[flying solo] what happened in vegas…

prelude (written before boarding the plane to the conference): i can remember when i was a little girl  and my business savvy momma would talk about her different business trips and conferences she was traveling to, and i would think to myself, “self, one day you will go on a conference like that.” and then i got an internship at a cool place and got to travel to assist in the management of a user conference for upwards of 700 people. and i thought, “wow, that was awesome!” and then i got to travel alone to manage my team at a conference in dallas on my lonesome. and i thought, “wow, i’m getting all grown up!” and then a couple months ago my boss passed on some info on this conference shed like me to attend. and i thought to myself, “WOW. that one day is now today.” and I must say I’m still in a little bit of shock. here I am; 22, not even a year out of college, and I am going to a legit event management conference. by myself. to learn, and get educated, and get smarter (if at all possible), and network with people who are crazy organizing and social media lovers like me, and learn from people who’ve been doing this forever. am I dreaming?! i am a mix of so many emotions right now. nervous, anxious, excited, scared, pumped, intimidated, jazzed, etc. I have traveled by myself before, but was never going to be completely along once I got there. am i ready for this? oh yes, i am. look mom, I’m all grown up! 

this past week i had the privilege of attending EXHIBITOR2012 at the mandalay bay in las vegas, nv. a conference solely focused on event/ tradeshow management, marketing, and social media. as i stated earlier, i was pretty flipping jazzed to be in attendance at this event. and looking back over the past week, (warning: cheesy statement approaching), i really can hardly put it into words. (told ya). but it truly was an amazing, exhausting, motivating, empowering, educational, enjoyable, memorable and legit experience. as i summarized in a Facebook status…

5 days; 16 sessions; 30 pages of notes; 3 pairs of stilettos; 2 dented shoulders from laptop bag; 1 cirque du soleil show; 8ish glasses of wine; 4 hours sleep a night; countless new connections; mind FULL of ideas and excitement – thank you EXHIBITOR :)

ive been home for several days now an i am still trying to recover from lack of sleep and influx of brilliance. seriously, 16 sessions in 4 days; was i taking crazy pills when i made that decision?! well no, i wasn’t, but man oh man will that take a lot out of a girl. but since it was my first experience i am so glad that i made the decision to go all out. some sessions were epic, thought provoking and innovative and others… were not those things. there were no “bad sessions,” just sessions that were less awesome than others. its all part of the experience, there are so many sessions offered its hard to decide which ones you think will be best. sometimes your spot on and other times you miss the mark. my favorite part were the roundtables though; and not ((only)) because of the free beverages. to get to really interact in discussion with my peers was so awesome. overall though, i learned a lot, made new connections, realized i’m pretty damn good at my job already, and was made aware of ways to make us even better. but the best thing that i gained at the conference was a confirmation and realization that i am madly passionate and obsessed with social media. i almost had to laugh at myself during the roundtable in regards to social media because i would become so passionate in my comments and responses. i just want to share the love of amazingness of social media with others, and help them see the doors that open when you learn how to use the platforms correctly. i am without a doubt a social media diva and proud of it. a  i knew i really liked social media before, but our relationship has gotten much more serious. more to come on my adventures in strengthening that relationship. :) as well as continue my relationships with my new friends and connections i made in vegas; met some pretty awesome people there and exciting to keep tabs on one another!

whew. i’m exhausted just reminiscing about last weeks conference. i think i need a nap, or a cocktail.  in the meantime here are some pics capturing some of the adventures i had in vegas; because as they say, “what happens in vegas, stays on the Internet.” enjoy, friends.

my ballin’ suite at THEhotel

too legit to quit! my official badge

tower of wine – what’s not to love?

the closest i got to the pool; was beautiful though!

views of mandalay bay/ THEhotel… and when i realized i was lost…

night one: enjoying the dancing waters at the bellagio

las vegas at night; priceless

day one: got my business sexy outfit on and ready to rock!

night two: dinner with strangers  – the gee wiz; YUM!

night two: RM Seafood (dinner w/ strangers) best sushi ever.

LOVED the huge representation of MN!

night 3: adventures with Rob & Chelsey; New, York New, York!

chelsey and me with our bobble head

zoomanity! enough said. 

after nearly 3 days of searching i found diet coke!

night three: dinner w/ strangers at lupo – YUM!