Happy New Year 2017!

In probably the most unexpected detail ever in the history of this blog…I did not take ONE. SINGLE. PICTURE. ALL. NIGHT. 8O

So, we were the surprise guests for this party. Meaning, obviously, no one knew we were coming (except the host and one other friend). We’ve had surprise guests at other Tivo events before and it’s always fun, so when it worked out that we could do it for this party (due to our White House tour) we were excited. And it was cool—we’re so glad to have surprised our old (and new) crazy ax murderer internet friends and spent the evening with them!

This was taken by Jay, who I haven’t seen in real life…

…since 2009.

You know you’re old when you have two glasses of sangria and think it’s got to be getting close to midnight…and it’s not even 9! There was lots of good food and games, and we all managed to make it to midnight (waiting for the ball to drop, below), but the party broke up shortly thereafter. I really knew I was old when I wasn’t drunk heading back to the hotel. :lol:

I slept in until 10 (!) the next morning, and then it was off to brunch with friends before the wave of goodbyes (again, I did not take one single picture).

New Years Eve

In short, what a waste of money. :(

Short story long, my dad and Linda mentioned they were coming down to visit, so my first thought was that we’d be able to go out! I was excited about something as simple as dinner and a movie…but apparently Tom had other visions.

I thought maybe we could do the dinner/movie thing or something like bowling with friends from his work (that we had fun with at the USMC ball), so he passed on the idea of a night out…and they came back with some huge party at a local hotel that would have cost over $500.

Um, no. Sorry.

I told him as much and he was upset about it because he apparently REALLY wanted to do something and since he had been the instigator for the idea, he felt he had to go. I again told him we were not spending $500 on NYE (that’s half a cruise!). He eventually cut out the hotel stay and dinner part of the event, which cut costs considerably—although it was still too much for me. But I gave in.

The tickets did include an open bar, which was a good thing…except we had just done that at the ball in November and I really wasn’t in the mood to do it again so soon, if you catch my drift. I mean, sure, I didn’t HAVE to drink, but with an $89 ticket I certainly would want to get my money’s worth (because I certainly wasn’t paying $89 to dance or for a veggie tray and chicken fingers—the “food” that was included). I also didn’t want to drink enough to require calling a cab to get home.

We pull up to the hotel so Tom could drop me off and see that there is valet parking which we (of course) didn’t need, but come to find out it was MANDATORY valet parking. For $10. I was pissed—no where in ANY of the ticket or event information did they mention mandatory valet parking. What a ripoff. We had both happened to throw some money in our pockets before we left, so we did have the money…but I was tempted to tell them where to put it. >:XX

So, we weren’t even inside yet and I was pissed off. Not a good start to the night. So right inside the door we had to show ID. Then Tom had to show ID to get the tickets. Then we both had to show ID to get the wristbands. I swear it was more security than at the airport. It was annoying, but not terrible.

So the last section was the coat check. I said I didn’t need to check my coat and they told me it was a mandatory coat check. I literally said “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.” Turns out they missed the fact that we were going up to our friends’ room and were going to leave the coat there.

But that was another obstacle—we didn’t have the necessary wrist bands to go upstairs! Only people who were staying the night were allowed upstairs. WHAT? SERIOUSLY? But apparently the front desk wasn’t clued into this, because Tom had just gone over and gotten the room number where we were headed—and they said nothing about needing wrist bands. So the security guy in front of the elevators was giving us shit, then after some back-and-forth with Tom, finally said “Just go on up, I’ll pretend I didn’t see anything.” :roll: Whatever.

So we go upstairs and see signs that there are to be no personal parties in the rooms (which is funny, because the promos for the event made a big deal about how “all the suites overlook the dance floor/party area”—what’s the point if you can’t be up there?) and once in our friends’ room, they told us they were almost frisked for alcohol before being allowed up with their bags because the hotel DID NOT WANT partying in the rooms. It’s not like they would be cheating the hotel out of paying for alcohol, since every single person there had bought a ticket allowing them access to the open bar. Totally asinine.

So at 9 we headed downstairs and the main bar was sooooooooo slow (and it really wasn’t even busy yet) but there was a sign that Red Bull was $5. We were all like “I thought it was an open bar?” Oh, open except for Red Bull (which is of course what I had wanted to drink). At that point, I had had it with the evening and was ready to go home. Seriously. With the crazy stupid security, the mandatory valet parking, the mandatory coat check, the strict room rules, and now the Red Bull cost? >:XX I was seriously tempted to just keep asking for drinks and dumping them out, telling them it would be much cheaper to just give me a damn Red Bull (which, seriously, costs maybe $1.50/can).

Oh, and there was nowhere at all to sit—all the tables were VIP only (meaning you had to buy the space) so we knew we’d be standing the entire evening. Again, something that was never mentioned anywhere in the promos. >:XX So we all headed off into a side room where at least the bar service was a little faster, but the music sucked, so we pretty much just stood around. Then it started getting crowded. Other side rooms had other music, but nothing any better than the first room we were in. By this point the main room was so crowded it was a pain walking through it to get anywhere. The music on the dance floor sucked, too. I don’t think I recognized two songs the entire time we were standing there (probably two hours total of the night). And the clientele was scary—lots of skanky/trashy/whorish looking girls in stripper clothes and shoes. Sad. Of course there were some normal-looking people, but overall I just felt old and out of place and would rather have been at home.

At least I was somewhat looking forward to midnight, because the promos had said they would play the New York Ball Drop at midnight on the “40 LCD TVs AROUND THE ROOM.” Except they didn’t. Hell, they didn’t even start the countdown until about 12:02 (according to our phones). I think it was 12:08 when I told Tom it was time to go.

It took some time to find our friends so we could get a room key to get my coat, and I had been sober since about 11, so I was fine to drive. We were home and in bed by 12:50.

The only good thing is that now Tom owes me big. BIG. And we never need to go out on NYE again.

New Year’s Weekend in Raleigh


I spent New Years in Raleigh again this year, with the same people we spent it with last year. Of course it really stunk not having Tom there—and everyone REALLY missed him—but I did manage to have a good time! Tom was also able to call at his normal times, so he got to talk to probably 10 different people over the course of the weekend!

One of the first highlights of the trip was finally making it to a Trader Joe’s—if you haven’t heard of it, it’s a very cool grocery store. Andrew was kind enough to tag along and give me his recommendations. I was limited to non-perishable items, so I only spent $50, and when I told Tom, he said “ONLY $50?!” I didn’t have time for a return trip, but I do know that when we make the pilgrimage when he returns, we are taking two coolers. So far, I give thumbs up to the Dark Chocolate Edamame, Buttermilk Garlic Mashed Potato Chips, and some sort of spicy/jalapeno Flatbread that went wonderfully with the horseradish cheese dip. Those things didn’t make it out of Raleigh. The Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee gets a major thumbs up and the Asiago Peppercorn bread was okay plain–but much better toasted with a dab of butter and a sprinkle of fresh romano. The sweet potato chips were MEH (I keep thinking I will love them, but they are just okay). On tap (read: not sure if it it will survive until hubby gets home) are Sweet Potato Bisque, Rich Onion Soup, Mint Hot Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Covered Mints, Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels, Piccata Simmering Sauce, and Wasabi & Tamari Almonds. Sorry to blab so much about food, but you KNOW how I am about great grocery stores!!

A second highlight was our “high end dinner” Saturday night at Nana’s—a five course chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings. I knew I wouldn’t be thrilled with the wine, but I wanted to try it. Needless to say I would do the chef’s tasting again in a heartbeat, but would skip the wine completely. The interesting thing was that just reading the menu wasn’t that appealing to me—foie gras, escargot, root vegetables, grouper, cabbage, etc… But OH MY GOD was everything DELICIOUS! Aside from the venison dish, I actually think my favorite was the cold foie gras appetizer! Who would have ever guessed? (If you want to skip right to those photos, click here.)

We had a great dinner at Brasa, a Brazilian Steakhouse that serves you meat on a stick (so very YUMMILICIOUS with just as yummilicious waiters), another fun putt putt outing at Frankie’s (I had two holes in one and still only won by the skin of my teeth!), and a fun girls-only expedition to some, ahem, adult stores for some belated Christmas presents and some Welcome Home gifts. :>

The actual New Years Eve party wasn’t quite as crazy this year, as we only had about 30 people as compared to the 60 last year, but we still had a ball! I managed to stay sober this year, so was able to drive us all home when the party finally broke up about 1am.

Of course, checkout and the goodbye breakfast came too soon—no one ever wants to have to leave! And we’re already all talking about NEXT New Year’s Eve!