Wait, this isn’t the Olympics!

If my diary from when I was eight were correct, I should be touring the world after winning my Olympic medal by now. It would also say I should be married to Aaron Carter, but that’s beside the point.

I spent a third of my life waking up before the sun, lacing up my ice skating boots, and combing my bangs straight with a single dream: to stand on the podium with a gold medal. Competitive figure skating is not like your regular extracurricular sport where you can come and go as you please. For a third of my life I ate, slept and breathed for ice skating. You could find me (and my mom) on that ice year-round before and after school, on the weekends and on holidays. From the moment I touched the ice I was absolutely enamored with it.  But things got more complicated as I got older. The things I wanted and needed, skating didn’t offer me anymore so I said goodbye to the skating life.

What I didn’t realize at the time was how all those years of ice skating has made me a better adult and given me so many lessons I could apply to every area of my life, even today.

Things Ice Skating Taught Me:

Before you get anything right, you’re going to fall A LOT. When I was younger the only way I learned a new skill was to figure out why I was falling so much. In fact, you knew you were close to greatness when you had bruises and an icy cold, soggy bottom. (Thankfully that last part doesn’t apply anymore).

When you find a mentor, trust them. I don’t mean this in a ‘jump off the cliff if they tell you’ way either. Mentors are humans too, but their hindsight can be your foresight. Skaters were nothing without their coaches, and the coach reflected on the skater. The same can be said for our managers as adults.

Hold onto the “why” of what you’re doing. There are days when every little thing goes wrong all day and the possibility of you turning on a dime and running out of the door grows exponentially as every hour passes. Sometimes the best solution is to take a minute and remember why you are here and why you loved what you’re doing in the first place.

 The more experiences you can get, the better human you will be. At school, I was surrounded by people who were all very similar to me and usually fell in at least two of the following categories: southern, conservative, wealthy and religious. Without my friends that I had made from skating, I am scared to think of the kind of person I would be today. I try to do activities and choose experiences that expose me to all kinds of people, passions and places. A great example is that time I moved 1, 204 miles away from home by myself to work in a city I’d never been to. 😉

So, I’ll leave you with something I think eight year old me would’ve written down in her diary: Maybe sometimes the best things in life can’t be hung on a string or tied around your neck.

Also, I think she would tell me not to give up on that Aaron Carter thing.


~Submitted by:  Paige Adams

5 Ways to Stay Friends After College


At Southern Utah University I got more than two college degrees and six years of memories. I found my closest friends, my soul mates. I found people that shared my interests, my intellect and my humor. We are there for each other for everything from celebrating professional achievements to heartbreaks to marriage and having kids. These people will be my friends for the rest of my life, but only if we put in the effort.


When I was getting ready to leave college I was scared of losing all of my friends. I’ve never been good at keeping up with people at a distance because they were out of sight and out of mind. I have let so many people walk out of my life simply because neither of us put in the effort to stay in touch. When I graduated from college, my friends and I vowed to stay in contact and so far it is going well. These are my tips on how to stay in contact with your friends, even when you live on opposite sides of the country.

Pick up the phone – One of my favorite ways to stay in contact with my friends is through a phone call because it is much more personal than sending a text. Texting is great, don’t get me wrong, but hearing your friend’s voice on the phone is so much more satisfying. I typically call a different friend every day on my drive home from work.

friends-blog-2Send a card/letter/package in the mail – When I was a kid I loved getting mail, but that’s because I didn’t know about bills yet. Don’t let your friends’ mailboxes turn into bill-boxes. I have so many different types of cards and stationary that I could send my friends a different card each day of the month without sending the same card twice. It’s a cute and unexpected way to let your friends know you’re thinking of them.

Use social media – Do we have full conversations on Twitter? No, because we aren’t 14 anymore. But, if I see something that reminds me of someone, I’ll send it them. Some people argue social media is impersonal, but who are we kidding? If we were still living together we would just be sitting in the living room showing each other the funny things we found online.

Plan trips together – My friends and I haven’t done this yet (because we’ve only been apart for four months), but we want to go on a yearly vacation together. Our plan right now is to have each of us host a trip in our own city. So one year, my friends will visit me in Las Vegas and then we’ll go to North Carolina, etc.

Be spontaneous – Sometimes you just need to be surrounded by your friends. My best friends-blog-3friend is living in South Bend, Indiana while her husband is working on his PhD. at the University of Notre Dame. Friday of Labor Day weekend I was driving home from work and I thought to myself, “I really want to go visit them.” Twelve hours later I was at the airport and I couldn’t have been happier with my decision. The trip was short, but spending two days with my best friend, her husband and their baby was the perfect weekend getaway.

Staying friends with people that live in different time zone is difficult because the best friendships are the ones that seem effortless. Suddenly, you need to put in a lot of effort. These are people that I could sit in a room with and do nothing while being perfectly content. When you move away you realize that you miss things like making margaritas and watching Broadway musicals at 11 p.m. or going on night hikes to watch the moonrise. Being away from friends isn’t easy, but if you know how to stay in contact, it will be worth it.


Submitted by – Emily Ronquillo

Best Spots for Live Music in Vegas

I’m not good at sticking with hobbies; I never have been…my attention span is ENTIRELY too short for knitting, fencing or playing piano. But one “hobby” I have been unable to shake is going to concerts and music festivals. Excessively. And I’m not ashamed to say that “Lost in music” is my happy place (hey Instagram – can I get a location tag?).

From the Empire Polo Field in Indio to The Independent in San Francisco, good venues are aplenty on the west coast. I heard 2016 was going to be a big year for music in Vegas and I was a wee skeptical, but with Life Is Beautiful returning for its “senior year” and live venues absolutely THRIVING all over town, I’m a believer. Let’s explore a few of my favorite places to lose myself, shall we?

Foundry at SLS







(PC: @GlobalMediaGroup)

This space inside SLS Las Vegas was formerly LiFE, but let me tell ya – the recent revamp is the REAL breath of life to the venue. It may be less than a year old, but the nightlife team is KILLIN’ it with the acts! From AWOLNATION on opening night to a surprise Dan Reynolds appearance during X-Ambassadors, Savoir Adore meet & greets and an upcoming Against ME! show later this year, they are #winning.

Brooklyn Bowl at The LINQ




I’ve been to this venue more times than I can count, and for good reason. There’s something SO SPECIAL about a large venue capturing such an intimate vibe – Brooklyn Bowl does it well. Modeled after the original Brooklyn Bowl in (you guessed it) Brooklyn, this is a concert venue – bar – bowling alley – restaurant hybrid. Totally revolutionary, totally impressive. The sound system and lighting rigs are a force to be reckoned with, and can I give a quick shout out to whoever books the talent?! Portugal. The Man, The Roots, Silversun Pickups…The Offspring?! YAS. Plus, where else can you take a chicken fingers break mid-set while still maintaining an awesome view of the stage? Nowhere. Bravo, B-Bowl, bravo.

Bunkhouse Saloon


(PC: @bunkhouse_saloon)


“Though she be but little, she is fierce.” This quote PERFECTLY sums up this hidden gem of Downtown Las Vegas. With a max capacity of 250, Bunkhouse has booked gigs for bands of all walks of life: We Are Scientists, Built To Spill, Ra Ra Riot, MSTRKRFT – the list goes on. However, potentially the most impressive was The Killers’ pop-up concert immediately after opening the T-Mobile Arena back in April. And yes, I pulled myself out of bed at 11:50 p.m. on a school night to attend. There was no doubt the indoor space was going to hit capacity, so the Bunkhouse team planned for a live streaming screen out in the yard to accommodate everyone! Added bonus: The good folks at Zappos arranged for complimentary White Castle catering (Thank you, Based God). Long story short, Bunkhouse Saloon is FULL of surprises & keeps me coming back for more. I’m. Hooked.

Thanks for listening to me ramble on about my favorite pastime…See you on the dance floor?!

Submitted by : Shaina Chambers, Social Media Coordinator

“Life’s a Climb”

My coworkers are going to be shocked when they read this. I’m sure they have no idea that I’m a mountain biker. When I’m not busy crafting clever captions for clients or engaging in stimulating conversation on Twitter, I love to head outdoors and soak up as much nature as I can get. I love all things that involve the outdoors, but my newest passion is mountain biking.

As addictive as cocaine and twice as expensive, or so I’m told (about the first part!) riding is thrilling, and at times, scary. As of this August I will officially have been mountain biking for one year and here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.

  1. “When in doubt, pedal it out.” Whenever I feel anxious or stressed, going for a ride is one of the best ways to work through whatever is bothering me and get my head right. Whether climbing a hill or grinding out a long pedal, there comes a point when your groaning muscles and weariness subsides, and you find yourself breathing and turning the cranks in perfect harmony while listening to the soft, rhythmic whir of the wheels. The headaches of the day fade away and nothing enters your thoughts except the colors and sounds of nature for the rest of the journey. On any given day you’re only one bike ride away from a good mood. Bonus: I sleep great after a hard ride!
  2. Mountain bikers are some of the friendliest, realest people you will ever meet. The crew I ride with is filled with some nationally ranked shredders and lots of guys, and from my first slow-paced, apprehensive ride they have been nothing but encouraging, supportive and FUN. Along the way I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting some amazing women that have blazed an impressive trail ahead of me. These type of people are not limited to your local riding scene either. Each time I ride in unexplored territory I meet new, like-minded people and now have a network of friends that ranges all over the southwest. I say the southwest only because I haven’t ridden outside the area yet. But I will! Each October my husband and I head to Virgin, UT for the pinnacle of adrenaline pumping events, the Red Bull Rampage freeride competition. We’ve been camping with the same people we randomly met the first time we attended and now look forward to those days we spend together all year long. These people are my tribe. We mesh.
  3. The meaning of “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you” can be found in the sport of mountain biking. I have fallen more times than I can count, have bruised muscles I didn’t know existed, and donated blood to many trails. Mountain biking challenges you physically but I would argue that it challenges you more mentally. I’ve put in the research and trust me when I say I’ve learned the hard way that slowing down or grabbing a handful of brakes is the quickest route to crashing. Letting go of your fears of crashing, of falling off a narrow trail, or of attempting a front wheel lift over a boulder while pedaling uphill, determines whether you shred the trail or you fail. You should always challenge yourself to ride at your best and there’s always another hill, another obstacle or a new technical section of gnar to tackle. I’ve learned to take calculated risks, that I can do more than I think I can if I don’t overanalyze and panic, and you know what? Despite the bruises, I’m having the time of my life along the ride.

The list of lessons mountain biking can teach you is endless, but that’s another blog, maybe even a book. So I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes and the knowledge that if you ever need a riding partner or someone to watch Rampage videos with, I’m your huckleberry.

“May your trails be crooked, winding, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” – Edward Abbey

Submitted by – Aimee Wenske, Social Media Coordinator



“Adulting” For New College Grads

They told me to have fun in college while I could. They encouraged me to enjoy the luxuries of midday naps and numerous student discounts before I graduated and entered the “real world”. I’m not sure what world I was living in during college, but I had grown quite accustomed to it and was hesitant to enter the work force. I had heard rumors from my friends who had graduated before me that had described the 9-5 life as “boring” and their co-workers as being generally “unhelpful”. Given what I had heard, I was only 40% excited to start my first post-graduate job at Kirvin Doak and 60% terrified.
For four and a half months, I watched, listened and learned as an intern as those around me worked diligently to not just tell me what to do but teach me how to do it. After finishing my internship and graduating, I was invited to officially join the team and happily accepted. Upon returning, despite my reservations, I found that I only enjoyed work more because I had more time to spend getting to know my teammates and more time to invest in my work. And that’s when I realized that the Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm life doesn’t have to be awful. “Adulting” can be scary and fun. Since I’ve started full-time at Kirvin Doak, I’ve learned three important lessons in regards to working your first full-time job.
1. You should be passionate…and a little picky.
So often, students take the first job out of college they can find. It’s a bad habit but a necessary one for most because there are bills to be paid. And I’m not ashamed to say that I would’ve done the same exact thing. I was terrified of not being able to find a job upon graduating so when KDC offered me a position, I was thrilled. Not because I had found just any job, but because they offered me a job I was passionate about. Despite any initial uncertainty, I love working in social media. Transitioning to a full-time job would’ve been much more difficult had I hated it. Don’t do yourself or your employer a disservice by accepting a job that you don’t even like. The urge to take anything may be strong, but it offers no long-term benefits.
2. It shouldn’t be too hard but it won’t be too easy.
I think once you’ve found a job you really enjoy, it becomes less difficult to get up every day and go to work. But just because you don’t dread waking up each morning doesn’t mean that the job is easy. I struggle every week to create new, engaging content for clients. I bang my head against the desk at least once a day when I realize that I’ve forgotten to do something on my never-ending to-do list. Work is hard because anything worth doing usually is. But I find the job much easier when I’m open to feedback and criticism. It’s much easier to enjoy my day when I genuinely enjoy the people I work with and they seem to value my feedback.
3. Remember, it’s your first full-time job.
I am the newest (and youngest) kid on the block and I have to remind myself of that every day. More often than not, everyone on the team has better ideas than I do and easier, more efficient ways to do things. It used to frustrate me but now it propels me to work harder and think faster. Since this office is full of sports fans, I feel obligated to use at least one sports metaphor. Don’t feel like you’re falling behind just because you’re not running at the same speed as everyone else. Every pro athlete started out as a beginner. And even if you finish your project or task in last place, you didn’t lose. You only learned.
Though I am sad to say goodbye to University of Nevada, Las Vegas, I am so grateful for the learning opportunities Kirvin Doak has given me thus far and I look forward to many more!

Submitted by Ashley Roberts

The Perfect —Quick— Weekend Escape

For many, heading to Los Angles from Las Vegas for a quick, relaxing weekend getaway doesn’t sound appetizing at all. Leaving one large, overcrowded city for an even more overcrowded city? What’s relaxing about that? Plenty.

Hidden amongst the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles’ many well-known tourist attractions are quite a few hidden gems that help make for a perfect weekend escape.


Barton G. Los Angeles

As a self-proclaimed “foodie,” I’m always on the hunt for cool new restaurants to try. Since eating at Barton G. Los Angeles, I’m yet to find a restaurant that has been more fun than the experience I had there. At Barton G., whatever you read on the menu is exactly what you’re going to get, which is what makes it so fun. For example, my husband and I ordered lobster pop tarts and we were delivered an actual toaster with two lobster pop tarts sticking out. When it came time for dessert, we opted for the “Pot Pie Garden,” which included six actual gardening pots filled with different flavors of pies and gardening tools.

Though it’s not as expansive as the original flagship location in New York City’s Upper East Side, Dylan’s Candy Bar at Los Angeles’ Original Farmers Market at The Grove is always on my Los Angeles to-do list. If you’re wondering who “Dylan” is and how she can design such an incredible place — well, the “Dylan” in Dylan’s Candy Bar is actually the daughter of Ralph Lauren. I promise you, just step one foot inside this candy store/cafe and you’ll see why it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever experienced.


Catch a movie in a cemetery

Arguably one of the most unique cinema experiences one could ever have, Cinespias films in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery offer a chance to watch your favorite movies under the stars — with some stars. Not only is Cinespia’s movie screen set up right in the middle of Hollywood’s most famous cemetery, but it also backs up to the Paramount Pictures backlot, so you might just catch them filming the next blockbuster hit.

If you can recall the scene in the cheesy rom-com “Valentines Day”, where they are watching a movie in a cemetery, this is the very cemetery and exact movie-watching experience from the film!

My husband and I recently joined some friends for a screening of Brad Pitt’s classic “Seven” at the cemetery — which if you’ve ever seen this film, you can imagine how much more nerve-wracking it is to watch at night, inside a decades-old cemetery


This past Valentine’s Day, my husband surprised me with a stay at the legendary “pink palace,” aka the Beverly Hills Hotel. Staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel was just as luxurious as one could ever imagine and totally makes you feel like you’re living the life of Eloise at The Plaza. For me, staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel was a “bucket list” item. However, if you ever have a chance to stay here yourself, you won’t regret it.

 -submitted by Caitlin Lilly


Sports in Las Vegas…AT LAST!

Let’s just start with how much I love sports.

There are few things in this world that socially make it acceptable for a grown man or woman scream at the top of their lungs and bear hug strangers all around them. Social barriers that don’t allow us to connect with strangers go right out the window when it comes to sports. I’ve high fived, chest bumped, laughed, and even cried with random people that I sat next to for games that could last 3 hours or more.

Growing up in Southern California, I had a favorite team for almost every sport. Football is the University of Notre Dame and the New England Patriots. Basketball is the Los Angeles Lakers. Hockey is the Los Angeles Kings. And finally, baseball is the Los Angeles Dodgers. I’ve been spoiled and am very grateful for many championships from my Lakers, Kings and Patriots squads. I’m still waiting for my Dodger and Notre Dame championships (THIS IS THE YEAR BABY) but patience is a virtue.

Well, it’s finally your turn Vegas. On June 22, the NHL officially announced that it would be expanding to 31 teams. Las Vegas, with its brand new T-Mobile Arena, was chosen as the location of the incoming expansion team over Quebec City! This is a monumental move for Las Vegas to finally join in and take that next step in becoming a major sports market and destination. Some critics have been saying it won’t work in Vegas because “It’s a frontrunner town.” or “If they don’t win, nobody will care.” I beg to differ. I believe in you Vegas. I think you have the tools to be an incredible destination for an athlete or team. I’ll help give you 3 simple tips for supporting your team.

  1. Know Your Team

Every sport is more enjoyable when you know who you are watching. Learn every player’s name, height and weight, education, hometown, jersey number, playing style etc. Once you know your players, you can move onto the coaches and front office executives. I personally guarantee every game becomes that much more exciting and you can begin to form that bond with your team.

  1. Enjoy the Process

Sorry Vegas. Not just any team wins a Stanley Cup in the blink of an eye. Rome wasn’t built in a day and this team won’t be either. I’m not saying that this hockey team won’t be able to compete, but I’ll be shocked if they’re world beaters on the ice their first season. For example, I’m a Notre Dame fan. I know that we haven’t won a championship in 28 years, and I’m only 21 years old! From 2005 – 2008 & from 2012 – present, the Lakers were and have been getting walloped all year and the fan base’s only glimmer of hope was a man who just ended his career this past April. The Lakers only won 17 games this year in an 82 game season, and I found water coming down my cheeks as I watched Kobe Bryant and my childhood walk out of the Staples Center tunnel. Learn to find the good out of the bad Vegas. It can mean everything one day knowing that you were there through it all and your victories will taste that much sweeter.

  1. Till Death Do You Part

Love and stay with your team. Nobody goes undefeated in professional sports. Be realistic with what your team’s chances are. Staying with a team creates another thing to look forward to every year. Don’t join in to the “bandwagon” era by picking the best team and claiming you’re a fan. Bring your family and friends. Meet people at the games. My girlfriend Cassandra was never into sports until I started taking her to games and watching them at home with her. I’ve since watched my Patriots win a Super Bowl on a miraculous interception, my Kings win a 2nd Stanley Cup with a championship winning goal, and my childhood hero turn back the clock for the Lakers just one more time and drop 60 points in his last basketball game ever. And these all happened as she sat next to me holding my hand. Those are lasting memories that we made because of sports.

These tips can make you love your team in a heartbeat. Sports can bring people together and make impacts on our lives when we share the memories with the people that we love. So please, love your team Las Vegas! They need you just as much as you need them. Cheers.

Submitted by – Brandon Younger


Moving from Utah where mountains, waterfalls, red rocks and lakes are around every corner moving to Las Vegas was an adjustment. Within my first month here I’ve gone exploring to find what outdoor activities were near Las Vegas. If you decide to go on a hike make sure you bring plenty of water (especially with this heat), snacks and sunscreen on your adventure into the wild.

 Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Location: 1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV

Popular Hikes: First Creek Canyon Trail, Willow Springs Loop, Lost Creek and Ice Box Canyon

Ice Box Canyon sounded like a great trail option because I did not want to deal with the heat! I started the hike in the early morning because you do have to hike across the desert for about a mile before actually getting into the canyon.  Once you get the canyon you can feel the breeze kick in along with the shade. If you go in the early spring at the end you will find a waterfall, but since I went in the middle of May I found a little stream of what use to be a waterfall.

Length: 2.6 miles about 3 hours

Valley of Fire State Park

Location: 29450 Valley of Fire Road, Moapa Valley, NV

Hikes: Mouse Tanks, Atlatl Rock and Elephant Rock

Valley of fire is about an hour northeast of Las Vegas I love elephants so I of course had to check out Elephant Rock and as you can tell it actually looks like an elephant. This was a super easy of hike the only hike part was climbing up the elephant it’s literally by the road.

Length: 1/3 of a mile about 30 minutes

Mt. Charleston

Location: Northwest of Las Vegas

Hikes: Echo and Little Falls, Mary Jane Falls, Griffith Peak and Cathedral Rock

This was one of my favorite locations to go hiking and enjoy time outdoors that was not awfully hot. It almost felt like home when I saw snow on the mountains, aspen trees and was 65 degrees. I decided to do Cathedral Rock trail because it was only 1.2 miles how hard could that be? Well it was hard. I could not catch my breath. I thought I was dying. Okay not dying, but it was a mile of elevation gain of 1000 feet that I wasn’t prepared for and should have done more research on. Lesson learned! The view from the top was amazing and worth the climb though.

Length: 1.2 miles about 2 hours


Seven Magic Mountains

Location: S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV

This is popular new sightseeing attraction in the middle of a desert that I discovered by Instagram posts from my friends. As you can tell by my picture these rocks give the desert a splash of color. This is not a hike at all it’s more like an art display you just park your car and walk a couple feet and you’re there.


Location: Southern Utah

Hikes: Angels Landing, the Narrows, Observation Point and Emeralds Pool

Okay, I know that this is not in Nevada, but it’s pretty close to Las Vegas that I had to add it to the list! Zion is worth the drive because it will leave you breathless literally, because of the elevation gain and the views. I did the Narrows which is a hike in a slot canyon in the river perfect to cool off from the heat. I’ll warn you this is a popular spot during the summer where tourists come all over the country, so it will be crowded during the weekends.

Length: You can go as far as 5 miles into the canyon or as little as 1 depending what you’re feeling.

-Submitted by Ana Ramirez




Here’s an oldie but a goodie: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

It’s a familiar saying. And I thought, growing up, that there was a lot of truth to that. How could my parents ever understand Nintendo? (I’m dating myself with “Nintendo” – you can already see where this is going.) But as life has taken me down a completely unexpected series of twists and turns, I find myself having an increasingly difficult time anymore prescribing to that idea.

For some background, I spent three years as an entertainer on cruise ships. I sang in an a cappella quartet for six months, then performed as a vocalist in the main theatrical shows on board for the remaining three contracts. (That’s another blog for another time.) It was fun while it lasted, but “real life” was calling, and circumstances drew me back to “the mainland.”

My wife (whom I met onboard during my first contract – she is a dancer) and I decided it was best to follow her career to the desert of Las Vegas. So, in December of 2013, I found myself with a new job – here at Kirvin Doak Communications – in an entirely new line of work. Sure, I studied communications at Michigan State University, but I hadn’t actively pursued a career in the field. I felt like a fish out of water. Get it? You see, because I worked on the ocean for three years, then moved to the desert to—oh, you got it? Right.

Now, I’m no outlier having moved to Las Vegas on a wing and a prayer, leaving everything I knew behind to start my career. Plenty of people forge new paths in here, and this is evidenced almost daily by the people I meet with similar stories. But…I was “starting my career” at a ripe 30 years of age in a female-dominated industry where my colleagues and “contemporaries” were, in some cases, nearly a decade my junior.

That is where Old Dog came to a crossroads, and here is where Old Dog imparts his wisdom.

Be Willing
As with any opportunity placed before you, there will be times when you would “just rather not.” But be willing. Be willing to listen – to those older than you, to those younger than you, to those more experienced, and to those with new and excited energy – be willing to listen to them. Be willing to question yourself – your methods, your word choice, your timing, your actions, your reactions – be willing. Likewise, be willing to question others, when appropriate, and – as my high school English teacher Mrs. Mitchell put it – “do not take your instructor’s word for gospel.” Be willing.

Be Open
The Confirmation Bias is defined as “the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.” Be open. Be open to dropping your preconceived notions or biases. Be open to being wrong. Be open to “trying it another way.” Be open. Be open to change, to failure, to the idea that “it gets better.” Be open to taking a deep breath, to “sleeping on it,” to asking “Why?” or wondering, “Why not?” Be open.

Be Accepting
George Orwell once said, “Happiness can only exist in acceptance.” Wally Lamb wrote, “Accept what people offer. Drink their milkshakes. Take their love.” Don’t settle and accept less for yourself, but be accepting of the inevitability of certain things. Be accepting of the effort of everyone around you. Be accepting of the roadblocks, understanding you can overcome anything. Be accepting. Be accepting of today, and excited about tomorrow. Be accepting of others, their achievements and their failures. Be accepting.

Look, I’m about as good with the generational monikers as I am with astrological signs; I don’t know if I qualify as Gen X or Millennial, not sure if I’m a Sagittarius or Scorpio. (Author’s note: As evidence, I had to try and spell “Sagittarius” three times before I caved and looked it up.) But I do know that there has always been a prevailing sensibility urging my generation to adhere to the convention that high school precedes college precedes career, consecutively, and in that order. There’s an undue pressure to follow a system that doesn’t work for everyone – myself included. I don’t want it to come off as though I’m on a soap box suggesting people question their decisions, nor am trying to lay out life plans for those who may be influenced. I’m simply inviting any and all who will listen to be willing, be open and be accepting of a way of thinking that has helped me tremendously.

I know there are those of you reading this – and thank you, if you’ve made it this far – who are still hung up on a 30-year-old calling himself “old.” When you start a career at entry level in your 30s, you feel a bit late to the game. But I have learned just as much in my three years in Las Vegas as I did in three years travelling the world. I give so much credit to the people I work with and the new friends I have made for making this transition almost seamless, and at such an important time.

I recently (nearly five months ago at the time of this posting) welcomed to the world my first child – Oliver Steven. There are a lot more tricks to be learned here as well. Through willingness to challenge the traditions, openness to an alternate path to happiness, and by accepting all new realities as they come my way, I’ve been able to grow, both personally and professionally, in this strange and wonderful land called Las Vegas.

And I’ve begun to understand why old dogs so often seem to smile.

Submitted By Graham McMurry



“I actually live here.” I find myself saying this again and again to family, friends, tourists, randoms I meet on the street, those pesky promoters on the Strip, etc. Why? No clue… probably because they think Vegas is a fantasyland made up of bachelor parties, go-go dancers, nightclub crawlers and revelers of all sorts. But it’s not just that, there’s real life here too (I promise).

One thing I have learned from my wise age of 24 and two long years experience of living in the city of sin, there’s SO MUCH MORE to Las Vegas and the relatively close surrounding areas than meets the eye. Look at Las Vegas like the hub of endless west coast horizons. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Las Vegas. There’s no other city like it! Other than its vast casinos, no open container law; 24-hour nightclubs, dayclubs, beach clubs, gentlemen’s clubs, LGBT-friendly clubs, country clubs (SO MANY CLUBS); it’s a city filled with immaculate beauty, expansive culture and one-of-a-kind experiences.

…BUT it honestly baffles me when I hear someone say they’ve never left or traveled outside of Las Vegas since living here (I say “since living here” because almost everyone you meet, except for those rare third generationers, are transplants from somewhere). So please, to all of those “I never leave Las Vegas” souls, let me guide you:

1. Los Angeles

This is a given. Hop in your car, drive 3 ½ hours on the I-15 south and you made it to the city of angels. Honestly, I love LA… there is SO much to do. Cruise around Hollywood and people watch until you spot a celebrity, hike the Hollywood sign (correction: Runyon Canyon), visit some freaks at Venice Beach, drive along the Malibu coast (my favorite restaurant, Paradise Cove, is located here) or enjoy a relaxing, deserving day at Manhattan Beach. Wherever it is, it’ll be worth it.

Must sees: Santa Monica, Venice, West Hollywood, Malibu.

2.  San Diego

My favorite city in the entire continental U.S. has to be San Diego. Not only is this laidback, carefree beach town one of the most beautiful places in California, the beachy vibe makes anyone and everyone want to stay forever. Though, it is a bit of a trek to get to (5 ½ hours), I would still do it in a heartbeat. You can also find some awesomely cheap flights (which only takes about an hour).

Must sees: Gaslamp District, La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Coronado Island (the Del!).

3.  Grand Canyon

Can you say AMAZING. This beauty only happens to be about a 2 hour drive from Las Vegas (to the West Rim). If you’re in the mood for more of a serious road trip, head to the South Rim (which takes about 4 hours). You can always take a helicopter (my preferred method of transportation. Shout out – Maverick Helicopters) which is only about a 45 minute flight. This wonder definitely makes you feel small in the world, but a memory you’ll cherish forever.

4.  Zion

 Probably one of the most mesmerizing places I’ve ever seen. Visit the national park on a day trip or camp and stay a weekend.  This place has AWESOME hiking (so be ready to workout). If you’re camping, I recommend staying at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort; they have nice indoor showers and a pool and hot tub you can relax in after a long day of strenuous hikes.

Must sees: The Narrows, Angel’s Landing, Cable Mountain, Emerald Pools.

5.  Anaheim

AKA Disneyland! Other than DL, you’ve got California Adventures and oh-so-fun Downtown Disney. Find a cheap Air Bnb (there’s a ton near Disney) and you got yourself a perfect weekend trip.

6.  Lake Mead

 Truth be told, you don’t need to go far to feel like you’ve escaped the neon lights and bubble of Las Vegas. There happens to be a huge lake only about 40 minutes away. Find a friend with a boat and you’ve got yourself a fun-filled day of water sports and tanning.

Honorable Mentions: Temecula (wine tasting!), Santa Barbara (gorgeous beach and great shopping), Mt. Charleston (Mary Jane Falls), Hoover Dam, Lake Las Vegas.

Why stop there? There’s an insane amount of gorgeous, untouched (well kind of) land left to see. Leave the bright lights behind for a weekend and get out there and see it!

I’ll just leave you with this (disclaimer: I don’t know who said this fine quote) – “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life” – unknown.


-Brigitte Ruiz