What do you do when you win a trip to Las Vegas from Spa Week and have to figure out how to leave your baby behind for the very first time? We can only hope this is a dilemma you will have to deal with! For Hot Mom Spa Squad member Stacy-Ann Gooden (AKA Weather Anchor Mama) it was a hard decision, but here she takes us through the journey, from her big surprise win to planning the away-from-baby-cation, and enjoying herself on the strip. When she’s not in Vegas (which is any other time of her life) she plays the role of delivering the weather in New York City. But, her most important role, she says, is being a wife and mom. By Stacy-Ann Gooden Who would have thought that I’d be selected – out of gosh knows how many people – to win Spa Week’s Escape to Vdara Giveaway!? All I did was put my name in a jar at the Spa Week Media Party last October. Being the skeptic that I am I asked the lady manning the booth: “Is this for real? Does anyone ever win?” “Yes. You never know. It doesn’t hurt to try,” she responded. What the heck? She was right. I might as well give it a shot. Besides, it didn’t cost me a dime to throw my name in the hat among hundreds, if not thousands of people that night. Fast forward two weeks later and I get a call from some lady named Melissa claiming that I won a trip to Vegas. I chalked it up to one of the many bogus calls I usually get about winning a cruise some where. I almost hung up the phone. But, then she said something that triggered a memory from that night. “Yeah right. How much does it cost?” I asked. “Nothing! You won! I remember you. I was the one who took all your info at Spa Week,” she said. It took a little bit more convincing, but I eventually realized that this thing was legit. My skepticism grew into pure excitement. I couldn’t wait to tell my hubby. I knew that he wouldn’t be excited about the idea of going to a spa. The only time he’s ever had a massage was on our honeymoon. He said that would be the last one he’d ever get. But, this is Vegas, baby! Spa or no spa, he was totally down for this vacation. The major hurdle was deciding whether or not to bring my daughter, Princess, along. But this is Vegas after all, so we ultimately chose to make this a baby-free vacation. I can’t say it was easy to leave her behind! To prepare, here’s the plan I put into motion, starting 4 months in advance. (Read how each step turned out HERE): Get Princess used to the idea of sleeping on her own. Slowly start working my way back into my own bed. Help Princess get comfortable spending time away from my husband and me. Have her spend more time at Grandma’s house on the weekends. Princess has never spent the night anywhere beside our home, so she’ll need a few practice runs. I’ll have her spend the night at Grandma’s, too. While we’re gone, we’ll have all of her favorite snacks, toys, and other essentials handy. It’s not exactly the same as our home, but it’ll be close enough. She’s been doing OK with regular milk. Even though it won’t be the same as lying next to mommy, I’ll pump a few bottles in case of an emergency. Face time! Since we won’t be there in the flesh, at least we cant see and chat with each other over the phone! I had up to a year to fulfill the prize which included a three night stay in a penthouse suite, a spa and salon credit, a dining voucher, and limousine transportation to and from the hotel. We booked our Vdara retreat for Mother’s Day weekend, which (ironically) worked out perfectly. I’ve never been to Vegas before. But when I think of Sin City, a scene from The Hangover comes to mind. Thoughts of a bunch of guys at a bachelor party getting wasted, followed by a bunch of other crazy events. Basically, I was totally clueless and didn’t know what to expect. As it turns out, Vegas is a beautiful city with so much more to offer than just casinos and booze. Check out the scenery from our penthouse suite. If you think the view outside is cool, check out the view inside. Staying in a penthouse suite was also a first for us. This alone would have been enough but, there was so much more to enjoy. The first thing on the agenda after checking in was to grab a bite to eat, and hit up the casinos. Being novice gamblers, we played it smart and went over to the slot machines. I did pretty well in the beginning, but I should have walked away when I was up. I ended up losing my money. I had my spa appointment the next morning and we were famished from a long day of traveling. So, we made it an early night. Our stay up to this point was absolutely amazing, but visiting Vdara Spa and Salon completely took my breath away. I was scheduled to have a massage, facial and brow wax. I also got a chance to enjoy the other great amenities the spa had to offer. I rotated between the stream room, sauna, Jacuzzi, and relaxation room the entire day. In fact, I loved it so much that I returned the following day for another round. I even talked my hubby into coming along. They don’t normally allow picture taking. But, my tour guide said that it was okay to snap these pics. From gambling to pampering, the fun didn’t stop there. We got a chance to see “O” Cirque du Soleil, and a variety show. We weren’t allowed to take pics during the show. My hubby snapped this one after leaving one of the performances. We also spent some time touring the neighboring hotels and the fabulous Vegas strip. When it came to satisfying our palates, there were tons of different restaurants to choose from. Being the foodie that I am, I wanted to try different cuisines. The Japanese restaurant, Blossom, was definitely one of our favorites. Our first trip to Vegas was a blast! We were able to fit a lot of activities in during our three night stay. We’d definitely love to return, and explore more of what Sin City has to offer. Thank goodness I put my name in that jar at Spa Week, and I thank my lucky stars for not hanging up the phone. Big up to Vdara Spa and Salon for sponsoring our hotel stay. A special shout out goes out to Spa Week for hosting the giveaway.