Living in Las Vegas has some serious perks: living near an airport for an international tourist destination (cheap flights! people actually come here and we get to see friends from all over the world!), having close access to world-class dining and entertainment, and still being in the Mountain West (ish) so close enough still to family in Utah. Six hours to get to the SLC area is really not terrible, and of course St George is just a hop away. (I’m quickly learning that the key to enjoying/surviving a Las Vegas summer is to… get out of Las Vegas. Definitely how the locals do it, ha!)
Andrew and I had big plans to travel Europe together for our ten-year anniversary, and then of course the timing of our family planning made that… not realistic at all. (I can’t imagine that kind of travel at eight months pregnant!)
(Photo taken last summer by Rachael Maxwell Photography – it’s one of my favorites of us!)
So we decided to do something special much closer to home: an overnight trip at a nice hotel on the Las Vegas strip with a show, fancy dinner, etc. I knew it would be nice to relax and escape but Andrew ended up having quite a few surprises up his sleeve and made it even fancier and more special!
Because he travels so much for work now, he gets lots of points and rewards with Hilton, so we were thinking of staying at the Tropicana, which is owned by Hilton. I had expressed some hesitation when we were first bouncing around ideas since it’s farther from where we’d be eating and seeing a show, and it’s one of the older hotels, why not go all-out for a special occasion, but really I figured it would be awesome anyway.
Of course, I had underestimated Andrew’s powers of planning and remarkable perceptiveness… (I know it’s a stereotype that guys don’t pick up on things, but this is something Andrew has always been amazing at from the start — when it counts, he’s really good at getting it. He works so hard to make things special. I have so many awesome stories from when we were dating, when we got engaged, planning our wedding… I really lucked out.)
My two sisters who live in Utah, Sylvia & Amelia, drove down for a few days to watch the kids while we were away (and throw a baby shower for us too! more on that later!) and August 1st finally came so we finished packing up our bags and drove out. Andrew said “I have a surprise for you first” and… drove me to a maternity center for a prenatal massage! (Well Rounded Mama if you’re local, highly recommend them! We had talked about doing a spa or something at the hotel but they don’t necessarily have prenatal massage specialists and I’ve done a regular massage pregnant before and it was pretty uncomfortable…) So he finished up some work calls while I got all oiled up and very, very relaxed, ha! It was seriously amazing. Then we drove down to the strip.
As we were getting into town and navigating the traffic I realized we were pulling up to the Bellagio. We were going to see the Cirque du Soleil “O” show, which is in that hotel so I thought out loud “oh are we parking here for now since the show is here?” and Andrew gave me a sly smile and said “actually, we’re staying here!” Ha! I was seriously surprised! It’s such a beautiful hotel, and as we were checking in I was just laughing from surprise and excitement. He really rolled out the red carpet, it was truly special.
Funny detail, we even got checked in by a French lady. It was like escaping to a completely different world, checking in in French and going up to our beautiful room. It was gorgeous, and the bed was insanely comfortable — like sinking into a pile of clouds… heaven.
And another surprise: Andrew made sure to book a room that had a bathtub because I’ve been dreaming of taking a bath since being so hugely pregnant lately! (Our bathroom at home just has a shower, the kids have a tub but it’s pretty small — I tried taking a bath but I hardly fit ha!)
We arrived in the early afternoon so we took some time to just relax, explore the room, and enjoy the gorgeous view of the Paris hotel and mini Eiffel tower ❤ It’s seriously the most beautiful in town!
We kept laughing because if ever one of us said the word “fancy,” which happened a lot this trip, Andrew would say “fancy is a fancy word for … ” (any Fancy Nancy fans out there? Adelina is in love ha). Meanwhile, these kiddos were having a blast with my sisters at our house. Look at those faces!!
We had planned on a pretty early dinner, which was nice because the restaurant wasn’t crowded and that way we wouldn’t have to rush to get to the show. So we walked on down, popped into the Miracle Mile to find a luxurious bath bomb (and there was a Lush Cosmetics right near the entrance, woohoo!), and headed over to dinner at Mon Ami Gabi.
We spent some of our first moments ever “hanging out” at the Paris when we were down in Las Vegas for a ballroom competition eleven years ago, with a bunch of other BYU students. So it’s kind of a fun place to go back to, lots of good memories over the years 🙂
That second one was Christmas 2009 I think? And the first one is a picture I took of Andrew while we were hanging out at The Crêperie with ballroom friends… I must have been drawn to that cute boy 😉
Summer 2010, I think? Man, I used to way overpluck my eyebrows… ha! I think we’ve both aged much better 😉
And obviously it’s really nice to get a taste of home. Dinner was AMAZING. Legit, authentic, and delicious (definitely recommend Mon Ami Gabi for classic French cuisine).
We got the charcuterie platter for a starter which was fantastic, and then maybe we’re lame ha but we both got filet mignon and fries and it was the best thing ever. Probably the best steak we’ve had in our lives. Our server even brought out a little profiterole with a candle for our anniversary! (Profiteroles are cream puffs with scoops of vanilla ice cream, all drizzled in chocolate sauce. SO good.)
I’m a little sad I don’t have many pictures — certainly no good ones — but I also really wanted to enjoy the time we had and not be on my phone, so that’s my excuse — and I’m glad, we had a truly wonderful, relaxing, fun time. Hence the few mediocre, hasty cell phone pics in this post ha!
After dinner we headed back over to the Bellagio and, of course, ended up seated next to a whole family of French people. Ha! The show was really neat, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The acrobatics and stunts were seriously breathtaking, and it was really beautifully done too, with an element of whimsy and comedy too (it is a circus, after all!). The clowns actually really cracked me up ha. And seeing the human body at its peak of strength and grace like that is something else.
Plus just the logistics of it all are mind-boggling; the “stage” is a bunch of platforms that move in and out throughout to reveal a deep pool of water, but sometimes it became shallow or solid again — if an aerialist plunges in a minute too soon at times, they’d be toast because the floors were constantly shifting! Definitely a really cool show (this one was “O”).
Afterward we picked up some gelato (I’ve been craving lots of ice cream this pregnancy… this gelato didn’t disappoint!) and meandered on back to our room where we got a front-view seat to the fountain show and I took a very relaxing scented bath. It feels soooo good to be weightless when you’re this pregnant! Funny story though, I didn’t think about the color of the bath bomb when picking it out (it smelled good, sounded good to me!) and this one made the water ink black… and left black residue all over the tub… oops! It wiped out pretty easily but I didn’t have cleaning equipment obviously, so we left a nice note and tip for the poor cleaning lady… Word to the wise: don’t use a colorful bath bomb in a hotel, ha!
The next morning we headed down for breakfast at the bakery — Andrew got some croissants and I had a savory crêpe with an egg on top, super yummy but in retrospect I should’ve gone a little lighter after that big dinner ha! And then we went down to the pool until it was time to pack up and check out. That pool is gorgeous, the setting is just beautiful and nicely isolated (you don’t feel like you’re in the middle of the strip, it felt like being in southern France or Italy) and the water was the perfect temperature of course. And again, being weightless… it’s just a dream.
(Not my picture… I left my phone in the room on purpose but here’s how dreamy it was!)
We were sad to have to leave, we could’ve stayed at that pool all day just lounging about! It was so cool getting THE experience, escaping everyday life and just relaxing into, well, luxury. It was pretty dreamy!
We wanted to go to the Las Vegas Temple on the way back to do some sealings for some ancestors of mine, but we drove up to the temple only to discover it was closed for maintenance work! Dang it! I didn’t even think to check because they had just been closed for a month at the beginning of the year, I really didn’t think it would be an issue again so soon. Ooops. So instead we drove home and stopped by the hospital to register me, which I’ve been needing to do anyway and it was much nicer to be able to do it without hauling kids inside. Not the most exciting way to end the trip ha but it was nice to take our time and slowly make our way back home.
It has been ten truly good years — despite a lot of adventures in life with school, work and careers, children, moves, big changes…
(Photo by Tracey Allred Photography)
It has been so good being by this guy’s side the whole time.
Obviously there have been frustrating moments and arguments, but there’s something pretty special about a true partner and friend who makes your burdens light. I am so grateful we found each other and were married ten years ago, and I look forward to many more great years!
(Photo by Kevin Tran Photographe)
And since we love to reminisce around special times… here’s our wedding video 🙂