We Made It! Hello Vegas!

We all flew out Saturday, Paul and myself being the first of our group. The flight was on time and smooth, and our pilot even said "Everyone just snuggle up, and we'll be in Vegas in no time!" This was the flight Paul and I were meant to be on! What an awesome pilot!

The flight was pretty easy for the length of time we were on the plane. I watched FX movies and when I wasn't doing that I was helping Paul work on the menus design for Havana South Buford! And it turned out great!

We arrived in Vegas on time and before we knew it we were in baggage claim picking up our bags and heading to pick up our SEXY Mini-van! Oh yeah!

Kara and Kevin arrived about an hour after us, and by the time we had gotten the rental car, it was about time to head back over to pick them up! Once we all got together, we stopped by the resort (Wyndham Grand Desert) to see if could check-in, but no luck of course! So we decided to hit up a local brewery and grab lunch.

We went to Big Dog Brewery for some beer and lunch and it turned out to be a great choice! The beer was pretty awesome, and the food and service we right on par! There was a nice local atmosphere and they of course had casinos too! I was admiring all the dog artwork! They had a full dog wall that was really cool, I think Paul and I may do something similar, except maybe it will be a Chunk wall!

Following our lunch we toured the strip a bit on our way have to the hotel.

We were pleasantly surprised by our amenities as we got an AWESOME deal for the week! We have connecting rooms, each with a master bedroom, full kitchen, and living space with pull-out sofas. We even have a jacuzzi tub, two washer and dryers, and the amenities are great! We will be hitting up the 24 hour heated pool and hot tub this week! I imagine it'll be awesome after long days at the Grand Canyon, Skiing and just partying and cruising the strip!

We got ourselves settled in and decided to head over to pick up some food and beverage for the room. Elaine and John's flight was arriving late, so we were killing some time until they got in. When they arrived Paul and Kevin hopped in the SEXY mini-van, picked them up and we all hung out for a bit. Of course the time difference started to hit me, Kara and Kevin, and we were a lame and called it a night. But the party was just beginning for Paul, Elaine and John!

They headed over to New York New York and had a blast! Elaine and Paul are the gamblers in the group, so they could not be in Vegas without of course getting their gambling on! They were out until 6AM (9AM est), up over 24 hours straight! They started off true to the Vegas spirit!

Vegas Baby, Vegas!!!

Paul and I are going to Vegas with two other couples in about two weeks. The six of us are split three having been to Vegas before and three that have never set foot in "Sin City." We are very excited about everything we will be able to do, as we're not just going for a long weekend, but we will be there for an entire week! And not only that, but we will be there over Valentine's Day!

One of my very favorite movies is Swinger, and I just can't resist quoting...

[From Movie - Swingers: on the way to Las Vegas]
Trent: They’re gonna give daddy the Rainman suite, you dig that?
Mike: Do you think we’ll get there by midnight?
Trent: Baby, we’re going to be up five hundy by midnight!
Mike: Yeeeeaaaaahhhhhh!
Trent: Vegas baby! Vegas!
Mike: Vegas!

When we booked this trip, we booked it with the intention of sharing with friends, so we are so excited about having friends with us. But when I was looking at dates, I specifically chose the Valentine's week because it just seems like an awesome time to be in Vegas - full of crazy love birds eloping! While we plan to make the most of our time there exploring not only the strip but surrounding attractions, I think it will also be an awesome time for people watching!

So, the six of us got together the other night to discuss our plans for this trip. Things we would like to do, see, eat and more! Since we have more people than what would fit in a normal car, we will be cruisin' the strip (among other things) in a Minivan! YEAH!

Anyway I wanted to get opinions from those that have been to Vegas beforehand, because we will have plenty of time to check out a lot, so please let me know things you recommend we do and check out! We've tentatively put together a list of things we would like to do... so these are high priority, but maybe there's some cool stuff we won't want to miss out on that isn't on our list!

    1. Lake Mead & Hoover Dam
    2. Sign Museum
    3. Grand Canyon West Rim
    4. Death Valley or Zion National Park
    5. Las Vegas Ski Resort - Skiing
    6. See a show (we're gonna check discount tickets)
    7. Check out rides at the Stratosphere
    8. See the Fountain at the Bellagio (of course)
    9. Ride a gondola at the Venetian
    10. Freemont Street Experience
    11. Maybe go to a wedding Chapel and renew vows! hehe (Elaine and John have been married the longest, so maybe they can do it! )
    12. Tour the strip and see as many Casino/Hotels as possible!

We can't wait for this trip to come, it's going to be a blast whatever we do! And with both Paul and Elaine being photographers, this trip will be thoroughly documented!! Stay tuned because it is my plan to post every day of our trip! It will be truly EPIC!

Bagel Bash 2011: Cruisin' with Awesome Friends!

Our friend Matthew Levine has on several occasions made it a point to plan a cruise around his birthday and this was our second Bagel Bash Cruise so far! Last year there was a break, as Paul's bachelor party was a bachelor cruise!

As with the last Bagel Bash, we planned an inexpensive, 3-day Cruise with Carnival to the Bahamas. We had a nice little group, Matthew of course, Paul and myself, one of my best friends (and my maid of honor) Ashley, and now new friends to Paul and I, Earl and Ron! It was a nice convergence of people, and we had a blast! The weather was wonderful, and the fun was unlimited starting with our first picture... Me having a bit of fun in our cabin!

We were on the Carnival Sensation, a very nice cruise ship! I think between crew and guests it has about 4,000 people on board - don't quote me on that, but it's pretty darn close!

We got on board and immediately the party began! Awesome fruity drinks and great food! We enjoyed just chilling out as we waited for the boat to leave port.

The first night we celebrated Matt's 34th birthday (OLD MAN!) haha. I think every night of the cruise, we had our fine dining experience, and there were at least a half-a-dozen birthdays, and if it wasn't Happy Birthday the crew was singing, it was Happy Anniversary!  The meals were awesome, and you could eat anything and everything you wanted. You could order one of everything on the menu if you really wanted!

The first full day, we docked in Nassau, Bahamas and were off the boat by 12 or 1 PM. The weather was gorgeous, you couldn't have asked for a better day to tour around the island.

Of course our first stop was Senor Frog's cause there's always a party there! We had a blast hanging out, munching and of course DRINKING a LOT! Paul even did a beer drinking contest!

And he won!!! We had two LARGE drinks and some shots, we left Senor Frog's pretty toasted! And naturally what would anyone do but get their hair braided when you've got a nice buzz on in the islands...

After braiding, we went to the beach, and met a friendly little beach cat! Such a sweet one... and got a little bit of beach time before we caught the bus back to the boat.

We had a pretty fun day on the island and were headed back to formal night to do dinner and get pictures! Matt was determined to get a nice group picture for his wall! I unfortunately don't have it for the blog (maybe I'll try updating it later with it), but we went to three different stations to get pictures before we were ready to cut loose in the club!

Paul and the guys had a lot of fun this evening, and ironically the ladies cut out early. But Paul did pretty good in the casino's so it was ok that he stayed out a bit later!

The next day Ashley and I were dead set on getting our chairs to lay out ALL DAY LONG! And that we did! We scoped out our spot after breakfast, and then got ready for our day in the sun. Paul and Earl joined up with us around lunch and Matt and Ron were sleeping off their wild night ALL DAY!

But toward the end of the day, Paul, Earl and Matt decided to give the water slide a try! They said it was a lot of fun... I'll take their word for it. I heard it was very cold, and that it was a little painful if you hit the seams the wrong way. But it looks like Paul enjoyed it!

Overall it was an awesome time! Ashley finally got used to the rocking... it was definitely more rocky than normal. And the guys had a great time drinking, eating and gambling. I think our next cruise will be longer, and maybe to somewhere new like the Mediterranean or something! Oh and did I mention, Ric Flair was on the cruise! I included a pic of Paul with him. Matt, Ron and Paul all go pictures with him, and he was a good sport about it!

Fun times! We love cruisin' with great friends!

In Route to Nassau!

No better way to travel than a CRUISE!!! Headed to Nassau on Carnival! Will be a blast with my wonderful Husband and AWESOME friends! Check back for some amazing photography compliments of my Paul Paul!

Thanksgiving Holiday in PCB!

Paul's parent's have some awesome condos right on the beach in Panama City Beach Florida, and we have the privilege of using them on various occasions, and Thanksgiving was no exception!

Paul and I headed down after work Wednesday, to sleep in, relax and prepare our bodies for an amazing Thanksgiving Dinner at the Boat Yard. It was pretty awesome as they prepare a family style dining experience for Thanksgiving where you get a 26 lbs Turkey, and all the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner dressings, of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, dressing, veggies, green bean casserole, and my favorite cranberry sauce! And of course they topped the meal off with some pumpkin pie! It was a great time, and they even had live music (a local saxophonist).

Also, on a very impressive note, they pack up the turkey carcass, turkey and any left-overs, so you can take it home and eat it for the rest of the week! How cool is that?? We actually took the carcass home, and Paul is making up some delicious Turkey Soup! YUMMM!

While that was the main highlight of the weekend, there was some more fun to be had! Following dinner, we all of course went back to the condos to chill, nap and let the turkey tryptophan wear off. Once we were able to get the energy back on, we decided to head over to the movies and were totally entertained by the movie Hugo in 3D, and while I believe it is geared for children, it was actually a very good movie, one I would totally watch again! It has a very intriguing and elaborate story line, and is good for the whole family! Of course I think it could be a bit much for children under five or 6.

Thanksgiving Day wasn't over yet, we headed back to the condo to hang out and wait for Midnight so that we could take part in the Black Friday fun, starting at 12AM!

Elizabeth (my sister-in-law) and I decided we were going to hit up some stores in Pier Park in PCB. Target was open at 12AM Friday, we decided that was going to be our first and "main" stop. This was the first time that Elizabeth had gone out for Black Friday, and I think she may actually do it again in the future. Of course it really is one of those thing that you need to do advance research on, as there seems to be either very specific deals in places like Target, and smaller stores have what you would be surprised to find, like 40% EVERYTHING!

When we got to Target, there was a line to get in, but by the time we walked to the front, the line had dissipated and we were headed in! We found a good amount of deals and were seeing people everywhere with LCD TVs in their carts. We weren't really looking for anything specific, so we got a mix of good deals and just stuff we had to have. And while we thought we would only be out for about an hour or so, I think we actually spent almost 2 hours in Target alone! We roamed around and as we were in the midst of our shopping spree, we noticed a line building around the entire store! It was INSANE. Ironically, we continued browsing, and by the time we were ready to check out, the lines were gone. Either time flies when you're having fun, or those Target checkers were moving in super speed! CRAZY!

Once we left Target, we moved on to some of the other shops in Pier Park, and were very excited to find that American Eagle was doing 40% off your entire purchase! YEAH! These are the times that we find more stuff for ourselves than others... but we did accomplish a good bit of Christmas Shopping too! ;) Other stops included Bath & Body Works, New York & Co., and Nike! Elizabeth and I were shocked when we finally got back to the car at 4:15AM! The couple of hours we thought we would spend out, turned into 4 hours of shopping... It was so fun!

The rest of the weekend continued with more fun, shopping (Paul's Mom really knows how to scope out the consignment shops!), eating great PCB Seafood (Bayou on the Beach and the Captain's Table), a Boat Parade and Festival (the 25th Anniversary in Downtown Panama City Beach), and just good old family fun!

Oktoberfest 2011, What a Blast!

Every year we go to Helen, GA for Oktoberfest, unfortunately last year we didn't make it out because we were busy planning our wedding, but this year we didn't let it slip and it was totally worth it! We had such a great time. We headed up to Helen with Kristin (Andrus), Curtis, and Natacha.

We were very excited because our VERY pregnant friend Kristin (Kneeland) was all about it and checked with her doctor far in advance as she wasn't letting her pregnancy stop her from doing anything! She's 9 months and a week pregnant and she was out having fun! She is quite the trooper, I can only hope that when I'm in her shoes, I would wear it as well! And if she had the motivation and energy to be there, there was no way we could miss out.

We had to work the Sugar Hill Fall Festival, but decided to dip out early to head up to Helen! I strategically mapped out route to avoid traffic, and we were absolutely successful. It was actually pretty nice because it was a gorgeous scenic ride and we were moving the whole time!

Once we go there, we walked a bit, mostly to get to the restrooms, and then we headed over to Margaritas' (we like to call it Paul's cause that's the place you see from the road), and they sell the big plastic cups that say Paul's on them. We actually had several other friends there to meet up with like Denise and Sean (who just had their little girl Catie)! She was adorable, and not allowed in the bars or course! They even asked, and the response they got was no one under 21! haha

Kristin's husband, Patrick,  and Robin also made it out and it was very nice to see them! And we also had a couple other friends, Natalie and Micheal who we hung out with and drank with for a while!

It was such a fun time! Kristin (Andrus) and I even took some time to walk around to a few shops! Had to stop in Hansel and Gretel Fudge Shop. Kristin bought some yummy Pumpkin Pie fudge for her friend Jamin, and we got a taste. It was delicious, and they only do that flavor in October (maybe into November) so if you're up there you should check it out!

And I couldn't leave without stopping by the shop we bought our awesome dog Chunk from. They of course were selling puppies again, and had an Rat Terriers this time. I couldn't resist, I had to hold him, although he was already sold! I wasn't about to buy another dog, he was NO CHUNK!

We headed back to meet up with our group, had a couple more drinks and then headed out. It was totally a blast! I can't wait until next year!

Day Three of Mini Vaca: My Cousin Vinnie is Married!

The last evening in the D.C./Annapolis area was for my cousin Vinnie's wedding!

The day started early at Renditions Golf Club in Davidsonville, MD. While it was a dreary cold day, we had a blast! Theresa was all smiles and everyone was super excited for the big day! Paul did a great job, and we've got tons of great images for Vinnie and Theresa to choose from!

Here's a peek...

Theresa had three bridesmen, and they were great! I was surprised how attentive they were!

My cousins, the Sisca brothers, Nick, Vinnie and Damien.

Congratulations Theresa and Vinnie! It was a beautiful wedding for a beautiful couple! We love you guys!

Click here to view the full gallery...

Day Two of Mini Vaca: Perusing Downtown D.C.

Day Two we started the day with my cousin Vinnie's Wedding Rehearsal, but that was a short time before we headed back to D.C. to meet up with friends for dinner, drinks and FUN!

Check out some of our evening festivities!

We went for Sushi, Hookah and Drinks at Gazuza Lounge in Dupont Circle, and it was amazing! I'm not a hookah person, so I did not partake in that, but I did absolutely enjoy the sushi! The Sabotage Roll was the best! It will set your mouth on fire!!!

Me and Ashley enjoying the atmosphere! Paul was able to get some fun shots!

Then we headed around the other side of Dupont Circle to Eighteenth Street Lounge. A hip bar with good music and lot of interesting people (great for people watching)!

Jeff and his friends, Aliya and Cat... having a good time!

One of the only pics of Paul and I together on the trip! Thank you Ashley! :)

Me and Ash getting our buzz on!

Paul, doing the Jeff pose! haha

We had parted ways with Jeff and his friends at the Eighteenth Street Lounge and decided to meet back up with them. After leaving Dupont, we headed over to U Street for some more bar hopping. We stopped in one of  Jeff's favorite stops, Queen Makeda, it was pretty cool, but a little empty for our taste and Jeff and his friends weren't there, so onto the next stop!

From there we reunited with Jeff and his gang at Black Bird's or Black Cats... I'm really not sure! But it was a really cool spot and a nice place to end our D.C. bar tour!

And last, but certainly not least we stopped into the place that Jeff calls JUMBO SLICE, and had like a quarter of this huge pizza per person! It was definitely a good stop after a night of drinking, of course definitely off our diet. Oh well, it definitely hit the spot!

We made it home safe and sound, and actually woke up in plenty of time to head out to MD for the wedding (it started at 2PM and Paul was photographing so we had to be there early)! This was truly a busy weekend, but it's totally awesome to experience D.C. in new ways every time we go!

Click here for the full gallery of pics!

Day One of Mini Vaca: We made it to D.C.!

The drive up went really smooth, we were able to leave the house around 5AM, and made it into the city by 2:30PM. I think we hit is just right!

We're staying right in the city with a friend, and the house is pretty awesome and in walking distance of Capitol Hill! Thank you Jeff and especially Chantal for giving us a free place to stay! The house is a 1930's home and has so much character! Chantal also has a great garden in the back yard.

Hanging with friends, meeting new people, and catching up on old times! We were enjoying the good company of Jeff and Chantal.

After a few drinks, we decided to head over to the fish market to grab some fresh fish to grill out, gotta love having these kind of things so close!

We ended up getting some fresh grouper, and I was ready to get back to grill it up! I get grumpy when I'm hungry, can you tell??

Well we got back and the guys cooked up some amazing grouper (the best we've ever had!) and corn on the cobb, and it was amazing! After a long day of driving, I crashed, but the boys partied on!

It was definitely a good start to this mini vaca and wedding trip!

I love the Lily Allen station

I love the Lily Allen station on Pandora! Great station for a road trip! :)