Saturday, February 7, 2015

365 Cards: Happy Day Flamingo

Happy Saturday and welcome to another JAX Starz Blog Hop! This month's challenge is a sketch challenge... which was based on this card. Let's just say I started off thinking about following the sketch and inspiration card.... and for the second time in as many weeks, I ended up a bit away from the sketch.  And just a side note that we are finally getting some rain here.... great for our drought, but really bad for trying to get good photos of cards! :)

So here is my card I made last night after I got home from Bunco really late.... I love this stamp set!

Isn't it the perfect flamingo?!

And here is the sketch we are using this month for our challenge:

Some Stampin' Tips:
  • Shimmery White Cardstock. If you haven't tried our Shimmery White Cardstock yet, you are missing out! It's hard to tell from the photos above, but the white cardbase? It has really small flecks of glitter in the paper! It looks so awesome in person... just trust me and order some. You won't regret it!
  • Interpreting a sketch. Sketches can be a great place to start your card and come up with something new and different. For this card, I had originally intended to layer the white stamped cardstock onto a coordinating mat and card base as the sketch called for, but in the end, I loved the look of the stamps on the Shimmery White Cardstock all on their own, so I simplified my card and left more white space.
  • It's all about the flamingos... and the coordinating products! Isn't she a beauty?! I say she, but I suppose it could be a he. Did you know this stamp set, Flamingo Lingo, is special in our collection of products? It is actually this year's Ronald McDonald House stamp set. What does this mean? It means that for each set purchased, Stampin' Up! will donate $3 to RMHC. What a great cause and a fun way to give back! This set is also awesome because it coordinates with the Scallop Oval Punch, the Petite Petals Punch and the Bitty Banners Framelits which make it so much faster to make your cards!
Thank you for stopping by today! Time to head off for the next stop in our blog hop this month...

And just in case you get lost in the hop... here are this month's participants:

Amanda Sevall <-- you are here! :)
Cari Verschueren
Lee Conrey
Maria Willis
Monique Zimmer
Rose Ann Marr
Sheilah Stamper
Susan Best

Stampin' Supplies Used:
Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Stampin' Up! Leadership 2015: Day Two.

Back again today with more about my awesome experience at Leadership 2015! Day two was opened with another General Session... This morning was about recognition for accomplishments and, of course, more stamping! 

I couldn't get enough of the Main Stage -- awesome from every angle! :)
Susan and I walking the stage this morning in recognition of our promotions to Manager in the last year!
More stampin'! One of my favorites from this session :)

My absolute favorite from this session! So cute and simple to make! :)
In-between sessions and breakout classes, we get to go to the Gathering Place. At this event, it had display boards of Demonstrator projects (there was a contest for credits towards free products!), a community service project we could participate in, product displays from our current catalog, product demonstrations, a few stampin' stations where we could use the products, a booth showing us sneak peeks of upcoming Paper Pumpkin kits, and a booth for us to talk to someone about the upcoming Compensation Plan changes. A lot of great stuff packed into a huge hall! 

Here is one of the display boards... LOTS of awesome stuff! This one features the Painted Petals stamp set

They also display the items they demonstrate in General Sessions afterward -- a better photo of my favorite card I shared earlier!

One of the many product displays from our current catalog - this one is of the Build a Bouquet Project Kit. The product displays are always awesome -- they show all the coordinating products along with all the kit contents!

The awesome part of the displays is that you can get right up to the display and touch it if you want! I don't but it's awesome to see items pictured in the catalog in person! :)

Another great lunch today -- an awesome veggie pasta roll!

The afternoon had us attending a Share Fair -- quick 30 minute presentations by fellow Demonstrators! 

Photo from Gloria Helmbrecht!

There were six sessions that I attended: 
  • Will it Blend? (Yes, it Will!) taught by France Martin
  • Becoming a Social Media Guru taught by Erica Cerwin
  • You've Got Talent: Identifying Up-and-Comers taught by Gloria Helmbrecht
  • Making Friends, Building Teams taught by Winona Semler
  • Staying Sharp: Honing Your Leadership Skills taught by Julie Davison
  • Shake Up Your Sales with Paper Pumpkin taught by Bonnie Allers-O'Neill
So much good information packed into that afternoon, which I will be sharing with my own team this month! I missed out the Demonstrator Theater -- lots of stamping demonstrators from colleagues -- lots of great ideas from what I could see later in the Gathering Place too! :)

We took a break for dinner... of course, another great meal and photo to share! My full review is here.

Borrowing Beka's photo -- we split this dinner in half too! It kinda became our "thing" along with us both taking and sharing photos of our food!! :) 

After dinner we were back for Stampin' Night Out! Which was so much fun! Four focused presentations of stamping by the training team. First up was kits, then presentations focused on stamps, then paper, then ink! Here were my top 5 favorite projects that were demonstrated:

This is the Hooray It's Your Day Card Kit again... instead of sealing the edges with glue as instructed in the kit, she closed the edges with washi tape! So cute! 

This was a wow moment for me personally.... using the "back" of a photopolymer stamp to outline your stamped image - genius! :) This is using one of my favorite sets in the Occasions catalog, Sheltering Tree.

Such a pretty and feminine card! So simple too! I intend on CASE-ing this card soon that uses the Balloon Bash Photopolymer Stamps!

I love the Adventure Awaits Photopolymer Stamp set! And that striped background? It was inked! :)

What a fun birthday card this is! So simple too. Hoping to CASE this one soon too.  It also uses the Balloon Bash Photopolymer Stamp set.

On our way out of the Convention Center afterwards, I ran into one of my favorite bloggers I met for the first time last July at Convention, Diana Gibbs.  She's so much fun! And she did some awesome samples during her Demonstrator Theater presentation (which I missed... darn it!)... my favorite cards she demoed are her walking dead and her photobombing lumberjack cards. So creative and awesome! :)

Hi Diana! Go check out her cards... so awesome! :)

When we got back to the hotel that night, we hung out at the bar for a bit to have some dessert... because our new friend Angela from dinner last night had posted a photo of them. And all I have to say is it was worth the 15 minute wait for these Raspberry Filled Shortbread Cookies! WOW! They bake them fresh when you order them and come with a chocolate bowl filled with raspberries that are topped in whipped cream. It was so good I wanted to lick the plate! :) I also accomplished a first (maybe a Guinness Book of World Records worthy?) of ordering a milk at the bar to go with said cookies. The waitress was quick to tell me that it was a first.... Only me! HA! :)

Unintentional photobomb by Susan... sorry Susan, I couldn't edit you out... I will when I scrapbook it! ;)

I want another plate or two of these RIGHT NOW! LOL :)

Whew! Another busy day with LOTS of great information, stamping, ideas, friends, and good food!

Okay, so that's a wrap for Day Two! Check back tomorrow for Day Three... the last day! :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Stampin' Up! Leadership 2015: Getting There & Day One.

So now that I'm somewhat caught back up on sleep and settled back in at work, I wanted to share about attending Stampin' Up! Leadership 2015, which I was lucky enough to be able to go to last week in Orlando, Florida! So grab your cup of coffee (or beverage of choice)... I have a lot to share! :)

So I'm breaking this epic recap into several pieces and today I'll be sharing about the first day I was in Orlando and Day One of Leadership!

I flew into Orlando on a red eye flight from California early Wednesday morning last week. Like 5:45 am early when I left LAX at 10 pm on Tuesday! I was a bit tired, but it was so worth it to have the whole day with my friends to hang out. After checking into the hotel and cleaning up a bit in the morning, my roommate Beka Laing showed up to take me out to eat lunch and shop for the day. Beka is my sideline in Stampin' Up! and we had the best time! 

Sidenote: I might use these terms as though they mean something to everyone... my upline is the person I joined the company with and the person above her, etc. A sideline is someone who joined Stampin' Up! who joined under someone else and we share a common upline somewhere above us. In this case, Beka is 2nd level and I'm 5th level to Lee Conrey (who is the best!)

Our first stop of the day was at IKEA, where surprisingly I found something to make some cards with (HA! I'll share those as soon as I make them!) and we grabbed a package of cinnamon rolls to eat for breakfast the whole week (great travel tip -- it was $2 each for us to have one for breakfast for three days!)

I must mention lunch because it was ABSOLUTELY amazing. A quick yelp search resulted in the best yelp find I've had in quite a long time (maybe ever!) -- The Proper Pie Company in Davenport. We were looking for something in that area so that we could meet up with Beka's niece for lunch -- it was the middle point between our location and her location! I'll spare you the full lowdown on our meal here and summarize with a few photos of one of the best meals I've ever had.  My full review and description of the food is available here.

Chicken, Broccoli & Cheese Pie with Chips -- I ate ALL of that pie! And the fries were so fresh and perfect.

Pie tasting... Left to right it was Apple Custard, Blueberry, Cherry. Blueberry was unanimously voted the favorite!

They had a British food market... I had to get some of my favorite Cadbury imports. I also ventured to try the imported Dandelion & Burdock drink. If you ever have the chance, you should try it! I looked and it is available on Amazon!! :) We all loved it so much we went back and bought some to have with our breakfast! It is a lightly carbonated beverage with a flowery taste. Not sweet, not bitter. I've never had anything like it! LOVED it!

After that, we rounded out our afternoon with a trip to The Container Store... I love that place!

We met up with the rest of the girls from our upline team, the Jacksonville STARZ, and went to dinner at Cheddars. Another awesome meal (full review available here!)...
Onion rings! Salty for my taste, but the presentation was awesome, right?!

Still full from lunch, Beka and I shared the chicken nacho appetizer - so tasty!

Our group at dinner +one! Far left is Angela who happened to get on the elevator with us and joined us for dinner! She is a lot of fun! :)
After dinner we checked in for the conference and got our bag with goodies! 

Every Stampin' Up! Convention, Leadership or achievement event always has a bag... this was the bag this year! :)

I loved the branding for the event - the lighthouse was on everything! 
All the goodies in our bag... a pin, a pen, an agenda, our name badge, the Hooray It's Your Day Card Kit and coordinating Hooray It's Your Day Photopolymer Stamps!
The next morning, we were up not too bright and early to attend our first of many General Sessions at the Orange County Convention Center:
I loved the Main Stage -- it was so many of our products super-sized! :)
Our first General Session, and most of the first day, contained a lot of information about a major overall of our Demonstrator Compensation Plan that will go into effect later this year. It was necessary and a bit tedious, but worthwhile. I won't bore you with those details! :)

Each day we enjoyed a catered lunch, which I personally enjoyed! Here was the first day:
Chicken, mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, bread, unsweetened ice tea... all tasty.

Delicious carrot cake... my favorite part of the meal, of course!
Once we got past a breakout session on the new Compensation Plan that targeted our current title we are at in the company, the Afternoon General Session was filled with stampin' demonstrations by Shelli Gartner, owner of the company! She is the best at these demonstrations and I never fail to learn something new every time she presents - love it!
Shelli giving her stampin' demonstration!

My favorite project she shared during this session -- the little baby slides out of the envelope! I'll totally be CASE-ing this one! :)

There are no words to describe the presentation of this particular card.... poor Shelli asked a good question of the audience with unintended consequences and everything that she said after that trying to recover from it just made the problem worse! We were all laughing so hard and she ended up laughing so hard she was crying! You had to be there.... It is a cute card though, isn't it?! Those feathers are made of washi tape and twine! I'll have to make some soon. :)
Dinner for day one was a bit of a rush so that we could make our special evening event... we ate at the buffet restaurant of our hotel, Cafe Matisse -- several of the girls had vouchers for a free meal at the buffet since they had some issues on check-in with their room. We didn't darn it!

I didn't want the full buffet, so I opted to order off their menu -- super fancy grilled cheese (it had brie on it!) and creamy tomato soup. It was delicious! My full review is here.
The big event for me that day was the Magically Managers Reception! I was so thrilled to earn this special event in September last year. It is a reception they have at Leadership each year for Demonstrators who are Managers or higher in the company. I promoted to Manager just in time to qualify for this event last year! :)

Okay, so I'm about to continue the over sharing (this will probably be my longest post to date on this blog! HA!).... there are a LOT of photos to share about this event! Hang on! :)

The invitation I got from Stampin' Up! to attend Magically Managers a few weeks ago! :)

My ticket to the event - how cute is this?! :) Funny side story about this ticket -- we HAD to have it with us to go to the event, so on Monday night all night I had at least four dreams that I could remember where I forgot the ticket, woke up and put a reminder in my phone -- all while I was sleeping! When I woke up for real on Tuesday morning I laughed and put it right in my wallet so I wouldn't get all the way to Florida without it! :)

We all were put on charter buses to attend the event at Disney's Hollywood Studios! Susan Best is another talented member of my sideline family -- she is the best! I love talking shop and hanging out with her. We both earned this event at about the same time so it was so nice to be able to celebrate our accomplishment together! :)

Our evening at Magically Managers began with a private showing of Disney's Fantasmic! This is me with Lee and Susan waiting for the show to start. 

This is Angela and Katie, two of the awesome Stampin' Up! staff members who do training for us! They were so much fun to sit with and share the show. Thanks for asking to sit with me -- I'm so honored you did and look forward to seeing you at another event in the future! :)
A few photos of Fantasmic! This is one of my favorite parts of the show -- when Malificent lights the lagoon on fire! There is something awesome about seeing the water catch fire! 

The steamboat of Disney characters. If you haven't ever seen the show, make sure you do! :)

The part that always puts a tear in my eye - when Mickey saves the day at the end! :)

After the show, we got to do all kinds of awesome things on Sunset Blvd in the park, which was closed for our party! There was a DJ playing Disney songs, sidewalk chalk artists, balloon artists making fun balloon animals + flowers, food + drinks (I'll get to that in a minute!), pictures with the characters and two rides open for us to ride! :)

The first ride Susan and I rode was the Aerosmith Rockin' Rollercoaster! Can't pass up the opportunity to pose with the massive guitar at the entrance to the ride :)

Susan posing for the ride! :)

Susan and I ready to go on our first ride! :)

Clearly I was not having a bad time! LOL (yes, I'm laughing!) I love fast rollercoasters in the dark... even better when they are blasting Aerosmith music in your ears too! :) I so wish they would add this ride to the California Adventure park in Anaheim!

Susan and I about to enter the Hollywood Tower of Terror ride!

Susan and I laughing and gripping each other for dear life! LOL :)

This is a food heavy post isn't it?! I ate a lot in Orlando! LOL The dessert spread from Disney was phenomenal! Of course. :) Chocolate eclairs, cheesecake push pops, mickey brownies on sticks, key lime mickey tarts, churros, gluten free cake jars, apple turnovers, cotton candy.... I said it several times. I DIED AND WOKE UP IN DISNEY DESSERT HEAVEN. I ate a lot! LOL :)

How cute are these?! Delicious too of course! :)

The Key Lime Mickey Tarts were glittered!! So awesome and just as tasty as they look!
The drink bar! It was full of coffee, hot tea and hot chocolate, along with all the fixings! Not pictured were the slushie machines that were churning out pineapple slushies/slurpees... so close to a Dole Whip! mmmmm :)

One of the many highlights of the evening event was the opportunity to have a conversation with Shelli Gartner. She was so kind and genuine. I am so glad I had the opportunity to thank her in person for the awesome event and everything that Stampin' Up! does for us Demonstrators and for their customers! :)

The evening would not have been complete without photos with the characters, right?! :) 

I almost think our outtake photo of getting ready to pose for our picture is better! It makes me laugh every time I see it! :)
Our gift from Stampin' Up! as we left the event. A photo frame that I will putting a picture in soon -- a perfect way to remember this event! :)
Okay... if you are still with me at this point... THANK YOU ;) LOL It was a busy 48 hours!

Onward to Day Two.... check back tomorrow! :)


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