Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Win-Win-Wynn!

Yep, it's a win-win-Wynn situation (I heart the office, ps)!

First of all, there really is nothing wrong with the other places I've stayed...they're just different!

1. First time in Vegas, I was a mere 6 weeks shy of my 21st birthday. I stayed at Harrah's with my cheer team. I mean, whatevs, I didn't even get the "Vegas Experience," but really, I still fell in love!

2. First REAL time in Vegas, we all stayed at the Excalibur ('cali). Good times.

3. Went for Ryan's 21st in June 2007 and we stayed in the oh-so-classy...Tropicana!!! Hahaha, at least the pool was pretty cool...it had a waterfall and everything.

4. Yep, 'cali! Gotta love it! And really, I do...I swear. I would not mind staying there again and again! It's just way down the strip, which makes it difficult to get to the other side...

5. This is probably the best one on the list...with the cheer team, representing Stanford, we stayed at.....hOOters! ha! At least I got to gamble and drink that trip...it made it a lot more bearable!

6. .....'cali! Again! We can't stay away, can we? But the pool was done this time, so at least we got to chill!

7. And finally, last weekend, Ryan and I stayed at the fabulous Wynn hotel! Really, it was gorgeous. And it was crazy to think that we were actually staying there. Like, legally...we didn't lie and say 2 people, when we meant 7. I know, I know, what a concept. (oh, but I still brought a half empty bottle of vodka...but we didn't end up drinking any of it, haha)

Anyway, the Wynn was awesome! It was really nice to be able to relax in such an upscale hotel. But it was definitely a different Vegas than I'm used to.

Pros: the window in our room. Really, it was great...I can't believe what a big difference a HUGE window makes!

The bathroom was great and huge! And it had a little seat and a make up mirror. Yay! Oh, and I loved the bathtub and the TV that was in the bathroom! I got to lay in the tub while watching Without a Trace...how great is that?


Closer (than 'cali, hooters, and tropicana) to the hotels we wanted to go to (which were the hotels that are on the north (?) side of the strip...). The room was just super updated and nice, including the nice big TV. And the bed was really comfy! I didn't feel guilty hanging out in the room, because it was really nice!

The pool area was also nice, but it was really crowded when we went down in the middle of the afternoon. However, it was okay because the waitress still found us and the service was great - I got my strawberry daiquiri delivered to me in no time at all =)

And best of all, we got a really good deal on the room! We booked it through hotwire, using a little research to make sure we wouldn't end up with a hotel we didn't want (they tell you the price and the amenities, but don't actually tell you which hotel it is...).

Cons: expensive. The table limits were more than I was willing to pay (there was at least one $10 craps table during the day...but most of them were more than that). Also, the food and drinks were way more than other places. Oh, and I couldn't really shop at the stores they have at the Wynn. Umm, yeah, I'm not in the market for a Ferrari or a diamond encrusted Rolex, but maybe next time?

Also, the players card reward levels went up. I heard it used to be 40 points to get 2 free buffets (I don't really know how the points translate...but I have about 60 points - all from slots - and I didn't spend that much money), but apparently they just raised it to 400 points. Seriously...why? Whatever, we went to the buffet at the Mirage instead!

So I think that's about it! Oh, and I loved the decorations in the Wynn! It was all just a lot less "Vegas-y" than the other places I've stayed. Which isn't bad or good, just different. I'll leave you with the few pictures I took of the lobby area...



Monday, March 30, 2009

Recipe #9: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Last week I used my beautiful kitchen aid mixer for the first time. I was thinking about making some sort of bread (so that I could eat it....thanks Lent), but decided that it would take too long. So, I found a cookie recipe that looked good, and went for it!

The actual mixing was great. It worked really well and it wasn't a huge mess! The part I had a problem with was actually baking the cookies. Our oven is known to produce flat cookies, so I guess I should have been prepared.
Here's the dough about a minute after I put it in the mixer.

And here it is after mixing in the dry ingredients! So smooth!


Yum! Now it's starting to look really good with the oatmeal and chocolate chips

In case you are interested, the recipe is below. I found it on this site, and edited the recipe based on the comments that were left by people who have made the cookies.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugat
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon baking soda*
1/2 teaspoon salt*
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup (plus some extra) semisweet chocolate chips

*in the original recipe, these values were 1 1/4 cup, 1/2 teaspoon, and 1 teaspoon, respectively. But almost everyone who left a comment changed the amounts to the ones I have listed above, so I followed suit, since I don't know any better!

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2. Cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, and then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into creamed mixture until just blended. Mix oats and chocolate chips in! (Oh, the recipe also called for walnuts...but my family doesn't do nuts, so I left those out).

3. Bake for 12 minutes. I actually ended up baking each batch for at least 25 minutes, just because our oven doesn't quite work right.


The look good here...too bad they didn't stay that way!

As I mentioned above, our oven always flattens cookies, and I'm not quite sure why. I think these cookies might just be flat in general, because I made a batch in Ryan's oven, and those were also flat. But not nearly as flat as the ones from my house! I don't know if you can tell from the pictures below, but seriously, some of the cookies flattened out so much that there were holes....wow. Please see below for examples!



But on the bright side, I was told that they tasted super yummy! I can't wait until Easter so I can try out some more recipes, and actually enjoy the outcome! Any ideas for the next thing I should try?

video

For your viewing pleasure, here is a quick sample of the Kitchen Aid mixer at work! Don't mind the background noise...Mary Anne called me, so yeah.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

First Step

I have not been good with my new years resolutions. Definitely not. But, I did take a first step for one of them....I applied for my passport last night! The San Mateo library has a passport office that is open Mondays and Tuesdays 5pm-8pm, so I decided that once I wasn't so busy with school, I would head on over. And that happened to be yesterday.

It took kind of a long time....beware! There were 3 "people" in front of me (ok, there were two 4-person families and one woman). One of the families was being helped when I got there, and it took them 20 minutes to finish. I was listening in, and they were sitting there filling out forms. And then it turns out that they didn't even bring the birth certificates for the kids (the parents already had passports), so they couldn't even apply! What a waste! The next family was also having some difficulty....not sure why though. Luckily, the woman just needed a picture. So then it was my turn!! I took all of 4 minutes to get my paperwork in, and my signature on the sheet after taking the oath. Woo hoo! She said 3-4 weeks, so after that, I'll be able to explore the world!! Ok, even though I probably won't. But at least it's an option, right?

So, since I was at the library already, I decided to check out the latest book club book, Body Surfing. I haven't started it yet, but I plan to tomorrow on my lunch break! There was one other thing I wanted to look for...books on CD! I make the 4+ hour drive down to Bako about once a month, and since the radio is a little spotty between here and there, and it's a pain for me to go through my iPod like crazy, trying to find a song I want to listen to (ok, I know, I should just make a playlist...silly me), I thought "why not listen to books?!" So, I found the section, but really, there were not very many to choose from.

But then, I saw it! The PERFECT thing for me to listen to! And get this, it's another first step for one of my new years resolutions. Yep, I got a Spanish learning CD! There were different levels to choose from, and I settled on Beginner Part B, since I didn't want to start at the VERY beginning, but at the same time, I didn't want to overestimate my Spanish-speaking/listening ability.

So far I've listen to the first hour of lessons (two lessons...each lesson is 30 mins). I think the level I'm at may be a little too easy for me, but I'd rather start here and review than start too far out. Anyway, I'll be sure to keep you all updated as I attempt to relearn the forgotten Spanish! I hope that Alex was wrong when she said that Rosetta Stone was the ONLY way to learn another language! haha!

With Love, From Ryan

So, I always complain about not getting flowers. Ryan has gotten them for me 3 times. The first time was on our one year anniversary. How sweet! The second was even better...he sent them to work! And they were so pretty....everyone stopped and looked at them all the time! The last time he got me flowers, was maybe for my 21st birthday? Well, he got them from trader joe's, and they died within 2 days. What a disaster!

Since then, I've been bugging him about getting me flowers, telling him how happy they make me! But with each anniversary and Valentine's Day, it's a Flower Fail! This past Valentine's Day was the worst, because his brother kept bringing up the fact that he got his girlfriend flowers. So I was sad.

Well, of course, I was NOT expecting them for my birthday! But when Ryan showed up at my door on Friday, he was holding these beautiful flowers!



Ok, so my camera is not the greatest at taking flower pictures, but they are so pretty, I swear! I just wish I could have them at work so I could show them off to more people (hint hint -- although he doesn't read this, so I guess the hint is pointless!).

So really, flowers make me ridiculously happy...like I forgot that I also got my "real" present from him! Of course, my mom made me wait until the next day to open it. But, I can say for the very first time, that I was truly, 100% surprised!



My very own pink Kitchen Aid mixer!!! Oh, I am sooo excited to use this thing! Definitely expect many posts about my baking adventures, which are sure to come! Can't wait =)


Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Happy Birthday" Board

It's been way too long since my last post! I think it's mostly because of all of the school work I've had (finals are next week!). Also, I've been slowly working on Ryan's calendar, which has yet to be finished. But I will definitely post pictures when I have something to show!

And now to the newest inspiration board. The name of the board, Happy Birthday Board, comes from the fact that I was going to post it on or right before her birthday. Well, I missed her birthday by a bit (and am now closer to my own). But I swear I started this board back in February! 

Anyway, when thinking of colors for Carlee's board, I kept thinking of different combinations, but always ended up with something similar to the following:

[1][2][3]
[4][5][6]
[7][8]

Let me know if anyone has any ideas for new boards! I definitely have more color combinations I plan on trying, but I know that some of you (Carlee!) mentioned that there is a certain board you'd like to see!