Vegas 2017

I didn’t get around to blogging this sooner but here is my post about my Vegas trip!

My dad and I stayed at the New York New York Hotel & Casino, our first time staying on the Strip. It was a decent hotel and central to everything. The hotel lobby was outlined with restaurants and the further you walked past the casino, the decor changed to look like New York: there was a pizza parlor, painted brownstone apartments on the walls and cobblestone pathways. The hotel has a roller coaster which starts inside the hotel, so every few minutes there was the roar of the car taking off. Upstairs was Nathan’s Hot Dogs, an arcade, the second floor of Hershey’s World (first floor was by the casino), Coyote Ugly bar and entrance to the pedestrian bridge connecting New York to MGM Grand across the street.

New York New York
One of the walkways of New York New York

We arrived Friday afternoon and took the shuttle to our hotel. After freshening up it was 6pm, and we went to explore our surroundings. But first, dinner!

Broadway Burger
Bacon Cheeseburger and buttermilk onion rings

We ate at Broadway Burger and split the bacon cheeseburger and buttermilk onion rings. I loved the mini fryer the fries came in!

After, we went to look for the T-Mobile Arena, where the John Mayer concert was, which was located in The Park. It was a nice dining complex right outside of the hotel, with Shake Shack (need to eat there next time), Bruxie and other restaurants.

Saturday we went exploring. We went to see the flower garden at The Bellagio, ate pizza at Caesars Palace, went to a few of the Las Vegas gift shops and meandered around Hershey’s World.

Bellagio
Japanese Spring was Bellagio’s theme in the flower garden

Hershey
One of three cases of sweetness at Hershey’s World

That night was the concert, and it was alright. The arena was nice and in the foyers T-Mobiles signature pink was splashed everywhere. I’m still a hardcore John Mayer fan though.

Sunday morning we ate breakfast at Denny’s, checked out Wynn and Encore, took the tram to Mandalay Bay and Luxor and relived my childhood at Excalibur and Circus Circus.

Since it was our last night I wanted to eat dinner at Giada de Laurentiis’ restaurant, who is my favorite chef. I thought that since it was Sunday that it wouldn’t be crowded.

Boy was I wrong. The next open table was at 9:30pm, so we chose to eat at the bar lounge. Upon arriving, you walk up a set of stairs to a very clean, nicely lit and organized reception area. There are items for purchase on display, including her cookbooks and shirts. In the corner is a seating area with a photo booth.

Giada
Entrance to Giada

The dining area was equally fancy, with a panoramic view of the Strip, including the Bellagio Fountains across the street.

My dad and I split the chicken marsala meatballs and spaghetti. Both were full of flavor, especially the spaghetti, which was very lemony. It wasn’t overpowering. The shrimp was cooked well and complemented the pasta. I could’ve eaten a full order!

Spaghetti
Half portion of spaghetti with shrimp

After dinner we watched the Bellagio fountain show. It was good ending to our trip.

But it wasn’t over.

When we arrived at our hotel we noticed a crowd of people were waiting in front of the elevator lobby doors to Century Tower (where we were staying). The fire alarm had gone off on the 22nd floor so the elevators were shut down.

Our room was on the 37th floor.

After 30 minutes we were allowed to return to our rooms through different elevators (which didn’t make sense because each tower had their own set of elevators). But my dad and I were given conflicting information to get back to our room. We walked up stairs and took two elevators, only to come back down to the lobby. Eventually we had to be escorted by the hotel manager to our floor.

It was 11:15pm when it was over, and we needed to wake up at 5:30am to catch the airport shuttle.

After rushing to shower, I hopped into bed and awoke groggy. I didn’t want to go home.

But I had to. I had to go back to work, and vacation doesn’t last forever.

Until next time…

Camping

I went on my first camping trip over Memorial Day weekend. Four of us went to Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area and it was fun!

Since it was a weekend to unplug and be with nature, I didn’t take a lot of photos, but there was no need to. It was great making memories without photos.

Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area houses Aiea Loop Trail, with ten campsites scattered around the park. Some campsites had amenities such as bathrooms and showers, while others had nothing but greenery. Thankfully, we had the former, and our site was at the end of the trail.

Tent
Our tent

We arrived Saturday afternoon and spent the next 48 hours eating good food (someone ate more s’mores than I can count), relaxing, getting rained on (twice) and one Target trip (Sunday).

There were seven designated areas on the campsite, each having at least one picnic table. I was wondering how many people were going to there and it was quite a bit! The largest group had the prime spot, where they set up a covering and a large fire. It was populated, but the campsite was large so no one was invading another group’s space. I liked that there were a lot of people around.

Some of them made us laugh. Like group grilling over the sewer line. (Actually, that just made us concerned).

But, it was a sight.

During the day it was hot, but at night I needed to wear a jacket. In fact, I wore my jacket over my long-sleeve PJ’s.

Despite the cold, we saw the stars, and they were beautiful.

Smores
The…fifth, fourth time making s’mores?

Because of the rain early Sunday morning, it was too muddy to hike the trail. However, the four of us got our exercise walking to the entrance of the trail head looking for dill. (A friend and I went on a walk Saturday night and smelled it, so we brought the guys to explore but the smell was gone! They thought we were crazy).

Even though camping was fun, I was SO ready to go home and SHOWER. I think we all were. Two days in the “wilderness” was enough for me. I joked that camping was going to be a once a year affair. I’m not that much of an outdoorsy person, but wanted to try camping.

And my OCD was (mostly) kept in check. I was hesitant to go camping because of that, but I decided that I wasn’t going to let it prevent me from doing things.

And I didn’t.

Flying, Groan

I like traveling. I like doing the pre trip research and getting excited over going to see places and eating at restaurants. All of that is fun. (I’m still doing it for my Vegas trip tomorrow!)

However, I have a tiny fear of airplanes. If I can teleport to places instead of flying, I’ll be traveling often!

Sadly, that isn’t going to happen and I’ll need to cope with the anxiety. It’s the pre boarding jitters, because once I’m seated and comfy I feel fine.

It’s not that I’m scared the plane is going to crash or that I have a fear of heights (ok, maybe I have a small fear of the latter), but it’s just anxiety. I can’t pinpoint the exact cause.

It’s like going to the doctor: you get nervous before the appointment but once you’re in the office and getting examined–and after it’s over–the nervousness goes away.

I don’t remember how or when this began, but I didn’t have this as a kid. Traveling was more fun back then.

Anybody else feel this way about flying?

Second Time!!!

john-mayerrr

I will be in the audience of my second John Mayer show in 25 days. It’s less than a month away!! When he announced that he was going on a world tour I immediately started scanning the tour dates, looking for a close enough show.

Vegas was it.

I was surprised that my dad was willing to go with me. I was surprised that I suggested we go! I’ve never gotten on a plane to see a concert on a whim. (The first John Mayer show we went to was courtesy of relatives, who won tickets to see him at The Hollywood Bowl). That was a good show: the venue was nice, the audience was having a fun time and the musicians weren’t missing a beat. It was a sold out show.

That was in 2007.

And while April 22 won’t be exactly seven years since the first show, it’s close enough. This will be a special show for me, because I’ll get to witness the John Mayer Trio in person! They introduced me to the blues and opened up a treasure trove of musicians that I wouldn’t have heard of.

That’s what John Mayer’s been doing for me ever since I was 13. I picked up the guitar because of him: Seeing the music video to “No Such Thing” awakened something in me, and I couldn’t ignore it. I played Room for Squares on repeat until my cousin wanted to throw it out the window. Every album he released after, I bought. I own his two DVDs. I used to sit down with my guitar and go through the tab books for his songs. To this day I still get excited when he announces new music. Whenever I get bored of the guitar for whatever reason, all I have to do is listen to one of his songs or watch a performance of his and I’m back.

Say what you want about his personality, but John Mayer is a great guitar player and songwriter.

I can’t wait for April 22!