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EDC Las Vegas 2015 – Tips & Things I’ve Learned

As some of you may know, I just came back from a whirlwind 7-day trip to Las Vegas for this year’s EDC (Electronic Daisy Carnival) celebrating my love for electronic dance music and, quite literally, had the experience of a lifetime. Music isn’t a main focus on my blog or my social media, but since this is such a unique and powerful experience I thought I would share what I learned and hopefully can help some of you (and as a reminder for myself) if you are planning to go next year!

First of all, make sure you check out The Scene is Dead’s ProTips page first, follow through and you will be at least 80% ready if not more 😀 This resource has been invaluable to me so definitely pass it on!

Here is my own personal take on Las Vegas and EDC:

  1. Choose your hotel wisely – If you are in Vegas for EDC and it is the main focus of your stay, I would strongly suggest choosing a hotel north of the Strip. EDC takes place in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway which is located about 8 miles north east of the main Strip, and the traffic to and from the venue each day is notorious. Regardless of whether you are taking the shuttle bus service offered via Insomniac or JusCollege, the closer you are to the speedway, the faster you will get there and come back each day which means more time to sleep and get ready for the next day (trust me you’ll need it). If you are not going to EDC, then I would suggest choosing a hotel that has the amenities (nightclub, restaurant, shows playing etc.) best suited to your interests. The Strip is very hotel oriented, and there is a lot of walking involved if you are trying to get around since many hotels are interconnected via their casinos and indoor malls. So if you stay at a hotel closest to your points of interest, it will really save you a lot of time. I would personally recommend SLS  for EDC goers, and Caesars Palace for everyone else.
  2. Bring lip balm and body lotion – Something seemingly minor, but the desert dry heat in Vegas is no joke. Other than worrying about getting sunburnt during the day when you are out, it is also very dry indoors due to the air conditioning all around and just the overall dry climate. Definitely, DEFINITELY bring a few lip balms into EDC, you don’t need red and drying lips on top of aching feet and sore muscles. But in case you do forget, there are quite a few drugstores (CVS and Walgreens) located on the strip where you can stock up, as well as the general store inside EDC. And on that note…
  3. Be prepared for overpricing on everything! – A black coffee is $4 USD, a pack of store-bought cookies is $7 USD, and it’s $1 USD for one single banana. The tourist area pricing is real so definitely budget accordingly. There’s no real grocery store on the strip either so if you are on a budget it’s not a bad idea to bring some dry goods in your checked bag (always check airline and TSA regulations prior) and an electric kettle. We actually brought a rice cooker (#noshame) to make hot water and a huge brita filter and pitcher to our hotel room so we can have drinking water without having to go out and buy bottled water and lugging it back — total lifesaver! If you are adventurous like me definitely check out the Trader Joe’s closest to the strip. If you cab there it’s $20USD+ per trip, or take the Sahara Express (SX) bus for $2 each way. There’s also a chipotle just off the bus stop on South Decateur road to reward yourself for the effort 😉
  4. Be on time for pool parties and night clubs – We learned this the hard way. If you are planning on going to one of the pool parties happening around town during EDC week, make sure you read the fine print on your ticket as each venu has different dress codes and rules for entry. Most of the time having a ticket does NOT guarantee you entry, and make sure you go early because there will be a long line up. If a pool party says it’s until 7:00 pm, the cut off is about 2 hours beforehand. Bouncers are very strict on time and capacity, even male to female ratios at day/night clubs, so be early and be prepared!
  5. Drink lots of water and bring a water bottle with you – You will hear this over and over again but it’s true. The water in Vegas will likely taste different if you are coming from far away like me, and it will take a few days getting used to, but drink up regardless! You will find that no matter how much water you drink it will just evaporate . Make sure you bring a water bottle with you when you head out just in case you can’t find bottled water readily.
  6. Be prepared to wait in line – This is mainly for EDC goers: Veterans will know there is always a huge line getting in to the festival every day but for a newbie like me it was quite a surprise. To minimize wait time leave your hotel around 4:00 pm to start heading to the shuttle stop and you should be in by 7:30 pm if traffic isn’t horrendous. Don’t be afraid to bring something to sit on so you are not tired from standing in the sun for an hour waiting to just get in the festival grounds.
  7. Bring food for your trip to EDC every day – An extension of my point above, because there is so much waiting around, make sure to bring water and snacks!
  8. Bring a fan and/or mini spray bottle – This is an amazing idea that a kind soul from the festival taught me: bring a hand-held fan so you can cool yourself and your friends down. Some stages are more enclosed than others so it can really get stifling hot. Fans are great because they are portable and spray bottles are a godsend especially when they have free water stations all around the grounds. Make sure to hit up your local dollar store to pick these up!
  9. Don’t forget scissors and rubbing alcohol – For some reason hotels never have scissors and I found myself using scissors several times every day – cutting clothing tags, opening packages, and it’s always good to have rubbing alcohol handy for any cuts or burns. Flash/temporary tattoos are everywhere right now and the only way to remove them completely is rubbing alcohol. After a whole night of dancing and sweating, last thing you’d want is a half rubbed off tattoo you can’t get rid of and not being able to apply new ones for the next day. Gross I know, but #realtalk over here :p
  10. Wear runners to EDC – It’s pretty obvious that comfortable shoes are an absolute must if you are going to be dancing the night away for 8-12 hours every night for 3 consecutive nights. For this kind of intense “workout” I would even suggest that any regular flat shoe (Ex. Tom’s, Keds, Converse, flat sandals) wouldn’t be enough to keep you relatively pain free throughout the night. They may be cute but they definitely lack proper cushioning or arch support — at least for my feet. I would definitely suggest getting a cute pair of running shoes that you wouldn’t mind getting a little dusty so you can go hard and still have the leg power to get back in the morning 😉

So here are the 10 trips and tricks I learned during my experience as a newbie in Vegas going to EDC. They are not ground-breaking but I think it will certainly help some of you out there to have the best experience possible. If you can’t already tell, I’m a firm believer of how “it’s all in the details”.

(Here is a review of the highlights of Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 if you are more interested in the music side of things or if you just want to get a better sense of what the actual event looks like)

Let me know if you have any questions about Las Vegas or EDC in general, I would be more than happy to help out!

xoxo

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Pizza On The Patio | Trattoria Nervosa

Because it’s always good practice to admit what you don’t know, I decided I had better find out what a trattoria actually is before writing a review about one. Wikipedia, trusty as always, revealed to me that a trattoria is an Italian-style dining establishment supposedly less formal than a restaurant, but more formal than a mere “shack”. There are generally no printed menus (not the case with Nervosa here, though the menu is only a one-pager), the service is casual, the prices low, and the emphasis is on a faster turnover of tables rather than a more drawn out haut cuisine affair.

The description is definitely accurate on the most part. What really stood out for me about Nervosa is its location and its ambience. Being situated in Yorkville their prices are surprisingly approachable for what looks like a fancy pants establishment from afar. The restaurant is inside a three-storey, old wooden house at the heart of Yorkville in Toronto and it has all the charms you would expect. From the super narrow wooden staircase (ladies keep your stilettos at home for this one unless you are a pro) leading up to the rooftop patio, to the old world photos in antique frames on the walls, the ambiance is warm, cozy, but cool enough to take people you want to impress at the same time 😉

We were lucky enough to get a corner seat on their rooftop patio and our very energetic, very cool and nonchalant server made some amazing recommendations. We had their meatballs with arugula to start, and a mushroom pizza (Fungi e Formaggi) to share between the two of us and was completely blown away by both the quality of the food and the speed that it arrived at our table. Service was lightening fast, but attentive and efficient at the same time.

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If you are still wondering by now, YES everything looks just as good as it tastes! The pizza had a paper thin crust and the fillings were packed with flavour. The meatballs were super cheesy and paired really well with the peppery flavour inherent to the arugula.

This little gem is perfect to kickstart the patio season, and is an all-around winner if you are in the neighbourhood looking for a quick bite and a chance to sit back, relax and conduct some people watching 😉

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Law Clerks in Ontario: A General Overview

After last week’s post on some preliminary information about the paralegal profession which I’m about to enter into in the near future (fingers crossed!), a friend of mine asked if I also knew what a law clerk does and how it differs from being a paralegal. As I’m listing the few differences I knew to be true, I also realized that I only have a very vague idea of what a law clerk actually does. I didn’t want to mislead anyone and to satisfy my curiosity and ensure I’m actually pursuing the right profession for myself, I decided to go to school, speak to a professional, and find some reliable sources to keep you guys informed. Here’s what I found out so far:

According to Olivio, Lawrence M. (2014) Introduction to Law in Canada, Ontario Edition, Volume 1. Toronto, Ontario: Captus Press. :

Over the past 20 years, the number of individuals working as law clerks have significantly increased, and this occupation continues to expand as lawyers in both public and private sectors realized how much more efficient it is to delegate some of their work load to someone else.

Generally speaking, a lot of the work that a law clerk does is very similar to that of an articling student and the work of a junior associate in a law firm. They may do legal research, write legal and factual memoranda for the supervising lawyer, draft routine court documents, contracts, agreements, wills, and other legal documents in accordance with a lawyer’s direction. Law clerks can also conduct preliminary interviews with clients and witnesses to gather basic information, attend to routine correspondence within the law firm, carry out land title searches, and they may also do some secretarial work, the firm’s bookkeeping and collection of unpaid fees if roles are not clearly defined in the firm.

There is no governing body for law clerks, but there is a voluntary association representing the interests of law clerks called the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario which has been fighting for the profession’s recognition and higher standing.

What you need to know about law clerks in Ontario:

  1. Law clerks are employed in private law firms (big or small), government, corporations, banks, and insurance companies
  2. Law clerks are not licensed, so they are not sole practitioners. Instead they must work under a lawyer’s supervision, and they are insured under their lawyer/company/organization.
  3. They can work in any area of law (as opposed to paralegals who have a limited scope of practice), and can specialize in certain types of law (i.e. real estate, probate and estate law, litigation etc.) depending on what the firm specializes on
  4. Law clerks are bound by the same code of ethics and confidentiality requirements as lawyers and paralegals

What law clerks can’t do:

  1. Law clerks can’t give legal advice to clients under any circumstance, nor can they appear as advocates for a client
  2. negotiate with third parties without clients’ approval and lawyer’s supervision during the process
  3. signing or sending correspondence that is not routine without it being reviewed by the supervising lawyer
  4. Sending collection letters on behalf of a client unless reviewed by supervising lawyer

How to become a law clerk:

  1. One can start as a legal secretary and advance into a legal assistant position. After that, one can enrol in part-time studies in the evening to obtain necessary academic knowledge for the job before getting promoted to a full-fledge law clerk at the firm.  (Side note: I was in the interview process for a legal secretary position at a small law firm last year and I remember the partners asking if I would be willing to take law clerk classes at night as I become more familiar with the job, so I can definitely say this is true)
  2. Another more “straight forward” way of becoming a law clerk would be to enrol in a community college program which usually takes 2 years and a student would be taught law and procedure academically and fulfill a work-experience requirement before they graduate with a law clerk certification from the school. (If you already have a post-secondary degree, you can look into doing an accelerated program that only takes one year instead of two)

Essential skills of a law clerk:

  • analytic skills
  • HIGH level of organization skills
  • time management
  • working well under stress and tight deadlines
  • creativity and imagination
  • being able to work independently
  • good problem solver
  • able to communicate clearly and effectively with clients and staff members
  • Numeracy and computer skills

To give a more well-rounded view of the profession, I actually asked one of my professors who worked as a law clerk for over a decade before she started to teach, and her opinion was this: Legal research and being able to do draft legal documents is two of the most important component of the job. As you gain more experience a law clerk can become an asset to the firm especially when you become specialized in doing the type of work that the firm is known for, like land title search for real estate law firms, and much of the work overlaps with what a junior associate lawyer would do. It is a good fit for someone who enjoys routine, structure, and is not too interested in the business side of things, but loves the law and enjoys researching for the law. As opposed to being a paralegal, where you are basically a one-man/woman show when you’re starting out and you are in charge of literally everything from starting the business, marketing, finding clients, meeting clients, research, drafting, going to court etc and the list goes on.

My take on this is that a law clerk is definitely a more stable and routine-based, 9-5 type of career, whereas being a paralegal or a lawyer would definitely involve more risks both on the legal and financial side of things.

What are your thoughts? If you could, would you be a lawyer, a paralegal, or a law clerk? Let me know in the comment section below!

xoxo

 

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Back to School: Paralegal Program Info

How is everyone’s Sunday going so far? We had the most marvellous spring weather in Toronto yesterday, and I was finally able to meet up with a good friend of mine for lunch. We went to try this amazing new Italian place downtown near College subway station called
SCADDABUSH (you can read my review here) and was blown away. Naturally, some serious shopping ensued after a delicious meal, and I found out that I may have a knack for picking out clothes for other people after all! But of course, my ulterior motive was to pick up something very special for myself on the way back. I brought home this little lady with me today and I couldn’t be happier 😀 (Literally beaming right now while I’m typing this…#tooexcited). Get ready for my obsessing over this bag in the near future guys because I seriously love it that much :p

But in all seriousness, I wanted to do a little recap of my week and do a quick shout out to all the friends who have supported my post on Facebook a few days ago announcing that I’m officially back to school…to become a paralegal! Some of you may not know what exactly a paralegal does (trust me, I had to look this up too), at least not in the Canadian context or in the province of Ontario. As it turns out, there are quite a few of (pleasant) surprises that I learned about the profession in my first week of classes. I was somewhat under the impression that as a paralegal, you are synnomous with being a legal secretary , and you’d be doing the same type of tasks authorized with the same scope of practice. OR  you make it and you become the next Rachel Zane on Bay Street 😉 Alas, I stand corrected. While both scenarios are perfectly fine and plausible, it is certainly a very binary view of the profession as a whole. According to the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC), this is how it’s actually going to work:

First of all, if you are in Ontario, there are two kinds of licensed professionals that can provide legal service to someone: lawyers, and paralegals. That’s it.

Second of all, to become a paralegal one must complete an accredited paralegal program at an education institution approved by the LSUC. The program will have an internship/field placement component built in and students must complete it in order to graduate. After the program is completed one will go on to register and write a 7-hour licensing exam (covering both ethics, substantive, and procedural law). If one passes the exam, there will be “good character” assessment as well before one is officially licensed.

In Ontario, a license paralegal can represent a client

  • in Small Claims Court ($25,000 maximum)
  • in the Ontario Court of Justice under the Provincial Offences Act
  • on summary conviction offences where the maximum penalty does not exceed six months’ imprisonment
  • before administrative tribunals, including the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.

During proceedings mentioned above, a paralegal can also

  • give legal advice concerning legal interests, rights or responsibilities with respect to a proceeding or the subject matter of a proceeding
  • draft or assist with drafting documents for use in a proceeding
  • negotiate on behalf of a person who is a party to a proceeding.

And finally, some areas paralegals are not (yet) able to practice include:

Family Law, Criminal Law, drafting wills and estates, or handling real estate transactions.

This is just a very short general summary of the profession so definitely check out the law society’s website if you have any questions or concerns. Feel free to leave me a comment as well if you are interested in my program or wants to chat 🙂

I try to avoid excessively long posts whenever I can (especially when there are no photographs) because who wants to read a wall of text?! but I thought it was important that I post this up so if anyone wants to reference it I can direct them to the correct source.

Last but not least, I hope everyone is having a wonderful long weekend and I will talk to you soon!

xoxo