I’ve written about this before: How I often struggle with defining the purpose of my blog, and on deciding where to draw the line that determines what is “appropriate” to blog about. Given my desire to go into media where, let’s face it, nothing is ever really private, I generally hesitate sending anything personal into the blogosphere, and out into the world.

It’s not like I have thousands of followers: I’d be thrilled to have a dozen regulars, actually. But still, my future self would rue my present self, if future self became known by something silly present self said.

With all of this in mind, I’ve decided to just go right on ahead and blog about my trip to Vegas. Going there for my 21st birthday was, after all, on my bucket list.

It was a point of contention when exactly the last time I visited Sin City was. Some time between 1999-2003. Needless to say, it was a very different Vegas than the one I experienced this past weekend.

In the spirit of my trip, I will leave a lot of what happened in Vegas, in Vegas. (This is mostly because leaving out a few things makes my trip sound much more mysterious and intriguing.) For the sake of being educational, I have chosen to make a list of everything I learned while away.

LIST OF THINGS I LEARNED IN VEGAS THAT I WOULD HAVE BEEN OKAY NOT LEARNING:

1. I have a tendency to pronounce typical all-American-sounding names with a Middle Eastern accent.

2. Video poker is not your friend.

3. Free shots given to you from a kind gentleman on the street that smell like paint-thinner, don’t necessarily taste like paint-thinner.

4. Denny’s will almost always trip to skimp you out of your Hobbit trading cards. Don’t let them.

5. Even if you try to run away from somebody chasing you up a crowded escalator, if they really want to, they will catch up to you. And then you’ll come off as rude. So always so ‘Hi’ to Paulo from Harlem. Even if the price tag is still on his hat and he’s in desperate need of a belt, he’s actually really nice.

5. Chickens can eat oyster shells. (But you probably don’t want to.)

6. Successfully convincing your mom to go to a hookah bar with you is one of the funniest and most awesome birthday presents you can get. Unfortunately, you can only ask for this once in a lifetime.

7. The Passion Pit is probably not somewhere you’d like to hang out.

8. When Victor leaves the Blackjack table, you should also probably leave. His replacement is too good at Blackjack for you.

9. One of the best decisions you can make is to run away from the dejected-looking balding Elvis. He’s not like Paulo from Harlem.

10. A contraption has been invented that ensures your guitar strings stay in tune. It’s quite expensive and has a difficult-to-remember name.

11. The pina coladas at Bellagio are much tastier, but the ones at Mirage are so much stronger.

12. Sometimes when you think you’re calling Langley, you’re actually calling the Caribbean.

The rest, my friends, remains in Vegas.

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I woke up relatively early today, in my own bed, after having grown accustomed to living three hours ahead on the East Coast.

Now that it’s all over, it feels like the trip passed in the blink of an eye, and yet I can’t figure out how we managed to cram so much site-seeing, touring, walking and eating into a six-day trip.

Since my last post, us three wannabe New Yorkers took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, where my great-grandmother landed after weeks of travelling across the Atlantic. We visited the Top of the Rock, which is almost 70 stories above 30 Rockefeller, home to NBC studios. And as timing goes, about an hour after photographing the beautiful panoramic view, Virginia was hit by the magnitude 5.8 earthquake.

We happened to be on an NBC tour at the time, where we saw the set for Monday Night Football, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live. It wasn’t until a reporter informed our guide that we couldn’t view the NBC news studios – because they were busy producing “breaking news” – that we knew what had happened.

Our broadway play for the trip was How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. It was absolutely phenomenal. Everything from the set to the talent to Daniel Radcliffe was spectacular.

We literally ran through the Museum of Natural History an hour before closing in search of their dinosaur exhibit. The Ben Stiller movie Night at the Museum was filmed there, and in one of the scenes, the dinosaur skeleton comes to life, as do the other displays. Most kids would remember the scene where an Easter Island statue wants gum, or something like that. Either way, my sister clearly remembered, and so we sprinted through exhibits and dodged security guards clearing out the building for closing until we got our photo.

We saw Brooklyn, briefly, and walked the Brooklyn bridge. We trained to Coney Island to ride the wooden Cyclone roller coaster, and eat a hotdog at Nathan’s.

In my previous post, I mentioned how much I love the Met. Well, my favourite part of that museum was the section of modern art and famous paintings, and I soon discovered that MoMA is essentially a full gallery of my favourite floor of the Met.

We also visited the World Trade Centre site, where a memorial garden is being built. We saw Wall Street, City Hall, UpTown, MidTown and DownTown.

The stories are endless, and the three of us can’t wait to get back.

In the mean time, I’m turning to my 10-year list to see what else I can cross off.

This past week, I’ve accomplished #2 and #26, which are travelling to New York and turning my cell phone off for a week.

As an aside, I’d like to address the latter of the two, and the comments stating that it doesn’t count if I go on vacation for a week and leave my phone at home.

First, this was not a vacation. It was a chaotic site-seeing tour where we ran around the island of Manhattan until we could no longer use our feet. Vacations are for relaxing.

Second, I suffered from not being able to use my phone, and for several reasons: I couldn’t tweet what I was seeing, I couldn’t tweet breaking news about the East Coast’s first earthquake of such a magnitude in decades, I couldn’t call home to say we were fine (because the earthquake was barely felt in New York), I couldn’t text my loved ones, I couldn’t text those whom I don’t love but like a lot, I couldn’t choose to not text those that I dislike, etc, etc.

Long story short: Once upon a time… It COUNTS! … The end.

I have now knocked off 15 items on my list, and have a mere 86 to go.

Tweet me!

@HayleyWoodin

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This is the first time since early Thursday morning that I’ve had the chance to sit and relax and check up on Facebook. And, of course, blog.

The past few days on Manhattan island have been a whirlwind of site-seeing, learning, exploring, eating and absorbing all that this city has to offer.

My mom, sister and I are staying in a great hotel right in Times Square. We’ve mastered the Subway system, and have walked and transited all over the island. We’ve visited the Guggenheim Museum, Central Park, Greenwich Village, SoHo, Little Italy, Canal Street and, possibly my favourite so far, the Met, which had Warhols and Pollocks and Lichtensteins and other phenomal pieces of art, just around the corner from Renaissance statues and Medieval armour.

Now, the only thing that may top the marvellous attractions, is the food.

My god, the food. The food. It is to die for.

Everyone claims to know where to get the best pizza in New York. We found our pick in a true Italian restaurant with ginormous slices covered in ricotta, parmesan and roasted red peppers. We also found the best cannoli, the best burger and a fabulous little street cart that offers delicious cupcakes and shakes.

Now, the only thing that can top my unhealthy and indulgent love for food, is my obsessive and compulsive love for fashion.

I’ve held a Jimmy Choo, a Manolo, a Dolce & Gabbana and a Valentino. I proceeded to walk out of the store in my lowly sandals… (Which are still designers, but are nothing compared to the greats.)

We got caught in an insane thunder storm, and got drenched to the point that waiters in the restaurant we ducked into handed us napkin after napkin so we could wipe mascara off our faces and napkin-dry our hair.

We waited, cameras in hand, backstage to see Daniel Radcliffe exit the Broadway theatre where he’s currently performing. He asked none of us out. Unfortunately…

And now, we’re off to shop, to eat, and to get some sleep before heading to Coney Island and Wall Street tomorrow.

Don’t bother tweeting me, (not that anyone does). I’m too busy loving the Big Apple.

Ciao!

@HayleyWoodin

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