Well, Helsinki has settled into another wet and gray day. The biggest silver lining is that we live with our windows open, so we woke up to the sound of rapid rain fall and I am getting some crisp air in as I am writing.
Naturally, I took the opportunity (as if these days were rare here) to deep condition my hair, slide a loaf of banana bread into the oven, and sit down to write.

And how fitting that today, as it is drizzling and remaining in the low 60s, that I write to you about our visit to Las Vegas, where it was a mild 112 F for the duration of our trip.

Needless to say, these Scandinavian icicles were melting.

But our leg to Las Vegas was the real reason that we were in the States at all. Jimmy’s company hosts an annual conference someplace cool. Since it is a company with largely mobile people (Jimmy is now on his 4th location in 2.5 years), it is a great opportunity to catch up with friends that have been dispersed around the country (or globe). They take very good care of us: set us up in an awesome hotel, host parties and events, and send us away excited for the next year.

So let me start out by saying that I detest Las Vegas. I had never been on a trip there and enjoyed it. I am not a gambler, its hot as Hades, I do not care to collect the dirty cards on the street. However, in my past experiences, I had never cared to make the required investment to really enjoy it. This year however, thanks to my loving hubby, I got to really experience Vegas.

We came into Vegas the day before the conference began and started out by renting a convertible after we landed. We had planned on doing some shopping at the outlet stores just off of the strip, but our resort was quite a drive away, so we figured we may as well rent a car for the day and have a good time.
Which we did. (Not before waiting for 45 minute in a hot car garage for our car because a bunch had just been recalled- which worked out in the end, because we were given a huge discount.) And we pulled into the hotel that afternoon with the car loaded down with our luggage and shopping bags, checked in, and got cleaned up to head back to the Strip for dinner and a show.

We landed in the Cosmopolitan at a quirky Mexican-Japanese fusion place. Having been deprived of good Mexican food, it was calling our names. That, and the margaritas. We sat at the bar, ordered funky margaritas, a selection of bizarre tacos, and had a fabulous time.
Jimmy and I always have a great time, particularly because we are easy going. And we love good food. We love terrible dive joints, snobbish swanky places, and places like this. You don’t need to go to the high profile places in Vegas to have a good time.

We then made way for the theater at the Bellagio, where we were seeing Cirque du Soleil’s “O”. The title is a cheeky reference to the water-based spectacle that is this performance; “Eau” is the French word for water and is pronounced “O.” But maybe that is just the sound you will be making through out the performance!

The theater, as is to be expected, was spectacular. Huge but intimate without a bad seat in the house. However, the most incredible part about this theater was the stage. I could see the whole show over again and just watch the stage. It effortlessly appears and disappears, bringing performers out of the depth of the water and allowing divers to land stunts from incredible heights with little room for error. We “Ooh”-ed and “Aah”-ed for the entirely of the show and left still picturing flying ships of acrobats and dreamy water aerobics.

Date night! 

At this point, I made my final request for the night:
I felt that I had never done Las Vegas right because I had never walked the Strip with a frozen beverage around my neck. So I insisted that we rectify that situation as quickly as possible before heading back to the resort. Jimmy happily obliged and presented me with a champagne shaped bottle full of 48 oz of margarita. Oh Jimmy, you know me so well!

As we planned to spend the rest of our trip off of the strip and on the resort, we decided to walk the strip for a few more hours and enjoy the bright lights (and feel very classy with a literal bottle of booze around my throat. I am happy to say that I did not finish it, though it was a weak beverage anyhow)

For the rest of our stay, the days looked a lot like this:


Jimmy went to morning conferences while I snagged us some seats by the pool. He got out in time for lunch and some pool time before we needed to get cleaned up for the evening events. Until we were sufficiently sun burned and instead opted to stuff our faces at a BBQ joint in the resort, which was a much better idea anyhow.

Our evening events included a welcome cocktail party by the pool, which was followed by an after party inside the hotel. A black tie affair followed by an after party. And then a family event followed by…oh yes, an after party!
So as you can see, there is an open bar situation starting at 5 every night and going until the last man falls.

Fortunately, Jimmy and I are a good pacing team and were able to stay out til the final call every night with out so much as stumbling back to our rooms. Really, you do not want to be that person that everyone is talking about at the pool the next day.

The black tie event is my absolute favorite. Maybe its the sorority girl in me, but I just love any excuse to get all dolled up. Especially for a themed party. This year’s theme was appropriately themed Rat Pack Vegas. They pulled out the stops with Elvis, a big band during dinner, show girls walking around, and lots and lots of bow ties.
I had rented a dress from Rent the Runway (ladies, look it up. You are welcome) but had an issue with my order. They gave me a full refund and I was able to find a dress last minute for the same price. It wasn’t as “theme-y” as I would have liked, but I think it got the job done when added with a bouffant and pearls. Plus, look at my handsome date! (The one next to Elvis) I was all sorts of shook up! (A-woo-woo)

Tommy, everyone’s favorite Fastie

The Family night was Circus themed, with tables of treats, cotton candy machines, people roaming on stilts, periodic acrobatic acts, and carnival games. They had me at cotton candy. Which, as I found out, hurts your teeth when you aren’t 10 years old.

After an amazing weekend of activities, socializing with our fellow displaced friends, and date nights, we were so so excited to head home. We were due into Boise in the late afternoon, where our families were gathered for a joint Father’s Day celebration.
This is, of course, if Delta Airlines had not been a total cluster that day. When we arrived, we were told that our first flight was delayed, making us miss our next out of Salt Lake City. Not to worry though, they had us on the next available flight out…at 10pm. 
So after a series of blubbering phone calls to my mom, searching every airline possible, biting all of my nails off, we resigned to drive to Boise out of Salt Lake if we couldn’t get on the first stand by flight. Which we didn’t (we used all of our good juju on that car rental refund). We saved only a few hours and still missed the party, but we didn’t have to sit in the airport for 6 hours. And it felt a bit like old times, as we used to drive that highway in college together all the time. 
But I hadn’t realized how desperate and anxious I was to get home and see my family until I couldn’t. It felt truly heart breaking because every single hour was important to me and I just wanted to be there so badly. 
But, as tomorrow’s post will tell you, we made the most of every second of our time in our home town. 


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