Well I am back from Utah and truly it was the trip of a lifetime! As you already know I wasn’t able to blog from the trip – this was mainly due to lack of time and putting sleep ahead of blogging. The schedule for the trip was crazy busy with late nights and early starts! BUT so you don’t miss out I am going to blog about it all of this week, starting with the North American Convention part of the trip. This post is long as I am going to cover all 4 days in one post!
My trip really started when I arrived in Auckland and met up with a few other Kiwis heading to Salt Lake City – having friends to chat with sure does make all the waiting at airports a whole lot more fun!
L to R: Emma (NZ Country Manager -SU), Me, Rachel, Patrice
Thankfully I didn’t suffer too much jetlag so was out and about bright and early the morning after I arrived. I explored the local area a little and then met up with several fellow Kiwis (and a token Aussie) to hit the shops for the day!
Right next to my hotel in SLC was City Creek – a fabulous shopping centre spread across two blocks. It is fully landscaped with a creek running through the middle of it, and also has several different water features including this fabulous fountain!
After several hours of shopping it was time to re-fuel at the legendary Cheesecake Factory – I had the most delicious BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwhich!
The following day was day 1 of Convention! Starting with T-Shirt and name-tag pick up – which was eye-opening in itself!! The Convention centre is MASSIVE and it was crowded with excited demonstrators! I was lucky enough to bump in to several South Pacific demos who all looked equally as stunned as I did! Lookie – I even made it into the Convention booklet!
The afternoon was spent setting up my Demonstrator Booth ready for my presentation at the Opening Social event that evening. And then it was time for the opening session! Honestly, I just cannot put into words just how HUGE the main stage auditorium was!! 6000 people seated in one room – the photo below shows only about 1/6th of the room! Even sitting in the room you really couldn’t comprehend how large it was until the video screens showed images panning across the whole room! It was CRAZY big, CRAZY loud and a whole lot of fun!
Next up was the opening social which meant showtime for me! I demonstrated my 10-15 minute presentation 16 times over a 3 hour period with hundreds gathered around me constantly! It was SO MUCH FUN and I was so honoured to be asked to present! By the time I had finished packing up at the end of the evening it was well past 11pm and I was completely buzzing – it took a long time to get to sleep!
I will be sharing all of the projects I created for my booth next week – I had so much fun creating them and think they are some of the best work I have done, so I am looking forward to showing them to you all.
Friday morning started bright and early with another general session of great stamping presentations, prize patrols, all attendee give-aways and so much more! The rest of the day was the Stampin’ Up! Expo with lots of different classes, make ‘n’ takes, presentations, product booths, display boards etc – you could choose what you wanted to do and when. In all honesty I found the whole day completely overwhelming – it was visual overload with so many people and wonderful ideas everywhere you looked! Here are just 2 of the thousands of projects on display – and yes they are made completely of paper!
One of the things that was wonderful was the Recognition Room – a room for only those that had earned awards in the last year – there were comfy couches, cute decor, free drinks and chocolates, and much needed respite from the crowds! I met some wonderful people in here – the American and Canadian demonstrators were so welcoming and friendly!
I also got to meet and swap with some of my stamping idols, Mary Fish and Becky Roberts, to name just 2:
Then it was time for a quick refuel at a great Italian restaurant before heading back for the awards night and 25th Anniversary Party.
The party was AWESOME!!! Aerial performers hanging from the rafters, roaming performers, games, sweet treats, birthday cake, party favours and most importantly a GREAT 80’s covers band called the Spasmatics! I danced until the very end and then ended up being kicked out of the convention centre along with a rowdy group of Aussies – we were having too much fun dancing to leave!
Saturday was another early start with another General Session, followed by some wonderful stamping and business classes, and then ending with the final General Session. I learned so much over the 3 days and it was wonderful to experience this milestone event. I really can’t capture in words & photos just how big, busy and great it was, but check out the highlights video here for a better understanding (can you spot me??)
I’ll be back tomorrow with Day 1 of the Grand Vacation in Park City!