Family Vacation Pre-Trip Report

I thought I should get a jump on the trip report…with my coworker on vacation right now – IN VEGAS! And I’m stuck at the office for 3.5 more days until we leave. I just can’t stand it. I have to do something to pass the time and I think I’ve read every single trip report and post on the various Vegas forums that I participate in. Ok maybe not every single one, but I know it’s close!

The characters involved are me, my husband, my mother, my dad and our teens ages 16 and almost 18. I literally have an itinerary for us to keep us on track. This will be my and my hubby’s approx. 30th or so trip to Vegas…3rd for the kids and I think around 4th or 5th for my parents. To make it more interesting, if you have read previous blog posts of mine you know we have 2 carnivores, 2 vegans, 1 vegetarian and 1 semi-vegetarian. Another reason why I had to plan meals out in advance. If not, I can see arguing in our future….which in Vegas is nothing but wasted time!

We are taking a CA side trip in the middle of the week to visit family and to break things up. Here’s the plan:

Saturday 6/18:

-Flight arrives in from DFW around 930pm, rental car pickup at Enterprise. 1 week minivan free using Enterprise points

-Mom and Dad flying in earlier in the day and checking our room in when they arrive. (I added mom’s name on both rooms)

-We both have 4 nights at Palazzo using IHG points. Perfect room layout for bringing teenagers. My daughter gets her own bed and my son will sleep on the pull out.

-Planning on hitting the casino if we have any energy left that night

Sunday 6/19:

-Breakfast at Dal Toro @ Palazzo

-Pickup Love tickets @ Mirage – used MyVegas rewards between me, my dad and my husband and ended up paying for 2 tickets and getting 6.

-High Roller – bought daytime tickets online in advance, this is something my daughter wanted to do last time but we didn’t. Paid only $102 for 6 tickets using a promo code

-Shooting for lunch at Noodle Asia at Venetian, we love it there and lots of options for all diets there.

-Redeem three MyVegas Monorail BOGO 3 day pass rewards between me, my dad and my husband

-“Check into” the Excalibur for my 2 night comp offer offer with $100 freeplay and $150 MLife resort credit (no resort fees) Let Hubby play his freeplay

-Redeem and use two MyVegas Nine Fine Irishmen rewards@ NYNY good for $35 voucher each – the boys love Fish and Chips, father’s day dinner so us two vegans will have to suffer or eat later lol

-Love show @ 7pm

-Possibly a snack at Carnegie Deli (love their fries)

-Casino time for the adults after kids relax up in the room

Monday 6/20:

-Quick morning snack and coffee at Starbucks or somewhere like that

-Drive out to Hoover Dam

-Lunch at Red Rock Casino on the way back, redeeming two 2 free breakfast/lunch buffet MyVegas rewards – that covers 4 of us and the others with a players card are only $8.99 each!

-Drive out to Red Rock and hopefully stay for sunset

-Would like to have dinner at Lemongrass @ Aria

-Casino time for adults

Tuesday 6/21:  (it is forecasted to be 115 degrees this day BTW)

-Pool time @ Palazzo. Cabana reserved for 9am sign in. We will stay until around 1pm and have snacks/drinks in the Cabana. Believe it or not, this will be the first Vegas pool experience for my husband and me.

-Redeem MyVegas rewards for Aria lunch buffet to use by 3pm for a late lunch (cutting it tight) we have two free and two BOGO between Me, my dad and my hubby. We will end up paying for 2 and using the resort credit to cover

-Recycled Percussion show @ PHo 530pm – bought tickets in advance with promo code. Paid around $39 for each ticket, VIP seating – 2nd row I think.

-Fun dinner at Pink’s Hot Dogs. They have vegan dogs!

-Hopefully catch Bellagio fountain show and see the conservatory

-Casino time for adults

Wednesday 6/22:

-Check out of Palazzo (boohoo!) head out to California

-Side stop at Farm Sanctuary in Acton CA on the way, we have a tour scheduled for the afternoon. Hopefully this plan doesn’t get nixed by my husband

-Arrive in Tehachapi where family lives

-Check into Holiday Inn Express – 2 rooms using IHG Points for 2 nights

-Do whatever that night, I know my dad would like us to eat at the restaurant where his mom (my grandmother) worked way back when . It’s still there!

Thursday 6/23:

-Family time with cousin in Tehachapi

-Possibly visit cemetery where my grandparents, aunts and uncles are

-Show kids where their grandfather grew up

Friday 6/24:

-Check out and leave CA.

-Hit Las Vegas Town Center on way back through – just because

-Picture at Las Vegas sign

-Check into Westin Las Vegas – 2 rooms on Starwood points, 1 night

-Container park – they have diverse dining options there

-Downtown FSE? Maybe

Saturday 6/25:

-Leaving Las Vegas! BOOHOO! Possibly let kids get some pool time in, our flight doesn’t leave until around 5pm

I’m exhausted just writing and then reading this! If you are still with me, thank you. My family isn’t too great about following a schedule but we shall see how it goes. Overall we have free hotels, free car, some free meals and I used other hotel points for two $50 Starbucks cards that I’ll be bringing with us as well as another $50 gift card I received from other travel agent incentives. Yes, we drink that much Starbucks in Vegas, although $100 at Starbucks doesn’t go all that far!

Thanks for reading….now can someone help me speed up time?

Forgot to mention that I suck at live reports but I do use twitter, instagram and snapchat quite a bit on vacation. I’ll be posting slot videos (hopefully big wins!) when I get home to my channel. If you want to follow along with me on these…here you go:

SnapChat: dockfam4
Twitter: @dockfamfour
Instagram: Dockfam

Yet Another Vegas Birthday Jaunt

I just realized I hadn’t put up our most recent trip report from February to Vegas.  We are about to go back in June so I thought I better do it.  Better late than never!

Day 1:

The day we left I worked until 230 and had my husband pick me up to go directly to the airport.  I work in a building on the airport access road so it was a short trip!  After parking the car and getting through security it wasn’t long before we were on our way.  Sitting next to us happened to be a guy in the same industry as my husband so they talked for most of the trip, as I read and enjoyed a jack and sprite to kick things off.

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The faces of two people excited to go to Vegas!

When we got to McCarran I had been asking my husband to try Uber.  He didn’t want to and we ended up taking a taxi.  I told him, no tunnel no highways, surface streets only.  Maybe you can tell me if this was a good way for him to go but he took Swenson and we ended up so far North, almost to the Stratosphere.  Then he went up some back way I’ve never been before.  The total fare was $23 and it took forever!  I’ve never paid that much from the airport to the Mirage.  I wasn’t happy because I felt like he still long hauled us.  I told my husband we should’ve taken Uber!

Got to check in and was hoping I could mention it was my birthday and get some sort of upgrade.  In 10+ stays at the Mirage we’ve never gotten any kind of an upgrade even when slipping a $20.  Well we got the guy straight out of training who was more worried about picking the right keys on the keyboard than getting us an upgrade.  Needless to say there was no upgrade.  The room was normal, nothing extraordinary besides the million mile walk from the elevator to get to it.

First stop was the MLife desk to get our freeplay and MyVegas rewards loaded onto our cards.  We ate dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.  I follow a Vegan diet and my husband has been vegetarian since Jan 1 but it wasn’t difficult to find something to eat on the menu. I got the mushroom pizza without cheese.

The rest of the night we played various slots and I was able to turn my $85 freeplay into a little over $100 actual cash thanks to a Dragon’s Law machine.

Went back to find my husband and he was walking up with a ticket of over $200.  He started with $12…hit a few machines then hit a bonus on Titanic that was nice to him.

We had a few more hours of decent play and ended up going back to the room with a $240 profit.  It was only midnight and I was exhausted.  The way I felt just reminded me that I’m not as young as I used to be!

Day 2:

I slept awful.  My sinuses were stuffed up and I tossed and turned all night.  At 530am we got a call from our teenage son back home (730am there) saying he still felt sick and asked if I could call the school.  My dad was going to take him to the doctor.  Now we’re both up so we took some time getting ready but by 8 we were out the door.  We walked through the Forum shops, which is such a nice quiet thing to do that early in the morning before all the shops open.

We hit a few slots on our way to Starbucks but didn’t hit anything.  Next stop was the Bellagio.  Played a few machines and nothing was hitting.  I decided I would sit down at a Wicked Winnings IV machine just to try it out.  I’ve never had much luck with WW.  What do you know, I hit a bonus and got a nice line hit.  Here’s the video – my son called to tell me that the doc said he tested positive for the flu just before I hit it.  He must’ve brought me good luck!

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The conservatory ha a nice “Year of the Monkey” display going on and it was crowded inside.  I liked last years “Year of the Goat” display better but it’s still amazing to see what they can do with just flowers.

Next up was Aria and by this time we were nearing lunch hour.  While waiting for the tram to take from Bellagio to Aria, we saw a sign for the restaurant “Lemongrass” it looked so good we decided we’d give it a try.  So after an hour or so of play with no luck we had lunch.  I ordered the Pad Thai and my husband had he pan seared noodles with veggies.  It was so good.  Since we had resort credit on our room, we were able to charge it back to our Mirage room.

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Veganized Pad Thai at Lemongrasss

My mother had given me $100 to play for her and wanted me to play Wheel of Fortune.  I sat down at a 3x 4x 5x 25 cent machine and played almost an hour on $40 before finally running out.  I only hit the spin twice, once for only 40 credits, the second time for only 50. Just enough to keep me playing but not enough to bring a profit back on that $40 for my mom.  Oh well I tried!

We had to go pick up our tickets for Zarkana which we got through MyVegas and then head all the way back to the Mirage to freshen up before dinner and the show.  I had made a terrible timing mistake, as we should’ve spent more time near the Mirage earlier in the day and then gone to Aria late afternoon and done everything at once since we were going to be there for the evening!

Before dinner we enjoyed the Aria buffet as a MyVegas reward.  I was afraid as a Vegan there wouldn’t be much to eat.  Boy was I wrong!  I stuffed myself with veggie sushi, salads, hummus, miso soup (which I added stuff to in order to make it like Pho) and lots and lots of guacamole.  We especially noticed that the several tables of Asian guests around us were piled high with seafood, rice and noodles, while the American guests piled on the meat, mashed potatoes, junk food, fried stuff and everything that “does a body good”.  It was quite eye opening.  No wonder our country is so unhealthy.

Zarkana was great.  I know it gets a lot of slack and many people do not like it but we did.  It is your typical – no story, weird costume, acrobatic Cirque show.  Similar to Mystere.  The music and singing was live which was my favorite part.  The female vocalists were amazing.  It’s too bad Zarkana is now closed, I’d probably go see it a second time.

After the show we ventured to Monte Carlo, NYNY and MGM.  Played some slots here and there before getting a one way monorail ticket back to the North side.  My legs were about to fall off.  No more walking!

Back at Mirage with only a fraction of our bankroll intact (including what I won at Bellagio) the slot gods apparently were already in bed.  We wanted a quick snack at Carnegie but they are no longer open until 2am.  The Pantry has taken their place for late night noms.  I just had some fries while my husband had pancakes. We headed back up to the room with no profit from the day unfortunately!

Day 3:

We slept in a bit this day, which makes me mad because it was our last full day in Vegas and who wants to spend it sleeping??  First was Cosmo for the buffet.  They had extended a free brunch buffet to us so we could come check it out.  I love the inside of the Cosmo and they were doing some sort of renovations near the Bellagio-side entrance.  On the way to the buffet, I saw the new Christmas Story slot which I hadn’t seen anywhere else so I had to stop and play.  This is one of my mom’s favorite machines so I thought I would play a $20 for her and see what happened.  I was able to catch a bonus.  Not a huge profit but it was fun!

The Wicked Spoon was ok.  Not much for a Vegan to eat, as everything had butter or cheese in it.  I ate some fruit and a bagel with jelly – that was about it.  My husband doesn’t like eggs anymore and so he just had fruit and some hash browns.  He said even if he was eating meat still, nothing really looked appetizing.  We did appreciate the free buffet but were very glad we didn’t pay for it.

We played a bit after brunch at the Cosmo and then went across to Planet Hollywood to slow down our losing and walk around a bit.  We hit and run PH, Paris and Bally’s before heading over to the Linq area to grab some Vegan cupcakes from Sprinkles.

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LINQ Area

Next up was Venetian/Palazzo and things there started turning around.  We only had half of our bankroll left and it wasn’t even late afternoon yet.  My husband sat down at a machine that looked boring but had this monkey on top that was climbing a building.  Every time you would get a bonus symbol he would climb closer to the top. If he hit the top, that would trigger a bonus.  After a $20 gone and the monkey almost to the top, he said “give me another $20, after this I’m done for the day gambling!” On his very next spin he got 3 bonus symbols and triggered a true bonus which automatically gives you a 10x symbol.  Then the buildings start to light up and they hit another 2x symbol.  Then the buildings with the $ amounts light up and it landed on $10.  So he got 20x $10 – or $200.  Happy, he cashed out!

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The monkey game

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Inside Palazzo

We started playing various machines and they were treating us well.  Nothing huge but profits on most of the machines quickly brought our bankroll up to $200 over what we had when we left the hotel that morning.  Not even realizing it, we were there for several hours and it was dinner time!

I love Noodle Asia and my husband hadn’t been there yet.  There was no wait and we sat down and had two huge portions of noodles and veggies. They were very careful to honor my vegan requests, even cooking my food in a completely separate pan.   It was so good and I brought a bit of mine back with me which turned into a very late night snack that night.

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Pretty much my favorite place to eat in Vegas

After dinner we walked back over to Mirage and hubby hit another decent bonus on Wizard of Oz as I lost the last of my mom’s bankroll in the machine next to his.

My husband turned me on to the 5cent Pink Diamonds machine.  We sat there forever and never hit anything huge but it is pretty entertaining, as several small wins can keep you playing for a long time.  The one bonus I got was pathetic, I had better line hits during regular play.

A $472 major progressive on the Mystical Unicorn machine caught my husband’s eye and he sat down to play.  Almost 2 hours and $200 later, it would not drop even though he had some good line hits.  I was able to win a little bit here and there while he was pressing away at it and overall we went back up to the room with half of our bankroll that we had left with that morning.  I didn’t think that was too bad considering we were losing our asses before going to the Venetian.  Any time I bring money home from Vegas, that is a good thing.

Our flight the next day was scheduled to leave at 725am – never will I do that again!  I couldn’t sleep well because I have a phobia about missing flights.  Like zombies we headed to the airport around 530 and had an uneventful flight home.

Overall, the trip was a good one.  Once again no handpay but we had some decent wins and gained back our Pearl status with Mlife after just missing the deadline last year and starting from ground zero. Thanks to Hyatt match status, I am now Gold.  We are going back in June with the family to combine a Vegas / California 8 day trip.   Before this trip my husband said he felt like he might be getting “Vegas”-sed out.  Who was he kidding??

Year in Review

As 2016 is about to make it’s appearance, I reflect on 2015 and realize that it has flown by.  It was a great year, full of new beginnings but extremely busy and I feel as if New Years Eve 2014 was just yesterday!  It was a year without many posts because I could never find much time to sit and write.  I hope that next year I do better.  Here is what filled my 2015 and I’m hoping that 2016 is just as good or better!

  • My husband won a trip to Mexico.  It was our first time to travel outside the country and our first time to own passports!  We were able to escape an ice storm back home and bask in the sun while everyone else we knew was freezing their asses off. Unfortunately he didn’t score the trip for 2016 but it was nice for him to be able to celebrate his success amongst his peers.

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  • We took our first Spring Break trip with the kiddos.  I think from now on we will stick to summer vacations and make future Spring Breaks staycations but going to Vegas for a week was fun, different and a nice way to break up the monotony of getting back to work and school after the holidays.

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  • The major feat of 2015 was that we bought our first house.  The while process was excruciating – from the home search, to making offers, to the inspection, the negotiation, the closing – everything was completely draining.  I hope to never do that again any time soon.  The end result is great however, we ended up with a nice home that needs a little bit of updating in 2016 but it gives us our space and it’s nice for once to be able to call ourselves homeowners.
  • We went to several really great concerts throughout the year.  I’m blessed to have two really great teenagers that love to go to concerts as much as I do.  We saw Lenny Kravitz, Fall Out boy (twice), 5 Seconds of Summer, The Avett Brothers and Garth Brooks.  We had tickets to three others but one got rained out and the other two we didn’t go to because we were tired out!
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  • At the very end of 2014 I went back to a job that I really enjoy.  Over this year I have grown close to my coworker and we’ve had a very successful year overall.  I’m very thankful for the relationships I’ve built at my workplace this year and I’m really looking forward to what 2016 will bring for us.

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  • In August we adopted a Great Pyrenees puppy from the Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue.  After our lab Koda passed in Jan 2014, I swore that we wouldn’t get another for a very long time.  When I happened to open facebook and see a Pyrenees puppy named “Koda Bear” (the exact same name as our lab) with the same big ol head and long eyebrows that needed a home….that was it.  He came to live with us on August 6!

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  • I was able to take my best friend to my favorite place on earth  – Las Vegas.  It was such a fun trip and really a good time to share my love of the city with two of my favorite people.

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  • One of the most special memories of 2015 was our visit to Rowdy Girl Farm Sanctuary.  It truly was a life changing experience and through our visit I have made a friend in it’s founder, Renee and hope to help them accomplish more great things going into 2016.
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  • The most meaningful change, or decision I’ve made in 2015 was that to live a completely cruelty-free Vegan lifestyle.  With a little push from my daughter and our visit to the farm, I couldn’t have made a better choice for my physical and mental well being. I’m still working on the other members of our family because I would like to see them healthier and feeling better in 2016. It is no lie that living on a plant based diet is much better for your health overall and not having another sentient being’s blood on your hands is good for the soul.

As I look towards 2016, there are no vacation plans as of yet but lots of “to-dos” and “to-fixs” around the house now that we are homeowners.  Floors need to be replaced, showers need remodeling and I’d like to finally build a DIY library wall in our front living room.  As far as personal resolutions, I hope to get back to Yoga class sometime soon and get back into shape.  The Vegan diet helps to keep the weight down but it won’t miraculously turn existing flab into muscle…so I could use a little help there!

Overall it’s been a really great year, full of change, new things and fun experiences.  I’m wondering how next year can top this one, but I’m sure we will figure it out.  The blessings keep coming and God never disappoints.  To all of you reading this, I hope your blessings keep coming as well and you have a very happy and healthy new year!

 

 

My Journey Into Veganism

A little background….I went vegetarian at the age of 15 – a young, passionate teenager vehemently sharing my views on animal rights and the plight of the voiceless from the day I read Peter Singer’s eye opening book “Animal Liberation”. Since then, I can’t honestly say I was 100% every single day – there were times, like during my two pregnancies, that I did revert back to my meat-eating ways.  Back then there was no facebook, no instagram, no YouTube, not much in the way of social media with which to share the horrific images and stories of what goes on behind those slaughterhouse walls.  I never did any research either, as to whether or not a vegetarian diet could sustain a healthy pregnancy.  I just thought I had no choice, that I had to eat animal flesh to get the protein I needed.  Boy was I wrong!

During the last omnivore stint, every time I would consume animal flesh I would get sick.  Terrible stomach aches and indigestion accompanied by intense gas pains (gross I know) and misery after eating.  Every…single…time.  That was it.  My body was telling me to stop and I had no problem quitting again cold turkey.  I never looked back.

Here it is 15 years later and I have a daughter who reminds me a lot of someone I used to know.  About 2 years ago, after eating a steak dinner, for some reason she decided to watch a video on YouTube “If the Slaughterhouse Had Glass Walls”.  On the way to drop her off at her friend’s house that night she said to me “I’m not eating meat anymore.  I watched this video and cried the entire time”.  I felt my heart leap in my chest and knew one day she would figure it out for herself. This was the day!

About a year into it, she told me she wanted to go Vegan.  My daughter does a lot of her own research and was horrified to learn of the methods used in the dairy and egg industry.  Although I was still eating these things, I supported her in her decision and did not try to sway her either way.  Veganism just seemed so difficult to me.  The thought of coffee without creamer in it, no cheese pizza and no tuna sandwiches or egg biscuits…how could I give that up?  I was buying “Organic” creamer and cheese, “cage free certified humane” eggs and “sustainable” fish.  Sounds okay right?  Cows have to be milked and hens have to lay eggs…that was my reasoning.  No, it’s not – it’s not okay and again, I was wrong.

Even though my 15 year old daughter had made a smooth transition and preached to me daily, it wasn’t until my visit to a local animal sanctuary opened my eyes to the necessity of living a totally Vegan lifestyle if I was truly wanting to do my part to end animal suffering.

Wrapping it up in Vegas – Days 3 & 4

Our third day, second morning rolled around and we decided to stop into the Dal Toro Restaurant for breakfast after seeing a sign that said $9.99.  The seating was outside and it was a beautiful morning.  It quickly filled up and by the time we left there wasn’t a seat available on the patio besides the ones we just left.

Our breakfast company:

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We decided that since we didn’t do our downtown visit on our first night, we would go this day.  There was some confusion about where to buy the Northbound bus passes from the Palazzo side of the street.  Well, you can’t. You have to take the elevator up and walkway across because the machine is on the other side of the street (the TI side).

There was some construction near Circus Circus (likely the pending implosion of the Riviera) which caused a very slow beginning to our ride. After that it was smooth sailing.  We arrived downtown and of course, everyone had to pee.  So we went into the Golden Nugget to take care of that business and to show R the aquarium/pool area.

On the way out, a Starbucks green tea lemonade was in order and a few pulls on a double diamond machine near the front which netted me $0.

Outside however we did get to use the selfie stick again.. woo hoo!

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We went into La Bayou because my mom swears that the Lucky Penny penguin machines in there love her.  Well they didn’t love her this time but R won about $40.  I was getting ready to leave after cashing out (La Bayou doesn’t do TITOs…it is all coins) and the lady I give my coins to tells me that we should play the Texas Tea machines.  She said they “sure pay out on max bet!” We figured what the heck, we’re from Texas, and gave them a try.  Yeah I quickly turned $60 in to another $0.

We leave downtown and I’m $80 poorer than when we got there.  I wasn’t planning on playing anything downtown but it happens I guess.

Bussed it back to Palazzo and I remembered that the last time in March that we took the bus downtown I ended up getting really motion sick.  It happened again.  I think I need to try the lower level next time.

Back at our mecca, we ran into Carlo’s bakery.  To our surprise, the line was manageable and there were still cannolis left!!

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While R and mom got their goodies, it was  potty break time for me again.  I met them as I came out and my mom tellls me “wow those must be some expensive cookies!” When I asked why she showed me her receipt for nearly $150.  She bought 2 bags of cookies, 2 cannolis, 2 rainbow cookies and 2 sfogliatelle cookies (pronounced “sfoo-ya-dell”, or at least that’s how I say it).  When I looked closer at her receipt I see that they charged her for 32 sfogliatelles and the rainbow cookies were missing!

It was kind of a mess getting it figured out and we came to the conclusion that they still didn’t refund enough.  The lady behind the counter was so busy, I’m not sure she knew what was going on.  My mom isn’t one to raise hell so she got the refund for what she could and left the rest alone.

Back to the room to enjoy the cannolis but first… I had to play some more.  I proceeded to lose more.  This was an awful day for me, I wasn’t hitting anything so yeah, back to the room to drown my sorrows in cannoli cream.

After the Carlo’s feast we headed to dinner and decided to go to La Burger Brasserie in Paris.  We all had salads and they were actually really good.  I was able to pay for the meal with my TR credits.

We had tickets for the 730 showing of Love at the Mirage.  I’ve seen it 3 times before this and my mom had seen it twice.  We were especially looking forward to R experiencing the wonder of  Cirque for the first time.

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I cannot tell you the look on her face during that opening scene.  I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it but it is definitely a ‘wow” moment!  I’m not sure her mouth closed the entire show.  She was in awe and reduced to tears afterwards.  Yes, it is THAT good!

After the show we just headed back to play a bit at the Palazzo.  My mom still wasn’t feeling well so she didn’t stay long before going to the room.  R’s flight was leaving at 6am the next morning so she soon followed.

Again, it was me left to my lonesome in the casino. I did really well at first but continued to play until that day’s bankroll was at $0.  Nothing new there!

The next morning R got up at the butt crack of dawn and caught a cab to the airport.  Mom and I hung around a little longer.  We grabbed breakfast at Planet Hollywood buffet – which was not very good and the service was terrible.  We stood in line with ONE person in front of us for over 15 minutes and then another almost 10 minutes before any of us were seated.  And it wasn’t even busy!  Good thing I paid with my TR points.

We bought a few souvenirs and before we new it, it was time to grab a cab and head back to the airport for our flight home.

Overall we had a great few days. It was nice to do Vegas a bit differently than normal.  I think R enjoyed her first trip and she was talking about trying to get her husband to take her back.  Uh oh – I think she caught the bug!

Girls Weekend in Vegas – French Food and Legends Day Two

I am slow these days, I don’t think I’ve ever taken weeks to do a trip report!

As usual on the first morning waking up in Vegas, you wake up early.  Since we had reservations for lunch at Mon Ami Gabi, we just grabbed something quick at the Cafe Presse place inside Palazzo.  When we checked in, we were given free coffee coupons for each morning.  They were only good for the small cups of coffee but that was ok, free is free.

There was a bit of a battle for coffee, as three was a rather rude lady who thought she had the right to take up the entire space where you get your sugar, creamer etc… She was less than pleased that I needed to fix my coffee too.  I was shocked by the nasty way she spoke to the people who worked there too.  Some people just need an attitude adjustment!

After coffee, we wanted to show R more places on the strip before lunch.  First stop was the Forum Shops.  None of the stores were really open yet but it was nice to just walk through without a crowd. We stopped to take some pictures and ended up with several since my mom had my camera on the “rapid burst”  setting. Most were just a blur but we got a decent one.

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Next was Bellagio, to show R the conservatory area.  On the way I stopped to play that new Dragon game by Bally’s.  I can’t recall the name but I won $35 the bonus.  I tried to record it but my phone’s camera kept cutting off.  Not happy about that!  Here are some pictures of Bellagio’s fall display:

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It was extremely crowded in there!I

Our lunch time reservation for Mon Ami Gabi was approaching so we headed off to Paris.  R went to get a total rewards card and there was some confusion at the TR desk.  They had two areas of the line – one for Diamond+ and another for the rest of us riff raff.  She got in that line first, then the lady behind the desk told her to go ahead and stand in the Diamond line…saying she was doing something and couldn’t help her.  She waited for a bit and finally got up to the agent.  That lady was rather rude and told her she couldn’t help her because that line was for Diamond+ only!  Mind you, there was nobody else in line.  She told her to go to the other area with the lady who told her to stand in the Diamond line.  Grrrrrr.  This was certainly a debacle because there was nobody else there!  R was pissed at this point and voiced her frustration with the first lady.  That lady begrudgingly helped her but left R with a bad taste in her mouth.

We walked around a bit and watched a lady playing the group bank of Wizard of Oz 3-reel machines win $1100 on the bonus round.  She was only betting $1.00.  She said she was down to $30 from her $50 and almost walked away when the bonus started.  Somehow she had gotten a 100x multiplier and hit the motherload on the bonus.

R sat down at one of those new 88 fortunes machines and on the 2nd spin, got the bonus and won $160 on a 76 cent bet. That helped to calm her down from the TR desk calamity!  I on the other hand proceeded to lose about $80 in a span of about 30 minutes.  Paris always hates me.

It was now 11am so we went over to Mon Ami Gabi to let them know we were there.  Our res was for 1145 but patio seating is still first come first serve – the res just puts you further up on the list.  We were given a pager and it went off at 1145 exactly for patio seating!

This was my first time at MAG and I will definitely be back.  The food was great and the atmosphere even better.  We caught several fountain shows while we sat there.

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After lunch we went over to Planet Hollywood to look for some of those comfortable sandal shoes at the ABC store.  I have a pair that my daughter has claimed as her own, so I needed new ones!  The first ABC store was out of my size but I ended up getting a selfie stick for $12.  Our arms are way too short to do it ourselves, as we had found out.

I found the shoes at the 2nd ABC store and then off to Cosmopolitan and Aria to show R around.  R is sassy and I couldn’t wait for her to take a pic in the big shoe!

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Trying out the selfie stick:

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Walking out of Cosmo, a HUGE Buffalo game caught my eye. I’d never seen this one with the big screen before and had to play it. Maybe I should just stick with the regular size ones, as this one didn’t like me at all.

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My mom was in search of the Luck Penny penguin machines.  There used to be a bunch of them by the Aria check in desk.  It looks like they’ve changed things around quite a bit because they weren’t there anymore.  While R signed up for her MLife card, I found a bank of Wheel of Fortune 25 cent machines and did quite well on one.

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My memory is failing me and I can’t remember what more we did that day up until the evening!  At some point we went back to the room to change and freshen up a bit. Of course I had to play in the Venetian casino a bit and all I did was lose what Aria had given me earlier.

We had tickets for Legends in Concert 7pm show at Flamingo.  I had seen this show on my first trip to Vegas ever, in 1994 and then again on my first trip with my husband in 2001.  It had been a while and I thought this would be fun for R.  We had great seats right down front.  The celebrities were Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, Madonna, Frank Sinatra and of course Elvis.  Every one of them was amazing.  We took pictures with the performers after the show.

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The only complaint I had was that our audience was awful.  I don’t understand how you can just sit there still and not sing along and dance in your seat!  At times I wondered if most of the people there were even breathing.  These performers really gave their all up on stage.  I showed my appreciation by giving them a standing ovation.  They deserved it!

By now we were starving so we headed over to Mirage to stop in the Carnegie deli and grab a bite.  Things have changed over there.  No more servers.  You order at the counter and they bring the food to you but it’s not the same.  The menu seems to have shrunk as well.  The food was still good but I miss the old Carnegie.

After eating, my mom seemed to have been struck by the same stomach issues I had the night before.  We took it easy inside and played a few machines.  None of which paid me much.

Heading back to Palazzo, we took the tram over to TI.  Wow has that place gone to crap.  The smell….oh the smell!  Back in the day, my husband and I have stayed there about 3 times. We always loved the casino smell and the atmosphere.  Now I can’t even describe it.  Maybe something like dirty wet socks that were left in a car during a hot Texas summer.  It was awful and ended up making my mom feel even worse.  We had to get out of there.

It seems as if the base of the elevator that connects the walkway from the Fashion Show mall area back over to the Palazzo has become the bedroom for the homeless.  Not only the bedroom, but the bathroom too.  We couldn’t wait to get back across the street!

Mom went up to bed, still not feeling well while R and I stayed downstairs playing for a bit.  R finally tuckered out too and I, the lone degenerate stayed in the casino until around 3am thanks to several coffee & Bailey’s in large to-go cups.  I was up and down – winning and then playing it back.  I don’t remember if I finished up that night or not.  I’m pretty sure I ended up back at the room with that day’s bankroll still in tact.

Girls Weekend in Vegas – Palazzo Heaven day one

Two weeks late but better than never.  It’s been so busy at home since we got back from Vegas.  The characters in this adventure are myself, my BFF and my mom.  We will call BFF “R” and mom will be known as….well, mom.

A little background, R and I have been friends since the age of 5.  Our father’s worked together for an airline and our families are as close as real family to this day.  That would put this at a 33 year friendship so far.  Not too shabby!  R lives about 3 hours from me and it has been a good 17 years since we have gone on a trip together.  She’s never been to Vegas and it was time!

Mom and I got a ride to DFW from a local transportation company that I work with through my job. We were picked up early in the morning in a big comfy Escalade with the nicest driver ever.  We had great conversation on the way to the airport and his professionalism just reinforces the reason why we use them for our clients.  It was great.

Had an uneventful flight into LAS.  A little turbulence early in the flight.  That’s why I had to have breakfast:

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We met R in the baggage claim.  Her flight arrived about an hour before ours.  I had arranged a one way limo transport through Presidential Limo.  We had used them this past March and had a great experience.  This experience wasn’t so great.  Our driver was not very friendly and seemed very rushed.  With our one way transfer, we are given 1.5 hr in the limo.  I asked if he could take us to the Las Vegas sign.  He seemed less than happy that I asked such a question.  Quickly we arrived at the sign and he told us to “hurry up” out of the limo.  He rushed us up past the line of people and took our picture to the side.  Then again urged us to hurry as he walked us back to the limo.  He was about 5 feet in front of us…any faster and he would’ve been in an all out sprint.  I was sort of embarrassed in front of my mom and R…because using Presidential was my idea and I was raving about them before the trip.

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Me, Mom and R

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Here’s the sign pic…it came out ok.

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We were at the Palazzo in the blink of an eye.  I’m a travel agent and IHG rewards us with IHG priority club points for booking clients into their properties.  We book A LOT of Holiday Inn reservations so I had enough points when I booked this for two free nights and one paid night at the travel agent rate.  I’ve never stayed at Palazzo/Venetian but I’ve always wanted to.  We checked in at the IHG Elite desk and our check in lady was so sweet.  She was really great at explaining things and took her time, not rushing us.  We were upgraded to a strip view.

When we got to the room the girls were amazed.  It was huge!

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First item of importance, lunch!  We went to Noodle Asia inside the Venetian.  I love this place and it’s one of the only Asian restaurants I’ve found that doesn’t put MSG in all of their dishes.  My mom is allergic.

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After lunch I bet $20 on the US vs Mex soccer game – which I lost because US lost.  Thanks Juergen!

We wanted to show R around and really didn’t have many plans for the first day.  I had also booked a room at the Excalibur because Mlife gave me 2 free nights, no resort fee, $50 resort credit and $100 free play.  I used a MyVegas BOGO monorail reward at Bally’s so we wouldn’t have to walk all the way down there.  We took the monorail from Bally’s to MGM.  R wanted to see the MGM so we walked through and of course I had to play a few machines on the way.  Had a bit of luck at a triple red hot 7’s machine and walked out of MGM $70 richer than I did when we walked in.

Next, over to Excalibur to check in and get my freebies.  We went up to the room just for the heck of it and as usual, the Excalibur hallway was like a dungeon and even though I had been given one of the “renovated” rooms, it was not much better than the non-renovated room we had on spring break.  I was so glad not to sleep there!

I played my $100 free play in a $1 triple red hot 7s machine, $5 max bet.  It went quickly, didn’t hit much and only walked away with $50 cash.  At least it was $50 casino money I had in my wallet when I was done.

The next decision probably was not a great one.  I wanted to use my $50 resort credit for dinner.  We went to Dick’s Last Resort.  I warned everyone about what Dick’s was and thought there would be some good laughs.  Well, there were a few laughs but I think my mom didn’t find everything too funny.  She and R got hats….I didn’t.  I won’t share what they said out of respect for them but let’s just say our waiter went easy on us compared to others around us!

The drinks were good. I had a Firey Apple – Angry Orchard Hard Cider and Fireball Whiskey….mom had a beer and R had a margarita.  We ordered crab balls, nachos and fried pickles.  Food that would haunt me later.

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After DInner

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By the time we got back to the Palazzo, my stomach was aching from dinner.  I can’t eat a lot of crap like the crap we ate.  I should’ve known better.  We stayed in the room for a while to charge our phones, watch US lose to Mexico and let my stomach calm down a bit.

We played a bit that night and found a bank of Leprechaun’s Gold machines.  The Leprechaun bonus on my machine was randomly triggering quite frequently.  I didn’t have any big wins but it was fun.  This was the best one I had:

We were able to play there for quite a while.  Last machine of the night, I had a 10 minute bonus on Willy Wonka.  Not a huge win but it was fun!

Mom and R got tired and went up to the room.  Of course my degenerate ass had to stay and play a while longer.  I think I went up around 130am and was lucky to end the day with the same bankroll I started with +$60.

Day two coming soon…Mon Ami Gabi and Legends in Concert!