Saturday, May 18, 2013

Viva Las Vegas - Tardy For The Party

So I sorta went to Vegas . . . in December. I know -- tardy for the party. What can I say though? I took a whole lotta pictures and it was just easier to push them to the side for a bit -- like five months. Either way, the time has arrived and I'm ready to share. The only difference between Vegas in December and now? Christmas decorations and about 20 degrees.

This was my first time in Vegas. My reason for going? A pharmacy conference -- I won't bore you with the deets, but I presented a poster and participated in a lot of other pharmacy organization-related things (cough, cough -- residency process for next year), etc. I hardly had any daylight hours to get out and explore, but that doesn't really matter -- Vegas is most certainly a night-time city. 

From a photography standpoint, I hadn't really had never shot purely night-time photos, so this was definitely a learning process for me. Just envision me, walking around the Vegas strip, alone and in the dark, trying to figure out my camera settings while tripod-less! Whew! With that being said, these photos aren't the bomb-dot-com, but I definitely learned quite a bit in terms of shooting! There's a whole lot of grain, but I did what I could without a tripod. If I had had a tripod, it would have probably taken me all night to walk the strip, haha. 

Enjoy {there's a whole lot of them}!

Here's a little IG collage of my time in Vegas -- too bad I didn't have my iPhone 5 for this trip :(

The week before I left for Vegas, I started going over my daily schedule and it became very clear to me that I would have little to no time to do anything fun. I browsed the internet to see what kind of shows would be going on while I was there -- there were tons of cirque de soleil shows such as "O" at the Bellagio and Beatles LOVE at The Mirage. I would have loved to have seen the Beatles one! Shania Twain was also doing a show at Caesars Palace. I finally stumbled upon gold at my very own hotel -- the MGM Grand. Who could it be? Mmmmm just Aerosmith and Cheap Trick. NBD. 

No. Wait. It was. 

I arrived in Vegas early in the afternoon on a Saturday and made my way to the hotel. Before doing so, I stood in what I'm convinced is the world's longest {but fastest moving} taxi line . . . ever. Seriously. It was probably 100 people deep, and I only waited about 10 minutes. 

I arrived at the hotel and met up with the three other pharmacy students that I was staying with (from Ohio). 
Our view from the room.

Inside our room -- you can't really tell but it wraps around to the left through the doorway and it was huge. We had an enormous couch with a pullout, two really comfortable queen beds, two large TVs, a desk, a large closet, and a really nice bathroom with two showers. 

Once in our room, one of my roomies for the week and her friend were just as famished as I, so we did what any normal person would do -- we split an over-priced taxi fair three ways and found the closest In-N-Out. We each had burgers and animal style fries. This was my last decent meal for about 36 hours due to being a total busy body -- cue the Starbuck's oatmeal in the collage (it's so delish for those that have never had it). 

After clogging our arteries, we made our way to Mandalay Bay (where the pharmacy conference was being held) and picked up our packets and headed back to the hotel for a quick rest. Thennnn it was up-and-at-'em -- I had to go ready myself for Steven Tyler and all and one of my roomies was seeing Shania. 

Things got wonky when I left for the concert and headed for the Garden Arena. I arrived, entered through the gate, and was told that I couldn't bring my camera in -- if we were texting right now, this is where I would insert the emoji face with its eyes bugging out. I was in shock. Then mad. Then angry. VERY angry. Apparently MGM has some sort of rule about bigger cameras, specifically ones with big lenses (just an FYI for if you ever go to a show there). O and they DON'T have this information advertised. Anywhere.

At that point, I could either let them store it (puh-lease -- you must be cray-cray), or I could frantically run back to my room and then back to the arena. Even though it was in the same place as my hotel, it's a good 15 minute walk (one way). So I ran to my room and back. Once back and inside the arena, I found the closest vendor selling beer, bought two and found my seat just as Cheap Trick began to play. I calmed down and watched the best concert I've ever been to. After the show was over, I was walking out of the arena and there were many older couples around me -- I overhead a woman say to her husband, "C'mon, you know that show was better than the Stones." Yea -- it was THAT good. 

I had to be up early the next morning for a meeting, followed by student sessions for the rest of the day.
My view from inside the convention center.

That pyramid is the Luxor Hotel Casino.

That evening, I presented a poster that I designed for an event from my university's organization. Won't bore ya with the deets, but it was a lot of fun. My schedule was like that pretty much everyday that I was there -- busy to the max. 

Andddddd here's the Vegas Strip for ya.

Excalibur Hotel Casino and apparently Lynyrd Skynrd has a restaurant there.

Just through those palm trees is New York-New York Hotel & Casino -- it's fashioned to look New York City. The cool part? It has a roller coaster smack dab in the middle of it.

There's the coaster.

Just a random Coca-Cola Store. I got a photo of this from the other side of the street right after a "statue" dressed like Elvis scared the living you-know-what out of me. When I was in New Orleans, they had "statues" like these too, but this guy got me good.

Fountain at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino.

One thing about Vegas -- it's by no means a walking city. That In-N-Out that we went to? We could see it all day long but there was no {safe} way to get to it without driving. The picture below was taken from one of MANY footbridges that are elevated above the streets that connect one side of the street to another. The footbridges definitely keep people safer, but you better be ready to get your workout in by climbing up and down all of those steps . . . just to get to the other side of the street. There's also tons of plexi-glass on these things, I guess so people don't get the bold idea to jump or whatever crazy things they may come up with.

A random, large rose at CityCenter -- what's a big city without oversized objects?

Psychedelic lights at Planet Hollywood.

This gem reminds of something you might see in Germany.

In LOVE with this building -- so bold and bright -- Flamingo Hotel and Casino.

Also in love with this -- I adore the colors bouncing off the buildings.

Prob my favorite hotel/casino in all of Vegas (most people are all about The Venetian) - Paris Hotel and Casino.

Didn't get to go inside Madame Tussaud's, but it's definitely on my list for next time.

Finally made it to The Venetian. I had walked one side of the strip in it's entirety and I had to go to the bathroom something fierce, so that's what I did. I used the bathroom in The Venetian.

But not before seeing the canals and neighboring buildings lit up for Christmas. I'm under the firm belief that everyone should visit Vegas at Christmas and during the summertime.

This tree was made of bubbles and such and it changed colors -- soooo neat.

Up closer to the entrance of The Venetian, they had a stage with entertainers singing all sorts of music and then there were these things . . . kinda strange. Whimsical winter wonderland?

Once inside, I oo'ed and ahh'ed at the ceiling inside The Venetian. It was super awkward to take a photo of because they had tons of construction going on inside.

This was more stunning in my opinion. Just smells ritzy when ya look at it.


This is all I have of the Bellagio. It was kind of a far walk from the road and I was getting tired.

Of course I had to stay to watch the water show! Another reason to go to Vegas at Christmastime? The Bellagio does their fountain show to Christmas music!

And because I feel like you should experience it, here's a video I took of the fountain show (forgive the quality -- first time I used the video feature of my camera)!

Good 'ol Caesar outside Caesars Palace.

Hard Rock Cafe right beside the Coca Cola Store. I snapped this picture, turned around, and there stood Elvis scaring the living crap out of me. Yes, spectators laughed.

My trip came to a close on Wednesday morning. Please forgive the awful glare in the photo below -- I had to snap it because those mountain tops in the distance reallllllly made me feel like I was on the other side of the United States. Their dark color, their barren-ness, their clay-like texture -- it was kinda what I expected. It also reminded me of Breaking Bad and some of the New Mexico views that they show on the show.

I had a pretty awesome spot on my flight back :)

Coming in over NYC.

And this pretty much made the flight worthwhile.

Vegas was an awesome time and I can't wait to go back. I loved the strip and seeing things that I usually only see in movies or on TV.

Side note -- I've been writing and sharing for a little over a year now on this tiny sliver of the internet! I've looked back at some of the things I shared from the beginning until now, and I definitely feel like I've learned a lot in terms of photography {one of my main reasons for starting a blog}.

If you're a reader -- thanks for reading :)



  1. Hi Sue, Vegas never fails it always has something to fun to offer, it's bee a few years since I've been I love NY NY we spent our 15th anniversary there and when checking out Bruce went to get a Taxi and I put one last 20 in a slot hit the play max button nothing then noticed that I only had 2 credits left it was a $5 machine rats so spin one credit and 5 5 5 for $500 cashed out and went home good times, this was in August like 102 degrees but still a fun place.
    Barbara (lm_4_bn on IG)

    1. Barbara!

      So good to hear from you on here! Sounds like your trip with the hubs was a blast. And look at you winning all that moo-lah!!! I'll have to take you with me next time and play some slots -- maybe you can help me win lots of money :)

      O and whenever I make it to the West Coast, you'll be one of the first people I ask about where to go, what to eat . . . who to see (maybe your sweet self!! :)