The say “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” But I guess I’m going to break the rules and tell you about the fantastic weekend I had there with three of my dearest girlfriends. Prepare yourself for all of the wild details that a 30-something, breast pump-toting, sleep-deprived mom can dish out. :)
The purpose of this trip was to celebrate my friend Femi’s birthday. She’s Jameson’s Godmother, an all-around spectacular woman, and she’d never been to Vegas. So we figured no better time than her birthday to take a trip.
We checked into the Aria hotel on a Friday, where we booked one of their Sky Suites. The Aria is a fairly new, beautiful hotel and didn’t exist the last time I was in Vegas eight years ago with my late husband Jarronn.
Let me say that the luxury of our suite made leaving the room pretty darn hard. We’re talking the comfiest bed I’ve ever slept in, huge sinking tubs, toilets with heated seats and electronic controls, steam showers, views of the Vegas strip, and tablets to operate everything from our music pumping through the surround sound to the much needed blackout curtains. My selfie game is far from strong, but these bathrooms beckoned me to snap one…We spent our first night staying close to the hotel, walking through the attached mall and window shopping the designer stores. Since every hotel in Vegas is like a giant cruise ship that you really never have to leave, we got acclimated to the Aria, enjoyed room service, painted our nails, and caught up on life.
The next morning we woke up early to head out for a tour of Red Rock Canyon, which is a 30-45 min drive from the strip. It was pretty chilly when we arrived, but these views were a great distraction. We hiked straight toward that pointy rock formation, which took us along a trail that wound between the red mountains. Along the way, we got to learn about desert wildlife from our guide, and I tried to snap random pictures of the beauty around us without falling behind and getting separated from the group. I particularly love this photo of the birthday girl. Nothing like seeing the people you love smile.
While we didn’t spot any crazy wildlife during our hike (apparently a sampling of the animals out there includes wild donkeys, tarantulas, and coyotes), we did see some mountain climbers so high on the mountain, they looked like tiny specs of color.
After three hours, we wrapped up our hike and headed back to the strip. All of our stomachs were grumbling, so we made our way to In-N-Out burger, and as you might expect, it was magnificent. So much for all those calories burned while hiking.
After lunch, the birthday girl suggested we ride the roller coaster at the New York, New York hotel. I’m a huge fan of roller coasters and had rode the one at New York, New York on my last trip with Jarronn, so I was all for it. But maybe it’s my older age, or the time I’ve let lapse since riding a roller coaster, or that In-N-Out burger that hadn’t quite settled, but I was on that ride begging for it to end! I’d include a photo of me on the ride, but when we looked at the monitor afterwards, my head was so leaned forward, you couldn’t even see my face, lol. I was being tossed around like a rag doll and got totally handled by that ride.
The remainder of our trip involved a lot of the quintessential Las Vegas activities: delicious eats from Carbone, Jean Philippe Patisserie, and Javier’s, a ride in the High Roller to take in views of the strip, random confetti falling from the ceiling, some shopping in the Venetian mall, and a trip to see the iconic Bellagio fountains. We also had an Uber driver who talked so recklessly, I can only best describe him as the Ethiopian version of Mr. Chow from The Hangover. (We were in Vegas, after all.)But by far, what made the trip was the time spent hanging and talking with my girlfriends. Over the course of our short trip we shared our challenges, celebrated each other, cried for each other, and laughed at the idiosyncrasies we’ve learned about each other through 15 years of friendship.
Vegas is a place where much is manufactured — from big show productions to bright lights and even replica cities. And sometimes relationships can feel that way too — a bit forced, cosmetic, and lacking authenticity.
I’m grateful to have moments with such a real and inspiring group of women.
While trying to pose for a selfie, I doubted that I’d actually fit in the photo and started cracking up. Lo and behold, I’m very much so in the frame (I told y’all my selfie game needs work!), and I love this pic for the genuine moment it captures among genuine friends. What happened in Vegas is staying with me.