Monday, May 21, 2012

Las Vegas - No Longer A Virgin...

For as long as I can remember I had always wanted to visit Las Vegas. As most teenagers I promised myself that as soon as I'd turn 21 I would head over there and party the night away. For one reason or another 21 came and went and I never made it there... that is until this year!

With so many different hotel options it can be a little overwhelming to choose where to stay in Las Vegas. We knew we wanted something right on the strip that would allow us to explore without the need for transportation. Our main hotel choices were the Vdara, the Aria, the Palazzo, and the Cosmopolitan. After much debating and a thorough evaluation of the TripAdvisor reviews we decided to go with the Cosmo.

The Cosmopolitan - Exterior
Car Entrance
We flew from Bellingham via Allegiant Air and we arrived to Vegas at around 10am and ended up getting to our hotel close to 11am. The Cosmopolitan is stunning from both the outside and the inside. Its location on the strip is enviable as it has the Bellagio Fountains on one side, the Paris and Planet Hollywood in front of it, and the super luxurious Crystals mall on the other side.

Louis Vuitton inside of the Crystals Mall
The lobby at the Cosmopolitan is very high tech in comparison to the rest of the hotel lobbys in Vegas. As soon as you enter the hotel's main floor you'll be greeted by glass columns that have screens inside of them that display ever-changing art sets. The different art sets completely alter the mood of the lobby - amongst some of the displays we saw were flowers, books, fish, lines, and my favourite of them all, naked models inside of columns full of steam (shown below and in more detail on this blog). If you enjoy art and a contemporary hotel feel you won't be disappointed staying at the Cosmo.

The Lobby at The Cosmopolitan
One word of advice when it comes to the check-in process - the line ups can be extremely long at around 11am (the time we got there) as people are checking in and out at around the same time and even though the hotel offers express checkout many of the guests are reluctant to use it. If your flight arrives at around 10am like ours did, you'd be better to go out for breakfast or lunch first and then register at the hotel afterwards. In terms of our room, we originally got a Terrace Studio but when we got there we were asked if we wanted to upgrade to a Terrace Studio with Fountain Views for approximately $30 more per night. Since this was our first time in Las Vegas we decided to go for the upgrade and I am very glad we did. The views on our studio suite were out of this world - we could literally sit in our balcony and watch the Bellagio Fountains show.

The view from our Terrace Studio
My hubby and I made the following video to showcase the suite in a bit more detail. Hope you enjoy it:

Another great aspect of The Cosmopolitan is the fact that it has three different pools, all with different moods and landscaping. My favourite pool was the one at The Marquee. The Marquee is a very exclusive day club and night club in Las Vegas - the entry cover fee is usually $40 per day but Cosmopolitan guests get in for free by showing their room key and ID - a huge perk! The Marquee has high energy DJ music playing on the background, a nice pool in the middle and some VIP cabanas along the edges of the club which come equipped with a private mini pool. If you go to the day club make sure to order a Surfside - it has some delicious tropical flavours that will keep you coming back for more!

The Marquee Day Club
If you happen to be a Foursquare user you may actually benefit from checking-in at the Cosmo. First of all follow The Cosmopolitan on Foursquare and then check-in at three different categories of venues at the resort to unlock a special Cosmopolitan badge which will get you VIP entry access to Wicked Spoon - their world renown buffet.

Having never been to Vegas before we were a little unsure as to what shows to watch and how to get a good deal on the tickets for them. Luckily enough one of my co-workers had mentioned to me that some kiosks along the strip sell discounted tickets for shows playing the same night. Sure enough we found a Tix4Tonight booth across the street from our hotel. We did end up getting a pretty good deal on the tickets and we also got some discounts on dinner options. In terms of the shows, we decided to watch Le Reve and The Phantom Of The Opera. You will not be disappointed with either of these shows but my personal favourite was Le Reve - a show in which dancers and acrobats come in and out of a huge water pool in the middle of the stage. 

In terms of shopping I would highly recommend making a trip to both The Fashion Show Mall and The Premium Outlets - they both have tons of quality stores and you can find great deals literally everywhere. In terms of dining my favourite restaurant was Taqueria Cañonita - featuring contemporary mexican fusion cuisine with views of the Venetian water canals. 

For those of who are still debating whether or not to make a trip to Las Vegas, I would highly recommend it if you are into any of the following: clubbing, gambling, dining, lounging by the pool, walking, exploring, and yes... even relaxing. As you can see, Las Vegas has something for everyone to enjoy whether it'd be unparalleled luxury or a free walk along the strip at night. All I can say now is that I'm counting the days until I can go back! Thanks for reading and VIVA LAS VEGAS!

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Secret Circle: A Tribute Filled With Hope

Ever since I can remember I have been interested in witchcraft shows and movies. I love the mystery, the spells, the magic, the supernatural romance and the drama. Mexican culture is full of rituals that incorporate either white or dark magic. We have entire markets in Mexico City dedicated to selling ingredients to cast spells. I certainly grew up with witchcraft around me.

My favourite movie of all times is The Craft - I recall watching it as a teenager multiple times and loving every minute of it. As much as I loved that movie I never really thought that something else could come along that would be able to trump it. Then came The Secret Circle - a TV show based upon the book series by L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries).

The series depicts the life of six witch teenagers who unite their forces by creating a "circle" of power and energy that binds them to one another forever. Drama quickly begins when Cassie (the main character) discovers not only that she is a witch and part of a secret coven, but that she is the key which will unlock a centuries-old battle of good versus evil. You won't find spoilers here as I don't want to ruin it for you if you decide to watch the show.

For those of you who are fellow fans of both The Craft and The Secret Circle (TSC) did you ever notice the incredible character similarity between Faye Chamberlain and Nancy Downs?

It's almost as if Faye is Nancy's little sister. Their facial expressions, wickedness, and personalities are a joy to watch on both instances. I am still almost certain that Faye's character on the TV show version of TSC was modelled after Nancy's as The Craft was even mentioned during one of the first TSC episodes.

The characters of the show are very relatable and well developed and upcoming stars like Phoebe Tonkin have gained a lot of media attention due to her participation in the series. Unfortunately, the reason I have titled this post as a tribute is because of the very unfortunate news the CW announced on May 11, 2012. The Secret Circle has not been renewed for a second season due to "low ratings". Even though the ratings may have been lower than when the show first started (not sure how Hart of Dixie could have higher ratings and get renewed!), TSC had strong fan followings, several fansites, and podcasts.

The cancellation news have sparked a worldwide trend on Twitter with the hashtags #bringbackthesecretcircle and #savethecircle. An online petition has also been started by a fan asking the CW to reconsider their decision - other TV networks have also been encouraged to pick up the show where it left off. Here are some tweets that display the anger and frustration TSC fans are experiencing:

At this point all we can do is wait for either The CW/NETFLIX or another network to #savethecircle and to continue to sign any online petitions.

As my favourite TV show of all times I must definitely say that I'll miss watching it on a regular basis. It's very unfortunate that a series with such a great plot and strong characters had to end before being able to fully develop.

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