Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vegas: The Portraits

(Ridiculously good-looking, even in a tiny hat)

( Step off my shoes! Don't make me come over there...)

(There's a subtle difference in being danced WITH and being danced ON)

(Lobster paws!)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vegas Saga Cont'd, Part III

I'm totally finishing the story with this one, I swear. I'm a little over writing about it...

We sleep in again (I think we rolled in around 3 am...4 am...? gah, I forget now) and as this has been designated the day o' shopping, go directly to the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. Coffee is procured (for me, anyway) and we hit the stores. Hard. After we wander and shop and such for a bit, we find a sports bar, and Ebony finally gets her hot wings (do you also hear the "Hallelujah Chorus" in the background?). We also get really awful other food, like potato skins, jalapeno poppers, and cheese fries. In hindsight, we're lucky we don't die of artery blockage on the spot. Delicious.

Back to shopping some more, and then we call it quits (after a good haul, mind you). As the Eiffel Tower (or "Tire" depending how Texan you're feeling that day) drinks were such a blurry hit last summer, we walk down to the Paris hotel to buy some, only to find they've been out of the drink holders for weeks. Sigh. We still head in and frolic a little in the coffee shop, where the sorbet is plentiful and tasty.

(At Ebony's request, we are being "silly." For instance, Aleta's pretending to drink coffee out of a creamer...)

For this evening, Aleta has elected to go to a Coldplay concert, and Ebony, Gina, and I decide to walk to the Bellagio and see the flowers and fountains. The fountains are so cool that we stay and watch four performances. We also play in the flowers and take lots of photos of the cool glass ceiling, but I can't remember which came first.

(The white fuzzies are the fountains)

We then head to the club at the Bellagio (since we're there already), where we are forced to wait an absurdly long time. To get into a rinky dink, wannabe cool Vegas club. I am super done with the whole thing, apparently standing there with a very peeved look on my face, when the bouncer freakin' finally points to me and hauls the four of us in. I guess the trick is to look like you're going to walk away at ANY MINUTE. And then when we're inside, it's sort of boring. And crowded. The most interesting action comes when a guy is totally passed on a sofa, two stories downstairs from the main entrance (right next to the dance floor). We watch the bouncers try to rouse him for a while, and all of us wonder, "How the heck are they getting him out of here?" He is definitely not going to be walking, and dragging would be a huge pain. Solution: they roll over a wheelchair, throw him in, and head to the elevators. Genius!

We head out after a while (I am limping due to a poor but yet totally awesome leg-enhancing shoe choice), play a few slots since we haven't gambled at all really, and we are in the capital of gambling, and eventually call it a night.

Well sort of a night, since Ebony and Aleta have to leave for the airport at 4 am...we all nap at around 3 am, they leave, and then Gina and I crash for real.

Gina and I decide to go to a Mexican place for lunch, since she's craving it all week, and I really don't have much preference. We decide to go to the few hotels we haven't seen - the Luxor, Excalibur, and a few others. Weirdly enough, it RAINS on us. In the middle of the desert. All of the outdoor escalators immediately stop working, which is bizarre. As we have basically an afternoon to kill before the flight leaves at midnight, we hatch a plan to see a movie. Actually two movies, one in the afternoon, and one after dinner. We see "Wanted" (blah...wants to be cool like "Fight Club," comes not even close), and "Mamma Mia" (hilariously wonderful, but you gotta love some ABBA). We eventually share a cab to the airport with these two stereotypical Canadians (eh?) that may still be a little drunk. They are very entertaining. We debate our options of travel pillows for purchase and then eventually catch the flight home. Just in time for me to grab my suitcase and head to work for an opening (brilliant timing, ruins the rest of my week, no lie).

And that's Vegas! One more part, solely picture oriented, is forthcoming.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Vegas, Part II

Okay, so where was I...

We sleep in for real this day, although really we just give it the old college try and still roll out by 10, because we are 1) on east coast time, and 2) too damn old to be able to sleep until 1 pm our time (ain't it sad?). Ebony had the brilliant plan of renting a cabana by the pool that afternoon, but since we have a few hours to kill until then, we decide the best plan is to head to New York New York for some thick, cheesy pizza. Mmm, breakfast. Well in all honesty, I think I had some sort of coffee first, but maybe we really did just go straight for the pizza and beer. Did I mention we have beers? Yes.

So after that and a little browsing through the shops (Gina and I also pick up some Nathan's Hot Dogs for a later snack), we head to the pool. I of course cover myself in baby sunscreen (SPF 55, what's up!). We order cocktails and ice (water is included in our little mini-fridge, but it's not, and generally loaf away the afternoon. Aleta and Gina work in some actually tanning time out in direct sunlight. Ebony also avoids the sun - she doesn't want to get TOO brown, meanwhile were I to join we would all be headed down to the ER later that day for treatment. The shade and the pool and the misters are also very lovely.

We have reservations for dinner at Mesa Grill so eventually we head upstairs to shower and glam up. The meal at the restaurant is completely spectacular. I have the Green Chile Cioppino (I seriously wish, in hindsight, that I'd taken a picture of it. It was beautiful...and delicious). It comes with all sorts of gorgeous seafood, including a huge lobster claw. At some point, Ebony inexplicably refers to it as a lobster "paw" and we continue to refer to it as such for the rest of the trip. Just on the other side of the glass (as we are in a hotel) there's a huge statue of Joe Louis in fighting stance. No less than 20 guys of various ages stop to pose with him - we get in as many of their pictures as possible. Our obliging waiter takes our picture at the end of the night:

Poor man. We are lovely people to wait on (we are charming and like to eat, what's not to love?), but at the end of our meal, a trashy, trashy group is seated at the table next to us. By the time we leave, they have sent back a bottle of wine and a steak (to the tune of ~$150). I'm not sorry to leave them behind us.

So then we head to the bus, after having received detailed instructions earlier in the day about how to take it to the Hard Rock hotel. After riding the bus for about 45 minutes, and the getting dropped in the middle of absolutely nowhere, it becomes apparent that we have been misled. We hail a cab, and after 10 minutes of going in the totally opposite direction of where we originally headed, we arrive.
(Still on the bus)

(Gina and Ebony, too sexy for this bus)

Earlier we had read that they would giving away a ton of Betsey Johnson merchandise at the club, but by the time we arrive, we assume we've missed all that. As we wait in line, a girl walks up to Aleta and hands her a Betsey Johnson card with "6 1/2" written on it. She tells Aleta "Your name is Natalie Vaughn." Sweet. When we get inside, we grab drinks and start dancing. The music is pretty fun - the crowd is rather interesting. At whatever appointed time the shoe giveaway begins, Aleta heads to grab them. She comes back with the PINK platforms featured in my other post, which are sadly too small for her. Apparently several of the girls are going to trade later, so after a bit, we all head that way - Aleta for swapping shoes, and we could all use a little break from shakin' it. As we wait on her, Aleta informs us that they are just passing out the shoes to anyone, so of course we queue up, rattle off our various sizes, and walk away with FOUR pairs of crazy pink platforms. We have to dance with boxes the rest of the night, but it's totally worth it.

Nutty dance shots:
(I love how serious this guy is about his moves...Aleta and me, not so much).

Okay, this got way longer than I thought it would. Saturday and Sunday, coming in Part III!

Oh. My. Goodness.

Check this out. Maybe the most fabulous kitsch, ever.

Don't forget to look at the various room selection options.

Road trip, anyone?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vegas Trip, Part I

Okay, I can't quite figure out what to write, because so much happened. I'm going to just start with the general itinerary and then go from there.

We arrive at a late hour at the airport, all of us are starving. Grab a cab to our hotel, check-in takes about two years. Ebony is craving hot wings. We finally get to the room, decide on room service pizza, and make the call only to be informed that on Wednesdays only there is a reduced menu that does not include pizza. Curses. We eat in the greasy diner at the hotel and crash.

We get up early-ish to pick up our rental car for the Hoover Dam trip. We get to the rental car line to find that the guy has no paper on which to print contracts, and he's waiting for it to arrive. I wait in line (with my donut) while the others head to the bar for a little Vegas "breakfast."
Finally we get the car and head out of town. The drive is lovely - full of desert and mountains and blue skies. We get to the much-awaited Hoover Dam! Which is, if nothing else, super impressively huge. Also, we get hats as a part of our tour:

We spend an inordinate amount of time posing with them. We do all the educational touristy things, like watch the little movie, go to the observation deck, and finally take a tour through the dam itself. We also stop at Lake Mead on the way back to town.

We are, once again, starving. Ebony and Aleta still want hot wings. We end up eating in an adorable wine bar in Boulder City (no hot wings on the menu, unfortunately). We then head back to the hotel, all tuckered out from our field trip. Naps all around.

Later that evening, we decide to head to Fremont Street, which is not on the strip, but north (?) and full of older casinos and such. To me it looks much the same, except the buildings are shorter here. There's a huge light display on the roof that plays a cool montage of Queen music, but later in the evening plays a laughably suggestive number full of showgirls in various uniform costumes. Firewomen with hoses are included, if that gives you any idea. More hilarious than sexy in my mind, but that's veering off subject. We head back to the strip and top off in the evening in a piano bar. First full day is finished! More to come...

(Photo credits go to Ebony and Gina...I have some of Hoover Dam and environs, but then my batteries died, and they were both taking so many pictures I didn't see the need to replace them!).

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Preview

I just finished watching "Juno" in an attempt to stay awake and get over lame west coast time jet lag. It did not disappoint, despite all of the hype.

So yeah, I went to Las Vegas for a few days. All in all, it was a pretty rockin' trip. Although my sleep schedule is now totally screwed...there's something about being there that makes you feel obligated to stay up until crazy hours (4 am, for instance), and combine that with three hour time difference (so really 7 am) and my poor inner clock has no freakin' clue what time it is supposed to be. Plus the red eye flight, which didn't help. And anyone that knows me also knows that I am girl that needs her sleep. So that's what I'm working on currently - re-entry.

There will be much, much more to come (I've already composed a "best of" portrait section in my head for the four of us that's going to be AWESOME). In the meantime, let me leave you with this:

Now what is this, you may ask? These are free shoes that were given to us in a club. They are very Elle Woods, and they make me about a foot taller. It's a rather ridiculous set up as to how we got them in the first place - honestly I'm still not really sure how it all went down in the end. But very PINK and fun.

So I'll leave you all with that as your tease for further updates...I'm off to bed for my second round of sleep today.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Whew, I've been away for a while. Sorry about that.

I made it back to Texas for a family get-together. It was a really good time - there were a couple of cousins that have babies that I've never even met before, and I hadn't seen most everyone else (that I had, in fact, met before) in ages. We are a loud, loud bunch, and I was feeling a little hoarse by Sunday, mainly because I'd spent all of Saturday shouting over everyone to join in the conversations. Crazy folks, but they are also good people.

Here we all are, in family portrait style glory.

My brother is still the tallest of the crew...not really sure how he managed that. Some highlights included eating and drinking lots and lots, cuddling with babies (well, really just the one in the red sleeves, the other one is a bit wiggly for cuddling, but still good for playing), and generally enjoying each other. The little guy in his dad's lap on the ground won the award for most injuries, the most spectacular of which was a header to the cement driveway. Luckily, he's three and feels little pain.

We're running into some issues with what the babies should call the older cousins. When I was little, all the adults were Aunt or Uncle So and So, but really I'm not an aunt to any of them, plus three of them already have an Aunt Rachel to confuse matters further. Any suggestions?

All in all, a very fun and worthwhile trip. Hopefully to be repeated next summer!