Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What's Up Wednesdays

There's something really nice about classic looking retro luggage. It hearkens back to the days when traveling was glamorous and mostly for people with a lot of money. Fortunately travel isn't just a hobby for the elite few anymore but that doesn't mean I want to be carrying the same Samsonite as everyone else on my flight! 

I'm borderline obsessed with Steamline Luggage. The vintage style, the nice lines, the contrasting colors, etc. They have hat boxes, briefcases, everything. I pretty much want every single piece of luggage on that site (well, everything that's pink or navy). Unfortunately, I don't really have the finances to match my obsession. 

One day last summer, I was wandering TJ Maxx and came across a really nice dupe for the Steamline pieces. Since retro luggage is pretty in right now (all my favorite bloggers use the Delsey or Bric's versions), I thought I would share my findings! It turns out, they're on sale at Macy's and I think they look pretty damn close!

Steamline Luggage. Isn't it pretty???


London Fog. Like, 25% of the price. Good deal!

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tuesday Travel Guide: Atlanta

Good morning Blog World!

This month (sort of) my Tuesday Travel Guide is taking you to Atlanta!

Most people I know don't really think of much when they think of Georgia but there's really a lot to see and do. It's a fairly inexpensive destination since the airport is literally a planetary hub and the food is delicious (fattening and sweet) and a lot cheaper than what you would find in most major cities. I didn't spend TOO much time in the downtown area growing up (it was a 45 minute drive from my town) so I've always enjoyed revisiting Atlanta as an adult and playing tourist.

I've taken three trips to Atlanta since my move back in 2003 and plan for at least several more (especially now that the new Braves stadium is opening this year). It's always so much fun to catch up with old friends and seeing some of my old stomping grounds.

Even outside of Atlanta there's so much to see- attractions all around the state like Helen and Stone Mountain. Atlanta is also perfectly central and only a few hours drive from plenty of other sights like Savannah, Nashville, Memphis, etc. It's a great place to fly into if you're looking for a larger airport.

For a smaller state, Georgia is rather spread out. If you are planning to branch out past the downtown area, you'll likely want to rent a car. Fortunately, the Hartsfield rental car facility is very organized (it's like a miniature airport terminal for cars) and rates are fairly competitive. I highly recommend a rental car so that you can explore a lot more. Aside from the downtown area, parking is relatively easy (even then sometimes).



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Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday Must Haves

When you live in the desert and at a higher altitude, SPF is definitely required. I try to remember to put sunblock on even if I'm just going outside for a little bit. 

While I love Supergoop and Coola, for everyday use, it can get pretty expensive. Especially when you're re-applying every couple hours like you're supposed to, right?

Because it's so insanely hot outside, something light is really necessary. My favorite for day to day use is Coppertone Clearly Sheer spray. It goes on really light and doesn't feel sticky or overly greasy. It also absorbs really really fast and doesn't smell super toxic like a lot of the other sprays. The price is also great for something that I burn through so fast. I've tried out a ton of sunblocks (and gotten a lot of random samples on Birchbox and at Sephora) and for constant use, this is definitely the one I like the most. Do you guys have any favorites?


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Friday, August 26, 2016

Foodie Fridays

I'm lazy.

Sometimes I go on one of those little cooking phases where I want to be super fancy and use expensive ingredients and special meats from butchers. Other times, I eat Easy Mac. There's not often a whole lot of middle ground unless I go the semi-homemade route (that was seriously one of my favorite shows on the Food Network). 

I have a big drawer of ready to go mixes, marinades, and spice packs. I'm a bit of a collector. I like to buy a dozen spice packs and then stand in the kitchen and stare at them while reading the instructions for no reason at all. Not too long ago, I made a big order from the Cajun Grocer in Louisiana. I bought boudin, Cajun seasonings, and some really awesome packets that I love from Louisiana Fish Fry. I'm a huge fan of their gumbo mix; all you have to do is add chicken, andouille and shrimp/crawfish and whatever veggies you might want and the meal is ready (I always make a big side of minute rice too because the large grains absorb the flavor of the gumbo really really well). 

I recently mixed up a big pot of the red beans and rice and all I had to do was grill some andouille and make some extra white rice. The rice is definitely optional but this mix is really soupy and well, I'm Asian so I really like the extra rice. It came out really really well and with a tiny bit of extra seasoning, doesn't really taste like something from a mix!


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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What's Up Wednesdays

Good morning!

This week we are heading to Reno for What's Up Wednesdays. Corey and I recently made an overnight stop there on our way to the Pacific Northwest. It was kind of a last minute addition to cut a longer trip in half when we realized we could leave a day earlier. We booked a room at Harrah's and let me just say, don't stay there. It's unpleasant, confusing, the staff isn't very helpful, the rooms aren't particularly clean, and everything is a bit of a cluster. The line to check-in was a nightmare and an hour later after we were done, we saw a tour bus full of people. Full lobby, only a couple front desk staff... You do the math! Linens weren't clean, on a previous stay the staff had no idea when the restaurants closed... Such a mess. I do have to say- the only good thing about this hotel is the Chinese restaurant by the Race and Sports Book. It's pretty authentic and really yummy. Super random.


We grabbed ice cream at a place I found on Yelp, IceCycle. I had the Earl Grey and Corey had the Carolina BBQ which sounded weird but was pretty amazing. 


We wandered through downtown Reno and were kind of in awe that the Circus Circus in Reno is a lot nicer and less creepy than the one out here in Las Vegas (no bodies in the parking garages). 



On our way out, we stopped at Doughboys for doughnuts. 
Fresh, yummy, and definitely worth the early start!


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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tuesday Travel Guide: Phoenix/Scottsdale- Where to Eat

Hey Guys!

I don't really think of Arizona as a foodie mecca of sorts but I won't lie, I've had some pretty awesome noms whenever I've visited. 

Where to Eat

Afternoon Tea at The Phoenician was pretty amazing. Sadly, we were the only people there but that also meant that the service was pretty out of this world. Definitely a fun experience if you're into afternoon tea like I am! Was pricier than a lot of tea experiences but the fact that it was in a luxury hotel kind of says it all. 




Sunday Brunch at Zuzu was a lot of fun. The menu has some great traditional "brunchy" items and a few fun experimental pieces. The grits were pretty delicious (if you love grits like me). We grabbed drinks at the bar while we waited and explored the colorful grounds of the Hotel Valley Ho. Such a fun brunch!


Elements inside Sanctuary at Camelback is one of the most beautiful restaurants I've been to in the Southwest. The restaurant has HUGE windows that capture the most amazing sunsets over the mountains in the evening. The menu was definitely pricey BUT they had a pretty inexpensive prefix menu with three courses that was just the right price. The food was delicious and that sunset is no joke. It was absolutely AMAZING. I would go there just for the sunset alone but luckily the food was pretty fantastic too. 


(I would have loved to include a photo of the amazing sunset; however, the restaurant was a little snooty about photos so it was hard enough to take a picture of my dinner!)

Sweets
Because I keep visiting in the summer, ice cream is always a definite must... To be fair, ice cream is a must on any trip for me but when it's over 110, it's basically a requirement, right? 

Gelato Spot by Old Town Scottsdale had a big selection and was absolutely delicious. My first gelato experience was in Venice and this stuff came pretty close. I've always had a soft spot for pistachio since I was little (such a weird child asking for pistachio at Baskin Robbins) and theirs was perfection.


Sweet Republic was on my "Must Eat" list ever since I saw it on a few lists for top ice cream places in the country. We had the famed Toffee Banofi Sundae and I could have eaten two. This sundae was just so amazing. They had a few extra goodies by the register like salted caramels (YUM). This is definitely a place I have to stop every single visit to the Scottsdale area. 


I'm a huge country music fan so visiting Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row was non-negotiable. It's in a part of Scottsdale that feels like spring break with loud music and crazy college students drinking up a storm. We went on a midweek night for dinner and the food was pretty good. I loved the decor and the music and the atmosphere (the bars across the street were out of control so I was super happy to be in a more chill environment). My only regret- if we had been there the next night instead, we would have gotten a surprise acoustic set from LUKE BRYAN who randomly stopped by on a Thursday. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat????




My first trip to Scottsdale, my friend and I grabbed lunch at a fun little spot in Old Town Scottsdale called Cien Agaves. The restaurant was cute and colorful and the food was pretty yummy. Even better, there was a Groupon. We really do love our Groupons!


I usually skip breakfast or eat something fast and semi portable at work. I know, I know. That's horrible. Fortunately, on vacation, I'm the opposite. I don't start my day without some sort of breakfast. Even if it's just pastries from the coffee shop around the corner, I make sure I have something substantial before a day of sightseeing. We had asked our driver one day for a recommendation and he told us Breakfast Club. He even dropped us right at their door. I'm so glad for driver recommendations because they're almost always pretty amazing. This one was no exception. Big selection and delicious choices!


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Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday Must Haves

I'm a big fan of sleeping masks.

Partly because I'm lazy and like to see results when I wake up and partly because it is just too hot to comfortably do a mask in the summer in Vegas. The times I've tried to do a mask or even a pore strip, it's ended in a sweaty, damp mess. 

Boscia's Tsubaki Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask is my favorite because it's super hydrating but not crazy heavy. A little bit goes a long way and it doesn't make me break out at all. I wake up with a really nice soft texture to my skin. Skincare and cosmetics are probably my biggest splurges and even then I find great deals online and with the occasional Sephora discounts (I usually buy one item at a time whenever they do their big sample bags). 



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Friday, August 19, 2016

Foodie Fridays

Okay, so I've already professed my undying love for Chrissy Teigen's cookbook, Cravings.

Well, I was on Pinterest and found this one and absolutely had to try it. I love clams, I love pasta, and I love a challenge when it's something I've never cooked before. 

Not only was the recipe really easy and precise, it was simple to follow and pretty funny too (because they always are). I couldn't find Manila clams so I ended up with these gigantic Little Neck clams that were five to a pound. I was terrified that I would end up with more than my share of duds but I got super lucky and all five clams popped open! Best of all, the ingredients were easy. The only things I really had to go out and find were the clams. 



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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Yardbird Las Vegas

I also love when my friends Carla and Michelle come to visit because they are just as adventurous eaters as I am so we always try out the cool new restaurants in town. Sometimes it's difficult to eat trendy on a budget but we always split an appetizer or two and one or two entrees (depending on the size) and dessert so it's fairly economical. 


Not too long ago, we tried out Yardbird. I'd seen Yardbird in a few other cities and when they opened up here in Vegas, I definitely wanted to try it out. Lucky for me, so did Carla and Michelle!


We had the Deviled Eggs and Grits to start. The Deviled Eggs were some of the cutest ones I've ever seen and clearly we took photos. They were really delicious too. They don't skimp on the filling like some other places tend to which was really great. 



For an entree, we were told the portions were fairly large (plus we really wanted to save room for dessert). We ordered the Chicken N Watermelon N Waffles. What good southern meal is complete without fried chicken?


Dessert was the Yardbird Banana Split. OMG. So yummy. It was also super pretty and it really tasted just as amazing as it looked! 


Pretty awesome meal! Love the little cute touches like this friendly reminder...



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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What's Up Wednesdays

Hello hello!

Most holidays, Corey and I have to work. This summer, we both scheduled our vacation time waaaay in advance so that we could actually enjoy a holiday away from home for once.

When I was planning out our big summer trip, one of our requirements was that we spend July 4th somewhere fun and new. Vegas isn't the most festive city for holidays other than Christmas and New Year's and we've already seen what Vegas has to offer for Independence Day. We arranged our trip to spend the holiday in Seattle.

The only bummer about spending the holiday somewhere new was finding places to eat that day. It's wonderful that so many places were closed for our nation's birthday so that workers could enjoy the day with family and friends. We probably should have hunted down food to keep at our Air BnB that day so we wouldn't have to scavenge but between all the travel days and me being sick for so much of the trip, we really didn't give it too much thought. 

We ended up finding this super cute Japanese burger place called Katsu Burger. The reviews on Yelp were great and it was pretty close to where we were staying so it worked out nicely. And damn, were those burgers good! I had the Ohayu Gozaimasu (which had a fried egg, yum) burger and a green tea shake. Delicious. If you get fries, definitely try them with the Japanese mayo. So yummy!



We had barely had any rain during our entire Pacific Northwest trip and oddly, our one rainy day was July 4th. Since we didn't have much planned and were kind of just winging it, we enjoyed the rain from our beautiful basement suite (more on that gorgeous place to come) with the floor to ceiling glass door. After a nice nap and the peaceful rainstorm, we went hunting for dinner. 

We settled on a spot by Lake Union called Re:Public. While the vibe was a bit strange, the food was really really good. I had Wild Boar Bolognese which was pretty damn delicious. We actually had really no trouble finding parking by Lake Union which was a bit surprising since the fireworks viewing was in that area. We walked over to the park and enjoyed the perfect weather and the fireworks display. The crowds were relatively calm and not pushy. If we'd thought it through, I would have suggested we just eat at the park since there were some yummy smelling food trucks. 



After the fireworks, we went back to our suite and sat out on the patio.
Pretty perfect chill July 4th!



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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tuesday Travel Guide: Phoenix/Scottsdale- Where to Play

Good morning!

There are lots of interesting things to see and do around Phoenix and Scottsdale. On both trips, we opted to just kind of chill and keep sightseeing to a minimum but I still felt like we did quite a bit. 

Where to Play

A huge indoor/outdoor shopping plaza with almost every shop I could imagine. 


Nice artsy area with lots of cool coffee shops and things to see along the way.



A really cool Frank Lloyd Wright home.



The name says it all. 
We went on a day it was closed but still got some awesome photos from outside the gate!


Cool Western shopping plaza with lots of shops and restaurants.



If you haven't heard of Last Chance and you're a bargain shopper, you are seriously missing out. Last Chance is basically the end point for Nordstrom discounts. The items are insanely cheap and the place is super crowded. I've gotten some awesome Toms wedges for like $20 and all kinds of tops for $4 and they're all great quality. Definitely a must stop if you're in Scottsdale!

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