Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Driving Experience

The hubby got to mark one item off his bucket list this past weekend in Vegas.  I made him an appointment with Exotics Racing.  We customized a track experience for him that included driving 5 laps in a Lamborghini Murcielago, driving 5 laps in a Nissan GT-R, riding along on 2 "discovery" laps in a Porsche Cayenne GTS, and 2 laps riding along in a Porsche 911 GT3 RS.  What an awesome experience this was!  I was able to do the ride-along in the Cayenne as well.  It's supposed to be used as an introduction to the course, to get you familiar with the turns, and a chance to get some instruction from a professional driver.  Let me tell you, if you're ready to drive that course after just the discovery laps, then you're already a pro.  They go by so quickly, and there's so much to take in!!  I had the camera rolling for some of it, so watch the video below and tell me if you got it all!  Haha.



The crazy thing about this course is that there are lots of cars on the track at the same time.  Each car has a professional in the passenger seat, assisting the drivers, but that still made me nervous thinking about so many inexperienced drivers of $200K+ cars on the track together!  Here's a clip of some of the fancy schmancy cars that were being driven that day:



Here's the first car Meezy drove, a Nissan GT-R:



And then the badass Lamborghini Murcielago:


I mean, its doors flip up.  How can that not be considered awesome?  Meezy said he was a fairly crazy driver with the GT-R (Lol), but improved by the time he got to the Lambo.  I have to tell you, it was pretty neat to see him behind the wheel of those cars.  I love seeing him do something he enjoys.  Not sure it's in the cards for us to ever own one of those, mainly just because you have to be short to sit comfortably in it.  ;)

    Crazy driver Rudy

After he finished his driving laps, he went on the ride along in the Porsche 911.  The sole purpose of that experience is to see what it's like to go balls to the wall at full speed with a professional driver.  The track is 1.1 miles long, with 11 turns, and Rudy, the driver, covered 2 full laps in under 2 minutes.  With that many turns, you would think that wasn't possible!  I shot some video of them taking off from the garage:



Too fast for me!  I felt queasy just after the instructional ride along in the Cayenne, and I don't even think we were going very fast!  All in all, it was an awesome experience, and I'm so glad he did it.  I'm a firm believer in living my life to the fullest, and I want the same for my hubby.

Side note: Love this pic.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Flight Fiasco

Going to Vegas, no matter for how long, is always a draining experience. Don't get me wrong, it's hecka fun, but I always come back home feeling exhausted and needing another vacation.  It was with that in mind that Meezy and I booked our (nonstop) return flight for 8:30am Sunday morning, so that we could arrive at 1:06pm and still have half a day to recover before having to go back to work on Monday.  We had a rental car, which had to be returned at a separate location from the airport (didn't know that when I booked it), so we planned on being there at 6:30am, which would give us time to catch a shuttle to the airport, check our bag, go through security, and be ready to board on time.

We got back to our room after midnight on Saturday night, and I decided to start packing.  I checked my phone first and noticed an email from US Airways.  Subject line - "Flight cancellation impacting xxxxxxx."  Whaaaaaaaat?  Here's the body of it:

We regret to inform you that US Airways flight # 393 from Las Vegas (LAS)
to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) on Apr 24 at 8:30 AM has been cancelled.

Please call 1-888-204-6170 for re-accommodation assistance.

We apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you for choosing US Airways.


What the heck??  The email had been sent at 10:35pm.  There were no other notifications sent to me by text or voicemail, just the email.  Good thing I checked it, huh?  I immediately called the number and asked the agent what we were supposed to do.  He told me he would schedule us on another flight.  The alternative he gave us was a flight leaving Las Vegas at 7:20pm and arriving in DFW at 11:52pm.  Seriously?  We already had an appointment to bring our rental car back at a certain time, we needed to be checked out of the hotel by 11am, and our doggles would be left sitting at home all day.  We couldn't do that late of a flight under the circumstances.  I told him it was unacceptable and he needed to find us something else.  He says, "Okay, we have a 6:30am flight that has a stop in Phoenix, and arrives in DFW at 1:30pm."  I asked him if there was anything else available and he said no.  What else could we have done?  I told him to put us on that flight and that I wanted to know what they were planning on doing to compensate us for the fact that we paid for a nonstop flight and were not getting a comparable flight for our money (our travel time was now almost doubled).  He says, "I can't give any type of consideration.  Do you want to talk to my supervisor?"  I said, "Is he authorized to compensate us for our troubles?"  "No."  Well then what would be the point of me talking to the supervisor???  I asked him who I could talk to about a voucher or refund, and he told me to talk to the agent at the ticket counter at the airport, and they would take care of it there.  Fine.  By now it was almost 1am, and our new flight plan would require us to get up at 3:30am.  Awesome sauce.  I got all the packing done and finally laid down at 1:30am.  Two hours later our alarm went off and we were up and at 'em!

We arrived at the airport in plenty of time for the 6:30am flight (thank goodness, since the line was ridonk).  After we got to our gate, I went to the counter and asked the agent what we needed to do to get some compensation for our flight being cancelled and not being given a comparable option.  She told me there was nothing she could do there, but I could go on the website and get the customer service number and talk to them about it.  Okay, fine.  I found their number and called them right then, since we had time to kill before boarding.  I jumped through all the hoops on their ridiculous automated system and finally got to talk to a real live person.  Can you guess what she told me?  "I only handle reservations, not refunds.  You'll have to email our customer service department to talk to them about that."  Oh, the comedy.  I feel like "pass the buck" must be this company's motto.  I didn't feel like typing up a huge email on my phone, so I figured I would just wait until we got back home before contacting them again.

I headed back to the gate area and heard this announcement: "We are in an oversell situation for this flight and need volunteers to get put on a later flight.  We are offering $500 vouchers to accommodate those volunteers."  Can you believe that?  Apparently those agents magically gained the ability to offer vouchers to people in the 5 minutes that I had walked away from the counter!  I sent Meezy up there to ask them what flight they would put the volunteers on.  They told him it would be a 9:50am flight, going through Phoenix and arriving in Dallas at 4:50pm.  Umm, exsqueeze me?  Where was this flight when I was talking to the agent last night and trying to find a reasonable alternative for my cancelled flight?  I'm surprised I didn't blow a gasket and start elbow-dropping people.  This company found every way possible to infuriate me.  As much as I wanted to get $1000 in free air travel, we declined the offer because I wanted to get the hell out of this situation, and I didn't want to fly this airline ever again, even for "free."

When we got to Phoenix, we arrived in the B terminal and checked the departure board to see where our gate was for the leg to DFW.  It said A12.  Dang.  We had a decent amount of time to get there, but nobody wants to walk a mile to another terminal at 8am, on 2 hours of sleep.  We made use of the eleventy billion moving walkways, and finally arrived at A12.  I kid you not, as we were walking up, the agent at that gate was making the announcement, "US Airways flight 542 to DFW is now departing from gate B12."  I could've cried if it wasn't just so damn comical.  We hadn't even set our carry-ons down, so we just spun around and started our trek back to the terminal we had just come from.  When it rains, it pours, right?

I know being around crappy people on a flight isn't the fault of the airline, but we're going to go ahead and say it is their fault this time around, just because of what they had showed me thus far about their nature. :p  Or, maybe I can phrase it, "crappy people fly US Airways, therefore I don't want to fly with them anymore."  That'll work.  I don't feel like explaining in too much detail why my seat neighbors sucked, so let's just sum it up with this: wanna-be OC housewife next to me couldn't keep her body or belongings in her own seat, and middle-aged couple in front of me couldn't keep their lips off each other.  *smooch* pause *smooch*  Ugh.  I just threw up a little thinking about it again.      

So, this ends my rant against US Airways.  I fly quite a few times each year, and you can rest assured that none of those future flights will be with them.  I encourage you to avoid them as well!                      

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Vegas Haul

While we were in Vegas, we hit up their premium outlet malls.  I love shopping at outlets because paying full price just ain't my thing!  We got a ton of great stuff, at very affordable prices.  I have 3 weddings on the agenda this year, so I definitely needed some new dresses.  I went to Dress Barn and was surprised to find some really cute stuff.  I learned last year, before another wedding, that Meezy is really good at picking out dresses for me!  That sounds funny to say, but he has a good idea of what will look good on me, and he even persuades me to try new colors and styles that I normally wouldn't.  He's done a great job so far, so I let him take the lead this day as well.  It paid off!  I love every single one of these dresses, and each will be perfect for the respective weddings happening at very different times throughout the year (April, July, September). 


I love this waistline, and the skinny belt is a nice touch.  The super fancy blouse material on top really makes this more than just a casual dress, even though the bottom part is cotton.


This is a flirty, summery dress, in a beautiful green color. There is a tie in the back to cinch up the waist to make it flattering for your particular shape.  The skirt part flairs out a little bit, which makes it even more fun.




Now, this is a dress that I had reservations about.  Meezy picked it out and I was initially skeptical.  I thought it looked a little too sexy and didn't think I'd feel comfortable in it.  I put it on, however, and immediately fell in love.  The all-over ruche look is really flattering, because it hugs your curves but doesn't reveal every bump or roll!  Lol.  I can't wait to wear it, but it will probably sit in my closet until the September wedding, or until my work's fancy Christmas party.  The best part about all of these dresses is that they were $40-$50 each.  That's a steal!  In other words, I recommend giving Dress Barn a look if you need a new dress.

We also hit up the Banana Republic outlet, which is basically my second home.  I will never shop at the regular BR store again, because the stuff at the outlet is just as good, and way cheaper!  I always have rewards coupons there too, which is an added bonus. 


I got this adorable cream-colored sleeveless blouse for thirty-something dollars after discounts.  I picked it out to wear with this khaki-striped skirt:


This one was a little pricier, at over forty dollars, but I think it's worth it since it can be worn casually or dressy.

Meezy got a bunch of clothes too, but I didn't feel like taking pictures of all of them!  The outlet always has their polos and short sleeve button ups deeply discounted, so he added a few more to his collection. 

At White House, Black Market I picked up a couple of adorable camisoles for under $30 each.  One of them will need to be worn under a cardigan because of the spaghetti straps, but the other can be worn on its own with some jeans and heels.  I love the clothes at this store, but the prices are usually pretty expensive.  Gotta shop their sales!

 

Just so you don't think I'm the only one buying clothes in this household, I'll include one of Meezy's good grabs.  He found a suit jacket and pants for half off at United Colors of Benetton.  This will look really sharp with a light colored dress shirt.


Since we already had to be creative on the way to Vegas because our checked bag was originally 3 lbs overweight, we knew we'd have trouble getting home with all this new stuff!  Meezy needed a new backpack anyway, so we found him one at the Bass store and packed it full of stuff and used that as an additional carry-on.  I'll remember this next time we take a vacation - allow for some "souvenir" space in the bag! 

Dear Monday, Stop Sucking

There is lots to talk about after our eventful weekend in Vegas, but I don't have time to write it all down right now.  Those posts are forthcoming.  For now, I'll just focus quickly on why this Monday has sucked!  After getting only 3 hours of sleep on Saturday night (you'll find out why in a subsequent post), I was hoping to catch up a little bit last night.  Instead, my Itunes decided to crap out and require a restore of my Iphone, which caused me to hassle with it for like 3 hours. I didn't end up going to bed until after 1am, and then got only 6 hours of sleep. Needless to say, I was cranky this morning.

Mid-way through the morning, I got a text from my tenant saying they would try to get the rest of their crap out of our house today.  That pissed me off.  (It was supposed to be out last Saturday - more details to come in a subsequent post).

I tried calling my doctor for the second time in five days, because she was supposed to call me back with some test results (no, I'm not pregnant.  More on this issue in a subsequent post).  Her office doesn't answer the phone though; you have to go through the automated system and pick the mailbox you want to leave a message for.  What do you know?  When I got to the right mailbox, it wasn't working and wouldn't let me record a message.  Arrrrgggg.  

I went home during lunch to try and grab just a few minutes of relaxation, but that didn't happen.  I found this instead:

    
Apparently our dogs are still upset with us for leaving them for a weekend vacation, so they retaliated by trying to destroy the door frame leading into our bedroom (we keep that door closed during the day).  Thanks, doggles!  I also found that they had chewed up the doggy gate we have that guards them from going upstairs.  Add that to the shopping list.

While I was home, I got a call from the lender that we're trying to arrange a refinancing with, for one of our rental houses.  Let me just tell you, when you try to do anything that involves your credit, and you have six mortgages, it will be an ordeal.  No matter how simple the "streamlined refinancing" process is supposed to be, it won't.  There's a billion questions to answer about all our rental houses, even though they're not specifically involved in this transaction, and it gets annoying when you have to answer them twice.  Today's call was about an address that showed up on our credit report.  As I was trying to explain to the lady that the address was legit, my dogs heard a noise outside and started barking like mad.  I ran into the bedroom and shut the door so I could finish the call in peace.  I had to get her to repeat everything she had just said, but we got it straightened out, and I went back in the living room.  I sat down on the couch and tried to remember what I was doing before I got the call.  Oh yeah, I was about to enjoy a delicious brownie.  Hmmm, where did that brownie go?  Sweet jeebus, my dogs ate it while I was in the other room.  Talk about being super pissed off.  That was going to be my only redeeming activity for the day.

It sucks when I feel like nothing can go right.  I just want to throw on sweatpants and hide under the covers. If there's anything I've learned over the past couple of years, though, it's that I can't let little things get to me.  Even though all these seemingly insignificant things are happening on the same day, which makes them seem bigger than they are, I can recognize that they shouldn't bother me.  I can take a deep breath, evaluate each situation individually, and conclude that I'll be alright.  So, this Monday gets a big fat raspberry, and now I'm over it!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Warrior Dash 2011

This year's warrior dash was much more successful than last year's, in so much that Meezy and I didn't get injured!  Lol.  We had a blast with a bunch of friends and got really muddy!  It's been 5 months since I broke my kneecap, and I definitely felt the pain through most of the obstacles, but I powered through.  The furthest I had run in the last 5 months was 1 mile, so pushing that up to 3.2 miles was quite an ambitious undertaking!  I stayed with my group of friends, though, so I was proud of myself for that. The next day my knee was super sore, but that was to be expected. 

This year's obstacles included trudging through a swamp, climbing over cars, hurdling ourselves over barricades, scaling a large wooden wall, climbing through nets and over hay bales, rolling over submerged logs, leaping over fire, and crawling through the mud while being almost completely submerged.  In other words, it was awesome.  Enjoy these pics of me and some of my friends!









Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Warrior Dash Tips

I know a lot of folks will be doing the Warrior Dash for the first time this year, so I thought I'd offer some tips from my experience of running it last year.

1) Either wear tennis shoes that you don't mind donating, or wear an older pair that you don't mind getting seriously messed up.  Either way, bring an extra pair of shoes to change into.  Last year, there weren't facilities available to change clothes afterwards, but you might bring an extra shirt and shorts anyways, in case you can find a place to change.



2) Bring towels and maybe even wet wipes to help you clean off after the race.  The "shower" that was available last year was like a fire hose sprayed at you from a distance, and you only got a couple of seconds in front of it.  No doubt you'll still be dirty afterwards, so bring a towel.



3) Lay down towels or garbage bags in your car for the ride home.  You're still going to be dirty.



4) Bring your ID and some money for food and activities.  I'd recommend bringing a backpack or other small bag to keep all your belongings in during the race.  You'll be able to check it in and pick it up after you finish your wave.

5) Wear sunscreen.  You're going to be spending a lot of time outside.

6) Plan to arrive AT LEAST an hour early.  You never know how bad parking will be, or how long the shuttle will take.  Carpool if you can since parking costs $10 a car, and it might be hard to meet up with your friends otherwise.

7) Make sure your bib is attached well and in the correct place.  They'll be taking tons of pictures along the course and it will be fun to look at them afterwards, but you have to make sure you can be identified in them.



Let me know if you have any questions about topics not covered above and I'll do my best to answer them!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's the Shoes

If the number of compliments you get determines whether your day is a good one or a bad one, then we can go ahead and call this day a success!  It's the shoes, I tell ya!  I had three different strangers compliment my outfit/shoes before 10am today.  If every day started like this, I'd be an eternally happy person. Since a couple of my girlfriends asked me for a pic of what my outfit looked like, I figured I'd go ahead and share it here too.

 
You'll have to excuse the hubby's Iphone photo-taking skills.  I told him to make sure the shoes were in the shot, but it was apparently at the expense of the top of my head. :p

The dress is from Banana Republic and the shoes are madden girl from DSW (blogged about these recently). 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Somewhere

Sometimes when I'm feeling down, music comes to the rescue.  I listened to Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" today, and it was just what I needed.  I love that he meshes it with "What a Wonderful World."  The words of the original version are what resonate with me the most, though, so I'll reproduce some of them here:

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

I also love me some Mumford and Sons on a sad day.  The aptly titled "After the Storm" gets me every time.  Even though it sometimes reduces me to tears depending on the situation, it's still very soothing.

And I took you by the hand
And we stood tall,
And remembered our own land,
What we lived for.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Discount Michael Kors

A pair of beautiful Michael Kors pumps for $50?  Yes, please!



Have I mentioned how much I love RueLaLa??

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Because You Can Never Have Too Many

DSW had some great offers in effect the other day, so I took full advantage.  First off, if you spent $74, you could use a $15 off coupon.  Second, March was double points month, so I got extra reward credit for my purchases.  Third, if you were buying madden girl shoes, you got 500 extra points per purchase.  Jackpot!  Here's what I picked up:

 Alexsa Pump by madden girl
 
These are adorably cute.  I can't wear them that often because of the unique color combo, but whatever outfit I'm able to pair them with will be killer, for sure!

Razcal Bootie by madden girl

These are more of a practical purchase.  They will be cute with some skirts and dresses, but I mainly got them to wear with pants.  I needed some new black boots, and I like that these will be multi-functional.  

Can't wait for them to arrive!  I'm guessing I'll need to select a couple pairs to give away to Goodwill, because my shoe racks are getting full!