Friday, June 30, 2006


Sorry I've been AWOL for a few weeks. I think Kevin filled you in on everything Vegas-related. For the record, the conference was a huge success and we're getting lots of kudos at the office for another job well done. Unfortunately, it's already time to start planning the next one, and we're still catching up from the week we were all out of the office for this year's.

This was a long week. I had trouble sleeping earlier in the week, which is unusual for me. I've just been draggy at both work and home. I'm so glad it's Friday. I'm taking Monday off, which will be nice. Kevin got a good vacation in Vegas, but I came back more tired than ever. So I can use four consecutive days off. Mom, Katie and I kicked off the weekend with dinner at Bravo Cucina at Union Center and saw The Devil Wears Prada. Dinner was good—not great, but good. And it was nice to see Mom. The movie was good too. Anne Hathaway was so cute and her clothes were awesome! I wish I had clothes like that, but I'm glad I don't have to wear 4-inch heels and run around New York City in them! The overarching theme of the movie was the same as the book, but a lot of details were different, and of course they had to streamline the story line. Katie and I both listened to the book on CD recently (that's my new commute fetish) and really liked it. I recommend the book or the movie.

Mackenzie got his teeth cleaned on Wednesday, which may have been part of why I slept poorly the few nights before. The catch-22 was that Kenzie needs to have healthy teeth and gums more than the average cat because he has 2 heart problems, and bacteria entering the bloodstream from his mouth could make his heart worse or even kill him. On the other hand, he's more prone to problems with the anesthesia because his heart is weak. He did great, though, and I'm glad I did it because they had to extract a tooth that was damaged and could cause a lot of pain for him. I've been anxious about it, though, and am relieved that it's over (he's sitting on my lap and making it very difficult to type right now).

We have some fun plans this weekend, so we'll fill you in soon. Happy holiday weekend!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Vegas, Volume Two

I'll have to get the next set of pics from Amanda (we are so bad at taking pictures, so we decided to just borrow hers). I should be able to show you most of them.
Tuesday Matt, Amanda, and I spent the day exploring the big casinos and shopping of Vegas. We got a 24 hour pass on the monorail system and did A LOT of walking. We went to MGM Grand, Harrah's, The Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesar's Palace, Paris, and Ballys during the day. That evening, we decided to go see a show at the Stratosphere. Before the show we went to dinner at an Italian restaurant at the casino that was surprisingly good. After the show, we intended to go see the fountain show at The Bellagio, but we realized that they stopped after midnight and we got there about 1:00. So we decided to head over to Caesar's Palace and went to Cleopatra's Barge Nightclub (not the best name, but we had fun). Since the monorail closed at 2:00, we couldn't stay long and we headed back to our hotel for the night.
Wednesday we headed over to the Fashion Show Mall because Matt needed some new shoes (he had only packed sandals and couldn't wear them to most of the clubs in town). Since he was getting new shoes, I decided to get some too (they were on sale at Macy's). That night was the big HOW Conference with a theme of "Vintage Vegas" so we all got dressed up and put our dancing shoes on. We had tons of fun and shut the party down at about 1:30.
Thursday morning I got up and headed over to the conference for the closing keynote speaker. I wasn't quite sure that I would make it down, but I was glad I did. The speaker talked about "radical careering" which is basically her theory for getting the most out of your career and taking control of your career path. I really enjoyed it and got a lot out of what she had to say.
After that we headed out to the pool and had lunch with Sarah's staff. Since Sarah had not been able to go to the pool all week, she was very excited to check it out and get a little sun. Since no trip to Vegas is complete without a dinner buffet, we went to the Pharoh's Pheast at the Luxor with Matt, Amanda, Bryn, Tricia, Megan, Susan, and Carmen. After dinner Matt, Amanda, Carmen, Sarah, and I went over to New York New York for a round at the Oxygen Bar. None of us had been to one before so we wanted to find out what it was like. Basically, you sit there for 20 minutes with a tube sending scented oxygen up your nose. It is supposed to give you energy and make you feel refreshed. I can't say for sure that it worked, but I really think it did. We were out LATE that night. After the oxygen, we went down to the casino to play some slots. We settled on the "Wheel of Fortune" and had a blast. Whenever you landed on a "Spin" you got to spin the wheel to win up to 1000 quarters. Sarah spun a few times and was up $20 for a while, but eventually we lost it all. After that we went over to Studio 54 at MGM Grand. Being a Thursday night the party wasn't going too much at that time, but we gave it a little bit of time and it got much better. After a while, we decided we'd had enough of the club scene so we went back to New York New York and went to an Irish bar that had a live band playing. At 2:00 they kicked us out because they were closing and we decided that we were hungry. So we went back to Luxor and had some "breakfast" at the all night cafe. After that, we decided to call it a night and headed to our rooms around 3:30.
Friday morning we slept in (surprise, surprise). We met Matt and Amanda for lunch at the Burger Bar and then headed down to the pool for one more sun session. After that we got ready for dinner. We had decided to make our last night in town a big one and went to Alize, the restaurant on the top floor of The Palms casino. We had probably the best table in the restaurant with an amazing view of the entire strip. We really enjoyed the whole experience, it was awesome. After dinner, we headed over to The Bellagio to see the fountains (they were still on this time) and we got to see two shows. One was choreographed to "Viva Las Vegas" and the other to the theme from "Somewhere in Time." It was pretty cool. After that we called it a night, since we had an early flight the next day.
The trip home went very smoothly and we all had a great time throughout the whole week. I think we've all seen enough of Vegas for quite a while, but look forward to vacationing together again soon!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Vegas Pics

Here are some photos from our trip so far. Some of them might want for an explanation, but what happens in Vegas...
  • Vegas Pics
  • Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    Vegas, Volume One

    So far, so good in sunny Las Vegas! We had a delay in our flight out on Sunday, but it didn't set us back too far. Once we got our luggage, got a taxi, checked in, and got to our room; Sarah had to jet off to get things ready for the conference, so I was left to unpack and get us settled. Our room is really nice: shower and bathtub, double sinks, king size bed, separate closets. No view, but that's okay. So Sunday evening we went to dinner with the whole HOW staff at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant, Postrio , at the Venitian. The food, wine, and company were all tremendous. We had a great time and by the time we got back to our hotel everyone was ready for bed. Matt & Amanda's flight got it around 9:00 pm, which was right around the time everyone else in our group was headed off to sleep. I had fully intended to go out with them when they got to their hotel, but that king size bed was calling my name and I succumbed to an early bedtime on my first night in Vegas!
    Yesterday I got up (Sarah was already long gone) and walked around Mandalay Bay (our hotel) to check things out. I met up with Matt and Amanda and we went to breakfast at the Bay Side Buffet (you'll have to ask Matt about the bacon). After breakfast, we headed out for some fun and sun at the pool. It was awesome! They have a huge wave pool that creates a big wave about every three minutes. We had a lot of fun challenging each other to see who could best withstand the power of the waves (Amanda lost). After some good sun time, we headed back to our rooms to get ready for the evening.
    We stopped for a late lunch/early dinner at La Salsa in Luxor (the same location as Katie's "rehearsal dinner" two years earlier. Nice trip down memory lane, btw) and headed over to the HOW Conference Kickoff session. We made a quick stop at the casino to put some money in the slots (which we left in the slots, no big wins... yet). Sarah was able to secure passes to the opening session for all three of us, it was great. They kicked it off with a Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin "Rat Pack" tribute trio who were very entertaining. We were in the front row and "Old Blue Eyes" kept making eyes at Amanda and Sarah.
    Before the main speaker got up there, Sarah gave an awards presentation honoring their competition winners from this year. She was pretty nervous about speaking in front of a crowd of four thousand, but you would never have known it to see her on stage. I was so proud of her; she looked and sounded great. I'm really lucky to have the opportunity to get this glimpse into a big part of what Sarah does with HOW. I'm so proud of what she does, not just her public speaking, but being such an integral part of such a huge operation. I see why everyone she works with has such respect for her and so much faith in her talents and abilities.
    The main speaker at the session was amazing. He talked about risk taking in work and integrated that overall theme into his talents and genius in the world of juggling. I can't really do justice to what he had to say and show us, but trust me when I say everyone was blown away and I left with a powerful message that really relates to what they do and why they are here.
    After the HOW stuff, Matt, Amanda, and I headed over to the House of Blues for Rock Star Karaoke, unlike any karaoke you've seen before. They had a limited song list, but every singer performed with a live band! Matt and Amanda both got the crowd going with "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Get This Party Started" respectively. I refrained from hitting the stage with anything, but had a great time rockin' out in the crowd! We left around 12:30 (still a little lame for Vegas) but with the promise that tonight we were going to party much later. So we have planned some nap time this afternoon to get us prepared, what can I say, we're getting old!
    Hope all is well with all of you. I'll try to keep you posted throughout the rest of the week!

    Saturday, June 10, 2006

    Good Times

    As Sarah mentioned, I had a few social events this week, which seems to be more common for me lately. Thursday I went a Red's game with the other branch managers in my region at the bank. We had a great time, I really enjoy working (and playing) with this group. We've done several things together since the beginning of the year (when my office was moved to a new region) and I've especially been having fun with three fellow managers; Gina, Erin, & CJ (see photo). A few weeks ago we went another ballpark for Erin & Gina's weekly softball league game (with their team of fellow Fifth Thirders, The Bad News Bankers). It also happened to be CJ's birthday that week, so picked up a cake from Piece of Cake Pastry (I LOVE their cakes!!!!). It's always so great to have a group of people that you work with who you can really have fun with, so I'm very happy to be working with these guys now!
    Also this week, I went to a concert with one of my very best friends (who I don't get to see nearly enough) Liz Truitt. We went to see one of her very favorite bands, Nickel Creek. I've been listening to their latest album a lot lately and I really love it. This is actually the second time I've been to a Nickel Creek concert with her, but the first time I wasn't too familiar with their music. The opener on Wednesday was Ben Lee, from Sydney, Australia. I'd never heard him before, but I really liked his music. I'll have to pick up a copy of his new CD soon (or you can pick it up for me! ;-P).
    So tomorrow we are leaving for Vegas!!!! I'm planning to keep you updated while we are out there. I should be able to find the time since my responsibilities will include hanging out at the pool, picking a club for the evening with Matt & Amanda, and putting money in slot machines! Sarah's responsibility list is a little longer, I think.

    Thursday, June 08, 2006

    Blog Fever

    Check out Kevin's mom's new blog, Kathy's Online Scrabook!

    Here's What's New

    We've had a busy week, so here's the quick and dirty:

    Friday, Kevin's parents came to visit and we went to Outback for dinner then hung out at home for a few hours. Their trip was last-minute, and it was a really nice surprise. Saturday, we went over to Katie's bright and early (6:30!) to have what's becoming our annual yard sale. We had a very successful sale at our house last year, but Katie's entire street was having a sale Saturday, so we held it at her house this year. It was a beautiful day, and we had continuous traffic from about 7:30 to 3:30. We made a decent chunk of change and hauled the rest to Goodwill. That night, Kevin, Keith, Kathy and I went over to Kevin's Aunt Linda, Uncle Greg and Cousin Jon's house for a cookout. We don't see them as often as we should, and it was fun and relaxing to sit outside and catch up with them. They grilled a great meal and have a gorgeous back yard (with a coy pond & fountain--I'm jealous!). Sunday, Katie and I went to Melissa's baby shower. She's due in August and is looking so cute! (We'll post pictures of the weekend to Flicker soon.) Kevin, Keith and Kathy did some shopping, then they headed home and we did some chores, made enchiladas and watched LOST (they're replaying the second season, which we haven't seen--yay!).

    This week, Kevin is Mr. Social. He went to a concert with Liz and her friends Sarah last night, he's going to a Red's Game for work tonight and he's attending a happy hour tomorrow night. I've been busy getting ready for our trip to Vegas for the HOW Conference next week. More about that later. Gotta get back to work!