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St. Augustine

Last Friday, Kevin and I had the day off together, so we ventured north to St. Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S. We’ve been before, but I’ll never tire of it; there are so many different things to do. This trip, we started at Castillo de San Marcos, the fort that has been standing for over 300 years, and also where Ghost Adventures once filmed. Here are some of our better pictures from the fort.

We even got a weapons demonstration from volunteers who dress up in old military uniforms, which includes 28 pounds of wool! In the summer!

And I posed in between two chimneys.

Of course we had to visit the scariest room in the fort, where they imprisioned Indians and tortured them. It was the room once featured on Ghost Adventures, the Travel Channel show. The crew filming that show captured a presence in that room, and Kevin said he felt some energy while we were in there, but all I felt was hot.

A storm was brewing and thunder was rumbling in the distance as we toured the place, but it didn’t start sprinkling until we left the fort. We put the camera away after that, and due to the sprinkles and the busy sidewalks we had to manuever, we didn’t take any other pictures.

Our hope was to go on a ghost tour at night, but unfortunately it rained on and off all day, and a storm was due to hit about the time the ghost tour took off. Next trip to the Old City I would like to visit the lighthouse.

All pictures taken by Kevin.

Las Vegas

Last weekend 11 girls from all across the states gathered for my pal Monique’s bachelorette party in Vegas! Look at the beauty!

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We stayed at The Signature at MGM, which is a gorgeous hotel, and we ended up in one of the penthouse suites, it was fabulous! Here’s a shot of one of the rooms that the bachelorette took:

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Since we all flew in at different times on Friday afternoon, we hung out in the room, unpacking, hanging up our dresses, getting some groceries and chit-chatting. We headed down to the pool around 5:30, not knowing that every pool in Vegas closes at 6. Oops! So it gave us more time to sit around chatting and laughing about stupid girl stuff. We took our time getting ready and went to eat at Diego, a great Mexican restaurant in the MGM.

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Some of us gambled a little after dinner (no one won an incredible amount of money though; you’d think with 11 people someone would win something!) but we were all exhausted, and I was actually in bed by midnight; 3a.m. east coast time.

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Saturday morning we were all ready for the pool experience (including a lazy river and fruity drinks), so we packed up our water bottles, cameras and books and headed down for the day.

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The lazy river and pool were amazingly refreshing, and there were people everywhere. It’s amazing to me that Vegas really never sleeps – people come from all over the world and it’s like everyday there is the weekend. One thing I could have done without was the super loud music. I realize it was coming from Wet Republic, this new pool-club place on the MGM property, but it was so loud! Actually the grand opening for the club took place the Saturday we were there, and Lauren Conrad from The Hills was there to host it.

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It was in one of those chairs I sat and fried myself like a lobster all day. I know, I know, what was I thinking?! Honestly, I just completely forgot to reapply sunscreen after I first went in the pool. And trust me, I learned my lesson. (You will see how completely horrible it looked in pictures.) After the pool we walked the strip, went through the New York New York hotel, and got tickets to see the show KA.

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After KA, we went to club Tao in the Venetian, which was a very cool place. And we took a limo! It was actually cheaper than getting 3 or 4 cabs to cart us all around town, and we had the best chauffer!

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Can you see the nasty sunburn?! My bad.

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Sunday was another day in the sun for some, but I only lasted about 30 minutes. We did head out for some more sightseeing and ate dinner at a cool place inside the Bellagio.

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We also caught the cool water/light show on our way back to the hotel.

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I flew back early Monday morning and was exhausted all week. The time change along with a few days of staying up too late really knocked me down. I’m finally caught up, pictures are posted, and I’ll be seeing most of the girls again in 3 short weeks for Monique’s wedding!

More pictures on my Flickr.

Vacation

Upon waking up this morning, Kevin’s first words to me were “how many vacation days do you have this year?” And after I answered, he announced he would like to go somewhere later this year and that I should be thinking about where I’d like to go.

YAY! I can do that!

Only…here’s the hard part: where do we go? There are so many places we’d both like to go, places I’ve been but he hasn’t, and vice versa, that we’d like to experience together, etc. He said he’s up for one of 2 places: somewhere where we can just relax and be lazy (like a cruise, or some place tropical, like Cabo San Lucas), or to a place that has plenty of things to do and see in a 4 or so day period.

Any suggestions?

While you’re pondering, I’ll be in beautiful Las Vegas for a girls trip. Be back with an update early next week. Ciao!

YP Summit 2008

My first Young Professionals Summit ever and I FORGOT MY CAMERA!

So can you tell I’m new to taking pictures? No experienced photog would forget her camera at one of these events! It was one of those things where I was driving along en route to my hotel, tired from an already full week of work, singing along (not to tune obviously) to my music and thinking about what I could have forgotten because I just had this feeling I was missing something.

I pulled into my hotel, which was nicer than I expected, and was right down the road from the hotel wehre the summit took place. I was walking up to my hotel lobby to check in and thought, “oh, these palms are really nice out here, this is really nice landscaping, this would be a great picture.” DAMMIT, that’s what I forgot! My camera! Drat!

Camera issue aside, the summit was a blast. I met so many great young professionals from around the country and came back with so many ideas for our local young professionals group. There was so much energy and passion among Next Generation Consulting – the market research firm that organizes this summit – and the young professional leaders from groups across the states.

The best part of the summit was learning about other YP organizations and what they have done to become actively engaged in their community. NG Consulting has done research (and has the numbers to back it up) about how important it is to get our generation involved, and that having things to do and a group with whom to connect is one of the best ways to attract and retain young professionals to your area. We heard from the best speaker ever, Rebecca Ryan, research extraordinaire and founder of Next Generation Consulting. She has such great energy and I applaud her trailblazing and her work with our generation.

One of the greatest things I took away from the summit was something I learned about myself. I have never been an excellent public speaker, and it’s certainly not something I enjoy. I usually get nervous and my heart beats really fast and hard. But during the last day of the summit, we were instructed to get into small groups to discuss how we can Take it Home and really apply what we learned, and after 15 minutes we were told to switch tables and mingle with different people – except the Table Host, who was going to report out to the crowd. The TH was decided by the person whose birthday was closest to that day…and mine was the only one even near it. So, knowing I was going to have to report out to at least 100 people, I got a little nervous, but I just took some notes and didn’t really worry about it. And then it was my turn to speak.

And I did great! And I loved it! It’s amazing to me that I am actually able to speak to a crowd of peers around my age and regarding a subject I am very passionate about! I did so much better than I usually do when speaking to others in the business field. The whole experience really put me out of my comfort zone and I’m so glad I had that opportunity.

I might not have any pictures but I met some awesome people, brought back many great ideas, and learned something about myself. What’s better than that?

Coming soon…

I’m traveling for work this weekend – to the Young Professionals International Summit in Cocoa Beach, Florida! In fact, I’m already here; just checked into my hotel and I’m getting ready for tonight’s social with young professionals from across the country. Fun, huh?! I’m excited but I have a feeling I’ll be exhausted by the time I get home on Sunday.

I will have some free time though, so stay tuned because I’m going to tell you all about The Big Event!

“Sorry, I’m busy…”

I just returned from my third after-work event this week. That’s right, I had after-hours events on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. And last weekend? Going away party. The weekend before that was Wedding Weekend #2, and before that was a trip back to the Midwest.

And next weekend? I’m traveling for work from Thursday – Sunday. (Which means, unfortunately, that I’ll be missing the TWO HOUR SEASON PREMIERE OF MY FAVORITE SHOW, Grey’s Anatomy. But that’s why we have Tivo, right?!) So, after that is the first weekend in October…oh yeah, launch party for new website, brought to you by the local newspaper. Then after that? So far, NOTHING 🙂

That’s right. Three unplanned weekends before the BIG EVENT. What big event? That would be my birthday and celebratory weekend away. (Yeah, I’m really gonna leave you hanging here, but I promise to divulge details soon!)

In between these weekend plans, I’m compiling the contact list for our new soccer team, ordering custom t-shirts for our team, cleaning, working (which lead me to an awesome event this week, and no it wasn’t after hours, but I’ll tell you soon), and trying to have some sort of life with my boyfriend and other friends.

Phew.

I love my life, job, friends, soccer, etc….but man I’m tired! How do people do it with kids?!?

I just had to vent. Thanks for listening. And stay tuned!