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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Flowers in May - Use Your Stash Blog Hop

April showers bring May flowers!

It's May and our thoughts are turning to the warmer days of summer. In central Alberta, there aren't too many flowers blooming yet, but by the end of the month, there should be quite a few! Since it will be a while before we see any of the real thing outside, we are adding flowers to our artwork this month!

If you got here from Wendy's blog, you are on the right path, but if you get lost along the way, just return to Katy's blog for the complete list of hoppers. As you go, please take a minute to leave comments as we all love to get your feedback. So let's get hopping!

I love flowers! The colours, the fragrance, the butterflies and bees that flit and flutter over them. Here in central Alberta, it is too cool yet for flowers so this is the next best thing! I have seen the beautiful box cards that others have made and wanted to make one as well. Here is my first attempt. 
I used Jubilee B&T paper as well as some Colonial White cardstock for the base and sentiment, and Sorbet, Cranberry, Indian Corn Blue, and Olive for the rest. The centers of some of the flowers are from a very old set of compliments for the paper pack Boom-Di-Ada! I added some sparkle with our Glitter Glue in Silver, Red and Stardust. The "birthday" was coloured with our Exclusive Inks markers. 

That's it from me this month. If you are interested in any of the items in our artwork, please contact your nearest Close to my Heart Independent Consultant for more information. In the meantime, please hop on over to Casandra's blog for some more beautiful artwork!






Monday, 19 May 2014

Convention 2014, here I come!!

Every year since I started with Close to my Heart, I look forward to Convention. I start counting down the days as soon as I am home and start checking the airline sites to see when they have flights listed for the dates that I want. When we receive notice that the hotel can be booked, I am on it! Hubby has gone with me to the last two conventions (Dallas in 2012 and Disney World in 2013) but this year I am going by myself and rooming with some of my team. Then on the last day of convention, my sister and niece are coming down so we can spend some time at the parks together! Woohoo!!

It seemed every time I turned around, I thought of something else that had to be booked! It really helped to have lists. A Booking List, a Packing List, a Roomie Gift List. 

Booking List

I started out trying to figure out what had to be booked and found myself getting a bit overwhelmed, so I started writing it all down. Then I got a bit confused because I couldn't remember what I had and had not booked already. Time to make a list! I went step by step, from when I left my house to when I left the hotel to come home - what did I need at each step along the way. This made it so easy! I had forgotten to book my airport parking before I had my list, but once I started the step-by-step method, I had it all down and in order. 
Here is my booking list:

Airport Parking - JetSet
Booked
Flight return YEG to LAX
Booked
Hotel - Disneyland Hotel
Booked
Shuttle - Disney Express
Booked
Disney Park-hopper Pass
Booked
Disney Photo Pass +
Booked
Universal Studios Shuttle
Booked
Universal Studios Pass
Booked

Next, I created an Excel spreadsheet to track the expenses - everything that is paid in advance and everything I will need to pay for in Anaheim. This really helps with setting a budget.

Set Your Budget

Some of the Convention expenses are paid in advance (Convention fees, flight, Disney Shuttle and park passes, etc) and others are paid while there (hotel, meals, spending money, etc) and I always set a budget for what I need while at Convention. The hotel cost is set already so we know what that will be. Meals, though, tend to fluctuate. I found the site http://www.allears.net is awesome for figuring out the average cost of meals. Click Disneyland then Dining then Menus. This is one of those fiddly things where if your mouse wanders off the drop down menu, you have to start again, so go slow and make sure when you click Dining, you move the mouse right onto Menus. 


EVERY menu for EVERY restaurant, whether it is a sit down meal or counter service, is listed! With prices!! Now you can figure out how much (on average) you will need to put aside just for meals.



I am figuring $50 per day for meals (per adult when the hubby comes with me). I set aside $10 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $25 for supper. I will take my own snacks with me. If I only spend $40 one day, I have $10 more for another day! But if I spend $60 one day, I have $10 less for another day. :-( 

Something else to consider is that the portion sizes tend to be really large in some places and you can easily share an appy and a main with another person. Have a look at the meals of other diners as you are going in to get an idea. 

Time to Get Packing!

Time to get out the suitcase and decide what you need to take with you. CTMH Corp will have sent an email with the list of supplies required for Convention, and although you can definitely bring them all, see if there is someone you can share with so you can save space in your suitcase for all the goodies you will be getting at Convention. Plus all the souvenirs and roomie gifts! 

Since I am going for a week, I will need to pack clothes for 7 nights plus a spare. So here is my list:

Capris
5

Tops
5

Undies
8

Bras
4

Socks
5

Runners/walking shoes
2

Sweater
1

Hoodie
1

PJs
1 or 2

Clothes for banquet
1

Dress shoes/sandals
1

Swimsuit
1

Coverup
1

Toiletries:


Toothpaste


Toothbrush


Deodorant


Hairbrush


Shampoo


Soap


Alcohol wipes (watch the show The Dirt on Hotels on CBC’s Marketplace. Gross!!)

For in the parks:

Wipes for in the park


Sunscreen


Lip balm with SPF 30


Hat (wide brim to keep the sun off)


Nail file or emery board


Spritzer fan


Other:


Flashlight


Pen and paper


Tote to carry tools to creative sessions
Tool list from Corp

Small table-top trash can


Camera


Extra batteries or charger


Cell phone & charger


Extra SD card


Laptop
Or just use the business center

Laptop charger

Mouse

Small purse


Backpack


Something waterproof
For camera


Yes, it is long. Notice I didn't take capris and tops for 7 nights plus a spare. There are laundry facilities at the Disneyland Hotel and I plan to do a load of laundry one evening when I want to take a rest. That will save a lot of space in my suitcase! As you look through my list, you may want to change it to your own needs. This is mine that I have refined over the past few years of not only attending Convention, but also travelling occasionally for work. And you are saying "Why the flashlight?" Have you ever tried to find your way to the bathroom in a dark hotel room at 1:00 in the morning? If you don't have a flashlight, keep your cell phone handy and download a free flashlight app.  I like to take a backpack too with something waterproof to put my camera in when I go on the wet rides. A big garbage bag works great because then you can put your whole backpack in it to keep dry! Splash Mountain, here we go!!
I also added a small purse, preferably one with a cross body strap, to take to the park. It makes it easier to get money out for souvenirs or meals so you are not digging through your backpack trying to find your wallet and making those hungry people waiting behind you a bit peeved.

Have I missed anything? Oh! One more...

Roomie Gifts

Some roomies like to go all out and get extravagant, but then there are those like me that are on a budget and have to be careful what we spend. I have bought my roomies water bottles and added packages of flavoured drink mixes, Kleenex, wipes, lip balm, band-aids, pens, and candy. I have also received gifts of a hand towel to get wet and take to the park in a baggy for wiping a sweaty face or cleaning sticky fingers, water bottle, fan, candy, pen and notebook, and a mini album for character autographs!

Well, I think that is it. I can't think of any other lists for now, but if there is anything you think I should include, please leave a comment so I can make sure to update my lists!

Thanks for stopping by!