Stamping Getaway with Tracey Cuccia

By February 1, 2012The Inside Scoop

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.

01 lobby

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…

02 apple brown betty
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.

03 Second Fiddle
04 Spoons
This pair was fantastic…she TOTALLY rocked the spoons.  Very entertaining, indeed.  

We ended the night back at the hotel with a little snack, and we headed to bed.  Saturday was the BIG DAY!

05 Mom and I
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!

06 Goodie bag

I took a few pictures while stamping, but you know, the more I sat and chatted with Nichole, I have to say, it felt WEIRD to take pictures.  Here’s why.

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. 

07 Nichole cleaning up

And here are the 4 cards we got to make before heading out to lunch:

08 Card 1
09 Card 2
10 card 3
11 Card 4

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.

12 3 of us

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!      

With Gratitude,

  13 Tracey

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! 

Nichole Heady

Author Nichole Heady

More posts by Nichole Heady

Join the discussion 55 Comments

  • 1
    Dee in N.H. says:

    How cool is that?! Sounds awesome and glad you all had a good time!

  • 2
    Renee V. (happystamper05) says:

    …. Awesome! It was so much fun to read about your amazing get-away!

  • 3

    I am SO JEALOUS but also SO HAPPY that you all had such a fabulous time! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  • 4
    Joan B says:

    One of the nicest blog posts I’ve read in a very long time. Awesome and the cards you all made are gorgeous!

  • 5
    see mary stamp says:

    What a great post. So fun to experience her trip vicariously!

  • 6
    richard says:

    Wow, that is just wonderful. I hope the opportunity to win this kind of day will come up again! How FUN!! Thanks so much for sharing your lovely experience!

  • 7
    SueB says:

    What a wonderful virtual trip with you! I’ve always imagined Nichole just as you say because that is how she runs her entire business. With graciousness and kindness. What a fantastic prize for you to win. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • 8
    Sandy Kay says:

    Thank you for sharing this fun experience! I’ve been waiting to hear all about it! I loved reading this post!

  • 9

    Great post. Thank you for sharing. The cards Tracey picked turned out darling.

  • 10
    Susan T says:

    Fabulous….I didn’t expect anything less. It was nice of you to share with us your experience. I know I was really hoping that the lucky winner was gonna be me. So glad to hear that you have special memories with your mom and THE Nichole Heady!! Nichole, you are extra special. Who else would open up themselves and there house along with southern hospitality. Class act indeed!

  • 11
    June K. says:

    Tracey, so nice to read about you and your mom’s time at Nichole’s. I’m so glad you had a great time. Beautiful cards.

    Nichole, this was such a wonderful prize. It would be a dream come true of any of us.

  • 12
    Laura says:

    Looks like a dream weekend!! Thanks for sharing!

  • 13
    Carolynn Wilson says:

    Thank you so much for giving us the vicarious pleasure of being part of this lovely visit!

  • 14
    Jan Duston says:

    What a beautiful story Tracey! Lucky you! Maybe your Mom will now enjoy stamping more now- When my granddaughters are here, that is how we spend a lot of time!!!

  • 15
    Amy Kolling says:

    Omg…..what a fabulous trip! I love your detailed post about your weekend events! Very envious!!

  • 16

    Amazing post! Thanks a lot for it.

  • 17
    Marlena M says:

    What a blessing all around! I really laughed when you shared how friendly service in TN is….we spent 9 years there and we miss the smiles and syrupy accent. Thank you for sharing your fun trip with all of us…you’re a great writer AND crafter. What beautiful cards! 😉

  • 18

    What a great weekend you had. Thanks for sharing your story. I felt like I was there (just a little bit).

  • 19
    Judy Stiles says:

    Tracey, really enjoyed reading about your fantastic trip to Tennessee and your special time with your Mom and Nicole! What a blessing to have been able to do this! The cards you made are absolutely beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us … we are all envious! haha

  • 20
    Cathy Weber says:

    This sounds like such a wonderful time, Tracey, you are so lucky!!!

  • 21
    Pam W. says:

    SPECTACULAR POST! I have spent time with Tracey (a dear PSF) and she is a total blast. I have no doubt that Nichole enjoyed her time with Tracey (and her mom).

    I met Nichole last year at SAF and Tracey is right. She is totally down to earth and so fun.

    I’ve been to Nashville, and it is a very entertaining city.

    So I am sure all of the girls had a great time!!

    And Nichole, just an FYI. I’m available anytime – just sayin’…….

  • 22
    Dana says:

    Love, love, love this post! Thanks for sharing your prize/story with us!

  • 23
    nkmac says:

    Yep, just I suspected too…she really is, you really are a great gal, Nichole..what a wonderful idea and opportunity…was good for both of you I am sure.

  • 24
    Patty J says:

    Lovely post, so glad we are able to “share”in the experience of a lifetime.

  • 25

    Thank you so much Tracey for sharing your time with Nichole. It almost felt like I was right there with you (I could only wish, ha-ha!) I totally know what you mean about meeting an online friend for the first time face-to-face and I agree that Nichole does a great job just making you feel comfortable. Im sure you’ll remember your special day with Nichole and your mom for years to come!

  • 26

    Absolutely love this post! I enjoyed reading about Tracey’s trip. But, even more, I loved her reminder that we’re all just regular normal people.

  • 27

    Sounds like an absolute blast! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • 28

    Such a lovely post – thanks for sharing with us all! You chose to make two of my all-time favorite cards of Nichole’s…the two with the hand-stamped backgrounds, #1 and #4, what a treat!

  • 29
    Kathy H says:

    What a great trip and fun weekend for all 3 of you! I was sure Nichole was a “regular” person and now it’s confirmed. Thank you for sharing your weekend with us:)

  • 30

    Sounds like my kind of weekend, great company, good food AND stamping!

  • 31
    Juanita in Ohio says:

    WOW!!!!!!! What a wonderful read, it looks as though big fun was had by all. Nichole is not only a nice person but also very generous with a big heart. I can feel the fun you had just by reading the story. TFS.

  • 32

    Such a nice post. I loved reading it. So glad that you all had so much fun!!
    xoxo, Christine

  • 33
    char says:

    Very awesome Tracy! What a great experience for you and your mom! Wonderful post! And Nicole….very wonderful prize :-)I would be in heaven!

  • 34
    Nana 4 says:

    Such a fun post to read. I am not surprised at the reception you got, Tracy… can feel Nicole’s heart in every one of her “make it mondays”…and the customer service at Papertrey is tops! So glad you and your mom had this time together. This was a Happy read!

  • 35
  • 36
    Renee says:

    First let me say that I’m a horrible flyer as well…
    and have also kissed the ground at Nashville International upon landing too!
    In fact that flight was so bad I refused to fly back to Baltimore and made my hubby drive down to get me on the TN/VA line…
    long story!
    And thank you so much for the wonderful view…
    both literal and perspective…
    of this incredible city.
    I live just outside of Nashville and take so many things about this city for granted…
    it was so refreshing to see it through your eyes and makes me so proud to say that I call TN home.
    And your weekend sounds incredibly wonderful…
    not only because you got to play at probably THE best “playroom” ever ;)…
    and with Nichole…
    who IS “the master”…
    but it was such a fabulous memory making weekend with your mom that you both will always cherish.
    Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us!

  • 37
    Troy Louise says:

    What a lovely blog entry! Sounds like you all had a wonderful time. I’ve always thought that Nichole seemed like a real down to earth, friendly, kind person. Not to mention the most creative gal around. This certainly confirms it. Thanks & hugs to all of you.

  • 38
    Helen F. says:

    Thank you Tracy for sharing your wonderful weekend~I can’t image that it wouldn’t be the most fabulous experience to meet Nicole and visiting her home. Great post :o)

  • 39
    rieca says:

    Lovely, wonderful tale of a dream come true. Now we all have to keep our fingers crossed that just once in our life we all get a chance to be inspired by somebody like Nichole.

  • 40
    Erin L says:

    My husband and I stayed there once when we were first dating. The food was wonderful. Did you know the hotel is haunted? It’s been on haunted hotels on TV before.

  • 41
    jeanc says:

    As with any venue, the gift of time is the most priceless gift of all!

  • 42
    Sue Lelli says:

    LOVE the post, LOVE the photos, LOVE the stories! LOVE the cards! LOVE that Tracey was able to share this rare opportunity with her Mom! And LOVE that Nichole was just so wonderful!

  • 43
    Becky P. says:

    What a great post. I wish I could have been there too. A master class with Nichole Heady. . . priceless!

  • 44
    DeanneR says:

    My friend and I “dreamed” what it would be like if one of us won the contest. I loved reading Tracey’s post! With her details, I couldn’t help imagining the two of US in Nashville at the Union Station Hotel and in Nichole’s craft room stamping with her.

  • 45
    AOK says:

    What a lovely post. One of the nicest I have read in a long time.

  • 46
    Donna K says:

    What a fun experience that must have been. just to meet Nicole and see her craft area is cool. anytime we get to spend extended time crafting with friends is really special. life just seems to throw so many other things in the way of stamping time.

  • 47
    Jill Norwood says:

    I loved your post about your trip to stamp with Nichole. So glad your Mom could share it with you! Thanks for sharing your pictures and special moments with us! Glad you had such a fun time!!!!

  • 48

    How awesome is that! Glad that all of you had such a wonderful time!

  • 49
    Cat says:

    This sounds like a well deserved trip. It’s nice to hear that she enjoyed taking it with her mom. Very witty and well written and thank you for sharing it with the rest of us.

  • 50
    Winnie Uffelmann says:

    Such a lovely post. I am a native New Yorker, and that just sounds like a great place to be! So nice of Nichole and family to host you and your mom. Made me smile to read about your trip and adventure. Such a kind gesture…

  • 51
    AnneH says:

    This was such a nice post. I felt like I was there with you. When I entered the contest I told my daughter that I would be too nervous to make anything. How wrong I was when I read how wonderful Nicole was to play with. Thanks for taking me along on your trip.

  • 52

    Your blog is quite remarkable. Its articles are rather good and I like it particularly very much. I really hope to make a good friend with you.

  • 53
    Emily says:

    Thanks for sharing this lovely experience! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer McGuire, and she too is so amazingly sweet and down to earth. I hope to have the opportunity to meet Nichole one day 🙂

  • 54
    Ginger says:

    Hey Nichole, that is the most beautiful post, thank you for sharing it with us. I’m so glad Tracey and her Mum got to spend a day with you and get to know you. Having been lucky enough to meet you, I’m glad they did too as you are so lovely.
    Big hugs from the UK
    Claire xxx

  • 55

    Your blog is great. Your thoughts are also very good and i am very inspired from your post. That is why I visit this blog again and again and will come back in future too. Thanks for shared this with us.i found this informative and interesting blog so i think so its very useful.

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