Viva Las Jingle Bells

It’s only polite to ask your coworkers what they’re doing for Christmas. The expected response is, “going home to visit with my family” or “staying in town and having a quiet holiday,” and then a response of, “Oh that’s so nice!”

This year, I had a different response at the water cooler, “We’re going to Vegas,” which was responded with either a, “THAT’S AWESOME” (coworkers who have kids and assume we’re taking full advantage of the DINK life) or a, “Oh, that’s different,” (coworkers who think I must be the ultimate sinner).

Sometimes I left it at that (let them think what they wish), however the reason behind our visit to Sin City for Christmas was, we were visiting Kyle’s mom, who lives a couple hours away.  Outside of it being the most convenient place to meet up,  it was easiest on the wallets and just sounded like a good time.

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I’ve had a few things on my want-to-see list that just don’t work into the trips to Vegas with my college girlfriends. To say I was thrilled to offer (insist) to do the first draft of our itinerary would have been an understatement.

First stop: The Neon Museum: This place has been on my bucket list since my first trip to Vegas in 2010. The museum is really a graveyard of neon signs from casinos and hot-spots around Vegas, most of which no longer exist.

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Next Hot-Spot: The Hoover Dam:  If I’m being completely honest, I’ve never actually ever wanted to go here. It just seemed like a full day of travel into the desert to see a whole lot of wall holding back water. Terrifying. But, when you’re married to an engineer I guess you should expect to be tricked into this activity at some point in your life.

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Upon arrival, I immediately changed my tune about the tourist destination. It was cool, but so scary I refused to let us get too close (you know, leaks happen).  While at the end of the day I don’t regret the road trip I definitely wouldn’t go back or recommend it to someone in Vegas for Vegas. I mean, it’s just too overwhelming …

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Bucket List Item: Cirque du Soleil Beatles LOVE Show  …Love, Love, Love…. and I left really wondering how I didn’t end up as a circus performer. Untitled

Vegas Rock Climbing: Thinking back on my last 30 years, this has to be one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. The photos I’m sharing do not do the Valley of Fire State Park any favors because the place is absolutely unreal. For two people who consider themselves outdoorsy because they like eating on patios, we took to the desert wilderness pretty quickly. We spent hours hiking around and climbing the rocks, and I really wish we could have spent another day out there with some proper shoes and jackets. #IWILLBEBACK

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Although I’ve been to Vegas now 5 or 6 times, each time gives me unique memories. The city is nothing but fun and adventure – as long as you go into it with the best attitude and a willingness to go with the flow. Whether you’re with your best friends, your fiancé or mother in law, you’re going to have as much fun as you can handle, and that’s what I love about this place.

Small Updates While I Wait Patiently

2016 has been pretty slow when it comes to home improvements. We’re in super-saving mode in preparing for a new kitchen and bathroom which is why we aren’t going to Europe this year (…boohoo, I know). This also means, no other décor changes should happen until we at least have our plans in place.

These are times when I wish I had a patient bone in my body. Is just one too much to ask for?

One thing that couldn’t wait though, was a change to the area just inside the front door. Every single day this was a disaster. We used the coat tree I bought at Ikea when I first moved to DC, combined with a side table we didn’t know where else to put, in an attempt to organize the area that should be a closet.

As you can see, even if it was at its cleanest, it would have been a mess. Coat trees, while cute in theory are just an eyesore. Kyle was out of town for a weekend this spring, giving me the opportunity to at least start changing things up – since he wouldn’t be around to tell me no…

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The wood carving is from my grandparent’s house, and until I started playing around didn’t know where to put it. The two images are small pieces of art Grandma and Grandpa had picked up in Paris on one of their travels. Putting them right where I’ll see them each day, reminds me of my grandparents and our shared love to travel.

New Perspective

You know when you see something and know immediately you’d never be able to un-see it? It’s just going to be burned into your brain forever, even if it fades a little or gets built up or changes in your memory over the years.

I knew the moment I saw the first giant redwood tree that this was something I could never un-see. I’ll always remember these trees, how they smelled and how they made me feel. It was unreal.

This June we traveled out to San Francisco to visit Nate, one of my oldest and most dear friends. Our first day out there, Nate had to work so we rented a car and drove out early to Muir Woods to check out the famous redwoods.

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I was the driver this day, (she who holds the Zipcar membership, holds the power) and this was very hard to drive over for the first time! So much excitement and terror all at once.

To get to Muir Woods, you must do a lot of mountain-climbing. We spent a good bit of time taking winding roads up a mountain. It felt like our honeymoon when we were lost taking a shortcut off the highway to get to our apartment. Thankfully, at the top there is a nice pull-off to catch the view from the top.

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Anyhoo, by suggestion of every single source about visiting Muir Woods, we arrived close to 7:30 AM., scored one of the (very few, maybe 40 total) parking spots near the entrance to the park and spent the first hour with just a handful of other people near us. OH and if you arrive that early, there is nobody at the entrance to charge you for going in (#earlybirdsgetthetrees)

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We had quite the hike, and hope to get back at some point with appropriate hiking shoes and clothes for some more of this magical place.

Imagine this peaceful scene, just about 45 minutes later, packed with tourists. I can’t and glad I didn’t have to witness it – as we were leaving (~10:00 AM) busses were pulling up. Time to scram.