Chuck’s 30th Birthday Surprise…

About a month ago, I was brainstorming some ideas for my husband’s 30th birthday. I mean, 30 is a big one so I had to go BIG when it came to his gift. I started thinking of gift ideas. I know my hubby loves experiences so I started to rack my brain on all gifts that he could experience.

The first thing that came to my mind was….a Trip. That’s what I’ll do – I’ll book him a trip. How about Vegas?

I started researching flights and hotels to Vegas and it was just too expensive. In order to go BIG in Vegas, you gotta spend BIG plus we’ve already gone there so I thought I’d think of a place he hasn’t gone to before.  I thought about New Orleans. I’m originally from there and Chuck has never been so what a fun idea to take him for his birthday. Well, flights were $600 a piece.  And I just didn’t want to spend $1300 (with taxes/fees) on plane tickets.

The last idea I came up with was Park City, UT. My girlfriend and her husband had been there before for their anniversary and said it was awesome. Plus, they said there were a ton of outdoor activities, which Chuck would love. Done.

So first things first, how much are tickets? I searched and booked 2 tickets (with insurance!) for $538! Now, to me, that’s a steal.  I sort of freaked out after I purchased the tickets cause I had no idea where we were going to stay or how much hotels were. Not the brightest idea, but I did get lucky.

As I started searching for hotels, I remembered one of the fashion & lifestyle bloggers I follow – @rachparcell – stayed in Park City and took a picture at the Hyatt Escala Lodge. And it looked absolutely gorgeous! So I looked them up online, their hotel rooms were gorgeous and their entire location was beautiful.  I picked up the phone and called them.  Nick, one of the managers, answered the phone. Three words – He Was Awesome! He spent an hour on the phone with me. I told him it was my husband’s 30th birthday and simply asked, ‘Do you have any deals on a suite?’ He put me on hold, came back, and said he could get me a King suite at the price of a standard room. Ummm…okay. So I booked 4 nights at the Hyatt Escala and BOOM – was getting closer to getting his birthday trip fully booked. Thank you for the hotel reco, Rach Parcell!

Since I booked our trip leaving on a Friday, I thought I’d kick off his birthday celebration with a surprise party the night before. I called Lot 3 in Bellevue and booked the loft for about 20 people.  I then went onto and created a birthday invite to send to all of Chuck’s friends. I sent it out a few weeks ahead of the party to secure people’s calendars and before I knew it, his surprise party was underway!

As we got closer and closer to his surprise party and trip, I started getting super anxious.  If you know me at all, I suck at keeping secrets. Mainly because I just get too excited and can’t hold it in. But I just knew that this one, I had to keep to myself. I just wanted Chuck to feel so so special and was so nervous I was going to blow it.

When the day arrived for me to surprise him, it was so hard not to burst out with excitement but the best part of giving him his entire gift was surprising him twice! The surprise party and his trip. You may be wondering how I told him about his trip. Well my girlfriend owns a card studio – Real Card Studio. She’s amazing! She did our wedding invites, she created my Fiercely Charming logo, our Christmas cards, you name it, anything to do with card stock, she’s my gal.

When it came to figuring out a way to present this trip to him, I ended up emailing my girl and asking her if she could put together an itinerary for the trip. I thought it would be cool to print it, frame it, wrap it, and give it to him as a gift. And that’s exactly what I did.  Here’s what it looked like:


If you need wedding invites, personal stationary, Christmas cards, etc, reach out to Real Card Studio. You will be amazed at their work!

Now, back to Park City planning – as far as all the outdoor activities, transportation, and restaurant recommendations go, Nick with the Escala gave me all the deets.

Silver Mountain Transportation. Mike was our driver and was awesome! Sweetest man, loves to tell jokes, and is always on time. In fact, he was early picking us up and dropping us off.

Wasatch Adventure Guides. Matt is the owner of Wasatch Adventure guides. He sits in the Hyatt Escala and can book any and all activities you want to do.

Before we got to Park City, I booked a hike with him so I had at least one activity on the agenda for Chuck’s Birthday. But I wanted Chuck to choose whatever activities he wanted to do when we got there as well. Not a problem, Matt can book an activity for you anytime, any day.  We basically booked all of our activities last minute and he could accommodate.

Here’s a peek at all the activities we did:

Horseback Riding. Ask for @bayouDave


Hike. We went on a 3 hour hike with Matt through Guardsman Pass and Dead Tree trail. We even saw a moose! Yes, I know….a moose! The views were stunning. Take a look.


Meet Matt!


Side-by-Side ATV’s. This was half way through our ATV ride. I have never been so dirty in my entire life. There was a layer of dust all over my body. But look at that view!


Mountain Biking. Chuck really wanted to go mountain biking because it’s something he absolutely loves. Don’t get me wrong, he loved all the other activities but he’s a dirt biker so mountain biking is a sport that gets him excited too! On our last day, Chuck asked Matt, our adventure guide, if he could take him on a ride before our flight on Tuesday. Matt was booked but still wanted to accommodate. Chuck was even willing to go by himself if Matt told him where to go. That’s exactly what he did. Matt gave Chuck a bike Tuesday morning at 7:00AM, gave him directions, and off Chuck went. 2 hours later, he came back with a huge smile on his cute face from an awesome ride.

Here was his view:

Mountain Biking

Restaurant Recommendations. Matt, Mike, and the entire valet staff, recommended a ton of restaurants to us on Main Street in Park City. Quick side note – the nice part about Park City is you can enjoy the hotel and the outdoor activities, but you can also take the bus into town (10-15 mins) and walk up and down Main Street. This is basically the heart of Park City. Oh and did I mention, the bus system is free. Win-Win!

Here are the restaurants we went to throughout the past 4 days. I’ve also included some reviews.

Edge Steakhouse | Located in the Sundial hotel across the street from the Hyatt Escala. Good service and cool ambience. I would recommend this place.

4 Star Review: I recommend this steak restaurant because their steak was really good. No Ruth’s Chris or Daniel’s great, but good. Their service was on point the entire night and the server had really good recommendations on what we should order based on what we like. There were no windows so it felt a little cold inside but did have a cool vibe. Overall, 4 star review from me.

Edge Steakhouse

Chimayo | Located on Main Street in Park City. Chimayo is a fancy, southwest style restaurant. The experience was great. We sat on the top floor (always ask for the top floor!), had a great server, and thoroughly loved our meals. Take a look below.

Chimayo Chimayo 2

They gave Chuck and I a complimentary dessert which included chocolate fondue. Um…yumm! We loved this place so much we went two nights in a row. The second night, we had a ‘2 for 1 entree’ deal someone told us about. If you go to Park City, look in the Park City Record newspaper for local restaurant deals.

Since we came back, the chef served us their ceviche appetizer complimentary as a thank you for coming back for a second night in a row. Awesome place!

5 Star Review: I highly recommend this place. Dinner was phenomenal. The preparation and detail in their dishes was unlike any other restaurant we’ve tried before. The service was excellent and the ambience was unique, colorful, and edgy.

Riverhorse on Main | This place is absolutely gorgeous inside. They have a piano player, white table cloths, and balcony seating available. I booked this restaurant before we arrived in Park City because I heard it had the best brunch in town – thank you Yelp! We went there on Sunday morning and indulged in the best eggs Benedict and buttermilk pancakes I’ve ever eaten in my life. That’s right, my life. I even told them it was Chuck’s birthday and they brought a candle in his pancakes. One word – perfection!

5 Star Review: I highly recommend this place. Brunch is reasonably priced, the atmosphere is stunning, and the food is 5 stars!

Riverhorse on Main

Fletchers | Located on Main Street in Park City. We received a ton of recommendations for this place. They just opened in December so they are fairly new for Main Street. They had a deal going on – every entree you buy, you get the choice of purchasing the lobster tail for $10! Sounds good to me.

On our last night we thought we’d try it. We got these amazing cheddar, chive biscuits with bacon jam for an appetizer. One word – yummy! We loved those!

I ordered the chicken dish for dinner and Chuck ordered a filet with the lobster tail. Chuck asked for his steak to be medium rare. Our entree’s came and his steak was well done. Eek! So we talked to our server and she was right on it to get him the right steak. 25 minutes later, Chuck got another steak but it was still well done. Chuck ate it and enjoyed it with his lobster tail but was bummed it wasn’t cooked right….again!

The manager did a great job of coming by and talking to us and even comp’d our steak. That is great service! Our server was great! She came by and wanted to buy us dessert. We felt bad and told her she didn’t have to do that but she brought us a dessert anyway. Their service was seriously great given the circumstances and I know if we went back again, we’d thoroughly enjoy it.

3 1/2 Star Review: For our particular experience, I would have to give 3 1/2 stars.  The ambience of Fletcher’s was awesome. We really like it! The food was good, minus the steak situation but overall they had tasty food. The service was good and the manager took care of the situation, which is what we all want at restaurants.

If you ever go to Park City, I hope these recommendations help you enjoy your stay!


Lauren & Chuck


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