Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day 3: Red Rock Canyon

Monday was for Red Rock Canyon - a national park a 45 minute drive from our Hotel on the strip. The park consists of a Visitor Center and several trails - all of which you can drive to on a main road throughout the park. 

For the complete back story on my trip to South West America, read this post: 

 I just love these rock shapes!

We first stopped at the Visitor Center, which was very nice (hello clean bathrooms!) and had a great gift shop. We were also able to grab a few free trail maps to reference later.

I never knew the desert could be so beautiful!

There were several trails to choose from and we started with the very first trail. It was fairly easy and a great spot to grab some pictures as well as admire the people climbing up steep slabs of rock. We eventually left this trail and went on to check out the others.

We went in the early morning, which was best as the sun becomes quickly harsh and the park crowded. Oh, and bringing tons of water is a requirement!

We then left the park to explore other parts of Vegas - ending up at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden. It was a bit hard to find as its located in an industrial complex , which I thought was random. The tour was free, quick and ended with a free sample of chocolate - all of my favorite things! We did not buy any chocolates as we felt it would melt too fast in the car.

We then went on to tour their botanical cactus garden, which was interesting.

Then we went searching for lunch and found Capriotti's nearby, which was really neat! Capriotti's is a Delaware sandwich shop that is delicious and very successful - the family went on to franchise the business and now have shops throughout the country and rumor is the Vegas shops offer free sandwiches to people with Delaware licenses. Unfortunately, we only had our Jersey licenses but we split a Bobbie (Thanksgiving day meal on a hoagie) anyway. 

We then traveled back to the Hotel to rest and eventually landed back at the MGM where we participated in the focus group and collected our $50 each.

And we walked the strip some more - to the Excalibur and then a tram car to Mandalay Bay where I enjoyed a pricey smoothie with avocado. It definitely opened me up to trying avocado's in my green smoothies! They had some attractions at this casino but none we were interested in enough to pay for.

We ended the night by taking the tram car again to check out the pyramid at the Luxor Casino and walking some more to check out the sights and grab dinner.

We went to bed early that night in anticipation for the next day's adventure!

Stay tuned for more to come! In the mean time, feel free to click here and follow along on my other travels to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Peru and India.

Xo, Kaylin

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Day 1 & 2: Vegas, Baby!

Back in April, the hubs and I traveled to Las Vegas and had a grand ol' time. Upon returning, we were swept away with this and that so here we are several months later and I am finally carving out the space to post on that trip. Here we go! 


So, the people who know us well were a bit perplexed by our decision to make Las Vegas our travel destination this year. Especially since while we think we are super cool and party hard in the Andrew WK-live-an-intentional-and-fun-life type of way, neither of us drink alcohol or enjoy the party club scene and we do appreciate a good night's sleep. Simply put, Vegas seemed like a place that we could share some new, fun and interesting experiences together in a semi-affordable way - which is always a factor for us but most especially this year as we bought a house.

We flew into Vegas on Spirit airlines on a Saturday afternoon. It was our first time flying Spirit so that was an experience of itself. It was cheap and that is exactly what we wanted but the strict baggage limits and tighter quarters made for a more stressful and uncomfortable trip.  Once in Vegas, we got our rental car, ate In N' Out burger (a must!), checked into our room at the Treasure Island Hotel and slept incredibly well. One of the perks of traveling within our home country was dealing with minimal jet lag, which is something I really appreciated about this trip.

After a good nights sleep, we were up and roaring to go Sunday morning - thanks partially to the Hotel's amazing black-out curtains.  

The Strip refers to Las Vegas Boulevard, which travels North/South and encompasses the newer casinos. We started the day walking the strip and quickly learned there were no affordable and convenient breakfast options - lunch trucks anyone? So we opted to eat at Planet Hollywood's breakfast buffet. It was expensive ($35 each) but good food - especially the yogurt parfait!


We then walked the strip some more... Walking was a big theme of this trip! We were surprised to learn that this particular week was for Hollywood television screening tests and being out of state tourists, we were quickly recruited for this. It involved watching a twenty minute television show pilot and noting our reactions - in return we were given $20 each and a restaurant coupon. I was shocked that we were actually making money on this trip! I was hooked! 

We walked towards the MGM and were recruited again. It was a similar set up but we were each given $5 coupons to Starbucks and invited to a focus group the next day where we would each earn $50 for participating. Of course, we committed but swore it would be our last one as we did not want to spend the whole trip being paid to watch television... although I was tempted! 

And we were off walking some more... boy, am I glad I brought supportive shoes!


 We stopped at the Flamingo's Casino to see the 2pm feeding of their flamingo and pelican habitat.


We then went back to the hotel room to rest and later that day drove off the strip to explore a bit. Our hotel had a free parking garage, which was great and super convenient. We enjoyed some smoothies and made our way towards the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, which is famous for being apart of the Pawn Stars show on the History Channel. The shop is closer to Old Vegas and in a neighborhood I would not necessarily recommend walking around alone at night in. When we visited, it was not crowded and parking was easy to find. Although, it must become crowded often as there was a waiting area outside. None of the show's stars were there but it was still cool to check it all out! 

We then drove back to the Strip and walked some more - this time, checking out the Bellagio's water show.




And that is it for now but stay tuned for more to come.

In the mean time, feel free to click here and follow along on my other travels to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Peru and India.

Edit: For the complete story on my trip to South West America, read this future post.
Day 3: Red Rock Canyon

Xo, Kaylin