Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I have had the chance, over the past few years, to get acquainted with one of the kindest, most humbling souls I have ever met. Vicki Boster, from 2 BAGS FULL  (this post is LINK heavy - PLEASE click on at least some of the HIGHLIGHTED links to be transported - I promise you won't be sorry), is that soul.  In addition to being one hell of a human being, her fingertips are veritably dripping with talent.

She loves to travel - she loves to write about travel - she takes on special causes - she takes on "just for fun" causes - she, seemingly, loves everybody, and everybody loves Vicki!  She and her "Gardener" dropped through Vegas at the beginning of this year, and my friend Jackie and I enjoyed the pleasure of lunch, fun conversation, and real life hugs.  Yep, Vicki is "all that, and a bag of chips"!
Over the past year, Vicki took on the special cause of The Pink Scarf Project.  She put out a call, through the wonders of social media, and was able to collect over 200+ pink scarves for Breast Cancer Survivors.  Not only did she spend an entire year orchestrating this wonderful cause, as the scarves poured in she took them on field trips and made sure she photographed each and every one in some pretty fabulous locations (COVERED BRIDGE FINALE) (did I mention she's a neonatal nurse, in her spare time?!)
At the culmination of this gathering of scarves, Vicki gifted one lucky participant by drawing for a GORGEOUS pink wrap, done by her OWN busy, talented hands.  Lucky winner - you're looking at what arrived at MY house! Stunned, speechless and grateful for my good fortune - a gift to be cherished!
The mohair bear is something I made years ago - the beautiful stars with the German Glitter Glass were made by another dear friend, Joleen, of The Primitive Bucket.
In addition to knitting, I mentioned that Vicki travels (2 BAGS FULL TRAVELS) , and writes about it (she's also a feature writer for "Living Better at 50+" online magazine).  Her blog is as incredible as any I've ever seen - a snap behind the shutter, she is.

She's a shop owner at ETSY - you also need to take a peek at her delightfully whimsical knitted birds nests (2 BAGS FULL NESTING) - many of which are also charity driven), as well as her "to die for" knitted accessories (I was lucky enough to add a beautiful blue winter hat to my wardrobe, just a few days ago).  I would love to be her when I "grow up".  Realistically knowing it probably won't happen, I can just live vicariously through my friend...
(Vicki by her friend, My Maria, at the end of the Pink Scarf Covered Bridge shoot - borrowed from 2 BAGS FULL PINK SCARF PROJECT)
and what a friend she is!  Thank you, Vicki...XOXO

Thursday, December 12, 2013


City Center, the newest addition to our Las Vegas Strip, is just that - a glittering, beautiful city within the city...hotels, apartments, The Aria Resort & Casino, and more.  Nestled in the heart of this city is a fabulous 500,000 sq. ft., high-end shopping experience - The Shops at Crystals.  It was definitely a window-shopping kind of day, with a fabulous lunch find once we had worked up an appetite and quit drooling.
Did I say high-end?  A nod to my daughter's favorite Kreayshawn song - "Gucci, Gucci, Louis, Louis, Fendi, Fendi, Prada"...to name JUST a few.
"Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat"...charming window displays at Louis Vuitton.
Incredible architecture in this shopping "experience" - beautiful hardwoods, dancing tornado tubes of water, gigantic ICE cylinders rising from a pool of water; and gorgeous costumes from Zarkana, the Cirque du Soleil Show in residence.
At one end of the mall, we encountered the most eye-dazzling, massive wooden staircase - quite the sight in this day of "get-you-there-with-little-or-no-effort" moving devices.  At first glance, it looked like patterned Plexiglas, and we should have had a far more educated guess considering the rest of the surroundings...
Upon getting down on my hands and knees for a closer look (yes, I have no shame, even in this ritzy place), I discovered each one of those glowing oval shapes was an actual slice of agate - STUNNING!
Rising from the floor and regaining my composure, we headed to a restaurant that Jackie had seen in the corner, by the glistening Christmas trees.  An English Pub - TODD ENGLISH PUB, to be exact.  It was the DUCK BUNS, on the menu outside, that clinched the sale for her (seriously - "They have DUCK BUNS!" she called, as I was off snapping photos of the trees).  BEST eating decision we've made in a long time.  No baloney!
YES, BOLOGNA!!!  Fabulous atmosphere - charming wait staff - INCREDIBLE GRILLED BOLOGNA SANDWICH, if you can believe that?!  UNBELIEVABLY TENDER, melt-in-your-mouth MOUNDS of thin-sliced, grilled Bologna and Mozzarella Cheese - Oscar Mayer would be proud, 'e would.
I ordered a Grichebactom - creamy grilled brie cheese, double smoked bacon, and tomato; thin fries, and a Mimosa (you thought the Mimosa reference in the last post was by coincidence?).  Jackie ordered that Grilled Bologna, and we split halves.  Once I started on the bologna, I completely pushed the grilled cheese aside until the end - not that it wasn't fab, but who woulda' thunk' that a childhood sandwich meat could have brought either of us such pleasure?!  If you're in the vicinity, this would definitely be one restaurant worth stopping and experiencing - I KNOW we will be back.  Median price range for lunch - English fare, as well as something for the American taste buds.
The entry way to another "shop" - it may have been the bologna that induced it, but I turned to find Jackie playing like a kid, in the gleaming stainless steel doorway - like she had stepped in front of a Carnival Fun House mirror.  If bologna can do that, we should all eat a little more!  The seizure-inducing pink hallway leading to the free tram between the Bellagio and City Center - it really was THAT pink!
Last stop of the day found us at the large, Fashion Show Mall just past Treasure Island, on the northern end of The Strip.  REGULAR shops that we actually bought a few things at, in addition to stopping for a cup of holiday cheer in the guise of Starbucks Eggnog Latte.  GIGANTIC Erte art-deco designs - women spanning two floors of the center.  Yes, the Christmas holiday seems to definitely be upon us - someone commented that they couldn't believe how Vegas does it up for the holidays (I think there is the misconception that it's all just slot machines and blackjack tables here)...just like anywhere else, we do!  Maybe a little grander in scale and/or flashier, at times...a little louder perhaps, but pretty much the same - except for the bologna.  I don't think you can get that just anywhere.  Stay warm, my friends...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


VEGAS DAY, BABY!!!  My friend Jackie and I do this far too infrequently, but made a pact at lunch on Friday to go sightseeing in our town, once a month, in the new year.  The bah-Hus-bands aren't much for the tourist thing, so it falls to us to get out on our own.  We apparently jumped the gun on the "Changing O' the Seasons", and got there a day too soon this time.  Not to worry, we had a fabulous day taking in Christmas decorations in three locations, finding a treasure of a lunch spot (next post), and getting a behind-the-scenes look at just how this fabulous display comes together.
This is the middle of the Atrium at the Bellagio...velvet ropes in place to keep the tourists out, or the decorations in, depending on if your Mimosa glass is half empty or half full!
Flying reindeer, carts of foliage and a schematic of the whole layout, a snow globe arch between the tin solders, and cranes to hoist it all in place!
Touch-up on a hat - what a fun job this gal has.
And these two guys, in the corner pictures - gardening inside the Bellagio, out of the elements of both summer AND winter (it was overcast and below freezing all day, this day).  No snow for us outside that day, but Vegas is renowned for lots of fake things here (they usually come in pairs), so snow is no exception!  The large wreath sits tucked in a corner, and is a draw for photos (Jackie juggling Christmas ornaments on her head), obviously...National Finals Rodeo is in town, as well, hence the unwitting cowboys, snapped in a photo op.
Silver bells................................(gold ones, too)...it's Christmas time, in the cityyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!
A Christmas train will roll around a pond when finished...we couldn't see the other side of the tree, so there may be one there, as well.
This stunning tree is 45 ft. tall, and 8,000 lbs - hand picked in Mt. Shasta, CA, and flown in for the display...
Massive Christmas ornaments on the even "MASSIVER" tree (there's a word for those Sonic burger guys)...
And, of course, the view from the secret spot, high above the hustle and bustle..
So much preparation for these stunning displays...
Carpets and carpets of poinsettias...45,000, to be exact!
Bellagio is partnering with Coca-Cola (hence, the bears) to raise awareness for the World Wildlife Fund this season.  The three beautiful polar bears are constructed with 18,000 white carnations.
And then there was this...something you have to venture away from the lobby to find, on your way to the tram to the rest of Vegas Christmas...
Chocolate waterfalls, huge fondant Christmas ornaments, and a life-size chocolate and fondant Grinch atop Jean Phillipe Patisserie...enough chocolaty goodness to make ANYONE's heart grow three sizes!
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...it's even feeling like it here in the desert, though no snow yet.  To family and friends who are suffering in this cold snap, stay safe on the roads, and bundled up!  More holiday fun to follow this week...Ho, Ho, HO!

Monday, November 25, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving, a little early...and actually, YOU can bring the rolls.  One of my favorite "go-to" recipes from a long-ago friend at the first full time job I held.  I lost track of the friend, but never her fabulous crescent roll recipe - the recipe card a little worse for the wear, but it yields a favorite of my family during the holidays.  Fast, easy, WICKED AWESOME results...

2 Pkg. Dry Yeast **
1/2 C. warm water
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 C. milk, scalded
1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4-1/2 C. flour

 ** (I have had incredible results, recently, with a new yeast I've found - Red Star PLATINUM)
Soften yeast w/warm water in large bowl.  Scald milk in sm. sauce pan (heat til bubbles start to appear around edges of pan, but not to boiling) - add sugar, salt & butter to milk, and stir to dissolve.  Let milk cool to warm.  Pour milk mixture into yeast, and add eggs.  Mix well.

Add flour, mixing with large spoon as you add.  Add enough flour to make a soft dough - if your dough is sticky, add a little more until you can turn it out on a floured surface and knead it a few times without it sticking to everything.

Place dough in greased bowl - cover and let rise in warm place til doubled (about an hour).  Punch down dough, and divide into 3 sections.  Roll each of your 3 sections into an approx. 12" circle (dough will be about 1/4 - 3/8" thick).  Brush circle with melted butter.  Cut circle into 4 quarters, and then into 3 wedges per quarter.
Roll each wedge, starting at wide end - place on lightly sprayed baking sheets.  Brush tops with melted butter, and let rise in warm place, til doubled.
Bake @ 375 degrees for approx. 10-12 minutes, OR until golden brown...start checking around the 8-9 minute mark.  Yields 36 rolls.

May your holiday be happy, healthy, and spent in the company of loved ones - may the air be filled with the smell of freshly baked bread, mingled with other family favorites - and before I leave you...

For those that read the "too-long ago written/not updated post" of my cell phone pictures, LOOK who I saw shopping at Walmart the other day (I admit, I was there as a last resort for something that eluded me everywhere else...not a fan of their "business ethics", and hate going there, but never say never).  OK, and technically, I only saw her car (my goofy ass husband asked me, rather sarcastically, why I didn't sit in the parking lot and wait for her....................because I didn't NEED to, goofy ass!).
Pat Benatar!  Not only does she shop at Walmart, but she evidently drives a Mazda Miata!  I know it was her - the license plate holder identified her as the "Queen of ROCK"!  Duh!

Grateful for family, friends, health, and my cell phone camera ~
Happy Thanksgiving, Rock Stars!

Saturday, November 2, 2013


For those of you who were always concerned about the dinosaur of an AT&T device I called a cell phone, it HAS been replaced. Before I got rid of it however, I gathered up all the weirdness that it held, in the guise of photos I had taken and amused myself with, by sending to loved ones, over the past 2 years. This IS...a view from my phone...
This truly WAS/IS "awesomeness"  This large (and I DO mean LARGE - like over 6' tall) paper mache T-Rex looms over fabric bolts in a costume company in downtown Vegas.  I evidently have a "thing" for dinosaurs...the Velociraptor sits in an antique store here, also...can't get much more antique than a dinosaur, I reckon.
Another antique store amusement...
And his toothy friends - clockwise:  a Javelina in Bass Pro Shop; a Bobcat in the window of a trading post in Gallup, NM - seemingly with extra rows of teeth (two separate rows) like his friend, the Shark;  Shark Week at Mandalay Bay's Aquarium; and another stuffed antique store find - not certain they weren't going for trying to make me think this was a Panda.  These all made for great retorts to text messages, at one time or another!
I will take photos of anything...case in point...NOWORMS?
License plate finds (a Young Frankenstein fan, perhaps...and the Vanpyre plate was on a Van, of course), and some pretty sweet rides.
Cool dog waiting on the pier in Hawaii...NO one was gonna' mess with those glasses!
My Joe; our crazy Voltron!; and my sister-in-law's silly Baby, who loves his swimming pool, but doesn't want any water in it!
Family and friends will pose for anything, usually - unaware that they will show up in a blog post, eventually. My daughter did the wedding guest book of a famous guy who just got remarried here in town, recently...oops, he did it again.
Clockwise - Dad, with yet another dino; Mom and friend; cute Daughter; Dad with SOMETHING on his head, next to the Javelina; my Son, flanked by his two cousins; Mom and Jackie do Elvis at the Aria; more Daughter; my Son and Jackie's husband (my own husband is wise to my phone picture snapping).
Which brings me to my friend, Jackie...Jackie, who will pose for ANYTHING, without question...and always with the biggest smile.  Jackie blending in with the crowd of a concert poster one evening.  Jackie getting her brains bashed in by Joe Lewis, in the middle of Caesars Palace.  Jackie, who held up a can of hairspray (without looking at it first) with the absolute worst name a company could have thought of, one day when I said, "Here - hold this and smile".  That's what friends are for.
And the various boys in my phone - usually sent to Jackie - can't even tell you how many times she has received Bobby in a text.
There were a few nice things in there...a few:  Swallowtail butterfly in my parent's garden; a "painting" done entirely on a sewing machine, with thread (a picture I took because they told me "no pictures"); HUNDREDS of rubber ducks in a pond in Las Vegas; the moon as I was walking around the lake one evening.
Moreover than naught, however, my phone camera is filled with things like THIS, on any given day...ohhhhhhhhhhhh, how I wish I had had my real camera for this one?!!!
Yes, most of these defy explanation.  The girl with the lipstick in front of an art gallery; creepy Howdy Doody on a dark shelf in an antique store (this was also my screen saver for a huge amount of time); images I paused on my tv screen, long enough to catch - a real-life superhero in Seattle (see the Space Needle); a "catshier"; the Poltergeist girl; and a crazy monkey.
And, we're just getting started - squirrel underpants hanging at the checkout counter of a store; a seemingly HUGE Taco Bell restroom; a surprise "happy ending" fortune (the bottom fortune) in my cookie, from a local Chinese restaurant (REALLY?!); a sign outside a Smoke Shop in Gallup (where I made my dad pull quickly off a busy street so I could take the photo); bear in a window; and do NOT attempt this at home, DAD!
ARGH is RIGHT - saw these all with my own eyes (OK, one was positioned just right to get the portion of the sign I wanted, I admit - I'm pretty good at camera manipulation anymore)...barbeque sauce; a mountain town hardware store; humpback whales in a restaurant...and the dollar bill that I got back as change one day, obviously belonging to a teenage boy with a Magic Marker, before me.
"Just because" things I saw during my days out...the Miami Vice 80's boat belongs to my neighbor.  I wish I knew how to drive it.  And I leave you with this...taken not by me, but by my husband, at my direction, the other night (I am NOT above using other's phones for my own devices)...
They never uttered a word, but held out their bags in silence in the driveway of a friend's house, Halloween night. Cellphone photo worthy, indeed!