Funemployment Tips: Ratings & Reviews

Published October 31, 2014 by Funemployment Princess

Oh hello there!  You’ve waited nearly a year for another post…I know how sad you must’ve been logging on day in and day out and seeing that I absolutely suck as a blogger :) this is a topic I’ve been thinking a lot of.  And I usually think about writing it as I’m riding the train to work and then I …zzzzzzzzzlasfsdxmc lekwreoiwfhnd.  Oh, woah, sorry!  Fell asleep there.  (Train time = nap time.  #SoProductive #HashtagLife).

Ok, to the point: in my travels, I’ve found that the two most expensive parts of traveling are flights and lodging.  Flights…well, cheapest you can do is Southwest and AirTran (I don’t consider Frontier and Spirit to be airlines.  I think of them more as fee-sucking leeches).  Still, it depends on a lot of aspects you can’t control: time of year, destination, weather, cost of oil (-_-).  Lodging, however, you can work around a lot more!

I am a big fan of hostels (I think I’ve written about them in previous blog posts.  I wouldn’t know though…I don’t really read my own blog :| ).  And this past summer, I discovered the joys of Air BnB.  A lot of people give me that puppy-dog-sideways-look when I tell them these are the types of establishments that I prefer to stay in.  They kind of scoot away as if I probably caught some weird rash I’m going to give them.  Those people, though, are idiots.  Hostels, Air BnBs, and such are perfectly safe, reasonable, inexpensive options for traveling on a budget.  You just have to be smart about them.  That’s where the point of this post comes in: Ratings & Reviews.  Do some research when you’re looking for a hostel.  Check out what rating they’ve received on multiple websites (umm, it’s called Googling – I know, a very foreign concept nowadays), and READ the comments.  I know, reading is tough – especially when you can just wait for the movie to come out.  If a hostel has a 99% approval rating, and all positive reviews, chances are it’s a safe bet.  If there’s one or two negative ratings, remember this is the Internet we’re talking about.  It’s the premier platform for people to complain.

Checking out the ratings is a good start, but I do recommend taking it one more step.  If you see a rating of 100%, but also see that only one person rated the place, I’d move on and find something else.  Now, if you see a rating of 100%, and see that a substantial amount of people have rated it (let’s say 20+ people), then you’re golden!


Well, I hope I’ve lessened your fear about staying at the random lodges of the world.  I do want to leave you with one last thought:  if you get to the place you’ve booked, and you get a gut instinct that something doesn’t feel right, leave.  Your instincts are something people should learn to follow more often.  Is it possible you may end up losing money (usually just your deposit – you can probably argue your way out of losing the entire cost), yes, but your comfort, and most importantly your safety, is much more valuable!





PS – omg, how could I have forgotten!  The Ratings & Reviews method also applies to other areas of your life, such as shopping.  For example, this past summer I needed to purchase new bedroom furniture.  Ok, well, my mother had to purchase new bedroom furniture for me :) Because I wanted black furniture (black, none of this espresso, brown-black nonsense!!), I had to order it offline without seeing it in person first.  I nearly cried during this process.  But I used what I had done for my Air BnB choice, and checked out the ratings and reviews of different options from trusted online sites.  I couldn’t be happier with my choice!  The furniture fits perfectly in the room, and was exactly what I was looking for!! #ThumbsUp

Funemployment Tips: It’s time for CHANGE

Published December 16, 2013 by Funemployment Princess



hello world :) how’s your holiday shopping going? have you spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars yet? I know I have :/ I’m also going to AC next weekend.  you may be wondering how I can afford such a trip?  ok, at this point you’re actually probably not wondering that because you know what my blog is all about.  oh, you’ve never read any of my posts before?  that doesn’t surprise me lol


ok, to the point: I’m heading to AC next weekend because (1) I have a free room, (2) I have $40 in food credit, (3) I have $125 in free play, (4) I have a BOGO buffet offer, and (5) I saved $100 in coins.  now, 1-4 you’ve heard me boast about before.  but 5 is new, and the main focus of this post (yes, I can focus :P).  I currently have 4 different piggy-banks in my room.  one collects dollars, which I use for parking.  one collects all change besides quarters (because quarters don’t fit in the opening).  the third collects $20 that I put aside for trips.  and the last one collects quarters.  well, this last one was full – I could’ve maybe added a few more quarters but honestly, it was too heavy to pick up.  so I decided it was time to bring the change to the bank.


now, I was all set to whip out the coin rolls, count out $10 at a time, and cash those suckers in.  but apparently the last time I handled loose change was 1997.  now, all I have to do is bring the change to the bank, deposit it in this cool machine which counts it up for me.  it prints out a receipt with the amount on it, which I bring to the teller who gives me the cash.  now, I’ve been saving this change for probably 2 years, so I knew there was a lot in it – maybe $50 tops, I’d be happy with.  no.  that little piggy-bank had one-hundred-fucking-dollars in it!  100 bucks has been sitting in my room, just collecting dust!  can I get a virtual high-five??? —-<  …I’m not an artist, pretend that’s a hand!


if you’re like me, you hate carrying change around.  it’s heavy, makes lots of noise, and you never have the correct amount anyways.  but don’t just throw it on the ground or give it away (don’t think I’m mean, but I don’t give beggars money.  I have food I’ll give them that, but not money).  instead, get yourself a piggy-bank.  you don’t need to be crazy OCD like me and have 4 lol but have one and throw your change in it every few days.  in 2 years, you may have a nice stack of money without even really trying, and it may come in handy when you least expect it.


Happy Holidays all!




Funemployment Tips: Walking

Published November 26, 2013 by Funemployment Princess

hello world!  I have a secret for you.  come closer.  a liiittle closer.  ok, too close if we’re eskimo kissing!  hehe to the point: there’s this simple act, somewhat of a means of transportation, that is absolutely free.  no, I don’t mean hitchhiking!  this act is legal.  want to know what it is?  i’ll tell you, but you have to promise to keep it to yourself…and the 3 other people who might read this blog.  it’s walking!  that’s right, getting off your big, fabulous booty and doing a lil two-step down the side walk.  how did I discover this? welp, simply by running into some debt lol

I know, I know…i’m supposed to be all about having fun on a budget.  well, after I purchased my car, I came across a few expenses I hadn’t planned for, and my cash flow just kind of plummeted, thus my credit card bill grew.  seeing that I was on my way to having no fun, I began to change a few things in my life.  for starters, I began to cook more on the weekend and prepare meals for the week.  I also did this because I decided I really need to get back in my healthy eating habits.  therefore, i’m doing my best to be as low carb and paleo-ish as possible.  my town has a great farmer’s market, so it’s fun to go buy fresh produce and then create something with it.  plus, since moomies buys most of the groceries :D, I’ve managed to cut my food costs as well as eat better.  secondly, I’ve put off going out every weekend.  this part really sucks – i’m single and looking, but one cannot look if one doesn’t go out lol plus, it gets soooo boring to be at home.  still, there’s certain activities coming up that i’d rather save for and go all out then have to budget to the point that i’m sneaking salad into the bar because I can’t buy fries.  so I cut back on social activity spending.

after changing the main two expenses in my life, I started to reexamine other part of my life and where I can make changes.  and what I came up with is a bit extreme, but feasible.  everyday I take the subway to and from grand central and work.  that’s $2.50 each way (if you’re not buying a single ride).  also everyday, I arrive home too tired to work out.  I don’t do well in the winter – if it’s dark out, I want to be home, in my sweatpants, having my love affair with my bed.  many see these things as just a means to get home and me being lazy.  I saw these things as an opportunity to make another change.  instead of taking the subway home from work to grand central, i’d walk the 2.5 miles.  i’d pack a change of clothes and some sneakers into my backpack (oh yea, Dora style!), and make my way through the streets of New York from Hudson St on the West to 42nd and Park on the East.  I committed myself to trying this for at least 2 weeks (so 10 workdays).  below is a photographic journal of my trials…

picstitchDay 1 – My journey started with an amazing view of the Empire State Building, as well as passing this amazing cake place!  If only I could eat the cake lol








photo (5)Day 2 - ok well Day 2 was a wash…Metro North was delayed hours so I ended up driving into work.  Isn’t the inside of my car pretty??









picstitch (1)Day 3 – One good thing about walking is you can always take a new path.  On Day 3 I discovered the shops they were setting up in Union Square for the holidays, the church that used to be a club I went to once that’s now a thrift shop, and some Mexican restaurant offering free beer with burrito :)







picstitch (2)Day 4 – the dog is just sooooooo fluffy!!  also passed the line forming outside of Best Buy for the PlayStation 4…apparently it’s a big thing!









picstitch (3)Day 5 – a LOT happened on day 5!  I passed by these adorable little puppies, as well as this boot camp place that looked like something out of the red light district.  also stumbled across UrbanSpoon as well as this awesome looking hotel.  It was also on day 5 that I downloaded the ShopKick app, courtesy of my sister.  ShopKick gives you “kicks” (aka points) for walking into specific stores.  You collect points to get gift cards.  For example, 1,250 kicks will earn you a $5 gift card.  Or, if you’re ambitious like me, 6 million kicks will earn you a free cruise around the world.  Gotta think big!  This app also sent me on a new path towards home lol





picstitch (4)Day 6 - ok, so today I was supposed to have a lunch meeting and then walk only a few blocks to home.  plans got changed though, so I walked the whole way in these boots.  this photo is taken when I want to cut my feet off for absolutely killing me.  also, holidays are starting – the fair is back at grand central!







picstitch (5)Day 7 - I had to meet up with a press contact to give them something, so I took a new route for Day 7, and came across pickle ornaments in Crate & Barrel (because everyone needs that obvi!), a creepy looking church, and some random street vendors squeezed into a spot.








photo (6)Day 8 - ok, so on Day 7, I was coming down with a cold.  and probably the stupid thing to do was walk home, but I did.  So on Day 8, I stayed home LOL hmmm walking is turning on me!







photo (7)Days 9 & 10 - welp, my sickness got the best of me and I caved and took the subway LOL #Fail











Ok, so in the end, I didn’t do the full 2 weeks.  but I did learn that I actually enjoy this walk – 2 of my coworkers have gotten into it and end up walking at least half way with me, so it makes it go faster.  plus, I’ve come across new parts of the city that I’ve never been by before.  While I don’t think it’s something i’ll keep up everyday, I do think that if the weather is reasonable, and i’m not in a rush, this is the perfect way to save some money and get some exercise!  just note-to-self: don’t do in boots! my heels hurt :(

xox FP

FUNemployment in Action: Cleveland

Published November 9, 2013 by Funemployment Princess

I am so late with this post!  I try to write about my adventures before I go on my next adventure, but this one got away from me.  Honestly, probably because it wasn’t as exciting as most.  But still, it was something I had to do at least once in my life!

This vacation actually goes back to May.  My mom doesn’t really get to travel a lot.  So me being the insane daughter I am decided that I needed to buy her a vacation :) I wanted to take her to a place she’s never been before, but that I knew she’d enjoy.  Well, if you know my mother, you know that the one thing she loves to do is gamble!  Hell, we even had her surprise 60th birthday party AT a casino lol.  So, I went on the Total Rewards website, and found their “Casino Locator” tool, and discovered that they had casinos in Mississippi and Ohio.  I also learned that mom had not been to either place, making it a double win!

Since this was going to be a big present, I decided to make it her Mother’s Day/Birthday trip because really, it was a lot :D So I decided to plan it for August.  Next came having to decide between Mississippi and Cleveland.  First, let’s think about the weather.  Mississippi.  In August. Yea, right.  Mom wouldn’t have to kill me because I’d do it myself.  Plus, the flights to Cleveland were cheaper (sorry ma, but I had to buy for 2!)

Next came the hotels, which I booked with – insert horn sound here – the Total Rewards website!  The Cleveland casino doesn’t have a hotel directly connected to it.  Instead, there are 2 in the nearby vicinity.  I called the reservation line, and they hooked me up with a cheap rate at 1 hotel for 1 night, and a cheap rate at the other hotel for 2 nights.  Yes, it is a pain to change hotels, but in the name of saving, it happens.  I may be fully employed, but we still do this shit on a budget people!

Ok, time for some math:

  • 2 flights = $400
  • 2 hotels, 3 nights = $230
  • Rental car for 1 day = $40

So essentially, all of the main expenses of the trip cost less than $800, or $400 per person.  Not bad, right?!  Now for the activities:

  • ok, so how did we spend 4 days there but only had a rental car for 1 day?  well, for starters, there is a subway-type train that goes from the airport INTO the mall.  oh, I didn’t tell you this yet…the casino and each hotel make up the anchors of a mall.  yes, the key locations that are usually reserved for stores like Macys or Sears have the Ritz Carlton and Horseshoe Casino in their spots.  I kid you not.  we technically didn’t have to leave the mall to get between the hotels, casinos, and restaurants.  so getting to our main destination wasn’t really an issue.  the main reasons we rented a car one day was so that (a) we could go see the house from A Christmas Story (a tour only costs about $10 – totally worth it if you love the movie!) and (b) we could hit up a place from “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” – yummmmmmy!  And because this place was a local, hole-in-the-wall, it was very affordable!
  • ok, there’s not much to do in Cleveland, but there is the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.  and, if you work in entertainment like I do, you can name-drop your company and get free tickets to it!  (whatever, you know you do it as well or wish you could :P ).  even if you have to pay, I highly recommend going!  we spent the whole day there, and mom loved it.  there was so much to see and take in, and they have a café so that you can grab lunch.  its right by the water, so great views and trails to walk (we skipped the walking lol).  plus, on the weekend, Cleveland has free shuttles that take you right there!  on a side note, apparently the HOF is a big photo spot for local weddings.  actually, that day in particular was popular for weddings: I think mom and I saw 7 lol
  • the main reason we went was to gamble.  honestly, there’s no good way to budget this.  usually, I recommend leaving one machine if it’s not paying out; plus you can drink for free at casinos.  this place, though, did not hold up to those recommendations.  the machines were tight and not paying, and apparently you can’t drink for free…learned that the hard way :/

If I had to do it over again, i’d probably make this trip about a half day shorter…aka, not make my mom’s friend drive us to the airport at 6am and maybe push it back to like 2pm lol it was fun though, and I enjoyed sharing a new experience with my mom.  she has to put up a lot with me (come on, 26, living at home, picky eater…i’m a handful!  but an adorable, funny handful :D ).  so i’m glad she got to do something new that she probably would not have gotten to do if it wasn’t for her insane daughter lol

Random Thoughts:

  • most rental cars will pick you up and bring you back to the dealership.  ours was also kind enough to bring us back to the hotel after we returned the car
  • I was never a big 3-meals-a-day person.  so for breakfast, we pretty much went to dunkin donuts and got coffee and maybe an egg wrap.  if you don’t need all 3 meals, save the money and go cheap for one!
  • take advantage of what the hotel has to offer, like the pool or fitness center.  you’re already paying so much for the room, you might as well use as much of the hotel as you can!

Random Photos (I give up on organizing these well lol):































































Funemployment Tips: Buying A New Car

Published October 9, 2013 by Funemployment Princess

hello fun-loving people :) today’s post focuses on my quest to purchase my first ever new car.  I know what you’re thinking: how the hell does a girl having fun on a budget have enough money to purchase a new car?  well that’s easy to answer: I hit it big in Vegas.  No lie, I won $5k on a slot machine.  total fluke, I know!  but I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it :)

let me preface this by also saying I’ve driven the same car since I was 16 – a 2002, silver Toyota rav 4, that my father passed down to me when I got my license in 2003.  so for 10 years, I drove my mom-mobile, which I named Waldo because I could never find it in parking lots :/ rav 4’s were quite the thing to do when I got my license!  some other information you should know is I never paid for the rav 4, my dad did, and I also never had to pay for car insurance.  alas, dad is officially kicking me off his payroll at the end of 2013, so I figured I should get a head start with car/insurance payments.

now, I may be picky, but I’m not greedy – I knew Porsches and BMW’s were out of my price range.  what I did  not realize was how exhausting car shopping would be!  dad and I set out one day bright and early and went nonstop for about 8 hours. I test drove about 5 different cars, mainly since I’ve only ever had one car for 10 years…I didn’t know what the eff I liked!  after that first day, I narrowed it down to 3 cars: Honda Civic Coupe, Hyundai Elantra Coupe, and Nissan Altima Coupe.  That last one was still a dream though – it was about $5k too much for me.

I decided that if Hyundai would give me a good deal, I’d go with them – I didn’t want the Civic that everyone else and their moms had, and I preferred how the Elantra looked on the outside.  so on the 2nd day of car shopping, dad and I made out way to a Hyundai dealer.  And this is where the lesson begins…

I’ll admit I know nothing about cars.  if the gas-empty indicator isn’t on, I don’t know what’s wrong with it.  but I’m not an idiot when it comes to know I’m being ripped off.  Hyundai apparently thought I was.  First fight came the value of my rav 4 trade in.  I knew it was old, had a lot of miles, and was a bit banged up.  so I knew I wasn’t going to get the Kelly Blue Book value of $4,000.  but asshole-salesman has got to be kidding if he thinks I’d only accept $1,500 for it.  fuck that.  talked him up to $2,500.  Next came the add-on: only thing extra I really wanted was a remote start.  it gets cold in the winter; I wanted a lil something to help with that, so sue me!  well, dumbass-salesman messed up when including the cost of the starter in the price, so really, I wasn’t paying for it.  lesson: don’t tell the salesman he fucked up!  the third issue, which was the final straw, was the financing.  in order to get the special $1,500 rebate, you had to finance thru Hyundai.  ok, fine. so I give them my info for my credit check and I get a call 2 days later: “congrats, you’ve been approved for the low rate of 4.99%”.  FUCK THAT.  you don’t have to do much research besides look in your weekend paper to see all the deals out there about 0% financing for 36 months, 1.9& for 60 months, etc.  4.99% my ass.  according the idiot-salesman, my credit wasn’t good enough for a lower rate.  yeaa….right. (yes, that’s sarcasm).  I inform him I need a few days to think about it.

the next day (day 3 of car shopping if you’re keeping track), I leave work early to meet my dad at his Honda dealership.  an amazing salesperson offers me the exact Honda Civic Coupe I want, cuts me a deal on the remote starter, accepts my rav 4 for $2,500 off the bat, and get this, tells me I’m approved for 1.9% financing!  he also shows me my credit score, which is closer to 800 than most people’s SATs scores.  it’s at this point I start cursing Hyundai, and yelling “bring me the papers, I’m buying a Honda!”

a few days later Hyundai calls me whining because the stupid-salesman went and ordered my car.  well, dumbass, I never told you to do that.  in fact, the last time we spoke, I said I had to think about it.  I told him to tell his bank they’re the ones that lost him his commission with their 4.99%. losers.

ok, so I didn’t offer many tips in my story, so I should probably sum them up so that you feel that reading it was worth it:

  • do some research – it’s a bad economy.  car dealerships are practically giving shit away, so know when you’re being screwed over
  • go with the base model – upgrading for my car meant I lost a lot of things I actually wanted (cloth to luxury seats is a downgrade to me; my phone has GPS so I didn’t need it built-in)
  • know your credit score – before this, I didn’t know my exact score, but I knew it was good.  hence why I knew the Hyundai hyena was being an ass
  • don’t settle, especially if you have a gut feeling that you shouldn’t – if I had settled, I’d be paying about $1,200 more over all, for 6 months longer
  • go with a dealer you get along with, not just a car maker
  • only buy a new car if you absolutely need one – ok, this one, I didn’t follow.  my rav would’ve last probably another 100k miles.  oh well

xoxo FP

Addendum: a lot of people wondered why I (1) only shop non-American, (2) only buy new, and (3) didn’t want to lease.  here are your answers:

(1) idk, ask my parents.

(2) because if I’m going to spend thousands on something, I don’t want to think that someone else has sex in the car I’m now sitting in

(3) also, if I’m going to spend thousands, I want to own it in the end.  I know there’s the big “well you get a new car every 3 years” excuse…umm, I can just trade in my car in 3 years if I really wanted to lol

Funemployment Tips: What Television Taught Me About Money

Published May 28, 2013 by Funemployment Princess

why hello there :) every rule of blogging says I suck at this LOL I haven’t posted in like 6 months.  probably because I blog when i’m stressed, but when i’m stressed I have no time to blog.  total catch-22, I know.  anyhow, on to the point of today’s tip: whoever said television wasn’t educational obviously never looked out for savings tips from their favorite tv shows.  below are some of my favorite tips I’ve learned simply by watching tv on a lazy day…


“Where does 10% of every paycheck go? … In the bank!” – Friends

This has got to be the easiest one to think of.  Monica was just fired, and her parents are coming to visit.  She’s trying to ask them for financial help, and her dad starts in on his life lesson on how you should put 10% of every paycheck in the bank.  obviously with direct deposit nowadays, you’re thinking to yourself, well duh my whole paycheck goes straight into the bank.  but if you’re like me, you’re usually using most of that paycheck to pay off your credit card bill, student loans, and of course, tip for the lady that does your nails ;).  many people forget about actually transferring some of that money into a savings account.  I know, I know, it means you actually have to put in effort of logging into your account, setting the transfer up, and pushing the “submit” button.  but come on, it can be done within 30 seconds.  let’s do the math, shall we.

say your paycheck is $800, bi-weekly…so you get paid 26 times in a year

10% of $800 is $80.

it takes 30 seconds to transfer money into your savings account.

30 seconds x 26 times = 13 minutes

$80 x 26 times = $2,080.

welp, unless you’re a hooker or a really good stripper, you’ve saved (or consider it “made”) over $2k in just 13 minutes in one year.  and if you are a hooker and can make that much money in 13 minutes, shoot me off an email…I need some pointers in the bed then!!


“Where’s my money, Brian?” – Family Guy

ok, so this one isn’t as obvious as the first. you have to read into it.  yes, I did just say that about Family Guy lol.  this is a lesson of what not to do.  don’t borrow money a significant amount of money from a friend.  and definitely don’t borrow money from a loan shark (a different Family Guy episode.  and also an episode of Beverly Hills 90210, the original one, not the new one).  those are 2 situations where you’re just asking for trouble.  let me explain…

friends + money: I hate talking money with my friends.  I don’t want to know how much they make, don’t want them to know how much I make, don’t want to know what their payments for things are.  I just don’t like mixing the two.  don’t get me wrong, i’m happy for them if they make a lot or get a raise.  I just don’t need financial figures.  I think combining money and friends can ruin the friendship (enter the Sex and the City episode of Carrie angry at Charlotte for not offering), especially if one person has a lot more than the other.  then, if a friend borrows money, it brings on the awkwardness of waiting for them to repay you, having to ask them to repay you, or just having them expect you to continue to pay for stuff.  i’m not a fan of any of it.  the furthest i’ll go is buying someone dinner or a drink when I 150% know they’ll return the favor.  if you want to keep your friends, avoid the money talk.

loan sharks + money: this one is obvious…a loan shark expects the money in like 24 hours.  which if you had the money that fast, you wouldn’t have needed the loan shark to begin with.  you’re just an idiot if you do this. enough said.


“You’ll get yours when you bring me my contract” - Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta

ok, the hot mess Joseline of this most-ratchet or ratchet reality tv shows, actually made sense with this one.  for those of you unfamiliar with LHHATL, please don’t ask me to explain it lol what you do need to know is you don’t owe anyone who claims to be your “manager”, “agent”, “publicist”, etc until you see and signed a contract that states you owe them.  this lesson is mainly for all the young women out there – don’t be fooled and don’t get fucked over!  it may be 2013, but it’s still considered a man’s world.  but no man is getting my money unless I’ve hired him and signed a deal. fuck that shit if you think you’re my “manager” but you don’t have the paperwork to back it up. FOH!



the next time you’re watching tv (not Mad Money or Suze Orman lol), see if you can pick up on other tips and feel free to add them below :) altho no one reads this haha so I don’t actually expect comments.  but hey, a princess can dream…




FUNemployment in Action: California

Published December 3, 2012 by Funemployment Princess

i was never one to have “age goals” – you know the ones: by 16, i’ll have my first kiss; by 20, i’ll buy a car, etc etc.  i’ve only really had 2 in my life: work in nyc by age 25 (done!), work and live in california by age 30 (working on it).  with the latter goal, i knew i’d have to check out the west coast before i made that kind of commitment.  i had been once, when i was 3. so obviously i remember nothing.  i’ve seen the home-videos (well, when i owned a vhs player i saw them), and  i know i went to the san diego zoo and disney land. but the footage doesn’t count as real memories.

so when moomies told me she was going on a conference trip for work to san diego, my response was: so your hotel room is free? if i pay for my flight can i come??  she knew it wasn’t really a question – more of a warning that i was tagging along.  and thus begun my california vacation planning :)

the flights there -

this was a learning experience. i’ve dealt with connecting flights before; however, on my way to san diego, i had 2 connections to go through. fast forward to me running through chicago o’hare airport to make my first connecting flight with 2 minutes to spare. not fun. i do not recommend booking more than 1 connecting flight. instead, book the flight long enough in advance for you to pay it off and be comfortable when traveling. no one wants to start their vacation off in a bad mood because their flight got messed up

hellooo san diego! -

i arrived in san diego the day before moomies did. no, i did not sleep in the airport or on the street upon arrival! a few weeks before my trip, i contacted my friend blair. its much too complicated to explain how we know each other, so let’s just say we met in college for simplicity. i told her i was coming out to cali and would love to see her.  blair immediately said i could spend the weekend with her and we could do activities.  this brings us to our first lesson of traveling – go where your friends are! if you’re actually friends, then they’ll put you up no problem :) do be considerate though, as you are their house-guest. pay your own way, and clean up after yourself. and do things they want to do; in most cases, you’ll be glad you did because it means you’ll stay away from boring tourist attractions and do what the locals do. here are a few photos of my days with blair :)

san diego zoo -

ok, i know i just said staying with a local means you see the cool places the locals go to and not the tourist attractions. well, there are some toursit things one should do depending on the city. when you’re in san diego, you have to go to the zoo – it’s the only zoo in america with a panda. come on people! it’s a panda! the zoo can be expensive, so it’s good to know of ways to save money. (1) ask about the discounts they have. luckily, i heard the person in front of me ask for a AAA discount, and got 10% off their ticket. so, me being a black-AAA card carrying member (pause for your jealousy), did the same, and got 10% off blair’s and mine’s tickets. (2) sneak your own food in. many zoos (like the bronx zoo) let you bring in your own food. the san diego zoo does not. however, they don’t really pat you down. nor did they take away my chips and hummus. keep it small and throw out your trash, and you’re good to go. some favorite zoo photos below :)

beer samplers -

i’m definitely a beer girl.  and i don’t mean water-that-tastes-like-beer (aka coors light. yuck!).  so i always like to try the beers of the area.  a great way to do this is a beer sampler; it lets you try mutliple kinds of local beer (if you’re at the right restaurant for local brews) without having to pay for full beers.  its also a good way to get moomies to lighten up and enjoy her semi-vacation :)

diners, drive ins, and dives -

i am obessesed with this show! i used to watch it all the time, have the cookbook, and even got guy fieri to call my brother before he passed.  it shows you awesome food that locals eat for cheap!  therefore, it was definitely a necessity for me to go to a place if it was nearby. so i packed my Triple-D cookbook up, and whipped out my iPhone and found a mexican place that was close to my mom’s hotel. IT. WAS. DELICIOUS! for about $15 (which was much more than one had to spend – i just had to try everything!) i ate enough to feed 3 grown men lol simply amazing.  the area was a bit sketchy, but it was right by the train and i went during the day lol here’s a photo of the restaurant:

El Indio

sea world san diego -

the other big tourist thing i did was go to sea world.  me and shamu had some serious bonding to do. now, the sea world ticket is expensive. however, it’s made for you to be there the whole day so take advantage.  i got up by 7, was on the train by 8, and the bus by 8:30.  i got there at 9 when they opened, and didn’t leave until 4:30. i went to every single exhibit, saw the whale show and the dolphin show, and treated myself to an experience because its not everyday i get to pet a dolphin. i also learned you can drink at seaworld, so bring on another beer sampler!! :) funny side note – i got triple ID’d while there. apparently not many drink at sea world haha some of my favorite pics:


thats a dolphin i'm touching lol

beer sampler for lunch

some other helpful tips for san diego -

here’s something wonderful to know: the public transportation system in san diego is a joke! lol for the train (think subway but not underground) no one collects your ticket, there’s no machine to swipe the ticket through, and the bus driver barely looks at your ticket. so basically, i paid for one all day ticket ($5) and used it for 3 days. altho if the city of san diego reads this, i mightve ruined it for everyone. sorry! the transit system is super easy to figure out and most of what you want to see is right off it. aka there is definitely no need for a car! i took the train and the bus everywhere (with the exception of when i stayed with blair and she drove – remember your manners and give your host gas money! even if you have to hide it somewhere in their house hehe :] ) other toursit places i was by included the gaslamp area, the seaport village, and little italy.  one day i just walked up and down little italy going into the cute shops (a great deal for souvenoirs!!).  i made it a point to ask the shopkeepers where they’d recommend getting gelato.  i also did some research on my walk and found a famous shop (which of course i cant remember the name) and got some gelato from there.  across was a cute park that i could sit and just take in the view. it was perfect.  never be scared to ask locals where they’d eat – it’ll only help you in the end.

i head north! -

now when i started to plan this trip, i knew i couldn’t go all the way to the west coast and not hit up vegas! lol so when i started researching flights from san diego to vegas, i realized they all went through LAX. so i figured, well why not just go to LA for the day and then leave for vegas from there :) i reached out to my friend manny whose from LA and lives/works there. he said he’d show me around :) well now i had to get to LA! everyone told me to rent a car because the PCH is amazing. yea, renting a car is mad expensive! so i investigated Amtrak, which travels right up next to the PCH.  For only $25, i went from san diego (the train station was right by my hotel, which took me there for free), to LA.  I was allowed to check my bag for free, and had coffee and breakfast.  the scenery was beautiful! simply amazing trip :)

no manny :( -

unfortunately, manny couldn’t get off work :/ so i grabbed a cab to his job at Sony. this was the most expensive part of my time in LA lol now i understand why everyone told me cabs wouldnt work in LA. thankfully though, because manny is awesome, he handed over the keys to his car for the day. this meant i didn’t have to worry about my luggage and could get around easily. and thus begun my day of cruising around LA by myself. i hit up in-n-out (AMAZING!!!), saw the Hollywood sign (which i accidentally drove up to haha but it was an amazing view of the city), drove down Rodeo Drive, and walked along the pier at Santa Monica. i also got to see the Hollywood walk-of-fame and Chinese theater, as well the Kodak Theater which apparently had been recently renamed to the Dolby Theater.  Tip about these tourist spots – you dont have to actually go in to enjoy them.  i liked just being there and seeing it all. obviously though remember to fill your friend’s gas tank up!! your friends are amazing and help keep things cheap lol so you want to keep them and appreciate them :)


hollywood walk of fame

santa monica pier

chinese theater

the hollywood sign


firstly, i fucking hate LAX. secondly, i fucking hate LAX. my 40 minute flight to vegas was delayed FOUR hours. omg, i wanted to shoot myself.  once i got there though, i was in heaven.  thanks to the casino-rewards cards me and mom have, we receive mail and email offers which usually means free rooms.  thats right – we stayed at the hotel for FREE! the wynn is gorgeous (this was right before prince harry got nasty there lol) i had bought mom tickets to dancing with the stars a few months earlier for mother’s day, so we took in a show. and i signed up for my wynn card, and won a free buffet.  we then earned enough points for a second free buffet.  plus if youre gambling you get to drink for free.  see how many times i used the word free in this part?? so even though i lost all my money lol that was my only big expense. but of course, what happens in vegas stays in vegas. so moving on….. ;)

coming home -

this trip happened to be right before my 25th birthday, so i’m lucky because my mom treated me to my flight back for my birthday.  when i got home, i realized i had accumulated enough credit card points to get $100 back on my adventures. score!

overall, my trip was amazing and i did it all within my budget! if you plan ahead and research, you can go away for a week and not go bankrupt :D




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