Los Angeles and Las Vegas were absolutely wonderful! First, we flew into Vegas and stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel before beginning our 4-hour trek to LA. Loved the Hard Rock...even considered the whole tattoo thing (still considering it, husband leaning toward it as well). Car ride with a 2-year-old not so bad - thank goodness for the iTouch. Became a huge fan of Kimpton hotels. Stayed at the Kimpton Palomar near UCLA campus. Not only was it affordable (way less than a Chicago hotel), but it was wonderfully stocked with kid stuff and loaned us a fantastic stroller that Pablo Honey actually rode in! Just that small fact made the hotel amazing. Best of all, there was all you could drink organic coffee each morning - forget buffets, just give me a coffee bar and I'm golden. Checked out Beverly Hills - Kid A found out that Rodeo Drive was really not a big deal (especially compared to Vegas) and did some of the cheesy touristy kind of stuff. Checked out Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the star walk and Kodak Theatre. A little gem ended up being the Griffith Observatory. Got some great pics with the Hollywood sign in the background. Pictures will be posted within the next couple of days. Checked out the Farmer's Market on West 3rd and it no where near compared to our wonderful Westside Market on 25th.
Spent Easter Sunday in Santa Monica. I have to admit it was pretty cool looking over during communion and seeing Conan O'Brien. Breakfast at Jack-n-Jills did not disappoint. Greg had PBC pancakes which had Reece diced on top - Wow! Back to the hotel for nap time, while I attempted a 10-miler from our hotel to Santa Monica along Wilshire and around the pier and beach area. I'm a pretty well-traveled person, but I have never before been verbally abused by a homeless person like I was in Santa Monica. The guy called me a "fat ass, piece of sh*t, white trash." The only part that really offended me was the fat part! He certainly helped increase my speed that I was running - damn! We did, however, stumble across a neat little place to eat an early dinner. We originally tried to eat at Your Father's Office due to the great burger review we read. As the 2-year-old sprinted inside to scout out a seat, we quickly were informed "No one under 21." No worries, Greg found a back-up at the Library Ale House. I quickly became a fan of Bear Republic Racer 5 IPAs.
The best day of all was Monday - Meg and I were audience members on Ellen. I could not believe how amazing this would really be. We had front row seats and were literally 10 feet away from Ellen. She's just as great in person as on TV. Jenny McCarthy, Mary McCormick and Natasha Bedingfield were guests. I just can't say enough about how great of an experience this was. Meg and I were exhausted from all the clapping, whooping, yelling, standing, dancing and smiling. Meg said she smiled so much that her cheeks hurt. What a hard life! We topped the evening off with a trip to Pink's. I had the Rosie O'Donnell which had sauerkraut, onions, brown mustard and sauce. Meg had the Lord of the Rings which had onion rings and BBQ sauce drizzled on it. Greg went standard with sauce and onions. Wow - not the healthiest thing to eat...but Wow! That's when you know you're an adult - when you can eat a monster 10" hot dog and call it dinner.
Back in Vegas (after another quick stop to Del Taco), we celebrated Greg's birthday at Kerry Simon's place in the Palms hotel. Better than birthday cake, we had the "junk food platter" for dessert. It had (drum roll, please)...ho ho's, sno ball, cotton candy, cookies, rice crispie treats, fruity pebbles treat, brownies, and caramel corn (in a chinese take out box). They lit a candle in the ho ho for Greg to blow out. Food, drink, music, atmosphere...great place!
Although we did not come back winners from the Blackjack table, we still had another fantastic family vacation. Can't wait to plan another one!