Friday, May 31, 2013

Brad Paisley 2012

Last January, my girls and I went to the Brad Paisley concert at Mandalay Bay. I’ve never been able to coordinate such a big group before for a show, so this was pretty awesome. There were six of us total. We were in the back section but at Mandalay Bay, there really aren’t any bad seats. I’ve been in this section countless times and the view is always pretty great. Besides, the other girls were too drunk to care and the zoom on my camera (I was sober) was good enough to get some great shots.


We got to the show late so we only caught The Band Perry’s whole opening performance before the main show. It was a great start to a really fun night!


 


The show was awesome. The graphics on the stage were beautiful and Brad is just super interactive with the crowd. At one point, someone was proposing right in the pit and Brad serenaded them and everything. So cool! Kimberly Perry came on stage for Whisky Lullaby and the holograph of Carrie Underwood managed to fool all the drunks. :-)

After the show, we headed to Chateau Nightclub to hang out and party. Such a fun night with some of my fave girls. 
 

Budgets and Packing...

Good afternoon, more travel musings from me to, well, me...

So today is the last day of my three day weekend. I think I shall spend it lounging on the couch and drinking lemonade... It's about 100 degrees outside.

So I was up last night budgeting my summer and compiling packing lists. I decided, by the end of the summer, I would like to be more efficient with my packing lists and more frugal with my budgeting. I'm pretty good at not splurging unnecessarily right now, but I want to get better at it.

San Diego was one of my first overnight drives and I enjoyed it so much, I want to do trips like that all the time. I'm a meticulous planner and most of my friends are pretty easy going and don't like to plan, so it makes it easier since I love to plan things. San Diego was around $300 total. I had saved up tip money for a few weeks and I always try to use my piggy bank (yes I have one, they really come in handy) for road trip gas money. I've made a habit of putting all my loose coins in it for a few years now and you'd be amazed how much you easy it is to pay for gas after a couple months. San Diego was a little bit splurgey but I'm starting to cut down.

I also packed more than I realistically needed although there were only a few pieces I didn't use. I don't mind overpacking for a road trip since I have a car to cart around my stuff, but for weekend getaways, I'm strictly a carry-on only kind of girl. Even if my bag is heavy or kinda stuffed at the end of the trip, if it's carry-on size, I lug it to the gate. Most of the flights I take are full, so I've never had an issue checking it at the gate for free on the way home (when the bag is the heaviest). I do, however, like to wear something different for each activity (bad habit, I know), especially if it's hot and sticky out. I'm coming up with a new formula for my overnighters, and I'm going to try and stick with it:

  • Outfit for evening (dress or skirt and top or extra top for the shorts)
  • Spare top (which doubles as a pajama top)
  • Outfit for next day activities (extra top or dress)
  • Extra top for hiking/biking/sightseeing
  • Swimsuit
  • Cover-up
  • Extra underwear
  • Sandals
  • Heels
I have a set of travel toiletries that I always keep in a special case so I can throw it into an overnight bag whenever necessary. Hell, sometimes this stuff comes in handy just for an afternoon out. 

Anyhow, enough of that, I'm off to lounge around...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pool Day!!!

 
So today was the second day of my three day weekend!!! Since I couldn't go take a mini road trip this week, I decided to at least try and enjoy my Vegas time. Amanda and I decided to hit up Moorea Beach Club today. We needed a relaxing pool day.

Now, I have been wanting to check out this pool for a while but up until recently, they were charging $40 for admission even for local girls. It sounds snobbish, but no, local girls don't pay for admission in this town. That is one of the major perks of being a girl with a Nevada ID. You don't pay to get into any clubs or any pools. When a place charges, a lot of us won't go. I'm NOT a rich girl by any mean. I don't drink partly because drinks in this town are crazy expensive. I like that there are lots of things to do in Vegas that I don't have to pay for at all. It means I can save that money for road trips since the trips I take are usually fairly cheap (I am a serious deal hunter). That said, I can take a nice road trip for $100 plus gas because there are lots of places within 4-6 hours of Vegas. That's why I try to travel a lot, because I can do it for so damn cheap.

Anyway, back to the point. Moorea is now free for local girls. Yay!!! So we went. But first things first.

We were starving so we hit up Slice of Vegas because I had a Restaurant.com coupon (see what I mean about deal hunting hahaha). I had been wanting pizza for a while but was a little bummed that they didn't have any of the toppings I was craving (specifically eggplant, feta, and spinach). Not a problem; we got one with sausage, mushrooms, extra cheese, and truffle oil. YUM. I love anything with truffle oil. Drizzle it on cardboard, and I will eat it.




After this, we headed to the pool. Most of Mandalay is hotel guest only, which is a bit of a bummer. Frankly, there are a few pools in this town that locals would actually pay to get into and Mandalay is one of them. I think the pools would make some great money if they offered locals a season pass because we will spend money there, no problem. Anyway, Moorea and the new Daylight are two of the pools that are open to the public (I was told by Daylight staff that they will be charging local girls, so I won't be visiting for a while). 

Great pool. It's small, like most over 21 pools are, but the layout was nice. We snagged the last two lounge chairs in the whole place. Nice and soft, not that weird plastic kind that leaves lines on your sunburnt skin. There was even fake grass that the staff kept sprinkling ice cubes on to keep us from burning our feet. The drink prices weren't TOO bad for Vegas, and they had a decent assortment of nonalcoholic beverages for people like me. I thought the "old school ice cream truck" favorites they had were a nice touch. A pool day is extra special when you can enjoy an orange push pop with it. 

I didn't take too many photos since Moorea is a "toptional" pool (European sunbathing). My friend and I kept our tops on, but I was careful to not get any people in the shots that I took. So, no. There are no topless photos of anyone on this blog. :-)





Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Three Day Weekend... Foodie posting...


Today is the first day of my "three day weekend". My weekends usually consist of Wednesday and Thursday but this week, I get Friday too since I had to work on the Memorial Day holiday.

I meant to sleep in but my internal clock thought that meant 9:15AM. So that didn't work so well. Got in some World of Warcraft time now that I have my Mac back!

Had lunch at this nice little Hawaiian tapas place called 808 Tapas before catching another showing of Iron Man 3.


Later in the day I headed to Nanay Gloria's with Marissa and Ramon for some cheapo Filipino food. The restaurant is a buffet and take-out kinda place and the buffet was less than $8. Can't beat that. Got my adobo and pancit fix. :-)


We grabbed dessert at Kuma snow cream. I've never had snow cream but it is delicious. My only regret is that I didn't get the ube, but what I did get was awesomeness.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

To Do List

I’m bored and there’s not much going on so I thought I would put together a list of things I want to do this year or next. It’s more for myself than anything because I’m much more likely to do it if it’s typed up. :-)
 
  • Go fishing. I want to go fishing so bad, it’s been a really long time. I’d prefer to do it in Tishomingo in a camo trucker hat but I will settle for Lake Havasu or Big Bear until I can do that.
  • Stomp grapes. In Napa. I don’t want to drink the wine from the grapes I stomp, I just want to stomp them.
  • Lounge on a sail boat. This one should be easy since Marc has one. :-)
  • Do a mini spa retreat. Nothing extravagant. Just something girly and fairly economical.
  • Kayak. I’ve never been on a kayak before. I think I wanna fix that.
  • Learn to surf. With the two year time limit, this one should be easy enough. Plus I have a super cute instructor in mind and he’s free of charge. :-P
  • Pet a penguin. To get over my fear of penguins. And before you laugh, you’d be scared too if one almost attacked you (more on that in a future post). The aquarium in Tampa does a penguin meet and greet. Thinking this would be therapeutic.
  • Go on a riverboat. Preferably with a big wheel in the back but I won’t be picky.
  • Hit up a great jazz club.
  • Drink a sidecar and do the Lindy Hop. Or more accurately, try a sidecar for the first time and learn the Lindy Hop.
There are so many places I want to go. I know a lot of people have a preference of city, beach, desert, mountains, or country. I want to do them all. There are a lot of retreats I want to do that are within six hours of Vegas. I would love to move back east in a couple years so I feel like I need to do these trips now when they're drivable or easy to get to. Let's see how much I can accomplish!



Luke Bryan at Red Rock Casino 2012

Came across some photos yesterday and decided to do another concert post from last year. Me and the girls hit up the Luke Bryan concert at Red Rock last year in September. It was our last big outing before our Ashley moved away to Pittsburgh. :-( After that, we all kind of scattered a bit since none of us work together anymore so the evening was kind of bittersweet. We all had a blast though even though we were pretty far up in the back. OMG This man puts on a great show.




Sunday, May 26, 2013

Gloriana

So last night was the Gloriana concert at Aliante. Hate driving that far north for a show, but since the casino is smaller and the venue is just a showroom, there really aren't any bad seats and it's way less crowded. Tickets were also pretty cheap ($35 for the closest seats). I'm playing around with the Nashville filter today because it just seems appropriate. :-P So far I really like it.

The show was awesome! They did all their best songs and a few really awesome covers. The band was really personable and the audience was really great (not a lot of crazy drunks).


 






I'm excited today because I finally get to bring home my computer!!! Yay!!! What an ordeal- Friday, I brought it in to Apple to have the battery replaced. Tested it and it worked fine, they said the fan would need to be replaced in a little while. Brought it home, charged it, tried starting it... Nothing. Brought it back. Fan needs to be replaced NOW. Leave it overnight, get a voicemail saying it functions, directory damage on drive needs to be fixed but not right away. Test computer. Still doesn't work. I am told (and not very nicely) that the damage needs to be fixed NOW. They need to erase the drive and reinstall the op system. This guy cannot explain why they didn't find the damage before when they ran the diagnostic and (rather rudely) says that nothing will be restored. I leave and listen to the voicemail again and everything conflicts. I go back in and ask for a manager. The sales associate who helps me now is nice as can be, as is the manager. They bring over another tech and he runs a more thorough diagnostic. Turns out my drive is failing and doing what was recommended would only have resulted in me coming back AGAIN. He checks on my back-up and we discover that it wasn't too long ago. The manager has them do all the repairs and replacements for free AND they upgraded my drive. Not thrilled that it took four attempts to get it fixed but the service I got on my last visit MORE than compensated me for the time. All in all, I'm quite happy with the turnout. Well played, Apple. Well played.

Texas 2012



Another day where I just feel like posting old stuff since nothing interesting is happening today...


Last year, my friend Becca and I went to Dallas and Arlington to visit our friend Katie who was starting her freshman year at University of Texas, Arlington. To be honest, we were also going because there was a Chris Young concert at Six Flags... Anyhow, we flew in for the weekend and got a cheap hotel right by Six Flags.

We met up with Katie on the first night for the big movie night they were having. It was a screening on The Avengers on the field. After the movie we headed to Whattaburger. There was a really convenient trolley system so we got a free ride to the university with the system (we had to call a special number and make a reservation, but it was like a free cab almost).

The next morning, we headed to Six Flags. It was a little dreary out so the park was pretty dead for the first few hours. Katie met up with us later and we had pretty much walked the whole park by the time she got there. I'm not really into roller coasters, so I waited in line while they rode Batman and a few other things. We did the Mexican teacup ride which was like the Disney teacups on speed. Had lunch and a funnel cake because what is a trip to an amusement park without a funnel cake? Seriously?!







After the park, we went back to our hotel to change for dinner and the show. One of my favorites restaurants is Pappadeaux and there was one really close to the park so we grabbed a bite there as I introduced my two friends to some of my fave Cajun cuisine. They loved it.

After dinner, we headed back to Six Flags for the show. We got there right as Chris went on stage. The amphitheatre was quite large but fairly empty so we snuck up pretty close to the front. The show was AMAZING. I've seen Chris perform before but I just LOVE him. A bunch of people left before the encore so we made it right up to the front of the stage.




After the show, we headed to Cowboys since they let in over 18s and Katie was only 18. Great music, cheap drinks, fun time.


The next day we met up with Katie for brunch in the Arlington Area. We went to Babe's for some awesome fried chicken and Southern goodness. We said farewell to our little Katie and took a taxi to the closest DART station in Dallas. We got tickets and took the DART into the West End area to go to the aquarium. What an awesome aquarium! We killed about two hours here.





After the aquarium, we took the DART to the closest station to the airport and started walking. Guess our luck was a bummer cuz it started raining a bit. We were getting pretty close so we didn't mind but a super nice bus driver pulled over and offered us a ride. He didn't even bother to look at our DART tickets, he just felt bad seeing us in the rain. There really are some nice people around!

We finished out our trip at the airport with some pretty great airport BBQ and sweet tea before heading home. Great weekend getaway. :-)

Six Flags Over Texas
Cowboys Dance Hall
Babe's Chicken Dinner Restaurant
Dallas World Aquarium
DART
If you show your DART card at the aquarium, you get a discount!




 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Foodie Post- Los Angeles...



So my two dear friends Marissa and Michelle and I decided a few weeks ago to take a day trip  to Los Angeles. We planned it for yesterday. We are all crazy foodies so we had a list of things we wanted to try.


Marissa drove and we left town at around 6:30 AM. Our first stop was Ikea since we don't have one here. We spent way more time there than we expected since there were just so many great finds. We grabbed a snack of Swedish meatballs after shopping and then headed to downtown Los Angeles. 

We went to Beard Papa in Little Tokyo (thank you Groupon) and grabbed a quick sushi bite before heading to the Fashion District. We got some great finds and then made our way to Beverly Hills.








We hit up Tres by Jose Andres inside SLS for afternoon tea. The restaurant is beautiful and all the staff was extremely friendly and helpful when you could find them. We had parked behind the hotel and saw a lot of staff members milling around outside. It made us wonder if everyone was always taking smoke breaks since it tools us forever to flag anyone down. The food was great even if our tea set was missing a few things.







We did a little window shopping at Hollywood and Highland for the fun of it. Sometimes my fave thing to do in Hollywood and Beverly Hills is to just cruise past all the beautiful houses. We got changed and hit up The London Hot to grab dinner at Gordon Ramsay.



We have three Gordon Ramsay properties here in Vegas and I've been to two. I'm not a huge Dan of celebrity chefs but his food is AWESOME. This was no exception. 

The food was more like tapas style if you don't do the prix fix and we weren't quite hungry enough for that. We ordered the lobster and halibut, scallop risotto, prime rib, duck fat fries, and salmon. Everything was divine. I know that sounds pretentious but it's true. We had the sticky toffee pudding and pistachio creme brûlée for dessert. I've had the pudding a few times and it's some of the best I've ever had.









And here is where our trip went a bit sour... Our car got towed! Apparently even though our spot didn't have a colored curb or sign, it was a tow-away zone. Boo! Took us an extra hour to get everything straightened out and head home. Bummer since we had come super prepared with rolls of quarters for parking! Next time I might just find an all day lot and take the Metro Redline to get around to avoid traffic and the hassle of finding a place to park. 

We got home around 5:00 AM this morning, just as the sun was coming back up. Great trip and we hit up a lot of fun stops! Will have to do it again soon. 

BUDGET
Gas- $35
Beard Papa- $8
Tres by Jose Andres- $42
Tenno Sushi- $10
Gordon Ramsay- $45
(I'm not including the tow)
Total- $140
 
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