Tag Archives: Holidays

New Year’s Eve in Barcelona, Spain

My family and I just returned from our Christmas holiday trip to Las Vegas. We are now planning for the New Year’s Eve. As I look back on what I did for last year’s holidays, I can’t help but think about my last year’s trip to Spain. It was my first time going to Spain and celebrating the New Year’s holiday in Europe. It was a great trip.

To celebrate the New Year’s Eve, my friend and I went to the New Year’s Eve party in the lounge at the W Hotel in Barcelona, where we stayed for the Barcelona trip. There were several memorable things from the celebration party: drinking tons of Cava, eating twelve grapes at midnight, and watching the fireworks from our hotel.

Drinking Cava
Cava is the Spanish sparkling wine made in the traditional method of the French sparkling wine Champagne. I don’t usually drink Champagne in the States because it’s too bubbly for me, but during my Spain trip (Barcelona, Majorca, Madrid, and Toledo), I drank a lot of cava just for fun. Since the Spain trip, I’ve become more used to drinking Champagne.

Eating Twelve Grapes
Eating a grape at each bell strike (total of 12) by midnight of the New Year’s Eve is a Spanish tradition since 1909. During the New Year’s Eve party at the W Hotel in Barcelona, each guest received a bag of twelve grapes. We were supposed to eat and swallow all twelve grapes by the midnight for good luck and prosperity for the upcoming year. Based on my personal experience, eating all twelve grapes within twelve seconds is a very difficult task. Our local friends told us that for the little kids, they usually gave them chocolates instead of grapes, so they can finish them on time.

Watching the Fireworks
One of the perks of staying and parting at the W Hotel in Barcelona is the close up view of the fireworks. While we were busy counting down and swallowing grapes, we had no problem finding a perfect spot at the balcony for the fireworks. I have to say welcoming the New Year in a foreign country was definitely a fun experience!

This year, instead of traveling oversea during the New Year’s Eve, I am spending the time with my family and my two nieces in Irvine, California. It won’t be as crowded as last year, but it will be just as memorable as any other New Year’s Eve!

Your Under $29 Holiday Gift Guide for 2017

One of the holiday parties I will be going to this month requires each guest to bring a gift under $29 for the white elephant game. While I was looking for gift ideas, I came across some products that I think I could bring. See below for the suggestions.


Fun Wine Glasses

Looking for a gift for cat lovers? Consider giving them some wine glasses decorated with fun statements related to cats.

If Your Cat's Home Wine Glass
‘If Your Cat’s Home’ Stemless Wine Glass, $12 each, or $24 for Two.


Bath Salts

After a long holiday shopping trip, nothing serves you better than a long rejuvenating bath. Try the sea salt blended with chamomile flowers, rose petals, and lavender.
Bath Salts
Bath Salts, $26.


Beauty product

Lip balms are essential for the Winter season. Instead of the normal pink color of lip treatments, what can be more fun than trying the clear flower balms? The flower comes in three flower colors (yellow, green, and pink).
Flower Balm
Flower Balms, $14 each, or $28 for two.


Makeup Kit

When it comes to makeup kits, we can never have too many makeup brushes. For this holiday season, try the MAC’s Snow Ball Mini Brush Kit. Included in the kit are a power brush, foundation brush, shadow bush, smudge liner brush, and brow groomer brush.
Snow Ball Mini Brush Kit
MAC’s Snow Ball Mini Brush Kit, $29.


Skin Ointment

Last month I tried various body lotions to see what works best for me during Fall and Winter. I came across the Lucas’ Papaw Ointment. I massaged it into my hands, legs, and knees. And I was surprised how great the product works on my skin and protects it from drying out!
Lucas Papaw Onintment

5 Things to Try This Month – December 2017

We are now finally in December. Needless to say, most of the things I’d like to do in December involve some sort of holiday celebration. See below for my list.


Nespresso Holiday Coffee

Each holiday season Nespresso releases its holiday limited-edition coffee and espresso. For 2017, they offer three flavors for the Vertuo line and three flavors for the Original line. My favorite pick for the Vertuo line is the Peppermint and for the Original line is the Liquorice. You’d be surprised on how great the Liquorice flavor tastes with the steamed eggnog.


Luxury Hair Treatment

I don’t usually do much when it comes to styling my hair. The most I do is to put Moroccan oil on my hair after I wash it. A friend recently suggested to me to try the hair brush by Mason Pearson. Since I have long and thick hair, I bought a Mason Pearson’s Junior Mixture Nylon & Boar Bristle Hair Brush. After brushing, my hair instantly became shiny and fluffy. I love the way my hair looks.
Mason Pearson Junior Mixture Nylon & Boar Bristle Hair Brush


Invest a Velvet Jacket

Velvet is one of the big fashion trends for this season. Since it’s the holiday season, it is the perfect time to invest in a velvet jacket that you can wear to special events or holiday parties. The two most versatile colors of the velvet jackets are black and red. But you can always add some sophistication to your outfit by wearing a bordeaux velvet jacket.
Stella McCartney Velvet Blazer


Christmas Brunch by the Fountain

I’ve been to Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve before and had a great time. This year I will be joining my family in Las Vegas for Christmas. It will be my three-year old niece’s first time to Las Vegas, and I think it would be fun for her to eat brunch by the Fountain of Bellagio. I know just the right spot for the gorgeous fountain view and it’s one of my favorite restaurants in the Bellagio hotel, Lago by Julian Serrano.
Lago by Julian Serrano


Holiday Celebration in the Theme Park

Last year’s New Year’s Eve I visited Spain and watched the fireworks from our W Hotel in Barcelona. This year, I will be in Orange County, California, visiting my brother’s family. And I plan to watch the fireworks from one of these theme parks in California.
Disneyland Holiday 2017


5 Things to Try This Month – November 2017

November is the beginning of the holiday season. It’s time to think about what to do for Thanksgiving and where to shop for the Black Friday sales. It’s also a perfect time to update your wardrobe and bundle up for the cold weather.

Below are some of the things I suggest for November.


Update Beauty Product Collections with Glitters

As we are getting closer to the holiday season, beauty product companies are rolling out items with glitters and shimmery. It’s time to get a head start on building your Year 2017 holiday beauty collections. My suggestion is to start with the MAC’s Snow Ball Gold Pigment and Glitter Kit.
MAC Snow Ball Gold Pigment and Glitter Kit


Kick Off the Holiday Season with Nutcracker

Last weekend, my friend invited me to watch Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker show at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. I watched the Nutcracker Ballet a long time ago, but it was in December. Although I wasn’t ready for the holiday season before I watched the show, with the holiday decorations I saw and the music I heard during the Nutcracker Ballet, it all definitely got me into the holiday mode.


Bake Dessert for Friends and Family

The only times I’ve baked desserts have been during the holiday season. In the past year, I’ve mastered my baking skills for a couple of desserts. For this year, I’d like to add a new dessert to my baking list, so I can get ready for the holiday feasts with friends and family. And I am planning to bake a lot of cheesecake from scratch.


Invest in a New Warm Jacket

Last year when I visited Spain in December, I knew I would be sightseeing in various cities on daily basis and I’d need a warm jacket to help me get through the trip. I bought a Canada Goose jacket for the trip and it really served its purpose. A warm jacket like the one I bought was a good investment. For this year, I am looking into getting another down jacket in a different style and color.

(Picture taken at Toledo, Spain.)


Upgrade to New iPhone

My first iPhone was the 3GS, which I purchased in Year 2009. I love using iPhone so much, so I’ve been getting a new iPhone every two years. This year, Apple released two iPhone devices: iPhone 8 or iPhone X. I know I want the iPhone X and can’t wait to get mine!
Apple iPhone X


5 Things to Try This Month – July 2017

July is the beginning of the second half of the year. It is also the month for the 4th of July holiday; it’s time for some fun with friends and family.

Below are my top five things to try for this month.


Celebrate the 4th of July

The 4th of July is one of the holidays I love to celebrate with family and friends. To enjoy the special holiday, what can be more fun than donuts with America flag and my favorite Long Shadows wines from the wineries in Walla Walla, Washington?


Classic Sandal for Summer Wedding

I am going to a friend’s wedding in Lake Louise, Canada, this Summer. I am still looking for a dress for the wedding reception, but I just found a simple and classic silver sandal to go with any color and style of silhouette. It’s Casanova Sandal 105 by Aquazzura.


Floral Lace for Brunch

This is a perfect month for outdoor brunch with friends. A floral mini dress with a layer of lace would be perfect for the outing. Try Self-Portrait’s Floral Vine Cape Mini Dress.
Self-Portrait Floral Vine Cape Mini Dress


Read a Book

A re-make movie, “Murder on the Orient Express”, will be released in November, 2017. This is based on a fiction story by the famous author Agatha Christie. It’s about a millionaire being murdered on a stopped train strained by a snowdrift. The movie cast includes some of my favorite actors and actresses, such as Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer. I can’t wait to read the book before the movie is released.
Murder On The Orient Express Book


Visit Special Exhibition

Artist Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition is now available in Seattle Art Museum this Summer. I plan to visit the exhibition, “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors”, in July.


The Five Best Holiday Shoes for 2016

We are in the 2016-2017 holiday season, which means there are probably plenty of  dinners and parties lined up in this month for you. Have you figured out what shoes you want to wear for each occasion?

Below are my top five favorite shoes for this holiday season. Hope this will give you some ideas on what to wear for your New Year’s Eve parties.


Christian Louboutin – So Kate Patent Leather Point-Toe Pumps

A pair of red stilettos  for the holiday season is a must-have. Nothing can ever go wrong when you spice up your outfit with the holiday color, especially when you wear this sexy red So Kate pump by Christian Louboutin.

Christian Louboutin So Kate Patent Leather Point-toe Pumps


Giuseppe Zanotti – Crystal-Embellished Suede Slingbacks

If you plan to wear a red dress for this holiday season, I’d recommend this pair of slingback sandals with crystal-embellished suede by Giuseppe Zanotti. The color of this sandal will complement the red dress silhouette and the crystals will catch everyone’s attention with every step you take.

Giuseppe Zanotti Crystal-Embellished Suede Slingbacks


Jimmy Choo – Romy Glitter Degrade Point-Toe Pumps

Jimmy Choo has many beautiful stilettos. One of my favorites is their glitter pumps. If you are looking for a pair of eye-catching shoes to complete your day to night outfit, try Jimmy Choo’s Romy Glitter Degrade Point-Toe Pumps. (Jimmy Choo’s Romy stilettos replaces its classic “Abel” pumps. I have several pairs of the “Abel” pumps that I used to wear back in my old clubbing days. They were surprisingly comfortable on the dance floor!)

Jimmy Choo Romy Glitter Degrade Point-toe Pumps


Roger Vivier – Ballerine Chips Satin D’orsay Flats

If you are considering ditching the high heels and going for comfortable flats for the holidays, try one of Roger Vivier’s Ballerine Chips Satin D’orsay Flats. They come in many colors (red, black, navy, metallic silver, etc.). My personal favorite is Roger Vivier’s Ballerine Chips Satin D’orsay flats in red. I have had my red pair of this Roger Viver’s flats for over a year, now, and I still love them!

Roger Vivier Ballerinec Chips Satin C'Orsay Flats


Saint Laurent – Paris Skinny Sequined Metallic Pointy Toe Pumps

These Saint Laurent’s Paris Sequined Metallic Point-toe pumps are my new favorite for this holiday season. Saint Laurent makes many nice sparking stilettos. When I saw this pair, I knew I got to have them. When I received the shoes in mail, I was glad to find out that the actual shoes looks even more stunning than the pictures. I plan to wear them with a black dress for my next dinner event.

Saint Laurent – Paris Skinny Sequin Pointy Toe Pump


First Time Making the Wreath

A few weeks ago, my dear friend, Jennie, invited me to join her and her friends to make wreath for the Seattle Children’s Hospital. I’ve never made any wreath before, but I love the idea of doing things that involves children. So I said “yes”, even though it required me to get up earlier than I usually do on any Saturday.

The day before our scheduled date for making the wreath, my friends notified me about needing to get gloves and gardening tools. This made me start to worry about the logistics of making the wreath. I couldn’t help imagine the pictures of me on the field for cutting branches and plants for the wreath’ draw materials.

Luckily, on the day of our scheduled appointment, we showed up and learned that all of the materials are already been cut and ready for use. I was surprised, in a very good way, that people had already put in effort for the project.

Now is the time to make a wreath. Luckily, they showed us how to make a wreath from scratch.

I was freaking out, because I wasn’t sure that I could do it. My friend, Jennie and I decided to work together.

It turned out, our wreath came up pretty good, even thought it took us a long time.

The wreath were to be sold for $40 each the following week, but I decided to buy the wreath we made. So I did.

The Five Best Holiday Beauty Products for 2016

I love sparkling and shimmering beauty products, especially around the holiday seasons. Many brands offer special editions of makeup, and perfume during this special season, and they’re usually hard for me to resist!

If you are still looking for gift ideas or need some suggestions to expand your beauty collection, below are my top five favorite beauty products for this holiday season.


Burberry – Gold Shimmer Dust

Each year I look for some shimmering powder to add to my holiday collection. When I saw the Burberry’s Gold Shimmer Dust, I knew that’s exactly what I needed for this year. ($29 via Saks Fifth Avenue)

Burberry_Gold Shimmer Dust


Marc Jacobs Beauty – About Last Night Mascara and Eyeliner Collection

This Marc Jacobs’ About Last Night mascara and eyeliner collection is all you need for the evening parties. The O!Mega Lash mascara in this collection helps you to create the volume you desire for your eyelashes. The best part about this collection is the glitters in the Lamé Noir Ultra-Glittering Mascara Top Coat. Layer it on top of the O!Mega Lash will give you the instant holiday ready look.
($36 via Marc Jacobs Beauty)
Marc Jacobs Beauty About Last Night Mascara and Eyeliner


Yves Saint Laurent – Touche Éclat – Strobing Light Highlighter

Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Éclat highlighter is one of my favorite makeup products. I am glad that Yves Saint Laurent is offering the highlighter in gold shimmer version. I like to use it on my cheekbone and Cupid’s bow. I also put it on my eyelids, as the base for applying eyeshadow.

Yves SaintLaurent Touche Eclat


Viktor & Rolf – Flowerbomb Pink Crystal Limited Edition Fragrance

If you are a big fan of Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb fragrance, you can’t miss the Flowerbomb Pink Crystal Limited Edition Fragrance. This holiday edition Flowerbomb comes in a sparkling jar with a pink crystallized rose. I think your mood will instantly be uplifted by the very first spray of this flower fragrance!

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Pink Crystal Limited Edition Fragrance


Chanel Blush Harmony Palette

If you are traveling for this holiday season and want a multi-functional beauty product, Chanel’s limited edition Blush Harmony Palette will be perfect for you. You can use this palette for highlighting and contouring your face. And use the red-pink shade on the palette as blush.

Chanel Blush Harmony Palette


New Year’s Eve Celebration in Las Vegas

I’ve been to Vegas many times, but never during the New Year’s Eve. To celebrate the New Year’s Eve for 2016, my friend and I went to Vegas! This Vegas trip is unlike most of the trips I’ve had to Vegas. There were no set plans. My friend and I wanted to take it easy and play everything by ear.

Happy New Year!

My friends and I stayed at the Aria Hotel. Aria Hotel is one of my favorite hotels in Las Vegas. (Their Sky Suite is one of my top three choices on the Strip, after Wynn/Encore Tower Suites and Skyloft at MGM Grand.) There are many nice restaurants in the Aria Hotel. I feel like I can eat different cuisines without having to step out of the hotel property. Aria Hotel Lobby Shopping The Vegas Strip was crowded with people around the New Year’s Eve period. Most of the retail stores (such as the ones in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace) were packed every day, especially on New Year’s Eve day. One might wonder why people want to shop during the busiest season after Christmas. The answer is simple, there were sales everywhere. The discounts ranged between 30% to 60%. For example, Salvatore Ferragamo offered a 30% discount, Christian Louboutin offered 40%, and Red Valentino offered 60% discount, etc. It’s hard to say “No” when pretty things are on sale! If you don’t have the actual boutique store in your resident state, you can avoid the tax by asking them to ship to your home. Some retail stores might charge you shipping cost, but most of the time the amount you saved from paying the tax exceeds the shipping charges. Aria Hotel in Las Vegas Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden Bellagio is one of my favorite hotels. Their Conservatory & Botanical Garden attracts a lot of people throughout the year. For the 2015 holiday season, Bellagio displayed a Christmas theme with a huge Christmas tree, polar bears, penguins, and snow globes, etc. I noticed the Conservatory & Botanical Garden was more crowded than usual. It was hard to take a picture of the display without running into someone with a selfie stick! Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden Eating in the Fancy Restaurants One thing I always look forward to is eating at the nice restaurants in the hotels in Vegas. I know that off the Strip there are many special restaurants that have lower prices, but the experience wouldn’t be the same as in the nice hotels. My all-time top ten restaurants on the Strip include Sinatra at Encore Hotel, Prime Steak and Michael Mina at Bellagio, Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand. A new favorite restaurant is also by Michael Mina, called Bardot Brasserie (French Cuisine), inside of the Aria Hotel. I had dinner there in September 2015 and liked it a lot. It’s the only restaurant that offers brunch in the Aria Hotel, but it only serves brunch on the weekends. In Front of Bardot Brasserie Restaurant On New Year’s Eve, my friends and I had dinner at Hakkasan in the MGM Grand Hotel. We had a multiple course dinner with wine paring. It was a great way to end Year 2015. To sum up, spending the New Year’s Eve in Vegas is fun, even if you are not into gambling or partying. There are plenty of things to do!

2015 Chinese New Year’s in Las Vegas

I went to Las Vegas in February 2015 with three of my Chinese friends during the two weeks of Chinese New Year’s celebration. One my friends and I stayed at the Aria Hotel. The other two girls stayed at a different hotel.

I’ve been to Vegas many times, but not too often during Chinese New Year’s. I noticed that most of the nicer Vegas hotels had Chinese themed decor. But other Las Vegas hotels, like the Excalibur and the Luxor, did not have any Chinese themed decorations.

MGM Grand Lobby
MGM Grand Lobby

This fact reinforced the idea that there’s a somewhat clear distinction between the very best hotels in Las Vegas — those that adapt to different seasons — and those non-elite hotels that more or less remain static all throughout the year.

Aria Lobby
Aria Lobby

For example, at the nice Aria and the Wynn hotels, I saw many red lanterns and Chinese dragon decorations. And at the Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Encore resorts, I saw decorations for the ram animal, because this is the Chinese year of the ram.

Aria Special Check-In
Aria Special Check-In
Ram for Chinese New Year
Ram for Chinese New Year

Also, at the Aria (even though I didn’t get to take a photograph), I noticed that the employee name badges they wore had their name in English plus the Chinese characters for the ram animal.

BellagioConservatory

I have no major conclusion, but if you’re going to Las Vegas, in my opinion, it’s worth it to spend a little bit more to stay at a top end hotel (Wynn, Encore, Bellagio, Venetian, Palazzo, and Aria) and get a lot of extras that can make your visit more special.

Bellagio Conservatory Botanical Gardens
Bellagio Conservatory Botanical Gardens