lifestyle / Travel

My trip to Nevada, Arizona & Cali.

Howdy y’all
Ya girl has been to the West and now she’s back and more tanned than ever. Getting fried in the sun is a small price to pay when you get to visit 3 states, in 6 days with your bestie. Burning flames of hell aside, we (Christina and I) had a great experience, so I thought I would share a little bit about my time out there.
Where we stayed: The Linq Hotel and Casino + Judy’s house in California.
We chose The Linq based on a variety of factors – budget being a huge one. As first timers we didn’t really know much about the Strip, but we wanted to stay somewhere modern with lots of access to food without much travel. The Linq definitely stands out in the food department. With access to the infamous IN N OUT (where we first ate and had our final meal), a Guy Fieri restaurant and the Gordon Ramsay fish and chips restaurant. The rooms were decently sized, with modern decor and depending on your budget, you could either get a view of the Strip or the High Roller Wheel. It also included access to the very hip pool scene where they host various events from time to time.
Judy’s house was paradise. Nestled in sunny but not debilitating hot, Orange County, California. Her home was the most relaxing bit of our trip. Seriously, upon arriving after our 5 hour bus ride, we passed out and then spent hours in her backyard pool in pure bliss.
Where we ate:
I’ll be honest. I found it very difficult to eat in Vegas. My body took a long time to adjust to the heat. Contrary to my Instagram stories, I actually don’t eat fast food or eat out a lot, so eating out everyday was hard on my stomach. It’s especially difficult when 90% of your diet in the desert heat is water. There is very little room left for food. Still, the food we did encounter was delicious, but HUGE. I could probably write an entire blog on food but I’ll have to contain myself and just tell you where we ate and what my favourite dishes were.
As I mentioned earlier, I tried IN N OUT for the first time and it lived up to the hype! Also located at the Linq was the Flour and Barley – Brick Oven Pizza restaurant, where I actually had a delicious veggie mushroom pizza (a personal size so big I had leftovers).
Christina and I were lucky to have a meal included in our trip to the Grand Canyon, where we were treated to meals prepared by the Indigenous Hualapai – The mash potatoes and gravy were so filling.
One of my favourite Vegas desserts was the French toast from the Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill (located in the Venetian). Seriously, I just about died and went to heaven.
French Toast seems to be the jam out in the West because I also loved the Hawaiian French Toast from No Ka Oi in California (it has a delicious coconut sauce 😍).
We also ate at the Cosmopolitan, the Anaheim Packing District (had a yummy chicken grilled cheese) the OC Fair (where I had my first corn dog!!!!) and a few other places I really can’t recall because tbh, they weren’t too impressive.
What we did:
We tried to do everything touristy. Or as much as we could fit in.
One of the first things we did was hop on the High Roller Wheel during the day to take in the breathtaking sights of Vegas 550 ft up in the air. We snagged our tickets from Trip Advisor but you can also buy them at the box office. One of my favourite things about this attraction is that you can actually drink inside the little pods (apparently they also have yoga classes in the air too).
We also checked out one of the nearby chapels (conveniently located in the Flamingo Hotel). I expected all chapels to be cheesy, but the Garden Chapel was actually gorgeous. Here are my wedding photos:
Taking a night bus tour through is something I also recommend. It was another amazing way to see Las Vegas, learn about it’s history, preview a few hot spots and even experience the one of a kind, Fremont Street. We purchased our Big Bus tour through Trip Advisor and had an incredible time! We saw the Strip, the new hotels under construction, all the drive thru chapels, the Pawn Star store, and so many other cool historic spots. Our guide, Mike was knowledgeable, hilarious, and he also let us know when to whip out our phones at key spots.

 

Fremont Street is a must-see! It’s an open street with lightshow dancing on the dome screen above.

 

While we were in town, we figured we should also catch one of the many shows. Christina treated me to Magic Mike Live as an early birthday gift and it was definitely the best gift ever. The show was fun, interactive and surprisingly empowering. That’s all I’ll say about that and I’ll leave you with one clip because what happens in Vegas…

 

One of the highlights of the entire trip, was the Grand Canyon. It has been on my bucket list for the longest time and I finally got to see it’s majestic beauty. Let me tell you, it’s worth the combined 10 hour bus ride.

 

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We booked the trip through our hotel but all of the options ain’t cheap. Still, we had another great guide, Walter, and we loved the experience. We especially loved Sweet Tours because we had the chance to stop at the Hoover Dam, and 3 different Grand Canyon viewing points.  It was very interesting to learn about Nevada’s limited water use, because boy it really is extremely HOT and DRY.
As were in Vegas, we also wanted to check out some of the unique installations. We wandered out to Seven Magic Mountains (located just outside the strip). It’s a sight that stands out amongst the endless desert.
Keeping in the theme of all things bright and colourful, we found ourselves at the Neon Museum. It is the home of all the discarded signs that were once proudly displayed on the Strip. Very cool to look at but a very HOT spot in the middle of the day 😅
Of course we also found time to lounge by the pool and catch a poolside concert by Ne-yo.

 

Vegas is like an amusement park for adults. I found it so crazy how relaxed it is about drinking on the strip and even in the mall. Plus, almost everything is open really late, so you can make bad decisions in the mall like I did 😂 (follow up blog on Makeup purchased during my trip coming up).
One of the great things about visiting Vegas is that you can get a little of glimpse of the world by visiting themed hotels. We explored the Bellagio hotel and it’s beautiful botanical garden, which is reminiscent of Sicily.
I also visited Rome…I mean Caesars Palace, which is incredibly huge – complete with a luxury shopping mall.
Vegas is a lot of walking, so if you want to get out and see things, be prepared to have comfortable shoes, water and lots of $$$ 😉
It’s very easy to hop on a bus and pop over to Cali, which I’m glad we did. Even though we spent a short time there, I really enjoyed the atmosphere. We had a chance to experience the incredible OC Fair with Judy’s family and it was a unique time for sure. With strange creations, from bacon Nutella to fried frog legs (the latter was actually delicious!).  While in Cali, we absolutely had to check out one of the gorgeous beaches. Judy was such a great host and took us down to the infamous Huntington Beach. Sitting on the Pacific Ocean, it’s a long stretch of white sand, palm trees and strong blue currents, perfect for surfing.
Overall, we had such a fun time! So many gorgeous sights, so many kind Uber drivers and lots of delicious dessert in the desert. Of course there were a few things that threw us off. We had a rude bus driver heading into Cali (wouldn’t even stop for a pee break during the 5 hours). The hotel service wasn’t all that perfect either. Our wifi wasn’t working the first night and our safe couldn’t close until the next day. Plus, we booked our flight and hotel inclusively but were basically forced to be out of our hotel 10 hours before our actual flight 🙄
Negatives aside. I came out of this trip refreshed and excited to explore the world. Vegas isn’t just for the wild, but it is the perfect setting for fun. There are also lots of cost-effective, and wholesome activities to take part in. I know I’ll be back for sure!
It was surreal to have seen the glittering city but I’m glad I faced my fear of flying. Thank you guys for reading! I’d love to know what’s on your bucket list? Also, let me know if you’d like to see a packing list or if you have any questions.
Until next time…
Aloha beaches,
– Meens

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