I'm back from Creativation, unpacked, and caught up with the most essential things in life that happened (or didn't) while I was traveling, so it's time to tell you all about my trip!
Thursday, January 18
I got a very early start to my trip, arriving at the Sacramento airport while it was still dark. Due to a plane delay, I arrived in Phoenix later than I'd planned, which meant racing from the airport to the light rail to the Convention Center to registration, with no time to drop off my gigantic luggage, or even slow to a walk. I got my VIP badge (woo hoo!)...
... and made it to my first class 8 minutes before it started. Whew!
I had two classes, both very informative. I dropped the supplies for my class off at the workshop office, then headed to my hotel (with significantly lighter luggage) to check in. I had a few minutes to unpack before I went to a craft blogger meet-up for dinner, Cricut crafts, socializing, and connecting. Big thanks to Angie and Carolina for organizing it!
Friday, January 19
My day started bright and early. Or should I say, dark and early? I was up at 5:00, too excited to sleep. My first class of the day was Urban Sketching by Lee Kellogg. It was a beautiful morning for sketching and put me in the perfect mood. The only thing that would have made it better was if the pizzeria was open. The cooks were prepping and it smelled amazing!
Next was the first of two highlights of my Creativation 2018 experience: teaching my first seminar at an AFCI event. I had over 70 retailers come to learn about marketing to kids, teachers, and homeschool parents. It was so much fun! I really do love to teach. I will absolutely be applying as a speaker at all future Creativation shows.
I had a series of meetings and classes nonstop from 11:00, when my class ended, until 5:00. I joined many of the other attendees at the New Product Showcase. A large area of the lobby was filled with glass cases that highlighted some of the most exciting new products that we'd see the following day on the show floor.
It was loud and crowded (two of my least favorite things), so I zipped through there pretty quickly, only stopping to photograph the most intriguing products.
I met my friend Julie and her husband for dinner, which was awesome. I haven't seen her in person since we first met in 2011! But it seemed like as soon as we sat down, I had to run off to my next appointment. As one of the many door prizes for my class, I'd donated an hour of one-on-one consulting to a lucky winner. This ended up being the fabulous Stacie of LS Scrapbook Boutique and This and That Framing, who was joined by her equally fabulous husband Randy. We had a great talk and I'm hoping to visit their store when our family travels eventually take us to Missouri!
Saturday, January 20
I set an alarm clock, concerned that otherwise I wouldn't be up in time for the 7:45 event, but I needn't have worried. I was up at 4:00, too excited to sleep. I'm a morning person, so it was actually very helpful to have a few hours in the morning to answer emails and finalize plans for the day. And since I wasn't sharing a room this time, my late nights and early mornings didn't disturb anyone.
The early bird catches the worm, or in this case, the early blogger sees a gorgeous sunrise over the Basilica.
I attended the Industry Awards Presentation and Hall of Fame Ceremony, but left before the keynote started.
Why? Because the Creator VIP group was invited onto the show floor for breakfast and a private tour! Amanda and I sat together for our tram tour around the not-yet-open room. It was so exciting to get a first look at everything!
The show floor opened at 10:00 am, and off I went! My plan was to do a quick glance at everything to get an overall feel in the morning, then go back the opposite way in the afternoon to take a closer look. I stopped to chat with Shimelle and Amy...
... and soaked up the beauty of an entire convention center's worth of craft supplies. Heaven!
I did some make-and-takes, joined Amanda for my first-ever Facebook Live, caught up with companies I've worked with in the past, and kept my eye out for trends. And then, something amazing happened to me that afternoon that changed everything. I can't talk about it yet (soon, I hope!) but the news was so huge I had to call Steve immediately. He has always been my biggest supporter and I'm so grateful.
Next, I watched the AFCI podcast, recording from the show floor.
The show floor closed, and I hustled over to a nearby hotel for the Prime Networking Event. I've made some great connections at this event over the years.
Basically, each of the sponsors has a table where they can connect with bloggers. The food is plentiful and the drinks keep flowing.
Polyform, the makers of Sculpey, were new at the event this year. I love me some Sculpey!
Sunday, January 21
Once again, I was up long before even the early bird. I couldn't manage to sleep more than about 4 hours a night, but adrenaline kept me going strong all five days! Sunday morning's session about the Children's Craft Category was extremely interesting and beneficial.
I spent my time on the show floor doing many of the same things as the day before: taking photos of trends, meeting up with brands I love, watching demonstrations, and doing make-and-takes. One of my favorites was painting with Unicorn SPiT.
I also did nine Facebook Live videos on Sunday, including booth tours, demos, and interviews. You can see those here.
When the show floor closed, I joined friends at the After Party, held at The Duce. It was a lot of fun and the food was delicious, but remember what I said about crowds and noise? Not my favorites.
I left a bit early, which was just as well, as I needed to figure out how to pack all the samples, projects, and literature into my luggage before checking out in the morning.
Monday, January 22
I checked out of the hotel and schlepped my luggage to the bag check area, only to realize they didn't open until 9:00. That was a bummer, since I was there at 7:30 for the Annual Business Meeting and Town Hall. Yet another event where I had to wrangle two suitcases.
At 9:00, I got my bag checked and headed onto the show floor for the final day. I had a brief meeting, then went to the stage to watch The Ultimate Pitch competition. Big congratulations to Little Pink Ladybug on their win!
From there, I went to the Kit Xchange booth to work a 3-hour shift. (You may remember the product review I did for them.) Staffing a booth was another first for me. I really enjoyed showing off the fabulous product. That was key. If I didn't love the products, or if the people I was talking with didn't love the products, it would have been a long three hours. But that wasn't the case at all. Everyone loves the Kit Xchange products; in fact, I have my eye on a few to add to my collection!
All too soon, the show floor closed. I got my luggage... and realized I would have to completely repack to fit the day's goodies inside. Sigh. I ended up using a zippered duffel bag as an extra suitcase. I should have had someone take a picture of me schlepping my huge rolling suitcase with a duffel bag strapped to it with one hand and my rolling backpack with the other. I'm sure I was quite a sight. At least I wasn't running this time!
I enjoyed the leisurely trip to the airport, found a spot, and waited patiently for my flight. Ah, but it was not to be. More plane delays. In fact, I was quite surprised to receive an updated flight time of 24 hrs. 50 min. to fly from Phoenix to Sacramento! And a gate change. And another delay. When I finally got home, it was just minutes from being Tuesday (but the flight was only 2 hours, not 24+).
It wasn't until the next day that I discovered that my bags had been searched and apparently my paint samples were inspected (opened). Sigh. Nothing important was damaged, thankfully.
Overall, I had a wonderful time at Creativation. Tomorrow I'll share all the trends I saw, and see how I did with my predictions.