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.

Xo, Kaylin 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Summer Sea

This has been a hectic season for me but the slower pace I prefer has finally emerged - leaving bits of time here and there for me to return to writing. 
In a place like the deep South Jersey coast, we are still gathering a few more days in the warm summer sun and I am ever grateful for that.

September was once a time of a transition (back to school, back to colder weather) that I preferred to skip right on through. But since I have been living in these far warmer parts, this month has come to represent something different. It is now a time when the land seems to breath a big sigh of relief and a few more weeks of summer remain where life reverts back to its usual far slower pace. 

 The unfortunate thing about living at the beach is that you are never at the beach as much as you thought you would be. The last month, I have been really focusing on taking the time to enjoy this great part of living here.

For me, the best time at the beach is the late afternoon when I can plant my chair far from others and walk straight into those waves.

I allow those waves to crash right through me - the sea peeling away the layers and turning my heart inside out. For a minute, it feels like I am the only one there. I dig my feet deeper and deeper into the sand, rooting myself closer and closer to that which is best for my soul. Each grain holds a promise of gratitude I plan to keep. The wind blows right through me, the waves rolling in and out - singing a special song written just for me. I stare into the horizon and in that moment the shadows, the should's and could-have's are lost within those waves.

I seek a solace in those waters and the waves bring the silence I never knew I truly needed. The sea knits me back together in just the way I require and I feel grateful for each moment I am given. This stillness is my most loyal companion, it always brings me back home and I am not sure how I ever lived without it.

Some glimpses of summer gratitude:

Eating snap peas right off the vine / The crickets singing / Late night laughs
Buying our house / Finally being done with moving / The smell of charcoal cooking
The twilight sky / Taste of Grandma's banana bread 
Jewelry smithing classes / Unsweetened iced tea / New experiences
The smell of the early morning Summer / Laughter of others
That British cashier who really went out of his way to save me money
The smell of distant camp fire / Receiving flowers just because
Getting the locals discount  / Not needing to put money into the parking meter
Outdoor showers / The beach! / Beach sand too hot to walk on with bare feet
September days that feel like August / Only having a few more boxes left to unpack
All those ladies at the beach staying authentic and true / Pink sneakers
Friend and Family visitors / Sloppy ponytails

I will miss these summer days but these moments will always be here.
I hope you had some fun this summer as well - I would love to hear all about it below!

I hope this finds you doing well, Kaylin


Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Heavy and Light Heart

Eight weeks have passed since my last post and these days have held more than I thought they ever could. The hubby and I traveled to Las Vegas and back (more on this in the near future), we lost a friend, I turned another year older and we bought a house...

This is certainly a season of loss for us - three funerals within a year. A good friend passed away recently, it was sudden and I am so very sorry for it.  He was the type of guy you only met a few times before you referred to him as a good friend - a way in which I hope to live my own life.

My heart has felt so heavy and my mortality has felt so real - some days I've felt pulled inside out  and right back again. At times, I've needed to go a bit slower so I do.

Endings and beginnings, these have composed my days. My heart has also felt impossibly light but I guess this is the way of things. I am aware of the difficult times and do not ignore them however I also realize that my well being increases exponentially as I notice the goodness and love within my life. So, today my response is gratitude and the same is for tomorrow and the next day and the next.

I have felt grateful for: 
That Happy song / Rain / My mobility and independence
Nice strangers who offer advice on strange noises coming from my car
Shanti music / Gingerade Kombucha / A super blue and comfy shirt / Yoga
Meditation and the Meditation iphone app / Sunshine days / Wawa Iced Coffee
Finding a new and really good story telling podcast / Water / Air conditioning 
New opportunities / Getting the house for the price/ Yoga pants
My friends and family's love, support, tools, time, focus and muscle

And most importantly, I am grateful for this moment because its one more than some receive.

I hope today is a good one for you,