Friday, May 27, 2011

Fight Poverty

It always makes me happy to see people doing good in the world (as cliche as it sounds). This article about fighting poverty was no different. It was a gentle reminder that no matter how bad things feel at times, it is still important to be thankful because someone else is in a worse situation. Also, that no matter what your present situation, you can still help someone else.

Duly noted.

In the spirit of fighting poverty, the Black Eyed Peas is uniting forces Robin Hood (the largest poverty fighting organization in NYC). On June 9, they will be holding a concert in Central Park. Having a good time while supporting a great cause. I LOVE stuff like this! Click here for more info.

Foto Friday: I Love My Life

Thanks to Guts.Glam.Grace. Magazine, I had the opportunity to be a part of a press junket for Just Wright. I was in the same room with Queen Latifah and Common (*faints*). I saturated in this "I love my life" moment for a looong time. I remember sitting in Columbus Circle for hours after to soak it all in. It was such an inspiration to hear them speak candidly. I would also dub this a "I've made it" moment. That is how I felt. As I said before, it felt Just Wright.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Get Cute Quick: Vegas

I've jumped on the bandwagon for Sally Hansen's Salon Effects.

For my trip to Las Vegas trip, I tried the Wild Child nails. These easy-to-apply stickers that I got at CVS for under $10 were the perfect funky finish for my Vegas look.

They come in a variety of fun patterns, like lace, glitter, denim, and other bold colors.

This is something I would definitely recommend for the summertime.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Vegas Baby!

There is so much to do in Las Vegas that it could take multiple visits to get a full experience. Contrary to popular belief, Las Vegas offers so much more than casinos: food, shows, nightlife, outdoor activities, spas, and shopping. It even offers family-friendly fun (even though I personally don't know if I would take my children there).

This time around we stayed at Excalibur. It is certainly appropriate for families and can accommodate budget friendly vacations. However, I personally wouldn't do it again. Lesson learned. At Excalibur, guests can find Dick's Last Resort (which seemed to be popular), the infamous Thunder from Down Under, and beer pong.

We had a chance to explore the newest hotels on the strip: Cosmopolitan, which seemed to bring Miami and all its bling to Vegas, and Aria, which still had the sexy new car smell. Who knows where we'll end up next time.

Hash House A Go Go (in Imperial Palace) was one of our first stops because of all the raves we heard about it. From our experience, it seems that once the excitement of the obnoxious portions diminished, the meals left much flavor to be desired. I'd be willing to give it another chance, but I can't say I was blown away the first time around. Fatburger and my two bacon egg cheeseburgers made me so happy. Open 24 hours, it is definitely a great after party spot. I also enjoyed one of Pink's hot dogs, had my first experience at Denny's, and tried a burger with guacamole and pico de gallo at Cabo Wabo.

I was so excited to see a few of my New York favorites, like Max Brenner and Serendipity 3 (both at Caesar's) in a place that does everything a little bigger and bolder than the rest. Happy hour at the Chocolate Lounge at the Sugar Factory also tickled my fancy as something I'd like to try next time. My to do list also includes Aureole Wine Lounge, where they have Cirque du Soleil-esque wine angels who float through their four-story wine tower.

The acrobats also flew through TAO to deliver bottle service in an extravagant way that only Las Vegas can. I can certainly say that TAO orchestrated a production and delivered a unique club experience. I was also pleasantly surprised by the genuine hospitality by most of the club staff, from bouncers to cocktail staff (something I am not used to in New York). It was an added bonus to enjoy the Vegas nightlife with partygoers who were generous enough to share the VIP experience with us. Foundation Room: check. Pure: check. LAX: Check. I feel accomplished that I finally got to redeem myself and go to Coyote Ugly, which I've been wanting to do since my pre-21 trip to Vegas.

Because I'm always up for some adventure, some of my favorite Vegas activities include the rides at the I dare any visitors to brave the rides atop the Stratosphere Hotel for a major rush. The New York New York rollercoaster is also a fun little adventure right on the strip. I would certainly love to venture out and do zip lining, sky diving or a helicopter tour.

Although we didn't do any shows this time around, Zumanity (which we saw last time) left quite an impression on me.

For your listening pleasure, I'd like to share the soundtrack of our Vegas adventure:

I already look forward to going back! I'm building my to do list.

What are your favorite Vegas activities?

Monday, May 23, 2011


Last time I went to Seattle (in 2008), I did the touristy stuff: The Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the Ride the Duck tour, and it was a good time.

This time around I felt more at home, and I had an even better time. It was probably because of all the food involved:

It all started with sushi, which I can now say I enjoy. At Tuna House, we started with a roll that was really good, even though I don't remember what was on it. We also had a caterpillar roll, which was so cute I didn't want to eat him. It was in the shape of a caterpillar with eyes made out of octopus and green pepper antenna. (He was a cuter version of this guy.)

Later at 22, I sipped a Pontiac, which was a cocktail of Metaxa brandy and pomegranate liquor with muddled orange and lemon and garnished with a sugared rim, which was my favorite part because it gave the drink a sweet finish. I tried the red beet and squash soup, which was tasty and interesting, and the tortilla in a skillet: potatoes, tomato pesto and mozzerella cheese, was full of flavor. I enjoyed the taste of the grueyere mac and cheese that my friend ordered too.

Some solo exploration led me to Ezell's, which I hear is an Oprah favorite. After tasting the chicken with crispy skin and juicy meat with spicy flavor and the little buttered cloud of heaven of a roll, I know why.

Another jaunt led me to Catfish Corner, who boasts their farm raised catfish. The experience started with the most pleasant cashier. While waiting, I was so amused by a woman (whose expression probably matched my own) smiling in anticipation. Then came my plate piled with catfish, with beans and rice, potato salad and cornbread. You know a meal is good when the side items are just as memorable as the main event. I have to admit that I didn't love the cornbread, but the other two sides were so full of flavor that I was conflicted about which to taste next with each bite. I had the dilemma of wanting to save some to enjoy the experience again later but I did not want to stop eating.

Captain Blacks piqued my interest simply because I saw fried mac and cheese on their menu. It was interesting. It came with a tasty sauce, but I'm not sure if I loved it. I think if it had sausage or bacon and jalapenos that would have made my taste buds happy. The chicken and waffles that my friend ordered looked tasty too.

Not only did I get to do Chocolopolis happy hour, but my chocolate lover's dreams came true at the Luxury Chocolate Salon. There were so many delicious delectables, from chocolate wine and healthy chocolate to goat cheese chocolate. Chef Michael Poole's white chocolate lemon meringue truffle was definitely among my favorite.

I can't forget to mention my tasty chorizo, potato and manchego omelet at Table 219's brunch.

Even though we didn't eat there, Dick's Drive-In left an impression on me. Maybe next time.

Fun Finds (a few things that helped me navigate through Seattle)
  • My lovely host provided me with my own guest key from Wackeys, which was really cute.
  • an online food delivery service that's also available in other cities.
  • a happy hour resource that is also available in various cities throughout the country.

Don't be THAT person

One of my least favorite parts of flying is watching people board the plane. WHY is it so difficult? It really doesn't have to be.

On my last flight to Seattle, I witnessed a woman trip over a bag left in the aisle. WHY would you leave your bag in the aisle and walk away from it? Leaving a bag in the aisle is a definite no-no, which seems like common sense, but clearly...

I thought I'd share a few more tips that could help you avoid mean mugs from fellow flyers and flight attendants:

I believe there is some method to the madness of the system of seat numbers. I don't understand why there is at least one person in the wrong seat on every flight. Upon entering the aircraft, how about checking out which side your letter is on, and then when you get to that magical number sit right under it. (It also helps to know seat number prior to boarding.) This will decrease the chances of anyone sitting in your lap or trying to fight you for sitting in their seat, and ultimately minimizes delays in the boarding process.

Attention: Bag lady! Okay, yes you're allowed to have a carry-on and a personal item. If you must travel with two large items, please do not try to squeeze down the aisle with your bags at your sides. You will hit people, and they will hate you (and may hit you back). How about holding your bags in front of or behind you? It is a good idea to assume this position upon entering the aircraft. If you wait until row 7 to change your strategy, you would have already pissed off six rows of people, and now you're delaying the boarding process for everyone behind you.

Loading bags is where it gets tricky. Here are a few tricks:
  • if the plane has two seats on one side and three on the other, guess which overhead compartment is bigger.
  • put bag in wheels first, which maximizes the amount of bags that can fit and makes it convenient to grab for deplaning.
  • it's unnecessary and inconsiderate to put items like coats and small backpacks in the overhead when it can fit under the seat.
Do not be that person walking against the traffic. How about holding bathroom breaks until later. Or going before boarding?

Please refrain from conversations, laughing, sneezing, or unnecessary breathing if it will in any way delay the boarding process. Please focus on your seat destination and execute quickly to keep it moving.

Fighting to board first gets silly because everyone ends up waiting, and the plane will not take off until everyone is boarded and seated.

I think it is important for everyone to remember that it is not only about you. Your bag is not more important than hers. We all have to board and no one is going anywhere until we all cooperate. It is already not an ideal situation, filing into a tight space like cattle, but it can work well if done efficiently.

Happy flying!

What tips can you offer for a more pleasant boarding experience?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Foto Friday: I Love My Life

Not only was this an amazing moment because it was the 2nd anniversary of Her Journey, but it was just a perfect day all around. The day was filled with all the love and support of the people around me and set against the breathtaking backdrop of my beloved NYC on the rooftop of Ravel Hotel. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Foto Friday: I Love My Life

I get a high every time I see the NYC skyline. I got a whole new high when I witnessed it from a helicopter. I have always wanted to do a helicopter tour of NYC. The experience certainly made me love my life and my city!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

24 hour flight: NY to TN to GA to WA

Now that I've made it to Seattle without a glitch, I feel comfortable enough to share the fiasco of my last flight to Seattle (in '08) without the fear of jinxing myself.

To save a few dollars and for added convenience, I chose to fly out of McArthur airport, which is actually closer to my house. Because it is a smaller airport, it was such a breeze to get to the gate. Also, because it is a smaller airport, only small planes can fly to and from.

No big deal.

I don't love small planes, but I deal with them. Flight to Seattle with a brief layover in Atlanta.

Cool. More like cold. How about blizzard?

It's funny that I left decent weather in NY to fly into a blizzard in Atlanta. Go figure. While in the air, the pilot announced that we were being held in a holding pattern (pretty much flying in circles) because there was some back up because of the weather.

Still not worried because I had a good window of time between my two flights. Until...

The pilot announced that because of the size of the plane we were running out of gas and had to stop in Tennessee to refuel.

Really? Not ideal, but at least we're making some kind of progress.

Once we landed, they announced that because of the weather in Atlanta and Tennessee, we would not be able to fly out. Also, that there were no bus companies that would drive in that weather. And that pretty much everything was closed for the night.

Long story short, I was put in a cab from Tennessee to Atlanta and spent the night in Atlanta's airport (not the first time I spent such a long period of time there. We have a love/hate relationship).

All I can say is that it was a very interesting experience. The two best parts: I was upgraded to first class on my flight from ATL to SEA, and I got to satisfy my serious craving for a Chik-Fil A Chicken Biscuit in the Atlanta airport that morning before my flight.

By the time, I got to Seattle, it was exactly 24 hours after I took off from New York.

Do you have any fun travel stories to share?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Big Kid in a Candy Store

An impromptu trip to DUMBO allowed me to stumble upon Dewey's Candy, and it was a magical experience. I feel like the expression "kid in a candy store" is discrimination because adults like candy too. (They are actually those same kids who are just all grown up.) But being in that store did take me on a trip down memory lane through my childhood.

Did anybody else used to pretend that Smarties were "adult pills"? I thought that taking pills (because I had witnessed my grandparents taking medication on a daily basis) was a part of being an adult. So to savor my Smarties (instead of devouring the whole pack in seconds like I usually did) I would pretend they were my pills and would pop one in my mouth every few minutes (probably seconds). The Atomic Fireballs reminded me of the first time I tried one. When I was in either first or second grade, I tried to sneak and eat it during class. The heat was such a shock to my system that I spit it right out onto my notebook. When I tried to wipe it off, I just smeared it into a big red and sticky splotch. (I don't remember if I ended up handing in the assignment like that or if I had to do it over.)

I was honestly overwhelmed (in the best possible way of course) by how many different kinds of candy were in one place. On one wall, there were the old school treats like Push Pops and Pez. Then there was a wall with stuff like gummy bears and sour rings. Of course my favorite wall had chocolate covered everything from pretzels and graham crackers to cookie dough and oreos. There was even a section of specialty colored M & Ms, which had more colors than a rainbow, like teal, maroon, gold, and black. I was so mesmerized as I jumped from one treat to the next that I know I missed half of the goodies there, which means another trip is a must.

It was such a bonus treat to meet Dewey herself, who was such a sweetie pie. I also love that Dewey's supports The Trevor Project, which is raising awareness about and taking a stand against bullying, which is unfortunately also a childhood memory that many have. If being bullied is part of your childhood memory that you'd like to fight back against, you an easily do so by buying a Dewey's t-shirt.

It's funny how all of this happened to happen on the way to reBar, where I had a pretty amazing burger and oh-so-cheesy gouda mac and cheese.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Foto Friday: I Love My Life

This moment brought together some of my greatest loves: New York. Alicia Keys. Jay Z. all into one!

When Alicia Keys brought Jay Z out as a surprise guest do Empire State of Mind, I was probably on one of the highest highs of my life. As I said in my post about the concert: "I’m not one to scream like a crazed fan, but a scream somehow escaped my body, and I immediately broke out in a sweat. The energy was crazy as we all sang the ode to our city." Even though I kind of suspected it, the element of surprise magnified a great moment into an unforgettable one.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Mani and Me

Although manicures are not something I do often because they are not high on my priority list, I can always appreciate some good me time. I enjoy the experience even more when it offers something unique. I thought I'd share my favorite manicure experiences, each with its own unique twist:

Mani and Martini
Whether you prefer a bar that does manis like the Beauty Bar (which offers the combo for $10) or a salon that serves martinis like Dashing Diva (which offers other spa services), this is a certainly a combo that will tickle a woman's fancy. Both have locations throughout the country.

Mani Anytime
In the city that never sleeps, it makes so much sense to have a salon that can meet your beauty needs at any time of the day or night. Hair Party 24HR offers manicures (and other spa and hair services) 24 hours a day. This sounds like the perfect solution after a late night at work or before a flight or night out on the town.

Mani Comes to You

SPArties Mobile Spa was already known for bringing you the luxury of a massage in the comfort of your own home. They have recently added SPArties Shots: mini services like aromatherapy hand massages, the perfect bonus to any gathering of your girls, no matter where you are.

W!NK Eco Beauty Bar offers eco friendly manicures (and other spa and beauty services) with completely organic products for a pure experience. They even offer MINX nails.

Do-It-Yourself Mani
The budget friendly option can be just as appealing with products like Mary Kay's Satin Hands, which delivers baby booty soft hands (and feet if desired). Fun designs are no longer exclusive to salons with fun finds like Sally Hansen's Salon Effects nail strips.

Image was found here.