Tag: Las Vegas

Travel Swellness: I flew a jet in Las Vegas


In March I visited Las Vegas for the sixth time, and while I’ve been on plenty of whirlwind trips there (one focused on spa and daytime pool parties, another on food — when I thought my stomach would break — and two on fitness fun times) this one takes the cake on being the most thrilling.

How’s that? Well, for one, I flew a jet. No, really. I did the Top Gun experience at Sky Combat Ace and after you watch a video explaining the moves, you head up in the aerobatic jet and after the pilot performs the stunt, you’re given control of the plane (much like when you learn to drive, he can take over if anything starts to go wrong).


I feel like I don’t get too nervous for most adventures I’m lucky enough to experience, but I will admit that I was pretty shaky in the knees for this one. But that quickly went away once we were up in the air. I didn’t find it too nervewracking to do the stunts because there’s really nothing around the plane that you can crash into.

What did catch me off guard? How dizzy I got! After the pilot did the first two stunts, I had to ask to have a breather before I performed it, just to let that dizzy feeling ease up. I can get carsick sometimes (usually if it’s particularly stop and go traffic) but I’m fine of rollercoasters so I didn’t expect this flying experience to affect me. But I guess it was the spinning action (I’m good on coasters that go up and down, but not the spinning of a tilt-a-whirl, for example).

I knew I had no interest in doing the stunt where you get to so many Gs that many people black out briefly (I’m prone to fainting thanks to my blood pressure sometimes dropping rapidly — it’s called vasovagal syncope — and I do not enjoy the feeling!), but I was keen to do all of the stunts, even the three more advanced ones…

So once we completed all the regular stunts, the pilot did the first advanced stunt — and mid-stunt, as the jet spun around and dropped in the air, I thought “Omigod, I’m going to lose that half granola bar I had for breakfast!” I immediately started to try to take deep breaths to get control on my insides and not throw up, and as I dry  heaved I reached for the convenient trash bag in front of me.

The pilot kept talking to me but because I was so focused on not throwing up, I couldn’t reply. “I think you moved your headset, I can’t hear you anymore,” he said. No, no, just me trying not to speak so I can keep my breakfast inside my belly…


When I was finally able to speak, I told him I needed a break, so we flew low to the ground for awhile and then I heard him telling mission control that we’d be flying back soon. I almost interrupted and said I wanted to do the rest of the advanced stunts (cuz I’m stubborn like that) but then I realized how awful I’d feel if I actually did lose my breakfast. So back we went to land, and then I lay down in the lounge for almost an hour as I sipped water and had a snack and just waited til the dizziness went away.

Here’s the video from my Sky Combat experience. TBH, I’ve only watched the beginning…where you can hear my nervous laugh as we go up, and then my true laugh as I’m upside down. I had to stop watching the video because it actually makes me feel all lightheaded and woozy all over again! Soo…there may be a nice little scene where I’m trying not to vomit, I’ll have to watch the whole thing one day. Enjoy!

But you know what? As nauseous as it got me, I’d do it all over again. That’s right, my days as Maverick are not done if I have the choice to fly again! Such a thrilling experience and YOLO! Haha! I’m definitely glad I didn’t have more of a breakfast beforehand, and I say go for it if you’re in Vegas (and have a healthy adventure budget to burn! Jet flying doesn’t come cheap!).

For what else you can do in Vegas for the ultimate thrill ride of a vacay, check out my article on AmongMen!

1 Comment April 27, 2017

Beauty Swellness: Backstreet Boys mani


I’m on my way to see the Backstreet Boys in Vegas, baby! While I’ve seen BSB in concert many, many times, I think this show in Sin City will be extra fun (and I should hope so as the tickets cost a small fortune!).

So what better way to declare my boy boy band love than with a fun mani from Tips Nail Bar? The awesome Naomi Misu at Tips wasn’t too familiar with the wonders of BSB so she had to watch music videos and research some photos to see what they look like (and she was thorough, she noticed AJ is always in shades!).

I’d asked for each of their faces, and then because I love the Millenium album, I also asked for the silhouette of the album cover (the boys all standing in their white outfits) on another nail, and the rest were simpler (a heart, a star, BSB and 4ever — the BSB Naomi did in the typography from one of their albums, she’s the best!). I love how she did Nick’s hair and the shades on AJ are the best!



The nails make me giggle so much. And I have to laugh because while they’ll make sense this weekend while in Vegas, after this weekend I’ll just be the weirdo with the Backstreet Boys nails (…or is that what I am now??). Or maybe as someone at Tips (another fan) said, “Backstreet Boys is always in style.” Hahaha!



Oh, and a PSA for all the non-fans: Backstreet Boys has not gotten back together. They’ve never broken up! Kevin left briefly but he’s back. They’ve been recording regularly all these years!

Leave a Comment March 17, 2017

Travel Swellness: The Hip Guide to Las Vegas


I’ve been to Vegas five times now. Which is possibly the most I’ve ever visited one destination other than my hometown of Montreal and New York City. And I’d had enough of walking the Las Vegas Strip after my first visit. So what a surprising treat to stay in Downtown Las Vegas (aka old Las Vegas) my last visit there in November to run the Rock n Roll Half-Marathon for the second time.

My story, which I think of as the Hipster’s Guide to Vegas (well, as hipster as Sin City can be) is live now on AmongMen and Huffington Post Canada. Here are some photos I snapped and you can get full deets over in the article. If you’re a first-time visitor to Vegas, then I’d say stay on the main Strip. But if you’re looking for something different than your usual visit here, I highly recommend Downtown Las Vegas (even if it means the occasional trek to the Strip if you’re seeing Britney or to eat at Giada’s).

We stayed at the Downtown Grand where, as you can see, the rooms are modern and there’s a very nice bar in the lobby.

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My favourite spot at this hotel, though, was the quiet rooftop pool. It was unexpectedly warm enough for the pool to be open (the last time I ran the half in Vegas, pools were closed for the season).

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One of my favourite meals was at Park on Fremont. Not so much for the food (too many fried dishes on our table quickly felt overwhelmingly greasy in my belly) but for the cocktails (yes, I drank before running a half, oops) and quaint back patio. Inside the restaurant, the vibe was more edgy and urban.

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Another beautiful patio is on the Strip at the Bellagio, at Lago, which is worth the visit for the #fromwhereistand photo opp alone.


If you’re considering going to Vegas for the Rock n Roll Marathon, I hear the marathon route is dark and lonely (which is a big reason I chose to run the half). And the two years I’ve run it this race, it gets cold and terribly windy at night so plan your race outfit accordingly. It’s not always hot in Vegas.


This trip, I finally got a chance to check out the Downtown Container Park, which is just really pleasant and charming (but hard to get a great photo of that captures its relaxed vibe). But I”m also a big fan of shopping at The LINQ, for people watching and and cute souvenirs at fun shops rather than clothes shopping. Next time, I”d love to go bowling at the Brooklyn Bowl that’s at The LINQ.

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One of my favourite parts of this trip by far was walking around downtown Vegas one morning by myself and checking out some of the fantastic murals, and finally going with to check out the stunning Red Rock Canyon.



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And while there are plenty of over the top buffets, which are top notch, one day I walked over to Grass Roots Juice Bar and grabbed a really big acai bowl. Delicious and very filling. And exactly what I was craving for breakfast. Endless mimosas and dozens of breakfast options at a buffet are best reserved for a Vegas visit that doesn’t include running 21.1k after all.

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I rounded out the trip with my foodie favourites of doughnuts (well, a homemade poptart, this time) and an affordable bowl of ramen, too, before catching my flight home to Toronto. Find out where to go for those nibbles in my Hip Guide to Las Vegas.



Leave a Comment January 8, 2016

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