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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Travel Addict: Vegas


There are many reasons to visit Las Vegas: the lavish-themed casinos, marriage, impressive shows, gambling … or what I go for, a nice balance between pool time and clubbing.

The girls and I have taken on Vegas 3 times…




Tread lightly with this advice…


In 2007, we stayed at New York, New York on the south end of the strip. The next two trips we opted for Treasure Island which is affordable, in the middle of the strip and the pool gets sun all day.

Dream hotels: Bellagio (duh), Wynn, Encore, Cosmopolitan, Aria or The Venetian.

In reality, you probably cannot go wrong; however, I do recommend visiting all the other hotels if you’re a first-timer — unreal.


While a show is always on the docket for our trips, it usually slips off the itinerary somehow (maybe next time?) so I am no pro, but I’ve always wanted to see a Cirque du Soleil show. Truth.


New hot spots are constantly opening in Vegas but my fave is The Bank at Bellagio. XS and Haze are up there. Lavo, Tao and The Foundation Room would be next. Being real honest though — it’s all about who you’re with, promoters and VIP.

While I’d like to disclose more … what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

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  1. Join a hotel’s mailing list to get emails about special promotions and discounts.
  2. Check out Groupon Las Vegas or Groupon Getaways, could find something good.

YouTube Tuesday: Stuff Single Girls Say

Throwback to the ‘Shit Girls Say’ series … [Drumroll please] …


like. LOVE. like.

Sidenote: I laughed so hard when I saw this the first time that my entire team at work asked what was going on and I proceeded to send the link out via email to them. You can’t keep stuff like this to yourself. It’s a disservice to humanity.

I’m obsessed with … Zayna Bakes

Cuffins came into my life in 2008. The same year I met Zayna.

Quite immediately upon meeting Zayna you’ll learn: the girl can bake. Her specialty? Cuffins. A creation she stumbled upon while baking cookies. She ran out of baking sheets and opted to use a muffin pan. The result? A-MA-ZING-NESS. Cookie muffin = Cuffin!!

I am literally obsessed with cuffins.

I’m equally obsessed with Zayna Bakes. A dream in the making her whole life, Zayna recently started her own business. She’s doing it. And she’s rocking it.

Zayna Bakes kicked off with a bake sale at Groupon on Valentine’s Day. The plan was to try to sell just over 200 cuffins in an hour. In reality? We SOLD OUT within 13 minutes. Unreal.

I’d love to disclose my favorite flavor, but no joke I love them all. Like heaven in your mouth.

This is only the tip of the iceberg for Z and Zayna Bakes. She is going places. I highly recommend hopping on the bandwagon now:


Order online today!!

Standard flavors $2, Specialty flavors $2.50





Spaghetti with a TWIST

I decided to get a little cray with my spaghetti recently. There isn’t a real recipe for this so bear with me … and enjoy!



  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 1 lb. meat
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 squash, chopped
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Spaghetti noodles
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Basil, to taste
  • Oregano, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste


  1. Cook meat in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Drain meat.
  3. Cook pasta in separate pot.
  4. Add onion, zucchini, squash, mushroom, and tomato to meat and simmer on low.
  5. Add pasta sauce to meat and vegetables. Add spices — all to taste.
  6. Drain noodles.
  7. Place meat and vegetable sauce over noodles and top with parmesan cheese.
  8. Enjoy!

Travel Addict: Costa Rica

Second travel post and already taking it international… love!

Costa Rica.

Located in Central America, the phrase that Costa Ricans most identify with is “Pura Vida” — which means pure life or good life and reflects the Costa Rican way of life. As soon as I heard that I was on board with this 2011 summer vacay.

It wasn’t a traditional Petersen Family  vacay, it was the extended fam … Mom, Dad, brother Matt, Gram, Aunt Gayle, Uncle Tom, cousins Brent, Shelley and Chris.

Costa Rica is a tropical climate with an average temperature of 80 degrees on the coasts, 70 degrees in the main cities and 50 degrees in the mountains. In other words … awesome. We stayed on the Pacific coast in Tamarindo, located in the Guanacaste province.

Tamarindo was gorgeous and there was so much to do. Some of my favorite adventures included our chartered snorkeling trip, playing in the ocean, howling with the Howler Monkeys, surfing, our day trip to Nicaragua (loved Masaya Volcano National Park!) and of course our full-on costume Murder Mystery dinner.


Passport: Required

When to Visit: late November until April

Capital City: San Jose

Population: 4,658,887

Average Annual Rainfall: 120 to 140 inches


Visit Costa Rica

Anywhere Costa Rica

U.S. Government Travel Site

YouTube Tuesday: Baby Laughing

I would love to turn Lin’s nephew into a YouTube sensation. He’s 10-months and with his adorable look and contagious laugh, I’m certain it would happen in no time.

In the meantime, let’s check out Baby Micah’s giggle:

Awwwwwwww — they were tearing up her father’s job rejection letters which is basically the icing on the cake.

I’m obsessed with … LASIK

I’m baaaaaaaaaaack!

And I’m obsessed.


I have been overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness and thoughtfulness. THANK YOU!! Here’s a look into my LASIK experience:

[Day of LASIK]

I SURVIVED! I was super nervous the day of my surgery. The entire LASIK procedure lasted only 10 minutes, but the total time at TLC Eye Care was around 2 hours. My surgeon Dr. Probst was amazing. Right after I could tell that I had good vision but it was a little hazy. Gram drove me home and I napped for a good 4 hours. When I woke up, my vision was awesome. I crushed the rest of the day looking sexy in my mask (see above) and watching Notting Hill, classic.

[Day after LASIK]

The day after surgery, Gram and I ventured to Johnson Eye Care in Cary, Illinois for my day after check-in. I was amazed at my already great vision. The first week of post-LASIK care is pretty strict – keeping track of 4 eye drops, wearing my mask to sleep each night, sunglasses anytime I’m outside, no touching or rubbing the eyes, etc. It’s worth it to live by the book.

[1 week post-LASIK]

And now we’re here … one week post-LASIK. My eyes feel better each day. My one-week check up on Saturday went amazing. I actually have better than 20/15 vision which means … drumroll … I do indeed have SUPER VISION!! I can see insanely far distances. Score! I also got the ok to wear makeup again (see above, first night in makeup!) and the care regimen is easier days 8-90 post-LASIK.

I could not have asked for better results — even Dr. Jeff Johnson, my eye doctor and family friend, was impressed! I am so happy. A special shout out goes out to Gram for her amazing care. I couldn’t have asked for a better buddy through this experience and am so appreciative of everything she did.

I do highly recommend both my eye doctor and the surgery center I went to, please let me know if you are interested in LASIK and have any questions. I’m obsessed so I’d love to help:


Dr. Jeff Johnson

855 Feinberg Court, Cary, Illinois 60013



Dr. Louis Probst

4 Westbrook Corporate Center, Westchester, Illinois 60154