Dear Diary: My Recap of Stampin’ Up!’s Hawaii Grand Vacation

Dear Diary,

I love sharing with you each and every day, and I love that everything I tell you stays between you and me.  Boy, do I have a wonderful experience to share with you today?!  For the past week, I’ve been in Hawaii with other Stampin’ Up! demonstrators from the U.S., Canada and the South Pacific who earned the Grand Vacation to Hawaii.  I’d never been to Hawaii, so this was quite a treat!  I’m going to share with you in pictures (and a few words).  Let’s get this started:

Welcome to Hawaii

As much as I prepared for it, I was not prepared for the 9-1/2 hour direct flight from Atlanta to Honolulu.  That’s a long time to be on a vessel in the sky, but I was excited for the adventure.  As we made our way to baggage claim in Honolulu, there was a vibrant “ALOHA! Welcome to Hawaii” sign above the down escalator.  We had almost passed the sign when I decided to snap a picture of it!  I grabbed my iPhone, held it in the air and quickly snapped.  I didn’t realize it was in “selfie” mode at the time, so I captured this picture of Tami White behind me.  🙂

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King After a quick shuttle ride from the airport to the Sheraton Resort Waikiki, we were greeted by big signage and lots of friendly faces:

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

I checked into my room and immediately snapped this photo from the porch of my room – a gorgeous view of one of the pools and the amazing beach behind it:

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

Opening Session

There aren’t a lot of planned events during our incentive trips.  Our opening session was held at the nearby Cultural Center.  We toured the park for hours before a “state of the union” from Stampin’ Up!’s leadership.  I’m excited to share some fun pictures from the day.

We toured the various sites on a big boat – what a fun way to get a lay of the land!

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian KingI’m always very serious, so I really had to stretch outside my comfort zone to photobomb the photo Kylie and Bruno Bertucci were taking with one of “the natives”.

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

During the opening session, we all won Sugar Sugar, a new stamp set from the 2015-2016 Annual Catalog that coordinates with the Fry Box Die (and you know how much I love that die).  Here I am showing off my new set with Louise Sharp, my bestie from Down Under:

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian KingShare Affair

One of the highlights of last year’s Incentive Trip was when I shared new ideas with new products during the Share Affair.  While I didn’t present on this year’s trip, I loved every minute of the event.

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian KingJudy Prahl demonstrated watercoloring techniques on different mediums of paper and with Market Fresh, a stamp set from the 2015-2016 Annual Catalog.  I love to watch and learn from others as they work.Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian KingHer projects combined this fun set with this gorgeous Farmers Market Designer Series Paper:

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

Michelle Zindorf shared some great sponging technique with Timeless Love, a new stamp set from the 2015-2016 Annual Catalog, and showcased Timeless Elegance Designer Series Paper.  She begged for a photograph with me (OK, that’s not true – I begged for a photo with her):

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

Georgia Giguere shared a pop-up card she made with Birthday Yay stamp set.  What fun!  Georgia begged for a photo with me (you aren’t going to fall for that again, are you?).

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

Pearl Harbor Memorial

We couldn’t travel all the way to Hawaii without visiting the site of the USS Arizona at the Pearl Harbor Memorial.  What a sobering experience and wonderful tribute to those who lost their lives during this attack.

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

The floating monument is positioned over the sunken ship that still holds the remains of many soldiers who died aboard the ship:

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian KingClosing Session

I mentioned earlier that there aren’t a lot of planned events during these trips – they are designed as an incentive to top achievers.  For the closing session on Saturday, though, we returned to Pearl Harbor for a tour and dinner aboard the USS Missouri.  What an amazing treat!

Here we are walking toward the giant boat:

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

And a quick picture with team members on board the boat (Lisa Pretto, Mary Fish and Ann Schach):

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King After the sun set, the boat was decorated with with beautiful, patriotic lights:

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian KingFriends

Perhaps the best part of these trips is that I get to hang out with “old friends” and make new ones at the same time.  I want to share some fun photos of some of my friends on this trip (I couldn’t include everyone, so these are just some highlights).

I spent most of my time with Louise Sharp and Kylie Bertucci (Australian demonstrators and amazingly talented, funny ladies):

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

You might recognize this woman – Shelli Gardner was able to drop-in while were were visiting Hawaii:

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

I flew in with Jodi Reinert – here we are in the Atlanta airport:

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

I didn’t formally make friends with this adorable couple, but I was able to get a picture with them on their way to their wedding – I’m pretty certain they plan to include my in their photo album:

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian KingI looked for Louise Sharp during the first night in Hawaii and only found her when I closed my eyes and just listened for her laughter:

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

Kylie Bertucci, Lisa Curcio and me

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

Mary Fish, Lisa Pretto, Ann Schach and me.  We celebrated Lisa’s birthday in Hawaii:

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

Same four people on the last day of our trip – can you guess which one is me?

Hawaii Grand Vacation, Stampin' Up!, Brian King Thank you, diary, for letting me share this wonderful trip with you.  I am truly grateful to Stampin’ Up! for making all of this possible and for giving me a platform to share my passion for papercrafting with my customers, team members and blog readers.  Thanks for listening to me, diary.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Brian

Shop Now

Product Shares and Swatchbooks.  I’ve started preparing for my 2015-2016 Annual Catalog Product Shares and Swatchbooks, and I’m happy to share the list of items with you later this week.  I can start taking sign-ups this weekend, but I cannot collect money from you until the following week.  Yippee!

Weekly Deals.  This week’s Weekly Deals have been announced.  Check out these great ways to save this week:

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35 Comments

  1. Awesome! Glad you had so much fun! Thanks for sharing….

  2. Awesome photos Brian!!! Wonderful to see my upline in there too- hopefully nextime Carl and I be able to come with Kylie and Bruno and get to meet you too!! Wonderful to see you having so much fun. Can’t wait to see what projects this wonderful trip inspires!!!

  3. You are so funny….love the picture with you and the newlyweds! Hope you are catching up with your sleep….that plane ride was LONG. Hope you treasure the memories from this amazing trip!

  4. What an awesome post….it is a joy to read an excerpt out of your diary….I know that you had a fabulous time…we deserved my friend!

  5. Great pics Brian! You crack me up with the photobombing pic with Kylie Bertucci

  6. Fabulous adventure…..just fabulous!

  7. Well Brian, this are AWESOME pictures!!! thank you so much for sharing them. I love the ones of the USS Arizona Memorial, if I ever go to Hawaii, this is the first place I would go. The sight of the USS Missouri is amazing, you car really appreciate the sheer size of this ship in this fabulous picture.
    Love to see familiar faces in this pictures too, Mary and Ann look great, how fun it would be to see them in person.
    Now, that picture of the young couple on their way to their wedding is fantastic, did you crash their party? LOL!! 😉
    Thanks again for the pictures Brian, what a fun and fabulous trip for all of you hard working friends.

  8. Rosemarie Cowit

    Love starting my day with you, Brian. You always make me smile!

  9. Brian, I love your commentaries! Great job! You should be a writer! Keep then coming!

  10. Looks like a fabulous trip! Glad you had a good time.

  11. Cindie McDuffee

    Fab pix, everyone looks happy and relaxed. Congrats again, TFS!

  12. Great photos Brian, it looks like you all had a wonderful time. I love the photo with the bride and groom. You’re such an inspiration to work hard and be your best.

  13. Thanks for sharing!! Your blog makes me feel like I was there with you!! You have such a gift!

  14. Awwwww Brian beautiful pictures, yes I could tell when it was you , also taking the photo of that big ship, lol , just your shadow, but since your my BBF, I know that shadow any WHERE !!!! Love you , I’m glad you hall had a great TIME !!!
    Tfs your pictures!!
    Hugs Frenchie,

  15. Loved the picture of you with the wedding couple!!

  16. Awesome photos! Looks like a wonderful time in Hawaii…well deserved! Thanks so much for sharing all the fabulous photos!:-)

  17. Mahalo for sharing!

  18. Looks like a good time was had by all! Thank you for sharing!

  19. Thanks for your wonderful sense of humor! Laughter is good for the soul, what a grand gift you have, thanks for sharing it with us!!! So delighted you earned the trip.

  20. Thank You for sharing Brian. Isn’t being able to be at PEARL HARBOR and visit the USS Arizona and USS Missouri truly and experience of an Life Time. I will always stay true to my saying, and that is, One cannot go to any part of Hawaii, without wanting to first go to Pearl Harbor and spending hours, even a whole day there taking it all in and of course, not shed a tear or two while there. If I ever get back to Hawaii, I would truly go to Pear Harbor again.

  21. Thanks for the trip, it was great!!

  22. I bet the wedding couple wanted you for bestman.
    Usually boats go on ships. That looked ship size.
    Lots of pictures with pretty ladies.
    I read your blog every day.

  23. I bet the wedding couple wanted you for bestman.
    Usually boats go on ships. That looked ship size.
    Lots of pictures with pretty ladies.
    I read your blog every day.

  24. What an incredible trip. We loved getting to know you better Brian and you are so much fun!! So many great memories. Thanks for helping me find my swaps I lost too. Lol

  25. That was do much fun and I’m not even there! You sure are an entertainer. A thank you for sharing all,of this with us.

  26. What fun. I love the diary approach. Did you get directions to Georgia’s darling pop up card? What a great idea for a milestone birthday. Welcome home!

  27. Loved the pictures and your recap – you always make me smile! Looks like a fabulous time was had by all! It’s nice to live vicariously though you :-)!
    Kim
    aka Paradise Stamper

  28. I’m so glad you shared your diary with us. You always seem to have a wonderful time, and people love you wherever you go. So do I. You are such a talented guy.

  29. Love your photos! Thank you for sharing them with us. That is too funny ~ you stopped this couple to get a photo of you with them???

  30. Brian, thank you for sharing your diary with us, I loved it. You are da Man!

  31. To say I had an awesome, ridiculously funny time with you would be an understatement!
    I cried on the plane when it finally hit me that I wouldn’t be seeing you for at least 12 months. 🙁 Then I smiled reflecting on how blessed I am to have met you. After that came uncontrollable giggles as I flicked back through all our photos! 🙂
    Love you! xo

  32. Dear Brian’s Diary, it was so nice to read all about this amazing adventure and see the wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing. Congratulations!!! 🙂

  33. Looks like you had a fabulous time! Mahalo for sharing the highlights.

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