Archive | Food RSS feed for this section

Red Soles in Shanghai

22 Dec

Not only did Christian Louboutin create a beautiful book of his best works to commemorate his 20 remarkable years in the land of red leather soles, he is also trotting the globe to celebrate with his diehard fans.  Lucky for us, he made a stop in Shanghai (only a 2 hour flight away).  Even more lucky for us, our dear friend Kara got us on the list!

Brett and I decided to make a nice little weekend it out of it, and since the cocktail party for CL happened to be at the Long Bar at the Waldorf Astoria on the Bund… it seemed that we should book a room for ourselves there as well!  I am so glad that we did.  It was the perfect little retreat from China…I mean Beijing.  You see – Shanghai is China Light.  Actually, it is China Extra Light and at this time year, at Christmas, when we miss our families and the city that never sleeps, we crave little reminders.  With it’s perfectly decorated tree, an outpost of The Peacock Alley Lounge, and a service level that puts Tokyo to shame – the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund was just what the non-chinese medicine doctor ordered.

We arrived at the hotel around 4PM which left plenty of time for enjoying the view of the city while munching on an authentic reuben with home fries before the pre-party primping began. By 7:30 we were on the elevator heading down to the Long Bar to meet Mr. Red Sole himself.

It was as if the party had been taken from the pages of his book.  Special edition and collector pieces graced the feet of almost every female guest.  I have never looked down so much at a party before!

Entrance to the Long Bar with the signature Christian Louboutin bird-cage. The entire bar was filled with them. So cute!

The Man of the Hour - Christian Louboutin and Me. Congratulations CL on 20 impressive and over-the-top years.

Spinning some tunes with the DJ! Isn't he pretty? That's right...all the way from Thailand, this beautiful boy puts most ladies to shame. You should have seen him dressed and performing as Rihanna. Gorgeous!

After the party, we walked across the lobby to Pelham's for their delectable tasting menu. From 4 courses to 12, and any number in between, you can create your own tasting experience. These bellies only allowed for 4!

View of the Shanghai skyline from our room.

The Waldorf Tree

We decided to enjoy a proper bloody mary back at the Long Bar before heading to the airport on Sunday. It really is a LONG bar...right?

And then we discovered this special edition Blanton's. As a Kentucky girl...I had to try it! Obviously, Brett didn't make me drink alone.



A Fashionable Fortieth

20 Dec

To celebrate Brett’s big 4-0 on 11.11.11, I planned a Great Gatsby themed fête at Maison Boulud.  Their lounge area set the perfect scene for flappers, feathers, and fancy fish nets.  Corsages, boas and boutonnieres greeted the guests while the bartenders stayed busy mixing Manhattans and Martinis. I believe a good time was had by all…including my sweet mother-in-law who sported false eyelashes for the first time in her life! Love it!

Below are a few looks from the spring runways that inspired the party’s theme..and below that – are actual pics from the party!  I also want to take this opportunity to wish my amazing husband Happy Birthday all over again!

The hat is not exactly perfect for Daisy...but I think she would have loved the dress! ARMANI SPRING RTW 2012

This cloche could not be more perfect for afternoon tea at Gatsby's. DIOR SPRING RTW 2012

Perhaps this dress is a bit sheer...and a bit low-cut - but the pastel color is spot on 1920's. DIOR SPRING RTW 2012

This shimmery number might have even gotten Myrtle her man. JENNY PACKHAM SPRING 2012

Perfect soirée show stopper! VIONNET SPRING 2012

Now for the real P-A-R-T-Y Pics!

The Hutchinson Clan done up in true Gatsby fashion! Thank you so much Cory, Kara, Donna, and Tom for coming 7,000 miles to celebrate with us!

Our sweet friend Moya took this one...she said we were like this all night. I like that.

Gatsby Party Girl Pic!

Thanks to precious Kimmy Willson ,who let me borrow this fab vintage piece, I wore an authentic hand sequined dress from the 1920's. My handsome Brett donned a dinner jacket and a matching double-breasted vest.

So fun that Brett's brother, Cory, came to Beijing to celebrate with us!

Photo Booth Fun Time with Brett and KC!

Brett with his magnificent macaroon tower filled with black forest cake on the inside. A special thank you to Brian Reimer at Maison Boulud for creating such a delicious work of art!

Love these ladies! (Obviously, I am referring to the two that are not me!)

Abe and Sarah - just two of our chic guests. Thank you so much to everyone for dressing the part!

Megan & KC Connolly (in fantastic wigs!), The Hutchinsons, and Miss Moya Li

Happy Birthday Brett! I love you!

I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Nicolas, Lotus, Brian, and the entire team at Maison Boulud for all of their help in making Brett’s birthday party a success.  You all are the best!  Thank you!

The Trip of a Lifetime

14 Dec

At the Beijing Airport - Ready for Take-Off!

Our honeymoon trip to South Africa was one of the most magical experiences of my entire life.  It was 3 weeks of total bliss, and I would love to share all of the details of our adventure.  Perhaps if you have African Safari dreams of your own, then our journey and experience will help in planning your trip.  It is not an easy trip to plan, and it requires lots of outside help – but  every second spent researching or working with Intosol, our travel agency, whom we loved BTW ( was well worth it.  (Please note – I truly believe that planning this trip without an agency would have been impossible!  We were very involved, but there are some things you just can’t book properly without the assistance of an expert when it comes to South Africa and Mozambique!)

Our  journey began with Emirates.  What an airline!  As first time Emirate’s passengers, we were pleasantly surprised by the free flowing Moet, the delicious Pommerol (in-flight Pommerol…are you kidding me?), the lobster, the remarkably large seats (almost like a little condo in the sky) and did I mention THE BAR?  I felt like we had stepped back in time to the days of Pan Am glamour.  Is there any better way to kick start a honeymoon than by toasting bubbly in a beautiful, fully stocked Sky Bar at 35,000 feet?

In-Flight Accommodations

The flight from Beijing to Cape Town is by no means a short one – but it certainly was a fun one thanks to my travel partner.  After nine hours in the air, we had a three hour layover in Dubai (where I learned that Wal-Mart quality L’Oreal lip-glosses are the price of Chanel and Chanel glosses are the price of…well – solid gold I guess.)  For the record, I stood in a ten minute line and then didn’t buy them.  I have my limits. I also learned that Emirate’s Airport Lounges are fantastic.  Sorry Continental – you know that I love you (and I am rather sad about the merger with United) but Emirate’s really puts your bagels and granola breakfast buffet to shame.  From Dubai we hopped back on board for another ten hours… Cape Town bound.  (FTA “for the Americans” – it is a similar travel time for you, albeit a much different route.)

Around 4PM South African time –  we were back on solid ground, rested, and ready for a night on the town.  Cape Town that is.  Upon arrival, we were graciously greeted at the airport by our driver who helped with our bags and began to share his favorite list of fun facts about the southern most and second largest city of South Africa. Population 3.5 million.  He beamed as he shared his knowledge of the Cape’s first settlers -the Dutch in 1652 – but he really lit up when we passed the recently built World Cup stadium.  Out with the old and in with the new.

After twenty plus hours of travel, my first priority was a bath.  Thanks to the wonderful concierge at the Cape Town One & Only  ( the honey moon suite upgrade, on top of the upgrade from American Express Travel Services, we were greeted with the most incredible bath tub (bathroom actually – okay the entire hotel room was ridiculous) that neither Brett nor I had ever seen.  Check-in was seamless and by 5:30 we were sipping on the pre-chilled champagne welcome gift from the hotel and munching on canapés while waiting for our giant bubble bath to fill up.  Obviously there was no possible way we were hungry, as we had basically been eating since take-off, but we managed to choke down a few! I probably should have been more diligent in reminding myself that I had a wedding dress to wear in 3 days…oops!

By 8:45 we were dressed and ready.  And, thanks to the excellent team at One & Only, who had already taken care of booking a table for us a couple of weeks in advance at La Colombe, a contemporary french meets asian restaurant settled in the middle of the beautiful Constantia Uitsig winery ( we had the perfect dining spot awaiting us. (Please note – the restaurant is actually quite small and books early so be sure to plan ahead.)

The decor is quaint.  One very large chalkboard meun, hand written daily is personally carried by a waiter to each table during the carefully guided ordering process.  The chill in the air is relieved by the wood burning fireplace and the growl in your belly (or lack there of in our case) is satisfied by the melt-in-your-mouth tasting courses.  And obviously, the wines are quite nice.

In front of our personal chalkboard menu at La Colombe in Cape Town

More of our Cape Town time tomorrow and then on to the Safari…and then the wedding ceremony…and then the mountains..and then the beaches of Mozambique!   That’s right…the Blonde in Beijing is back.  Sorry for the lack of blogging.  Life sort of sucked the “blog” out of me for a bit – but now I am back.  Thank you so much for continuing to check-in!  Please stay tuned…


My MTV Style Bit Moment

13 Oct

I briefly mentioned that I was interviewed by MTV China in my write-up about the 125 years of Bvlgari celebration at the National Museum of  China. Here is the finished clip that recently aired.  My part is split into 2 sections.  That said, we (Brett is in it too!) don’t show up until minute 3 – so for my non-chinese speaking readers…you may want to skip ahead (although the jewelry shown in the first 3 minutes is stunning!)

I have to tell you that the funniest thing about the interview was that the MTV producer on site told me how brave I was for revealing my age.  What?  When did it become brave to say you are 30?  I thought it was supposed to be the new 18 or something…

And by the way – since it taped, I turned 31 – and I am loving it!

Check out the link and let me know what you think!

MTV China Bvlgari Style Bit – A Blonde in Beijing Interview

Calling All Circus of Love Ticket Holders

18 Aug

To all of you Circus of Love Attendees out there…Brett and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our “carnie” hearts!  It means the world to us that you traveled to celebrate with us under the big top!

Mr. and Mrs. Brett Hutchinson sipping on the signature circus drinks...Spiked Pink Lemonade and Mint Julep Snow Cones!

Much more Circus of Love coverage to come….

Paris in the Springtime….Part I

3 Jun

There is a reason that a song was written for this time of year in Paris…because springtime in Paris is absolute perfection!  And while one doesn’t need an excuse to visit the city in all of its blooming glory, what better reason to go than a Parisian Wedding of a fellow Kentuckian childhood friend?!

Like any trip to Paris – ours was filled with delicious cuisine, tasty wines, outdoor cafes, rich culture, high-end window shopping, and a highly contagious “c’est la vie” attitude.  I think I can best describe the trip through our photos…they speak much louder than my words!

First though, on a quick practical note – I would like to share with any Beijingers traveling to Paris that we flew on the direct flight from PEK to CDG on Air France which left around 11AM getting us to Paris by 2:30PM.  This was actually really convenient timing – it allowed us to check it, take a quick catnap, and freshen up before hitting the town that night.  On our last visit we took a redeye on Aeroflot and connected through Moscow.  This trip was much easier and we were more adapt to “Parisian time” (i.e. waiting until 10-11AM to really get the day started!).

For the first 2 nights in Paris, we stayed in a lovely Relais & Chateaux hotel in the 8th Arrondissement near the L’Arc de Triomphe.  Lucky for us – we were able to communicate with our taxi driver very easily…because he spoke English?  NO!  Because he was Chinese/French and he spoke Mandarin!


Hotel Daniel in Paris

Living Room at Hotel Daniel - So Cozy!

On our first night, we started at Hotel Amour in the 9th Arr. for a romantic dinner for two in their outdoor courtyard.  The hotel is a bit edgy with a fashionable crowd, and the food was tasty.  Not Guy Savoy tasty – but not Guy Savoy prices either.  It was a very reasonable dinner (great prices on wine) and the setting was lively and Parisian chic.  I recommend a reservation – specifically for one of the hidden tables in the back, tucked among beautiful hedges in a glow of candlelight.  TIP: It is a bit difficult to find a direct contact online.  I suggest emailing your concierge to make the booking for you.

Outside the Amour Hotel. Not our best photo – but the crowd was a bit too cool for tourists! Clearly – this is a self-portrait.

Bird's Eye View of Amour Hotel's Outdoor Restaurant Seating

After dinner we grabbed a taxi to the recently renovated Royal Monceau Hotel (a Raffles Hotel) for a few drinks at Le Bar Long.  It was here where we found our second wind…a second wind to the level of a couple of 21 year olds and we would pay for this later!  Specifically, we would pay for this the next morning!  Maybe we can still go out like 21 year olds – but we can certainly not recover like them!

From The Royal Monceau we headed to Le Baron (in the 8th Arr.  Opens around 1AM).  Proud of ourselves for getting “in” ahead of a line full of 18-22 year old extremely put together Parisians, we danced the night away and left around 4:30 AM with sore feet, hungry bellies, and an inevitable headache on the way. But…what a fun way to get there!

Needless to say, we slept in on Friday and room service seemed the only option for our first meal of the day – around 11!  Afterwards, we threw on some clothes and hit the streets with the intent of buying a wedding gift for the happy couple.  Unfortunately, after unsuccessful visits to the bridal registries at Galleries Lafayette and Printemps, we realized that Jennifer and Jean Marc were actually registered at Bon Marche.  With too little time to get there, we scurried back to the hotel to get ready for the rehearsal dinner and shop for the betrothed online at Finally…success!  And let’s be honest, a bit of window shopping in two of the most famous department stores in Paris was not so bad…

Unsuccessful Shopping Excursion. I apparently decided to dress like a human traffic cone.

I love that he is still this jolly after two failed attempts at bridal registries. What a good husband!

Our very kind cab driver made a quick stop by the L'Arc de Triomphe for a photo op on the way to the rehearsal dinner. Who says the French are snobs? I think they are quite lovely!


Outside the Buttes Chaumont Park in the 19th Arrondissement. The dinner was inside this beautiful park at Le Pavillon du Lac. It was a fantastic evening full of great conversation with old and new friends alike! FASHION: Vintage 1980's Silk Carolina Herrera Jumpsuit & Red Bottega Veneta Clutch

Paris in the Springtime…Part Deux COMING SOON!

Engagement Photo Shoot in Beijing

16 Mar

Our engagement photo shoot in Beijing had everything a girl could ask for…a Bride, a Brett, and a plate full of bugs! Okay – scorpions, silk worms, and a star fish to be exact.  BTW – scorpions and star fish are not so bad – but silk worms…they are disgusting!

Thanks to the wonderful photographers at GIB Studio, our day of picture taking out and about in Beijing (albeit freezing cold Beijing) was a true success.  We wanted an authentic Chinese feel to them – and I think we got it! From bug eating on a snack street in Wang Fu Jing to sightseeing at the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, we had a blast celebrating our engagement Beijing Style.  We also spent a little bit of time in the studio.  I have to admit that is was hilarious to see what a little ham I am about to marry!

For information on hiring GIB Studios for your next photo shoot please contact them directly:

  • 186-0127-5025
  • Welcome 2011!

    29 Jan

    New Year's Eve 2011 at Maison Boulud

    Maison Boulud is Daniel Boulud’s restaurant here in Beijing.  It is clearly the best “pretty” french food in town.  Although, we prefer Brasserie Flo for the classics like steak tartare and frisee salads!

    NYE 2011! FASHION: Vintage Silver Lame Animal Print Strapless Dress with a Thin Black Patent Leather Belt, Michael Kors Pewter Platforms, and a Black and Silver Tulle Fascinator

    I wanted to get a full length picture before the meal – or should I say…before the I put a giant food baby in my belly!  The dress was already a bit tight!

    NYE 2011

    The grand entrance to Maison Boulud – which at one time was the American Embassy.  It is absolutely stunning!

    New Year's Eve Wrist Corsage

    Like I said before (in the Christmas Eve Blog Entry)…I am trying to bring the wrist corsage back.  I actually just ordered 2 dozen elastic bands from a floral supply  store in the states.  I will be bringing them back to Beijing after our trip home next week!  Can’t wait!  The options are endless here as far as flowers go – and they are soooo cheap!

    New Year's Day at Union Cafe in Sanlitun

    We went to Union Cafe (a western restaurant that caters to expats) in search of Black Eyed Peas, Pork, and Greens…no luck! Hopefully – this doesn’t mean 2011 is going to be a bust.  Fingers crossed!

    Happy 2011 to you all!  Or better yet…Tu Nian Kuai Le!  Happy Bunny Year!

    Brett’s Birthday Get Away to The City of Lights

    22 Jan

    La Tour Eiffel! FASHION: Multi-Colored Fox Fur Jacket with Brown Suede Over-the-Knee Boots

    I love Paris in the Springtime….I love Paris in the Fall!  Ahh – gay Paris!  Is there any other city so full of romance – delicious wines, the creamiest butter, and steak tartare served to perfection?  I think not.  So – I decided to surprise Brett with a trip to The City of Lights for his birthday celebration.

    We left Beijing on a red eye flight on Aeroflot – a Russian Airline that offered a first class fare for almost the exact same price as the coach fare of Air France.  So that was a no-brainer.  Thank you Kayak!  We did have a quick stop in Moscow – which was actually kind of fun, and we arrived in Paris at 7AM.  By the way, I would recommend this airline.  Their fleet of planes might be a little older than other airlines, although the interiors do appear to have been updated, the service was excellent, and the price was right.

    On Plane to Paris

    I knew we would have plenty of time to freshen up once we arrived at the hotel seeing that Paris doesn’t really wake until almost 10.  Gotta love the 30 hour work week!  We stayed at Hotel Cambon – a sweet little boutique hotel across from the original Chanel store and Coco’s actual apartment.  All the rooms have a different, very modern and eclectic design, and ours even had a balcony overlooking a section of the Tuileries Gardens.  It was lovely.  I had arranged for a chocolate birthday cake and champagne to be in the room upon arrival. Okay…8AM might have been a little early to pop the bubbly – but it was 3PM Beijing time – and that is definitely happy hour in France.  So when you do the math – it was clearly acceptable.

    In Front of Brasserie Lipp

    Our first day was spent at the Musee Dorsay to visit the Impressionists followed by a late lunch at Brasserie Lipp in Saint-Germain to devour steak tartare and escargot.  The evening was spent at Guy Savoy – a 3 Michelin star restaurant.  We gorged ourselves on a 7-course tasting menu with wine pairings that included Guy’s infamous truffled artichoke soup – quite possibly the best thing I have ever put in my mouth.  I think it is obvious that our clothes fit a little bit tighter after our trip!

    The next morning we awoke bright and early to wonder the streets while most Parisians were still warm in their beds.  We hit many of the necessary spots…a kiss on the Lover’s Bridge, a stroll by the Seine, the L’Arc de Triomphe on Champs Elysee. And, when our feet (I should say my feet in 5″ heels) couldn’t take anymore, we stopped by Cafe Marly overlooking the Louvre for a mid-morning snack.  For lunch (yes – the trip was based around eating) we went to Nomiya on top of the Palais de Tokyo modern art museum.

    Nomiya at Palais de Tokyo

    I had read an article about this place in the NY Times a while back, and it sounded very interesting.  Honestly, it exceeded every one of our expectations, and it was one of our favorite activities during the trip.  The lunch – which you must make reservations for well in advance – hosts 12 guests and no more.

    Lover's Bridge

    Perched on top of the museum in a tiny glass building, we ate great food at a communal table with interesting guests and a panoramic view of the city.  It was a great time – and as it turned out, the woman sitting across from us had lived in Murray, Kentucky (my off the beaten path tiny hometown) for a couple of years as a child.  What are the odds?

    The Louvre. FASHION: Ivory Bunny Fur Jacket with an Eggplant American Apparel Lycra Skirt, matching tights, and Fuchsia Gladiators. Taupe Bottega Veneta Top Handle Tote

    The remainder of the trip was spent at many other Parisian classics – The Bar at the Ritz, George V, the Pont Neuf, Hotel Costes, some shopping for the birthday boy in the Marais, window shopping on Faubourg Saint Honoree, Plaza Athenee (for drinks with my cute friend Jenny Leeper, her handsome fiance, and her very sweet mother) and a grand finale stop at La Tour Eiffel.  All in all – a perfect trip.

    More Pictures from Paris….

    Breakfast at Hotel Costes

    Le Pont Neuf

    Self Portrait at Plaza Athenee

    Miracle on Xiang He Yuao Road

    28 Dec

    Christmas Tree Lot - Beijing Style

    The title of this blog might be a bit of a stretch.  I don’t mean to insinuate that either of us defended the existence of Santa Claus within the Chinese court system (although best I can tell – the court system here has one simple step: a payoff).  I do believe; however, that we did have a little miracle of our own here on Xiang He Yuao Road (our street). It all began with our first Chinese Christmas Tree…

    We were thrilled to learn that our favorite flower market was selling live Christmas Trees of a respectable size.  It was Griswold time – Charlie Brown style wasn’t going to cut it for our first Christmas away from all of our family.  I wouldn’t say that a glow of heavenly light surrounded the glorious pine – but we were both instantly drawn to the same 3 meter douglas fir with an endearing floppiness to it.  While the tree keepers cleaned and trimmed our chosen tree, we headed inside to buy lights and other trimmings.

    Our Griswold Tree - It Hits the Ceiling!

    The selection of ornaments and garlands was staggering.  I was actually expecting to have to decorate the tree with my collection of bangles – but no need.  We bought tons of twinkle lights, balls of every color and size, oversized bells, crystal ice cycles, and meters upon meters of garlands.  But the highlight of the day was finding our over the top tree topper – a flashing red light reading Merry Christmas – so tacky it was cute.  Of course it wasn’t intended to be a tree topper – so we convinced the electrician on call (as if such a thing existed  – it was a sales clerk) to rewire it with a cord long enough to read the top of the tree.  In retrospect this was our dumbest idea ever.

    The tree was delivered about an hour later (still with its roots in a giant barrel mind you…making it quite a bit taller and quite a bit more Griswold than we anticipated). With It’s A Wonderful Life on in the background, we strung our lovely tree with hundreds of twinkle lights and decked it with glittering ornaments.  Then, we snuggled up on the couch with a glass of champagne each to admire our work.  It was lovely.  A little scrappy – but lovely nonetheless.

    Sheng Dan Liwu - Christmas Gifts

    We dozed off at some point – lulled to sleep by Christmas music and the sweet glow of our tree.  Somewhere between falling asleep and total dream zone I awoke to a loud pop.  I could tell something was different about the room…and then, it hit me like a Mack truck. The lights on the tree blew out.  I woke Brett to give him the bad news that we would have to start all over tomorrow.  Oh well…we both agreed.  Worse things have happened.  Actually, worse things were about to happen.  FIRE!!  The entire surge protector (some protector, right?) was engulfed in flames rising quickly up the cords just centimeters away from torching the curtains, the wall, and obviously the entire tree.  I ran to get a big blanket to snuff it out while Brett carefully pulled the cords away from the wall as best he could.  Luckily, he put it out before it caused any major damage.  But we definitely learned our lesson…don’t Clark Griswold your tree.  (FYI – I went to IKEA the next day and purchased extra cool, energy-saving lights…I wasn’t going to take any chances. And, although the topper remained in place, it was never turned on again.)

    Christmas Eve at Jaan - 1920's Style. BTW- I am going to incorporate wrist corsages into my daily life. Love them! FASHION: White Iisly Bunny Fur Shrug with Silver Sequined Trim, Black Strapless Ted Baker Silk Jersey Gown and Feather Headpiece

    Other than the tree fiasco, we had a lovely Christmas, just the two of us, here in Beijing.  We started the festivities with a Pre-Christmas Eve dinner at the Kunlun Hotel’s Summit Club.  It is on the top floor, and we were able to see all the lights of the city which actually included a lot more Christmas lights than one might think.  On actual Christmas Eve, we went to Jaan, a French restaurant with beautiful art deco decor in the Raffles Hotel downtown.  They did such a lovely job. We enjoyed a five-course meal in a 1920’s themed setting with 2 different live musical performances.  First a string quartet and then a jazz band with a saxophone player that oddly bore a resemblance to Stevie Wonder and Jon Hamm as “Sergio” in the SNL Digital Short: “Cursed”.

    Yes...we realize we look dorky. FASHION?? Matching Red Waffle Print Long Johns from Red Envelope

    On Christmas morning, we feasted on chocolate muffins, sausage, and champagne while we played Santa in matching red long johns.  Unfortunately, the majority of those pictures (any showing us from the waist down) are not suitable for my blog.  I will just say that long johns look hilarious – and very Cousin Eddy.

    Of course we wish we could have been with our families and loved ones for the holidays – but I think we found the best thing Beijing had to offer this Christmas…time with each other.

    Merry Christmas!  Sheng Dan Kuai Le!

    %d bloggers like this: