Vegas Eve: Reflecting on the First 21

Vegas Eve

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As much as I love holidays, celebrations and milestones sometimes I think I enjoy the anticipation more than the actual experience. Granted, my birthday is Christmas Eve so I think anything with the word “eve” in it is special. The night before is filled with the hope and promise of what is to come. Whether it’s the night before Thanksgiving and the thoughts of turkey, pies and football or Draftmas Eve (the night before your fantasy football draft) with the anticipation of having your top picks fall into your lap, it’s exciting to think about what could happen.

In just a few days, I’ll be packing and preparing on my 22nd Vegas Eve. I looked for my magical list of each trip so that I can take a stroll down the memory strip but it has disappeared. It must have happened in the transition between iPhones. I’ll attempt to recapture this list in a blog post that will be captured for posterity on this site and in a few other places.

Vegas I, December 31st, 2000- January 3rd 2001, Imperial Palace- Our first trip was for our honeymoon. This was the first time we went to an Emeril’s restaurant. We went to Emeril’s Fish House at the MGM Grand. We had a nice conversation with an older couple who were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. I enjoyed the New Orleans BBQ Shrimp that the more experienced husband said, “I hope you look at your wife the way you look at that shrimp in 40 years.” Classic.  Click here for story.

Vegas II, New Years Eve 2002, Hard Rock Hotel/Amerisuites- We stayed at the Amerisuites across from the Hard Rock. It was the one and only time we stayed off the strip. We saw our first Cirque show, “O,” which was amazing. On New Year’s Eve, Anne and I were enjoying coffee at the Hard Rock while people were getting wild. Our first Vegas regret was not springing for Red Hot Chili Peppers NYE tickets.

Vegas III, July 2003, Treasure Island– Our first summer trip is when Anne and I discovered that we enjoyed the pool life. This happened almost accidentally. I was determined to be the ultimate tourist and explore every nook of Vegas. We were in Mandalay Bay which is as far from Treasure Island as you can get. Anne and I stopped at Starbucks where she said, “I don’t want to run around. I just want to relax.” I was fine with that as long as she understood that I wanted to come back to Vegas frequently. She did. We’ve been back almost every year since.

Vegas IV, December 2007, Planet Hollywood- This started out a disaster but turned into one of my favorite trips. We had an unbelievable view of the Bellagio fountains. Click here for story.

Vegas V, July 2008, MGM Grand- I would categorize this as our first true “pool” vacation. MGM Grand was nice but the pool was so far from the hotel elevators.

Vegas VI, July 2009, Mandalay Bay- We really enjoy Mandalay Bay. We split this trip into two parts. We started out with a group of 11 of us that spent a few days together and then Anne and I drove to Anaheim where we went to a few Angels/Yankees games and then came back to close out our trip in Vegas. All of this while UFC 100 was going on.

With Frank Mir.

With Frank Mir during UFC 100 weekend. He got crushed by Brock Lesnar.

Vegas VII, July 2010, Aria- The first time at Aria which would become our resort of choice. Great rooms, restaurants, pools, service, location, etc..

Vegas VIII, December 2010, Mandalay Bay- We finally landed in Vegas on Christmas day. We spent Sunday in the Mandalay Sports Book which has become one of my favorite Vegas experiences.

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Vegas IX, February 2012, Aria– Our first excursion off the strip was to the Red Rock Canyon. A beautiful place to visit.

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Vegas X,, July 2012, Bellagio– We finally stayed at the Bellagio which was slightly disappointing. While the service is outstanding, the room wasn’t as nice as I expected. I was able to meet the Bellagio social media team. My primary complaint is having to stay at a resort that is always flooded with tourists. Click here for story.

Vegas XI, October 2012, Mirage– My first trip without Anne. I went to a conference in Vegas. It was the first time I was able to show students Vegas. Education never ends.

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Vegas XII , April 2013, Aria- Our first April trip!

Vegas XIII, July 2013, MGM Signature- I call this the “red folder” trip because I came home one day and a red folder was sitting on my chair. Anne had surprised me with a trip to Vegas! We hadn’t been planning on going this summer. The Signature has great suites and it’s own very quiet pool. It’s a seven-minute walk from the MGM casino.

Vegas XIV, October 2013, Luxor, VIMFP- This trip was the time I realized I was not alone in my love of Vegas. One of the greatest experiences in my life. Click here for story.

Vegas XV, April 2014, Aria- Temperatures were cool on this trip and we had the pool virtually to ourselves on a few days.

Vegas XVI, August 2014, Aria – We finally visit the Hoover Dam which was one of the best things we did along with our trip to the Neon Museum.

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Vegas XVII, November 2014, Monte Carlo- Had an amazing time with my brother Giovanni celebrating his 40th with a group of great people. Also went to Divas which is just a fantastic show.

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Vegas XVIII, April 2015, Aria– Dinner at Giada’s costs much, much more than we anticipated. It was very good but not quite worth what we paid.

Vegas XIX, August 2015, Delano – We finally see Brad Garrett at BGCC. Great night! The Delano is a great place to stay with its own small pool.

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Vegas XX, November 2015, Aria– Celebrated my 40th a little early with my brother Giovanni and his husband Matt. One of my favorite Vegas trips. We saw Boyz II Men and had a great dinner at Table 10 which is my favorite restaurant.

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Vegas XXI,, April 2016, Aria– Harvest at the Bellagio is fantastic place with great food and Human Nature puts on an amazing show.

Vegas XXII, August 2016, Aria- Up Next!

Some of my Vegas numbers-

83- The number of nights I’ve spent in Vegas.

13- The number of resorts in which I’ve stayed.

8- The number of times we’ve stayed at Aria.

85- This is the conservative number of restaurants we’ve enjoyed. Our favorites include Table 10, Jaleo’s, Julian Serrano’s and The Border Grill.

25- The number of shows I’ve been to with Absinthe, Cirque Love, and Carrot Top (seriously) being three of my favorites.

Cirque Du Solei: O, KA, Elvis, Zumanity, Zarkana, Mystere,

Frank Marino’s Divas, Legends, Human Nature, Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club (twice), V: The Ultimate Variety Show, Rock of Ages, Terry Fator, Boyz II Men, Crazy Girls, Peep Show, Fantasy, X Country

Special Performances: Counting Crows, Neil Diamond, Jerry Seinfeld

3- The number of times I’ve pulled on stage during Vegas shows with my most infamous performance being a “provocative” dance during Absinthe.

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