Q & A with Jeannie Garcia
Most folks take their Vegas jackpot winnings back home, but my dad decided to stay here instead. That's why I left Seattle almost 20 years ago. I moved from greenery and rainy days to hot summers, palm trees and desert. As much as I love my hometown, I decided to stick around here. This city just has so much to offer. You don't even have to be a gambler, bar hopper or an all-night partier. I love Vegas for its awesome vegan-friendly spots, concerts, swanky hotel suites and spas so big, they're like castles. The pool scene is not too shabby either, which is why I love taking stay-cations. Besides living it up -- Vegas style -- I'm hanging out with my hubby, adorable baby girl, two cats and super-fluffy Shih-Tzu. I'm also a huge fan of '90s music, shows and movies.
Why/when did you move here?
I owe it all to pops for his Vegas jackpot two decades ago. Thanks, Dad!
When did you start at Vegas.com, and what does your job entail?
I started here in November 2005 and loved it ever since. I write about hotels, gaming, pools and spas. I've explored some of the world's fanciest suites, sipped champagne at the best pool cabanas and enjoyed my fair share of tropical-inspired massages and facials. Life can be so tough.
What are your hobbies?
When I'm not having a blast chasing around my baby and puppy, I love whipping up vegan dishes. I'm not talking salads or couscous dishes, either. Since I grew up on pizza, burgers, mac & cheese, fried chicken and sweets, I get super creative. And my kitchen gets equally messy. I also love kayaking and watching old "Saved By The Bell" episodes.
Give us a random fact about yourself
I can quote just about every line from "Coming to America." Eddie Murphy would be proud.
Give us your top insider tips about Vegas
- Ah, that lovely resort fee. You can't avoid it, so just make sure you add it to your hotel budget. The average hotel fee ranges from $20 - $30 a night. I would definitely take advantage of the hotel's fitness center access since it's already included in your fee anyway.
- Set aside some poolside time. I've had friends come to Vegas who were so busy, they didn't have time to just relax. The Vegas pool scene is always the highlight of my own stay-cations. It's a great way to beat the summer heat and the atmosphere makes you feel miles away from the desert. Try and book your vacation around the first couple of weeks in October. It's still 70-80 degrees and the huge summer crowd is gone. Just remember to stay hydrated at all times.
- Planning a spa day? I highly recommend it. After a weekend of partying and walking everywhere, you'll need it. I always tell friends to arrive 45 minutes to an hour before their service. This way, you can take a shower and enjoy all the spa amenities like the steam room, sauna and whirlpools. After a service, you'll head straight for the couch. And since your spa aesthetician applies a nice moisturizing product on your skin, you'll be glad you showered and enjoyed the amenities beforehand. A couple of pointers: Drink lots of water before your spa service and try not to come in completely hammered. You might walk out feeling more dizzy than rejuvenated.
- As cute as those five-inch stilettos look on you, your toes will be aching by the end of the night. Please, please, please do not commit the walk of shame and trot around barefoot. Pack a pair of roll-up flats. Your feet will thank you.
- Renting a car? Learn your back streets. Be familiar with Dean Martin Drive and Frank Sinatra Drive on the west side of the Strip (I-15 freeway side) and Koval Lane and Audrie Street on the east. Unless you don't mind cruising along Las Vegas Boulevard to sightsee, then that's cool too.
- I love the Aria pool because there are tons of palms trees, pools and places to sit. The Lazy River at both MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay pools are great for people-watching, while both Vdara and Palazzo pools have an amazing chill, low-key vibe. If you're looking to party with a pool and a view, you'll love Drai's Beach Club. The Bellagio fountains look great from here and so does every hotel surrounding it.
- If I could snap my fingers and magically have any dance ability, I would choose the style of the "Jabbawockeez." The “America's Best Dance Crew” winners seriously have the sickest moves I've ever seen. They combine hip-hop and theatrics, so the show never has a dull moment. Their show is by far one of my favorites. I'm an R&B girl, so "Boyz II Men" easily makes the list. For comedy shows, "Eddie Griffin" had me laughing so hard, it hurt. Lastly, if you want to woo your date with an amazing, over-the-top production, I highly recommend "Le Rêve -- The Dream." I love the aquatic element to it and since the seating surrounds the pool, you get to witness all of the graceful dives and synchronized swimming up close.
- My vegan lifestyle used to be a struggle, especially if I wanted to dine out. Lucky for me, so many restaurants offer yummy vegan options. Every Wynn and Encore restaurant has a separate vegan dining menu. Hussoung's Cantina and Slice of Vegas inside The Shoppes at Mandalay Place have tasty vegan bites, too. If you're venturing downtown, you must try Vegenation's My Little Dumplings. They are the best. Even if you're going to a steakhouse or buffet, you can order customized vegan dishes. Just make sure to tell your server or the chef.
- When you're visiting the Bellagio Conservatory, walk a few steps and check out Dale Chihuly's, "Fiori di Como." Made from 2,000 hand-blown glass blossoms, this is the most beautiful ceiling display you'll ever see. While you're here, check out the Fountains of Bellagio show. The water actually dances on beat. I've only seen Michael Jackson's “Billie Jean” number once, but I'm determined to catch it again! You don't see water moonwalking every day.
- Besides loving my Vegas pool days, hotel stay, spa trips and vegan adventures, I am a die-hard thrill seeker. I dove from the top of the Stratosphere Tower on the SkyJump ride, had my fair share of the “Danger Zone” and flew on Sky Combat Ace and had a blast at Vegas Indoor Skydiving.
- I also love concerts. Brooklyn Bowl is such a massive venue, while Beauty Bar at Downtown's Fremont East hosts outdoor concerts in its back patio. And speaking of Downtown, Gold Spike is a fun, laid-back spot where you can play life-size Jenga, corn hole and even roller skate on certain nights. If you want to get dolled up and enjoy a fancy cocktail in a gorgeous, sparkly setting, The Chandelier bar is your best bet.