Posts Tagged ‘travel’

USC Marshall iTrek 2017: Purim & Western Wall

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Spring break was AMAZING. Magical, even. I got a chance to go to Israel with 19 other classmates and I really can’t imagine doing anything better during that week (I can’t believe it has already been a month since, wow). Our schedule was jam packed with activities giving us a wide range of experiences all around the country and we were all raving about it when we got back.

I’m breaking down the trip into multiple posts since there is just so much to share. Let’s start off with the first two days! Friday night I boarded a plane to Istanbul and met five of the others on our trip. We had a short 1 hour layover before flying off to Tel Aviv and arriving at night in time to catch Purim (it’s like Halloween!).

The next day, we bused over to Jerusalem and toured the Western Wall tunnels and Machane Yehuda market. At night, it was Purim time again, since apparently they stagger celebrations and it was Jerusalem’s turn to party. The market by day became an outdoor club by night!

art display in tom bradley terminal of lax

This was my first time being in Tom Bradley since they renovated! This piece of art hung overhead as we lined up for security.

turkish airlines lunch on plane

On the plane, I opted for chicken as my first meal.

turkish airlines breakfast on plane

After about 12 hours on the plane, we ate breakfast prior to landing in Istanbul for a layover.

entertainment screen showing plane path from los angeles to istanbul

My remote didn’t work so I couldn’t watch any shows, but I did watch the map for a long time.

turkish airlines snack on plane

On the Istanbul to Tel Aviv leg, we all got a quick snack.

view of tel aviv coast from plane at night

First glimpse of Tel Aviv from the air!!

view of tel aviv city from plane at night

As we got closer to the airport, we saw more of Tel Aviv upon descent.

electronic display at hotel showing usc group meeting in alon hall

At the Metropolitan Hotel, the rest of our party was busy pre-partying before heading out for Purim!

food at tel aviv hotel

We got in late so there wasn’t much food left.

usc marshall purim party on the streets of tel aviv

Out we went to party on the streets (mainly Rothschild)! We even brought our sign. 😉
Photo cred: “Mr. Photogenic”

late night pizza after purim party with v for vendetta mask

I borrowed a friend’s V for Vendetta mask for a bit as we got pizza on the way back to the hotel.

tel aviv beach and ocean

The next morning, we got our first glimpse of the beach before leaving Tel Aviv for Jerusalem.

towns on the hill of israel

There were all these towns on hills that I barely captured on the right here.

entrance area to western wall in jerusalem

Our day tour for the day was the Western Wall tunnels. Check out the giant cemetery in the distance.

western wall tunnel under construction with empty bath

Underneath the tunnels were arches that are veeeery old. This used to be a bath.

western wall tunnel with restored bath

This is where they uncovered a bath and water mysteriously filled it up! Our tour guide Shani was there for the excavation. (He’s awesome btw!!)

After all that time underground, it was nice to come back out to the daylight.

western wall women's crowded side

We then took some time to visit the wall and write our wishes to stuff in the cracks.

western wall large men's side

The men’s side was disproportionately larger for some reason… ahem.

western wall bushes and birds

Up against the wall, you’ll hear plenty of chirping from the birds that are chilling on the plants and cracks.

walking back to bus

After the Western Wall, it was back on the bus to go over to Machane Yehuda for lunch and browsing.

signs in jerusalem on the way to machane yehuda market

On our way to the market! Who knew that later tonight it would be a raging Purim party?

facebook post on streets of jerusalem

They turned this post into a FB icon.

tuna tartare dish at mona restaurant jerusalem

Dinner that night was at a nice fancy place, Mona Restaurant.

tough pose with israeli security guard

Check out our awesome security guard for the day! He may have had a gun, but he was the sweetest (and who could resist that crown?). 🙂

purim party at machane yehuda jerusalem

Back to the market that night for some dancing!

israelis dancing on bus stop awning for purim

These crazies got on top of the bus stop awning and I was so scared it would break.

mary poppins costume for purim party jerusalem

I spotted Mary Poppins! Her costume was SO GOOD.

And that wrapped up the first full day of being in Israel. It was only the start to something truly special. I’ll try to get the other posts up quickly…

Feline road trip

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , ,
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Happy New Year! One of the last things we did as a family last year was take a road trip with the cats. This was the first time we took both cats in the car and it was quite an adventure.

At the hotel, Smokey quickly found a place to hide in the blanket. She never goes in there!

Soon the cats discovered the top of the curtain.

Smokey’s sweaty little paws left some marks on the dash.

Missy somehow thought the litter box would be a good bed.

Smokey moved around a lot and eventually settled on my bag.

Missy was cold, so I wrapped her up in a towel and she slept.

Almost home!

They got so excited when we got in the garage. Freedom!

How to get a 10-year visa to China

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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Well, it’s been over 2 years since I last got a visa to China and mine expired 4 months ago, so I had to go back again. Luckily, since that time, there is a new agreement in place that allows me to apply for a 10 year visa! Thank goodness I will only have to deal with this process once a decade. Here are some lessons from this time, building from my previous experience.

First of all, if you are applying for a visa in the DMV (DC metro area), make sure you’re going to the visa office on Wisconsin. The visa office is not in the embassy! I recommend parking over on 35th or Whitehaven – if you go down beyond the first block you’ll get past metered parking and find free 2-hour spots. Be sure to go in the morning or you might find yourself wasting an extra hour waiting for them to get back from lunch and/or not even getting serviced once they run out of time in the afternoon. They shut the doors at 2:30 so no new people come in, but from what I hear they keep on working through the line that has built up until 4 or later.

metal seats in waiting area at dc's chinese visa officeThis time I am going during tourist season, so oh my gosh it was waaaaaaay worse than last time. 20-40 minutes in line?! Please. Think more like 3-4 hours! In light of that, bring a snack. I nearly fainted the first time I was there since I was there until nearly 2 without any food all day. They do have a remodeled area that was under construction last time I was there. There are a lot of seats, but even more people and typically most of them are taken.

By the way, yes, you need to give them your passport. Your original, physical passport. It’ll come back with a giant sticker on one page containing your visa! Even though they have your passport at hand, you still need to provide a printed copy of your passport photo page and most recent visa (if you ever had one before). I think a lot people don’t realize that.

I was super paranoid this time because last time was not easy, so I actually came over-prepared. I had copies of my passport, visa, driver’s license (front and back), email with travel details, invitation letter from my dad, his passport, his visa (proof he lives and works in China), and the application form. I ended up only needing my passport copy, visa copy, and 2 pages of the flight confirmation email (which was like 10 pages long), in addition to the application.

I read online that they only accept typed forms, so thank goodness I didn’t try to fill it out by hand. I actually prepared two versions – one for the L visa, for general tourists, and one for the Q2 visa, for visiting relatives. I ended up going with the L visa application and all they needed was the part of my itinerary showing my name, which matches my passport, and my departure dates.

While I had been worried that I had a Chinese address instead of a hotel for the place I’d be staying, that didn’t end up being an issue. That’s why I also had my dad’s info, to prove that he knew I was coming and had “invited” me to join him. Luckily, they didn’t seem to need any proof that I could stay at the Beijing address I gave.

Last Friday, we had a morning All Hands that ended around 10 and I headed out to apply for my visa. I arrived at 10:59 and got a ticket for the B numbers, which are for non-Chinese passport holders applying for a visa. A is for Chinese passport holders who are renewing their passport or processing other needs. C is for diplomats and other special folks, I believe. D is for those picking up something and gets you to the payment window. Windows are distributed by function too. Window 1 seems to be for travel agents and others with special scenarios. Window 2 is often vacant. Window 3-7 are for visa processing, with Window 5 being for diplomats. Window 8 & 9 are for Chinese citizens. Window 10 is for payment, and Window 11 is for pickup.

I sat for nearly 3 hours before getting called and for all that… my time at the window was around 2 minutes. I had managed to take a nap, do a lot of staring, and go move my car in that time. They seriously need to streamline this process. Add on the hour to get there and hour back and that was 5 hours just to submit my application. Thankfully, I was prepared and had everything I needed. There were no hiccups this time, no getting sent upstairs and having to spend money to fill out a form at a travel agency, no rejections at the window after a long wait. I was told I could come back on Wednesday to pick up my visa.

This past Friday, I was able to return. This time I came earlier, arriving before 10:30. As it was approaching 12:30, I started to get really nervous that I would not get in before the lunch break. The payment window closes 12:30-1:30 for lunch and it’s the only place you can pay before reclaiming your passport with your new visa. I was so relieved when I got called at 12:20, with time to spare! It was about a minute to pay (I wonder what all the other people did and why they were much slower) and then a brief wait for the person at the next window to come back and find my passport. Within 2 hours, I was happily on my way  back to the car!

I’m glad this won’t have to happen again for a long, long time.

Central/Eastern European souvenirs

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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This most recent trip to Europe allowed me to revisit some places I hadn’t been to in 9 years and also check out new places that have been on my wishlist. It was a lot of fun and I got some gifts along the way to remember each place by!

Our first official stop was Praha (Prague). There were so many artists, musicians, and crafters to be found everywhere. In one of of the shops, I got my first souvenir – a little metal cup. One of the few that wasn’t a glossy finish, which appealed to me.

teal metal cup with owl designs

I liked the matte look and the funky owls!

Then as we were walking across Charles Bridge, perusing the various vendors, I saw a guy selling these adorable paintings! I just had to have one since he had such a fun style and had cats in each piece. This one is perfect because it has the cat couple, plus two extra cats – just like me, Panda, and our cats.

original artwork of prague with cats and hot air balloons at night

I loved that this incorporated cats and had cute little hot air balloons.

Next up was Warszawa (Warsaw), where we explored a massive park and the Neon Muzeum, all the while eating peirogis. I managed to add to my growing collection of TOUS jewelry (this is the 4th piece) and find some local folk art. I’m very happy with the usefulness of the giant coaster, which will be good for putting pots on.

tous onyx bear necklace from warsaw

When we saw a TOUS store at one of the shopping centers, we couldn’t resist. I finally got something from the onyx collection I’d been eyeing!

brightly-colored coaster with roosters and flowers

I originally saw a tote bag with a similar design, but I have so many bags that I was determined to find this look and feel on a different product.

Then we were off to Wien (Vienna) to fulfill my long-awaited dream of seeing the Spanish Riding School. We also went to tour one of Mozart’s homes and the Haus der Musik. When we came across the stalls by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, I found the opportunity to get something with the word “Vienna” on it. I liked the handmade nature of these glass cups that are perfect for holding a tea light.

glass cup for candles with colorful stained-glass scene handpainted on

We had just a few Euros left, but I really liked this one because the name was easily visible (unlike the others where Vienna was along the bottom). We had to pay in a combo of Euros and dollars!

After that, it was down to Split in Croatia. We enjoyed exploring the city of Split, where I found the amazing backpack that is perfect for my needs. We spent a whole day going up to Krka National Park for the waterfalls (freezing cold water, but totally worth it!). And of course, we just had to go out to Hvar Island to check it out. My favorite was going over to Palmizana, a smaller island off of Hvar.

drawstring backpack with elephant design from split, croatia

All pockets open and close with a magnet, which I love. There are side pockets inside as well as zippered areas inside and on the back. All sorts of storage options!

box of lavender buds and essential oil drops, plus bonus pouch of lavender buds from hvar in croatia

Apparently there are lots of lavender fields in the area, so at Hvar I got this adorable box filled with lavender buds. There’s a bottle of essential oil inside as well, to help enhance the scent with a few drops every now and then. The lady kindly gave me a pouch as a bonus.

Finally, rounding out the trip was Budapest, with fantastic views from the Buda side. I loved getting goulash nearly every meal and we got to relax at the Szechenyi thermal baths. Up at Citadella, I saw a tower of mugs (think Christmas tree shape, except everything hanging is mugs) and knew I had to get one. I wasn’t crazy about any of the color combos, so I waited to find them again elsewhere until I decided on this funky one.

giant polka-dotted mug from budapest

My ladybug mug, as it will be known. It’s really a bowl with a handle and I can just about stick my entire face in it.

So these are all the items I have to remind me of this super fun trip to Central/Eastern Europe! I tried to get things I would use and not just stuff to put on a shelf. There’s so much more that I would have liked to have gotten, but that will have to wait for next time. 🙂

Whirlwind trip

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , ,
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The past two weeks have been a blur of travel activity. We managed a whopping 10 legs of flights going through 6 countries and boy are we pooped!! We crammed so much into each day that sometimes we couldn’t believe all that we’ve seen. I’ll recap some off it in the coming weeks.

It feels strange to be home, no longer having to pack up and get to the next destination. My legs are achy from all the walking (we topped out at over 30,000 steps one day) and I’ve had a bad ankle much of the trip. We ate so much good food that we needed all that walking to not gain weight! It’s nice to rest now and take things slower.

I look forward to sharing more about what we did, in case you’re ever interested in going to the places we did. 🙂

USC Marshall MBA Admit Weekend

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , , , , , ,
0

Holy cow, what a whirlwind weekend! It feels like I’ve been immersed for a week when really it was within 34 hours. Amazing what you can pack into a day when you need to.

view of usc campus from 7th floor of parking garage

My very first glimpse of the campus, as I was in the parking structure.

Thursday I left work at 3 to make my flight to LA. My mom picked me up, we had dinner, and then I prepped everything for the next day and went to bed. I got up at 9 on Friday, got ready, and headed out to campus. They put me up at the Radisson right across the street from the business school, so I parked there and walked over. It was a lot closer than the lot on campus that others were coming from, and thank goodness since I was running late.

GWiB (Graduate Women in Business) had put together a lunch for the women admits, so we got a chance to bond before the official event started. We met and got on a bus that took us over to the JW Marriott by LA Live, where we had a lovely ladies’ lunch. I got a chance to speak to a variety of MBA Ambassadors, admitted students, staff, and faculty. Check out some of the food they fed us as we got to know each other and hear more about their Marshall experiences.

Afterwards, we chatted as we waited for the bus to get around some protests (about Trump, I think?) that were blocking some roads. I had completely forgotten about the guys, so when we got back we suddenly infused them with a different dynamic and then we were off and running, melding into a class.

usc marshall admit weekend welcome signBack at Popovich, we checked in, got our name badges and gift baggies, and headed upstairs to listen to deans and professors and staff and students share a breadth of knowledge. What struck me the most as I sat there listening was the energy, personality and presence that each speaker had. I loved the vibe from them all and really enjoyed hearing from each of them. I liked them all!

At that point we were so engrossed in it all that we hadn’t even checked out what was in our gift bags! We had pulled out the schedules they had prepared for us, but the rest remained a mystery (for me at least) until I got to the club fair. Turns out we had padfolios with the Marshall brand on them, a pen for notes, sunglasses, all the info we needed for the weekend, and – my fav – a Tile! I shouldn’t have been surprised that they branded it USC Marshall on one side.

usc marshall admit weekend introduction

walking over to usc marshall admit weekend club fair

Walking over to the club fair.

After many hours of talks, we headed out on the lawn to the Club Fair where I got a chance to catch up with three current students I knew from completely different parts of my life. I learned about some groups I might want to be a part of and met some truly awesome and helpful people. From there, we were ushered over to the University Club for dinner. I got roped into sitting at a consulting table by two ambassadors. I probably would have gone to the high tech table otherwise, but I wanted to keep an open mind to consulting. During dinner, members of the marching band came in to play tons of songs.

exterior of usc university club at king stoops hall

Our lovely dinner venue!

night view of usc campus from radisson hotel midtown

My night view of campus.

To wrap up the night, we went over to the campus pub/bar to socialize and I met some more great people there. Most folks seemed to have decided on attending Marshall already, but a few were still considering other options. I found we kept asking each other, “Are you committed?” As for me, yes, I am. I was committed in my mind, but had not yet submitted the deposit (which I just did now that I’m home). I’m glad I already knew, so there was no pressure to choose and I could dive right in to the culture and student body that I was encountering. Upon getting kicked out at closing, we wandered our ways back to our hotels/homes and settled in for the night.

usc trojan stuff at radisson midtown hotel

The whole place was very school spirited!

Lest you think that was it, it was only the start of homework time! We had been given a case study to read and prep for. On Saturday, we’d go over it and discuss with a professor just like in a class, so we had to be prepared. I sat in bed reading it until I fell asleep and went a little cross-eyed. I believe I woke up about 20-30 minutes later so I could finish my reading and get to bed. By then it was sometime after 1:30. For no apparent reason, I woke up at 4 (perhaps I was on east coast time). Then at 5, a bird outside my window was going crazy warbling for half an hour before finally flying off. I woke up a few more times before it was time to get up at 7.

sc themed elevator buttons at radisson midtown hotel

Even the elevator buttons were themed!

panoramic view of usc campus from radisson hotel midtown

Check out the awesome view I got of campus from my room!

cops on figueroa watching closed road for march of dimes

All’s quiet before March of Dimes.

I got ready for the day and met up with everyone else over at Popovich for breakfast and socializing. The March of Dimes was happening on Figueroa, so the road was closed (but thankfully not to pedestrians). A ton of cop cars were milling around waiting for the event to start. Meanwhile, we finished breakfast and split up into two groups, Gold and Cardinal, to hear alternately from alumni and recruiter panels (everybody they brought in were Marshall alum, a testament to the strength of the network). After that, we found our assigned small groups of about 4-5 to discuss the case study before meeting with all the Gold folks and being led through the case by a professor.

in-n-out food truck parked at usc campus for lunch

In-N-Out came to us for lunch.

Lunch was an In-N-Out truck where I was probably the only person to get a grilled cheese sandwich. We ate and met more people, then went back in to start a team challenge with our small groups. One of ours went MIA, but we pushed on. There were two consulting/strategy questions, two marketing questions, and two finance questions. I was very little help with finance, sort of knew about consulting, and contributed decently to marketing. Our teams had be assembled with a variety of backgrounds to help us tackle the different challenges. Thankfully, our finance guy who went missing made his way back to us before the competition was over.

Once our answers were submitted, we went on a campus tour and answered quiz questions on an app. Most of them consisted of choosing which company had the largest market cap. For example, between Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and CVS. Or between Alibaba, Amazon, eBay, and something else. Then there were questions identifying world and business leaders like Angela Merkel, Tim Cook, and the like. And your typical quiz questions about terminology. With 92 questions, we were pretty focused on getting through the quiz and didn’t see too much of the campus. We did manage to check out Heritage Hall (sports hall of fame for Trojans) and the athletic area, as well as the film school.

The final thing before wrap-up were sessions on topics related to our desired industry of work, living in Los Angeles, the first year experience, financial aid, classes, case competitions, etc. We could rotate a total of 6 times, choosing the topics that most interested us. I ended up spending an hour at the HR/Human Capital Consulting one! I was super interested in learning more and each of the ambassadors there had great stuff to share with me, so I got totally engrossed. Then it was the home stretch, with a summary, announcement of the team challenge winners (and notable mentions), and a final look at what Marshall has to offer.

mrs. fish in downtown los angeles

Entering Mrs. Fish, where the tanks hover over you.

Buuuut that wasn’t the end of it! There was dinner afterwards, at Mrs. Fish in DTLA. We had the place booked from 6-9 and had food laid out as well as plenty of drinks for everyone. I was very surprised when I ran into the fourth person I know in the class of 2017! That rounded out my time there, meeting everyone I knew AND making a ton of new connections. I got a chance to meet yet another new set of people there that night. It’s amazing how many people I met and remember, yet how many I have still yet to speak to. I’m excited to see everyone again at orientation and really get to know each of them.

This entire time I really felt in my element. Ever the business-minded folk, we were all chatting non-stop. These people take networking seriously! That energy lasted the entire time, with clusters of people chatting whenever we had a break. I tried to meet as many people as possible yet still remember who I was interacting with. It’s crazy that I already feel close to some of them and totally see us hanging out in the fall! I was so busy the whole time that I didn’t checked the time or my phone for hours. I hardly even paused to take photos, which is why I have so few (compared to what I’d normally have). I loved that we could strike up a conversation with literally anybody and count on each other to do the same. After all, we’re here to build lifelong friendships and cultivate strong relationships professionally too. I’m finally surrounded by people who speak my language and can geek out with me on business trends like nobody else in my life would. 🙂

On My Mind, episode 11: summer plans

laelene Posted in general blog, on my mind,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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I don’t do a lot of journal entry type posts here, but there are some things going on that I just wanted to share. Sometimes there is no specific topic; it’s just about life in general.

This weekend, I was very excited to get a shipment notification from Baubax, which I backed on Kickstarter back in September. I had hoped to get it in time for Thanksgiving. So much for that! They originally anticipated being able to get them completed by November, but their campaign exploded way beyond they ever expected. The product is a travel jacket, which they designed 4 of. I chose the red bomber jacket because it seemed like a nice balance between dressy and casual. I hope it fits me well!!

Panda and I have been looking for someone to rent a room in our home. His organization has interns that will be coming next month and they always need a place to stay. There are a few students we’ve considered and I look forward to finalizing details. We’re happy to earn some extra money to help fund my MBA. I’ll be leaving halfway through their stay to get ready for my program. Things are going to be crazy the next couple of months! Maybe in the future we can consider listing a room on Airbnb.

Panda got the Whole Dang Thang, which included fried fish, scallops, gator, calamari, shrimp and more.

Panda got the Whole Dang Thang, which included fried fish, scallops, gator, calamari, shrimp and more.

About a month ago, Panda and I went out to dinner with Calavera for cajun seafood. As I was cracking away at my crab legs, I didn’t realize I was weakening part of my tooth and on the drive home, I noticed that my tooth had chipped. Prior to that, I had noticed a tiny little indentation along the bottom of the tooth, so it must have fractured along that groove. I needed a teeth cleaning anyway, so I scheduled a dental appointment and was told I should get a crown. Since dental procedures are expensive in the US and I plan on going to China this summer, I decided to wait until I go there to get it done. In the mean while, I look silly sometimes with what looks like a gap in my teeth that then shows itself as a missing chunk. At least a gap would look normal!

Now that I know what program I’ll be attending in the fall, it’s all about getting to know what they have to offer. I received a call from an MBA Ambassador today, but I was working and then wasn’t able to reach her later. I’m compiling questions about the program, life in general, and other things to know before I start school. There are four more people I should reach out to (two friends and two ambassadors, one who interviewed me). I think I’ll learn a lot at Admit Weekend next week and I can’t wait to start meeting people, learning, and thinking about what I’ll do. All this looking to the future has me distracted from what I should focus on, but I’m still making good progress at work. Still, I’m itching to train someone up and start handing things off, though it looks like that won’t happen for another month.

I’ve always been interested in helping uncover resources and make them more readily available, so I created an unofficial employee handbook using Trello. Tomorrow I get to train a new girl on it for the very first time! I can’t wait to see what she thinks, get feedback, and hone it into a lasting legacy that I will leave here. I’ve got quite a few projects that I hope will continue to live on when I’ve moved on. I know that our use of Slack will certainly be one of those.

There are so many things buzzing around in my head these days. With my obsession with Trello, I’ve put together various boards to help me track everything I should be doing. Now I just need to get better at checking them… 😛

Getting around Hong Kong

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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As we gear up for our annual trip this year (to Eastern Europe!), I started looking back on vacations we’ve done and I can hardly believe that Hong Kong was already a year and a half ago. We were there during Occupy Hong Kong and some streets were inaccessible to vehicles. Luckily, it’s very easy to get around on foot and by metro, albeit very crowded.

Lots of folks had tents set up on the streets and there were barricades all over the roads.

occupy Hong Kong from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Our car managed to get in to a section that was closed down, but then there was nowhere to go, so we turned around and got waved on by a guy managing traffic clogs due to Occupy HK.

driving out of occupy from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

This is a quick glimpse of some tents and folks walking around. It was strange to be in such a crowded part of the city with absolutely no car traffic.

walking occupy Hong Kong from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

The MTR was quite crowded, particularly during rush hour, but all in all it’s quite orderly.

hong kong mtr commuters from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

There’s even a special machine for anyone with visual impairments. It plays music to help you find it.

mtr direction station for blind people from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

The Ritz-Carlton treatment

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , ,
0

While Panda was away on travel, he got a chance to stay at a Ritz-Carlton property. When he left, he realized that he could not find his power adapter, so he contacted the hotel and they were unable to locate it. Weeks later, he was supposed to return to the property but plans got changed and he had to stay at a different hotel in the area. When the hotel staff found out, they offered to send the replacement adapter they got him and delivered it to his new hotel! Not only that, but he mentioned he wanted to get something from the gift store – a rubber ducky – and they even brought that all wrapped up at no charge. Now this is the type of service I’ve heard of from this establishment and it’s great to see it in action. They made his trip that much better with their extra effort and kindness. 🙂

ritz-carlton gift box with white wrapping paper and red ribbon

The gift box, all nicely wrapped.

ritz-carlton rubber duckies inside box

Turns out they packed two ducks!

ritz-carlton rubber duckies

Now we have these keepsakes from their hotel.

universal converter/world adapter gift from ritz-carlton

And this wonderful replacement adapter for future travels. 🙂

Escape Monthly November: Arizona Box review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
0

Happy birthday to my mom! It’s nice to have it around Thanksgiving, since that often means seeing her on or near her birthday. Before the holiday weekend, I received my most recent box. Check it out!

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city/region. Each box comes with a guide for that area. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral commission program.

escape monthly november arizona box products showing escape monthly november arizona box info card escape monthly november arizona box info card opened with fact sheet showing escape monthly november arizona box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

At first glance, there are some cool items here and I immediately gravitated towards the mug. Normally I would have liked the bath puff type thing but that was overshadowed by something I find even more useful!

Here’s what came in the box:

Moon Handbooks guide to Tucson – I’ve only briefly stopped by Arizona before and never been to Tucson, so I should add it to my list of places to visit. At some point I expect to live in SoCal again, so then it wouldn’t be too bad of a drive to go out there.

Arizona Sun Lip-Kist lip balm – Haha, I like that this is “kissed with lemon” and the tube looks like it. I’ll save this in my growing collection of lip balms. It feels like something I’d want to use in the summer!

Arizona Sun bath and shower gel – I like that this is paraben and sulfate free, though the green color is odd. Since I don’t use shower gel much (more of a soap kind of girl), I’ll see if the husband wants to use it. I got a whiff of it and it had a very unique scent I couldn’t quite pin down. Aloe, maybe?

Route 66 travel mug – It is a surprise that this is my favorite item? It shouldn’t be. I just love things I can use that also look nice. This will be perfect in the coming winter months, so I can bring some hot water with me in the mornings.

blue mesh bath puff – Won’t this go well with the shower gel? This will come in useful when Panda needs a replacement. It’s quite dense so I’m sure it will work up a very good lather. Their little description about all things blue was a fun way to tie it all together.

Cowgirl Chocolate dark chocolate truffle bar – I’m always down for more chocolate! Lately I’ve gotten some really good ones from boxes, like the one from the last Escape Monthly box. I’m excited to eat this one too.

Phizz – I’ve never tried a fizzy tablet before, but I really should have had this before traveling for Thanksgiving. The stress of the travel and the change in climate must have gotten to my body, because I had a cold sore breakout. Ick. So now I will have one and hope for a speedy recovery! Next time I’ll need to remember to take it before traveling. I’m surprised that the pill looked rather pink, but then it dissolved into a dark orange color, sort of like orange soda. The taste was sort of like a watered down Gatorade.

turquoise necklace – I doubt I will wear this since I don’t really use much jewelry, so I will probably trade this or gift it to someone. I do like that it’s hardcrafted and showcasing Arizona’s state gem.

My wish for an Asian destination didn’t come true this time, but I did like learning a bit more about Arizona. Maybe I’ll be inspired to drive Route 66 there someday! Which products from this Arizona Escape Monthly box do you like most? If you want to sign up, be sure to sign up for their newsletter to get a code for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription.

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

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