...ends up in this blog! *lol* Or, at least, most of it.
Friday, January 7th
(Chocolate fountain at the Bellagio)
My first flight was delayed due to a maintenance issue. Once solved, however, everything ran pretty smoothly. I must say that 5 hours on a plane is not the most exciting thing I've ever done. It made me thankful that I specifically requested NOT traveling on my birthday!
I was greeted at the airport by slot machines, which made me giggle. But, after that, it was a hurry up and wait type situation. (I'm not sure how well you all know me, but I'm not the most patient person...I hate waiting for something to happen!) Our hotel was JUST off the strip, but off enough to SEE the strip and not figure out how to get to it. Besides that, my friend forgot to put me down as her guest, so they didn't let me check in right away. (After about a half hour or so of waiting, it finally dawned on me to try to call her husband and see if he could make the call to let me in.)
Once my friend arrived, we caught the shuttle and headed to the strip. Monte Carlo to the Bellagio to the new Cosmopolitan. After a while I realized I either needed sleep or food, so we tried to find a bite to eat. Not wanting to blow 60 bucks on dinner right out the gate, we finally settled at the upstairs bar at P.F. Chang's. (Laugh all you want, but I have *never* been to a P.F. Chang's and hear so much about it all the time - so I broke my "don't do anything on vacation you can do at home" rule for that reason...and because everywhere was PACKED!).
(At Bellagio gardens decorated with an Asian theme.)
By the end of the night I was in tears from the exhaustion that had set in after missing our shuttle back to the hotel and having to wait an hour for the next one. Since Thursday I had had about 5 hours total of sleep, broken up over 4 attempts. That's not the way to start any vacation.
Saturday, January 8th
My birthday! I woke up and completely forgot I was 30. Andrea kept mentioning it to people in a shameless ploy to get free things (didn't happen), and that was about all that reminded me. I did have one moment where I looked out the bus window and said to myself, "Wow. I'm 30." And that was that. Still, I got to pick whatever we did that day without any questions, other than dinner, which was pre-planned by my friend.
First we caught the shuttle to the Strip, and caught the bus to the Outlet mall. Yep, I was in Vegas for my 30th birthday and all I really wanted to do was shop! *lol* It's quite fun shopping when you aren't sure what will fit and might get a very pleasant surprise (I did, as most of the XXL and XL shirts from Gap and Banana Republic were free game for my shopping delight!). I ended up with an XL shirt from Banana Republic and a XXL shirt from the Gap - both stores I have always wanted to be able to shop in and have never had the opportunity because of my size. I even turned one thing down at BR, not because it didn't fit, but because I didn't like how it was made! I wish I could express the joy and freedom I felt in that moment! (I also got my ring finger resized. On the day I was married in 2002 it was a size 10, now it's a size 8 1/2...the smallest I can ever remember it being since before I was about 14!)
After shopping, we headed back to the hotel to change. We got all fancy, as I was told the restaurant had a dress code (nobody told the dude in the elevator with a pair of jeans and a black button-up *sigh*). Andrea took me to the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower at Paris. A perfect setting, and proof that my friend does know me quite well.
We had the most amazing meal, an authentic French waiter named Pierre, a marvelous view of the Bellagio fountains, and Pierre even sang Happy Birthday to me! It was wonderful!
I have no clue how many calories I consumed that night, but I do know that I savored every bite of my chocolate souffle (shared with Andrea) and lobster quiche appetizer (shared) and my shot of chocolate mousse. The only thing I didn't really share was my veal with vegetables. The BEST veal I've ever tasted, with vegetables much like *I* make at home! *lol*
After dinner, we walked around the Paris casino a bit, and then ended up down on Freemont Street, where a very creepy Elvis didn't know it was his birthday, and then proceeded to grope me while he was singing Happy Birthday. I'm sure he was way more drunk than I was! We ended the evening pretty late...most of Freemont Street was closed down by the time we walked out and caught the bus again! *lol* We headed back to the hotel and I collapsed in bed.
Sunday, January 9th
The day before we had begun to make more solid plans for the week. We decided that Sunday would be the day we'd go to a show...my pick, and I picked Jabbawockeez. We started out the day grabbing our discount tickets and then headed off to explore the strip a tiny bit before returning to the hotel.
A dressy change later and we headed out to the Monte Carlo for the show. ---IT WAS AMAZING!---- Again, if you knew me well, you'd know that I adore dancing. I have shamelessly watched every version of Step Up and Center Stage and Fame and whatever else I can get my hands on. I used to watch SYTYCD religiously. (But, no, I'm not watching DWTS because it's stupid...I want to see people who at least SORTA know what they're doing.) Jabbawockeez have appeared both on America's Next Top Model (another guilty pleasure of mine) and America's Best Dance Crew on MTV. I was always amazed at their ability to convey so much emotion without the use of facial expressions (they wear white masks). They made me laugh and cry in their Mus.I.C. show! Much love to these amazing dancers!
Don't remember if we did much of anything else that night, except I ate part of my Kir Royal Cupcake that night. (Notice I said part...) Oh, we did have sushi at Dragon Noodle Company. It was pretty darn good after they took away the wasabi tainted sushi! *shudders*
(Post-Sephoria going into the Venetian with our sexy gloss! *lol*)
(Beetles Revolution letters have seats in them with red lighting = Cool pics!)
Monday, January 10th
We toured the middle of the strip and walked more than I would have thought on what looks like the tiniest strip of road. Started at Harrah's, did Caesar's, the Venetian, Treasure Island, then headed to get some cheap dinner buffet tickets. (It's Vegas...buffets are a part of the deal, right?! RIGHT?! No, Andrea said the place was awesome, so I took her word for it.)
Buffet dinner at Rio's. About the worst thing I ate was a piece of friend fish and a few small onion rings. I ate too much, yes, but certainly not as much as Andrea who was complaining even the next day about how much she ate. *shrug* I didn't make it all the way through the buffet and stopped when I felt a little past full. I took bites to try and didn't finish anything that didn't taste REALLY good to me. And when I was done, I was done. No regrets. No "you have to roll me out of here" feeling. I didn't beat myself up once about it, especially considering the rest of our meals were reasonable and we'd walked a million miles!
We checked out the (COLD!! and WINDY!!) view at the VooDoo Lounge at Rio before walking to the Palms, where I won 45 bucks on a Wheel of Fortune machine, which felt great since I only put in 20. *big grin* (I win, Vegas! HAHA!) Ended the night with an invite to meat 2 guys for drinks the next night. (*lol* That's Vegas for ya!)
Tuesday, January 11th
We had to get up early in order to catch our LOOOOONG bus ride to the Grand Canyon (with a stop at Hoover Dam along the way). It was surprisingly cold, but Andrea and I complained our way through a somewhat icy 3.8 mile hike around the South Rim of the Canyon. I did learn that I get frustrated at people when they underestimate my fitness abilities, and that anger (a call from Hubs about my PT who is annoying me) drives me to walk in hyper-drive speed! *lol* When we got back to the gift shop to catch our bus, I bought myself an XL green T-Shirt that says "Go Hike a Canyon" on the back. I'll admit it, I have dreams of taking the 4-day hiking trip INTO the Canyon someday. Hike in on day 1, spend 2 days at the bottom, and then hike up the 4th day. Sounds like HEAVEN! They said the hike takes about 6 hours or so on day one and closer to 8-10 on day 4 (it's more difficult coming back up, obviously). Am I crazy to think this sounds like the best way to spend a day EVER?! It's going on my bucket list for SURE! (As for my friend Andrea, she said hiking isn't her thing, and she'd rather take a week-long rafting trip down the Colorado River inside the Canyon. Maybe we'll coordinate and meet at the bottom somewhere! *lol*)
By the time we got back, we were too tired to do much of anything and pretty much crashed after a fight with the Hubs over the guys we met the night before inviting us to dinner the next night. Long story short, Hubs and I resolved our issues (and his jealousy) and I canceled our meeting with them out of respect for his feelings and a feeling of being a little uncomfortable about the whole situation.
Wednesday, January 12th
We FINALLY got adjusted to Vegas time and slept in until like 11am or something! It was AWESOME! *lol* We started the day at Television Studio in MGM where we watched a pilot episode of a new Criminal Minds they're hoping to launch. It was okay, but needs a LOT of development (this coming from a girl that LOVES Criminal Minds!). We got invited to join in a focus group later in the day where they would pay us 50 bucks to give our thoughts on the show. (We missed the check-in time and had to forfeit our spots... *sigh*)
We ate lunch at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay after walking through New York New York, Excalibur, and Luxor, and I enjoyed every last bite of my cheeseburger and fries, yes I did! *lol* We ended up going back to the hotel to change in order to finally take in some Vegas nightlife. (We figured since we slept in that day, it was the perfect time to stay up a little late!) We bar hopped from the Rockhouse club (with girls on tire swings!) at Imperial Palace to the Carnavale Bar outside Harrah's (where I danced and Zumbaed a little! *lol*) and then finally ended up closing the Dueling Pianos bar inside Harrah's. It was great. I drank WAY too much, and had a wonderful night! We ended the night at Paris in order to catch a cab back to the hotel.
Thursday, January 13th
I spent the day attempting to flush Vegas out of my system and pretty ready to go home. Andrea's husband and 2 friends came in this day, so I spent much of the evening feeling like a 5th wheel (not their fault at all). I didn't want to drink after the night before, so that meant sitting in The Pub at the Monte Carlo for a couple hours downing glass after glass of water. Later we searched high and low for a place to eat with a wait time of under an hour before getting immediate seating at the Border Grill in Mandalay Bay. They had some pretty good food, but I must admit, I was so ready to come home!! I missed my boys and I knew they had missed me too.
Ethan's Quote from Wednesday: "Tomorrow will be a good day."
Shane: "Why's that?"
Ethan: "Because then I can say, 'Mom comes home tomorrow!'"
We did end the night at the Mandalay Bay casino where I got another progressive jackpot (2 actually) on a Wheel of Fortune game. (Man, those things love me!) I put in 20 bucks and got 145 back! (Then tried to win again with the same 20 bucks and lost it! *lol*) It was nice to come out ahead on my last night though, and my jaw actually dropped when it said I won 110 when the two progressive jackpots were combined! I had to call Hubs immediately and tell him what happened...and he immediately told me to put that money away and not touch the machines again! *lol* (I didn't. Instead I talked to a guy at the craps table who spent the better part of an hour teaching me how to play the game. Confusing, but the best odds in Vegas, so I hear! Must learn for the return trip!)
Friday, January 14th
Believe it or not, my flights went smoothly all the way home. I actually got in 10 minutes or so early! My boys picked me up and we went to IHop for dinner before I headed home, had some special time with Hubs and then crashed in my warm bed.
Saturday, January 15th
I planned an evening with friends. I was hoping for about 12 - I got 4. But they were the best 4 to have, plus Hubs and me, and we really enjoyed our meal at the Hibachi's Japanese Steakhouse. We tried to hit a bar after that, but the waiter refused to wait on us, so we bounced and I took the 1 remaining friend to "Mini-Vegas"....in other words, to the Resort and Casino that's just outside of Charleston, but none of us had ever been to! *lol* I lost another 20 bucks, and my friend won 2. *lol* All in all, a good birthday celebration. Followed that at home with a beer and a half (and then 2 cups of coffee) with the Hubs while playing Guitar Hero and enjoying some alone time before the boys came home the next day.
So, there it is...my Vegas recap.
I walked A LOT!
I walked more than a 5k at the Grand Canyon (in icy conditions!).
I drank a little too much, but not every day.
I ate reasonably most of the time, but indulged other times.
When I did indulge, I ate a part of things. I had 2 cupcakes...but it took me 4 days to eat them.
And when I got back, the bloat caused a 4 pound gain, which, by Monday, was gone and I was back to about where I was before I left.
That being said, even while I didn't lose any weight, per se, while I was gone...I've been told by no less than 4 people in the past few days that I lost weight on this trip. My clothes fit better than they did before I left, so I believe them. (I've got some clothes that need to be given away now...there's no way I can keep flashing people like this! *lol*)
So, of my Vegas vacation -- I'm not ashamed of a single thing.
** I uploaded pics from the first part of the week, but just realized my computer didn't download over 530 pics from the trip. I'll post another blog with pics of the rest of the trip, so as to not overload you. Plus, I'm trying to upload mostly pics that I'm in so it means a little more than just "here's a pic of the strip" that you can get via Google.