Family vacations are a rarity when your parents own their own business and work seven days a week. But when they happen, you learn to hang on tight and remember every moment.
A few times, we loaded up our tan GMC van and with my brother and I playing on the pull out bed in the back, and took a family road trip to Las Vegas. I remember walking through the casinos, eyes as round as saucers and feeling the excitement swirl around me, hearing the clanking of the slot machines and the ringing bells of the games. We would walk through Circus Circus and my dad would hand me a roll of quarters. On the way home, we would have trash bags full of cheap stuffed animals. We would be tired, spent and be filled with memories of happiness and togetherness.
As we got older, we took less and less vacations as the business became more and more stressful, my parents had to work harder to provide and we got older and started choosing to hang out with friends over family. When I was sixteen, my best friend invited me to go on vacation with her family to Vegas. I remember playing cards in a dark dingy hotel room, braiding each other’s hair, and walking around with that air of juvenile arrogance where we act like we know it all, think that we do, but really haven’t the slightest clue.
I didn’t go to Vegas again until I was twenty-seven. I spent New Year’s Eve on the strip with my 6-week-old baby and a married couple that hated each other. I would NOT recommend that. EVER.
Every year, one of the largest photography conventions, WPPI is held in Vegas. So, for the last three years, I’ve gone –you know, for work purposes. Some of the best times in my life have been in Vegas surrounded by friends, having fun and meeting people. If you are a photographer, you definitely should seriously consider going. Here’s my tip for you. Yes, the classes are great. There are some great and knowledgeable teachers in the photography industry and it would be wise for you to sit under their tutelage. Yes, the trade show is huge and you’ll get to see a ton of new products, so much so that it’ll all be a blur. Yes, there will be parties. Lots and lots of parties. But my #1 tip for WPPI, is to meet people. Make connections. I’ve spent the last three years at WPPI, not attending classes, but walking the trade show floor and going to parties. I know some of you are rolling your eyes and judging me right now about me liking to party, but hear me out. The connections that I’ve made at parties, get togethers, the trade show floor, and all those events I have to wear a cocktail dress to, those are the ones that have foraged the path to where I am today in my business. Building relationships, friendships and comradery have opened the doors to new ideas and opportunities. Hey, don’t get me wrong, it’s about fun, too.
I have spent the last two weekends in Vegas (and seriously considering going for the third weekend in a row). My friends think I am crazy but I love it. I just love that all the people there are happy, ready to have fun and enjoy life. It’s nice to get away from reality for a while. And yes, I realize it’s the “City of Sin” and full of debauchery and I’m okay with that. I’m not judging 😉
All photos taken with my iphone…except for the last one!
The Cosmopolitan Hotel. Definitely one I want to stay at and soon.
My Neighbors and Vegas crew
New Years Eve 2011
Soaking our feet before a long night in stilettos 🙂