On the plane again heading back home this time. DQ is exhausted sleeping next to me. I think we are all shopped out and will spend the next two months at the gym working off all the wonderful food we consumed.
Once again, the Canadian in me was super happy to find any small twilight related thing on clearance in the USA, even at the airport. I bought myself a Bella puzzle ball and also the Twilight graphic novel.
|Not sure if I'll ever use it but I couldn't resist|
My good friend YS had already given me her run down on the graphic novel and I had yet to run out and buy it. I've never been into comic books and despite the fact that I'm Asian I'm not an anime person. Except for the occasionally Sailor Moon as a young girl - does that count?
We have been on the plane for 45 minutes and I'm done the graphic novel. LOVED IT!! I really can't wait for the next instalment and from the looks of it if she only covers 12 or so chapters of the saga in each volume we are in for a long ride.
I'll have to reserve a whole shelf on the bookcase in the vault.
Have you actually read Twilight recently? I haven't read the real books since last fall and had forgotten how my pulse would quicken during my favourite parts. The graphic novel was a wonderful reminder of why I love Twilight in the first place.
I still got just as excited when Edward beckoned Bella over with his finger in the cafeteria. I enjoyed the graphic version even better than the actual novels during the scene when Jacob is introduced - this artist Young's depiction of Jacob is really cute. Not to dis Taylor but I'm a happy to have another twist to Jacob.
The last thing that I'll mention about why the graphic novel is great? The meadow scene depiction was more inline with the novels than the movie. Especially where he smells her neck the first time - oh, I'm getting shivers just thinking about it. If a scene can be hot where the girl is wearing a sweater over a button down and he is also fully clothed, this is it.
Something so sensual about him slowly brushing his face against her throat and up her jaw. Okay, I need to get back home, missing my husband too much :)
So a quick review of my Vegas trip.
After staying here I don't think I can stay in another Vegas hotel again. Nothing better than having a suite for $150 located right across from the mall.
I had looked up the cab fare on this website and it was accurate almost to the cents - I was amazed.
|Still love the Venetian hotel ceilings|
Check-in was smooth and despite the fact that I had booked this room on cheap ass Hotwire they still gave us a room high up on the 36th floor. Maybe it helped that I mentioned we were celebrating DQ's 40th birthday and that I would be reviewing the Palazzo for my blog.
This is the view from our room - we aren't looking at the Strip but it's still refreshing and spectacular at night.
Wanna see our suite? It's called a suite but actually it's a 720 sq. foot room with a sunken living room off to the side.
|This is a sofabed just in case you have even more people crashing with you.|
Loved that we had a TV for the beds, a TV for the livingroom, and a TV in the washroom. Oddly enough that we would still watch the same thing at the same time on all three TV's!
|It's nighttime and we're watching Enchanted on two TVs|
It was great having a suite because DQ and I are night owls and JR and preggy JL are early risers.
I played with the push button roman shades and curtains over and over again. I'll have to add them to my dream home amenities list along with the hot handyman to fix them when they inevitably breakdown.
An ingenious thing they had in the safe was a power outlet. I'm sure this isn't a new thing to most business travelers but I loved that I could plug my laptop in a charge while I locked it up for the day to go shopping.
Wifi is part of the $16 daily resort fee but you can also get free wifi at many points throughout Venetian and Palazzo. Another reason to stay here as this is not so through the rest of Vegas or other hotels.
In the lobby right in front of our elevators was a gift - Sweet Surrender is a sweets shop that has a $750 cupcake. You've got to click on this link to read about why it's so special - crazy!
|love the gigantic fabric cupcake bottom left|
|$750 bucks for this cupcake!!|
I was also super excited to find something special in the hotel sundries shop:
|So wanted to buy this Hello Kitty champagne just for the charm|
|we only saw one of these bottles but thought I'd show them all - so cute!|
We had our first meal off the airplane at Maggiano's. I love my carbs and I'm a total sucker for italian food. Note to self next time that they apparently do deliver too - sounds dangerous for the waistline.
My favourite? The Zucchini fritters were the best deep fried zucchini I've ever had - hands down! My friend JR is a nurse and yet she is an eternal veggie-phobe. So when she recommended these zucchini things I had to try them.
You can't beat all you can eat lump meat crab cakes - yum!
We had a meal at Johnny Rocket's. I have been on a pretty strict 2 bite diet for the last few weeks even in Asia but that all went to hell on this trip. Honestly, how can I not give in to having a milkshake at the diner?
|Yes, Johnny Rockets was in the Venetian food court|
|We never used them!|
When in Vegas you have to buffet - it's just the law.
We didn't reserve early enough for the Bellagio Jasmine buffet with peking duck (I didn't even know the concept of All-You-Can-Eat Peking Duck existed but now I know I vow to make it there once before I die) so we opted to go to the Mandalay Bay Bayside Buffet for Champagne brunch.
Reasons we chose Mandalay Bay? It's on the far end of the strip so it is quieter and has a shorter line. It overlooks the pool instead of being stuck inside next to a smoky casino.
|Not your typical Vegas buffet view of a smoky casino|
Lucky for us we got a table overlooking the pool. DQ turning 40 has brought us all good travel luck. The price is good for a buffet like this with prime rib, lamb, crab legs, etc and unlimited champagne (it was only 11am so we only had about two glasses each)
There are certain American foods that you just can't get at home anywhere - I had to have the chicken fried steak and a cheese blintz. So tasty!
The food was good except I wasn't impressed with the desserts. The best desserts I've had a buffet so far on the Strip have been at Paris - not surprisingly since they must have a French pastry chef making them onsite.
Lastly, I love cocktail shrimp. See my plate? Keep in mind that I've already eaten my full lunch for 90 minutes and desserts but I couldn't resist loading up before we left. I actually ate all but 5 of these babies and didn't feel sick after. Once in med school I challenged one of our buddies to a shrimp eating contest in Vegas. He had come down with four of us girls and ended up sleeping on the floor and driving us around. We called him the garbage can because he finished all our leftovers but I still ate more shrimp than he did - hands down!
What did I wish we had time to eat in Vegas? Afternoon tea at the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Well, I am obsessed with afternoon tea. Shopping all day seems to require a break at 4:30pm with something caffeinated and dessert-ish. Something British in me from my Hong Kong roots I guess.
The Mandarin Oriental is the newest luxury hotel in Vegas and it's located next to the Tiffany's in the new CityCenter. We walked over and got on the elevator to go up to the Tea Lounge to check it out.
Note that there are only three buttons on this elevator - level 2, 3, and 23! Oh, and they have a plush velvet bench in the elevator! We've decided that all elevators should have plush velvet benches from now on (although I'm scared about what kind of body fluids end up on them, maybe vinyl is better).
The tea lounge was lovely and had a beautiful view too. Here's is a snippet of their menu.
Love the chocolate and cupcake bentos!
But we had to decline because we were still full from buffet and also because it was 40 bucks for tea and we had blown a lot of money on shoes already :)
Speaking of shoes let's move on to the main reason why we went to Vegas - yes, DQ it was all for you ;) But for shopping too and Donny Osmond as well (we'll get to that later).
|The Shoppes at Palazzo and Venetian|
The Venetian and Palazzo shops are big. Huge shopping arcade and very easy to get lost in. JL said it was just as confusing as Venice. We were trying to find a place to eat and somehow ended up on the 10th floor of the hotel even though we had started on the ground level. So confusing!
Our hotel had its own Barneys New York store yet I didn't set a foot in there. I am all about the designers but it was too bloody pretentious. I'm sure there was some small sale rack somewhere shoved in the back that I couldn't see from the store window but it will have to remain a mystery to me.
We ended up going to the Victoria's Secret in our hotel at least five times. Nothing like a new bra to make you feel happy and confident. We seemed to be the only ones in there most of the time so it was like having our own personal lingerie boutique.
One unusual thing that I found while going through the new Very Sexy Miraculous push up bin at VS - the nipple bra.
|Seems this nipple bra concept isn't new|
Normally we wear bras to cover up our parts but I can see why someone might want to pretend that their new boobs are real. I mean if the bra actually achieves it's purpose and you get him into bed, he's going to find out they aren't real.
By the way, the Very Sexy Miraculous "Bombshell" bra is guaranteed to add 2 full cup sizes. I bought one and yes, it was officially deemed the Vegas Super Bra for the rest of our trip. I don't see why they would have to made it in 36DD though - would you really want to be an F cup?
The economy downturn has an upside for all us bargain hunters. I love walking into a store and having them announce a 40% storewide discount - sad for them, good for us.
Kenneth Cole was awesome - see my new shoes?
|They're called "Out on a Date"|
I know I already bought six new pairs in Hong Kong but these were 50% off and super comfy - you can't see they've got metallic heels. DQ and I both ended up with a pair and JL bought the same ones but in flats - we're like the sparkly shoe mafia!
They also had beautiful cuff links for Mr. TC for $20! Good for all the french cuff shirts I had made for him in Hong Kong.
The Premium Outlets was an all day destination and it did not disappoint. We took the $15 cab ride out there and came back with so many bags the doorman had to help JR out of the car because she was so overloaded.
My favourite buys from the Outlets?
This Juicy Couture cupcake charm that I'd seen in Hong Kong (not on sale in Asia of course).
FCUK sweaters down to $18 from $80. Tons of work clothes from Banana Republic all at least 40% off. Ties from Ted Baker for the guys, down to $35 bucks each (a steal!)
We stayed across from Fashion Show Mall and managed to cover most of it in a day. It is gigantic and has all the basics including Nordstrom's, Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Bloomingdale's Home, and Dillards.
I was really happy to see this store - I'd never seen a standalone version of it before. Once again, love my shoes!
Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood
Nothing too special here except it was the only GapMaternity in Vegas so we had to see it for JL. Sometimes I forget how cute newborn stuff is - sigh...
Oh well, not worth the lack of sleep again, cracked nipples, and post partum depression again. I'll just have to wait for my new niece or nephew to come :)
They had a Bettie Page store I hadn't seen before.
I love pin up girls - not in the lusting lesbian sort of way. Just the nostalgic appreciation of beauty. The dresses were super old school and I would have been tempted to buy one, curl my hair and put a bow in it, don some kitten heels, and actually cook a meal for once if they'd had my size.
|Any store inspired by the above pics is fine by me|
Another thing that caught my eye in that mall was this storefront.
Well, honestly how could you miss it? DQ went to go check and apparently the strippers are sleeping during the day so no show - boohoo! Love how this guy had to go between her legs to have his wife take a pic. I was so tempted to go their and take a photo looking up.
We did wonder if they actually use those poles at night? You can see them from the regular mall and there are lots of young children running around Vegas even at night. I suppose that's the risk you take bringing your kids to Vegas and keeping them out past 9pm (ahem, all Asian parents!).
Shopping in Vegas - What was new?
CityCenter - here is a photo from across the street. I've seen so many CG renderings of this thing in past years that even when I saw it with my own eyes it seriously looks fake.
Was it beautiful? Oh yes!
We went into the Louis Vuitton and saw all three floors - the sixth biggest LV in North America? too exciting!
|See the dice in the window?|
They had some Vegas specific things like a display case that looked like a roulette wheel and a trunk that was a "casino on wheels"
It was complete with roulette wheel built in, chips, craps felt, etc. Had celebrity bling bling written all over it.
Next stop was Tiffany's & Co. It wasn't your classic chrome look our front but the black marble instead. Seemed to match the mall.
There are Vegas specific Tiffany's charms that we were a bit tempted to buy.
But alas, the only thing I bought was a small card case for my mom for Mother's Day. Gosh, these holidays come up so fast!
|least expensive thing I ever bought at Tiffany's|
Highlight of the whole trip?
Seeing how happy DQ was after meeting Donny Osmond.
They had front row seats for Donny & Marie at the Flamingo Hilton. DQ said he was close enough to sweat on her (I know it's gross but if Rob Pattinson sweat on you what would you think?).
She and JR, who went along to bear witness to the craziness, got to go backstage and meet Donny. Apparently he was gracious, didn't stink despite dancing up a storm for 2 hours, and spent a full minute with them.
He signed her ticket and program. She was in heaven and they had their picture taken with him.
|Marie looks really hot|
DQ came back to the hotel bouncing her ass off and I don't know if she washed her hand the whole trip after because Donny had shook it. The weekend would have totally been worth it without the glorious shopping and eating just to see her face light up.
Last stop - Vegas airport.
Just the Star Wars slot machine that JR had been dying to try. We did some slots in our hotel but I was scared to take any photos for fear of getting kicked out. Glad that airport doesn't care - too bad they didn't have any R2D2 machines like at the Venetian.
|Also some Ultimate Fighter that Mr. JR seems to love|
|I just have a dirty mind - sausage signs always make me laugh|
Well, it's time to touchdown in Washington State. No detour to Forks I'm afraid. On to Vancouver, home to husband, kids, and real life.
Next vacation, two weeks in Italy in June coming up. Off to Volterra and Montepulciano we go...