Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Favourites

  1. CHANEL N°5: The One That I Want - The Film
    My new favourite song of the moment!

  2. Winner of Best Filminute 2014: "Tuck Me In" by Ignacio F. Rodó
    This scary short film will surprise and linger with you...

  3. Charlotte Olympia glow-in-the-dark kitty shoes
    Just when you thought these signature flats couldn't be reinvented any more!

    A photo posted by Charlotte Olympia (@charlotte_olympia) on

  4. Maki's costume this year: a royal prince!
    I think royalty is in his blood, don't you think?

  5. No tricks, just treats!
    Pumpkin brioche cake (shared, of course) + pumpkin spice latte (♥ the latte art!)

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Diamond Tears Sally Sohn Edition

Since Halloween is just a day away, I thought it would be the perfect time to share this very rare creepy crawly...

All my arachnophobia subsided when I saw this spider encrusted with 5.56-carats of black diamonds glistening atop the faceted headphone plated in 18-carat white gold.  This is Monster's limited edition Diamond Tears, a special collaboration launched in 2013 with Los Angeles-based Korean jewellery designer, Sally Sohn!
“The creation of the Diamond Tears Sally Sohn Edition was truly a labour of love for us, and being able to work with such a talented, ahead-of-the-curve designer as Sally to create such a special, museum-quality work of art was really the icing on the cake.” ~ Noel Lee, Founder and CEO of Monster Cable Products, Inc.
It took more than 100 hours of master hand craftsmanship to create this work of art. What makes this headphone even more exclusive, besides being a one-of-a-kind, is that it came all the way across the pond from Harrods in Knightsbridge, London!  Those who are familiar with this luxury department store very well know that this prestigious retailer does everything grand, and given the precious materials and time it took to create this masterpiece, this limited edition product is no exception.  So, what is the grand price of this sonic spider?  £20,000 - approximately $30K USD.

In an interview with beauty and style blogger Ree, Sally Sohn explained:
“Like all of Monster’s critically acclaimed Diamond Tears headphones, the Sally Sohn Edition Headphone was designed to deliver music with clarity.  Diamond Tears is fashion to be both seen and heard.  Like all Monster audio products, they provide next-generation Pure Monster Sound.”
With the Diamond Tears Sally Sohn Edition, it is evident that the Brisbane-based company is committed to fusing fashion with technology.  This work of art is truly a head-turner!  Many thanks to my friend Jon at Monster for bringing me this!  You sure know how to delight a girl - with diamonds!

Product packaging, like a piece of fine jewellery on display

L'Araignée noire = black spider

Headphone pouch, cleaning cloth and spray, and a Monster cable, of course!

Another headphone cable, but this one with a volume button,
encrusted with a Swarovski crystal

Top view of headphone: Diamond Tears logo

Left ear cover with another jewel

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award
Copy (CTRL+C) and paste (CTRL+V) the badge code:

Good news!  Few days ago, this blog was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by the gracious +Emily Eairheart of Pumpkin Emily Smiles.  Thanks so much Emily, you're a gem!

So what now?  I think the purpose of this award is not only to recognize blogs we admire, but also to generate exposure and build a following.  Apparently, this is done so by adhering to a set of award rules (listed below).  In the end, it comes down to paying this honor forward!
  1. Thank the lovely person who nominated your blog
    and follow them, preferably on Bloglovin'!
  2. Display the award and add this set of rules to your post
    so that your nominees will know what to do.
  3. Nominate 15 other lovely blogs, listing them in your post
    and notifying them via a link in one of their blog posts.
  4. List 7 interesting facts about yourself to the post,
    hopefully something not yet mentioned in your blog.
Here are 15 of the loveliest blogs, in no particular ranking:

Here are the 7 tidbits about yours truly, me!
  1. Sanny says, "No detail is too small to regard as insignificant."
    This is my motto in everything I see, smell, hear, taste, feel and DO!
  2. I was born in Hong Kong, raised in San Francisco, and left my heart in London.
    My family immigrated to the U.S. in 1991, before Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997.  My two younger siblings and I grew up in the SF Peninsula, which may have attributed to my love for cold weather and rain!  Even before I first visited England in December 2011, I already knew I loved London; from its architecture, culture, landscape, palaces, shopping, tea salons to their formality and the way they celebrate Christmas!  It is the only place outside of San Francisco which always feels like home to me.
  3. I am a self-taught HTML, CSS, PhotoShop, and website design perfectionist.
    It started out as a hobby during summer break back in middle school.  I learned the basics from Lissa Explains It All, a website for kids filled with resource and tutorial on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.  As for the JavaScript part, I usually referenced Dynamic Drive.  To this day, I like to see the source, so I code everything by hand.  Coding to me is like a puzzle, putting together a bigger picture.  However, each "puzzle piece" or code is very specific and there are no room for margin of errors when you hand-code, or else the whole thing fails to work.  I suppose this is truly where I learned to be particular about things, specifically my work and anything I create or design.  I like to consider myself equal parts techie and makeup artist; I know as much about coding as I do about putting on makeup - the work speaks for itself!
  4. I have been a Titanic fan ever since I was a kid.
    Since reading about RMS Titanic in a textbook in elementary school, I have been fascinated by its early 1900's grandeur, legacy, mystery, and tragic story.  Before James Cameron's epic 1997 film, all that there were about the Titanic were either written works or documentaries.  Then Leo and Kate's magical performance as Jack and Rose brought the Titanic to life on the big screen.  Needless to say, it instantly became my favorite movie as a teenager.  My parents even bought me the VHS - remember those? Then... some time last year, I came across an online news article that even I didn't fully believe at first: Australian self-made billionaire, Professor Clive Palmer who is known for his big ideas, is going to give back to the world what it lost over 100 years ago - Titanic II!  Imagine my excitement when I realized that we (as in the modern world) would have a chance to sail on the world's most famous and opulent ship - thought to be lost forever, until now.  There would be no greater dream-come-true!  My only fear, perhaps two, is obviously how much I would need to save up, and with global exposure and anticipation, I fear the demand for cabins would exceed its supply.
  5. Things I consume myself with: floral arrangement, event planning, coding, and tea!
    I can easily say these are my hobbies, my favorite pastimes - things I love to do and could spend hours on.
    • My mum and I both love flowers: her growing them; me cultivating and putting them in pretty arrangements.  This could be cut flowers or plants, to give and keep.
    • When it comes to organizing a celebration, themed party, or get-together of close friends, I tend to go all-out from custom invitations I create and deliver, fancy table settings, to importing elderflower cordials from the UK.  Simply put, planning a special event is not a task I take lightly.  See the Birthday Soirées post from April.
    • As I mentioned above about hand-coding HTML/CSS for web design, you can say this is the nerdy part of me, but this is something I truly enjoy doing.  Time passes by really fast when I am working on a web project or when I am trying to fix a bug.
    • For those who know me well enough, they know that I am a tea fanatic - British tea, to be exact.  Almost every two years, I bring back a suitcase full of Fortnum & Mason tins, enough to last me two years or until my next trip to London!  Needless to say, I am also an English afternoon tea addict.  There are several afternoon tea rooms in San Francisco I frequent and enjoy, but I cannot help but to imagine what I would do differently, perhaps better, if I had my own tea salon.  Until that day comes, I will be doing more market research!
  6. If I could learn 2 recreational talents, it would be the piano and flying a private jet.
    The grand piano is my favorite instrument of all time, and has been ever since I was taking lessons in Hong Kong. I have forgotten much of the skill, but if I had the time and the right tutor, I would love to play again. As for a pilot's license, I think that would be the ultimate license to have; there would be no greater feeling of freedom, plus in case of emergencies, right?
  7. It is not DONE until it is PERFECT
    When I went visit my cousin at Facebook headquarters last year, there were quotes all over the IT department's walls. A pair of quotes in particular stood out me:
    Done is better than perfect; Perfect is better than done.
    Although I really liked the quote, it did not feel quite complete. Then I had a eureka moment and realized because to me, nothing is DONE until it is PERFECT - now that too, has become my motto!
By the way...
Going back to "paying it forward," I noticed several other images online for this award, which were created by various bloggers.  Seeing that I am to pay this honor forward to others, I decided to design my own lovely badge for my nominees (and myself) to display. So nominees, please feel free to use the badge above by copying and pasting the code, or by saving the image itself. Cheers!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Touch of Grandma Forever

I  had a necklace made as a memorabilia of my grandma who had passed away a little over two months ago.  The keepsake is a heart pendant necklace cast from an impression of her fingerprint and solidified in solid 14K yellow gold.  What makes the jewelry even more special is the custom engraving and the blue zircon birthstone - not only did we share the same birth month, we had the same birth date!

I   waited nearly two months for this necklace, but when it arrived, Teresa Chan, Arrangement Director at Cypress Lawn, was so kind in delivering it herself to my work!  Before I placed the order via the Precious Memories brochure, I searched online for images or samples of this necklace that perhaps other people have made, but unfortunately, there was not much to reference except the company website.  Lucky, the $964 necklace turned out better than expected!  It is much shinier in person and the detail of the fingerprint is very pronounced.  I had felt that my previous post about my Por Por's passing was incomplete until this necklace arrived.  Now, I can truly put things to rest and wear this memorabilia with a full heart.

Front view showing the details of the fingerprint

Back view custom engraving: "Forever My Por Por"
plus a serial number I believe

My Por Por during our last Chinese New Year,
enjoying her favorite chrysanthemum tea before dinner!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Strawberry Macaron Lip Balm

I  am mad about macarons.  Those lovely, delicate petite French perfections... What girl wouldn't be?  At least one time or another, right?  I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to these edible art!  However, I have to admit: I am macaronned out... I have tried high and low, big and small, near and far.  These French confections are just more pleasing to the eye than my sweet tooth now.  Don't get me wrong though, I would still reserve them for those special occasions and tea party pairings.

On my trip to Vancouver this week, I was reluctant to stop by yet another Asian shopping mall, but was glad I did.  Inside Yaohan Centre in Richmond, B.C., Osaka Supermarket had the largest collection of Japanese and Korean cosmetics.  Among the aisles, I spotted some colorful lip balms shaped into macarons by Korean brand, It's Skin.  How adorable is this?!

Needless to say, it was one of those things I had to have.  There were four "flavours" to choose from: grape, green apple, pineapple, and strawberry.  My only regret was that I only picked up one for myself - strawberry, of course!

Ingredients listed on the box: paraffinum liquidum, butyrospermum parkii oil, pentaerythrityl tetraisostearate, diisostearyl malate, polybutene, ceresin, cocoa butter, carnauba wax, ethylhexylglycerin, butylene/ethylene/styrene copolymer, tocopheryl acetate, retinyl palmitate, triethylhexyl trimellitate, hydrogenated polycyclopentadiene, BHT, titanium dioxide, CI 15850 (red 7), CI 19140 (yellow 5)

This incredibly cute packaging houses nine grams of yummy fruit scented balm.  The formula is more pliable than EOS, and gives a modest sheen when applied, but that is probably due to the mineral oil as the main ingredient.  Other notable ingredients include shea butter oil, cocoa butter, and vitamin E and A derivatives.  The rest of the ingredients are not so natural.  Honestly, I normally would not purchase a mineral oil-based lip balm, let alone mineral oil-anything for my face as this could clog pores, but was is too adorable to pass up!

Verdict:  Although this may be the most creative container for a lip balm - I do love good packaging as much as a great product - it would not be something I would take to the French Alps.  But for a little daily touch-up after a visit to the café or pâtisserie, this little dainty purse candy will certainly do!  Wouldn't hurt as a cuticle moisturizer either, especially during the Autumn and Winter months to come.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Neiman Marcus' 2014 Christmas Book

As a sweater-weather (ahem, cashmere) fanatic, a rainy-day prancer, and a Christmas baby, one of the most exciting things for me about Fall - besides the holiday decorations, festive gatherings, and hints of winter months to come - is the annual release of THE Christmas Book from Neiman Marcus!  I admit I get overly excited when I see this book, almost like a child on Christmas morning, but who can blame me?  It's exclusive... it's fashion... it's luxury... it's new... and unarguably, it's a FABULOUS DREAM (especially the Fantasy Gifts)!
It's Here!

The 2014 book was just released Tuesday, making it their 88th annual edition.  There are gifts for everyone: for her, for him, for home, and for little munchkins (those we call our kids - fur and not!).  Within the 190 pages of drool-worthy gifts, the least expensive item is $15, and the most... $475,000!

Like all previous years, there are 10 Fantasy Gifts, with proceeds benefiting The Heart of Neiman Marcus, a foundation supporting youth arts education:
Fantasy Gift No. 1
Tanqueray No. Ten Imperial Shaker by Jason Crawley
Fantasy Gift No. 2
Vanity Fair Academy Awards® Experience
Fantasy Gift No. 3
The House of Creed Bespoke Fragrance Journey
Fantasy Gift No. 4
100th Ann. NM Limited-Edition Maserati Ghibli S Q4
Fantasy Gift No. 5
Custom Locket and Trip with Monica Rich Kosann
Fantasy Gift No. 6
Ultimate Mardi Gras Experience for Six Couples
Fantasy Gift No. 7
His & Hers Vilebrequin Quaski
$50,000 each
Fantasy Gift No. 8
The Slot Mode USA Ultimate Slot Car Raceway
Fantasy Gift No. 9
Preston Bailey Garden Peacock Floral Sculptures
$25,000 to $65,000
Fantasy Gift No. 10
Leontine Linens Home Trousseau

As extravagant as those Fantasy Gifts are, here are my top picks from the book:

Inverni Iris Rabbit Felt Floppy Hat in Burgundy - $305
Floppy hats are universally flattering;
just choose one in a fabric appropriate for the season!

NM Monogrammed Cashmere Robe in Wine - $505
See the "S" - as if it were meant for me!

Monique Lhuillier Gown - $9,995
Winter ball?  Done!

NM Exclusive Quilted Leather Jacket (right) - $395
This is perhaps the perfect leather jacket - for me!

NM Exclusive Monogrammed Silk Pajamas - $170
Any fashionable mademoiselle would tell you these are a must!

Also, did you know that Neiman Marcus always offers free standard shipping and complimentary gift wrap on all purchases? So whatever treasures and treats you find in this year's book, don't forget to to include this message in your gift tag...

Photo credits: Neiman Marcus

Monday, September 29, 2014

Falling in Love with Fall

This past week was the beginning of Fall and already I am loving the cooler weather, the soul-warming pumpkin spice lattes, autumn and harvest decorations seen everywhere, nearby pop-up pumpkin patches, Fall parties with friends and family, and even seriously considering to dress up as Maleficent for Halloween!

They say a photo is worth a thousand words, so instead of explicitly describing all that went on during the first week of Autumn, here is an Instagram summary of my past week-at-a-glance for the beginning of Fall:

Pumpkin spice and everything nice!

Is it crazy that it's only September,
but I'm already buying four pumpkins for Thanksgiving?

Wrapped up a birthday present for my dear not-so-old Mummy.
Tied with pink tulle and finished with a J.Crew satin flower brooch / pin.

A present to myself: my mantra, my motto...
finally set in stone - crystal, to be precise!

Finally Friday and getting ready for the weekend party
with a mani-pedi from uTOEpia!
(Will blog about the party soon in a later post.)

Arranging these Fall blooms for a special party,
adding glitz and glam with glitter and gold in glass vases.

Do you see what I see?  Is this a propagation of a rose?!
This never happened before and I most certainly do not have a green thumb.
I hope some roots would emerge soon... Stay tuned and we will see!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Christian Louboutin Suspenodo Flats

When it comes to red soles, the shoe that immediately comes to mind is the stiletto pump.  Some people are actually surprised to learn that Loubies also come in zero elevation.  Behold... my new Christian Louboutin Suspenodo Flats!

This time visiting the Louboutin store on Maiden Lane, I wanted a pair of flats that I can wear daily, run errands, or shop in the city with.  Pumps or flats, I have always preferred the pointed toe over the round ballet.  So among their Fall / Winter collection that just arrived, I spotted this dainty red bow, shining bright against the glossy navy backdrop of this feminine flat.  What makes these shoes more eye-catching is the illusion of the "suspended" metallic gold band.  Louboutin takes his designs to another level by incorporating a shapely arch, even to their flats - not every designer can make a heelless shoe sexy!

As my second pair of red soles, Louboutin proves to fit true to size.  When I tried these shoes on in the store, my first thought was that I would not need to break them in.  Joseph, who turned out to be the boutique manager, reassured me that sticking with my half size was the right decision, or else my heel may slip out while walking due to a gap in the back.  This was comforting, since I had previously purchased a half size as well in my Geo Pumps.

So far, the service of the Christian Louboutin boutique in San Francisco has been outstanding.  During my first visit shortly after their grand-opening in May, Jeff was a great salesperson.  He was both knowledgeable and humorous (referring to my first Loubies here).  This time, Joseph was extremely approachable, patient, and laid-back - I had no idea he was the manager until he gave me his business card after my purchase.  On both occasions, I was shopping after-hours (the store closes at six), but I never felt rushed.  Instead, I was telling Joseph how I loved the scalloped edge of the new Hot Chick, but 130mm was too crazy for me.  If only they made it in a 100mm!  Curious though, I said I wanted to try them on.  He happily encouraged me, but advised that I should hold on to something - or someone!

Did I mention these are not available online?
They are San Francisco's boutique exclusives!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Forever My Por Por

Besides December, August have always been one of my favorite months, but this particular August have been a serious roller-coaster of celebrations and goodbyes.

The month began with my friend's beautiful wedding in Mammoth Lakes, then I had a fallout with someone in mid-August, and that same night my Por Por 婆婆 (maternal grandma) passed away.  Furthermore, the 25th was my lucky thirteen anniversary with Tate, and yesterday was one of my best friend's engagement dinner, which I regrettably had to withdraw from due to a death in my family, but also we paid our last respects and bid farewell to my dear Por Por yesterday afternoon as we laid her to rest in Hillside Lily Garden of Cypress Lawn.

For the past couple of months, my Por Por was in and out of hospitals with her health sadly deteriorating.  Almost every day after work and on weekends, I visited her at either St. Francis Memorial Hospital, California Pacific Medical Center, or her home in On Lok Lifeways on Montgomery.  In the final two weeks, there was nothing the hospitals nor my family could do except to ensure my Por Por's comfort and to abide by her wish to spend the last days at home in On Lok instead of an unfamiliar medical building.

My older uncle flew in from China to care for my grandma around the clock, sleeping on a yoga mat every night beside her bed at the On Lok senior center.  My mum and younger uncle took turns daily cooking and bringing birds' nest porridge and chicken soup to grandma, where she sipped through a drinking straw only when she had a slight appetite.  Throughout the years, my grandma was always delighted by the different flowers and plants I bring her, so the weeks leading up to her passing, I kept a constant delivery of freshly cut spray roses in a Marquis by Waterford crystal vase - only the best for my Por Por!

The last words my grandma said to me were "Thank you Sum Yee," (my name in Cantonese) after I helped her with her last "bath."  I brought my favorite Japanese bath powder and body moisturizer, as well as my rose petal facial toner, an SKII face cream, and a heart-shaped basin to soak the washcloths in bath water before wiping her down.  This was the last time I saw her coherent.

On her last day, my mum and I visited her right after dinner.  She was breathing normally and it looked as though she was in a deep sleep, but she did not wake nor respond to us so we left after nearly an hour.  We went home and as I was done with my night shower, mum tells me uncle called and said grandma's breathing just became slow and labored, signs that these would be her last hours.  The entire family including my aunt's and younger uncle's families all rushed to On Lok.  We sat in her room in each other's company until my Por Por took her last breath in the early morning of August 20th.

I  started my bereavement leave from work on the 21th in order to help organize and plan the best funeral service we can for my grandma.  This required three appointments to Cypress Lawn Funeral Home; two visits to Chinatown to purchase ceremonial burning materials and to order five custom floral wreaths for the funeral service from Sweetheart Florist; a two-day shopping ordeal at Joann Fabrics for yardage to make traditional Chinese funeral "blankets;" countless hours of designing, translating, and creating the gorgeous funeral service program below (one of my last gifts to my Por Por); and of course several sleepless nights.

When all is said and done, I now find comfort in knowing that my Por Por passed away peacefully with family surrounding her, that she lived a full 87 and a half years of life in which she knew that I loved her dearly, and that we gave her the loveliest funeral service we can.

So to our grandma who raised my brother, sister, and I, may you rest in peace and remain...
Forever My Por Por

The last Mother's Day I celebrated with my Por Por

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rouge Louboutin

Women have been wearing Louboutin red on the soles of their feet since he opened his shoe salon in Paris in the early 90's.  Now that same Louboutin red will be gracing women's fingers as Christian Louboutin Beauté just launched a collection of 31 nail lacquers yesterday, debuting their iconic red: Rouge Louboutin.

As Louboutin shoes are structurally works of art (in my opinion), so is the bottle of their new nail lacquers.  The dramatic tapering of the cap is inspired by Louboutin's highest stiletto ever created: Ballerina Ultima, designed in 2007 (pictured below).  The glass bottle features a black ombré effect, gradually revealing the bold rouge encased inside, as Christian Louboutin describes, "like a fine block of crystal."

Ballerina Ultima inspired the bottle design of Rouge Louboutin

Rouge Louboutin breaks the barrier of prestige nail polish.  At $50 per 0.4 oz. bottle (0.1 oz. less than Deborah Lippman, Essie, and OPI), expect nothing but the best in this rich formula; long-wearing, chip-resistant, and toluene/formaldehyde/DBP-free.  With one coat, this highly pigmented nail colour is said to produce a luxe gloss that mimics patent leather, and two coats gives a finishing shine of twenty layers!

Packaging: a black patent leather-like presentation box

In addition to the object d'art bottle, application is also meant to be an artistic experience like that of painting with calligraphy brushes.  The patented brush is custom-designed with a triangular shape to ensure precision while the shortened bristles pick up the perfect amount of formula without air bubbles for a flawless coverage.

Rouge Louboutin is truly a beauty - inside and out!

Ombré glass bottle of Rouge Louboutin

Rouge Louboutin has debuted first in its 15 U.S. boutiques (including their newest location in San Francisco where I purchased my Geo Pumps), plus Saks Fifth Avenue's flagship store in New York City.  More colors in the collection will soon be available, with distribution to extend to Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and select Sephora by August 2014.  Pre-order is currently available by clicking on the links of the retailers just mentioned.

Are you familiar with the story of how the red soles of Christian Louboutins came to be?  It was in 1993 (two years in business) that Mr. Louboutin felt his Andy Warhol-inspired 'Flower' shoe did not stand out as much as his drawing, but he did not quite understand why (the soles were black at the time).  Seeing that a female assistant was painting her nails red, he took her nail polish and painted it to the bottom of his creation.  Immediately, the shoe popped and he recalled thinking, "This is the drawing!"  So naturally, it was only a matter of time before Christian created this nail lacquer - even if it took 21 years!
The red sole was born from red nail polish.  I am giving back to nails what the shoe took from the nails many years ago.
~ Christian Louboutin
Rouge Louboutin Film by David Lynch:

UPDATE 07.25.14
Click here to read an exclusive InStyle interview with Christian Louboutin and to see the other nail colours in the collection.

Photo credits: