Posts Tagged ‘free stuff’

Adobe Analytics Challenge 2016

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This weekend, I participated in the 15th Adobe Analytics Challenge. My team, DataInsights, was one of six finalists chosen to be flown out to Lehi, Utah (Adobe’s headquarters) and it was quite a ride! USC Marshall had two teams going and we all decided to extend our stay to enjoy Utah after the competition.

adobe analytics challenge XV homepage with six finalist teams

Check it out, we’re on the homepage!

This was my first case competition, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I must say that it would be hard to top. I mean, $50,000 worth of cash prizes, free trips to Utah, a fancy meal, all that swag, and a chance to check out Adobe’s headquarters? It was fabulous and I’m glad I was part of it. I hope to come back next year to support more Marshall teams that make it to the finals!!

view of snow covering salt lake city from airplane landing

I passed out during the plane ride and woke up to find snow covering the town.

view outside plane window when landing at salt lake city airport

Funny enough, as we got close to the airport, the snow was gone.

first glimpse at beautiful snowy mountains in utah

On our way to the hotel, we marveled at the mountains.

springhill suites lehi living room area

They got us suites, which was perfect for meeting in.

springhill suites lehi bedroom area

In the afternoon, we rested and cleaned up before dinner.

entrance to foundry grill at sundance

A shuttle bus drove us up to the Foundry Grill at Sundance.

meat and cheese appetizer at foundry grill sundance

When we arrived, Adobe staff and some appetizers awaited.

mac and cheese appetizer at foundry grill sundance

As we settled in, we chowed down on the appetizers before ordering.

adobe dinner menu at foundry grill

The menu for the night!

foundry grill squash soup

It seems most people got the squash soup.

foundry grill greens & grains

I opted for the salad.

foundry grill filet mignon

Filet mignon was probably very popular too.

foundry grill chicken breast

I wanted carrots, so I got the chicken.

foundry grill maple pecan bread pudding

One of the desserts was bread pudding.

foundry grill chocolate cake

The other option was chocolate cake with cherry flavors.

foundry grill wall art of metal tools

The decor in the place was very rustic.

walking to adobe headquarters building

The next day, we got to Adobe around 8 am.

moon over adobe headquarters building

The moon was still up!

adobe headquarters entrance with event signs

In the entrance, they had signs for the event.

adobe headquarters cafe eating area

Their open cafeteria area is so spacious and bright.

adobe analytics challenge setting up

As we got breakfast, they set up the stage, complete with mics and down screens.

free swag for finalists at adobe analytics challenge

What a wonderful surprise to find at our seats!! I love the swag.

prizes for audience attendees of adobe analytics challenge

The audience got to win all sorts of cool things!

adobe hallway view

This is where we paced doing last-minute practicing for our lines.

view of street from adobe headquarters

Looking out the hallway, there was still an awesome view.

teams of finalists in the holding area practicing

We were the second to last team to go, so most of these folks went before us.

adobe analytics challenge finalists on screen

After all the presentations, the judges had time to deliberate and then we got ready for the announcement.

view from stage of adobe analytics challenge

All teams got on stage for the prize announcements and this was our view. My team came in 4th.

gorgeous view of mountains from adobe headquarters

After the event, we got to have lunch at the cafe and check out this amazing view.

adobe headquarters indoor fire pit

Following lunch was a tour of random things like the indoor fire pit!

music room at adobe headquarters

They’ve got a music room and signed guitars from artists who have played there.

interactive art in stairwell at adobe headquarters

As you go up the stairs, you can grab a ball that you can drop down a tube at the top.

funky top chair in adobe headquarters game room

In the game room, you’ll find these fun spin top chairs! You can fall backwards to roll completely around.

adobe headquarters nunchuck chair and gong

Ah, the nunchuck chair… you should ask about that story if you visit.

pretending to sit in nunchuck chair at adobe headquarters

I didn’t want to sit on it but I wanted to pretend!

closeup of nunchuck design

The nunchucks had some cool dragon designs on them.

adobe headquarters spray paint art on wall

They commissioned a famous graffiti artist to do this. There’s a timelapse of it somewhere…

posing by entry of adobe headquarters

Before heading out, a final pose with Adobe!

neck pillow as coaster for pot

That night, we drove down to Moab and immediately had dinner. This was funny way of holding a pot.

homemade steak and asparagus dinner

One of the guys made us steak, asparagus, shrimp, and zucchini!

men of the household cooking

I love that the men took over the kitchen as the women hung out at the dining table. Thanks guys!

rustic western feel to bedroom

I got a sweet bedroom all to myself.

fancy shower with lights and steam room function

The master bathroom had this insane shower with tons of showerheads, color-changing lighting, and a steam room function. Not to mention a sauna next to it and a hot tub outside. We used them all!!

view from moab trails retreat cabin

The next morning, we saw our surroundings for the first time.

selfie with the truck from the movie cars

First order of business was lunch at a local cafe. Look what we found!

pond at eklecticafe in moab

The outdoor seating area included this pond.

hungry bird eating salad off plate

As we were leaving, the birds came to have some fun with the food.

line to get in to arches national park

Then it was off to Arches National Park!

beautiful red rocks in arches national park

Our first stop provided wonderful views.

snowy mountains against red rocks

Check out the snowy mountains in the background!

red rock formations at arches national park

Sometimes I feels like we’re in Arizona and other times the snow on the mountains feels like Colorado.

standing with arms outstretched with delicate arch in the background

When we find Delicate Arch, I put on my fancy dress.

standing with arms overhead with delicate arch in the background

Who did it best? Me?

standing with arms outstretched overhead with delicate arch in the background

Or him? 😉

jumping with delicate arch in background

I had to do a jumping shot too. Always.

making a manmade arch as person runs underneath

This human arch was great for running under.

planking across boulders to create manmade arch

Try planking it!

view of one of many arches

Every pit stop had something to look at.

crow staring waiting for food

Look at the glow from the canyon on its back as it eagerly awaited food.

crow sitting on dead tree branch

crow flying at arches national park

What an amazing place!

arches national park rocks against blue sky

The sun was setting as we reached our final destination – Devils Garden.

walking on trails at arches national park

It was quite chilly without the sunlight.

doing bridge pose with arch in background

With a change of wardrobe, I decided to imitate the arch for this one!

twirling in front of arch

I was instructed to twirl, so I did as best I could with no shoes on.

twirling with skirt poufing out and arch in background

It was a lot of fun as I got dizzy.

back view of dress at arches national park

My photographers were getting into their own and starting to instruct me on what to do for this final one.

tips of snowy mountains peeking between red rocks

Wow, check out the mountains behind the red rocks.

brown bunny eating grass at arches national park

Just before exiting, we saw this adorable bunny.

brown bunny posing for camera

It even posed for us for a bit before hopping off.

t-bone steak with mushrooms and onions

That night, the ladies enjoyed the hot tub and came in to find dinner ready.

eagle decoration carved in stone tile of bathroom

I just loved this random detail in the hall bath.

adobe headquarters in lehi utah

Our last day, I woke up ill and pretty much slept most of the day away. I caught a picture of Adobe as we passed by on the way to the airport.

free swag for adobe analytics challenge finalists

And finally, here’s a look at what came in the bag! I looove the custom branded S’Well bottle and wall charger.

Why you should give feedback to companies

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

Are you the type of person who will write to a company or call them when you have a comment? Or are you like most and dismiss it as not worth your time and effort?

While mostly I’m thinking of standing up for yourself when something goes wrong, this can also apply to positive feedback. Companies won’t ever know if you don’t tell them explicitly. It’s amazing how many people never bother to share when something went awry. If that’s the case, the issue will likely persist.

On a personal level, you can benefit from reaching out to companies. For example, on our recent Europe trip, both Panda and Calavera’s suitcases were damaged (by different airlines). Panda wrote an email to them, was able to dig up an old receipt for a luggage purchase, and is being reimbursed $100. If Calavera doesn’t do the same, she won’t be compensated.

This works in all sorts of realms. When service was not good, I reach out to restaurants or airlines and they usually offer a free meal or airlines miles, as appropriate.

On the positive side, I once reached out to Yuzen because I was so in love with their service. Now I get to be a brand ambassador and receive boxes for free! Or another time, my excitement and eagerness in reaching out got me a free area rug.

Today I came home to find a box for Panda. It turned out to be a bunch of free jerky! Again, we never would have gotten it had he not reached out when we got a less than optimal product. See the opportunities that are out there? And this is not even factoring in how companies can take this feedback and learn from it. I sure hope they’re doing that!!

five assorted bags of epic jerky

Free snacks!!

five assorted bags of epic jerky and trail mix

Smokey wanted a piece too.

On My Mind, episode 12: winning

laelene Posted in on my mind,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

It’s the first day of my last two weeks on the job and I’m not yet ready for the change, though I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been on a streak of good fortune, which has been nice.

It started when I got an email about potential roommates. I had wanted to split a 3-bedroom to save on costs, but wasn’t sure how to begin. I’d looked at some apartments and that was it. As luck would have it, one of the girls I met at admit weekend reached out to me – she and another girl had secured an apartment and needed a third roommate. The place is in DTLA just like I wanted and it looks fabulous. It’s a quick and easy drive down to campus. The rent cost is less then the $1400 max I was hoping for.

So there I was, with an opportunity in my lap. The other girl happens to live in DC, so we were able to meet up after work last Tuesday to chat and make sure we were a good fit. I’m pleased to say that everything went well and we’re going ahead with getting me added to the lease! How easy was that?

Then last week we had an internal testing event to try out the new app we’ll be rolling out. For our participation, we were entered in a drawing for one of three $150 Amazon gift cards. I was the very last name drawn, how exciting!! What a nice parting gift to get. 🙂

As if that wasn’t all good enough, I noticed a message in my Instagram account. I don’t check often, but it happened to catch my eye. I had won a contest for a free Lilee box, courtesy of Beauty Box 5 and others hosting a Sunset Shop Giveaway. Yippee! I don’t enter contests as much anymore, but I’m glad to see I can still win them from time to time. I’ve found that I usually have a 1-1.5% success rate.

And hey while I’m at it, I’d like to celebrate the fact that I opened a Capital One 360 Savings account and found out they have a pretty awesome interest rate of 0.75% APY. Certainly better than the other accounts I have open elsewhere. My mom says that Discover has a great one too, so when I see a good offer for new accounts, I’ll have to set one up.

Finally, it is the start of the end for me and in a way, that’s worth celebrating. I’ll miss my friends and aspects of working here, but I really look forward to learning new things, meeting people who are as excited about business as I am, and setting my career on the track I’ve wanted for some time now.

Curel Itch Defense

laelene Posted in reviews,Tags: , , , ,

In my latest Influenster box, I got a chance to try Curel’s Itch Defense Moisturizing Spray and Body Wash. I get dry skin especially in the winter, when I like taking hotter showers. It gets rather uncomfortable when that dry skin itches, so these are excellent products to help combat that.

The spray: I was really excited about this because I think spraying on lotion just seems like so much fun! I don’t know if it’s just the one I got, but the nozzle tends to get stuck for me so that kind of takes the fun out of it. I’ve got to press exactly down to get the spray going, or else it seems to get caught on something and nothing comes out. Other than that, it’s great! I find it easy to rub in and get great coverage very quickly. The cooling effect when it sprays on also helps accentuate the soothing feeling. I think I can smell a hint of citrus in there – it’s very subtle and light, which I like. And most importantly, it hydrates well to keep my skin from drying out and feeling itchy again.

The body wash: Now I was pleasantly surprised with this one because I usually don’t care for body washes. However, this one is really nice and also instantly soothes as you rub it in. I don’t know what they put in it, but it works! I wish I’d gotten a larger bottle to try just so it can last me longer. Wouldn’t it be cool if this was a spray-on foam? Now that would be fun to use.

Combine the two and you are well on your way to never experiencing itching again! I’m happy with both products and glad I got to try them. Sometimes I get rashes and red bumps on my skin, so I’m hoping they’ll help prevent or at least heal those skin conditions faster the next time they crop up.

[I received this product free for testing purposes. All opinions expressed are my own.]

The perks of Gogobot Pro

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , ,

Back in early 2013, I noticed a post from a friend who was sharing her Gogobot swag. I was immediately curious and got hooked to reviewing on the site. Not long after, I was thrilled to learn I’d made Pro! When you are an active member of their site, you can get selected to Gogobot Pro, which means you get awesome swag, a badge on your profile, and invitations to exclusive events (with themes like Spring Break, 500 Days, and Tron Party).

When you earn the status, you get to keep it through the rest of the calendar year. The following year, you’re re-evaluated and if you don’t make the cut, you can make up for it and get back in later in the year. So far I’ve made it each year since and I can’t believe I haven’t officially shared the sweet swag that they’ve sent me, so here’s a quick look back at the past three years!

gogobot pro 2013 canvas tote bag, beach towel, and flip flops

The first year it was beach themed. I love that tote bag and use it for all my travels.

gogobot pro 2014 sunglasses, pen, luggage tags, bottle opener, screen wipe sticker, and pin

I was renewed for 2014, but the gear was taking time so they sent these knick knacks while we were waiting.

gogobot pro 2014 duffel bag and water bottle

Finally, months later we got our stuff! I’ve used that water bottle as my main one for volunteering and trips. The duffel bag gets used for small getaways.

gogobot pro 2015 backpack and travel mug/tumbler

At first I didn’t make it this year, but I diligently posted again and was re-instated! I just recently got the backpack, which I now use for work. The mug is really cool and ceramic inside.

Time and time again I’m impressed by the unique products chosen and the quality of the items! For example, that tote is super sturdy and has a nice outer pocket to throw things in or the larger compartment that zips up for safe storage of your stuff. The water bottle is a self-sealing one so it’s easy to use with one hand when you need a quick grab and sip. The backpack has many compartments and I nearly missed the special zipper on the side for you to slide in your laptop! And the mug’s interior is ceramic, which is something I haven’t seen before. I just wish it held more liquid inside, but it’s still awesome.

Gogobot is such a cool brand that really knows about getting super fans who can become advocates and ambassadors! I hope to continue to be a power user for years to come, decked out with really nice gear to travel with. 🙂

Free L’Occitane Tin with Mini Hand Creams

laelene Posted in deals, lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , ,

Deal time! Panda recently notified me of a free offer from L’Occitane, where you can get a cute little tin with two small shea butter hand creams inside.When I found out about it on Friday, I wanted to go to the mall that very night! Luckily, when we went yesterday they were just getting started and we were actually the first to redeem the offer at that location. And here I was afraid they’d run out. 😛 It was so new that the cashier had to read through some instructions on how to handle the offer.

All you have to do it like/follow them, share the offer (I believe this is optional), and subscribe to their newsletter. If you’re not a VIP already, they’ll ask for your info at the store to sign up to be one. Pretty great deal for this set of products, good through next weekend. Hop on it now! #LOVELOCCITANE

Offer details:

-FREE collector’s hand cream tin with Rose and Vanilla hand creams (both 10 ml tubes)

-15% off select best seller items, including shea butter hand cream, foot cream, etc.

-redeem in store or online

  • in store: no purchase necessary
  • online: offer good with any purchase, plus spend $25 to get free shipping

-offer valid April 3-12, 2015 (while supplies last)

l'occitane collector's tin with bag inside of l'occitane collector's tin with two mini hand creams

size comparison of l'occitane collector's tin and mini hand creams against person's hand

Here’s a sense of the size of the items.

AdoreMe Lorelei lingerie set review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I was pretty excited to be offered a chance to try AdoreMe for free, thanks to Influenster. I qualified for their XO VoxBox, which included a free lingerie offer from AdoreMe! I quickly set up a VIP account and started browsing for what I wanted. I ultimately settled on the Lorelei set, which includes a lacy black and blue push-up plunge bra and hipster undies (or the option of bikini undies).

AdoreMe is just under $40 per store credit for intimates, sleepwear, or swimwear. Credits are charged monthly unless you choose to skip (which is very easy to do). Each month, bra and panty sets available in your size are selected for you in the showroom. You can always get other items at their VIP pricing of $40-50. They offer a referral program that earns you money towards purchases. Use my referral link to get your first outfit for $25!

black adoreme box with white lettering

It came quickly in this black box.

inside of adoreme box with sketch of lingerie items and products wrapped in pink and red tissue paper

I loved the drawing on the inside!

inside of adoreme box with definition of adore printed

Great choice of word.

adoreme lorelei lingerie set of black and blue lacy push-up plunge bra and hipster panties

The Lorelei push-up plunge bra and hipster panties.

Lorelei Push-Up

VIP: $39.95/SET (Regular: $49.95/SET)
62 reviews, 4.5 stars

  • Push-up plunge
  • Underwired
  • Double row hook & eye closure
  • Fully adjustable straps
  • Nylon / Spandex / Polyester
  • Matching bra & panty

Anything is possible with a little sparkle! And the latest addition to our designer collection proves just that. Our midnight black and blue Lorelei push-up is irresistibly sexy and you’ll love the dramatic lace embellishments. Complete this look with a string bikini or hipster, both featuring rhinestone-dotted lace.

Ok, so at this angle the undies look disproportionately larger, but don’t worry – they look great on. Check out the pictures of them on the models and you’ll see. I like their use of lace to make it from a bikini shape to the hipster look. It’s a bit of extra coverage without completely obscuring the area. Demure! The lace could have been a bit softer, but that might be fixed with the first wash. The fit was perfect and they felt great.

As for the bra, I love the look, but with plunge style might not be so fitting for me. I wore a v-neck and felt like something was going to show at any point each time I leaned over. Plus, I felt a bit of a draft, which I’m totally not used to. Ah, the challenges of a small bust. Still, this is great for when I feel more daring and of course it’s not even an issue if I don’t pair it with a low neckline. Typically I’m a t-shirt bra sort of gal, so it’s nice to have a more intricate, fancy bra for when I feel like dressing it up.

I’ve enjoyed my experience with AdoreMe so far and I even managed to win first place in one of their weekly contests! It’s basically like the game of 2048, but with underwear icons. I happen to be quite good at 2048 (I’ve achieved the 4096 tile a few times), so it wasn’t too hard to sweep the win. I love that each game played is also money towards a charity. I plan on using my winnings towards some casual sleepwear or a swimsuit set. They have some adorable options!

adoreme info cards and ads

The pamphlets and such that came with the box.

Buca di Beppo deal!

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , ,

buca di beppo promotional deal email for $15 towards mealThis weekend, Panda and I got a chance to go to the Buca di Beppo to redeem an offer. It was some sort of promo they were doing and the first 50k to register got $15 towards their meal! We both signed up and received the email for it. For some reason I could not find mine for the life of me, so we printed his and headed out. Later on, I was desperate so I checked in CloudMagic for the email and BAM they found it! I still couldn’t tell where it was originally in my email server, but that didn’t matter. I figured I might as well try showing the email and hope for the best.

buca di beppo welcome offer email with free pasta dealAlong with that email, my search result pulled up a welcome email with a different offer. At first I didn’t pay much attention, but then I decided to open it up. Turns out you can get a free pasta for joining their mailing list. I decided I’d rather get the free pasta, but I’d try to use them both. As we were looking at the menu in the restaurant, Panda checked his email and found that he had missed the welcome email, but received it as well. He had already placed his order for the penne arrabbiata using the $15 voucher, but I figured it was all such a great deal we might as well order everything and have a bunch of leftovers.

So, ultimately we were both able to redeem the free pasta (I went for the ziti and he opted for the spaghetti). I used my $15 towards the bruschetta. All in all, this entire feast only cost us about $8! Now how splendid is that?! It’s too bad Buca isn’t located closer and more convenient to us, or I’m sure we’d be here more often. Still, I plan on going back – I enjoyed all the pastas and really liked the brushetta.

buca di beppo meal to go with penne arrabbiata, bruschetta, bread, spaghetti marinara, and baked ziti

Free cone day

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I’m getting a little antsy with no new box recently. I do have some on the way though! I ordered a Julep spring mystery box (I had skipped March, but it looks like I got sucked in to getting something anyway :-P) and I got a notification that my Beauty Box 5 is on its way. In the mean time…

Today was free cone day at Ben & Jerry’s locations across the nation! For lunch, a bunch of my coworkers and I went to claim a freebie and I donated $5 to the charity that was there – apparently each location has a local charity for the day. I got a scoop of Liz Lemon, which is a lemon frozen Greek yogurt with blueberry swirl. I think I’ve found a refreshing fav! I really enjoyed the slight tartness and lightness of this flavor.

ben and jerry's ice cream free cone day april 8th 2014 sign

hands holding ice cream cones from ben and jerry's

“Hurry up with the picture, I want to eat my cone!!”

((little fat notebook)) Inaugural Giveaway

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

Hey remember when I said I was going to put together a giveaway? (Yeah, it’s been a little while…) Well, I’m finally settled into the new home and ready to get this underway! What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to spread some love?

little fat notebook giveaway prize pack with lotion, lip balm, nail polish, iphone case, perfume, eye shadow, clay mask, scrub, and dust plug

I’m a big fan of those choose your own adventure books, so I created something sort of like that. This prize pack includes:

-one travel size lotion of your choice
-one set of Softlips lip balm of your choice
-one iPhone 5 or 4/4S case of your choice
-SpaRitual nail polish set of two (in Emerald City & clear base/topcoat)
-BHCosmetics California Collection eye shadow trio
-one perfume or mist of your choice
-one Freeman Chocolate & Strawberry clay mask packet
-one Freeman Apricot Scrub packet
-one dust plug of your choice

See below the giveaway for info on the selections you can choose from. The entry period is from today (2.14.14) through 3.14.14 at 11:59 pm EST. I hope you like what I put together! Good luck!

If you win, you will get to choose from the following:

set of travel lotions including pritte body lotion and four scents of bath & body works lotions

One of these lotions: Pritte 1 oz, Coconut Lime Breeze 3 fl oz, Dahlia Rush 3 fl oz, Peony Dream 3 fl oz, or Japanese Cherry Blossom 3 fl oz.

four sets of softlips lip balms in peach mango, vanilla, pearl, and jack frosting

One of these lip balm sets: Peach Mango & Vanilla, Peach Mango & Pearl, Vanilla & Vanilla, or Jack Frosting & Jack Frosting.

lotus wei infinite love mist and bath & body works beautiful day perfume spray

One of these sprays: Lotus Wei Infinite Love Mist (10 ml) or Beautiful Day eau de toilette (.24 fl oz).

For the iPhone 5 or 4/4S case, choose from the ones listed at DeckMyPhone (wallets not included). I should have all colors, but if you happen to choose the one or two I don’t, please forgive me and choose another option.

For the dust plug, choose from metal or plastic ones in a multitude of designs that I will email pictures of to the winner.


Terms & Conditions:

Nobody likes too many restrictions, so I’ll try to keep it simple: No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Open to anyone 18+, though if you live in Canada I might need to ask you to tell me what 19*32-250 is equal to (due to some strange law). The winner will be selected randomly by the Giveaway Tools widget at the conclusion of the giveaway period (Feb 14, 2014 12 pm EST through Mar 14, 2014 11:59 pm EST). Winner, you get 72 hours to reply to me with your choices or I’ll have to find another winner. Prize value is approximately $50, depending on the selections you make. I reserve the right to void your entries or disqualify you for reasons including: your region doesn’t allow you win prizes like this, won’t let me ship it without a ton of hassle, or you’re found trying to game the system. Just stay cool, ok?

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