Archive for Travel travel travel

Tuesday en Nueva Jork

It was 5am on a mildly cold December evening when we shivered off the minor chill in the air and unlocked the door to the second floor apartment in the walkup on 65th St.  We rented this place from a company called “Ideal Oasis” which is, in my experience, the worst short term apartment rental company ever.  DO NOT RENT FROM THEM.

As I was saying…

My friend Andrea and I had just finished “breakfast” at a diner in the city, accompanied by Jeru the Damaja (a rapper). At first I was put off by his abrasive yet quirky behavior at the bar where we ran into him but he grew on me after he told me how he actually learned to rap from his aunt and was raised around twenty – one females.  “I know females. I’m telling you!” he said to me from across the booth at the diner as we waited on our breakfast faire to arrive and soak up the alcohol in our system.

MySurreaLife Jeru the Damaja Dec 2014

When Andrea and I laid down on crunchy, squeeky mattress on top of the scratchy, once-white sheets, we both laughed at loud at the ridiculous accommodations we were staying. It was 5:30 am when I set my alarm for 11:30 the next day. Fortunately we were a bit drunk and drifted right to sleep but I did not feel rested come 11:30am.

I had a meeting to get to with Universal Attractions Agency, an agency I had been hired by earlier that month to do publicity for surrounding “Get On Up,” the James Brown biopic.  I was meeting with them about Paystr and the meeting could not have gone better. The gentlemen I spoke with understood the software I was bringing to their attention, and even better, understood the many routes they could take to use the software for huge sales growth for them and their clients.

I had brought a bag of materials (& a change of shoes!) for the meeting and now also had to cart it with me to my next stop, which was anywhere I could get some food to prep myself for the next round of drinking in store.  This time, it was to celebrate my little sister’s thirty-third birthday.  She had just moved to the city earlier that summer and had been going non-stop with work ever since.  I could not be more proud of her for her hard work and determination to do a spectacular job.

We ate and ate and ate (and drank and drank and drank) and had a WONDERFUL evening at the David Burke restaurant Kitchen.  Fortunately in my old age, I know enough to drink lots of water while drinking lots of alcohol, so by the time we left, I was barely tipsy.  Ahhh, to be a grown up, and also to know enough to eat lots of greasy food during alcohol consumption.  Below are the wines we drank that night.  The sommelier of Kitchen kindly arranged the labels from the amazing selections of wine we had that night, onto one piece of paper as memorabilia for my sister.  Awesome.com

MySurreaLife What We Drank Tuesday at David Burke Kitchen

When en NYC, eat at the best spots in town, of which, Kitchen is definitely one.

A City So Nice…

It had been just under one year since I was last in New York City. After my father’s December 13, 2013 funeral, I needed to make seriously amazing lemonade out of the terribly sour lemons life had handed by family with my father’s November 30 death. My sister showed our little girl how to make snowballs in the backyard where our father grew up. It is such a bittersweet memory seeing them running and playing where my father grew up when he wasn’t physically there with us to participate or at least watch with us.

Living in LA, I figured if my three year old “Z,” and my husband and I would be across the country in Pennsylvania for my father’s memorial, we should head even further East and take in the sights of the holiday decorations in New York City. As we drove the couple hours from where we were in Pennsylvania to New York, I told our little girl we were on our way to New York City, a place we knew well from the movie, “Buddy the Elf.” As we approached the Lincoln Tunnel, I  asked her, “do you know where we are sweet girl?” “The Lincoln Tunnel. Remember Buddy the Elf walked through here to go see his dad in the Empire State Building?” She beamed with joy and I did as well. Raising a fellow Will Ferrell fan is not difficult, but it makes me proud none the less.

We shared magical memories that trip. We made snow angels in Central Park with “Auntie Kristina,” one of my friends who lives in the city. The snow was damp, but we all made sweet snow angels and even a super cute tiny snowman. We met family from Connecticut in Rockefeller Center & had a delicious dinner with them and another friend from my college days.

Planning my trip back to the city this year, I couldn’t let Z know I was going back without her. I told me husband, and anyone else who I knew might spill the beans, that we were to only speak of me going to “The East Coast.”

I wanted to go to the city this year to spend my beautiful sister’s 33 birthday with her. Talk about outdoing my last trip when I didn’t think it possible!

Monday, December 8
I arrived into the city and met our other, surrogate older “sister” Andrea at the terrible VRBO I found online, via IdealOasis, which is anything but. Side note, don’t ever use them. I wasn’t thrilled with my apt find, but I tried not to care much as we had places to be and people to see! We weren’t going to be in the room much anyway, so I could suffer through it, or so I thought.

Andrea and I hopped in a cab and headed to mid-town to one of the restaurants my sister co-manages. We got out of the cab, barely stepped foot into the hotel where the restaurant lives when I was greeted with a football player strength tackle of a hug from my beautiful, sweet little sister Natalie. I was glad she was happy to see me as I was so very happy to finally be with her again too.

We ate like kings that night (& subsequently every night that week, but more on that later.) Lobster BLTs, a Cauliflower steak for our vegan Andrea, various wine pairings; everything was beyond delicious, and exciting. From the moment I walked in to the hotel lobby / restaurant entrance, I saw my sister in her workplace, confident and respected, working, yet loving it and that was what I really came for, to see how she was really doing, in her everyday. It was a sigh of relief for me to see her thriving in her job, and genuinely happy. Tired, but happy.

After our meal, which was one of those extremely lengthy meals because we took our time eating and talking and talking and laughing and eating and drinking, my sister invited us up to Spyglass, the rooftop bar the restaurant group also operated. She told me to walk out of the elevator, go right and just look directly ahead. Thinking nothing of it, I did what she said and was nearly knocked off my feet by the incredible view.

MySurreaLife Empire State from Spyglass Dec 2014

The top of the Empire State Building was so close we could touch it and the lights were doing something I had never seen them do before; they were dancing, in blue, white and red. Prince William and his Kate were in town and we were told the dancing lights were a tribute for them. Andrea, Natalie and I joked that we secretly knew the lights were really for our arrival into the city.

MySurreaLife Underberg at Spyglass

We had drinks at the bar Spyglass and I again watched with such pride as my sister was greeted with such respect by employees she manages. We stayed after closing time, and even after security told my sister they were leaving. I expressed my pride and amazement with her that we were in this beautiful bar with one of the most incredible views in the city, and she is so high up on the food chain that security left, leaving us there after them. My heart and soul just beamed with pride at my baby sister’s career accomplishments here in the great city of New York.

Andrea and I went to a party to meet up with one of her close friends, and my aquaintence through her, Jarobi, who is best know as a member of Tribe Called Quest and he’s also an incredible chef. Being in the city for my sister’s birthday,

I decided to also take the opportunity to schedule some business meetings for a company Andrea and I work with, Paystr. Paystr is a digital sales application for anyone who creates digital content, to sell their content on their own site.   I took the opportunity we had with Jarobi to make sure he knew about Paystr. I’m so glad we spoke to him about it as he has been in the studio recording new music and now he can sell it all by himself. #Boom

Tune in next time for Tuesday’s happenings which include waking up in a bed bug ridden bed, going to a meeting at Universal Attractions Agency, meeting my sister and a party of 6 others for an unbelievable, unforgettable dinner at David Burke Kitchen and moving from the not Ideal Oasis to my thoughtful friend’s apartment one block from Central Park.

New York Sister, Here I Come

I sat on the Virgin America flight for nearly two hours, boucing between sleep and glazed eyes watching the movie previews on the tv in front of me.  I couldn’t believe how much I already missed my four year old who I haven’t been away from for more than three days in the past nineteen months.  I’ll be away from her for six days this trip and I’m sure it will feel like more of an eternity for me than to her.  I worry about her constantly.  Is she ok?  Is she happy?  Has she had enough food?  Is she warm enough?  And these are my worries when I’m in the same city as her!  I am so blessed to have found such a good school for her, a school that can warm a lunch we pack for her daily, a school that sends us daily updates on if she ate her lunch and snacks, and even sends us a photo of her with the updates, which will really come in handy for me, being away.  I’ll get to see how her dad dressed her and if he did her hair or not.  I am laughing to myself just thinking about how much of a tom boy she’ll probably be this week, even though she is such a girly girl.

I am super excited to have a little time away though, to be able to have a drink at night and not have to wake up at the crack of dawn with her for a couple days. I’m relieved to have some adult time with my sister and a few friends I see less and less as the years go by.  I’m thankful to be visiting New York City, a city so magical this time of year.  I’m nervous about keeping warm enough.  I’m excited to have potentially huge meetings with one talent booking agency and one record label about digital sales processing for their digital content.

It is times like these that I reflect on MySurreaLife.  How blessed I am to literally have everything I’ve ever wanted.  I have a beautiful little girl who could not be more fun to be around, I have a great family, an amazing group of friends who are essentially family.

Adventures in Aspen

When you have the time and money to go to Aspen, I STRONGLY recommend doing it.  Make sure you bring extra money just for the food and drinks in that town.  I have not consistently eaten as  well as I ate in Aspen the four days I was there.  Wow wow wow.  Can’t say enough good things about the food & beverage industry there.

My sister has lived in Aspen and worked in the restaurant industry for the past seven years.  She has been a sommelier for the past four years and she really kicks ass at what she does.  I went with her when she went to test for one of her sommelier tests and that process seemed completely brutal to me.  It’s a three day long test, covering more information that I could ever hope to make time to read about, much less study and retain.  It makes sense everything they study; their educated opinions on the selections they chose have never been less that extraordinary to my meagerly educated self.  When I went with her to this test, it was held in Vegas.  That night we ate at Jean Georges, which, in and of itself, is an amazing restaurant, but we ate with three of her colleagues who had also just taken the test and the wines and champagnes they ordered to accompany the food we had was beyond incredible.  I am a lightweight in the drink department, and I drank 4-5 glasses of various wines and champagnes which would typically make me sick, but the next day I was not the slightest bit hungover.  #Score. I digress.

MySurreaLife Snow Piled High in Aspen

Back to Aspen.  It was cold.  The snow was PILED high (see above) but it was beautiful; sunny skies and beautiful scenery. My sister, being so connected in the restaurant scene in Aspen, was able to get us reservations to accommodate our times and the number of people in our relatively small parties this past February.  The first night we went to an amazing steakhouse, whose street address is 316, and is therefore aptly named Steakhouse 316.  My sister had worked there two weeks prior to us going so when she walked in, it was like she came home to a living room full of family happy to see her.  We got a great table right by the door, albeit a bit too large for our party of 5.  We sat down at a table where my back was facing the entrance.  We got settled and placed our drink orders.  My brother was seated facing the door.  When I saw the look of complete joy and surprise on his face, I nearly broke my neck to see what he saw.  To my siblings and my surprise, my mother, being the master planner of surprises, had one of our uncles and one of our cousins surprise us by coming up to Aspen from Grand Junction.

The table for seven made sense now.  Needless to say, the company was outstanding, the service and ambiance incredible and the food?  It really was everything and more.  I have a few food intolerance issues and am “that person” at the table who needs to make sure things are cooked in this and not that. Not only did the chef and the servers know exactly what my food intolerances are, the food tasted incredible, even the food I could eat!  It is not the easiest task to cook tasty food that is also gluten and dairy free.

MySurreaLife Kickin it in Aspen MySurreaLife Dog Days in Aspen

The next day we toodled around town.  I saw a dog thoroughly enjoying being outside and a cute “artsy” statue in a window of an art gallery.  My mom’s super fun friend who was walking with me named the masterpiece “kickin it.”  I burst into laughter.  Right on Sharlee, right on.

MySurreaLife shopping at JCrew in Aspen

Trying on a shirt at JCrew that I ended up buying (& loving!)

 

I bought a shirt for my husband, and a few things for myself and on the way to catch the free bus back to my sister’s cute little apartment, I saw this amazing sunset.  I am so thankful I was able to snap a photo of how gorgeous those colors were.  Two minutes later it was gone.

MySurreaLife Sunset in Aspen

That night, we went to eat at another restaurant that my sister used to work at. Again, incredible food, amazing service and the most fun, HUGE, square ice cubes I’ve ever seen!

MySurreaLife Ice Cube at Jimmy's

The next day I was due to leave to go home to LA.  I checked the local Aspen tv station with the flight information and saw that my flight status was “on-time.”  I got to the tiny airport, sat at the gate and sat at the gate for the next four hours while other flights continued to arrive and depart.  The incoming flight that was due to be our outbound flight was having too much trouble landing in the wind of the Valley.  Understandable. Better safe than sorry.  They finally cancelled our flight, I called my mother and her friend who were still in town and they picked me up and we all went to dinner with my sister and our cousin at another amazing restaurant, one that my sister has not worked at, not yet at least! Matsuhisa is a Japanese restaurant that is outstanding, but I had only ever eaten there before I knew I was gluten intolerant which was why my mother and sister had planned to go there after I left.

Being in the service industry in as small of a town that Aspen is, my sister knows everyone, almost literally.  We sat down, she and our server greeted each other with friendly hugs and she explained to him my food intolerances.  He responded that they had many options available that I could eat, and I began to invision a plate of sashimi, chopped vegetables and a salad with no dressing.  That is typically what I have to order at Japanese restaurants.  Boy was I WRONG.  I don’t believe I have EVER eaten such amazingly tasty, melt in your mouth food that was free of gluten, dairy, yeast and pork.  The food and beverage industry in Aspen is absolutely incredible.

At the end of the night, as we were getting up to leave, my cousin’s necklace got caught in the fancy table.  Funny ending to a great night.

MySurreaLife Dinner in Aspen

The next day I went back to the airport, alongside Robert Wagner.  This is not the first time I’ve been on an Aspen to LAX flight with him.  My sister is coincidentally named after Natalie Wood.  Serendipitous or just a grand coincidence for me to have just spent a lovely week with his “love’s” namesake and BAM, there he is, Mr. Number 2.

MySurreaLife Robert Wagner

I got to the tiny boarding area and went to buy a ridiculously expensive bottle of water when I saw the cover of that month’s Vanity Fair magazine.  There they were, some the people I was about to be around when I got back to LA.  Thank-you life/universe for prepping me for what was about to come; more of MySurreality.

MySurreaLife February Vanity Fair cover Aspen Airport

#ForeverThankful & #Grateful

Being *only minorly* Affected By the Shooting at LAX

After months of planning, the time was upon us to pack our bags and get ready to go to Maui.  I had arranged for my supermely capable aunt to fly into LA the day before we left to see how a day in our life operates and to implement the consistency for our three year old in the coming few days we would be gone.

At the nail salon getting my nails done the day before we left, I overhead one of the nail techs talking about how LAX was closed because of a shooting.

“Great,” I thought to myself as I came to start worrying about how this turn of events would likely affect the majority of the rest of my day, and possibly my entire week ahead. The flight my aunt was on was supposed to land at LAX in just under an hour from when I heard the news. Her flight was scheduled to land not 2 hours after the incident. There I sat waiting, debating if I should still have these last few nails polished or if i should immediately race out the door and down to what was sure to be quite a scene at LAX.

I waited for the rest of my nails to be polished, paid and got in my car. Before getting on the road I called a colleague I work with who is also a former LAX police officer. I explained my situation and asked him if he could ask anyone he still knows there if my aunt’s flight would be landing and if I would be able to get to my aunt once at LAX. He told me he would call around and call me back.

I started my car and made my way down the 405 to LAX.  My colleague called me back and said the airport was closed, flights weren’t arriving or departing and that no one was allowed into the airport. I thanked him but stayed en route, hoping somehow his colleagues were wrong.

I then got on the phone with United airlines to see if her flight had been diverted. After ten minutes of menus and selections, I was able to speak with someone in reservations who told me her flight was on time. I asked if i would be able to pick her up from the airport. The person on the other line was definitely in a call centee overseas. I ground my teeth as she read from her script and again told me how the flight was on time to arrive at LAX.

Too nervous to be much nicer, I told her there was a shooting, I heard the airport was closed and asked her to check with her supervisor to see if people were able to pick up arriving passengers at the airport. She placed me on hold for a couple minutes at most and assured me her flight was due to arrive on time and that I would be able to pick her up.

Sure enough, in the miles before the exits to the airport, there were signs stating, “airport closed.”

“What am I supposed to do?!” I thought in a minor panic. “If I can’t get my aunt today, we can’t leave tomorrow and all our plans we’ve been working on for months will be all for not. How and why would someone waltz into an airport and start shooting people? Why can’t we all just be happy and not hurt each other?!” Sigh. These were my thoughts as I pulled off the freeway, onto Sepulveda and put my foot on the brakes.

MySurreaLife Sirius Satellite Navigation LAX gridlock LAX shooting

There were red taillights everywhere; stopped cars as far as I could see. People were waiting everywhere for someone to have any sort of information about arriving & departing passengers and how we were supposed to get them and if people’s flights would be leaving that day. While in the line of stopped cars, I called the LAX airport information line but after two rings it said, “all circuits busy,” and dropped the call. I called again to see if I might get a different response. I didn’t.

MySurreaLife Sepulveda closed LAX shooting

As I inched closer to the airport, the scene was surreal in a very unsettling way. Of the ten minutes I had been in the vicinity of LAX, I had only seen one plane land, and five helicopters hovering over the typically otherwise restriced airspace. I sat in the line of traffic on Sepulveda, in front of In-N-Out burger and saw, on the grassy area between the burger joint and the road, about 50 people with luggage, sitting around talking, pointing, scratching their heads, literally and figuratively.

MySurreaLife LAX shooting grassy area

I saw about 10 flight attendants grouped together in their pressed white shirts, blue pants and uniform scarves. I saw a couple take towels out of their suitcase and use it for a makeshift picnic area. The man laid down & put on his shades. The woman sat cross legged and took out a magazine.  Everyone was so calm, even with the handful of news trucks in the background and the helicopters buzzing overhead.

I called my aunt, hoping she’d landed somewhere by now. The call went directly to voice mail so I sent her a text asking her to call me when she lands so we can figure out what to do from there. Not too long after I sent her the text, I drove away towards Marina Del Rey, just to escape the other, many confused people almost on top of each other for lack of information about where else we should all go.

I drove towards MDR and turned around at the first stop light.  I didn’t want to go too far in case she made it in and in case we would be allowed to go into the airport to pick up arriving passengers.

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 2.11.59 PM

As I waited, my phone chirped.  My aunt texted back saying they had arrived into LAX but were waiting for a gate. I had no idea if the passengers were given information about what had happened. I asked her to call me if and when should could.

She called. I told her what had happened and told her how the airport was completely closed and that it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to drive onto the property to pick her up. I told her I would wait at one of the parking lots hoping that the police might be allowing shuttle buses to bring people out. Then I saw a shuttle bus driver who confirmed that even they couldn’t go in or out.

My aunt called back when she had her luggage and said there were no cars or busses anywhere in the airport. I tried to imagine the scene. It seemed too unreal to believe. She said she would start walking towards Sepulveda and that if they started allowing cars inside or at least along Sepulveda that she would look for my car & hop in if she saw me. I told her I was going to leave the parking area and go stay at in-n-out and wait for her. I had to pay $6.00 for the 20 minutes I was in the parking area. It drives me crazy that in times of crisis business owners can’t lend the smallest hand and give people a pass.

Miraculously I found a parking space at In-N-Out so I parked, grabbed my phone and started walking towards the airport. The weather had reached the low 80s. I didn’t want my aunt to have to pull her suitcase any longer than she already had. As I crossed the crosswalk onto an eerily empty Sepulveda, my phone rang. My aunt was in the parking lot at In-N-Out! I turned around, crossed the street again and was offered a bottle of cold Arrowhead water from a young man with cases full. A news reporter came up and said, “ok, i’ll take one. How much?”  “Oh, these are free,” he said, grabbing as many as he could and handing them out as fast as he could.  I didn’t ask who they were provided by, I just took one for my aunt, thanked him and kept heading back towards where she was waiting.

I’m always happy to see this aunt but I have never been more relieved to see her face standing with her suitcase in the parking lot at In-N-Out. We gave each other huge, sweaty hugs, I gave her the bottle of cold water and we made our way to my car and back to the Valley.

Before going to sleep that night my fiance had the brilliant idea to try to check us in and see if we would be able to or if our flight was somehow delayed due to the incident at LAX.  I was able to check us in online without a problem, but I called the airline just to be sure we wouldn’t have any surprises at the airport.  Sure enough, the airline assured us we could check in as we would have any other day, but to get there a bit early, just to be sure.

We arrived early and drove by the eerie scene of terminal 3.  The windows were covered and there were police cars lined up, about 10-12 deep. I was very thankful we weren’t departing out of terminal 3, that our flight was able to leave without delay only one day after the entire airport was shut down and mostly, I was thankful that my aunt was able to get into and out of the airport without major incident.  I feel truly blessed that, although we were minorly affected by the incident, it was only a convenience of time factor and nothing more.

My aunt and I have a great joke about walking to and from LAX now. When I took her back she asked if I could take her all the way to the terminal and not drop her at In-N-Out, even though she knew she could walk that distance with a suitcase.

I love all parts of my surreal life, even the nerve wracking parts!  Being able to remember the nerve wracking times in my life truly makes the easy parts that much more enjoyable for me.  So thankful, for everything.

You Are Beautiful

 

 

 

 

On a recent trip somewhere, I saw this when I sat down on the throne in an airport bathroom somewhere.

How sweet, huh?! MySurreaLife You Are Beautiful

Religion & coffee!

image

Headed to Aspen this morning to visit my sister, before getting on the road, we stopped to get coffee at a little place I noticed the day before. I was enticed by their small marquee that said,  “come in & try our iced coconut mocha.” We did just that.  We did not notice until we saw this sign in the parking lot that we could get some religion there too.

I’m going to get off my phone now to enjoy the incredible scenery on this drive. I’ll post photos of the brilliance later!

Hope you all have a great Saturday!

In the Days Before Eva Knew Tony

Once upon a time I lived in Paris.  It was a short lived, 9 month chunk of time I called Paris home, but I lived there as a Parisian, driving past the Eiffel Tour typically at least once a day, taking my Rhodesian Ridgeback dog on walks in the Bois de Bologne and shopping along the Champs-Elysees.  I loved the 24 hour Sephora, the incredibly strong coffees and the mounds of food everywhere.

This was also a time my ex-husband played basketball for a team in Paris called, PSG, which stands for Paris Saint Germaine.  PSG is also the name of the football (soccer) team in Paris, the hugely popular soccer team of Paris.  Those Parisians weren’t very big fans of basketball or anything other than their beloved soccer.  They seemed to enjoy tennis matches which took place quite often not far from where we lived.

My ex and another fairly unknown basketball player named Tony Parker, didn’t play much because of their young ages.  Their coach felt the older players were better, while the younger ones were second team.  On the contrary, every time my ex and Tony would play, they would score and score and score and block shots and do almost everything to help their team.

One night, my ex and Tony and I were talking about how nonsense it was that they didn’t get to play much simply because of their age.  At that time, Tony spoke broken English, with a very thick Parisian accent.  I’ll never forget Tony saying, “f this shit man. I’m going to make it in the NBA.” I was like, “yeah! Do it!” while thinking to myself, “yeah right. Good luck with that.”

Good luck tonight Tony!!!

 

T-minus 8 Days ‘Until I Spend a Week in Vegas !!! Gulp

An annual trip to Vegas is almost upon me.  It is nearly that time for many of my colleagues & I to head to Las Vegas for the Academy of Country Music Awards.  This is by far one of the most fun award shows we get to work because, #1 – it is in Vegas and #2 – it is country so the talent and the fans have been, in years past, beyond awesome.

To sum it up, this time every year, I get to work with some of my favorite people, in Vegas, surrounded by nice people, not jerks like we are used to working around when we are working most shows in LA.  Hooray!  This year the trip is extended by a couple days so I can spend some time with family who will also be in town, not to work but to celebrate one of my cousin’s milestone birthdays. Fun!!!! I am so excited to spend some fun times with my family and then get to go to work with my fun friends too.

The only down side is that I will be in Las Vegas for SIX days.  Six days without a kitchen, nearly a week without home cooked food, days upon days in that insanely dry air conditioning / smoke filled air.  All this in the midst of preparing our house for a new arrival or two.  Gulp gulp gulp.  Deep breaths.  Trying not to panic.

In counting down to this year’s ACM festivities, I thought it would be fun to share some photos and video from last year, because last year was just about as good as it could get for me.

This is a pretty cray video of a day that I was able to take a stroll down the ol Strip.  The guy with the snakes got me GOOD.

Click the photo to be linked to the YouTube video. Enjoy!

MySurrealife in Vegas March 2012

Not Seeking, Yet I Find

When not seeking extraordinary experiences is when I seem to find them.

My amazing, talented, gorgeous little sister is a sommelier in a resort town in Colorado.  This past summer she went to Las Vegas take a test to become an Advanced Sommelier.  The testing for these qualifications is a week long process.  It’s no easy feat.  Hearing of her plans I decided to join her in the last day of the test, and be there when she found out the results. Our time together was truly spectacular.

The first night we had no idea where to eat, so we decided to stay in the hotel we were staying at and we ate at Jean Georges steak house in the Aria.  We ate with two of her male colleagues who were also there taking the test.  One of these gentlemen she knew ordered the wine and offered to pay for the bottle champagne he wanted to order.  I cannot imagine how much it must have cost.  The taste of that champagne is indescribable.  Saying it was from the 1990s, had barely any bubbles and tasted so incredibly smooth, does not do it justice. The food was delicious, especially when coupled with the various wines that were ordered; dinner was an unbelievable culinary masterpiece and after all that wine, I was barely tipsy and did not even have a hangover.  That astonished me considering what a lightweight I am these days. The really good wine doesn’t have all that sugar, so it all makes sense.  You get what you pay for and when you pay a lot for good alcohol, you only have to pay financially the day after, not physically with a hangover.

The next night, through her connections, my sister was able to get us a great table at the Mediterranean restaurant Olives in the Bellagio.  We were seated on the patio overlooking the lake with the water show.  We had front row seats to a gorgeous “show” and first class food and beverages.  The water fountain show happened every fifteen minutes.  We saw water dancing to Michael Jackson’s, “Billie Jean” and “All That Jazz” from the musical Chicago, which coincidentally my sister has performed in many times, being a Musical Theater graduate from NYU’s prestigious Tisch Program for the Arts.  It was fun hearing her sing along quietly as the water blasted.  There was one time that the fountain sprayed the highest height we’d seen all night at the very end of a song and with the wave of a good drift of wind, about 10 seconds later, we were soaked.  The wait staff politely brought many napkins out to all of us on the patio and we patted ourselves off and laughed about it…until the next song / water show began.  I was nervous about getting soaked again during each of the rest of the shows, but none got us as wet as that super tall spray did.  I wonder if the fountain people communicate with the restaurants about how the guests seated outside are faring in the misting.  If not, they should talk about that, just to be sure the guests paying ridiculous amounts of money to eat on the patio are doing so, finishing their meal as dry as possible.  My sister and I are not bothered by these sorts of things but I could imagine how some people would be bothered by it.

After our meal ala mist, we went to the Mirage to meet up with a friend of mine who lives in Las Vegas.  She was meeting her friends in the club One Oak.  We’re all in our thirties, partied plenty in our twenties so a club wasn’t too exciting to us anymore but we got a table and figured, if we were at least sitting, we could take in the sights of the madness that is a Vegas nightclub.  We saw someone dressed in a chicken outfit and many women who wore dresses that didn’t cover their crotch. Typical night at a club in Vegas I guess.

About an hour into our club night, we noticed some guys standing on the edges of some of the booths.  Then we noticed they had microphones.  Then they started singing.  After their first song, one of them announced that they were “The Wanted.”  I had heard of the group but my sister hadn’t until she heard their song, “I’m Glad You Came.”  One of “The Wanted” came over within a foot of us while they sang and was ravaged by some chick who did know who they were. Poor guy.

To some, these experiences would not qualify as extraordinary, but to me, because they were shared with someone I love immensely, these memories will always be magical and surreal.

Click the photo for the video footage of “The Wanted” performing at One Oak Las Vegas

MySurreaLife watching The Wanted at OneOak Las Vegas