Tuesday, December 31, 2013

time to party!

We are down to the last few hours of 2013, and I feel like its a little bittersweet. This year flew by! I mean FLEW. It still seems like we just got to Bend, but its almost been a year and so many things have changed. I think 2013 was one of the most incredible years I have ever had in my life, full of milestones and great memories. I am welcoming 2014 with open arms and hope that it is an amazing year as well.

With that said, I will be doing my big "Goodbye 2013" post later this week, so look out for that!

Until then have a great New Year's Eve and a Happy New Year. It is time for this chick to get ready for tonight!!

[[ some of my favorite memories from 2013. ]]

Monday, December 23, 2013

merry christmas!

Happy Holidays to all. Me and Pat have a lot of stops to make to see everyone, so I won't be posting again until after the holidays. Many posts to follow...

[[ our little baby christmas card. ]]

Friday, December 20, 2013

las vegas :: part 2

saturday night (4/27) :: day 2
Yesterday when I left off, me and Pat had just headed back to the hotel to take a power nap after exploring as many of the casinos as we could get to. Pats mom had made dinner reservations at Strip House, which is a nice steak house in PH, so we woke up after a while and started getting changed for the evening. We got downstairs a little bit before our reservation so we all headed to Koi, a Japanese restaurant also in PH, for a cocktail and appetizer first. By the time we got in to Strip House we were all pretty freaking hungry having not eaten anything since breakfast. I honestly don't even remember what I ordered (halibut or something similar I'm sure), but everything was delicious.

[[ a selfie in our room. cleopatra. appetizers at koi. looking down on the casino. me & pat in the awkward lighting. dinner at strip house. sweet fuzzy wallpaper. ]]

Afterwards, me and Pat headed up to the room to make a drink (because you know, in Vegas you can do that), met up with Courtney and her man, and headed over to The Cosmopolitan across the street, where her little brother was staying. If I was going back to Vegas I would definitely want to stay there, everything was sparkly, and they even have a three story bar in the center called The Chandelier where you literally enjoy your drinks surrounded by crystal in (wait for it) a giant chandelier. Get ready for an obscure movie reference... This reminded me of the Disney movie The Rescuers Down Under because at the beginning the mice are on a date eating "peeaaa sssouuupp" in a chandelier. Moving on...

[[ the chandelier: epic crystals everywhere. ]]

Next we hopped in a cab and headed for The Palms on the other side of the strip where we had "VIP" status for some clubs, simply meaning we didn't have to pay the ridiculous fees, wait in line, and I got some free drinks. Works for me. My high school self assumed that The Palms would be super awesome based on that whole Real World Las Vegas thing (anyone remember that season?), but it was really just ok compared to some of the other stuff we had seen. However, the club we went in to, Moon, had a retractable roof, and since we could get to the top floor with our passes, we got an amazing view of the entire strip! (See epic title photo).

[[ the palms: moon. part of the view. ]]

We stayed at The Palms for a while and then headed back to The Cosmo to hang out at The Chandelier. Those free drinks at Moon had done a number on me and I honestly don't even know what time it was at this point... Inside the Cosmo there was another bar, called Bond, that I totally would have wanted to check out, had it been a little earlier. There were girls in boxes above the lounge acting out scenes like lounging at the beach or cleaning a house. It reminded me a lot of Austin Powers for some reason, or at least something you would see in the UK in the 60's.

Eventually we said goodbye and went back to our own hotel where we realized how hungry we were, so we dipped in to a little diner in PH for a snack. I also decided that I needed a chocolate milkshake, so that happened. Finally we made it up to bed, definitely sometime closer to 6am.

[[ bond at the cosmo. planet dailies after midnight snacks. chocolate milkshake. ]]

sunday (4/28) :: day 3
Me and Pat were leaving Sunday, while everyone else was staying through Monday or Tuesday, so when we woke up in the morning (way later than we should have) it was a mad dash to shower, pack, get all of our stuff in to his parents room, and get over to the Bellagio, where we were meeting everyone for brunch at Olives. Needless to say, we were both dragging a little bit. When we got to the restaurant everyone was waiting for us, but we were not admitted to our seats, outdoor seats mind you, because Pat was wearing a sleeveless shirt... Sooo, we backtracked to an Urban Outfitters we had passed, ran in, bought Pat a lightweight button up shirt, ran back, and were promptly seated. We definitely thought that whole transaction was a bit ridiculous, but its cool, Vegas does its own thing. What was really confusing to us was that they felt the need to enforce a dress code against Pat for exposing his shoulders, at an outdoor table, in the middle of a 90 degree day, but the man whose hairy nipples were exposed due to his extremely deep V had no problem at all being seated.

The food was excellent however, so it made up for all of the running around. I tried beef carpaccio for the first time (raw, seasoned, extremely thin sliced beef) and it was actually really delicious. Everyone kind of ended up sharing, but I ordered the halibut, which was amazing. I wish I could remember the specific flavors involved. We also had a perfect view of the fountain, so I took a bunch of pictures of the water show. After breakfast, our party all split up, heading either to the pool or the roller coaster at NYNY, but me and Pat decided to head back to Urban to do a little shopping since we only had a couple hours left before our flight. We also checked out Aria, which was a super modern (and really boring in comparison) hotel, and then wandered around The Cosmo some more before heading to the airport where we bid Las Vegas adieu and began our journey home, extremely tired.

[[ wait, its morning already? tons of club passes. olive at the bellagio. delicious brunch. walking around the strip by our hotel. wandering around the cosmo: i wanted to pose with the sparkly things. old vegas pictures upstairs. the view of the strip from our plane. bye bye vegas. ]]

Thursday, December 19, 2013

las vegas :: part 1

Sometime last year Pats mom asked if we would like to go to Las Vegas to celebrate Hayden's 21st birthday in April, we of course said yes immediately. Its not like "Sin City" has ever been at the top of my travel wish list, but I certainly wanted to see what all the hype was about since at the time, I was the only person I knew who had never been there. So, on April 26th we left for a three day weekend. I will split our adventures in to two posts. 

friday (4/26) :: day 1
Me and Pat had to fly from Redmond to Portland, had a short layover, and then from Portland to Vegas where we would meet the rest of his family. In the afternoon we made our way to the tiny Redmond airport, had a snack, boarded our plane, and were in Portland before we knew it spending our layover at Rogue with some lunch. Pats step brother Chris and his wife were on the same flight out of PDX, so we met up with them and then got on our way. Seeing as we were flying to Las Vegas, Pat insisted that we ordered drinks on the plane. I would have been happy with a nap.

[[ flying out of portland. drinks on the plane. ]]

It was dark when we got in to town, which made for a pretty sweet incoming view. Everything was black and then all of the sudden there was an explosion of lights, and as we got closer to the strip we could make out some of the hotels for their famous neon features. Hayden was flying straight from Eugene, and he landed about the same time as us, so we met up with him, grabbed his bag (that he checked for some reason), found Pats parents who had driven from Palm Springs, and headed to our hotel. Graciously Pats family got us all really nice rooms at Planet Hollywood, and to our surprise, when we arrived our room was fully loaded with drinks, snacks, and even a little cash to gamble with! It was pretty amazing. The room itself was really spacious, had a nice giant bathroom, and an awesome view of The Paris's "Eiffel Tower" and Bellagio's fountains. At this particular hotel, each room is themed by a specific movie and contains some framed items from the sets. Ironically enough, we ended up in the "Cleopatra Room" giving us images of young Elizabeth Taylor, a shield from the set, and some elaborate costume jewelry. This was perfect considering Pat is obsessed with Egyptian mythology. Hayden's room was Titanic themed... so he got a giant picture of Leo over his bed, which was highly entertaining for me.

[[ lights of the strip from our plane. the birthday boy. welcome to vegas. mirror shot from our elevator. brothers and their mom. ]]

Once we got settled and changed our clothes, we headed down to the casino floor which was a flurry of bright lights, loud noises, cigarette smoke, and scantily clad tourists and employees. I think the theme for this particular casino was the sin portion of Vegas, so above all of the tables there were go-go dancers in thongs. It was definitely a bit of a culture shock. We wandered around for a bit, grabbed a drink, played a few slot machines, and then watched Hayden loose a ton of money attempting to play Black Jack with his friend Grant. Me and Pat aren't really much for gambling, so we were quiet observers. I did however learn right away not to buy drinks from the casino floor unless you want to pay $15 for watered down juice, thus sitting at a slot machine was helpful for a free version of said watered down juice... 

Since I had never been to Vegas before and it was just the first night, we stuck to our hotel for the most part, but what I didn't realize was that everything is connected by malls. At one point I was just wandering around, turned a corner and all the sudden the ceiling was all painted to look like a scene from Aladdin or something. I think The Aladdin was actually what PH used to be before being remodeled. Sensory overload around every corner.

Eventually Pats parents and Chris's wife went to bed, so it was just the boys and me left. Hayden and his friend Grant insisted on sharing a yard stick (sugary nonsense in a giant plastic tube, yuck) but the rest of us were hungry so we went to some thing called PBR Bar and watched drunk people fall off of a mechanical bull while we ate nachos. Chris left, and eventually me and Pat were done for the night so we started making our way back to our hotel room. But, before we got to the elevator Pat ran in to his work friend Courtney and her boyfriend who live in California and were, ironically enough, also in Vegas for her little brothers 21st birthday. We talked to them for a little while on the casino floor, and then decided to meet back up and go out together the next night since we were heading up to bed. I think this was around 5am.

[[ pictures around the ph casino on night one. i guess you aren't supposed to take pictures of the tables, oops. ]]

saturday (4/27) :: day 2 
Pats family tried to get us to join them for breakfast but we decided to sleep in instead and do our own thing, so we met up with them in the mall at some breakfast place just as they were finishing up. Apparently when we made our way to bed, Hayden and his friend went back to the casino floor and ended up staying up all night. Not going to lie, they looked like crap, but I guess maybe that is part of the experience?

[[ waking up in vegas, the morning view from our hotel room window. ]]

I wanted to have a "nice(r)" breakfast and then spend the day exploring with Pat, so we headed for the Paris to eat in the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. The food was yummy (especially Pat's giant french toast, which was practically cake), the bloody marys were very unique, and the view of the strip and Bellagio's water show was great. This definitely revived us and we were ready to walk around the casinos. We looked around The Paris, and then made our way down to the street and hit The Bellagio, Caesars Palace, The Mirage, Treasure Island, The Venetian and The Palazzo next door (I believe in that order). I think that is about as far as we got... we didn't quite make it to New York New York or even to the MGM Grand or The Luxor. Of all of the hotels we had toured at this point, The Bellagio and Caesar's Palace had a lot of beautiful elements, and Mirage had a really cool ode to The Beatles set up since they host their namesake Cirque du Soleil show.

[[ breakfast at the eiffel tower restaurant in the paris: view from our table. the kitchen. bloody marys. epic french toast. eggs bennie. exploring the strip: inside the paris. walking across the strip. inside the bellagio. caesar's palace: statues. epic shopping mall. murals. the mirage: the beatles circe du soleil section, my favorite! inside the venetian. gondola rides outside of the venetian & the palazzo. pirate ships outside treasure island. ]]   

By the end of our self guided tour my face was literally turning green from all the cigarette smoke and I just wanted to get off of the hot street, away from all the ridiculous people, and go to our room to take a nap. It was fun wandering through some of the casinos though, the bright lights and splendor of everything was a definite sensory overload. On the other hand it is amazing to me how many people sit in the casinos all day mindlessly playing the slot machines and smoking. Yuck. 

((( I will post the events of night 2 and day 3 tomorrow )))

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

my week in pictures 35

monday 12/9 - monday 12/16

This one isn't going to be terribly exciting, but I still have a few pics to post... The week was pretty busy at work since we are finishing things up for the holidays.

On Saturday we went out and did a ton of Christmas shopping, and afterwards we headed to GoodLife where there was a winter ale fest. going on featuring most of the local breweries. My favorite was definitely the mint stout from Riverbend, which I guess is local, but we had never heard of before. 

Pat had agreed to let some friends stay at our house for the weekend so that they could go boarding on Bachelor, so they met up with us at the festival and then we hung at the house for the night. The next day we took things super easy, and then headed to Brother John's for dinner, but for once I was too hungry to take any pictures of my food. 

After work on Monday (yes, I am including Monday for once), we headed over to Crux for a taco tasting event they were having featuring various tacos from restaurants around town paired with local brews. There was even a "bacon cheeseburger taco" made by Crux, which was literally beef, lettuce, tomato, and cheese wrapped up in a woven shell made completely out of bacon. I tried it... It was messy, and that was way too much meat, but I liked the bacon part.

[[ beautiful sunset on my drive home from work. blacksmith. mural at the gym. cold days call for thick sweaters and antlers. reflections/the living room. some of our favorite ornaments. crux taco night. winter ale fest at goodlife. ]]