September 30, 2009

Making Strides

My six week “slug no more” challenge has come to an end. I set out to complete 42 consecutive 30-minute daily workouts and I did it. As a result, I’ve lost one pound and shrunk 2 ½ inches. I had hoped for more, but the scale didn’t budge much. However, considering Restaurant Week fell during this challenge, I gotta say I’m pretty happy with my progress.

I want to lose more weight and inches so I plan to start a new challenge next week. I’ll incorporate more strength training and hope to improve my running. Right now, I can only run in 5-minute intervals before getting exhausted. I want to at least work myself up to completing a 12-minute mile like I was able to do in 2007.

I’m continuing to exercise this week but I didn’t want to take on anything new. Saturday, I will be participating in a Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. I’ve raised over $300 for the event, I want to be sure I’m able to support the cause without any issue. My luck, I’d overdo it and pull a muscle or something equally ridiculous. Next week, though, I'm all over it.

In seven weeks, I hope to report back a few inches smaller and several pounds lighter. At the very least, I’ll settle for more progress.

September 29, 2009

Lagasse Stadium

Frank and I were invited to the grand opening celebration for Lagasse Stadium at Palazzo. We attended the VIP event on Friday evening. It was star-studded with Emeril, former athletes, some of the cast from Entourage and others. I only spotted local celebrity, food critic, John Curtas. He has red carpet photos on his site Eating Las Vegas.

We checked in and we were given our "tickets".

Upon entering we were greeted by a handful of cheerleaders.

Once inside, we had a look around.

We poked our heads in the areas set up for private parties.

And then stepped out onto the patio.

Overall, it didn't seem like much had changed. It still looked like the 40/40 club and felt no different than the previous version of the sportsbook. Only differences noted were added tv's and boards.

There are no betting stations inside Lagasse Stadium you must walk out to the entrance to place bets. There are only a few windows, I imagine they must experience long lines during peak times.

More than anything it seemed the launch of Lagasse Stadium was an excuse to throw a party. If you've stopped in before, it won't look much different now.

September 28, 2009

Fall has arrived

With triple digits and near record highs over the weekend, you'd never guess fall is here. However, Wednesday is supposed to be cool, only 75 degrees. I might freeze - that's a heck of a drop in temperature. Good thing no matter the temperature outside, inside Bellagio's Conservatory is perfectly comfortable. I enjoyed this year's fall display a bit more than the other seasons this year.

September 25, 2009

Almost forgot

I never posted a link to my living-las-vegas article this week. Here, on my blog, I've shared about recent visits to Mount Charleston. You must know how much I enjoy it, learn more about all it has to offer by reading Mt. Charleston: Choose your own adventure. This article was also chosen to be featured on another site, You can find a link there as well.

Desert Sunset

We all have times in our lives where days are just tough. Shit storms hit you from every direction. It mounts up and becomes overwhelming. You lose perspective of what's truly important. At least, I do. Err - did earlier this week. However, with love and support, I was reminded tomorrow is a new day... one filled with promise. A desert sunset also does wonders to lift your spirits, and a nice long drive in the desert is definitely good for one's soul.

Learn. Live. Hope.

September 24, 2009

Back in the kitchen

The days keep getting shorter that leaves me with plenty of time to fool around in the kitchen and try out new recipes. Last night, I made two from

Sun-dried Tomato Basil Orzo

2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Place basil leaves and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor. Pulse 4 or 5 times until blended.
In a large bowl, toss together the orzo, basil-tomato mixture, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Serve warm or chilled.

Halibut with Cilantro Garlic Butter

4 (6 ounce) fillets halibut
1 lime, cut into wedges
salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat a grill for high heat. Squeeze the juice from the lime wedges over fish fillets, then season them with salt and pepper.
Grill fish fillets for about 5 minutes on each side, until browned and fish can be flaked with a fork. Remove to a warm serving plate.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic; cook and stir just until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the butter, remaining lime juice and cilantro. Serve fish with the cilantro butter sauce.

Both dishes came out well. Instead of grilling the Halibut I pan-seared it until flaky. Frank thought the cilantro was overpowering, next time I'll cut that back. The leftover orzo made a tasty lunch today, I added shredded rotisserie chicken to it for a complete meal.

September 21, 2009

San Gennaro Feast

Last Wednesday we went to PT’s Pub for a frothy cold beverage, I ordered a Peroni and Frank had a Widmer. Peroni is the sponsor of San Gennaro so in order to promote the festival PT’s had free admission tickets to be given away with any Peroni drafts.

We didn’t plan on attending the Feast, but with free admission why not check it out. We went Thursday night around 7 o’clock. Parking across from the entrance was five bucks. Instead, we opted to park near Allstate Insurance which was about equal distance, but it was free.

Upon entering we were immediately pestered by hawkers, but once we made our way around the corner we were free to peruse all the tasty eats available for sale.

We made the loop around the food booths; we were a bit overwhelmed between the crowds and the offerings. When in that situation the last thing you want is to choose poorly.

I didn’t care to have any deep-fried fair food, I wasn’t interested in the Greek food, it was an Italian festival after all; but after another whiff of sausage and peppers I was sold. The first booth, off to the left, smelled the best, however, when Frank inquired about the heat of the sausage, he was told it was mild, but a hit of Tabasco would liven it up. Not that answer we were looking for, we wandered over to the other booth to the right of the main entrance. Eight bucks for a sandwich was pretty steep, but when in Rome – right? The sausage was topped with a heaping pile of onions and peppers. The onions smelled wonderful. We looked for a seat so we could dig in, but none were found. We gave up and stood off to the side where no one would bump into us. Frank dug in first, two bites later, he said was awful. Just terrible. He left the rest for me, and he set off to try a chicken parmesan sandwich from a nearby booth. They wanted $12; it made the crummy sausage sandwich seem like a deal. Needless to say he passed on it. He returned to me in an aggravated state, I was starved I came with a huge appetite so I ate a few bites of that awful sandwich just to tide me over. I regretted it, I was left with a greasy salt fest in my mouth. By then we were both over the feast. It was crowded, hot, and we chose poorly. We left.

We drove to John Cutters and had dinner there. I had a nice fresh caprese salad and Frank had their signature Krolly sandwich. We should’ve skipped the ordeal and went there from the start. I think we’ll simply appreciate the San Gennaro fireworks, next year, and leave the Feast for others to enjoy.

September 17, 2009

Fight night

There are a few occasions each year when Sin City sees an influx of crowds, New Year’s Eve and Superbowl are expected, but fight nights - those are special. The rich and famous, and fans alike will flock to Vegas to witness the battle. There is a unique energy to the city when boxing takes center stage, and I have no doubt it’ll be present again when Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez enter the ring, this Saturday night.

Admittedly, I never had much interest in Boxing until HBO started airing “24/7” it is a brief documentary that follows the fighters during training for the weeks leading up to the fight. By watching you gain perspective, you learn about the fighters, their style, commitment and drive, you develop an emotional attachment. In turn, when the fight rolls around you have vested interest in the men in the ring. It’s one of the greatest marketing ploys I can recall. It sells Frank and I each time. We watch the “24/7” series and then purchase the fight on PPV. Mayweather vs. Marquez will be no different.

Undefeated Mayweather Jr. has a record of 39-0. Making Marquez a solid underdog, he’s proved himself back home in Mexico, but it’s doubtful he has what it takes to become the Welterweight Champion. This fight was scheduled originally for July, but it was postponed due to a rib injury Mayweather suffered during training. Perhaps, the delay will prove to be beneficial to Marquez? But that remains to be seen.

In “24/7” we are shown that both men are family oriented. They’re both strong fighters. Mayweather Jr. is arrogant, but with a 39-0 record I think he’s earned the right to be pompous. His speed is unreal, and frankly I believe his skills are unmatched. Marquez will need all the help he can get to win this fight. If that means drinking his own urine so be it. Yes, he really does. He believes it replenishes his body with vitamins and nutrients. Whatever it takes, I suppose.

Friday, HBO will re-air all previous episodes of “24/7” Mayweather vs. Marquez. Check it out, if you haven’t seen it. It’s wildly fascinating. Then, you can get suckered into watching the fight on PPV like us. Seriously, though, it should be a great match-up.

September 16, 2009

Yet, another sign...

that summer is ending. San Gennaro Feast is back. It comes to Las Vegas twice a year, once in May to kick off summer and again in September to ring in fall. Yesterday, was opening night, the festival will run through Sunday. We enjoyed the 9-minute firework display they put on last night.

Lake Las Vegas

Saturday, I went out to Lake Las Vegas for a farmer's market. Fresh produce gave me a reason to go, the charm of MonteLago Village gave me a reason to stay.

Read more at Living-Las-Vegas, Lake Las Vegas: A great escape.

September 15, 2009

Football is back

The first week of NFL football is under our belts. Football season is different here in Vegas than it was back in Chicago. I used to never care much for football. I’d watch the occasional Bears game, and the commercials, food and beer were the highlight of Superbowl. Family was big on football squares, I only played a few times. My football experience was pretty limited. Then, we moved to Las Vegas, and it all changed.

Suddenly, football mattered. It’s amazing how much fun the games were when you had action on them. I quickly learned to never be a fan a specific team, only a fan of my wallet. Lack of loyalty to any particular team made it easier to pick winners. The first couple years, we played in the Palms and Orleans football contests, and made weekly parlays. Then, Frank got into fantasy football, and I discovered online pick’em contests. The added interest in each game made every week of football more exciting. We attended Monday Night Football parties and watched the NFL Sunday Ticket at home on Sundays, and each week we hoped our picks came through. It was fun.

Last year, Frank started his own fantasy football league and joined another. I also dabbled with fantasy football in a free league, and continued to play a few pick’em contests. We had action on the games everyway imaginable. We had football parties at the house, we’d root for our team or player of the week. It was a wild ride.

This season, we have three fantasy leagues, three eliminator leagues, and two pick’em contests between us. Plus, for week one, we had a few teasers and a couple parlays. Most of the tickets didn’t cover but the one winner softened the blow and it left us with only a fifteen dollar loss. I got my ass kicked in fantasy, but Frank held his own leading both of his matchups. That’s where it counts, he has money riding each week – I don’t. We’re sitting pretty in the rest of our contests. It was a good start to the season. Let’s hope many successful lucrative weeks lie ahead.

September 14, 2009

Last look at summer

When I was at Bellagio last week I noticed the lobby has been changed over to fall decor, warm colors and cornucopias abound. I've walked through the Conservatory's summer display a few times, but I never took any photos to share. The display will surely be changed over to fall soon, so here's a last look at Summer.

September 11, 2009


You never know what is possible until you try.

I’ve been sharing my experiences here and on a few message boards for years. My blog was started simply as a place to keep things straight. We were always on the go and I needed a place to log our adventures and experiences just so I could recall the details. Questions about things do, places to see and recommendation requests are never-ending when you live in America’s playground. Every month, friends, family or friend’s of friends travel here. My love of Las Vegas easily makes me their go-to girl.

Frankly, I love it. I share my experiences in hopes I can help someone have a better vacation, more enjoyable free-time or aid them in getting the best bang for their buck. I want visitors and locals alike to have the best Las Vegas experience possible. I started out writing for myself, but I’ve gained an audience thanks to HurricaneMikey, VegasMessageBoard and a handful of friends.

With that, and encouragement from friends I inquired about writing for and they welcomed me with open arms. I took on the new challenge and started blogging there, today.

Click here to read my first post, Help feed America by feeding your belly, where I discuss Restaurant Week and the 2009 Great American Dine Out that’ll take place later this month.

You can read and bookmark my LLV blog here. Also, check out other writers and bloggers on the site, too. They offer many different perspectives about life in Vegas.

I hope you join me over at and continue to follow me here. Lastly, let me take a moment to say I appreciate each and every one of you that stop by to read about my latest tidbit. Thank you!

September 9, 2009

Farewell to summer

Labor Day weekend always seems sadden me. I never want summer to end…even living in the desert. I realize perfect weather is on the way, but I’ll miss the long days filled with plenty of warmth and sunshine, lazy afternoon’s poolside and barbeques.

We had a great weekend, we wrapped up restaurant week, drank and had laughs with friends, went shooting and got stranded in the desert, took a cruise to Mt. Charleston, caught a movie, ate at favorite haunts, and even spent an afternoon in the pool soaking up the sunshine.

Shane drove in from Phoenix, his visit was leisurely not a single vehicle repair was planned. He got into town late Friday evening, meanwhile Frank and I watched lightning from the cave mountain near the house after our lackluster dinner at DJT.

We met him at the house, and headed to PT’s Pub after he got settled. The guys played pool while I hung at the bar trying my luck at Keno. Later, they joined me, and we caught up over beers.

Saturday, we had breakfast at the Original Pancake House. Gouda omelets. No need to say more. We got a slow start to the day, eventually we headed out for an easy off-road drive. The guys wanted to shoot some clays and I wanted to test out the new camera.

What's that in the desert?

A water heater. You got to love the irony.

We had our fun, we had a few hours until our dinner reservations so we decided to head home and rest up a bit beforehand. However, the Suburban had other plans. It refused to start, the battery lacked juice. Fortunately, we weren’t too far from home only a few miles. Walking was an option, but Frank called a friend to meet him where the desert meets civilization, he then rode back to the house and return with the Jimmy. Shane and I hung by the Suburban hoping someone would come by and we prayed no flash floods came through. We were 0-1. I suppose we lucked out. Frank showed about 45-minutes after he set off by foot. After a few tries they were able to jump the battery and we were on our way. We had just enough time to shower and head to the Luxor for dinner.

Dinner was good, we considered dollar blackjack at the Sahara, after, but the crowds in for the holiday were ridiculous. Instead, we decided to return home and hang by the house.

Sunday before we met LVCFO/AZFBA members for a cruise to Mt. Charleston, we took a drive through Red Rock. It was gorgeous, the early morning sun highlighted the vivid colors of the mountains.

Our baby, followed by Shane's

Then, it was onto the meet. Both groups are for people who drive f-body vehicles, Camaros and Firebirds.

Reminscent of an inside-out Oreo

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things doesn't belong...

We were delayed by an hour waiting for others to show, but we had a great time cruising up the mountain.

We stopped for photos outside the ski resort. Pretty girls in a row.

Then the group went to Famous Dave’s for lunch while we stayed on the mountain for a picnic. We ate, and then tossed Frisbees around before heading back. The ride down the mountain is always a good time.

Sunday night we had friends over for a fantasy football draft. Afterwards, we made a few pitchers of margaritas while we played Yahtzee.

Monday came much too quickly. We went to breakfast at Hash House a Go Go. It’s been featured on every food tv show, and it seems to be great for business. It’s always been a hopping place, but Monday was insane. We waited a half hour for a table, plus another thirty minutes for our food. Thankfully, the brown sugar flapjack and pork tenderloin benedicts did not disappoint.

Back at the house Shane and Frank worked on the Suburban’s battery. So much for no vehicle repairs. Not too long after that Shane headed home, and Frank and I hit the pool. We picked up a solar cover a couple weeks ago, it makes a world of difference we’re maintaining temps five degrees higher than before.

We topped off the weekend by catching Extract at Rave Theaters. Eh, it seemed to lack a point. Then, we walked over to Yardhouse for dinner. Food was great as usual; Frank had the house amber and hefeweizen, and I tried the Bitburger Pils and Redhook Slim. The latter had nice body for being a light beer, I really enjoyed it.

With that, Labor Day weekend was just a memory.