Monday, July 20, 2009

Viva Las Vegas!

I recently ran away to Vegas for almost two action-packed days. A college friend got married at the Flamingo hotel, and I had to be there! From her pink save-the-date card to her pink invitation (pictures to come!) to our stay in the Flamingo Hotel (how much more pink does it get??) it was a wonderful love-filled weekend.

I left my house at 4:06 am to head to the airport where a pirate was waiting at my gate. I am not kidding you. Here's the only picture I had the nerve to take with my phone:

From his black hat complete with jaunty pheasant feather over his long red hair in multiple braids to his slouchy leather boots he was a PIRATE! We finally started boarding the plane, and as I got closer to my aisle seat (18-D) who do you think I spied sitting in 18-F? Have you ever flown to Minnesota with a pirate two seats over?? Someone sat down between us otherwise I might have actually worked up the guts to ask him if he was a real pirate or only pretend.

My connecting flight to Vegas had me next to a grandfatherly Asian gentlemen who used to go gamble in Vegas 5 times a year...but now he only goes once a year or so...can you say HIGH ROLLER. (Although, why was he flying coach...) He was very nice and bought my lunch for me (you know those airplanes charge you to for everything now...pretty soon we'll have to put in a quarter to use the bathroom on board), and he and his son had the driver from their hotel drop me off at the Flamingo which saved me $12 on a shuttle van. Ladies, I promise I was on high alert and didn't just go with these guys without really making sure I felt ok about it...I was praying under my breath the whole time, and I didn't feel God trying to warn me it wasn't safe.

I got to the hotel and met up with the bride-to-be and a couple other friends around 1:30 pm VEGAS time, and we got lunch at Burger Joint right there in the Flamingo.

I had the salmon burger with cucumber dill relish and sour cream on a homemade pesto bun...yes, it was sooo good.

Then it was time to lay around one of the Flamingo's pools--there were at least 3--all of which were crammed with TONS of people hanging out. And the water was FRIGID. Of course the high temperature for the day was over 100, so in comparison to the air temperature warm water would probably have felt frigid. After we waded around and lounged on our chairs for a while it was time for dinner. The bride and groom treated all their wedding guests in town Friday night to dinner and cocktails at Bahama Breeze just down the street from the Flamingo. I can't even tell you how much fun we had combing through the extensive cocktail menu, reading about all sorts of fruity concoctions, picking what we wanted and then passing each around the table for samples. I had a caipirinha, a lemon hurricane and half of a mojito. They were SO good! The buffet dinner was also delicious, and by the end of the night I couldn't eat another bite.

We hung out with the bride for a while after dinner. I know what you're thinking: bachelorette craziness in Vegas, right? Wrong. I for one was pretty much less than zero fun for the bride. A bunch of us ladies took her to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville (also in the hotel) for drinks on the patio overlooking the Strip. I was still full from dinner, so I didn't get anything to drink, but the tiredness finally hit me and I felt like such a zombie that when a friend ordered chips and salsa I ate some to see if they would help me wake up/actually be fun. Incidently the chips and salsa were very good, and I highly recommend them if you ever find yourself at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. They did not help wake me up, so about 10:30 two of my roomies and I headed back up to the room to rest for a bit. We rejoined all the ladies in the bride-to-be's room around midnight and then about 1 am I had to call it a night. As I dragged myself in bed around 1:15 am it dawned on me that with the 3 hour time difference it was now 4:15 am at home, and I had been up for 24 hours (minus a 1-hour nap at 11 pm)!! I am just not fun enough to do that kind of thing anymore.

Wouldn't you know my eyes popped open at 6:56 am Saturday morning...our room full of 4 ladies was up, dressed and ready to go by 8 am. We were SO proud of ourselves. We went with the bride to the Paris hotel for breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi and oh-my-gosh it was SO good. I definitely want to go back when hubs and I make our Great Las Vegas Adventure Trip of a Lifetime.

I had the eggs benedict special which consisted of a perfectly toasted, chewy english muffin topped with lobster, roasted yellow pepper, poached egg and tarragon hollandaise sauce. Oh. My. Goodness. So good. Even the hashbrowns which looked pretty normal tasted fantastic.

I got to have some of this lusciousness, too. I can't remember the exact description but the words "carmelized" and "berries" were used along with a couple other seductive adjectives. And there was creme fraiche involved, too.

These were the Skinny Pancake special to supplement the other types of Skinny Pancakes on the menu. Wonder how skinny I'd be if I had these with any sort of regularity.

While we digest our delicious breakfast I'll take a break and bring you the rest of the Excellent Vegas Vacation very soon. Fun stuff!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer time, Beach time!

Between the craziness and the laziness my blog is suffering from major neglect. I still love you, blog! I still love writing and reading!

Here's a little update: We went to the beach! Last week was a furlough week for us and what better to do during a week when one is not being paid than to go somewhere and spend money!?! Not much is better, that's what! We tend to go to places where there are lots of things to see and do (Savannah, Seattle, Chicago, Asheville, etc), but this year we decided we wanted to go somewhere warm where we could sit around and not be pressured to see/do/eat everything. We settled on Myrtle Beach after we went to Priceline, bid on and won four nights at the Sheraton Convention Center hotel 2 1/2 blocks from the beach for $55 a night!!! Can you believe that deal!!!

We swam and sat under a big beach umbrella and watched people and watched the Wednesday night fireworks at the 2nd St. pier and ate and hit TJ Maxx and Ross on the way in and went to MagiQuest (I read about this online and, being a Harry Potter fan, SO wanted to go...hubs humored me, bless him...we were definitely the only people over the age of 12 without kids in tow)...

The 2-story castle at MagiQuest
(Photo: lickyoats)
...and went clubbing one night (we discovered techno music makes for super fun dancing; for real!) and cruised Ocean Boulevard looking at all the hotels and houses and got "HOT NOW" Krispy Kreme doughnuts and went shag dancing at Fat Harold' was such fun, and we can't wait to go back. I have lived in South Carolina my entire life and have never been to Myrtle Beach that I know of (except a 2 night stay 9 years ago at Garden City Beach just down the road). I'm glad I've remedied that problem.

I really enjoyed driving along Ocean Boulevard looking at the larger fancy houses and smaller fancy houses and cute beach cottages on the north end and hotel after hotel afterhotelafterhotelafterhotel (really, its crazy) on the south end, many of which have that kitschy-retro vibe and have been around for years. My favorite was the...

Cutest sign!

This trip only increased my love for the beach. I just know that someday I will have my own dreamy little cottage by the sea, and until then I will fill my house with shells and sand and these beauties that I can make with my own two hands...

(Photo: Heather Bullard)

Cindy has a tutorial for making a shell wreath like hers.

(Photo and wreath: Cindy at My Romantic Home)

In other news I'm very excited to be going to Vegas(!!) for my friend's wedding this weekend. Yay for weddings! I've never been to Vegas, and this will be a very short trip, so I will definitely have to go again and take hubs with me.
Here's hoping you are having a lovely summer time!