A Day In My Life - A Picture Story

Today was such a peaceful day.

I was a juror!!
For about 4 hours I sat in the dungeon of the courthouse and was prepared to spring into action at any time and perform my civic duty and throw some bad guys in jail. Unfortunately, my number didn't get called for the first four trials, two trials were rescheduled, and three others settled without my wise guidance.

So I went home and enjoyed the gorgeous day we had.

I worked really hard at one point in the beginning of summer to prep the garden area so I could grow enough food to save some money on groceries.
However, we had nothing but rain in June, and then no sun or rain for most of July, and there were bugs everywhere, blahblah. It just didn't work out. I did have a ton of roma tomatoes that just suddenly appeared one day.

The weather was perfect today. About 80 degrees maybe, which is just perfect for sitting outside on your recently painted deck.
We painted/stained it ourselves - Andrew did the first coat; I did the touch-ups and the in-between-the-boards-torturous painting. It was a ridiculous amount of work. It looks a million times better though and was very necessary.

Today was a good day to clear out some hoodlums who have been hanging about.
There were a few of them, with elaborate houses. We helped them pack their stuff and hit the road.

I love this tree just off my deck:

If you look closely, you can see that the leaves actually grow right out of the limbs, not just off the branches. I love it. There's also a birds nest (on the left side), but we didn't notice it until after it had been vacated.


I had some company from the rebel cat, Whiskers, who really wants to be an outdoors cat, but isn't trustworthy enough to be given the privilege. And he refuses to move when we put the harness and leash on him, so he's always kept jailed in the house.
Unless I forget to close the screen door and he just suddenly appears.

Once things were back in their place on the deck, it was time for dinner:
Ginger chicken stir fry. LOVE this.

And then it was time to work off that delicious dinner.
I'm busting ass on the treadmill this week trying to make my goal for the month. I was just a little behind schedule and thought I would have to kick it up a notch the last two weeks. But then I got sick last week and when I climbed out of the infirmary, I suddenly found myself way behind. The blisters on my heels might kill me tonight. If you don't hear from me again - blame the blisters (or maybe the revenge of the spiders).

Korean Style Mexican Burrito Night

When we were in Korea, we struggled with finding foods we liked to eat. One of the things we ate the most of was:
In english, we call them mandarins. In Korean, we called them kewls. Maybe it's kuhls. It's pronounced somewhere in-between an -ew- sound and an -uh- sound. I don't know how koreans spell the word, but that's the way we pronounce it. We found these when we first got there, in January, and I swear we ate them all year round. And I'm not talking about just eating one or two a day. No, we would eat a bag a day. Like twenty of them between the two of us. They were about $1.50 a bag, sometimes going up to $3.00 a bag-which they thought we were crazy for paying, but $3.00 a bag is still cheaper than we get it when they are on sale here.

The kewls were something that everyone ate. If you went to someone's house, they would try to feed you and this was always something that was offered. Which  worked well for us because it's something we were always ready to eat.  Delicious and nutritious! We ate a TON of them. And they came in handy on one occasion when I was trying to sneak onto a military base and sat down in the security office and talked really fast and shared my kewls with the security guard (who was a non-english speaking korean man). After about 15 minutes of me talking nonstop and indicating that my military friend was not answering his phone, he just let me on the base. But that's a story for another day...(it's a good story).

Anyway, I'm a huge fan of Mexican and there was only one known place to get Mexican food for us-and it was about 100 minutes from our house and involved a bus to Wonju, transfer to a bus to Seoul, take a taxi or the subway to Itaewon, and then walk 3 blocks to the Mexican place: Panchos. And it wasn't that authentic American-Mexican of a taste to warrant that trip.

Have I mentioned that I didn't used to cook much from scratch? Until I moved into this house-this lovely house with this big (to me), open kitchen, I HATED being in the kitchen. I only knew how to cook a few things and I really hated the work of cooking a meal from scratch. However, I'm definitely growing in my culinary skills lately. Poor Andrew. Add that to the ways I have failed him as a parent.

So back in the Korea days, I was not a cook. I did some very basics and that was it. Until one time, I decided enough was enough and we were going to make burritos! How those Koreans live without burritos is beyond me! We lived in a small town that had no tortillas. None, not anywhere. And the town nearby didn't seem to have them anywhere either. We had a small black market where you could buy american gum for $5.00 a pack (yes, we did this) or peanut butter or koolaid, but nothing as fresh as tortillas. So we had to make our own. It was my first time being a part of creating tortillas, and we were missing an ingredient, but somehow they eventually worked. I think we made about 20 and had about 4 that came out right-but 4 was all we needed.

We would order grilled chicken from this place called Family BBQ who was located in the middle of our apartment complex. This is how we ordered:
Ring Ring
Man: Yobosayo (Korean hello when answering the phone)
Andrew: Chicken joosayo (I want chicken)
Man: Neh (yes)
Andrew: Kamsa-ham-needa (thank you)
click
Awesome, right? The first time it involved an extra step where the man said something more detailed in Korean and we just kept saying "I don't understand" in Korean. And then we waited, and were never really sure if it was coming, until he just knocked on our door! Perfect. We didn't need to tell them where we lived because we were the only Americans and the entire town knew where we lived.

So we made tortillas, we made refried beans (another first for me!), we ordered the chicken. We bought lettuce and salsa (actually, we may have gotten that in the black market -I told you I didn't know how to cook!). We had rice, right, but you knew that because we were living in Korea.  And we created these delicious burritos that were never as good as any we have ever had before or since.

Not because they were super-spectacular, obviously from my ingredient list above....but because they were a little piece of something we were missing, and we made them ourselves. We had them quite a few more times while living there, but towards the end of the year, I had made friends with some guys in the military base nearby and they were able to help me get some more supplies. But nothing was quite like those first burritos! I wish I had pictures of them so we could always remember the simpleness of the finer things in life!

Tonight was Mexican night at our house. Still simple and quick to throw together...but nothing as memorable as that first ghetto wrap we created in Korea. 

This is Andrew's mondo size burrito. The refried beans don't look that appetizing-we like to keep them on the side of the tortilla to help act as a sealing agent for when we fold it up. Smart, I know. Andrew couldn't fold this thing up without the tortilla ripping, so he ended up splitting it into two...super yummy. Not as good as the Korean ones-but still yummy.

Short Book Review: This Must Be The Place - Kate Racculia

I am sick. I actually stayed home from work yesterday and slept about 15 hours. And in-between sleeping and shivering and sweating and wishing someone would just magically appear and rub my aching back - I read.

I haven't done a book review in a long time and I have read some really great books - like
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

 and

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (I love him)

Both of these books were spectacular. If you haven't read them-you must. The Hunger Games is part of a series and the third book was just released, so if you try to reserve it at your library, you'll likely be in line behind 150 other people waiting for it. Add it to your list anyway--it is worth the wait!!! This is a fiction book and every page was perfect.

Zeitoun is a fascinating non-fiction book about the New Orleans flood and how it affected the Zeitoun family. I could not put this book down either. It was just amazing what happened and it will blow your mind - we really were given no idea about what people went through, the news channels did not do us, or them, justice in their reporting. Zeitoun will open your eyes, and shock, and then delight you in the spirit of humankind.

Go read those or we are no longer friends.

Today's book though-courtesy of my sick leave- is a non-fiction story about a single mom and her daughter, with some side stories that all intersect. It was a little bit predictable (or was for me anyway), but the way the stories all wove together made it an interesting book.

I enjoyed the characters, as you see them at different stages of your own life and it takes you back to that time when you were 16 and wanted to run away. And that time when you were on your own in a new city and unsure of what you were doing or if you had made the right choices. And the unsure teen years where you're trying to figure out if you're the freak of the class. It had a little of everything.

This book was very well-written. Sometimes books that do flashbacks or try to tie in the story lines of different characters off the main plot will fall flat, but this author kept everything going smoothly and was easy to follow.

There is part of the plot that deals with death and if there is a meaning to life and I found myself thinking about how pathetically small our lifespan really is and it was getting a bit depressing, but that might have been because I'm sick and feel a little like dying. You might not have the same effect.

This is an easy read, but not always fairly light. I think I would not have been able to read it so fast if I wasn't confined to a sick bed. It wasn't a book you can't stand to put down (like the two I mentioned above), but it is a good story.

Don't read this book if you're depressed.
Or prone to being depressed.

Anyone read any of these three books? Agree or disagree with my impressions?

Here's Your Chance to Vote for Me Spending All My Money

Andrew's 18th bday is coming up.
What should I get him???

He wants a little something special from the guitar store. Nothing big, just one of these:

For those of you who don't recognize it, that's a Gibson Les Paul Standard Traditional Plus Electric Guitar.

He has sound logic on why he should get it:
  • He's had the same electric guitar for four years. His skill level has surpassed what that guitar can do for him. (He's REALLY good!!!!)
  • He is going to college and then grad school and won't be able to afford one for the next 5-7 years.
  • It can be a birthday-xmas-graduation gift. He would expect nothing else.
He's referring to it as his BirthMasUation present.
 
What do you think? Should Andrew get this guitar? And do you have a connection at the Les Paul factory that would save me $1000 on this gift? **Let's note that Andrew has been a near-perfect child, is an amazing student, and is going to be very successful in life and take care of me in my old age (i.e. in 10 yrs).**

What did you get for your 18th? And your h.s. graduation?

Weekend Wrap-Up: Raw Eggs, Beer Bottle Games, Crime Scenes and A Bit of Sadness

I had such a great weekend. I got lots done around the house Friday - preparing for company.

Saturday was my normal volunteer event, Love Letters, after which, a group of volunteers came to my house for a pizza bbq. It was the most fun I've had with a large group for a long time-everyone got along so well. Sometimes groups of people get together and you have some catty girls, or some bitchy girls, or some guys who just rub you the wrong way (not literally)....and it seems like the last 3 or 4 times I've been with a large group of friends (over 8 of us), there has been some snotty comments made (I am def guilty of doing this!), and the last time someone actually yelled during the middle of it (at me!)-which I haven't had happen or even witness since high school really...but this group of people I had over on Saturday were just the best blending of humans. It was nothing but smiles and fun, and good food, and a bit too much alcohol (for some anyway), and a bit too much sugar (for the kids involved probably). But when everyone left and I looked around at the evidence of having a lot of people over-I just took a moment and thought about how grateful I am for the friends I have. I love you guys!

For some reason, I just didn't take many pictures, as I usually tend to do. I'm sure there were plenty of moments that should have been captured for all of time - like when I showed two girls under 10 how to play a Minute to Win It game that involves trying to get a raw egg across the kitchen floor using a cardboard piece as a fan. And even better than that moment was the look on their parents faces when they heard that the girls were fine in the kitchen-I showed them a game to play with an egg. A RAW egg??? they asked in disbelief. Yep, I'm great with kids.

The girls didn't want to waste my eggs and so when the second one cracked, they took matters into their own hands and duct-taped it. Very considerate, no?

We played a different Minute to Win It game where you have a stack of cards on a bottle and you try to blow off all of the deck except the very bottom card.
Cassidy (above) at age 11 was one of two to actually be successful at this game. It really is hard! Give it a try!!!

The next "party game" came about when someone noticed that there was something red on my carpet, which may or may not have been blood. We had about 17 people in the house at one point, so it could have been anyone, but with four kids bouncing about, we assumed it must be them and the parents quickly called them into the room and did a check for bleeding wounds. None were found.

Then we deduced, as a detective-collective-group, that it was not blood, and not alcohol, but was more likely to be red frosting. We put some on a napkin to test color samples.


It looked like a crime scene, so we made crime scene evidence placards, and of course, had to get a photo with a "dead body."
To recap-this sweet girl played a card game with a beer bottle and then we posed her as a dead body. I'll apologize now to her parents for any corruption we caused that they may have not approved of!

Just a really fun night on Saturday!

I got a new phone this weekend...accidentally. Andrew needed a new one and Verizon had a deal where if you buy the new Samsung Fascinate, you can get any other phone free. FREE. And I got a $100 credit for being a returning customer. Basically, we walked out of the store with two brand spanking new models of smartphones for $150.00. That's crazy, right?  I wasn't going to let Andrew get a smartphone because there's a monthly data plan you have to sign up with and why on earth does a child need to have constant access to the internet, blahblah, but well, he's almost 18. And he'll be going to college next year. And it is REALLY convenient. And he's the best teenager in the entire world. But what really convinced me is that the wonderfulness of Verizon has made the majority of their phones available ONLY with a limited data plan package. There are 14 phones that don't need them, the majority of which look like they are made for small children. Very frustrating-but whatever. Did I mention we got a free phone??? Free = good.


A very relaxing and wonderful weekend after a really long and stressful work-week.

On a sadder note...You know how some people are SUPER attached to their pets, as if they were their very own birthed-baby and they love them as much as you would your own child? One of my friends at work has that kind of relationship with her dog, Smokey. Smokey got cancer a couple years ago and had to have a leg amputated and he's been merrily hopping along for two years now. Literally hopping - three-legged dogs are so cute. It's great to see them hip-hoppin all over with as much enthusiasm and doggy spirit as any four legged furry friend. And they have a cool name: Tri-Pawd. Love that.
 
Alas, Ole Smokey has a new mass in his stomach and it's not looking good for him. I feel bad for my coworker because Smokey is such a HUGE part of her world. Please take a second and head over to her blog and leave her some kind words. She is definitely in need. If you're a passionate animal lover, you will understand what she's going through.

It's That Time of Year Again...Brush Off Your Bunny Ears

Time to prepare for the new tv season!

If you're not sure what to watch, let me help you.

Modern Family!!

This is one of the funniest tv series I have ever ever EH-VU-ER seen! I don't know anybody who has seen this show that doesn't just LOVE it. It has something for everyone - it has the gay couple who adopted a baby, the father of the clan who married a smoking hot latina who has an awkward little son. There is a moody air-headed teenager and her middle-school age super-smart sister and they have an odd little brother.The dynamics of the adults in this show is perfect. Every single line they try to make funny--is REALLY funny. I can not emphasize enough that this show is HILARIOUS.

Big Bang Theory
I wasn't sold on this show for the first half of the first season, but man did they really come through the next season. It is a GREAT show, but more of a immature funny. I love it and I'm so mature (ha), but I think that frat boys would love it more than anyone. It's just a great plot-a bunch of nerds and how they talk, interact with others, and especially with the somewhat-hottie neighbor girl. She's not my favorite actress, but her character pulls through. You really should give this show a try-the characters will make you want to watch more. You can actually watch each episode quite easily if you go here.

Those are the best two options. If you only pick two shows to watch this fall-make sure one of them is it.

I am still a big fan of some usual ones: The Amazing Race (love the travel aspect combined with the drama of a reality show), Survivor, House, How I Met Your Mother. But I'm not SUPER excited about anything else.

How bout you guys? Anything you watch that you are excited about for the fall season?

What's Up, Buttercup?

I feel like I am neglecting my millions  twenty faithful readers.
Let me catch you up on my life.

I CAN SEE!!!!!!!! I have so few memories of a life pre-glasses/contacts. This really is a christmas miracle! I think you guys out there with great vision take it for granted, but some of us have woken up every day for the last 25 years and not been able to see beyond a foot or two until some kind of vision apparatus is applied. And that's a long time to be without sight!! But those years are behind me now...yep..I am glasses free!!!! Hallelujah sweet baby buddha!

In other news...
I made this super kickass light calorie stuffed chicken breast dinner the other night. It went a lil somethin like this:
Baked veggies (zucchini, squash, carrots, green beans, peppers), grilled sweet potatoes, grilled stuffed chicken breast
Can you believe I made that? Doesn't it look delicious??? YES, yes it does.

Saturday I had lunch with one of the most amazing volunteers and one of her daughters and we went for a little walk around the neighborhood we were in and stumbled onto this castle-esque house:
If you look close, you can see the reindeer head hanging on the left side of the building.

This is the William Temple House, what was originally the Mackenzie House, built in 1892 at the hefty cost of $100,000. Now it's a house that provides help where it is needed on behalf of the disadvantaged and distressed in the community.
Love it.
There's a school park right nearby so we stopped to let a little someone play for a bit. It was such a gorgeous day!

It was also my young friend Natalie's 22nd birthday!! I just adore her - I don't know why anyone wouldn't really....she's just so cute you want to shrink her down and put her in your pocket and keep her forever.
Love her.

I don't think I love bowling though. Not because I'm not good at it, as you can see by the scores...I'm really at the pro level - check out the score for Blurry Eyes. That's some serious bowling.
I grew up bowling. I might have been born in a bowling alley. I'm pretty sure my lullaby as an infant went something like this: Order number six, your order is up. Order six at the counter.

And my son has been a bowler - he actually won at a bowling competition when he was league bowling:
I am cursed with bad wrists though (yes, I also have bad knees and a bad jaw-see a pattern?? A pattern of badness!!), and even if I bowl wearing a wrist brace (that I typically wear when I'm typing all day but which looks like something bowlers wear), my wrist still reaches out with angry tentacles and squeezes the very essence of my being and causes physical pain. I do like to bowl...but I don't like pain. Lame.

But - bowl I did - pain or no, hello? It's Natalie's birthday!! You have to do what she says or she gets angry and fierce looking:


Scary.

LASIK Eye Surgery Success (so far) - Let Me Walk You Through The Steps

I did it!!! I used to be too scared, and I really never had the money even if I wasn't scared, but I DID IT!!  I went under the laser and let someone burn my retina with a high powered laser!

That sounds scary..and the entire idea of LASIK is super scary!!

Here's a quick walk through of what happens. I might get graphic, but you need to know!

You arrive at the surgery center with butterflies in your stomach (or really angry bats in my case) and they check you in and let you sit and think about what you've done. Then they pull you back to some eye machines that look like Star Trek devices and supposedly measure something eye-related. Then you go to an exam room and an optometrist  who looks like she walked in off of Hollywood Blvd comes in and claims to be a doctor. This might differ at other places, but this was who I had check my eyes first.

The "doctor" does a quick look at your pre-op exam notes from your regular eye doctor and then looks close-up at your eyes for about 2 minutes and declares, wow, you really do have thick corneas. I've always been a thick girl-who knew my corneas were also?

Then she declares with a signature on the file: you are a great candidate! I think we're ready to move forward.

And then they send you back to the front desk to pay. And pay you do....
Costs vary at clinics, but really, you get what you pay for in some cases, right? In the case of a laser altering the shape/dimension/feel/look of my eye, I am okay with paying a hefty amount. And so I did. I don't typically share personal financial information with the world, but I know you all want to know....it cost $3400 total. This includes: Pre-op exam by my doctor, LASIK surgery, follow-up appt with the surgeon, follow-up appt with my eye doctor. It also includes any touch-ups that have to be done now or at any point in the future. Sometimes your initial surgery doesn't work that well or sometimes you just have a fluctuation in your vision as you age. These touch-ups will be fully free if I need to have anything else done. I also got a nifty post-surgery kit that includes a million gallons of eye drops, which I think I will need.

Anyway - you pay at the front desk and then they take you back into the pre-op area. This is a good place to be...because this is where they give you the drugs. It's just a bit of an anxiety medicine, and they weren't really generous with it, but it definitely helped prevent me from running out of there (which I did consider).

You get your medicine and then they start walking you through the kit and what you can expect. Dry eyes, a little pain, a bit of tiredness, etc. The kit includes some awesome goggles to wear at night  that you are supposed to tape to your head, as the strap doesn't create a vacuum-pack seal. (Has anyone with hair ever tried to tape something to their head? It's not easy!)

They put your hair up into a nice blue cap and they tuck some gauze pads over your ears to prevent any liquid from dripping in them. Is this painting a great picture? It is as great as it sounds.

Just before it's your turn, they put some numbing drops in your eyes. I asked for extra because I felt like I only got half of one drop in one eye and I just knew I was going to want to die from the pain if she didn't give me another. She was kind enough to humor me on this.

The medicine makes you a bit sleepy and in a haze, which is good because as they lead you into the surgery room, you really start to feel that urge to run -but your feet and head aren't talking and so you end up just following the nurse like a zombie. They lay you down in the exam chair and move this large black contraption over you.

And then the surgeon comes in and asks if it's okay to say a prayer first.
What?? Really? Yes, apparently at my clinic, with the surgeon on duty that day--we pray. I considered running at that point too--I think the doctor should have been confident in his ability at that point, or maybe he should have started his day with a private prayer to do his best, but whatever. If he needed to pray to make that laser work, then we will pray. I suspect there was no god in that black box...it was really purely a scientific event.

Then the main event happens. This is where the squeamish people should scroll down past the blue font.

The nurse sits besides you and is your narrator. She literally said aloud everything that was going to happen as we went. She was awesome. I wanted her to read me a bedtime story.

They prop your eye open-which was the most discomfort I felt the entire time, and it's only uncomfortable as they are putting it on, then you don't even notice it.

The nurse said: just look at the red light for a moment. Your vision will go black for just a second.

This is where they make an incision to create a flap on your cornea. A little machine slides over your eye and its done so fast you have no time to think about it. I only knew about it because I watched a video before going in...

Then that thing is moved and you see the doctor take some tweezer like things and move the corneal flap to the side. Next, they line up the laser and you just stare at this one red dot. The nurse tells you that you'll hear the laser for a moment, and the black box starts humming for about 15-20 seconds (it felt like 20 minutes), and then it stops and the doctor comes back with his tweezers to put the flap back in place. And you then repeat for the other eye.

As soon as that second eye is done - you're up and out of the chair and they have you sit in a different chair and the doctor puts on a contact lens bandage to help the flap seal back down. You have that lens taken off at your post-op 24 hrs after the surgery.

The entire surgical portion of the procedure took less than 12 minutes. I was walking out of the clinic less than 20 minutes after they had me in that chair.

And I could see immediately after it was done. Not 20/20, but definitely close. My eyesight on Thursday morning when I woke up was 20/550. My eyesight on Friday morning when I went in for my appointment was 20/40. This is the first time since 1982 that I have been able to see across the room without glasses/contacts!!

My eyes are still really dry and feel like they are bruised a tiny bit on the inside. My vision is a little blurry now and again. I'm still a tiny bit sensitive to light. All of these should clear up in the next few days, 3 weeks at the longest. Let's hope so, because right now I mostly feel like I'm wearing really old, expired contact lenses-which is a frustrating feeling.

But overall--omg-I can see!!!!!!!!
What kind of miracle is this?? How on earth did this ever happen??

What crazy genius scientist isolated in a lab somewhere in the middle of nowhere came up with the idea to shoot a laser at someone eye-but make sure to cut away and move the cornea first-to fix your vision? And what even-more-crazy person was the first to do this?? Who was the test subject for this??? Isn't this the craziest thing ever? And to think there are so many people paying big bucks to have it done to them! Like me!! And I just wish I had done it earlier in life...I feel like I have a new-found freedom.

Except from eye drops. Eye drops are my new best friend.

Here's My Beautiful Eyes. Prepare Your Lasers. Let's See What Happens.

In eleven hours, I will not only be allowing someone to point a high-powered laser directly into my eyeballs, but I will be paying huge amounts of money to have them do so.

Yikes.

Hotel Vintage Park Seattle - A Great Hotel Option for Seattle Visits!

Andrew and I headed up to Seattle weekend before last to do some school shopping, be tourists, and just to get away from the day-to-day life before school starts up (omg-this-week!). We don't have a lot of choices for big cities within driving distances, Seattle really is one of the only options, and there is a lot happening in Seattle so it's a really great option.

We have been to Seattle a number of times, just because my parents live so close, but we have never stayed in a hotel in Seattle before. We did this visit. And it made a HUGE difference on the vibe of our trip. It wasn't like we were just passing through. We were IN Seattle.

And we were IN an amazing hotel, the Hotel Vintage Park:


The Hotel Vintage Park is on Travel + Leisure's "Best 500 Hotels in the World" list - and it deserves to be. It's just lovely all over. It's right downtown and was perfect for us to walk to Westlake Center for lots of shopping and people watching (and Seattle has plenty of people to watch...the streets are full of a diverse crowd!).

From the minute you walk in:
To your journey to your room:

To the color schemes of the room:

To the cute little towel-doggie on the bed!

It's just lovely all around!
We were welcomed with a sweet note and some yummy goodies:

And a towel buddy on each bed (my fav is the elephant):

We felt like the hotel had done everything it could to make us feel special. The front desk help were all smiles all the time (which you don't always get at hotels!) and our concierge was awesome-she had this sweet accent and was super-friendly but it didn't feel like it was a fake "I have to be nice to you" kind of friendly-it was warm and felt genuine the entire time. All the staff were great, they helped us find the best places to shop nearby, they directed us to a good spot for a yummy thai dinner, they made our reservations at their restaurant, Tulio (which was amazing Italian food). It seemed like they really stood behind their hotel as being the best and it appeared as if they were all happy to be there. Again-this isn't always the feel you get at hotels!

Some things to note.....they offer some super-comfy robes in your room, in animal prints. Loved it. And you can request child size ones for your wee ones to use during your visit too!

I actually won one of their robes at a work thing last year, the deluxe robe which goes to the floor and is the most comfortable piece of fabric ever!

I love their soap dispensers, instead of the bars that go to waste when you leave. Very green! Love it. They've won awards for being eco-friendly, and well-deserved from what I can tell.

We had a little chuckle over the phone in the bathroom...because who has to contact someone so urgently that they can't wait til they are done with their bizness.....

We, of course, had to try out room service. Prices for room service are as you would expect for any room service, however their menu was much more fun than normal room service. We chose one of the best ideas for an evening room service ever: Fresh baked cookies and milk! I don't think they were a homemade recipe for these cookies, but oh.my....they were delicious and came to us piping hot. They do take 20 minutes to get to you, but they warn you of that AND hello....they are HOT! Hot yummy cookies!!! In our room delivered at 11:00pm. Does it get better?

Here's a pic to show you the scale of the room. This is me lounging on the couch, while Andrew attempts to recreate the towel dog (I told him not to touch it, but he just doesn't listen sometimes..). The room was 360 sq ft with a chairs, a couch and a small desk area (in the alcove behind Andrew below).
Our room was on the tenth floor, and as advertised, was a city view. I liked it-we had a tree, we had skyscrapers, unique buildings. Good 'nuff.

The only thing that really surprised me were the parking rates. The last 2 hotels I stayed at were in Los Angeles and had no parking fees. However, I hear this is not always the case, and yet I was a little surprised at the price of the hotel parking. And I later found out that since we arrived on a Sunday, we could have parked on the street overnight (though then I would have the security risk to my luxurious Honda CRV and the worry of when I have to move it in the morning). It was really nice to have the car in a secure area and so close, but it was just a surprise that it was so much. My friend who lives in the city said that it's not an outrageous price for parking, so I guess it's fine...just a surprise.

I'm not a wine drinker, as wine makes me sleep. Like to the point where I almost immediately must sleep after consumption. But for those who are, you'll love the nightly wine reception in the hotel lobby. All the rooms are named after wineries and the paintings in the hallways were wine-related. It was all very sophisticated feeling.

They have free wi-fi, a fitness room, a business center with a computer/printer, and now they have bikes you can check out!!! Bikes at a hotel are the greatest idea ever!

They are also a pet-friendly hotel which is great for us animal lovers. I didn't request an animal-free room(which they do have), but our room did not smell one bit like there was ever an animal in it (and I have a dog-smelling-sensitivity).

Overall, I would love love love to stay at the Hotel Vintage Park again. They are part of the Kimpton Hotel chain and I would highly recommend you stay at one of the Kimpton hotels when you travel. They have tons of locations.

Anyone ever stay at a Kimpton Hotel before? Please share if it was as wonderful as the Hotel Vintage Park.



** I was provided one night free of charge to bring you this review, but this is my honest opinion and I was not coerced to rave about the wonderfulness of the hotel - that just came naturally because it really was wonderful!


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