Las Vegas

Travel Bug (US edition)

Three years ago, I had this temp job that hired a lot of co-op students from a local university.  One such student sat behind me and we’d chat on occasion.  She was from Ireland, studying abroad in the US.  While my summer weekends were spent escaping to the beaches of Rhode Island, she travelled the United States.  I quickly realized she’d seen more of my home country than I had!

So, I’ve had this running list of US cities I wanted to visit.  It’s evolved a bit over time, but I decided to post this now, since the travel bug has hit me hard and I’m making real progress!


Bye, July!


Goodness, the summer is flying by!  July to me has been full of vacation– family fourth of July weekend [here and here], and Evo in Las Vegas [here, here, and here]!

Home life has been readjusting testing new make-up products [more soon!], enjoying our home city [here], and lots and lots of poké-walks to catch ’em all in Pokémon Go [here, everywhere, and more to come]!

We’ve got lots planned for August too, so stay tuned!  What’s up next for you this summer?!

Vegas Vlog

Okay, okay, I’ve been back for a couple days and catching up with work, life, and the blog has been a process… but content is returning!

I’ve started pulling together my Vegas vlogs and it’s looking like there will be quite a few of them!  Part one is here for you now!

How is everyone else’s summer going?  Any trips planned?


Top Chef: Magic Hour

Wasn’t this technically the finale part 1?  Anyway, it’s hard to believe we’ve gone from 17 chefs to just three: Marjorie, Jeremy, and Isaac.  I kind of feel like I love them all at this point.  Let’s not forget our Last Chance Kitchen winner: Amar!  These four are ready to fight it out for the title of Top Chef in Las Vegas.

They meet Padma and Tom in the MGM arena for a culinary battle.  Instead of an elimination, the winner of this challenge is going straight through to the finale.  Padma deals them some cards.  So, I learned something new: each suit represented a class of people– spades were royalty, hearts were clergy, diamonds were merchants, and clubs were peasants.  They’ll have to cook with a pantry of ingredients selected for the class they were dealt.  The higher classes can pick from the lowers, so royalty can go to any pantry, clergy can use any but royalty, merchants have their own plus peasants, but peasants just have their own to work with.  Marjorie gets the spade, Isaac gets the heart, Jeremy gets the diamond, and Amar gets the club.  They also get some help in the forms of Karen, Carl, Kwame, and Phillip (respectively).  Here’s what they make:


Tom is really impressed overall with the food.  Everyone rose to the challenge,  but Jeremy is declared the winner and secures himself a spot in the finale.

Then it’s time for the magic of David Copperfield.  They chefs all go see his show in Vegas for inspiration.  Jeremy gets to sit this one out, but Marjorie, Isaac, and Amar need to put some magic on plates for the judges.


Marjorie puts on a show and tells a story.  Her liquid nitrogen trick almost bit her, as she burnt her tongue with it, inhibiting her from truly tasting her food.  Her performance is well-received, and her food is too!


Isaac actually preforms a magic trick!  He pretends to chuck an egg at Padma, then throws nothing to Gail having made it “disappear.”  His play on chicken-fried steak is very well-received, though his nerves don’t keep him talking as much as Marjorie had.


Amar doesn’t put on a show at all.  He doesn’t preform to the table of judges, but rather, let’s his food be a surprise.  When the cloche comes off and the smoke clears, they judges have a plate full of surprises!

When it comes down to it, Amar met the challenge best.  He wins and will face Jeremy in the finale!  When Jeremy finds out who his competitor will be, he says Amar is about as well-rounded as they come.  Truly, both Jeremy and Amar have been consistent in this competition.  Yes, neither without their bad moments, but they deserve to be here now.  I can’t wait to see who wins!

Any predictions?

MasterChef: The Steaks are High in Vegas

Get it?  Steaks and stakes.  Heh.  I’m actually surprised the episode title didn’t take this horrible pun before I did.  Well, we were randomly in Vegas this week on MasterChef!  And randomly, Dan had to leave suddenly and without explanation.  Moving swiftly on, as the episode did.

Steven and Shelly are team captains.  Since Steven had the best dish, he can either pick his entire team, or pick proteins for both teams.  The protein choices are lobster or chicken tenders.  Steven decides to pick his team, so Shelly will pick the protein.  Of course, Steven is playing mind games and knows Shelly will go with chicken… which she does!

Steven chooses Amanda, Charlie, Jesse, Sarah, Olivia, Tommy, Kerry, and Nick for his Red team.  Too bad for Shelly, her top picks all get snatched up by Steven.  Her Blue team consists of Claudia, Christopher, Hetal, Veronica, Ailsa, Katrina, and Derrick.  Steven is a decisive, slightly scary leader.  His team is properly inspired and behind him.  Shelley has a chicken idea and won’t hear any of the feedback from her team.  I’m a little embarrassed for Shelly who called her roulade a remoulade… which is a sauce.  The chicken roulade idea is too time consuming and nothing is ready at the start of service.

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Halfway through service, Blue hasn’t served a single plate.  Derrick steps up as pinch-hitter team captain.  Graham notes that Christopher is the only one cooking and Derrick is the only one plating; you could get rid of the rest of the team.  Once the chicken gets to the diners, a lot of them say it’s worth the wait.  Tommy is a mess on the line when it comes to plating.  He later burns potatoes and is sent to wash dishes.  Red finishes early.  Blue doesn’t get to serve 8 plates.  Each of the 101 performers casts a vote.  The winner only wins by 3 votes.  That team is Red!

Only four members of the Blue team have to face the pressure test.  Shelly, as team captain, is one of those four and tasked to chose the other 3.  She picks Hetal, Veronica, and Katrina.  WOW.

The pressure test will be at Gordon Ramsay Steak judged by Gordon Ramsay himself.  Oh, and it’s actually two pressure tests.  In the first part, Gordon will request a steak: NY Strip medium rare.  He will pick the two best without knowing who cooked them.  The worst two face part 2 of the pressure test.  Derrick’s is perfect.  Christopher’s tastes better than it looks, but it’s rare and hasn’t been seared right… he knew that though.  Ailsa’s looks really bad and is raw.  I can’t believe Gordon ate it.  Claudia’s is slightly under, but the sear is good.  Derrick & Claudia’s clear them from the next test.  Gordon then requests a rare filet mignon.  That sounds so intimidating to cook!  Christopher obviously thinks so too because he gets way too in his head.  Gordon tastes Ailsa’s first– it’s slightly under and cold in a spot, but looks nice.  Christopher’s, which looked disastrous going from pan to over, back to pan and then on fire, looks perfect inside.  He ends up having the slight edge, sending Ailsa home.

After watching him work so hard during the team challenge, I was on the edge of my seat for Christopher to pull this one out!  I can’t wait for next week’s Mystery Box Challenge!