Friday, October 24, 2014

Vegas, baby!

So, I went to Vegas...! My sister found out about the Rise Festival through Weslie Christensen and her blog, Love Chugs. I'm pretty sure it was the very next day that my mom bought tickets. The two of them had heard about these lantern festivals while they were in Thailand and have been wanting to go to one ever since - it was high up on their bucket lists! And, lucky for me, they decided I could come, too. (Unlike that time they went to Thailand without me...) Once the tickets were bought, we decided to make a weekend out of it! Ashley and I had never been to Vegas and since the festival was being held just thirty minutes out of town, what better place to stay?!

We flew out Thursday morning and met my mom's best friend, Cindy, who flew in from Portland, a few hours later. We stayed at Planet Hollywood in 'The Rock' movie themed room. Have you guys ever seen that movie? Me either, but apparently they use a babydoll with a bomb attached to it at some point during the movie and that babydoll was one of the props from the movie that was in our room. A babydoll... Hanging on our wall... It was the creepiest thing to walk in and see! A babydoll with a bomb attached to it! It was honestly a little upsetting because Ashley and I were already missing our babies like crazy and we contemplated switching rooms before we decided that would make us look like sissy little girls (which we are) so we decided to tough it out and stick Cindy closest to the baby. (Sorry, Cindy!) That night we grabbed dinner at a pizza place outside our hotel on the strip and walked around for the next few hours, stopping to watch the Bellagio fountain and grab room treats from the market.

Friday morning we spent pool side, which there is no evidence of because being 16 weeks pregnant in a bikini in Vegas was not my idea of a picture worthy event. Truthfully, it was slightly awful. But, the warmth did feel nice. It may still be sunny here, but it's not warm! We spent that afternoon walking more of the strip (stopping to take pictures with the characters on the street because we're total tourists - I'm pretty sure Harper thought the Despicable Me minion and Olaf were staying in our hotel with us). We had dinner at PF Changs that night and then caught a cab to the MGM Grand where the Hakkasan night club is. Ashley's husband's cousin's sister's friend (or something like that) got us a hook up to the club, so instead of paying $30 a person we each got in free and were offered a free drink. Mine was a bottle of water... It was hard being pregnant when the people I was with (and everyone else!) was not nearly as sober as I was. I felt unbelievably out of place, pregnant in Vegas at a night club, but was determined to make the most of it and I actually had a lot of fun! We did a lot of dancing with a potentially gay group of guys in plaid flannel shirts and a lone member of a bachelorette party group wearing a pink wig. The club hosts Calvin Harris and Tiesto as their main DJs, which are two of Stephen's favorites, so I made sure to jump up and down and wave my arms in his honor ;) We didn't make it too late, I think we were back in the room by 1am, but for a pregnant lady wearing heels that's normally in bed by ten, I'm going to go ahead and count it as a win.

We slept in incredibly late on Saturday morning (at least in my book, because I haven't slept in past 7:30 since Uriah was born, and that has only been recently!) and had just enough time for lounging, getting ready and getting in the car to catch our shuttle to the Rise Festival. Our shuttle was meeting at a casino in Jean, Nevada, about twenty minutes away, and we knew there'd be lines, plus we wanted to get to the event fairly early - we didn't want to miss anything! The shuttle took us another twenty minutes out into the desert and dropped us off 500 yards or so away from the event site. The walk in was stunning - the sunset was incredible! Honestly, it was like they planned it - too perfect! Once you arrived at the event site, you could find your section and pick your seat next to a tiki torch. Each person got a yoga mat (to take home) and two lanterns. During the next hour, as people were filtering in, people were passing out matches, pens and notecards (so you could write your words on something to take home with you). They had delicious food and great music. One of the guys involved in the project gave a short speech about it all and introduced the band who played for the next hour as the guests opened up their lanterns and began to write their wishes, hopes, dreams, prayers... It was so fun to watch everyone else, as excited as we were, open their lanterns and get to work on writing and decorating them. It was such a neat environment - everyone was there for a different reason, but we were all there together. Everyone just seemed happy and uplifted and calm and it really made you feel at peace. Is that weird? I guess it's just one of those things you have to experience for yourself. When the band was done, they instructed us all on how to light the tiki torch and the lanterns. They were bigger than I thought, taller, and it took at least two or three people to light them and then at least two minutes for them to fill with hot hair. The first rise was in unison, so the crowd all waited as everyone's lanterns filled with hot air. And then... RiSE. You guys, it was amazing. More than amazing! Incredible, beautiful, overwhelming, powerful... All the words and none of the words at the same time. Going into this event, I was expecting it to be pretty and cool and a fun night, but I wasn't expecting anything like it was. You couldn't help but cry. Everyone was clapping and screaming and sighing and crying... It was crazy! So crazy beautiful and so crazy wonderful. For the next hour everyone continued to light their lanterns and set them off at their own pace - the sky was continually filled with lanterns and the tears and smiles and hugs and awe kept coming. It was so great to share that experience with my mom and sister, but I so wish Stephen could have been there. Though he doesn't believe me that it was so incredibly powerful (just like I was skeptical going in) I know he would love it - it's such an intimate thing to witness and be apart of. Uriah has been requesting to watch the videos of it on my phone, so I know he would like it, too :)

Leaving the event awhile later was a huge disaster and it was a long and frustrating and somewhat comical night, but as awful as it was, it doesn't deserve to be mentioned because honestly, nothing could take away from the event. Read about the festival, look at the #risefestival hashtag on Instagram, fall in love with the idea and GO! You will not regret it.


  1. That is pretty neat lookin I won't lie. Would be cool to see in person!

    1. It's sooo much better in person! I feel so silly and stupid saying it's this incredible, life changing event, but I know you'd feel the same way if you were there!