Sober in Vegas: Hiking around Calico Hills

I was inspired by Seriously Sober’s recent post that brought up people asking what you “do” when you don’t drink anymore–especially on Saturday night.

I’ve been thinking about it the past week, how my life differs today from what it looked like 2 or three years ago, so I thought I would make a list of a few things I’ve found joy in now that I don’t spend my Saturday nights at bars (or drinking at home until blackout…sigh).

  • Reading: I’ve read more in the past two years than I did in the 10 years of heavy drinking combined!
  • Making Art: I used to make things all the time when I was in my early 20’s. When I started drinking I thought it would make me a better artist, and maybe for a hot minute, alcohol did allow me to release some creative ideas that were buried. But what it really did was hinder me. I would try to open up my paints and magazines (since I do collage work) and it would end with a mess and me passed out on the couch with little to show for it. Now with a clear mind, I love using weekend nights to work on art without being worried about waking up early the next morning.
  • Listening to records: So when I drank, I bought stuff. Alot of stuff. Stuff I didn’t need. And I bought a bunch of records that I never listened to because again…I would pass out before I really had a chance to enjoy them after purchase. Now I enjoy listening to vinyl with a clear head and open heart…and I can actually intake and remember the lyrics now!
  • Hiking/Walking/Getting Outdoors: To be fair, I did alot of walking when I was drinking too, but I used it as a way to sober up. Now I go outside for the sake of meditation, of exercise, and spending time with friends/family/my husband. I did alot of solo walking when I was drinking and now that I don’t feel shame about being drunk, it’s a beautiful way to commune with others.
  • Cooking & Baking: It’s been wonderful to take time on the weekends to enjoy food. I’ve never been very good at either cooking or baking, but now that I don’t get blurry eyes when I’m trying to read a recipe they come out wayyyyy better…crazy right?
  • Going to the movies or a play: So this one can be a little tricky–some movie theatres serve alcohol as do some theatres. But I’ve found that you can call ahead and ask (if you are feeling like it would be too much of a temptation) and that since it’s not the main focus of the event (like going to a bar) it’s easier to avoid the want to drink. And much like listening to records–I enjoy, understand, and remember the show SO MUCH BETTER.  In my drinking days I would usually get smashed before I went a saw a movie or show, and there are so many plays and movies I just don’t remember. Not to mention I would need to go to the bathroom the whole time because I’d had so much to drink. Facepalm. It’s also way less expensive to do these things now–I’m only paying for the ticket and not the $8-$25 of drinking that used to go along with it!

I could go on and on–but the final thing I’ve realized is how much I love the mornings now that I don’t get trashed every weekend.

They’re quiet, warm, and wonderful. I feel grateful each morning when the sun comes in the windows. Grateful for another day, not sad or ashamed of what I might have said or done the night before.

And not having a headache is a beautiful thing.

Okay–onto the next alcohol-free outing to enjoy here in Vegas! 🙂


I’ve been feeling a little stir crazy (even though I know Las Vegas winters aren’t really that bad…I’ve lived other places so I know that we have it really easy here…) but still, we’ve had an unseasonably rainy winter so I’ve missed our desert sun.

As much as I love Red Rock Canyon, sometimes it’s nice to change it up a little and to get to add another alcohol-free activity to the list!

It had been years since I’d been out to Calico Hills (same for my husband) so we decided to make the trek out.

Calico Hills is a right turn (you’ll see signs) on the way to Red Rock off of Charleston, so if you’re coming from The Strip, you’ll probably want a rental car to really get to enjoy the area.

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The sign welcoming you to the parking lot at Red Spring

On nice thing to mention is that Calico Hills is FREE!

Red Rock Canyon does have an entrance fee if you continue down Charleston, but if you are on a really tight budget (either on a trip or living here) you can enjoy much of the same landscape for free here.

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There are a few hikes in the Calico Hills area, but we found Red Spring the easiest to start with.

The entrance is really well marked, the parking area is clear, and there are a few different parts of the hiking area to enjoy!

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One of the areas to explore is the boardwalk

You’ll see a picnic area right near the parking area (in case you want to eat al fresco) and above that you’ll see the entrance to the boardwalk area of the hike.

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Another view of the boardwalk 

After we explored the boardwalk area we ventured onto one of the hiking paths.

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 Staircase leading up one of the hiking areas

The trail we took leads you up some stairs, through a sandy area, and then over some rock area (where the trail starts to disappear).

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Enjoying the beautiful reds, oranges, and pinks that nature has to offer

Once you reach the rocky area, it looks out over some flatter land. There are some paths leading towards other mountains and through the flat area.

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More picnic areas along the trail to enjoy!

We were out here about 2 hours and I felt like we were able to get alot of good exploring in without it being too physically overwhelming of a hike.

Much of the walk is relatively flat, so it’s good for beginners or families with kids of various ages.

I can’t wait for our next trip out this way–hopefully we’ll get to explore the other two hiking areas on the Calico Hills area!


Thanks for reading and happy sobering friends!

Sober in Vegas: Rolled Ice Cream

Before I talk about an amazing alcohol-free place for a little treat I found, I wanted to mention a book I read over the weekend that misted the ol’ eyes up pretty good.

Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki does such a thoughtful job of capturing the pain and confusion of an adolescent girl trying to navigate friendship, family, religion, small towns, and high school. Ugh! So good.

The way she explores the anger I think many young women feel and work through when they are younger and aren’t able to verbalize–just amazing.

Anyway, if you like young adult fiction, this may be up your alley!

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Onto a recent Sober in Vegas adventure!

Rolled Ice Cream is located on the West Side of the 215 at the 215 and Flamingo (very close to the freeway for easy access!)

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The exterior of Rolled Ice Cream at night

This place was hopping when I went one weeknight evening around 6:30-7pm. Families of all ages and sizes were waiting to see the employees make the speciality treat.

I want to mention this place is alcohol-free! They don’t serve anything other than the ice cream (no food really) but it’s nice to be able to treat yourself without having any temptations for booze whatsoever.

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A view of the menu and pricing

The ice cream is made FRESH!

They start with fresh cream which they pour out onto a freezing cold surface (along with the mix ins that you’ve chosen). There are lots of items to choose from–tons of fresh fruit along with peanut butter, chocolate, candy items, even birthday cake!

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Fresh cream that is poured onto the icy surface with mix ins!

Then as the cream starts to freeze, they mix in and chop up the items you’ve chosen to flavor your fresh cream.

Once the mixing is done comes the ROLL UP!

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Ice Cream starting to be put into rolls for the final product!

The wait was about 20 minutes–but it was so worth it.

The final product tastes so fresh!

And the staff here are really patient and sweet with the many kids that are here getting treats with their families.

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I couldn’t wait to take a bite so apologies for the imperfect final photo! It was too good to wait!

This was a really nice little treat to venture out for with friends–instead of ‘grabbing a drink’ I’m getting better about asking folks if they’d want to go out for a walk or go out for a treat.

It takes time to transition out of the ‘bar’ phase of friendships, but most people are totally willing to trade in that beer for a delicious treat like rolled ice cream 🙂


Thanks for reading and happy sobering friends!

Sober in Vegas: Ethel M. Chocolates Botanical Garden & Factory

Before I get into today’s adventuring post, just wanted to say on a personal note it’s been really nice to have an outlet for thoughts and feelings.

If you’re reading…thank you.

I feel the winter blues moving towards warm spring optimism–there are a few fun things that have been lifting my spirits (without the use of…ahem…spirits…like in my bourbon days…FORGIVE ME THE TERRIBLE PUN PLEASE!)

  1. Other Space: Directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Boss, Ghostbusters reboot) this show is silly and short. A great distraction for the brain. 😉
  2. Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh: Just a really thoughtful (and timely) look at religions taking time to listen to each other and have compassion for each other.
  3. Celestial Seasonings Vanilla Rooibos Tea: Decaf and comforting…nuff said!

And of course the hope that soon the sun will be warming the desert up a bit so I can get in a few more good hikes before we move into triple digits out here…. 😉


Now, onto today’s post!

I love adding another place to the ‘sober-friendly’ list, and I’m delighted to be adding Ethel M. Chocolate’s factory and Cactus Garden, located in Henderson, onto it!

The only reason I can’t categorize this as completely alcohol-free is they do have a few varieties of candy with booze inside, however, that is not at all the major focus of the factory, gift shop, or garden.

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Welcome sign into the cactus garden

As I mentioned this is located in Henderson off of Sunset Road and most people think Henderson is ‘so far away’ from Las Vegas and the Strip, but in reality it’s about a 20-25 minute ride from The Strip here.

Very doable by Lyft/Uber/Cab and especially doable by rental car.

And you’ll likely go by one of my favorite stops (that I previously wrote about) Sunset Park, so you can make a day of it!

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A view of the cactus garden and front entrance to the factory in the later afternoon

Parking here is ample and free, just like admission. But there have been times I’ve seen 40-50 people come off a bus at one time to enjoy the sights! So be aware that it may be busy depending on the time of day.

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Lots of benches, tables & sitting areas to enjoy the outdoors

The Cactus Garden here features over 300 species of desert plants and during the holiday season they put up a really incredible light show…again, all for free!

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A view of another bench area to enjoy the garden
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Sunset hour!

After you’ve enjoyed a stroll through the Cactus Garden, you can head inside to view where the candy is made for a self-guided tour.

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The newly renovated viewing area

In addition to remodeling the exterior of the factory, they’ve also done some really beautiful renovations this past year to the interior and the store area.

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This area used to be M&M themed and they’ve recently remodeled it to have a more fresh and simplistic feel…

In addition to chocolate goodies for sale, you can also enjoy a free sample chocolate coin of either their dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate.

And if you’re still left with a craving or need a pick me up, they have a café with hot and iced beverages you can purchase to enjoy while you stroll through the garden area.

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Looking towards the new café area

On days I’m feeling restless I love going over here.

There are always families from out of town taking pictures together here, and the staff is never anything short of welcoming.

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A final view of the Cactus Garden before sunset…

If you have an hour you’d like to enjoy a sweet treat, be outside, and not break the bank– I can’t recommend Ethel M. Chocolates enough!


Thanks for reading, and happy sobering friends!

Sober in Vegas: A Gem in the Desert, Cactus Joe’s

Recently we took a little drive out towards Red Rock for a visit to Cactus Joe’s.

Of course we also took the opportunity for a hike, but this was such a fun stop along the drive!

Located along Blue Diamond Road headed towards Red Rock, look out for the colored flags and the truck advertising the business.

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Be on the lookout for the truck & signs!

Cactus Joe’s has ample parking, and is a great place to check out rocks, plants, lawn art, and outdoor goodies.

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A view of the front area of Cactus Joe’s

Especially during the winter, this place can lift the spirits! I especially love the green house areas.

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enjoying the cacti…
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some little succulents as well…

In addition to the indoor green house area, Cactus Joe’s has a huge outdoor area!

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Art for your lawn and yard area are aplenty!
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If you’re a rock hound this place is a dream
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cutest. plant. ever.

There is also a labyrinth here! Y’all know I love a good labyrinth, so it was a delightful surprise to find one at CJ’.s

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Labyrinth for your enjoyment!

They also have an indoor store area which features locally made jewelry, windchimes, books on local plants/wildlife/history, semiprecious stones and incense.

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A front view of the indoor store area

And they have a furry friend in the store!

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My new friend!

They also have a few enclosed area with specialty rocks from the southwest–each bin tells you about where in the southwest the rock specimens are from!

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So much amethyst! Tears of joy!

If you are looking for a fun stop on the way to or from Red Rock, Spring Mountain Ranch or Bonnie Springs-Cactus Joe’s is absolute perfection.


Thanks for reading, and happy sobering friends!

Sober in Vegas: Majestic Repertory Theatre

Took this weekend off from social media and online outlets for the most part.

With everything going on in the world  I was starting to feel overwhelmed, sad, and hopeless.

I could feel the want to drink creeping in, and sometimes (not always, but sometimes) for me keeping busy can help fight the desire.

Enter…seeing local theatre!

There is such a wonderful rush from being in the same room together watching and performing in a live show where anything could happen at any moment.

Such excitement y’all……!!! 

Majestic Repertory Theatre has become a recent favorite for me here.

Located in Downtown Las Vegas on Main Street near Charleston, it’s a quick ride from The Strip via Lyft/Uber/Taxi and for locals there is ample street parking available.

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A view of The Stratosphere from Majestic Repertory Theatre’s location on Main Street 

The Artistic Director, Troy Heard, has directed some of my favorite shows in recent years with other companies–notably Motel.

Motel took place in an actual motel in downtown Vegas called Gateway Motel and moved throughout different rooms for each different scene.

In addition to actually being inside of the space where the story was taking place, you were just a few feet away from the actors and it was one of the most intimate theatre experiences I’ve had in a long time.

Anyway..onto last weekend’s show, Cherry Orchard of the Living Dead.

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A view of the eerily designed set for Cherry Orchard of the Living Dead

The show was a mash-up of Anton Chekhov’s classic play the The Cherry Orchard and George Romero’s classic film Night of the Living Dead.

Sounds like a stretch I know, but it’s nothing short of a delightful, campy, literary, pop-culture romp.

Part comedy, part horror, all fun…I would recommend this show to anyone who enjoys either element of what it’s based on, or to anyone who enjoys a quality blackbox sized theatre production.

A quick note on alcohol–the theatre itself doesn’t sell alcohol, but folks are allowed to bring in drinks from the bar next door so I’ll categorize this one as alcohol-free for the time being.

The show runs for 1 more week, tickets are $23 and they still have a few more shows this season which I am looking forward to seeing…not to mention their 2017-2018 which will include one of my all time favorite musicals HAIR. 🙂


Thanks for reading and happy sobering friends!

Sober in Vegas: Fukumimi Ramen

Overall I am trying to stay positive out here in Vegas.

Yoga.

Get outside.

Read.

Sleep well.

Eat well.

Practice community.

REPEAT (!)

I have found these things to be essential in my self-care routine and my sobriety.

Now, on the subject of “eat well”…

I recently visited a place that was delightful and wanted to share in a short(er) post than usual.


Fukumimi Ramen was a 100% win!

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The exterior of this unassuming little gem

It’s located on the Central/East side of Vegas at Tropicana and Eastern…for you out of towners it’s about 15 minutes from The Strip.

It also shares its strip mall location with the Aveda School (hello cheap and wonderful haircuts!), a Starbucks and is right across the street from the thrift store to end all thrift stores–Savers.

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The menu here is small but mighty

Okay, I want to point out that they do serve a few beers here, so I can’t categorize this as alcohol-free, but it’s definitely sober-friendly!

The menu’s focus is on the food rather than cocktails or drinks–and the atmosphere is far from anything resembling a bar.

So now comes my confession…we didn’t actually have ramen….I ended up wanting to try lots of little plates with my dining buddy….!

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Lovely little green salad
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Agadashi Tofu
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Edamame, Side of rice, and Honey Garlic Chicken

The staff here was also SO NICE–and I need to mention the price….we ate for about $20 total, what a treat!

I will have to try their famous ramen next time and I hope to be back soon.

Thank you Fukumimi Ramen for the wonderful dining experience!


Thanks for reading friends and happy sobering!

Sober in Vegas: Sahara West Library & Art Gallery

As it’s been unseasonably rainy here in Vegas I’ve been trying to find some more alcohol-free indoor activities.

I love libraries–and the Sahara West Library is one of the best around!

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The entrance to the Sahara West Library

This library is located on the west side of Las Vegas at Sahara and Grand Canyon (a block west of Fort Apache).

At one time, they also had a museum at this location. Currently, it’s an art gallery called The Studio with rotating displays and shows.

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Walking towards The Studio art gallery

There is no fee to peruse The Studio, and they currently have three different artists’ works on view.

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Sculpture outside of The Studio entrance

One of the artists currently on exhibition is Robert Beckmann, a Las Vegan who paints chilling scenes inspired by classical paintings that include Vegas iconography, signage, and architecture.

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A view of one of the three rooms inside of The Studio

I got to hear Robert Beckman speak last year at a panel event at The Neon Museum and fell in love with his artwork.

The way he combines an apocalyptic feel with imagery from Las Vegas somehow just seems right…

I love this painting below of the Dunes Implosion which is based on a painting by Joseph Wright of Derby.

The series is called Vegas Vanitas and has other artwork inspired by painters such as Poussin, Turner, and Cole.

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“Renewal” by Robert Beckmann

In addition to The Studio, Sahara West Library has a KILLER bookstore!

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Neon signage at the library bookstore because VEGAS!
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Entrance to the bookstore

The bookstore has everything…DVD’s, Magazines, and every type of book imaginable for sale. Fiction, non-fiction, autobiography, reference, humor, romance novels, kids books, vintage books, craft how-to’s, the list goes on and on.

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Inside the bookstore

So, now onto the actual traditional library offerings. 😉

This library houses most of its book collection on the 2nd floor–and most of its media (DVDs, CDs) is on the first floor.

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A view of the 2nd Floor book area

One thing I really love about this library is the communal aspect.  On every level, in every corner, there are areas to work.

When I was in high school or college and needed a place to study–I would have LOVED this library.

Outside of The Studio gallery on the first floor are tons of tables for work stations, and this library has free wi-fi.

On the second floor there are lots of group areas set up conducive to study or meetings.

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One of the group study areas on the 2nd floor

Finally, one of the coolest part of this library is their programming.

They have a focus on mental health, and most of the classes are FREE!

Free yoga!

Free meditation!

Be sure to check out the LVCCLD event page under Sahara West Library and choose Wellness/Health Events to see all the cool stuff coming up!

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I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to when the weather gets a little nicer and I can get back outside again-but for now places like the Sahara West Library are keeping me sane!


Thanks for reading and happy sobering friends!

 

Sober in Vegas: Seven Magic Mountains

Sometimes I just need to be out in the desert.  Far away from the neon, the bars, the slot machines.

Not sure if it’s because I grew up out here, but there are days where I feel the need to drive out into the wide open roads of the Mojave and celebrate the beauty of the mountains and valleys of Southern Nevada.

And if you add onto it public art, I’m really down.

Oh, and it’s free?

COUNT ME IN!

Seven Magic Mountains combines ALL of these elements–alcohol-free, outdoors, art, and no cost.

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A view from behind the artwork complete with beautiful mountains

Seven Magic Mountains is located south of Vegas off the I-15.

From The Strip it would probably take about 30 minutes (depending in traffic).

From Vegas take the I-15 South and after you pass the South Point Casino, watch for signs for the exit, (Exit 25 to Sloan).

Then you’ll follow signs showing you to take a left.

You’ll drive alongside the I-15 on a what feels like a frontage road (but is actually Las Vegas Blvd.!) for another 10-15 minutes and the artwork will be on your left.

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A closer view…you can see the scale with tiny looking humans on the right!

Okay–I know these are just rocks in the desert.

I have heard people complain–how is this art?

And I get it–art is subjective.

But isn’t a painting just color on canvas?

A sculpture is just carved rock, right?

I feel like when we open our minds for just a moment–we can allow these candy colored boulders standing in the middle of the desert to say something to us as well.

Allow me to geek out for a moment…to me, Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains has the same effect I imagine Neon Signage having in the 1950’s and 1960’s when drivers showed up in the middle of the night from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

At that time there was little light in the desert at night, pulling into Vegas had a sort of sensory overload on the viewer with it’s flashy signage and bright glow of reds and blues.

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Long desert shadows start to form near sunset…

I know it sounds cheezy and this is totally me nerding out…but this artwork made me feel the way Tom Wolfe describes in his 1964 essay about Las Vegas (ummm…but minus me being hyped up on pills/alcohol/whatever else that guy had in his briefcase….ha….!)

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Sun starting to set out west

I guess what I’m trying to get at is I know these are literally just rocks in the desert.

But art elevates that which is common place and allows us glimpses of beauty and otherwordly-ness that we may not otherwise see.

The neon colored totems in the center of the mojave desert make me feel hopeful.

Make me feel happy.

Make me feel…loved?

All the feelings I used to seek from drinking.

And they’re just a quick car ride down the road. ❤

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All the humans and all the rocks!

Thanks for reading friends–and happy sobering!

Sober in Vegas: A stroll through Tivoli Village

Before I get into today’s post, I wanted to ask if anyone else has read Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink And How They Can Regain Control by Gabrielle Glaser?

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I’m about 3 chapters in and it has been really interesting to learn about the history of drinking in the US (not only for women) and then how women’s interests factored into the marketing of certain types of alcohol.

Just curious if anyone else out there had picked this up… 😉

And now…onto an adventure over to Tivoli Village!


It’s not often that I spend much time shopping, but every now and again there is a birthday in my circle of family & friends or a project that comes up that requires a trip out to make a purchase.

And if I’m going to take a trip for shopping, why not at least go somewhere new, right?

I recently made my first trip to Tivoli Village, an outdoor shopping mall on the northwest side of Las Vegas (about a 20-25 minute drive from The Strip).

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Looking down the street at Tivoli Village

As I mentioned I’m not a big shopper, but there were two shops that I really enjoyed stopping in and perusing the goods.

The first was Paper Source.   Although this store is a chain, I find that they always have a great selection of thoughtful and fun items to give to friends as gifts.

And the also carry a huge amount of envelopes and paper (duh) for when you get the letter writing bug (which has become a re-discovered hobby of mine since getting sober! woo for having hobbies again!)

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A view of Paper Source’s entryway 
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Paper Source + Lights = Love

The other store I really enjoyed, which I had never been to before, was Gypsy05.

Based out of LA, the company is founded by a brother and sister, Osi and Dotan Shoham, and their facilities are solar powered and focus on using low environmental impact dye-processes for their clothing.

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An interior view at Gypsy05 looking out

In addition to clothing, this location has candles, accessories, and housewares–many of these are made locally and sustainably here in the US or fair-trade (if manufactured outside of the US).

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Clothing from Gypsy05 produced with solar power and low-impact dying processes in Los Angeles

In addition to the really awesome practices of this company, I need to mention how friendly the staff here was.

They were warm and welcoming and went out of their way to tell me about the products–where and how they were made and the ethical views of the company.

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House and homewares available at Gypsy05

After a few stores I was ready for a snack. There are two places I found to be either very sober-friendly or alcohol-free.

The first was Pressed Juicery.

If you couldn’t guess from the name they mostly focus on fresh pressed juices (although they do have a few pre-packaged snacks available for purchase) like Gypsy05 I found the staff to be knowledgable and friendly. Oh, and alcohol-free!

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The exterior of Pressed Juicery

The other place I found to be really Sober-Friendly was Leoné Café.

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An exterior view of Leoné Café

This is an Italian style café that focuses mainly on breakfast and lunch, and has a great menu full of moderately priced meals, sandwiches, and salads.

They also have an extensive drink menu (that includes some great alcohol-free options) which features espresso drinks as well as smoothies.

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Leoné Café was hopping on the Saturday I stopped by Tivoli Village

I found that shopping here was a very pleasant experience.

The outdoor element, along with really great customer service everywhere I went made it easy for me to avoid wanting to drink.

I will warn you there are a number of sit down restaurants here that back in my drinking days I would have wanted to stop at–but since there were so many sober-friendly alternatives I really enjoyed the morning at Tivoli Village.

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A view of the mountains from the sidewalk at TV

Thanks for reading, and Happy Sobering friends!

Sober in Vegas: Sober-Friendly Strip Tips #3, The Bellagio

Why is it that some days are easier than others not to drink?

I can go a few days without even thinking about having a drink…and then I’ll have a bad (or even just meh) day, and one of the first things that comes to mind is how great it would be to let off some steam with a drink.

But it’s not worth it.   My memory lies to me–it doesn’t remember the 2am panic attacks or the morning headaches.

And I need to-

DO. SOMETHING.

Write a letter to a friend.

Accomplish a goal.

Take a bath.

Go for a walk.

Attend a yoga class.

Take a trip to the library.

Hike.

Or visit somewhere that’s full of inspiration.

Strangely, one of those places DOES happen to be on The Strip!


The Bellagio might be the most sober-friendly property on The Strip–there’s an Art Gallery, a Conservatory & Botanical Garden (the only indoor one in Vegas to my knowledge), it’s beautifully designed, and there is even an alcohol-free dining option.

Two sober thumbs up!

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An exterior view of The Bellagio and its famous fountains

The Bellagio is located just south of Flamingo on Las Vegas Blvd. and the fountains out front are alone enough reason to check this property out.

The fountains are programmed to ‘perform’ throughout the day to different songs and since Bellagio opened they’ve been a must-see attraction when walking down The Strip.


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A view of the interior decoration at the Bellagio shops

Once you are inside of the property there are a few things I have found to be especially sober-friendly.

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Dale Chihuly’s sculpture Fiori di Como located on the ceiling at hotel check in

First, you’ll want to walk by the hotel check in area to get a look at the famous 2100 square foot glass Chihuly sculpture called “Fiori di Como” which according to our local publication The Review Journal,

“…consists of 2,000 hand-blown glass blossoms that weigh about 40,000 pounds. They are supported by a 10,000-pound steel armature. Every morning between 2 and 5 a.m., a team of eight to 10 engineers cleans and maintains the sculpture”


After that  you can stroll over to the Bellagio’s Conservatory.

Depending on the season, it may be decorated for a holiday or particular theme.

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The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

At the time of this post the Conservatory is decorated to celebrate Chinese New Year.

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A view from outside the Conservatory looking in

In celebration of Chinese New Year they also have incense burning and as it’s the Year of the Rooster, a large animatronic Rooster and chicks!

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A view of the animatronic rooster currently on display

If you want to see what’s in there at the moment,  you can also view their live web cam to see the current display.

Not gonna lie, there are times I open up this webcam if I’m stressed at work and it instantly makes me feel happy!

This is one of the few casinos with any kind of natural light, so that’s also a big plus in my book.

Inside the Conservatory is also a Chihuly gallery with more information about his life and art.


From here, you may be ready for a snack!

Look no further than Jean Philippe Patisserie.

In addition to sweets, they also have savory crepes, sandwiches and salads.

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The crepe menu at Jean Philippe Patisserie in the Bellagio

And guess what–they DON’T serve alcohol!

This is so rare in Vegas!

It’s nice because I can eat here and not even be tempted to order a drink.

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Can you even deal with how good this looks?! I can’t….

Oh…and the food, coffee, and snacks are delicious. Oh. my. goodness.

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A view of Jean Philippe Patisserie

After you’ve enjoyed something to eat at Jean Philippe Patisserie, you can head over to The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art.

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Entrance to the Gallery of Fine Art

Their current exhibition runs through February 20th, 2017 and features artwork by modern masters like Degas, Picasso, Monet, Renoir and others.

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Tip for Locals: On Wednesday nights locals get a deeper discount and admission to the gallery is only $13.

General admission for those of you visiting Vegas from out of town is still only $17, a cheap ticket price for the Vegas scene!


One last little tidbit I’ll mention-Bellagio also currently has on view one of Nick Cave’s soundsuits–whaaaatttt?!

I was so excited when I saw this that I literally stopped a stranger and told them to look him up online because this was so special!

I am so glad that it’s here in Vegas and you can read a little more about it’s acquisition by Bellagio here.

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Nick Cave soundsuit on display in the shopping area at Bellagio

All in all, Bellagio gets my vote as one of the most Sober-Friendly properties on The Strip to spend a day exploring.


Thank you for reading and happy sobering friends!