of Hermès, the audience has reached the top of the luxury handbag chain.  The notion of companies reexamining their business practices to ensure social responsibility is no longer a corporate discretion.  Companies who fail to adopt socially responsible business models risk lasting damaging exposure.

Take action and write to Hermès here.  Over 69 thousand people have already done so, including myself!

xoxo, Sanny

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Happy National Lipstick Day!

In honor of National Lipstick Day today, I thought it would be fitting to write about my two all-time favorite lipsticks from Shiseido (above) and Clé de Peau Beauté (below).

For Day...
Shiseido Shimmering Rouge in 'Stiletto'
I like a pretty pink, but I'm really particular about this color.  It cannot be a peachy-pink.  Rather, it has to be a lavender pink, but still more pink than purple, if that makes sense.  In the case of Shiseido, my favorite lipcolor is no. PK407, called 'Stiletto' - How appropriately named, combining two things I love: the color pink and shoes... think Christian Louboutin So Kate in Rosette!  This is the most flattering pink that does not look too Barbie-doll.  As the name suggests, it is a shimmering lipstick so it contains shimmer, but they are micro-fine shimmer that adds iridescence to the lipcolor and are never gritty.  This would be my everyday lipstick, but I run through tubes of these like madness, given its ounces below, making Clé de Peau Beauté a better deal!
Shiseido Shimmering Rouge, 0.07 oz.: $25.00

For Night...
CDPB Extra Rick Lipstick in 'Dark Red'
I love a deep red.  It cannot have any coral tones in it.  It has to be a blue-red, and the darker the shade, the better!  Unfortunately, my beloved R1 lipstick from Clé de Peau Beauté called 'Black Baccara' (inspired by the black baccara rose) has been discontinued.  This Vitamin A Acetate lipstick adds a rich layer of color and intense moisture with each application, like Loro Piana cashmere for your lips!  Luckily, when I bought mine, I bought two.  My cardinal rule of shopping: if you absolutely LOVE it, buy a second one!  That should last me a while until I find a worthy replacement.
CDPB Extra Rich Lipstick, 0.14 oz.: $65.00*
*Refill $40, lipstick holder $25 (It's gorgeous!)

xoxo, Sanny

Monday, July 27, 2015

Russell Jew's 1st Annual 29th Bday!

One of my closest friends of 14 years recently turned the big three-oh, and to celebrate this milestone, we had a party last Friday night at the Drake.

I don't remember how exactly we became friends, but I remember we met in Mr. Tanisawa's math class at Westmoor.  I sat right behind him and observed how he would not remain in his seat for more than five minutes without making his rounds around the classroom starting conversations with everyone.  That was Russell, then and now, a real people-person.  The teacher eventually gave him the nickname, "Wandering Jew."

Before I knew it, we became best friends.  I remember leaving school every day in his old Caddy; it was his parents' wedding car.  Russell was also my shopping companion.  He is one guy who never complained about too much shopping, even through all those semi-annual sales!  He also gave me my first Chanel item - Chanel Chance (I have kept the empty bottle and box in pristine condition after all these years).  One time we were walking through the cosmetics department in Nordstrom Stonestown, we passed by the Chanel counter, and I briefly mentioned that it was my favorite fragrance.  It was Chanel Chance's debut year and I instantly fell in love with the scent, the color, and all of its marketing, but for whatever reason, I did not think of treating myself to it.  Months later, he surprised me with my very own bottle for my birthday.  I did not expect him to remember or to have even paid attention to my fleeting comment!  He is truly one of the most thoughtful and generous person I know.

So when I asked Russell what he wanted to do for this birthday this year, he said he booked the entire second floor of the Drake and wanted to spend time with all his friends.  I really wanted to make this the most memorable birthday for him.  I helped him with the catering, sourcing the vendor and placing the order, but what makes something memorable and special?  Personalization!  Without his knowledge and only a week to put together a stylish Sanny-type-of-soirée, I designed a golden 20-pound birthday cake, ordered 150 adorable caricature cookies of his best smile, and had his photo and birthday messages printed onto colorful classic M&M chocolates.  #OnlyforRussell!

As he called it his "1st Annual 29th Birthday,"
here are some highlights from the event:

It's the sweet life

10" custom almond cake made with vanilla Swiss meringue
buttercream and fresh peaches (May through October only)

The gracious folks at Parker's Crazy Cookies worked
with me draft after draft to combine these two photos:
To create these one-of-a-kind treats!
There's enough of Russell to go around!

Setting up this martini tower was nerve-wracking!
Even watching it afterwards gave me anxiety!

Personalized Russell M&M's in light blue, platinum, and silver

Gorgeous chandeliers and ambient lighting at Drake
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Making perfect crêpes double time!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Even though everyone had dinner before coming,
who can resist crêpes?!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Makings of a savory galette: smoked salmon,
sour cream, and green onion
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Roasted butternut squash salad, prosciutto melon wraps,
and bacon wrapped stuffed dates
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Cucumber herb and hummus avocado tea sandwiches
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Another round for the birthday boy!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Bottoms up!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

All 30 candles at once!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Flame's too bright!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Huffin' and puffin' but I can't blow it out!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

There you go (cheater)!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

The happy dance
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Oh snap!
Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

Photo credit: Glass Art Photos

| Venue: Drake SF | Cake: Pretty Please Bakeshop | Cookies: Parker's Crazy Cookies |
| Martini chocolates: My M&M's | Fresh crêpes: Brittany Crêpes | Small plates: Whole Foods Catering |

May your birthday bring you
Many More Incredible Milestones.
Wishing you the very best,
Today and Always!

xoxo, Sanny

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Favourites

  1. The Devil's Tears

  2. Share Your Air

  3. Take Your Time

  4. Alien

  6. Photo credit: Slufoot

  7. Photo credit: Danny Lamas

  8. Photo credit: Michael Burns' Pin

  9. Photo credit: Live + Move
  10. Photos
  11. Didn't have time to get my nails done this past week, so I did it myself!

  12. A friend took me stargazing.
    It's not every day you can see thousands of lightyears away!

  13. My loot after waiting 1.5 hours in line
    at the Hello Kitty Cafe food truck at Santana Row!

  14. Happy Earth Day from San Francisco ♥

  15. My first attempt at fruit bento.
    I call her Usagi Strawberry Queen!

xoxo, Sanny