My first of several posts detailing my amazing trip to Vegas at the end of April!
The Main Hotel Lobby
I mentioned in my last post how I just happened to be in the studio audience at The Talk in February and was given a two night stay at The Mirage along with two tickets to the Beatle’s LOVE Cirque du Soliel show! So my best friend since 3rd grade and I decided that since we were going to fly out that we might as well make a vacation of it and stay another two nights. The first two nights we spent at The Golden Nugget. In many ways I liked The Golden Nugget better than The Mirage! Our room (and view) was much nicer. The air conditioner worked better there as well. Also the staff we encountered overall was friendlier there too.
The fabulous view from our room!
We flew bright and early Monday morning so that we’d have the entire day ahead of us (or half a day by the time we got to the hotel). Our flight on Jet Blue was very nice with us even arriving 20 minutes sooner than expected. After we grabbed a shuttle to our hotel and proceeded to check in, I got to chatting with a manager as we had been rudely directed by the desk attendant to the computer system to register. We were directed by the computer back to the desk to finish checking in as the computer was out of room keys. The manager was very nice and I told him that not only was it my first time to Vegas as an adult (I had been when I was 10 with my family), but that it was my first trip since I had learned how to walk all over again. He ended up upgrading our room to a Gold Tower accessible room! It was after noon by the time we got us (and our luggage) up to our room.
The pool and shark tank at night.
We decided to have lunch in the 24 hours cafe after which we made a beeline for the pool! It was my first time swimming in more than 5 years although I used to spend much of the summer in the pool as a child/teen. The huge waterslide was definitely a positive in the decision to stay at The Golden Nugget as I knew that The Mirage didn’t have a waterslide or attraction like that at their pool. And to make their waterslide even more unique, just before the slide exits into the pool it goes through the shark tank that sits in the center of the main pool.
The water slide at night.
We probably went on the slide a half a dozen or so times (each) before we decided that we were done. After resting and freshing up we headed down to the Grotto restaurant in the hotel for a late dinner before heading outside to walk along Fremont Street. The major attraction along Fremont Street is not much to look at during the day, but at night when the sun goes down and they turn the lights on it is quite a sight. Over head for a couple city blocks is a lattice work “ceiling” that has millions of lights. It works like an enormas movie screen. Every time a new song or video started most people (including us) stopped walking and stood still staring up watching the pictures move over head.
Nighttime on Fremont Street
Outside at night is brighter at night than it is during the day! Much brighter, which makes it very difficult to tell just how late it is! Yes, I realize they do that on purpose. Our second day was a lot like our first, although we slept in. We decided to try the buffet at The Golden Nugget for a later lunch. It was okay. We both mainly took one or two bites of a LOT of different things and I had fun taking photos of it with her iphone. We then spent a few hours hanging out at the pool, in the pool, on the slide, and in the hot tub before returning to our room to rest. Like the first night we went to Grotto for dinner.
Our pizza dinner Tuesday night although we had the same Monday night as well. We had a lovely view of the pool area!
Afterwards we spend a couple hours in the casino….Want to know how we did? Well, you’ll just have to wait for my bext post to find out how much we actually spent and how much we won!
And I’m not done with my travels just yet, my best friend who went on this trip with me is graduating from medical school in a couple weeks so I’m heading to San Francisco! Since I have family there I’ll also have the chance to spend some time with my aunt, uncles, and cousins. For someone who hasn’t been able to travel in WAY too long, I’m certainly getting the opportunity to do a few things in a short period of time!
Have you been to Vegas? I’d love to hear about what you did while there!
I know its been way too long since I lasted posted an update. Fortunately, I’ve been busy doing many things which is why I haven’t been posting as regularly. However I really am going to try to post more consistently. After my sister and I attended a taping of CBS’ The Talk, I went back on their website to try to sign up for double taping tickets which always seem to fill up first. Luckily, I was able tto snag a pair of tickets for a double taping the week of Valentine’s Day. I don’t know if you’ve been to a tv show taping before, but tthey rarely post who the guests will be more than a few days in advance.
Once I had confirmed our seats for the show the next day, I decided to peek to see who the celebrity guest would be for the first taping since it is impossible to find out who the second taping’s guest is. I could NOT believe it when I read who would be there the very next day. She is and has always been (and probably always be) my most favorite actress EVER! And she had only been on The Talk once before. I was pretty sure she was there to promote the newest children’s book she co-wrote with her daughter. Anyone have a guess who I’m referring to?
None other than the incredible Dame Julie Andrews Edwards!!! It was as if I had handpicked the celebrity myself! I had the opportunity to see her at Disneyland about 8 years ago when they re-dedicated a carousal horse to her. And my sister and I actually had the chance to meet her a few weeks after she was at Disneyland at the annual Festival of Books (which at the time was held at UCLA, but since is held at USC)!! Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take a photo with her. Ms. Julie Andrews Edwards was promoting her memoir, Home, along with her new children’s book which she read (and I video taped) at the Target Children’s stage. We also were able to listen to her recount several stories from her youth which she wrote about in her memior. Afterwards, there was the opportunity to purcahse her memior and have it signed (which I of course did)! I even wrote her a letter which I was able to get to her, though sadly I never received any sort of response (not even a form letter).
Anyways, back to the week of Valentine’s Day this year which we were able to not only see Ms. Julie Andrews Edwards, but every one in the audience were treated to a whole bunch of nice goodies just for being their that day! I’vd watched The Talk enough to know that whenever they would show various items or gift ideas that the audience would also be leaving with those items. But this was the first time something like that had happened to me (with such an expensive set of gifts).
During the commercial break just before that segment, it was interseting to see who effient everyone is at getting the set quickly changed around! I find that in and of itself very iteresting. They hung red velvet drapes and brought out five tables. From all the items on the tables we each received, a silver picture frame and a decoritively topped silver candle (retailing for $80 and $60 respectively), a set of four crystal wine glasses with matching decanter, and the following gift certificates in liew of receving random items that we may or may not like. First we received a $100 certificate for a site that sells truffle oils and other fancy olive oils (I get that they were being ‘cute’ by having mushroom truffles instead of the more typical for Valentine’s Day chocolate truffles), $100 for a site that sells ladies undergarments, and a $155 certificate for a site that sells jewelry along with other various accessories.
Then they went to commercial break. Now I had seen segments similar to this one previously and so I was pretty sure that there would be one more gift. And when they said that Valentine’s Day wasn’t complete without a getaway I became bery excited! The only thing is that I would NEVER have thought of the trip we each were given. Any guesses of where the trip was to?
We each were given a certificate good for TWO nights at The Mirage along with TWO tickets for their Cirque du Soliel Beatles LOVE show! OMGoodness!!! WOW that show as soooo incredibly amazing! I was NOT at all excited about the prospect of a Las Vegas trip until I started looking into it. Since my sister wanted to take her best friend for her trip, I dedided to do the same. Since my bff and I both could REALLY use a vacation, we decided that we’d fly it would make much more sense to also stay an additional two nights. We choose the four star Golden Nugget hotel since she wanted to go to the Fremont Street Experience. I also couldn’t help but be drawn to the pool area. Relatively recently redone, the Golden Nugget actually as a large aquarium in the center of the main pool that has sharks in it! They also have a waterslide that actually goes THROUGH the shark tank near the end of the slide!
That waterslide was sooooo much fun!! It had been well over six years since I had last been in a pool and ten plus years since I had been on a waterslide. Once we had checked it, had lunch, settled into our room we made a beeline straight for the pool! We stayed for a total of 5 days and 4 nights. While I would have loved for our trip to have been longer, it definitely felt like a good amount of time. I am very glad we choose to stay in two very different parrts of Vegas, it was almsot like having two mini vacations back to back. The whole Vegas trip wasn’t even the laslt of the goodies we were given. We also each received her and her daughter Emma’s newest children’s book. All this was just for the first taping.
The second taping aired the following week on President’s Day and had Jenny McCarthy. During one of her segments, Ms. Jenny McCarthy all of a sudden started sounding like an infomercial. I turned to my sister and said I’ll bet we get whatever she ends up talking about. And sure enough I was corrent! We each also received the only FDA approved for home use depilatory (hair removal) laser, the Tria system. While it won’t get rid of 100% of unwanted hair with continued use, it should reduce the amount of hair by up to 70-90%! Unfortunately the Tria system can ONLY be used by those with fair, light, or medium skin along with dark hair only otherwise burns can result. I haven’t tried mine out yet, but will reveiw it once I have tried it and throughout the directed course of self treatment. The retail price for the model we received is approximately an astonishing $450! Would this be something you’d try? I’d love to hear what you think and if you’ve ever tried the Tria or one of the other depilatory at home devices?
So this post has now become very long, yet there is still sooo very much to tell you! I guess I’ll just have to post again soon tell ing you even more about my very first adventure since learning how to walk all over again (for *hopefully* the last time)!
Review: Starlooks Starbox March
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I just love Starlooks Starbox and March’s box is no exception! This month we received 3 items (always full sizes) and a sample of soon to be launched product! The “theme” for March is Blue and so we of course received one blue product. But blue is not very specific and could mean a million shades so without further ado, the March edition of Starlooks Starbox.
First item listed on the card is one of their ultra moisturizing lipsticks this time in the shade Flutter which is a reddish-copper shade with golden shimmer. When I first pulled it out and saw the color in the tube I was disappointed because I thought that in the tube it looked a bit like Masquerade that we received in October’s Starbox.
Once I actually swatched it, I completely made a reversal in thinking and now LOVE it. I don’t own any other lipstick that is anything close to this shade and honestly, I wouldn’t have picked it up for myself on my own. I saw other reviews saying that this shade is too similar to other shades we’ve received in the past and so I will be posting a follow up review with swatches of ALL the shades of lipstick and tendergloss lippies very soon. Unlike the other lipsticks I have from Starlooks, Flutter has an almost matte feel to the base with a golden sheen for sparkle on top. But it isn’t shiny per se, if that makes any sense.
The next item is the Blue item, but it is a very dark navy blue eyeshadow called Disarray. The first thing I noticed is the difference in packaging from the single shadows in boxes last summer. On the one hand I liked the older packaging better because of the hidden mini-applicator and mirror for touch ups on the go. BUT the new packaging is most definitely more sleek looking with the entire case being clear (instead of black), but no applicator or mirror of any kind are included. The casing matches the blush case we received in January’s box.
The color of the shadow itself is very pretty. I’ve read several reviews of what people have thought of this box and heard all sorts of descriptions for this shade, but not one that I came across mentioned that there is a purple sheen to this shadow giving it another layer of depth that changes based on the light. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a navy blue eyeshadow before and if I’d had received this a year ago or even last fall I’m pretty sure I would have been more intimidated by it. Below you can see swatches of both the lipstick and eyeshadow. It doesn’t look like the camera picked up the purple sheen that this shadow has, but I did my best to try to capture it.
Now I highly doubt I’d use this as an all over lid color, but I am envisioning a beautiful purple smokey eye with this as the crease color because of the purple notes in it. This shade, like the lipstick has a matte base with sparkle added. At least in my pot, I do not see any larger pieces, but more of a subtle shimmery sheen.
The third item is the long awaited mascara as no cosmetics line can be complete without (at least) one! This jet black legthening mascara comes beautifully packaged in a massive (and heavy) sleek black tube with a huge ‘tree’ like brush at the end. This fantastic formula applies easily without clumps and easily lasts all day without flaking off. It is so smooth and it dries very quickly.
By the time you finish applying to your second eye the first one is dry! And you can just layer coats of it until you get your desired look. I have to say that Starlooks’ very first mascara is definitely a success and I can wait to see what they come out with next!
The last item included is a little sample of their sugar lip scrub. The little container is so cute and I can easily see reusing it (once I use up the scrub) for my travel/purse makeup kit. This scrub smells amazing! Lip scrubs are perfect for exfoilating lips before applying lip product and especially helpful to use before applying a stain which (at least on me) tends to show every dry chapped spot on my lips. I look forward to seeing when this product actually launches! For now you can ONLY try it out with a purchase of the March Starbox which you can find on the Past Starbox page or by clicking (HERE).
As always a little quartz crystal is included in the box. I do like the idea of collecting them in a jar to use for a makeup brush holder, but don’t like just how long that will take with the teeny tiny sized ones I’ve been getting lately. Another idea is to wire wrap them, I’ve played around with wire wrapping a little bit, but may just have to experiment a bit more in the not too distant future.
I gave this Starbox 4.5 out of 5 stars because I’m just not sure how much use the lovely navy blue eyeshadow will get. I’ve already worn the lipstick a bunch of times and wear mascara quite frequently. I wish they would include a look guide in each box, like what was included in February’s special Lauren Clark box.
If you would like to subscribe to Starlooks Starbox you can do so by clicking (HERE). IF you do decide to join PLEASE consider mentioning me, Jaclyn Cotton, or my blog Jaclyn’s Musings as your referral. I would so greatly appreciate it. While it is too late to subscribe for the April box, you CAN subscribe anytime from now until May 1st for the May box. And you can always choose to purcahse a past box for $25 (only $10 more than originally and you’ll know exactly what is in it!).
What do you think of this March’s box?
Review: Starlooks’ Starbox February Birthday Box 2013
Ratting: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me! Well you know how the rest goes! My birthday is in February which meant that I’d be receiving the special Starlooks’ Birthday Starbox! I had looked up what those who received birthday boxes in the fall which the program started and loved that there was a matching lipstick and lipliner along with a body glitter and a hand written note from Starlooks.
I hadn’t looked up if the box contents had changed as I’d thought they’d wait until the fall to chance it when is when the birthday box program first began. In hindsight I understand that they changed the contents based on an item we’d be receiving in February. So without further ado my February Birthday Starbox. The first item is a kohl eyeliner in Onyx (black). It is nice, it has very good pigmentation, little drag, and is very smooth. But it isn’t special the way their Diamondline pencils are! It is a good basic black eyeliner. but is probably not something I’d purchase.
Just like in last fall’s box, I received a matching lipstick and lipliner, but unlike last year’s stunning coraly-pink shade, I received the shade called Kinky which is a BRIGHT red. *sigh* I really don’t like bright reds [on me that is]. They make me feel like an old lady and just don’t look very good on me. I’ve noticed that lately nearly every service has sent out a red lip product. Yet I have not ONCE seen a berry or wine shade of lip product. That said I am very appreciative that Starlooks cares enough to send out birthday boxes! I wish there was a way to have ranked a few lip colors so that each person could receive a shade that they are more interested in trying. Especially since Starlooks has already sent out a reddish shade, back in October’s box in the shade known as Masquarade.
Since I first opened the box, I’ve slowly become much more fond of the Kinky lipstick. What I do is I put a thin coat followed by a coat of the tendergloss lipstick in Nude that I received in the November Starbox. I wasn’t super fond of that lipstcik either as I prefer mine to be the pink-berry-wine shades. Nevertheless, I decided to try mixing the to lipsticks and voila! I found a custom shade that I am enjoying! I highly recommend trying to mix any lip colors that are out of your comfort zone to either tone down (or up) the shade based on your own personal preference.
If receiving 3-4 FULL sized cosmetic items (although frequently more items are included as bonuses) each month sounds interesting to you then you should check out Starlooks’ Starbox! For $16.98 (includes $1.98 shipping) you’ll receive extremely good quality products and be introduced to a variety of products in the process. Plus customer service is amazing! And its so easy to get in touch (and receive a response) from the founder and creator of Starlooks Marci Lieberman personally!
Staring as of January 2013, there will be a three month rotation of Neutrals, Mixed Neutrals/Bold, and Bold products with January being Mixed. That means the next month you can subscribe in time for is April which will be Mixed Neutrals/Bold. If you sign up after the first of the month, then you won’t receive your first box until the following month. Also Starbox is the ONLY subscription that I know of that sends you a birthday box during your birth month for no additional charge. Since February is my birth month, I have already received mine and will be posting my review shortly! If you DO decide to subscribe, PLEASE mention me, Jaclyn Cotton or my blog Jaclyn’s Musings where it asks about who referred you. I’d really apprecaite it!
Review: Nailuv at Home Gel Polish System
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Just before the holidays, I got the chance to try out an at home gel polish kit from Nailuv. I was attracted to Nailuv because not only do they sell UV lamps, but also LED ones and because they are based in my relative vacinity in Southern California. I find supporting local, small, and up and coming busniesses attractive. I was sent their intro kit which includes everything needed to get started a 4 watt LED lamp, bonder, base/top coat, nail polish remover, nail polish cleaner, cuticle pusher, nail file, and one polish in homebody not (bright red).
The red lamp is heart shaped with the LEDs glowing bluish-purple when turned on. The only thing that would have made it more convinent would be for the lamp to include two timed settings in 30 and 45 seconds which is the lenght of time needed for the various coats. Also included in the box are a set of well written and easy to follow instructions. The first time I tried I read the direcitons the process seemed daunting, but it really wasn’t that bad. And while it IS necessary to “bake” the nails after each coat (except for the inital bonder layer which quickly air dries), it was amazing that my nails were actually HARD afterwards and not that ‘soft’ dry regularly polished nails are for up to several hours afterwards.
I have a knack of always being able to mess up at least one nail when I use ‘regular’ polish, but was thrilled when ALL my nails came out smooth without having to redo that one (or two) nail(s) several times. While a bright red polish was included in the box, Nailuv has many shades to choose from also including several glitters. But I found the glitters to have a very sheer base and work better over another shade. Even though the directions say to apply thin coats, I, of course, applied a WAY too thick coat that first time that resulted in a very uneven coating that was visably thicker in some areas than others.
I am loving how smooth and shiny my nails look with gel polish compared to “regular” non-gel polish. And it lasts significantly longer without chipping than my non-gel polish ever did. I am looking forward to experimenting with designs and embellishments. While I did use to enjoy having my nails done at a salon, I haven’t had been in well over 5 years, in part due to my health and also as there have been rising concerns (and articles) about unsanitary practices leading to infections. I’ve had more infections (and potentially deadly serious ones) than any family should have and so I’d much prefer to indulge in painting my nails from the comfort (and safety) of my home.
I gave this at home gel polish system 4 stars because in many ways this doesn’t cut down on the time needed to do a self manicure. That is mainly from the sheer number of steps one must go through. According to the very nicely detailed instructions, one should scuff up her nails with the side of a nail file (and always go in just one direction and not back and forth like a saw), then wash her hands to get rid of dust, then apply a thin coating of the bonder and allow it to (air) dry for about 30 seconds, then its time to apply the first layer of the base/top coat and “bake” it under the lamp for 45 seconds. Afterwards comes the most fun part which is to apply (a thin layer of) the actual nail polish followed by 30 seconds under the LED lights. Repeat until desired sheer or opaque-ness pausing to let each thin coat harden under the lights. Follow up with another layer of the base/top coat for 45 seconds. The last thing is the use just a tiny bit of the included cleanser to remove the oiliness from ones nails. But the advantage is once I completed this process. my nails were completely harden solving my problem of smudging some of my nails within minutes up to a couple hours of finishing painting my nails.
You can purchase a starter kit from Nailuv for $125 (HERE) or look for Nailuv on daily deal sites like Coterie.com or Hautelook.com.
*Disclaimer: The product mentioned in this review was sent to me by the company or PR representative in exchange for my honest review. Please see my disclaimer for more information. The link included above for Hautelook is a referral link*