Getting Out of my Comfort Zone and into New Experiences

Last year when I left a #ConferenzNZ ‘Marketing to Farmers’ conference after being part of a panel, I had no idea what was in front of me …… apart from cows and about 200 hungry calves and a night at the Southern South Island #TOPSHOP awards in Dunedin.

It was the 2nd year I had entered my business in the Retail NZ competition and Jess into the Retail professional award, after successfully gaining recognition the previous year.

I flew Auckland to Dunedin via Wellington.  It was that flight between Wellington and Dunedin that gave me this amazing opportunity I have just had, presenting ‘My Story’ to my retail peers and Retail Royalty from NZ and around the world!

I’m still pinching myself!

That flight, I had sat at the very back of the plane so I could be 1st off, as I was in a hurry to catch up with my Carvin girls who were road tripping up from Gore to Dunedin for #TOPSHOP awards that evening.

Was it chance or was it meant to be that a gentleman by the name of Mark Johnston sat next to me? We chatted, general chitchat, he asked about the conference I had just attended, I asked what he did? He said he was CEO for Retail NZ. I Proceeded to tell him I was off to the awards as a finalist. He already knew that (he had recognised my face) but hadn’t let on! And still didn’t! He had booked his seat for a fast getaway to the awards too. We chatted the whole trip, great banter, with him knowing I was actually sitting at his table, and the awards Carvin had won! I still had no clue, he definitely had a good poker face!

Fast forward to the awards, he spotted me and did suggest I don’t drink too much! I thought he was being cheeky! In hindsight he was forewarning me I was about to get up and do several acceptance speeches!

What a wonderful evening and I was fortunate enough to meet many great new people!

Next,Christchurch and the National awards……. Carvin Streetwear Runner up to the Supreme Award of TOPSHOP 2015!  Mark suggested that night he/they at Retail NZ maybe in touch, they were planning the inaugural Retail NZ conference.

4 months later….

Mark Johnston – Retail NZ CEO

20160217_134534

 

Yesterday (16/02/16 ) I presented at the inaugural Retail NZ Conference #shopkiwi , but not before I had- had an interesting evening with some of retails Royalty from around NZ, Australia and America. Dining at one of Auckland finest restaurants “ The Sugar Club” ………….       high in the sky!

Mikayla Whetton, Events & Promotions Manager Retail NZ and I

I was a breakout speaker yesterday 1 of 6. Sharing my retail success as a SME (small medium enterprise)

The Epsom room had seating for 80! By the time my head had stopped spinning on my shoulders through sheer fear and nerves (completely out of my comfort zone), I realised all seats were full (except a couple up the front- noone likes the front haha) and standing room only, people were filed along the back of the room also!

Wow!

Were they really there to listen to me?

They were!

(2 people even told me they had attended the event because they wanted to listen and meet me! I actually had people waiting to meet me after and another one even wanted a photo! OMG!)

And what more, they were engaged in my presentation!

At the end of my presentation, the questions came thick and fast, it was amazing, so much so, we went overtime of my 40min time slot. Below are photos of the programme line up and a little about what we were all speaking about.

Matthew Shay – National Retail Federation, President and CEO

What a truly great experience, worth all the worry, anxiety and nerves. I choose the blue pill, to get uncomfortable  (see *)

I wanted to blog this, not just because it’s been a truly amazing few days and I wanted to share my experience with you all,  but because I hope that it may inspire just one of you who are taking the time to read my blog ☺

 

 20160217_134408 One of the main speakers (Paul Taylor) talked of health , wellbeing and your mind. Apart from actually almost getting me to shit my pants, get emotional about running a marathon and teaching me that 8 min exercise in the morning is great for you, he talked of Morpheus (from Matrix – the movie) and spoke about how choices are what define us. We make our own luck! Many people tell me I’m lucky .

Paul talked about getting uncomfortable until we are comfortable and then pushing forward again to be uncomfortable, all the time improving, this relates to anything in life, whether it be exercise, relationships, work , life in general.

*Morpheus said in his movie, there’s 2 pills…. a red one which you can take and life will be the same- easy, what you are used too, or the blue one that will change everything forever! It might be great or it might not. It’s your choice !

I choose to take the blue one every time, I really enjoyed his analogy,it was putting how I see life into context. (Sometimes it’s not so good, but then I get uncomfortable again).

So if you are wondering or umming and aahing, about life and things you want to have, achieve or do, just think are you happy with status quo? What is it you actually want for you, your family,your life and your well being? It’s not going to come to you as you are at status quo, you actually have to get out there and feel uncomfortable to get it.

Which pill do you choose to take?

The red or the blue?

Are you too comfortable?

It’s your choice,it’s your destiny.

I’m blue!

If you think you’re unlucky all the time, maybe it’s time you looked at why? Maybe you need to choose the Blue Pill too!

20160216_090524

Our MC for the day Hilary Barry-Journalist

The inaugural Retail NZ Conference #shopkiwi was a huge success! The exhibitors were amazing and all very relevant, we got spoilt with TIPTOP icecreams and as many coffees from Z coffee cart as we wanted, not to mention all the great competitions, networking, yum Food at the breaks and learning about what’s available out there to us retailers! A must to attend!

20160217_134641
The break out sessions. Mine was at 11.10am

A few snap shots of the programme,  click on them to read close.

 

 

My Second Speech for Toastmasters out of my Competent Communication book, project 2.

Tonight I gave my 2nd speech to my Gore toastmasters group. Even though I have only been attending since April I can’t believe the improvements I have made. All from learning little bits from all the other members. Tonight apart from trying to control the butterflies, my goals were to not clench my fists and not to say umm! I did say 1 um, and instead of clenching my fists I kind of played with my fingertips (hard to describe) but an improvement I think haha. ( please excuse my grammar,spelling and all that’s not right. I could read and understand it, the main thing 😉 .

Below is my Speech I wrote on Saturday inbetween calves and cows, also a photo of my report from my Evaluator, I’m super stoked! And so pleased I went outside my comfy zone! can I inspire you too?

Get out of your comfort zone!

If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your horizons.

Be willing to step outside of it once in a while;
Take the risks in life that seem worth taking.
The ride might not be as predictable if you’d just planted your feet and stayed put, but it will be a heck of a lot more interesting.

As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.

I’ve learnt in my life that it’s important to be able to step outside my comfy zone.
Because of my fear of public speaking,I had let friends down when I couldn’t bring myself to speak at a tangi of my dear school friend and another occasion a best friends 40th.
I had never liked the sound of my own voice, let alone the thought of standing up and having a zillion eyes looking and listening to me!
A few years ago, I was asked to join a local radio show .I thought it was an ideal opportunity for my business. I was sick of letting opportunities go and making excuses because of my fear of public speaking.

The show, 3 years on has become my new normal, though the first few months, everytime I went to go on air, I felt like fainting, sweaty palms and that terrible butterfly feeling. I now am a regular on a couple of different radio shows. It is my new normal, but only because I pushed myself to continue.
It’s the hardest thing pushing through anxiety and worry, to get to the new ‘Normal’.

From there came other opportunities, which I hesitantly accepted. First judging then later comparing a wedding show….
It was during this time I got speaking to a friend about my inadequacies, she suggested coming along to toastmasters….
I put it off………. it was right out side my comfort zone!

We all like being comfortable. But there is a time when pushing ourselves is going to be beneficial. Its times like that we need to recognise.

If we trust ourselves we start to sense when the time is right.

For me the time came with a phone call from Conference NZ, asking if I would participate as a speaker on a panel for an upcoming Marketing conference ,being held in Auckland. It would have been comfortable and easy to say thank you but no thank you.
But the time felt right and I instead said thank you and YES!

Next I messaged my friend Chrissy and asked, what time and day is this toastmasters meeting? Tell me more!……It’s time!

The rest is history!

Although I had only been attending a few months before my speaking engagement, I had learnt so many little things from the great group of Gore toastmasters that, when it was my turn to get on stage in front of 200 attendees, (with a mic attached to my ear-yes another first) , I was able to control my nerves, I remembered to breath and while a little shaky to start, once I was up there for a few minutes, relaxed and was able to discuss all the points I needed and answer the audience questions. The questions kept coming to the point that the 50 mins went 15mins over, but to the delight of myself and the conference convenor , it was because the audience wanted it. I have since been asked to speak again next year! Will this be my new normal?

A comfort zone is a problem when we’re stuck in it, when we don’t let ourselves move with the natural flow of life. When we hold ourselves back and hide where we are comfortable and with what we know.

ARE we effectively saying no to life?

For me, public speaking was becoming a hindrance, I was passing up opportunities because I may have needed to stand up in front of a large group and speak!

Stepping out of my comfort zone, enabled me to recently receive several accolades on stage, with no speech prepared.
3 times I was required to get up and except awards.
Going out of my comy zone and coming along to toastmasters enabled me to be able to breath, stop, think and process what I was going to say that was relevant.
Yes my head was spinning on my shoulders, well so I felt, yes my voice was shaky from emotion, as much as anything, but I was able to get up on stage!!! Remember just the thought of that was waaaay out of my comfort zone, not that long ago!

My next challenge has been set, in a few weeks I am helping MC a local fundraiser, again out of my comfy zone, but the more I do this the more this will become my normal.

I challenge you! Do what scares you. When you think of ideas and it scares you. It is a good sign!
Usually a scared feeling is accompanied with the feeling of exhilaration.

The more we can make it a habit of pushing ourselves, the easier it will become.

Be that person you truly want to be, challenge yourself, and weather it learning something new, changing lifestyle or job or doing something that really intrigues you! It will be scary and you will second thought yourself, but do it!

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone!
Are you missing opportunities? Are you doing what you dream of?

Are you in a comfy zone?

Snapchat-2833719459067886926

Who knew I’d sound so good?

An article I featured in from The Otago Daily News Saturday Editon,  has people talking, it’s like noone realised I did what I do.  Or is it because it’s in the news, it’s real? Either way,  I was chuffed and hope all my parents love getting their copy in the mail in the next few days.

image

The reporter was amazing,  she must have recorded every word, as she quoted me throughly over the phone on Tuesday. 

image

The photo I emailed through to her wasn’t quite what she wanted to go with the story she told me when she called on Wednesday,  she was sending a photographer from Dunedin to capture me,  with painted fingernails and fur as I’d described to her when she’d called to interview me.  I was about to get changed (after work in my store)into my farm clothes,just as she phoned. 

image

The photographer arrived at 8.30 on the dot, Thursday morning happy to see my nails done,  allowed me to wear my gumboots but wondered if I had a better jacket to wear.. I proceeded to try on 3 others until he thought the perfect one.  Off we went to the calf sheds..  No hungry calves, rather subdued, sleepy and not interested in us.  (feed an hour earlier so I was ready for work).
I had to sit quietly in my stockings, dress, fur and gumboots.  While Stephen the photographer lay on the ground finding the perfect light and different angles of me and the calves.

image

Ultimately capturing some amazing pictures, I love!  What a great experience,  a journalist who made me sound great and a photographer who managed to make me look glamorous in gumboots. 

http://www.odt.co.nz/news/business/351044/mixing-style-substance-and-ambition

http://www.odt.co.nz/news/business/351044/mixing-style-substance-and-ambition

image

Stephen went beyond the call of duty,  found his front covered in calve poo when he stood up.  I true master,  the things you do to get the perfect shot!

https://www.iod.org.nz/About-us/IoD-news-and-articles/Post/15473/Mixing-style-substance-and-ambition

My first ever Toastmasters Speech ‘Ice breaker speech’ June 2015

The time given for this speech was 4-6 minutes:

My Time on the very first read was 4.38.34 and after practising, my time on the presentation night was 5 min 15 seconds. My feed back was very positive although I did start with an um before I started my speech! My hair was over my eye which my evaluator felt was distracting and my hands were clenched together at the start before I used gestures. All and all I was pretty stoked, the nervous adrenalin was amazing and the nice comments from fellow toastmasters felt very heart warming.

Below is my Ice breaker speech is supposed to be about yourself.

My ice breaker speech, a little about me, but more about my name…….

What is in a name?

I have always believed there’s a lot in a name, it determines who you are, how people perceive you, it defines who you are as I’m about to share with you, or does it?

My name is Chanelle now, but it has been Nicola, Christine, Chanel spelt C-H-A-N-E-L and now Chanelle with an extra L and E on the end.

I was born in a hospital in Epsom Auckland for unwed mothers. My birth mother named me Nicola, the nuns changed it a few days later to Christine (so they knew which girl I belonged to, yes! Christine is my birth mothers name. And my first birth certificate states Christine Nicola, not Nicola as my birth mother desired.

I was picked up by an amazing family of 5 from Taranaki who choose the name, as the story goes, on the long car trip up to Auckland and called me Chanel…… spelt as I said earlier C-H-A-N-E-L, this wasn’t my last name change..

Now I was named Chanel after my Aunty back in 1973, she was 45 at the time, my grandmother wasn’t a  fashionista but must of loved the name for other reasons because Chanel back in 1928 was not a very known name, nor in 1973 in NZ. It was more Mary, Dorothy or Margaret in 1928! or in 1973, Michelle, Lisa or Julie!  I still get called Shantel and Michelle constantly! I will remind you my name is Chanelle.

By the time I was ready to learn to spell my name before I went to school my adopted mother decided to listen to a nun,,,, with her wisdom had suggested adding L-E  on the end to make it more feminine because Chanel reminded her of St Peter Chanel a man.  He was gentle, kind and encouraging not unlike my namesake Aunty Chanel actually, he was also the patron Saint of Oceania…..but he was a man!

Is it coincidence that nuns have had such part in my names?

What is in a name?

So I did what we all do now days! I googled it!

Google tells me it’s actually a French surname which meant pipe.

It has been used as a American given name since the 1970s, influenced by the Chanel brand (a line of woman’s clothing and perfume), which was named by French Fashion designer Coco Chanel ( born 1883) .

Are any of you familiar with William Shakespeare?

His famous words

“a Rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

Implies that the name of things, does not affect what they really are.

I disagree!

Is it coincidence that I love fashion? And married a fitter welder of Pipe!

I grew up confused!   I had many name changes!  😉 but also had a great family and lots of worldly experiences.

A colourful child hood and adolescence, perhaps in part because of my confusing name changes.

I was asked to leave school at 15 managed to hang in till I was 16, leaving unqualified but looking forward to the big wide world.

I left my little town for the big city and started my career as a hairdresser, first training in Palmerston North then getting an apprenticeship in New Plymouth. By the time I was 20 I was fully qualified, married to my Pipe man the fitter welder and managing a hair salon before we decided to go farming and have our 1st child at 22.

A big decision deciding to ditch the 8-5 townie day to (and I still agree) very ghastly early starts!

2 more babies later, a few shifts including the biggest one, to leave our family and friends and travel South (gypsy day known  by you Southlanders) .

A farm bought and a farm sold we made our family life down here. We’ve travelled the Pacific and the world in between.

I am now a fashion retailer of an awesome independent store right here in Gore and still manage to put my gumboots on too!

Is it coincidence that St Peter Chanel travelled the seven seas and became Patron St of Oceania (the Pacific)? I might not be saintly but I do absolutely

Love the pacific, my favourite place is Tahiti! Moorea to be exact!

What’s in a name? A lot I say, do all my name changes go with all my interests, careers and changes?  Or is it just coincidence? I ask you?

1932202_798220533595117_1397167758599325730_n

Time 4.38.34 on the first read after practicing, my time on the presentation night was 5min 15 seconds. The time given was 4-6 minute speech.

the warhol: Chanelle’s Screen Test

the warhol: Chanelle’s Screen Test.

 

A few months back I got a a very special ph call from my little sister ( from my birth mothers side) to attend our mothers birthday.

Another rushed trip but able to fit so much in.

SURPRISE!!!

Chris like many of us woman had had one of those weeks when she felt under appreciated and forgotten un-be-known to her that this had all been planned for her. I got to spend lots of time with her, her sisters and brothers, my Sister and brother inlaw, my 2 darling nephews and my brother and his partner too!

Great times! I got to hang with and get to know a little more about this side of the family, including my siblings, not growing up together doesn’t matter now as we all get older. My little brother taking me along to Andy Wahol at Te Papa was definitely a highlight.

Below  is a link of of me doing the Andy Wahol screen test that Troy and Carlos took me along to, I wanted to see it and so did they, inspirational I think is the best way to describe it, as I went on to create his ‘Factory’ theme  (covered everything we could in tin foil) in my store as a Sale promo and Troy my brother a photographer studied and enjoys all Andys work.

78201322044 772013132815 IMG_20130706_164033

 ….. They sat me down and explained to me about ‘the screen test’ as well as many other aspects of Andy Wahol ( I’m a little oblivious to the finer things, I just went cause I liked some of his art) Opened my world up though 😀 .

So I sat in front of this camera, supposedly after 2 mins peoples true personalities start to appear (as Andy Wahol saw it)  I did, and I can see my personality peek through 😉  I wonder if you can too?

 

Leave a comment if you do, let me know if you can see my personality pop through or if viewing me for 2 mins is 2 mins to long haha.

the warhol: Chanelle’s Screen Test.

Samsung GALAXY S4

Samsung GALAXY S4.

I really need to write this down…..

Its amazing the emotions, that going after something brings.

It all started about 8 weeks ago when my beloved companion (Samsung Galaxy 2 ) started shitting itself at the most inconvenient times. I took it in to get fixed but the symptoms weren’t familiar to the agents. So I decided not to pay the $ to get it looked at and possibly not fixed, rather wait it out for the new Samsung Galaxy 4. Instead carrying around a charger with me at all times ( nuts I know) .

So my fascination began with the new phone, seeing a clip of the release of it to media, viral on FB  (I shared that and got a bit of attention as I don’t usually share products/games on FB- more known for my 6 million photos)and then a fellow tweeter teased me with how wonderful it is. He has (proberly one of the very few in NZ) been trialling it. He was also ‘THE ONE” who introduced me to this competetion :D.

So my fascination almost has become a passion….almost! But I am sooo excited to be getting one! Either way!

It goes on sale this weekend and I’m UBER excited to say the least, Turned down a ticket to a sell out concert (Aerosmith ) so I can get my Samsung Galaxy 4….that is if I haven’t worked hard enough sharing the word about it to every person and them inturn sharing it as well, via social media.

It’s a fantastic promo Samsung have created to launch this new phone!

#getinline  you join the virtual line and are ranked, I’ve been as close as 26 out to 360 , today I sit at 196.

I realise I might piss a few off and loose a few followers and fb friends (acquaintances ) along the way, but now I’ve started I can’t stop! Can I?

My husband says shut up and just buy it, but I’m enjoying the social media use and learning many things as I go. One being that my friends roll their eyes at the thought of me winning something……I really don’t need to win anything in their eyes.

Though all my life I have been a giver and a generous one ( if you’ve been on the receiving end you will know that) so maybe, just maybe its Karma paying me back by giving me some neat things?

HA I will look back on this and proberly roll my eyes too, but at least I’m doing it and not just talking about it.

“giving it a go”  “if ya not in, ya can’t win” blah, blah, blah 😉

 

 

Sin City…..ticked off the Bucket List & Grand Canyon Too!

One of the Seven Wonders of the World………done!

Hope the weathers still good at home? It’s very chilly and dry here in Nevada. Lets hope it gets warmer!!

Grrr the Americans are still finding me very hard to understand, it’s doing my head in a little now, but I’m recognising mid-sentence the look the comes over their faces as if they can’t understand a word and I no to stop and slow it down.

Some of the notable differences for me have been, smoking allowed in bars, Plastic glasses, tin beer bottles instead of cans , though fizzy still comes in cans. Everyone walks the street carrying their alcohol, easily walking form one bar to the next. No alcohol bans here!! Lol Everybody wants a tip! And not the sharpen ya blades for a good cut, kinda one…a $$$$ one!

Early start 5am after a long day yesterday, it’s like getting up for work! We meet down stairs in the lobby with the others for a pickup in a stretch limo.

Its very chilly, but clear, not a cloud in the sky –perfect for flying and not unlike the Central Otago brisk clear mornings.

The sun is rising; it’s a great time of the day.

living the dream 118

We weigh in and are too heavy to combined to all go in the same helicopter……they are all blaming my handbag hahaha.

We have a safety briefing  and are introduced to our pilot “Tony” who tuned out to be a character and a half, just full of knowledge while cracking funnies all along the way and took the piss out of me and Annie constantly haha.

We sat up the front with him; I think he preferred us sitting next to him then Phil and Putty 😉

living the dream 180

I had a blonde moment, and spoke in to the CB backwards; Annie had hers when she questioned Tony about the hoover dam and lake. She asked what they did with all the dirt they dug out to make the lake. LOL Tony was quick to reply they used it to make a north island and a south island and decided to call it New Zealand! We all pissed ourselves laughing. Not so much at Annies expense but the way he answered.

We landed, after a fly over the Hoover Dam and up the Grand Canyon. The terrain is amazing, very sparse and all rock, nothing much grows but the few plants that do have adapted. Rainfall is only 4-10 mls per year, but when it rains there is nowhere for the water to go because it’s so dry it doesn’t absorb, so it leaves dry river bed looking pat\terns all over the canyon.

living the dream 171

We took 100s of photos, sat for a lovely champagne breakfast on a cliff in the Grand Canyon, before flying back to Vegas a different way and taking in more stunning views. A very unique view was seeing all 3 states at once, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.

The dam is at its lowest (see pic) its ever been. It doesn’t look that much but if you think about the size of the dammed lake, it’s actually a huge amount, with little rainfall, warmer seasons and more population……makes ya wonder how long their supplies will be there for future generations?

living the dream 195

living the dream 158

living the dream 163

We arrived back into Sin City , the day was just beginning!

Meet up with Swiftys and Mains and we started on our explority adventure, of course these don’t last long before the boys find bar ha-ha.

We walked the pavement of the famous ‘strip’, it looks a lot different place in daylight, weather still fresh. We went in and out of all the casinos, everyone with a different theme to entice you into spending all your money with them.

Our hotel has a rollercoaster with a NY yellow taxi as the carts outside the whole casino-it’s huge! The New York skyline is the view from the strip. Truly amazing! Inside it’s a mass of different towers-each containing accommodation along with different bars, restaurants and shops all with a New York theme and feel about them, including the floor!

2013-02-12 16.57.35

(the veiw out our bedroom window)

We saw the fabulous water fountain show at the Bellagio, the famous Caesars Palace, all so much to see a little over whelming and lots of walking. The Venetian my fav (I’d have to say) for Lunch- expecting of course an Italian eatery, instead we sat by the canal (a water feature runs throughout the hotel with singing Italian men serenading couples on their gondolas).The restaurant was Mexican! Not Italian?

Putty ordering us all margaritas and then we ordered the meal, it was amazing, like everything else we had so far experienced. Best Guacamole I’ve ever had, hot and tasty!

More margaritas and a few different beers, we were all getting our glow, feeling full!

31912_571077862903284_415386445_n

We decided to keep moving, walking through the Venetian, experiencing the Italian feel.

Us girls purchase handmade masks (fingers crossed they make the trip home unbroken),the boys purchased cigars from a proper cigar den. Then while we were booking a trip for the gondola, Phil surprised me with the biggest strawberry I’ve ever seen and chocolate dipped  ooouh!So sweet , he and the strawberry too LOL proberly the most expensive strawberry I’ve ever eaten!

living the dream 084

The girls decide a bit of shopping is in order; Annie has been itching to get a shopping bag in her hand. They have lists of orders from the kids. I’m not a shopper, but hanging with the guys ain’t that appealing either. We head out to the outlet stores in South Vegas.

I found a Chinese massage and then I planted myself there, having the most amazing foot and neck massage. While the girls shopped up a storm. Michelle buying another suitcase and filling it!!!

2013-02-12 14.54.15

I must say I brought some cosmetics, Elizabeth Arden (I use) were a quarter of the price then at home! Sooo cheap.

Girls still shopping I found myself sitting at a wig/extension stand. The sales assistance helping me fill in time while I wait for the girls. One blonde wig later and attached, I left with long blonde curls …1 out of the 3 girls noticed immediately (took a few minutes for the other 2).

Shopping done, off to drop the bags off at the hotel and then find the boys…..at Hooters

They’d been there a while, surprisingly not looking to bad considering the jaegers they had consumed (see receipt)

living the dream 023

Time to move….we traipse off into the city that never sleeps to the MGM-the biggest of all the casinos I would say. We managed to walk in a complete circle easily done hahaha…… saw this guy (see pis)

the size of a table literally!!! See 2 chairs next to him? I actually am surprised we haven’t seen more big people, the way food flows over here and everything is supersize before asking it to be up sized!!!

living the dream 041

I have to say these boys are the most touchy feely bunch lol, always punching, hitting and tripping, ankle tapping ,they must miss each other (Swifty did a geat action move, when Phil ankle tapped him in the middle of the casino, he did a drop , roll and up in a split second to the delight of everyone in the area that was watching).

Found our way outa of the MGM finally, At this stage, late and drunk , all still in our clothes since sun up this morning, we were all in 2 minds what to do? Tired, but its Vegas!

We decide a show is in order!

Unfortunately it seems all the greats are on their week off this week.

*Advice good idea before you book your trip to Vegas, check out who’s performing in town)

Celine is in China for the Chinese New Year, Rod Stewart finished on the 9/2/13, Shania is on holiday and Pink starts here world tour here in Vegas tomorrow (15th) When the others fly out to Fort Lauderdale. Gutted, all acts I would have like to seen, but there are still 100s of shows to choose from though.

We decide on Zumanity a Cirque Du soliel show

living the dream 082

Very sexy, raunchy, with hot topless bodies and a bit of comedy thrown in as well. It was great! Although Phil did sleep  through it haha (true to form).

A great show with some extraordinary acts, woman swimming-diving into a large cocktail glass. Lots of High ribbon dancing (think PINK) and acrobatics also added to the humour was the audience involvement too, but we had to wonder if that wasn’t staged too???

One of the characters did come up behind us while Phil was zzz-ing and placed his arm so it was around my shoulder…..it woke him for a bit lol. It finished with a fantastic finale with 1000000000s of red rose petals falling from the entire theatre ceiling all over us (I’m still finding the petals in my hand bag now), it was kinda magical.

Show done and everyone horny, we head to bed —-in our respective rooms! Sleep and ready for another day.

Michelle and I booked on the Gondola, so we dragged Swifty and Phil along and Mains as the Paparazzi for us (chief photographer on this excursion)

A short ride but totally worth it.

We were the 1st of the day so we were privileged to be sung to by all 8 of the Gondolier, before being ushered into our waiting Gondola and then our ride with good humour, jokes and serenading (not by the boys but our Gondolier) as Mains ran alongside taking photos lol.

living the dream 096

Valentine’s day in NZ but still the 13th in USA, he told us the story of Saint Valentine.

He was Italian and accused of a very bad crime, was incarcerated and was to be killed. He loved his wife so much, he wrote to her daily. What he didn’t know was that authorities were intercepting his mail and reading his letters. With that they worked out that he in fact was innocent, he became famous a ‘The Romantic’ and so became St Valentine’s Day in his remembrance.

An enjoyable experience and neat to share with good friends….even if Mains was on the outside of the boat lol.

living the dream 109

We caught up with Chris and Anne, M and swifty left us to go on a hunt for their 20th wedding anniversary pressie to themselves…..platinum watches.

We all went to Madame Tussards a fav of mine.

living the dream 151

A bit of a giggle posing with life size and life like celebrities and taking pics.

We went in to Area 51 a sideshow at Tussards.

Mains lead the way, we had to all place our hands on the person in fronts shoulders. Very scary but fun at the same time. Annie and I literally wet our pants and both agreed lucky Kirsten went shopping instead! We were in hysterics laughing but scared at the same time! Putty wanted to hit someone …ha-ha he was at the back so got the brunt of it.

living the dream 009

The experience was a live act, with us walking through several dark and poorly lit areas with real monsters, creeps and freaks ( out of work actors proberly) coming out and frightening the bejesus out of us!!

Still on an adrenalin high after that we went to find all the shoppers at the shopping mall, more shopping!!!, Though this time I did find a dress, or the dress found me I should say. A designer hand made number….oooozing Vegas, I had to have it…(See pic of us all off to Old Vegas)it was on SALE and half price! I had to have it!

The boys took off to do what they came for….well one of the things, To the Gun club, these boys were like kids in a candy store shooting ooziies,9mm pistols ,Glook 9mm and a saw!

540787_571079942903076_970156762_n

The day was getting away on us, I was starting to feel the effects of not enough sleep, so much fun and too much booze…..I decided I needed a snooze instead of shopping I also needed to pack for LA.

Boys back at the casino; Phil gets his winning streak on playing Black Jack-wins $700 before tea. We all get dressed and ready….my last night in Vegas!

We are going to Old Vegas a part of Vegas off the Strip about 20 mins drive, less expensive and more authentic with a lot of locals.

We all dressed to kill, grabbed a limo and headed to Old Sin City…..by the looks a lot more Sin goes on there then the strip these days 😉

living the dream 162

We’re all buzzing-marvelling at what we’ve already fitted in Amazing!!

Old Vegas was rocking, it’s kind of how I thought the whole of Vegas would be.

Music, dancing in the street, lights everywhere, eccentric people, weirdoes and all sorts. It’s fair to say we were slightly over dressed.

The locals tend to go to Old Vegas because it’s cheaper. Not all of it but most.

We went to a fabulous (and expensive) steak house. Gold Nugget, it wasn’t just any old steak house! No-siree! Steaks to order, Crab, lobster all paid for by the kilo and they weren’t cheap!

But the meal was amazing, the thing over here appetisers (we call entrees) are big! Entrees (we call mains) are massive! Everything is super-size!!!

Bart and Putty decide on the Alaskan crab, Putty let me have a try. My best description would be not so much seafood taste, but a lush silky taste, it’s like a chicken/turkey flesh but not taste.

living the dream 203

They served it with sweet corn and macaroni cheese if you please!

The bubbles were flowing and Phil was still winning!

Every time he would go for a smoke he’d put a bit on the table, he couldn’t lose!!!

The bubbles still flowing, we had a fabulous meal with extraordinary service……..

Dinner done! We went into the fanfare of Old Vegas, they have covered it and have an amazing light show on the ceiling. The music is pumping, people are everywhere and everyone is fizzing. Such a great atmosphere.

living the dream 186

living the dream 232

After dancing up a storm, Michelle almost tripping over Annie in her OMG  Vegas purchase shoes (see pic below) and the 3 of us almost wetting our pants again in fits of laughter, we thought it a good idea to head back- I had an flight to catch…

living the dream 249

Dilemma, our earlier limo driver had waited for us and spotted us after we had organised another…..some of the others felt bad so went with him, we stayed in the Limo that we hopped in with Mains….it was a Escalade with all the bells and whistles.

living the dream 259

A night cap back at our Casino and I say my goodbyes……Mains till next time, the rest for 2 days.

Michelle and her shoes (I’m still to try them!) got the better of Kirsten , Annie had tried them earlier. Kirsten adding to our nights entertainment with a fashion show of her trying to walk in them…so funny….oh and then Putty surprising his missus with a lovely single rose……It was Valentine’s day now!!!

living the dream 286

2am And I’m to bed… I have to be at the airport in 2.5 hours!!!!

Anxious and excited all at once!

I’m getting ready……will I ever be ready? 1 more sleep! Unbelievable! Its surreal when you’ve been planning and looking forward to something so long…… and it’s only 1 more sleep!

Tomorrow I leave the kids to fend for themselves  for 3 days before I meet them in LA after they leave from Dunedin on Thursday. I will have had 3 nights in Vegas by then.

I’ve had several lists all a mile long (no exaggeration, oh well maybe a little) it’s at this point when I actually realise how much I usually fit into 20 days! These lists have made all my excitement at times turn to anxious feelings and my head spin on my shoulders. I’ve got to the point where I can’t do anymore……except for a curve ball thrown in at me on late Friday arvo, didn’t impress me but oh well…..I can sort tomorrow between Dunedin, Chch and Auckland I’m sure.

Tonight I’m amazingly relaxed….

Not so the rest of the week! I’ve had sleepless nights…..it’s been forever I’ve wanted to get to Jamaica, Although the rest of the trip will be amazing…Jamaica is for my soul.

I’ve tried to lose weight, so I look ok next to my GFs ,the beach babe in particular, to no avail haha..Something to do with my social life and lack of enthusiasm for exercise I think 😉

However a couple of new swimwear outfits later….and nothing a few glasses of champagne won’t fix. I’m gunna be 40 soon who gives a folk hahahaha Forty and fabulous on the inside anyway! 😉

I had an email 2 days ago, I’d been waiting for it for days. Air NZ has a one up offer, for an opportunity to use your airpoints for an up- grade. I decided to try it out….

They let you know 7-3 days out from your flight. I’d been checking that email every morning first thing. I got this email through mid morning, I screamed with excitement and I hadn’t even opened it!

Andy my colleague wondered What the flip!?

I sat there not wanting to open it incase my offer hadn’t been accepted, my emotions were fizzing (really who gets this excited about stuff like this? OTT though I’m quite an excitable kind a girl) , but I knew I’d be gutted if I missed out.

Andy egged me on, I opened it finally and to my delight……..I saw the word Congratulations first and knew I had it!

My excitement poured out of  me and my delight all to much for Andy who wasn’t used to seeing his boss act like she’s just won the world, not an upgrade to premium economy…its not even business class, but its still good all the same.

2013-02-07 11.48.29

(a view of premium economy)

It was the icing on the cake to what is going to be an amazing adventure with some good mates and my family…….Starting tomorrow!

I will post a brief Itinerary if you’re interested in reading more….