Dream September Travel Escapes Thursday, Sep 9 2010 

Every now and then, I allow myself a delicious fantasy: I win the lottery and immediately go traveling in style, preferably bringing along a million of my friends!

Let’s say that I won 50 million dollars tomorrow.  Where would I go first?

Well, I’d want a destination with great weather in September.  That’s most important.  Next, I’d love to go luxury in an amazing hotel, something I rarely do.  And third, there has to be great nightlife!

So, where would I go?

Hvar image by Lena_Ni

It’s the tail end of the high season in Europe, so I’d visit a popular Mediterranean beach area: Santorini, Greece; Hvar, Croatia; or Ibiza, Spain.  The weather will still be glorious; the nightlife will still be hopping; the crowds will be GONE.  And that’s how I like it.

Vegas image by Evangeline

In Vegas – ALWAYS Vegas! – the pools are still open.  If I had the chance, I’d stay for at least a week – at the Wynn or the Encore.  God, I love those resorts.  Every day would be a new cabana at a new pool club: Tao Beach at the Venetian, Bare at the Mirage, Wet Republic at the MGM Grand, Moorea Beach Club at Mandalay Bay!

Maui image by David Winnie

Hawaii has always been a pipe dream of mine – being an East Coaster, Hawaii is just somewhere we don’t go.  I think this is a trip best split into two parts – half the time relaxing on the beach in Maui or Lanai, and the other half in Waikiki, partying with military men!

Any of these trips need to be planned well, so I’d probably arrange my reservations through a travel agency online like Liberty Travel. Having a trip that runs smoothly would be important in planning my dream trip!

So, if you were planning a dream trip this month, where would you go?

This post was sponsored by a third party.

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And THAT is how I roll. Wednesday, Sep 30 2009 

Believe it or not, I actually joined a gym.  I’m now a member of Healthworks Back Bay — an amazing and beautiful women’s gym.  I love it already.

Yes, those would be TVs on every single cardio machine. Plus tons of great classes, a eucalyptus-scented steam room, a spa, an on-site chiropractor, and the hands-down prettiest and best-smelling locker room I have ever seen.

Since I’ve never belonged to a gym before, I read up on how to get the best membership deal.  I’ve heard that people who work at gyms are really pushy but if you’re savvy, you can score yourself a better rate.

I brought in quotes from cheaper gyms, plus an offer to start without a fee at one of the fanciest gyms in Boston.  I planned to offer to do a blog entry on The Grammar Vandal, armed with traffic numbers — but then I didn’t have to do a thing.

“Where do you work?” the membership adviser asked me.  I told her and she was actually a fan of our company.  And then she told me she was about to go to Vegas with her girlfriends for the first time.

DING DING DING DING DING.

“You know, I go to Vegas all the time,” I told her. “I could definitely hook you up with one of my nightlife guys.  He’d get you in anywhere you want to go.”

She was so excited, she nearly hyperventilated.

We spent the next ten minutes discussing Vegas — what to do and not to do, the best clubs (Tryst! XS! Body English!), and how to make sure she doesn’t have to wait in a single line.

It was a smashing success for us both.

She left with the number of one of my nightlife guys.

I left with a new membership — plus no initiation fee, a $25 gift card, a coupon for a free eyebrow wax, two more group training packages, two personal training sessions, and extended my access to all five clubs for a few weeks.  That alone is a great deal — and THEN she threw in an entire month for free!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Vegas connections will get you ANYWHERE.

The Best of Vegas — This Time! Sunday, Jun 21 2009 

I just returned from my third trip to Vegas (not to mention my third trip within a year).

Not going to do huge monster-posts this time, so I’m just going to run down my top 10:

10) Staying at the Palazzo — a gorgeous room in a decadent and perfectly situated hotel.  Loved watching The Price Is Right while in the shower; also loved shopping at the designer boutiques downstairs.

Love the parasols -- they change each season. They had red lanterns for Chinese New Year in January.

9) Gorging ourselves on buffets. We went to Paris and TI this time.

8) Experiencing the ghetto fabulousness of Fremont Street and downtown Las Vegas — $5 blackjack, $1 chocolate-covered bananas, deep-fried Oreos and the weirdest crowd I’ve seen in Vegas (and that’s saying a lot).

How sweet is this?

How sweet is this?

7) Getting hooked up at every club, no line or cover, anywhere we went. Of course, we always do that.  But by this trip, I’m done with nearly all of the contacts from my old company and I’m just using people I’ve networked with on my own.  And how sweet is it to have free champagne all night?

The eight of us at Revolution Lounge at the Mirage: Carissa, Katie, Danielle, Beth, Lisa, me, Jen, Callie

6) Having dinner at N9NE — along with Maroon 5! (Believe it or not, Adam Levine did not hit on any of us.)

Maroon 5s table was behind us and to the right.  From left: Alexa, Grant, Lisa, Beth and me.

Maroon 5's table was behind us and to the right. From left: Alexa, Grant, Lisa, Beth and me.

5) Somehow ending up in a Skybox at Rain at the Palms. These VIP boxes are exclusive — they go for around $6,000 a night — yet we somehow got invited into one!

Rain from the third story -- the all-Skybox floor.

4) THERE IS A NEW WALGREENS AT THE PALAZZO. I can’t tell you how excited this made us. We kept going back for snacks, drinks, makeup and supplies.  Before this trip, we always had to trek all the way down to the MGM Grand!

Lisa and I screamed for about 5 minutes straight when we saw this.

3) Strolling right into Body English — the exact same night that Girl Next Door and Dancing with the Stars contestant Holly Madison got DENIED ADMISSION!!! (We didn’t find this out until after the trip.)  This is our first time at Body English and we LOVED it.  I wouldn’t dress up to go there, though — it’s more casual-trendy than dressy-trendy.

Rockin' club.

2) Dressing up and taking a limo to In-N-Out Burger. What can I say?  We’re classy broads.

Thats our bud Woodrow in the background.

That's our bud Woodrow in the background.

1)  Dancing in the pool at Tao Beach. This was a small yet AMAZING beach club — the best music out of any club, frozen drinks, ridiculously attractive people.

And I wished I looked like one of the Tao Beach girls, who all wore tiny python-print bikinis and red sarongs!

And I wished I looked like one of the Tao Beach girls, who all wore tiny python-print bikinis and sheer red sarongs!

Also, after this trip, I can now say that I’ve been to nearly every club on the Strip that matters, plus tons of lounges as well.

From the top of the Strip to the bottom: XS, Tryst, Christian Audigier, Tao, Tao Beach, Jet, Revolution, Pure, Pussycat Dolls Lounge, Drai’s, Bank.

Off-Strip, west to east: Rain, ghostbar, Moon, Playboy Club, Voodoo Lounge, Body English.

A few favorites on my list include Tryst, XS, Body English and Tao Beach.  Some I wouldn’t return to are Christian Audigier and especially the Bank.

What a great trip to Vegas.  Looks like our next trip back will be in December or January…

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.

Palazzo, here we come! Monday, Mar 2 2009 

Well, we did it again.  We booked yet another Vegas trip.  This one will be from June 11-15.

And this time we are staying at the PALAZZO!

The Palazzo is one of the newer major resorts on the Strip.  It’s the sister resort of the Venetian, and the two properties are connected.  The Palazzo is more upscale and less theme-park-y than the Venetian.  I love the champagne decor and the waterfall.

What’s nice is that the casino is ventilated well — half of the casino floor is nonsmoking, and the whole place smells like FLOWERS!

Lisa, Beth, Jen and I will be staying at the Palazzo, and Carissa, Callie and hopefully Katie and Danielle will be staying across the street at TI.  It’s incredible what good deals you can get in Vegas right now — one effect of the recession is rock-bottom hotel rates.

Here are some of the things that make the Palazzo amazing:

Classy, elegant suites.  All rooms have a sunken living room.  And — wait for it — THREE FLAT-SCREEN TVs.  ONE IN THE BEDROOM AREA, ONE IN THE LIVING ROOM AREA AND ONE IN THE BATHROOM!!!!!  I am SO excited for that!

Fabulous dining, including Sushisamba, CUT, Dos Caminos, Table 10, Restaurant Charlie by Charlie Trotter, and our standby, the Grand Lux.

Fabulous shopping, including Christian Louboutin, Barneys, Catherine Malandrino, Burberry, Fendi, Tory Burch, 7 for All Mankind and Michael Kors.  And that’s just scratching the surface.

Fabulous nightlife, including Lavo.  Jersey Boys is at the Palazzo, too.

Canyon Ranch: the most luxurious spa in Las Vegas.

While there are plenty of pools at the Palazzo, I’m particularly excited to spend time at Tao Beach at the Venetian.  I’ve only been there at night.

I am SO excited.

Best of all, the Palazzo is in the ideal location on the Strip.  It’s right between our three favorite clubs: Tao at the Venetian, Tryst at the Wynn, and XS at the Encore.

I love my friends…I LOVE VEGAS…and this, our third trip within a year, is going to be the BEST TRIP YET!

How much does a trip to Vegas cost? Monday, Jan 26 2009 

Since the last Vegas trip, tons of my friends have been asking me how much a trip to Vegas costs.

Well, first of all, IT DEPENDS.  It can cost a lot less than what we paid and it can cost a lot, LOT more.  It all depends on the kind of trip you want to have.

Here is what my friends and I pay.  I’m purposely not adding it up because it will freak me out if I do.

Hotel and Flights

In June, we paid $609 each for air from Boston (connecting flights) and four nights at TI (Treasure Island) with two people to a room.  In January, we paid $542 each for direct flights on US Airways and four nights at TI, this time with three people to a room.

TI is a fantastic hotel.  It’s one of the cheaper ones, but it’s really, really nice, with gorgeous rooms and comfy beds.  It’s also in the perfect location, right across from the Venetian and the Palazzo.  Also within a few minutes’ walk are the Wynn and Encore, the Mirage (next door!) and Caesars Palace.

I wouldn’t stay anywhere more low-end than TI, but some cheaper places include the Monte Carlo, New York-New York and the famous IP.  If I had unlimited funds, I’d be living it up at the Wynn!

Also — tipping the desk clerk $20 has gotten us a room with a great view of the Strip both times.  They usually charge $20 or more per night for that when you book online.  Great investment.

Food

We usually ate two meals a day.  We would always hit up a buffet for brunch, which costs around $20.

At night, it’s whatever you’d like.  I spent $80 on my meal at Bouchon (I had veal with freaking sweetbreads!).  I spent $8 at In-n-Out Burger.  We also like the Grand Lux, which is similar to the Cheesecake Factory and open 24 hours.  It’s at the Venetian and the Palazzo.

Gambling

Whatever you’d like.  I barely gambled this time around.

There are $5 blackjack tables in TI at 5:00 AM and in some of the more ghetto casinos throughout the day.  And penny slots are always open!

Shows

Tix 4 Tonight is a great place for buying day-of tickets, which you can get for 50% off.  There are stands at the Fashion Show Mall, Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and the Hawaiian Marketplace, all on the Strip.  Keep in mind that popular shows sell out immediately, which is how we missed Wayne Brady.

What we’ve paid for shows:

Chippendales: $25 at Tix 4 Tonight

Hypnotist: $35 at Tix 4 Tonight

Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE: $130ish, I think?  (You won’t find Cirque for less than $50, and you usually won’t find these at Tix 4 Tonight.  Cirque is a splurge, but well worth it.)

Madame Tussaud’s: $15 at Tix 4 Tonight

Clubs

This is where it gets really subjective.

If you’re a group of girls, you shouldn’t have to pay cover, ever.  Call the club for guest list in advance.  There are cards in resort gift shops that give free or reduced admission on certain nights — look for some of those.  Beyond that, I have no idea how people get by in Vegas if they don’t know people.

Drinks like vodka tonics or rum and cokes cost around $12Vodka Red Bulls are more like $14.  Martinis soar into the atmosphere.  Shots were usually bought for us by guys.  Don’t ask me about beer — I have no idea.

(Drinks at casino bars and other bars are much less expensive.)

Also, if you’re an all-girl group, Tryst is a great place to go.  Both times that we’ve been there, my friends and I have been pulled into SO many VIP booths!!  And those guys are just begging to pour you drinks.

(I’ll be blogging more on Vegas nightlife later.)

Cabs

It depends on where you stay and the time of year when you go.  Lisa and I walked all the way back from Drai’s to TI in June because it was warm out, but it was so cold at night in January that I couldn’t do the walk back from Caesars to TI!

Most trips along the Strip cost us $8-15, including tip.  Keep in mind that the Palms, Hard Rock and Rio are off the Strip and will cost more.

Extras

Again, it depends, and it’s up to you.  You’ve got plenty of options — spa treatments, fabulous shopping.  Last time, I got a massage and bought some Michael Kors sunglasses.

We always get a limo from the airport — it’s a great way to celebrate the trip!  Presidential Limo does it for about $60 and it’s worth it for the champagne and bottled water they give you alone.

Bottled water is expensive at the casinos.  Make a trip to Walgreen’s by the Hawaiian Marketplace to stock up on water and other assorted hangover food — Saltines, Goldfish, Vitamin Water, etc.

Free Things

There are actually things to do in Vegas that are free!

First of all, check out the casinos.  The interiors alone are spectacular.  Walk along the canals at the Venetian and see the lions at the MGM Grand.  Take pictures of yourselves everywhere.

See the Bellagio fountains.  I still haven’t seen these up close.  Go check out the pirate show at TI (it’s awesomely bad and unintentionally hilarious).

And don’t forget the one thing that’s always free in Vegas: sleep.

In Conclusion

Vegas is awesome, but you probably already knew that.  And it costs a lot of money.  But if I have any advice to give, it’s not to do it if you’re going to do it dirt-cheap the entire way.  Keeping to a meager budget might end up stressing you out more.

But every dollar you spend in Vegas is WELL WORTH IT.  Vegas is like nowhere else in the world.

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.  😀

The Vegas Outfits — 2009 Edition Tuesday, Jan 13 2009 

I’m going to Vegas this weekend with some of my best friends — Lisa, Beth, Alexa (and Grant) and Jen.  I’m talking to some of my contacts, putting together plans and it sounds like it’s going to be AMAZING!!!  I don’t want to share anything yet, in case something goes wrong, but…it’s going to be amazing.  It SHOULD be amazing.

Lisa and I have started a tradition of posting our outfits online before we go.  Here are this year’s options:

(Oh, and just so you know, I do not own a full-length mirror, and this is me standing on my toilet, facing my bathroom mirror.)

(And I am wearing Spanx.)

(Or sucking it in.  A LOT.)

Bebe

Dress: Bebe

This is the dress I wore on my birthday and New Year’s Eve this year, but I’ve never worn it in Vegas.  Such a sexy dress!  I’m pretty sure I’ll be wearing this to Tao on Thursday.

Nicole Miller via RueLaLa.com

Dress: Nicole Miller via RueLaLa.com

I love this dress, RueLaLa is amazing, and even though it’s a size too small, I’m looking forward to wearing it in Vegas, even though it’s a tad formal.

Roberto Cavalli via eBay

Dress: Roberto Cavalli via eBay

Ah, yes.  My beloved Cavalli.  Earlier this week, I was thinking that I’ve overdone it for this dress — I wore it on my other birthday celebration, and I wore it at Tao last time — but you know what?  It’s Vegas!  It’s by my favorite designer!  A similar one is on the cover of the Mamma Mia DVD!  As long as I don’t wear it to Tao, which I won’t, it’ll be great.

Express.

Top: Express. Shorts: Express.

Now, I know it’s winter…but Vegas is the only place where I’ve worn my bright red satin shorts.  Not crazy about this combination, though.  The top would look better with my short black skirt.

Local designer via the Garment District in Cambridge.

Top: Express. Skirt: Local designer via the Garment District in Cambridge.

I like this combination a lot — I wore the top in Vegas on Chippendales night (though it was FREEZING in there!) and a girl wore a similar outfit at Tao.  Not sure about the skirt — it might be better with the plain black American Apparel miniskirt.

American Apparel.

Top: Express. Camisole: Express. Skirt: American Apparel.

Yeah, not crazy about this (though the shirt needs to be ironed).  I wore this shirt with my red shorts to Pure last time in Vegas, and it ended up looking a little bit ridiculous afterwards.  I didn’t quite pull it off.

American Apparel.

Top: Wet Seal (Seriously). Skirt: American Apparel.

Now, this I like!  It’s so odd — this was a $20.00 shirt and everyone always asks me where I got it.  I think this would look better with a longer skirt, and that’s perfect, because I have a black American Apparel pencil skirt!  (It’s in the dryer at the moment, so that’s why I’m not modeling it.)

Target (word!).

Top: Express. Skirt: American Apparel. Leggings: Target (word!).

Whoa.  Way too aerobics instructory.

Ugh, I still don’t know!!!!  We’ll be going out four different nights.  What do you think?

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.

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!

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.

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…

VEGAS! Day One/Night One: Arrival, Pirates, PURE Saturday, Jul 5 2008 

Finally, it’s time to post about our absolutely CRUISAZY weekend in Las Vegas!

Lisa and I arrived at about 4:30 PM on Friday.  (Alexa would be arriving the next morning.)  And because we’re so fabulous, we made sure to arrive in style:

In a limo!  It’s a great deal ($65, including gratuity, from Presidential Limo) because in addition to arriving in style, you get to bypass the long taxi line, you get a magnum of champagne (!) and tons of bottled water, which is so expensive in Vegas.

Lisa promptly began hoarding the bottled water.

I cracked open the champagne.  We got through about three glasses each on the drive to T.I.

I LOVE THIS PICTURE!!!  Our limo driver suggested stopping here, traffic whizzing around us, to take pictures of us.

We then drove up the Strip, which took a surprisingly long time with traffic.  T.I. is at the top of the main part of the Strip, right near the Venetian, the Palazzo, the Wynn and the Mirage.

Most of my pictures on the way there are bad, but here are a few good ones:

Caesars Palace (the lack of an apostrophe drives me INSANE!).

The insanely luxurious Palazzo, where I would love to stay if I had unlimited funds.

We got to T.I., checked in, and slipped the girl at the desk a twenty.  In turn, she hooked us up with a recently renovated room on the 28th floor overlooking the Wynn, the Palazzo and the fireworks-filled pirate show:

A bit tough to convey in pictures, but the view was great.

We then decided to head down to watch the pirate show.

I love this picture of the Wynn.  It was taken from the base of the pirate show, where we had prime viewing due to being guests at T.I.

Is the show appropriate for kids?  Well, it used to be perfect for kids.  Now, it’s essentially “Pirates vs. Strippers,” or “Sirens,” as they call those pirate hos.  There’s stripping, gyrating and bondage.  Of course, there were plenty of kids there.  It kind of pushed the limit.

Who wouldn’t want to be boarded by these hott pirates?

After the show, Lisa and I got dinner at Isla, the Mexican restaurant at T.I. (good food but not fantastic).  As we were eating, we were falling asleep — I had been up since 7:00 AM Eastern Time, and she had been up even longer, and though we napped a bit on the plane, we were EXHAUSTED!

We headed back to our room and took a 90-minute power nap, then dressed up, went downstairs to Starbucks, and each downed a latte.  We were NOT going to let a Friday night in Vegas go to waste.

And so we headed to PURE at Caesars Palace!

Yep, I broke out the red satin shorts.  Vegas, baby!

It is a fabulous feeling when you’re trying to get into one of the hottest clubs (if not THE hottest club) in Vegas on a Friday when there are hundreds upon hundreds waiting in line, and all you have to do is make a quick phone call and have a VIP host find you and take you inside, no line, no cover, nothing.  Thank you, Former Job!!!!!

The Pussycat Dolls Lounge at PURE.  Lisa made a great observation: “Aren’t the Pussycat Dolls supposed to be singers, not just dancers and strippers?”  Valid point, indeed…not much actual singing took place.

It was kind of cool, though.  There were girls on swings in the back.

PURE from the VIP section.  As you can see, it was so not the opposite of a sausage fest!

More sausage.  I thought clubs were supposed to keep a 4:1 girl:guy ratio.  That wasn’t even close to the case, no matter where we went!!

Us with our host at PURE, Brandon.  He was SUCH a nice guy — definitely the nicest of all the hosts we met over the weekend — and he bought us drinks and shots, took us to the VIP section, introduced me to hosts at the new Christian Audigier club that opened up last night at T.I….

DJ AM is the DJ on Fridays there — and his music was AWESOME.  It was a great mix of rock, hip-hop, Top 40 and mash-ups — and anyone who plays Ludacris’s “Ho” is gold in my book!  Lisa and I were on the dance floor, screaming out, “You doin’ ho a’tivities with ho tendencies, hos are yo friens, hos are yo enemies!” as a few guys crushed up against us looked on amusedly.

That brings me to something else.  The worst thing about PURE was how crowded it was.  It was even worse than Gypsy Bar.  At least at Gypsy Bar you could do something besides slightly wiggle.  The VIP section, though, was blessedly spacious, as was the deck outside.

Lisa and I pose on the deck, which was really nice.  They played mostly house up there.

The deck overlooks the Flamingo, Bally’s and the Paris, among others.

On the way back, we posed by the Trevi Fountain at the Forum Shoppes at Caesars.  I love this picture of Lisa (almost as much as I love her dress)!

We had a great time at PURE, but it wasn’t our favorite.  The pros were the music, the size (it was huge with tons of rooms), the VIP section, and Brandon being awesome.  The cons were how crowded it was, and the decor and outdoor deck paled in comparison to those at Tryst and Tao.  I would absolutely go back, though!

(I think part of it was that we were still so exhausted when we were there.  DO NOT FLY OUT TO VEGAS IN THE MORNING, ESPECIALLY FROM THE EAST COAST!)

We got back to our room and fell asleep instantly.  Our adventures would only continue the next day…

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