Sunday, April 27, 2008


Well, I had a *FAB*U*LOUS* time at CKC in Mesa, AZ!!!!

What a great group of ladies we met at the Creating Keepsakes Convention! And I taught my 3rd - 7th National Classes at this convention! So, that's exciting for me!! I thought it would be easier this time, but it turns was harder, due to a few technical difficulties. ACK!
(stay tuned for the delightful recollections of these experiences below....)
But, I still think I rose to the challenge and it all turned out just great in the end!!!

So, this convention, I flew in on Thursday morning from Las Vegas. Then, Aly and Suzi had to pick me up at the airport in Phoenix and we had to cruise quickly back to Mesa to get right to work! This is the first time I've done it that way. Usually, I fly in on Wednesday and I'm already there and organized for Thursday. And me (the girl who doesn't like change) struggled with the change. It was much harder for I felt like I was just "off" all day. But, we worked hard, as usual and got stuff done! And work, we did! I had been running electric on the floor and zip-tying grid wall to the table, wallering on the floor to get the job done.

And before we knew it, it was 45 minutes before my Thursday night class and I was filthy!! Seriously! I even had black across my boobage! But, guess what?! Even though the hotel was just next door, my suitcases were still in the rental car on the other side of the resort! And I didn't have enough time to get the suitcase, get clothes and go change and STILL get back to the classroom in time to set up and be ready to go on time. So, I had no choice but to move on.

No biggie, I decide. I'll just go in the restroom and try to scrub the black off.

Well, that's a good idea, but in reality, a waste of time, energy and water!

And all I ended up with was black on my hot pink shirt, now wet, too!!!

This was not part of my plan. My plan was to be a cute and trendy looking teacher, who
was completely put together and not a girl with black steaks and water on her boob!

Oh well, there was nothing I could do, but just DO IT! So, I DID!!
(and the dirty cleavage became a joke!!)

So, I get to the classroom to set up and I have NO TA's. (teacher's assistants)
For a class this size...I should have 2, rather than the 1 TA we normally get.
But, I had none! Thank goodness my boss recommended I bring Aly and Suzi with me,
because they handed out the class packets and all the papers!

A Taste of Scraptique went well. Everyone absolutely loved the layouts and had a great class. Well, almost everyone. When you teach to a large group of women (nearly 60 in this class) you can almost always count on the fact that someone will not be happy. Well, as with any other class....I had an unhappy student. And she was very vocal with her objections. And about half-way thru the began to get to me. Realllllly get to me.

If you know me at all, you'll know I am a people pleaser. And I hate it when people are unhappy or upset with me. I can't stand it and it cuts me right to the heart! And that's exactly what was happening to me here. All I wanted to do, was make her happy. And no matter what I said or did, she was still not completely happy. And it really upset me.

So, about half-way thru the class, my stomach was really churning upset.
And I was just trying to survive the next 45 minutes without bursting into tears.

And for those who were there, they can tell you...the 2nd layout is beautiful, but it is a doozy.
(meaning, the level is truly advanced....) And when I held the layout up for the girls to see... I literally saw some of their eyes glaze over and I even heard a verbal, "$h!t" come from the mouth of a dark-haired beauty. So, I commence to go thru the layout, step by step. And I am plagued by the "comments" from the unhappy student. It was non-stop. But, that's the thing about these only have 30 minutes for each layout. And that's not much time. And then you have to move on to the next layout! Because that's what the time allows. So, that's what I did, because I have no choice and that's what I have to do.

And as the time was running out, my stomach was seriously unhappy. The stress was getting to me. And I just wanted to cry. I needed to cry. Really cry. The pressure of this is immense. I don't want to let anyone down and I was upset that I had let this one girl down.

So, as soon as class was over, I thanked everyone for coming. Urged them sign up for Scraptique and excused myself to the restroom, where I immediately got sick.

When I came back a few minutes later, I found a group of about 15 girls waiting on me.
There were 2 teachers who hugged me and told me how great of a job I did and to ignore "that girl." These women were older than me and I respected their opinion. And I thank them for that hug. It realllllly meant a lot.

Then, there were others that were so sweet....telling me how much they enjoyed the class and how they thought the behavior of some people was ridiculous. How nice is that?!

And lastly, there was a group of 4 girls, who probably made my year!
They took pictures of me with them and asked me to sign their Autograph Books!

I could not believe it!

Me.....sign an AUTOGRAPH?!?!?!


Yep, they wanted my autograph so they could put the picture next to it!

CAN YOU SAY FLATTERED AND OVERWHELMED....all at the same time?!?!?

Then, I seriously did want to cry!!!!!!

Happy tears, though. Because they actually liked me!
(and they spent much time discussing the "mean girl"........
which made me feel better that people really thought her behavior was over the top!)

And before we all parted for the night....the group of 4 asked if I would go out with them the next night. So, I gave them my phone number and figured I'd never hear from them again.

Well, I figured wrong.....
(more on this in a moment)

So, I went to the room and ordered room service. I was exhausted, physically and emotionally. (and Aly and Suzi had already eaten dinner during my class)

Suzi and Aly went to bed at like 9pm. (old ladies!! ha ha!!)

And eventually, I went to bed.


I love Fridays at the show! The excitement of the first people coming thru. The excitement of getting to show people how the Bind-It-All works and how much I love it....really gets me going! But, I wasn't there long before I had to finish things up for class and get ready to teach!

So, I went over to the classroom and got busy!

(and I had my TA take some pics for me!!)

My Heart Belongs to Daddy! -- Friday morning class

Me....trying to show part of the album......
A student cutting out "DAD" for the front cover of the album....

see me? way up in the front.......

Some hands on help.....
(hey...don't look at my cleavage! ha ha!)

busy little bee's......

isn't she cute?! I loved her outfit! And the girl in the blue sweater was so nice!

these girls were so fun...... (and hard workers!)

Look how hard they are all working.....

This eyelet tape part freaks people out!!! It's not too hard, once you understand how it works! And it's such a cool look!! But, until then, it can be confusing......

And I'm happy to report.....they were ALL SUCCESSFULL!!!!!!!

Then, we moved on to my second class....

Always and Forever
-- an acrylic circle album

Check it out....this was a SOLD OUT class!!!

And right off the bat, a woman on the front row stabbed herself with her scissors and was bleeding profusely! OMGosh! I know that hurt! I was like...."oh my! are you ok?" I felt so bad for her! I've done that before and OUCH!!

And just when we were getting into the groove....I was standing between the 2nd and 3rd row, behind the girl in the end seat. When all of a sudden, we hear a huge "pop" and a scream! The girl on the end of the 2nd row went to use her glue in a squeeze bottle and the end shot off and hit the girl in front of her on the 1st row in the back of the head! And they both screamed, one right after the other~ it was crazy!!!! SCARED ME TO DEATH!! (remember I was standing directly behind her!!)

Even worse than that....GLUE WENT EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!!!

A HUGE pile of glue all over her album and workspace!

On the back of the 1st row girl's hair, sweater and chair....

All over the wall......

On every person, sitting within 3 people of her....

All over the back of my shirt/pants.....

All over the floor....


It was a mess!

And I felt so, so sorry for the girl whose glue blew up! She was terribly embarrassed.
And the girl in front of her was quite upset (at this point, we didn't know she had been "shot" in the head with the glue nozzle top) and upset about her sweater. I immediately grabbed a wet wipe someone handed me and started washing her her...and then, her sweater.

It wasn't until later that I even knew it was on the back of me....
(and for the was one of my new, most favorite shirts.....and I haven't been
able to get it least, not yet. I'm so sad!)

Believe me, we don't have time for emergencies in this class....

...and so far, I've had 2!!!!


Back to work.......

An action shot.....inking!
(and look at that beautiful Prima paper!!)

Me...workin' the room...helping people one-on-one...

(I love it!! See a man in that back row!!! He rocked it big time!!!)

All-in-all....a great class!!!

So.....I get back to the booth after classes and they have only sold 1 Bind-It-All!
And it's my job to sell them. (which they practically sell themselves...I just have to show people how to do use the machine!) So, I sold about half of them from 1-5pm! Yea, me! (and I knew that we'd sell the rest the next day! So, that's great!)

So, imagine my surprise when my cell rang later that was the "Fantastic Four" asking me to join them out for a drink! Well, if you know me....I'm not a big drinker. It's a very social thing for me, but I thought I'd go because these girls were so sweet! So, they came to the hotel and we went to the Sports Bar next to the hotel.

As we sat down, I noticed this sign:

"I'm like....why does it say Fat Tire?!"

To which the Fantastic Four say...."you know, Fat Tire Beer!"

Well, this cracks me up! Totally!

FAT TIRE BEER?!?! Never heard of it......

And they can't believe, it was decided...I had to have a...

Now, I am really picky about beer. Most of it, I don't care for.

But, guess what?!


Good call...girls!

Notice how we are all sitting.....and when Sangita saw the pics, she started joking about us looking like an Oreo!

To which I replied, "Better than a Double Stuffed Oreo, were a Triple Stuffed Oreo!!"

Ha ha ha!!!!

The other thing we talked about was In-and-Out Burger.
I've never been there.
I saw one in California, but we didn't get to go.
I saw one here in Mesa, but I wasn't sure if I'd get to go.
So...the Fab Four wanted to take me there......and we discussed going on Saturday night.
They absolutely love In-and-Out!!!

These are some crazy fun girls!!
(Mary, Bea, Roxann, Sangita and Liz)
Good Times!

And while we were taking these pics, Grizellie showed up!
Now...I met Grizellie back in August at CKC-Tulsa...the first time I worked for Kim.
She is a total blast! She was to work with us on Saturday, so she came and spent the night with me in my hotel room! It was fun catching up with her!!

On Saturday, I had 2 more classes. I didn't get any pictures, because I forgot to bring the camera. The first one was the "Daddy" class. And when I started passing out the kits I got to the bottom of the box where the Junkitz accordion albums were and.....
THERE WERE ONLY 12 ALBUMS!!!! And I needed like 35!!!!


This lead to a freak out!

I had to RUN to the booth, because I couldn't get Aly to answer the cell.
(and this was a long way....) I left the TA taking tickets and passing stuff out.

I quickly explain the dilemma to Aly and run back to class while she goes out to our pod to look for the albums. Without them....there is no class.

You can't make a "dad" album without an album! the meantime, I explain we are getting the albums and we start inking paper.

Outside, I am trying to be calm.

Inside, I am FREAKING OUT!!!!

Eventually, we get the albums and all is well........
and the rest of the class goes smoothly.

On Saturday, I got the pleasure of meeting this group of friends! They came to my class and they were really so sweet! It was their first scrapbooking class they had ever taken and they came up after class to tell me how much they loved it!!! They asked me to pose for a picture with them. And Claudia was sweet enough to email a copy of it to me.
Thanks for sending me the picture, Claudia!! And here it is...
Vero, Claudia, Roxann, Sylvia and Sonja...
(aren't these friends the cutest?!?!)

Nice to meet you girls!! It was so much fun!!!
Maybe, I'll see you at CKC-Phoenix!?!

So...the Saturday was great. The booth was empty! (which means great sales!!)
And Grizellie and I rocked it on the Bind-It-All's and we sold them all, plus had 6 pre-orders!
(and I took like 5 minutes to teach Grizellie how to do it before I went to teach class....
she did AWESOME!!!!)

After we tore down the booth....which the 4 of us did in a record 1 1/2 hours....
we went to grab dinner before Grizellie left town.

Before we were done tearing down the booth, the Fab Four had called to see if I wanted to go to In and Out Burger with them. But, I couldn't go. :( Boo Hoo!

So, they said they'd call me later.....

But, by the time they called me, I had gone to the hotel room.
Changed my clothes and I was chilling out. I was exhausted.

My initial thought was I was soooo exhausted. And I was.
But, they wanted me to come to the crop with them and they wanted to hang out with me.
How could I refuse that?!?!

So, I threw on some clothes and headed on down to the crop!

Two lovely ladies sitting with the Oreo's were sweet enough to allow everyone to scoot over to make room for me. And just as I began working on a project, I realized I needed Crystal Stickles, but I didn't have any. So, one lady, named Becky...had some and was going to let me use them. But, I knew I needed alot. So, I offered to buy them from her. She refused, of course. So, about the time I was starting my stuff, I could see she was frustrated with her layout, so I offered to help. I asked her if she was ok with me just doing whatever and she agreed that it was fine. And before I knew it...I was putting together a layout for her.

It wasn't completely finished, just the left edge and the background was done. I roughly cut papers and laid them out. Gave instruction for finishing the layout. (I did this in like 40 min. -- much of that was hand-cutting all those flowers and the hand-painted Stickles work.) So, we joked she got my services for a bottle of Stickles! Good thing I love Stickles!!! :)

And here Becky is w/ the layout. She had me sign my work on the back!And when she finishes the layout, she has said she'd email it to me, so I can show you!

So...after the Crop was over....we headed back to the sportsbar, which was basically closing up.
(and it was only Midnight!) So, we asked where to go...and we ended up at another sports bar. And they were doing kareoke at this one......and these people were actually pretty good.

Me and Sangita.....aren't we a pair?!?!

This is me with my "Sex on the Beach" drink. Girly, fruity and not too strong!

This is Bea. She seems kinda serious.....
until you get to know her! She's actually quite sweet and fun!

This is Mary! She's awesome! She's so stinkin' funny!
She gave us some fabulous dancing lessons!!
(just ask her about "shopping" and "fishing!") owe me $20 for not putting those super embarrassing
dance lesson pictures up on the net!!! Ha ha ha!

Who knew?! Sangita has teeth!!! :P

This girl was the "club kid" at Kirk's Sport's Bar.
And she was AWESOME at Kareoke!!!!!

When we left Kirk's....we headed back towards the Marriott....
until we passed this chair!!!



It was

(and it has the plaque to prove it!)
S0, of course, we took a ton of pictures on it!

And when we finally returned to the Marriott, I mentioned that I really wanted to pick
an orange off the orange tree. You see, where I come orange tree is a extremely rare sight. And these were big and full of oranges!
And I could hardly resist......

And when I had mentioned this on our first day in town to Aly and Suzi....Aly told me
that I better not pick one or I'd get into trouble.....and it turns out she was right. It's illegal to pick it because it's on Private Property!

Well, Bea could see I really wanted to do it. And because she and Sangita both own hotels, they knew that if I had permission...I could do it. So she went and asked if I could! Yea, Bea! And the Marriott said I could, so I give you......

...Roxann, almost busting her rump when almost falling trying to pick an orange....



The first taste.........

.....dang, it was S-O-U-R!!!!!

And the best part of the day......
when the girls gave me THIS:

An In-N-Out Burger shirt.....signed by them!!!!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Holy took me like 3 hours to make the 2nd Vegas post! PICTURE and STORY HEAVY!!

But I've got to go to bed. Check back tomorrow for update of CKC-Mesa!!

and I promise, it's worth it!!!!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What Happens in Vegas......

...well, it goes on the blog, of course!!!!

So, we had a FaB-U-LoUs time in Las Vegas.

When Ike found out I was coming he upgraded hotels to something a bit better for me. (However, we were considering it anyway, because we weren't sure how the place hotwire hooked him up w/ was going to be ok.........

So, he got to the Stratosphere on Saturday. Well, that first night he has a "smoking" room. Knowing how much I detest cigarette smoke....Ike arranged for the room to be changed on Sunday before I got there. Because of the inconvenience, they upgraded us. Then, because when he was ready to move, they had no rooms ready, they
upgraded us again to a $300/night Suite! SWEET, indeed!!
Our room had plenty of space and a small fridge. We had 2 windows, one overlooking the strip and the other overlooking the mountains. It was nice. So, we got our $300/night room for $59/night! Score!! Thanks so much, Stratosphere!! Because we sure weren't going to be upgraded based upon gambling large sums of money!! Ha ha!! Wasn't going to happen.....

Anyways, here's Ike's original hotwire hotel. Wild, Wild West Casino and Hotel. It was supposed to be a Motel 6 or a Super 8 for $23/night. (since we were footing the bill
for it and the conference was $500 itself...we were trying to save some money! So, it was just off the strip and was supposed to be a decent place according the them. When we looked it up....we weren't sure. It looked cheesy for sure, but it didn't look unsafe or bad. But, it was certainly no Bellagio.

So, Big Daddy called and asked them to switch it. They said NO.

Well, that was a lost battle Big Daddy decided not to fight until
my wonderful boss Kim, decided to send me to Vegas.

And then, I declared, there was no way in hell I was going to stay there during the day while Big Daddy was at his conference and he agreed that was not going to happen!

So...he called hotwire back. And again, he was told, "No refunds and No changes to the existing reservations." Well, this time Big Daddy didn't back down! He proceded to tell them they better find him a good hotel or give him his money back. They still said no. So, he told them to find him another hotel. After was supposed to be a Motel 6 (better known as Motel 666 in Sin City...ha ha!) NOT some no-name
Wild, Wild West Casino and Hotel. They still said no. So, the final sword was drawn
and he told them they could do it or fight the dispute w/ Citibank on his Credit Card.....they took action real quick. And within an hour...we had a room at the Stratosphere! But of course, we had to go check out the Wild, Wild West.It was scary enough....but it wasn't until I talked to my step-cousin who lives in
Vegas that I was told how bad it could have been. Apparently drug dealings and shootings are a weekly occurrence at the motel. a bullet there. Literally.

And we were happy to not be staying at the Luxor (or as we affectionately renamed it after staying there on our last trip....the Sux-or!)
Although, it actually seemed to be really nice this trip when we went there for the CNN party. Anyway, it was under serious construction during our stay there like 6 years ago. (construction started every single morning at 5:00am!!! ACK!!
No wonder we called it the SUXOR!!!!)

And if you know me, you know I am a creature of habit. A girl who hates change. So, in my perfect scenario....we would have stayed at the Stardust.
But, alas, the Stardust was imploded in March of 2007, (this is the old site where Stardust was) make way for the new Echelon Place. Now, don't get me wrong. Echelon Place looks really nice! But, I'm a simple girl. I like things the same, remember. I would have stayed at the Stardust and been more than happy to do so!

Aside from all the hotel room drama, Las Vegas is.....well, the same but different.
Lots of Eye Candy. I love all the lights and sights.

And still, lots of stuff that makes my jaw drop.
(They don't call it "sin city" for nothin'!!!)

That's the part I try to ignore.
(pretty much what the locals do....)

So, Monday after I dropped Ike off at NAB, I went to my temporary Las Vegas LSS, Scrappin' Time.
I spent the day there and knocked out my WorldWin DT requirement for the week. And I loved what I made. (will post that soon....)

Then, when I picked Ike up...we headed over to the CNN building to meet up with Ike's CNN contact
to get our badges for the *awesome* CNN party on Tuesday night. (yep, we had to get an ID with our picture on be able to get in!! And we got a killer SWAG BAG, too!! ~t-shirts, watches, key chains, pens, notebooks, etc!~

On the way back to the parking garage....we found Ike's new love....
an gigantic Apple vending machine! He begged me to get something, but I shot him down. Poor guy! In my defense, I was super cranky for walking a million miles in sexy shoes... (see them on the floor to the right of the machine!!!) I was being cute at the scrapbook store and didn't know that I would walking all that way!

I got a HUGE blister....OUCH!!!

And here are a few daytime pics, snapped on the way back to the Stratosphere....

For dinner, we went to Battista's Hole in the Wall. This is an eclectic Italian restaurant. It is sooooo good! We went here by the recommendation of the fine people at the Stardust during our first trip to Vegas in 1994. And we've gone back every time we've been there. It's pretty much the same as I remembered. We highly recommend it if you go to Las Vegas. A little pricey, but worth it!

So, after dinner, we did some more driving on the strip! Of course, I love all the eye candy! (have I mentioned that before?!?!)

The Paris.....

The Venetian....

The Riviera....

...which was a favorite place of mine on our first trip to LV.
I just love the collage of lights on their sign!!!

So, after driving the strip....we decided we were tired of fighting the traffic, so
we decided to find some "indoor entertainment." So, after a hellacious round of slots and roulette in the casino (don't have to gamble big to lose it was fine.....however, you always love to win! which we did not!) Anyway, so after 30 minutes, we were looking for something else to do. We decided to walk the mall in our hotel. Well, it was this decision that turned into the night of the "bed spin!"

As we hit the top of the staircase, bored and down on our luck....we spied the 100oz. mug of Fat Tuesday's Daquiri's!!!! And as the guy recommended the orange-y concoction known as the Octane 191.....we jumped on board. As most of you know, Big Daddy and I rarely drink. So, we get this mug of jungle juice that is so big, one lady commented that "we'd be still drinking it on Thursday!!" Turns out if we were smart...we would have taken her advice and taken it to the room and put it in that upgraded fridge we had!!!! Ha ha ha!!!! But, no! We walked on down the mall with our 15lb. mug of Octane 191, sharing a straw. It was actually romantic. (well, as romantic as a Fat Tuesday Giganto Mug of 191 can be!!!)

We went to the magic shop and watched a master magician work his, well...magic.
(note to self: don't drink Octane 191 and watch a magic could freak you out!) Anyway, we enjoyed it and it was funny. Although, magic man was a little peeved we didn't buy his $39.99 card trick and the Deluxe Magic Pack for $135.
Oh well, we didn't care. We were lit and we were having fun!!!!

So, we proceeded to one of the zillion gift shops and when chotchkies became funny...we decided it was time to call it a night. No more WILD TIMES for us. After all it was 11:30pm!!!!! HA HA HA!!!!!!

So, without further adieu....I give you the "bed spins!"
(Make it stop, he says!)

And the "cheap date!" I'm such a lightweight!!

And finally, "the lush." Well, and the mug!!!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!! Hilarious!!!

The next night....we were headed to the CNN Party.
So, of course, I had to take a few more pictures.

The Excalibur...

New York, New York....

The sign for Ike's show he was at: NAB...National Association of Broadcasters.

On the way to the CNN party....aren't we cute?!
So, the party was at Club LAX at Luxor. And it was N-I-C-E!!!!!

And the surprise was the band was Kool & the Gang!
Can you believe it?!?!
A private concert from Kool & the Gang..... cool is that?!?!!?

I loved this guy....he so funky!

So, there was a completely open bar. Now, this party is costing CNN some serious coin!!! Renting out a club at Luxor. Kool & the Gang. Free liquor. WOW!!! (although, we saved them some money, since we had done our drinking the night before)

So, we tried to take a picture or two...but it took a few tries to get it right....


Headed to our temporary home.......the Stratosphere. But, we decided to take a detour to downtown LV.

We had never seen the lighted roof they built over downtown. It's really awesome!
Amazing, really how they can do that!

And my favorite....the Golden Nugget!! On our first trip to Vegas, we walked in there and I put a dollar in a $1 slot machine (when I mostly just played penny slots) and I won $50! I screamed so loud, people came running thinking I made a million bucks!)
But, I was stinkin' excited!!!!! Aw....memories.....

Then, on Thursday....I got to go to lunch with my step-cousin, Laurie.
Laurie moved to Nevada 3 years ago. She really likes it here. (of course, she lives out in the burbs!) But, she works for a convention management company and she loves her job! So, that's a good thing!!!
And she spoiled me by taking me to Landry's Seafood for lunch! Y-U-M!!!!

It was terrific to see her. She looks so good!
It's so weird to think she used to baby-sit our older boys!!!!

And the creme' de la creme' of our trip came on Wednesday night, when my darling husband surprised me with tickets to Phantom! I WAS SO EXCITED!!!
It was definately a splurge. Like an early anniversary gift. (we celebrate 16 years of wedded bliss next month!!)

And it was breathtaking.

The $40 Million Phantom Theatre at the Venetian was built especially for the show.
And it is gorgeous!! Truly gorgeous.

(click on the chandelier to see youtube video of the
overture of the Phantom! note: fast forward 2:05min into video.....)

And here we are....a self the Phantom Theatre.

We both absolutely loved this show!!!!!

After the show, we decided to grab dinner at the Venetian.
So, we chose this fabulous Mexican restaurant, along the indoor canals.
So, we were able to enjoy watching the lovebirds on their rides and
therefore, were able to enjoy the serenading they were getting from the driver.

It still amazes me they were able to build all this into the inside of this casino! And last but not least, I leave you with a beautiful photo of my man.This was during our dinner. I love this picture of him. He looks so happy.
So relaxed. So in love with the crazy scrapbook obsessed girl who is always and forever shoving her camera in his face trying to get the perfect picture to capture the moment. And I'm thankful that he tolerates it yet again. With a smile and no complaint. This picture reminds me why I love him so much.

Thank you Big Daddy for Phantom. Thank you for a splendid time away.
98Thank you for being a great father and a good provider.
Thank you for being you.
I love you more than I could ever possibly express. xoxo ~ r

My Art