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Archive | May, 2010

From Beijing with Love

31 May

The shopping in Beijing is amazing and at times completely overwhelming.  And believe me – it takes a lot for a shopping excursion to overwhelm me.  In fact, if retail therapy was considered a sport… I would be an Olympic team member.  I love to haggle, and I love the thrill of a bargain.  All of that is to say that I am currently working on A Blonde Buys – a shopping guide to Beijing (and other places in Asia) to include on the blog.

In the meantime, I will include a picture of Brett’s favorite Beijing purchase to date.  It is the most perfectly inappropriate souvenir for friends back home.  Craig, this is just the look for a new dad of a sweet baby girl.

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Looking for a job in marketing?

31 May

Have you recently lost your job in marketing or advertising?  If the answer to that question is yes, then you should move  to China.  They need you.  See the picture below and tell me if you agree.  It is probably the worst restaurant slogan I have ever seen in a window display!

"Probably" the Worst Restaurant Window Slogan Ever

Curb Your Kid

17 May

The sign you see to your left is placed on almost every street and street corner in NYC.  For those of you who have never owned a dog (pay attention Mr. Hutchinson) Curbing Your Dog simply means clean up your pet’s “business”.  Dog owners who do not complete this task are highly disliked by the bulk of New Yorkers.  In particular, those individuals who find “business” on the bottom of their Louboutins or Ferragamo loafers.  I can only imagine how disturbed those people might be if they realized they had stepped in human “business.”  This leads me to my entry for today.  It is small in words but big in definition of my life in China.

Last Friday, while waiting for my ride to pick me up from a little shopping excursion, I had a very bizarre encounter with a mother and child.   First, I should mention that the scene of this incident was not an isolated location.  It was a very busy street, bustling with people right next to the entrance of a massive bus station.  As I waited for the car, I sipped on a diet coke (my first of the day so I was in fake sugar heaven) when out of the corner of my eye I saw a mother rapidly stripping the pants of her 3-4 year old son allowing him to spray pee all over the sidewalk.  Naturally, I was a bit grossed out, but I tried to be sympathetic…maybe she is still struggling with the task of potty training him?…maybe he just could not hold it anymore?  But then, things got out of hand and the kid began to drop his “business” all over the place.  It was all I could do to not lose it right then and there.  Can you imagine walking up Madison Avenue to find mothers and nannies allowing their children to use the sidewalk as a toilet?  Wouldn’t this be a great story for Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers to use during their “Really?” segment on SNL’s Weekend Update.  In fact, “really?” was the only word that came to my mind after the incident.

I suppose the moral of this story is to watch where you step on the sidewalks of Beijing.  Also:  Curb Your Kid.

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“Toto – I Have a Feeling We’re Not at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Anymore!”

13 May

Model Wearing Dress from Wardina Summer 2010 Collection

While I am in love with all things fashion, I am undoubtedly NOT a  fashionista or a frugalista. In fact, just the sound of those very overused words makes me throw up a little in my mouth.  They represent a diva mentality to me, which in my opinion, cheapens the beauty and the art of the fashion industry.  I mention this because while those words now seem stale and uninspiring, a fashion show that I attended a few weeks ago here in Beijing was anything but.

After I decided to move to Beijing in December, I knew that I would not be able to attend any shows during New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in February.  So, when I learned of the Wardina Launch Party for their Summer 2010 Collection, I was thrilled!  To be totally honest, I had not heard of the brand before I received an email about the event.  After a bit of research, I discovered that Wardina is a line of Middle Eastern Couture.  I.E. – super long dresses.  For those of you reading this that know me personally, you might be aware that  I am not afraid to go short.  And yes, sometimes perhaps I have gone too short.  But the thing is, even my very tasteful great-grandmother, Birdie Bass, told us to wear short skirts before the hail damage sets in.  My days are numbered so I am living it up!

I did suspect that the show might have a slightly different feel than previous shows I have attended; however, nothing prepared me (and certainly not Brett) for the mayhem that came down the runway.

Artist Performance by YETING

It all began with an artist performance by YETING.  The room was dark with only one spotlight on the artist and her giant canvas (which appeared to be a massive piece of newsprint). She began with a pencil, quickly switched to an oversize paint brush with basic black paint, and finished with black spray paint creating shading like a graffiti artist.  The entire performance did not last more than 3-4 minutes.  It was fascinating, and yet it was just the appetizer of the show.

Belly Dancer

The lights flashed, the artist disappeared, and the first group of dresses sashayed down the catwalk.  All long.  All very Middle Eastern in style. All completely not my scene – but very beautiful in their own right.  Lights flashed again.  A belly dancer gyrated up and down the runway to the DJ’s crazy beat.  Lights flashed yet again and revealed another group of dresses.  This pattern continued to include a Hip Hop ballet recital, more Wardina Summer 2010 Collection pieces, and an African dance performed by The Africa Queen Dance Troup.  Wth it’s circus nature, I felt disappointed that the models were not bearded ladies juggling bowling pins.

A night of sensory overload it was indeed.  It’s true that the actual fashion collection played second fiddle to the entertainers, but Brett and I had an absolute blast. We hope to experience many more thrilling nights like this one.

Moya Li and Me (Morgan Harbin)

A special thank you to my beautiful friend, Moya Li, who invited us to this extraordinary event! She certainly knows how to entertain!

Monkey Says “NO” to Wasabi Peas

11 May

Our Monkey with His Snack of Choice

Almost the entire country of China shut down for 2 weeks in February to celebrate the Year of the Tiger. So with the doors of NCGA (Brett’s work) closed for business, we had no other choice than to hop a flight to Bali.  (I hope the sarcasm in that sentence is as obvious as intended.)

Before I can go into any details of the trip, I must first tell you that Brett and I are both geographically challenged when it comes to the size of Asia.  We mistakenly assumed that our flight time from Beijing would be 4-5 hours, when in reality, it was 9 hours of air time plus an overnight stay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Needless to say that when we finally arrived, we wanted nothing more than a cold beverage (avec bourbon) by the pool!

Our hotel, The Ayana Resort, is comprised of 78 freestanding, cliff-top villas.  Each villa has its own infinity edge pool overlooking the Indian Ocean.  Honestly, it is pretty ridiculous.  I should now take the time to selfishly thank all those involved in causing the  financial crisis, which allowed us to afford a vacation at this small piece of heaven on earth.  Best to look at the bright side of things, right?

Our villa was so secluded that at times we felt completely removed from all civilization.  Although I suppose the blaring Bose speakers, the Michelin Star quality room service, and the personal butler were pretty clear reminders. Sarcasm intended.   Those modern luxuries aside, the remoteness of our accommodations contributed greatly to our most favorite Balinese experience (or Balanean experience in Brett speak).

It was our very first day.  We were playing in the pool and my back was to the ocean.  With a very odd look on his face, Brett announced that a rather decent size monkey was rapidly approaching us.  As a monkey lover and one born in the year of the monkey, I was immediately filled with excitement.  Could it be?  Another monkey for my monkey pack?  (The Hangover movie reference) .  The truth is, the monkey was not trying to join my monkey pack.  In fact, he just wanted our food.  He initially went for a full bag of wasabi peas.  We assumed, after he spit them out faster than a Nolan Ryan fastball in his prime, he was not a fan.  Luckily for him (it was definitely a him) there was also a delicious bag of salt and vinegar potato chips nearby.  With a human like grip, he carried the bag to our cabana, reclined on the plush cushions, and proceeded to eat the entire bag…one chimp…I mean one chip at a time.

Visiting a Rice Paddy in Bali

While the wild monkey visit was a highlight for me, Bali had so much more to offer.  We visited amazing rice paddies, beautiful coffee plantations, and an entire wild monkey forest.

There are so many extraordinary resorts on the island of Bali; however, I strongly recommend Ayana.  The Spa on the Rocks is to die for, and the location on the island receives the most sunshine of any other spot.  Life is short.  Go to Bali.

www.ayanaresort.com

BTW:  The monkey did visit us again.  On the 2nd visit, he realized that we did not have any accessible food. So…he peed all over Brett’s flip-flops, and left.  Good times.

Tasting Kopi Lawak Balinese Coffee

Feeding a Monkey in the Wild Monkey Forest

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