(So i tried to do a bunch of fun smilies and what not on here and then my browser quit on me. Hopefully my post won't be too dull without them!) I'm back and relatively recovered from another wild adventure in LV! I didnâ€™t expect to be back there this soon after the bachelor party I went to/coordinated in July but when my friend said she wanted to get married there (and that I would be a bridesmaid), she twisted my arm just enough to make an exception! It was another wonderful, productive, and tiring trip for sure. So, without further adieu, hereâ€™s a taste of what went down: THURSDAY 12/17 â€“ DOWNTOWN GAMBLING AND BACHELORETTE DEBAUCHERY Woke up before 6am to make a 9am flight out of Houston (IAH). Got to fly on one of the newer Continental planes, complete with TV on the back of each headrest. Only catch was the $6 charge per flight (!) so I passed. Landed at LAS at 10am (half hour early) and was off to the LV Hilton where I would be staying for the first 2 nights. This was my first time staying there and it would be convenient since the wedding was happening there the next day. The Hilton was great â€“ I could tell it was dead though when I was able to get into my room at 11am (well before check in time) and asked for and got a great view. I also enjoyed the menorah next to the Xmas tree in the lobby â€“ Hanukkah represent! Wouldnâ€™t be the only time I saw Hanukkah paraphernalia in Vegas either. I didnâ€™t have any obligations relating to the wedding til that evening (bachelorette party woot!) so I was off to downtown for some good (i.e. cheap) gambling and fun. View from the room I schlepped over to the LVA office to pick up the 2009 coupon book and then off to downtown. I started off at MSS because I was meeting a friend for a 2-for-1 lunch buffet. While waiting I (for whatever reason) decided to try their full pay JoB VP again after being horrible unsuccessful there the last trip. Big mistake. Walked away after a few rounds of losing and more losing. Head to the blackjack tables ($3 on a Thursday afternoon, BJ pays 3:2!) and was up for a while before being brought back town to earth down about $10. Frustrated, I refueled at the buffet and then head to Cal briefly. Played some $0.25 full pay VP upstairs that used actual quarters! Messed around with the same $5 for a bit and then head to the LV Club. Talk about DEAD. Once again struck out at VP but redeemed myself by winning at BJ (again $3 tables I think) and then heading to Plaza and winning at BJ again ($5 tables this time). I almost forgot to buy the champagne for the next morning, but found a great variety at the ABC Store downtown. Settled on Martini & Rossiâ€™s Asti sparkling wine. Good price and supposedly sweet! I had to head back to the Hilton to get ready for the bachelorette party by then. I met up with the other 3 bridesmaids and the bride-to-be herself and we took a cab (van) back downtown for the 3rd Thursday Bar Crawl: http://hennesseyslasvegas.com/fliers/f_pub_crawl.html I knew nothing of such an event before but itâ€™s a pretty great deal - $20 per person gets you 6 drinks (even though the flier says 5 â€“ itâ€™s 1 at each of the 6 bars) plus a coupon for a half price entrÃ©e at the first bar (Hennessyâ€™s Tavern) and a half price appetizer at the next bar which was next door (Mickey Finnz). Not bad! Unfortunately we arrived late and missed getting to have the entrÃ©e but with 5 appetizers between us at the next stop we certainly filled up! The other bars were Sidebar, Hogs & Heifers, and Las Vegas County Saloon. Apparently there is a bar next door to the Saloon that we were supposed to hit but it wasnâ€™t open that night, so we just got 2 drinks each at the Saloon. A good time was had by all, especially when one of the bridesmaids took on the challenge of riding the mechanical bull at the Saloon! We couldnâ€™t convince the bride to though! *sigh* Yet another Menorah (this time downtown)! Yay!!! The Bride to be and I We thankfully had enough energy for the next stop â€“ Olympic Garden (aka the O.G., aka one of the only if not the only place in Vegas that features women on one floor and men on the other)! I had gotten contact info for a guy known at â€˜Little Peteâ€™ from another message board and coordinated things with him in advance. None of the bridesmaids were exactly big spenders but we used their limo for free (only needing to tip the driver) and spent $10 each on cover charge, plus a few more $ on â€˜entertainmentâ€™ once we got upstairs! I didnâ€™t expect it to be packed on a Thursday and it certainly wasnâ€™t but we all had a great time and didnâ€™t need to worry about spending $ on drinks by that point! When we left the same limo guy offered to take us back to the hotel since we couldnâ€™t find a cab (van) for some reason, so we tipped him once again for his troubles. I had hoped we could have a nightcap at Peppermill but everyone else was tired and with the wedding being the next day the night had to end sometime! *sigh* FRIDAY 12/18 â€“ THE WYNN BUFFET, THE WEDDING AND THE $10 (!) TABLES Up early to start getting ready and go with my other friend who was just arriving (who would be my roommate for the rest of the trip) to the Wynn Buffet (first time). We arrived 10 minutes before lunch started and got in for breakfast prices â€“ SCORE!! The buffet was spectacular â€“ the presentation was amazing and the food wasnâ€™t half bad either. Iâ€™ve already been to Bellagio, Planet Hollywood, MGM, Mirage, and Paris in prior trips and Wynn surpasses them all! Donâ€™t get me wrong though â€“ each of the other have their good qualities but overall the Wynn is where itâ€™s at! In my attempt to capture all the details of such a display with my camera, an employee said to me what ended up being the quote of the trip: â€œNo pictures of the lamb, maâ€™am!â€ He even said it twice! I was like WTF â€“ how does the camera harm the lamb? Will its relatives see the picture and be traumatized?? ROFL. But yeah, no more pictures after that. Fancy salad display First food plate Dessert plate Back to the hotel for hair and makeup prep (and the champagne which everyone LOVED) and then the wedding â€“ which was short and sweet. Yours truly Lovely bride Wedding pics The couple arranged a shuttle for us to get to Town Square (pretty far south of Mandalay Bay for those of you who donâ€™t know) for dinner at Brio Tuscan Grille. I had helped the bride out by making a list of potential post-wedding dinner places that could handle groups of 20-30 and would be reasonably priced and this one worked out very well! Vegas roommate and I After dinner it was back to the hotel for us, but the couple needed to change and get ready for the rest of the evening. While I waited, I decided to risk the $10 blackjack tables at the Hilton. I make it a point to stick to $5 and under but nothing like that at Hilton on a Friday night. Guess itâ€™s good to try new things â€“ made $100 during a 30 minute session!!!! Good times! After celebrating with one of the other bridesmaids and a tall daiquiri (with more than enough rum), I met up with the couple and went over to the Bellagio to see the Botanical Gardens (relatively underwhelming this holiday season) and hang out. Decided to try another $10 table there and walked away up $60 in just a few minutes! Talk about my luck changing! I was on a high for sure (and yes, part of that was the excessive rum)! SATURDAY 12/19 â€“ DOWNTOWN AND OVER TO NY NY Woke up at a decent hour to take advantage of free health club admission (free w/our hotel deal) before we had to check out of the Hilton. We each spent a few minutes on the cardio machine and planned to relax in the hot tub. Unfortunately, we were told we couldnâ€™t get in there with clothes, only bathing suits or naked. Yeah. Neither of us had bathing suits (considering it is December and all) nor were there enough bubbles to be naked, so we passed! We then packed up and head off to brunch at the hotel (again free for both of us thanks to the hotel deal). Definitely not Wynn quality and maybe not even MSS quality. I certainly wouldnâ€™t pay $17 (normal wknd brunch price for it), maybe not even $13 (normal weekday breakfast price). But, free is free, so we filled up. We would be checking it at NY NY later so the newlyweds (and their rental car) were kind enough to store our luggage in the trunk since they would be at NY NY later to see Zumanity. I left my roommate with their group to go to Madame Tussauds and I head to Sahara (finally took advantage of $1 hotdogs) and then back downtown. When I got down there I discovered that somehow the remainder of my downtown coupons (matchplays, food, drinks) which I hadnâ€™t already used on Thursday had vanished. AWESOME. I was fairly pissed especially since I spent HOURS sorting and resorting through those bad boys but such is life. Thankfully I wouldnâ€™t have used many of them that day but still UGH. At least my luck changed after that â€“ played $3 or $5 BJ at Golden Gate, LV Club (again) and 4 Queens and left the tables up every time, plus won at Binions VP as usual! Unfortunately, I took my luck to a $10 table at the Fitz. Stupid. Lost all my winnings for the day and then some in one sitting. Tried to cheer myself up with Krispy Kreme (which we donâ€™t have anymore where Iâ€™m from) but no luck. Random sidenote: Do NOT play BJ at Binionâ€™s. HORRIBLE rules all around for the $5 crowd. I avoided it like the plague even with a $10 matchplay that the playerâ€™s club gave me. So yeah, Binionâ€™s and Fitzâ€™s BJ are now off my radar officially! Time to meet up with the non-gambling crowd, so cabbed it over to P Ho to meet up with roommate and use a 2 for 1 coupon to see V: The Ultimate Variety Show. Youâ€™d think this would be one of the less complicated parts of the trip but yeah, not a typical day. My Vegas roommate had some of the relatives drop her off at Planet Hollywood to meet me. Only one problem â€“ they insisted they should drop her off at the P Ho restaurant at Caesarâ€™s instead of the P Ho hotel itself!!!!!! Effin idiots. So now, time was an issue. Thankfully she listened to me when I told her it was well over a mile walk from Caesarâ€™s to P Ho and she cabbed it. Then she got lost in the Miracle Mile Shops trying to find the theater. All during this time Iâ€™m trying to decide whether to get tickets to the 7pm (instead of 830pm) show or not, since I have no clue if sheâ€™s gonna make it on time. The young boy who worked at the box office was very helpful though, especially when I found out that tickets normally start at $80 (!) each, $40 each since we had a coupon. I was thinking it would be $30 but yeah those are the kid prices. Friend finally arrived, we got 2 tix for the price of 1, and since general admission had sold out, the ticket boy got us reserved seating only a few rows from the stage! I guess it pays off to be in panic mode! The show was good â€“ got off to a slow start but for a 90 minute set it certainly satisfied. I would definitely say to go to the 2 for 1 route if you can, or go to Tix 4 Tonight to see if itâ€™s available there. Either way Iâ€™m glad I agreed to go even with all the madness! From there we took a relatively long night stroll over to NY NY to check in. You guessed it â€“ more madness to come. Roommate was hungrier than I and our legs were tired so I stood in the check in line and she went to get a table at Chin Chin CafÃ© â€“ the only Chinese place I ever deal with in Vegas anymore. Random sidenote â€“ As those of you who are reading this have probably figured out, Iâ€™m not exactly one for fine dining. While I have subjected myself to places that serve soufflÃ© for dessert, that is only when someone in my family is paying. I do love a good churrascuria or sushi buffet but other than that I stick to basic, $20 and under fare. If youâ€™re in my category, youâ€™re in luck. If not, youâ€™re probably cringing at the idea of the number of buffets and cheap eats I deal with! Such is life! Anyways, I waited about 10 more minutes in the check in line and when it was my turn they told me they only had smoking rooms/floors available for any non-suite room type. I was more stressed than anything â€“ my roommate canâ€™t stand smoke and I didnâ€™t want to piss her off at that point. The concierge tried to reassure me that there was a good chance that the people in the room before me hadnâ€™t smoked and if there was any issue, housekeeping could come spray good smelling stuff and/or we could move rooms for the next night. I had already decided I wasnâ€™t gonna tell my roommate this news and was just like â€˜Please Lord, let this work.â€™ Dinner was fine â€“ dumplings, egg rolls, noodles, and rice. For some reason we decided to take some of it â€˜to goâ€™, knowing full well there wouldnâ€™t be a fridge or microwave in the room. Still, I could see myself having a craving for the noodles at some random hour so might as well risk it! We went up to the room and it was great â€“ relatively small but we didnâ€™t need much space. We had split the price to pay for a room with a view (just a few extra $ each) and that paid off. View from the room (the next morning) Roller coaster Former favorite hotel to stay in - MGM MGM Signature Towers Tropicana No smoke smell to speak of either. It was already about 11 by that point so after getting our luggage from the couple (who we had to say goodbye to at that point) I met up with some other bridal party folks for drinks. We got a couple free drinks at a bar at NY NY thanks to a coupon I was given at check in. Then, armed with more 2 for 1 coupons, we head to Dickâ€™s Last Resort at Excalibur. We drank as quickly as possible because it actually closed a little early thanks to excessive drunkenness causing one woman to hurt herself on a wooden table (and apparently bleed from the head) and another guy to be throwing up in the corner. Yeah â€“ gotta love Vegas! Thankfully we didnâ€™t witness this close up but either way we were fine with moving on after that. Since the monorail would be closing for the night at 3 we cancelled the plan to schlep over to Billâ€™s and IP to use more coupons and settled in at the Trop instead. I guess the drinks didnâ€™t help â€“ I did horrendously at BJ again, even though the Trop is my place. My sidekicks had to leave after that to catch the monorail and I came back to the room and passed out. SUNDAY 12/20 â€“ MOTION SICKNESS AND THE OFF STRIP We finally slept in a little before determining what we would do that day. My roommate informed me that she had been awakened early by the smell of smoke through the vents. I was like â€˜Ah crap!â€™ So, I resolved that we would change rooms the next day to avoid any more issues. The concierge told me that weâ€™d be moving from the 17th floor to the 28th and to come by in a couple hours to ensure that the new room was ready. We were heading out for a while but I tried to keep that in my mental notepad. We snacked at Nathanâ€™s and Haagen Dazs (more 2 for 1 coupons) before heading down to Sahara. My roommate wanted to go on the Cyber Speedway thing and I agreed as long as I got to gamble along the way. We had to watch a video to make sure we were up for this ride and then it was time to roll. Basically you sit in a car and race, and it has all the twists and turns that a normal race car would have. It last six minutes long. I lasted 45 seconds before I nearly threw up. I was just thankful to make it out of the car without falling on my face and passing out. At least I gave it a try. Besides all the spinning, itâ€™s much harder to navigate than it looks. Definitely not for the wimps like me. Before blackjack we witnessed 3 poor schlubs attempting to conquer the 6 lb burrito challenge that Sahara offers that has been featured on Man vs. Food. If you win, you get the food for free and get your picture on a wall. If you lose, you get a weenie t-shirt and also get your picture on that wall! We didnâ€™t stick around to see which part of the wall the pictures of the boys would soon occupy! After finishing up in another session of blackjack, I head back down the strip and played at the Trop again, finally finishing up for the session there. Had a delightful prime rib sandwich at their deli (which has moved to the basement). My friend went to shop at Paris and then we would be meeting at Gold Coast for bingo later on. I went back to NY NY to check into our new room, but had neglected to remember that all our luggage had to be moved from one room to the other as well. Plus, I was on a bingo deadline! Somehow I threw everything in walgreens bags and our luggage and the bellhop did the rest â€“ got to ride the service elevator and everything! You know what wouldâ€™ve been nice? For me to realize that if I had only come by the hotel a few hours earlier NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN AN ISSUE. Thankfully that was the only problem I had with NY NY but still fairly ridiculous. I made it to Gold Coast by cab in time to prepare for bingo. In case youâ€™re wondering, no, I never win, but I still enjoy it, and Gold Coast is a good environment to play in. After losing at the Gold Coast BJ tables, we head to Rio for the dinner buffet (2 for 1). Biggest thing Iâ€™ve ever seen! Above average quality and could have spent hours in there, but it was the tail end of dinner so we could only stay so long. Definitely recommended and worth most of the hype! Had a couple free passes to Voodoo Lounge on the 51st floor and couldnâ€™t wait to see the view. It was BREATHTAKING. Very different to see a panoramic view for a change. The pictures I took donâ€™t really do it justice so hereâ€™s the video I took: [YOUTUBE]BbsKRxpCupE[/YOUTUBE] We didnâ€™t stay long â€“ not in the mood to pay for overpriced drinks since we got a couple free ones before leaving Gold Coast (more coupons)! Still worth the trip though and highly encouraged even for those of you who have seen the view from the (fake) Eiffel Tower and Stratosphere . Even more Hanukkah stuff at Rio that we ran across as we were leaving! Score! From there it was back to NY NY â€“ my roommate finally decided she was up for gambling! After a great session on a full pay JoB VP machine ($0.25 there), it was her turn. With my (and the cheat sheetâ€™s) help, she worked with the same $5 for a while, and eventually hit a full house and later a 4OAK!! I couldnâ€™t believe she hit one before I did on this trip but was SO happy for her! Sleep timeâ€¦.last day coming up! MON 12/21 â€“ ONE LAST GO ROUND Woke up, packed up, had a sandwich at the Greenwich Village Deli (quick and reasonably priced and recommended), and then had to squeeze some last minute gambling in before heading out. I went to Monte Carlo for BJ, and planned to meet the roommate at City Center after that. Did pretty well at MC and decided to head back to NY NY instead of meeting her. Figured I could see City Center through pictures this time and check it out next time. Glad I did â€“ FINALLY hit 4OAK on VP at NY NY! Great end to a great trip! Pain-free check out and flight thankfully, and then it was home to recover (which over a week later, Iâ€™m still doing)! Final thoughts: THANK YOU to VMB members dwood443, crefan, & my sullary for the coupons â€“ they definitely came in handy. I also printed some off the net and those helped me out too. I saved a ton by using them on food, drinks, shows, and gambling. Iâ€™m still trying to calculate just how much I saved but itâ€™s well over $100 for sure just on this trip. THANK YOU to SH0CK, SnertAlert, and StickyFingers007 for their calming influence in the chatroom! Before the trip I was freaking out just a bit trying to make sure everything fell into place and all of you really helped calm me down and put me in the right direction! So thanks! THANK YOU to LiveLifeAs1 for a great champagne choice and all the other help! Iâ€™d recommend both Hilton and NY NY to people as great affordable places to stay. Just keep in mind what I said about the smoking disaster at NY NY, and let me know if you have any other questions. I have a ton of gambling superstitions and I didnâ€™t always stick to them. More often than not, that bit me in the ass. Follow your gut and whatâ€™s worked in the past â€“ donâ€™t risk more than you want to afford! With that being said, I still came home up $100 in gambling so Iâ€™ll take what I can get! I took more cabs this trip than usual and I paid the price literally and figuratively. One of these days Iâ€™ll actually try the buses again I suppose. Vegas during holiday season is pretty nice in my opinion. I certainly donâ€™t mind being in Vegas when itâ€™s dead, but I know the cabbies and other such employees do! Oh well, such is life! Oh, a Vegas local who was at the wedding told me that Vegasâ€™ water is some of the worst in the country. I even noticed that it affected how I felt just from having it at restaurants. So, it was bottled water at the tables and machines for me to make up for not having it on a more regular basis during meals! Thatâ€™s about it. Thanks for reading! Canâ€™t wait to go back!