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  • Kelli Denes

Mixing Work and Play

Updated: Mar 1, 2019


Every year, the week of my daughters birthday, I am on a business trip. It’s the biggest industry event so I can’t miss it. As a mom, you can imagine the overwhelming guilt this brings.  I feel like I always overcompensate, but it’s never enough.  She starts asking in the summer if I will miss her birthday again. I will try to avoid it for a while before I finally admit it, yes, mommy will be gone on your birthday, again! (insert guilt here).


A Golden Birthday


This year was Marin’s golden birthday, 13 on the 13th.  My oldest Quinlan was thinking of planning a surprise party but you know...I won’t be there.  I decided it would be fun to give them a trip to celebrate her birthday and take them on the trip with me.  The only tricky thing, it’s a place I don’t enjoy and the very last place Joel (my hubby) ever wanted to visit.  Las Vegas.



Like any good salesperson, I carefully planned my pitch.  When I mentioned this to a friend of mine, I actually laughed out loud at myself because this was such a ridiculous idea.  Well, fast forward a month and I landed the deal.  Grumpily and unenthusiastically, Joel agreed.   We barely discussed it once the tickets were purchased because he was just not excited about it. I know my family and how we operate and I set out to make it great. And memorable.

  • All kids love hotels

  • Swimming in January is a win

  • We like downtime to relax

  • Outside is the key for us



There are only a few hotels that have pools open year round. Since swimming at a hotel is fun, I shopped for hotels based if that had open pools. If they didn’t have one…they were off of the list. The Palazzo had a lovely suite which I knew would allow us time to relax and enough space to enjoy time in our room. We had a higher floor that I paid extra for. I can tell you we spent a lot of time just watching the traffic below, sitting in the window enjoying the views. The Palazzo was absolutely lovely. The close proximity to The Grand Canal Shoppes kept spontaneous strolls interesting, the living room areas was comfortable and we might have passed a little time jumping on the bed.


In the end, we all had a great trip! Even Joel will tell you, he would do it again. If you scrolled through our pics, you might have noticed how much relaxing we did. Good! I designed it this way. I took what I knew my family would need to enjoy this and compiled it with good internet research and only booked one activity per day. The rest was just what we felt like doing.


Next Time:


We are a foodie family so the only thing I would do different next time...plan a way to eat in for one meal per day. Since we all love food, it was expensive but we did soak up our west coast roots by enjoying In-N-Out!


The Work:


We flew in on Friday, then had one full day prior to my work obligations beginning. We had one entire day, morning to night without the necessities of work. Sunday morning, we went to breakfast and enjoyed family time celebrating Marin’s birthday. At noon, I had a lunch and it was time to shift roles. On this day, Joel and the kids went to the shark reef at Mandalay Bay, wondered around people watching, and spontaneously the girls zip lined.


At the end of the day, we ended up meeting for a nice dinner at Harvest in the Belaggio, a lovely farm to table with a great atmosphere and a dinner spot I have taken clients.


Early the next morning the family headed home to snow and I tackled my school homework assignments, checked out of our suite and moved hotels early afternoon. Just in time to completely switch to work mode.


This was a perfect start to this business trip and I would definitely arrange it this way again!


My Biggest Tips:


Make the most of it! Cater to your family needs! Down time and flexibility were keys to this success. This was a fantastic week in every way! #vegaswithkids #mixingworkandplay #workhardplayhard #balancedworkmom #thePalazzo #wewanttodoitagain #nobirthdayguilt


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