Debauchery, Light | 5 Things to do in Vegas if strippers aren’t your thing.

It started with a simple question. I asked my mom what she wanted to do to celebrate her 60th birthday. I thought maybe we’d get our nails done or take in a movie.

I was wrong. So, so wrong.

Instead, it was two single girls on a Sunday afternoon flight to Las Vegas. Because, why not?

Vegas has a rather sordid reputation so I was a little nervous as I packed my bags and headed off for three days of assorted licentiousness. As it turns out, there is plenty to do in Sin City that involved keeping our clothes on.

1. Breakfast at Crepe Expectations

Featured on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Crepe Expectations is unobtrusively located in a shopping center about 10 miles off the Strip. The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch and features an extensive menu of crepe options that are sure to please every palate. For our trip, we tried The Marco Polo, barely spicy Italian sausage, fluffy scrambled eggs and jack cheese with a spinach add-in, and added spicy chorizo to The Sunday Morning with eggs, potatoes, and cheese.

The food was divine, the weather was perfect, and the outdoor seating area was surprisingly tranquil. What really impressed me, though, was the service. Co-Owner Jenn Remillard took our order and made the suggestions for add-ons that really made our selections sing. She was so sweet and welcoming that I felt like we were old friends by the time we left.

2. Hoover Dam

A short drive out of Vegas proper takes you to the historic Hoover Dam, which straddles the state line from Nevada to Arizona. We parked and walked across the dam, which boasts scenic views and impressively enormous infrastructure. There is also a monument that depicts the exact star placements when the dam was built, exciting the science geek within. The monument features an explanation of how the cosmos was recorded and ends with these words:

When in the course of time the composition of our world and those other worlds in space be more fully known, record it here for future men to see and have seen to speculate, investigate, and carry on the search.

No joke, shivers up my spine.

3. Stand Up Comedy

There are constantly comedy shows going on around town, but we had a great time at The Improv at Harrah’s. Closed Monday nights, the Improv runs shows Tuesday through Saturday. A great tip for scoring tickets at a great deal is to find one of the Tix4Tonight kiosks scattered around the city. Show tickets, restaurant vouchers, and more, it definitely stretches your vacation budget a lot further. You can get tickets up to a day in advance, so it’s great if you have a relatively flexible schedule.

Once you make a purchase, you become a VIP so you can jump the line on successive visits.

4. Rock of Ages – The Musical

The show was fantastic, though not exactly kid-friendly. Currently on at the Venetian, Rock of Ages tells the story of a local hang out under threat of buy out, a couple starving artists with stars in their eyes, and a rock star who has forgotten where he came from. Peppered with sometimes touching, often hysterical covers of your favorite songs from the 80’s, it’s part romantic comedy, part coming of age, completely fun.

*Absolutely no photography allowed (they are watching!) so take your selfies outside before you find your seats.*

5. Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum

Mom getting close to her boyfriend…

It’s corny, but it’s still awesome. Wax figures of celebrities from music, film, sports, and television make you feel like you’re standing next to the real thing, without trying to make awkward conversation. Snuggle up to George Clooney or Channing Tatum, go head to head with Mike Tyson, or jump up and down on Oprah’s couch. The museum also features a Marvel 4D Experience which includes some of your favorite animated superheroes and involves 3D glasses and getting a little bit wet.

Sure, there are a lot of questionable activities in Sin City, but there is also a ton of fun things to do that have nothing to do with Chippendales.

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day 27 | Two roads

It’s my birthday! Wheee!

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I honestly thought that by now I’d be the very picture of poise and grace, or at least, I would have figured out how to stop being such a spaz. Guess not….

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Let me tell you a story…

In the spring of 2009, I found myself at an impasse. I was three years into a five year architecture program; I was miserable, stressed, and falling apart, having sacrificed my health an sanity to the fickle dieties who controlled my fate. In a moment of desperation, I called my dad. I unloaded my frustration and worry on him. I expected him to feed me platitudes about how I could do anything that I set my mind to.

Instead, my dad let me know that it was okay to change my mind. He gave me permission to choose a different path. It was probably the best gift he ever gave me.

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So this is my gift to you. I’d like to personally give you permission to choose a different path. It’s terrifying and exhilarating. It requires courage. But it’s worth it.

In that spirit, a little poetry for you…

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
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I hope that, for you, this year makes all the difference.
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Photos Courtesy of Moriah Dawn Photography.

day 26 | It’s not a party until someone’s crying in the bathroom…

I’ve decided to blame everything that happened last Wednesday on my friend, Michele. It’s not really fair, but neither is life.

Michele is an accomplished baker and specializes in making cupcakes. Honestly, she specializes in making everything, but I’ve had her cupcakes and they are ridiculous. She pinned this Neapolitan Cupcake recipe from Cooking Classy on Pinterest.


Neopolitan CupcakesThey are so stinking cute!

If you’ll recall (or you can catch up here) I did a certain gold-and-pink thing for my faux birthday. In the tradition of elementary school, I thought I’d make these sweet cupcakes and then take them to my Thursday students, before I didn’t see them for almost two weeks. Sugar them up and give them back to their parents, you know? Moriah even offered to come over and photograph the pretty confections in a mini-birthday shoot.

That’s when it started to go bad.

See, you have to make the chocolate cake, which means combining cocoa and baking soda and pouring boiling water on it. While that cooled, I used a demonically possessed hand mixer* to cream together butter and oil and sugar before adding eggs and the cocoa mixture and some heavy cream. The batter ends up a syrupy mess, more akin to pudding that hasn’t set than cake batter.

With faith, I pressed on to the vanilla cake, which went much more like I’d expect. Using three more bowls (we’re up to 5, if you’re counting), a fluffy cake batter emerged. Now comes the part where I’d like to tell you that I deftly floated the vanilla cake on top of the chocolate soup, but there was a witness. If I lie, I have to kill Moriah which would put a strain on our relationship.

There was a lot of begging and crying as I finagled the stubborn batter onto it’s watery base.

Here’s the thing, friends. All that struggle was worth it.  Topped with a delicious strawberry frosting, the cupcakes were a revelation. So much yum!

Plus, Moriah got some gorgeous photos!

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day 25 | Monday Musings | of family ties, customer service, and a moment of remembrance…

Happy Memorial Day!

1) It was an emotional roller coaster of a weekend [more on that later] as I celebrated my birthday with a small fraction of my family. Though our numbers were small, I got to spend time with my oldest brother. Growing up, I barely knew him at all, as our age difference is a whopping 14 years. It wasn’t until I was an adult that we spent any significant time together.  Yesterday we had a chance to just spend a few hours sitting around and talking. We shared memories of our dad and different experiences we’d had with him.

True story, it was some of the best therapy I’ve ever had.

2) I don’t have many vices. I’m not into labels or having designer everything. I’d rather buy/wear pieces that don’t have to worry about. One major exception: I love Kate Spade. LOVE. If you tuned in to the list of things that make me happy, you probably noticed that a sale at Kate Spade is a happy trigger if there ever was one. I have a tradition of saving up and then buying a new bag at the Memorial Day sale, kind of a birthday present for myself. Each time I go in, the gorgeous bags and friendly staff at the Hagerstown, MD Kate Spade Outlet make my shopping experience one of perfection.

Last year I fell in love with and purchased this bag in a mere 13 minutes. I loved that bag.

And then, the unthinkable. The fastener broke. So much anguish. First world problems, you know?

So I took it back, a year later. I just wanted it fixed, but the awesome staff replaced the bag with one that I liked even better. They were professional and sweet and I was incredibly impressed with how much they care about their customers and stand behind their products.

This is why I’ll buy Kate Spade for life.

3) I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to express gratitude for the men and women of the United States Armed Services who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure my freedom, as well as the families who must press on each day without their loved ones. I can never fully comprehend your sacrifice or demonstrate my sincere thanks.

I hope that the life I live, in some small way, makes the life that was lost lived, not in vain, but to fulfill a great purpose. It’s a heady responsibility to be among the living, but we owe it to the dead to take care of the country they died to protect.

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day 23 | Virtual Party Planning

I’m not having an actual birthday party this year, aside from a tiny family get together this afternoon (the get together is tiny, my family is normal-sized, just to be clear), so I decided to throw myself a little virtual party. All the glamour, none of the clean up, and I don’t have to wear pants. In keeping with the theme of my golden birthday, I’m going with a bit of a grown up princess party thing.

Not Disney Princess. More, fairy-tale-ish? No Grimm Brothers, though. Not fairy princess, either. Whatever, just look.

Birthday CollageLace Crowns|Sequin Dress|Gold Balloon|Lighted Trees|Cupcake Hearts|Straws|Sparkle Print

You can check out more of my ideas for the perfect Golden Birthday on my Pinterest board! Try to ignore that most of them come from baby showers or parties for two-year-olds. It’s my birthday, I’ll do what I want.

Happy Saturday!

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day 21 | Birthday Memories

I have the unique, um…privilege? good luck? I dunno…of having a late May birthday. The benefit of the late spring/early summer birthday is that it coincides with the end of the school year and Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer. When I was a little kid, I kind of thought that everyone got the day off on Monday just for me. Apparently not. The day has always been really important to me because it was one time during the year that a huge portion of my extended family got together.

Face not foodPlus, there was cake, which is always good. Each year’s cake was reflective of my favorite color, except for the one year when my mom (horrifyingly) had my face put on the cake. Eat your own face and don’t get creeped out, I dare you.

Celebrating the personal passage of time has a certain universal appeal. The minds behind Mental Floss put together a list of Birthday Traditions from around the world. Honestly, some of them are kind of terrifying (check out Ireland!)

There is something special, almost magic about birthdays; there is a sense of wonder as the end of your year rolls around and you look into the future with hope.  Birthdays are an opportunity to look at all that you’ve done and all that you’ve accomplished. Think about yourself a year ago: the people you hadn’t yet met, the lessons you hadn’t yet learned, the trials you hadn’t yet conquered. What an amazing, wonderful, lovely person you are!

Which leads me to wonder: what is your best birthday memory? Is it funny or sentimental? Was it your birthday or that of a friend or family member? 

I’ll start…

This was last year. It was the first time in 20 years that my siblings and I had been together. I’ll cherish that memory always. I’ll also always be quick to notice that I’m the only non-blonde-haired-blue-eyed one of the group. But that’s a story for another day…

Comment below or hit me up on Facebook!

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day 1 – Project 27

Wanna hear something crazy?

This is the year of my Golden Birthday. Simone! What’s a Golden Birthday?! I’m so glad you asked. The Golden Birthday (sometimes called the Champagne Birthday)is the one on which your age corresponds to you birth date. While the origins of this birthday are a bit unclear, it’s fun to think about this being a “Lucky” day.

On May 27, I’ll be 27 years old. Thus, Golden Birthday. Twenty-seven. It’s kind of more than my brain can take in. I’ll be officially in my late twenties. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to 30 from here. Crazy. So I decided to do something crazy.

Apparently, the concept of a Golden Birthday is much bigger than I realized and seems like it needs special commemoration. So I stole an idea from a friend and I’d like to unveil to you:
Project 27
The rules are simple. I’m going to publish a blog post every day from now until my birthday. I feel a little like I’m at the top of the roller coaster and momentum as just carried me over the edge. I hope that I’ve come up with a slew of interesting topics. *Fingers Crossed*

I’d love to get your feedback as I tackle this project! You can comment directly (below), or hit up The Adventures of EveryGirl on Facebook (that’s right, I’ve finally figured out how to set up a Facebook page for a blog, nbd), where I’ll be publishing extra content that didn’t make it into the #Project27 lineup.

Happy May!

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Monday Musings: Marine Corps Edition – of birthdays and an etiquette snafu…

Happy actual Monday!  Here’s to getting back on track.

1) Today is the 239th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.  I have more friends and friends of friends than I can count who have served and continue to serve this country bravely, both in the Marines, and other branches of service.  If you follow along with my blog (or my life) you know that my big brother is a Marine.  I’m exceedingly proud of his service; I always have been.

But I don’t want to talk about him.

MarinesThis year, I want to take a minute to thank and appreciate the unsung heroes of the Marine Corps – Marine spouses.  Those men and women who support their Marines with love and loyalty, giving them the opportunity and peace of mind they need to protect and defend.  My very favorite, and the newest addition to this illustrious order, is my sister-in-law, Maggie.  Through deployments and cross-country moves and field exercises and more encounters with drunken Marines than anyone should have to deal with in a lifetime, she has proven to be the kind of strong, kind, loving, supportive, independent woman who can look down the barrel at the life she knows will sometimes be filled with worry and pain, and love him through it.  I admire this woman and love her dearly, and I can’t imagine anyone on Earth better equipped to stand shoulder to shoulder with my bro.

2) On an adjacent note: have you ever tried to send a thank you note to the military.  Ugh.

spathiphyllumcAfter my dad’s death, my brother’s battalion sent a lovely peace lily to my family.  I, the ever dutiful Jackie O in training, wrote a thank you note on behalf of my family and sent it off.  About a week later, the note came back, marked undeliverable.

Grrrrr.

I appealed to David for a more accurate address, which he kindly provided, and off the note goes again.  A week passes, and once again I find the undeliverable note in my mailbox.

I’m starting to take this personally.

New plan: I’m mailing the note to David and Maggie, and I’m going to have him hand deliver the stupid thing.  I’m coming for you Marines!  You will feel my gratitude!

Semper Fi!

Monday Musings: of cleaning products, a rug in a bag, and a great lady…

It’s Tuesday, but that isn’t alliterative with “musings” so I’m just going to pretend. Mmkay, pumpkins?

1) When I get stressed out, I clean things. Seriously, the morning after my dad died, I cleaned my entire kitchen and bathroom. I couldn’t control what was happening in my life, but I could absolutely control how clean my house was when “the people” started showing up.

One of the things I hate about cleaning is the headache I get from cleaning product fumes. I can’t help feeling like I’m inhaling cancer or something when I start to scrub. Then I discovered Honest Cleaning Products. Free from toxic chemicals and harsh scents, the line includes not only cleaning products, but items for home and baby, as well. I started out with the glass cleaner and the bathroom cleaner which is appropriate for most hard surfaces. Don’t let the pleasant tea tree oil scent fool you, this stuff works. I was blown away by the incredible cleaning power. I even tackled a deep cleaning of my dreaded shower/tub and it was unbelievable.

2) So my mom bought a rug for our dining room. If you’ve never seen my dining room, it has a kind Williamsburg Blue and white thing going on with accents of yellow and pale green. Very nice.

Anyway, this rug was on sale and it was pretty and it came in what the manufacturer called “gold” but was more like yellow.  When it arrived, it was decidedly not yellow. It was, in fact, orange.  I mean, orange.  At first we thought it was a case of color misrepresentation on the internet, but upon further inspection, the tag on the rug identified the color, not as gold, but as pumpkin.

Pumpkin.

Here’s a question: how many women does it take to shove a rolled up area rug back into its packaging?  Answer: two, but they’ll certainly dissolve in to giggles more than once before it’s over.

With a good bit of heaving and shoving and general foolishness, we got the 80 lb rug back into the plastic bag/tube in which it was delivered and the very sweet UPS guy came today to pick it up.  I kind of want to give him a hug, knowing that he delivered it the first time, only to pick it up, and bring back the appropriately hued piece.

View More: http://birdsofafeatherphotos.pass.us/maggie-and-david-wedding3) Besides being election day (did you vote?!) today also marks the birthday of one of the most amazing and most important women in my life, my Mama Pat.  My paternal grandmother, it is from her that I get my writing talent, my French pronunciation, and my penchant for Britcoms. She is every bit the kind of lady I’ve always hoped to become; enduringly kind, unequivocally hospitable, and a haven for grandchildren, both real and by association.

Happy Monday(ish)!

Birthday, Shmirthday or, Why I Suck

Oh bleaders, I feel as though I’ve failed you.  I’ve been horribly dilinquent in my updating, an act of treachery akin to leaving one’s child at the grocery store and then forgetting that you even have a child.  It’s no good.

In my own (weak) defense, I’ve been up to my EYEBALLS in drama after drama.  My brother deployed to Afghanistan this week, so we’re all a little on edge, and work is taking over my life.  We’re in the middle of selling our company, and the buyers keep needing more and more information, which is fine, but incredibly time-consuming and stress-inducing.

However! The light at the end of my proverbial tunnel is that my birthday is on Sunday.  I’ll pause for cheering and general hoopla.

You done?  Good.  Moving on.

As is tradition every year since I was born, there will be a birthday picnic/cookout/family gathering type thing in honor of my impending…you know…aging.  The sweet party takes place at my grandmother’s house in WV, so I’ll be headed up there for the weekend.  I’m all about the decorations, but for this party, everything I do has to be made packable, or needs to be assembled on site.  In this spirit, I’ve decided to go with a tissue paper decoration concept.  Trust me, it won’t look at all like Cinco de Mayo.

I’m using tutorials from Sew Sweet Stitches,

and MADE.

I’ll post pictures when I get back but for now, I pose a question.  What is your favorite tissue paper craft?  Hit me up in the comments!

Happy Thursday!