Travel Photo of the Month: June 2015

I’ve already blogged about What Not To Do in Costa Rica, but I didn’t touch on the best part of the trip: a visit to the quaint shores of Playa Conchal. My friend Brandi and I visited in 2007, and the afternoon we spent snapping pictures seaside brings us June’s POTM. I love the juxtaposition of the flippers with the overturned cart on the white shell beach.

Playa Conchal, Costa Rica

Playa Conchal, Costa Rica

Travel Photo of the Month: April 2015

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On a recent morning visit to Red Rock National Park, I captured several photos of my view. When I uploaded this iPhone shot to my computer, I was blown away by how gorgeous it turned out! This incredible view is only about 10 minutes away from where I live, so methinks I should head out to Red Rock and hike more!

Stunning Spring Day at Red Rock National Park

Stunning Spring Day at Red Rock National Park

Travel Photo of the Month: March 2015

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One of my favorite photographs is from a rainy Sunday afternoon visit to Paris’ Musée d’Orsay. My now-fiance’ Jacob and I were there early in our relationship, and while I’d been to Paris multiple times, I’d never explored this spot. The building that houses famous artwork is a work of art itself, as it was converted from a train station. I was fascinated by the clock faces on the top floor…the view from which one could catch a glimpse of the city beyond.

At one point during our tour, we found ourselves alone in a large, but unoccupied gallery. It had hardwood floors and high ceilings, and Jacob extended his arm and asked me to dance. We only did a very brief spin, but it was a very special moment–dancing alone in Paris. Seeing this picture reminds me of that drizzly but romantic day at the Orsay and brings a smile to my face.

Musée d'Orsay

Musée d’Orsay

Travel Photos of the Month: February 2015

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Since I moved to Las Vegas, I’ve been spoiled by mostly mild winters, except for about a month where it does get extremely cold. I’ve learned that the desert doesn’t mean absence of cold…just much more dry and less water. Regardless, on a recent trip to Miami, I got the opportunity to really experience 70 degree days in the middle of February…by the pool. And not just any pool–the Trump National Doral has an oasis of a pool area, smartly embellished with yellow loungers and striped umbrellas. The service is outstanding, and the black and red mojito may be a new favorite. Welcome to Miami  |  Bienvenido a Miami.

Welcome to New York!

Taylor Swift wrote us a song–Welcome to New York–and it was the soundtrack of our visit there recently. In that vein, I thought I’d write a melody of my own to sum up our weekend there. Maestro, if you please…

New York is Cold
A Melody by S. Bates

Brrr! Brr! Wear your scarf.
Freeze freeze…with hat and gloves!
The 9/11 Memorial is profoundly gorgeous
And filled with thoughts of love.

Subway to Soho; get your Metro card.
Stop in Prada en route to warm up…
Meet friends from college over brunch
at Hundred Acres over bub(bles).

Head uptown down the avenue;
Ignore the freezing wind (freezing wind!)
Stroll hand-and-hand in Central Park
Before spotting the Plaza and going in!

A glass of Malbec at the bar
Will warm you like nothing can.
Head down Fifth Avenue to experience
The deliciousness that is Bergdorf Goodman.

Here the cafe is a dream–
The best to celebrate…
Friends, family, art deco, impeccable service,
And your fiance’s birthday.

Bundle up…bundle up!
The rest of the trip is a whirl.
Dining at Vice Versa and A Voce
Makes you ready to get on a diet, girl!

Check out of the fabulous W Downtown;
Hop an Uber and head to JFK.
You avoided the winter storm.
Go home, warm up, hurray!

I knew I was an global business traveler and an amateur photographer, but until I wrote the above (possibly Grammy-winning) ballad, I had no idea that songwriting was in my future. (Insert sarcasm here.) Even with my lack of musical talent, I hope you’ll agree with me that a trip to cold NYC is the perfect thing to do in January, provided one has a fabulous winter coat. Welcome to New York!

Christmas on the Las Vegas Strip

Baby, it’s cold outside…especially in Las Vegas! Some people don’t think it gets cold in Sin City, but the desert weather gets pretty chilly in the winter. Right now, it’s 46º degrees…brrr! When the wintry weather arrives, there is no place like Las Vegas Blvd. to get into the Christmas spirit!

Our perennial favorite is the Bellagio, home of the Bellagio Conservatory and our favorite bar–the Petrossian. My fiance’ actually chose this spot to propose, as we come here at least five times a year to see the ever-changing seasons spotlighted at the Conservatory. I’ve even blogged about it before, and the best time of the year to stroll through the gorgeous atrium is holiday time! This year didn’t disappoint–imagine penguins, polar bears constructed of flowers, and a giant Christmas tree!

Another favorite thing to do in Vegas in the winter is ice skating! Several of the casinos, including the stylish Cosmopolitan and the Venetian, have outdoor ice rinks. We’ve enjoyed the one at the Cosmopolitan the last couple of years, as the rooftop pool converted to a rink makes this girl feel as though she is skating down the Strip! And even if you hate to skate, there are glorious fire pits and cold weather cocktails available.

Need some other December ideas for the Strip? There is the world record-breaking Great Santa Run each year in Downtown Las Vegas, lovely holiday shopping at Fashion Show Mall, and the Magical Forest at nearby Opportunity Village.