Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vegas Adventures: Tiny Indulgences

I passed by this store twice before at the Forum Shops in Las Vegas, but didn’t dare step inside due to the fact that I was with my mother both times. It’s just underwear, you might say. But this isn’t your everyday underwear. Agent Provocateur carries the sexiest, prettiest underpinnings you will ever lay your eyes on. Luckily, the third time I saw this store, I got to finally go in and see for myself.

The items at Agent Provocateur range from sweetly demure to all-out raunchy (WARNING: Picture below is NSFW! Scroll down really fast!) . But the most high-end raunchy you could imagine, trust me! You will even find things to fulfill your naughty fantasies, such as whips, blindfolds, sequined pasties, even nipple balm (which me and Lesli proceeded to test out, but that’s another story).

If you are planning on trying on items at Agent Provocateur, you need to leave your modesty at the door. A sales associate, dressed in a cute pink satin 1950s waitress-style dress will pull the items you are interested in and go in the dressing room with you to assist you in trying on. She will measure you to make sure you are wearing the correct size, and will show you how to properly position the “girls” into the bra. The girl helping me, Amber, was a sweetheart, and was helpful in letting me know which styles fit and flattered my body the most.

After trying on several lovely styles, I ultimately ended up purchasing items from the Francoise collection. The bra and knickers are made of a pink floral lace with black Chantilly lace overlay. In a word, GORGEOUS. The quality is impeccable, and the fit of the bra is perfect. Let me tell you, as someone who is slightly challenged in the chest area, it is difficult, if not impossible to find a pretty, well-fitting bra that doesn’t have padding. It’s as if bra manufacturers just assume that if you are under a certain cup size, you shouldn’t leave the door with out at least 2 inches of foam in your bosom.

The price of owning such beautiful lingerie? Not cheap. At all. But still not as expensive as La Perla (the pretty La Perla, not the basics), and certainly much more inspired. This was a complete splurge for me, but after this experience, I am a firm believer that every woman should go out and buy herself some super pretty, quality underthings that she will be able to treasure for a long time to come (or at least as long as she still fits into them). Something that will make her feel sexy and beautiful every time she puts it on, even if no one else sees it but her. Those knickers may be expensive, but that feeling that they will give you is definitely priceless.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vegas Adventures: Off the Beaten Path

I have been to Las Vegas several times and absolutely LOVE it every time I go. It truly is the adult Disneyland. As a simple person, I am easily attracted to and distracted by the bright lights, ringing noises, crowds of strange people, and the lure of hitting it big. It is definitely a party city. However, as I recently found out, it is also a place where you can truly relax once you get the initial partying out of your system.

After spending the first few days at the Venetian, I was fortunate enough to try the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa. It is only a few miles off of the strip, but the experience feels worlds away. The whole place exudes modern luxury, with red-tinted glass doors and sleek, sparkling crystal light fixtures. As the name implies, there is a casino there, but it is not as migraine inducing as the ones you would find on the strip.

You can choose a room that has either a view of the strip or of the stunning canyon. I was lucky enough to have a room with a canyon view, although I didn’t get to spend near enough time enjoying it. The beds are to-die-for, and I swear the thread count of the sheets had to have been at least a million! The toiletries are also larger-sized than what you normally expect from a hotel, and have a clean, refreshing scent.

One of my favorite parts of the resort was the awesome pool area. Modern lounge chairs with brightly colored cushions surrounded the circular main pool. Smaller, rectangular pools fanned out from the main pool like sunrays. Since I was there on a weekday, the pool area was not at all at capacity, making for an extremely relaxing experience. Our waitress was also friendly and attentive; making sure I always had a fun cocktail in hand.

Equal in awesomeness is the spa. I haven’t been to many spas, but out of the spa at the Bellagio, Bliss Spa at the W Dallas, and the spa at the Hotel Crescent Court, this one is by far my favorite. Instead of being bright and airy, it was dark and lulling, which I definitely enjoyed. When I want to totally unwind, I don’t want bright lights in my face! The treatment I opted for was the Hydrating Full Body Wrap, which consisted of light massage, an exfoliating scrub, a warm hydrating wrap, and a final application of moisturizing milk. My technician, Shelly, had wonderful hands and made me feel totally at ease. Next time I go there, I will book a massage with her!

Don’t get me wrong, I really like the strip, but if you want to try something new in Las Vegas, you should definitely give the Red Rock a try. I certainly hope my first experience there won’t be my last!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Quick Break to Celebrate Moi!

Yesterday I started my first-ever job in nursing. Yay! This week and the next few will consist of orientation, classroom time, etc. I'm doing what's called a Critical Care Nursing Residency at a major teaching hospital and level one trauma center in Dallas. The program is 4 months long, during which you are schooled in the ways of critical care nursing through both classes and clinical time.

There are three or four phases of the program, each of which must be passed before you are allowed to move on to the next. Your preceptors are rating your performance at the bedside and you also must pass written tests. It's essentially like getting paid to learn how to be an awesome critical care nurse. I'm not going to lie, the ICU and ER nurses at this hospital are complete badasses. After successful completion of the program you are hired on as a permanent member of the unit and off on your own. The unit I will be working in is the surgical/trauma ICU.

Even though it's going to be another few weeks before I get down and dirty providing actual patient care, today marked a significant milestone for me: I received my ID badge today, making me an official member of the nursing staff. Below my name it says, "Nurse Resident: Trauma Services." Trauma Services?? How cool does that sound??!!! It's enough to make me break open one of my half-bottles of Veuve to celebrate.

Next milestone: A day or two after October 17th, which is when I will find out whether or not I passed the state boards, taking me from graduate nurse to registered nurse!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Vegas Adventures: Christian Louboutin

After a long, drawn out day of shopping, when the rest of our group had dropped like flies, Sara and I soldiered on to the Christian Louboutin store at the Shops at the Palazzo to try on some his famously glam red-soled shoes. Oh how I absolutely adore that red sole! And the red theme is carried on throughout the tiny, jewel box of a store. To steal a line from Carrie Bradshaw, it was like Sara and I had died and gone to shoe heaven! In fact, it was so heavenly, that I considered actually investing in a pair, in the event that I found one that I fell in love with.

I was eager to try on some classic black patent peep-toe platform pumps that Mr. Louboutin does so well. After all, I am constantly wearing knock-offs of the one he did with the stacked wooden heel by Steven. Sadly, my feet were just a tad too wide for the real deal, and ended up spilling out the sides. Stupid wide-but-not-so-wide-enough-to-be-considered-truly-wide feet!

Speaking of my stupid, stupid feet, who was there to tell me that they were, and I quote, "adorable?" None other than the lovely and beautiful Angie Harmon. She was friendly, radiant, and save for the small baby bump, very thin. She was trying on some pretty, copper-y wedges. At least a wedge is a bit more practical for pregnancy, eh?

I also tried on this adorable black satin peep-toe pump with a bow. These ones actually looked good on my feet, but at $795, I just couldn't let my first true luxury shoe purchase be on some highly impractical satin shoes that I would rarely wear, and would surely get ruined.

So fortunately for my wallet, but unfortunately for my inner-crazy-splurging-Vegas wild-child, I left the store empty handed. But it was a fun experience nonetheless. For now, I will keep my eyes peeled for whenever these babies go on sale, and hopefully my foot won't runneth over:

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Vegas Adventures: A Sight for Hungover Eyes

On my ├╝ber-fabulously fun Vegas trip with the girls, my dear friend Sara introduced me to my favorite new beauty product.

The Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller delivers a soothing cool serum to your delicate under-eye area. I'm not sure exactly what the extent of the anti-puff action actually is, but all I know is that it feels awesome when you are tired and/or hungover. Which tends to happen a lot when you are in Vegas. Sara was kind enough to let me use it throughout the trip. I loved it so much that I couldn't wait to purchase one for myself before we left. I think it was only around $14 at a Walgreen's on the Strip, so it is a complete bargain.

I've even been using this on normal days, just because it feels so good. I am so indebted to Sara for bringing this fabulous product into my life!

Oops, I did it again.

I really do need to say about a million Hail Marys between now and next Sunday, because I just did something truly awful.

You see, there is this watch I have been coveting for several years now. When I was in Las Vegas, I looked for it, but not too hard. Then last night I went to a birthday party for some random chick I don't know, and she was wearing one. Then today, as I was purchasing a new pair of jeans on the second floor of Nordstrom, I saw one on the wrist of the salesgirl who was ringing up my purchase. She had awful breath. How could she have one of these beautiful things and not me? I felt myself becoming weaker.

Here's the deal: I just finished up my second bachelor's degree. I even got the diploma in the mail today (Summa Cum Laude, bitches!!). I am also about to embark on a new career. And I just experienced the ending of a three-year long relationship. I needed something to signify my new beginnings. This would be a present to myself that I could enjoy for years and years to come.

So I took the escalator to the first floor and walked over to the watch case. I spotted my prize and proceeded to try on a few different styles. I debated over whether it would be too flashy for someone as young and casual as myself. She said it didn't look too over-the-top on me. I wondered if I should really be spending this much money. She told me it was an investment piece. I said I would sleep on it. She told me I would get triple points on my Nordstrom card. Done.

And now it sits upon my wrist. Shiny, sparkly, keeping time with great accuracy. Don't make fun of me, but I was never that great at telling time on a non-digital watch. But I will stare at this watch face so much that I will soon become an expert.

Without any further adieu, behold the Michele Mini Urban Diamond:

The picture doesn't really do it justice. Not only is it beautiful and unique-looking, what I really love is the fact that you can change out the straps. I went with the traditional stainless-steel bracelet (as shown in the picture), but hope to receive some alligator straps (especially the white one) in the future, for say, Christmas or my birthday. It will be like getting an entirely new watch every time! At $200 each, the alligator straps are just as expensive as any other watch I have purchased in the past. In fact, the watch itself is the most expensive item I have ever bought, save for my car. Granted, it's not Rolex expensive, but still. Do you think the good Lord will forgive me for my sin?

The Wait is Over

To my thousands of adoring fans, I truly apologize for my extended hiatus. On this beautiful Saturday night, I will commence posting to this blog. And then maybe go out and grab a cocktail.

If you are wondering where I have been all this time, I was fortunate enough to have gone on a lovely vacation to Las Vegas with 4 of my bestest girlfriends in the world. I'm sad that the 5th could not make it, but she was there in spirit! Anyhow, I'm just about recovered from that trip and ready to blog. Look forward to posts revolving around my consumerist adventures in Vegas!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My Apologies

Sorry to disappoint you, ladies and gents, but posting will be light to nonexistent for the next several days. I am in Oklahoma visiting the 'rents and plan on being generally lazy and spending quality time with my darling dog, Kodi. I'll try to make up for it next week!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Crock Pots: Magically Delicious!

I am such an old lady. But I adore the crock pot! Yes, that item that everybody puts on their wedding registry (along with the KitchenAid mixer) but never uses. Shame, shame! Don't you know what a wonderful tool of cooking prowess you have sitting right under your nose? I know, I know, you say you can't cook. But the awesome thing about the crock pot is that even a monkey could make a delicious meal using one of these things. You just throw a bunch of crap in there, set it on low, and 8 hours later you have a yummy concoction. 

Take for example, this recipe:

Ashley's W.T. Mexican Stew

A few frozen chicken breasts or tenderloins
1/4 packet low-sodium taco seasoning
1 can condensed reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1  cup of salsa
1 can of black beans, drained
1 can chopped green chilies

Put the frozen chicken tenderloins into the crock pot and sprinkle with the taco seasoning. Throw everything else in. No need to stir. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours. Shred the chicken and stir. Makes 3-4 bowls.

This is a recipe I adapted from some a couple of similar recipes I found on I realize the combination of ingredients sounds a little nasty and oh-so pedestrian, but it turns out to be kind of like a creamy, spicy black bean soup.  And you can't tell me that you can't make it because there is zero prep work involved. Unless you count opening cans as prep work. By the way, I made that in my mini-crock pot, so you could double the recipe to use for a bigger one.

Speaking of crock pots, I found my dream crock pot in my new Williams Sonoma catalog. Behold the All-Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker ($279):

How pretty and amazing is this thing??? Not only can you remove the inner liner, but you can actually put it on your stove to brown meats, as in for a beef stew, and then transfer the liner back into the cooker, eliminating the need for an extra pan. Genius!

I think it's time for me to start my own registry. Or if you own the pretty All-Clad Slow Cooker, a KitchenAid mixer, or any other useful kitchen gadget that's still in its box and collecting dust and taking up valuable storage room in your kitchen cabinets, I will gladly accept these items as a donation from you and put them to good use. I might even use them to bake you some cookies or any other number of delightful treats at Christmas time. You're welcome.