Some of you may remember during last year's anniversary festivities we gave away a trip to come visit Nashville, Tennessee and stamp with me for the day. Tracey Cuccia was the lucky winner and she joined me a few weekends ago for a wonderful weekend together. I have asked Tracey to describe the details of her trip from her point of view. Enjoy!
In Tracey's own words…
I’m Tracey Cuccia, and I was the ‘runner-up’ winner of the Stamping Getaway trip to Nichole’s house, waaaaayyyy back in March of last year. I was completely shocked when I had learned that little old me would get to take a trip, and stamp with THE Nichole Heady.
It took some time, but Nichole and I were finally able to nail down a date that would work, January 20-21, 2012! I chose to bring my Mom with me, I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to spend some time together, as it doesn’t happen often, well, not without 2 granddaughters who want Nanny’s undivided attention ;).
On to travel day! I live in NY, and we’ve had really no snow at ALL this year, and it’s been unusually warm, so of course when I heard that there was going to be some snow Thursday night, all I could think is GREAT! NOW it’s going to snow?!?!?! But we woke up Friday morning to just a dusting on the grass, and a little on the roads, nothing to cause serious issues. By the time we reached the airport it was beautiful and sunny. We had plenty of time to settle in, and get through security. Then we almost missed our plane, but that’s a story for another day, ha ha.
I’m not the best flier; in fact, I’m a downright wreck! So, once we landed in TN, and I got up from kissing the ground (if you were at gate C5 in the Nashville airport that day, I apologize if I made you feel awkward ;)) Mom and I grabbed a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks, and then a cab, and headed to the hotel.
My stars! The Union Station Hotel in Nashville is absolutely GORGEOUS! I felt like Annie heading in to Daddy Warbucks’ mansion for the first time. Every attendant was so courteous and friendly; I was just waiting for them to break out in song. ;) Our room wasn’t ready yet, and we were a bit hungry, so we headed into the hotel restaurant for lunch. Absolutely delicious. The food was heavenly, and I truly think it tasted even better, because our server was so wonderful, kind, and attentive. Let’s face it, in NY, you aren’t asked the question “Now darlin’, is there anything else I can get to help you enjoy that more?”
Ended lunch with this beauty…
After lunch, we dropped off our bags in our amazing hotel room, and then decided to take a stroll down to Music Row. We only had one night in Nashville, so there was a lot to take in in a short time! The sights and scenes were a LOT of fun, here are a few shots from down town.
We ended the night back at the hotel with a little snack, and we headed to bed. Saturday was the BIG DAY!
Saturday, Mom and I got up and got ready, and headed back to the hotel restaurant and had breakfast. Again, SO delicious. We agreed we could get used to living like this…great food, great service, beautiful surroundings…who wouldn’t?? “♪I think I’m gonna like it here ♪” LOL. After breakfast, we checked out, and waited in the lobby for Nichole. When she arrived, it felt so comfortable. I don’t know about you, but I wonder sometimes how things will be when I meet someone face to face, after “knowing them” online. This isn’t my first time experiencing meeting an online friend face to face, but I can honestly say, one of the most comfortable encounters yet. Nichole made us feel at home, as we headed to her home (which is lovely, by the way, the views are spectacular!).
Mom and I had a quick moment to meet Nichole’s family, before they were off to normal Saturday events, birthday parties, errands, and the like. Lol. Felt just like home, though back in NY, our events were all cancelled due to snow.
Then we headed into the stamp room. WOW. Just beautiful. AND Nichole made our wonderful trip EVEN sweeter, as she gave Mom and I EACH a HUGE tote bag FULL of goodies – see for yourself! Oh my word, talk about feeling spoiled rotten!
I think as customers, of any company, we come to hold the owners, and design team members to some sort of ‘star status’. I mean, look, at the beginning of my post, I was going to stamp at THE Nichole Heady’s house! But when you get to meet people face to face, you realize just how NORMAL they are. People. Ordinary people. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually bring a camera to my friend’s house to stamp, and take pictures of her/with her the whole time, lol.
Nichole gave us the opportunity to choose how we wanted to ‘play’. She had a basket full of inspiration pictures, or asked if there was a certain product we wanted to use, or a certain technique we wanted to do. My Mom flat out said she wasn’t so creative, so we opted to recreate some awesome countdown projects, and boy did we laugh. And laugh. My Mom doesn’t stamp all too often, and well; let’s just say we certainly made things entertaining. I *did* snap this picture of Nichole cleaning a stamp/block. Not to air any “dirty” secrets, but I learned that Dawn once told Nichole that she is a messy stamper. I wanted to prove that Nichole does clean up her blocks, especially after they got ALL mucked up.
And here are the 4 cards we got to make before heading out to lunch:
I picked the penguin card. We probably could have made 2 more, if I had picked something less complicated! LOL. OH – and I have to say, I got to use the Vagabond die cutting machine… *happy sigh* heaven! So simple. I REALLY missed it when I was cranking the handle of my Cuttlebug last week.
After stamping, we headed out to lunch. The first place we were going to go was unfortunately closed for renovations. Nichole’s quick thinking landed us at this great place called Bricktops. We enjoyed a great lunch, and chatted about all sorts of things from stamping, to family heritage, to what’s on TV. Our charming waiter was kind enough to snap the quick shot of Mom, Nichole and I before we left.
After our late lunch, Nichole brought us back to the airport, and we got ready to head home. It was a whirlwind of a weekend, and boy, was I ever glad to back on the ground in NY, we had a bit of a bumpy ride back, though I did not kiss the ground here, LaGuardia just didn’t seem as clean as the Nashville airport. 😉
All in all – I am SO GRATEFUL for the opportunity, and the experience. What did I take away MOST from the trip?? The fact that just because someone is a big name in the industry doesn’t mean they are any different than you or me. They have feelings too, and just because they are who they are, they shouldn’t be a reason to pick apart what they do, or what they say, or hold them to this super high standard, either. Nichole couldn’t have been more down to earth and kind, and I never in ANY way felt awkward while with her. There wasn’t a question I had that wasn’t met with a gracious answer, and it truly was a pleasure to get a few tips and tricks from a master of the craft.
And to Nichole, thank you for this great experience, not only to get to spend some quality time with my Mom, but to meet you, and be welcomed into your home. It is something I will remember always. I hope that if you choose to do this again in the future, the recipient has an even better experience than I did, though I have to say, it would be hard to beat!
I am so grateful for the time I got to spend with Tracey & Janice! They were such special guests, so entertaining, so funny, so kind, such amazing people. One of the best parts of my job is getting the opportunity to meet some of the wonderful customers Papertrey has, and Tracey & Janice were certainly no exception! Thank you to both of them for their time in sharing their story today!