It's Official - Vacation Began!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 - 
It is no secret.  I'm a Disney brat.  Love everything that Mr. Walt gave us.  So when the organization I work for selected and held their national convention in Orlando, it only made sense to plan a vacay around it!  And since some of my closest friends (yes, they also work for Sigma Kappa) were around, we already had the crew ready for some great times together!

Convention ended on July 11, and that is when the vacation began.  During what we (those who experience convention as a staff member) like to call "convention coma," we decided to kick off the vacation with dinner and a stroll at Downtown Disney after lounging at the pool the following day.

Side note, have you seen the Marriott World Center's pool?  It is just one reason to visit this amazing property...

Really, the photo doesn't do it justice.  Photo is compliments of the Marriott World, though this is what I looked out at every morning!

One of the many reasons I love Disney is their attention to detail.  And when they take that detail and apply it to food, well, it is almost like a match made in heaven (personal opinion of course.)  Some of the adorable food items that I found while strolling the stores:

After a stroll, we decided to dine at Raglan Road Irish Pub.  Decked out to replicate an Irish pub (which I miss so much!) you instantly want to indulge in a beverage and authentic Irish food.  The dark carved wood and accents of deep green around the leather booths - it just feels right to sit back and relax.  And of course, a dancing Irish man helps too.


For dinner, I had ordered the wild mushroom and chicken pot pie.  As they call it "Pie in the Sky," the pot pie was served with a lightly dressed "Rocket" salad.

The pie was lacking in flavor and mushrooms, but was a great creamy chicken mixture under the flaky crust.  Of course, the puff pastry was wonderful and crispy, so my excitement to indulge in the Irish fare with a twist was slightly shattered when I actually had it. It was just lacking in flavor overall, leaving me with a bland cream sauce.  Now, I don't think this is normal, as I have other items at the restaurant before and have always been pleased.  I still recommend the restaurant if you are wondering where to eat and are at Downtown Disney (though the Wolfgang Puck's restaurant has this pumpkin ravioli which is just beyond amazing....)

Other things you see while walking around Downtown Disney:

 Overall, day one was a success!  Next up, Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Here is a preview...

Cause, as you can tell, we sure are!

**Thank you to my friend RN for letting me steal some photos - dancing man, lego dragon, clock crock and our excitement**

Sigma Kappa National Convention

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - 
For many people, there comes a day when life changes (let's call this an engagement) and they start planning for an event to celebrate this life change (and this, we will call a wedding.)  I was this person in 2006/2007 when my best friend got down on his knee in Epcot and asked me to share his life with him.  We planned for 11 months, and then we got to say "I do" in front of friends and family.  Happiest day of my life as my best friend and I shared our love with those around us.

Photo recap - love my hubs!

After this celebration, many of the newlyweds get sad and think "now what?" because of all this free time on their hands.  Now my friends, this was and is not the case for me.  And no, it was not because I was "over" the planning process or because I'm getting married again (though hubs knows i can't wait to plan our commitment ceremony & celebration!)  It was (and still is) because I'm a meeting and event planner!  I get to do this every day of the year. Honestly, who could me more lucky (I hear some people groaning...)

Professionally, I plan for a whole year every year.  This past year, I had the wonderful opportunity to plan the 84th national convention for Sigma Kappa Sorority.  It was an energizing, moving, and all around great event.  Over 650 women with a common interest and passion came together to celebrate this year's theme, "The Magic of Service" on Orlando, Florida at the Orlando World Marriott Resort.

Highlights of this year's event include:
  • Location.  It was in Orlando, FL at a the beautiful Orlando World Marriott.  This property is gorgeous, boasting a beautiful pool and pristine meeting space.  And the staff was absolutely wonderful which allowed the attendees (and staff) to enjoy every minute.  Thank you Orland World Marriott (specifically, Stephanie, James and Gus Gus!)
  • Food!  This was some of the best banquet food a planner could ask for due to variety, taste and presentation.  From a variety of wraps served family style to celebrate the Panhellenic community to the filet and shrimp during the Achievement banquet, the food was phenomenal.  The hotel staff even surprised me with my favorite food - nachos - during a banquet, just because I was craving them. Phenomenal.
  • Confirmed Conventionite Celebration.  This banquet is a big party for all of the attendees and their guests to enjoy as we honor our Confirmed Conventionite's.  A CC is a Sigma Kappa member who has been to three or more conventions.  This year's theme was "The Magic of Character," and all attendees were asked to dress up as their favorite character. I, of course, chose Disney's Alice and had a wonderful evening dancing with friends.  It is always great to see our collegiate women mix and mingle with the alumnae.  Too cute for sure.

    Convention is an experience where the women are energized and excited to bring information back to their chapter, and I am honored to be a part of that.  Being on-site at whatever event I plan, whether it is a meeting or a friend's wedding, makes me remember why I love what I do.  I love to entertain and see people happy as they live in the moment. A big thank you to everyone for their support through the whole conference!

    July 4th in the big W

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - 
    I know, the holiday was a while back.  Two weeks to be exact, but that is how long I haven't been home!  Lots of Florida love, all which is also be posted in the future.  But first, the holiday in Wisconsin!

    Hubs wanted to make the trek to Wisconsin so we could spend the long weekend at the lake.  As always, I love seeing my mom and dad and spending time at their lakehouse in Eagle River.  So we decided to surprise them!

     Welcome to the Lake!

    And, hubby was excited to see if pup liked water.  For the record, she doesn't.

    4th of July was no different.  Lots of great food cooked over the campfire (and yes, this includes gigantic s'mores too!) including steak, brats and grilled side dishes.  Of course, drinks were also flowing as we spent all day on the boat, only to round out the perfection with a night cruise as well.  There were a few surprises (see photos below,) but all in all, it was exactly what I needed before my two week trip to Florida.

    Enjoy the photo recap!
    Mom & Dad ready for the parade - aren't they cute?!
    Only in Wisconsin does the Leine's float hand out beer. Yes, not candy, but beer.  LOVE.

    Grand Marshall of the parade was Olympic Silver Medalist, 
    Jinelle Zaugg-Siergiej.  
    She is an Eagle River native, and I completely dorked it up & 
    asked to touch the medal and take a photo with her. 

    One of the candy shops - he's making chocolate fudge.  NOM.

    Momma and hubs
    My dad celebrating the high life with family friend, PB.

    Yes, this is my doing karaoke. 
    Tribute to my dear friend, Fun & Fearless, I sang a little Sweet Caroline

    And then my two favorite men followed with their own sing song.

    One of my favorite places, a bar/restaurant called Sweetwater.  
    Nice little segway to the next blogs that you may enjoy!