Tuesday, December 28, 2010

#22: Make 10 New Recipes

The Hubs and I decided that we needed to try new foods and flavors. So I suggested we try recipes from different areas of the world. We decided to start with Asia and had Asian Week. I made 2 recipes based off of that idea.

Recipe 1

Pan Seared Shrimp with Soba noodles and Broccoli


For the Shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used EVOO)
  • 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp (21/25 count), peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar
For the Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
8-12 ounces of Soba noodles, cooked and drained
2 cups of broccoli

  1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. (Double if pairing with noodles)
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over high heat until smoking. Meanwhile, toss shrimp, salt, red pepper, and sugar together in a bowl. Add half the shrimp to pan in single layer and cook until spotty brown and edges turn pink, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; Using tongs, flip shrimp and toss until all but very center of shrimp is opaque, about 30 seconds. Transfer shrimp to large plate. Repeat with remaining oil and shrimp. After second batch has stood off heat, return first batch to skillet along with sauce mixture and toss to combine. Cover skillet and let stand until shrimp are cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add cooked soba noodles and broccoli along with remaining sauce. Toss to combine, then serve.

We absolutely loved this recipe. The flavor was wonderful. On top of that it was exceptionally easy to make. Plus these are ingredients we usually have in the house. Definitely getting added to the recipe rotation.

Recipe 2

Kung Pao Shrimp
source Men's Health Magazine

  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 5 small dried chillies or 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (I only used 1/2 tsp., but I don't like it too hot)
  • 6 scallions chopped, save the greens for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts. plus more chopped for garnish
  1. Combine soy sauce, orange juice, vinegar, cornstarch, and sugar in bowl. Set aside.
  2. Place a wok or large pan over high heat and add oil. When oil is lightly smoking, toss in chillies, scallion whites, garlic, and ginger.
  3. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, until fragrant, but not browned or burnt. Add bell peppers and cook for another minute, stirring constantly with spatula. Then add shrimp and peanuts, and cook until shrimp turns pink, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the sauce and cook just long enough for it to thicken and form a light sheen around shrimp and vegetables, about 30 seconds.
  5. Serve over a scoop of brown rice, sprinkled with chopped scallion tops and peanuts.

Another yummy dish. This one was selected by the Hubs and we both loved it. Very easy to make and we love the flavors. Also uses ingredients we have in the house regularly. I did add some (did not measure) hoisin sauce because we like the sweeter flavor.

Monday, December 27, 2010

#27: Read 50 Non-Crime Books

Room by Emma Donoghue

To 5-year-old Jack, Room is his entire world. It is all he knows. Any more than that gives the book away, but think Jaycee Dugard. This book was really good. I will admit the first 60 pages were a little hard to get through, but after that I could not put it down. It was just a little hard reading the book from the perspective of a 5-year-old. But actually that makes the book what it is. I highly recommend.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tons of 101 in 1001 Updates


22. I have completed and exceeded making 10 new recipes. And can I tell you the Hubs and I love both of these recipes and I have made them a couple of times. Blog posts on both to follow.

29. I FINISHED GRAD SCHOOL. I am so excited about this. It is really a huge accomplishment for me. And I did really well in the program. Now I just have to focus on finding a job career related to my field. I am working on that.

46. I (We) sent Christmas cards this year. They were made by my wonderful "sister-in-law". We have gotten so many compliments on them. You can check out her wonderful creations on her blog The Life of Me. You will not be disappointed. She is fabulous.

88. I bought a pair of boots that I love. I have been searching and searching for a pair of tall boots that could actually fit my thick legs. Well I finally found some on Shoes.com. They were not crazy expensive, but they are what I really wanted. And on top of that they were 15% off, with free shipping, AND i got a 12% rebate from MrRebates.com. I am in love.

92. I did Karaoke. My family has HUGE Christmases. The past two years our entertainment has been karaoke. I rocked out to So What by Pink with 2 of my cousins and my 2-year-old goddaughter. And yes she thinks she knows the words. It was so fun.

Working On

27. I read another non-crime related book and it was wonderful. I could not put it down. Separate post to follow.

30. I watched the documentary King Corn with the companion piece Big River. Wow. More to come on this too.

31. Now that I have finished school, I am working on learning all the countries in Africa and being able to accurately label them on a map.

And that is what I have been doing.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

#22: Make 10 New Recipes

I made another great recipe from the food blog The Way the Cookie Crumbles. This time it was a wonderful, flavorful pasta. Honestly, I cannot go wrong with selections from this blog. If you are in need of ideas make sure you check it out.

Taco Pasta Salad (serves 8-10)
source The Way the Cookie Crumbles


  • 1 pound wagon wheel pasta (I used whole wheat bowtie pasta)
  • salt

  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn (organic)

  • 1½ cups salsa (organic)

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed (organic)

  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced

  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese

  • 3-4 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 large (or 2 small) avocado, peeled, seeded, and diced

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 2 teaspoon chili powder

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • ¼ cup olive oil


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta. Cook according to the package directions. Drain; stir the frozen corn into the pasta to cool the pasta and defrost the corn. Stir the salsa into the pasta and corn, then add the beans, tomatoes, cilantro, and cheese.

Squeeze the lime juice into a small bowl and add the avocado; stir to coat the avocado. Remove the avocado from the lime juice and stir it into the pasta mixture. Add the spices, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt to the lime juice, then slowly whisk in the oil. Stir the dressing into the salad. Serve immediately or chill for up to 1 day (longer if you don’t add the avocado).


OMG. This was so good. I am really thankful to because I did not pay attention to how much this made. If the Hubs didn't like it, there was no way I would have been able to eat it all by myself. But that did not happen. He loved it and I did too. It was so much I was going to take some to my mom so it would not go bad. But I never got a chance. The Hubs was eating the leftovers everyday. That never happens. It was so good I have already given the recipe to 6 other people (I did not take credit for this recipe). One person already tried it and they loved it as well. You will not regret making this wonderful meal.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bad Blogger

Ok, I have seriously been a bad blogger over here. I have so much going on. I read a really great book, I have a new recipe to post from an amazing food blogger, I am in my last semester of grad school, and I am sure there are tons of things on my 101 in 1001 list I have completed or am working. But I have been so busy I have not even had a chance to look at the list.

But there will be posts coming up about the book I read and actually 2 new recipes I have tried that were yummy.

So there is more to come.

I have been blogging over on Journey to Green and if you stop by there soon you can get a discount on a wonderful, natural, aluminum-free deodorant that actually works, as well as other all natural bath and body products from the fabulous Etsy seller, Rachel of Soapwalla Kitchen. So run over there and check it out.

I will be posting here soon.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

#28: Read 100 Books

I have been a bad blogger. Well, for this blog anyway. I have been plugging away at my green blog and I hope you all will check it out. Journey to Green. I will try to be over here more, but with the other blog, my last semester of grad school starting Monday, trying to stick to going to the gym 3 times a week, and everything else I have going on; it might be tough.

But on to my 101 in 1001.

I have actually read 2 books. I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I really enjoyed the entire series. I am even more excited that they are making a movie. I have the Swedish version on my Netflix queue and should be getting that any day now.

I plowed through the rest of the series The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I could not wait to see how it ended. Really, this is a must read series. I just hope the movie does it justice.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Making Changes

I have got to make some serious changes for my health. I too few months I will be thirty. I am not looking forward to this day at all. In fact, I am a little depressed about it, but I am trying not to think about it. I have decided that I will be even more depressed about this day if I do not start making changes to my diet and start consistently exercising. I tried the Insanity. Honestly, I am not there yet, but I will be. I want to lose 29 pounds. Really, more but I would be happy with 20. Way at the bottom of my blog is a ticker of my progress.

So basic changes, I have to watch the number of calories I am eating. I have been eating with reckless abandon and that is NOT like me. The Hubs keeps recommending that I go to a nutritionist. I am all for that, but I have to do some research. I do not want to go somewhere and they are trying to give me some pills or B-12 shots as a solution. That is not for me.

I have been going to the gym, but I know that is because I am in the midst of my little break between semesters. I am going to attempt to make a conscious effort to work out 3 times a week once school starts again. Hopefully, I will be able to fit that in. When I worked different hours I would go to the gym all the time. But since I changed my hours it has decreased and decreased. I have to change that.

I also need to find some variety in my meal plans. Frankly, I am getting bored. And when that happens, I start eating crap.

And basically those are the keys to getting in shape anyway. Work out more and eat less. So that is what I gotta do.

I just need to get motivated. And that is my biggest issue. I already know that more than one day a week I cannot get up at 3:30 and work out with co-workers, but I will do it once a week. I want to work out with the Hubs, but he likes to go too late. So I just have to convince myself to go alone. As Nike says, Just do it. And I will. I have to.

Friday, August 6, 2010

#89: Legg Mason Tennis Classic

This week the Hubs and I went to the Legg Mason Tennis Classic (LMTC). For those of you that don't know I am a HUGE tennis fan. Let's say that again, HUGE. And this was my first time ever seeing tennis live. We got tickets for Monday night not knowing who was going to play that day. We got to see James Blake practice and play, unfortunately he lost. And we got to see Fernando Verdasco. Ok, can I say damn good looking by the way. That was the highlight of Monday though. The other single's players we saw I was not familiar with. We did get to see a doubles match with Baghdatis and Wawrinka, but I am not a doubles tennis follower.

Highlights of Day 1

The real highlight of Day 1. While watching James Blake practice, he hit a pop ball into the stands. And I got it. How did that happen? Well, it was coming straight for my head.

Me: OMG. This ball is going to hit me in my head and all these people are going to see. (this is what I was thinking)

I put up my hand and just try to block my face. The ball hits my hand and bounces on the ground in front of me. I grab it and put it in my purse.

The Hubs: You should have caught that.

Yep, that what I got from the Hubs. Um. All I was thinking about was not being bashed in the head by an out of control tennis ball.

Anyway, we had SO much fun that day AND the announcer kept talking about who was playing the next, that we decided to buy tickets right then for the next day. Woo hoo.

So, on Day 2 of my LMTC experience I got to see Andy Roddick, John Isner (who I think I have a crush on), and the Bryan brothers who were not playing that day, but received an award for being the winningest doubles tennis team in the whole history of tennis. Ok, seriously, I was like a kid in a candy store.

Ok. I have to explain my crush on John Isner, and yes this started before his marathon match at Wimbledon. So anyway, he is like 6 feet forever and I have a thing for tall guys, but on top of that he does this thing before he serves where he bounces the tennis ball through his legs like it is a basketball. And I don't know why but I love it. It is something like this.
Can you even see that? Well, anyway that is the extent of my crush. Besides, he is a baby.

Okay, so I got to fulfill a dream that I have had forever and the Hubs who is not a tennis fan at all enjoyed himself. He said it was better to see live than on tv. Whatever, it is great no matter what.

And we decided that next year we are getting tickets again. And now I want to see more professional tennis. I think I am more hooked now than I was before. Yes, a monster has been created.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

#22: Make 10 New Recipes

Marinated Pan-Fried Salmon

I think this is the first recipe I have made from Jenn Cuisine. I love her blog, but sometimes her recipes seem a little out of my league. But, I kept looking at this recipe for weeks and finally decided to try it.

  • 1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet chile sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
In a bowl whisk together the marinade ingredients, then pour into a sealable plastic bag. Add salmon fillets to bag. Squeeze out all air and seal the bag. Push the marinade around to cover both fillets.

Let marinate for 20 minutes.

Heat skillet on medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil to pan. Cook fillets a couple of minutes on each side, until done to your satisfaction. (I like mine cooked all the way through, some like a little pink in the middle). The marinade will caramelize will cooking.

Serve on top of a bed of lettuce, or accompany with your favorite veggies.

Verdict: This was delicious. I don't cook with sesame that often, so when the Hubs walked in the door and smelled the marinade he says what is that weird smell? I was thinking, great. Waste of my time. But, it wasn't. We both loved this recipe. In fact, I am making this again tonight and I will be doing probably 6 fillets. So definitely getting added to the list of recipes.

Hope you enjoy this recipe too.

Side note: I also cooked some rice to go with this and it was great.

Other blog plug... I started a new blog about going green. I hope you all will check it out. Journey to Green.

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Blog Alert!!!

I started a new blog. It is really just getting started so don't expect a whole bunch right now. It is focusing specifically on me going green. So you will not see those kinds of posts here anymore. I will probably take the ones here and slowly move them over there. Sshh!! Don't tell anyone.

I am glad that all of you have been reading this blog and I hope you will continue to, but please come check me out at my new home. And make sure you follow me so I won't be so lonely.


Come on over to my Journey to Green. Hope you like it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kinky Curly Curling Custard Review: Part 2

Part 1 is here. There you can see my 2 attempts at using KCCC to style my hair.

So its almost a week later and here is my official review of KCCC and KCKT.


Kinky Curly Knot Today: organic mango fruit extract, organic slippery elm, organic marshmallow root, organic lemongrass, cetyl alcohol, behentrimonium methosulfate, citric acid, phenoxyethanol and natural fragrance

Kinky Curly Curling Custard: botanical infusion of water, horsetail, chamomile, nettle and marshmallow, organic aloe vera juice, agave nectar extract, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin e), pectin, citric acid, potassium sorbate and natural fragrance

Pros: I like that this product uses organic and natural ingredients. That is very important to me. And it allows for the product to easily wash out of my hair. I like the smell of both products. The scent is hard to describe, but it is not perfumey or overpowering. They smell clean and fresh. I like that my hair did not feel crunchy when it dried.

Cons: My hair had serious shrinkage using this product, too much for me. Because of the amount of shrinkage this is only one day hair and for me that is no bueno. I need to be able to wear a hairstyle for a week. Yes, a full 7 days, until wash/style day and this was not cutting it. It just did not give the wet look I was going for.

But, the product is not bad. I wish I would have had the courage to try it when my hair was shorter because it might have worked. I have noticed that my hair is longer and thicker than many of the YouTubers I have seen have success with this...even if our hair is the same hair type. So maybe I have passed my hair length for this product. I do want to try it again, but it is frustrating to spend time doing my hair and then having to do it again. We will see. I am going to keep the products around, so maybe when I have some time off from work I will try it again.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vatika Enriched Coconut Hair OIl Review

Dabur Vatika Enriched Coconut Hair Oil 300mL $4.99

Ingredients: Each 100mL of oil is prepared from: Mehndi (henna), Amla, Harar, Bahera, Neem, Brahmi, Kapur Kachri, Dugdha, Lemon oil, Rosemary oil, Lecithin, Sugandhit Dravyas, Nariyal Tail

What is all that? They are all ayurvedic herbs that have a variety of benefits.

Mehndi - hair strengthener; dandruff reducer; hair colorant
Amla - a conditioner; controls hair loss, stimulates growth, and controls premature graying
Harar - anti-inflammatory; analgesic; purifier
Bahera - hair rejuvenator
Neem - clears dandruff; natural antiseptic; natural oil balance for scalp
Brahmi - cools the scalp; controls dandruff; makes hair long, dense, dark, and lustrous; strengthens hair roots
Kapur Kachri - stimulates hair roots and growth
Dugdha - prevents graying
Lemon oil - cleans scalp; natural antiseptic; natural oil balance for scalp; refreshens and rejuvenates the scalp
Rosemary oil - is good for treating hair fall or shedding and dandruff. It stimulates the hair bulbs to renew activity and prevent premature balding
Lecithin - protein
Sugandhit Dravyas - improves blood circulation to hair roots and follicles; eliminates dandruff; soothes flaky scalp
Nariyal Tail - coconut oil

Yeah that's a lot. But this stuff is amazing. I found this searching on Amazon for something to help my itchy scalp. Then after I found it there I saw it on every blog and forum for natural hair care. So apparently this stuff is popular and I was just out of the loop. Nothing new. And from what I have found there are two different formulations, but I use the one in the green bottle pictured above.

Typically I make my own hair products, but this has so much stuff in it and it works, so for me to try to make something similar on my own would cost a fortune. I use this on my scalp and to do my 2-strand twists. Others use it as an oil rinse or deep conditioner. There are just so many uses. Even the Hubs tried it and liked it. He has very coarse hair and the products he has used according to him are usually soaked up through the night. He used this one night and he said the next morning his hair actually felt soft. I have never seen his hair feel soft so that is saying something. ;)

I have been using this product for a little over 2 months and I love it.

Pros: No more itchy scalp and my hair is so soft. I can use this product for so many things. I can add it to my deep conditioner (or use it alone as a deep conditioner), as an oil rinse, and as a pre-poo before I shampoo and condition my hair. I know some people will use it on their body too. I'm not there yet. Another pro is that the Hubs loves this for his hair too, so its good for men and women.

Cons: The only negative I can say of it is that coconut oil is a solid at room temperature. So if it is in a cold climate it will become a solid. The bottle is not designed for a solid and it can be difficult to get the product out. Just run it under some hot water and it will liquify.

Kinky Curly Curling Custard

What is that you say? Yes, Kinky Curly Curling Custard, from here on KCCC, is the new product I am trying on my hair. This product combined with Kinky Curly Knot Today (KCKT) is supposed to give all curly hair types amazing, curly, bouncy hair. This can be used for ethnic and non-ethnic hair...all curlies. That is the claim. And the product also says that it is all natural and organic, if that is important to you. It is to me.

All Kinky Curly products contain NO: petroleum, mineral oil, silicone, alcohol, plastics, acrylics, parabens, carbomer, or wax. Yes, all of these ingredients can be found in conventional hair products and are not good for curly hair.

KCCC: botanical infusion of water, horsetail, chamomile, nettle and marshmallow, organic aloe vera juice, agave nectar extract, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin e), pectin, citric acid, potassium sorbate and natural fragrance

KCKT: organic mango fruit extract, organic slippery elm, organic marshmallow root, organic lemongrass, cetyl alcohol, behentrimonium methosulfate, citric acid, phenoxyethanol, and natural fragrance

So how do they work, you ask?

Well, depending on your curl pattern you can use one or both products to make amazing curls. Some people with looser curls can use KCKT or KCCC alone. Most ethnic curlies have to use the products together. That is what I did.

Trial 1 (which did not turn out the way I expected)

This was done on clean, sopping wet hair.

I did not use enough KCKT on my hair and once it dried you could definitely see that. Also, once completely dry my hair was crunchy, which from everything I read and all the videos I watched on YouTube is not supposed to happen.

Here are some pics.
Just done. Hair still dripping wet.

About an hour later.

Completely dry.

Can we say shrinkage? When my hair is wet, it usually touches my shoulders. This ended up being a big, curly fro. I liked it, but it was not what I was going for and I cannot wear my hair like that to work. That means that I would have to wet my hair and do it again to go to work. I don't think that is going to happen to often.

Trial 2

On clean (shampooed and conditioned) sopping wet hair add KCKT. You have to use a lot of this and I mean A LOT. I have done this process twice and the first time I did not use enough of the KCKT. For my hair length, texture, and thickness I had to use 1/2 of the 8oz. bottle. Yes, half. KCKT does now come in a 32oz. bottle, so if I really like the results I will get the bigger bottle.

After conditioning my hair in the shower, I divided my hair into 4 twisted sections and left it like this as I applied the KCKT. I completely saturated each section in the product. Then I divided that section into 3 sections and clipped the rest aside. I used my Denman brush and worked the KCKT through the section. I took a small amount of KCCC and put it on the root. Then I took a little more and spread it through the section. I again took my Denman brush and worked the product through the section. Then I twisted the completed section to keep it out of the way. I repeated this process with my entire head.

I can already see the difference by using more KCKT. The curls are more defined and have more hang time.

Immediately after. Hair still sopping wet.

About 1 hour later.

Completely dry.

Trial 1 v. Trial 2

Sopping wet.

Completely dry.

Ok. I think I figured it out. I will definitely be trying this one again. Seven years of being natural and I finally figured out the wash and go look. Not exactly wash and go, but it looks like it. And I wish I had video because it moves and bounces and is not stiff. The hardest part was letting my hair dry completely before I started messing with it. I have serious issues with hand in fro.

These products can be bought online and at Whole Foods and Target (yep, just recently).
Also, check out all the videos on YouTube on the subject.
This is the application video I used for Trial 2. From miss HeatherNicole. Definitely subscribe to her videos. She is great.

Check out Her YouTube video.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Vegas Baby!!

The Hubs and I and another couple went to Vegas for a week. (Who does that?!) Yes, a whole week. We stayed in a time share just off the strip. I had never been to Vegas before and the Hubs had only been once for a trade show, so really, this was our first experience.

Neither one of us a gamblers, so we did not really know what to expect.

So we left Friday the 9th for our trip. We do not fly that often, so I cannot say we usually fly XYZ company, but this time we flew with Delta and I must say, never again (well, unless the price is too good). We were supposed to leave BWI at 530pm EST and connect to our flight in Memphis and be in Vegas at 850pm PST. Well due to weather in Altanta we left over an hour late. So for that hour we were stuck on the plane. All they kept saying was they were rerouting. So there were like 11 different connecting flights in Memphis that were missed by various passenger. We were stuck in Memphis for the night. We got vouchers for new flights, hotel, and food. The flight and hotel I was cool about, but Delta gave us $6 each for 2 meals. What the hell were we supposed to eat for $6 each? So we stayed at the Radisson for the night and ate there for dinner and breakfast, which both sucked and was not covered by the $6. The room was fine and they had Sleep Number beds which were nice to try out.

The best part of the holdover was the next day when we got to fly first class from Memphis to Vegas. First Class baby, yeah. Having never flown first class before, let me just say this is the way to fly. To bad I can't afford it.

So finally Saturday morning we made it to Vegas. We did so much I cannot remember it all. We went to the pool, I got a tan, we went clubbing, gambling, to shows, to Nevada's only vineyard, had fabulous meals, and did A LOT of walking. I even had to go shopping and by some walkable shoes that were not tennis shoes. Oh yeah, I even went to the gym.

I was also able to check of some of the items on my 101 in 1001.
15. Go to Vegas
18. Go to a Vineyard
19. Actually take Pictures during my travels
31. Eat at 10 new restaurants
97. See Cirque du Soleil

Some photos:

Various Hotels

We went to Serendipity the Ice Cream Shoppe. I tried to go to the New York location when we were there, but it was an 1.5 hour wait and that was not worth it to me. They are famous for their Frozen Hot Chocolate and if you ever get a chance to try one I highly recommend it. I meant to take a pic of the one we got, but since I always forget to take pics...I forgot. We did get a shot of someone else's though.

We got to see the water show at the Bellagio.

We went to a Winery. Yes, Nevada, the middle of the desert, has one winery. It is about 1 hour north of Las Vegas. The proprietor is so friendly and funny and they do complimentary tastings. I have never been to one that did not cost some money. It is never a lot, but it has always cost something. Many of their wines are made from grapes for nearby states, because it is a desert. But they do have a small vineyard and they do make some wines there. I think this is the first year they have been able to harvest the grapes and make a sellable product. They also have a wonderful restaurant that has some of the best lobster bisque I have ever tasted. If you ever go to Vegas, take a couple of hours and drive to Pahrump Winery. It is worth the trip.

We also had an opportunity to see an NBA summer league game and it so happens that the Wizards were playing. We got to see the #1 draft pick John Wall in action. We also saw some of the other players walking through the hotels and playing in the casinos. I didn't know who they were, but the Hubs did.

We saw Cirque du Soleil, something I have been dying to do for years. You cannot take pics inside, but you have got to go. We saw KA at MGM Grand. Even the Hubs was in awe. The martial arts is amazing and it has a story line that can be followed. We only got to see one show on this trip, but it was so worth it. And our seats were fantastic.

We rode on the gondolas in the Venetian, but those pics sucked. We went to Studio54 in MGM Grand. And we ate at some amazing restaurants, but they deserve a post of their own. We ate at RM Seafood and StripSteak both in Mandalay Bay. Plus we had coupons that we got from restaurant.com.

I think we walked through every hotel/casino on the strip. My dogs were barking at the end of the day. I definitely needed the extra days off from work when we got back. But I definitely needed this vacation and I enjoyed it immensely.