for Jenna, in May

for jenna-106

My friend Jenna is having her first baby in just a few short weeks! She asked me to help her document this fleeting time and I could not have been more honored to give her this gift. Jenna, Lindsay and I went to the Arnold Arboretum together last Tuesday to walk through the spring greenery and the famous May lilacs. The Arboretum is hands down one of the loveliest oasis’ in the city. It was a perfectly warm and breezy spring night– the light was just right and I am pretty confident I helped capture some magic. :)

I am so excited to share these photos. I am so happy with the way they all came out, plus Jenna is just absolutely GORGEOUS!!!

for jenna-25for jenna-138 for jenna-60 for jenna-68 for jenna-73for jenna-137for jenna-94 for jenna-101 for jenna-104for jenna-112 for jenna-107for jenna-113

Downtown Las Vegas + The Strip

Las Vegas

Oh man, Las Vegas.

!!

What a fun little adventure. :) We went for two nights over our trip to the West Coast and saw a LOT in 36 hours. While we were visiting we stayed at the Excalibur Hotel & Casino because they had a pretty good deal on rooms during the time we were there. As it turns out, many hotels have all different kinds of rates at different times, so we just looked for one that wasn’t too ridiculous as we knew we wouldn’t be spending much time in our hotel. We never do on these types of trips! Too much to do! TOO MUCH TO SEE!

Las VegasLas Vegas

On the first night of our stay we came into town on the later side and grabbed a quick dinner before heading to the Mirage to see the Cirque Du Soleil show LOVE — a tribute to the Beatles. It was really good and my first Cirque ever! I loved the music and of course, the movement and acrobatics wowed me. Seriously, WOW!

Las Vegas Las Vegas

The next day was when Zan was working, so I dropped him off in the early morning so I could have the rental car and then I went to find breakfast at Makers and Finders in Downtown Las Vegas. I had read about it in the Townske guide I mentioned before and it was the perfect place to start my day. I had a really delicious oatmeal, fruit, and honey bowl and a lavender latte — which was amazing. Highly recommend. :)

Las Vegas

After that I had my 10:00 tour at the Neon Museum which I wrote more about here. Again, I loved this tour. So cool to see the old signage and lights. Such a fun piece of typography history.

Las VegasLas VegasLas VegasLas VegasLas Vegas

Next up, I needed some lunch. I decided to try PublicUs and am so glad I did. It had such a cool vibe and great food too. That open faced fig and prosciutto sandwich is the meal of my dreams.

Las VegasLas VegasLas Vegas

I had a great time walking down Freemont Street, which was the first ever paved street in Las Vegas and where many of the first casinos were located. So much old school in this city! I loved that.

Las VegasLas VegasLas VegasLas Vegas

The Container Park was another cool attraction to stumble upon — a shopping and food center made entirely of old shipping containers. There was a park for kids inside and many places to eat and sit to take a break from the sun.

Las VegasLas Vegas-26

After walking around downtown Las Vegas I headed back to the strip to spend some time wandering around the Bellagio…

Las VegasLas Vegas

The center courtyard was a wonderland of flowers and origami art and Japanese inspired decor. I was in awe from the minute I walked inside. Museum quality, I tell ya. That hotel is incredible.

Las VegasLas VegasLas VegasLas VegasLas VegasLas VegasLas Vegas

When Zan finished with work for the day he and I continued to walk the strip, exploring this and that and trying to just take it all in. There is so much to see and we didn’t really have an agenda which was nice. We just wandered the length of the strip stopping wherever looked interesting. We walked around the hotel New York, New York, went to the Coca-Cola Store and sampled different cokes from around the world, and eventually ended up back at the Bellagio for dinner.

Las Vegas

This is the Chihuly installation on the ceiling of the lobby in the Bellagio. INCREDIBLE! (I had to say it again.)

Las VegasLas VegasLas VegasLas VegasLas Vegas

For dinner we met up with Zan’s uncle who was in Vegas for the NAB conference, which was happening at the same time that we were there. We ate at Lago in the Bellagio and it was really magnificent. It was tapas-style, which is always my favorite. Really truly delicious food (I LOVED the mussels!) and we had the best view in all of Vegas — I am convinced!)…

Las Vegas

We sat right in front of the famous fountains! Every 15 minutes they go off with a different “choreographed number”, if you will. I loved every minute of it. From there we took a walk through the Venetian hotel, which is amazingly set up just like Venice. Since we went there on part of our honeymoon it was really fun to see. They even had gondoliers taking people on rides through the “Grand Canal”. Ha! This place is such a trip.

Las VegasLas VegasLas VegasLas Vegas

The morning we left Vegas we got up before the sun to hike at Red Rock. I have lots of photos from our visit there and will do another post on that next. So many photos! I am trying to break them up for the sake of scrolling. Before leaving the city we had breakfast at Bouchon inside the Venetian hotel. It came highly recommended and was the perfect way to end our stay before heading back to LA.

Vegas, baby! I loved it!

Las Vegas // The Neon Boneyard Museum

Neon-Museum-LV

!!!!!!! Welcome to Las Vegas !!!!!!!

I have never, not once in my life, had the desire to visit Las Vegas. Never ever. I didn’t expect I’d ever go and as far as I was concerned I didn’t need to, have to, or want to. You know how it goes.

But also, you know what they say. Never say never.

So, of course I recently found myself there. The way of the world, I guess! And it was wonderfully fun and so… ‘MERICA. Right?! Even though there are all these different hotels claiming to be PARIS AND VENICE AND ROME! Las Vegas is so classic America. And I am glad to have seen it!

The first day we were there I decided to take the non-traditional route and skip the slot machines. This was the day Zan had to work all morning and I didn’t want to leave him out! (Just kidding. ; No gambling for us!) I had actually done a little research/memory searching and had remembered seeing some favorite bloggers previously post about the Neon Museum so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give it a try. I also saw it recommended in a guide in a new app called Townske I’ve been trying out recently. (Try it if you haven’t yet– I used it to do some research for our trip and think it’s pretty great!) After all the bright and color pictures I came across, I was sold! Pastel colors, old school vibes and funky typography. That’s my kind of dream.

Here are some favorite photos I snapped while I was there. So so many good ones, I couldn’t help but include them all…

Las Vegas Neon Museum Las Vegas Neon Museum Las Vegas Neon Museum Las Vegas Neon MuseumLas Vegas Neon MuseumLas Vegas Neon Museum Las Vegas Neon Museum Las Vegas Neon Museum Las Vegas Neon Museum Las Vegas Neon Museum Las Vegas Neon MuseumLas Vegas Neon MuseumLas Vegas Neon MuseumLas Vegas Neon Museum Las Vegas Neon Museum Las Vegas Neon MuseumScreen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.23.54 PM Las Vegas Neon Museum Las Vegas Neon MuseumLas Vegas Neon MuseumLas Vegas Neon MuseumLas Vegas Neon Museum Las Vegas Neon MuseumLas Vegas Neon Museum

Such a cool place! I loved it! 

// A few tips: I visited on a Tuesday and had no trouble getting tickets the night before. Weekends might be busier so look into booking a few days or even maybe a week ahead. I also tried to go early in the day to avoid the desert heat– it got up to 86 degrees the day I was there! Luckily, they have umbrellas to use as a sort of make-shift shade and I gladly took one along with me on the tour. Overall a great guided information session with interesting info about the history of the famous Vegas lights.

And soon! More great Vegas memories to come!

a morning in palm springs.

Palm-Springs!

Palm Springs! What a perfectly colorful, wonderful place.

A little back story: The original idea for this trip came when Zan had a work assignment in Las Vegas for the same week as my April Vacation. He works in clinical research for anyone wondering and his company does clinical trials all over the county. He knew about his site visit a few months before my vacation so he thought it would be fun for me to come too and we would make a trip of it. I was sold instantly ! Travel! Wahooo! It is one of my love languages.

We decided to make a detour on our route to Las Vegas and head to Palm Springs for breakfast and then Joshua Tree for an afternoon jaunt through the desert. Because of some last minute stuff Zan had to do for work, and rotten timing (I think I may have (gasp) tried to pack too much sightseeing into one day), we never ended up making it to Joshua Tree, which was certainly a disappointment. I had eagerly booked tickets to a show in Vegas for later that night and because of that we just ultimately ran out of time! The sadness! I have been wanting to see that desert for many years but our luck was just not there for that adventure on this particular day. I guess it just means we will have to come back to this area again anther time, which in the end isn’t such an unlucky thing at all.

Anyway. Onward!

We did happily get to spend a good amount of time in Palm Springs and man do I LOVE that town. We were visiting between Coachella weekends — on Monday morning, so it was actually pretty sleepy when we were there, but I imagine it was a pretty hopping place the day before we arrived. A blast, I’m sure!

Here are some photos from our time exploring…

Palm Springs!-2

Right before your come to Palm Springs on the highway from L.A. you pass by a massive number of windmills. It was an amazing sight!

Palm Springs!Palm Springs!

Then, suddenly– you are in a in a wonderland of Palm trees. Those mountains in the backdrop are something to write home about too. And skies so blue!

We first try to stop at Cheeky’s because it had amazing reviews and I’d read several “guides to Palm Springs” that raved about it– but the wait time was super long and at this point we wanted to move through the sites rather quickly. We decided to try to Ace Hotel instead and were very happy we did! Lots of space and not too many people. Plus, it’s the Ace! You’ve got to love it, right?

I definitely did…

Palm Springs!Palm Springs!Palm Springs!Palm Springs!Palm Springs!-4Palm Springs!-5Palm Springs!-4-3Palm Springs!

This weaving is HUGE AND PERFECT!

It was while we were at the Ace that Zan found out he needed to do some work, so he went back to the car to get his computer and we camped out at King’s Highway for awhile– Zan typing away and me wandering the grounds of the hotel. The whole place is magnificent! I would really love to stay overnight some day.

Palm Springs!-2-4Palm Springs!-19

When Zan was done we decided to do a bit of the Palm Springs Modern Mid-Century Architecture Tour — I was able to purchase the app so we could do a self guided tour. It was fun, but I kept wanted to go inside the houses! If I decided to do it again, or had more time I would definitely try to look up if there are any tours that bring you through the inside of homes. (Fun fact: my favorite thing to do as a child was to go inside model homes in new neighborhood developments and also to visit the RV exhibits at the State Fair and the local mall. HA! I remember just LOVING touring the inside of houses! And I still do!)

Palm Springs!Palm Springs!Palm Springs!Palm Springs!Palm Springs!-24Palm Springs!

I loved this street and the flowers and the succulents and the palm trees! So pretty.

Palm Springs!-7-3Palm Springs!-8-3Palm Springs!-9-3Palm Springs!-10-3

Our last stop was a walk through the colorful Saguaro Hotel. How fun does this place look?? It’s supposedly a hot spot for Coachella weekenders and I can totally see why.

And that’s it! Our bright visit to the most rainbow magical land. So colorful. So fun.

STAY FABULOUS, PALM SPRINGS. xo