Las Vegas – February 2nd

5:45 AM – My alarm went off and I immediately dressed for my morning workout.


6:00 AM – I went to the hotel gym to get in a run on the treadmill and to watch news coverage.

7:15 AM – Post workout, I showered, got dressed, and conducted my first phone conference call of the day. I ate breakfast while on my call.

8:30 AM – I made my way downstairs to the conference for the first of four important meetings.


10:45 AM – I checked out of the hotel and made my way to the Aria Hotel via Uber.

to work eleve

11:15 AM – I checked into the Aria and was thrilled with the beautiful view from our room.

2.4 morning

11:45 AM – After a work call, I went down to Javier’s for a solo lunch. I have been to Javier’s multiple times and I was craving their chile rellenos.


My lunch totally hit the spot and I answered emails in between bites.

fri lunch

12:30 PM – Back in my room, I unpacked while on a conference call, then worked on work emails and documents.

2:00 PM – John arrived at the hotel and got settled in. I took a nap while he worked. Once I was up, we both did a bit more work before readying for dinner.

6:30 PM – We both love walking, so we walked to dinner. We ended up walking all the way to the Wynn to do some window shopping, then made our way to the Palazzo where we had dinner reservations at CUT.

7:30 PM – CUT was crowded, but they sat us on time. Amen. This was our second time at the restaurant and it didn’t disappoint. We started our meal by sharing a salad and noshing on the house-made bread.

C salad

John also had a custom whiskey cocktail made table-side.

C cocktail

We each had a steak for our entree (I had a Wagyu petite filet that was amazing!), and we shared Brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes for sides.

C dinn

We also shared a carrot cake with meringue for dessert.

C dess

Everything was perfect about our dining experience – the food, the ambiance, and the service.

9:30 PM – We walked back to our hotel and enjoyed seeing the Chinese New Year decorations each Hotel displayed along the way.

Crystals dragon

Las Vegas – February 1st

99% of the time, my work trips are planned weeks, if not months, in advance. However, occasionally a last-minute trip pops up that completely turns my work schedule upside down. Unfortunately, or fortunately, that happened recently. Last week a trip to Las Vegas came up with less than ideal notice, but we made it work in a big way. Specifically, John was able to join me for part of the trip so that we could enjoy some 1:1 time. John and I have been to Las Vegas multiple times and it was another serendipitous occasion to spend a weekend there together.

The work part of the trip was a one night stay and called for me to attend a series of six high-level meetings with external and internal constituents during a conference. The next few nights were all about fun. I mean, who doesn’t want to celebrate Super Bowl weekend in Vegas?

6:30 AM – I woke up, got dressed, and made special pancake breakfast for George. Once he was up, I sat with him while he devoured his pancakes and fruit.

7:30 AM – I drove to the gym and got a quick workout in before my travels. I was pretty anxious that morning and a workout was just what I needed. While I was at the gym, John dropped George off at school.

8:45 AM – I showered, finalized my packing, and did a bit of work before leaving the house.

9:45 AM – I left to make the drive to Terminal C at IAH.

10:25 AM – I arrived at Terminal C and easily found parking in the garage. TSA Pre-Check was a less than 2 minute experience. After security, I made a stop to pick up bottled water and a banana from my favorite airport store (Cibo). I also picked up a Subway to eat for lunch on board. I spent the rest of my time before boarding responding to emails while waiting to board my flight.

11:25 AM – We boarded with ease and I was somewhat annoyed to be sitting in the last row of the plane. But, this is what happens when you book a last-minute flight. Oh well, it wasn’t terrible. My seatmates were pretty cool.


12:00 PM – Our departure was on time and unremarkable – which is a feat for a completely full flight. As soon as the flight took off, I ate the lunch I picked up at the airport – a Subway sandwich, chips, and sparkling water – all while watching an episode of RHOBH. Afterwards, I spent the remainder of the flight working on my laptop.

1:13 PM (time change) – We landed and within minutes I was in an Uber and headed to the Red Rock Casino to attend a work conference.

2:00 PM – I arrived at my hotel and immediately checked in. I was upgraded to a larger room and I quickly unpacked and got settled in the room.

2:45 PM – I literally spent the rest of the day in meetings, conference sessions, at receptions, and at a dinner.

8:30 PM – I finally made it back to my room and crashed hard. Lights out.

Hotel Review – Sorrel River Ranch Resort

During our holiday vacation to SE Utah, we stayed at the luxurious Sorrel River Ranch and Spa.


The Sorrel River Ranch is a luxury hotel with 55 guest rooms and suites. This hotel is widely regarded as one of the “best” hotels located in the Moab area and from our experience it lived up to the hype. This was our visit to the hotel, and I hope it won’t be the last.

Location – The hotel is situated on 160 acres of ranch land about 4 hours away from the SLC airport.  However, you can fly into the nearby Canyonlands Airport if the flight schedule works for you.

Customer Service – The service at the hotel is beyond exceptional. This hotel offers high-end hospitality – more than you can imagine, and more than we could take advantage of during our stay.  The hotel gets high-marks from us for communicating with us before our arrival and throughout our stay.  The hotel is incredibly family-friendly and went above and beyond to make sure that George felt welcome. Every time we encountered staff they made sure to acknowledge us by our names. To boot, every restaurant on property has a kid’s menu for every meal service.

Accommodations – We were upgraded to a two-story, two-bedroom family suite with river views during our stay.

sorrel first

Our large first floor room had a very comfortable king bed, an oversized sleeper couch, living area, a dining room, mini fridge, and microwave.

sorrel main 2

The over-sized master bathroom had an over-sized shower and generous bathtub, water closet, and double vanities.

There was also ample closet space for our luggage and carry-on bags.

The second floor featured two queen beds and a nicely appointed bathroom with a large shower.

sorrel up

sorrel up 2

Amenities – The hotel offers far more amenities than we used during our stay. The hotel features many lounging areas, shops for souvenirs and high-end luxury items, both casual and high-end restaurants, a large pool and hot tub, a bar, a fitness center, a spa, stables, a tennis court, guided hikes, and lots, lots more. The hotel also has a really gorgeous main building and lobby.

Sorrel Main

Member Recognition – There is no loyalty program to speak of, but repeat guests are remembered and are apparently treated like royalty.

We really enjoyed this hotel and would love to return to it sometime in the future.


Utah – New Year’s Day

Thanks to a bit of revelry in the nearby cabins, I had a bit of trouble getting to sleep on our last night in Utah. But I slept well and for 8 hours. John and George slept really well and had no issues getting to, or staying, asleep.

I was up at 5:15 AM for my first workout of the year. I ran 3m and did a cool down walk on the treadmill. When I got back to the room my room key wouldn’t work and I was outside for 15 minutes until John got out of the shower and checked my text plea for help. Whomp, Whomp. But at least I got take in this sunrise view.


Once I got in to the room, I showered and finalized my packing. John and George were doing the same things upstairs.

We checked out of the hotel and started our journey to Salt Lake City at 7:00AM. Watching the sun come up over the mesas and mountains was beautiful.

We stopped in Green River to pick up some breakfast items (our hotel kitchen was closed when we left the hotel). We picked up donuts and fruit for G, and John and I picked up a few things from Subway. We ate breakfast in the car as the drive went on.

About 4 hours later, we made our way to Salt Lake City. We returned our rental car, checked our bags, and made our way through TSA Pre-Check.


We boarded without delay and settled in for a quiet journey home.

g bag

Our flight was uneventful and lunch/dinner on board was actually pretty good. We all had salads with chicken.


We made it home safely that night and we were relieved to be blessed with stress-free travels. Most importantly, we were grateful for a restful and rejuvenating family vacation.

Utah – December 31st

We all had another night of great vacation sleep.  In fact, John and George were sleeping when I left for the hotel gym.

I ran 3 miles and did a walk on the treadmill.  I love exercising and this was a great way to start the last day of the year.

After my workout, I picked up some coffee for John in the lobby and went back to the hotel room. I was greeted with this beautiful sunrise view as I approached our room.


John and George were up and I ordered breakfast for them.  John had a yogurt parfait and George had French toast and sausage.

G break

I went with gluten free oatmeal (that I brought from home), and blueberries.


After we were ready for the day, John went to warm up the car (scrape the ice, get the heat going, etc.), and George and I picked up the “to go” lunches we had ordered the night prior.

srr lunch bag

We made the journey to Dead Horse Point State Park and the drive took us about an hour or so.  It’s a beautiful drive, so there was no complaining on our end.

DHSP sign

We drove to the Visitor’s Center, paid for our permit, picked up some souvenirs, and took in the spectacular views from the nearby overlook.

view from vc

It was a very cloudy day and the cold weather made for some disorienting visual conditions.  The icy paths (that weren’t melting due to the lack of sun) made things worse.  Therefore, we decided to skip any attempt at hiking with George that day.  The last thing we wanted to do was to put anyone’s health or safety in jeopardy.

However, we had a solid backup plan.  Or…at least we thought we did.  We went to the dinosaur museum at the entrance of the turn off to Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park …and it was closed in light of the holiday.  Whomp, Whomp. So, we ended up putting gas in the car and heading back to the hotel for lunch.

Without the shining sun, it was a cold and frigid day.  We were happy to be curled up in our hotel room for lunch.  We ate our “to go” lunches in the comfort of our hotel room kitchen.


After lunch, George and I tried to take a nap, but it was a fail.  Housekeeping swung by and woke up George while he was napping.  His nap only lasted 30 minutes and this meant that he was a little out of sorts for the rest of the day.

After our short-lived nap, we went downstairs and spent some time relaxing in our room.  We spent time both inside our room and outside on the porch (watching the river) and at the stables.

g chickens

George had fun visiting all of the animals.

G goat

Later, we all got ready and went to the hotel’s River Grill for a special NYE dinner.


We shared a fennel and sausage pizza for an appetizer, then John had a ribeye steak, George had chicken and fruit, and I had a simple for pasta dish for my entree.

app pizz


After dinner, we went outside to get our last dose of nightly s’mores.

with G

Later, we went back to our room and worked on packing our bags while watching NYE coverage on the news.  Once the boys turned in, I did a bit more packing and spent some time relaxing.  However, I surprised myself and stayed up long enough to celebrate the New Year (NY time!).


Utah – December 30th

United Airlines woke me up with a call early Saturday morning. They were calling to help me (by inquiring about a future trip we have scheduled), so I wasn’t annoyed in the slightest. Seriously – they saved us from a major hassle down the road. Other than the early wake up call, everyone slept well.

We had a stereotypical lazy Saturday. We stayed in our pajamas for most of the morning, watched television, and relaxed. For breakfast, John and George ordered hot entrees from room service and I went with cereal and fruit. I almost instantly regretted my decision. I do not function well when I eat sugary items first thing in the morning (and if I’m really honest, this happens every time I eat sugary things). Live and learn, right?

We cleaned up and drove to Moab to do some exploring. Unfortunately, most stores and businesses were closed because winter is the “low season” for Moab.


But, we made the best of it and managed to pick up a few souvenirs and drink some good coffee and hot chocolate.


We had lunch at the Moab Diner (one of a handful of restaurants open for lunch in the winter), and it was only so-so.

moab diner

They obviously serve “diner” food so I am not sure what I was expecting. The old saying is, “when in doubt, go fried,” but my food was not tasty.

my lunch

I didn’t each much and was okay with it. Good thing I had snacks in the car. Ha Ha! For the record, George was very happy with his food.

g lunch

After lunch, we ran some errands (grocery store run and gas for the car), and made a stop at a “rock shop” because George really, really, really wanted to get a rock. We ended up getting him a geode that they cracked open on site. He was thrilled.


Once we got back to the Ranch, George and I took a long nap while John relaxed.

Once we were up, I did a quick workout in the fitness center. My mind really wanted to relax some more, but I knew my body really needed the workout, so I did it and I was so glad that I did. For motivation and distraction, I brought my iPad and watched an episode of RHONJ. Whatever it takes, right?

We really wanted a “cozy Saturday night in” feel, so we ordered room service for dinner. Well, technically we had a hybrid dinner. I made macaroni and cheese and bagel bites for G and added fruit, and John and I ordered room service.

g din

We shared a salad, John had a burger, and I had pasta. Our food was delicious.

our dinner

After dinner, we made our way to the outdoor fire pit and had s’mores. However, the Ranch spiced things up and provided homemade peppermint marshmallows for our s’mores. Friends, these marshmallows were everything. So, so good.


We also spent some time visiting with fellow Ranch guests around the fire. It was a really great way to end our evening.


Utah – December 29th

With the quiet environment and lack of light at the Ranch, we all slept for almost 10 hours. Woo Hoo!

 I did a quick 3-mile run in the fitness center while the guys relaxed back in the room. We had a lazy morning and for breakfast, everyone ate exactly what they wanted. I opted for gluten free oatmeal and blueberries, and John and George opted for cold pizza and fruit. Hey, it’s vacation for a reason, right?

Once we were ready, we packed up and made the drive (about 45 minutes) to Canyonlands National Park (another spot on our bucket list of “must sees.”).

z sign

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Park and to be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed by the scale, beauty, and serenity of the Park. While Arches National Park is delicately beautiful, Canyonlands has more of a grand and shocking beauty. Well, at least from my perspective.

z visi

Our first stop was at the Visitors Center to pick up a few souvenirs and to use the facilities. Since George was a good boy, we treated him to a treat – he picked out a sweet (stuffed animal) bat that he named “Batty.”


We also looked at the nice overlook across from the Visitor’s Center.

z across from vi

Our next step was the Mesa Arch Trail Head.


It was glorious view, although having G so close to the canyons made me very anxious.

m and g mesa

However, it was so beautiful and worth the 1 mile (round-trip) hike.

mesa j ag

Next up was the Green River Overlook.

river overlook

Yet another exciting opportunity to see the great canyons.


We stopped at the Upheaval Dome site to eat lunch and to do a short hike. For lunch, we packed a Lunchable (!) for G that I picked up in Moab the day prior.


John and I ordered lunches from our hotel the night before and picked them up before we left for the day. Each of our boxes had a sandwich (turkey for John, Italian for me), chips, an apple, a Kind Bar, a brownie, and condiments. These were great lunches and a good option for those on the go. The site offered picnic tables and grills, but we felt that it was too cold to use them. So, we had a car picnic and everyone stayed warm.

boxAfter lunch, we did the 1-mile hike (round-trip) to the first Crater Overlook.

m and g overlook

The views were stunning.

hike overlook

George is a great hiker and climber and really enjoyed the day’s adventures.


The Grand View Overlook was the next stop. Gorgeous views, no?

g overlook

Each stop revealed a new and beautiful perspective of the Park.

Our last official stop was the Shafer Canyon Viewpoint. You can literally see for miles at these stops. Incredible.

vire last

As soon as we began our drive out of the Park, George fell asleep. Look at my angel!

g sleep

We took advantage of George’s sleep schedule and made a detour by our hotel. Specifically, we wanted to drive the Castle Valley sloop (16 Miles) a few miles away from our hotel. It was a beautiful, glorious drive and I might have fallen asleep during part of it. We could actually see part of the “castles” from our hotel and we were eager to see another side of it for perspective. George woke up as we were pulling onto the ranch property so we couldn’t have planned our return better if we tried.

We spent the rest of our late afternoon watching movies in our hotel room.

Later, we had a casual dinner in the bar area of the hotel’s River Grill. Since so many folks were beginning to show up for the NYE holiday, we wanted to try to preserve a nice environment for other diners. Ha! I had a delicious beet salad and a pasta dish.


We skipped the s’mores after dinner, and instead had some leftover brownies (from our lunch) for dessert.

We spent the rest of the night relaxing in the room.