And now, I will introduce you to all of the wondrous things I did hopping around a desert city.
I got in a day early to save money on my flight and went straight from the airport to drinking pear martinis in one of the Flamingo’s bars – Center Cut Steakhouse, get the pear martini – to dancing on a fountain outside with everyone else who had come a day early. It was comforting to have this kind of on-ramp to the weekend, and also to form some early bonds before ALL the socializing started.
The next morning my Wednesday roomies (Jen, Anna, and Lauren) and I hopped over to have breakfast at Bouchon in the Venetian, which is absolutely 100% worth how difficult it is to find. We were lucky enough to snag an outside table, and the food, view, and company were all excellent. There was nutella, and awesome people to share it with, which is pretty much all I need. After breakfast, we went back to the Flamingo to officially check in to our event. During the course of the day there, I may or may not have instigated a discussion on equine pornography that stuck with us all weekend. You can actually blame my boyfriend for it. Also, see what I did there? I used the big words so it doesn’t sound as horrifying. Clever girl, I am. People flitted in and out all day, and it was an awesome spot to chill and get to know people and say hello and such. When check in time rolled around, I got to head up to my room, be blown away by how cool it was, and wait for Alana’s arrival in a few short hours. Did I mention be blown away by the awesome? Because it WAS. Here’s the view:
Later Thursday night, one of the hotel restaurants, Carlos and Charlies, hosted a welcome mixer for us (full of quesadillas and margaritas, two things I approve of in a major way). We played a neat little game where we had to give everyone a business card that belonged to them (thanks for these, 4×6!), so we at least got to meet every person once. After that, and after quickly snagging another pear martini, we popped over to Serendipity 3 across the street for an ice cream bar and little shots of their frozen hot chocolate – delicious, though i was already a little sugared out from the margaritas. The real question of the evening was where the dancing was going to happen, and that ended up being Margaritaville, which I think was attached to our hotel in some fashion but I never quite figured out how. Although I was mildly disappointed that it was apparently 80s night (I can only take so much journey and bon Jovi), the dj snuck some awesome freestyle and early 90s dance (think jock jams) and I was a happy little camper. There was actually a point where we formed a giant circle and random strangers were coming in to dance in OUR circle – this qualifies as one of the many baller moments of the weekend.
The next day was POOL DAY! Guys, the pool. It is huge, serves strong tasty drinks, and has waterfalls and a little grotto. Also, we had reserved daybeds which was super baller (another “i am so goddamn fancy” moment). I spent the whole day swimming, lounging, drinking, dancing (yes, dancing, in a bathing suit, in front of not only our group but also a whole pool full of plastic perfect people. I know, I don’t know myself either. IDGAF!)
After grabbing some dinner, I got to see the Bellagio fountains! The song was “Proud to be an American” which is not exactly my jam nor did I think it made for a great show butttt they were still super impressive. Next activity was Zumanity, which is apparently the erotic Cirque show – well, I mean, NO, not apparently, it IS. Funny story, I did not know the nature of the show until the day before I left. Basically, I was spouting around at work that I was seeing it and then someone who knows it made eyes at me, and I got schooled. I loved it – it was well done, like all cirque shows I’ve seen, super funny, and pretty damn hot. Recommend for sure.
Dancing for that night was at Diablo, which had the slipperiest dance floor I’ve ever experienced and why yes, I did fall right on my ass IN FLIP FLOPS. I was wiped this night, and though the music and crowd were great, alcohol just wasn’t working (lesson: I cannot drink all day and all night. I must pick one), I was ready to drop, and I needed to head back. I think this was the only night I got even close to a full night of sleep. Also, I missed out on pulled pork nacho waffle fry things with Sara and Alana, but never fear, dear reader. One does not hear about those and then NOT experience them.
The next day we split out into smaller groups to do our own thing, so I went with Alberto, Alana, and Jen to ride the roller coaster at NYNY, which was uberfun! I love coasters and haven’t ridden one in forever, and seeing the strip/desert from up that high is crazy cool. We played around in the attached Coney Island Arcade (read: I played fruit ninja in a GIANT SCREEN and we all played each other in some pac-man battle where I ate Alberto twice.) Next up, using a discount to head over to the Minus 5 ice bar at the Monte Carlo. Which is really cool – see what I did there? Ice bar? Cool? Eh? Dinner was another buffet at Planet Hollywood and I thought it was amazing, especially this mushroom ragout that I couldn’t stop shoving in my face. Basically I ate half a plate of mushrooms and the rest was lamb stuffed tomatoes, beef, and hummus -I am 100% ok with all of this.
Then it was time for the Mad Men party, the much-touted highlight of the weekend. I won’t lie, this was my insecure moment. Everyone looked so gorgeous and era appropriate and I felt like a dud. I am pretty bad at dresses and being a traditional girl and playing costume party. I changed my outfit, and tried to pump myself up. This was about to become NOT HARD, because then we bypassed the line for Chateau, got escorted to our banquettes and roped off area, sat down and got served our bottles, and noticed the Eiffel Tower looming over us and the Bellagio fountains across the street – oh, did I mention this was all outside on a beautiful terrace? Right, so, after that I let my insecurities fly off with the wind, and it was all beyond amazing. There were many moments that happened – definitely the “we are so fancy” moment, definitely the “this weekend has been mind blowingly amazing” moment, and also definitely found my new dance partner (HI TREAVOR) because we gel on the dance floor in a way that I have not experienced often.
We reconvened at the hotel for pulled pork nacho waffle fry things (see, I told you, I’d get them eventually), and I chilled out with Grace and Lauren and had girl talk confessional time. I relocated to the outside patio with Treavor, Alberto, Lauren, Brad, Grace – and you know, I want to insert more people, but I can’t remember if they were really there. We just sat around like you do at the end of a night out with your friends, except hi, three days ago I didn’t know ANY OF THESE PEOPLE offline at all. This is a pretty incredible transformation, you know?
I actually had a redeye back home on Sunday night, so I spent most of Sunday with Treavor and Anna – we met up with a large group to go to In’N’Out, and this was my FIRST In’N’Out, and it was mega exciting. I still have the hat and I wear it at work. Also, I don’t even know how I waited so long to do this, but I finally got to talking to Tiff and Nick who make my entire life, and were trying really hard to help me plot missing my flight that night. Nick even CALLED JETBLUE for me to try to work this out. In the end, I wasn’t willing to take a $400 risk on it (sad face). I killed the rest of the afternoon on some couches with Treavor and Anna, having, you know, those conversations that you do when you’ve become insta-friends. We met up with Nicole and Doni for the cheese plate to end all other cheese plates at Otto over in the Venetian – just so you know, everyone, there is ALSO an Otto in New York and I will take you there when you come visit me, for a cheese plate. Incentive!
I sadly made my way to the airport and tried to process being alone with my thoughts after a weekend of such intensity and sparkly joy. I failed a lot at this, because I kept hallucinating that the flight attendant was actually talking about all of us and/or singing dance music, when really she was just giving the safety demonstration. I might have been exhausted. Just a tad.
After writing this, I have another feelings post in the works, but in short, the entire experience was amazing. It exceeded my expectations in nearly every way, and I am signing up to go again next year without thinking twice. Thank you, Nicole, and thank you, EVERYONE. So much.