Hot Air Balloon Tips

Hot Air Balloon Tips

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If you wonder why some of you see my feature picture twice,  I post it twice so that those who subscribe and read from their emails can see it too. 

In this post I will share a few tips on how to prepare for your first hot air balloon ride. I consider myself an expert now that I have been up in one exactly one time! Lol

Ok so I am not an expert, but I can share a few tips, here we go!

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We were driven to the desert where we watched the balloons being set up and filled with air, they were way bigger than I thought they would be.
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This photo was taken by my friend Sean Miller, he brought his big camera, I just use my iPhone.
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Photo by Sean Miller.

Hot Air Balloon Fashion

The perfect way to ruin your ballooning experience is to show up dresses improperly. Chances are you’ll have to be onsite before dawn; make certain you’re warm enough to get you through till sunrise. We had a few in our group who were cold and cranky before we even got off the ground. I was happy we didn’t end up in their balloon.

The trick is to dress in layers, I had a t-shirt, my trusty black turtle neck and a light fleece like zip jacket. I threw a pair of light gloves in my cross body purse before leaving the house and I actually wore them before lift off. It gets cold in the desert before sunrise.

You also need sneakers; sandals and flip flops are a no, no. And make sure you are wearing socks. When you are in the air, your bottom half can get cold, while your top half gets hot; the big burners that heat the balloon air give off a lot of heat.

You also have to climb into the balloon basket, like literally climb, straddle the side and get yourself inside, so make sure your pants will accommodate this movement. I wore jeans with stretch.

If you have long hair tie it up or wear a hat, you don’t want your hair getting caught up in the burners.

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What Should You Bring With You?

The views are absolutely spectacular, so make certain your phone is charged, you’ll want to take a lot of pics. My friend brought his camera and small case; I had a cross body purse that I use when I travel. There isn’t much room in the balloon basket so just bring a small bag.

The air is cool the higher you go, so I packed tissues and my sunglasses in my bag. They provided us with a bottle of water.

Safety First

You will have to sign a waiver, we had to sign two. The captain will go over the safety rules and will make you practice a rough landing position, aka a crash landing. I obviously knew there isn’t landing gear on these things, but I never really put much thought into how they landed. They can hit pretty hard, bounce and drag before they come to a full stop…oh and the basket can tip over…with you in it.

We had a smooth landing, but I was ready! My knees were slightly bent and I was facing in the direction that the captain had instructed us to face. I took these rules very seriously; I may or may not have “bossed” other passengers to turn around and face the other way??? I can’t really recall for sure in all the excitement, but that could have happened?? Lol

What I found a bit surprising is that the balloon basket is sub divided into sections. So there isn’t a lot of room to move around. This is so you don’t bounce around in the event of a rough landing.

I am not really scared of heights, but I am scared of falling to my death. The basket sides are high, I am 5’7, the side of the basket was mid boob height on me, lol. This made me feel secure; you aren’t dangling over the edge, you are pretty contained.

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You can see the basket dividers in this pic. There is another divider between me and the lady beside me. You can fit 2 people per section.

Enjoy the Ride!

It was such a cool feeling to float, we reached a maximum speed of 12 miles per hour. It was very peaceful and serene. I would highly recommend a balloon ride to anyone visiting, who is feeling adventurous; and to locals who want to see Vegas from above. It was $140, tax included, so not crazy expensive.

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This pic was taken by moi, not too shabby!

The colorful balloons against the blue sky were so pretty it almost looked fake.

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Vegas Hot Air, Sin City Balloon Rides, is the company we went with; they had three balloons in the air that morning. There were a few other balloons from different companies in the air when we ventured out. They look deceivingly small in the air.

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We flew over this balloon, the view and colors were awesome!

We got a great view of the strip in the distance, but the view of the mountains that surround Vegas was spectacular. I am fairly certain most tourist that stay on the strip aren’t even aware that Las Vegas is in a valley. You don’t see the mountains when on the strip.

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Photo by Sean Miller

What Goes Up, Must Come Down.

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I think we were in the air for over an hour ish? Time flew bye, pun intended.

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It’s a balloon tradition to have champagne after each ride. Captain Mike was awesome, all the staff were friendly and made it fun. Side note, captain Mike had the nicest teeth, lol. I felt, I needed to add that completely irrelevant detail… you are welcome!! 😜

I highly recommend Vegas Hot Air Sin City Balloon Rides, tell them Liette sent you. They will have absolutely no idea who the heck I am, lol.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any ballooning questions!

Muah!

Liette

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Spring Fling!

Spring Fling!

Well it’s official, spring has sprung! It may or may not be springy yet, depending on where you live, Eastern Canada, I am talking to you! It’s beautiful here in Vegas; if you are wondering when the best time of year to visit Las Vegas is? It’s now!

This is a quick post to share what will be popping up in my blog this spring.

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If you are a subscriber and are reading via your email notification, click on the Spring Fling title at the top of this page. It will bring you to my site, it’s fancier!

I have three trips in the next month that I will blog about in some form or another. First up, Mississippi and Louisiana, then San Diego and back to Canada for Easter. I am most looking forward to New Orleans, it’s one of my fav cities. It will be super quick, but I will squeeze in an hour or two to explore…and eat!!

I also went on a hot air balloon ride for the first time a few days ago. Who thinks I was brave and who thinks I freaked out?? Lol. I will be posting my wild adventures in ballooning this Sunday. I have some amazing pictures to share!!

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This is my balloon getting blown up!

Two Sunday’s ago my friend and awesome photographer, Barney, and I took some artsy and very flowery spring themed photos. It was a gray cloudy day, which was perfect lighting for portrait shots!!

Fun fact, to look this rosy and natural, you have to cake on a lot of makeup. I looked like a pink tramp in person, but fresh and dewy in the photos. Also if you want your blue eyes to pop, just wear pink eyeshadow and stand in front a bright green hedge, easy peasy!

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My spring photo shoot was to update my blog header, I change it for each season. All the pics in my header are from my travels. I chose super colorful pictures for spring.

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Meet Barney, photographer extraordinar, and all round great human. Our next shoot will be in the desert with two models, myself and a friend, and two photographers with very different styles. It will be interesting to see how similar and different their photographs will be; stay tuned.

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So that’s what’s on my blog agenda for spring; I see lots of you have been vacationing on sunny beaches sipping fruity drinks, good for you!!!! It’s been a long winter, you deserve some sunshine!!

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The trees in Las Vegas are in bloom.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if there is something I should try or something you would like me to blog about!

muah!

Liette

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Dim Sum Yum! Chinatown, Las Vegas.

Dim Sum Yum! Chinatown, Las Vegas.

(for my subscribers, if you are reading from your email, click on the title, it will make everything look fancier).

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Lots of cities have Chinatown’s; New York, San Diego, Vancouver are just a few that come to mind, but did you know that Las Vegas has it’s very own Chinatown? Neither did I until I moved here. It’s just two miles from the strip, along Spring Mountain Road.

Anyone who has been to Las Vegas in the past few years is painfully aware that it has become a very expensive city; especially if you are staying and eating on the strip. I encourage you to take a super short Uber ride over to Chinatown. It’s by far the best bang for your buck! And what a yummy bang it is, lol.

Dim Sum

I am not a Dim Sum expert by any means…like really not. I am just a French Canadian girl trying new things and sharing my experiences. So let’s get started; and by started, I mean let’s eat!

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The first advice I was given about Dim Sum, was not to fill up on rice or noodles; so what were the first two items we got? Yup, rice and noodles, lol. The second advice was don’t order coffee, because they serve tea. So what was the second thing we did? You guessed it, my friend ordered coffee; we were off to a great start!

Dim Sum is traditionally served for breakfast, but in the US and Canada, it’s more of a brunch thing.

If you have never been to a Dim Sum, here’s how it works; they roll out carts of food and you select which small plates you want, no menus needed. It’s perfect for sharing, so bring a few friends.

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The carts come out in random order and they keep coming, so take your time. You can let a cart go, it will come back; I promise!

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Chinatown has an abundance of restaurants; we went to Honk Kong Garden, there are two of them, this one serves Dim Sum, see above.

There are so many hidden gems in Chinatown, we have visited a few so far. We used Yelp for a bit of guidance; all have been fantastic and cheap!!!

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The top left dish was shrimp and top right was pork, sorry I didn’t get the official names, the carts were just coming at me so fast I couldn’t keep up, lol.

We ate a lot!! You will leave full, but please save some room for desert.

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Hong Kong Garden is my friend, Michael’s fav restaurant, even though you can eat desert first, he advised against it. So I did wait to eat one of these custard filled rolls until after I was done dim suming (yes, I know it’s not a real word); and omg, it was so good! It was still warm, crusty sugar on top and a gooey custard in the center.

So here is my hard hitting question for you; how adventurous are you? Would you have tried the chicken feet? I passed, but I did try a few new things and like them.

Chinese New Year is quickly approaching, it’s Feb 5th; so Happy Year! This year is year of the Pig, in case you were wondering…you’re welcome.

Thanks for reading!

Muah!

Liette

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Nuts for DoNuts!

Nuts for DoNuts! In search of Las Vegas’ best donuts.

Now in the spirit of the new year and in honor of our collective resolutions to eat better…to be better; I am going to take one for the team and taste test one of Vegas’ best doughnut shops…you are welcome!

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Yes I wear glasses and no, I don’t have a lazy eye even though it looks like I do in this pic. Not that there is anything wrong with a lazy eye… oh never mind, lol

We will be taste testing donuts from Las Vegas Donut Bar. They are hugely popular in San Diego and now making waves in Las Vegas. They have great social media buzz; we are going to see what all the buzz is about and we’ll let you know if you should spend the calories and your hard earned cash there.

They are located at 124 S 6th St. #140, which is in the heart of downtown. Having been told that they open early and stay open until they run out of donuts, we made sure to get there early. We arrived and were busy eating before the crowds showed up, so yay us!

My brave volunteers tasters today are Lynn and Olivia.

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Lynn and Olivia, up for the donut eating challenge!

Today’s special was a French toast donut and a grilled cheese donut. I am a lover of grilled cheeses, so I am currently kicking myself for not trying it, but it’s because  I was swayed by the pretty colors and sprinkles of the other donuts.

(OK side note!! Canadians spell doughnut like this, not like “donut” this, lol. I am using the American spelling because I thought “DoNuts” in my title was cute and Las Vegas Donut Bar spell it “donut”. Now we can continue, just needed that out of the way, lol.)

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Sooooo many choices

The staff were super friendly and welcoming; we chose three donuts and Olivia got one free, she’s just that cute.

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We chose the unicorn donut…how could we not??? The strawberry shortcake and the crème brûlée, that’s the smaller one in bottom left, in the image above. BTW the crème brûlée donut is not baby sized, the strawberry shortcakes and unicorn donuts are just extra big. Olivia got the purple spider.

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The reason why I didn’t get the grilled cheese donut was because I thought it would be too sweet. But their actual donut isn’t sweet, it’s very light and fluffy. Even though this donut was massive it didn’t feel heavy, the cream was light, the powdered sugar on top was really the only sweet thing. It was yummy! I should have tried the grilled cheese one though, not doing so is clearly a donut mistake! But the strawberry was delish, will just need to go back to try the grilled cheese.

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Lynn’s crème brûlée donut had a hard sugar coating on top and a beautiful custard inside, mmm!

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Olivia’s purple spider donut was a hit too. Her white shirt wasn’t so white when done, lol.

Being the team player that I am, I gave the unicorn a taste even though I was already full and found it fresh, light, fluffy and yummy!

We are giving Las Vegas Donut Bar, 4 Timbits out of 5! Which is an amazing score, my Canadian friends will get the reference, lol. Their store was clean, staff friendly and the donuts looked and tasted expensive and bougie, but we’re very reasonably priced.

If you are a local, give them a try; if visiting from away, check them out!! They would probably be great after a festive night of out…if you know what I mean?

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If anyone knows of another donut hot spots in Vegas that I should try, let me know! And let me know what your favorite flavor is?

Thanks for reading!! Be sweet and share or like…do you!! lol

muah!!

Liette

Christmas Photo Shoot in the Desert.

Christmas Photo Shoot in the Desert.

On an early…really early morning in October, my friend Sean and I ventured into the Las Vegas desert to take a few Christmas photos. Sean is a great landscape photographer and wanted to practice portraits. I needed a few shots for my upcoming Christmas card, so off we went. Here are some of the pics.

Cover Shot

It’s always best to take pictures at dawn, dusk or when it’s overcast. Sean and I are both from the East Coast of Canada; we didn’t realize how quickly the sun rises in Vegas. Because Las Vegas is in a valley surrounded by mountains, the sun doesn’t slowly rise, it just pops up.

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Sean wanted to try a few shots with the sunlight behind me. I clicked away with my iPhone while he set up.

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The sun peaking out from behind me, makes me look like I am glowing…like an angel! lol. That’s not what he was looking for though.

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This is the shot he was looking for. It looks like it was taken at sunset, but it was taken just a few minutes after the previous pictures above. I think it looks really cool! My head is blocking the sun, making the rest look dark. Well done Sean…well done, lol.

Desert View

This is a classic Sean landscape shot. Different photographers have different ways of working. I am used to moving and the photographer taking shot after shot in quick succession. For most of these, I needed to stand still for longer periods of time…without talking, lol.

My prop for the day was a large Christmas wreath. I still think it’s odd that Christmas happens in places without snow…that seems very unnatural to me.

& magic mountains

These shots in front of the Seven Magic Mountain sculptures were the first shots we took, before the sun popped up, hence no squinting and shadows. These sculptures are 15 minutes off the strip. There were two other photographers taking pictures while we were there. It’s a popular spot!

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I have discovered that it’s hard to maintain a natural smile when standing still.

Wreath

The picture below is of a Joshua trees; there are lots in and around Las Vegas.

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Trying to be artistic with my wreath. 

Here is Sean and his big lens! He now thinks he needs a new camera to go with his big zoom lens. I took all of these with my iPhone; not to brag, but I am a fairly good photographer as well, lol.

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And that’s a wrap!! Thanks Sean!

I will use some of these pictures for future blog stuff. Just wanted to share.

Muah!!

Liette

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Thanks for reading!! 

Fright Night!!

Fright Night!

Spooky Fun Things to Do in Downtown Las Vegas.

Fright Night

It does’t matter if you live in Las Vegas or Miramichi, yes it’s a real place, look it up! You can find something spooky to do in October. I challenge you to find some scary fun in your own hometown before Halloween.

The whole point of my blog is to encourage people to get out and  do things, even if you think it’s dumb or lame; do it anyway. You may just have a great time?

In this post we will explore scary things in downtown Las Vegas; downtown Vegas is basically Fremont St and the surrounding areas.

Fear the Walking Dead

Fear the Walking Dead Zombies

Our first stop is Fear the Walking Dead Survival on Fremont Street. We mustered up our courage to battle the undead; I decided two lemon drop pre-zombie martinis would help.

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The entrance is on Fremont Street, just after the giant martini glass.

This was advertised as part escape room and part ride. Although I enjoy getting scared, I am not that brave, but was game to give it a try.

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Waiting for our turn, Aaron, Staci and I.

I must say, I did feel a bit better having one of Las Vegas’ finest, Aaron, with us! He was aware that his sole purpose was to protect us if we got swarmed by zombies; and he seemed cool with that.

Right off the bat, they told us that the zombies weren’t allowed to touch us. I instantly felt braver. No cameras were allowed during our experience. I respected the rules. I didn’t want to risk pissing off our handlers and being fed to the zombies.

We were paired with a group from California, who appeared to have also had a few drinks, for extra courage, I am sure. I bounded quickly with Tracy, she was in front of me and told me I could hold onto her if I felt scared. It’s funny how quickly you bound with people when you are in a stressful situation. I totally used her as my shield…shhhh! Don’t tell her. lol

Making Friends
My new zombie fighting friends from California. Tracy is top right.

We entered and were scanned to make certain we weren’t already infected by the zombie virus. Once cleared, Aaron and I were separated from Staci. When we rejoined her, she was already best friends with Fireball and the other ladies in their group.

New Friends
These guys made it fun, they were loud, rowdy, engaged and just plain awesome. Fireball, nicknamed by Staci, is bottom right.

We went through several rooms before sheltering in an elevator that led us to a truck or a helicopter, I was running for my life, I can’t remember what they said we were getting into. We were handed 3D glasses and guns. We shot like hell to make it out alive! This was the “ride” part of the experience; Staci and I yelled our heads off. It was a great stress reliever.

I am happy to report that no one got bitten; we all survived! It was a lot of fun, it lasted about 20 minutes ish.

It was very well done, but I do think that the people you are with are what makes this ride fun. I only saw a few zombies, but I was at the front of the pack. Aaron who was holding up the rear, said he saw more of them.

I would recommend this event to friends. It wasn’t crazy scary, which I liked, but there could have been a few more zombies. But all and all;  I give The Walking Dead Survival, 3 black scardy cats out of 5.

Not ready to go home just yet; we went for a drink at the Artisan Boutique Hotel, located on West Sahara. It’s know for their after hours parties.  During the week, it’s a quiet boutique hotel, and a crazy hot spot on weekends.

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We survived!! Now off to a spooky old hotel.

This place is 100% haunted! We didn’t see any ghosts while there, but there is no way it isn’t haunted. It’s old, funky and fabulous.

We didn’t stay long enough for the after hours craziness, because we are old, but we did enjoy the cool vibe.

Haunted Hotel

Artisan Hotel
There was an altar right off the lounge…it has to be haunted!! The decor is goth chic.

The Haunted Museum

Next up on our downtown haunted tour is The Haunted Museum; it’s located on East Charleston Blvd. Because this is more of a museum, I wouldn’t recommend too many drinks prior. They tell stories, so you need to be quiet and listen.

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So many scary things to see in Vegas…who knew?

You may be wondering if I believe in ghosts? Well I don’t not, not believe in ghosts, lol. I am a little afraid to say that I don’t believe; I don’t want to piss any off…just in case they are real and watching me. Better safe than sorry, right?

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Is it weird that I like gargoyles? I think they are cool.

The Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, was created by Zak Bagan from the TV show, Ghost Adventures. He has collected “haunted” and super creepy items and placed them in a supposedly haunted house.

My friend Sean’s daughter and her friend were visiting from Canada, they were game for a creepy night, so off we went!

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Here we are waiting in line to get in, ready for a good scare.

I find it’s always a good idea to do something scary with someone younger or slower than you; someone you can use a shield or “sacrifice” if shit gets too real, lol. With that in mind, my dates for the Haunted Museum were two 19 year olds and a late forty something year old male. Full disclosure, I am a late forty something female, but I am fairly sure, I could have out run him had things gone bad…sorry Sean; I would have absolutely  called for help, once I was at a safe distance away though… you’re welcome!

Haunted House LV

As soon as we walked in this is what greeted us; nothing creepy about clowns and dolls. In the picture below, check out the first clown on the top left, tell me he isn’t the creepiest thing ever!! He is staring at you right now.

Haunted House

Haunted House Dolls
Creepy dolls….check, clowns…check, serial killer memorabilia …check!

Pictures and videos are not allowed inside the museum, but we were able to take a few pics in the lobby.

This place was 100% creepy; a tour guide led us through a series of scary rooms. I did make certain that I was never the first or the last person to enter or leave any of the rooms; that’s another helpful hint for you…you’re welcome.

I am not going to lie, in the second room, I did feel strange and a bit lightheaded, was it a spirit? I am not sure? But I powered through and only screamed once; it was more of a yelp than a real scream. I had warned our group, that I was a screamer.

We made it out alive and I so far nothing has followed me home! I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get a bit creeped out. It’s open all year round, but it’s a perfect October activity.

I am giving The Haunted Museum a 3.5 black scardy cat out of 5.

I would love to hear about your spooky activity, so please leave me a comment below. And as always, click on like, if you were at all mildly entertained.

Boo!

Liette

(I am also mildly entertaining on Facebook and Instagram too: oui-liette)

Gargoyle
Peace out goblins!!

 

 

Girls Gone Wild!

Girls Gone Wild! 

The title for this post was going to be: Girls Just Wanna Have Tea, but decided that Girls Gone Wild would get more attention, lol.

Helpful hints on how to throw the perfect tea party! 

As we age, our birthdays become less important, it’s just another day really, right? If you are a mom, this feeling may be exasperated? You spend hundreds of dollars on your kid’s birthdays, when yours comes around, it’s easy to give into that feeling that it’s just another day…right?

Well this year, I decided that it isn’t just another day; I wanted to celebrate my birthday in style. I plan events for a living, I put so much time and energy into planning beautiful events for others; am I not worth the time and effort of a nice party? I decided that am absolutely worth it!

Here are a few tips on how to throw yourself the easiest and best birthday party ever!

Theme

I am not going to lie, I love a themed party. While I was attending an event at a hotel, I noticed that they had a fancy tea room. Mmm… fancy little finger foods and feather fascinators; I decided then and there that a tea part with my best girlfriends would be the perfect theme!

Invitation

Your invitation sets the mood of your party, it’s the first glimpse that your guests will get to what kind of party to expect. There are so many different templates out there online. Feel free to send e-vites; I prefer printed invitations with colorful envelops and a customized message to each guest.

I found this image and fell in love with it. It was exactly what I wanted my party to represent!!

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Location

Here is a helpful hint from a party planner; you don’t always have to host your party, or our children’s party, at your house! It adds so much stress and work, the cleaning, the shopping, the cooking…it’s a lot! And since this was my party, I wanted something easy. I wanted to just show up and then leave and have someone else clean up.

I reserved two tables at the Mandarin Orient Hotel Tea Room on Las Vegas Blvd. My friend Claudia’s birthday is the day after mine, so we decided to celebrate together. She would host her friends at her table and I would host mine at my table. I am pretty sure my table was more fun! 🙂

Party Favors

I think sending guests home with a thoughtful party favor is a very nice touch. And if you attach a thank you note, you won’t have to send a thank you card afterwards. And yes, I do think if people come to your party and give you a gift, you need to formally thank them.

Select something that goes with your theme, since I was having a tea party, I decided that I would give out tea cups. I went to a thrift store and found old china cups, they were $0.99 each! I loved that they were all different shapes and colors.

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I bought these colorful macaroons from the same bakery that did our cake, oh wait till you see the cake! Pink, yellow and orange were a perfect color scheme for our favors! I placed them in the tea cups, wrapped them in cellophane with the thank you card and voila! The perfect tea party favor!!

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The hardest part of putting these party favors together was resisting the urge to “test” the Macaroons. I would suggest getting a few extras, just in case you accidentally “crack” any… and then have to eat them.

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My thank you tags matched the invitations; I perforated them and attached them with a ribbon. I think, they turned out beautifully and were super easy!

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The Party!

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My co-hostess and I, ready to greet our guests with our fancy fascinators. Not that it was a competition, but my fascinator was clearly bigger than hers, bigger is better right? If you can’t wear a big bouquet of beautiful feathers on your head on your birthday in Las Vegas, I am not sure where else you could! Life is short, go for it!

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I was responsible for the party favors, Claudia was responsible for the flowers. Find a friend and split the work, you don’t have to do everything yourself. She picked up a few bouquets from Trader Joe’s.

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She arranged the flowers in mason jars, they added a special touch to our garden tea party. Most restaurants will let you bring in your own flowers and decorations, just let them know ahead of time.

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The dishware and food at the Mandarin were beautiful and delicious! This was my very first tea party, turns out I don’t actually like tea, but loved all the trimmings! This theme would also be perfect for a baby shower, any reason to get together with your girlfriends. Most cities have tea rooms, google it. If you do want to host a tea party at your house, it’s easy to make bite size sandwiches, go to your favorite bakery and have them create an assortment of sweats for you!

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The best part of the party, was spending the afternoon with friends! I must say, I have an amazing group of ladies!

The cake!

No party would be complete without a birthday cake. We brought in our own, yes, most restaurants will let you do that as well. Our custom cake was from Drago Sisters Bakery on Rainbow St in Las Vegas. It had a lemon and strawberry layer with with a butter cream frosting and it was divine!

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As we pondered on what to wish for before blowing out our candles, I was thankful for my fancy tea party with great food and even better friends!

What I hope that you take from this post is that you don’t have to make everything from scratch, you don’t have to host at your house and you can ask a friend to help! The goal of every party is to enjoy the time spent with your loved ones. Please make certain you are present and in the moment!

Thanks for reading, hit like if you like, share and subscribe if you are so inclined!

Muah!

Liette