#BiSC-uits Do Vegas in Style

                         I can name everyone here

I honestly don’t even know where to begin. People have asked, how was Vegas? But in all honesty, amazing/one of the best weekends of my life/fantastic/incredible/magical/ etc. just doesn’t even begin to cut it. There is no way I can give justice to the weekend that was, in one word, EPIC. I can write all I want, but it will never come close to giving it or the people who attended, all the proper praise it deserves. Lets just say, I have been to Vegas a few times but never have Done Vegas. Until now.

For those of you who are new to my blog (Welcome!), don’t follow me on Twitter (slacker, follow me!), or who do follow me and saw a multitude of crazy tweets, you are probably wondering what is this epic weekend I speak of. Well, this past weekend I was in Vegas for a kick-ass blogger meet-up called Bloggers in Sin City (aka #BiSC). I say meet-up and not convention because this isn’t your typical gathering. There are no panels or seminars, just a group of mostly 20something bloggers who wanted to meet some of their online friends IRL.  The weekend was filled with inside jokes, craziness, and drunkenness, bonding and being VIP for a weekend. 

When I signed up back in March, I debated if I should go. Did I really want to go to a bloggers convention when I just started blogging only a couple months prior? What if I didn’t fit in?  What if everyone was a lush and hard-core partygoers? (Yes, I wrongly thought everyone needed alcohol to have fun judging by the registration page). What about the fact that I knew absolutely no one going? That’s right, I traveled alone, across the country, to meet a group of 56 complete strangers from the Internet.  None of whom I had ever met in real life before and only talked to minimally on Twitter. This was totally out of my comfort zone, but as they say in Vegas, there is no reward without taking some risk. When I told people I was going to BiSC, I usually got the same reaction: a squinted face of disapproval, clearly thinking, a blogger’s convention, really?? And you don’t know anyone? You must be a bigger dork than I thought. Or wow, that’s crazy and gutsy.  To that I say, “this dork had a life changing weekend, bonded hard core, was a VIP for a weekend, made new friendships, and laughed so hard I literally cried. How was your weekend?” 

No, this is not your ordinary group of people. This wasn’t just any old trip to Vegas and these aren’t just any old Internet friends. This was a group of 51 girls and 6 guys from all across America (and Canada too!) comprised of the warmest, welcoming, supportive, funny, and down to earth group of people there is. It is absolutely incredible that we created strong bonds and friendships that feel as if we have known each other for years; when if fact, it was only a weekend.  Whereas some friendships are convenient because you live within close proximity to each other, these are relationships that because we are scattered across the country, we are choosing to continue.
When we registered, we were asked to share five things we wanted other attendees to know about us. Here is one of mine:
3. People never spell my name right or seem to remember the right name. I have been called Carly, Carolyn, Erin, Carol, Kristin, etc. just about anything but Caryn. It is the same name as Karen, just spelled different. Not pronounced Car – In. I’ve gotten used to being that girl that no one remembers her name.

Yes, I have gotten used to being that girl that no one remembers her name. Usually when I am in a large group of people, I get shy, feel invisible and not memorable because I don’t have a loud personality.  All my life, I felt like something was missing and never quite felt as if I had that core group of friends that you see on Friends and Sex and the City. But this group of 56 other Bloggers made me feel as if I belonged. I never once felt invisible. People were determined to not only remember my name, but my twitter handle too!  These Bloggers are no longer just names or web pages on the Internet; they are real, genuine and loving and now they’re IRL friends. 

All within one weekend, we came together to mourn a loss and celebrated an impromptu Bachelorette party. I’m not going to lie; I developed some massive girl crushes, kind of like friend-love at first sight.  I am afraid I am going to wake up and realize it was all a dream.I am sad that there were only two of us from Chicago because I wish I could see everyone more often. Once a year is just not going to cut it.

No, this is a special group that cannot be matched.  I went to Vegas not knowing a soul when I arrived, but left with family.  Nico says it best in his vlog (watch it here) “Instead of feeling people out and starting from scratch, a lot of these friendships just hit the ground running…with nerdy like minded individuals…”

So why was this weekend epic, besides for the amazing people? Thanks to Nicole who planned a flawless weekend, there was never a dull moment. Even lying at the pool, there was never a dull moment.  Bob and I concluded, “On a scale of one to Ape-Shit, this is Gorilla-Shit.” 

It was cheaper to come in a day early, so I arrived Wednesday. When I finally arrived at the Flamingo Hotel room, I took a deep breath before I knocked on the door. I knew that once I knocked, the weekend would begin, there would be no turning back. I had no idea just what I had gotten myself into and just how many memories and friendships were waiting on the other side of the door.

Here are some of the highlights of the Mega-Awesome-Epic-VIP-weekend: I really wish I wrote down some of the quotes people said…
  • Upon check-in, we received a bag full of goodies from our Sponsors and our VIP badge. Check out Nico’s video to our sponsors.
  • The hotel room at @Flamingovegas had a TV in the bathroom mirror. GENIUS!
  • Mingle and meet during a VIP open bar sponsored by Sin City Brewing Company at the Flamingo Hotel where Molly (@stratejoy) hosted Blogger Bingo.  We were immediately forced to get to know each other by asking crazy questions, doing crazy things like sharing our celebrity crushes, running down the hallway, and taking bathroom photos.  I was really excited/anxious to meet some of my blogger heroes, (Molly, Jenny, Grace, and Doniree) as well as the people I had talked to online. 
  • We received VIP poolside treatment both Friday and Saturday. We got to skip the line and go straight to our four free reserved daybeds and pool chairs. Thanks to Suki and our sponsor @Clevergirlscoll we had free delicious frozen mojito drinks for all to share.
  • Our own Amber attempted the limbo contest.
  • Participated in some rather wild and hilarious Tweet-To-Win competitions by the pool.
  • Rapper Baby Bash gave an impromptu performance at our hotel pool while Mikael shook her rump in the booty contest. (You were #1 in my book!)
  • Met a Canadian guy who claimed to be a Rocket Scientist. Because this sounded more like a Barney Stintson trick, we Googled the information on his business card. It was either a lot of work to get laid or quite awesome. I admit, I do believe this guy.
  • I devoured the best steak I’ve possibly ever had at Mon Ami Gabi while conversing with a group of 10 of the best and sweetest girls around.
  • We were VIP at the happy hour sponsored by @TheSugarFactory Chocolate Lounge at Paris Hotel. Literally, we were kids in a candy store – with amazing fondue and drinks called Sexual Chocolate.
  • Attended Absinthe at Caesars Palace. If you see anything in Vegas, see this show.  This was a jaw dropping, potential heart attack inducing, mind blowing, spectacle that showcased strength, balance, rock hard abs, nipple pasties and adult humor. Here are two clips here and here of the show for your viewing pleasure.  Photo below is the world’s best keg stand and yes they are all on a tight rope. 
  • More VIP treatment at Chateau Nightclub at Paris Hotel (@ChateauLV).  We got to skip the line, pass go and collect $200. Well not really collect money, but we sure felt like we hit the jackpot. We got a table outside (do you know how valuable a table is at a Nightclub? Not only is it $500 per table but you can sit down!?!)We also got FREE bottle service with not one, but two bottles of Skyy Vodka (coincidentally one of our sponsors!) We danced the night away under the gorgeous night sky. I don’t do clubs and I had a blast. Being outside helped!
  • Where else but in Vegas do you take a Stripper 101 class with three other bloggers? My group was probably the least sexy and coordinated group of girls but it was still fun! 
  • Enjoyed 1/2 Price Happy Hour and an impromptu Bachelorette party for Kaci. Her surprised reaction was priceless and it touched everyone immensely. We all cried a few tears out of sheer joy and love. Talk about epic parties, she had 56 people in Vegas for her Bachelorette.  That is one for the record books. 
  • Everyone dressed up to the nines for the Black White and Gold themed party. We felt like celebrities for the night when we flashed our VIP badge and budged everyone in line at PURE Nightclub. No entrance fee, no waiting in line to enter or to get drinks, and we got to rock out on the dance floor on our own before others were let in.
  • Danced the night away at PURE Nightclub while Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas deejayed until I couldn’t feel my toes. Actually, that’s a lie. I danced until my toes hurt so bad from my heels, it felt like needles were stabbing me.  I nearly had to crawl home.
  • Hugged friends goodbye who in a matter of days became family at the VIP Breakfast Buffet on Sunday morning.
  • I taught Tiffany how to play Blackjack.  Oops! I created a Blackjack Beast! At least we both walked away up!
  • Laughed so hard I couldn’t stop crying and thought I might pee in my pants with MaxieMolly, Terra and Tiffany. These ladies will forever be in my heart. Between the sneaky snake dance, the contents of Terra’s purse, the obnoxiously loud music and movie clips playing at the restaurant and all the crazy shenanigans and hilarity that ensued, I will never forget that Sunday. It could quite possibly be forever known as the funniest, most entertaining day of my life. I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard I cried, but that day, I couldn’t stop crying.
  • Left my heart and voice in Vegas – all in the name of an epic weekend. 
  • The great thing about BiSC is that it is TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE to sit around a table with your phones out. While we looked anti-social, more likely than not, we were on Twitter talking to other attendees anyways.
I originally wanted to change my flight to leave earlier because I was scheduled to be the last one to leave town at 530p Monday but it turned out that the extra day of playing Blackjack and lying by the pool was exactly what the Dr. ordered. I was able to relax a little after the busy weekend before heading back to reality.

I used to think that four days in Vegas way too long, and usually it is.  However, after this particular weekend, it wasn’t long enough. I came home on cloud-9 and was the happiest I have been in a long time. I felt optimistic, giddy, and as if nothing could bring me down. I was genuinely glowing with happiness.

I need to thank Nicole, the girl who organized this whole thing. Without you wanting to celebrate your birthday three years ago, this wouldn’t be an event. Without you, I wouldn’t have met some of the best people in the world. Thank you for creating this amazing weekend. 

And a ginormous THANK YOU to all of our amazing sponsors who helped make this weekend possible and as special as it was: the beautiful Flamingo Hotel & CasinoShatterboxxAbsintheBabelandHair FlairsSprayology (this thing is a hangover miracle), SKYY VodkaThink GeekBuildASign.comVita CoCoSwiss Maid FudgenuNAAT, USA PearsSir Richard’s Condom CompanyPop ChipsUrban Therapy Twisted SistaDavid Saxe Production, and Pink Kisses.
Talking on twitter means so much more now that I know who is on the other side of the handle.  And now that I know everyone, I am totally going to go stalk the original sign up list again….
I don’t think I’ll ever have this kind of VIP experience again. Things like this just don’t happen to me. But it did. And it was unforgettable.
Cheers to meeting strangers life long friends on the Internet in Vegas!

 Caryn Levy 
Finally home from epic weekend . Boyfriend picked me up at airport! Apparently I left my voice in Vegas. And I never lose it.

Give Yoga A Chance!

>Hi there.  Today I’m over at Cait’s blog: Fit, Fierce and Fabulous sharing some tidbits about Yoga in hopes to dispel any Yoga-phobia thoughts and doubts. Be sure to go check out, “Give Yoga A Chance”.   If you aren’t familiar with her blog, she is always cheery, shares a lot of photos, and her fashion thoughts, so be sure to head on over.

Cait, thank you for hosting me and letting me share my post with your wonderful readers. 🙂

P.S. Yes, my title was inspired by John Lennon…. J

Chicken Noodle Soup Minus The Chicken

I was originally going to write a different post, but Mr. Boyfriend had to swoop in and be the amazing boyfriend that he is, so change of plans.

I have been coughing for nearly two weeks now.  In the mornings, I either sound like I swallowed a frog, have no voice, or the opposite, I sound like a man. None of which, believe me, are sexy sounds. My cough is guttural and resembles a choking goose. During the day, I feel better, but it often gets worse after 9PM.  Sometimes it is so bad I think I might vomit from the intensity. Being that is two weeks and an empty bottle of Robitussin later, I thought if I went to the Dr. she would tell me nothing was wrong and that whatever it was, allergies or a cold, was already on its way out.  However, Mr. Boyfriend said, “This is not like you. You have a strong immune system, go to the Dr.” So I made an appointment. (Major side points, he wanted to come with me to the Dr. to make sure I was okay.)

Turns out I have Bronchitis. Now, this is not a sympathy post, I just want to share what was waiting for me when I came home from work!

He left work early, went to Whole Foods to pick up dinner for me, and surprised me when I got home! He got sushi (my favorite!) and chicken noodle soup with a bread roll to help me feel better.  He knows I hate chicken so the soup intentionally had very little chicken. We are Lactards so for dessert he bought diary free cookie dough ice cream, “because my throat is probably sore from all the coughing.”  And of course a peanut butter Carol’s Cookie, just because he couldn’t resist it in the checkout line.  How thoughtful and sweet!! How did I get so lucky to have such an amazing boyfriend!?  I will surely feel better with him around!  This may be one of the sweetest things anyone has done for me.

Now lets hope these antibiotics kick in. I have to be in tip top shape for the busy weekends ahead!

Everyone likes to be taken care of sometimes.  What is the sweetest thing someone has done for you?

Love, Caryn

Oh, Well There Goes May!

How is it already May?? Can you believe we’re almost at the half way mark of 2011? Crazy how fast time flies, and with all that I have going on in May, it will be December in the blink of an eye.

You know when you have nothing to do for days but then suddenly three events are scheduled for the same night? Gosh, I hate that. Luckily, as it turned out, most my events fell in May but fell on different weekends.  That NEVER happens. Hopefully this luck will continue while I’m in Vegas! First thing I need to do is get over this darn cough so I can enjoy all the things I have going on in May.

*I apologize in advance. I will likely not be blogging as frequently this month because of this busy schedule but I’ll do my best.

This weekend: Graduation
Mr. Boyfriend’s brother is graduating from our Alma Mater.  (Yay! Congrats!)  I went back to visit Mr. Boyfriend a couple times the semester after I graduated but I’m pretty sure that was the last time I was on campus. I first met his brother at his high school graduation and now he is graduating college. Has it really been four years already? Wow, where did the time go? I feel old. I am looking forward to spending time with his family, celebrating this milestone, and going back to the landmarks I have missed: Laughing Planet, Buffalo Louie’s, Nick’s English Hut, and Upland Brewery: (where we had our first date) Oh IU, here I come!!

On top of graduation this weekend, Sunday is Mother’s Day.  It worked out really well this year for us. We get to spend the morning with Mr. Boyfriend’s mom, then we drive back home and have dinner with my mom! That is what I call an awesome compromise.

Next weekend: I hear wedding bells! 
Back in 2009 Mr. Boyfriend and I took a spring cruise to celebrate the end of tax season.  We asked the Maitre d’ to put us at a table with other people (dinner mates can be entertaining, especially when you are traveling with just one other person). Turns out we got the lucky straw and met a fabulous couple who was our age, also from Chicago and celebrating the end of tax season.  Jackpot! We have remained good friends, hanging out occasionally. They are getting married next weekend and I couldn’t be happier for them! Cheers to you!

The following weekend: Sin City here I come!
I just started blogging in January of this year.  New Year, New Adventures & What Inspires You?  were my first posts and I haven’t looked back since. I had decided that I needed new challenges, hobbies, and of course new adventures. One of the adventures that blogging has introduced me to was Twitter, and with that I learned about Bloggers in Sin City (BiSC).  At first I didn’t think it was for me, since I am such a newbie but I got over that. I am usually shy until I get to know someone so signing up for this event in Vegas where I didn’t know ANYONE was totally out of my comfort zone. And while I was nervous about signing up and debated for a bit, it was also exciting and kind of a rush to sign up for something that pushed me beyond the usual. I have already been talking with some of the people, (Hi!) thanks to Twitter.  I am really looking forward to this. It will be great to finally meet fellow bloggers in person. EEKS! I can’t wait! Counting down the days? Nope. Not this girl. {Insert: huge guilty smile} I am pretty sure I found the dress I am going to wear for Black White and Gold Night.  For you BiSC’ers hereis a dress similar to the one I got. My dress isn’t on the website for whatever reason. Ah packing, don’t want to think about that yet!

As luck would have it this is also the same weekend as a friend’s bachelorette party, which I found out about after I already bought my BiSC tickets.  I am sorry I’ll miss your bachelorette party! Have so much fun!

June will be here before I know it. Slow down 2011!

P.S. By the way – I just came across this song Busy by Olly Murs and I love it! Check it out. It makes me smile and is super cute.

I’d love to hear how your May is going. Any fun plans coming up? 

(photos courtesy of via and via}

Love, Caryn