Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: February 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Quick Re-cap

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It has been an absolutely CRAZY week!  

I have had a whirlwind 7 days.  I had a second interview for my dream job on Wednesday.  I have a back up plan that is really starting to take a turn for the better if aforementioned "dream job" does not work out.  Additionally, last week, I was in Vegas, I left my house at 4:30 a.m. on Friday and didn't get home until very late on Sunday night.  I (sadly) missed the Oscars on TV but watched some clips online.  On Monday morning, I had a friend in town from India.  Vivek, my friend from India, we met in 1997 in a Duran Duran chat room (please hold your laughter) and have maintained an online relationship for the past 12 years. Vivek and I finally met in person for the first time on Monday.

More to come soon.  I have a huge Vegas blog with awesome pics to post and then I will also post a blog about my experiences with Vivek - cool photos of off the beaten path places we visited.  I will also go into further detail about our online friendship that has flourished over the past 12 years.  When your second life and your "real" life meet. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Fantastic Day

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Being a girl brings with it many joys. Getting my hair done is one of those simple joys and I think only girls can appreciate. I like full-service salons where I am greeted with a more than friendly "hello," my coat is taken and I am escorted to my stylist's chair.

Today was my first visit to the Asha Salon and Spa in the Gold Coast, thanks to a friend who generously gave me a gift certificate. I was graciously greeted by three lovely ladies at the front desk, one of them checked my coat and gym bag while another took me upstairs to meet my colorist, Kennedy. Kennedy and I chatted as she mixed my color, she was delightful, and she did a great job with my "all over" color, mostly to cover (ehm) grays.

After my hair was washed, I was taken over to Mandy for my cut. Mandy was equally as charming, and on a scale of 1 t0 10, I would give her a big, whopping TEN on my hair cut. An extremely precise cut. I explained that my hair was a little too long for my liking, perhaps she could take it up an inch. I also explained that I wanted some shorter layers framing my face and for her to clean up some of my existing layers. She asked "would you like me to construct any new layers?" To which I replied "no, not unless it is necessary, except in around my face." She trimmed my hair while it was wet, then she blew me dry, and flat ironed the ends. To finalize my cut, she cut my hair dry to finish off any texturing and cleaning up of my pre-exising layers.

The girls both also introduced me to a couple of new Aveda products that I was not previously aware were on the market. I walked out of the salon with an amazing head of hair that smells ABSOLUTELY fabulous. I love Aveda products! Being that I live within blocks of this salon, and their pricing is right on target with what I am accustomed to spending, I will be back to see both Mandy & Kennedy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Case of The Common Cold and The Foreign Father

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Growing up, I hated that my parents were different, that they were foreign, they had accents, they didn't "get" anything and that they forbid me from doing "ordinary" American things that other kids able to do. They behaved this way not because they were cruel, or because they wanted to deprive their children, but because the things being asked of them simply didn't make sense to them, they grew up with a different set of norms that they could not let go.

As an adult, I love having foreign parents. I love that my foreign parents are ten times more funny than "ordinary" American parents, that they do not know a simple saying, that we have to rewind even the most simple film a minimum of eighteen times just so they can understand something as simple as "You had me at hello" - and even then I have to explain it another eighty times and they still don't get it so we just move on.

This morning, I had trouble getting out of bed. I thought it was because I was up late playing word games on my computer last night, but as soon as I attempted to clear my throat, I realized that I was under the weather. I got up, had breakfast and went to my local coffee shop where I spend half my days working (I use the coffee shop as my office). After a short while, I realized that I was running a fever so I packed up and headed home.

Feeling sick & needy, I phoned my father for some sympathy. My father asked about my symptoms, I replied with a detailed list to which he answered "drink lots of fluents and get lots of sleep." I love having foreign parents.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day for Leyla A.

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Valentine's day....well, it really means nothing to me and it never has. I cannot recall a single meaningful Valentine's Day that had a positive twist.

My ONLY recollection of a V-day that had any meaning at all was years ago when I was dating someone whom we shall refer to as The Doctor. The Doctor is a romantic, he's like a woman. We had been dating for 2 months when he invited me out on V-day. He asked where I wanted to go, I told him but it wasn't good enough for him. The Doctor made a reservation at a far better restaurant than the one I recommended.

That night, I received an expensive gift (that said nothing about my personality) and as soon as we finished dinner, he grew very antsy. I wondered, "WHAT could possibly be going on?" The Doctor was itching to get out of the restaurant and I wanted another glass of port. Soon enough, he insists we leave and practically drags me out of the restaurant. Once outside, I find a WHITE horse and carriage awaiting. My initial thought was "holy shit, I am going to shoot myself before I board this handsome cab" but I did it anyway. I got in the carriage, in the dead of winter in Chicago and circled one block from my apartment. I smiled and pretended to care.

The following years of my relationship with The Doctor proved to be a comedy of errors. Two people who stayed together despite ALL indicators that they should be apart.

So this Valentine's day, I have no Valentine - whatever the hell that means. Here is what I did today.
- I woke up at 8a and thought that was a RIDICULOUS hour and went back to sleep
- I re-awoke at 10:46 to a phone call
- I pretended to clean my apartment
- I pretended to work out
- I spent about an hour working, entering more names in my "email marketing" campaign (aka spam)
- I called my mom overseas - way too late, she was asleep
- I got in the shower
- I went to my mom's to water her plants and steal a bottle of wine
- I came home to do laundry and cook for 2 hours
- I made 2 delicious meals, one for tonight, one for the rest of the week
- I watched THE LONELY GUY and laughed hysterically
- I watched SNL

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Leyla A. Loves Las Vegas

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I Love Las Vegas. One of my all-time favorite destinations.

This fortune teller told me who I would marry and he was quite convinced and convincing.

Las Vegas is one of my all time favorite destinations. I love Vegas.

My first trip to Vegas was when I was 23. I was with my father and his friends and we stayed at the Flamingo. I would separate from the old folks and sit down at a Roulet table alone to play for a while. When I was good & liquored, I would order a cigar from a waitress and light up.

Fast forward an hour or so... I am hammered, up a little bit of money and enjoying my Romeo y Julieta, or maybe it was a Hemingway Short Story. In walks my dad and ALL of his friends. I was sitting alone, a pile of chips in front of me and mortified at the sight of my father. I sat there starring back at them with a 1/4 of a lit cigar dangling in my mouth. They all laughed at me and walked on.

That was the beginning of the end. Since 1995, I've averaged about 3 tirps a year to Vegas. I've stayed in just about every hotel, including The Aladdin, right before they changed to a Starwood Property. The Aladdin was the worst Vegas property I've ever, EVER, stayed in and I would say that The Four Seasons is my favorite in Vegas. Well, I'd say The Four Seasons is my favorite any where. I hear the Four Seasons in Kabul is particularly nice.

The photo above was taken a few years ago, it was a girl's trip. I was with my friend "E". E and I travel together well as we enjoy the same things.

We wake up and go down by the pool where we will take our breakfast. I never have a cocktail before a swim, once my laps are swam, cocktail time begins. A few hours in the sun and we head upstairs, get cleaned up a bit and go back down to the Spa. Perhaps a short nap after the spa and we are up and ready to head out to dinner.

Dinner is always an event, in the year that this photo was taken, we had a fantastic dinner at Craftsteak in the MGM Grand. I was lucky enough to indulge in the Waygu Beef fillet that was flown in from Australia. TO THIS DAY, I recall this steak, in fact, I can taste it as a type. After dinner, perhaps a little gambling and a cocktail in one of those cheesy lounges. Nightclubs not really for me.

On this particular night, the night you see in the photo, we had our fortunes told. I am not certain what the fortune teller told E but the fortune teller told me whom I would marry... and he was quite convinced. As I am not yet married, we shall see if he was right.</>

Read More Nostalgic Post: 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dr. Phil...Teenagers Text Message Abbreviations

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I was about to go to bed and Dr. Phil came on the television, and sure enough, I am drawn in instantly. He provided a link on his page for Text Messaging "shorthand". Check this out, this is great!

ADR — Address

AFK — Away from Keyboard

ASL — Age/Sex/Location

BRB — Be Right Back

GTG — Got to Go

GYPO — Get Your Pants off

IWSN — I Want Sex Now

JK — Just Kidding

KFY — Kiss for You

KPC — Keeping Parents Clueless

LMIRL — Let's Meet in Real Life

LMAO—Laughing My Ass off

LOL — Laugh out Loud

MorF — Male or Female

NIFOC — Nude in Front Of Computer

P911 - Parent Alert

PAL — Parents Are Listening

PAW — Parents Are Watching

PIR — Parent in Room

POS — Parents over Shoulder

SorG — Straight or Gay

TDTM — Talk Dirty to Me

WYCM — Will You Call Me?

The teens are also very open with the fact that they send naked photos of themselves to guys they meet on MySpace. These kids do the weird "nude" webcam stuff too. We had the Girls Gone Wild Generation and now we have the "I will send you naked photos of myself to anyone from my webcam" generation.

Just filling you all in on our generational gap! OH, and BTW, I am NIFOC right now :)

To Prove I Am Not Perfect

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I want to take a moment and reflect on my past in an effort to bring to light all of the things that make me imperfect. I believe the best way to achieve this goal would be to put together a list.

1. I have a scar on my chin. When I was 14, I was body surfing (or so I thought I was) in Ocean City, Maryland. A giant wave crashed on me, dropped me into the bed of the ocean chin first. The current then pulled me back, still chin-planted, my chin was dragging across the floor of the ocean. The current then picked up the back of my legs and flipped them back over my head - almost like a backwards summer salt. To make it more clear, my chin was planted into the ocean bed, facing forward, and my feet were over my head. I thought I was dead but when I was finally able to stand, I realized that I was only gushing blood. My mother started to scream when she saw the blood and I was thinking "shut up lady, I just nearly snapped my neck."

2. I tried to commit suicide when I was 10 by drinking perfume. Aside from being a significant character flaw, it was also incredibly stupid.

3. I had terrible grades in high school, my interests lied elsewhere.

4. When I was two years old, a piano bench fell on my left, big toe and nearly chopped it off. My mother, being foreign, didn't take me to get stitches because she was freaked out by stitches. As a result, I have a really weird, bulbous tip on my left big toe. The elderly Vietnamese woman who gives me my pedicures is likely grossed out by me.

5. I cannot play any musical instrument whatsoever and I am tone deaf.

6. I cannot sew and I am terrible when it comes to anything domestic.

7. I possess no maternal instinct. When I see children in malls or other public places, I get a chill up my spine. I fear they will come near me, or worse, try to talk to me. I think of children as being the equivalent of mosquitoes.

8. I am self-centered. When I need something, I ask for it, if I am sad, I tell someone. The problem is, I assume that everyone is the same. I expect my friends to tell me when they're sad or depressed. I have a hard time recognizing when people are in need and therefore give the impression that I don't care.

9. I am a terrible driver.

10. I have trouble showing emotion in real life but I will cry like a baby in a movie.

11. I am lazy and I expect people to do things for me and I don't want to do anything in return.

12. I pretend to know more than I really do.

13. I have a tendency to be shallow.

14. I don't think I have been faithful to a single boyfriend I have ever dated.

OK, there you go, there you have it. Here is a blog that doesn't talk about how "awesome" I am. It is pretty honest, not too terrible.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Don't Hate Me Because You Secretly LOVE Me

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About a year ago, I started to post on, for the most part, I have really enjoyed this experience because I love the Chicago food scene and I like to talk food and beverage. I am a self-proclaimed, B-rate foodie, I've spent 20 years in/out of the restaurant industry in various capacities. Top restaurateurs value my opinion as well as the power of my voice. I've been invited into restaurants to sample menus with the hopes that I will spread the "good word". Additionally, I have also been interviewed by local publications on my opinion, I have received emails from out of towners who've read my posts and asked me for my recommendations, etc.

The problem with Yelp, many of the Yelpers, well, they hate me. If I post a thread, I get sabotaged, they just really like to rake me over the coals. At first, this upset me tremendously, but now, I thrive on it. Especially since I no longer work in the restaurant industry, I am free to throw insults back without any professional backlash. And you know what, as much as some of those Yelpers dislike me, the feeling is mutual - I am just not that into "hipsters", people who review gas stations or donut shops and fat girls whose only friends are online.

For shits and giggles, I thought I'd post some of the things that people said about me in my most recent Thread. But before I do that, I want to post a picture of myself to further irritate them (as I know they'll read this)...

Here is a photo of my on 7 day Blue Voyage Cruise (private charter). I love this picture, I look so adorable in my D&G tank top!

Jason S. says:
Find someone more fun to date.

Astronomer Joe "Yelp's Honey Stache" G. says:
She's a self-centered bitch.

My biggest Fan Mandi G
Mandi G. says:
And good job on going three posts without pimping your boring, narcissistic and completely void of all intentional humor blog

Mandi G. says:
You've mentioned your stupid blog in practically every thread you have ever posted in. Shut up already you boring twat

(Mandi G brings up my blog IN EVERY thread that I post, even if I don't, clearly she is a big fan)

sam k. says:
Leyla, why are you involving yourself in this? He's your friend, and you're not his jewish mother. Stop being a yenta. Stop trying to make things happen. You look stoooopid.

The Lovely Mandi G
You are the one who doesn't know the tag line of the most popular character on the longest running sitcom on television right now. Seriously, you are a dumb, annoying twat and your friend's problem is that he would actually ask YOU for advice.

Kerry "=P" J. says:
Leyla, not every American is a lazy alcoholic slut, FYI.
(I am not really sure what this means)

From Carol
Leyla I don't know you and I am sure you mean well but you are meddling.

Here she is again!
Mandi G. says:
Leyla- It's not anger. It's just me telling you the truth. I feel sorry for girls like you. You live in a bubble, completely unaware of how others perceive you.

And I don't get down with girls that have anything smaller then a B cup, so you and your boy tits are out of luck.
(right, my boy tits)

Clearly, Sam is a regular reader, my last post had my kitchen sink in it!
sam k. says:
But there's only so much you can do. It's his life. Let him live it. Go take more photos of your kitchen sink. I think you're a loser.

I particularly like this one...I never paid attention to this guy so he got increasingly more aggressive as the "thread" went on.
Kerry "=P" J. says:
Leyla, you are stale and old.
(he has no idea how stale & old)

sam k. says:
hey retard, its in your profile. i love that you think we all have it memorized and bookmarked though. Because you dont get anything.

Mandi G. says:
Yeah, besides hating on overweight people, Leyla is also ageist and racist.

She is also the girl who wrote the review berating a pizza restaurant for not having a coat check, and said review was the laughing stock of yelp for the week it was written.

Actually, Mandi should get it straight, the "hate" thread about me was for 22 days, it was awesome. These Yelpers actually talked about me on a thread for 10 days before I ever noticed, a friend emailed me to inform me and then the thread continued for another 12 days. Who would put that much energy into one girl? I must be special!

Dylan "in this economic climate" D. says:
That blog sucks.
(than why read it Dylan?)

Jason S. says:
Leyla, you look a bit like a dark haired Gwen Stefani.
(really? that's a first)

On the flip side of things, I have a few friends on Yelp that do post meaningful reviews and I have a pretty "healthy" online relationship with them. You won't find those people on the threads, however, they have jobs, lives, families.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Random Things...

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My kitchen. I love my kitchen. I willingly sacrifice space for location and aesthetics. Two years ago, I remodeled my kitchen without taking re-sale into consideration. My kitchen is very small, which afforded me the luxury to utilize upgraded materials such as the full back splash and a nicer hardware and fixtures. Everything is white, stark white, with Carrera white marble counter tops and back splash. When I walk into my kitchen, I am flooded with joy. I look up at my white laminate cabinets that reach up to the ceiling and I am happy.

My first love. Coffee. Espresso really. I love good espresso, I like it with very little sugar and I like lots of it.

Back when I was totally into MySpace, I used to take photos of myself in bathrooms. The bathroom shots were really important to me, I had to take a photo of myself in any bathroom I possibly could in an effort to be MySpace compliant.

Gay Porn. I think sometimes gay porn titles can be very funny. I mean, come on, how is Poor Little White Boy NOT funny?

And finally, Venice, my favorite city in Europe. I love how old it is, I like the history and the art culture. I was so impressed with every part of Venice so I decided to include it in my RANDOM post. This Random Post was also an excercize in including visual content into my blog.