As I sit here feeling even worse today than I did yesterday (convinced this is the cold from hell!), I figured I’d post a few pictures and a few last thoughts (and for some fun quotes of the weekend, check out Mel’s latest blog for some funnies) for my Bloggers in Sin City mini-series finale 😉

A few final thoughts:

  • It’s truly amazing to meet people that I’ve shared my life with (and theirs) through blogging over the past year and a half, and to be talking about our lives now vs. then, face-to-face. I can’t explain it, but it just felt awesome, and I truly believe I’ll be friends with some of these girls IRL now as well as through our blogs.
  • We are who we are – everyone I met that I’ve read their blogs are exactly as they are in their blogs…and I love that. Sometimes the “in-person” doesn’t translate from online, and I was afraid that might happen, or there might be awkwardness, but there wasn’t any, it was picking up where we left off, as if we’ve been friends forever. VERY cool.
  • I finally got my designer purse – Coach – living up to my Vegas expectations…but didn’t get to do a few of the other things I wanted to do, like jump in a fountain (guess I could have), or see a Cirque de Soleil show (tix were sold out, BUT they are coming to Boston this summer so I plan to go then!)
  • I continue to amaze myself at traveling alone, and not being overly scared or intimidated by it. It may seem like a simple thing to some, but for me, this is huge, and I am proud of how far I have come. Each and every day. I never take it for granted. Being independent will always feel like a huge step forward for me.
  • I really want to get that blog family reunion going for a “part II” of Bloggers in Sin City, with all of you “family” that I’d love to meet (Quarter for Her Thoughts, INRIS, Snark, T, Nicki, Diary of a Divorced Guy, Lil Devil Mama, Student Mama, etc) and of course those that I already have (Shannon, Mel, duh, of course)
  • I never want to take 5 plane rides in 5 days. Ever. Again. Just sayin.

Now, for some pics!

Great way to "recognize" everyone at happy hour - through twitter handles!

First night out with the roomies! Mel, me, Akirah and Shannon

Goofing off at Zeffirino with some other fun bloggers, including blog newlyweds Erika and Betterment of Man.

One of my fave shots, with Shannon, outside of the Bellagio

our "offensive" t-shirts, aren't we cute? This was at Planet Hollywood.

Group shot i our costumes!

Final dinner out, at Paris.

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As I sit here, socked with a nasty cold (must have been traveling on 5 different planes in 5 days that did me in, huh?) and I look through the pictures of Bloggers in Sin City that I took and others took, I realize more and more what an amazing experience it was. I am letting it marinate a little more before I share some of my learnings (stay tuned for that tomorrow), but for now, more of my recap of the second half of my trip.

Day 3/4:

Day 3…started with a fantastic morning by the pool with a “poolside” mixer to get to know everyone more, complete with reserved seating and reserved couches/bed thingies to share. It was awesome to have a roped off section to lounge in because the chairs were always packed with people no matter what time of day, and we got prime seating right in front. We spent much of the morning there, and I had some great conversations with some of my favorites (roomies Shannon, Mel and Akirah, of course, as well as others throughout the day), and got some time to lounge and just let my mind run free. After the week and a half earlier of stress at work and traveling to San Jose, it was just what I needed (that and fruity cocktails, let’s be honest).

The evening was SO much fun. It was the “I just came from a theme party” bar crawl (that actually ended up staying at one location – Planet Hollywood) and my roommates and I chose to dress as though we came from an “offensive t-shirt” party. My pick? Notsooffensive, but still funny: “Good girls just never get caught.” Mel’s, however, was the funniest, but also probably the most offensive: “Save gas, ride a handicap.” Even she admitted it was toeing the line 😉 We hung out at Planet Hollywood for awhile and then decided to hit an, um, “adult” location (let’s leave it at that, shall we?) and that was ridiculously fun. It was just a few of ladies, and we got a comped limbo bus, complete with strobe lights, music and dancing poles (mm hmm!). So fun. It was probably our latest night out too, 2 am perhaps?

Day 4ish?

Saturday, our last full day at BISC was spent poolside, and then during the evening, we chose to stick to ourselves as a group and have a fancy dinner out at a french steakhouse at Paris. It was so fun getting dressed up, going out to a nice dinner and recapping our favorite moments of the trip. It was also a time where we really got to know each other that much more…I shared my full story of divorce with the group (some of them had most of the details, but for others, it was brand new). It was just good to really get to talk to each other about our lives, what we love about blogging and just totally relate to each other (and I’m convinced, Shannon, if you lived here, we’d be BFFs! 🙂 ) The night ended meeting up with some cute boys (half accidentally) at a burlesque show back at our hotel…let’s just say Shannon now refers to one of them as potentially TW4, if that’s any indication.

All in all, it was a fantastic long weekend, but as with any travels, I am always so happy to be home. I crave routine, my own food, and well, sleep. So, I sit here now (with Pete actually…we used to watch this show religiously together!), enjoying the summer-ish evening, watching the series finale of 24, my most favorite show ever…there will be tears

Wow. What a trip. A blur of a trip. A wonderful trip.

Akin to “sleep away camp” when you’re growing up, in a sense, a sensory overload of people, meeting your roommates and figuring out who you click with. I’ll try to do this weekend justice in this recap (and stay tuned for a picture recap when I get home, since I’m writing this post from the airport!).

Where do I start? The beginning!

Day 1/2:

I arrived late Wednesday evening with Mel – suuuuper late (as in, midnight PT, yikes, late for us East Coasters!) but our pleasant surprise was a suite upgrade in our hotel (the Flamingo) for the oh, less than 12 hours we’d spend in that room before bunking up with our roommates, but fun, nonetheless. Two rooms, two queen beds, huge bathroom complete with two sinks.

Thursday morning, we woke up, and kicked off the day in Vegas style, with mimosas with our breakfast, and hit the pool soon after (where we spent much of our time over the weekend!). We enjoyed an obscenely large strawberry daquiri, and waiting for the other bloggers to show up. Twitter was an amazing tool this weekend, as we all used the hashtag #bisc (check out some of those tweets, you can just imagine the shenanigans that occured, no?). We first met up with LeahChristine and Dianna (who ended up being two of our faves!) from Chicago and enjoyed more pool time together, meeting up soon thereafter with Steph, who is also pretty darn cool.

But, those we most wanted to meet up with? Our roomies! Shannon (who I absolutely adore, not that I was expecting anything less!!) and Akirah, who we brought to the dark side, just a wee bit, throughout the weekend (c’mon, she enjoyed it!). We finally met up with them later in the afternoon, hugged, squeeled and then went off for a bite to eat before finally getting into our room.

The evening was spent at Zeffirino at the Venetian, meeting with the other bloggers. And that was a rush! It was so fun to meet everyone, putting names to faces, and have a couple of drinks. This is also where I met Erika and Betterment of Man, who are my inspiration that love is out there, even in the blogosphere! Cheers to “blog love!!” We took the rest of the evening to wander around the Venetian, and then, I made good on my promise and had a drink (not a ‘rita! I’m sorry, I don’t like tequila or I would have!) for Nicki (a Bahama Mama, or two…) at Margaritaville, before ending the evening watching the light show at the Bellagio with Shannon and Mel. That was one of my favorite moments of the weekend.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, with more details on day 3/4 and some more of my favorite moments, and a few pictures (for fear of making this post uber long, and to build up the anticipation, I’m making this a mini-series!)

~~~

Oh, and did I mention? I won a prize?! I came up with the winning name for the sex toy giveaway (yes, sex toy giveaway) that Nicole tweeted out on Wednesday. The winning name? Sin City Sextacular. Good, no?

And finally, Nicole arranged a few great deals, if anyone’s interested, check these out:

15% discount code for rooms at the Flamingo (including GO rooms), valid through September 30, 2010. The offer code is SINCITY and heres the link you can use that will populate this code directly into the booking engine: https://www.harrahs.com/MakeReservation.do?propCode=FLV&promotionCode=SINCITY

– 15% discount off any purchase from AdultSexToys.com for you and your readers. The coupon code is YOURFUN15 and it expires on 07/31/2010

Please welcome another guest post from one of my absolute favorites – and truly, one of the bloggers I MOST wish was in Sin City with me as we speak (having a blast, by the way, and loving hanging with Shannon, Mel, and other super fab bloggers, more on that later…) – love this post for many, many reasons, and totally loved our e-date the other night, and glad it inspired another foray into online dating. Enjoy!!

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Caution: This post is loaded with sarcastic undertones.

Since I’m the only blogger not in Sin City this weekend, I promised Jolene a guest post. I know you’re all going to be moping around, wishing I was there, but it’s okay… go have fun anyway! Really, it won’t hurt my feelings one bit.

Jerks.

So last night Jolene convinced me it would be a bright idea to sign up for an online dating site again. Yeah… not so much, right? Did she forget that I like being single? But I was drinking wine, we were having girl chat, I was vulnerable and she took advantage of my state of mind.

And so… I thought up the witty username, I clicked off the regular selections: no one under 26, no one over 36, no one named Fred, Hank, or Ryan. I exercised my wit in the “tell us about yourself”  portion, and I asked a few friends “what was the first thing you noticed about me?”… and a couple of hours later, a profile was born. Hip hip hooray.

Within seconds… and I literally mean seconds… I had a dozen emails and I’m starting to wonder if maybe this idea of Jolene’s wasn’t so bad after all…

First, there’s the really hot guy [ooh yay!] who seems charming until he starts telling me about our sex life. [What site did I sign up for, again?] Delete.

Then there’s the guy who sends me an e-gift of wine and chocolates [oh how I like presents!] and I’m thinking maybe there’s potential there but nope, he’s 23 which just won’t cut it. Delete.

There’s one decent prospect, a really sweet guy who manages to string a readable sentence together [points for that] but he looks a little too feminine in his profile photo if you catch my drift… Delete.

Of course that was followed up by a guy I’d written this post about over a year ago [deja vu] and he actually got a “thanks but no thanks jerkface” reply before the… Delete.

There’s the guy who emails to tell me how gorgeous my eyes are [ohhlala what girl doesn’t want to hear that?], one who took enough time out of his evening to send a one line “hey baby, how you doin’?”, a guy who clearly can’t speak English [it’s kind of a barrier], and of course the body builder who insists on sending me all sorts of photos of his naked chest [get over it already]. Delete. Delete. Delete.

…and just when I think I’ve hit rock bottom I get one more email… one more little glimpse of hope… only to be crushed by the ghost busters decal on his car door, the comic book background in his photos, the “file clerk” job description, and the fact that he’s a Virgo [have I mentioned that all of my ex boyfriends were Virgo’s?].

And that folks, is just day one. So while you’re sitting poolside in Vegas, sipping [or gulping] your pina colada’s, shopping for designer handbags or watching strong men do acrobatics in spandex tights, think of me.

So, I’ve been here a total of two days (give or take) and haven’t had a ton of time to do much besides work (and kick ass at a presentation – we rocked it, thankyouverymuch!), but have a few parting thoughts on my adventures leading into Bloggers in Sin City (check out that attendee list; getting there this evening, and can barely sit still!).

  • Room service rocks. Seriously. It’s the first time I’ve ever had room service (I know, probably crazy that I haven’t before, right? But it was exactly what I needed to unwind last night after my meetings. Check out the super tasty fruit plate I got for dessert (to go with my glass of wine of course, which oddly enough, cost less than the water I ordered to the tune of $9. oops)
  • I wussed out on the dinner alone. Maybe tonight before I take off for Vegas? We’ll see… I guess that means there’s still plenty of growth for me in this alone-ness department (not that I’m not surprised) and if I had more time here, I would have and should have done some sight-seeing. But, I think I’ll be back out this way in another month or so, so all good, right?
  • There are way too many cute boys at the airport and on flights. What’s up with that? Why can’t you be places that are easier to strike up a convo, than 15 rows ahead of me on JetBlue, or crossing ways in the airport? Help me out here, guys!
  • It’s been oddly enjoyable being on my own the last 24 hours as the rest of my team flew home yesterday. I’ve enjoyed the solace, I’ll tackle the cab to San Fran solo (not my favorite thing, but I’ve adjusted! I’m all grown up now! ha), and maneuver between airports (San Fran, then Long Beach, and finally Vegas!)
  • I’m really looking forward to BISC this week in Vegas and meeting new people, and continuing this thing called getting-out-of-my-shell. Sometimes it’s easy to just stick with what you know, and who you know, rather than branching out, and though I’ll be rooming with some soon-to-be-fab-blog friends (yay!!) and my BSF, my goal is to introduce myself to people, learn a lot, laugh a lot, and have a damn good time.

There were a few other points I wanted to make with this post that I thought about as I drifted off to sleep last night (quite peacefully, I might add, without my kitties waking me up all night!), but alas, I can’t remember them. If I do, I’ll update this post.

Now, onward to VEGAS !!

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Also, check out this post from Mandy, she makes some GREAT points about money, and grappling with one income vs. two after divorce. It’s a good read, really hits home after my blog on being broke the other day, and doesn’t just necessarily relate to those that have gone through divorce. She sums it up greatly here: “I think my life is 80 percent richer and 20 percent poorer for being more mindful about money.” AMEN sista.

Side note: Muuuuch better day today. A handful of meetings and brainstorms and such, but nowhere near the level of the last two days. I came into and ended this day on a much better note, mentally and emotionally. Guess sometimes you just have down days that are tough to pull out of once you’re nosediving, eh?

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Bloggers in Sin City is in just about a week (starts next Thursday, but I’ll be there on Wednesday evening after a two-day trip to San Jose for work) and it struck me – what do I want to do while I’m there? Beyond the activities (which sound stupendously awesome – I’ve listed some of the agenda below, so you can take a peek at the shenanigans to ensue!) and the getting to know everyone, what else do I want to do?

Let’s list them, shall we?

  1. Jump in a water fountain. Yup, that’s right. I want to do it (especially after reading this blog post that TOTALLY made me super excited to go!)
  2. Shop. More specifically, buy a nice designer purse. I’ve never had one. Ever. I think at 30, I deserve a nice, designer purse, don’t you (side note: I think every woman needs a cute designer purse and a pair of jeans that makes your butt look like a masterpiece, just sayin)? I’m thinking Kate Spade…
  3. Flirt with boys. Sure, why not, right? I’ve never been very good at that, though, in a public setting, that’s not a set-up or a date or something. Not really sure why, but I’m not, so why not see if I can do it?! 😉
  4. Sightsee. I’ve been to Vegas before but have only seen the casinos, the clubs and the pool. I want to check out some sights…the M&M factory for God’s sakes – come on, that sounds fun, right?
  5. Go see a Cirque de Soleil show – FINALLY!! I think this is in the cards, and if it’s not, I’m going to make sure it is because I’ve never seen a show and I’ve always wanted to.

What else? The possibilities are endless, aren’t they? I mean, sure it’s “just” Vegas and there isn’t truly a ton to do there as compared to other locales perhaps, but I ask you – blog friends and IRL friends – what would you suggest I do while in Vegas?! Yes, this is sort of a contest or poll of sorts…leave me a comment, weigh in, let me know – what should I do in Vegas?!

🙂

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And the agenda – check out some of these fun activities!

For the “I Just Came from a Theme Party” Bar Crawl? Mel, Shannon and I (and others we’re going with, Erika, Quarter-Life Lady etc) are going to be coming from an offensive t-shirt party! I’ve ordered my shirt – “good girls just don’t get caught.” Okay, so that’s not quite offensive but for this puppies and rainbows chica, that’s offensive enough (or as Snark switches it up to – ‘muffins and bunnies!’ haha!)

Thursday May 20, 5pm – Happy Hour!
We’re still talking to a few different bars about this, but it’ll basically be the “Yay we’re all here! Let’s drink stuff!” portion of the weekend.

Friday May 21, 8pm – “I Just Came From a Theme Party” Bar Crawl
What does this mean? Well, it means we’re having a theme night (duh!) but the theme itself is that you just came from a theme party. So, you could wear an 80s outfit, having “just come from an 80s party.” Or, a circus outfit. Or, a black and white outfit. Or, a cowgirl outfit. Or, well, you get the idea. To recap: wear something ridiculous, meet at 8pm at the to-be-disclosed location, move from bar to bar. The end.

Saturday May 22, 2pm – Competitive Photo Scavenger Hunt, sponsored by Harrah’s

I’ll be breaking everyone up into teams. There will be a time limit to take as many photos as possible off the list that the lovely people at Harrah’s are making for us. There will be winners. And prizes. And general fun all around.

Sunday May 23, 10am – Bye Bye Brunch
Come, eat, say bye to everyone, cry a lot, etc. etc.