Grand Canyon

I am finally getting around to sharing the last bit of our Christmas vacay and I saved the best for last. We actually went to the Grand Canyon on our first day in the desert. We were picked up at the Mirage at 6:20 in the AM and we returned at 9:00 PM. It was an extremely long day but it was life changing. I now know what people mean when they say that there is no way they can explain something. Explaining the Grand Canyon is like explaining the ocean. It is a truly majestic place and I am so ready to go back and stay at the El Tovar Lodge in the park. We went to Grand Canyon National Park which is about 225 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. After mulling over renting a car or not we decided that we should go on a tour so they could drive for us so we chose Grand Adventures Tours and I would highly recommend them. Instead of us being on a huge bus with a hundred people there were only 9 of us to go on this tour so we got to ask the guide a lot more questions and we got to experience things that other tours could not only because we had such few people. Here are some pictures and details of this amazing experience. 

Grand Canyon Train
Grand Canyon Village and Bright Angel Lodge

Our first view of the canyon…Breathtaking
Light snow on the canyon walls
The Colorado River
Me cheesing it up in the El Tovar Lodge

Grand Canyon Hopi House

Incredible Lodge view

I loved this tree on the South Rim trail

I was sitting on a ledge 5000 ft above the river and I felt oddly safe. In that moment I felt so alive. 

Husband being silly
Gorgeous sunset view, the colors changed automatically

After the sunset. What an amazing day!

Las Vegas: Day Two on The Strip

On our last day in Vegas I woke up feeling awful and sick but I was not going to let that stop me from making the most of everything. I will say we got up a lot slower that morning and I blame going non-stop the days prior. We were leaving on a red eye that night so we had a ton of ground to cover! Here is a taste of what we got into and ate on our last day in Vegas! 
We started the day heading south down the other side of the strip hitting Caesar’s Palace first! We had already checked out Caesar’s earlier as it was right next door to our hotel however I was dying to take a pic next to this fountain that was super packed with people every other time we had passed by it. This was around 8:30 in the morning and literally we only saw two people on the strip and they were jogging! I now believe what we were told that no one wakes up until noon in this town!

We then went next door to the Bellagio which I was super pumped about since I had heard such wonderful things. I will say that it is a extraordinarily beautiful hotel but I loved the feel of the Venetian more. The Bellagio was still decorated for Christmas and it was absolutely gorgeous. The hotel is also home to the World’s Largest Chocolate fountain which was pretty neat. 
We had lunch off the strip at In-N-Out Burger at the request of my husband. After we decided to go to Vegas for our vacay he replied with “You know that there are In-N-Out’s there!” He was very excited to get his hands on a double animal style etc…whatever that means. Anyway, we both enjoyed the cheapest meal we ate on this entire trip and I would totally go back in a heartbeat!
We kept making our way down the strip visiting The Cosmopolitan, Aria, New York New York, Luxor and Mandalay Bay. We even rode the roller coaster at NYNY and it was wild. I mean it was a ton of fun but I doubt I have ever screamed that loud!! The Cosmopolitan was absolutely amazing! It had this gorgeous chandelier bar that I recommend checking out! 
We had to head back to Caesar’s Palace to pick up our show tickets and I decided I wanted to try out a Frrrozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity 3. Let’s just say Mike and I were not disappointed in the Peanut butter flavored concoction. We couldn’t get enough! We both highly recommend not missing one of these!
By that time of the day we were both extremely exhausted and my feet were absolutely killing me so we decided to pick a casino to hang out in and rest. I picked PH as I was searching from Britney who had just opened her Vegas residency the night before! We did not spot Brit Brit but we enjoyed chilling for a while and playing slot machines. 

We made a reservation at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris and requested a table on the patio. I highly recommend eating there at night and sitting on the patio year round as they have heaters etc. The Paris hotel is directly across the street from the Bellagio and you can enjoy the fountain show as you dine on delicious French cuisine. We were not disappointed with our steaks and I loved seeing the show every 15 minutes! After dinner I had a hankering for cheesecake so I convinced Mike(it didn’t take much) to head over to Ceasar’s Palace to the Cheesecake factory and enjoy a slice before we went to see Absinthe. We both enjoyed the show a lot. It was a really good mix of all that Vegas has to offer. It contains raunchy comedy, acrobatic acts and burlesque dance. I will say heed the warnings of offensiveness but if you are not offended easily you should really enjoy it! We thought it was worth every penny!
After the show we hurried back to the Mirage as we were being picked up by the limo to be taken back to the airport! All in all, Vegas was a great(exhausting) time. Would I go back? Yes. Am I dying to return. No. I only say that last part because I have traveled very little and I want to see more of what the US has to offer! 

Viva Las Vegas Part Two

Our first day roaming around Las Vegas was amazing. We hit up a ton of major spots and hotels and walked until our feet could barely stand it! We started at the Palazzo and worked our way south on the strip until we hit the MGM Grand. Vegas is totally different in daylight than at night and the strip is pretty much dead until noon when all of the club goers and night owls wake up and start their day. But me sleep in on vacation? NO way! We were up at seven at out of the hotel by 8:30 with coffee in hand. 

The Mirage Beatles Love Entryway. You can even spot a shadowed husband down there!
Quick photo-op outside of the hotel before we started our day!
Street View of the Encore, Wynn and Venetian
The gorgeous Palazzo hotel which we loved. I would stay there in a heartbeat!

The amazing Venetian. No other hotel in Vegas compared to it. 
We were really let down with everything else after seeing it. It totally lived up to the hype.
We enjoyed lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe and enjoyed it immensely. We would recommend it if you’re in Vegas and want a cheaper but good meal. It’s very similar to the Cheesecake Factory and is open 24/7.
It was an absolutely beautiful day with better weather than we could have asked for!
We ate dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab and enjoyed walking around The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace. 
The people watching is excellent in Vegas especially in the shopping malls.
We ended the night by catching the volcano show at the Mirage and wandering around the hotel. I was super excited to discover Kardashian Khaos was inside our own hotel although it was closed for the day.
There you have it for our Vegas day one. I have a lot more to 
show on day two with the hotels on the other side of the strip! Stay Tuned.

Viva Las Vegas Part One: The Arrival

We arrived in Vegas around 11 PM Christmas night! Since we flew back through the time zones our Christmas day was actually 27 hours rather than 24! I could hardly stand the excitement as I had booked a limo to pick us up from the airport that Mike had no idea about. It was a hard secret to keep but in the end he was really surprised! I wish I had snapped a photo of the chauffeur with her little suit on and the iPad she was holding with our names on but hey we were excited so we forgot! The limo was nice and stocked with beer and champagne(my fav) so we had a glass or two as we were on our way! As soon as we pulled out of the airport parking garage you could see the lights of The Strip! The chauffeur asked us if we wanted to go to the Welcome sign and of course we said yes! It is a little park smack dab in the middle of the road at the very end of the strip past Mandalay Bay. The chauffeur was very experienced with taking pictures at the sign and told us where we needed to stand to make sure we got a good shot. From there we rode down the strip to our hotel, The Mirage where we checked in and literally went straight to bed as we had a big day planned starting at 6:00 AM. The Strip is quite overwhelming with people and lights everywhere. It is a very energetic place and the sights are quite spectacular. Here are some pics I snapped in the limo on our ride into Vegas!!
I have so much more to share from this trip!

Alternative Christmas Gift 2013

This year has been a WONDERFUL and adventurous year for Mike and I so we decided to keep up that trend for the holidays this year. We always have a hard time figuring out what to get for each other and truthfully it is so stressful, so this year I proposed a little different scenario to my husband. I never dreamed he’d say yes. So instead of giving each other gifts(that we probably wouldn’t be able to recall the next year) we have decided to spend that money(and a little extra) to head to Las Vegas after Christmas! Neither of us as ever been so we are extremely excited about the trip and about the holidays! And for me, it is that much sweeter that I do not have to stress over what to buy and will only need to stress about what to wear in the desert in winter!! We booked the trip last night and the countdown is on…46 days until Christmas and memories I am sure we’ll never forget!

Stay southern,