Ha Ha Suckers!

I love being able to see what search terms lead people to this quiet little corner of the intarwebs. One search string was grey goose scrapbooking. Well, to that astute crafter I salute you, and your taste in libations. I’m not sure you found what you were looking for aside from a kindred spirit who is far too humble to post their work. Sorry.

To the searcher who looked for the sunshine sweet tea blog, I hope it was this one you wanted, and I hope there are no other blogs like this one… for the sake of all the internets… But if there are others, hello and thank you. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

There’s another unfortunate string that I know for sure they did NOT come close to what they were seeking. To you, Mr or Mrs grey goose and weed, I hope you have a great time with that combo, try not to overindulge to the point of needing an ambulance, and definitely don’t drive. I’m also quite sorry your searches lead you here, to the space of just a girl, who likes good vodka, and hates to garden. Cheers!

Ironically, I googled that grey goose and weed string myself, and I eventually come up on page damn 11 of google. That is one persistent googler. I don’t know if I should be amused or weirded out.

Maybe sometimes google doesn’t have all the answers after all…

Dialogue, Opinions and Respect – Oh My!

A few weeks ago I was involved in two separate events, both involving the sharing of opinions online. They couldn’t have been more dissimilar in terms of topic, both were seemingly benign on the outset, both grew heated, both left me still irked in the end. In the hopes of somewhat putting it all to bed, I’m penning what I hope are my final thoughts on the matters in general. I see I’ve already placed mental walls between myself and all involved, and I already know I won’t be getting into any similar type discussions with these people again because of how these turned out. It’s unfortunate. It’s life. It didn’t have to be this way, but in the words of the great Belichick, “it is what it is”.

Those who know me, know I can be a right chatterbox. I enjoy discussion and sharing ideas even if they are opposing viewpoints. Sometimes that’s the best way to learn and grow, by viewing things from a completely different perspective. That being said, for it to be a true discussion, all involved need to be open-minded and respectful to other viewpoints, otherwise you are simply preaching. Once any discussion reaches that point, I’m gone. How can I possibly continue to respect others and their viewpoints if the same is not extended towards me. Newsflash people, when it comes to sharing an opinion, not fact, you won’t be 100% right 100% of the time. Suggesting one way is the only “right” way is narrow-minded at best, and an unfortunate way to go through life; so much will be missed.

Know also, if things turn personal and malicious, I will call people on it. Cruelty has no place within healthy, fresh dialogue. Again I’ll question the need to defend a point so aggressively that someone would resort to cruelty and malice. Some will defend themselves saying that they are simply passionate about a cause. I’ll suggest that It is entirely possible to display passion for a viewpoint, without being a shitty human being in the process. In my opinion, there’s that opinion thing again, coddling and making excuses for crummy behavior only shows that you accept it, and it will only be repeated at the next opportunity.

Just think of how much nicer this world would be if we were respectful of others, kinder to others, more accepting of others who are different from us. Ok, maybe that’s going a bit too far because I can’t condone being a NY Jets fan…I digress.. Be nicer to others, respect others, be willing to listen to someone other than your own preaching (unless they’re a Jets fan). Treat others as you woukd like to be treated – it sounds so simple, yet seems increasingly rare. Embrace diversity, it’s so very healthy. When in doubt, just remember it’s true what they say about opinions and assholes, everyone’s got one and they all stink!

Don’t like what I’ve had to say? That’s totally cool. We can respectfully discuss it, I promise to listen to differing viewpoints, and I just may agree with you in the end. It doesn’t make either of us right or wrong, just different. Unless you’re a Jets fan… ūüėČ

Cheers and be good to each other…

Holding Pattern

Well, I certainly didn’t mean to abandon here as long as I did, there just wasn’t much going on beyond the usual everyday routines.¬† I mentioned a few posts ago the suggestion of “Project Me”.¬† Well, while it was a delightful idea in theory, in practice it’s a bit on hold.

A few months back on a road trip I got the notion that it might be a good idea to contact a life coach for a bunch of various reasons. Sometimes fresh perspectives on all life things are very good things. And, I’m told it’s common for high level business executives to have one as well. While I hold no delusions of being a high level business exec, I figured it couldn’t hurt to look into it anyway. By way of twitter, I knew of one who hosted group sessions over wine, which I thought would be a good place to start. Unfortunately those are being restructured and on hold, but I did have one private session with her one afternoon via Skype.

On the whole, the experience was very good, very thought provoking, and it definitely gave me a new perspective on things I hadn’t considered before. She didn’t advise me to avoid bears however, and I’ve been told that all life coaches should tell you that at a minimum.¬† I will have to let her know if she ever asks me for my feedback.¬† All joking aside, she is wonderful and we had a fantastic rapport. She emailed me a great action plan list, that I plan to tackle, in good time.¬† I will probably schedule more sessions with her once I start the process because she is that awesome. Sometimes changes need to happen gradually, in the fullness of time, and need other pieces to fall into place first.

The Last Escape

I’m barely home from what is reported to be the sixth and final Creative Escape and I still have a hard time believing it’s all over. ¬†The end of an era, if you will. ¬†I’ve attended the last 3 Creative Escapes hosted by the amazing Heidi Swapp and Bazzill Basics Paper company, and the last 3 were held at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort in Chandler Arizona. ¬†Every year that I’ve been fortunate to attend it’s been the last week of August, and always deliciously HOT!!! ¬†It is a dry heat, as they say, but honestly you have no idea what it is like until you experience it. ¬†The event has been termed the “ultimate scrapbook indulgence”, and in my experience so far it is definitely true. ¬†I have attended 3 CKU’s prior and they don’t even begin to shine a candle to Creative Escape. ¬†Heidi and Bazzill really do all the important things right. ¬†What I also find I can’t appropriately describe is how inspired I feel when I’m there, and when I get home, and how emotional the event can be for me. ¬†Sometimes in all those projects, learnings and fun, a glimmer of perspective and real life shines through. ¬†It’s amazing how something like that really does put life, and what is truly important into focus when you least expect it. ¬†This year was no exception and did not disappoint. ¬†This post is mostly just going to be an event and travel recap. I will do a project recap once they are all finished, and for the first time ever they are all either complete or close to it (or as close as they’ll ever get).

So first of all, the lovely state of Arizona. Wow, what a special place. I keep trying to get to Sedona and the Grand Canyon, but I never seem to schedule enough time to make it happen. ¬†This year was no exception. ¬†Next time, honestly next time. ¬†The scenery in the Phoenix area is completely beautiful. ¬†Buildings and homes tend to be lower rise and in hues of brown because of the heat. ¬†Premium parking isn’t necessarily closest to the door, but in the shade, and some places do have shade constructed in the parking lots. ¬†I used to think I’d love to live in that area and that the heat would help my seasonal affective disorder, which I’m sure it would, but I learned on this trip that I need to live in a bigger city. ¬†That said, and this is totally shameful to admit, I do blend in Scottsdale, and could easily live within that lifestyle. ¬†Just to show how everything in Arizona is different, I snapped this pic of the McDonald’s closest to the Wild Horse Pass. ¬†

Incidentally, for a cactus to grow arms like this one has, it needs to be at least 50 years old. That is one mighty old cactus!

The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass. ¬†I have such mixed feelings about this resort. ¬†It is a beautiful and serene property. ¬†It’s very secluded and isolated, which just adds to the nice vibe. ¬†Service, however, is so hit and miss, and there are so many irritating annoyances. ¬†The first year they kindly placed me in a room overlooking the very scenic parking lot, and extremely far away from the conference centre where Creative Escape was being held. ¬†The second year, after several battles, I was still an inconvenient country mile from the event, but at least had a nice view. ¬†This time, while view was of the river the water shuttle uses, it was super convenient to the event.

The kicker for me though is as a rewards member I’m supposed to be given a complimentary room class upgrade, which I’ve never received, but have watched others in line ahead of me get no questions asked. ¬†I think it’s ridiculous most higher end hotels make you pay for internet, when the lower ends give it for free. ¬†But, what makes it worse here is that it is for pay, and wired, and the wire never reaches overly far to where it would be comfortable to be, just a firm chair and desk though the bed and comfy chair are in view. So close, and yet so far. ¬†I also find the resort highly buggy and get several insect bites if I try to sit in the lobby or lounge and use the free wifi, and 2 out of 3 years I’ve managed to get some pretty nasty spider bites there too… as if I’m not terrified of spiders enough… ¬†That said, here’s one of the amazing views I love at the Wild Horse Pass – sunset from the lobby, looking down onto the lounge and out to the pool, golf course and beyond. Stunning.

On to the fun stuff!

I stopped at Nothing Bundt Cakes¬†on my first day in and picked up one of my fav flavor bundt cakes; white chocolate raspberry! ¬†Yes, they sell nothing but bunt cakes, and I’ve tried most of them, and they are completely amazing!! ¬†And the staff at this location on Ray Rd. are super super nice. ¬†Don’t even question it, just know, you NEED to go.

I reunited with friends Gretchen, whom I first met at CKU Nashville in August 2007, and Dee, a friend of Gretchen who attended CKU Provo in August 2008. We of course had to dine at Arriba¬†because it’s tradition, and the food is amazing, and so are the drinks, and it’s unbelievably inexpensive.

Wednesday began with shopping at the amazing LSS run and owned by the fine Bazzill folk, Scrapbooks, Etc. ¬†The store is massive, but here is a glimpse at one small part. And of course, they have the latest and greatest, as well as a huge fabric section. Clearly having some klout pays…

And if that wasn’t enough, it was followed by shopping at the Bazzill warehouse where I got my yearly fill on Bazzill goodies.

Speaking of Bazzill goodies, one of the things I love most about shopping at Scrapbooks Etc. is their lollipop wall! ūüôā So so yummy! ūüôā

Wednesday evening led to dinner at the amazing Rawhide Steakhouse.  18 of us ladies from the Yahoo group traveled over for dinner together and had a fabulous evening.  We definitely could have had more join us, but Rawhide capped our table at 18.

Last year I actually tried rattlesnake there, and it really did taste like a salty popcorn chicken.  This year there was apparently a shortage on rattlesnake! Who knew?!  I settled for ribs, overcooked steak, shrimp and a delicious prickly pear margarita.

In case I didn’t have enough fun while out and about, I made sure my room was set up for fun times at all times as well!

Friday I got to watch a dust storm threaten to roll in from the distance, but it never really seemed to amount to anything.

Friday evening led to some fun times with friends, and some casino losses at the nearby casino.

After 2 days of classes and the bazaar on Thursday, Creative Escape was coming to a close. I loved listening to Heidi Swapp speak as the closing keynote speaker. ¬†I loved getting to spend some last few moments with friends from years gone by, and getting to know others even better this year. I shopped for Jody at CKU Nashville 2007 as her secret sister and we’ve met up every single summer since. She’s an awesome lady and a lot of fun to be with, and I have tremendous admiration for her strength.

Add in the Michigan and UK connection and the good times just amplified. Sarah from the UK reminded me so much of my good friend Suz back home it was almost like having her there with me.. except I wished she was actually there with me.

2 quotes I loved from Heidi’s keynote, that had me in tears I’ll have you know (the speech, not the quotes).

Some of the aftermath of projects and shoppings…

Sunday I partook of some much needed relaxing at the amazing Aji Spa. It’s probably my 3rd favourite spa behind Le Blanc Spa and Aventura Spa. ¬†I treated myself to a treatment called “Bahn” because you can have a massage or facial at any old spa and I like to try things that are unique to that spa.

bAhN (Blue Coyote Wrap) Symbolic of Coyote’s coat turning the beautiful color of Bluebird, our proprietary Azulene mud is applied to the body. Unlike prideful Coyote, as the blue is removed, your skin will feel more radiant, soft and beautiful. The entire experience is completed with a hydrating cedar and sage oil full body massage. Your therapist will give you a copy of the Bluebird and the Coyote Legend for you to take home and share with your friends and family.

Now that I’ve had it, it was nice, but I can’t say the mud was outstandingly amazing for my skin, but love the steam capsule, and it did help my nasty spider bite. ¬†If I should make it back to Aji, I will likely just stick with the less expensive massage, but I’m glad I tried the Bahn all the same. ¬†After that I had an amazing lunch and cocktail and spent the rest of the day enjoying the spa pool and the rest of the facilities. It was hard to leave because it’s really up in the air if/when I will be able to return.

As the sun sets on the final Creative Escape I am filled with nothing but gratitude I was able to go for so many years. Gratitude for finally making it to the beautiful Arizona. Gratitude for meeting so many fantastic amazing women. Gratitude for learning from so many great talents in the industry. Inspired to go home and create more. Thank you to all for so many amazing memories. Until we meet again, I treasure all the moments that are absolutely Worth Remembering.