Friday, April 30, 2010

Five for Friday

1. Woot! It's Friday!

2. Next Friday, Five for Friday will take a brief break, because Brad and I will be causing all kinds of trouble visiting my bestest friend Mark in Ft. Lauderdale. I am beyond way excited to get my toes in the sand again!

This sand:
which I actually admitted to enjoying last year, even though, by nature and breeding, I'm a Gulf-coast kind of a girl.

Hopefully we'll lunch here: because how can you beat the view? Well, I guess you can beat it, actually...

ohhhhh Carib beach bar... I love you.

Anyway, I am most excited to go to Ft. Lauderdale to see this guy, who I love, who has put up with my antics for the past 15 years, who I don't get to see nearly as much as I'd like, who has turned me into a texting machine, and who always shows his guests a good time!


3. Tuesday night we went to see the Washington National Opera's production of "Marriage of Figaro." It was Brad's first opera. He was a brave boy and I think almost enjoyed it. I, on the other hand, LOVED it and have decided that it has been way too long since I've been to the opera. How we could ever live in a city that didn't have great performing arts is beyond me.

4. I have just been informed that since the majority of my office is out of the office traveling today, the remaining staff will be caravaning (can you caravan on the Metro?) up to the Washington institution Ben's Chili Bowl for lunch. Despite living here for five years, I have never been to Ben's . Perhaps this will be the summer were Brad and I do all the things we've never done in the five years we've lived here.

By the way, a neat fact: the only person to ever have their name added to Ben's famous "Eat's Here Free" sign? The Obama family. They join Bill Cosby as the only names on that list. Reportedly though, when President Obama visited there, he paid :)

5. Woot - it's Friday!

Happy weekend folks!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Las Vegas - Bellagio awesome-ness

After Paris, the Bellagio was my favorite hotel (duh, isn't it everyone's?). Rather than being yet-another themed hotel (yes, I understand it's Italian-"themed," but it doesn't SCREAM Italy the way, the New York-New York (tries to) scream NYC), the Bellagio is a hotel of class. Elegance. Timelessness. Extreme attention to detail. The kind of place that *he* might stay in :)
(ha! ha! you didn't think I could sneak one in this week, did you?)

Anyway, the Bellagio = gorgeous. That Dale Chihuly ceiling in the lobby? Breathtaking. Amazing. That Chihuly is one talented dude. It's almost worth it to go to the hotel just to see the lobby.

But why stop there? Certainly while you're there, you have to go see the conservatory. It was filled with spring time flowers, including some amazing tulips and some paper-thin Icelandic poppies.

But, honestly, is there any reason to really to go Vegas other than to see the world-famous Bellagio fountain show? I didn't think so.

Remember when we were in Chicago way back in October 2008 and I was basically obsessed with taking pictures of The Bean? And then when we were in Seattle, and I was basically obsessed with taking pictures of all the neon signs? And then, every time we're in Barbados, all I manage to take pictures of are the waves? Enter Bellagio fountain show. Except the show was so spectacular, that I was torn between taking pictures of every second of it and being totally entranced watching it. You can confirm with Brad (who may or may not have noticed because he was similarly entranced) that I actually stood for most of the first show we watched with my mouth hanging open. It's absolutely unreal. And this is coming from someone who has seen the Magic Fountain of Montjuic in Barcelona (seriously, that's what they call it):

Just kidding... it wasn't even 1/4 as good as the Bellagio!

So, I'll say it again, go. Go to Vegas. Go to Vegas JUST to see the Bellagio fountain show. Stand there all night and watch it (heck, we did!). It's free. It's fabulous. It's amazing. It's awe-inspiring. It's probably the best thing that Steve Wynn has ever come up with.

Just go, trust me.

Five for Friday - something different

Since I'm totally not in the mood to write today, I thought you I would just post some rather random photos from our trip to Vegas. Happy weekend everyone!

the Venetian
the Luxor

Brad hanging with the Benjamin's (his birthday winnings) with his birthday cupcake
Wynn and Encore - taken from the monorail - isn't the sky cool
City Center
Mandalay Bay
New York-New York
moi :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Too cute!

I had to share these darling prints which I recently came across on another blog I read (holla to Young House Love!). Wouldn't these be amazing in an office/bedroom/den/nook that needs a little color? I kind of want to order them all :)

Jessica, vol.25, you have won me over! I have zero stake in this, other than to say how darn cute these things are. You can head over to Jessica's etsy shop to pick some up for your nursery/ bathroom/laundry room/any room.

this is my favorite :) you can even customize the color of the camper!

wouldn't these typewriters look great in a home office?


obviously I need this for our book filled home office...
or maybe to hang by my nightstand, which is also full of books.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Las Vegas - actually Paris?

In my humble opinion, the Paris resort in Las Vegas does the best job of actually transporting you from the middle of the desert to the streets of Paris. Now granted, I have only been to Paris once, in fifth grade, when I was more concerned about finding something to eat I actually liked (I think I settled for a chocolate crepe from a street vendor) than taking in all things Parisian. But when I visit Paris as an adult, I expect it to be much like the Paris hotel in Vegas, minus the slot machines.

The hotel was beautiful. The attention to detail magnificent. The view from the top of the miniature Eiffel Tower well worth the price of admission. It was romantic. It made you want to swoon, put on a blue and white striped shirt and red barret, and be dipped by a handsome man into a passionate kiss (no, he didn't, he knows it would not have been wise due to my dislike of both crowds and heights... but in hindsight it seems like it would have been a good idea).

When/if we ever go back to Vegas, we will be staying at Paris. Hopefully by then I'll be able to compare it to the real thing!

PS That photo above? That is the ceiling inside the hotel when you first enter from Bally's. AMAZING.

the view from across the street at the Bellagio, through the fountain show.
the fountain show might be the best thing ever (well, besides Paris). more on that later.

the view of the Bellagio fountain show from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
worth the price of admission folks!

oui, oui!

list 9 - Things I Love to Photograph

(Chicago, Illinois)

(Bathsheba, Barbados)

(conservatory inside the Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada)

(Paris hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada)

the view from 40,000 feet
(somewhere over the north Atlantic Ocean)

(farmer's market, Del Ray, Virginia)

cloudy sunsets
(south coast, Barbados)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Start spreading the news...

Just when I thought we were going to be without a June trip, we firmed up plans this weekend to meet a bunch of my crazy family in New York City to honor a very special lady.

I always smile when I know that a trip to the Big Apple is on the horizon... even if its reasons are bitter-sweet.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Five for Friday - Vegas style!

1. Our trip to Vegas was great. I have never been to another city in the world like it, and honestly don't know if there is anywhere else in the world like it! I looked at Brad when we were in the airport and said, "Well, you must be happy. We've finally visited somewhere that I don't want to move to!" He was indeed happy. Not that we didn't have a great time, I just can't imagine living it 24/7!

2. I went in with pretty low expectations as far as my luck at gambling. I've only done it once or twice before and found that my luck wasn't so good. This trip was indeed no different. I blew through my little stash fairly quickly and was content to walk away and go find things to take pictures of when the game wasn't going so well. Brad, however, is totally a different story. We sat down at a $.25 slot machine, he put $1 in and two pulls later had won $100. Yes, folks, you do the math. $.50 bet. $100 win. He gambled maybe $19.50 the rest of the trip, but his luck also went down, so he definitely came out the big winner. I just think the gaming gods were shining on him for his birthday.
3. If you have never been to Vegas before, like I said in #1, it is really unlike anywhere I have ever seen. It's like a giant amusement park. Nothing is reality, there are no clocks anywhere (seriously!), you can go from being in New York to Paris to Venice to Bangladesh in a ten minute walk. Most amusing were the other people. During the day they were fanny pack and tennis shoe wearing, souvenir buying full blown tourists. At night they all turned into 21 year olds with short, short skirts, lots of cigarettes and way too much to drink. And then there are the folks who stand on every street corner and hand out flyer's for...ahem... ladies of the night. But this is a family blog, so we won't go into that here :) Lets just say they were very non-aggressive, but very annoying.

4. We ate like KINGS when we were there. Two fantastic dinner's, two totally different experiences. And some awesome frozen yogurt from the Mandalay Bay for lunch one day. Friday night we went to Craftsteak, the Las Vegas steakhouse branch of Mr. Short-Bald-Top Chef-Host Guy, otherwise known the superstar behind Craft restaurant's, Tom Colicchio. I came to learn that Craftsteak in NYC is no more, which I feel is a darn shame because our meal at this restaurant in the MGM Grand was absolutely fantastic. World class. Maybe the best steak I have ever had. We had a tasting menu, which, unlike the tasting menu's back east, they don't let you choose one item from each course. They bring out four or five items, family style, for each course. Thank goodness I wore my pants with room in the waist!

Saturday night we went to an Italian seafood restaurant at the Wynn called Bartolotta. This place couldn't be more different than Craftsteak, in its own way. It was fru-fru and fancy, and the attention to detail was amazing. They didn't just serve you clams, they served you clams that are ONLY found in Italy. They didn't just serve fish (the entire fish, which they filleted right at the table), they served fish ONLY found in the waters around Italy. Best of all, when I told the sommelier that I thought we should have white wine, since we were having fish, she laughed and said "The Italians drink red wine with everything. If you like red wine, that's what you should drink" (my kind of lady!). The highlight was the fact that we sat outside, in a semi-private cabana with a view of a lovely koi pond. That's the view there below. First rate, Mr. Wynn, first rate.

5. The best, best, best thing about Vegas? Hands down? The Bellagio fountain show. AMAZING! We watched probably four or five shows on Friday night, from different points around the lake and then from the top of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel across the street. Absolutely amazing. Breathtaking. I could have watched it all night. The best part? It's free. The worst part? There isn't a worst part. Go! See it! Go JUST to see it!

I'm almost done editing pictures and I promise to post a bunch soon. If you follow me on Facebook, you've gotten a little sneak peak already :)