Viva Las Vegas

Las Vegas. America's playground. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas...well unless I'm around. 

The mecca for new twenty one year olds. Lauren, Cristin, and I have been talking about going to Las Vegas since high school. The trip was always contingent on me since I was the last to turn 21. I also happen to be the last one to finish school Basically, I was holding us up. Regardless, it has been way too long since we've seen each other (the last time was in March!) and with Cristin's parents moving down there, we just had to go.

It was quite a spontaneous trip; on a three way call one evening in May, we compared dates and realized we could actually make this happen. A few rash decisions later and committing to plane tickets after an hour discussion, we were going.

On Tuesday evening, I flew in from Seattle and the other two flew in from Denver. I somehow managed to beat them there and met Charlie, Cristin's mom, in the baggage claim full of slot machines. We circled the airport until the two knuckleheads grabbed Big Bertha (the suitcase they shared) and headed back to their new home. It was so great to be together again! We all caught up and chatted all through the night.

Wednesday rolled around and we hit the ground running. Charlie had to go to work, but Dave was able to take the three of us down to Fremont Street, the older downtown area of Vegas, and teach us how to properly gamble. We hit some of the classic hotels like the Golden Nugget and played both blackjack and slots. I was absolutely horrible, but Lauren and Cristin managed to do pretty well. I'm calling it beginners luck, especially since neither of them had played before. In the middle of a round, Lauren leaned over to me and asked what a blackjack was! That made me laugh so much, but she was the one laughing in the end since she actually made some money. 

Later on in the day, we drove over to the Strip and checked into the LINQ where the three of us would be staying that night. Let me tell you, the parking lot is an absolute labyrinth. It took us a solid 15-20 minutes to find the lobby and get checked-in and then find our room, which happened to be the very last one at the end of the hallway. Go figure. It was a nice room though!

By this point, Lauren and I were hangry and in utter disbelief that Cristin and Dave weren't. To satisfy our hunger, Dave took us over to Haute Doggery for some gourmet hot dogs. The dogs absolutely hit the spot! 

We meandered the Strip, making our way over to Caesars to say hello to Charlie while she was at work. In order to get the full Vegas experience, we paid a visit to Fat Tuesdays for some boozy slushies. I mean you have to stay cool somehow

Throughout the rest of the day, we popped from hotel to hotel. Dave even treated us to getting our caricature drawn. 

After our funny picture, we wandered back to the flamingo for a little more gambling. I only lost more money, typical. Realizing we were on a bit of a time crunch, we quickly made our way back to the hotel room to get ready for dinner.

Dave and Charlie were kind enough to treat us to dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill. Excellent food! We're basically all the same person because we ordered nearly identical meals.

The three of us all started off with some margaritas to get the night going and crab cakes. For our main entree, we each ordered the best pork tenderloin you'll ever have in your life, paired with some excellent red wine (thanks Charlie...and Dave!). Dessert was the only place where we were a little varied, however I seem to only have a picture of Cristin's cobbler (???). Oh well, it was all delicious and got the thumbs up from Cristin!

With full bellies, we parted ways with Dave and Charlie and made our way down the Strip towards the MGM Grand for some clubbing. And we took our good old time. Each of us was in heels, plus it was early in the night so we had time to kill. We popped over to the Bellagio, Cosmopolitan, Aria, Monte Carlo, and so on, taking breaks when necessary. When we finally completed the 1.3 miles, in heels mind you, we waited in line to get in.

Well, it turns out the promoter we had been in contact with was an idiot and we weren't on the guest list. To make up for his mistake, he suggested we go to another club at the Mirage, which happens to be one hotel over from Caesars, the place we just came from, where he could get us in. After some deliberating, we concluded that we had to go back in that direction anyway, so we started walking back.

This was probably the longest walk of our lives. We could feel the blisters forming as we sulked down the Strip. Earlier in the evening, Lauren had boasted that she was wearing the most comfortable shoes. Well, who was the one who had to make a Walgreens stop? Lauren. I gave her the option of buying flip flops or moleskin to put on her feet. By this point, most feet hope was lost and it was all about alleviating the immediate pain. She ended up opting for the moleskin patches and we continued on. (Sorry Laur, gotta tell the story, although these kind of stories are best!)

We crossed the street and were once again back at Caesars Palace when a promoter offered us tickets to Omnia Club. We cut our losses and decided to take these and ignore the bad promoter. Omnia Club was featuring Krewella and we had fun all night. 

When we headed back to our hotel room, we had been in heels for seven hours and walked nearly three miles. Taking off our shoes that night was one of the best feelings. 

After a restful night, we took Thursday morning slow and nursed our feet a bit. Check out was super early, but Dave was kind enough to leave us his car. We loaded up our suitcases and returned to the hotel for some brunch at Hash House A Go Go. Hearty breakfast food with massive, and I mean MASSIVE portion sizes. We decided to split a veggie hash and the Man v. Food Chicken Benedict. Somehow, we demolished all of the food. 


With full bellies, we explored a bit more of the strip before returning back home. After a little unpacking and relaxation, Dave and Charlie took us to the pool to soak up some rays and ride the water slide. It was nice to take the afternoon easy. 

We continued the theme of relaxation into the night by staying in. Dave was kind enough to make us fajitas and ceviche. Dave's ceviche is one of my favorite foods in the world; it's 40% of the reason why I went to Cristin's Graduation Party (just kidding haha). Don't get me wrong, ceviche is AMAZING. We absolutely devoured it along with the chips. 

Because we decided to stay in for the night, we thought we'd watch a few movies and eat some ice cream. From here, we embarked on what would be the longest ice cream run, ever. We had been driving around a bit, and I think the three of us had a decent handle on the immediate area. The grocery store was only about 5 minutes away, so we thought it would be a quick trip. 

After exiting the neighborhood, there is only one left handed turn that you need to take to get to the grocery store parking lot. As it turned out, this is the longest light in the world; it only allowed about one car to go every few minutes. We sat through at least 2 or 3 songs before we made our way through the intersection. Finally parked, we headed into the store only to find that it was the worst layout possible. We ended up going through every aisle. Eventually, after asking someone, we ended up with everything we needed and got back in the car. 

To get into the neighborhood, you have to enter a code to unlock the gate. Well, some people, *cough* Cristin *cough*, cannot punch in buttons. We attempted the gate with no luck. I was sitting in the back and physically got out of the car and pushed the buttons to open the gate. Before I knew it though, Cristin had driven through the gate and left me at the keypad station. 

Cristin basically freaked out because there was someone behind us and drove away without me. She's a strange one. We ended the night with none-other than Ocean's Eleven, a classic. 

Friday started off early with a walk around the neighborhood for Magnus. I can see why you need to start the day quickly, it gets hot so fast. We took our time getting ready and then all hopped in the car to check out the Hoover Dam. First, we had to make a pitstop at Weiss Restaurant Deli & Bakery for lunch. Dave raved about this Jewish restaurant the whole car ride there, so it had to live up to expectations, and it did. 

Cristin and I split a matzah ball soup and corned beef sandwich. There wasn't a crumb left on our plate. Happily full from the delicious meal, we continued on to the dam.

Our first destination happened to be the newest addition to the area, the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge which overlooks the dam. After looking down at the spectacular view, we moved the car closer to the dam and walked around. We were constantly looking for little spots of shade and even found a fan where we hung out for a bit. It was hot to say the very least. 

The Hoover Dam was über cool, definitely a modern marvel! I know Lauren, with her engineering background, thoroughly enjoyed equally as much as Cristin saying "damnnn Hoover". I got a patch to commemorate the trip there. As we left the area, we stopped at an overlook to see the beautiful Lake Mead and cooled off with some shakes.

Since it was our last night, we had to do it in true Vegas fashion and do some gambling. To start the evening right, we went to this hole-in-the-wall Tiki Bar for some drinks then went back to Fremont Street to have some fun. Let me tell you, the streets were PACKED! There were street performers and tourists scattered everywhere having a great time. 

We all got a slice of pizza and drinks as we made our way around the casino. I made the conscious decision NOT to play blackjack and that decision served me well. Me avoiding the tables allowed me to hit $50 on some slots! That was a much needed win to dig me out of my deficit, not that it was a huge one anyway. Our night ended with some shrimp cocktails from the first place to serve them and a drive down the Strip at night. It was quite the way to end our awesome trip to Vegas!

Saturday turned into a lazy morning and mostly consisting of us packing and Lauren forgetting to pack some things. We said goodbye to Dave at the house and Charlie took us over to a massive In-n-Out for lunch before our departures. 

Of course, it truly isn't a trip to Las Vegas without stopping by the sign. We said our see you laters and I was back to Seattle. This was one of the best trips, and with even better people. A massive MASSIVE thank you to Charlie and Dave for making it one to remember! It's crazy to think I've known these two for 15 years and I'm so happy that we could make this trip happen...they're my bestest friends!