Monday, January 23, 2017

SHINE 2017

With Cherry
My Noonday venture began back in the spring of 2016, very eagerly supported by Clare but certainly by Tim, too. Actually, all of them - Laura has modeled pieces and drawn Noonday art, Danny has willingly made product videos. I'm a lucky gal. Still, I wasn't sure what kind of feat it would take for me to attend the annual conference, SHINE, in January - but I knew I really wanted to go.
With Jalia, Noonday's first Artisan Partner
Fortunately, I have incredibly supportive and helpful in-laws who were more than willing to trek up here and help Tim with the kids in order for me to go. I had been told by fellow ambassadors that it would be an amazing weekend (a word that is way overused, in my book), something definitely not to be missed. I was really looking forward to it, but I did wonder if it would live up to the hype? Then again, having a hotel room to myself for three days was probably going to make the trip worthwhile regardless.

I headed to SHINE in Austin, TX not knowing a soul, at least beyond being Facebook friends. Honestly, this didn't really bother me. It was very clear from the get-go that this was a group of women it would be extremely easy to merge with. In fact, I met my first friend before I boarded the plane. (We were easily identifiable to each other, what with ALL the Noonday.) Bev had recently moved to Atlanta from Chicago (!), AND was meeting up with her daughter who is also an ambassador - something that I was SO excited to share with Clare. I can absolutely imagine that for us in the future.
Bev and Kaley, the awesome mother-daughter duo
In truth, I just loved everyone I met. By the time we headed to the hotel from the Austin airport, we were a merry bunch of maybe a dozen, and it was clear that every time I turned around I would make a new friend. And occasionally brush shoulders with Noonday royalty - I shook founder Jessica Honegger's hand in the elevator (after SHE introduced herself to ME), and as I turned around I realized I was standing next to Cherry, the unbelievably inspiring artisan from Ethiopia. I had barely checked in, and the weekend was already a success as far as I was concerned.
This was a truly impressive conference, blending emotion, inspiration, and nitty-gritty content that left us feeling pumped up and ready to change the world.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Stellar Sixth Birthday

"My birthday is my favorite holiday!" exclaimed Laura, both in anticipation of and at the conclusion of her big day. Coming on the heels of the traditional holidays, it makes sense that she would consider her birthday to be one of them. Probably also true for the rest of the family, given that it typically marks the final hurrah as far as eating goes.
Once again, Laura opted to celebrate not with a party, but with an all-day play date with Meghan, beginning with breakfast from Dunkin Donuts.
From there they played at our house until it was time to head to the American Girl Cafe for a celebratory lunch. The experience echoed Clare's 7th birthday, and it was so fun to watch the girls delight in it all. (It was also very helpful to have Clare with me when it came time to hit the restroom, stand in line to pay at the store, etc.)
Naturally we couldn't escape the mall without a ride on the carousel, at least not when it's your birthday!
From here it was time to go home, change clothes, frost her cake and then head to Catch Air for some play time. It was a zoo due to the rainy weather and day off from school and work, but the girls managed to have a terrific time and played for two solid hours.
This proved to be the perfect way to work up an appetite for more cake and ice cream. I loved that as we left Catch Air, going on about nine hours together, they were trying to negotiate MORE time together - a testimony to a successful day!
It really was a happy birthday, which was evident from Laura's beaming face. Sweet girls, sweet day!