My friend, Heather, was the team captain for the Philadelphia stake and a few surrounding stakes. We decided to stay overnight the night before at a hotel in Philadelphia (about 45 minutes south of us) since we both needed to be there prior to the conference. My mom drove up to be a part of this, too, which made it extra fun and memorable to say the least!
We were supposed to check in to the hotel at 4pm and meet with the TOFW staff to set up the stage. Unfortunately, we had a few...um...let's just call them "set backs" that delayed us 2 hours! Because of the delay, we ended up running into MAJOR traffic on the Schyukill expressway.
Picture this, if you will...We're busting a move on the expressway, a van full of ficus trees, trying to make up for lost time, when out of nowhere, BAM! We had a collision that resulted in a smashed side view mirror! We kept driving, though, even after hitting the car. When we thought about it later, we were amazed that we didn't all get killed. Every scenerio except for the one that actually ended up happening was more likely. The damage ended up costing me $350 in repairs...but hey! at least I got a free ticket to the event, right?!
We finally made it! Flustered as all get out...but we made it! I've never been so excited to be in Philadelphia in my life!
We unloaded the stage props (ficus trees, ferns and urns). The set is already pre-designed, but they assign a local person at each city that they have to coordinate greenery. I originally thought this would be a no-brainer as everyone seems to have a fake ficus tree sitting around somewhere in their house (everyone but me!) This proved not to be the case. For whatever reason, coordinating getting these trees from various people was like the biggest hassle of the century!
The stage was finally set up (I didn't get a picture of this! Rats!). Hilary Weeks and Cindy Pennington (Sheri Dew's sister we later found out) were kind enough to help us lug the props up to the stage.
When the set up was complete, we made a plan for when we were going to meet for dinner and then we headed for our room at the Marriott. We were thinking that it was going to be a small sized room with 2 queen beds and a roll-away, as my mom was staying with us...
Not the case! The room was HUGE! And fabulous!!
Here I am experiencing true luxury! We were all so excited!
Here we are just before meeting the rest of our party for dinner...
(Heather, my mom and me!)
Dinner was a blast! We went to Portofinos, a true Italian restaurant equipped with a real life mafia owner--who, incidentally, kept coming over to our table! I think he was drunk! Yikes! (Only in Philadelphia, baby!) The food was wonderful! Chrislyn Barnes, the coordinator for the whole event (the one in green) became our new BFF! As did Cindy Pennington (far left). Our friend, Vikki Carrel (black and white check jacket) was the local team captain and she and her mom went with us to dinner as well.
The next morning, after staying up way to late laughing and sharing old war stories, we landed at the event! This was a picture of everyone who was in charge of making this happen...
Vikki, Chrislyn, me and Heather
Here we are hamming it up with our TOFW bags...
I wish we would have gotten pictures of some of the presenters...
Our seats were directly behind Emily Watts and Jane Clayson (former CBS morning show anchor). I was able to talk to her briefly--she was in our ward when we lived in NY. She, of course, didn't remember me so I of course, looked like a dork! She was very reserved!
One more picture of us with one of our favorite pals, Cindy Pennington...
Other than a few crazy mishaps, it was an amazing experience! I think having the opportunity to work behind the scenes made it all the better! We made some wonderful friends and have funny memories to think back on.
**Have you ever been to a Time Out For Women conference?