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2011 Countdown to National Conference

raebates

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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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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.
 
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makeawhisk

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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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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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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!
 

Becca_in_MD

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Back to the tipping topic - some people you are traveling with may be cheap, but mostly people are just not aware that they should tip certain people or how much. Set an example and don't hide it from others in your group. Most will appreciate the insight on how much and when to tip and the cheapos will be embarrassed into tipping. The most common one that people seem to be unsure of is the guys who handle the baggage storage at the hotel. Even I get confused since the hotel posts a sign that they're charging $1/bag, which is what I would normally tip. Throw in an extra buck or two. It's not going to break your bank.
 

chefa

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Jul 21, 2009
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Those guys who deal with all our luggage on the first and last days are wonderful! They're always courteous and friendly and make you feel like you're not being a pain in the behind when you're bugging them to find your suitcase.
 

KCPChef

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That is just what I needed :) I was just getting ready to ask if anyone just uses a carry-on. I, for one, am SUPER CHEAP and really hate that i have to pay to check a bag... so i am going to pack super light and then go from there :) My question is because I have only flown 2 times in my life and they were a long time ago- can you pack snacks in a carryon? They are cheaper at home to buy so I was just wondering :) Thanks!!!
 

esavvymom

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This should answer questions about what you can/cannot bring on the planes, how to pack the things you CAN (ie- toiletries)...etc.

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/index.shtm

This will be my first time flying with my family after the body-scans and pat-downs have started. My DH flew two weeks ago and got groped AND Scanned (by a woman no less). Yippee. I just hope, they don't touch my kids. :grumpy:
 
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I am going to do just carry on, dont have to worry about anything getting lost
 

Sheila

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I only have one suitcase in TX (the rest are still in Japan) so I have no choice but to go big ... the one big one I brought for me & the kids during the evac! LOL
 

angel7581

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Bobbi: Where are you flying out of? At most of the airports you can see which line has the full body scan machine .. you can pick a line without one and as long as you dont dress in a way that makes you look like you would be hiding stuff they wont ask you to switch and thus no scan and no pat down. I generally wear my PC yoga pants and a t-shirt and have not had an issue. I have recently flown Detroit to Chicago and Detroit to Charlotte.
 

esavvymom

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Bobbi: Where are you flying out of? At most of the airports you can see which line has the full body scan machine .. you can pick a line without one and as long as you dont dress in a way that makes you look like you would be hiding stuff they wont ask you to switch and thus no scan and no pat down. I generally wear my PC yoga pants and a t-shirt and have not had an issue. I have recently flown Detroit to Chicago and Detroit to Charlotte.

RDU (Raleigh-Durham). I think DH said that when he flew a few weeks ago, they had no choice, and they STILL got the pat-down! I don't care if they want to see my chubby body on the screen....poor screener! (As long as it isn't my fellow consultant's hubby! I 'll have to email her and ask if he works those or not! He works early AM...Yikes. that would be awkward). But I just don't want anyone touching me, but especially my kids. I know it's not THAT way, but still...come on. Really?! Anyway, don't mean to start a debate, just being a momma-bear. ;)

Thanks for the advice on the clothes. I'll definitely try that.
 

ChefCKHall

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Jan 30, 2010
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Yup, I posted that in here a few days back! It's amazing, and I'm really going to give it a try - we're driving, but it doesn't hurt to have extra room!
And Thank You for this! I posted to my FB wall and some had not seen it yet!! MUAH! CK
 

raebates

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


Take just a moment or two to think about your goal for yourself at NC. What do you hope to get out of it? Fun is fun, and I’m looking forward to lots of fun and foolishness. It’s important to remember, though, that the real purpose of NC is to learn from the workshops and from each other. Be prepared to meet your NC goals.

Think about what you want to learn. Here’s an exercise that some coaches use. Look around the room you're in. Now close your eyes and think of everything you saw that was green. Okay, now look around and notice everything that’s green. I’d just about guarantee that you noticed more green things when you were looking for them. Knowing what you hope to learn helps you to notice it when it’s presented.

I plan to write down a few questions for each workshop. I’ll look these over before the workshop starts so I’ll remember what I hope to learn. It will also help when they ask for questions at the end of the workshop, in case one of mine is still unanswered.

Write down some additional questions you have, and go over them a time or two so you’re ready to ask them of the people who’ve achieved the level to which you’re aspiring.

Think about what you do well and what changes you’ve made in the last year that have helped you. This will help you to have an answer ready when someone turns to you for advice. Brand new and don’t feel like you have any advice to offer? Think about one or two things you wish someone had told you when you signed up. This is great info for people who are recruiting.
 
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dannyzmom

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GREAT one Rae!!!
 

Sheila

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I haven't seen the full body scan machines yet. I went through a "blow dryer" since returning from Japan & had to ask the tech what it did. He said that the air forces any particles off your body & clothing & then sucks it into a vacuum at the bottom for analysis. He said it's amazing for detecting small particles of chemical & biological weapons. Of course, I was super impressed! :p (Anything anti-terrorism is fascinating to me. LOL)
 

raebates

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That's kind of cool, Sheila.
 

raebates

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

Two weeks!

Arriving early or staying an extra day? Talk to your cluster or traveling buddies about any touristy things you want to do—shop, see a play, visit a museum, etc. Check online for special savings, coupons, and even ideas.
 

Chef Bobby

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I'm going to try and see the Fireworks on the Navy Pier either Wednesday or Saturday night at 9:30. I'm not leaving till Sunday morning.
 

raebates

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


Be sure to wear comfy shoes when you travel to and from NC. Flying? In many places ALL footwear must be removed for x-ray screening. Shoes that slip off and on easily will save time and frustration. Well, at least some of the frustration.

Bonus tip: Merrill will be there. Yes, they’ll have clothes, but they’ll also have oodles of other products. Is there something you want to check on? Something you’re running low on? That Merrill room can get crowded and chaotic. Make a list. You might even consider going to their website. Write down anything that piques your interest. At NC you can check those things out to see if you want to buy them.
 

wadesgirl

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I haven't seen the full body scan machines yet. I went through a "blow dryer" since returning from Japan & had to ask the tech what it did. He said that the air forces any particles off your body & clothing & then sucks it into a vacuum at the bottom for analysis. He said it's amazing for detecting small particles of chemical & biological weapons. Of course, I was super impressed! :p (Anything anti-terrorism is fascinating to me. LOL)

They did this when we went to visit the CN Tower. We were curious what the heck it actually was - very space age looking. A group of us got pulled off to the side because the line was so long and they just did a manual test of our hands, cell phones, etc. DH asked the guy and that's exactly what he said.
 

raebates

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Today is June 25. There are only 12 days until the start of National Conference!

Do you snore? I do sometimes. Talk to your roommates about what to do if someone’s snoring is disturbing you. I usually tell my roommates that if I’m snoring too loud they are welcome to shake me, wake me, turn me over, suffocate me with a pillow, whatever it takes.
 

Becca_in_MD

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My husband says the same thing. I have come very, very close a few times to using the pillow to smother him. I would never do that to you, Rae!
 

ChefCKHall

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


Be sure to wear comfy shoes when you travel to and from NC. Flying? In many places ALL footwear must be removed for x-ray screening. Shoes that slip off and on easily will save time and frustration. Well, at least some of the frustration.

I am wearing flip flops for the flight. When on the plane, I have a pair of socks I put on my feet to keep them warm and then pop them off when we are disembarking!
 

raebates

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Today is June 26. There are only 11 days left until the start of National Conference!

You will have an opportunity to meet and learn from lots of people at NC. DO NOT spend all of your time with your clustermates. You already know a lot of what they have to tell you. I realize that most people are a little more reserved than I. (Everyone who has ever met me has just fallen off their chairs, laughing at that understatement.) Using the buddy system is fine. But, make sure that you’re surrounded by people you don’t know. Engage them in conversation. Go armed with the questions you want the answers to. (What is your best advice for getting bookings? If you were to name the most important thing you do in order to get recruits, what would it be? What are you hoping to learn at NC? What are the three things you’re anxious to try when you get home?) Who knows, you just might make a new friend.

And, as much as I’m looking forward to meeting up with CS friends, that sort of goes for Cheffers, too. After all, we do share a lot here. There’s been talk of trying to sit together for breakfasts. That’s a great idea. Just make sure you aren’t surrounded by Cheffers for lunch and dinner, too.
 

angel7581

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Thanks for the laugh Rae. :) I love your posts .. they are a great way to start my day.
 

newatthis

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I cant go to conference. My mom fell and broke her arm - had surgery now in rehab. She cant drive. I was to room with someone at Sheraton. Looking for someone to replace me. Please send me direct [email protected]. There is only 1 person in the room right now
 

esavvymom

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I cant go to conference. My mom fell and broke her arm - had surgery now in rehab. She cant drive. I was to room with someone at Sheraton. Looking for someone to replace me. Please send me direct [email protected]. There is only 1 person in the room right now

You may want to post a separate thread....to be noticed by someone looking for a room, etc...vs lost in the shuffle of this thread.


make sure that you’re surrounded by people you don’t know. Engage them in conversation. Go armed with the questions you want the answers to.

Just don't ask ME questions....My business is barely active month-to-month. I can answer the technical things (like where to find something on CC, etc), but when it comes to bookings, recruiting, Cust.Care....I'm the WRONG person to ask. :D But if you happen to be sitting near me somewhere, and have some tips for a shy introvert (I know that shocks you!) who is scared to pick up the phone- even after 4 years, I'll take it! ;)
 

Chef Bobby

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Just don't ask ME questions....My business is barely active month-to-month. I can answer the technical things (like where to find something on CC, etc), but when it comes to bookings, recruiting, Cust.Care....I'm the WRONG person to ask. :D But if you happen to be sitting near me somewhere, and have some tips for a shy introvert (I know that shocks you!) who is scared to pick up the phone- even after 4 years, I'll take it! ;)[/QUOTE]

You sound like me.
 

Sheila

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... But if you happen to be sitting near me somewhere, and have some tips for a shy introvert (I know that shocks you!) who is scared to pick up the phone- even after 4 years, I'll take it! ;)

My advice ... PICK UP THE PHONE! It won't bite. I promise. LOL
 

pchockeymom

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IS ANYONE AS EXCITED AS I AM?!!! Now that all my shows are done for June, my focus is conference and packing and planning. I am like a kid the week before Christmas! And I have a mega show on the 11th so I can't wait to apply all the fabulous things I learn at conference at that show! My head has been spinning with questions and anticipation of hearing great tips and advice from everyone. July 6th can't come soon enough!
 

chefa

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Jul 21, 2009
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YES!! Can't wait to get there & be surrounded by a bazillion people who LUV PC! Not to mention all the great info/tips and getting to see those folks we only get to see once a year. Come on July 6th!
 

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