Travel

My 40th Birthday Celebration at the Flamingo in Las Vegas

For about 5 years both my room-mate from University (Tracy) and I have been putting $25/month away into savings to save up for a kick butt 40th birthday celebration together. We wanted to party…hard! When we were 4 months away from my birthday we began tossing around ideas: Cuba, Mexico, Florida, Europe etc… We’re very different from each other but we both LOVE the heat and lounging by a pool so pretty much the only thing we agreed on is that the destination needed to have an awesome pool with a party atmosphere. Finally we settled on:

FLAMINGO LAS VEGAS!

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We loved that Vegas is always a party, no matter what time of day it is, it’s geared to all ages (except children – I would never take my kids there), and the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel has an awesome 21+ pool called the GO POOL with lots of palm trees in the pool area making it feel like a tropical destination, a DJ, bars, and tables to gamble at right in the pool area. For MONTHS we had been excitedly counting down the weeks and days until our vacation, which in many ways has helped take the sting out of turning FORTY away. UGH – I still can’t believe that I’ll be 40 in a month from now.

Flamingo GO Pool

Finally the day arrived! Our flight was on a Monday at 8:50 pm, so I worked the whole day, then afterwards Tracy picked me up from home to head to the airport. We checked in for our flight, checked our baggage then headed straight for a nice dinner and a drink to kick start our trip.

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We flew on WestJet and the staff were friendly and courteous. I would love to say that our flight was without incident, but it wasn’t. I happily read my book, “The Girl on the Train” for most of the flight. Then we got to experience some drama as 4 passengers in the back of the plane got into an altercation with each other about 30 min before we landed in Vegas. The flight crew even had to separate them all like children and when we landed the authorities were waiting for them! As we got off the plane the authorities asked US if we were the trouble makers – I guess we fit the profile of the ladies involved, to which we responded we were not. I was a little afraid that we’d be held for further questioning, but thankfully we weren’t.

We then took a cab to the Flamingo (our cab driver was hilarious). We checked in without incident and then headed up to our room. Unfortunately our room was only on the fourth floor with a lovely view of the low roof and the dead birds on it. YUCK! We called down to the front desk and they advised us that they would allow us to change rooms for free the next morning. Yay!

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That night we walked along the strip towards McCarran astounded by the changes. Imperial Palace is now Linq, Barbary Coast is now a luxury boutique hotel called the Cromwell, Bally’s is still there but the land in front of it has become a small outdoor mall. We walked past the Paris which has added a cute French café style restaurant at the front adjacent to the Eiffel tower and to Miracle Mile Mall which I’m pretty sure used to be just a strip mall. I could go on and on about the changes – we were completely amazed by how much construction can occur over 11 years in Vegas!

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TUESDAY
The next morning we were up bright and early. It was 6:30 am Vegas time, 9:30 am Toronto time. It was like majorly sleeping in for us because both of us are typically up at 5:30 am. That said 6:30 am is super early in Vegas – I’m sure there were people returning from a night of partying and gambling when we were looking around for a breakfast spot. We grabbed a quick breakfast to go (hello chobani!), then walked to Walgreen’s to pick up a few necessities we had forgotten (Visine, hairspray, and sunscreen).

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Black Cherry Chobani is my FAVOURITE!

We then took the City bus to the outlet mall. I bought T-shirts for my daughters’ birthdays, and an outfit for myself. Afterwards we had a quick lunch, switched to a new room (with a much better view of the pool area) and spent the remainder of the day lounging (sleeping) around the pool. That night we headed to the Golden Nugget at Fremont St to see an impressionist: Gord Brown. At first we felt like the youngest people in the theatre and we were afraid we wouldn’t understand his jokes, but as it turns out we were just the right age for his show.

After the show we headed out to Fremont St to watch the light show. I wanted to record the whole show on my phone but unfortunately I ran out of space.

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After the light show we grabbed a snack and headed over to zip line across Fremont St. If you watch the video above carefully you will see people zip lining across the top of Fremont St. I was scared and nervous in line, and was even more nervous when the guy was hooking up my harness to the line. He reassured me that it would feel just like a slide. They opened the gates and we had to walk down a 4 steps only I could only walk down two because I’m so short. When I tried to walk down to the third step I found myself instead suspended in the air – I had no choice but to zip line, there was no way I could back out now!

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I enjoyed the zip line a lot but was disappointed that the photos they take of you zip lining are not included in the price and are an additional $20. We opted not to buy them, but would have gladly paid an additional $10 each if they had been included. So sorry folks, no pictures of my actually zip lining. After the zip lining we took the bus back to the hotel. It took us over an hour to get there, next time we’ll take a cab instead, oy!

WEDNESDAY
Wednesday morning we slept in a bit later – we woke up at 7 am and headed over to the café at the Paris for a lovely breakfast on the patio complete with Mimosas. After breakfast Tracy went to do some more shopping and I headed out for a 7k run along the strip to check out Circus Circus. I had heard a lot about that hotel and the midway and trapeze act in it when I was in Vegas for my wedding 11 years ago, but had never checked it out. Unfortunately 11 years later it wasn’t nearly as impressive as I thought it would be.

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After my run I met Tracy back at the pool. I swam laps for 30 min while Tracy sunbathed. After my laps I changed into my bikini and the two of us lounged until lunch time. For lunch we headed over to a nice Brazillian Steakhouse for a Buffet at the Miracle Mile Shops, then spent the afternoon afterwards back at the pool. We were conserving our energy for country line dancing at Gillies for our last night in Vegas.

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Ahhhhh Gillies at Treasure Island. Where do I begin? This was definitely one of the best/weirdest nights of my life – Tracy and I shared so many great laughs. We arrived about an hour early for the country line dancing, so in addition to the beer travellers we brought over to Gillies, we added in some more liquid courage (beer) to work up the nerve to dance once we got there. Tracy and I go country line dancing at a local bar called Nashville North about every 3-4 months so our memory of the dance steps to each song are pretty rusty, so we figured we’d just copy the other dancers. Unfortunately the only other dancers there were like 65 years old and they were only dancing the two-step so the country songs they were playing were not as current as we would have liked. We enjoyed a quick dinner at Gillies, then the line dance class began.

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We eagerly joined in and found that following the steps was pretty easy. After the hour long class the Country Karaoke began. We then danced about 3 or 4 songs that we knew from back home. We were quickly joined at our table by Darryl. His pick-up line? “Can I join you two lovely ladies at your table, my ankle braces are killing me.” Darryl was 70, originally from Texas, but now lives in Seattle Washington and was in town for the World Series of Poker. He bought us each a drink and I danced 3 or 4 songs with him. I also danced with an Australian guy whose name I’ve forgotten who was like a 10 yr old boy at his first boy/girl dance sneaking up on ladies to ask them to dance. It was rather funny to watch him prowl while his friends appeared incredibly embarrassed by his behaviour. We were then joined by 2 other gentlemen, Mark and Patrick who were in town on business and at first believed that Darryl was our dad. The five us had some drinks together and shared quite a few laughs.

We pretty much shut down Gillies with our new friends, then headed over to Senor Frogs where we continued to dance until 3 am. By that point our feet were killing us so we stumbled/shuffled barefoot to McDonald’s for a snack before bed. Unfortunately 2 hours later I woke up with a killer calf cramp – I guess my legs just can’t handle that much walking/running/swimming and dancing all in one day – I’ll have to keep that in mind for Ironman in a few weeks from now and pay careful attention to my nutrition and fluids. Although the calf was tender for the remainder of Thursday, it was fine by Friday so I’m back to training as if nothing happened… Yay! At least I still recover pretty quickly.

THURSDAY
Our last day in Vegas, Thursday was a pretty laid back day. We grabbed coffee, yogurt and bananas for breakfast from the coffee shop, then spent the morning at the pool. We had checked out and placed our luggage with the concierge but they wouldn’t take my laptop so we were stuck lugging it around. Thankfully I found a set of lockers in the pool area for charging up your mobile devices. The lockers have cords with the various standard ends to charge devices in them and were big enough to store my laptop bag in the shade for the day. Being able to get in and out of the locker all day with a password proved to be really convenient.

After a few hours of sunbathing we found ourselves really hungry. Tracy’s dad had given her some money for us to go for a nice lunch so we decided to use it to go to the Cheesecake Factory at the Forum Shops in Caesar’s Palace. I had NEVER been to the Cheesecake Factory before so I was pretty excited. I had a salad for lunch followed by the most delicious cheesecake that I shared with Tracy. The food was good and the cheesecake was even better:

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Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake

Afterwards we checked out the fish in the fish tank outside of the Cheesecake Factory, did some shopping, then walked through Caesar’s Palace to find Cleopatra’s Barge – the night club in Caesar’s Palace where my husband held theafter-party after our wedding reception. Lo and behold, it was still there!

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After Caesar’s Palace we walked over to the Paris Hotel to head up the Eiffel Tower replica.

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The views of Vegas were gorgeous!!

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On our walk back to the Flamingo GO Pool from the Paris we spent some time chatting up Elvis and Alan from the movie “The Hangover”. I think that Elvis might have had a bit of a thing for me.

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We then hung out at the pool until sadly it was time for us to say goodbye to Vegas and to the many adventures we shared. Until next time Vegas, I will miss you!

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  • Jen @ Pretty Little Grub
    June 4, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Looks like such a great girls trip! I love Vegas. It changes pretty much everytime I go.
    Isn’t cheesecake factory the best! I always hit it up when Im in the states.

  • Nicole @ Fitful Focus
    June 4, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    What a fun trip! Such a great idea to save up like that and take a trip with a friend. – I can’t believe there was a fight on the airplane – people can be so crazy – especially when headed to Vegas haha – happy early birthday to you!

  • Mar @ Mar on the Run
    June 4, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    omg – what fun!! Happy 40th! I threw myself a big party when I turned 40 last year 🙂 the best! I need to get to Vegas as I’ve never been.

  • Artney @ My Pretty Brown
    June 4, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Happy 40th!!! Looks like you had an amazing trip! I hope to visit Vegas soon. You can never go wrong with Vegas. I’m glad you had a great time!

  • Abby @ BackAtSquareZero
    June 4, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Sounds like an amazing vacation. Ziplining is on my bucket list.

  • Sam @ PancakeWarriors
    June 4, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Fun times!! Happy birthday!! It looks like you girls know how to celebrate!!

  • Launna
    June 4, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    It sounds like you had an awesome time Janice… one of my sisters lived in Vegas for quite a few years… I couldn’t imagine raising children there… It’s a really fun looking city though xox ?

  • Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes
    June 4, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Happy Birthday! Sounds like a great trip. I’ve been to Vegas many times and it’s always a good time. I don’t think I’ve ever been to any of the places that you mentioned though!

  • Ivanna
    June 4, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Looking great at 40! Great pictures thanks for sharing. I’ve visited Vegas one time long ago at 19 I’ll have to try again now that I’m legal looks like fun!

  • Kathryn @ Dancing to Running
    June 4, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Looks like you ladies had a fabulous time in Vegas! Happy Early Birthday!

  • Carmy
    June 4, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    1. I don’t believe you’re 40! and 2. That’s not a bad idea! $25/month adds up doesn’t it!

  • rachel
    June 5, 2015 at 10:55 am

    SO MUCH FUN! I have never been to Vegas. I really want to go… adn a trip with a girlfriend would be perfect! 🙂

  • Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment
    June 5, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Fun times! Las Vegas is always the perfect spot for a good time. So many options!

  • Lucie Palka
    June 5, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Vegas sounds like a great way to celebrate the big 4-0, which by the way you look nothing close too! It’s impressive that you managed to get some training in as well! My twin sister and I have talked about doing a trip/race combo when we turn 40 (which is about 1 year behind you). Run Disney is on our short list!

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