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My Vegas Favorites

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I am frequently asked by my visiting friends and family for recommendations on things to do and places to eat in Las Vegas.

Below is a list of my favorites, which includes some well-known establishments and some of Vegas’ best-kept secrets.  (I will keep this post updated to reflect new discoveries, so bookmark it if you want access to an up-to-date reference.)

Oh, and I should preface this with an important piece of info: I don’t do clubs.  If you are looking for a definitive Vegas club guide, my apologies, but you won’t find it here.  For everything else, read on…

Eat/Drink on the Strip

Joe’s Stone Crab.  My favorite restaurant ever.  It became my fav when I was still in Chicago (so visit the one there if you can’t squeeze it into your Vegas trip), and I couldn’t be happier that I don’t have to live without it now that I’m in Sin City.  Located in the Forum Shops at Caesars, this place is always classy with the best service in town.  Everything on the menu–from the fish to the steaks to the sides–is always perfectly prepared and worth the money.  In fact, whenever I visit a new upscale seafood or steak place, Joe’s is what I compare it to; if I’m dropping the money on an expensive dinner, it has to be better than Joe’s to justify my return…otherwise, I’ll just go to Joe’s!  And you MUST save room for dessert.  Joe’s is known for its Key Lime Pie, but my favorite is the Coconut Cream Pie–it’s the best you’ll ever have.  P.S.–Vosges Haut-Chocolat is right next door, and see my notes on that below.

American Fish. Chef Michael Mina’s new restaurant in CityCenter’s Aria Resort is a place (one of the few) that I would recommend alongside Joe’s. While Joe’s provides a classic experience both in menu and atmosphere, American Fish feels a bit more trendy (though it certainly has classic elements–the cocktail menu, for example, which features authentic pre-Prohibition concoctions).  Things to not miss: lobster corn dogs for an appetizer (oh-my-god), the scallops (because you’ve never had them prepared this well), and the bacon-wrapped sturgeon if you must have meat.  These are my personal favs, but I’ve sampled a good portion of the menu and haven’t been disappointed with any of it.  The desserts are rather amazing (how about cracking a hard candy full of whiskey over your chocolate cake?), so indulge freely.

Olives. Pretty much everyone who knows me knows that I have a major thing for chefs, and let’s just say I wouldn’t mind finding one chef in particular cooking in my kitchen: Todd English.  Olives in Bellagio is the only iteration of this restaurant on this side of the Mississippi, so if you’re not planning to be in NY or MA anytime soon, catch it while you’re here.  You’ll add to the oh-so-yummy menu’s Mediterranean flair if you request seating on the patio, which overlooks the Bellagio lake and gives you a spectacular view of the fountains.  (Like the other restaurants I’ve mentioned so far, this place is pricey, but can you really put a price on Todd English?  :D)

Sage. Chef Shawn McClain’s (the man behind Chicago’s Spring and Green Zebra) first Las Vegas restaurant features earthy American cuisine that is to-die-for.  It’s housed in an intimate, beautifully designed space at Aria that is perfect for a romantic outing or if you’re seeking to get away from sensory overload.  It’s pricey, but worth it.

Serendipity III. If you haven’t visited the Big Apple original, you now have a chance to get a Frrrozen Hot Chocolate in Vegas at Caesars Palace, and you definitely should if you’re visiting in July.  The food is on the cheaper side for a restaurant that sits on the Strip (I recommend sitting on the patio for some excellent people watching), and the atmosphere makes this place great for families.

Stripburger. Located on the northern-most end of the Fashion Show Mall (access is from the outside of the mall), this outdoor burger joint is no-frills, but lots of fun.  And pssst, even on a Saturday night, I’ve never had to wait for a table.  The burgers and fries are tasty, but do not miss the shakes (the butterscotch and chocolate versions are my favs here).  And if you’re feeling really adventurous, give the fried pickles a spin; they’re really good!

Peppermill. The Peppermill, 2985 Las Vegas Blvd. (a little bit north of Encore), is a must-visit while in Vegas.  This coffee shop has been serving up huge (and yummy) portions for more than 30 years.   It’s a 24-hour joint, which makes it a great place to satisfy midnight munchies, and its vibrant interior takes you back to Vegas’ retro heyday.

Todd English P.U.B.  Yes, here we go with Todd English again.  This casual East Coast-style pub in CityCenter (access from either Aria or Crystals) has a killer raw bar, a huge beer menu and plenty of tasty food for everyone in your group.  Everything I’ve tasted here (including the giant desserts) is excellent, but since discovering the lobster rolls, it’s the only thing I order.  One warning: beware the awkward restroom attendant.

Jean-Philippe Patisserie. JPM was the subject of its own blog post here, so reference back to that if you want more details on this delectable eatery.  JPM has two locations in Vegas, one at Bellagio and one at Aria.  The Bellagio location is small, but features the world’s largest chocolate fountain, and the Aria location is much larger with ample seating.  JPM sells sandwiches, but this is the place to go for a great sugar fix.  I prefer to go for the breakfast pastries, but you can’t go wrong with an after-meal visit for one of the outrageous desserts; the cakes, the tartes…everything is divine.    

Cafe Gelato. Cafe Gelato is the BEST gelato in Las Vegas.  Don’t take it from me, though, take it from an Italian native who recently told me this is the only place in Las Vegas that serves authentic Italian Gelato.  It’s located inside Bellagio right across from the entrance to the pools–just ask for directions to the pool area and you can’t miss it.  Pick your poison here, as every flavor seems to be better than the last.

Vosges Haut-Chocolat. OK, this isn’t a restaurant…well, not really.  Vosges first opened in Chicago while I was still in college there, and there were plenty of days that I spent my lunch money on a duo of Vosges truffles instead of a sandwich.  So, if you’re in the mood to be decadent, you could have a meal here.  However, with the Vegas location right next to Joe’s Stone Crab in the Forum Shops at Caesars, I recommend the chocolate for an appetizer.  Whatever you choose here, add a Mo’s Bacon Bar to your order; trust me, you’ll love it!

Parasol Down at Wynn. Also not a restaurant, but it’s a great place for a cocktail.  Grab a table on the patio and enjoy the strange but amusing show on the small lake in front of you.  It’s usually not crowded, but if there is a wait for a table it’s usually a short one.

Eat/drink off the Strip

Vintner Grill. Located in an unassuming office building in Summerlin, this chic American Bistro feels like it belongs in a much more cosmopolitan location than suburban Sin City.  Located at 10100 W. Charleston Blvd., Vintner Grill is a locals’ favorite that works as well for a date as it does a business dinner.  It’s not required, but most dress to impress.

Nora’s Cuisine. Nora’s was one of the first off-Strip gems I found after moving to Vegas, but it’s no secret to locals or tourists alike: this place is always packed!  Despite its casual atmosphere, do not venture here without a reservation or you could be in for a long wait.  Located at 6020 W. Flamingo–in a strip mall, no less!–this Italian joint is a short cab ride from the Strip and perfect for a low-key but incredible meal.  The pesto and alfredo sauces are killer, but if you can stray from the standards try the Alla Nora (spaghetti topped with eggplant, ground beef, tomato sauce, pesto and cheese), as it’s a truly special dish.

Osaka. Japanese at its finest, a former co-worker recently told me that Osaka was serving (great) sushi in Las Vegas long before it was mainstream popular.  Also a short cab ride from the Strip at 4205 W. Sahara, its teppan grill is as good as its tempura.  Super casual with a friendly staff, Osaka is most fun for groups looking throw back some sake and have a great time.

Hachi. Looking to do Japanese in a more intimate setting?  Venture to Red Rock Casino Resort in Summerlin and you’ll find this chic yet affordable Japanese restaurant.  Hachi hint: skip the entrees and order several plates of appetizers and sushi for a delicious, filling and cheaper meal.  Hachi’s chicken fried rice is always a crowd-pleaser, so be sure to order it for your table.  For dessert, don’t miss the green tea beignets.  Cocktails are a must here–the ever-changing menu always serves up something special.

LBS. Also at Red Rock Casino Resort, LBS is the perfect place to grab a burger with friends.  Order the potato twisters (a hybrid of fries and potato chips) for an appetizer and enjoy the vibe as you wait for your delectable burgers to arrive.  LBS mixes up some great cocktails with Vitamin Water and serves an excellent milkshake.

Bob Taylor’s Ranch House. Far up in Northwest Las Vegas you’ll find a great steak/seafood dinner in one of the city’s few, true classics.  This eatery, tucked away at 6250 Rio Vista St., is surrounded by residential neighborhoods and bordered by one of  Vegas’ busy freeways, but when it opened in 1955 and served meals to celebs like Frank Sinatra, it was quite literally in the middle of nowhere.  Vegas is known for tearing down its history, but the Ranch House prevails.  Don’t miss this little bit of Vegas history; it’s worth the 20-minute drive from the Strip to experience its charming Western ambience and finely prepared steaks.

Hash House A Go Go. Featured on television shows ranging from Man vs. Food to Martha Stewart, you can’t miss this “twisted farm food” while in Vegas.  Located at 6800 W. Sahara, it’s not too far from the Strip, and serves the best breakfast in town.  (Lunch and dinner are also served, but you can’t beat the breakfast.)  Known for its crazy combos (sage fried chicken with bacon waffles, for example) and epic portions (the pancakes are the size of tires), Hash House is always busy, but worth the wait.  Two other Vegas locations recently opened if you can’t get to the original: one inside Imperial Palace on the Strip and one in the M Resort.

Entertainment

Red Rock Lanes. If you find yourself at Red Rock Casino Resort, make time for a fun-filled bowling excursion.  Best on a Saturday night for cosmic bowling, these are my favorite lanes in town.  Want to do it up VIP-style?  Rent one of the alley’s private lanes, and they’ll let you pick your own playlist of music videos for your further entertainment.

Penn & Teller. A most entertaining show, Penn & Teller just celebrated their 10-year anniversary at Rio.  A comedy and magic combination, you’ll delight in Penn’s wit and Teller’s impressive sleight of hand.  Fair warning: Penn’s religious (or lack thereof) and political opinions work their way into the act, so the easily offended may prefer to steer clear.  Though, I like to think that even those that don’t agree can find enjoyment in this impressive act–I’ve seen it twice and would happily go back for round three.

The Atomic Testing Museum. A museum?  In Vegas?  It’s true!  The Atomic Testing Museum, 755 E. Flamingo, is a short  cab ride from the Strip and details Nevada’s important role in the U.S.’s atomic history–hundreds of nuclear tests took place at the Nevada Test Site from 1951 to 1992.  The museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and features as many great artifacts of the atomic age as you’d expect to see in any of the Smithsonian’s D.C. museums.

Bellagio Fountains. If you’ve been to Vegas, you’ve probably already seen them a dozen times, but they never get old.  If you haven’t been the Vegas, the famous fountains are the best free show in town.  

Recreation

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Located on the far western side of Las Vegas, Red Rock is a locals’ favorite for hiking, climbing, repelling, biking and picnicking.  Want to see this beautiful park, but not the outdoorsy type?  Drive the 13-mile scenic loop and take in the sights of the enormous red cliffs and natural desert landscape; there are plenty of pull-offs for photo ops along the way.

Mt. Charleston. Located about 35 minutes Northwest of the Strip, Mt. Charleston offers a great escape in both summer and winter.  While Vegas bakes in July, Mt. Charleston offers temperatures that are usually about 20 degrees cooler than the lower parts of the Valley.  Come here to hike, picnic or have lunch at the scenic Mt. Charleston Lodge.  In the winter, visit the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort for some snow-filled recreation.

Hoover Dam. Don’t miss this incredible feat of engineering or its historical ties to the Las Vegas Valley and nearby Boulder City.  A new overpass bridge was recently opened here and is itself a modern engineering marvel, so make the 30 minute drive to catch this landmark in all its glory.

Want feedback on a place not on this list?  Leave a comment, and I’ll be happy to respond!

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A Las Vegas Shooting and the Second Amendment

On July 10  a man named Erik Scott was killed by Metro police officers at a Las Vegas Costco store.  The details of the incident seem to still be unclear:   A Costco employee called 911 because Scott had a gun on him in the store and was behaving “erratically,” though the nature of this behavior remains in debate.  As customers, along with Scott, were evacuating the store, did Scott pull his gun and aim at officers?  Did he reach for his gun at all?  Did it remain in the holster?  Was he merely trying to surrender it after receiving conflicting commands from police officers?  Is it merely a coincidence that the surveillance footage covering the incident is damaged and not retrievable or is there something more sinister at play? 

A Coroner’s inquest is in progress here in Clark County (for more on that, check out the latest from the Las Vegas Sun here.), so debate about the events of July 10 is freshly raging.  One such debate took place on the radio this morning as I was driving to work–listeners were calling in and weighing in on the topic.  Some sided with Scott’s family (a former girlfriend of Scott was one of the callers) and others sided with the police (they have families to go home to and need to protect themselves). 

The conversation called to mind a story in Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink.”  It was about police officers in the Bronx who, several years ago, gunned down a young man because they were certain they saw him pull a gun on them.  As it turned out, the man didn’t have a gun anywhere on his person.  So why, then, were the officers so sure that this man was pointing a gun at them that they confidently took him down?  The answer isn’t simple, so I recommend reading “Blink” for the full story and analysis–it has to do with rapid cognition, and the decisions we make quickly…in the blink of an eye.  Sometimes this works really well and other times it fails, as was illustrated in the Bronx debacle.     

But I do wonder:  did these Metro officers fall victim to the same circumstances as the policemen in the Bronx?  Did they only think they saw Scott pull a gun, when he really did not?

As the conversation continued on the radio, one of the hosts suddenly made a rather disturbing point:  why did Erik Scott take a gun to Costco in the first place?  Why did he need a gun on his person at a store?   A follow-up caller echoed her point and implied that he was asking to get into trouble with the police because he made the bad decision to carry a gun with him to the store.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!  Not only is it legal to carry a concealed weapon (with the proper permit) in Nevada, but open carry is also legal.  Did Erik Scott need to have a gun with him in Costco?  Probably not.  Was he asking for trouble simply by exercising his constitutional right?  Absolutely not!

I think it’s incredibly dangerous to say that we should stop exercising the civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution simply because “it’s asking for trouble.”  The implication of that statement is incredible!  

I’m no Second Amendment warrior, but I think if someone wants to legally carry a gun on his person, he should be able to do so without the fear of being harmed. 

Would these same people so easily give up their First Amendment rights?  Should we stop criticizing elected officials for fear of repercussion from them?

Erik Scott was not asking to be killed simply because he was carrying a gun in Costco.  Now, whether or not he did something else to merit being shot remains to be exposed–along with the other fuzzy details of this incident–but to relinquish civil rights in the blink of an eye is the poorest judgment of all.  That, I believe, is what’s asking for trouble.

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The Best Pecan Pie in Vegas

I’m in the midst of a three-week detox (post on that to come), so it pains me to write about food right now, but I’ve been wanting to write this blog for more than a month–its delay is due to my starting a new job and taking a two-week vacation.  Let’s hope I make it through this without drooling all over the keyboard.

One of my favorite restaurants in Las Vegas is the Indian Curry Bowl, located in Centennial Hills at 5643 Centennial Center Blvd.  I know what you’re thinking.  Why is she writing about an Indian restaurant if this post is about pecan pie?  Stay with me, because I was thinking something similar when I saw pecan pie on the restaurant’s special menu.

Indian Curry Bowl is a new-ish and small restaurant that is owned by a very kind and talented family.  I’ve tried a good portion of the traditional Indian dishes that are on the menu and they’re all incredible–everything is made fresh and it tastes that way.  In fact, local Whole Foods Markets are now carrying the restaurant’s food!  I’m partial to the garlic naan, which I order as a side every time I’m there.

My husband and I went to Indian Curry Bowl for dinner in June and I noticed pecan pie on the special menu.  I mentioned to my husband that I found it odd to see pecan pie on an Indian restaurant’s menu, but before we finished our meal the owner convinced us to try his wife’s pecan pie, which he assured us would be the best we’d ever had.

Full disclosure: I don’t really like pecan pie.  I told the owner we’d take a piece to go and he suggested we get two pieces because one would not be enough.  I agreed for two reasons, the first being that he was so nice that I couldn’t bear to refuse him and, second, I figured that if we didn’t eat it, I would have helped pump a few more dollars into a local business.

Indian Curry Bowl's pecan pie

He brought out the pie to us in one to-go container and asked us to try a bite before we left; we obliged.  I almost leapt out of my seat this pie was so amazing!  It’s different from traditional pecan pie–beneath the pecan layer there is a fluffy cheesecake layer and beneath that a thin layer of custard.  This pie had a perfectly light but creamy texture and a vanilla flavor that complemented the pecans nicely.  The owner told us that his wife uses honey to sweeten the pie, which I appreciate because I’ve tasted some pecan pies that are so sweet they’re almost gritty; the sweetness in this pie was well-balanced.  This pecan pie was definitely the best I’ve ever had.

Not only did we devour both pieces before we ever left the restaurant, we took another piece home for later.  I’m embarrassed to admit we ate it before we went to bed that night!

It’s easy to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere at Indian Curry Bowl, its friendly service and the delish food.  It’s worth a drive to the northwest side of town for those that don’t live in the area, and for those that do, well, you might find it to be your new favorite neighborhood restaurant.

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Cupcakes…Just Cupcakes

Cupcake bakeries seem to be popping up all over the place, and Las Vegas is no exception.  A crop of these cupcakeries has sprung up around Las Vegas, but my favorite is the newest of the bunch: Just Cupcake’s [sic].  It’s located in Centennial Hills at 6640 N. Durango Dr., and is totally worth the drive if you don’t live in the NW Valley.  For those in the neighborhood, well lucky you for living so close to these pint-size treats! 

For me, this shop (owned by the nicest couple you could meet!) delivers the two things I really want in a cupcake bakery: delish cupcakes (of course) and the place makes me feel special.  

Part of what I’m paying for, after all, is the experience.  There’s something about going into a cupcakery, standing at the counter and being able to choose whatever I want from a variety of artistic treats.  The payoff is knowing that whatever I choose will taste incredible. 

Unfortunately, I can’t say this of all cupcake bakeries in town.  Perhaps the most well-known in Las Vegas is The Cupcakery (which took the generic term for its proper name) and while this place delivers the experience, it does not deliver the taste.  The Cupcakery’s cupcakes are dry and artificial tasting (and the priciest in town!).  Cupcake Lane’s cupcakes also lack in flavor–the cupcakes here taste like what I pick up in a pinch at the grocery, and so why not then just go to the grocery store, which is more convenient and cheaper?  Retro Bakery is super cute and serves interesting flavors, but the frosting…the frosting is like chewing up a brick of butter and having it turn back into a brick in the bottom of your stomach.  And, I LOVE FROSTING.  I mean, I really, really, really love frosting.  More than anything else.  But I literally cannot finish a Retro Bakery cupcake because the frosting is just too much. 

But Just Cupcake’s?  Its cupcakes are fluffy and moist, with the perfect frosting to cake ratio (and the frosting melts in your mouth when you take a bite!).  My favorite flavor is the Bailey’s & Cream–it’s a chocolate cupcake with Irish cream buttercream that would do St. Patrick proud.  Other favorites include the Strawberry (real, fresh strawberries baked into the batter!), the German Chocolate, the Banana, and the Red Velvet.  And don’t feel shy about ordering the old standbys–Vanilla and Chocolate–they’re oh-so-good.  Or, mix it up with the Black & White, which is actually an old family recipe that was owners’ wedding cake! 

Vanilla, Chocolate, German Chocolate, Bailey's & Cream

I’ve ordered several dozens of Just Cupcake’s cupcakes for parties, and my guests go crazy for them!  Everyone wants to know where they’re from and how to get more!  The store has always happily accommodated my special orders–from mixing flavors to changing frosting colors.  

Just Cupcake’s is open Tuesday through Sunday (they’re closed on Mondays), so next time you’re in the area or just in the mood for a really excellent cupcake, check it out.  Your taste buds will thank you.

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Jean Philippe Patisserie and the Nutella Brioche

Las Vegas is a popular place to visit, and I am frequently asked by friends and family to dispense recommendations for things to do and see while they are in town [a future blog will include my favorites].  Restaurants are my favorite thing to recommend, but there are so many exquisite places to dine in this city that it can be difficult to fit a good variety into a short trip, especially if my guests are on a budget. 

There is, however, one place that should never be missed on any trip to Las Vegas:  Jean Philippe Patisserie. 

Anyone in town for even a day can find time to pick up a treat at this decadent pastry shop, and it’s such a small-scale splurge that the only guilt to feel after indulging is about the calories consumed. 

Jean Philippe Maury’s original patisserie is in Bellagio and features the world’s largest chocolate fountain (Guinness-certified).  A new JP Patisserie opened in December in CityCenter’s new Aria Resort and is double the size of the original.  Each are equally special, so I’d recommend visiting both, but either will do if you’re short on time.

Both locations serve sandwiches and gelato, but skip right to the pastries at this place.  My favorite time to visit is in the morning, because JP’s breakfast pastries are fit for a king (Louis XIV?).  Pick your pleasure, but if your taste buds are anything like mine, just ask for a Nutella Brioche.  

The light, sweet bread is complemented by the perfect amount of gooey Nutella goodness for a morning treat like none other.  JP also offers a dulce de leche brioche filled with caramel or a sugared brioche for those who prefer no filling.  All three varieties are excellent, but I love all things hazelnut, so the Nutella version wins with me by a hair.  Paired with a nice breakfast tea (coffee, if you prefer; I’ve heard theirs is excellent), and I couldn’t be happier.

Visit in the late afternoon if you want to sample the more dessert-y (and award-winning) pastries–they’re great for an after-lunch indulgence.  I’ve tried several of the wide variety available each day and have never been disappointed. 

Diving into these pastries (breakfast or otherwise) while reclining casually (the JP at Aria has seats in it; at Bellagio grab one of the nearby chairs that line the windows outside the shop) takes me to another world–one where I might be able to haphazardly shop my way through Vegas’ luxury boutiques or not worry about the price of the wine I order with my gourmet dinner.  For under $10, what more could you want?

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The Pole Dance

I’m fashionably late to the pole-dancing-for-fitness party, but I’ve at last arrived.

That I’m able to blog about my experience right now is both a miracle and a testament to the quality of the workout this activity provides.  In short, I have a newfound respect for strippers.

I took my Beginner Pole Dancing class in a studio at the Hard Rock’s new Reliquary Spa.  (As an aside, the spa is gorgeous–it’s modern and serene.  I was somewhat befuddled by its Roman bath area, as I thought this was Caesar’s forte, but I was too drawn in by the rest of my surroundings to pay that anachronism much attention.)

The instructor kicked off the class with a lesson in lap dancing; a warm up, if you will.  Now, I’m a fairly outgoing, try-anything-once (that doesn’t involve heights) kind of girl, so I happily attempted to give my empty chair the thrill of its life.  Admittedly, though, I felt patently ridiculous and could scarcely make it a beat without cracking a “I can’t believe I’m really doing this” grin.  Here’s the thing, though: guys are easy.  So easy.  Too easy.  Way easier than a lifeless black folding chair.  The fact is that if any of the girls who took this class with me busted out just one of the moves we did in swift combination tonight, she’d have male putty on her hands.  In fact, I’m not sure the average guy could handle much more than that (though I’m sure they would all love to try).  And, while I’m unlikely to attempt the whole routine outside of the classroom for fear of crumbling under my own ridiculousness,  I do have it–and all its one-off killer moves–in my back pocket should I need to dance my way into or out of some future situation.

After our seductive warm up, we took to the poles.  For me, this part of the class was less about being sexy and more about getting a good workout.  I thought I’d be flipping around that pole in no time flat getting in some great cardio to make up for the elliptical session I skipped this morning.  I could not have been more wrong.

I am fairly strong.  Not like body-builder strong, but I can do my share of heavy-lifting.  Unless, apparently, that lifting happens to involve my moving my body around a floor-to-ceiling brass pole.  Then, well, no dice.  This ranked among the best upper-body workouts I’ve ever had.  You know that disorienting feeling of a flash bulb going off in your face in a dimly-lit room?  That’s what my biceps, delts and lats are currently experiencing.  I did actually feel myself getting stronger during the course of the hour, however–by the end of the class, I felt much more coordinated and was swinging around with some proficiency.  This is versus the beginning of the class, where I wasn’t sure my hands were in the right position and I could barely lift myself off the ground. 

The whole thing required quite a bit of coordination, too.  I could actually feel my brain building new neurons trying to figure out the moves I was attempting.  What really helped me was to stand back for a moment and visualize what I was trying to do–that seemed to help my brain get the hang of things. 

I have no idea if any part of what I did tonight was the least bit sexy–I was too focused on trying to conquer the pole to notice myself in the mirror.  I’ll make a point of tuning into that more next time.  Yes, there will be a next time.  Sometime soon.  After I regain feeling in my arms.

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