Lash Extensions

SKIN WORSHIP
9001 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 206
For appointments, click here.


One afternoon, while strolling across Melrose Place, I caught sight of my friend Taylor. We hadn't seen each other in a while so our meeting was a moment of serendipty. She looked amazing, as usual, though, her lashes looked outrageously lustrous and full. I was mesmerized. 

"I just got them done!" she exclaimed. 

"Oh my god, where?!" I inquired. 

"Over at Esnail–they're the best!"

I hadn't had lash extensions since the mid-2000's, so I decided to do a little bit of my own research when I got back to The Clubhouse. Taylor told me that she had gotten the "Semi-Glam" set on herself, which looked great on her but a level of lashes I felt I had to work up to. I needed some oomph, yes, but more in a "toning up with Pilates" way rather than "pumped with steroids".

I kept thinking back to a post I saw on Caroline Vreeland's Instagram page where she tagged @skinworship on her eyes. Caroline's lashes always looked full but not too thick and were always perfectly fanned out. I decided to make an appointment with her lash girl Madison De Clercq and was surprised at how quickly and delicately she worked. On top of that, she had a lovely personality which made the conversation natural and pleasant. 

"What look are you going for?" she asked, gently placing a false eyelash on top of one of my own.

"Well, I definitely want to walk out of here feeling like there's a difference," I replied, trying my best to keep my eyes closed and still.

"They're definitely going to look longer and fuller, but still natural," she explained. "I specialize in a 'natural yet noticeable' look."

When she was done, I checked in the mirror and they were exactly that. 


Madison charges $175 for a full set and the service takes 1.5 hours. Refills are $85 and take up to 1 hour. While I loved the initial effect, I learned after three weeks that they were simply too high-maintenance for a girl like me!

Sir Kensington's Chipotle Mayonnaise

As you can imagine, it doesn't take much to fill up a mini-fridge. If your mini-fridge is an add-on to a real full-sized fridge, well, you can afford to be a little more indulgent. My mom, for example, kept one in her bedroom stocked with Moscato wine; a former boss of mine had one designated exclusively for chocolate. I, however, have to be strategic about what I'm stocking it with because that little ice-box is my only option for food storage. I'm more or less limited to the necessities–breakfast items, beverages, snacks and condiments–with some space leftover for a container of this or that from the prepared foods market. 

Mine currently contains:

  • 2 bottles of Smartwater
  • A bottle of Perrier
  • A can of Diet Coke
  • A few containers of Fage 0% Greek yogurt
  • A container with 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • A grilled turkey burger patty
  • Crackers (Jilz Gluten Free or Lesley Stowe's Raincoast Crisps)
  • A cheese end
  • A jar of Castelvetrano olives
  • A jar of raw honey (for tea)
  • A jar of champagne mustard
  • A bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce (purchased because of its slenderness)
  • A jar of anchovy-wrapped capers

Mustard and hot sauce can only do so much when it comes to jazzing things up. In that regard, my condiment department was sorely lacking. Ideally, I'd like to keep fresh aïoli on-hand because it's so versatile–Cape Seafood and Provisions sells fresh batches of theirs–but it has such a short shelf-life. Mayonnaise, on the other hand, is too blah. Then, along came Sir Kensington's Chipotle Mayonnaise! 

First of all, I love Sir Kensington's packaging. The squarish glass jar with a black lid gives it a luxurious look while the whimsically illustrated label adds a delightful touch. It adds that joyful "pop" in the mini-fridge, if you know what I mean. Secondly, the brand uses only the finest eggs, oils and seasonings in their products which comes through in the flavor. Their Chipotle Mayonnaise is simply bomb-dot-com, for lack of a better word. Smoky and garlicky with a bright lemony zest... Sometimes that's just what you need to dress a grilled turkey burger patty.

 

The Sole Incident

The problem with not having a kitchen–or a car, for that matter–is that you have to plan your meals somewhat in advance. For breakfast, I usually keep a stock of Fage Greek yogurt in my mini-fridge, which I'll have with a cup of tea. For lunch, I will venture down to town where I'll pop in somewhere for something quick and easy. For dinner, if I'm not catching up with a friend, I have to decide how to make food appear at The Clubhouse. Getting food delivery, while at-times convenient, is not very cost-effective for one person if you consider the food order minimum, delivery fee and tip for the driver.  Thank goodness for prepared foods counters, where you can point to what you want, decide how much of it you want, and leave the rest of the work to your trusty ol 'microwave.

Speaking of which, I got caught in a weird tailspin at the prepared foods counter at Joan's on Third the other day. One of their daily specials was sole meunière, sautéed sole filets in lemon butter with capers and parsley–one of my favorite dishes in the world. The price card read $9 per 1/2 lb., which was reasonable enough. I thought it'd make a nice dinner if I added a side of asparagus ($6) and mashed potatoes ($3.25). Half-a-pound of sole filets, though it sounded like a lot, would surely mean leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Half-a-pound, it is, then. 

When I got to the front of the line, there were two girls standing behind me–maybe a little too close. For whatever reason, this narrow proximity between us triggered a strange sense of anxiety in me. I felt disoriented, scatterbrained and rushed, even if it was all imagined.

"Hi, can I get half a pound of the sole?" I asked, nervously.

Is it odd for me to order "half a pound" of something? Does that sound like too much food?

"Sure, let me weigh that out for you," said the counter person, as she lifted several filets on a paper plate to be weighed. 

I started feeling light-headed and my heart beat faster as I watched her check the food scale.

"OK, that'll be murmurmur five murmurmur..."

Wait, did I hear that right? That doesn't make any sense. The sign clearly says $9 per 1/2 lb. Am I crazy? It's so noisy in here. Did she say "twenty-five dollars"? Or did I completely mishear and she meant that 1/2 lb. is five pieces? Mental hyperventilation taking place now.

"Oh, in that case, I'll just take one piece."

"Are you sure? That's just half of a filet. Do you want two?"

Oh, gosh. Why did I say one piece? That's not going to be enough for dinner. But everyone in L.A. is skinny. I need to go on a diet. Cannot compute. Do not understand. Confusion. Confusion. CONFUSION.

"No, no, one is fine," I said, feeling out of breath, "And a side of mashed potatoes and asparagus, please."

I wanted to get out of there. The room was spinning. I felt an enormous pressure from the girls waiting in line. What's taking so long??? Help!

I still cannot comprehend what unfolded internally, but I walked out with half of a sole fillet and a small side of mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. It was exactly the right amount of food. There were no leftovers. (I did, however, wish I took her up on that second piece of sole. That way, I could have avoided eating the entire container of mashed potatoes.)


*My friend Bill read this post after I'd already told him over the phone what had happened. "I still don't understand what happened. But don't try to explain to me again because it'll only make things more confusing," he said. Oh, good, I was able to, in this post, accurately convey the same level of confusion that I had experienced!

 

 

 

The L.A. Mystique

A door in West Hollywood

I learned about L.A. from Sex and the City, just as I had learned about toxic bachelors, Manolo Blahniks and the importance of having good friends. Los Angeles, it seemed, was populated with a mix of Paris Hilton clones, aging bachelors and vegans. Surely, it was no place for someone like me–someone who relishes wearing long sleeves year-round, has introverted tendencies and orders steak like a Texan. 

I remember when my boyfriend took me around L.A. for the first time. We got a car wash, went to a denim store, had lunch at a sidewalk restaurant, drove around, and ate dinner at a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant. The day felt like a cardboard cut-out of itself. I had no connection to any of it. I thought to myself, I could never live in L.A.

If L.A. were a fabric, it'd be rayon, something that's not natural yet not exactly artificial. There's a strange sense of detachment that pervades this city. It feels like a village composed of millions of closed societies. There are canyons and strip malls and magnificent homes behind hedges and ivy-covered walls. The weather is eerily nice nearly all of the time. 

I didn't know if I would like L.A. but, now, I'm unexpectedly loving it. 

I enjoy going on morning hikes at Runyon Canyon with Taylor, strolling along Melrose Place, hanging out with Bill at his apartment while we cook dinner and watch TV shows, having lunch at Croft Alley, browsing the book selections at Book Soup, grabbing happy hour at Marvin or Terrine, and reading or writing back at The Clubhouse.

All of the places that I've been frequenting and all of the people who have become friends happened through an organic gravitational pull. Because of that, I'm experiencing this city authentically for myself. It's through the little choices and decisions that you make everyday that create your world, your reality. 

I don't know when or if I'll ever qualify as an Angeleno. To be honest, I still consider myself a New Yorker when people ask where I'm from, even though I haven't lived there in nearly three years. However, I'm finding myself easily trading in New York's dynamic energy for L.A.'s relaxed vibes. Instead of being pulled together, I now feel comfortably unraveled, like a head of beachy waves.

 

Brebirousse d'Argental Cheese

 

I originally came across this cheese at Vintage Grocers when we were staying in Malibu. I had never seen it before but was drawn to its bright orange-tinged rind (colored with annatto), squat square shape and soft, oozy quality. I love creamy pungent cheeses and Brebirousse d'Argental does not disappoint–this French sheep's milk cheese is buttery and ripe with a tang. It spreads beautifully on crackers! I've started seeing it around the cheese sections in different gourmet markets. It's usually quite pricey at $15 per pound, but I found this SGD-sized piece at in the bowl of cheese ends at Joan's On Third and bought it because it was mini-fridge-friendly.