Ryan and I got back from Vegas last Thursday and I've been slacking on posting about it. We scored this awesome deal with Allegiant Air, which had a brief couple weeks of offering $42 one-way flights from Moline to Vegas, so we COULD NOT pass that up!  Out total cost for both of us to fly out there and back was $240 after the other little fees...unbelievable!  In addition, we booked rooms at the Excalibur for $30 a night.  Excalibur is a mediocre hotel in the midst of the other Vegas glam, but it's right on the strip in a good location.  Plus, how much time do you spend in your room anyway?  We just needed a bed to sleep on!

Anyway, some of Ryan's family actually lives in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas, so we spent two nights on the strip and two nights with his grandparents.  Given our limited time on the strip, we made the most of it!  We were out until like 3:30am Sunday night (which felt like 5:30am because we were still stuck in Iowa mode).  

We got up early on Monday, Ryan played a poker tournament and I wandered around Mandalay Bay and won a few bucks.  That's always a lucky casino for me!  Around 11:00, we went to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay.  I love aquariums, and if we were gonna spend money on an attraction, I'm glad this is the one we spent $17 a ticket on.  We thought about riding the NYNY roller coaster, but that's even like $16 a ticket, and obviously your time at the aquarium lasts much longer. 

Komodo Dragon



After the aquarium, we spent more time seeing some other casinos and gambling a little bit.  We went to The Pub in the Monte Carlo which had a ton of beers on tap which was a pretty cool bar I must say...but talk about expensive!  Ryan's pint of beer was $10 and my nasty house wine was $7!
New York, New York. I heart this casino!
Inside New York, NY
Half of the taps at The Pub
The other half
Ryan and his pint of Arrogant Bastard
Later that evening, once we got ready, we headed out to the Rio for the renowned Carnival World Buffet.  It was absolutely amazing, with some of the best sushi I've had in a long time.  They also had some beautiful and tasty desserts, including some of the best cheesecake I've had in a long time!  After dinner, we headed to Penn & Teller...a comedy/magic show.  It was awesome and funny and we had pretty good seats and a great time!  I even got to meet Teller after the show; he tried to kiss me :) LoL.
The Rio, it's off the strip
Our desserts that we shared.  You can barely see the amazing gelato too!
Right before Penn & Teller
They had a lot of audience participation. :)
Teller giving me a smooch!
The next morning, we explored a little more on our way to the brunch buffet at the Bellagio.  I know, I know, two buffets in a row...what was I thinking?!  I don't even care, the brunch buffet at Bellagio is amazing and I would eat there everyday if I could!  Shortly after brunch, we gathered our things and said goodbye to the Strip.
Some awesome architecture at one of the newer sets of condos on the strip
In front of Bellagio
The theme in the Bellagio gardens this time was Chinese New Year

Nothing spectacular, just some mountains outside our window.
Looking down from our hotel room
Ryan's grandparents picked us up and we went to the new bridge at the Hoover Dam that afternoon.  The bridge was soooooo high, I was a little nervous at first.  But we had some beautiful views and I was definitely glad we went to it. 

Ryan and his aunt, uncle and cousin
so cute!
looking straight down at the water, eek!

Sebi and I are now best friends.

And that was the last picture I took our there!  We spent the next couple days enjoying family dinners and gambling at the local casinos.  We played bingo (didn't win) and Pai Gow Poker (didn't win), but we had a lot of fun!  I had a great time getting to know his aunt and uncle and three young cousins a little better.  I can't wait to go back again.  Did I mention that it was low-mid 70's and sunny while we were there?!  It was pretty difficult to come back to -9 with wind chill the night we returned!


Company Holiday Party

I realize it has been quite a while since I last blogged!  Things have been crazy here.  We were in Vegas last week, and then we moved into our rental house and haven't had internet until last night.  So thanks for bearing with me, but I promise to start updating more again. =)

On January 15th, we had our company holiday party at the newly renovated Blackhawk Hotel in Davenport.  The hotel was absolutely gorgeous.  Ryan and I went with Ashley, Brooke, and Ryan M.  Ashley's boyfriend, Mat, came to join us later.  When we first got there, we got our name tags and two drink tickets per person...umm two?! As if that was enough, lol!  But Ryan was only having one drink, so I got one of his.  We managed to find extras throughout the night, hehe, so without going into much detail, I'm sure you can assume I was having a pretty good time!

They had a pasta bar and lots of delicious hor d'oevres.  My favorite were these salmon brioche things that had capers on them....yummmmm.  Also, the bartender had a heavy hand, so our drinks were awesome too!  After a couple presentations, the DJ put on some great music.  We had so much fun dancing and singing.  Yes, singing!  Did I mention that the DJ brought three extra mics so you could sing/karaoke?  Haha, that totally catered to the more tipsy of the crowd, but we all so much fun.

The highlight of my night, yes I am a nerd, we meeting Frank from The History Channel's American Pickers.  We love that show, and of course, Frank and Mike live here in the QC.  But the part that makes it a lot easier to interact with Frank is the fact that I work with his girlfriend, Becky.  Becky is a pretty good friend of mine at work, and after hearing some silly stories about me being incapable of introducing myself because I get starstruck every time I see Frank in public, she took me over to him to introduce me.  Haha, it was kind awkward, but as the night went on...it was a lot easier to talk to him like he was just a normal guy, so now me and Frank are best friends.  OK, not really, but I'm sure I'll see him more in the future and be able to actually TALK to him. LoL.  

After the party, we went to some bar (not even sure which one, haha), but we played pool and Brooke and Ryan sang some karaoke!  It was a really great night and an excellent send-off to Las Vegas (we left the next day).

Here are some lovely pics from the night :)
Ashley, Becky, Me
Meeting Frank for the first time (I look like I'm trying to shrink to his level!) lol
Lovin' me some B
We're like, totally, the three musketeers! I love working together :)
Me and Christina
Me, Frank!, and Ashley
Ashley and my husband
Dance Party!!
Jaqui singing "At Last"...she rocked it!
Brooke and Ryan singing karaoke at the bar
I was spreading the love by this point.
Silly Mat <3