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Alexis Dayers
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What I Want for Christmas…

It’s that time of year again, to go off the rails, pretend that I have a bank account like Beyonce and share, with you the readers, what I would love to unwrap under my fake Christmas tree this year.

Let’s start from the very top - our very own Gabriella wrote about her red Salvatore Ferragamo flats back in June and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since. I made a pact with myself - pay off my Neiman Marcus account so I can buy these beautiful flats. I believe it’s part of the permanent collection so no need to worry about them leaving the premises any time soon. I am of average height - 5’5 and I love wearing stiletto platform heels just as well as ballerina flats. I often love a pop of color to my otherwise dark or neutral outfits. These flats are perfect for any season - summer dresses in hot weather, pencil pants or cropped slacks for work and ankle straight leg jeans for weekends and casual dress down days at the office. I would even pair these with black tights and a denim mini skirt and sweater. The more I talk about these flats the more I want them!

Salvatore Ferragamo Varina Patent Ballerina Flats - $425

Just below G’s flats is a bottle of an unexpected scent I fell for and it only took me three times to try it out. I will admit it was my husband’s vote of approval that really made me fall for this scent - L’Artisan Parfumeur, Dzing! This is not your usual floral, vanilla, citrus or patchouli type of scent. The creator of this scent, Olivia Giacobetti, wanted to evoke memories of a circus. Now before you dismiss me as a crazy lady wanting to smell like dirty zoo animals keep reading. First whiff you get worn leather, like a saddle, right after you get a bit of animalic musk wrapped with a sawdust, woody scent. And as you pull your nose away you get the lingering salty, sweet scent like you ate a block of pink popcorn and cotton candy. Yes, weird but amazingly interesting. I really think everyone should smell this once just to treat your nose to something different and daring. My husband really loves this on me because he’s a wood worker and budding furniture builder - perhaps he secretly wants me to smell like a circus ring leader (see photo of Marlene Dietrich to the right). That sounds much nicer than him secretly wanting me to smell like a zoo.

Dzing! - $145/100mls

Okay this list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t ask for a dream purse - last year it was a classic Chanel shoulder bag and this year it’s classic Gucci. This Seventies Signature Web tote has all the classic features I have been craving in a Gucci bag. Last year my husband surprised me with a monster Gucci coffee table book and all it did was feed my obsession even more. I love the classic heritage red and green striping on this tote. The chocolate brown is a great neutral and will go with just about everything. The large size of this bag would allow me to carry just about everything I need for a day at work. I bet I could even stuff some light clothes for an afternoon yoga class. Maybe I should consider a smaller size to keep me from accumulating unnecessary junk. Yeah like this is even an issue to debate about considering we are talking about a $2300 tote bag!

Seventies Signature Web Tote - $2290

The chateau looking building is no other than Thomas Keller’s French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, CA. This renowned wine country restaurant is probably on every “Must try this before dying” list published. What makes reservation so sought after is that every day two special 9 course menus are created - chef’s tasting and a vegetable tasting. No single ingredient makes a repeat performance throughout the meal. This is a jacket required type of joint and expect to make reservations way in advance (3-6 months ahead, I’ve heard). My husband is the pickiest eater I have ever come across - I imagine he’d take the Vegetable tasting menu because I doubt he’d suck down any bone marrow or duck liver reduced emulsions even if Mr. Keller paid him. At any rate, I’d bring my foodie girlfriend that doesn’t flinch when paying $20 for a hamburger.

French Laundry, prix fixe menu - $270/person

The very last place is the new Disney Aulani resort in O’ahu, Hawaii. My daughter is 4 and if it were up to her we’d go to Disneyland every vacation. I would assume this could cater to my daughter as well as my husband and me. Activities include scavenger hunts, storytelling, Disney movie nights and of course a host of Disney characters waiting to greet and hug your child or the child in you. After I purchase my Ferragamo flats, I’m definitely going to save up for just two nights at this place - let’s face it, it’ll be a miracle if I could save up for just one night!

Rooms start at $480/night - peak season rate. $399/night - for off-season.

So there you have it - my holiday wishlist for 2012. I’m surprised at myself that the only beauty related item on my wishlist is a bottle of fragrance. I guess it’s a reflection of my growing fragrance hobby. I’m afraid just how much bigger my collection will grow. I think the only thing I could afford to get myself this holiday season is the bottle of Dzing! Well I’m hoping my husband, my Santa, will take my hints seriously and buy it for me this Christmas. I won’t hold my breath on the handbag or dinner at French Laundry.

Aulani resort on the other hand could happen. All I need is to get my daughter to back me up and we can attack him together!

What’s on your Wish list?

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Queen of Bows
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M.I.S.S. Jet Set: Don’t Be a Security Slowpoke

Every time I’m in line at TSA security checkpoint at an airport I am surprised how many clueless people happen to be standing in front of me. No matter how well I scout lines (no babies, solo Asian businessmen are good to follow), there always seem to be people who get into full-blown conversations with security, have to come back through, and basically stop the entire line. Instead of being “that girl,” be a polite lady and keep it moving through the TSA checkpoint. Continue Reading

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From LA to the Bay: West Coast Page Flipping

I find whole other worlds in books. When I need a break from this hectic one I call my own I stick my nose in a book. I have a Nook and can download books, but there is nothing like hitting a bookstore and sliding your fingers down the various book spines until one catches your eye.

Barnes & Nobles is cool, but I love small shops that make you want to browse and linger. If you are looking for a new book, somewhere to kill time or a gift for a friend, check out one of the great spots below.

Dog Eared Books on 900 Valencia St San Francisco CA is one of my favorites with sister stores Phoenix (Noe Valley) & Red Hill (Bernal Hill)  that I haven’t checked out but seem just as great. The chill staff that is always a huge help, makes great book recommends.

Pegasus Books in Berkeley (locations on: Shattuck, Solano ave, & College Ave in Oakland) is another shop I like to visit. I have only been to the Shattuck shop and can always locate great last minute gifts with a little help.  Near BART it’s a great stop after a nice walk in Berkley.

In sunny Los Angeles I love finding shops that let me some enjoy sunshine  and Pages (904 Manhattan Ave) in Manhattan Beach lets me feed my book worm and beach bunny all in one trip! A block up from the beach you get the best of all worlds, sun, sand, a good read and maybe a cone from the Manhattan Creamery. Doesn’t get too much better.

Unfortunately it’s on a rare weekend day that I get to go and chill on the beach. I usually find myself in the bustle of downtown L.A. and when I need to escape I sneak over to The Last Bookstore on 453 S. Spring St. They recently moved into a bigger location which just means more hours lost in their aisles. They have a great assortment and amazing prices.

Almost all the above stores buy books so go in get some cash or trade for a new wonder. Donations are also accepted.

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Queen of Bows
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M.I.S.S. Jet Set: Sexy Airport X-Ray Machine

Okay, sexy may be overstating it, but if you’ve flown recently you may have noticed - or been through - one of the new TSA x-ray screening machines at the airport security checkpoint. Or perhaps you’ve been following the controversy in the news about whether or not the new technology is a breach of privacy, too sensational, or yes, sexy. Whatever the case, here’s what you need to know about the x-ray machines rolling into airports.

New technology: X-ray machines for airport security

Official name: Millimeter wave; Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) units

What it is: Non-invasive whole body imaging technology

Where it is: As of the end of 2010, a total of 450 AIT units were deployed, with more U.S. airports receiving them after

What it does: X-ray scans passengers going through security checkpoint, identifying metal detection and any weapons on the person; acts as an alternative to full body pat-down

What you do: Step into the machine, turn to the side with hands placed above head. As per normal airport security screening, you should remove belt, shoes, jacket, large jewelry or anything that would normally set off the metal detector and empty pockets before crossing through this point in the checkpoint. TSA officers will let you know when you can step out and when you are cleared.

How it works: An x-ray image is taken of you inside the machine and monitored by a TSA agent in a separate and private room. The TSA agent identifies any weapons on your body as well as anything on you that may trigger a detector and needs to be checked (i.e. a whole mess of bobby pins in your hair). A TSA agent at the machine signals you when the scan is complete and you can step out, and again when you are security-cleared. The agent in the private room monitoring the x-rays communicates by 2-way radio with the agents at the security checkpoint where you are.

Example of x-ray scan only seen by TSA officer in remote location

What you need to know:

- The actual scan takes about 2.5 seconds.

- An additional 15-45 seconds are taken while you wait on footprint mats and the TSA agent who sees x-rays checks your x-ray image and radios the verdict to security agent with you at checkpoint.

- If there is something suspicious on you, the x-ray viewer agent will tell the agent with you where to look - so instead of a full body pat-down because you set off a metal detector, the gate security agent will be told to look in your hair if your bobby pins are showing up on the x-ray. They will just check the flagged spots as seen on the x-ray.

- Yes, the x-ray exposes you for further viewing (see above image to get a feel for exactly how racy it is).

- No, nobody gets to see this x-ray besides the TSA officer in the private screening room. This officer is not allowed to bring in anything to the remote location (including recording devices), so no photos will be snapped of your x-ray and no other eyes are ever on it. TSA will not keep, store or transmit images.

For more information, check out TSA’s articles and related links on the technology.

Image Layout: C-Rocka

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Queen of Bows
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M.I.S.S. Jet Set: Condense Your Travel Liquids

You’re about to take a short trip that’s just a flight away, but with airline security measures, you can’t pack your bathroom to come with. No worries, you will survive. Pack with these tips to meet the TSA liquids 311 rule and have all you need while you’re away.

- First, know the rules. From the TSA website:

3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure.

In other words, you get 1 clear bag, no bigger than 1 quart (it’s larger than a sandwich bag, but smaller than freezer size), and in it you can bring liquid containers, but none larger than 3.4 ounces each (drugstores and travel spots have travel liquid containers made to this size).

NOTE: You can declare necessary, larger liquids; medications, baby formula, baby food and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the security checkpoint.

- Next, take out what will be provided at your destination. If you’re staying with a girlfriend or sister, you may need almost nothing! Hotels generally have shampoo, conditioner and soap (depending how picky you are), and family will have toothpaste. You may want your own lotion and deodorant, but can switch up shampoos for a couple days, so prioritize.

- Then, swap regular products for non-liquid alternatives. If you’re down to use bar soap instead of liquid body wash, that’s one less liquid you need to track. I’m super into wet cleansing facial cloths instead of face wash since they’re so easy and take out yet another liquid. If you’re all about your hand sanitizer, buy Wet Ones instead. Cruise your drug or grocery store’s toiletry and travel aisles to see what other options you may have.

- After completing the above, travel-size what you need to bring. Things like contact solution, your particular liquid foundation, must-use hair product, etc. need to be made to fit. Each choice you pack needs to either be 1) already at or smaller than 3.4 ounces, 2) transferred to a travel-size container (you can buy spray, pump, squeeze or other options depending on the product) or 3) bought in travel size. Just because you can bring three ounces of each product doesn’t mean you need to; why bring a full size acne spot treatment for two days or a face mask that you don’t really use but once a month?

Take a few minutes, plan ahead, edit down, and you’ll be looking fly after flight.

Image Layout: C-Rocka

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