Tag Archives: Vegas

Reunion In Vegas

Twenty five years. That’s how much time passed between visits with my girlfriend, Wendy.
Twenty five years ago, I didn’t know it would be decades before I saw her again. I can’t even recall our last hurrah. Possibly drinks and dancing at Black Angus. Maybe an evening bbq at a friend’s house.
You might guess we reunited through FaceBook, but it was actually Flickr, where I found a recent photo of her, and MyLife (formerly Classmates dot com) where I paid $14.95 for 1 month membership and access to her contact information.
Not long after mailing her a letter and current family photo, my phone rang. It was Wendy!
♫♪♬ Reunited and it feels so good! ♫♪♬
Fast forward to Tuesday.
♫♪♬ My girlfriend’s back… ♫♪♬
Wendy, her husband, and her parents were spending a week in Vegas. By 11am, I was hugging my friend again after all these years! Wow, she was as gorgeous as ever. And tall! I don’t remember her being so tall. Her family was all so nice, and made me feel welcome.

Fashion Show Mall

Fashion Show Mall

While the men headed to the Bass Pro Shop, we ladies headed for the Fashion Show Mall. Making our way through the maze of underground parking, we scored a sweet parking spot close to one of the many entrances. Macy’s, Dillards, Chico’s, Coldwater Creek, and Forever 21 called out to us, and we answered! Two hours flew by as we navigated the stores, trying on outfits here and there. Wendy scored an excellent deal at Macy’s, bagging 4 pairs of shorts and a pair of capris for $50.
For lunch, we drove to Tommy Bahama’s Cafe at Town Square.
Three Blackberry Basil Smashes, please! Actually, they said they no longer offer that cocktail, but after checking with the bartender, we were told they WOULD make them! We have a feeling they scooted over to the nearby Whole Foods for ingredients.
Tommy Bahamas lunch

Tommy Bahamas lunch

Wendy’s Mom and I had the fish tacos, and Wendy had chicken salad. The fish was blackened and spicy, with contrasting cool, crisp slaw on top. To the side was a deep fried tortilla bowl with plantains and sweet pineapple, coconut “pudding”.
Laughter and conversation flowed easily. It is amazing to pick up with dear friends right where you left off. We drank, ate, enjoyed the lovely atmosphere, and each other’s company for several hours.
I won’t let another 25 years slip away.
Wendy and Jean

Wendy & Jean

• What’s the longest you’ve gone without seeing a friend?
• Are there pictures of you on Flickr that you knew nothing about?
• Do you like flowers in your cocktail?



Filed under Friends, Las Vegas, Nevada, Shopping, Travel, Vegas

Cocktail Recipe & Give-Away

Tommy BahamaDuring my most recent visit to Vegas, I stopped at the new Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar in Town Square. Their Blackberry Basil Smash was so delicious, I knew I had to recreate the recipe at home.
• 2-3 large, fresh blackberries
• 2 fresh basil leaves
• 3 slivers of fresh, peeled ginger
• 1 shot white rum
• 1 shot sweet and sour mix
• Sprite
Muddle blackberries, basil and ginger in mixing glass. Add rum and sweet & sour mix. Fill serving glass with ice. Shake cocktail. Strain into serving glass. Top with Sprite. Garnish with basil leaf & blackberry.

Leave a comment, and your name will be added to the drawing for a Tommy Bahama natural wooden muddler.
• Have you enjoyed a muddled drink?
• What store do you wish would open a restaurant?
• What will be your Summer 2010 drink?

Check out Tommy Bahamas Drink of the Month for more great recipes!

Give-Away Rules: Drawing will be held August 1, 2010. One entry per household. Comments accepted at Facebook, YouTube and WordPress. Two winners will be announced 8/1/2010.


Filed under How To... VIDEOS, Las Vegas, Podcast, Tags, Games, Quizzes, Vegas

iMovie Basics

iLifeTurning your photos into movies is easy with iMovie, part of the iLife software package. I’ve heard the PC software equivalent to iMovie is Sony Vegas.
Here is a step-by-step instructional video I put together. I’m looking forward to seeing your projects! Let me know if you have additional questions.

• iLife, available at Apple Store, retails for $79.00.
• iPhone iMovie app, downloadable through iTunes, is available for $4.99.
• Sony Vegas, available at Sony Creative Software, priced at $44.95 and up.


Filed under How To... VIDEOS, Photography, Podcast

Operation Rewind

If you hadn’t seen someone for twenty years, wouldn’t you want to look your best for the reunion? That is exactly the predicament I recently faced. Facebook reunites me with friends from my past, and lucky for me, one was was planning a trip to Vegas. We conversed for months making plans to meet for lunch while she was in town.
Although I dragged my feet for a while, by April Operation Rewind was underway. I needed to recapture my youthful glow!
Step 1: Exfoliate.
I’m a big fan of Bobbi Brown’s Beach Scrub. Alas, my wallet is not. I was able to find a new creation, the Bobbi Brown Sandbar. Quick Review: Bobbi, your sandbar hurt me. The sand was so rough it was akin to rubbing cut glass on my legs. A bit harsh? Yeah, so was your sandbar until the sandy layer washed away after only two uses. Now I am left with a 1″x2″ bar of beach-scented soap.
My first and possibly 2nd layer of skin removed, I was now ready for …
Step 2: Self-Tanning.
Jergens Natural Glow for Fair Skin turned me from translucent to pale without a hint of orange. I still have my Chanel face tanner from last year, and slathered that on too. Slightly bronzy facial skin achieved.
Step 3: Teeth Whitening
Found Crest’s Premium Whitestrips under my sink and said, “What the heck.” Noticeably whiter teeth after three uses.
Step 4: Pedicure
No funds for the local nail salon, so I clipped, filed and painted my own toes. Rocking OPI’s – Sweet As Annie-Thing! from their 90210 Collection.
Step 5: Wardrobe
Grabbed a lovely Forever 21 sundress from my closet, a gravity-defeating Victoria’s Secret strapless bra from my lingerie drawer, comfy Havaianas flip-flops, and I was good to go!
Unfortunately my friend was not. Her hotel overbooked and bumped her to another resort, causing her a lot of stress. Thus our lunch plans went kaput.
I hope her travels bring her back to Vegas soon. I’m not sure how long the effects of Operation Rewind last.
• How do you bring sexy back?
• Are you reconnecting on FaceBook?
• Are you cool with plans changing at the last minute?

Get Your Shopping Groove On!
Bobbi Brown Beach Sandbar
Jergen’s Natural Glow – Fair Tones
3) Chanel Precision Soleil Identite Perfect Colour Face Self Tanner SPF 8 – Dore ( Golden )
4) Crest Premium Whitestrips
5) OPI – Sweet As Annie-Thing!


Filed under Humor, Shopping

Vegas Day Trip

Just returned from a day trip to Vegas. I love it there!
First stop, in Henderson actually, was Trader Joe’s. I brought a cooler and ice packs for the frozen items such as the Japanese ice cream the kids are so fond of. I also picked up a bottle of the new Clementine Sparkling Juice. Two thumbs way up!
After filling the cooler half way and securing the non-perishables, I ventured over to the Mandalay Bay hotel & casino. It is the first resort as you enter the strip from the south end, and offers quick access to their parking facilities.
The restaurant formerly situated next to the Burger Bar has been replaced by the new Hussong’s Cantina. It being Cinco de Mayo, I was in the mood for a margarita and Mexican fare. Ok, I’m always in the mood for a margarita and Mexican fare.
Hussong’s was having “The Most Interesting Man” Look-Alike contest. Had I know, I would have tried to bring my husband. He has the beard & mustache!
Well, regardless, I made my way to the entrance and requested a table for one. I was given a nice little table off to the side, a basket of chips & salsas, the menu and time to review it.
Hussong’s offers an Original and a Traditional margarita. I honestly didn’t know the difference, but assumed the original would be loaded with alcohol. When my waitperson approached, she offered me advice on my cocktail selection as well as my lunch choice. The Original uses all fresh ingredients while the Traditional uses a mix. I opted for the Original (both cost $10/ea.) I was torn between the lobster tacos and the avocado shrimp salad, and my server raved about the salad, calling it one of her favorite dishes. I ordered the salad, then sat back, enjoyed my chips, salsa and cocktail while listening to the laughter of fellow diners.
Soon my meal was approaching… an entire avocado, breaded and deep fried, filled with cooked shrimp and served on a bed of lettuce. Interesting! Tasty. Not sure I would order it again. The batter was rather thick on the avocado, but not bad overall. I gave Hussong’s 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp.
After lunch, I went to see my stylist, Brooklyn at ARCs, also in the Mandalay Bay. She gave me a trim and brightened my color (i.e. covered my gray). Her lovely assistant, Little Kelly did an amazing job rinsing & washing my hair and massaging my head & shoulders.
On the way out of dodge, I swung by the Cheesecake Factory for a few slices for my family; original with strawberries, key lime, and red velvet. I can attest the key lime is fantastic!
To view highlights of the day, just push play.

• What is your favorite day trip destination?
• What do you do there?
• Do you Yelp?


Filed under Las Vegas, Nevada, Podcast, Shopping, Vegas

Snow Search 2010

Each winter for the past four years we have gone in search of SNOW. Being an Arizona family, it is rare for us to experience freezing temps. Saturday, after 2 1/2 hours on the road, we reached our destination: Mount Charleston, Nevada, just 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

We were so happy to arrive, and headed straight to the snow play area.
We sled.
Warning: Turn your audio down. I’m a screamer. I mean really! Way, way down.

The girls made snow angels.

We made a snowman. (The base was already there.) Look at Frosty’s pea head. LOL!
As the sun started to set behind the mountain, we made our way down to the Mount Charleston Resort. It’s a lovely hotel with a restaurant, bar, gambling, spa, and dvd rentals, but no elevators.

After check-in, Tom headed down to the bar to watch football, the girls watched a Tom & Jerry dvd in our room, and I signed in to the wi-fi. Thank goodness for Hulu! I watched an SNL clip (Snookie), a Chelsea Lately clip (Holly Madison was dissing Criss Angel), and I forget what else. Just some mindless mumbo-jumbo that helped me unwind.
The girls wanted to wear dresses to dinner, so I helped them into their outfits. Just then, Tom returned from the bar. Perfect timing! Off we went to dinner. It was so scrumptious, but service was very slow. They must make each dish to order. On a positive note, our waitress bought Natalie and Pearl’s drawings for a dollar each. Check out these happy entrepreneurs!
Sunday morning we had breakfast at the Mt Charleston Lodge near the summit. The girls colored, but there were no takers for their artwork. Tom tried to double his money, but no such luck. Breakfast was delicious and served quickly.

We repeated Saturday’s *S* activities: sledding & snow angels (no snowmen). I’d like to say the rest of the day went off without a hitch, but as we made our way down the mountain, we got a flat tire. Chances are, if you run over a snowball and your tire pops, it wasn’t a snowball!
• Are you a screamer?
• Do you get much snow?
• Do you like to play in it?


Filed under Las Vegas, Nevada

Super-Size My Vegas Photoblog!

Wednesday afternoon my friend from Oregon, Joy, and I made our way to Vegas. She had booked our accommodations, keeping me in suspense for months. Finally she spilled the beans.


Trump is located on the north end of the strip, across from the Encore and the Wynn.

The non-gambling, non-smoking resort was very swank.


Kitchenette ~ Tub with view of the Strip

Now, I have to tell you that I did forget to pack 1 thing (as usual). This time it was my camera. I used my phone to take pics, but they aren’t the best.

We checked in, then sat in the lounge, sipping overpriced wine and beer.

Bar & Lounge

We entered a time warp as 3 hours passed quicker than you can bat an eye. When we noticed the time, we had 5 minutes to change clothes, freshen our make-up & hair, and catch a cab to Caesar’s.

Here is an event I was really anticipating! Dining at Mesa Grill, owned by Bobby Flay.

All the while pinching myself, I savored Green Pea + Green Chili Soup, Ancho Chili-Honey Glazed Salmon with Spicy Black Bean Sauce, and Roasted Corn with Smoked Chilis, Cotija Cheese + Lime.

Camera phone, don’t fail me now!!

Without a doubt, this was the most flavorful meal I’ve ever had. Really intense, delicious flavors.

Time continued to fly as we dashed outside to catch a cab to The Rio.

Penn & Teller

An hour before the show, there is a live jazz band playing. The audience is encouraged to take to the stage to examine a box and sign an envelope. When the show does start, Teller (the little guy) appears from the box! This show was FANTASTIC! I’d like to see it again, just to catch what I missed this time. Penn explains a few of the tricks by using clear cups and cellophane, but you’re still left scratching your head in amazement!

I wouldn’t recommend the show to young children because there’s a lot of blood and guts when they cut a woman in half.

After the show, Penn & Teller run down the aisles and into the lobby where they pose for pictures and sign autographs.

Teller is easy to approach, while Penn is lost in a sea of fans.

Normally I would break down this blog into Day 1, Day 2, etc., but on Day 2, Lady Luck coughed on us. Joy caught a cold.

Our one excursion together Thursday was to the Bellagio Cafe. Now while I usually rave about the Crab Benedict, this time that darned Lady Luck put a hair in my eggs!

Bellagio Gardens

Lady Luck needs a hair net!

Back at the Trump, Joy watched t.v. while sipping on $12.00 bottles of Dayquil and Nyquil. I walked across the street to the Fashion Show Mall to visit Nordstrom, Godiva, Forever21 and Dillards. Hey, if I can’t shop, I’m not living up to my name!

Day 3, we had the breakfast at the Wynn.

The Buffet @ The Wynn

The surroundings are bright and whimsical, and the large selection of food is delicious. I was pleasantly surprised to see that pizza is included as a breakfast item! There is plenty of fruit, pancakes, french toast, bagels and the like for $18.95 per person. It’s a bit steep for a Vegas buffet, and if you haven’t tried the Rio’s buffet, I’d recommend it over the Wynn’s.

I took Joy to the airport, gave her a hug and some air kisses, and sent her on her way. It’s too bad her souvenir was a Vegas virus!

Thanks for reading! It’s good to be home.

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Filed under Las Vegas

Boobs & Bones ~ Mandalay Bay, Vegas

I scooted into Vegas yesterday for hair and lunch. On the way from the salon to the restaurant inside of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, I noticed their new wall of body parts.

Some interesting pictures get taken here.

Anyone want to help me molest the wall?

Too Hot Tamales, Mary Sue Millikan and Susan Feniger, of Food Network fame, opened a Border Grill in the Mandalay Bay. I have not seen their show, but I was craving Mexican food. The special of the day was duck tacos with mango salsa.

The blend of smoky duck with the sweetness of the salsa was a taste-bud explosion! I was savoring every bite, and washing it down with pomegranate lemonade. Polishing off 2 tacos, I asked for a box for the remaining one.

This morning, I offered said taco to Tom for breakfast. He took a big bite, and promptly pulled 2 duck rib bones out of his mouth! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I quickly completed the restaurant questionnaire, taped the bones inside, included a copy of my receipt, and will mail it on Monday. We’ll see what comes of it.

Thanks for reading!

Update: I received a coupon for free dessert, and I did molest the wall.


Filed under Las Vegas

Blogging Notes: Jan. 31, 2009


Today at the Dollar Tree store, I saw a book titled, 101 Ways to Decorate with Candles. Really? You’d think there’d just be one way.

1. Place candle on counter. Light.

I was curious about the other 100 ways, so I glanced though it.

2. Place candles around bathtub. Light.
3. Put candle on wall sconce. Light.

I’m sensing a pattern. Even at a dollar, I don’t think its a bargain.




Who is going to rise to the celebrity status of Elvis Presley? Who will be impersonated to marry couples in Las Vegas? Whose house will be opened to the public as a museum? I’m guessing Michael Jackson or Obama. What’s your guess?

I now pronounce you husband and wife!


Facebook is an interesting sight. In the beginning, when you have no friends, it’s up to you and your memory to seek them out. High school friends, former co-workers, past loves. Type in their name, and your prize is a miniature photo. You have no access to their profile, but you can view their friends. Using this strategy, I found a friend from 20 years ago. In his group of friends, I found my first husband. Clicking on his friends, I found his sister and his now-grown niece. A circle of friends from my past had been reduced to thumbnails. I was glad for the chance to view them again.

On a whim, I sent a friend request to the first friend. Even after all of these years, he remembered me. His image in my mind had been frozen as that of a young, 20-something man with black hair, beard and mustache. To see his current photo was intoxicating, viewing the mature, clean-shaven man he had become.

He encouraged me to send a friend request to my former husband. I was nervous, to put it mildly. When last we spoke, although I cannot remember the exact moment or the exact words, I’m sure we were arguing over furniture, debts, our cat, our divorce, our decisions. It was a bleak period. What good could come from saying hello, I’m here? But I took a deep breath, and did just that.

Almost immediately he replied. A veil was lifted. The gloom of my memories was scattered by positivity and love. He was thrilled to hear from me, and confided that he still spoke fondly of me with his father who had always enjoyed my company. His instant enthusiasm calmed my fears, and made me question what my perception was of our *ending*. Had a friendship been pushed aside all of these years? I don’t know. I don’t have the answers.

So that, more or less, is where I have been lately. Delving into the past to see what I can see.

Thank you for reading.

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Filed under Humor

In Search of Snow – 2009

For the past 3 years, we’ve taken the kids in search of snow. A few weeks ago, we returned to our 2007 snowy destination, Mt. Charleston, Nevada. Mt. Charleston is 35 miles northwest of the Las Vegas strip, and about 142 miles from our home in Arizona.

Las Vegas was hit with 8″ of snow on December 17th, so we found plenty of snow to play in.

Tom and Pearl wasted no time building a snowman.

He looks like Caesar.

Did you notice Tom’s zebra hat? It’s actually Natalie’s, but she shares.

I tossed a few snowballs at Tom. He managed to catch them, return fire, and snap pictures. Damned multi-tasker!

The girls even managed to do a little bit of sledding.

It was a beautiful day! Soon, the sun began to hide behind the trees, and the lower temps were fast approaching. We drove down to our hotel and checked in.

Mt. Charleston Hotel

The Hotel was still decorated for Christmas.

We rented a couple of movies from the front desk.

True, these are 2 movies I wouldn’t normally rent, but Francis the Talking Mule was very helpful at West Point, and Michael J. Fox got the girl… and the money. Ooops, spoiler alert!
Last time, we ate breakfast at the Mt. Charleston Ski Resort. Beautiful views, but not a good meal. This time, we were able to find the Mt. Charleston Lodge! Beautiful views PLUS good food!

What’s with Pearl’s expression?!

Natalie with a red bump on her forehead from falling out of the sled.

Pearly with her big breakfast!

Tom tried his hand at video poker, but didn’t get lucky.

Get me a drink while you’re over there.

The Lodge has cabins for rent, but none have been available when it dawns on us to call.

It sure is picturesque!

Thank you for reading this gigantic photo blog!

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Filed under Las Vegas