Thursday, December 1, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me - Flowers, Food, Pampering Treatments, Presents and Shopping

Ah, that time of year when you realize you are yet another year older... how the time flies.

This year I received my usual floral bouquet from work, which brought me quite a bit of pleasure.  The lilies have a very strong and unique smell and I can never catch a whiff of those flowers now without thinking of the first bouquet that Michael ever bought for me -- he sent a huge, decadent glass vase full of strong sprays of snowy white stargazer lilies to me at my office.   Our sense memory can be so distinctive and enduring, don't you think?

I also went to a relaxing hotpot dinner at Budaoweng with two of my similarly-hotpot loving friends.  We ordered all my favorites - the vegetable basket, the frozen bean curd, and this time, a platter of grouper slices which turned out to be very fresh and tasty.  Yum!  And THIHS (Thank the Heavens It's Hotpot Season).

 I booked myself a "Madonna" facial at the MDNA counter at Harvey Nichols (I had a gift voucher), which was very unusual and cool.  They put this amazing clay mask on my face and then, after it had soaked in completely, removed it using a magnetic wand.  It was like a magic trick. The beautician then infused my skin with a serum, and gave me a very relaxing massage, waking up my tired and stressed skin and muscles.  My skin was glowing after that treatment.  I was keenly skeptical while undergoing the treatment but it seems to have worked - for a day or two at least.

I also treated myself to a relaxing pedicure at Paul Gerrard, opting for a wine-red color that I've been thinking about for ages.  I haven't had my toes painted in so long that when I catch a glimpse of them I want to wiggle them for joy.   The nail area at this salon is very clean and intimate, with only two massage chairs.

Because they messed up the timing of the appointment on my actual birthday, and then still managed to mess up the reschedule, they very kindly offered me a special treat - a blow-dry while I waited. Well that was nice!  I said okay (twist my arm a little).  I think Paul Gerrard offers the most consistent service of any of the nail and hair salons that I have frequented in Hong Kong.  Their complimentary lattes are also amazing - so smooth and strong and delicious.   This was my first time getting a pedicure with them and I was very satisfied with the thoroughness and results.  Here,  my hair immediately after the blow-out and then about an hour and a half later,  after it settled and loosened a bit.   Can you say #selfies?

I was showered with some cute and useful presents, ranging from a very cute Nike workout outfit, Bobbi Brown shimmering blush and a deeply relaxing rosemary-vetiver bath salt and pillow-spray set.

I also justified my birthday falling very close to Black Friday and Cyber Monday to do some fun online shopping as well:

I bought myself a Madewell bow tie black silk dress, two T by Alexander Wang shirts (one like this and one like this) and this pair of Vince slip on sneakers (which I have been coveting for months now) from Shopbop.  I generally wear very flowery and colorful outfits and lately have been feeling the need to kick it in grungy black.

Other things that I am coveting that I restrained myself from buying:
The K Slade carry all and this MZ Wallace bag
These shoes from Madewell
and this Away carry-on suitcase.

Finally, I did score myself a pretty great deal on a new Dell laptop (with all the extra trimmings) on Cyber Monday, which I've been meaning to get for a while.  My Macbook Air is 5 years old this winter and, while holding up pretty well overall, is getting its memory and processor kicked to bits by the new upgrades.  Plus, the comma and period keys have given up the ghost, making typing professional emails (or, you know, full sentences) a bit of a trial.   Plus plus, for the most guilt-free shopping experience, my work gave me a stipend that fully covered the cost -- sooooo why not?!

After some research, I decided on the Dell XPS 13 laptop in rose gold.  It will be my first foray back into a Windows-operating laptop in nearly 10 years.  Following my jump to the Samsung phone, I guess my exit from the Apple world is soon to be complete.  I pondered for about two seconds whether it was silly to pay more to get a special colored laptop, but pretty much knew right away that, silly or not, the joy I would get in seeing that color every day made it a worthy splurge.

I know this was a rather indulgent and materialistic post, but... it's so much fun to be pampered and to buy shiny new things.  ::Hangs head in (only a little bit of) shame::

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