Random Monday Post: Want!

 

So many feels. Now I want puppies again… but Tyler is probably going to kill me.

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Hotel Tonight: I am obsessed with this last minute hotel booking app

I am normally not one to shameless promote a product especially for free, and since I never get paid for these kinds of things, you can bet your bottom dollars that if I am writing a blog about this, it’s because of sheer positive experience from using the app and I want to spread the gospel.

My best friend and I have been doing quite a bit of traveling back and forth between the Bay Area and Sacramento quite frequently due to work. Sometimes we have both have back to back meetings in one city of the next, so was just easier to stay out at the Bay overnight and get to our early meetings next day without having to drive all the way back to Sacramento.  We usually try to plan our meetings together so we can go to the city together and hang out in the same hotel room together. It’s a lot like spending the night at your friend’s house but grown up style. I guess that’s the perk of being relatively independent and having somewhat seniority and flexibility with our work (she’s an ED and I am a CD).  My BFF and I have been booking traditionally with sites like Kayak, Priceline, and Hotel.com. I found out about this new app call Hotel Tonight through a friend almost a year ago, actually maybe even longer than that — downloaded it but never booked through them, finally I wanted to try it out. Pretty much what it does is give you last minute hotel deals in your city of your choice. So if you’re in say, San Francisco, last minute trip, during a weekday, and have absolute no preference on where you stay as long it isn’t a shit hole (meaning 3 stars and above, checked out and lived in by real people, have good insider intel about the hotel, not just a shitty picture, etc), you’ll love the app.

First time signup: $25 0ff  for Hotel Tonight code: KLAU59

Normally we would stay at a Kimpton, Mariott or Hilton because we want to accumulate points or what not, but the rooms in a big city like San Francisco gets up to $300 a night easy on a last minute weeknight and sometimes it’s hard to justify that even on one’s expense reports, especially if you just walk up to the place and book it last minute.  The traditional hotel booking system punishes the user for booking last minute deals. On Hotel Tonight, it’s the opposite.  It actually rewards the user for booking last minute. 

Last week we stayed at the Petite Auberge near Union Square.  It was an awesome experience.  If it wasn’t for Hotel Tonight, we wouldn’t have discovered this awesome French style B&B that offered free breakfast, and $30 Valet Parking, which is UNHEARD of in the city.  The rooms were super cute, bedding was luxurious, and no funny smells. The normal rate of valet parking in the city is anywhere between $45-$60.  The best part of all this was the rooms were a little more than $120 a night on Hotel tonight, and if I had booked it on Priceline or something like that, it would have been closer to $200.  The fact it has awesome breakfast for free till 10 on the weekdays is even more amazing. Did I mention we have a fireplace in every single room? It was pretty awesome.  Pics below!

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The hotel room! It might not be the best lighting, but the room is SUPER cute and quaint. The fireplace turns on with a switch on the wall!!!!

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Breakfast buffet – Frittata and sausages

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Hotel Auberge had super cute patio, too bad it was a bit too nippy to stay outside, but the inside area was just as cute.

I highly recommend the app if you’re looking to book last minute deals! I had such an awesome experience, and this whole experimenting with different hotels and being open to new places and adventurous was definitely one of the highlights of rolling the dice with this.  And if you want $25 off on your first hotel booking through the app, here’s the code: KLAU59, so you can enjoy your hotel tonight! (see what I did there, so clever, har har har… ok I am done).

Hotel Tonight app discount code for $25 off: KLAU59
(new sign-ups only)

 

 

 

 

My review on American Giant’s “best sweatshirt ever made” + 15% off code

American Giant, Snapfront sweatshirt $79Herald as the “best hoodie/sweatshirt ever made” or if you prefer, “the greatest hoodie known to man”, the internet has catapulted American Giant, a proud everything-made-in-the-USA apparel company into something of an internet super-stardom.  Demands begin pouring in and within days of when Slate first published an article about the product in 2012, their inventory was completely depleted. It’s design and production methodology has been compared to the likes of Apple, and when production was so far behind the demand, that customers had to wait months for the sweaters to go back in stock.  So what is this internet phenomenon that has been dubbed the “best hoodie ever made”?  A company that cut-out the middleman altogether, wanted to make quality products without the ridiculous high price tags. With its fancy preshrink 12.4 oz cotton and clever stitching aside, the price tag of the sweater still costs a pretty penny ($89).  Hefty enough to make me pause a little and think about when’s the last time I paid that much for a piece of clothing… wait, nevermind.

So what makes the American Giant sweater so unique that it can claim the title for “World’s Best Hoodie”?  After reading a plethora of high-praising reviews, as an educated, single, working twenty-something female consumer with a pretty bad case of spending problem, I was hooked and I wanted to find out more.  After doing a little bit of research, and the internet has no shortage of info about this company — this company and it’s hero product, the heavyweight hoodie had been featured in media outlets such as Slate, Wired, Business Insider and even Bloomberg did a featurette. The product itself is something a cross between really nice cotton, clever stitching, and really great cuts — all of which are rare for regular sweaters.  I’ve dabbled in high-end stuff here and there as splurges to myself, but paying $90 for a sweatshirt? Well there’s a first time for everything.  It was a little hard because most of the high-price ticket items I’ve ever spent were designer leather goods, never a sweatshirt. The look of the product didn’t necessary appealed me, but from what I have read from reviews is that the sweatshirt seems to something that you can really “feel” the difference in. And I like good feelers 🙂 However, when I think of a hoodie/sweater, I think of Target or Walmart sweaters, $15 a pop at most, something one would wear on a lazy Sunday to lounge in and to hide that bloated belly during that time of the month or burrito baby, not this fanciness.

So today I placed my order on one of their newer designs, the baseball jacket and since it comes with free shipping and I found out that I can get 15% off, I thought hey why the heck not.  I picked this one because I can actually wear this to work and what not.

If you’re interested in this product and would also like to get 15% off, here is the coupon/link or just enter the code below to order from the American Giant website.

American Giant 15% off code:

9LWD-PRFP-4T99-CTT1

Note: This is not a paid advertisement nor is this my attempt at an “advertorial” whatever you call it.  I am using my own money to do this.   However, I am pretty excited about this purchase though, I’ll write a follow-up post once I received and can wear the product.

Update #1:  After placing an order for the sweatshirt, I quickly got my order within the week, even with the free shipping.   Upon unboxing the package, the well-packed sweatshirt looked very close to the product advertised on the website.  I quickly tried the sweater on and ran to the nearest mirror.  The first comfort reaction to the sweatshirt is that it’s actually very stiff.  This is no ordinary cotton blend sweaters that I am use to — in fact it almost feels like a well-worn version of a military jacket.  

The cut is flattering despite my 5’3 slightly overweight figure, and the sleeves fit my short stubby arms no problem.   The stitching and workmanship on the sweater is good, but not as impressive as some of the other folks have claimed online.   I’ve purchased other apparels at similar price with more impressive results to show for.    So far, I do enjoy the sweater — maybe because I am short and stubby (sorry for the reiterations), but it does crease quite a bit.  I had expected the sweater to be softer, so maybe with a few extra washes will help with breaking it in.  In terms of the styling, it’s definitely versatile and timeless enough to withstand the trends of fashion.  

At the end of the day, the product was made in the USA, and I do feel a bit better about my purchase because of that.  However. would I recommend the “World’s Best Hoodie” to my readers on WordPress? Only if you got a few extra Andrew Jacksons to burn and the bragging right to owning the most ridiculous and expensive sweatshirt ever.  

Update #2: I recently got their Essential Full Zip because I wanted something lighter/more accessible/softer, and OMG, it’s the best thing ever. Even at $79 a pop + the discount, it’s totally worth it.  Much better than the original jacket I had purchased last year (it was too stiff and thick, good for really cold weather but not as versatile as a result).  This is made of super fine/soft cotton — it’s one of those jackets that feels like you’ve worn for 20 years yet still in excellent condition.  Highly recommend if you are going to buy one to try American Giant!  

Tips: professional profile photos for LinkedIn and Facebook etc

Recently I had my dear friend Christina from Lulu Photography do my professional headshot for my online social media profiles. We got some good photos, but I am having trouble picking out a fav. Believe it or not, I actually did some serious googling about what kind of clothes to wear and poses etc… And here are some of the tips I have come across that I thought was helpful:

  • Stay away from clothing colors that are too close to your natural skin tone.
  • Avoid clothing with bold patterns. Seems obvious but people often forget that the simplest things in photos can distract attention. Also, patterns can date a photo.
  • Collared, round, scope and V necks are usually safe bets.
  • Keep jewelry to minimal and simple, the photo is about you, not your accessories.
  • Bright color clothing are generally okay for ladies, but guys would look better in subtle hues.
  • When in doubt, contrast light with darker colors, and know what colors compliments your skin tone.  For example, if you have light hair and light colored eyes, go with lighter color clothing.  If you have olive/darker complexion, clothing in bold colors will compliment you better than pale color options.  In general, the best colors are medium shades of blue, gray, red and green.
  • Smile and show a little teeth!
  • When it comes to the background, don’t choose anything busy, and also try to avoid the typical elementary school photo background. It’s the 21st century folks, you can get creative with some textures backdrops!
  • Change outfits. Variety in the portraits will allow you to use them for different purposes. For example, for my Facebook page, I will use a more light-hearted, less serious looking photo, versus for my LinkedIn profile, I will want a photo with a nice suit jacket and less smiley photo.
  • Try different angles, you never know certain angles can be surprisingly flattering.
  • Guys: don’t forget to groom!
  • Ladies: go easy on the makeup. Just because you’re getting your professional portrait done, doesn’t mean you should go crazy on the makeup. As a professional makeup artist, I actually recommend my clients to get their makeup as close to their natural every day wear makeup as possible, as these portraits are meant to look like the everyday you, not the glamour shot version!
  • If possible, get a blow-out before having your photos taken.  Having a professional tame those crazy strays while keeping your hair on point will ensure your photos are the best reflections of you, without overdoing it.

Do you have some tips for head shots that you’d like to share? Send them my way.

What do you think of my headshots?

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In defense of the new TLC show, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”

Today was my first time sitting down to watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo show on TLC. It also happens to be its marathon.  I am not a typical viewer… sometimes I can go on days without turning the TV on, and today was one of those days where I just turned into a vegetable in front of the tube and sat through 3.5 hours of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.  After a long day of cleaning 3 bathrooms, vacuuming a 5 bdrm house, 4 loads of laundry, and cooked a meal for 4, I was ready to relax.  I don’t normally follow reality TV, with the exception of Real House Wives of Beverly Hills. Other than that, the only stuff I enjoy on TV are Game of Thrones and Grey’s Anatomy. That’s about as much TV I’ll ever watch.  But today, after hearing all the buzz on the internet about this crazy new show, I had to give it an honest try.  I’ve heard people blast about June, who is the mother of pageant child Honey Boo Boo (Alana) about her controversial parenting methods such as giving the kid “go-go juice” before a pageant to get her pumped up.  I just sat through 3 and half episodes of that, and I didn’t see the go-go juice make a single appearance.

In the episode where the family goes to the water park sans Sugar Bear, June took to the water slides herself. Maybe it’s something hilarious about fat people going down a gigantic tube slide, or the fact that June herself is hilarious and fully aware but at the same time nonchalant about what other people thinks ▬ I was dying of laughter for good two solid minutes.  It’s been GIFed by the internet, so you know it’s funny.

In another episode where June serves the family “sketti”, which is pretty much the redneck version of spaghetti ▬ the sauce’s main ingredients are butter (or in June’s case, I Can’t Believe its Not Butter), ketchup, and ground beef.  At first I was grossed out by the fact that it was just ketchup and margarine for the sauce (I am a cook, so that instantly hit a wrong note with me), but with a little bit of thought after viewing that episode, I am actually curious to try as to what that would taste like, maybe just for kicks.   In a different episode, where the family goes out to find a new wig for Honey Boo Boo so that it might help her win a bigger title, the whole family decided to try on different kinds of wigs while they were there.  When June puts on a long blond wig, Sugar Bear expresses that he had gotten aroused seeing his beloved girlfriend of 8years looking so “smexy”, I couldn’t stop laughing again. Partially due to the fact that Sugar Bear himself is probably hands down my favorite character from the series (just watch the way he talks, and how he handles himself, you’ll see why), and the fact that he has so much love for June despite what most of the audiences and other people sees her.  This is genuine love, and that’s hard to find nowadays in the vain reality television world full of faux tans, big boobs, nose jobs and botox.  Sugar Bear is probably the most down to earth, sweetest and genuine character in reality television. Now I sound like I have a secret crush on the guy! LOL!

Go-go juice and other crazy antics aside, June’s method is  unconventional when it comes to raising Alana and her 3 sisters.  But with all judgement aside, after watching the entire family from an unbiased point of view, I actually think June is an excellent mother, and Sugar Bear is also an awesome father with permanent look of having a dip in his lip. Albeit they might be an unconventional redneck family that you’ll have a hard time understanding if it wasn’t for the subtitles, but this family is definitely worth watching, and there are lessons to be learned here while getting shamelessly entertained.

This is my new ring tone by the way:

Really cool/random/funky/weird iPhone accessories from China

Every now and then I’ll go on China’s version of eBay, TaoBao.com where I peruse through a variety of the latest designer knock-offs and random trendy knick-knacks.  I happened across some really funky, creative and fun iPhone accessories that I wish they sell here in the States. Since everything is already MADE in China, I just wish someone would start wholesaling them here!

I hope you enjoy my little collection of random iPhone accessories.

App icon freezer magnets! How cool is it to have these on your fridge!

iphone 4 silicone titty cases... I am sure the nude color one is a real hit with guys who have a thing for boobs

Isn't this just hilarious? They even advertise it as the best tool to reduce cell phone radiations... Apparently Craig Daniel have used this quirky iphone headphone/phone handle...

Old school 80's mobile phone case for the iphone. How OG is this?? I remember my dad had one of the original Motorola ones and they were HEAVY! This looks a lot lighter. Definitely brings back nostalgia...

Cassette tape iphone 4 case... couldn't even tell its an iphone until you see the buttons on the side. So retro and fun!

The super blinged out iphone case with rhinestone peacock. This one is for the ladies... and for about 140rmb (<$20), this is a steal! Just look at the detail!

Is that a gameboy? No! It's an iphone! You can actually buy these silicone or hard cases on eBay, but they were definitely first introduced in China. I actually have the white one 🙂

My addiction to shoes story – and part of my shoe collection

Addiction comes in many forms, and mine happens to be shoes.  At one point in my life, I remember losing count after 200 pairs of shoes.  I don’t have that many pairs anymore, but I definitely still have a lot. I try not to count them anymore ― it gets depressing.   I started out buying just about anything and everything I liked that was cheap.   It didn’t help that I go to China every year and THE thing to do there is shopping.  Shoes were so cheap in China; I can get something cute for $4, or spend about $10 for a really nice pair. These annual pilgrimage to my motherland not only landed me in excess of 200 pairs, it was becoming an organizational problem: I didn’t have anywhere to put them. It also didn’t help that I wasn’t the only shoe nut in our family.  My sister started to catch shoe fever around the same time, and was hauling them in by the dozens every time she went back to China.  Between the two of us, these piles of shoes were becoming an accumulating mess that was hard to look at.  So, we had to be creative.  We knew we couldn’t find shoe racks big enough that would fit the amount of shoes that we have, so we went to Home Depot, bought some pre-cut wood panels, and made ourselves a giant shoe rack.

This rack’s shoes are 90% mine.  We have another rack half this size that I did not photograph that is mostly my sister’s.  I picked a few pair out of the rack to talk a little about them… Nothing that I wear regularly because they’re too beat-up to be photographed 😛

In the past few years, I have finally started to taper off these shoe buying frenzies. It could be two things: I have finally learned the lesson that quality is always better than quantity, or maybe I am still buying the same amount of shoes, but just paying more for each pair, so I think I am buying less but I am really not.  I am not sure, but I hope it’s not the latter.

The pair that started it all ― my favorite and oldest (5yr old) pair of Cole Haans.  They were my first pair of “nice” shoes.  For $300, they have stood the test of time and style.  I always loved them because they’re the only brand that have Nike Air technology incorporated into the soles!

My first pair of "nice" shoe, got them when I was just 20.

I give away anywhere between 10-20 pairs of shoes annually.  The shoes I give away are ones that I haven’t worn in a long time, or never worn after purchasing them for a year or two, in which case by giving them away, someone else might appreciate them more than me ― or so I hope.

Two pairs of Kelsi Dagger, the style is call Linzy. I love them so much I got two pairs and I call them my twins. I actually had to ask a friend to buy the gray patent leather pair for me from a different city and bring it to me when he was back in town because they didn’t have it in stock in Sacramento (and they didn’t ship).  Online they retail for about $100, but I got the gray pair for about $80 at a discount shoe store, and the blush color pair for $44 online!

Some funky stuff I never wear.  From left: got them in China for $6; BeBe suede and snakeskin platform that I wore ONCE in the past year that I got them; Baker’s crazy pump on sale for $30 that I probably wore twice since I got them 2 years ago. I guess I do have kind of an eclectic taste when it comes to shoes.  I bought those Chinese shoes 4 years ago.  I have yet to wear them once.  I don’t want to give them away because I am still hoping that I will wear them someday…

If I ever get married, count on these ivory jeweled satin pump to be there.  The blue satin Betsy Johnson pair on the right was from a sale 4 years ago at a sale at Saks, best deal ever, it was 75% off.

More stuff I never wear… I probably wore each pair once in the past 3 years.  Maybe it’s time to give them to someone else who might actually wear them? Nah, I like looking at these too much to give them away.

Pretty details in the back

I wear the black ones a LOT, its so worn that the bottom red soles are starting to fade.  I wear the nude and leopard ones occasionally. Who doesn’t love Louboutins?

Summer…

So I haven’t post in a while… its partially due to school, lots of traveling, and just being lazy.

Here’s whats happened so far…

I finished my 2nd semester of grad school.  I did great in my two core theory classes, but had a very tumultuous last few weeks in the semester with one of the instructors from my Advanced Literary Journalism class. It was taught by a pretty renowned journalist and best selling author who happens to be a lazy egotistical ass.  He had no directions with the course and didn’t even followed the syllabus, had his own agendas, and didn’t even teach the class anything. To his defense, he told us in the begining of the semester that the class was going to be “different”.   Using the term different does not justify lack of teaching.  Me, along with another students had to file complaints against the guy.  After this semester, I highly doubt he will ever teach in our university again.  Let’s hope that he will stick to freelance writing and stay far far away from teaching.

In short, my summer went something like this after I got out of class:

I went to New York to visit my best friend from college Becky.

I went to Canada.

I have a new boyfriend.

I dyed my hair back to black.

My dog’s website DONE!

Recall from my earlier post, my dog’s website is now complete.  I love my dog a lot, no less than most people who love their dogs, but one of the main reasons as to why I decided to do a website for him is because he is VERY popular.  Everywhere I take him, he’s always managed to make people stop us dead on our tracks… asking about his breed and etc.  So then I thunk to myself, why not?

So here it is: http://www.pandathedog.com

I just bought the domain name for like $10 or something ridiculously cheap like that, hosted off of my portfolio site, and designed the layout, and Bryce coded most of the site.  All in all, the entire thing took about 20 work hours between me and Bryce just for the base layout and design.  Not bad!

Next step: dog business cards.

Step after next: find sponsors.

I am determined!