Thursday, December 11, 2008

Let the Christmas Parties Begin!

I received this via email and thought it was too funny :)


1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet
table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see
carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot
find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it
has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn
into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one
for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of
gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of
your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or
whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports
car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control
your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat
other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New
Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do.
This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the
buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like
frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position
yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before
becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of
shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if
you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have
three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the
mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have
some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party
or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read
these tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.
Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up,
totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Have a wonderful Christmas season!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

An Advent Conspiracy

I love this video...

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Vegas Recap!

Sorry for the slow update with my pictures and commentary from the Vegas trip. If I could sum it up in a simple phrase, it'd be..."total sensory experience." Some of it dazzling, some of it foul.

Day 1: Traveling to Vegas...our flights had some unexpected delays but we did finally get there. The SeaBands did their job effectively :) and we flew into Vegas at night. What a beautiful view! We made our way over to Bally's hotel and immediately your ears and eyes are overwhelmed. From the constant beeping, music, flashing lights of the casino to the marbled floors and brass fixtures everywhere. It's a tad garish.

Our hotel at night (Paris Las Vegas was right next door...more about that later!)

Day 2: The time change threw us for a loop, albeit the sunrise was beautiful! While Brent began his first day of meetings, I went on the Backstage tour of the Jubilee! show. The Jubilee! show is one of the last remaining traditional showgirls show, hence why I took the backstage tour, and didn't see the real deal! It was so fun to see these giant feathered headdresses and sequined costumes. Unfortunately, pictures weren't allowed, but if it was big, fluffy, and bright, it was backstage! :) We saw the girls' dressing rooms, wig repair room, and seamstress area. Huge productions have always thrilled me, even seeing behind the scenes concepts.

The rest of the afternoon prior to dinner, I walked the huge "Strip" down to the Luxor hotel (Egyptian-themed) to visit the Bodies exhibit. Once again, I wasn't able to take pictures while inside, but visit the site and you'll learn what I'm speaking of. Unbeknownst to me, the Bodies exhibit was more than an educational experience, it became one of worship too! I was constantly in awe of how God has so intricately and perfectly designed our bodies. I have always been fascinated with biology and especially anatomy, so this was just a little piece of paradise. And because Brent was in a meeting, it was quite liberating to go at my very own pace and read every single placard! :)

Afterwards, Brent and I had a buffet dinner organized by his company, so it was nice meeting new colleagues and catching up with ones I had met in Vermont.

Day 3: The first couple of hours were quite boring, because I was out walking on the Strip at 8 am, and I was unaware that all of the shops/malls open at 10. Bummer! Once again, I enjoyed the fact that I could go at a leisurely pace and look at all of the beautiful windows of stores. Vegas has lots of shopping available, but most of it is definitely high-end. I spent most of my time at the Venetian hotel where there are gondolas available to ride, indoors or out! It was beautiful, and since I've yet to see genuine European architecture, I enjoyed it for what it was.

I made my way to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, and had so much fun looking at all of the famous figures. My only regret was that I didn't have Brent with me to take more pictures while there. Unlike other museums, this one really encourages visitors to have fun with the fake celebs. I had to get one with my girl Lucy!

After my fun there, I met up with Brent for lunch at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. It was divine! As soon as we were whisked off of the elevator into the kitchen, we were given delicate phyllo dough cups with crab dip inside. Amazing! We were taken to our seats where the views were amazing, since we overlooked the Bellagio hotel's fountains. Our waiter was actually from the south of France and had immigrated to the US only four years ago. His accent was to die for...I truly felt like I was in Paris. We ordered some succulent dishes that were no doubt 3,000 calories each. Before we left, our waiter brought over a complimentary dessert, chocolate ganache dusted with powdered sugar. I kid you not, it was the best dark chocolate I've ever tasted. I jokingly told the waiter, "This isn't Hershey's, is it?"

We left lunch and headed up to the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower and saw some great views of the whole city, including the gorgeous mountains that surround the desert terrain.

We made our way down the Strip since Brent had yet to see it...he had been stuck in meetings the whole time, all the while my feet were dying from the miles I'd walked. He took a ride on the roller coaster at New York, New York and we made our way over to MGM Grand and had fun watching the lions play in their habitat.

Later that evening, I had two wishes come true....

We dined at Wolfgang Puck's Bar & Grill and we had front-row seats at Cirque du Soleil's Ka!

First, the food. Ever since I saw Puck's "Chefography" on Food Network, I've been hooked. His vision and philosophy of cooking truly ignites me, and I just knew his food would be out of this world. Ladies and gentlemen, it did not disappoint in the least! It was hands down, the best food I've ever eaten. So savory, flavors bursting like fireworks in my mouth, unusual, yet delicious flavor pairings....this was edible art my friends! I have never tasted anything like it. I had the pan-seared scallops with capers, almonds, raisins, parsley, and a cream sauce. And I could've cared less that I was snapping pictures of our food....why the heck not?!

Brent ordered the salmon filet which was equally superb. We had to go out with a bang, eating at one of Puck's restaurants and all, so we opted for two separate desserts! Heaven!!! I ordered the chocolate souffle with vanilla gelato and cream sauce, while Brent had the brownie bar (much more gourmet than it sounds).
After spending much too much on dinner, but let's face it, it was worth every single penny, we walked across to Ka. The lobby itself was magical, resembling the hull of a ship, and the staff wore medieval/vagabond-looking costumes.

As we entered the theatre, huge balls of fire would explode from the stage area, instantly warming our faces. All around the stage area was scaffolding, which performers did acrobatic flips and soared overhead before the real show began.

For the first time in a very long time, I felt like a child. It's an exhilarating feeling to be in awe and wonderment...truly not an everyday feeling in the life of an adult! I cannot do justice in attempting to describe what we saw, but in summary, it's as if I were in a living dream. Our front-row seats paid off big time since we were only feet away from characters, watching their facial expressions up close and their choreographed movements. I had a blast, and didn't want the show to end. I have a new goal now, to see as many Cirque shows as I can!

Day 4: Brent and I rented a car and drove out to Boulder City where the Hoover Dam is. We decided to take the insiders' tour and it was very cool! Amazing to see what vision the architects and engineers had in building the dam. Lake Mead, the largest U.S. man made lake was also gorgeous and right by the dam. After several hours there, we headed west of Vegas to see Red Rock Canyon. Even though the desert has a stark beauty about it, it has such depth of texture and color.

Day 5: A journey back to reality...we made our way home leaving sunny low-70s to meet frosty high-20s! Quite the shock to the system.
We had a fabulous time, and if you'd like to hear more about a specific attraction, feel free to leave a comment!