May 23, 2010

What I Learned on my Trip to Vegas

Sin City. Considering my love of the movie "Ocean's 11", it seemed natural that I would enjoy a vacay to the adult Disney World. While I only spent 44 hrs there, I have plenty of tips to share to make your jaunt to LV memorable (or not, if that's how you want to roll)

1. Buy bottled water: the dehydration will hit you fast and furious and you don't want to worry about heat stroke while walking the Strip

2. Black-out curtains=awesome. These aren't your ordinary black-out curtains in the hotel rooms. These will make it look like midnight in Alaska (which I found out by going to bed at 6 a.m., just as the sun was rising). Just don't fling them open when you finally wake up, you'll risk blindness.

3. Relish the open container laws. Feel like a beverage while walking the Strip or just through your hotel? Why not make it an alcoholic one?

4. Know where the nearest Starbucks is. Even better, get to know the people there, b/c you will frequent it. A little sleepy after a Cirque du Soleil show? Enjoy a double shot (b/c CdS gets out at 11 at the latest, practically morning in Vegas).

5. Prepare to people-watch. It's priceless.

6. Don't go anywhere alone. This isn't a safety thing, more like a "save yourself frustration", b/c odds are your cell phone won't work (put 30,000 people in the same three blocks with cell phones and you see my point) and you'll spend hours wandering around a casino looking for the slot machine with the Brady Bunch.

7. Don't take monorail. It's pointless.

8. Jump in. Don't hesitantly make your way around the city. Just get out and experience it. And tip well.

May 13, 2010

Summer Reading

Everyone has a time in college when they need just one more class for a semester, thus begins a mad scramble for an easy-yet-non-boring class (enter the random theater class for non-majors or social psychology with your BFF). For me, it was always pretty easy, I would just find an English class that was reading books I’d always wanted to read and enroll in that (gotta love that English classes have no pre-reqs). After several semesters of this, a professor pointed out that I had enough credits for a minor, thus my second minor was born.

Long-story short, I love to read. One thing I dislike about being out of college is that I don’t always have something to read. If it weren’t for my minor, I wouldn’t have read Pride & Prejudice, In Cold Blood, The Doll House, or Heather Has Two Mommies (yes, I read a picture book about lesbian life partners)

So in light of upcoming vacations, I decided it was time for a trip to one of my favorite stores—Half Priced Books. I’m lucky that the one in Dallas is HUGE, b/c I hate paying full-price for a book. I picked up a few basic chic-lit books (one by Sophie Kinsella, my first chic-lit author, and one by Jane Green, author of one of my top-5 books Bookends). But I got two I’m REALLY excited about:

The Art of Racing in the Rain was recommended to me by a friend—it’s the story of a family as told through the dog’s eyes (I think, I need to read the jacket again). I’m so excited about this book that I bought it in hardback, another thing I never do. Can’t wait to start this on my flight to Vegas!

I’m never one to like the mass-appeal book of the moment. I never liked Devil Wears Prada, The Nanny Diaries, DaVinci Code, Bergdorf Blondes, etc. (Hmmm, most of these have been made into movies too . . .). Anyways, I keep hearing great things about The Help, from different people who never agree on the same thing, so I think the odds are good for me enjoying this one. This book is so popular, I had to pay full-price at Borders (well, not full-price, I had a coupon and a gift card). Fingers crossed it’s good; I plan on reading this on my white-sand beach vacay in a few weeks . . .

Any other book recs for the summer? Have you read either of these?

May 12, 2010

Throwback Thursday: Gaucho Pants

I admit I was at a loss as to what I should write about this week for Throwback Thursday. Nothing from my youth was really springing to mind. That is, until I read an answer to the question "what is the best or worst piece of clothing you bought on vacation?" One reader was brave enough to confess she gave up on a Audrey Heprburn-esque houndstooth shift in Sweden in favor of . . . gaucho pants.

Gauchos aren't necessarily very throwback (they were popular in college, which wasn't that long ago for me), but I think we can all agree now that we don't look back on that fashion trend fondly. I never hopped on the gaucho bandwagon, it may have something to do with the scene in Never Been Kissed when David Arquette asks (still-dorky at that point of the movie) Drew Barrymore what she's wearing and she tells him "gaucho pants" and then adds "I got them on sale." Like that makes it ok.

Gaucho pants fall into the same category as skinny jeans, leggings-as-pants, and short skirts with flats--they're flattering on approximately 4% of the female population. And they're really only appropriate attire if you're a yoga instructor or an extra in Pirates of the Caribbean. The number of times I saw gauchos at formal-ish occassions (work, important meetings, receptions with heads of state), was astonishing, and made me mourn for my generation.

(Here's the part where I point out that I am in no way a fashion icon, there are things I wore last week that I now wonder "what was I thinking?")

So, for those who are just now realizing that gauchos are over (were they ever really here?), welcome to 2010. For everyone else who shudders at the thought of them--we're older and wiser now :-)

May 6, 2010

Throwback Thursday: Roller-Skating Parties

When I was younger, there were a few socially acceptable birthday party themes to choose from (that wouldn't land you in social Siberia--4th grade was pretty cutthroat). One was Putt-Putt (or Scotty's Golf as it was called in my hometown), another was a pool party (I actually went to one in January, granted it was heated, but probably not the best plan, we had a snow day two days later), the last being a roller-skating party.

The roller-skating rink of choice among my friends was pretty much everything you could wish for and more. It smelled like cheese popcorn. There was a smoke machine to create appropriate effects during "Ghostbusters". There were referees to keep you from going in the wrong direction or skating in a chain (but we were all BFFs and wanted to skate together!). Their snack bar was pretty awesome too--they used Sonic Ice before I even knew what Sonic Ice was.

Having a birthday party there was pretty special too. When your guests arrived, they put their gift in a garbage can with your name on it. You got to dance the Hokey Pokey in the middle of the rink with a balloon hat. You got to spend 30 seconds in this glass box with money and other coupons flying around (honestly, that was the best part). And if you escaped without serious injury, it was a successful party.

Sadly, the roller skating parties fell out of favor before I was old enough to partake of the "couples skate" (which is pretty much the height of romance). But thanks to shows like Glee, I can relive my roller rink days . . . (start the video at 5:33 for roller rink fun).