OLD DOG IN THE DESERT

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

 

LAS VEGAS WEEKEND GETAWAYS:

“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

There’s Something Here for Everyone

Las Vegas. A city full of entertainment, lights, palm trees and more entertainment! Most people think Las Vegas consists of The Strip and The Strip only, but us “locals” live a pretty fun life off The Strip, too. Read below if you don’t believe me!

Ella’s Top Five Favorite Things About Las Vegas

1. Food, Food, Food
My oh my are there some good eats in this city! Everything from steak, seafood, sushi, organic and fast food, Las Vegas has some darn good grub! My favorites include, Herbs & Rye, In-N-Out (obviously), Juan’s Flaming Fajitas, Nora’s Italian Cuisine and the best of all…The Coffee Cup in Boulder City. There are so many other amazing eateries in this city, but those are simply the best. If you have yet to visit one of these, please go immediately!

2. Activities…So Many Activities
Yes. We all love to enjoy an amazing Vegas concert or Cirque du Soleil show every now and then but the list is endless with the amount of fun activities you can do off The Strip. For example, you can hike incredible views, lodge and even snowboard in Mount Charleston which is just a short 45 minute drive from the city. How incredible is that? Want to jump around in an indoor trampoline gym, drink wine and paint a beautiful painting, go antiquing, boat at Lake Mead, go race car driving, sky dive, take a tour of the Grand Canyon…in a helicopter, ride in a hot air balloon? All these things and more are available right outside your front door.

3. Shopping, Shopping and More Shopping
I got to hand it to this city…the shopping is PHENOMENAL! If you want to get great deals, Las Vegas is the place to shop. The outdoor shopping malls are my absolute favorite! Don’t think you can just visit a shop here with the intention of not buying anything because it’s just not possible.

4. Perfect Weather
I’m from Central Illinois, where the summers are humid and the winters are straight brutal. The weather in Las Vegas is simple perfect, even when it’s 120 degrees! Yes, it sometimes feels like you’re stepping into an oven at 9 a.m. but when all your family, friends and other relatives are back home posting about subzero temps, you will cherish those scalding hot days! However, when it’s 68 degrees for the high in Vegas, plan to see us locals wearing jeans, sweaters and boots. It feels like winter when it gets under 70 degrees. (Not really, but it’s cold)!

5. Great People
I’ve never met such kind-hearted, dedicated and loving people. No matter what, they make you feel right at home. Whether it is your supervisor, boss or next door neighbor, everyone welcomes you with open arms. Someone is always there for you when you need a helping hand and in this day and age that’s hard to find. The diversity is truly amazing (coming from a teeny, tiny town in Illinois), I have learned so much from everyone I have met.

Needless to say, Las Vegas is an exciting place to live and if you are thinking about joining the KDC team or heading out to Las Vegas, take the risk and head on over. You won’t be sorry!

Submitted by: Ella Bailey

5 Things to Do Off The Strip

“Let’s party on The Strip!” – the never ending phrase I seem to hear whenever I have a friend in town. After living here for a little over a year and a half, I’ve learned two important things about this glamorous, party-driven city. The first – there is life beyond The Strip. The second – yes, there are other things to do that don’t involve partying until 4:30 in the morning that are actually fun, and dare I say, not on The Strip. So if you’re planning a trip to Vegas anytime soon, be sure get your full day of non-stop drinking, crazy people-watching, lets party until my hair smells like Vodka Red Bull and cigar smoke night on (I mean, would it really be Vegas without it?) but also take some time to explore the non-Strip world. In case you need a guide, here are five of my favorite things to do in Vegas that take you off The Strip and leave you hangover free. J

  1. Take a hike!

No seriously take a hike! When I first moved here, I was astonished by the pure beauty of this desert terrain. I mean, if you take your eyes off of the randos bumping into each other on The Strip and look around, you’ll see that we have mountains. And no they’re not fake, they’re actually real mountains! Las Vegas happens to offer a number of hiking trails that you can get to in less than half an hour. One of my favorites is Calico Tanks at Red Rock Canyon. After treading through the sand and scrambling up a few rocks, you’ll have one of the best views of Las Vegas – if not the best (in my opinion anyways). Just make sure you don’t fall!

  1. Downtown Vegas…what’s that?

I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve heard this question. Yes, people. Long before The Strip there was this place called downtown and be grateful for it because it actually helped evolve The Strip into what it is today (How’s that for a little Las Vegas history?). Anyways, over the last couple of years a group of entrepreneurs known as the Downtown Project revamped the once forgotten area into an energized, creative and innovative space for locals and tourists alike. Being that, it’s home to a number of classic Vegas style hotels like the Golden Nugget and El Cortez where you can experience old Vegas while still gambling for less than half the standard limit on The Strip. On top of that, it also has some of the best places to eat in the city. Try Pizza Rock, Le Thai and Therapy. You’re welcome. There are also some cool hipster spots to check out like Container Park, where, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to witness a fire-breathing mantis terrify bystanders (no, I’m not making this up and yes it’s quite hilarious). If you’re still missing The Strip, you can always walk down Fremont Street for a tamer experience. In addition to endless bars, gambling and fatty food offerings, Fremont also provides a stage for talented artists and performers looking for their big break. The best part – they wear clothes.

  1. Shop till you drop!

Las Vegas is clearly a fan of the outdoor mall and who can blame them when they have great weather 80% of the year. With shopping centers like Townsquare or Downtown Summerlin, there really is something for everyone even those of us who tend to overdo it on the retail therapy. The best part is you can avoid all the hustle and bustle of The Strip and find stores that you actually enjoy and can afford to shop at – ahh the key to life!

  1. Eat, eat and then eat some more!

A lot of tourists tend to think all the best restaurants are the ones you can find on The Strip. Yes, there are a ton of celebrity chef and five-star restaurants that you can go to, but there are also a lot of other places off The Strip that are just as good, if not better. Plus off The Strip dining tends to be more cost effective which means more treat yo self helpings of ice cream, nachos and burgers. If you don’t mind gaining a couple of LBs (I mean it is vacation right), try out some of my favs – Public School, Honey Salt, Monta Ramen, Echo & Rig and Doh Korean BBQ.

  1. Dam it up!

I would think this goes without saying, but if you’re in the Las Vegas area and you haven’t made you’re way to the Hoover Dam, you’re seriously missing out. I mean it is a National Historic Landmark and one of the highest concrete dams ever built (just saying). It also happens to be completely free to visit! For only a 45 minute drive, it’s definitely one of those things you have to see sometime in your life. And if that view isn’t enough for you, you can always take a tour of the Dam and / or Power Plant for a history lesson. It’s pretty insightful and cheaper than the average show ticket!

Submitted by Tasha Walker

5 Things I Learned at My First Camping Music Festival

I’ve been going to music festivals for years now, and have had the opportunity to work on North America’s largest dance music festival – Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas. Even though I’ve been to over 10 different festivals over the last several years, I’ve never been camping. This year that changed. I embarked on a five-day journey to Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival with two of my KDC coworkers, Shaina and Brigitte.

Luckily, Shaina is a Coachella veteran and knew exactly what we would need while camping for four nights in the middle of the desert. When she first sent us over the list of what we would need, I thought she was crazy. All this stuff for just four nights? Well, she was right. We needed all of it. Here’s what I learned:

  1. If you’re traveling with a big group, make sure you get to the camp site early to get spots together.

We were traveling with a big group of people and getting camping spots next to each other was definitely a process. First, we met up with everyone at the Walmart close by and got into a line to drive to the camping entrance. Driving in a 25-car line across Indio without losing everyone was definitely a struggle. Keeping next to each other while waiting in the security check line was even more difficult. Even though we got there an hour before gates opened, there was a huge line of cars ahead of us filled with people who had the same idea.

Luckily, they had a waiting lot where we were all able to meet before heading into the main camping lot. Plus, everyone else there was doing the same exact thing as us, and were really nice about letting us stay together. 

  1. Even though you are in the middle of the desert, it gets really cold at night.

Temperatures during the day reached a scolding 100 degrees by the end of the weekend, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t get cold at night. We would be wearing leggings, sweatpants and a sweatshirt all wrapped up in a blanket and would still be cold. You definitely need to bring lots of layers to survive those brutal nights.

  1. Everyone at Coachella takes camping very seriously.

Camping in comfort is key for Coachella. Walking around the camp sites, I saw people with propane grills cooking up some lunch, couches for a cozy living space and even a ceiling fan attached to an E-Z Up to keep away the brutal heat of mid-day.   

  1. Waking up early to shower is a must.

You’re going to wake up early with the sun anyway, so you might as well get yourself out of bed to get in line for the showers. Lines can get really long, especially the later it becomes in the morning. To save yourself from having to wait an hour or longer, it’s definitely important to get yourself out of bed and into that line.

  1. The party doesn’t stop after the last set ends.

Just because the last set ended for the night, doesn’t mean the party is over. On the camp grounds there’s a silent disco that goes late into the night. Plus, a fellow camper brought his DJ equipment and played throughout the night, creating an epic dance party within the campgrounds. Don’t worry though, if you want to go to sleep right after the festival, you’ll be so exhausted from the epic day that even his DJ set won’t keep you from some shut-eye.

All-in-all camping was an awesome experience that I’ll never forget. Though, next time I definitely think I’ll forgo the camping and get an AirBnb.

 

Submitted by: Lea Komitzky

Earth Day at Kirvin Doak

earth day

 

Today (April 22) is Earth Day, and to celebrate, I asked my Kirvin Doak coworkers to send their tips on the choices they make to try to live more sustainably. It was great hearing the stories of some of our Kirvin Doak colleagues. For example, Dominique Del Sarto converted her home to be solar powered in 2015 to reduce her carbon footprint and help the environment. She also does a small amount of composting in her backyard, which she says the desert quail love. Our very own Bill Doak owns a Tesla, an 8kw solar system on his roof, installed smart meters, produces renewable energy credits and installed window tinting in the Kirvin Doak office. There are young parents in our office making a difference, too. Graham McMurry recently had a baby (little Ollie!) and he and his wife Beccy use cloth diapers and wipes instead of the disposable variety. They also try to purchase as many toys, clothes and accessories made from sustainably-sourced or recycled materials as possible. They also try to use as many hand-me-downs as possible. He says: “When you have a child, you tend to reevaluate the way you’ve been treating the world he will one day inhabit after you’re long gone.” Well-said!

Here are some of the things Kirvin Doak employees try to help conserve energy and protect the environment:

  • Refuel when it’s cool outside. Don’t fill up in the heat of the day because if you spill, the fuel will evaporate into the atmosphere! You also shouldn’t top off because that lets extra fuel drip onto the ground. –MacKenzie Ruta
  • When grocery shopping, opt for a reusable bag to carry your groceries instead of choosing paper or plastic!  This will save trees, limit pollution and help our environment by reducing waste. Plus, some grocery stores even offer a discount to those that use reusable bags. –Allison deBrauwere
  • Putting your lights on timers is always good. This way you don’t leave the lights on and can turn the lights on and off during the most efficient times of the day. –Jaclyn Dadas
  • Don’t let the faucet run while you brush your teeth. This saves money on your water bill and keeps water in Lake Mead! –Rachel Henry
  • Carpool! It’s basic but something I try to do when I can. – Tasha Walker
  • If you have blinds or shutters, close them during the day. Especially the days you’re at work all day. Doing so will keep the heat of the sun from entering your house and will help not use as much AC to cool your house. This is especially helpful during those hot summer months.-Kimbrlee Merrihew
  • Drive a Hybrid.  My next car will be electric, now that I have the infrastructure for it. – Dominique Del Sarto
  • Use cold water in the washing machine and try to do laundry at non-peak hours such as early morning or late at night.-Aimee Wenske
  • At the bank ATM, never get a paper receipt; always ask for no receipt or for it to be emailed. –Terri Maruca
  • During summer months, turn your air conditioning off when you leave your house. Especially if you’re gone (at work) for most of the day. –Brigitte Ruiz
  • I bring my lunch to work most days. It helps the environment because you’re not buying food for lunch (which tends to come with a lot of paper and plastic packaging.) I use Tupperware containers and try not to use too many plastic baggies. –May Wildman
  • If you hand wash dishes in the sink, don’t let the water run continuously. Either plug your sinks or even better, use metal tubs, one for washing and one for rinsing. As an added bonus when using tubs, choose a natural, biodegradable soap and then dump the water on your plants after you’re done doing the dishes. –Aimee Wenske
  • Use a reusable water container (I love the Hyrdo-Flask) instead of water bottles. We have 2 large glass jars of ice cold filtered water in our fridge all the time so we can refill our water bottles and don’t need to buy the plastic 12 ounce water bottles from the store. –Richelle Rice
  • Even if your computer is in sleep mode, it is still using energy. Turn off the computer and monitor when you go to sleep at night. –Jaclyn Dadas
  • I use Reynolds-Heat-Eat. They are a great alternative to plastic – made of fibrous, renewable plant based materials. –Terri Maruca
  • Change your thermostat even by one or two degrees and you can save on energy – especially around here in the summer. –Brad Seidel
  • Stunt around town in a Honda Civic. –Kyle Boulia

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Submitted by: May Wildman

5 LESSONS I LEARNED LIVING IN LAS VEGAS

 

It freaks me OUT that a year ago today I started my professional journey in Las Vegas. So many emotions I felt that day. Would they like me? Would I like them? Do they like pizza? This was the biggest risk I had ever taken and here I was ready to take on this new and exciting challenge in my life.

For a quick refresher…before being hired at Kirvin Doak I was literally working at a daycare center. That’s right, cleaning up poop, chasing kids off the play mountain when it was movie time and dancing to Frozen everyday. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Life was confusing, stressful and plain scary because I could not get a job in my field for anything. There I was with an entire college degree sleeping on a blow up bed in my mother’s living room and wondering where the heck life was trying to take me.

It’s been a long road and I know I have SO much more to learn and discover but getting the call that I was hired was one of the best days of my life. If you’re feeling discouraged in a job search or just life in general I want to present you with 5 Lessons I Learned This Year (and a few pics from the year):

Surrender – This is the most important and difficult lesson that I have to keep learning over and over. When we try to force things into our perfect little life plans they NEVER work. I often feel like God is actually up in the skies, sipping on a mimosa and laughing that we try to do things our way. Right before I got the interview at KDC I made up in my mind that I was letting go of the stress and anxiety of figuring my future out. Throughout this year I have had to do this through my dreams and everything I try to do my way. Once you accept that things may not be on your time but be ON time…you will succeed.

(Our Grand Canyon stop right before we made it to LV – a 24 hour drive)(Our Grand Canyon stop right before we made it to LV – a 24 hour drive)

Be Faithful Over Few – This was also a difficult lesson for me. I remember times I was so angry because I couldn’t understand why I was in the situation I was in but I began to be thankful for the small things. I would go to that daycare with my head high and be the best little teacher I could, making sure I was taking care of the kids like my own. Even moving to Vegas, I am learning to give each day at work (I’ve struggled with this BIG time) my all to show that I can handle even more in my life. So don’t be discouraged where you are at even if you hate it right now. Work that ish and own it so that you can be elevated.

(My first in-studio at a news station for a client)

(My first in-studio at a news station for a client)

Trust Me, You Have Time – I was the QUEEN of I don’t have time. I don’t have time to exercise, I don’t have time to read and I surely don’t have time to work on my dreams. If you’re telling yourself that right now you’re doing yourself a disservice. When I finally moved into my own place I was tired of eating junk and feeling guilty. I was tired of looking in the mirror and eyes shooting straight to my gut. I started the process of eating better and working out and with commitment and a lot of cheat days (the pizza gets me every time. Ya’ll know I love pizza) I lost 15 pounds…while working two jobs. Wait, TWO?! Adulting is pretty hard so I got a side job to help me. Old Laina would have NEVERR made time to work on myself with two jobs but this new Laina is  pretty insane. Being the best you can be is work and it’s hard but if you want that thing bad enough you will find time. Maybe start with getting off the Snap! haha

(At job #2. I finally quit lol)

(At job #2. I finally quit lol)

(I honestly just put this in here because it’s a GIF and we’re tight)

(I honestly just put this in here because it’s a GIF and we’re tight)

Don’t Betray Yourself – Okay so we know that Vegas has the label of “Sin City” and I honestly was super nervous about that when I moved here. Would I be able to keep my morals?  Would I become a stripper those dirty men on the street advertise about? Would I survive without my #1 combo from Chick-Fil-A with Chick-Fil-A sauce? I had legit worries here. But I found out that staying true to myself was the best thing I could have ever done. I think I did a pretty darn good job of not following what was the standard in the city but still enjoying all the amazing things it has to offer. Wherever you go and whatever you do, don’t betray yourself. Don’t become someone that you don’t even recognize to please your friends, your boyfriend/girlfriend or even your parents. Do you and do it well.

(Dining at the opening of Carbone Las Vegas aka AHfreakinMAZING)

(Dining at the opening of Carbone Las Vegas aka AHfreakinMAZING)

(One of the few nights I hit the town because I’m a grandma)

(One of the few nights I hit the town because I’m a grandma)

Live Life, Take Risks, Celebrate Yourself – Life is about living it to the fullest and often we talk ourselves out of big goals or dreams because we are scared or are driven by what people think of us. Besides moving across country by myself, I have done amazing and risky things like climbing mountains, traveling to LA on a solo trip, see J.Lo slay every edge on my head and dancing on stage with THE Tyson Bae Beckford. When I stress myself out about my future or not being where I want to be I look back on the incredible experiences I have had and it helps me to let go and just live. Think back to an accomplishment you thought you could never do but you did it. Not your mom, not the haters but YOU. You are so great and powerful, more than you even know. If you push through the fears and take risks you will be so surprised at where your journey will turn.

(Right after I rock climbed up Red Rock Canyon)(Right after I rock climbed up Red Rock Canyon)

It’s been a great year of challenges and growth for me. I’ve cried, been confused, been lonely but I truly believe God opened this door to show me that I could do anything I set my mind to. And so can you.

#letsglow

Thank you to everyone in Las Vegas that has made my year incredible. Love you guys!

3

Submitted by: Alaina Curry

Facing Fears:

Many, many moons ago, I severely injured my knee. With only 20 percent of my knee remaining and all of the cartilage removed, my doctors advised me to avoid incline hills, running, jumping, high heels (really?) or any type of physical activity unless I wanted to have knee replacement surgery. For years I have been intimidated to get back into real physical activity – that is up until about a year and a half ago.

Sean, my boyfriend and hiking addict, challenged me to explore Red Rock. Having lived 5 minutes from the beautiful mountains for the past 2.5 years, I was embarrassed to say I had yet to get out there. After my first outing in Red Rock I was amazed at the scenery and the obstacles; I was instantly hooked.

This time last year, we went scrambling – a type of hiking but you pretty much climb up the side of a mountain using your hands and feet – around Turtle Head Jr. It is a highly traveled peak in Red Rock Canyon that is shaped like a turtle’s head if you look hard enough. I hadn’t climbed this one yet and was really excited and nervous at the same time. It even has a much bigger brother called Turtle Head. Everything was going well and I was impressed with myself that I conquered a lot of fun obstacles such as the “slab of pain” – an incline that never seems to end. I felt like I was the master of the mountain.

It was the final leg of the hike in completing the route lowest to highest when I hit a slot – basically a narrow crack/split in the side of the mountain that you either climb up or down – that put me to a halt. Sometimes you find a slot that has a rope to help you but this one did not. After watching Sean climb up, I stood at the bottom feeling my anxiety level rise. The only thing going through my head: If I fall, I am going straight down… what did I get myself into? Shaky legs, sweaty palms and a pounding heart later – I ended up making it up the slot but it definitely left a mark on me.

Since then, I have been hiking and scrambling all over Las Vegas and beyond, including Zion National Park in Utah and the Dunes in the Mojave Desert. But last weekend, I questioned my sanity again, when I found myself doing a Tier 5 (level of difficulty on a scale 1-5) scramble called the Triple Bypass – I think the name gives you an idea that it won’t be easy. It included climbing not one, not two but three peaks…

In the back of my mind I was praying my knee would hold up but overall, I was pumped and ready to do this. However, mid-route I was in for a big wakeup call.

This beautiful and challenging climb included:
– Time: 6.5 Hours
– High Point: 5,200 ft
– Difficulty: Tier 5
– Distance: 5.2 miles (I have done 13 mile hikes before so I was feeling good about this one)

I have climbed some of these famous and well-traveled peaks with Sean a few times from different approaches, but never all together. The lighting, rock, views, altitude, exposure and sheer beauty always surprise me. We hit the trail head a little after sunrise, and there was a golden light casting over the valley. The morning light bounced off of the gold and red tones inside of Red Rock, lighting up the canyon.

This was my first time doing the Triple Bypass, but not my first Tier 5. I attacked the first peak at a moderate pace: in the middle of the group, swift and quiet. I wanted to make sure I was keeping a good balance and not exhaust myself too early in the hike. After we hit the first peak, I felt good. And confident.

That is when the unexpected happened…
• Mistake #1: Looking down over and over again for the next peak
• Mistake #2: Looking over and seeing Turtle Head Jr. and hearing its name come up…one too many times.

That’s when it dawned on me that we were doing Turtle Head Jr. The anxiety rushed through my body and my brain froze. I couldn’t think of anything but that slot from last year.

My body was panicking and I was not mentally ready. Caught unprepared, fear had taken over. Sean could sense my anxiety and mentally walked me through the route we were taking and told me to inject logic into my thought process. Only moments later it dawned on me that we wouldn’t be taking the route that used the slot that I battled last year – which soon disappointed me. I was now upset that the one obstacle I was afraid of and didn’t want to face – we weren’t facing. It’s funny how your mind processes things and can play games on you.

Don’t you worry though; we had multiple other obstacles to play with that were much more challenging. I scrambled up the side of a cliff with high exposure – my father would have had a heart attack if he knew.

I even climbed over a ledge to make it down another slot that was narrow, steep and long. I had to use a “chimney” technique where your back is against one side of the crack/slot and your feet on the other side, and then you shimmy your way down. Lots of leg and arm strength needed. I can still feel the burn.

As the afternoon went on, things got better. I focused on touching the mountain one step at a time, concentrating on my technique, thinking positive, planning new trips, and visualizing getting to one peak at a time. The rest of the day was met with celebration, thankfulness and a feeling of accomplishment as we climbed to the top of the final peak.

Fear does crazy and dangerous things to our bodies and minds. I think Eleanor Roosevelt was on the right track when she said:

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’”

Submitted by: Jaclyn Dadas

 

 

Seven Days

All in a week’s worth.  Here’s a shout-out to our public relations division this week.  We are so proud of their work and results this week and every day.  Oh, what a week!   This week might be a record.  What did you do this week?

  • Opened The Park the immersive, outdoor destination for dining and entertainment, nestled between the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino and the New York-New York Hotel & Casino.
  • UnitedHealth Group executives join UNLV leadership and elected officials for a check presentation during an event announcing a $3 million grant from United Health Foundation to UNLV’s new medical school.
  • Insomniac – the production company behind North America’s largest dance music festival, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas – revealed to Las Vegas nonprofit, The Shade Tree, that they had been selected as beneficiary of Insomniac’s second annual “EDC Week Charity Auction’ with an event at the shelter.
  • On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week we had Gaz, Penny, Sean and John out to Denver for a press trip. While in town, the group participated in two radio interviews and one TV in-studio interview. All three interviews were LIVE and the cast had the opportunity to chat about ABSINTHE, their roles in the show, their backgrounds and more. In addition, Sean and John performed at the Denver Nuggets game on Tuesday evening to a very receptive and energetic crowd
  • Coordinated Ribbon cutting event at Toshiba Plaza.
  • Opened the Hyde Lounge at T-Mobile Arena.
  • Opened the T-Mobile Arena and celebrated its grand opening on Wednesday with a blowout concert headlined by local legends including The Killers; “Mr. Las Vegas” himself, Wayne Newton; and emerging pop artist Shamir.
  • Cast members from Rock of Ages welcome Guy Fieri and his new Mexican restaurant which opened at the Rio.  Guy, who did a walk on role with the Broadway Rock of Ages a few years ago asked them to sing for the crowd because he just loves the show!
  • Blue Man Group was living in full color with a surprise performance with The Killers at the grand opening of T-Mobile Arena. 
  • Coordinated and promoted a field trip for Rancho High School’s aviation maintenance class which provided students with behind-the-scenes tour of Maverick Aviation Group at their corporate headquarters located in Henderson, Nevada.
  • Secured numerous interviews and coverage on Motley Brew’s Sixth Annual Great Vegas Festival of Beer on Saturday, April 9, 2016.
  • Coordinating efforts for the USBC Womens Championship Opening Ceremony at South Point on Saturday, April 9, 2016.

 

 

Submitted by Terri Maruca

#KDC #TeamNatalie #TeamKate #TeamTerri #TMobileArena #ThePark #UnitedHealthGroup #FlymMaverick #RockOfAges #Guy Fieri #BlueManGroup #USBCWomensChampionship #GVFB #MotleyBrews #MGMResorts #LIVEatTMA  #Kudos #Absinthe #DenverNuggets #TheShadeTree #EDCLasVegas #Insomniac #ToshibaPlaza #PublicRelations #OnlyInVegas

4 Things I’ve Learned Since My Post-Grad Move To Sin City

When you tell someone you just turned 23 you get the same shaming looks as if you went up to a buffet for thirds. Those younger than you view you as someone with grey hair and a lame side part. Those older than you look at you as a newborn that somehow has a five o’clock shadow. Here’s a few quick lessons learned from someone still trying to figure out if he should part his hair in the morning:   

  1.  Don’t be Peter Pan

Waking up is hard. I planned my college schedule around my love for my pillow. There was no chance you would see me in a classroom before 11 a.m. Breaking the cycle is a challenge — start while you’re ahead. While the relationship between my pillow and I is rocky at best nowadays, it surely beats wasting half a day on laziness — something I never thought I would say a year ago. As an FYI, my feelings for my pillow have now been replaced by caffeine and International Delight’s French Vanilla cream. Additionally, having fun on school nights is no longer a thing. While it was manageable to go out three to four nights a week in your college years, nothing is worse than dragging behind in a public relations career. One thing I’ve learned about keeping up: tomorrow is the graveyard of the present. Don’t be Peter Pan, it’s time to dominate your profession, not the bar scene!

  1. Moving is scary, but entirely rewarding

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a meltdown before I dropped everything I knew to move to the west coast. It experienced a whirlwind of emotions as the future was unknown: Would I like my job? Would I like my coworkers?  Will I see my closest friends again? Can I handle living in Vegas? Can I even handle living on my own? My advice — don’t over think it. Just do it! Nothing is more liberating than breaking out of your comfort zone and becoming a part of something bigger than yourself. I now find myself working on concerts with huge names, dining at acclaimed restaurants and celebrating at world-famous night and dayclubs. Why was I scared to make the leap? Never limit yourself, you never know what the future may hold. I’d much rather be way in over my head with something that brings excitement over feeling comfortable.

  1. Hard work is hard, but working in the city is pretty darn cool

Sometimes the effort and hard work required to be successful is a struggle. Face the hard work head on with enthusiasm every day and put the control in your hands, it will pay off. I have the incredible opportunity to work with the public relations team at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, whom consistently hosts some of the biggest acts to celebrate the New Year and remains one of the Las Vegas Strip’s premiere resorts for entertainment, dining and gaming.  This past year, I had the honor of ringing in 2016 with my Kirvin Doak team, as well as The Cosmopolitan’s internal team. Together, we worked throughout the New Year, while experiencing a grand opening, Las Vegas’ famous fireworks, ice skating in the middle of the desert and the revelry of the Strip. I was able to see what goes into the making of a live New Years special while working with one of Las Vegas’ local stations, and made it onto live TV to wave goodbye to viewers. Not many 23 year olds can say that, can they!

  1. Adventure is out there, make friends who encourage you to explore

The friends I have made at Kirvin Doak are some of the most unique individuals I have met, with various styles, interests, backgrounds and personalities. My best friends back home in Florida pushed me to not only better myself, but to also adventure throughout various states to enjoy experiences most people would refuse out of uncertainty. I have made similar friends here in the city, who have taken me along for the ride to snowy Mt. Charleston, Disneyland in California and even a haunted house that requires a waiver. The thing that makes friendship so valuable is that it’s purely voluntary. Complacency is boring — don’t settle for people that don’t strive for excitement in life.

Fun fact: I wrote this on a plane en route to Breckenridge to snowboard for my first adult vacation. Post-grad life can be pretty “chill.” Get it?

 

Submitted by: -Kyle Boulia