5 Things I Learned About Myself, Life and Living in Las Vegas after Moving Across the Country on My Own

After graduating from Boston University in 2014, I decided I was going to make this my last summer break and enjoy myself before getting a job, where summer break no longer exists. I planned to get a job on the east coast, close enough that I could visit home on the long weekends. New York, Boston or maybe at home in Philadelphia. It wasn’t until I saw a job listing on LinkedIn that was too good to be true. But it was in Las Vegas.

I never pictured myself moving across the country, less so to Las Vegas. Pretty much all of my family lives within four hours of each other, besides my half-sister who lives in Phoenix. However, the job had everything I wanted and more. I couldn’t pass it up.

After accepting the position at Kirvin Doak Communications, I was more excited than scared. I’ve never been afraid of moving away from home. I craved it when applying to college after attending a high school with only 40 students in my grade. This was a whole new adventure, but I knew I wouldn’t be doing it alone. Several other college graduates from all over the country had gotten a position around the same time as me, and we would be going through this huge transition together. Now, I consider these people some of my closest friends.

After moving to Las Vegas, I learned many things, about myself, life in general and about living in Sin City.

1.  Use Moisturizer

This may not seem like an important lesson, but when you live out in the desert, it’s life or death (not really, but it feels like it sometimes!) Moisturizer becomes your best friend. Coming from humid Philadelphia, I never experienced dry heat quite like this. My skin, hair and lips were dry as a bone. Lots of moisturizer, conditioner and chapstick are the only way to survive!

2.  Keep Tab on Your Finances

It’s very easy to lose track of how much money you’re spending in Las Vegas. There are so many shows, activities and great places to eat that you just want to experience it all. Not to mention slot machines everywhere you go, including the supermarket! After going a little crazy trying to do everything my first month here, I realized I am going to be living in Las Vegas for several years. I don’t need to do everything right away and can space it out.

3.  Las Vegas Really is the Entertainment Capital of the World

Sure, Los Angeles has Hollywood, but in Las Vegas you have absurd amounts of megaclubs, restaurants, celebrities, shows and much more. You will never be sitting at home thinking, “there’s nothing fun to do tonight.” There is everything and anything.

4.  Celebrities Love Las Vegas

Before moving to Las Vegas, I had seen maybe three celebrities in my entire life. Obama once was outside my high school. As a person who loves celebrities and is a serious fangirl, moving to Las Vegas is a dream. In just eight short months, I’ve met at least ten (the most exciting was meeting Will Smith, my fellow Philadelphian, at Ghost Bar Day Club). Every weekend there is a new celebrity at a club, performing at one of the hotels, filming a movie or simply enjoying a vacation. I recently found out the Property Brothers live in Las Vegas and it’s become my goal to meet them.

5.  Take Everything as a Learning Experience

Accepting my first real job after graduating was both exciting and nerve-racking. Did I have the skills necessary? Did I study the right stuff in college? Would I do well? What I’ve come to see is that everything is a learning experience. I’ve grown so much as an employee, as a friend and as a person through my experiences working in a new city and living on my own. Sure, I’ve made a few mistakes, both in my professional and personal life, but I’ve learned and grown from those mistakes and become a better person as a result.

 

I’ve had so many amazing experiences from working at an international rugby tournament and working for Electric Daisy Carnival, after attending so many EDM festivals, to becoming friends with a baby alpaca and climbing to the top of a mountain. I wouldn’t give any of this up and look forward to all that is to come.

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-Lea Komitzky

Concert season

Warmer days are upon us here in Las Vegas.  For some this means pool season. For me, I think concert season.  And there is definitely no shortage of opportunities to catch a great show over the next couple months.  We’ve got it all….from Valley to Vegas: Spring Concert Series featuring Hozier, St. Vincent and Ratatat (to name only a few) to Journey Las Vegas and The Essential Diana Ross: Some Memories Never Fade.

In honor of concert season kicking off, here are a few personal stats compiled from the 40 (yes, 40…and counting!) Dave Matthews Band shows I’ve been to:

  • Shows seen: 40
  • Total songs seen: 821
  • First show: August 1, 2001 in Hershey, PA
  • First song: “JTR”
  • Song I’ve seen most: “Grey Street” – 22 times
  • Song I’ve still never heard: “Last Stop”….one day….
  • Locations I’ve seen the band in: PA, D.C., NJ, VA, MD, WA, SC, NV, IL, CA
  • Best memory: ALL OF THEM!

-Brad Seidel

Walking into The Gorge for 3 nights of DMB

Walking into The Gorge for 3 nights of DMB

Meet Me in Las Vegas

“I ACCEPT,” I exclaimed as my feet leapt off the ground and the frame froze just before the credits began to roll. Ok, so it didn’t happen exactly like that, but a moment very similar changed this Texas gal’s future entirely. During February of 2014, I accepted a position at Kirvin Doak Communications, and within days, began my trek across four states to my new home in the fabulous Las Vegas.

Days?

Yes, days.

It’s my nature to act on a whim and that’s exactly what I did. With our horses saddled and canteens full, my lovely mother and I kissed The Lone Star State goodbye and made our way out west. And by horses I mean Nissan Rouge, but you get the idea. Over 1,300 miles later, there we were, on the Las Vegas Strip that twinkled with opportunity.

Feb. 3, 2014, marked my first day at Kirvin Doak Communications. Nerves began to settle as I met my fellow-Texan boss, Miss Allee Bennett, and extremely friendly colleagues. Little did I know what the future had in store.

Welcome Cheyanne

Because who wouldn’t want to be welcomed with a ransom note?

 Within three months I had already met Backstreet Boys’ very own Nick Carter at my first red carpet event, dined at some of the most well-known restaurants in Las Vegas’ culinary scene and made numerous life-long friends at the respected KDC.

By six months, August was quickly approaching and that meant the grand opening of SLS Las Vegas, one of the clients I had been working on since February. Within the month the resort had debuted, a huge accomplishment for both myself and my team, and we were extremely proud of the extensive coverage we had secured, the relationships we had built and the skills we had acquired along the way.

Before I knew it, February of 2015 arrived which marked my first anniversary at KDC, and oh what a year it has been. I am truly grateful for the experience I have gained, the impeccable clients I have had the chance to work with and the amazing coworkers I am surrounded with each day.

-Cheyanne Baker

A Foodie’s Fantasy: New Restaurants in Vegas!

Within the last few weeks, Vegas has welcomed a variety of exciting new foodie hotspots. I’ve had the privilege to experience the deliciousness of a few of them, ranging from the exquisite dishes at BARDOT Brasserie by Michael Mina at ARIA to classic burgers at Shake Shack at New York-New York.

BARDOT Brasserie: Michael Mina’s BARDOT Brasserie at ARIA has taken classic Parisian food to an entirely different level, with drool-worthy food and inventive cocktails. My meal included Steak Frites – a filet with foie gras butter and french fries that are madein beef fat. We then ordered the Chocolate Macaron, which was big enough to share. BARDOT also serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday, and who doesn’t love brunch? Atbrunch, you can order bottomless…yes, BOTTOMLESS rosé along with classics such as a fluffy Croissant Benedict. BARDOT is a must-see with its gorgeous brass bar and intimate dining room adorned with rose arrangements and a view of an open kitchen.

 Shake Shack: Shake Shack at New York-New York is the famous burger brand’s first West Coast location. Having experienced Shake Shack in New York City, I was extremely excited to learn that one would be opening in my new city! When we arrived, the line was long – stretching on to Las Vegas Blvd long, but who can resist a freshly made burger and crinkle cut fries? This Shake Shack location is also serving exclusive-to-Las Vegas frozen custard concrete flavors, including the All Shook Up with vanilla frozen custard and chocolate toffee bits blended with a slice of banana peanut butter cheesecake from a local bakery. Not only is the food delicious, but Shake Shack will also be giving back to the community by partnering with First Friday Foundation Las Vegas and giving five percent from All Shook Up concrete sales to the program that supports local artists in the city.

Excalibur Buffet: While some may know it as the Round Table Buffet, Excalibur’s buffet received a total makeover and is now playing with the buffet big boys on The Strip. The new interior design includes a modern, chic look and offers Asian, Latin American, Italian and classic American food. Its signature dessert bar was obviously my favorite has I am a notoriously-know choco-aholic, but this is no ordinary station. I was able to create my own crepe, build my own ice cream pop and relish in a warm s’mores cake (or what seemed like a cake).

Honorable Mention – White Castle: While I haven’t been to the new White Castle location on The Strip, I feel as though I have an obligation to mention it as it was one of my favorite fast food restaurants growing up. I have absolutely no shame to say that I am entirely looking forward to visiting White Castle and ordering six sliders. What can I say? I love a good burger, and apparently this location is so great that it was forced to close only 24 hours after the opening to restock. 4,000 burgers made in one hour? Yes, please!

Let me just say that these four new foodie favorites are just the beginning as new places to nom on will continue to pop up around the city. I volunteer as tribute to be the first in line!

-Kaity Cash

 2,000 miles of wanderlust

photo 1For many young people, the thought of moving away from their childhood, family, friends and a lifetime of memories is terrifying; for me, it was a dream.

Born and raised in Canton, Michigan, I was full of desire, wonder and drive. A quaint town with average people, average homes, average expectations and an overall average sense of life wasn’t enough for my begging soul.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I was born into an amazing family with two loving parents who would sacrifice anything to give my brothers and me the very best. I’ve always been extremely grateful for the life they have been able to give me and I couldn’t ask for anything more from them. It was my turn now.

Graduating college was the best and worst of times. The pressures, stress and questions from everyone wondering, “What are you going to do next?,” “Do you have an idea of where you want to work?,” “You need a job” got to me. The constant worry and anticipation of “what’s next” would knock anyone down, but I refused to settle. I had my mind set on this fantasy of leaving Michigan, and I wouldn’t (couldn’t) stop until I succeeded.

When the opportunity came across my email for a position in Las Vegas, it was like my prayers had been answered. After extensive research on Kirvin Doak Communications (KDC), I realized I had to send my resume and take a chance. Days and weeks of back and forth communication gave me hope that my dream could become a reality. Finally on Oct. 3, 2014 Lindsey Rathjen had offered me an Account Coordinator position. Needless to say, I bawled. Tears of pure joy streamed down my face in disbelief. I was moving to Las Vegas.

As my brother and I packed up the U-Haul to travel across country, I decided to throw anyphoto 3 expectations I had out the window and embrace each new day and experience as it came. Michigan came and went, just as Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado and Utah did. We pulled into my new home and our jaws dropped. Was this real life? Palm trees at the tip of my fingers and pool access at any part of the day? More importantly, NO SNOWY WINTER!?

I couldn’t have imagined a more welcoming or rewarding company than KDC. Every person her interacts with one another from a genuine place; I find that rare in today’s work world. While only being here one month, I have helped organize a helicopter arrival of legendary rock band KISS, rode a zip line down 30 stories across the Strip, fist-pumped actor Will Smith, ice skated next to palm trees at The Cosmopolitan  and have met some of the most amazing people.

I couldn’t be more grateful to receive this opportunity and I’m ready to conquer anything coming my way. If one month has given me all these incredible experiences, I can’t fathom what’s to come.

I’m ready, eager and excited for it all.

-Emma Williams

 

A day of serving and giving…

OVKDCdayofservice

A few weeks ago, an email circulated the office about the annual KDC Day of Service, to be held at Opportunity Village on Nov. 14. I really love giving, I love community, I love giving back and helping and I love my non-profit clients, but after losing my father very unexpectedly two months ago, serving and giving to someone else was the last thing I wanted to do. Nevertheless, I signed up to go.

My fellow KDCers gathered in the morning chill on that cloudy Friday and split into three groups, allowing each group a good amount of time helping set up the Magical Forest, touring the facilities, and working with OVIPs (their wonderful name for the developmentally disabled adults that are on campus and out in the community working, all because of Opportunity Village).

I’m sure many people in Las Vegas have been to Magical Forest. It’s a wonderful tradition that brings families, friends, coworkers and others together to celebrate the holidays. I went last year, with no idea what this non-profit did in the community. As I wrapped tree trunks in a rainbow of holiday colors, I was still confused as to what Opportunity Village did. And frankly, my thoughts drifted to my dad and the upcoming holidays instead of focusing on helping.

OVAfter the allotted time, the groups switched. Next up for me was working with OVIPs. We walked to the opposite side of the complex and into a small warehouse. Once inside the building, industrial doors opened to a room full of tables with adults working on various projects. As we walked through, I saw the faces of OVIPs light up when they saw us, and they stopped what they were working on to smile, wave, give high-fives or say hello. There were two rooms where OVIPs were folding and packaging shirts, making in-room sugar, napkin, straw packages for resorts, sealing various products, making sound resistors and many other tasks that they are paid for.

I worked on making sound resistors, but I’m much better at talking so I walked around the OVIPs that were actually putting these together and chatted. Each was so happy and joyful, completely open and friendly, truly genuine, caring and full of life. I finally got to work with a wonderful gentleman. He was a pro at making sound resistors, and I was clearly failing miserably. This man showed me over and over how to screw the rubber piece into the metal piece on this contraption. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get it. While I got frustrated and tried to give up on myself, the man remained patient and understanding with me. His patience was that of a saint!

My group was called to go. It was as I was walking out that I realized how rich these OVIPs are. Not rich in possessions, titles and fancy cars, but rich in the sense that they have beautiful spirits, lovely souls and kind hearts that give selflessly, freely and without expectation. They are rich in their abundance of compassion, patience, joy and acceptance of this life that is sticky yet beautiful. So many wonderful traits are rare to find, but when you do find it, your heart is warmed to the core.

A day that started out about giving to others and helping in the community somehow got turned around when OVIPs gave back to me. They reminded me of the goodness of life, the joy of each day, the power of a good heart and that a positive outlook can truly change everything. I walked away full of joy, something I haven’t felt in two months.

Opportunity Village is a tremendously special place that provides many developmentally disabled adults a safe place to have jobs, be part of the community and earn a living. They provide freedom, independence and assistance to OVIPs, and in return, OVIPs help out in many ways than we could ever imagine. Check them out: http://www.opportunityvillage.org/.

-Tamara Sewell

Wide Eyes, Big City

“Route to Las Vegas, Nevada,” my mom demanded from an all-knowing computerized character, also known as, ‘Siri’. And with a single screen tap, we embarked on a 1,300 mile adventure across the country.

To my mom, it was a lengthy trek packed with gas station stops and tourist-y retail shops. She secretly enjoyed it, because it meant three days off of work and an excuse to visit Las Vegas. But, she assured me that her tagging along was solely for my safety. Regardless of her intentions, she was on my side and by my side.

To folks back home, my adventure seemed hasty and wild. Sin City…Sin City?! In the cont divideheart of the South (Arkansas), the idea just didn’t sit well with some. My landlord, during our second conversation in an entire year, was quick to warn me that the area was full of, wait for it…sin. And, he encouraged me to stick to my morals and keep my head “out of the gutter.” Others didn’t have to mumble a word…expressions can speak volumes.

Twenty-four hours, two sunsets and one motel-stop later, my mother and I finally spotted the strip. Immediately, I got this all-over tingly feeling. Ever since I was tiny, I get chill bumps when I see skyscrapers (must a small-town thing). My mom had been here several times and served as a phenomenal tour guide. She wanted to stay on the strip so I could get a taste of it before I moved in with family.

blvdThe strip was so much different than I expected. Quite honestly, the entire town was different. Similar to people back home, I had long envisioned what Las Vegas must look like…and feel like. I pictured an outdated town infested with dusty billboards and gold … just a LOT of gold. To my surprise, it is nothing of the sort. And YES, I apologize for ever thinking that. Everything from the roads and hotels to the shops and restaurants – are clean, innovative and unique.

Moving into Summerlin also proved my foolish theory false. A quaint and comfy villagemomvegas complete with manicured shopping strips and walking trails? I could get used to this.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t until my assignment at Red Rock Canyon (thank you, Alison), that it began to make sense. With an iPhone GPS route set and a cardboard cutout in tow, I ventured out to the scenic loop. The further I drove, the more I relaxed. I rolled the ole Jeep’s windows down and breathed in the Vegas air. For the first time in a long time, I had a moment to myself. And for the first time ever, I was surrounded by this strange and beautiful natural creation.

RRCI have seen mountains and I have seen beaches. I have traveled quite a bit for my age. But, I have never seen something this spectacular.

Fast-forwarding through the photo shoot of a cardboard character and assistance from confused tourists, the task proved to be very enlightening. Throughout the drive, I couldn’t stop grinning. And to locals, this might sound silly. But to me, it was the first time I fully realized I had seized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in one of the greatest cities on Earth.

All at once, my mind drifted to the comments I received in response to my plan. I bmgreflected on my decision to put school on hold for a semester. I thought about this place that is commonly referred to as “Sin City.” And … I laughed. I am learning not to let others’ opinions define me or guide me. But rather, allow them to fuel my aspirations.

I have found comfort in this magical place. I realize that there is SO much more to this city than meets the eye. I consider Las Vegas to be similar to a potential client. Early in, my journey has shown me that Las Vegas has a story to be told. I am reminded that, as a prospective public relations professional, I must learn how to invest in a client and highlight its positive features. In order to fully comprehend and value a business venture, client or in this case – an opportunity, you must step outside of your comfort zone and take the risk. I mean, heck…two weeks in my co-workers have given me the chance to interact with the coolest clients around. I have ridden VooDoo ZipLine, visited the set of Blue Man Group Las Vegas and worked at Hard Rock Hotel Resort and Casino’s Rehab Pool Party. Anyone who truly knows me, is behind me in this quest for self discovery and personal education. And, anyone who knows Las Vegas, knows that I am in for a real treat…bring it on!!

 

 

 

 

 

In celebration of College Colors Day, check out all of the colleges represented at KDC!

KDC College Colors Day

Baruch College

Baylor University

Bradley University

California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo

Chapman University

Colorado State University

Concordia University – Ann Arbor

DePaul University

Florida State University

Fresno State

Iowa State University

Michigan State University

New Mexico State University

Pennsylvania State University

San Diego State University

SUNY College at Brockport

Texas A&M

The University of Texas at Austin

University of Arkansas

University of Missouri – Columbia

University of Nevada Las Vegas

University of Wisconsin – Madison

Western Michigan University

Western State Colorado University

Westminster College (PA)

York College of Pennsylvania

Moving on up 

When Alison first told me I was being promoted to assistant account executive (AAE) just over a month and a half ago I was excited for the opportunity to grow even more in my PR career. I’d been daydreaming about the possibility of moving up, contemplating the added responsibilities and the ways I could add even more skills to those I’d learned as a coordinator. I didn’t imagine the opportunity would be presenting itself as early as it did but the time was here and I was ready to step up my game.

I constantly make lists in my head. To-dos for the day and week, grocery shopping, packing, dream travel spots, new restaurants to check out, what needs to be fixed on my car, you name it, there’s probably a list for it going on somewhere in my mind. With that, I’ve come up with a list of goals I want to work on that I think will help make me a better AAE and PR pro overall.

  1. Write, write, write!
    My favorite non-PR course during college was the creative non-fiction writing class I took my last semester. I loved that the projects forced me to look at things from a different angle or encouraged me to tell my story in a way that would give someone who doesn’t know me the ability to understand the way I view the world.
    One of our latest client projects has been a company rebrand and with that comes a new challenge of adapting my writing style to the match the new look, feel and voice. In order to improve my writing I need to write. And I need to write every day, even if only for 10-20 minutes. Looking ahead, I’d love to challenge myself to devoting more time to writing so I can really find my voice and explore ideas to make my writing for clients even better.
  1. Pick up a book and read
    In PR, you never know what kind of clients you may be working on next so being able to be well versed in a mixture of industries is a huge help. If your client’s favorite magazine is Esquire, you better be picking that up and learning, not only the journalists who are writing for the outlet, but also the pub’s unique style. I have a list of books and magazines I want to start reading, so I think it’s time I start checking some of those off this year.
  1. Get outside your comfort zone and get creative
    I used to be the pickiest eater out there. I didn’t like tomatoes, onions, fish, green beans, mustard, pesto, things that looked too oily, guacamole (the horror!), you name it and I probably didn’t like it. The best thing I’ve done for myself, and my palate, in recent years was to just suck it up and try. There was this whole world of beautiful flavors out there and I was blind to it because I was stuck in my circle.
    Advice, don’t get stuck in your circle. Stepping out and trying new things, whether it’s what I’m eating or my weekend activities, has really helped me break out of my shell. My goal here is to push myself creatively, take chances and stop second guessing myself when I want to explore new ideas that may or may not work out.

∼Ashley Trevizo