East Coast Adventure: Part 2

If you recall from Part 1, Mr. Fiancé and I spent a long weekend visiting friends in Philadelphia, Virginia & DC all for about a day and a half each.  Here is the last segment – Part 2: Visiting Terra in Virginia & being a tourist in DC.

After Terra met us at the train station Saturday night, we picked up her husband from a work event and decided to grab drinks at a local bar that has 40+ beers on tap. I repeat, 40+ bars on tap. How awesome is that?  We ordered and devoured two behemoth Bavarian pretzels. Sadly, it ruined all future pretzels for me. I will never have a soft pretzel that will be able to compare. We even wanted to take one to-go, they were that good but didn’t. I should have taken a photo for you. Mmmm, I’m salivating just thinking about it. But I digress.  So, in the morning we went to breakfast and our lovely hosts gave us a scenic driving tour of their city, followed by a beautiful hike on an island that used to house a confederate prison.

 

Ever go to someone’s house and feel instantly at home and as if you had been going there for years? I guess that shouldn’t surprise me, that is the story of our friendship.  Terra’s house is a zoo; an adorable, I want to snuggle and take them home with me, zoo. I am not a huge fan of big dogs, but hers were super sweet and won me over.  I was very entertained by the cats, as I have never had one of my own. That night, we went to dinner at a delicious family-style Italian dinner where Stacey and Mr. Fiancé’s cousin met up with us. I wish we all lived closer so that we could have game night and see each other more often!

On Monday, Terra and her husband drove to Washington D.C with us. (Thanks again for driving!) We visited the Holocaust Museum, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial before they had to head back in time for class. If you haven’t been to the Holocaust Museum, I highly suggest it. I personally think it is very well done, more emotional and informational than Yad Vashem, the one in Israel.  Oh! and we had lunch with a friendly squirrel. Usually they run away but this one came right up to us and Terra hand-fed it a fry. In the picture, he is eating chips from a stash he found in the grass. After we all said our goodbyes, Mr. Fiancé and I continued being tourists and walked to The White House and then over to Ford’s Theatre.  I remember going to all these places as a kid, but it had been years. I clearly remember standing on Pennsylvania Ave looking through the gates as a kid but the surrounding area wasn’t what I remembered. I also have a vivid memory of the balcony at Ford’s Theatre and the bed Lincoln died in, but not the theatre itself. Memories are a funny thing – and you have to stop and wonder, how much of memories are true memories or figments of our imagination?

It wasn’t until I experienced D.C.’s Metro that I realized how lucky Chicagoans have it with the CTA.  The Metro is so darn confusing with different rates for different destinations. Not to mention that you have to use your card twice, once when you enter and once when you leave the turnstiles.  What if you change your destination on the train and subsequently don’t have enough money on your transit card? The CTA has one set price and it is very easy to navigate. Have you ever been on Earthquake The Ride, at Universal Studios?  My first instinct was that water was going to come crashing out of nowhere and the subway was going to be on fire because the tunnel eerily reminded me of the ride.  I couldn’t get over the fact that the trains, which were more like trams, had carpet. CARPET! What happens when people barf on the train? I know you don’t want to think about it, but crazy stuff like that happens on the CTA and it is a good thing it is tile floor! I just couldn’t get over that.

My mom mentioned in passing that her friend enjoyed the Newseum and that we should check it out on Tuesday. I didn’t know what to expect, but take my word for it- next time you are in D.C. GO THERE!  It was one of the best museums I have ever been to. It is educational without feeling lecture-y.   The museum shows a timeline of historic events through newspaper articles and interactive exhibits. As it is said, “news is the first draft of history” and the News Gallery does a fantastic job showing history through the centuries as told through actual newspaper covers.  From the very first newspaper printed in 1455, to The Declaration of Independence, to the Titanic and to announcing Hitler declared war, to JFK’s Assassination and to Obama’s becoming President, it is all there and more. While this was just a gallery, there really was enough there for it to be its own museum!  They even had a Gutenberg Press replica (or real?) that showed how newspapers used to be made. I cannot imagine making one newspaper at a time, having to put the letters on backwards and print it manually. So freaking cool. There was a fabulous 9/11 exhibit with an emotional film, an entire wall of the front page magazine coverage worldwide, and wreckage from the broadcast tower off of the World Trade Center.  One of the exhibits I didn’t want to miss was the Pulitzer Prize room, and it didn’t disappoint. It had every photo that has ever won since it originated in the ’60’s.  Some, I am surprised were winners, while others made my eyes water.  There was even a watchtower and a section of the original Berlin Wall.  Supposedly they had the Unibombers cabin, but we didn’t make it to that exhibit.  We didn’t have time to visit all the exhibits we wanted to see because we had a flight to catch, but we could have easily stayed another day (which is why your ticket comes with a two day pass).  I was a journalism major and Mr. Fiancé loves history, so this was the ultimate museum that combined our interests.  I strongly suggest this museum to anyone and everyone. I didn’t have high expectations and it surprised me how much I enjoyed it.

We had a great exhausting long weekend. It was so much fun to catch up with friends and be a tourist in cities we had never been to or hadn’t been to in a long time.  I can’t believe it is over already though. Time to look at photos and catch up on sleep…

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East Coast Adventure: Part 1

Where has this month gone? November has just flown by, right?  A few weeks back, Mr. Fiancé decided he wanted to visit a friend in Philly to ask him to be in our wedding. Knowing I had friends in Philly and D.C. (thanks #BiSC!) and that Terra lived only a few hours away in Virginia, I began planning how I could make it work to see my friends, too. So our little getaway in November turned into a long weekend tour consisting of visiting friends in Philadelphia, Virginia & DC, all for about a day and a half each. Here is Part 1: Philly.


We went to Geno’s because you can’t be a tourist in Philadelphia and not try the famous Philly Cheese Steak.  Why is this sandwich a must? I am really not sure, I wasn’t impressed. I learned that to make it the traditional way, you must use Cheesewiz. Umm, excuse me, what? Gross. That stuff is processed fake nastiness. I’ll pass and take the provolone, please. The sandwich was not all it was hyped up to be, but not as greasy as I expected. We walked the entire day from Geno’s to the City Center, around town and practically back again.

On our adventure, we passed little neighborhoods; some I felt more safe in than others.  Trash, bums, broken windows and graffiti littered the streets everywhere.  I noticed European style outdoor food markets with beautiful colorful fresh fruit and specialty meat shops, that made me miss Italy.  One place had live chickens; when I realized it wasn’t a pet shop, I ran away flailing and shrieking.  We noticed a burning trash can in the street. Apparently, we also visited Gotham City.

I insisted on seeing Love Park, which, for some unknown reason I kept calling Love Field. Maybe I thought it sounded like a baseball field, or Strawberry Field? But whatever you call it, it was so much smaller than I expected!  Mr. Fiancé and I did some sight-seeing on our own and found this cute area with game board pieces as art statues from Sorry! Monopoly and Chess.  We made our way through the tents of #occupywallstreet to the Liberty Bell and stumbled upon the National Constitution Center.  I read about Katz Vs. United States and fascinated that even though that was in the ’60’s, the same privacy principle exists today, if not more-so; but that is a discussion for another post.  It is amazing the amount of history that exists in Philly and much of the east coast, compared to Chicago.  Finally, we met up with Tara for an absolutely delicious dinner at Dandelion and celebrated 11.11.11 at a local bar. It was wonderful to see her and catch up!

Don’t mind my phone, it doesn’t work properly obviously as it thought it was partly sunny at 11 o’clock at night. But how cool is that picture? It shows the time, the date and where I was! I had watched the clock like a hawk all morning, and then it came and went so fast, I missed it. I was only able to make one Epic-Big-Mega-Must-Make-It-Count Wish at night. Did you make the ultimate wish when the clock struck 11:11?? 

The following day, on Saturday,  Mr. Fiancé’s friend took us to Philadelphia Brewery Company where we got to take a tour of the grounds. Not only was it something different from sight-seeing, we got to see beer actually being made.  They were brewing while we were on the tour, so we got to see various phases in the process as well as taste beer straight off the conveyor belt.  How cool is that?! I don’t think you can get beer any more fresh than that!  Cheers.

Overall, I liked visiting, but I didn’t really like Philly. Unfortunately, it is not a city for me and I will not be rushing back to anytime soon.   We  said our goodbyes to our hosts and had our first Amtrak experience. I thoroughly enjoyed it. We watched a movie, read our books and were able to sit comfortably in our seats.  Knowing that Terra was only 5 hours away, there was no way I was traveling to this part of the country without getting to see her. The time flew by faster on the train than it has on any 5 hour plane ride I’ve been on, it was significantly more spacious and comfortable than a plane or bus and a lot cheaper than flying. Not to mention, it was on time!  I know that Amtrak goes through Chicago, but there are less destinations nearby.  The east coast is lucky to have a train system that is so easy to use, convenient and cost efficient. It reminded me of the train system in Europe, and how it is used as a frequent mode of transportation.

I felt like all I did was eat and drink my way through Philly (and the weekend for that matter) but there is more of that to come! Stay tuned…

I’m on a boat! You sure this isn’t just a floating city?

Some people have been asking, “Where is your post about your vacation?” I honestly debated because the goal of this blog isn’t to be a diary. However, due to popular demand, I have decided to share a bit about the week that I spent at sea with Mr. Fiancé’s family.

There were four pools, two on each side separated by the Central Park in the center, 8 floors down!

 

I love traveling and cruising is a great way to do it. While different vacations require different things, sometimes, cruising can be a perfect vacation – you have sun, entertainment, travel, professional photos, lodging, casinos, and 24/7 food, all-inclusive, in one spot! People cook for you and clean up after you. I love laying out and relaxing on the pool deck,  a strawberry daiquiri in hand, listening to Caribbean music like Bob Marley or UB40.  (Tell me you hear Red, Red Wine and don’t think of the Caribbean?) This t

Mr. Fiancé has the sweetest, most loving little Nanny any grandchild could ask for.  Her goal in life is for her family to be happy so it was her pleasure to take both her children and their respective families on a Royal Caribbean cruise for a week. All 11 of us ate dinner together every night, served by one of the best waiters I have had on a cruise, bar none.  Even though I will not officially be part of the family for another year, I am lucky to have been included on this family trip as if I were already family.

My own family loves to cruise and I am lucky enough to have been on all the major cruise lines and to the Caribbean before. So, where we went this time was not important. I was just absolutely thrilled to be included. We were scheduled to go to Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas; and St. Maartin. The Oasis, was a bit on the big side, to put it mildly. Afterall, it is the largest ship on the seas, today. It is bigger than some towns! There were 5,000+ passengers and 2,000 crew.  Our first port was Nassau, where we explored the Atlantis for a bit. Apparently without purchasing an expensive day pass, you can’t really see much. Womp! When we got back on board, Mr. Fiancé’s brother told us we were changing course due to a hurricane! That little jokester, I thought he was kidding. But sure enough, there was a note in our stateroom that said we were changing course due to a tropical storm that was 100% likely to become a hurricane.  100%? Yeah, that sounds like a guarantee to me. GET ME OUTTA HERE! So the Captain made the executive decision to avoid that and head west to Mexico. I heard some passengers complaining, and I really can’t understand why. Would you really rather travel straight into a hurricane? Really people?  You are on a vacation, on a boat, floating in the sea. Be thankful there is radar technology to detect this. Stop complaining and enjoy your vacation. We thought it might affect us when we were returning to Florida, but it dissipated near Haiti. Thank goodness!  The seas were like glass and we had the most perfect weather you could ask for. I even saw dolphins chasing the side of the boat!  Dolphins! In the wild!  Every cruise I go on, I always look over the edge but never see this. I was like a little girl in Disney World for the first time!

Instead, we sailed to Costa Maya and Cozumel.  In Costa Maya, we went to a beach with an open bar. At the port, there was a pool in the middle of the shopping area.  We swam for a bit, until his cousin puked in the pool. GROSS! Even if I saw a shark, I don’t think I could have gotten out any faster! I bolted.

Costa Mayan port pool. In the distance you can see The One and Only Huge Boat.
I think they forgot they were writing in English.

In Cozumel- I saw a jewelry factory and ate Mexican food! You would think Mexico would have the best Mexican food, but sadly, I make better guacamole.  But the water in Cozumel is GORGEOUS!  Crystal clear sea green, turquoise blue and deep blue, all together. Four of the grandchildren and I went on a snorkeling catamaran. There were a lot of people on this excursion, but to my surprise, the fish around the reef still came near the swimmers anyways.  It completely astonishes me that under the water’s surface is an entirely different world.  Sharks, whales, dolphins, sting rays, octopus, fish, and all kinds of sea creatures, all have their own life that you cannot see when you are floating atop the water. But when you snorkel or scuba you get a small glimpse into their world.

Does it getting any prettier than this?
Would you buy anything from this store?

Back on the boat, I realized it surprisingly didn’t feel big at all, despite its 16 floors, 7 ‘neighborhoods’ and endless entertainment opportunities.  In fact, I wondered if I explored all there was to see on the ship because it was just so easy to find your way around. It was the most brilliantly designed ship I have ever been on. I am not kidding, you could fit an entire other cruise ship inside it and not know the difference!  One comedian even joked the Norwegian Sky passengers were relaxing in port  on their top deck tanning until The Oasis pulled up next to it (hear: Star Wars Imperial March song) and suddenly the sun was gone!

The back of the boats are lined up. Look how HUGE The Oasis is!

The boat has beautiful tree-lined Central Park neighborhood in the middle of the boat. That’s right, trees on a boat!  Necessary? No.  Brilliant? Yes. Listening to a guitarist play classical music, under the stars, sitting in a park, while floating at sea was extremely relaxing and pure perfection! There was a full-sized carousel, a zip line, two rock-climbing walls, a basketball court, putt-putt course, and a simulated surfing wave pool in the back of the boat.  I wanted to try the zip line and FloRider, but didn’t have the chance. There was just so much to do and so much sun to soak up.

Central Park. Yes, this is on a Boat.
Park benches

Most boats have the running track on the same level as the pool causing joggers to trip over people laying out. Not this behemoth.  It had a state-of-art gym and a designated open-air private running track equipped with motivational signs to keep you going. Genius. We saw the Broadway hit Hairspray and a water acrobatic diving show during the sea days.  The boat even had a floating bar that vertically moved from floor to floor, but this was anti-climatic and actually quite problematic if you had to use the bathroom.

Despite the hurricane detour, this was one of the most delightful cruises I have been on. I came back from vacation feeling rejuvenated, refreshing and relaxed.  Isn’t that what a vacation is supposed be like?!

I had 1 1/2 of these puppies. Look at that portion size!
Carousel in the Boardwalk neighborhood

 

Look what Nanny did on a 2 cent machine!! I can’t even get one row!
Alice in Wonderland chair

How do you like to travel?  Have you cruised before? What is your favorite cruise line? What is your perfect vacation?

#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.

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