Crummy Wednesday

*sigh* Just when everyone was looking forward to a day off snuggled up in bed watching TV…

…Paula swerved East and ditched us for Cuba.

Since my nasty cold has moved into the “cough” phase and I haven’t been getting much sleep, I asked for the day off to get some rest and, you know, not get the whole office sick.

Request denied.

So here I am. Sick. At Work. On a rainy day.

This is me today. Seriously. I got my Kleenex ColdCare, my cough medicine, some Theraflu tea, and Tabcin dissolvible tablets with me. And I'm pretty sure my face is about that color.

Me and my desk neighbor (if I were Napoleon Dynamite) Sorry, coworkers!

My Big Sister's Vegas Wedding

First off, the bad news. Level 1 Hurricane Paula is headed straight for Cancun. We’ve been pretty lucky so far this year, but it looks like there’s no escaping this one.

*sigh* Looks like a good day for a Walmart run. 🙂

Anyway, back to the fun stuff. My oldest sister Noelle got married on Friday! In VEGAS! We’re so excited to have Michael as part of our family. He’s pretty awesome.

The ceremony was at the Juno Garden in Caesar’s Palace, followed by a reception at Joe’s nearby. Here goes:

Mommy getting her makeup done

My middle sister Sarah getting her hair done

My hair (I'm gonna hire this girl to move to Cancun and style my hair every day because... wow!)

The beautiful bride (Noelle) getting ready!!

SISTERS! Sarah, Noelle and me

Noelle and my mom on her wedding day 🙂

I loved this dress

Beautiful shoes

Putting on her garter

Noelle and her entourage walking through the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis on the way to the ceremony

Juno Garden - the ceremony site

Juno Garden

Juno Garden (looking up)

Michael and Noelle walking to the reception site

On our way to the reception, a lady who had obviously been drinking saw the whole bridal party and shouted, “CONGRATULATIONS!” She then looked directly at Sarah and me (bridesmaids) and said, “Oh, don’t worry… you’ll get married someday.”

Yeah, thanks.

View from reception garden

A special guest made an appearance...

They're pretty good dancers!

Back of Noelle's dress... so pretty! (Sorry Amy, I stole your photo)

Gorgeous! (Another stolen picture from Amy)

Most of my mom's side of the family 🙂 (Sorry again, Amy)

Sarah, Elvis, me

Elvis with all the girls!

Sparkle Cake!! best. cake. ever.

After the reception, a bunch of us went back into Caesar’s for drinks and fun. Noelle got cheers wherever she went, and there was a surprising number of guys hitting on her… I think they were a bit too late.

Drinks at the Seahorse Lounge after the wedding

Aaaand my favorite... the bridal party eating dinner at 2 am

 

Vegas Weekend Part 1

I’m back from Vegas! I have a cold and started 10 hours of travel at 6 am yesterday (Pacific Time), and today I just wanna curl up and sleep… but somehow I managed to make it in to work today. That means ya’ll get to enjoy some Vegas pictures 🙂

We spent most of our time at Caesar’s Palace. My sister Sarah and I stayed the last 2 nights at Imperial Palace across the street, but anyone who’s been there knows it’s not picture-worthy. We really only went there to sleep. (It does have a great location, though!)

I didn’t take too many because I was trying to just enjoy the moment most of the time… but I got some cool ones.

Here goes:

 

View from my lounge chair at the pool

 

 

Gringation by the fountain in the Caesars Palace lobby

 

 

My lovely sister Sarah

 

 

Casino at Caesar's (love that ceiling!)

 

 

The Forum Shops and Caesars... Sarah and I were taking the "Poor Man's Tour of Las Vegas", so we just walked around and longingly stared into store windows. Good times 🙂

 

 

Beijing Noodle No. 9 at Caesar's Palace... crazy looking!

 

 

My Belgian waffle with fresh fruit at Augustus Cafe...

 

 

...and the butter and syrup to go on top of it.

 

 

The New York New York hotel

 

 

Yours truly out and about in Vegas

 

 

Mandalay Bay... probably my favorite hotel we went into. Miles and miles of restaurants & casinos... not to mention an aquarium and a lazy river! Seriously, the pool area was like a water park!

 

 

Lunch with the family at Raffles restaurant at Mandalay Bay

 

 

Walking under a sleeping lioness at the MGM

 

 

The Centrifuge at MGM

 

My favorite part was probably the view from my sister Noelle’s room at Caesar’s Palace. Got to enjoy this every day…

 

Day

 

 

Night (Bellagio Fountains!!!)

 

My overall thoughts:

As a Hotel Management major, I was in Heaven. These places are INCREDIBLE! I heard a guy at the airport say, “Vegas is like DisneyWorld for adults… pure fantasy.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

The food was expensive… but amazing.

I did a few hours of gambling at Caesar’s on Saturday night with my sisters and lost 10 bucks. It was worth it 🙂 I followed the rule that you shouldn’t gamble more than you’d want to spend, so I think I did pretty well!

I’m so glad I got to experience it! I can certainly see why people would go there… but personally I’d prefer something much more relaxing if I could go on vacation.

Tomorrow: Pictures of my sister’s wedding! It was AWESOME.

Watching Your Favorite Shows in a Foreign Country

One thing that many expats all over the world struggle with is no longer being able to watch their favorite TV shows.

Mexican cable is pretty good about showing most popular TV shows. I get to watch primetime favorites like The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, Cougartown, Law and Order, Two and a Half Men, etc etc etc on TV. Still, new episodes aren’t shown until a few months after they air in the USA.

I’m perfectly fine watching most sitcoms and shows months after they originally air. However, some shows you simply can’t wait a few months to watch. Project Runway is shown here, but the winner is announced in the States before the season even airs in Mexico. I’d have to stay off the internet for 4 –  5 months just so it’s not ruined! Same goes for many other reality shows.

Other popular shows simply never make it to Mexico.

Many US networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc) show complete episodes of all their shows on their websites. However, none of them stream outside the US, with the exception of MTV and VH1.

I’ve heard people in the States say, “just use Hulu.” Well, Hulu doesn’t stream outside the US, either.

I used to download episodes on iTunes, which was AWESOME because I would download them onto my iPod, then connect the iPod to watch it on my TV, but now I only use a Mexican card. Turns out you can’t use a Mexican credit card on iTunes. Goodbye, cheap episodes with great quality.

So what’s a girl to do? I have a list of series that I always follow. Every weekend, I sit down in front of the computer and use a variety of websites where I can watch full episodes of my favorite shows.

This is particularly difficult to do. Since these websites aren’t exactly… um… legal… it’s easy to get some sort of virus when looking around for a series to watch.

After a few years here, I’ve finally found 2 safe websites that show almost anything I could possibly want. (One is for series, the other is for reality shows.) I also follow a hidden YouTube account. These, however, were not easy to find, since they don’t come up with a quick Google search for obvious reasons.

At first I felt a little bad about watching pirated TV shows, but then I realized that almost everyone on those sites is from outside the US. We’ve been left with little choice.

Here’s a list of the shows I watch online:

Reality Show Website:

Various Next Top Model Shows (Britain, Australia, and New Zealand)

Project Runway

Series Website (with Spanish subtitles):

Glee (you wouldn’t believe how popular this is in Mexico!)

Naruto Shippuden

Lost (I miss you!)

Hidden YouTube Account:

Survivor

The Amazing Race

America’s Next Top Model

I think many shows are missing a HUGE market here. I would love to have a Hulu-type website that actually streamed to foreign countries. I’d be perfectly fine watching shows complete with commercials and ads, so long as it were safe and legal. There are so many non-Americans and American expats desperate to watch these shows, and a safe and legal way to watch them would be a lifesaver.

Until then, I’m stuck with my clandestine websites. 🙂

What shows could you not live without?

Mayan Legend: The Xtabay Woman

Some of you may know that my husband, Jorge, is from the Yucatan Peninsula, along with his entire family. (Specifically, near the city of Merida.) This particular area is filled with Mayan heritage and culture, which can still be seen a bit in Jorge’s family.

When we visited the Ek’ Balam Mayan ruins recently, we saw a “ceiba” tree (SAY-bah).

The ceiba tree we saw at Ek' Balam

My mother-in-law told us the Mayan legend regarding the ceiba tree.

If a man is out wandering around at night and passes by a ceiba tree, he just might see an “Xtabay” (ish-tah-BYE). An Xtabay is a seductive temptress who stands under the tree, brushing her long, dark hair.

The Xtabay will seduce the late-night traveler. Then, one of two things will happen:

1. The man will be led by the Xtabay off the path, deep into the jungle, to die. (This is the version my mother-in-law prefers.)

2. The Xtabay will ensnare him in an embrace, and violently kill him right there. He’ll later be found filled with the thorns of the ceiba tree.

thorns on the branches of the ceiba tree at Ek' Balam

Most of the Xtabay’s victims are found dead, but over the centuries, a few have managed to escape and tell their story.

According to my in-laws, you’re more likely to come across the Xtabay when you’re drunk. I don’t find this surprising 🙂 haha