I can't think of a better way to end 2013 than to Yelp about the Las Vegas Strip for my 700th review. Surprisingly, the strip or "the city" as we refer to it in my household (something about a small child saying 'strip' is bothersome) is only 4.2 miles long. So, if you come to Las Vegas the first thing you should do is bring some walking shoes and of course extra cash to put into the slot machines you just may hit the jackpot.
Flocks of people from all over the world come to see what can only be seen in Las Vegas, 24 hours of glittering lights, food, gambling and entertainment.
They don't call it the "Entertainment Capital of the World" for nothing. There's so much to see and do so let me start by sharing a short list of fun facts.
Did you know that out the 27 largest hotels in the world 20 of them are on the strip?
Did you know that on May 1, 1967 Elvis Presley married Priscilla at the Aladdin?
Did you know that my niece Sofia was proposed to in front of the Bellagio?
Did you know that I still have not taken the kids to the Tournament of Kings?
Did you know my mother-in-law was a stewardess in the 50's and would work the "Champagne Flights" into Vegas and earned bragging rights about the famous passengers she saw like Elvis and Rita Hayworth...just to name a few?
Did you know that many noteworthy celebs have tied the not on chapel strip and a few were also headliners...with the most recent being Britney but most notable Elvis and Sinatra?
Back in the "olden days" the strip was famous for offering cheap dinners, free drinks and lots of glamour. These days you will find street performers, hobos, coupon peddlers handing out "girlie club" flyers, $15 drinks and expensive buffets. But honestly, the entertainment and glamour has literally elevated to amazing circus acts in tanks of water, mind-boggling magic shows, world class performers, high-class cuisine and tons of luxury shopping. Not to mention all the gorgeous hotels and "free" entertainment like the famous Bellagio Fountains. It's no wonder people travel from all parts of the world to get a taste of "What happens in Vegas".
I'm not a big fan of walking the strip or taking the kids here for a stroll, I prefer to drive my guests down it to see the lights at night-but traffic is horrible. I stay away from the Bermuda Triangle...a word I coined to describe the the three big hotels on Flamingo (NY NY, the castle and MGM). I do feel a bit safer walking from Bellagio to Cesar's but you will find hobos on those walking bridges too. Another option is to take the tram, a double-decker bus or wait in a taxi line at a hotel.
It's the only place where you'll see all the 20-somethings wearing a yard of Strawberry Margarita drink around their necks or groups of girls wearing matching tiaras celebrating a bachelorette party. It's the place where every woman wears her sparkly glittering outfit that's been sitting in the closet or those outrageous high heels and mini skirts to flaunt at the hottest clubs. It's the place where you can have an Elvis Wedding.
If you love roller coasters you can ride a few and even bungee jump off one of the hotels. Soon you'll be able to ride a giant ferris wheel. It's the place where you can see a super star celeb performance every night you're in town. It's the place where celebrity chefs lend their name to a restaurant in hopes of getting a five-star yelp review.
Regardless, if this is your first time, you'll want to take it all in and thankfully there are many vantage points to do so...Eiffel Tower, Stratosphere Tower, Mandarin Oriental lounge, Mandalay Bay lounge, Maggiano's, etc. For those that want to see an aerial view of the strip you can take a helicopter ride or for a fun time ride a limo and stick your head out of the moon roof!
Whichever way you choose to see the Las Vegas strip it will be an experience like none other, especially on a night like tonight where many brave the crowds drunks and chilly weather to ring in the new year!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! VIVA LAS VEGAS!
Gorgeous sandy beach located of the coast of Rota Spain!
Kids enjoyed the sand, sun and playground.
Lots of eateries, apartments and condos along the boardwalk. Clean beach with locals, no homeless, no trash, just families and people walking enjoying the day. Incredible!
Castle on the coast for you to tour. Spectacular views of the coastline.
Located in Acicastello, which is a little town (near Catania) along the coast not far from where we live. This castle is perched up high on a cliff and for a small fee offers a chance for you to enter. Great photo ops!
A steep staircase from the piazza will take you up to the top. Don't miss it!
This review was suppose to start out something like this...For the art aficionado you will appreciate the three original works of art from one of my favorite painters Fernando Botero, who also has a massive original sculpture in the middle of this gorgeous restaurant located inside the Encore. For the foodie aficionado you'll be pleased at the "surf and turf" offerings that the menu will delight and tempt you with.
But now, and forever I will have a ridiculous memory of my dinner at Botero.
My client was in town for the big Air-Show and he invited me to dinner. Since I work mainly on the phone, years passed since I'd seen him. In this case ten years went by, so this dinner was a big deal, especially since he's the CEO and made time for me in his busy schedule.
I valet parked and greeted him at the entrance of the Wynn and we had settled on having cocktails in the lobby bar. As I walk up to greet him my gorgeous leopard strappy shoe busts! Seriously? Unbelievable! Talk about a deflating moment. Here I was only 30 seconds into welcoming him to Las Vegas and I already look like a clown.
So trying to not feel humiliated, I changed our plans and mentioned there was a bar at Botero and we should have drink there instead. Well, talk about feeling like you were in a Laverne and Shirley episode. Here I was all dressed up in a little black dress with high heels and this mile-long shoe strap dangling like a serpent off my foot as I walked through the gorgeous lobby! It was worse since there were so many people and I could see women staring at my foot. OMG please ground open up and swallow me now! This is when I wish I would have bought those red soled shoes!
So when we arrived at Botero there was a bar and a few cocktail tables. And you know by this time I was ready for a double vodka martini. We sat and waited and no service:( and no bartender to be seen:( No bueno! So again, I look like a fool assuming we would get bar service at the "lounge". Botero, you let me down.
Our reservations were at 7 p.m. and we decided to grab the table early. The hostess was very friendly and prior to getting seated I asked a waiter passing by if he had scissors. He quickly found some and I was able to snip of my dangling shoe strap. So that was a life saving moment.
Our waiter was fabulous. Polite, friendly not overly stuffy. I ordered a cocktail called the "Dream" which was ironic since I was actually in a nightmare. I'm not sure of the ingredients but I saw the pretty picture on the menu and pointed to it. PIctures on menus are a good idea especially when you're head is in a spiral and you can't think or talk straight. It had champagne and a hibiscus flower and it was just what I needed (in addition to a double of something really strong).
Next came out a tower of breads...wonderful! I'm sure they were but I needed to cut back on carbs remember I just busted out of a shoe. The squash soup was very good but presentation-wise fell a bit short. A dollop of cream and some chives or pomagranite seeds, or pumpkin seeds, shredded apple...some garnish would have been a nice touch.
I ordered the salmon and asked for it to be a bit well done-the waiter did warn me that it can come out looking a bit undercooked so I ordered it probably too overly done and it was a bit dry but the rest of the vegetables that were served with it were heavenly.
The beautiful restaurant was buzzing with lots of the conference attendees. One of which who happened to be my client's customer none other than Eugene Cernan-Yes, the famous astronaut who was the last man to walk on the moon! I was very excited to meet him and after my disastrous evening it came to a delightful ending.
I would love to come back and appreciate the paintings and more offerings. The menu looked incredible with so many choices. I just wish the service at the bar was in existance because I really needed that Tini!
Beautiful baroque theatre located in the piazza Vincenzo. The opera season had just started and I was anxious to get some tickets. The Russian ballet was playing here too, but sadly could not find a sitter! However, got to enjoy the outside views! Next time...going to Sicily sans kids!
Built in 1890 this opera house provides a perfect example of typical Sicilian Baroque architecture and should not be missed.
Cough, Cough, Cough!
The Seven Dwarfs of Sunset Station can be found here:
Where's Snow White you ask? She valet parked, walked in... turned around and bolted for the door... never to be seen again. Someone said she was screaming something like, "Get some xxxxxxx ventilation!
Cough, Cough, Cough!
If you live in Santa Barbara and haven't been here what are you waiting for? I'm so happy I discovered this gem! I have to say hands down the best Mexican food I have ever had in SoCal!
This restaurant is a mixed bag of surprises. Let me sum it up so you'll be more confused.
Tiny parking lot,
Stand in line to order (there was a line when we got there for lunch)
No plastic forks-real silverware and plates!
Salsa Bar and get your own Fountain Drink
Choose your table
Attentive wait staff-if you need finding a clean table or have a request
Chips brought out to your table
Nice Mexican decor with Spanish-tiled tables and colorful chairs
Gourmet specialties like Squash Blossoms
When you walk in stand in line and look for the menu stand. Grab one and read it while you wait. Once you get closer to the register you'll see a giant chalkboard menu with extra specials that you can choose from. You'll find items like tacos, shrimp burritos, mole enchiladas, squash blossom quesadillas, etc. just basically a waterfall of fabulous dishes that will drown your senses.
You do have to get your own salsa's and drinks and it's tight and crowded but it adds to the experience because honestly, who wants to wait around for a busy idiot waiter? This way you get what you want, how much you want and as much as you want.
Once you get your order number find a table. If you feel dizzy don't worry there's plenty of help -JUST ASK! The staff is buzzing around cleaning tables quickly and replacing the salsa faster than you can say guacamole. I mentioned to the manager who was also walking around that they were out of lemons at the salsa bar and he quickly ran to get some and brought them to my table.
I ordered the Baja tacos off the chalkboard menu... WOW! Every crunchy mouthwatering beer battered bite was a taste of heaven! The cool creamy slaw, the tasty delicious baja sauce... oh yummy. More, More, Mas, Mas! The soft hand-made corn tortillas...perfect! The Mexican rice was warm and fluffy. The surprise on the plate was fresh green tossed salad with the mango salsa. That dressing was tangy, cool, creamy and the perfect topping to a fabulous ending-well almost, my Corona beer with a salted rim and a fresh squeezed lime topped it off. That's it! I can die now. What a way to start a great weekend!
I'm coming back, I'm coming back, I'm coming back!
Yum yum for my tum tum.
My husband kept asking me if I wanted to go the Chinese Buffet and of course my answer was always, "No". Well this time I'm glad I finally said "Si"!
This combination buffet and Mongollian BBQ restaurant will be a hit with everyone in your party.
Lots of options to choose from, plenty of fresh seafood to grill or have stir fried by the chef with your choice of sauce (soy, teriyaki or oyster sauce).
My little one enjoyed picking out squid, shrimp, calamari, salmon, sushi and even a smily face like tator tot. The standout was the grilled calamari on a stick with lots of pepper and the shrimp salad. Too many favorites to name! Dessert was just a few yummy cookies nothing crazy or wasteful.
It gets crowded right away so if you can make it in right before opening time do so!
Service wonderful. Wine and beer served. Waiter spoke some English.
20 E pp and 10 E for kids.
The nice thing is they have a private parking lot and it's not located in the city center. It's just down the street from the bowling alley off the Autostrada.
Don't miss this buffet!
So since I have been saying "no" each time my husband asks if I want to go to the Chinese restaurant downtown, I decided I would try it out since he scored big with the Chinese buffet he recommended.
We drove thru Catania on a Monday night so it was quiet since most places are closed on Monday's. If you go to eat downtown you will be parking on the street. Hone up on your parallel parking skills.
You have to remember Catania was rebuilt after the earthquake and the Mt. Etna lava flow that occured in the16th century which destroyed much of the city, so the city centre is something out of of spooky storybook since some of it dates back to almost the 13th century. A castle can still be found in the middle of town from this era.
The Baroque architecture, clotheslines off balconies and sadly vastly spray painted walls gives downtown Catania an eery feeling, especially after dusk.
Some parts I swear look like what I would imagine Translvania would look like. Honestly, the only thing missing on this night was a vampire lurking around the corner. By now I was regretting my choice as I walked thru the dark narrow streets.
Not to mention the speedy crazy drivers where even driving on the opposite side of the road means nothing. I found that the Italians are never in a hurry except when theyr're driving! So if you're brave enough to drive to Catania do so but at your own risk.
The restaurant was nearly empty. Remember Americans eat between 5-8 p.m. and Italians eat between 8-10 p .m. We sat on the part of the restaurant that looked like it may have been a patio so it was a bit drafty. The "interior" portion of the restaurant was dark and had a bar so I'm assuming since we had kids we were sat in the other section which was well lit but chilly.
Vast menu, lots to choose from, including fried frog!
We ordered some spring rolls and they were mostly filled with cabbage. The sweet and sour sauce looked like ketchup but the flavor was just average, mildly sweet. The rolls didn't taste bad but they were nothing spectacular.
We also had some corn soup and that was a hit with my little boy. He also ordered some fried fish and those were really good.
The chicken curry was also not bad. I wouldn't order any noodle dishes since most of them are made from spaghetti noodles. We ordered the glass noodles and again just average.
This place will satisfy you're need for good Chinese food but like I said nothing outstanding, except the service. We were greeted with a smile, service was speedy and the kids walked away with some cute toy fish magnets.
If you venture into Siracusa-a famous fishing village in Sicily...and you feel like fresh sushi, come here! We enjoyed the friendly service and most of all the freshest sushi I have ever had.
The rolls are sold individually, but they are super-sized so start slow. We had some California rolls and salmon rolls, a few crab stuff sushi rolls which were covered in sesame seeds, a bowl of Miso soup some Yakisoba and some vegetable misto (tempura).
All five stars with incredible flavors.
The tempura veggie basket had a variety of vegetables including parsley, onion, zucchini and squash-it was so good and I would highly recommend you start with this.
The Yakisoba with shrimp was another hit. We had lots of leftovers to take home the next day! I will miss this place!
Ghostbar is a cozy high-sky lounge located inside the Palms Hotel. It's a perfect place for a date night or out-of-town visitors.
Don't miss the spectacular views of the city complete with outdoor deck and open seating with a front view of the stars. Free for guests! Great place for a photo op.
We got there at 8:30 p.m. and enjoyed the Happy Hour and patio to ourselves! Warm friendly service from the entire staff. Bonus here was no crazy angry idiot "bouncers" in sight. As the night went on it got crowded so the night turned into a cool party vibe atmosphere with all the beautiful people dressed up and having fun.
We ordered several drinks: Kir Royal, French Martini, Grasshopper, White Russian, Lemon Drop Martini, Nuts n Berries. Bartender needs a little more practice on mixing up old fashioned cordials but other than that we loved the drinks and service, they took some back for re-makes with no complaints so that was a plus.
On this night we enjoyed the cool weather and great music which was perfect for this outdoor patio lounge. Inside was a small dance floor so if you wanted to move and groove there was room to do that.
A "mini skywalk" to see hundreds of feet below is also a conversation starter AND a unbelievable view of the entertainment capital of the world. What more do you want?
I think I hit the jackpot! I will be back.
I drove to Caltagirone today which is only a 40 minute drive from where I'm staying. I had been there earlier in the week but it was raining and cold and some shops were not even open. Caltigarone is famous for it's pottery.
The drive to Caltigarone is so beautiful. The countryside is a postcard. You drive by hills where you can see tiny villages that have been built during the middle ages. Castles perched up high, orchards, green hills with many abaonded farmhouses that date back a few centuries I'm sure. The Autostrada is a two-lane road and the only thing you need to remember is to move over when you see on coming traffic that's passing! Drivers tailgate and speed-it's part of the driving culture so no need for that ridiculous road rage.
Once you get within the city limits of Caltigarone which is a Baroque village set up high on a mountain with small winding roads just make your way to the city center. Most GPS have this as an option to program.
The nice thing is that you can just pull over on a parking spot and take photos because you will literally not be able to stop-it's that amazing. There is a bridge wtih gorgous pottery decorating it then you will pass by a few duomos and piazzas and when you see the ceramic stairs find a parking spot and make you way up a few stairs. The shop is next to the ceramic museum.
I was greeted by the artist/owner himself Salvatore. Most shops you can peek in and see the pottery being painted and this shop was no exception. Some shops seemed more touristy than others and some seemed a little pretentious this was the perfect store.
I was looking for a biscotti jar and a few other pieces. I found a few wonderful pieces to add to my collection. Salvatore's English was about as great as my piccolo Italian, but he quickly opened up google translator and alas we spoke!
I told him I would be back to buy more pieces and I plan on doing so!
Gorgeous outdoor outlet mall with its flagship store Gucci being the main attraction and for good reason!
Many many upscale stores featuring beautiful fashion and accessories including a few famous American outlet stores like Nike and Calvin Klein.
Pizzerias, gelaterias and a play area for the kids. I had a pistachio arancini and oh my the best ever!
Lovely giant lit up Christmas tree in the center court yard with an incredible modern upscale cafe nearby wher i enjoyed a second cappucino (maybe thats why im still awake after midnight).
Lots of parking, tour buses and many locals with families. No one here shops alone!
Everyone well dressed and their kids look amazing too.
Fashion finds at every price level. I found some adorable accessories and a poncho. I'm not done here. This mall is unlike malls back home where you can "tell" that clothes are outlet clothes! No! Every store I stopped in or window shopped had something i wanted needed and had to buy. I have walked out of outlets back home empty handed but that will never happen here!
Versace outlet here as well. No snobbery here at all. You weren't looked at twice when you asked for the price of something like the idiot clerks back home in the fashion boutiques.
Gucci mens wallets on sale for 120 euro! Womens Gucci boots on sale for 180 euro! Kids Gucci too. Of course I found a bag for myself! That is one thing I love about Gucci is that they DO have sales!
This is the place you want to go when in Sicily to shop!
Service sweet like their treats!
Before I even arrived to Sicily my husband had been telling me about his favorite gelateria in Catania. We finally made it!
Tucked away thru a walking area in front of a fountain on the piazza in front of the amazing teatro this gelateria was worth the walk.
Since it was a chilly night (as they all are in winter) I opted for a hot chocolate and one of the bambino's had a gelato so I was able to sample and yes it was yummy and creamy and full of lemony flavor!
The Hot Chocolate was thick, oowee and goowee and sweet and creamy like a warm cup of hot chocolate pudding. Where's the churro? Delicioso! Yummy I wish I could share!!
I will be running back! Don't miss it!
Fun fun place that my kids enjoy visiting when we are in this mall. Uses tokens and some use euro. They have a little jumpy maze that kids can explore. Great little rides here. Don't miss it if you have kids!
For Father's Day we flew to D.C. specifically to pay our respects to my father-in-law who sadly passed away a few years ago. We had not been back since the funeral which was an incredible tribute and honor to attend. The ceremony was so moving and it's something I'll never forget.
Since we did not bring the children on that day we felt it was important to bring them back and have our own private time visiting grandpa. The kids left him some toy soldiers and licorice at his gravesite and we sat on the green grassy lawn to talk about how much we missed him.
If you have a loved one buried here you can park in covered parking with a pass. A map will be provided and a gravesite number. Lucky for us we knew grandpa was buried under a little pine tree which has now grown and will be easy to find him.
He was the bravest man from the best generation. He left us with a wonderful legacy and memories that we will always cherish. He survived 42 missions in the Air-Force flying over Germany and England then later became a eye doctor and my kids grandpa. He is my true American hero.
Awesome place to shop with a wonderful friendly local staff!
Find everything you need here from Estee Lauder to a washing machine this mini department store has it all. Clothes, snacks, electronics, furniture, shoes, lingerie, home decor, gifts, houswares and outdoor sports gear.
I love the gourmet food and wine section. Wine tastings here daily inlcuding proveyers of the local olive oil which I sampled and immediately bought a bottle.
Lots of great gifts from the local artisans, beautiful pottery and a huge selection of wines including a signature Sigonella labeled red wine!
Sicily is covered in orange groves, olive groves, pistachio trees and of course vineyards! So you will see lots of pistachio included in pasta sauce and a creamy sweet butter that's beautifully packaged in jars.
Don't forget the yummy chocolate too which is very well known and made in a nearby town.
A nice size book section provides Fodor tour guide books of Sicily/Italy and other countries and some language books too to help you learn some basic Italian.
I come here all the time to pick up some wine, sweets, something for the kids or just a lipstick!
Closed Mondays. Must have valid military ID to make purchases.
When I was here a few weeks ago it was late so I missed the chance to see this spectacular site! I'm glad we drove back specifically to see these ruins still in tact and actually still a working theatre!
Originally built by the Greeks then refurbished by the Romans this historic site will leave you breathless. Read up on the site on your own because there is no information posted.
Concerts are still performed here! (watch a YouTube clip)
Entrance next to Grand Hotel Timeo
Gorgeous ocean views
Nominal entrance fee-8 Euro
Park in a parking garage and walk so wear comfy shoes becuase it's a looong walk.
Amazing tours set up for you here!
Since we have two small kids finding the right tour was tricky. We had been out venturing on our own to many of the sites but knew we were missing a lot by not having a tour guide tell us about the history behind every place we saw.
We finally set up a tour on an antique train ride with a stop in Randazzo.
We met very early and a van drove us and a small group to the train station in Catania. The train station had a little coffee shop so everyone got a chance to grab a quick coffee prior to boarding.
The train ride was scenic, we stopped in Randazzo a few hours later and walked to see a few interesting sites. Tour guide was very informative and helpful. We stopped off at another coffee shop in Randazzo then walked to see several historic piazzas and churches. The village is full of interesting facts dating back to the middle ages.
Much of the town was detroyed in WWII but there a few places that survived.
Cobblestone winding streets take you back to capture a time where Knights of the Templar supposedly were, vikings, witch trials, kings, monastaries and prisons were all part of everyday life going back centuries. All fascinating!
Our final stop was at a deli where we were treated to trays of local meats, cheeses, olives and wine and of course chocolate and cookies. We ordered some panini's which is a simple sandwich made with a baguette cheese, salami and olive oil. We bought everything we sampled and took back a few bottles of wine. My phone ran out of battery so I was not able to capture this portion of the tour:( This was a nice tour, it did take all day, but kids got to take a nap on the way back.
Restrooms in Italy are an adventure so for ladies I recommend taking a backpack (if you're out touring the sites) with your own roll of toilet paper! Take some euro and change because many public restrooms charge anywhere from 50 cents to 1 euro (that was not the case on this tour)
A bottle of water is always a good idea too!
Many of the tours last all day and a few are just a night out for dinner in Catania.
Snowboarding trips (equipment also available to rent)
Agriculture tours (with harvesting and lunch)
Palermo tours (including a Godfather Tour which takes you to famous sites where the film was shot)
St. Agatha Festival (one of the largest in the world)
Pizza on Mt. Etna
Tandem Sky Diving
Come here first to get your calendar of events.
We took a an antique train ride tour around Mt. Etna and Randazzo was our stop.
This church is one of about 18 located in this small ancient village.
Our tour guide took us here and told us about the history including historical findings that the vikings may have originally discovered the Americas, witch trials and walks down Agony Row where the accused saw the last daylight before going to prison, Spanish inquisition, Kings visits, Crusaders, Knights of the Templar many stories all very interesting and events surrounding this church in Randazzo.
If you're in Sicily don't miss this stop it will take you back in time.
Zoo Lights has been a family tradition for many years and every year it gets better. We use have a membership to the Phoenix Zoo and since we haven't been here in a while I noticed lots of changes. Bigger and better with lots of upgrades.
$40 entry fee for a family of four. No military discount at the door but maybe you can buy discounted tickets on base.
We ventured in at 8:30 p.m. and avoided long lines and crowds and got great parking. The music and the extra activities were spot on for my kids. Lots of vendors selling lit up toys and you can get a yummy cup of cocoa to keep you warm. Bring your jackets and extra cash.
A talking giraffe that will address you by name with a big winner with us. Adorable! There's a "polar bear slide" that kids loved too-you slide down an inter tube. The new experience was a zip line and the kids really had fun. The carousal is adorable and lots of animals to pick from to ride on. From a shark to a hawk to a rhino and a cheetah this carousal was awesome!
Music was a tribute the Wizard of Oz which is my son's favorite movie. The twinkling lights match the music and it's great to sit listen and watch the lights dance.
I can't say enough great things about Zoo Lights. It's always great to come home and enjoy all the activities we use to do when we lived here. The key is to NOT come early. We had fun and hopefully be back again next year.
Order the burger!!
The hubby and I decided to stop by for lunch.
We sat outside with a great view of the lake. Quiet and peaceful.
Service and ambiance upscale and fabulous.
Gumbo is delicious, I could lick the bowl!!!
Bread basket yummy!
My hamburger was the best burger I've had in a long long long time. Complete with avocado and a toasted bun that you could eat by itself. I've been dreaming of that burger ever since.
Don't miss! I can't wait to come back!
I love zoos so the Santa Barbara Zoo has been on my wish list for a long time. I'm glad I finally got the chance to spend an afternoon here.
I would have given it five stars but I thought the long line of cars just to get into the parking lost was waaaaaayyyyy ridiculous. At least 15-20 minutes just to get into the zoo parking lot.
The grounds are beautiful with lots of lush plants and tall trees, a nice grassy area to watch a cute dinosaur show and an ocean view while you stare at the giraffe's.
Having been to the zoo in Colorado Springs where you have a huge platform to hand feed giraffes, I was a bit turned off by standing in line and paying to feed the giraffe's here. The platform was really small so that was a downer. I'm sure they do it just to control people not feeding the animals a lollipop or something but the zoo in Colorado had no issues with that. The baby giraffes were on display so they were fun to watch.
Gorillas, lions, elephants, penguins, birds, capi bari, turtles, and monkeys were all fun to look at. Lots of little kids under five were here, I think I noticed them more since my kids are getting so much older now:(
Overall a fun zoo that you can do in a few hours and a great day.
Thank you for the military discount too!
Since July 17, 1955 the day Disneyland opened in Anaheim, there really was no place like it on earth...but now if you don't make it to Southern California you can go to Orlando and visit Disneyworld or a suburb of Paris to see Euro Disney or Hong Kong or Tokyo. But this is where it all started.. the ORIGINAL magical land of Walt Disney.
You're first stop after entering the park is a photo op. You can't miss it. Everyone will be there taking pictures. So don't forget to take a few minutes and get your photo taken with the Mickey Mouse shaped flowers as a backdrop it will be the first photo you take when you get into the park.
The highlight is bringing my kids and remembering when I came at their age. I love that the same rides are still here especially Adventureland! Pirates of the Caribbean never gets old, the haunted mansion is just as scary and I love walking around "New Orleans". You can ride on an old fashion Steamboat, paddle a canoe, ride a raft or jump on a lifesize pirate ship! And now, I can sip a Mint Julep.
It's a place where you can always be a kid and no one looks at you cross-eyed because you're wearing mouse ears that glow while spinning in cups on the Alice in Wonderland Mad Tea Party ride.
The parade is always a highlight and we love riding the Disney train around the park for that much needed rest. It's also a great way to get around if you have small children or older folks with you. The Cinderalla castle is all lit up at night and you can't help but start singing, "When you wish upon a star..."
If you have a child with a disability go to Main Street and stop at City Hall for a special "fast pass" like card where you sign up to get on a ride. Years ago you could just stand in the "Wheelchair" line but those lines were getting long so they changed the system. If it's your birthday you come here to get a free pin that says "Happy Birthday". They also gave us one year a signed black and white photo of Mickey Mouse. I love the wonderful friendly service that we get here from ALL the Disney "cast members".
Surprisingly, my kids didn't go crazy over any toys, but we managed to buy a few things in the many shops scattered around the park. The parade was beautiful and the Christmas decorations were out. Right now the big trend is buying a lanyard and collecting your pins on it. So if you're a big collector you've found heaven.
I like that there are photo pass options throughout the park so if you're battery on your phone or camera runs low you can still have your vacation captured on film by a Disney cast member. You can find them following a Disney character (like Mickey Mouse) or standing in front of the tree to take the family photo. Do you know how many family photo's we have of only three of us...because I had to take the picture! Or always asking a stranger to do it? There are a few places to stop and check the PHOTO PASS pics. My advice, don't wait until the end of the day to check your photos. Lines can get long and you may not like all the photos except the ones taken earlier in the day. So check them periodically.
Disney is always generous with the military discounts, the last time we were here active duty members were free. This time they offered $129 three day hopper that you could use anytime, even if we came for the day, we have a year to use the other two days. These tickets can also be purchased at your local base in the IT offices. So thank you Disney!
Disney is undergoing some construction in their parking lots so parking is a cluster-don't attempt it just park off the lots on Harbor and take the shuttle or if you're hotel offers a shuttle take it!
If you have a smart phone download some Disney APS to help you get around. Map out your adventure ahead of time because the crowds and the noise may take you into a tailspin (why do you think I mentioned the Mint Julep?).
Lots of food to enjoy. i love making reservations ahead of time to eat the Blue Bayou, it's a great way to enjoy an upscale sit down dinner and you feel like your in the middle of the Louisiana swamp complete with firefly's.
Lots of snacks to munch on throughout the park like churros, popcorn, corn dogs, mouse ears ice cream bars and cotton candy served in a souvenir cup.
So needless to say despite the crowds, the long waits in line, the expensive entry fee, and the long shuttle drive in we will be back to enjoy the "Happiest Place on Earth".
Not your typical base exchange. This is simply an extension with a focus on outdoor active life equipment, bikes, kayaks, excersise equipment, outdoor home and garden and hardware. It's like a mini Home Depot only a teeny tiny version of it.
Located across from the Terminal on NAS II.
Tandem bikes found here too.
Two words: Lobster tacos!
This will be my go-to place for a date night. From the friendly smiling hostess to the waiter our service was five stars.
Hubby and I were out on a date night so after hanging at the Onyx bar listening to awesome live music (which is also located inside the Red Rock Casino) we were ready for dinner. We were seated immediately, no wait!
Menu was incredible with lots of offerings. Since I was down a few cocktails I can tell you that my hubby did all of the ordering. We started off with some lobster tacos which were incredible. Tasty little yummy treats that had plenty of chunky lobster bites. Next we ordered some shrimp and mushrooms...mmmmm, then we had some thin slices of beef that we seared over a hot stone! Some miso soup and a cold beer was also on our order.
I will be back!
I wish I could take my kids to this park everyday!
Wow! Cute playground, nice historic background, set up high on a cliff, benches to sit and look out at the ocean, flowers, grass, mountain views...playground for the kids.
The most beautiful little park with the most amazing view on the coast!
Bring a picnic, bring your kids, enjoy the views and the weather and I promise you will be on Zillow.com to start looking for a house here!
On Mother's Day traditionally you go and have brunch...but when you have kids it just doesn't make sense. So instead, we had for a fabulous picnic with the perfect ocean view on Moonlight Beach!
This beach is not too big and our friends who live in Encinitas love coming here so you'll definitley find lots of locals here.
Free parking in the lot or along the streets makes it a breeze. You'll encounter a bit of a steep hike to go down to the beach but it's not a far walk.
Lots of lifeguards and a playground too.
Beach had lots of kelp but overall it was a great day and the kids had fun.
What a wonderful Mother's Day!
Thank you for the Military discount! This exhibit can be found inside the Luxor Hotel and Casino.
A tribute and memory to so many perished on Titanic. Very touching and moving exhibit that takes you back to that frightful night. In 2008 this exhibit was at the Arizona Science Museum where I was lucky enough to see it. This exhibit is very similar and the second time around was even better.
I can't even begin to imagine how so many people suffered such a tragedy. So many artifacts from the ship to see including an actual piece of the ship.
I really enjoyed the glass cases that kept the actual artifacts that were found. I think the one I remember the most was a box full of viles of perfume that one passenger was taking to America as samples. Vents on the casing allows you to smell inside the case and surprisingly you can still smell the fragrance.
Your ticket is a "boarding pass" that has the actual name of a passenger and what class of service they were in. At the end of the tour a list of the passengers that perished and survived is posted along with photographs. This makes it all too real and very moving. The lighting in the entire exhibit is perfection.
Really nice and well done. I appreciated the "crew" member who was on hand walking around to answer any of your questions. My son begged me to take him to this exhibit which had just visited a few weeks ago, but wanted to see it again. He asked so many questions about the ship so I was happy to take him and the crew member was very sweet and polite and answered all of our questions.
I did learn that the voyage of the Titanic was scheduled for five days from the U.K. to the U.S. and it was on the 4th day that it crashed into the ice-burg. The trip actually took six days back then but they wanted to prove that Titanic would beat that time frame. They also veered off course and this took them into Northern chillier waters.
An ice-burg is also on display to touch which is a great interactive feature. Another favorite part was walking into the outdoor night time deck area. It gave you the feeling of being out on the deck and imagining how dark and cold it was on that night. Stars included!
The whole exhibit is fascinating and you'll also see replicas of the first and third class cabins and of course you'll see the famous staircase. Remember the 3rd class floor where Leonardo and Kate are running from the gushing waters? It's here too.
A nice gift shop provides some souvenir shopping including the chance to buy replicas of the china and that glittery blue heart diamond necklace.
So much to talk about, but I'd rather you go and see it for yourself!
$15 and you can spend a nice day enjoying a beautiful preserved beach at Crystal Cove. No military discount and the grouchy old lady who lets you in may ruin the start of what should be a gorgeous afternoon but don't let her be the buzz kill. But seriously she was borderline rude-no bueno especially for the money you pay!
No doggies allowed.
Lots of wildlife in the tide pools and virtually a hidden gem. But it's a no-no to take or touch any of the critters.
Lots of friendly OC locals hiking and jogging the trails. Hillside viewing points that offer panoramic ocean views for miles. It's quiet not crowded and totally worth the money.
A nice way to spend an afternoon.
This beach was located near our hotel so we drove here to give the kids some beach time.
The university is nearby so the beach was full of students more than families. I have to say I prefer to go to beaches with families then college drinking cussing 20 yr old's around. Don't get me wrong, I was in college once too, but I watched my sailor mouth around kids.
It was kind of kelpy but the kids had fun and it was a nice afternoon to relax and hear the ocean waves. There is a pier that runs in between the beach so maybe I should have checked out the other side because being near the volleyball courts wasn't ideal. Overall it wasn't crowded but I wouldn't come running back.
On Memorial Day we stopped off at the iconic touristy restaurant located on the coast in Malibu. Valet is easy and the attendant was very polite and friendly.
As soon as you walk in your'e mesmerized by the beautiful views of the Pacific which are nice to look at from virtually every seat.
The hostess said it would be 15 minutes for table. They offered the bar area to sit which also offers some great views of the ocean. Service in the lounge was fabulous, friendly waitress, speedy service, nice view then our name was called and I was excited to get seated next to the window.
Well...it wasn't available so they offered a booth. Still a really nice view of the waves at sunset.
I had a Pina Colada and it was soooo gooood. Food was really good. The sourdough bread basket, the clam chowder, kids menu, French onion soup...all great.
Now the downside...our waiter...OMG Mr. Doom and Gloom. Total crotchety crabby slowwwwww turtle of a waiter who'd rather be dining than serving. Give him a night off so he can come back happy!
He literally said he could "use a drink!" WTH? I was so annoyed. Never smiled and had nothing pleasant to say, our food, order, refill, check everything took foreverrrrrrrr! Now granted you don't want to be rushed out, but he took waaaayyyy tooooo loooong and his whole demeanor ruined what should have been a nice dinner. I couldn't wait to get the XXXX OUT.
He really ruined the experience, we should have just stayed in the lounge:(
I would still recommend coming here but I hope you don't get Mr. Doom and Gloom!
Adios Espana! This review is for the Air Terminal.
So we left Sigonella and made a stop at Roda-and sorry we did because it was a painful long 24 hours.
Despite the long delays and waiting around on the airport and on the freezing bus the staff here was 5-stars! Wonderful helpful and sweet. Meals transfers and hotel comped so that was good.
Since the delayed occurred at 10 p.m. by midnight we were still there waiting for hotel rooms-this process is a one star! My kids had fallen asleep on the floor at the airport.and although a nice nursery room with mats, cribs and toys was available my kids refused to go in, so the staff brought them mats out to the hallway where they were sleeping.
They finally got the luggage off the plane, by this time it was 3:30 a.m.and I had to wake up two sleeping kids and walk out to 40 degree temp to take our luggage to a waiting bus. Where it sat there for another 30 minutes with the doors open! WTH? I tried looking for the bus driver to have him close the doors but he was no where to be found!
The process to finally get us in a hotel room was endless and took waaaay too long, I hope a more streamline process in put in place because I would NEVER want to go thru this again
I do have to say flying with the military families was a joyful experience, we were all in the same boat and everyone was very helpful and comforting to each other. I even helped a dad carry his infant on board because he had his hands full with a stroller, diaper bag and carry-on! Many people helped me with my luggage and my kids so this made the experience bearable and I made some lifelong friends out of it.
I hear delays here are frequent. So bring snacks, coins for vending machines, a pillow and blanket for kids-one of my kids forgot his jacket, so...yes, imagine that... no coat and it was freezing! Thankfully he had layers and a blanket.
Oh, and good walking shoes because no jetways here, just a long walk down the tarmac to walk up the plane.
I love this railroad "ride". It's the first "ride" you'll see when you walk into the park. It's a rest place to start your adventure because you can hitch a ride to the many themed areas of the park. If you've got stroller-kids then I highly recommend you take the train over to Toon-Town to save you time and some sore feet.
During your "ride" on the train you'll be pleasantly surprised at some of the hidden exhibits that you'll only see if you're on the train...like the dinosaur exhibit! Very cool but I won't share too much because I want you to enjoy the "ride".
We took advantage of "dollar days" which offers some spectacular deals!
$1 breakfast per person in the restaurant-daily
Friendly staff like none other!
Gorgeous updated clean rooms!
Room Service food was delicious! The potato leek soup so creamy and full of flavor, the lobster mac-n-cheese which was more like a risotto...but nonetheless the plate was licked clean!
My only downer was that the buffet breakfast server was really slowwwww in providing service and the food on the buffet was sloooowwwww to come out too, so hopefully they'll work on that, because it took waaaaayyyy too long to eat breakfast. I would not recommend eating here unless you are using a special. It's pricey.
So convenient to everything we want to see, this is our go-to place when in San Diego!
I've been a Marriott's rewards member for over ten years and I'm a loyal customer because they always deliver and never disappoint.
We will be back!
I always bring my out of town guests here so last Thursday we came in to walk around the Forum Shops and enjoy a nice lunch at Trevi.
The best thing about dining here is that you can sit in the "outdoor" area next to the fountain which is very loud and full of tourists clicking and posing for pictures.
The service has never been overly friendly here but the food has usually been very good. Sadly on this visit it seemed more like an overpriced tourist trap.
I ordered my "usual" Frito Misto. Gorgeous nibbles of veggies and seafood battered and lightly fried with a wonderful aoli dipping sauce.
My son ordered the shrimp cesar salad and it was nothing special for the price. A pepperoni pizza was shared and it was very good. Light thin soft slices with lots of flavor. We also shared some clam linguini and this was bland and boring.
Overall $100 later left me wishing it was worth it. I may have to pick a new spot for my out of towners.
"We don't care, we're driving Cadillacs in our dreams.
But everybody's like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece.
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash.
We don't care, we aren't caught up in your love affair.
And we'll never be royals (royals).
It don't run in our blood,
That kind of luxe just ain't for us.
We crave a different kind of buzz".
That's the song I was humming when I landed here.
We were shopping at the Forum Shops and a crowd was mobbing the window of this men's upscale store offering mostly suits.
We peeked thru the crowd and non other than Mike Tyson was there shopping sans tiger on a gold leash...I hear that song coming on again...
Mr. Royal even came out and modeled for the crowd of fans and everyone cheered.
Several officers were located at the front door who were very friendly and the store was only open for him-that's Vegas.
So...long story short if you want to shop where Tyson buys his suits...come here!
An iconic structure that you can see joyfully at a distance and breath a sigh of disbelief.
It was exciting to bring the kids to D.C. for the first time to see the Washington Monument. I believe in a non-theory based education and if I can provide a great experience that is memorable I think children can appreciate, learn and absorb more about history when they can see it instead of just reading about it.
There was a ton of construction so there was no opportunity to go up. It was a pretty hot day and a quick weekend trip so maybe next time we'll get the chance to get some tickets.
Yum Yum went my Tum Tum after my second visit to this great little sushi house near Summerlin.
If you decide to show up on a weekend I do recommend a reservation!
It's a tiny place and it fills up quick.
I was really super happy to see another family with kids here so I was not ruining a date night! The kids menu offers a choice between chicken or beef teriyaki, rice, one California roll and miso soup.
Noodle bowls were a big hit with our group as was the tempura and a few sushi rolls. The Diablo roll was topped with some jalapenos and spicy sauce was served on the side.This was my favorite and I'll be back for more.
Fabulous friendly service and a $10 Yelp discount when you check in (if you spend over a certain amount).
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|Okay, well I couldn't limit it to 10. Here's a list of my favorite all time eateries-with more to discover off of YELP.||A list of some of my favorite places that I've Yelped about.|
|Places where I've seen a Star!||Tons of options but where to go? I picked places to suit all budgets. Here's a list to get you started. Some are hits some are misses but at least you'll have the heads up on what to expect!|
|All things lemons! Lemon baked goods, desserts, cookies, sorbet, cakes, muffins, breads, Macarons, pie, candles, fragrance, trees, dressings, loving all things lemony!||Las Vegas hot spots for that much needed date night-for all budgets!|
|Ideas for gifts, dinner and chocolate! Roses, Jewelry, Perfume, Lingerie, a Card, Champagne, and a Romantic dinner with a view is a great start. Hope you made restaurant reservations at her/his favorite place? Or maybe you planned a special romantic dinner at home sitting by the fireplace with candles and romantic music playing in the background? Maybe you work nights so now plan a romantic picnic at the Red Rocks-bring champagne and lobster tacos! Dessert could be some chocolate truffles or his/her favorite cupcake. A Gondola ride at the Venetian? Cocktails at the Eiffel Tower restaurant followed by dinner? Maybe a shopping trip to Victoria's Secret? Just don't forget the heart-shaped chocolate box! Or something glittery and shiny to wear around her neck or finger, something to make her smell pretty or a pair of expensive shoes that's been on her wish list? Make her a card or buy him a card-today before they run out! Hmmm, so many things to do on this special day. Start off with one single rose with a note attached of your special plans and give her the rest of the dozen at dinner. Just because you're not getting engaged or have been dating or married "forever" don't miss this special time of year to tell that person how much you love them. Happy Valentine's Day!||Malls, boutiques, outlets...where to start when you're ready to do some retail therapy!|
|Things to do with kids in and around the Houston area||Places to shop in The Woodlands|
"Eat, Pray, Yelp"
Spring, TX, Vereinigte StaatenYelper seit
Juni 2011Dinge, die ich mag
Sailing in San Diego, Traveling, Shopping, Decorating, Fashion, Celebrity Gossip, The Beach, Room Service, Date Night, Rainy Days, My Playlist, Scented Candles, Ghost Stories, Italy, Fish Tacos, Baking, but Mostly Hugging my Kids.Hier bin ich häufig anzutreffen
PhoenixWarum du meine Beiträge unbedingt lesen solltest
Foie Gras in Paris, Caviar in Russia, Nyala in Africa, Noodles in China did itMein Lieblingsfilm
Le Divorce, Volver, Frida, Miami Rhapsody, Eat Pray LoveMeine Henkersmahlzeit
Dinner on the Glass Covered Boat In ParisErzähl's nicht weiter, aber...
I was in a movie with George Clooney!Meine neueste Entdeckung
Santa Lucias Pizza in TaorminaIch schwärme gerade für
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