Pedicure + Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies in Bag

AK and I are driving down to LA today at noon, and I only realized last night that I am in desperate need of a pedicure! I had forgotten that SoCal is pretty much open-toe shoes all the time.  Thankfully, super nail lady Renata Bailey at Soreno Salon had a last minute morning appointment so I rushed off after breakfast, leaving AK at home to finish some conference calls.

There is something magical about Renata’s pedicure – she is so thorough and her products are so good that my feet have never felt cleaner or softer! My last pedicure lasted a whole month without a single chip, even though I had also spent 10+ days in Maui running through sand and seawater at the beach or swimming at the pool practically every day (salt/sand/chlorine usually wreak havoc on nails).

After the pedicure today, Renata had a special treat for me – gingerbread cookies! They are in the shape of a pair of manicured hands. In the bag, they look adorable, but outside of the bag…you be the judge.

Gingerbread Cookies

Bailey’s Nails and Toes
(Inside Sereno Salon)
206 2nd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 342-4300


How Do Celebrities Do It?

Last week I unintentionally broke my personal record of going out – 5 times in a 7-day period.  This partially explains my week-long absence, though I must confess that the other days were spent recuperating from the over-exertion.  It all began with a work obligation and looked something like this:

Day 1 – Wednesday (7/27/11):  This was an ambitious day.  I had booked an eyebrow appointment at 8:20 a.m. at Bombshell – since appointments book up a month or two in advance, missing it was unthinkable!  (Side note:  Who knew I would ever become a slave to an eyebrow maintenance schedule?)  Unfortunately, this meant that I had to squeeze in my 5-mile run beforehand (getting up at 6 a.m. to go running is not my favorite way to start off the day).  At the end of the work day, went to team dinner at Pampas Brazilian BBQ in Palo Alto, at which I orchestrated a near-perfect real life logic game involving our seating arrangement (with rules such as A is only friends with B, C does not want to sit next to D, E can sit next to anyone, F needs to sit near the edge to access the salad bar, etc.).  Yes, my life has its small victories.

Day 2 – Thursday (7/28/11):  Last minute birthday dinner for my good friend Coco (so nicknamed for her affinity to the incomparable Coco Chanel).  After retrieving the birthday girl from the British Bankers Club, where she and Ms. Lin were engrossed in lively debate with fellow MIT alums, we enjoyed yummy tapas at Iberia (verdict – pretty good for Menlo Park but so-so by San Francisco standards).  Forgot my camera so no photos.  😦

Day 3 – Friday (7/29/11):  Friday night is my monthly dinner with Ms. Raggedy, who also invited Ms. Lin.  I recommended one of my favorites in San Francisco, The Richmond.  It did not fail to impress, especially with its seared foie gras (not all foie gras are born equal), my “double down” chicken (pressed chicken with crispy skins and bread stuffing) and Ms. Lin’s flavorful and juicy pork chops.  Since I could not partake in wine (one of the downsides of having long runs on Saturday mornings), I was the designated driver for the night.  Having all 3 of us pile into my small 2-door car as we wandered around SF looking for parking felt almost like college again.  Although I didn’t get home until close to midnight, I really did not mind.  Unfortunately, forgot my camera again.

Day 4 – Sat (7/30/11):  The late nights are catching up to me.  Day began with a 10-mile run, my longest and toughest to date, during which I cursed myself many times for not getting more sleep.  But I was rewarded with having Ms. Lin all to myself for dinner at Range in SF (in the city! again!), where we reminisced about college some more.  Ms. Lin even found the first birthday card I ever gave her 20 years ago (wow)!  I think Alzheimer’s is setting in with “old age” though, since I forgot my camera yet again.

Day 5 – Sun (7/31/11):  Rest!

Day 6 – Mon (8/1/11):  Another day of rest!

Day 7 – Tuesday (8/2/11):  Attended a professional networking event sponsored by my friend’s law firm hosted at Michael Mina in San Francisco (apparently, the restaurant has 2 Michelin stars even though my first experience was less than stellar).  The meal was great (or maybe it felt more delicious because I didn’t have to pay?), but I was seated at the table where I was the only newcomer – everyone else already worked together or knew one another well.  I suppose it gives me good practice for polishing up my small talk skills.

Bonus Day – Thursday (8/4/11):  After swearing that I was not going to go out anymore, and that I would stay home and spend more time with hubby, I ended up going to Coco’s house for a glass of wine after work (the plea came in the form of an “I really need a drink today” email).  I blame the Dow for dropping 500+ points.

All this has led me to wonder, if I’ve barely done it for a week and I collapse into a heap when I get home every day, how do celebrities manage such a hectic social schedule?  Suddenly I have a new found sense of respect for them!

My Two-Week Challenge of No Products

Imagine having a dermatologist tell you that for the next 2 weeks, you cannot use any products on your face – no sunscreen, no lotion, no foundation, no make-up, no nothing.  That is exactly what happened to me on Friday afternoon.

For the 4-5 days leading up to the appointment, my face had deteriorated into an itchy patchwork of severe peeling and irritation.  Theories among my friends and family ranged from latent eczema – triggered by the unseasonably warm weather – to allergies and an adverse reaction to the sun, given my increased frequency of running outside.  I tried more frequent washings, moisturizing face masks, anti-itch creams and aloe vera gels.  Nothing seemed to work, and my face even got a little swollen and ruddy, and not in a jolly kind of way.

I finally overcame my skepticism of the efficacy of doctor visits and booked a last-minute appointment with a dermatologist referred by a good friend.  As soon as the doctor saw me, she identified my symptoms as “contact dermatitis” – or in layman’s terms, an allergic reaction to something smeared on my face.  Because of the heightened sensitivity caused by the original unidentified irritant, my face is extremely sensitive to all chemicals at this point, leading her to issue the strict ban for all products for two weeks (after which products are added back one at a time to identify the irritant).  Only 2 items are currently allowed – the cortisone cream she prescribed, and original formula Vaseline for dryness.  THAT’S IT.

Now, I do not consider myself a vain person, but the thought of having to face the world bare-faced was somewhat terrifying (it’s a girl thing…guys may have a hard time understanding).  Would I be viewed as unprofessional at work?  Are people on the street going to peg me as an unkempt housewife?  How will I be able to run outside???

Alas, I met up with co-worker and his wife (for the first time!) last night without make-up, and after the initial period of being hyper self-conscious, it actually felt fine.  Somehow though, I know it’s going to be a long two weeks.