Fall Colors in Las Vegas

Last week, I was in Las Vegas once again for work. I’ve told you all about all my favorite things to do in Vegas before – there’s just too much fun to be had. While nice restaurants and themed clubs are fun, my truly favorite thing to do is to put down my cocktail, take off the party shoes and take a simple {totally free} walk in a garden.

When in Vegas, I always visit the Conservatory at the Bellagio (I’ve never actually stayed at the Bellagio but day dream about how fancy and wonderful it must be). The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is a gorgeous display of flowers and plants plus lighting and props dedicated to the current season or holiday. Gorgeous flowers from all over the world create an unbelievable, storybook-like scene that patrons can wander through leisurely to snap photos, take in the details and enjoy a little peace among the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas.

When I was there last week, the display was the 2011 Harvest Season – it was stunning! Here a few photos from the garden (my favorite is the tree!).

And here’s one I snapped outside looking out from the Bellagio on the walk back to my hotel – wouldn’t it be awesome if this was your view? I just love it!

Here’s to the Memorial

First, I want to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who commented or messaged me about our baby announcement yesterday! We are so excited to start this new chapter of our lives!

Now, down to today’s topic. On our recent trip to NYC, the spouse and I visited the construction site of the 9/11 Memorial. This is the third time I’ve been to the World Trade Center since 9/11/2001 and each time I’m surprised at the emotion I feel seeing the space where the Twin Towers once stood.

In 2003, the first time I visited the site, clean up was still going on. We walked the plywood hallways around the massive hole left in the ground and looked over thousands of signatures and notes captured on the walls. The pain of grief that still hung in the air silenced our group of normally chatty gals.

In 2004, the spouse and I visited the site and took in what I remember as the beginning of rebuilding. The huge hole in the ground was still clearly visible with a lot of walls taken down and new construction not in place just yet. Even three years post-9/11, the sadness of so many lost lives still penetrated the atmosphere.

On our most recent trip, I could finally feel a sense of change and recovery from the future 9/11 Memorial. The beautiful buildings and eventual park have started to revive the space where so much devastation took place ten years ago. The surrounding areas and the museum that has recently opened pay a beautiful tribute to the people who died and suffered extreme loss as a result of that day. We really enjoyed seeing the progression of the memorial (despite choking back tears a few times in the museum). I am looking forward to returning to the city once it’s complete.

With the ten year anniversary of 9/11 coming up this weekend, please take a few minutes to say a prayer for all the lives touched by 9/11.

“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we are the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world.

And no one will keep that light from shining.” ~President George W. Bush, September 11, 2001

Back Home

Happy Wednesday!

Hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Labor Day weekend! We had the most incredible weekend spending time on the east coast for our vacation. The weather was perfect, we had incredible food, and I got to spend a lot of time with my family.

We literally did everything I had on my list of vacation “to do’s”: we explored NYC, spent an afternoon soaking up the sun on the Jersey Shore, and finally met my nephew, Paxton! He is such a sweet little baby!

We’re back home in Colorado now getting caught up from our days off.  I plan to tell you all about our travels over a couple of posts (there’s too much to share in just one) but I couldn’t resist sharing a few photos. I look forward to sharing more soon.

Have a terrific day!

Seaside Heights
The Brooklyn Bridge
My nephew on his baptism day with his mom & dad! :)

Big Boy, Big Apple, Big Week

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had an incredible weekend! Mine was full of fun activities including two fundraising events that I can’t wait to tell you all about (posts coming later this week!).

This week is a big week: I’m flying out to New Jersey with the spouse to visit my sister and her new son, Paxton! I can’t wait to finally meet my little nephew…although I shouldn’t call him little…he weighed 10 lbs 2 oz when he was born! That’s a big boy! We’re flying in for his christening and spending a few days with family and friends on Jersey Shore. I could not be more excited to get there!

While we’re on the east coast, the spouse and I have a trip to New York City planned. We’ve made reservations at Marc Forgione’s restaurant and plan to see the progress made on the 9/11 Memorial (which I think is supposed to open in a few weeks). We have a few other stops planned including a great lunch place, some shopping (naturally), and hopefully a drink with a close friend. We can’t wait!

Between now and then, I’m trying to turn this week’s “To Do” list into a “Done” list, pack, and prepare a couple of posts for you all to enjoy in my absence. It’s going to be a hectic couple of days!

Well, I hope you all have a terrific week! Here’s a pic of my favorite building in the Big Apple: The Flatiron Building.

What’s your favorite spot in NYC? I’d love your suggestions for our trip!

Via Pinterest.

Here’s to Road Trips!

Happy Friday!

This weekend, the spouse and I are going on a road trip! It’s a mini road trip (I think it’ll only take us about 3.5-4 hours to get there) but a road trip nonetheless. We’re headin’ up to good ol’ Casper, WY to watch two of our close friends tie the knot! It’ll no doubt be a wonderful wedding!

Via That Kind of Woman

I haven’t been on a road trip of a significant distance in ages! When I was in college in Wyoming, I embarked on a motorized journey with my girlfriends to British Columbia – stopping in Montana and Washington along the way. I have driven from Colorado to New Jersey on more than one occasion….let me tell ya, that’s a treat. Turns out Pennsylvania feels just as long as Nebraska for you Westerners. Oh, and for you Easterners, Nebraska IS longer than Pennsylvania. Highway I-80 and I have gotten to know each other quite well over the years.

I think the longest cross-country excursion I’ve ever driven was with my mom (who is so sweet and babysitting our pups this weekend for us). We drove from Cheyenne, WY down to Roswell, GA and then up to Toms River, NJ. Whew! We stopped in a creepy, creepy town in Kentucky, stayed a night in Nashville, drove through the Carolina’s, and enjoyed some wonderful mom/daughter bonding time. It was a really great trip!

In preparation for our highway adventure, I’m thinking of all the little things I’ll need to keep me entertained along the way. I’ve compiled this list of car must-haves:

I’m excited for the car-time with my hubby and looking forward to toasting to the happy couple! For today’s quote, I had to default to a classic road trip movie:

“This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. I’m gonna have fun and you’re gonna have fun.” ~Clark Griswold, Vacation

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! What’s the farthest or most exciting road trip you’ve ever taken?

Giving Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving!

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, naturally I’ve been reflecting on what I’m thankful for and how lucky of a girl I really I am. And since you all know how much I LOVE to make lists…I thought I’d make a list of the top 10 things I’m grateful for. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

1. Family – I hear so many people complain of “having” to spend the holidays with family. Driving or flying from this place to that and eating more than one Thanksgiving turkey (the outrage!) but I look forward to these busy (sometimes hectic) days. To see my siblings, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents is a special experience that I treasure deeply. I live pretty far away from my East Coast fam and don’t get to see my Wyoming kin too often either so whether I’m looking over the Rocky Mountains with my dad, sis and brother or toasting wine with my cousins in Jersey, every time I get to spend with my family is truly, truly special. Also, I couldn’t ask for a better person to share my life, adventures and future with than the spouse :)

2. My Friends – My friends are the most hilarious, entertaining, talented and caring people I’ve ever met! I am so very lucky to be surrounded by a group of people that I’ve known since high school, befriended in college and met in recent years.

3. Pugs – Specifically, Barley. Need I say more than show you this photo? How could you not be thankful for this sweet animal (er…plant)!??

4. Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers – I absolutely adore RCPM (especially Jim….guitar players…get me every time). Catching every concert possible on the Front Range, I attempt to meet the band every time and surprisingly they’ve started to remember me! (Uh, oh….here comes that crazy girl Steve Larson* warned us about). I LOVE them and if you don’t know them, GO HERE to give a listen. You’re Welcome.*stevelarson is their ex-guitarist

5. The FC – Rated as Money magazine’s 6th Best Town to Live in, helping earn the Front Range the “Napa Valley of Beers” status, a ten minute drive to the Rocky Mountains, and a plethora of local restaurants…..it just doesn’t get better than Fort Collins. I’m so grateful to live in this town. In what other town could you take your dog for a run….to a microbrewery!? (The FC is also rated in the Top 10 Active Towns to live in, has been high-ranked on the Most Pet-Friendly cities in recent years AND….AND we’re the home of Odell & New Belgium Breweries).

6. Christmas – From November 1 to December 25th, I’ll be the jolliest a**hole this side of the nuthouse :)

7. My Health – Recently, I’ve become much more appreciative of my health, something I’ve taken for granted in the past. As 30 quickly approaches and I start to snap, crackle and pop with every limb movement, I’m reminded to be thankful for a body that allows me to push myself to pretty extreme physical limits, learn to golf with my spouse and lets me dance, dance, dance to Ke$ha (alone, when no one is watching).

8. My Job – In these tough economic times, everyone should be thankful if they are employed! I can say I’m truly thankful for my job!! They send me awesome places like Vegas, Boston and other great locations and I get to meet and work with a lot of great people! Also, without my job I couldn’t have the home I live in, enjoy all the great food I am lucky enough to get to eat (and pad myself with) and all the other things I enjoy and am so very, very thankful for.

9. Food, Coffee & Red Wine – I LOVE to eat! Who doesn’t right? Between the Food Network, my spouse’s culinary wizardry, the Kilted Pig, my own kitchen adventures and all of the amazing restaurants I get to go to….my world is literally controlled by what, when and where I get to eat. Add a cup of joe in the morning and good glass of red wine in the evening and that pretty much sums up what I think about all day (good thing I’ve got #7 to work it all off).

10. YOU!!! Blog readers – I appreciate you visiting my page, reading my sometimes incoherent ramblings and supporting me with your comments and continued visits.

Thank you & Happy Thanksgiving!!!