Thursday, April 30, 2015

Viva Las Vegas (pt 2)

The rest of my trip to Vegas was fun and I did more walking than I'd done in years probably! I love all of the kitschy themed hotels and I strolled down Las Vegas Blvd with my camera in tow, ready to snap some fun shots of whatever I found to be inspiring!

{The Strip}

The Flamingo Hotel is probably one of my all-time favorites because, well, who doesn't love pink? And also, who doesn't love a flamingo? This hotel is beaming with bright colors and the best gift shop on the strip. I picked up a soft pullover sweater and the cutest light-up keychain (or maybe the tackiest). 

{Floral Carousel at the Wynn}

{Downtown Las Vegas}

{O Face Doughnuts}
I had read about this donut shop and had to stop by. I ordered the breakfast donut that had breakfast cereal on top and a cream on the inside. It was the perfect way to start my descent back into Los Angeles.

More info about where to find OFace Donuts can be found here

...And I'm saving the best for tomorrow. Stay tuned for more Las Vegas goodness!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Viva Las Vegas (pt 1)

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the brand new Elvis: The Experience exhibit and show at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas which is the same hotel that Elvis used to perform at between 1969-1976. I'm lucky enough to be a part of the Elvis Insiders club which allows members special access to events like this one, as well as discounts on Elvis merchandise and to Graceland in Memphis, TN. This event was to be extra special because there would be a red carpet event and Elvis' family and close friends would be in attendance. I knew I had to get myself out there and am so glad that I did!

The exhibit is over 28,000 square feet and includes many of Elvis' privately own cars, worn clothing from films as well as some of his famous jumpsuits from the 1970s, and other personal artifacts. There are beautiful large-scale photos of Elvis covering all of the walls around the space, and the exhibit is in chronological order from the beginning of his life, all the way up to when he performed in this hotel in Vegas beginning in 1969 which is helpful to those who don't know a whole lot about him and want to know more. It's a beautifully crafted space and it is very exciting to have a mini Graceland exhibit right there in Vegas! They also show you a 26 minute movie about his life in a small theater that is attached. Before we were taken on the tour, we were introduced to Angie Marchese, who basically has the coolest job in the world - she's the head of archives at Graceland. She gave us a personal tour of all of the artifacts and was there to answer any questions we had. Before the tour, Priscilla came into the room as a surprise guest, and guys, I almost lost it. This woman has lead such an incredible life, and has done SO much to preserve Elvis' legacy. Without her, no one would be able to tour Elvis' home, or even attend this exhibit I went to last week. I was so humbled by her presence and she was as gracious and lovely as I had imagined her to be. If only I had been able to meet her, but I'm sure she could tell that us Elvis Insiders felt grateful for her contributions and that was enough for me.

There is also a brand new wedding chapel located across from the exhibit which unfortunately I did not get the chance to see, but I've seen pictures and it looks like a little mini Graceland inside. So cute. The first couple to get married there were married that morning and Priscilla was the matron of honor.

{The Exhibit}

When the exhibit ended, I followed a few new friends I'd made to where the red carpet was being held before the show. We decided to forgo that to find our seats in the theater, and as it turned out I was front row center! Of course, I was so excited and could hardly contain it! Elvis: The Show starred Martin Fontaine as Elvis, and he was backed by 14 musicians and eight choir members portraying the original members of his band. I really felt like I was back in time because these musicians were totally decked out in 1970s clothes and wigs, and what made the show so special was that it was in the exact same theater that Elvis had performed in back in the day. There were photos of Elvis and the Presley family in the background during the show, which was moving and I admit to shedding a few tears. Before Martin and the band took the stage, the Presley family entered the room, and the whole crowd of people cheered and snapped many photos. I wasn't close enough to see much, but wow - what a beautiful family. It was a pretty cool thing to be in the same room as them. I felt extremely lucky. When the show started, we were treated to a little film with clips of Elvis playing from his 1970 documentary That's The Way It Is, showing him getting ready to enter the stage as fans were collecting in the showroom, just like us! And then the music started and Martin came out!

{The Show}
Being front row at an Elvis show is always a fun experience. One thing that some people might not know about Elvis as a performer is that he was very interactive with his audiences - he would give them his silk scarves, kiss them, crack jokes and was even known to sign a few autographs if he had some time. Martin chose to walk out into the audience to greet us during "Love Me Tender", and the ladies were freaking out. I couldn't stop laughing. So fun! I didn't get a chance to snag a scarf this time, but I enjoyed him shaking my hand. I couldn't even imagine what I had done if that was actually Elvis.

After the show ended, I was so exhausted that I called it a day and headed back to my room at The Mirage, where I crashed for the night. I always feel a little out of place at these Elvis events because of my age (I was born 8 years after he passed away, so I never got to see him live), but I always manage to meet the sweetest people who I have a great time with and keep in touch with, and I love their personal stories of how they came to love Elvis, and if they got to meet him. I can't wait to go back to Vegas to experience the event all over again and to bring my friends and family. Martin's show will be here for just a short 5 weeks, and then a new show will start in the theater. This is a permanent exhibit and show.

For tickets and more info for Elvis: The Experience- click here

Monday, April 20, 2015

Best Donuts in LA

LA has become somewhat of a mecca for good donuts. In every part of the city, there seem to be both old and new donut shops that have lines out the door. I've decided to compile a list of my absolute favorite donuts and where to find them. Of course, there are so many it was hard to choose! Where do you like to buy your favorite breakfast treats?

{ where to find them }

03. dk's donuts         04. california donuts
05. fonuts                          06. donut snob

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Elvis' favorite retro treats

It's pretty safe to say that if something has Elvis' face on it, I will probably buy it, and that includes this book that was published about Elvis' favorite foods with recipes and little stories about why he liked them. I've always been kind of obsessed with southern food (if I could eat biscuits and gravy every day I would, but I live in LA, and though I can find them here, it's just not the same, plus I'd gain a lot of weight if I ate them every day), and the fact that there is a recipe in here for Elvis' beloved fried PB & Banana sandwiches makes me so happy. I decided to make them and to accompany them with a batch of another one of his favorites: frosted chocolate brownies, and now all of the leftovers are sitting on my kitchen table taunting me. I guess that's not such a bad problem, really. But seriously, send help. Or just come over and take them from me.

I don't have any special tips for either of these recipes, mainly just that I decided to brulée the bananas for the PB & Banana sandwiches rather than just mash them up and pile them onto the bread. I also don't own a torch so i mashed them in a bowl, sprinkled them with sugar, and threw them into a broiler at 400 degrees for a while until they began to brown on top. As for the brownies, make sure your brownies are completely cooled before you frost them. I made the mistake of frosting them while still warm because I was worried about losing the light during the daytime, and now they look like an ooey gooey mess, which is fine if you like it that way, but it makes it mighty hard to cut them and make them look pretty.

Yum! I bought fresh brioche bread which made them a little elevated.

Hope you all enjoyed my little baking session! I want to try my hand at more of these recipes soon. Allll of the pies sound crazy good, and I wouldn't mind having some of that southern mac & cheese from the book, either.

Some recipes similar to the ones I used:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Palm Springs Travel Guide

It's no secret that I love Palm Springs. I visit probably once a month, and that's because I live so close to it (it's about an hour and 40 minute drive with no traffic). There's something so soothing about driving past those infamous rows of windmills, knowing you're about to be in paradise. People are aaaaalways asking me where the best places to eat/shop/sleep are, so I thought I'd put together a little guide of some of my favorite spots. Hope you enjoy and I'd love to know where your favorite Palm Springs spots are! <3

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Shopping with Target

Is it just me or has this year just been flying by? It's already April and now it's almost Easter! As the holiday draws even closer, I thought it would be appropriate to share a last-minute gift idea for your best friend, sister, mom, aunt, co-worker, or Beyonce (shooting too high there? Maybe so). I happen to love Target a whole lot, and managed to find everything in this basket (minus the basket and straw itself) for less than $20! Candy is always a great go-to for obvious reasons, but to handpick little pick-me-ups like the cooling face mask, marshmallow candle (!!), and EOS vanilla mint lip balm just makes it extra special and personalized, and you can do the same for every type of person in your life whether it's for a guy or even a little niece or nephew. I had so much fun shopping for this gift idea that I had to make myself leave! Tell me: Do you celebrate Easter? And if so, what would be in your ultimate Easter basket?

01. ankle socks in "joyful mint" / 02. pez (not available on website)
03. EOS vanilla mint lip balm / 04. que bella refreshing mask
05. credit card holder wallet / 06. marshmallow pop candle

...and what's on the table making it all look so yummy?
: 01. cookie dough egg / 02. cadbury caramel eggs

 Thanks for all the great stuff, Target! You're the best!