Vegas: June 2016

With this being the double-Ironman year, we weren’t sure we’d be able to get to Vegas much, if at all, this year. Luckily, we were able to swing a super quick trip in late June. We headed to one of my cousins’ wedding in Indianapolis and then jumped a plane (after a lengthy delay in O’Hare …) to Las Vegas. The delay meant we got to the Bellagio around 2 or 3 in the morning – not ideal. We convinced the front desk to give us a room that we would happily vacate for our regular reservation the next day just so we could get some glorious sleep.

Sleep … was had. So was some pampering at the spa (new thing for us). I didn’t get pictures from the spa because they’re kind of not allowed, but … why have I never done a spa in Vegas before? So awesome. We got massages, hung out in the saunas/steam rooms/hot tubs … pure bliss. Totally going to be a thing for us from now on. We did a little gambling, a little eating, a little window-shopping, a little pool time, a little walking around … it was a good mini vacation.

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I talked Brandon into going to Madame Tussaud’s while we were waiting for our actual room to be ready. I hadn’t been since I went to the London location way back in … 1998? and Brandon had never been. Since, you know, Vegas, here’s a picture with him and the two “Ocean’s Eleven” stars.

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Because The Rock.

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Boxing fan had to get in on this.

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With Grumpy Cat (a.k.a. Tardar Sauce).

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I don’t remember why there was a cop car in Madame Tussaud’s (something to do with “The Hangover,” maybe?), but I had to get a picture in it.

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With margaritas at Margaritaville.

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Ocean display back at the Bellagio Conservatory!

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Chilling at the pool.

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Living the life.

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The new park outside of Monte Carlo/New York New York.

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Awesome sugar/chocolate display outside Jean-Philippe Patisserie in Aria.

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So the secret pizza place inside the Cosmopolitan? Exists. The pizza is no T. Anthony’s, but it’s good. And awesome. And no, it doesn’t actually have a name, nor am I going to reveal its actual location. But it’s easily found, if you know where to look.

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Fishy display at night!

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View from our room.


The Las Vegas tourism department bills the summer as #VegasSeason. This is ostensibly to get people to travel there despite the fact the days get into the low-100s. Yes, it gets hot.

After our trip last November, we weren’t planning on heading back for almost a year until October 2015, when we race Ironman 70.3 Silverman. Plans changed, however, when the stupid Bellagio decided to sucker me in with a harmless tweet. I am a sucker for aquarium/fishy type things. (see: blog theme) We decided to call and see how long the exhibition was going on – until September, they said. So if I wanted to see it, I had to go out before our race.

As luck/fate would have it … we got a few days off together (the few days after the concert in the previous post, actually), so we said “screw it” and decided to go.

We went out early Wednesday morning, stayed the night, and left late-ish Thursday afternoon. We also tried out a new MLife property – the Mirage.

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Next to a siren statue in the lobby.

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Anchor Bar, the official buffalo wing inventors, now have an outpost in the Grand Canal Shops at the Venetian. As it was National Buffalo Wing day, Brandon got them for lunch.

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Flamingos at the Flamingo.

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Happy to be in the Bellagio Conservatory with aaaallllll the fishies.

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View from our room at the Mirage.

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Thai shrine thingy outside Caesars by Serendipity.

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I’d say working on our tans, but we prefer our paleness, so just hanging out?

November Vegas Trip: Part Three

Saturday began early-ish. We woke up and went for a quick run to shake out the legs. It was only at 9 or 10 in the morning, but for Las Vegas on a Saturday morning? That’s early. The strip was quiet, and you get to see the “behind the scenes stuff.”

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(Case in point – maintenance being done on the Bellagio fountains.)

After the run, it was off to the Bellagio buffet for breakfast/brunch and then to the Pinball Hall of Fame/Museum which was very cool and highly recommended.

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Walked in, saw this game, threw some quarters in … that was a good 10 minutes of entertainment.

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So many machines!

There were also quite a few very cool retro hockey games. I played them all.

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From the 1930s.

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This was a hybrid between air hockey and bubble hockey.

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After the Pinball Museum, it was off to Mandalay Bay and the Shark Reef Aquarium. It … was okay. By general rule, you typically want to avoid aquariums in land-locked states, and Shark Reef proved the rule to be true. Still, we got to play with sting rays, so that made the visit worth it for us.

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Brandon in the shark tank (he’s a nerd and likes the CNBC show).

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Splashy the Ray. He was awesome.

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Our friend, a fan of obscure Russian historical figures, in front of the statue of Lenin outside Red Square restaurant in Mandalay Bay.

After Shark Reef, we wandered around shopping a bit and then got ready for our second nightclub of the trip – Marquee at the Cosmopolitan.

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It … was okay. I don’t like crowds and climbing several flights of stairs in six inch heels and yeah. Like at Tao, we didn’t stay long.

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After we left.

Sunday was a lazy morning sleeping in and then not a lot of wandering around – after all, we did have to race.

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Playing with my pre-race sandwich.

The race … was okay. If you’re really curious as to how it went, mosey on over to the triathlon blog.

Monday was taken pretty easy. Brandon and our friend Mike played poker while I wandered around a bit. The most excitement that day was going to see Zumanity at New York New York. THAT was a cool show. I hadn’t seen a Cirque du Soleil show in years and this was one was just as awesome as the last one I’d seen. Again, highly recommended.

Tuesday … out of town and back to reality.

November Vegas Trip: Part Two

Friday morning dawned and we were ready for another day of adventures – most of which I’ll put here, except for the Neon Museum, which deserves its own post.

The day, in photos.

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Blueberry Hill, a local diner chain we hit up for breakfast. Very good.

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Brandon looking down at his breakfast. You get a sense of the decor here, too.

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Nelson hates “Pawn Stars,” and therefore is cranky we’re driving past the pawn shop.

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Dinosaurs in a dinosaur footprint outside the Las Vegas Natural History Museum.

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Dinosaur sculpture.

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Buffalo. Pretty sure all the animals in this museum were real and taxidermied …

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Sting ray. We are the ray whisperers, it’s kind of awesome.

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“Carrying” “water” like an Egyptian. It’s heavy.

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Brandon made a design. He’s proud.

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Tribal hut.

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Picture taken for the Englestad name (also associated with Fighting Sioux hockey).

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T-Rexes and a sign about themselves.

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Nelson and the T-Rex.

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On a shell seat, in a submarine.

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Brandon in the sub.

From the LVNHM, we checked in to the Bellagio where we’d be staying most of our visit.

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Room at the Bellagio.

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Oh yeah, race expo.

After the expo, we took our realtor and local TV/radio personality Susie Wargin around to grab a bite and then help her get to a studio so she could do her radio show from Vegas (she was out running the full marathon). From there, it was off to the Neon Museum (next blog!) and after that, dinner at the Peppermill.

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Just like I remembered …

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Me at the Peppermill.

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Fountain view with the fountains going.

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Ceiling between Bally’s and Paris. Never knew this was there …

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Hey thanks, Planet Hollywood/Miracle Mile Shops!

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Bellagio conservatory.

We also went to Tao Nightclub that night, but no pictures. Honestly, it was kind of a disappointing experience …

Vegas, My Old Friend

Back in mid-May, Brandon and I decided to take another trip to Vegas. We’d been saving money since Christmas for a “Vegas Fund” so we could have a bit more fun and be able to gambleĀ a decent amount for a change (well, definitely for Brandon – he wanted a larger bankroll for craps). The timing worked best for both of us to do May, so May it was. It was also right before IM training officially kicked off so if we slacked a tad in our workouts, it didn’t matter too much.

The trip was fun, as always, but I feel it could have been more so. We stayed at the Luxor this time around, and in the pyramid for the first time ever – something I DON’T recommend. We’re either going to stay at Mandalay next time we go or somewhere completely new. Brandon did a lot better gambling than I did, even winning a poker tournament – I failed horribly at slots (although really, should I be surprised at this?) and only really accomplished a whole hell of a lot of walking around.

In any case, we saw some new things, saw some old things and decided that we’re probably not going there again until, hopefully, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and 1/2 in November 2014.

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Cool art installation in the new terminal at McCarran.
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The former Key Largo casino.
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Looking down the center of the pyramid.
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Outside the Mirage.
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My first time walking around Vegas with booze in my hands. I am SO not the typical visitor to this town …
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After running the strip, with my buffet at MORE at Luxor, free thanks to the wonderful facebook game that is MyVEGAS.
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World’s largest chocolate fountain at Jean-Philippe Patisserie in the Bellagio.
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Crepe, delicious crepe.
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So the … courtyard? … at the Shops at the Palazzo changes its theme regularly, kind of like the conservatory at the Bellagio. This time when we visited, it had this very cool blossom display. I fell in absolute love, thus the plethora of photos.
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Bellagio fountains.
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Mirage volcano show, a Vegas first for us.