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!