So Long 2014!

What a year it has been!

This has also been one of the worst years for my health. It seemed like I was ALWAYS sick this year. Getting a cold every other month, multiple sinus infections and also bronchitis. In that aspect I’d say I’m disappointed and hoping that 2015 is an improvement. Other than that, it was a pretty good year full of big events and lots of traveling.


I got to go on a girl’s adventure! Going to Vegas with my cousin Anna was so great. It had been way too long since we’d traveled together and it turned out that one of my work friends was also in Vegas during the same time so we all got together for a great show. 😉



It was a trip that I really needed and I love Vegas so much. The weather was fantastic and lounging poolside with drinks was a dream come true. Vegas is a place I could easily go to every single year. Maybe this is the winter weather speaking here but damn, I need to be back in Vegas poolside SOON. I never get sick of that city.

Trying New Things

Kayaking the Willamette River had been on my “to do list” for so long and I finally got to do it! It went well and I got more experience kayaking in Hawaii on our honeymoon. I am determined to make 2015 a year of kayaking! Michael is on board with this, too.

Canning Salsa had been on my “to do list” for several years, too. Ever since we started planting our own vegetable garden. Well this year I finally CANNED the stuff I grew! And it turned out well. I was surprised at how much fun it was canning stuff. I canned salsa, tomato sauce, raw tomatoes, I even made jalapeno jelly. All of those creations were a hit with people I gave them to as well. Next year will include a lot of new canning adventures.

Ran a 5K

After years of battling various injuries and flare-ups, I was able to run a race again. It took me pretty much all winter/spring to train for it. I know that 5k’s are pretty easy for most people but after being “out of it” for so long and not doing much running on a consistent basis, it was a really happy moment for me to be able to run another race.


I did have to take a few walking breaks, but my time wasn’t too bad and I finished it! I felt strong and was able to keep running the rest of the year injury free!


Yep! After a year and a half of planning, the wedding was finally here. (You can see the Engagement Pictures if you missed them.) And that of course included the Bachelorette Party! The Bachelorette Party was amazing and just perfect for me. I was really happy my close friends planned such a fantastic day and everyone could participate. Lots of happy memories there.

The wedding finally arrived and it was even more wonderful than I had fantasized about. We are STILL getting rave reviews from guests who loved the food and music and said it was the best wedding they’d been to. That kind of positive feedback makes me happy–all the stress of planning was worth it. (You can read the wedding posts here: The Wedding Details – Part 1The Wedding Details – Part 2The Wedding Details – Part 3, and Professional Pictures are Here!.)


It’s nice because I still love looking at our beautiful wedding pictures and when I hear certain songs on the radio that were played at the ceremony/reception I do get a little teary-eyed. I’m a softy, what can I say. So yeah, I’d say the wedding and honeymoon was the “big deal” for 2014!


What can I say about Hawaii? It’s paradise, of course. The weather was hot and sunny but not so humid you felt stinky. The flowers were aromatic and gorgeous. The sound of the ocean waves hitting beach while we enjoyed our breakfast on the lanai every morning is something I missed the second we returned home.


We did so many amazing things in Hawaii and one of the happiest memories I have is Michael actually running with me! Like, wow, that’s a huge deal. He is not a runner, has never expressed any desire to start running, but he joined me a few times on the honeymoon for a run along the ocean. How great is that? And of course, swimming and snorkeling in the warm ocean rates pretty high on my list.


After spending 9 days on a beach in Hawaii all I want to do is go on tropical vacations. Beach life is necessary!

2015 Goals

Get back to 145 pounds. That was my weight for many, many years. Then shit happened, including a glorious honeymoon where I ate and drank everything in sight, and gained a bit. When I got back I had about 15 pounds to lose. It was a hard road and I lost a bit, gained a bit, lost a bit. 2015 is going to be an easy, low-key year, I know it. I will focus on losing those extra pounds and get back down under my goal weight. I know I can do it. I did it a few times before. I just need to buckle down. Here comes the

Do more kayaking. I got the kayaking bug! It was so much fun the few times I’ve done it and now all I want to do is do it more. Of course I’m a wuss when it comes to weather so this goal will have to wait until summer time. I’m just not willing to spend hours out in the rain for this!

Travel. I have a trip planned to Tucson in the spring for my friend’s wedding. Other than that there are no major trips planned for me yet. Michael and I have been talking about where to go for our wedding anniversary in September. We talked about visiting the East Coast. I’ve always wanted to explore the historical towns and go to museums. We were originally planning a trip to Philly, Boston and New York but I think that might be a little too much–too much money, too much time away from home. We are currently discussing making a mini-trip and going to Philly (to see my brother and his wife) and then exploring Washington DC. The other destination discussed was Mexico and New Orleans. I have to admit, I am leaning more towards sunny, warm places! Stay tuned!

What were your 2014 highlights? Any New Year’s Resolutions?

Thunder Down Under

Saturday morning I woke up about 7:30am. I got a good solid 6 hours of sleep and apparently that’s all I needed!  Anna was still asleep so I got dressed and went down to the gym. The Bally’s gym was SO NICE! One of the best hotel gyms I’ve used (The Monte Carlo being my other favorite). They had half a dozen treadmills, about 7 ellipticals, some stair-masters, exercise bikes and TONS of weight machines and free weights.

I was one of three people in the gym that early. My friend Debby and the people she went to Vegas with were on their way to Red Rock Canyon for a hike (which sounded awesome to me). I warmed up on the elliptical, did some body weight exercises (burpees, jumping jacks, crunches, etc) went through the weight machines, did some free weight stuff and finished up with a half mile run on the treadmill.

My legs were tired from all the walking we did on Friday. I knew I should take it easy with the lower body cardio because we were going to do even more walking on Saturday. I got a fantastic workout in, burned some calories and then checked out the spa that guests could use. They had a body temperature hot tub, a hot hot tub, a dry sauna, a steam room with eucalyptus and then your typical spa services. The men’s and women’s spas were separate and there were a bunch of ladies in there waiting for massages. I told Anna that we should make good use of it (especially since we were paying $20 per night for the “resort fee” to use it) but sadly we ran out of time and didn’t get to it.

I got cleaned up and then Anna and I went out in search of breakfast. I was staving! We walked over to Paris (which is right next to Bally’s) and the fancy Parisian outdoor cafe was packed! The line just to get to the hostess to get on a wait list was at least 20 people deep. We decided to keep walking. Next door was something called The Sugar Factory and they also had a huge outdoor patio.


While we waited we sat at their bar and got some coffee and Bloody Mary’s. 😀 Their coffee was AMAZING!!! The best coffee I’ve ever had. We asked the bartender, waiter, waitress and no one seemed to know what brand of coffee they served. I was disappointed because I totally would have bought some if I knew what it was! Their Bloody Mary’s were fantastically spicy. They used a spicy infused vodka in the bloody mix. The salt was huge, flavorful crystals that clung to the glass, there was a hint of lime and cucumber in the drink and there was a cucumber and olive garnish. So tasty.


It took about 20 minutes and then we got our table outside. There was a gorgeous breeze and it was about 70 degrees so far. We were across the street from the Bellagio. It was a peaceful, relaxing time as we lounged on the patio. It was hard to decide what to get. I REALLY wanted the carrot cake pancakes but I knew the cream cheese frosting would just be too much sugar first thing in the morning. The blueberry pancakes sounded great and let’s be honest, so did the Fat Elvis Waffle (ok not really).

I decided to go for the croissant sandwich. It was ham and cheese and came with crispy potatoes (that were exceptional). The sandwich was big and honestly half would have been the perfect portion. The croissant was heavenly–flaky, buttery and perfect. Dang, I want another!


After breakfast we walked over to the Bellagio and caught the bus to Mandalay Bay. We walked around the gardens, checked out their AMAZING pool (it was packed!) that had a lazy floating river, and then went to see the Shark Aquarium (which was kind of expensive so we skipped it). Then we saw MICHAEL JACKSON!! Woot!!! The street performer was great! He sounded, looked and danced just like the real thing. It was great getting a picture!


We meandered down to The Luxor and then decided to take a gambling resting break in New York New York. Our feet, legs and calves were aching. I could have used a massage. 🙂

We decided to hop on the bus back to Bally’s (our poor feet). Thankfully our bus pass was still valid! I have to admit, we stopped for more $2 tacos at Bally’s (they were that good) and then went down to the pool. We stayed out fairly long and the sun was hot hot hot! It was around 88 degrees on Saturday. It felt like heaven. For months I’ve been craving that exact thing–sitting poolside in the sun with a cool drink and a book.

After the pool we got cleaned up and dolled up and we were ready for the night! First we did some gambling at the Bellagio and got lucky! It was nice! We had an hour to kill before meeting up with my friend Debby and her party at Excalibur for Thunder From Down Under!! Debby goes every single time she’s in Vegas and talks about it all the time so I said, sure why not? It could be fun. We liked the movie Magic Mike. 😀

It was a huge auditorium packed full of women of all ages. There were a ton of brides-to-be with the veil and tiaras. There were a bunch of girls there for birthdays. There was this one girl that was called onto the stage because it was her 21st birthday and her mom had brought her! Awesome! Debby and her family were sitting over on the other side of the room and Anna and I were at a table with a bunch of adorable little old ladies that were doing Jello Shots. LOL!!! My friend Debby:

Hell ya we did Jello Shots! It’s been like 10 years since I had them. Haha! So the show…It was totally awesome. It was worth the money for the ticket and the guys definitely looked great–just like the photos. Afterward we could get pictures with the guys. 😀 We all got a free pass to a nightclub in the Luxor and free drinks til midnight but the line to get in was kind of long and I was starting to get tired (and blisters on my feet). Debby and her people ended up dancing til 2am! Anna and I walked back to our hotel, enjoying the nightly sights on the way.

Why I decided to book us a flight so freaking early on Sunday morning is beyond me. UGH. Coffee was needed. We had a few minutes to hit the tables before leaving and we both left winners! I got a hit on #29 and won $35 buckaroos. I was happy to leave after winning. Debby had rented a car (a bright blue mustang convertible) and she kindly offered to take us to the airport. It was so AWESOME riding through Vegas in a convertible! One of the highlights for sure.

Our flight was super turbulent — like the first hour of the flight I felt like I was going to barf and then die–and that sucked. The winds had started late Saturday night and Sunday was just as windy. I guess that was the cause of the turbulence. Dang it was not comfortable and I spent most of Sunday feeling nauseated. I was glad to be home and on LAND. Bella gave me lots of kisses, Fat Kitty gave me lots of love nibbles and it was so good to see Michael again.

I had a fantastic weekend. Everything was great and it was SO good to spend time with Anna. We were travel buddies for a really long time and then she moved to Morocco for the Peace Corp and was gone for about 4 or 5 years. We were still in sporadic contact (email and phone calls) but not seeing her for a long time made us drift apart a bit. It was nice to reconnect. And lay by the pool. And drink some umbrella drinks. 😀