Wednesday, May 29, 2013


My boss sent me another email last night asking for help on her poster presentation.  I got to work on it first thing in the morning so that she'd have a second draft to review when she woke up (there's a 2 hour time difference).  Again, she was so happy and I get a star next to my name :D

I moved my Hello Kitty from my old car to my new car.  This is probably the fourth family car that she's been.  I think she started out in Mom's mini van and then my 2 Civics, and now my Fit.  Poor girl.  She's all faded from the sun, but she's always been my driving buddy.
And here's my other kitty, showing off how tough of a life he has.  Be jealous.

Monday, May 27, 2013

New Wheels

New Wheels: Dad came to pick me up at my place this morning around 9:30 and off we went to the dealership.  The both of us had done our internet research and emailed several dealerships over the past couple of days, so we were prepared.  Dad emailed the sales clerk this morning to let her know that we were coming in today.  When we got there, we met with her and told her what we were looking for.  She let Dad and I test drive the car (red Honda Fit Sport).  It was really fun to drive and not much different from driving Dad's 2009 Civic.  The steering was definitely a lot smoother than my 2002 Civic and I love how you can control the radio channels and volume from the steering wheel.  We talked about pricing and I was able to get a good deal since it's a) the end of the month and b) Memorial Day weekend.  By noon, I was on the road with my new car :D  Beep, beep!

I drove by my parents' house to show my mom.  "Tina, do you want to drive me to Safeway?"  "Um, no.  I can drive you around the neighborhood though."  Now I'm going to be all paranoid in parking lots and tight spaces.
New Nails: I tried out the Orly Passion Fruit polish (2 coats) that I got at CVS last week. The picture doesn't really capture how bright this color is. I love it!
Song of the day: "Madness"- Muse.

Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend...and took a moment to remember what this day is all about: sacrifice, remembrance.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

CVS Beauty Spring 2013 Clearance Finds, Part 2

I can't believe I was able to make it to the 8:30 AM spin class.  The 9:30 AM one was cancelled for the holiday weekend.  I figured that I might as well go since I was already awake.  Afterwards, I ran some errands (Target- got deodorant...a necessary gym item, AC Moore- cardstock that was on sale, and Giant- I needed to restock on Greek yogurt).  The rest of the day was spent cleaning and restocking my card inventory while watching NCIS reruns on TV.  Oh, and the nap on the couch was nice too.

CVS Beauty Spring 2013 Clearance Finds: See Part #1 here.  Here are some more make-up items that I found over the past week at CVS during their Spring clearance sale.  The interesting thing about the CVS locations that I went to was that none of them had clearance stickers.  I guess that's a really good thing because that'd mean that the beauty sections would be less likely to be picked through.  For a list of the items that are on clearance, visit the NouveauCheap blog post.  I think it's nice to try out new colors and makeup but without having to make the financial investment.  I would never feel this adventurous if there wasn't this sale.  No way in heck I'd reach for blue eyeliner at full price.
  • Revlon's Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Pop, Pearl Plum, Coral Reef (75% off). I scanned my CVS card and a $2 off Revlon make up coupon popped out. That meant that one of the glosses came out to a whopping $0.19.
  • The Maybelline items were Buy 1, Get 1 50% off.  I scanned the items so they were already marked down 50%.  The cash register wasn't ringing stuff up, but after talking to the sales clerk and showing her the ad, I was able to get the Buy 1, Get 1 50% off the 50% off price.  

Song of the day: "Here's to Never Growing Up"- Avril Lavigne.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Summer Craft Fair #2

Summer Craft Fair #2: The good news was that the sun was out today, but the bad news is that it was windy.  I saw many tents flying around because they were not weighed down.  Us vendors cringed and tried to secure our items as much as possible so they wouldn't be gone with the wind, literally. 

I'm not one to eat fast food, but the daughter and husband of the vendor next to me went to Chick-Fil-A next door and the smell from their goodies was amazing.  I think the breezy weather was also luring me to get something warm to eat.  The yogurt that I had before I left the house just wasn't cutting it.  I zipped over and got a sausage/egg/cheese biscuit and some hash browns and that totally made my morning.  Fast food once in a while isn't so bad, right?

My co-worker and her kid stopped by to say hi.  While the kid was too shy in the beginning, she said bye to me and I felt like a winner.

One kid there was really annoying the vendors by touching everyone's stuff and running around.  Her father was definitely too busy socializing to pay attention to her.  She was swinging from a handrail, but little did she know that the handrail was broken.  She got mid-swing and then landed on her bottom as the handrail disconnected from the post.  You could tell she was shocked, rubbing her butt.  Poor kid.  She and her dad promptly went home.  I know several venders were cheering on the inside.

Another kid came by and asked if she could have a Starburst.  "Sure, it's free."  She came back 5 minutes later to ask for another, which I saw her give to her brother.  When she came the third time, I told her no because we had to save some for other people.  When I saw her the fourth time, it was because her brother brought the family over. There goes another Starburst. If this becomes a regular thing at the market, I might have to rethink this candy situation. 

Today's craft fair was surprisingly more financially successful than my first one of the summer, yay!  I felt like I could justify going to a nice dinner tonight at the nearby hibachi restaurant with a friend. 

Hibachi Dinner: I met up with Beth after the craft fair and we went to the CVS to check out their make up section to see what items they had from the NouveauCheap list.  I didn't get anything, but I did return the CoverGirl eyeshadow stick that I bought on Sunday still sealed.  The reviews that I saw online were terrible so it wasn't even worth trying.  Then we headed to the hibachi restaurant for dinner.  Because we got there around 4:30 PM, there wasn't really a crowd.  When we left, it was quite a different story.  I'm glad that they have good business, and after eating there, I can see why.  The food was amazing!  I got the shrimp and scallop hibachi, and that came with soup, salad, shrimp, veggies, noodles, and fried rice.  An insane amount of food.  I'm glad that I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  I also got a lemon drop martini which was delicious.  After dinner, I went to another CVS (I do an update to my CVS clearance makeup haul tomorrow), stopped by my parents' house to visit and then went to my uncle/aunt's house on my way home.  I'm exhausted, but it was a great day! :D

Friday, May 24, 2013

PowerPoint Princess

My work's annual meeting is coming around the corner.  My poster is printed and ready to go.  Well, actually, I know that it was delivered to the office, but I haven't rolled out yet.  I have my fingers crossed that when I come into the office on Tuesday that it's ready to go.  My boss's poster, on the other not done yet.  I would be freaking out if I were her.  She calls me up this afternoon, asking if I was still looking for a project.  Well, of course.  I mean, even if I wasn't, I'd still say yes.  Anyway, she needed help putting her poster together.  She emailed me the text.  I spent less than an hour copying, pasting, formatting and coloring and BAM.  Instant poster draft.  I sent the draft back to her.  She calls me back.

"Oh, this is excellent!  Outstanding!  This gets me a lot further than I was this morning!"

I love doing little effort work, but getting maximum approval from my boss.  Those are the best types of assignments.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

OLW #141

Day Off: There wasn't anything on my work calendar today, so I decided to use my comp day from my New Orleans trip.  I spent most of the morning on the phone and Internet doing some research on the Honda Fit Sport, the car that I've had my sights on for a little bit.  My youngest cousin will need a more dependable vehicle this summer, so the idea is to give my hand-me-down Honda Civic to him and I will find a replacement.  I ventured out of the house for 2 Bavarian Creme donuts and a Panera cobb salad, both of which I had coupons for.  Otherwise, I wouldn't have bothered.  I camped out on the couch and watched reruns of Real Housewives of New Jersey (don't judge...) and then finished my day up with a spin class and some Zumba 2 for Wii (gotta work off those donuts!).

Card: Here's my take on One-Layer Wednesday #141.  The prompt was to create a repeat background using the same stamp.  I can't wait to send this off to my friend Suzie at some point.  She's a big Harry Potter fan.  I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail the Michaels owl stamp had.

Card Specs:
Ink: Colorbox chalk ink in Yellow Ochre, Dark Peony, and Chestnut Roan
Stamp: Michaels, Pebbles- Floral Lane ABC Stamps

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Office Training and Cute Baby

At the office: There were a lot of women at the office wearing pink today. I kinda wanted go up to someone and say "On Tuesdays, we wear pink..." like from the movie Mean Girls.  Except in the movie, it's Wednesdays, instead of Tuesdays.

My coworker buddy who I've seen at quite a few yard sales recently and I were swapping yard sale stories from this previous weekend (it's interesting what kind of stuff people can bond over).  She was saying that she bought two sawhorses over the weekend, but because she didn't have a car that day, she walked to the yard sale and took the bus home with the saw horses.  I guess she really wanted that stuff!

On a more serious note, the bulk of my morning was a Diversity & Inclusion training.  I went into it thinking YAWN, but I walked away thinking, "Ok, that was a nice reminder.  At least it was entertaining and informative.  They also fed us pizza which is always a bonus."  The trainer used a lot of stories, either from his professional or personal life, which made things more interesting and relatable.  He showed clips from A Class Divided and The Lunch Date to emphasize his points about discrimination.

Cute baby alert: The alien baby blanket that was part of my baby shower present to my friend Cristina has been put to good use.  Cristina showed me a picture of baby Nicky being all bundled up.  The green alien reminds me of Mike Wazowski  from Pixar's Monster's Inc.  Super cute!

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Nails

On the same night that I got my Zumba Wii game, I picked up this Sally Hansen nail polish that was on sale.  The mint green was too pretty to pass up.  Even the name sounded delicious, ha ha.  This is Sally Hansen's XtremeWear in Mint Sorbet (2 coats). 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

CVS Beauty Spring 2013 Clearance Finds

CVS Beauty Spring 2013 Clearance Finds: The beauty blog NouveauCheap (NC) recently posted about the a make-up clearance sale at CVS.  Since I didn't spend much at yesterday's yard sale run (2 whole dollars, gasp!), I felt comfortable spending that money at CVS instead.  When I went to CVS, they didn't have any clearance stickers on any of their products.  I even went as far as asking a sales clerk that was scanning stuff in the make up aisle.  I pulled up the blog post on my iPhone, showed it to her, and asked if she knew anything about it.  She didn't and said that the store wasn't doing it.  o_0 What?  I did not give up.  I started scanning some of the items the NC mentioned, and the CVS price checker was showing stuff on clearance.  Good thing I was persistent!  I would have missed out on a bunch of goodies!  I picked up the following:
  • Revlon's Lip Butter in Brown Sugar (a nice neutral color, 75% off)
  • an Orly nail polish in Passion Fruit (a hot pink that's bordering on obnoxious.  Maybe I'll wear this to my work annual meeting in 2 weeks, tee hee.  50% off)
  • CoverGirl Natureluxe Gloss Balm in 250 Cabernet.  Yay for SPF 15. (50% off)
  • CoverGirl Natureluxe Gloss Balm in 215 Hibiscus (50% off)
  • CoverGirl SmokyShadow Blast in 825 Tempest Blue (50% off)
Of course, I went into the store armed with coupons that I had clipped recently.   If I bought this loot without the clearance sale or coupons, we're bordering on $43 (no freakin' way would I pay that much for make-up!), but with the sale and coupons, I got everything for a little over $15 before tax.  Out of the bunch, I've only tried the lip products, and so far I'm really pleased with the lip products because they give a hint of color (not like BAM), which is perfect for every day wear.

When I got home, I watched YouTube reviews on the SmokyShadow Blast, and most of them were not really positive.  Fortunately, I kept my receipt so I can return it if I need to (and pick up something that I DO like!).

So, if you're in the mood for make-up, run (not walk because the clearance products will probably be sold out quickly!) to the nearest CVS after doing some research by reading the NC blog and get some goodies!
Workout: Did Zumba 2 for Wii again tonight. I had to work off some cookies that I ate last night and today.  It's all about balance, right?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Yard Sale Finds

Yard Sale Finds: There was a community yard sale today that had 35+ households participating. I was hoping to get some good loot, but with the rainy weather, I wonder if some people bowed out at the last minute. I came away with a cell phone wallet and a still sealed DVD copy of Quantum of Solace (yay, Daniel Craig), $1 each.  The cell phone wallet has room for some cash and credit cards. It's got a cushioned cover but a solid metal frame.
TomTom Scare: I had no idea what was going on with my TomTom GPS today.  It just wouldn't turn on, even with being plugged in with a charger.  I went to far as to go to Best Buy after my yard sale rounds to get another charger, thinking that's what the problem was.  I sat in the Best Buy parking lot, trying to figure out what to do.  I tried the new charger and it still didn't work!  I googled for a solution and one of them suggested pressing down the on button for 30-45 seconds (longer than I normally do to turn it on) and it turned on!  Whew, that was close!  I went back into Best Buy and they let me return the new charger that I only had in my possession for about 10 minutes.  Ha ha.

Friends: For dinner tonight, I went to hang out with Meg and Robyn. We went to Piola, an Italian place and I had my fill of spaghetti and meat sauce.  It was very good and I totally cleared my plate.  Meg's co-worker gave her a bunch of homemade cookies (peanut butter cookies with chocolate sandwiched in between) after a stressful week of work and since she didn''t want to eat them all, she gladly gave some away to me and Robyn.  Robyn, on the other hand, bought a chocolate Capitol from Costco and put that in the kitchen for her co-workers to share during Saturday overtime.  She took pictures over the course of the day as people were hacking away at it.  There wasn't much left at the end of the day, but she brought the leftovers with her to dinner tonight too.  I definitely won in the food department today.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fall-To Layout #241

Card: Here's my take on Fall-To Layout #241.  I love this doily stamp that I got at Michaels recently.  It's so girl and feminine.  The flower paper and the dark pink paper were the same sheet of patterned paper (A and B sides).  With some dark pink ink, I was able to create a tone-on-tone effect.

Card Specs:
Ink: Colorbox chalk ink in Yellow Ochre.  Stampin' Up in Regal Rose
Stamp: Fiskars- Friendship Garden (flower), Craft Smart (doily)
Paper: American Crafts- Letterbox
Rub-On: Stampin' Up- Chit Chat (sentiment)
White Gel Pen: Uni-Ball Signo Broad White Gel Pen

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Otis Spunkmeyer and Zumba

Cookies: My co-worker got some Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough through an office fundraiser.  One of the IT guys's daughter was doing it for cheerleading and of course, my co-worker could not resist her cuteness.  She gave in and donated and got cookie dough in return.  The big problem is that she's on a gluten-free diet (legit, not because of a fad).  Uh oh.  I gladly stepped in.  I made a few when I got home and I must have put them in for too long because they were on the crunchy side.  Oops.  They are kinda sad looking, huh?  I hope 13 minutes instead of 15 will improve the taste.  Otherwise, I'll just have to bake a bunch and take them to the office just so that they can get out of my house.  I can make my own cookies and I know how to make them right.
Ice cream: I had a buy 1, get 1 free ice cream coupon to Ben and Jerry's.  I IMed Jennifer across the street to see if she wanted to get some and of course, she said yes.  I got Americone Dream and she got some sort of coconut one.  We really should have gotten these in cups instead of cones because we were eating very slopily all the way back to the office.  The ice cream was dripping down our hand and we probably left a distinct trail.  That's spring/summer for ya!

Zumba: Given that I ate a lot of goodies today, I wanted to get a workout in, but I wanted to try something different.  I saw in the Target insert that Zumba 2 for Wii was on sale, so I bought it and tried it out earlier.  30 minutes later, I'm one sweaty mess.  A good workout without any potential judgement.  No one will have to witness my 2 left feet.  This is me, exhaling, whew!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Card and Nails

New Card: The same lady that requested the custom purse card wanted a separate card for another family member.  This card is for a little girl that's hooked on the Velveteen Rabbit. I used this origami model video on YouTube as a reference.
New Nails: This is 2 coats of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri nail polish in Mint Sprint.  Lightning was starting to chip really badly on my nails so it had to go!  I don't think the picture does the polish justice.  It looks more blue than green here.  Oh well, you get the idea.  I guess you could call it a shade darker than kelly green.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Interviews and Aria

Interviews: I'm on an interview panel for a survey position at work.  The candidate that came in today was here for her second interview.  I wasn't completely wowed by her during the first interview, and during this second one, I was downright bored because she was not concise in her answers.  The only reason I wrote anything down was because I had to turn in my interview notes.  Otherwise, I would have just sat and listened and absorbed what she was saying.  Her career goals weren't really matching up with the position she was applying for, which made me think that she didn't do her homework.  Another red flag: she didn't have any questions for us at the end.!

Aria: Between getting off work and going to spin class, I went over to my friend Jessie's house to drop off a book that I got from the conference in New Orleans.  Her baby, Aria was so cute!  I'm not around little babies, so I wasn't feeling very confident about holding Aria so I passed. Jessie was understanding...others had said the same thing. Whew. Aria's looked so tiny and delicate and cute; I didn't want to do anything wrong. Even if I did feel confident, Aria was also sleeping soundly while being held by her husband Joel and I didn't want to disturb the peace.  It's so much easier to hold RJ because I know if he wiggles and I drop him, he's going to land on his feet and be just fine.

Speaking of RJ, check out those whiskers fanning out while getting a chin scratch.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Tricks at the Office and a Tory Burch Card

At the office: Two guys from IT came over to the office that I was camping out in and shut the door.  Uh oh.  Umm, did I do something wrong?  "Tina, we heard you were bad mouthing IT...." o_0 I sat there with my earbuds in, trying to figure out what they said.  Surely, I can't be in trouble.  I mean, can I?  I played back recent conversations in my head.  Nothing that I was putting together in my head was making sense.  I think anyone down the hall could hear me go "HUH??!"

"Nah, we're just messing with you."  Bah ha ha haaaa.


Then the light blub went off and I figured out what they were referencing.  Another co-worker was sorta bashing IT at a meeting that I was running 2 weeks ago.  I could understand her frustration, but I could also see how IT would be frustrated that she didn't ask for help ahead of time.  I had a conversation with another staff member that works closely with IT after the meeting to say that IT bashing was not the intention of the meeting and it shouldn't have gone in that direction.  She knew where I was coming from and made a point to reassure me that at least I was in the clear.  She must have relayed that conversation to IT and of course, they had to plot to see how riled up I could get.  Being on IT's bad side is never a good thing, so I'm glad it was just a joke.  Happy Monday.

Card: A repeat buyer asked me to make a card for her daughter's birthday.  Apparently this daughter is really into upscale purses like Tory Burch, so I used that as my inspiration. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Iron Man 3

I started my morning off strong with an hour spin class.  I saw one of my gym buddies there, Tara, when I was leaving so I sat and chatted with her for a little bit.  I had wondered if she was pregnant, and the first thing out of her mouth after "hi" was "I'm pregnant with my second one!"  Aw, yay.

I went to the grocery store next to the gym to get some flowers for my aunt and Mom for Mother's Day.  My uncle had a tree branch fall on him on Saturday, so I wanted to get some chocolate iced bavarian donuts to cheer him up.  I had half of one when I went to my parents' and wow, that's some good stuff. 

In the afternoon, I went to see Iron Man 3 with Meg and Robyn, which was pretty good, but the first one is still my favorite.  I liked how Pepper Potts had a bigger role in this movie...girl power!  This is the kickoff to the summer movie season, so exiciting!  Man of Steel, Monsters University, The Wolverine are on my to-watch list.

After the movie, we went to Cadillac Ranch for dinner.  Their pulled pork sandwich was very tasty!  Robyn was trying to convince Meg to ride the mechanical bull, but no luck.  Maybe next time!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Summer Craft Fair #1

Whew, early morning today!  Dad came to the house at 7:15 AM to help me pack the car and unload for my first summer craft fair.  I was a little nervous about the weather because showers were in the forecast.  Fortunately, the market coordinator put me under the permanent canopy and I didn't have to invest in a tent.  It worked out great since it did rain for a little bit in the morning, but my cards and I were safe under the shelter.  I had 3 co-workers and 1 friend come to visit me at my table which was nice. I was able to make half my table fee before the market even opened, so I was off to a strong start.  The farmer's market at the next block over helped bring people in.  I'm glad that I was able to reserve a spot on this day because my Mother's Day cards were very popular.  I was able to reuse the 3 dish platter (?) that I bought for the New Orleans exhibit booth: 2 spots for candy and 1 spot for my business cards.  The candy that I got were these Morph Starbursts, which change flavors (orange to orange strawberry and cherry to cherry lime).
A co-worker snapped this picture of me...look, customers! :)  He posted it on Facebook with a caption: "The best street vendor ever!" One of his Facebook friends commented: "Yeah right, you're not looking at anything at the venders, your freak ass looking at that Chinese lady."  My co-worker replied, "Thanks for insulting a very good friend of mine."  And promptly deleted the comment.  Seriously???  The comment definitely rubbed me the wrong way when I read it on my phone, but more than that, I was just saddened by the ignorance.  Not all Asian women are from China.  DUH.  This one was "Made in USA" (although my parents are from Taiwan).
Check out these Grand Pyranees dogs!  They looked like polar bears.  Everyone wanted to pet them.  They drew a crowd everywhere they walked.
I got a text message from my friend Laura while I was at the craft fair. She is in New Orleans with her husband, and they decided to take a tour of the city, using the same tour company that I did. She even got the same tour guide!  Glad my trip report helped someone out ;)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Google to the Rescue

I had a minor panic moment this morning when I realized that I had no hot water in the house!  I thought it was a fluke thing when I took a shower last night, but alas, that was not the case.  I called the home warranty people to schedule an appointment with the plumber.  After I made that call, I did some research via Google to see if there was some quick fix.  I already switched the fuse off and on, but nothing happened.  I took a break to do some work, go to the library, and do some grocery shopping (the fridge was very sad looking since I had been on travel the past few days).  I continued my research and then I found out about the reset button.  I switched the fuse off, pushed the red button, switched the fuse back on, and then I could hear the tank making noises.  Within about 30-45 minutes, I was back in business!


Now I need to call the plumber to cancel my Wednesday appointment. 

I have my first outdoor market craft fair tomorrow.  And there's a 60% chance of rain.  Ugh.  I'll try to stick it out as long as I can since the table fee is non-refundable.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Mother Nature is kind to me.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Orleans, Day 5

Today was my last day in New Orleans.  It's been fun, but I'm ready to get back into my routine, especially sleeping in my own bed since I haven't been sleeping that well during the time I've been here.

The exhibit hall was very quiet today, more than the other days, even though those were quiet too.  I snagged this book for my friend Jessie who recently had a baby girl.  They were giving these books for free!  I guess the more stuff they give away, the less these folks have to carry home.
I went over to one of the booths that had huge containers of candy that people have been taking away with Chinese food containers.  I hadn't approached this booth all week since the candy is really for the people attending the meeting, not vendors like me.  However, since this was the last day and the exhibit hall was pretty empty, I felt like it was okay to get the candy.  I snagged some gummy bears and mini Swedish fish.
The exhibit hall closed at 3 PM, but people were already packing up around 2 since there weren't many meeting attendees around.  The lady that had the booth across from us yelped.  There was a huge cockroach on her boxes!  All the exhibitors in our area went over to look.  Yep, it was the size of my thumb.  My boss said to the guy in the booth next to us, "Shouldn't you be helping the pregnant lady kill that cockroach?"  He looked puzzled as to what to do.  Put it in a cup?  Crunch it with his foot?  That's what he ended up doing, and the pregnant lady grimmaced because she could hear the crunch.  Another exhibitor asked him if he was feeling more manly now.  Ha ha.

Packing up was pretty easy, but I waited around for a while for my shuttle to pick me up at 4:15 PM.  My flight was at 6:30 PM, and I was scared that I wouldn't be able to make it because of the traffic and other passengers the shuttle had to pick up.  I made it in time...until I found out that there was going to be a 30 minute delay.  UGH.  Metro wasn't going to be an option since the subway closes at midnight, and I didn't want to get stuck on the train on the way home.  Dad was nice to pick me up at baggage claim.  Whew, home sweet home!  In a rush to get back to normalcy, I have already unpacked and done a load of laundry.  I'm currently eating ice cream (there's not much else in my fridge) and catching up on the Real Housewives of Orange County.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New Orleans, Day 4

Today, they had a breakfast in the exhibit hall for vendors, so I zipped over to the convention center while my boss did some conference calls today.  Breakfast consisted of donuts and beignets and coffee.  I already had some oatmeal and fruit over at the hotel, so I didn't go all out.  I ate 2 of the beignets and saved one for my boss.
While the Dippin' Dots that I tried yesterday were horrible, the cookies 'n cream ones that I had today were much better.  I realized today that the colored ones were supposed to be some sort of sorbet kind, which explained the strange texture.  This whole time, I thought they were trying to pass yesterday's for ice cream. 
For dinner tonight, we went to Oceana and got some seafood.  My boss got the redfish and I got the fried shrimp platter.  The food was amazing and much better than yesterday's food!  We walked around the streets surrounding Bourbon Street, just to get a change of scenery and made it back to the hotel in time for NCIS.  Only one more episode of the season, ahhhhh!

Monday, May 6, 2013

New Orleans, Day 3

In contrast to yesterday and the day before, today's food report totally stinks.  I spent most of the day indoors, manning the booth.  That translates to convention center food.  Ugh, it was pretty gross.  I had a Papa John's cheese pizza for lunch because options were limited.  That I wolfed down and later regretted.  I texted the picture of the pizza to my boss who was at the booth so that she's get a head's up.  When we switched places, she said that she got the pizza, took two bites, and asked for a refund because it was so dry.  If I knew that I could return the food, I would have done the same thing!  $10 wasted.  Seriously, who messes up pizza?!  I'm going to be prepared with water and granola bars tomorrow for lunch.  No way in hell I'm eating convention food again, unless it's from Starbucks.
One of the vendors nearby was giving away Dippin' Dots.  I wanted to get a cup for myself since I had to watch like a gazillion people walk by with them.  The lady warned me that other people had told her that they were really sweet.  I had about half the cup and tossed the rest.  God awful.  Never again.  If I want ice cream, I'm going to get the real thing.  A vendor next to me got 2 helpings of the vanilla with Oreo one.  For a split second, I was going to try it too just to see if it was just as bad as the fruity one and ultimately decided against it.  One interesting thing from today was that I saw 2 vendors advertising sex toys.  I guess you can file that under "sexual dysfunction equipment" at this health conference.  Even if I had the guts to see what all the fuss was about, my boss is with me.  That'd be the most awkward thing ever!
Dino, the tour guide from yesterday, recommended a hole-in-the-wall place called Hobnobbers.  We didn't see it during the daylight hours, but I'm sure that if we did, we wouldn't have gone there for dinner tonight.  The place was a long bar and then a "restaurant" in the back.  People inside were smoking (can you still smoke indoors?  I thought that was illegal nowadays).  My boss looked at me and I figured we could give it a shot.  It WAS recommended by a local.  I got the crab cakes and my boss got the shrimp po' boy.  The food was a little greasy.  I would have taken a picture of my food but the place was so dark.  After dinner, we walked on Bourbon Street.  I was on a mission to get one of those alcoholic slushies, the Peach Bellini flavor.  The guy encouraged me to get a splash of rum with it for $1 extra (total $10).  We kept walking a few blocks until I had a panic moment where I thought I was going to be sick.  It must have been all the sub-par food that I had today.  Unfortunately, the restrooms were all for "customers" only.  We made a U-turn and started walking back to the hotel.  Fortunately, I didn't have a "moment" and the wave of nausea has passed.  I'm not sure what would be more awkward: throwing up in front of my boss or me talking to her about the sex toy booth in the exhibit hall.  I have one more night here before I got home...I gotta make this right tomorrow by getting a better dinner.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

New Orleans, Day 2

My boss wanted to go to church this morning, so I met up with her for breakfast after the service in the hotel.  I told my boss before I left for this trip that the only goal tha I had was to eat some beignets.  My boss went up to get a light jacket since it was breezy while I asked the hotel consierge this morning about where I could find beignets.  She was like "Gurrrrrl (pulls out a map and proceeds to draw the route on the map), Cafe De Monde."  The two of us set out on our walking excursion in search of this place and when we got there, there was quite a line.  Actually, there were 2 lines and after asking a grumpy looking balloon guy, I learned that one line was for sit in and another was for take out.  Either way, the lines were kinda long, but moving. After about a 30 minute wait in line, I got my 3 beignets and a bottle of water.  My boss got the same thing and we enjoyed our food outside while listening to a guy play on his sax.  The food was amazing, so I can see what all the fuss was about!
The "sit-in" line at Cafe Du Monde.
Now we had to walk off all the food that we ate so the two of us walked around the French Quarter and then decided to do a bus tour from 1-3 PM so that we could explore the rest of the city without having to walk the whole thing.  The tour was done through VIP City Tours, and I really enjoyed it.  I thought the tour guide named Dino (yes, like the Flintstones' pet dinosaur) was entertaining as well as knowledgeable.
St. Louis Cathedral
Beer steins that were attached to the ceiling of Pat O'Briens Bar.
Notice the X's that were leftover as a reminder of Hurricane Katrina.  The rescuers marked each house to let others know that the house was searched and on what date and if there were any bodies inside.  The Lower 9th Ward doesn't let any tour buses through that area anymore because they didn't want their misfortune to be seen as something to gawk at.  I saw some houses that were in pretty bad shape...I can't imagine what the Lower 9th Ward looked like.
St. Louis Cemetary #3: Notice the above ground tombs.  Families could purchase a family tomb so that the families could be buried together.  Cost: Approximately $50,000.
Families that couldn't afford a tomb could purchase a spot on the wall.  The tour guide mentioned a creepy fact.  Back in the day when yellow fever was a public health concern, some people died, but some people went into a coma.  At the time, you probably couldn't tell the difference between "dead" and "coma", so they buried comatose people without even knowing it...essentially burying people alive!  People would wake up and totally freak out.  To solve this from happening in the future, they tied a bell to the dead person's toe and sealed the wall.  If the bell rang, that was the cemetary keeper's sign to rescue the person in the tomb.  Now, that's a job that I wouldn't want to have!
Some guy in the tour group asked if someone was trying to get out of this tomb.  Har har.  Not funny!
The house where the first Real World: New Orleans season was filmed.
Lake Pontchartrain
After the tour, we grabbed a quick late lunch before getting candy for the exhibit and heading back to the hotel.  We had about an hour break and then it was time to head to the meeting location where we had our exhibit.  The exhibit hall had some food there to entice members: beef on a stick, chicken on a stick, mac and cheese balls, artichoke hearts, etc.  Many of the exhibitors had candy too.  There was a kids section that had hot dogs, mac and cheese and some huge cookies.  I went over to see if I could snag a cookie, but the lady was like "This is for kids only."  I wanted to be like "Look, lady.  We have 30 minutes left.  You want all this food to go to waste" but I decided to be polite and just walk away.  Fine.  I'll go enjoy some adult mac and cheese and some beignets for the second time today!  :D

Saturday, May 4, 2013

New Orleans, Day 1

I'm so glad that my flight wasn't until 11:45 AM because I definitely needed my sleep.  I'm also glad that I checked WMATA's site this morning to check on the subway schedules.  The station that's closest to my house was actually closed for track maintence so I had to go to the one that's closest to my parents house.  I still made it to the airport with 1.5 hours to spare. 

Once I got to New Orleans, I made a beeline for the nearest Subway and wolf down a roast beef sandwich since I wasn't sure when my next meal was going to be.  I met up with my boss at baggage claim and away we went!

We dumped our belongings at the hotel and then tried to figure out the shuttle system so that we'd know how to get to the convention center on Sunday.  That proved to be kinda difficult because first we had to find the hotel that was on the shuttle bus route (our hotel wasn't on the shuttle bus route) and then the hotel people were saying that the hotel pick up was somewhere else.  We decided to try another hotel and shuttle line.  Once we got on the bus and were at the convention center, then we had to find our booth and set up stuff so that we could spend more time on Sunday goofing off.  The guy at the convention center that helped us with the lead retreival system was cute.  I made a point to mention it.  My boss just laughed at me.  "Well, I gotta know your type!  Since he's from Maryland, you should mention all the nice restaurants where you are!"  I guess checking out cute guys can be a from of networking, right?

After that, it was time to go exploring a little bit.  We went down to the French Quarter and walked around a little bit.  Observations: a) there are a lot of smokers here.  b) this is the place to be if you like oysters. c) and alcohol. d) and strip bars.  It's a like a whole new world here!  My boss and I got dinner at Le Bayou and the food there was excellent.  My boss got the fried shrimp platter and I got the crab caesar salad.  I ate pretty much the whole thing, minus a few coutons.  We each got a hurricane, which to our surprise, came in a novelty cup, complete with beads.  I'm almost done with my drink and man, the alcohol combined with travelling and walking around, it's been a long day already!
My hurricane came in a convenient to-go cup, complete with beads.
The nice TV that I'll be enjoying NCIS on Tuesday night after exhibiting at the conference.
My ginormous room.  I always think it's funny when I get a room with a king bed.  I feels weird to have that much room since I sleep on a full bed at home.
My crab caesar salad.  Yum!
The view from dinner.  It was nice to get a balcony seat because it was like you could enjoy your food with entertainment below (I love to people watch!).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Clean Up Day

Clean Up Day: My office will be doing a renovation in the near future, so we've been encouraged to recycle and get rid of as much stuff as we can to make the move easier.  The idea is that the main building will be gutted.  Any essential personnel like Human Resources and Finance will move to our smaller building and take over our desks.  Everyone else will work from home for 4-6 months while the renovation is happening (myself included).  Once the building is done, we will all be in one space instead of the two we're in now.  Anyway, we had large trash bins filled to the brim of papers and binders of stuff that we were no longer thought was useful.  I recycled a bunch of stuff that my previous boss left for me when she went to another organization.  My office is definitely feeling a little sparse.  I went across the street, and there were definitely a lot more bins and a lot more trash.  I shamelessly did a little dumpster diving and found some bubble wrap, reusable bags for grocery shopping and a water bottle.  I can use all of these things, so no point in letting it go to waste!  I probably could have found some more useful things, but I was going to lunch with a former co-worker, Morgan.

Blast from the Past: During the clean up, I found a pad of paper that had my handwriting as well as Meg and Page's handwriting.  After scanning the page, I realized that it was a list of funny things that we said during our trip to OBX in 2007. I laughed out loud when I read some of these. Good thing my office mate isn't here today. Sigh, good times!

Busted: After lunch, I came home since the whole point of today was to do the clean up.  Plus, I wanted to pack.  My boss called me at one point to check in.  "What side of the street are you on?"  Uh oh.  Busted.  "Umm, I'm at home since I finished cleaning up."  "Oh!  No problem, I wanted you to check on something for me but I can ask someone else to do it on Monday.  Have a safe flight!"  I'll be seeing her tomorrow when we go to New Orleans for a meeting.  
Family Time: Julie is home for the weekend, but since I'm leaving tomorrow, tonight was the only time that we could hang out.  I ordered pizza and got Silver Linings Playbook from Redbox.  The movie was cute (hello, Bradley Cooper), but not something that I would buy and watch over and over.