Viva Las Vegas round-up

As of last night, we’re officially home from our trip to Las Vegas. Home, sweet home!

The trip was fun, but I must admit that both Mel and I wished we’d had a better time. We both had a lot of moments when we really felt VLV had gotten bigger than the space allotted for it. And I think we’ve learned that whether we like it or not, it’s just not how we like to spend our vacation time. But my blog isn’t for complaining (okay, not often anyway), and there’s no reason to dwell on the negative, especially about a vacation. And in spite of some frustrations, we managed to have lots of nice times, too. So on to something more fun: the photos!

Thursday we were at the airport around 5.30 a.m. The funniest thing about this picture is we were reviewing photos on Thursday night and couldn’t get over the fact that this had been earlier the same day. Travel days feel like a week, don’t they??

We stayed at the hotel that hosts VLV, the Orleans. It’s both convenient and a pain staying there, all at the same time. It makes it really easy to get to your room quickly, but it’s a pain when you have to wait with 30 other people for an elevator every other time. We had exactly one elevator ride by ourselves the entire time we were there! Though we did ride the elevator with Deke Dickerson twice, who we discovered was staying on our floor. Of course I was too shy to say anything. I mean what am I going to say, “Ooooh I recognize you, you’re a great musician! I found a Dunlop guitar pick on our floor so I thought it might be yours but I put it in my purse. Hee!”

When we settled into our room, I instantly took over the desk with jewelry and accessories. It was like having a dressing table, something I would love to have but we just don’t have the room for. So it was a nice little indulgence.

It’s also easy to forget when you’re in Las Vegas that there are beautiful mountains nearby!

I decided to be really good about taking outfit photos, except poor Mel’s usually ended up looking like a mug shot and half of mine made me look terrible, so I’ll spare Mel but dutifully post mine anyway. This was my traveling outfit, and I ended up not changing my clothes once I got there so it remained my daytime outfit Thursday. The cowboy shirt that I got at the vintage show in February and Freddie’s jeans. On this trip I realized that this pair is ready to get retired from nicer outfits and needs to be relegated to more casual things like hikes and camping. Time for new jeans!

For some reason, in my head I mixed up faux statues and asked Mel to make sure to get a photo of me by the cigar store Indian while I was wearing my Western shirt. When I got up to it, I realized it was a Sailor Jerry hula girl. What was I thinking?

Thursday afternoon we relaxed under a gazebo out by the pool, where it was insanely windy. I was really glad I had tucked a bandana in my purse. This is a good closeup of my shirt, and the VLV wristband. I’m not sure why they switched it from plastic to woven fabric with a metal closure, but I’m glad I at least asked the girl to cut off the excess so it wasn’t flapping around all weekend, even if she looked at me strangely when I asked. (Hey, I figured they had scissors sitting there for a reason!)

Thursday night we both had decent outfit photos. This is my Mexican circle skirt from BombshellShocked, my handknit sleeveless blouse that I finished just in time for VLV, and Mel in an awesome short 30s tie. This was the only night I did my hair in rolls, not that you can really tell in the photo.

Here’s a good photo of the Still Creek Brothers, one of the Thursday bands. They were great! We were annoyed that we forgot to see if they had a CD.

In vending, we stocked up on pomade. Well, Mel stocked up on Black & White and I got a more travel-friendly size of Layrite. I use so little so traveling with a 4 oz container is really silly.

Breakfast on Friday…

And Friday’s daytime outfit of my Nudeedudee overalls and vintage blouse. Yes, those are little ducks on it.

Pendleton love!!

And a booth that had a lot of great Western items, including these child-sized shirts.

As expected there were a lot of inflated prices on clothes but I was able to come out with a few good finds, including a Mexican hand-painted skirt, a blouse and a rick rack trimmed dress.

We got lots of music of course, too! This collection grew as the weekend went on.

Taking a breather with my favorite activity Friday afternoon…

Then Friday night’s outfit, probably my favorite from the trip. This is a blouse and skirt set, I think rayon. I love the set and had a momentary freakout when we arrived because I couldn’t find the blouse, only the skirt. Fortunately it was at the veeeery bottom of the suitcase!

The B-Stars were awesome Friday night…

On Friday we realized we hadn’t been outside all day and were really feeling it. All that recirculated air makes you feel like crap, so Friday night we went for a walk outside the hotel. Here’s the sign welcoming VLV…

Saturday was the car show. I’m not a huge car person (I don’t even drive), but I do of course have a soft spot for 50s cars and especially trailers, so we did a bit of oogling. In our dreams, one day we’ll have a vintage teardrop/canned ham style camper. This one was cute…

And then this one was OMG so great!!

Take a look at the cuteness inside!

I mean, seriously!

It took awhile but I did find a Chevy pickup to take my photo by. My dad drives a Chevy pickup and used to drive a Blazer so I kind of have a soft spot for them.

Saturday during the day I was wearing my sleeveless knit blouse once again, with my hand sewn castles skirt. That was my one totally me-made outfit. When we were taking outfit photos, we did a couples one in the mirror each time as an homage to our friend Moe and her husband who weren’t in attendance this year (we missed you so much!), but we didn’t quite realize that with me holding the camera low (so you could see our outfits better) but keeping our eyes straight ahead like you normally would, most of the pictures would make us look really weird. Whoops! At least this silly one was okay.

Mel’s outfit for the day included an amazing vintage shirt from BombshellShocked that has barbecues and barbecuing utensils all over it. The label even says “For the Barbecuer”. It’s amazing, I’ll have to get better photos someday. Mel adores this shirt! (Thanks Niki!!)

Later that afternoon we watched Delco Nightingale play in Brendan’s Pub and were really impressed. We always do our homework ahead of time and check out bands we might not know and they were one that we were really looking forward to. They didn’t disappoint! I loved her stage presence and they were so much fun to watch. (And another CD added to our pile.)

Moving along to Saturday night’s outfit, which in hindsight I realized was the only dress I wore the entire time….

On Sunday we didn’t attend the tiki pool party but we both dressed up with some Hawaiian style. This was my one major hair fail day but I made it work okay. I ended up pulling it back at the sides and rolling the length up in the back after scrounging around in all of my secret bobby pin hiding places for enough. Ha!

And that is the ONLY photo we even have of ourselves together! Our friend Esther took it. We ran into her several times (though boo, we didn’t see you after Charles Phoenix so we didn’t get more photo ops with your grandpa’s camera!).

It was also the only day during VLV that we went to the strip, since we knew we’d be staying there a few days after the event. We went to Paris to Mon Ami Gabi for an amazing lunch, complete with champagne.

We took one last pass through vending on Sunday afternoon. Mel has always wanted a Shriner’s fez. Do you think a photo wearing one will suffice?

And that’s the last of the photos from VLV. I am so bummed I didn’t take any photos with the bloggers I met! That was a great and unique part of the trip. I had a few people recognize me who I didn’t already know including Gloria, who was adorable, and a woman named Kat (Cat?) and her husband, who we talked to for a good long time during a show in Brendan’s Pub on Friday afternoon. They were so much fun to chat with, it was one of the highlights of our trip. (Please say hi so I can find you again. 🙂

I also met Holly and Gabriella, both of whom were charming and impeccably dressed each time I saw them, I wish we’d gotten to chat more. On Saturday I was so pleased to hang out for a bit with fellow Midwesterner Barbara and her husband. Barbara, in spite of what she said, most certainly did not look like she’d just crawled out of Death Valley, even though she literally had! Unfortunately I never ran into Kim, Tara or Lenora. There were so so many people, I didn’t even spy any of them from a distance. It was GREAT to say hi to the bloggers I was able to meet, however!! Makes me sad that none of you live nearby. 🙂

After Viva ended, on Monday morning we moved on to the Flamingo for three days. Hindsight is 20/20, and we probably should just have gone home. The room was amazing, don’t get me wrong…

But we were surprised to have really poor service there (unlike the Orleans where everyone was super friendly and helpful). We were also surprised that some of the places we ate on the strip seemed not only more expensive than we remembered (and good grief is the strip expensive enough as it is), but the quality had gone down. Which was a bummer when we were kind of thinking of it as the more luxurious and relaxing leg of the vacation. Frankly I think we were just tired at that point and would rather have been home, so everything was a bit disappointing. Lesson learned. That being said, there were also nice times on the strip, too, including having a scrumptious dessert and cocktails as dinner Monday night at Max Brenner’s chocolate restaurant in Ceasar’s.

Seriously, this was dinner.

So was this.

And this was my cocktail. It was all a-ma-zing.

Other highlights included a stop at the Coca Cola store. I hate Pepsi and it seems like they must have an exclusive contrast with many of the hotels in Vegas, because rarely can a Coke be found. This was 1 liter of joy in the form of Mexican Coke in a glass bottle!!

By the way, those are plaid capris from BombshellShocked with the blouse I sewed to match. I had my hair in a ponytail or braids the entire time we were on the strip because there were some insane wind gusts.

We also walked by a store and I completely missed the fact that the entire window was filled with antique sewing machines until Mel pointed it out to me!

A couple more shots from the strip…

And finally a bit of relaxing poolside…

And that’s a wrap for our trip! Like I said, it was fun, though I think we both wish that we’d had a better time overall. We might explore the possibility of going to one of the rockabilly weekenders in Europe in the next year or two, as I think our time for VLV has come and gone. Or maybe we’ll face the music that we’re really old fuddy duddies at heart and don’t like taking vacations with a thousand other people. Hee hee. We’re excited to have two weekend camping trips planned in May to really relax in our element.

When I got home from our trip I found out I need to travel to New Mexico next weekend as my grandmother is suddenly not doing very well, and we’re starting to plan the first of our parties for our civil union that will be sometime in June, and I have invitations I need to design, and more thinking (and knitting) to do for the Briar Rose Knit-along, so I apologize if this is a bit of a quiet week or two around here! I hope to do some catching up in the blogosphere soon. 🙂

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Golly, 30 Comments!

  • Wow, how amazing…. You both look amazing! such an array of gorgeous outfits. What a fab vacation!!!


  • It was so great to meet you two!! I wish I would’ve taken a photo too but I sucked taking them this year. I agree with you about Viva not being as much fun this year. I felt like I was always waiting in a line of some sort, waiting for something cool to happen. The best part for me was just hanging out with my friends. Viva has definitely gotten way too big, but I can only see it getting bigger. I will continue to go though because my motto is “even a bad time at Viva is still a good time”. Plus, its the only time I get to see some of my friends who live all over the planet by now!!


  • Cute outfits!!

    And OMG I have the same print on an old 40’s skirt as you have on your short tiki blouse under your freddie overalls. I found it some where a long time ago… the skirt is way to big for me but I loved the print…I think it is probably an old feed bag fabric. My print is not as vibrant as yours any longer 🙁



  • Wow, beautiful photos, if you are interested in a festival in Italy is the Summer Jumboree in Senigallia.


  • I loved looking through your photos! I know exactly what you mean about having rather mixed feelings about Las Vegas. I do enjoy some things about it, but I’m not sure it’s really the vacation spot for me! (And I’ve been three times…)

    P.S. I hope your grandmother gets better!


  • @Temperamental Broad I sucked taking photos other than in our room for the most part. LOL And I know what you mean about the lines, damn! I agree. I felt like I was always in a line or crammed in somewhere or not able to see something. But I totally get your sentiment about being able to hang out with your friends, I think if more of our friends had been there it would have been more fun for sure! And that’s the one real bummer about contemplating not going back, not getting to see people, so we’ll see how I feel as next year gets closer. 😉

    @Welcome to DeluxeVille Oh yes it sure is feedsack, I got it made! I just had another feedsack omg-I-have-that-too moment recently, it’s crazy how those things made it into so many hands all over the country!


  • @Lauren Hairston Thanks Lauren, I appreciate it!


  • AMAZING photos! I am loving all of both of your outfits! You both looked amazing!!! WHEN you come to Europe….let me know 🙂 We’d love to show you around Edinburgh!


  • Wish I had run into you there! You look fabulous. xxx


  • Your reasons for not having the best time are the reasons why most of my friends stopped going. Like Holly said, running into old friends is probably one of the main perks. I liked the Green Bay Week-ers because it was on a smaller scale. I think the international ones would be the same way, and I’d be up for doing one of those.


  • Thank you SO much for posting these images and for the honest commentary about VLV. I’ve never been but maybe don’t have to, as I feel like I was able to “experience” the best bits through your post! You must have been the best dressed couple there. I swear, I loved every single outfit you showed!! Hope your grandmother is doing better…good luck with all your other plans and projects!


  • I’m sorry the trip was a bit disappointing (I’ve felt that way when I went to photography conferences… just something about most activity being centered in a hotel that bothers me). You & Mel looked AMAZING throughout the trip though– am especially loving your castle skirt, your poolside frock (is that a matching robe over a bathing suit?) and I’m envious of your two ARMFULS of bakelite bangles!!

    I adore Coca Cola too so would have loved to visit the store. Did you get to do any vintage/thrift shopping outside of the event?


  • First, your outfits are FANTASTIC! I’m so glad you did full documentation. The red plaid pants are freakin’ awesome. The red shirt goes so well with them, both in color and style. Your hawaiian shirt outfits are so great too. You guys look stellar. I love Mel’s suit with the blue tie. And YAY for mirror portraits! I am flattered by the homage. 🙂 We really were bummed to miss a chance to hang out with you guys too.

    I was really beginning to question our choice not to go back this year after seeing so many fun-looking photos posted on my friend’s FB, but what you described is exactly the hell and disappointment we felt after last year. The crowds! The angry, drunk, rude, borderline-horrifying people that — granted, have always been there — now seem to have overrun the place. It made us so sad to see it change so much from the experience we used to love.

    I wish Tom Ingram would give the Rockabilly Rave another chance. Starting a new festival in the middle of a catastrophic recession has got to be a challenge, but the Rave was all of the good parts of VLV distilled into one truly fantastic smaller weekend.

    OH — and The B Stars! Greg (the singer) is a friend of ours! I’m so glad you caught them. They put on a great show.

    We are also looking into other weekenders to try out. Tiki Oasis in San Diego sounds fun and certainly more our nerdy old fuddy-duddy speed (symposiums, anyone?), but we’re still on the fence. Maybe we can find a smaller one and bring back the old charm of VLV? Hope springs eternal.


  • So jealous! I wish I could go to VLV next year. It looks like so much fun!


  • I was really interested to read your comments about Viva. I haven’t been for a few years now and I’m thinking about taking my boyfriend for his birthday next year, (he has never been). So it was really helpful to read what you have to say about it. Maybe you should try some of the weekenders in Europe? I’m British and lived until recently in London. The big weekenders over here are: High Rockabilly in Spain (THE best weekender I’ve ever been to anywhere), and Rockabilly Rave on the south coast of the UK. Both can get crowded at the event venues only. High Rockabilly is the one I’d say you should aim for. The weather is fabulous, the accommodation is flexible and varied, and literally EVERYONE from the European rockin scene goes. I hope to get to meet you both there 🙂


  • Are those your fish scatter pins!?! Fabulous! And I loved your outfit Sat night – I thought it was a dress 🙂 The pattern and colors are just wonderful. You and Mel are so put together, I don’t know which outfits to rave about.
    I certainly felt like I had just crawled out of the desert! But I did manage to pull myself together somewhat. I blame my exhaustion for completely forgetting to get a photo together! In fact, I think I only ended up with one pic from Viva at all.
    It was pretty overwhelming. I felt like we spent most of our time roaming around trying to figure out where the heck things were at. But the all of the music was great (even though I never did figure out where to buy the Viva CD), and the best part was ogling all of the amazing outfits and hairdo’s! I think staying at a different hotel really helped – parking at the Orleans wasn’t a problem at all, and it was nice at the end of the night just to get away from all the SMOKE and crowds.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your Grandmother: I’m glad you will be able to get out to see her though.


  • Oh, great photos! It looks wonderful! love your bakelite-bangles. great collection…And you look wonderful to, great outfits.. especially liked that red dress and that green blouse with the dungarees….

    Now I have a real craving for a holiday. 🙂

    Have a great day/ Olivia


  • What wonderful photos!
    I’m sad we didnt get to meet up as well. Nick and I didnt spend much time at the Orleans what so ever…like you, we were very put off by how big the festival has become.
    I hate to be a Debbie Downer…but we came all the way from Eastern Canada, bought our wrist bands last year once they went on sale… only to have to miss out on every single thing we wanted to see. The festival has become too large, and I feel Tom has become greedy. They need a bigger venue, or to stop selling so many tickets. Last year was bad, but at least I was able to get into ONE burlesque event. This year, we tried to get tickets to every single one, and bingo..and were turned away.
    The crowds were far too hard to handle, as well.
    We ended up having a wonderful vacation of our own, the Cosmopolitan was just unbelievable…We will be back for sure, but not for Viva.

    As for Viva replacements…May I suggest making a treck to Canada for a rockabilly event? We have two great weekenders here, The Hotrod Hootenany in Niagra Falls, and The Red Hot n Blue in Montreal, over labour day weekend. May I suggest that one. It is small, run by a very down to earth gal, and would really be worth the travel. We hope to go to Montreal this year. The Hoot is in July, which I dont think we can swing.

    All in all, our vacation was amazing, as long as we danced to our own drum and did our own thing. Every moment spent at the Orleans just made us angry and bitter. I’ve been trying to write Tom an email without sounding like too much of a bitch, but I honestly feel like we were cheated out of the $150 a ticket ( after the exchange at the time we bought the tix)

    Long comment short- you both look fantastic, sorry we werent able to meet, consider coming to Canada, and bye bye VLV


  • Anonymous May 1, 2011 at 6:23am

    love your pictures! enjoyed reading about your trip also


  • oh honey! first let me say i adored meetin you and mel…first your too stinkin’ adorable…& so sweet too!!! loved sharin’ a lil’ chit chat and a drink…this year my honey & took it slow…we didn’t expect to do much or see much cuz of all the people…even my outfits changed to less fussy outfits…just wasn’t feelin’ too fancy! we enjoyed meeting you both as well as other bloggers…such a treat! check out my blog a great photo of you guys…cat


  • ps…you guys look great the whole trip…and you both were such a treat to meet…swing by my place


  • Sending good thoughts for your grandmother. I hope she is doing well.

    I loved your trip report and all of the outfit pictures. Thank you so much for the shout-outs! I’m super jealous over that puffed sleeve blouse that you’re wearing with the overalls!


  • Really enjoyed reading this post – both of your outfits, accessories and the photos in general are all really cool! :))


  • Thanks everyone! ♥ ♥

    And I do appreciate the recommendations on other weekenders, we’ll definitely be looking into it.

    @Moxie Tonic YES those sure are the fish scatter pins, inspired by yours!!


  • Loved reading over your report about VLV! 🙂 I love all your outfits (and Mel’s too! ;)–especially the gorgeous red dress you wore. So stunning!

    – Casey


  • shame about VLV! Have to say reading all about it the past couple of years I have been wondering like you whether it had just got a little big. We haven’t been for about 5 years, in fact since it was still at the Gold Coast and there were lots of queues then and constant waiting for elevators, so I can just imagine what it’s like now!

    All yours and Mel’s outfits are fab!


  • You look amazing and Mel looks swell! Great outfits! I am sorry we missed each other! I would loved to have meet you in person!

    I agree that VLV (this being my first) was fun but it was big! I could not believe the number of people and the size of the event! There was so much to do and so little time! I wish I also could have meet other bloggers! Next time I do Viva, I think us bloggers need to pick a date and time to meet so we do not miss out!

    As for the Strip, the man and I stayed at the PalazzoV?Venetian and the accommodations and service were bar none. Yes, drinks and food were expensive but it was worth it. I also enjoyed their room service breakfasts! The food was just too good.

    I would love to do another vintage-themed/rockabilly event again, maybe something like Denver Modernism or Rhythm Rocker.


  • Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. I always enjoy your posts, but, especially liked this one with all the photos and info on your days. You both look great too. Absolutely love your pool side colors I’ve seen you in!


  • Thank you for posting, I find it interesting to read about how you and Mel spent your time at VLV. Especially since we’re thinking about crossing the pond and visit Vegas next easter. (maybe I should give you some tips about European festivals?;)


  • Thanks for posting these fantastic photos Lady! You guys look amazing. Sorry I missed out on meeting you two! You look smashing in the outfits!!


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