Luck be a Lady!

I have been very lucky this year with all trips and mini vacations I have been able to go on. About a month and a half after getting home from Paris we went on a quick trip to Las Vegas with a couple friends. This time we stayed at SLS Las Vegas which is the old Sahara but has been completely redone. They kept some of the charm of old Vegas but a lot of the design is unique and contemporary – which made for good photos ops! Except I forgot my camera (which I knew I would even though I said to myself “don’t forget the camera” ten times), so I had to take all the photos with my iphone. The quality is not good on the pictures so I feel like I ended up having to over edit them quite a bit.

SLS is more of a boutique style hotel, smaller and more intimate. I guess what I didn’t like was it’s location. It’s quite far North on the strip, down almost to the Strat. There’s not much to walk to, even getting to the Wynn, which I normally consider the end of the strip, is nearly half an hour at a relaxed pace. I just really like being right in the action of the strip and able to walk everywhere. So for that reason I wouldn’t stay here again, but I did enjoy my trip quite a bit – we had fun!

We arrived around 7 p.m. and went to dinner in the hotel at a sushi restaurant called Katsuya. I’m already a huge sushi lover and this did not disappoint, favourites were the crispy rice with spicy tuna and the sunset roll. This was a pretty laid back night, we spent the rest of the night doing some gambling at the blackjack tables and having drinks on drinks!

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This is on our way down to dinner, Alex already into the wine! The hallway decor was neat but I thought how dark it was made them feel small.

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The guys trying their hand at craps. A game that has been explained to me multiple times and I still do not understand at all.

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My meager winning before losing those stacks!

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After a much needed sleep in the next morning, the four of us met up for breakfast at a restaurant in the hotel called The Griddle Cafe. It’s mostly breakfast food (I love breakfast) and they specialize in pancakes. And when I say they specialize in pancakes, I mean these are the most humongous, outrageous, over the top pancakes I have ever seen!

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We had the “Scotch on the Rocks” which was coconut, pecan, oat and butterscotch, and “Black Magic” which was all oreo! We barely made a dent in them, and also ordered real food like eggs and veggies so we weren’t eating pure dessert for breakfast. It’s like a cake posing as a pancake!

We made a few stops the rest of the day – Mandalay Bay and Caesars, had some lunch and shopped. Ryan and I took a long walk down the strip, I was able to get the Vegas energy!

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We went to dinner again in our hotel at Bazaar Meat. Very good, I loved the beef carpaccio. This is definitely a restaurant for carnivores, you can order an entire pig.

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I’m really liking my new hair cut, but since taking the length off it is way harder to style, it’s so thick and it doesn’t have the normal weight to flatten it out a bit!

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I was not prepared for the cool weather. It’s balmy compared to the weather we have at home but I packed numerous pairs of shorts and this night I planned on wearing a sheer top and shorts. I had to buy this sweater dress that I actually ended up loving. I can’t stop shopping at Express – it’s an addiction!

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The next morning we went to Peppermill for breakfast, it’s like a tradition at this point – I can’t stop going.

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Even though the locals were wearing winter jackets and gloves, we still went to the pool! If you go in mid afternoon and lie right where the sun shines on you, it’s not bad! We were literally the only people out there!

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That night Amber and I went on the New York New York roller coaster then we all headed to see Terry Fator at the Mirage. It is incredible what he can do, he is so talented. We also made a stop to see the gardens at Bellagio, which is one of my favourite things in Vegas. They’re absolutely gorgeous and so different every season.

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We finished the night with dinner at Stack which is in the Mirage. They have the best roast tomato soup I have ever had in my life. It was a great end to a great trip!

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Sorry to everyone from the bad quality pics, I’m so so disappointed in them.

Thanks for a fab trip Vegas! See ya real soon!

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Paris is for lovers! Part five…

Last few days of the trip! It’s so nice to look back over all the photos for these posts, we took over 800. Since it was the two of us there are a lot of selfies! I want to develop quite a few of them and put them in a nice album. Now that we do everything online, I feel like we’re losing the fun of looking through albums. Lately I have been developing hundreds of pics.

The second last day we went to this great cafe called L’atelier where we sat outside for breakfast in gorgeous weather.

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Pain au chocolat and cappuccino!

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I just loved the decor inside the restaurant, it was so charming and picturesque.

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Then we hopped on the bikes and took a long ride to visit the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, I had been so looking forward to this visit. Shakespeare and Company is an English language bookstore open in 1919 and it was a gathering place for Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce. Today it sells new and used books and writers still come from around the world to write there, they stay in the bookstore on cots and just write all day and night. I am a big reader and my first degree was in English so I loved visiting this store. I wish you could take pictures inside so you could see how unique and charming it is.

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There are so many side streets in Paris, every time you turn off one street you’re on another cobblestone side street full of cafes, shops and apartments. Just down the road from the bookstore was a street with a couple small cafes so we stopped for a glass of wine and dessert – we ate so much dessert on this trip! The place we went to was called The Tea Caddy, and even though the name of the cafe was English the staff did not speak a word! I pulled out the trusty phrasebook and dictionary and really had to rely on the French I could remember.

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This little street was right near Notre Dame.

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We then did a long bike ride around the city (to attempt to burn off some of the dessert) and went back for a day time visit to the Eiffel Tower. It was jammed!

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This is one of my favourite pictures of the trip, definitely a framer.

That night we went to a restaurant we had been looking forward to for a few days. It was in the same building as the apartment we rented and in the airbnb page for the apartment, the restaurant was really well reviewed. Walking by it literally looks like a whole in the wall but when you go in it’s really sweet and is all fine dining, called Le Parc aux Cerfs. The food was the best we had the whole trip, my husband had the veal and said it was the best meal he’s ever had in his life.

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We had quite a bit of wine there too! We then went across the street to Cafe Cubana, a bar/salsa club/cigar bar. The server only spoke Spanish and apparently when I’ve been drinking my University Spanish comes back to me! That night I spoke English, French and Spanish, first and probably last time I’ll ever be able to! I’m in love this red dress I wore that night.

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The next day was our last day! So bittersweet. We spent the day as real tourists, biking around the city, taking a boat tour down the Seine, going to Moulin Rouge and Montmarte, and exploring the architecture we hadn’t yet seen. It was the only cold day of the whole trip. By this point we had been biking so much that I felt like I was doing multiple spin classes a day, so at every hill I just got off and walked it up – I got really lazy.

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Montmarte cemetery. Jim Morrison, Leon Foucault, Olga Preobrajenska and many other famous names are buried here.

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Moulin Rouge

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This area is pretty sketchy, I probably won’t stay in Montmarte when I go to Paris again.

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Boat tour down the Seine, it’s a great way to see Paris from a different perspective and go by the things you may not have had time to see.

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We finished the day with one last trip to the Luxembourg Garden, it’s so beautiful there.

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Thanks for everything Paris! Until next time!

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Paris is for lovers! Part four…

We spent the next few days going to Disney Paris. They have two parks, Disneyland Park (the Magic Kingdom) and Walt Disney Studios Park, plus downtown Disney. Ryan and I are complete and total Disney freaks and we are not ashamed. We have read some reports and heard rumours about how the Paris location has faced financial trouble and isn’t on par with the other parks around the world.  We are, without question, devotees of Walt Disney World in Florida.  This was certainly fun but does not compare to World. It just didn’t seem as polished and spectacular as Disney World. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still Disney and therefore completely fab, but it’s not as perfect and amazing as World. The parks are only open to 8 (Disneyland) and 6 (Studios) which was such a surprise to me, we didn’t see any fireworks. The other thing I really noticed was the lack of characters and I mostly missed Mickey. It just didn’t seem to have the same feeling or incredible detail as our other experiences.

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One thing that was really great was that it was Halloween season and we have never been there for that decor.

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The floral at Disney is always so gorgeous and well done.

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They have this thing there called “Alice’s Curious Labyrinth” which is basically an Alice in Wonderland maze that takes you to the Queen of Hearts palace. We really enjoyed it, it seems like it’s for kids at first but it’s really well done.

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Matching Disney sweaters, and I’m not even a little bit embarassed!

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Their Main Street is really nice and you can walk behind the stores in back hall type atrium/arcade. We also went to lunch at a restaurant on Main Street called Walt’s where we got a window seat that looked over the street and we were able to watch the parade from there.

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We also really enjoyed their Space Mountain, it’s really different then the ones at Land and World, much faster and scarier!

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The next day we went to the Walt Disney Studios Park and spent some time in Downtown Disney. We had real issues figuring out the metro to get there, both days. You have to take two different types of trains and everything is in FRENCH!

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Waiting, waiting for the trains.

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They have some of the big rides here that you find in other parks; the Tower of Terror (where we found the cast members to be the best in the whole place), Rock and Roller Coaster, and they have two really cool new rides here that we had never experienced.  Ratatouille:The Adventure – a 3D ride where you’re “shrunk down” to the size of a rat and fly through the kitchen at remy’s level. Ryan loved it but the 3D made me feel really nauseous and dizzy.

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As well as a roller coaster called Crush’s Coaster that is Finding Nemo themed, it has really unique shell style cars that turn 360 degrees.

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They also have an animation studio that shows the steps of animating a movie and different sketches from classic movies. They have these types of attractions at all the parks we have been to but we still really like visiting them. The parks are much smaller here, particularly Walt Disney Studios compared to Hollywood Studios in Florida.

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We did a little bit of shopping at Downtown Disney, which they actually call the Disney Village, we ate a late lunch at Earl of Sandwich, a sandwich place we love! If you have never been to one, go! They have them around the states, we always go at Disney and they have them in Vegas too.

I’m glad we went to Disney while we were there, what kind of Disney freaks would we be if we didn’t? But we felt like it takes you out of the charming feel of Paris, and we didn’t love it as much as our other magical Disney experiences. If it were just Ryan going to Paris again, I don’t think we would go. We love Disney so much and therefore love Disney Paris, we definitely had a fun time but it’s no Walt Disney World!

We headed back to the city around dinner time and had a pretty romatic walk around our neighbourhood and the surrounding. It’s a really neat feel walking the city at night. We also went for dessert at a restaurant called La Cote Sauvage. We went to this place three times when we were in Paris, it was about a 15 minute walk from our apartment and the lady who owns it spoke great English and was so sweet and helpful. They make mostly crepes, buckwheat gluten free savory type crepes and dessert crepes. I had one that was tomato compote, goat cheese and chorizo sausage for lunch and this day after Disney I had a melted toblerone crepe….so good! I would recommend going there if you plan to go to Paris. It’s on Boulevard Montparnasse.

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Wine at every meal and basically every time we sat down somewhere!

Only two more days left on the trip at this point! One more installment of Paris adventures then some fun in Vegas. Have a great weekend!