Adventures, Outings and Tons of Fun


5 Weeks ago, my friend Nicole arrived from The Netherlands.  The last time she had been here, was 9 years ago, when she flew out to attend my wedding.  I saw her last year, when I flew back to Europe to surprise my childhood friend of 30 years at her wedding.  And in between, we Skyped.  A lot.  The past weeks were filled with joy, fun, adventure and a ton of laughter.  Exactly how it’s supposed to be when you put 2 girlfriends together.

There were 6 days between the departure of our friends from Spain and Nicole’s arrival, so over the weekend we squeezed in a family day at the California Science Center.



Tons of fun and excitement.

The Type A personality that I am, I had created  “must do” and “would like to do” lists for when Nicole was here.  I had drafted them on my cell phone and carried them with me at all times, just to make sure I could add things as they popped into my head in the middle of the grocery store.

We decided that after her long journey, 1 day of rest was enough and on day 2 we hopped in the car and drove out to Santa Barbara.  (That was BEFORE gas prices hit the $5/gallon.)  The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History was our destination.  “Lovely” is a true understatement.  It was gorgeous.

We visited the “Butterflies Alive!” Exhibit



and not only saw beautiful butterflies, but also learned a lot.



We had a picnic, learned about rocks and fossils, bugs and much more and we visited Santa Barbara, where we had an delicious, but criminally overpriced gelato.

And then came the notorious Monday…

The Monday that Nicole and I got in the car at 6am to head out to VEGAS!!  Yes, 6am departure…the sacrifice you make to avoid LA traffic.  (And yes, David rocked for taking care of the kids, the pets and the house for 3 days!)  Before we threw ourselves into the fun that Vegas had to offer, we took a little detour to the Hoover Dam.  Nicole hadn’t been, I hadn’t been after they had “redone” it, so we battled the insane heat and admired the amazing piece or engineering that is simply impressive.  And with my fear of heights, my knees shook by the mere thought of walking over this bridge.



I told Nicole that I would wait for her if she wanted to admire the views from up there, but I think she was secretly longing for a cocktail in Vegas and she politely declined.  So…in the car we hopped and we headed to Sin City.

That night we walked around and did The Strip (because as a Vegas-Virgin Nicole had to get the “walking-down-The-Strip” experience).  We got invited to come watch the Fountain show at the Bellagio from their new lounge “Hyde” – free admission and a free drink with the purchase of one.  Well, okay then, twist my rubber arm.

Later that night I found the wine cellar for my next house.



It’s always good to have a visual of the things you want in your next house.  Makes the house hunt a whole lot easier, don’t you think Dear Husband?

The next day we spent the day laying out by the pool.  We relaxed.  I didn’t even get to read the magazines we had brought.  But, seriously, would I want to with this view?



In the evening we had dinner at Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar and although the all organic burger was delicious, it was the milkshake menu that had lured us in.  I mean, Adult Milkshakes?  AWESOME!  No, don’t get too excited, it just meant they contained alcohol, but boy oh boy…



Hmm, how to describe it…  It was an Irish Coffee Shake with coffee ice cream, Godiva Liquor and Irish Cream Liquor.  “Smooth” doesn’t even come close.  Every sip made me want to stand up and do my little “Happy Dance”.  Honestly, this was the best milkshake of my life.  It’s worth returning to Vegas for this one.  Seriously.

The rest of the night was spent on the 64th floor of THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, at their “Mix Lounge”.  Can’t beat that view.



And with seats on the balcony, lounging and sipping cocktails at half price (we received not only free admission, but a butt load of “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” tickets), there was no reason to move.




The fun lasted until 1am, when the lounge closed and our short-distance view had taken on a sad image.



After breakfast, several hours later, we departed and moved on the Outlet Mall where Nicole took advantage of the cheaper prices on all the cool items that cost a small fortune back in Europe.  She’s gonna by stylin’ this winter!

The rest of her visit to SoCal was filled with excursions to Travel Town, the LA Zoo, The Getty Museum,



we hosted a Tapas Evening for some close friends of mine



and we simply had fun with the kiddo’s.  Ryder in particular was crazy about Nicole and went so far as requesting her to tuck him in at night.  “No Mommy, you leave!  I want Nicole.”  There you have it.



And so, 3 fun-filled weeks with lots of laughter came to an end.  Nicole returned to Europe last week, leaving Kai and Ryder utterly confused:

Kai: “Mommy, what are we gonna do without Nicole?”
Ryder: “Mommy, we gotta get in the car and get Nicole back home!”

They’ll be fine.  Just in time for their grandparents to arrive and to then, once again, be confused when they leave.  Poor kids.

And Mommy?  Mommy looks back at an amazing time, filled with joy and happiness.


Until next time,

Savor food, savor family (and friends), savor life.
- Marieke, aka HRH Mommy



Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

Bookmark and Share
Published on: October 8, 2012 | Tags: , , , ,

2 Responses to Adventures, Outings and Tons of Fun

  1. Pamela S says:

    Well, now I want to go to Vegas just for the adult milkshakes. They look amazing! What a great time you all had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>