travel

Punta Cana vacation

Tuesday, May 02, 2017



Is blogging dead?

Maybe I should just start a podcast. That seems to be the thing now. How would you like to hear the sound of my voice, whining about the inflated price of avocados for 10 minutes every week? I'm sure I'd talk about other things, but avocados are like, ridiculously expensive right now, amirite?

I supposed I'll write about my vacation since that is a thing that happened recently. Then I'll probably forget to blog again until after my next vacation.

Clayton and I returned from the Dominican Republic late last Thursday night. We brought back sunburnt skin, a thing I like to call "airplane face" (seriously, my skin gets so dry and gross when I fly), and an obscene amount of sand that I don't think I'll ever, ever be able to get out my suitcase.

And 2 pounds. I think I gained 2 pounds on the trip. But that's to be expected when you get to the beach at 7:30am every morning and have your first margarita by 9am.

#allinclusive



Clayton and I dreamed of a lazy, tropical vacation with no obligations and no schedule to follow. That's exactly what we got, too. We arrived in Punta Cana late on a weekend afternoon and I don't think I changed out of my swimsuit until we left 5 days later.

As I said, we got up every morning at 7am, claimed our lounge chairs on the beach, grabbed breakfast, and then laid under the sun until it started to set.

It. Was. Glorious.

I even got up extra early one morning to run along the beach (barefoot) as the sun came up. Who am I!?

I've never seen water so clear and so turquoise in my entire life! I've been to the ocean plenty of times, but the Florida beaches and Mexican resort I stayed at during our honeymoon had nothing on this place. It was a dream. I was in awe of the crystal clear water and spent a lot of time just standing in the ocean and admiring my toenail polish ... because I could see it!

That was another thing! As much as I love the ocean and feel the compulsion to visit it whenever possible, I don't exactly love being in it. Firstly, salt water is just sticky and unpleasant. Secondly, everything I fear most in life just so happens to live in ocean water. I've never been a huge fan of doing more than dipping my toe in.

But in Punta Cana? I couldn't get enough. The clear waters made me brave and we spent a lot of time just bobbing up and down with the waves, not once worrying that a crab was going to run across my foot and ruin my life.



We only left the resort once and that was to experience the Dolphin Explorer excursion. Oddly enough, our tour didn't include actual dolphins, but they were nearby and I saw them and that's all that matters.

Our excursion took us to a beautiful beach away from the traffic of the resorts and gave us the opportunity to interact with fur seals (!!!!!!!!!!), stingrays (??????), and a shark (@#$%^&!!). I was all about the fur seals and happily shelled out $15 for a commemorative photograph of me squeezing one, but I would have been fine to completely skip the stingray and shark.

I'm not a fan of rubbery animals. Dolphins get a free pass because they're basically sea puppies, but stingrays and sharks are definitely not on my Top 10 Things I Must Touch list. In a word, I was hesitant.

I was mostly hesitant to swim with the shark because 1) it's a shark, I don't care how toothless it is and 2) you had to wear a snorkel and I've never snorkeled in my life. I have zero problems putting my face in the water, but I've always been afraid to do it with a tube in my mouth. One false move and that sucker is filling up with water and you're choking.

Plus, to my earlier point, I am afraid of everything in the ocean. I don't need to put my face closer to it.

But I'm a big girl and would regret it forever if I didn't try, so I begrudgingly put on my snorkel and jumped in the shark pool. We were a group of about 16 people, so we spent 15 minutes bumping into each other and scouring the ocean floor for this elusive shark. Thank goodness we never found it because later in the day I saw it swimming at the surface and it was about 5 feet longer than I thought.

After the toothless sharked ghosted us, we hopped into the stingray pool to snap a picture with one of the slimy sea frisbees.

As you read this post, I think you're beginning to sense a theme. I just can't with 99% of ocean life. The stingrays were friendly which somehow made me more nervous and I didn't love how eagerly they surfaced and tried to get in your arms. Our group stood in a line along an underwater platform and took turns posing for a photo with one of the sting rays. While we waited, I chatted nervously with Clayton and accidentally wondered out loud, "What's keeping the sting rays from swimming onto this platform?" As soon as the words came out of my mouth, a monster of a sting ray took a sharp right turn and enveloped the platform right where I was standing. Myself and the three girls to my right almost killed each other trying to claw our way out of the water. I almost kicked it in its creepy slit of a mouth.

Needless to say, I didn't really go for touching the stingray. When it was Clayton's and my turn to hold the ray and smile for the camera, Clayton basically spooned it and I more or less just stood off to the side and pointed in its general direction.

After we touched all the things, our groups were loaded into a boat and taken to a nearby reef for snorkeling. Remember how I said I was scared of snorkeling? I am so, so glad I got over that fear and just went for it because snorkeling in the Dominican Republic was without a doubt a major highlight of my life. No exaggeration. I swam with a school of colorful fish and saw coral that looked like something straight out of The Little Mermaid (that's my frame or reference for all things ocean. That and Jaws). And when the sunlight hit the sea floor? Oh my gosh! I kept gasping out loud in my snorkel and freaked Clayton out because he kept thinking I was in distress. I was just amazed. And since I was still a newbie and feeling a little unsure, we held hands most of the time and it was romantic and magical.

I couldn't get enough of the beautiful water. I took literally 100 pictures of the water after we got back into the boat.

Our next stop was a sand bar where we parked alongside other boats and jumped into the shallow water. A floating bar kept coming by with endless cups of the official beer of the Dominican Republic and lemme just say, we had a looooooooooot of fun.







When I last looked at my set of pictures from this trip, there were over 400. It's almost impossible to pick and choose which to keep and which to include in the photo book I will inevitably make. I'm one of those people who wants to remember every last detail and believe that the best way to do that is to take 10 pictures of the same thing. It's gotta be perfect, right?



I love that Clayton and I have such a great time together. It's to be expected that you get along with your spouse, but there's just something about Clayton's and my relationship that makes life so bright and everything feel so new and exciting.

I can't wait to see where we're gonna go next!

updates

Let's keep this going

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

I got an email that my domain automatically renewed for another year, so I guess we're still doing this. 


Ever the glutton for punishment, I'm currently in the throes of training for my 12th half marathon. At least I THINK it's my 12th. I honestly don't know. I feel like I've run my 11th half marathon like, four times already. But I think twelve is fair. 

I'm training for the Hoosier Half Marathon this April and I haven't even registeredI have THAT much confidence in my abilities. 

I was hoping that I'd be able to report that I'm back to my old self and crushing miles left and right, but that's definitely not the case. I've given up trying to diagnose the issue. My right hamstring feels like it's likely to snap in half at any given point during my workouts, but no amount of foam rolling and gentle stretching has managed to help the problem for an entire YEAR AND A HALF. The muscle might be over lengthened. It might be too tight. Everyone says something different. 

There's also a possibility that I have overtraining syndrome, which scares the dickens out of me.

I don't want to say that I've given up (I wouldn't be shuffling my body up and down Clear Creek trail for 10 miles at a time if I did), but I'm slowly letting go of my aspirations to ever getting back to where I was. I've stopped looking at my Time Hop app because if I see one more blog post I wrote about how fast I ran, I'm going to reach back in time and strangle myself. 

Since my vein surgery last October, I think my feet shrank. A pair of New Balance shoes I ran in right before my surgery are now so big that my heel slides back and forth. So I guess that's something? My Fred Flinstone feet are now slightly less Fred Flinstone-y.

The doctor also said that the nerve damage I endured during the surgery could take almost a year to heal and I don't think he was kidding. The insides of my legs were numb for months and lately I've been getting a slightly painful, itching sensation that feels like my nerves are finally waking up. Fingers crossed that's the case because not being able to feel anything is really bizarre. 

About three weeks ago I cut 5-6 inches off of my hair. 


^^Please note: My hair does not that look like this on a regular basis. It's curled and hairsprayed within an inch of its life here and I normally wear it straight. 

It was a healthy, much-needed cut and in retrospect, I don't know why I was stressing it so much. I definitely miss being able to pile my hair in a messy bun, but other than that, it's business as usual. My hair falls just past my collar bone and is angled a bit so that the back is slightly shorter than the front. In addition to wanting to give up my dream of ever setting a half marathon PR again, I've apparently also given up my dream of having long, lustrous hair. It's just not in the cards. Acceptance is a beautiful thing. 

In early February, Clayton and I replaced the carpet in our house. We'd been saving our pennies and Clayton grew tired of hearing me complain about it for four years, so we finally went for it. To save a little bit of money, we pulled up the old carpet ourselves and I was utterly disgusted to see all of the pet stains that had seeped through the old carpet and into the pad. I think the previous homeowners didn't even realize their dog was peeing in certain areas because it was obviously never cleaned up and trust me, it was bad.

And I may or may not have drawn a lewd picture on the old carpet with paint before we pulled it up. 

When I came home from work and saw our beautiful, freshly installed carpet, my eyes welled up with tears. Our house smells fresh and I'm not embarrassed to have people over! But please, for the love all of things sacred and holy, REMOVE YOUR SHOES BEFORE ENTERING. Once Clayton accidentally put on his gym shoes in the bedroom and we had to play a game of Hot Lava to get him out of the house without touching the carpet. 

I'm only 20 years late, but I finally started reading the first Harry Potter book. I bought it on Amazon almost a year ago, but never got around to it. I have nothing against the Harry Potter franchise; it's just not something that I was particularly interested in. The only fantasy series I've ever read was The Lord of the Rings and I don't even know if that counts because it was 8th grade and let's be honest, the movies are WAY better.  But I finished Anna Kendrick's Scrappy Little Nobody and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was literally on the floor next to our bed. So I picked it up. I'm about halfway through it, and I'm not going to give away how I feel about it yet.

In other and hopefully more exciting news, Clayton's and my spring vacation is booked and ready to go. In 46 days we'll be sitting on the beaches of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. When Clayton and I originally started talking about taking a big trip together, we had aspirations of taking a more complicated vacation that required a lot of logistical planning. Then one night over dinner, we got to talking about the trip and it became really obvious we were both skirting around the same issue:

"Um ... I don't want a structured vacation. It drives me insane having a plan for every minute of the day. Like, I don't want to do anything." 

"Oh my gosh! I'm so glad you said that. I've been feeling the same way for the longest time but just went along with our original plan because I thought that's what YOU wanted."

And that's how our Punta Cana vacation came to fruition. All-inclusive resort? I think yes!

But Punta Cana is going to have some mighty big shoes to fill because I honest-to-goodness cannot stop thinking about our time in the Grand Canyon. That is easily one of the Top 5 experiences of my life and I catch myself multiple times a week daydreaming about what it was like hiking into the canyon. I keep telling Clayton that I would be content to spend a whole week doing nothing but walking the canyon trails and that we need to go back. You know that noise Tina Belcher makes when she moans? That's me thinking about the Grand Canyon. 


I mean, come on. Look at it!

I hope you're all doing well. I apologize for the long gaps in posts. It's not you. It's me. 

Let's do this again soon, shall we?

New Year

A year of firsts

Monday, January 16, 2017

Well, this is awkward.

I haven't blogged in almost two months. Surely this is a new record for me. Not only have I not written anything since November, I missed some of the year's most prime post topics: Christmas recap, a 2016 year in review, New Year's resolutions (or lack thereof).

My bad.

After such a busy fall, I pretty much hit my wall of commitments and responsibilities by Thanksgiving. I was less "Let's make plans!" and more "Wanna take a nap?"

I spent December with most of our Christmas decorations scattered on the floor of our spare bedroom. Every time I went in there to work out, I'd take a look at the festive mess that should have been proudly displayed in my living room and thought, "It's fine."

And it seems like my mental exhaustion about the holidays was in someway foreshadowing because Clayton's grandmother passed away in his parents' home on Christmas morning.

So no, not our best Christmas.

Even though it's mid-January and I feel like I've pretty much missed the boat on formally saying goodbye to 2016, it still might be worth recapping because for as difficult as it was for me on a personal note, I still got do a buttload of cool things. I think it's safe to say it was the busiest year I've ever had.

This year's theme was travel, for sure. Travel and veins. ha ha! There was so much going on that I boarded a plane to Las Vegas just 5 days after having surgery on my veins. Crazy, right!?

I still can't believe my doctor let me do that.

When I look over all of the photos I snapped the past twelve months, I see that there were a lot of firsts this year, too.

Last January I went to Disney World for the very first time and it was magical. Magical because I got to experience it with one of my closest friends and because it was a spontaneous, random trip for a two days in the middle of winter. We hopped on a plane with just a backpack and had a great time.


A week after I got back from Disney, I traveled alone for the first time in my life and flew to San Diego to spend time at one of our external companies. I still remember texting Clayton each time I hit a traveling milestone, bursting with way more pride than a 30 year-old adult should have because she managed to get on the right airport shuttle. It was also the very first time I dipped my toes in the Pacific Ocean.



In March we visited New York City for the first time and saw everything a first-time New York traveler could possibly dream of in only a few days.


September granted me the experience of my first surgery (and hopefully my last or at least one of very few in my lifetime) as well as my first trip to Las Vegas. I traveled to Sin City for a marketing conference where I learned more about my field, made new friends, and walked almost every underwhelming inch of the Vegas Strip.


I sadly spent a good chunk of October away from Indiana (I love being home in October), but I visited Dallas for the first time during our company's sale conference and had a lot of fun bonding with my co-workers while simultaneously putting in a lot of work. Then, just a few weeks later, we boarded a plane to fly to Arizona with Dan and Emily. I watched the sun disappear behind the south rim of the Grand Canyon and hiked down into it as the sun came back up. That is by far one of the best experiences of my life.





It's hard to look at all of these trips and experiences and not feel awesome. I recognize that I am extremely fortunate. My career is allowing me opportunities that just a few years ago never seemed possible. I work for an amazing companynot just because I get to do cool things, but because I work with such good people. I spend every day with people who care about each other and the patients we serve. This past year was challenging as I tried to carve out my role and find my footing, but I am filled with optimism and excitement about where I'm going simply because of where I already am.

I'm also thankful for the people in my life who value adventure and experience as much I do. There have been a few instances this year when a friend would start to ask, "Do you wanna go to" and we'd all say yes before the sentence was even finished. I'm grateful we made it happen.

And we've already booked a trip for this upcoming spring. ;)

You take the good with the bad. My body hurt for a lot of the past 12 months and I definitely felt some of my lowest emotional lows, but as evidenced above, the bright outweighed the dark.

Onto 2017!


running

Let's talk

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Tonight's blog post is brought to you courtesy of the package of cream cheese that's trying to soften on my counter. My house is 60 degrees and this is taking forever.

I bought way too large of a can of pumpkin to make no-bake pumpkin cheesecake and was trying to figure out what I should do with the leftovers. Then I remembered I had an extra package of cream cheese and some leftover chocolate chips, so I decided that I could easily turn that into pumpkin cheesecake bites. And this is all rather amusing because I totally hate pumpkin cheese and yet willingly offered to make both of these things at the urging of no one.

Is this my personal attempt to ensure I don't overindulge on sugar this Thanksgiving? Maybe.

Or is it because canned pumpkin was ridiculously cheap this season and I missed the boat to bake pumpkin goodies this fall because I was barely home in October and need to make up for lost time? Probably. 

I don't even know how to update you guys or what to update you on since it's been so long since my last post. As I mentioned above, I was in Indiana about half of the month of October because I was away on a business trip and then a week later we hopped on a plane to spend several days in Arizona. Somewhere in between there I celebrated my birthday and we got a brand new kitchen floor after THREE failed attempts to get it installed (don't ask, I'm still salty about it).

But look at it! Isn't it pretty?


Please disregard my beat-up toenails. Your homegirl needs to get a pedicure tout suite. My feet have been through a lot this fall. They wore heels during the gala in Dallas, hiked in the grand canyon, and raced several miles.

Since we last spoke, I ran the Monumental Half Marathon and the very next weekend I ran the hilliest 10k of my life. Why? Because Danger is my middle name.

Actually, it's Alexis. But I digress.

My race is what I really wanted to talk about in this post because even almost a full month later, I'm still in disbelief over what occurred at the 2016 Monumental Half Marathon.

If you haven't been following along, let me recap the last year and more specifically, the last few months leading up the November 5th half marathon:

My running took a huge nose dive last year. As I was training for my 2015 fall half marathon, something just went wrong. I started feeling tired during my runs and moving my legs felt like trying to lift boulders off the ground. The harder I tried to run, the slower I got.

I saw several medical professionals over the winter and spring, but I was never given a true diagnosis. I didn't have a black and white injury, so I spent a lot of time and a lot of money on letting people take "educated guesses": My hamstrings are tight. My core is weak. My pelvis is tilted. I have scoliosis. I'm dehydrated. My veins don't pump blood properly (which was actually true, but didn't really affect my fitness).

So I've had a rather frustrating year. I could barely jog 3 miles this summer. I had to downgrade my spring half marathon to a 10k. I skipped my usual summer races. I stopped running completely for weeks at a time hoping my body would reset. Nothing helped.

Towards the end of the summer I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. There was no rhyme or reason as to why things were starting to improve, but I could run just a little bit farther, easier.

So I cautiously signed up for the 2016 Monumental Half Marathon, telling myself that I wasn't going to miss my favorite race. I accepted that using a run/walk method was better than not participating at all. Even if I ended up walking all 13.1 miles, I was going to be there.

I tried to train to the best of my ability. I managed one or two 6 mile runs before my September and October calendar exploded.

I went had my vein surgery the second week in September and couldn't run AT ALL for fourteen days (not the smartest move when you're trying to train for a half marathon). Then the following week I was in Las Vegas for a conference.

Then I was in Dallas and Arizona in October.

Long story short, I never made it past 8 miles in this training cycle. My final "long run" ended up only being 3.5 miles.

So when I got to the start line of the Monumental Half, I had really low expectations. I never planned or practiced a run/walk strategy. I didn't know what to do. I felt the same nervous anticipation I do at every half marathon, but it was balanced by the disappointment of not being ready. For some reason I was really longing for the feeling of preparedness.

I started the race at an easy pace and begged and pleaded with my body to run the first four miles. I promised myself that if I could run the first four miles, then I'd walk if I needed to. My body didn't feel great, but it didn't feel bad either. I watched the runners in front of me and took in the scenery of downtown Indianapolis to keep my mind in the present.

After what felt like an eternity, I hit four miles. I took an inventory of my muscles and systems and decided to try and run to 5 miles.

Then 5 became 6.

Then 6 somehow magically became 7.

When I passed the Mile 7 marker I made a pact with myself: If I could run to the 8 mile marker, then I would try to run the rest of the race. It's funny because that never used to be a question. OF COURSE I would run the last 5 miles. Duh! No only would I run them, I'd probably run them even faster than the first 8!

I thought about this a lot during the race and had to fight really hard to push those feelings away. That isn't my reality right now. I hope and pray that it will be again one day, but I needed to accept where I was THAT DAY. And that day running 13.1 miles without walking would be a miracle.

As I passed the mile 8 marker, I hunkered down and started to dig deep. I used to be really, really good at pushing through pain, fatigue, and boredom. My mental running game used to be on POINT. But just like my speed and endurance, that toughness faded away over the past year. If I started to feel tired on a training run, I'd just stop. I didn't know how to run through it anymore.

By what can only be described as the grace of God, I did it. I ran all 13.1 of those freakin' miles. Around mile 11 or 12 I realized it was going to happen. If I could just hold on a little longer, I could proudly say that I ran the entire half marathon.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't start ugly crying when the knowledge that I was going to run the whole race swept over me. I'm sure spectators just thought I was in pain or shat myself or something horrible, but I hadn't felt that proud of myself in well over a year. I pulled my emotions together to finish the final miles, but I definitely crossed the finish line with fresh tears in my eyes. When I found Clayton waiting on the sidewalk, I buried my head in his coat and sobbed.

I didn't have to walk a single step. After months of struggling to run more than 30 minutes without stopping, I managed to run over 2 hours. Muscle memory is a powerful thing.

Honestly, I think taking it easy on myself and giving myself permission to walk was the kind of self love I needed to recharge my mental batteries and get through this half marathon. It's no secret that I am rough on myself and even when I wasn't consciously thinking of those bad things, those feelings were still there. They were in my heart, my mind, and my body. What an awful weight to carry around.

I crossed the finish line of my 11th half marathon feeling just as accomplished as those times when I set a personal record ... and probably even more so. I fought really hard for this personal victory. I earned it.

You guys, I ran a half marathon just 8 weeks after having surgery on my freakin' veins. I ran a half marathon after not running more than 8 miles since freakin' April. I ran a half marathon after over a year of tears, doubt, and horrible running. I freakin' DID IT.

And I'm just gonna keep going.

And I'm going to keep trying to be nicer to myself, and not just when it comes to running. I've learned a lot about myself this past year and it would be foolish to waste that experience by not taking it and turning it into something great.


Las Vegas

Vegas, baby

Tuesday, October 11, 2016



Wow. It's been awhile. I feel like I've lived a thousand lifetimes since I last wrote a post.

How are you? That, of course, being a rhetorical question because you can't really answer me right this second and it doesn't matter anyway because this blog is about me.

Goodness, could you imagine if I were that narcissistic in real life?

"Becky, I don't care about how your weekend was because I wasn't there and therefore it doesn't involve me and therefore it was boring and not newsworthy."

When we last spoke, I was recovering from vein surgery and making the journey home from Las Vegas.

I shall update you on both:

It's been exactly 4 weeks and a few days since I had my venous ablation. Once I hit the fourth week, I was officially DONE with wearing compression stockings. No more do I have to forcefully yank skinny jeans over thick, closed-toe hosiery on a 90-degree day. Gone are the days of trying to pretend like I'm not wearing thigh-high socks under my clothes and almost suffocating my butt cheeks because my legs are so short that "thigh-high" really means "crotch-high".

I seriously considered burning all of my compression stockings, but then I remembered I paid over $200 for those socks and figured I'd better keep them just in case compression hosiery suddenly comes in style (if nude hosiery every becomes a popular trend, consider me the next Giselle.)

How am I feeling? Pretty good. I honestly didn't have a miraculous change that allowed me to start cruising down the street like Usain Bolt, but my legs do feel a little lighter. I still have cankles (thanks, genes!), but my feet and ankles do look slightly less swollen. In short, venous ablation wasn't a miracle cure for my running, but it did prevent future problems with my veins.

As you may recall, I traveled to Las Vegas in September to attend a conference called Brand Manage Camp. The conference is a few days of keynote speakers from the world of marketing; including copywriters, branding experts, content specialists, market researchers, etc. I don't consider myself geeky about anything (mostly because I think that saying you're geeky about something indicates that the thing you love isn't cool. I'm sorry, but if you're passionate about something, anything, that in itself makes it cool. Period.) and ... where was I? Dang it. I hate it when I have a thought during a thought.

Oh ya: I don't consider myself "geeky" about anything, but if marketing and communications were the opening night of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I'd be the first one in line wearing a homemade Yoda costume and wielding a light saber.

Did Yoda use a light saber? Please don't correct me.

Long story short: I loved the conference. It fueled my fire to keep doing what I'm doing and reaffirmed that I made the right career choice (which is a huge sigh of relief when you consider my student loans).

Best part? I made friends!


I know, right? The introverted girl who is content to wander the Vegas strip completely on her own and read in her hotel room ended up hanging out with some cool marketing chicks from Pennsylvania

They were my favorite part of the trip. Even though they work in a completely different industry, our company structures share a lot of similarities (and communication obstacles) so we had no shortage of things to discuss.

One night we went to dinner in the Stratosphere and during our walk to the restaurant I got to fulfill an item on my bucket list: Take a picture in front of the hotel I was conceived in.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. Yours truly was created in Las Vegas during one of my dad's engineering work trips back in 1985.


You're welcome, Vegas. 

But the Riviera hotel no longer exists. It's pile of rubble. Honestly, I think deep down inside the Riviera folks knew that they'd never be able to do better than one Ms. Courtney Alexis and decided to permanently close their doors.

It kind of made for an awkward photo, but I sent it to my mom anyway.





On my last night in Las Vegas, I decided to check out one of the Cirque du Soleil shows. Vegas has several varieties of Cirque de Soleil and since I didn't want to accidentally stumble into one of the naked Cirque shows, I decided to see The Beatles LOVE (plus, I was staying in The Mirage and it was literally 1,000 feet from my room).

The show. Was. AWESOME. I know all of the Beatles songs that everybody knows, but the show really made me appreciate some of their later music as well. The only time I felt a little anxious was was when they performed Mr. Octopus' Garden. I may or may not have been white-knuckling my chair's armrest whispering, "Okay, WHERE IS IT????" But I'm happy to report that there was not actually an octopus of any kind present during that number.

Both my mom and sister are HUGE Beatles fans (my mom even went to one of their concerts when she was a teenager), so enjoying their music made me feel a little bit more connected with my family back in Indiana. I'm glad I paid the small fortune for a ticket and went.

I'm also really happy that I got to attend the conference (I seriously learned SO much), but I wouldn't be upset if I never visited Las Vegas again. The city is quite underwhelming and unless you're there to party your pants off or spend a ton of money on tickets to shows, there's not much to do. It kind of feels like 24/7 forced fun. Like everyone acts like they're loving it but in the back of their minds they're really like, "This is kind of loud and smokey."

I did go on the hunt for Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood while wandering the strip. Of course the ONE WEEKEND I chose to be in Vegas is the ONE WEEKEND she decided to take a break. I held out hope I might catch a glimpse of her by the pool (I have no idea why I thought she might be in the vicinity. I'm sure she was back at her um, I dunno, mansion), but no dice.


I had to settle for taking a picture of a Britney Spears-themed slot machine (and sending a Snapchat to my sister-in-law of the crazy Britney Spears leggings you could buy in the gift shop). But it was fine because I then turned around and saw a Titanic-themed slot machine with Jack and Rose embracing on the top. I was like, "Okay, maybe Vegas does know me after all."

And honestly, it took everything in me not to go into Caesar's Palace and ask the front desk, "This isn't the real Caesar's Palace, is it? ... Did, umm ... did Caesar live here?"


One cool feature of The Mirage is the giant volcano out front that "erupts" a few times every evening. I wasn't aware of the volcano or the eruption until the first time it happened and I seriously thought the world was ending. While I was laying in bed and eating a giant soft pretzel with beer cheese (like a lady), my windows suddenly started rattling and it sounded like the earth was going to explode. I leaped out of bed and pulled back my curtains just in time to see a giant fire ball shoot in the sky.

That little heart attack was a nice way to start my week.

So that was Las Vegas. I just got back from Dallas this past weekend and gotta tell you all about that, too. Then I'm traveling to Arizona next week and Friday is my birthday.

I'm already tired.

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