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2011 Countdown to National Conference

wadesgirl

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  • #201
Sorry, the retired police dispatcher in me is saying DON'T DO THAT! If your suitcase gets lost in transit or if a member of the hotel cleaning staff decides to rifle through your things, you are putting your cards at risk by giving them photos of the front & back of your card to make as many internet purchases as they want (especially if you have a photo copy of your drivers license WITH your billing address printed on the driver's license). Yes, it's a good idea to keep a copy at home in a safe place. You can even give a copy to a trusted relative or friend in case you need to call them for the info from vacation ... but I discourage you from carrying copies of all your personal info like that in your suitcase. ;)

Another thought ... what if the hotel messes up & gives someone a key to your room? My sister & brother-in-law were just telling me that they walked into a room where someone was in the shower & all that person's stuff was laid out in the room (including a man's wallet on the dresser). Sis & BIL backed out & immediately returned to the desk ... but what if the occupant was not in the shower but gone AND what if the people with accidental access to his room were not trustworthy people? Never leave valuables in a hotel room unless it's in a safe.

What if you don't know your roommate as well as you THOUGHT you did? :eek:

When traveling, don't carry credit cards you won't need or use with you. Don't carry extras like your children's Social Security cards with you. Clean out all non-essential items and leave them in a secure place at home (or safe deposit box at the bank if you have one). There's no point in making yourself more vulnerable than you have to be. Keep alert. Be aware of your surroundings at all times (on or off vacation). If you see someone who looks suspicious, make eye contact. Most thieves will have second thoughts about choosing YOU as the victim if they think you could identify them in a lineup. Most purse snatchers want to do it & flee before you can get a good look at them. So make them nervous ... LOOK at them before they can grab & run! Never carry your purse on the street side of you when walking on a sidewalk. It's too easy for someone to drive by, reach out the window & grab it. Always keep it on the building side of the street and close. If you are in a crowd, keep it tucked around near your belly button where you will KNOW if someone tries to touch it or dig in it. And remember, you can dial 911 for free from any pay phone. ;)
I actually change into a smaller wallet when I travel. This leads to me only taking the things I need and to not carry any extra.
 

raebates

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  • #202
Good advice, Sheila. I got the info from a travel site, but I'll edit that for future use.
 

raebates

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Today is July 13. There are only 24 days until the start of National Conference.

What not to take is as important as what to take. Leave the family heirlooms at home. While your hotel should be secure, theft does happen. If it's an irreplaceable piece of family history, you may want to rethink bringing it along. If you're being recognized for a special achievement, and you really want to wear great aunt Bertha's diamond-encrusted brooch, ask about the hotel safe.
 

Brenda.the.chef

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  • #204
I hope you meant JUNE 13.. not July! (Conference would be over already!):D
 

angel7581

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Good catch Brenda .. I read that post twice today and did not see that.
 

raebates

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LOL! Yes, I did. Can you tell my brain's already into next month? I'd fix it, but that would just make you look insane. ;)
 

raebates

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Today is June 14. There are only 23 days until the start of National Conference.

Make sure of the carry-on rules. I don't know about buses or trains, but airlines have strict carry-on policies. You don't want to have to leave things you've carefully chosen behind. Contact your airline or bus company for their rules. Don't forget that the Transportation Security Administration has some rules in place, too. Questions? Get the answers at TSA | Transportation Security Administration | U.S. Department of Homeland Security or 866-289-9673.
 

raebates

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Today is June 14. There are only 23 days until the start of National Conference.

Make sure of the carry-on rules. I don't know about buses or trains, but airlines have strict carry-on policies. You don't want to have to leave things you've carefully chosen behind. Contact your airline or bus company for their rules. Don't forget that the Transportation Security Administration has some rules in place, too. Questions? Get the answers at TSA | Transportation Security Administration | U.S. Department of Homeland Security or 866-289-9673.
 

Liseit

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Mar 1, 2011
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  • #209
Have I said how much I love this countdown!!! There is so much information here and it increases the excitment being reminded daily that it's almost here. Thanks Rae.
 

raebates

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It's my pleasure, Liseit. It helps me to stay focused, too.
 

raebates

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Today is June 15. There are only 22 days until the start of National Conference.

Okay, so you have your list done. Gather together the clothes you're planning to take. Check each one carefully.
•Does anything need a good cleaning? Check for spots and stains.
•Is everything in good repair? Check for dropped hems, hanging threads, and seams in need of repair.
•Do you have everything you need to complete each outfit? Don't forget any special undergarments (slips, strapless bras, etc.). [Sorry guys. I'd include any special undergarments for you men, but I just keep picturing KG, John, Keith, Scott, Bobby, and the guys in strapless bras.]​
You don't want to be at NC, in the process of getting ready, and realize that you've forgotten something or that something needs cleaning or repair.
 

chefa

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Jul 21, 2009
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  • #212
What a visual! ROFLMA!!!!
 

DeannaK1022

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Jun 3, 2010
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  • #213
I have a question on shoes.. this is my first conference :) and I have plantar fasciitis (sp) if I do alot of standing or walking I need to wear my tennis shoes with inserts.. I know denim is out.. but can I wear my tenni's?

Thanks!!
 

NooraK

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  • #214
I have a question on shoes.. this is my first conference :) and I have plantar fasciitis (sp) if I do alot of standing or walking I need to wear my tennis shoes with inserts.. I know denim is out.. but can I wear my tenni's?

Thanks!!

They are not encouraged, but I think for a medical reason like that you would be fine.
 

esavvymom

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  • #215
You will see alot of folks who are wearing things that will amaze you (blue jeans, shorts, t-shirts, tennis shoes/flip-flops), and then you'll see folks dressed up more business like (although, THOSE are rare!).

I'm more middle of the road. Dressy/Casual Capris (not denim/blue jeans), nice shirts, comfortable shoes, etc. Occasionally a summer dress, but only because they can be more comfortable. :)
 

raebates

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Today is June 16. There are only 21 days left until the start of National Conference!

Three weeks, people!


While you're checking all of your clothing to make sure it's clean and in good repair, why not see if you can eliminate an item or two. Instead of bringing different shoes for each and every outfit, can you get buy with just a couple of changes? If you're bringing sweaters or jackets in case the rooms are chilly, do you have one that will work with every outfit? Remember, the less you take with you, the more room you'll have to bring stuff back.

Speaking of shoes, DO NOT take brand new shoes to NC. We will be doing a lot of walking. If you buy new shoes for NC, be sure to take at least one day to really walk in them. Make sure it’s a day of serious walking—like power shopping. This way you’ll know if they’re comfortable enough to wear all day and whether or not they rub in any areas. If they’re miserable, don’t take them. It’s not worth it. If they simply have an area or two that rubs, you can probably get by with wearing a bandage in that area. If they’re fine but the ball of your foot aches, try an insert. If that’s the route you go, try taking a second day to wear them with the bandages and/or inserts to see if that works. I’m serious. Miserable feet can ruin NC.
 

ChefBeckyD

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Sep 20, 2005
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  • #219
I have a question on shoes.. this is my first conference :) and I have plantar fasciitis (sp) if I do alot of standing or walking I need to wear my tennis shoes with inserts.. I know denim is out.. but can I wear my tenni's?

Thanks!!

Last year, I saw a ton of tennis shoe type shoes.
 
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DeannaK1022

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Jun 3, 2010
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  • #220
If it's ALOT of walking then I have to wear tennis shoes. I'm not going on stage for anything anyway.. - unless I win the maid service or the year of mortgage payments :D so Tennis shoes it is!
 

DebinCincy

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Mar 15, 2011
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  • #221
I have to wear tennis shoes too. I hope people don't judge me to harshly.
 

esavvymom

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  • #222
I have to wear tennis shoes too. I hope people don't judge me to harshly.

As long as your toes aren't sticking out the side or you are in cut-off jeans and a tie-dyed T-shirt, I expect no one will even notice! ;)

Tennis-shoes can mean alot of different things these days. My mom has several pairs of Sketchers, and they do NOT look like your ole 'sneakers'. They are quite dressy looking almost!
 

DebinCincy

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  • #223
I am going to get a nice, new pair, but my inserts only fit in certain ones. I will try to make sure they look nice.
 

Sheila

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Mar 26, 2008
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  • #224
I have a question on shoes.. this is my first conference :) and I have plantar fasciitis (sp) if I do alot of standing or walking I need to wear my tennis shoes with inserts.. I know denim is out.. but can I wear my tenni's?

Thanks!!

Wanted to throw out a thought ... SAS shoes (what nurses wear). Yes, they look like "old lady shoes", but they definitely give you lots of support for long periods up on your feet. I don't own any right now, but 25 years ago when I was in High School & in the marching band, I sure did LOVE them during performances! :D
 

otisbg

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May 5, 2008
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  • #225
:DI have worn tennis shoes for the past 2 years and will again this year. I have orthopedic issues with my feet and ankles and cannot wear cute little shoes of any sort. Folks will often recommend Clarks or Merrill shoes - even SAS (San Antonio Shoes) but the fact is, I wear a women's size 12.5 and many companies stop at size 11...so it is me and good Old New Balance and we have Happy Feet!:D:D
 

esavvymom

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  • #226
Off-topic, but if you plan on bringing a rolling bag of some sort to have with you at conference (which is a great idea, don't get me wrong!) _ I just ask that you are courteous with it when maneuvering! I had and saw a few near collisions last year with folks just shoving their cart/bag wherever and not caring whose toes got smooshed in the process.
 

Sheila

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  • #227
I'll probably be the one wearing flats all day & pulling another pair out of my bag to walk across the stage. LOL
 

DeannaK1022

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Jun 3, 2010
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  • #228
Thanks for all the shoe talk :) my inserts fit New Balance the best but sometimes Nike too. I can wear almost any shoe for a short time or if I don't have to stand around alot or walk alot.

At least I won't be alone in sneakers!
 

wadesgirl

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Jul 25, 2007
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  • #229
Off-topic, but if you plan on bringing a rolling bag of some sort to have with you at conference (which is a great idea, don't get me wrong!) _ I just ask that you are courteous with it when maneuvering! I had and saw a few near collisions last year with folks just shoving their cart/bag wherever and not caring whose toes got smooshed in the process.

UGH totally agree!! We have someone in our group who insists on bringing hers even though she really doesn't need it. She has ran over me a few times before and didn't even know it. If you are going to bring one consider pushing it rather than pulling it so you know where it is going at all times.
 

esavvymom

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  • #230
UGH totally agree!! We have someone in our group who insists on bringing hers even though she really doesn't need it. She has ran over me a few times before and didn't even know it. If you are going to bring one consider pushing it rather than pulling it so you know where it is going at all times.

Most of the time, it can be ok- until you are trying to get into the middle of an aisle (yeah- that's always pretty...barely enough room for people, let alone suitcases), and during the major workshop change period when EVERYONE is going through the same hallways. :)

Oh well...if just a few folks are aware, that will save some toes and heels. (and it's worse if you are wearing open toed shoes!)
 

raebates

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  • #231
Today is June 17. There are only 20 days left until the start of National Conference!

Don’t arrive at NC all frazzled. Take a good look at your schedule leading up to your departure. Have you been realistic? Be honest. Can you really get everything done in the time allotted without driving yourself insane? If not, be ruthless. Eliminate. Delegate. Do whatever it takes to make sure you get some rest and a little time with your family before you leave. You’ll get more out of NC if you aren’t exhausted.
 

esavvymom

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  • #232
Is that even POSSIBLE Rae?? To leave on a trip and not be frazzled before going?
Fortunately for me, I sort of have to. We are leaving on July 2nd, bright and early- after a long Scout Day Camp week....I'll probably have a hard time getting the boys out of bed and to the airport, but I'll be home during most of the days so I can prepare for our trip. Then we'll be at the in-laws until the 6th, when we'll all go downtown Chicago for some site-seeing, and then I stay behind while they take the train back to the suburbs.....so I won't be too frazzled, and I will be spending time with my family. ;)

Can't wait for 3-days in the city by myself though! :D
 

Liseit

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Mar 1, 2011
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  • #233
Off-topic, but if you plan on bringing a rolling bag of some sort to have with you at conference (which is a great idea, don't get me wrong!) _ I just ask that you are courteous with it when maneuvering! I had and saw a few near collisions last year with folks just shoving their cart/bag wherever and not caring whose toes got smooshed in the process.
Since this is my first NC I have to ask--maybe a dumb question but why would you need to bring a rolling bag?? Do they give you that much stuff to lug around all day??
 

mountainmama74

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Oct 21, 2009
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  • #234
I stumbled across this slideshow and thought it would be really pertinent for those of you who are flying (I may even try this, and we're driving!)...

Pack for 10 days in a Carry On

Save money on baggage, and time in the airport. The last time I flew, I did it with just a carry on and it was the GREATEST thing ever! No lines, no check-in waiting, no waiting at baggage claim. Wonderful!!
 

esavvymom

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  • #235
Since this is my first NC I have to ask--maybe a dumb question but why would you need to bring a rolling bag?? Do they give you that much stuff to lug around all day??

I've seen rolling crates, rolling backpacks (especially the Dots Rolling bag after folks earned it), and then rolling laptop bags. Why? Well, depends on how much stuff you bring with you (notebook, water bottle, snack, any other 'essentials' to help you make it through the day) - plus we do get some free stuff, and then of course, people shop at Merrill. If you shop early in a day, you have to carry the stuff around. :yuck: I made that mistake once.

Didn't they have a place last year you could have them hold your stuff for Merrill??? I can't remember. I didn't get as much this last time.

Anyway, if folks have bad backs, etc and don't want to or can't carry their tote bag, they have the rollies. I have no problem with them, just watch where you roll it please. I don't cut folks off, I tend to walk a straight path ;). So please don't weave in/out with your cart and cut off my toes. :(
 

esavvymom

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  • #236
I stumbled across this slideshow and thought it would be really pertinent for those of you who are flying (I may even try this, and we're driving!)...

Pack for 10 days in a Carry On

Save money on baggage, and time in the airport. The last time I flew, I did it with just a carry on and it was the GREATEST thing ever! No lines, no check-in waiting, no waiting at baggage claim. Wonderful!!

Very cool! Thanks for sharing.
 

mountainmama74

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Oct 21, 2009
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  • #238
True, and we did last year, but not everyone has the Southwest option! ;)
 

wadesgirl

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  • #239
I stumbled across this slideshow and thought it would be really pertinent for those of you who are flying (I may even try this, and we're driving!)...

Pack for 10 days in a Carry On

Save money on baggage, and time in the airport. The last time I flew, I did it with just a carry on and it was the GREATEST thing ever! No lines, no check-in waiting, no waiting at baggage claim. Wonderful!!

I went to both Colorado for Leadership and Florida for vacation with just a carry on - I highly recommend if you can manage it. I do roll my clothes like she showed but I also start at the bottom by fill in the areas around the handle to use that space better. Also tuck stuff in your shoes, fill corners and stuff with small things like socks and undies. Instead of a purse bring along a backpack as your personal item for a little more room.
 

raebates

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  • #240
Is that even POSSIBLE Rae?? To leave on a trip and not be frazzled before going?

It is! But, it really takes starting now to eat right, get plenty of exercise, and get lots of rest. It takes making sure you aren't waiting until July 5 to try to get organized for NC. ;)

I will also be going to my regular salon for a trim and a manicure before I go. That always helps me feel relaxed and professional.
 

raebates

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  • #241
I have to wear tennis shoes too. I hope people don't judge me to harshly.

No one will judge you for taking care of your feet, Deb.

I wear pumps, but they're very comfortable pumps. For dinner I change into my cute sneakers. I also tend to take my shoes off during workshops and general sessions, but that's more about cooling off than aching feet. LOL!
 

raebates

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Today is June 18. There are only 19 days until the start of National Conference!

Here’s a great idea from Julie Ann Jones that I’ve used for years. Take three index cards with you to each workshop. Label one “Wow! Do it now!” for things you can implement immediately. Label the second “Great idea! Do it soon,” for those ideas that will need a little planning and/or research before your start them. Label the third “Think about this.” That third card is for things that you think you’d like to do but will need a lot of planning or re-adjustment to your current way of doing things. When you’re sitting in a workshop and they give you a great idea, write it down on the appropriate card. Or, take some time that evening to go over your notes and transfer ideas to the cards. Either way will make it easier to implement the ideas once you get back home. Remember, no matter how great the training, if you don’t implement the ideas you’ve wasted time and money.
 

NooraK

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  • #243
And tomorrow is the last day to register online!
 

raebates

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Today is June 19. There are only 18 days until the start of National Conference!

As Noora pointed out, it's also the last day to register online.

Kristi shared a great idea a few years ago. She made a care package to leave behind for her family—little treats and gifts to be opened each day. Now, The Furry Guy is used to being on his own, so a pan of mac & cheese and a few phone calls to touch base while I’m gone will be just fine for him. However, if you have young children at home or a spouse who’s not used to being on his or her own, a few treats could help them deal with your absence and may make them more willing to let you go next time.
 

raebates

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Today is June 20. There are only 17 days until the start of National Conference!


Don’t forget to bring along a bit of cash for tipping. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of singles. Here are some rules of thumb:

Skycap at the airport—$1 per bag (double if your bags are carted to the counter or elsewhere)

Taxi/Limo drivers—10% to 15% of the fare

Doorman—It’s not necessary to tip the doorman unless he takes your bags inside for you. If so, tip $1 per
bag.

Bellman—$1 to $2 per bag

Parking valet/attendant—$1 to $2

Concierge—It’s not necessary to tip a concierge for directions. However, if he/she has helped you with tickets or reservations, $5 to $10 is customary.

Waitstaff—15% to 20% of your bill. (That's from a national etiquette website. I understand that in larger cities like Chicago the expectation in now 20-25%.)

And, remember to tip your hotel housekeeper. Generally speaking, $2 a day (or a dollar a day per person, if that’s more) is considered standard. I used to just leave one tip at the end of my stay. I don’t do that anymore. Someone pointed out to me that hotel staff assignments can change daily. The person who took care of your room on the first night may not be the same as the last night. As a matter of fact, one person could pick up after you for all but the last night. I now take envelopes for each morning labeled “Housekeeping.” I leave my tip inside (along with those of my roommates) and leave the envelope on the bathroom counter where they’ll be sure to find it.
 
Last edited:

makeawhisk

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Mar 7, 2011
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  • #246
Waitstaff—15% to 20% of your bill.

I know tipping is kind of a touchy subject for some, but I live in downtown Chicago, and I think 20-25% is more the norm here in the city. I'd only tip in the 10-15% range for poor service.

20% is the new 15%. :)

I've always skewed towards the higher end, since I used to be a server, but I have friends that still wait tables, and they confirm that this is true.
 

minjoe_bri

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Apr 22, 2011
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  • #247
MakeaWhisk is accurate about the tipping expectaions in a big city. I know the smaller community I live in is excited for 20%, but as a caterer, I've worked in the industry for so long and the expectation is closer to 20 - 25%.
 

raebates

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The suggestions here come from an etiquette website. I generally tip 20-25% myself. And, you're right, tipping can be a touchy subject. Personally, I'd rather err on the side of generosity. I'll make a change to that post and save it for future NCs.
 

raebates

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Today is June 21. There are 16 days until the start of National Conference!

I know that I keep harping on the “pack light” thing. Now I’m going to tell you to bring something extra—a small first aid kit. A blister, a headache, or an upset tummy can really make it difficult to enjoy NC. If possible, make it something small you can carry with you during the day. A few Band-Aids, some aspirin, and some tummy tablets will fit in a small zippered bag and are well worth the space they take up.
 

wadesgirl

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  • #250
Today is June 21. There are 16 days until the start of National Conference!

I know that I keep harping on the “pack light” thing. Now I’m going to tell you to bring something extra—a small first aid kit. A blister, a headache, or an upset tummy can really make it difficult to enjoy NC. If possible, make it something small you can carry with you during the day. A few Band-Aids, some aspirin, and some tummy tablets will fit in a small zippered bag and are well worth the space they take up.

Moleskin has been a favorite in my family since I was a little kid. If you have shoes that rub the wrong way, just put a little either on your feet or on the shoe. I had a couple pairs of cute sandals that I kept the moleskin on all the time. One had a plastic covered tag on the inside that bothered my foot and the other one part of the strap dug in wrong. No more problems and totally cute standals I could still wear!
 

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