Ok! Super excited to FINALLY be able to share about my awesome trip to Vegas with the Sweet Shoppe Desgins staff! Ever since getting home I’ve been dying to share but you know how life goes! I finally made some time, I’m sitting down, and I have all my photos ready to share!

I am a traveler, a busy, home-bound, mom of 4, but a traveler at heart all the same! So after making the escape last year for our first SSD staff retreat, I knew I had to be there this year! I have been counting down the days until the next retreat all year!

So, September 25th finally came, and I got to go get on my airplane bright and early. Some people hate flying I know, but I truly love it!  Last year, when we took off from PDX, I literally cried tears of joy- that feeling of lifting off from land – escaping and going somewhere new, it can’t be beat. And the euphoria this year was definitely still overwhelming! I managed to avoid actual tears but I’m not going to lie, I still totally choked up!!!



Because I chose a super early flight I got to Vegas bright and early and I got to be one of the first few to arrive!! I rented a car {that was not a minivan} that I loved {because it was not minivan}:


Then we got to be the first people to arrive at the fabulous mansion of the house we get to call home for the weekend!!


Because I was one of the few rented cars that day consisted of several trips to the airport to pick up some more hot chicks!


Thursday evening highlights consisted of Arts and crafts time, a yummy Chipoltle spread for dinner, hours of talking and laughing, and of course: lots and lots of lovely wine!!

Friday night we made plans to hit the strip and WOW what a fun night with my Sweet Shoppe girls! We planned ahead and rented a limo to take us to the strip in style Friday night. It was so fun to get all dressed up with everyone! Many selfies were taken by all, but I was decidedly un-photogenic that night!! In the end though, I do love this one I got with my sweet friend Penny!


When our limo came it was a-maz-ing! (also amazing, Penny’s pose!)


Here we all are ready for a night out on the town!


First we stopped off at the Las Vegas sign for the best group photo ever:


And this photo with Kristin Cronin-Barrow, Traci Reed makes me super happy! (Can you tell?? LOL)


We ate at Burgr, Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant on the strip – YUM, boy do I love a good burger!


BurGR did not disappoint! Everyone loved it! Traci and I decided to share a blue cheese burger, fries, and a shake, are we cute or what?!?!


After dinner a handful of us came up with this big plan skip the limo ride back to the house and to be super adventurous and walk up the strip to the super fancy club: XS on the top of the Wynn.  David Guetta was there to dj live that night and it seemed like something we just could not miss.  Turns out, the walk to the Wynn was long, and David Guetta wasn’t on till 1:30 am! Also, that club was CRAZY like uppity, everyone was all dressed up in tiny dresses and giant heels. Girls paid $35 to get in, which sounds like a lot, until you find out that guys had to pay $75!!! There was a line with velvet ropes and everything. However, we were brave and we did not let that stop us. We got in that line, with all those fancy 22 year olds, AND we got pulled to the front too!

Although the scene was incredibly intimidating, we totally made it happen, and we had an AMAZING time – wow, one of my favorite nights out ever! So exciting, and such a great club energy when David Guetta was out! Oh! and, you know what??? Its a lot easier to dance when your skirt doesn’t go up all the way to your butt, just sayin’!

Here we are, in a few very dark pictures in the club:



Here are Penny and I showing off our swag after we got out of the club – these hats we caught as they were thrown off stage, or down from heaven… pretty much the same thing!


Also coming down from the sky were amazing golden streamers and foam Guetta fingers (I got some of those too!) My current facebook profile pic represents the new, cool, post-guetta me and I’m never turning back!


That night it was nearly 6 am when we got to bed, so I was pretty sure I’d spend the first part of the next day pretty much huddled under blankets. However, when I got up that morning a group of people were going to see Red Rock Canyon and maybe do a little hiking…. I’m not the type of person to shirk away from new adventures, so I put my awesome new hat and sun glasses on, and braved the beautiful outdoors of Nevada:


…I know I look a little bit like I was hiding from the paparazzi, but it really was beautiful there, I’m glad I dragged myself out the door:



Sidenote: Wild donkeys DO exist!!!


Saturday evening consisted of In-N-Out Burger, lots of talking, hot tubbing, and, you guessed it: wine.

Sunday everyone had to go home 🙁 I drove a few airport carpools that morning, and I had to say goodbye to 16 girls that are all dear friends at this point, it was bittersweet.

I SHOULD have been going home Sunday as well, and when I bought my super cheap super awesome ticket for a flight home at 8pm, I thought it was for Sunday.  However, a few weeks before the trip, I looked at my tickets and realized it was a Monday night ticket… oops! This is pretty much a “Shawna” thing to do, and although I can tell you for sure that it was not intentional – there is a chance that my subconscious was SO excited about the prospect of getting away that it got a little carried away…

After looking into changing tickets, it just didn’t make sense to pay to get a Sunday flight, so I decided to look around for a good deal on a hotel to stay in for one night, and then I could just use that extra time as some extra “Shawna time.” Plus, what could be a better adventure than 24 extra hours of time to explore Las Vegas! I had had some time to explore the strip area, but I’d never been to the Fremont Street area. So I found a snazzy hotel in that area for only 18 dollars a night on Hotwire (plus resort fees… dude what the heck vegas!?!) and I booked it!

The Downtown Grand was fabulous! Totally like old Hollywood vintage chic style and just a block away from the AMAZING Fremont Street Experience – very cool! Here is the view from my room:


I dropped off my wheels on Sunday night, so my mode of transportation was the “Strip/Downtown Express.” I was thinking, when I made these plans… that it was a train, you know like MAX or BART or the subway… But it turns out, it is just a bus… So, I bought my 24 hour pass and rode public transportation with pride… after I tried to figure out what the heck I was doing!?


I had been planning to stay alone that one extra night because I couldn’t seem to twist anyone’s arm enough to make them change their tickets.  However, Traci Reed was flying standby and Sunday at the Vegas airport are brutal, and by 9am she was pretty sure there wasn’t a chance she’d get out of there that day. Which totally worked out for me, because I got a buddy!

Oh the fun we had that night!!


…including but not limited to:

The Fremont Street Experience:



Zip lining:


A rather large beverage (adorable drink sharing photo take 2!):


and a few other shenanigans…


…suffice to say, we were out till the wee hours of the morning living it up!

Traci left me bright and early Monday morning to catch a flight for reals, so that left me alone for the day.  I LOVED exploring Fremont Street and downtown Vegas!  What a cool area! Totally a fun bohemian vibe with street performers and artists, and SO much cool vintage signage – it was really like old school Vegas and I so glad I experienced it!



And a few selfies, just in case it comes in to question whether or not I was there 😉



That afternoon, I found my bus stop and climbed on board the “Airport Express” with my little suitcase to begin my journey home. I know this may sound a little crazy, but the whole experience of riding the bus, figuring out where things are, watching things pass by and getting around town was totally one of the best parts to me! As a suburban mom, the closest I get to mass transportation any more is when I have a few of the kid’s friends in the car. And although I realize getting to soccer practice in time and checking homework folders and feeding hungry children involves a certain level of competence, it is easy to forget that I’m like a grown up. I can handle my own kids but how often do I get to prove that I can handle my own self?

It was fun to feel a little grown up, and you know, fun to be a little selfish too, with nothing to think about but getting my own self from here to there.

It was time to get on my airplane.  I was really refreshed, really energized and excited about life, and also REALLY tired, and ready to go home.


So, there it is, my full #SSDinVegas 2014 run down!  It was SO awesome, so exciting, more adventure than I’ve had in a long time, and SO something I hope I can do again next year! I love my job, I love my SSD girlfriends, and you know what?? Life is good 🙂