I know I’m not the only one…who is guilty of being a bit, too attached to technology, social media to be exact. There’s so much to do; stalk people, online date, slide in DM’s, promote your business, and my favorite online obsession…NETWORK! Sooo…what if you connected with like-minded individuals from different parts of the globe and were given the opportunity to network in person? Would you?
Let’s just say on April 21, 2017, the BUW Squad [Alanya, Darcy, Keri, Marchell, Millicent, Naomi-via France, Nargiz Rai and myself] decided we needed a retreat. Nargiz and I live close in proximity so we packed our bags, carpooled and hit I30 to DAL Airport. We flew with Sun Country Airlines which was quite interesting, but much better than anything that United Airlines had recently been reporting…LOL!
We landed at LAS International Airport at approximately midnight. After a couple of hiccups, we caught our Uber to “The Palazzo” damn near starving, sleepy yet excited to be in the city! Two of the ladies came down to get us, we grabbed some refreshments and headed up to our Bella Suite. We got a chance to officially meet four of the other women, walked down to the bar which unfortunately just ended the last call so we headed back up so that those who wanted could order room service.
The next day we got up and hit up the casino to play a few slots, grab coffee and pastries and take a few pics. Around Noon we went to Yard Bird for lunch not to mention that a few of the ladies had been there the night before. Y’all it was that divine! I completely understood why they wanted to go back. Dessert was ridiculous as well!
Once we finished up we grabbed our bags from the bellmen and headed outside for selfie’s and to wait for a driver to take us to the airport to retrieve our “Squad mobile” and Bottom Up Wealth, CEO, Alanya Kolberg! While we were getting the paperwork completed for the vehicle Mill was getting the VIP plug for us to go out at Drai’s Beachclub & Nightclub that evening. Bonus: Big Sean was to perform live in concert! I was so giddy!
photo cred: Rai W. (she had to insert out international Bae, Naaomee)
Shortly, afterward, we got the call that Alanya had touched down so we loaded up and headed to the terminal to get her. We were so excited to have almost the entire Squad together! Once we made it to our Airbnb we got to meet our Virtual Assistant. We chatted for a bit then got ready to go and grab dinner.
We decided on the Cheesecake Factory for dinner and drinks and got acquainted a bit better. Meanwhile, Mill and I were plotting on who all was down for going to Drai’s! Once we got home most everyone was exhausted. Rai and Marchell headed back to their hotel, the other ladies decided to hang out at the house, but Mill, Darcy and myself got dressed to hit The Strip!
Finally, our Uber arrived and we were out. We had to make some moves to get closer to the VIP line, but once that was done we gained access instantly and headed to the bar! Drinks in hand we headed out to the pool and the bungalows! The vibe was so nice and classy! People of all ages were enjoying themselves and there was even a fifty-year-old woman celebrating her birthday and including us in her Snaps! At close to midnight Big Sean hit the stage and turned the club up! All I can say is you would have had to be there!
The next day we awoke to breakfast and a briefing of the agenda. We did a few “ice breaker” activities and since Naomi is in France we Skyped her in. The activities were extremely interactive and raw. We only shared what we were comfortable with sharing, but once we were done we had a newfound respect for each other. We were so overcome with emotions at this point we decided to recess so that we could nap and run errands.
The second half of our meeting convened loosely at 5:30 because we had to order food and some of us had dinner out. This time around we focused on goals individually and as a team. Obviously, there were some housekeeping concerns that we had to cover and there were things that we didn’t agree on. Some things we got a better understanding on and some things were left to revisit at another time. Truly that’s just the way the cookie crumbles in business. The best part is that we discussed things openly and moved on.
photo cred: Nargiz C.
Originally, we thought we would have another go at going out on the town because the ladies that didn’t go out the night before wanted to go. This sister was pooped and as a group, we just stayed put because we had a photo shoot the next day with photographer, Bryan Wright of Gravity Images. I can honestly say we had the best mix of business and leisure!
Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino was the location for our shoot and we arrived at 11:30. Alanya was already getting glammed up by HMUA, Veronica Robles and the crew was setting up. Initially, the photo shoot itinerary was planned for us to do individual shots, then group shots and then Alanya’s shots at the end so that we could all run around The Strip. For some reason, the itinerary ended up being the other way around so we took that opportunity to run down to the Casino for coffee runs, bond and toss future ideas around and cat nap. For most people that don’t know shots on this caliber take a full day and this shoot was nothing short of that.
T.V. Screen embedded in the vanity mirror!
Keri, not letting me be great what so ever! 😉 Mouth all open…
photo cred: Keri M.
We had a blast watching each other get dolled up and helping one another decided on outfits. We even pumped up the music to get us hype. Lunch and dinner breaks were a must and we didn’t wrap our shot until close to 9 p.m. Here are some images of hair and makeup. Enjoy!
photo cred: Keri M.
photo cred: Nargiz C.
photo cred: Mill I. “The Selfie Queen”
Once we were done we loaded up and headed back home so that we could pack because a few of us had flights as early as 6 a.m. It was really nice to hang out and talk about life as we were packing, but it had gotten late and 4 a.m. came really early for a couple of us. Since I and a few other ladies had flights at Noon we were able to not be as rushed.
Finally, we were in route to get back home and we made sure to check in with each other until we arrived home safely! I can honestly say that none of us left Las Vegas the same. Personally, I came back knowing that I have a purpose to fulfill that is greater than me. I am honored that I got to be amongst other like-minded women who have overcome so much and still have the desire to be life changers. Thank you all for who you are!
Lastly, thank you to Alanya for investing in women! I know that you said that you felt it necessary to invest in people and that you did. For what it is worth you truly planted seeds that will produce a great harvest in the future. Just wait for it! Thank you very much for the 1st BUW Retreat!
Let us hear about it! Have you ever formed an online community or squad and meet up with them at a designated location? Was it a success or not? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. We cannot wait to read your comments!
Disclaimer: I am not recommending that anyone take off with strangers that you encounter via online or in person. I will not be held liable or take any responsibility if you decide to meet up with strangers upon reading this blog post. All of the details here are opinions of my own accounts for the purpose of this post. This opportunity was a business retreat and I had spent ample time getting to know and respecting the participants that I traveled with. You are solely responsible for your own actions, judgments and any risks associated with traveling with persons that you do not know personally.