Saturday, October 10, 2009

Just a little update...

Hello! Sorry, I've been MIA for the past few months.

Work has been busy... company stock went from 60 cents per share two weeks ago to close at $1.10 per share (as of Friday, Oct 9, 2009). Whoo-hoo! Maybe I will actually exercise my options soon...

At the beginning of October, we vacationed and celebrated my birthday at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. We stayed at the Swan/Dolphin resort, which is a beautiful resort located near the Epcot.

It was great to be able to get away for a little R&R. I said "good-bye" to my twenties and have officially become a member of the "thirty-something" club... don't know if I should smile or sob... !?!

On the trip, I felt great and healthy. Then, I started feeling ill just days after we returned from vacation. Is it just a seasonal cold or could it be H1N1?!? I'm not sure... the symptoms have been mild, but in order to not infect anyone else, I have been unproductively lounging at home.

Then, on the morning of October 10, 2009, I wake up to find this...

S N O W !?!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Vegas Vacation!

I recently vacationed in Las Vegas with my mother and four sisters. We scored an awesome (what felt like "all-inclusive") 4- day/3-night package (included 2 FREE buffets per room for breakfast, lunch and dinner!) at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. It has been almost 5 years since my last trip to Sin City and, boy, have things really changed!

Several skyscraping magnificent hotels & casinos have popped up all along the Strip... the Wynn/Encore (2005), Planet Hollywood (2007; previously "The Aladdin"), the Palazzo (2008), Trump Hotel (2008)... and who can miss "City Center" -- the enormous billion-dollar multi-building complex currently under construction in the middle of the Strip between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo!

The weather forecast during our stay in Vegas -- sunny skies, high temperatures and extreme heat! While we were blessed with sunny days in Vegas, the temperature rose above 100 degrees every single day! My skin felt like it was burning after being outside for just 5 minutes. It was almost unbearable!

Mental note to self: Do not visit Vegas over the summer! :)

Even with the extreme dry heat, I had the most memorable, awesome vacation in Vegas! There was so much to see and do, you may almost forget to sleep (I actually slept early every night!).

Vegas Highlights (in no particular order):

**Eiffel Tower @ Paris Hotel**
will take you from zero to 50 in just a few minutes! My two younger sisters, my mother and I decided to venture up 50 stories to the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Casino & Hotel.

There are great views of the Strip from the Eiffel Tower, and if you time your trip right, there is also a perfect view for the Bellagio Fountains show!

**Las Vegas Premium Outlets**
Though the Strip offers tons of great shopping, there's really nothing like outlet shopping.

Located between the Strip and Downtown, the Las Vegas Premium Outlets is by far one of the best outlet malls that I've ever visited. What a huge variety of shops -- from Gap Outlet to Dolce & Gabbana, Adidas to Stuart Weitzman, Coach to Kate Spade! For the mall directory, click here.

Bonus... misting stations! Sporadically set up throughout the mall, the misting stations helped us cool down while shopping in the Vegas heat.

**Madame Tussauds Wax Museum @ Venetian Resort~Hotel~Casino**
Become Paris Hilton's new BFF, play 1-on-1 with Shaq or take a snapshot with Prez Obama... all for only $25 at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum!

We had a blast at this interactive wax museum (you can physically touch the wax figures!). We were even brave enough to step inside Scream! -- a "scary" mini maze within the wax museum.

We took a ton of silly pictures with all the celebrities, professional athletes and politicians, but some are way too embarrassing to post.

**The Buffet @ the Wynn**
One must refuel in-between sightseeing and shopping! Vegas certainly offers many, many places to eat... however, we found much comfort in the abundant buffets!

We ate primarily at the MGM Grand because the food was included with our rooms. However, we did make an effort to have dinner at The Buffet at the Wynn. Costing at over $40 per person, this buffet is definitely not for budget-friendly travelers (unless you only eat once a day!). King crab legs, prime rib, sushi, pasta, dessert bar... did I mention king crab legs?!? Overall, the food was excellent, the environment was clean and the service was mediocre. The Wynn Buffet is worth checking out -- even if just for the crab legs!

**Cirque du Soleil -- KÀ @ MGM Grand**
I have a confession... I'm addicted to Cirque du Soleil! Ever since seeing Alegría years ago, I've been wanting more. The shows are always so spectacular... you must ask yourself, "How did they do do that?"

was so spectacular -- it blew my flip-flops off (I wasn't wearing any socks)! Everything about the show was amazing, including the theater, the main stage of two huge hydraulic platforms that rotate and the speakers built into the headrests. I was "oohing" and "ahhing" throughout the entire show -- which reminded me of an old school Hong Kong kung fu type of movie! :)

Tickets for range from $69-150. We took advantage of the 25-year anniversary special, so our tickets ended up costing $73 per person. Our seats were kind of far from the stage... but it was still a great show!

**Bootleg Canyon Flightlines**
While in Vegas, we hopped over to Boulder City (25 minutes from the Strip) to zip-line with Bootleg Canyon Flightlines.

Definitely the ultimate highlight of my vacation, zip-lining was thrilling, extremely fun and the views were breathtaking.

No experience necessary! As an inexperienced bunch from MN, BC Flightlines taught us everything we needed to know to zip-line over the desert. The hardest part was the 15-minute hike up to the top of Red Mountain. Talk about being out of shape... I didn't think I was going to make it to the starting run!! :/

The heavier you are, the faster you go! On Run #3, my skinny lil'est sister couldn't build enough momentum and slowed to a stop about 100 feet from the platform. One of the instructors had to pull a Sly Stallone/Cliffhanger move to "rescue" her. Funny thing was the instructor looked like Sean Penn!

The entire excursion was about 2.5 hours long. There are 4 runs and 4 lines per run. Three instructors helped us along the way, provided much-needed water and even gave us a little history of Boulder City and Bootleg Canyon Park.

Props to our excellent instructors -- Brina, Nate and Ryan!

Total cost per person: $149 per person ($159 on weekends)! Yes, it is expensive... however, the experience is worth every penny!

Thank goodness I brought along my Flip camcorder to record memories!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

NARS Duo Lip Gloss Trio

I don't often wear lipstick or lip liner. I'm more of a tinted lip balm/lip gloss kind of gal (MAC Tendertones are my fav!).

So, when I discovered the NARS Duo Lip Gloss Trio, I thought, "I have to get it!" However, after looking at my stash of unopened lip glosses, I figured I may not need it now... plus the steep price tag is a good deterrent for an impulse buy.

The Lip Gloss Trio is available at Sephora, and directly from NARS for $49.

Yesterday, en route to do shop for cars with my mother and sister, I took a detour into my fav place for beauty bargains -- TJ Maxx!

Good thing I made the stop... look at what I found...

At only $29.99, I did not hesitate to purchase the NARS this time around -- just saved $19 off original retail price!! In comparison, NARS duo lip glosses retail for $28 each, so this means I just scored three duo lip glosses for the price of one!
The colors included in the NARS Lip Gloss Trio are...

Chihuahua is my current fav of this set!

I did swatch the colors, but the only camera on hand was my Palm Treo 750 (which, as you can see, isn't really good). For nicer swatches and a detailed review on this Trio, click here.

As you can see, it pays to shop at discounted retailers like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. You never know what great bargains you'll find!

Happy shopping!! :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sally Beauty Supply Haul (6/30/2009)

Who knew that paying $5 for a Sally Beauty Club Card could save someone so much $$$!?!? I've had my card for a few months, but the savings haven't been significant -- that is, until last week!

For the month of June 2009, Sally Beauty Supply offered a great GiGi wax package -- purchase a Gigi Wax Warmer for the club price of $29.99 and get three wax accessories ($30 value) for FREE (coupon required)! Having regularly paid $60 for a full leg with bikini wax at The Refinery, I figured owning a waxing kit would be more convenient and save me buku bucks (probably won't save me any amount of pain when ripping hair off my body).

Luckily, I was able to snag the last GiGi Wax Warmer in stock at my local Sally Beauty Supply store -- on the very last day of the month (of course!). The FREE products included GiGi All Purpose Honee Wax (14 oz.), GiGi Natural Muslin Strips - Large (100 count) and a GiGi how-to-wax DVD... all for only $30!

On top of the wax warmer and its free products, I also picked up:
With my Sally Beauty Club Card, 5 in-store coupons and additional savings for being a patient customer (human error on the cash register), my total savings were an incredible $48.05! Granted, I did spend $53... but I saved almost 50% off retail price for everything.

Now, it's time to perfect those waxing skills...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Clinique @ TJ Maxx

A few weeks ago, I made a pit stop at TJ Maxx en route to the gym. I thought I'd just take a peek at the selection for the week (new arrivals each week!) before my Body Works class. Walking into TJ Maxx with no intention to purchase anything (much like most shopping trips), I left the store with a bag of golden goodies!

Boxed kits from Clinique!

(Left) Touch-Up kit - $16.99

(Right) Eyes & Brows kit - $29.99

Clinique's Touch-Up kit included:
Savings of over $10!!

Clinique's Eyes & Brows kit included:
Savings of over $25!!

Perfect kits to just throw in your work tote -- which is exactly what I've done! :)