Part Four – Viva 17 Recap

It is bittersweet to write the final post in the Viva Rockabilly Weekend 17 series; months of preparation all come down to four incredible days where you make memories to last a lifetime. People came from around the globe and there was nothing but smiles with good times to be had. Everyone is there to have a great time and celebrate the culture they love, no matter what walks of life they are from. It was a real treat to see old couples enjoying the weekend as much as the younger crowd; there is no age limit on this fabulous lifestyle.

welcome-to-las-vegas-series-ricky-barnardWe decided to arrive on Wednesday to get acclimated to the three hour time change, which also gave us time to take in the sights before Viva began. Thankfully the Orleans allowed us to check in upon our arrival so we could spend the day exploring with friends. Our first stop was the Charleston Antique Mall! I had heard many great things about this place and knew it would be fun to check it out for ourselves. Needless to say, there were a lot of vintage décor I wished to bring home with us but knew it was a window shopping kind of trip. Unfortunately there were no big vintage clothing finds but that didn’t stop us from appreciating the rarity of the items on display. Next, we ventured to downtown Las Vegas to take in the Fremont Street experience. Sadly, it was rather disappointing to visit during the day as it’s known for its nightlife with all the neon signs and light show. This will definitely be on our hit list for next time! Our day ended on a high note with the Neon Sign Boneyard night tour. If you want to take in some true Las Vegas history, this is the place to go. The tour was truly incredible and I highly recommend it to everyone.

IMG_2544 IMG_2547 IMG_2554Thursday began early for me with a photoshoot with Mitzi & Co Photography at the El Cortez Hotel. Luckily I got the chance to work with Mitzi and a few of the team from Studio Glam who was hosting the Beauty Academy Classes. They were all super friendly and such lovely gals to boot! After my shoot, I got my Viva wristband and joined my hubby by the pool. It wasn’t long before I started to see some familiar faces and meet news ones as well. Through the blog’s 1st anniversary giveaway, I was fortunate to connect the lovely Pinup Gigi Marie and keep in touch through social media from that time. It was a real surprise to finally get to meet her since she wasn’t originally planning to attend. We could have chatted for hours; she is such a beautiful gal inside and out. I must mention she had on the most GORGEOUS vintage earrings, given to her by her grandmother.

After spending the afternoon by the pool, we headed inside to see who else we would bump into since so many people were arriving all day long. Thursday evening we had dinner with a group of friends at Koji. Be warned, food at the Orleans is nothing spectacular to say the least. After dinner, we attempted to visit the vendor rooms upstairs but it was a mad house. There was absolutely no room to move with the herds of people, let alone do any kind of shopping. We decided to get out of there and come back once the initial rush subsided.

20140417_18433620140417_201943Friday I attended the Mitzi & Co Beauty Class on how to do Victory Rolls where I was selected as the live mannequin. They were in fact filming the whole class, so you may see it someday on the interwebs. Liz from Studio Glam launched her pinup colour palette by Technicolor Cosmetics, as seen first at Viva. I scooped up one of her fabulous peach blushes and soft pink lipstick since they are great pinup staples to have. Meanwhile, my husband was in line like the trooper he is to get tickets for the Burlesque Showcase that evening. Once those were secured, we decided to give the vendor rooms another try since they seemed to have quieted down. Initially I wasn’t wowed by the overall selection and felt rather disappointed in acquiring any unique vintage finds. On the other hand, I was quite pleased with Remix Footwear and decided to splurge on a pair of brown hand tooled leather wedges. We managed to sneak in a little more time by the pool before attending the infamous Charles Phoenix Slideshow. This particular event was completely unknown to us but so many people were raving at how incredible this slideshow was and were told not to miss it. Let’s just say, we were not disappointed. Charles knows how to entertain his crowd and share tons of great history with his epic photo slides.

20140418_11442920140418_122341Friday evening we ate dinner at the Coasta Cantina, which we are quite a fan of since they serve delicious Mexican fare and definitely one of the better restaurants at the Orleans. For us, the Burlesque Showcase was the one event we sadly missed out at our first Viva and we made a point of not missing it again. Honestly, this year’s showcase was beyond incredible; those who had been before were not shy in saying it was the best one yet! We were proud to see Roxi D’lite on stage since she is from our hometown and truly an incredible performer. The entire line up of dancers was fabulous and the hostess was so entertaining as well. All in all, we were so thrilled with the show to say the least.

2014-04-18 18.04.31 2014-04-18 18.03.20Saturday was the big Car Show day! I was up bright and early to get my hair done by the incredibly talented Madison Jane. Once I was all ready to go, I went upstairs to the vendor rooms quickly (since some booths restock daily) before waiting in line with my hubby for the Burlesque Competition tickets. Seeing as we enjoyed the show so much the night before, the Competition was a must see for us too. We made our way down to the Car Show around 12:30pm; thankfully the huge lines moved rather quickly and were able to get in within a short time. Within minutes of arriving, Amber and I were asked to be filmed by A Vintage Vanity for her Viva Car Show fashion vlog. Thankfully, I didn’t stumble on my words when she asked us to talk about our outfits with her viewers. Here’s the fabulous video, we are right after A Vintage Vanity’s Intro…

The weather was on our side, it was a really hot day but we managed with lots of sunscreen and a handy parasol. There were some great outdoor vendors this year, I spent enough just in that afternoon alone. The Car Show was much bigger than the previous year we attended, there were a plethora of vendors and tons of beautiful classic cars to see. We spent the entire afternoon walking around, seeing some familiar faces and meeting many new ones as well. On a side note, I couldn’t have chosen a better dress for that day; I received so many compliments and was asked to have my photo taken more times than I could count. It was truly a humbling experience. With Saturday being such a big day overall, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at the Prime Rib Loft before attending the Burlesque Competition. It was another fabulous show filled with beautiful women who knew how to entertain the crowd. The winner was well merited as she put on the most complete performance of all the contestants in our opinions. It’s nice to see an honest competition where the crowd gets to pick their favorite and not just a bunch of silly politics.

IMG_2566IMG_2560925828_271523473017354_1666016148_nSunday was our day to relax at the Pool Party. We lined up early to get our pick of seating with a bit of shade. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day with tons of sunshine and a slight breeze. The Pool Party is a spectacular place to do some serious people watching. You’ll get to see some of the most incredible vintage swimsuit, beautiful women of all shapes and sizes, and my personal favorite…oodles of tattoos! I made sure to get a few pictures with the lovely gals I knew as they walked by, something I didn’t get a chance to do much all weekend. The pool is crystal clear and large enough to accommodate everyone. This was the first year that I opted to go for a swim, it was so hot outside and a quick dip was so refreshing. One point to mention, the food at the pool is quite delicious and there are tons of special tiki drinks at the bars. The Women’s Vintage Swimsuit Competition was in the late afternoon and is known to draw a huge crowd. There were some pretty spectacular swimsuits on display and the stunning Angelique Noire won with her unique two piece yellow printed bikini.

20140420_15150120140420_145413IMG_2635Unfortunately we didn’t make it in for Charles Phoenix’s second slideshow presentation, but our friends said it was just as great as the first. Since our friends are into dancing, so we joined them to watch the Jive Competition before dinner. It was absolutely mesmerizing to see the dancers with their elaborate footwork and show stopping performances. Once again, the winners were selected by the crowd and simply random people that went up on the dance floor to compete. With the Viva festivities coming to a close, we got dolled up one more time after dinner and headed upstairs to various rooms where the bands were playing before admitting it was sadly all over for another year.

Our second year at Viva was even more memorable than the first and we have already booked for Viva 18! It is not necessarily an event that you want to attend each year but we know this may be our last for a little while. We already have a few things on our must see list for next year: Neon Sign Day Tour, Fremont Street a night, Viva bowling, etc. With so much happening all at once, you have to choose what is most important for you and make those happen before anything else. Thank you for sharing in our Viva experience and hopefully I’ll get to see some of you next year!

Let the Viva Prep Begin!!!

945683_10151235750937537_1797889637_nWith a little over a month to go…it’s time to start prepping for Viva! For first timers and even seasoned Viva goers this is can be a very daunting task; what to pack, what to wear, what to do…there are so many things to consider! As this will be my second Viva, I quickly learned what I would do differently the next time around to get the most out of the weekend. Now it’s time to pass on these valuable dos and don’ts onto all of you so you can be ready too!

By now you should have your flights and accommodations booked; these are often done months, if not a year in advance. If you are even thinking of attending the following year, book the Orleans before you check out. Staying at the Orleans is the way to go since all events are hosted on site and ultra-convenient to say the least. Now it’s time to start the preparations to take place in the weeks before the big event…

orleanshomepagePre-Viva Prep:

First and foremost, DO NOT OVERPACK!!! This is the biggest mistake I made and seriously paid for it by stressing myself out about our luggage being overweight at the airport. Start planning your outfits now, bear in mind the most you will need are 2-3 outfits per day. One for day, possibly a second for the afternoon and then another for evening. That’s it! Remember, you can always mix and match separates with different accessories to completely change your look. A tip I learned from my friend Amber; pack your clothes the day before leaving to prevent wrinkling and deep creases in the fabric.

Picnik collageAt Viva, you will be doing a lot of walking so it is best skip the high heels and focus on flats, wedges, and your most comfortable shoes. Bring styles that you can mix and match, as they are quite heavy to travel with. Also, pack lots of Band-Aids and even some insoles because there will be lots of blisters. Even if you are not one to burn in the sun, pack some sunscreen. For those of you who turn red like a lobster (like me), bring high SPF sunscreen and consider using a parasol at the car show as it is an all-day outdoor event. (They can be purchased on site from a few of the vendors.)554978_232018473607698_1361355787_nIf you are traveling with a spouse or significant other, pack ½ of your clothes in each suitcase in case god forbid, the airline misplaces one of you bags. Pack all essentials and valuable items in your carry on, do not check them. Be sure to visit to print off the schedule of events and select which ones are essential for you to attend. Keep in mind, it is not possible to do everything as there are so many things happening all at once.

Viva Arrival:

First, the cab fare from the airport to the Orleans does NOT cost more than $20. Be up front with the cab driver that you know this and will not pay anything extra. They smell “newbies” and will take advantage of you by going the long route to incur a higher fare. Funny how our drive to the hotel was $25 and the drive back to the airport was under $15. A friend of mine was charged over $40 for the same you arrive at the hotel, see if the desk will allow you to check in, sometimes rooms will be ready before the noted check in time. If not, then your luggage can be stowed securely, grab a bite to eat and then take the time to familiarize yourselves with the Orleans layout. This is something we didn’t do and it took us a while to get our bearings on how to get to/from all the events quickly. The first time we stayed on the 18th floor and we rather enjoyed being higher up but the elevator stopping on each floor does become a bit tiresome. Keep this in mind when asking where your room is situated.Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 8.33.03 PMWhen arriving in your room, take the time to unpack since you’ll be there for a least a few days and changing fairly often. Hang garments immediately to prevent wrinkling and take this time to iron anything that needs to be freshened up. This is a real time saver and you will thank me later. Try to keep your room organized; this is essential to good time management and won’t leave you frantically searching for a coordinating item that is MIA. Once you’ve settled in, it’s time to enjoy Viva!!!

Stay tuned for part two ~ What to do at Viva!!!