What I’ve Learned From 4 Trips to Vegas in 3 Years

Last week I was in Vegas for 3 nights. It was my 4th trip in 3 years. I never thought I would become a “Vegas Person”.  After all, I’d much rather go see the real pyramids in Egypt, than stay in a hotel shaped like one. However, somewhere along the line I fell in love with Sin City in all of it’s over-the-top glory. Vegas is home to so many great memories. When I stepped off my plane last Tuesday night, I had this weird feeling like I was coming home. However, unlike my previous trips to Las Vegas where I was hanging with 70+ bloggers at Bloggers in Sin City, this time I was there for work.

I spent last Wednesday and Thursday attending iDate 2014: The Dating Industry Conference with my friend & colleague Liz, on behalf of the website we both work for We Love Dates. Yes, a whole conference devoted to the online dating industry! Of course, Joe the Intern came along for the ride. It was definitely an interesting experience and I learned quite a few things…

1. Going to Vegas for work is a completely different story than going for pleasure – Going to Vegas for pleasure means long afternoons spent drinking by the pool, late nights and leisurely brunches the next day. Going to Vegas for work means getting up at 7 am because you actually have to be somewhere and look half-decent. With that said, after a long day of work and conferencing, you’ll likely want to blow off some steam and take advantage of everything the city has to offer (drinks at the Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier bar anyone?). The night usually ends late and you have to begin the whole process again the next day. How do you survive this? Eat as healthy as possible. Instead of going for that buffet brunch, stick with that yogurt and fruit cup from Starbucks. Even more importantly: have drinks but don’t get drunk. Failure to follow these guidelines will likely result in you getting the nods during a conference session called “Examining Modern Dating Algorithms in the Polish Market.” Trust me on this.

2. Your feet won’t make it out of this city alive – I arrived in Vegas with feet that I’d already blistered three days beforehand. This is the equivalent of arriving at the Superbowl with a blown out knee. Despite wearing flats, it only went downhill from there. There’s so much walking to do in Vegas, that I’ve had to make peace with the fact that no matter what, my feet will suffer. Fortunately, margaritas help with this.

3. The Luxor Hotel is a strange, strange place – Everything in the Luxor is Egyptian themed, and I mean everything. Around every corner there’s another Sphinx, Mummy, or painting of the pyramids. The soap in the rooms is pyramid shaped and Pharaoh inspired headgear is sold in all the gift shops. It’s hilariously bizarre. My younger sister was completely obsessed with all things Egyptian from ages 5 to 6. She would have loved this hotel. On my first night at the Luxor I texted my sister, “It feels like I’m staying inside your 6 year old brain.” Although the Luxor’s commitment to a theme was impressive, there’s only so long you can deal with it before you get the urge to seek out a “Pharaoh Free Zone” and flee the hotel like you are Brendan Fraser in “The Mummy.”

4. You will see things that can’t be unseen, especially if you attend AVN – Although I don’t spend much time watching porn (really) I do find the adult industry kind of fascinating. Attending AVN: The Adult Entertainment Expo at least once has been on my life list ever since I saw a documentary about it a few years ago. However, it wasn’t until I arrived in Vegas that I realized it was actually taking place on the same days as the conference I would be attending. So, when two of our afternoon speakers cancelled, I took the opportunity to head over to the Hard Rock Hotel and check out AVN.

It was definitely an interesting experience. I saw lots of porn starlets there, however what I really enjoyed was the giant adult product expo room (hundreds of square feet of toys & other goodies!) I even met a few reps from companies I currently work with. However, for every fascinating thing I encountered, there were a lot of things that just can’t be unseen – for example, the underwear-less woman who bent down in front of me and did something that I think in the animal kingdom is known as “presenting.” Needless to say, Joe the Intern found the whole experience puzzling to say the least.

5. Not all conferences or conference workshops are created equal – If a workshop sounds totally unethical and like the worst thing ever, for example: “Sex, Drugs & Herpes and How We Can Profit From it” most likely, it is. However, although not all of the workshop sessions were exactly what we hoped for, some of them were really helpful. We also managed to meet a handful of really great people. What I learned from this? After four years of practice, I’ve actually become quite good at networking – an activity that used to give me extremely sweaty palms. Now, I’m the shameless Canadian who loves to talk to strangers.

6. Your Vegas experience completely depends on the people you’re with – Vegas is one of those places that has the potential to be the worst place ever or the best place ever – it all just depends on who you’re with. My advice? Go with people who are laid back and have a sense of humour, because, let’s face it – Vegas is pretty ridiculous. If you can’t laugh at stuff like Sad Mickey together, what’s the point? I’ve been super lucky that every time I’ve visited I’ve been surrounded by awesome people. Liz was no exception. After four years of reading each others blogs, becoming friends and then co-workers, we finally met face to face and it was awesome. Liz is super sweet and getting to hang out with her was definitely one of the highlights of 2014 so far. I’m pretty sure Joe the Intern would agree 🙂

 

The Best Weekend of My Life

Hey Dudes. Joe the Intern here. Although we’ve been back from Bloggers in Sin City for just over a week, we’re still trying to recover and get back to normal life at Skinny Dip headquarters. For those of you who have read Simone’s previous posts about Bloggers in Sin City, you know that it’s the most epic of all epic weekends. Amazing people! Magic Guitars! Margaritas! Epic Dance Parties! Sore Feet! It’s Simone’s favourite weekend of the year and I should know – she never stops talking about it. The other day, Simone came up to me  and tapped me on the shoulder.

“Joe, I think people are sick of hearing me talk about Vegas. Plus, I’m not really sure I can do three fabulous years of #BiSC justice. You should write the BiSC re-cap post this year.”

Although I’m kind of nervous about writing MY FIRST BLOG POST EVER*, I’m honoured to be of service. Besides, Simone says she’s OK, but the other day I caught her trying to pour cereal into a coffee mug, which leads me to believe her case of Vegas brain is way worse than she’s willing to admit. When I asked her about it, she just mumbled something like, “Because Vegas. All the feelings. Tequila. Sickness. Strugglebus. Bed.” So, it’s probably a good time for me to step in.

(*SIMONE SAYS IT’S OK TO USE ALL CAPS SOMETIMES, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT VEGAS)

Finding out I was going to Bloggers in Sin City was one of the most exciting non-danger fighting moments of my life. It was 5:30 on Tuesday morning and Simone was getting ready to head out to the airport when she said to me: “Guess what Joe?! There’s room in my carry-on. You’re coming too!” I couldn’t believe it! I was going to Bloggers in Sin City! I was going to meet all the people I had only seen on Simone’s computer screen! I started to do a happy dance around Simone’s bedroom just like I had seen her do when she registered for the event in January. As a guy who doesn’t really “do” clothes, I pack light and was able to jump into Simone’s purse just in time for her Dad to drive us to the airport.

I was kind of nervous about going to Bloggers in Sin City for a couple of reasons. First of all, I’ve heard that everything is bigger in AMERICA which, obviously is kind of a concern for me. Secondly, I’m not your typical guy. Yes, I have amazing cheekbones but I’m also a bit on the short side and am currently clothing challenged. Would the people like me?! Would I have to spend the whole weekend explaining to people the tragic story of how I lost my pants?!

When I walked into the BiSC registration suite, my palms were slicked with sweat and I felt more naked than I ever have in my life. However, when I looked around everyone was laughing, smiling and tackle hugging. I instantly felt better! Some people even knew who I was and said they were looking forward to meeting me! Some of the bloggers even wanted me to pose for photos. Yes, ME! I couldn’t believe it. Soon everyone gathered around and wrote their Twitter handles on their forearms so we’d all remember each other. They even gave me one! Bloggers in Sin City had just started and I already felt like I was part of the gang.

The next day was pool day. Given my current wardrobe situation, public swimming pools make me a bit nervous. Especially when I walked through the gates and immediately saw a sign that said “Proper Swimming Attire Required” It’s hard to find a decent swimsuit when your underwear is fused to your body. I’m glad I pushed through my fear though because pool day was actually a lot of fun.

The only thing that made me mad was when a guy named “Rocco the Sex Criminal” came up behind Simone and started grinding his man parts into her without asking. When he pinned her against the bar and forced her to dance to “Hip Hop Hooray” I balled my fists up in anger. Dude, let her go! She just wants to order a margarita! My battle instinct kicked in and I suddenly wanted to throw a million grenades at Rocco’s eyeballs. However, without any explosives at my disposal, I did the next best thing. I waited until the coast was clear, then I ran over to the Sex Criminal’s cabana and put a bunch of rocks in his shoes. Don’t tell Simone – but, when no one was looking I also peeled off a used bandaid from the bottom of a deck chair and dropped it into his beer. That should teach him!

BiSC-Bloggers-in-Sin-City

The weekend was full of doing and seeing lots of interesting things. I went to fake Venice, fake Paris, ate my first In & Out Burger and hit up happy hour at Carlos and Charlie’s (I enjoy their reasonably priced drink specials.)

I got glamorous and had delicious cocktails at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, saw Caesar’s Palace, did shots at Gilly’s and went to see Cirque du Soleil’s “O” (a real defining moment for me. So many unitards!)

I watched Simone ride the mechanical bull at Gilly’s which was really cool except for the fact that the operator was a pervert and set the bull to the “humping setting.” Once again, I was overcome with the urge to launch grenades into someone’s eyeballs, but instead I talked myself down from the ledge. I told myself “Joe, think of what you learned in anger management class. You’re in Vegas with people who love you. Have a drink and chill” – which is exactly what I did.

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