Paris Vegas is always a good idea.”
I’ve wanted to go to Europe for years. My dream is to peer through the gates of Kensington Palace in London, eat authentic Italian food in Rome and share a kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Joe does not necessarily share in my desire. For vacation, we go on a cruise every year. I’m fairly certain that Joe would much rather lounge on the beach in Barbados taking GoPro video of fish swimming underwater than spend hours walking around the Louvre Museum trying to take the perfect selfie in front of Mona Lisa.
Still, I’m convinced we would both have fun and he is somewhat coming around to the idea.
Sometime in 2014, I decided that going to Europe for my 30th birthday would be ideal. Specifically, I wanted to be in Paris the day I turned 30. I began researching hotels, flights, Groupon Getaways and attractions.
However, when you work in television, there is this little thing called “sweeps” and it “swept” my plan away. What is sweeps? According to TVTropes.org
[Sweeps] are periods when advertising rates are set, based on the ratings received by the programs shown at that time. Every network pulls out its big guns to get as large an audience as possible for its shows, so as to maximize its revenues for the coming quarter. Happens four times a year (February, May, July and November).
May is the big one and this is why most of your favorite shows have their season finales in May — right in the middle of sweeps.
During this four week period, local news really ramps up their content and they create and promote their best stories. Because Joe works in the Promotions department, he has to start creating commercials before sweeps officially starts.
About seven or eight months ago, we realized that “May sweeps” starts approximately April 27th, so going out of town for an extended vacay to Europe during my birthday is pretty much out of the question for the foreseeable future.
Well, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade…right Beyonce?
So Europe was out!
But, I still wanted to go somewhere fun for my birthday. Thankfully, my 30th fell on a Friday and Joe’s boss was willing to give him Friday off so we could go on a long weekend trip.
Viva Las Vegas!
It’s warm year-round, they have a replica Eiffel Tower, Joe had never been there and my aunt – whom I’ve been wanting to visit for years – lives in Las Vegas. Quadruple win!
After doing some research, I decided to book a room at the Bellagio because it has a great view of the Paris Hotel’s Eiffel Tower and the famous Bellagio fountains.
It was an absolute whirlwind trip (left Columbus Thursday evening and came back Sunday), but it was fabulous!
We arrived Thursday night, ate Chipotle then just stared out of our hotel room window overwhelmed with this view:
Friday morning, we woke up around 5:45am (we were clearly still on East Coast time) to watch the sunrise and it was my BIRTHDAY!!!
Time to hit the town!
We ate lunch at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. (Tourist tip: Lunch is significantly cheaper than dinner there and you’re practically guaranteed a window seat.)
I got Parmesan Crusted Chicken and it was amazing!!! Joe said his dish was the best steak he’d ever eaten in a restaurant. They even brought me a Happy Birthday dessert!
After lunch, we went to the The High Roller. (They call it “the world’s tallest observation wheel”. We call it a fancy ferris wheel.)
We were casually talking to the lady working the line and Joe mentioned it was my birthday. When it was our turn to board, she gave us our own pod and said “Happy Birthday!” So nice!!!!
The view outside of the pod was incredible!
After disembarking, we continued to sightsee around that side of the strip by walking and walking and walking. There is SO MUCH to see! If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, then you understand what I mean when I say each hotel was like it’s own cruise ship! Each hotel has different decorations, entertainment options, and of course casinos!
(Click the photos to enlarge)
We went to Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat to see the animals! You have to pay extra to take a picture *touching* a dolphin, but I was fine taking a photo with the dolphin in the background for free!
Click through the slideshow for photos of the dolphin jumping! Joe nailed these shots!
The lions and tigers were next.
They were behind an enormous fence, but we could still get pretty close.
I thought the animals seemed pretty lethargic. There was a sign saying they sleep during the day, so maybe that’s why, but even those that were awake they seemed sedated. Maybe they were just resigned to living their lives in the cage and therefore completely robbed of energy. It was kinda sad actually.
After Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat we went to Caesar’s Palace to check out the Forum Shops and moving statues.
Afterward we ate pizza in the food court, caught the end of the Cavs and Pistons game on the screens in the casino then headed to my aunt’s house!
After visiting with my aunt for a while she dropped us off at Fremont Street. This place was cray. It’s way off the strip in Downtown Las Vegas. I don’t know if it was because it was nearly midnight or that’s just the way it always is, but all the Vegas crazies hang out at Fremont Street.
There was a live band, ziplining, tons of food options and lots and lots of people.
The canopy had a graphic going across the screen. At one point, they did a Prince tribute and played Purple Rain music video on the canopy.
I had the BEST birthday!!!
After staying up on Friday from about 5am to 2am, we woke up much later on Saturday.
Joe wasn’t comfortable with the idea of blasting the fact that we were out of town all over social media, so I didn’t post any pictures on Facebook or Instagram on my actual birthday, just a photo from my party. I did read all of the wonderful messages on social media though. Facebook definitely takes birthdays to another level in terms of getting lots of people to wish you a happy one. Twitter makes it fun too!!
I didn’t post much on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter because of Joe’s hesitation, but I have like 30 friends on Snapchat, so I figured it was okay if they knew we were on vacation. I shared tons of pictures and videos there instead. I accidentally deleted Friday’s Snapchat Story (not sure how that happened, but I’m still trying to let it go!).
We did lots more walking around on Saturday. Instead of walking to the right out of our hotel, this time we went to the left toward New York hotel, MGM and Excalibur.
The Hershey Store was connected to the New York Hotel. Inside it looked just like a mini version of New York!!! Upstairs, they had a rollercoaster (we didn’t feel like waiting in line) and an arcade.
We played my fave arcade game at New York Hotel and I won! To be fair, I had six basketballs and Joe only had two.
I didn’t like my shirt (don’t ask me why I brought it!), so I wanted to find a store to buy a new shirt to change into. I was so happy when I found a Marshall’s! While I looked for a new shirt, Joe tried out the Aqua Massager.
Of course Vegas is known for its impersonators, but I swear Michael Jackson is alive and well on the Las Vegas strip and he’s performing just outside of the M&M store!
For dinner we went to Rainforest Cafe!
That’s a pretty neat restaurant. It’s decorated like a rainforest complete with animals that come to life during a periodic “lightning and thunderstorm”.
We sat outside on the patio to enjoy the weather and the scenery — which was fantastic! The food on the other hand was just okay.
We went back to the hotel around 8:30 to change the camera batteries, sat on the bed for a second and woke up the next morning.
Sunday, I didn’t want to leave.
We still had a few things to check off the “Vegas” Wunderlist before heading to the airport: particularly the Welcome to Vegas signs and slot machines. We also wanted to visit Circus Circus and Stratosphere but we ran out of time.
On our way to the airport, we stopped at the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign and our taxi driver waited while we hopped out and took photos!
And that’s a wrap on my 30th Birthday Weekend in Vegas!!!
What’s really cool is that Joe and I don’t drink and we only gambled for about five minutes (and promptly lost $20), but we still had SO much fun!
Between the surprise party and being in Las Vegas on my actual birthday, I can’t imagine bringing in my 30th year in a better fashion.
Cheers to 30 years! #ThirtyAndThankful 🙂