Living in Las Vegas (Summerlin), 3rd Time Around Highlights

We’re more than halfway through our Summerlin rental here in Las Vegas, so I thought I’d post a video of some of the highlights of being back, including the business trip last summer that started the path to moving back for Rich’s job here at headquarters from Central Florida.

Malbec, Margaritas and Martinis seem to be the stars. Besides the Pahrump Winery, our favorite hangout this time around is Hussong’s Cantina (video of the original in Ensenada, Mexico is in the sidebar). Enjoy!

Our 18-Month Florida Vacation Playlist

For videos of our most recent time living in Central Florida, check out our 18-Month Florida Vacation Playlist on our new YouTube Channel.

Saying Good-bye to Skipper’s House

Looking back on our time here in Florida this time around, we see that this was Skipper’s house. At 18 years old and never a fan of stairs, he loved ruling the single-story. We were able to give him the extra care he needed. He thrived here as much as an 18-year-old cat can for the last year of his life. And when Daisy joined us, he enjoyed the little girl’s company, and the way she would walk underneath the big guy. Skipper knew all the cats – those who came before home and those who followed him. It isn’t the same in this house without him.

Skipper’s house is now on the market. We’ve met with the movers. We’re finalizing a house with our realtor in Las Vegas for the Shadow and Daisy chapter of our lives. We’re very excited to do Vegas a bit differently this time around. Rich’s boss, direct reports, and co-workers are ecstatic. I’ll have a dedicated music studio in a casita-type feature of the new property. And I’m ecstatic about that!

I won’t miss the mosquitoes in Florida. I’m one of those people mosquitoes feast on. It’s been a hot and humid fall this year and I can’t seem to go outside without getting eaten alive. I’m up scratching as I write this. It wasn’t this bad this time last year.

We’ve got a couple of days planned for our Disney finale. I’m pretty sure we’ll miss the access to Disney and the beach, which are always the draw for us. And then we should be home for Christmas.

Thumbing through our photos on my phone over the past year and a half, I can see that we’ve had one heck of a Florida vacation. We started this chapter chasing Margaritaville and we certainly found it.

But now I’m looking forward to our next adventures together, and the comfort of being home.

Nothing Better than a Day by a Vegas Pool

Remembering my younger days when you sat out by a Vegas pool and when you wanted a drink, you just popped up your little umbrella on the back of your chaise. See my novel, The Tom Jones Club, for more of that retro Vegas experience.

Getting a drink this morning was a little more challenging but eventually I got one. Swimming, summing, sipping, and a bit of songwriting and story writing – what gets better than that?

“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip/Cruise, Day Three, Part One

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise, Disneyland Resort, Newport Beach
What: Carnival Imagination, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
When: July 11-16, 2018
Why: Kathy’s Birthday Celebration (Catching up with SoCal)

Today was my birthday and lucky for us, it was “Sea Day Brunch” day – one of our favorite things about Carnival. We’ve sailed on all the major cruise lines and we love Carnival service.

Rich started the day with a birthday card for me, and then we were off to the dining room at the opening of Brunch – about 8:30 a.m. I think.

I wasn’t sure about the Bloody Mary but when the couple next to use ordered one, we decided to join in but made mine a Bloody Maria (tequila instead of vodka).

I had my usual Huevos Rancheros with a fruit plate starter and Rich started with a Bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon and then the Blueberry Pancakes with a side of bacon for his entree.

But the highlight for me is this particular muffin – I think it’s a cappuccino muffin. It’s amazing and I have to have it every time. The chocolate muffin isn’t bad either. I really need to get a good photo of the muffins – I only have a pic of a half-eaten muffin take a few years ago – lol!

We ate our brunch and took our drinks to the Xanadu Lounge, then returned to our suite to change into our swim suits and hung out on lounges on the Serenity Deck.

We returned to the room to nap. For lunch, Rich ran up to Guy’s when we got hungry and brought back a couple of burgers – not sharing this time – lol!

Oh my, no wonder I’m still trying to work off this trip. But birthdays only come once a year, thank goodness!

I was worried about being too full since tonight was my birthday dinner at the Chef’s Table so we skipped the fries. 🙂

Rich will write up the Chef’s Table report.

“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip/Cruise, Day Two

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise, Disneyland Resort, Newport Beach
What: Carnival Imagination, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
When: July 11-16, 2018
Why: Kathy’s Birthday Celebration (Catching up with SoCal)

As I mentioned here, we ate the leftover steak from Napa Rose for breakfast this morning along with some eggs from the hotel breakfast buffet. Then we headed for the port of Long Beach via my old stomping grounds – childhood home, high school, and other neighborhoods. I’ve posted enough pics about them so I won’t repeat that – lol!

We were a bit confused by the entry to the port due to some detour. But when we looked confused, a bus driver asked if everything was okay via a thumbs up? And so I rolled down the window and asked how to get to the port and he very nicely gave us directions. We were so impressed!

We parked the car in the garage and headed for the new check-in area at were directed to priority boarding and were onboard in no time at all. Because we were suite passengers, our room was ready so we dropped off our luggage and I noticed there were birthday decorations and a bottle of Prosecco that Rich had ordered. Yay! We met our cabin stewardess who was amazing and kept our ice and water well-stocked and cleaned.

 

We then headed for Guys Burgers for lunch. We shared the Straight Up – amazing!! Maybe even better than In N Out! Ohhhhh!!!

Then we made our way to the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar and Rich ordered a Blue’s Patron Margarita for me then ran over to the Red Frog Rum Bar on the opposite side of the ship and brought back his Rum Jumper (aka Rum Runner).

Rich’s Rum Jumper

Kathy’s Blue’s Patron Margarita

We did a bit of a ship tour, although we have sailed on two sister ships, the Paradise (twice), and the Inspiration. One of our favorite areas is the Adults Only Serenity Deck, especially on this class of ship.

We unpacked our carry-on bags and then it was off for the Muster Drill. Ours was located up on the pool deck. Carnival has improve somewhat with accounting for people by electronically beeping people’s Sail & Sign cards, similar to Princess but Princess is far more efficient. Then it was time for sailaway, although there seemed to be a bit of delay.

Our Prosecco was on ice waiting for us but due to the delay, we headed to the salad bar (Carnival’s is the best!). We made our way back to the cabin where chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, macaroons, and truffles awaited! Eventually, the ship began to move and Rich popped open the Prosecco, poured us each a glass, and we sailed away from our balcony.

I don’t remember doing much more after we sailed away. I think we pretty much just hang out on the balcony, which is our favorite thing to do on a ship. This is why we cruise. We texted with our pet sitter a few times before leaving range. We were pretty tired, as we always are on embarkation day.

Our Florida Vacation

We called 2017 the “Year of Repositioning” and many of you followed our journey from Las Vegas to Florida and the fits and starts along the way.

2018 is the “Year of Adjusting,” and I’ve really been struggling lately, actually even before the one-year anniversary of arriving in Florida. The first 7 months were spent in an apartment in North Orlando while we house hunted and then built our home in a beach city we’d never lived in before. So the adjustment period started all over again, although we might have been further along in our adjustment if we hadn’t had to split our time. But, then, this is our third time in Florida and I always get homesick. Hence, the upcoming birthday trip to SoCal, a short cruise to Mexico, and a couple of days at Disneyland Resort. I can’t wait to touch down once again!

Just for kicks, I looked at some pics of our Las Vegas home and the surrounding area and am so thankful we’re out of the desert – the best thing about living there was that feeling of home and being only 4 hours from Disneyland/SoCal childhood. I miss that! Sometimes I can’t believe I’m so far away now. How did this happen? 🙂

Anyway, here are two pics that show the contrast of living in Las Vegas and living in Florida – no wonder I struggle to adjust – it’s a huge change!

The back of our Vegas house – solar screens are popular as a way to block out some of that hot desert sun. We also had blackout drapes on the back side of the house for that intense afternoon sun.

This morning’s view from my screened Lanai where I sip my coffee every morning – glorious!

Two different worlds for sure!

Saturday, we shopped for the trip in the morning and then had our lunch at La Fiesta, which is so authentically Mexican, we’re there practically every week. At least the weeks we’re not at Disney. The Margaritas are amazing!! Growing up in Southern California surrounded by Mexican culture, margaritas and tacos are a taste of home.

Tequila, take me home!

Halfway through eating lunch. 🙂

We were shopping at Target the other day and we picked up some food items like tortillas, black beans, rice, tortilla chips and salsa and the clerk said, “Are you having a Mexican Fiesta?” I just looked at her and said, “Every night is a Mexican Fiesta for us.” The thing is nobody would say that to you in California or the West Coast or the entire SW. In this day of the Food Network and food education, I’m a bit shocked even somebody in Florida said it.

No doubt we’re having a blast in Florida, enjoying frequent trips to Disney and the beach – what a welcome change from the desert. Our house is wonderful, the golf community is gorgeous – both a dream come true. But it’s not home. And, as always, it’s starting to feel like we’re on another extended Florida vacation.