My Paleo Experience with Thrive Market

It’s like Christmas morning!

So, I have to admit – I have a new obsession… ThriveMarket.com. At least it’s a healthy obsession, right?!

Image result for thrive market

Thrive Market is an online grocery store where you can purchase organic and non-gmo products 25%-50% off the regular retail price you may find in physical grocery stores. Not only do they carry organic products, but you can shop by values too such as Paleo, Vegan, or Raw. They have pre-packaged snacks, ingredients, health and beauty products, and even pet products. This membership online community has opened up my world!

You can try Thrive Market one month for FREE! You can shop all you want and don’t worry, you will be addicted in no time. Once your free month is up, they will charge you a membership fee. Now the membership fee is about $60 for a whole year. I was unsure if this was the right move for me because it does sound expensive, but once you see how much your saving per week or per order, you notice that you really are saving money. Your membership fee will also feed a low income family which makes me feel even better about my choice.

Image result for thrive market

As many of you know, I am Paleo. Shopping in regular grocery stores is always a struggle because I can never seem to find products that are paleo friendly unless if I make everything from scratch which I don’t have time for. So, when I go to regular grocery stores I usually end up spending my money on things that aren’t as healthy for me. Thrive Market makes it so easy to find paleo friendly pre-packaged foods and helps me stay on track with my diet during my busy work weeks. It has truly been a lifesaver for me.

A few of my favorite paleo Thrive Market buys:

Green Pasture Cod Liver Oil + Butter Oil Blend

Thrive Market Brand Ghee

Simple Mills Cookies (The Chocolate ones are amazing!)

Thrive Market Brand Bone Broth

Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour

Thrive Market Coconut Oil

Not convinced? I don’t want to sound too much like an info-mercial, but I want to share with you how thrilled I am to be talking about this service. Every week to every other week I order ingredients and snacks from Thrive Market. When I shop in physical stores all I need to focus on now is buying fresh ingredients such as meat, fruit, and veggies. It’s made shopping so much easier and the bulk of it gets delivered straight to my door. If you aren’t paleo, no worries. They carry vegan, gluten-free, and raw items to focus on living a healthy life.

Show me your finds at Thrive Market. I find new items every week! Follow me on Instagram to see some of my foodie posts from time to time using ingredients from Thrive Market.

XoXo,

Crystal

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Boho Beautiful Positive Movement Tour Stop – Rochester, NY

For over a year now, I’ve been watching Boho Beautiful’s every move on YouTube. I have envied and admired the couple wishing I could be just like them. They get to live outside of the box, leave the 9-5, do yoga while traveling the world – one YouTube video at a time.

Early Spring, I discovered on their blog that they were looking for people to submit ideas for where to travel within the United States. They wanted to put together a tour that would help benefit local animal shelters in those cities. I decided to send them an email, telling them that Rochester should be one of their stops and to benefit my friends’ animal rescue. Little did I know, 2 months later they’d accept my invitation.

Juliana and Mark of Boho Beautiful conduct yoga classes all over the world and put DIY yoga videos on their blog and YouTube channel. In order to make this 9000 mile trip around the United States, they sell merchandise and get donations via patreon.com. They are currently living out of a van after selling their house and all their belongings to travel. They are free souls – something I wish I could be.Image result for boho beautiful patreon

They told me a date to shoot for on their tour and I was off to find a studio to use for a 2 hour yoga class. After some searching, I came upon Neutral Yoga – a studio that just opened a few months prior. Annie, one of the owners of the studio was such a sweet person to let us use her studio as well as help us promote/sell tickets. Something I would have struggled with by myself otherwise.

Image result for neutral yoga studio rochester n

Fast forward to last weekend – October 14th, Boho Beautiful arrived in Rochester for our event. We knew a rough estimate of about 20 people that had already purchased tickets online. As the event was about to start, we had a line out the door. Some of them were walk-ins who didn’t pre-purchase a ticket, which we were more than happy to let them in. We moved yoga mats around in the room to fit more people and before we knew it, we were maxed out at 38 people. We couldn’t have fit another living soul in that room even if we tried. It was so exciting to see the number of people who came out to help support Janine and to meet the Boho Beautiful duo.

 

Juliana took us through a nice vinyasa yoga flow for about an hour and a half. We then had a meet and greet with both her and Mark at the end. From the ticket sales and in person monetary donations, we raised $600 for Janine the Bean Rescue! It was certainly a successful event and we raised more than I thought was possible.

 

 

Juliana and Mark are beautiful, selfless people. We are so lucky to have been graced with their presence. They helped the rescue in a huge way, bigger than we thought was possible. I do hope we can meet again one day.

Love & Light,

Crystal

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Farm Market Hoppin’

No matter what time of year it is, a trip to a Farmer’s Market can always be a great date idea. Whether your going just for fun or to grab some ingredients for something you two want to make, it is a nice way to spend time together. In this post, I wanted to include some Farmer’s Markets worth stopping at across the United States with a focus on western Upstate New York. I’m sure you have one you’d like to add, so feel free to post in the comments section below!

 

Schutt’s Apple Mill – Webster, NY:

Photo credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4jq0ad9LnKE/UIw1cMw1laI/AAAAAAAAAUc/HjyzU5gOevA/s1600/download8.jpg

Schutt’s Apple Mill is the best place for (you guessed it!)…apples! Every kind of apple you could possibly imagine is sold here year round. You can pick and choose your own in the many barrels on display OR buy them by the bushel. They also sell fresh pressed apple cider AND hard cider. Not only is it full of apples, but it is a very large gift shop, too. Handmade and specialty gifts, spices and teas, jams and honey, everything you can think of.

Bauman’s Farm Market – Webster, NY:

Photo credit: http://aicontent.agentinsight.net/f/content/254/7016bf4bc71d4c1f92d7f1ede18162eb/600×450.jpg

On our first trip to Bauman’s, we were expecting a typical run of the mill family owned farm market. We were surprised to find a fun place that actually kept us occupied for a while. Not only looking at all the different produce and products they sell, but we went during the fall season to find their homemade haunted house! It was small, but it was a nice and creative touch to give their customers something else to do while they are shopping.

Aman’s Farm & Market – Irondequoit, NY:

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/965WCMF/

Aman’s doesn’t just sell flowers and produce, they sell beer! Yes, over 100 different kinds of beer in fact. This place can be your one stop shop on the weekends.

Wickham Farms – Penfield, NY:

Every year Wickham Farms has a “Sunflower Festival” where you can stroll through 1000’s of sunflowers. From Red Velvet Sunflowers to the REALLY BIG ones, they have them all. This farm market also has a café and ice cream shop, kid activities, petting zoos, and so much more throughout the year. You can easily spend a few hours here if you really want to.

City of Rochester Public Market – Rochester, NY:

Photo credit: http://www.cityofrochester.gov/

The Rochester Public Market is of course the go-to place in downtown. You can try different foods from all ethnicities and purchase produce from all the local farmers in the nearby area. They have special events each month and many food truck rodeos (my favorite!).

Nashville Farmers Market at Bicentennial Park – Nashville, TN:

When we lived in Nashville, I just loved coming here for lunch and to stroll around the park. Inside the market, there are many restaurants you can grab a bite to eat and there is also a food truck or two sitting outside for visitors (I miss the Grilled Cheeserie!). My favorite part of this farmers market was the garden center where you could make your own terrariums. I loved looking at all the different plants and ideas for my own future garden. Read more on my previous post: http://www.datesinthestates.com/2016/12/11/nashville-tn-parthenon/

Midtown Global Market – Minneapolis, MN:

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In the last place of Minneapolis you’d expect a farmers market, there is the Midtown Global Market. The building also has offices and other businesses in it, but the lower level is full of different vendors. The vendors sell many different ethnic foods and crafts, even clothing. When I lived in Minneapolis, this was a popular weekend stop for me.

Maplewood Produce & Greenhouse – Shippensburg, PA:

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In this area of Pennsylvania, you will find many different Amish and Mennonite farm markets. This one in particular is one of my favorites. Their prices were great and it was a large store with amazing homemade fudge, pies, bread, and produce.

Comment below and let us know of your favorite Farm Markets in your area! We may just stop by! 🙂

Peace & Love.

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Blink & You’ll Miss It – King Kong, Natural Bridge, VA

Photo credit: https://i.pinimg.com/736x/0e/49/f3/0e49f3347e25b802cdc90863df95c990–natural-bridge-king-kong.jpg

King Kong Statue in Natural Bridge, VA

Have you ever been so bored driving down an interstate that you randomly want to drive onto a back road and explore? Maybe you know what you are looking for and maybe you are just wanting to take a scenic detour. Well, on this one, 10 hour drive to Knoxville – sitting in the car that long felt like torture and we decided it’d be a good idea to stop and stretch our legs for a minute. For some reason, we decided to try and find King Kong. No, not the real thing – his statue that I had seen on RoadTrippers.com. If you haven’t downloaded the RoadTrippers.com app, you must! It’s perfect for long road trips so you can see what is around your area (no matter where you are in the US) and find something worth seeing. They even have restaurant and hotel suggestions all at a touch of a button. Type in your destination, turn on your location, and the app will generate a tons of attractions along your route so you don’t have to venture far.

We were approaching Natural Bridge, VA on I-80 and decided to veer off onto exit 180. The statue was supposed to be at the Pink Cadillac diner, but some odd years ago ( in 2012) it was moved and is now residing behind a fence at Enchanted Studios with the man who created it. The purpose of this statue wasn’t for tourists, but as an act of protest. The statue was to promote the local zoning protest that was going on at the time.

Humpty Dumpty used to apparently stand with King Kong at the diner. They were removed at the same time, but Humpty Dumpty is no longer able to be found. It’s a sad story, really. King Kong towered over buildings to protect his town and now is hidden behind a fence crumbling away.

Have fun on your scavenger hunt date!

xoxo Crystal & Shane

 

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Rochester Lilac Fest 2017

The first few beautiful weeks of Spring always smell so nice. Pause for a moment and take a deep breath. What do you smell? Grass clippings, budding trees, blooming flowers…

One of my favorite smells of Spring are Lilac’s. At Rochester’s Lilac Festival, you can walk the paths smelling the Lilac’s fragrant smells. At the end of the paths you reach a smorgasbord of food trucks and vendor stands. Grab a carnitas taco or a sushi garbage plate while you watch the band of the night play over the noises of the roaring crowd.

Photo found on: http://keywordsuggest.org/gallery/830729.html

 

Photo credit: https://www.rochesterevents.com/lilac-festival/current-lineup/

Lilac Festival is one of the largest free festivals in North America. You won’t find another one like it in our country. Many of the festivals’ Lilacs reside in Highland Park, a park that has about 150 aces of rolling hills and botanical delights. The first lilacs planted here date back to about 1890 when several thousand shrubs were planted. 8 years later, a random festival broke out and around 3,000 people traveled to Highland Park to see these magnificent flowers. Today, the Rochester Lilac Festival draws in about 500,000 people annually to this ten-day FREE event.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the beauty and smells of Spring.

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Blink & You’ll Miss it: Cadillac Ranch

Just off Texas’ Route 66, in the middle of a dirt field, lies a Cadillac graveyard. If you blink while your driving past, there’s a good chance you might just miss it. This isn’t just any graveyard or car junkyard, this is Cadillac Ranch. It’s open to the public, with fresh spray paint cans lying on the ground just waiting for you to indulge your artistic (wanna be graffiti artist) senses. Yes, you can draw on the cars whatever you desire and as much as you’d like.

Cadillac Ranch began in 1974 showing the evolution of the car line from about 1949-1963. These cars were probably just Junker cars that someone wanted to make into art back in the day. Facing nose down, deep in the dirt, the Cadillac’s are shown in a way that is similar to the angles of the Great Pyramid of Giza.  They were moved around back in the 90’s to be closer to the expressway and away from the growing city. In fact, they are still located on private land, but visitors are encouraged to trespass and paint.

The cars have layers upon layers of paint showing the history of all those who have visited. We had such a great time stopping at this unique roadside attraction. It was such a joy to come together with others and spray paint private property 😉

Driving down Route 66 or through Texas anytime soon? Cadillac Ranch is a must see! There’s no where else like it. Pack your bags, bring some paint, grab your date, and have fun!

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A Romantic Night in a Hotel – But Not in the Room

When you picture a romantic night in a hotel, it’s easy to immediately picture it to be in your hotel room. But what if the romance could still be in the hotel, but outside of your hotel room? Hotels such as Aloft in Minneapolis or Four Points Sheraton in Brentwood-Nashville has a bar, live music, or even a bon fire outside for you to enjoy and more. All of this without leaving your hotel room. Why don’t you make a date out of it?

LOVE THIS PLACE! -So much to do here

When your traveling, you may get to your destination and just want to crash on the bed in your hotel room and watch TV. It is so easy to get into that slum and not even notice it’s happening. Why be that boring couple when many hotels offer activities right in their own lobby?

Abandoned Hotel Lobby on Route 66

At Aloft Minneapolis, you don’t even need to leave your hotel to have a romantic night in. Not only were their rooms unique and slightly luxurious, their common areas were intimate and romantic. Grab a drink at the bar and sit in a quiet corner of the room on a comfy sofa, or sit by the fire pit outside. You can act like a couple again instead of feeling like strangers after a long car ride.

Photo credit: http://i.rentalo.com/images/Minneapolis-Hotels-p2_375052_8964064l.jpg

 

Drinking by the fire pit

Four Points Sheraton in Brentwood-Nashville has a great lounge area that offers live music at night. Upon our arrival, we were eligible for a free drink. So after freshening up we went to the lounge area, grabbed a drink at their lovely bar, and listened to a great cover band for the remainder of our night.

Photo credit: http://www.fourpointsbrentwood.com/restaurant-in-brentwood-tn

My favorite romantic hotel to stay for an overnight is Evins Mill outside of Nashville. Arriving there, you aren’t expected to do much. No one will judge you if you just go relax in your room or sit on your balcony listening to the tree frogs. YES, I said balcony! The place is so beautiful and serene, you can’t not relax. See my previous blog post here.

With these examples, what I’m trying to say is…

It is possible to have a date night without leaving your hotel when your on the road. Grab a drink from the bar, order in Chinese, and play a game in the lounge area. Star gaze on that balcony or go watch a band play at the bar. Wear your pajamas for all we care!

Opryland – Tour the botanical gardens inside!

Enjoy your date night 😊

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A Hidden Beauty in Oregon – Thor’s Well & Oneonta Gorge

In my opinion, our drive through Oregon was the most beautiful drive during our entire trip across the United States. I never thought Oregon would be so drop dead gorgeous. From the coast and sand dunes, to the deep forests – Oregon will leave you speechless. The Cape Perpetua area was our favorite, shown in the photo below. Here you will find a lot of roadside attractions, one being Thor’s Well.

Oregon’s Coast

Thor’s well is about 600′ deep and is able to be seen at it’s best during high tide. Unfortunately, we arrived there during low tide, but it was just as impressive to us! The well releases water which is then pumped into the air via the power of the ocean and waves. It was fascinating watching the water pump in and out.

High Tide

vs. Low Tide

One place in particular was so beautiful I didn’t want to leave and we wouldn’t have known about it if it wasn’t for Pinterest. Have you ever seen a place on Pinterest and thought to yourself, I’m going there someday? I have my own personal bucket list board that I add to just about every day! The places I visit, I put into an accomplished board. See my Pinterest here.

Oneonta Gorge is filled with beautiful hiking paths, waterfalls, and a treacherous gorge that if you are daring enough and well equipped, may hike through to get to the bottom of the mountain. It is similar to that of The Narrows in Zion, see our recent post here. Oneonta gorge in particular has water that can come up to your neck depending on the time of year. We chose to hike the 2.5 mi trail to go behind the waterfall and also to the overlook to see miles and miles of Oregon terrain. On this 2.5 mi loop, it starts at Horsetail Falls and takes you up to Ponytail Falls (the waterfall that you can walk behind). After you reach that waterfall, you will begin a steep climb to get to the overlook and then back down again to Horsetail Falls. Have a picnic with your loved one at the overlook, it is the perfect spot! It was certainly worth the hike.

Ponytail Falls

 

The Overlook

 

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The 5 Best Tips for Traveling as a Couple ❤

Travel can be an amazing adventure together. Most people say it may, “make or break the relationship.” In most cases such as ours, I can honestly say it made our relationship better. And I hope it can do the same for you. We’ve always had our issues and at the time I thought our relationship was going down the drain before our big road trip in 2015. But in the end, we came out better and stronger and developed a bond I’ve never had with anyone – And I am so thankful for that. Traveling as a unit has it’s own struggles. Hopefully our top 5 tips can help you and your lover have an amazing vacation.

1.) Don’t count on your expectations:

The first mistake you can make before going on a trip is by having high expectations. It’s easy to do, trust me. The problem with this, especially when traveling as a couple, is that both of you may have different expectations and it will be disappointing if none or only a few actually do come true. Nothing is perfect. A good way to prevent it is by discussing how each of you picture your trip before it actually begins. Sit down and have an open line of communication and make sure to tell each other everything that you think will happen on the trip no matter how silly or out of reach it may be. Discuss the smells, tastes, sounds, and sight. Honestly, it will work because each of you will know what the other is thinking. Then when you get there, you may be able to tell each other, “I told you so!” If that doesn’t happen, at least you can laugh about it and make the best of the reality of your trip!

2.) Discuss budgets:

One of the most common issues while traveling as a couple is budget. One of you may have a budget constraint or preference more than the other. All you have to do is make the other person aware of what you are willing and not willing to spend. Money should not get in the way of enjoying your trip. There are so many activities we found on our road trips that were little to no money and we enjoyed every second of it. If you think it will be a major issue – plan what to do, where to stay, and where to eat ahead of time so both of you are prepared and have somewhat of an itinerary to follow. This itinerary will be something you have both agreed with, so you can eliminate any guilt or questions you may have when you want to go to that semi-expensive restaurant or splurge on paddle boarding tours. Planning like this will relieve a lot of stress that being on the road can cause. It will also take the guess work out of what each of you are expecting on the trip.

3.) Don’t get hangry (Hungry + Angry): 

Don’t lie, we’ve all been there. It is one of the biggest causes of fights for couples while they are on the road. At least, I know it is for us. When we’re hungry or deprived of food, we may get tired and grouchy. That tired and grouchiness makes us take it out on each other, the person closest to you at that moment. With not being able to have much alone time, being stuck in a car or plane for hours, that tiredness and grouchiness can be amplified. So, take it from us and EAT! Set a time throughout the day for each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) that both of you can agree upon and follow. I know it’s hard to stick to a designated time while on vacation, but you will be thankful you did.

4.) Compromise:

You probably already know compromise is a big part of any relationship. It’s no different from home when you are on the road. Both of you may want to do a tour and the times overlap, you may want to eat at different restaurants, maybe you want to relax and he is anxious to go exploring – the most important thing in this whole article is COMPROMISE. Although open communication is key – if you are able to communicate, then you will certainly be able to compromise. Talk about your perspective on the situation while seeing your partner’s point of view and listen. Don’t hide your feelings, but be honest. Come up with a plan, if he wants to eat somewhere that night, tell him you both can and that he must be willing to eat at the restaurant you want the next night and vice versa. It won’t be simple, but if they care to make you happy, it will work!

5.) Learn to Share:

Growing up as an only child, I have to admit – I don’t share easily. I know that may be a terrible thing to say, but it’s true! I like to think I can share, but in reality it drives me nuts. I like having my own space, packing in my own suitcase, and doing whatever I want. Not only being a couple, but traveling as a couple breaks each and every one of those wants I just mentioned. -And that’s ok! If you love them enough, you will learn how to share- quickly! I think traveling together has made me a more sensible packer. It’s a wonderful way to learn how to collaborate with one another as well as a great bonding activity. Packing together means you have nothing to hide, your open and honest with one another.

You not only share packing space, you also need to learn how to share your time. Share time with your partner and yourself. Even though you are traveling together, that DOES NOT mean you need to spend every waking moment with them – you are aloud to have alone time. Go for a stroll and explore, take a yoga class on the beach, do whatever your heart pleases and don’t feel guilty. Alone time is very beneficial for any relationship, at home or on the road.

I hope you liked our top 5 tips for traveling as a couple. It won’t be easy, but it will totally be worth it. Enjoy making beautiful memories together ♡

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Our Favorite Las Vegas Resorts

Photo credit: http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/us/nv/las-vegas/daily-escape/las-vegas-skyline

Finding a place to stay in Las Vegas can be overwhelming with all the different choices downtown has to offer. You can choose to stay in an overpriced high rise suite, or you can choose like we did and stay in one of the cheaper hotels in the area within walking distance of the strip. Choosing a hotel to stay in was like hoping for the best. You want to stay cheaper, but you don’t want it to be sleazy or sketchy which is very common in this city! We wanted a hotel that also had things do inside such as bars, shoppes, and nightly shows. If we had known prior to going that most of the casinos had free parking, we wouldn’t have worried so much to stay within walking distance. No matter what your price range may be though, here are some hotels worth looking into.

As I mentioned, we wanted to stay somewhere near the strip, in a hotel with nightly shows, and still pay a cheaper price than most other places. This is how we came upon Circus Circus.

Circus Circus

This place may have some cons, but it was great for our budget. We stayed in one of the cheaper rooms which was actually across the street opposite from the resort itself. The rooms were clean for the most part, but the hallways smelled like old smoke. The pool was outside and VERY small. We didn’t even bother to take advantage of it because it was always so packed, and plus we had plenty of other activities we wanted to do instead. Aside from that, we loved the casino and restaurant bars, such as Vince Neil’s, inside the resort as well as their nightly shows and arcade room.

The nightly shows consisted of fun acrobats and magicians and did I mention these shows were free?! The walk from the hotel to the main area of the strip wasn’t so bad. Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes. On your way to the main strip, stop into the mall and take a ride in a gondola on their indoor river.

Circus shows and entertainment

The Flamingo is a beautiful resort, unlike any I’ve ever seen before. I loved the ambiance, cleanliness, and of course the birds! They actually have an indoor wildlife habitat filled with different species of birds (such as Flamingos of course) and fish. They have outdoor restaurants in the middle of the resort for you to enjoy the wildlife and tranquility. Carlos ‘N Charlie’s has great Mexican dishes! This area is also a popular spot for weddings and you can often see the wedding party from sitting at this restaurants’ outdoor seating area. Aside from that, they have an amazing water park for you to enjoy!

Excalibur is the hotel in Vegas that looks like a castle. The architecture of the building is beautiful and so ornate it’s hard to drive by and NOT see it. I stayed here when I was younger and I had a blast. Obviously I couldn’t experience the casino and bar aspect of it all, but I can tell you the arcade, shows, and the room itself was awesome. Even as an adult, you can spend hours in their underground arcade area. Most of their shows are Renaissance era themed to match the castle vibe.

Photo credit: By Stebera https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g45963-d534102-Reviews-Casino_at_Excalibur-Las_Vegas_Nevada.html

Other hotels in the area worth mentioning:

Caesars Palace is a very popular, upper class hotel that we found was just fun to go in and enjoy it’s casino roman themed ambiance. You may recognize the outside from many movies and photos of Las Vegas with it’s beautiful statues and fountains.

Front of Caesars Palace

Luxor is the pyramid shaped casino and resort, if you love Egyptian history like I do, this is certainly a place you should visit. The Mirage has a beautiful dolphin exhibit inside and it’s volcano outside erupts nightly which is definitely a must see! Last but not least, Treasure Island has always been one of my favorites up until late. I always loved seeing their pirate shows outside the resort, but this past time when we went, we heard they stopped doing the shows.

Photo credit: http://www.cheapovegas.com/mirage-volcano

We hope you enjoy your visit to Las Vegas. Comment below with what hotel you choose and let us know why we should stay there next time! Thank you for reading.

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