Category Archives: Traveling

What Happens in Vegas Gets Blogged (part 3)

So, it’s been ages.. as usual. But this is the last entry!

So Monday morning… we ate breakfast at the buffet which ended up being a BAD IDEA. My advice is if you’re on vacation, and you’re planning on eating at a high end restaurant that evening, eat as little as possible during the day. I got a picture of one of the plates that Jeff loaded up for breakfast; it’s rather funny.

CHEESE!

He loaded it up with lunchmeat and cheese. Which are 2 of the main components of his personal food pyramid.

After breakfast we headed out and did some sight seeing.

Delicious candy.. nom.

This was in the Excalibur on the way out onto the strip. We got smart and figured out we could use the walkway between the Luxor and Excalibur and save ourselves from walking in the heat and save time.

We went to MM world and Ross again, where I ended up buying a maxi dress. I was excited about that because the dress wasn’t dragging on the floor like 99% of maxi dresses I’ve come across. I realize it’s probably supposed to be a midi dress for regular statured people but I still love it. Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures in MM world, but I did get a souvenir penny that’s currently kept in my wallet.

On the way back to the hotel, we walked in front of Monte Carlo, which had this pretty awesome black fountain.

Stunning!

And then immediately after on the wall you see in the lower left corner, we came across this hilarious advertisement for beer, and so I had to get my picture taken next to it.

Butterface Amber Beer.

The funny thing is, I never heard of “butterface” until I moved to Utah. As you can see, it describes an attractive female.. but her face. (get it?) Thankfully, this doesn’t describe me. I hope.

So we get back to our hotel room and get ready for our night out. We made reservations at Wolfang Puck’s Postrio, which was located in the heart of The Venetian where the Phantom of the Opera was located. We had considered changing our dinner reservation to Gordon Ramsey Steak which is located at the Paris, but it ended up being perfectly fine.. we ended up being really close on time. Anyway we were located outside of the restaurant.. which was off putting to Jeff at first, but it ultimately ended up being great.. we had a fantastic view during dinner.

Part of the awesome view we had during dinner!

When we walked into this part of the Venetian, I literally thought we had gone back outside. It was an open plaza and there were even PIGEONS flying around. Jeff and I were debating on the behavior of the pigeons.. he speculated they probably pooped on people, and I said they were probably trained to poop in certain areas.

And in case you were wondering, we did take obligatory food pictures. Here’s my apetizer:

Crispy Calamari and Rock Shrimp, Scallions, Jalapeno, Cilantro, Sweet Thai Chili Sauce

And here’s Jeff’s:

Artisan Cheese Selection, Grilled Bread, Seasonal Fruits, Honeycomb

We ended up getting the same entree, which was a very yummy Salmon dish. I made the mistake of getting a side of cauliflower so I ended up being VERY stuffed afterwards, which made me uncomfortable in my dress.

We made our way over to the part of the hotel where the opera was located. Obviously, no pictures were allowed during the show, but I did take a few pictures while we were waiting for it to start.

Waiting for Phantom to start

The show was AWESOME. Like, WAY BEYOND awesome. In the recent movie that stars Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler, the prologue was done in black and white. Obviously they can’t make us see that in person, so they had these dark heavy black and grey curtains draped all over the place. When the music started they drew the curtains to reveal beautiful gold and red behind it to make it feel like you’re part of the opera audience within the show -it’s almost like Inception- and then the chandelier did this amazing “dance” where the 4 pieces came back together as one. Even now thinking about it, I’m getting chills! It was just that good. The cast, everything was awesome.. and they did an amazing job working on a stage.. with the movie you’ve got the ability to work with a much larger set, but they still gave a feeling of traveling down to the bowels of the Opera house where the Phantom lived. The show ended its run in the early part of September, so I’m grateful that Jeff and I were able to have an amazing experience of attending the show.

There’s a stunning fountain at the front of the Venetian, and so we managed to snag some passerby to take a picture of us in front of it.

Post show picture!

I’m happier than I look, I swear! And then of course, here’s a picture of the fountain without anyone in front of it.

Stunning fountain

 

We actually considered staying in the Venetian, but I’m glad we stayed in the Luxor. The next morning before we were to head home, we were able to go view The Bodies Exhibit. We missed out on it while it was here in Utah in 2008, so that was awesome to be able to see it. No pictures of that unfortunately, but we were awed at what we saw. The human body is truly amazing, and seeing the exhibit kind of makes you realize what our bodies do every second of our existence. They also had this room dedicated to the fetal stage of our existence.. and that just kind of really opened my eyes. It also made me incredibly sad, because each and every specimen on exhibit was someone’s child (and in one case children since it was a set of conjoined twins) that was loved, lost and mourned. I appreciate the incredible sacrifice of the parents that gave consent for their children to be used to educate and enlighten viewers of the exhibit. The thing that stuck out the most though was a plaque that had a factoid on it.. we only exist as a single cell organism for the first 30 minutes of our existence.

Our trip was amazing.. and wonderful. It was a much needed vacation to reconnect as a couple and to enjoy ourselves. I’m looking forward to our next vacation, whenever that will be! It was a truly amazing experience.

I do have a confession though; the part of the Bodies Exhibit that showed the muscular system and the skeletal system, I started craving beef jerky. I know, that’s so beyond wrong and gross, but the muscular system really looks like delicious pink beef jerky.

I’m not a cannibal, I promise!

What Happens in Vegas Gets Blogged (part 2)

I know it’s been forever since I blogged about our first day in Vegas.. unfortunately I had a technical difficulty and  I’ve now been able to get the chance to finish blogging about the trip.

So we woke up the next morning and went down to eat breakfast at McDonald’s. Let me just say, McDonald’s in Vegas is way more expensive than it is anywhere else, especially when the McDonald’s is in the food court area of a hotel. After breakfast we went exploring a bit and at that point Jeff’s foot was getting to the point of interfering with walking, so we went to Ross and he was able to find a nice pair of Doc Martens and a pack of black socks for a great deal. We managed to score some cheap tickets for two shows on Sunday, so after buying Jeff shoes, we had to rush back to the Excalibur, to claim our tickets for The Tournament of Kings.

AND. IT. WAS. AWESOME.

Waiting for the Tournament of Kings, so excited!

Essentially it’s a dinner and a show about King Aurthur and the Knights of the Round Table. With Merlin, a court Jester and the Black knight. There’s singing and dancing and jousting involved. The dining area is divided up into countries, since the show heavily involves the audience; the idea is that you cheer on your knight who’s the king of the country you’re sitting in.

The Royal Court!

So, we got seated in France, which wasn’t all that thrilling for us since, Jeff has a dislike for the French language.

Sigh..

So, the dinner was pretty awesome. It was a 3 course meal, and you don’t get utensils to eat with. So the soup -which was a tomato basil soup- is in a bowl with a handle that you drink out of. The main course was AWESOME. It was a small Gaming Hen with some small baked potatoes and some broccoli. It was a TON of food, I was not able to finish it. Dessert was kind of a letdown afterwards, since it was a limpy apple strudel thing. Overall the meal was great, and the show was AMAZING. We were okay with sitting in France, since he won the tournament! We totally were engaged in the show.. cheering, booing and clapping all at the right places. I also got lucky and was able to get my picture taken with one of the handsome actors that played one of the kings.. I forgot which country.

So dreamy!

So, after this, we had to quickly skedaddle back to our hotel, because we got tickets to another show called “Fantasy: The Strip’s Biggest Tease”. It’s a show of more topless dancers, and it also features a really amazing singer named Lorena-she kept her top on- and then an AWESOME comedian named Sean E. Cooper! He was downright hilarious. There was this guy in the front row who got pulled up onto the stage by the singer, and they made him put on this crazy wig, belt, cape and gave him a guitar to do an Elvis impersonation. The funniest thing about it is that his name was Pepe and he was from Sweden.. and he was the focus of Sean’s jokes several times. Yes the comedy was a bit raunchy when there’s topless women involved what else can you do you expect- but it was still within a certain level of tastefulness. I’ve read about another comedian’s show where he just went over the top from being funny to flat out offensive, and Sean never did that; it was great.

Jeff with two of the dancers

I felt so short and stumpy next to the dancers. That and out of shape.

Me posing with the ladies.

This was actually my first show involving a comedian, so we took pictures with Sean too.

Me and Sean.

And Jeff with Sean.

Love the look Sean’s giving the camera!

And then after the show we called it a night. Mostly due to Jeff’s foot. That pretty much sums up our Sunday in Vegas!

 

I feel like I need to address something really quickly. I know some people may find the fact that we saw two shows in Vegas that involved topless women offensive; however Jeff and I do not share most people’s attitude of nudity. I realize that this may not mesh well, but I can assure you that we have a healthy respect for ourselves and each other, and due to the fact it was a mutual decision to see these shows and we saw them together, there was no ill feelings involved towards each other.

What Happens in Vegas Gets Blogged (part 1)

So, Monday was mine and Jeff’s seven year wedding anniversary. Yay us! Earlier this year we decided to go to Las Vegas to celebrate.. well I decided and Jeff went along so I’d stop asking him. We left Saturday, and got home last night.. and let me tell you that is NOT ENOUGH TIME. It didn’t help that Jeff hurt his foot and was limping around the whole time we were there either. But I think we still managed to have a good time. Here’s some pictures (duh)

From the plane right after it landed.

What’s amazing is that the airport is within view of the strip and vice versa! We were still on the plane when Jeff took this picture. If you look at the grey and black tower, to the lower right of it, you can see the top of a pyramid. That’s the Luxor, where we decided to stay at. It’s pretty exciting knowing I could see our hotel from the airplane and that our trip was ACTUALLY HAPPENING. Since apparently, it didn’t sink in when I was in the plane going to Las Vegas…

The reason why we went to Vegas.

So this was one of the first things we saw when we landed at the Las Vegas airport. Of course, I had to take a picture! After riding on the longest escalator we’ve ever ridden on, and getting our luggage, we were able to catch a shuttle to the hotel. There’s this company that offers round trip deals, so of course we did that; since you save money by doing so.. and trust me saving money in Las Vegas isn’t easy. Do it however you can!

A picture from our shuttle.

While in the shuttle on the way to the hotel, I was snapping pictures; this was one of them.  I was wondering why there was a giant crane on the strip, but we later found out that there’s going to be a giant Ferris Wheel that’s essentially going to be bigger than The Eye in London.. it’s going to be restaurants or something.. not entirely sure. (I found an article here about it.) I guess according to the article they are building two.. this is the second one that’s in the article. It’s really nifty, and I can’t wait to go back to Vegas to see it completed.

So anyway we get to our hotel, and once we got into the main lobby, you can really tell that you’re inside of a pyramid shaped building:

Breathtaking!

Each floor gets smaller and smaller as they go up, and the balconies aren’t over each other. It’s insane.

EEP!

We requested a high room, and let’s just say… we kept daring each other to stare over the balcony. The Luxor has 30 floors, and we were on the 26th floor. Every time you looked over the balcony, your stomach would literally drop, and if you looked over while moving..  you’re risking losing your lunch. Even then, the view was pretty amazing.

We didn’t think to take pictures of our room -woops- but it was amazing. and HUGE. But here’s a picture of the view from the sitting area window.

Amazing!

Again you can see the Sphinx and Obelisk that are in front of the Luxor, and then you can see the airport. Jeff took this picture, mainly to get the view of the airport from our room. He really liked seeing the planes take off and land. And then on the right side are the large supports for the giant Ferris Wheel.

After getting settled into our room, we decided we were hungry so we went and noshed at the buffet. Which was all sorts of delicious. Jeff discovered right before we left that he really likes clams, so between us we ate probably 5 dozen. We ate other stuff.. crab legs, and I had tamales and several different types of salads, and fruits. After dinner we decided to walk the food off by going on the strip, and to walk to this kiosk that provides half priced tickets for various shows the night you buy them.

It’s HUGE!

This is the front of the Sphinx that’s in the previous picture; there’s a walk through coming from between its paws, or front legs.. or arms. Whatever. You can see in the lower part of the previous picture there’s some type of track; that’s a track that goes between Mandalay Bay, then the Luxor, and then Excalibur -in a south to north direction. We only rode it once, and that was to the Excalibur, so we could start walking on the strip. We eventually found the kiosk, and  purchased tickets for a show, and then continued up the strip to figure out where to catch a taxi. We eventually were able to pick up a taxi in front of Paris Hotel and Casino.. which was about a mile of walking. Jeff doing this in cheap, brand new flip flops ended up screwing his left foot up for the rest of the trip.

We get to the Stratosphere, which is where the show was. We enjoyed icecream cones before the show, which were yummy. The show we caught is called “Bite” which is essentially Vampire Rock Opera. That involved topless dancers. We managed to even score front row seats.. here’s how front row we were:

Oooh, pretty fire..

That’s the candle on our table, and you can see the stage right behind it. Considering that there was topless women, it was good entertainment. It’s not really something you’d go see for the storyline, but there was a singer that was pretty good, and there was some amazing choreography, which included one of the girls doing some amazing ribbon dancing. We’ve seen it before on TV and our reactions were always “meh.” but to see it in person.. it does not compare.

After the show, the audience had a chance to do a photo-op with the cast. So of course we did that.

Jeff with the cast of Bite
Me with the cast of Bite

Unfortunately, my picture came out horrifically blurry, which was due to the fact that we didn’t think to take our actual camera, and Jeff took the picture; he’s not all that great at taking pictures. Oh well, live and learn I suppose. We actually made this mistake pretty much the whole trip until Monday night.

After the show, we took a taxi back to our hotel and relaxed in the jetted tub that was in our room. I’ll just leave it as that. *wink*

More to follow later!

Days Four and Five!

>Well, after Wentzville, MO, we drove through the southern tip of Illinois for a bit, and then we drove through the southern tip of Indiana for a bit more, and then onto Lexington, KY where we stopped for the night.  While we were driving into St Louis, I managed to get some pictures of the Gateway Arch!  It’s really impressive; well to me at least, I’m sure locals are unimpressed with it.  I don’t know what bridge we’re on though, but driving through, you can see that there’s a TON of bridges on the river(s).  The picture was taken on a bridge, and you can see at least two or three in the picture!  It was amazing.  I discovered later that you can actually go into the arch, but we didn’t know that at the time, and honestly I’m not sure we would have stopped and gone in even if we did know.

When we got into Kentucky, we actually crossed the state line via bridge going over the Ohio River.  Of course, because Kentucky is famous for the Kentucky Derby, we saw a ton of horses.  Our stay in Lexington was quite uneventful; for me and the girls that is.  Jeff said at around 3:00 in the morning, he heard yelling and screaming coming out of the office -our room was right above it- and heard what could only be described a drunk lady calling the lady in the office racial slurs, and got called some names back in return.  I guess there was something going on in the city, because if it weren’t for online reservations, we would  not have been able to get a room.  Jeff said when he checked in, the guy behind him got turned away because there weren’t any more vacancies!

Our drive out of Kentucky was uneventful leaving Sunday morning.  It wasn’t until we got into West Virginia that it started to get… interesting.  It was okay until we got around Charleston -the capital city for those of you who are geography flunkies- and for some nutty reason, our GPS decided to tell us to get OFF of I-64 and onto I-79 to US 19, and then had us ride onto these state roads.  Not too sure what they are really called, but it was the worst/scariest 30 miles of our life.  They were these two lane roads; meaning it had one lane going one way and one lane going the other way.  The speed limit was 55, and the roads were crazy… uphill, downhill, aroundhill…  Jeff said it was very nerve wracking and he was strongly reminded of his days of driving in Honduras.  The only thing that was different was the fact that the roads in West VA were paved, whereas in Honduras they aren’t.  When we finally got back onto the interestate, we stopped off at a rest stop and took a potty break, because I know we ALL needed it!  During our stop, we made arrangements to stay with my aunt and uncle in Waynesboro.  We were planning to stay the night in Lexington, VA.. but we were fortunate enough to be able to cancel our reservation, save 70 bucks!  We crossed the state line into Virginia, and we stopped in Covington to eat dinner before we rolled into my aunt and uncles’ driveway around 8 pm.  Then we stayed up until 1:30 in the morning yapping like my family likes to do::wink::

We left Waynesboro after Uncle Pablo was kind enough to make us a quick pancake breakfast and we finally rolled into Virginia Beach around 3:30 pm on Monday afternoon.  I was planning on blogging about our first week here, but it’s taken so long to write this blog, I’ll have to save it for another time.

We’re having fun though, I promise!

We Made It!

> Just letting my readers know that we made it safely to Virginia Beach!  We’re staying with my dad and we’ve managed to get lost a few times in the city already, saw some family and friends!  I won’t blog the rest of the drive here, since the laptop is currently teathered to my cellular phone to get an internet connection, and it’s slow as beans, but we’re going back over to my mom’s house to hang out all day, and they have a computer connected to the internet the real way, so I’ll probably do a blog or two with picutres from her house.

But we’re here and safe!

Days Two & Three

>

Well, we stayed in Laramie, WY our first day, as you may have read previously.  Anyway, we did make it a point to go over and drive to see Hayford Avenue.  However, we discovered based on the enormous size of all the houses on Hayford Ave, you have to have a ton of money to live on it.  Some of the houses had to be more than 4,000 square feet and upwards of 6,000 square feet.  It was amazing.  We wanted to go and poke around at the history center, but we discovered it was inside of the meetinghouse, and no one was there to let us in, so we skipped out on that.

Anyway, the ride from Laramie, WY to Lincoln, NE was quite uneventful.  We didn’t run into any horrible traffic like we did on Wednesday…. thank goodness.  We stopped off in Kearney, NE to get gas, and then as we headed east out of the city, we saw the Great Platte River Archway monument.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a super impressive picture, but it’s still pretty awesome looking.

We left Lincoln this morning, and our ride was uneventful.  I managed to convince Jeff to stop off at a craft type store on the outskirts of Kansas City, since I fell in love with some awesome fabric, and one of 18 stores in the US that carries this line of fabric happened to be in Kansas City, at a store called Urban Arts + Crafts.  I already had 10 fat quarters of the line and was happily able to buy 4 more quarter of yards.  SCORE!  We continued on until we stopped for the night here in Wentzville, MO. It’s a decent sized city from what we can tell.

We also decided to stretch our drive to an extra day.  Jeff’s been getting burned out with driving, and the girls are getting crankier and crankier.  I’m not sure where we’ll be stopping tomorrow; Jeff thinks somewhere around Lexington, KY.  We’re roughly 16.5 hours away from Virginia Beach -around 960 miles or so- and instead of driving for two 8 hour stretches, we’ll be able to drive for three 5 hour stretches, and actually enjoy ourselves and the drive.  And maybe I’ll be able to convince Jeff we’ll be able to stop at some of the antique malls that seem to be so abundant in this part of the country.

Like Jeff said, it’s supposed to be a vacation; not a stressful drive.

Day One of Road Trip

>

Well, after having to wait two extra days to do bad weather and closure of the interstate, we’re finally at our motel here in Laramie, WY.  We were going to stay in Cheyene, but sometime after we left Rock Springs, we got locked in bad traffic due to a lane closure for ONE HOUR.  It was bad enough that the eighteen wheeler truck drivers were actually getting out of their trucks, walking around and chatting with each other.  Eventually we were on our way and got here safe and sound.

We decided since tomorrow we’re only going to have to drive for about 6 hours, we’re gonna spend an hour or two here in Laramie to see if we can learn some information for family history.  Apparently, there’s a street here called Hayford Avenue, and so of course, we’ll have to visit.  Apparently, Jeff’s great-great-great grandfather was a judge here back in the day when Laramie was a town of out-laws, and he cracked down on the crime.  In addition, he was also the first postmaster, and was the editor of a newspaper among other things; we’ll hopefully find out more tomorrow.

Anyways, here’s some pictures of things we saw today.

Welcome to Wyoming sign!  We also saw a TON of semi trucks; I guess when you cross state lines you have to check your cargo in at a way point.  The line of semis was LONG.

This is a picture of Rawlins.  It looked so quaint and awesome from the interstate.  Especially since there was a HUGE church that was clearly visible from the interstate.

And of course windmills.  Lots and lots of windmills.  It was amazing!

Anyway,  time for  me to tuck in!

States We’ve Visited

>And when I mean we, I’ve mean me and Jeff.  And I’m not talking about Airport layovers!  I figured since we leave for our trip two weeks from tomorrow, I’d create a ‘before’ map.  And of course, I’ll create one after we get home from our trip!


visited 5 states (10%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Obviously, we’ve both been in Utah.. which is the state we live in.  We’ve been to Nevada together, since we’ve gone to a Collective Soul concert in Wendover.  We’ve also been to Virginia together twice, and while we were there for the first time together, we went to Maryland in the car -and sat at the border going into VA to get some pictures- and then we went to this awesome Mexican restaurant in North Carolina.  So.. yeah.  We’re obviously going to be going through more together as a family!

It’s gonna be fun, I can’t wait!

T Minus Three Weeks….

>Until we leave to Virginia, and have we done anything to prepare for the trip? NOPE!  Unless you count buying four of these duffel bags.  We actually have two colors; two in this yellow and two in gray.  I don’t know where the other three are, which kind of defeats the purpose of using them for our trip; I hope we can find them before it’s time to pack!

We’ve got a long list of things we need to do.  I guess I can type up the checklist here, since I’ll be able to refer back to it later.

Contact the post office to stop our mail.  This also means I have to stop buying stuff online as of next Thursday.  Less packages waiting for us the better.

Clean the house.  This is actually going to be one of the last things that get done, because if I clean it all spic and span, it’s just going to get dirty again before we leave.  I would like to come home to a clean house.

Figure out what to take.  Obviously clothes, shoes, my makeup, and toilet paper.  Yes, that’s right, toilet paper.  You never know when you go to that rest stop if they’ll have toilet paper in the stall.  Figured I’d be proactive and take my own TP, and besides, it’s better than using that thinner than tissue paper stuff they call toilet paper.  I also plan to sew myself one of these cute little bags:  It’s called “Weekend Away Travel Bag” and it can be found in a great book by Heather Ross called “Weekend Sewing”.  It’s got a lot of nifty patterns and the like for things such as purses, clothing and various other things.  In case you didn’t know, Heather Ross is a well known and highly sought after designer of fabric.  She’s got amazing talent and… eh hem, I guess I better get back to the blog on hand, I can rave about her on my creative blog.  Oh, obviously we’ll have to take toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and pull ups for Zoe -we are NOT stopping every 20 minutes for her to go potty- and diapers and wipes for Ruthie.

Make reservations.  We’re staying at Super 8s across the country -well in Nebraska and Missouri anyway- and we need to obviously reserve our room so all four of us aren’t sleeping on a twin bed or something.

Well, that’s all I can think of for the check list at the moment.  I know I’m taking my sewing machine, and I need to get a sewing box/basket so I can take my thread and other things I may need to sew.  I promised my mom I’d help her sew new drapes for her living room.  I wish I could take my Juki, but it’s so big and heavy, and I don’t have anything to transport it in unless I buy a Rubbermaid container for it.  I’ll have to settle taking my BabyLock Xscape, which is conveniently a travel sized machine and it came with a travel bag.