Fourth of July Inspired

Traditional colors true to the Fourth of July waving proud and sitting pretty in red, white and blue are on color parade this week.  Most of us will enjoy a short work week, and hopefully all of us will enjoy a long 4th of July weekend celebrating the holiday of summer with friends and family.  I’m looking forward to traditional Fourth of July celebration fare, fireworks after dark, pops in the park and maybe, just maybe, the new wallpaper I received for Mother’s Day going up in the foyer.  A foyer 4th!  With all the pre 4th of July party, project and menu planning at Places in the Home, things are getting pretty busy around here.  I figure it is the same at your places in the home, too.  Having fun is a lot of work! When time allows, I invite you to scroll through these red, white and blue Fourth of July inspired images for star-spangled inspiration.  No political agenda, opinions or talking points- just pretty Fourth of July inspired pictures decked out in a patriotic pop of color palette and federal finery.

flag-FOLKFOLK

July-Warhol1Andy Warhol ‘Louisiana’ Exhibition Poster, 1978 ~ 1stdibs

july-hbHouse Beautiful

The eagle has landed and is in need of a cocktail.  This regal antique piece is a golden choice for focal point functionality.

federal-eagleMy Domaine

red-white-blue-dining-room-LonnyLonny

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Who’s Ready For Summer?

Who’s ready for summer?  The first day of summer officially arrived yesterday. No calendar needed.  It was hot, it was outdoor living at its finest, it was an excellent party guest!  Summer is on tap.

who's-ready-for-summer

Dave the Builder snapped the pic of my brother’s freshly cleaned swimming pool right before he dove in.  A cool summer splash revives the mind and refreshes the body on a hot summer afternoon.  All winter long we wished for summer, and believe me, the great genie of hot with a huge dose of humidity granted our wish. Do be careful what you ask for.

forecast

If summer means I get to color my summer world with tropical brights,

summer-paint-colors

Sherwin-Williams

fresh and green right off the farm to table seasonal vegetables and fruits,

farmers-market-summerEd Lester Farms ~ Coushatta, Louisiana via Janohn’s (Official FB Page)

and accents in the so summer appropriate classic color combination of pink and green then I say bring it on

pink-and-green-breakfast-areaTraditional Home

I am seriously considering developing a signature paint color in a stunning shade of pink to pay homage to my first true color love.  The name of my paint color?  I pink therefore I am.  I have a long history with the color pink. My first design and decorating endeavor dates back to the late 1960s, when my very brave and trusting Mother allowed me carte blanche with the paint color and wallpaper selections for my bedroom.  The standout feature of this wallpaper was the texture. The colors and pattern design captured the flower child chic groovy sign of the times, but it was the the texture of this wallpaper that made an impression on me.

sweetie“Sweetie” by Inaltéra

I love the summer of 1968 movie With Six You Get Eggroll, starring Doris Day and Brian Keith.  Inspiration is everywhere, and evidently it was at the movies for me.  I don’t believe it a mere coincidence that my bedroom design and decorating choices closely mirrored the master bedroom of the McClure residence as shown below.

with-six-you-get-eggroll-doris-dayvia

benjamin-moore-sweet-16Benjamin Moore sweet 16 pink

 

Summer is a three month fest of vacations, outdoor living it up entertaining, interior updates and refreshes with summer colors, patterns and textures and relaxing on the patio, porch or deck with a cool beverage embracing the lazy days of summer.  Who’s ready for summer?

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The Decorating Way, Way Back: Decorating With What You Love

Lost, destroyed, misplaced. These are not the words we want associated with the photos of our lives.  A couple of weeks ago I received an email from my have camera, will photograph uncle with these blast from the past photos attached. Tears rolled down my cheeks for the memories and thankfulness to have these back in my life as we know it photo file once again, grainy finish and all. I have titled this blog post the decorating way, way back.  For the hip and happening hashtag crowd, let’s go with #WaybackWednesday on this #ThrowbackThursday eve.

jackson-street-1

These photos were taken at our old house. Originally we purchased this house as an investment property, but it made financial and logistical sense (and cents) to just move into the property while we were in all out renovation mode with our present home.   On this particular afternoon in early 2000 when these photos were taken, family and close friends gathered back at our home after the funeral of my maternal grandmother.  My grandmother, a self-made woman and antiques dealer extraordinaire, taught me the world of antiques.  I see her everyday when I glance at the many items given to us by her and proudly displayed throughout our home.  Dave the Builder and I have always been big on including family mementos into our decor.  Decorating with what you love makes a house your home.

Bob-Dylan-quoteThe decorative anchors of the fireplace mantel consist of two of my most treasured treasures.

MVC-088F

The vintage rose bowl was an anniversary gift from Dave the Builder.  I spotted it in a friend’s antiques store and commented to Dave how I wished I could find one similar to it in our treasure hunting rounds.  As soon as I opened the anniversary gift and saw the rose bowl I knew its new home would be on the fireplace mantel. Of course, this was before my graceful handling resulted in its chip and crack demise.

rose-bowl

The Hull Magnolia ewer on the other end of the mantel was Dave the Builder’s paternal grandmother’s.  When Dave and I first started dating he was using the ewer as a doorstop.  A doorstop! Dave, this is an exquisite, mint condition piece of American pottery.  Please visit your local home improvement store for all your doorstop needs.  It is a sheer miracle the ewer did not end up like the rose bowl.

hull-magnolia-matte-ewerLive Auctioneers

The design of the house was a natural fit for our American antique pieces .

MVC-093F

The dining room was painted in Sherwin Williams Mint Condition.

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MVC-091F

sw-fired-brick-framed

The den was painted in Sherwin Williams Fired Brick.  The photos cast an altogether different color.

dining-room-fired-brick

This is the dining room in our present home painted in Fired Brick.  Lighting is key to true color reads.

living-room-JS

MVC-092F

Addresses, hair colors, waistlines and fashions have changed over the last fifteen years. Trends have ushered us toward painted furniture, neutrals as color and new traditional modern.  If I had to do the interior of this particular style home all over again, I don’t believe I would change too much of the original interior selections.  They say you can’t go back, but you can remain true to your personal interior design and decor style without apology or comparison.  It’s called decorating with what you love.

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Louisiana: A Distinctive Style and Taste Odyssey

A late summer commencement ceremony and “we are family” celebration calls for a home statecation. Between last week’s Louisiana Gulf Coastal style post and a re-familiarizing of intrastate points of interest I am, to borrow and embellish a line from Billy Joel, in a Louisiana state of mind.  Louisiana excels in taking the senses on a distinctive style and taste odyssey.

alligator-home-decor1House Beautiful ~  Jennifer Bevan Interiors

This boot-shaped state of which I speak takes the word unique and runs parish to parish with the concept.  A telltale (or should I say telltail) sign is the alligator influence evident upon our walls and plates, and vice versa.  Good taste through decor and plate is native to our Louisiana lagniappe appeal.

fried-alligator-CochonCochon’s Fried Alligator with Chili Garlic Mayonnaise

pink-entrywayDomino

Gallery walls in classic shades of new traditional neutrals adorned in details and turtle shells inspire the palette of color and the palate of taste.  Straight from page 71 in the 1967 edition of the Talk About Good cookbook by members of the Lafayette Junior League, their relatives and friends is Mrs. Helen M. Hayeses’ Turtle Soup II recipe.  Talk about good!

talk-about-good-cook-book-turtle-soup-recipeTurtle Soup II ~ Monteleone

 

Louisiana-paint-colorsBenjamin Moore

I love the Louisiana proper names given to these paint colors from Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams and PPG Pittsburgh Paints.

seafood-paint-colors1Cajun Shrimp ~ Lemon Twist ~ Sea Salt

Salted Roasted Shrimp

Ingredients
3  cups kosher salt
2  pounds head-on unpeeled large shrimp
Lemon wedges

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400°.  On a large rimmed baking sheet, add salt in an even layer.  Bake 10 minutes.  Remove ½ cup salt and reserve.  Arrange shrimp evenly over hot salt; sprinkle with ½ cup reserved hot salt. Cover tightly with foil.  Bake just until shrimp turn pink, 6 to 8 minutes.  Discard excess salt.  Place shrimp on a serving platter; squeeze lemon over shrimp.

~ Louisiana Cookin’

Am I the only one who is craving Cajun shrimp sprinkled with a generous amount of sea salt and a lemon twist?  Louisiana Cookin’ reads my mind.  That will satisfy the palate portion of the Louisiana lagniappe show.  Now to find the perfect space for Louisiana themed decor accents, a native pattern and a home state inspired paint palette.

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Louisiana Gulf Coastal Style

Certain decor styles have a season.  The decor style displayed throughout your home is a 365 day a year love your style affair, but at certain times of the calendar year the appeal of particular decor styles is heightened. Coastal design and style, stand up and take a bow.

Brown_Pelican3The Brown Pelican ~ The Official State Bird of Louisiana

Louisiana is a mixed bag of decor styles, dishes and dialects.  Among the Victorians, Acadian, Creole, French, Spanish and European influences is the Sportman’s Paradise belle of the decorating ball, Louisiana Gulf coastal style.

Louisiana-Gulf-coastal

Cue the magnolias, John James Audubon prints, pelicans, oyster and turtle shells, eclectic objets d’art of beach and bayou and blue and white porcelain.

coastal-Shell-Pitcher

coastal-palette-fSherwin-Williams

Louisiana Gulf coastal style blurs the lines of traditional coastal style in a let’s build upon a classic way.   We take just enough decorating liberty with traditional coastal to make it our own, enhancing the look with a dash of native to Louisiana flavor without walking too terribly far way from the core notes.

Audubon-blue-heronAudubon Oppenheimer Octavo Edition, Pl. 369 Great blue Heron

A maddening search of warehouse and storeroom for my Great blue Heron John James Audubon print got this Louisiana Gulf coastal style party started.  Hanging the Great blue Heron print in the dining room is under decorative consideration, and the best way to rule it in or rule it out is to actually hang it before the second and final coat of paint. I do this often when it is convenient.  If I decide against the piece, Dave simply caulks the nail hole and we are on to bigger and better items.

coastal-paletteSherwin-Williams

The natural color palette so beautifully present in shells found along the sands and waters edge of the Gulf Coast inspires the softer shades of traditional coastal colors.

shell-Texas

Gorgeous!

shell-chandelier1Silvio Chandelier Design by Currey & Company

I believe we can all agree that summer is the season of coastal decor style, and the popularity of Louisiana Gulf coastal style is simply experiencing its day in the sun.

Love your style!

The Gotta Have It List Summer 2015 Edition

Making things pretty on a penny is always a subject of interest to me, clients, friends, family and judging from the emails I receive, most of my readers.

the-gotta-have-it-list-summer-2015-edition

The summer retail season is heating up, and the stores, outlets and online sights we love to call favorites are rolling out seasonal finds much to the delight of decorators, designers and gotta have it guys and gals.  Seasonal decorating is nothing new, but the items in which to accomplish this mission of home decor beautification are.  Summer style spotting with pen, paper and bookmark icon ready to jot and save is proving to be successful on the summer finds front.   Here is the first round of the Gotta Have It List summer 2015 edition.

Quorum-chandelier1

This is not the first time the Quorum  6 Light Salento Chandelier in Persian White has made an appearance on the Gotta Have It list.  Why the encore feature?   It begins and ends with my all time  favorite four-letter word, SALE!

zebra-box

H & M continues to impress with decorative accents big on visual quality and style at an affordable price.  You just can’t go wrong with an accent piece in the decorating darling duo of black and white.  A classic color combination paired with a trending pattern in pop of zebra detail places this ceramic jar accent at the top of the Gotta Have It list summer 2015 edition.

eastlake-chiarStyle Me Pretty

  Named after English architect Charles L. Eastlake, the design of this late 19th century style of furniture is one of my least favorites.  This mass produced style is actually more of a “in the style of” interpretation of what American professional cabinet makers serving as master furniture designers deemed an authentic replica of Eastlake’s design.  Charles Eastlake was not impressed with the results.  Mr. Eastlake and I are of the same school of thought.  His words say it far better than mine.

 “I find American tradesmen continually advertising what they are pleased to call Eastlake furniture, the production of which I have had nothing whatever to do, and for the taste of which I should be very sorry to be considered responsible.”  

~ Charles L. Eastlake

That being said, the Eastlake style chair in the above image from Style Me Pretty demonstrates how a chic update can transform an otherwise dated piece into a hip and happening accent chair focal point.  Not all antique furniture pieces are prime candidates for paint, but in the case of Eastlake furniture I say pick it out, shake it up and paint it pretty.

pink-faux-fur

Light Pink Shag Faux Fur Fabric ~   Cherry Blossom Velvet  ~  Crystal Upholstery Nails  ~  Faux Fur in Mongolian Pink

Late summer means treasure hunting days at one of my favorite haunts, Korner Shoppe Antiques.  This gem of a joint is full to the gills with my kind of treasures, trinkets and trash.  Inspiration struck as I perused the shoppe’s Facebook page so I did what all deal dreaming decoristas do- I sketched out plans for an upcoming project around copper pots and pans.

Korner-ShoppeKorner Shoppe Antiques

One very brilliant episode of Mad Men placed Howard Johnson’s back into the thoughts of a generation of hungry Americans who ordered up cups, plates and scoops of American fare under the iconic bright orange roof.

hojoHoJo

This Howard Johnson’s sugar bowl from Fishs Eddy is on its way to the Places In The Home test kitchen counter sprinkled with memories of summer vacations, motor lodges, fried clams and 28 flavors.

 howard-johnson-sugar-bowl

What home decor items will you be adding to your Gotta Have It List summer 2015 edition?

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The Summer Entertaining Season

Memorial Day signals the beginning of the summer entertaining season. That’s ninety some odd summer days and nights brimming with opportunity to gather together with family and friends.  Is there a summer is here big party blowout in your Memorial Day weekend future or is the plan for something in the neighborhood of quality over quantity for just you, yours and a few close friends?  Here are five tips to help you master the summer entertaining season.

Summer entertaining season tip #1

Regardless of the numbers involved, the ultimate party favor you can give to you and your guests is an enjoyable and relaxing time.  Endless hours of planning and preparing does not a successful party guarantee.  However, what does come very close to guaranteeing a successful party is setting an at ease example.  Guests usually take the party lead from the attitude of the host and/or hostess which sets the tone for a comfortable let the good times roll atmosphere.

The Summer Entertaining SeasonPinterest

Summer entertaining season tip #2

Popular points of culinary and entertaining interest set an inviting place at the summer table.  I like to take my tablescape in a casually elegant direction.  I know there is quite a bit of considerable thought put into achieving the anything but uptight, stuffy finished result through the right accents, lighting, selected place settings, serveware and flowers, but I want the memo to read effortless chic. This look is achieved with simple finds from my usual haunts- antiques shops, new to you shops, dollar stores, arts and crafts stores and the always handy in-house treasures, trinkets and trash closet.  Visually impressive table settings need not be an expensive or exhausting endeavor.

sliced-watermelon

 

Summer entertaining season tip #3

Kick off the summer sippin’ season with the unofficial official fruit of summer, the watermelon.  Watermelon Strawberry Citrus Sangria, anyone?  Dazzle the thirsty through sight and taste.  Nothing says welcome to our summer soiree quite like a cool summer appropriate beverage.

watermelon-strawberry-citrus-sangria-700Shape via Joy the Baker

Summer entertaining tip #4

Summer just isn’t summer until something is basted, marinated or smothered in a stellar Southern BBQ sauce.  In Louisiana we don’t need an excuse to jazz it up, fire it up and kick it up, but if we did, summer would be all the excuse needed. Good barbecue is what we call summer stock.  We aren’t afraid to turn up the heat, spice or seasoning, but when entertaining we dial back the kick to a respectable c’est si bon level to accommodate the taste bud timid.  Good cooks and even better hosts know a little goes a long way in the flavor department and account for all tastes considered.

Summer entertaining tip #5

Balance is key.  Entertaining mirrors interior design and decorating in regards to balance.  When selecting the music for the party playlist, I aim to keep the types, styles, genres and decades balanced somewhere between current hits, grooving to the oldies, what movie is this from, smooth and easy jazz, lounge lizard standards and the soundtrack to high school and college days gone by.  Balance the bar to the standard rule of party planning with help from the handy drink calculator from Total Wine & More.  Balance safety with responsibility.  Drink and host responsibly.

Enjoy the summer entertaining season kick-off this holiday weekend.  Happy Memorial Day!

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Planting the Seeds of Change: A Decorating 180

Inspiration is everywhere made good on its promise this Mother’s Day.  Dave the Builder heard the something out of the ordinary call, gifting me this most unique and exquisite Italian heather plant for Mother’s Day.  This visually striking plant in all its classic pink and green color combination glory is summer planter poised and ready.  Giving thought to what type of planter befits this beauty, the usual suspects in my traditional rotation failed to impress.  It appears a decorating style metamorphosis is taking place, a planting the seeds of change decorating 180.

Italian-heather

 “In gardening, architecture, landscape design and interior design the principles are interchangeable – or, at the very least, highly adaptable.”
  — Charlotte Moss

 

The preferred decorating style of choice at Places In The Home is traditional with a twist, but styles and tastes evolve as they should, and mine are no exception.  If only on an experimental basis for the fresh and updated look of it, try introducing one or two accents, colors or patterns from a different decorating style to the space.  A decorating 180 turns up the volume just enough to keep things visually interesting.

boxwoods

I paid a visit to the Hopefully Classic warehouse (storage unit) a couple of weekends ago to do a bit of shopping.   Shopping from within is a tremendous concept.  I become reacquainted with items in the inventory, an afternoon of hunting and digging for treasure qualifies as an excellent workout and the prices can’t be beat.  I pulled a set of decorative concrete planters (one of which is shown in the above image) to pair with two small boxwood plants I bought marked down at Lowe’s.  The picture does not do the planter justice, and as stunning as these planters are, do these lovelies qualify as my personal decorating 180?

garden-basketOrlandi Statuary Round Basket Planter

Hold the phone!  This Orlandi Statuary basket planter may be all the style sashay towards a decorating 180 needed to calm the winds of change. The style deviation is subtle enough not to overwhelm the process while staying true to the traditional foundation. Throw the eye a curve ball every now and then and hit a style home run.

Love your style!

 Read more from Charlotte Moss Green Rooms in Introspective on 1stdibs

Sink Oh D (as in Design) My Oh: Kitchen Sink Styles

In interior design and decorating celebration of Cinco de Mayo on this 5th day of May, I am featuring five stunning kitchen sink oh d (as in design) my oh kitchen sink styles.

Kitchen Sink StylesTraditional Home ~ Apartment Therapy

First up we take a look at our house favorites, the marble and natural stone kitchen sink.  Marble and natural stone sinks impress the eye with a timeless and tasteful touch of luxury balanced with performance capability.  The porosity of natural marble and stone makes this material easily susceptible to stain which gives pause to some when considering the use of these types of sinks.  Over time the patina “rests” and becomes a perfectly imperfect design feature, one that accentuates the natural beauty of the stone.

sink-metalJohn Derian’s Collected East Village Apartment

Everything old is new again chic is in.  The kitchen sink option in John Derian’s East Village apartment demonstrates that what one person considers functional obsolescence another considers a distinct design feature.

copper-sink1Garden & Gun Magazine

Vintage beauty merges with modern function in the home of Braxton Dixon, the master builder behind the iconic homes of country music legends Johnny Cash and Tammy Wynette. Implementing one-of-a-kind architectural elements into the design of his houses sets these works of building and designing art apart from other exterior and interior standard house designs.  This is most prevalent in Mr. Dixon’s choice of a kitchen sink in his Tennessee home.  A vintage copper candy kettle becomes an architectural showpiece, kitchen sink and unique focal point all-in-one while remaining true to the original integrity, storied provenance and design style of the home.

sink-serviceTraditional Home

What do real estate and sink placement have in common?  Location, location, location! The optimum placement for a prep sink is adjacent to or across from the stove and refrigerator and for good reason- that’s the area of the kitchen where the prep magic happens.  Between me and you, quite frankly, the prep sink is the single most helpful kitchen design feature I have ever become dependent upon in the context of cooking, baking and recipe creating.  Convenience and usefulness alone make it easy to understand why I am a huge fan of the prep sink and consider it a kitchen design necessity.  I look forward to the addition of a prep sink coming back into my kitchen culinary life sooner than later.

Kathryn Scott Design Studio Ltd

Apron-front farmhouse sinks combine utilitarian practicality with decorative adaptability. The look is yesteryear traditional, but the appeal is all modern day must have.  Although these sinks come in both single and double bowl models, the features of the single bowl model seems to make it the most preferred.  Sink size does matter in the day to day KP duty routine we all endure, and the width of the farmhouse sink is a natural fit feature able to hold dishwashing court with pots, pans and bake ware of varied sizes.  Let me also clue you in on another well known design advantage of the farmhouse sink. When there’s too much dish at the end of your I’m pooped out day, the depth of the farmhouse sink works fabulously to your advantage as it conceals many a dirty dish.  That’s my kind of sink oh d (as in design) my oh kitchen sink styles celebration!

Love your style!

Tripping Down Memory Lane Spring Break Trip Report Part III

All good things and great vacations come to an end. Tripping Down Memory Lane Spring Break Trip Report Part III winds down our 2008 spring break trip to Las Vegas in getting back to Vegas basics style.

Filling In The Vegas Days and Nights: Hotels, Casinos & Restaurants 

Venetian ~

Spending the afternoon at Venetian surrounded by copies of and renditions of famous Italian works and decor was the plan for our Thursday afternoon. The machines, bonus rounds and green felt covered tables will take a backseat to sightseeing and lunch at Grand Lux Cafe at Venetian.

Venetian-domevia

I get into the theme of it all and appreciate it for what it is- a gorgeous imitation of inspired artistic works of architectural wonder.

Venetian-ceilingvia

People often comment negatively in regards to Grand Lux as a dining choice while in Las Vegas.  “It’s a chain. Why in the world are you eating at a chain restaurant?”

Grand-Lux-food

How do we love Grand Lux Cafe?   Let us deliciously count the ways:

The food is always excellent.  See images above.

The menu offers a wide variety of delicious something for everyone dishes.

The dining room design and decor is lovely.

The price is right.

If it ain’t broke…

I did not break with my dining at Grand Lux tradition ordering the seafood salad and a shared order of double-stuffed potato spring rolls. Dave ordered the fish and chips and gave it 4 forks out of a possible 5 review. The casino at Venetian was packed. I played $1 Top Dollar slots with no big wins. Dave didn’t fare too well at the tables so he was in hot pursuit of a $1 Double Top Dollar slot machine to play. We both love Top Dollar and Pinball.  I did not receive an ounce of respect, love or pay from the numerous Top Dollar or Pinball machines I played during this session.  I now fondly refer to them as “sucker machines” and Dave now fondly refers to me as a sore loser.  If it was in the cards for me to be a loser, at least the rocking band playing at La Scena (casino floor lounge that sadly is no more) was churning out some fantastic music.  Win, lose or draw I like to get my boogie on.  We have boogied to really fantastic lounge acts playing the casino lounges. That part of old Vegas is slowly going away too.  My parents tell of the now famous singers they saw years ago in Las Vegas when the entertainers were up and coming lounge acts.

Paris  ~

I got it together earlier than usual so we could be on our way to lunch at the Paris Le Village buffet.

Paris-Las-Vegas-Dining-Buffet-Le-Village-Buffet-1.jpg.stdimg.hd.xlLe Village Buffet at Paris

I knew I would want to play before lunch and also figured the line to be seated could be rather long on a Friday afternoon.  I could not squeak out a win, but left the casino floor for the buffet line even. That’s always a win in my book!  The lunch at Le Village was good, but this is a buffet that shines at breakfast. Dave pointed out the French onion soup and I informed him I had worked the French onion soup enough for a while. However, the crepe station did call out to me and I answered apple with raspberries, blueberries and crème fraîche, se il vous plaît.  5 forks out of 5 very French c’est si bon forks.

Paris-slotsvia

Moving Day: From Treasure Island to Rio We Go

I packed the room up with a cup of in-room brewed strong Louisiana coffee in hand. Traveling with a coffee pot isn’t for everyone, but we do it for two reasons.  In extremely short order after my eyes pop open in the morning and my feet hit the floor or carpet I need coffee- hot, fresh and Louisiana strong.  I also like to have a cup or two in the afternoons or early evening when we are relaxing in the room before dinner or a show or just regrouping.  The other reason is pure economics I swear we would go broke by the third day in town feeding our coffee fix.  A fellow Vegas travel nut cued me in on a coffee pot travel tip.

walgreens

There are several Walgreens and CVS locations up and down the Las Vegas Strip. Pop in a pick up a coffee maker and supplies and ignore the initial sticker shock investment.  It will pay for itself within the first day. If you don’t want to contend with packing it up and carting it home, simply leave it in the room. Easy peasy.  It is ridiculous what hotels charge for coffee ordered from room service or in the coffee shops, and speaking of coffee shops- coffee shops are quickly becoming an extinct dining option on the Strip.  I am not the biggest fan of the buffet, but for breakfast dining the beverage selection and cost included reasons this to be a reasonable option.  Dave went down to visit with the host with positive results. We checked out over the television and said goodbye to Treasure Island.

 cokevia

Our host at the Rio met us at VIP-Diamond check in and assigned us a room in the Ipanema Tower.  The room reminded me of the suites at the Stardust we loved. These rooms impress me more in terms of size and layout vs decor. Various tell-tale signs give the age of the property away, but nothing we can’t live with for five nights.  We got our gambling on for about an hour, and finally I declared victory with a $$$ win on a five-line .25 3X  4X  5X machine in front of the performing stage. Cocktail service at Rio was fast and frequent. My server took my Coke order. “Is Pepsi okay?” My “not in this lifetime” answer produced a chuckle on his part. I changed my order to a Shirley Temple (I was on the hard stuff this afternoon) and returned to my play. In a flash he returns with his own version of comedy with a “You had the ice-cold Pepsi?”  I spun my seat around to find him standing there holding my ST with the biggest grin on his face.  We both laughed and he became my cheering section for a big win.  The time clock was ticking for me to be back to the room to get ready for Cher.  Time clocks can be a good thing or a very bad thing when gambling.  It was a good thing this go round and the $$$ win money made it to the room.

Cheesecake-Factory-Forum-Shopsvia

I covered the Cher experience in a previous installment. We hit The Cheesecake Factory in The Forum Shops for our post show dinner of a shared pepperoni pizza, strawberry shortcake and two glasses of Riesling. Very tasty.

strawberry-cheese-cake-grand-lux

Happy Birthday, Dave!  Shopping for birthday gifts and perhaps something new for both of us to wear to the birthday celebration dinner this evening is the plan, and Vegas knows shopping. Dave was a sport and kept me company while I spent the afternoon shopping at the Fashion Show Mall.  Starbucks supplied our very light lunch break of shared pastry and coffees- just a quick bite of something to keep a headache at bay.  Our plan for the birthday celebration evening was for a quiet and relaxing dinner at the Range Steakhouse at Harrah’s (presently Ruth’s Chris). We enjoyed dinner at The Range so much on our last trip.  We were seated by the window and with James as our waiter (requested). His personality and professionalism adds to the evening.  Dave started with the lobster bisque and I selected the blue cheese and fresh apple salad. For our entrees we both ordered the 12 oz. center cut pork chop and shared Yukon gold mashed potatoes.  The manager knew we were celebrating Dave’s birthday and sent over the most fantastic chocolate cake with strawberries and coffee for two.  The food presentation and preparation was done very well.  The service and the wait staff could not have been more professional or friendly, and it all equaled a memorable birthday meal in Vegas.

Rio

We were dressed and waiting in the Rio valet at 8:15 AM Wednesday. Trust me, I am not the up and dressed and ready to greet the day while on vacation kind of girl.  By the time of day and level of enthusiasm, Dave realized I was serious about this slot tournament. I grabbed the keys, gave the valet a good morning hello and it was touchdown Flamingo events area.

Flamingo-hotel-Vegas

The tournament was open to all Total Rewards card holders so Dave put down a few $20’s and we were registered for 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 12:30 PM, 1:00 PM, and finally 2:00 PM. Wow! That’s a lot of hope and fun packed into a late morning and early afternoon at the dirty bird, and you would think we had a snowball’s chance in the desert of winning. Goodness knows as many times as we entered we sure thought we did! We didn’t even come close to placing, but we had an absolute ball trying.

slot-32

The last day in Vegas gives me a pit in my stomach no words can describe. Staying busy cures it.  Gambling for this trip was officially over.  I had not been able to win enough to make it accumulate over what I started with, and the wins were too far apart from each other to save me.  I find it is easier to swallow if I quit without too much damage to the initial bankroll. The suggestion of In-N-Out Burger for lunch and a business mixed with pleasure venture was met with no complaints. We headed out to dine in style and visit a few design and antiques shops.

4950783496_cff6e4382c_bIn-N-Out Burger

We saw parts of Vegas new to us, and I lucked up on a few items I could easily pack. We grabbed a couple of coffees, parked and watched the airplanes landing and taking off from McCarran International.  I must admit after nine full days and nights in Vegas this was a nice change.  We caught a couple of afternoon fountain shows at Bellagio and it was Monte Carlo time.

bellagio-fountains

Dave and I discovered the Wizard of Oz penny slots complete with flying monkeys, the yellow brick road and the wizard himself.  The graphics and sound effects are amazing, and Oz turned out to be a magical place.  I put in a $5 voucher and cashed out with $$$ for a nice win.  The beautiful Glenda appeared to me in bonus round goodness resulting in the big hit.  I could become addicted to these machines with no problem.  There’s no place like home and Vegas on a sunny winning afternoon.

Vegas-sunrise

The Friday going home wake up call came at 5:30 AM with coffee shortly after. We checked out of Rio and at the car rental return by 9:15 AM.  We were through security and to Continental gate D 20 with fifty minutes to spare.  I took in the final sights of the Strip from my window seat on the airplane.  I settled in for the three-hour flight with good tunes, better memories and big plans for our next trip.  Getting home to a full house of family and friends on Hurricane Gustav alert and all he dumped on Central Louisiana naturally put priorities where they should be. Normalcy is back in our reach and has allowed me to share with you my trip report.  The overall casual tone was the right way to go for us this Vegas trip.  It was easy on the schedule, expectations and the wallet. I wasted no time bringing to Dave’s attention with all the money saved this trip it would be stupid not to book another trip out to our desert oasis within the next six months.  My logic has him thinking about it.  Then again, my logic always has me thinking about Vegas.

Thanks to all who have stayed with the reading.

 

images: The Cheesecake Factory, Grand Lux Cafe, Rio All-Suite Hotel, Google