Gardner Greetings

Like many of you, we try to send out a family newsletter every year, updating people about what’s going on in the Gardner family and including a recent photo.

Also like many of you, we used to send our newsletter out around Christmastime. However, several years ago I realized that for me the Christmas update just made the holidays even more hectic, so I decided to send out the Gardner Greetings in the spring. That worked for a year or two, then it slipped to the summer, and last year I didn’t send one out at all!

This year I promised myself I’d get it sent out. And I’m making progress! Here’s the designed letterhead, which is step 1! Step 2 is finding a few hours to stamp them all. And step 3, of course, is to write the letter.

I was going to wait to post it until I got it completely done, but I could see it slipping later and later into the year, and I hope that by posting the designed letterhead, I’ll put a little pressure on myself to get this done—plus share a stamped project!

 

A Sara Shadow

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I’m home and at the office more than I have been in the past several months. I love it! It’s wonderful to be back in the office, attending meetings, and interacting with people more than I have been able to recently.

And I’ve enjoyed an added bonus this week—Sara has been going to work with me most days. When she and Sean chose to move back to Utah last year after he earned his master’s degree, one of the main reasons is because they both wanted to be more involved in Stampin’ Up! Sara has been a demonstrator for years, and she’s has always worked in the company—primarily as a creative assistant before she and Sean moved to Washington. But now that her children are older (and she’s found someone she trusts to watch the two youngest a few days a week), she is coming into the office a little more.

The plan right now is to have her shadow me, as well as other people in the company, attend meetings, and become even more familiar with what Stampin’ Up! is all about. Now before you rush to any conclusions, she isn’t planning on taking over my job (although I’m certain she’d do a wonderful job)—I have no intention of retiring any time soon! But I’m thrilled to have any of my girls who are interested work alongside me.

We’re not certain what role she’ll end up playing; for now, it’s just great to ride into work with her, brainstorm together, chat about things, and just spend wonderful time together. Can you think of anything more fun than working with your daughters?

 

Happy Father's Day

We had a full house tonight to celebrate the fathers in our family! Everyone was together except for Sage and Jason and Kona (we missed them!), so there was a lot going on! The weather was beautiful, and the grandchildren were running in and out all evening; they had great fun playing together. The grown-ups got to sit inside and chat, and it was wonderful—and a little crazy!

I showed you the briefcase cards I made for Sterling and the boys and the fathers in my life several weeks ago, but I thought I’d show you one photo of the finished projects. It was fun to get six such different-looking cards from one packet of Designer Series paper!

The boys all loved the cards—and they especially loved the beef jerky! That is a Father’s Day tradition for us, so they all knew what they were getting (no need to wrap the gift!). And they were looking forward to it. Gary West Jerky is the most delicious jerky I’ve ever tasted, but it’s kind of pricey, so we only splurge once a year.

So even though it’s late, I do want to say Happy Father’s Day to any demonstrators who are fathers—or any other father who happens to read this post! You’re amazing people, and we couldn’t live without you!

 

Back from Monaco

Just got back today from our first-ever Europe incentive trip (to Monaco), and I am forcing myself to stay awake for a little while tonight, so I can adjust to the time change. I’m struggling because I’ve had about 5 hours of sleep in the last two days, but I’m pretty sure that blogging about the trip will be a wonderful way to pass the next hour or so!

 

First, can I just say that Monaco is absolutely gorgeous! We’ve never been there before, and Sterling—who doesn’t really like traveling much, although he’s been a great sport to go with me on many Stampin’ Up! trips—said as we left, “I think I could come back here.” Now that is worth noting!

It was incredible. I heard someone say that you can’t live in Monaco unless you have lots of money (the most common cars we saw as we walked the streets were BMWs and Mercedes—and I saw a lot of cars that I couldn’t pronounce the names of!), but it’s an amazing place to visit!

During our welcome dinner on Wednesday evening, we gathered around one table (because it’s our first incentive trip, our numbers were rather small—23 counting demonstrators and Stampin’ Up! staff) and actually played a little get-to-know-you-better game before eating. Thursday, we took a tour of a perfume factory, then we each got to make our own perfume! Although I doubt anybody’s formula will be on the market anytime soon, it was a fascinating experience.

Lunch that day was in a charming old village, in a restaurant overlooking the ocean.

The rest of Thursday afternoon was a free day, and Thursday night we did Make & Takes—in our jammies! (You can’t have a Stampin’ Up! event without stamping, of course!)

As a side note, the shipments we had sent over more than a month earlier hadn’t arrived as of Wednesday; they were detained in customs. So demonstrators missed out on the first night of pillow gifts. We crossed our fingers and prayed that the shipment would come on Thursday; thankfully it did, so the rest of the event we had everything we needed!

Friday the entire day was free. A small group actually took a train to Italy; the rest of us roamed around Monaco. You could walk the entire town, and it was fascinating to people watch and enjoy the very elegant surroundings, including the palace (the locals call it The Rock) and the surrounding area. We ran into several smaller demonstrator groups, and we enjoyed chatting and getting to know those we met a little better.

Friday night was our last dinner, and we went to the Winston Churchill Terrace at the Hotel de Paris, which was an incredible evening. The food was fantastic (I have to say that the food at every single meal was fabulous!), and the room was elegantly decorated, including fabric on the ceilings and walls.

I anticipated the entire trip being an unforgettable experience, and I had hoped to get to know all the demonstrators personally. I wasn’t disappointed. The language wasn’t a problem (I had worried about it a bit), but everyone knew enough English that we were able to communicate just fine. Although we had demonstrators from three different countries, everyone was so incredibly warm, welcoming, and inclusive—I loved seeing the demonstrators interact, chatting and sharing. As we said our good-byes at our final dinner on Friday, I couldn’t help but tear up a bit.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we traveled two days (to and from) for the three-day event, so it feels like a whirlwind few days, but it was wonderful. I am already looking forward to next year, when we’ll be meeting in Prague—hopefully with these same inspiring ladies and a bunch of other demonstrators as well!

 

 

Off to Monaco

Just finished packing for what may possibly be my last long trip for several weeks—I’m so excited! This summer I intend to stick pretty close to home. . . a few family reunions, convention (of course!), and maybe a ride or two with Sterling.

For now, however, Sterling and I are heading to Monaca for our first-ever (woohoo!) Europe incentive trip. I’m not packing my computer; I’ve lugged it with me the past several trips and, except for taking it out of the case to go through security at the airport, never touched it, so I got smart. Besides, we’ll be traveling two days (to and from) and have three busy days there, so I don’t think I’ll have time to blog anyway.

I look forward to sharing the experience when I’m back though. I’m so excited to see our wonderful demonstrators and to enjoy this opportunity to reward and recognize their outstanding efforts. Talk to you then!

Wedding Photos

After Shanna’s wedding in April, I promised I’d post a link to the photographer’s site so you could see at least some of the wedding photos. And then life happened, and that promise slipped my mind.

 

Last week while we were at Lake Powell, I looked through the wedding photos for the first time. There were hundreds, and they brought back wonderful memories of a beautiful day. They also reminded me of my promise to you.

So here are the photos. I was going to just post a link to Scott Foust’s (the photographer) site [Click here], but there were several photos we really liked that he didn’t include on his site, so I figured I’d post some as well as include the link.

I tried to keep the focus on Shanna and Jared—after all, it was their special day. But Shanna insisted I include one photo of just me, the one wearing bright white booties. The story behind the photo is short and sweet—it was a crisp morning and when we walked around the temple grounds to take pictures, I wanted to keep my feet warm, so I put on my white booties, and then my high heels. Everyone thought it was hilarious, and the moment was captured in a photo so my family (and now you!) could tease me about it forever! (smile)

Thanks for sharing in this wonderful day with me all over again!

 

 

Home from Powell

We’re home! I mentioned I was off enjoying some R&R with my family, and we just got back from our annual trip to Lake Powell! It was particularly gorgeous and perfect this year—maybe because I was particularly exhausted and just needed some veg time. Seriously, I think I did less work than I’ve ever done; I really needed to just sit and stare into space for a few days and give myself some mental and physical catch-up time.

Of course, I didn’t really stare into space for too long. There are always meals to prepare and grandchildren to play with and family to enjoy and a few small work-related tasks to complete.

I’m not a real games person, but I did spend several hours playing cards with the grandkids (Speed with the older kids, and Go Fish with the younger ones). I also LOVED watching the older grandkids start venturing into some of the more adventurous water sports—without needing their dads or uncles to help them or spur them on. I can see how much fun this is going to be as our grandchildren get older!

One of the reasons I love our Powell trip so much is that it’s so routine and predictable and low stress. We don’t wear make-up (the girls wanted to make sure that everyone knew that when they looked at the pictures), we don’t do our hair—I hardly even get dressed! Seriously, I packed two pairs of pajamas and two swimming suits this year. When I wasn’t in my jammies, I was in my swimming suit. Does it get better than that!?

There’s nowhere to go (unless I have to boat out to find cell coverage to make a few phone calls), no decisions to make (we have the same menu every year), and no planning necessary. We have pretty much the same activities every year—water and jet skiing, bum busting, and playing in the sand, along with a movie at night—nothing to do but sit back and relax!

So now I’ve had a week off and I’m back at it! I feel refreshed and rejuvenated and excited for the coming weeks and months, the new catalog, our Europe incentive trip, convention. . . . so many fun things in store. And I feel ready for it all—Lake Powell does that for me every time!

 

A Little R&R

I won’t be posting for the new few days—I’m off for a little rest and relaxation—and won’t have access to the Internet. I hope you understand, and that the next few days (with school ending and seasons changing and all the fun things that take place this time of year) will be wonderful ones! If you don’t have any R&R on your calendar, schedule it now! We all need it! Talk again soon. . . .

Convention Is Coming!

Last week we had our Australian convention, and it got me all excited for our US/CAN convention, coming up in July! Hands-down, convention is one of my absolute favorite Stampin’ Up! events, and I am already looking forward to the opportunity to spend time with our wonderful demonstrators and feel the incredible excitement and motivation that always accompanies every convention.

Someone recently asked me, Why should a demonstrator attend convention?

While the question certainly made sense (after all, much of the information and training offered at convention can be found online), a long list of things came flooding into my mind—and I wanted to share them with you!

Certainly the opportunity to see new products being used for the first time is valuable. Watching people demonstrate how things work—and in some instances having the opportunity to do a little hands-on experimenting yourself—opens your mind to all sorts of exciting possibilities where new products are concerned.

The project ideas that are shown at convention are staggering. Besides the dozens of things you see on stage, there are literally thousands of projects shown on the display boards and in the marketing areas. I’m convinced you could find every project idea you need for the next year at convention!

The recognition and rewards that take place at convention are truly inspiring. The pride and excitement I see in our demonstrator’s eyes and on their faces when they march across the stage (and you didn’t think I was paying attention when I was back stage, did you?) makes me smile—and sometimes even tear up. And the Awards Night is a convention highlight for me—the chance to see demonstrators rewarded for significant achievements in their Stampin’ Up! career.  

There’s also classes taught by your peers, demonstrators who are going through what you’re going through and who have great ideas to share. There are classes taught by our professional training staff, who offer valuable tips and hints on how to strengthen your business in every aspect.

In addition, there’s our annual game show, live entertainment, prize patrols, the Memento Mall, the convention bag and Make & Takes (all that free stuff!)—none of which are even available online. The list goes on and on. . .

But by far, the most valuable aspect of convention for me is the intangible experience that takes place as we gather together, face to face, and share Stampin’ Up! with each other. The groups of demonstrators swapping in hotel lobbies, in the convention lobby, in corners of the hallways and at tables in the Gathering Place. . . I LOVE walking through that electric environment and seeing the creativity and camaraderie at work!

The  impromptu conversations that take place between new friends and old friends, as we discuss what we love most about Stampin’ Up!, and also what’s hard and challenging—then share stories and solutions and support.

And the opportunity you get to spend valuable time (sometimes even into the wee hours of the morning) with your fellow demonstrators. Women who get what you’re about, who share your passion for stamping and creating, who understand more than anyone else the role Stampin’ Up! has played in your life.

If you haven’t signed up to spend a few days with us in Salt Lake City in July, do it today—you won’t regret it. Convention is one of the most fun, exciting, and inspiring events we offer—I can’t wait to share another convention experience with you!