Famous the world over the Las Vegas Strip shines bright with larger than life neon signs and twinkling lights stretching as far as the eye can see. Las Vegas and neon are synonymous you can’t have one without the other. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that there would be a museum dedicated to the preservation and history of the city’s iconic neon signs.
Are you a fan of vintage signs, twinkling lights, faded splendor, or history?
If you answered yes to any of these, or if you’re like me, all of them, The Neon Museum is the place for you! They do an amazing job of preserving Las Vegas’ storied past through the care and conservation of these signs, remnants of a bygone era.
As you might imagine the Museum is very popular and is available to visit via guided tours. Tours are offered both during the day and in the evening, but they fill up quickly, so planning ahead is a good idea.
A sunset tour allowed us to see the signs in daylight and after dark, which gave us the chance to see the signs lit up!
Our guide, Tandy, clearly loved her job, and her passion for the signs was clear.Her tour was not only informative, but full of fun Las Vegas anecdotes and stories.
The Stardust, Moulin Rouge, and Sahara are just a few of the names you might recognize as you wander through the Museum’s Boneyard. The Stardust hotel opened in 1958 and closed in 2006. It is said that it’s iconic sign could be seen from up to 60 miles away.
The Moulin Rouge was the first desegregated casino, and played a large part in helping the Las Vegas civil rights movement. Although the hotel has been closed since 1955, and the buildings were demolished, they still maintain their gaming licesnse by operating onsite every two years.
The Sahara was the 6th hotel resort to be built on the Las Vegas Strip and was in operation until 2011 when it was sold. Many famous people stayed and performed there including: Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra, Abbot & Costello, and The Beattles.
Tips & Advice:
There is NO shade in the Neon Boneyard and it can be incredibly hot both day and night. Bring water.
For safety reasons there is no self-guided tour option. Book ahead to ensure your visit.
Only seven of the signs are in working order, however all the signs are lit beautifully via ground lighting.
The signs are incredibly large and due to space restrictions it wasn’t always possible to get the big picture.
The Neon Museum is located about 4 miles north of the Las Vegas Strip, not far from the Fremont East District where you’ll find a large amount of amazing street art on display.
Of course we visited the gift shop where we found fun treasures to remember our visit by. I can’t wait to see my new ornament on the tree come holiday time!
Are you considering a trip to Las Vegas with your kids? Having recently visited with my two boys, I thought I’d share with you some of the things we did there, all of which are 100% kid appropriate and very well done! The only problem… They’re in Las Vegas…
Let me explain
Having done the bulk of my traveling since the arrival of my kids, there’s rarely if ever been a place I felt I couldn’t take them. The reality is, if they weren’t going, I wasn’t going, so they went! Ancient temple in Japan, no problem! Fashion exhibit in the Metropolitan Museum of Art! They loved it too! Windsor Castle, the streets of Belfast, Rome, Paris, New Orleans, and the list goes on.
My mindset has always been: Why wouldn’t I bring my kids, after all, people in these other places have kids too! That said, you might be shocked to hear me say, “Las Vegas, isn’t really for kids.”
I know, how could I? When this goes against everything I’ve always said about travel with kids, but for a number of reasons, I’ve never liked the idea of bringing my kids to Las Vegas, and having recently done so, I can safely say that I should have gone with my first instincts.
My older son, Simon, who is close to 15, says that Vegas is like the Twizzler Statue of Liberty Pictured below: “It looks really cool at first, but then when you get up close it’s dirty and gross.”
I’m sorry if you love Las Vegas, but this is pretty much a perfect analogy! It isn’t one thing exactly, just that it’s all so in your face. There’s no way to pick and choose what you might see.
Still considering a family visit to Sin City?
8 Family Friendly Things to do in Las Vegas
The Vegas Sign
You’ll probably want to document your trip, and a visit to the famous Las Vegas Sign is a great place to start! The Sign is located on a large pedestrian friendly median in the middle of S. Las Vegas Blvd. The city has kindly provided parking and a large visitor friendly area just for taking photos!
Las Vegas is located in the middle of a desert so swimming is a great idea, and very family friendly. Just make sure you’re at the “family” pool!! During our visit we had the opportunity to swim at the Mandalay Bay Pool, and the Shark Tank at the Golden Nugget, both were great fun!
The Mandalay Bay Pool
The pool complex at the Mandalay Bay is huge. You’ll find multiple pools, a lazy river, and a wave pool. Shade is a hot commodity, so if you’re planning a visit arrive early to claim your spot.
Temperatures reached 114 during our visit, so floating down the lazy river was a big hit, and is appropriate for all ages, so a great family activity. The boys also enjoyed the wave pool.
Towels are provided, and food and drinks can be ordered right from your lounge chair. Floaties and other pool supplies are available at the pool shop.
The Shark Tank at the Golden Nugget
Each pool has it’s claim to fame, but none quite like the Shark Tank at the Golden Nugget, referred to us by Erin at Oregon Girl Around the World, which literally has it’s water slide run through the middle of a large tank of sharks and other ferocious looking sea life!
Both my boys gave this a try! My teen quit after one go, saying the water in the pool was too cold. I admit it was a bit on the chilly side.
My little couldn’t care less if the water was cold and loved swimming around the outside of the tank, but once through the middle was enough for him.
The pool closes for swimming at 7 pm, but the pool area and bar stay open until 1 am.
Sweet tooth? You’re in luck! There are no shortage of treats to be found in Las Vegas! We loved the Chocolate box located in the Golden Nugget Hotel, but the ice cream at the Forum Shops in Cesar’s Palace wasn’t bad either!
The Eiffel Tower Experience
The photographer in me was looking for night shots of the famous Las Vegas Strip, but our visit to the Eiffel Tower Experience, at the Paris Hotel and Casino, was a win for the entire family!
Once you arrive on top, you’ll be 460 feet up, which means sweeping views of not only the Strip, but also the entire city!
Your time at the top is unlimited, so consider sticking around for a bird’s eye view of the Bellagio Fountain show, which takes place every 15 minutes after 8 pm.
I highly recommend purchasing these tickets in advance, as our last minute purchase wasn’t exactly smooth.
Speaking of fountains, The Bellagio isn’t the only fountain in town! The fountains in the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace are full of fun surprises, including occasionally coming to life!
Shark Reef Mandalay Bay
The Shark Reef Aquarium, located in Mandalay Bay, is a fully accredited aquarium, and is home to not only sharks, but many other fascinating creatures as well.
Located just next to the aquarium is the Polar Journey, which was full of interactive exhibits that really appealed to my younger son.
Everything in Las Vegas is over the top and the rides are no exception! If you’re traveling with older kids or thrill seekers they’ll love all the choices.
My son rode the New York New York Big Apple Coaster and loved it! If, like our family, you have riders who aren’t thrilled by a ride like this, there is an arcade conveniently located just outside where you can occupy yourselves while you wait for your riders.
For those who prefer something a little more tame, consider a ride on the world’s tallest observation wheel The High Roller. Families are welcome!
Whether your artistic tastes range from fine to street or everything in between there is plenty to discover in Las Vegas! This visit found my teen and I exploring a treasure trove of amazing street art in the Fremont East District, but keep your eye out for traveling exhibitions as well.
The Neon Museum
Las Vegas wouldn’t be the same without it’s iconic neon lights. Many of which have been lighting up the night for decades. The Neon Museum is a unique museum and conservation nonprofit where you’ll learn all about the city’s history as it relates to neon while walking among the larger than life signs. Seeing the iconic signs at sunset was a highlight of our entire stay.
I’m back with more #Instafun? Are you ready?! Los Angeles is exploding with public art, and I’m on a mission to see as much of it as I can. I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I’m up to the task. There is literally something new going up every day, and if it isn’t new, it’s a new take on something old!
Street art is my passion, but I’m pretty happy about museums, pop up installations, and iconic architecture too! I’m an equal opportunity art lover. There is just something about visiting an amazing piece of art that makes my day, sometimes my week! Not to mention its a great way to get out and see the city. In your quest to get that #instapic you won’t just discover a great piece of art, but the fabulous neighborhood it’s located in! In my book thats an #instawin!
1. The Best of LA (available until August 31, 2017) Artist: The Most Famous Artist/LA Magazine Location: Corner of 3rd Street and Robertson Boulevard
In my quest to see and do more in and around LA, I subscribed to Los Angeles Magazine. Call it research! As soon as I saw this cover, I thought, “I hope that’s a real mural!” and to my delight it was! Of course I had to visit, and it just happens to be located on the corner of two great shopping streets: West 3rd Street, and Robertson Boulevard! As is often the case with wall murals, it’s only temporary, but don’t worry The Most Famous Artists, aka Matty Mo, is the artist behind a number of great wall murals around town. I featured another one of his pieces in my post InstaLA!
2. Take Note (available until July 31st, 2017) Artist: Bumblebeelovesyou Location: Downtown Santa Monica, Colorado Street
A local artist, and a favorite of mine, Bumblebeeloves you has a number of large pieces in the Los Angeles area. Take Note, a large standup, is part of a larger project sponsored by the City of Santa Monica! #RoamSantaMonica officially kicks off in August 2017, and will feature art installations by various artists. I can hardly wait!
3. Paul Smith Pride Wall (No longer available) Artist: Blank Canvas LA/Paul Smith/Instagram Location: Paul Smith Store Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles
While this particular mural has since been painted over, the original Pink Wall is back in place, it’s worth noting, that sometimes old becomes new, and revisiting is never a bad idea! This mural was done in celebration of Pride month, and I loved that so many businesses took part! Lucky me, I was able to visit on the last day of the installation. You can bet I’ll be looking out to see what’s up their sleeve next year!
4. Save the Bunny Artist: Adam Dare, KwueMolly, Madmanart, and Outersource Location: Colyton Street Downtown Los Angeles
You’ll find this colorful bunny located on the side of Dejavita on Colyton Street in the DTLA Arts District. This is piece has evolved several times, so I can’t promise this exact mural, but there is sure to be something great in this location! This is a favorite neighborhood of mine, because you’re sure to see something new each and every visit. Beyond all the fabulous art, there are many one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants in the area.
5. Dunkin Donuts Artist: Bumblebeelovesyou Location: Washington Boulevard, Culver City
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven by the Beverly Hills Hotel, but it wasn’t until recently that I finally went in! Playing tourist in my own city has opened me up to so many lovely experiences, and I highly recommend a visit to this fabulous institution. However, if you can’t make it to the Beverly Hills Hotel, try a visit to your local luxury hotel, you deserve it!
8. Mural Collaboration Artist: Fanakapan/Starfigherea Location: 4th Street DTLA Arts District
The best part about public art is that its there for everyone to enjoy! I love it even more when I get to interact with the art! These lovely wings are just one of many pair you’ll find around the City of Angels!
10. Love Mural Artist: Unknown Location: Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Just outside the Entrance)
I love this mural for so many reasons! Its cheerful message seems to be saying I love LA, which I wholeheartedly do! It’s located just across the street from the entrance to the iconic Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which is definitely worth a visit. What was it I was saying about discovering new neighborhoods?!
11. The Venice Sign Artist: Venice Chamber of Commerce Location: Pacific & Windward, Venice
A perfect example of always evolving art, The Venice Sign, which stretches across the road at Pacific and Windward, changes throughout the year to represent holidays, and other events. Rainbow lights for PRIDE month, red and green for Christmas, and of course red, white and blue for the 4th of July. The diagonal crossing should make snapping that #instapic a bit easier, but do be careful! Traffic is heavy in this popular area.
12. Rear View Artist: Dface Location: Pico Boulevard & Federal, Los Angeles
Pico Boulevard has recently undergone quite a transformation with murals of all kinds on either side of the road. This one struck a cord with me, as I discovered it just prior to heading out on a road trip.
13. The Broad Artist: Yayoi Kusama Location: Grand Avenue, Los Angeles
LA is home to some pretty fantastic museums! This Infinity Room exhibit is currently on display at the Broad Museum, and was well worth the price of admission: FREE! Do keep in mind that entrance to the exhibit is extremely limited, and an early visit is your best bet.
14. I AM Love
Artist: Ruben Rojas/Beautifyearth.org Location: Rose Avenue, Venice
Completely transformed in the past few years, Rose Avenue is definitely worth a visit. Lined with one of a kind boutiques, restaurants and markets, there’s a little something for everyone! Not to mention lots of great #streetart!
15. Venice Art Walls
Artist: Varies Location: Ocean Front Walk, Venice
You’ll find the Venice Art Walls just west of the Venice Sign on Ocean Front Walk. The walls are transformed every Saturday and Sunday by professional and amateur street artists alike! A pretty great spot for that #insta if you ask me!
I love LA, and the more I discover the more I love it! The opportunities are endless! Stay tuned…
What can you do in Las Vegas if you’re not interested in gambling, nightclubs, or extreme roller coasters? Why, look at art of course, and if you’re me, it’s street art. Las Vegas is a treasure trove of amazing art!
Shortly before our visit I learned about some large scale pieces (thank you social media), and once we decided that Las Vegas would be our “rest” stop between Los Angeles and Zion National Park, I started researching what else might be available to view! I’d hit the jackpot! Yes, pun intended! There was literally art around and on every corner!
There was so much to see, my head was spinning, or maybe that was the effect of the 112 degree temperatures, and burning pavement? Maybe both? The heat prevented me from exploring the area the way I would have liked, but we managed to see quite a lot. Thankfully many of the works are close to one another.
Fremont East District
You’ll find all this amazing art in Downtown Las Vegas, and more specifically in the Fremont East District. Downtown Las Vegas has experienced a major revitalization, and Fremont Street is the second most popular destination in the city after the famed Las Vegas Strip.
The concentrated number of murals in the area are remnants of the Life is Beautiful Festival, a three day event, which takes place in the Downtown core each year, and includes music, food and street art. The event is put on by JUSTKIDS, an organization dedicated to spreading art all over the world. Who doesn’t love that mission? The 5th annual Life is Beautiful Festival will take place in September 2017. Hmmm, I see a return trip coming on…
Downtown Las Vegas Street Art
The 21 story Plaza Hotel, located at 1 South Main Street, is home to two amazing murals. While Shepard Fairey’s painting can be seen from the street, D*face’s mural, entitled: Behind Closed Doors, is harder to see and requires a trip to the Plaza’s Pool Deck located on the 5th floor.
Artist:D*Face Location: The Plaza Hotel Pool Deck, 5th floor Country of Origin: England Artist:Shepard Fairey Location: The Plaza Hotel Country of Origin: USA Artist: Alexis Diaz Location: 6th and Ogden Country of Origin: Puerto Rico Artist:Chor Boogie Location: 6th & Ogden Country of Origin: USA? Artist:Zio Ziegler Location: 6th & Ogden Country of Origin: USA Artist: ROA Location: 6th & Stewart Country of Origin: Belgium Artist:Vhils Location: 7th between Ogden & Steward Country of Origin: Portugal Artist:Felipe Pantone Location: 7th between Ogden & Steward Country of Origin: Argentina Artist:D*Face Location: 7th & Ogden Country of Origin: England Artist:Mark Drew Location: 7th & Ogden Country of Origin: Australia Artist:Martin Whatson Location: 7th & Steward (around the corner) Country of Origin: Norway Artist:Dface Location: 7th between Ogden & Fremont Country of Origin: England Artist:Pixel Pancho Location: 7th and Fremont Country of Origin: Italy Artist:Ana Maria Ortiz Location: 7th & Ogden Country of Origin: Puerto Rico
The Fremont East District is also home to many amazing sculptures! Artist: Kirk Jullum Location: 7th & Fremont Country of Origin: USA?
Take a look at the specs on this! Impressive to say the least!
Created by aerospace engineer Kirk Jellum the mantis is a 150:1 scale exact replica of a female preying mantis he found in an open field. The mantis can speak 20 different languages, and is operated by a team of four.
Street Art After Dark
Visit the Fremont East District at night for a completely different experience, though I can’t promise the temperatures will be any cooler the lights are pretty spectacular!
Miscellaneous Street Art
The second most popular area in the city can’t quite be called “off the beaten path”, but it’s not the Las Vegas most people envision either. If you do find yourself in Las Vegas, I highly suggest you take some time to visit the Fremont East District!
Tips & Advice:
Las Vegas is HOT! Wear proper shoes, and bring water! I’m NOT wearing proper shoes… My feet were on fire! I had to drive between the murals.
The Fremont East District is 3 miles from the Stratosphere “end” of the Strip. Don’t plan on walking, especially in the summer months.
The 5th annual Life is beautiful festival will take place September 22 – 24, 2017.
The Fremont East District is comprised of six blocks. The boundaries are from Las Vegas Boulevard East to 8th Street, and from Ogden Street South to Carson.
These are just some of the many pieces of amazing art located within this vibrant district.
My boys, and I* have been road tripping through the American Southwest these past two weeks, which means I’ve been out gathering a ton of fun information to share with all of you, but haven’t had time to write about it in detail yet! I thought it might be fun to give you a sneak peak at some of the amazing things we’ve experienced during this summer’s adventure, all of which I plan to write about in more detail in the near future!
Dear Faithful Reader,
Don’t you just love receiving mail! I do! We’ve been having quite a summer exploring Nevada, Utah and Arizona! It’s been so hot out and we’ve been doing a lot of driving! The USA is a vast and unique place!! Here is a little sneak peak of our Southwestern Adventures!
Next stop… The American Southwest!
Dear Faithful Reader,
No road trip would be complete without long stretches of endless road. We saw this sign from the road, but when we pulled off to explore further, things weren’t quite what they seemed. Snapped a few picks, but didn’t hang around long…
Next stop… Las Vegas, Nevada!
Dear Faithful Reader,
Las Vegas with kids wasn’t something I’d ever planned on… I’ll be writing more about our experiences there, but I think I’m going with my first instincts on this one.
Next stop… Zion National Park!
Dear Faithful Reader,
Zion National Park has hikes and walks which are suitable for all ages! We did both the Emerald Pools hike and the River Walk!
We saw waterfalls and a tons of wildlife! It was 108 degrees, so dipping our toes into the river at the end of the walk was a welcome reward!!
Next stop… Bryce Canyon National Park!
Dear Faithful Reader,
We saw this strange object from a distance and wondered… what is that?! Turns out it was the Rock Stop! There are so many of these shops, but this is the only one we saw that was actually in the shape of a rock!
We just had to stop!!
Next stop really is… Bryce Canyon National Park!
Dear Faithful Reader,
After high temperatures in the 100s for days on end, the cooler temperatures in Bryce Canyon were a welcome reprieve!!
We did a moderate hike through the hoodoos. There were even a few raindrops! It was a steep climb back up, but so worth it!
The next stop… Arches Capital Reef National Park!
Quick Stops at Capital Reef National Park and Goblin Valley State Park
Dear Faithful Reader,
Have you heard of Capital Reef?
Although it doesn’t get as much press it’s pretty beautiful! Many people say it’s their favorite due to low crowds… we saw some petroglyphs that were 2500 years old!
The Next stop… Arches National Park Goblin Valley State Park!
Dear Faithful Reader,
The road from Bryce Canyon to Arches was so LONG….!
We took Scenic HWY 12, which was probably my LEAST favorite road ever!
It was beautiful, but so curvy!!!
We stopped at Goblin Valley State Park
for a stretch and a rest
The valley is filled with hoodoos, which one can walk among… it was hot hot hot!
Evning might have been a better choice…
I was surprised by how impressed I was by the arches! Does that sound silly?
Unfortunately, the hike to the famous Delicate Arch was in the difficult category, but there are a number of family friendly walks and viewpoints throughout the park!
The Next Stop… Mexican hat!
Dear Faithful Reader,
After a few days in Moab, it was to head to our next stop: Monument Valley! This is the stop that starte it all, but I’ll save that story for a future post!!
The drive from Arches to Monument Valley isn’t too long, so wedidn’t stop along the way except to snap a pic of Mexican Hat Rock and to see the Forrest Gump movie sign!
Next stop… Monument Valley! Finally!
Dear Faithful Reader,
We all loved our visit to Monument Valley! There so much history in this beautiful place!
We had hoped for some stargazing and to see the sunset over the magnificent valley, but instead were treated to quite a summer storm, complete with lightning, rainbows, and hail!
All was not lost… I set my alarm for sunrise and was treated to quite a light show, the soundtrack was provided by frogs and crickets! I may have seen some bats!
Next stop… Page, Arizona!
Dear Faithful Reader,
When I first considered this trip, I knew the Antelope Canyon slot canyons would have to be on the itinerary! These canyons are easilyt one the most unqiue places I’ve ever visited, and this city girl definitely had a moment when I realized where I willingly was!
Wanting to take photos, and to enjoy the moment I opeted for two tours in one day! It was the best decission! our guide was awesome and this experience was definitely a highlight of the trip!!
Next up… Horseshoe Bend!
Dear Faithful Reader,
Horseshoe Bend is the most photographed location along the Colorado River and it’s easy to see why! The view of the bend in the River from 1000 feet up is pretty magnificent!
I’ve recently learned I’m not great with extreme heights, so I wasn’t able to get all the way to the edge fro a complete view, but hopefully you get the idea!
Next stop… The Grand Canyon!
Dear Faithful Reader,
We’ve been on the road for two weeks, and we’ve seen some pretty amazing sights!
Today was our final stop The GRAND CANYON! We visited the South Rim, where our first stop was the Desert View.
We were pretty excited to see an endangered California Condor fly over the Canyon!
I love a project and I love a challenge, so with a house full of skaters it makes sense that once again this summer’s DIY project centers around skateboarding. Last year we made our own longboards, which were a huge success and have seen a ton of use, this year we decided to paint the decks!
The desire to recreate a skate shop display wall is what led to this summer’s project idea. We all admire the amazing artwork we see on the decks hanging on skate shop walls, however purchasing multiple brand name skateboard decks is cost prohibitive, so why not find a why to do it ourselves!
While we will be using these skateboard decks as objet d’art in the boy’s rooms, these boards would also be perfect for riding! Keep reading for a list of supplies, hints, techniques, and inspiration!
First you’ll need to gather some decks! They can be used or new. We ordered our decks new from an online wholesale website, which meant a minimum order of 10 boards. Our cost per board was $15 including tax and shipping. We chose to sell some of the boards, at cost, to friends who were also interested in this fun project, however this could also make a great birthday party activitiy, or maybe you want to hang 10 boards!
This may seem obvious, but I feel I should mention: Prepare your work surfaces before you get started, especially if you’re using spray paint or varnish to decorate/finish your decks. You’ll want to create an enclosed area to prevent overspray, and its important to wear a mask, and gloves.
Chosing to decorate only the bottom of the decks, we used blue painter tape to cover the sides and top.
Each of us designed our own decks and interestingly each of us had a different technique in mind. That’s the great thing about art, anything goes!
This is a great project for all ages! My younger son was able to design and paint his board with minimal help from me.
He used acrylic paints for the background, which dry quite quickly, and a cardstock stencil to create the smiley face!
I helped him finish the board off with a UV protective varnish.
My older son has fully embraced the SoCal culture, and regularly enjoys both skateboarding and surfing, which is what inpsired my design. In order to get the clean crisp look I was after I would need to use stencils.
Using frisket, a low tack material often used by grafitti artists, I created my own stencils. The great thing about Frisket is that it creates a tight seal keeping paint out of unwanted places, but it can also be easily removed! It can be purchased online or at your local art supply store.
I used the Silhouette Cameo machine to cut my stencils, however one can easily cut these materials freehand with a razor blade or scissors.
After you apply the stencils, use paper and painter tape to protect any areas where you don’t want to apply color. You’re now ready to paint! I chose shades of blue to represent the water meeting the sky. To achieve this graduated look I used Montana Gold spray paint a quick drying paint with a low flow spray.
Give the paint ample time to dry, especially if you’ve applied a heavy coating. Once the paint has dried, carefully removes the stencils using an exacto knife. Don’t rush when you pull of the tape and stencils as you don’t want to pull off any of your design.
I finished the board off with a UV protectant varnish.
I enjoyed this process so much I made another deck, this one featuring one of our family’s favorite snacks, popcorn!
Tape off the areas you don’t want to paint.
Once the paint is dry apply the next stencil.
Remember to wear gloves.
Tape off the areas you don’t want to paint.
The paint must dry completely before applying the next stencil.
Unless you want to repaint… don’t apply the next stencil too early.
The popcorn was a multiple step process.
Simon got in on the stencil action with his Miami Sunset design!
Our final technique was image transfer. Simon wanted to transfer an image he created previously, but didn’t want to recreate it, so we used acrylic gel medium to transfer the image to the deck.
Gem Medium can be found in the acrylic paint aisle. Use a laser jet printer.
Prep your deck.
You do this by printing your image out using a laser printer. Paint your image with a generous amount of gel medium. Saturate everything, but don’t make it so wet you tear the paper.
Lay the image down and smooth it out. Let it dry overnight before you complete the process.
When you’re ready to remove the image use a damp sponge or smooth cloth to help you remove the paper. Don’t rub too hard! Give it a minimum of 8 hours but overnight is best!
I also wanted to try this technique, so I created a deck using an image I took at the tamago stand in Tsukiji fish market during our Tokyo trip. To create this distressed look I rubbed the image with a rough cloth and then sanded off excess bits of paper.
Remember to create a mirror image so your text won’t be backwards!
Finish up with a coating of UV protective varnish.
We still need to practice this technique but came out with two Decks we were really happy with! We all really enjoyed this project and let coming up with more and more ideas! My son’s birthday is coming up… I feel a party theme coming on!
Having first visited and now living in the Los Angeles area off and on for my entire life, I would consider myself pretty familar with the area, yet there is always something new, or rather in this case something old, to explore! Recently after driving by more times than I can count, I decided a visit to the Iconic Beverly Hills Hotel was in order! A birthday celebration with the girls seemed like the perfect excuse!
Los Angeles has no shortage of recognizable icons, the people, buildings, street names (Rodeo Drive ring a bell?), even the palm trees, lets face it the city itself is an icon. However, there are some places, that are famous the world over for a variety of reasons, even if we aren’t exactly sure why we’ve heard of them, the Beverly Hills Hotel is one of those places!
The Beverly Hills Hotel is located in the city of Beverly Hills on Sunset Boulevard (another one of those famous streets), and opened in 1912, before Beverly Hills was even a city! You can’t miss its iconic pink paint and famous sign.
Smile for the Camera!
The Hotel’s famous pink color and Polo Lounge didn’t come along until the early 1940s, but the Hotel has long been associated with the glamour of Hollywood’s film and rock stars.
Just like all the celebritites before you, upon arrival, you’ll walk the red carpet under the hotel’s trademark green and white awning with an obligatory photo op at the end! Definitely stop to have your photo taken! What no paprazzi, no matter, a friend will do! You’ll feel just like the celebs!
The decadance continues in the lobby with gorgeous art, and flower displays that had all of us whipping out our phones for a photo.
The 1912 Bar
Named for the year the Hotel opened, the 1912 Bar was a lovely place to spend an evneing. The ambiance was lovely both inside and out, so we opted for a little of both.
Starting our evening off outside overlooking the Beverly Hills Los Angeles iconic palm trees I mentioned earlier, we sipped our drinks and shared a heavenly dessert. Berry Pavlova is my new favorite dessert! I can’t stop thinking about it!
Once we’d polished off the Pavlova*, we went inside where we were treated to live music courtesy of a Noelle and Nick Fabian a brother and sister team from Nashville.
Looking for that magical far away feeling? Consider an evening at a local hotel in your town, we had the best time as tourists in our own city. While I did check an item off of my LA To Do list, I’ve now added another one: STAY at the Beverly Hills Hotel! Stay tunned… Cheers!
*I really wanted to lick the plate, but held back… after all I was at The Beverly Hills Hotel!
It’s no secret that exploring the world and everything it has to offer is something I love and want to do more of (hence this blog), but realistically I can’t always be traveling… So how do I keep my wanderlust at bay? I admit it’s not always easy, and some who know me, mainly my husband, might say I fail miserably.
Feed Your Wanderlust
Feeding my wanderlusting spirit is a full time job! Have I mentioned, I love my job!? Eating out and cooking food from favorite destinations, or places I dream of going is a fun way to satisfy my wanderlust. In fact, we’ve picked destinations based solely on a meal!
Our first family trip to New Orleans came about while planning a ski trip in Tahoe. Sitting in a New Orleans themed restaurant planning, we realized, why not New Orleans? We went straight home and booked our tickets! To this day we’ve never made it to Tahoe, but we do visit New Orleans every year.
Interested in visiting New Orleans? I’ve written a “few” Articles:
I love fish & chips, and they’re a nice reminder of our visits to London, a favorite destination of mine. We make regular visits to The Wee Chippy, on Venice Beach, and although they don’t offer mushy peas, it does help keep that particular craving satisfied.
We love the food in Spain with two of my favorite items being Manchego cheese and chorizo. I keep a steady supply of both these items in the house at all times!
I don’t know how “Spanish” the Spanish Latte at Menotti’s is, but I do love the coffee in Spain, so this is a nice reminder.
Cheese is easily my favorite food! My local market has a great selection and I was pretty excited to discover they even had Blarney Castle cheese?!
Blogs & Books
Of course I don’t only write a travel blog I also read other travel blogs, which not only helps with planning, but they’re also great for “visiting” places I may never make it to, and for inspiration and advice!
I’ve discovered many wonderful blogs, and have come across real world advice which I know I’ll use. In fact, I already have!
I’ll be traveling throughout Nevada, Utah, and Arizona in a few weeks, and I booked rooms based on Oregon Girl Around the World‘s blog. Thanks to Tanama Tales, I learned I’ll need advance reservations for the Las Vegas Neon Museum, a place I definitely plan on visiting.
Travel Blogs I read frequently:
Clare from Suitcases and Sandcastles writes about family travel. Her photography is stunning, and her destinations are wide ranging, they include everything from remote Greek Islands to The Hundred Acre Wood (otherwise known as Ashdown Forest)!
Katy from Untold Morsels writes about her family’s travels with an emphasis on food and unique places to stay! After reading about her stay in Amsterdam I’m definitely putting houseboat on my list!
Lorelei from Caliglobtrotter is a California girl currently living in Germany. I love reading about her adventures, especially the many castles she visits! Her photography is amazing, and now I know how to pronounce Ljubljana! (Pronounced: Lub-lee-yana)!
Erin of Oregon Girl Around the World currently lives in Copenhagen, but we’re both from the PNW, and I love that we connected with eachother via blogging! She’s full of fun and eco-friendly ideas!
I always look forward to reading posts by The Adventures of Daisy the Bus, written by Jonny a father of four, who loves to travel to places off the beaten path. He paints a lovely picture with his words, his photos are pretty great too, and I have wanted to visit just about every place he mentions!
Cory of Fifi & Hop, who I was lucky enough to meet in New Orleans, writes about her family’s adventures on the East Coast and abroad! I especially loved her post on Tuscany, I was ready to book a flight after reading it!
I love reading Joy Loves Travel who seems to have some similar interests to my own! Her info on Belgium came in handy prior to my own visit there.
Dannii Jane of A Beautiful Thing writes a lifestyle blog, but features her adventures in and around London and Europe. Thanks to her we found ourselves in Camden during our last visit!
I admit I have a guidebook habit. As soon as I learn I’ll be going somewhere, or even if it’s just a possibility I’ll pick up the guidebook(s). I also love travel magazines, the big glossy photos, Best Of lists and the off the beaten path recommendations all feed my passion to see more of the world!
A post shared by Best City Shots (@best.city.shots) on
Preserve your Wanderlust
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I have TOO many photos on my computer and no idea how to manage them all! Recently I’ve started creating photo books using not only my travel pictures, but the text from my blog posts as well. They look lovely, and make great keepsakes.
We don’t just shut our photos up into books on a shelf, we love to print them out for display too! Some of our favorites from near and far are hanging in large format around our home. We love it when people come to visit and ask about the different locations!
It’s not all about photography! We love a good project, and have created various pieces of art around the house, which represent loved places. Most recently I painted this “graffiti” Union Jack flag using spray paint and resin. I’m practicing for those Venice Art Walls! We can’t forget about the around the world furniture projects!
We’re big lego fans in our house and we get excited when sets are created that represent places we’ve been!
We built this Tower Bridge set over the winter holidays. I’m anxiously awaiting my Houses of Parliament set, which should keep me busy this summer, while planning what I hope is a Christmas trip to the UK.
Be A Hometown Tourist
Whether or not you’ve lived very long in a place, I guarantee you haven’t done it all! We’ve had such a great time this past year playing tourist in our own town, and with all that Los Angeles has to offer, I see no signs of that slowing down!
In case you’re interested, here are just some of the articles I’ve written about our recent discoveries in and around the Los Angeles area!
I’ve been married for 16 years, but the romantic in me still gets excited when I see a bride, and for some reason even more so when I’m traveling! Maybe because someone once told me it’s good luck to see a bride? Or because I still remember how happy I was on my wedding day and I’m reminded of those feelings? Or maybe because I know what’s coming… ha ha!
Wedding traditions vary from country to country, but apparently the lure of the white dress is universal, as I’ve seen them everywhere from New Orleans, Louisiana to Tokyo, Japan!
I always try to snap a photo when I see brides, and the following photos are collected from the past few years of travel. Please do keep in mind that these photos are usually taken from a distance, a moving car, or a hotel window, as I wasn’t actually invited to any of these weddings. Along with the photos I’ve included some fun facts and wedding traditions from around the globe. Of course I’m including my own wedding photo… Let’s hope all these lovely couples are still as happily married as I am!
This photo was taken in 2015 at Ayuntamiento Plaza just outside the Catherdral of Toledo, one of the more beautiful cathedrals I’ve ever visited. Toledo is known as the City of Three Cultures, which includes Muslims, Christians and Jews.
Popular in many parts of the world Spanish brides also throw their boquets with the idea that the one to catch it will be the next to marry. A Spanish variation on the same theme is to pin an upsidedown corsage on unmarried female guests. If the corsage is lost during the festivities that lucky lady will be the next to marry!
This photo was taken in 2014 during breakfast in lobby of the Tokyo Penninsula Hotel. It was quite early in the morning, so I was somewhat surprised to hear wedding music and then see a bride appear, but I got this picture just as she was almost out of sight!
In Japan the bride will often wear multiple outfits during the ceremony and reception, as many as four, sometimes ending with a western style party gown, which signifies her return to everyday life. Guests at a Japanese wedding will give gifts of money to the bride and groom in small paper packets called mizuhiki.
I took this photo in 2013 during one of our many visits to London. We had just finished the Tower Bridge Experience, which by the way is a fascinating attraction! This seems like a lovely, although crowded, place for wedding photos.
Many of today’s most popular white wedding traditions can be attributed to Queen Victoria. It was Queen Victoria’s wedding cake, that first used the icing known today as “royal” icing. Hence the name royal… I love that!
After our 2016 visit to La Madeleine, a beautiful church commissioned by Napoleon, I decided to take a quick lap around the building, and came upon this lovely bridal couple!
A croquembouche is a tower of delicious cream filled pastries held together with delicate strings of caramel. These delicious towers are often served at a French wedding. I read that the idea originates from guests bringing small cakes and other treats to wedding celebrations and piling them high on the table.
Amsterdam, Holland, The Netherlands
Having only just arrived in Amsterdam during our 2016 Europe trip, we were on our way to the hotel when I looked out and saw this bridal party! Our taxi was speeding past and I stuck my camera out the window!
A popular tradition in the United States, the bridal shower originated in Holland. When a Dutch bride’s family was too poor to provide a dowry, or if the father did not approve of the match her friends would “shower” her with gifts that were often included in the dowry.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
This photo was taken during our 2016 visit to Belfast, from inside the Titanic Belfast Museum, which is apparently a popular wedding venue. We loved our visit to this museum, and what an amazing backdrop!
A traditional Irish wedding toast:
“Friends and relatives, so fond and dear, ’tis our greatest pleasure to have you here. When many years this day has passed, fondest memories will always last. So we drink a cup of Irish mead and ask God’s blessing in your hour of need.”
The guests respond: “On this special day, our wish to you, the goodness of the old, the best of the new. God bless you both who drink this mead, may it always fill your every need.“
New Orleans, Lousiana
This photo of a Second Line Parade was taken from my hotel window in 2016 at the Omni Royal Hotel on Royal Street in the French Quarter!
Weddings in New Orleans have a special added flare, especially weddings in the French Quarter! The Bride and groom might arrive at their reception via horse drawn carriage, or by leading a second line parade preceded by a jazz band! Now that’s making an entrance!
Second Line Parade
Staying the French Quarter is always interesting, and no matter night or day, you never know what you might see when you look out your window!
While second line parades stem from African American jazz funerals they have evolved to become part of many celebrations in New Orleans. The second line parade at a wedding signifies the befinning of the new life between the bride and groom. Don’t be surprised if you see one these cheerful wedding parades leading the entire wedding, guests and all, from the church to the reception.
This photo was taken during our 2015 visit from my hotel window at the Hyatt French Quarter in 2015.
While I haven’t seen the ribbon pulling tradition in action, I find the idea fascinating. Similar in tradition to the bride tossing her boquet the cake’s frosting has “meaningful” charms hidden within, each one attached to a ribbon. Female guests pull the ribbons to find out their future fate. You might pull out the heart signifying true love, but then again you may get the button, symbolic for old maid…
Costa Mesa, California
This photo was taken just the other day while the boys and I were running errands and enjoying treats from Susie Cakes at the South Coast Plaza Mall. While I don’t think I would chose this location for my wedding photos, I always enjoy seeing a happy wedding party!
Did you know?
Los Angeles is the most popular city in California to get married? Popular wedding trends in the Golden State include eco-friendly ideas, rustic chic, farm fresh to table fare, and free form flower boquets.
Speaking of flowers… fellow blogger, Katy from Untold Morsels, had her wedding flowers wrapped up and gifted to her guests at the end of the reception! That’s a wedding favor I’d like to have, and eco-friendly too!
This is a picture of my wedding photo because apparently I didn’t see the future of digital, and I turned down a cd with my wedding photos on it… hindsight is truly 20/20.
If I had to do it over again, I’m only talking about the wedding folks, I might like to have a destination wedding! Maybe in one of these amazing places, or maybe I’d do everything exactly the same… Anyway… if you’re wondering, our wedding and reception took place in Downtown Seattle in the atrium of one of Tim’s favorite buildings, what can I say he’s an architect. Some of the traditions we included: Something old, new, borrowed and blue, a first dance, and cutting and eating the cake together.