Category Archives: Shopping

Reunion In Vegas

Twenty five years. That’s how much time passed between visits with my girlfriend, Wendy.
Twenty five years ago, I didn’t know it would be decades before I saw her again. I can’t even recall our last hurrah. Possibly drinks and dancing at Black Angus. Maybe an evening bbq at a friend’s house.
You might guess we reunited through FaceBook, but it was actually Flickr, where I found a recent photo of her, and MyLife (formerly Classmates dot com) where I paid $14.95 for 1 month membership and access to her contact information.
Not long after mailing her a letter and current family photo, my phone rang. It was Wendy!
♫♪♬ Reunited and it feels so good! ♫♪♬
Fast forward to Tuesday.
♫♪♬ My girlfriend’s back… ♫♪♬
Wendy, her husband, and her parents were spending a week in Vegas. By 11am, I was hugging my friend again after all these years! Wow, she was as gorgeous as ever. And tall! I don’t remember her being so tall. Her family was all so nice, and made me feel welcome.

Fashion Show Mall

Fashion Show Mall

While the men headed to the Bass Pro Shop, we ladies headed for the Fashion Show Mall. Making our way through the maze of underground parking, we scored a sweet parking spot close to one of the many entrances. Macy’s, Dillards, Chico’s, Coldwater Creek, and Forever 21 called out to us, and we answered! Two hours flew by as we navigated the stores, trying on outfits here and there. Wendy scored an excellent deal at Macy’s, bagging 4 pairs of shorts and a pair of capris for $50.
For lunch, we drove to Tommy Bahama’s Cafe at Town Square.
Three Blackberry Basil Smashes, please! Actually, they said they no longer offer that cocktail, but after checking with the bartender, we were told they WOULD make them! We have a feeling they scooted over to the nearby Whole Foods for ingredients.
Tommy Bahamas lunch

Tommy Bahamas lunch

Wendy’s Mom and I had the fish tacos, and Wendy had chicken salad. The fish was blackened and spicy, with contrasting cool, crisp slaw on top. To the side was a deep fried tortilla bowl with plantains and sweet pineapple, coconut “pudding”.
Laughter and conversation flowed easily. It is amazing to pick up with dear friends right where you left off. We drank, ate, enjoyed the lovely atmosphere, and each other’s company for several hours.
I won’t let another 25 years slip away.
Wendy and Jean

Wendy & Jean

• What’s the longest you’ve gone without seeing a friend?
• Are there pictures of you on Flickr that you knew nothing about?
• Do you like flowers in your cocktail?



Filed under Friends, Las Vegas, Nevada, Shopping, Travel, Vegas

Fiverr Review

Fiverr is a new site where you can offer or purchase services for $5.00. Fiverr makes money by keeping $1 of every sale. There is no fee to open an account, and no fee for placing an ad.
Offering your services is simple. Just fill in the blank.

Within 24 hours of placing my ad for photoshop services, I received four job offers.
• Job One ~ Create a banner for a website.
This client was easy to work with. He provided a sample, dimensions, favorite colors, and a vision for his end product. I created his banner and allowed for two revisions. He liked both samples, and asked if he could hire me to create an entirely different look for $5.00. I declined, but he contacted me a week later, saying he liked my work the best, and hired me for one more revision.
• Job Two ~ Create a button for a website.
It was a little trickier understanding what this client needed. He directed me to two “iffy” websites. One site had multiple pop-up windows, and the other was a blank template. He finally sent me a jpg of what he wanted, which I easily recreated. This is a good time to note that Fiverr is not responsible for any viruses you may download.
• Job Three ~ Photoshop a sign.
The client provided one of his real estate listings, asking me to change the business signage. I didn’t feel I could do so believably, so I turned down this offer.
• Job Four ~ Create 5 banners.
This client wanted 5 banners in various sizes for her gecko related website. She really expected more than what I was offering, so I turned her down.

One year ago, I paid CartoonMe $5.11 to cartoon me, and to be frank, it stunk. (Original post here.)
I thought I’d try my luck at Fiverr.
I browsed the ads, found an artist, placed my order, and paid through Paypal.

The artist’s ad promised completion of work within 4 days. She contacted me immediately and shared that she was extremely busy. Five days after placing my order, she claimed her Paypal account was frozen, and canceled my job.
My second artist offered to transform me into a Spongebob character. One day later, well under the deadline date, Beck sent me this work of art.

I love it!
If you want to hire Beck, click here. For all the ins and outs of Fiverr, check out their website here.
• Can you see yourself using Fiverr?
• Can you see yourself as a Spongebob character?


Filed under IMO, Photoshop, Shopping

Operation Rewind

If you hadn’t seen someone for twenty years, wouldn’t you want to look your best for the reunion? That is exactly the predicament I recently faced. Facebook reunites me with friends from my past, and lucky for me, one was was planning a trip to Vegas. We conversed for months making plans to meet for lunch while she was in town.
Although I dragged my feet for a while, by April Operation Rewind was underway. I needed to recapture my youthful glow!
Step 1: Exfoliate.
I’m a big fan of Bobbi Brown’s Beach Scrub. Alas, my wallet is not. I was able to find a new creation, the Bobbi Brown Sandbar. Quick Review: Bobbi, your sandbar hurt me. The sand was so rough it was akin to rubbing cut glass on my legs. A bit harsh? Yeah, so was your sandbar until the sandy layer washed away after only two uses. Now I am left with a 1″x2″ bar of beach-scented soap.
My first and possibly 2nd layer of skin removed, I was now ready for …
Step 2: Self-Tanning.
Jergens Natural Glow for Fair Skin turned me from translucent to pale without a hint of orange. I still have my Chanel face tanner from last year, and slathered that on too. Slightly bronzy facial skin achieved.
Step 3: Teeth Whitening
Found Crest’s Premium Whitestrips under my sink and said, “What the heck.” Noticeably whiter teeth after three uses.
Step 4: Pedicure
No funds for the local nail salon, so I clipped, filed and painted my own toes. Rocking OPI’s – Sweet As Annie-Thing! from their 90210 Collection.
Step 5: Wardrobe
Grabbed a lovely Forever 21 sundress from my closet, a gravity-defeating Victoria’s Secret strapless bra from my lingerie drawer, comfy Havaianas flip-flops, and I was good to go!
Unfortunately my friend was not. Her hotel overbooked and bumped her to another resort, causing her a lot of stress. Thus our lunch plans went kaput.
I hope her travels bring her back to Vegas soon. I’m not sure how long the effects of Operation Rewind last.
• How do you bring sexy back?
• Are you reconnecting on FaceBook?
• Are you cool with plans changing at the last minute?

Get Your Shopping Groove On!
Bobbi Brown Beach Sandbar
Jergen’s Natural Glow – Fair Tones
3) Chanel Precision Soleil Identite Perfect Colour Face Self Tanner SPF 8 – Dore ( Golden )
4) Crest Premium Whitestrips
5) OPI – Sweet As Annie-Thing!


Filed under Humor, Shopping

Vegas Day Trip

Just returned from a day trip to Vegas. I love it there!
First stop, in Henderson actually, was Trader Joe’s. I brought a cooler and ice packs for the frozen items such as the Japanese ice cream the kids are so fond of. I also picked up a bottle of the new Clementine Sparkling Juice. Two thumbs way up!
After filling the cooler half way and securing the non-perishables, I ventured over to the Mandalay Bay hotel & casino. It is the first resort as you enter the strip from the south end, and offers quick access to their parking facilities.
The restaurant formerly situated next to the Burger Bar has been replaced by the new Hussong’s Cantina. It being Cinco de Mayo, I was in the mood for a margarita and Mexican fare. Ok, I’m always in the mood for a margarita and Mexican fare.
Hussong’s was having “The Most Interesting Man” Look-Alike contest. Had I know, I would have tried to bring my husband. He has the beard & mustache!
Well, regardless, I made my way to the entrance and requested a table for one. I was given a nice little table off to the side, a basket of chips & salsas, the menu and time to review it.
Hussong’s offers an Original and a Traditional margarita. I honestly didn’t know the difference, but assumed the original would be loaded with alcohol. When my waitperson approached, she offered me advice on my cocktail selection as well as my lunch choice. The Original uses all fresh ingredients while the Traditional uses a mix. I opted for the Original (both cost $10/ea.) I was torn between the lobster tacos and the avocado shrimp salad, and my server raved about the salad, calling it one of her favorite dishes. I ordered the salad, then sat back, enjoyed my chips, salsa and cocktail while listening to the laughter of fellow diners.
Soon my meal was approaching… an entire avocado, breaded and deep fried, filled with cooked shrimp and served on a bed of lettuce. Interesting! Tasty. Not sure I would order it again. The batter was rather thick on the avocado, but not bad overall. I gave Hussong’s 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp.
After lunch, I went to see my stylist, Brooklyn at ARCs, also in the Mandalay Bay. She gave me a trim and brightened my color (i.e. covered my gray). Her lovely assistant, Little Kelly did an amazing job rinsing & washing my hair and massaging my head & shoulders.
On the way out of dodge, I swung by the Cheesecake Factory for a few slices for my family; original with strawberries, key lime, and red velvet. I can attest the key lime is fantastic!
To view highlights of the day, just push play.

• What is your favorite day trip destination?
• What do you do there?
• Do you Yelp?


Filed under Las Vegas, Nevada, Podcast, Shopping, Vegas

Found Montana in Arizona

On Wednesday, my youngest daughter, Pearl, and I ventured to Lake Havasu City to see Montana Lady Golfer. Montana and I have been friends on MySpace and Facebook for about a year.
Montana gave us a warm welcome, jumping up & down and giving us hugs upon arrival. Once inside her lovely home, Montana served my favorite wine (sauvignon blanc), crackers, and an assortment of delicious cheeses! I hand delivered a package of fruits & cheese to Montana from her 2009 Secret Santa. Montana was so pleased and said it was the perfect gift.
Ever so thoughtful, Montana carefully opened a fishing game and challenged Pearl to a round. Pearl mopped the floor with her, but our host may have thrown the game.

Time to hop into Montana’s convertible and drop her hubby off at the golf course. Then we girls were off for Fast Food and Shopping.

Pearl loves McDonalds, and was excited to have an Alvin & The Chipmonks Happy Meal. We took the scenic route to the new mall, and Montana spoiled Pearl with a Deluxe Bead Kit and 3 smaller bead sets from Michael’s.
A leisurely drive across the London Bridge led us to The Naked Turtle for beach time!

We found a few shells & pretty rocks, and got our tootsies wet. It was a beautiful day with temps in the high 60’s. Something about playing on the beach makes you hungry. The Beach Bar was undergoing some renovations, but the restaurant upstairs was open. Wow is their food GOOD!! We shared orders of calamari and fish & chips while Pearl had an ice cream sundae.

This day just FLEW by! It was nearly 5pm, and we had to pick up Montana’s hubby from the golf course. I hope he had a good day!
Montana wrapped up some shish-kebobs for Pearl and I to take home. We were running out of daylight, and my hubby and eldest daughter were at home awaiting on return.
Natalie and Pearl are still having a GREAT time making bracelets & necklaces. Tom and I are grilling the kebobs tonight!
• Have you been to Lake Havasu?
• Do you let children beat you at games?
• What’s on your shish-kabob?



Filed under Arizona, Shopping

Big $avings

Tis the season to save money whenever possible. Actually that never goes out of style. Here are some ways I’ve recently saved dollars.

Shared Work Program
This program may be available in your state, and is offered through the Department of Economic Security (DES). Business owners can apply, and if approved, will have up to 40% of their employee payroll paid by the state. It is basically partial unemployment. A full-time (40 hour/week) employee would work reduced hours (24 hour/week) and claim 2 days/week of unemployment. Employees do not have to look for work elsewhere, and aside from the initial sign-up form, do not have to complete weekly unemployment reports.

American Express
Turn your Blue Sky points into gift cards. Two $50 gift cards are heading my way, and all it cost me were points. Earn 1 point for every dollar you spend. $25 gift cards available starting at 3,250 points.

Google Shopping
Find the best price for gifts. To access Google Shopping, go to Type in the gift you are looking for, press enter, and the results return immediately. You can refine your search by price or ratings.

Automatic Renewal
Pay attention to automatic renewal notices. If you no longer want/need the product, cancel your membership. While on the American Express site, I noticed a $79.00 fee from Amazon had been applied to my account. It was for their Premier Shipping, a program I signed up for two Christmases ago. While it suited my needs in the past, it doesn’t suit them now. The fee was 100% refundable. I also contacted Proactiv and Consumer Reports and canceled those automatic renewals.

Apple is offering 12-months interest free financing on new Macs, plus $100 rebate when you purchase a Mac and a printer. Printers start at $99.95. Qualify for the rebate through January 18, 2010. Rumor has it Apple will be offering huge discounts on Black Friday.

Coupon Codes
Before finalizing your online shopping orders, search for coupon codes. Google the name of the E-tailer plus the word coupon. Using this technique, I received free shipping from Snapfish, a savings of $6.11.

• Do you have a money-saving tip to share?
• Have you started Christmas shopping?
• How will you spend Black Friday?

Special thanks to my friend Marian for informing me of the free-printer offer.


Filed under Shopping

Fruit and Friendship

Thursday the timing was right to check out the Henderson Nevada Farmers’ Market. My only previous experience with a Farmers’ Market was back in the early nineties, attending a bountiful one in picturesque Walnut Creek, California.

Walnut Creek Farmer’s Market

Wanting to avoid Henderson’s forecasted high of 106 degrees, I arrived fairly early around 10:30 a.m. Google Maps worked perfectly, and although the Events Plaza has a parking garage across the street, I chose street parking.

At first glance, the sprawling concrete patio sparsely dotted with tents, didn’t impress.

Since pickings looked slim, I left my portable cooler and fabric tote in my car, grabbed my purse, and made my way to the tents. Oh no! Not infomercial items!! I didn’t want a self-casting fishing pole, lotions, potions, hot sauce or shaved ice. I wanted fresh fruit grown locally! Only two vendors offered such. The first had melons and tomatoes. The second had pluots, plums, grapes, and strawberries. The helpful sales lady bagged my fruits, but when I asked her to follow me to the vegetable portion of her display, she didn’t budge. Fine. The fruit came to a whopping total of $12.00.

On the plus side, the fruit was tasty, and I helped local farmers. Right? Off I went to my next destination, Trader Joe’s.

Oh gosh, talk about your fresh fruit! Sorry, Farmers’ Market. Next time I’m heading straight to Trader Joe’s!
I grabbed a package of pomegranate seeds, two bottles of Sauvignon Blanc, and two varieties of cheese. Tom and I sampled the cheeses last night. The New Zealand Grass Fed Cheddar was fantastic! Mild, salty, flavorful and pungent. I highly recommend!

Noon was fast approaching, and I was fortunate enough to have a lunch date.

Ring! Ring!


Hi Jean, it’s Anje! Guess what? The twins are napping, so I’ll be solo.

Yes, I was having lunch with none other than Wonder Writer from MySpace. Anje is my hero for several reasons; she’s a loving wife, mother of four, writer of exceptional blogs, a successful business woman, a positive influence, and a private person. She is a beautiful soul with an instant smile and infectious laugh. Do you know what really cinched it for me? Cocktails and dessert! Those little pleasures that don’t always accompany a meal were easily embraced by the two of us.

• What’s your opinion of Farmers’ Markets?
• Is Trader Joe’s da bomb?
• Are you free for lunch?


Filed under Las Vegas, Shopping

Alice Might Be For You

After hearing about on the Clark Howard Show, I wanted to check it out for myself. Alice is a beta site (aka test site) which sells name brand products at a reduced rate. Shipping within the United States is free. Your shopping cart must contain at least 6 items prior to check-out.

I have to admit, it took me about 3 visits to Alice before I had 6 items in my cart. Off the top of my head, I couldn’t think of what I needed. Their little blue ducks taunted prompted me to pick my brand of shampoo, soap, band-aids, etc. It was daunting!

When I’m low on toiletries, I typically run down to Target. If I want to save big and don’t mind driving to the other side of town, I’ll visit Sam’s Club. I decided to compare a few products available online at Alice with a 4-6 day turn-around and available locally with immediate turn-around.

Price Comparison

Alice: $1.36 (after .50 cent coupon)
Target: $2.24

Alice: $9.19 (after $1.00 coupon)
Target: $12.99
Sam’s Club: $12.86

Alice: $5.29
Target: $4.99

Alice: $9.69
Target: $9.99

Alice: $9.69 each
Sam’s Club: $15.88 for three

Alice: $5.62 each
Target: $5.99 each
Sam’s Club: $15.60 for three

Some of Alice’s prices can’t be beat, not even by the bulk/discount store! So I’ve loaded up my cart, processed my order, and am waiting for delivery.

• In this rough economy, how are you cutting costs?
• Where do you find the best prices?
• Are you brand loyal, or find yourself reaching for the lowest priced item no matter the brand?

Visit the Alice Community Blog and sign up for their Newsletter.


Filed under Shopping

Jean Has BARELY Been Shopping

Times aren’t what they used to be. I remember being on a first name basis with my UPS driver. He’d bring deliveries two, three times a week. Now I’m lucky to get one package… per month.

Lately, few items are worth cracking open my wallet for and pulling out the ol’ American Express card.

Here is my short, sweet list of 2009 non-essential purchases:

Mario Badescu Keratoplast Cream Soap

This is the only cleanser that doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin. Available at 6 oz. – $10.00

Wonder Woman Havaianas

The most comfortable flip-flops ever! Perfect for around town, and have even withstood a full day of walking in Vegas with no blisters! Available at $35.00.

Food Network Magazine

Mmmm… when this arrives, I am drooling! Full of recipes and cooking gadget info. Available at Prices vary from $15 for 10 issues to $30 for 30.

YSL Touche Eclat

As a 40+ woman, I had a hard time finding an under-eye concealer that wouldn’t define the creases around my eyes. This product goes on so lightly, and works perfectly. Give the pen a few clicks, then brush on under-eye circles. Available at $40.00.

Squeem Rubber Waist Cincher – High Compression

After reading about this, I had to try it. Granted, I can only wear it for about an hour at a time, but it makes my abs so flat, you could bounce a quarter off them! Available at $51.50.

Eat This, Not That

From the editor of Men’s Health magazine come three versions of Eat This, Not That: Supermarket Survival, For Kids, and The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution. If you’re going to eat these foods (and I am), you may as well buy the healthiest ones. Available at Prices vary. $11.97 avg.

Mouse Rug

This mouse pad has just the right texture, and makes my time spent PhotoShopping a breeze. Available at Prices vary. 2009 styles are $19.95. Retiring styles are $9.95.

In these tough economic times, how have you decided to treat yourself?

Thanks for reading!


Filed under Shopping

Vampire Lestat Wine

In 1995, author Anne Rice joined forces with Babcock Winery of Lompoc, California to produce a wine worthy of the name Lestat, Rice’s lead vampire. Rice’s husband, Stan, a noted artist and poet, designed the wine labels for Cuvee Lestat Syrah and Chardonnay.

The following year, Babcock Winery and the Rices combined their talents again to produce these red and white wines, as well as a bordeaux, all bearing the Lestat name. Reports vary, estimating between 150 and 200 cases of Syrah were produced, selling for $30-$35 per bottle.

1996 was the last year the Lestat wines were produced.

It was always in the back of my mind, as a huge Anne Rice fan, to obtain a bottle of her wine. In 1995, I was traveling around on a fixed income with little internet access. In 1996, the same was true. The two years Anne’s wine was easily attainable through her website and relatively affordable, I was unable to make the purchase.

Fast forward 14 years. I’m at the McDonalds’ drive-through, and then BK’s, picking up Happy Meals for my daughters. Natalie’s toy prize was a pair of Pink Panther sunglasses, while a Hello Kitty digital watch greeted Pearl at the bottom of her bag. A few minutes later, I’m handed my non-emotional meal at Taco Bell. One of my daughters asked, What’s your prize? What is my prize? The wheels were turning. What would be a prize suitable for an adult?

When we arrived home, I plopped myself in front of the computer, dipping nachos with one hand, surfing with the other. Most prizes are themed around the release of movies.

Adult movies
Horror movies
Animation…. bingo!

Coraline Nike Dunks. If they were handed to us with our Happy Meal, I doubt they would be selling for $3,432.56 on ebay. Less than 1,000 were produced. Movie goers searched for clues following the credits of Coraline for a chance to win a pair of these unique sneakers.

Moving on.

Girl Flicks… bingo!

Confessions of a Shopaholic make-up palette. More attainable than the Nikes, yet the lipstick may not fare too well pressed against my warm taco… and I mean that in the most non-sexual way. Created by Too Faced Cosmetics, retails for $29.50.

Vampire movies… click! Lightbulb moment! Lestat wine!

Googling led me to two sellers. One had posted an entry at the Vampire Romance Discussion Forum. Who knew that even existed? The seller, MJ, had two bottles, and was open to establishing a price. The other seller has 5 bottles, one of each Lestat wine produced, and was (still is) asking $7,550 firm for the collection. Needless to say, I began communicating with MJ.

22 emails and 7 weeks of negotiations…. free
1995 Cuvee Lestat Syrah plus shipping…. $125.00
Fulfilling a dream…. priceless

Should I drink it?

Thanks for reading!


Filed under Humor, Shopping