Friday, July 22, 2016

Close to My Heart 2016 Convention

2016 CTMH Convention
Orlando, Florida
June 22nd-26th

The 2016 Close to My Heart convention was held at Disney Coronado Springs in Orlando Florida. This was a trip I knew I would enjoy, I love getting together with these ladies, it is Close to My Heart after all and I haven't been to a convention in years and Hey its held in Disney World. Who wouldn't enjoy three days of everything AMAZING? It is and it was....I just HATE flying and boy was I freaking out about it.
Day 1:
Our early flight out of Syracuse was fun. Several of my CTMH team met up at the gate and had a little time to spare before we borded.

These were a few of my flying partners. After posting on facebook my airport status my friend Terri who works at the airport found me. I haven't seen Terri in years it was a great time to catch up and it helped a bit with my nerves. Of course Terri had to tell stories about my WILD past to my CTMH friends. Somehow her story of me ripping out the underwires of my bra in the middle of a bar didn't seem to shock or surprise any of these lovely ladies.

A few shot of all of us before they started calling time to get on the plane.

I immediately informed my neighbor of my fears on flying. He didn't seem to mind if I was just a little jumpy...but his wife (sitting behind me) reminded me to "keep my hands to myself."  Really?...not planning on groping your spouse in my anxiety ridden fit of terror I promise!
Once up I settled my nerves and enjoyed the view.  There was one point before we flew over the clouds that I had a moment of panic. If I couldn't see outside as there were so many clouds...however could the pilot see to fly the plane?
 but we made it above the clouds and it was nothing but blue skies ahead.
 Settling in and keeping my mind occupied I enjoyed my Micky Mouse bracelet, my Outlander book and look a snack.
 Before I knew it we were descending,  I can do this I really can.
 WE MADE IT!!!!! Landed safely.

Arriving at the airport we all headed to the Disney Magical Express.... first a ride on the tram

 and soon we were at the transportation shuttle stop.
 Yeah!!!! The fun is about to begin. Don't these ladies all LOOK excited?

It's the Magic bus....
 and we get cartoons too.

 As we drive towards our hotel I see this beautiful place. The Gaylord Convention Center. This was where my very first CTMH convention was held in 2008. I LOVED this place. We had an amazing time.
 A few stops before our hotel...

 and then there it is....
 Isn't it beautiful....
 The Coronado Springs Resort.

 This grand hallway is where we waited for check in....and look what I found when I attempted to take a picture of the hotel's signature.
 When I looked straight on at the scene above all that was shown was the Coronado Springs Resort emblem.
(Here it is up close)

but when I took the picture...Look I see a Hidden Mickey in the lights. As I waited for check in I admired the art. 

We finally got all things in place and were ready to hit the rooms. 

We walked through these halls all week getting to the convention center...

I noticed the signs surrounding the bay area around our hotel...
Here is a shot of the bay. Across from our room is the larger pool area.
Our room..Just one number off from my home address. Guess I will not be forgetting what room I'm in.
Goodies from my roomates. Kim and Ryan. Greatest Roomies ever.
Another picture looking towards the pool area from across the bay.
and a close up of the blanket on the beds.
After settling in and getting ourselves aquainted with our surroundings we all decided that a little lunch was worth looking into.

I loved these lights and is that banana's?
First thing I felt I needed to do was purchase one of the Disney resort refillable cups. Drinks all week while at the resort. Quite cost effective as I filled it often over my four days stay. I also tried some soup. (I stepped out of my box here) I think it was just a little to much of my not so favorite veggies in this Mexican style luncheon for me.
As if you couldn't guess. Florida is HOT in June. Very Very HOT!!! Pool time sounded like a dream so we found our way to this small oasis located close to our room.

Ryan wanted to schedule a spa time for herself, while Kim and I admired the lounging area.
Can I tell you....Florida is so hot that the pool was barely refreshing. It is like swimming in bath water.We all enjoyed it just the same.
On or return to the room. We did a little more exploration of the resort grounds. I cannot tell you how attention to detail this place is. Everything is SO beautiful.
Ryan had to get into the fountain for a picture.
There are quite a few fountains, and all lovely.

Refreshed from our swim, we decided to head off to what used to be Downtown Disney. It is now called Disney Springs. Kate and Lynne connected with us too.
Inside the main building I spot this ceiling.
As a resort guest we had access to free transportation to all the theme parks and Disney Springs. (I had hoped to take these shuttles to some of the area resorts just to see the designs. Unfortunately it is a little more complicated then simply jumping on the bus and going to one of the resorts. I would have had to take a bus from my resort. Get off at Disney Springs walk to the bus hub and then go to the resort I wanted to see...and do the same thing on the way back. It was really much to much to expend the effort.)
Here we go another bus ride.... and this is all still DAY 1.
We arrived....This place is bigger then I remembered. My family and I were here last year and I do not remember it being so BIG. I also didn't remember; the heat, and I wasn't with four other strong minded women who had equally different ideas about where  each of us wanted to go first.
I knew I wanted to find myself an Annie and Alex charm bracelet,  Feet accomplished. There were so many to choose from. I settled on this one as it reminded me of my Grandmother, who would sing the song.
 I was pretty much satisfied with where ever we went after this and went along with whatever direction I was lead.
I guess this is the Springs... It really is quite beautiful.
Along with being a little silly, we shopped for shoes, searched for a place to eat, and enjoyed the scenery.
"ouch..this sculpture is a little HOT!"
Eventually we all decided to have a cocktail at this interesting little bar. The Hanger.

I had Reggies Revenge.  There were a few other fun drinks that came to our table.

Kim was double fisted.
Right next to the Hanger were these cool cars that ride out into the lagoon. COOL!!!
Drinks down we continued to walk and enjoy the fun. Still in search of a place for dinner.

The Lego area is always so fun.

This guy has been here for as long as I have been visiting Disney with my kids. I have shots of my oldest standing next to him around 1999.

The Disney Store is also a highlight. I have to say however that EVERYTHING is expensive. I really searched hard to find some souvenirs for my co-workers that wouldn't break the bank, I was also looking for fun beach towels to bring back to my family. I was unsuccessful simply because I am tooo cheep. Let me say this, if you can think of it....there is probably item out there associated with Disney. I saw it all.  I love you Disney but your prices are CRAZY!!!

Lynne and Kate pose with Sleeping Beauty.

The balloon was way up high in the sky. Last time I was here it was tethered to the platform. 

Originally we had planned dinner at the bowling place. (a fifty's style burger grill). When we came up on it the entire place was booked out for a reunion. Bummer. This put a hitch in our plans and a few changes in where we were headed next. We all had to get back to the resort for the TEAM MEETING.  We settled after walking around for quite a bit in the heat on The House of Blues. 

I was pleased. Burgers are my favorite and just get a load of the decor. for dinner??? Do I really have to think to hard?
Yep!! Could you have guessed. Burger and fries please.
Out front of the blues place.

Rushed but satisfied...we headed back to the resort. I caught a few shots on our walk. Love these guys.
Another fountain. Disney LOVEs their water features.
Our team meeting was starting soon and I needed to get back to the room for my Crazy TOP hat. I was glad I did because...look what I spotted on my way to the room.

Its a gator!!! He's a little guy, but I bet he could bite just the same. I was also grateful for my top hat, I won a stamp set. There wasn't much competition as it was me and one other person who participated.

Sandy (my upline) gave us all these adorable note books. Win again!!!

My team has a bigger team over our and a bigger team over hers and so forth. Bren and Linda where tonight's hostess's for our team meeting. Two amazing ladies, whose creativity and talent inspired all of the ladies in this room to pursue their own close to my heart business.
 The ladies....

 Fun Fun Fun. A little competition and friendly search before face off with Jimney Cricket.
 and Chewbacca.

 Bren shows off her engagement ring.
 Me in my top hat.

After the meeting...

a lttle more pool time to cool down. We were all TIRED after that.  Off to the room for some welcomed sleep. Tomorrow is Day Opening Day!!! I did catch a few fireworks just before bed.

Goodnight Day 1: YOU WERE BEAUTIFUL!!!

Day 2:

Good Morning to a new day!
My roomies were not up yet, so I took a stroll around and caught some more wildlife.  Good morning friend.

and a little turtle popped his head out to say hello. 

 I even caught this little guy with my phone...he ran pretty time to play.

These cute flamingos don't really count as wildlife.

but I had to get a picture.
 Roomates still not up...I decided to walk around the bay and take a look at what was on the other side, The grounds are beautiful. and it appeared only the grounds keepers were up this early, Other then mowers and gardeners I had this place to myself....and a few runners. I gotta give it to those runners who actually do their run while on vacation and in this heat...Early this am it was already beginning to get WARM.
 I found the larger pool on the opposite side from my room. Here is the hot tub,
 The main pool.
 The kids playground.
 A few water slides too.
 View from the other side of the bay.
 I enjoyed the flowers too.

 It was a nice serine walk and by the time I filled my Disney resort cup up with coffee (2xs) and headed back to the room. My roomies were about ready to head to the convention hall. Doors open at 9am!!!
I cannot begin to explain the feeling in the air just before the doors open for Convention!!!! Lets just say the excitement is contagious. !!!!!

 and when the doors was a mad dash to find good seats....Laura and Shelia were nominated to make the dash and hold down a table for us.

 Not bad seating. Sorry so blurry.
We also got some goodies.....

And shortly there all begins...
Each convention has had a theme and this year was from the Disney Movie Inside Out. Each of the presenters represented one of the (emotions) or in this case one of the colors/paper groupings; Whimsy, Adventure, Enchantment and Basics.
That's Kristina up there. She was amazing.

Basics, Adventure, Whimsy and Enchantment.
We got all kinds of great information on the NEW idea books. All themed based around the Adventure, Whimsy, Enchantment and Basics. Plus new colors to add to the fun!!!
A morning filled with new items it was time for lunch, but first we had to all get the new book for ourselves and a travel toke. Shown below is the travel tote. Lynne had her doll in it. I made a joke about her doll being left alone while she went to get some food.

More new product introduction.

 and a few words from Sticky boy.....
Sticky boy is the CTMH first acrylic stamp designed by Jeannette. He is always hiding at convention and other CTMH held events. I have found one at every convention I have attended. Of course the search for him was on this year as well.
His design has changed some with some of the different conventions (hats and things) the conventions I attended he looks just like that. I have a tiny one and a regular sized one that was damaged when I stuck him to my car visor as inspiration. Unfortunately he deteriorated from the sun.
This year, Sticky Boy has a girlfriend, and she may be hiding here at convention this year!!!!

A little more inspirational products from Basics.

Some more new products...
.)Lunch break

My roomies and I posed for some shots.

One of the teams had decorated Flamingos....I LOVED it!!!

 Think I am going to have to get myself some flamingos and do them up myself.
 The afternoon was all about He ART!!!!
Love'n the items that were made by amazingly talented women from the new products featured.

Thank you for displaying and sharing your art.
A little afternoon break in the sun before extravaganza.

NOW its time to make our OWN art!!!!

 My projects

 as well as made with a slight twist,
 The art gallery had some AMAZING pieces.

 One of the auction items.

 Kristina and Kim.
Kristina and Kim.

WOW what a day!!!! Now time for dinner.
Lynne, Ryan, Kate, Kim and I had a nice mexican meal.
I split a fajita order with Kim. YUMMY!!! Now for desert.

This was mine.
Evening sun sets over the resort, while a Corona (with Lime) rests in my hand.

Often times people will swap cards while they are at convention. Kim did and this is her stash. I LOVE it!!! So have to plan to do a swap if I go to next years.
Aren't these BEAUTIFUL?

Night continues to envelope the resort.

but were not DONE yet. Swimsuits on and drinks in hand we head over to the pool for a little late night cool down.
I couldn't wait to get in the pool. The water is never really cool. Lynne, Ryan and I even did some of the water slides. (Yes I survived.)
Drinks pool side with fireworks off in the distance. WOW!!!

What an absolutely amazing end to an incredible day!!!
Day 3
Just like yesterday we all gather at the door to run and find a table to claim. Linda's team is right behind us..
Silly girls.

Our team all dolled up in our team shirts Linda had provided. LOVE IT!!!

I actually got in a picture.

There's Linda!!!!
Let the convention continue....

Sharing with lifelong CTMH friends.
Supervisors and above.
and theres Sandy right in the middle.
More amazing art work. Many of these items are featured in the new idea book and several where auctioned off for Operation Smiles.

After lunch, Kim and I decided to do some searching for some sticky friends ourselves and GUESS what???? There she was hiding in a basket...I found a sticky girl!!!!

Here she is next to Ryans's sticky boy she found at a previous CTMH event.
Well I simply could not be contained!!!!!!! Settling in for the afternoon was difficult.

We had sadness to being the afternoon.
I think we were all feeling a little silly...Here's Christine making a really silly face.
More artwork.
Then dinner. Can you guess what I had???? We ate at a restaurant at the resort. Before we left Ryan had made reservations, We wanted to go eat dinner at Disney Lagoon again, but it would have cost us each $10- CA fee. (Just a tip for those of you who might be thinking about reservations.)
So we ate. (It was okay) and then headed down to Disney Lagoon again.
This afternoon trip to Disney Lagoon (Downtown Disney) was much more crowded then the other night. (Weekend). We first entered a make up store that Ryan was interested in. There was barely room to move in it. (I so wish I had taken a picture. I just hate that my new camera is so much of a hassle. My old one, even though it had all the gadgets and gizmos to adjust, if I simply pointed an shoot the picture would still come out beautiful. This one if I try to catch a quick shot it usually is blurry and it sometimes takes forever pushing the button down even when Im not taking a quick shot, I MISS MY OLD CAMERA.....

Shopping is always fun. I had to get a picture of this XXXXXXXXXX- Large Under Armor shirt. I thought of my husband when I saw this. He always jokes about the Under armor shirts are suppose to define the abs. His, he reports is broken,
More shopping and this time we take our time and enjoy the area. These statues.....are GREAT!!!

Back to the Disney Store.....I MUST get some thing to bring back to my family.
These's Peter and Wendy (my name sake). I was actually named after my grandmother Gwendolyn but my mother always told me that I was expected to have two younger brothers Michael and Jon. After me....they had enough children and that possibility ended right there.
The detail and work that goes into these places is incredible.
Outside Stitch waits for the right moment to spit on you. I had to stay around long enough to catch some alien spittle, I actually ended up getting all the kids and hubby cute key chains. One a piece. Thats five people. My total was close to $60- on KEY CHAINS!!!
Outside Once upon a Toy..Kim and I got sprinkled with fairy dust and promised all our dreams would come true. 
We found some more fun stores. I loved the clothing. The modern day princess attire is amazing and I soooo wanted to buy that cute Disney Vera Bradly purse. Too FAT for the clothing and to SKINNY in the wallet for the purse. 

These vintage style glasses were AMAZING. If only they were not real glass I would have gobbled them right up. There was more vintage and I simply could not resist.
I may have been able to stuff these adorable pillows in my travel bag...
Oh MY....I so remember these guys. The Orange Bird must have been a character at Disney when I was little. 1974 was about when I went with my parents for the first time. I saw him and I was flooded with nostalgia. It is very possible I had one as a souvenir back then.

I did end up getting some Fantasy land vintage plastic bowls for my someday RV.

EWE!!! Why didnt any one tell me my outfit was awful. Buzz didn't seem to mind. 

Pooh and tiger were some of my favorites growing up too. Thought this was one cute cup.
Pooh shot.

How about a store that sell miss matched socks. .....really I'm not kidding.

We also found this store PLUSH every thing....If there was a character out there they had it,

Dumbo and his mother.
I cant remember this dogs name from Up but I do remember "SQUIRREL!!!"
Night closed in on us pretty quickly. The view over the Lagoon was incredible.

Poor Ryan's feet had been hurting her for days. She was on a search for comfortable shoes. She finally settled on some super cute Uggs...Kim bought some too. I found some Vera Bradly Beach towels on Clearance. From $35- to $17- (Yeah I'm a sucker). I had planned to buy the kids beach towels from Disney (I wanted character towels) but they were so thin and cheaply made. These cuties I found were thick and nice. Just like a beach towel should be. This was in the bottom of my bag. It is good to be a girl!

 I of course had not thought about how I was going to get those five thick beach towels back on the plane for home.

Good night Day 3

Day 4:
The rush to find seats was not as intense by day three, The excitement was still there, but I think we were all feeling the initial thrill of convention was winding down.
Let Day three begin.
First up was Operation Smiles. This is a foundation for helping children born with a clef lip who cannot afford the surgeries to have it corrected. Donations and specials are run through the Close to my Heart business. (Our auction later in the day donated thousands.)
One of the Dr's who has been preforming the surgeries spoke to the generosity of CTMH for Operation Smiles.
Then Jennette came and spoke with us.
She is the founder of Close to My Heart. She has been ill for some time. I am not sure what she is battling but she continues to be a trooper.

Jennette insisted that we all get the NEW seasonal expressions idea book....The audience went NUTZ!!!

The afternoon consisted of the Operation Smiles  Auction
Some of these items went for thousand and thousands of dollars. It was incredible. I wish I had paid more attention to what was raise.

The last agenda of the day was Face book parties. The new was to increase sales though social media.
  No break for lunch. We will all reconnect for the Awards dinner later.
We broke for the pool and a little sun before cleaning up for a nice evening dinner with all the Awards given to members of the CTMH teams and individuals.
Can you see the butter..Sorry its so blurry...Its Mickey Mouse. 

Ladies looking LOVELY!!!
Lynne, Kate and Christine
Shelia and Sandy

Lara and her daughter

Ryan, Kim and me!
A nice soup starter,

and the main course. YUM YUMS YUMMS!!!!

and this was desert!!!! OH MY MICKEY!!!!
Then the awards began. Sandy and Linda are up on stage.

Sandy is right in the middle.
More awards
Silliness at the table

Then it was time for the left right game.

Christine was the winner at our table.

Sandy's face says it all about an award a friend received,
After all the awards... I nearly LOST my MIND when I saw the DISNEY CHARACTERS coming our to make an appearance.

We got a team shot with Donald.
Then I had a solo moment with Goofy. He is so incredibly charming.
I could barely contain my excitement with Joy and Sadness

Of course I needed to get a pic with Mickey too.

Minnie was there too, but we missed getting in line to meet with her.

WHAT A NIGHT...WHAT A WEEK...WHAT A THRILL!!!! I cannot wait to come back next year....and guess what!!! Next year Convention will be in Utah!!! The company's hometown.
The rest of the night was spent trying and retrying to get all those towels into my bags...Well no matter we three have a flight to catch soon. The Disney Magic bus leaves at 3am. I got very little sleep that night.

Day 5: 3am
The line for check in was so long and it took forever. The plane was boarding soon. I had moved ahead of the girls and when I got to security I waited. and waited and waited. I finally went into another LONG line for security when Ryan texted me and reported they were boarding. I nearly lost my mind I still was in a long line and still needed to catch a shuttle. I was sure I would miss my flight. A nice women let me cut ahead of her as I am sure I looked like a CRAZY lady asking people if I would make it to my plane on time. I got through and I started to RUN...Stuck waiting at the shuttle stop I asked some Jet Blue attendance if they thought I would make my flight. They all agreed it would be tight, All this was happening as Ryan is texting HURRY!!!

I was about to CRY I was so concerned that I would miss my flight. It was just like in the movies I ran so fast sweat was dripping off my body. I got to the gate and guess what, There was a line slowly boarding the plane. So I ended up standing and waiting. REally  now! So I made it and the concern that I might miss my plane over-seeded my fear of flying on the plane... and once we were up and going THIS VIEW made everything seem WONDERFUL.