OH NO HE DID NOT…

…OH BUT YES HE DID.

One evening last week, Hubs and I were sitting at a kids’ school event.  He leaned over and asked me about my day; I rattled on and on about a new deadline and oh-I-got-a-phone-call-from-so-and-so and did-you-remember-to-mail-that check, et cetera, et cetera.

He listened politely.  When I finished, he asked, "Would you like to know what I did today?"

I nodded, distracted, watching the kids.

He continued.  "I bought two Barry Manilow concert tickets in Las Vegas, tenth row center."

I’m sorry, what did you just say?

"I said, I bought two Barry Manilow concert tickets in Las Vegas, tenth row center.  And two plane tickets, and a hotel room on the strip, and childcare is all arranged.  We leave in a few weeks."

And I giggled squealed screamed and planted a big, sloppy kiss on him RIGHT THERE in the school cafeteria.  Then I turned to Melanie, who was on my other side, and nearly scared her to death by grabbing her shoulders and shaking her and babbling incoherently.  I am happy to report that I did not plant a big, sloppy kiss on her.  But I could’ve.  I’m that excited.

Seriously, after 15 years with my man, I thought he couldn’t surprise me anymore.  I thought I could read him so well that I would know he was up to something.  The fact is that he’s had this brewing and planned for a very long time, and I had no idea.  How amazing is it that he would not only surprise me, but he would surprise me with something that I’ve wanted to do forever.  And that he will not only send me to the concert, but he will sit through it with me.  My husband, whose idea of good music is…well, whatever the opposite of Barry Manilow is.  That is love, right there.

(And I know, it’s nobody’s business, but the sensible girl in me feels the need to explain that we have not gone out of our normally frugal minds by taking a trip like this while the economy is tanking.  Thanks to frequent flyer miles, a great Priceline deal, and some money Hubs’ had been setting aside for some time without my knowledge–the turkey!  how did he do that?–the whole thing is actually pretty unfrivolous.  So don’t worry, I’m still sensible and frugal, I’m just going to be sensible and frugal IN LAS VEGAS.)

(Although the thought does suddenly occur to me that perhaps no one will be travelling so that they can stay home and watch the stock ticker, which means, I suppose, that we might have Las Vegas all to ourselves.  If the audience is empty at the concert, do you think Barry might pull me up on stage for a duet?  I did make up a dance routine to Copa Cabana when I was about 10, and I’m pretty sure I remember most of it.) 

Anyway, I now have a couple of weeks to get ready for this trip.  Tell me, if you’ve been to Vegas, what do I need to know?  Because I have to say I’m feeling the urge to get a bee-hive hairdo and some sequiny pants.  What else should I do?  What should we absolutely NOT miss, considering our time is pretty limited?

While you think about it, you can watch this.  It’s not as snazzy as the one I made up 26 years ago, but it will have to do:

141 thoughts on “OH NO HE DID NOT…

  1. molly says:

    Wow. That is an awesome gift. I have never seen Barry, but for me the second best is Neil Diamond and I saw him when I was 16 and all my friends thought I was nuts.
    I am a little jealous you lucky dawg.

  2. sweethomealagirl says:

    Wow! WTG Hubs! Have a wonderful trip! And sans kids even…you are one lucky lady! My DH won a trip to HI through work, but the baby was barely 5 months, so we took her with us. We had a great time, of course, but it would have been that much better without a nursing infant! Hope you have a fabulous time!

  3. Dana says:

    If coolness was a person, it’s name would be Hubs. Congratulations, enjoy and suck every bit of awesome out of the concert so you can come home and spit a teensy bit of it out on the rest of us schmos.

  4. Kristin says:

    We visited Las Vegas a few times a long time ago and STILL we remember the exact name and location of our favorite place to eat there-if you are tired of all the normal, touristy, Las Vegas-ey stuff then try BATISTA’S HOLE IN THE WALL. It is literally a hole in the wall behind the Flamingo. (Is the Flamingo still there? Anyway…) It’s where locals eat and it’s Italian and it’s fun. Also, if you have enough time and you want to venture OUT of Las Vegas then you can always take a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, or a slow raft trip down the Colorado River near Hoover Dam, or hike to Red Rock. These are great things to do if you want to get away from the casinos, and they are great things to do w/ kids – but since you’ll be kidless maybe all the Casino stuff will work just fine for you! Have fun!

  5. karla | looking towards heaven says:

    we used to live in Las Vegas (I taught school while we lived there) — a very surreal place to live… but fun none-the-less.
    Must see the Bellagio, of course. Make time to stroll the art gallery there. And even ride a gondola.
    If you are realllly adventurous, be sure to ride the ride at the top of the Needle.
    And by golly – you MUST stop by Freemont Street Experience — so neat (http://www.vegasexperience.com/)
    Have an amazing time!!
    xo~K

  6. Krista says:

    Well, I’ve only actually “been” to Vegas once, all the rest it was just the closest major airport! (and hey, I’m going again next week!) But this I do know, if you want to see all the cool hotels and their crazy architecture? Make sure you have some comfy walking shoes! The “strip” is actually in two parts. We only did one part, halfway, in 4 hours. And that was pretty much just walking and not a lot of stopping. So yeah, bring comfy shoes! πŸ™‚ And have fun! Oh, and be prepared for the craziness that is video billboards every 5 feet.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Oh my goodness! I can’t believe you are going to see Barry! Tell him I said hello and if you want me to share the dance steps I made up to his “VSM Very Strange Medley” Just let me know. I love that song!!
    Can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back.

  8. Kim H. says:

    Yep, he’s definitely a keeper. I love after years and years together when they can still surprise you completely out of the blue – and wow, what a guy – sitting through Barry with you.
    Hugs!

  9. Jane says:

    Make sure you print this post out for your dd. It’s a great sequel to the Disney Princess stories. Cinderella and Prince charming 15 years after the ball.
    We love a restaurant called the Voodo Lounge at the top of the Rio. It has great food- New Orleans inspired. MMmmm! Just the memory makes me hungry!

  10. Jenn @ Casa de Castro says:

    I’ve seen Barry Manilow in concert before. He and his band are seriously… showmen. They are amazing musicians, and it is ALWAYS a first class, top notch show that even the most finicky among us would enjoy. Have just.the.greatest.time. We’re all jealous!!

  11. kelli says:

    SO funny! When I saw your teaser on Twitter, I KNEW! I just KNEW it was Barry!!
    I squealed so much, I couldn’t click the link to verify it. LOL
    Needless to say, I’m 400 ways of excited for you.
    Sigh.
    Barry.
    Up close.
    Does. it. get. any. better.
    No ma’am. It doesn’t.
    Shoot! Give hubs a sloppy kiss for ALL of us!

  12. Liz@thisfullhouse says:

    What an AWESOME surprise and your hubs picked a really cool way to spring it on you, too. I’ve never been to Vegas, so I will be living it vicariously through you guys. Thanks for sharing it with us and enjoy each other!

  13. Sugar says:

    Do you know how incredibly envious I am of you? I can’t count the times I’ve said that I want to see him. The husband doesn’t have to go. I’m sure I can find a handful of gals that would go with me. Oh, what the heck… I’m going to stop feeling sorry for myself and get on the horn… I’m feeling a trip to Vegas coming.
    Oh, Mandy…

  14. Christy says:

    wow! He’s definitely a keeper!
    What to do in vegas? I have no ideas, but I’m sure Melanie has tons of suggestions. Like certain spas. That do certain “treatments”. Hehe.
    Have fun! Full update expected, of course.

  15. Coupon Geek says:

    Vegas…I’m jealous! Most people take Vegas for just gambling but there’s sooo much to do there! Each hotel has their own draw to get you there. The fountains at Bellagio. The FREE outside pirate show at Treasure Island. The erupting volcano at the Mirage. See them ALL! And, if you get time, DEFINITELY check out Freemont street in older Las Vegas area! They do a light show above the street and it’s AMAZING. They also have a spray painter artist that is beyond this world! And cheap souvenirs down there, too! Aladdin has the best buffet but it is pricier. I think that’s it for my “advice” aside from the Barbary Coast had great orange juice last time I was there. πŸ™‚

  16. Headless Mom says:

    Yea! Sounds like you’ll have a great time.
    Since you’ve never been you should take your walking shoes and spend time walking the casinos and lobbys of the strip. NYNY is worth it, the Bellagio is a must see, and I hear that the Venetian is amazing.
    Oh and even if you don’t usually gamble you should drop a $20 in a dollar slot. The last time my mom did she came away with about a thousand!

  17. Erica says:

    One thing definitely NOT to do: Do NOT take the little cards that the people on the strip are handing out. While you’re at it, don’t look down at the ground or at the cards that are stuck in the fences or taped to poles. Pretty much, look at the pretty hotels or up at the sky. That should be safe.
    To do:
    –Seek out a 5 cent video poker machine and play a dollar or two for me.
    –Go inside the Venetian, Bellagio, and Luxor. The rest can be enjoyed from the outside. They’re just casinos. πŸ™‚
    –There’s a booth across the street from Caesar’s Palace where you can buy same day tickets to popular shows at discounted prices. Go see Circue du Soleil for me. Last time we were there I was pregnant and 10 pm was a little late for me. πŸ™‚
    –If you want to go to an off-strip casino, Green Valley Ranch is nice. And, they have a fabulous buffet. The dinner is expensive, but lunch is reasonable.
    By the way, we lived in Vegas for 6 months, and the surreal comment that someone made earlier is very true. I’d like to add one more word though: sleazy. πŸ™‚

  18. Lainie@ Mishmash Maggie says:

    Shannon (can I call you Shannon?), I think you should temporarily change your name to Lola and go with yellow feathers in your hair and a dress cut down to there…
    At the Copa-Copacabaaaaaaana
    Have fun and enjoy your time with Barry,cough, ahem I mean hubby πŸ™‚

  19. alaskalark says:

    My best friend and I totally had a dance routine to the Copa Cabana when we were 10. I also had the “Live in New York” album that I played nonstop for about a year. Have a blast. Blow Barry a kiss for me!

  20. Char @ DigiScrapChat says:

    Aw, I’m so very excited for you. I LIVE in Vegas, and I can’t get my husband to take me to see Barry. I’m just a little bummed that you’ll actually be HERE, and I won’t get to meet you. (Please don’t take that like I’m a stalker – I promise I’m not – just a long-time reader/lurker). πŸ™‚
    I hope ya’ll have a great time when you come. If you like prime rib, I recommend Lawry’s. I asked my hubby (who was born and raised here) if there were any places he’d recommend, and he suggested Hugo’s Cellar which is at the Four Queens. That’s actually located “downtown” which is different than “the strip”. If you head downtown for the Fremont Street experience, you’ll be right there. Be sure to get reservations tho – we tried to go there for my birthday last year, and faced an almost three hour wait (we skipped it, and went to Lawry’s instead).
    Oh, and btw – neither Lawry’s nor Hugo’s Cellar are “frugal” in any way. πŸ™‚
    Again – I hope you have the BEST time!!

  21. Missus Wookie says:

    So impressed with the way he ooooh so casually dropped that into the conversation – love it! Congratulations and hope you enjoy it.
    DH and I are going out for our anniversary in a couple of weeks, but it isn’t a Barry concert… not certain I could get DH into one πŸ˜† Enjoy it all!
    My Dad and sMom went a few years ago as my Uncle Tom lives there – Dad recommended the Star Trek experience as a must do… sMom said the hotel shows were interesting and some were better than Disney πŸ™‚

  22. BusyMom says:

    Definitely head downtwon for the light show, it is great. There is lots of free entertainment – I just can’t seem to remember where right now.
    If you want to have a little slot fun with little investment, last time I was there, one of the casinos on the strip still had penny and nickel slots – winning 100 pennies not as exciting as 100 dollars, but losing 100 pennies not as upseting as losine 100 dollars. Still entertaining.
    That is so awesome. What a great husband to plan a surprise get away.

  23. Shelly says:

    first of all, do not feel guilty, y’all earned that money, spend it any way you want! secondly, i have loved barry since jr high…hopefully, he will keep his political leanings out of the show, then you can truly enjoy…good thing you are grounded…there is a lot of stuff out there to get in to…have fun

  24. DES says:

    Just wanted to say…I needed that! *smiling for ya* Good to know there are so real die hard romantics still kicking (I have one too). ^5’s to HUBS! Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy!

  25. HeresTheDiehl says:

    what a sweet thing for him to do!
    bring comfortable shoes; that’s my big piece of advice. i love cute shoes, but they just won’t do for walking around vegas, which is what you’ll be doing a lot of the time.
    oh, and even if you’re staying on the strip, go to the old downtown area at night (fremont street). it’s so cool, and you’ll feel like you’re in an old movie.
    the hoover dam is pretty neat, too, and a nice drive.
    now I want to go to vegas, too! have fun πŸ™‚

  26. Ann Voskamp says:

    Absolute essentials when in Las Vegas: Hold his hand, kiss often, swoon over that man (Hubs, not Barry). Because he’s the real keeper.
    I can’t stop smiling.
    You’re writing a beautiful love story.

  27. prasti says:

    aawww…how romantic is he? i hope the two of you have a wonderful time together.
    i’ve only been to vegas once and that was years ago. the hotels/casinos are always fun to see. i think we walked the strip. the belagio is beautiful and the venetian makes you feel like you’re in venice. all of it seems very extravagant and over the top…but i think that’s comes with being in vegas.

  28. Amy says:

    Oh. My. Goodness! I am VERY jealous. VERY VERY VERY jealous. I really think we may have been twins separated at birth – because I too made a dance routine to Copa Cabana – complete with a yellow feather in my hair – if only my name had been Lola! πŸ™‚
    I’ve never been to Vegas – but my dad went every year for 20 years (work conference) – the ONE thing he NEVER EVER missed and would go back whether he had been once or 50 times is the Hoover Dam tour!
    Have fun and give Barry a big sloppy kiss for me! πŸ™‚

  29. Erin says:

    Lucky! Have a wonderful time….I’m going to repeat this story at dinner tonight to my husband and hopefully ‘pass on the idea.’

  30. Trina says:

    On the way to the fabulous Bellagio Buffet (do not miss this) stop in the garden area near the lobby and walk through the seasonal display. When you’re finished there, look up at the ceiling as you pass through the lobby for a surprise by the glass artist Chihuly.
    Also, for some non-glitzy action, try the Red Rocks area of north Vegas. Beautiful scenery, and worth the effort to get there.

  31. Candace says:

    My hubby and I spent a long weekend there several years ago. We put one quarter in a slot machine and if we won we would keep playing, if we lost we would move on. We moved on and roamed around pretty much every hotel on the strip. They are so incredible! You must go to Ceaser’s Palace and pay close attention to the ceiling. We stayed there until 3AM and I had no idea. I am the girl that needs to be in bed at 10 typically.
    If you want to get away from the strip we did a tour of the Hoover Dam and that was pretty cool.
    Watch out for taxi drivers while their they drive CRAZY!

  32. Kat says:

    What a great surprise. I have never been to Vegas so can’t help you there. Just enjoy your trip. My dh took me to see my dream concert two years ago, Harry Connick Jr. !!! Lucky for him we only had a 30 minute drive to the venue. He surprised me with the tickets for Christmas and I had to wait two months, the torture.

  33. Jolyn says:

    Oh, girlfriend. We lived in Vegas for three years, visited the strip often with our young son and did the free things… Times have changed, and by the time we moved Vegas was heading in the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” let’s try to make it all about sex so we can make more money stage. We stopped going to the free things so much.
    As far as clothes, styles — EVERYTHING goes. And I mean everything: gowns; ratty t-shirts; everything. Even at the shows. But ABOVE ALL wear comfortable shoes, because you WILL do a lot of walking.
    My favorite restaurant “to die” for was the all you can eat sushi buffet (and seafood in general) “Tao Dai” at the Alladin, if it’s still there…
    Defintely romantic and a must-see (and free) is the Bellagio fountains at sunset, or at night. Because the way the Strip is lighted up at night will blow you away.

  34. Carrisa says:

    Sweet husband. Sounds like you are going at the perfect time of year. Both times I have gone to Vegas it has been extremely hot. What was I thinking getting married there in August? Anyways, comfy shoes are a must. And take the bus around town and on the strip instead of cabs, saves a lot of money. I would opt for the $5 day passes.

  35. Tree Climbing Adventures says:

    I’ve been to Vegas twice on business trips and spent the whole time wishing the hubby was with me. It’s one big fancy date night with a lot of bright lights. Have a great time and say hi to Barry!
    A tip: The Bellagio is a very pretty hotel to walk around in.

  36. Pam says:

    Never been to Vegas, but, oh the memories that come flooding back from that song. I think I must’ve been about the same age as you, dancing with my cousin to that song. I was more concerned with learning the lyrics while she was working on the steps. Good times. Good times.

  37. Jenni says:

    You crack me up. I’m so excited for you! But…you know he’s gay, right?
    You should definitely wear some yellow feathers in your hair. Not the dress cut down to “there”, though. Save that one for the hubs later.
    Play some slot machines! You never know…

  38. Jennifer says:

    How fabulous! I was in Vegas in May for my first time…we went frugally, and didn’t see any shows (oh, Manilow, how I would’ve swooned). There’s plenty of free stuff to keep a girl busy: we went to see the Lions at the MGM Grand, which were pretty cool, and then saw the free evening show at the Rio, which was wildly impressive.
    We walked through New York New York, which was interesting…there’s just so much to see on the strip. We were there five days, and I know we hardly scratched the surface.
    Have fun!

  39. Stephanie says:

    No, no, NO, not the sequiny pants! Heaven knows what you will attract! lol
    Freebies: Fremont Street, for sure! Lots of fun light show.
    The lions in the lobby of MGM
    Bellagio, the fountains outside and the gardens inside.
    The Aquarium in the lobby of Mirage.
    There is no longer a pirate show at Treasure Island, and the Star Trek exhibit/experience at, um, I think Hilton? Holiday Inn? is being taken down soon–might even be down already.
    Go to the top of the “Eiffel Tower”. Hug the inside wall if you’re afraid of heights.
    Inside the Luxor.
    There was an underground shopping mall at the Alladin, but seems I read it’s gone now, too. Too bad if it is–it was quite an experience to be underground, but look up at a sky so realistic, you never really believed you weren’t outdoors.
    Barry came to Albuquerque once, about 24 years ago, and I swear, I drove around afterwards, hoping to get a glimpse of him somewhere. He did a great show then!

  40. angela says:

    #1 – your husband ROCKS and should give lessons to other men
    #2 – I went to Vegas for the very first time 2 years ago. I only went for a weekend, but I packed in ALL the popular Vegas stuff, from 1 end of the strip to the other and Fremont Street.
    My best advice is just relax, enjoy, stroll around and take it all in .

  41. Bean Counter says:

    New York, New York has an ice cream shop that is TO.DIE.FOR. I love ice cream and theirs is one of the better ones I have tasted. Also the Freemont Street Experience and the Bellagio Fountains you need to see. And the ice cream. Don’t forget the ice cream.

  42. Linda Sue says:

    What a fabulous hubby gifting! First – you’ll feel very uncomfortable if you go the sequiny route – well unless you are trying out for the shows yourself – then go for it. One of the cornball things we totally enjoyed when we were in Vegas was sitting at the Cheesecake Factory (yes eating something of course!) in Caesar’s and watching the enormous aquarium – there is a fabulous aquarium at Mandalay Bay and behind the check in desk at Mirage also – I like aquariums you can tell. You’ll find the most incredible people watching EVER in Vegas and enjoy Barry for me – it may not be great art – but dadgum that man can get a person shakin’ their booty! Enjoy enjoy

  43. Anna says:

    I’m actually someone who lives in LV. Ditch the sequin pants and beehive idea, no one in their right mind dresses like that.
    The Hilton where Manilow plays is actually one block East of the strip.
    Instead of writing 25 pages in the comment box, as I started to do, I decided to just blog. Las Vegas Must See List

  44. Marissa says:

    You have to, have to, see the water show outside the Bellagio. The first time I saw it I was awestruck, not to mention it is free and totally romantic. It plays at least every 30 mins and maybe every 15. You’ll see a crowd start to gather when it’s about time. So creative and beautiful!

  45. Becky says:

    Last year I went to Las Vegas over 40 times for work! Crazy, I know. Walk through the new Palazzo hotel (next to the Venetian) b/c I was on the design team and I think it is beautiful. Also, my favorite restaurant is Bouchon. It is a little hidden in the Venetian but it is worth finding. It has GREAT, AMAZING food and is not as pricey as the other nice restaurants. It would still be a slurge though. Breakfast and dinner are both wonderful.

  46. Christine says:

    Oh, how fun!! Woohoo to hubs!! What a great way to surprise you – how fun!
    I’ve been to Vegas a few times and I hate to gamble, so all my fun stuff is either free, food or shopping related πŸ™‚
    The first rule of Vegas is VERY improtant – keep this in mind! Just because you can see it DOES NOT mean you can walk to it! Save some of that slot money for a cab or two! And take advantage of the subway/people mover thing they have. Just walking to and from the stations is a haul!
    The Bellagio is NOT to be missed. The fountains out front, of course. But their atrium defies description and set up for the Fall season it is breathtaking. And free! The art museum upstairs is fun too. See if there’s a special exhibit you can get tickets for…I think we paid about $10/ticket for a Monet exhibit a few years ago and it was awesome. Then we had coffee and dessert at a little cafe overlooking the pool – inexpensive and very fun and romantic!
    The M&M museum is a hoot and you’ll find lots of fun stuff for the kiddoes. It’s down at the end of the strip near the Excalibur. And the fourth floor has the M&M Nascar car on display!
    The resturants and food are not to be believed! Good thing you walk so much because it would be really easy to leave Vegas 15 pounds heavier! One time we had the Sunday brunch at Paris. Which was awesome and spectacular and delicious. And about $45. A PERSON! For just food…no little gold nugget at your place-setting or anything! Fortunately, we weren’t paying! But across the lobby from the buffet is a little restaurant that serves crepes. And OH MY GOODNESS! So delicious and a much better deal…excellent for lunch/brunch or a late night treat!
    The buffets (see above;) are pretty outrageous. But if you can only hit one, go to the one at The Rio. It is insane! Not to be believed. Breakfast, lunch or dinner. My one friend cracked me up when she said it was the only meal she’d ever had with sushi, mashed potatoes and beignets on one plate. The excess is amazing, even for Vegas. Not sure what the cost is now though…
    For more free fun, I know the Fremont Street experience has been mentioned – it’s awesome! With the added benefit of letting you see “old” Vegas at the same time – Binions, Golden Nugget etc. The pirate ship “battle” at Treasure Island is pretty fun. I might be wrong now, but before “the incident” you could see the white tigers at The Mirage in a walk-thru scenario w/o paying for tickets to the garden habitat. If you can still do that, it’s pretty neat.
    Have fun! It’s a pretty crazy place! And make sure to take a good windbreaker and warm clothes too…sometimes the fall can get pretty chilly out there in the desert!

  47. Amy @ MomsToolbox says:

    How fantastic!
    I just got back from Vegas, myself. No Barry Manilow, but I did see Ray Romano’s stand-up show.
    Meanwhile, my husband and three kiddos were starring down Hurricane Ike back at home.(He insisted I go… it was friend’s wedding. So off I went- SOLO.)
    I completely agree with the comfy-shoes idea. You’ll need them as you explore and gawk along the strip. But, this is also your chance to get a little crazy… pack some saucy heels and a fun dress for your date with Prince Charming. If you’re like me, you probably don’t get too decked at out home.
    Also, to get that guilt-from-being-away-from-the-kids feeling out of your system right away, head over to the M&M store near the MGM. You can pick up a few fun (and delicious) souvenirs for the kiddos there.
    If it’s in the budget, take in a spa treatment… so many of the hotels there have really nice spas. I tried the one at Paris and stress melted away. aaaah.
    If you’re a lounger, bring your bathing suit and hang out by the pool. It will be warm and maybe a little breezy.
    There’s a yummy sushi spot at The Mirage… but there are sushi spots everywhere. I just know I enjoyed something yummy at that one with a girlie martini to wash it down.
    I am not the gambling type… at all. And I was totally nervous about going to Vegas ALONE. But I ended up enjoying myself. You’re going to have a fantastic time, too!!

  48. Cheryl says:

    We LOVE Las Vegas! I would recommend several things:
    Bellagio- go inside to look at all the fresh flowers. BEAUTIFUL. Also, do not miss the water shows in front. But you must see them at night. They run every 15 min. and are amazing!!! (and free)
    Treasure Island- free pirate show out front. The show used to be very G rated but has become much less so with the change to “TI”. Still good.
    Fashion Show mall is across the street from Treasure Island and is GREAT!!!
    Venitian- this is where you can take the gondola ride. Beautiful hotel!
    Paris-
    We love, love, love the breakfast buffet at Paris. (not Sundays though). We are not buffet people and would rarely eat at one. This one however, is GREAT! They actually have a crepe station!
    We also like to eat at California Pizza kitchen in Mirage and Capital Grill at the Fashion Show mall and Hugo’s cellar at the Four Queens downtown. (The last 2 are not cheap) Ceasar’s has a fun upscale food court across from the Elton John theater.
    If you have the time or money you should see “O” at Bellagio. It is a Cirque Du Solel show and is fantastic!
    Also, walk down to the new Wynn hotel and look around. Very pretty!
    Most of all we love watching the people. It is my favorite thing about vegas. I’ll be looking for you. We will be there in about 3 weeks.

  49. Kira says:

    Congratulations! I live in Vegas and my favorite thing to do (and it’s free too!) is to see the flower exhibit at the Bellagio and then the water fountain show outside afterwards. We go there a couple of times a year … it’s awesome! And if you do wear the sequiny-wouldn’t-wear-anywhere-but-here dress … at least wear sensible shoes! Those casinos are HUGE and the space between them is VERY misleading. Also there is a little italian restaurant in the middle of the new york, new york that we treat ourselves to every anniversary. Have a great trip!

  50. Lynnet says:

    How wonderful for you! He must have thought and searched long, and know you well, to do this. I hope you have a wonderful time and take LOTS of pictures! I grew up loving Manilow’s music, but my kids think I’m nuts! My hubby has only tried once to surprise me, and that was way too long ago.

  51. Anna says:

    I live in Vegas and blogged about places to see and linked my blog entry, but now my my comment disappeared. I think I may have done something wrong.
    Visit the Bellagio, Wynn and Miracle Mile for sure.

  52. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    I just realized Bloglines hasn’t been picking up your feed ALL WEEK! (The nerve of some feed readers!) I can’t believe I almost missed this post. It’s like watching the last 30 minutes of “Extreme Home Makeover.” I’m so happy for you.

  53. TrishNotChris says:

    We’re going to Vegas in the middle of November for our 10th anniversary. We’ve gone every year for the last 4 years. I’d recommend the following links:
    http://www.lasvegasadvisor.com
    http://www.vegaspopular.com
    Both have current event type stuff. Vegaspopular is more of a blog type site. There’s something new every year we go so some of my info. might be a tad dated.
    1) Defintely check out the conservatory in the Bellagio hotel. It is free and absolutely gorgeous. The Chihuly sculpture in their ENORMOUS lobby is worth a look. Also, the Bellagio buffet is expensive, but quite good. If you are going during the week, try to go on the later side of breakfast buffet time. They start to bring out the lunch items and you can try those as well. You can try the elk!
    2) We’re frugal muses around here too. We generally will eat a late, big breakfast and then just a light snack for lunch. Later on, we either grab fast food (of which there’s not a lot on the strip) or something in our room for dinner. There are a couple of Walgreens on the strip at which you can by fruit, etc.
    3) Definitely see the fountains (Bellagio), the volcano (Mirage), and check out the Forum shops at Cesars. While DEFINTELY NOT for the frugal, the people-watching can’t be beat. You might want to head down to take in Circus Circus. I’m not sure it’s going to be around much longer. I’m not sure if you and Hubs are drinkers, but the Fireside Lounge (attached to the Peppermill Restaurant-across from Circus) is great. It’s a 70’s slinky, orange faux-fireplace, Brady-bunch deal. The drinks are HUGE, delicious and served by slinky waitress who call you “Hon.”
    4) Things are a much, much farther walk away than they look. Trust me, girl. Plan on a good 20-25 walk from the middle of the strip(say Flamingo/Paris) to the MGM Grand or Luxor hotels. Also, you can’t hail a cab on the strip (Las Vegas Blvd). Most hotels will have a taxi stand where you can get a taxi.
    5) Some people swear by the bus, however, in 4 trips out there, we have never had a good experience. Having said that, there is a free shuttle which loads behind Balley’s hotel. It goes off strip out to the Palms, the Rio, and the Gold Coast casinos. It’s clean, runs really late, and it’s FREE!
    6) If you want to gamble, skip the big casinos. They’re beautiful to look at, but payouts are poor for small time gamblers. We like “Casino Royale” a lot. Tip your waitress and you won’t go thirsty all trip!
    7) Definitely take a shuttle (we’ve always taken Showtime Shuttles) to and from the airport. DO NOT take a cab. There are several LONG ways to take to the Strip from the airport and cabbies will take you the long way to get extra fare.
    8)If your hotel provides airport check-in, definitely check-in there! Much less hassle and we’ve been able to upgrade at little to no cost.
    9)Mandalay Bay has an AWESOME 80’s Flashback Friday’s gig at the House of Blues. Very fun. The hotel also has a very nice shark reef that’s worth checking out. There is a tram that runs from Excaliber hotel to Mandalay Bay. MGM Grand has a very nice sportsbook area if you are into football.
    10) Finally, I know that people rave about The Fremont Street experience, but you should know that other than the light show (which is neat and shown on an overhead pavillion-type thing), there is little else other than gambling to do down there. It is also not in the BEST part of town.
    If you have any questions, feel free to email me. I’d be more than happy to help you out! Oh, and I cannot express how jealous I am that you get to see Barry. I actually made my Hubs take a picture of me standing next to a picture of him last trip!
    Have fun!
    Trish from Wisconsin

  54. Heather says:

    Hi Shannon I’m a regular lurker here and I live in Las Vegas so I thought I’d put in my 2 cents. I personally do not like Batista’s Hole In The Wall. The Top Of The World at the top of the Stratosphere is really nice and it rotates so you can see the whole valley. Don’t miss the atrium/lobby at The Bellegio. Bring walking shoes The Strip is not small. If you’re coming in a few weeks it should be nice and cool and it just might rain. Don’t plan on swimming unless it’s an indoor pool. If you are going to be here over the weekend I’d love for you to visit our church, Canyon Ridge. Wait, it’s a 30 min. drive from the strip, never mind.

  55. The Glamorous Life says:

    Dear Rocks;
    I have just recieved word you will be attending one of my upcoming concerts and I am really thrilled. I knew all about your dance routine when you were 10-and although my people contacted your management, apparently you had other obligations (something about school and homework) and were unable to join me on tour. So I am hoping you have brushed up on your routine and will not have too many mojitos and will be prepared to perform.
    Sincerely,
    Barry

  56. Melanie says:

    Drive to Red Rock Canyon and cry when you see what an absolutely beautiful place God made. Climbing around there makes me feel like I’m a 10 year old gone exploring. Also, go walk around inside the Venetian(hotel). It is so beautiful.

  57. LeAnna says:

    I don’t know you, but I’m gonna give ya some advice anyway. Okie to Okie style. πŸ™‚
    I didn’t read through all the comments to see if anyone already told you this, but if you catch a cab from the airport tell your cab driver that he is to take you directly to whatever hotel you’re staying at and DO NOT TAKE YOU VIA THE TUNNEL!
    We went in January with a group of friends, and the single guys that went with us had cab fare at nearly 1/3rd the price us married folks ended up with. We later found out from another cab driver that we were taken “through the tunnel” and that is apparently dirty cab driving. Seriously though, we ended up with a 20 something dollar fare, and the guys said it cost them 8 bucks or so.
    Oh yeah, as some others mentioned- stay away from the little cards that all the creepy toothless guys will try to hand you. They’re not coupons. However, if you’re up for a good honest but awful laugh, check out the yellow pages under the personals. I think we happened upon it while looking for Pizza, and spent 30 minutes in disbelief at how many “Just Out of College” girls were offering their…services…
    But seriously, the ad’s were hilarious.
    Take advantage of the free shuttle that runs down the strip between a few of the hotels owned by the same gazillionares.
    I actually dislike Vegas with a purple passion. Never want to go back. Ever. All seven members of our group ended up with either terrible sinus infections, bronchitis or pneumonia. BUT, that was in January, and Barry wasn’t an option.
    You’ll have fun!

  58. made2mama says:

    Your husband is super sweet and thoughtful to do this for you! Have a great time!
    So funny, I’m going there next month and was trying to find info on what we could do besides gamble. These comments were a great help!

  59. WayMoreHomemade (Donna) says:

    Wow. Good for him with all the advanced planning.
    Vegas. It’s a town that evokes mixed feelings for me. We went for a very short weekend for our anniversary this year. My man had been before so he was just taking me. We’re not big gamblers… so I’d say do some people watching. And I hope you come away from there with the dose of reality that I did. Sex… it’s everywhere. I’m big on roller coasters, so I HAD to ride the one at New York New York… it’s fun, but it’ll beat the snot out of you… our shoulders were hurting for 3 days after. And, remembering a previous post you did that involved a certain brand of shoes… there’s a Jimmy Choo store at the Belagio, I believe.
    Say hello to my sister in law while you’re there. No, actually don’t because if you saw her it would mean that you’re having a run-in with “the law” and I don’t want that for you.
    Have a wonderful time.

  60. Tiffany says:

    I was in love with Barry as a kid. My neighbor when I was in elementary school was a radio dj. She got me a signed copy of his album once.
    I used to live in Vegas. Parents still do. Some of mine and the kids faves are Rainforest Cafe’, Paris Eiffel Tower going at night to see the Bellagio water show is awesome plus you get to see the whole city, Shops at Ceasers, The Buffet at the Flamingo, Downtown, M&M Factory and I could go on all night.

  61. Tiff@Three Peas says:

    You are so lucky!!! What a sweet husband!!! My dad lives there and I have yet to visit since he moved there. But I do have to tell you. . .the Venetian was my favorite place to visit. It was amazing!!! Be careful. . .the taxi drivers are crazy there!!

  62. Lysa TerKeurst says:

    Okay… you totally have to ride the roller coaster that goes in and out of a hotel… The New York maybe??? It was WAY cool and very fun.
    And if you have time, the Blue Man show is really fun too.
    Sing loud and proud with Barry my friend!

  63. Alyson says:

    Wow, your hubby did GOOD!! We are going to Vegas, heading out there on Wednesday! It’s for business, but our business is fun, so it’s all good. And we have Saturday and Sunday nights wide open AND our kids are staying home with grammy *squeel*!!! I’m totally excited. Dh and I aren’t gamblers (I might throw down a few nickles in a slot machine LOL) – so we aren’t totally sure what we’re going to do with our *free* time yet. We’ll have friends to hang with Saturday, but we might be cruisin the strip by ourselves on Sunday. πŸ™‚

  64. fabthemayor says:

    Went there for the first time this summer – loved it. Definitely take comfy walking shoes. You can get anywhere you need to be by shuttle busses and walking. The light show is a definite must – well worth the drive downtown. Also the M & M store – too cute. And you need to go the The Orleans hotel and sit in seat #8 i The Wheel of Fortune – mighty good to me, my friend…mighty good to me.

  65. M Pruter says:

    You will LOVE this man even more after you see him in concert. (Or have you already seen him in concert and you already know this?) I have no idea what happens to me when I go to his concerts, but I really cannot control myself. I cry and scream and cry and scream…so much so that I will NOT let my husband come to a show with me – it’s too personal and he can’t see me that way! I won tickets to one of his concerts this past year and I took my 4 year old, who is now hooked, too. She made a sign to hold up during Can’t Smile Without You and cried huge alligator tears when he didn’t pick her to come up on stage to sing with him. I first saw Barry on my 11th birthday and have been lucky enough to see him several times since then. Please tell My Barry (I will share him with you) hello for me! Have a fabulous time!!

  66. The Diaper Diaries says:

    In case I haven’t mentioned it before, in college I once sang back up for Barry. And met him. Let me just say that he should really be enjoyed from afar. Cause up close you really just want to shake him and beg him to lay off the plastic surgery.
    You will LOVE him live. And you know he often pulls someone out of the audience to sing “I Can’t Smile Without You” so the sequins really are the way to go.

  67. Jenny says:

    Yeah hubs!
    I am actually on a Vegas countdown myself – leaving the 19th! I went for a few days last year and we didn’t get to finish seeing everything.
    TIPS –
    DO some research of places you want to see before going.
    Make sure you have good walking shoes. I remember my lower half of my body being numb after all the walking!
    Try to see the different mega resorts – lots of free things to see in each one.
    Must go to the M&M and Coke store near MGM on Las Vegas Blvd. DIET COKE stuff!!!
    Have fun! And if your there the same time I am dont freak if someone says hello to the author of my favorite blog!

  68. Natasha says:

    Hi Rocks!!!
    Vegas is AWESOME!!! πŸ™‚ I’ve really really been loving your blog, and I’d love it if you would join us at http://www.womenetcetera.com, a website and community for slightly older women who believe in living full lives by embracing transitions and changing with the times. We love making new friends, sharing new experiences and taking charge of our own lives. We’d love to have you join because you sure do sound like one of us!:)

  69. Pam says:

    How exciting! I love Vegas and we try to sneak away once a year sans kids. It’s actually a pretty budget friendly place if you aren’t a big gambler. A few favorite restaurants: the Tapas bar in the mall on the strip next to Treasure Island – Cafe Ba Ba something . . . they have a terrific happy hour with 1/2 price appetizers and sangria, the deli in the basement of Bally’s – terrific sandwiches large enough to share! My hubby and I also usually spend a day walking the strip trying to find the casino with the best Bloody Mary. We each gamble $5 in each casino on the video machines – we play until we lose it or double it and sample the drink while we play. It takes us most of a day to accomplish this and we have a blast without spending a fortune.

  70. Allison says:

    What a great gift!!! Way to go, hubby.
    As for Vegas, I loved walking through the Wynn and the Mirage (expensive casino/hotels) and looking at the shops and trying on the shoes (Jimmy Choo’s feel SOOO good). But, since you’re going with your man, and he’s already suffering through Barry, you might not want to subject him to that.
    We ate dinner at ESPN Zone (in New York, New York), went dancing at Studio 54 (plays a great mix of music from the 80s and today), watched the fountains at Bellagio, and went up into the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Definitely play the slots–if you set a limit for yourself at the beginning, you’ll be more apt to watch yourself. Most big casinos have pre-paid cards, which also helps keep you from spending the extra money.
    Have a great time!!

  71. Nikki says:

    I guess I am a little more like your hubby. Not a single Barry Manilow song can be found on my ipod. However, one of my favorite concert moments came at a concert of his while I was in college. You should know, I have only been to 2 concerts and his was one of them. I went because my dad really wanted to see him.
    He played at my college to a relatively small crowd. Maybe 13,000 people. He was singing “When Will I Hold You Again” the crowd was really drawn into the schmoozy love song. He gets to the end, sings “when will I hold you……” There is silence as he holds the note. Then one very brave woman stands and yells, “Right Now Baby!” He laughed, the crowd laughed. It was just too funny.

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