Taking a Little Trip to Oahu

A few months ago, my husband mentioned taking a trip to Hawaii at the end of the year before our little one starts walking so we wouldn’t be too stressed out from having to chase her around. I immediately started saving as much as I could from blogging income at that point because I knew that my husband would probably back out of it when the time comes because of funds being limited. He started this massive backyard project that’s going to take like 5k to finish, and we just got done with our master bathroom remodel in February which cost us 10k. A lot of money, but in the end worth it because it’ll help out with our resell value. I knew with all of those limitations, his mentioning of Hawaii wouldn’t actually happen unless I helped out. I’ve never been there and would love to go of course, so I am all on board!

We decided that early November or early December would probably be the best time to make this trip happen since it’s the cheapest overall for package deals. Just don’t plan to save money around the holidays when people are traveling during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I think we’re going to stay on Oahu since it’s somehow the cheapest. Maybe more touristy? They want to get you there so you’ll spend more money on what they have to offer? At least that’s my guess considering the capital is on that island.

I also liked Oahu because it has some of the most beautiful beaches and adventurous excursions; we’ll definitely need to be packing our comfy Reef attire and shoes/sandals for exploring the island. My Reef Braided Cushion sandals are a must for this trip. You wouldn’t think a sandal would be that comfortable, but it has support and is cushion-y; feels like you’re walking on air!

I can’t wait for this trip, it’s going to be amazing, that is if I end up saving enough at the end of the year. Hopefully I’ll get to see some pretty blue waters in Oahu that I didn’t get to see while in Mazatlan, Mexico. That’s always been one of my things to see in life, but I may just have to go to the Caribbean some time for that. Beaches around here are mucky, dirty and cold. Definitely not a pleasant experience.

HHV_Oahu-island-activities_Content_Beaches_455x248_x2

Have you been to Hawaii? Did you love it or was it overrated?

My 2014 FREE Vegas Reward Redemption’s Thru MyVegas

myvegas slots

We’re going to Vegas again, in less than 2 weeks to be exact. I always make sure to play MyVegas on Facebook because we’re a frugal couple. We don’t like paying the high prices that most tourists pay when vacationing in Vegas. It gives us a little more room to gamble (low rollers) and dine out at thee expensive restaurants.

So far we have all 6 of our rewards claimed. (MyVegas only allows 3 per person in a 30 day period). It used to not be limited, but since its gotten popular, they had to put a limit otherwise everyone would be going just to enjoy their free rewards and not really gambling per say.

We’re staying at the Monte Carlo this time in a Deluxe King room which is their very basic one. It won’t even compare to our last room at the Mirage from MyVegas, but oh well, free is free, and it was the only one available for our dates of travel. (Yes, they have a calendar for their room day redemption)

monte carlo deluxe room

 

 

MyVegas Reward Breakdown:

  1. (3) Nights at Monte Carlo – Sat, Sun, Mon = $467.04 saved
  2. (2) $50 Free Play Vouchers for Monte Carlo (Must stay 3 nights) = $100 saved
  3. 2 Premium Tickets to Zumanity Cirque De Soleil = $245 saved

 

zumanity myvegas

 

 

Which brings our grand total to $812.04 saved to go to Vegas. We paid $316 for both of us round trip to fly Southwest for $79 each way, $106 for our full size rental car and another $56 for our last night downtown on Fremont Street. I also have $104.68 saved on my Total Rewards card because of Social Rewards and my husband has $81, which are both going towards food at CET properties.

Overall, a nice haul (not our biggest) but MyVegas is to blame for that for putting up limitations. LOL cause I still have 150k loyalty points leftover! This will probably be our last trip for a while too since we found out we were pregnant with our first 2 days after we booked the flights. Going to be a unique experience that’s for sure. But, who needs booze to enjoy Vegas?

Have you played MyVegas on Facebook? If so, what have you redeemed, and were you happy with it?

8 Ways to Save Money on Your Vegas Trip!

8 Ways to Save Money on Your Vegas Trip!

We all know that Vegas can be a tourist trap with their endless amount of entertainment options, their high priced hotels and restaurants, and everything else in between. But can you really save money on your Vegas trip? The answer is yes! My husband and I go to Vegas at least once a year, mostly because of these money-saving tips.

 

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Inn at Nye Beach Boutique Hotel in Newport, Oregon

Inn at Nye Beach Boutique Hotel in Newport, Oregon

This past weekend, my husband and I decided to head down to Newport, Oregon to visit family and stay at the Inn at Nye Beach Boutique Hotel.  It is a bit of a drive (almost 3 hours), but it’s totally worth it!

Inn at Nye Beach Boutique Hotel

 

Inn at Nye Beach is operated by VIP Hospitality (VIPH), a hotel management and development company with 75+ years of combined hospitality industry experience. Their Mission is to provide the most comfortable, memorable, and fun-filled stays for their guests by providing exceptional service and picture-perfect settings. To them, every one of their guests is a VIP and they strive extremely hard to deliver on this promise.

 

They’re also initiating green practices

 

The Inn At Nye Beach proudly features:

  • Energy Star appliances
  • Low-energy compact fluorescent lighting
  • Water saving showers and dual-option water saving toilets
  • Tear-down materials from the old cottages were recycled/reused
  • Renewable and/or recycled materials were used to build and furnish the hotel
  • Recycled structural steel wood-clad doors and window frames
  • The certified renewable-forest wood used throughout
  • Low volatile-organic-component (VOC) paints
  • Integra Fabrics from recycled post-consumer products
  • Sustainable furniture manufactured locally
  • Solar-generated electricity by Solar Ki
  • On-demand, tankless hot water heaters
  • “Smart Space” empty room energy-saving technology by Echoflex

 

My Review:

 

Upon arrival at Inn at Nye Beach, we immediately noticed the small parking garage, which consists of about 11 spaces give or take. It takes tricky maneuvering getting in and out of there, but don’t most parking garages? I highly recommend parking on the street in front of the hotel or in one of the 5 spots inside the parking area that isn’t connected to the parking garage if they’re available. An SUV or a truck WILL NOT work in the garage.

After we finished parking, we headed toward the front of the building to find the check-in office, which is located on the far left where the outside seating area is. I liked that they had that little area, but I think it would be nice to something like that in the back of the hotel, so you get nice views of the ocean while you’re relaxing and conversing with your friends or loved ones.

 

Check-in was an absolute breeze. Chelsea asked if I was the one doing the blog post, and then she took our credit card for potential incidentals, gave us our room key and off we went.

When I previously talked to the manager of the hotel, I was told I was getting a Deluxe King Fireplace Studio comped room, and much to our surprise, we were put in a 1 bedroom king suite. I wasn’t expecting such a big room, so that was nice of him.

inn at nye beach

The first thing we did was check out the bed. Super comfy, not firm, not too plush, just right to satisfy both my husband and my wants. He likes beds more firm, and I like mine plusher. So it was a great middle ground for both of us.

inn at nye beach

I was completely awed by the bathroom. It’s really nice and has ample space for 2 people to move around and take care of business.  Everything has been updated in here and it looks nice. The colors are definitely beachy feeling.

 

inn at nye beach

I loved the rain style shower head. It had great water pressure and felt relaxing. I’ve noticed in some hotels that water pressure is not always created equal. It sucks having to stay in there for an extra hour because you can’t get the conditioner out of your hair. So that was a plus! I also loved the fact that they had a soap dispenser inside of the shower. I brought my own hygiene products, but if I had known they had this installed, I probably would have left my stuff at home.

The tub and everything in the bathroom was clean. I used to work in housekeeping in a hotel before so I notice these things. If I see one little hair, I know it’s not cleaned good enough, and I didn’t see that here thankfully.

inn at nye beach

The sitting area was great, but we didn’t really use it much until the last night since we were off visiting family most of our stay. I did put the fireplace on and watched a bit of TV before bed, which was relaxing.

The following morning, I decided I was going to order breakfast in since they don’t have a breakfast room or an on-site restaurant. (would love to see either of those added in the future). Inn at Nye provides an in-room menu for Cafe Stephanie where you can order your breakfast directly to your room without paying a delivery charge. The choices were limited, but we both found something we liked. It only took about 10-15 minutes after we called for it to arrive at our room, which was prompt service if I say so myself.

inn at nye beach

The King Suite room has a small kitchen area with a sink, a small microwave, small fridge, a french press, mugs, water glasses, wine glasses, wine bottle opener, ice bucket, plates, silverware, etc.

Upon check-in, they ask if you drink coffee or tea and give you a packet of fresh ground coffee from Portland Roasting Coffee and/or loose leaf tea by Steven Smith Teamaker. I don’t drink coffee without flavored creamer, so I didn’t end up using the coffee.

inn at nye beach

The patio area is perfect for standing out on and looking through the complimentary binoculars that are in the room. Might not see anything right now, but perhaps the summertime is better suited to spot grey whales, dolphins, seals, etc.

inn at nye beach

a lovely day to be at the beach

If you’re coming to Newport, Oregon and haven’t had a chance to stay at Inn at Nye Beach, I highly recommend checking them out if you want pleasant ocean views. Our stay was magnificent. Everything was clean & comfortable and the views were beautiful. There’s a reason they have an excellent rating on TripAdvisor.

 

Inn at Nye Beach, Newport

TripAdvisor

Disclosure: My husband and I were given a complimentary weekend stay at Inn at Nye Beach to facilitate this review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

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Vacationing in Mazatlan, Mexico

One of my husband’s friends had a timeshare that he booked and asked us to come along with him and his g/f and of course we had to go!

I must say, I was a little bit nervous to fly to Mazatlan since it would be the longest time I’ve ever been in the air. Granted, we made a little stop in Phoenix to switch planes, but still, it was about 4 hours and 20 minutes and I’m only used to 2 hours from Portland to Vegas. LOL, It was fine though.

I was a little nervous about customs once we arrived in Mexico, but surprisingly it was a breeze. They do this weird thing where they have you press a big red button. If you get a red, you get all of your bags searched regardless if they’ve already been scanned thru the machines or not. If it’s green, you get to proceed. Well lucky us got red. Thankfully I didn’t have anything too risque in my bag other than a lingerie piece. It was annoying, to say the least. You’d think they’d want to make the process a lot speedier than that. But, what can ya do?

After getting out of the airports, we got on our free bus to the El Cid Marina Resort where the timeshare people try to up sell you stuff. Thankfully, the owner of the time share got there an hour earlier than us ( we shared a 2 room suite), and we told them that we had no idea what their plans were and that we’d talk to them when we got to the resort. We were never really bothered again after that.

This was my first time in Mexico and I must say, it’s an entirely different experience than what I am used to. There was tons of graffiti everywhere. I’m thinking it’s more of an art form and not so much seen as vandalism because some of them were very creative pieces. Kids were riding in the back of trucks (don’t you remember doing that back in the day?), people didn’t wear seat belts and didn’t obey the same traffic laws we do since they drive down the road on the middle lines and don’t use blinkers. Honestly, it was kind of scary. I can’t even imagine driving in Mexico… I think I will forever stick to a taxi whenever we visit. LOL

Once we got to the Resort, we found our friends and then went up to the room to put our bags up.

El Cid Marina room and view

After we checked out everything in the room, we decided it was time to go get some food since we were starving as we only had a breakfast burrito and a half a sandwich while at the airport from 6:30 am to 4 pm.

So we set out on our adventure while using the free shuttle at the resort and ended up stumbling upon this place called F.I.S.H. You know it should be good when locals are eating there, so we decided to take the chance. Service was kind of slow, but once we got our food, our taste buds were in heaven. It was certainly worth the wait!

My husband had the shrimp taco, calamari tacos, and something else. We both thought the shrimp tacos were the best. I had a burrito with calamari that was decent, but I think I enjoyed that one small bite of my husband’s shrimp taco a little bit more.

Overall, it was a nice first day in Mazatlan!

Want to read all my posts of Mazatlan?

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