I am possibly the only native Californian, or current New York resident come to think of it, that has never been to Las Vegas. Or at least I was prior to Friday. After a couple of very busy weeks Paul and I fled New York last weekend for the warmth and sunshine of the west.
My first impression of Las Vegas? I could not fathom how close the airport was to the strip!
The late afternoon sunshine beckoned, so we headed straight for the pool for a quick dip. But not before purchasing some shorts for Paul who, despite the fact that we were headed for some of the sunniest locations in the country, had not seen fit to pack a pair. You can take the Englishman out of England...
And then we met up with some dear friends to eat some even more dear food for dinner.
As one of our dining companions remarked, the price is not indicative of size. Or perhaps it is, the relationship just happens to be inverse.
Halfway sated, we piled into cabs and headed to UNLV's Sam Boyd stadium. I was thrilled at the prospect of a short drive...I had spied UNLV on the (very short) ride from the airport after all. As it turned out, the stadium itself was in the middle of the desert. But eventually we arrived...along with the rest of the city. And we were faced with "the claw".
Rumor has it that this stage set up requires 5,000 people to set it up...each time. But no matter, it was for U2 after all. They deserve no less. We were happy for them and their giant claw.
Bono proved that he could still hit the rock star stance...
...and the Edge showed us a swagger like no other.
The production rivaled that of the best over the top pop concert you can imagine...
...although I have to admit that the live video feed from the space station was a bit much...and a bit confusing?
After a long cab ride back to the strip and a few drinks, we were snoozing away happily in our massive hotel room bed. And then up the next morning to the airport, the less said about which the better (do not under any circumstances ever try to find food at McCarran Airport).
A short while later we were cruising in our red Impala (jealous? no, I didn't think so) down the streets of Los Angeles.
We soon entered the snarl of traffic that often dominates L.A. highways...
...and after many hours we arrived at our destination: El Compadre.
The lovely Amy joined us for a margarita and some much needed Mexican food.
Paul and I were so excited to finally eat that we could hardly speak.
Thank goodness Amy is a beloved friend and could excuse our poor conversation!
That night we headed downtown
to check out another excellent band with a long history...
I was so thrilled that Lexi, who I hadn't seen in much too long, was able to make the trip up from Orange County with her husband (not pictured here but I assure you very cute) to hang out with me and the very dapper Daniel.
Paul and I ducked out before the night got too debauched, as we had a full schedule the next day. Family time in Orange County!
After a brief stop off at my grandparents' house to check out the lemon tree
we were off to Laguna Beach to meet with up with my aunt, uncle and cousin for lunch.
My aunt had chosen the most amazing spot...Madison Square Garden Cafe...
a veritable treasure trove,
which also happens to make utterly delicious food in a beautiful garden setting!
After stuffing ourselves full of ahi tuna salad and german apple pancakes, we headed up the hill to my aunt and uncle's house for a few photo ops.
The beautiful family, including my amazing age-defying grandparents (grandma and grandpa are 86 and 90 respectively...I never quite get over the fact that both of them still have naturally brown hair). As Paul says, they are in better shape than some of his friends.
I insisted on a walk on the beach afterwards
as I had been itching to get my feet in the water ever since I landed in L.A.
Very few things in life feel as good as the ocean rushing over your bare feet.
We all indulged in a big delicious Italian dinner at Alfio's restaurant on the way back up to L.A., and after a quick night cap down the street from our hotel with a few friends, we headed to the Pink Dot for our nightly pre-bed bottle of water.
The next morning, after a luxurious night of deep deep sleep we dragged ourselves out of our crazy animal print bed
and ambled across the street to the greatest breakfast place in town.
I sat in the sun and drank a carafe of coffee, mulling over how stunning the weather was and how relaxed I felt and how little I felt like getting on a plane later that afternoon.
We took a spin in the rockin' Impala through the Hollywood Hills, ogled the views...
and then came back down to our charming little hotel (we've decided it's the go to for weekends when the Mondrian is feeling too pricey) and lounged by the pool for a moment.
And then we took off down La Cienega to LAX. Back to New York. Now I'm waiting on that crisp sunny fall weather that I always rave about. So far I've got rain and gloom. Fingers crossed!