Vegas Over a Decade Later

First I want to explain the reasoning behind the silly hashtag (#Seandreannivegasry) I came up for the pictures I took on vacation. Some of our friends took to calling my husband and I 'Seandrea' in our youth (I'll let you figure out his name), and we HAD planned to go to Vegas every year on our anniversary - plus, it's a Friends reference, if you didn't catch that.  The idea of Annivegasries was successful on our first and third anniversary, not so much for the other 10 years.  Really, I hardly count the trip on our third anniversary because I was newly pregnant and paranoid with our first child at the time.  So, this getaway was sort of a do over/early celebration of our 13th anniversary.  Again, I'm indebted to the great folks at RAM Racing for honoring this trip I earned, even though the Las Vegas Hot Chocolate race was postponed.  Thanks especially to Josiah! 

convinced him to take a mirror selfie, for posterity
It was pretty darn awesome to be alone with my husband for more than a day, let alone three!  We've both been away from the kids for at least that long, but not together.  (Thankfully, my sister in law's youngest JUST got his driver's license and she had the capacity to take off from her life to fly in from Chicago and stay with our kiddos while hers fended for themselves.)  I never got to missing the kids THAT much (just being real, here) and as soon as we fell into vacation mode, it felt like just yesterday that we were sitting poolside with books and cocktails.  This was the bulk of our trip by choice.  Our priorities were: pool sitting, reading, napping, drinking good cocktails, eating great food and seeing a new Cirque du Soleil show. 

It's a good thing that our priorities have shifted to less emphasis on gambling, sightseeing and, sadly, clubbing.  

the ONE bit of gambling I did - $5 on this hilariously fun Titanic themed slot.
We have certainly changed over the last ten years, but Vegas has also changed like WHOA.  Strolling along the strip and taking in the sights, at least on the weekend, has become like attending the Taste of Chicago - constant crowd navigating.  I was holding on to my husband's hand for dear life quite often.  Though I'm glad we were able to walk everywhere and never needed a cab, staying at the Venetian.  I've stayed at SO many hotels in Vegas and this one is my new favorite, up there with The Bellagio.  All the rooms are suites:

It's also huge, but I found it easy to navigate.  And it was easy to get chairs at the pool, a treadmill at the gym (yes, I put in a mile every day), and a Coffee Bean treat to start the day.  We did some strolling the first day, checking out the newer hotels and then spent the rest of the afternoons reading by the pool.

Fantastic new (to me) architecture seen on our stroll

For the evening hours, I did buy tickets to see Tiesto at Hakkasan for Saturday night.  But we thought we'd play it by ear, because we're many years removed from our days of seeing live DJs.  Another thing that's changed in Vegas is the emergence of these massive clubs with big name residencies like Tiesto and Calvin Harris that can, and do, pack in thousands of people.  I remember maybe waiting in a line for a half an hour, tops, if you already had line passes for the well known clubs back in the day.  Now?  Oh MAN, even if you bought tickets ahead of time, the line was the length of a football field.  Thankfully we figured this out as we were leaving our dinner at Ceasar's and passed the people waiting to get into Omnia (a sister club to Hakkasan) and realized what an absolute cluster the whole process was - even if you had paid already.  

also seen at Ceasars!
Then, because there are so many more damn people in Vegas nowadays, the lines for cabs were just ridiculous.  We decided to ditch the tickets and go to some of the establishments in our hotel for drinking, people watching and reminiscing on the days we could just hand over a ticket and enjoy good music without hassle.

But first, a must whenever in Vegas
There's definitely even more emphasis to get your drank on in Vegas nowadays. In addition to the the traditional bright plastic yard of margaritas, there are all sorts of shapes and sizes for your drink on the go: guitars, replica Eiffel Towers, ducks!?  And there are so many bars peppered into every single nook and cranny of the strip.  What used to be a quaint little gift shop outside Paris is now the Paris Liquor Store.  I did imbibe a frozen concoction while on the strip, sitting at a table at O'Shea's - because I HAD to try a frozen Baileys!  Mostly, we did our part to contribute to the all Spring Break, all the time mentality at the aforementioned excellent establishments at our hotel.  I highly recommend Yardbird, Public House and the cocktail lounge at Delmonico.   
So many yummy concoctions
If you're a fan of Brew Dogs, they have the 5a.m. Saint at Public House
Even though our potential club outing was a bust, Cirque du Soleil is ALWAYS a sure bet (as is dining out, but I'll recap that separately).  I've seen most of the Cirque shows in Vegas, O at The Bellagio being my all time favorite.  But, Love at The Mirage opened just after our last trip back in 2006.  I knew it would be the show I'd book tickets for as soon as we went back.  It was just fantastic, and indescribable, as all their shows are.  You just have to go see it.  Here's a youtube trailer, to give you an idea.

And after the show, my husband reminded me that he has never seen Mystere - the original Vegas Cirque production.  Even though I've seen it at least three times, I'm thinking we have to back so that he can see it!  Even though we've both changed a lot over the years (let's take a moment to look at this 20 year old pic again) 

I've spent more time in Las Vegas than any other city, apart from Seattle and Chicago.  I still love it dearly and know that we'll be reunited again one day...  



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