(for my subscribers, if you are reading from your email, click on the title, it will make everything look fancier).
Lots of cities have Chinatown’s; New York, San Diego, Vancouver are just a few that come to mind, but did you know that Las Vegas has it’s very own Chinatown? Neither did I until I moved here. It’s just two miles from the strip, along Spring Mountain Road.
Anyone who has been to Las Vegas in the past few years is painfully aware that it has become a very expensive city; especially if you are staying and eating on the strip. I encourage you to take a super short Uber ride over to Chinatown. It’s by far the best bang for your buck! And what a yummy bang it is, lol.
I am not a Dim Sum expert by any means…like really not. I am just a French Canadian girl trying new things and sharing my experiences. So let’s get started; and by started, I mean let’s eat!
The first advice I was given about Dim Sum, was not to fill up on rice or noodles; so what were the first two items we got? Yup, rice and noodles, lol. The second advice was don’t order coffee, because they serve tea. So what was the second thing we did? You guessed it, my friend ordered coffee; we were off to a great start!
Dim Sum is traditionally served for breakfast, but in the US and Canada, it’s more of a brunch thing.
If you have never been to a Dim Sum, here’s how it works; they roll out carts of food and you select which small plates you want, no menus needed. It’s perfect for sharing, so bring a few friends.
The carts come out in random order and they keep coming, so take your time. You can let a cart go, it will come back; I promise!
Chinatown has an abundance of restaurants; we went to Honk Kong Garden, there are two of them, this one serves Dim Sum, see above.
There are so many hidden gems in Chinatown, we have visited a few so far. We used Yelp for a bit of guidance; all have been fantastic and cheap!!!
The top left dish was shrimp and top right was pork, sorry I didn’t get the official names, the carts were just coming at me so fast I couldn’t keep up, lol.
We ate a lot!! You will leave full, but please save some room for desert.
Hong Kong Garden is my friend, Michael’s fav restaurant, even though you can eat desert first, he advised against it. So I did wait to eat one of these custard filled rolls until after I was done dim suming (yes, I know it’s not a real word); and omg, it was so good! It was still warm, crusty sugar on top and a gooey custard in the center.
So here is my hard hitting question for you; how adventurous are you? Would you have tried the chicken feet? I passed, but I did try a few new things and like them.
Chinese New Year is quickly approaching, it’s Feb 5th; so Happy Year! This year is year of the Pig, in case you were wondering…you’re welcome.
Nuts for DoNuts! In search of Las Vegas’ best donuts.
Now in the spirit of the new year and in honor of our collective resolutions to eat better…to be better; I am going to take one for the team and taste test one of Vegas’ best doughnut shops…you are welcome!
We will be taste testing donuts from Las Vegas Donut Bar. They are hugely popular in San Diego and now making waves in Las Vegas. They have great social media buzz; we are going to see what all the buzz is about and we’ll let you know if you should spend the calories and your hard earned cash there.
They are located at 124 S 6th St. #140, which is in the heart of downtown. Having been told that they open early and stay open until they run out of donuts, we made sure to get there early. We arrived and were busy eating before the crowds showed up, so yay us!
My brave volunteers tasters today are Lynn and Olivia.
Today’s special was a French toast donut and a grilled cheese donut. I am a lover of grilled cheeses, so I am currently kicking myself for not trying it, but it’s because I was swayed by the pretty colors and sprinkles of the other donuts.
(OK side note!! Canadians spell doughnut like this, not like “donut” this, lol. I am using the American spelling because I thought “DoNuts” in my title was cute and Las Vegas Donut Bar spell it “donut”. Now we can continue, just needed that out of the way, lol.)
The staff were super friendly and welcoming; we chose three donuts and Olivia got one free, she’s just that cute.
We chose the unicorn donut…how could we not??? The strawberry shortcake and the crème brûlée, that’s the smaller one in bottom left, in the image above. BTW the crème brûlée donut is not baby sized, the strawberry shortcakes and unicorn donuts are just extra big. Olivia got the purple spider.
The reason why I didn’t get the grilled cheese donut was because I thought it would be too sweet. But their actual donut isn’t sweet, it’s very light and fluffy. Even though this donut was massive it didn’t feel heavy, the cream was light, the powdered sugar on top was really the only sweet thing. It was yummy! I should have tried the grilled cheese one though, not doing so is clearly a donut mistake! But the strawberry was delish, will just need to go back to try the grilled cheese.
Lynn’s crème brûlée donut had a hard sugar coating on top and a beautiful custard inside, mmm!
Olivia’s purple spider donut was a hit too. Her white shirt wasn’t so white when done, lol.
Being the team player that I am, I gave the unicorn a taste even though I was already full and found it fresh, light, fluffy and yummy!
We are giving Las Vegas Donut Bar, 4 Timbits out of 5! Which is an amazing score, my Canadian friends will get the reference, lol. Their store was clean, staff friendly and the donuts looked and tasted expensive and bougie, but we’re very reasonably priced.
If you are a local, give them a try; if visiting from away, check them out!! They would probably be great after a festive night of out…if you know what I mean?
If anyone knows of another donut hot spots in Vegas that I should try, let me know! And let me know what your favorite flavor is?
Thanks for reading!! Be sweet and share or like…do you!! lol
On an early…really early morning in October, my friend Sean and I ventured into the Las Vegas desert to take a few Christmas photos. Sean is a great landscape photographer and wanted to practice portraits. I needed a few shots for my upcoming Christmas card, so off we went. Here are some of the pics.
It’s always best to take pictures at dawn, dusk or when it’s overcast. Sean and I are both from the East Coast of Canada; we didn’t realize how quickly the sun rises in Vegas. Because Las Vegas is in a valley surrounded by mountains, the sun doesn’t slowly rise, it just pops up.
Sean wanted to try a few shots with the sunlight behind me. I clicked away with my iPhone while he set up.
The sun peaking out from behind me, makes me look like I am glowing…like an angel! lol. That’s not what he was looking for though.
This is the shot he was looking for. It looks like it was taken at sunset, but it was taken just a few minutes after the previous pictures above. I think it looks really cool! My head is blocking the sun, making the rest look dark. Well done Sean…well done, lol.
This is a classic Sean landscape shot. Different photographers have different ways of working. I am used to moving and the photographer taking shot after shot in quick succession. For most of these, I needed to stand still for longer periods of time…without talking, lol.
My prop for the day was a large Christmas wreath. I still think it’s odd that Christmas happens in places without snow…that seems very unnatural to me.
These shots in front of the Seven Magic Mountain sculptures were the first shots we took, before the sun popped up, hence no squinting and shadows. These sculptures are 15 minutes off the strip. There were two other photographers taking pictures while we were there. It’s a popular spot!
I have discovered that it’s hard to maintain a natural smile when standing still.
The picture below is of a Joshua trees; there are lots in and around Las Vegas.
Here is Sean and his big lens! He now thinks he needs a new camera to go with his big zoom lens. I took all of these with my iPhone; not to brag, but I am a fairly good photographer as well, lol.
And that’s a wrap!! Thanks Sean!
I will use some of these pictures for future blog stuff. Just wanted to share.
It does’t matter if you live in Las Vegas or Miramichi, yes it’s a real place, look it up! You can find something spooky to do in October. I challenge you to find some scary fun in your own hometown before Halloween.
The whole point of my blog is to encourage people to get out and do things, even if you think it’s dumb or lame; do it anyway. You may just have a great time?
In this post we will explore scary things in downtown Las Vegas; downtown Vegas is basically Fremont St and the surrounding areas.
Fear the Walking Dead
Our first stop is Fear the Walking Dead Survival on Fremont Street. We mustered up our courage to battle the undead; I decided two lemon drop pre-zombie martinis would help.
This was advertised as part escape room and part ride. Although I enjoy getting scared, I am not that brave, but was game to give it a try.
I must say, I did feel a bit better having one of Las Vegas’ finest, Aaron, with us! He was aware that his sole purpose was to protect us if we got swarmed by zombies; and he seemed cool with that.
Right off the bat, they told us that the zombies weren’t allowed to touch us. I instantly felt braver. No cameras were allowed during our experience. I respected the rules. I didn’t want to risk pissing off our handlers and being fed to the zombies.
We were paired with a group from California, who appeared to have also had a few drinks, for extra courage, I am sure. I bounded quickly with Tracy, she was in front of me and told me I could hold onto her if I felt scared. It’s funny how quickly you bound with people when you are in a stressful situation. I totally used her as my shield…shhhh! Don’t tell her. lol
We entered and were scanned to make certain we weren’t already infected by the zombie virus. Once cleared, Aaron and I were separated from Staci. When we rejoined her, she was already best friends with Fireball and the other ladies in their group.
We went through several rooms before sheltering in an elevator that led us to a truck or a helicopter, I was running for my life, I can’t remember what they said we were getting into. We were handed 3D glasses and guns. We shot like hell to make it out alive! This was the “ride” part of the experience; Staci and I yelled our heads off. It was a great stress reliever.
I am happy to report that no one got bitten; we all survived! It was a lot of fun, it lasted about 20 minutes ish.
It was very well done, but I do think that the people you are with are what makes this ride fun. I only saw a few zombies, but I was at the front of the pack. Aaron who was holding up the rear, said he saw more of them.
I would recommend this event to friends. It wasn’t crazy scary, which I liked, but there could have been a few more zombies. But all and all; I give The Walking Dead Survival, 3 black scardy cats out of 5.
Not ready to go home just yet; we went for a drink at the Artisan Boutique Hotel, located on West Sahara. It’s know for their after hours parties. During the week, it’s a quiet boutique hotel, and a crazy hot spot on weekends.
This place is 100% haunted! We didn’t see any ghosts while there, but there is no way it isn’t haunted. It’s old, funky and fabulous.
We didn’t stay long enough for the after hours craziness, because we are old, but we did enjoy the cool vibe.
The Haunted Museum
Next up on our downtown haunted tour is The Haunted Museum; it’s located on East Charleston Blvd. Because this is more of a museum, I wouldn’t recommend too many drinks prior. They tell stories, so you need to be quiet and listen.
You may be wondering if I believe in ghosts? Well I don’t not, not believe in ghosts, lol. I am a little afraid to say that I don’t believe; I don’t want to piss any off…just in case they are real and watching me. Better safe than sorry, right?
The Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, was created by Zak Bagan from the TV show, Ghost Adventures. He has collected “haunted” and super creepy items and placed them in a supposedly haunted house.
My friend Sean’s daughter and her friend were visiting from Canada, they were game for a creepy night, so off we went!
I find it’s always a good idea to do something scary with someone younger or slower than you; someone you can use a shield or “sacrifice” if shit gets too real, lol. With that in mind, my dates for the Haunted Museum were two 19 year olds and a late forty something year old male. Full disclosure, I am a late forty something female, but I am fairly sure, I could have out run him had things gone bad…sorry Sean; I would have absolutely called for help, once I was at a safe distance away though… you’re welcome!
As soon as we walked in this is what greeted us; nothing creepy about clowns and dolls. In the picture below, check out the first clown on the top left, tell me he isn’t the creepiest thing ever!! He is staring at you right now.
Pictures and videos are not allowed inside the museum, but we were able to take a few pics in the lobby.
This place was 100% creepy; a tour guide led us through a series of scary rooms. I did make certain that I was never the first or the last person to enter or leave any of the rooms; that’s another helpful hint for you…you’re welcome.
I am not going to lie, in the second room, I did feel strange and a bit lightheaded, was it a spirit? I am not sure? But I powered through and only screamed once; it was more of a yelp than a real scream. I had warned our group, that I was a screamer.
We made it out alive and I so far nothing has followed me home! I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get a bit creeped out. It’s open all year round, but it’s a perfect October activity.
I am giving The Haunted Museum a 3.5 black scardy cat out of 5.
I would love to hear about your spooky activity, so please leave me a comment below. And as always, click on like, if you were at all mildly entertained.
(I am also mildly entertaining on Facebook and Instagram too: oui-liette)
The title for this post was going to be: Girls Just Wanna Have Tea, but decided that Girls Gone Wild would get more attention, lol.
Helpful hints on how to throw the perfect tea party!
As we age, our birthdays become less important, it’s just another day really, right? If you are a mom, this feeling may be exasperated? You spend hundreds of dollars on your kid’s birthdays, when yours comes around, it’s easy to give into that feeling that it’s just another day…right?
Well this year, I decided that it isn’t just another day; I wanted to celebrate my birthday in style. I plan events for a living, I put so much time and energy into planning beautiful events for others; am I not worth the time and effort of a nice party? I decided that am absolutely worth it!
Here are a few tips on how to throw yourself the easiest and best birthday party ever!
I am not going to lie, I love a themed party. While I was attending an event at a hotel, I noticed that they had a fancy tea room. Mmm… fancy little finger foods and feather fascinators; I decided then and there that a tea part with my best girlfriends would be the perfect theme!
Your invitation sets the mood of your party, it’s the first glimpse that your guests will get to what kind of party to expect. There are so many different templates out there online. Feel free to send e-vites; I prefer printed invitations with colorful envelops and a customized message to each guest.
I found this image and fell in love with it. It was exactly what I wanted my party to represent!!
Here is a helpful hint from a party planner; you don’t always have to host your party, or our children’s party, at your house! It adds so much stress and work, the cleaning, the shopping, the cooking…it’s a lot! And since this was my party, I wanted something easy. I wanted to just show up and then leave and have someone else clean up.
I reserved two tables at the Mandarin Orient Hotel Tea Room on Las Vegas Blvd. My friend Claudia’s birthday is the day after mine, so we decided to celebrate together. She would host her friends at her table and I would host mine at my table. I am pretty sure my table was more fun! 🙂
I think sending guests home with a thoughtful party favor is a very nice touch. And if you attach a thank you note, you won’t have to send a thank you card afterwards. And yes, I do think if people come to your party and give you a gift, you need to formally thank them.
Select something that goes with your theme, since I was having a tea party, I decided that I would give out tea cups. I went to a thrift store and found old china cups, they were $0.99 each! I loved that they were all different shapes and colors.
I bought these colorful macaroons from the same bakery that did our cake, oh wait till you see the cake! Pink, yellow and orange were a perfect color scheme for our favors! I placed them in the tea cups, wrapped them in cellophane with the thank you card and voila! The perfect tea party favor!!
The hardest part of putting these party favors together was resisting the urge to “test” the Macaroons. I would suggest getting a few extras, just in case you accidentally “crack” any… and then have to eat them.
My thank you tags matched the invitations; I perforated them and attached them with a ribbon. I think, they turned out beautifully and were super easy!
My co-hostess and I, ready to greet our guests with our fancy fascinators. Not that it was a competition, but my fascinator was clearly bigger than hers, bigger is better right? If you can’t wear a big bouquet of beautiful feathers on your head on your birthday in Las Vegas, I am not sure where else you could! Life is short, go for it!
I was responsible for the party favors, Claudia was responsible for the flowers. Find a friend and split the work, you don’t have to do everything yourself. She picked up a few bouquets from Trader Joe’s.
She arranged the flowers in mason jars, they added a special touch to our garden tea party. Most restaurants will let you bring in your own flowers and decorations, just let them know ahead of time.
The dishware and food at the Mandarin were beautiful and delicious! This was my very first tea party, turns out I don’t actually like tea, but loved all the trimmings! This theme would also be perfect for a baby shower, any reason to get together with your girlfriends. Most cities have tea rooms, google it. If you do want to host a tea party at your house, it’s easy to make bite size sandwiches, go to your favorite bakery and have them create an assortment of sweats for you!
The best part of the party, was spending the afternoon with friends! I must say, I have an amazing group of ladies!
No party would be complete without a birthday cake. We brought in our own, yes, most restaurants will let you do that as well. Our custom cake was from Drago Sisters Bakery on Rainbow St in Las Vegas. It had a lemon and strawberry layer with with a butter cream frosting and it was divine!
As we pondered on what to wish for before blowing out our candles, I was thankful for my fancy tea party with great food and even better friends!
What I hope that you take from this post is that you don’t have to make everything from scratch, you don’t have to host at your house and you can ask a friend to help! The goal of every party is to enjoy the time spent with your loved ones. Please make certain you are present and in the moment!
Thanks for reading, hit like if you like, share and subscribe if you are so inclined!
More fun things to do in and around Las Vegas, while sober…or tipsy! Lol
This next activity, is my second fav thing after kayaking. You probably shouldn’t do it while drinking though, lol.
When you think of coming to Vegas, I bet a Camel Safari isn’t exactly top of mind? I am a list girl, those who know me will be shocked by this statement I am sure…not! I often make mini bucket lists, just to keep things interesting. I try to pick 4 or 5 new things a quarter. New on my list was going on a Camel Safari.
Since Las Vegas is in the desert, I thought it would be plausible that there would be camel safaris available somewhere…right? I mean, come on, anything is possible it’s Las Vegas!
I was right! I did a quick Pinterest search and there it was! The company is called: Camel Safari…ok, they may not get points for originality, but hey, they do Camel Safaris, so it fits. My nephew Jack was coming to visit, so I booked us a Camel Safari! I really need to give my nephew a shout out, like camels, teenagers can be, at times difficult, but he is and has always been game and receptive to all my cockamamie ideas…and there have been many!! You rock Jack!
Camel Safari, the company, are located in Bunkerville, which is a little over one hour’s drive from Las Vegas. So not far at all.
There are different tours available; you can feed the animals, they have more than just camels; they do bachelor and bachelorette parties, where you can party under the stars. Side note, the night before we went on our safari, they filmed an episode of the Bachelor there! And of course they do Camel Safaris, please check them out online: http://www.camelsafari.com
Now I am no camel expert, but everyone that I told about my upcoming adventure, warned me that camels are basically assholes. My experience was the exact opposite, these camels were very well behaved! Mine had a funny, quirky personality, we bounded over the fact that he seemed to love getting his picture taken, just like me.
Again, I am no animal expert, but I attribute their well-mannered behavior to the fact that they are so well taken care of by their keepers. They are not locked in cages, they get to roam on the estate; where they hang out with their camel friends and a rescued zebra, who the camels have accepted as one of their own.
The staff seem to be there because of a genuine love of animals, it was great to see! And a fun experience, I highly recommend!
Camel Safari…checked of my list!!
NEXT! Let’s do a speed round of my go to places, this is where I take my visitors who come to visit me.
Seven Magic Mountains
Seven Magic Mountains is 15 minutes off the strip (all of these places, I found on Pinterest, it’s my fav search engine.)
Seven Magic Mountains is a temporary art exhibit in the desert, I guess you can drink there, as long as you are not the driver. You can take great pics and it’s free!
Liberty Bell Arch
Liberty Bell Arch is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, it’s on the Arizona side. It’s a geological masterpiece! The arches were formed over 300 million years. It is less than an hours drive from the strip. It is a moderate hike, bring lots of water! Sorry, this is a non-alcoholic activity, but it is free!
You can’t see the Arch from the highway, so when it finally does come into view it’s amazing! Please be careful, the rocks at the base of the Arch are lose and sharp. I didn’t venture all the way up to the base; but my friend Sean did, he did a lot of slipping and sliding on the rocks and I was there at a safe distance away to photograph it!
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire is approx 50min from the strip, you really, really need to go! It is breathtaking and there is a spiritual zen vibe to it. The hikes are amazing, the park is over 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops, as per their site, please go to: http://www.parks.nv.gov for more info…oh and they have cool petroglyphs.
Save your drinking for when you get back to the strip, you need to be on your A game for this one. There is a fee to get into the park, but well worth it.
Nevada has lots of Ghost Towns, if you have a bit more time or are touring the state and see them from the highway, you should stop! As long as you aren’t driving, I don’t see any issues with an adult beverage or two, hey you may even see more ghosts after a few?
Welcome to Vegas Sign
What people may not realize is that Las Vegas has a very sophisticate side, we have world class entertainment, top chefs and restaurants and the worlds most impressive NHL hockey team…GO KNIGHTS!
But there is also a fun and cheesy side, everyone who visits me needs to get their picture taken at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign; I think it’s the most fabulous touristy thing you can do!
Although this is a free activity, there is always a guy there who offers to take your picture, I recommend you let him. He is a pro! He will help you find your inner cheese! Don’t forget to slide him a $5 afterwards! $10 if you are a larger group.
My brother wins for best jump, the worst jumper is Gilles, bottom left. Gilles you really let us down, you should be embarrassed, lol. My dad and uncle were living their best thug life, trust me you would not have wanted to be on the ice, with these two hockey guys in their hay day!
What is your best Vegas hot spot? Have you tried any of the activities listed here? Please share!
As always, thank you for reading, this one was long, but I needed to jam pack lots of content. If you enjoyed please click on like, feel free to share on social media and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Yes you read that correctly, it is possible to be sober in Las Vegas; and news flash, it can actually be really fun. I want to share a few fun things that I have discovered off strip, that don’t involve drinking or gambling.
Not to brag but in my first year here, I now live in Las Vegas, my friend Lynn and I have done almost every day trip activity within a two hour drive from the strip.
What kind of things you ask? How about kayaking, camels and hiking for starters? There are so many fun things to do off strip, it’s going to take more than one post to share them all.
One of my first day adventures with Lynn was kayaking and it is probably my most favorite activity to date. And yes, I said kayaking…in the desert! I am from Atlantic Canada, so I am naturally drawn to the beach and to any and all water activities.
I was amazed to find a place that is just a 50 minute drive from my house; it’s called Willow Beach. The water is crystal clear, there is also an area called Emerald Cove where the water is, well it’s emerald green, hence the name.
I am in love with this place!!! I should warn you that this post will be heavy on pictures! Oh and filled with lots of exclamation points!! Deal with it!!! lol, sorry, will try to restrain!
For exact driving instructions, punch it in your phone, Willow Beach. But in brief, from Vegas drive towards Boulder City, then hang left; super helpful right?
On our first kayaking adventure, Lynn and I booked a guided tour, which is more expensive, but was well worth it for our first time out. On our next trips, we ventured out on our own. You can rent a single or double kayak onsite, you will need to book in advance, rentals are $47ish a day.
From the marina, we kayaked for about 50 minutes to get to a small rocky beach area, it’s the perfect place to rest, picnic and swim. There are a few spots along the way where you can pull over and hang.
I will warn you the water is on the cold side, I was impressed with Lynn, this California girl got in and swam on our second outing. I am Canadian, I have not yet found water too cold to swim in.
Please note this activity is more of a spring and fall thing. It is just too hot in July and August to be outside for any long periods of time. Regardless of when you go, you will need to pack lots of water, snacks and sunscreen.
After resting, snacking and swimming on the beach, we continued onward to Emerald Cove. It is about 20 minute from our resting spot. If you keep going down the river, you will eventually hit some hot springs; we haven’t made it that far down, as of yet.
To the left of my kayak you can see what looks like a cave, it looks a bit scary from this viewpoint, but it really isn’t. It’s more of an archway, on the other side is a small opening.
I am told that the water is green because of the algae on the bottom.
See! Emerald Green, the water here is a bit more shallow, so when the sun shines, it glows green. The water is crystal clear, the green is on the bottom.
Fun fact, Canadians outside of Canada wear Blue Jays hats to meet other Canadians. If you are in the US and you see someone with a Blue Jays hat, you are obligated to say hi and ask what part of Canada they are from. It’s how we find each other.
From the marina to the cove, you are paddling against the current, but on the way back you can coast and enjoy the ride.
When there is no wind, the water is like a mirror, it’s truly breathtaking! We have seen eagles flying overhead and mountain goats grazing on the cliffs.
If you only have time for one off strip activity, this is the one you have to try!
I was amaze to find out that some of my friends and coworkers, who have lived in Vegas for a long time, had never been to this area. Sometimes you need to be a tourist in your hometown.
To prove how much I like Willow Beach; I bought a kayak…yes a maritime girl moves to the desert and buys a kayak, it does seem a bit crazy.
I hope you enjoyed this post, two more on fun things to do off strip will follow shortly; next will be my camel safari!!
I also want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my blog, this is just my third post and I have had over 36,000 views so far! I don’t expect all my posts to go viral, like my previous post did. I am fine with a slow build moving forward.
If you can find my like button, you need to scroll down, trying to fix that; please click on it. And if you really like me, you can subscribe.