Today, I strive towards a more beautiful mind…

Tous Les Jours, Centreville location

Tous Les Jours, Centreville location

Nomnomnom! Look at those yummy pastries! I had planned for a low-key weekend, however, I ended up accomplishing quite a list of activities that were never originally on my to-do list. These include enjoying churros from a Tex-mex establishment, being introduced to psychedelic rock (with eastern influences) by a local band called Iritis, renting my very first Zipcar, relaxing at Spa World, enjoying a Green Tea Smoothie and some pastries from Tous Les Jours bakery, feasting on about half a dozen of crabs, buying and cooking food of my motherland, and studying for a math exam I have later tonight.

I’m sad that the weekend has ended, but I suppose there are more weekends yet to come! As I am still in that in-between period of not knowing what my next steps will be, I have decided to create a TO-DO LIST, as this will probably be one of those few brief periods of time until I retire that I have time/space/energy to do what I want to do. My #nofilter list (rough draft) –

  • Job search – when I haven’t got a family to think about, maybe this is the best time for me to pack up my bags and move cross country or cross country borders!
  • Learn a computer programming language (any suggestions?)
  • Create my own website (teehee, this is something in the workings, you shall see soon)
  • Work on my novel / create a small small book of short stories (Coming soon, as in maybe a decade)
  • Find an activity that will help my heart health – Daily, I’m seeing patients come in with an extensive list of medical conditions… prevention is what it’s all about now. Hiking? Dancing?
  • Smile more. Laugh more. Don’t let negative thoughts come in as much.
  • Have a more beautiful mind.

What’s on your to-do list?

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Today, I am soaking in [imaginary] hot springs! (Perlier Volcanic Thermo Scrub Review)

I was SO EXCITED to have been sent the Perlier Volcanic Thermo Scrub complimentary of iFabbo. 🙂 #PerlierOnHSN

I’ve actually been searching for a good body scrub. However, as I’ve spent too much money on random beauty products (those shopping trips will be documented in upcoming blog posts so stay tuned 🙂 teehee) and subscription boxes, I had been holding off on buying one. After all, a good soap bar should be sufficient, right? Have you tried this product before? Is there a scrub that you love? Please share below! 🙂

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Perlier Volcanic Thermal Spa Thermo Renewing Scrub
$25.00 + S&H ($6.21)
6.7 fl oz
What is it? 
A thermal scrub with micronutrients extracted from volcanic rocks. According to the product descriptions and HSN, it contains hot water from the hot spring concession located in the municipality of Abana Terme, helps to create a more youthful appearance for your skin (dull-looking skin, GOOD BYE!), is rich in mineral salts, contains minerals of different sizes for both rejuvenating and smoothing actions.

Am I spoiled? Apparenty, yes.

So how did it go? As lovely as I imagined! I was a bit disappointed when I received my previous iFabbo product (mostly because I don’t have wrinkles, so I couldn’t really provide an objective review). However, this product made up for the previous disappointment. To start with, the packaging is a plastic jar. I guess if you drop the product, you won’t have glass breaking. Upon opening, a light aqua scent flows through your nostrils, a very nice spa-like smell, for sure!

That is such a pretty color, reminds me of a lovely beach

The texture of the product is not too watery and not too dense.. just the right amount. When I tried to smooth it/massage it onto my skin with just my bare hands, it was a little difficult. I feel like this is a product that does not fit the description of “a little goes a long way.” However, I later tried using my scrubbing mitt (I purchased mine at T.J. Maxx), and it made it significantly easier to use this scrub. The scent is so lovely and the best part is that it’s a very light scent. Just enough to make you feel relaxed (like you’re chilling at a luxurious spa), but not enough to overpower you and make you feel uncomfortable. 🙂 I felt squeaky clean afterwards and my skin has felt a little softer after a couple of uses. I’m excited to continue to use this product. I will be sad when I am done with it, but luckily, it’s not too expensive.

What it looks like smoothed on the skin. There are little beads (of apparently mineral salts) that you massage into the skin. Lovely scrub!

I’m content and satisfied.

Disclaimer:  I received the Perlier Volcanic Thermo Scrub complimentary from iFabbo for testing purposes only.  All views in this review are the opinion of the author and have not been influenced by iFabbo, HSN, or any third party. Read the complete Todaycommai disclosure.

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Today, I relax with a mini-facial…

My massage bed last night.

My massage bed last night.

I’ve been feeling pretty stressed for a host of reasons lately. So I decided to get a massage from a recently-opened spa near my apartment (see photo to right). When I came home, I felt like something was missing. I love love love facials. I did a quick google search (originally I wanted to figure out the health benefits and spas and massages and facials) and got sucked into a WebMD (haha!) vortex. Some interesting articles to note:

Speaking of facials, my host mom in Udaipur (India) used to help me make facial and henna (for my hair) appointments at least once a week (if only it were cheap here). A very nice woman would come to the house and give me the facial. Usually I opted for the papaya facial because OH THE WONDERS OF PAPAYA! She used real chunks of papaya and yogurt (and I’m not sure what else she used). It really makes your face SHINE, GLOW! Radiance at its finest! When I’m lazy, I’ll use one of these easy-to-use facial sheet masks.  But when I’m not feeling lazy, I’ll give myself a mini facial about once a week, which is what I did last night.

Todaycommai Jarkie’s Mini-Facial (non-DIY version)
**DIY makeover/spa series will come soon 🙂 

The products used last night :)

The products used last night 🙂 (please excuse my finger in the top left corner 😛 )

My mini-spa borrows mostly from the facial I received while in Udaipur… but I’ve added a little thing here and there. The photos I’m showing are just examples of items. I still haven’t found the products that I love the most yet. Prices listed are for full-size products.

  1. Remove make-up! A while back ago, TATCHA was offering free samples on their website (all you had to pay was the shipping fee). I have fallen in love with their Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil($48.00). I massage ~2 droplets of the oil over my eyes. You can clean off with a tissue or splash your face with some water and the make-up is REMOVED! Wheeee. And the oil makes my face feel so soft and fresh!
  2. Cleanse your face! Use a make-up removal towelette or a and a gentle foaming/gel cleanser (we’ll be doing some scrubbing later!).

    Strawberry Mask :)

    Strawberry Face Scrub.. see the actual seeds? (black dots!) 🙂

  3. Scrub before you mask! Pick a scrub. This one needs some playing with as different skin types will need different sorts of scrubs. I needed to use up my Mario Badescu samples… so I used the Strawberry Face Scrub ($15.00). I’ve recreated the scrubbing pattern that I received in Udaipur:
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    Please excuse my terrible arrows.
           forehead area: use you thumbs to scrub in an up-down (think zigzag) motion.
           eye area: Make little circles around your eyes with your index and middle fingers.
           nose area: make up and down vertical motions with the tips of your fingers.
           cheeks area: use the tips of your fingers to create circular motions.
    So I go from forehead –> eyes –> nose –> cheeks –> above lips and chin and [repeat]. I do this for however long I should be scrubbing (read the instructions on your products). When you start to feel the scrub get a little dry, add some droplets of water to the tips of your fingers. Happy Scrubbing!
  4. Facial Mask – Now for the relaxing part. My most favorite mask that I’ve found through NewBeauty Test Tube is the June Jacobs Papaya Purifying Enzyme Masque ($62.00). I’m sorry I forgot to take pictures! But it has a lotion consistency that you smooth onto your face. The light papaya scent feels so heavenly! I LOVE IT! But last night… I opted to use up my Mario Badescu Cucumber Tonic Mask ($18.00) sample. Nice light cucumber-esque scent, left my skin feel soft. When you apply it on, it feels like pancake batter. After waiting 10-15 minutes, it completely dries up and you can wash off with warm water.
  5.  Toner – my current favorite toner is pictured above: Origins A Perfect World Age-defense Treatment Lotion with White Tea ($22.00).
  6. Serum (optional) – I was too lazy to do this last night… but when I do use it, I make sure to wait 1-2 minutes before applying moisturizer! 🙂
  7. Moisturizer – my current night cream has been Origins A Perfect World Antioxidant moisturizer with White Tea ($39.50). Creamy & quick-to-absorb! I love the light hint of white tea!

And finally with a cup of tea, I was able to fall asleep 🙂 Wheeeeee. Okay.. have a lovely day!

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Today, I review my favorite products! What are yours?

It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday… And today I bring you what I promise! Jarkie’s Best of…. These are some of the beauty products that I have come to love this past year. What are yours? Have you tried any of these? What do you like/love?! Please leave comments below or feel free to send us an email at todaycommai@gmail.com!

EDIT: totes forgot my make-up products! Here ya go!

Make-up

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Foundation: Lancome Teint Miracle ($40.00)
My favorite foundation. Something about it… just makes you glow.

BB Cream: Skin 79 VIP Gold  ($30.00)
My favorite BB cream of all time. Unfortunately it has only one shade… so it won’t work for everyone… but if you can get your hands on a sample, definitely try to!

Eyeliner: L’oreal Lineur Intense ($8.99)
Cannot live without this felt tip liquid eyeliner in carbon black

Tints (Cheeks, Lips, etc): Benefit posietint ($30.00), highbeam ($26.00), and benetint ($30.00), Girl Meets Pearl ($30.00)
Benefit has awesome make-up. Posietint gives a sort of cherry/pinkish flush to your cheeks/lips. Highbeam is an awesome luminizer, and benetint (one of their most well-known products) is the original rose-tinted stain for cheeks/lips. Girl Meets Pearl is my favorite products… a golden-pink liquid pearl luminizer that gives you that fuzzy blur that smooths the your face… very dreamy. Hehe.

Lips: Lancome Color Design in “Vintage Rose” ($22.00) & Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 (0.15 oz/ $22.50)
I’ve gotten both of these lip products for free! Lancome through gift bags and Sugar Rose Treatment through Sephora’s birthday gift last year. I’m not a fan of super glossy lips in the workplace (I don’t want to look like I smothered my lips in oil before coming to work) so both of these products are perfect, giving a nice color while keeping it sheer and professional. (Don’t get me wrong, I like me some lip gloss once in a while….). I love the the lip treatment is tinted, smooths my lips, and has SPF. Don’t forget to keep those lips from the sun! I definitely will invest in this when I run out.

Skincare

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I mentioned on Wednesday night/Thursday morning that my favorite skincare products belong to Shiseido’s The Skincare and White Lucent lines. I also love using masks, exfoliants, peels every once in a while to take away all that gross stuff. So some of my top picks?

Cleansing system: Olay Professional Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System
This is an affordable cleansing system ($20-$30) especially when compared to the Clarisonic system. You can purchase from walmart, ulta, or amazon. The main difference between this and the Clarisonic brush is that the Olay brush rotates while the Clarisonic brushes have a pulsating (vibrational) motion. I’m not at the point where I can splurge on a Clarisonic, so this is good enough for me. I love the results. If you find your face is losing it’s glow or has been dull lately, this is good for you! Note: when I first started using this, I would use it +2x’s in a day. Bad idea. My skin started to get irritated, so don’t get addicted to it like I did! haha.

Facial Sheet Masks
There is not one particular brand I like… I love trying out different ones … If H Mart delivers to you, they have some nice masks. Click here. Usually not too expensive. Each mask should cost you less than $5.00 (of course, there are high end ones … ). Why I Love These: We all need a break at some point. These masks are easy to use, just open the package, open the face mask, place onto your face (holes are cut out for eyes/nose/lips so you can breathe) for 20-30 minutes. Lovely spa at home, no need to dig up cash and go to a spa. Disadvantage? If you don’t let people who you live with know that you’re doing this, they might think you’re a ghost. True story.

No More Pores: Dr Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner (1 oz/ $45.00) and Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips (8 strips/ ~$6-$8)
I have a dirty (haha!) little secret: I’m obsessed with removing blackheads. I hate them. I want them gone. Now I know that’ll never happen, but at least I can have my pores to be more “refined.” Two products that I’m currently using? The dr brandt vacuum cleaner (apply thin layer, goes on to skin like a moisturizer, wait a few minutes for it to dry completely … the color will change from clear to a light blue … and you’ll know it’s done!) and the Biore Deep Cleansing strips (wash face and then wet nose to apply the strip as directly. After it completely dries, peel off and you’ll see the results on the strip). Tip: Use after a hot shower… the steam let’s the pores open up. No time for shower? Wet a towel a hot water and place on skin/nose. This is also just as effective.

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Eyecream (Daytime): Lancôme Bienfait Multi-Vital Eye SPF 28 Sunscreen (0.5 oz/$39.00)
Perfect daytime eye cream with SPF. Don’t forget to protect your eyes!

Eyecream (Nighttime):  Rénergie Eye Anti-Wrinkle & Firming Eye Crème (0.5 oz/$64.00)
Very rich and creamy. I love it for nighttime usage! Absorbs easily, too.

Serum: Revaleskin Intense Recovery Treatment (1 oz/ $130.00)
This is one pricey product! My eyes did this when I saw the price tag: O_O. I must thank the skincare product gods for letting me try the full size product (Blush April Beauty Mystery Box – see my review here). This product has definitely evened the texture and tone of my skin. I used to see redness on my nose/cheeks area and it seems to have helped with that. It’s got 1.5% coffeeberry extract, smells wonderful (like coffee), and is easy to apply. I definitely recommend this! I really do not want my bottle to run out yet! The good thing? Just 1-2 pumps will cover your face!

Bath and Body

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Body Lotion: Burt’s Bees Natural Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion (6 oz/ $8.00)
I LOVE BURT’S BEES PRODUCTS. The milk & honey body lotion has been one of my earliest favorites. They’ve changed the formula a bit (and some people have not liked such a change) but I’m still a fan.  The lotion combines milk, honey and vitamin E, along with coconut and grape seed oils to bring you one sweet sweet sweet lotion. Soft, smooth, supple skin sounds like something you want? This is it! This is it! 🙂

Body Creme: Aveda Caribbean Therapy Body Creme (6.7 oz/ $27.00)
I love the rich scents of mango, lime, cocoa butter coming together to make me feel like I’m relaxing in the lush caribbean forests. This particular lotion is so rich and creamy that I love using it when it’s really dry (winters, especially). It’s also perfect for use on knees and elbows and knuckles.

Shower Gel: Bath & Body Works Coconut Lime Breeze Shower Gel (10 oz/ $11.00) 
The coconut + lime combination is right in time for summer. Always gotta indulge in my bath & body works scents! Tip: B&BW always has deals going on (online & in stores)… where you can grab these gels for great deals. I wouldn’t suggest buying them at full price since there are definitely deals out there.

Body Oil: Caudalie Divine Oil (3.4 oz/ $49.00)
I was lucky to have a birchbox coupon + free shipping at the time to purchase this oil.  The mixture of oils (grape, hibiscus, sesame, and argan) create a divine smelling oil that really makes my skin feel so soft. I spray this oil on as soon as I step out of the shower to retain the moisture. It’s so thick that a little bit goes a long way. Tip: I also like using it for my dried/damaged hair at times (just spray a little at the ends).

Hair Care

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**Note: The Alterna Pure Kendi Oil is in the next photo

Shampoo & Conditioner: Aveda Damage Remedy Restructuring Shampoo and Conditioner (Shampoo: 8.5 oz/$24.00; Condition: 6.7 oz/ $24.00)
I have really damaged hair. This set is perfect! It’s a bit pricey (as all Aveda products are) so I use it only 2-3 times a week… but it definitely makes my hair a lot healthier.

IMG_3535Hair treatment mask: Tendu Ultimate Hair Conditioning Treatment Mask (5 oz/ $60.00) 
Another product from my April Blush Beauty Mystery Box that I’m IN LOVE WITH. #1, lovely texture (see photo from my previous review here) … it is so easy to apply to the hair ( a little will also go a long way here). #2, the scent is so light and fresh (makes me happy every time I open the jar). I leave it in my hair for about 30-45 minutes and then rinse. Noticeable different. Hair feels SO SOFT, SO SMOOTH, SO WONDERFUL.

Hair oil: Alterna Bamboo Smooth Pure Kendi Treatment Oil (1.7 oz/ $25.00) 
Alterna haircare products make me happy. I use this oil, mostly on the tips of my hair, in the mornings and I feel a noticeable different in the texture of the hair. You can also use it as a treatment (apply generously to your hair , leave-in, & rinse…. however, I have the Tendu mask for that purpose now).

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Hand & Nail

Nail Polish: ZOYA
Pretty awesome, pretty long-lasting, pretty colors.

Hand Cream: L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (5.2 oz/ $28.00)
Best hand cream ever hands down. Period.

Bonus Items

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Healthy living: Green Tea (pictured in Hand & Care photo)

Magazines: My two favorites (shhhh… don’t tell le significant other!) are Glamour and Smithsonian (if you’re in the DC area, you should be a member, awesome benefits!)

Sunglasses: Mine were purchased (under $10.00) from Vaguely Reminiscent in Durham, NC

Coasters: Lovely additions to the house from Udaipur, India. Makes me want to travel again!

Phew! That’s it! I’m excited to see what I find in the second half of 2013.

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Today, I think of “Tous Les Jours”…

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KENTUCKY DERBY!!!! 🙂 If you do not have a TV, stream live here. Starting soon. Playing of my Old Kentucky home!

So much to say in so little time. First up, my product of the day… I am in love with ALTERNA now. Today’s review? Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil. Makes the hair so smooth!  Next up, if you’re looking to score some samples, I stumbled across this today – TATCHA skin care promotion. Unfortunately this was posted 2 weeks ago, so TATCHA probably caught on to the fact that too many people were ordering 13 different samples for only $5.95. You can only have one sample order in your cart at any given point in time. However, the deluxe samples are pretty large and you would get that + 3 samples (foil packets), so still a good deal. Go check it out.

Last night, I met up with some friends and had dinner at Oyamel. So so so delicious!

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Chips and Salsa – first one free

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  • LEFT: weird hanging creatures. cool.
  • RIGHT: guac made right in front of you. nomnomnom.

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  • (LEFT) Special: Meatballs, Salsa Verde, Black Beans, Fried Egg, Cheese
  • (RIGHT) Pork Belly Taco – w/ a slice of pineapple – delish!

Everything was lovely! This morning, I decided to finally use of my groupons for Spa World… So relaxing… a shower, a massage in the bade pool, a steam sauna, poultice rooms to sweat out all my toxins (lol some of the descriptions… save my arteries, etc), an ice room, a 3-minute workout in the fitness center (and then I figured I’d rather sleep than bike), a shiatsu massage (the masseuse walked on me, at first I thought it was her elbows), a lovely rice cake/dumpling soup… 🙂 And some reading…

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Two of the poultice rooms (dry sauna)… Sleep/lounge area.

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  • LEFT: Rice Cake/Dumpling Soup with assortment of cold side dishes
  • RIGHT: Entrance to sauna 🙂

Tous Les Jours‘s Centreville, VA (right next door to the spa) location grand opening happened yesterday! I would have never known had I not stopped by Spa World. So happy… I love asian bakeries.

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H Mart Splurge! 🙂

Today (this weekend), I finally get to breathe…

543832_10152342487246531_1855541242_nFREEDOM AT LAST (even if only temporarily)! It seems that I have settled into this life of transitioning between Points A and B in a straight path without any stops. Point A is Bethesda. Point B is Georgetown. Yesterday was an outlier & involved time traveling back to 1997 on a family vacation to DC… OH THE CROWDS that have come to see the cherry blossoms. The amusing part, however, is that the blossoms are not in bloom. Maybe one or two here and there. Don’t let the faux-cherry blossoms fool you! Yes, there are trees that are pretending to be cherry blossoms.

Anyways, relax I shall. But a new idea has popped into my head. And it will come soon… the big reveal… the big opening, the cutting of the ribbons. But for now, here’s a preview 🙂
————————————————————————————————-
stumbled upon my new favorite spa/massage/reflexology location in the Montgomery Co/Rockville/DC area (Bliss Reflexology). I actually discovered the place through Groupon… 3 massages for a very good price! Each one includes 30 min acupressure and 30 min foot reflexology. Imagine escaping into a forest (think hunger games without the hunger or the games?) in those moments after the sun has set, plopping down onto the damp forest floor and resting your feet in a warm tea bath… and that’s only the beginning. Blissful, indeed. Anyways, I suddenly had a craving for a dish I had at Spa World… and so I attempted my own version, while also borrowing (not stealing) my dad’s dishes…. make sure you cook with Taylor Swift on. It’s the secret ingredient.

– Beef Brisket
– Scallions
– Ginger
– Salt/Pepper, Random seasonings you find, Sesame Oil
– Rice Cakes
– A couple of frozen wontons (go ahead and buy the pre-made ones :D)
– Assortment of veggies (optional)
– Egg (optional)
– State of Grace, Holy Ground, Starlight, The Lucky One, 22, Sparks Fly, Forever & Always, etc  (mandatory)

1. Make the broth first! – Beef brisket + Ginger + Scallions (Green onions) … when the beef was cooked, I took it out, pulled it apart into shreds and mixed it around in some sesame oil and salt and pepper.

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2. Add vermicelli/cellophane (some sort of glass , clear looking noodles) and rice cakes into your broth. When the soup comes to a boil, add in the wontons and beef brisket…

3. Are those wontons now floating? Good! Add the optional veggies!

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4. Beat an egg in a bowl… slowly pour it into your soup. Create shapes in the soup. Figure 8? Be more creative! Remember to stir the soup while you gently pour the egg into the dish.
5. Serve hot 🙂

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Today, I take a little night walk…

The room is not a great place to be. Messy. And so I go for the bed… and curling up in bed feeling blue is not the best thing to do (did you see that rhyme?!). So I pace the “common area” and wait for my flatmates to get home so that I can have someone to talk to, to try to pull the magnets away from each other in my mind. But then when we are all done with cooking failed foods and playing musical food (think musical chairs), the blues come back and I go back out into the common area and it’s a walk!  Late night Bethesda Row walk.

It’s such a nice place. As a girl coming from the suburbs and from a college campus in Durham, it’s almost refreshing to be able to walk late at night and feel warmth from people all around. My flatmate and I stop at Aveda and ponder the assortment of herbal, beautifying, smell-good, feel-good spa treatments from body waxing (bikini, French bikini, Brazilian, why so many?) to hair treatments to hot stone therapy. It’s all so expensive but just as Sara and her friend dream of the heavenly feast (A Little Princess) and so it is real, we can dream and it is real, correct? So we sit there and the store is closed but we imagine and we listen to the melody of the wind chimes and it is all so real… And then we open our eyes and we think Jack Johnson’s “Well I’m just people watching The other people watching me And we’re all people” and we see people talking nearby so we create conversations that they’re having. Just to have a fun laugh. A couple walks by and the husband playfully hits the windchimes so much that the wife smacks him and yells “WHY!? WHY are you like a CHILD?” How comfortable must one be at that point in the marriage to do that? A infant-toddler almost knocks out his mother hitting the windchime. a couple of boys smack the windchime confirming what the wife had said earlier. What a chime! and so now we head back as we feel droplets come down. There is is. “Grand Opening This Friday” – Drybar, a blow dry bar. No cuts. No Color. Just Blowouts. is their motto. How strange. The first thing I think of is well, why pay THAT much of my salary for just a BLOW DRY?! But the more I think about it the more interesting it seems to be.  (http://www.thedrybar.com/) Wash included. and the menu seems to have certain cocktails/drinks/mixed drinks that are supposedly shapes of blowouts. Enjoy!

Well, I’ll be sure to check it out … and let you know…. Good night, lovely readers. It’s time for me to be happy soon. I hope.