Things I’ve Learned From Vegas

I love the vegas. I first went to vegas in 1997 with my parents and I had just gone through a crazy experience: i fell down a mountain. But I was just scraped up. I’d survive… there was vegas to see!! I remember having to walk on the paths through the casinos and not step off them to get closer to the slot machines because I was too young to play. The lights and the sounds and the excitement was so amazing though!! and the shopping was pretty rad too. I was just amazed at the flashiness of the city and how grand it was! everything was larger than life! and when in a taxi line outside one night we grabbed a limo instead because it was just there. we definitely weren’t flashy or well off so it was definitely a treat! So i couldn’t wait to go back when i was 21!! My college boyfriend and i planned it out- he had gone once when we were in college and he won a bunch of money at a slot- like so much they have to have a person come over to verify it- so he had the guy next to him collect for him (since he was too young). we were enamored with everything about it! we ended up splitting up but my love for vegas never died! So when i was 22 I used my shiny credit card and booked my first trip out there.

Vegas 2004 Girls

Stephanie, Danielle, and Emilie (2004)

it was everything i dreamed it would be. We got so lucky with our trip… my dad’s cousin hooked us up with a hotel room at the MGM and had a limo pick us up from the airport. he had champagne and strawberries sent up to the room. i mean… it was amazing. and i’m pretty sure i won big on the first slot i played but i expected coins to come falling out of the machine if i won so i didn’t collect. but i fell in love with some of the slots- especially multi-strike poker. when my friends spend our last day at the pool i just sat at my multi-strike poker machine. we danced, we drank, we had a spa day, and we gambled and shopped til we had to leave. and i was hooked. for the next few years i went at least once a year, a couple times i went twice. i went with my girls. i went with my boys. i went with gay dudes, straight dudes, couples, single people, everyone loves vegas!!

Vegas March 2005 Girls Trip

Danielle, Kathleen, Me, Stephanie, Eileen, Lydia (2005)

Over the years i’ve learned a lot from my trips to vegas, from where to eat and how to pack. Every time i go i learn something new and build awesome relationships with my friends i go with.

Toby, Greg, Mike ,Brian, and Me (2005)

Toby, Greg, Mike ,Brian, and Me (2005)


So here are my top five lessons I’ve learned in my 12 years of vegas trips:

  1. Take vacations with people you love. Spending time with friends and family outside your “normal” setting is always such an amazing learning experience, and I don’t mean just learning if they snore or not. You get to learn so much about a person when you spend that much time with them and little time apart. It’s so cool what comes up and seriously you get to bond so much tighter! Perhaps this is how Toby and I got so close? Six vegas trips + other trips together = besties for life!

    Vegas Jan 2006 Joev

    JM, Keith, Tony, Brian, Me, Toby, & Joev (2006)

  2. Know when to hold ’em. and when to fold ’em. OK. So this is obviously true in vegas when gambling but also in life. Vegas tells you a lot about how you are… like in life. For example, are you a risk taker? When you are playing a slot machine and you put in $20, do you do max bets? Do you wait until you’re up to $100 and walk away? or keep playing til you’re back down to $20? When you get a job offer you’re not sure about do you take it, even though it’s based on commission? Or do you walk away and stay with what’s safe? Obviously two different situations but you learn a lot about your risk tolerance. i love to think i’m pretty risk tolerant. i’ll do anything, try anything, and can’t wait to go skydiving! But when i think about it… i mean really think about it… i have a pretty low risk tolerance. i take lots of small risks but not really anything big. which is totally reflected in my gambling style.

    Joe, Keith, and Toby

    Joe, Keith, and Toby (2008)

  3. You do you boo! Vegas is a place where anything goes so you can really just be whoever you are. Seriously everything goes here. so do what makes you happy- if you love gambling, go ahead and gamble (unless you have an addiction, of course). If you love lazing around by the pool you can do that. If you like dressing up and clubbing, get it. If you like cheap junk food, they’ve got that too. Wanna wear pearls and a dress with a party skirt? rock it!! seriously just do whatever makes you happy… that’s how vegas rolls! And take that lesson with you to the rest of the world… be who you are- who cares what anyone else thinks?! Not you. because you know how awesome you are.

    Vegas with Brooke 2009

    me & brooke at LAX in the Luxor (2009)

  4. Celebrate every moment. Vegas is a great place for celebrations of all kinds from weddings to bachelor parties to friendship to birthdays… and it helps remind you to really take a minute to celebrate the awesome things in life!! Sometimes we’re running so fast through life and the next milestone or next achievement we forget to stop and high five ourselves for the awesome things we’ve done. Try to take time periodically to check in and reflect on all the awesome you’ve created in the world. Ideally keep an evidence file full of all these “wins”- that makes it really easy to go back and reflect on the awesome things you’ve accomplished!! Take pictures, notes, doodles, whatever- just track all the awesome accomplishments in your life no matter how big or small!

    Vegas November 2010 Ben

    JM, Joe, Camille, Ben, and Toby celebrating Ben’s 30th (2010)

  5. Be the biggest cheerleader you can be for the people you love! Whether it’s huddled around the craps table or just the dinner table on a random night, cheer your friends on! Stop all the judging and be supportive! Now… that doesn’t mean if your friend comes to you and says “i’m quitting my job with no plan of what’s next!” you just blindly cheer them on, but if that’s the right thing for them at that time (it’s OK to ask questions) then cheer for them. support them. be a sounding board for them that they can bounce ideas off without fear of judgement. Vegas is such a great place for practicing cheerleading- i love watching my friends gamble and love when they win big!! seriously watching my friends play craps is one of my favorite vegas activities! (though i do love me some penny slots!)

    Vegas December 2011 Joe

    Joe and I (2011)

  6. Try new things. Vegas is a great place for trying something new that might be a bit scary but you don’t know anyone there so who cares? (ok… i’ve run into people in vegas more than makes sense… but you get what i mean) Open your mind and your world to new possibilities and you never know what could happen! you might meet a 22 year old that believes you when you tell them you’re 20 and spend a hilarious and awesome night getting life advice from this “older” guy! #asiangenes And the more you take chances and try new things the easier it’ll get so get out there and try something new!

    Vegas Fall 2012 Girls

    Julie, Camille, and I (2012)

So next time someone assumes vegas is just a party trip tell them it’s really an educational growth experience!! you never know what kind of shenanigans await you in sin city- make the most of it and enjoy!!

Vegas 2016 Girls

Meagan, Mac, Bianca, Ellen, Marina, Jen, Liz, Drea, and I (2016)

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