Monday, April 30, 2012

In the Blink of an Eye

It's time to get real for a minute. It's been a while. You know how sometimes life just changes? "In the blink of an eye, drop of a hat" kind of way. I feel like that's kind of just been the story of my life this year. So, in that sense, nothing has changed. Except it has.

Confused yet? Me too. My life is crazy-confusing and, as of late, it's been totally unpredictable and I've just been crossing my fingers that things will work out well. Whatever "well" means. But here's what I've learned to be more and more true every time: My idea of something working out well is entirely different from God's idea of something working out well. His plan and His timing are so true and perfect. And it's in those moments when "life just changes" that I know it's His hand.

Or maybe you relate more with The Byrds: "For everything there is a season."

Anyway, my life is being shaped each day. Old doors are being shut and new ones are being opened. New [and better] opportunities can be found in disappointments. AND [here's one thing that I have truly learned]:

I've found some of my greatest inspiration during the hard times. Because, the truth is, at the end of the day you can either let the hard times get the best of you or you can take control and continue along the path that's been created for you - no matter how long and hilly it may be. God will lead you to it and He will help you through it.

I'm ready and willing and excited for the things to come in my life; the things I already know about and the things that are still unknown. One of the things that I know about I'll be sharing with you on here very soon :)

I have a feeling I'm going to be sharing a lot of things from my heart on here in the next little bit. There's been a lot on my heart and maybe, just maybe, some of you will relate :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

April Letters

Dear Las Vegas,
Thank you for having me. Thanks for your heat warmth. The sun's rays felt so good on my skin and the crisp blue sky sure looked good as my backdrop for pictures. You always leave me feeling refreshed and inspired. 

Dear Instagram,
I love how you challenge me to find art in my surroundings while capturing memories at the same time. [Follow me on Instagram: @chelseasunset]

Dear Heart,
I know you're a little confused and unsettled right now but just stay patient. Everything will be okay in the end. Just you wait and see.

Dear Dad,
You're awesome. You always have been and I just don't tell you enough. You are so strong and smart about everything. I hope that one day I'll know even half of the things you do. Thanks for all that you do everyday and for hanging out with Stella while I was out of town.

Dear Sunburn,
It looks like you only found your way to my shoulders which I'm grateful for. I'll gladly accept the tan on the rest of my skin. Is it weird that the slight pain you're causing makes me smile because it reminds me where I got you in the first place? #desertsun

Dear Blog Readers,
Wow, thank you! I can't believe there are 500 of you now! It sure puts a big smile on my face to see and feel how far blogging has brought me :) You are all wonderful and I've found some of my closest friends through this amazing community!

Dear Brother,
I know you read this from time to time and I don't tell you enough how proud I am of you. You've always been the best big brother I could have asked for. You're smart and funny. Thanks for always being there for me.

Dear Dreams,
Please stay with me. I've put you off for years but I promise this is the year I start making you come true as I get you figured out little by little. I've learned that life is too short to do things that make you unhappy and I know that you would end up bringing me the greatest joy. I won't give up or sell myself short.

Dear Mom,
Not a day goes by that I don't think of you. Yesterday thinking of the library made me think of you. My soul misses you. I still don't know how to live this life without you and I think I might not ever know. I just have to make it work somehow and I know you'll find a way to help. Keep watching over me...


For more Friday's Letters, head on over to Ashley's sweet blog :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Journey Forward {11}

I was unfortunately unable to post yesterday. You see, my flight was supposed to be arriving back into DC around 8:30PM. However, did you know that if you try checking in 44 minutes before your flight with Delta, they won't let you check in? Well, I sure didn't. I almost always fly Southwest. They require your bags to be checked within 30 minutes of take-off and they board 30 minutes prior to take-off. I've never had a problem. So, when flying out to Vegas, I had checked in online with Delta but needed to check my bags and they told me, with 43 minutes left to spare, that they couldn't guarantee my bags would make it as it wasn't within the 45 minute window. [My bags did make it, by the way.]

Then, flying home from Vegas, I didn't check in prior to arriving at the airport so by the time I tried [mind you, it was literally 44 minutes before departure] the system kicked me out and made me choose another flight. You've got to be kidding me. Alas, I waited an extra hour, had a longer layover in Memphis, and then finally made it back to DC at 10:15PM. That said, I was exhausted by the time I got home.

Anyway, on to today's Journey Forward post. It's all about positive affirmations. I think some days we all just need to take a deep breath and tell ourselves it is i going to work out. Everything will be okay. So, here are my personal affirmations. Feel free to use them for yourself as well :)

+ I am strong and capable of anything.

+ I live my life with purpose and good intention.

+ I will overcome any obstacle that comes my way, bettering myself in the process.

+ I am the captain of my ship; the sailor of my own sea.

+ I can find happiness in any situation.

+ I will leave this world a better place than when I entered it.

+ I am creating opportunities for success.

+ Today I release fear and open up my heart to love.

+ I am in control of my actions and reactions.

I might even write these on little note cards and leave them sitting around where I'll see them throughout the day. On my bathroom mirror, on the visor in my car, in my wallet, on my phone, etc. I hope you find a way to incorporate your own positive affirmations into your everyday routine. Do share!


Next week for Journey Forward:

It's time to go to our happy place. We've written about where we go to unwind/recharge. Now, I want you to visually show what makes you happy. What images take you to your happy place? Pin those images to your Journey Forward Pinterest board and share them in your post next week!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Last of Vegas in January

Let's continue on with my recap of Vegas in January, shall we? Here's part one and two if you haven't read those yet. After gelato and exploring a little of the Aria, we headed over to Paris for the Eiffel Tower tour. We had wanted to do it during our last Vegas trip but didn't for some reason. You buy your tickets and they tell you what time to be back to meet with your little group in order to take the elevator up.

We decided to go once the sun had already set to get a magical view of the Strip all lit up.

There ended up being a group of maybe ten of us who took the elevator up all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The attendant let us know some fun facts. This version of the Eiffel Tower is really nowhere near as tall in comparison to the one in Paris, but still. Pretty cool!

We get up there and walk around a little to take some pictures and take it all in. It was pretty windy as it was January and once that sun goes down, it gets chilly. But we still had a great time. We were able to watch the fountains at the Bellagio twice! SUCH a cool view from above!

Earlier in the day, we had been handed a "Free Appetizer" pass for Planet Hollywood so we figured we had better take advantage of that. Funny story: We had been to this Planet Hollywood back in 2010 and the hostess seated us right around all the horror movie stuff. Not happening. So, we kindly asked to be seated elsewhere and we were. This time when we went back, guess what. They seated us at the horror movie section. Oh well. It was meant to be I guess.

We got some free spinach & artichoke dip [yum!] and ended up giving our other coupon to the guys sitting next to us who had offered to take an awesome picture of us! Seriously, everyone in Vegas is great. My meal was SO good. I was way hungry and all diets are out the door on vacation so I ordered the chicken mac & cheese. Our server said it was one of the most popular dishes and now I know why. SO tasty!

Once we were done, I figured we'd be going home but he had something else up his sleeve. We drove to the end of the Strip to see the legendary sign. Not only did we get to see the sign, but we also got to meet somebody...

Yep, finally met Elvis in Vegas! You just have to get a picture with him at some point in your life. Check!
Our final full day in Las Vegas was pretty low-key. We had lunch at the Cosmopolitan at a fun burger joint we had spotted earlier called Holstein's. You need to go. Get one of their milkshakes if nothing else. Are you hungry yet?

I had always wanted to go inside the Wynn [I think the only reason is because I really like the font on the building. Figures.] so we went in there and explored a little. Not a ton to see there so we headed on over to New York New York, parked on the top deck of the garage and watched the sun set :) Sigh.

And that's where that picture comes from :) It was a great way to say goodbye to a city that I love so much. But I guess it wasn't goodbye after all. It was just "see you later." Thanks, Vegas. You never disappoint.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Vegas in January

Happy Monday! I'm allowed to say that because, while you're reading this, I'm still in Vegas having an awesome little mini vaca! On Friday, I posted about the beginning of my Vegas trip back in January so check that out here if you haven't already because I'm about to continue with the recap.

The day after my birthday started off at the Paris hotel. We had been to this little crepe place about a year and a half ago when we were there visiting and I just had been craving one of those crepes! Probably because it had peanut butter, bananas, and nutella in it.

After we stuffed ourselves with delicious food, we decided to head on over to City Center to explore some of the new hotels! The Cosmopolitan is probably one of the coolest hotels I've ever been it. The decor was absolutely gorgeous. Totally chic and modern and fun.

We probably would have willingly lived in that hotel. Sigh. It was so beautiful. We walked through some shops, checked out the "Pop-Up Wedding Chapel" there at the hotel and then grabbed some yummy gelato over at the Aria!

But, the night was far from over! There's one thing you just HAVE to do while you're in Vegas. Okay, so there are like three a million things you HAVE to do while in Vegas and later that night, we did two of them. Hmm... what could it be? You'll just have to wait until tomorrow to find out :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

That Time I Went to Vegas

Bright and early tomorrow morning I will be leaving for one of my favorite places - Las Vegas! I like that city for reasons other than most people since I don't party nor do I really gamble. Vegas has so much to offer everyone [yes, even kids, although the options are a bit more limited.] But, honestly... I love the city for its splendor, its variety, its uniqueness. Like Disney, there's really nowhere else on Earth quite like Vegas. The list of things to do, see, and places to go seems to be endless and each trip there is entirely different from the last.

So, I figured it was about time to talk about my last venture to Las Vegas. Now, of course, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? So you'll just be getting a basic run-down :) Mainly just lots of pictures!

Let me just start off by saying there was a boy involved in this trip. Some of you may recognize him :)

I arrived on Saturday morning [my birthday] and we immediately headed off to one of the greatest places ever created - In-N-Out Burger. Because I have to fly to the other side of the country just to eat there. Just kidding. But not really.

After that, we went over to The Venetian [one of my favorites] and walked around a little and just enjoyed the scenery on the beautiful, sunny day. 

Probably the best picture ever taken of me, yes? The sun and breeze were doing great things for me…

Before I flew out to Vegas, we had decided that we HAD to see one of the Cirque du Soleil shows while we were there and bought tickets for Ka at MGM Grand. So, that was on the agenda for later. We got dressed up for a night out on the town to celebrate my birthday. We had to get sushi. Had to! I had looked up a couple different places with good reviews that were close to the Strip but when we showed up to one, the wait was too long and we'd be pushing it too close for the show. We both hopped on our phones to see what other sushi restaurants were close by and found a place called Sushi 21. He called over to see what their wait looked like - nada. 

I can officially say that Sushi 21 has the best sushi I've ever tasted before, and probably now ties with Tadashi in La Jolla, California. Sushi 21 has this amazing dish called "Japanese Lasagna." Mmmm! We ordered a TON of sushi, as we always do and then headed off to MGM Grand for the big show.

I absolutely LOVE getting dressed up and going to shows. I love the whole experience of it. We arrived at the Ka Theatre and found our seats [that were super close to the stage!] So, we're sitting there and I'm looking around at the set which extends out into the audience and then out of nowhere, performers start swinging around above us and making some crazy "tribal" noises.

The show started soon after and it was just amazing. Like most Cirque shows, there were those nail-biting moments where you were almost scared to watch the stunts taking place. The set was absolutely unreal. If you watched Bachelor Pad 2, you might remember the episode in Vegas where they had to perform the choreography on that insanely huge vertical wall. That scene during Ka was so impressive. I think the entire audience was holding their breath throughout that scene as performers fought and fell and battled one another, suspended far up into the air. Ka was amazing and I recommend it to anyone visiting Las Vegas!

It was a wonderful birthday :)

Since I'll be in Vegas this weekend through Tuesday, I'll be sharing the rest of my [January] trip and pictures with you then so be sure to tune in again after the weekend :) So, tell me fellow Vegas-goers, what are YOUR favorite Vegas hot-spots?

And now, it’s time to announce the winner of the $50 Shabby Apple giveaway! Thank you so much to everyone who entered! It seems like Shabby Apple sure is in high demand and, who knows, maybe we’ll be having some more giveaways in the near future. So, congratulations to…
Whitney from Everything Happens for a Reason! Yay! I'll put Shabby Apple in touch with you :)