Lessons Learned: The Magic that is #BiSC in Vegas (2.0)

I had been blogging for just over a month when I signed up for Bloggers in Sin City last year. What possessed me to think that I, an unknown virgin blogger, should fly to Vegas for a weekend to meet 50+ strangers from the Internet is still beyond me. But I did and it was literally life changing. So when it came to registering for BiSC ’12, there was absolutely no question in my mind that I would return.

I learned a lot last year about myself and life. I really thought the second year was going to be different – if I already gained so much previously, what more could I possibly learn this time? I already knew what to expect, what to pack, (fast flats and more casual dresses), I actually knew people this time, so I didn’t have to worry about being an outcast, and I was acutely aware of how my life had drastically changed already. I expected to treat this more as a reunion with old friends and an opportunity to meet new. I really thought there would be less personal growth this time. But was I wrong.

When you try to explain to friends that you’re heading to Vegas for a bloggers event, they just smile and silently assume you are an Internet dweeb going for the Hangover experience. But BiSC is so much more than that. Being as this is the un-conference with no lectures or panels, and just 59(!) Internet rock stars being awesome together in the city of sins, you wouldn’t think that there would be any actual eye-opening life-changing epiphanies that realign your entire view of the world. This concept of meeting long-lost friends that you never knew you were missing, having more fun than you thought was possible, and reconnecting and confirming who you are at your core, all in four days – mind you, seems impossible to the common person. But something happens from when you enter the registration suite Thursday to when you say goodbye at brunch on Sunday that just transforms you. Your perspective on who you are, your purpose, your job, your friendships, your outlook on life and what you want to do with it, shifts. No, I am not being dramatic. It is true.

BiSC is magical.

It is more than just four days in Vegas with blogger friends. It is the weekend I look forward to most out of the entire year because not only do I get to spend a few days having the time of my life with some of my favorite people on the planet, who happen to be the most hilarious, genuine, lovely, caring, quirky, inspiring, supportive, magnetic people in all of the Internets, but I also wind up walking away learning a lot, too.

28 things I learned this year (not all life changing):

1. Last year was not a fluke: BiSC really is amazeballs. Upon returning, I quickly pre-registered to go again next year because the thought of not going is just unbearable. I admit, last January, I was worried that the group dynamic would change and that it would not be as fun this year with different people. Well, you all rock my world. Nicole knows how to plan an epic weekend (thank you!) and everyone better sign up again. What up, BiSC 2013!

2. There are two cities: Vegas and BiSC’s Vegas. Vegas is not my favorite city. There I said it. I can’t spend more than 2-3 days at a time without itching to leave. While the shows are great, Vegas makes me feel dirty, the crowds shove, sadness and smoke fills the air, girls flash everything that can be flashed, there are sketchy creepos at every turn, you have to wait in line for everything and you come home broke. But when you are in BiSC’s Vegas you are surrounded by 60 instant-best friends in this magical land of VIP status, eternal happiness, epic experiences and shenanigans, tackle hugs, and an endless supply of smiles, love and support. All you need to flash is your BiSC badge and just like that you skip all the lines and have access to private parties because you are actually VIP. You have eye-opening revelations that confirm who you are and that you should follow your dreams. 4 days in BiSC’s Vegas is simply not enough. And with that, Vegas becomes the best and happiest place on earth. I enjoy Vegas every few years, but I can’t get back to BiSC’s Vegas fast enough. 

Our Twitter love handles

3. It resets intentions: It is easy to get wrapped up in the stress of day-to-day life, the work, the drama, your partner’s needs, etc. and forget what makes you happy and well, YOU. But BiSC manages to strip all that away and reminds you who you are at your heart’s center. It resets your intentions and puts you on an optimistic path of possibilities. It serves as an annual refresh button that gets you to refocus on your purpose, priorities and goals. BiSC somehow manages to serve as a reminder that you should pursue whatever it is that makes your heart sing. This year, I realized that I have some big changes ahead of me, but despite not knowing exactly what the future holds for me, I do know that I have a support system to help guide me in the right direction.

4. It boosts your confidence: Usually, dancing makes me self-conscious so when I was complimented on my skills, I nearly melted. While I doubt he even knows how much his words meant to me, it’s the little words of encouragement that boost your confidence. It’s the supportive words or the random comments, thoughtful texts or tweets that remind you that there are people who actually care about you. I left Vegas with a renewed sense of self-confidence and hope, and not just about the dancing, but in general. I felt on top of the world, as if I could do or be anything, talk to anyone, and as though I was meant for something bigger.

5. The Internet is one attractive bunch. The Internet is really ridiculously good-looking. Even by the pool with no makeup and wet hair, we are a good-looking bunch. But man, BiSCuits clean up well. Our theme party this year was Mad Men and I was really impressed with everyone’s creativity and style. We looked so good that even oblivious tourists on the strip noticed us and knew the theme of this hot group of well dressed Joans, Peggys and Dons. When strangers can tell your group theme, you’re doing something right.

6. Apparently Miss America contestants eat at buffets. They all looked really fake with their caked on makeup and perfect posture while eating at the Planet Hollywood dinner buffet. But to be fair, their plates were filled mostly with salad, shocking, I know.

7. Hey I just met you, and this is crazy. Here’s my life story, so call me maybe. If I’m being completely honest here, until BiSC last year, I never felt like I belonged. I wondered if I was ever going to have friends who I felt truly comfortable confiding it, who wanted to actually include me, and who would appreciate me for who I am. But BiSC changed that. I feel like I finally found my people. There is this magical instant connection that immediately makes BiSCuits feel like family. Within minutes of meeting, you feel this spark and bam! you find yourself comfortable enough to share personal secrets and stories. You don’t feel like you have to impress anyone because it feels like they already see the real you. You are so comfortable around each other that you don’t care if you are seen without makeup, if your hair is so frizzy it looks like you got stuck in an electric fence, or if you have to ask people you haven’t known for very long to wait for you to make a pit stop at CVS for deodorant before you go dancing because you don’t feel fresh enough. No? Just me, okay, moving on. Point is, we are more than just blogger friends, we are a family who loves each other as is, weird quirks and all. BiSC has brought so many amazing, tackle-huggable people into my life and has completely opened my eyes to true friendship. It is the most wonderful community of friends that I am proud to call my people.

8. BiSCuits bring out the most authentic version of me: In my everyday life, I am usually that serious friend you go to for advice, not the funny, wacky friend you go to for laughs. I can be the quiet, filtered, reserved, and introverted type who hides her quirky self from the world. But something happens when I enter that registration room and find myself surrounded by BiSCuits. This time, I instantly felt giddy. I felt a release of all the stress that had eaten me up over the past year and just let it all go. I was told that I was being “overly goofy and energetic and had let out all the crazy”; that it was a side of me that hadn’t been exposed before. While this temporarily lowered my spirits, I didn’t let it stop me from being me. Another person told me “sober Caryn is fun but drunk Caryn is fantastic.” I’ll let you in on a little secret- I never got wasted. Sure, I drank a lot. But was never drunkdrunk. It was just me being me, releasing my inhibitions, saying to-hell-with-the-bullshit, letting my authentic self shine through and enjoying the weekend for all that I could. Maybe it was all in my head and this was a false sense of security or maybe it was all the excitement of the weekend, but whatever it was, I wasn’t afraid of what people thought. I felt liberated and embraced my quirky self. I felt free to be the truest, most authentic version of myself.

9. BiSCuits give the best hugs: Saying goodbye on Sunday is the worst but that’s where you will find the best hugs. They are real, sincere hugs, the ones that have entire conversations without any words. The ones that say I care about you. You are special to me and I wish you would always be close by. This isn’t good-bye; this is until we meet again.

10. Friends should make you feel alive and happy.  They should inspire you to be the best version of yourself and make your day brighter. Friends should make you feel loved and wanted. I learned this last year, but being with people again who make you feel this way, really reminds you just how important it is. You know when you are driving in your car with the windows down, sun shining in, singing at the top of your lungs to the song on the radio and you feel as though you couldn’t possibly feel more alive than at this very moment and are completely as ease with yourself? You feel ALL THE HAPPINESS as people watch you rock out but you don’t care because you are totally content. BiSC is kind of like that, except you have a whole slew of people singing along with you.

11. The weekend is what you make it: If you want to have life changing epiphanies you have to be willing to let your guard down. If you want to make sure you meet everyone, make that effort to insert yourself into conversations. If you don’t want to partake in an activity because it isn’t for you that is OKAY, you don’t have to do everything just because it is on the itinerary. If you expected to hang out with someone 24/7 but that winds up not happening, don’t let it ruin your weekend. There are 58 other people all just as awesome who want to be with you, too. It is up to you to make the most of the weekend. You will get out of it what you put into it.

12. What happens in Vegas, DOES NOT stay in Vegas: After all, we are bloggers. We tweet, we blog, we instagram, we post on Facebook – if you don’t want your grandma or followers to know what you did in Vegas, don’t do it around this group.

13. IRL vs. Internet (where IRL wins): We often say IRL as if we feel a need to defend or justify this distinction between our online and offline lives. Somewhere that line has blurred for me, and the Internet has become my real life, my home, where my friends most accept me for who I am.

In order to put yourself in a situation like BiSC, you have to be some kind of awesome to begin with, so perhaps that is why we are such a special group. Yet, it still amazes me that of all the bloggers on the Internet, the select 60 that show up are the most cohesive, rad (and attractive!) bunch IRL. Nicole’s web of awesome really pulls in awesome people. We are all various ages and come from different walks of life, but when put together, none of that matters and it’s as if we had always been friends. I feel blessed that BiSC is happening at a time when I can actually be a part of it all. IRL FTW.

14. IRL vs. Internet (where Internet wins) I realized I have some friends who feel more comfortable opening up and sharing personal bits about their life when hiding behind a screen. While I wouldn’t trade those friendships for anything, it can be disheartening to learn that sometimes the relationship isn’t the same in both realities and that it is stronger online than it is IRL. On the contrary, some friendships need the Internet in order to develop those tight bonds. Regardless of if you met online first or met in person and then continued to build your friendship online –it is because of the Internet that these friendships have blossomed and that we even have BiSC at all.  Internet FTW.

15. I love pool time: The Flamingo has a beautiful pool and spending the day hanging out gives the group a chance to bond. Whether we are relaxing on day beds (yes, we are VIP), playing Never Have I Ever to win vibrators, cheering on Mikael in the booty-shaking contest, getting squirted in the eye the mouth with rum from a midget holding a super-soaker or just sitting and drinking on the pool’s edge soaking in the sun and the company, it is always one of the highlights of the weekend for me.

16. My new favorite drink is the Blueberry Bombshell: I asked our poolside waitress for a recommendation and she said she had the perfect drink for me. Since I don’t know the official name, I have renamed it the Blueberry Bombshell. It is Blueberry Stoli, 7 up, soda water and lime. It is a perfect summer drink that is deliciously refreshing. I’m a loser but I loved that I actually started a trend! Try it. You’ll thank me, too.

17. Dancing is actually fun even though I suck. If you know me even a little bit, then you know I DO NOT dance. Or sing. Ever. If you ask me to, I’ll probably say something like I need to drink a lot more before I can do that or just politely decline. But not in BiSC’s Vegas. Amber and I made up a fantastically fun dance where we looked like frogs on crack. We’re Frogger Bloggers! Even on Friday when I was ready to call it a night, Brad invited me to join the dance party at Diablos, and I couldn’t turn the dancing down. Me? Couldn’t turn down a dance party?  That’s a first! I danced in the middle of groups, I danced with people, I danced alone, and I even danced on the tabletops at Chateau. I didn’t care if you thought I looked stupid. I owned that I can’t dance and had blast looking like a fool.

18. Zumanity is hotter than any strip club. I actually did both this trip and I cannot even begin to explain the hotness that is Zumanity. Despite taking a limo to the strip club, and sneaking in for free, ($33? No, thanks!) I was left totally unimpressed by this one and managed to fall asleep on Kelly’s chest. Vegas clubs, being the Mecca of all strip clubs, should be all sorts of hot, girls should be climbing poles up to the ceiling, and the guys should be getting lap dances. Instead, this one was the actual worst and I walked out highly disappointed, carrying a half-full bottle of vodka in my blazer and I was ready for bed. But Zumanity? Not only was it a funny, sexually charged, erotic cirque show, (except for bendy contortionist man. I had to look away) it was everything that the strip club wished it was. I walked out wishing I had a man that night. Ooh, is it getting hot in here? Excuse me…

Stripper Vodka

On that note, I also learned that if you let the actors at Zumanity take your phone, be ready for them to take photos of their junk and lick your phone before returning it.

19. BiSCuits really like to talk about bird sex, like annually. Last year a group of us were curious about this and Googled it to discover the bird’s cloacae. This year it came up again but this time we got a demonstration at In-N-Out with the hats. I don’t think I’ll look at those hats the same way again.

20. Don’t expect the same experience each year. Last year, being the new kid on the block, I pushed myself to meet everyone and felt free to be my real self because I was starting on a clean slate. Everything was shiny and new and I had no expectations. I think my first time was all-the-exclamation-points-amazing because of this. However, this year I had expectations. It felt more like a reunion and having these friendships already, changed the dynamic of my experience. Since I didn’t have a clean slate this time, I found myself worrying that those who knew me before May 16, might not like me anymore once we arrived. I questioned if the friendships I made were viewed as strong on the other end, as it was on mine. I realized it is okay that this year wasn’t quite on the same level of ecstatic excitement as last, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t any less fun.

21. Asian snacks are delicious: Suki brought enough Asian snacks to feed an army and most of it wound up in my stomach. I don’t feel guilty a ton of seaweed.

22. BiSCuits are the some of the most supportive people I know: Between the encouraging “you can do it!” or caringI saw your tweet and was worried” – they are some of the most thoughtful, loving and supportive people I know. When we’re all in the same room, you can feel the love and warmth exploding from everyone. When I went through hell and back earlier this year, I could not have gotten through those dark days without the outpouring of love and support from my fellow BiSCuits.

23. We breathe ‘special air’: I mentioned the first day that there is ‘special air’ in the casinos that keeps you awake, but it goes beyond the casinos. When we are together, everything seems grandiose. The special air gives you such a high that everything all weekend is filled with ALL THE SMILES AND LAUGHS AND ALL THE AMAZING and none of the sads. You might swear you even saw unicorns covered in glitter with sunshine and rainbows. While I did continue the friendships throughout the last year, I thought the instant connections were so special because we met at BiSC in Vegas. I thought maybe it was the energy or adrenaline of the weekend. But the crazy thing, I realized this special air is not limited to just Vegas. Prior to BiSC, I went to DC and had the great fortune of meeting Brad and Berto beforehand. From the very millisecond we met, we greeted with bear hugs and they instantly felt like family. The magical BiSCuit instant connection isn’t because of the special air in Vegas. It is the love and energy that radiates from everyone who attends no matter where in the country they are.

24. At 27, I apparently can be 21 again, but only in BiSC’s Vegas. I pretty much drank all day and night and for four nights I stayed up chatting and dancing till about 330am and woke up really early every morning, hangover free and wide awake ready to take on the day. Yet, when I returned home, I went to bed at a reasonable hour and woke up around 8am wanting to DIE. Additionally, it wasn’t until I returned home that I began to sound like I ate a dog’s squeaky toy. I blame the special air.

25. Returning to real life blows. It is challenging and brings on all the sads. Saying goodbye on Sunday brings all the emotions. You’re still on a high from the amazingness of the weekend, but you know the inevitable goodbye is just around the corner. I wish there was a pause button on life to freeze frame this moment instead of watching my best friends head to the airport. I’ll admit, I had a really hard time writing this post because I kept going back and forth between the YAY! I LOVED IT; IT WAS AMAZING! Tackle hugs for everyone!! To the – I’m SAD AND LONELY and wondering what if all the close friendships, the lack of judging, the comfort I felt was just in my head? I just got done writing about all the ways BiSC is life changing and how the people are one of a kind, which is all true, but now that we’re home and back to reality, my mind has begun to wonder what if it was all just my imagination? Being so removed from everyone and everything. I sometimes feel out-of-sight-out-of-mind but then I’ll get a texts or tweet from BiSCuits and my day is made. I feel helpless that I am so far away and can’t be there to every time a friend is hurting. It is really hard to go back to your everyday routine and feel so unmotivated. I miss waking up and checking twitter to see what everyone is doing (and being able to join them). I know this is crazy talk but to go from the constant stimulus and being with so many people all the time, to being alone in your apartment, it just brings on all the questions and sad feelings. Please come visit! The special BiSC air makes you forget all your stress and troubles. It isn’t until you say goodbye and return home that you are reminded that reality really sucks.

26. You will not be BFF with all 60 people. Even though BiSC attracts amazing people, you are not going to be besties and bond with ALL OF THEM. Accept that.

27. Adding a day before and after is the only way to go. Not only are the flights cheaper, those extra nights make the trip seem that much more complete. Even though I desperately was ready to go home Sunday after brunch, I was finally able to relax and unwind by the pool both Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. A group of us got to enjoy the Bellagio Fountain show together and get in more bonding time. It is hard to spend time with everyone, so I was really happy that I finally got to spend quality one-on-one time with Almie as we waiting for our flights Monday afternoon.

28. Lastly, I learned that it is really hard to be brief and summarize everything I’ve learned. No matter how much you try, you can never really explain BiSC to someone who hasn’t lived it for themselves.

I am going to write a recap on the events of the weekend, but hopefully that won’t be as lengthy or take me as long to post. If you made it through and are still reading thank you.

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Top 10 reasons you should sign up for #BiSC

10  Reasons I Can’t Wait For #BISC/ You Should Sign Up To Be On The Waitlist*:  

*It sold out within a week this year, but you should still put yourself on the waitlist!

1. Bloggers In Sin City is an experience of a lifetime.   Seriously, no joke. You spend 4 days in Vegas with 60 of the best people on earth who you probably have a lot in common with, ya know, since we’re all bloggers and all.

2.Contrary to what is said about Vegas, “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” that isn’t true with this group.  Not only does most everything get posted online after, the friendships I made from just one weekend last year have continued well beyond that weekend. Some of the people I met have turned out to be a few of my favorite and closest friends!

3. You could win a free trip to Vegas! No, for real. See point 4…

4. We have awesome sponsors like Caesars Entertainment, Flamingo Hotel, Skyy Vodka, Sprayology, Paper’d and I’m sure there will be more soon. Paper’d is the next IT iPhone/iPod app, I promise you.  It is due to be released next month. It is the brain child of the people behind Shatterboxx, another sponsor, which automatically makes it a worthwhile product, sight unseen. Talk about talented web designers. *BONUS* Thanks to Paper’d, one lucky blogger will be going to Bloggers in Sin City FOR FREE (see I told you!)

5. The event generated 4500+ tweets and 100+ blog posts in 2011.

6. This weekend last year changed me and changed my life: Literally. Without BiSC, 2011 would have played out completely different. It forced me out of my comfort zone, taught me so much about myself and about life, and I met so many supportive & loving people.  Without them, I would not have been able to make it through a recent difficult patch in my life.  Honestly, they are the most supportive group of people I have ever met and my life is better today because of everyone I met at BiSC. Sappy & cheesy – but true.

7. It’s practically all-inclusive: we stay at the Flamingo Hotel in the awesome Go Rooms, we get an awesome swag bag, we enjoy a private dessert-tasting at Serendipity3 (yum, even though its death for me…), we have our own reserved area at the Flamingo Pool, we will party like rock stars at Chateau during our Mad Men Themed Lounge Party at Paris Hotel, we have tickets for Zumanity, we and feast on 2 group buffet dinners and a farewell brunch.  Not to mention you meet 60 new best friends. All this is included in your registration fee, that’s pretty all-inclusive if you ask me!

8.  I look forward to this weekend all year round.

9. I now have friends all over the country!

10.  We call ourselves BiSC-uits because we bonded THAT much last year. BiSC-uits For Life, yo! 🙂

So if you aren’t already signed up, what are you waiting for? Go on, put yourself on that waitlist! Oh, and make sure you’re following @sincitymeetup on Twitter and the official #BiSC hashtag.
See you in Vegas!

Happy 1st Birthday Blog!

Dear Blog,

Happy Birthday! Today you are a year old.  I seriously cannot get over how fast this year flew by.

Last January, I decided a change was needed in my life and you were born. I felt something was missing and that I needed to do something for myself .   I felt inspired to write again.  I had no idea just how much you would change my life and how you would fill that void.  It started with Blogger, then I joined Twitter and then you became a big girl and we moved to WordPress.  After much rebellion, I joined Twitter because I was told it was a great tool for bloggers spread the word and to communicate.  It was then through Twitter that I heard about and signed up for Bloggers in Sin City only a few weeks into our relationship .  There I met 50+ wonderful and spirited new blogger friends, many of whom share a lot of similar interests and who continue to inspire and support me. I learned to push myself out of my comfort zone and had the weekend of my life. Because of that unforgettable weekend in Vegas, I chose to attend the 20SB Summit in August and saw these girls over Labor Day weekend.  I also attended a Chicago Blogger/Twitter meetup and met some more awesome internet pals.  Without you I never would have visited Richmond, VA or Philly. Together, we documented milestones and events throughout the year.

You, my blog, have brought people into my life that have shown me what it is like to have friends who make me feel good about myself, who love me, support me, and are even willing to fly across the country to cheer me up. You have given me comfort and sanity and introduced me to so many new experiences. You provided me with an outlet to express myself and ability to find my voice.  I have friends all over the country now.  I had no idea when I started all this that it would be more than just another URL on the internet, that people would actually read what I have to say, and that some of my best friends in the world would be fellow bloggers.

Even for all that you have given me, there were still times I neglected you and didn’t write as often as I wanted to or didn’t have time to follow through on post ideas.  I’m sorry, I’ll be better this year.  Thank you for everything and everyone that you have brought into my life. This year has been extremely special and memorable, because of you.  Happy Birthday!

Love, Caryn

If all of this happened in just one year, I can’t wait to see what happens in round 2! Happy birthday blog, cheers to another year.

 

Here is a Blog Baby Book of some (not all) of the posts and experiences from our first year together!

What I Learned in Vegas at Bloggers in Sin City

I can’t stop thinking about Vegas. I only posted once last week after my initial Vegas post because I couldn’t get myself to think about anything other than #BiSC. Between my own reflections and reading other peoples recaps, I have come to realize I learned a lot in just a few days.  

{photo credit: Terra right?)
Without further adieu here is- What I learned in Vegas:
  • I loved blogging before, but actually putting faces to the blogs and hashtags reminded me that there is more to blogging than just writing your thoughts online and getting the occasional comment. It is more than just an Internet hobby. Meeting IRL at events like BiSC creates life long bonds that are irreplaceable and priceless.
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover. Or in this case, don’t judge people by their tweets/avatars/occupations/registration page etc.
  • Don’t let your inner dialogue stop you from having a good time. There is nothing holding you back but yourself.
  • Clubs that have an outdoor patio, music playing under the clear starry night, with free table service while surrounded by people who don’t care if I dance like a fool, that I can do.
  • It is worth doing that challenging thing you are worrying about. Just because it is unknown, does not mean it is wrong or bad.
  • When meeting people, especially those who have name tags, whether it is hotel staff, waiters or peers, use their first name. They will appreciate it and probably reciprocate the kindness.
  • Twitter is actually a great cool for communication. Whether you are scattered across the country or sitting at the same table planning what to do next.
  • I must make blogger business cards for my next event.  It is pure genius.
  • If you don’t allow yourself to try new things, you will never know what you are capable of or what is possible.
  • Companies will sponsor bloggers. Thanks again to all our sponsors.
  • Challenge yourself beyond your comfort level. If you don’t take risks, there will be no rewards. Take chances and risks.
  • Birds don’t have sex like humans do. They just have to touch their cloacae and Bam! She is impregnated!
  • If you put your cell phone in a glass vase, it amplifies the sound a bit. (c/o Terra)
  • People on tight ropes, high chairs and roller skates (at Absinthe) have super-human strength.
  • Hotels that don’t have a TV in the bathroom mirror just aren’t luxurious enough now. Yes, the Go Rooms at the Flamingo Hotel spoiled me.
  • Teaching Tiffany to play blackjack was a fun but bad idea.
  • West Virginia has some hilarious and bizarre children’s songs. Watch Terra dance to Sneaky Snake.  (Sorry it is hard to hear but if you listen closely you can hear it. I am working on making this louder – so check back!!)
  • Friends should make you feel alive and happy.  We need to focus on spending more time with those who make us smile and laugh so hard we cry and less time with those who make us feel pressured to impress them.
  • I am not a phone person but I need to try to make the phone my friend to keep up all relationships and bonds that were created in Vegas. I’m looking at you fellow BiSC-uits. Will you try to help me here?
  • Fun is what you make it.
  • New things make us feel anxious and scared at first, but if we put ourselves out there, we are left with something invaluable, our lives enriched.
  • We all have choices to make and sometimes they are not easy to face. But every decision leads us on a path and carves out our future. It is our choice to have fun and try new things OR stay with the familiar and comfortable and thus never grow. Choose to challenge yourself.
  • Sometimes we just need to take that leap of faith.  Life is too short to have regrets.
  • We are all goofy and weird. Life is weird. The Internet can be weird. But when you find others who are your kind of weird, a connection is born that justifies it all.
  • The Internet is real.
  • We all take ourselves too seriously. Laughter is the best medicine. Surround yourself with others who laugh with you. 
  • Everyone feels left out of social situations from time to time.  We feel invisible and as if we don’t matter.  We question if our friends truly ‘get us.’ We have all been there where we think a dinner was organized without us or we were invited as a second thought.  We feel that the only way to be included is to invite ourselves. The truth is, you do matter and you are not alone in feeling this way. There are people out there that care about you. This group at #BiSC in particular was (naturally) very good about trying to make sure everyone was included. In fact, if you asked if you saw something people planned on twitter and wanted to join, the usual response was “the more the merrier.”
  • Sprayology makes a spray that is the cure to all hangovers. It tastes bitter for .02 seconds but the headache is gone instantly!
(photo credit: Jayme)
  • If you look up to someone or have a hero TELL him/her. It will make their day (as long as they’re not an A list celebrity, then they know already.) While you will probably feel nervous about going up to them, it is worth it. Who knows, maybe a friendship will blossom. Have no regrets.
  • Do not be afraid to do what you want to do. I felt judged when I told people I was going to BiSC but I had the time of my life.
  • It is possible to meet someone and instantly feel as if you have known them   your entire life. I call this friend-love at first sight.
  • If it were easy, wouldn’t everyone do it?
  • Even if it is for a Tweet-To-Win contest, remember you have followers who will see it. In this digital age, anything might appear on YouTube or become public gossip.
  • People will come together to support and celebrate others, even when they barely know each other. I believe most people are good people.
  • We are all nervous about making a bad first impression. People are out there that will like you for who you are.  Be yourself!!
  • Canada doesn’t have Target. This is baffling, I know.
  • Will.i.am is not worth the pins and needles in my feet. On that note, next year I’m bringing more flats.
  • Don’t wait until last minute to try to get tickets to Billboard Music Awards. It does sell out.
  • It is actually really hard to be a stripper. The poles get slippery (from your hands/sweat) and you have to have ab strength and a lot of coordination!
  • Don’t worry about what will be in the future. Just enjoy the present. As Baz Luhrmann says in his song, Sunscreen, “Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.”

Holy bloggers, Batman! I learned a lot in just a few days and I’m sure I didn’t even include everything.  I know sometimes it is easier said than done. But in the end, you should be able to look back and have no regrets.  Going to Vegas and taking that chance was one of the best decisions I have made.  Thanks to everyone who went for making the weekend so memorable.

What did you learn in Vegas? Care to share and add to my list?


Love, Caryn

#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.