Monthly Archives: May 2013

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Bloggers in Sin City

A few months ago, I signed up to attend Bloggers in Sin City, and it finally happened this past weekend in Las Vegas. It was the best. And to illustrate just how great it was, this is going to be a photo-heavy post!

Honestly, the impetus for attending was not to meet or hang out with the bloggers, though I was certainly anticipating that to be an awesome side perk. I’ve been to Vegas twice before. I thought once was enough for a lifetime, and I had already doubled that quota. But, seeing Shania Twain perform live has been a big life dream for me ever since discovering her music as a teenager, and she hasn’t been performing for years – over a decade, I believe. I’ve said for ages that I would spend my last penny to attend her concert, and then she got a show in Vegas. I knew I *had* to get there to see it, but who to go with? Enter BiSC.

I had so many fun experiences! Stayed at the Flamingo in a baller room, and would stay with them again in a heartbeat. I went on a rollercoaster. I played Cards Against Humanity to break the ice.

Best Cards Against Humanity haiku: "A defective condom; Leaving an awkward voicemail; A disappointing birthday party."

Best Cards Against Humanity haiku: “A defective condom; Leaving an awkward voicemail; A disappointing birthday party.”

Cocktail mixers and brunch buffets.

Welcome mixer at Serendipity3. Source: Karlyn Williams

Welcome mixer at Serendipity3. Source: Karlyn Williams

Cheated and wore grey to the white party!

Cheated and wore grey to the white party!

Reading in the VIP section at the pool. Day drinking Bloody Marys. BLOWN AWAY by Cirque du Soleil’s aquatic show “O”.

No photos allowed during the show, but this was the opening montage before the curtain rose at Cirque du Soleil's "O"

No photos allowed during the show, but this was the opening montage before the curtain rose at Cirque du Soleil’s “O”

Danced half the night away with my fellow BiSC-uits. Partied on the rooftop of PURE nightclub at Caesar’s. Did a tasting of nine whiskies at the Whisky Attic.

The knight in shining armour, guarding the largest collection of whisky in North America!

The knight in shining armor, guarding the largest collection of whisky in North America!

Flight of 9 whisky taster shots

Flight of 9 whisky taster shots

All of us also enjoyed a great swag bag. Check out the table full of them waiting for us at registration, with bonus snacks!

Gift Bags

Gift Bags

My favourite two sponsored items in the gift bags were the Stackwines and the Firmoo sunglasses. Stackwines have a brilliant concept: A stack of four disposable wine glasses, pre-filled with wine, stacked together in a package. You can have a glass of wine (to go! All the better, as this is allowed in Vegas!) and leave the rest unopened & fresh. Karlyn and I enjoyed a glass each evening while getting ready for festivities. I hope they sell it in Canada. And we were able to select our own sunglasses ahead of time from Firmoo and received them in our gift bags. I am in love with mine and highly recommend ordering from them if you’re in need of some shades.

We were all sporting our Firmoo sunnies at the pool. Source: Karlyn Williams

We were all sporting our Firmoo sunnies at the pool. Source: Karlyn Williams

It was all incredibly well-organized and great value created for all of us by the inimitable Nicole and Doniree. But in the end, the sponsors and the events added up to something greater than the sum of their parts. BiSC became more to me than some fun stuff to do and fun people to do them with.

I’m a fairly low-key, introverted person. I can be a lot of fun, but primarily in one-on-one or small group settings. I do not shine at group events of this nature; others usually form stronger bonds than I do. For the most part, this was no different. I haven’t spent a lot of time in conversation with a lot of the BiSCuits reading this. In some cases, I was too intimidated by their big Internet presence to approach them and say much. I listened to everyone cry at our farewell brunch and talk about having all the feelings; there were genuine crushed hearts at the thought of saying goodbye to each other. I had a hard time with this, and wondered if I missed out. The truth is, I just can’t connect with 65 people in one weekend well enough to feel crushed at seeing them go. But I did make a few great new friends. My roommate Karlyn was the best roomie and Shania accomplice I could have possibly asked for. I felt genuine kinship with the lovely bloggers and excellent humans with whom I did share deeper conversations.

But I’m not one to dwell on goodbyes and I couldn’t deal with the sadness, because I just know that we’ll continue the friendships and if we really connected, we’ll see each other again. I cannot wait to road trip down to Portland with Dominique and Simone to visit Larissa. I am ecstatic that Megan is coming to Vancouver soon and I’ll be able to see her again. I was delighted to make a new friend in Chicago because I want to travel there, and to hear stories of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro! And my fellow Canadians, you have my heart. All my BiSCuits, you’ve been special to me.

Instead of sadness, what I felt at the end were the stirrings of inspiration. This is an amazing group of people who have collectively achieved so much and revealed such raw honesty, and the result was a real lightbulb moment for me. So many seemed to have experienced – or are still experiencing! – very real struggles and obstacles along the way to their goals. These struggles are usually hidden from public view. I have run up against obstacle after obstacle over the last several years and have noticed myself shrinking my goals and settling for less, because I started to believe that’s all I was capable of… that successful people don’t repeatedly fail and struggle as I have, and that I’m simply not destined to fulfill my bigger dreams. What I learned – something that wasn’t an intellectual shock but I had never really internalized before – was that everyone wades through shit to get where they want to go, and that the only way to reach big dreams is to keep wading through. I’d started thinking that the continual struggle meant failure, but it just means I’m alive. And it made me realize all that I want is possible.

That was the real value of this weekend to me. It was exhilarating and invigorating not for the break from work or the drunken shenanigans or even Shania, but because my BiSCuit tribe gave me permission to dream big again. Thank you to you all for that incredible gift.

All images are my own unless otherwise indicated.

April Highlights, May Intentions

Wow, what a great month! Summer has arrived in Vancouver, and everyone is running around in shorts & tshirts. It feels like the beginning of something fresh and new, as though the sunshine holds the promise of adventure and happiness. Wouldn’t that be nice?

April Highlights:

  • Source: RW & Co.

    Perfect gold sandals. Source: RW & Co.

    I discovered Homeland and have subsequently fallen down that rabbit hole in an obsessive way. No but seriously, I must know what’s going to happen in Season 3!

  • I found the perfect gold sandals. The impetus for this purchase was my upcoming trip to Vegas, but I’ve been wearing them nonstop and I’ll be lucky if I haven’t worn them to shreds before the summer is out.
  • Attended a good friend’s bridal shower. It was neat to see how it washandled, because she lives far away and didn’t want to ship all the gifts home at great expense. Most people bought off a registry, had the gift shipped to her home address, and included a picture of the gift in her card. Great way to handle gift showers far from home!
  • Gave away a bunch of stuff I didn’t need following the apartment move. I feel good knowing my duplicate stuff that I don’t use is going to people that really need it.
  • Made these delicious cookies and tried my hand at homemade potstickers – success!
  • Celebrated the birthdays of a couple of great friends – one of which was a 40th birthday! *GASP* I can’t believe MY OWN friends are starting to turn 40. It doesn’t seem so long ago that it was my parents’ friends celebrating this milestone.
  • Fell back in love with hiking and have been hitting up the local trails several times a week.
  • Had a strategy chat with a career mentor.

How did I do on my April intentions?

  • One short weeknight hike and one longer weekend hike per week – success!
  • Yoga 1 time per week – Nope! It seemed sacreligious to go inside the yoga studio when the weather has been so incredible.
  • Sign up for ballet flow yoga – My friend and I tried a trial class and jointly decided it wasn’t worth the fee for the full 8 sessions. We’ve been hiking lots instead.
  • Unpack and get the new place feeling like home. – Mostly done! Putting up artwork feels like cheating on my old house. But everything else is unpacked.
  • Take Magdalena for a real spin! (I have named the new car Magdalena) – Yup!
  • Do a lil’ shopping for this lil’ vacation I have coming up in May – Success! Have most of my outfits planned.
April showers bring May flowers... Source: John-Morgan on Flickr

April showers bring May flowers… Source: John-Morgan on Flickr

May Intentions:

  • Let loose and enjoy lots of new friend time in Vegas!
  • Related: do not let TOO loose. Have 3 meals of whatever you want; make smart food choices the rest of the time. 3 alcoholic drinks per day (holy crap that sounds like a lot of alcohol to me. That’s 15 drinks in 1 week, for a girl who’s used to 1 or 2!) and drink lots of water.
  • Spend no more than $600 in Vegas on things that haven’t already been paid for.
  • Back on track healthwise when you return from Vegas: eliminate sweets from your diet for the rest of May.
  • Complete a hike longer than my usual 1.5 hour hike before month end.

The Sea and the Stars

"Selene at the Sea" by Luis Argerich on Flickr

“Selene at the Sea” by Luis Argerich on Flickr

Everyone who terrifies you is sixty five percent water.
And everyone you love is made of stardust, and I know sometimes
you cannot even breathe deeply, and
the night sky is no home, and
you have cried yourself to sleep enough times
that you are down to your last two percent, but

nothing is infinite,
not even loss.

You are made of the sea and the stars, and one day
you are going to find yourself again.

This beautiful poem was written by Finn Butler at A Greater Reality. He’s just 18 years old.