Monday, July 20, 2015

Jenny's Best of Vegas/Great Eats Edition: Part I

I promised a list of great eats in and around my favorite shopping areas in Vegas in my latest post: "Jenny's Best of Vegas/Shopping Edition" 

*Restaurants with an asterisks (*) indicate they are located in separate Vegas shopping areas.
If you have particular foodie needs (i.e. allergies, special diet), I recommend going to the main restaurant website or calling to ensure they can accommodate you. :)
Travel times are via car/taxi and are estimated in minutes (from the shopping area).

So without further ado -- here it is!

::Las Vegas North Premium Outlets::
707 Carson Street (at 7th), Las Vegas, NV 89101
8 minutes from Las Vegas North Premium Outlets
A quick taxi ride from the outlets or Fremont Street for breakfast or lunch. 
After picking up my parents from the airport, they wanted breakfast -- 
so I took them here. Be sure to check out Downtown Container Park across 
the street from eat.. It's amazing American cuisine. You will not be disappointed! If you are driving yourself, there is metered parking (I don't recall seeing a parking lot). Check out the menu here. 

::Fashion Show Mall::
El Segundo Sol
3200 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
First level of Fashion Show Mall.
On corner of Las Vegas Blvd & Fashion Show Drive
-Margarita's and Mexican food anyone? This place is located on the strip at Fashion Show Mall. We held my friend Amber's bachelorette dinner party here. Check out the menu here.

Grimaldi's Pizzeria
3200 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Suite 1540, Las Vegas, NV 89109 
Located on the lower level of Fashion Show Mall across from Apple.
Live Runway Shows directly in front of Grimaldi's
-The pizza was delectable. My topping's of choice: pepperoni and sun-dried tomatoes! I especially loved their half carafe's of vino! The half carafe is the perfect amount to share with a friend. The live runway shows occur right outside Grimaldi's doors on selected weekends. Check out the menu here.

-Coming soon to Fashion Show Mall! Check out the menu here.  

Magianno's Little Italy
3200 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Located on second level of Fashion Show Mall.
On corner of Las Vegas Blvd & Fashion Show Drive.
-I haven't been to this location, but I have been to one in Texas. Their baked ziti is pretty darn amazing! Check out the menu here.

::Showcase Mall::
Diablos Cantina
3770 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Short walk (less than 10 minutes) from Showcase Mall (connected to Monte Carlo).  
-Shortly after arriving to Vegas, we met up with friends visiting from out-of-town and this is where we ate. It's good Mexican food right on the strip. First floor is dining and the second floor is an open-air bar with live entertainment. Check out the menu here.

::Town Square Las Vegas::
6653 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Located in Town Square Las Vegas. 
-Delicious and decently priced italian food. I especially like the open, airy feeling at this location. Everything I've ordered here has been wonderful. I visited both locations on multiple occasions. I took a friend, Amy, from Montana to this location and she loved the roasted garlic, spinach and artichoke dip appetizer. We also took our good friends, Candis and Andy, when they visited from Colorado and they were both pleased as well. Check out the menu here.
Our friends Candis and Andy at Brio (Town Square) (April 2013).

*Kabuki Japanese Restaurant
6605 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Located in Town Square Las Vegas. 
-Sushi restaurant with great sushi and happy hour prices. The interior decorator did an amazing job, because everything in there is eye-catching! My friend Sandy introduced me to Kabuki. I went to two locations in Vegas and I was pleasantly stuffed after each visit. I especially loved their tempura fried green tea ice cream (its the size of a softball!). Check out the menu here.
Image found on Google images with permission to reuse and modify.

Texas de Brazil
6533 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Located on north end of Town Square off of Sunset Rd.
-Ever been to a Brazilian Steakhouse? Well, this one won't leave you hungry, that's for sure! It's a bit pricey per person (lunch is much cheaper than dinner).The salad bar is awesome, but don't fill up too much because when the meats come, they will be hard to pass up!  The numerous waiters holding large skewers of meat walk around asking guests if they'd like some. Each guest is given a card to flip green meaning "Keep it coming!" or red meaning "Taking a break" or "I'm full." It's a fun experience and you will DEFINITELY get your money's worth and if you indulge too much, you could possibly get the "meat sweats" (exact words from my husband) later on. Check out the menu here.

*Yard House
6593 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Located at the back section of Town Square across from movie theater.
-Awesome happy hour menu! The beer menu is extensive and I especially liked they stocked a couple beers from a brewery in my home state of Delaware -- Dogfish Head. The menu is page after page of delicious salads, entree's, tacos, pizza, sandwiches and burgers. My "house favorite" entrĂ©e was a toss up between the Mac & Cheese and the Ginger Crusted Norwegien Salmon. 

{In or Near Red Rock Casino}

*Yard House
11011 W. Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89135
Across the street from my favorite Marshalls store!
-I know I'm listing it again, but for those of you staying at Red Rock it's right downstairs right off of the casino floor. We found ourselves at this particular Yard House because it was easy to get to from our house and all of our friends. The other location is located at Town Square Las Vegas. My group of friends celebrated A LOT of their birthday's here. Check out the menu here

My Birthday dinner at Yard House (Dec 2011). 
Across the street from Marshalls.

*BJ's Restaurant/Brewhouse
10840 W. Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89135
In the same parking lot as my favorite Marshalls store!
-Never a disappointment! I remember taking advantage of the happy hour menu with friends at the location close to my house. If you can't find something to eat here -- you're just plain picky! Crisp tasting, handcrafted beers.  I especially loved their Brewhouse Blonde! Located in the same parking lot as Marshalls and across the street from Red Rock Resort and Casino. Check out the menu here

{Rampart Commons} 

Honey Salt
1031 S. Rampart Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89145
5 minutes from Tivoli Village 
-This bistro feels like home. I got the warm and fuzzy feeling when I sat down
 at my table. Delicious food with great service. Honey Salt serves brunch and dinner and has a cute outdoor patio.

{Tivoli Village}
(5 minutes from Rampart Commons & 10 minutes from Marshalls/Red Rock Casino)

420 S. Rampart Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89145
Located in Tivoli Village.
I never went it to this location, but it's exactly the same as the Town Square location (see above description).  Check out the menu here.

*Kabuki Japanese Restaurant
440 S. Rampart Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89145
Located in Tivoli Village.
This location was closer to my home so I went here a few times (see above description). Check out the menu here.

{Fashion Village at Boca Park}
*Grimaldi's Pizzeria
750 S. Rampart Ste. 7, Las Vegas, NV 89145
(5 minutes from Rampart Commons & Tivoli Village)
-Pepperoni and sun dried tomatoes was my favorite. I celebrated my graduation dinner at this location. Features an outdoor seating area. Check out the menu here.

*Kona Grill
750 S. Rampart Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89145
(5 minutes from Rampart Commons & Tivoli Village)
-Delightful sushi restaurant with great happy hour drinks & eats. This location has an outdoor bar.  When I went with my friend Amber, we ate inside at the sushi bar. Check out the menu here.  

Thanks for stopping by and I really hope you enjoy your trip to Vegas! Stay tuned for "Jenny's Best of Vegas/Great Eats Edition Part II!" where I will be discussing my favorite restaurants on the Vegas strip and all around town!

*The opinions in this blog are my own and I am not paid to endorse any of the above mentioned restaurants or shopping areas.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Jenny's Best of Vegas/Shopping Edition

From 2010 to 2014, I was lucky enough to live in fabulous Las Vegas. I seriously loved every minute of it -- especially the shopping!  While living in Vegas, my wardrobe stepped up SEVERAL notches, as well as my shoe, designer purse and accessory collections. Here's a list of my favorite places to shop in Vegas in no particular order. 

Note: Not all are located on the infamous Las Vegas Boulevard, but definitely worth the trip. :)  I calculated all travel times (by car) to the shopping areas from Caesars Palace, since it is centrally located on the Las Vegas strip. 

Las Vegas North Premium Outlets - It is seriously the best outlet shopping I've ever experienced!  It's a quick taxi ride from the strip -- but be sure to ask your driver to take the I-15 North (depending on time of day and traffic - I don't recommend it at rush hour) so he/she can exit at Charleston Blvd and drop you right off. It's located halfway between Downtown Vegas (Fremont Street) and the north end of the Las Vegas strip.  In the summer months it can be stifling hot, but at least there's misters along the paths around the shops to cool you off and an indoor food court to get a quick bite and hydrate to refuel for more shopping. Bonus alert!! --> My friend Sarah informed me of Godiva Rewards and I could not leave the outlets without stopping by. Every month you can stop by the Godiva outlet store and get a free piece of chocolate with your Godiva Rewards card -- how sweet is that?  No pun intended! :)
Las Vegas North Premium Outlets (North Central Expressway/Alta Drive)
15 minutes from Vegas strip

Fashion Show Mall -  This mall is by far the biggest in Vegas with multiple floors of stores!  It's conveniently located on the strip, but is definitely a hike if you're staying on the south end of the strip. It has high-end stores - Neiman Marcus/Nordstrom/Saks Fifth Avenue - and also the decently priced stores - Forever 21/Dillard's.  Another nifty attraction at this mall is the live runway shows put on by Fashion Show Mall retailers.  The catwalk is located between Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.  On select weekends, the catwalk rises up from the floor, so you don't even know it's there until it's time for a show. The main reason I went to Fashion Show Mall was to shop for ball gowns, rather than driving all over town to bridal shops.  I bought two out of three Air Force Ball gowns at the Fashion Show Mall.
Fashion Show Mall (S. Las Vegas Blvd/Spring Mountain Rd)
North end of Vegas Strip
5 minutes from Caesars Palace
2011 AF Ball Gown
Purchased at Fashion Show Mall
2013 AF Ball Gown
Purchased at Fashion Show Mall
Marshalls - I have loved Marshalls for YEARS and my love for it increased exponentially when I lived in Vegas! My favorite Marshalls store is located on the west side of Vegas across from Red Rock Casino.  Many of the shoes living in my walk-in closet are from that very store.  This particular location has loads of high-end, name brand shoes and purses, both of which are my downfalls, as well as the typical Marshalls merchandise. I loved this Marshall's because I didn't have to drive to the strip. After I moved out of Nevada,  Marshall's added a Vegas strip location at Showcase Mall (near the M&Ms store).  I have not been back to check it out, but I'm assuming it has great mechandise as well. :)
Marshalls -10950 W. Charleston Blvd
Across the street from Red Rock Casino
20 minutes from Vegas Strip

Tivoli Village - The main reason I went to Tivoli Village was to go to Charming Charlie.  Tivoli Village is located in Summerlin and about a 25 minute drive from the strip.  I was addicted to this store and loved how everything was organized by colors!  This helped tremendously when I was searching for a particular color costume jewelry piece, scarf or accessories. Truthfully, I didn't really shop at any of the other stores located in Tivoli Village, but enjoyed a couple of the restaurants. More of that in another blog post! 

Tivoli Village - 440 S. Rampart Blvd (Summerlin)
25 minutes from Vegas strip

Rampart Commons - Whenever I was in Summerlin, I'd almost always stopped by this shopping area located on the corner of South Rampart Blvd and West Charleston Blvd.  Rampart Commons has several stores that I loved to shop including Francesca's (my favorite), Gap, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor.  
Rampart Commons (Francesca's) - 1037 South Rampart Blvd (Summerlin)
25 minutes from Vegas strip
Town Square Las Vegas -  This charming outdoor mall is located on South Las Vegas Blvd, but I wouldn't recommend walking to it.  I preferred Town Square over the Fashion Show Mall.  The reason why I like this shopping area better was because I could park near the stores -- literally right outside some of their doors.  Since I was a Vegas local and had to drive to everything, this was a plus for me. The streets going through Town Square had limited parking right outside most of my favorite stores, so my trips could be quick and painless.  But most times, I just parked in the back of Town Square (near the movie theater) and just took a quick 5 minute walk to several of my favorite stores.  If I just wanted to go to H&M and Express, I parked directly next to H&M (in the back of Town Square). The main stores I shopped at Town Square were:  H&M, Francesca's, Victoria's Secret, Bebe & Express.
Town Square Las Vegas - 6605 Las Vegas Blvd S
10-15 minutes from Vegas Strip

I hope you enjoy your next trip to Sin City and maybe checkout some of my favorite places to shop.

While making this list, I wanted SO badly to dive into my favorite restaurants located in or around these shopping areas, but I'll save that for another blog post.  Stay tuned for Jenny's Best of Vegas/Great Eats Edition!

*The opinions in this blog are my own and I am not paid to endorse any of the above mentioned stores, malls or outlet malls.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sometimes Being One-Sided is a Good Thing

Tonight I had a one-sided conversation.  I don't know about you, but I don't like when someone dominates a conversation.  But tonight was different.

Months ago when this journey started (and several times throughout), I know that sometimes all I needed was a one sided conversation. I distinctly remember calling certain people in my life and just spilling my guts out and the other end of the phone was QUIET.  And you know what?  QUIET is what I needed and it was the most wonderful thing! It meant the world to me just knowing they were there listening to me.

Tonight, I was talking to someone and she was explaining how she asked her son (who is going through chemo for cancer treatment) "How do you feel today?  His response day-after-day was:  "I'm OK Mom," even though she knew he wasn't OK.  So instead, she started asking him "Is today a good day or a bad day?" And just that small change in her question, got him to talk to her.  She felt better knowing she was there for him and could help him and I'm pretty positive he felt better knowing she could be there for him.

It's amazing how wording something differently can steer a conversation.  I don't know how many times over the past ten months people have asked me "How are you doing Jenny?"  In the beginning of this journey all I thought was "How do you think I'm doing?  My husband will never walk again!...Our lives will never be the same!...I just want to go home!...Why did this happen to us?!" But instead I would say "I'm fine."

Sometimes one-sided conversations are necessary to stay sane in this crazy world. Remaining silent and just listening can help someone tremendously.  Maybe you're not physically helping them, but you are helping them mentally and maybe they will get a better night sleep knowing they got a TON of stuff off of their mind.

If you know someone is going through a rough patch in their life, before you ask "How are you doing?" or "How do you feel today?" I want you to stop and think.

because that VERY question could make a world of a difference for them and for you.  I know it did for me.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The stars have aligned (or should I say planets?)

Graduation! It's exciting time in anyone's life and I am lucky enough to have experienced three in my professional life and 32 years on this earth. On December 16, 2013, it was no different -- for five years, I'd dreamed of teaching future nurses and it was finally going to come true.  Little did I know the rocky, curvy road I was about to take to get there...

Ready to Roll
Eighteen months ago, I graduated and I immediately updated my resume, CV, and started my job hunt. I knew the simulation lab was where I liked to be during my clinical rotations. Clinical teaching was fun (and tiring), but I was good at it and it was originally why I chose to pursue my Master's.  In the end  I wanted to teach nursing part-time and still do my other passion -- endoscopy nursing.

I applied for a position that I thought was perfect.  It was a coordinator position in a simulation lab for a baccalaureate nursing program.  A week or so after applying I made a follow-up call to inform them of my recent application and interest in the position.  The gentleman thanked me for the call and the following day I got an email stating the position had been filled.  :(  So I continued my hunt.

A clinical teaching position at a different college had just been posted online.  I applied and a couple of weeks passed.  During that time, my husband came home from work and said:  "I just got orders, we're moving to New Mexico.  We'll be there on May 1st."  I was excited for the new adventure, but then thought "Oh no! What about the job I just applied for?!"  I can't remember, but I'm almost positive it was the next day that I got a call from the school offering me an interview.  I had no choice but to decline the interview.  It just wasn't fair to waste their time.

So....I began the search for teaching jobs in NM.  I remember searching 13 different college and university websites for teaching and online teaching positions.  Unfortunately, I didn't qualify for any of the online teaching jobs.  ALL of them required at minimum two years online teaching experience.   I also had no luck finding an actual teaching job in or near the city we were moving to.  After all I was a new graduate and moving to the middle of nowhere NM!

Knowing that endoscopy has been my niche the past five years -- I applied at the local hospital and started my new position as soon as we got settled in NM. Two weeks into my hospital job, I got a phone call from the director in Nevada (whom I thought blew me off), informing me the Sim Lab position I had applied for, was filled internally and there was a another position he encouraged me to apply for if I was interested.  I kindly declined and said we had just moved out-of-state.

Chugging Along
After about a month in our new home, I met Maggie at the infamous Wine Club.  We immediately hit it off (both east coasters) and were soon spending time together going out to eat and getting pedicures together. :)  Her husband had just graduated from the local university's nursing program.  She invited me to an event at the school so I could network. I dressed to the nines, brought a copy of my resume and was prepared to shine.  The local university's new director of Allied Health informed me she would keep my resume on file and let me know if any positions opened up.  I also met with the associate director of nursing from the sister school an hour away.  It was overall a successful outing and I prayed a part-time teaching job would be on my horizon very soon!

Fast forward six weeks.  I'm sitting for my interview in the office of the director of the sister school in the next city over from where I live. This was my opportunity for me to discuss my new acquired skills and hopefully start a part-time teaching job!  YAY!!
But the fact was -- I was already working eight to ten hours shifts five days a week at the hospital, taking "call" one night a week and working one weekend a month.  How can I teach part-time and still work at the hospital?  I was willing to make it work somehow, anyhow, I just wanted to start teaching.  The director was aware of my hospital job and asked me to speak to the full-time instructor to work out a schedule. The full-time instructor said I'd need to teach at least one day/week, with the occasional weekend and also more hours for the laboratory skills training.  I was heartbroken.  This schedule just wasn't going to jive well with the position I already had.  On August 28th, after a lot of contemplating, I put in my resignation at the hospital and accepted a part-time position at the local surgery center.  This would definitely free up more time for me to teach the remainder of the week! BAM!! I got this!

Crash, Boom!
Literally two days after turning in my resignation letter for my hospital job, my husband got into a terrible accident.  My (our) entire world flipped upside down.  With the help of my in-laws, we packed up necessary clothes and belongings and moved to Texas so my husband could transition to inpatient rehab with the best of the best Texas!  I declined the surgery center position and didn't know what the future held for my career.  I just needed to focus on my husband and the rest would fall into place when it was time, right?

After a month in Texas, I received a call from the Allied Health director and she said a teaching position was open for the spring semester and she encouraged me to apply.  I politely declined yet again and informed her of the recent events in my life.

On the Road Again
In April 2015, we found out we would officially be moving back to NM within the next few months.  I was thrilled -- I can start the job hunt again!  I already knew the area and had done my networking last summer.  I decided to email the Allied Health director to inform her I would be returning to NM and I'd be happy to discuss a teaching position when one was available.  I guess the odds were finally in my favor because she informed me of a teaching position and encouraged me to apply if I was interested.  I informed my husband, this was my chance and I better take it!  We decided we'd do whatever we needed to do to make my dream of teaching come true.

You've Arrived at Your Destination 
I have always been one to want things to happen yesterday, but I've learned I can't live life like that anymore. These past ten months in Texas have been a roller coaster and a complete life altering experience for my husband and I.  But after nineteen months and five failed/near-miss job opportunities, the stars finally aligned (or should I say planets?)!   Today I accepted the position of Assistant Professor in the Allied Health department at the local university in NM. It was a long time coming, but truthfully I know that my experiences over the past ten months have shaped me into a more confident, strong and patient person.
As I mentioned earlier, my original goal was to teach part-time and work in endoscopy part-time, but I've realized that just wasn't in the cards for me after so many failed attempts. Now that I've landed the job I was destined to do, I'm excited and scared just like I was each time I graduated, but I'm ready to tackle it head on.  It's my time to shine and I am going to shine like Jupiter and Venus have done this past couple of weeks! :)

What roadblocks have you had while trying to pursue the job you were destined to do?