There truly isn’t quite anything like a tropical getaway. That’s why it is such a bummer that the opportunity to travel has become much more difficult for a lot of us. (Thanks a lot COVID!). However, you can always find a little paradise by home, if you look a little closer. That is exactly what I did when I found this fun little gem. We all know Tommy Bahama’s as a clothing store, but what many may not realize, is that they also have restaurants! Naturally, they are a mini tropical oasis.
My boyfriend & I had the pleasure of going to one by complete accident. We were on a late night stroll through the Kierland Commons & were getting hungry. We may live in Arizona, but it gets rather cold in the desert during this time of year. We were bundled in layer & opting for something warm. That is when we came across an outdoor restaurant with firepits, tropical music & Hawaiian shirts. What a better way to feel those warm vibes!
We opted for outdoor seating in a little nook by a large heater. Across from us was a gentleman playing tropical music. It was rather fun because most of the songs were classics that had been transformed. All of the staff had on Hawaiian shirts & were as friendly as can be. Sadly, I no longer drink hard liquor, but there were so many fun fruity & rum options! Instead I opted for a bottle of my usual dinner drink of choice, Prosecco. The menu had a good amount of delicious sounding dishes. From ahi tuna to coconut shrimp, there was nothing short of pure tropical bliss.
I had a delicious seasonal special with scallops, mahi-mahi, asparagus & cauliflower mash. I cannot begin to describe to you how simply delicious it was. I don’t think either one of us had eaten an entrée so fast in our entire lives. Not to mention the beautiful presentation & of course, bread appetizer. Then for desert they brought out a large tray to showcase all of their choices. We decided to each get our own, which of course ended up being too much… But, it was so worth it.
My boyfriend ordered a key-lime pie, his favorite desert. This one was made specially with a macadamia nut crust. I had ordered the famous pineapple crème brulee. It consisted of an end of a pineapple being filled with a vanilla bean cream & carnalized pineapple chunks. I have to say, the initial presentation caught my eye & the desert itself proved to be just as tasty!
In the end I would have to say that we both thoroughly enjoyed our little tropical evening. If you’re looking for a fun change of pace, I would highly recommend eating here. Who knew that a high end clothing chain could also double as a delicious restaurant.
I remember the first time I had ever heard of Barbara. I was watching tv with one of my friends & Shark Tank came on. I immediately fell in love with the show. Getting to see how investors run numbers & choose companies/people to invest in was very intriguing. I am the type of person that is constantly reading Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal & many other business publications on the internet. It fascinates me to see how someone can take something so simple to make a fortune, or to take a billion dollar business & run it into the group. Speaking of business, this is where Barbara shines.
Barbara Corcoran grew up in a traditional Catholic Irish home with a family of 10 children. Her family often times struggled. She grew up dyslexic & actually failed throughout her years at school. She graduated high school as a D student! This should inspire so many. Just because you are the best at book learning in school, does not mean you cannot be successful. I mean look at this amazing woman who is known for her mark in the real estate industry. She had even went to college & gotten a degree in education. This has proven to be so common among many successful business people in the world. They get a degree & never even use it. Clearly, she had a talent she hadn’t realized at the time.
Something super important that needs to be noted as well, is that you should NEVER give up. NEVER look down upon yourself for losing a job or job hopping until you find something that is your passion & expertise. Barbara had a total of 20 different jobs by the age of 23. She took a side job renting apartments in New York, where her skills were discovered by her then boyfriend. He convinced her to work for a real estate company. She soon realized that she wanted to be her own boss & her boyfriend loaned her money to start their own firm. Unfortunately, 7 years later they split because he decided he wanted to marry her receptionist. Insert eyeroll. So figures. However, she proved to be so much better off without him!
Barbara simply went on to create her own real estate firm & started publishing The Corcoran Report. This was a newsletter sharing the real estate trends in New York. Her business had such success, that in 2001 she sold it for $66 million. She has since gone onto Shark Tank & has invested in many start up companies. She has made 53 deals so far with her time on the show. Her largest was $350,000 for 40% for the company Coverplay. Barbara also is columnist & speaker for many different news & business sources. Not to mention, she has written many books about how she has become successful.
To this day Barbara is still rising in the ranks of success with her podcasts, entrepreneur help & has created a $5 billion business. She is easily a great role model for women to look up to in the real estate & business industries. I would highly suggest checking out her website & learning more about what she does & how she overcame her young life with her “Rags to Riches” story. If you ever get the chance to watch her on Shark Tank, you need to. I always find her to be one of the better Sharks to watch.
The main thing to take away from Barbara is that she built all of her success herself. Remember, she struggled in school, came from a family without, didn’t get any degrees in business or real estate & yet she is one of the top woman real estate brokers today. As Barbara says, “The biggest challenge in business is not the competition, it’s what goes on inside your own head.“
This last year has been quite a crazy one for everyone all over the world. Even though times are still pretty trying for most, it is very important to give a little time every day for some mindfulness. I truly never understood why this was so important until I was desperate to calm down. 2021 really hit everyone hard & to say I was stressed to the max is an understatement. I had also been dealing with some massive health issues, which in no way was a stress savior. Finally, one day when I was at my worst, I decided something had to be done differently. I read up about mindfulness & found little books about it at Barnes & Noble. Besides the fact that the books are absolutely adorable, they did have some valid points to help!
So what exactly is mindfulness? I found myself asking the same question, so don’t worry! It is simply taking a moment throughout the day to relax & breath. This can be done through meditating or just sitting peacefully in silence for a little. It is suggested to take about 10 minutes of nice relaxed breathing with your eyes closed. The purpose of doing this is to slow you down to relax & think clearly. What is truly important? Does dwelling on small thing & the past truly matter? Is becoming rich or famous really a way to a happy life? It gives you a chance to reflect on what matters. Mindfulness is supposed to bring you inner peace to stay focused on what is happening in the now, change our perceptions & to learn not to be discouraged. It also helps with anxiety, which is always a positive!
Sounds easy enough right? Well to be honest, it’s not that simple. The main struggle that I had is trying to remind myself to take a moment every day. Being a business owner, I find myself working nonstop & even skipping lunches or late through the evening. With my mind racing 100 miles a minute, it’s tough to remember something so simple. So I had to find a way that worked best for me. In the morning I start with a small 15 minute yoga session. This helps prepare me for the day ahead & get going. Before I start work I write down 3 things that I am grateful for at that moment. Of course I am always thankful for my family, boyfriend, doggies & such, but you have to look deeper. It can be hard to remember the good things when bad things happen, so each day is a little reminder of what is good. For example, when I was laid off due to COVID, I was so upset. I had to have an emergency surgery two weeks later & was mortified about everything going on. However, I was still very blessed. I was grateful that my mother was able to take time off & fly down from Washington to care for me after the surgery. I was grateful to have the ability to finally grow my clothing boutique. I was tremendously grateful for my puppy during those times, as she gave me more comfort than I could ever imagine.
The best way that I can describe mindfulness from my perspective, is bringing joy. The little things in life truly do matter a lot & mindfulness is recognizing the joy in your life. For instance, in one of my books it talks about getting rid of clutter. Too much can often be overwhelming. Taking a bath & really enjoying the warm water & scent of a candle. Going for a walk & taking the time to notice the details of flowers or the butterflies on them. As I said before, the little things.
If you start to struggle with ways to start or how to practice, I have two little books that I really enjoy, that have helped. One is The Little Book of Mindfulness, by Gilly Pickup & the other is 52 Lists for Happiness, by Moorea Seal. I will add an Amazon link to both at the bottom. One has some ways to practice mindfulness & little sayings to help. The other book is for writing weekly gratitude & happiness.
So remember to take a moment every day to be thankful, to bring joy & to relax your mind.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to actually visit Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory? Well earlier this month I was able to experience something pretty similar, without the golden ticket! Over in the Scottsdale Quarter, there is currently, a pop-up event called Canytopia. My fellow Insta-Babes & I had to check it out, of course.
Once inside, they open a large golden gate and welcome you into the sugar rush that awaits you. The venue is filled with multiple different rooms, each have a different chest of candy for you to collect. I, of course, got way too much and may have a cavity in my near future.
The photo opportunities in the place are just endless. From the forest to the jungle, under the sea to confetti, there really is no stopping. Since this is a candy land,there were tons and tons of real candy turned into sculptures and art! When I say tons, I literally mean it as tons! Some of the sculptures weighed over 500 Lbs!
After wandering our way through the colossal candies, (And finding my boyfriend, Scuba Steve), we ended up in a room with nothing but confetti! It was everywhere! You simply felt like you were being showered with it like in an 80’s music video. I still may find traces of it in my clothes today, but it was totally worth it!
The end of the adventure lands you in a large pit filled with marshmallows. We swam our way through and tried not to sink and be lost in the sea of sweets. Whatever you do though, don’t bring your phone into it. The pit will swallow it whole.
If you are looking for a fun mini adventure, want to fix your sweet tooth or even get some fab & fun photos, then I suggest checking out this little pop-up. If you are not in Arizona, you are still in luck! These little venues are a wide-spread through the United States. Just keep in mind, they are only in each location for a limited time!
Let me start off by saying that southern hospitality is truly a real thing. My family & I found that out first hand on our trip to San Antonio. After staying there for a week, we weren’t sure that we wanted to go back home. It was as beautiful as the people were sweet. We flew down on a Friday night and got to start our adventures early the next morning. This started with a large delicious heaping of biscuits and gravey at the hotel buffet and went on over to The Alamo.
The Alamo is one of the most significant symbols of Texas and is a gorgeous sight. Now, photos are not allowed to be taken inside the building as a sign if respect to those who passed there. With lots of artifacts and history, it is a very interesting landmark with a lot of history to it.
Then we went on to do a goofy, but fun, adventure that my daddy signed us up for after that. Two words; Segway tour. Now, non of us have ever actually rode one before and he thought it would be an exciting new opprotunity. It actually turned out to be really fun! We got to ride around to some of the most beautiful locations in the city and down the river. Whatever you do, don’t let them fool you, those machines can actually go really fast! At one point of the tour you get to take a break at a park and can play around on the Segways. We were warned not too go too fast in the gravel, because the rocks are loose. Well, my father and I being retired Motocross racers, the first thing we decided to do was race. On our second lap around a corner, I learned my lesson. All I remember was all of a sudden looking up in the sky with the Segway wheels facing towards it. Luckily, I didn’t damage it and all I got was a few scrapes, but oh how I smacked that ground hard! A guy walking down the street actually ran over to make sure I was okay. I was so embarrassed. I had completely flipped my Segway. So, let this be a lesson, don’t race them in the gravel if you decide to do the tour! Otherwise, you may be teased forever!
That evening we went to the little Mexican Market Square and got dinner at a restaurant that served the best Mexican food I have ever had in my life. It was 100% authentic and absolutely delicious! There was even a mariachi band playing. After our amazing dinner we shopped around. There were all sorts of little stores with things from Mexico and Texas stuff. Street vendors were spread out everywhere, and that’s where I got most of my goodies. One lady was handmaking bracelets and another had hammered silver rings from Mexico. A very popular bakery is also located there and I got Mexican chocolate and pasteries. While they were yummy, just keep in mind that Mexican treats are not very sweet!
On our second day we explored all of the missions. Fun fact; The Alamo is actually an old mission, and was on the map showing all of them. We drove all around the outskirts of San Antonio finding all of these beautiful missions and admiring their beauty and history. The largest one was Mission San Jose, which was located in a compound area. It had archways and lots of detailed architecture, as well as a golden stage.
My favorite one would have to Mission San Juan, because I fell in love with its’ simplicity. The outside was a gorgeous stucco white with one little tower top. It consisted of a few rows of pews and a small stage to pray. It had a cozy and romantic feeling to it.
The oldest one was Mission Espada, and it did not have much left to it. The front of the Mission is al that remains, but it was amazing. They will hopefully be restoring it soon!
Then there was Mission Concepcion, which was very interesting. It had lots of passage ways and rooms and almost a castle like appearance to it. The other odd thing was that it was by a school! All of the others were off at national monuments in parks. So who knows how much longer this beauty will be around.
That evening we went to the town square and watched a stunning light show on the San Fernando Cathedral. It was a quick and fun free thing to see. We then went over by the Manger Hotel for a ghost tour of San Antonio. The tour wasn’t as excited as we had hoped, but we did get to learn some pretty cool stuff! If you decide to do the tour, skip my next few paragraphs, so that I don’t ruin it for you. However, do keep in mind that you can actually visit these places all yourself and learn some cool history from me and google.
• The Sister’s Grimm Ghost Tour •
The first stop was The Manger Hotel, where they told us that Mr. Manger himself is known for joining others late at night at the bar. They have had strange circumstances of drinks being thrown at walls and furniture being moved. You also used to be able to rent his room for a few nights, but guests would complain of things being thrown around, going missing and loud unbelievable noises, so I believe it is now off limits.
The Cathedral was another stop. It was known that a nun had hung herself there, and that bodies were actually buried in the walls. What’s worse, is it turns out that where I took a photo by the Cathedral, people are known to have seen the nun hanging behind them, because that’s where she hung her self. I took the photo earlier that morning!
Of course then there are locations like The Alamo with ghosts of soldiers and random unexplained circumstances around the city of San Antonio, but the best one has to be the Holiday Inn Hotel.
The Holiday Inn Hotel actually used to be the city prison/jailhouse. When you look at it you can still see the metal bats on the windows and inside is still the jail house mural and sayings above the check in desk. It turns out that they actually executed people at this one, and would drop them from the second floor down to the first in a noose and hang them. They would they stack the bodies and bury them all together out in the back. No wonder this place has a high haunting rate. Of course it is cleaned up and looks like a normal hotel, but be careful when swimming in the pool. It is actually where the bodies were buried and they dug a bunch up andjust moved them around. A lot of people avoid the pool due to hauntings.
• End of haunting tour •
Early the next morning we headed to House to have a small breakfast and explore the house. It was an old Victorian Style home that was renovated to look original. Right down the street was the King William Historic District, which is known for its’ gorgeous mansions. You can actually tour a few, so we were able to see one. It was all original and decorated superbly. Unfortunately that was the only one open the day we went, but we did get to walk around and see all the pretty homes.
The rest of the day we spent down on the river walk. If you visit Texas, you have to see this. It is a beautiful man made river in the center of the city with tons of shops and restaurants located around it. We had dinner at Dick’s that evening. While their catfish was the best I have ever had, I’m not a fan of the experience. I know that they’re supposed to be rude on purpose, but I found it to be more annoying than funny.
In the morning we packed up and headed out to the Natural Bridge Caverns. I am claustrophobic, so it was a bit nerve racking, but I did it! It’s amazing how the underground forms such pretty shapes and structures. Keep in mind that it is really hot down there and very muggy. We learned tons about stalagmites and other formations, and got great pictures.
Since we got to Texas, the patrons had been nothing but nice, friendly and polite to us. That day however, we truly learned what southern hospitality was. We stopped at a Whataburger, (My brother and I are obsessed with King of the Hill) and the manager overheard us say that we were visiting from another state. He then cane over to our table after bringing us food and started telling us all the best things to go see in San Antonio and where some of the best local’s secrets were. It was the coolest thing ever, such a nice guy!
Later we stopped by the the Buckhorn Saloon. It was an amazing place that consisted of handmade brews & root beer with tons of taxidermy everywhere! The saloon has been around for a really long time, and when locals couldn’t pay their tabs, the owner lady would accept rare or special taxidermy instead. There is everything from a giraffe to a lion to bears to a 72 point buck. It’s very interesting! The saloon is also a museum, so we got to walk around and see some oddities, trophy hunts/fishes and even history about the amazing Texas Rangers! It was a really cool place to go!
In the evening, after dinner, we decided to try an escape room. The place was called Thirteenth Door. They’re known for having an amazing haunted house with a slide to the basement with an actual ghost. But, since it was off season, we did an escape room. The theme was zombie escape. We were trapped in a room with a bunch of others and had to solve puzzles to try to escape. A zombie was chained to a bathroom stall in the middle of the room. After awhile his chain would get longer and longer. You had to get away from him or else he could keep you locked in his stall with him. It was such an adrenaline rush and fun with screeches and excitement! We were one clue away from winning, when he finally got all the way off his chain and Time was up! Even though we lost, it was a blast!!
On our last day of adventure, we drove out to New Braunfels to go tubing. At first we went to the little town and walked around. It wasn’t anything too exciting, but it was cute. Now, I didn’t find it to be hot at all in Texas and almost skipped tubing. I am so beyond glad that I didn’t! You get these gnarly big black tubs and float down a water canal going through the city. It was apart of their storm water/irrigation system. So odd, but so fun! Tons of people actually were off on alcoves swimming and playing on the water, so it wasn’t weird! There were chutes to move the water to lower levels, and we actually shot down themlike a slide! Eventually it dropped us into an actual river and we got to see some beautiful green trees and plants all around us.
We might not have gotten a chance to see everything in San Antonio, but what we did get to see was awesome and I will for sure be back again in the future!
It has taken me years to find a foundation that is perfect for my skin. I know all of us Makeup queens share this struggle. You may think you’ve found a great foundation, but then it turns out to be terrible. Sometimes it takes a long time to realize this.
When I was younger and first starting out with makeup, I had tons of different drugstore brands. My first couple foundations were the most basic ones that barely did anything. However, since I was 14, they weren’t meant to be that great. I had used powders from Physician’s Formula and Neutrogena.
High school is where I started to explore a little more with makeup. I had gotten a Sephora foundation that made me look super pale and was not at all a good look. Of course, I thought it was. Then that is also when I realized that you actually NEED two different colored foundations. One is your winter skin color and one is your tan summer skin color. It really does change.
Now I realize that when it comes to makeup, the most expensive does not always mean it is the best. For instance, Wet & Wild is known for making fabulous cheap eyeshadows that are better than some of the expensive brands. However, I have found that with foundation, the better more expensive high quality ones are really the ones you should be going for.
For years my mother would use bare minerals and I would use Too Faced foundation. Bare minerals would sweat off my moms face and Too Face always left me with orange streaks by the end of the day. Finally we decided to go foundation testing. If you haven’t done this in your life, just know it is insanely stressful.
First off, there are so many skin colors, that it is almost nearly impossible to find a foundation that matches yours. Secondly, there are so many options, that it will take you some time to find your best fit. DO NOT SETTLE. I cannot emphasize that enough!
Since Too Faced failed me, I decided to go with Tarte. It was highly rated online. (I check reviews everywhere to help me decide what to try). Tarte ended up working really well for awhile. It was the tubed, Amazonian clay foundation. The reason I stopped using it is because it did not last on my face long enough throughout the day.
I decided to then try Dermablend. I tried this product by word of mouth. That was a fail. The reviews weren’t up to par with how I usually choose my makeup. The foundation was extra watery and did not smooth around very well. It ended up making me look kind of orange. I started to give up and used it for a long time, until I was ready to try it again.
Unfortunately the next one I tried was It Cosmetics and it was a glossy finished look, which is not what I wanted. So I returned it and went back to the drawing board. I only had a few options left (I refuse to use MAC, NARS & Clinique).
The next choice was all out. I got Estée Lauder double wear. While I thought I had finally found the one, I was mistaken. One night at the mall a coworker and I were in Dillard’s. We came across Lancôme having a huge free goodies event! My coworker begged me to do a makeover and the lady happily obliged.
After fixing my makeup and testing the Lancôme products, I knew that I fell in love. I purchased it and have been using it for over a month now with no complaints! It blends lovely with my beauty blender and stays on all day, even in this Arizona heat! It turns out that my mom and grandma both use Lancôme foundations as well!
After years of failed attempts, I had finally found my perfect foundation. I would truly suggest going all the way up the makeup hierarchy and getting the best products around. That means higher than Too Faced, Tarte and Urban Decay.
Trust me, your face will thank you!
If you’re interested in the Lancôme foundation that I highly recommend, here’s a link to It below!
Everyone tells you, if you want to keep your blonde hair bright and radiant, you need to use purple shampoo. They say that everything else dulls down the color and isn’t as good for your hair. Just saying, from experience, that is a total myth. If you’re a blonde that uses purple shampoo, beware.
All my life I have been blonde.My hair is naturally a dirty blonde color. I “officially” hit the “blonde-blonde” stage at 15, when I dyed my hair platinum. I had never paid attention to hair care specifics & had the brightest blonde you could imagine. (It looked awful on me). Purple shampoo was something I had never heard of & my hair never lost its shine. I actually ended up having to chop it off & die it a dark brown though, because it destroyed my hair, bleaching it.
My senior year in high school is when I really started to pay attention to hair care. I had always had the tools & products, but never color specific. That year, I started to pay more attention, as I went back to a nice, champagne blonde. I had started getting flat iron hair car, hair masks and everything that would help it, without damaging it. This is when I discovered my favorite blonde shampoo & conditioner, by John Freida.
I wanted my hair to stay light, without using harsh chemicals, besides the color already on it. I remember seeing a product called “Sheer Blonde, Go Blonder” and was instantly hooked. This product does NOT have any purple in it, but is a simple light and creamy color. Let me tell you, this stuff truly does work! My blonde hair was never dull & always was radiant.
It wasn’t until later on that year, that I heard of the purple shampoo. A friend of mine got her hair dyed blonde and said her hairstylist swore by the purple. I started off by getting the Redken jumbo blondage ones, (Ulta had a sale). They didn’t seem to do much to keep my hair bright & always made the biggest mess. Needless to say, I was pretty turned off by this & went back to my volumizing stuff instead.
The real purple fun started happening when I started spending a bunch of money on shampoos by brands like Dry Bar, Sexy Hair and Pureology. My hair seemed much more dull and the shampoos were all messy and awful. When I moved to Arizona, I decided to try the value option again, and purchased jumbo sizes from Ulta. I bought the Joico set.
You have heard horror stories right? Well this one truly takes the cake. After a few washes, this shampoo started to STAIN, yes, STAIN my hair PURPLE! My blonde was starting to look like a white silver and one strand in the front actually became a purple color! It was AWFUL! I had always wondered how the purple was supposed to be good & not ruin your hair, when clearly that’s not what happened here. It took a lot of effort for my hairstylist to get the purple stand back to normal again.
Since then, I have refused to buy the purple products and only buy color treated shampoos & conditioners. The sun turned my hair bright blonde & none of the products I buy do any damage to the color or to my hair.
So ladies, next time you listen to a recommendation, make sure you do all of your research first! Don’t be influenced by the “popular” opinion. Who knows,you could end up with funky hair like I did.
Now some of you may find this to be a silly thing to post about, but I totally wish that this was something I read about when I was younger! I know i’m not the only one when it comes to loving my eyelashes and wanting them to be as big and full as possible! When it comes to the make up game, my eyelashes are my most important piece to accentuate. I always make sure that they are long, full and dark before I go anywhere. With that being said, I now have extensions that I get filled every 2.5 weeks. I have a special mascara that I can put on them when I feel that they look flat, BUT extensions are not for everyone, that is why I am making sure to give some insight on mascara!
When I first started out in the makeup fame, I was 13 and in jr. high. My mother let me use a cheap plain black Avon mascara that she had for years and never used, (It was awful). That was the only thing I was allowed to use, (I did steal what I thought was black eyeliner from her drawer and would put it on at school so she wouldn’t see. Turns out it was a dark moss green she got for free and I looked stupid, but that’s a story for another day!).
Anyways, I have no honest memory of what Avon mascara it was, so the first attempt I had at getting my own mascara was when I saw an ad for Covergirl. The LashBlast mascara was supposed to be the cool new thing and was supposed to give me eyelashes I could only dream of. I did enjoy it at first. It was black and gave a little bit of oomph to my eyes, but it did not seem to give that long length. I also think that it is a bit too watery for my taste, as I prefer a thicker mascara.
The next mascara I tried was Lash Stiletto by Maybelline. Now this mascara does give you some serious length! I was able to get super long lashes after just a couple of swipes on my lashes. However, it does get pretty goopy pretty fast, so it became super messy. It also does not give a very full set of lashes. They look rather skinny.
I know I have tried out many other mascaras from Maybelline, Revlon, Rimmel, CoverGirl, and etc. None of them really did much to impress me though besides the two that I talked about. They all either were too watery, goopy, or only gave me half or none of what I wanted. There was a lot of money wasted on mascara over the years, but I would never settle.
After various attempts at drug store brand mascaras, I decided to give a more expensive one a try. I was in my freshman year when I got to try something from Macy’s, (Ulta wasn’t around and my mother grew up shopping at Macy’s). My mother bought me the Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara. I remember being so excited, thinking that I would finally get to have the lash I wanted, because hey, more expensive means better right? WRONG. This was literally the worst mascara I have ever purchased in my entire life. The brush will hold huge clumps of mascara and not part your lashes at all. Then it would dry like cement and I would accidently rip out lashes when trying to clean it off. I had my mom try it, (She thought I was being dramatic), and she even got a disgusted look on her face! She threw it away and I went back to Walmart and bought myself the LashBlast by CoverGirl again. It still kills me to give Lancome a terrible review because they make some of my absolute favorite products! Do keep in mind that this was in 2011, so the product has had to have changed by then. I hope it’s way better.
When I finally was in high school, I went to my first Sephora. One of my friends had Too Faced products and I thought they were so cute, that I had to have them! I bought the Better Than Sex mascara, which I will have to say, the name made me want it too. Now this mascara was my go to for years. I actually am using this right now on my bottom lashes, (I bought the diamond edition… makeup addict, I know). I absolutely do love this product, until I have had it for over a month. After awhile, I noticed that the product would get dort of clumpy and dry up very fast. That would be my only complaint. I think it gives gorgeous, deep and full lashes.
The reason I kept looking was only because of how bad the product would get after a while. So, naturally, I picked another one from Too Faced. I tried the Better Than False Lashes Extreme! This is the most I have ever spent on a mascara, at $35. First you would use a mini wand that would add cloth-y material to your lashes, and then mascara over it. This would give them length. But, of course, not much volume. So, I would reapply each part 3 times. After a good chunk of time I realized that my eyelashes looked chunky and the cloth crap would get in my eye, so I was on my search again.
I tried everything from Benefit to Tarte, to IT Cosmetics and etc. None of these brands had ever created something that was good enough for me to want to try and buy again. I was and still am, a total mascara snob. I eventually went back to swapping back and forth between my CoverGirl and Better Than sex ones, (depended how much money I had) and then settled on getting falsies.
Now false eyelashes, are in my opinion, the greatest gift there is. As soon as I mastered the glue technique, I was putting those suckers on every single day. The problem was that I wanted them to look more natural, but I also wanted them to be dark, so I eventually, went back to applying mascara. I would glue on these huge eyelashes and coat them in layers of Better Than Sex Mascara. I would actually take such good care of them though, that I could keep the same ones for a month… Or so I thought back then.
If we look back now, I get insanely embarrassed at how I looked. My eyelashes were so long that I had them longer than my eyebrows. Please, do not do this. When I went to college, I finally realized that I didn’t need my caterpillars, (What my aunt called them), and went to no mascara at all, (THE HORROR). That was very short lived. I started back again with a hunt for mascara.
After countless attempts at Benefit and drugstore brands, extensions finally became a thing. It wasn’t until I got my extensions, that I found, what I think to be, the best mascara ever. Of course, I cannot use it on my extensions, but I do use it on my bottom lashes. What was first a free sample that I last resorted to, turned out to be one of my favorites. This is actually a brand by Lancome! (Finally, redeemed). My go to mascara is Big Monsieur by Lancome. It gives my bottom lashes a dark full look and gives them a good amount of length. It is not watery or even chunky! My mother tried it on her lashes and thought it was fantastic too! (But she got extensions too).
If I had to recommend any mascara to anyone, I have a lineup of 3. In first place, I would have to say I would go with Big Monsieur. Then in second I would have Better Than Sex and in third would be Lash Blast. These are all awesome mascaras and there is one for everyone as they are all very different price points. But of course, this is just from my experience, as a die hard lash lover.
I will apologize though, as I did not ever test waterproof, as I do not care for it from that Avon mascara I first had when I was younger. It also smelled terrible.
Whatever mascara you decide, just never give up on finding your exact want. It is out there somewhere, I promise!
Ever since I was little I always wanted to make sure I went to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday. Anytime there was an opportunity to go there before I turned 21, I turned it down. I had wanted to get the full experience of Vegas, and it was not a child destination. Luckily, my parents always felt that Vegas was where we HAD to go for my birthday and it was the best experience I have ever had!
I remember the day of my 21st, we flew out to Nevada. It was my momma, daddy, their best friends (Literally my second parents), my aunt and my best friend. We all saved up to make this trip very memorable. I got on that flight wearing my 21 crown and kept getting ‘Happy Birthday’ from everyone that I walked passed in the isle. The stewardess made a huge announcement that I just turned 21 and everyone cheered! She then came over and bought me my first little drink. Jack and coke with the cutest little heart stirring stick! Not even at Vegas yet and it was already a great start.
When we arrived, my daddy had a limo waiting for us. (Limos are super cheap in Vegas and a great deal!) Of course, it felt like luxury. We had the driver take us to the closest liquor store, where we bought a good chunk of alcohol and some pedialite. Once back in the limo we blasted music and popped a bottle of pink champagne. It was so much fun!
Since my daddy is the ultimate master at finding the best deals for everything, he got is an awesome rate at Treasure Island. It was gorgeous. I remember walking in and couldn’t believe how fancy and nice it was, or how big! Once checked in, we stopped down by slots on our way out to the strip. If you aren’t a gambler (like me), you have to at least do a slot or two. I put $1 in a random slot, won $20, and that was literally the extent of my gambling.
It was very hot when we went, but not Arizona Hot. Since we didn’t have a lot of time that day, we just walked along the strip to Harrah’s so my daddy could get a $1 beer. We tried White Castle (so overrated) and I got a Bailey’s frozen chocolate drink. AH-MAZING. Then we headed to the Flamingo to see the Flamingos, (Yes, they have real ones!). Our last stop was the miracle mile shops. If you ever need to do a shopping spree, come here and do it. The amount of shops and designers are amazing. The Venetian was amazing. Gorgeous architecture. It totally felt like Disneyland though when I saw the gondola! The best part was everyone was so friendly and happy! Anywhere we went, they all had a smile on their face and were genuinely nice! At the end of the shops was one of the largest Sephora’s I have ever seen! So naturally, that was where I first spent money, (And got my first free birthday gift!).
After that we went back to the hotel and got ready for the big night we had ahead. Daddy had planned for us to go to Gilley’s. It is a little country bar located in Treasure Island. That night they were doing a bikini bull riding competition and he told me the reviews said no one goes on Sunday nights, so I should have an easy shot of winning $200! Why would I turn that down?? We all got dressed up in our cute country outfits and my bestie and I wore Sashes for our birthday, (hers was a month earlier). She bailed from bull riding, but I went through with it. There were some really fun goofy ladies that did it too and we all had fun with it being silly! Unfortunately they bring up regulars at the end and even though the crowed declared me winner (birthday girl), they gave the money to the regulars. But how often does a person get to say they were in a bikini bull riding competition?! Then we all went out two-stepping until they closed. At that point we went over to Senior Frogs, where it was totally bumpin! Everyone was dancing and we all took the most delicious shots I have ever had in my life. Plus, most people there are sadly 20’s, so it’s a good place to start!
The next morning we went to breakfast at one of the restaurants inside the hotel. My daddy rented a cabana for the day so we could all catch some rays by the pool. If you ever have an opportunity and money to rent a cabana, DO IT! It was the ultimate experience. We had nice lounge chairs, a pool round chair bed, pool couches in the cabana, a bar with fridge (free water), a tv/radio and our own waitress! I ordered their sushi and probably ordered about 3 more portions of it through the day, seriously so good. It felt like luxury at the pool that day and we befriended a bunch of people from around the United States.
Since sushi is my favorite, we went to a fancy little sushi place at the Fashion Show Mall. Delicious! Later that night, we went to see a show. We got all dressed up and fancy to go out and see Cirque Du Soilel. You always need to see a show when you go to Vegas, but I wouldn’t recommend seeing one of these ones. It was really weird and strange, not to mention boring. It made no sense, but we made the best of it. I’ve heard that Absinthe is supposed to be amazing, the knight one is a crowd pleaser and the zombie burlesque is funny, (which I will see later this next month!).
That next morning we went to the buffet and played Keno, where we each won a dollar. You have to do it, it’s silly but a must. The buffet was of course fantastic, and we headed out to go hit all the casinos on the strip. It is a lot of walking, but so totally worth it! Caesar’s palace was pretty, The Linq was fancy, Cosmopolitan was a dream (chandelier bar and all pink), New York New York was eh, and Paris is pretty ugly and outdated. But, you have to check them all out! They each have their own little quirks. I have to say that The Bellagio though, was one of my absolute favorite hotels! Such elegance and class with a taste of luxury. They change the floral garden theme often and it never disappoints. It was sea life when we went. It made the other hotels look cheap.
We stopped at the Ice Bar in Mandalay Bay and had a few drinks. It was truly a fun experience! We upgraded to fur coats and got photos taken. It is expensive, but cool!
We then stopped at the chocolate bar at Hershey’s in New York New York. DON’T GO THERE. I paid $15 for the most sickening drink of my life. Raspberry chocolate martini. Every time I think about it I gag. Rancid tasting thick syrup with cheap vodka. So to make it better we went to one of the best Mexican bars ever, El Diablo’s (which is now closed sadly). They made fresh guacamole in front of us and my bestie and I split the best margarita EVER!! We also got to hop up on the bar and spin the wheel for the drink specials! They have us free shots, which I did not need. This was the only time I was a little buzzed in Vegas. I don’t feel the need to drink a lot, (college taught me that one).
So the rest of this was a bit fuzzy, but I have the gist of it. Us ladies went to the Ross (disappointing) and the stores on the end, where we went into a Sunglasses Hut. I really needed sunnies, so all I remember was walking in, picking two random pairs of glasses and telling them to choose what I should buy. I apparently got Tiffany blue Michael Kors aviators for $150 (Mini heart attack). They turned out to be the best sunglasses ever and lasted until this year. One of my coworkers stole them when I moved to Arizona.
Anyways, we rushed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. My bestie and I skipped dinner that night. That stupid gross martini was making me ill, and I don’t mean puking Ill. Plus, I wanted to get it all out of my system so I wouldn’t miss out on the plans for the evening! Turns out the seafood restaurant at Treasure Island wasn’t very good, so I didn’t miss much. That night we left the strip and went to a local favorite spot, the Golden Tiki. It was a Caribbean themed run bar. The website had coupons for free pineapple dole whip (YES FREE PINEAPPLE DOLE WHIP)!! So we got that and it came with a small pool of rum at the bottom. The drinks fit the theme perfectly and were pretty, but VERY STRONG. Their rum was the strongest I’ve ever tasted. It was good, but too much for me. Unfortunately, they didn’t have food (future Bar rescue nominee?) m, but they told us we could bring outside food in. So daddy and I went down the street, with drinks in hand (I love Vegas), and ordered Chinese food. We brought it back and had a late night Chinese food feast at the bar! It was a good time.
Our last full day we decided to go down to Fremont/Old Town. We took an Uber there (Truly the cheapest and fastest way to get around town) and stopped at the old school casinos. At the Golden Nugget I lost $10 on slots, but it was fun to be in such a retro old school original Vegas vibe. The old neon signs were probably my favorite part of old town. Such beautiful history. For lunch we walked to container city and had yummy tacos. Hopefully they expand it soon because there’s not much there. Instead of ubering back, we decided to walk. Which was fine at first, but at the end it sucked.
While walking we were able to stop by things like Pawn Stars and the Little White Chapel from in the Hangover, but there wasn’t much to see. I don’t reccomend ever going to specifically look for “famous” movie or TV destinations because they usually aren’t worth it, but they are fun if it’s on the way or you happen to see them.
The streets by the Stratosphere were not the cleanest or safest feeling, but we made it just fine. The hotel itself doesn’t offer much and I sure didn’t have enough guts for the rides! Some of our group went on the rides and we joined them at the top. Decently cool view. From there we rushed in an Uber to the hotel. That night was our big going out night. So we all got dressed up in our sexiest outfits with lots of black leather and tight clothes. My daddy had got us all a spot on a party bus tour, and let me tell you, THAT is how you do clubs in Vegas.
Every night the party bus destinations are different, but we started ours off that the rooftop bar at Mandalay Bay. It was a nice quaint little bar, perfect for networking or business people after a long day of work. Very classic. The view was absolutely stunning. A gorgeous lit up view of the strip. We also got 50% off drinks for being on the party bus. Then after an hour or so we finally got on the bus to head to another club. On the bus were lights, stripper poles and free alcohol for us! (To pregame and not pay for expensive club drinks).
The next club was a bust to us. I don’t even remember the name of it. The cool thing was we got VIP entrance and got to skip the lines to get in. Inside it was loud crappy music (not even dancing music) and there were ladies dancing on the other side of glass walls. That’s also when we learned that Vegas clubs have a no sitting policy. If you want to sit down or rest, you had to buy bottle service. Luckily, my bestie and I got invited to a booth by a guy for a birthday party. The drinks were gross, but we got to sit. I believe I forgot to mention why we needed to sit. Vegas clubs have a strict dress code. Ladies can only wear heels and fancy outfits and guys can only wear dress shoes and shirts. Dark nice jeans are fine though. So our feet were killing us.
After that club they took us out to the Las Vegas sign (a mini one) to get photos and drink champagne. That’s when they brought us to the Chateau club at Paris. Probably the coolest one of the night. You walk up a huge staircase that brings you to an enormous room with lots of couches, pool tables, games and etc. What was weird was it was empty. Turns out everyone was out on the rooftop DJ dance floor and booths. Right away me and my bestie were spotted by this large group of boys and they ordered us Ciroque bottle service. That’s where I found my new favorite vodka. We had a few drinks and the boys smoked hookah. They were all super cute and we found out that they were from a boarding school and their parents paid for them to go on holiday. If you haven’t guessed it yet, they were British boys. And YES they had accents 😍 We hung out with them for the rest of the night and eventually Ubered home. The cool thing is I still keep in contact with the one I befriended, and when I go to England I’ll have the hookup with the coolest spots!
Then came our last morning in Vegas. It was truly bittersweet. We were all tired and wanted to rest, but we didn’t want to leave such a perfect place. We went to the Venetian one last time for gelato and macaroons and then to the Wynn, which is now my favorite hotel! If you want a glance at the life of luxury and class, just walk through there. That place is not cheap to stay at and is not meant for families. Afterwards we chilled by the pool (lawn chairs suck compared to the cabana) and we said our goodbyes to one of the REAL happiest places on earth.
If I had to describe how that trip was, it would be the best trip I’ve ever had in my entire life. To me, it was more fun than San Francisco, Disneyland and even Hawaii. So if you want to ‘Let the dogs out’, (Alan) or even feel bit luxurious, then you need to head to Vegas. Especially on your 21st, because you’ll get most of your drinks free and everything at a discount!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!