After flying for what felt like eternity, Jill and I finally landed in New York.
I was glad to finally be on solid ground and so happy to be back in my second favorite city in the world (my favorite, of course, is Manila, my home).
And I think New York was happy to see me too – it gave me a crazy warm welcome.
First there was the friendliest immigration officer in the world.
“Where are you from?”
“Ahh, good people.”
“How old are you?”
“No! You look 18.”
Why thank you, immigrations officer. Please let me enter your country.
He said he was planning a trip to the Philippines next year, asked for tips and actually took notes. So yeah, I was there for a long time.
When we were done, Jill and The World’s Friendliest Immigration Officer talked about their Ray-Bans. Then we hit the baggage carousel. Then we grabbed a cab outside the airport.
The long flight had given me a headache and the cab driver’s penchant for hitting the brakes really hard made me so dizzy I felt like curling up into a ball in the back seat.
But something made me feel better.
Yes, the Chanel Shade Parade video was playing on the little TV screen inside the cab.
I was tickled.
We arrived at Peter and Kyle’s lovely orange and blue Brooklyn apartment.
You know how awesome Petah is?
Even his popcorn matches his apartment’s interiors.
Blue popcorn sprinkled with parmesan.
It was goooood.
Seriously, Martha Stewart needs him on her team.
It was Petah’s birthday when we arrived so we gave him our present. His party won’t be until Saturday though and I love the theme – Cowboys and Spice Girls.
That afternoon, we took a lovely walk around their neighborhood, stopping to buy pistachio cream puffs at Moutarde, where a scene from Julie and Julia was shot. We went to the library and Prospect Park and checked out the pumpkins on people’s front steps.
Then we went to Ikea for our beloved meatballs. But that’s not all we ended up eating.
Yes, all that food for three people. I loved the garlic toast. I’d go back for more meatballs and garlic toast.
Back in the apartment after our Ikea feast, Peter handed me this pretty bag. It was his late birthday present, he said.
I knew something was up because Jill immediately trained her camera on me and she looked really excited.
But not as excited as me.
First there was this lovely card.
I love how Petah knows exactly what I like.
And after reading the card, I knew exactly what he got me.
Oh my god.
Dior Saint Tropez.
There’s a long story behind this gift – and this story will show you why Petah’s gift touched me so deeply.
I fell in love with Saint Tropez the first time I saw photos of it online. I tried figuring out where I could buy it but since it was a limited edition shade that was created for the Dior boutique opening in Saint Tropez, I knew it was a long shot. Some Dior fans said they only saw it on the website for an hour before it disappeared, some girls said they saw it in Las Vegas. Then I saw that it would be available in a few boutiques around the world and that the list included New York.
I knew who could help me.
Petah the Polish Elf.
He started looking for this polish for me in June. June. I am not kidding. He didn’t find it in New York (the Dior boy even gave him attitude) and when he went to Paris and London, he checked the stores there too. No Saint Tropez. Jill checked for bottles in Paris, Greece and Italy. No sign of Saint Tropez anywhere. I checked stores in Singapore. Again, no luck. So I was ready to give up. Three people searching in three continents. That was a great effort for one bottle of polish. It was time to throw in the towel.
But unlike me, Peter refused to give up.
And he found Saint Tropez.
He wouldn’t tell me where but he found it.
I couldn’t believe it was finally right in front of me.
If there weren’t so many of them watching me, I would have cried.
“If I tell you I’ll find it, it means I’ll find it,” Petah said.
Naturally, I had to paint my nails immediately.
I love Saint Tropez. It’s so pretty.
I wore Saint Tropez on the subway.
And to the Brooklyn Flea Market where I ate a lobster roll.
It was good, I wanna eat it again next week.
I love Saint Tropez. I love it so much I wanted to buy every ring and bracelet that matched it at the Brooklyn Flea. And there were a lot of them.
I love you, Dior. I love you, Saint Tropez.
Petah found Wonder Woman for me. And got me my Chanel Les Jeans right in the middle of FNO craziness. And found my Dior Mitzahs. And now Dior Saint Tropez. He has an amazing knack for finding my most coveted shades.
He’s not just a polish elf, he’s a polish genie.
Either way he’s completely magical.
I love you, Petah. You are awesome. And your amazing polish-finding ability is just a teeny fraction of that awesomeness.
I’m so happy I might just ride the mechanical bull at your birthday party.