Thursday, July 05, 2018

4th of July Weekend in Vegas

This year Independence Day landed on a Wednesday. Both John and I had the day off from work but we did not make any plans. That is ... not until the two days prior when we decided to hop on a plane to Vegas after the work day on Tuesday and celebrate 17 years since we first met in California on the 4th of July! Where did all of those years go?

After checking in to the Mirage hotel around 8:30 p.m., we walked to the LINQ Promenade in search of some dinner.

Many of the hotel casinos close early so we decided to eat at an Italian Restaurant called Off the Strip. Outdoor dining is something we always prefer so we were sat on the patio so we could people watch.

After dinner, we hailed an UBER and drove to one of our favorite tiki bars -- the Golden Tiki on Spring Mountain.

If you have never been, it is a really neat place. They even offer food.

It was a very late night (for us) since our normal bed time is about 10 p.m. so getting to bed after 2 p.m. was rough.

The next morning, John's parents met as at the cafe in the hotel for breakfast. They looked so cute (and a lot younger than their age) but I did not get a chance to take a photo of them so you'll have to settle for a photo of this Bloody Mary (which was excellent by the way).

After breakfast we rushed back to our room to pack our bags and check out. The day was beautiful and so it was time to sit by the pool.

BARE is our favorite European style pool and are for those 21 years and older (because tops are optional, no photos are allowed in the pool area so we left our cameras in our bag and just enjoyed cooling off poolside and our surroundings).

If you want chairs to sit on, it starts at $300 for two (before taxes and gratuity) but it is worth having a place to put your bags and stretch out in the sun -- and it includes food and drink credits. For the two of us, it was hard to eat and drink that much (even with 32 ounce mixed drinks at $34) unless ... you prefer bottles.

We spent the whole entire afternoon meeting and chatting with others we met at the pool. Time flies when you're having fun and when the pool closed at 5 p.m. we made our way to the main pool and sat by the waterfall until it was time to get our bags from bag check and head to the airport.

The airport was dead and so going through security was easy. Plus we have TSA pre-check because I flew so much for work and John flies almost as much on companion pass (he flies for free wherever I fly and so can you and your companion if you want to ask me about it).

Where is everyone?!

Leaving Las Vegas

Lake Tahoe is just a 20-minute drive from our home.

Downtown Reno is a small Vegas block compared to the Strip
It was a whirlwind of a weekend and we wished we could have spent more time with John and Maggie but still we had SO, SO MUCH FUN!! There is never enough time, right? Never enough time with your loved ones. Now we are going on 18 years and looking back at all those years, we think we know where they all went. To memories like these. So CHEERS everyone and we hope you also had an awesome 4th of July!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Bike Dinner Date

It has been a while since John and I rode our bikes together so we decided to ride to dinner. We were almost at our destination, John noticed a new restaurant that recently opened its doors called Morgan's Lobster Shack and Fish Market. We decided to give them a try.

 After we were seated, we had a cocktail. John started with whiskey and soda; I had a Moscow Mule (my new favorite drink these days). Dinner was a California Lobster Roll (for John) and homemade clam chowder with a glass of Chardonnay. It was so good! And I ordered Halibut, grilled with a side of sauces of my choosing (Italian tapenade, chili-lime and an Asian inspired sauce that was delicious) served over fresh greens with coleslaw. I chose to have a glass of prosecco with dinner (probably not the right pairing but, still) it was fabulous! And then...we couldn't resist the homemade desserts. I love bread pudding and they had blueberry bread pudding on the menu. John loves anything chocolate and the lava cake was calling his name. So we ordered both--the lava cake and the bread pudding.

We had been sitting outdoors on the patio (would you believe it? In the middle of November and I'm wearing shorts!) but with the sun going down it was starting to get chilly for both if us so we went upstairs to check out the bar area of the restaurant (you can also order food up there and dine with a view). Dessert was served to us upstairs and it was delicious with a night cap of Dissarono and soda. Yes, we definitely indulged for a meal out so I'm glad we rode our bikes!

Our ride was 7 miles roundtrip between home and the restaurant so it didn't take long and it was a nice ride on this beautiful fall evening. I think it was our first meal out since returning from Aruba.

Since we got back home it was nice to cook for ourselves, you know? But I will be out of town again for work so for this Monday's evening, it was great to not have to make dinner (and clean up) and, instead, just enjoy riding our bikes and spending the evening together.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Vegas Weekend

I was in Vegas this past week for work. Wednesday evening, my mom-in-law picked me up at the end of the day and we went to Town Square for something to eat and drink. The Loco Cantina was a restaurant we had never tried (and it just so happened it was still Happy Hour) so we sat down on the patio for margaritas and the taco sampler. The food and drinks were surprisingly good but the restaurant wasn't very busy (perhaps because it was mid-week) and so we hope business will be good for them and that they'll be around for our next visit. It was a lovely evening and we had a great time shopping afterwards.

The Loco Cantina restaurant and patio is on the second floor overlooking the shops.
Since it could be a while before the next time we'll see my parents in-law again, my husband John flew down Thursday and I would stay for the weekend in Vegas instead of returning home.

So he and his mom went to Town Square and had lunch at the Lazy Dog (another place we've been meaning to try. I couldn't get away from work so they sent me some photos to look forward to until the next time.

Friday, John and his dad went to the Carrol Shelby automobile museum and afterwards, had lunch at the Lazy Dog (again). I guess I'll have to wait to be part of the club ;-)

I had some things on my plate for work so there was no fun for me but I did take breaks to sit by the pool at the house and listen to the quiet of the world outside.

Then the weekend came and it was all a blur. We did go to the National Atomic Testing Museum (a really neat place located near UNLV. If you haven't been, we definitely recommend.) We played cards and ate a lot of good food (it is hard not to because my mom-in-law is a GREAT cook!!). The weather was really nice so sometimes we ate dinners outside.

My mom-in-law makes fabulous pancakes from scratch.

I'm not a great cook but I can make fruit salad!

Shortly before we started playing cards. Our favorite games: Canasta and Five Crowns.

I love Moscow Mules.

An apple torte my mom-in-law made. It was DELICIOUS!!

A Sugar Pumpking from my parents in-law's garden. We got to take one home!

John joined the card playing fun. He caught on quick and won the game.

Then it was time to go home.

Flying over Walker Lake.
It is always hard to leave because we enjoyed spending time with each other and had such a great weekend. But I have been away from home for an entire week I was ready to be back in Reno and see our kitties too. Soon enough, I'll be back in Vegas again.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Day Trip to Sacramento

John and I needed a few items from a home improvement place in Sacramento so we drove over the hill for the day. We both wanted to take a little road trip anyway and driving is a nice change from the flying I have been doing.

My very first visit to Sacramento, California was actually over three decades ago when I was a little girl. My parents had friends who had lived here and wanted my parents to consider relocating. But my parents thought the city was too big for our family of young children and raised us in a small southeastern town in Washington instead of moving to the state's capital.

Here we are, today, in Sacramento. Who knew I would be living a couple hours away in my adult life.

Before we could do any shopping, we needed to stop for lunch. So I picked some place casual: Joe's Crab Shack in Old Sacramento.

It located in a really neat historical district filled with local shops on cobblestone-lined streets and restaurants along the Sacramento River. Street parking is a limited commodity, and although there was a public parking structure in the vicinity, John and I opted to park on the other side of the river and that way we could walk along the Sacramento Tower Bridge. Then we would have a nice half-mile walk back to the car after lunch.

You can also take a ride on a river boat, on a carriage or wagon or take a railroad excursion out of the California Railroad State Museum. I would like to take the bike trail that runs along the river the next time we visit!

View of the historical district from the Sacramento Tower Bridge.
Lunch was uneventful. Even though the restaurant was packed we did not have a long wait before we were seated on the patio. In the meantime, we went to the bar and grabbed a couple of drinks while we waited.

John had fish (and shrimp) and chips. I went for the hot bucket of shrimp and added a side of snow crabs. From the patio, we watched the boats going by on the river. It reminded us of when we used to ride our boat on Lake Mead and Lake Havasu. But boating where we live is not practical for us. The summers are so short and we are not around often enough to enjoy it.

After lunch, we walked back across the Tower Bridge and continued on with our day of shopping.

A path on the other side of the river where we parked and was way less crowded.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

4th of July to Labor Day say we've been busy is an understatement. From the time demolition started on the kitchen through the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, life was a whirlwind for us with updates to the kitchen, two bathrooms and flooring throughout our entire house. I won't even mention the yard...

Back in January, we sold our home in Sparks that was a new construction and purchased a resale that was built in the late 80s. It needed A LOT of updates. Everywhere. Starting with the kitchen since, in our opinion, it is the most important room in the house.

Kitchen - Before:
  • Enclosed from the Great Room by a wall
  • Low fluorescent ceilings
  • Older cabinets
  • 6" x 6" tile countertop and backsplash
  • Outdated porcelain sink and faucet
  • Small and dark kitchen with very little room to move if two people were in the kitchen
This was the only entry into the kitchen. The wall enclosed the kitchen from the Great Room.

Hide-and-Seek the cook!
A floor-to-ceiling pantry took over the countertop real estate. 
Low ceiling, outdated countertop, back splash and sink/faucet. With two people working in the kitchen, there was very little room to move around.

Kitchen - After:

The wall and fluorescent lighting soffit was torn down and to expose the vaulted ceilings. The cabinets and countertops were extended out to the Great Room by a couple feet.
  • Six can lights and three wired pendants were installed
  • 42" tall soft-close semi-custom cabinets with easy-reach doors (instead of blind corner cabinets) were installed
  • 3" granite slab countertop was fabricated
  • Stainless steel single basin sink and faucet installed, with a push button garbage disposal
  • Subway tile backsplash
  • Stainless steel range hood replaced the microwave oven that was once above the stove
  • New stainless steel gas slide-in range
  • Custom glass doors for the cabinets

We opted for a single basin stainless steel sink which makes it easier to clean large pots and pans. There's a button for the garbage disposal conveniently close (before it was hooked to a switch on the backsplash wall). And instead of having dead space under the sink, we added a sliding drawer for cookie sheets and muffin pans.

The sink was moved out towards the Great Room. Now there is plenty of counter spaces on which to cook!

Subway tile backsplash. Range hood replaced the above-the-range microwave. We had a new stove but preferred a more modern slide-in gas range without the LED displays towards the back.
New flooring throughout the entire house.
Since before Labor Day, I haven't been home during the week to enjoy the kitchen because I have been working out of town. But that's okay. We've lived without a kitchen for nearly two months but at least we are done with the renovation and it will be there when I get home.