Good morning everyone!
Well I stayed true to my word yesterday and had probably the laziest Saturday I’ve had in recent memory. I actually started to feel like a giant bum so I made myself get out of the house to go grocery shopping and also made a stop at Best Buy (Season 1 & 2 of Weeds on sale!). The highlight of my day though, is when my parents came over to bring me a Puff Pillow from the Farmer’s Market! YESSSS!!
Flaky pastry topped with rock sugar and filled with sweet Bavarian cream. Oh my!
I seriously vegged the rest of the day. To be fair, the heat index was 104, so nobody was doing a whole lot of anything around here. Ben and I watched Finding Nemo on tv (best movie ever!!) and went to bed at 10. Super!
Now, today is vastly different than yesterday. I got up early, swept the front porch, weeded a part of my garden, moved and fed my tomato plants and had breakfast. All before 9!
Here’s said breakfast: Blueberry Cheesecake Fat-Free Yogurt, Cantaloupe & a WildBlueberry PURE Bar.
Who doesn’t like cheesecake in the morning?
The last of my juicy cantaloupe 😦 No worries, I got a melon of a different variety to tide me over for this coming week!
And a delectable, chewy PURE Bar.
Those are giant blueberry hunks…’nuff said.
So the plan for the rest of the day is to drive down to Iowa City (about 2 hours away) to surprise Ben’s Mom for her birthday! She’s up there moving Ben’s little brother back to college, so we’re going to surprise her there since we weren’t able to celebrate her birthday when it actually happened on Friday. Kind of a long and complicated story, but the jist of it is – we’re road tripping today!
I love going to Iowa City – it’s the home of the University of Iowa and the Iowa Hawkeyes, GO HAWKS! I love being in college towns and especially walking through college campuses. It brings back so many wonderful memories of my days spent in college. Ahhh, things were so simple back then, weren’t they?? Actually, let’s be real, exams and papers were a huge pain in the A and I’m really glad I don’t have to do them anymore. BUT, there’s no denying that college as a whole, was the best time of my life!
Magazines are packed:
What college did you go to/are currently going to?
I went to the University of Northern Iowa – GO PANTHERS!
Good, beautiful Sunday morning to you! It is a tad bit nippy outside and I’m sitting here in my hoodie – which is very Fall-like and is making my very happy 🙂 When you’ve been at one temp for so long (hot all summer) it’s nice to switch it up every now and again!
Yesterday I was off here and there doing a bunch of different things, which included attending a beautiful baby shower for my sister-in-law. The Mommy-to-be looked gorgeous and we had a great time!
Before I went to the shower, I made what I’ve been hinting at for a couple days…a Battista’s Cappuccino! When we were served these cappuccino’s after our incredible meal in Veags – time stopped. That’s how delicious they are! AND lucky me, they actually print the recipe on their business cards so I was able to recreate them at home!!
First the ingredients:
Then all you do is combine everything in a sauce pan and stir constantly until it’s boiling. Be sure to stir the whole time, so the milk doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
Once the mixture is boiling, ladle it into some mugs,
Add an optional splash of Brandy or…
A big dallop of whip cream!
The whip cream is what MAKES this cappi. The fluffy whip mingled with the hint of chocolate is so smooth.
For the real thing – head to Battista’s in Vegas – but for a close replica, make this sinfully delicious drink at home!
After the shower where I feasted on fruit kabobs drizzled with chocolate, homemade cupcakes and dried fruit and nuts, I came home for some more fruit and nuts 🙂 I had an Apple Cinnamon PURE bar to tide me over ‘til dinner.
Which was…Kung PAO Chicken! Emphasis on the PAO because this baby was screamin’ hot!
Normally I’m just not a fan of greasy take-out Asian food – but we get ours at a fabulous place, Wok In Motion, where everything is just as fresh as can be, isn’t greasy at all and leaves you feeling completely satisfied.
Kung Pao is usually my favorite meal here (unless I’m getting sushi), because it’s not too hot. Last night though, they turned the heat WAY up! I didn’t mind too much because I could still taste the flavors of the dish. That’s usually why I don’t like to eat hot foods – because they take away the taste of the meal…which is why I’m eating it in the first place!
Now this morning I woke up naturally around 8:00, headed into the kitchen and sliced me up a big, crispy apple and a creamy, strawberry yogurt with granola on top.
Fooled you – that yogo combo wasn’t homemade, it was a Breyers Strawberry YoCrunch cup!
I really like these because (although you can’t see it – bad photographer Kristin!) there is a little portion of granola under the lid of the yogurt that you can just sprinkle right on your yogurt. This is perfect for me because me + granola = lethal combo. I could eat granola until the cows come home – I LOVE IT!
This was the perfect mixture of creamy + crunchy + sweet. Perf!
My apple was sliced and ready for dipping too 🙂
Great light breakfast to start the day…
Which includes…nothing! I literally have nothing to do today!! Well, I have to grocery shop, but I enjoy doing that so I don’t really count it as a “chore” or “mission”. Whatever shall I do with this beautiful day? Decisions, decisions… 😀
Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!
Our final day in Las Vegas started as any good, last vacation day should – at the pool! Complete with $10 pina coladas, of course. They were delicious though 😀 Oh, can I just talk about the heat in Vegas for a second? It’s so hot that it literally feels like you are sitting inside an oven. That’s the only way to describe it, because normal temperatures don’t get that hot! I think we saw 110 degrees while we were out there! The pool (and the pinas) were the perfect remedy though 🙂
After sufficiently baking ourselves to a light crisp, we headed out for more exploring. Past the forum shops at Caesar’s Palace, once again 🙂
And into The Mirage Hotel & Casino for lunch at BLT Burger – the best burger joint on the planet!
Really cool decor at this place…
We started the meal off with…A TWINKIE MILKSHAKE. Let me repeat that. A TWINKIE MILKSHAKE!!!!! This was quite possibly, the tastiest thing I have ever eaten on the planet… It was vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce blended with Twinkies. O…M…G… Ben and I split this, took our first sip and just kind of stared at each other in amazement…it was so delicious!!!! The texture of the milkshakes was the thickest I’ve ever had from the blended up twinkies inside. Seriously to die for – but seriously a once a year treat if I ever saw one! One of our friends got the Mocha Mudslide milkshake, which he cashed in about three minutes…it was incredible!
Ben and I also split the BLT Burger & Thin Fries. The restaurant cooks their burgers for 4 minutes a side so the outside is grilled to perfection and the inside is rare and juicy – perfect!
After another hefty lunch we headed back out to the streets to walk it off and cruised over to the Paris Hotel & Casino. Look Ma, the Arch de Triumph! 😀
For dinner on our final night we headed out to the New York New York Hotel and Casino for dinner. All my friends had been there before and they wanted to make sure I got a chance to see it – I’m so glad I did because it was AWESOME! Just like walking through the streets of New York inside!
Starting our walk to NY NY:
Isn’t that awesome? The hotel totally looks like the skyline of NYC!
Once inside, we decided on a fabulous Asian cafe to eat at – Chin Chin.
I started out the night with my favorite Asian inspired beverage, a Tsing Tao.
Aaaaaaan don’t worry – we requested no glasses with our beers, so they brought us paper bags to drink them out of instead…because we’re classy like that!
For dinner I ordered the Beef Chow Fun. This was a savory wide-noodle dish that did not disappoint – I LOVE wide noodles! Chin Chin was a win win!
Group shot on our last night in Vegas!!!
Dinner concluded with some more casino tours including the Monte Carlo,
More of the Paris Hotel & Casino,
And ended with a quintessential Vegas show…the fountain show at the Bellagio Hotel. How Oceans 11 of us 🙂
Overall, I couldn’t have been happier with our time spent in Vegas. This town is truly what you make it. If you’re looking to have the most insane bachelor or bachelorette party of your life – don’t worry, you’ll get it! But if you’re also looking for a nice time with your friends, getting as crazy or semi-crazy as you want, Vegas has that option too. We had a fabulous time exploring the incredible unique and intricately built hotels, throwing our dollar bills away in the penny slots and most importantly, spending time with all of our best friends. Vegas: I WILL be back!!!
Day 2 in Las Vegas started with some flamingo watching at The Flamingo 🙂 Ben and I got up early to explore our hotel and stumbled upon a whole lagoon type area filled with flamingos, exotic birds, ducks, turtles and fish…it was practically a zoo!
Photo op 🙂
While continuing our hotel exploration, I stopped to get a breakfast bar at one of the many gift shops. I saw this baby and snatched it right up. Ummm Vanilla Yogurt bar with 11g of protein? Sign me up!
This was crunchy, sweet and creamy, so delish. Plus, I was stuffed – yes, stuffed – for a really long time! I had never even heard of these bars before, but they are awesome!
After that we headed to the pool to wait for the rest of the crew to get up and at ‘em. Ben and I are early vacation risers…well I should say, I’m an early vacation riser and being the excellent husband that he is, Ben now is too 🙂
After sunning ourselves for the duration of the morning, we headed to Margaritaville, which was attached to our hotel, for lunch. Honestly, a lot of times places like this are kind of just “meh” but our meals here were SO good!
Mmmm, I got a giant plate of nachos 🙂 When in Rome…
These were homemade tortilla chips, piled high with chili, 3 kinds of cheese, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream and HEAPS of jalapenos! They tasted just as good as the look and I shared with the whole table 🙂
This is Matt. I told Matt I’d give him $2 to eat a GIANT glob of sour cream. He almost did but decided at the last minute that it probably wasn’t in his best interests. I agreed.
Our lunchtime view of Caesar’s Palace (I’m obsessed!)
We felt like a good long walk was in order after lunch, so we strolled down to The Venetian hotel after we were done eating. The Venetian is famous for having an Italy inspired canal running through the middle of the hotel, that you can take gondola rides on!
For dinner on Day 2, we headed to a hole in the wall…literally. Self-proclaimed “Hole in the Wall” Battista’s Italian Restaurant” is where we dined!
This place is SO awesome – the menus are on the wall and each meal comes with soup or salad, REAL garlic bread studded with roasted garlic cloves, an after dinner cappuccino (the best cappuccino I’ve ever had – don’t worry I have the recipe!!!!) and FREE white and red house wine!
Ben and I split the Seafood Fettuccini. This was fresh fettuccini, giant scallops, tender mahi-mahi and mouth-watering shrimp. All in a homemade red sauce – to die for!
Oh – Battista’s resident accordian player. FABULOUS!
After dinner we all hopped in a limo and headed down to Old Vegas. Think Freemont Street, Golden Nugget, Binion’s and 4 Queens. Old Vegas definitely doesn’t have the glamorous feeling that the Bellagio, etc. has, but is perfectly “authentic” – I just loved it!
We have a winner! It wasn’t me though…
The boys played many rounds of craps and black jack in Old Vegas 🙂
Don’t worry – I got it on some of that Black Jack action too!
The street that a lot of the old vegas casinos are on – Freemont Street – is covered by an overhead canopy type covering that they play light shows on. Aren’t these cool??
Ben got artsy and took these – he’s a great photographer!
Day 2 in Vegas was so much fun and just like Day 1, we did SO much in just one day!! I miss it already… Day 3 re-cap coming soon! 😀
Hey everybody – I’m back!!
Las Vegas was AMAZING – I am so glad I can finally say I’ve been there! The city was a lot different than I thought it would be – definitely a lot less “seedy” than what I was expecting. In fact, I’m going to go ahead and say it, Vegas was beautiful!! It’s all in what you do and where you go, in my opinion 🙂 Ok, trip re-cap, starting with Day 1!
Me and my girlfriend in the airport waiting to take off. Don’t worry – we made matching shirts for all the couples going on the trip!
RATS! Delayed by a fuel spill…our Vegas luck had run out before we even got there! It didn’t end up being as terrible as we thought though, and we were only delayed by about an hour. Soon enough, were were off!
After a quick 2.5 hour flight, we arrived in Vegas and met up with the third couple going on our trip. They had flown in from Chicago, so we met them at our hotel: The Flamingo. All pink, all the time 🙂
We got up to our rooms, got cleaned up and were ready to unleash ourselves on the town 😀
And the fellas:
If you’ve never been to Vegas, know that literally everywhere you turn, there are slot machines. Like, everywhere you turn. So, I didn’t fight it – I hit the penny slots in the lobby of our hotel on our way out!
After losing a couple bucks (:()we hit the streets.
One of the couples we went with goes to Vegas once a year and the first place they always hit after they drop their bags off at the hotel is La Salsa Cantina for some bomb-diggity chips, salsa, burritos & margaritas! We happily continued the tradition 🙂
These margaritas were as long as my body, actually… No worries – I split mine with a friend – nobody needs an entire yards worth of margarita in their body!
After dinner we hit up Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino. Ummm – this is seriously one of the coolest places I have ever been to in my life! I wish I had taken more pictures of the inside, but trust me, if you go to Vegas you must hit PH up simply to see how fabulous it is. While the boys played some table games, the girls hit up some more penny slots. Because we’re high rollers like that.
Up next was strolling through the forum shops at Caesars Palace (ummmm, coolest place I have EVER been to – can I LIVE there???) They truly made the hotel, casino and associated shops feel exactly like Rome. The detail they put into the buildings, the fountains, the columns and sculptures is unbelievable.
We made a pit stop at a swanky cigar bar in the shops and had some of the most delicious, hand-crafted mojitos I have ever had!
I got a Nectarine Mojito. Absolutely divine 😀
After mojitos, we hit up this Irish casino and proceeded to play beer pong, college frat-party style, until it was time to hit the hay.
Considering that were delayed an hour because of a fuel spill and we didn’t even get to our hotel until 4:00 – we accomplished a TON our first night in Vegas! And we didn’t even stay out that late! Overall first impressions of Vegas:
I hope you had a wonderful weekend too – stay tuned for Viva Las Vegas Days 2 & 3!