Socksie, Sweet Sweet Socksie <3

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As I type this, my 19 1/2 year old cat is sleeping on my pillow, just as she does most every night. This is her last night on my pillow and my healing heart is shattering into a million tiny pieces again. It’s only been 7 weeks since we lost Matisse and it all just feels too soon.

Socks came into my life in October of 1997. I’d just started college and wanted to get a cat. I was living in my own space and could finally get a pet of my own. I had a rabbit at this point, but I wanted something a little more “train-able” and snuggleable. Rabbits are great pets, they’re just not a cat nor a dog. I’d loved cats for years. My best friend growing up always had a lot of cats in her home. I also cat-sat for one of the neighbours, but never a cat of my own. I wanted a tuxedo cat, and I wanted to name her Socks. My mom found me one for adoption at Super Pet in Brampton. I went that weekend to meet her when Steve and I went to visit his parents for the weekend from the city. The humane society thought she was only 1 or 2, and she was found abandoned with a litter of kittens. They had no problems adopting out her kittens, but she was a tougher sell. Though all the staff said she was their favourite of all the kitties in there. I wasn’t sure about her in that little adoption room. She was older than I wanted, and she didn’t seem overly playful, but Steve assured me it was probably a good choice given our small apartment, and with never having a cat before a kitten might prove too challenging for a first cat. I adopted her on the spot. We made a brief stop at Steve’s parents before going back to our apartment in the city. Once I let her out of the carrier in the city she began to prance knead and purr all over the apartment. Steve called her a purr factory. I just thought she was purrfect. And she does have the most amazing purr. It was like she knew she was in a good home, and she was happy. That made my heart happy.

We bonded very quickly. Steve taught her to let me sleep in. I taught her how awesome it was to share my cereal milk with her. She’d usually sit patiently in front of me until I was done my cereal and happily lap at my milk, other times she’d get impatient and dive in while I was still eating. During that time she also became a total nip-head. One night I forgot to secure the baggie of nip and she found it… so much so that she passed out on top of her scratching post and fell off it when she woke up. Party animal. I so wanted her to love me that I gave her too many Pounce that it stopped being a treat for her and she lost interest in treats for a while. We discovered early on that she had likely been abused by a male. This poor girl just had such a rough start to life. I was committed to giving her the best life possible, in a house full of love, warmth, affection. I’ve said it many times, rescue is a promise not a verb.

After our Toronto apartment, she joined us for a few months at Steve’s parents house while we looked for our next space. It was there we discovered she was very allergic to vaccines and nearly lost her. We then rented a home in Inglewood, and soon added a dog. Socks and the rabbit were great friends, and I have some old pictures of them drinking from the Christmas tree water together. Socks didn’t love the dog. Then we bought our first house in Brampton, took Socks and the dog (the rabbit had passed about a year before we moved) and 2 months later added our beloved Matisse.

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Such a pretty, sweet girl. Socks is the most mild mannered, sweet, affectionate kitty. She’s a momma’s girl. She’s had her share of health problems through the years – she needed dental surgery ~12 years ago, she continued to be deathly allergic to vaccines, she also had a brief chronic condition that saw her at the vets frequently for a very unpleasant procedure and never once did she complain, growl, hiss, scratch or bite. My sweetheart. We have been inseparable. We spend every night snuggled up together on the couch, and she spends most nights on my pillow like I already mentioned.

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Before moving to Brantford, our old vets told us she had the beginnings of renal failure and to switch her diet to senior food. After moving to Brantford and getting to know the Charing Cross Cat Clinic, they wanted to do more dental surgery on her and did another blood workup on her pre-surgery. They found her to have advanced renal failure and wanted to put her on a med that would slow the progression of the disease. We tried it for a good month but it was making her very anti-social and distrustful of us and we saw it was taking away from her quality of life. My very social cat became very reclusive. I made the decision that I wanted her quality of life more than her quantity of life and we stopped the meds. Her disease has progressed subtly over the last 5 years with a very slow decline. But she’s also 19, so there’s also a reasonable expectation of aging.

The week after Matissey died she thrived. Her appetite was almost ravenous, she put on some weight, she was looking fabulous. Unfortunately that didn’t last and the last 3 weeks have brought a very fast decline. She has lost tremendous amounts of weight, she’s not eating much, she’s not drinking much, she’s listless and weak. I had truly hoped she could hold on another 2-3 weeks, but it’s not to be. She’s suffering, and my heart can’t bear to see her suffer. Steve always said I’d know when the time was right, and late Monday evening/early Tuesday morning I just knew.

When we added Tiffany and Bella I thought it was good to add 2 together at the same time so I wouldn’t be looking for another kitty after Socks died, I just didn’t think it would be this soon.

In the greatest act of selfless love for my dear sweet Socks (Socksinator, Socksie, and every other nickname we have for her), she will make one last trip to the vet tonight. It will destroy me, but its in her best interest, and I’ve always acted in her best interest. I’ve slept all of 3 hours since I knew it was time because I don’t want to miss out on these last seconds with her. I am once again heartbroken and devastated. We’ve had such a symbiotic relationship over the last 17 years. We have such a deep unique bond. It might have been most evident the night we lost Matisse and I woke up sobbing with overwhelming grief, and she put her paw on my hand and started to purr. She gets me. And I get her. It has been an absolute treat to give her the most loving, warm, happy life; especially given her rough beginnings. I have loved every single second with my sweet girl. I love her striking white whiskers. I love how her paw curls around my finger to hold it. I loved singing “If you’re happy and you know it say meow” with her, and she’d always meow at the right parts. I love that she is an absolute chatterbox and wish I was more fluent in meow. I even love and will miss her incessant “lick licks” she gives to show affection. I love her, so very much. And she knows.

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By this time tomorrow she will be reunited with Pendon the rabbit, Jade the dog and her dear friend Matisse. I hope in her heaven there are mice for her to catch, that there are fires to warm herself by, that there is endless nip and treats, that she always has a ray of sunlight to sleep in. I hope she finds Amber because she so loved kitties, and she needs to tell Amber how much she’s missed here on earth. I hope she finds Steve’s dad who totally loved her, even if he always called her Boots not Socks. She may find the extended family dogs of Winston and Clancy and Sam. Maybe even she’ll find my friend Susan’s beloved Buddy and Aruba, even though she wasn’t much of a dog lover. I hope she finds sweet Matissey and gives her a proper goodbye from us and lets her know how much we miss her. Most of all I hope she has the happiest of memories of her time here on earth with her family who loved her so so much and that she never forgets me; as she will forever be in my heart and thoughts.

Sweet dreams my best friend. Sweet dreams.

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

 

~ forever Socksie’s Mom

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Matisse

I figured I’d blog this since not everyone is a Facebook friend, and it’s part of what has kept me a bit on my toes lately.

Many of you will know I’m a furmomma to 2 amazing kitties. I’ve shared my stories about Socks, my 19 year old tuxedo cat, here. However, I haven’t shared much about Matisse. Matisse is my 12 year old feisty torbie. She’s got the most beautiful markings I’ve ever seen in a cat. We adopted her 12 years ago at 8 weeks old and she immediately stole our hearts. Her first moments in the house involved a fight with the “furry dumb blonde” Chow who just wanted to be her friend, and she wanted no part of that. Tortitude.  She loves to play fetch with anything projectile, she loves to snuggle and drool when she’s happy, she has an unending appetite (to the point where I had to have baby locks on the cupboards because she’d rifle them for carbs every night), she’s terrified of strangers and the doorbell, thunderstorms and fireworks. She loves to burrow under the duvet for her naps. Most of all, she loves her “Big Guy”. She’s very much Steve’s cat and I am but second fiddle. She used to mewl about the house after he left for work in the mornings.

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Matisse has been seemingly invincible, until a week and a half ago. When she was young she was mis-diagnosed by a vet as having FIP (feline infectious peritonitis), and the vet refused to spay her and sent her home with a very cold “enjoy her while you can”. Five years ago, when we moved to Brantford, we found an amazing cat clinic and got the “enjoy her while you can” cat reassessed. She was showing no signs of FIP and we went ahead and finally had her spayed. Unfortunately, because she was spayed at such a late age, her risk of feline mammary cancer increased exponentially.  About a year ago we found a mass on her abdomen that has slowly been growing. We knew the prognosis for feline mammary cancer is generally very poor and we wanted to spare her the trauma of the surgery, and us the expense for something with such a futile outcome. So, we opted to keep her home until she started to show signs of pain or deterioration. A week and a half ago she came to bed for snuggles like she normally does and her mass felt different. I turned on the light to find that it had ruptured. She went to the vet that week and we discussed our options.

While cancer is awful, our amazing vet, Dr. Kelly St.Denis, mentioned that Matisse may be a candidate for a new clinical trial going on at the Ontario Veterinary College.  This clinical trial is very much in it’s infancy, but completely fascinating and showing some positive results. And, what’s even more exciting to me is the potential future application towards human breast cancer. Today Matisse met with the study oncologist, had a biopsy and got her first vaccine to start in the trial, and will have her mass removed in 2 weeks. The goal right now is to buy us some time with our wee girl, and buy her a better quantity and quality of life. She’s on pain meds for now, which is going well if I hide it in her food. She hasn’t lost her energy, her spunk, nor her insatiable appetite. Me, I’m crying the happiest tears that she was deemed a candidate for the trial because that gives us a small glimmer of hope.  And the science geek in me is chuffed that my kitty, yes my kitty, is a part of such groundbreaking and potentially revolutionary research and care. Keep fighting little ’tissey! The Rainbow Bridge isn’t ready for you yet!

Love This Life – July 4th ScrapMuch? Reveal

Hello! Happy July!

Hello sunny days, late nights, flowers, enjoying the outdoors, BBQ, suntans, smiles, time to relax, shorts, sandals, fireflies, fireworks, vacations, staycations, road trips…

It’s Sketch-y Friday time, and Team A is up again at ScrapMuch? with a new sketch challenge. Of course with the start of the month, that also means we’re working with a 2 page layout.

So here is the sketch:

And here is my take on the sketch:
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Supplies used: Cardstock – American Crafts; Patterned Paper – Teresa Collins; Sequins – Teresa Collins; Chipboard Tag – Bazzill Basics; Pearls – Melissa Frances; Chipboard Cutouts – Pink Paislee; Buttons – Pink Paislee, American Crafts; Embroidery Floss – Bazzill Basics; Ink – Tim Holtz for Ranger Distress Ink; Mist – Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist; Ribbon – stash ; Rosette Die – Tim Holtz for Sizzix, cut with Vagabond; Title – Silhouette Cameo

As always I made a few of my own little modifications. Instead of journaling I used a part of the patterned paper with a phrase I really liked – “Cherish every moment”. I may add some hidden journaling later.

This layout is from New Year’s Eve a few years ago when we spent it at my favourite resort, Le Blanc Spa in Mexico. It was a beautiful, swanky evening. Think caviar and foie gras. For the record, I don’t like caviar nor foie gras. I loved the dress I bought special for the night, and got the salon to do my hair for me too. Canapes and cocktails were served on the terrace with a beautiful view across the lagoon in Cancun. We shared many laughs with friends we’d just met that week, and keep in touch with many of them still. It was my first fancy New Years Eve party. I wore open toed shoes because I didn’t have to worry about traipsing through snow and ice. That night is one of many reasons I have to be thankful for so many amazing things in my life, and one of many reasons to love my life. That was my second trip to Le Blanc (there have been 3 or 4 since) and I truly feel like it is my home away from home. It’s a very very special place.  I can’t wait to go back.

I would love for you to visit the ScrapMuch? blog and see the rest of the amazing design team reveal for this week. And then of course you need to play along with the sketch too! 😉 Make sure you link up and share with us what you create for a chance to win an amazing ScrapMuch? prize. I can’t wait to see what you create!

Have a wonderful weekend! Thank you for stopping by! And Happy Independence Day to all my visitors from south of the 49th parallel!

 

 

Hard Rock Cancun – ScrapMuch? Reveal

Can you believe it’s ScrapMuch?! reveal time again?! Where have the last 2 weeks gone? I feel like June is just flying by, and I hope that summer slows down and doesn’t go anywhere near as fast as June has. Speaking of summer, I’m so happy that summer officially arrives tomorrow! We’ve had such a long, cold, hard winter that the arrival of summer is extra sweet this year.

Inspired by summer and sunshine I decided to scrapbook some pictures from a trip to Mexico for this week’s sketch.

Here is the sketch:

And here is my take on the sketch:
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Supplies used: Cardstock-Bazzill; Patterned Paper-Pink Paislee, BoBunny; Most circle elements (brads, rosettes, chipboard pieces, gems)-Pink Paislee; button-Bazzill; Floss-Close To My Heart; Ribbon-Pink Paislee; Tile-Pink Paislee; Sequins-Teresa Collins; Washi-Tim Holtz, Bella Blvd; Pearls-Melissa Frances; Distress Ink-Tim Holtz; Title letters-American Crafts, Heidi Swapp; Paint-Claudine Hellmuth Studio; Stickles-Tim Holtz, Mist-Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist

I went with a lot of purples because it’s a common decor colour throughout the resort at Hard Rock Cancun. I went a little wispy with the distress ink because it reminds me of the wispy clouds. The music washi tape is absolutely perfect for a resort focused on music. And it really is a beautiful life. I’m very blessed I’ve been able to take so many incredible vacations.

I only visited Hard Rock Cancun for a day shortly after it rebranded and I admittedly took TONS of pictures as the resort is FILLED with music memorabilia. In keeping with my new love for pocket page scrapbooking I added a second pocket page of some of the pictures I took that day.

Here are the two pages together:
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I just pulled some of the patterned paper and embellishments from the left side to add some cohesion to the right, and on the back of the right I’ll add more pictures and journaling and ephemera (aka “stuff”). The Christmas tree there was done up in music themed ornaments. That fancy decor on the wall is all cymbals. And the drums on display there are John Bonham’s from Led Zeppelin.

I would love for you to pop over to the ScrapMuch?! blog and see what the rest of the team has created this week, and then play along with any of the sketches this month. Be sure to share your creations with us in the link-up tool for a chance to win an awesome prize! Here is a run down of our Sketch-y Friday rules.  Just link up your creations in our sidebar to be entered into a random draw for our monthly prize.   You have until Sunday, June 29th, at midnight to participate in any of June’s sketch challenges, each linkup tool will remain open until that date!

Thanks for popping by! I will be cropping with the awesome ScrapMuch?! ladies tomorrow! Have a fantastic weekend!

2013 in Review

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to put this year to bed. It started off sooooo magnificently, but presented many unique challenges. I’m hoping maybe my lower key start this year will mean better things ahead for 2014. So without further adieu, here is my year in review!

January – I rung in the new year on the beach at Isla Mujeres Palace, dancing with my feet in the ocean, glass of champagne in hand.
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You can also see the Cancun skyline in the distance. It was pure magic. We left Isla Mujeres to spend another stellar week at our second home, Le Blanc Spa.
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February – February brought a lot of snow, and no real other activities for us.
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March – March brought my first winery tours. Yes, really, they were my first.
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April – In April we returned to Boston and Foxboro MA. It was right after the Marathon bombings so a trip to Copley square was a must.
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May – May brought late spring cherry blossoms!
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And a car accident 😦
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June – My dad turned 70!
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And I broke my ankle 😦
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July – July brought a drive-in movie date of Despicable Me 2 for this broken shut-in.
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And a lot of physio..
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August – I tried out acupuncture for the first time for my very slowly healing ankle. It was AMAZING!!
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September – I went back to work on light duties, but it was short lived because my long planned return to Vegas was on the go!
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And I finally got to see the Grand Canyon!
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October – Time for Canadian Thanksgiving.
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And re-learning how to knit!
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November – I got to go see Les Miserables with my Mom.
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A great weekend with friends where I had my first ever slot machine winnings!
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And then celebrated US Thanksgiving at Zehnders.
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December – As always, some decorating for Christmas..
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Little blue box delights..
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Another car accident, no pictures, still too upset, once again not my fault. Very very upsetting and frustrating.

In exciting December news, I found out on Christmas morning that I was published for the very first time!! It was in the Let’s Get Sketchy Sketch Inspired Christmas issue E-zine! I’ve never submitted to be published before, so my first submission and publication in one. I’m very flattered!!

There is a lot of scrapbooking talent in this issue, and the Let’s Get Sketchy blogging community is amazingly supportive!

I’m looking forward to a 2014 that is better than 2013. I haven’t given a lot of thought to resolutions beyond something that looks towards holistic health (mind, body, spirit, financial), and to travel more! I’m not sure how that works with wanting better financial health, but I’ll do my best to figure it out! I also want to blog and create more, so hopefully I’ll have more to say in the coming year as well.

Thank you to all my amazing supporters. Wishing you and yours all the best in 2014. Happy New Year!

Better Late Than Never!

At long last I’m finally blogging about my trip to Las Vegas for Inspiration Unlimited 2012. A warning, this will be long and full of lots of pictures!!

I was genuinely concerned at the outset of this trip as my fankle hadn’t recovered overly well before I left.  I was still in physio and I  still couldn’t walk a heck of a lot. And If you know anything about Vegas, it’s that there is a TON of walking to be done!! This girl had lots of plans that I’d been making since last year when I realized how much I didn’t get done on my first trip: the Grand Canyon, Fremont Street, the iconic sign at the south end of the strip, watching the Bellagio fountain show, and riding the mechanical bull at PBR Rockbar.  I’m happy to say this time I accomplished all, bad fankle and all, except the mechanical bull. I feared getting hurt again/still/worse from getting tossed from the bull and I wasn’t sure how I could explain that to the physio after all the work he’d done on me all summer.

I got in on Saturday night, which also happened to be fight night at MGM Grand (that of course was not scheduled when I booked my plane tickets), which means Vegas was a zoo. I wanted to stay at Planet Hollywood for the duration of my time on the strip, but for that Saturday night PH was crazy expensive, and they had a mandatory Friday checkin for that night. I opted to stay at the cheap and cheerful Hampton Inn Tropicana for the one night. It was one of the only hotels that still had availability and not jacked rates. Minus the free airport shuttle that was a total disaster (that I waited almost 2 hours for a pickup), and trying to get a taxi to come pickup when it was time to leave, the Hampton was fantastic. The service was good, the location was great, and the room was clean. By the time I finally got there, my foot was swollen and sore from the flight, and I was tired so I didn’t venture out to the strip at all.

Sunday morning I was up early for Vegas time. I got to enjoy breakfast in bed from the buffet downstairs and watch the tail end of Sunday NFL Countdown, and the start of the first football games. Then it was time to checkout and move on (finally!) to Planet Hollywood. I was so happy to see this sign again!
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I love staying here. I love the atmosphere. I love the location. I love the amenities. I loved going up to the Heart Bar after finding my room to see how Sunday football really should be watched!
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Oh, and that room? I splurged a little and got a strip view. I couldn’t justify going to fountain view, and the advantage of where my room was is I had a great view of the Cosmo pool where Enrique Iglesias was playing that night! Free show! Here were my daytime views – first the Cosmo pool and Bellagio “lake”, and below directly below me to the PH pool, bar and outdoor gambling tables.
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That evening, still full of energy, after watching some of Enrique (who was fashionably late, natch!), I went over to finally watch a Bellagio fountain show. In my super quick stint on the strip last year I didn’t have time to stop and watch the show, this year, I made sure I had time!
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A beautiful end to a fantastic day.

Monday – I picked Monday to be a mostly relaxing and touring the strip day with plans of Grand Canyon for Tuesday, more relaxing and strip on Wednesday, before migrating to Green Valley Ranch and Inspiration Unlimited for Thursday. So I started off sunning by the pool with my Starbucks in hand.
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I tried to use my MyVegas rewards to get a Zarkana ticket but it wasn’t working, so I opted to go over to the box office at Aria and see what I could find. I did check with Tix4Tonight first, and while they said they could get me a great price, they had no idea where the seat was until I got to the box office at Aria, so it only made sense for me to do my own legwork. On the way into Crystals, someone in character was handing out discount coupons for Zarkana. I managed to snag an AMAZING seat at a FANTASTIC price. I celebrated my find with delicious pints and oysters at Todd English P.U.B.
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And a mandatory after-show touristy photo:
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Zarkana was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I saw O last year and it was definitely the better of the 2, but I wanted to see something new. Next up it was time to go across the street to the Cosmopolitan to the second feature at their “Dive-In Movies” shown on the huge screen by the pool. It was Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Another movie I’d been dying to watch but had never seen in it’s entirety. Well, my busy day and excitement caught the better of me. I got onto my comfy poolside lounge bed, got a great view, saw the first few minutes and the next thing I know I’m hearing Moon River and watching the credits scroll by. Yes, I slept through the whole thing. 😦 Sad girl.
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Tuesday – I was up bright and early, renting a car and I was on my way to the Grand Canyon, with detours to the Hoover Dam and old Route 66 with stops in Kingman and Seligman AZ. In the Pixar movie Cars, the town of Radiator Springs was loosely based on the town of Seligman. I have a ton of pictures from this road trip but there are some significant ones missing. Normally, when I travel I use at least 3 cameras to take pictures – my SLR, my point and shoot, and my phone, and sometimes even my Instax mini. When I got to the Hoover Dam I got camera cocky and only used my SLR. When I stopped in Kingman to review my pictures I discovered I had none! It seems I brilliantly left my CF card out while shooting. I’m just thankful I noticed it early on in Kingman, and quickly shed my cockyness and went back to snapping with 4 cameras..

FINALLY, after several trips to Phoenix and now my second trip to Las Vegas, finally I made it to the Grand Canyon, and it was every bit as spectacular as I’d hoped.
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I can’t get over how big it is. I know that sounds silly when it has the name “Grand” but seriously, so wide and so deep and so long. I took their shuttle bus system all over the park and found the views no matter where to be quite similar, and yet I couldn’t see a lot of the places I’d already been from one lookout point to the next.
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It’s definitely an excursion that should be on everyone’s bucket list to do at least once. And don’t waste your time with the tourist trap fabricated West Rim, go all the way to the South Rim.
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On the way back I made sure to stop at the iconic sign.
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With rental car I went up to my last stop, Fremont Street. In being fully honest, I really didn’t like it and it was the most unsafe I’ve felt on any Vegas trip. The canopy kept the smoke in, so that wasn’t overly pleasant at all. The laser show was a bit neat. The casinos were dingy and sketchy. The crowds were different than those on the strip. Most of them were quite fall down drunk and had ZERO respect for personal space. I downed a very overpriced drink and made my way back to Planet Hollywood where I settled in for a well earned sleep.

Wednesday was a relatively low-key day. I started off poolside with my Starbucks again, and Skyped home so he could see what he was missing (me, sun, palm trees). I went up to the Venetian because on my last trip I stopped at the Forum Shops at Caesars and didn’t make it any further north.
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I found my favourite slot machine in their casino and stopped when I was up $5.
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I fell in love with the Canal Shoppes.
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Some of the gelatos there looked positively heavenly. I’m not sure how I managed to resist but I did. That being said, I had a spectacular lunch there at Morels. I paid for the cheese fondue for 2 with a caesar salad and 2 for 1 vodka tonics on the patio that overlooked the strip and the outdoor canals. It was incredible and I was truly living the dolce vita that afternoon.

I went back to Planet Hollywood to get cleaned up for dinner as I had plans to go to Paris to try Mon Ami Gabi and go up the Eiffel Tower, yes another thing I hadn’t done yet. There was a red carpet event going on at Planet Hollywood I thought I may try to take in before dinner, but by the time I got back there, the area surrounding the carpet was already packed, and I’m short, and the celebs were late (natch!).
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Yes, I opted to give up on trying to fight for a glimpse of JT and Ben Affleck, and as I later found out Holly Madison too. Bummer!

I did make it up the tower for some spectacular views of the Vegas strip and the Bellagio fountains.
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I then went down and my patio strip side table was ready at Gabi.  I had a great spot to people watch, watch the fountain show over and through the palms, and my dinner was so incredible.
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After dinner I went back to the Heart Bar at Planet Hollywood for a nightcap or two of my new favourite cocktails, cherry bombs! So so so delicious! And I couldn’t help but take a picture of the super neat light up cocktail menu at the Heart Bar.
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And with that my time on the strip was over and it was time to relax and scrapbook to my heart’s content at Inspiration Unlimited at Green Valley Ranch.

Thursday – I took a taxi from PH down to the airport to catch the GVR shuttle. I took a cab last year and it cost over $40. For less than $20 to get to the airport it was well worth the leisurely trek as I wasn’t in any rush to get there before check-in time. What can I say about GVR?! I love the room and the property. I love the chill and laid back vibe. I love the view my room had:
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Inspiration Unlimited is bar none the BEST scrapbooking event I’ve been to. Teresa Collins is just incredible and I feel so lucky to get to take 2 amazing workshops with her. Ginger runs a super tight ship like a well oiled machine. The roster of instructors is always top notch. I fully plan on going to every one as long as they continue to exist. I’ve already paid my deposit to return next year. And one of the things I love about Inspiration Unlimited is the friends I see there year after year. I love our yearly reunions!

Here’s the worst picture ever of me with Teresa:
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In my defence, it was day 2 and I was tired from my week of adventures and full day of crafting the day before.

I got to make some neat projects:
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I resisted sampling some of these delectable treats from the pastry case at the cafe:
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I had so much fun reconnecting with these ladies:
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Missing Patty who was being our awesome camerawoman..
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I totally need to get more pictures with friends next year because I’m missing so many..

And then the ugly…

On Saturday night one of my girlfriends and I got violently ill from the buffet at GVR. I was so sick and it put an incredible damper on my final days there that I had hoped to spend with friends, and by the pool, and relaxing.. essentially anything but spending it in bed and getting very acquainted with the beautiful bathroom. I’m beyond disappointed to say that when I brought it up to the front desk when I was feeling well enough to emerge from my room in the hunt for some Gatorade, they showed no concern whatsoever, and suggested I should call the buffet manager in the morning. I had far too much to do on Monday morning that I couldn’t call the manager and it was time to go. I will return to GVR because that’s where Inspiration Unlimited is, but I will definitely consider alternate dining options while there.

Monday I had my traditional lunch leaving McCarran, cheese quesadillas at Sammy Hagar’s. I opted to skip out on the Can’t Drive 55 drink because my tummy was still queasy and recovering from the food poisoning.
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Southwest got me, and all my luggage home safe and sound.
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What an incredible trip. I had so much fun and I can’t wait until next September!

A lot of my projects are still in progress but will be shared when completed in a separate post (this one is long enough already!)

In 100% full disclosure I have not been compensated for my reviews in any way shape or form. 

What Happened?

Can anyone tell me what on earth happened to March, April and May and why on earth I didn’t blog a single word in that time?  It’s all so much of a blur to me that I actually have to consult my calendar, iPhoto and my “Journal of Awesome” to see what those months were like. I’ll do my best to catch up with some of the highlights over the last few months. I have renewed my domain, so sunshineandsweettea.com is here to stay for another year. I really need to be better about using it. Flickr upping the photo storage limits definitely helps!

March was a super busy month with a lot of work. But I did take some time out for a little play! Early in the month I went to an Orchid Show at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. It was a perfect way to try to usher in spring by looking at beautiful blooms of my favourite flowers! I was blown away at how many different types of Orchids were on display and for sale. I fell in love with one type, called an oncidium Sherry Baby that has such pretty blooms, and smells like chocolate. I also sat in on a lecture about how to care for orchids and learned so much. I learned what I was doing right with my orchids that were thriving, and I learned why one of mine died (and I finally accepted it would not be resurrected).

A and B Larsen orchids - Oncidium Sharry Baby 1063-21

Mid March I had a wee getaway with friends to Niagara on the Lake for a weekend of R&R, some spa, some wine tastings, and general giggles and good times. We stayed at the amazing Pillar and Post. Had a fabulous dinner at a sister property Escabeche. On the first day we went to Reif Estate Winery and I fell in love with their tarot card themed wines.
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I wound up buying their “Fortune Cabernet Rose”. It was a fantastic wine, and the label was also amazing with the fairy and the glitter. I haven’t drank it yet because I continue to hoard it, but I’m sure I’ll drink it soon because I plan on going back to some of these wineries again!  Back in the room there were some belated birthday celebration bubbles.
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I must say, Moet Rose is fantastic and was a most excellent treat. I am a fan. Another dinner was at Stone Road Grille just down the road from the Pillar and Post. The food was fantastic, as was the service. But, the neatest treat was by far the cotton candy dessert!
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The evening was perfectly capped off in the hot springs at the 100 Fountain Spa at the Pillar and Post. I’d already had an incredible massage there earlier in the day and that spa has worked it’s way into my heart as one of my fav spas. I am very spoiled blessed to have been able to visit so many fantastic spas in Canada, the US and Mexico that I have some pretty high standards, and 100 Fountain ranked extremely high with me. Definitely in my top 5 – I waver between 3rd or 4th best on my list. Either way, the hot springs, the soft snow flakes gently falling in the cool mid-March evening was amazing. Untitled

I’ll update April and May in 2 separate posts to follow. I hope this is a sign of me back in the blogging saddle again…

Also – in full disclosure – I was not compensated in any way for my reviews on these places, simply sharing some wonderful experiences! 🙂