Friday, July 31, 2015

Five on Friday

Happy Friday friends!!!

1. If you read a lot of blogs, you probably have already heard that Leslie at A Blonde Ambition passed away on Monday. 

I have never met Leslie personally, but I enjoyed reading her blog and linking up for her fabulous "Confessional Fridays." The saddest part of all is that she leaves behind two sweet girls under the age of 2. Sooooo sad that these girls will never get to know their mama. I could cry just thinking about it.
While this is all super tragic and sad, it does inspire me to blog more and continue to share lots of "Life with Ella" -type posts on this space. Leslie's girls are lucky in the fact that they can always look back on her blog and read about the memories their mom shared with them. Life is just too short. 

2. Moving on to something more upbeat! (Almost literally.) Yesterday, we discovered the BEST kept secret in Charlotte! Our friend Anni invited a bunch of us for a play date at Sky Zone. I was a little apprehensive about it (I wasn't sure what exactly Ella was going to do there?) but they actually have a special Toddler Time on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-11! No kids over 5! And it was only $6 to bounce....for an entire hour!

Ella LOVED it! At first, she just kind of sat there....and I was worried I had spent a whole $6 for my kid to sit on a gigantic trampoline. 

But then, she saw what the other kids were doing, and she jumped up and down and all around for the rest of the hour! And took a fantastic nap later. So we will be heading back there every week!

3. Before we headed to Sky Zone, we had to meet with our landscaper to pick out some shrubs. I don't think I mentioned it on here but wayyyy back in April, we came home from California to find dead bushes. They have since been ripped out and almost 4 months later, we are finally getting some new stuff planted!

The bushes in the back row are the exact same of what we already have planted. The smaller, lighter green plants are what we are putting in! Ella was not a fan, but she'll come around I'm sure. 

4. Something else Ella was not a fan of this week? Getting new shoes. What. the. heck. girl. Are we even related?! She pitched a fit the entire time we were in Nordstrom. She wouldn't let the sales person measure her foot, and when she brought out the shoes, the only ones Ella wanted to wear were her old ones. 

I basically had to bribe her to take this picture with the shoe box. She threw it on the floor 3 seconds later. Toddlers are fun. 
Of course, later that night when Daddy came home from work, she ran to her closet, got the shoe box out and said "flah shooo, flah shooo!" (flower shoes, flower shoes; in case you don't speak Ella). Oh well. At least she likes them now

5. I'm thinking--key word: THINKING--about doing Whole 30

Yes I am probably crazy. But I feel like I eat SO much crap. Just complete garbage crap. And now that I'm 30 (!!!) my metabolism is slooooowing down so I can't eat whatever anymore. Sad face. 
I don't like diets, so that's why I am not jumping on this bandwagon just yet. If you've done Whole 30, let me know what you thought of it...and if you gained weight after you went back to eating normally!?!

Time for me and fav girl to hit up the Nature Museum! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fun with Clifford!

Last Friday, Ella and I headed to Imaginon to check out their story time, as well as their Clifford exhibit! Since Ella is currently obsessed with "choo choos," I figured we might as well take the light rail uptown while we were at it.

Ella loved every second of riding the {sometimes questionable} light rail. She wouldn't stop saying "choo choo," the whole way there and back.

Once we got to Imaginon, we met up with her little friend, Mackenize! There was lots of hugging... 

...and stretching...

...and of course bubbles! (What would story time be without bubbles?!)

After the story time, we went to see Clifford! We did have to wait for a while to get in, because they only allow a certain number of people in the exhibit at a time. While it was annoying to wait, I was certainly grateful for this rule once we got in, because it wasn't ridiculously crowded. 

There were so many things to do! I think it was geared toward kids slightly older than Ella (maybe 2 and up?), but she still had lots of fun exploring!

The icing on the cake? We got to stop by Daddy's office before heading home! Honestly, that was probably Ella's favorite part...forget trains and big red dogs, a girl just wants her dad sometimes! 

However, I do highly suggest visiting the Clifford exhibit if you are in Charlotte and have some little people with you! It was a lot of fun...and and did I mention, it's FREE! 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Five on Friday

Happy Friday, friends!!

1. April posted this great mom-hack the other day and while it is the simplest thing, I don't know why I didn't think of it myself!
Ready for this? Hang a dustpan and broom with a Command hook by baby's high chair for easy clean up! 

Duh!!! Love it.

2. Another masterpiece by my little artist!

I can't. handle. it.

3. Speaking of how fabulous my child is.... ;) While Trav and I were in Vegas, Ella stayed with her grandparents (my parents watched her Thursday-Friday, and Trav's came to watch her Saturday-Sunday). I'm not sure what those grandparents were doing with my child, but she has gotten exponentially smarter and now knows the following words:
-apple (and points to the apple icon on the iPad)
-strawberry (she used to just say "straw straw")
-and if you ask her what a lion says, she now goes, "RAHHH!" and it's the funniest thing ever

I'm pretty impressed with those 4 days of Grandparent Daycare! 

4. Confession: I think I am the only person in America who has not bought something at the Nordstrom sale yet! Feel free to bring this to my husband's attention!!!!
But what I did buy recently were these Tory sandals!

Not only are they on sale, but I got them when Tory was running a 30% off sale items special...and then she gave me $50 to spend for my birthday! So these guys cost me a whopping $35!! Woohoo!

5. Wanted to share 2 yummy recipes I whipped up this week:

Both were delicious!!!

Have a happy Friday and a great weekend!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas...

....unless you have a blog, duh!

A few notes about Vegas before I begin the photo dump:
1. This was my first time to Vegas and it was totally what I expected, but not what I expected at the same time.
2. Everything was super overwhelming and over the top. The hotels are small cities, the people are super eccentric and there were a lot more foreigners that I expected.
3. Smoking in the casinos = yuck.
4. I did have a lot of fun, but I understand now why people only go to Vegas for a few days!! After 3 days, I was ready to get home and detox! 
5. I didn't see anyone famous. I know. I was so disappointed! I thought I would at least spot a Housewife!

Oh and also! I got to Vegas and realized I had brought the wrong lens for my fancy cam (my 50mm lens, which does not zoom in or out!). So most of these pics are from my good ol' iPhone! And please excuse the plethora of selfies...Trav didn't trust anyone to take our picture! Ha!

Ok so here we go...get comfortable because this is really long! 

I flew in Wednesday evening and met Trav (he had gotten there earlier because he was in Vegas for work!) at Aria, which is where we stayed. 

Our view from the 24th floor was incredible! I didn't take a pic of it at night, but here is what it looked like the next morning:

Anyways, that night I was pretty tired, so we walked around the Aria casino and next door at the Monte Carlo a little bit before I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. 

Thursday, Trav had meetings, so I got my birthday present: a morning of SPA TREATMENTS!!

I had a hot stone massage first, followed by a facial. They were both exquisite. The whole spa facility at Aria is highly recommended!!!

After my morning at the spa, I still had some time to kill before Trav got out of his meetings, so I went here:

and ordered this $30 glass of deliciousness!

Vegas is not cheap, y'all!

That night we had dinner at Javier's

I had the most amazing enchiladas and mango margaritas!!! They were about 293749 times better than the margs at Cantina...and those are were my absolute favorite! So that is really saying something!

Friday morning, Travis was done with meetings/work (yay!) so we decided to walk around the Strip. Our first stop was breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi, which is this adorable restaurant in Paris. 

Funny how I said I wanted a trip to Paris...and here I am! Haha...definitely not as good as the real Paris, but close enough! ;)

After our yummy breakfast, we headed north on Las Vegas Blvd. 

First stop was the Bellagio:

The Bellagio has these gorgeous gardens inside!

And also, the ceiling in the lobby was so cool!

Next we moved on to Caesar's Palace, which was the biggest hotel I've ever seen. 

It just kept going on and on and on and on...kind of like Rome (which is what it was based off). 

And yes, that's Fendi in the "Pantheon." Only in Vegas!

We needed a little break after Caesar's so we stopped in the Cromwell. I really liked the decor of this hotel, super swanky!

I did not like all of the money we lost playing blackjack there :(
(Even though we are smiling...)

Next up: the Venetian!

Poor Trav got so annoyed with my picture taking at this point. He kept saying "You've been to the real Venice, why take all these pictures here?!" Boys just don't get he is trying to run away from me ;)

Inside of the Venetian, all of the corridors are very narrow and twisty...easy to get lost, just like real Venice! And they have a canal, with gondolas and everything. You better believe I wanted to take a gondola ride, but guess who vetoed that. Boo.

Adjacent to the Venetian is the Palazzo, which is just as Italian, fancy and gorgeous! Here is the view from the balcony connecting the Venetian and Palazzo:

Our last stop on the strip was the Wynn. 

I really liked the decor of this place, too! Reminded me of Alice in Wonderland.

After a little gambling, we took a cab back (it looks so close on the map, but it took us hours to walk this far!) to the Cosmopolitan.


I think if I came back to Vegas, I would stay here. Super fancy, and there is a bar called the Chandelier Bar. I mean, come on. What more could a girl ask for?!

Anyway, we had to stop here because I had to pick up a rental dress from Rent the Runway! 

I was so excited that I didn't have to pay shipping and could try the dress on in the store!

After we dropped my dress off at the hotel, we headed back out to see the Bellagio water show!

We finished our day with a late dinner at Mastro's Ocean Club, where we had the best ahi tuna either of us has tasted!

Saturday was our last full day in Vegas (we're almost done...hang in there!). 
We decided to take a cab to Old Vegas.

It was really a museum, but people still use the casinos!

After walking around Fremont Street for a while, and stopping in some of the old casinos, it looked like there was a big storm coming so we quickly grabbed a cab and headed back to the hotel. It was so windy, and I kept getting sand in my eyes. It looked like it was going to be pretty bad!

Oh ps, it rained for about 5 seconds total. 

That evening, we went to see a Cique du Soleil show, Zarkana. I didn't realize there were so many varieties of Cirque shows, but there are 8 different ones in Vegas! We chose Zarkana because it was right in the Aria, so we got a discount on tickets for being hotel guests.

I didn't take very good pictures with my phone, so here's a few I stole from their website!

The show was truly amazing and definitely worth the money! Highly recommend it!

After the show, we made a quick pit stop in our room so we could take a picture with the lights of Vegas (kind of) behind us.

We had to take more pics walking to dinner...

And then, for our last dinner in Vegas, we ate at Scarpetta in the Cosmopolitan. We had a gorgeous view, and got to see not one, not two, but THREE of the Bellagio's water shows during our meal! It was a great way to end our trip!

Whew! If you're still reading this, congrats!!!

We had a blast in Vegas! It was great to get away with just my husband, as we haven't done that since before Ella was born!!! I did miss my sweet girl though...shoutout to the grandparents for taking such good care of her while we were gone!!