Pandora.

Yesterday we were able to go to the preview for Pandora- The World of Avatar. The preview was something we were invited to as a pass holder for Walt Disney World. The world opens to the public on May 27th 2017.

If you are attending a preview, here are some things we wish we knew when attending:

  • There are 2 rides in the world of Pandora, Avatar Flight of Passage and The Na’Vi River JourneyWhen attending the preview you are permitted to do the River Journey as many times as you like, the line was pretty non existent, so we got off the ride and right back in line, might as well get the most of it while you can! For the Flight of Passage you will be given one fast pass per person in your party. You only get to ride this once, but before you leave, walk through the standby line to see some cool stuff you may not see if you plan on never standbying again like us lol. Tip: Get in line early, they only give out so many fast passes for the Flight of Passage ride.
  • If you get in line early, you may be sitting in the shade in the beginning, nice and cozy, but beware, they move the line forward and you will be in the hot blazing Florida sun. Bring water, and possibly an umbrella to prove you some shade. We stood at the front of the line in the sun for almost 40 min waiting to get in :/
  • There is a walk up service restaurant in Pandora, Satu’li allows you to create your own bowls with beef, chicken, fish or tofu. They have other menu items as well, and the food was pretty decent for a walk up service, I tried the Black Bean sauce which really seemed like a Sesame dressing, and the Caramelized Onion Chimmachuri, which I struggled to figure out where the onions came into that mix was. IF you weren’t aware, you can now order your food via My Disney Experience so its ready when you get there.
  • Walking through the Valley of Mo’ara was pretty spectacular, the attention to detail was in true Disney form. I did however wonder why I saw purple drainage type grates everywhere in the middle of the otherwise spectacular views. Weird.
  • There is also Pongu Pongu where you can get some fun and unique drinks. I did not get the chance to try any, but looking forward to it next time!
  • Be sure to stop in the beginning and “pet” The Flaska Reclinata, it growls and smokes and mists to create the air so its breathable for us humans.
  • We planned on staying until Pandora closed on our night since we were the last time slot, we wanted to see it all lit up, in all its glory. Sadly, that didn’t happen. We stayed till 8:30pm and other than the glowing on the walkways, it wasn’t lit up at all :/ We were so sad and disappointed. According to 2 employees they haven’t even seen it lit up yet as Disney isn’t giving that feature away so easily. Boo.
  • If your kids are into getting the Wilderness Explorer Badges, there is a new book, with 2 Pandora stops to learn about the world.
  • The gift shop has some cool stuff, and you can guarantee your kid will want a Banshee, and they can have one for $49.95

I have to say, Disney could still take a few tips from the book of Harry Potter at Universal when it comes to immersing you into a world, but Pandora did not disappoint, its the best immersion Disney has done to date, and it was pretty spectacular! We can’t wait to go back when it opens!

Turtle Mound

I joined a challenge to get #365miles in #365days of self propelled miles. My favorite self propelled activities are kayaking and hiking. So far, I’ve mostly done hiking. A couple weeks ago, I got the family, my mom and my … Continue reading

Surprises at Wal-Mart

I’ve always wanted to do this, and this was the second year I was able too with my Foundation. Super hyped! Love seeing peoples reactions! Check out the video

3 days before Christmas 2016, Foundation 37 headed to Wal-Mart in Port Orange and surprised 13 people at the registers by paying their bill at check out. What an amazing blessing it was not only for the people who’s bill we paid, but also to everyone around us that witnessed this Christmas blessing. We saw smiles and heard laughter as person after person came up to us and told us we brought the Christmas Spirit to them when they saw what we were doing. We heard amazing stories as we paid peoples bills, from a couple who had moved here from Texas 3 days prior and used all their income on the move, a woman who was trying to get through her first Christmas without her mom, to a couple who didn’t pay their electric bill just so they could afford to get some Christmas presents for their kids in hopes their power wouldn’t be turned off. Not everyone we paid for needed help, or had bad circumstances, but everyone had a story, and everyone was extremely thankful.There were ear to ear smiles, and tears of joy as well as some tears of relief, but we brought Christmas Cheer to all of Wal-Mart that night, and we loved every minute of it! #payitforward #Christmas2016 #Christmasblessings #atthecheckout#WalMart #Portorange #PortOrangePride #Community

On the road to no where

Our Spring Break Road Trip 2016 Continue reading

Rockin’ Kelly Park.

More adventures to tell you about! Another one bites the bucket list! Rock Springs/Kelly Park. First, let me say again how the amount of quality and up to date information on these parks/springs is severely lacking. Hopefully my posts will help you to navigate the otherwise rocky (get it? Rocky… lol) path of these springs!

It took us approx. 45-50 minutes to get there. It cost us $5 to get in with 4 people in the car.

First, Don’t listen to Siri, her directions are a bit sketchy once you get to the actual area of the park. The only reason I knew I was close was because I saw a tube rental place lol.

Second. I couldn’t really figure out the whole Kelly Park but Rock Springs thing.. and upon arrival we went right to the “swimmin’ hole” which apparently is “Kelly Park”. We got in with our tubes, their was grass etc on the bottom, lilly pads, only a smaller clear area with just sand. We figure we are going to head on the tube run so we hopped in and went on our way, only it dead ended in a very short time and we were left wondering “wtf” We walked back down the trails to head back to the main area but noticed people coming from somewhere else on their tubes, thats what we asked and discovered that “Rock Springs” is a separate area, and you have to go down these trails and board walks to get to it! (There are stairs to navigate as well)

One beautiful thing about these springs is that unlike Rainbow Springs the swimming area was HUGE. Not even including the tube run there was plenty of space to have fun and splash around. Even though the park was fairly crowded you didn’t completely realize it.

Swimmin' Hole

Swimmin’ Hole

This was the actual “Rock Springs” or the Head of the Springs. Lots of rocks around as you can see and a fun little area where you could jump in. This area is where you go to put your tube in and sail away down the tube run. The run isn’t  extremely long, maybe 15 min, but lots of fun, very relaxing and you have the opportunity to find some cool shells, rocks, sharks teeth, and money! My son found $2.00!

The Actual Rock Springs

The Actual Rock Springs

Cavern

Cavern

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Information I read says the Springs are 68 degrees, but I have to say they felt warmer to me than the 72 degrees of Rainbow Springs!
  • You can bring your own tubes to Rock Springs, Although there are tube rental places on the way in. We saw two of them both renting for $3 per tube. You will need a Drivers License or membership card (BJ’s Sams, etc) to leave in exchange for your rental. Checking out both tubes at the springs, I think the RONS tubes are the best choice.
  • Bring Water Shoes! With the walking around between places, and the bottom where you can touch with grass rocks shells etc. shoes will save your feet!
  • Normally I don’t tend to utilize the “unloading” areas of these places, but when the park is full, you have to park very very far away. At this location, utilizing the unloading zone is a must!
  • You can bring in coolers with food etc. There are a few grills but not many. They do also have concession with the typical fries, hots dogs, etc.
  • Bring your own trash bag. This place is seriously lacking in trash cans (which might be why our kids picked up a total of 3 plastic bags, a water bottle and a potato chip bag out of the springs) Load it up and throw it out on your way out at the end of the day.
  • There are lifeguards on duty. Quite a few of them actually. They are also very serious about not jumping into the swimming area from the wall. (with the exception of the one little area at the Head)

All in all I give this place a big cannonball splash! We had a blast and we will be back!

Comment below and let me know what you love about Rock Springs!

Rainbow Review

Ok, not that kind of review, and not that rainbow!

Im talking Rainbow Springs! One of my bucket list places that we checked off the list today when we went with friends. This is my review of the springs so others can be prepared for whats in store, and the reality of springing! 🙂

Leading up to this date, I read the website, checked everything, and even called and spoke to someone that worked at the Springs. We decided to just go to the Head springs and relax, swim, picnic, and walk the trails. This review is based off of those experiences.

Firstly, lets keep in mind that from where I live this was a two hour drive. It was nice drive through the Ocala National Forest and little quaint small towns, but 2 hours none the less.

Cost: The website reads: Fees: $2.00 per person at the headsprings entrance and $5.00 per vehicle, but upon arrival there was no one taking “per car” fees, only once we got inside was it $2 a person (Which is awesome!)

Originally we wanted to grill out for lunch, make some burgers and dogs etc. however, when I called the lady at the springs told me that all the picnic areas/grills were already reserved for the day, and typically were for every weekend. So we ended up bringing sandwiches, snacks etc. which was fine, but we got there and not only got prime picnic table space, but it was a free for all to get a grill and picnic space! (Below is a view from our picnic table, also notice how empty it is in the water at 9:15-9:30am when we arrived)

View from our picnic table.

View from our picnic table.

On the website it states several times to get there early. They open at 8:00am and it states they tend to reach capacity by 10am. We got up WAY too early, got there by 9am (we were late) and the place was practically empty. By 11:30am it was mobbed, but the gates were still open and still accepting people. Matter of fact, when we left around 2pm, there was still mobs of people coming into the park.

This park seems to have a large capacity to hold people in the picnic areas/lawns etc. However.. They should reach capacity WAY before when it comes to the swimming area. The actual swimming area was way too small for that many people. By the time we returned from our walk and jumped back in you couldn’t actually swim for the amount of people that were in the water. So it was more like a.. stay in one place, not a swim lol The Dock area where you go to get into the springs was even more crowded, people were taking up the edges and the stairs which made it hard to get in and out as well. (in the one picture below you can see how small the swimming area is, and it only got more crowded than this picture as time went on)

EMPTY

We practically have the place to ourselves!

After our walk

After our walk (11-11:30am) it got crowded, and even more as time went by.

There are pictures of lots of animals on the website.. sadly all we saw was a couple little fish and a baby turtle 😦 I did overhear someone talking about how last time they were there they saw otters though!

One of the things I was excited about was “hiking” through the “Rainbow Gardens” Garden is a strong word.. We walked all around, the waterfalls (man-made) were beautiful, and fun to walk around.. but Im not sure what they mean by gardens, I think I managed to get a picture of 2 flowers. Im sure its better at another time of year. Amazing beautiful trees though!

Butterflywaterfall

Rainbow Springs used to be an attraction, so the hiking and “trails” They mention is actually the walkways that used to go throughout the park when it had a zoo, butterfly gardens, etc. Speaking of butterfly garden, there was talk of it on the website and signs pointing to one, but we never actually saw a butterfly garden (and only saw one butterfly all day!)

The pictures on the website show lots of grass, and coral like plants etc under the waters of Rainbow Springs, which I was excited to see when snorkeling but Its actually sand and rocks in the part you can actually swim in.. Im thinking where you canoe/kayak/tube its probably different and maybe thats where the pics came from.. but sand and rocks isn’t what we were expecting.

Points of interest:

  • While no inner-tubes are allowed at the Head Springs, be sure to bring some noodles, you can’t actually TOUCH The ground at any point in the springs, so you are constantly treading water to stay afloat. (a bonus to this, is it was fun to jump in from the dock and not worry about hitting bottom!)
  • The Springs, like most springs is 72 degrees all year round, so yes.. its cold.
  • The tables are prone to weather, bring a plastic table cloth or sheet to cover it for a more enjoyable picnic
  • A patrol Pontoon boat comes by often, you WILL get into trouble for swimming beyond the Buoys lol
  • You are able to bring disposable food containers/drinks to the head springs (but not on the river when tubing or kayaking etc) but no glass and no alcoholic beverages.
  • Be careful on the decking of the dock, it does get slippery.
  • There is no lifeguard on duty and especially when it got to be so crowded it was hard keeping track of the kids, be weary.

Go Fund Who?

Recently I have had several occasions where people have asked why I do not like the “gofundme” trend and why I refuse to support and donate to causes with these accounts.

Sadly, its a matter of trust in people.. I used to overly trust everyone and just throw money around like it was free. I still tend to overly trust but I have also learned that when something can’t be backed up, do your research and find out where this is going to help. I myself have been screwed on numerous occasions or watched friends get screwed because they trusted someone taking money out of their hand.

So let’s chat about gofundme me specifically. Anyone can create one of these accounts, there is nothing done by gofundme to determine if the cause is legitimate and nothing done by gofundme if it turns out that its not and you lose your money. When you donate to a gofundme account it goes directly into someone’s bank account. There is no corporate filing, no 501 paperwork, no business account, just someones normal personal bank account, or a bank account they created for this purpose (Which is still legally a personal account) Who is to determine what they use that money for? The other problem with these accounts is that Many accounts pop up that are falsified and based on other peoples tragedies that are not even started by the person that had the situation.  I have witnessed money raised through gofundme be used for something other than what it is raised for. Again where is the accountability? Well, the fact is.. there isn’t any. One of the other issues you have is that people could be “double dipping” You have no way of verifying if they have already received assistance from somewhere else and now they are doing this in addition to the assistance they already received.  If its a case I know of personally, and I know the person on a personal level, I will give directly to them in any way I can. People needing help and assistance is why we created Foundation37, but don’t ask me to “gofund” anyone, it won’t happen and I suggest that in the future you know who your go funding as well and make sure to do your research before donating to any cause. Not to mention the writing in many of the descriptions of these accounts make me want to start a gofundme to send these people back to school! Mind you, I am not a great writer myself.. but I know the difference between “Are house” and “our house”

I also want to mention that many times their are systems set in place and many organizations that can truly help these people but often they are too lazy to seek those systems and organizations out. So they take the lazy way out and ask people to hand over their hard earned money.

Here is a perfect scenario of what I am talking about:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/12/30/california-car-crash-online-fundraising-scams/21077933/

And, again someone agrees with me:

http://gizmodo.com/gofundme-is-a-great-way-to-scam-people-1681401839

And thats my soapbox for the day.

PS: I need a new catering truck, will you donate to my gofundme account? 😉 haha!!

Ten Lessons 2014 taught me.

1) I don’t have to know how to do everything

For years every time I saw that someone was really good at something, *I* wanted to be really good at it, not to show them up or or be better than them but I think I was striving to find my spot or to be good at many things. I realized this year that what Im good at Im really good at, and I don’t have to be good at anymore than that. People each have their own passions and talents, not everyone can do mine, and I don’t have to know how to do theirs!

2) It doesn’t matter when a “friend” decides not to be a friend anymore. 

I have more true friends than any one person should be allowed. Im truly blessed with the people in my life, and should not fret wondering why so and so doesn’t talk to me anymore.. I need to focus on those who do want to be in my life, give THEM my life, my love and my time. The rest are gone for a reason and it took me awhile, but I totally see that now. If they are not adult enough or care about me enough to come tell me WHY they suddenly don’t talk to me, their problem not mine. Its ok if someone doesn’t like me! My dad was the guy that everyone liked, if they didn’t like him you can bet it was due to jealousy, he never did a cross thing to anyone, he was a people person. I’m the same way, I would do anything in the world for anyone, I’m sure there are a few that would say differently, but thats ok, they can think what they want about me.. although they may have a different story to tell, I know the truth and I know who I am, and I have plenty of people that love me for me and thats what matters. I may not be everyones cup of tea, but Id rather be their shot of tequila anyway, at the end of the day it’s their loss because I am an AMAZING friend. I used to walk into a room full of people and wonder if they liked me, now I walk into a room full of people and wonder if I like them.

3) I love new friendships!

I used to have some warped idea that new friendships just got in the way of old ones.. people would come into a friendship and bond with some of your long friendships and things would falter. While that has happened in the past, I realized my logic is faulty. We have made some new wonderful friendships this year, Scott and Julie, Lauren and Carla to name a few, but each of these have added a richness to our lives and I’ve learned that new friendships are a wonderful thing and can teach me a lot  so I’m embracing them.

4) Make more memories

While I have enjoyed my year of Selfies and will continue to do so, I have realized that I spend so much time behind the camera that sometimes I think life is passing me by.. I want to make the memories and make the books of memories for my children and future generations, and will continue to do that.. but I have a goal to put down the camera and live in the moment more than I do now. At least until Im rich and Famous and can have my very own paparazzi follow us around on al of our adventures lol

5) Success is nothing to be ashamed of

There are three kinds of people, those that will be jealous of your successes and at times try to destroy it, those that will simply ignore it and act like it doesn’t exist, and those that will celebrate it with you. Stop trying to get the attention of anyone but the celebrators, they are who I should surround myself with.

6) It’s ok to be lazy sometimes.

Ive taken the time on several occasions this year to actually be lazy.. I know you probably don’t believe me but I have! I realized that its ok now and again to stay in your PJs all day and lay on the couch and watch movies, and I actually like it!

7) Not everyone is going to agree with me

and thats ok! Its ok if someone doesn’t agree with me, I make the right choices for me and you make the right choices for you. I may not agree with yours and you may not agree with mine but its whats right for me and for my family. Agree to disagree.

8) Keep it real

It was my motto for 2014, “keepin’ it real” In living with that motto, I realized that #1, Ive always had that motto, that as I got older I started to let it slip away in an effort for people to like me or to accept me, but thats not who I am. I do like to keep it real, you will never wonder what Im thinking or how I feel. My life isn’t a fake front on facebook (Say that 5 times fast) what you see is what you get. Can you say the same? The motto will live on!

9) Keep it easy! 

I’ve really learned this year especially through business that you have to keep things easy for people. In the world of going 10 different directions at warp speed, people don’t have time to “work” for something. They work all day, they don’t want to “work” at making an order, or scrolling through websites to find something, or purchasing an item, or hell, even relationships. I am notorious for ditching on things if they are too hard! I don’t mean my dreams, my business, relationships etc. I mean, ordering from websites, researching information thats difficult to find, things of that nature. People make things SO much harder than they need to be, and ain’t nobody got time for that. Im a busy damn woman! You have to make it easy for me.. for everyone. If its easy they will come in droves. Thats my business advice for 2015 and one I will be applying in all aspects of my life.

10) Taking the High Road really does work! 

I had a situation with a “friend” at the start of 2014, I took the high road in the situation because I knew I was right and that I had not done anything wrong, it took a few months but eventually that high road paid me back ten fold. People show their true colors in the end, you just have to have the patience. Ive always been the type to try to convince people, and over explain myself. I MIGHT (Might, lets not get too excited) have learned to just walk away and let the chips fall where they may.

And there you go! My Ten lessons of 2014. It’s been one of the best years we have had in a long time. Great things happened and 2015 will be even better!

Silence of the Lambs?

I find it sad, and a little disturbing that the teachers in our area are silenced. What kind of world do we live in when our teachers live in fear of speaking out against what is clearly wrong in the school, or the school system? Shouldn’t our teachers who are in the daily grind of the classroom and the school be the ones making decisions and guiding the direction of our schools? How can they guide our youth, when they have no say in what they do in the school or the classroom? How are we to trust they they can do the right thing for our children when muzzles constrict their voices?

I know its easier said than done, but I wish our teachers would rise up together as one very large and loud voice. I know they want too, I know they wish they could, but I also know they can. They need to be heard. They deserve to be heard.

I know we are scared.. scared of the world around us, scared of the system. Shouldn’t we be more afraid of what will happen if we don’t use our voices as opposed to what will happen if we do?

What will become of our system and our future if we continue to be sheep in the herd and allow a few rulers who have no vested interested other than their own be the decision makers. How is it that the ones making these choices for our children and our teachers are the ones who aren’t in the school day to day? They have no students in the system, they are not teaching in classrooms, how is it that we have decided they know whats best? In reality, they don’t.

Speak up, Rise above. Not for me, not for you.. but for our children, for our future. 

Vegas.

We ended 2013 and began 2014 with a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. Now Im not sure what you think of when you think of Vegas, but being the travel deprived person I am, I only thought of gambling. That being the case Greg and I never had any desire to go to Vegas, we thought, if were going to spend that much money on something, we are going somewhere better than Vegas! Our friends Gina and Scott however, love Vegas, and decided to renew their vows there on New Years Eve. So we decided we were going along for the ride. There is a lot we learned, a lot we didn’t know or understand about Vegas, So this is my Vegas Review, if you have never been hopefully you can learn a few tips! We are no longer Vegas Virgins.

In Planning our trip to vegas there was going to be a large group of us, so coordinating everything together with different ideas of what everyone wanted to do was obviously hard to do. Gina and I sat and looked through restaurants one day and made a couple of group reservations, and then Greg and I tackled the trip with the idea that when we were with the group we would do what they wanted, but we knew we would have time to ourselves and not need to be with them everyday, so we planned stuff we knew we would want to do. One thing Gina and I learned from booking with a large group is, you can’t just call and make a reservation, you have to go through a group sales place. Not as easy and not as accurate. Greg and I did most of our booking online, Hotel, flight, etc. and I surprised him with the Beatles Love Show. TIP: We discovered once we were in Vegas, that you can earn Free dinners and show tickets by booking all of your travel through the hotel your staying at’s travel agent. Had we booked our flight, AND our hotel stay through our hotel, we could of gotten our Beatles Love Tickets free.

Day One – Sunday Dec. 29, 2013:

Our flight arrived and we ventured out to figure out how we would get to the hotel. We first ran across all the Limo drivers holding their signs, and we saw one with Gina and Scotts name! Their flight was after ours so we were going to attempt to steal it, but decided we better not lol. Coming out of the airport we could see where the taxi’s would pull in to drop off, but not where they were picking up. We decided to buy a ticket on one of the many shuttles that were lined up. Our first mistake. First, the shuttle line we were assigned was #3, but our shuttle was actually in the #1 spot. Our driver was missing in action for a good 15 minutes. When he finally arrived he threw (literally) our baggage in the back and we hopped on the shuttle waiting at least another 15 min for more passengers before he decided to leave. TIP: Find where the Taxi’s pick up! It would of only cost us a couple bucks more and we would of made it to the hotel 30 minutes sooner at least! 

We get to the hotel, check in and head up to our room realizing when we get in there, that we somehow ended up with a better room than we booked! We were upgraded! Don’t know how or why but we weren’t complaining! 🙂 Once we got settled we had some time on our hands before Gina and Scott and the rest of the gang would arrive and get settled, so we ventured down to start exploring and to find a place that could accommodate us all for dinner. We walked across the street to the Aria and had our first face to face experience with a real live casino! So much action happening, lights, sounds, and SMOKE. The first person I saw with a cigarette, I said to Greg “wtf is that guy doing?? He’s smoking inside!!” I quickly realized we weren’t in Florida anymore Toto, and smoking indoors is legal in Vegas. Well, duh. I never did get used to all the smoke around, most places seemed to have a good ventilation system and you didn’t really smell the smoke unless you were next to someone smoking, but some hotels, P.U. Something to keep in mind if you have allergies.

Much to our surprise we came across a Pub. Todd English’s Pub! My Foodie Fan girl squealed with excitement, Im already beginning my celebrity foodie fun on the first night! We scooped up a table for 20 and sat down for a drink while we waited for the rest of the gang to roll in. Once everyone arrived we dug into some good grub and more drinks! TIP: I did a lot of searching on the internet for celebrity restaurants and had no idea this pub existed. We found several intriguing places to eat that I didn’t see on the internet, so leave some time and space to allow yourself to do some exploring for breakfast lunch or dinner, you never know what you might find! 

Day Two – Monday, December 30, 2013:

Greg and I woke up and ventured out to see some sites. TIP:  Most of the hotels down the strip connect in some way so its easy to get from one place to another even without walking outside on the strip itself. All of the hotels still had up Christmas Decorations (Bellagio being the best by far!) so it was fun seeing everything all dressed up for the Holidays. Our celebrity food goal of the day was Gordon Ramsay’s Burgr (No, I didn’t spell that wrong, thats what its called) I was in foodie fan girl heaven, the only thing better would be if Gordon was cooking my meal himself. We sat at the bar where we could watch the kitchen happenings, and had good conversation with one of the Executive Chefs. (Who looked a lot like one of the Hell’s Kitchen winners, but wasn’t) For an appetizer we got the Honey Pig Bao Buns.. roasted pork belly, cucumber, radish, cilantro, and honey-hoisin sauce. DELISH! Then we got the truffle parmesan fries, and Greg got the Farmers burger (Fried egg on top!) and I got the Hells Kitchen burger with roasted jalapeños, what else? We also got a couple of specialty cocktails, Greg’s Whiskey Cherry Lemonaid ended up being his favorite of the whole trip. Everything exceeded our expectations, and we declared that between Gordon Ramsay and Jaime Oliver, they must be on a mission to change how the world thinks about English Chefs. TIP: we got there early to eat (Around 11:30) by the time we left there was a line all the way down the hall of the Hotel, arrive early for a good seat! I also decided to try my hand at a couple of slot machines! (You know, the ones that don’t have slots anymore) TIP: A lot of the machines advertise “Penny slots, quarter slots” etc, however, they are deceiving you! Sure, its a penny slot, but in order to spin, you need at least 10 credits for example, which isn’t 1cent, its 10! 

DSC_0481 DSC_0485 DSC_0486 DSC_0487

That night after Jeff arrived we went exploring some more deeper into Caesars, and met everyone for dinner at Sushi Roku. It and a great view, and the atmosphere was nice. We had wonderful service and the food was yummy! But really, it wasn’t any better than anything we could of gotten here at Ronin, but still a really good place to eat. Shenanigans happened after dinner of course while searching for such shenanigans, we discovered that to go into one of the casino bars you had to be 21, so we ventured back to our hotel (No casinos) for such shenanigans!

DSC_0583 DSC_0588

Day Three – Tuesday December 31, 2013:

Wedding day!! Did you know that Vegas has an average of 366 weddings per day?!

The day was filled with too much Champaign, not enough food till dinner, and lots of wedding shenanigans like pole dancing in a party bus, ya know.. like ya do.  That night after all the wedding activities was dinner at Sirio’s . Beautiful restaurant, and we were seated in a private room just for us! The food was outstanding! I had Beef Carpaccio and Greg had a Caprise Salad for an Appetizer, Beef Carpaccio is something I am picky about, there is a fine line between it being fabulous and it being crap. This was FABULOUS. Then Greg had the Grilled Swordfish, and I had a Crab Pasta, the crab pasta was wonderful so much flavor and a little bit of heat. Greg’s Swordfish was delish too and cooked perfectly! We had a couple of really nice cocktails and a to die for salted caramel dessert! Now here my friends, is where we run into a problem. TIP: Make sure when you are in Vegas with a large party (or more than  couple people) that the restaurant you are dining at, can split your checks. We had no idea and the waiter didn’t ask, but this is the second place we went that wouldn’t split the checks. We are a party of 20 PEOPLE, you don’t think you need to split the checks?? A little warning might be nice. An hour an half later (Yes, an hour and a half just trying to get our bills paid) 2 managers, and over $500 charged to my hotel room, we finally leave. It took till the last minute of our trip for us to finally get everything settled and get all the money returned back to our hotel room that shouldn’t of been charged there. What. A. Cluster. The night ended with getting into the crowd of the strip for New Years Eve Celebrations TIP: We expected once we got on the strip to be able to buy drinks etc on the street while we were walking and enjoying the sites and sounds, but that wasn’t the case. Anything you bring from the hotel must be in a plastic cup. Right before midnight we went back up to Gina and Scotts room on the 56th floor and watched the panoramic fireworks at Midnight. Spectacular. TIP: Make sure when you book a hotel in Vegas you get a room with a view, its worth the little extra you might pay. 

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Day Four – New Years Day – January 1, 2014: 

Happy New Year!! We ventured out to have some fun, we met everyone at the burger joint in New York New York Hotel, great little hotel, all the streets make you feel like your in New York, little shops, Sports Center, even a Roller Coaster and giant arcade. The food wasn’t much to speak of, especially on the back of having a burger at Gordan Ramsay’s this burger was pretty average. After lunch and roller coaster riding we headed to the monorail to go out to the Stratosphere. Im not sure about everyone else, but *I* did not realize how long this process would take. TIP: Before going to the stratosphere its helpful to know that just to go to the top costs $18 per person, and if your not going to the top, there really isn’t much point. Mind you there is a Hotel and Casino as part of the Stratosphere (and a wedding chapel too!) But in all honesty this place isn’t in the best of areas, we didn’t exactly feel safe walking from the monorail to the Tower, and we walked past some pretty questionable buildings, including a “Happy Endings” Massage parlor. We arrived after going through empty lots, parking lots, and holes in fences, We bought our tickets to go to the top (And some to ride the crazy ride) and got in line to head up. Now if it wasn’t for the pure entertainment of the fight we almost got into, and the “Manager” I wanted to smack, I would of been bored. The line was long and the process of the elevator service was exhausting, but once you get to the top, its worth it all. There are a could of rides at the top, neither of which I would brave but a few people in our party did because they were out of their minds lol. One of the rides, The X-Scream, goes 35mph over the edge of the 100 story tower and stops, Say wha?! Those of us that were not totally insane and just watched as the others hung over the edge, had a good time tormenting the people who went on the ride before them. After the Stratosphere we got cabs and headed down to Fremont Street.  TIP: This is a must see! Most fun I had the whole trip! Make the trip down there! The energy and excitement on Fremont street is completely different than anywhere else we went in Vegas. We went to one place to have dinner who informed us that they were so busy EARLIER That it would take 45 min to prepare our food (huh?), so we trotted off the a place next-door and managed to not only get some food, but Jesse caught a lobster in the claw machine! A Real, live, lobster! They even cooked it for him!  Sadly, my phone and camera battery were dead for this leg of the day so I have no pictures 😦

Day Five: Last Dance. January 2, 2014. 

Our last day in Vegas Greg and I set out with some goals in mind. We knew there were a couple of things we wanted to do that we had to fit in today! One was eating Lunch at Mesa by Bobby Flay. I have to say we are not Bobby Flay’s biggest fans, out of all the Food Network celebrities, he’s probably closer to the bottom of the list for me (But way above Sandra Lee!) but Mesa changed my mind! First Greg ordered Iced Tea, they served it with a tray of sugars, sweeteners etc, but the coolest thing on that tray was a small carafe of simple syrup. Absolutely, BRILLIANT.  We started off with the Tiger Shrimp and roasted garlic corn tamale. My problem with a Tamale has always been that more often than not they tend to be dry, this was moist and delicious!! Greg go the Ancho Chili honey glazed salmon and I got the Pan Roasted Shrimp with smoked Chili butter. Both meals were absolutely delicious but I think Greg won the ordering battle on that one. The Salmon was cooked to perfection and the flavors were like a party in your mouth! New respect for you Bobby Flay. TIP: Get there early for no wait! They open at 11am. 

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Another thing I wanted to do was play (and learn) Some Roulette, I played a few games and stood with a guy who helped me learn and taught me a few tricks. TIP: IF your not a gambler and don’t know how to play a lot of the card games etc. Roulette is a great game to play without interfering with what anyone else at the table is doing, by not knowing what your doing!  The next thing we wanted to make sure we did on our last day was go up in the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel and Casino. The Tower cost 28 million dollars to build, but makes approx. $30,000 a day and paid itself off in just 2 years. It’s $15 per person (Despite that the website says “starting at $7.50”) and up at the top of this 46 story tower, you get amazing panoramic views of Las Vegas! Mountains, Casinos, the strip, you name it, you can see it! The elevator attendant at the top of the tower was asking each person what hotel they were staying at, when you said your hotel he started spewing random facts about that hotel like trainman spews numbers! He stated that he had Autism and remembering facts was just something he could do as a “talent” of that Autism. Love it! I tried to take notes on some of the stuff he was saying but he went way too fast for me to get it all. (Hindsight I should of just recorded him, duh!)

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One place we really wanted to eat while in Vegas was Gordan Ramsay’s Steak in the Paris Hotel. Despite MANY Efforts, we were unable to get reservations. So while in the Paris we thought we would just ask the hostess if by some weird chance we could get in, and sure enough! We were in! TIP: Vegas Hotels use a hotline to make reservations for dining, so when you call the number for one restaurant to make a reservation, its a line that actually makes reservations for sometimes up to 30 various places. They are NOT Accurate, and neither are the websites. We discovered on two occasions a place we wanted to eat that had no availability on line or through the reservation line, that actually did once we got there. My foodie fan Girl was in 7th Heaven!! We did some more exploring then headed to the hotel to get ready for dinner, and The Beatles Love show we would be seeing after dinner!

Gordan Ramsay’s Steak – We went a little crazy with this dinner! We were so excited to get in and eat, and We ARE Gordan fans, that we wanted to taste a little of everything! Now, there is a Hell’s Kitchen Tasting Menu, I really wanted to get it (It comes with an autographed picture) However, most of what I wanted to try, wasn’t on that menu. So we dined Ala Cart. We started with the British Ale Onion Soup, the broth was rich and flavorful, and the onions were cooked perfectly. From there we moved onto the Pork Belly, with cheesy grits, tomato jam and onion Au Jus. The tomato jam was not like any tomato jam I have had before, it was divine! The pork belly just melted in your mouth! From there we decided we wanted to each order something we both wanted to try, it was wonderful because they split it on separate plates for us so we weren’t sharing from each others plates. Greg ordered the famous Gordan Ramsay Beef Wellington, and I ordered my dream come true, an American Wagyu Beef Rib Cap Steak. We also ordered some Demi-Roasted Bone Marrow, and some sautéed Mushrooms. The Beef Wellington was good, but I have to say its not something I could eat a lot of, Im glad we split it because even the half was too much for me. It’s very rich. The Wagyu Beef, well.. theres no way to describe it, its just melt in your mouth amazing. I won the ordering battle on this one! The mushrooms were yummy and the Bone Marrow, well, if you’ve never tried it, you should. When its done right, its to die for. (I apologize for the quality of these pictures, the lighting in there was bad, and I only had my phone camera)

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After dinner we went to the Mirage to see the Beatles Love Show. The show was AWESOME, but most people probably expected more acrobatics since its a Cirque show, there was more storytelling that a normal Cirque show, but still worth every penny. I have to warn you though, the seats were AWFUL. I don’t mean the viewing from where we sat, I mean the actual seats! You would have to weigh 90 pounds to be comfortable in those seats, they are very small and very close together. they and a cup holder but if your cup was there, it actually made the seat even smaller! You were so squashed in with your neighbors that it actually made it hard to concentrate on the show. Your not allowed to bring a camera or take pictures, and they are SERIOUS. I tried to snap a pic with my phone of one of the guys that was strolling through the audiance before the show even started and got yelled at lol. TIP: This theater is kind of round, so really, I think as long as your on one of the lower levels, any seat is a good seat, but make sure to be on one of the lower levels, the higher levels miss out on one of the coolest things they do in the show!

Some points: 

Far away: This was the longest time Greg and I had been away from the kids, ever. It was also the longest distance we had ever been away from the kids, and the longest airplane flight I have ever taken. Big thanks to my mom and stepfather for taking care of our kids, and fur kids!

Casino Babes: When you think of Casino girls what do you think of? Well, I think of hot chicks with nice bods walking around in skimpy outfits serving drinks to everyone blowing their money at the tables. Um ya, not so much. Every Casino girl I saw was actually a woman, an old rode hard hung up wet kind of woman, still in the skimpy outfit, but shouldn’t of been.

Cha Ching: I think a lot is lost in Vegas from the view point of how gambling is done.  Every thing is electronic! Slots are electronic, hell even craps and roulette can be electronic. I think TOO Electronic. Gone are the days of putting a penny or quarter in a slot machine, pulling the handle and getting a bowl full of change when you win. You now have to get a card, money goes off the card money goes on the card. It was a little disappointing I have to say.

It’s a Dog eat kinda town: There were dogs everywhere!! Who knew all the hotels and casinos were so dog friendly! Considering its a concrete jungle where do the dogs go tot he bathroom?? Well one night completely accidentally, we discovered the dog area of one hotel. It was a small fenced in area like behind the hotel, with fake grass!!

Well, thats my Vegas review, If you made it all the way to this point kudos to you! 🙂 Thanks for reading!