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Miss USA 2011: Along the Eastern shore

Note: This is the fifth in a series of blogs leading up to the Miss USA 2011 competition on June 19 at Planet Hollywood. In this entry, we're highlighting contestants from the East Coast.

MISS DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA USA: HEATHER DANELLE SWANN

Q: Who's your favorite Vegas icon?
A: Elvis! I want to take a picture with an Elvis impersonator.

Q: If you had to pick five things to pack in your suitcase for a trip to Vegas, what would they be?
A: Money, a Redbull or some type of energy drink, the cutest cocktail dresses in my closet, the cutest set of comfortable heels and a camera to document the time of my life!. 

Q: If you could live at any Las Vegas resort, which one would you choose?
A: Trump International Hotel Las Vegas!

MISS CONNECTICUT USA: REGINA TURNER

Q: What are you most excited about seeing and doing in Las Vegas?
A: Seeing the dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage!

Q: If you had only one night in Vegas, which nightclub would you choose?
A: Bank at the Bellagio

Q: What's the best pool in Vegas?
A: I hear that the pools at the MGM Grand are exquisite.

MISS MAINE USA: ASHLEY-LYNN MARBLE

Q: What is the first thing you want to do when you get off the plane in Vegas?
A: Cruise down the Las Vegas Strip in a convertible.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Las Vegas?
A: Sage (at ARIA Resort) because of its fresh farm-to-table ingredients. 

Q: If you could live at any Las Vegas resort, which one would you choose?
A: I have heard that the M Resort is amazing!

MISS MARYLAND USA: ALLYN ROSE

Q: What are you most excited about seeing and doing in Las Vegas?
A: I am most excited about competing in the Miss USA pageant! I will also be extremely excited to see the legendary "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign!

Q: Who's your favorite Vegas icon?
A: My favorite Vegas icons are Penn and Teller! Their shows are amazing! 

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Las Vegas?
A: Sushi is my favorite food, so I would love to visit Shibuya and I hear Alize is amazing.

MISS MASSACHUSETTS USA: ALIDA D'ANGONA

Q: Where do you love to shop in Las Vegas?
A: I'd love to go to Le Boulevard at Paris Las Vegas!

Q: If you had only one night in Vegas, which nightclub would you choose?
A: As a DJ, I would love to go to the nightclub that has my icon DJ Tiesto rocking the dance floors. 

Q: Who would be your dream date for a night out in Vegas?
A: Girls' night out with Ellen DeGeneres. She's hilarious and is the only person who could make Vegas better!

MISS NEW HAMPSHIRE USA: LACYJANE FOLGER

Q: Who would be your dream date for a night out in Vegas?
A: Donald Trump, of course!

Q: What restaurants are you most excited to try in Vegas?
A: I have never been to Vegas before, but anyone that knows me knows that I am a steak and potatoes girl. My friends who have been to Vegas recommend I go to Craftsteak

Q: What are your must-see shows in Vegas?
A: Miss USA, of course, David Copperfield and The Ultimate Variety Show.

MISS NEW JERSEY USA: JULIANNA WHITE

Q: If you had only one night in Vegas, which nightclub would you choose?
A: I would go to Surrender at Encore. It seems like the perfect place to visit for a night of dancing!

Q: What is the most unique experience you've had in Las Vegas?
A: The most unique experience I had in Vegas was when I solved a crime at MGM Grand's CSI: The Experience. It was so fun to be a part of what I see in the television series! 

Q: What is the best advice you can give to a first-timer in Las Vegas?
A: The best advice I could give to someone visiting Vegas is just have fun -- go everywhere you can and make sure you go to all of the amazing clubs! Also, don't forget Band-Aids for your feet after all of the sightseeing and dancing!

MISS NEW YORK USA: AMBER MARIE COLLINS

Q: What's the best pool in Vegas?
A: Rehab at the Hard Rock because it has great cabana service.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Vegas?
A: Tao Asian Bistro because I love the giant fortune cookie dessert. 

Q: If you could live at any Las Vegas resort, which one would you choose?
A: Definitely New York-New York so I could get a taste of home while I was in Vegas!

MISS RHODE ISLAND USA: KATE MCCAUGHEY

Q: Who's your favorite Vegas icon?
A: Currently, my favorite Vegas icon is Holly Madison, star of Peepshow at Planet Hollywood. She seems so kind and has an incredibly outgoing personality, perfect for Vegas!

Q: Who would be your dream dates for a night out in Vegas?
A: My dream dates for a night out in Vegas would be my best friends. I love girls' nights out, but if Zach Efron or Justin Timberlake happen to be there, I wouldn't hate that either! 

Q: What's the one thing in Vegas you can't miss?
A: I can't miss seeing Paris Las Vegas because I have been to the city of Paris and can't wait to see the Eiffel Tower replica and relive some amazing memories.

MISS VERMONT USA: LAUREN CARTER

Q: What might you wear in Vegas that you wouldn't wear back home?
A: Six-inch high heels and a swimsuit ... together! Nobody does that in Vermont.

Q: What restaurants are you most excited to try in Las Vegas?
A: I haven't been, but I would love to go to Margaritaville (at Flamingo Las Vegas). I'm a huge Jimmy Buffett fan! 

Q: If you could live at any Las Vegas resort, which one would you choose?
A: Mandalay Bay. An amazing gym, pool and spa -- what more could I ask for?

All Miss USA contestants surveyed are over 21 years of age.
Images courtesy of Miss Universe Organization

Tennessee's Mona helping make Vegas summer rock

You know that powerful and upbeat rock song you hear in Las Vegas' summer commercial TV spots? If you've seen the spots, you certainly know it. (And if you haven't, well, here you go, courtesy of the official Las Vegas YouTube channel):

OK, so you know the song. But do you know the title and artist? It's "Listen to Your Love" by Nashville rockers Mona, whose self-titled debut album has already helped them earn MTV's Brand New for 2011 Award. Sure, that's no guarantee for superstardom, but consider this: The act that won the award last year ... just some kid by the name of Justin Bieber.

Mona -- frontman/guitarist Nick Brown, bass player Zach Lindsey, drummer Vince Gard and guitarist Jordan Young -- is touring this summer and will be in Vegas this Sunday night, accompanying Airborne Toxic Event at the House of Blues inside Mandalay Bay.

Brown and Gard grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and Lindsey is from Bowling Green. When Brown and Gard were looking to embark on a career in music, they moved to Nashville because, as Brown explains, "It was five hours' drive away as opposed to 14 hours to New York or 26 hours to LA. And way cheaper. We're a bunch of poor kids."

They ran into Lindsey on the local scene and he introduced them to Young, completing the quartet.

"Now we're four horses pulling the carriage," says Brown, who's worked on the "idea" for Mona for years ?? not least because the band is named after his grandmother. "There's a lot of people that wanted to be in this band. There's a lot of people that locally support this band. But as far as having people that understand their roles, and being happy with their roles, it's chemistry, man. It's just like a relationship. It's a marriage."

And their song, "Listen to Your Love," is a perfect marriage for summer in Las Vegas. It's upbeat, loud and fun. Check out Mona this weekend in Vegas and at http://monatheband.com.

Vegas Weekend: Setting the scene -- Ciara, Kaskade, Kendra and more

     The 51 contestants who will be vying for the 2011 Miss USA crown at Planet Hollywood on June 19 are already in Las Vegas preparing for the event, and tonight you can get a firsthand look at the pageant hopefuls at Tao Nightclub inside The Venetian.  

Palms Pool     Kick your weekend off with the famous Ditch Fridays party at the Palms pool. This week, relax poolside as DJ Jazzy Jeff provides the musical entertainment.

     Renowned recording artist Ciara performs Friday night at Chateau Nightclub & Gardens at Paris Las Vegas, and Chris Mintz-Plasse's birthday party at Gallery inside Planet Hollywood is sure to be a superbad, kickass affair and you can also enjoy the sounds of DJ Cobra spinning at Haze inside ARIA in the heart of City Center.

     Celebrate more celebrity birthdays on Saturday as Chateau hosts a party for Juliette Lewis and Pure inside Caesars Palace is the site of Kendra Wilkinson's birthday festivities. Over at Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan, famed spinmaster Kaskade is manning the decks pumping out his signature sound.

      Another exciting weekend of celebrities and the world's top DJs. Join the party in Vegas!

Miss USA 2011: Some Southern hospitality

Note: This is the fourth in a series of blogs leading up to the Miss USA 2011 competition on June 19 at Planet Hollywood. In this entry, we're highlighting contestants from Southern states, and slowly worked our way up the East Coast a bit.

The contestants for Miss USA are used to answering questions, so we threw some Vegas-related Qs their way. Here are some selected answers:

MISS ALABAMA USA: MADELINE MITCHELL

Q: What are you most excited about seeing and doing in Las Vegas?
A: I'm most excited about the amazing shopping.

Q: If you had to pick five things to pack in your suitcase for a trip to Vegas, what would they be?
A: Swimsuit, oversized sunglasses, my favorite dress, skinny jeans and a sparkly top.

Q: What's the best advice you can give to a first-timer in Las Vegas?
A: You can sleep when you get home!

MISS GEORGIA USA: KAYLIN REQUE

Q: Where do you love to shop in Vegas?
A: The Shoppes at The Palazzo.

Q: What's the best pool in Vegas?
A: Tao Beach.

Q: What's the one thing in Vegas you can't miss?
A: The scenery. I suggest taking a few laps on the Las Vegas Strip to see the people, the buildings and lights at night.

MISS FLORIDA USA: LISSETTE GARCIA

Q: Who would be your dream date in Vegas?
A: Brad Pitt and George Clooney ... and with the rest of the Ocean's Eleven cast!

Q: What's the most unique experience you've had in LasVegas?
A: In 2004, my mom came to Las Vegas to get married by Elvis. I arranged all the wedding events and we had dinner at the Top of the World in the Stratosphere.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Las Vegas?
A: My favorite restaurant is American Fish in ARIA. I love eating seafood, and with Michael Mina restaurants, you can never go wrong.

MISS SOUTH CAROLINA USA: COURTNEY HOPE TURNER

Q: What's the first thing you want to do when you get off the plane in Vegas?
A: I want to watch the Bellagio's water show!

Q: What's the one thing in Las Vegas you can't miss?
A: The Luxor, especially if you admire Egyptian culture.

Q: What's the best advice you can give to a first-timer in Las Vegas?
A: Pace yourself, stay hydrated, and bring plenty of sunscreen.

MISS NORTH CAROLINA USA: BRITTANY LEIGH YORK

Q: Who's your favorite Vegas icon?
A: Frank Sinatra is a classic Vegas icon. I absolutely love the era that he represents.

Q: Who would be your dream date for a night out in Vegas?
A: Paul Walker! Fast cars, big blue eyes, and an awesome smile ... who could ask for more?

Q: If you could live at any Las Vegas resort, which one would you choose?
A: The amenities at ARIA seem phenomenal; I could definitely see myself living there!

MISS VIRGINIA: NIKKI POTEET

Q: What is the first thing you want to do when you get off the plane in Vegas?
A: It's a long flight from Virginia, so after I stretch my legs I want to see the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign!

Q: What might you wear in Vegas that you wouldn't wear back home?
A: I have in mind a 1950s showgirl costume, with lots of sparkle and glitz, and a feathered headdress 4 feet tall. Pretty sure that outfit would not be Richmond, Va., appropriate!

Q: What would be your dream date for a night out in Vegas?
A: First, I would want to go to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and race a Lamborghini. Then, to celebrate my victory over my date, I would like to enjoy a nice dinner at a restaurant with outdoor seating. Then, to finish off the evening, I would find the highest point that I can go to, possibly at the top of the Eiffel Tower restaurant, and enjoy my view of the bustling nightlife.

MISS PENNSYLVANIA USA: AMBER-JOI WATKINS

Q: What is the first thing you want to do want to do when you get off the plane in Vegas?
A: Visit one of the amazing spas so I can relax before the competition starts. The locals tell me I should try the Encore spa.

Q: If you had only one night in Vegas, which nightclub would you choose?
A: XS at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, I always have a great time there.

Q: What's the best advice you can give to a first-timer in Las Vegas?
A: Meet new people, ask the locals for advice and do as much as you can. There is something for EVERYONE in Vegas.

MISS WEST VIRGINIA USA: WHITNEY VEACH

Q: What are you most excited about seeing and doing in Las Vegas?
A: The Vegas Strip and all of the lights. I can't wait!

Q: What might you wear in Vegas that you wouldn't wear back home?
A: That fully sequined mini dress that has been sitting in my closet since I bought it.

Q: What are your must-see shows in Vegas?
A: Peepshow. I love Holly Madison.

All Miss USA contestants surveyed are over 21 years of age.
Images courtesy of Miss Universe Organization

Treat Dad to some Vegas excitement

Please, not another pair of socks. Or a snakeskin-made anything. What Dad really wants is a memory -- so show him your appreciation with a trip to Vegas for Father's Day (then tag along ... you know, just to make sure he has a good time and all that. If you have some fun in the process, well -- bonus!)

Start with a relaxing round on the links. Las Vegas has more than 55 championship golf courses crafted by some of the game's greats, such as Jack Nicklaus, Raymond Floyd, Tom Weiskopf and Arnold Palmer.

Then, help Dad update his wardrobe with some stylish threads. You'll find everything you need to get Dad decked out in Las Vegas' amazing shopping centers.

Charlie Palmer Steak 

Once he's dressed to kill, it's time to fuel up. First, dinner -- most Dad love to eat, and Las Vegas has some of the most decorated restaurants anywhere on the globe. Treat him to a memorable steak dinner at Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons, or Cut by Wolfgang Puck at The Palazzo. If he's a seafood lover, American Fish by Michael Mina at ARIA Resort has dishes ranging from Copper River salmon to Great Lakes walleye, or treat him to fresh steamers, shrimp, lobster, crab, clam chowder and calamari at the Oyster Bar at Harrah's.

Finally, treat Dad to any of Las Vegas' unbeatable shows and you've got the perfect Father's Day gift -- a Las Vegas excursion that he'll think about fondly all year long.

Vegas Minute: The weekend starts when you Ditch Fridays

In this week's Vegas Minute, we'll show you how to start the weekend early with Ditch Fridays at the Palms pool. Then, all signs point to a good time when you check out the Neon Museum at the Fremont Street Experience downtown.

As always, there are plenty of great shows, including Tech N9Ne at House of Blues inside Mandalay Bay on June 16, and rockers Motley Crue, Poison and the New York Dolls on June 18 at Red Rock Resort.

Life is Short. Summer is Shorter. Plan your trip at http://www.lasvegas.com/. Vegas Minute produced by http://www.Vegas.com.

Catch Vegas Minute below and watch previous Vegas Minute videos as well as our famous Las Vegas television ad spots on Las Vegas' official YouTube channel.

Electric Daisy Carnival ready to light up Vegas

Three nights, all night. Beats pumping from dusk till dawn.

The Electric Daisy Carnival is making its debut in Las Vegas from June 24-26 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and some of the heavyweights from the electronic music world are leading the Electric charge.  

It all starts on June 24 with the incomparable Tiesto. This spinmaster's credits include a Grammy nomination, numerous MTV awards, and continuously sold out shows around the globe, including his monthly residency at the Hard Rock Hotel.

Multi-platinum artist/producer David Guetta is at the controls on June 25. He's worked alongside Rihanna, Black Eyed Peas, and Madonna, and Guetta's signature sound will have fans dancing the night away.

On the festival's closing night, June 26, the Swedish House Mafia is the featured headliner. SHM is a combination of three of the top talents in the DJ industry -- Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell.

For more information and to buy tickets to this landmark event, visit their website.

Miss USA 2011: Great Lakes and more

Note: This is the third in a series of blogs leading up to the Miss USA 2011 competition on June 19 at Planet Hollywood. In this entry, we're highlighting contestants from states surrounding the Great Lakes and nearby, and we'll also slide down South a little, too.

 The contestants for Miss USA are used to answering questions, so we threw some Vegas-related Qs their way. Here are some selected answers:

MISS MINNESOTA USA: BRITTANY LEE THELEMANN

Q: Where do you love to shop in Vegas?
A: I love to shop at Caesars Palace. It is so beautiful and cool down there.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Las Vegas?
A: I've had an amazing steak dinner at the Charlie Palmer steak house (at Four Seasons).

Q: What's the best advice you can give to a first-timer in Las Vegas?
A: Try it all! Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to travel up and down the Las Vegas Strip. There is so much to see and do!

MISS IOWA USA: REBECCA GOLDSMITH

Q: What are you most excited about seeing and doing in Las Vegas?
A: I 'm really, really looking forward to taking a dip in the hottest pools Las Vegas has to offer!

Q: If you had to pick five things to pack in your suitcase for a trip to Vegas, what would they be?
A: A swimsuit, a little black dress, a sequin purse, heels and slippers for the day after!

Q: What's the one thing in Las Vegas you can't miss?
A: I just have to see a drive-thru wedding!

MISS ILLINOIS USA: ANGELA SPARROW

Q: What might you wear in Vegas that you wouldn't wear back home?
A: I can't wait to wear all of my short beaded cocktail dresses.

Q: Who would be your dream date for a night out in Vegas?
A: My dream date for a night out in Vegas would be Holly Madison.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Las Vegas?
A: My favorite restaurant so far has been Switch (at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas) because of the atmosphere.

MISS WISCONSIN USA: SHALETTA PORTERFIELD

Q: Who's your favorite Vegas icon?
A: My favorite Vegas icon is Elvis Presley because he "shakes" things up!

Q: If you had only one night in Vegas, which nightclub would you choose?
A: I would go to Pure nightclub at Caesars Palace.

Q: If you could live at any Las Vegas resort, which one would you choose?
A: If I could live in any resort, I would choose the Venetian.

MISS MICHIGAN USA: CHANNING PIERCE

Q: What is the first thing you want to do when you get off the plane in Vegas?
A: Take a lot of pictures!

Q: What are your must-see shows in Vegas?
A: The Beatles' "LOVE" (at The Mirage) and Celine Dion (at Caesars Palace).

Q: If you could live at any Las Vegas resort, which one would you choose?
A: All the resorts offer such amazing amenities and experiences! I guess I would have to choose Planet Hollywood!

MISS OHIO USA: ASHLEY NICOLE CALDWELL

Q: What are you most excited about seeing and doing in Las Vegas?
A: The city lights and competing for Miss USA!

Q: If you had to pick five things to pack in your suitcase for a trip to Vegas, what would they be?
A: Camera, extra-strength Tylenol, a dress to impress, cool shades, swimsuit.

Q: If you had only night in Vegas, which nightclub would you choose?
A: I have been told to check out the clubs at the Palms.

MISS KENTUCKY USA: KIA BEN-ET HAMPTON

Q: Where do you love to shop in Vegas?
A: My favorite place to shop is definitely Town Square Las Vegas and also the Fashion Show Mall.

Q: What is the first thing you want to do when you get off the plane in Vegas?
A: The first thing I want to do is sightsee! I went to Vegas once for five days and it wasn't enough time. I want to re-do everything I did the first time plus more.

Q: Who would be your dream date for a night out in Vegas?
A: My dream date would definitely be with Elton John! I know he is in Las Vegas a lot and he is an icon of mine.

MISS TENNESSEE USA: ASHLEY ELIZABETH DURHAM

Q: Where do you love to shop in Vegas?
A: The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian. I enjoy the beautiful Venice street scene design with a canal that runs through the center of the shopping area!

Q: What might you wear in Vegas that you wouldn't wear back home?
A: Anything I may think is a little "too much" anywhere else is probably perfect for Vegas! The more sequins or feathers, the better!

Q: If you could live at any Las Vegas resort, which one would you choose?
A: Wynn Las Vegas. It is considered one of the finest hotels in the world!

All Miss USA contestants surveyed are over 21 years of age.
Images courtesy of Miss Universe Organization.

Vegas Minute: A day at TAO Beach

In this week's Vegas Minute, it's pool season, so soak up some sun at TAO Beach atop the Venetian. Then, get your juices flowing as you soar over the downtown crowd on Fremont Street Flightlinez. Las Vegas also has amazing music all summer long, including Paul McCartney at the MGM Grand on June 10 and Cake at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on June 11. Life is Short. Summer is Shorter. Plan your trip at http://www.lasvegas.com/. Vegas Minute produced by http://www.vegas.com/. You can also see other Vegas Minute videos and popular Las Vegas commercial spots on our official YouTube channel.

A holiday weekend filled with Vegas fun

There's no better was to seize the summer than with an extended holiday weekend of thrills in Las Vegas! Life is Short, Summer is Shorter. It will be over before you know it, so kick off your summer season on Memorial Day Weekend with a lineup of pool parties, nightclub events and entertainment that you won't find anywhere else on the globe.

Nothing says summer like a day out by the pool, and Las Vegas combines the most luxurious pools with the top DJs for unforgettable parties. Afrojack, Kaskade and Deadmau5 take over Encore Beach Club this weekend, LMFAO and Erick Morillo are spinning at the Venetian's Tao Beach, and Cathy and David Guetta are at Wet Republic at MGM Grand on Monday.

The nightclubs will be sizzling, too, with performances by Flo Rida at Haze inside ARIA, Macy Gray doing a DJ set at Blush Boutique Nightclub at Wynn Las Vegas, and Nelly and 30 Seconds to Mars are at Chateau at Paris Las Vegas.

If you like to laugh, Las Vegas is the place this weekend. The legend himself, Bill Cosby brings his standup to Treasure Island, talk show star Chelsea Handler performs at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Daniel Tosh brings the laughs to Mandalay Bay, Ron White brings his blue-collar humor to The Mirage and comic/impression veteran Rich Little begins an engagement at the Riviera.

There are plenty of other great musical acts in town this weekend, too, including Barenaked Ladies at Red Rock Resort, the Go-Gos, The Script and My Chemical Romance at Mandalay Bay,  and Nina Blackwood's Absolutely '80s summer long event kicks off at the Fremont Street Experience.  And if you're an MMA fan, don't miss UFC 130 at MGM Grand!

Take advantage of great weather and unbeatable entertainment and kick off your summer in Vegas!

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