Hangin' With The Boys

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My two brothers are visiting in Southern California so we wanted to take them some place where they could get a good view of LA, in all of its wondrous smoggy splendor. Remember that time when I went to watch Hall and Oates at the Greek? Well if you go further up the road, it'll take you right to the Griffith Observatory.

While the rest of the country is having some kind of polar vortex or crazy thunderstorms, this is how LA looks like in early December. 


The Griffith Observatory sits high on the top of a mountain so it seems like it's floating among the clouds.


If you're like me and you're too lazy to hike up to the Hollywood sign, this place would be the best bet for you. You can even see the sign right when you pull into the parking lot. (Parking is free!)


But if you're all about dat fitness, feel free to come with your hiking threads. They've got trails all around and some lead all the way up to the observatory. The trail (pictured below) is paved well so I reckon it's not that hard of a climb.


You can find a bust of James Dean in commemoration of the famous movie, Rebel Without A Cause, that shot a lot of their scenes on location.


The place isn't too big so you can actually cover the whole area in probably just 45 minutes, add an hour if you're planning go inside the Planetarium (tickets are like $7/person). The observatory showcases astronomy exhibits so don't be surprised to see a lot of fifth graders marching along with their chaperones.


Love the iron doors!


Once you get through the doors, you'll see a huge pendulum hanging from the Ballin Ceiling Mural. The pendulum swings back and forth and hits the little pegs one by one, not because the pendulum is swinging in a different direction but because the pegs move as the earth rotates. So basically WE are moving while the pendulum is constantly swinging in just one direction. I am actually just being repetitive for my own sake, not yours. My brain has turned into mush...Oh, science!


The Ballin Ceiling Mural


Exhibits are easy to explore and are very educational, so don't forget to bring the youngins!





A brass statue of Albert Einstein.


Umm...Excuse me, Mr. Einstein.


But I need to phone home.


It was one of my beloved brother's birthday too so we headed back down to Beverly Hills to get our sassy grub on.  We chose to go and try out Hakkasan, it's been in the neck of our woods since last year and we've heard good reviews about the place.

It would be sort of difficult to spot the restaurant if you're not too familiar with the Hakkasan logo so once you get to Beverly Blvd., look out for a single character with a neon blue background (pictured below) and voila, you have arrived! Or you can just follow the paparazzis taking pictures of A-list celebs like Paris Hilton, Charlize Theron, Fergie and Chef Gordon Ramsey popping in and out of the restaurant's entrance.


It was a Thursday night so we made reservations at an earlier time to avoid the weekend rush. I know it's technically not the weekend yet but that's how a lot of people here roll, they just bypass to Friday. We were immediately seated at our table by a friendly hostess and we were able to put in our orders with some great recommendations from our super patient and awesome server, David.

Sup, David! Yup, he did an impeccable job so he should have a little bit of recognition in my humble blog :)



I explored a little while waiting for our food. I couldn't help but admire the Chinese-inspired wooden dividers, it gives you enough privacy but doesn't make the space too confined.


This is the long narrow hallway that leads to the dining area and the bar.


The restaurant has two bars, this being the smaller one with a minimalist design.


The women's restroom with marble sinks and floors. There are no paper towels, only hand towels.


They've got Molton Brown for their hand wash and hand lotion. You best believe I washed my hands like five times...just because! Ha!


Enough exploring...let's get our Cantonese grub on!

Crispy Duck Salad with pomegranate, pine nut and shallot. This is one of their popular dishes in the menu. I definitely don't fancy the gamey taste of duck but this tasted pretty darn good.


Hakka Steamed Dim Sum Platter: Scallop shumai, har gow, Chinese chive dumpling and black crab dumpling.


 Salt and Pepper Squid. I thought this tasted just like the usual fried squid, nothing really special.


Pan-seared Shanghai Dumping. Looks boring, tastes great!


Vegetarian Dim Sum Platter: Morel crystal dumpling, bamboo pith dumpling, bean curd lotus roll and edamame dumpling


Grilled Seabass with Chinese Honey. I give this ten fingers and ten toes up!


Crispy Chicken with Kumquat Lemon Sauce


Stir-Fried Black Pepper Beef with merlot. I like how they cut the meat down to almost bite-size!


Egg and Scallion Fried Rice. Nothing really special, just like any other fried rice.


Hakka Noodle with mushrooms and Chinese chive


Jasmine Tea Smoked Pork Short Ribs. Definitely a memorable dish, so good that we ordered another one.


Hakkasan is pretty synonymous with their cocktails so I had to try one. By the way, ONE is the magic number when drinking with family in public places because it's just not that great to get shhh-faced in front of the 'rents and siblings---but at home? That's a whole different ball game, my friends.

This drink is called The Hakka with Belvedere vodka, Tozai junmai sake, coconut, passion fruit and lychee juice. Holy leotards, Batman! This is one of the most refreshing cocktails that I've ever had---like, in my life. It's too good that you can easily down a couple of these but this will definitely get you barely crawlin' by the end of the night!


My bro's drink, Green Destiny, with Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka, cucumber, kiwi and Granny Smith apple juice. This was a refreshing cocktail too but I still think The Hakka takes the prize.


My other bro's drink, Lychee Martini, with Double Cross vodka, Giffard lychee liqueur, grapefruit bitters and lychee juice. This was good but martinis in general are just a little bit too strong for me.


Happy Birthday to my No. 1 nemesis! We make a pretty good team when we're not busy scratching each other's eyes out or laughing at each other's fashion blunders!


David (our awesome server) was kind enough to surprise my brother with one of their desserts, the Chocolate Mandarin. You pour the chocolate sauce in and then smash the hard chocolate with a spoon.


We were all too stuffed to order separate desserts but the birthday celebrant and I just wanted to try this fella right here. Coconut Panna Cotta with rum-roasted pineapple, pistachio financier, pistachio gelato. This was absolutely divine!


Hakkasan is known to be a hotspot so the bill can easily get mighty steep---but the food and drinks were sumptuous and the staff was attentive, friendly and efficient so it was definitely well worth it says the girl who didn't foot the bill.

The fun bunch. 


Time to stumble our way back home but let me do a quick Fruit Fashion Files. I didn't want to think too much about my outfit so I took a black short-sleeve kimono dress, paired it up with a black belted coat with gold zippers and topped off the ensemble with some tan-colored cutout booties with tassels. Easy peasy!

Coat by Mango; Dress by Zara; Booties by Prada


Ugh, I'm finishing up this blog post and all I'm thinking about is that Hakka drink. *drool*

Toodles!

Sephora: My Stash

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For the past couple of years, Sephora has been offering a pretty cool deal just before Thanksgiving. They hold a special event for their members and take 20% off on any purchase in-store or online. Seems just like a normal discount, right?! Wrong! You see, Sephora carries the high-end brands like YSL, Dior, Guerlain, etc. so this means you get 20% off on all these high-end brands too! You don't even see this kind of promo in Saks or Bergdorf's (they usually give u a nice free gift with purchase but rarely a discount).

On the final day of the event, I went in hoping to get a lipstick or two but the boyfriend is too much of an effective cheerleader that I ended up getting more than I came in for. It's pretty easy, really--- He finds somewhere to sit, I go back and forth and show him different shades of lipsticks or cheek blushes or eye shadows and he says YES, NO, or I can't tell the difference (can't blame him for being a guy!).

I got most of these things in-store, especially the lipsticks, 'coz you're pretty much playing Russian Roulette if you buy any make-up without trying it out. Anyhoo, here's my stash:

Make Up For Ever Studio Case with 12 eye shadows, a black eye liner and a step-by-step guide (which I probably can't follow just 'coz I suck at doing eye make-up)



Fresh Dare to Bare Sugar Lip Ritual My lips chap so easily and I've always heard great things about Fresh's lip care line so it's great that they came out with a set so I can try them all. Sets are usually a good buy too, since most brands slash the prices compared to buying the products piece by piece. Check the sticker on the upper right of the photo below, the set is valued at $59 but sold at $45. That's an instant $15 dollar savings!



Dior Top Coat Gel and Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Stone Jungle The Marc Jacobs nail lacquers are definitely top quality, you can tell by how they lay on thick and shiny, even with just one coat!


Dior Limited Edition Shock Colour Lip Duo in Mysterious Shock and Passion Shock. I love how one side is matte and the other side is metallic, what a perfect marriage!


I'm trying to show the colors but the lighting inside my apartment sucks.

Here's Mysterious Shock.


Here's Passion Shock.


Dior Natural Lip Treatment in Lys Rouge and Diorette. This is the most moisturizing lipstick that I've ever had. It feels like a lip balm but there's so much pigment in it that you won't be mistaken for a lip-gloss smackin' highschool kid. Yes, I was that kid.



Dior Addict It-Lash and Dior Show Liner (not shown) Here's a fun fact for ya... I cut my eyelashes with a pair of scissors back when I was 8 or 9 years old and it just never grew back as long anymore. Let's see if this baby could redeem me from my scissor-happy days.


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette I love how this blush set is mixed in with some luminizer so I can easily get that dewy look without having to add one more step to my routine.


Clarisonic Radiance Brush head for my Clarisonic Aria (now known as the Mia 3). If you're vain about skincare as I am, you know you gotta have a Clarisonic! I got the Aria for $199, it's got a hefty price tag but your skin will thank you for it!


I also got my membership upgraded to V.I.B Rouge. You can unlock this status when you purchase a minimum of $1,000 per calendar year, which is probably just peanuts for the real make-up enthusiasts. Anyone with the Rouge status can enjoy perks like access to exclusive events, receive special gifts, free shipping on anything and everything you order from their website and unlimited services (makeovers, consultations) from the Beauty Studio.

When you get upgraded to Rouge, they'll give you a new card with a cute little Bite Beauty lipstick in a shade of red that's made exclusively made for Sephora.


If you've seen me in person, I know you're scratching your head right now. When do I ever wear all this damn make-up? I don't know. I always say, just in case I run into Keanu Reeves! Ha!

Toodles!

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