Back from Paradise

Sorry for the lack of blogging - we just got back from a fantasticly fabulous vacation. We went with two friends, Josh and Shannon, and spent seven days not thinking about anything except whether we'd have a Pina Coloda or Strawberry Margarita. Here's a quick recap of our trip:

Saturday, December 8:

Arrived in San Diego early and headed straight to our totally awesome hotel, Hotel Solamar. We pricelined this bad boy and paid $120 a night (regularly something crazy like $289). The rooms were awesome and from 5-6 each night the hotel offers complimentary wine and champagne, and from 6-10 each morning Starbucks coffee and tea. Anyway, we took the trolley car deal to Las Americas outlet mall, which is right on the US/Mexico border. I mean right on the border - you could throw a rock from the mall over the wall. Anyway, we managed to find some great purchases. Steal of the trip was a Cashmere dress coat Trevor bought for $175 ish. Original price? $650.

Dinner that night was at Dussini. I'd HIGHLY recommend the Lobster Mac & Cheese here. One of the best things I have tasted in a long time. And some Top Chef contestant is the restaurant founder or something. Anyway, I have to admit the restaurant smelled a little funky when we walked in so I was a little sketch, but fear not. It was delish. While we were waiting for our table we popped into a nearby Aussie bar and had a beer from down under. It was really good and a cool place. I wish I could remember the name of it.

Sunday, December 9

Did a little shopping in the mall in the Gaslamp District then LIMO'd it to Temecula. Temecula is an up and coming wine valley and we just had a great time. We went to three vineyards: Hart, Briar Rose (where Jay Leno visited recently!) and KeyWays. The limo driver, Chris, was awesome. I'd definitely recommend his company if you are interested in doing this tour.

When we arrived back to San Diego (not sober) we did a sushi dinner and then had a drink at the new Hard Rock Hotel bar just down the street from our hotel. Crazy news: the hotel's grand opening was the next day (Monday, 12/10) and the Black Eyed Peas played. We missed Fergie Ferg by one day!

Monday, December 10

Happy Anniversary to Wendy & Trevor! Two whole years! We had breakfast at super fun and tasty Cafe 222. Then it was time to board the Carnival Elation!

Tuesday, December 11

Sea Day! Lots of fun aboard the Elation! This was formal night which meant Lobster for dinner. YUM!

Wednesday, December 12

Welcome to Cabo San Lucas! Man, I love this city. In fact, I think my next vaca will be to Cabo. We ended up going to a local resort for a few hours upon arrival to take advantage of the 85-degree weather and lay out. Once the boys got restless, we ventured to Cabo Wabo. LOVE the Lobster Tacos! Then we headed to El Squid Roe for a cerveza. Then we headed to the bar we fell in love with on our honeymoon, The Nowhere Bar where we met Estavan, out bartender, and Trevor bought his apron off of him for $20. After a lot of Coronoas (BOGO!) we took one for the road, headed to another bar to get one for the road (it was a long walk back to the ship) and luckily made it on the last tender. We didn't get on the ship any too soon. By the time we made it to the Lido deck, we were already pulling away. After making quite an appearance on the Lido deck (hot tub - Josh in a speedo - the waterslides and the girls getting fake tattoos), we decided we better call it a day and we all turned in around 8 p.m. It was a great, fun day!

Thursday, December 13

Fun Day at Sea! And surprisingly, we all felt well! I'll use this day to talk about a few Elation staffers we fell in love with. Damian at the Piano Bar was amazing. (The boys made a lot of fun of us because we called him amazing so much.) He sounded just like Elton John and Billy Joel. He could play virtually any song requested. He'll be a someone someday. We loved Lindon, our assistant waiter dude in the dining room who didn't speak enough English so he just made funny noises. Ronnie our waiter was great too. He was a macarena pro. Also LOVED Sayed at the bar near our room. He knew our names by heart! He was a dear. And finally, Ninoslav, the bartender in the piano bar, was great. Once Shannon was pretending to hold a lighter to Damian (you know, like at concerts) and then Ninoslav comes over and just says, "here's a real one." He also told Shannon to stay on the ship and never go home. Hilarious.

Friday, December 14

Ensenada, Mexico. Our ATV excursion was so fun! I wish I knew the company we did it through. (We booked it through the ship.) Our guide, Bernie, was hilarious. We each got our own ATV and we really "opened those hogs up," as I called it. I'll post photos when I get Trevor's - I didn't take mine on the excursion. We rode through wine country and at one point we were right next to cows - without a fence between us and them! We had lunch at some interesting Americanized Mexican restaurant and then Josh got some churros, and then we headed back to the ship. We lived it up that evening as the last night of our vacation - until our bodies just wouldn't accept another sip of beer.

Saturday, December 15

Home :-(


Absolutely Horrible

Today marks one of the most horrific events in my lifetime. 9/11 was absolutely awful. Columbine was devestating. Virginia Tech was terrible. But the shooting at Westroads hits so damn freaking close to home.

I was in Kansas CIty when the shootings take place. But if I was in Omaha, what if I had decided to run to Von Maur over lunch to pick up a Christmas gift? My mom wants to get a red sweater to wear and some nice, comfy PJs for a Christmas party Monday, and thought she better go before she gets to start dog sitting Macy Saturday. She considered going today.

Here's an email I recently sent to friends. I am sure I will post more about this soon. Until then, additional thoughts because I can't really focus right now.

Yes, I was in Kansas City. But I still don’t know that I have ever been this shook up. You guys this is awful. It’s horrible. It hits so damn close to home. I have presents under my tree from Von Maur. I spent three hours there Friday afternoon. A family friend works there and was standing next to a guy who got shot in the head. Right freaking next to him. Von Maur is the place to go. The jeans I am wearing are from Von Maur. It’s the Nordstom of Omaha. It’s where we got my mom that Sonicare face wash thing from Oprah’s favorite things (that we were talking about at lunch, LTD). One of my freaking best friends was in the parking lot going to go in and do Christmas shopping, but got a phone call and was chatting in the car. For SOME reason he decided he didn’t want to shop and left. As he was pulling out of the parking lot the cops started pulling in. When he got home he turned on the TV and realized what he almost walked into. Anyone I know could have been there.

I just can’t comprehend it. A woman on the radio said she was listening to gun shots and Christmas music at the same time. One woman’s young daughter told her mom she thought it [gunshots] was a hammer. I couldn’t even hold back the tears when I crossed into Omaha and then you can see the store from the interstate exit I take to get home and I just felt nauseous.

Normally the first thing I do tonight is turn on our Christmas lights plug in the Christmas tree. It was really hard to do that tonight. It’s just terrifyinh.