Saturday, August 31, 2013

Palm Springs Part 2

Day 2 in Palm Springs! We woke up relatively early and had breakfast at Circa 59 inside the hotel. I ate the most awesome black bean quesadilla with cheese. What a great way to start my morning!




After breakfast we ventured to the spa. Our treatments weren't until 11:30 so we had plenty of time to indulge in the facilities. They kept the pool room nice and chilly so we mostly just sat in the hot tub reading and drinking one of the many teas that Spa Terre provided. Yum! I had booked myself the Marilyn in Silk full 75 minute treatment (such a deal with my massive discount from Travel Zoo) and it consisted of some stretching, a body scrub, body wrap, and a good amount of massage mixed in. So relaxing.



It was still relatively early, so we managed to fit in some sightseeing. I desperately wanted to see the Trina Turk store and a bunch of historic houses along the way. We had wanted to eat at Copley's as well since it used to be part of the Cary Grant estate but it was closed for the month. I had reserached in advance and we went on a loop of Old Hollywood celebrity homes. A great source of info I found was Maggie Ink who lists the addresses and some great photos. I think my faves were Marilyn Monroe's house and Clark Gable's (since I'm a huge Gone with the Wind fan).




Following our tour, we stopped by the Colony Palms for lunch at the Purple Palm. Awesome truffle fries and desserts and such a cute restaurant! Our last stop before heading home was the Forever Marilyn statue. We heard it was going to be traveling so we knew we had to catch it while we could and I'm so glad we did! Wonderful little mini getaway. We left Palm Springs for the four hour drive back to Vegas and thanks to Tropical Storm Ivo, this turned into a five hour drive with the last hundred miles being filled with rain and lightning. Always an experience!







BUDGET

Hotel= $70
Gas= $52
Lunch= $30
Dinner= $48
Taxis= $12
Breakfast= $12
Tips= $10
Spa=$118
Lunch= $28

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Palm Springs Part 1

Hello world!!!

So my friend Amanda and I have been throwing around the Palm Springs idea for a few months now. It's hot as hell at the moment, which means it's quieter and cheaper. We finally settled on date we liked and decided to make it a spa day. We found an AMAZING deal for the Riviera Palm Springs on Travelzoo and booked it immediately. The trip was wonderful and I took so many photos that I'm splitting this post in two just for the pictures.

We left around 7AM to drive over. We arrived around noon and went straight to the Viceroy for lunch at Citron. Such a gorgeous place, I loved the color scheme and my salmon was delicious. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a ton of free street parking all around the resorts and downtown areas. We wandered the grounds a bit before checking into our hotel.






Our Travel Zoo special was for a Mediterranean Junior Suite at the Riviera. We really thought it'd be fun to go with the Old Hollywood theme and considering the property's history, it was a great match. Such an amazing deal for a gorgeous room. The double sinks were especially nice and cut down on primping time for me and Amanda. We chilled for a bit before heading to the pool.





I had noticed that the resort had a TON of Foursquare offers for check-ins. Our room came with two free drinks already and the pools had free drink offers for check-ins as well (so did two of the bars and the restaurants). Check Fourquare! If I was going to get wasted, I could have done it for the cost of tips. Wonderful pool and wait staff and great happy hour specials as well.

After the pool, we got showered and ready for dinner. We decided to hit up Melvyn's at the historic Ingleside Inn since it fell in with our Old Hollywood weekend theme. We sat across from Sinatra's favorite table, had an AMAZING dinner (I mean really really really amazing), and were treated to a guided tour of the property. Everyone was unbelievably helpful and informative and the food was not outrageously priced considering how delicious it all was.








Following dinner, we wandered our hotel to see everything in the evening (the firepits were a nice touch) and grabbed a drink at the bar before retiring for the night. More to follow!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Happy Sunday

My cousin just tagged me in this photo from her wedding. It makes me smile.
 


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Summer list revisited...

So two months ago I posted a list of things I wanted to do this summer. It is now the end of August and children are heading back to school; however, because it is Vegas, summer doesn't really end until close to Halloween (when the pools close). I have crossed a few items off already. So I have about another two months to get things done. :-)

That said, I am striking a few things off the list because I'm just not going to be able to squeeze it all in during the warmer months.
  1. See a lighthouse. There are a bunch in Alabama near where I'll be wandering but they're all out in the middle of the water so it's a good thing I don't plan to climb any.
  2. Do a mini cruise on a lake or a river or something... Being in the desert makes me really want to be near some water right now... Frankly this matches up with item 4 and could go either way.
  3. See more seals. I love seals. I'm planning a Laguna Beach overnighter and I want to stop at the Pacific Marine Mammals Center.
  4. Sailing, sailing, sailing. Since Marc and I didn't get to spend much time together that didn't consist of eating ice cream and watching cartoons, I'll just have to wait until next time.
  5. Have some shave ice. Hello Groupon.
  6. Go for a picnic.
  7. Go hiking in the mountains. This really could bleed into the fall list too.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Make-up for lazy bums like me...

On a recent trip that allowed limited shower access (and because I wanted to wake up looking like I'm always cute first thing in the morning), I tested out a few products that I am now obsessed with. They did not budge during the night and only came off with make-up remover. And I move around in my sleep (especially when I'm dodging elbows in the middle of the night). When a product manages to not leave a streaky mess on my face (or my pillow), I am forever grateful and will rave about it all over town. Here are the four products that so far have my undying gratitude.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner- Came in handy for my cute cateye, didn't streak or run at all. I put it on first thing in the morning and it didn't move even with the humidity of Pensacola. It didn't come off until I washed it off late that night... Or maybe it was first thing the next morning. I can't be sure.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush- Gives me a nice believable flush on the cheeks. I don't wear a lot of make-up on my face with the exception of an occassional BB cream or a little foundation in the winter, but I do like my blush and bronzer for contouring. Mine is in Dollface and it gives the prettiest little pink flush.

Revlon Colorstay 16-Hour Eye Shadow- Worked nice alone and as a base it even helped my discontinued Stila shadow palette stay in place when I layered it.

Fairy Drops Mascara- Unfortunately my absolute favorite mascara is a Japanese brand that's really hard to find in the US. There is one type they sell that can be found on Amazon, but it's not the special waterproof one that sits still all day and night. I love this formula because it's specifically designed for Asians with short stubby lashes that grow straight down (like me) and it makes them look long and curly. I fell asleep in this the day I bought it in Hong Kong and napped for four hours. When I woke up, it hadn't even flaked. I immediately went out and bought several more tubes of it.

Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Liner- I used it for my brows too.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Airplanes- Wonderful & Miserable at the same time...

In previous posts I've mentioned how much I hate flying and why. At the same time, I kind of love it because usually you know you're going somewhere and that's usually kind of nice (unless you're going to a funeral or visiting family members you hate). Here are just some random things that I've found super useful when flying. Most of them are pretty common knowledge but since I'm just randomly musing, I thought I'd put them up anyway.

  • I love the window seat. Part of it is a morbid curiosity cuz if something is gonna happen I'm gonna want to see (you know, like a gremlin on the wing). On late afternoon/early morning flights, I love photographing the sunrise/sunset on the wing. Great starting vaca photos. It also gives me a few extra inches of space on one side since I always anticipate sitting next to someone who doesn't understand boundaries.
  • Always ask about complimentary gate check, especially if you have a particularly lengthy layover. My flights are usually fairly full and I've never been turned down or had any issues retrieving my luggage later. Besides, that $25 adds up to a great layover meal, magazine, and a bottle of water.
  • If you have an injury, ask about pre-boarding. I recently flew with a sprained ankle and since it took me longer to get up and down the jetway, they let me preboard. Not only was I able to move along at a comfortable pace, but it allowed me to settle into my seat more easily instead of rushing.
  • Remember to bring a book or magazine so you don't have to rely on your e-reader since everything has to be off during take-off and landing. Don't be the douchebag next to me who not only is still talking on a cell phone but also has the tray table down. Douchebag.
  • Go to the airport website and look up your flight's previous history. It gives you an idea of what gates they go to. See what's in the gates and look at an airport map. This helps with your layovers so you know where to eat and shop or know how far you have to run to make your connector (or where to catch the train).
  • Pack your snacks and don't be the sad person who pays $6 for cheese and crackers. Unless you really like that brand of cheese and crackers.
  • For long flights I bring aloe socks and a paper facemask for the flight (if I'm feeling really dry, I'll also bring aloe gloves and a leave-in conditioner for my hair). For shorter flights (3-5 hours), I slather on my moisturizer, eye cream, hand cream, and lip treatment prior to take-off and then apply my make-up during my layover or the last 30 minutes of the flight. No point having it cake in and crack during the flight if the goal is to look pretty for my first day of vacation (or when visiting Marc). Besides, the weirder I look on a flight, the more likely the guy next to me will give me some elbow room. :-P
  • I'm not big on the emergency row but I do know a lot of people who love it because of the extra leg room. I'm a stickler for keeping my purse close and I know my terror of flying would make me fairly useless in an emergency. The bulkheads do also provide the same legroom but with all the pricing changes airlines are making, it's more difficult to get one for the same price without paying an upcharge. Besides, my legs are short but if you have longer legs, I could see this being worth the extra charge.
  • I really like wearing a simply high-low hem dress to fly in the summer. Dresses are more comfortable than pants with a waistband and the hem allows me to feel like my legs and butt aren't touching the seat (a pet peeve of mine even after I've disinfected the seat). I always bring a sweater, a scarf, some socks, my neck pillow, and my eye mask (unless the flight is under 2 hours).
  • What's your favorite airplane comfort tip? I'm always looking for new tips and tricks to make flying more relaxing and less terrifying...

    Sunday, August 18, 2013

    Tampa

    So I flew from Pensacola to Tampa a few weeks ago for my cousin's wedding. I got an amazing deal on a hotel through Expedia's mystery deals. I ended up staying at the Intercontinental for under $80 a night. Such a contrast from where Marc and I stayed in Pensacola. I rented a car from Fox and grabbed a quick dinner at J Alexander before heading to the hotel for a good night's sleep.

    The ceremony wasn't until 2PM at Macdill Airforce Base so I had the whole morning to wander. I took a drive toward Clearwater and came across the small Ben T Davis Beach. I hung out there for a while since it wasn't very crowded and then grabbed lunch at Whiskey Joe's. I ran back to the hotel to shower and change and then left early for the wedding since I had to pass through security and I wasn't sure how long it would take to clear.
     
     
     
     
     
    The wedding was beautiful!!! I'm so happy for my wonderful cousin and her family. The bridesmaids and I made a quick bar stop before the reception at 5PM and then headed over to the Tampa Garden Club. After the reception we bar hopped a little bit before heading our separate ways. Such an amazing day with friends and family that I haven't seen in years.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Sunday was my last day and since I had a late flight and a car, I took advantage of it. I ventured out to Lakeland in the early afternoon for lunch with Marc's mom. Marc of course was less than thrilled about this since he knows his mom and I talk about EVERYTHING. lol I don't think he's very comfortable with the fact that she and I get along super well.

    After lunch I picked up one of the bridesmaids for a little excursion to the Florida Aquarium. It was rather small but very cute with some nice exhibits. I would have loved to see the Penguin Promenade or participate in one of the programs but there wasn't time so maybe on my next visit!
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Overall, Tampa was a great little weekend jaunt and I would love to return!!

    Wednesday, August 14, 2013

    Airport food...

    I hate flying so much.

    I do it a lot, but I don't like it. I've taken 17 flights this year and have at least 8 more to go. It's partly because I'm afraid of heights, afraid of flying, and afraid of germs. I'm also afraid of screaming babies and recycled air. Flying includes all of these things. It also includes terrible food and long waits. Ew.

    I have airports I generally try to stick with because they are familiar but sometimes I like to branch out a bit. When looking at layover options and seeing the airport choices, I check out the airport websites. Sometimes there are some pretty cool things in airports. I try to make the airport more of a highlight then a bleh part of the trip so that the anticipation of flying isn't quite so bad. I've enclosed a list of things at airports I've visited that are pretty awesome.

    Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson- A lot of people are terrified of this airport. It is pretty huge and crazy busy. I grew up coming and going from this airport probably catching hundreds of flights from here. That certainly makes it less intimidating. Do utilize the train system here. They run every 50 seconds. Super easy and efficient. If you have a long layover and some spare cash, go to the Minute Suites in concourse B. It isn't cheap but after a long, bumpy, loud flight; you'll be happy to spend the money for an hour of soundproof walls and dimmer switches. Well worth it. My favorite dining options here are Paschal's for the fried chicken (or grits and eggs in the morning). It's in the concourse B food court. Right around the corner is Cafe Intermezzo. They have great cakes and my goal is to try a different one every time I come through ATL. The Pecan in concourse F is also cool too for a quick chicken and waffles fix. The food is cooked to order as well. I plan to try out One Flew South on my next trip through ATL since it's been ranked so highly.

    Dallas Fort Worth- There is a Minute Suites here as well! There is one reason I love coming through here and that is PAPPADEAUX. One of my fave restaurants has locations in DFW and the Houston International Airport. Sometimes I will choose flights through Dallas or Houston SOLELY because I need my crawfish fix.

    Miami International Airport- My other fave restaurant has a location here. I keep looking for flights through Miami just so I can go to Bongos. Since I'm often too lazy to drag my butt (and my luggage) all the way to its terminal, I often go to La Carreta. They have a cafeteria style counter and an a la cart area. I usually stop here for made to order deliciousness. I usually top this off with pastries from one of the many Cafe Versailles inside the airport.

    Vancouver International Airport- I love my afternoon tea and the international terminal does a special Fairmont Afternoon Tea. If you're looking for something fast, there are Tim Hortons in every terminal. I should have bought my Timbits here instead of dragging them all over town. And then I could have bought a 40 pack. Learn from my mistakes.

    Hong Kong International Airport- My mom and I have a few traditions every time we come to Hong Kong (which is not as frequent as we would like). We always have dim sum at Maxim's Jade Garden the day we leave. We schedule our flights around this. I love Maxim restaurants and bakeries and a great dim sum lunch is a wonderful final hoorah when we leave one of our favorite cities. When we arrive on our early morning flights, we also stop first at Maxim Bakery for chicken pies and custard tarts. The shopping in this airport is wonderful too so it's a great place to kill a few hours.

     I'm sure I'll find more as I continue my travels this year but for now, those are my faves.

    Tuesday, August 13, 2013

    Laughlin: A short jaunt...

    So my friend Val and I have been itching to do a super short and easy roadtrip. Neither of us had been to Laughlin and while everyone usually scoffs at it, we were intent on seeing what there is to do in that mini Vegas.

    The drive was only about an hour and a half, so we headed over after work on a Tuesday since we were both off on Wednesday. I found a room at Harrah's Laughlin for just $25 on Expedia and since they had a beach right on the Colorado River, we thought it'd be a great mini break for us.


    One of the first things I noticed was that the casino had windows. Such an oddity. Our room overlooked the river and for $25, it was pretty decent. We grabbed dinner at the Beach Cafe where I indulged in one of those casino prime rib specials.

    The next morning we wandered down to the beach and the pool for some relaxation time. After we showered and changed, we headed over to the Riverwalk to check out the casinos and the view. I had GPSd the drive to Oatman; a nearby ghost town in Arizona. Unfortunately, Google decided to take us on the off-roading route. No big deal, Val's car happily accepted the challenge and we were treated to a lovely scenic drive.





    When we got to Oatman, it was exactly what I pictured. An adorable touristy ghost town complete with old time storefronts and wild burros roaming between the parked cars. Such a fun little town. If you're in this area, I highly recommend it for a fun historic little afternoon. We took the main road back to Vegas from here and it was only about 20 minutes longer (but no rocks). Overall, a fun overnight trip to Vegas's backyard!








     
    BUDGET
     
    Hotel= $14
    Dinner= $25
    Breakfast= $4
    Miscellaneous= $8
    Gas= $10
    Lunch= $10
     
    TOTAL= $71
     
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