Friday, June 27, 2014

Influenster/VoxBox

When I got back to work on Monday, I was excited to see that I had a new VoxBox from Influenster, full of goodies to try out for free, in exchange for my online reviews of the products!
 
I was really pleased to see this Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun lotion since my shoulders were sunburned from that ferry ride over to the Statue of Liberty.  I slathered it on as soon as I took it out of the box.
The scent (coconut papaya) was refreshing and not too strong, and it felt really good on my burned shoulders.  Within an hour or so, the sting was gone, and the next morning, my shoulders were brown instead of red!  Love this one!
 
The next product was First Aid Shot Therapy.  I laughed and told my secretary that I can't wait to get a headache so I could try it out.  Well, yesterday was just one of those days.  I had a tension headache after court yesterday morning, so I popped this bad boy open and gave it a "shot"...pun intended.

 It's "berry" flavored, and smelled ok, so I drank some.  Um, yuck.  The taste is somewhat berry-like, but it's also salty.  I drank the whole thing down, but it was not pleasant at all.  However, my headache disappeared a short while later, so it works!
 
My favorite product is the Covergirl Bombshell Curvaceous mascara!  Y'all know I love a good mascara!
 It has a 2-step application, so I took photos before, after the first step and then after the second:
Overall review:  Ok.  I do love how it makes my lashes look long and thick, but it took several coats of each step to get them where I want them.  I probably would buy it again, it just takes several coats!
 
The last product is this nail polish:
I'm not really a blue polish kind of girl, so I will probably pass this on to Aunt Heddy and get her opinion on it!  I will share it with all of you, of course!
 
I love the Surfs Up VoxBox, and can't wait to see what else they let me try!  Thanks Influenster!
 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

NYC: Part Two!

Ready for round two??  Friday morning we had breakfast from a food truck on the street and it put that Thursday morning Dunkin' Donuts breakfast to shame!  It was delicious!  After that, we took a cab down to Battery Park to catch the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty!  Here we are on the ferry:
 It was a gorgeous day for a boat ride and we had fun seeing the skyline from the water, and of course, getting to see Lady Liberty herself!  It is really exciting to see her in person!




 I mean, LOOK at this view!
 We asked some local vendors which direction to go to get to Chinatown, and they laughed at us when we said we would just walk.  They said it was about a mile away, and too far to walk?!? We took their advice and paid for a $10 cab ride over to Chinatown, though, since they were adamant that we should not walk.
 
We had big plans to make some purchases in Chinatown...Louis Vuitton bags, maybe a Rolex for John, etc.  The first guy we saw when we got out of the cab asked if we were looking for a Rolex and I said yes.  He told us to wait there, then to follow him across the street, and later around a corner.  The police drove by while we were checking out the watches and we ran into the nearest building we could find, which was a bank!  It made me so nervous I had to find a bathroom!  We decided not to try that again, and just kept shopping around.  Eventually, we made it to Little Italy, to have lunch in a restaurant recommended by Heather's cousin.  Le Mela.  Homemade pasta, and it was fabulous!

 
 
Then we found a store just for me!

 We decided to go back through Chinatown, just to see if we could still get a bag or two since we weren't so nervous anymore.  As you walk down the street in Chinatown, Chinese women and black men will just randomly approach you and whisper, "Whatcha lookin' for? Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Tiffany bracelet?"  If we said a purse, they would pull out a list of ones to choose from, you pick it out, haggle down the price, and they would disappear.  A few minutes later someone else would show up and they would exchange the bag for your money!  It was really fun and we kind of got addicted...we wound up getting about 5 bags for people, 3 Rolex watches and some Oakley sunglasses!
 
Once our arms were full, we walked over to the Brooklyn Bridge, mostly to get a photo on it, ha!  Our legs were so tired by then, so we just walked far enough to be on the bridge, and took a picture or two!

 We asked a local business man on the street which direction we should get a cab in to go back to our hotel to charge our phones and rest a minute, and he said we would take forever to get back "uptown" at rush hour in a cab and we should just take the subway.  Let me stop right here to explain something:  Ali is terrified of the subway.  It's my only real fear.  No one is in charge.  People get on and off, kill people and no one does anything.  NO ONE IS IN CHARGE.  However, I'm 34, and a reasonable person, and Heather had pepper spray, and I didn't want to be the cause of us having to pay a crazy amount of money and waste our time in a cab, so I said ok.  I realized when we were getting on it, that the reason I'm so scared is from that movie, Adventures in Babysitting from the 80's...have you seen it?  My brother and I still watch it anytime it's on!  In the movie, two rival gangs get in a fight on the subway.  I'm sure that's where it comes from, my fear.  However, once I realized that, I wasn't as scared.  So, there we went, hopping on the subway...
Can you tell I'm nervous?
 
to Grand Central station!
 We got on, and Tabitha and Heather were watching me closely, and all was fine.  We even got a seat after the first stop, so then I liked it even more, once I was sitting down.  Then, a crazy veteran got on and made a big speech, yelling at everyone!  Heather got the pepper spray out and ready, but he got off on the next stop, thank goodness!  We took some pics and checked out Grand Central Station, then went back to the hotel for a minute to recharge...our phones and our legs!

We weren't really hungry for a big dinner that night, so after a short rest, we went out to Times Square to people-watch, and had a snack from a food truck.


 I thought it would be funny to take a pic with one of NYPD's finest, since we had almost been arrested earlier in the day...
 I sent John the picture and he asked if I had a new boyfriend...no silly, I met him the next day!  Haha!
 
Now here we are on Saturday, our last day in the big city.  We had dinner reservations at a nice restaurant that night, and we knew we would not be hungry if we ate breakfast and lunch, so we chose brunch instead at Ellen's Stardust Diner.  All of the waiters and waitresses are trying to get on Broadway, so they sing and dance as they work!  It was really pretty cool, and the food was delicious!
 Several New Yorkers had told us about a newer park called The Highline, near the Meatpacking District and Chelsea neighborhoods of the city, so being the savvy travelers we are, we hopped on the SUBWAY again and rode to that area!  I was still nervous, but getting better! 
 

 We walked through some pretty streets down to where the park is, and passed cool buildings along the way...
 The Highline is a mile long elevated park above the city, built on what used to be an elevated railroad.  Cool right?

 You can see the tracks still, and how they planted flowers and trees along them:
 There were food and other vendors along the way, but mostly just really pretty flowers and trees, and photo ops, of course!

 We walked over to the Chelsea neighborhood because we hear about celebrities being there all the time, and we wanted to see one...but we didn't.  We found a basement type of market with dozens of eateries and shops, and even hit up a designer sample sale...but no celebrities.  We saw paparazzi one time, and waited to see who they were looking for, but never saw them, ha!
 Tabitha had an old pic of herself with The Naked Cowboy from a couple of years ago, and we had been looking for him in Times Square, but had not found him.  I've heard him on Rick and Bubba before and seen other photos of him and I wanted to find him!  We figured maybe he would be out more on the weekend, so we hopped the SUBWAY back to Times Square and there he was!
 Yay!  Heather and I got pics with him, and then we headed back to the hotel to get all dressed up for our dinner finale!  Here we are all fixed up:
Someone paid for us a limo for our big night out!  We had a blast watching everyone trying to see into the windows and check out who was in the limo!  Hilarious.




We ate at a Mexican restaurant called Dos Caminos and it was for sure the fanciest Mexican place I've ever eaten!  There was even an attendant in the bathroom to assist in washing your hands (?!?).  We had Chorizo Fundido for an appetizer, and I had Oaxacan-Style Shrimp Quesadilla for my meal and it was FABULOUS!  So so good!

We took a long limo ride back to our hotel and crashed for only four hours before we had to get up to get to the airport and make our way back to the land of "y'all" and sweet tea and southern accents!
 
Like I said yesterday, it was the best girl trip ever and I loved every minute of it!  I've already told Heather that my pick is Los Angeles for my 40th!  We better start saving now!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

NYC: Girls Only

Warning:  I know if you are friends with me on FB or IG or Twitter, you are totally over all the pics from NYC, so if that is the case, you may want to skip this post! 
 
You may remember that I posted in February about our trip being cancelled because of the crazy winter weather...well, we more than made up for it last week when we finally got to go to New York.  We had SO much fun!!  It wound up being just me, Heather (aka Aunt Heddy) and Tabitha, a friend of Heather's who is now a friend of mine!  Heather posted the sweetest comments about us when we got back, and I could not agree more - it was a trip with absolutely no drama, no one getting on anyone's nerves, not a tense moment to be found.  It was full of laughter, selfie-taking, walking, talking, and more laughing.  I could not have asked for a better girls' trip.
 
We arrived on Wednesday morning right around lunch time, after two short flights, and a photobomber.
That's water - it was 10:00 a.m.!

 It took nearly an hour to get to our hotel by cab, because it was lunch rush hour...and by the way, have you ever ridden in a cab in NYC?  They have no concept of tapping the brakes or what those lines down the middle of the road mean.  Our cab driver nearly came to blows with the officer working the toll bridge we had to pass, and probably wound up costing us more money because we had to pull to the side so they could hash out the issue of payment...but once we were thru, we checked in to the hotel, dropped our bags off and set off to Times Square!  We stayed at The Belvedere, which was one block from Times Square, perfectly close to the action without having to hear it all night long.  The first thing we did was take a selfie in Times Square...what else?

 We shopped and walked all over Times Square, and had a slice of NY Pizza for lunch.


 We stopped at the famous Junior's for cheesecake later in the afternoon and it was delicious.  By far the best I've ever had.
 We walked through all of Times Square and made our way to Herald Square to shop at Macy's on 34th Street!  I was excited to see the original wooden escalator that was in the original Miracle on 34th Street movie, still in use in the store today.  It was really neat!

 We made our way back closer to our hotel and found Carmine's for dinner.  Several people told us to eat there, and it was really good!  A family style Italian restaurant with yummy drinks like this Blood Orange Margarita:
 We walked back to the hotel after that because we were exhausted!  We had been up since about 2:30 a.m., Alabama time, and we were pooped!
 
Thursday morning, we had booked spa appointments at the Bliss Spa, and were excited when we realized it was only a mile from the hotel, so we could walk there.  Tabitha wasn't feeling well that morning, so Heather and I set out on our own to find the spa.  (Tabitha was the best at navigating us with her phone, through the city, so we were a little nervous without her!)
 
Of course, we stopped along the way and took pics when we saw famous streets, like Park Avenue!  We had breakfast at a Dunkin' Donuts on our way, and were surprised at how fast and efficient they were, and the fact that they couldn't understand a word we said, nor we them. Ha!


 We checked in at the spa and they gave us robes to wear while we waited for our attendant in the lounge, which had tiny brownies, cheese and veggies to snack on while we waited.  Fancy!
 
We saw this sign, but couldn't resist breaking the rules for a photo!

 Heather had a treatment called "Head Over Peels Scrub and Rub" and said it was the best thing she had ever had!  She said it made her want to cry it was so good.  They scrubbed her down from neck to toes with a sugar scrub in her favorite scent, Blood Orange and White Pepper, then she had a full body shower while she laid on a table, and then a massage to top it off!  They can only do one person at a time that way, so I had a Head Over Peels pedicure.  It was the best pedicure I've ever had!  My feet are super ticklish, so usually, I am tense the whole time I get a pedi, and I absolutely hate it when the people who usually do my feet hold them with their fingers between my toes...it kinda makes me want to vomit, but there was none of that with this one.  It was perfect! 
 
We headed back to the hotel to change clothes and check on Tabitha, who was feeling much better, so then we set out again!  We found Bloomingdale's, and had lunch in one of their restaurants called Flip.  See those people on the wall flipping?
 They had tons of burgers, sandwiches and some salads to choose from, and if you had a burger,  you could pick your meat - exotic, turkey, hearty, Kobe beef, and then add in different types of cheese and toppings.  Mine was Kobe with aged Vermont cheddar and mushrooms "flipped in".  The fries aren't just fries, of course, but instead, Buffalo fries.  Heather had Tex-Mex fries.  It was SO good!!
 We did a little more dream shopping after that, with stops at Bergdorf and Tiffany & Co., and then into every kid's dream at FAO Schwarz!  I asked the door man if I could get a photo with him, thinking he wouldn't know what a selfie is, and he said, "Do you want someone else to take it or do you want to do a selfie?"  Haha!!


 I really wanted something I could afford in one of those tiny blue bags, but I had to settle for trying on this bracelet...it was only $45,000!
 We needed a snack after all that dream shopping, so we found Dylan's Candy Bar.  I was hoping Katie Holmes and Suri would be there, but we only saw tourists.  Dylan is Ralph Lauren's daughter!
 They had every type of chocolate bar you can imagine, including a Bacon Bar, Red Velvet, and any other concoction you can think of.
 We had a Cotton Candy Martini and Sour Patch Margarita, and all shared a "fundue" - NOT fondue.

 Do you think we were done after all that for Thursday?  Absolutely  not!  We headed into Central Park next!  It was so pretty!  It's crazy that there is this HUGE park, right in the middle of that city!  I loved it!
 We saw a huge running group (bigger than my group, but not nearly as cool), a group doing CrossFit, a yoga class, an acting class, couples in love, tourists, bicyclists, dog walkers, babies, old people and every other type of person in Central Park.  I loved our whole visit there!




 We made our way out of the park as the sun was setting, and took a cab back to our hotel since we had no idea where we were!  We walked back through Times Square and had dinner at about 10:30 that night, and a drink at a rooftop bar, which was on Heather's "must do" list.

We made our way back to the hotel and went right to sleep, worn out again from so much fun!
 
I broke this down into two posts since it was so much, so come back tomorrow for round two!