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[Comments] (3) Chicago Travelogue: I made it home about 10:30 last night. It was a long trip, but I had so much fun! I am already excited for CHA winter in Anaheim in January. So here's the scoop on our trip.

First of all, I would like to say that I love my Rainbow sandals. Yes, I wore flipflops to the show. Don't worry, I checked with Jamie first and she insisted she wouldn't be embarassed. I wore flipflops for two treks halfway across the country, walking all over downtown Chicago, and two days of the trade show, and my feet loved it. Way to go, Rainbow.

I didn't read a thing about Chicago or what we could do there ahead of time because for some reason I thought we weren't arriving until 6 pm, either because that's how long the flight took, or because Jamie had me convinced we'd be delayed. So when we arrived at our hotel at noon, we were a bit bewildered. After a chat with a friendly concierge, we set out (quite unprepared I might add) for a sight-seeing adventure. We paid $5 each for a transit pass and rode the train 1 hour into the city. Hmm. Should have asked how long the trip would take. I think the subway was a cultural experience for Jamie.

We were intended to take a free shuttle to Navy Pier and have lunch, but we were starving, and finally ate at a Corner Bakery. The free shuttle had a huge line and was no where in sight, so when a bus that said "Navy Pier" drove up, we thought "hey! transit pass... let's take the bus," and did. We walked around the Pier, hot and sticky (me wearing jeans and flipflops and *gasp* no sunscreen). We used a BOGO coupon on a speedboat ride out on Lake Michigan for a quick tour and view of the city. It was great and refreshing (Jamie got splashed). Then we made the 2 hour trek back to the hotel.

Thursday night we went with Jamie's friend Ashley to some sneak peek events - one was SEI, the other some company we weren't interested in, but they had better free food. Ashley won a small prize, and we all got a pack of an older line, a mini book and an album.

Friday morning we got up bright and early to march around the show collecting catalogues. We did the catalogue thing, aisle by aisle, I made an adorable Halloween book by Little Yellow Bicycle, and we shuffled back to the hotel. I should mention that the convention center has zero eateries anywhere nearby (although O'hare has the best airport food selection I've ever seen). Yuck. We ate in the bar for dinner and didn't eat lunch at all.

Evenings are spent with catalogues covering every inch of flat space, planning out kits. Overall we got about 4 1/2 months of kits planned, which is awesome and record-breaking. I got to do exciting jobs like picking out Bazzill (this is not nearly as exciting as it sounds and is also very difficult) and copying down what we ordered. I also kept a running list of places to go, people to see, stuff to buy, mistakes to fix, orders to make, papers to match etc.

Saturday was more of the same only a little more refined. We'd visited all the booths and looked at all the new products. This day we ran around making sure things matched, picking things out, coming up with embellishment and add on ideas, and doing the occasional make n take. I made a notebook using Basic Grey's new Eva line, a recipe book by Teresa Collins and a wooden mini book at Kaiser Craft. Kaiser is awesome because the art director stands there and throws out stuff while you're waiting in line (and I had to wait a while). I got 8 packages of their rhinestones and pearls, which I know love. Don't worry, Jamie ordered ALL of their new sparklies which I now get to enter into the store. Saturday night, more sprawling, more order making, more Bazzill swatching.

By Sunday we were killer organized. We handed in orders, made a few changes, did a make n take and ended up sitting in the lobby going through our free stuff because we had nothing else to do. CHA=free stuff to me. Seriously. I won a huge prize, plus a lot of companies give you gifts/samples when you order. Basic Grey and Scenic Route handed out a sheet of each one of their new papers. So that's all in addition to the make n takes. I took pictures on Jamie's camera, although that was before we'd turned in most of our orders and gotten more. I am only keeping about 1/3 of the stuff, so CC prize winners will be seeing some of it soon!

We ended up going to the airport 4 hours early because we were tired of eating hot tamales for lunch. (Thanks, Bazzill!) We ate a Macaroni Grill, then sat around reading for hours. I'm so glad to be home. Maggie was kind enough to sleep three hours so I could sleep a bit in addition to getting laundry and unpacking done. I missed my baby and it's good to be home.

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Comments:

Posted by Leonard at Tue Jul 22 2008 07:01

Wow, I had no idea there would be such a huge conference.

Posted by Susie at Tue Jul 22 2008 19:41

huge huge. It's a tradeshow - the manufacturers display all their new stuff and store owners/buyers shop around for what they want to carry.

Posted by Kristen at Thu Jul 24 2008 11:30

Good for you...my SIL would be jealous! I tried getting into scrapbooking but just can't. I love free stuff!


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