A Magical Night at the Shangri-La
On Saturday, bright and early, I set off to do two photos shoots downtown. Justin and Eli would stay at our apartment until after nap-time. It was the day of our school’s annual gala, but Saturday is my busiest day for photos so I had a lot to juggle. I had to pack three different bags the day before, making sure that I had everything I needed, we needed, and Eli needed.
The Shangri-La Hotel was offering a special room rate to those attending the gala, and since we haven’t been on a date in a while, we couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I don’t think we have EVER booked into a really nice hotel. We go on so many trips that when we are “at home” we never spend money on luxurious stay-cations because we are generally thinking about our next adventure already. Nevertheless, the special room rate was too tempting to turn down so we decided to splash out and GET A ROOM! The thought of getting ready for the gala at the hotel seemed simply amazing. Not only that, but taking an elevator to our room (instead of a taxi home) sounded even better!
Eli had already slept at the Chen Family once before, so we knew he would be happy there. Justin dropped him off after his nap, and then made his way downtown to meet me. My second shoot had taken place about a block away from the Shangri-La, so I walked over once I was done shooting.
A Crazy Morning
I woke up feeling rather “blah” that morning. I didn’t really want to face a jam-packed day, but I also didn’t want to let my clients down. Eli woke up at 4:45am, and came to sing songs to me. I tried to convince him to go play so that I could fall back asleep for an hour or two. Let me tell you something about me… the older I get, the more of a mess I am when I don’t get enough sleep. An absolute mess!! My friend, Candice, and I joke about this a lot. But seriously, it’s no joke. On the mornings when I wake up tired, I am NOT a nice person. I don’t know when this started, because I used to be a night owl and a morning person! These days, too little sleep = DISASTER!
Failing to get back to sleep meant that by 9am I was moody and frustrated. Everything that could go wrong, then went wrong. Everything from being bloated (I was wearing a fitted white dress that evening!!) to photo shoot dilemmas. By the time my second shoot started, and things were still crazy, I was literally laughing out-loud at my misfortunes that morning!
A Warm Welcome
When I arrived at the hotel, I was warmly welcomed by the receptionist and the manager. I was starving, exhausted and I felt grubby. My hair was a mess, I was carrying photography equipment, and my skin felt dry and cracked from being outside in the cold. Basically, I looked and felt terrible. I did not feel fit to be in that fancy hotel. But despite how I felt (and looked), the staff were all so welcoming. I was grateful. Soon after checking in, I was taken up to our room.
Happy to be Sitting
While I waited for Justin, I sat admiring the view from our hotel room. A huge part of me wished that we didn’t have the gala that evening. I couldn’t imagine having to get up right then and start getting ready. Hair, nails, and make-up take quite some time though, so I knew that if I waited too long, we wouldn’t get down to the gala at all. What I really wanted was to stay in that room for the rest of the evening. I wished that I had an evening to relax, and then the gala the following day.
I called Justin and told him to stop and get some supplies – water, food, coffee, and some drinks to get the party going!
Ohhh Soooo Comfy!
While I waited for Justin, I began to get more and more tired. I had a backpack with my hair curler, make-up and nail supplies, but I was just too exhausted to get going! I lay down on the bed…. and it was oooohhhh sooooo comfy!!!
Sweet Justin told me to try and doze off for a few minutes. I tried but my efforts were in vain, I kept going in and out of sleep. This was probably for the best because if I had fallen asleep, I don’t think that he would have been able to wake me! I love the “Find my Friends” feature on our iPhones (above right). We use it frequently. I kept checking where he was, counting down my minutes left to be lying down, while enjoying laying on that cloud of heaven!
When Justin arrived, armed with all the right supplies, I was so happy. I had some food, coffee, and water, and then got up to start getting ready. It was about an hour or so into our getting ready process when we started to have fun. The music was on, we had poured a couple drinks, and we were feeling excited about getting down to the gala.
Before And After
There are plenty of Winter Wonderland Gala pictures coming soon, but for now, I will just stick to the hotel pictures. Otherwise this post will be ridiculously long! There was a full-length mirror at the elevator, so we snapped a picture of us as we were going down to the gala, and then again as we were going down to breakfast in the morning. I love this side by side…
Buffet Breakfast at Cafe Yum
Our special room rate also included a buffet breakfast at a restaurant in the hotel. I came to Cafe Yum for a Qingdao Mamas lunch about a year ago, so I already knew this spot. Everything is better with my Boo though, and I really enjoyed our little table by the big windows. We had slept perfectly, so we were wide awake and ready for a delicious breakfast. I already knew exactly what I wanted… salmon, salmon, and more salmon!
The gingerbread men reminded us of our little guy. He is a big fan of this story, and you can find him humming the “Run run fast as you can” song while he plays Lego. So cute! We had contemplated going back to the Chens to pick him up, but we decided that we should make the most of this alone time. That boy of ours is so good, but Mommy and Daddy still need their alone time. And this alone time was perfect!
We ate and ate and ate.
It was soooo good sitting there, enjoying the food, drinking coffee, and loving each other’s company.
We LOVE Christmas, but we never go downtown lately. In previous years we went to church in a hotel, and we got to experience a lot more of the “festivities” surround this season. Lately, we have missed that! It was good to see the giant Christmas tree in the lobby. I had done a photo shoot in another international hotel the morning before, so I got to see the oversized tree there too. What a treat!
When we checked out, the hotel gave us a christmas card and a lovely little gift. We loved everything about our overnight stay at the Shangri-La. In fact, it is going to be hard to resist booking another night away soon. We have been thinking about staying in the old downtown area (where Eli was born) so we might do that sometime next year.
Gala pictures coming your way tomorrow!