Incredible Day in Vegas!

Posted on November 16th, 2011 by Jean

The title says it all. I did have an incredible day in Vegas yesterday. My girlfriend, Wendy, was in town celebrating her 10 year wedding anniversary, and invited me over for a day of play. I thought it was awfully generous of her and her husband to allow me to invade their celebration.
 
I picked her up around 11:30am, and we headed to Tommy Bahamas Restaurant at Town Square. On the way, we spotted Big Bird at the Welcome To Las Vegas sign! Neither of us having been to the sign, and knowing our young daughters would be thrilled to see us with Big Bird, we pulled in and parked. Big Bird works for tips, his hand magically appearing from a hole beneath his tie. I slipped BB two bucks and we were golden. Two photos each. Then we made our way to the famous sign, and Wendy asked a nice man to take our photo. He did, and invited us back in one hour to be in a music video. Hello! Sign us up!
 

 
We hurried over to Tommy Bahamas for cocktails and appetizers. Our bartender concocted two special drinks for us, one with passion fruit and the other with cucumber and pineapple. Both were delicious! We also had crab bisque (to die for), and some kind of shrimp dip with chips (not the greatest).
 

 
We caught up as it had been a year since we saw each other, and the bartender brought us over two more specialty cocktails. Then our bartender disappeared, overwhelmed with a banquet in the back room. So much time passed that we gave up ordering dessert and considered “dine & ditch”. We were planning our escape when Wendy decided to give one final attempt to pay our bill. She began waving her arms around as if directly a large plane into takeoff position. It got people’s attention alright! A hostess came over to see what our problem was, and had the bartender ring us up. Mr. Bartender became a hero when he didn’t charge us for our drinks, only our appetizers. Thank you, dreamboat!
 
We were thirty minutes late to the video shoot, and hurried over to find parking. The production team was still setting up, testing audio equipment and who knows what else, for at least another hour. Finally we were asked to take our positions around the piano, the star, Frankie Moreno, and the bassist. The director asked us to sway and bop enthusiastically, to which Frankie added, “Act like you like my music. If you can’t do that, get the fuck out of here.” With his handsome looks and New York accent, we all took his advice with a laugh.
 
Action! The camera was rolling, Frankie was tickling the ivories and wailing out a tune much like Harry Connick Jr but cooler. We were all swaying, clapping hands, and getting into it. Frankie finished his song, and had to perform it again. The camera man moved to a new angle capturing Frankie from head on (with Wendy and me directly behind him).
 
The director asked us to move closer to Frankie with some of the women leaning on the piano. Two retro/pin-up looking girls leaned on the piano, and a grandmotherly type woman was next to them with a cotton ball taped to her arm. Just gave blood? A girl in purple joined our group, but had a sour look on her face like she was smelling something awful. A butter-faced woman in a green sweater, no pants, and tan boots was asked to stand in front of the bassist. She worried about blocking his view, not realizing she was the view. LOL! Two sweet elderly couples were next, with Wendy and I rounding out the group. The director asked us to look at Frankie as if we wanted him, but couldn’t have him. I stared as if his was the sexiest nape I’d ever seen. Oooh, look at the clean-cut neckline! I licked my lips and batted my eyes a few times, just for good measure. I hope I don’t hit the cutting room floor.
 

 
Frankie sang two more tunes, twice, and it was a wrap. Then he asked his marketing director, Sasha, if he could play a song just for us. She agreed, and he REALLY got into it! He hammered those keys like I’d never seen! Wow, we were really dancing now, no acting involved. Just pure enjoyment. His camera man rushed up with the camera, zooming in and out on Frankie, on us, on the keys, on us. What a video this will be! I’ll leave room for it right here (below).
 

 
Wendy and I posed with Frankie for two photos. (I”ll post those too once Wendy gets home and can download her camera.) What a doll he is. If you’re going to see him, he performs at the Stratosphere. Go, go, go!
 

 
How do you come down from that high? We decided we needed more cocktails and dessert. We drove to Caesars, and checked out the new chocolate restaurant, Max Brenner. Oh Max, $12.50 for a margarita? We didn’t even see dessert on the posted menu, but a banner across the top of the display said something like, “Food First, Dessert Next”. Hmmm… we kept walking. The kiosk bar with yard-long cocktails also had mixed drinks for $12.50, frozen drinks for $14.00. Really? Ice costs that much more? Rip-off. Kept walking. Finally saw The Cheesecake Factory! Yes, let’s get some drinks and dessert. That’s what we came for, that is what we shall have. The tropical martinis were fabulous, and deep-fried avocado appetizers were amazing, and the red velvet cheesecake was orgasmic. Thank you to our server for telling us we didn’t both need a slice. He was right, and we thanked him for watching our wallets and waistlines.
 
With the day drawing to a close, we walked out into the crisp night air and over to the Bellagio gardens. Decorated for fall, they were (as always) a sight to behold. Pumpkins, scarecrows, corn stalks and the like filled the atrium, and we tried to photograph as much of it as possible. Then we made our way back to my car and finally to her resort. I hated to see the day end.
 

 
• Do you believe in the slogan, “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas?”
• Would you have swayed and bopped to the music?
• $12.50 for a cocktail. Discuss.

Ten on Tuesday – Travel

Posted on September 28th, 2011 by Jean

1. What is your dream vacation?
At this point in my life, it would have to be a family trip to Disneyland.
 

 
2. What has been your favorite trip so far in your life?
I love traveling with my sister. She always has the best ideas. My favorite would be the time we stayed at Paris Hotel in Las Vegas to play tourists, visiting the Star Trek exhibit at the Hilton, enjoying a comedy show, grabbing a quick bite at P.F. Chang’s, breakfast of sweet or savory crepes or fresh sourdough bread from one of Paris’ bakeries.
 

 
3. If you and one of your best friends could go anywhere in the world for one week, where would it be and why?
I’m slightly infatuated by Chicago right now. As a reality t.v. fan, Giuliana & Bill’s episodes praising what a great city Chicago is has left me with a craving to explore what it has to offer.
 

 
4. Have you ever booked a trip using an online deal? How did it go?
I’ve purchased airline tickets, booked hotels, bought amusement park tickets, and rented cars, but never purchased a whole deal. It always goes well.
 

 
5. What’s your favorite thing to do while you’re on vacation?
I love to shop and to eat, but eating wins out by just a bit.
 

 
6. Have you ever missed an opportunity to take a trip that you regret?
I can’t say that I have, thankfully.
 
7. You travel far away from home and get stranded with no way to buy anything, what’s the one thing you can’t live without?
My camera would be the one thing so I could at least capture memories.
 
8. What’s one of your favorite traveling memories?
I have so many, it’s difficult to choose. Probably a very recent memory of San Diego, sharing ice cream cones with my daughters.
 

 
9. All included resort or backpacking? Why?
All included resort. I’m not big on outdoor activities.
 
10. Are you more of a lie on the beach kind of person on vacation, or do you prefer to see the sights?I’d prefer to see the sights. In my youth, sure, I would soak up the rays. But now I want to get out and experience my destination.
 
To participate in Ten on Tuesday, please visit Roots and Rings.

Special Guest: The Mama Mary Show

Posted on October 21st, 2010 by Jean

It’s an exciting day here as I host my first Guest Blogger. Please help me welcome Mary of The Mama Mary Show! From the minute I stepped foot (virtually) into her world, I knew Mary had “it”. She’s entertaining, charming, professional and beautiful. Watching her vlogs, I feel like I’m catching up with a good friend. Enough of my intro. Let’s get to the good stuff! ~ Jean
 

 
Everyone’s A Winner
 
The year I turned twenty-one I went to Las Vegas at least eight times. I was in the middle of my junior year at the University of California at Santa Barbara so Vegas was only a short drive, and really the optimum place to celebrate one’s entry into official adulthood. Once I got a taste of the bright lights and a hankering for doubling down, there was no stoppin’ me.
 
My best memory of Vegas that year was a trip I took with my three besties, Amy, Brandy and Lori. We stayed at the illustrious Circus Circus hotel where $2.00 Black Jack tables were a highly sought after commodity rather than a thing of the past (pretty sure the $2.00 tables can’t be found nowadays).
 
Once we found a $2.00 table that could accommodate all four of us, we bellied up, antied up and settled in. The dealer and our fellow table mates could tell that we were newbies so they were very forthcoming with the “understood” rules of when to hit and when to stay. If you’ve played Blackjack before than you are probably aware of the dirty glares and eye rolls you get if you don’t “let the dealer bust.” We quickly caught on, and after a few hands of watching the dealer hit a twelve with a ten and begin stacking chips in front of us, we got the hang of it. Shortly thereafter, my friend Amy remembered a phrase taught to her by her favorite aunt.
 
The phrase is “Everyone’s a winner!” She taught us the very specific inflection and cadence with which it must be uttered (see video below) and we then taught it to everyone else at our table (to give the phrase its true magic, the key is to not only say it with the required rhythm, but it also must be said in unison by EVERY player at the table).
 
Luckily our tablemates were game, so to speak, and began chiming in with us every time the dealer would bust. “Everyone’s a winner!” we exclaimed, time and time again. Soon the pit bosses were gathered around and we had nearby tables joining in on our jovial cheer.
 
At some point I had to excuse myself to go to the restroom (you know, free cocktails and all). When I returned to the table I found seven empty chairs, no dealer and a black tablecover indicating the table to be closed. It was a Twilight Zone moment for me as I looked around for my friends and tried to retrace my steps back to the bathroom in case I had gotten turned around (casinos have that way about them). But after due investigation, I was certain that my friends had been hauled off to the Vegas black market and I had some splainin’ to do to our parents.

 
Minor panic began to set in, until one of my girlfriends sauntered over and grabbed me by the arm. “They moved us to a different table,” she explained as she pulled me in a different direction.
 
Apparently our table had been making quite the scene, in a good way, so the “house” moved us to a more visible, high-profile table. Our chanting-infused good luck continued at the new table and we were all able to walk away from the night winners.
 
Since that night I have introduced everyone and anyone I have ever met at a blackjack table to the cheer and though I have never been as lucky as that first night (who is?), my gambling experiences are always a blast (albeit annoying to the more serious game playas who should be playing at higher stakes tables anyway).
 
What about you? Do you have any traditions or good luck charms when you’re gambling? I highly recommend the “Everyone’s a winner” cheer for you and your table. It’s fun for the whole casino!
 
Check out the video below for a brief tutorial.
 


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