A Vegas Kind of Christmas

A Vegas Christmas
Who goes to Vegas at Christmas? Me for one! I have family in Chicago and Las Vegas, so I split the holiday between the two cities. My Chicago Christmas was celebrated a couple weeks earlier. I spent Christmas in Vegas!

So what do people do for Christmas in Las Vegas? Believe it or not, most people do have traditional celebrations. My family had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner, and then exchanged gifts. Christmas morning was celebrated with the kiddos opening gifts from Santa.

That’s pretty much what most people do right? Well, here’s what I’m guessing most don’t!

Several years ago, bowling somehow made it into a Christmas Day activity for our Las Vegas family! It seems to have stuck, so I guess we can now call it a tradition. None of us are very good at it, but we always have a lot of fun!

I guess a lot of other people have made this part of their Vegas Christmas too.  There was a pretty big line to get a lane and shoes!

Vegas Christmas Bowling

Hey look! They decorated!

They even had Cosmic Bowling! It was quite festive!

cosmic bowling Vegas Christmas

Cosmic Bowling!

If bowling’s not your thing, there’s always ice skating! I know, you’re thinking in Vegas? Yes, actually there are several places to choose from! I like The Ice Rink at The Cosmopolitan. They transform their Boulevard Pool into an ice rink that overlooks the Vegas Strip! They also have fire pits to sit around where you can enjoy holiday cocktails.

Ice Skating at The Cosmopolitan Vegas Christmas

Ice Skating at The Cosmopolitan















A new addition to Vegas is The High Roller, a 550 foot tall Ferris wheel. This is fun for kids and adults. If you are going with adults only, I recommend the happy hour ride!

Las Vegas Ferris Wheel

High Roller Ferris Wheel Pod

The views are spectacular!

High Roller view of the strip in Vegas

View of Vegas from The High Roller

And, if that’s not enough for your Vegas Christmas, you can always head down to Freemont Street to go sledding! Yep! That’s right… Sledding! There is a snow hill! The snow is trucked in daily… And, that my friends is what a Vegas Christmas looks like!

Flying Standby

Flying standby challenges!

Have you ever flown standby? I have once, but only because my original flight was cancelled. It was my only choice, and not something I ever thought I would choose to do! Yet, one year later, I was choosing just that!

The plan was to catch a flight from Santa Barbara to Chicago… Sounded easy enough. I’ve done it many times before, except I had an actual ticket in hand.

The alarm went off at 3:15am… I started my day with 3 hours of sleep! Woo Hoo! Off to a great start!  After making sure I had everything, I headed outside to find my taxi waiting… Yes! The reservation I called in the night before actually worked. I was feeling good now!

I arrived 45 minutes before boarding time. Normally, I wouldn’t cut it that close, but Santa Barbara has a pretty small airport. When I got up to security, nobody was there! I was pretty surprised to find TSA hadn’t even opened yet. Apparently, the magic time for that is 4:45am!

Once, I made it through security, I headed to my gate. I was pleased to see, I was the only one on the flying standby list. I was feeling pretty confident that I was going to make it onto the plane…  And, that’s when I heard they were waiting for fifteen passengers. TSA was moving slowly! Really? Perhaps they should have come earlier! I was there before TSA even opened! Arggg!

All of a sudden there was a group of people running frantically towards the gate. I started counting… Damn! All fifteen had made it. I was not getting on this flight! My next attempt was several hours away, so I went in search of caffeine and something to occupy my time.


waiting flying standby

Flying Standby Supplies














My next attempt was four hours later. I was more than ready to start traveling. Unfortunately, that next flight was jam packed… No room for me! The customer service agent told me the 2:00pm flight was wide open, however I would most likely end of stuck in LA! Wow! I could have got in my car, and done that myself on any of the freeways there!

Finally, she found room on a flight that had been delayed earlier. It was heading to San Francisco. I would be flying right into the storm known as the “Pineapple Express“! How exciting! Since that was my only chance of getting to Chicago, I said, “YES PLEASE”, and boarded the plane.

Once in the air, the pilot announced we would be flying through moderate turbulence due to the storm… Lovely! Luckily, I was exhausted and fell quickly to sleep. Most of the ride was smooth, and then it hit. Did he say moderate turbulence? I felt like I was at Disneyland up in the sky! And, there was what sounded like rocks pelting the plane. What was it? Rain? Hail? Oh God, maybe we were being attacked by aliens!

After getting a grip, I realized we were flying through the Pineapple Express storm!

Window Seat on plane

My view flying through the Pineapple Express!

Thankful to finally be on the ground in San Francisco, I ran to the next gate hoping to make my connection to Chicago. That went much smoother. There was plenty of room on the plane, and flying standby was not an issue!

Flying into Chicago

Arriving in Chicago!











I arrived five hours later than I originally thought I would. Considering all the delays, that wasn’t too bad. So, would I fly standby again? Sure! I’m ready for the next adventure! I could, however, do without the turbulence and storms!

1st Santa Barbara Art Show

1st Art Show on the Beach

The past couple weeks have been insanely busy getting ready for my first art show on the beach in Santa Barbara. I had to figure out what kind of display I wanted to use, and then build it.  Next, I had to cut and sand wood for the photos to be mounted onto.  And, last but not least I had to print the photos and mount them.  This took much more time than I anticipated!  I was still mounting photos at 11:30 pm the night before the show! I finally managed to crawl into bed after midnight.

After lightly caffeinating myself Sunday morning, I headed down to the beach in search of a spot to set up. Show set up starts at 6:00 am… Yes, that’s right, 6:00 in the morning!

I was greeted with a beautiful sunrise as I set up… What a great way to start a day!

Sunrise at the Santa Barbara Art Show

Sunrise at the Art Show


Julie Plevak art Santa Barbara Beach show

All set up and ready to go!

Santa Barbara Art Show on the beach

My first sale! Thanks Matt!

My first show went well! If you are in the Santa Barbara area, be sure to stop by the Arts Show on the Beach! I will be there on most Sunday’s!

Santa Barbara Art Show

Santa Barbara Art Show on the Beach

I just was had my art screening and was accepted! I am happy to announce that I will be joining the Santa Barbara Art Show on the beach. It is every Sunday from 10am until dusk. It’s located from Cabrillo Boulevard, East of Stearns Wharf to Calle Cesar Chavez. Make sure to stop by and see me! I will be posting some sneak peaks of art every week, so check back and see what’s new!
My start date is November 23, 2014! See you then!

Art Screening in Santa Barbara

Art being screened.

Photos waiting to be screened for art show

Waiting for photos to be screened.

Waterfront Town – Morro Bay, CA

Charming Waterfront Town – Morro Bay, CA

We arrived in Morro Bay late afternoon.  After settling into our hotel, we headed down to the waterfront to check out the town.  Morro Bay’s most famous landmark, Morro Rock, welcomes you upon arrival.  It sits between the harbor and the beach, and belongs to a series of ancient volcanic plugs called the Nine Sisters.  They are situated between the cities of Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo.

traveling in Morro Bay, Morro Rock, California Travel

Morro Rock – One of the Nine Sisters

After seeing all the boats out on the bay, we decided we needed to be on one!  We had heard about a Tiki Boat Booze Cruise and went searching for it.

Tiki boat cruise on Morro Bay, Travel in California

We found it!

If you have a chance to ride on the tiki boat, do it! The price can’t be beat, plus it’s a great way to see the Bay, learn some local history, and of course be entertained. This boat has a bar on board, and the Captain mixes your drinks. I recommend the Leaky Tiki! Yum! Once you have your drink in hand, your tour begins with the Captain playing the theme song from Gilligan’s Island! I’m not kidding… I did say it was entertaining!

Travel in Morro Bay Harbor, California

Touring Morro Bay Harbor

After our cruise we were ready for dinner. The Embarcadero is lined with shops and restaurants, so we asked the captain for a recommendation. We were looking for good food, drinks, and more entertainment. The Captain recommended the Otter Rock Café. It did not disappoint! The food and drinks were great, and the entertainment fantastic! We were lucky enough to catch the Phil Friendly Trio. They are a rockabilly band from Los Angeles that frequently plays in the area. Check them out the next time they’re in Morro Bay… Just make sure you have on your dancing shoes!

Solitary Angel – New Lensbaby Art

Lensbaby Art – Solitary Angel

This is the latest addition to an ongoing lensbaby art and photography project I have been working on.  It was shot while traveling in New Orleans. I used my lensbaby, brought it into photoshop and played a bit!  It will be available for purchase in the Gallery Store soon!

art in new orleans, lensbaby project, Julie Plevak, Artist, Lensbaby Art

Lensbaby Art – Solitary Angel

Gallery Store Is Up!

The Gallery Store – It’s Up and Running! I

I finally have the Gallery Store up and running!  There several different galleries.  Be sure to check them all out!  All images are available in a couple different finishes.  The metal prints have the image directly infused into the aluminum, and have a float mount hanger attached to the back.  The Metallic prints are unframed with a glossy finish, and metallic appearance.  
Come on in!
  There are many images to choose from!  Come back often, I am always adding more!

Gallery Store, Panoramic Photographs, Surfers, Julie Plevak

Available in the Panoramic Gallery

Image Gallery, Store Gallery, Prints for Purchase, Julie Plevak

Available in the Image Gallery

Mandala Art, Mandala Gallery, Gallery Store, Julie Plevak

Available in the Mandala Gallery

Mixed Media Art

Mixed Media Art – A Fusion of Elements

This is a new project I’m working on.  It’s a fusion of photographs, organic elements & discarded scrap.  I’m planning on working with metal, stone, and glass.  The project is a collaboration with Christine Wetzel, a San Francisco Artist/Photographer.  She is creating photographs, incorporating what some might consider trash.  We will be hosting an Art Show in the Bay Area upon completion, and are currently seeking out a space.

Mixed Media Art

Mixed Media Buddha

















Mixed Media Art

Buddha Mixed Media


Mixed Media Art

Buddha Mantra Mixed Media


Lensbaby – Industrial Pieces

 Lensbaby Composer –  Double Glass Optic With Macro Converter

I brought out the Lensbaby Composer today, and am using the double glass optic combined with the macro converter…  I’ve been collecting some industrial “stuff” to use for art pieces.   This is one of my scrap finds… Not sure what I’m doing with it yet!  I’m hoping to use it in a mixed media art piece of some sort.  I just recently added the Lensbaby macro converter to my collection, and thought I’d see what kind of look it would give to this piece.  I’m actually pretty pleased with how it turned out.  I like the metal, rust, and texture of it.

Lensbaby Composer Double Optic Macro Converter

Industrial Piece & The Lensbaby

Lensbaby Macro Converter – Texture

Texture and the Macro Converter for Lensbaby

The Macro Converter for the Lensbaby was my choice again for week three of this project.  I was working with different textures, and the macro converter was the perfect choice here. This is a screen that is above my shower.  Normally, when the water and soap hit it, my first thought is not to grab my camera!  When I saw texture of the bubbles on the screen, I grabbed the Lensbaby!  I love the strange movement in it.   It’s almost as if it’s growing some weird alien matter.

Macro Converter for the Lensbaby

Lensbaby Macro Converter and Texture