Friday, January 9
Steve, Trevor and I left home at 9:00 am to begin the drive south. We stopped once for food, once for gas, and more than once for L.A. traffic. My goal was to arrive early enough that I could check in to the conference before registration closed for the day at 5:00 pm. We pulled into the Hilton at 4:51. I sprinted out of the car with my paperwork to head to the Convention Center next door. I made it (whew!) and got my badge, my class tickets, and the tote holding the show directory, my lanyard, and some random goodies.
Meanwhile, Steve and Trevor checked into our hotel. I'd let Steve talk me into staying at the Hilton; I'd been pushing for a less-expensive hotel a block away. But he was 100% correct about pushing the Hilton. The extra cost (which really wasn't that much) was well-worth the convenience of being so close to the Convention Center and to many of the extra activities and meet-ups that occurred. Now that I've stayed there, I would never consider staying farther away unless it were completely unavoidable.
Steve, Trevor and I spent the next two hours walking around and exploring the hotel and the surrounding area. At 7:00, they dropped me off at the Mega Block Party, located outside the Hilton.
There was an awesome band, food trucks, bars, and crafts. I used chalk pens and stencils to make this cool notebook. Thanks, Michaels!
I stayed at the party for around 2 hours before heading to the room to unpack and get to sleep.
Saturday, January 10
I started my day at the 9:00 am Keynote, given by Rachel Shechtman, the founder of STORY. It was awesome. So inspirational and such a great way to begin the day.
As soon as the Keynote ended, the show floor opened!
I spent the next seven hours exploring cool booths, like Spellbinders...
... doing lots of Make and Takes, like this one using Allure Dimensional Design Adhesive Paint...
... and checking out all of the nominees for the Hot Product Awards.
There was so much to see and do! It was incredible and I had so much fun. To get a sense of what it was like, check out this cool Hyperlapse Show Floor Tour by Christine of Scrap Time.
As soon as the show floor closed at 5:00 pm, I headed to the lobby of the Hilton to meet up with a group of friends who met through the now-defunct Fiskateers program. Some of us were there for CHA and others were locals. I haven't gotten a copy of the group photo yet, so you'll have to imagine about 20 fabulous ladies and one equally-fabulous man all laughing and having a blast!
At 6:45, I headed to the FaveCrafts Blogger Networking Event, which was also held at the Hilton. (Are you beginning to see why Steve was right that staying at the Hilton would be best?) The event was incredible. There were representatives from numerous companies who are interested in partnering with craft bloggers. It was set up like speed dating; each blogger went from table to table, spending a few minutes chatting to learn about the company, to share what we do, and see if there was a good match between us. I'm really excited about the possibilities.
Here I am with at the Blogger Networking Event with my awesome Fun Family Crafts boss, Amanda Formaro. On her left is the also-awesome Jen Hadfield of Tatertots & Jello.
I left the event on Cloud 9. It was an INCREDIBLE day.
Sunday, January 11
I was absolutely euphoric after the fantastic day I'd had. This is what I posted on Facebook at 7:36 am:
I had class from 8:00 to 9:00 called "Finding Your Perfect Social Media Fit" and then another from 10:00 to 11:00 called "Strategic Planning for Solopreneurs." Both were very informative and gave me a lot to think about.
At 11:00, I headed down to the show floor. I did a bunch more Make and Takes, checked out the latest in kids' crafts...
... stopped to learn more about cake decorating tools...
... and watched the annual Lion Brand Fashion Show, co-hosted by Vanna White.
I also sat down with Amanda for a nice, long chat.
I left the show floor at 4:00 to join Steve and Trevor at Disneyland. They offer a twilight ticket for conference attendees that is about half the price of regular admission.
My #1 priority was getting a Dole Whip. (What exactly does that say about me?)
The crowds were very light, so we were able to walk on to almost all of my favorite rides.
It was a great way to end another incredible day.
Monday, January 12
I started my day with an 8:00 am class "How to Monetize Your Blog through Affiliate Marketing." At 9:00, I attended "Making the Most of Instagram." At 10:00, I went to "Creative Blogging." Again, so much great information and so much to consider. I'll share details in a future post.
At 11:00, I went to the show floor wearing my Marsala shirt. I spent six straight hours visiting every booth to see if they were showing products featuring Pantone's Color of the Year. It was great fun. The reactions I got to my quest were hilarious. I'll be blogging about the results later, but here's a hint of what's to come:
While going from booth to booth, I stopped in to congratulate all the Hot Product winners. Here's Fox Chapel Publishing, the winner in the kids' category.
I also posed for some photos. A few of you might recognize this guy.
When the show floor closed at 5:00, I grabbed food and dashed off this blog post. Then I headed upstairs for my final class at CHA 2015 featuring Envirotex Jewelry Resin. It was a lot of fun and I made three really pretty bezels.
I made it back to the hotel room before Steve and Trevor returned from Disneyland, so I had some time to start packing my monstrous pile of make and takes, freebies, literature, magazines, business cards, etc. It's incredible how much stuff you bring home from CHA!
Tuesday, January 13
All good things must come to an end. As soon as the show floor opened at 9:00, I made a quick stop to pick up a few things and say some goodbyes. This is the last picture I took before leaving. I've already marked January 8-12, 2016 on my calendar. I wouldn't miss it for the world.
We were on the road by 10:30. I'd set aside a few car-appropriate craft samples for Trevor when I was packing. As you can see by the monorail in the background, we hadn't even left Harbor Blvd. before he'd pulled them out and got started.
We had a very nice drive home with no problems or significant traffic and got home at 5:30. It was the perfect end to a perfect trip.
More CHA posts to come!