las vegas

Yesterday, we woke up at 4 am to head off to the airport for Las Vegas. It was the closest we've ever been to missing a flight, since the alarm wasn't set the night before and our alarm turned out the be the cab company's automatic recording that the cab was 5 minutes away. Everything was completely packed the night before, and our traveling outfits even set out, shoes and all, so it was not too bad. I had a little list of what not to forget - phone, charger, computer - to make it really easy. Pop up, throw on dress and shoes, brush teeth, wash face, grab bag, and go. We were sitting in the cab exactly 7 minutes after the phone call. C'mon, that is impressive! And I will forever take a cab now to the airport for morning flights. Just in case.

Flight was uneventful, except that I wore my new shoes, which were closed-toed heels, which I knew was a bad idea and, of course, it was. But they were so cute, and I liked to think I looked pretty glamorous with my dress and heels and studded weekender and red lipstick (thanks to a airport bathroom makeup stop on arrival) especially reading War and Peace on the plane. Especially on the plane surrounded by sweatsuits and flip-flops and OK magazines. (I love dressing up!) And I'm now more than half-way through War and Peace and I can not put it down. I am obsessed, which I did not see coming. There are so many people and so many tiny stories tying them all together, and the book never does what I think it's going to do - nothing I think is going to happen ever happens, and I just want all of them to have happy endings but, I don't think they will.

Anyway, Vegas. Day one we got here at 8 am, checked out our hotel and got coffee. Our hotel is fine, and very cheap, and where D.'s conference is. The room is big, but old. The view is not spectacular, although you can see the mountains making the backdrop for the city which are amazing. Really, I wouldn't think twice about the hotel, except that next we walked through a few others that made it look pretty shabby in contrast. We found our way outside, not as easy as it sounds, and walked past the Eiffel Tower, down Las Vegas Blvd., past some ritzy shops. The thing is, even when you are outside, you still feel like you need to get outside. Every thing is sort of concrete and man-made; this has got to be the least natural city I've ever seen. I felt more outside inside the Paris with it's faux-sky ceiling and faux-cobblestone floor. Of course I'm only talking about the one block part of the strip I've seen so far, so that's got to be taken into consideration.

We had lunch in a cutesy hot pink frou-frou place called Serendipity 3. The food was good, and I loved the bubble-gum colors and the giant "oversized" cups of coffee with cinnamon.

Then, D. went to work and I went down to the pool. The sun was glorious. I can't remember the last time I just stretched out under the sun like that. There was a nice cool breeze to make the heat bearable, and a tram that went by every few minutes and momentarily blocked out the sun (and Britney Spears). Then I took a nice long bath, and we went out to Mon Ami Gabi, a French Steakhouse next door. We had wine and split appetizers (raw oysters, calamari, and warm brie with bread and honey) and dessert (the richest chocolate tart) since we were still so full from lunch, and then went straight to bed since we were so tired from the morning.

Another thing about Vegas - no one, no one at all, was dressed up, anywhere. I really thought they would be. Since you know everyone is on vacation. And I thought it was one of those kind of hot spots like Miami? No? And everywhere you go Fergie or Britney Spears or other people who sound like them are playing through loudspeakers.

So, that's day one of Las Vegas. I haven't quite made up my mind about this city except that it's not at all what I expected. And, of course, I have lots of photos of everything, but they are on my camera, so I just used whatever my iPhone had instead.

random iphone pics

I changed my computer's wallpaper to this beach photograph because I am so ready for summer, and because I love the colors in it.

I pretend I'm there while I drink my coffee in the morning. (I found it here, but unfortunately, don't know where she found it...)

I've gotten in the habit of running errands on Wednesday's after guitar lessons, including going to a certain grocery store, and every time I leave I buy a mineral water to drink on the way home and pretend I'm in Rome. Everyone, apparently, drinks mineral water there even with meals, so, when we were there, we did too. I couldn't stand mineral water before the trip, and still don't like it now, except that it reminds me so much of Rome.

I took some through-the-window pics to catch the Texan wildflowers on the drive last Sunday, and I guess I should have rolled the window down.

I also play a lot of iPhone solitaire on the drives, and last Sunday I made it to 1000 games won without having to quit even one! I consider that my greatest accomplishment... even though it's a very easy form of solitaire called Eight Off.

This may be weird to take a picture of, but look how dark the bathtub water turned when I was hand-washing my purple sarong! Crazy! I love things that remind you of things, for instance, deciding on the purple one when I was buying this sarong from a man walking down the beach in Mexico in 2005.


Since we got netflix (in my opinion the best use of modern technology ever; I don't know why we lived without it for so long.), I've been watching Julie & Julia in the background a little bit almost every day. At the theater, I had mixed feelings about this movie, but in bits and pieces I really love it. In fact, now I think I may like the Julie part even better than the Julia part.

Anyway, it reminded me of cooking, and how much I like to do it. Not the kind of cooking that you do because you need to eat dinner - I do a lot of that - but the kind where you pick out a new recipe and shop for the ingredients and hold your breath to see if it turns out ok.

I have my binder full of recipes that I like and know how to make, but I think now I want some cookbooks. I am generally wary of cookbooks because they are full of things I know I will never make. (I thought about Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but after flipping through it, knew for me it would be purely decorative.) But lately, I've settled on a couple that I think will be really good:

Everyday Food, Great Food Fast: I looked through my sister-in-law's copy a long time ago and then looked at it again recently at borders and I like this one a lot, problem is every recipe that I really want to make needs a food processor. Guess I need to buy it and a food processor, which will make for a lot of wasted space if I end up using neither.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Came across this book randomly at the bookstore and recognized it as a blog I used to read. Since I've cooked a couple recipes from the blog already, I think it's already a keeper. A plus, really detailed pictures for all the steps.

(Hey, this reminds me of another good recipe blog with a similar theme:

Best of the Best from Louisiana II: I've been looking for a cajun/southern style cookbook for a while and I'm pretty sure this is the one we had when I was growing up. I don't think my mom really used it all that much, but I think I remember making some dessert recipes from it.

Ok, back to how great netflix is:

Netflix has the best old movies, that you can watch instantly - meaning whenever (!) you want and as often as you want (!). Movies you love (or used to love) but don't really need that many dvds hanging around (in case you can't tell, I'm all about getting rid of clutter). Movies like Drop Dead Fred, Romeo & Juliet, Dracula, Labyrinth, Cat's Eye, Me Without You, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind... there are so many more I can't list them all!

Does anybody remember this awesomely weird old movie?

I used to watch it when I was a kid - it was always on tv it seems like - and I loved it because I loved little Drew back then... and James Woods! I didn't realize until just now that it was Steven King.

Quarter Year Resolution Update (with random pics to illustrate)

Four months have past since the New Year's Resolutions were made. I haven't done very well so far:

1- Wake up earlier. Nope. Except for a week after Rome when I must have been really off, and this week when the little birds woke me up before 9. Husband thinks this should not be a goal at all, since apparently for me more sleep = less grumpy, and he's probably right.

2- Exercise every day. Ok, nope. Failed miserably at this one. But, I've been really good at eating healthily (and even cooking lots - loving roasted vegetables!), so that should count here, I think.

3- Get dressed before lunch. Again, nope. But, almost always dressed and makeup on after lunch, which sort of counts, right?

4- Keep the house clean. Yes! With very few exceptions. We've had a few surprise visitors and little to no embarrassment.

5- Read unread book stack, 1 per month. I started off pretty well at this, and read three books in January - 2 from the stack, 1 new. Pretty much skipped February and March, but read two more books this month, but not from the stack: The Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia and Confessions of an Heiress by Paris Hilton. To counteract Paris, I started on War and Peace. So, I'm gonna consider this a success and just make sure I read two more out of the stack this month.

6- Learn to play guitar. Yes! Of course, I haven't really learned to play yet, turns out it's not easy at all (for me). But I've taken a lesson most weeks and practiced at least every other day since January, so I'm definitly on my way with this one.

(Then there are the things that I should have made resolutions because I've rocked at them this year: shopping, watching Sex and the City, picking up the drycleaning, reading style blogs...)


So, I was unpacking D's bag from Boston last week and I found a surprise present! Adorable wooden heels from Vietnam from my sister-(and brother-)in-law's trip to Asia. Finding presents when you think you are just going to be gathering dirty laundry is the best.

Hot pink sequin flowers!

spring shopping...

Here's my shopping wish list of things that I want in my closet now that the weather is warm. Some are leftovers, some are brand new:

Ray-Ban Aviators: apparantly, I get all my inspiration from Tom Cruise in '80s movies...

and Megan Fox.

Turquoise Beaded Necklace: preferably bought as a souvenier from a summer vacation (See?).

Girly printed/floral dress: like this one at Neiman Marcus from Ali Ro...

Little white dress: need to find something short and flow-y, but not nightgown-y, that I can wear in the summer with sandals and in the fall with ankle boots...

Black ballerina flats: I'm looking for the plainest ones possible with the least heel and, of course, rounded toes.

(Repetto, Elie Tahari)

Chanel Medallion Tote: to dress up or down a la Lauren Conrad.

Old concert t-shirts: some 90's grunge like Nirvana or STP.

White bikini: to mix and match with my black one. (I'd take her body too.)

Short-sleeved cotton mini dresses: I could live in these in all different colors for the summer.

(From Elinkan's blog, from American Apparel.)

More red lipstick: This time I'm going for Nars lip pencil in Dragon Girl. Twice, I've seen people in Sephora with lovely orange-y red lips and when I ask it is Dragon Girl. Sold! (Except, now that I think about it, they were both fair-skinned blondes, hmmm.)

chirping alarm clock

Little birds wake me up every morning now, chirping and working away. One sits in the bedroom window all day, flitting away when I pull the curtain back to look, then coming back home.

They have steadily built a gigantic nest inside a crack in our window frame. This crack, it has been getting bigger and bigger:

I know we should call and have it fixed before it leaks or something, but I feel so badly for the little birds to get kicked out after they've worked so hard. I'm really not sure what to do at this point.

sunshine cleaning

This movie was really good; Amy Adams is one of my favorites and Emily Blunt was great too. The problem is that it's one of those movies that make you (me) realize how much life sucks and leaves you feeling so depressed. I had tears in my eyes for pretty much the entire movie. If I wasn't so happy right now, I'd definitely get back in bed for the rest of the day or maybe week after this one.

this weekend

This weekend was basically driving with birthday cake in between. The sky was crazy on Friday night:

Although, I guess the filter is cheating. In real life, it looked more like this:

I was staring up at it and felt like I was looking down at the ocean. Before the drive, I downloaded Break Up from Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn, and it was pretty good. Perfect for riding in the car by yourself or listening to around the house.

On Saturday, we had cake and ice cream for breakfast, which is one of my favorite things about birthdays. It feels so wrong (especially to let kids do it), but so perfect.

The birthday boy wanted to eat sushi and watch Clash of the Titans. We all thought the movie was a little disappointing. It was good, but definitely not great.

Then a Sunday full of driving. The sides of the highways were full of wildflowers the whole way - blues and yellows and, my favorite, the oranges. I can't believe these are essentially weeds - if I had a garden, I'd want it to look just like that.

I didn't take any pictures, but these are from around the internet and are exactly what it looked like, especially with yesterday's misty weather:

I spent much of the drive googling images of 60s style icons. I love how these women look effortless, but so sexy and so modern.

Jane Birkin

Francoise Hardy

Jean Shrimpton

You could stick them on the street today and they wouldn't look out of place at all!