Leaving Las Vegas and #ROW80

My one & only slot machine experience. I didn’t win.

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, when I throw out a thread of something I recently learned.

I visited Las Vegas for the first time ever a couple of weekends ago. I did a LOT of walking and taking in the atmosphere of this fascinating city–or rather, “the Strip.”

As I explored and experienced various places, I started taking mental notes. What would I do the same next time? What would I do differently? What would I do if time or money permitted that I didn’t get to do?

So as I’m leaving Las Vegas, I’m jotting down my takeaways and sharing them with you. Some of my points apply to a number of destinations, and a few are specific to Vegas.

  • Tour the hotel. When you arrive, take some time to explore the hotel and what it offers. The Las Vegas hotels in particular do not simply provide lodging. They also have casinos, restaurants, bars, shows, wedding chapels, conference centers, shopping centers, concierge service, and more. It wasn’t until the third day that I discovered where the second Starbucks in my hotel was located and where I could have gotten free WiFi. Had I taken the full tour on Day One, I would have known.
  • Set your expectations. Especially if you’re taking the trip with others, decide what your goals are and discuss them ahead of time. You don’t need an agenda, but know what your priorities are. I didn’t have any interest in gambling. Instead, I focused on exploring the art, architecture, and shops on the Strip (aka Las Vegas Boulevard). We also caught the amazing performance of Jersey Boys.
  • Download an app. I brought my Kindle Fire and downloaded the Las Vegas Trip Advisor app. It didn’t have everything I wanted, but it had quite a bit and I never felt lost. I was also able to tag some places I knew I wanted to see, like Bauman Rare Books which definitely ranks as a highlight of my trip. I stared with wonder and delight at first editions of Madame BovaryBreakfast at Tiffany’sHuckleberry Finn, Emily Dickinson’s Poems, and many more. Signed copies of books from Dr. Seuss and Milne (Pooh) also had me giddy.
  • Bring walking shoes. Whether you come to Vegas to gamble, shop, see shows, or whatever, you’ll likely have some walking to do. I saw a lot of women in stiletto heels, but I bet they were cursing under their breath or rubbing their feet later. I wore comfortable boots, but I could have used more cushioning inside. I walked miles and miles and miles.
  • Look up, down, and around. The architecture and decor of Strip hotels range from tacky to breathtaking. But if you don’t look, you’ll miss the amazing surroundings. Be sure to especially look up. If I hadn’t looked up, I would have missed these:




And looking around, I saw these:

Drop a tip in the can and get your pic taken with Chewy.
Drop a tip in the can and get your pic taken with Chewy.
Donny Osmond's tuxedo from Dancing with the Stars.
Donny Osmond’s tuxedo from Dancing with the Stars.
The gondola oarsman stopped and sang an Italian song.
The gondola oarsman stopped and sang a beautiful Italian song.
  • Ask for advice. Other visitors in the elevators, store personnel, and the hotel’s concierge can all tip you off to what’s worth seeing or where to eat. I consulted with a close friend who had recently been to Las Vegas and with my husband’s co-workers about where to go and what to do.
  • Remember your undies. Funny story. As the mother of two, taking a weekend trip with the hubby means arranging care for my children as well. Since my boys were staying with other people, I gave them a packing list, supervised the process, and then double-checked their luggage. It wasn’t until we were on the airplane that I realized, I don’t recall packing my underwear. Sure enough, when we arrived in Las Vegas and I checked my suitcase, I was sans undies. While some might suggest this is a perfectly good way to experience “Sin City,” I went shopping. Next time, I will double-check my own luggage.

ROW Update


  • Complete full rewrite of SHARING HUNTER. Met with beta reader, got more notes, and started working through the first couple of chapters.
  • Work with editors on short story for Orange Karen Anthology. Heard from copy editor. Done.
  • Revisit GRACE & FIRE (1st novel) and run through one more round of edits. Two more chapters. About halfway through.


  • Write one full short story. Wrote 1566 words.
  • Write blog posts for Sundays (including ROW80 updates) and Wednesdays. Posted Scarlet Thread Sunday and #ROW80 on Sunday and Which, That, Who & Whom on Wednesday.
  • Start plotting sequel to GRACE & FIRE (working title: HOPE & ASHES). On hold.


Non-writing goals

  • Exercise twice a week. Only once, on Wednesday.
  • Take a true Sabbath–no working and time with God and family one day a week.  Doing better. I really need to give myself some downtime to rejuvenate.

Be sure to visit my fellow ROWers–an awesome group of writers! You can find a list of them HERE.

What are your tips for travel generally or Las Vegas specifically? And how was your week?

18 thoughts on “Leaving Las Vegas and #ROW80

  1. Sounds like great progress, and a trip to Vegas to boot. Love the picture of you at the slot machine! My exercise habits in 2013 have been dismal at best… I SO need to work on that.

  2. I’ve been to Vegas a couple of times, once for a work convention and once with the hubs when he had a gig there. Your advice seems spot on to me, especially the walking shoes and the planning. Oh, and undies is a good idea too, lol. Too funny, Julie. I always have a check list for my boys and I often wing it for myself.
    You’re moving through this round really well, Julie. I hope you’re enjoying your Sabbath today and have a great week.

    1. I’d never forgotten anything that important on a trip before! LOL. Lesson learned. I did enjoy my Sabbath…except for the part when I found out my email had been hacked and I had to start cleaning up my laptop. Ugh. Still, if that’s my worst problem in life, I’m living large!

  3. In Vegas – be sure to go Downtown! That’s where all the cool historic stuff is, plus a fantastic light show. LOL @ what you forgot – my husband forgot shorts when we went there, and it was HOT, so the first thing we did was shop! Good job on your goals, too – have a great week!

  4. I used to travel all the time, and I was great for packing the wrong stuff. One time I had the jacket from one suit and the pants from another. I was always forgetting ties: I remember strolling through Hartsfield Airport and seeing a tie store, andf thinking, “now who buys ties at the airport?” Then I realized that I hadn’t packed any. I had my answer. The best, though, was the time I forgot to pack underwear, and had to find Omar the Tentmaker for “big and tall” briefs. Now that I think about it, I did that twice…

    Good progress, by the way!

  5. Hi!
    I ‘m delighted with the awesome information you describe in the article. I didn’t imagine that Las Vegas had so much to see and to do…. I’ve learnt a lot of things reading this article, thank you very much, I’m planning a trip soon to Las Vegas and all is very useful to me 🙂 Anyway, I recommend to you this site about hotels in Las Vegas just in case you need: http://www.fogg.co.uk/united-states/nevada/hotels-in-las-vegas

    Thanks a lot!

  6. Until I read this post, I’d basically thought “Las Vegas? Too over the top for me”, but… Wow! You’ve described a must see place with your pictures and images. Thanks for giving a bit of new light on something that is usually played up the wrong way in most commercial media…

    Love your pictures too, Julie. Thanks for sharing those too.

    1. Absolutely, Eden. I never wanted to go there before. I was surprised to see how much besides gambling, eating, and burlesque was around. I’d definitely go back!

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