a weekend in vegas

Well, nobody will call us party poopers, that’s for sure; we even flew to Vegas just to prove it! Our friends Vero and Mat were spending 10 days on the west coast and in Las Vegas, and for over a year now, we had talked about the possibility of meeting them in Vegas for the weekend at the end of their trip. Of course we wanted to, we’re both Vegas obsessed. But after we had booked a family trip to Disney for March 2019, the Vegas prices for the October long weekend started to go up, which means our hopes for an incredibly fun and crazy weekend in Vegas seemed to fade away as the days went by. BUT, never say never! While I was taking the boys Halloween pictures at the pumpkin patch, Brian booked the trip, on his phone, without even telling me. Then on our way back home, he told me to call my mom and tell her she was babysitting next weekend, cause we were going to Vegas!

 So with less than 5 days left to schedule everything with the boys, pack our suitcases and get ready, we were beyond anxious. By Wednesday night, we still hadn’t told our friends, and that’s when Brian had the crazy idea to film us “à la Love Actually” with sign cards telling them we were going to Vegas. It was so funny, both of us in the doorway holding our cards, with Liam filming and Logan laughing at our acting skills… I wouldn’t want anyone to see this, like NEVER! Yet, we still sent it to our friends and then immediately started to get flooded with boomerang videos of their excitement. It’s was simply HILARIOUS!!!

Came Friday, we drove the boys to my Mom, said our goodbyes, and then came back home for the shortest nap, before catching our flight early in the morning. Wish we had a direct flight, but 8 hours later, around lunch time (Vegas time), we finally made it to the Strip. We had booked last minute, with not too many hotel options available… so we ended up staying at the Bally’s, and I have to say that we were pleasantly surprised from the moment we walked into our room. It was super big, like it could have easily fit 2 king size beds with room to spare, it was pretty, cozy, recently renovated and located right in the middle of the strip. Oh, and we got a free room upgrade on the top floor with a really nice view! I like to think we got this cause they know I’m a famous blogger, right!?! We actually loved our experience at the Bally’s and will definitely consider staying there again in the future! They are currently renovating parts of the casino and I can’t wait to see what it will look like next time we’re in town.

So we met with Vero and Mat in the Bally’s casino and then made our way to the Linq’s Promenade for lunch and Barley & Flour. We had some delicious pizzas as well as a few drinks on a terrace before getting on our gambling journey! Over our three days in Vegas, I’d say we probably tried every type of slots machines there is, one after the others, it’s was just incredible. Of course our favs are still BUFFALO, Hangover and Sex and the City, where we actually won a few bonus rounds! The only one who didn’t win was Mat. He has the worst luck I’ve ever seen. Poor him. While Brian was raking it, he kept on losing some more, but he was a good sport about it and kept on cheering for us! Next time it will be your turn, Mat, I can feel it!

We visited the Caesar’s and the Mirage, then went back to our rooms to change and met at Mon Ami Gaby for a late diner. We got a great table on the patio, where we could watch the Fountains of Bellagio. Our server was so nice, he even spoke to us in French for most of the night after he had heard Brian’s accent. Everything about our steak dinner was perfect, but by the time we were done, it was close to midnight (3:00 am our time), and I was starting to feel the time-zone difference. So we played in the casino a little and then called it a night.

Now, here’s the tricky part about your first night in Vegas (especially if you’re from our time-zone)… well, you usually go to bed very late because you want to party as much as you can, but then you wake up very early because of your internal clock! Which sucks, especially with no kids around and pitched dark blinds. So with only a few hours of sleep, we met our friends at Giada’s restaurant at the Cromwell for a late breakfast. We had brunch there 2 years ago when we travelled to Vegas for my Mom and Frank’s wedding, and I really wanted to go back, as it’s such a gorgeous and awesome restaurant. We got another great table overlooking the strip, and some of the best looking plates you will find. Food was to die for and the best part, we got a 5$ brownie. But, wait for it, as it’s a way better story than it sounds… When we entered the restaurant, we saw a gorgeous trolley, full of beautiful glass canisters and cake stands. Full of different kinds of brownies, sauces, toppings, ice creams and candies. We all wanted one so badly, and I was certain that I had seen somewhere that it was only 5$. So even if we were super full after finishing our meal, I was able to convince them, and we decided to get one for the 4 of us. So they made us fill out a form with all of our preferences and selections. We probably asked the server about 10 times if someone was really going to bring the trolley to our table. And they did! So the trolley arrived, I was taking pictures, Brian videos, and Vero some boomerangs (while Mat wanted to get away from our crazy table)!!! Right after the waiter left, they all agreed that I had to be wrong about the price and that it had to be at least 20$, or even much more… but it was so worth it, whatever the price it was going to be! Then we got our bill, and guess what… to our surprise (and by then to my surprise), I was right!!! Let’s just say it was the best (and most delicious) 5$ ever we ever spent in Las Vegas! Finally, before we left, we took the almost-necessary picture in the famous Giada’s photo booth… well, it may have taken us 20 shots before we could have a decent one, but who cares, we were having a blast and had nothing else planned for the day. 

Yeah, absolutely no plans!  We had an awesome day in Vegas, walking around, having drinks, casino hoping, gambling here and there, checking out stores and just spending times together. We took a small break (from like doing nothing) and stopped at a Mexican cantina for margaritas and nachos. YUM!

Then, we went back to win some more money at the Mirage… let’s just say that the Mirage casino is REALLY good to us. We don’t gamble a lot, but we managed to win a few hundred dollars there. So far it was such a great Day-2 in Vegas! 

After that, we went back to our hotel for a quick outfit change, as we had some reservations at Lago by Julian Serrano at the Bellagio. And our great day became an even better one when we got ourselves a table on the terrace, right on the water, literally behind the Fountains of Bellagio. It was Magical. Every 15 minutes, the music from the restaurant would be dimmed down and the music from the fountain show would surround us. We had the best seats in the house and we knew it. It was simply breathtaking. Our server was incredible and also super funny. The table of twelve next to us had ordered 4 huge tomahawk steaks for the group, so when they saw that, Brian and Mat had to ask the waiter where they could find it on the menu. The waiter responded it was usually available only for special order, but that he could make an exception for us… for a mere 350$ each! WHAT???? No thank you! I’m surprised I didn’t die laughing right there from seeing the deception in Brian’s face. But I’m pretty sure the tomahawk wouldn’t have topped the incredibly delicious food we’ve ordered and shared that night: Burrata cheese with red peppers and garlic; Bruschetta Pomodoro; Almond-basil pesto linguini; Braised duck and cheese polenta; and a bone-in rib-eye steak. It will forever be one of the best and most amazing dinner experience I have ever had in my life. It was priceless. They could charge double the price for these tables and I would still ask to sit there. Wish I was there right now!

So, once diner was over, Brian, Mat and Vero had no more wine left, and the four of us started to discuss whether they were having more wine there while enjoying the fountains, or if we were going somewhere else. That’s when Brian decided to walk over to the other table, the one who had the expensive tomahawk steaks (and probably expensive wine), to steal two full left-over wine glasses. I would usually be sooo mad at him for doing something like this, but this time, I couldn’t even say a word as Vero and I were dying laughing as he was walking back toward us with the two glasses in his hands and a huge smile in his face! That’s when the server came out, laughing as well, telling him that left-over wine at 500$ a bottle was usually reserved for the kitchen staff! Vero and I were still laughing out loud, and I was getting very close from peeing my pants! Yeah, part of me was ashamed, but the other part was like, YOLO! 

After diner, we went to the Cosmo hotel, then to Planet Hollywood, where Brian and Mat got a 3 for one… 20$ for two margaritas and a free bull ride. I will spare you the video, but let say Mat was smart enough to drink his margarita while Brian did the ride. The girl right before him was like a pro and lasted a whole song while he lasted about 20 seconds and hurt himself while doing it. What. An. Idiot. But I love him!

After that, we walked around the strip, had more margaritas, played some more casinos, and then the time came where we had to say goodbye to our friends, as they were catching a flight back home early in the morning. Our time together was so short, wish we had at least another day with them, but we had sooo much fun, and made so much memories, and are so happy we decided, last minute, to meet with them in Vegas for the weekend. A weekend I will remember forever! 

On Monday morning, it was super nice outside, so we decided to walk to the MGM Park. Once we made it there, we decided to rent a car, not because we were lazy and didn’t wanted to walk back to the hotel, but because I wanted to scratch a few things of my to-do list. First off, Bad Owl Coffee Shop for a late breakfast. I had just recently discovered this Harry Potter inspired coffee house on Instagram and I reallllly wanted to go. And I was not disappointed! Cozy, dark, gloomy but inviting, full of memorabilia, multiple quotes on tables and walls, and it seemed like everywhere you’d looked, you could find a little something you had missed earlier. Oh, and a menu worthy of the Great Hall. As if it was faith, I had the Alan Rickman table… probably my favorite HP character, although I truly love them all! So we shared the waffles and I had the best Nutella latte ever. Wanted to stay longer, but I also wanted to scratch more off my list. So guess what I had seen on my way there: a Target! Of course I needed a Target stop. And then, after a little shopping spree, we drove to Seven Magic Mountains, which is about 25 minutes away from the Strip. You drive through the desert and then, in the middle of nowhere, you see 7 bright and colourful rock totems. This was sooo AMAZING to see. It truly was magical, and the colors on the pictures are simply amazing. Wish we had stopped 2 years prior with the boys, they would have loved it.

Once we left the desert, we made one last stop at the North Premium Outlets, and then we went back to our hotel to spend the rest of the days just walking around and enjoying the fact that we were in Vegas. As soon as we parked the car at our hotel, I was really hungry and I knew exactly what I wanted to eat! So I scratched off another thing on my list, In-N-Out Burger! Yep! We definitely should have In-N-Out Burger in Canada. I would be the first in line! Brian had the Gordon Ramsay fish and chips with a Guinness in a cup, which he definitely enjoyed! But then, after two days of being really lucky with our gambling, well we started to lose some (most) of our winnings, so Brian decided to gamble a little less and focus on all the margarita places we could find, having a drink here and there, just relaxing, walking around, and enjoying each other. Not sure when was the last time we actually went away just the two of us, but it felt great. We talked about our life, our jobs, the boys, our friends, the future trips we’d like to do, our house and how fun this weekend was. We had thought of going to a super fancy place for dinner, but the time difference was catching up on us, so we decided to not go back to the room and change, and go directly to one of our favorite restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory. We were exhausted, we had walked over 30000 steps, so during dinner I wanted to cry thinking about having to walk back to our hotel. But, as usual, we had such a great time, and once again, our server was super friendly and nice, our food was delicious, hello Bellagio Chicken, plus the to-go Godiva Cheesecake was the bribe I needed to walk back to my room! 

We played a few rounds of Buffalo on the way, then made it to our room, ate some cheesecake, packed-up our stuff and then it was time for bed. Next morning came by too quickly. We drove to the airport and then started the long journey back home. I was sooo anxious to see the boys, but it had to wait in the morning as we arrived back home past 1 am and went directly to bed as I was working a few short hours later! 

What a trip. Vegas, you were amazing to us, once again! Thanks to my Mom and Frank who took care of our boys and made this trip possible and stress free for us. And lastly, Vero and Mat, thanks for letting us tag along your 10th year wedding anniversary trip. This weekend will forever be remembered, from the video we sent you, your boomerangs, the moment I jumped into your arms when I first saw you, Brian’s incredible gambling luck, the 350$ piece of meat and wine stealing, the bull ride, all the margaritas, the ultimate brownie, the Lago diner and our singing performance by the Bellagio Fountains, the long walks, the long talks, and the countless laughs we shared with you guys. We love you so much and can’t wait for the next one! Maybe for OUR 10th year anniversary, next year?

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vegas with kids? oh yes we did

Never say never.  Yes, we are those parents who brought their kids to Las Vegas!

I’ve been to Vegas a few times prior to our last trip and I’ve always said I would never bring my kids there.  But, well, surprise, surprise, our boys came to Vegas with us for 4 days last summer!

We love Las Vegas.  We had such an incredible time at our Honeymoon in 2009, and then again in 2013, both times staying at the gorgeous Wynn Encore… every time we go to Vegas it seems different yet always so much fun!

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to bring our kids to the city of sins, but luckily we had our double stroller (that stroller saved our lives multiple times) and many siblings to help us entertain the boys.

If you’ve read my posts on on our California trip, you know we had the time of our lives over there.  So Vegas is the second part of that 10 days trip.  We left Anaheim on the Tuesday morning, in our rented super nice minivan and drove off to the desert.  It was a really smooth ride, sometime too smooth going 100 mile per hour without even feeling it!  The boys were great, and within less than 4 hours we were at The Mirage checking-in.  We had 2 great connecting rooms with the best Jojo in the world!  Thanks Jojo for the room!!!  My Mom and Frank had arrived the day before and Brian’s family had arrived earlier that day.

We all met at the gorgeous pool for a swim as the HEAT was just crazy.  Wow!  I’ve always been to Vegas in the summer, but I had never seen a Vegas heat wave.  We couldn’t touch the pavement as it would have burned our feet instantly.  It was so hot we even saw an orange construction cone melting on the street.  It went up to 47 degrees at some point.  The air felt non-existent, like it was difficult to breath in.  So we had a few icy margaritas at the pool while enjoying a swim, and then went back inside to cool down and for a nap.

Later that day, we all met at the Forum Shops at Cesar’s Palace to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, yep second time in a week having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory… it was that good and we knew our family would enjoy it.  We had an awesome dinner and the best server.  We then took a walk down the Strip at about 11:30 at night and it was still above 35 degrees…

So the week before we were at Disneyland, and it was magical to see the boys’ reaction when meeting all of the characters… well Vegas was different… as they were scandalized and so confused to see Olaf and some Minions on the sidewalks without their costume’s HEAD while taking a break… so not like Disney!!!

Wednesday was wedding day!  Since the last time we had been there, the restaurant Giada had opened at the new hotel The Cromwell, so we decided to have brunch over there.  The restaurant is simply beautiful.  We had a great booth overlooking the Strip and Bellagio.  We shared a brick oven pizza and ceasar salad while the boys had the fanciest chicken strips and some amazing gelato ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

Then, we went back to our room and got ready for the wedding.  Drove over to The Little Church of the West and met up with our family and friends that had made the trip to see my mom getting married.  Took lots of pictures and then it was wedding time, or wedding minutes!  My Mom was gorgeous, and I was the one walking her down the aisle; both of us giggling all the way down.  It probably took less than 5 minutes for her and Frank to get married.  It was quick and beautiful.  We then headed out to one of our favorite restaurant, Maggiano’s.  It was really nice to be all together and celebrating this special day.  We had a wonderful time and the food was delicious, as always.

My Mom and Frank wanted to go to the Paris hotel where a band was playing in a little casino side cabaret.  And that’s when having kids in Vegas started to be a pain.  Until then, we didn’t really had any trouble with the kids, as we were able to go through all of the casinos in all of the hotels, as long as we wouldn’t stop, like NEVER.  You have to be in constant movement in the casinos or someone will come and warn you.  So thanks to our awesome stroller, it was easy for us to keep the kids seated (with the iPad or a toy to play with) for sometime an hour or so.  But that night it became a bit more difficult after we were told we weren’t allowed inside the cabaret with the kids… It was kind of sad for Brian to miss my mom’s wedding ‘reception’, but I understand their rules… so I stayed at the cabaret while Brian was circling around the casino.  Eventually, he left with the boys to bring them back to the room; a 15-minute walk took 1:30 with the stroller due to some of the elevators being broken, escalators too small for the stroller, and some closed walkway.  Basically, it was a pain.  So I stayed a little longer to listen to the band and dance with my mom on this special night.  There was an hilarious couple who were clearly out dancing us; kind of pretending they were on Dancing with the Stars!  It was hilarious!  Right before it was time to go, Jojo caught the bouquet, and then we said our goodbyes to the newly married couple!

On Thursday we took a quick trip to the Premium Outlets, met up with my friends Anik and Jannick who flew to Vegas for the wedding.  Came back for a swim and a nap, and THEN, got dressed up for the big event: LOVE by Cirque du Soleil.  We saw LOVE 7 years ago, but we wanted to see it again.  At first, when we booked our trip, the show was on hiatus.  But 3 weeks prior to our departure, a 10th Anniversary LOVE show was announced.  So we jump at the occasion and bought some tickets for us, Jojo and Brian’s dad.  Red carpet and all for Ringo Star, Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s son and Sir Paul McCartney.  We could see them from our seats; and it was just a unique experience to watch that show and listen to the Beatles’ music with Sir Paul sitting next to us in the crowd.  Fantastic show; we’ll see it again one day that’s for sure.  At the end, Sir Paul came on the stage and sang with us.  It was such a beautiful moment that I will never forget.

Matante Lulu babysat the boys in our room while we attended the show. Merci Matante!!!  By 10:30 the show was over but we weren’t ready to call it a night, so we all left for Fremont Street.  At 11:00 at night, parents of the year award goes to us!  And it was so inappropriate; the boys saw things they should have not seen for another 15 years!  The naked nuns being one of those!!!  I’ll just say it’s the last time for a while that I will venture out to Fremont Street!

So Friday was our last day of our 10 day California/Vegas trip.  We explored a few more hotels, gambled a little, took a few pictures and met up again with Jannick.  We had drinks at Serendipity on the strip side patio and did a bit of shopping.  Rounded up the gang and had one last dinner at the Mirage buffet.  Our flight was delayed and the boys were amazing staying up late once again.  We got lucky though, as the four of us were upgraded to first class seats for our red-eyed flight back to Montreal.  Let’s just say the boys looked really jet-set in first class with their drinks and provided iPad!  I could really get used to travelling like this!

So, in the end, it was not that bad bringing the kids to Vegas, but I wouldn’t recommend it (although they seemed to have enjoyed their trip and the night life!).  Logan really enjoyed Las Vegas as he sang ‘Viva Las Vegas’ so many times during the week, he was so cute!  Vegas or anywhere else, we just love to travel with people we love; it’s the best.

We will be back in Vegas for sure… next time at our beloved Wynn Encore… but without our boys by our side!  We love traveling with them, and of course I’m already planning on bringing them back to see Mickey soon, but Vegas is our own Disneyland, and we can’t wait to go back by ourselves!!!

Viva Las Vegas!

 

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