So You're Spending Your Birthday in Vegas?

I recently went to Las Vegas to celebrate my birthday and discovered some new aspects of the infamous party capital when visiting for my own amusement. I had been before for other reasons, but this was my weekend to celebrate. Based on my experience, if you’re spending your birthday in Vegas, here are some tips.

PLAN AHEAD

Hotel rooms are important based on exactly what you want. I wanted a fantastic pool, casino, and comfortable room so I chose the MGM Grand. The earlier you make reservations, the cheaper it’ll be. Luckily, if you’re celebrating your birthday, you can ask for an upgrade when checking in for a very small fee for a suite. It never hurts to ask, and usually the staff will be happy to for a birthday.

It’s no secret that Vegas can be expensive, especially when you need something quickly like water or Aspirin. I went to see Cirque de Solei’s KA at the MGM Grand and was forced to buy a Fiji water bottle for $15 since they literally didn’t offer any other options. Drinks are also painfully expensive at the major bars and clubs, so if you’re wanting to heavily drink, instead of waking up to maxed credit cards, go to a liquor store and pre-game like any college student. Please don’t forget to drink water! I’ve made that mistake before and had horrible hangovers way too early that can ruin a weekend.

No doubt you can go the cheaper route and still have a good time in Vegas. I went the more expensive route due to celebrating my birthday, but even if you’re having a Vegas weekend road trip, you can cram all your friends in one room at the Excalibur for less than $50 a night each and eat nothing but Subway. However, don’t forget that you typically get what you pay for. You can find a street promoter on the strip (they are everywhere) that offers the “Vegas experience” of a limo ride to different bars, clubs, and strip clubs with a flat fee. There are plenty of options to enjoy Vegas, but it can depend based on your budget.

THE STRIP

            The first thing I did after checking into the hotel, was buy the stereotypical hard slushy necklace with a long straw to sip as my friends and I walked the strip. These can be found in most buildings and on the street connected to various restaurants, but they can be really strong without the taste of alcohol. If it’s you’re first time in Vegas, I would highly recommend walking the Strip and see all the places you’ve seen in movies, television, and social media. You barely have to walk on the actual street since all the major buildings are mostly connected by walkways and malls. Remember, there are all kinds of people in Vegas and you will witness people that you’d probably never seen before or even believed existed, but Vegas is a haven where nothing is surprising. You might be flashed, yelled at, touched, blatantly offered drugs, or even hissed at because it has all been done before.

FIND THE FUN

            Vegas has so much to offer yet so many people go to the typical clubs or bars to get blindly drunk and then sick shortly after because “what happens in Vegas” right? What happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas based on the complaining sorority girls on the bus to the airport home who were complaining about their drunken mistakes such as nose piercing and tattoos. I would recommend going to a few memorable places that can make your experience more worthwhile rather than a drunken haze of mistakes.

After witnessing the infamous strip of Las Vegas, my friends and I had made plans to eat arguably the best sushi in Vegas. A hole-in-the-wall restaurant 15 minutes off the Strip lays The Naked Fish’s where the sushi will blow your mind. You can’t be picky, only open to whatever they bring you and I swear it’ll be delicious.

For late night, after drinking/clubbing food, I’d recommend the unmarked little pizza place in the Cosmopolitan literally called Secret Pizza. If you find a small hallway next to the Marquee Nightclub entrance with a line of people, you’ve found great pizza. You can find reviews and specific directions to Secret Pizza online here.

            “I made it over 40 seconds this time, but damn my wrist hurts!” said Sean Beal, 24, who joined me in riding a mechanical bull for the first time. He had done it before in Vegas, but this time he was determined to beat his record. Ever gone mechanical bull riding? PBR on the Strip offers $5 (sometimes free) bull riding inside the bar. It is enjoyable to do and even more hilarious to watch. Beal had tried so hard to hold on that he sprained his wrist, so this activity can get dangerously fun pretty quickly. 

Gambling is a given when going to Vegas and I personally hate betting my money away when I am not 100 percent sure that I will win. I was given cash as a birthday present specifically for gambling and I lost all of it pretty quickly playing blackjack in an anxious mess. One game however, I truly enjoyed betting money on was what we called The Ponies (or Sigma Derby). The MGM Grand Casino is the only casino on the Strip that has the low-tech animatronic horses that move along a track that you can bet on. The machine gives the ratios of which have the best chances of winning and the bets are all done with 1 bet per quarter. With a large group of people, free drinks as long as you’re gambling, and screaming at tiny jockeys going around a track on an outdated machine is somehow incredibly fun. The Las Vegas Review Journal did a fantastic article on how wonderful this game is.

DAY PARTIES

            The big event planned, other than Cirque de Solei, while in Vegas was to see Steve Aoki at Wet Republic. Wet Republic is this enormous pool party at the MGM Grand that hosts big name DJs and events. A few tips about Wet Republic you should know before attending:

1) If you plan to buy tickets, buy weeks in advanced. The price of tickets double the closer you get to the event date. You can risk getting free tickets at the entrance from promoters, but this is only when they aren’t sold out.

2) Lockers are $50. Don’t bring anything valuable because everyone leaves their things in the bushes and under chairs due to this insane price.

3) Drinks are $40 each. The mixed drinks are highly priced, but they come in a cup you can bring into the pool and are incredibly strong. Split one among friends and it’s not too bad.

4) Sunscreen! My friends got burned pretty bad due to not having enough sunscreen so make sure to apply before and reapply during since you can bring a travel size into the venue.

5) Drink more water. I made the horrible mistake of drinking more of those delicious mixed drink sippy cups than I did water while partying to Steve Aoki and paid for it later.

I experienced waking up after a haze in my hotel room with all the stereotypical questions people ask in the movies in such scenes. Due to my early hangover, I was unable to go out that night because I couldn’t drink anything without throwing it back up again. Not drinking water can ruin a weekend of fun, luckily this was the last night there for me, but I can image the frustration of this happening on night #1.

My brother Peter, 24, was the person who decided in the group that I should not go out that night because he said “you literally just blinked one eye after the other. You’re not going to a club in this obviously sick condition. What you need is more water and sleep.” It’s important to have a group that can properly look after you when either you’re too inebriated or sick.

NIGHT PARTIES

            “I’m not much of a fan of the big clubs like Hakkasan unless you have a table and a big-name DJ. They can be so overwhelming they lose their fun,” said Matt Norris, 26, who was the main nightclub planner of the trip since he had frequented Vegas the most from the group. Most popular clubs have a cover fee, a long line, and suffocating dance floors. I celebrated with my brother and his boyfriend who preferred the less-suffocating gay clubs of Vegas that were much more eventful in my opinion. I find it flattering to be hit on by both genders, but Vegas is also full of drunks and druggies who don’t understand a word you say. A random guy at a club just grabbed my face and started kissing me until I literally ran away due to the surprise and was later forced to hold his head for full attention and repeatedly say no until he vaguely understood. Then I let him go stumble off to dance with some other people uncomfortably. This is not uncommon in Vegas because many of these people think you’re as messed up as they are.

            Just Google popular events in Las Vegas and the weekend you’re visiting to find great activities from popular DJ appearances, to concerts, to just open parties at different clubs. There is always something going on somewhere in Vegas, so it’s pretty difficult to get bored or have trouble finding something to do. When in doubt, either Google or just start walking down the strip and you’re bound to find something. Have fun, be careful, and make your Vegas experience as incredible as it can be!

Scheduling Ahead

When marketing photos, deals, videos, etc. online, I would strongly recommend scheduling ahead. This involves using social media programs that allow you to schedule posts to be put out to the world or your targeted audience. 

Hootsuite is a great site that lets you manage posts on multiple different social media platforms, but I usually only use it for Twitter. Facebook is awesome with it's scheduling capabilities. It has a really easy format that lets you set a date, time, and target audience with all the other typical info when posting like location and tags. 

I scheduled a few posts for Fly High Trampoline Park for their semi-weekly videos and recently released the Incredible Kids video on Friday at 6PM. I was away from the computer on that Friday night watching Deadpool for the second time so Facebook's scheduling makes it so much easier than having to plan to be on the computer at the right time.

Here's the Instagram sneak peek.

Instagram typically gets a lot more exposure with videos on flips and tricks since the demographic is younger. Facebook receives more input on posts about deals and things that relate more to parents than teenagers.

Schedule ahead! It really saves a lot of time and effort.

Don't Post While Drunk

I recently spent a weekend in Las Vegas which involved heavy drinking and shenanigans. One thing I made sure to do, was not to post anything online while I was drinking. Vegas is one of those places that if you're celebrating a birthday, there's a good chance drinking will be involved. No doubt it was a blast, but if you're accustomed to posting info/pictures online, Snapchat is the way to go.

Similar to tattoos, posting something online while drunk probably wasn't a good idea and it never really goes away no matter how hard you try. Snapchat luckily "disappears" after a set amount unless somebody snaps a screenshot, so you're never really safe unless you just refrain from posting.

My group and I posted photos of our experience such as this:

Upgraded Birthday hotel room at the MGM Grand with a view of the Strip

Upgraded Birthday hotel room at the MGM Grand with a view of the Strip

Wet Republic pool party with Steve Aoki

Wet Republic pool party with Steve Aoki

The best sushi in Vegas at The Naked Fish's

The best sushi in Vegas at The Naked Fish's

Post your experience without visuals of heavy drinking or blurry photos that can infer your bad choices. Otherwise, Snapchat, it's ever so slightly safer. 

GoPro Editions Videos for Fly High

At Fly High Trampoline Park in Fort Collins, CO, I manage the social media marketing and content producing of our various profiles. This involves writings, creating, posting, and managing different texts, graphics, photos, and videos that represent the park.

We recently released a new campaign of GoPro Edition videos that can be used as a reoccurring theme for future videos entirely filmed with GoPros. Here's a clip of the first video that was posted last Friday at 6PM on our Facebook page:

I found it interesting that the 2 promos we posted on Tuesday and Thursday as little sneak peeks had vastly different responses enough though they were posted at the same time. On Facebook, the second sneak peek was watched by about 50 people, however on Instagram it was watched by about 300! Fly High has hundreds of more followers on Facebook than Instagram, but the audiences are different. Instagram has a younger audience while Facebook is predominately older. Typically younger people are interested in GoPros and impressive flips, so it was understandable that Instagram received more responses.

Each site can reach a different audience more effectively, so good research into your desired audience is a great step to reach the people you want for your business with the appropriate social media site.

Putting Together a Story Based Active Video

A problem a lot of people face filming action sports videos have is one that involves a story. Believe it or not, not everyone likes to just watch trick after trick. A little intro/conflict/resolution can make your video look incredibly more professional and not just your friend holding a camera while you flip off a ledge.

I have a video shoot coming up on Wednesday that involves Parkour with a beginning/middle/end story. I will be posting it on all social media, but the original reason for this project was to create something with Parkour that isn't the typical cool flip videos. Of course there will be cool flips and such, but along with a story.

It's always good to do a little Behind the Scenes (BTS) footage while filming using social media to create hype for the release. SnapChat is the easiest for quick and simple BTS for that filming day, but Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are great to use as well. Wednesday is going to be a big filming day that I'm excited to share with everyone!

Here's a great example of a Parkour story video:

Fly High Trampoline Park

In the last few months, I have been working as the Social Media Marketer/Content Producer at Fly High Trampoline Park in Fort Collins, CO. If you have never been to a trampoline park, I'd recommend finding one in your area because they're really fun with dozens of activities all on trampolines. Here is a video I created for Fly High to show everything it offers that we posted on our Facebook page with 2 sneak-peek promos days before.

COME JUMP WITH US at Fly High Trampoline Park with all its amazing activities!!! Weekday discount deals and endless fun for all ages! Here's a video that showcases some of its best features! Music by Nova #trampoline #flyhighfun #comejumpwithus #dodgeball #basketball #familyfun #discounts

Posted by Fly High Trampoline Park Fort Collins, CO on Friday, March 11, 2016

I manage Fly High's social media profiles from Facebook, to Instagram, to Twitter. This involves researching trends, regularly posting, promoting deals, boosting posts, taking photos, and creating videos. The very first video I created for Fly High was an animated logo for their video content. I created it on After Effects and tried to incorporate the trampoline aspect of the park. 

The first major video I created for Fly High was about the Colorado State University Snowriders Club who had a private party. These guys were incredible and I can only image how great they were on a snowboard or skis!

The CSU Snowriders Club came to Fly High Trampoline Park and showed off their skills! Check out their flips and tricks in this week's video!!! #trampoline #csusnowriders #csurams #college #snowboard #bounceboard #djiphantom #flips #tricks #spins #flyhighfun #comejumpwithus

Posted by Fly High Trampoline Park Fort Collins, CO on Friday, February 26, 2016

This park is incredibly fun and the staff is wonderful. I have made great friends from working here and have found a new group to train parkour with that all attend CSU as well. I hope to post more that involves Fly High and film some creative videos that are different from any other trampoline park.

Small Business + Parkour

The apparel in parkour is similar to break/hip hop dancers: all over the place. You'll find incredibly baggy sweatpants, colorful spandex, and everything in between. Whatever is comfortable and allows you to get the most movement is basically the rule because tight jeans can sometimes be constricting when doing the splits. 

I recently got some sweet spandex from this awesome company called Society6. This company gets artworks form thousands of artists and prints/sells them on various products such as clothes, pillows, phone cases, and blankets.

I am obsessed with geometrics, so I received the Mynt leggings by Spires as a gift not too long ago and I am loving them. Human flagpoles are what I am currently working on to hold longer.

Companies like Society6 are wonderful finds for different styles of clothing that you won't have a "who wore it better" with others. I am still working on GX Pockets with the help of Spoonflower to get all my drawn designs on fabric. This company allows to to design your own custom fabrics, wallpapers, and gift wrap with a wide variety of qualities. They have wonderful customer service and their response time is incredibly fast. The shipping arrived in about a week with my 1 sq. yd. of fabric.

I'm excited to start making some designer pockets with this awesome fabric and hope to sell them sometime this year. Look out for GX_Pockets on Instagram that should have some photos up in March. 

If you're looking for workout clothes that are different and creative, check out society6 or create your own on Spoonflower! Send some love to the small time artists or become one yourself because art is an incredible outlet for stress and it shows off your personality to the world!

Quiksilver's Bankruptcy

The popular action sports clothing company Quiksilver had filed for bankruptcy in September 2015, but their efforts to fix their debts are now being publicly reported such as loan requests.

Quiksilver is the parent company to companies Roxy and DC shoes co. Both are popular clothing companies in the action sports industry with big names sponsored by the brands like Travis Rice and Jeremy Flores. Quiksilver is most known for their surf/snow athletes and previously had a skateboard team, but cut the team back in 2013.

DC sponsors mostly skateboarders, but once Quiksilver filed for bankruptcy, lead sponsor Rob Dyrdek had his contract rejected after a 20+ year relationship with the brand. DC's arguably most popular athletes are driver Ken Block, skateboarder Danny Way, and of course Dyrdek. Dyrdek's popularity is not only in the skateboard world with international competitions he created (Street League Skateboarding), but in the TV world with multiple shows over the years on MTV. 

Here is Dyrdek's show Fantasy Factory which was a popular show on MTV from 2009-2015 after Rob & Big from 2006-2008. Not only was DC getting regular exposure with Dyrdek constantly covered in their brand during the shows, but many of his separate videos advertised the brand as well. 

Quiksilver's earnings per share declined by 22% in the last quarter until filing for bankruptcy retreating it by 79%. It is a difficult time for the brand, but they confirmed the debt does not include its European and Asia-Pacific markets. Being such a large company with international ties, this bankruptcy could potentially help it bounce back from debt and start anew. 

Many huge companies have gone bankrupt in the past and came out better than before. Hopefully Quiksilver will be one of those companies.