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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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!

Daydream of the Week: Tim has Faith in Soul2Soul

Faith Hill Tim McGraw VegasI live in Vegas and don’t gamble, not so much as playing a dollar on the slot machines. But I would bet everything that I am not the only one who is totally overwhelmed this time of year. So please excuse my sporadic blogging — I have some amazing adventures coming up that I can’t wait to share! In the meantime, the Las Vegas Strip has caught country fever, starting with the great Shania Twain. And I confess, I am its biggest cheerleader. I took this photo of Faith Hill and Tim McGraw a few months ago, but I just this past weekend went to their Soul2Soul show at Venetian, during their premiere weekend. I promise to send along my review shortly. But in the meantime, I wanted to whet your appetite. Life has been hectic in Sin City, and all this fun has meant no time for writing. But just you wait — there is so much fun to come!!

Personally welcoming Shania Twain to Vegas

Abby Tegnelia Shania Twain Opening NightI don’t hide the fact that one of my favorite parts about living in Las Vegas is that I get to go to so many amazing shows. The Colosseum especially has delivered some amazing nights, from Rod Stewart‘s premiere to meeting the great Celine Dion. But one thing I never saw coming: country! Leave it to Shania Twain to make that happen. After eight years off the stage, let me tell you, she came back with a bang! Her show Shania: Still the One exceeded all of my expectations. And THEN, I was honored to co-host her “welcome to Las Vegas” party with Vegas magazine, of which I am the editor. The cover she did for us was gorgeous! This photo isn’t the best of me at all, but she looks stunning, and that’s all that matters. It was definitely HER night! Shania Twain Las Vegas is going to kill it — in fact, since all of her shows sold out, they’ve already added 12 new ones for next spring.

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My Helicopter Fetish

Abby Tegnelia

©swankydietitian

I can’t believe it was such a short time ago that I had never been on a helicopter. Now? After three trips in such a short amount of time, I can’t believe what a wonderful way it is to see landscapes such as the Las Vegas Strip. It seems like ages ago that I thought I’d been the least bit scared — but it takes off straight up and with such smoothness that it truly feels like a car in the sky, as close to the Jetsons as I’ll ever get. My most recent trip was with Heli USA, which just happened to my first also. This time, I didn’t go camping with real cowboys at the Grand Canyon Ranch, but instead opted for a nighttime tour of the Strip. And just a few weeks ago, I got another taste with Papillon helicopters. This time, how fun to see such a familiar, glitzy place from  the sky at night!

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