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Countdown to National Conference 2015

Main Points

In summary, Jasmine is preparing for National Conference by reading over her questions, making a list of things she wants to learn, and planning out her wardrobe. She is also emailing the HO to ask about the dress code.
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  • #51
This is great! Bringing health snacks will help keeping alert too, my favorite bars are larabars, the fiber in them keep me feeling full for a long time, but not sluggish

Lara bars are great, and they're easier to find than my RXBars. The ratio of protein to carbohydrates in the RXBars works better for me, but anything with good protein and fiber will be better than the junk you can get from a vending machine or snack bar. (Though, I will admit that that junk can be tasty.)
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  • #52
Today is June 24. There are only 22 days until NC!

Do you live outside of the central time zone? Start making the adjustment soon. After all, people on Eastern Daylight Time will probably be sleeping in at NC. Those to the west will probably be getting up earlier than usual. If you adjust your schedule 15 minutes every few days, you’ll feel better than if you have to make a two-hour adjustment overnight.
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  • #53
Today is June 25. There are only 21 days until NC!

Here’s a great idea adapted 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.
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  • #54
Today is June 26. There are only 20 days until NC!

Kristi shared a great idea several 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 some cookies, 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.
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  • #55
Today is June 28. There are only 18 days until NC!

Want to make things nice for your roommates? Give them a little something. In the past I gave each roommate a survival kit on our first night together. It included ear plugs in case I snored, breath mints in case they needed to offer me one, and chocolate to elevate their endorphins after a few days rooming with me. These days I’m more likely to do pillow gifts—something small each night. If you promise not to tell, I’ll let you in on what I’m doing this year.

Night 1: Water bottle with tag “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Stay hydrated to stay successful.”

Night 2: Purse-size hand lotion with tag “Hands down, you’re one of the best. Thanks for helping me succeed.”

Night 3: Box of mints with tag “Your help has ‘mint’ the world to me.”​

My group has three nights together, since we drive in the day before everything starts.
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  • #56
Today is June 29. There are only 17 days left until the start of NC!

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—$3 to $5

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.

Wait staff—The etiquette site I use suggests 15% to 20% of your bill before tax. That said, in many larger cities such as Chicago, 20% is considered a minimum for good service.

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. 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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  • #57
Today is June 30. There are only 16 days until the start of NC!

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.
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  • #58
Today is July 1. There are only 15 days until the start of NC!

Arriving early or staying an extra day? Talk to your team 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.
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  • #59
Today is July 2. There are only 14 days until NC! Only 2 weeks to go!

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.
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  • #60
Today is July 3. There are only 13 days until NC!

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. Often there have been specials. At the very least, you'll save shipping. Make the most of your time in the Merrill area.
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  • #61
Today is July 4. There are only 12 days until NC!

Happy Independence Day!

Do you snore? Sometimes I do. 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, or suffocate me with a pillow—whatever it takes.

This may seem like a small thing, but in my travels I have roomed with people who snored so loudly that at least one of the rest of us had to move to another room. Different people have different noise tolerances. What goes unnoticed by one sleeper can be an intolerable noise level to another. There's no shame in snoring; it's involuntary. There's no shame in being disturbed by snoring; we all have our sleep needs. However, it is a shame (though, not shameful) to lose sleep over something that can be addressed.

That said, if you're a really light sleeper rooming with others, you might consider ear plugs. A good night's sleep is essential to good health.
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  • #62
Today is July 5. There are only 11 days until NC!

You will have an opportunity to meet and learn from lots of people at NC. Do not spend all of your time with your teammates. 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.

You can use your in-room time or the trip home to talk with your team about what you've learned and what you want to implement.

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. Just make sure you aren’t surrounded by Cheffers all the time.
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  • #63
Today is July 6. There are only 10 days until NC!

Driving? Make sure you check out your vehicle before you leave. Do this even if you’re only driving to the next town to catch a plane, train, or bus. The Furry Guy will be checking my oil, water, washer fluid, and tire pressure. Trust me; you don’t want to break down on the way, especially if it’s something that could have been prevented.
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  • #64
Today is July 7. There are only 9 days until NC!

You might want to take address labels with you. Some speakers might have handouts or offer additional information. If they run low they generally ask for names and addresses. A sheet of address labels is easy to carry and use. You might even want to bring a few self-addressed envelopes. That way, if you want someone to send something special to you, you can just write what you want them to send on the back of the envelope.
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  • #65
How ironic. I post about making sure you've got labels in case they run out of handouts, and now the HO asks us to print out the handouts and bring them with us. LOL! It’s still a good idea to bring along labels and envelopes. My timing it good. LOL!
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  • #66
Today is July 8. There are only 8 days until the start of NC!

If possible, you might want to consider taking your own pillow along. I like my memory foam better than most hotel pillows. I sleep better, making me more wide awake and alert so I can absorb all those great ideas at NC! Of course, if taking a pillow switches you from carry-on only to checked baggage, don’t take it. Chances are good that your hotel will have very nice pillows.
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  • #67
Today is July 9. There are only 7 days until the start of NC!

Only one week! Take some time while you’re at NC to simply enjoy the experience. You’ll be surrounded by wonderful PC people. You’ll be rubbing elbows with people who have reached the level of success you’re striving toward. You will never have that exact experience again (those exact people at exactly that place in their business). Be sure to take a few moments to just enjoy the moment.
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  • #68
Today is July 10. There are only 6 days until the start of NC!

Check out the weather report for Rosemont. This will help you narrow down your packing choices. One place you can check is: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ . If you’re having trouble with that link, here’s the address:

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  • #69
Today is July 11. There are only 5 days until the start of NC!

If you haven’t already done so, start packing now. It will give you time to remember the little things that may have slipped your mind. Don’t pack right into your suitcase, though. Lay everything out so you can see it. This way you’ll be less likely to over pack. For items that should be hanging on hangers until the last moment, gather them together. Section off a spot in your closet just for those items.

Now decide how you’ll pack. Rolling clothes is popular. I prefer stacking everything with plastic in between and folding it gently together (shopping bags work well and can be used later). Sometimes I carry my more wrinkle-prone items in a garment bag.
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  • #70
Today is July 12. There are only 4 days until the start of NC!

Don’t forget your meds and vitamins. As a diabetic, I take several prescription meds and a whole passel of vitamins and supplements. If you have regular medications you take, make sure to take plenty with you. These are not things you’ll want to put in your checked baggage if you’re flying. I always make sure to take an extra day’s supply just in case something happens to delay my return.

I’m serious about the vitamins, too. If you’re used to taking a daily multi-vitamin, you’ll want to continue that even at NC. A tiny zippered bag would hold enough to get you through NC and would fit in just about any purse or bag.
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  • #71
Today is July 13. There are only 3 days until the start of NC!

Have you checked the fridge? This would be a great day to make note of anything that’s getting low so that you can pick it up. You don’t want their memory of your NC trip to be that there was no milk for their morning cereal. This will also give you an opportunity to pick up those healthy snacks you’re going to take along. You can unpack them from the grocery bags right into your suitcase so no one else will be tempted to eat them.
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  • #72
Today is July 14. There are only 2 days until the start of NC!

  • Clear my camera’s SD card so I’ll have plenty of room for pictures. Check.
  • Extra batteries for camera. Check.
  • Sticky note on luggage reminding me to grab my cell phone charger. Check.

Don’t forget to make sure you’re set for all of your electronic gadgets. If you pay roaming charges (do those still exist?) with your cell plan, you might check to see if you can add Rosemont to your plan for just a few days. It could save you a bundle.
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  • #73
Today is July 15. National Conference starts tomorrow!

Don’t obsess too much about what you might have forgotten to pack. You’ll be in Rosemont. There’s little you could have forgotten that can’t be purchased easily near where you’re staying.

See everyone soon! I’m leaving in just a little while, and I’ll be praying for safe travel for everyone. The fun is about to begin!

Thank you for reading my notes and indulging me in my need to keep myself on track and to share tidbits of information.
  • #74
Thanks so much Rae for your daily "Getting Ready For Conference Tips". I know they were enjoyed by everyone even those not able to attend this year. And they were a big help to first timers. Have a fabulous conference!!!
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  • #75
Thanks! It was amazing. I usually come home with at most 2 4x6 cards full of "do it now" ideas. This time I have 7. Yes, 7! It will take a while, but I'll share my notes in the "Share What You Learned" thread.

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