What To Do and What Not To Do at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

I was really fortunate to join one of my very best friends in Las Vegas for a writing retreat last NaNoWriMo. We stayed in the fabulous Caesar’s Palace and garnered a LOT of very strong opinions by the end of the trip.

So these are our tips. The do’s and don’ts for staying there:


So obviously I’m pretty bias, but just as a show itself, t is INCREDIBLE! I’ve never seen a Circ Du Soleil that has unimpressed me. The Mirage has been bought out by a new owner and there’s some whisperings of Beatles Love ending. So if you have the chance, I highly, highly recommend seeing this show before it slips out of existence.
And I’m going to tell you this because no one told me this. But the cheaper “nosebleed” seats aren’t far from the stage at all! And in fact you get a little bit better vantage point than those in the front row. The performance to Within You, Without You is worth the fifty bucks alone. Absolute chefs kiss.


When I got to Caesars I was pretty hungry and wanted “a quick bite” before holing up in the room and writing. So I went to Bobby Flay’s to get a burger.
First off, the menu should have tipped me off because they have this thing called The Crunchburger. Which is a plain cheeseburger with potato chips squished on the top. It made me laugh because allegedly my late father-in-law used to do this so often to the disgust of his children, that my husband complains every time I buy Sour Cream and Cheddar chips and calls them “fart chips”.
I did not in fact order the famous Crunchburger. I ordered the “Brunch-burger”. Which was a plain cheeseburger with a fried egg and bacon.
When I went to pay, the card reader malfunctioned a literal four times. And I hope to all that is good and holy that it did not charge me more than once, because this brunch burger meal was already THIRTY DOLLARS.
They give me my buzzer and I sit at a table and start writing while I wait for that thing to go off. I waited and waited and waited. I waited for forty five minutes before I was like… alright. Why did I come here for a “quick bite”?? I could have gone to a sit down restaurant and paid the same and waited less time for my food.
I eyed someone in line. A young girl dressed in granny-core. I thought okay if this sixty-year-old sixteen-year-old gets her food before mine comes out. I’ll know something is wrong with my order and it’s not usually this long of a wait.
Lo and behold, Granny Moses gets her crunch burger instantaneously. So I went up to the pick up counter to ask them what was going on. They just never even had a ticket for my food. Like I have no idea what happened. The card reader eventually worked, I had a receipt to show them.
I mean, I got my burger. An hour after I ordered it. So… a ticket malfunction isn’t necessarily the restaurant’s fault. But it was still a bummer.


It’s really difficult to find the price for Qua Baths and Spa online. So I’ll out them here. A basic massage and facial costs $450 for a hotel patron. So we got a Groupon for a couples massage at Avalon Day Spa for $48 each.
And it was really great! They included a scrub and a hot stone massage. It was great. My masseuse even cracked my back. I felt like jelly afterwards! I highly recommend them. It’s a ten minute drive from Caesars. The area is a bit sketch and our Lyft driver said a lot of the massage parlors actually offer “happy ending” massages. But this place was legitimate and great!


Alright, even after I got my brunch burger it was … not good. The cheese was liquid nacho cheese which gooped all over my pants. The Bobby fry sauce was full ick. You’d think my starvation of waiting an hour would have made this mediocre meal taste better, but not really.
I also want to complain about the soda. I paid five full dollars for a medium drink. Went over to the robotic dispenser to discover that there were only four options. And they were all weird. You could either have Pepsi, Diet Mountain Dew, Black Cherry Mountain Dew or Lite Lemonade. I tried Black Cherry Mountain Dew first and it came out as pure soda water. (I guess that was the most popular of the strange four choices?) So I took a diet Mountain Dew. Then later found out that across from my room was a vending machine that had bigger bottles of normal Mountain Dew for less than half the price of the food court.


I am NOT SPONSORED OR AN AMBASSADOR OR A PERSONAL FRIEND. This is just my honest experience with these products.
My friend had gotten there the night before I arrived. And she told me she went to this luxury bath supply store downstairs. Now, admittedly, I was totally skeptical when she was passionately sung it’s praises. I have NEVER spent that kind of money on bath supplies. (And neither had my friend). But she said they gave her a free sample so I thought that was worth walking in there.
While my best friend was at a business conference I went to that shop, which smelled AMAZING by the way, FULLY intending to take the free sample and get out of there. I was only in there for fifteen minutes and I already had one hundred dollars worth of products in my arms. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.
But that was single-handedly the best bath of my entire life.

Here’s my text exchange with my friend when I got out:

ME: What the actual F luxury did I just experience? Is heaven missing their bath products cuz I think so. Excuse me Bath Products did you fall from heaven? Because that’s the only explanation here.

HER: LOL Okay worth every penny right? Absolutely out of this world.

ME: I’m about to become a nectar hun like wtf.
ME: Hey Hun! Have you tried Nectar? I don’t even make a commission I just want you to experience euphoria.

HER: Pseudo MLM just to spread the word

ME: Nectar missionary. Spread the true word omg

HER: I STAND BY THIS. My new religion.

So you should get something from there. They have locations at Caesars, The Mirage, The Venetian, MGM and LINQ. I highly recommend the sugar scrubs and my friend highly recommends the body butter. We got products in “sugar crush”, “cool cactus” and “lavender”. But all the scents are amazing and they even let you customize. I love these products so much I use them almost daily now and bought even more.


I thought it was this one off deal you know. That maybe Bobby Flay’s just wasn’t for me and that happened to be a not-good-lunch that day or whatever. So when my friend and I came back to the hotel after our massages, we planned to grab something to take back to our rooms and hang out there for the rest of the night. But we had no idea what was in store for us.
We went back to the food court. And got in line for a Chinese food place which I’m not going to say the name of. I ordered a sweet and sour pork bowl and my friend ordered noodles. When I saw the guy ahead of us take his food I was like… I really hope that’s not what I just ordered. It was like pink blobby cubes in a sad looking rice bowl. I remember trying to decipher what it was. Tofu? Kinda looked like spam or something.
Well, good news was I didn’t have to wait an hour this time. Bad news was I ordered the pink blobby cubes.
I was starved right? So I thought meh it’ll probably be fine. On closer inspection the pinkish blobs were pineapple chunks (um… in a pink sauce I guess). So we took our food up to our room. Which BTW is a total maze through the casinos. We might as well have walked to Mordor and back.
And as soon as we get there we find out that my friend had not been given the noodles she ordered. Instead, she had been given the same pink blobby cubes.
We tried to eat it, man. We tried. It was horrific. The onions, dude. Something was really off with those onions. And the pork. I was literally Googling “Is gray pork okay to eat?” It’s like I just kept picking around the ingredients until finally I was trying to eat the rice and even that was yucky.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I bit into my friend’s egg roll. As soon as I bit in, a hot and STRANGE liquid FILLED MY MOUTH. I actually spit out the egg roll and was like, “Dude… is this gross to you too?” And she was like “YES THIS IS HORRIBLE.”
Keep in mind, we had just spent like thirty dollars each on this. It’s not like we could just throw our hands up like ‘Oh well’ and get something else! But there was no chance in hell we were going to be able to finish that food. We were both SICK. I couldn’t even smell the stuff anymore I had to take it out to the hotel hallway and throw it away. THE AFTERTASTE. No joke. It just never went away. I had to brush twice.
So I would maybe just skip the forum food court if I were you haha.


ON THE OTHER HAND. If you DO want a quick bite, every single thing I had at Pronto was exquisite. It’s closer to the Palace Towers if you’re staying there, so you don’t have to walk to Mordor and I really highly recommend their gelato. I got it a couple of times. One scoop is pretty generous and costs $5, which was pretty inexpensive compared to everything else going on at Caesars.
If you want a REALLY fabulous lunch or dinner. You need to walk down to the Forum Shops and eat at Trevi. It is GORGEOUS. I ordered the mushroom risotto and my friend had the steak. GIRRRRRL WHEN I TELL YOU!! Not only did we both clean our plates, but we sopped up every drop of the juices with our bread. The owner came over to our table and said, “He needed to hire us as dishwashers” lol.
Trevi. It’s worth it. I promise.

BONUS: Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum.

I have mixed feelings about this place. If you know me, you know that I’m majorly interested in the macabre, the paranormal and spiritual oddities. But this wasn’t totally what I thought that it would be. So I’m going to be very honest about the things I disliked and then you can decide for yourselves whether that bothers you or interests you.
I was expecting a lot more fun paranormal haunts. I mean… it’s a HAUNTED museum. But what this place actually is, is half ghosts and half serial killer memorabilia. Now, if that’s something that fascinates you personally, that’s awesome because Zak’s museum has a massive amount of that stuff. For me… I don’t know. I felt that the presentation was disrespectful to the victims of these tragedies. I felt that I had unknowingly funded the exploitation of their deaths. That’s just my personal opinion. There’s also several real human remains at the museum and a few of those felt exploitative as well.
The other half, the supernatural stuff, is demonic, satanic or cursed somehow. Which is exactly what I expected when I bought the ticket so I’m not complaining about that. I’m just putting it out there that in case you are particularly affected by that sort of thing. This is spiritually a very heavy gunky place. One girl in our group who “doesn’t even believe in ghosts”, started crying and had to leave the tour early.
There was also a really weird component in the attic where you walked through a clown haunted house. I really, really love haunted attractions but that seemed so odd for some reason. I think the kitschy-ness kind of made the haunted artifacts feel less legitimate.
But of course this is all completely subjective. Obviously, no one is going to make the kind of ghost museum that I want, because Grandma the friendly ghost isn’t going to sell tickets as much as Ted Bundy’s murder kit. So I’m neither recommending it nor discouraging you from it. The Museum is what it is. I mean, it’s Zak Bagans.

Going to NYC with my Dad

One of my closest friends adores New York more than anywhere else in the world. And he ALWAYS would tell me with such confidence how I would love it too. How I “belong in New York” and how I would “fit there so well”.

At thirty years old I had never been there! I wasn’t sure about “belonging” in New York, but knew it fit a lot of my special interests. The big publishing houses, Broadway, Ghostbusters. Plus New York was also once the home of two of my favorite hairy island transplants… King Kong AND John Lennon.

So when I mentioned to my parents a desire to go there, my dad started joking that he would use his sky miles to whisk me away there some weekend. Which I never ever thought would ACTUALLY happen.

Daniel had this miraculous day off work in the summer. And we were racking our brains trying to think of what family vacation we wanted to do. San Diego is only a five hour drive, but we knew the beach would be PACKED on the weekend and a lot of things were limited due to COVID.

Traveling with two little kids can be pretty rough. And it was tricky trying to come up with somewhere cool to go that the boys would also enjoy. So one night when we were discussing possible plans, Dan asked me where I would choose to go, if the kids weren’t a factor at all.

I told him about the weird NYC joke with my dad and he was like, “well… do you think your dad is busy the last weekend of July??”

I didn’t think he would be available with his hyper busy schedule, but it turned out HE WAS! Our joke suddenly turned into a real actual plan! We would instead take the boys to The Great Wolf Lodge in the fall (which is Jack’s dream anyway) and I would go with just my dad to New York for an early birthday present!


The first day was a travel day and almost nothing else. A four-hour flight plus time change equals all day haha. My dad had gotten us upgraded to first class and it was incredible! Each seat was like its own little cubicle where you can lay down the seat like a bed and have all this space around you. (I sincerely hope someone reads this in the future and laughs because all the airplane seats have become like this)

Anyway, it was a very swanky trip in. Swanky first-class seats, swanky hotel, swanky upgrade in the hotel and we even ended up walking to a swanky restaurant.

The restaurant was funny because my Dad and I were totally out of our element in our disheveled travel clothes. I was wearing leggings and a Back to the Future tee shirt… at a super expensive restaurant off Madison Avenue. It’s not that we knew we were going to end up there. We just walked the street and popped into a random place and then once they pulled the chairs out for us and handed us the menu with the prices it was too late lol. But I had a really, really good shrimp risotto and a crème brûlée at the end. My dad had a less fortunate clam and mussel pasta and we both agreed that we should have gone to the Mediterranean place around the corner.

That night my dad and I stayed up and talked into the night. Late night conversations are my ultimate love language, because that’s when you really get a chance to share your deepest thoughts or dumbest jokes.


The next morning we decided to walk somewhere for breakfast. We were going to hail a cab, but on Sunday morning the streets were very quiet (which I loved!) so we walked the twenty minutes. Not even halfway through we got caught in a sudden rain (which I also loved to be honest). It was all magical to me.

I was surprised how quickly I had fallen in love with New York City. I don’t know what kind of an expectation I had, but this place definitely exceeded them. I really thought it was a bunch of gray rectangular buildings with ordinary rectangular windows. Sort of like how they always cartoonize New York. But that is NOT true. Every single separate building is an architectural wonder. The stonework, the small details. You really have to be THERE out on the street to see how cool New York is. So many movies have used New York City as a backdrop that I had become desensitized to its coolness. Thinking “oh, this is like a set”. But then when you’re out there on the streets walking around with your jaw hanging open, you’re going “wow!! This is like a set.”

I remembered what my friend had said about me “fitting into New York” which made me snort and roll my eyes. I was wearing a jumper dress I bought from Walmart with my black opaque tights and light gray tennies. I did not FEEL like I “fit in” walking past the Armani, Louis Vuitton and Versace stores.

After breakfast we walked around anywhere we felt like! Times Square, FAO Schwartz, Rockefeller…

This is my all-time FAVORITE style of vacationing. No itinerary. No big all-day tourist activities. Just exploration in it’s purest sense. Walking the streets! Seeing the steam rise from the sewer grates (whaaaaat? I thought that was a dramatic movie effect, I didn’t know that was a real thing!) I know that style of traveling is not for everyone… but it’s definitely for me! To be carried and moved by the environment. Being present in the entirety of your destination. I was thrilled that my dad was on the same page as me! To be explorers together and do whatever we wanted in the moment it called for.  

We were pretty exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel. My body was immediately messed up trying to switch to East Coast time. So I took a nap even though it was like ten AM.

When I woke up, I felt a lot more energized and happy again. We decided to go to Central Park. I had no idea how Central Park would be. And it turns out it’s the best place in the whole frickin’ world hahaha!

Dad and I got a hot dog and sat on a bench to people watch. (And it was a good hot dog too!) Then we got up and walked around and it was an *amazing* place. There was live music all around, people performing, dancers practicing in the fields. I overheard a lot of writers talking to their editors/publishers on the phone.

That’s when I got it. What my friend was saying about me fitting in there. It was something that I never really agreed with him about before, because I thought of New York as this stiff business empire for the super wealthy. But it’s a hot spot for fellow artsy farts! And just apart from the people. The environment in Central Park specifically was SO meaningful to me. The metaphor of it. That this giant and crazy busy city, wanted to carve a chunk out for nature and respite.

It’s really so great. I guess I thought it was going to be a normal park. Not like… an entire town-size of beautification! The birds come right up to your feet when you sit down. There are SO many fat squirrels running around. And I bent down and called out to one and it ran to me like it was a dog! I started crying. Literally. I was so happy to be there that I started crying.

     We walked to Strawberry Fields and there were TONS of people there. Sitting and listening to a nearby street musician singing John Lennon’s songs. And some of them were crying.

We walked across the street to The Dakota and saw the entrance where John was shot. (kind of eerie knowing you’re standing where someone was murdered. Even if it was 40 years ago.)

Suddenly Dad and I were thrown into a deep and beautiful conversation about death and the gospel. (Right there in front of The Dakota). It was an impactful moment for me. That (and the whole trip) really made me realize how similar my dad and I are. And our views and feelings on things.

We walked a little ways to an ice cream shop that supposedly sold “Kraft macaroni and cheese ice cream”. They were sold out if you can believe it. So I had chocolate fudge brownie instead. Oh, darn. Haha! Then we saw a spot from You’ve Got Mail and circled back around The Dakota to Central Park again.

Dad and I continued walking around the park and I fell more hopelessly in love with it. Central Park was now one of my new favorite memories.

Later that evening we decided to go to Little Italy and eat at a 100-year-old restaurant called “Puglia’s”. Little Italy was amazingly beautiful! And I’m so glad that we took time to go!

Puglia’s was the exact opposite of the fancy shcmancy place we had dinner at the night before. It was very LOUD. We sat at a table with another group of people. Everyone was laughing and yelling at each other. The waiters were pretty casual. It felt like I was suddenly adopted into a HUGE Italian family and was at a reunion with all my cousins or something. That’s honestly what that restaurant felt like!

Then just when I thought it was not physically possible to get any louder. An older couple came out and started performing. The entire restaurant started sing-yelling along! And half of the patrons got up on the tables and waved their napkins. It was so chaotic and fun. You couldn’t help but sing along and dance yourself.

After dinner, we walked around Little Italy, got a gelato and then wandered around trying to hail a cab to get us back to our hotel.


Monday morning we had room service and lounged around in our comfy Pierre robes.

We decided that we would do one “touristy” thing on our trip and both agreed on The Empire State Building. We went all the way up to the 102nd floor! The little ball thingy on the tower. It was very impressive and scary looking down at the already super tall buildings of New York. The little dots of the birds flying down there. I cannot believe they were up here in the 30s building this high with no harnesses riveting on a narrow beam. WHY? WHAT?

After the Empire State we had pizza, walked St. Mark’s Place and visited the famous “Strands Bookstore”. And just like any other bookstore I had an armful of books to buy within only thirty seconds of being there. So we had to leave pretty soon after that or else I wouldn’t have been able to lug my suitcase through the airport.

We stopped at a diner and over some famous NY cheesecake, we talked about life. Impostor syndrome and the gospel and confidence in ourselves. And I saw that this trip was meant in part for that conversation and every conversation that I had with my dad. I have never and probably will never have that kind of extensive time with him to hear his feelings and thoughts about such deep and meaningful things. And its a beyond precious memory that I will always have of my father throughout my life. 

We finished our cheesecake and before turning back in for the night, I asked if we could just walk into Central Park one last time. My beloved, wonderful Central Park. So we took a taxi to the entrance by the plaza and walked a ways into it before settling on a bench.

As the sun sank behind the skyscrapers, the fat squirrels cleared out of the fields and were replaced by sparkling fireflies. My dad and I had more deep and important talks. And I wondered and ached for when I would ever be able to come back to this city I had fallen head over heels for.

I wish I knew how to sum up this trip in writing. I’m not joking when I said I cried of happiness in Central Park. Or how desperately meaningful it was to me to have a father who would be willing to have such a bonding moment and adventure between the two of us. I really saw this whole trip as such a deep act of love.

If (I mean when) I go back to New York City, here’s what I’m going to do differently. I’m going to dedicate an entire day or maybe even two to Central Park. We walked 20,000 steps that first day and I only ever saw the bottom third of Central Park. I didn’t see Century Gardens, or Shakespeare Gardens. We didn’t go inside the zoo. I know there’s a castle! So probably when I go back it will be a trip to the park for me HAHAHAHA.

Little Italy is a place worth visiting again. I would probably pick another “one touristy thing” again. Either ride the boat around the Statue of Liberty or spend some time at the 9/11 memorial. I should also mention that Broadway was still closed due to the pandemic, so I would see a show the next time around.

I already know that if my dad could have changed anything he would have wanted my mom there. I wouldn’t mind going back with Daniel or my mom. My kids if they were a little older.

Accidentally Feeling Up a Football Player

Hi, welcome to last week’s blog this week. Does anyone even notice stuff like that? Oh well, here’s your embarrassing story…

I never really had crushes on jocks growing up. I think probably because they weren’t geeky enough for my taste. But I guess that’s some typical girl thing? I mean I only see it in EVERY SINGLE TEEN ROMCOM EVER.


Well anyways I guess after seeing the personality-less jock trope for the 500th time, it got me really thinking… Like, have I ever had that kind of crush though? I had to push through a lot of band geek / theater boy memories but then I REMEMBERED THIS THING THAT HAPPENED.

I can safely say that no, I’ve never really been that interested in a sportsy guy. But there was this one football player that I recognized to be quite a pretty man.


For the sake of this story we’ll call him… ‘Stallion’ haha. (I never had enough of a crush on him to make up a proper codename at the time.)

So Stallion and I always had the same gym class. It was weird. Like no matter what grade, semester, A day B day, we always got put into the same gym class… maybe the school had to make up for my lack of physical skill by putting in an athlete like iono.

Anyways, we’re playing flag football. Woo hoo *sarcasm*. As soon as I left my high school theater room I was pretty much out of my elemenet for any other skill/interest. So just like any other boring gym day I casually stayed the furthest away from the game, while still trying to look like I was actually doing something.


I was having a great time daydreaming UNTIL Stallion intercepts the ball and starts running in my direction for a touchdown. He had red tags and I had yellow tags. Which meant that NOW instead of avoiding the game it was my responsibility to pull the flag off this guy that played for the school team.

I made the most half butt attempt to stop him. I reached out and ran like four steps. See, coach? Go sports! Don’t fail me okay? He made the touchdown. (Big shockeroo there)

He walks towards me and he says something like, “Hey you almost got me.” Yeaaaah *shifty eyes*. But this is like the first time I’ve ever even heard Stallion’s VOICE so I’m intrigued enough to engage in this conversation.

As I took a step towards him, I stepped into a freaking hole. My toe caught the side and my knees just buckled from under me.


Honestly, if I had just fallen on my face that would’ve been okay. I would have gladly taken that over what happened instead. Instead, Stallion reached out and tried to stop me from falling.

It wasn’t a good catch at all. He just kinda limply held me in his arms as my knees continued to buckle. AND the thing is that when you feel yourself fall you put your arms out in front of you right? Yeah. So I put my arms out in front of me as he stepped forward and ‘caught’ me.

My palms slid all the way down his freaking torso. Slowly too. Creepily slowly as I fell. Like if I had been in a cartoon it would have made a very loud squeegee sound.

giphy russ

The game is just halted as everyone watches me seductively slide down this poor boy.

My friends even asked later if I had tripped on purpose to be able to feel down his rippling abs. It was all horrible. I spent the rest of the semester pretending to forget my gym shoes and hiding in the supply closet.