From her Blog "Blah, Blah,Blah...SQUIRREL!"
Angela Whiteley's Vegas Trip in Her Own Words...
Viva Las Vegas ! - Day 1
I’m sitting here on Saturday, March 10th, 2012 in a place that I’d never in a million years imagined I’d be. I’m in VEGAS, BABY !! Wow, it’s all just still so surreal and I feel like someone should pinch me (hard) because this is obviously not reality and I should probably wake up now and get the kids on the school bus.
How did I get here?
It’s been one long journey but one with no regrets. (okay … that’s a lie. So far I have one. I regret not bringing my telephoto lens for my Cannon – BIG mistake on my part)
About 3 months ago, I was simply chatting online with my new found fellow painter friend, Amanda from Calgary when this all started to take shape. It began with a simple invitation. She had decided to go to this year’s FBPA (Face and Body Painting) in Vegas with 2 other painters from Calgary and the moment she heard me say that I only wished I could go to something like that … she jumped on it and asked me to be the forth roommate.
For about 3 minutes, I racked my brain with all the reasons why I shouldn’t go and all the reasons I should.
Could I truly afford such an extravagant trip? (Not really) Are there other things - like bills – that I should be paying down instead of a trip to Sin City?? (For sure) Am I going to feel guilty taking a vacation while leaving my husband and children home? (Absolutely) Am I going to have to work my BUNS off when I get home so I can play catch up after having no income for a week? (Oh my, I’m really trying not to even THINK about that!)
Those were the main negatives of the decision making process. Here’s what I came up with for why I should hit the strip …
Is this an opportunity I may never get again in this lifetime?
Is this something that I can benefit from in knowledge of the trade, making connections with people in the industry, being able to try new techniques and products that I don’t know about now, expanding my professional community, getting to meet and paint with some of the best in the business ?
Am I going to be able to write off 100% of my trip come next year’s tax filing?
Am I going to be able to experience things that I’ve only ever heard my clients talk about or seen on tv?
Am I going to be able to see Elvis?
The answer to all of these questions that I asked myself was without a shadow of a doubt was …..
HELL YA !!!
I instantly got huge butterflies in the pit of my stomach as I typed the next line to Amanda, “Okay! I’m coming to Vegas with you !!! (I had already been saving my tips for ¾ of a year for a vacation which made my decision all the more easy to make) As the young’ins say these days with all the spunk of an 80’s Valley Girl …… O.M.G !!
The flight itself was pretty uneventful. We were packed in like a tin of sardines of course and I rented a movie to keep me occupied for the first couple of hours.
The one saving grace was my little Peek-A-Boo buddy that I had the entire trip. This cute little girl with long blond hair sitting in front of me fought the flights’ boredom by turning to peek at me through the space between the seats and each time I’d look up real quick to catch her, she’d throw me this huge smile and quickly turn back around. This went on for about an hour until one time I caught her peeking at me, she smiled as she slipped a piece of purple paper between the seats for me to take. She had drawn me a picture ! It was of a butterfly with a bunch of hearts and at the top of the paper, she wrote the words “From Courtney”. It totally made my day. I had my sketchbook out already working on some body art designs so I sketched out a large butterfly filling it with swirls and dots.I then wrote a note to her on the back of it and the next time she turned around to peek at me, I slid the paper through the seats for her.
There are some truly pure moments that can make you feel like a million dollars and when she took the picture, I saw her little face light up as though it were Christmas morning. She handed it to her dad who read my note out loud to her, after which she showed it to her mom and I could here her say in a sweet little voice, “Look mom !! It’s from Angela !”. lol What a nice start to the trip!
I touched down in Calgary and met up with my friend Amanda and her 4 beautiful daughters. We were able to spend a few fun hours getting to know each other until my Vegas-bound flight out. Holy Cow, I was finally on my way !
Walking off the plane in Vegas, the first thing I see is a casino IN the airport! haha I managed to find my bags and my way outside where I hopped on a shuttle to my hotel. I was in awe as we drove along checking out the sites as we went but the butterflies resurfaced in my stomach as I finally saw the brightly lit sign of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino. Was I actually here ??
When the shuttle driver stopped to let me off, I grabbed my bag, went into the hotel and waited in line to register for my room. I finally got my key and walked through the smoke filled casino *cough cough* to get to the elevators and up to the 15th floor ... then walked for what seemed like an hour to my room. I opened the door, walked through the room right to the windows, drew the curtains apart and squealed like a little girl with delight as I saw the sights before me! I felt such excitement to be there at that very moment.
Then as I turned around to face the room, suddenly that good feeling instantly vanished as all the blood drained from my face upon realizing I was looking at only ONE of my TWO bags that had left with me from the airport! I had checked my big bag though but kept my walk-on bag with me at all times because it had everything in it that I didn’t want the airlines to lose like my paint kit and my good Canon camera ! OMG what had I done !?! I quickly called downstairs and with the panic of a worried mother, I told them that I had left my suitcase in the shuttle but I didn’t know which shuttle it was ! I thought at that moment, my trip was totally ruined but after going over the names of half a dozen shuttle companies, I finally recognized one of them and they located the driver along with my suitcase. I went back downstairs across the smoky casino *cough cough* and out the doors to wait for him to return to me …. and when he did …. I gave him a big hug and a big tip. NOW, I can start my Vegas trip! I returned once again through the smoke filled casino *my lungs already feel great!*, up the elevator, down the hall and back to my room where I went to the windows, looked out and squealed like a little girl … again.
(and to think this was just the beginning !! ) .......