Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Heading across the pond!

My bags are packed crammed full and I'm heading to London!
I'm going to visit my college friend and enjoy the wonderful British life for a week!

See you in a week with lots of stories and photos :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Parents visit!

This weekend, my parents came up from Richmond to visit. It's always fun when they come to town with their adorable dog Pearl.  My mom's birthday is this week, so it was a great excuse to have them to town.  We had a pretty quiet weekend but took them to some of our favorite places.

They came up Friday afternoon.  Mom and I ducked out and went to Home Goods and World Market, looking for nothing but finding a few fun things like pretty cocktail napkins, cute wrapping paper for my upcoming bridal and baby showers, and a little plastic basket to put under my sink for my sponges.  I know it sounds trivial but sometimes it's the small things that make the biggest difference!  A couple of those little sticky things and voila! no more yucky sponges on the counter.  Friday evening was fairly low key, which was perfect.  We went just down the road to Falls Church and Mad Fox Brewing.  We were able to watch the Carolina and VCU basketball games, have some good beer and food.  Dad loved the mussels and spinach salad.  Mom and I got pizzas - she had the fig and balsamic blue cheese and I got the cabonara with prosciutto, caramelized onions, mozzarella with a cracked egg.  Both were wonderful, and made for great leftovers!  Husband had the frickles (fried pickles) and the frickle burger, the special for the day.  It was a great evening!

Saturday was a lazy day.  Husband went for a run while we all sat around and caught up Giada and other shows.  After Wegmans subs and a little yard work, we broke and the boys went one way and Mom and I went the other.  We rode out to Aldie to the beautiful Bella Villa store.  Last time I visited this store it was in a different, much smaller location.  It's an adorable store with lots of beautiful things.  I found this great 2 tiered iron planter that I had to have.  I'm really looking to spice up our boring back deck this summer, and this is going to be perfect.  I can't wait to put plants in it!

Saturday night we went downtown to celebrate Mom's birthday.  We took her to one of our favorite restaurants, Siroc.  While there weren't any celebrity sitings, the food was fantastic.  We had the best table in the restaurant, in a back little corner. 
photo from Siroc's website

Mom and I started with the arugula salad with gorgonzola, golden beets, and pine nuts - yum.  Husband and dad shared appetizers.  One was the beef rolls with portabella mushrooms, polenta and gorgonzola cream.  The other was rabbit sausage with cabbage, potatoes and black truffle sauce.  

For dinner, 3 of us had pastas and dad had fish.  One of my favorite things about this restaurant is that you can do 2 half pasta orders.  It's the best when you can't make up your mind!  Husband and I had the saffron fettuccine with bolognese of beef tenderloin and pancetta - it was fantastic.  Husband and mom both had the butternut squash cappelacci with sage butter and raved about it.  Mom and I both also had the raviolini with gorgonzola and pistachio cream.  Oh man.  Dad had the branzino, which is a light white fish and said it was really good.  The wine also was great - we got a good recommendation from the waitress.  The food, wine, and service was all fantastic!  We got a couple of deserts too - and while they were good, they weren't as good as the rest of the meal. 

Sunday was another quiet day.  We did some travel planning for our fall trip to Barcelona.  My parents are going to join us for the week in Spain before we head to southern France for a week.  We got their flights booked and our apartment in the city for the week.  For lunch we went to Dogfish Ale House in Fairfax, one of our staple weekend locations.  The food is always good, staff is friendly and of course beer is good!  Then at halftime of the VCU game, they packed it up and headed south back to Richmond.  The rest of the day was full of some spring cleaning, watching husband try to install the new big black box thing (receiver) and Apple TV, basketball, and getting ready for the week.

I love having my parents come to visit!  It's great having them here, and Pearly Sue too!

Friday, March 18, 2011

For Japan with love.

Join in the Bloggers Day of Silence.
Or click here for other ways to help the people of Japan.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


There are some days when you feel happy, some days when you feel sad, and some days that just...are.  Then, there are days when you feel truly lucky.  Today is one of those days.  And here's why.

First, I am married to one of the most amazing men I know.  He's caring, ambitious, thoughtful, responsible, and kind.  I am blessed to be able to come home to him at night in our beautiful home with our adorable dog.  He is my rock.

I have some fantastic friends.  As an only child, I have always held friends so close, as they are my siblings.  I had a 15 minute quick spill everything on your mind conversation with my best friend tonight.  In those 15 minutes, albeit distracted and short, we talked about our husbands, families, her daughter, our other friends, work, in-laws, and more.  In 15 minutes!  Then I met another girlfriend for dinner.  It is so comfortable to be with good friends, who you can say anything to and are there to help them through everything.  It is important to be with people, to stay in touch with them, no matter how busy and chaotic our lives become.  I truly love my friends, they are my family.

My parents.  I am so blessed to have such amazing, beautiful, fun parents.  The unconditional love and support that I receive from them is unmatched.

We have our health, and each other.  This one may sound funny, but with a friend loosing her mother recently, another friend loosing her mother 4.5 years ago, all of the tragedy in the world and everything in between, we are so lucky.

This life is crazy.  We only get one shot at it.  It moves so fast.  There are good days, bad days, and in between days.  But, we need to stop and smell the roses, take a look around, be thankful for the blessings that we each have.  Laugh.  Help other people.  Tell those close to us how we feel.  Don't go to bed angry.  Hug your friends and family.  Smile.  Be grateful always.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Carolina on my mind

This past Sunday and Monday I took a quick trip down to North Carolina, my second home.  The reason for the trip was to speak at Elon to a group of seniors about transitioning to being 'adults' and specifically in DC.

I went down Sunday afternoon and stayed the night in Knightdale with a good friend of mine.  We were pretty close in college, despite being at different schools, but grew apart as our lives took us in different directions.  We reconnected during a wedding this past summer, and have now seen each other more since August than in the last 3 years.  Mexican, cheap beers, basketball, and just catching up was a great way to spend my Sunday night.  I love friends who you can be yourself with - who you don't have to worry about what you say, what you're wearing, or anything, because they love you for you.  It's so comforting.

Monday morning I made the 90 minute drive over to campus.  First things first, I had lunch with my mentor.  I worked for him for 4 years during college, and he truly made my Elon experience unique.  I'm honored and blessed that we've remained close friends, maybe even becoming more so since graduation.  I always call him first when I'm coming to Elon.

Lunch was followed by a tour of the beautiful new field house, which just opened a few weeks ago.  After my 4 years in college and one after that I spent working for the athletic department, I have a strong tie still with the people in that office.  While many have moved on, there is still the core who remain - and I visit them everytime I'm in town as well.  The new building is beautiful, with state of the art technology, exercise equipment, beautiful locker rooms, training facilities, and lots of coaches offices.  The tour was great, and as always, makes me wonder what my life would be like had I never left...

That evening, a group of 5 alumni now living in DC sat on a panel in front of 35-40 college kids, mostly seniors.  Questions were about apartments, jobs, bars, our alumni chapter, where to live/not to live, rent costs, commuting, and everything else that is involved in moving to a new city.  We were told that it would last an hour, and the other cities had drawn a crowd of 15-20 people.  Thinking back to the last few years that we've done this program, we grinned when our session had almost 40 people and lasted about 2 hours.  DC has such a draw of college graduates, especially for Elon.  It's great to be asked to attend events like this, it always makes me feel good to be able to give back to my alma mater and fellow Elon family members.

Tuesday morning I got up and went back to campus to do some quick shopping at the campus shop.  Then I stopped by Biscuitville, maybe one of the most amazing places on earth.  A bacon egg and cheese biscuit and large sweet tea....yum.  If you ever see one, stop - trust me.

I stopped in Richmond on the way home and had lunch with my parents, and picked up the puppy.  She went on vacation to visit both sets of grandparents while we were away.  It's nice to have her back home again!

How are you involved with your alumni chapter?  Do you go back to campus often?  If so, why?

Spring Training

While I was working away at Conference, Husband and friend flew into Orlando for a fun, sunny guys weekend at spring training.  This is something that husband has always wanted to do, but never been able to.  They went to the Yankees stadium to see them take on the Philies, the Atlanta stadium, and then the Mets stadium as they played host to the Nationals.  Then, the friend headed back to DC and I joined him once Conference was over.

Tuesday we went to Viera, FL to see the Nationals take on the Mets.  It was a cloudy day but still very nice to be outside, and at a baseball game!  It was the perfect 'day after' event because I could just sit and stare.  Some of the big names were there, but also lots of minor-leaguers.  We did get Bryce Harper's autograph!  And by we, I mean I, because he skipped right over husband and the other men, stopping for kids and ... me.

It was military appreciation day, which was very cool.  They had military men and women with the players for the National Anthem.

Tuesday night we went to one of my new favorite restaurants, the Ravenous Pig.  It was fantastic - we sat on the bar side and shared a salad, lobster tacos, and Chorizo-Crusted Cod.  All of it was fantastic.  They had a great wine and beer list too.  Next time you're in Orlando, definitely check it out - well worth the trip!

Wednesday we went back to the Nationals park as they took on the Florida Marlins.  The day was beautiful but chilly and windy.  I was very jealous of husband's 85 degree days! There were lots of major league player sightings on Wednesday!

We flew home Wednesday night.  It was fun to be so close to the players that we watch in the big stadiums all summer.  It was a great ending to the exhausting but awesome Conference week.

Friday, March 4, 2011

CMAA's 2011 World Conference

I returned home Wednesday night from an exhausting but fantastic 8 days in Orlando.  Conference went extremely well.  We have received countless emails, calls, and notes already from our members and vendors raving about the week.

From the minute we arrived at the hotel, we went to work.  I wish I'd thought to take progress photos - I'll see if someone else on our staff did and try to post them later.  We joked about putting up a time lapse camera because it's truly amazing how we go from an empty ballroom and tons of boxes to our Member Services Pavilion in just a matter of hours.  Thursday at noon we opened the Pavilion and pre-conference classes were in full swing.  These included a yacht club symposium, an all day wine education class, and leadership training.  Friday was a full day of education, beginning with the first class at 7am.  We took 38 buses to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios on Friday night for our annual networking event.  It was extremely cool!  We had that entire park of the park to ourselves to ride the rides, eat some awesome food, and enjoy the butter beer.  Here are a few photos that our incredible photographer captured:

I have to admit, I'm not really a Harry Potter fan.  I've never read the books or watched the movies, but the park is SUPER cool.  It's beautiful and very well done.  One of our partners is the sponsor of this event, so I was responsible for having logos in the right places and insuring that they had a great time.

One of the coolest things from this night was that I got to ride the Dragon's Challenge roller coaster with Patrick House, the latest winner of the Biggest Loser!  He is now a spokesperson for CYBEX, who outfits the BL gym (and the PGA and NHL) with exercise equipment.  They're one of our partners, so they all were there.  It was the first roller coaster that Patrick had ridden since he was 13 - super cool to experience that with him!  He's really a fantastic guy. 

Saturday morning we officially kicked off conference with our Opening Business Session which led directly into the Club Business Expo.  For the past 4 years, we've been a part of the Golf Industry Show (GIS), partnering with GCSAA and NGCOA (the Superintendents and the Owners).  Through some unresolved issues over the past year, we've broken away and gone back to 'our show' the way we've done it for years.  This was the first time I'd been at 'our show' - and I was impressed.  Great day.  Below is our annual photo with The Toro Company, one of our partners.

Saturday evening ended with my event, The Club Foundation Live Auction.  We had the BEST band, Deas Guyz from Hilton Head.  They played our event last time we were in Orlando in 2008 and are better than ever.  We had over 70 auction items, both live and silent, and over 500 people in attendance.  We raised over $60,000 for the Foundation, the most ever!  It was a fantastic event.

Early Sunday morning was the annual Run with the Presidents.  This is a fun 5k run or 1.5 mile walk to benefit a local charity - in Florida we donate to the Special Olympics.  Patrick was on hand for the event, running in the race.  It was such a fun (and very early) morning.

Patrick House, CF Staff Nichole and Seth, and Steve from CYBEX.
Sunday was another full day of expo, flanked on either side by 2 large education sessions.  The evening was finished with a lovely reception in the President's suite with the International guests and our Corporate partners.  Monday morning was full of education, our awards luncheon, and the Closing Business Session.

The week flew by.  I placed 5 golf cars (3 different times) and a 89" wide mower (complete with disarming the hotel's sprinkler system so we wouldn't call the fire department).  I made sure countless logos were in place and people were ready for their introductions and presentations.  We made $41,000 on the wine auction.  We worked from 6am to anywhere between 7-11pm every night.  I averaged 3 hours of sleep a night - just because we're 'closed' doesn't mean we're off.  I spent some time each night in the hotel bar, decompressing from the day, and enjoying a drink with some of our partners and vendors.  I've become great friends with some of these people over the last 5 years, and this is the only time I get to see them.

We'll take the next month or so to decompress, finalize the auction, create partner activation reports, and debrief the week.  And then, we start talking about New Orleans, 2012.

All photos taken by Brent Cline of Cline Designs