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My new hat collection

November 17, 2009

By Elena Garcia

Pink Angora Beret

Pink Angora Beret

One of the really great things about Shanghai is the amazing shopping. If you’re a size negative whatever with tiny feet, you can find some of the most fantastic articles of clothing for some ridiculous prices. Just roam the streets, you’ll spot street squatters, under ground markets, bargain malls and everything else your little heart desires for prices that will put any sample sale to shame.

Just today while roaming the dingy halls of my favorite bargain market I came across some of the cutest motorcycle jackets in copper colored snakeskin, denim, and sequins. I wanted to buy them all, unfortunately none of them fit me. (I stopped wearing China’s version of a large when I was in third grade.) If jackets aren’t your thing, try on a party dress! These dresses are to die for cute and would blow any socialite out of the water. Heart shaped tops with pleated bottoms, patterns with bold colors and hemlines with just enough to help make the point. They’re adorable and would cost you a fortune at home but here you can get them for 20 bucks, easy. I’ve even contemplated buying two of the same dress and sewing them together, they’re just so cute!  But I am always quickly chased out of the store buy the sales girl shooing me away. God forbid I destroy her ten-dollar dress with my laser vision and fiery touch. You can even find your very own Chinglish T-shirt with embroidered bunnies or glittered hearts! It’s amazing, if they only carried one size bigger (or two).

But just because they don’t make “big girl sizes” here doesn’t mean I can’t shop, damn it. I have learned very easily that accessories fit everyone, regardless of what your waist or bust size are. Today, after being rejected and chased out of all the skinny people stores I came across a store where my waistline didn’t matter. It was as hat store! (So take that China!!)

After spending a multitude of time perusing the shelves and trying one every item in the store I decided on a few head ornaments that would easily grace the pages of my favorite magazine. At 15rmb (2 dollars) a pop I bought a half a dozen magnificent cranial coverings, which are sure to protect my head from the infamous Shanghai winter and to make me look… umm… amazing!

Ear Muffs

Ear Muffs

London-esque Mod Hat

London-esque Mod Hat

Floral Beanie

Floral Beanie

Hot Pink Beanie with Big Poof

Hot Pink Beanie with Big Poof

Bling Bling Christmas

December 25, 2008

By Elena Garcia

Yupp it’s 2002 all over again!! A local mall decided to bring it back when they made their 2008 holiday ad campaign read “Bling Bling Christmas.” It’s everywhere at our local Metro City mall.

Our neighborhood is great, there are 4 malls at an intersection like 3 blocks from our house. Their is Metro City, Orient Center Shopping Mall, Grande Gateway (my personal favorite), and then the Giant Best Buy and Boutiques. The Grande Gateway is the best because it’s probably the biggest mall I’ve ever been too. It’s bigger then Plaza Las Americas in Puerto Rico, which is massive. It has all the western stores I love; anna sui, marc by marc jacobs, see by chloe and all these new stores, which I will grow to love. It also has this huge Costa Coffee, which I’ve visited enough times so that the waitresses now know me.

This Christmas has been very interesting, to say the least. When we first moved into our apartment, I bought a small Charlie Brown Christmas tree, You know the kind; 3 feet tall, sits on your table top, and is basically bald. Garrett and I did the best we could with getting ornaments and lights but it was still scarce. Nevertheless with our Charlie Brown tree we ventured into this Shanghai Christmas. The city did it’s best to put up lights, trees, fake snow, and millions of signs that said Merry Christmas but there was definitely something missing/different about Christmas here. Every store you walked into, no matter where in Shanghai had the same Holiday CD echoing throughout. “Mamacita, donde esta Santa Clause, I look for him because it’s Christmas eve…” Gotta love it.

Usually at home, the family comes over on Christmas eve and we stay up late to open Presents at midnight, we eat way too much food and go to sleep. This year Garrett worked Christmas eve and didn’t get home until about 7, I ran around town trying to find the groceries on my holiday shopping list. Garrett and I wanted to do our best to create Christmas dinner here in Shanghai. I had no luck. I did get frozen chicken, potatoes, rolls and frozen corn. So like the good little housewife I’ve become (ha ha ha just kidding, this was Garrett’s once in a lifetime cooked meal from me) I made pasta with pesto sauce and chicken. I boiled some potatoes, heated up the corn and buttered the bread… all in all it was a descent meal. I didn’t give us food poising (yet). The night ended after about 5 hours of watching the DVD set Garrett got of Lost. Lost is an AMAZING show btw.

In Shanghai, nothing is closed on Christmas day, nothing. The malls, stores, restaurants, everything is open from 9 in the morning until 11 at night. But Garrett and I thought it best to follow the American tradition we like best about Christmas, doing nothing all day. We would have spent some time going to the movies but we have yet to discover an English language theatre. So in the morning we exchanged presents and continued to watch endless of hours of Lost. Garrett pointed out how their situation is similar to ours. Not that we are stuck on an Island playing survivor by any means. But they’re exploring this unknown world just like us.

After our Lost marathon we got ready for dinner… Christmas dinner was an experience. We were invited to dinner with Allen, a Chinese businessman who lives in the bay area and works with Garrett. It was an amazing experience, not like any other Christmas dinner I’ve had before. But I’ll leave that story for another day.