Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Viva Las Vegas

**You should know that this post was written a few weeks ago. I've been putting off posting it, awaiting some more photos (ahem, I'm looking at you, Blayne and Merrill) but it looks like we'll have to make due with what I've got, which is mostly pictures of food...priorities, people. ;-)

The firm Griff works for takes a firm-wide trip every other year, and spouses/guests get to tag along for the fun. Over the years, we've been on a crusie to the Bahamas, Las Vegas, a second cruise to the Bahamas, a Club Med resort in Florida, and this year was another trip to Las Vegas. He works for some really great people, but I have to say, they are especially great around trip time. ;-)

I'll start out by saying I'm not really a Vegas person. This was my third time there, and like my first two visits, I had a ton of fun on this trip, but it wouldn't be a place where Griff and I would just choose to go on our own for vacation. I'm just not really a gambler. Let's face it, if I'm going to lose money either way, I'd rather go shopping. That way I'd at least have something to show for it. I know, I know. You gotta play to win. While I enjoy Texas Hold'em at my dining room table, I would be sweating bullets if I attempted to play in a casino. It's so intimidating! Black Jack and slots are about the only games I play, and this time around, I played neither. Wait, I did lose $5 in a slot machine on our last day there. When I lose, I lose big, people.

Here's where I state the obvious: Vegas is HOT, especially in August. And I don't care what you say about a dry heat, 108 degrees is hot, dry or not, dangit! Griff and I ventured out for shopping one day (I'm still not sure how I coninvced him to go) and I was drenched in sweat by the time we got back to our hotel. It must be some sort of desert mirage how all the places along the strip look like such a short distance away until you start walking. We walked from our hotel, the Mirage, to the M&M store next to MGM and back, and it was quite a trek...much longer than it appears. We spent a lot of time hanging out in the pool with other people from the firm, which was a lot of fun, and the 50 degree pool really took our minds off of the 108 degree temperature outside. Plus, hotel pools are always great for people-watching, and this one did not disappoint.
Before I go any further, I would just like to state that sin city is NOT the place to bring your children, people. There were babies everywhere - we're talking newborns! We were walking down the strip around midnight, and the sidewalks were full of strollers. Here's what I have to say to their parents: A.) it is too hot, B.) it is too late, and C.) what is wrong with you???People are handing out porn on the street for crying out loud. This is no place for a family vaca! I will stop now...

A big group of us went to an Italian restaurant called Batista's, which was a lot of fun. This place serves all you can drink wine along with your meal. Granted, the "wine glass" was more like an oversized shot glass, it was still all you can drink. If you're looking for a romantic, fancy Italian restaurant, this one is not for you. (This is probably where I should tell you that there was a girl sitting at the bar wearing a bikini, a wife beater, and flip flops. No, I didn't leave anything out. That's all she was wearing. No pants.) But if you're looking for a more relaxed, pants-optional type of establishment, I would definitely recommend it for a big group. The atmosphere was fun and the food was good - not spectacular, but good. We had a great time.

While we're on the subject of food, I have to admit that I gained a good 4 pounds while in Vegas. Clearly my time would have been better spent blowing money at the tables, rather than stuffing my face for three days straight. Our first destination upon arrival was In and Out Burger, which was new terrain for me. I'm honestly not big on burgers. I know if you were on this trip with me, you are thinking I'm full of it, as you saw me eat one by myself and split three with Griff. And for those of you who were not there, let me remind you, this trip was only 3 days. That's a lot of burgers. Anyway....it's not that I don't like them (obviously), I just rarely order them. So, I definitley am not a burger connoisseur, but I thought the In and Out Burger was really good. Definitely the best fast food burger I've ever had, but definitely not the best I've ever had. By the way, their fries are nothing special.

I actually preferred the burger we had at BLT's, a restaurant inside Mirage. It was delish. Oh, and if you ever eat there, you MUST order this milkshake. It is to.die.for. I'm not even kidding. I forgot what it's called, but it's banana, toffee, and walnut. I didn't really taste the toffee or walnut so much. It mostly just tasted like what banana pudding might taste like in heaven. By far the best milkshake I've ever had. Soooo good. Like slap ya mama good. (Don't worry, Mama, I'd never slap you.)

Then, there was Margaritaville, where we ordered an embarrassingly huge plate of Volcano Nachos. We didn't even know where to start. It was like playing Jenga with nachos. I kept thinking the whole pile was going to come tumbling down. Hubs and I split these, and didn't even put a dent in them. They are massive.

And, as if the nachos didn't have enough calories to do serious damage to the waistline, we decided it would be a good idea to order this:

I do have to say, this might just be the best invention ever. It's around $50 and serves well over 10 delicious margaritas. Trust me, it was by no coincidence that I wore my new Ann Taylor Loft elastic waist pants on the plane ride home after all of this out of control binging.

If you were wondering how we got such a great angle on the picture above, I recommend hiring a photographer on stilts. ;-)

When we weren't eating or people-watching at the pool, we saw O by Cirque du Soleil (Very impressive, but kind of long, or maybe it was just that it was late and I am old was tired. Either way, not good for me and my restless legs. The poor girl next to me probably thought I was a crack addict going through withdrawals. I could not sit still to save my life. I was completely miserable for the last 30 minutes or so. I seriously need to see if there is medication I can take for this problem. So annoying...) , we watched the Bellagio fountains, were entertained by a street magician and other crazy street performers, did a little shopping (as mentioned earlier), spotted a celebrity, and attended a wedding.

So, who was the celebrity, you ask? Wait for it....

Coolio was in da house! That's right, you know you remember..."slide, slide, slippity-slide...." Not sure what he's been up to since the 90's, but it was fun to spot him at the Mirage. It seems his entourage has gotten a little smaller since his Gangsta's Paradise days. I realize this is quite possibly the worst picture on Earth, but hubs only had his phone with him. And when Coolio presents himself, you must take a picture. Even when all you have is a Blackberry...

The wedding was probably the highlight of our trip. Griff's co-worker, Nathen, and and his lovely wife, Sara, recently got married in Puerta Vallarta, but they still needed to legalize everything here in the states. What better way to do that than in Vegas, baby? Since they already had the beautiful ceremony in Mexico, they decided to have fun with it this time around. They ordered up the Elvis package, and invited all of us to attend. It was greatness. Just like you see in the movies, only better. Elvis walked the bride down the aisle, and played guitar throughout the entire ceremony. At one point, he busted out in song with Viloent Femmes' Blister in the Sun, and of course we all helped out with that one. It was by far the most entertaining wedding I've ever attended. Congrats to the happy couple! Unfortunately, the notsonice chapel employee would not let us take pictures inside, so this is all we got. Boo!

Two-thumbs up for this trip! Thanks, WP! And thanks to Nanna and Pop-Pop for keeping Baby Girl while we were away! She started babbling, which she had never done before, the day after we got back. We left for Cabo, and she was walking when we returned; we went to Vegas, and she started "talking." Maybe we should take more vacations?


  1. Jenn, Was the girl at the bar me? I'm asking because that sounds just like all of my outfits when I go out to eat. Let me know, wouldn't it be funny if we were in Vegas at the same time and didn't know it. Love you!

  2. Ha! Now that you mention it, she did share your modest sense of style. ;-)