First, I spent a day at the incredible Desert Botanical Garden. I brought my paintbrushes and some watercolor, because I thought a quiet day painting botanicals would be the perfect intro to three days of crazy.
But when I got there, it was so magically beautiful I could not stop walking around and taking photos of the plants and animals.
I decided to explore on my own instead of taking a tour, and almost immediately, I had a very close encounter with a roadrunner. In my area, they are much more skittish than this guy was, and it was very cool to get this close to him. I really love how he fluffs his little top knot up towards the end. These are beautiful creatures, and in our neighborhood, they run across our rooftops, and dart around in wilder areas making crazy sounds. And yes, of course I talked to him, as I do to all animals I encounter. Stop laughing.
I found a little hummingbird too - those buggers are hard to take pictures of!
The plants were equally spectacular.
They have a pink version of the prickly pears that we have here that were, frankly, ethereal.
And of course tons of crazy cacti.
I stopped by the nearby Hole in the Rock, where man and his best friend were frolicking in silhouette.
It was such a gorgeous day, and I love the desert and all its flora and fauna.
Then I headed back downtown for the CentreStage (formerly Leadership) dinner which was awesome. We got a beautiful bag, filled with goodies, including the Occasions Catalog AND the Sale-A-Bration catalog, which you will love.
Here's where the shock pants come in.
When I checked in, I got ribbons for the various awards I received for the year which ended September 30th, and these were known to me before the event. Sales, Leadership (my team is awesome, not gonna lie), recruiting, Flex Points (I earned the Thailand trip) and then my title ribbon.
But at the end of the day, they did a new recognition award - and that was the top 100 demonstrators globally. Prior to this, each market did their own top demonstrators, so in the US, we had a list of the top demonstrators here in our country. But with the new plan change, they went to a global list, of the top 100 demonstrators of the 50,000 demonstrators worldwide. We knew this would really be competitive, as the other markets are amazing and have some real superstars who we were not previously ranked against.
So when they started listing the names for the global top 100, imagine my surprise when this happened...
I am still pinching myself. I got to add another ribbon that just blows my mind.
The names on this list are friends AND people I respect immensely. I am super grateful to my AMAZING Understand Blue team - people all across the country who had an incredible year, and of course to all my followers and customers. You make my life fun! And I'm extremely grateful to Ronda Wade, Lisa Pretto, Janet Wakeland, Brian King, Mary Fish and a million other people who share their wisdom with me. Surrounding yourself with great humans pays off, I promise. I love that there are a million different ways to do things, and how unique each demonstrator on this list is in how they approach the fun and strategy of being a demonstrator.
Talking about things like this generally makes me uncomfortable, but this is a moment worth stopping for. So now I'm done. I wish you all could have been in Phoenix - we had a blast. I'm looking forward to the next one in April - you can come with me!
Anyway, the upcoming catalogs are incredible. I won't give too many peeks because it's the holiday season, and I'm trying to have fewer SQUIRREL moments, but one set really captured my heart, and I have to share. It's from a stamp set called Beautiful You - it was one of the Prize Patrol giveaways. I didn't win this set, but my sweet friend Lisa traded with me because I was pining for it. This will give you an idea of the style of the set. It has many, many inspiring sentiments.
My experiment is no line watercolor with-
wait for it-
The new Stampin' Up! watercolor pencils!! I know a lot of you have waited a long time for these. The set in the Occasions catalog has 13 pencils, and they are buttery soft and very blendable. I only had a few minutes to try them out yesterday and I loved them.
I've done a Facebook live walk through of the new products with my team and they agree - it's all incredible. If you want to join us and have fun in our group, you can do that here. It's a great bunch of people and we have fun together.
So that's enough excitement for one day - I'm glad to be back in my office with the kitties, catching up on work and hopefully doing some crafty stuff this week. I'll be posting a new online class towards the end of the week, so be watching for that - it will feature the Cookie Cutter Christmas bundle.