Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Vegas Trip Part 1


My first of several posts detailing my amazing trip to Vegas at the end of April!


The Main Hotel Lobby

I mentioned in my last post how I just happened to be in the studio audience at The Talk in February and was given a two night stay at The Mirage along with two tickets to the Beatle’s LOVE Cirque du Soliel show! So my best friend since 3rd grade and I decided that since we were going to fly out that we might as well make a vacation of it and stay another two nights. The first two nights we spent at The Golden Nugget. In many ways I liked The Golden Nugget better than The Mirage! Our room (and view) was much nicer. The air conditioner worked better there as well. Also the staff we encountered overall was friendlier there too.


The fabulous view from our room!

We flew bright and early Monday morning so that we’d have the entire day ahead of us (or half a day by the time we got to the hotel). Our flight on Jet Blue was very nice with us even arriving 20 minutes sooner than expected. After we grabbed a shuttle to our hotel and proceeded to check in, I got to chatting with a manager as we had been rudely directed by the desk attendant to the computer system to register. We were directed by the computer back to the desk to finish checking in as the computer was out of room keys. The manager was very nice and I told him that not only was it my first time to Vegas as an adult (I had been when I was 10 with my family), but that it was my first trip since I had learned how to walk all over again. He ended up upgrading our room to a Gold Tower accessible room! It was after noon by the time we got us (and our luggage) up to our room.


The pool and shark tank at night.

We decided to have lunch in the 24 hours cafe after which we made a beeline for the pool! It was my first time swimming in more than 5 years although I used to spend much of the summer in the pool as a child/teen. The huge waterslide was definitely a positive in the decision to stay at The Golden Nugget as I knew that The Mirage didn’t have a waterslide or attraction like that at their pool. And to make their waterslide even more unique, just before the slide exits into the pool it goes through the shark tank that sits in the center of the main pool.


The water slide at night.

We probably went on the slide a half a dozen or so times (each) before we decided that we were done. After resting and freshing up we headed down to the Grotto restaurant in the hotel for a late dinner before heading outside to walk along Fremont Street. The major attraction along Fremont Street is not much to look at during the day, but at night when the sun goes down and they turn the lights on it is quite a sight. Over head for a couple city blocks is a lattice work “ceiling” that has millions of lights. It works like an enormas movie screen. Every time a new song or video started most people (including us) stopped walking and stood still staring up watching the pictures move over head.


Nighttime on Fremont Street

Outside at night is brighter at night than it is during the day! Much brighter, which makes it very difficult to tell just how late it is! Yes, I realize they do that on purpose. Our second day was a lot like our first, although we slept in. We decided to try the buffet at The Golden Nugget for a later lunch. It was okay. We both mainly took one or two bites of a LOT of different things and I had fun taking photos of it with her iphone. We then spent a few hours hanging out at the pool, in the pool, on the slide, and in the hot tub before returning to our room to rest. Like the first night we went to Grotto for dinner.


Our pizza dinner Tuesday night although we had the same Monday night as well. We had a lovely view of the pool area!

Afterwards we spend a couple hours in the casino….Want to know how we did? Well, you’ll just have to wait for my bext post to find out how much we actually spent and how much we won!

And I’m not done with my travels just yet, my best friend who went on this trip with me is graduating from medical school in a couple weeks so I’m heading to San Francisco! Since I have family there I’ll also have the chance to spend some time with my aunt, uncles, and cousins. For someone who hasn’t been able to travel in WAY too long, I’m certainly getting the opportunity to do a few things in a short period of time!

Have you been to Vegas? I’d love to hear about what you did while there!


Update & The Talk Taping

I know its been way too long since I lasted posted an update. Fortunately, I’ve been busy doing many things which is why I haven’t been posting as regularly. However I really am going to try to post more consistently. After my sister and I attended a taping of CBS’ The Talk, I went back on their website to try to sign up for double taping tickets which always seem to fill up first. Luckily, I was able tto snag a pair of tickets for a double taping the week of Valentine’s Day. I don’t know if you’ve been to a tv show taping before, but tthey rarely post who the guests will be more than a few days in advance.


Once I had confirmed our seats for the show the next day, I decided to peek to see who the celebrity guest would be for the first taping since it is impossible to find out who the second taping’s guest is. I could NOT believe it when I read who would be there the very next day. She is and has always been (and probably always be) my most favorite actress EVER! And she had only been on The Talk once before. I was pretty sure she was there to promote the newest children’s book she co-wrote with her daughter. Anyone have a guess who I’m referring to?

None other than the incredible Dame Julie Andrews Edwards!!! It was as if I had handpicked the celebrity myself! I had the opportunity to see her at Disneyland about 8 years ago when they re-dedicated a carousal horse to her. And my sister and I actually had the chance to meet her a few weeks after she was at Disneyland at the annual Festival of Books (which at the time was held at UCLA, but since is held at USC)!! Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take a photo with her. Ms. Julie Andrews Edwards was promoting her memoir, Home, along with her new children’s book which she read (and I video taped) at the Target Children’s stage. We also were able to listen to her recount several stories from her youth which she wrote about in her memior. Afterwards, there was the opportunity to purcahse her memior and have it signed (which I of course did)! I even wrote her a letter which I was able to get to her, though sadly I never received any sort of response (not even a form letter).

Anyways, back to the week of Valentine’s Day this year which we were able to not only see Ms. Julie Andrews Edwards, but every one in the audience were treated to a whole bunch of nice goodies just for being their that day! I’vd watched The Talk enough to know that whenever they would show various items or gift ideas that the audience would also be leaving with those items. But this was the first time something like that had happened to me (with such an expensive set of gifts).

During the commercial break just before that segment, it was interseting to see who effient everyone is at getting the set quickly changed around! I find that in and of itself very iteresting. They hung red velvet drapes and brought out five tables. From all the items on the tables we each received, a silver picture frame and a decoritively topped silver candle (retailing for $80 and $60 respectively), a set of four crystal wine glasses with matching decanter, and the following gift certificates in liew of receving random items that we may or may not like. First we received a $100 certificate for a site that sells truffle oils and other fancy olive oils (I get that they were being ‘cute’ by having mushroom truffles instead of the more typical for Valentine’s Day chocolate truffles), $100 for a site that sells ladies undergarments, and a $155 certificate for a site that sells jewelry along with other various accessories.



Then they went to commercial break. Now I had seen segments similar to this one previously and so I was pretty sure that there would be one more gift. And when they said that Valentine’s Day wasn’t complete without a getaway I became bery excited! The only thing is that I would NEVER have thought of the trip we each were given. Any guesses of where the trip was to?



We each were given a certificate good for TWO nights at The Mirage along with TWO tickets for their Cirque du Soliel Beatles LOVE show! OMGoodness!!! WOW that show as soooo incredibly amazing! I was NOT at all excited about the prospect of a Las Vegas trip until I started looking into it. Since my sister wanted to take her best friend for her trip, I dedided to do the same. Since my bff and I both could REALLY use a vacation, we decided that we’d fly it would make much more sense to also stay an additional two nights. We choose the four star Golden Nugget hotel since she wanted to go to the Fremont Street Experience. I also couldn’t help but be drawn to the pool area. Relatively recently redone, the Golden Nugget actually as a large aquarium in the center of the main pool that has sharks in it! They also have a waterslide that actually goes THROUGH the shark tank near the end of the slide!



That waterslide was sooooo much fun!! It had been well over six years since I had last been in a pool and ten plus years since I had been on a waterslide. Once we had checked it, had lunch, settled into our room we made a beeline straight for the pool! We stayed for a total of 5 days and 4 nights. While I would have loved for our trip to have been longer, it definitely felt like a good amount of time. I am very glad we choose to stay in two very different parrts of Vegas, it was almsot like having two mini vacations back to back. The whole Vegas trip wasn’t even the laslt of the goodies we were given. We also each received her and her daughter Emma’s newest children’s book. All this was just for the first taping.

The second taping aired the following week on President’s Day and had Jenny McCarthy. During one of her segments, Ms. Jenny McCarthy all of a sudden started sounding like an infomercial. I turned to my sister and said I’ll bet we get whatever she ends up talking about. And sure enough I was corrent! We each also received the only FDA approved for home use depilatory (hair removal) laser, the Tria system. While it won’t get rid of 100% of unwanted hair with continued use, it should reduce the amount of hair by up to 70-90%! Unfortunately the Tria system can ONLY be used by those with fair, light, or medium skin along with dark hair only otherwise burns can result. I haven’t tried mine out yet, but will reveiw it once I have tried it and throughout the directed course of self treatment. The retail price for the model we received is approximately an astonishing $450! Would this be something you’d try? I’d love to hear what you think and if you’ve ever tried the Tria or one of the other depilatory at home devices?

So this post has now become very long, yet there is still sooo very much to tell you! I guess I’ll just have to post again soon tell ing you even more about my very first adventure since learning how to walk all over again (for *hopefully* the last time)!


Update – Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Yes, I know I’m a bit late in posting that, but as you know this is my first post of 2013. I realize its been way too long since I last posted, but I will be trying to post much more regularly. About the time I last posted, I was still trying to convince my doctors to put me on a course of IV antibiotics for my IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) as I had started to flare in September and hadn’t started improving. Finally about the middle of December my ID (Infectious Disease) doctor agreed to put me on IV antibiotics the following week. I had figured due to the holidays that things were delayed but was dismayed to find out the beginning of January that I wasn’t going to actually receive this treatment. To make a long story short after speaking with that doctor again he agreed to 2 weeks (which I didn’t think was long enough but better than nothing) which started the very next day!

Right after I finished I thought my symptoms were improving, but now I’m now so sure. Will just have to wait and see and hope that the IV antibiotics along with a higher dose of the medication I take for maintenance will be enough to coax my GI system back into at least a semi-remission. Aside from this there have been other changes in the last couple weeks including that I have started to drive again (albeit only locally so far). At least where I for physical therapy is only a five minute drive away and I can now schedule for whatever time I prefer to go instead of scheduling around my wonderful little sister.

Also a week from Tuesday marks another milestone in my life. Each of us has that one day a year that signifies the start of another year of their life and February 19th is mine. I think it will take me time to get used to this one as I will be turning 30!

Crazy, I know! I’m the oldest of the cousins in my family so I was the first to be Bat (or Bar) Mitzvah’d. The first to turn 21 and of course now the first to turn 30. And with the exception of one of my best friends (you know who you are), I’m the oldest of my friends as well.

Why don’t birthdays feel quite as fun and exciting as they did as a child/teen? My youngest cousin just turned 11 and the excitement was quite evident when we talked. Even though she is only in the 5th grade, she reads at a significantly higher level and as it turns out her favorite genre YA dystopian is one of my favorites as well. It is ironic to me that despite our age difference we prefer reading the same books.

In fact she highly recommended Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series and Before I fall to me. But I am glad that we have at least that one shared interest in common as it gives me something to be able to relate to her with since I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like. Although I am hoping to be able to spend sometime with her in the spring/summer so we can get to know each other much better. I believe that having a love for reading develop early is a huge advantage for high school, college, and beyond. I didn’t really love reading until fifth or sixth grade. I remember starting to like it better in fourth grade, but I know that was partly due to my amazing teacher that year.

Anyways, I have so many products and books to review and share with you in the coming weeks and I very much look forward to sharing all of those with you! And if you have any books or products you recommend please share those with me!

Wishing you a very (belated) happy, healthy, and joyous New Year!


My Life Monday: Big Scare

I know it has been a couple weeks since I posted a My Life Monday article as I am recovering emotionally from an infection scare. Several weeks ago when I unwrapped my leg from the full leg length brace, I noticed a spot on top of my knee that had opened up along the incision. I was so terrified that another infection was brewing.

My worst fear was that I would need yet another surgery and possible lose my graft. I have gone through so much to get to where I am I just couldn’t bear the thought that I might have to start over. The PA (physician assistant) at my surgeon’s office said that I should continue on antibiotics preventatively, have lab work done, and that I had to come in weekly until it was healed. He also wasn’t sure it there was another infection starting or what was going on.

On my next visit the following week, the opening was definitely smaller and my lab results were fine. So he didn’t think it was an infection, but time would tell. Amazingly the very next day when I looked at my knee the wound had shrunk by almost half. And so by the time I saw my ID (infectious disease) doctor it was scabbed over.

Thankfully on my next visit to the surgeon’s office the wound had completely closed and he said that he’d start letting me bend my knee. Although the first increase on the brace is only 20 degrees which is really not a whole lot, but a start. I return again this week and should have my brace adjusted again, this time to 45 degrees. I’ll then continue to have visits every two weeks until after my brace is set at 90 degrees for two weeks and then should be able to finally ditch this brace.

If things continue to progress on schedule from now on I should be out of this necessary, but obnoxious brace right around Thanksgiving. While I feel quite relieved that this scare wasn’t an infection, I can’t help but feel a little bit anxious about my knee still. Even though there isn’t a rejection risk with this graft as there is with most other types of donor grafts, there is still an infection risk.

Eventually though if a biopsy of my kneecap or tendon were done it would show only my cells it’ll take about 5 years for that to be complete. But the longer I go with no problems, the lower the chance for any complications. So while I definitely feel I dodged a bullet this time I have a feeling I will still feel at least a little bit of unease still until a few more months have passed with no complications.


Review: In Leah’s Wake by Terri Giuliano Long

Review: In Leah’s Wake by Terri Giuliano Long

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

In Leah’s Wake by Terri Giuliano Long is about a family of four whose eldest daughter starts exhibiting dangerous and destructive behavior and how it affects the enter family. Sixteen year old Leah decides that she is tired of being a soccer star and ‘perfect’. Twelve year old Justine just wants her family back the way it was. Parents Zoe and Will each handle the stress in their own ways while pulling away from one another.

I found In Leah’s Wake to be painfully slow. I committed to reading this, so I did read the entire book though I struggled to finish. From the title and description I had figured out what the plot would be and just wanted it to get to the point already. I did like the extensive character development. Each chapter is from the perspective of a different family member and I especially liked the chapters from Justine’s perspective the most.

I gave In Leah’s Wake a generous 2 out of 5 stars as I did like the character development, but would have liked more resolution with Justine given some of the symptoms that she had started exhibiting given the strenuous situation with the rest of her family. While I personally did not like this book, others may well like it very much.

In Leah’s Wake is available for purchase now.


*Disclaimer: I received this from the author and Novel Publicity as part of their book tour. Please see my disclaimer policy for more information.

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