Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm Back...Convention Story.

Wow, where to start?! Convention is such an amazing thing! It is incredible for me to get to go to a convention for something that I like (unlike a convention related to my 9-5 gig).

Day 1- First, the arrival at SLC. Moving from the fridgid airplane to the hot 98 degrees outside- stripping off the layers and sweating with every step. Got to the hotel, but we couldn't check in yet, so we went straight to the convention center where we were going to attempt to stand in the Momento Mall line...BUT the wait was 4 hours long, can you imagine?! We decided to come back later and happily skipped off to PF Changs for lunch- spicy green beans, yum! I then attempted to get a tour of the SU! home office but got my directions mixed up and missed my van, so instead I spent my time picking up my bag and stamp sets (fun!) and looking at all the boards with cards and ideas and the artisan award winners projects- W-O-W! I am awed by what some people can create!!! Meanwhile, I saw one of my cards up on the boards and that was super exciting! Remember my shaker card tutorial? It wasn't either of these cards specifically but a version of this. (I am gonna miss Mr. Twigster!). Next into the room to find and deliver some goodies to my room mates, they weren't there yet, but it was still exciting. They gave chocolate and cards and calendars, I gave personalized luggage tags with the image of the Eiffel tower on it (Chic Botique Stamp Set). :) Then swaps with folks from the larger Seattle Group and dinner with our immediate group- there were 7 of us from the Swanky Stampers group. We had to fight the wind and dirt/sand/dust- whatever- in our eyes, but we got there! Our upline gave us some fun Melon Mambo colored scarves with our group name embroidered on it- classy looking. Back to the room and after gabbing and giggling like little girls at a slumber party we finally went to bed.
Day 2- Up with the birds! If you want a good seat in the general session you have to get up super early. I took a turn and went down at 7. Myself and a few others got some seats and waited with anticipation. There was dance music happening and lots of ladies dancing and hollering. There were even a few men too- I saw at least half a dozen different men, I swear! Finally, general session started with some gymnasts and a song:

Cool! Then, opening comments from Shelli Gardner, Co-founder and COO. Onto Brent Steele who had some exciting news to share. OK, do I tell you....or do I wait... This is something I have known was coming for a while but I got to witness how great it is going to be. It is so fun and exciting! OK, hint....scrapbooking related...something very 21st Century...something technological....Do you know?!?! OK, that is all I am going to say, so hope you can figure that out. It was so great to see what this product can do. This produced a LOT of excitement and high energy. Next we got to see a few "marches" across stage to recognize people for their acheivements- one of which was Lisa Fast- the second million dollar sales person for Stampin' Up! HOLY COW! That is pretty unbelievable and inspiring! (OK here is where I start to wonder which thing happened in which general session, but I think that was the majority of what happened day one.) Next we had lunch and a little free time. After lunch we went to our make n' take session. That was a little hectic- hard to get it all done, but we concentrated on stamping and punching- assembly can always be done later. Here are some (not all) of the fun things we made with our new stamp sets:

The above includes 3 note cards and three envelopes.

Admittedly, I didn't think I was going to like the Christmas items we made, but I was wrong, they look lovey!

There was also an assortment of Christmas tags that we made, a lovely gift box and a holiday treat bag. After make n' takes we went to some demonstrations- one including one from Lisa Fast. She was so funny and cute. As the day ended, we were all tired but excited, pumped really to go out and create and share what we love with others. For dinner, we went out to some yummy sushi at Naked Fish before awards night and entertainment. I was tired, so I snuck out of awards night and called my family. I "talked" to my daughter, I did most/all of the talking with the exception of her saying Mama or Mommy, which made me miss her even more than I already did. A few soppy tears and phone kisses later. :) I watched a little news and was suprised at the wildfires starting up all over Utah. The wind was heavy (33 MPH) and there were fires moving quickly whether started by cigarette butts or downed power lines. I snuggled into the comfort of my bed, read a little and tried to rest up for day three!

Day 3- Another semi early morning with a very loud awakening from one of my roommates (I will not name names!!- wink). It wasn't my turn to save seats though, so I got to be a little more leasurely. After getting ready for the day, I went and strolled around Temple Square. I just love religious archetechture, the buildings and statues are always unbelievable. In 2002 I spent 10 weeks in Thailand and made a trip through Malaysia to Sumatra, Indonesia, part of the reason I chose that part of the world was to see the Buhdist Temples, and as an added bonus got to see Mosques. Every trip I take, if there is a fabulous church, or even a small little one, I love to see it inside (If I can) and out and take pictures- they are all so beautiful and it says so much about differnt cultures. The Temple was no exception. Although I didn't get to go inside, the outside was beautiful and quite massive. The gardens around the perimeter were gorgeous. Here is a few of the pictures I took:

Enough about that, probably not what you wanted to read about. :) General Session included some more great talks and presentations. One of which included the new Build-a-Bear stamp set and dies... WHOOPS- you didn't know about that did you?! Well I guess that is one cat out of the bag, but I still have my other secret- hehehehe! Anyway, Stampin' Up! has paired with build-a-bear to make some excluse stamp sets and dies for the big shot and boy are they cute! Then to make it even better- the actual Bear from Build-a-Bear came out and had some fun with us and let us know that we could get our own Stampin' Up! build a bear with SU! apron and stamp- adorable! There were other presentations, from Shelli, from Bonney Thurber (this woman is hillarious!!!) and more. After lunch more classes, focused on the business aspect and some more demos. Sigh...still having fun but tired, as is everyone. Emotions are running high and all women (3000 of us) are starting to get a little cranky. That is ok though, some time to ourselves. I spent the evening eating pizza (cheap- yeah!) with a few of the girls and gabbing. Again, to bed early, I am on duty again next day.

Day 4- The last and final day. I woke up early (4 am SLC time, 3 am Seattle time!!!) and couldn't sleep. After laying with insomnia for 2 hours I got up and went down for some breakfast. Luckily (for me, not for her) Rita- my AL roomie- had also been up since 4 and was sitting in the lobby on her laptop to be quiet- so kind. We had breakfast together. What a sweet and funny lady and she emits positive energy like you wouldn't believe! Sadly, I realize I don't have a picture of her. :(. After breakfast a talk from Belinda Ellsworth- Keynote speaker- which included some great tips for business building if that is your goal. She was almost a little too much at 8 am, loud and high energy, but I admire that she can even be that way (my roommates can attest that I can't!). AND she did have some great things to say. After that a few more marches some more fun demos we had Demo Duel! It was basically a demo version of family fued- very fun and very funny! The announcer was great, here is a pic:

There was also a commercial contest that demo's participated in,, hillarious! And some SU! sponsored commercials, very funny. You can view most or all of them here-
Finally some prize patrol... (OK, I haven't mentioned this yet, but prize patrol happens every day at convention! It is so fun! You get a wrist band, and each day that have at least two times that they announce certain colored/patterned wrist bands and those in the group win something. Pretty awesome really. Some gals won some of the new pendants- whoa-what- yep we are coming out with jewelry!!! Stay tuned for more on that- the pendants were made by Shelli and family and signed by Shelli- so cool!) and I WON! I got a fun fall stamp set- Falling Leaves- some of the 1 1/4 Striped Old Olive ribbon and some 9X9 On Board Chipboard (perfect to make a magnet board!!!). I feel like I never win, but I did, proven wrong! And Carrie (the presenter) accidentally said it before it was announced and I heard her and I knew! Other people were looking around, but I knew. I got a few jealous looks but they were followed by congratulatory smiles. A final thank you from Shelli and it was a wrap. Final goodbyes to new and old friends, sad, but I was ready to be home. I went to the airport and waited for my flight. I got home and greeted my hubby with hugs. He greeted me with hugs and coconut cake- what a sweetie! Then I woke my little bambino and we rocked and cuddled in the chair for about 10 minutes before I put her back down. Sigh- all is well to bed.

OK, I hope this has been fun for you. Maybe it inspired you to spend time with your friends and create. Maybe you want to get up and running with your business (crafting or other) or your hobby. Hopefully and most importantly you can see the fun involved and find a little time for yourself to Inspire, Create and Share. Thanks for stopping by!


Jessica said...

Thanks for the story! Hoping to spend it with you guys next year!!! :)

rachel b. said...

welcome back Katie, the convention sounds like it was a lot of fun, and I'm glad you got to go! And congrats on winning a prize, that always makes things sweeter. Hope to talk to you soon. xo rachel b.

Anonymous said...

Oh, what fun you had, Katie! So glad for you - I had to ORDER my stamp set of Falling Leaves...oh well! I actually attended the wedding of my husband's best friend in the Salt Lake Temple. It is an amazing building, isn't it? Hey, I got the things I wanted at Momento Mall from my friend yesterday! I'm so excited! Ok, well have a great day!!

Tib said...

You don't know how happy it makes me that you got to go and focus on Katie and have yo-self a great time. You are so talented, and creative, I am glad that you have this outlet; cause I know that place where you spend your 9-5 and I know it can wear a person down.