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Avec Amour : September 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wanderlust Wednesday: Vegas (for real!)

I wrote on Vegas about a year ago, saying I wanted to go there.

Well guess what - I went in May! And it was just about as great as I thought it would be.

For starters, we had been invited to go months prior to the trip. We didn't think it was affordable at the time, or worth taking days off of work.

The week before the trip, we changed our minds. So Sunday night at about 10pm, we booked flights leaving on Tuesday afternoon.

Oh nothing. Just going to Vegas.

The first question everyone asked - are you guys getting married?! We promised we weren't (even though now, we ARE getting married! But not in Vegas and not until November). But we thought we needed a photo to fake everyone out...

Not just yet :)
Anyway, we had a great time. Let's put Vegas into 4 categories: Sun, food, parties and entertainment

Sun

We stayed at a time share with friends, and this was the pool. It was gorgeous and refreshing and this is what we did for at least 5 hours a day. The best part about it? Dry humidity. A totally new concept to a Florida girl. 99 degrees that only felt like the high 70's... amazing. And most of the hotel pools in Vegas are AMAZING! You can buy passes to go check them out if you're interested.



Food

Any kind you want. Any time of day you want it. There was a $3.99 Steak + Eggs special that our hotel ran... and it was only from 2am-5am. Perfect for the party-goer. Two of my favorite food experiences in Vegas involved sweets.

1 - The Sugar Factory
We landed on our plane and came straight here. They can make any of your dessert dreams come true. I got the S'mores Crepe and it was incredible. Actual little home made marshmallows. So delicious.

                  
   


2 - RM Seafood (inside Mandalay Bay)
They had an ice cream taste test. They make 18 different ice creams out of anything and everything in their kitchen... and you get to guess which ones are which. It was so fun, and so delicious! We were wrong on a lot of them, but it was really cool to do.





The Vegas Crew - Amos, Carly, Matt, Alexa, Matt and myself
Party
There are unlimited places in Vegas to drink, dance and enjoy yourself. I barely drank while i was there, but not to lack of options! We did go to a club inside one of the hotels (i can't remember which one at the moment) 



We got into clubs for free by posting on Twitter that we were looking for clubs in Vegas. We also got wrist bands for free drinks! An easy way to save some money and check out some cool places

Entertainment

It depends on what kind of entertainment you want..... there are comedy shows, review shows, musical performances, Cirque (4 different ones!), casinos, plays/musicals, magicians and just about anything else you could think of.

Matt and I indulged (let's be honest - he did this for me) in seeing Phantom of the Opera - i absolutely LOVE this musical, and this stage was built inside the Venetian specifically for Phantom! I've been told about it numerous times. When I found out the show was ending in September, we decided to scrap Cirque and go see Phantom. And i'm glad we did! Especially because that theater is being replaced with another Cirque du Soeil show. I can't wait to go next time!

              


There are also more casinos than you can count. I played Blackjack but gave myself a $20 limit.... so i only played for about 10 minutes (hey, sometimes it works out better than that :)

Also very entertaining, is going inside all of the hotels/casinos. Especially the newer ones - City Center is amazing, and so is New York, New York! The Strip at night is so glittery. The entire place is sensory overload... but it's awesome!







Those are just some extras from our Vegas adventure - which i'm sensing might become an annual trip.

What are your Vegas faves?

xo


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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wanderlust Wednesday: Iceland

Yes - ICELAND.

I never thought much about Iceland until I met a girl named Vera when I worked at Quiksilver in London. She was Icelandic. And the most beautiful person I'd ever seen in real life! Perfect skin, tall, gorgeous hair, bright blue eyes and perfect pink lips. Not fair. After that i figured Iceland must produce perfect people (i'm pretty sure i'm correct on this one),

Until a few weeks ago, i didn't know much about Iceland except for the models they create. But Matt, my boyfriend, just took a 11 day boys adventure trip there and he's filled me in on everything else.

I missed him, yes. But I think my feelings of jealousy outweighed the missing-him part.

I am just going to highlight some of the reasons I personally want to go there.

we will just call this reason#1-5

Perfect people and perfect scenery? Is this real life? The beauty is certainly the selling point for me in Iceland. There are a handful of places i've been in my life that have truly taken my breath away, and I have a small feeling that Iceland will be up there in the ranks of incredible.

Here's a few more photos the boys sent me from their trek:

glaciers

sunsets

mars?

rivers

water falls

more glaciers....

aaaaaaand more waterfalls.

Photo credit to Jacob Blaze, Jeremy Stanley and Matthew Olson.

I am going to be honest... I cannot remember which one of these things is in which place. So i'm not going to butcher the crazy names!

Another thing that intrigues me about Iceland is that it's temperate. Which means even though the northernmost point is 3nautical miles from the ARTIC CIRCLE, it is very mild - 50's-70's in summer, 30's-50's in winter. That is more like it. I never liked anything below 20 or above 80, anyway.

Unlike American tourist destinations, Iceland is still very untouched and very uncharted. This means that there are no signs telling you not to get near the waterfall. You can go as close to that waterfall as you want (i'll stay back, thanks, but still a fun option!) - note the last photo posted above.

Iceland also is a very healthy place, the water is delicious (i've heard) and you don't need to filter it at all. There is almost no air pollution because all of their power is generated by hydro electricity. Fish served in restaurants is all locally caught. Very different from American life and most of European culture.

Most people live in Reykjavik, and then small pockets of people live elsewhere. The Westfjords are the most untouched place in Iceland. The northwest corner of the country is made up of multiple peninsulas that are covered with extreme terrain. They are also only lead to by gravel roads (offroading, it is!) so you need the right kind of car! A lot of the crazy pictures above (Mars, etc) were taken in the Westfjords. They are probably my top choice to visit in the country.

Other notable sites in Iceland:

- northermost point. 3 miles from the Arctic Circle (Grimsey, north east side of the island)
- the Northern Lights. Only show up from September - April, when tourism is actually quite slow. Check your calendar to coordinate.
- the Blue Lagoon. A natural hot spring (which there are many around the country). I have been to a Blue Lagoon in the Mediterranean Sea as well... apparently Blue Lagoons are pretty popular to have.
- more waterfalls, puffins, and glaciers than your heart can handle. Oh yeah, and rainbows. With all of those waterfalls around, it's going to happen. Pot of gold, anyone?

This is certainly on my list of to-do travel locations. I have also been promised by a certain boyfriend that we will go one day. I figured i'd post it on this blog so if he claims to forget, you all can back me up :)

Has anyone been to Iceland? I'd love to hear your stories!

xo

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wanderlust Wednesdays: Chicago

This is the first Wanderlust Wednesday i've done in MONTHS - or should I say, one full year? That's awful.

Regardless, this week's post comes to you while i'm still IN Chicago, and is ABOUT Chicago. See what I did there?

My best friend moved here in August 2009, and I've been here minimum 1x per year since. However, the great thing about Chicago is that it's HUGE and there is always more stuff for us to do! Not to mention my annual trip is scheduled for Halloween...

Halloween 2009 - Swine Flu

Halloween 2010 - Peter Pan and a Trophy Wife

Halloween 2011 - Kate and Pippa Middleton
Halloween 2011 (Party #2) - Teen Girl Squad!
As you can see, we like to have fun with the halloween costumes. Stay tuned for 2012 costumes (as they are already in the works!)

But every time I come to Chicago, I see/do/eat at somewhere new that makes me like it a little more.

This time, we focused a lot on eating our way around Chicago (the best way to do it, in my opinion). We also walked a lot (great weather), went to Lake Michigan (the beach... as hard as it is for me to say that!) and shopped. 

But here are three stand out places to eat:

1 - Jam (Blue Line - Logan Square stop)

This breakfast/brunch place is very different in the selections they use. For example, the waffle of the day was served with boiled chicken on top (they said it was their version of "chicken and waffles"). We enjoyed an egg sandwich with pork shoulder (i removed the pork shoulder, of course) and zuchinni bread pancakes with a toasted marshmellow on top. I'm sad to say that i don't have any photos from the restaurant, but i found one from their website 


Yum.

2 - Letizia's Fiore (Blue Line - California stop)

This restaurant was originally opened in Wicker Park by Letizia, an adorable Italian woman who hand makes everything in the restaurant. We had already eaten dinner, but we went there for Wine and Tiramisu - delicious. I hope to go back here sometime for dinner, because everything on the menu sounded incredible. And the ambiance of the patio with a glass of wine, tiramisu and girl talk was perfection. Also, we were at the Logan Square location


3 - Chicago Diner (Brown Line - Belmont stop)

We picked this resturant because it was vegetarian - and I wanted the option of eating anything i wanted on the menu :) What we didn't know was how amazing it was going to be! We enjoyed Avacado Tostadas and Sweet Potato Quesadillas. Their slogan is "Meat Free since '83", but they are not vegan. They have many options for cheese for all of you dairy lovers out there, but you can easily avoid if that's what you're going for.




In the non food department, I had been told by a friend that the Chicago Cultural Center was worth going to - and FREE. It was absolutely gorgeous and full of different exhibits and rooms to explore. When i arrived, there was a man playing a piano concerto he had composed. He was playing it in this room

the Tiffany Glass Co. ceiling 

the view of the room (see the piano?) when you walk up the grand staircase
there were other gorgeous rooms, full of mosaic tile walls and ornate sculpted moldings and elaborate glass windows and ceilings everywhere. it was such a pretty building, and reminded me a lot of old libraries or cathedrals in Europe. Ok, one more room.

Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall Rotunda - so gorgeous
I am totally taken with this building and the experience, I cannot wait to go again. It's free all the time and updates its exhibits all the time. Located downtown on the corner of Michigan Ave/Washington Ave - right across the street from Millennium Park.

Another great thing to stop by on the weekends is the Logan Square Farmer's Market. It runs all year long (outside June - October, inside Nov - May) and there are tons of local farmers, cheese makers, florists, home made soaps/candles, etc! Plenty to see, do, and taste. It runs every Sunday morning from 10am-2pm. (Located in Logan Square)



There are obviously tons of different things to do in Chicago, but these are just a few highlights from THIS trip. I'd highly suggest all of these places!

And i'd definitely suggest Chicago if you've never been. Lots of culture, and always something to do in lots of different neighborhoods!

xo

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm not even going to attempt to catch up

Wow - i've lived in Nashville almost 9 months and this baby has gotten absolutely no lovin'. Well, that's about to change.

To give you a brief rundown on the last 9 months:

- i moved here for a job
- said job didn't work out
- i met a boy
- he seems to be working out quite well ;)
- i got a bunch of other jobs i hated
- i finally quit them to be FREELANCE MARKETING AND PR (yay!)
- my niece, Avery Nicole was born :)
- i still travel all the time
- i started a garden
- my roommates are awesome
- and i still love Nashville :)










Just a few snapshots, you get the idea. Now that you're as caught up as you could be, i promise to return to the blog-o-phere.

Until then!
xo




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