Friday, February 26, 2010

“101 Glam Girl Ways to An Ultra Chic Lifestyle” Giveaway!

Ready, set, fabulous! I am thrilled to host another great another giveaway — “101 Glam Girl Ways to An Ultra Chic Lifestyle” by Dawn Del Russo.

Released in mid-January and found on Amazon.com, this must-have guide gives women helpful styling tips to ensure that they look fashionable at all times. And luckily, Dawn has kept the “normal” shopper in mind. The fashion bible isn’t just for the elite women who wear top designers, but the rest of us that want to look good but not at the expense of our bank accounts.

If you aren’t yet familiar with Dawn, here’s a little peek into her professional life. This talented lady is a fashion stylist, owner of Bella Dawn boutique and BellaDawn.com, as well as a blogger. Whew! So basically there is nobody better to write a style guide.

Dawn was nice enough to offer one of you your very own copy! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post (required) by Monday, March 8. Winner will be announced on Tuesday the 9th.

For extra entries you can do any of the following:

1. Leave a comment on Dawn’s blog and let her know I sent you.
3. Promote this giveaway on Twitter (including @JointheGossip)
4. Follow this Blog.

If you are taking advantage of the extra entries, be sure to let me know! You can list it all out in your original comment here, or leave me several comments explaining how you have entered. And if you are already a follower, or Facebook fan, you can still get credit. Just remind me that we are already friends =)

Good luck all!



Image courtesy of: Bellas Novella

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Eric Mammen Making a Difference for Sick Children

Watching my local Fox news tonight, I saw the most touching story. Eric Mammen is a music therapist at CHOC (Children's Hospital of Orange County) and is making a real difference. Monday-Friday Mammen visits very sick children, bringing along with him song and instruments.

Playing his guitar and helping toddlers play mini drums, he is brightening the days of youngsters facing terrible conditions like cancer treatment. Doctors report that while Mammen is singing songs like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," kids forget about their illness. Furthermore, according to the CHOC Web site, "Some of the benefits revolve around cognitive stimulation, pain management, relaxation, motor movement, the enhancement of self-esteem and other social skills, and providing a positive diversion."

What an inspirational story. It melted my heart, I just wish I could find a video to share with you all =(



Photo courtesy of: CHOC

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

American Idol a Bore?

I am a huge fan of American Idol. As most of you know, I am currently obsessed with last year's winner, Kris Allen. Needless to say, I haven't missed an episode of American Idol Season 9. Tonight was the first round of the "live" performances of the top 24, starting with the girls. I am not entertained as I watch right now.

These ladies aren't very exciting...or good! I cannot sing, nor do I claim I can. However, I am a potential AI consumer so I can have an opinion =)

The beginning was the worst. Voices were out of key, songs were boring, and it was just a plain uneventful hour. It did get better as the show progressed. My favorite is DiDi Benami, I thought she did amazing! Runners up for me include Haeley Vaughn and Crystal Bowersox. Hopefully these three ladies stick around for awhile.

I am looking forward to the guys' performances tomorrow. My favorite male is Andrew Garcia. He's from Moreno Valley, a city near my hometown. I am rooting for him to do well!

You may remember him from Hollywood Week doing Paula Abdul's "Straight Up".



If you watch, who are your favorites?



Photo courtesy of: Myspace

Friday, February 19, 2010

Has Spring Sprung?

This past week Southern California has been experiencing warm weather. And by warm I mean in the 80s! We are known to have radically changing temps from week to week--even day to day--and that's certainly the case now.

Just last week it was raining and it's going to start again tonight or tomorrow. This year we are expected to have rain off and on for a few months. That's significant for us because we are basically a desert that's always in a drought.

But between the rainstorms, we get beautiful sun and warmth. If LA weather was a person, you'd describe it as bipolar!

Although I am a bit sad that our winter was short lived, you can't complain with 86 degrees when the East Coast is getting pounded with snow. So I am grateful. I am also grateful for the gorgeous flowers in blossom. Of course I had to get a few pictures, luckily my iPhone takes amazing photos. Here are some snapshots I took during my lunch break a few days ago:



Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Daily Love


Tweeps--I have to let you in on a site that you need to follow: The Daily Love! They tweet positivity all day long and as soon as I read their latest update I instantly have a new favorite quote.

No matter how you are feeling, up or down, sad or happy, the words spread by The Daily Love will melt your woes away or uplift your already high spirits.

Follow @TheDailyLove now! And if you aren't following me yet, why not?! Please follow me ; )

And if you aren't big on Twitter, you can subscribe via email and receive wonderful words straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to The Daily Love today!


Photo courtesy of: TDL

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

I am clearly not Chinese so I am not too familiar with the culture, but I am all about learning about other types of peoples. In an attempt to do so, I headed to LA Chinatown to take in the neighborhood. Although Chinese New Year was on Sunday, we visited on Monday. Better late than never!

Partnered with two of my Chinese friends, we started off our day with a little dim sum. This was my first time so I was a bit nervous. I am the pickiest eater, and I don't eat meat. That limits my diet immensely. I was actually OK with what we were served. We went to eat about two hours before dinner and unfortunately they weren't serving off the carts for very long so we didn't get to eat much.

Dim sum is quite different than American eating. It was strange to have someone come up with a cart, show you food, and then get dismissed and walk away. I felt that their feelings would be hurt if I didn't try the food. My friends assured me otherwise so I let them select the food. It was also very different to not have a designated server. Nonetheless we had a great time.

After our food we headed off to do some shopping. I have only driven (quickly) through Chinatown in San Francisco and never been to any other Chinatowns, but from what my friends say, LA's Chinatown in small. There are really only two shopping centers and within an hour we had explored the whole place and I had made a few purchases.


I bought a beautiful crystal that I have not yet figured out what I am going to do with and some shoes. Let me start off by saying that I do not know how to bargain, in fact it makes me nervous! My friend insisted that I play hardball for the shoes and talk the woman down a few bucks. I didn't have the guts so she tried for me. The sales woman didn't budge though. It's alright because the shoes only cost $15.

I was a little embarrassed--and horrified--to learn that my feet are insanely huge compared to Asian feet. I wear an 8 1/2 or 9, too large to even fit in Chinese shoes. I was told that Taiwan shoes run a bit larger, but only to a size 8 1/2 which is a size 40...I wear a size 40 shoes?! And sadly the shoes are a bit tight, but they should stretch.



Overall it was a great experience! We even ventured out of Chinatown to get dessert in Koreatown to complete our day.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunny SD, Baby!

Ah, was I glad to have a three day weekend! Work has been quite hectic and having an extra day off allowed me to get in some much needed relaxation. I decided to take a mini vaca in San Diego to unwind.

Our group of four single ladies ended up staying at Paradise Point, a hotel located directly across from Sea World. It was quite different from most hotels, as the rooms are bungalow style and there are several pools and small lagoons located on the 44 acre grounds. It reminded me of a Mexican resort, and I was quite happy that it was a change of pace from the typical high rise hotels found in large cities like San Diego. Here are photos of Paradise Point, taken with my camera and my iPhone...


Saturday night we hit up some of the local breweries in North Park. It was nice just hanging out, having a beer, talking with the girls. We took a break from drinking to grab some dessert and coffee. My red velvet cupcake and mocha were delish! iPhones don't have a flash, so these snapshots are a bit dark...


Warning: For those of you from the East Coast, please do not hate me after you read this next portion...

It was in the high 70s in San Diego this weekend (and mid 80s in LA). With weather like that, you cannot help but see beauty in everything you come across. I was going crazy snapping photos, taking in the warmth and beauty of the city. It felt like the beginning of summer, as opposed to winter.

Sunday morning we ate breakfast outside at Cafe 976. It's a bohemian, artsy eatery in Pacific Beach, a San Diego suburb. The food wasn't that spectacular, but the atmosphere was perfect. Here are some pics taken with my iPhone...


Hope you all had wonderful weekends as well!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Alexander McQueen Found Dead

I was shocked upon reading the news this morning: Alexander McQueen found dead, the result of an apparent suicide. This gifted man was a mere 40 years old. It's so sad, and even more tragic were the circumstances through which he left us.

Reports are saying that his mother died a few days ago, which may be the reason for his angst. The Daily Mail so far seems to have the best article describing the turn of events taking place in McQueen's native England.
Today his second line, McQ, was to be presented at New York Fashion Week. The show has understandably been cancelled.

I think everyone has been touched by suicide in some way. It makes it that much more hard to deal with for those left behind. Suicide is never the answer. There is nothing wrong with getting help if you are suffering. No matter how bad things seem, there is always tomorrow.



Photos courtesy of: The Huffington Post and Reuters

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

supercalifragelisticexpialadocious!

Two weeks ago I took my mom to see Mary Poppins at The Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles and it was AH-MAZING! Believe it or not, I had never seen the movie. I had caught parts of it, but I was a creature of habit as a child and didn't stray away from my select list of favorites like The Neverending Story, The Little Mermaid, and The Labyrinth.

So needless to say I was pretty wide-eyed the whole performance, despite the fact that I had no clue what was going on. It made it that much harder that I had some trouble following the dialogue because of the English accents. It's funny because in the States, specifically the West Coast, we don't consider ouselves having accents. I bet those in the UK, and even other parts of the US, think differently.

This is a question for those in English speaking coutries: is it hard for you to understand Americans when we speak? Just curious =)

Anyways...the bright colors, beautiful singing, and brilliant dancing cut through all language barriers. And the acting was superb. My mom and I were beyond impressed with the performances of the young children who played Michael and Jane Banks. 

I was lucky to get tickets because I didn't purchase them until December, a month after the play had started at the theater. My mom really wanted to see the show so it was my Christmas gift to her. Since I bought tickets late in the game, most of the better seats were taken. We ended up sitting in the balcony which was a bit far back; however, the end of the play made up for that. Mary Poppins was hoisted into the air and flew over the crowd, hanging but a mere few feet directly above the seats I had chosen. Perfect close to a terrific show!

The only thing that was a bit disappointing--not realizing that Mary Poppins wears a red coat and wearing one myself! I, along with groups of young girls, were matching and I felt a bit foolish. But I made light out of it by posing with my twin. My mom followed and posed for a picture as well (above). Before we knew it, everyone was doing the same!

I am with Laurence Vittes of The Hollywood Reporter who said, “AN EYE-POPPING DELIGHT! There are lots of laughs, superb production values and a brilliant cast.”

Lots of celebs were spotted at the LA Mary Poppins stint, including Suri, Katie, and Tom Cruise.

Check out a this list to see if Marry Poppins is playing near you. If it is, I highly recommend seeing it!


Friday, February 5, 2010

A. Tierney Floral Cuff Giveaway

Thanks to everyone who entered this A. Tierney Floral Cuff Giveaway. The lucky lady who gets to be the proud owner of her very own cuff is...Vanessa S.! Hope you enjoy this lovely piece, it'll be great for VDay and year-round.

While we are talking A. Tierney, I wanted to spread the word about the upcoming sample sale. If you have yet to visit this site, this is the perfect opportunity. Great deals that you must check out--I know I will be.

Happy shopping!




Photo courtesy of: A. Tierney

dineLA Restaurant Week: Zuzza Ristorante

As I have explained in my last two posts, it's dineLA Restaurant Week and my first two dinners were not exactly spectacular. Bad service, mediocre meals, and all around let downs at Boxwood and Sweet Love Hangover. So after two strikes, I was hoping that the last restaurant would be a home run and it was! The winner?...(menu listed below as it was on the Web site)...




Dinner:
Appetizer- Insalatina di campo
Baby organic, cherry tomato, carrots, tangerine, poppy seed vinaigrette

Entree- Melanzane alla Parmigiana
Baked eggplant, mozzarella, tomato, aged Parmigiano-Reggiano

Dessert- Chocolate cake, sliced strawberry, whipped cream

Price: $26

I actually visited this restaurant on Saturday night, but arrived too late to get dinner. My mom and I were on our way to see Mary Poppins (post to come soon!) and chose to eat at Zucca because they offer a shuttle service to and from the theater. Since we were late, we had to skip the meal but the restaurant was so nice that they still let us utilize the shuttle service. Therefore, I was determined to visit them again to enjoy their food. I was pleasantly surprised that their food matches their impressive service!

Upon entering Zucca, you are aware of the upscale atmosphere. It's very elegant, but not snoody. Prices are just right and the people are nice. Most importantly--the food was delish. I will be going back, again and again!

I adore Downtown LA. There is something about the pretty lights and grandiose buildings. If I could choose any neighborhood to live in, it would definitely be Downtown. So the fact that the restaurant is right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city made the experience that much more thrilling. Plus, parking is only $5, pretty darn good for the neighborhood.

I am extremely happy that Zucca ended my dineLA experience on a good note. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone in the Los Angeles vicinity!




Thursday, February 4, 2010

dineLA Restaurant Week: Sweet Love Hangover

The next restaurant that I tried during dineLA Restaurant Week is called Sweet Love Hangover. It was actually featured on a local news station as a place to try for restaurant week. The place sounded cool and has a cute Web site, so why not unwind after work at this eatery?

Menu listed below as it was on the Web site...



Dinner:
Appetizer- Fat Fries
Our fat fries tossed in a mix of sea salt, herbs, garlic, and truffle oil

Dinner- Mac and Cheese x 4
Smoked Gouda, Parmesan, Asiago, Jack and crispy Pancetta

Dessert- Fried Twinkies
You heard me.

Price: $26

Just like Boxwood Cafe by Gordon Ramsay, this one is also located in a cool part of town on Hollywood Blvd. where the street is lined with Walk of Fame stars. Upon entering the eatery, we quickly discovered that it was a little quirky but in a good way. I loved that the bar was lined with bright colored lights! There is even a club right next door connected to the quaint restaurant.

The server wasn't quite as cheerful as the decor. She was actually pretty rude. I made it a point to go our of my way to be extra friendly to her because she didn't seem too happy. Overall, she was just pretty unresponsive to us. I can look past that, we all have bad days. I couldn't look past the fact that I ordered my mac and cheese without meat and discovered that they had added pancetta. I have been a vegetarian for over a year, and it was unsettling to discover a piece of meat in my mouth. Although I didn't actually eat the meat, I was grossed out that I was tasting it. My friend had the same issue so we ended up asking for the error to be fixed.

A long wait later (with our other guests' food turning cold) we received our food, only after Steph asked the status of the meal. It was pretty tasty, but didn't blow any of us away. What did blow us away was the deep fried Twinkies for dessert. O-M-G. Yummy! Perfect way to end the meal.

We were all done eating and things were looking positive, until we paid our bill. Two ladies used cards and when the waitress came back to return the cards, she literally threw the cards down and kept walking. I have never seen anyone act so harshly without being provoked! Maybe that is why there were no customers. It was only our table and one other.

We later found out that the waitress actually charged my other friend, Stephanie of The Ramblings of a Southerner Turned Hollywood Girl, her portion of the bill then reran her card for the whole amount of dinner! Good thing that we had decided to take our tips back for the horrible service.

If anyone lives in LA and is considering Sweet Love Hangover, I say proceed with caution. If you would like to try the food out, then by all means, do so. I hope you get good service because I feel that the place has potential and with a better staff may be more successful.



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

dineLA Restaurant Week: Boxwood Cafe by Gordon Ramsay

Not quite sure why it's referred to as Restaurant Week - considering it's two weeks - but either way, I love it! As soon as I heard that it was time for dineLA, I literally asked everyone I knew if they wanted to visit some local eateries. Luckily, I got several people to accompany me in the consumption of thousands of oh so delicious calories. My ass is certainly paying for it though!

So here is how it works, choose: lunch or dinner, price ranging from $-$$$, neighborhood of LA, type of food, and lastly restaurant. No matter what your choices are, the meals consist of three-courses: an appetizer, dinner, and dessert (you can choose the combination, selecting from three possible choices for each course). LA is such a cool city with so many hip restaurants, it was overwhelming as to where to start. The list had over 230 participating establishments so narrowing the options down to three was a bit difficult.

I work in West Hollywood, which if you are unfamiliar with LA, is only blocks from Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and Hollywood. So we will narrowed it down by neighborhood since I was going with co-workers. Here is how the first dining experience went...(menu listed below as it was on the Web site)...




Dinner:
Appetizer- Cured Salmon Carpaccio

Dinner- Squash Risotto with Sage finished with Mascarpone and Aged Parmesan

Dessert- Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Price: $34

For my first dineLA experience, I wanted to go to Boxwood Cafe by Gordon Ramsay. I am a huge fan of his TV programs, and have always wanted to taste his food.

The restaurant is located in The London West Hollywood, a beautiful, swanky hotel located right next to the Viper Room and Whiskey a Go Go (both famous music clubs on the Sunset Strip). We learned that there are two sections of Gordon Ramsay's dining in the hotel; fine and casual. We were on the casual side, which was still upscale.

Although we noticed that we could pick our three courses off of the regular menu and spend less than the dineLA fee, we decided to go with the pre-set options. We quickly noticed that although the wait staff was courteous, they weren't too attentive. There was at least a 20 minute wait to be served between each of our courses, at one point I had nothing to drink, and we couldn't get our check when we were ready.

Most disappointing was the fact that the food wasn't all that I'd expected. It's THE Gordon Ramsay and I anticipated being amazed with everything I tasted, too bad I can't say that I was thrilled. Ramsay is always yelling at Hell's Kitchen contestants for making risotto wrong, so I thought his would be superb. Don't get me wrong, the food wasn't gross. I am just not sure if I'd go back.




Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A. Tierney Giveaway!

I have been so excited to announce this giveaway for a month now. Just in time for Valentine's Day, one lucky Join the Gossip visitor will win a beautiful A. Tierney Floral Cuff!

If you are unfamiliar with A. Tierney, they have some fantastic items. I suggest you browse their Web site when you get a chance.

Here is the site's description of this adorable accessory: Flirty and feminine, our floral cuffs are the perfect accent for day or night. Hinge opening to accommodate all wrist sizes. Gold accents.

Enter to win and you could have this bracelet just in time for V Day. If you are single (like me, booooo!), you can still incorporate romantic items into your wardrobe. So be sure to enter as well! Who doesn't want timeless pieces of jewelry?

To be entered in the random drawing for a winner, please leave a comment on this post. For additional entries (one for each), become a blog follower and let me know in your comment, and/or tweet about this giveaway and provide me with your twitter address or reply to me on twitter so I can check =)

Each person has a possibility of three entries if they do all if the above, but remember that you must leave a comment and let me know how you have entered.

Contest ends this Friday, February 5. I will pick a winner by noon PST, so get your entries in now!

Sorry, US residents only.


Photo courtesy of: A. Tierney

Monday, February 1, 2010

Come Original: Body Shop Winner

Thank you to everyone who enter my fantastic giveaway sponsored by The Body Shop! I really appreciate it that you stopped by my blog--whether it be the first time or one of many times.

After factoring in comments on my blog, as well as The Body Shop blog, and those who became followers, there were nearly 100 entries for this giveaway! Unfortunately, there can only be one winner and that is...




Congrats to Brittany, as she will receive approximately $100 worth of Originals products from The Body Shop.

Didn't win? Then enter my Valentine's Day giveaway. The new contest will be announced this week, and it's going to be another great opportunity. Please come back to see what you could win!



Photo courtesy of: Simplicity in Baltimore

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