rolling the dice

Hi friends! How are ya? Thank you so much for your amazing comments on yesterday’s post. I can’t wait to write back to them all later today.

For now, I have a little Vegas recap from the weekend’s adventures. We’re back in the swing of life over here, and despite the time change (I miss AZ haha), I feel energized and rejuvenated after such a fun weekend.  

Vegas brunchW the crewVegas baby

Love

Aria view

Where to stay in Las Vegas:

Each time we go, we stay somewhere different! The Bellagio has always been my favorite hotel, but I think that the Aria has taken its spot. It’s centrally-located, so it’s really easy to get around, and is extremely new and clean. There are a lot of restaurants, a great gym, beautiful spa, an AWESOME club, shops attached to the hotel and, like Betsy said, you could stay there and not even have to leave. I was also really impressed by the hospitality. Everyone we encountered was extremely friendly and helpful. 10/10 would stay there again. (Also worth mentioning that I was going to book it on Hotwire, but found a better deal through the hotel’s website directly.)
 
Aria hotel room

Las Vegas eats:

Las Vegas is a culinary masterpiece. It has every type of cuisine you could want, and the Strip is dotted with restaurants from celebrity and Michelin-starred chefs. I feel like we could go for a week, eat the entire time, and not even make a dent in the amount of incredible food that’s available.
 
Here’s where we dined for this trip:
 
Brunch at Mon Ami Gabi: This is the first spot we have to check out when we’re in Vegas, and it’s been our favorite spot for so many years. If you can nab a patio seat – they’re first come, first serve – it’s prime people-watching real estate. There’s nothing more satisfying than sitting on the patio watching the Bellagio fountains across the street, while sipping an overly-garnished Bloody Mary. Their food is always top notch – lots of Benedicts and breakfast pastries on the menu – and they offer a variety of gluten-free goodies, too. 
 
Caviar for days
 
The Caviar Bar at the Bellagio: Betsy and Jeremy got us super into caviar a few years ago, so it’s quickly become a Vegas tradition. This caviar bar has appetizers, a full afternoon tea service, cheese boards, and (you guessed it) caviar for dayyyyyys. It’s not cheap, but an enjoyable Vegas indulgence. The atmosphere is perfect for a pre-game snack, too. They have a pianist in the entrance and even though it’s a *fancy* spot, it still feels low-key. (In other words, we can show up in our U of A t-shirts and not feel like a bunch of weirdos.)
 
Caviar
 
Brunch at Herringbone: This was probably my favorite meal of the trip! We have a Herringbone in San Diego, so we didn’t know how similar it would be, but the brunch experience was totally different. (It’s worth mentioning that Herringbone is one of my favorite La Jolla date night dinner spots! It’s romantic and they have awesome seafood and desserts.) The brunch menu is a flat price with a full buffet + tapas for the table. So you can order hot dishes to share with the table (included in the price) and then browse the buffet for whatever else you’d like.
 
I thought it was going to be small and kind of “meh” but that was dumb of me because, Vegas. They had fresh-squeezed juices, parfaits, at least six different types of salad, a seafood bar (with lobster, crab legs, poke, seaweed chips, and oysters), an omelet station, steak and turkey, breakfast potatoes, breakfast meats, smoked salmon, and an over-the-top dessert table. I highly, highly recommend it if you’re looking for something different than Mon Ami Gabi. 
 
Herringbone brunch Vegas
 
Dessert bar
 
Tapas at Julian Serrano: We grabbed tapas at the hotel late one night after the first game, and once again, were blown away. We just wanted a small snack before bed, and it was just the right amount for the Pilot and I to share. We got a scallop skewer, bang bang shrimp salad, short rib, and potatoes bravas. 
 
Pizza lunch
 
Canaletto in the Venetian: Pizza sounded the best after our shopping adventures, so we wandered over to Canaletto for wood-fired margherita pizza, spicy chicken (with wilted spinach and lemon), Caesar salad, and cannelloni beans. We shared so many meals during this trip – I love sharing so you can have little bites of everything – and this lunch, along with a Sicilian Sunset cocktail was just what we needed. 
 
Snacks from the Patisserie and Aria cafe: We grabbed quick snacks and eats at the hotel. My faves were the salmon crepe from the Patisserie and the hotel-branded Thai coconut. 

Aria coconut

 
More of our usual favorites:
 
Sushi at Yellowtail in the Bellagio.
Breakfast at Hexx. 
Any buffet! We heard really good things about the buffet at the Aria, but didn’t get the chance to check it out. The Herringbone brunch didn’t offer as much, but felt like it was definitely quality over quantity. 
 
Highly recommended from blog reader friends:
Giada’s
Beauty and Essex
Sushi Samba
 

Vegas activities:

 
– PAC-12 basketball! This is what we look forward to every year. My beloved Wildcats haven’t had their strongest season, but we love heading up to Vegas (along with about 80% of the people who live in Tucson) to cheer them on. Betsy and Jeremy both have teams in the PAC-12 (UCLA and USC) so we always have someone to cheer for…that is, unless our teams are playing each other. (Which happened twice!) Then we heckle each other in the best way possible. (AKA no one is too serious about it.) The highlight was seeing U of A take home another PAC-12 championship and hearing the “U of A!” and “Bear Down!” chants wherever we went.
 
Watching the game
 
– Whenever we’re in town, we make it a point to take advantage of the shopping. The Strip has anything you could ever wish for, and after living in a bit of a shopping ghost town for the past year (thank goodness for online shopping), I was a liiiittle excited about all of the awesome shops. We didn’t go too crazy – mostly grabbed outfits for the girls, the Pilot, I got a pair of jeans, pajamas, and a new phone – but enjoyed just browsing around. Some of our very favorite spots are the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace and the shops in the Venetian.
 
– Gymming it up! Whenever the Pilot and I travel together, it’s always a special treat to work out at the same time. We hit up the hotel gym twice before the days’ adventures, and each time, I was shocked to see how PACKED it was. Work hard, play hard, Vegas. Doin’ it up right. I got in an upper body workout + cardio, and a leg workout while we were there. As usual, we also did a ton of walking, so I hit around 20k steps each day we were there. #bananas
 

Margarita

– Drinks at the Lift bar in the hotel. We loved the Lift bar! They had live music and hilarious bartenders. We spent a few hours there on Saturday night after the game, and it was one of the highlights of the trip. 
 
drinks with the Pilot
 
-Blowouts at Dry Bar. I always seek out a Dry Bar if it’s convenient when we’re traveling, and the Cosmopolitan next door had one! (The other location is in the Miracle Mile shops in Planet Hollywood, which is still close by.) This way if I end up looking like a grease ball on the plane, Dry Bar will fix everryyyyything. 
Drybar
 
– Jewel at the Aria. Another huge highlight of the trip. After Betsy and Jeremy called it a night on Saturday around midnight, the Pilot and I wandered down to Jewel to check it out. I LOVE DANCING so I was pretty pumped to hit the dance floor. I feel like lately a lot of Vegas clubs play more EDM-type music, which is kind of weird to dance to. This DJ was amazing. The dance floor was packed and he played tons of hip hop remixes. They also shot confetti into the air multiple times, had flashing lights, dancers on stage, and I could have stayed there all night. It was amazing.
 
Dress
(dress is here! <— On sale right now)
 
Worth mentioning that we rolled the dice once last time and flew Spirit home. (We flew Delta there, which is prob my fave airline.) The tickets on Hotwire were significantly less expensive with a Spirit return flight, so I decided to go for it. I googled about Spirit experiences and wanted to change or cancel our tickets within 10 minutes because there were so many terrible stories online! Turns out that you can’t change your tickets or cancel them, so we were kind of stuck. I decided to make the best of it even though I hate flying, so we packed snacks and waters – I read online they don’t have any food or water on board which was not true! You just have to pay for it – and was prepared to sit on the tarmac for a thousand years and be late getting into Atlanta. 
 
The verdict: it was totally fine. It was pleasantly uneventful and the flight was great, which was good since it was a longer flight (around 3 hours). We got into Atlanta early, and the lack of internet forced me to get a lot of workout plans done in between reading trashy magazines. So there ya go! Not as terrible as the internets say. 
 
Even though we had the best time and it was a much-needed recharge and fun trip, we missed the girls SO much. They’re my little sidekicks and we’re always together, so there were a lot of moments when I was like, “I wish they were here.” It feels good to be home and back with them again. It also feels good to eat a couple of vegetables. 😉
 
While we were Vegas-ing, the girls were living their best life with my mom, who flew in to stay with them for the long weekend. She’s the real MVP, and I can confidently say that while we missed the girls dearly, they were too busy having a blast to complain about missing us.
 
What was your last vacation? Any vacation traditions that you have? This is our yearly one, but everything else is on the fly.
 
Have a great morning and I’ll see you soon!
xoxo
Gina 
 
More Vegas recaps here, here, here, here, here and here!

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27 Comments

  1. meredith @ cookie chrunicles on March 13, 2018 at 8:26 am

    I stayed at Aria in January – absolutely love it there and would totally stay there again!

    • Fitnessista on March 13, 2018 at 9:57 pm

      same! loved it

  2. Nicole Kump on March 13, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Sounds like a great trip! I think the hubs and I are going to hit up San Diego when I’m back in America sooner than I expected btw, and I need to find your San Diego recommendations for everything! I want to go to Vegas too before leaving Tucson this summer and your restaurant picks sound great too!

    • Mari on March 13, 2018 at 11:35 am

      Hi Nicole – fun seeing you on here! This is Christie’s sister. I think she probably mentioned to you that I loove this blog : )

      • Fitnessista on March 13, 2018 at 9:49 pm

        thank you so much for reading, mari!

      • Nicole Kump on March 14, 2018 at 9:06 am

        Hi Marian haha…yes, it’s a small world! And yeah, love Gina and her blog!

    • Fitnessista on March 13, 2018 at 9:56 pm

      you guys definitely need to go to bo beau kitchen, tiki port, ob noodle house, and liberty station market! watch the seals in la jolla and get tacos at puesto. paddle board at mission bay or kellogg beach!

      • Nicole Kump on March 14, 2018 at 9:08 am

        Hi Marian haha…yes, it’s a small world! And yeah, love Gina and her blog!

        And thanks, Gina, for the recommendations! I will definitely check them out. I can’t wait! Have a great day 🙂

  3. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on March 13, 2018 at 10:06 am

    I’ve never stayed at Aria. Definitely checking it out next time we’re there!

    • Fitnessista on March 13, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      yes, you would love it!

  4. Amy on March 13, 2018 at 10:12 am

    So glad you guys had another great vacay-in-Vegas! Were the pools open? I love laying out and getting sun–while wearing SPF 50—:) I have been there 5 times and love it……..only one visit wasn’t fun, but still made the best of it. There is so much walking to do and people watching! I finally figured out that comfortable shoes matter, all day e’ry day+night, ha! I am a slots fan and we call the nice servers, beer fairies:) Anyway, so fun to read your review of the trip and of Spirit Airlines………I think I’ll only take a flight from them if it’s a short one…….but glad it was decent for you!

    • Fitnessista on March 13, 2018 at 9:50 pm

      yes, the pools were open! it was a bit too chilly for us though (60s and 70s, and it rained saturday) so we didn’t check them out
      and totally agree about the comfy shoes!

  5. Mari on March 13, 2018 at 11:38 am

    This trip looks so fun! Glad you got to visit Jaleo! I looved the food there. I’m planning to go to Vegas in a few months and have made a note regarding Herringbone as a brunch option. Glad you survived Spirit Airlines..I flew that airline once and it was a horrific experience. Mentally I can never get on a Spirit Airlines flight again. And I loove Drybar too!! If I won the lottery, I’d go to Drybar every other day haha.

    • Fitnessista on March 13, 2018 at 9:48 pm

      same! my life goal is to go to drybar at least once a week 😉 (and live close to one!)
      sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with spirit!

  6. Juliana on March 13, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Oh that’s really good to know about Spirit! I have shied away from them because of what I’ve read online but happy to hear that it’s not representative of every flight. Glad you had a great time in Vegas! I’m heading home to Sonoma at the end of the month for alllll the wine tasting 🙂 Cheers!

    • Fitnessista on March 13, 2018 at 9:48 pm

      have the best time in sonoma!!

  7. Jill on March 13, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Sounds like you guys had a great time! Our last vacay was traveling through Spain after Christmas. My parents both had big birthdays, so we opted for a family trip instead of presents. It was fabulous. And it will be our last vacay for a while b/c I’m (finally) expecting our first baby at the end of June.

    • Fitnessista on March 13, 2018 at 9:45 pm

      love the idea of doing a big trip instead of gifts. i’m hoping we can do something similar when the girls are order.
      so thrilled to hear about your baby, too! CONGRATS!! <3

  8. Meagan on March 13, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Spirit is probably a hit or miss and you just never know. My sister was trying to fly home from Chicago last may and her flight got cancelled and she had to stay in a hotel overnight before her second flight which got cancelled as well. She finally got home almost 24 hours after she was supposed to.

    • Fitnessista on March 13, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      ugh that sounds terrible! i’m not sure i’d fly it with the kids, but as of now, i’d do it again if it was just myself or the two of us

    • Meagan on March 14, 2018 at 9:45 am

      It’s hard to resist since you can get tickets for so cheap!

  9. Melissa @fitnessnycblog on March 13, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Such good recs! I’ve actually never been to any of the restaurants, except non ami gabi—at your suggestion years ago. If you like Aria, you’ll love the cosmo, the room designs are so cool. Definitely try egg slut next time! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 13, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      yes, we wandered through cosmo a couple of times! i had the great idea to finally try eggslut before heading to the airport, but the wait was crazy. next time! i want to try it so badly

  10. Jennifer on March 13, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    When do these new workout plans drop?!

    • Fitnessista on March 13, 2018 at 11:18 pm

      mid april (to start may 1) and i’m SO EXCITED to share them with you all!! 🙂

  11. Julie on March 15, 2018 at 11:38 pm

    I see the Pilot has his March Madness ‘stache goin.

    • Fitnessista on March 16, 2018 at 2:32 pm

      always. ew. hahah

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