Viva Las Vegas!

Warning, this post is long!

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I’ve been hinting at the fact that Kyle and I were heading to Las Vegas at some point this month, and since this last weekend was a long weekend, we went! We had actually had the trip planned for quite some time, but since we were being cautious of not letting too people know we were leaving our house, I tried my best to keep it on the DL. (Although if you follow me on Instagram, you would’ve seen a few photos here and there.) We went with our two closest friends, Dave & Callie, and had a blast!

Friday:
We left earrrrrrlyyy Friday morning from Kamloops and drove to Kelowna to catch our 8 a.m. flight. (2:30 a.m. wake-up time? Not ideal!) We attempted to check-in for our flights Thursday night, but the airline wouldn’t let us. It also said that our flight was overbooked and we may not all make it onto the plane. WHAAA? We managed to get out the door ahead of schedule with plenty of time to check-in at the desk. No one was bumped from the flight, and we grabbed breakfast after we got through security. (Oh, and who got additional screening? This girl. Ugh.)

Somewhere over the West Coast of most likely the USA. (So many clouds until we got to the Lake Tahoe area!)

Somewhere over the West Coast of most likely the USA. (So many clouds until we got to the Lake Tahoe area!)

First big trip together. Best travelling partner ever :)

First big trip together. Best travelling partner ever :)

We had a 3-hour layover in Los Angeles. Going through customs and security was a pain in the ass; we arrived RIGHT after a huge plane from Asia landed, so the line was sooooo slow through customs. Thank God for that 3-hour window until our next flight. We had some questionable airport food and just sat around and waited for our flight to board. I must say, LAX is a pretty underwhelming airport. I was expecting it to be a little fancier!

We finally landed in Vegas around 3 p.m. and I was instantly excited! I’ll admit that I wasn’t super excited about the trip, mostly because of all the travelling and leaving Isla. But once we actually got there? Amazing! The Strip is SO overwhelming! I seriously couldn’t believe the traffic and the people EVERYWHERE. After regrouping at the hotel (we stayed at Treasure Island), we decided to take a stroll up and down the Strip and hunt down some dinner. The boys had been before, but it was Callie and I’s first trip. We ended up strolling into Caesar’s Palace and stumbled upon Gordon Ramsay Pub + Grill, and since going to at least one of his restaurants was on my “Need to do” list, we went in. I had the sautéed Scottish salmon, and it was delicious! Best meal of the trip, by far.

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After dinner we stopped and bought some booze at a Walgreens somewhere, (SO cheap!) and kept strolling. We stopped to watch the fountain show at the Bellagio (video below) before continuing on our way. We ended up walking all the way down to the MGM Grand, where we decided to turn around and walked back to our hotel. We were exhausted from all the travel, so sleep was definitely in order!

Saturday
We went for breakfast at one of the restaurants in our hotel and Kyle & Dave accidentally ordered $7 orange juice. Pretty sure it was just Tropicana OJ and nothing special. Anyway, after that we took a cab down to New York New York to see about playing some Blackjack. We were on the hunt for $5 tables but we couldn’t find an open one. Dave and I decided to ride the Roller Coaster while Callie & Kyle played the slot machines. I haven’t been on a roller coaster probably since high school, and I screamed like a little girl. We met up with them at the slot machines and I stuck $5 into some random machine. After a few pulls bells and whistles started going off and I ended up winning about $45. Go me!

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After that we started wandering over towards Mandalay Bay to go to the Shark Reef Aquarium. While I’ve seen some of the same things at the Vancouver Aquarium, the Shark Reef had amazing displays of different lizards, fish, rays, and of course, sharks! We got to pet sting rays (terrifying) and the big shark tank was SO cool. There were some pretty gnarly looking sharks in the tank.

We grabbed some lunch at Slice of Vegas on our way to the Luxor, where I had my first Bloody Mary. I was craving one ever since we landed in Vegas, so I finally saw one on the drink menu and ordered. How does it compare to a Canadian Caesar? Pretty much the same, but a slightly different taste. Mine came with a huge pepperoni straw, lol.

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Callie had heard that there was a Titanic exhibit at the Luxor so we thought we’d go check it out. When else are you going to be able to see 100-year old items that have been recovered off of the ocean floor from the most iconic shipwreck ever? We weren’t allowed to take photos inside for obvious reasons, but the tour was so breathtaking. It was so amazing to see all the recovered items on display; you’d never guess that most of them were laying on the bottom of the floor. The best part? An actual piece of the side of the ship, which this recovery team call, “The Big Piece.” It was truly remarkable seeing such a huge piece of history.

We caught a taxi back to our hotel and had dinner at one of the restaurants there, called Kahunaville, and then Callie and I got all dressed up to go to the Coyote Ugly Saloon (Yes, that Coyote Ugly) at New York New York. While we did that, Kyle and Dave played blackjack in the casino. OMG, it was SO much fun! The music was awesome, the bar girls were so good at getting the crowd riled up, and it was just great to let loose and have some fun! And for the record – we definitely danced on the bar!

Also – we ran into some Canadians from Alberta at the bar outside of Coyote Ugly and had a fabulous time with them as well. We laughed at this American guy for hating healthcare. It was a good time ;)

Sunday
Sunday morning I woke up with an epic headache from the previous night’s drinking binge. Kyle and I ventured down to Starbucks so I could get coffee and something to snack on while we waited for Dave & Callie to get up and moving. We were moving slow, so we ended up having breakfast down on Fremont Street at the Golden Nugget’s buffet. After breakfast we managed to find a $5 Blackjack table, so we all put down $60 to play for a while. It was my first time playing Blackjack, and I did okay, breaking even in the end. The dealers at our table were super friendly and made the experience a lot better too.

Once we finished playing cards we wandered up and down Fremont Street for a little bit. Seeing all the old casinos was pretty neat. One of them had been in downtown Las Vegas since 1948! While Fremont’s casinos are smaller and less “upscale” than the ones on the Strip, they certainly have a lot more character!

When we decided to head back to our hotel we stopped by the Hand of Faith inside the Golden Nugget. It’s the world’s largest gold nugget, and it’s pretty impressive!

Hand of Faith

Hand of Faith

When we booked our rooms at the hotel we got vouchers for 2 for 1 meals at the buffet. Since we had no other plans for dinner and the buffet is usually expensive ($30/person), we used them. The food was actually really good – and there was so much variety! There was a “home cooked” station, fresh pasta, salad, seafood, Chinese, Japanese, and the most amazing dessert station ever. I had a little bit of everything and grabbing some cotton candy and ice cream for dessert, which proved to be a bad decision when I slipped into a sugar coma.

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After dinner we caught a cab down to the Luxor and got tickets to see a burlesque show, called “Fantasy.” There was singing, dancing, laughing, and a lot of “Ooo, la la” moments during the show! The comedian was SUPER hilarious too and was probably my favourite part of the whole show.

Monday
I really wanted to go shopping at the big mall right across the street from our hotel, so we found the food court there and ate in the food court for breakfast/lunch. Kyle and I shared Subway, which I think tasted better than the  Subway here. And I’m pretty sure the footlong sub was actually a foot long. They just seem smaller up here in Canada! After food, the boys went in one direction and Callie and I browsed some of the stores. We eventually met up with the boys again and Kyle and I went into Build a Bear and made Isla a bunny, complete with a “Las Vegas” t-shirt. (She loves it!) I also wandered into the lululemon store across the way and bought myself a pair of Wunder Under pants. (So comfy!)

After shopping I dropped off my loot at the hotel and we caught a cab back to the Golden Nugget for some more Blackjack. We found the same $5 table we had played the day before and the same dealers were there, so it was a bonus. We had a great time joking with the dealers and I think they enjoyed our company! Once we had lost most of our money we called it a day and headed back to our hotel for dinner. (Pizza/calzones!)

We wandered the Strip one last time after our dinner to say “goodbye.” It was amazing to see the difference in foot traffic on a Monday compared to the Friday we arrived. Dave and Kyle wanted to go to the MGM Grand to the CBS Television City, where you can rate a show that has yet to make it to television. I ended up have to pee reaaaaaal bad about 15 minutes into the show (TMI?) so I bailed. (I wasn’t really enjoying the show anyway). Kyle and Dave liked it though! I just sat around and played Candy Crush on my phone while I waited. Kyle got a discount coupon for the CBS store for watching the show, so I bought a Big Bang Theory shot glass. We made our way back to the hotel to get some sleep before our flight in the morning.

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Tuesday
Our flight left at 7 a.m. so we were up and out the door by 4:30. We got to the airport way too early – so early that the post-security coffee shops weren’t even open yet. (The horror!) We eventually got some breakfast and coffee, boarded our plane, and after a short 50-minute layover in Seattle, we were back in Kelowna by 1 p.m.!

Overall, I had an amazing time on our trip. It was really hard leaving Isla behind, but she did SO good at my mom’s and Kyle’s mom’s. She was at our house with Kyle’s mom when we got home and when she seen us come up the stairs she was completely uninterested in us, lol.

Isla with her Build-a-Bear bunny, which we named Isobella (Bella for short)!

Isla with her Build-a-Bear bunny, which we named Isobella (Bella for short)!

Now that Kyle and I have one trip together under our belts, I’d totally travel long distance with him again. It probably won’t be for a while, but at least we know that we don’t drive each other crazy while on vacation. ;)

Vegas highlights: (In no particular order)
– Drinking anywhere on the Strip! (And booze, if bought at a CVS or Walgreens, is cheap!)
– Dancing on the bar at Coyote Ugly
– Eating at Gordon Ramsay Pub + Grill
– Gambling on Fremont Street
– Riding the NYNY roller coaster.
– Seeing the Titanic exhibit

Vegas Cons:
– Smoking EVERYWHERE. In the casinos with low ceilings, it was brutal.
– Hustlers hawking whatever they could
– Taxi drivers are INSANE drivers. One more than one occasion I thought I was going to die. (This is also probably why cab fares are cheap)
– Bathrooms are hard to come by.

 

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Stuff

Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been up to lately:

– I’m currently reading World War Z. Apparently the movie is a lot different from the book, and I can see why. It’s a good read, and really puts the whole “zombie apocalypse” thing into perspective.

– We went to visit some friends last Wednesday for a birthday. The boys shot guns, the women made jam and picked produce. Hunters & Gatherers what? We ate well, had some laughs, and a had great visit. Daphne stayed with my Dad and Campbell came with us. Isla had fun as well and didn’t have a single meltdown, even with later mealtimes and so much going on.

Bottom two photos borrowed from a friend. And the bear? It resides in the guest bathroom. Startling for middle-of-the-night tinkles.

– We have a bad wasp problem in a tree that’s in front of our house. We have no idea where the nest is, but there are literally HUNDREDS of wasps just hanging out in and around the tree. Our lawn is super long because we don’t want to make the wasps angry with the mower. Kyle sprayed the tree the other night, but there’s still TONS. Uggggh.

– Our friends set a date for their wedding next year! I won’t say when exactly, but it’s in the fall. I’m super stoked for them, because now the planning can really begin!

– I also want to give a shout out to Faith who has finally delivered Baby Frijole into the world! Congratulations to her and her husband, and welcome to parenthood!

– I went and signed up for a yoga class that starts in September. It’s a beginner class, which is wonderful since I’ve never taken a class before, and it’s through the city’s Parks & Recreation guide and not at an actual yoga centre (are they called centres?) Either way, I’m hoping the instructor is kind and understanding and that the other women in the class aren’t pros set out to make newbs look and feel bad about themselves. We’ll see. Also – I have no idea what to wear because all my actual yoga gear is sadly (but obviously) lululemon, and I don’t want to be one of those people. White girl problems, I swear.

That’s all I got. Isla is up from her nap so I better fetch her before she beheads me.

Please tell me something fun and interesting that’s going on in your life.

 

Olive Branches

About little less than a month ago, I found out on Facebook that an old friend of mine was expecting her first child. See, we were BFF’s a few years ago – the kind of friends that Christina Yang and Meredith Grey are on Grey’s Anatomy. But, a couple years ago we kind of drifted apart. She was dating a guy who I thought wasn’t good for her, she didn’t agree, and we slowly stopped talking altogether. About a year or so ago she moved to Edmonton, and we’ve just been silently keeping tabs on each other via Facebook.

On a whim and not really expecting much to come of it, I decided to send her a message on Facebook congratulating her on the arrival of her baby boy. I told her how I was glad to see that she was doing well and how even though I knew we had grown apart that maybe one day we’d get together again. That was my olive branch. I didn’t really expect much of a response other than a, “Thanks,” and left it at that.

Low and behold, I got a message back a couple days later saying “Thanks,” and that she was actually coming to Kamloops for the weekend since her sister was getting married. She agreed that she missed me and now that we have a common denominator in being moms, we could maybe reconnect. She still had my number since it hasn’t changed, and she said she’d text me to meet for coffee during her stay.

When we met for coffee on Monday, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. Would be carry on as if nothing had happened? Would there be awkward silences? Would the past be mentioned and would things just fall apart again? Well, it was almost as if nothing had happened. We carried on in conversation as openly and as freely as we used to – graphic details, funny pokes, laughter and coffee. I met her new beau – who seems like a wonderful guy for her – as well as her little boy (adorable) and her two pups. It was really great to get back together with her.

We both agreed that we were going to try and stay more connected this time around. We really missed each other’s company. We ended our brief coffee date with hugs and warm wishes, her going back north and me heading home to my family.

I’m glad I held out that olive branch a little bit longer. There were many times where I thought I should give stop trying, but at least this one time, it worked out.