Archive for May, 2009

Dancing with the Olympians?

Posted in Athletes, Dancers/Dancing, Television/Reality Shows with tags , , , , , on May 20, 2009 by shapach
Winner Shawn Johnson and dance partner Mark Ballas celebrating her victory. Photo courtesy of AP.

Shawn Johnson and dance partner Mark Ballas celebrating her victory. (Photo courtesy of AP)

 Maybe they should rename Dancing with the Stars after last night’s winner Shawn Johnson was awarded the coveted mirror ball trophy.

She is the third US Olympic Gold Medalist to win the prize, and rightfully so. Olympic athletes are the best in the world and know what it means to motivate and dedicate themselves to training hard and molding their bodies into top shape, much like professional dancers. They are so dedicated to success that their stamina is unparalleled. Shawn is only 17 years old and is also the youngest contestant to ever win Dancing with the Stars in its eight-season run.

 Hats off to the little girl with the Heart of Gold!!

Shawn competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Shawn competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Other past Olympians to win the show include Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi in season 6 and Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno in season 4. 

Kristi winning her mirror ball trophy, also with partner Mark Ballas. (Photo courtesy of

Kristi winning her mirror ball trophy, also with partner Mark Ballas. (Photo courtesy of

Apolo and dance partner Julianne Hough, beaming with pride. (Photo courtesy of Yahoo TV)

Apolo and dance partner Julianne Hough, beaming with pride. (Photo courtesy of Yahoo TV)


Stivali Boot Jewelry

Posted in Designers, Fashion with tags , , on May 5, 2009 by shapach



Possibly the cutest and coolest idea I have seen in a long time, Stivali is a line of jewelry that accessorizes any drab old pair of boots. Created by MyLinh Tran, Stivali boot jewelry attaches to a pair of boots with a simple clasp or hook that clips right over the top of the boot, without damaging the material. Although currently just for boots, she is exploring other styles of shoes as well.

MyLinh came up with the idea for Stivali, meaning boots in Italian, while working as a fashion design intern at a children’s wear company in LA. She noticed that every part of the body has been accessorized with jewelry except the shoes. Boots are so plain, she thought, so why not jazz them up a bit? 

 Using materials such as gold plated chains, crystal beads, semi-precious stones and other decorations found at local craft stores, she began sketching and coming up with designs for her collection. After sourcing a prototype in China, she realized the turn around time was longer than she wanted, so she converted her dining room of her San Carlos home into a full-time jewelry studio. Storing all of her tools and materials in clearly labeled boxes helps her keep her studio organized, and makes it easier to find certain items when working on a design.

Originally thinking of calling the line M.Elle, after her initials, she decided on Stivali because it “had a better ring to it.” Hoping to officially launch her line of designs in fall, she has created a site on where shoppers can view designs and order customized creations. Eventually, MyLinh hopes to see Stivali in Aldo and shoe stores everywhere. 




Valentino: The Last Emperor of the Glam Dynasty

Posted in Designers, Fashion, Movies, Tanning with tags , , , , , , , on May 5, 2009 by shapach


 Valentino is one of the most iconic and influential women’s fashion designers of the last fifty years. This year the world was honored with the release of the first documentary delving behind the scenes into the life of a legend, and “the man behind the throne”. Valentino: The Last Emporer will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you want to get a pug.


Director Matt Tyrnauer, Giancarlo Giammetti, and Valentino at the premiere.

 The director, Matt Tyrnauer, was gracious enough to come to the Academy and discuss the blood and sweat that went into making his first film. Tyrnauer has been a journalist with Vanity Fair for 17 years, and first became intrigued by Valentino when he was dispatched to Rome to do a story on him in 2004. The Last Emperor has been a project almost two and a half years in the making, with over 270 hours of footage that was shot. First premiering at the Venice Film Festival, it is an independent film, and as Tyranuer puts it, “an observational film…into the greatest partnership in fashion history.”


"The 5 M's" always travel in style.

 And, no I’m not talking about the dogs, although they are as much a part of Valentino’s life, and the film, as is fashion. I’m referring to Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino’s business partner and companion for over 45 years. Truly a patient and loyal man, Giancarlo is the bread to Valentino’s glamorous apple butter. And as much as Valentino hates to admit, he is not the sole star of the film, as Giancarlo emerges as the rock behind the empire. As Oprah stated, this film is “a love story,” a passionate and emotional look into what it takes to make a relationship last the test of time. 


Valentino and Giancarlo debating over the infamous "white dress"

Valentino: The Last Emperor is now showing in over 30 cities around the globe, and soon to be released on DVD with loads of hilarious extra footage. The ultimate diva himself, a genius of “couture royalty,” Valentino finally takes center stage, just where he belongs.

Watch the trailer and clips at

O is for Outstanding

Posted in Designers, Fashion with tags , , , , , on May 5, 2009 by shapach


Misses O (with President O) in a radiant  black Azzedine Alaia with ruffled skirt at a cultural event during the NATO summit in April. Chic and elegant is so her style. And you can never wear enough slimming black in my opinion. Love the patent leather heels, which are higher than her usual kittens and flats (thank goodness!)


The woman even does casual well in a J Crew argyle cardigan and adorable Lanvin sneakers with purple metallic toe, while volunteering at the Capital Area Food Bank. Because she is so tall, she can wear cropped pants and get away with it, without looking stumpy. Me on the other hand, forget about it! The combination of the mustard, grey, and eggplant shades here are divine.


What can I say, Michelle loves her some argyle. But so do I when it’s an avant-garde Junya Watanabe cardi worn over matching turquoise Jason Wu dress. Misses O is seen here visiting the Royal Opera House. Again, a great color choice. She definitely knows what colors go well with her skin tone; I have yet to see her in a color that doesn’t suit her.

Overall, she wears great colors, loves mixing basics with high-end designer pieces, and knows how to take risks and have fun. Isn’t that what fashion is all about! Watch out Jackie O because there’s a new fashionista in town: Michelle O. Betta recognize!

(All images courtesy of

Palais de la Légion d’Honneur

Posted in Art & Artists with tags , , , , , , , on May 5, 2009 by shapach


I’ve lived in the bay about three years now and have never ventured up that big ass hill to visit the Legion of Honor museum until now. Boy was I missing out! The Legion of Honor is one of the famed Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and probably gets thousands of visitors a day.

Not only did I not have to pay to get in (every first Tuesday of the month is F-R-E-E) but for the price of nada I got to get within inches of some of the most renowned artistic masterpieces in the history of the WORLD. (Okay so you are supposed to stay a least a foot back, but I’ve never been one for rules. They once tried to kick me out of the Andy Warhol Museum for taking pictures. Bah Humbug, I say!) 

As you walk into the courtyard of the museum entrance you are greeted by the immense sculpture of Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker”. I’m pretty sure this is just a copy, and the original is in France, but very cool anyway. I made my way in, grabbed a map, and began to circulate.


At first I thought these were just prints, but upon closer inspection, you can actually see the blobs of paint and brush strokes of Degas, Goya, Watteau, Rembrandt and many others, that are hundreds of years old . It’s astonishing to me that so many of these works have lasted so long through world wars, and fires, and floods.

Aren’t some of these pieces supposed to be in the Louvre and not in little old San Francisco? Who knew? Monet’s “Water Lilies” (one of my favorites) was stunning up close, and much bigger than I thought.


And talk about big. Rubens’ “The Tribute Money” was so large I put my hand out to get paid.



Take the time out to roam it for a few hours. Since I was pressed for time, I didn’t get to fully enjoy the place, but it is spectacular. Just don’t go setting your notebooks on any tables. Turns out, I was trying to take notes on an 18th century Italian oak table…Oops! (I know, I know, I’m going to be the pariah of museums across the country.)

Check out their website for special exhibitions and ticket prices.

Haiku for You

Posted in Fashion with tags , , on May 5, 2009 by shapach

Valentine's Day 2009: my favorite dupioni silk LBD.

All black is the best

ensemble for a date night

or other event.

– Satyn Hapach 

Tan in a Can?

Posted in Actors/Comedians, Beauty, Tanning with tags , , , on May 4, 2009 by shapach


Well, not in a can exactly, although they do exist as well. L’Oreal Sublime Bronze is actually a tinted self-tanning lotion (also available in gelee form) that comes in a squeezable tube, and comes in three shades to match skin tones: Light, Medium, and Deep.

I prefer the Deep shade since I have an olive skin tone and a base tan. If you are an avid tanner, like me, and want the darkest and most immediate bronze shade as possible, this the best shade for you. Although I have not tried the lighter shades, I’m sure they work just as well to give a natural looking shade enhancement.

The active ingredient that is responsible for the instant bronze tint is AHA, or sublime-eva1alpha hydroxy acid. This is the similar tanning agent found in most spray tans and bronzing lotions. Once applied, you will see a noticeable bronze tint, complete with golden flecks of sparkle that add to the illuminosity of the skin (very pretty!) Within an hour, your golden tan will have developed. With repeated use, you may never need to step into the sun again. (Although I like to layer this product over a UV-based tan or spray tan to really enhance the effect!! I’m talking “Dancing-with-the-Stars-dark” Oh yeah!) 

Although it is marketed as a quick-dry formula, both the gelee and the lotion take about 10-15 minutes to dry if applied generously. And the newest version claims to be transfer-proof and water-resistant, but will rub off slightly if not dry ALL THE WAY before putting clothes on. Use sparingly around knees, elbows and ankles and wash hands after application. Also containing Viatmin E, the product is super hydrating much like a daily moisturizer, so no need to use both.

So besides having to stand nude in front of the fan for quite some time, I have found this product to be the best on the market to help achieve the darkest, streak-free, golden brown tan. Hey, for these results, that a sacrifice I’m willing to make.