Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Temperamental Broad's Guide to Viva Las Vegas: Preparation

Ok, so I know a few other bloggers are doing Viva posts and I've been doing my 'Ghost of Viva' posts, but I had a few requests to do something a bit more thorough. I thought I would give you guys a guide to the event, especially those of you going for the first time. This one will be about preparing for the event. I know when I first went I had no idea what to pack, and no idea what to expect so hopefully this will help.

Booking Your Viva Trip

So you've made the decision to go to Viva. Great! You're probably already thinking about what dresses you're going to take and how you're going to do you're hair... But wait! You need to get there first!

1-Get your room early. The Orleans sells out fast, usually by October, so get your room as early as possible. If you are smart you will just reserve it for the next year when you check out, but make sure to say its for Viva so you get the discount. If you wait too long and the rooms sell out you may still be able to get one though. Look online or call the Orleans to reserve a room without the Viva discount. They usually still have some held for non Viva attendees. You will pay more but at least you will have a room. Theres nothing I hate more than not staying at the event but if you don't mind that there are plenty of other hotels and casinos to stay at. Most of the ones closest to The Orleans sell out early too so, again, get it fast!

2-Get your event tickets early. These sell out too but not as fast so I recommend getting these after you get your room. Sign up for the Viva newsletter and Tom will let everyone know how fast they are selling. You do this by creating a member log in on Tickets this year have gone up to $95 (they used to be $60). Also remember that the price for tickets goes up to $110 after 4/8/11. I would say that as long as purchase tickets by March you will be ok, but to be safe try and get them earlier.

3-Book your flight early. Tickets tend to be cheaper the earlier you get them. Flying in on Wednesday is cheaper too, and, if you don't like to torture yourself, book your departure flight for later in the day on Monday. I prefer not go to the airport at 8 am on only 2 hours of sleep, still drunk from the night before. Also, be aware of what airline you fly on and their baggage rules. I try to only fly Southwest so that I won't be charged to check my bags. That money adds up and I don't like to stress about what I can and can't bring. If your flight lands later in the weekend I suggest being as ready as possible on the plane. Have your hair and makeup done so that when you arrive you can just change and go. Also know that depending an when you arrive there may be a long line at check in. And of course, get your bracelet ASAP.

4-If you drive to Viva:get an oil change, put air in your tires, and all that jazz. To save money on gas you can share a car with other people. The good thing about driving is you don't have to worry about what to pack. The bad thing is you can't drink like you can on the plane. At least not legally.

Preparing For The Event

You certainly don't want to go to Viva looking all haggard do you? Make sure that you are ready and that you will look your best.

1-Plan your wardrobe. This is probably the most important, and stressful, thing on this list. No matter what, there will always be someone prettier, skinnier, and better dressed than you and most likely she will be from Japan. Just deal with it. That doesnt mean, though, that you can't look your best. In fact, this is a time when its ok to be a little over the top. That sequined mermaid dress you bought on a whim: perfect for early saturday night. That adorable Hawaiian playsuit that you never have the balls to wear at home: wear it to the car show. Those 4 inch springolators that you can barely walk in, much less dance: great for sitting and watching the Burlesque competition. The goal is to try and stand out in a sea of lookalikes so look your best and walk with confidence. Remember to accessorise your outfits and do hairstyles that compliment. Also, if you wear repro be prepared to see someone else wearing your outfit, so make sure you look better!

Japanese do everything better.

See? Even the guys go for over the top!

2-Diet and exercise. This is a time when we want to look our best so its a good plan to get in shape leading up to the event. Right now I am eating healthy and doing Turbo Jam. My hope to minimize my cellulite and arm fat so I look good in my shorts and bathing suits. Also, since I'm a bit broke at the moment I will have to wear some items that I haven't worn in years, ie: my skinny clothes.  Here's a tip: if you dance as much as I do at Viva, by saturday you will have lost a few pounds and will be able to squeeze into your skinny, skinny clothes. This is when I can wear my 22 inch waist shorts and Kamehameha dress. Any other time of the year, forget it!!

Not sure what this is but I have no intention of working out at Viva.

3-Mend and clean your clothes. I always have a huge stack of clothes that needs to be mended and I always wait until the last minute to do them. However, once I do, I have a bunch of new things to wear to Viva. If you have a complex item make sure to get it professionally done. A hem can make all the difference on how a dress looks on you. Once you know what you are taking make sure to get them cleaned.

4-Get your hair ready. I try to dye my hair about a week before we leave so that I don't have any roots. I also recommend not getting a major haircut right before Viva. You need time to get used to a new style and Viva is no time to be working out the kinks. Only do whats necessary, like trimming your bangs. Otherwise, leave it alone. I also recommend trying out any styles that you may want to wear in Vegas beforehand. That way you don't struggle too bad on them when you get there.

5-Tan. This may sound silly, but tanning is always on my 'to do' list. I use a spray self tanner and focus it on my legs, getting the rest of my body with lighter tanning lotion.The reason why I do this is because being a little tan hides any blemishes you may have. Since I don't like my legs but I do love to wear shorts tanning is a good solution. Don't, however, over tan. You don't want to look orange, just healthy.

Also, this is where most normal girls will get mani/pedis. I, however, am positievely horrible to my nails and there is no hope.

6-Strategically pack. If you fly then you may already know how dangerous it can be on your luggage. For that reason, and the fact that I'm incredibly paranoid, I carry on all my valuables and breakables like Bakelite and lucite.  To save room I store all my flower clips inside my lucite purses. I also tend to put all my dresses in a separate suitcase than my toiletries. Something always opens up during flight and the last thing I need is eye makeup remover all over my Shaheen sarong dress!


Even though Viva is a pretty cheap vacation option, especially if you  book all your stuff in advance, you will still need money for the weekend. I usually use my tax refund or try and save a bit from each paycheck. Obviously this year will be different for me. However, if you know what to expect you can properly use your cash so that you can have a fabulous time on any budget.

1-Taxis. You will need a taxi to and from the airport. If you spot someone in line that appears to be going to the Orleans you can save money by sharing a cab. Plus, you've made a new friend or two. One year Oscar and I shared a cab with the nephew of The Collins Kids, who also played in their band. You never know who you might meet!
If you go anywhere in Vegas you will also need money for taxi's so keep that in mind. Vegas is pretty small so its not that pricey. Some hotels offer free shuttles so use those whenever possible. Also, if you drive to Viva you may still want to cab it, as parking at The Orleans can be a bit tricky.

Waitin for a cab.

2-Room. Remember that The Orleans will charge your credit card for the first night, so if you are rooming with lots of people you may want to get their share up front. The final amount will not charged until you check out. Don't forget about any extras, like room service, that you charged to the room. Also, when you check out go ahead and reserve a room for the next Viva. If you do that they will charge the first night to your card as well.

3-Food. The Orleans has good cheap food options but you may want to get at least a couple decent meals in. There are great restaurants in Vegas so plan to eat out at least once. Otherwise, The Orleans has a Mexican restaurant, a couple steakhouses, and some sea food places. It also has a good food court (Fuddruckers delivers!) and room service for those really hungover afternoons. There is a Baskin Robbins (yum) and a coffee shop, which for me is a necessity as I can't do anything without coffee. For a quick snack there is a the gift shop and for a really cheap meal there are $1 hot dogs. For those late night cravings TGI Fridays has happy hour every night and decent mixed drinks. And for those 6am "the ballrooms are closed and I'm really drunk so I need to eat something before passing out" cravings theres a 24 hour cafe. Take note though: the food is awful so you will probably only want to eat here when you are really drunk. Oh, and if at all possible, stay away from the eggs.

Beer and hot dogs. The breakfast of champions!

4-Alcohol. For those of us that drink this can be a pretty big expense so it helps to be smart about it. We always buy a ton of liquor to keep in our room to save time and money because the drinks at the event can be pricey and the lines long. Security will stop you if you have a cooler so unless you sneak it in use your ice bucket, tub or sink. Make sure to remember the bottle opener! A flask will be helpful, or just get a bottle of cola or OJ and mix it with alcohol and you can carry it around that way. You used to be able to buy a case of beer and take it into the event but now they won't let you. However, you can carry each individual beer in, as many as you can hold. Why they have this stupid rule is beyond me. There are bars in the casino but good luck getting a drink there. All the non-Viva attendees will be there and they aren't usually very friendly. Your other option is to get a boot, or whatever the Orleans equivalent is. I have never gotten one so I don't really know how they work. I'm not very good at carrying things around and so many people get them that if you set it down to go dance, chances are when you get back you will not know which one is yours. And I have no interest in drinking out of some strangers boot as I have no idea where their mouths have been that weekend!!

Me. Beer smuggler.

5-Shopping. You can't go to Viva without doing a little shopping. Make sure to set aside a good amount of cash to purchase goodies at the vendors. There will be tons of vintage clothing booths, cd's and vinyl, reproduction clothes and shoes, jewelry, hair accessories, and even kids clothes. The vendors open on thursday at 5pm and there will be a line to get in. It will also be extremely packed so be prepared for that. I usually prefer to shop late in the evening or wait until friday, but if you are concerned that you will miss out on some great stuff then I recommend getting there early and waiting in line. One thing to remember is that you can barter for a better price with most vendors. There will be vendors at the car show as well so make sure to check them out. Also, most vendors have sales on sunday so make sure to stop in then for those last minute deals. Most of my Vegas purchases are made on sunday

If you want to do some shopping outside of Viva there are tons of excellent shops around Vegas. I usually stop at Buffalo Exchange, Sephora and the Pro MAC store at Ceasers. I'm sure there are some vintage shops and thrift stores too, but I've never really been to them.

Vegas. Not a current photo.

So there you go! Thats my Preparation for Viva post. I'm sure there are things I am forgetting and I will do my best to do some more posts about packing and stuff. Hopefully this will help you guys out. If you guys have any questions or suggestions please leave me a comment and I will do my best to help!


  1. Fun!!! I love your take on the Japanese! You forgot that they are always better dancers too! :)

  2. Wow good thing i live in Vegas and i dont have to worry about this stuff! Seems like alot of work :O

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  4. For us foreigners (i'm from Australia) could you possibly tell us how the weather is in Vegas in april.
    I've never been to America before so have no idea what to expect.

  5. Cherry-Since its at the end of April this year the weather should be really nice. I always check the weather reports leading up to it so when I do that I will post it on my blog. Sometimes it gets a little windy and I think it rained one year, but usually its sunny and warm. So definitely pack sun screen and sun glasses!

  6. Dollie-I don't know if I've ever danced with the Japanese. I'm usually dancing with a short little Mexican :-)

  7. Dancing with a short mexican, or a tall jew, or a average height white chick. LOL

    Here's a few things I thought of:

    I like to curl my hair ahead of time and set it so that it's good for a couple days. It really saves time on doing my hair! In previous years I would fully wash and do my hair from the start while at Viva, and that takes WAY too long!
    Also, if you have room in your bag to bring hangers, bring them! I usually share a room with people and we've quickly learned that there are not enough hangers for all the girls dresses to be hung. And I usually iron all my dresses ahead of time, so as soon as I check in I like to hang them up.
    I agree with the flask idea. If you are a drinker and hate long lines and jacked up prices for alcohol, keep a flask on you and keep it full!
    Also, don't keep all your cash with you in your vintage purse!!!!! So many people I know had their purse stolen (Holly) :(. It's a good idea to only carry the amount of cash you need for that particular night, and hide the rest in your room. Only keep necessities in your vintage purse that you're carrying around.
    Of course I agree about the tanning point, LOL...
    Also bring extra safety pins and possibly a needle and some thread. From previous experience, we've had dresses rip and fall apart from the dancing abuse, etc, that it's nice to be able to pin it on the spot or do a quick sew while you're there.
    Holly, remember when Tina's dress (the one in your pic of us waiting for the taxi) ripped all up the side?! It totally split open!!!
    That's all I can think of for right now.

  8. Tara-I totally agree with you. I usually wash my only twice during viva. Its too hard starting from scratch. And I'm going to do a packing post (eventually) so I will include all the little things you need to mend your clothes in a pinch. As for the purse thing: that sucked!! Now I only carry a purse during the day and early evening so I don't have to set it down. As for the rest of the evening-my boyfriend can carry all the important things in his pocket!

  9. Fantastic and informative post! I especially like the section on clothing! I need to get some Hawaiian wear and a few party dresses! I have some nice dresses but none that really have sparkle or shine! I wanna look good! Now, I just need to get the man's wardrobe up to speed! Again, AWESOME post!

  10. Such helpful tips!

    Did you ever see that printed Do's and Don'ts of Viva that was passed around a few years ago? It wasn't very informative, but it was hilarious.

    I haven't been since '07 but I've convinced my stick in the mud boyfriend to agree to it this year. We've got some partying to do with Patrick! Hope we'll get a chance to meet!

  11. Tara (Betty)-I'm going to work on a packing post. I dont have any idea what I'm going to wear so it'll help me too!

    Jenn-Patrick from Seattle? Love him!!

    I saw that Viva To do and not do list many times over the years and it still cracks me up!!

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  13. Great ideas! I never thought of sharing a cab to/from the airport but I will definitely try that this year.
    Thanks for the tips.

  14. Great hit it all! purrrrrfectly! Especially the japanese...they freakin' rock and are very very nice!!! I love how you said there is always someone who does it better,looks better, dances better...just rock the fab you and be friendly you'll have a blast!!!!

    Also...there is a whole street of vintage/antique shops that you can grab a map for@ the front desk (2 years ago it was actually in the program)...i usually hit them for less expensive jewlery & early mornin' gals can have a lil' shoppin' in before the venders open up & oh honey makes for a lil'quiet hang over recoopin' time! have a blast! Cat

  15. Great Viva posts! I wish this was around last year!

    Anyhow, if you're a beer drinker, the boots are awesome. I think it was $8 for it the first time and half of that price to have it refilled? I'm a bit fuzzy, but it was super cheap anyhow. We couldn't have them filled with beer at the pool party, so we ended up getting a gin and 7 instead...not a good idea, it's a big boot so it was more 7-Up than gin...

  16. Selina-I am a beer drinker but for some reasdon at Viva I never get the boot. I just know I'd lose it!

  17. Thanks for all this pre Viva advice.This is my second vegas trip.last one was the rave.this is my first VLV so these tips are helping a great deal.I plan on having plenty of bottled water.that dry air I couldn't keep hydrated enough.Especially while trying to sleep.I would wake up super thirsty.I did find drinking bloody marys or tomato juice helped with being dehydrated.

  18. Thats definitely a problem out there! You will have a blast at your first Viva!!!

  19. Oh week!

    I like your comment about the "pinup workout" on the schedule...I was wondering who would be able to go to that or who would not be hungover?


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