Posts Tagged ‘hotel’

Disney World haul

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

Remember when Panda and I stayed at the Hilton Anaheim to earn Disney gift cards? Maybe not, since I only mentioned it in passing. Well, we actually stayed for two visits of 4+ nights, which earned us a $100 gift card each time. With $200 to spend on Disney gear (or tickets, if we had wanted to visit the theme park), we had quite a bit of shopping to do on our trip to Orlando. Totally coincidental that we had a trip to the Disney World region right after earning those gift cards, but it worked out perfectly. 🙂

disney products laid out including beach towels, tshirts, trucker hat, tank tops, scarves, coffee scoop, foot scrub, and golf balls

What $200 can get you at Disney.

We spent hours wandering the stores at Downtown Disney and also making trips out to the outlets to see what those Disney stores had to offer. We ended up with two Walt Disney World beach towels, a ladies tshirt, a trucker hat, a set of 3 Mickey golf balls, two scarves, a men’s tshirt, a men’s Hawaiian shirt, an h2o+ foot scrub, two tank tops, and a coffee scoop. Not bad, eh? We got items from three different stores and managed to find something for everyone – ourselves as well as his parents, my parents, his brother, and my cousin. Pretty proud of our haul!

What would you have gotten with $200 to spend on anything Disney?

disney golf balls, coffee scoop, and h2o+ foot scrub

Closer look at the smaller items.

Engagement celebration

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The week after Panda and I got engaged, he had some business in the area and was staying at the Hilton Anaheim. We had been there previously and got a rather small room that I was disappointed in, so this time he made sure to request a better room earlier on and also mention that we would be celebrating our engagement. I was much happier with the experience the second time around! Take a look for yourself:

view of california adventure and disneyland from hilton anaheim hotel

We actually got a view of Disneyland/California Adventure this time!

corner room at hilton anaheim with windows on two sides

The room was on a corner so we got windows on two sides.

king bed in corner room at hilton anaheim

The room was nice and big unlike the first one we had.

restroom at hilton anaheim

The restroom was on the side of the entrance hallway, facing one of the sides with windows. I liked that plenty of natural light flowed in.

view of anaheim convention center roof from hilton anaheim

Out the side windows you could see the convention center. They had a bunch of chairs up on the roof for an event!

view of tops of palm trees from 9th floor window

It was weird looking down at the tops of the palm trees. I feel like a giant!

tray with congratulations note, bottle of pinot noir, and plate of chocolate-covered strawberries

To congratulate us on our engagement, the hotel sent up this lovely tray!

hot meal breakfast vouchers and cold meal or starbucks vouchers for hilton anaheim with mickey mouse disney gift card

As a bonus, we were upgraded to hot meals for breakfast in addition to the vouchers we could use to get Starbucks. Sweet! Plus, we earned a Disney gift card for staying 4 nights or more.

dusk from hilton anaheim overlooking convention center

Looking out west past the convention center, we could see the sunset turn into dusk.

disneyland fireworks as viewed from hilton anaheim

Every night at 9:30, we could see the fireworks put on by Disneyland. That little glowing thing beneath the fireworks is the castle.

hilton anaheim hot breakfast with fruit, omelet, waffles, orange juice, tea, and more

In the morning, our hot breakfast included various items like omelets, waffles, pancakes, french toast, fruit, crepes, potatoes, sausages, bacon, oatmeal, and more! They also served orange juice and tea or coffee.

The Wanderlust Tag

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

Some background (feel free to skip if you’re a busy busy person!)…

The other day, I got a text from a friend (Maven) who suggested I check out Wonderly. When I went, I found they were interviewing Miss Glamorazzi who is apparently something of a YouTube star. In her interview, she mentioned her favorite YouTuber is essiebutton… and that’s how I got to this point. You see, one of the videos that essiebutton posted was the Wanderlust Tag that’s going around YouTube. It was started by amandamuse and I’ve seen some videos popping up with that tag now. Personally, it was something I really liked thinking about and talking about, so I decided to take a risk and film myself in the video. So far all my YouTube videos have been unboxings where I show it from my perspective. I mean, do you really need to look at me as I show you products? I hope not cuz that’s my style. Howeverrr for the tag videos, it would be strange to not talk to the camera and to ease into it, I decided to do it at night when the lighting is more forgiving. My skin is in a horrible state right now and I feel no need to document that.

Ok now the real meat of it:

I liked making the video and discussing the answers with Panda so much that I’m gonna blog about it. After all, I’m a blogger at heart, merely testing the waters of vlogging for now. You can watch the video if you’d like; this time around I will discuss the answers in relation to Panda’s and how our answers may differ (or not!).

picture and shiny seal of visa to study in uk

Big smiles!

1. What’s your most treasured passport stamp?
My answer: It’s actually a visa sticker, which I got so I could go study abroad in the UK my third year of college. That was a wonderful experience and look at how happy I was in the photo!
His answer: Uhh, he doesn’t have one yet! So it will have to be the one he gets when we go to the UK later this year. 🙂 Hopefully we’ll rack up some more soon enough.

2. Can you recite your passport # from memory if asked?
My answer: The first three digits of my old one, but I just got a new one a few weeks ago so definitely no. At one point I could since I was filling it out a lot, but nowadays it’s a distant memory.
His answer: No (I mean, he hasn’t had to use it so…). But he’s probably the type to memorize it before going on a trip abroad, just in case. We shall see when he leaves the country for the first time later this year!

sitting in first class seat of plane with headphones on

If first class was cheaper I’d do it all the time.

3. Preferred method of travel; planes, trains or automobiles?
My answer: Trains are a ton of fun! When I was kid, the ones in China gave out super fun little keychain toys – it was a 3D puzzle that formed a sphere. I loved that thing! And I enjoy being able to get up as I want and enjoy the landscape flying by. I certainly don’t mind planes as long as I get a window seat, but they’re not that exciting anymore.
His answer: Planes for the service (well he’s like a gold or platinum member so he gets spoiled and often gets upgraded to first class free – of course he’d like that!) or a car for the views. He’s never really experienced trains (only short-distance ones) so maybe he’d like that. We’ll see after he rides some more in the UK, but I’d really like to take him on an overnight ride sometime.

4. Top 3 travel items?
My answer: Camera (total photo addict – I’d love a DSLR soon), jacket or blanket (gotta stay warm! and we’re both sensitive to the cold), and toiletries (gotta stay clean right?). I’m totally cool with traveling light since I’m going places to see the places, not to bring all my stuff with me. However, I might need to bring a large suitcase to carry all the things I acquire while on the road…
His answer: Headphones (so he can be in his own little world), jacket (also to stay warm), and phone (to stay connected).

5. Hostel or hotel?
My answer: Hostel if I’m traveling alone, since it’s such a great way to meet people and share experiences with fellow travelers. Hotel if I’m with family or friends, since we’ll probably just stick to ourselves and we can split the cost.
His answer: Hotel! He’s like a gold member with a hotel chain so there are perks plus you earn points. Oh, and he’s never stayed at a hostel.

6. Are you a repeat visitor or do you explore new places?
waikiki beach sand and palm treesMy answer: New places! I am all about new, new, new and trying to hit up as many places as possible while I can. Then when I’m older I know which places offer the experiences I’m looking for in my next vacation, whether it’s beautiful scenery or a lively atmosphere or tons of history.
His answer: Repeat visitor to Hawaii! Well, we haven’t yet returned since his first visit last summer, but it looks like we’ll be going there every other year (last year he got to choose our vacation destination and next year is his turn again). I’ll try to convince him to go to a different island/region each time so it’s not toooo repetitive for me.

7. Do you read up on your destination (culture,history,safety) or do you wing it?
My answer: A little bit, just so I know what attractions I might want to visit/explore, but otherwise I rely on my basic knowledge of the place.
His answer: He not only reads up on it, he actually contacts the local tourist office and requests more material! Lol, what a dork. 🙂

8. Favorite travel website?
My answer: Gogobot, because there are awesome people on it helping you plan your trips and give advice, plus there are reviews and guides and trip planning tools. I love the vibe on there and I actually get to meet local Gogoboters through events!
His answer: TripAdvisor (or TripAdvisory as he calls it, hehe). There is a lot of useful information that he likes to arm himself with ahead of time.

9. Where would you recommend a friend to visit?
thai temple in bangkokMy answer: Bangkok, Thailand. It’s a beautiful country and Bangkok is a city offering a ton to see and do. You can do a day trip out to the Tiger Temple and float on a river raft and ride an elephant and learn about historical battles or you can stay in the city and go shopping at Chatuchak Market and the Night Market and enjoy the best pad thai cooked outside and get pampered at spas.
His answer: Waikiki Beach, Hawaii. We went there last summer and he had so much fun he wants to keep going back, so naturally he’d recommend it to anyone! It’s a great tropical paradise where you can get away from your normal routine and feel like you’ve gone to another country, but not have to deal with currency exchanges and roaming charges and language barriers.

10. You’re leaving tomorrow, money is no object, where are you going?
My answer: EVERYWHERE! I’d pick up and start going to every single country and city I was ever interested in (bringing Panda with me, of course) and then I’d hop on a shuttle to go into orbit around the earth and enjoy weightlessness and spectacular views.
His answer: London, since we’re already planned for it and he has a good idea of what there is to see, where we can stay, and what we can do. In other words, much of the prep work is done so he doesn’t have to worry about cramming it all in in one night before leaving!

As you can see, we take very different approaches towards traveling. If Panda could have his way, he’d get tons of information from the tourist office and read up on it, we’d fly first class to our destination, get a nice rental car, stay at a classy hotel, check out a few places of interest, but mostly hang out and relax at the hotel enjoying free food at the executive lounge, relaxing and playing by/in the pool, and enjoying some delicious dinners at local restaurants. Meanwhile, I’d be the pack up and go randomly as opportunity strikes, fly economy, then take various forms of public transportation to a decently-located hostel or hotel (depending on the price/availability), spend all day out and about exploring the city and surrounds, grab whatever street food we can find, and jam pack as many experiences as possible. We’ve found a pretty happy medium where I get enough exploration and he gets enough relaxation, so I think our travel styles are actually pretty compatible.

The Hotel Maya, a Doubletree by Hilton review

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

Panda and I get a chance to stay at a bunch of different hotels throughout the year, so I thought I’d share some of the experiences a bit more thoroughly than I could in a travel review site. I’ve broken it down into a few sections: Location (including parking info & nearby businesses), Rooms (including wifi info & toiletries), Service (including check in/out times & front desk service), and Amenities (including breakfast info & pool/gym details). Finally, I sum up with a Pros & Cons comparison if you’re short on time. Click on any of those to jump straight to the section you want!

sign for the hotel maya a doubletree by hilton in long beach

entrance of the hotel maya a doubletree by hilton in long beach


hotel maya parking boxThe Hotel Maya is down in Long Beach, facing part of the harbor and not too far from the Queen Mary (you’ll hear the foghorn sound a few times throughout the day). It is being run as a Doubletree, so you can expect the same services and amenities (such as complimentary cookies). The location can be a little confusing to get to since the roads are long and windy and as soon as you cross the Queens Way bridge, you exit on the right and it looks like you’re getting onto a freeway but then you get right off. From there, you do a complete 180 and basically backtrack along your route on the side road, passing by a Residence Inn and curving around underneath the bridge to get over to the hotel. If you’re like me and missed the exit, then you end up reaching the end of the bridge and having to pull a u-turn and loop around from the opposite direction. Confused yet? Yeah, it can be a bit challenging reaching the hotel the first time but take a look at the maps I linked for you to see what I’m talking about. There aren’t really many businesses nearby, so you’ll probably have to drive back across the Queens Way bridge to access the more densely-packed area where there are restaurants and bars and stores.

giant brown rotating door at entrance of hotel mayaWhen you arrive, you will get a ticket from the parking machine that will let you in. If you’re in the lot just dropping off someone, don’t worry – you have a grace period of (I believe) 20 minutes that you can stay without being charged. If you’re staying as a guest, you will have to pay the fee of $19 per night. You’ll just use your room key as the entry and exit card whenever you want to drive out somewhere. When you enter, you’ll find this giant door, which you push on the left side to enter. It will rotate to open like some sort of secret passageway entrance. Or, you can opt for the “normal” door on the left side, which is that glass panel with the metal bar handle. The front desk is just to the left once you enter. If you were to go straight up the ramp in front of you, you’d find the restaurant up the stairs on the right and some meeting rooms in the back. From the front desk, off to the left is the open computer area, couches, and more meeting space.


hotel maya room high ceilingsThe hotel actually consists of multiple small buildings clustered together. It feels rather like an apartment complex and there are only a few rooms per floor. Each room has its own little balcony or porch, with chairs and a small table so you can sit and enjoy the weather and/or view (if you have one). If you happen to get a top floor room, it will likely have very high ceilings as shown. Overall the feel is very airy and spacious, which is appropriate for being by the ocean. The beds are typical ones, not too firm or soft and the bedding might be a bit light if you’re sensitive to the cold like me. We had to use the heater at night and it is an older type that is mounted in the window, so it rattles a bit and isn’t the quietest thing.

two yellow porch chairs and a wooden table on porch of room at hotel mayaYou’ll get to enjoy free wifi, yay! To ensure a lot of light can enter the room, the entire window area also houses glass sliding doors that lead to the porch. The porch doesn’t have railing like a fence, but instead is composed of something like plexiglass so you can enjoy the best possible view from the porch, with nothing obstructing the way. It’s also nice for helping to block some of the cool ocean breeze you might get as you sit outside. I really enjoyed the furnishings in our room, from the wicker seat by the mirror that was great for stacking our stuff on to the glass top desk by the porch to the nice sturdy coffee table next to the couch. Check out these photos of the room – you can click on them to enlarge.

view of hotel maya room from doorway

view of hotel maya room from inside

hotel maya bathroomIn the restroom you’ll find Crabtree & Evelyn toiletry products in Citron Honey & Coriander. The wallpaper is Mayan-themed and the floor and shower area have a nice marble. I did not like that the toilet paper holder was on the wall behind the toilet, so you had to reach back blindly or twist to try to reach it. I did like the sink, which had a nice water flow and a cool rectangular design. There are bars beneath the sink so you can keep hand and face towels within each reach, but the small little metal nub on the wall for hanging towels could have been bigger. If you didn’t place the towel just right, it could easily slide right off.


hotel maya event spaceCheck-in time is at 3 PM and checkout time is at 12 PM, but of course this is always negotiable if you ask and are courteous to the staff. The hotel is a non-smoking property, so don’t expect to find ashtrays or get a smoking room. I found the staff to always be helpful, whether we needed some disposable utensils or wanted an extra cookie. They even held a bake sale while I was there, raising funds for the Ronald McDonald House. You could easily hold events here as well, ranging from weddings to business conferences. They offer a nice outdoor area pictured there, which was set up for various events during my stay. They also have some large rooms you can use for meetings, presentations, and the like.


hotel maya poolAs you’d expect, the Hotel Maya has a pool (complete with lovely “floating” cabanas) and hot tub, as well as a variety of seating options to enjoy the sun, the pool, the harbor, or just the air. There is a gym with giant glass windows just across from the lobby area – a good place to get drinking water if you have some bottles you want to fill up. There is a small business center in the hallway region off to the side of the front desk, with two computers for you to use if you need to hop online or print something. The little snack shop on the side of the front desk offers not only food like a s’mores kit, but clothing and magnets to remember your visit to Long Beach by. You can also use the microwave there to heat up any food that might need microwaving to eat.

hotel maya hot breakfastA free continental breakfast is available in the in-house restaurant (Fuego Restaurant) to Hilton Gold members and above. One of my mornings, I was told the hot buffet was available to me as well, but I’m not sure if that’s usually the case or if you have to pay an additional fee. Anyone is welcome to purchase meals there throughout their working hours. They offer a great view of the harbor. Just outside and down the stairs, you’ll find the Aquabus, which only runs in summer months. It takes you across the harbor to the more main area of Long Beach, where you can go to the convention center, check out a park, or grab some food. There’s also a bus you can catch from the front of the hotel area, which can take you into town as well.

There are also a ton of great spaces to enjoy that make this property feel somewhat like its own little town. You can stroll along the harbor, play tennis or beach volleyball or bocce ball, hang out in a variety of cabanas and lawn chairs, enjoy firepits and the small “beach” that they built, and so much more. Check out my gallery of pictures below for even more looks at what the Hotel Maya has to offer!

Pros: cool vibe, great views, resort-like property, tons of windows to enjoy the most sunlight, good food, great furnishings, very relaxing

Cons: location slightly out of the way for most activities, paid parking, small inconveniences in restroom, loud air conditioning unit

Overall? I’d totally stay here again whenever I’m looking for a chill atmosphere and some relaxation – as long as I have a car I can use at night. I mean, I wouldn’t mind trying Fuego for dinner but I doubt it’s in the price range I prefer.

On My Mind, episode 4

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

Ready for another round of On My Mind? Here goes!

~Ha! I was just thinking about how my blog posts used to be so much more insightful/thoughtful/interesting when I started to get the inspiration bug again and went crazy preparing some draft posts. Tons of goodness to come!

~Sooo I had said I didn’t want to buy any more nail polish until I used up one bottle. Just one! Which shouldn’t be that hard since I rarely buy nail polish anyway, but then I came across a BOGO deal and I couldn’t resist! BAH. I bought it and then promptly spilled one all over my carpet (which took out about a third of that bottle). Karma for going against my word? 🙁 I did manage to mostly get it out (and better than I had hoped at least!).

collage of sally hansen insta-dri nail colors in clearly quick, pronto purple, lively lilac, and blue-away~That nail polish I got? Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri. I’d never tried it before, but that coupon for buy one, get one meant each bottle was $2. While I may not want to pay $4 for some nail polish, $2 was a deal I couldn’t resist. I know, I’m terrible. But you know what? I discovered an AMAZING brush! Like seriously, why don’t all (or at least more) nail polishes have brushes like this? It applies so well, I just love it. Plus, I really love that these nail polishes dry so quickly, since clumsy old me would usually mess up at least three nails before they managed to dry.

~And if you keep up with the blog, you will see that I’ve decided to exchange some of my old nail polishes for some Zoya ones! At least I’m not accumulating more, right? That’s ok, right?!

~My family went out and got a bunch of Garnier Fructis Hydra Recharge shampoos because of the current deal for them! Only $0.86 in CA if you bring your own reusable bag. Less in other states since our tax is a high 9%, ugh.

collage of broken galileo thermometer

I cleaned the bulbs and put them in a vase.

~About two weeks ago, Missy (one of my cats) broke my Galileo thermometer when she knocked it over – RIP 🙁 – and I learned that the oil they use in it smells naaasty. It smelled like a gas station exploded on my carpet. I guess that’s the only material the bulbs will float in correctly. I cleaned and scrubbed and patted for an hour and the smell didn’t dissipate, so I had to move to another room to sleep. Took about a week of leaving the window open and spraying odor remover on it daily before I could move back. My carpet is forever scarred though – for some reason, it grew a bump that won’t go away.

long raised bump in carpet

It used to be a lot worse but it has since shrunk.

~Panda (the boyfriend) was in town earlier in the month and we got a pretty cool room at the Hilton Garden Inn LAX! I loooved the rocker, which was so smooth and made me feel lighter. Reminded me of the zero gravity chairs they have a Brookstone. The bathroom was rather sweet too, with a jacuzzi/hot tub (what’s the difference?) on one side and an electronically-controlled shower on the other. I got to set the shower water to exactly the temperature I wanted!

panoramic shot of large bathroom in a hilton garden inn lax room

Here I am demonstrating the rocking chair…

awesome smooth leather rocking chair from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

~I had told my cousin about the 1 Second Everyday app, which she was interested in. I’ve been having a blast with it! I was sad, however, that I had redeemed an iTunes gift card for $50 and wasn’t able to split it into two $25 gift codes so she too could get some apps without paying. Then a few days later it dawned on me: gifting an app! I hadn’t thought of it because I never used it (and really wasn’t sure it was even a feature), but I checked and it’s so easy to do it! But by the time I told her, she had already bought the app. Womp, womp… next time!!

~I’ve been doing pretty well with the giveaways I’ve entered and won a couple more, yippee! You’ll see pictures of them after I get them. One in particular I wanted to point out – I actually won another 3-month Conscious Box subscription and this time I got to share an additional one with a friend! I mean, what is more thrilling than winning for you AND a friend of your choice? I picked a super awesome, super supportive friend and she was totally excited. Coincidentally, her birthday was right around then too! Happy birthday!

~I’m so glad I went through that long, long DMV line to get a new picture taken because I am SO much happier with my new picture! The original picture was from when I was in high school and it looks like I have a fake orange tan when in reality I just swam outdoors a lot for our high school team.

driver's license pictures side by side comparison

The old picture looks a lot more orange in person.

~I’m STILL waiting to get my first Goodie box and Graze box. Waaah! I’ve held myself back from buying snacks because they were supposed to replace my snack food shopping and THEY’RE STILL NOT HERE… -___- I, being hugely reliant on snacking to survive/thrive, feel so forlorn… BUT I should be getting my Goodie box today*! *fingers crossed* My Graze box was prepared on the 11th and if I don’t get it by tomorrow I’m going to contact customer service. Yes, you can call me Cookie Monster.

~And finally, I was SO off-the-walls (maybe too) happy to get an email from the Pink Panel letting me know I’m in their nail care testing group. I had just signed up and filled out the survey for the latest testing group and it was awesome to get that invitation!! I can’t wait – I remember seeing Julep in the survey URL so I’m pretty sure we get to test some Julep products. I’ve yet to try anything from them, but I’d totally love to. I’m turning into a nail polish/hand care fiend. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that we get a $75 Amazon gift card (code, probably) for participating. I’m getting my cats a fun feeding maze I learned about from an article on Squidoo with those funds!

*Yay the Goodie box arrived! Time to rip through it. 🙂

On My Mind, episode 2

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

(In case On My Mind is not self-explanatory enough and you want to learn more, check out my post explaining what inspired it.)

screenshot of giveaway tools final result: mary q. won 3-month conscious box subscription from just another new blog~I won!!! I’ve been trying to win a bunch of things, but in particular is a 3-month subscription to Conscious Box, which tons of bloggers have been giving away. AND I ACTUALLY WON! I was just going through checking up on the giveaways that had expired to see if they announced winners and what did I find? My name! That is probably the most exciting thing in the world.

~Last week I went to the DMV because I wanted to renew my license and update the photo. Why can’t I just send in a picture like I can with a passport? I’m assuming it has to do with that special shade of blue they use for the background, which then begs the question… why that color??

~I tried to book an online appointment for the DMV but the earliest appointment was two weeks away! If I didn’t need to drive in the mean, I totally would have gone that route to save the time at the DMV. Unfortunately I didn’t have that luxury this time, so I was stuck standing in line. It took nearly 3 hours (and there were only like 15-20 people in line in front of me!). Luckily, I was smart and got a book to read before going. I was the only one.

~My mom and I went to Best Buy because she had some reward money she had to spend – all told, we spent $0.30 on a bunch of random pens for her and a cool whiteboard/blackboard for me! We didn’t know what else to buy with her $20 credit. And it took us over an hour to figure it out, lol. Granted, much of that hour was spent waiting for an associate to help me locate the board at another store. The one they had was missing the crayon box and what’s a board if you can’t write on it?

5 sets of pens from best buy

Ignore the cat paw. 😉

crayola dry erase board dual-sided black and white with set of dry erase crayons and wiping cloth

Comes with dry erase crayons!

~I’ve been reading a bunch of books like Buyology & The Zappos Experience – great source of learning and very useful lessons for my future business attempts. I’m trying to apply everything I learned to the Kickstarter I’m developing. I sure hope it’s successful!

~So when I went to get some of those books I’ve been reading, I discovered the cool new library self-checkout! My fancy little library has this system where you put the stack of books (up to like 7 or 8 at a time) on the counter and it can check them all out for you. No more scanning one by one! Nifty. I should also note they have a conveyor belt thing behind the wall when you return a book, complete with video so you can watch your book get dropped off into some bin at the end.

~Remember that Influenster campaign I mentioned last time? Well, yay I got in! Turns out it’s for an Aveeno product, which they’ll be sending to me shortly. 🙂

~This week I got to hang out at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach. It’s right on the water and I really enjoyed working in the cabanas and other similar areas. It’s great to have a fabulous view, a slight breeze, the warmth of the sun, and the option of shade all at once. If it weren’t for my reflective laptop screen, it’d be perfect for working all day.

outdoor couches at hotel maya in long beach

I spent most of the days here.

view of waterfront from hotel maya in long beach

~Since I was at the waterfront, I spent a lot of time (sea) bird watching. Totally fun! There are the ones that bob around on the water and dive down for fish, disappearing for minutes at times. Then there are the fliers that dive down to the water from high above, making a nice splash. There are the little ones that flit about quickly and the larger ones that almost seem like they’re gliding in the air. In the morning, they were most active and by noon, many of them had settled in for a nap. By the afternoon, they started waking up again and as the sun set, I lost track of them.

~I also caught a glimpse of a seal! Actually, I think a pair of them. So cool!!! Next time I need to find a beach that they hang out at. I’d love to seal watch.

(Here you can hear how excited I am to see them, even though I didn’t get to see much.)

seals at Long Beach from Mary Qin on Vimeo.


Weird Custom

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , ,

At the Custom Hotel, there’s this strange light… was it meant to be a nightlight??

color-changing nightlight from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Breaking in the new year

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , ,

Panda and I got a chance to stay at the brand new Hyatt Place LAX/El Segundo, which just opened its doors on 12/12/12. Check it out!  (Oh, and kudos to them for being the FIRST hotel I’ve been to that doesn’t require me to reach or contort too much to reach the toilet paper.)

view of room at hyatt place from entrance

Walking into the room, it was very spacious and neat.

view of living room space in hyatt place room

From inside the room looking back at the door, you can appreciate the nice little living area with couch and light.

green hyatt place modern ice bucket

A cool and modern ice bucket awaits you.

hyatt place bathroom with frosted glass sliding door and giant mirror

You can’t quite make it out, but the bathroom had a nice frosted glass sliding door.

white glowing lights behind bathroom mirror at hyatt place

I really enjoyed the gentle glow of the lights behind the mirror!

long lit hallway at hyatt place

The quiet hallways were well-lit and very long.

outdoor fireplace with couch seating at hyatt place

Both on the side and at the back of the hotel, you’ll find outdoor fireplaces that make for a nice place to sit.

large water wall decoration at entrance of hyatt place

I really enjoy water walls since you get the trickle of water without the distracting noise.

lobby of hyatt place with couches and artwork

The lobby area was nice and open, but also included a recessed area for a more cozy feel.

view of field and palm trees from hyatt place

Right now the rest of the Campus El Segundo property is pretty empty, but I’m sure in years to come this view will get less green.


laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , ,

I finally had the opportunity to stay at a W Hotel, which sometimes feels like a breed unto its own, hence it being a whotel and not just a hotel.  When I was describing the hotel chain to some friends, I found myself saying it’s like the hotel version of Virgin Airlines.  And truly, if Richard Branson were to run a boutique-y hotel, I’d imagine it to be exactly like the W.

entry area into room at w hotel silicon valley

When you come in the door, there’s a nice little threshold section with hardwood floors .

suite at the w hotel silicon valley

I love the openness of the suites, with the bed area and sitting area merging into one.

wall mirror and padded bench at w hotel silicon valley

Off to the right are a mirror and nice padded bench.

the living area in w hotel silicon valley, with sofa, footrest, and television

There’s a nice open area to relax on the couch and put your feet up while watching TV or chatting.

desk at w hotel silicon valley with arm-less swivel chair

The desk space feels modern with its simplicity and arm-less swivel chair.

bedroom area at w hotel silicon valley

The bed area with swivel TV so you can watch from the couch or bed.

restroom at w hotel with bathrobe and glass sink

The bathroom is sleek with bright lighting and glass fixtures, plus a bathrobe for lounging in.

spearate shower and bathtub in bathroom at w hotel silicon valley

They offer a stand-alone shower and tub for your washing and bathing desires.


a small kitchenette in room at w hotel silicon valley

A handy kitchenette offers snacks for purchase including some wine on the wall, or just plain useful things like a microwave, fridge, sink, and cupboards.


view of w hotel silicon valley pool from room

Nice pool! Oh, and they like to use simple one-word phrases, like “Wet” for the pool, “Wheels” for the valet service, and “Step” for the shower mat.

One thing I didn’t get around to getting a picture of is the carpets placed in the elevator, which say “Good Morning,” “Good Afternoon,” or “Good Evening” depending on time of day.  I don’t know exactly what time they switch out each, but they sure are on top of that one!

Ritzy living

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , ,

When Panda and I had the fortune of staying at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey for a few days, I was excited to document the experience. Here are some of the highlights from that stay; click on pics for the full size.

do not disturb door hanger at ritz-carlton marina del rey

A fancy and cool take on the "Do Not Disturb" sign - California Dreamin' (makes me wonder what they have for outside the state).

water bottles with ritz-carlton logo at ritz-carlton marina del rey

They've branded their own water!

ritz-carlton logo on paper travel mug and ceramic mug at ritz-carlton marina del rey

Whether you like your hot drinks in the room or to go, they've got you covered.

ritz-carlton branded milk and dark chocolate at ritz-carlton marina del rey

Yum, Ritz-Carlton chocolates.

blue and gold ritz-carlton couch and throw pillow at ritz-carlton marina del rey

Sitting enjoying the silky couch and pillow.

ihome alarm clock at ritz-carlton marina del rey

A nice fancy iHome alarm clock was playing soothing music when we entered.

bathroom accessories at ritz-carlton marina del rey

They had a nice display of all the things you'd need in the restroom.

glass scale in bathroom at ritz-carlton marina del rey

Oooh, a fancy glass scale! I was afraid of breaking it when I stepped on - it just seemed so fragile.

toilet at ritz-carlton marina del rey with phone in reach

Hmmm, now what do you need a phone for while in the restroom?

toilet paper branded with ritz-carlton sticker at ritz-carlton marina del rey

Should I be surprised that the toilet paper got branded too?

view of the marina from ritz-carlton marina del rey

What a beautiful morning and a spectacular view overlooking the marina!

view of inland los angeles from ritz-carlton marina del rey

Looking inland towards downtown, you get a pretty great view as well.

view looking down at pool and hot tub at ritz-carlton marina del rey

They've got an awesome saltwater pool and hot tub. If water can be more slippery than itself, that's what it feels like.

bed at ritz-carlton marina del rey

The cleaning people usually leave my pillow and baby panda like this on the bed when they make it.

enjoying the pool at ritz-carlton marina del rey

I couldn't resist going for a quick swim in their pool. It felt so comfortable!

bag that the morning newspaper is delivered in at ritz-carlton marina del rey

In the morning as you leave, you'll find a newspaper hanging from your door handle.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...