Sean was being sent back to Las Vegas for work (similar to last year), but this time he was being put up in the Paris Hotel and was allowed to bring a guest – me! Because this week overlapped with the time frame we were hoping to take our personal summer vacation – between summer and fall semesters of school – we took advantage of this opportunity. Even though Sean would be in conference-related stuff all day, I immediately started daydreaming about sleeping in, lounging by the pool, and drinking numerous fruity cocktails solo. The event ended Friday morning, so we decided to take the rest of the weekend to drive to San Diego and visit my sister.
(August 24 2015) Day 1. Leaving Boston, Arriving in Las Vegas.
Sean arrived for his conference for its reception the previous Saturday, but I had a close friend’s wedding to attend on the 23rd and therefore couldn’t fly to Las Vegas until Monday. I knew I didn’t want to chance an extremely early post-wedding flight, so the only other affordable option was a late one – which gave me some extra time to pack and do errands pre-trip. But I didn’t arrive in LV until about 11pm (2am ET), and was only in the mood to go straight to bed. But at least I did get a sneak peak at our awesome room view of the Eiffel Tower!
(August 25 2015) Day 2. Las Vegas.
We began the day with guest registration, so I could get my badge and access the perks of the conference. With this new clearance, Sean and I parted ways so he could attend his sessions. I ate breakfast in the companion lounge (Napolean’s). Fed and caffeinated, I changed into my bathing suit and spent the morning poolside, sipping a strawberry mojito and reading style/gossip magazines. Even though it was a little cloudy, I enjoyed every second of relaxation – if anything, the cloudiness also made the pool less crowded, which was appreciated.
Once I had enough sun (and got hungry) I had some cheese and crackers at Napoleon’s and left the Paris to walk the strip. I started at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, which was showcasing a really interesting Picasso exhibit – “Creatures and Creativity” – that highlighted his lithograph work I was less familiar with. From there I walked to the Botanical Conservatory, which was currently an underwater theme with mermaids, crabs, and fish made of an incredible amount of flowers.
I made my way to the Miracle Mile Shops, where I ate a quick lunch at Lobster ME. I didn’t buy anything in the mall, but did end up playing some penny slots – and won $5! – at Planet Hollywood before meeting back up with Sean when his conference day was over. Together we visited the Eastern Regional Council’s lounge on the 33rd floor of the Paris, which had some amazing views, and mingled a bit with fellow conference-goers from our area. Then we had dinner at Emeril’s Table 10 at the Palazzo.
Finally, we ended the night with a trip on the High Roller. Sean and I both don’t like heights very much, but I felt like it was a “must-do” on my list for LV. So we sucked it up, got some beer, and boarded the ride. We then proceeded to sit in the back and not look down, feeling terrified and much more uncomfortable than anyone else on the ride. But the views were amazing! Everything was lit up, and as long as I looked across the skyline the wheel traveled slowly enough that it was almost just like standing in a room on a skyscraper. So, overall I’m glad we did it. It was a beautiful was to end the night.
(August 26 2015) Day 3. Las Vegas.
The next morning started much the same as yesterday: breakfast at Napoleon’s followed by some time at the pool, this time drinking a strawberry daiquiri. To save some money, I then ate our Table 10 leftovers (surprisingly delicious cold) for lunch in the hotel room before walking over to the new Bazaar Shops. I bought a little ring dish for kitchen and then walked to the Forum Shops, where I bought some soap. I also ate gelato outside of the Pantheon replica, which had me daydreaming about my trip to Rome many years ago. While in the area, I played some slots at Caesar’s before meeting up with Sean at the Paris.
Together we attended the UBC Conference Reception, which featured some tasty foods and desserts – as well as entertainment by Lena Prima, which was so fun. I love big band jazz. It was an experience, with a yellow carpet (attached to a showgirl’s dress at the entrance to the event). Once the show was over, we played some Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em at Bally’s and Roulette and slots at the Paris before heading to bed.
(August 27 2015) Day 4. Las Vegas.
On our last day in Vegas, I skipped the pool (even though, ironically, it was the sunniest day so far) and got on the monorail to the MGM. We had bought a Groupon for the Laugh Factory, and I needed to cash it in for tickets to that night’s show. Tickets in my purse, I walked to Excalibar and Luxor. While at Excalibar I played some slots (it was becoming a trend, I know) and ended up winning $30 – my best win yet! Happy with my extra cash, I got lunch at TAP Sports Bar in MGM.
Sean only had a half day to end the conference, so we packed most of our stuff and took a pre-dinner nap and then went to MGM to eat at Pub 1823, which we had enjoyed so much the previous year. We then lost some money (me more than Sean) playing Texas Hold ‘Em and Slots at the Tropicana before the comedy show. We ended the night playing cards at Paris.
(August 28 2015) Day 5. Leaving Las Vegas, Driving to San Diego.
The next morning we shared a cab with one of Sean’s union buddies to the airport/car rental building. Once on the road and heading in the direction of San Diego, we stopped for lunch at Peggy Sue’s 50s Diner, which came complete with a Diner-Saur park in the back that featured various life-sized sculptures of dinos – and King Kong! Due to the heat, we didn’t wander around too long. But enough to get a great impression.
Before arriving at San Diego we stopped in Temecula for some delicious wine and beautiful scenery. We decided upon Cougar Vineyard, which did not disappoint in either aspect. We tasted a few varietals (and ended up buying three bottles – one of which priced $50), and ate some very tasty pizza and panini for dinner while watching the sunset over the mountains.
We finally made it to my sister’s house in San Diego later that night, and just sat outside in her yard chatting and drinking some beer until Sean and I could barely stay awake, at which point we finally checked into the Ocean Beach Hotel and went to bed dreaming of the ocean.
(August 29 2015) Day 6. San Diego.
For Natalie’s friend’s birthday, we were all in the car at 6am to drive to Old Man Beach. However, despite our best intentions we were still too late to park in the lot! There was a line of cars hours long by 10am so we parked far away and walked to the beach instead. And then we stayed there until 4pm! A long, long time, but thankfully we had a nice shade tent to protect me and Sean. We also had games, bbq, drinks, and the amazingly gorgeous beach to keep us busy.
By the time we left everyone was exhausted from the sun-filled day, so we promptly fell asleep in the car. We then grabbed a beer at Gallagher’s with friends, ate delicious dinner at Raglan’s (nice Irish bar, felt like home), and met up with a few others to do some bar-hopping in Ocean Beach. We went to Pacific Shores (not really our scene, a little dark and crowded) and Harp (which had a deck, and I love drinking outside!).
(August 30 2015) Day 7. San Diego.
Last full day in San Diego, and we made the most of it. I woke up before Sean did, and walked over to Jungle Java for coffee and a bagel. I took my goodies to the beach and watched the ocean and surfers for a while before getting a coffee for Sean and waking him up to start the day. We walked along Newport Ave, window-shopping and some real shopping, before having fish tacos for lunch at South Beach Bar & Grille. The food was ok, but the view was awesome – we snagged a second-floor spot with a perfect view of the ocean.
We then visited my sister at the new Hess beer tasting room, where she recently started bartending. I ordered a flight so I could try out a bunch, and so I could get one of their nifty branded glasses. Her boyfriend and dog ended up joining us later, and once her shift ended we went back to her house to have a home-cooked meal with home-brewed beer. It was a nice, relaxing way to end our trip and I’m glad I got so much time to spend with my sister despite the short amount of time we were actually in SD.
(August 31 2015) Day 8. Leaving San Diego, Heading Home.
Nothing to report for the last day – we really just woke up and went to the airport. Flew home, and then it was back to reality.