Monday, October 15, 2012

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N VBG style

Rule #1 Just DO it!!
Hop on a plane, train or whatever - just go. Of all the "industrialized" nations, Americans earn and use the least amount of vacation time. Life is far too precious and short to schedule joy. So what if your desk is piled high when you get back, if it's a true emergency it'll get taken care of in your absence. The rest can wait until you come back...refreshed. The psychic recharge one gets from vacation is generally good for a few weeks sometimes even months. Go even if you have to go alone, in fact do go alone (or just you and your boo) at least once a year. Your kids don't need to have every experience with you no matter how deprived you were as a kid, they will turn out just fine.  

Rule #2 - Go somewhere you've never been 

Last year I spent a week in Myrtle Beach, this year, I chose Las Vegas because it was both the location of the Blogalicious conference and someplace I'd never been. My home away from home for 4.5 days was the very lovely Red Rock Resort Casino and Spa. Situated 10 miles from the crowds, congestion and craziness that is the Las Vegas Strip,  it sits very close to the Red Rock Canyon to the west of Sin City.  The breathtaking views are a wonderful alternate to the light show that is night time in Vegas. Look at how pretty it is...
Red Rock canyon view from the 15th floor
Rule #3  - Do something you wouldn't normally do 
Although I'll admit to loving expensive things, on occasion I've been known to skimp only to regret it later. This time though, I had the good sense not play myself cheap and booked a king deluxe suite in the same hotel where the conference was being held. You can get a room in Vegas cheap - there are deals galore so at $211 per night (about half the standard rate) it was pricey (at least to me) but I loved everything about Red Rock. It had every amenity from one could want - restaurants, shopping, casino, pool, nightclub and spa so for me it was indeed money well spent. 
fit for a king - reserved just for me
One of my favorite memories of this vacation will always be wearing my first hat to a tea party and wearing it well!  I'd never purchased a dress hat, I don't even wear skull caps in winter (I normally drape a scarf around my head for warmth). I never felt a hat would compliment my very round face but earlier this year while goofing off with my besties in the uber awesome Charming Charlie's, I fell in love with hats and finally liked what I saw in the mirror.  Then all I needed was an excuse to buy one and Blogalicious '12 came through again!  You think I pulled it off?
Having my first body treatment outside of a pedicure or minor massage was the one thing I knew I wanted when I booked my room 6 months ahead of the conference.  Spa treatments had crossed my mind a few times over the years but not seriously as I considered them something other folks (meaning wealthy, skinny women) did.  That was until until I booked this trip. I decided that no matter what I look like naked, the folks in Vegas would likely never see me again so their opinion of me was frankly none of my business. Besides how could you stay at a place called Red Rock Resort Spa & Casino - and not try the spa or the casino for that matter.  I booked my appointment for my last full day in Vegas, choosing the Red Rock Wrap. It started with a near total body loofah scrub, followed by a detoxifying mud wrap and then a lotioned massage performed by the nimble yet baby soft hands of my esthetician, John. I said near total because a towel was strategically placed in a V to cover my intimate areas. When I told the Wunderkind I "did a Red Rock Wrap" she thought I meant rap as in hip-hop and with a look that can only be described as horror said "don't tell me you went to Vegas and embarrassed yourself trying to rap!" To which I answered, of course not I just got butt naked and let a strange man, do the wrapping for me.  Not sure which thought embarrassed her more - priceless! Before the massage I washed the mud off in a shower/steam room that had heated floor tiles and a body wash that I can only describe as feeling like silk - Body Coffee. That was my treat of choice - you might chose nightclubbing, singing karoake, or white water rafting excursion. Whatever floats your boat, ENJOY!

 Rule #4 - Don't forget to enjoy the simple (aka free) pleasures too
When I settled on my house I decided that I could live without the garden style bath and fireplace I had always said were compulsory in any house with my name on the deed.  In actuality I never thought I'd be in the house this long so it seemed a temporary inconvenience.  Fast forward 6 years and I have never had a bath in my own tub despite the fact that I truly believe there is not too much in the world that a bubble bath can't fix - at least for a few hours. It's just not the kind of tub that inspires true relaxation. As soon as I saw that huge bath tub in my room with the tv built into the wall, I knew there'd be a bubble bath in my future every day  I stayed in the hotel and indeed there was. One day I found a housekeeper mid-day and asked her to clean my tub again so I could have a bath that night!  Ahh!!!

Rule #5 - Go with the flow 
Schedules and routines are for your everyday life, not vacations. Allow yourself to sleep in some mornings and stay up way past your bedtime a couple of nights. If you make an itinerary don't set it in stone. You never know who you'll meet or what opportunities might present themselves, so allow yourself some latitude for spontaneity. I'd intended to go back to da strip the evening after my spa treatment but I was so relaxed that I fell asleep in my room and when I awake, I just wasn't in the mood to trek down catch the shuttle down there so I got dressed and headed downstairs to the casino. I'd allotted myself $100 for gambling and had already lost $60 on my first outing 3 days earlier. However on that last night, I went again, enjoyed a fuzzy navel, relaxed and turned the remaining $40 into $170.  It certainly was no windfall but at least I didn't lose. A guy I met by the pool quipped "Vegas swallows up millionaires" so there's no telling what it'd do to me but I wasn't gonna stick around to find out.  All in all though I had a good time that day and it was stress - free.  Are there things in Vegas I wanted to do but didn't? Absolutely but there's always next time.

Rule #6 - RELAX and ENJOY 
Vacations are few and far enough so just that week - DO eat too much, drink too much, do something you'd never do at home, laugh often and have fun.  The rigors of diet, gym and juggling life in general will be there when you get home. 
chicken nachos, shrimp lettuce wraps, kung pao calamari
I ate well - very, very well.  Even found my new favorite dish in Vegas, kung pao calamari.  It's actually an appetizer at Yard House but my dining partner and I shared 3 appetizers and had no room for entrees. But it was so good I had to get it as takeaway for my final dinner in Vegas.  I drank every spirited beverage handed to me from Brazilian lemonade to Fuzzy Navels to Apricot Ale. I drank more in those 4 days than I normally do in 6 months but obviously I'm getting good at it because drunkenness never befell me and they don't skimp on the alcohol in Vegas.

Above all don't forget the Cardinal Rule - Have a great vacation - be well, feel blessed and enjoy.

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