Hidden Vegas project for Sony: my first published pics!

Emma Trotter

At Vegas magazine, we spend quite a lot of time in our photo studio.

One of my goals this year was to work on my photography skills, so how excited was I to participate in Sony’s “Hidden” project? For two weeks, two amateur photographers in cities across the country snapped photos of their everyday lives. Right now, our photos are on display in our local Sony Store, mine at the one near the main valet of Forum Shops at Caesars (near Joe’s Stone Crab). I had a blast doing this project, even though I was so nervous to be so public with my mistakes as I learned how to use the Sony NEX-5RK. It was worth it! Largely thanks to the super-helpful pros at the Sony Store, I have been experimenting with the macro lens (my favorite), focusing, and lighting.

I can’t wait to study photography as much as I can!

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Dinner with Coco Austin: Welcome to Vegas!

Coco Austin and I outside of her Peepshow theater.

Coco Austin and I outside of her Peepshow theater.

Deadline week at the magazine (no sleep for the weary!), but I’ll get back to my San Francisco and Napa trip soon. In the meantime, I managed to squeeze in dinner with my favorite new Vegas import, Coco, who in some circles is known as “the nicest celebrity ever.” I was dying to meet her because in addition to my continued fascination with anything to do with live theater, like me, Coco moved to Albuquerque as a teenager — and then left right after high school. (I always wondered where she went to high school. Turns out, she went to Montessori school and was then home-schooled.) Interestingly, she lived in Vegas for a time before she met Ice… Twelve years later, the happy couple, stars of E!’s hit reality show Ice Loves Coco, are splitting their time between NYC, where Ice shoots Law & Order: SVU, and Vegas, where Coco is headlining in Peepshow, at Planet Hollywood. Coco told me that when Ice was on break from SVU, he spent three weeks in Vegas and went to his wife every single night! True love… They sound adorable! I went to opening night, and it was fantastic. This girl can dance, and the rest of the cast puts on a great show with some creative choreography.

Welcome (back) to Vegas, Coco!

Anyone can do it: Race car driving in Vegas

Before my "race," relaxing in the VIP lounge.

Before my “race,” relaxing in the VIP lounge.

One unassuming recent Saturday morning, I woke up, fed my dogs, showered, and headed to the last place on earth I ever thought I’d go — the racetrack. And I wasn’t even going to go watch a race. No… in my quest to show the world that the deserts of Las Vegas are jam-packed with ridiculous adventure stunts, I was going to be on the track. I am a notoriously bad driver and uninterested in learning how to drive one of these fast cars, but I was to quickly learn that I was not alone in my fears. But Exotics Racing is so awesome, that I still got to be right in the action. (Even too much in the action, according to some of the others…) As usual, I was the last of my eager adventure-seeking pals to show up for our activity, the last in our series of zip-lining, off-roading and hitting the gun range. I quickly signed my life away on the all-too-familiar waiver, and we were on our way. Vegas race car driving, I was about to learn, is quite the thrill!



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Daydream of the Week: Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate BridgeNothing makes me happier than a gorgeous water scene, whether it’s the jungle beaches or water of Santa Teresa, or the pool views of Panama City’s Trump Ocean Club. During a recent trip to San Francisco, we stopped by the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge on our way to Napa and Sonoma. It was a gorgeous fall morning, sunny and clear. I absolutely LOVED this one great shot I got, but for real photography talent, please check out my friend Andi’s post at My Beautiful Adventures. Now those are some shots! Hard to believe we were on the same trip, right? The bridge is an easy stop on the way out of town — just pull over after crossing the bridge, where the tourist stop indicates. I love how the weather can so easily change the mood and photos. But do not worry: Even a famously gray northern California day can make this view cozy and right. I love it!

I toured San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma as a guest of Trafalgar Tours, but all opinions are my own.

Why I am not a Farmers Market Girl

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Miette

Miette’s all-natural macarons.

In my mind (or an alternate universe — you pick), I am the type of girl who wakes up every Saturday morning, refreshed and ready to hit my local farmers market for some sunshine, fresh food and groceries, and a lively social kick-off to my active weekend. Alas, that has never, ever been the case. By the time my weekend rolls around, after being “on” all week at work and having few too many hours at home, the last thing I want to do is walk around a Farmers Market alone. (The only one in my area is on Sunday anyways.) But if I lived near “the” farmers market in San Francisco, a Ferry Plaza Market devotee I would be.

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I’m a Cosmo NYE Groupie

Cosmopolitan Las Vegas Beyonce

Happy New Year, everybody! I’m checking into the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas soon and signing off for a few days for a mini-vacation before diving right back into my pesky workaholism on January 2. Call me a Cosmo groupie — this is the third year in a row I’m celebrating New Year’s Eve with them. Thinking back to the hotel’s very first year, 2010, I realized I never posted my very favorite picture from the party. Its grand opening/New Year’s Eve bash made headlines all over the globe. The headliners: Jay-Z and Coldplay, on one stage. But in the end, everyone from Florence and the Machine, John Mayer, and Rihanna had a moment in the spotlight. It was an intimate affair overall, and one I will never forget. Even between the endless champagne, caviar and parade of celebrity attendees (from J Lo to Cameron Diaz), the most special part of the whole thing was really the excitement in the air. I’ll never forget it! But something I had forgotten — this stunning photo of Beyonce, who came out to count down with her husband. The crowd went into a frenzy! They kept the party small enough that during the concert, anyone could get this close at any time. Beyonce looked happy enough for us all.

Happy New Year, friends!