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a few of my favorite things: a method to my madness

Why is “My Favorite Things” associated with Christmas? Almost every single store I’ve stepped into since the day after Thanksgiving has played that song over their PA system, usually sandwiched between “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town?” Or is it the litany of items, from kittens to packages, and from schnitzel to snowflakes, that evoke the conflagration of Christianity and commerce that is Christmas? I’ve no idea.

Given the holiday association, I’ve decided to let you all know about some of my favorite things. Aren’t I clever. If you look at what I list over the next few weeks, letting my impeccable taste in books, music, movies, makeup, accessories, food, and men dictate what you buy your loved ones for Christmas/Chanukah/whatever, I expect to be credited appropriately.

To begin with, I am addicted to body washes, shower gels, ground up nuts or shells mashed into a paste of blood orange, ginger, and soy, soaps of lavender, rosemary, mint, and goat’s milk — anything that clean my arse, moisturize my skin and make me smell pretty.

Such products don’t have to be cheap, but it helps that I’ve always been able to find decent products and still have money left over for ramen or schoolbooks. Back in the day, I was all about the Freeman, stocking up on their oversize bottles of kiwi-raspberry shower gel and body lotion. Then the blueberry and champagne, the cucumber — I was always just a little hungry whenever I stepped out of the shower. Eventually, the love affair cooled when I was temporarily bewitched by the very strongly scented offerings from that personal hygiene behemoth known as Bath & Body Works. But I could only shower with so many tubes of coconut lime verbena creamy body wash before I would get headaches from the perfume, and overpower people on the el with the coordinating moisturizer, body spray, and eau de toilette. Obviously, I took layering very seriously.

Right now, my weapon of choice for smelling unbelieveable is method body wash in olive leaf. Who knew olive leaves smelled so yummy? Typically, I eschew actual olives for olive products, so maybe it should come as no surprise that I lurve the way this body wash makes my skin feel and smell after a shower. Somewhat green, a bit rich, but not bitter. Almost sweet, and I can’t stop rubbing my own shoulders. My roommate says I smell good. If my roommate thinks I smell good, what’s to stop the next cute guy I sidle up to on the street from feeling the same way? It also helps that the Karim Rashid-designed bottle appeals to my inner packaging junkie, and the ingredients in all method products are environmentally responsible.

You can get method products at Target stores or on-line at methodhome.com.


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I couldn’t leave Chicago fast enough. My flight out of O’Hare was scheduled to leave at 8:40, so why not leave Hyde Park at 2:00 in the afternoon? Seriously, I had to meet Kevin at his place o’ business to hookup my passes. And you know it takes two hours to get there on public transportation. While there, I drooled over the cubicles (let’s hear it for corporate culture) and admired the display of model planes, memorabilia, and other stuff in the upstairs display cases. Unfortunately, the gift shop was closed, so I could not buy a model plane like I wanted. So if any of who missed my birthday and don’t know what to get me, you now have one official suggestion.

The reason I was scheduled to leave at 8:40 is because I am a princess. And I don’t like coach. Having flown first class twice in my life, I have now developed a taste for the finer things in life. And guess what? None of those finer things are in coach. They reside exclusively in plush grey leather seats, the little curtain that separate first from the rest of the plane, and the complimentary alcoholic drinks that come in real glasses instead of measley plastic cups. Sure, I’d arrive at 10:30 LA time, but wouldn’t I look well rested and super cool as I deplaned, sunglasses and accessories in place? (I try to emulate Elizabeth Hurley when I travel, but end up a pale imitation of Margaret Cho.) I knew that Celi, my LA partner in crime, wouldn’t mind skulking about LAX at all hours just to pick me up.

This all flew out the window once I got to O’Hare, bought my magazines and McDonald’s and spent about an hour sitting at the gate. I can only stand so many small children pawing my shoes and dribbling Chicken McNugget crumbs all over the place. There were earlier flights, so I got the 7:35. I toyed briefly with taking the 7:00 to Orange County, but no one deserves to be behind the Orange Curtain unless they’re going to Disneyland. So I got on the flight to LAX.

The princess decided to bless the masses with her presence — I even paid the $5 for the inflight headphones. I got seats 27 D-F to myself until a rice king (and I know he had the fever for the flavor, as he had been chatting up the other Asian chicks on the plane) took 27D and tried to talk to me during “You’ve Got Mail”. Ugh! He was so lame, and I was in the last row, so I couldn’t make an easy escape. Besides, the love story between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan was *too* compelling.

Got to LAX kind of late anyway, so it probably wouldn’t have made a difference if I had gotten on that 8:40 flight (and possibly into business class) after all. Anyway, I spent a very entertaining few minutes checking out the open-toed shoes and looking for plastic surgery. Saw none, then Celi saved me.

Friday afternoon, we headed over to Pasadena to hang out and check out the new Target. It was very nice, but couldn’t hold a candle to the Target in Ford City. Celi’s Datsun (well, her dad’s) was being moody — it would just stop when we paused at red lights) and it was missing handles and buttons. Otherwise, it had a lot of charm. We also hit this lo-budget accessories store called “Final Choice” which Celi called “KFC” (Korean Fashion Chick) and got lots of cheap hair doodads there.

We hung out with my friend Leilani that night, first going to Pasadena for coffee then an In and Out burger in Alhambra because Noodle World (possibly the world’s greatest noodle shop) was too frickin’ busy. Oy. Leilani sported very short hair and contact lenses, and yet, she looked just like the girl I knew in high school. Ah, the more things change . . . In and Out was good, but their shakes are too damn thick! The teenagers provided much entertainment, and it was nice to see people who had worse skin than me. Ha ha ha.

Saturday, I had several options: beach, shopping, picnic, whatnot. I opted for the shopping option, and Celi & I headed to Yaohan, the very excellent Japanese mall in Little Tokyo. Having not been to the other Yaohans (in Chicagoland and New Jersey), I didn’t know what to expect, but I did have a very good time in the supermarket. I bought a lot of Pocky (all of which I ate myself), some cool little juice things I drank when I was little (and I forgot in Celi’s fridge — oy!) and cool toys. After Yaohan, we drove through downtown (parts of which resembled NYC’s 14th street, if y’all are familiar) to Griffith Park and the Observatory. After pausing at the James Dean bust, we headed to the roof and looked at LA in its smoggy glory. Then headed inside the observatory because it was so windy I thought we were going to get blown off the hill.

Many cute boys later, we headed down to the park for a picnic (Pocky, sandwiches, iced tea) and shot dirty looks at the couple making out in the car next to us. They chose to ignore us. Driving back, we stopped on Melrose where I bought cool boots (camel colored — ooh, another neutral color for my wardrobe) and Dickies work pants. Both items were sold to me by less than sane citizens of Southern California, and I found this pleasing.

We saw a sneak preview of “Never Been Kissed”, which starred Drew Barrymore and a great deal of attractive young people. It was very nice, thought it did take Miss Drew a considerable amount of time to finally get her shit together and look cute. Celi liked her outfit at the very end, as did I. [Note to self: gold mules with heels can look good for day.] Then Celi’s friend Jenny called, and we hauled ass to Hollywood. After going over personal drama over some drinks and focaccia (plenty good with brie, mm) at Caffe Luna, we headed over the “world famous” Whiskey-a-go-go. Jenny is dating the general manager, who got us in for free. We picked a good night for such a thing. The featured attraction was a band called The Atomic Punks, a Van Halen cover band. So, not surprisingly, Celi and I crossed the street to Hustler, which sold adult videos, toys, cd-roms, DVDs, magazines (of course), t-shirts, coffee mugs, and very good coffee. Larry Flynt should be very proud of himself. His limo (white, stretch, nekkid girls airbrushed on doors) was parked, but no wheelchair was in sight.

Because we had been out ’til 2:30 (3:30 b/c of daylight savings), me, Celi, and everyone else in the Freeman household missed church. Yes, we did. I felt bad for a second, then realized that Grandma and Tia were due at 5:00 pm, and the table wasn’t even close to set. Dinner came together, as Celi’s mama slaved over everything, and produced a feast fit for an army. But because there were only 7, the ham was barely touched. And believe me, I ate plenty. I swear I could hear the ham laughing as it was cleared from the table — “Flip couldn’t represent. I am the king!” Of course, it was dead already, so I guess we already know who won the war, motherfucker.

(I had also read my e-mail for dinner, and found out that I didn’t get the webmaster job at the Alumni Association. Oooooh.)

The rest of Sunday was a blur, and Monday afternoon found me at LAX (stuffed with chicken teriyaki — I love Noodle World!) trying to get on a 2:30 flight that was overbooked. The 2:51 had been cancelled, and the 3:45 and 4:55 flights allowed no standbys. When I had resigned myself to a life spent wandering between terminals 6 and 7, I got on the 5:50 to O’Hare, which was wide open! I had a whole section of seats, and no rice king to wreck my flow! Woo hoo! The turbulence made dinner late, but the mountains were beautiful, as was my weekend on the Coast.

It was a great weekend, and those LA boys are getting cuter all the time. It was nice to be in a town that had some racial diversity going for it, but I did miss the friendliness of strangers I experienced in Tennessee last weekend. Celi’s family is great, and I feel that I cannot emphasize this enough. The Freemans (and Grandma and Tia) rock. LA rocks, because they have a Yaohan and lots of trippy girls in white platform shoes. Also, it was nice to hang out with Celi and be with her. Because she makes so very happy. I am now anxiously waiting for Celi to return the favor, and visit Chicago very very soon.

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