Monday, August 30, 2010

Mailbox Monday August 30th - Mountain of Magazines!

Happy Mailbox Monday everyone!

It was another light week for me. I received mostly magazines this past week.


August 23rd
-Vogue magazine with Halle Berry on the cover

August 24th
-All You magazine

August 26th
-Shape magazine
-Entertainment Weekly
-Flip Flops I won from Sobe's Heads or Tails Instant Win Game

August 27th
-Forbes magazine
-7x7 magazine
-Soap Opera Digest magazine
-OK! magazine

August 28th
-Free Psst! shampoo coupon from Redbook magazine
-V8 V Fusion from V8's Facebook

If you have any freebies you've received in the mail lately feel free to share them with me and the other Mailbox Monday participants at http://www.afrugalfriend.net.



Also, if you haven't already, please publicly follow my blog by clicking the "Follow" button under the "Followers" section on the right hand side of the posts. Thanks!

CVS Trips + Sprinkles Cupcake

I had a great week of eliminating full price at CVS. Here is what I got:

8/24/10
10 Vitamin Waters x $1.00 each = $10.00 + $0.50 CRV = $10.50
2 Crest Glide Flosses x $3.49 = $6.98
Subtotal without coupons: $17.48

Coupons used:
$5 off $15 purchase
$10 Extra Care Bucks
$1 off 2 Vitamin Water Zero Bottles

Subtotal after coupons: $1.48
Tax: $0.46
Total with coupons: $1.94

Plus I got $5 Extra Care Bucks for buying 10 Vitamin Waters & $5 Extra Care Bucks for buying 2 Crest Flosses.

Total Extra Care Bucks received: $10.00

8/27/10
2 Listerine Zero's x $3.99 = $7.98

Coupons Used:
$2.00 off Listerine Zero
Another $2.00 off Listerine Zero
$4.00 Extra Care Bucks

Total after coupons: $0.00

Plus I got back $4.00 Extra Care Bucks for buying 2 Listerine bottles.

8/28/10
2 Chow Mein x $1.00 = $2.00
4 M&M's Pretzels x $0.50 = $2.00
1 Reeses Candy x $0.50 = $0.50
Subtotal: $4.50

Coupons Used:
$0.50 off 2 M&M's Pretzels
Another $0.50 off 2 M&M's Pretzels
$0.50 off Reeses
$3.00 Extra Care Bucks

Total after coupons: $0.00

8/29/10
1 pair of Headphones x $6.99 = $6.99
1 Crest Glide Floss x $3.97 = $3.97

Subtotal without coupons: $10.96
Tax: $1.01
Subtotal: $11.97

Coupons used:
$10.00 Extra Care Bucks

Total with coupons: $1.97

Plus I got back $6.99 Extra Care Bucks for buying the headphones, another $2.50 Extra Care Bucks for buying the Crest Floss, and a $1.00 Extra Care Buck for this trip being my 4th scan on my green bag tag.

A bonus freebie for myself: 1 free Sprinkles cupcake. It costs $3.25 but if you're 1 of the first people to whisper a secret word each day, you'll receive a free cupcake.

When I add up all my CVS trips together, the grand total I spent was $3.91!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Backstreet Time Doesn't Apply in Canada - How I used my My Coke Rewards Delta Airlines sweepstakes win!


When I started entering contests in April 2009, I thought it would be nice if I could win airfare or a trip to see Backstreet Boys in a city I’ve never been to before. In October 2009, mycokerewards.com had an “Escape for Two” sweepstakes. The prize was 2 Delta plane tickets that can be used to go to Mexico, Canada, or any of the 48 continental US states.

In November 2009, I was notified via e-mail that I had won the sweepstakes. I was 1 of 9 winners. I approximately had over 1,800 entries for the drawing. (I know you’re probably thinking, Damn, that’s a lot of entries but in 2009 Coke had a system where it was quick and easy to acquire entries. It didn’t take long for me to earn those entries.)

I immediately knew I wanted to use those 2 Delta plane tickets to see Backstreet Boys somewhere. I originally thought I could use the tickets to fly to Miami for the Backstreet Boys cruise I’m attending in December 2010 but I’d only be able to use 1 ticket and I didn’t know what to do with the 2nd ticket.

When Backstreet’s “This is Us” U.S. tour dates were announced in 2010 I brainstormed ideas of which concert I should fly to. I could have gone to the east coast but those were the first batch of shows and I felt like there wasn’t enough time to plan it all out.

Then when Backstreet's Canadian dates were announced, I saw Winnipeg as one of the cities they were going to. I know my grandma (my maternal grandpa’s half sister) lived in Winnipeg and that she lived close to the airport and the MTS Centre (the concert venue). I decided it would be fun if I take my mom to Winnipeg so we could visit relatives from her side of the family while I could get a chance to see Backstreet Boys in a city and country I’ve never been to before.

I was able to buy a front row ticket for the concert through the Backstreet Boys fan club. I also bought a Gold VIP because I enjoy the sound check experience.

Booking the flight was such a pain in the booty. There were two phone numbers, one for international travel and one for domestic travel, listed on the instruction sheet My Coke Rewards sent me on how to book a flight.

I wasn’t sure which number to dial so I looked at the 2 ticket certificates. There was a line that said, “For flight information and reservations call…” and it listed the domestic travel number. I dialed that number and told the first operator that I wanted to book a flight from San Francisco, California to Winnipeg, Canada. I was placed on hold and transferred to another operator. I told that operator the same thing and got transferred to another operator.

I think when I got transferred to the 3rd operator, that operator told me that I needed to talk to an international operator. When I got transferred to an international operator, I got told I need to talk to a domestic operator. Then I got transferred again to a domestic operator who again asks me where am I flying to? I reply Winnipeg, Canada, and then I got told I needed to talk to an international operator.

By this time I’m irritated that I keep getting bounced back and forth between domestic and international operators. When I get told for like the gazillionth time that I need to talk to another operator, I tell the operator I’m on the line with that when I get connected to a domestic operator I get told I need to talk to an international operator and when I get connected to an international operator, I get told I need to talk to a domestic operator. *roll eyes*

The domestic operator I’m on the line with apologizes to me and assures me this time I’ll be transferred to an international operator to book my flight to Canada. While I’m being transferred, my phone connection to Delta is cut. I thought, That freaking domestic operator just lied to me.

Instead of calling the number listed on the Delta certificates, I decided to call the international booking number that was on the sheet of paper mycokerewards.com sent me.

I was ready to get pissed off but thankfully that operator helped me book my flight to Winnipeg, Canada. I knew I should have dialed that number first but I figured the number on the certificate had seniority over the one listed on the paper.

I’m not a frequent flier so I’m not used to having to pack as light as possible. I wanted to have 2 carry-on bags with me. I’m very paranoid about the possibility of losing luggage.

I thought that since my mom and I were flying to Canada, that we would have to depart out of the international terminal at the San Francisco International Airport aka SFO. When we got to the international terminal, we saw the Delta counter is closed.

My mom asked an employee where the Delta flights are and he said that we have to walk to the other side of the airport where the domestic flights are. That’s when I realize since the flight has one stop over in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that the first portion of the flight is considered a domestic flight.

I tried to convince my mom to carry-on her 1 big bag but she insisted to check it in. After we check-in her bag, we stand in a long security screening line. I noticed most of the people in line were people going home to Minnesota because I saw they were holding Minnesota ID’s/driver’s licenses.

I noticed a sign in the security line that said take out any liquids and laptops in your bag. I had my laptop in my big luggage but I was too lazy to take it out. I actually wanted to see if security would stop me or let it go. I was stopped and security made me open my bag to show them my laptop. They put my laptop and my bag through the x-ray machine again and I was let go.

By the time my mom and I get to the gate, there’s a long line to get on the plane. The time was about 2:05pm and I hadn’t eaten anything yet! I was starving but there was no time to stop and eat. There was a store near the gate but everything was overpriced. I had to decide between getting a drink or getting a snack. I decided to get xxx vitamin water that cost $3.49 (ouch!) because it would last longer than a snack.

When my mom and I get on the plane, there are already a lot of people seated. I was pleased to find out that our seats were near the entrance/exit of the plane and on the aisle. That made getting up to go to the bathroom so easy!

There was one lady sitting behind my mom who kept complaining about being allergic to onions. She was upset that the sandwich she bought at SFO had onions and kept bugging multiple flight attendants for food without onions. I was proud of those flight attendants for not going all Jet Blue flight attendant on this anti-onion lady and snapping at her lol!

She wouldn’t shut up about those gosh darn onions being on her food. The flight attendants did their best to offer alternative food options but she didn’t like anything! Then she asked if she could change seats because of the onions being on her seat and they moved her to another area. I was so glad I didn’t have to hear her talk the whole flight.

I still hadn’t had anything to eat yet and I anxiously waited for food and drinks to be served. The prices killed some of my appetite though. One itty bitty sandwich cost $8!!! It was like 1/4th of a $5 footlong at Subway. I wanted solid food in my stomach so I ordered sour cream Pringles that cost $3. The container was about half the size of a normal sized Pringles container.

The plane arrived to the Minneapolis airport at 8:05pm local time. (I was still operating on Pacific Time which was 6:05pm.) I saw a Chili’s To-Go across the gate and thought there would be time to eat there but first I wanted to check the gate the flight to Winnipeg would be leaving out of. All of the flights around us were domestic flights. I had no idea where the international flights were. My mom asks a Delta employee where the flight to Winnipeg would be leaving out of. She tells us to go gate C and to hurry because they were boarding now.

My mom and I power walk to the C gate which was so far. Once we get there we only see gate C-12. I looked at the flight monitor and saw our flight was leaving out of gate C-23. I don’t see that anywhere so my mom asks another Delta employee where it is. She points toward the direction of where it is and my mom and I power walk some more to get C-23.

Once we get there it’s about 8:20pm and we see that the flight is not boarding yet. The departure time was still listed as 9:05pm with an 8:50pm board time. I asked my mom if we should try getting something to eat before take-off? She suggested we should so we walk to the nearest food court. I ate mini-corn dogs and French fries while my mom got pizza. We ate about half of our food and then went back to the gate.

We sit across one of the pilots and one of the flight attendants for the flight. I hear the pilot ask the flight attendant who their 2nd flight attendant was. She said she didn’t know and thinks the other flight attendant is stranded at an airport.

By this time I notice it is dark and heavily raining outside. It was a complete downpour with thunder and lightning. I live in California so I’m not used to seeing that type of weather in August. That’s December/January weather for me. I also have never seen so many lightning strikes before. I probably see less than 2 lightning strikes a year in California.

It’s past 9:05pm and we’re still in Minneapolis. A Delta employee makes an announcement that one of the flight attendants is stranded at the Rochester, Minnesota airport and they are hoping he/she will arrive at 10:45pm so they aimed for an 11:45pm departure. One of the pilots was nice enough to bring out snacks and water for us while we waited. There was a possibility that a substitute flight attendant could join our flight but it wasn’t guaranteed.

I overheard a male passenger tell the pilot that he had to spend the night in Minneapolis last week because his flight was canceled. The pilot said it’s not a bad airport to spend the night in. The guy then said he didn’t like it because every half hour a female voice would come on the PA system and announce the time. I didn’t even notice that until he mentioned it. There would be a ding and the female voice would say, “The local time is 11:30.”

Then 11:45pm comes and still nothing was happening. My mom asked a Delta employee when would we be leaving and their reply was, “I don’t know.” Apparently, the amount flights coming in-bound and out-bound were restricted because of the rainy weather.

Midnight comes and we’re still in Minneapolis. I began to think there was a possibility I wouldn’t make it to Winnipeg and see Backstreet Boys. When it’s almost 12:30am, a Delta employee makes an announcement that the flight to Winnipeg is canceled and to line up to rebook another flight.

The first flight out of Winnipeg was at 9:05am with an arrival time of 10:05am. That meant my mom and I had to spend the night in Minneapolis. Delta gave us a voucher for a discount on a hotel but we were hesitant to leave the airport. We had no idea where we were going and it wasn’t free.

The airport had brought out portable mattresses for us to sleep on. Once my mom and I got the mattresses, we found a spot near the window and take refuge there. My mom and I lay down at approximately 1:00am.

It was so hard to fall asleep. I tried closing my eyes but my brain was still awake. My whole body was tired and grumpy but my brain wouldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned the whole night. I think I only slept for 5 minutes around 4:30am. What kept me awake was being paranoid of someone stealing my bags and my mom’s bags.

By the time it’s 6:00am, it isn’t dark outside. I wake up and look at the flight monitor to see the gate the Winnipeg flight would be departing from. The 9:05am Winnipeg flight is delayed to 9:43am! I told my mom we better start praying hard because I was scared this flight might be canceled too.

While waiting for the flight, my mom and I walk around to find a place to eat breakfast. I didn’t want to eat at the same food court we ate at on Tuesday night so we walked in the opposite direction and found another food court. My mom had heard one of the pilots (who was supposed to fly us to Winnipeg Tuesday night) tell a passenger he ate a Japanese place that had really good Udon.

My mom wanted to find that place and we think we find it when we see this food court. I thought my mom wanted to order Udon but she wanted to order Hot and Sour soup which was at a Chinese food place called Wok and Roll. I finally got to eat a proper meal with chow mien, fried rice, tofu, and chicken. It was really yummy.

After we eat, we head back to the gate our flight was leaving out from which was gate 20. My mom wanted to stop by gate 17 to watch the news on the plasma TV hanging on the ceiling. Once we get our fix of the news, we sit near gate 20 and wait. A Delta employee makes an announcement that the crew has landed in the airport and is on their way.

It’s already past the scheduled departure of 9:43am and we’re still in Minneapolis. I kept trying to calculate the time I had to get ready for the concert I had to attend in a few hours. I hoped we’d arrive around 11:30am and that I’d have until 4:00pm to eat, take a nap, shower, and change.

The plane finally departs around 10:30am. It’s such a small plane. I didn’t feel comfortable at all sitting in such a tight space. It didn’t help that a really tall guy sat next to me so I felt extra squished in my seat.

I don’t even know what time the plane arrived. I was just so happy it arrived in Winnipeg. My mom and I make our way down to customs and baggage claim. We talk to a customs agent who asks us why we’re here. My mom answered the question and said, “We’re here to visit relatives and my daughter is going to see a Backstreet Boys concert. The customs agent replies, “Oh, I see.”

Once we pass through customs, my mom gets her bag from baggage claim and then we figure out how we’re going to call my grandma. I already knew our cell phones wouldn’t work but I just had to look to see if I had reception. There wasn’t any so we had to find a pay phone.

We didn’t have Canadian money so my mom said, “I’ll just call her collect.” When she does that, the operator tells her the number she is calling doesn’t accept collect calls lol My mom and I then search for a place to exchange our American dollars to Canadian dollars.

My mom asks an airport employee where she can exchange and she’s told it’s near the departure terminal on the 2nd floor. While she’s exchanging her money I wait for her on the 1st flood. Once she gets Canadian dollars, she gives my grandma a call to come pick us up. She then gives me $40 to spend on whatever I want at the concert.

While waiting for my grandma, my mom noticed the lock on her luggage was gone! Apparently, somewhere between San Francisco to Winnipeg, an airport employee opened my mom's luggage without permission. That is exactly why I don't want to check in my luggage. I don't feel comfortable putting my luggage in the care of strangers. My mom later discovers a new wallet she had just bought was missing. She was thankful she hadn't put any money in the wallet yet.

About 10 minutes later my grandma and her son (my uncle) pick us up. It’s about a 10 minute drive to her house. When we arrive, I think it’s about 12:30pm.

My grandma bought us some Filipino food from a place called Tindanan so my mom and I eat lunch. After lunch it’s about 1:00pm so I go to the room my grandma set up for me and my mom and nap until 2:30pm. I figured I could shower for about 15 minutes and then get ready until it’s 4:00pm. (As I mentioned earlier, I had Gold VIP and the website said check-in would be at 4:00pm.)

By the time it’s 4:05pm, I’m finished and ready to go be dropped off at the MTS Centre. However, my grandma wanted her and my mom to come along for the drop off ride so that my mom could see downtown Winnipeg.

My mom said that she needed to get ready and go to the bathroom first. My grandma says that’s not necessary because they’ll just be riding in the car but my mom insists that she has to use the bathroom to primp herself up.

I thought my mom would just go pee but she spends forever in the bathroom! It felt like she was in there for 20 minutes. My grandma kept yelling at my mom to hurry up because Joy (that’s me) would be late for sound check.

I think by the time we left the house it’s 4:30pm and I noticed it was traffic in downtown. I had no idea where the venue was since I wasn’t familiar with the area. I also didn’t know my uncle wanted to drive by Mystique to show me where the after party was happening.

I thought, “Uh, oh, I might be late to VIP” but then I’d reassure myself that Backstreet always runs on “Backstreet Time” and they’d be late like they always are to doing sound check and events. (I’ve done sound check 4 times in the US and they NEVER started on time or early.) We drive by Mystique and then by the time I get to the venue it’s almost 5:00pm.

From what I’ve experienced in the sound checks I went to in the US, sound check usually starts at 5:15pm-5:30pm because Justin from the Backstreet fan club spends about an hour checking people in.

When I walk inside, I notice there’s no fans near the box office which is where VIP check in is usually located. I asked an employee at the box office where the VIP check in was. She didn’t know and told me to ask security. I asked a male security guard and he told me that about 15 minutes ago they were checking in people at the empty table he was standing next to.

I thought, “Oh, crap sound check already started?!“ At the same time a man arrives and tells the security guard he’s running late and that he’s looking for where VIP is. The security guard radio’s someone and then he asks us to follow him. While we’re following him down to the stage area, I could already hear Brian making sound effects and singing “Every-bah-day.”

I hoped that I didn’t miss much and then I hear them start to sing “Shattered.” I thought, “Whew, I didn’t miss anything” so while they sing “Shattered” I enter the stage area with the male security guard and the man who was late with me.

I was ready to absorb the performance when the male security guard said to stand near the back while he went to get a Backstreet Boys employee. One minute later a female security guard tells me and the man who was late with me to go back and stand outside where I couldn’t see them sing “Shattered” anymore :’(

At this point, I am so pissed. I was missing them sing “Shattered.” I still held onto the small smidgen of hope I had that “Shattered” was the first or second song they were singing so that I could get to see them perform at least one full song.

The female security guard then gets clearance to bring me and the late man inside so I finally make it to where the Gold VIPs are sitting in the 2nd row. By the time I sit in the chair, they are on the last line of “Shattered.”

I sent a quick prayer to God that Backstreet would sing another song and my prayer wasn’t heard. AJ said, “At this time we’d like to open up the floor for some questions…” and then he introduces Justin.

At this point, I am extremely frazzled and I’m so pissed at my mom for taking a billion minutes in the bathroom. I can’t even enjoy the rest of the sound check because my mind was fixated on those 10-15 minutes I spent waiting for my mom getting ready in the bathroom. Those 10-15 minutes cost me seeing Backstreet perform 3 songs and half the sound check.

80% of the reason I go to the sound check is to record Backstreet singing those 3 songs. I love how they sing those songs without any cheesy choreography and sometimes they sing songs that they don’t sing in their concerts like “Shattered.”

I had to find out the hard way that “Backstreet Time” does not apply in Canada. They actually run on time in Canada and even earlier than usual which I am not used to!

I wasn't able to take many pictures during sound check. Here's what I was able to get:

I thought I could salvage my bad mood by getting the chance to ask Nick a question about how recording his solo album was going because I saw on Twitter Carl Faulk tweeted a picture of Nick in the studio but some chick behind me beat me in raising her hand.

She asked the dumbest question ever and that just added more piss to my pissed-off-ness. She asked Nick about how she found another version of “I Want It That Way” online called “No Goodbyes” and why there’s 2 versions? I seriously wanted to make a comment out loud over how freaking dumb that question was but I tend to keep my thoughts to myself until I get the opportunity to type it out into words :p

Then Justin asked who has a question for Howie? I thought about raising my hand but it was pointless because Justin was now on the other side of where I was and too far from me. This fan then says, “This question is for all of you, what is the craziest thing a fan has ever done?”

Nick starts laughing off his ass off! He laughed for a good 20 seconds. (I know 20 seconds sounds short but you try laughing for 20 seconds and then tell me how you feel :p) Nick says AJ should answer this question. Then he kept on laughing. I turned on my camera really fast and did my best to capture his laughter. Seeing him laugh so hard made me feel a tiny bit better.

AJ said that during one of their Canadian tour dates (I forgot which one they mentioned) a fan asked AJ, “Can you sign my ass?” AJ thought she was joking but she lifted up her skirt for him to sign. He signed one of her butt cheeks. Then this fan went to Nick and asked the same thing. He signed the other butt cheek. Then AJ said right after he and Nick signed her ass, she went to the nearest tattoo parlor and got their autographs tattooed on her ass.

AJ then said that’ll probably be very awkward for her if she has a boyfriend or husband. I love Backstreet Boys a lot but I wouldn’t want their silly autographs tattooed onto my ass or any other part of me.

Then Justin says since AJ answered what was supposed to be Howie’s question, Justin asks for another Howie question. Once again, Justin is a gazillion feet away from me so there’s no point in raising my hand.

This fan begins her question with the same phrase the previous fan had, “This question is actually for all of you.” She tells them it’s her birthday and before she can even ask them to sing her happy birthday, Brian starts his note “haaaa”. Once she finally asked them to sing happy birthday, they count to 3 and sing to her.

Here's video of some of Nick's laughter & them singing "Happy Birthday"


AJ then says it’s time for pictures and Justin instructs us to stand up and take 5 steps to the right. Since I was late, I ended up being first for the Gold VIP line. I didn’t want to be first! I felt stuck in my place though. I wanted to walk to the end of the line but there was no room.

Every little thing was pissing me off so I wasn’t happy being first for the Gold VIPs. I even asked the fan behind me if she wanted to go first. She told me she didn’t want to go first because she had her daughter with her. She then told me that she recognized me from the Vegas concert. (Sometimes I wonder if other fans do recognize from previous concerts and events.)

As the silver VIPs, take their pictures, I’m dreading being first. I really didn’t want to be first. I ask their bodyguard (who I think is named Q), “Do I have to go first? I don’t want to go first.” To my surprise, he tells me to stand off to the side and lets me be last. That makes me feel slightly better.

While I’m standing off to the side, I try to find a fan named Kyla from Winnipeg I was supposed to meet up with before the sound check. We then spot each other and I walk over to her since she’s toward the end of the line with 2 other fans. I then tell her I was so late and that I missed them singing the first two songs. I asked her and the 2 other fans what songs did they sing and they told me they sang “Undone” and “All I Have to Give.”

When it’s almost their turn to take their VIP picture, the 2 fans hand me their cameras and ask if I can take pictures and video of them up with Backstreet. I said,” I’d try.” There I am, still frazzled with 2 cameras in my hand and feeling like the biggest dork on earth.

When I’m near Q again, I asked him if I was going to get my VIP pass because I didn’t get one. Then he said to wait and they’ll try to get me one. Then their other body guard Drew smiles and tells me, “They saved the best for last.” I tell him, “Awww but that I was disappointed I was late.” I was still in my “pissed off cause I was late” haze that I didn’t even realize it was my turn to take my picture with Backstreet.

Brian is first and he says “heeeeeeeeey girl.” I shake his hand and say “Hi Brian.” I’d like to think that by him saying “heeeeeeeeey girl” means he recognized me but my mind was somewhere else so I don’t even know. I felt like it seemed I didn’t even give a crap about him. Next was Howie and I don't remember if I said anything to him. Then it was Nick and I'm not sure if we shook hands or not. I hear him ask me “How are you?” I whine like a baby and tell him, “I’m disappointed because I was late.”

At this point I realize, I’m still holding these 2 cameras that aren’t even mine in my hand so while I told Nick I was disappointed, I turn around and go to put them down on the nearest chair. Their other bodyguard, Josh, tells me to keep them with me.

I told him, “They aren’t mine.”

Then Josh asks me, “Who’s are they?”

I tell him, “I don’t know.” :-[

There’s no time to figure out the camera business because I have to take my picture. I don’t even know where the hell I’m standing. I just turn around and stand near the barricade.

Then I felt someone put their hand on my shoulder but I don't turn around to see who it belonged to. I knew if I looked then my picture would be of the back of my head lol. Justin snaps the picture and I go to pick up the 2 cameras that aren’t mine. I then realize I didn’t even get a chance to say anything to AJ as I walk toward Josh who gives me an 8x10 autographed picture.

My question is... Does AJ not like getting close to people in picture? Look at how far he is from Nick lol

I found out later when I looked at my picture on the fan club that it's Nick who put his hand on my shoulder. When I looked at the other VIP pictures I noticed Nick didn't do that for all the fans so that kind of made me feel better about the whole being late debacle :p I also love that he's touching the shoulder where I'm carrying my Chanel bag.

I still didn’t have my Gold pass and I almost wanted to give up on trying to get it. I already asked a gazillion Backstreet employees about my pass but got no solid answer. As I’m walking out I see Q and decide to try to ask him one more time about my pass.

He tells me to sit and wait in a section off to the side while he went to see if someone could get my pass. As I sit and wait, I get to see all the Platinum VIPs get their group pictures taken. Once the Platinum VIPs are done with their pictures, AJ, Nick, and Brian leave while Howie stays behind to do the Platinum VIP tour.

(I had a feeling Howie would do the Platinum VIP tour for Winnipeg since the order for the Canadian tour has been Brian, Howie, AJ, and Nick. I was also glad I didn’t have platinum because I wouldn’t have wanted Howie as a tour guide again. I would have been even more pissed if the tour guide was Nick though because he’s the best :p)

If I think about it, even though I missed the singing part of the sound check, I got to experience 1/4th of the backstage tour which is only reserved for Platinum VIPs. Howie starts to explain the sound mixing board which is located behind the floor section.

The thought of sneaking in with the Platinum group crossed my mind but I knew it would just be too obvious since I kept fighting for my gold pass lol

Howie then takes the group backstage and I was the only fan left in the venue sitting by myself. I wondered if I was even going to get that darn pass. Justin finally comes running out onto stage with my pass. He tells me to come toward to the stage and I go behind the barricade. There’s a bright light on stage that is totally blinding me and I can’t even see where Justin is. I tell him, “I can’t see you” and we do a bit of hand shuffling until I finally get my pass.

I thought about asking him for a partial refund but I knew it would be futile. He doesn’t strike me as a refund/discount type of guy. I thank him for the pass and walk out. I didn’t even know how to get out of the venue since there was no one there to guide me or other fans to follow. I decided to go out the way I came in. I still have the cameras of the two fans I met in the Gold VIP line and I had no idea where they were.

Thankfully, on my way out I see them and I give them back their cameras. They wondered where I went and I told them that I had to wait to get my pass.

I didn’t know where else to go so I follow the 3 fans to a restaurant called Tavern, which is across the street from the MTS Centre. I wasn’t hungry because being late had ruined my mood. I didn’t want to look out of place so I ordered a Sprite even though I wasn’t thirsty. The first thing I noticed on the menu was soda was listed as pop.

I’m from the west coast so we say “soda”. I couldn’t bring myself to say the word “pop” so I just asked for a Sprite to avoid any potential soda/pop debate :p

My nerves were still shaken from being late so if you follow me on Twitter, you would have seen my flood of angry/pissed off tweets. I know they probably made me sound like a whining baby (yes I know there are bigger issues in the world and that I should be thankful I have the liberty to even see Backstreet again) but I had to channel my anger somewhere.

I had no one to vent my anger and frustrations to. Thankfully the Tavern had free wi-fi so I really took advantage of it! (I hadn’t been able to find free wi-fi in Minneapolis and in Winnipeg.) Tweeting and having friends replying to me helped soothed the agony I had over being late.

At around 8pm we all walk to the venue. The lady scanning tickets was so excited that the other fans and I had really good seats. I could hear the opening act, Shawn Desman performing on stage already but I didn’t care about him. Apparently he’s fairly popular in Canada because almost everyone was on their feet and dancing to his music. I’m not used to seeing many people excited for opening acts.

We go to our seats and I watch Shawn perform one song. Then I decide to go to the bathroom.

When I walk back to my seat, Shawn Desman is still on stage and I thought, “Wow, his set is just too long. Get off the stage.”

When Shawn is finally done, I stand up and try to look for Heather who is another fan in Winnipeg I’m supposed to meet with. She told me she was sitting in the 3rd row in seat 18 and 19 with her friend. I kept trying to count the seats but failed lol

Then I see Heather waving at me and I’m so relieved to see her. I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to meet because I don’t have a working cell phone and that there might be a chance I wouldn’t get my after party ticket. I sent her money via Paypal for the ticket and she went to pick it up for me. I thought that was so nice of her to do!

Heather and I chat for a few minutes. She introduces me to some of her friends and then gives me my after party ticket. I go back to my seat and wait for the show to begin.

Kyla then came to my seat to talk with me instead because she was sitting next to really bitchy fans. The girl sitting next to me then chimes in and says to Kyla that she’ll talk to her too.

Kyla told us that she didn’t like the girls sitting next to her because they were making fun of a girl in the seat next to her.

The girl sitting next to me then says she’s from New Zealand and then I mention I’m from California. Then she says her friend that she’s with is from Los Angeles. They apparently went to both This is Us shows in Washington and then a few shows in Canada. Winnipeg was their last stop before flying back home.

It’s almost 9:00pm and Kyla goes back to her seat since the concert is about to start. The girl sitting next to me offers me chips and since I don’t recognize the name of the chips I say are these from New Zealand? (I later realize they're chips from Canada lol!) She then tells me that she’s from New Zealand but that she lives in Australia now. I try a chip and it’s good. They were salt and vinegar flavored.

When the lights dimmed down, I stand up and lean against the barricade. During the intro I like to see which fans scream for a certain Backstreet Boy when they come on the projection screen. The girl standing to my right did not scream at all when Nick came on the screen. She screamed a little for Howie and AJ but she screamed her head off when Brian came on. I thought, “Good, she’s not a Nick girl like me.” :p

(Disclaimer: I’m not a screaming type of person so I don’t profusely scream for any of the Backstreet Boys when they individually come on the projection screen. Although the thought, “Oh, just fuck me now” crossed my mind when Nick was shown the screen.)

Finally after going through a hectic plane schedule and sound check issues, Backstreet Boys hit the stage:

I really wanted to get a ton of videos like I usually do but Backstreet’s bodyguards were cracking down on those who were obviously filming by blinding them with their flashlights.

I did get a brief clip of Nick swiveling his hips during PDA. It’s just so delicious to watch.

During one song Brian stood on the down stage left speaker and pulled a young girl onto the speaker with him. It was so adorable. He sang while he held her in his arms. I jokingly thought, “Hmmm maybe that’s Baylee’s future girlfriend?” Then I jokingly thought again, “Hmmm what if that’s Brian’s illegitimate daughter?” :p

I also remembered one of my Flirting With Obscene readers, Brittany, loves the part during "This is Us" when Nick holds the long note near the end of the song so I decided to record it :D


After "This is Us" was "She's a Dream" and I wondered if Nick would strip off his hoodie. Thankfully he did take it off. This was the result:

During “I’ll Never Break Your Heart,” Nick had one rose in each of his hands. He took a seat at his stool and he started to play with them. He put the stems on his nipples and acted like they were boobs when he stuck his chest out. He even did a little shimmy.

Then he kept molesting the roses and rubbing them all over his mouth. I swear at one point it was like he was giving intense oral sex to one of the roses. With a deviant look in his eyes, he smothered the rose all over his mouth and then he’d flick his tongue around it. He was totally into it!

I thought, “Geez, that rose is getting more action from Nick Carter than I’ll ever get in my life.” lol! I also couldn’t help thinking about how flowers have a naughty connotation since the look of a flower has been compared to women’s private parts. Maybe if “I’ll Never Break Your Heart” was a longer song he would have started to have a threesome with the roses.

My favorite song they performed was “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely.” Nick had major sex face during the song. I’d like to think he was looking at me while he did his sex face :p The look in his eyes was so intense. My eyes couldn’t peel themselves away from him. The raw emotion on his face was so magnetizing.

Throughout the concert, AJ was really good at giving the side where I stood a lot of attention. Here's a picture of when he sat down right in front of me and sang for a bit:

Brian during "Larger Than Life."

Nick and Howie:

While looking at my pictures, I noticed Brian has a better singing face than Nick. Here's what I mean:

Brian looks at ease while he sings:

Nick looks like :O lol

I managed to video one of my favorite parts during the concert. It's when their song "Bigger" briefly goes into the Spandau Ballet song "True." Then Nick delivers the lines he says at every concert, "...Cause you keep sticking around! You're the best fans in the worrrrld!" (I only noticed this when Bettina and Jesi mentioned Nick said this at every concert .)

Also, Jesi had told me that Nick would say a random name during "Bigger." In Winnipeg while Brian and Howie sang, "You're bigger..." Nick sang, "THAN MICHAEL!" Then AJ added, "JACKSON!"

Here's the "Bigger" video with Nick saying his lines & Nick singing, "THAN MICHAEL!"


During “Bye Bye Love” I don’t know if Nick choked on his own spit but during the 2nd verse, he was singing when he suddenly stopped and started coughing.

When “I Want It That Way” came on, Nick and AJ go to their marks to do the mic toss they always do at every show. At the previous 5 concerts I went to, they both seem to successfully catch the mics. When they did the toss, Nick caught AJ’s mic without any problems. I don’t know if Nick didn’t throw his mic right or if AJ was distracted but the mic Nick threw to AJ smacked down onto the ground.

The look on Nick’s face was hilarious. It was like a “What the fuck, you dumbass” look. He was clearly amused that AJ didn’t catch the mic.

Here's a picture of Nick after AJ dropped the mic:

They were supposed to do the mic toss 2 times so they could get their own mic back but since AJ didn’t catch Nick’s, there wasn’t time to toss the mics again because it was time to sing the chorus. Nick and AJ had to continue with each others mics. After the chorus, they just hand each other their mics and Nick gives AJ a “let’s try the toss again” look but AJ doesn’t want to do it again.

One of my goals was to get a set list at the end of the concert. I had so many missed opportunities at the other shows so I was determined to get one. After the show, when the crew starts taking apart the set, one of the crew members throws out bottles of water to the audience. I caught one and then I ask him if I could get a set list? He says, “No I can’t give it to you” and walks away.

Once again something else was added to the already mountain of pissed-off-ness I had. At the 5 “This is Us” shows I went to, fans got to get one. I finally had my chance to ask for one and do I get one? Noooooo. It’s really not my destiny to get a set list.

I was grumpy but I still had the after party to go to. I meet up with Heather and her friends. Then we squeeze into a friend of a friend’s car and go to Mystique which is where the after party was happening. By the time we got in line there were lots of people waiting to get inside.

Here's a picture of me standing in line the Mystique photographer took. I drew a red arrow to show where I stood:

I overheard two young fans who looked like they were in high school say they’re fairly new to Backstreet Boys music. One of them said they don’t understand why they aren’t often played on the radio. It’s good to see that Backstreet Boys are still gaining new and younger fans. It really shows their music is timeless and I hope those two young fans stay fans for a long time.

I also like that these two girls don’t care about the stigma Backstreet has. I know there’s some young people out there who consider Backstreet Boys “old” and as “has beens.” That shouldn’t matter as long as the music and lyrics are good. (I mean I still listen to Abba and Nick makes me feel even more prouder for doing so :p)

I spot one of the bodyguards named Josh lingering around a van and I knew that meant at least one Backstreet Boy was present. A few minutes later I see Nick and Howie get inside a van and drive off. Apparently they drove Nick and Howie around to a different entrance.

Once we get inside the club, the DJ is playing really old school Backstreet Boys music. I don’t even think he played any music from Never Gone, Unbreakable, and This is Us. I remember he played “That’s The Way I Like It” and “Get Down.”

Heather (left) and me (right) inside Mystique:

As I expected Nick and Howie were secured in a VIP section where no fans were allowed unless someone from Nick and Howie’s entourage or a Mystique employee said it was okay. I heard from Heather that so many fans in the bathroom were very mad because the club advertised the after party as a “meet and greet with Backstreet Boys” but not everyone got to do that. I know those fans were expecting to get to talk to a Backstreet Boy and get a picture or autograph.

I’ve read some previous after party reviews from fans and I already knew that the chance of getting close to a Backstreet Boy was slim to none. I just wanted to go since it was my first time in Winnipeg and I had nothing else to do that night.

I kept trying to get a picture of Nick in VIP but it was too dark in the club. This is the only shot of Nick I got. I put an arrow to where he was standing. You might have to grab your magnifying glass to make out the outline of his body :p

The one time I could have taken a nice picture of him, I wasn’t paying attention. I didn’t even realize someone gave him a mic and that he was talking. I was busy looking off in space when Heather tapped me and said that Nick was talking lol I honestly thought it was the DJ talking so that’s why I wasn’t listening. By the time I reach for the clasp of my bag to get my camera out, Nick is done talking and goes back to hanging out in VIP.

What Nick said on the mic was he had a song request and it was the song “Let It Rock” sung back Kevin Rudolf featuring Lil Wayne. The DJ then plays the song while Nick is absorbing the song. The ironic part was while I was stranded in the Minneapolis airport on August 10th, I thought about how I was missing the latest episode of “Make It or Break It” which is one of my favorite TV shows. Then the song “Let It Rock” came into my head that night because in the first episode of “Make It or Break It” the song “Let It Rock” played in the beginning because the gym the show takes place at is called “The Rock.” I thought it was interesting Nick requested that song when I was just thinking about it the previous night.

At one point in the night, I noticed there was a flier taped onto the wall advertising the Backstreet Boys after party. I thought about pulling it off so I could have a souvenir. I almost chickened out since I didn’t know how secure it was to the wall. I thought what if it’s really stuck there and that if I pull it, the whole thing would rip in half. I debated with myself for about 30 minutes and then I walked over and pulled it off the wall. Thankfully no one yelled or bitched at me :D

The flier I grabbed:

From what I saw Nick was fairly well behaved at the club. He didn’t look like he was talking much to the entourage around him. He mostly leaned against the barricade, bopped his head to the music that was playing, and text messaged on his phone. I didn’t even see him drink anything. (It was definitely a stark contrast from when I saw him at the Cat Club in 2007 where he drank alcohol like it was water and kept going to the bathroom like a gazillion times and flirted and made out with a skinny blonde chick, and got touchy feely with a brunette.)

Heather had to take the bus home so she had to leave before the after party ended. Since I had no phone and Heather had one, I had to leave when she left so I could call for my uncle to pick me up. Plus I didn’t want to be stuck at the club by myself. At around 1:00am we leave. I don’t even think Nick or Howie was visible at that point. They blended in with the other people in VIP. (I found out later from the Backstreet fan club that Nick left at 1:00am too... copy catter :p lol)

It’s almost 2am by the time I get back to my grandma’s house. Once I get upstairs to the room I’m staying in and see my mom sleeping on the bed, the anger inside me re-ignites. I sit on the floor and sulk. I know I’ve seen Backstreet at sound check a few times before but I still wanted to see it in Winnipeg. I felt like all that suffering I went through of sleeping in the Minneapolis airport and having the flight to Winnipeg constantly delayed was for nothing.

Those 10 minutes really put a cloud over me both literally and figuratively. In the early morning, I hear it’s pouring rain outside! I have never heard such intense rain before! It freaked me out. It made me miss the calm, almost-predictable weather in California.

The rest of the time in Canada was spent hoping from one house to another. I think I went to 7 different houses. While going from house to house that’s when I realized the area of Winnipeg I went to is very flat. There’s not a single mountain or hill in sight. In California, I’m used to seeing mountains and hills.

I also noticed there was no freeways in the area of Winnipeg I was in. There’s a ton of freeways in California. Apparently the nearest freeway is about 25 to 30 minutes away and it goes in a circle around the city.

See! Not a mountain or freeway in sight:

My grandma and mom in front of the first house we visited. We did the Rosary and ate a delicious dinner here.

My other relatives were there too including my Auntie Ling Ling's daughter named Kaylee (or Caylee?). She kept eating cashew nuts. Actually, she kept eating whatever food was offered to her lol!

Here's my mom and Kaylee (or Caylee?). I love how she has her hand over her mouth like "Uh, oh."

On August 12th, my Auntie Maripas took my mom and me to an event called Folklorama. Apparently it's an annual event in Winnipeg where different countries put on cultural shows through out the city. We went to the Filipino show which was very cute. There were lots of little kids dancing and having fun on stage.

My aunt, mom, and me standing in front of a Jeepney at Folklorama:

On August 13th, my mom and I started our day by going to my mom's cousin's daughter's house whose name was Darlene. (Whew! lol) Darlene and her husband Phillip had adopted an adorable boy who is 3 years old. I couldn't get enough of how adorable he was so I took a picture of him. Once I took a picture of him, he kept saying to me, "More peeeek-tures." So I took more pictures of him and Darlene and Phillip's biological child named Abigail.
The little boy wouldn't stop talking to me and it was just too much cuteness. He was very social and he kept showing me his stuffed animals. At one point he was looking out the window and saying "labas" which is tagalog for "outside." I thought, this little boy probably knows more tagalog than I do :p

While we ate lunch, my Auntie Marineil called and asked if I wanted to go shopping with her at the local mall. I couldn't turn down a shopping trip so I said "yes." My aunt was very generous and let me go on a shopping spree.

I was running low on pants so I got 2 pairs of pants at Gap.

Then my aunt wanted to buy me something from Roots because it was a Canadian brand. She bought me a red hoodie and 2 shirts. Roots had an in-store promo where if you spent $100 you'd get $20 off your total. The hoodie was $80 and the 2 shirts cost $10 each. After the discount, it was like the 2 shirts were free because of the $20 discount. Plus everything I got was put into a cute re-usable Roots shopping bag which you can see in the picture of the 2 shirts.
A few hours later, my mom and I went to Auntie Marineil's brand new house. They just moved in a few weeks ago. It's a gorgeous house that's located on the corner. I hope one day I can own a house half as gorgeous as hers. It's very spacious and beautifully furnished.

While I was there, my Auntie Marineil wanted to give me a haircut. She has a part time job at a hair salon and went to hair school for 3 years so I felt comfortable with her doing my hair. She even had a small hair salon built into her house which is on the first floor. My grandma said she has a lot of clients who come to her house to get their hair done.

My aunt cut my hair into long layers and then styled it. When she was done, I was amazed at how healthy, shiny, and refreshed my hair looked.

You can kind of see my haircut in this picture taken at my Auntie Marineil's house.

Sitting on the couch starting from the left is my Auntie Lina in the light green top(whom my mom lived with for about 3 years in the 70's), my Auntie Marineil's mother-in-law in the red, my mom, me, and my grandma.

Sitting on the floor starting from the left is my Auntie Maripas in the blue jeans, Auntie Maripas' daughter Hazel in the shorts, and my Auntie Marineil in the white top.

After dinner and my haircut, my mom and I go back to my Auntie Lina's house where I meet her other daughter named Phoebe. We have a fun girl chat until it's midnight.

The next day on August 14th, my Auntie Lina takes us to a birthday party. One of her friends was turning 77. It also turns out the son-in-law of her friend having the birthday is the son of one of my mom and dad's wedding sponsors which is called ninong or godfather in Filipino. (I hope that makes sense lol)

My mom, Auntie Lina, and a bunch of other Filipino people at the birthday party:

August 15th was the last day of my Canadian adventure. On the flight home I thought about how fast the days went. It was very interesting visiting Canada and seeing relatives I hadn't seen in years and meeting new relatives I've never met before. I was also glad to see Backstreet again. Even if I was late to the sound check I'm thankful I was able to see their entire concert.

Hopefully I'll win plane tickets again so I can have another Backstreet adventure somewhere.

Mailbox Monday - 2 weeks worth of mail! My empty envelope was replaced!

This post will cover 2 weeks of mail. For those who didn't know, I used the plane tickets I won from My Coke Rewards to fly to Canada to see a Backstreet Boys concert in Winnipeg, Canada. I should have my review on my trip posted here soon.

I think my mail knew I was on vacation because I didn't receive much these past 2 weeks.

In my Mailbox Monday post from last week I wrote about an empty envelope I received that was supposed to have a bottle of Sally Hansen's Nail Nutrition Green Tea + Olive Growth inside from Allure magazine's June 3rd, 2010 giveaway.

I e-mailed both Coty (the company responsible for mailing out the prize) and Allure magazine and told them about what happened. To my surprise, they quickly responded to my inquiry. They sent me a replacement AND coupons to use for more Sally Hansen products. I thought that was really nice of them.

Here's what I received from August 9th to August 14th:
Here's what I received from August 16th to August 21st:
August 9th
-Tena Pads
-Vitamins from Walmart
-Nathans Hot Dog coupon from their Instant Win Game http://www.nathanssweepstakes.com/

August 10th - August 14th
-Entertainment Weekly magazine
-People Style Watch magazine
-1 bottle of Sally Hansen's Nail Nutrition Green Tea + Olive Growth from Allure magazine's June 3rd, 2010 giveaway
-3 Sally Hansen coupons good for $5.00, $3.00, and $1.00 off my next purchase
-$12.00 Movie Cash valid for 1 movie I won from Verizon FiOS Best Seat in Your House Sweepstakes which you can still play here: http://bestseat.prizelogic.com/
-$37.09 check from Ez Book Recycle Inc. for selling my DVD's & CDs to them. You can try selling DVD's and CD's you don't want anymore at their website here: http://www.sellbackyourbook.com/

August 16th
-Fekkai Marine Summer Hair products from Allure's May 2010 giveaway

August 17th
-Covergirl Bronzer from being one of the 1st 20,000 people to sign up on Covergirl's Facebook

August 19th
-Free Reese's Coupon from a contest that is now over.
-Wired Magazine

August 20th
-Free Pace Coupon from Pace's Instant Win Game that is now over.
-OK! magazine
-Sea Salt Sample
-40 Business Cards to promote Eliminate Full Price
-John Frieda Root Awakening sample

August 21st
-$10 iTunes Gift Card I won on August 17th from Trivia Tuesday on Coinstar's Twitter (@coinstar). I was really impressed with how fast my prize arrived.

If you have any freebies you've received in the mail lately feel free to share them with me and the other Mailbox Monday participants at http://www.afrugalfriend.net.



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