Huge thank you's to everyone who placed an order with me in the last year. And an even bigger thank you for my team members, who promoted in the last year. It is because of you, extra-special people, that I was able to unexpectedly earn the Weekend Getaway trip from Stampin' Up!. (We get points for our sales and team promotions to earn this trip.) It wasn't even on my radar this year. So, it was surreal to realize on June 30, 2015 (the last possible day) that this trip was going to be a reality. What a gift for Dan and I after a challenging year.
Instead of a four-day trip, we extended our trip to nine days. The first five days were visiting family and a friend and was out of our pocket. But, the last four days were all paid for, as it was the official Stampin' Up! Getaway Weekend.
Stampin' Up! scheduled all our flights through the Los Angeles Airport. We got our rental car and headed south to San Diego to visit my sister. Anyone ever drive in LA traffic? It is bumper-to-bumper just about 24/7. No matter where you are going, you have to add one to two extra hours. Our 90 mile drive took 3 1/2 hours. And, that is driving in the carpool lane every chance we could!
But the drive was worth it to see my oldest sister, Jan. She was a second mom to me when I was growing up. She is someone I admire and love so much. We went to church with her and her family. Afterward, we went to lunch and spent the entire afternoon together. Her husband, daughter and son also joined us. I missed not seeing her other two daughters, but they live on the East Coast. I bawled my eyes out when we had to leave. She is extra-special to me!
Our next destination was north about six hours to Visalia. This included extra time driving through LA (of course). My friend, Sue, recently moved to Visalia to take care of her aging mom. We met many years ago at church. Our children were close in age and we all became close friends. What are the odds of meeting another Sue, who also named her daughter, Melanie? Slim!
We had two days to spend with Sue. The first day, she and I went shopping for junque and other unique treasures. The second day we drove up to the Sierra Nevada foothill village of Three Rivers and explored. We couldn't go up to the Sequoia National Park because the air quality was so poor due to the wildfires.
We drove back to the LAX Airport to return our rental car. Are you counting how many times we drove in LA traffic? We are at three! But, no more whining about driving. Because now the pampering part of our trip began. Stampin' Up! provided luxury transportation from LAX to Newport Beach. We never touched our luggage once, but it magically appeared in our beautiful hotel room.
Every morning we had a breakfast buffet in the stunning Rose Gardens at the hotel. Our lunches and meals were wherever we chose to go (we had a per diem). There was a hospitality table with two Stampin' Up! employees available to help us with anything we needed.
Here I am in front of the hotel fountain. Dan is standing by a camouflage-looking tree. One day, we went shopping at the Fashion Island Mall. We came upon a beautiful pond with the biggest koi I've ever seen. And, here I am with some of my demonstrator friends, who are in a blog hop with me.
One day Stampin' Up! provided transportation to Laguna Beach. It was over 100 degrees and hot! We walked along the beach, explored all the fun shops and had lunch.
Every evening after dinner, we would return to our hotel room and there would be a "pillow gift" from Stampin' Up! It's no surprise that these gifts were all beautifully decorated.
The first night was this box of Sunshine!
The second night was this box of stamping goodies!
And the third night was this beautiful bag, which matched the smaller bag that held our travel documents and personalized luggage tags. I loved being spoiled with these pillow gifts!
There wasn't any official stamping on this trip. But demonstrators did organize a late-night card swap at the pool. Another fun time to see old friends and to meet new friends.
The last morning, while we were at breakfast, our luggage was picked up from our room and loaded on the luxury transportation. We relaxed on our ride back to the LAX Airport. And we continued relaxing, even as we were stuck in LA traffic again. We had an uneventful flight and we were happy to be home. Green grass, leaves changing on the trees, less traffic and cooler temperatures. Home sweet home!
Check back tomorrow, as I will share my card from the card swap in Newport Beach! It's a WOW!