But not this time. Cause I’m gonna tell you about almost all of it!
I missed you bellas — been insanely busy and that vacay was VERY necessary. Internet cost $12 a day at the hotel, so I decided to step away from the computer altogether and spend my time hanging out with family and old friends, while making some new friends.
My sister in law lives in Las Vegas, and her husband was born and raised there. So we’ve visited before and done the Las Vegas strip — it’s so bright and exciting, but it can be too much. As someone who lives in Miami and hardly ever ventures over to South Beach, I must say that I empathize with Las Vegas locals. There’s much fun to be found off the strip, and I love discovering a city’s hidden gems. Here’s a review of my Las Vegas experience. Let’s start with the hotel!
Here I am, all prettied up to hit the strip and posing in our hotel room.
Like the black dress? I got it at B & Lu, and I LOVE it. Great experience shopping with them, affordable, tres chic, and ooh, are those subtle little pockets nobody notices unless you want them to? Great deal, definitely recommend.
OK, let me tell you about the hotel!
The Green Valley Ranch resort is gorgeous and sprawling — there’s a first rate spa, a big casino with several restaurants (ranging from fancy steakhouse to pancake house, with a food court, buffet marketplace, and a pretty good Cheesecake Factory rip off besides that). There’s also a cinema, a concert venue (Seal played there the night of the wedding), and a beautiful pool area, where I pretty much spent all my time.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ll know — the cocktails by this pool are amazing. I loved the Kusababa, a frozen blend of pina colada and Zen green tea liqueur, and the pineapple mojitos, which always go down smooth. Las Vegas sun absolutely bakes your skin and leaves you dry, so I gotta give props to Neutrogena — that Ultra Sheer sunblock kept my skin in tact. I came home about two shades toastier and with glowy cheeks, but my skin isn’t peeling or flaky at all. I love the SPF 45, and it always amuses me when people are surprised at the sunscreen I’m using. Skin cancer is a risk no matter how dark your skin is, and it’s important to know that
higher SPF doesn’t always mean higher protection. I apply carefully and reapply often.
Our days were spent poolside, but every night we did something fun — first stop, Fado Irish Pub for cocktails. It’s a fun, inviting chain of pubs that I’ve also visited in Chicago, and my new brother in law Rich, works at the Las Vegas pub. Stop by, have a drink, and tip the tall, friendly redheaded bartender if you’re in the neighborhood!
Friday night we spent at The Peppermill, an atmospheric, old school Vegas lounge that looks like a rundown HoJo on the outside. We chilled in the Fireside Lounge, which has a flaming pool, recessed couches, and giant fruity drinks on the menu. As the website indicates: “Featured insuch films as â€œCasinoâ€ and â€Showgirlsâ€ and seen on TV in â€œCSI Las Vegasâ€ and â€œElimidate.â€ (tee hee). This place makes for great I-wonder-what’s-your-profession people watching, by the by.
Saturday was the wedding, and it was absolutely magical. Held at the quaint and adorable Little Church of the West just across from the Mandalay Bay hotel, the ceremony was ten minutes long at most, and the crowds waiting outside took more photos of our wedding party than of their own, it seemed — people took the Seventies dress code seriously!! Which brings me to a blogging first, and part of my New Year’s resolution to be a braver blogger.
I’ve referred to my husband quite often on this blog, and I’ve posted many photos of my own immediate family — specifically my sister Petal, my parents, my little niece Dominique. I’ve even visited my in-laws before, and wrote all about the wonderful trip I’ve had. But I’ve never before posted a photo of my husband or his family, for one simple reason. He’s asked me not to. But we’ve talked recently, and two years after starting this blog, he’s finally cool with me sharing the other parts of my life with the world.
So everyone, meet Steve, the love of my life, and my wonderful family of in-laws.
Spoiler alert — True Life: I’m in an interracial marriage.
My reasons for not really writing about this before are many — the main one being that my husband and I have faced a little discrimination before from close family and so-called friends in the past, and we didn’t really want to deal with it on the internet, where people reveal pretty horrific prejudices behind the guise of anonymity. Or rather, my husband was just like look — I see how upset you get when you get a bad comment from a reader about a mere product review. Imagine how you’d feel dealing with comments judging our relationship? Imagine how you’d feel if you somehow lost readers because of our relationship?
He’s just trying to protect me because he knows how sensitive I can be. Behind the scenes on this here blog that I consider to be so positive and uplifting, I’ve gotten some downright disturbing comments. In the past, they’ve upset me tremendously. I’ve also gotten annoyed when visiting some of the blogs I read every day, and seen relationships between different races dismissed out of hand as “jungle fever.” It really sticks in my craw when it’s assumed that a relationship is based on little more than skin tone or outward appearance, as though love and the person inside had nothing to do with it. It bothers me because I’ve had people come at me with the most ludicrous assumptions about our relationship.
I’ve had people I thought were friends cut me off completely, back in college. We’ve faced angry questions about what our kids would be labeled as (as though that should be some kind of a deterrent to us having children). It’s been a decade now that we’ve been best friends, and nine years we’ve been together romantically. We’ve been married for six amazing years. I have a different perspective now, and it feels weird and wrong to exclude or hide this part of my life for fear of the reaction of others.
I’m putting all of this out there with just one simple message. I’m rambling and I’m writing this after 2 in the morning and I’m still jet lagged and this post is really just supposed to be a fun lighthearted visit Vegas travel post… but I hope you all forgive me if I get heavy for a moment.
I believe that love is about looking past what’s on the surface, and getting to know, appreciate, and understand each other on a deeper level. What I’m trying to say is, beautiful things can happen when you give a relationship a chance and try not to wrap your future in expectations. I married my best friend from college, and at one point I would never have even considered him as a romantic possibility, much less the soul mate I always dreamed I’d find. In many ways — much to my surprise — our differences have made us a stronger couple. And we’ve discovered similarities I would never have guessed we had, back when I would never ever thought I’d settle down with someone who didn’t fit the assumptions I’d made for myself. Real, true, lasting love goes so much deeper than what you see on the outside. And sometimes, you find it in the most unexpected places.
OK, tangent over. Now — a slideshow of fun wedding photos!
This wedding was super fun and done affordably — after the chapel we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant, then the party bus took us to Dino’s, “the last neighborhood bar in Vegas.” I love a dive bar, and this fit the bill superbly. And we took that place over! It was an absolute blast. My sister in law, Kate, got her dress on Ebay! Rich rented his tux from somewhere online, and my husband wore his dad’s prom suit. The days after the wedding we spent re-visiting the strip — my brother in law Patrick and his girlfriend had yet to see the beautiful water show at the Bellagio, or the Venetian, and we strolled along admiring the grandeur and sleaze. There’s no other city like Las Vegas, and I’m happy to visit anytime. It was a very positive and fun trip, full of love and revelry. Kate, I love you. Rich, welcome to the family. Congratulations on the most fun wedding ever!
And now I’m back, bellas! I’ve got a fresh perspective on life and so much to blog about. Did you miss me?