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Viva Las Vegas!!!

We found some really good deals a couple of months ago for Vegas so we decided to head there on a weekend trip.  We were there from December 13 to 15, Saturday thru Monday.  I think a weekend in Vegas is the perfect time, not too long and not too short.  We took the early 8am flight on Saturday since we wanted to maximize our time there.  It had been snowing the night before so we weren’t sure if we needed to call a shuttle to get us to the airport the next morning.  Fortunately, the snowstorm didn’t hit that morning and we were able to get to the airport just fine.

We didn’t wait too long at the airport and was able to board shortly after arriving there.  We settle into our seats way back in the plane and I start to drift off…it was early and I was tired.  I think I dozed off for a bit cuz I felt my head bobbing up and down.  I swore it was 15 minutes past our departure time and we were still sitting at the gate!  Later on Brian told me that they had to switch pilots for some reason…eeeek…glad I was asleep during that announcement.

So we finally take off and of course I go back to my nap…next thing I knew, it was time to land!  We head outside to grab and taxi and boy, it was cold!  I’ve been to Vegas in December before but I really don’t remember it being this cold!  At least the sun was out so that made it better.  We were staying at the Monte Carlo and we got there a bit early since checkout time wasn’t until 3pm.  Our room was ready anyway so we went up and dropped off our bags.  We were pretty hungry at this point so we decided to go next door to NYNY and grabbed a bite to eat.   After lunch, we decided to walk around the casinos and to check out what kinda games they had.  We walked over to MGM and I decided to play a bit…that didn’t last very long so we left.  Then we decided to walk over to Luxor but we had to walk thru Excalibur to get there.  They had Santa at the Luxor!  We didn’t take any pics with him though…we were trying to find a $5 table to play at but they didn’t have any!  So we walked back to Excalibur and Brian played some craps there.  He did okay there but then we just decided to head back to our own hotel to play.  We gambled for a bit to kill some time and then headed back up to the room for a nap cuz I was feeling tired.

We decided to have dinner at the Bellagio Buffet so we headed out a bit early so that the wait wouldn’t be so bad.  We got there around 6 and there really was no wait at all!  There was a group of 14 ahead of us but they seated us right away.  Mmmmm…we love the King crablegs there…it was worth every penny!  Brian had two full plates!

Mmmm...crab legs....

Mmmm...crab legs....

After dinner we had to walk it off so we decided to check out the christmas display at the Bellagio.  It was very festive.  They had a ginormous tree all decked out and huge snowmen made out of carnations!  We took some pics and decided to head out to watch the fountain show.

Christmas at Bellagio

Christmas at Bellagio

Snowman made out of carnations!

Snowman made out of carnations!

It was chilly when we got outside…and it was so windy!  We decided to wait in front of Bellagio for the fountain show but it got too cold to just stand there.  We decided to head over to Planet Hollywood to wait until the show comes on and to stay warm.  We walked around Urban Outfitters for a bit and checked out some of their stuff.  They had some interesting stuff.  Brian bought a hand soap for our white elephant gift exchange at work.  It was hand soap shaped like a hand!  Hahhaha…he thought it was perfect.  So we were in the store for a bit and notice that the fountain show still has not come on yet.  We were kinda tired so we decided to just head back to the room to rest for a bit.  It was already past 10pm by the time we got up to the room and decided to just turn in for the night…i know, what are we doing in Vegas sleeping before midnight!  Well, we had a long day and I was tired!

We slept in a bit the next day and decided to do some shopping.  We had Mexican for lunch at the Planet Hollywood and decided to check out the shops at Miracle Mile.  We then headed over to Paris and walked thru Bally’s to get to the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace.  Man, I forgot how huge these casinos were!  We ended up just walking around and did more window shopping than actual shopping…couldn’t afford much at those stores!  We decided to head back to the hotel and walked out to the strip.  Brian was stopped by this wannabe rap artist asking for donations to promote his new CD.  Brian wasn’t very impressed…hehehe…so he quickly moved on to another tourist.  We got back to the room and took a quick nap…i love those afternoon naps!  Our dinner reservations were at 6:30 so we decided to head out the door at 5:30 in case we took us a while to get there.  We were gonna take the monorail to the Venetian since it was only $5 per person oneway, it was much cheaper than a taxi.  The station was over at MGM so we had to walk over and as we were walking to the MGM,  I saw the Deuce right in front of us.  The Deuce is a double-decker bus that goes up and down the strip.  The one-way price was only $2 per person so it was much cheaper than the monorail.  We decided to hop on and take the ride down to the Venetian.  The ride was great!  It was so cheap and quick, we are gonna take the Deuce everytime now!  I wished  I would’ve taken it before…it would’ve saved me some legwork!

We had some time to kill before our dinner reservations so we walked around a bit.  I had been searching for the Wheel of Fortune machines at all the casinos that we went to but I have yet to find one.  As we walked into the Venetian, voila!  I spot the Wheel of Fortune sign!!!  Yay!  As we got closer, I noticed that it was a $1 machine….poo..i wanted the quarter machinese.  So we walked around a bit more and found some!  I put in my $20 and started to play.  I didn’t have much luck at first, I just really wanted to spin the dang wheel!  And then I finally got it!  Woohoo!  I ended up winning $30 so I was happy.  I got to spin the wheel AND win money!

We had dinner at Delmonico’s at the Venetian and boy, that dinner was yummy!  I ordered the filet mignon and Brian had the rib eye steak.  We had also ordered a side of potato gratin and that was so rich and yummy.  We had wanted to try out a steak place while we were in Vegas and choose Delmonico’s based on reviews that I had read before.  It did not disappoint!  Our tummies were very happy that night!

My yummy filet...

My yummy filet...

Brian's yummy Ribeye...

Brian's yummy Ribeye...

We decided to walk off our dinner by walking over to the Mirage to watch the Volcano show.  They had just reopened the show after some upgrades and it was really cool.  I can’t remember the last time I saw the show but I was impressed.  It was worth standing in the cold for a few minutes.

Volcano at the Mirage

Volcano at the Mirage

Afte the show we headed back to the Monte Carlo on the Deuce!  We went back to the room to drop off our stuff and then headed down to the casino to try our luck again.  Brian hits the craps table and I watch him for a bit.  I decided to play some Pai Gow Poker and found a $5 table…yay for me.  I must say, Pai Gow Poker is a great game to play if you just wanna kill time.  We played until almost 2:30am that night, that’s almost 6 hours!  I think Brian probably had a dozen beers that night!  I was getting pretty tired at this point so we decided to turn in for the night.

It was a great weekend trip…it’s always fun heading down to Vegas…so much to do and so much to see!  But then it’s always nice to come back home…I couldn’t take the smoke much more.

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Weekend in Portland…

Brian and I headed down to Portland this past weekend for some relaxation and shopping. We hadn’t really planned on doing a lot of shopping but it turned out that way. We got almost all of our Christmas shopping done on this trip which is a great feat! We’ve never been done that early before so it feels good. We had an early start on Saturday morning, we didn’t want to run into traffic so we left the house by 7:30am. The ride down was good, or so I heard since I fell asleep right when we hit the freeway…i happen to fall asleep easily and quickly in moving vehicles.

We made pretty good time, got to the Portland area shortly before 10am…just in time for breakfast! So Brian wakes me up and I start looking for a place to eat. I have researched a bit before the trip and people recommended this little place called Kenny & Zukes, people say they have really good french toast and I happen to love french toast! I punch the name into Brian’s cool new G1 phone and got directions to the restaurant. It was pretty easy to get to so and we found the place with no problems at all. We found a parking spot a couple of blocks from the restaurant and walked up….boy it was cold that morning! I started shaking and my teeth were chattering nonstop…i couldn’t wait to get inside the warm restaurant! Kenny & Zuke’s was just a normal looking diner, nothing fancy, right on the corner with big windows so you can see the whole restaurant. Luckily we got there early and there wasn’t much of a wait and we sat down right away. I was so cold I needed some coffee right away to warm up…decaf please since i’ve kicked my caffeine habit…or so I thought!

Breakfast time!

Breakfast time!

I didn’t even have to look at the menu cuz I knew I wanted the french toast already. So we order, Brian gets eggs and bacon with potatoes…I get the french toast made with challah bread…mmmmmm. Our order came and my plate had 4 ginormous pieces of toast with maple syrup…I immediately dig in. It was so yummy! It was just how I liked it….so soft and not too eggy. I managed to eat 3 pieces and gave the last one to Brian. He gobbled it right up.

So my caffeine kick…I had ordered decaf and the waitress brings me decaf.  Throughout breakfast, she was refilling my cup with coffee.  Now I assumed she knew it was decaf so I didn’t bother asking her about it.  Then towards the end, I noticed she was refilling another table with a different coffee carafe than she did mine, that one had an orange ring around the lid.  Hmmmm…that made me wonder…she refilled my coffee and others with a normal looking black carafe.  That’s when I figured she probably just gave me regular instead of decaf.  Crap, there goes my caffeine kick.  Oh well.  It wasn’t as if I wanted to kick my caffeine habit, it wasn’t even bad to start with.

It was too early to check into our hotel so we decided to head down to the Pearl District to walk around and do some window shopping.  We found a parking spot fairly quickly since it was still early and most of the stores don’t open until 11am.  We wondered around up and down the streets and checked out the stores.  The neighborhood was really cute.  I wouldn’t mind living there…I’m sure it’s pretty expensive though.  We checked out a few stores like Shoefly, Anthropologie, Adidas, etc.  We have never been to the Pearl District before so it was a good experience for us.  Luckily, the weather was cooperating that day and it was nice and sunny out.  As we were walking to the car, we saw a cute little cupcake shop called Cupcake Jones.  So we checked it out and bought a couple of mini cupcakes, the Pearl Cupcake, which was vanilla based and chocolate mint.  I found the cupcakes to be a bit dry…I wasn’t too impressed with it.

Cute little cupcake shop but the cupcakes are kinda dry

Cute little cupcake shop but the cupcakes are kinda dry

By the time we were done with the Pearl District, it was almost time to check in.  We got a great deal on Priceline and got a hotel at the Hilton Portland and Executive Towers.  Checkin was pretty quick and easy so we got our room and dropped our stuff off.  We head over to the Pioneer Place to do some more shopping.  For a saturday, the mall wasn’t too crowded, there was a fair amount of people but I guess the majority haven’t started their holiday shopping yet.

Brian's hunting for wabbits

Brian's hunting for wabbits

Our hotel for the weekend

Our hotel for the weekend

After a couple of hours at the mall, we head down to Woodburn, the factory stores that’s about half an hour from Portland.  We had heard from a coworker who just came back from there and said it was a good place to go for christmas shopping so we decided to check it out.  There were a few good stores there, the Nike Outlet, Le Creuset, Puma, Adidas and a ton of other stores.  That day we got there, they were doing the christmas tree lighting and fake snow.  We didn’t actually see the lighting of the tree but we did experience the fake snow.  It was actually just bubbles…the kids there loved it though.

Christmas tree at Woodburn

Christmas tree at Woodburn

We were getting pretty tired and hungry at this point and our list was pretty much done so we headed back up to Portland for some dinner.  What sounds good after a long day of shopping???  Italian!  I was craving some pasta and what better to refuel my body than to carbo load…ahhh…i feel like I’m preparing for a marathon…only backwards…hehehe.  We found a cute little italian place called Mama Mia’s in the waterfront district.  The restaurant was well packed for a saturday but we were still able to get a table for two right away.  I ordered the pasta with Grandma’s Special “Gravy” and Brian ordered the night’s special, lasagna.  Dinner came really quick, it was literally came 5 minutes after we ordered…we wondered if we got someone else’s order instead…oh well!  Dinner was yummy, we were full but ordered dessert anyway since I always have room for dessert!  I had the tiramisu and Brian had blackberry and raspberry sorbet….mmmm…my tummy was happy.

Mama Mia Restaurant

We were pretty tired after dinner so we headed back to the hotel and crashed for the night.  The bed was really comfortable and so were the pillows.  Brian kept trying to sleep on my pillows even though he had 3 of his own…he is known as a pillow thief in our household.

We decided to sleep in a bit the next morning but still ended up waking up at 9am…if you know me, you know that’s not sleeping in!  We head down to Starbucks for my daily fix…which is now a SF hazelnut steamed milk…mmmm…I’m glad i’m not lactose intolerant.

Not the fanciest Starbucks but it'll do...

Not the fanciest Starbucks but it'll do

After our steamed milk and hot cider fix, we walked over to nike town across the street and checked out the store.  It was huge!  I can’t say that I’ve been to the one here in Seattle but I hear they’re about the same size.  We didn’t get anything but the store was cool to look at.

It was time to check out so we got our car and went back to Pioneer Place to do some more shopping…we had a couple more things to pick up and then we were done.  I had wanted to pick up the Jason Mraz cd but we couldn’t find a music store around Pioneer Place.  We tried looking for a bit but then just gave up and decided to head to lunch at Joe’s Crabshack.  A little more about that later…so, on the way up to Joe’s, I remembered there was a Target on the way there that I can stop by to pick up the CD.  So we took a detour and went for the Target.  As we pulled into the Jantzen Shopping Center, we saw that there was a Circuit City and Best Buy there so we pulled into the store.  No luck at Circuit City…so we went to Best Buy instead.  The layout of the store was weird…it was different than all the stores here.  I didn’t like the store much, it just didn’t feel right.  Anyway, so we got our cd, finally!  yay!  It’s a great CD by the way.

So back to Joe’s Crabshack…Brian’s been talking about this place ever since we decided to go down to Portland.  He loves eating crabs…so of course we had to stop by for lunch before leaving!  We got there around 3pm so it wasn’t busy at all and we were able to get a table.  We ordered our crabfeast and had a great lunch.  We also saw a bit of the Seahawks game as well while eating lunch.  The place reminded me of the Crab Pot here in Seattle.  The crab was decent, nothing spectacular…hehehe…just crabs.

Joe's Crabshack

So that was our little weekend trip in Portland!  It was a fun getaway and tax free shopping, can’t top that!  =)

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