A Final Hurrah in Sin City

August 14, 2010

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Location:
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
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Vegas in summary:

Airport Hotel Booze Vegas Strip Booze Booze Girls Girls Girls Vegas Strip Pool Booze Hotel Cirque du Soleil Booze Buffet Girls Girls Girls Buffet Vegas Strip Booze Vegas Strip Pool Booze Buffet Thunder from Downunder Vegas Strip Booze Cirque du Soleil Booze Clubbing Vegas Strip Booze Pool Booze Cirque du Soleil Booze Clubbing Booze Airport Tears.

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Phew. What a mouthful. After an amazing 14 month run, my last five days in the USA were to be spent in no place other than Las Vegas. I am by no means a Sin City virgin but on this particular trip, we were going to be popping Ali’s Vegas virginity.

It was tough saying farewell to Bryan at the airport on Tuesday morning; probably the toughest of them all. This was the one good bye I was least looking forward to. We had pretty much spent every single day of the entire last year together; grocery shopping, working, drinking, cooking, cleaning, hanging out, going to the Disney parks, vacationing together; literally everything. He pulled up curb side at the Southwest Terminal and helped remove our luggage from the car. After it was all out there was a hesitant pause. Ali and Kellen would be seeing Bryan again so it was all up to me. I took a step towards him and leaned in for a hug. I failed at trying not to cry. I didn’t wear any make up for this particular reason; it was inevitable. We said our good byes while I cried all over his shoulder. I didn’t want to let go of him. Bryan handed me a letter and told me to read it a little later on. He hopped back into the car and like that, he was gone. I’m going to miss him so much.

I check all 130lbs of my luggage in. It’s hard to believe how much crap I’ve accumulated over the last 14 months. Thank God for Southwest Airlines two free checked pieces of luggage policy. While sitting at our gate waiting to board, I decide to read the letter Bryan left me with. I’m not even two lines in before I start to cry again. I’m an emotional mess. His words are so sweet and it pains me to imagine my days without him. My sleeve becomes my tissue; good thing I didn’t wear any eye liner. I get a grip of myself right before it is time to board the plane.

We touch down in Vegas at 10am with hopes The Mirage will let us check in this early and sure enough, it does. Score. Our room is gorgeous and we’ve conveniently been given a room with a strip view at no extra cost! Double score.

Twenty minutes is by far too much time to spend in a hotel room in Vegas so off we go to introduce Ali to the strip. We are only walking for

maybe five minutes before Ali realises you can legally roam the streets with booze in hand. This is way to exciting for Ali to handle so we make our way into the nearest hotel to purchase ourselves our first drink. Never mind that it is only 11am, it is 5pm somewhere, right? I’m glad you agree. Our first drink is down the hatch within minutes. There’s nothing like an ice cold Bud Light in 108°F heat while walking down the Las Vegas strip. As we make out way towards the Paris Hotel our taste buds are tingling for another alcoholic beverage. Ali suggest a beverage of the frothy kind and Kellen and I agree. We come across a little place called Evening Call and purchase a cup each that has refills available for only $5; insane. The cup is white, but when a freezing cold substance is poured into it, it turns red! Pretty cool. I order a coffee slushy with baileys in it. As I bring the straw up to my mouth for my first sip, I start to wonder if I should have ordered this; My stomach doesn’t usually have a great reaction to milk-based products. This is quickly forgotten upon having my first sip. The drink is heavenly; absolutely bloody delicious.

More drinks are consumed as we walk the Vegas strip. Kellen and Ali decide it is fun to collect the cards of nakey girls that the GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS guys are handing out on the side of the road (if you’ve ever been to Vegas you know exactly what I’m talking about). It is not even 2pm and we are already best friend with intoxication. We head back to the hotel to sober up and get ready for tonight.

We have tickets to the 7:30pm session of Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere at Treasure Island. After having seen La Nouba 1047982 times while working there on the Disney College Program, I decided it was time to venture out into the world of Cirque du Soleil and see as many resident shows as possible while in Vegas. I lost my Cirque virginity to La Nouba, so in a sense, I felt like I was cheating on it tonight with Mystere. I tried to convince myself this was probably for the best; after all, I was on a mission to find bigger and better… than La Nouba, of course. Get your mind out of the gutter! Mystere had many similarities to La Nouba in that it was the imaginable being brought to life on stage to provide the ultimate discovery that life itself is a mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed the show probably a little bit more than La Nouba, although the first time I ever saw La Nouba, I was blown away by it all too. After Mystere we eat dinner at the Paris buffet which is absolutely delicious.

Day two is just another day of drinking down the strip only today we are rather excited because we find a place by the name of Bill’s that serves 99c margaritas and beer. Needless to say we make out way on it and indulge in a few. I must take advantage of as much cheap booze as possible now because God knows, once I get back to Australia, I’ll be paying insane prices for it. We lay out by the pool while drinking more beer and frothy beverages before it is time to go in and gussy up for tonight’s adventure.

We head to Planet Hollywood for dinner which is insanely crowded due to The Expendables movie premier going on there. It was a nice surprise to see Sylvester Stallone standing around just before we went into eat. The buffets was amazing and had food from many different countries. One of the better buffets I’ve been to in Vegas for sure. We only have a small time frame which to consume as much food as possible because tonight we are heading to… drum roll please…

Thunder from Downunder

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at The Excalibur hotel. We have been waiting patiently for this day for a few weeks now and are beyond excited to see my home boys represent. The show was absolutely insanely amazing! The boys were hotter than I can even explain. At one point, the MC asked if anyone had ever touched anything Australian before. Of course, Ali and Kellen start screaming at the top of their lungs and pointing to me. I  may have slightly blushed. The show they put on really is phenomenal and I highly recommend it to any one who’s in Vegas for a bachelorette party or just to have a good time like we were.

Best. Photo. Ever.

Ali and I wake up early on day three to head to the Cirque du Soleil ‘LOVE box office which is located inside The Mirage. This particular Cirque show was coming off a seven day dark week which meant it was more than likely going to be sold out but thought we’d try our luck. The lady selling tickets at the box office tells us the same thing we tell all the guests “We are coming back from a short break, we are sold out, only single seats left, we’re not releasing any more, yada yada yada”. I knew she was lying because this is what we use to tell everyone too even when we had seats on hold. Conveniently, as we are standing there, two seats magically appear. The only catch, they are $172.40 each. Ouch. I wasn’t planning on spending this much on a ticket but tonight is the only night we can see this show. I tell Ali I’m fine with paying it as long as she is too. We both hand over our credit cards and slightly cringe as they get swiped. This better be a good show!

So after watching LOVE I don’t feel bad about dropping the $172.40 on my ticket. It was, hands down, the best show I’ve ever seen. LOVE celebrates the musical legacy of The Beatles. Drawn from the poetry of  their lyrics, LOVE explores the content of the songs in a series of scenes inhabited by real and imaginary people. There was always so much happening I didn’t know where to look which is why I think I’ll have to see this show for a second time on my next visit back to Vegas. Incredible! While still high on energy from LOVE, we head to Jet Nightclub at The Mirage. Being Mirage guests, we get free entry; excellent, more to spend on alcohol. We drink and dance the night away.

Day four is our last full day in Vegas and also my last night in the USA before heading home. Sadness bestows me which means it is time for a drink. We make our way back to the Evening Call in Paris and refill our cups. Kellen doesn’t feel the best so I decide to take advantage of this situation and double fist. I get the Bacardi flavoured rum mixed with tropical flavoured slushy. Delicious. The best part is, I can’t even taste any alcohol so I’m just slurping these babies down as if they’re a regular 7/11 slushy. We head back to the pool for our last day of sunshine and tanning. For me, this will probably be the last time I see sun for the next few months. I have a horrible, cold winter to look forward to after tomorrow.

Tonight we have tickets to see Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity at New York New York. Zumanity has claimed to be the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil. It is a seductive twist on reality, making the provocative playful and the forbidden electrifying. You are asked to leave all inhibitions at the door and let loose as this Cirque production takes you on a sexy thrill ride full of sensational acrobatics and naughty fun. The show is part burlesque and part cabaret and only viewable to those 18 years and over. Again, another amazing show.

We head to Studio 54 at the MGM. There is a huge line up at the door. Tonight Lady Gaga performed at the MGM and Studio 54 is home to her official after party so the crowds are insane. It doesn’t help that she is due to walk out any minute to do a press conference and pose for the paparazzi right by the front of the club and admissions line. The security guard calls Kellen and I in right before she comes out. Bummer.

Kellen has never been to Studio 54 before but I had told him several times how it is my favourite club in Vegas because the music they play is amazing. After a few drinks, he was quick to agree. We buy each other round after round after round and after a while, I lose count as to how much we’ve consumed. We’re having such an amazing time just dancing the night away. It reaches 3am and we agree that if the next song is crappy, we will leave. Lucky for us, it isn’t, so we continue dancing like it’s nobodies business. Everywhere we look, there are girls dressed up as Lady Gaga. Once Kellen reaches his height of intoxication, he starts asking them all for photos and they kindly pose with him. Too funny. We stumble out of Studio 54 sometime after 4am and make it back to the room exactly at 5am. What a night.

The next morning is like a depressive blur. Ali and Kellen help me carry my bags out to catch a cab. I have an earlier flight out than they do so of course, I have to say my good byes to them. The cab driver finishes loading my bags into his trunk. I turn to Ali, before I even reach out to hug her I’m already crying. She starts crying too. I look over to Kellen to give him a hug and I start crying even more. I know I will be seeing them again so this makes it a little easier. I say good bye one last time then hop into the cab and cry all the way to the airport.

Good bye Las Vegas, until next time…


Bahama-Rama II

August 4, 2010

Location: CocoCay, The Bahamas
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~ DAY TWO ~

I was feeling quite energized considering I’d only scored myself five hours of sleep. I can’t figure out if the incredible sleep was due to the fact that we have no windows in our Stateroom and therefore no light came creeping in or because my bed was just so damn comfortable. Waking up hang-over free was just an added bonus; kinda like the cherry on top of a sundae. Either way, I wasn’t going to complain.

We pack a day bag and make out way over to the Windjammer Café for breakfast. As I step foot into the café and take a peak out the window, I notice the ship has docked in the middle of the ocean. In the distance lays a small island which, without my glasses on, doesn’t look like anything too impressive. I wonder if this is Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island that we are due to visit today. I am hastily side-tracked by the grumbling of my tummy. Well, excuse me! The smell of breakfast aromas fill the air and my taste buds are quickly tickled. I grab a plate and am overcome by the wide offerings. Where do I begin? I head to the hot section and grab me some scrambled eggs, bacon galore, toast, sausage links, cured ham and a selection of fresh fruits and pastries; delicious. I think I have died and gone to food heaven.

After breakfast we decide to make our way down to Deck 1 which is the departure point for Coco Cay. Unfortunately, because the Monarch of the Seas is too big to dock at the island, we must take a ferry from the ship there. We are bummed when we realise the line is backed all the way up to Deck 3 but our disappointment is quickly overturned when one of the crew tell us we’ll be on the next ferry. Turns out they can seat a couple of hundred people at a time and turns out, he’s correct. As we board, I can feel the ferry wobble about while staying afloat in the ocean. I feel a sense of uneasiness and queasiness and my breakfast jiggles around in my belly. We sit there for a good fifteen minutes before the ferry pulls away from the ship and we are off to Coco Cay. We head towards the same island I was eying off over breakfast; I quietly pray it looks prettier up close than it does from afar.

The ferry docks at Coco Cay Island. Within minutes my earlier concerns are put to rest and my heart is at ease. Coco Cay is absolutely stunning. The waters are a gorgeous sparkling teal colour and the sand is so white and pure; the island is like a tiny slice of heaven on earth. The Market Place is an array of bright colours which compliment the dazzling green palm trees, adding to the tropical island feel.

Mike and Jessica head out to do their jet-skiing activity while Lauren and I walk around and explore the market stalls.  The sun is beating down on us; we haven’t even been on the island for twenty minutes and already I am dripping with sweat. It has to be 95, maybe 100 degrees Fahrenheit out and it can’t be much after midday. Phew; what a scorcher! After walking around for a while we decide to find two sun chairs, dump our stuff and without any hesitation, I throw myself into the semi-cold ocean.

Pure bliss. Life really doesn’t get any better than this. The water is lukewarm but still a welcoming cool off from the wicked heat. I doggy-paddle around for a while in the shallow waters. There is a fair bit of seaweed floating about. While paddling I can see it getting nearer so I try to blow it away. Stay away, sea weed, or you shall die a terrible, terrible death! I can’t stand the feeling of seaweed clinging to my bare skin while I’m at the beach; it freaks me out! I clear a path in the water for myself and swim down it to reach deeper waters but alas, seaweed touches my mouth. I panic. This is horrible. Terrible. I throw my arms around in a desperate plea for help. Get it away. Gross! I break free from the seaweed (a single strand, no more than 10cm in length) and I swim back to shore and lay face-down on my beach chair and close my eyes. I can feel the heat of the sun evaporate the water droplets on my back as island music is playing in the background. I open my eyes and sit up. The sky is such a crisp shade of blue; the sand so white,  the water, a sparkling light shade of teal and the palm trees gently whistle in the almost non-existent breeze. I am so relaxed. It’s a tough job, but hey, somebody has to do it. May as well be me.

After a short while, we meet back up with Mike and Jessica and grab a bite to eat. There is a massive BBQ buffet lunch on the island and, despite having our bellies showing, we do not hesitate when piling up our plates with food. I’m rather self-conscious, but after seeing a rather voluptuous lady in her late 70’s in a leopard-print string bikini, I feel a little more comfortable with myself. Lunch is great; we have BBQ ribs, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, fruit, cakes… I’ve quickly come to realise that cruising really is the way of life.

We spend some more time swimming, sunbathing and shopping at the Market Place before we succumb to the heat and make out way back to the ship, not before a super touristy Coco Cay group photo though.

Tonight is formal dining night aboard Monarch of the Seas; yes, that’s right, it means we must get gussied up and not look like washed up trash. We spend a good few hours in our cabin showering, shaving, straightening hair, curling hair, dressing, doing make up, you know, all the pre-requisites for making ourselves look all pretty and cute. The end result is nothing short of amazing if I may say so myself.

Before dinner we are all invited to the Captain’s Formal Welcoming aboard Monarch of the Seas in The Sound of Music Theater. This takes a while to kick off but we are showered with champagne which is alright by me.  The Captain introduces himself, tells us some interesting facts about the ship and then introduces us to the Managers on board who then each introduce themselves. It turns out to be a rather enjoyable event and we are glad we took the time to attend. After this we head straight to dinner. My choice for tonight’s formal dinner is the beef which is delicious and tender. I’m not a fan of mashed potato so Jonathan, our Assistant Waiter brought me a baked potato which I sliced in half and enjoyed with a dollop of butter. Dinner was followed by an incredible dessert for the sweet tooth. I’m not entirely sure of the name of this one, but it was similar to that of chocolate pudding, only our Waitress, Ning, grabbed my spoon, put a hole in the pudding and then poured a Kahlua-like custard into the middle. Regardless of what it’s name is, it was an absolute treat on the taste buds; yum!

After dinner another visit was paid to Casino Royale and alas, another few dollars were kindly donated to Royal Caribbean. Damn slots, get me every time! It’s a good thing we have plans tonight because I can see all four of us easily losing more money than we have to that place.

Before heading out for the night, we make a quick detour back to our cabin. Much to our delight, our room has been made up and there is a towel creature sitting on my bed wearing Mike’s glasses. It’s so cute. Pretty shoes come off, flip flops go on and off we go to the Sound of Music Theater for a night of entertainment. Tonight’s show is called You Can’t Stop The Beat and is a dance and musical number performed to us by the Royal Caribbean Entertainers. We get there early and secure ourselves front row seats so that I don’t have to wear my glasses. The lights dim, the curtain draws and the show begins. Lauren and I are quick to spot our favourite dancer from 70’s night the night prior. His moves are amazing and his body just seems to stay in sync with the beat; he’s incredible… that is until we are introduced to the three main singers. Their voices are phenomenal and the female singer has a voice that could raise the nine decks above us off the ship. Wow; what a gift to be blessed with.

The show let’s out and Lauren and I make our way to Circuit Nightclub. Upon walking in, we are rather surprised that our favourite bar tender already has our two drinks waiting for us on the bar. After only one night he knows us so well; shucks. Tonight is another night of one too many beers, singing, dancing, a late night pizza rendezvous at Sorreno’s and drunken conversations with the friends we made last night. Who knows what time or how we got back to our beds? Good times.
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~ To be continued ~


Bahama-Rama I

August 1, 2010

Location: Somewhere in the North Atlantic Ocean
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~ DAY ONE ~

The day started out different to the one before. Today there was a particular sense of excitement buzzing around through out the air. The countdown had finally reached its end and the next exhilarating saga was about to begin. Yes, today was the day we board Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas and embark on our journey to The Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean’s terminal at Port Canaveral is swarming with people; all as eager and bright-eyed as I to board the ship. The check in line is long and some of the younger guests begin to get irritated by this. As I patiently wait I wonder how many of these guests are first-time cruise-goers like myself.

Check in goes as smoothly as one could hope. The ship is money-less so we are given SeaPass cards which act as our room key as well as a debit/credit card. Once swiped the crew on board can detect our age and verify that the card is ours via a hideous photo that is taken upon entry. Now, let me tell you, this is no ordinary photo. This photo is taken from roughly stomach height looking up toward your face. This is not only the worst angle ever imaginable, but now in my photo, I look like a repulsive, three-chined, sweaty dragon lady; an eager one none the less. Can’t wait to flash that one to my bar-tenders later on tonight when I’m all gussied up. Dragon lady who?

Upon stepping foot onto the ship, we are welcomed by many of the ships crew and an array of alcoholic beverages, all chargeable to our SeaPass card, of course. We decide it would be best to find our cabin, throw our luggage in there and then make our way to the pool deck for a swim before dinner. We are in stateroom 5009 which is down an extremely long hall, away from all the noise and commotion. The room is, well, tiny, to say the least; tiny yet extremely cute. We have two single beds and another set of two beds which fold down from the walls to make bunk beds. There is a small closet, a TV, a full length mirror and another half body mirror on the dresser as well as a small bedside table between the two bottom beds. The bathroom is, well, again, tiny. If you were slightly on the larger side I’m not exactly sure you’d have the most pleasing of times trying to fit not only into the shower, but into the bathroom itself. Despite the size of the room, it really is pretty much all we need. After all, who goes on a cruise to The Bahamas and does nothing more than stay in their cabin? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Before we can go and enjoy the pool, everyone is to meet on deck for a compulsory safety briefing. I hate this part, just like I hate it when I’m on a plane flying over the ocean. What to do if the ship sinks in the middle of no where and you’re stranded with no land or human life (except those on the ship) for thousands of miles out; ugh, it gives me the heeby geebyz. A life jacket, a whistle and a flash light is not going to protect me from a hungry great white shark that sees me helplessly kicking around in the water and thinks I’m a stranded seal, or worse, the dessert that accompanies the seal. It is at this safety briefing that we meet Mike. Mike is conveniently standing by us with his family when he hears is talking about Disney. He turns around and starts talking to us. Coincidentally he is also a Disney Cast Member on the College Program and lives right across from my old apartment at Chatham Square. Coincidence? I think not! The never ending safety briefing finally ends. Imagine that.

By now, the ship has departed Port Canaveral, en route to the island of Coco Cay in The Bahamas. We get our bathing suits on and head to Deck 11 which is where the pool is situated. It is crazy hot out and the pool water looks so wonderfully inviting minus the horde of children floating around in it. My feet are burning on the hot floor. I can’t wait any longer. Without even thinking, I jump right in. AHHHHHHH! It burns! Upon surfacing I scurry around like a crazy dragon lady to find the pool ledge. My eye balls are burning in their sockets and my throat is stinging as if I’d just downed ten shots of straight up Limoncello. This is not chlorinated water; it’s the saltiest water ever to roam the earth. If I dumped 50 kilograms of salt into my bathtub and then some, this pool water would still be saltier! Gross!

After adjusting to the unhealthy levels of salt in the pool, I later find subtle enjoyment from this. While resting on the ledge, I see completely dry pool-goers, eager to find peace from the fierce heat jumping on it. Little do they know the water is salt city until it is too late. I find happiness while watching them scurry on over to the ledge while screaming out in a salty panic. Call me evil, but I’m sure someone did the same thing to me when I jumped in only minutes before. The next victim is our new friend, Mike. He walks up to the ledge and jumps on in. Poor Mike.

After spending several hours in the pool and looking wrinkly beyond belief, we head back to our cabin to prepare for dinner. Our dinner seating is at 8:30pm in Vincent’s Dining Room on Deck 3. Tonight is just a casual seating so we dress neatly and appropriately. The dining room is rather large. Upon estimation, I’d think it could seat maybe 500 people. There is also another dining room above us called Claude’s Dining Room which too has an 8:30pm seating. Both rooms also have an earlier seating of 5:45pm. Since this is our first dinner, we are escorted to table 91; this will remain our dining table for the next four nights. We are at the back of the room right by the kitchen which means super fast service. We are greeted by our waiters who introduce themselves at Ning, our waitress, and Jonathan, our assistant waiter. Both are very lovely and go out of their way to attend to our needs which they soon become very accustom to: a glass of hot water for Jessica upon arrival, no veggies for myself and Mike, plenty of sour dough bread rolls for us all and never ending glasses of lemonade. They are extremely accommodating and apologetic for the tiniest of things. Tonight I order myself a caesar salad for the appetizer and a flat iron steak with garlic butter sauce and a baked potato for my main, which, by the way was super delicious. Dessert is something similar to a chocolate molten lava cake, just without the lava. The inside is deliciously rich and moist. I also enjoy a side of lemon gelato which goes down a treat. Before leaving, Ning tells us that there is breakfast served in the dining room every morning until 9:30am, but since we are youngens she doesn’t expect to see us there. Between you and me, I think ‘young’ is her nice was of saying ‘drunks’.

We have some time to kill before tonight’s planned activities so we head to what soon becomes one of Jessica’s favourite places on board the ship, yes, that’s right, the Casino Royale. To be honest, neither of us really have any clue what we are doing but we each decide to gamble a few harmless dollars. I sit at a slot machine, put in a dollar bill, press the 20 lines by 3 button, and just like that, the machine howls at me and I’ve won $4.27; I am excited beyond belief… that is, until, I play my winnings and lose it all. Ah, such is life. I can’t let this steep loss get to me though, because tonight is 70’s night and we are ready to boogie the night away!

70’s night kicks off at 10:30pm sharp on Deck 3 right out side Vincent’s Dining Room. The entertainment crew come out wearing crazy big afro’s and florescent, vibrant costumes and start dancing away to some Saturday Night Fever. Not before too long, they are pulling guests out onto the dance floor and we’re all getting down. I’m not one to dance while sober, but the music was too good to refuse. The dancing crew jumped into the transparent elevators in front of the dance floor and started riding them up and down while getting their disco dance on inside. Every time a new guest would step foot into the elevator, they’d make them dance around like crazy; it was hilarious. A massive conga line was formed and travelled around Deck 3 and the Village People even made a surprise visit.  If this was the outlook for the next three days then this cruise was going to be amazing!

After 70’s night we made our way over to one of the 18+ clubs on the ship, The Circuit. We head straight to the bar and order ourselves a Bud Light. Beer after beer after beer was consumed. We drank so much that the bar tenders even learned our names and knew what we wanted before we even ordered. Tonight we made many friends while drinking and dancing that, despite knowing yet, we’d bump into many a time throughout the duration of our cruise. We wound down at Sorreno’s Pizza Bar at 3am and somehow made it back to our cabins some time after that and passed out.

Despite only being 12 hours long, day one was nothing short of amazing!

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~ To be continued ~


Yo-ho, Yo-ho a Pirate’s Life For Me

July 26, 2010


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Location:
Port Canaveral, Florida, USA
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About to hop onto Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas
en route to The Bahamas!

No Internet or cell phone service from July 26 – July 30.

See y’all soon!

xo


Bienvenidos a Miami

July 20, 2010


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Location:
Miami, Florida, USA
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There was quite the last minute hustle and bustle early Friday morning.

I woke bright and early to the chiming of my cell phone alarm. My eyes were puffy from crying the night before and my eyeliner had smudged a good 1cm radius around my eyes. I looked like a sleep-deprived Panda. I took a quick shower, packed the remainder of my things, stripped my bed down and took out the last of my trash.

Bryan would be pulling up by my apartment any minute now. I grab my things and walk towards my front door. Before flicking off the light switch on my way out I turn around and take one last look at what is now a completely empty apartment; just like the day I moved into it. The walls are stripped bare; apartment 4102 now lacks any character I had added to it to make me feel at home. So many great memories, so many smiles, so much fun; gone. I feel my eyes begin to water. I take a deep breath, turn around, and shut the door behind me. There’s no turning back now.

I place my gear in Bryan’s trunk and hop into the front seat. We make a quick stop by Housing. I reluctantly hand in my Chatham Square Housing ID and my apartment key to the front desk. Just like that, after a full twelve months of working for Disney, I am no longer a Disney Cast Member, no longer on the Disney College Program and I no longer live at Chatham Square. Good bye, Disney, it’s been a blast.

Sadness is quickly over turned. Today a bunch of my Disney friend and I are road-tripping to South Beach, Miami for a few days to have one last big group outing together. Before departure though, we have one thing left to do. What could possibly be better than Maccas for a pre-roadtrip breakfast!?! Mmmm, hash browns and a bacon, egg and cheese bagel! I’m lovin’ it.

We get into Miami Beach at around 4pm. We are staying at the Viscay Hotel on Collins Ave. Everything seemed to be completely booked out for the dates we required, and it didn’t make it any easier since we were a party of ten. This hotel is by far no where as elegant and luxurious as where we stayed a few weeks ago at The Bentley Hotel on Ocean Drive, but they had vacancy, the price was decent and it was ranked highly on trip advisor. Despite this, we are still only a three minute walk from the beach and we are right in the heart of the exuberant nightlife that South Beach offers.  We have two suites booked. The plan is to fit five in each. Upon arrival and first inspection, the rooms seem sufficient; big, spacious area, bathroom is do-able and we have a nice small kitchen space. I think we are more excited about the fact that our kitchen table is big enough to play beer pong on. The king bed is huge and able to accommodate three people, the fold out couch can accommodate another two; perfect… Or was it?

We get our luggage into the hotel. By now it is pushing 6pm and we are bloody hungry but we have to wait for Mike and Jessica to get back before we can head out for dinner. While waiting around, I get a text from Mike saying that he thinks he is standing next to LeBron James at The Bentley Hotel. Bryan tells me to text back and tell Mike to take either a photo or video. Bryan is from LeBron’s hometown so if he sees a photo, he’d definitely know if it was him or not. Mike texts back saying he is too scared because he has four big body guard-looking guys standing around him. Booo, Mike, boooo!

Mike and Jessica finally get back to our hotel and we  all decide to walk down Ocean Drive and go to  TGIFriday’s for dinner. Worst decision ever. Ocean Drive was absolutely packed with a swarm of people; not the most friendliest looking crowd you’d want to come across either. We held hands and made a human chain to get through it all together; it was tough, but we survived and in the end, we were rewarded with the deliciousness that is TGIFriday’s. I ask the waitress if she knows why Ocean Drive is insanely busy and she tells us that LeBron James is in town and everyone is trying to find him. Turns out it was him that Mike had seen after all!

We headed back to the hotel for en epic night of pre-gaming and beer pong. I can’t really tell you what happened because not even I’m too sure, but judging by the photos, lots of booze was consumed, beer pong was played, and there was some sort of weird, drunken photo shoot on our bed… I can recall bits and pieces of Bryan somersaulting across the bed a few times, one time almost crashing into a wall only to have Ali come to his rescue… the words ‘spread eagle‘ being yelled across the room… Dawin getting his drink spilled all over his jeans and then somehow everyone piling up on top of each other for a very close, lovingly group photo shoot.

After our glamor shots we ended up sitting out on Miami Beach in the pitch blackness of the night. It was so pleasant and relaxing until security came by and told us we had to get off the beach because it was closed. Boooo, way to ruin our night; party poopers! Once again, we headed back to our hotel. Everything was all well and good until we discovered a cockroach in our kitchen. I almost vomit a little in my mouth; gross. Not sure who, but someone killed it. Phew. We all regained our composure until not before too long, we discovered another cockroach by the closet. Mike freaked out, grabbed my shoe and squished it before I even realized it was my shoe in his hand. When I finally realizing my shoe had touched that thing, I may have vomit a little again in my mouth. A creepy shiver ran down my spine as I thought about a cockroach flying into my ear and laying babies in it while I tried to sleep at night. Ahhhhh! As soon as morning came, Mike and Bryan went to the front desk to complain but there was nothing they could do.

Cockroaches weren’t enough to bring us down. The next morning we get up and head to Fresh on Fifth to get  freshly made baguettes to order; delicious. From here we walk across the road and find ourselves a spot on the sand. While some wait for their lunch to settle in their belly, Ali, myself and Mike already have our clothes off and are running towards the welcoming, emerald greeny blue waters. Without even thinking, I jump right in. The water is beautiful. We form a triangle and throw the ball out to each other. Ali is terrible at aiming so I am forced to swim after the ball several times. This proves to be quite complicated as the water is extremely choppy today and the waves keep pushing the ball further towards the shore. When I eventually get out of the water, my legs feel like jelly and I can’t seem to walk in a straight line on the sand. I collapse on my towel and soak up the suns rays. Not a worry in the world; this is the definition of perfection.

I head back to the hotel a half an hour before the others do. I want to get a shower and wash my hair so it has enough time to dry before I straighten it. As I hop out of the shower, I hear it start to bucket down rain outside. I worry about the rest of the gang getting caught up in the rain storm but they make it back just in time. Everyone starts taking turns showering. While Ali is in the shower, Bryan, myself, Susan and Leila are laying out on the bed watching T.V. We hear a disturbing crunching sound coming from the air conditioning unit; similar to that of a blender blade trying to chop up thick ice cubes. Out of no where, the AC unit starts spitting out balls of ice; how wonderful! Just what we needed, a broken AC unit when it’s stinking hot outside. Bryan makes his way to front desk to complain, only this time, they relocate us to a new room.

Our new hotel room is much nicer, it’s on the corner so we have windows right around letting in plenty of light and the kitchen and bathroom are newer and nicer than the previous room. This room also proves to be cockroach free! Hooray! We settle in and head out to a Burger King Lounge for a quick dinner. Tonight’s plan is to pre-game at the hotel, then for those of us who are 21+, the night will be spent at Mansion nightclub. We’ve heard only good things about this place so we are rather excited to go there.

Entry to club Mansion is $25 which is a little steep, but at the same time, the clubs back home in Melbourne usually charge $20-$30 club entry so I can’t complain. The wait to get in isn’t all too bad. The club is separated into three parts; there is a small bar and dance floor upon entry which leads into a larger room with more bars, a roped off VIP section and the most awesome music to party to ever and then this room leads into an even bigger room that plays house and dance music. We wait here forever to get a drink then head back to the awesome music room to get our groove on until the early morning.

Sunday is check out morning. We gather our things and head towards Fort Lauderdale to grab a late breakfast at Arby’s. After Arby’s we decide to spend some time at Fort Lauderdale beach like we did last time. Fort Lauderdale beach is extremely beautiful and much more peaceful than Miami Beach. I decide to not swim this time; I don’t feel like having sand in unwanted places for the three hour drive back to Orlando.

On the drive home Bryan and I notice that Mike’s right back tire is looking a little flat. I text him to let him know he needs some air in it and he texts back saying he’s going to pull into the next rest stop to inflate it. Unfortunately, the next rest stop seems to be quite the distance away, and only two miles out from it, Bryan and I smell burned rubber, and, sure enough, Mike’s tire blows out so we all pull over. It takes a call to AAA, the State Troopers and Dawin to fix this hot mess. The jack that Mike had in his car wasn’t all that great, so once the wheel was off, the jack gave way and the car tilted and rolled backwards. Once the State Trooper arrived and lent Dawin a better jack, it went smoothly from here. Finally, after what seems like forever, we are ready to continue our journey back to Orlando.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we get in a lot later than expected. Despite this small obstacle, the trip was great fun and I’m glad we could all do this once last time before we all go our separate ways.

Next up, our cruise to the Bahamas in t-minus six days and counting!


I’m In Miami B!tch III

June 24, 2010

Location: Miami, Florida, USA
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My cell phone alarm chimes its morning bells. It is 10am. Today is our departure day, so unlike yesterday, we’re unable to sleep in. Oh, the anguish of having to wake up at such an absurd hour.

From the lobby we head downstairs to valet parking. The concierge calls our car in but it is still some time before it arrives. Car loads of Brazilians are driving down Ocean Drive hanging out of their windows, repetitively honking their horn and flying their flag with pride. I assume Brazil has just won their match against North Korea in the FIFA 2010 World Cup. Well, either that or Brazil has just claimed world dominance.

Our car arrives. We load our luggage into the trunk. I take one last look at our hotel and then complete a full 360° swivel to take in the entire view. For as second, I am engulfed in semi-sadness. I’m going to miss this, and I don’t just mean Miami Beach. Soon, the freedom to be just a short drive away from all of this will be taken from me. I mean, sure, we have beaches back home in Australia, hell, we’re surrounded by beach; but the beaches and atmosphere back home in Melbourne fall shy when comparing them to anything like this. Oh how I wish it wasn’t so complicated to move here to the U.S.A. My heart belongs here. I belong here.

After a quick detour to Taco Bell we arrive at Fort Lauderdale Beach. The beach is just as gorgeous as Miami Beach; emerald green and blue waters, soft white sand and tropical palm trees. Fort Lauderdale Beach isn’t swarming with thousands of people though making it all the more welcoming. Rather than lay out in my swim suit, I keep my clothes on. A three hour drive awaits us and I can’t imagine it would be too enjoyable when I’m wet and have sand in places I’d rather not. After all, today’s outfit will still allow me to continue working on my lovely tan. I place my towel down on the sand, roll up my t-shirt sleeves, lay back and relax. It must be at least 96° out. Ah, heavenly.

There are storm clouds brewing in the distance. We decide to pack up our things and head back to the car. I head to the bathroom and throw my head under the tap. The cool water trickling down my neck and face feels amazing. I quickly find a foot tap and rinse my feet and flip flops down. There is no point drying my face and hair; by the time I walk back to the car it will be done for me. Just as I hop into the back seat it begins to rain. My timing could not have been any more spot on. By now it is 4pm; we begin our three hour drive back to Orlando.

Despite being so short, this weekend was perfection; a much needed slice of paradise. Miami, you are amazing. Wait for me, I shall be back.


I’m In Miami B!tch II

June 23, 2010

Location: Miami, Florida, USA
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The plan was to wake up at 10am in time fort the continental breakfast which was supplied by the hotel. That never happened. We started hauling our lazy butts out of bed at around midday. After a quick shower Ali and I made our way down to Fresh on Fifth. Fresh of Fifth is located on the corner of Ocean Drive and Fifth Street. It is an amazing little sandwich bar that allows you to tick off an array of fresh deli cuts, breads, extras and dressings on a list in order to create your own freshly made sub to your liking. Within a minute or so of handing in my selections sheet, my name is called to the counter for pick up and payment. Now that’s what I call service.
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We grab our food and walk three blocks down towards the Hilton Bentley (sister hotel to the Bentley). The Hilton Bentley is situated right on the beach and inclusive in our hotel service fee, we are able to use all their facilities including the sun chairs, umbrellas and bungalows they have on their private strip of beach. We register our names and are escorted to our own two sun chairs and private umbrella. I make myself comfortable, unwrap my baguette (which by the way is delicious) and happily start munching away while taking in the breathtaking views of South Beach. This is the life.

Our umbrella cast a gigantic shadow over my deck chair. This isn’t going to do me any good. I proceed to move the chair out of the shade and in full view of the sun. I make sure my boobs are placed in my bikini top accordingly and take my shirt off. I lay belly-up on my deck chair absorbing the suns rays. By now it is approaching 2pm, the sun is at its strongest peak and is glistening down from directly above us. My body sinks into the comfortable, soft deck chair cushion. I am so relaxed.

It is overwhelmingly hot. I can feel sweat dripping down the arch of my back. I’m not sure if this excessive heat is a result of the weather or the group of overtly tan, buff males  in their Speedos that have just taken over the beach. It appears they are recording some sort of commercial for a strongest man competition. Miami, sun, beach and now this. Life truly can’t get any better. At this moment, I knew God was watching down on me.

After admiring the muscular mass for some time, the heat becomes overbearing. Without a second though, I run towards the welcoming ocean and dunk myself in. Mike and Ali join me and we start playing catch with Mike’s football while jumping over waves. The water is a nice break from the extreme heat and feels incredible against my sun kissed skin.

We dry off and take a walk all the way down to the end of the beach. We hope to catch a glimpse of a departing cruise liner. While waiting for the ships to disembark on their journey, we snap some shots fooling around. A beach patrol guard rides by and informs us that the cruise liners aren’t due to come through for another hour or so. We’re all in desperate need of an ice cold drink so we make the decision to head back to the hotel and continue one with our days planned events.

After a quick hotel stop, we are in Mike’s car and off to check out Miami Ink Tattoo Studio. Miami Ink is a reality television series here in the U.S.A. that follows the art of tattooing in the South Beach store. Due to the hit T.V. series, the store is now recognized globally. We take some photos outside then have a snoop around on the inside. There is a man in the store getting his tattoo done while his girl watches on. I stop for a minute to watch what seems to be a painful process. I cringe at the thought of ever getting one done. One less thing for my mother to have to worry about.

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The sun starts to set. We head back to our hotel and discuss dinner options for the night. We decide against another night of American food and agree to dine outside by candlelight at Bellini; the Italian restaurant on the bottom level of our hotel.

Our waiter hands us our menus and explains that there are also various specials on display for tonight’s dining options. The steak on display looks amazing, so without further ado, I order it but substitute the mashed potatoes for roast potatoes instead. We didn’t have to wait too long before our meals arrived. The steak was absolutely delicious and to our surprise, we received a 25% discount off the bill for staying at the hotel and a complimentary glass of Mango Champagne from the chef.

We spend our night on the roof top deck playing cards and consuming Bud Light and Malibu and Pineapple; my two best friends. Today was another perfect day.

~TO BE CONTINUED ~


I’m In Miami B!tch I

June 23, 2010

Location: Miami, Florida, USA
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The morning started earlier than most. I hadn’t packed yet. My alarm was set to ease into a welcoming morning melody at some ungodly hour. I stayed up online late the night before when I could have been packing, but alas, Facebook and Twitter kept calling my name. You can see where my priorities lie.

We gather out front of our apartment complex at 9:30am to load the car. I was in such a great mood; the sun was shining despite the weather mans gloomy forecast and the birds were chirping. A McDonald’s breakfast run was decided which sounded absolutely heavenly to my stomach . Today was going to be a good day.

A four hour drive from Orlando to Miami Beach await us. Mike has made a road-trip play-list to help ease the discomfort of being cramped up in a car for that long a time. I bop around in the back seat to a few new tunes. A group favorite, the Backstreet Boys ‘I Want It That Way’ comes on. I clear my throat and prepare to sing my heart out. We all sing at the top of our lungs with harmonization like you’ve never heard it before. Despite the early hour, our voices combine sound refreshingly smooth; almost enough to give the Backstreet Boys a run for their money. It’s barely 11am and I’ve already had McDonalds and a strenuous vocal workout; and to think, I’m usually still in bed at this hour.

As we drive toward the Art District of Miami Beach I am pleasantly surprised with the giant murals and sculptures on and out front of the buildings surrounding us. The colors are so vivid and radiant; they almost make you want to admire their beauty. It is amazing how something so simple can brighten up such a bland looking building, making it appealing to the eye. Something distracts my attention away from the art work for a second. Our car approaches an endless strip of palm trees. We have officially arrived at Miami Beach!
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We are booked into The Bentley Hotel on Ocean Drive, South Beach. As we approach Ocean Drive, I try to keep an eye out for the hotel but, at the same time, I try to sneak a peak at the lively area in which we are situated. The people walking down the street are gorgeous, the atmosphere; phenomenal; the scenery; breathtaking and the cars rolling on by; to die for.

I have a mini heart attack as well pull up, curb-side, to our hotel. We have valet parking take care of the car from here on in. The bell boy takes our luggage up to our room as we check in. I found The Bentley Hotel on Trip Advisor where it ranked #34 of 198 hotels in Miami Beach. After carefully reading the reviews and being quite impressed, I was convinced this was the hotel for us. We had booked a one bedroom suite which would comfortably accommodate four of us (two in the master bedroom and two on the fold out couch). Check in goes quite smoothly and we are handed our room keys. The suite is absolutely beautiful. We have a huge living space, a more than adequate kitchen area, the master bedroom is great and the bathroom area is huge, complete with a personal butt-washer! Bless Trip Advisor for its honest reviews (Click on the images below to enlarge).

We didn’t waste any time unpacking. Within a few minutes of settling in, we had our bathing suits on and went to suss out the roof-top pool and tanning deck. Although only five levels up, the view from the roof-top deck was truly beautiful. The different-shades of ocean-blue water shimmered as it caught the suns rays; the sand, so white and pure and the palm trees, gently swaying in the afternoon breeze beckoned a picture perfect post-card moment. I took a deep breath and inhaled the ocean-fresh air; so crisp and invigorating. I had already fallen in love with Miami (Click on the images below to enlarge).

After a quick dip and tanning session on the roof top, it was time to frolic on South Beach. I held my flip flops in my hand and sunk my toes deep into the warm, white sand. The crashing of the waves upon the shore whilst the sun, in all its glory, was shining down on me was so relaxing. I wish I could live this moment for ever. My thoughts are interrupted by the suggestion of a group photo in front of the ‘Miami Beach’ life guard hut. We ask a beach random to take our photo; he seems more than happy to do so. I snap away at the gorgeous aqua waters long enough to make me want to jump into it. I pack away my camera and frolic toward the shore. I cautiously creep in to test the North Atlantic waters temperature; it has been warmed by the suns rays. The next wave comes crashing over my feet and as it washes back toward the ocean, I scrunch up my toes as my feet sink into the wet sand (Click on the images below to enlarge).

Dusk begins to fall. We settle for dinner at TGI Friday’s which is right underneath our hotel. Once dinner is done, we head back to our apartment to pre-game, play some cards and get ready for a night out clubbing.


Today was an extremely long day. I’m finally glad when it’s time to rest my head and close my eyes. Tomorrow is a whole new day.

~ TO BE CONTINUED ~


48 Hours in Texas…

December 11, 2009

Three hours sleep and before I know it, I’ve got a window seat with Southwest Airlines and I’m en route to Dallas, Texas. Extremely excited for what’s to come within the next 48 hours, but at the same time, extremely tired due to previous nights activities. My excitement and nerves prevail over my lack of sleep. I’m bright eyed and on edge when we touch down at Dallas Love Field Airport in Texas.

Bull Crossing at the Stock Yards

With a quick stop over at our hotel (The Sheraton Arlington over by Six Flags Over Texas, which, by the way, was absolutely superb and a gem of a find (3.5 star Arlington – Grand Prairie Hotel choice on Hotwire for $53 plus tax, normally $150 per night)) we headed over to one of my favourite places in all of Texas, the Fort Worth Stock Yards, to get a feel of real Texas. It was a chilly 39 degrees Fahrenheit out; an extreme difference from the Orlando humidity that we left behind hours earlier. The best cure to keep warm was the cure for many of life’s problems… shopping! Oh, and how could I forget, a trip to my most  favourite candy store in the whole entire world!

I started to eat my way through the candy store…

Om nom nom nom...

But apparently this is a punishable offense in Fort Worth…

Life imprisonment for the consumption of too much candy??

I scored myself an early release thanks to some good friends who paid bail. Thank goodness for that. Could you imagine telling the other inmates what I was serving time for?!? Ridiculous! I quickly got over my jail stint and not before too long, it was time to catch up with some mates over dinner at Chilis.

Back to the hotel, some quick Facebook, Twitter, Skype and MSN time, five hours of sleep and beep, beep, beep, beep, off goes the alarm at 5:30am! So sleepy. Eyelids so heavy. Eyelids slowly closing. NO! Stay awake. Eyelids heavy; drooping. AWAKE! Today is the day!!! Nervessss <insert gagging action here>.

We began our seven hour drive down to Corpus Christi just after 7am. It felt like the longest seven hours of my life, mainly because of what was still to come. We talked; we napped; we ate; we joked; we laughed… Actually, we laughed rather hard at this sign on the back of a truck that was in front of us in traffic…

Yeah, that's what he said! Haha.

Yeah, that's what he said! Haha.

We eventually made it to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express Corpus Christi, which we also scored on Hotwire for an insanely good price. We dumped our stuff in our hotel room then got dropped off at the American Bank Center Arena at around 4pm. Here is where we met with Kelly Clarkson’s security, Brian. He escorted us into the arena and we found ourselves a seat while we watched Kelly Clarkson’s band rehearse during sound check.

Empty arena while the band rehearses for the big show tonight.

Next it was my turn to jump up onstage and sing with Kelly Clarkson’s band. I wanted to vomit on myself. I was so bloody nervous. I felt like I was about to give an oral presentation in class, and God knows how much I hated those parts of my assessment. I was introduced to Kelly’s band members and we started to chat while we got organised. They were all so sweet and make me feel a little more at ease. I can’t sing for the sake of my life which makes me want to puke all over the place even more, but I try my best and sing Kelly’s current single, ‘Already Gone‘.

Those 3.5 minutes felt like an eternity but I am so glad I got to do what I had just done. I jump off stage and run to Nicole who informs me that  she didn’t want to startle me, but Kelly Clarkson had come out and was sitting in the front row watching me while I was up on stage. I was so nervous that I didn’t even look around the arena while I was singing. Once Nicole told me that, I was angry at myself for not noticing Kelly there, but at the same time, I was kind of relieved I didn’t see her. If I had noticed her sitting there, I think I would have froze in fear and then perhaps either a) wet my pants, b) vomit or c) a and b combine. Haha. What a great impression that would have been! I will spare your ears the agony and continue to allow you to live your life with the gift of sound by not posting and video of me singing.

Nicole and I right after I got down from the stage 🙂

We got to sit there and watch a bit more of the sound check before heading out to dinner at Whataburger.

After dinner, we met up with Brian again and he took us out back of the arena to meet the one and only, Miss. Kelly Clarkson!!! Although having met her several times back home in Australia, I still freak out and get nervous. What do I say? I don’t want to come across as a stuttering fool!?!

The doors swing open and out comes Kelly, all cool and down to earth. She’s so cute and tiny up close. She’s also very short, but I already knew this. She sees me standing there and walks over while she begins to tell me that she saw me singing on stage earlier. I apologize for any damage I may have caused to her ears and she starts to laugh at me while giving me a big hug. She asks about my accent and I tell her I’m actually from Australia but I’ve been interning at Disney World. Kelly seems to get really excited by this and thinks it’s the coolest thing ever that I work at Cirque du Soleil. She notices I have a Disney World bag in my hand and asks if it’s for her. I nod my head and remove the Minnie Mouse Christmas stocking from the bag. “Adorable” she says with a smile from ear to ear. I explain that the stocking is stuffed with Disney treats for her and the band and that she should share. I go to put the stocking back into the bag but she grabs at it and digs her hand inside to check out what it’s filled with. The first thing she sees when she looks inside the stocking is a Disney Christmas rice crispy treat.

Kelly: Is that a rice crispy treat?!!?!?!??! (She asks in a way too excited voice. She reminds me of a little kid!)
Me: Yes, Disney style.
Kelly: OH MY GOD! I LOVE rice crispy treats! I’m so eating this all by myself!
Me: Share!
Kelly: Not the rice crispy treats!

It’s photo time. I apologize to Kelly in advance if this will muck up her already styled stage hair, but I’d like to have our photo wearing Disney Santa hats. I usually get silly photos with Kelly but figured I wanted something Christmassy (cause tis’ the season) that would remind me of my time at Disney so I bought along my Minnie Santa hat and I bought Kelly a Mickey Santa hat.

Kelly thinks the hats are too cute and does not seem too bothered about it possibly messing up her hair. She yells out that she has a ‘fat head’ while she struggles to fit the hat over her ears. When she finally gets it on I tell her that her Mickey ears are crooked so she straightens them up and asks me how she looks; “Adorable” I answer back.

Kelly: Are you going to smile real big???
Me: Well, yeah, of course!
Kelly: AWESOME! Me too!

*snap*

We are so damn cute!

We chatted a bit more before her Tour Manager, Tim, gave me the ‘wind it up‘ signal. We said our goodbyes and then had one last hug before I left the meet and greet room to make my way into the arena to find my seat in preparation for the concert.

KC doing what she does best ❤

I could go on and on and on about how amazing the concert was. Kelly was sharp as always, her vocals were spot on and she looked great. She’s has such an amazing energy on stage and it generates through out the audience. She really is a rare talent to find these days and I will continue to be a fan for many more years to come.

For me, this show was like a bitter sweetness. I had just had the most amazing day possible singing on stage with Kelly’s band, watching her band sound check, meeting Kelly Clarkson and scoring free tickets to the concert. If you could not tell, that was the sweeter part of the bitter sweetness. At the same time, it drew an end to the three shows I had the opportunity to see on the ‘All I Ever Wanted’ U.S.A. tour. Bitter. Actually, bitter, with a side of bitter; I will be missing the Australian tour in April of 2010 because I will still be in Florida. Sad. But sweet. I mean, it’s not every day you get to say you work at Disney World!


What Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas…

November 11, 2009

Therefore this is just a blog of nothingness to let you all know that I went to Vegas for a few days. Done and done.

Haha. No, just kidding. Kidding on sparing you the details, not kidding on the actual going to Vegas part. Ah, Vegas, where to begin?

Beer #1 at Harrahs

Sharing Beer #2 with the Blue Man Group at The Venetian

Hydrating our Lion friend with Beer #3 at Treasure Island

A few mates and I flew in a couple of hours before the next set of mates arrived, so we made it our mission to drink as many beers in the short time frame we had, at as many different casinos and hotels as possible. We caught the monorail down to Harrahs and began our beer-binge there with a wonderfully cheap bottle of Bud Lime. Mmmm delicious. While walking through and observing the casino, I chugged my beer as fast as possible, only stopping for air  in between every few chugs to ensure survival. I knew I only had a short amount of time remaining before our arrival at casino number two; The Venetian.

The Venetian is so beautiful. It is like a little piece of Italy, only in the middle of the desert. The ceilings are painted with a blue sky and clouds and there is a river that runs through the middle of the hotel with several gondolas passing by. It really is spectacular. After admiring the beauty that is The Venetian for a few minutes, it was time for Beer #2. This time is was my personal favourite, a Bud Light. It was my turn to buy and conveniently, it just so happened to be happy hour at the bar we wound up at. Sweet deal; $2.25 for a bottle of Bud Light. Please, tell me where I can get beer this cheap in Australia… ummm, that’s right… NO WHERE! Another reason to add to the list of ‘why I want to move to the U.S.A.’

Chug, chug, chug. We walked as fast as our legs could carry us to Treasure Island. This is where Beer #3 was purchased. I wish I knew the name of the beer we bought, but unfortunately I have no recollection. And no, this isn’t because I was drunk (yet), but because I’ve never seen this type of beer before in my life!  I was going off Nicole and Kelly’s recommendations and, needless to say, it tasted amazing haha. By this point, the rest of our tribe had called to tell us they had landed and were on the way to the MGM (our hotel) so we started walking back down the strip to meet them there.

View of part of the Vegas strip on the walk back to the MGM

While walking back, I guess you could say the beers started to ‘take affect‘ and we got a little sidetracked by the amazingness that is the Bellagio sound and water show. I’m not sure if this happens every half hour or every hour on the hour, but what ever time it was when we were passing by,  people were crowding around so we figured it was about to start and decided to stay and watch it.  Let me tell you, it really is something. One of the prettiest sights I think I’ve seen in my life. Watching the water move so gracefully to the music is extremely calming and relaxing. I could have sat there for hours waiting and admiring, but there was no time for that, we had to get back to the hotel to meet the others.

The sound and water show out the front of The Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Ugly Sticks for everyone!

We met up with the rest of the clan at the MGM and decided it was time for more wonderful alcoholic beverages… Off to New York, New York to get Ugly Sticks from Coyote Ugly! Mmmm, Ugly Stick, I have been longing for you since we first laid eyes on each other back in 2007. I’ve spent endless nights dreaming about the day we would meet again. Today would be that day and you did not disappoint! I ordered the slushy fruit punch Ugly Stick with Bacardi 151… Now, not sure if you know your alcohol, but Bacardi 151 Rum is a high proof (75.5% alc/volume) dark rum. It is a form of over-proof rum which is not available in several countries due to its excessive alcohol content. Haha. Needless to say that, along with the beers, this went down a treat and not before too long, we were all nicely buzzed and decided it would be a great idea to have a photo with the CSI promoters. Some how after this we ended up at Wendy’s and Subway which was rather epic, and that is all I remember! Haha.

Yay for CSI Promoters and Ugly Sticks in Vegas!

A new day and new arrival. Ick, sounds like we’re in the maternity ward at a hospital. Nooooo! Just a new day in Vegas and yet another mate arriving in. Today was the day we picked up our mini van, which we later named Jan; Jan the Van haha. Jan would be our wise accomplice for the next 48 hours, however, I prefered to think of her as more a best friend forever, and by forever, I mean only two days. Before heading back to the airport, we stopped to stuff our faces with In-N-Out which is a burger joint that is really only available in California and Nevada. We had to have a group photo taken out from of In-N-Out, because, I mean, who doesn’t do that? Haha.

Jess, Don, Me, Kelly, Nicole & Kristi at In-N-Out in Las Vegas.

The hallway that never ends at the MGM!

After picking Crys up from the airport, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for the nights events. Sidenote: Did I mention how bloody long the hallway leading to our hotel room at the MGM was? From our end looking down, it appeared there was no ending! Of course it was just our luck that we were literally right down the end of it! Tonight was going to be super fun and I was soooooo pumped up for it. It started with a buffet dinner at the Bellagio. Oh My God. I have never seen a buffet so amazing before in my life. The meat was delectably superb, if you are a seafood fan, then you’ve just hit the jackpot and the dessert bar was out of this world! I didn’t know what to do with myself. I wanted to eat the entire place but my stomach wouldn’t allow it! I managed maybe three main servings then some fruit and chocolate covered strawberries and I was done. My poor belly looked like I was pregnant with quads on the way but I couldn’t care less! Best buffet ever to grace this planet! I’m drooling now just sitting here and thinking about it. Do yourself a favour and go and check it out; $36 for dinner, good deal. Included non-alcoholic beverages too.

Kelly Clarkson @ The Hard Rock Hotel

Next stop was The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel to see the one and only Miss. Kelly Clarkson perform on her All I Ever Wanted Tour. Just quietly, this was our reason for going to Vegas… but don’t tell anyone that *pinky swear*. I was beyond excited for this show. We weren’t too sure about our seats but upon checking them out, we realised they were amazing and a lot closer than what the seating chart made them seem to be. Excellent. We went and chatted to some other friends at the concert before getting told to go back to our seats, boooo. The lights went down and ACDC’s You Shook Me All Night Long started blasting over the sound system. It was time. EEEEEEEEEE! My GOD! She was AMAZING! Best I’ve heard her sound in a very, very long time! She blew me away and I fell in love all over again with her voice. She performed a cover of Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes which left me speechless. It was phenominal. I could say the same words over and over again to describe how amazing this woman is, but they could never do her justice. You just have to see her live to appreciate what a talented artist Miss. Clarkson is.

And if you thought the night couldn’t get any better… you were wrong! Free entry and guest list to Studio 54 for Jess’ birthday! Wooohooo. We drank, we danced, we drank some more… I wish I could write more here but I really don’t remember much of the night hahaha. Here, maybe this photo can sum it up for you…

Extreme close up of my face. What am I doing? I will never know...

Drunk glassy eyes haha 🙂

The next morning we had to be up at 6:30 am to drive to Phoenix in Jan the Van. I thought I’d hate myself at that point but I was first up, first showered and super cheery that morning haha. Weird, I know. I guess it’s cause I learned my lesson of never mixing beer with liquor and just stuck to the beer… all seven of them 🙂 haha.

Stay tuned for our Phoenix adventures.


Phoenix rhymes with Kleenex!

October 1, 2009

Don’t mind the blog title, it’s 2:29am and I’m feeling rather creative yet sleep deprived from partying for the last two weeks straight!

I just booked my flight out from Phoenix and back to Orlando for November 8. I scored a non-stop flight for $152 flying US Airways. I wanted to eat my sock for not purchasing the $115 Delta flight the other day because tonight when I went to book, the price had taken a massive leap forward, however I felt some comfort in knowing that at least this flight was direct, rather than having a layover and making the total duration eight hours when it only needed to be four.

The closest I’ve ever come to being in Arizona was stepping over the state line at Hoover Damn back in 2006 so I’m kinda excited to be able to add Phoenix to the list of places that I’ve seen and been!

So far the itinerary is Las Vegas November 5 and 6 staying at the MGM Grand then driving from Vegas to Phoenix for the 7th and 8th to attend the Arizona State Fair. So excited, never been to a U.S. State Fair before! MMMMM fried food Oh, and I kinda failed to mention we’d be seeing the amazing Miss. Kelly Clarkson live on her “All I Ever Wanted” tour in both cities… she *cough* may *cough* be the reason for our four day vacation… or I may just want to get terribly drunk in Vegas and eat more fried food than my heart could ever desire at the Arizona State Fair… Guess you’ll never know 😛