Some you may have noticed I fell off the grid for a bit. Well, I was writing all along but without the ability to post for a myriad of reasons. Here’s the rundown of where I’ve been, a collection of miles, mishaps and memories. I will follow this post with a series of posts from home, Austria and the in-between. For now though, let’s get you up to speed with the most recent itinerary of adventures.
June 13th- Departed Honolulu for Las Vegas. Had an absolute ball working at the International Licensing Convention as a spokesperson for the amazing company PanAm Brands. Yes, it’s true, PanAm Airlines no longer flies commercial, but the original company still thrives in a multitude of ways: including the production and marketing of an awesome line of designer luggage, handbags and fabulous accessories. The clever crew at PanAm knew how to make a real impact in a sea of 18,000 attendees: they commissioned the production of three authentic PanAm flight attendant uniforms and outfitted Emily, Carly and myself to not only talk about the brand, but to be the brand. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had as many pictures taken of me before this event. The responses from people who approached us with an almost fanciful nostalgic look on their faces was worth every blister from the horrific shoe incidences. Everyone we met had a history or a moment with PanAm; whether it was their first time on a plane, a frequent route they flew, the first time they got their wings, their adoration of the elite flight crews, and more. I’ll share some of their stories in a separate post. But, like my trip, we’ve got to move on quick!
June 17th- Shift gears in Vegas completely. The PanAm Brands crew made their way home and I remained, with Mom #1 and Mom #2 as my partners in crime. We stayed for a few more days in order to attend the Miss USA pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino with the intent to scream our faces off in support of the radiant and wonderful Lacy Jane Folger, Miss NH USA 2011. This girl and I have history, and I mean HISTORY. We have been friends for nearly 23 years! Wow, I think that’s the first time I’ve written that down and suddenly I feel older than I did two seconds ago… interesting… but I digress. Lacy Jane has always been one of most favorite people in the world, a fun-loving, great friend who never lost touch with her values and has been a role model for others to follow since the tender age of 5. (Probably even earlier, but I met her at 5 when she first started volunteering with the service projects my sister and I created oh-so-many-years-ago). The fact she made it all the way to the grand stage in Vegas and represented our humble state in a way that brings tears of pride to my eyes was a surreal time-lapse moment for me. I kept flashing between her performance at the little stage at the Lilac Mall and then the Rochester Opera House and then Hampton Beach and then Vegas… Lacy, you did it! I lost my voice in all the revelry but was so lucky she didn’t win… it meant we got to have the best dinner ever at the Sugar Factory after the show. 🙂 So happy you managed not to get hit by flying chairs backstage… phew! Pageant girls are crazy. Good thing we stayed on the fringe all these years and only go crazy for shoes and rhinestones. Love you Lace, you’re a rockstar!
Departed Vegas on June 21, New Hampshire bound. Next post coming soon, but I’m off to lunch with the fabulous Jeff Sean!
1. See a Cirque du Soleil showAll of them will blow your mind and the real trouble is choosing which suits your fancy. The combination of a great recommendation and being a lifelong Beatles fan led me to see ‘Love.’ Located at the Mirage (coincidentally my favorite hotel in Vegas, or is it coincidence? Hmmm jury’s still out), the whole night of seeing ‘Love’ is an experience. Go eat at one of the incredible restaurants: Stack, BLT Burger, California Pizza Kitchen, Fin…(good luck choosing)…and then head over to Revolution, an all sensory stimulating bar rocking the Beatles pre and-post show to get you all kinds of in the mood for the Fab Four.2. Tour the City CenterThe largest privately funded construction project in the United States ($9.2 billion, according to Wikipedia); my jaw hurt from hanging open while exploring this massive complex made up of Aria, Vdara, the Mandarin Oriental LV and Crystals. Vdara and Aria are both LEED certified hotels (bonus!) and look and smell amazing. Yeah, I said smell. The Aria and I are linked for eternity by the olfactory sense. Walk into the lobby and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Also, Cafe Vettro has the best boneless buffalo wings in Vegas. (Sorry Hooters, you and I are quite incompatible) Aria’s restaurants and shops are breathtaking and I cannot wait to go back and spend more time exploring.
Make sure you also pass through (and spend time at) The Cosmopolitan hotel and casino (adjacent to the City Center). My mind is still reeling from the contemporary luxury the place is literally “dripping” with.
3. Le Village Buffet at Paris for breakfast
My favorite meal of the day is breakfast and my favorite place to get breakfast is in Paris for Cabernet soaked pear halves, custom-made crepes and mouth-watering croissants. Sometimes I wake up at home and think about buying a ticket to Vegas… just for breakfast at Le Village Buffet.
4. Stay at Bally’sThe hotel with the most bang for the buck in Vegas: Bally’s. It’s the diamond in the rough of the dated hotels. The central location on the strip is excellent. The rooms are very basic and nothing special, but the beds are comfortable and clean. Who’s hanging out in their room anyway? It’s Vegas, baby!
The amenities are sweet: the blu pool @ Bally’s is bumpin’ on the weekends with loud jams poolside (although the drink prices are outrageous). If you’re on a tight budget, the buffet has an express buffet breakfast for $11.99. Ask for Alice at the reservations desk. She’s friendly, genuine and jovial; she’s been working in Vegas for nearly 30 years and kicks butt at her job.
5. Fremont Street ExperienceThere’s something so-very-nostalgic about taking a trip down to the Old Strip. Getting to see pieces of the The Golden Nugget opened in 1946 and it’s a staple of Vegas lore. I wandered the Golden Nugget a few years ago for historical value, and didn’t think it needed to be revisited. Boy, was I wrong! It has been completely renovated and it is the most unexpected surprise in Vegas. What a thrill to see the new life in the old place. Gorgeous updates inside and out, the entire place has a fresh, hip vibe. Our dinner at the Chart House with the gorgeous aquarium in the center was fantastic. I recommend the Edamame hummus and the Hot Chocolate Lava Cake haunts my dreams.6. Bellagio dancing waters
One of the most famous shows in Vegas doesn’t feature the scantily clad or a rhinestone King impersonator or even a price tag. This free show flows with an unrivaled magnificence: the famous dancing waters at the Bellagio. You saw it in Ocean’s 11, and the movie magic isn’t even as cool as seeing it live. If you can only see it once, check it out at night.
Enjoy the time portal transport you’ll ride on the way back to your seven-year-old-self, agape in wonder at the power of the water.
7. Take Time for TequilaGo find the Tequila Bar tucked in the back of Bally’s. It’s like a hole in the wall with a great happy hour, decent prices for food, excellent fare, a margarita in a fish bowl and it features the biggest plate of Nachos I have ever seen. (Note the size of the salt shaker for reference). Yes, please!8. Diversify your dining and do different dishes at different digs(How’s that for alliteration? Snap!) There’s no way to choose the best restaurant in Vegas. It’s an impossible feat. Instead, try a self designed “Tour of Vegas Cuisine.” Do a different course at a different restaurant in one night! It’s the perfect way to see and taste as much of Vegas as possible, while going on a grand adventure. My “Tour” looked like this: before dinner drinks at Le Centre bar in Paris-featuring 2 for 1 martinis (raspberry lemon drop is the bomb! Thanks Mr. Joshua!). Then we cruised for appetizers at Aria-flashback to the heavenly buffalo wings; then entrees at Cafe Bellagio where I loved the yellow curry salmon. Most important: dessert. Serendipity 3 at Caesar’s Palace. The Frozen Hot Chocolate seems like an oxymoron, but I’m saying you just have to overcome the double negative and just it. If I had room I would have loved to try the fried oreo sunday, but that just means I am destined to return.
I’ve got a new video on the way…. Stay tuned for day 1 of the Miss USA Vegas Extravaganza. Reviews and stories to come tomorrow. Right now I’m on a Tour of Vegas with BOTH of my moms drinking raspberry lemon drops so posting a blog post at the moment might be a challenge. We are off to try an appetizer at the next hotel… Hopefully I will remember to update you as we progress. 🙂