Dave turned 30 on October 25 and Jessica wanted to make sure it was a birthday he never forgot.  Crazy is the ultimate understatement for how life has been for us lately and it was more important than ever to get away and enjoy some time together filled with lots of laughs and happiness.

There was only one way to celebrate...

We grabbed a direct flight to Las Vegas the morning of his birthday.

Here's the best part... the entire trip was a surprise for Dave, including every single detail of the trip.  Dave had absolutely no idea about Vegas until about 12 hours the night before our flight was departing.  Seriously, such a surprise!

Jessica had planned every detail with special thought and consideration for all things Dave would love for this birthday trip.  Keeping the trip a surprise was the hardest thing to do!  Especially since earlier in the year we had a layover in the Las Vegas airport and talked about how much fun it would be if we ended up getting stuck there for the night.  This was us there in July... NO clue!

We also visited French Lick towards the end of the summer and we laughed at signs like this each time we entered the casino.  To keep this trip a surprise was not easy, but something that Jessica believed would make the experience even more special if she could pull it off.
It was a success and the surprise (and birthday trip) of a lifetime.

The night before Dave's birthday we enjoyed a low key dinner with close friends.  It was the perfect way to celebrate considering due to everything going on we had decided it was going to be hard to plan anything at all.  

Dave was thrilled with having everyone there and enjoyed time with all of our friends.  The last thing he was expecting was to go home and open a gift that shared we would be leaving for Vegas the next morning.  

To all of our friends that came to have dinner with us on a crazy weekday...
we are so thankful for you and we love you.

Some of you might be wondering how we pulled off a surprise get-a-way Wednesday through Saturday around work schedules.  It was a tad tricky, but we had a wedding to attend that Saturday night in St. Louis so we had planned to go on Thursday morning for a long weekend away.  Therefore, we (well, Dave) was really only stuck with re-arranging some things on Wednesday.  

And, isn't a surprise birthday trip to Vegas the best excuse?  Everyone was so excited for Dave that they were happy to be flexible.  Especially his awesome work family who re-arranged decorating his office and celebrating the Monday we returned so that he wouldn't suspect a thing.

After some scrambling and suitcase packing, we were on our way to St. Louis Wednesday morning to fly to Las Vegas.  Once Dave knew about Vegas, he still didn't know about many of the details (including where we were staying) and surprises along the way.  This kept the whole trip so fun and exciting since he never know what would be next.

The first surprise of the trip was airport transportation.  As we got down to baggage claim we noticed a man holding an iPad that read, "Happy 30th Dave Kirk!"  It was the best.  The package Jessica booked included a chauffeur meet and greet (which was totally worth it) and return transfer back to the airport at the end of our stay, which was also worth it.

We were greeted with a bottle of champagne because hellooo, we were celebrating!  We made the most of our ride to the hotel (and the bottle of champagne).  There is something about walking out of the airport and seeing a stretch Escalade to pick you up that makes you feel just a wee more special.

At this point, the excitement of the trip was really starting to set in and we were looking forward to a few days of fun.  The best part of the ride was that Dave still didn't know where we were staying!

We officially declared after this trip that paying a little more for airport transportation (in style) is definitely worth the extra cost.  It saves you from standing in a line waiting on a cab or finding the airport's ride sharing pick up spot and certainly saves you time on the way back.

Our chauffeur, Big Al, did a fantastic job of keeping our hotel a secret.  When we pulled into the Bellagio, Dave was pumped.  On our trips to Vegas in the past, we have stayed at the Monte Carlo, Treasure Island and Caesars Palace.  Bellagio had always been on our list for future stays!

There are so many nice hotels in Las Vegas, but there is a little more magic at the Bellagio.  We were sure feeling it the second we pulled in and knew it would be our home base for the next few days.

We stayed in a fountain view king room and it was absolutely perfect.  The room was spacious, the decor was modern and the view could not be beat.  When you stay at the Bellagio you simply turn your TV on channel 22 to hear the music that is playing with the fountain show outside.  We literally never got tired of watching the fountains the entire time we were there.

It was a view of the fountains we'd never had before and it was the best.  There's a handful of reasons to stay at the Bellagio, but it would be worth it just for the view of the fountains.  The trip (and the view) was better than we could have dreamed, and it was only getting started.

We settled into the room, changed clothes and hit the streets.  We only had one thing on the agenda for the evening and that was a dinner reservation at Gordon Ramsay Steak which is located in the Paris Hotel.  Ramsay's infamous decadent roasted beef Wellington is one of his staples.  

You can't watch an episode of Hell's Kitchen without hearing orders of beef Wellington being called out.  We are fans of Ramsay and have always wanted to try his famous beef Wellington.

With that, selecting a restaurant out of the handfuls of amazing restaurants in Vegas for Dave's birthday dinner became quite simple.  When you turn 30 years old, you've got to experience the famous beef Wellington.  And let us just say, that baby did not disappoint.  

Dinner was soooo good, minus the raw smoked gouda loaded back potato.  Ah, we can hear Ramsay now!  Aside from that small disappointment, everything else was extremely delicious and we would definitely recommend it.

We sat upstairs and loved our spot as we had a good view of the entire place.  Our reservation was for 8:45 pm since we weren't scheduled to land in Vegas until about 4:45.  At almost 9 pm, the entire place was packed.  It was the perfect reminder that if you are wanting to eat at a specific restaurant in Vegas (especially at a certain time) you need to make a reservation.

Speaking of Gordom Ramsay and Hell's Kitchen, there is an actual Hell's Kitchen restaurant opening up in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace.  The restaurant is set to open in the winter, so although that wasn't an option it gives us a good excuse to visit again.

We stopped by the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at the Bellagio on our way out for the evening.  Everything was full out fall and we loved it.  We've visited this space every time we've been in Vegas.  It never gets old seeing the display and it changes constantly.

After dinner we were pretty exhausted so we decided to take it easy and head back to the room to rest up for the next day.  When we got back to the room we got comfy, snuggled up and watched the fountains from bed.  Now that folks, is the perfect way to end a day in Las Vegas.

We had three surprises of activities in Vegas - one per decade since Dave turned 30.  Thursday morning, we woke up to mochas and lattes in bed... because we were celebrating!  

This was the perfect way to wake up slow, enjoy some caffeine in the room and for Dave to open box number one to see what we had in store.  Box number one was the one that Jessica was most excited about and although all three experiences were awesome, one was without a doubt our favorite.  

Without further ado... box number one!

A cooking class with Restaurant Guy Savoy's Executive Chef, Julien Asseo.  There is only one word to describe it, AWESOME.  This was such a neat experience and one that we will both reminisce for years to come.  Dave knew we were doing a cooking class, but he didn't know until we showed up that it was a private class for just the two of us.  

 After finishing our coffee, we had a little bit of time to kill before heading to Guy Savoy.  We thought it would be good to have a little something for breakfast to hold us over without filling us up since we'd have a large lunch so we headed next door to grab a little treat from Brioche by Guy Savoy.  How fitting, right?

The cooking class was from 11 am to 2 pm and every single detail of the experience was impressive.  We showed up to two stations set up directly across the pass from a set for Julien himself.  The cooking class included an appetizer along with an entree of chef's choice.  Our menu included salmon tartare followed by a rack of lamb with carrot puree.  

Julien walked us through everything step by step while sharing tips and tricks along the way.  While we were cooking, his entire team was in the kitchen prepping for dinner service that evening.  

It was absolutely incredible to see how his team prepares for such a fine dining experience that features delicate, acclaimed French masterpieces created by the famed Michelin-star chef himself, Mister Guy Savoy.

The class was for three hours, yet we felt like we were invited to stay all day.  Can we just say that Julien is plain awesome!  He is one of the most down to earth people we have ever met.  

We not only talked about food, his journey of becoming a chef and some of the incredible chefs he's had the opportunity to learn from, but he even shared things about his personal life including having a wife who also cooks and a sweet new baby girl.  

At only 30 years old, we chatted about millennials filling the footsteps of those before us.  Honestly, we felt like friends... even like family!  The culture that he has created in the kitchen leading a young team was phenomenal.  We are forever fans of you, Julien Asseo!

To top off lunch, we indulged in a special dessert (candles for the birthday boy, included!) at the Krug Chef’s Table in the kitchen... which happens to be the only Krug Chef's Table in the United States.  To say we felt special is an understatement.  This was such a special gift because it was an experience that we won't ever forget.  Who knows, we may just have to do it again sometime?

After our cooking class, we decided to spend some time at the pool relaxing.  Regardless of where you stay in Vegas, the hotels put lots of emphasis on their pools and the Bellagio is of course no exception to that.  Although, we will say that our favorite pool so far is Caesars Palace.  Poolside with a drink in hand was the perfect way to spend the afternoon.

For dinner this night, we planned on picking out a buffet... because you have to eat at a buffet in Vegas.  So, we always try to pick a new one whenever we go.  The Bellagio buffet has great reviews, but since we were staying there we thought it would be fun to venture out and try something else.  

After scrolling through several reviews, we settled on The Buffet at Wynn, voted "Best Buffet" in Las Vegas by the Southern Nevada Hotel Concierge Association.  We sampled food from around the world and finished off with our second round of dessert for the day...
#becausewewerecelebrating #becauseitwashisbirthday #becausewewereonvacation 

The Buffet at Wynn was great and if you aren't a "buffet person" (like Jessica), buffets in Vegas are different.  We encourage you to give them a try.  One of the best parts of this buffet, besides the great food is that the decor is absolutely stunning.  The decor accompanied with #allthefreshflowers was so inviting and made our dinner even more fun.  Put this one on your list!

Before we headed to the buffet, Dave got to open the box containing surprise number 2 which had our plans for the evening post-dinner.  We were headed to 'O': The Aquatic Las Vegas Classic Cirque du Soleil.  It is simply a spectacular show, even though there is nothing simple about it.

It has become tradition that each time we visit Vegas, we pick a Cirque du Soleil show to see.  We have seen kA and Zumanity, but O has always been on the top of our list.  The tickets however are pricey and the most expensive of all the Cirque shows in Vegas.  Since we'd never splurged for O in the past, this was the perfect occasion and we were able to get awesome seats.

We thought the show lived up to our expectations (which were high) and we would recommend O to anyone.  With a few other Cirque shows still on our list, it gives us yet another good excuse to get back to Vegas again sometime.  We can think of some other pretty great excuses, too!

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