Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Beauty Spotlight Team Wants to Know Lola's Secret Guilty Pleasures

When The Beauty Spotlight Team decided that our next theme-based series would investigate each of our guilty pleasures, I really tried to think about the things that bring me so much joy that their enjoyment might even qualify as a guilty pleasure. The more that I thought about it, the more that I realized that I generally enjoy these things with abandon rather than guilt, but that their enjoyment had to be significant enough to warrant mentioning.  Since this series doesn't have to be about makeup or skincare, I thought that I would share a few other things that l love, or love to do. 
LOLA'S SECRET GUILTY PLEASURES 
Picture of Zuma Beach in Malibu taken from my car
FANTASIZING ABOUT LIVING AT THE BEACH
Looking at MLS listings to see if there is a house that we could afford in Malibu or Pacific Palisades is one of my greatest guilty pleasures. Not only would it shorten my commute to work, but it would get me closer to the beach, and nothing makes me happier than seeing and hearing the waves crash against the shore. I only live a few miles away as it is, but I wouldn't mind being a whole lot closer. Plus, anyone who lives in LA will tell you that it can take a great deal of time to drive across town during peak travel hours– which can occur at just about any time of the day. 

I have gone so far down this particular rabbit hole that I have actually pulled out my mortgage statement to check the principle balance to figure out how much equity we have in our house, and to determine what kind of down payment we could make, and what type of mortgage we would be looking at. Like I said, pretty far down this particular rabbit hole. My husband, who is a lifelong surfer, has indulged my fantasy since it appeals to his emotional desire to live close enough to the beach to surf every morning before going to work. Whether it will ever come to pass isn't yet clear, and in large part because we actually love our house and our neighborhood. 

The one specific house that I am in awe of is Cher's Mediterranean mansion overlooking the ocean. It takes my breath away every single time that I see it. Of course, even in an alternative universe this particular property would remain completely out of reach, but it is breathtaking nonetheless. Google it and you will see precisely what I mean. I have to say that I have driven by a few times on the rare occasions that the gates were open, and got a small glimpse of what's behind the fortified gates, and it's astoundingly beautiful.
Entry gate to Cher's house taken from my car window.
In addition to Mediterranean architecture, I am also obsessed with sleek modern architecture with floor to ceiling windows, gorgeous views, clean lines and minimalist design. I absolutely love the aesthetic of bright airy spaces filled with large paintings, clean surfaces and mid-century furniture. That said, I do like some warmth so that it doesn't feel like you are living in a stripped down gallery space, but truthfully I spend a great deal of time in museums and galleries, and I often comment that I could live in such environments.
A view of The Getty Center from the gardens
GOING TO MUSEUMS
I love going to museums, but my guilty pleasure is slipping off into the gardens to enjoy the outdoors. One of my very favorite places to do this is at The Getty Center. I actually had Getty Research Institute privileges when I was conducting my dissertation research, and let me just say that it was one of the most extraordinary experiences in my life! When my head would be spinning with information after digging through archival material and reading voluminous amounts of scholarship, I would seek refuge by sneaking off to their gardens to get centered again. It always felt like a naughty type of retreat since my work was waiting for me inside the Research Institute and the museum, but can you imagine a better reward than these views after sitting with your head in books for hours and hours on end?!
The Getty Center Gardens
Looking through one of the trellises in The Getty Center Gardens.
The Getty Gardens
Library UC Berkeley
BEING SURROUNDED BY BOOKS 
Being the daughter of a professor, and a poet means that I grew up in a house that quite literally had wall to wall bookcases, and they were filled to the brim. Add to this that I grew up in Berkeley, and that as a child my life was inextricably tied to that University– one can see that these experiences gave me ample opportunities to get into the "family business." As I have mentioned elsewhere in these virtual pages, when adults asked my age, I would calculate it based upon the number of semesters that I had been alive instead of actual calendar years. My life still functions on the academic calendar, but I no longer calculate my age according to the academic year– especially since I teach on the quarter system!

After my dad died, I merged our two libraries, and I remain surrounded by many of the books that made up the visual landscape of my childhood. While my field and my father's differ, nothing makes me happier than being able to reference one of his books for my own research, or for a lecture that I'm writing. I also sit at the very same desk where he wrote his Ph.D. dissertation and class lectures, and where I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation and continue to write my class lectures. For me, being surrounded by books is like receiving a big warm hug. I remember spending hours and hours in the stacks at UCB with my dad as a kid, and these warm memories undoubtedly informed my love of hours spent in university libraries. I actually love walking through the stacks between my classes even if I'm not looking for particular books. 
 LOVING MY JOB
They say do what you love for a living and you will never work a day in your life, and that describes the way that I feel about my career choice. I love teaching. There is something so immensely satisfying about witnessing that light bulb illuminate when my students really understand what they are learning.
It feels a bit like a guilty pleasure because it is so gratifying that sometimes I can't believe that they actually pay me to do it.
TV WATCHING GUILTY PLEASURES
I definitely have a few TV watching guilty pleasures. Two shows that inspired guiltyish binge-watching are Orphan Black and Game of Thrones. Seriously, must watch TV, people!

I also love watching iZombie (hilarious and campy CSI whatever or Bones meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Major Crimes, Ray Donovan and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. I don't watch a lot of reality TV, but the real estate driven shows like Million Dollar Listing (NYC, LA and SF) and Flipping Out always capture my attention. The manufactured drama is pretty damn funny, though clearly contrived, and amidst the snark and disparaging remarks one sees some amazing architecture.
Source: BBC America
(Affiliate Links)
Top Row: Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton Epi Leather French Purse. Middle Row: Smythson Zip Around Wallet and Saint Laurent Zip Around Wallet. Bottom Row: Valextra Zip Around Wallet and Marc Jacobs Wallet.

COLLECTING WALLETS IS A DEFINITE GUILTY PLEASURE
Seriously, I need an intervention because collecting small leather goods is an obsession and a guilty pleasure from which I see no return. These are my current favorites, but there are (gulp) more of them. There is something about fine Italian leather that just makes me swoon. This is no new fetish, but instead one in which I have been indulging for many years! The good thing is that I have something of a sixth sense about finding really great deals, and have almost never had to spend full retail on any of them.
 LUXURY OILS
While my penchant for luxury oils is well-documented– neither the extent of my madness for these gorgeous golden elixirs, nor the size of my collection has ever been fully revealed. The size of my collection eclipsed reason quite some time ago, but I think you will agree once you enter the fold of high quality beauty oils that there is no turning back.
I use oils from head to toe, and if I had to use only one skincare product in perpetuity it would be oils. They are such a fantastic way to nourish the skin and offer deeply penetrating moisture. I have so many oil loves, and discover new ones all of the time.
After photographing all of these, I discovered that there were a few more in the pile of products awaiting review.
What I did not include were the many hair oils that I have that are a blend of natural oils and silicones.
MY LOLA'S SECRET LIPSTICK OBSESSION
I used to be more of a lip gloss girl than a lipstick girl, but through time my proclivities gradually changed, and I now love them both with equal vigor. For all of the lipsticks that I have, there are very few that I love so completely that they actually warrant repurchase. There are some, however, that are so special that I cannot imagine not having a tube stowed in my makeup bag, and that is precisely how I feel about Lola's Secret Lipstick.
In fact, Susan Thompson Cosmetics Lola's Secret Lipstick (reviewed here) is my all-time favorite lipstick. That it is the perfect pink lipstick was evident to me from the first moment that I saw it. 
That it was actually created in honor of my blog makes it all the more meaningful. This is a tremendous privilege, for which I am profoundly grateful, and the idea that Suzi would have made this color for me brings tears to my eyes. 
It's not every day that a celebrity makeup artist, with her own makeup line, makes a lipstick for you and then uses it on her clients! It is part of her permanent collection– so you can have Lola's Secret Lipstick in your life too! Next time that you are at the movies, or watching TV, and you see a gorgeous pink lipstick that looks like Lola's Secret– there is a very good chance that it actually is!
ZEUS IS THE EMBODIMENT OF A GUILTY PLEASURE
I have had cats my entire life, but never have known a stranger cat than Zeus. He demands a different kind of attention than other cats because he's so eccentric– even when compared to really weird cats! 
I have watched Zeus go from napping to running across the room and jumping to the top of an open door without any warning. He has a wild and crazed athleticism, and he will run down the hall and bank off of the wall, and then change directions midair at warp speed.
What is so curious is his human-like level of self-awareness– he is actually cocky about his abilities, agility, grace and elegance. He knowingly looks at you after having completed some major feat of physical aptitude, and he expects adulation for his considerable efforts and talents. He is so animated, entertaining and engaging that it's impossible not to delight in his company!
FOODS  
While I prefer to eat healthier foods, I do have a few guilty pleasures in which I periodically indulge. I absolutely love a good breakfast burrito with a latte, and while I seldom eat them I definitely savor every single bite on the rare occasions that I do. Lattes, on the other hand, are frequent indulgences. 
If you love Peruvian food, then you really must try the Saltado de Camarones at Mario's in LA (on the corner of Melrose and Rossmore). Mario's is an LA institution that is so popular that lines begin to form when their doors open. The Saltado de Camarones is a scrumptious dish featuring sautĂ©ed shrimp with onions, tomatoes, french fries and lightly seasoned rice– and it is so good that it is one of my top picks when I am in the mood for something really indulgent! Their portions are so generous that a single serving is two full meals for me, and the leftovers are mouthwateringly good!
I really don't drink much other than water, tea, and of course coffee, but  I do have a nearly irrational love of 100% natural coconut water. It is so refreshing and hydrating, that I can go though a case in no time. One of my favorites is UFC Refresh Coconut Water because it is so delicious and affordable, and I can order it online when I forget to grab coconut water at the grocery store.

Are you surprised by any of my choices? What are your guilty pleasures?
Copyright © 2015 www.lolassecretbeautyblog.com All Rights Reserved (Affiliate Links).

42 comments:

  1. You have every reason to love that lipstick!!! :-) I would too if I were you. Actually, I love it as me as well, lol.

    It's soooo awesome that you love your job so much. Not many people can say that. Treasure that!

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    1. Hi Melissa! I agree about Lola's Lipstick– the color is so gorgeous, and it would certainly look AMAZING on you! I definitely never take for granted that I love my job so much. I have certainly had jobs in the past that I dreaded, and it is really nice doing something that brings me joy. I do treasure it!

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  2. My sweet friend, you are wonderfully gorgeous, deep, and vibrant inside and out. I'm not too surprised to see your magnificent oil collection. I imagined it will exceed all human expectations. Books, architecture, museums, food: what's not to adore and Zeus is just a divine pleasure.
    Thanks for sharing this pick into your world.
    xxxxxxx

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    1. Hello, my dear friend. Thank you so much for your very kind words! I actually hadn't realized just how much my collection of oils had grown until I set out to photograph it the other day! It's safe to say that I have lost my mind with respect to oils! I'm so glad that you liked all of my picks! xoxox

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  3. I adored reading your guilty pleasures post, Helen! It was wonderful to learn more about you. It's been a number of years since I've been to the Getty, so thank you for the pix. How wonderful that you kept your father's book collection. But your oils collection, now that's a guilty pleasure, lol.

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    1. I am so glad that you adored reading this post, Allison! Next time you and Jeff come to LA, we will have to go to The Getty together! I didn't have the heart to part with any of my dad's books. Yes, my oils collection has certainly grown into a guilty pleasure, and I honestly didn't realize how much my collection had grown until I took thee pictures for this post! <3

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  4. I love this post - love love love it. What a way to learn more about you and what makes you tick. I could go on and on about the most interesting but Zeus stands out as much as your leather wallet obsession so I have to mention those. I'm sure someday you will live by the beach but probably not in a house like Cher's. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures and dreams.

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    1. It means so much to me that you love love love this post, Marcia! You are a dear friend, and your opinion really matters to me! My wallet obsession is insane, and while I can't afford all of the beauties that make my heart go pitter-patter, I do enjoy window shopping as well. Zeus is such a weird little dude, and such a constant source of amusement! It would be really nice to live near the beach– the idea of looking out of my window and seeing and hearing the ocean sounds just amazing! No question that a house like Cher's will remain out-of-reach– unless I am able to convince her that I am her long-lost niece, and then I could pull a Kato Kaelin and live in her guest house! LOL!!!!!!

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  5. Hey Helen, wow, most of your guilty pleasures aren't guilty at all LOL Congrats on that lipstick! It looks amazing :) I am a sucker for cats, books, and coconut water as well!

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    1. Cats, book and coconut water are great to have in abundance in ones life! Thanks, I'm a smitten kitten with Lola's Secret. It is a really gorgeous shade and formula. It's true that most of my obsessions are guilt-free, but when I do contemplate another wallet or beauty oil there is some guilt because I clearly need neither! :-)

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  6. I'm the same with museums and books. Fancy coffee and foods are my guilty pleasures too. I love Starbucks iced drinks.

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    1. Hi Iris! Oh yes, those are definitely lovely interests to have!!!!! Fancy coffee and foods are definitely worthy of guilty pleasure status! Starbucks iced drinks are wickedly delicious!

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  7. I loved reading your post and feel like I got to know you better! I certainly can relate to some of your guilty pleasures. I, too, was raised surrounded by books and ended up in an educational field. Now your oils collection: impressive! I have dabbled in oils a bit here and there. However, hearing how much you adore them really makes me want to delve into oils further and discover what they can really do for my skin and hair!

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    1. Hi Pammy! I'm so glad that you loved reading my post! I think that there may be some type of correlation between be surrounded by books and ending up in education– it certainly worked on us! Hmmmmm, I wonder if our parents planned it that way– LOL!!!! My oils collection is just insane, but it just keeps growing! I highly recommend trying some oil on your skin and hair– I think that you will really love the benefits! :-)

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    1. Why am I not surprised that we both fetishize wallets! Talk about a worthy obsession! :-)

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  9. I loved this post! It was so fun to get a little inside look at your favorite things / guilty pleasures.

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    1. Thanks, Jamie! I am so glad that you loved it!

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  10. Unfortunately, both the Getty and Huntington gardens, fountains, and streams are--for the most part--bone dry because of the drought. It's a shame as many of the beautiful and serene displays relied on the look and sound of water for much of their peace and tranquility :-( We need to take better care of Mother Earth.

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    1. I know, this drought of ours is truly devastating! I wholeheartedly agree with you that we need to take better care of Mother Earth.

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  11. Beautiful photos! I wants that Marc Jacobs wallet!

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    1. Thank you, Brooke! I am so glad that you enjoyed them! The Marc Jacobs wallets are really lovely. The black one was a hand-me-down from my mom, and my husband bought me the purple one for my birthday several year ago.

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  12. Nothing guilty in this batch of pleasures! They all look pretty amazing to me. It's always special to take a moment and reflect.

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    1. Thank you! Well, the wallets are a bit of a guilty pleasure because I have no business buying more of them, and yet I do!

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  13. Books and Orphan Black, my kind of girl :)

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    1. The feeling is totally mutual! I somehow knew that you would love Orphan Black and being surrounded by books! Orphan Black is a seriously kick-ass show and Sarah/Allison/Cosima/Helena/Rachel et al is AMAZING. BEST. SHOW. EVER!

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  14. Twinsy, I learned new things from you today! I watched few episodes of Orphan Black but we bought all seasons so one of these days, I'll catch up. Your lippy (in your honor) came today, I'm excited to swatch and wear it. I live 5 mins from the beach but rarely go but I know what you mean, the sound of the waves is simply relaxing and therapeutic.

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    1. Hi twinsy! I'm glad that you enjoyed this post! I can't wait for you to catch up on Orphan Black– I LOVE LOVE LOVE that show! YAY on Lola's Secret Lipstick! I cannot wait to see it on you and to hear what you! It is going to be GORGEOUS on you! I used to live a few minutes from the beach, and while I didn't go sit on the beach often, I really loved the proximity. The smell of the ocean in the air and the sound and sight of the waves really is therapeutic!

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  15. I loved reading this. It is so rare to find someone who genuinely loves their job. Girl, your wallet collection is making me drool!

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    1. Hi Renu, I am so thrilled that you love this! It is rare to feel this way as well! I never imagined feeling as I do about what I do for a living! Yeah, I need a wallet intervention! :-)

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  16. know there's lots of other stuff in this post, but KITTY! :) hahah

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  17. YOU AND i COULD BE TWINSIES... We have many similar loves. :D I love learning more about a person and like you, I would love a room filled with and surrounded by books. I have always talked to my husband about building me a library but sadly our current house is too small... so we have several shelves to make up for it right now. You are Definitely a gem :D

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    1. That's AWESOME!!!!!!!!! Why am I not surprised! I'm with you, if our house was bigger I would love to have an actual library with floor to ceiling built-in bookcases filled with books (and without beauty products shoved in front while awaiting review– LOL!). You are so kind to say that, and trust me– the feeling is COMPLETELY mutual!

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  18. It was fun to read all of your guilty pleasures! Your oil collection is quite impressive!

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    1. Thanks, Kristina! My collection of oils has definitely gotten a bit crazy!

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  19. Great post! I would love to live by the beach, wear your lipstick and sip on coconut water all day long. :P

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    1. Thank you! I am so glad that you enjoyed it! You and me both– wouldn't that be amazing?!

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  20. Such an interesting post! I agree with so much of this, especially books. I just don't understand people who don't love books.

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    1. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it, Bailey! I don't understand it either.

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  21. I spend far too much money on coffee, lattes included! I like to tell myself that I deserve the treat. Lol. TV watching is another pleasure of mine, I have many shows I love. And I've actually just started looking into face oils. Do you have any you would recommend for skin that can get fairly dry and sometimes has redness?

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    1. You and me both on the lattes, Lindsee! Which shows are your favorites? Face oils are amazing! For dry skin with some redness there are a few that you might enjoy (all of which are listed above in my Luxury Oils tab at the top of the website. Sisley Black Rose Precious Beauty Oil:

      http://www.lolassecretbeautyblog.com/2015/02/sisley-paris-black-rose-precious-face.html

      TATCHA GOLD Camellia Face Oil:

      http://www.lolassecretbeautyblog.com/2014/08/tatcha-gold-camellia-beauty-oil.html

      Rodin Olio Lusso:

      http://www.lolassecretbeautyblog.com/2012/10/rodin-olio-lusso-luxury-face-oil-golden.html

      African Botanics Pure Marula Oil or Neroli Infused Marula Oil:

      http://www.lolassecretbeautyblog.com/2014/11/african-botanics-pure-marula-oil.html

      http://www.lolassecretbeautyblog.com/2013/10/african-botanics-neroli-infused-marula.html

      Aftelier Organic Honeysuckle Face Elixir:

      http://www.lolassecretbeautyblog.com/2014/11/new-aftelier-perfumes-honeysuckle-face.html

      Aftelier Rose Face Elixir:

      http://www.lolassecretbeautyblog.com/2013/08/aftelier-perfumes-rose-face-elixir-with.html

      Those are a few of my favorite super nourishing oils! :-)

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I love reading all of your comments and interacting with you- so please do not hesitate to share your thoughts, and to ask questions. Remember that what you have to say is of interest to all of us! Always feel free to email me directly as well. SPAM and advertising links will not be published.

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