Cheap dates in Boston? Yes. Saturday, Sep 5 2009 

Jason and I had a quite unusual but really fun night last night.  Best of all, we spent almost nothing!

After work, we took the T to Central Square in Cambridge and walked to Union Square in Somerville.  It’s a little over a mile.  Halfway, we stopped in Inman Square for sandwiches at All-Star Sandwich Bar.

Then in Union, we made it to the main event: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in Smellovision.

It was way more than just a movie on a screen. Scents were fanned out based on what was happening in the movie!  Oompa Loompas would walk by with giant fans dusted with cocoa powder or pixie stick dust, and it was lovely.

Best of all, everybody who snagged a seat (we made it JUST in time!) got a bag filled with candy.  The Willy Wonka-dressed woman at the front would hold up signs saying, “Eat the lollipop!” and “Eat a chocolate bar!” when they corresponded with the scenes on-screen.  We also blew bubbles during the bubble scene and pulled those exploding popper things at the end.

(Side note: this movie SO could not get made today. Jason and I alternatively winced and laughed hysterically at the numerous pedophily moments!)

After that, we meandered slowly up to Harvard, stopping in a field to look at the stars.

Harvard was our final destination because b. good — an awesome, healthier fast food chain — was having a party!  And with that party, they were featuring FREE BURGERS from midnight until 2:00 AM!

So good.  So, so good.

My favorite part, however, was that the party had a DJ — and he was playing my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE genre of music, 1995ish hip-hop and R&B!  I love it because that’s when I was 10 and started listening to music and discovered Jam’n 94.5. The first song he played was Adina Howard’s Freak Like Me. LOVED IT.

After that, we went across the street to Herrell’s Ice Cream — but realized that neither of us wanted to eat a whole cone.  We each got a free sample and were good to go.

A fun, event-filled night for less than $10.  The only thing we spent money on was the sandwiches at the beginning of the night.  That was IT.  I can tell we’ll be doing more of this in the future!

How to save and have fun in Boston:

  • Visit sites like going.com (by FAR the best!), Yelp and Boston.com events to find out what’s going on.
  • Get half-priced tickets at Gold Star Events and subscribe to Groupon for one huge coupon every day.
  • Don’t avoid neighborhoods if you live downtown — Cambridge and Somerville, particularly Somerville, have quirky residents and quirky events…many of them free.
  • Honestly, ditch the alcohol and get cheap food.  That’s what will always save you the most.
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What Actually Happened in Vegas Sunday, Mar 29 2009 

The inspiration for this entry comes from a quote that Lisa said at dinner last night:

“He swung at Grant and Grant punched him three times in the face and Grant and Alexa ran and hid and you went to to the IP and Beth and I were dancing with Mormons!”

Vegas.  In a nutshell.  That sums up that night so well.

That night was so crazy, we hadn’t really figured out exactly what went down until last night.  Alexa and Grant, who live in DC, flew up to Boston for the Duke game, so we grabbed dinner at Not Your Average Joe’s.  This was the first time that the five of us had hung out together since the Vegas trip.

Here’s what happened that night:

We went to XS, the brand-new nightclub at the Encore (we were there for its second weekend open!).  I think I’d go so far to say that it’s my favorite club in Vegas.  Just gorgeous.

Here are the five of us after quite a bit of dancing:

Here’s the video of us (which NEVER gets old!):

And now, the trouble:

There was a weird guy at the club who wanted to get with one of us — we weren’t really sure which one.  He tried to move in on us and Grant told him to back off.

That’s the guy on the left.

After that, the guy did the weirdest thing.  He stepped back, and from about 10 feet away, just STARED at the back of Grant’s head with an intense expression in his eyes.  He didn’t move for at least 30 seconds.

I started to freak out.

And then, apparently after I left the club and Lisa and Beth were dancing with Mormons (who weren’t drinking and made comments about a “hotbed of sin”), the guy took a swing at Grant.

He missed.

Grant punched him three times in the face.

Security kicked the other guy out!!!  They must have seen the first attempted punch.

And THAT is how you end a night in Vegas.  Well, I kid, I kid.  That’s way too early for a night to end in Vegas.  We ended up staying up all night before jumping on a 7:30 AM flight back to Boston.

U2 in Somerville Thursday, Mar 12 2009 

What do you do when you can’t get tickets to the hottest event in Boston?

If you live for adventures, you don’t let that fact get in your way.

U2 just finished a three-concert tour across the United States.  There were stops in Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston.  All the concerts were super-exclusive, invitation-only and in small venues.

And they came to the SOMERVILLE THEATER.

The Somerville Theater in DAVIS SQUARE.  The  theater where I almost had beer spilled onto me during Pineapple Express.  The theater that’s home to the Museum of Bad Art.  The theater where I saw The Slutcracker.

U2!!!

Well, this was the most buzzed-about event to come to Boston in a few months, and the biggest thing to happen to Davis Square — my old neighborhood before I moved to the Back Bay — in YEARS.

Ten thousand people were expected in Davis, so I called Beth (who is a HUGE U2 fan) and we headed up to Davis to hang out outside in the hopes of getting a glimpse of the band.

It was crazy down there!

Ticket holders had to meet up in Assembly Square before they were bussed in.  Talk about exclusivity!

A local office gets into the spirit!

Lisa eventually arrived close to the end of the concert.

We were standing behind the theater because you can always hear concerts from back there.  We couldn’t really hear the music that well, but I downloaded the AOL Radio application so we could listen through Mix 98.5.

They played five songs — “Get On Your Boots,” “Magnificent,” “Breathe,” “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” and “Vertigo” — and then had a Q&A with the audience.

So we waited.  And waited.

It got to be really cold, but it was worth it —

because U2 came out to see the fans after the concert!!!!!  AND I GOT TO TOUCH 3/4 OF THEM.

First, the Edge!

I GOT A WHOLE HANDFUL OF HIS HAND.

Then, Adam Clayton:

Again, I got his hand!

And then…

BONO!!!!!!!

I touched his arm through his jacket…no skin-on-skin, hand-in-hand contact this time, but still!  It’s BONO!!!  Beth got Bono’s hand and she was nearly hyperventilating in happiness.

What a night!

I also have to say that I was so glad I was there with Lisa and Beth.  We always have a blast, no matter what we’re doing, and this was no exception.  Lisa is always great at toeing the line between idolizing and heckling, which she did with Channel 5 and security in particular.  🙂

Also, a few of our friends and family members saw us on television that night!

During times like these, I love my city SO much.

Vegas: Debauchery is a Mild Word Sunday, Jan 25 2009 

Vegas was absolutely amazing.  This trip totally blew the last trip out of the water.

I could go on for days, but at least a few things need to stay in Vegas.

The highlights:

  • Four hours of sleep a night, supplemented by far too much Red Bull.

  • Meeting people you become best friends with for a few hours, then tastefully ignoring them when you run into them the next day.

  • Never paying cover.  EVER.  Never waiting in line.  EVER.

  • Comped dinner and subsequent partying at Tao.  Love my Tao guy!

  • Eating things you’d never eat at home, like fish with a head on it and sweetbreads.

  • Getting dressed up in designer dresses, black sparkly eyeshadow and fake eyelashes and not being overdressed.

  • Meeting characters at buffets.

  • Hanging out in the casino until 5:30 AM, not even gambling, your fake eyelashes now a moustache.

  • Molesting the statues at Madame Tussaud’s.  (Then, karma: getting molested on stage by the Chippendales in front of everyone.)

  • Also: here’s the one thing in Vegas to NEVER, EVER do.  DO NOT GO INTO THE HAUNTED HOUSE AT MADAME TUSSAUD’S.  PEOPLE JUMP OUT AT YOU AND IT’S SO SCARY.  Lisa was in the fetal position afterward.  Beth and I were in similar states.

  • Getting pulled into VIP booths at Tryst all night.

  • Drinking giant drinks just because you can.

  • FINALLY trying In-N-Out Burger!!!

  • The odd celebrity sighting; also, magnificent chi-chis.  Ice-T and Coco!!!!!!!

  • Getting to spend time with your best friends from high school: The Brood.

  • Never going to bed your last night there.

  • Making friends with bachelor parties.

  • The best part: here’s what we did on Saturday night.  After Chippendales and primping, we headed over to the Bank nightclub at the Bellagio.  We walk past a line of people who have been waiting for hours and walk right in, no cover or anything.  We hang out at the club for 20 minutes, decide it’s lame, then decide to head to Pure at Caesars Palace.  Again, we walk past a line of people who have been waiting for hours; again, we walk right in, no cover.  Later, our host feeds us shots at the bar.  The day before, we do the same thing with an all-you-can-drink party for ladies at Jet, then we head to Tryst.

And so much more that I can’t publicize.

We’re going back in June.  😀

Top 25 Photos of 2008 Saturday, Jan 3 2009 

Here are the 25 best, weirdest and funniest photos of 2008 — the ones that I think best represent the year.  God, this has been a cruisazy year.  Enjoy!

Arrival in Albuquerque, New Mexico!

I had a really difficult winter, mostly due to a rocky relationship, a bad breakup and being unable to shake a cold for two months.  My mom invited me to come to New Mexico with her and it was EXACTLY what I needed.  It was a time to heal.

I loved the color of this car.

Callie and I attempt to smile with our eyes, Tyra Banks-style, while at Ned Devine’s.

Lisa and I celebrate our Irish heritage in the form of Guinness, Jameson and Bailey’s on St. Paddy’s Day.

I quit my job of nearly two years!!  Here I am on my last day with my wonderful friends Jackie, Nadine, Esther and Michelle.

The weekend before I start my new job, I meet Josh.

This is the start of a crazy friendship and the first of our many, many adventures.

While out in Faneuil Hall, I befriend a bachelor party and end up jumping on their bus with them, partying till dawn.

In Las Vegas at Madame Tussaud’s, Lisa, Alexa and I give Hef a good time!

I then get stuck inside Frank Sinatra.

Ever sat in a guy in a wheelchair’s lap as he spins you around on the dance floor?  I now have.  This was also at Tryst.

This is probably my favorite picture of the year.  It’s definitely the funniest.  This is me and Lisa in Vegas at 7:00 AM after leaving Drai’s and walking back to TI while high-fiving random onlookers and yelling, “Vegas!” then going to play Blackjack for a few more hours.  This is around the time Lisa lay in the alley next to the IP.

Yeah…no explanation needed.

I spoon Beth (under the tarp) on the Esplanade in Boston on the Fourth of July.  It rained for part of the day.

Beth tries to help me discreetly change from shorts into pants on the Esplanade as Janelle looks on.  Yeah, we kind of failed at the “discreet” part.

If you’re napping, you might as well keep up the patriotism and the pimpin’.

This picture is so embarrassing.  I was convinced my hand was on his left outer thigh, NOT HIS RIGHT INNER THIGH.  I nearly died when I saw this — and Lisa, Beth and Janelle nearly died of laughter.  We met this guy at the Blackthorne in Southie and he went to our high school 15 years before us.

I reunite with my wonderful college roommate Kelly Anne at our friends Sean and Shannon‘s barbecue at their beautiful new house in Bridgeport.  (Sean and Shannon have since gotten engaged, which excites me to no end!)

The night before our shared birthday, I run into Hans at Mantra in Boston.  We’re smiling pretty big despite our disastrous weekend a week before.

Me and my lubly Sars on my birthday at 28 Degrees.

Me and my wonderful friends on my birthday.  These are some of the people most important to me: Kara, Carissa, Surina, Sars, Josh, Callie, Lisa and Beth.

I attend Barack Obama’s September rally in Manchester, New Hampshire — what an amazing experience!

I needed a popular, smart, topical and preferably political, yet not overdone (aka Sarah Palin), Halloween costume this year.  I fretted that I wouldn’t be able to find a good one — and then the PERFECT character swept into the news and into my life.  Ashley Todd.  One of my best costumes.

My first night in Buenos Aires and I’m getting licked!  Maxi unsuspectingly gets me when I was expecting a normal, smiling picture.  That’s a genuine expression of shock on my face.

Poor Louis…in Buenos Aires, food poisoning and parilla do not mix.

Carissa and I get borderline violent at Shabu Shabu Kaze in Chinatown.

Beth and I celebrate the arrival of 2009.

The Most Argentine Night Ever Friday, Dec 19 2008 

My Sunday night in Buenos Aires was probably the most quintessentially Argentine night of my trip, and it was one of the best nights there.

Because of that, I’m only going to blog about this night in depth.  I’ll skim over everything else lightly.

After a morning (well, in Buenos Aires, the morning begins at noon) shopping and enjoying the market in Plaza Serrano in Palermo Viejo, right down the street from my house.  Later that evening, I hopped down to San Telmo to go see a band called Rosal perform at Bar el Nacional.

Rosal was FANTASTIC.  Two (or three) acoustic guitars, and I LOVE multiple acoustic guitars, and the girl had a wonderful voice.  Here they are:

Louis, my Couchsurfing friend from Chicago, found out about the band and invited us.  Christian, our Couchsurfing friend from Los Angeles, came as well.

Christian (check out his blog, Aimless Wanderers) is traveling around South America for nearly a year.  He had spent time in Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, and is planning to spend more time in Argentina, then Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and I believe Costa Rica, then heading home.

Louis was in Argentina for about a month — he just got back.  He rented a pretty amazing apartment in Palermo SoHo (oh, yeah — and this is weird, but YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF THE BUILDING without a key!!!  FIRE HAZARD!!!) for two weeks, then went down to Bariloche and up to Iguazu Falls before returning to Buenos Aires, then home.

I love these guys.  🙂

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ños there, and that was perfect.

After that, we walked around and decided to go to a parrilla — pronounced pa-REE-sha by Argentines — and sample some legendary steaks.

And wow, was that ever a meal.

We started out with sausages — Christian looks eager to dig in — salads and prosciutto.

And some FANTASTIC papas fritas!

Poor Louis was fighting off a bout of food poisoning.  He ate as much as he could — it was all about the experience, he said.

Christian, on the other hand, spent most of the meal like this.

I believe that’s Christian’s pork.  Some of the steaks are so tender, they CARVE them with a SPOON.

Our delicious spread.  That’s my filet in the front.  (Yeah, the vegetarianism kind of went out the window in the name of experiencing Buenos Aires to the fullest.)  What I love — that was one of the most expensive cuts on the menu, and it cost about $15.00.

Self-portrait!  Christian’s got a better one…

We also enjoyed a bottle of Malbec.  It was lovely.

Awww.  Poor Louis.  I felt so bad for him…he wanted to enjoy the food so much…

After dinner, I grabbed a cab back to Palermo Viejo.  (30-minute cab — $10.00.  Love it.)  And sadly, I had to say goodbye to Louis, who was leaving for Bariloche.  Christian and I made plans to meet up the next day.

After getting back to the hostel, a group of backpackers, including Sarah from Boston (she used to live in Southie!) decided to go out.  I thought we were going to a club.

We ended up at a tango milonga!

Now, this is the most fascinating people-watching I have ever seen.  Dozens of couples fill the dance floor.  The men are in jeans and button-downs of all levels of style.  The women wear everything from leggings to short denim skirts to casual dresses — but all of them wear gorgeous tango shoes.

Everyone dances perfectly, intricately, not missing a beat.

The most fascinating thing is that everybody who dances like this appears to be so passionately connected, so deeply in love.  And then, often, they switch partners.  And it begins all over again.

What a great night — it was truly unforgettable.

It’s ironic, though, that I glorify this particular night, considering that I missed the ONE thing I hoped not to miss and tried not to miss, but missed anyway.

Hmm.  How do I put this?

Of all the lessons I learned from my college creative writing advisor, Dr. White, one stands out the most: “Just because it happened that way, it doesn’t mean it makes good fiction.”

But sometimes, the opposite happens.

Things happen to you in life that you don’t expect.  Things that hurt badly.  But you know what?  This experience would make FANTASTIC fiction.

And I lived that.

God, that’s pretty fucking poetic.

Stories like this are why I need to stop drinking. Monday, Dec 15 2008 

This story is so weird…

Well, yesterday, my friend Josh and I went to go see The Slutcracker in Somerville.  It’s a burlesque version of The Nutcracker, and it was fantastic.  It used the same music, but had a different, much more sexual storyline.

Here are just a few tidbits:

  • Drosselmeyer is an eccentric old lady, and instead of a nutcracker, she gives Clara a dildo.
  • Instead of a Christmas tree growing, a giant red-and-white-striped peen appears.  Predictably, Clara licks it nonstop, and it then shoots snow out of it.
  • The Russian dance is done by three dominatrices with whips.
  • There is an AWESOME pole dance.
  • The pasties!  The pasties!

After the show, we had some Indian food and martinis at Diva (the show was in my former ‘hood of Davis Square in Somerville), then grabbed one of those beer-slash-energy drinks from the liquor store (AND some beef jerky — goodbye, vegetarianism for us both!), then hopped on the T to go back downtown.

We went to one of my favorite bars in the world, and due to the nature of this story, I won’t be revealing the name of it…but if you live in Boston or know me well, you can probably guess.

At the bar, which is hopping on Sundays, we each grabbed a frozen Bellini and hung out.  Before long, one of the bartenders came up to us and asked us how we were, started chatting.  We talked for a few minutes and he went back to the bar.  Josh and I looked at each other.

“Do you know him?” I asked.

“No.  That was kind of weird — he acted like we were friends.”

“I know!”

After a bit, I went up to get the second round.  I ordered them from the same bartender who came to chat us up earlier.  Expecting to pay well over 10 bucks a pop, I took out my wallet.

“No, it’s all set,” he said with a grin.

“Really?” I was dumbfounded.

“Yeah.  Enjoy them.”

I tipped him and went back to Josh.  “Um, he gave these to us for free!” I crowed.  “I LOVE free drinks!  How awesome is that?”

“That was your cue to introduce yourself,” Josh chided me.  “He’s straight.”

“Are you kidding me?” At that bar, most of the bartenders are gay.  And hott.  But gay.

“No.”  Josh nodded at the guy.  “That guy’s definitely straight.”

Well, after that, we drank our Bellinis a bit faster than usual.  I then went up to the bar again.

“Two more, please,” I said to my bartender with a smile.  “I’m Kate, by the way.”

“I know,” he said.  “We danced together for about three hours at [our mutual friend]’s birthday party.”

I NEARLY DIED RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

Yes, I remembered this guy.  And maybe it wasn’t for three hours, but boy, did I do a lot of dancing with him at a club downtown.  And yes, I was hammered out of my mind that night.  I don’t usually get that bad, but that night, I had been on a date and had gone through a lot of wine before even arriving at the party.  The birthday became as muddled as the mojitos we were drinking — one of my very few blackout nights of recent memory.

Oh, God — yes, I remembered this guy.

You think that that would be enough of a lesson to stop drinking then and there.  Well, I was with JOSH.  Do you know what happens when I go out with Josh?

Here are three typical nights out for me and Josh:

  • The first time I meet him (the weekend before I started at my current job, where he also works), I go to a party in Jamaica Plain expecting to have one drink and drive home.  I end up playing (and winning) Beirut with him for hours before passing out in a recliner, bag of chips on my lap.  I wake up next to Josh on the couch with a giant picture of my ex’s naked centerfold in Playgirl (seriously) on the laptop.  In a house full of lesbians.
  • After deciding to go out for a veggie burger in the Back Bay, we end up drinking for hours, picking up college students and then getting lost in Beacon Hill looking for John Kerry’s house so we can play Ding Dong Ditch on his door.  Thankfully, we’re too drunk to find Louisburg Square and instead go to another bar, getting a pitcher of Sunset Wheat for each of us.
  • When taking out a new coworker for dinner, we end up hopping from bar to bar to bar…and out until 4:00 AM.  On a Tuesday.  On his first week in the office.  On an earlier date, we take out a visiting coworker from our UK office, end up having two oysters and three martinis each for dinner, and I end up inviting the whole bar to “the after-party” at my Somerville apartment.  Nobody came, thank God.

Combine that with free drinks from the bartender all night, and even some free food, and you have a recipe for disaster.  Yep, before long, Josh and I have had six Bellinis — EACH.  I’m chatting up the whole bar and telling stories that would make the cast of The Slutcracker blush.

And even after all that, I get a text message from the bartender late that night, telling me he’ll call me tomorrow.  (Apparently, I put myself in his phone as “Kate McIS SO HOT”.)

And he called me just now.  According to the context of the conversation, we made plans last night to hang out today…yeah, I have no recollection of that.  I told him that I couldn’t believe that he wanted to talk to me, ever, considering that the two times I’ve seen him, I’ve been shitfaced and making an ass out of myself.

But he didn’t care.  He doesn’t care at all.  He wants us to hang out.

The moral of this story is pretty obvious…STOP DRINKING, KATE.  Stop drinking to the point of blacking out.  Stop trying to match Josh drink for drink — he’s a guy, and that’s a contest you can’t win.  Free drinks do not equal a challenge.  Especially when alcoholism and addiction run in your family.

My company party is Friday (Lord, help us all), and I plan to go easy on the drinks there.  It won’t be easy — the venue has FABULOUS cocktails and there will be an open bar.  But it will probably be more entertaining to watch everybody else, and God knows that that’s probably what I need the most right now.

A Buenos Aires Thanksgiving Saturday, Dec 13 2008 

I’ve done Thanksgiving in a few different places — Florida was nice; Florence was AWESOME — but my Thanksgiving in Buenos Aires ranks among the greatest of all time.

Buenos Aires has a great group of Couchsurfers, and two of them, Romi and Belle, put together a great gathering at Romi’s house — which happened to be right in Palermo Viejo, a quick walk from my hostel.  The BA Couchsurfing group always has events going on.

We had dinner, everyone was SO warm and welcoming, I made friends from Argentina, Ecuador, Sweden, Colombia and all over the US (there were three Americans in our group!), we hung out for a while, and we went to a club (at 4:30, which I WISH you could do in Boston!!).

Here are the best pictures:

Andres (Ecuador), Louis (Chicago), Jorge (Colombia), Maxi (Buenos Aires) and Romi’s dog!

Christian (LA), a sunburned Kails and Belle (Buenos Aires)

The beginning of odd pictures with Maxi.

I LOVE THIS PICTURE.  Seaman (Sweden), Belle, me, cruisazy Christian and Romi (Buenos Aires) — I think Romi looks just like Lily Allen.

Seaman, Fanny (France) and Elia (California).

Yeah, I don’t even know…I thought we were taking a normal picture!!!  (I do love this guy.  So crazy.)

Club time!

What a great night.  This evening is testament enough to why you should sign up for couchsurfing, no matter where you’re headed on your next trip!

VEGAS! Day Five: Farewell, Vegas Monday, Jul 28 2008 

FINALLY, I’m up to my final Vegas entry!  Lisa and I left in the early afternoon, so there isn’t much in terms of pictures, but we had time for a few more things.

Like one last gambling session.  One last flirtation (with the hott manager of the TI buffet).  One last guy asking me if I was European.  (That is actually happening quite often lately!  In the past month, three people have asked me if I’m Greek!)

The buffet at TI is awesome — we liked it even better than Le Village.  This place goes crazy with desserts, and even though I’m not much of a dessert person, I loved the homemade donuts!

We came across the oxygen bar.  Well, did we need it?

Jet lag?  Check.

Stress? Check.

Sinus?  Check.

Fatigue?  Check.

Headaches?  Check.

Hangovers?  Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeck.

Well, it cost $15.00 and it really wasn’t worth it, but I will say this — before I went in, I felt a bit queasy (despite only having one drink the night before), and after I was done, I felt hungry for the first time in a long time.  Maybe it does help with hangovers.

Lisa gets oxygenated.

I get oxygenated.

Hell, why not?  One last inappropriate picture with Tiger Woods at Logan!

I went to bed at 2:00 AM that night and went to work the next day.  I actually had a good workday.  The day after that, however, I was walking to the T on the way to work and I suddenly felt nauseated — and I then vomited into the bushes.

I think it was the Vegas toxins still in me.  They had yet to come out.

Yeah, you really need a day to recover after Vegas.

To conclude, Vegas was FANTASTIC.  I couldn’t have asked for a better time.  It wasn’t a perfect trip, but it was pretty damn close.

I love traveling, but I don’t always connect with the places that I visit.  I went to New Mexico in February, and I went to the Cape for the first time this past weekend, and though I had a great time in both places, I didn’t really connect with them, despite thinking that I would LOVE them.  Both places are beautiful in their own ways and have so many wonderful things about them, but neither of them are really my scene.  (See, Hans, I told you I wouldn’t write about this weekend — and there I go!)  Both places seemed SO far from a decent city.  And the Cape’s not even rural!  I just NEED a city!  I CRAVE a city!  I freak out when I’m outside a city for too long!  I need to know that I can walk down the street to sushi or Starbucks!

Now, Vegas?  THAT IS MY MOTHERFUCKING SCENE.  The late nights, the parties, the delicious heat, the extravagance, the debauchery, the lack of rules — THAT is the kind of place I like!

God, I can’t wait to move to the Back Bay in a month.  I am SO excited.

Now, here’s the best part — I’m going back to Vegas in January!!  This time, a bunch of my friends and I are going.  It’s going to be crazy.  I’m already dreaming about returning to Tryst.

VEGAS! Day Four/Night Four: Recovery, Exploration, CHIPPENDALES!! Sunday, Jul 27 2008 

When I last left off, Lisa and I had just finished one of the party-heaviest nights of our lives.  Combine that with a mere four hours of sleep for me (and less for Lisa, who actually went back for more blackjack!) and you have the recipe for a very low-key day.

We decided to just walk around the Strip and see some of the things that we hadn’t seen yet.

This is the escalator at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.  It’s not fun with a hangover.

The fountains at the shops.

The shops were cool — very high-end with lots at which to ogle — but we kept taking breaks because we felt so tired from the night before.

Lisa is the Brutus to my Caesar.

Posing in front of the world-famous IP!!!!  We finally made it inside!

And posing outside the M&M Factory.

MEN IN KILTS at Mandalay Bay!  We had to get a pic.

Afterward, Lisa and I met up with Alexa for dinner at the Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay.  I had a veggie burger with pepper jack, avocado and asparagus.  Despite being too sick to eat anything all day, I ate a ton of it — it was so good.  (Would not recommend the zucchini fries, though, unless you like huge battered slabs of zucchini.  The sweet potato fries Lisa got were good.)

CHIPPENDALES!

The show was SO much fun, and quite unexpected, as well.  I was surprised how dirty they got.  Let it be known that if you get called up to be on stage (and believe me, I tried like it was my JOB), you will have guys feeling you up like crazy, as well as making you feel them up.

They faked one girl out into thinking that she had to put a condom on a guy (and it got CLOSE!) then at the last moment, had her do it on a banana instead.

I swear on all that is sacred and holy that the blond one in the top left of the picture kept checking me out all night.  Seriously.

And because everyone keeps asking me, they show their bums quite a few times, but no full-frontal nudity unless you’re one of the girls they call up on stage.

But I HIGHLY recommend Chippendales.  Highly, highly, highly recommend it.  So much fun!

But here was the best part ever, and one of my favorite Vegas stories:

Lisa went up to the bartender to ask if she could get ten ones in exchange for her ten.  Well, the guy actually gets OFFENDED and indignantly tells her, “It’s not that kind of show.”  Lisa, embarrassed out of her mind, returns to her seat, feeling like she’s too inappropriate for Vegas.

I just laughed for a good five minutes.

SHERRI SHEPHERD (from The View) WAS THERE!  She was very nice to take a picture with us.  And you can’t tell from that picture, but she recently lost a ton of weight and her body looks AMAZING.  You should see her legs!

It’s so funny because they called her up on stage and Lisa and I remarked that this woman looked just like Sherri, and it turned out to really be her!  They were filming The View in Vegas all week.

I said what what?  In the…

After the show, Lisa and I headed up to VooDoo Lounge, on top of the Rio, for the best view in Vegas.  The Rio is set pretty far back from the Strip, so the view at night is amazing.

Believe it or not, after that, Lisa wanted to go to a club!  We almost went to Jet, but after the night before, I felt like if I went to yet another club, I would very likely die.  We walked around T.I. for awhile, then headed back to our room.

Seriously, I would not have been in good condition if I had gone to yet another club.

So it was a low-key final night in Vegas, albeit with many hott men (and if only you could see hte professional pictures we got taken of us with three other Chippendales guys!!  I’m too lazy to scan them).  What a trip!

At which age is one too old to keg race? Sunday, Jul 20 2008 

I’m not talking about the kind of keg race during which you binge drink.  That’s so dangerous.

This story is a few weeks old, but I’m glad that I FINALLY have enough free time to post something!  Here we go:

We were celebrating Beth’s return to Boston, so we decided to go out in style.  We dressed up, met up at my place and headed to the T.

Classy, no?  🙂

About halfway to the T from my house, we came across a yard filled with college students.  We heard everyone cheering, so naturally, we started clapping along and yelling, “Chug! Chug! Chug!” without even knowing what was taking place.

And then we saw that a guy was walking on a keg, the way that a cartoon character might run on a log submerged in water.  We started laughing — it was so random!  And I have never seen anything like that taking place in my neighborhood, much less between my house and the T!

The guys saw us watching and brought us over.  And several of them were VERY handsome.

“I’ve lived here for a year and a half,” I told the most attractive of the bunch, “and I’ve never seen anything like this taking place.”  It was pretty impressive — the entire yard was crawling with people.

“Oh, we just moved in,” he told me.  “That’s why.”

“Ah.  I see.”

“Want to try?”

“NO.  No, no, no, NO no no no no.”

They kept insisting.  We kept refusing — we were in short skirts and heels!

Well, after a while, an urge takes over.

I sucked in a deep breath and as Frank the Tank once did, decided, “I’ll do one!  I’ll do one.”

My friends thought I was crazy.

HA!!!  AMAZING!!!  I only made a few steps and I held onto the guy the whole time (I was terrrified of falling on my ass and cracking my tailbone), but it was a lot of fun.

And then Beth decided to step up.

And the dismount!

(I’m glad Beth survived.  Beth is living proof of Murphy’s Law, and the craziest things happen to her.  She even wrote her college essay about it.)

So here we are, ranging from ages 22-24, and still hanging out at keg parties.  But who cares?  We’re in our twenties!  We’re having adventures!  We’re indulging in the unexpected, and every minute is FANTASTIC!

I told the guys to give me a call sometime.  Nobody said, “Sure, what’s your number?” and I took that as a sign to leave.

We went on to have a very classy night.

VEGAS! Night Three: LOVE, Tryst and Drai’s Monday, Jul 14 2008 

And so our Vegas adventures continued.  Little did we know that Sunday night would be the most memorable night of all — a night that is right up there with Sh*t Show Night in Florence and The Collegest Night of My Life at Fairfield.

Also, I should mention that I’m not putting in NEARLY enough pictures to describe the night.  The best ones (and the nicest ones) are posted here.

We began our night by seeing LOVE, the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show at the Mirage.  And it was astounding — so amazing, so beautiful, so fun.  At times, it nearly brought tears to my eyes.

You have to see this show, even if you’re not a Beatles fan (but really — who isn’t, to a degree?).  My favorite numbers were the symbolic Something, the imaginative Octopus’s Garden, and the fun and brash Lady Madonna.

Lisa got this shot of the LOVE Theatre before the show began.

After the show, we headed to the Grand Lux Cafe at the Venetian for dinner.  It’s like the Cheesecake Factory, but upscale.

We then visited the Palazzo and the Wynn.  My God, they are both SO gorgeous and SO luxurious.  I would love to stay at either resort the next time I go to Vegas.  (I’ve since researched this and found that the Palazzo is the most expensive resort on the Strip and isn’t listed on any of the budget sites.  You can find deals on the Wynn or the Bellagio, however.)

This picture above is the interior of the Palazzo — so beautiful.

Of course, the Wynn isn’t exactly slumming, itself.

The parasol theme at the Wynn is lovely.

We got into Tryst with no problems — another great VIP host, more free drinks, and no line whatsoever.  You might think that because there was no line that it wasn’t exciting.  On the contrary.  Tryst is FANTASTIC.

I’ve been to clubs in the U.S. and Europe — superclubs, goth clubs, gay clubs, all-you-can-drink-for-15-Euro clubs.  And I can firmly say that Tryst is the best club to which I have ever been in my entire life.

Sunday is supposedly the night for 70s, 80s and 90s music, but it was more mash-ups than anything else.  I had always heard that Tao was the most visually stunning club, but Tryst was so much more amazing — red walls, red crocodile booths, accents in black and chocolate brown, and best of all, the waterfall.

Tryst is an open-air club with giant doors leading out to the patio and the waterfall.  That made it so great — it kept the music from getting too pounding, it led to a peaceful oasis (without having to walk miles to get there, like you had to at PURE and Tao), and it gave you breathing room.

In fact, Tryst was great BECAUSE it wasn’t as bloody crowded as PURE and Tao.  You had room to walk around, meet people and have conversations.  And you also had your dance floor.  It was PERFECT!

Of course, we got grabbed by a group of guys right away.  That’s to be expected, and that usually happens when we go out.  We chatted with them for a bit.  Then we got our free drinks (Grey Goose Lemon Drops and Cosmos, as always) and checked the scene.

Also — they have the best bathroom in all of Vegas.  You just have to see it.  (Lisa left the attendant 6.00 over the course of the night!)

As soon as we finished our drinks, I figured we could find a booth and some guys that would let us hang out with them…and possibly buy us a round of drinks at some point.

Well, all it took was a look.

I made eye contact with a guy in a booth, and he grabbed my hand and invited the three of us in.  We sat with them and talked for awhile; they got us a few drinks.

By then, Alexa decided to go back, so we got up to walk her out.  As we walked back, ANOTHER guy grabbed my hand and dragged us to where he was sitting.

And lo and behold, the Boston Bar Stars were sitting in their second booth off the night without even making an effort to do so.

Because we’re gangsta like that.

This guy was really nice.  He’s a local, from nearby Henderson, and we spoke a lot of French.

And we were dancing.

And Lisa was dancing.  (Love this action shot!)

And we were making new friends.

And meeting up with old friends!  We had hung out with this guy at Tao the night before!  He had the sweet retro dance moves of bopping with two fingers in the air.

Lisa does her best imitation of John from Agganis Driving School.

We were at Tryst until it closed at 4:00 AM — so we grabbed a cab to Barbary Coast to go to Drai’s, the hottest after-hours club in Vegas.

This is the only shot I have of the inside Drai’s!

I make a new friend.

He actually texted me for a while after Vegas.  (Josh also texted him a few times, pretending to be me.)  Kind of weird.

At 6:00 AM, we decided that for the sake of our health and our sanity, it was probably a good idea to leave.

We didn’t go without a fight, though.  Lisa really, really wanted to go to the IP — the Imperial Palace, or the crappiest casino/hotel on the Strip, yet greatly lauded by a friend of mine — and I would not let her.  It then appears that she resorted to begging.

6:30 AM and feeling fine!

Now, if you are a normal person, you would know that 6:30 AM after an epic night out is NOT the time to start gambling.

Well, we walked all the way back to T.I. — half a mile or so — and hit the $5 Blackjack tables.

I mean, I had spent about $3.00 the entire evening — $1.00 to tip the bartender for that one drink before joining the guys in their booths, and $2.00 to tip the bathroom attendant.  Everything else?  PAID FOR.  UNBELIEVABLE.

So playing $5.00 Blackjack for an hour and a half seemed like the perfect thing to do.  We had a great dealer and played by ourselves for most of the time, except when a guy around our age joined us for a bit.

By the time I made my second ATM run of the night and was alerted that I had insufficient funds, I took that as a sign to pack it in.

At 7:30 AM, we finally went back up to our room and crashed.

Four hours of sleep later:

You see that?  That’s how the end of a GOOD NIGHT looks.

Quite the Accent You Have Sunday, Jul 13 2008 

I just got back from Connecticut for a Fairfield reunion!  My friends Sean and Shannon recently moved in together in a house in Bridgeport.  It’s a beautiful house and a great place for hosting gatherings.  And it was a fun, fun gathering that they had this weekend!

Here’s a picture of me and my college roommate, Kelly Anne, who lives in Philadelphia now:

And (hey, what the hell?), here is us during our graduation ceremony two years ago:

(This is the heaviest I have ever been.  I’m about 17 pounds lighter now.)

At one point yesterday, Kelly said to me, “Your Boston accent has gotten a LOT thicker since college.”

Not the first time I’ve heard that, though college friends who have visited me at home have always said that my accent is much thicker when I’m around my family.  (Spend a few minutes with either of my parents and you’ll see why.)

Now, I don’t know if there’s anything exotic or different about the Boston accent, but a few guys we met in Faneuil Hall on Friday night seemed to think so.

Beth and I were chatting with these three randos in the street, and this is how the conversation went:

Guy 1: “Do I detect the hint of an accent?”

Me (looking at Beth): “Wow…you know, you are the first person to say that to me in quite some time!  Nobody notices anymore!”

Guy 1: “I knew it!  Where are you from?”

Me: “Guess.”

Guy 2: “South America?”

Me: “Nope…”

Guy 3: “Greece.  I bet you’re from Greece.”

Me: “I’ll just say that I’m from a beautiful country with beautiful people.”

Guy 3: “Spain!”

Me: “No…”

At that point, both they and I lost interest, and my friends and I resumed our walking alongside the crazies, tourists and hobos of Faneuil Hall.  It was actually a really fun night.

VEGAS! Night Two: Tao Tuesday, Jul 8 2008 

Back to the Vegas recaps!

For our second night out, the three of us went to Tao at the Venetian, both the restaurant and the nightclub.

This was our major dress-up night.  I wore the Cavalli dress I bought on eBay.  Don’t we look fabulous?  🙂

Absolutely EVERYTHING we had at Tao was amazing.  I had the black miso Chilean seabass, while Alexa had lo mein and Lisa had pad thai — all phenomenal — and the tempura we shared (avocado, string beans and onions) was light and delicious.  Our vegetarian spring rolls were hearty and chock full of vegetables.  We finished with an apple spring roll.

And then our waiter (one of the most cheerful waiters I have ever had) brought us free sake that went perfectly with the dessert.  “This is compliments of your personal assistant, Katelyn,” he said.

Meaning ME!  I made the reservation with the account from my old job.  They thought I was one of my clients, despite the fact that the name on the reservation was the same as the name on the account!

The bathrooms are only marked with “Yin” and “Yang.”  We figured out that “Yin” is for women and “Yang” is for men (just think about what rhymes with “Yang” and you’ll get it), though there are male and female statues designating which one is which.

We then decided to switch the statues to freak everyone out.

Hilarious as that would have been, the statues were WAY too heavy for us to move!

The dance floor at Tao.  The girl in the pink and black shirt on the bottom left is wearing the outfit that I wore on Monday!

Alexa took this picture of me in the club bathroom.  It looks really cool.

Alexa also took this picture of Tao Beach, the outdoor part of the club.

Apparently guys find these models (along with the ones in the bathtub, naked and covered with rose petals) sexy.  We found them weird and a little bit hilarious.

Eh, what the hell?  Here they are, too.

Sparklers heralded the birthday of none other than…

RANDY JACKSON!  (Karina Smirnoff and Rosario Dawson were also there, but we didn’t realize that until we read People magazine a week later!)

What was that old guy doing there?!  How about his trophy girlfriend?

Alexa left after a bit, but the Boston Bar Stars — Lisa and I — were there late.  Meaning an hour after the time when clubs in Boston are closed.

Lisa and I then went into the casino and people-watched for awhile, running into one of the guys from TBS’s My Boys, but not knowing who he was at the time (only knowing that he was famous)!

Tao was a LOT of fun, and it was definitely more visually stunning than PURE.  Our VIP host was great.  The only thing is that it took a while to get going.  It wasn’t until about 1:30 or 2:00 or so before the music got good — party hip-hop! — and Lisa and I got into our club groove.  Since we weren’t drinking much, it took us longer to get into that zone.

The crowd was a little bit strange, and again, there were so many more guys than girls.  At one point, we were surrounded by entirely guys in two concentric circles, like a Greek or Jewish dance!

The worst thing, though, was the wait at the bar.  We waited about HALF AN HOUR for drinks, and then decided that those drinks would be our last.  I can’t stand it when the bartenders only pay attention to the girls around you, and they ask them what they want, and the girls say, “Um…wait, what do you want again?” to all ten of their friends.  Sheesh.

I would definitely go to Tao again.  It’s definitely a sceney place on Saturdays — but also abominably crowded.

Keep in mind that if you go there for dinner, you can get into a separate, faster line at the club.  Not that we knew anything about that — we had our VIP treatment all the way!

And the adventures continue…

VEGAS! Day Two: Sightseeing on the Strip Saturday, Jul 5 2008 

Despite the late night, Lisa and I were jetlagged and awake by 9:00 AM.  Alexa got in around 11:00 AM, and in the meantime, we watched a bit of What About Bob?, coincidentally one of her all-time favorite movies.

First, check out our room:

T.I. is a FANTASTIC space to stay.  The price you pay is on par with aging casinos like the Flamingo, but the gorgeous rooms, the amazingly comfortable beds, the incredible location by the Wynn, the Venetian, the Palazzo and the Mirage and the AWESOME buffet at T.I. make it an INCREDIBLE bargain.  I highly, highly recommend it.  If you’re considering the IP or the Stratosphere or something else low-priced, come here instead.  It is so worth it.

After Alexa arrived and got settled in her room with her boyfriend, Grant, who was at T.I. playing poker for the past week (he plays full-time), we headed down to the Paris for brunch at Le Village Buffet.

Le Village was fun, especially since stations were based on regions in France (Alsace, Normandy, Brittany, Provence, etc.).  They also had the BEST scrambled eggs I have ever had.

I also had a tiny cheat on my vegetarian diet, which I’ve been following for five months — a baby quiche lorraine, one of my favorite foods, which has bacon in it.  I should start making it at home with soy bacon.

Alexa got these plates of desserts for the three of us to share.  Yummy cannolis.

Scandal!

Lisa gets hott for the card.

The Paris was really nice, but a bit too theme park-y for me.

We then walked down to the mall at Planet Hollywood.

The original Incredible Hulk was there signing autographs.

I pose with the dress Michelle Obama wore on The View earlier that week!

This made me happy — I never see the real spelling of my name anywhere!

We considered buying this for Beth, then decided against it.

If you know Lisa, you know that this picture was an inevitability.

After that, we walked to the MGM Grand, the Monte Carlo, and then one of my favorites, the Bellagio.

This is in front of the lake at the Bellagio.

The Murano glass ceiling at the Bellagio was amazing…

…as was the Conservatory…

…as was the world’s largest chocolate fountain!  (Just for future reference, they generally don’t approve of dipping your hand in and licking it.)  I loved the Bellagio!

The canals at the Venetian.  Much cleaner, calmer and better-smelling than the real Venice!

That night, we headed to Tao.  The adventures will be chronicled in later entries…

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