For me, that’s Las Vegas.
I promised this blog two months ago that I’d write about my awesome all girls/co-workers trip to Sin City, and as par for the course, it takes me months to do anything, so here I am, mid-May, ready to discuss the awesomeness of my trip.
I can’t help it, Vegas always makes me feel like a rock star. Like I’m living the life of the rich and famous; I’m special, gorgeous, awesome – basically all the things I foolishly wish I was, but would never admit to desiring.
It starts with the actual journey itself. A flight to Vegas always has more happy energy than any other I’ve ever experienced. The flight attendants always giggle “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!” when they’re unloading and everyone on board seems ready to have a good time. Hell, there are slot machines just begging to be violated as soon as you get off that plane and walk into McCarran airport.
This being my fourth trip, I felt like a veteran, and knew enough to avoid the typical shock one might have upon first arriving: You have to have comfortable shoes. It’s going to take you 45 minutes to go anywhere, even down to the lobby. EVERYTHING is ass-rape expensive. But once you get over those three truths, you can have a blast, and feel like you’re living a totally different life.
My guide for how to let Las Vegas bathe you in a rock star glow:
1. Go eat at one of the 87483927847384738738438 incredible restaurants.
I’m going to write up a food post in the next week or so, ala my NYC food post, but let me just summarize by saying that with this many choices, it’s basically impossible to go wrong. Pretty much everywhere we ate was incredible, and always found at least one of us (I was with a group of 5 gals) exclaiming, “OMG THIS IS THE BEST (insert edibles) I’VE EVER HAD!”, and basically orgasm-ing. We sat on a lavish patio, overlooking the strip. We went to a fancy-pants place that was open 24/7 and had huge gross insane Denny’s-like breakfasts with beer at 2 am. We threw caution to the wind, and ordered stuff our mid-western selves might have passed up. Bloody Mary bars. Sushi bars. Fantastic top-shelf drinks. Hell, even the little Hawaiian joint in the Miracle Mile was tasty. It comes down to one thing: JUST EAT!
2. Go to at least one insane nightclub.
You owe it to yourself. A Vegas club is CERTAINLY going to be different from whatever sad, college-friendly joint, full of creepy old men gawking at girls in their late teens, that you may be used to. As we were staying at the Paris, their Chateau Nightclub seemed like our best choice, as it’s in the lobby…
Now, I must start off by saying that I have a cousin who lives in Vegas, and he had a friend who worked here, so the cuz came out to the casino, spoke to the bouncer, and we got some special treatment. Escorted in (up the awesome spiral staircase) past the line of commoners, free entry (I don’t know how much it cost, but Vegas clubs are always at least 30 bucks or so to get in – unless you have a group of girls or any other number of insane elitist and unspoken rules and regulations), and our first drink free. A shout out to Sway for helping us each spend less than $100 that night. Yep, that was his name. As this was “Candy Shop Tuesdays” the entryway had a full-blown Willie Wonka display, complete with actual dwarves, resplendent in the traditional Oompa Loompa garb. It was jarring, to say the least. We all exchanged glances of wtf as we passed the craziness and entered into the club with its booming tunes and flashing lights. After we all got our free drink we headed out to the terrace, which I highly recommend, as it is fucking crazy gorgeous and amazing. With different music playing (oh yeah, I heard my jam “Titanium”about 10 times, and kept screaming about it, probably to the chagrin of all around me), a perfect view of the strip all around you, the Eiffel Tower above, and Bellagio fountains directly across the street, I could hardly conceive of anything more spectacular (which I think I kept proclaiming – “My wet dream!!” or some such nonsense). Well, I guess bottle service, but that’s for the rich and famous, which I clearly am not. Remember, Vegas only makes you FEEL elite. 😉 I don’t recall much after this, as the vodka/Red Bulls kept flowing and my young suitor for the evening, Max from Cali, kept slobbering all over me. However, he didn’t mind carting around my tortuously painful shoes, so that was all good. Did the night end in lost purses, puking, blacking out, falling, swapping spit with more than one member of the opposite sex and general drunken buffoonery? Since it has to “stay in Vegas”, I can neither confirm nor deny.
You can always employ one of these concierge club services, which I’d like to try one day, but if you go to Vegas, you HAVE to go to a club. You HAVE TO.
3. The shopping is unparalleled (well, except for probably NYC, London, etc).
You have no money? Who cares? It doesn’t cost anything to go INTO stores that you likely have only ever heard of on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. We tried on actual Jimmy Choo’s. Bought makeup at Inglot, which isn’t even that expensive, but only has stores in fancy, huge cities. The Miracle Mile, Forum Shoppes, the Venetian – all of these places will make you feel special, even if you can’t buy anything. Just get a gelato and stare at everybody, as people-watching in Vegas is unrivalled. In my opinion, the best part of shopping in Vegas are the loads of bars and/or drink stands every few feet, so you can wander Disney-land for grownups with a margarita in hand. (The outdoor bars in front of Caesar’s Palace has the BEST MARGARITA I’VE EVER CONSUMED). Not to mention the architecture and attractions, that are 100% free to look at.
4. Table games!
Don’t be scared, as several members of my group were. There’s nothing to fear. If you’ve never done it before, find a cheaper table, with what appears to be a friendly dealer. Start with Blackjack, as that game is brain-dead simple and chances are, you know how to play. They don’t mind explaining table etiquette, or even game basics to you. And usually, the folks playing alongside you will offer advice as well. Just know these 3 essentials: You touch the table with one finger if you want a card, while one horizontal wave of your hand (NOT touching the table) means you’re good, and with each deal, the dealer will take turns letting each player cut the deck. When they plop it in front of you with that little red plastic card, cut it. I promise, even if you lose, you’ll feel kind of cool. I played for about 2 hours and was able to MAKE about 65 bucks. Woot Woot!!!
5. Go to a Cirque show.
We chose the Beatles LOVE, as it was my #1 choice and nobody really objected. It was easily one of the cooler things I’ve seen in my life, especially if you enjoy the sounds of the Fab Four. (Which I’ma assume is everyone). From what I’ve read/heard, the LOVE show focuses more on the music (and you should know, it’s the druggie late 60s/70s Beatles’ tunes), and less on the jaw-dropping acrobatics, however, our jaws were totally in the dropped position for most of the show. It’s all sort of a blur, looking back, but the costumes, the sounds, the way the theater is situated (in a circle, with TRULY no bad seat) all added up to a cracking good time of acid/hippie drenched dancing, jumping, flipping and flying. My favorite moments: “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, as a ginger goddess swung thru the air and hundreds of LEDs basically dripped from the ceiling, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, mostly because it’s one of my favorite Beatles’ tracks, and “Strawberry Fields Forever”, when, I shit you not, the biggest sheet on the earth is pulled out slowly to cover almost the entire audience (except my row, which was the last one, and at first I was annoyed, then overjoyed, as I realized this allowed me the magical vantage point of being able to see the sheet, although for everyone underneath, it supposedly simulates a “head in the clouds feeling”). I yearned for some memorabilia in the fantastic gift shop, but the crowds were literally crushing and we all just wanted to get back to our hotel afterwards. But the Mirage is gorgeous, and having stayed there previously, I wouldn’t hesitate to make that my destination again. And I highly recommend LOVE.
6. Lay out like the tanning mom.
The pools at a Vegas hotel are all gorgeous. Paris’s was a bit un-tropical for my taste – super classy with 90 degree angles, as you lay below the Eiffel tower on the roof of the main building. We had unseasonably cool weather, which sucked, but 99% of the time, you’ll be laying under the baking sun and palm trees, staring at all the hot people (seriously, there are tons of hot people), and drinking 15 dollar daiquiris. Call me crazy, but shit like that makes me feel like a VIP.
I know lots of people think Vegas is silly (it is), full of obnoxious excess (yep), and bonkers overpriced (ding ding ding), but I enjoy all of the above. My day-to-day excesses consist of eating extra nachos and paying too much for my cable bill, so to walk in the sunshine, gaze at the hotels and attractions which look like they’re basically out of a video game, walk down the street drinking to your heart’s content, and have a non-stop blast, I find to be terribly WORTH IT. It’s one of my favorite vacation destinations, and I really hope to go back in the next couple of years.
I’ve always been someone who comes home from vacay with a weird assortment of trinkets (boarding passes, drink umbrellas, programs/pamphlets of shit I attended, ticket stubs, etc.) that are entirely useless but make me feel a sting of sadness to just trash, so I put them in a box and hope to scrapbook them one day. Who am I kidding, right?! It took me two months to write about my trip, let alone make a fucking scrapbook. Anyhow, thanks to pinterest, I saw this nifty idea of making “vacation jars.” All you do is pick up some canning jars at any craft store, Target, wherever. Dump all your random shit from a trip in, and close it up. Label it any way you’d like, and arrange jars on a shelf. It makes for cuteness, a conversation piece, functionality, and the easiest scrapbook you’ll ever do, all in one easy step. I thought it sounded AWESOMESAUCE, so Vegas 2012 became my first “Vacation Jar.”
Behold my masterpiece: