Vegas, baby!

I’ve been to Las Vegas a few times now, twice this year, and it’s one of my favorite places on earth. I always have way too much fun when Vegas and I’m dying to go back ASAP.

Like I said, I was in Vegas twice this year – once with my boyfriend and the other time with friends for a bachelorette party. It truly doesn’t matter who you go with – it’s easy to have the best time regardless. It will definitely be a different experience depending on who is in your group, and I would be sure that everyone is on the same page with what you want to do and see (there’s so so so much more than just the club scene).

vegas 4When I went with my boyfriend, we stayed at the Excalibur, which is at the very bottom of the Las Vegas Strip. What was great about that location was being able to just walk right out of our hotel onto the strip and not have to worry about an uber to rely on. However, it’s important to note that everything in Vegas looks a lot closer than it actually is because of the size, so you have to prepare for some walking. With my friends for the bach party, we stayed at the D in Downtown Las Vegas, which was incredibly inexpensive. As much as I loved staying on the strip, “Old Vegas” is totally something to see. We walked out of our hotel into a strip of live music everywhere and walk up bars. A lot of the streets are blocked off for walkers only, which makes it really fun to explore. Regardless of where you stay, I at least recommend staying at a hotel with a casino.

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The bride in the bachelorette group was not the party girl that you would envision going to Vegas, so when she told us that she had a surprise event that she found on GroupOn, I was nervous. In true fashion of this girl, she brought us on an adventure that ended with an escape room. Although it wasn’t an activity that I expected to be doing in Vegas, it was super scary and really to see how our group could act as a team. (Look out wedding, the bridal party is ready for ya.)

I’m no expert on the best places to eat in Las Vegas, but there are two places that I would for sure suggest. Breakfast in Paris is for sure the way to go. It’s located towards the top of the strip and has amazing food in several places. We ate at Mon Ami Gabi (mimosas included), and no one was disappointed. If you’re going to do a buffet, Aria has the best one. I probably had 5 courses, including crab legs, PAELLA, and some incredible salmon. I went home and literally craved that buffet line, and even now thinking about it is making my mouth water.

vegas 2When you go to Vegas, especially if it’s the first time, plan an afternoon to do nothing but walk the strip. Since there are no open container rules, you can go in and out of casinos for drinks while walking up or down the strip as your way to see it all. Playing some slots along the way can even help you get free drinks or win money as well. When I was there with the girls, the weather was incredibly incredibly hot, so it was also nice to get the AC as we went in and out of casinos. Just remember that everything is huge, so it will take you several hours to get from one end of the strip to the other. But you’ll have an amazing afternoon and should have a good buzz by the end.

vegas 7I will never ever ever ever go to Vegas without seeing a show. I saw four different shows within my trips to Vegas this year, and the talent is evident. When I went with my boyfriend, we saw the show Absinthe in Caesar’s Palace, which literally took place in a circus tent. This was mainly acrobatic/strength talents, and one of the couples was even on America’s Got Talent! With the girls, I saw Mystère by Cirque Du Soleil. This was my first experience with a Cirque show, and I’ve heard that you really can’t go wrong. If I can make it back to Vegas for more of their shows, I’m dying to see Zumanity or O.

Alright, alright. Now the dirty shows. With my boyfriend, we saw Fantasy, which is the longest running Vegas topless show on the strip. It was truly something to see, not just because of all the beautiful women, but their talent was remarkable. The main chick was giving me Christina Aguilera in the movie Burlesque vibes with her bring-the-house-down kind of voice, and I fell in love with the girl from South Africa who performed on aerially on the silks. If you’re good with seeing some boobies, it’s such a good show. With the girls, however, we saw Thunder From Down Under, which was less talent but a whole lot of fun. The boys have a ton of fun with the crowd, pulling brides-to-be on stage and giving out souvenirs to the crowd. The bride in my group was not willing to participate, which resulted in me getting pulled up on stage instead (no regrets).

vegas 6If you are going with a group of girls, it’s not hard to get VIP service in Vegas. I can’t say that this experience will be the same if there are any men in your group, but my boyfriend and I ended up at the strip club Sapphire and had our own fun as well. However, promoters are everywhere in Vegas and super easy to find on social media as well. My first recommendation is to go during the week when things are less busy and they have more tables that they need to fill. We had vegas 5some promoters numbers ahead of time that could get us into the parties that we wanted, but we found someone while walking down the strip as well. It’s honestly worth it to talk to some of those people and hear them out, since we really got the hook up. We had a table at LIGHT that night with bottle service for free, and a daybed with free bottle service at DAYLIGHT Beach Club the next day for the pool party.

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No matter how you spend your time in Vegas, I highly recommend one thing before you make your way out of the city: In & Out.

Someone, anyone, PLEASE, give me a reason to go back ASAP!

Thanks for reading.

Marilyn Monroe (A Rare Look)

If you know me at all, then you know my extreme love for Marilyn Monroe. From my Marilyn wall in college to my tattoo of her signature, I can’t get enough of her.

I’ve seen or own a version of most pictures that exist from her, since there is a finite amount. However, I still love to find new ones that I haven’t seen before, or different versions and adaptations. I was sent an article by a coworker of A Rare Look At Marilyn Monroe, and there were a couple of photos in there that really caught my eye.

Marilyn could not take a bad picture. Every time that camera flashed, she looked flawless in the lenses. At every size, in any style, at any time. Some of my favorite pictures of Marilyn, however, are not the glamorous shots that she is known for. Her beauty and uniqueness shows even in her “normal” or more “every day” type photos. These are the ones that remind me that she truly was someone special.

 

 

It’s true that Marilyn stands for a Hollywood glamour and sex movement that could never be forgotten, but I love to see her classic beauty reside in simple places as well. Whether Marilyn is posing for the camera or the picture is candid, no one can deny her charisma through photographs. She has the ability to evoke emotion in every move, expression, and look in her eyes. And our eyes gravitate towards her no matter what.ss-120313-marilyn-cr-6.fit-880wI also just love so much that she can look absolutely stunning, perfect, and intriguing in a simple picture where she is standing next to some bears eating garbage. She’s amazing.

More to come. Thanks for reading.

A Rare Look at Marilyn Monroe, today.com

Alaska

It’s on my bucket list to visit every state in the U.S., and last week I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful state of Alaska. I traveled the 4,000 miles with my boyfriend and his family to a discrete cabin a couple of hours outside of Anchorage.

 

 

The common questions I’ve received revolved around the weather of course, because of its cold climate by nature and our travel plans for late June. The whole week was beautiful weather, staying in the 60’s during the day and dropping to 50’s at night. There was really only a couple of days that were chilly, and just one day of some rain. It was light for most of the day, however, and only actually got “dark” when there was a heavy overcast. In the winter Alaska experiences the opposite, and we were told that the heavy dark days are the hardest part about winters in Alaska. But the extended daylight was great, and gave us the opportunity to pack a lot of things into each day.

 

 

The glaciers were by far the most enjoyable part of the trip for me. We were able to hike the Matanuska Glacier, which is over 27 miles long and 4 miles wide. Our path did not cross even a fraction of this mass, and yet it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. We also did a 5 hour day cruise in Whittier, in which we came face to face with several amazing glaciers.

 

 

The mountains and the wildlife was also incredible. We saw bald eagles, sea otters, bears, moose, elk, musk oxen, wolves and more. Between the Musk Ox Farm and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, we observed so many amazing creatures living their lives.

 

 

Downtown Anchorage holds a Saturday Market throughout the summer that includes local vendors and artists, and we were lucky enough to attend during the Summer Solstice Festival as well. In additional to the tents of beautiful crafts and delicious food, there was also outdoor music, street and rooftop bars, and blow up activities for children. I spent a ton of time going in and out of tents and filling up my stomach and bags with everything I could find, and I could have spent even more.

 

 

This trip was also an amazing opportunity for my boyfriend and I to grow. After being together a year, this trip provided many new experiences and memories that helped us strengthen what we have. Exploring a new place and adventuring through nature together is an amazing way to spend time with someone you love, and by the end, we had fallen even more in love with each other.

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Our world is beautiful and amazing and there is so much to see! Traveling is a way to feel alive and experience all the incredible things that the world has to offer. If you ever have the chance to visit Alaska, GO!

Thanks for reading.

My Marilyn Monroe Movie Favorites

mm slihMy absolute favorite Marilyn Monroe movie of all time is Some Like It Hot. There are a few other classics that you should definitely go back and check out if you have never seen before. Marilyn always brings the magic, so here are some of my other favorite films that showcase her charisma and talent:

 

mm gpbGentlemen Prefer Blondes
Marilyn Monroe’s character is engaged to a man to whom’s very rich father does not approve, as he believes she is only marrying his son for the money. She goes on a boujee cruise with her best friend, played by Jane Russell, and the father has hired a private detective to follow her and dig up any dirt that might help prevent the union between her and his son.

 

mm syiThe Seven Year Itch
Marilyn is the beautiful blonde that has just moved in the apartment upstairs from a man whose wife and kids have escaped the heat wave by spending the summer in Maine. Left alone to engage with the new neighbor, the husband becomes infatuated by Marilyn and dreams of infidelity, and possibly tries to make that dream become reality.

 

mm pasgThe Prince and The Showgirl
mm my weekEuropean royals have traveled to England to commemorate a new king, but he finds himself attracted to an American performer played by Marilyn. Their attraction causes him to become unfocused, and Marilyn must help to smooth things out before the country becomes unstable. Also, the movie My Week With Marilyn is a documentary that was made based on an assistant’s experience and affair with Marilyn Monroe while on the set of The Prince and The Showgirl.

 

Now, go enjoy some classic cinema!

Thanks for reading.

Some Like It Hot

My favorite Marilyn Monroe movie of all time is Some Like It Hot, released in 1959. Marilyn was about 32 years old during the making slih 1of this film and looked as stunning and radiant as ever.

The plot of the film follows actors Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, who are musicians and best friends. They accidentally witness a crime, leaving them at risk from some sort of mob/mafia. Afraid of the consequences, they take a job with a traveling band. The catch is, it’s an all-female band, and so they are forced to disguise themselves as women and attempt to continue to fool everyone around them. While they are dressed as women, they meet Marilyn who plays the lead singer in the band. They become instantly infatuated, but aware that they are dressed as women. They then go back and forth between playing dress up in drag and also slih 2appearing as men in an attempt to win her heart, stay away from trouble, and also live up fantasies with rich men in the process.

I love the quirkiness and silliness of the film, and the classic comedy that is old Hollywood. From the bubble bath to hide an outfit scene, to the sexy jazz numbers, to the famous final line of, “Well, nobody’s perfect” – it’s cinematic brilliance. This movie also helped incorporate drag and campiness into mainstream slih 4media, showing some ideas that might have been considered “queer” in a way that was lighthearted and simple and comedic. The film, while still providing solid humor, also promotes acceptance – the kind that always existed in the “rock and roll” jazz world.

If you’re going to watch this movie and you aren’t used to watching old Hollywood films, I have a small recommendation. Modern movies are very fast-paced and attention grabbing, but movies were not always this way. There used to be a lot of care that was put into setting up a plot, showing some background information, and allowing you to really get to know the characters before the real story starts. So, the beginning of the mm slihmovie is admittedly a little slow and takes a little bit to get started. If you are used to jumping right into movies, I recommend starting the film when the men walk into “Charlie’s Garage”, right around 18 minutes into the movie (I own this on DVD, so if you watch that way, it’s where scene 5 starts, titled “Spats Deals With Toothpicks”).  This will take you right to the crime that is witnessed, and you will not even really miss a thing in the plot prior to that.

It’s a lighthearted and funny film that will certainly make you laugh. It’s campy, goofy, and everything you would want from a 50’s film. Like I said, my absolute favorite lrgMarilyn Movie of all time. She’s amazing, specifically while singing. She’s a beauty and a vision.“I wanna be loved by you, just you, and nobody else but you. I wanna be loved by you – ba dee-da-lee-dee-da-lee-dee-da-lee-dum, boop- boop-be-doop.”

Go check out my leading lady! Thanks for reading.

Yoga Block

I bought a yoga block. I still need some time to expose myself to new exercises to include the yoga block, but so far I’ve found it can be great to help or further challenge your practice.

1pc-EVA-Yoga-Block-Foam-Block-Brick-Stability-and-Balance-Support-Bricks-Exercises-Roller-for-Pilates.jpg_640x640Laying flat on my back, I place my feet flat on the floor so that my knees are pointed upwards. Then I place the yoga block on its smallest height under the small of my back so that it sits directly under my tailbone. This provides a very small stretch, and a good position to take several deep breaths. After a minute, I move the block beneath me onto it’s side, making it’s height slightly higher. You can either have your arms at your side, or raised above your head on the ground. More deep breaths as the stretch settles in across my back. Then finally, I flip the block to it’s tallest height, putting me into a small back bend. This is a reverse table-top position, and it feels amazing. I have also challenged myself to then remove the block, and hold my body lifted in place.

seated-forward-bend-with-blockThe yoga block has also helped with stretching. If you are not super flexible, the block can help to bridge gaps that would normally be strenuous. For example, when you reach towards the ground in forward fold, you can place the block between your hands and the floor, allowing you to feel the stretch at your own pace without pushing your limits. In my case, I am already relatively flexible, but the block helps me to stretch further. One example is when I am sitting down on the mat with my legs straight and leaning forward. I do not have trouble reaching my toes, and can actually pull my feet off of the ground a bit to challenge the backs of my legs. By putting the yoga block to sit at the bottom of my feet, I can reach past my toes to grab the block and further my stretch. This can really help to improve flexibility, because you are able to control the amount you are stretching your body, so you challenge yourself at the pace that feels good.

After doing some quick online research for stretches and exercises, I have ordered a second yoga block so that I can continue to explore different practices.

Looking forward to more challenges in the future! Thanks for reading.

 

Yoga (On My Own)

I grew up as a dancer, so for a long time, I thought of yoga more like ‘relaxed stretching.’ It felt great for my body, but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered the addition of the mind. I’ve been going to a great yoga class every Wednesday called Urban Yoga, and so far I’ve had an amazing experience and have learned a lot. I’ve been trying to use more of the yoga language and get further into the balanced mindset. I’m no expert, but I found myself with some free time the other day and decided to do some on my own.

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I will admit that I’m not great at meditation. It’s hard for me to sit still and silence my thoughts completely. Even still, I started out my yoga practice by trying to meditate. I opened up my yoga mat, put a pillow down for under my head, and laid down in savasana (this is just a fancy way to say that I laid on my back with my palms up – see right). I closed my eyes and thought one word: RELAX. I breathed in, breathed out, and told myself to relax.

I had heard a concept from Rosie O’Donnell regarding strengthening your meditation that I tried to follow here. As you meditate, you attempt to remove all thoughts from your brain. Experienced meditaters can accomplish this easily, but for the rest of us, we may clear our brain for a moment, and then something will pop back in: Oh, I need to finish the laundry tonight… Rosie says to recognize that as a thought. You imagine pulling that thought from your brain the same way you would pull a leaf from a tree. You pull your thought, and then you imagine letting that leaf travel into a flowing river. It flows down the river and floats away. And then your mind is clear. And then you get another thought: What am I having for dinner tonight… and you recognize the thought, pull it, release it, and let it float away. The goal is to stay present in the moment.

After about 5 minutes, I sat up and did some light stretching. By beginning with a meditation, I felt like I had warmed up my brain. So next I began to warm up my body. I folded forward to grab my toes and stretch my legs and lower back. I rolled my shoulders and twisted my neck. I rolled my ankles and wrists, and pulled my arms from side to side. Once warmed up, I moved to a tabletop position.

cat-cowFrom there I did several rounds of cat-cow, which is great for your back. You start in tabletop (aka on your hands and knees with a flat back) and make sure that your hips and shoulders are stacked over your knees and hands. Begin to drop your navel, arch your back, and look up. Cat. Then you drop your gaze, push into your hands, and slowly invert the spine one vertebrae at a time. Cow. Then you repeat cat-cow-cat-cow, inhaling as your chest opens and exhaling as you contract. pointI continued with the cat-cow pointer series, where you reach your arm forward and lift your opposite leg. I held each side for 30 seconds, stretching higher for the last 10. Next, I turned this into a small exercise, and drew the lifted arm and leg into my chest to contact, and then extended my limbs back out again. 10 times each side, then I collapsed into child’s poseestiramientos-de-cadenas-musculares

Woman-Yoga-Pose-Silhouette

Next was tree pose, one of my favorites. As a Libra, I love balance. I positioned my foot on my thigh and held my palms together at my chest. I first held each side for 30 seconds, but I realized that this was not challenging enough, so I did a second round of a minute each. I felt very grounded and stable, and was proud at the ease of holding this pose for a full minute. There were moments of shaking, but I was able to feel adequate in this pose, which felt good for both my body and my mind.

Finally, sun-salutations. One of the reasons I like this exercise is that it’s basically choreography for a small little yoga routine. The sun-salutation is a series of poses performed in a sequence to create a flow of movement.* You start in mountain pose, and lift your arms above your head, then collapse into forward fold. A quick half lift, then palms are pressed firmly on the ground and feet step back into plank. Release and lift the chest, tilting the head back into cobra. After holding for a moment, I first fold into child’s pose, but you could also lift right into downward dog and hold for a moment again. Walk the feet to the hands to forward fold, and lift back up into mountain pose, and pulling the palms together into the chest. I did two sets on each side, reminding myself to breathe and feel each movement. origin-of-suryanamaskar-500x356.jpg

All of the above took me about 20 minutes total, and I ended this self-session by getting back into savasana for another quick meditation. I again focused on relaxation as well as cooling down. When I decided that enough time had gone by, I pulled my palms together to my chest one last time. I put the throw pillow back on the couch, rolled up my mat, and stored it back in the corner.

It’s nice to have enough experience at this point to have created a small routine for myself. This was roughly 20-25 minutes long and is filled with the poses and exercises that make me feel good and energized. When I attend Urban Yoga on Wednesdays with an awesome instructor, I am able to engage my mind and spirit as well as the body. This is something that I will have to work on more as I practice on my own time (meditation as well), but I am proud of the level I am at today.

Namaste. Thanks for reading.

The Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskara, is a series of poses 
performed in a sequence to create a flow of movement,
according to yogaoutlet.com