Amber Housley

From Nashville to Engage!12 Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas


I’m writing this post from 30,000 feet as I head toward “home.” Home to viva Las Vegas to attend Engage!12 Luxury Wedding Conference at the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas!

(For those of you unfamiliar with Engage… It is THE BEST wedding industry event and is a must do if you’re a serious wedding professional. It’s amazing, intimate experience to meet and learn from some of the best in the industry. A ton of design, inspiration, networking, industry insights and is held twice a year in fabulous locations. I attended for the first time in San Diego last year and when they announced this year’s Las Vegas destination, I jumped on it in a heartbeat.) 

First, I get to spend a couple days with family just being a regular gal (daughter, sister, auntie) before I head over to the conference and meet up with my wonderful roommates/friends. So today, I’m  reflecting how long it’s been since I’ve been back to this place.

When we first moved to Nashville, I was lucky (surprising) to continue my gaming (that’s gambling friends, not video games) industry background with my main client, a major Las Vegas casino-hotel resort operator. I was lucky to go back and forth to “home” those first two years after leaving. (not to mention my own super-fun bachelorette party weekend). Then the recession happened and the ‘good ole days’ came to an end, leaving me planted firmly in Nashville.

When I have gone back the last three or so times, I’m amazed at how much the city has changed. My family moved from Southern California to Las Vegas as I was entering high school. This was the big boom of the 90′s and I watched first hand the city change identities a half dozen times – I recall when MGM Grand first opened with its theme park and Emerald City/Wizard of Oz theme. I witnessed the implosion of a half dozen hotels of my parents generation. I later missed the Wet n’ Wild water park where I longed to be a lifeguard at in high school (that’s where all the cute boys worked!). I rang in 1999 with other New Year’s revelers at the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd. and Flamingo Rd. with my girlfriends decked out in sparkly black pants (and fake ID’s in the back pockets -ha).

…And I never quite noticed/cared about the permanent Crazy Girls strip club billboard off the interstate until I returned as a Mom.

Even though this city has a new facade at each visit, a few things hold true that I can count on and love so very much:

- The dry heat makes for the most wonderful evenings

- People really get moving here and know how to drive (and merge onto a freeway)

- Complimentary valet (why southerners will drive around forever instead of forking over a $3 tip is beyond me)

- That glittering cityscape of the Strip…it never ceases to amaze me

- 24hour everything

- Oh and….Fashion Show Mall (my most favorite mall ever)

I know by the end of this week I’ll be longing for the friendly smiles, polite silent acknowledgements, and the slower paced sweet life that is in my home in Nashville. But for now, I’m off to soak up the sun and the city!


[...] for me, I had one of the best experiences ever! Fast forward to one year later, as I headed on a plane to my semi-hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, and all I could think about was all the excitement, fun and learning that was ahead of me for four [...]

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