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January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

Filed under: Writing — paulayoo @ 12:01 pm
Happy New Year from Oreo, Beethoven & Charlotte!

Happy New Year 2014 from Oreo, Charlotte & Beethoven!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope everyone is having a great 2014 so far! :) 

I’ve been on a much-needed vacation recently. So here’s a fun blog about my holiday adventures before I settle back into the Writing Batcave.

Let’s start with the most important bit of breaking news… I know you’ve been waiting, so without further ado, here are the official 2013 Christmas photo shoot pictures of Oreo, Beethoven and Charlotte. :)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2013 from Oreo!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2013 from Oreo!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2013 from Charlotte!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2013 from Charlotte!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2013 from Beethoven!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2013 from Beethoven!

As for the humans, this was the 14th year in a row that we went to Las Vegas for our annual XMAS IN VEGAS vacation! Las Vegas is ALWAYS decked out to the nines for the holiday season…

I love the decorations in Vegas over the Christmas and holiday season!

I love the decorations in Vegas over the Christmas and holiday season!

And as usual, Vegas was waiting for me with open arms…

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…? :)

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…? :)

(Keep reading after the jump for more fun pictures & stories about our holiday adventures!)

We stayed at The Mirage on The Strip. This was the first casino we ever stayed at on our first trip back in 1999. Here was our view this year:

Our beautiful view from the Mirage.

Our beautiful view from the Mirage.

Of course the minute we checked in, I made a beeline for the nickel poker slots. (You can’t win big if you don’t bet big!) :)

Paula "High Roller" Yoo :) I won 753 pennies this year at the penny slots. :)

Paula “High Roller” Yoo :) I won 753 pennies this year at the penny slots. :)

I also had the special treat of meeting up with dear friend and amazing and critically acclaimed children’s book author/illustrator DON TATE while in Vegas. As an extra New Year’s Day treat, check out Don’s latest blog on writing and taking chances and believing in yourself… http://dontate.com/2013/12/summing-up-the-past-few-years-flying-high/

(To find out more about Don’s books, please visit his website here: http://dontate.com). 

A fun holiday reunion with acclaimed kid lit author/illustrator DON TATE!

A fun holiday reunion with acclaimed kid lit author/illustrator DON TATE!

In the meantime, we also checked out the exciting sights and sounds of Las Vegas…

Window shopping at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas!

Window shopping at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas!

Las Vegas comes alive at night!

Las Vegas comes alive at night!

One of my favorite tourist traps - the Bellagio water fountain "dances."

One of my favorite tourist traps – the Bellagio water fountain “dances.”

One of the highlights included checking out the Liberace exhibit at The Cosmopolitan. They allowed tourists to take photos, but we were NOT allowed to play Liberace’s piano…

Best. Selfie. EVER. Me at Liberace's piano! Imagine if he played the violin! :)

Best. Selfie. EVER. Me at Liberace’s piano! Imagine if he played the violin! :)

However, you can’t blame me for trying… :)

Me trying to play Liberace's piano. I wonder how many diamonds he would have installed in a violin if he played it!

Me trying to play Liberace’s piano. I wonder how many diamonds he would have installed in a violin if he played it!

And of course, the foodie in me had to check out all the amazing gourmet eats in Vegas! Our trick is to check out all the Happy Hours on The Strip because that’s when you can eat some gourmet food for cheap and affordable prices! We also had some fantastic help and tips from two very good friends & fellow foodies who live in Vegas (we have at least one dinner together every Christmastime!). Our favorite happy hours this year included the ones at Comme Ca and Milos (Cosmopolitan), Red Square, Aureole, House of Blues, Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar, RM Seafood (Mandalay Bay)…

Gorgeous fish on display at Milos Greek restaurant at the Cosmopolitan!

Gorgeous fish on display at Milos Greek restaurant at the Cosmopolitan!

We even found a “secret” pizza place hidden inside the Cosmopolitan that few people know about! (Go here to find out where it is! http://www.yelp.com/biz/secret-pizza-las-vegas)

The "secret" pizza place at the Cosmopolitan in Vegas!

The “secret” pizza place at the Cosmopolitan in Vegas!

But we also ate some regular food, too. Including the Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream and 24-ounce pina colada at Excalibur

"If you like pina coladas… and gettin' caught in the rain…" :)

“If you like pina coladas… and gettin’ caught in the rain…” :)

… the Coney Dog at American Coney at THE D in downtown Vegas (I’m a former Detroit News reporter who practically lived on Lafayette Coney Dogs back in the day)…

2013Vegas10C

I love Detroit’s Coney dogs! (I’m a Lafayette gal!)

But every year we chicken out and can’t eat here. It’s too scary! One day! :)

I'm still too scared to try this place. One day! :)

I’m still too scared to try this place. One day! :)

And we always check out the Bellagio’s famous Christmas-themed exhibit. Every year, they always seem to top themselves! What will they come up with next Christmas? :)

We love checking out the Christmas exhibit at the Bellagio every year!

We love checking out the Christmas exhibit at the Bellagio every year!

Of course, after our annual XMAS IN VEGAS vacation ended, it was time to return home and unpack. However, I seemed to have some problems trying to unpack…

Beethoven and Charlotte missed us while we were on vacation!

Beethoven and Charlotte missed us while we were on vacation!

There are three reasons why we had trouble unpacking after our annual Xmas in Vegas vacation: 1. Beethoven. 2. Charlotte. 3. Oreo. :)

There are three reasons why we had trouble unpacking after our annual Xmas in Vegas vacation: 1. Beethoven. 2. Charlotte. 3. Oreo. :)

Although I miss Vegas, I missed my cats even more! Time for a big purr pile! :)

Oreo, Charlotte & Beethoven endure yet another Christmas hug with me… :)

Oreo, Charlotte & Beethoven endure yet another Christmas hug with me… :)

And of course, let’s not forget NEW YEAR’S EVE! Me and the cats got into the spirit of New Year’s Eve with some bubbly…

Oreo is wondering what's in store for us in 2014...

Oreo is wondering what’s in store for us in 2014…

And how are we celebrating New Year’s DAY? Watching the Rose Bowl, of course! I wonder why… (for the record, I married a Spartan, hence the loyalty to “Go Green, Go White!”) GO MICHIGAN STATE! :)

Beethoven is a loyal Spartan! Go Michigan State! (Rose Bowl 2014) :)

Beethoven is a loyal Spartan! Go Michigan State! (Rose Bowl 2014) :)

######

So what’s in store for me in 2014? 

MUSIC: My first gig of 2014 is with the GLENDALE PHILHARMONIC. Our concert takes place at this Sunday January 5th at 4 PM at the 1st Baptist Church in Glendale. Awesome special guests include comedian EMO PHILIPS  narrating St. Saens’ Carnival of the Animals, the world premiere of Sharon Farber’s Cello Concerto featuring Ruslan Biryukov on cello and narration by actor MICHAEL DES BARRES, and Bach’s Concerto for 2 Pianos in c minor. Info here: http://www.glendalephilharmonic.com

MORE WRITING: I’m finishing up some final edits for my fourth book… it’s my third non-fiction children’s picture book biography coming out from LEE & LOW BOOKS. I can’t say much yet about it but STAY TUNED for the big announcement later this year!

My “on spec” writing projects including finishing another middle grade novel and what I hope will be the final draft of an adult-novel-in-progress I’ve been working on for awhile. (I originally started out in adult literary fiction novel writing when I earned my MFA in Creative Writing at Warren Wilson College. Although I love kid lit, I’ve been wanting to return to my roots, so it’s been fun working on this adult novel.) Also doing more TV development stuff and working on another feature spec script.

See? This is what happens when you are between TV writing gigs and book sales. YOU KEEP WRITING. The writing. never. STOPS. :P So it’s going to be another busy year! Although it can be frustrating, this is the roller coaster life of a writer. But trust me, the roller coaster ride is worth it because the ups make up for all the downs. In the end, it’s always about the writing. Period. So 2014 promises to be a very busy, and I hope, rewarding new year. :)

What are your plans for 2014? Any writing resolutions for the New Year? I’d love to hear from you. Stay tuned for more blogs and updates, and don’t forget my annual NAPIBOWRIWEE (National Picture Book Writing Week) takes place this May 1-7, 2014. (More info on that later this spring at http://paulayoo.com/napi)

Until the next blog, you can follow me on Twitter @paulayoo. As always, remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! :) 

Best wishes for 2014!

2 Responses to “Happy New Year 2014!”

  1. I don’t have a whole lot of resolutions, writing or otherwise, but I do plan on joining you for NaPiBoWriWee this year! And, I also plan watching NFNS…you know why! :D

    Happy 2014, Paula! xox

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