Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Las Vegas Honeymoon Recap (2013)

If you would like to see all my travel posts, including recaps, tips & recommendations and packing guides, please visit my travel page.

I originally posted this back in the day, but it was before I was really blogging so I thought I'd share it again today for the link up with the girls. Plus, it's getting me excited for my two Vegas trips coming up later this year.

I had been to Vegas before (once with Trek America, once with my mum), KC had not. It was also our first vacation just the two of us. We have been on vacation together before to Disneyland, London, DC & Gatlinburg but never just the two of us, and we'd also never flown together. We both kept saying 'I can't believe we are at an airport and not saying goodbye!'

We stayed at The Signature at MGM Grand. It was amazing. The front desk lady was so friendly, she upgraded us to a penthouse with a view of the strip when she found out we were on our honeymoon. I was not expecting that from Vegas - I bet they get a lot of newlyweds there.

After settling in, we walked up and down the strip and grabbed a drink from Paris Las Vegas.

The next day, we got up bright and early and walked from our hotel to Circus Circus where Adventuredome is. I had read about it and was super excited to let my inner child run free at the indoor amusement park. The walk was a bit over 2 miles and we made a couple stops to get inside air conditioning, and to take photos. We weren't worried about the walk, though we probably should have been. 2 miles is nothing to walk for either of us, but in the middle of Vegas summer with little to no cover for most of the walk - it was hot, and we both got more than a little sun burned from it.

If you are considering going to the Adventuredome (whether you walk or take a taxi!) my advice would be to skip it. It was $30 each, there were only a handful of rides appropriate for adults (who like to act like children) and they just weren't that good. I love Disneyland and Disney World, so I really do enjoy acting like a child, but this was just not a fun time. I was very disappointed. We were probably there for 2 hours, max. We rode the roller coaster 3 or 4 times to get our moneys worth, as each ride is $8 each if you don't get the day pass. 

That night, we went to see Penn & Teller at the Rio. We bought our tickets from and saved about $50 each. Well worth checking out that website for shows and things if you are heading to Vegas. The show was hilarious, and I will admit, I was super excited to see them both after being a die hard Sabrina the Teenage Witch fan back in the day!  I definitely recommend adding Penn & Teller to your entertainment if you're visiting Vegas. They both hang out in the lobby after the show, and you get to meet them! Its not an organised line, you just kind of swarm them and wait for your turn to take a photo. But they are both super professional and obviously do this almost every night, so I don't think we were waiting very long at all. 

The next day we wandered around again, no real purpose. Then we went to see Absinthe at Caesars Palace. This was, by far, our favorite show. If you see one show in Vegas, make it this one! I totally stole that from somewhere, but there is no better way to say it! It was entertaining, hilarious and just all around a fabulous show. I was worried KC wouldn't like any of the shows, but he was almost falling off his seat laughing and enjoying it as much as I was. Although - please be aware this is 100% not meant for children, or those who are easily offended.

The next day we caught up on laying by the pool before the Matchbox 20 & Goo Goo Dolls concert at Mandalay Bay. I was soooooooo excited for this show, you have no idea. I loved both of these bands (still do) when I was a teenager, and was never able to see them in Australia. So when I found out they were going to be in Vegas the same time as us, how could I pass it up? And they did not disappoint. They were both fabulous! It was so much fun to sing along to songs that took me back to those years. I even teared up a bit when the Goo Goo Dolls played Here Is Gone - seriously my favorite song of theirs, it took me back so hard and fast. It made me so happy and sad at the same time. 

We definitely slacked from taking photos for the next couple of days. We went shopping, relaxed and indulged our lazy sides (it rained the night of the concert and the next day), went to see Jersey Boys (aahhhhmmmazzziiinggg! we were easily the youngest people in the audience, and the loudest sing along-ers!) and Zumanity (very good, hilarious, much like Absinthe in adult humor, but a bit more 'sensual' than Absinthe).

So that's it, our honeymoon! We had such a good time. I think Vegas is such a fun destination. Neither of us are gamblers or big drinkers, we were probably in bed by midnight each night and played the slot machines a couple of times whilst waiting on a show. There is so much more to do there than get drunk and gamble - unless that's what you want to do, if so - go for it! Also, I saw so many people with kids and babies - Vegas can be such a family friendly place and we are definitely going to take our future kidlets there. I just don't think that some of the shows are kid appropriate, but there is so much more to do - they might even enjoy Adventuredome more than we did.

Linking up with the girls for Wanderlust Wednesdays.

Wanderlust Wednesdays

I'm glad to have the link up as an excuse to share our honeymoon again, we really did have a great time and it's when I got bit by the travel bug again. I'd always wanted to travel, but it was kind of at a standstill in 2012 and 2013 because of the whole am I staying or going, okay I'm staying, wow weddings and permanent residency applications are expensive.. you know how it goes.

I started planning our Australia and Europe trips the week we got back from our honeymoon, and it's fun to look back and know that we were able to make those happen, if that makes sense. We are in such a different place in all possible ways.

Have you ever been - or do you want to go - to Vegas?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Books Lately

I felt blah last month, but I was feeling pretty good this month until I fizzled out again. 8 books is still 8 books, but what can I say. HGTV just really wants my attention you guys.  Good thing this isn't a race, ha. I actually got my TBR list down to 300 from 400 and I reckon I will add another 100 today.

Deal Breakers - Laura Lee - 2 Stars
I  received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was very predictable. I actually do quite like cliches and love stories, but this brought absolutely nothing new to the table, it was a story I'd read a thousand times, it moved way too fast to be realistic, the dialogue and general writing made me cringe, I really disliked the characters which made it even less enjoyable. If it had a slower pace, more in depth characters or plot, or heck just something different, it would have been better. Lets just say this: this book references 50 shades of grey and the main female character says 'it's a great love story'.  

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) - 3 Stars

I actually listened to this one (great narrator) and I did enjoyed it. It's very long though, and it took a long time to get interesting. Honestly, it's more of a 3.5 star book, but not quite a 4. I did not go into this expecting or comparing anything to HP like others might, so that isn't the reason it fell a bit flat for me. Some parts, I loved. Others were so boring I had to rewind because I found I wasn't paying attention. I had no idea who the killer was, but I wasn't like 'ohmygawd what just happened' when it was revealed. I was like 'huh'. I really liked some of the characters, but some of the writing was weird to me (like what is with the constant use of full names well after we've 'met' the person?). Anyway. Not bad.

Looking for Alibrandi - Melina Marchetta - 4 Stars

I wish I could properly explain how HUGE this book was at home. I can't though, partly because I hated everything Australian and refused to read it, and partly because it was a long time ago and my memory sucks.

Now, several (several) years later, I gave it a go. I've read two of Marchetta's books and absolutely adored them, so I went in with high expectations. This one did not disappoint, though I don't know if I loved it as much as Saving Francesca. As an Aussie with an Italian family, but no Italian blood, I could definitely relate to Josie in some ways. The thing I love most about Marchetta's books is that they are so real, or they feel that way to me. They end how they should, how real life would. Sometimes that's good and sometimes that's sad, but that's real life.
Red Rope of Fate - K.M. Shea - 4 Stars

For what it is - a very light, cute, fluffy read, I loved it. I really like Shea's books, even if they are quite short. I love the worlds she creates, the unique stories and backgrounds. This one was no exception and I've never read another story like it, and it was very entertaining. I liked the characters and laughed more than a few times. This book was sweet, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies - Seth Grahame-Smith - 3 Stars

Wanted to read this before I saw the movie. Obviously I know the story of P&P quite well, so it was kind of fun to read the words I knew and then have something happen that I wasn't quite expecting - most variations or whatever don't use Jane Austen's exact words, but this book did. I think I was expecting a different plot, but it's almost the exact same story with zombies thrown in. Well, there are quite a few differences (Lady Catherine is a badass zombie killer, a certain character dies, another character kicks someone in the face after a proposal..spoilers?) but overall, same story. So, did I enjoy it? I am not an Austen purist so I could take it for what it was, and it was a fun read. I can't wait to see the movie, because lets face it - I love anything P&P related!
Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher - 3 Stars

I was so into this book that I am pretty sure I growled at one point when my phone rang. However, I'm not sure how I feel about the overall message. Yes, we should all try and be nice and whatnot, we never know how our actions or words affect other people but to insinuate or accuse people for playing a part in their suicide is so wrong. I personally feel like if I had been the recipient of such tapes, it would have had a very negative impact on my life, probably the opposite of what the author intended. I think sending those tapes out was cruel and didn't Hannah see the irony in that? These people were cruel to me so I'm going to be cruel back, under the guise of explaining myself or helping them understand? But I guess you don't have to like or agree with Hannah. This book was so captivating that I read it in one sitting, but it left me feeling odd.
Of Beast and Beauty - Stacey Jay - 4 Stars

Oh man, this book. I read it in one night, stayed up late to finish it. I really, really enjoyed it and a tear (or 5) slipped down my face as I finished it. I had kind of normal expectations going in and I was surprised at how into it I got, it was so different from anything I'd ever read before, and it was paced so well. Loved all the characters, you'd hate someone and then love them a second later - I think Jay is a great writer to make you feel that. If you like beauty and the beast, YA and fantasy, I think you will like this book. Don't read it if you don't like all of those things. Is it great literature? No but I really enjoyed it, not quite 5 stars but pretty darn close.

The Expatriates - Janice Lee - 4 Stars
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It took me a little bit to get into this book, but that's normal when you introduce a few characters that are somehow all connected but you don't know everything yet. I found the description of expat life in Hong Kong very interesting and wonder how true it is? I don't doubt it though because I could see myself acting the same way, though I'm not boasting or proud of that, you adapt to your surroundings. I didn't love all of the characters and found it hard to relate to them sometimes. Overall I enjoyed their stories and the ending. I found this book very 'real life' although I have no idea what it's like to go through any of the things these women did. I don't think you have to be an expat or a mother to appreciate this book. I thought it was written very well and I continued to think about it for days after I finished.

TL;DR - The Expatriates was very good. Of Beast & Beauty was good but not for everyone. The Cuckoo's Calling was good, but long and not particularly riveting in parts. Thirteen Reasons Why was captivating but I didn't jive with the overall message, PP&Z was basically P&P with Zombies so there you go, you don't need to read it. Looking for Alibrandi was everything, but very 'young' and kind of a bit Australian (well, obviously, but you know what I mean, maybe?) so maybe not the best either. Red Rope of Fate was cute. Basically these were all good but I don't know if I'd necessarily recommend.

I also read Secret Sisters for book club, which I actually do recommend, so high five.

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

Life According to Steph

Read anything decent lately? Watched anything decent on HGTV lately?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Best of January; What's New With You Link Up

I decided late last year that I wanted to start recapping months on the blog - the reason being that I don't ever do weekend recaps and a lot of the things I do aren't 'worthy' of a blog post on their own. Then Gretch and I started talking about a link up and it was like fate! You absolutely don't have to do monthly recaps if you choose to link up, that's just what I'm doing this month. Hope you can join us - just link back to us in your post!

What's New With You

We started the month and year off at home, which is what we've done every year since I moved here. It's actually probably the only 'tradition' we have, so I'm gonna have to make sure it keeps happening.

I finally got my updated green card! You know, with my married name. You know, from when I got married three years ago and I applied for this card in April 2015. Jeepers, US government! But all jokes aside, thank goodness I finally have it. Now I can finally get my american drivers license.

We went out to dinner to Texas Roadhouse with KC's friends, we hadn't seen them in awhile so it was good fun. The most noteworthy thing of the night: I resisted the rolls. High five!

KC and I started this thing where on Sundays we make a new meal for each other. This sounds a bit lame, but sometimes I feel like I carry the weight of cooking all the time and it gets old. KC absolutely cooks, I'm not saying he doesn't, but I wanted to make it a thing where on alternating Sundays, we cook a new meal for each other. So far we've made chicken fried rice (me), stuffed peppers (KC), chicken shawarma (me), white chicken chili (him), goulash (me), anyway, it's been fun.

I ran with my bestie most Sundays, we normally run outside but it's been a bit too cold for us, plus the place we run might not have been safe if it wasn't plowed or whatever, so we met at the gym.

Also, KC switched gyms early January so after a couple years of not going to the same gym, we can finally work out together again!

Speaking of my bestie, she is actually a fabulous hair stylist and I helped her out (as in, she did my hair and then I stood around for a couple of hours showcasing her talent) at a wedding show, which is always a fun time. In my biased opinion, she's amazing and fabulous and if you're looking for a hair stylist in Louisville (or somewhat close, she travels for weddings and such) check her out: Hair Bar Louisville.

KC and I eat out about once a week, but it's normally qdoba or chik fil a, we rarely do sit down (fancy or otherwise), but every now and again we go to Shiraz which is one of my favourite restaurants in the 'ville. Every time I post a picture, people tell me my food looks like a giant turd. It's not poop, it's called a beef koobideh and it's amazing (coming from someone who's not the biggest fan of beef!).

We have two pretty big birthdays in January - my mother in law and my brother in law. My mother in law turned 50 so we pretended not to really care and took her out to texas roadhouse (twice in a month, I resisted the rolls again) before her birthday and then sent texts on her actual birthday so she felt a bit down and unloved (we are so mean).

aaaaand then we threw her a surprise party!

We celebrated my brother in law's birthday at a German restaurant none of us had ever tried before - holy amazing. It's been a long time since I've had schnitzel, it was so good and so were the desserts. They had lots of gluten free options which was great, and overall we'd definitely go back (though it was a wee bit expensive).

For most of the month it's been too cold / covered in snow for us to run outside, but I will take high 50s in January any day!

I know this isn't super exciting, but I actually really like it because I normally feel like January is a super slow month and we don't do anything, but that's clearly not the case. I am excited for February though, because BIRTHDAY MONTH.

If you would like to link up with us, please do so below:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I've never..

Decided to take a new spin on humpday today... Confessing things I have never done.

More Coffee Less Talky

I've never:

Had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. No thank you please.

Fallen asleep while reading. How do you even do that? Seriously how? It's not because I love to read or anything, it's because I just don't fall asleep whilst doing something, and reading is doing something.

Fallen asleep while sitting upright on the couch. If I lay down, I will fall asleep, but KC falls asleep sitting upright (okay, reclined, but still, it's pretty upright) on the couch and it's always baffled me.

Seen an episode of Saturday Night Live. Really.

Had an inside dog. Our dogs always lived outside. Might be a weather thing. I wouldn't make a dog sleep outside in the middle of a Kentucky winter.

Eaten at Chipotle. I'm pretty sure Louisville didn't have one until fairly recently (like last couple years) but I'm really not big on mexican (fancy or fast food) anyway.

Owned a male cat. I could say 'pet' but I've actually had a male dog (my brothers, actually) and a male mouse (his name was garfield and I lost him in my room). But all of my cats, at home and with KC, have been girls.

Eaten a fish taco. Up until recently, I hadn't eaten chicken tacos either, but Katie's recipe changed that and we have those fairly often.

Had a bee intentionally sting me. I stepped on one once, I'm sure he was not expecting that.

Skied. I have been snow boarding, but not skiing.

Eaten a twinkie. Meh.

Been on those pirate ship rides. I am pretty game for most rides, except for the pirate ship one. Nope nope NOPE.

Blown up a balloon. This might be the weirdest one and this is going to sound super weird, but I have never ever been able to blow up a balloon.

Have you done any of these, or is there anything normal / common you've not done?