Snob Essentials

Shang Hai Lily from Nars


I love this photo of Lydia Hearst, she looks mysterious and a bit dangerous while giving off an aura of vulnerability. You all know by now that my grandmother grew up in Shang Hai in the 1920’s; some of my most fond memories are of the two of us having tea with her telling me stories of the glamorous life she had in Shang Hai when it was dubbed the Paris of Asia. To say my grandmother has high standards would be an understatement, from good manners to a proper dress, she taught me to appreciate the best (even though it took years of stabbing me in the leg with a toothpick to train me to sit up straight with my head up at the dinner table! A lady should never lean her mouth down to her bowl of rice or shovel food in her mouth, she should sit perched at the edge of her chair and bring each grain of rice to her lips delicately. And you wonder why Asian women are so thin?) She is also very critical of modern ready-to-wear, every time I’d come home with a new outfit she’d feel the fabric, purse her lips and say “I never wore anything this rough, you should only wear silk and cashmere and have it custom made by a good tailor”. And if I protested with “But it’s Gucci”! She’d launch into how I should buy clothes of quality, not for the name brand. She also had 100 servants but that is a tale for another entry. Anyway, this ad reminds me of a photo I have of my grandmother from that period of her life- the impossibly thin and arched brow, dark lipstick and pale creamy skin. I am going to buy the blush and lipstick for her. At 95 years old, she still wears her lipstick, everyday. Once when I was home she had a mini-stroke and she requested I am the only one to ride with her to the hospital in the ambulance. During the ride I noticed her fist was clenched, I opened her hand to find her favorite lipstick. She looked at me and said “Do not let me die without my lipstick on”. True story- she’ll kill me if she ever found out I put this on Beauty Snob but that is the extent of her vanity! NARS at

To get the look:

Alahambra duo eyeshadow

Ayssina single eyeshadow

Multiple Orgasm Blush

Captiva lipstick




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  1. Great story! When you mention her comments about quality, it reminds me of a story I just read recently in the January issue of Town & Country about what true luxury is, and your grandmother’s comments fit in perfectly!

  2. Your writing style builds images for readers so clearly and strongly– have you thought about writing an article about your grandmother and submitting it? Or even a book. Go for it!!!

  3. Reading your comments brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for all your kind words and support. I have been recording my conversations with my grandmother the last few trips to Asia. She asked me to write her memoir after she passes so I don’t have to worry about what she thinks and can tell her story in my own voice (she knows I would edit myself for fear of upsetting her)- this is just like her, always thinking of me and my future. She is my hero and is the reason I am a success today.

    Thanks again for your comments.


  4. Do write more about your grandmother! 🙂 I really enjoyed the short snippets you’d written in this post.

    FYI – my grandmother’s waist size was a mere 25 inches after giving birth to 6 children! *faint* How come the gene never got around to me?! Haha.