Bright Light City…

I have a love/hate relationship with Las Vegas, as I’m sure most can relate.

I don’t shop. So I can’t walk around the obnoxious malls.

I gamble just a little… and I get mad when I play $20 and never get a bonus on the slot machine.

I should just stick to the video blackjack, because I LOVE it when I do actually sit there and play.

This weekend’s Las Vegas adventure was… different.

We actually had work to do and a roadtrip to take. And THAT part of the journey was great.


Pete went with us to visit Popcorn Girl, where we will be appearing for a book signing sometime before Easter (hopefully before Easter… never thought Pete would make our schedule this crazy!).


And here is Popcorn Girl Laurie herself, with Pete. This girl is high-energy and that exuberance spreads throughout her business. She has over 60 flavors of Popcorn in her shop— and let me tell you that the ones we tried were FLAVOR-ful!


Pete was amazed at all of the bright colors of popcorn available at Popcorn Girl! When you read the book, you’ll understand why Pete was so excited to see all the diverse popcorn….


Popcorn Girl was a little different than some of the other shops we’ve visited, due to the vast array of gift baskets she has to choose from— all ready to be filled with her popcorn, of course!


You can tell by the astonished look on his face that Joe was very impressed by the Strawberry Cheesecake Popcorn. It was a fun little visit to Popcorn Girl and I can’t wait to be back soon…

After our visit, we headed towards Southern California to hit up another shop… and to visit our friend Kim Kittner, her daughter Hailie.. and Hailie’s friend Kim… at my favorite restaurant ever!


On the way, Pete wanted to stop for this photo…. and how could we resist?


Pete has really become good at posing lately. I hope he isn’t letting stardom get to his head… but this shot really showed some of the beautiful scenery between the Los Angeles County and Las Vegas.


Before we even got seated at the sushi bar, they had to see the book! Now, not many people have gotten the chance to see Pete the Popcorn ahead of it’s release date on February 29th, but Kim and Hailie are special. They even got the very first SIGNED proof copy!

The girls enjoyed the story and Kim Kittner also commented on the beautiful illustrations done by Kathleen Smith Waters! Hailie also gave us some special writing secrets to share with classrooms when we conduct our readings over the coming weeks and months.

Now, Kim was being a little camera-shy. So Pete covered for her.

If we’ve learned one lesson from marketing Pete so far it is this: everyone has a child in their life. Be it kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters… so we talk about Pete to EVERYONE! These girls gave us a nice tip on a piece of Salmon Sushi to try, so we showed them Pete! And they loved it enough to pose for a quick pic. Note the awesome sushi-making going on in the background.

Pete refused to try any sushi. Even the Popcorn roll! Yes, there was one roll called Popcorn. And of course we tried it. Tempura was involved. Yum!

Big Tuna Sushi in Lancaster, California rocks. Everything is awesomely fresh. The guys behind the counter rock. And the best part of all is this: nobody makes you feel dumb for asking questions about the food or the experience. And the shark tip-collector is pretty neat, too.

Thanks, Kim Kittner… for a great night with friends. We will see you very soon.

I-15 headed back to Vegas in the dark was scary, but fun. The coolest thing, and it was almost impossible to capture on camera, was how you could see nothing in the desert but the highway laying out before you for miles and miles.

And when we saw the neon sign for Whiskey Pete’s, we knew our journey had come to an end.

We’re leaving Las Vegas in a few hours… and hoping to grab some more photos of Pete before we do. If we have time to do so, you’ll be seeing them soon, I’m sure.

Tell your friends to visit in anticipation of PETE DAY on LEAP DAY!



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