• Trip home to FL to see my people.
• Trip home to CA to see my people.
• Trip anywhere disguised as an actual vacation.
• The new toggle coat and townhouse trench coat from J. Crew.
• Finish the Garden of Eden.
• KitchenAid appliances in Empire Red.
• Delicious food & cake.
• Money never sucks.
• Yoga retreat.
• New bed with new 500+ thread count sheets.
• First Edition copy of Pride & Prejudice.
• A night at the opera.
• A ranch with ponies.
I think I am satisfied with the above listed items.
May 9, 2010. Approximately 7:45 pm. I have just landed in Burbank, California. I am patiently awaiting my luggage to drop down so that I can see my soul mate in the form of a Nicaraguan goddess. Linda has to be one of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. When no one else understands me, she does. She’s incredible. So I am nearly running to her car because mind you, I haven’t been back to L.A. since moving back to Florida - 2 1/2 years ago! Of course there’s hugging and excitement and all sorts of fun girly stuff, but then my first question: Can we PLEASE go to Swingers so I can stuff my face?! And we are off, trying to fit in as much catching up on the ride through the valley into Hollywood. We talk on a regular basis, but you have to understand that with some people, that human to human contact is far better. We have this understood about each other. We arrive at Swingers. The place hasn’t changed a bit, except maybe the placement of the Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies up on the counter (yes, I notice things like this - ESP when it involves placement of food). We sit in a back booth and my first question is to request a PBR - that would be Pabst Blue Ribbon - the place where I had my very first one. It’s only appropriate. My second question was if Dan (one of my absolute most favorite bosses ever) was in yet. Not yet, but momentarily. Seconds later he was creeping up behind us. It’s so exciting seeing my friends in California. You just want to take them by the neck and squeeze them, but not to death of course. The three of us sat and chatted for a bit about his married life and his wife’s amazing sense of the world, life in Florida and what / who I plan to see while I’m in town, until our food came. First up, Veggie Chili and Veggie Chili Cheese Fries for L. Perfect pairing with my PBR, I must say. On to the next course, Vegan Wrap and sauteed zucchini. And to top it off? 3 Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (Side Note: 1 cookie = about 3 regular sized cookies). During our meal, L noticed she had some friends sitting behind us and after a brief conversation we were invited to a show at Harvelle’s in Santa Monica. Why not, right? Let me preface by saying that in all my years of trying new things, listening to all genres of music and experiencing first hand the absurdity of some musicians, I have never experienced anything quite like The Toledo Show. Honest to God felt like I was in Prohibition Chicago. There were girls burlesque dancing in lingerie, changing costumes between each song, and at one point there was even a girl hanging from the beams above the bar, still managing to dance. It was incredible. I decided right then and there that I would be taking a burlesque class. I couldn’t stop staring. Then there was the music. If I lived in L.A. I would most likely attend at least twice a month. I have an amazing time, and having one of my very best friends by my side made it that much better. After saying our goodbyes, we hit the road back to L’s. We hit the grocery store for a few snacks then finally arrived. After 4 1/2 days in Vegas and going non-stop since arriving in L.A., I was beat. We called it a night after my introduction to GiGi and some girl chat, until the next morning …May 10, 2010. I woke up fairly early. I think my body is programmed to wake up early. I laid around for a bit until Linda woke up. It was hiking time. Hiking is one of the things I miss most about living in California. As far as working out and exercising goes, I got spoiled living there. You are surrounded by these breathtaking views from everywhere you look. Always something new to discover, whether it be a mountain lion, lizards mating or a new trail. We went up to Mulholland Drive. I usually hit Runyon Canyon or Griffith Park so this was a lovely new change. We hiked for about an hour and a half. Had I not had lunch plans, I am more than positive we would have gotten lost on the trails - on purpose of course. But alas, I did have lunch plans that were much too important to cancel. Being the sweaty mess I was, I proceeded to West Hollywood, destination: Detroit Street. Jon Ma is another dear friend that will always have a piece of my heart. Somehow, we both managed to survive the wrath of entertainment law in Beverly Hills. One thing about Jon Ma that will never change: road rage! Driving with him is and always will be an experience in itself. There is not a patient bone in his body, and that goes off the streets too. Case in point, text message example: “umm are you ever going to come out?” Seconds later … “hello?” Oh, but it’s such an endearing quirk. After a quick change and application of some much-needed make up we were off to Beverly Hills. I was extra pleased when I learned that Arik would be joining us for lunch. As soon as I walked out of the parking garage, onto Beverly Drive, it all came back. My tenure at the firm (not so good) the friendships I made along the way (great). My favorite part of the day was lunch when I worked there. Just a hop, skip & a jump away from Rodeo, not to mention all of the food options within a minutes walk. That is one thing I LOVE about the city, walking everywhere and having everything at your feet - literally. After the three of us trying to pawn the decision-making upon each other, the final option was Bossa Nova. Brazilian food. Yum. We started with bread (a big DUH when I’m eating and it is available). Also ordered some Brazilian Cheese Bread. I had the most amazing Sauteed Vegetable plate with Rice, Black Beans and Fried Plantains. Melt. In. Your. Mouth. I seriously need to find a job where I fly around the world (at the expense of some tv network) and eat food for a living. We sat around talking for a while. Arik talked about his family and how he had to bargain for his trip to Las Vegas for UFC 116 and about his daughter who is adorable. We walked Arik back to the building and contemplated whether or not I should go up and cause a stir in the office. (I was basically ‘let go’ as a result of giving a boss - that shall remain nameless - a piece of my mind. Clearly, he is not used to women speaking their mind.) Ultimately I decided against it and Jonathan and I were off to Santa Monica. During my two year residence in California and multiple trips to the beach, I never made it to the Santa Monica Pier or Third Street Promenade. So, there we went. I made several purchases, and leisurely strolled up and down the promenade before we made our way to the Pier. Wise tip: don’t wear heels if you PLAN to go to the Pier. Walking those wooden planks got a little rough towards the end. Took some pictures and for once just became a tourist. I opted out of the ferris wheel ride - I think one ride a year is more than plenty and I had already redeemed mine back in Florida. We walked back to the car and headed back to the ‘wood, Hollywood that is. Next up: Iron Man 2 at The Grove. The Grove, during a tenure and yet another job, was one of my favorite places. I think at one point I was eating Cheesecake Factory at least twice a week, Maggiano’s twice and just shopping around the other day. The Grove is actually where I met Jennifer Spaulding - my friend I had just visited in Las Vegas - who also happens to be from Lakeland, Florida, my hometown. Funny story actually. My sister said that a co-worker of hers back in Florida was moving to L.A. to attend FIDM. Jenn and I became MySpace friends and emailed back and forth a few times, but never got around to meeting. One day, while leaving none other than The Cheesecake Factory, a girl coming up the escalator (as I was going down) caught my eye. We made eye contact and had recognized each other from pictures online. Of course I stopped and chatted because out of the millions of people in L.A., and all the Cheesecake Factory’s in L.A. County - we just happen to be in the same place at the same time? Yeah. So that was the beginning. We worked Fashion Week together the very next week and there it is. Ok, back to a more recent past … Iron Man 2, at The Grove. This, my friends, is where I came upon Gabriel Aubry, Halle Berry’s baby daddy. B-E-A-utiful! Mouth-watering, body of goodness. Back to reality, yes, I saw him. The movie turned out to be okay. Definitely a bigger fan of the first one. After the movie we sped along to Jones. It was time to meet up with one of the best, most genuine people I know, M’her. Seriously have some mad love for this guy. So me, Jon, Linda, M’her and one of L’s friends gathered around a corner booth at Jones. I LOVE the ambiance of this place. First order of business: the drink. If I’m not mistaken it was called a Joan Jett? Anyway, it was beyond sweet and sugary and in this moment just what I needed. I probably ate enough bread to feed 7 families for a week until my Arugula Salad arrived. Hello goodness. Not to mention M’her allowed me to pick off the white beans on his plate. Delish. For dessert we all split their infamous Apple Pie A La Mode. Oh. My. Gosh. If I could ship in one of their pies on a weekly basis I would be one super happy girl. We sat and chatted about this and that for about 2 hours until we had to part our ways. L and I got home and had some down time to just chat and reflect. Another great day for the books, but it was time for bed … I had two more days to go. May 11, 2010. I woke up to the vibration of my phone. I was getting a long distance call I couldn’t ignore. This was not the way I had hoped to start my day, but in a way I felt better. Wondering what I am talking about? Well, you are going to continue wondering. L made breakfast. Cheddar & Jalapeno Soyrizo and Soy BBQ tortillas. So good. I’m actually craving some now actually. This was our full day together, although there was one focus group standing in our way. We ventured out to Century City, where L had to attend a focus group. In the meantime, I crossed Avenue of The Stars into the Century City Westfield Mall. I roamed around, grabbing a cheese pizza pretzel from Wetzel’s Pretzels (which btw have the best pretzels around). I sat for a while, just people watching then decided to stop in LV because there were a pair of sunglasses in the window that nearly had me drooling. I abstained from making any big purchases, though it was tough. By this time L was done with her group and we set out on our way to Home. Home is like home away from home for L & I. We frequented this Los Feliz staple during my residence in L.A. The menu is extensive and the food is amazing. FYI, they have incredible Bloody Mary’s, too. We sat in one of the back rooms by ourselves - until a group of young businessmen decided to barge in. We still managed to enjoy our meal and I overindulged on their incredibly delicious fries. Best ever. Next up: a little Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. We visited The Ennis House and The Freeman House. Both have this unique Mayan architecture that make them unique to each ‘neighborhood’. Beautiful. After touring we were on our way to Melrose. I had vintage shopping on the brain. I think I tried on about 37 items in Wasteland. Biggest upset? The Marc Jacobs I fell in love with was too big. I may have shed a tear or two. But I found some amazing things. After Melrose we wound up at Lola’s on Fairfax. Holy martinis. Lola’s is an amazing place without the happy hour, but add the happy hour and a very friendly bar tended plus me and L you’re gonna get a good time indeed. We got there right as happy hour began (5:30 pm PST). I went with the Grapefruit Fizz Martini, L with the Peach Martini. We were both happy as clams. Our second drink? Easy. I asked the bartender to get creative and I wound up with a Strawberry-Kiwi Martini, but the ingredients would surprise you. L had a second Peach, which was a good choice because the first one was delish. We must have stared at the list of happy hour martinis for a total of 30 minutes because they all sounded wonderful. We went back and forth between our second and thirds. About half way through our second, Mr. Bartender decided that since we’d been oogling the Cantaloupe Martini he made us each one on the house. So that became our third. By this time we were hungry. We split their Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup. Oh my heavens, was that the BEST grilled cheese & tomato soup I had ever had! Delicioso. And on to number 4, The Dirtiest Martini Ever Made. That’s honestly how I ordered it. It was delightful. It was coming upon 7:30 pm, meaning it was the end of Happy Hour and it was nearly time to depart from my lovely Linda to make my way to El Carmen. I walked outside to use the phone and somehow between using the phone and walking back inside I had traded my scarf for a young man’s fedora. Fair trade. I rocked the fedora until it was time to depart Lola’s. When Tania AKA Banilla arrived to pick me up, I was most certainly headed towards a next-day hangover so I figured I would take it easy. A few cocktails plus lack of sleep isn’t necessarily the best combination - especially considering I rarely drink alcohol. After introductions, pleasantries and a quick goodbye to L, Tania and I were off. We got to El Carmen and found Cordelia waiting for us inside. I was so happy to be back with my Blowfish girls. We grabbed a table and sat down to eat. I ordered the most amazing potato tacos with black beans and tomatoes, as well as a glass of Sangria. I feel as though my documentation thus far has consisted of mostly food. That is my life. Anyway, it was great catching up with the girls. Cordelia is back in L.A. making a difference in people’s lives and Tania is still the fantastically bubbly Banilla that I know and love. It was hard saying goodbye to Cord that night. The dinner went so fast, but I am just happy that I got to see her at all considering how busy she was, studying for MCATs. Tania chauffeured me back to Linda’s and after some conversation I suppose I struck something in her to start ‘cleaning out her closet’, because that’s exactly what she started to do at 12 am. God I love that woman. One minute we were talking life, the next minute I was waking up and it was 4 am. My exhaustion had finally caught up to me. I woke up from a terrible dream. Someone very important in my life was hurt. Not just physically, but emotionally and I was just out of reach. I was reaching, screaming to help but it was as though I had no voice. One of my biggest fears in life in physical constraint. I do not like being held back, even constrained in a way that I cannot speak. It terrifies me. My voice and my longing to help people is what makes me who I am. After about 45 minutes of pondering my ‘nightmare’, I finally got back to sleep.May 12, 2010. My last day in the West. I had been dreading this day since before I even left Florida. I had not seen my friends in 2 1/2 years and all I wanted was more time. Don’t get me wrong, I am more than grateful to have seen and done all I did, but with people in your life that matter it’s as though you can never get enough. I woke up at 8 am. I had been asking to see more of Linda’s work. (She makes beautiful jewelry and head pieces). She finally obliged. My creative nerve had been struck. While she was busy working, I got the urge to create something. I picked out two fabulous peacock feathers and got to work. The end result was a beautiful pair of earrings. I did myself well. I guess seeing me start the process hit L’s nerve too. She made me yet another beautiful pair of earrings that I have probably worn 5 times since I got back home. We left the house and headed into West Hollywood to meet up with some more friends of mine. I met Marina working at Blowfish, and her boyfriend, Justin, was my co-worker and Swingers. Small world these days. Any btw, I absolutely adore them as a couple. We met up at Niko Niko, next door to Barney’s Beanery, an old haunt of mine. We sat in the front room overlooking Santa Monica Blvd. If there’s one thing I can do for hours, it is people watch, and West Hollywood has to be one of the best places for doing so. M & J finally arrived and we all sat down have some sushi. I may not eat meat, or fish, but for some reason I still love eating at sushi restaurants. I like to get different variations of the “Veggie Roll”. Plus, I LOVE wasabi. I’m a sucker for any kind of heat. After lunch it was time to say my final goodbye to my soul mate in the form of a curly-locked beauty named Linda. Thanks to the safe cover of sunglasses, my tears were able to go un-noticed. I left with M & J to spend some time with them before I hitched my ride to LAX. I got to see their new house which I fell in love with. We sat out back and talked for the few hours I had before it was time to go. Tania was in the neighborhood and stopped in to visit between shifts. I hate being rushed. I miss those times when we’d sit down, having coffee and taking our time. Jon got to the house to take me to the airport. His infamous impatience shone through once again “Hellooo, are you coming out? I’m here!” God I love that guy. I said my goodbyes and we were off. The sun was setting. My flight didn’t leave until 10:45 and I was hungry - again. Last stop in L.A.? Cheese fries from Carl’s Jr. I mean, what else?! So there we were sitting in Carl’s Jr. bs-ing until I had to check in, making fun of the other patrons for their ridiculousness. It’s what we are best at as a team. UB40 was playing overhead on the radio and of course I start singing along. I think I was pro-longing the inevitable. I didn’t want to go back to Florida. My life in California was all coming back, and though much of it was not pleasant, I missed my life there. I missed my friends. I missed the ability to wake up and walk to a museum. Have a pick at various shows to see. Walk downstairs for my morning coffee. Go hiking. The food. All of it was suddenly weighing very heavy on me. It was what I had been waiting to feel since touching down. I suppose that with all the hectic schedules and trying to meet up with as many people as possible, those feelings had been pushed back. I loved living in California, both San Diego and Los Angeles, but it is in my past. As much as I miss it, I don’t know that I’d go back. I’ve learned not to say “never”, but I think in my next adventure I’d like to try something new, someplace new. A new challenge. And so I say my final farewell to Jon. We get in our hugs and byes and all that jazz and I am off to tackle the jungle that is LAX. I waited in line - just to check in - for 45 minutes. It seemed as though everyone was headed somewhere on Delta. My bag turned out to be 57 lbs, 13 lbs heavier than it had been from FL to LV and LV to CA. Ut oh. Luckily I have the best pouty face in the world, as she tagged it as ‘heavy’ without charging me more money. She was my angel. Thank you, Shantal. You’re my girl. I snuck past the Luggage Nazi that would have told me my carry on didn’t fit in the designated space, but again … snuck on by. I always manage to forget that I’m carrying a bottle of water in my over-sized purse because they always flag me down at security and give me the ‘shame, shame’ speech, search me, search my bag manually then run it again. It just prolongs my having to be barefoot on that nasty carpet. It’s a good thing I carry antibacterial wipes with me everywhere I go. Yes, I hate germs. And yes, I may be a little neurotic, but if you’re judging me right now, you’re probably the person that is always glad I’m around because I have pretty much anything anyone will ever need in my bag. I finally make it through security only to find out that my flight has been delayed. It was bad enough it was a red-eye flight, that put me back into Tampa at 6:19 am. LAX is always full of interesting characters. Yet another great place to people watch - as was the Vegas airport. It was finally time to board. There was quite a stir because we had a few ‘celebrities’ on our flight to Florida. Hulk Hogan made his way into his first class seat. Yeah whatever. But I managed to wind up sitting next to Tony Dungy, who traveled in coach with all us ‘regular’ people. I had met him on several previous occasions, but it’s always nice to sit next to someone as nice as him. We exchanged a few words, I of course told him I am a fan - because I am - and that I think his son is an amazing athlete and will wind up at a great college. Then he read for a bit and tried to nap. I never sleep on planes. For me it is impossible. There is no comfortable way for me to adjust myself to close my eyes. So I read for the entire 4 hour, 30 minute plane ride.May 13, 2010. My dad was waiting for me at the terminal. He’s so good like that. Always a happy face and ready for a hug. I remember when I came back from California. My sister and him had made a “Welcome Home” poster that, of course, made me cry. He patiently waited with me for my luggage. Then, back to Lakeland we went. Two hours later I was sitting at my desk at work. I was a complete zombie. I spent most of the day in complete delirium. I already missed EVERYTHING … but I was happy to see my family. I am so very blessed to be able to do the things I do. Things I do are rarely planned and if any plans are involved it is done last minute. I like leaving myself open to whatever may come. You never know when I will just up and leave for some random destination. My trip has really put my thoughts to work, and that is all I will say …
The day is May 5, 2010. The hour is 5:47 pm Eastern. The place? Tampa International Airport. I am about to venture into unknown territory. Destination? Las Vegas.
Not long over take-off we were crossing the Gulf of Mexico. You’re just high enough to wisp through the clouds, yet not too high to see the whitecaps as they crash together below. That beauty soon turned to heartache. The oil spill, which was about the size of Ohio at the time, soon came into view. The sight of it was horrific. You feel helpless, and sadness for all the loss that this disaster will soon reveal. Moments later you see New Orleans, with the devastation still in view. Then came the turbulence. The remainder of the flight brought on many prayers and approximately 3.7 glasses of wine - not to mention the complimentary mini bottles (yes, that was meant to be plural) of Bailey’s. My coffee was quite enjoyable that flight. Then came the landing …
Just in time to see the sunset on the Western coast, I (just barely) land in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Pronounced Na-vadd-a, NOT Na-vod-a; a friendly tip I learned very quickly). Sunsets on the West Coast are incredible - even if you’re not right on the coast. Breathtaking, really, especially when the sunlight just barely touches the peaks of the Grand Canyon. A very spiritual moment when you can look down and see something of such greatness as it appears to be nothing bigger than an anthill. Had I not been to John & Jane (soon-to-be) Doe, I would have enjoyed that moment, but instead I had to hear the saliva exchange between their lips. I’m all for some lovin’ but when you are crammed against the window on the very last row of the plane, lacking personal space and legroom, it is definitely not a pro-lovin’ time for me.
My dear friend met me at the airport and away I went, ready to be lost in the commotion of one of the busiest cities in the world. Being that it was Cinco de Mayo, I quickly changed into my ‘Aztec’-ish, Mexican-inspired dress and zoomed on over to the Cantina to meet my lovely friend Jennifer. Upon my arrival, it was apparent she had already been enjoying the festivities for quite some time but still managed to hang in there long enough to introduce me to some very lovely Las Vegas natives, Miguel and Roberto and of course The Most Interesting Man In The World (who would later leave with and accompany us to the Hard Rock). I tasted my first margarita that night. I vowed never to taste the awfulness that is tequila ever again, but when in Vegas .. It was horrible, and luckily I had a nice cool Dos Equis in my hand to chase away the ick. About the time I lost the last few hairs of my (fake) mustache, we skipped across the street to the Hard Rock - and yes, I am pretty sure I skipped. Once inside we quickly became local celebrities - thanks to the company of The Most Interesting Man In The World. After a few photo ops, a little gambling, an almost-tattoo session and a pizza it was time to head to bed.
Thursday, May 6, 2010. The temperature that morning was in the 60’s and the sun was shining bright in a cloudless sky. This meant pool time. I scurried inside and came out donning my favorite bikini, with a tall order of water and a copy of “Eat Pray Love”. The picture of (almost) perfection. After a few sun-kissed hours in the sun my first random thought lead me to the spa. Mani-Pedi it was. Once I was painted and pampered my sense of adventure landed me on the strip. There were cab rides with strangers, multiple people-watching stops then finally wound up meeting my new friends at Wet Republic via the MGM. After a thorough bag check and a nice little stamp I was cleared to enter the outside oasis, featuring itty bitty bikinis, designer shades and cocktails aplenty. I made my way to the cabana. Once there, my neon purple leggings and baby tee momentarily made me feel a little out of place, but after I sat down any discomfort faded away. After some chit chat and lounging it was go time. Not only was I famished I had a time crunch to work with. I accompanied my new friends to the Rainforest Cafe. Best Earth Burger EVER. I passed on dessert and caught a ride back to spruce myself up some some QT with friends. Sushi was on the menu, with exhaustion lingering nearby. A pot of Sencha assisted in my removal of said exhaustion. After a lovely evening with friends we headed home, saving ourselves for Friday night and little did we know then just how much we would need it.
Friday, May 7, 2010. Another beautiful day in the desert. I woke up as Jen left for work and got myself ready for a day on the strip. I mosied on out to meet my cab and had the greatest cab ride to date. My driver, a woman who would turn 60 the very next week, encouraged me to see the world while I’m young; never to settle for a man that wasn’t a 10 on his worst day and to laugh at the little things. She got a nice tip for her upcoming trip back home to Africa. I had her drop me at The Venetian. After venturing through the casino and little boutiques I found myself on the balcony, overlooking millions of square feet of fun and excitement. I hit the pavement, without a plan and with my phone in hand - ready to snap my first shot of the day. I wandered around for hours, stopping for ice cream, a Peroni at Serendipity 3, taking pictures for couples who wanted to be in the same shot for once, often looking up to admire the grand architecture of some of the greatest resorts in the world. I wandered inside Caesars, putting myself directly into “The Hangover”. I made my way into the casino and dropped $100 on Blazing 7’s, just as I was told to, and lost every last penny. It probably should have been my sign when I had to page the attendant twice because it ate my $100 bill, then had to ask how to work the machine. Oh well, on to the next one .. I stopped at the Bellagio to enjoy the water show and the sounds of (my dream husband) Andrea Bocelli. It was moving and definitely got an 11 out of 10 on the goosebump scale. So good I stuck around for another. I then made my way further down, stopping at the New York, New York. This was actually one of my favorites. It had a sense of the city, the hustle and bustle, the ambience. I could be wrong in your eyes (whoever you are) but to me that is exactly what it was. I made my way through the arcade to the entrance of the roller coaster. I purchased a single ticket and made my way to the line for the front car. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it big. I was paired with a (married) man from Spain who literally knew 3 words in English, including “ahhhhhh”, and I found that is exactly what we had in common at that first big drop. Like any proper tourist I purchased 2 key chains, showcasing my big screaming mouth and the adorable Spaniard sitting next to me in the front row. I took my windblown self back down to the strip and made my way back down to the new City Center. I cruised into the new hotel, Aria, and managed to swindle my way into the pool. I lounged for a while with some additional new friends then got far to antsy to sit around any longer. At this point I was a little hungry, and while I do not eat fish I wanted a taste of Michael Mina and walked into American Fish. I had the most amazing Spring Greens salad and Truffled Mac & Cheese. I left there a very happy girl. It was time to cross back over to the other side - of the strip, that is. I got distracted and wound up in Miracle Mile. A mile’s worth of shops. Insane. After plenty more stops and circling the entire strip almost twice, it was time to leave - but only for a bit. After several wardrobe changes, some singing to the radio and lots of primping Jen and I were back on the road. First stop? The store, to purchase two disposable cameras. Yes, you read that right. Next stop? The Palms for dinner at Nove. We walked in to a sea of girls, all vying for their shot at meeting New Kids On The Block. After being escorted up the elevator to the 50th-something floor we arrived. First request? A drink. Mine was honest-to-God called the Pimp Cup. It was a goblet of some gin-inspired mojito-ish drink, which was quite delicious. Jen, unfortunately, didn’t have the same experience. I definitely ventured out there and tried things I normally wouldn’t order while on this vacation and it certainly didn’t end with this meal. I ordered the ravioli. Walnut pesto, spicy ricotta tomato sauce and a bowl full of absolute goodness. Are you salivating? You should be. Along with the various breads and dips we snacked on before our meal, everything was superb (except of course Jen’s drink). Now, my friends, it was Hofbrauhaus time. We met up with our pals and joined in on the German - Bavarian festivities. A round of shots were ordered, Jager for them, Apple Schnapps for me. They came out resting on what looked like a wooden paddle. It was indeed a wooden paddle. Following the consumption of said shots, we each had to bend over, elbows touching the table, and prepare for the paddle to make contact with our bums. Yes, that was the first time in about 15 years that I have been paddled. Annnnnd on to the next one … We cruised down the strip to the Encore. After a pit stop at the casino bar, a berry-infused vodka, photo ops, and trying to tear Roberto away from the craps table, we finally arrived at XS. Honestly, one of the coolest set-ups in my experience. We hit the floor, taking our time to settle in. Walked out to the pool, took more photos then wound up directly under one of the poles AKA dance platform. Being the incredibly superior females that we are, little blondie was pressure off the platform and we, of course, took over. After a few minutes in the spotlight Jen got my adorable little friend Louie Vito to come over. Picture? Umm yes. This kid is so cute that if I were about 15 and subscribed to Tiger Beat magazine, I’m sure his poster would be on my wall - or ceiling. We eventually ended up hanging out at their table and met a handful of other people. Thank you, Supercross, for blessing Las Vegas with so many people I follow in sports - well, and music. The party ended at XS approximately 2:30 or 3 am?! That’s a guess because at this point exhaustion and the over-zealous pours of my new friends, I consciously checked out, but I do remember finally getting that kiss .. Thank you (again) Las Vegas, for one of the best days of my life.
Saturday, May 8, 2010. I woke up wondering how I was perfectly dressed in my cute little pj’s. That’s how the night left me. On this morning I was supposed to leave for Los Angeles. It didn’t happen. After quite a few laughs and stories and my freaking out that we lost the one camera that contained my photo with Louie, we headed out for a bite. Here, my fellow diners, tried to get our little waiter boy to kiss me. It didn’t happen, but thanks anyway guys. It was decided that we would head to the pool. I was on the verge of what could have been the worst day-after ever, but a pitcher of strawberry mojitos saved me. That and the sun. The sun is always so good to me, especially in the desert. It can be 97 degrees and the desert out West is still incredibly superior to doldrums of Florida. It also helped that there was a high wind advisory throughout my entire Las Vegas stay. Once again met some chill people and lounged for hours. My prolonged stay in Vegas was attributed to some friends from Florida flying in that night. The plan (and I never have a plan) was to meet up once they arrived. After the pool and dinner and one of the best showers of my life the stay thus far finally hit me. I hit the couch and the next thing I knew it was 12 am and I’m getting a call from an unknown number. Alas, my friend. “Hey Tiff. My phone is kaput and this I’m using the driver’s phone. Let’s meet up.” I vaguely remember a similar form of this conversation.
Sunday, May 9, 2010. Apparently, between my sleep talking and no contact number for them, I woke up the next morning feeling quite refreshed. I somehow managed to book a flight for the following evening - thank goodness. I tagged along with Jen to church. Yes church. In Vegas. And no, not to get married. Actual church. With scripture, singing and even communion. God was speaking to me. He knew my conscience all too well. Following church I finally got my order of French Toast with peanut butter. The best combination ever. Add a little strawberry and you have culinary heaven. It was decided that we were going to the Stratosphere. Operation Sky Jump. Side Note: Sky Jump is a controlled free fall that adds up to about 855 feet, 108 floors. I can’t even sky dive, how the heck am I going to do this?! So the Sky Jump didn’t happen as a result of a time constraint. We did, however, get to enjoy the strip together though. Hit some souvenir shops, caught the back end of yet another Bellagio water show, photo op with Kiss and nearly got blown away by the wind. All in all, a great day. I got dropped at the airport, bound for Los Angeles. And what? My flight was delayed nearly two hours. At this point you’re at a loss. You head back to the strip, but for what? By the time you get somewhere it’s time to turn around so you can wait in the ridiculously long line for security then get back to the terminal just in time to board. So, I hung around. Met this fabulous (and by fabulous, I mean FABULOUS) guy who was heading to LA to see his boyfriend after 3 months. He was adorable and we chatted for the duration of the layover. He had been in Vegas for Supercross, as he was a sports news guy. I wound up in an aisle seat next to two very pretty models, Jemma and Alyse. Nice, which is odd because most models I met while working in LA were not so. Amid crying babies (which why do you take your FAMILY to Las Vegas for vacation) and a crankly elderly couple we safely landed in Burbank just under an hour later … And now, it was time to see my Linda and the place I once called home ..
Stayed tuned for L.A. Diaries ..
I am back ‘home’ from vacation. While it’s a tad depressing, I did miss my darling baby sister. She is getting married in October and I am very excited about my Maid of Honor duties. I have all of these ideas in my head, but being the perfectionist I am, I just can’t seem to make up my mind as to what exactly I plan to do. This is my only shot and I want it to be the absolute best experience of her bachelorette life! My procrastination and inability to make up my mind also poses a problem, but alas - my party planning skills have yet to fail me.
It is also safe to say that my parents have this level of excitement that I never allowed them. My brief and spontaneous marriage left them wondering if I would ever take such a committment seriously. Mind you I am very much a committed person, but the idea of marriage terrifies me. I often dream of dressing up in a lovely vintage piece of work, with blood red lipstick and a partner dressed to match, but it is just that - a dream. My ideas and thoughts of marriage surround a dream, not a reality. I am convinced it will take a very special person to lead me in the direction of a ceremony celebrating a legal binding, finished by exchanging rings and being sealed with a kiss.
Lately though, being single has caused me both joy and sorrow. Being unattached affords me the ability to do as I please, to kiss who I please and go where I like; but when I return from wherever I have been I come home to an empty room with nothing but things - and of course a baby turtle that hates life. No one to share my adventures with, to bs with, to cook for. All of the things that make me most happy. Men, in particular, insist on being the one in control. Control + Spontaneity = DISASTER! That, or they run from anything that remotely relates to the ‘L’ word. And by “L” word, I mean Life :)
Honestly, I think that I have the ‘reality blues’. The fact that I just came home from an incredible vacation and am now back in the daily grind that consists of nothing but routine, has depressed me. I always know when I’m in a funk because I find myself living in the past and if you know me, the past is a place that I typically leave in its place. I live in a very present and foward-thinking frame of mind. I don’t bother thinking about what has already come to pass, regardless of how it makes me feel. But here I am, living - well, trying to re-live - the past week. My life on the west coast was not always the happiest, but I had one of the most ecclectic, most amazing group of friends. It has been two and a half years since I left California. The test of a true friend is its ability to survive time. This vacation was more than me escaping the duldrums of the place I call ‘home’, but about discovery as well. Realizing the things I absentmindedly took for granted when I lived out west.
Well, I think what I need is a little vino and some music. Probably a good thing I have the house to myself tonight. I might get a little crazy and dance around the wood floors to the like of Otis, Steve, Etta, Gaga and possibly some UB40. Then, if I get really crazy I just might have to bump some Tiffany. No, not that Tiffany. This Tiffany was born in ‘82 and has an affinity for bad boys, but is trying desperately to overcome that. Just press play ..
I am truly blessed, and that is the bottom line - or would it be the top?!
Vacation details coming soon …